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9/27/2017

Xathrodox86 rants about various stuff, dosen't get mad for a change

A lot is happening right now in the RPG/wargaming world, so I've decided to share a few thoughts about various stuff, that's going on right now.

What a time to be alive! I love that so much is going on, especially with relation to Warhammer and Games Workshop in general. First of all, we have "Total War: Warhammer 2" is just around the corner, and it looks just as good as the first game. I'm pretty sure that it will be as good too! I simply love that they've included not only Ulthuan and Naggaroth but Lustria as well, since Lizardmen are one of my all time favourite Warhammer races. I can already see the awesome DLC's as well - the undead pirates of the Vampire Coast, the Amazons and maybe even the fantastic Tichi-Huichi's Raiders. The possibilities are many, and these are just for Lustria. Imagine what Creative Assembly will be able to do with the eternal war between the two elven races.

Hooooly shiiit!!!
"TW: Warhammer 2" is not the only, promising video game, related to tabletop, that is coming in our way. "Warhammer: Vermintide 2" has been announced a few weeks ago, and on 17th of October we should recieve a much more detailed presentation. Already a bunch of screenshots have made their way to people over the internet, as well as system specs. It promises to at least repeat the success of the first game, and there are subtle hints, presented in the screen captures, about the elves. Could the Asur play a role in "Vermintide 2"? I'd love to see Kerillian and a Shadow Warrior, bickering over whose culture is the best, while making jests at Bardin's expense. I also hope for a bigger variety, when it comes to enemies and a better loot system. Seriously, "Vermintide's" loot mechanic sucks balls, but that's my only, real issue that I have with this game. Oh, and Fatshark announced that another DLC is coming. I do wonder what it'll give us, and if it'll be any good. Knowing the game's creators, I'm sure that it will live up to the previous ones' standards.

Two days before my birthday, the fols from Fatshark are already giving me one of the best, possible presents!
Cubicle 7 are really upping up their game, when it comes to the 4th edition of WFRP and the Age of Sigmar RPG. Not only did we got a lot of info about the differences between the two titles, and their mechanics (I'm glad that it will be more in spirit of the 1st and 2nd edition of the game), but also they've released an online bundle, which contains all of the WFRP 2ed PDF's, as well as 1st edition rulebook. Not only that, but the price for all of these goodies is just too good to pass. I have huge hopes with both of these games. In all truth I'm waiting for the AoS RPG more, than for the 4th edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Why? Well, as I've mentioned in one of my earlier posts, this is a real chance for the Age of Sigmar to establish itself as a game with a really interesting lore. As of now, it's just 40K in a fantasy world, with very little emphasis on anything, besided endless war. This role-playing game can change that, and I hope that it will. AoS has a huge fanbase and they deserve the best, possible product. I hope that they'll recieve it, and who knows... maybe it will even help me change my stubborn mind, about this setting? I will definetly check it out, as well as the newest iteration of WFRP. These two games can't come soon enough!

Seriously, the hype is real
A bunch of information about the 4th edition of WFRP, as well as the AoS role-playing game, can be found here.

Also a new WH40K RPG has been announced. It's called "Wrath & Glory", and not only does it promises the chance to play as a dirty xeno, but it will also be based around a new D6 mechanic. This is a very good news, since one of my biggest issue with the FFG's 40K RPG's, is the fact that they're using the D100 rules from WFRP. Sure it is slightly modified, but using a ruleset from a title, in which you mainly fight hand-to-hand, in a game with a huge emphasis on shooting stuff, is just bad. Here's to Ulisses, the game's publisher, to present us with a great and fun title, at least as good as the first "Dark Heresy" and "Only War". You can find preview of the game here.

I especially like the fact that it will give the players a chance to play, as almost any faction from the game
Speaking some more of 40K, the 8th edition has established itself firmly with the players now, and while I don't have any experience with it (yet), it seems to be a much better iteration of the game, than the last one. Of course that's not saying much, since 7th edition was an abomination, favouring certain factions, while shitting on others, lacking any semblence of balance, and generally being an unplayable mess (unless you were collecting Space Marines, Eldar or the Tau). 40K 8th is much more balanced, at least on a first glance. Sure, already certain "players" are trying to find loopholes, broken builds and combos, and other such shit. Fortunately, this time GW is working really hard to fix the majority of this kind of issues, such as the now infamous, Storm Raven spam. Errata's and FAQ's have been worked on really hard, and it's good to see that the Games Workshop is not favouring only one or two factions, anymore. Altough I'm pretty sure that a lot of entitled crybabies are still salty about the nerf, that happened to their grav spam or the infamous Iron Hand Chapter Master on a bike. I bet that their tears of rage are delicious.

Funnily enough, I've been so immeresed in the Warhammer Fantasy world, for the past few months, that I know very little about the new story arc of 40K. Guilliman's back, which is... ok, I guess. I'm not a fan of the Primarchs returning, since it really does degrade the whole "mythology" thing, around which the Warhammer 40,000 is built, but from what I've gathered, they're making this plot in a decent and competent manner. Which is good. I yet to have to read the "Dark Imperium" by Guy Haley, as well as check on the whole Ultramar campaign thingie, but Games Workshop seems to be doing a decent job with pushing the storyline further a bit. Good for them, and good for us.

Looking good there, Bobby!
Lastly we come to the Black Library and the "Horus Heresy" series, which is coming to an end. The last HH meeting took place some time ago, during which the authors supposedly talked about the final part of this behemeoth series. For me the Great Heresy can't end soon enough, since it really did overstayed its welcome. Seriously, how friggin' much can you milk a franchise, especially one which quality is a really mixed bag? There have been whole years, when we've been bombarded with shit, like the Salamanders and Imperium Secundus story arcs. Then there were all of the anthologies, many of whom duplicated themselves, as well as whole plots that led to nowhere, or were simply dissapointing. Don't get me wrong tough - I still think that 30K in general is a much more interesting time in this universe, than the 40K, but at some point it must come to an end. It overstayed its welcome, and I'd like for the authors in BL to close it, preferrably as fast as possible. Which will probably take at least 2-3 more years. Sigh.

I was there in 2006, when it all started
Come on guys, use your imagination. 40K has so many cool periods, which can be explored to their full capacity, like the fabled Astropath Wars, for example. There is life beyond the Horus Heresy, you know. Try and find it, not only for yourselves, but also for us, your fans.

Actually this reminded me, that I really need to catch on the HH series. The last book which I've read, was the excellent "Master of Mankind", and there have been a few titles, released after it, which I should really look into.

Finally the "ZWEIHÄNDER" print-on-demand is here! Availabe from the DriveThruRPG, you can (and should) get it and try it out, for it is a wonderful game, akin to the WFRP of old. The team behind this project really did an immense job, and I can't stress enough, how much I admire their work. I do plan on making a loooong and detailed review of this game in the (near) future, but let me just say, that any fan of the classic Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay should try this one out. You won't be dissapointed, I promise.

Pictured: a damn good game
So that's it for this post. Yeah, there's a lot going on in the RPG/Tabletop/tie-in video games world right now, and us fans, we're really spoiled for choices. Which is good, as we should be - this is our hobby, our passion, and I for one, am very happy to be a part of these events. I hope that you are as well.

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

9/16/2017

Role-playing Rants: Mastering the fine art of gaming with your friends

Friendship is a cool thing. It lets you get through tough times, and help others in the same manner, makes you feel, like you belong somewhere and generally incites the feeling of happiness. But is it wise to role-play with your friends?

My first, real RPG experience was with a group of so called "randoms", people whom I've met in work, and who introduced me to the world of casual role-playing. "Vampire: The Masquerade" was the first RPG that I've partook in, with that particular group, followed by WFRP ("The Enemy Within"), "Dzikie Pola" (polish historical game) and a couple of other titles. I've had great fun with those people, and even tough we're not in touch anymore, for various reasons, I always remember my time with them, as a very happy one.

Happy times
Sometime later a good friend of mine asked me, if I'd ran a game for him and the rest of our pack. It was back in 2009, and our crew was really tight. Our main hobbies included rooftoping, urban exploration and generally goofing around, so I though: "why not include some role-playing into the mix?". I was a little bit afraid if I'd manage to run a weekly RPG group in a manner, that my first GM did, but in the end I've decided to give it a try. After buying a couple of books for WFRP 2nd edition, getting hold of a laptop, from which I could play climactic music, I've gathered the team in a basement of a residential block and the rest was history. We are still playing, after all these years, altough there were a couple changes in the team, as life tends to get in the way, and people also change, one way or another. In the end, however, it was a great experience, albeit one with a few bumps along the way.

Playing with your friends seems like a no brainer. You have a ready-to-go group of people, whom you know well and spent a lot of time with. You can almost always count on them, so setting up games is much easier, than with a bunch of random players. You generally know them really well, both their strong and weak points, their character quirks and manierisms. For a GM this kind of readily available info is simply priceless and really helps in setting up games, creating adventures and developing interesting encounters for his players.

Of course, one of the most important thing, if not the most important, is the fact that you are playing among people whom you really like, and who also like you. Thanks to that little fact, the atmosphere during sessions will be greatly improved, as common sympathy and friendly camradiere will be felt all around the table. If you'll manage to infect your friends with a passion for role-playing games, you'll get a bunch of great people, sharing your enthusiasm for the hobby. That's a lot in itself, but there are many more benefits of gaming with your friends, too many in fact to write them all down. Needless to say, it is worth it, and if any of you thinks about trying out RPG's, then gather a bunch of people, who are close to you, and give this hobby a shot. Together.

Awesomeness will ensue
However every coin has two sides, and while gaming with your friends can be great (it usually is!), it can also be a real pain in the ass, if you're not careful.

What I'm talking about exactly? Well, it is quite simple, really. Being friends with someone, means that you can usually get away with a lot more shit, than when you're dealing with a simple colleague, or a completely random person. This means that your players (as usual, I'm talking from a perspective of a Gamemaster) can, and probably will, get on your nerves and try to have things their way, from time to time. Ok, maybe even more often. I've seen it all, and lived through it to tell the tale. Emotional blackmail, shouting, getting at each other's throats (metaphorically speaking, of course), cheating and many, many other shitty behaviours, were all a part of my experience of gaming with close friends. You see, friends always think that they can get away with more things, than others. It dosen't matter if they've arrived 30 minutes late to the game. No big deal, surely the rest of the gang will understand that it happens. It dosen't matter if they've canceled their schedule, at the last moment, beacuse of some stupid-ass reason. Friends won't mind. Maybe some of them had a really bad day at work, and wish for nothing to piss their co-players off, and tell the GM that he sucks, and not in a friendly, light manner. What? What do you mean, that it's a shitty way to deal with people? We're friends, after all!

Yeah, that's the other, not so nice, side of playing with your friends. Be prepared for a LOT of shit flying your way, for hard talks, which will be inevitable at some point, if you want to avoid being smothered by the rest of your group, and generally for a lot of nasty things. From my experience friends think that they can get away with a lot more, than others. This is probably true for most people, but frankly I've found out that it's a lot easier to deal with this kind of behaviour, outside of hobby. These games are all about having fun, mutual fun, and I always got pissed the fuck off, when one of my friends decided to take it out on me, or the others, for a crappy day that he had at work. For starters - it's not my bloody fault, nor any of the others at the table, and secondly - we came here to have fun. Leave your frustrations and bad attitude at home, for they are not welcome here. That last part is actually targeted towards anyone, who thinks that weekly/monthly/quarterly etc. game meetings, are his private therapy sessions. They're not and fuck you for thinking otherwise.

I know what you're probably all thinking right now. Is playing with your friends really worth it? Is it actually worth all the effort, nerves, frustrations and arguments?

Yeah, I think that it is. Some of my best memories in life are from playing with my closest friends, and even tough more often than not it was a real pain in the butt, I wouldn't trade those memories for anything else in the world. It wasn't always easy, but in the end it was worth it. Just as gathering your closest people around the table with you, handing them a bunch of funny shaped dice and some character sheets, and describing to them that damnable inn, in which they all meet, is. It really is. Take my word for that.

It is here that so many wonderful tales began, after all
Until next time!

Xathrodox86