Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My Ingress review.



Ingress.  The first altered reality game put out by Niantic and much of it's development set the stage for the Pok√©mon game that came later on.  But it's been out for years now and is it worth the time for new players to join in on it?

Well my experience in giving it a try simply comes up to this.  No, it's not.

Quick basics.  Various landmarks and places show up as Portals.  Players drop Resonators on said portals to take control of them.  Then link portals together in triangles to form fields.  Lines cannot cross another line or be set up inside of another field.  There are two sides in the fight each trying to gain more than the opposing factions.  Oh you can also hack a portal to get gear... most of which all leads to getting more portals and created more lines and fields.

New players are ants to the guys who have been around a while.  You can be working along trying to learn you first bits about how the game works, setting up a few portals and making a few links.  Then suddenly somebody will come through and wipe everything out leaving behind their gear that you can't even put a dent into.  That or they will cover huge swathes of area with a field so nobody else inside that field can link create their own fields.  Your own higher level faction members will make these huge fields right over the top of you.  So there really is no 'team' at all.  Thus removing the ability to play what everything in the game leads up to.  So you can easily get screwed over by the people you think are on your side.

So, if you've been playing for years, have lots of time to go hour long treks and the money to pay for gas for those treks.  Then maybe it's the game for you.  Otherwise you could turn the game on and suddenly discover that you will have to hop into your car and travel for a half hour or more JUST to do something more than the basics of taking a portal. 

I've tried it for a week.  People who I am supposed to be on the same side as came through and drowned out many surrounding small towns, including the one I'm in, under one big field.  I don't have the time, money to put in the gas tank or patience for this. 

The sad part it was actually a bit of fun up until this point.  But damned if doesn't suck every drop of enjoyment out when all you can do is hack and drop resonators.  I mean I could attack something, but everything is either on the same 'side' as I am or several levels above me.  That and having people tell me the solution is to just go hack a lot and level up the slow way is laughable.  I mean really they want me to do the MMORPG grind in real life.  Sorry I'll go play a Korean grinder fantasy game at home without spending gas money if I wanted to do that.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Stones Landing



In my upcoming Advanced Fighting Fantasy game I will not be using the world provided in the book (which is called Titan).  Instead I will be using my own setting which has no title.  Hopefully I will be fleshing it out more with some regular blog posts here.  First up is Stones Landing, the city from which the characters will be embarking from for their adventures.

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Stones Landing is the first, and so far only, established city along the Blighted Coast of the continent of Anmar. A continent that suffered much devastation in the previous sundering that nearly wiped out world clean. After isolation of nearly a hundred years Captain Abigale Stone dropped anchor in the remains of what was once a mighty sea side fortress forty years ago. The first years were fraught with peril from both a harsh environment and the twisted inhabitants what lived in the surrounding areas. The Bane was not kind to those who lived here before.


But with continued support from the Kingdom of Sil-Tarran there has been a slow claiming of the old keep and the surrounding areas. Clusters of houses, shops, stables and others structures have been erected with much haste and little planning. The result is a ramshackle city that resembles more of a township that simply keeps building on top of itself.


Nearby farmland has been replanted and is slowly providing crops once again. Along with a nearby mine that is giving forth ore after more than a century of silence. But the real bounty that is sought is that which is brought back by the brave few who venture forth into the depths of Anmar. Traveling what is left of the old roads and braving the creatures who lurk there. It has become a dream for adventurers seeking fame and, most importantly, fortune. But for every one who achieves this there are easily ten who have perished.


Some points have been mapped out and areas explored. But even those can warrant many hazards as the twisted remains of the Orc tribes regularly move around like blood hungry nomads. Or the occasional monstrosity created by the Nepentheans during the Sundering will make their way towards the new establishments of men. Entire small villages that have attempted to lay root at some distance from Stones Landing have vanished overnight. Leaving only burnt buildings, blood and the dead behind.


Those who seek to travel beyond the safety of the city can find anything they may need before leaving it's protected walls. Rations, arms and armor, information that may be of dubious worth, even some relics that others have brought back. Of course it's all for a price and coin is what the people who live here are after.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Two books ordered.

Finally got enough affiliate credit built up at Drivethru RPG that I am able to order a couple of print products.  One is a book that's been on my wishlist for quite a while and the other is from the new list of books that WOTC is putting up on POD now days.  Not sure how long it will take to get them in but at least I got them ordered.  Finally something new in my hands to look at.

First I picked up Spellcraft and Swordplay: Eldritch Witchery.  They have it in print for a pretty cheap price and you get the pdf for free when you do so.  That's what I call getting the double when ordering your POD stuff.

I had read some good reviews on this and got some good word of mouth from people whose opinions I trust.  Hoping that it lives up to the hype of having that OSR feel and look while at the same time having better writing than most stuff did from back in the day.

Then I also grabbed AC1 The Shady Dragon Inn for basic Dungeons and Dragons.  Being a big fan of the old BECMI series, and since they don't have the Rules Cyclopedia up yet in POD, I thought a good resource book would do the trick.  Always nice to have something handy to grab nearby when you need a quick NPC.    This will be the first reprint of the old TSR stuff that I will be able to lay eyes on so I'm looking forward to that. 


Hoping to add some more goodness from that era of DnD to my shelf soon.  Well after they get a few more books up that I want, although Hollow World is really calling to me already, and I get some more affiliate credit built up.

For those interested in the new POD material from WOTC for the older books that are no longer in print I have a page set up with everything they have (so far) divided out by edition.  I update it whenever they put up a new batch on Tuesdays. 

List of POD Dungeons and Dragons books now available from DrivethruRPG. 

Can't wait for these to come in.  I'll give you my opinion on each of them when they do.  Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

City State of Kainis setting overview


A quick overview of some of the background setting for the City State of Kainis.  This is a rough draft so it may not read all that well.

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Kainis is the largest city state on the continent of Sil-Tarren. Having grown from the ashes of what was left of the world from a great cataclysm which occurred a little over one hundred years earlier. A location where survivors of multiple shattered kingdoms came together in an effort to rebuild and survive in a land that was broken. Old grudges were tossed aside and those who were once enemies found themselves dependent on another. Cultures, ethnic traditions and race were all mixed together in one great melting pot to poor forth a new realm.


A ruling council comprised of surviving family lines of old lead this infant kingdom. Slowly pushing their borders out to retake what was once civilized country side that has now been reduced to wilderness and ruins. While dealing with smaller warbands and nomadic tribes also comprised of the descendants of those who survived. Not all are interested in joining with the new nation as it creeps across the land.


They have come to follow a religion that, like themselves, is comprised of ideas carried from many different cultures. All worked together into an idea of balance and dual forces that propel the world forward. Temples are built and prayers are answered for the clerics wield powers that come as a blessing.


A network of guilds have reformed spreading their trades in return for control and power. Various others have set up less savory organizations in their bids to shape things. There is still political infighting, backstabbing and greed as there always will be. Only the chessboard is different now.


Races of the old world have been changed forever. Humans are the most plentiful making up the vast majority of the population. Some Dwarves have survived the ages mostly still digging in the mountains beside Kainis hoping to carve out new numbers. The Orcs are gone, lost in their madness that came with the Cataclysm, those who are encountered are twisted and evil beyond imagining. Elvin kind with numbers over a handful at a time haven't been seen in over a hundred years. All others are believed to have been wiped from existence.


The roles of the characters in this world is one of two ways. First they could be the bands of adventurers, eager to make a name for themselves, spread their faith or fill their pockets. Heading out into the wilderness to help retake what was lost. Find the ruins of keeps and cities still filled with riches and danger. Or they could be tied up in the political fighting within the city. Representing a guild and pursuing their goals, maybe as members of a thieves guild plying their trade on the streets. Or even as servants for the ruling families.



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For those who enjoy this blog, the various articles and session recaps and wish to show some support.  The DrivethruRPG and RPGNow links over on the right are tagged with my affiliate code.  Simply click through to their site and buy whatever you normally buy from them and I'll get a few pennies as a kickback.  Or if you don't like Onebookshelf you can paypal me directly at 'peteramthor -at- trulyrural dot com' as well.  Currently this is how I am purchasing new gaming material.  Hopefully I'll be able to get some stuff and start doing short reviews once again in the future.

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Pick of the month - Artesia



Artesia started out as a comic from Archaia Entertainment many years ago.  I bought it back then starting with the very first issue and was hooked immediately.  Purchasing every single issue that came out for it until the series seemingly just stopped.  But the world the author/artist Mark Smylie created was just simply stunning.  So much depth in religion, politics and the art of warfare.  Every single page just dripped with inspiration coupled with his amazing art style.  Hands down simply one of the best comics I have ever read.

Three storylines were released; Artesia, Artesia Afield and Artesia Afire.  Also there were three annuals released as well and their stories are collected in the Book of Urgrayne which is also available (for free I may add).

While the series has stopped after three issues of the fourth volume got released (Artesia Besieged) and I'm not sure if it will ever be finished I highly recommend these books for anyone.  Both the comic and the later released RPG.

Issue one is available for free here.

Artesia the first collected trade is here.

Artesia Afield the second collected trade is here.

Artesia Afire the third and final collected trade is here.

The Free Book of Urgrayne is available here.

Then came the roleplaying game 'Artesia: Adventures in the Known World'.  A vast tome that won awards and was nominated for several others.  Using the Fuzion system pushed to it's furthest edges and detailing out the world more than most other games ever do.  It is a hefty read I will not lie, you have to dive into the setting and bury yourself into it.  There is no simply browsing to get a general idea.  Everything is so detailed and dripping with inspiration.  Also all of the artwork is done by the author/artist Mark Smylie so it really does feel like an extension of the comic.  Luckily I picked the hardcopy up when it was released and they seem to be getting a little scarce nowadays as people don't part with it often.

Artesia core rulebook is available here.

The FREE Artesia Compendium is available here.

More information can be found at the following website although it appears to be lacking an update in quite a long time.

Sword and Barrow

Hope you check these out and enjoy them as much as I have over the years.