Author Archives: Shane

Torment Tides of Numenera thumbnail

Let’s Play Torment: Tides of Numenera #9

This Episode: We meet some “orphans”, possibly betray a few machine intelligences, ogle some airships, send the Numenera version of Don Quixote on a quest and get a fantastic night’s rest.

Torment: Tides of Numenera is the thematic successor to Planescape: Torment, one of the most critically acclaimed role-playing games of all time. Immerse yourself in a single-player, isometric, story-driven RPG set in Monte Cook’s Numenera universe. What does one life matter? Find your answer.

Sword Coast Legends

Let’s Play Sword Coast Legends Story Mode #39

This episode: We glimpse a shadow of the real enemy behind the scenes, get told we need to go the Underdark, have a big secret revealed by Soronil, pick up a new mage companion and then go tearing around Luskan looking for a blind beggar.

This a let’s play of the single player campaign of Sword Coast Legends.

Set in the lush and vibrant world of the Forgotten Realms, Sword Coast Legends offers an all-new way to enjoy the time-tested magic of playing Dungeons & Dragons as a shared storytelling experience. With a deep narrative developed by a team of long-time industry veterans and a partnership with Wizards of the Coast, the single player campaign of Sword Coast Legends brings the world of Faerûn home like never before.

https://swordcoast.com/

shane plays podcast title 2-25-2017

Nintendo Switch! – Radio Show / Podcast Ep. 91

shane plays podcast title 2-25-2017

Podcast for the Shane Plays radio show from 3/11/2017:
Nintendo Switch!

Highlights:  The Nintendo Switch is out! Nintendo’s newest console and the first console intended for both home and portable use… get the latest Switch news plus insight and perspective from indy game dev Johnathan Dixon! 

Shane Plays airs on Saturdays at 1:05 PM Central on 96.5 FM The Answer in Little Rock. It can also be heard online at http://965fmtheanswer.com and on the Tune In Radio app and iHeart Radio apps. Call in at 501-823-0965 or tweet @ShanePlays during the show!

Listen to the Shane Plays podcast on iTunes, Google Play Music and Stitcher (and other fine podcast directories) after the live show.

patreon logo in fieldLike what you hear?
Support Shane Plays Radio on Patreon!
https://www.patreon.com/shaneplays

KryptonRadio1Shane Plays is carried on Krypton Radio!
Krypton Radio is SciFi for your Wifi.
http://kryptonradio.com/

Direct MP3 Download:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/shaneplays/Shane_Plays_3-11-17_podcast.mp3
Listen Here via Embed:

SHOW NOTES

NEWS ITEMS 

Shane Plays interviewed on Onder Radio:
http://onderlibrum.com/index.php/2017/03/09/onder-radio-episode-003/

Nintendo Switch Is Nintendo’s Fastest-Selling Console Ever In The Americas, Europe, and Australia | Gamespot
http://www.gamespot.com/articles/nintendo-switch-is-nintendos-fastest-selling-conso/1100-6448486/

Nintendo Switch Has Huge Launch At GameStop, Retailer Says | Gamespot
http://www.gamespot.com/articles/nintendo-switch-has-huge-launch-at-gamestop-retail/1100-6448434/

You Can Expect A Super Smash Bros. Game For Nintendo Switch | Gamespot
http://www.gamespot.com/articles/you-can-expect-a-super-smash-bros-game-for-nintend/1100-6448593/

People Are Already Trying to Fix the Nintendo Switch’s Dumb Design Issues | Gizmodo
http://gizmodo.com/people-are-trying-to-fix-the-switchs-dumb-design-issues-1793020785

Nintendo prez discusses Switch docks and left Joy-Con issues | Engadget
https://www.engadget.com/2017/03/10/nintendo-prez-discusses-switch-docks-and-left-joy-con-issues/

Yes, Nintendo Switch games really do taste bad on purpose | Eurogamer.net
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-03-02-yes-nintendo-switch-cards-really-do-taste-bad-on-purpose

TOPIC: NINTENDO SWITCH

Nintendo hit a home run with the Wii and then barely got to first base with the Wii U. They’ve proven they’re not afraid to take risks and their latest console, the Switch, is further proof of that. Designed as both a home console AND a portable console, have they pushed the concept of what console gaming is further yet again or is it back to the drawing board?

Get the latest Switch news on today’s show, plus insight and perspective from indy game dev Johnathan Dixon! 

Nintendo Switch official site:
http://www.nintendo.com/switch/

Modest Arcade (Johnathan Dixon):
http://www.modestarcade.com/

Barkley 2 (a game Johnathan is currently working on):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barkley_2

Nintendo Switch

 

Dungeon Grappling cover full spread

Dungeon Grappling Review

dungeon grappling cover

Dungeon Grappling by Douglas H. Cole

[Update: Douglas H. Cole (Dungeon Grappling’s author) has posted a reply to my review with his further thoughts.]

Both as a player and a DM over the years I’ve encountered times where the wrestling or special hand-to-hand options during combat didn’t cover exactly (or cover at all!) what I or a player wanted to do.

There’s that thrill of inspiration for a cool move to try during combat, and then the crestfallen “oh” when told the rules just can’t do it. I imagine many folks reading this have experienced the same situation and are now either literally or mentally nodding their heads.

The game I currently play the most, D&D 5th Edition, as much as I love it (and I think it is a fantastic edition) basically has no rules for wrestling or special combat moves, just a “grappled” condition that is woefully inadequate… I have actually wondered why they even bothered to put it in in its current form. It’s one of my only gripes with 5E. I actually feel a bit embarrassed as a DM when a player new to the game asks about a grappling move and I awkwardly tell them what their, er, option is.

Enter Dungeon Grappling, which is gaming author and designer (and the guy behind Gaming Ballistic) Douglas H. Cole’s answer to the problem. Recently Kickstarted and then delivered in a swift and professional fashion, does Dungeon Grappling take it to the mat like an expert or do we need to tap it out?

Well?

I’m not one for suspense in reviews, so I’ll say right off the bat that I feel this is a good product and especially so given this is the author’s first RPG effort that I am aware of outside of articles and supplements for other games.

It offers a rich, alternative and, for the most part, non-lethal combat system that runs in parallel with the existing combat systems in D&D, Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry.

It doesn’t replace the existing system, nor does it add moves, abilities and feats to the existing system… it’s a parallel combat system that uses it’s own attack, defense and “hit point” system alongside the existing rules.

But will YOU like it?

What it really comes down to, regardless of how good or comprehensive Dungeon Grappling may be, is whether something like the following formula gets you excited or makes you want to hide.

Take a good look:

dungeon grappling cm formula for d&d 5th edition

Dungeon Grappling formula for calculating control maximum in D&D. Control maximum is the “hit points” of the grappling rules.

Truly, this is the litmus test of whether Dungeon Grappling is for you and your group. There’s math and formulas. Old school, nigh-GURPS level math and formulas.

This isn’t necessarily a good thing. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just is what it is. For the rich system Cole has brought to the table (so to speak), there’s really no way around it.

One must calculate the attack rolls, difficulty classes (the “armor class” of the grappling system) and control maximums (the “hit points” of the grappling system) for the players, monsters and NPCs. It’s possible you may need to do this in the moment if a grappling situation comes up spontaneously.

These are in addition to whatever combat stats are already calculated for the system in play. In other words, your attack roll to hit with a melee weapon might be different than your attack roll to grapple while the difficulty class to hit in grappling can be different from armor class.

Also, as mentioned above there are rules for S&W, Pathfinder & D&D… so depending on how many of those systems you might be playing there are different formulas for each.

In offering options, Dungeon Grappling by necessity needed to increase its complexity.

A Rich System

Yet, as with most things in life, with effort comes reward.

Dungeon Grappling is an excellent, rich grappling / wrestling combat rules system that opens up an entirely new arena of possibilities in your RPG gaming. For me, and I suspect many others, it’s definitely worth the time investment.

Again, this is a parallel combat system that exists alongside the regular combat rules. It does not replace or enhance them. For example, you can grapple someone into total submission and overcome all of their control maximum points and never do a hit point of damage to them.

Dungeon Grappling also isn’t a splatbook full of additional abilities and feats that you add to your existing system. In some ways it’s a mini-RPG, albeit for combat rules.

These rules are for player characters, NPCs and monsters, with all of them receiving equal love. In fact, monsters receive their own section on how to calculate the necessary Dungeon Grappling numbers given Monster Manual (or equivalent resource for the respective game system) stat blocks. Imagine a roper utilizing a vastly expanded grappling combat system with all the tentacles flying at you and you get an idea of the power Dungeon Grappling brings to your game.

dungeon grappling roper cartoon

Dungeon Grappling’s excellent rules will rope you in

The rules are grounded somewhat in reality. Dexterity is factored in, but strength has the edge. Sorry, but the most dexterous halfling isn’t taking a dragon down in one move. The control points you inflict on an opponent (“control” is the damage in Dungeon Grappling) operate on a progressive scale, it’s not all or nothing, up-or-down like hit points in D&D. The more control you achieve, the more dominance you have over your opponent all the way up to complete incapacitation.

You can trade control points in for cool moves like stunning throws and takedowns. You can wrestle for an item, inflict pain to force submission, or take things a step further and actually convert control points to hit point damage.

But wait, as they say, there’s more. There are rules for dragging, flinging, and shoving. Grappling with weapons in covered. So is magical grappling (spells that have grappling use or effects).

Get the point? This system is well thought out, including benefits from RPG-system specific abilities and feats. If you want to grapple and grapple well, Dungeon Grappling has you covered.

The Package & Price

Lest I forget to mention, Dungeon Grappling looks great, from the cover to the interior art to the layout and design. When the Kickstarter first began it was digital only but a pledge level was added for a print version and I’m glad that was done. The paperback version feels good to hold and flip through.

At under $10 for a PDF copy and under $20 for a print copy I think it’s reasonable for the rules you get, and the professional package it’s contained in.

Final Verdict

I personally think this is a reference that fantasy RPG groups should have in their toolkit, either for constant use or for those periodic “what if I try this?” moments when folks are in an experimental mood.

I’m introducing Dungeon Grappling at my D&D table for players that want to take advantage of it. However, I’ll leave it up to each player whether they want to and not force them into the extra rules depending on their own taste.

Some of my players will glom right on to it with a passion, others show up each week and practically need to be reminded which dice to roll. They’re probably not going to get a firm, er, grip on Dungeon Grappling (and honestly probably won’t want to). For those of us that do, however, I suspect this will add a cool new dimension to play.

How Do You, Er, Grab Your Copy?

Dungeon Grappling is available in PDF, Kindle and paperback. I went for the paperback because I’m a grognard like that.

PDF and Paperback at RPGNow 

Kindle and Paperback at Amazon 

Dungeon Grappling cover full spread

Dungeon Grappling by Douglas H. Cole. Cover art by Michael Clarke.

D&D Out of the Abyss Notes Title

D&D Out of the Abyss Notes #49

This Episode: The Battle of Blingdenstone continues with wave after wave of puddings and oozes. Glabagool returns! Ooze slap fights. Having players temporarily play monsters. Should players be able to force other players to do stuff with charisma skills?

This is an ongoing series of Shane’s notes, thoughts and tips for running the D&D adventure Out of the Abyss, which is the tabletop portion of the Rage of Demons story line.

Each video follows the most recent session with his group.

Torment Tides of Numenera thumbnail

Let’s Play Torment: Tides of Numenera #8

This Episode: We take a nice stroll through sticha land, find the Changing God’s sanctuary, accidentally on purpose kill ourselves, and get sent into a memory by Matkina.

Torment: Tides of Numenera is the thematic successor to Planescape: Torment, one of the most critically acclaimed role-playing games of all time. Immerse yourself in a single-player, isometric, story-driven RPG set in Monte Cook’s Numenera universe. What does one life matter? Find your answer.

Torment Tides of Numenera thumbnail

Let’s Play Torment: Tides of Numenera #7

This Episode: We meet an artificial construct that wants to have babies, get both amused creeped out by the Dendra O’Hur, try to negotiate with insects and then get an insect (sort of) of our very own.

Torment: Tides of Numenera is the thematic successor to Planescape: Torment, one of the most critically acclaimed role-playing games of all time. Immerse yourself in a single-player, isometric, story-driven RPG set in Monte Cook’s Numenera universe. What does one life matter? Find your answer.

Sword Coast Legends

Let’s Play Sword Coast Legends Story Mode #38

This episode: We dump some weight (finally!), buy a flippin’ sweet bow and get thrust smack dab into a battle between the Gilded Eye and demons.

This a let’s play of the single player campaign of Sword Coast Legends.

Set in the lush and vibrant world of the Forgotten Realms, Sword Coast Legends offers an all-new way to enjoy the time-tested magic of playing Dungeons & Dragons as a shared storytelling experience. With a deep narrative developed by a team of long-time industry veterans and a partnership with Wizards of the Coast, the single player campaign of Sword Coast Legends brings the world of Faerûn home like never before.

https://swordcoast.com/

shane plays podcast title 3-4-2017

Ed Greenwood & The Realms at TEGG! – Radio Show / Podcast Ep. 90

shane plays podcast title 3-4-2017

Podcast for the Shane Plays radio show from 3/4/2017:
Ed Greenwood & The Realms at TEGG!

Highlights:  Ed Greenwood, Richard Lee Byers and Geoff Gander talk The Ed Greenwood Group’s Forgotten Realms publishing news! Plus: who would win, Elminster or Drizzt?!

Shane Plays airs on Saturdays at 1:05 PM Central on 96.5 FM The Answer in Little Rock. It can also be heard online at http://965fmtheanswer.com and on the Tune In Radio app and iHeart Radio apps. Call in at 501-823-0965 or tweet @ShanePlays during the show!

Listen to the Shane Plays podcast on iTunes, Google Play Music and Stitcher (and other fine podcast directories) after the live show.

patreon logo in fieldLike what you hear?
Support Shane Plays Radio on Patreon!
https://www.patreon.com/shaneplays

KryptonRadio1Shane Plays is carried on Krypton Radio!
Krypton Radio is SciFi for your Wifi.
http://kryptonradio.com/

Direct MP3 Download:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/shaneplays/Shane_Plays_3-4-17_podcast.mp3
Listen Here via Embed:

SHOW NOTES

NEWS ITEMS 

Bill Paxton Dies at 61 | Variety
http://variety.com/2017/film/news/bill-paxton-dead-dies-1201996712/

Shane Plays interviewed on the Matturday Podcast:
https://soundcloud.com/matthew-squaire/6-shane-plays-everything-geek

GUEST: ED GREENWOOD & THE ED GREENWOOD GROUP

Ed Greenwood (Elminster himself!), Richard Lee Byers and Geoff Gander talk The Ed Greenwood Group’s Forgotten Realms publishing news via Onder Librum!

Pitch an RPGA for an exclusive chance to work with Mr. Greenwood on a Realms RPGA!
http://realms.theedgreenwoodgroup.com/rpga-pitch-ormpur/

http://onderlibrum.com/

http://theedgreenwoodgroup.com/

ed greenwood

 

D&D Out of the Abyss Notes Title

D&D Out of the Abyss Notes #48

This Episode: The Battle of Blingdenstone begins! Dorbo shows his quality. The Cosby Maneuver. Shane’s fumble rules. Wererat sizes. The return of an old friend.

This is an ongoing series of Shane’s notes, thoughts and tips for running the D&D adventure Out of the Abyss, which is the tabletop portion of the Rage of Demons story line.

Each video follows the most recent session with his group.