Stepping Back In Time – Revisiting Talisman

Eighteen years ago… almost to the day now I think about it I played my last game of Talisman. It was the September Weekend, a local holiday in Scotland, in 1991 and we had just spent the Friday and Saturday playing what was to be my last ever game of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. I can’t remember exactly what happened but I had stayed over at my GM’s house on the Saturday night and we spent all day on the Sunday playing Talisman and never went back to his house after that.


Fast forward to today and I’d been invited along to my World of Warcraft guild ‘s Guild Master’s house to play in his regular Talisman game. Also playing was another friend and another WoW player. If I get this right my experience until today had been almost all 1st edition with three or four games of 2nd edition before I stopped playing. We would spend all our RPG downtime playing this game so when I walked into his house and seen the 2nd edition box sitting on the table it started to come flooding back. They use the 4th edition board with the 2nd edition cards and we also had to the 4th edition Dungeon expansion set to play with.

Flicking through the character cards before we started brought back so many memories and so I picked my favourite from all those years ago… the Dwarf. Back in the day we played the game slightly differently from how most might play it. We actually played the characters as if it was an RPG we were playing. The Dwarf would like to go to the Tavern for a drink or two and the Druid would be more likely to go to an outdoor square than one of the corner ‘civilised’ squares. so when I chose the Tavern over another square because it’s what a Dwarf would do I was told, “Hey… this isn’t an RP server”.


My game started slowly but everyone else managed to die off pretty quickly and once they were reincarnated one of the players started to surge ahead. After we realised we could survive in the Dungeon it started to heat up pretty quickly. I found myself a horse and with a strength and craft pool almost next to one another I managed to get my character a good foundation before heading for the boss. I hadn’t read much about the implications of beating the boss so once I had received my loot and we worked out where I would teleport to we soon realised that I was going straight to the Crown of Command. The end game had started and noone had even started trying to get there. My dice rolling was that bad however that by the time I won almost everyone had found a way to knock on my front door. I cut it fine but I won in the end. It was a nice way to get back into playing.

Now should I continue playing with the RPG element to my characters or play it completely as a board game?

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I Am A Gamer

And so Jonathan over at The Core Mechanic has hung up his blogging boots today to make time for Nevermet Press. Best of luck with that one and I’m sure I’ll be talking more about it over the coming months!

photo by heath_bar@flickr

As a final farewell Jonathan decided last week to end on a high and end with a project based on ‘This I Believe’. You can hear the final product here.

I had five attempts at recording my own addition to the project but with 4 kids in the background and various chickens insisting that was the time to lay an egg and tell everyone about it it didn’t really get very far. For those that don’t know my contribution is the cheesy one right at the end.

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I Want Fluff And Lots Of It!

I love reading rule books and I love reading campaign settings even more. I’ve went on before about how I write campaign settings just for myself even if no one else will ever actually play them so it comes as no surprise that I’ve got a little fed up rereading the D&D 4e books and that I’m looking for something ‘new’.

Coming home from my dyslexia testing on Monday I stopped by one of the larger book store chains in Glasgow to see if there was anything worth picking up. Usually I head in there just to see if they have a specific book but this day I decided just to have a look around the fiction areas as well. They have a small section for RPG books these days and it’s never really been stocked that well. They have the usual D&D books as well as the occasional TV related system such as the Firefly or Battlestar Galactica books but apart from the occasion WoD or Cthulu book thats it.

Scion : Hero

What they did have though was a few of the Scion books. I’d heard a little about them before and to be honest what I had heard didn’t tickle my fancy but after a quick flick through it is very similar to a setting I tried to write about 10 years ago using the old WoD system. I stood for a good 20 minutes reading the fluff that goes along with the Hero book. Why can’t games be released with a backstory this rich all the time? Needless to say I’ll be picking up the books on my next trip to the gaming store even if it is only to read them and never actually get my players into a game.

What other systems are there out there that go into the backstory in this much detail in the main rulebooks?

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Weird Gaming Moments

It’s been a slow weekend here at The Dice Bag. I’m off to Sweden for a few days this coming week so I’ve had a lot of prep for that but every time I thing about roleplaying I keep getting the same image in my head and I have a slow chuckle to myself.

I’m told everyone has moments like this during games but I swear I’m sure it’s only me that gets hit with them.

The prime example is the memory that keeps coming back to me this weekend. It was a Saturday afternoon, I was 15 and and staying over at my friend Frank’s house. We didn’t have a game planned for that weekend so I was working out a quick single-shot game based Terry Pratchett’s Discworld that had been published in a short lived RPG magazine. The plan was to get some characters drawn up and run the game once one of our other friends turned up later that night. Anyway there was a knock at the back door and who should enter but Frank’s cousin who had been our first DM all those years before. He was on leave from the army again and had heard we were about and so he’d brought his Rolemaster books and our characters along to see if we fancied a game that night. We settled down with our bottles of juice and our sweets and waited for him to start the game.

Jim Morrison

Frank’s cousin always played with the strangest music playing in the background. This night we were in for something different though as he put on his most prized possession. He carefully placed the tape into the player and when he pressed play Jim Morrison was giving us a spoken word tour of his drug addled brain. Several joints later our DM was struggling to keep the game from becoming real in his head and constantly stopping mid-sentence to let us hear his favourite bit of the tape. Usually when our illustrious DM was in these states we enjoyed the ride as we usually ended up with homosexual dungeonmasters from the cartoon that could chop their head off and heal it back up without magic or other weird and wonderful things that only drugs could produce. In this case we just sat staring at each other as he worked himself into a fever over the meaning of every second line on the tape.

We were just getting to the point in the game where you would usually start tooling up and getting ready for the final monster when the sound started to break up. Our DM sat bolt upright, spun around to the tape player and burst into tears. The machine started to eat his precious tape and he was in tears as he tried to press the eject button with little success. Frank tried to help and after a few more minutes they both just gave up and our DM collapsed onto the floor in the foetal position crying to himself. There was nothing we could do for him so we left him to it and went through to watch some TV. We were two 15 year old boys that spent our weekends playing Dungeons and Dragons. We had no social skills so I’m not surprised we left him to it. We went back through to the kitchen about 30 minutes later to find him asleep on the floor so again we left him to it.

About an hour later Joe turned up so we retired to Franks bedroom and started the one-shot game I’d been writing. It was great fun and when you have skills such as ‘hang upside down from chandilier and swing axe’ you can’t go wrong. About half way through the game our dopehead DM came and joined us. You would never have thought that a few hours previously his world had ended. He was laughing away and really enjoying the game and to this day I do not think anyone of us has actually mentioned the tape incident to him whenever we’ve came across him.

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So this months Blog Carnival is about gaming goals and resolutions. Uncle Bear is hosting this month and even if your getting a little tired of resolution posts you should check out the rest of his site and I can get lost in there! Everyone seems to have had the same idea of posting up a top three/five list of what they aim to achieve so I’m going to try and be a little different.

I got into this blogging game because a: I like writing and b: I like gaming. I never thought for a second when the idea first popped into my head that I’d end up as part of the RPG Bloggers Network or that I’d meet so many like minded people. Were I to live in the USA I’d make a point of attending one of the larger Cons in an attempt to meet these aforementioned folk but life is not that easy. I’ll just stick to berating them on Twitter or finding some way to trek across the city and throw fruit at Games of State’s windows.

Blue Man Group

So how does this post fit into the carnival this month? Well I think 2009 is going to be a year of collaboration. Someone pointed me in the direction of a blog post last night that hit a chord. With the worldwide recession hitting us there are no startups really making it big with big money backers but there are plenty of people with shared interests getting together, watching each others backs and getting things done. The The RPG Bloggers Network is one example and the CMF Advertising Network is another. A group of people with the same idea working towards the same goal and it’s working. Look at how well the RPG Bloggers Network has been received and how quickly it’s grown. I see great things coming from those guys in 2009.

Over on the RPG Bloggers Network Google Group (We really need to come up with a quick and snazzy acronym for that) an idea has been floated about a network wide collaboration. The aim of which will end up with a campaign setting for anyone to use. The specifics are still being discussed between those interested and those that floated the original idea but I think it’s going to be huge. Not only do we get to give to the community with our every post and the network provides us with many readers but we will all be able to contribute to something that we can give back to the readers. I can’t wait to get stuck into that project.

Even if this does not go ahead I’m hoping to bring in another writer or two to give my own campaign settings a good kick and get them finished and written up.

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ROUNDUP – RPG Bloggers Network Carnival – Religion

So it’s that time again when the carnival rolls up it’s ‘for One Month Only’ signs, puts the clowns back in their boxes and moves on to pastures new. The next carnival can be found over at Critical Hits on the subject of ‘Transitions and Transformation’.

So how did we do this month? We’ll I can honestly say that I never expected it to be this busy. Between hardware problems and my wife starting a new job last month I never did manage to contribute as much as I had hoped to myself but you guys more than made up for it!

I’ll steal an idea from our friend the Chatty DM and pick out a few highlights for me from the entries but don’t worry you’ll all get a mention…

Andre over at An Undisciplined Oaf Quartet wrote a good piece on dealing with players that seem to know more about gods and mythology than you do. Certainly gave me a few ideas!

Greywulf has managed to give me that final block in my religious military orders. I’ve long been stuck using Edding’s take on holy knights but this look has gave me something different to work with and isn’t just focusing on the knights.

Both The Core Mechanic and Exchange of Realities outdid themselves with the sheer number of entries and each and every post they made has put new ideas in to my head on how to run religion in my games.

The subject over at A Butterfly Dreaming was Atheism which is something I’ve been meaning to look at myself for years.

Tony at RPGCentric has taken a look at how Clerics have changed through the various versions of D&D.

Every blogger that took part has managed to give me a new insight in to how we as roleplayers both see religion as well as use religion in our games so well done for that!

And so on to the roll of entries:-

An Undisciplined Oaf Quartet
Religion in Gaming (or: How To Dodge Mythology Guy)
Religion In Gaiming 2 (or: How to run with Pat Robertson in your group without causing a stir.)

Donny The DM
Dualist Heresy

It’s my fault Black Leaf died
Clerics have lost their faith in D&D

The Core Mechanic
The Crs’tchen Debacle…
Real-life Clerics: TSR Hobbies needs you
The New Cleric is the Old Cleric
The New Cleric is the Old Cleric – Part 2
The New Cleric is the Old Cleric – Part 3
The New Cleric is the Old Cleric – Part 4
The New Cleric is the Old Cleric – Part 5

The Opiate of the Masses

Turbulent Thoughts
Religion in Eden

Initiative or What?
Here Walk No Gods

Inkwell Ideas
Flavouring a Game World with Religion

A Butterfly Dreaming
Losing Your Religion
What Religion Means

Exchange of Realities
Superstition in a Fantasy World
Color in the Pews
On The Creation of Gods
Do Gods Need Religion
Interlinking Gods and Domains
The First Requirement of Religion
When Religions Meet
Religion and Divergence
Having Sects
Religion and the Individual

Religion in our Homebrew

The Seven Sided Die
The B.A.D.D Files Part 1
The B.A.D.D Files Part 2
Three ways to give depth to your game’s religions

Of Men And Gods

Stargazers World
Monotheistic religions in roleplaying

Monsters and Manuals
Govgim Dahl, The Reluctant Demi-God

Mad Brew Labs

Worlds in a Handful of Dice

The Good Gaming Blog
Religions Effects on Dungeons and Dragons

That’s me in the corner

Religion and Fantasy, Opinion and Belief
Future Gods: Building Myth from History

Gaming Bruhaha
Religion and Super-Heroes
God As Game Designer
Gods, Who Needs Them?

Questing GM
4 Fundamental Questions That Religion Should Answer in a Fantasy Setting

Now it’s time to get started on this months topic!

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Blog Carnival – Round 4 – Religion

Thanks to Philippe-Antoine over at The Chatty DM for running last months Carnival.

RPG Blog Carnival Logo

So on to this months topic and it’s that old bugbear again. I had another topic in mind that I was going to use but after careful consideration and the realisation that almost everyone that took part in the carnival would be effectively writing the exact same post I scrapped it. I struggled for a bit until a shining light hit me in the face as I was reading some old posts on Wil Wheaton’s blog about how he found someone to play D&D with at his school.

We’ve been round the blog/block many times on the subject with regards to how taboo your local church thought it was or how cool the local minister actually found it to be so what I’m pitching is the subject of religion in the game. That is of course unless you have a story thats fit’s into the first section that hasn’t been told before.

What I’m thinking about is how WotC have revamped The Forgotten Realms and reshuffled their gods about or how far you take religion in-game. There’s many different ways to look at this one that instead of having it as a stand alone post on The Dice Bag I thought I’d throw it open to you good people to give your views on it as well.

The RPG Blog Carnival started with Johnathan over at The Core Mechanic

Then Donny the DM took took over with a new topic

And then it moved on to The Chatty DM (I’ll add the link to his roundup when he gets round to posting one)

So how does the carnival work you ask? The rules are very simple. All you do is post about it, leave a link back to here in your post and write a comment right after on this post. Once the month is up I’ll write up a roundup post of everyone thats took part in the carnival.

Can’t say fairer than that now can we?

In a few days time one, once I get a little free time from Nanowrimo I’ll get my own post up on the topic.

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The RPG Online Community

Has actually kept my faith in humanity these last few days.

There are many forums I use on many different subjects and I have to say, for better or worse, the RPG communities seem to have less ‘trolls’ than anywhere else. A large online community that over the years I’ve helped run, promoted and generally seen it grow from a free forum that let people talk about the nights they had had in a local nightclub to a forum with a worldwide readership as well as the owner buying their own nightclub and running their own nights has exploded virtually overnight. It’s thanks to these people that just can’t seem to get on with anyone unless they gang up to bully others that I’ve gave up and walked away.

I’d be lying if I said this only ever happened in this one forum but it happens everywhere. People will get on swimmingly talking about any subject until someone takes a dislike either to the topic or one of the users and it spirals out of control from there. I have no doubt it’s happened somewhere in the RPG community at some time but I’ve never seen it. And it’s the only place that I’ve never seen it.

I don’t know if its because of the subject itself or whether its skills we learn through playing tabletop games that we have the personal skills to deal with things like this before they get to bad. Either way I thank you good people for keeping my sometimes misguided belief in humanity from dying.

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