First, I would like to say thank you for all your support. It's been a good year here at Tiger Paw Press thanks to you. This year we released new titles in the S.I.D.s report, Wondrous Treasures and Monster Mash lines. We added to the Grimiore Arcana series, Technomany spell list and released a Psionic Compendium. Some of this was on the release schedule some of it was added as the year went on.
Well, now Christmas is almost upon us and that means that 2018 is just around the corner. So I think it's time for TPP to decide exactly what will be released in 2018. I've been giving it some thought and have decided a couple things.
First, a release schedule isn't really a accurate indication of what will be released in 2018. To many times this year things were moved, bumped and in some cases removed titles. Second, a set release period, even by quarters, doesn't work out well either. This is due to the before mentioned reasons and a pesky thing called life. So instead I have decided to make a small list of produces that I plan on finishing and releasing in 2018.
S.I.D.s Report & S.I.D.s Bulletin
There will be new titles in this series in 2018, two such titles will be S.I.D.s report - Denier & Company & S.I.D.s Bulletin - Black Spyder
New titles in this line will be released. Wondrous Treasures - Bows & Wondrous Treasures - Arrows are in different stages at this time.
Continuation of this line will include Monster Mash - Occulord-kin II & Monster Mash - Krylons is planned.
Villainy Codex III
Villainy Codex III will be released in 2018. This book is planned to reintroduce an some "friends" while introducing some new "anything but friends".
This product will be a compilation of the two Technomancy spell list combined into one organized and bookmarked PDF
There are other projects being worked on as well. Including other titles in the Villainy Codex, S.I.D.s, Wondrous Treasure & Monster Mash lines. Tome of Lost Spells has more spells to be added, #1 stopped at D after all. There could be multiple titles on these lines or simple one and maybe even no more than the above mentioned.
Other new titles could include for Fantasy Hero: Tome of Enlightenment (much as the Tome of Lost Spells except this is spells for wandering priest), Dead Orc Pass fantasy Setting, Terror In Darken Woods & Tomb of the Shadow King adventures.
For Star Hero: Tome of Villainy II & Spells and Starships campaign setting.
For Champion: TITechCorp Flyer series, Villainy Codex adventures, Heroes Resource (heroic organizations to help the lone heroes), BAMF (a government agency monitoring magic phenomenon), Project Pegasus campaign setting, Crime Wave supervillain campaign setting and War on Mars campaign setting. For Golden Age Champions S.I.D.s Report Archive (modern record of Golden Age super-powered individuals).
I hope that this gives you an idea of what is coming in the future from Tiger Paw Press. I hope you enjoy these, and our other products, and they are useful to you gaming endeavors. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Over the years I have often heard players say “I’d like to Gm but I don’t think I can”. This is a statement that is made and a feeling many players have. They want to do it but are afraid or worried that they can’t actually GM a session or an adventure, so let’s discuss this a bit, shall we?
The one thing often overlooked is that the only real difference between playing and GMing is as the GM you know what is truly going on in the game. Is the door trapped, what monster lurks beyond, why is the supervillain glowing? All these things you as the GM know the answer to and the players will have to find out.
Yes, there are other nuances that go along with being in charge of a session, but there are really few other differences. You roll dice to decide hits or misses, success or failure just as the players do. Your NPCs follow the rules of character creation, skill rolls; hit rolls just as the player’s characters do. So mechanically, GMs and players have little differences in a gaming setting. So as silly and simplistic as this may sounds the only difference is you know what is happening and why.
Now as the game progresses your decisions will be based on the action of the players of course. If they don’t stop the villain from kidnapping the heiress then you will have consequences for them. If they don’t check for a trap or wake the dragon then you will know what will be the result. So while you are the one in charge, many thing throughout the adventure will be a result of the players action and interaction with the varies NPCs. So, in charge or no, in many ways even if you’re the GM it is still just a normal gaming situation.
Now, many players believe that a GM is an “expert” when it comes to the rules. This is really not the case, if for no other reason I’m not sure that an “expert” on the rules truly exists. Rules change and the understanding of the rules change as well. I’ve been playing RPGs for a lot of years and I found that how you view the rules and how to create characters or abilities will change even if the rules don’t.
Your level of knowledge of the rules will need to vary based on the group you playing with as well. Yes, if you go to a gaming store and start up a game with players you are not familiar with then you will need a good understanding of the rules an how to apply them. However, if you running an adventure with a group of friends with whom you play with on a regular basis this isn’t necessarily the case.
Your friends know your new at being the GM, if there are other GMs in the group they will help you make a discussion on a rule should it be necessary. Long time GMs will often help new GMs if for no other reason than the opportunity to play. If there is more than one GM for a group then the opportunity to let someone else be the GM is available. So helping new GM along and helping them gain confidence is always a good thing. So if you GM for your normal gaming group you will have help which will make the process of learning to GM easier.
One thing to remember in either of the above scenarios is the fact that you ARE the GM and the final decision is always yours. So when a situation arises that you are not sure how to handle, listen to any opinions that are given to you. However, you are the GM and what you say is the final answer. You will want to be courteous and listen to all suggestions, but the final decision is always yours.
An example: A spell has been put on a chest, if opened they spell will release its harmful magical power. There is no trip wire or other mechanism for a thief to locate. So can a thief discover such a trap simply be examining (Find Trap) the chest.
Some GMs will say yes and other will say no, thief players will always say yes. The final decision and the final say on the topic is you the GM. No matter what others say about it, your opinion is the one that truly matters. You will need to decide and you will need to stick with the decision in the end.
A few other things to remember as a first time GM. First it might be easier if you find or buy an adventure that someone else created as you first attempt at being a GM. This will help you get a feel of how adventures are structured and give you one less thing to worry about during your first attempt. You may need to run more than one adventure before you can decided if GMing is for you. Just like trying a new game, it can take two or three attempts to know if you can successfully GM.
Another thing to remember is no matter how much you plan or how ready you think you are the players will think of something that you don’t. You may devise an elaborate trap that the players bypass without any effort at all. You may have a great monster for them to face and yet they figure a way around it or to defeat it that you didn’t. Don’t let it bother you, different minds think of different things. It just something else that you will face as the GM.
GMing can be extreme fun and extremely aggravating but it is nothing to worry or fret about. Some players make good GMs some don’t and you won’t know till you try and run an adventure. Above all it’s about having a fun time with friends!
Saturday, September 3, 2016
Complications and the Hero System
I think ever since the Hero System was created, way back when it was just Champions, people have complained about Disadvantages/Complications. The reasons vary from too much extra work; a hassle or even the ol’ “I have to take disadvantages”. I’ve heard GMs complain as well about them getting in the way or not needed in the game and so on.
So here is my two cents about Disadvantages/Complications, here on called Complications.
I’ve been lucky in the fact that most of the players I gamed with had the same opinion about Complications that I do. To me, they were a way of further fleshing out a new character. It gives you an opportunity to explain quirks, weaknesses and even a look into the characters background. For instance:
Hydro is a hero I’ve used as a PC and a NPC from my introduction to the Hero System and he has changed though the various editions of Champions of course. Hydro is a mutant with the ability to manipulate, create and control water. Through the years he had become quite a thorn in the side of VIPER and had proven a tough opponent for them. He didn’t like killing or those that recklessly do it. Being a mutant he fought often with the anti-mutant group of the campaign, The Knights Of Purity.
His Complication was based on his origin and the game play. Both VIPER and The Knights hunted him, about an 11-less chance as he had upset both groups. He has the Pysch. Limit: Dislikes Killing, has a Secret Identity and he had a Reputation as a tough opponent. All these not only took care of the needed points in Complications but it explained aspects of the character as well
Another example would be a thief in Fantasy Hero. Even without going into a back-story several Complications fit the character without any real work at all. Most thieves are greedy and some tend to be distrustful of others. Being a thief you are watched when you go into any town that has a thieves guild. No there is no sign on the character, however, the guild always stations individuals around the town to insure that thieves from other guilds or towns pay a “tax” on their ill-gotten gains. If you steal in our town you owe us a fee, just the way it works or can work depending on the GM.
So this means with no back-story a thief character could have Psych. Limit. Greedy, Psych.Limit Distrustful Of Others, Hunted (Watched) By Local Thieves Guild. Other Complications, if needed, could derive from the characters back-story, race and so on.
If as a player you view Complications as a tool the process of using them in character creation becomes far easier and less of a hassle. This makes the process of character creation easier and less of a necessary burden as I’ve heard it referred to.
For GMS sometimes the problem is how the character’s Complication affects the game. One complaint I’ve heard multiple times is, “So and so keeps showing up because the hero is hunted on 14-less”. Well there are two ways that a GM can approach this dilemma, First simply ignore the roll if it gets in the way.
The neat thing about being the GM is if you want to ignore something because it is going to cause a problem in the adventure you can. Why? Because you’re the GM and the players don’t actually know what you rolled or even why you rolled a dice. So if VIPER showing up every other adventure is a problem then simply ignore the roll.
Another option is use it to “adjust” the way players approach Complications. If VIPER is hunting someone then there is a reason and a Complication is just that. It is something that makes the characters life a little harder. So, if VIPER keeps showing up then life is hard and they need to do something about it.
In game terms, they need to do something to discourage VIPER from sending personal after them all the time. Answers well they could offer a payoff or continue to hospitalize their personal being sent after them, both can work. Now a hero giving bad guys money is not a good thing so that leaves beating up their people, a lot. If it is expensive to hunt you they may start deciding that there is better things to do. Of course they could send even more, but for this discussion let’s say they decide to send less often. In other words, players can use experience to buy down the hunted.
So how does a GM convince the player that this is a good idea? Simple, when the roll says they show up then have them show up. Not as part of the adventure but as a add-on to the adventure. However, have them show up at a very bad time and not integrated into the story. You design that adventure without regards as to any hunted showing up at all, and I do mean at all.
When the game session starts and you make your rolls to see if any hunted if to show have them show at the worst possible time the character would want. Right after or even during a big fight with other multiple assailants. The characters already have enough to deal with if a hunted keep showing up then it is going to be maybe too much for a character to handle.
Another good time for the hunted to show up is right at the end of the adventure. The players just stop the damn from blowing up. They are licking their wounds and getting ready to head home an then, BAM. More bad guys show up for the weakened heroes to deal with. If this happens multiple times then the players will need to do something to stop it from happening.
You could of course just say, no more than 11-less, but this way shows them why it’s a really good idea to keep it low. Other Complication can be addressed the same way as well. If one Complication keeps showing up to often then you can show the downside depending on the Complication. If a character has the reputation as a great fighter, individuals may want to test the reputation. Again, if a fight keeps breaking out at a bad time then something may need to be done.
Here is another example that I had and what I did to try and curb it or at least see what would happen if the Complication became a bigger problem. In my hometown of Wichita at the time there was a gaming group that would meet on the weekends. We would meet above a mortuary, not making this up, to play various war games, board games and role-playing games.
Unfortunately most of the players, no matter what game they decided to play, would be considered power gamers. All their characters it seemed were designed completely around maximizing points and power levels, not about concept.
It seemed that most, if not all, the character of some of the players would take the Complication: “Won’t fight or Harm a Woman”. While there is nothing wrong with the concept or the Complication itself, they seem to view it as free points. They figured, perhaps accurately, most villains are male and even if a female villain appears then the other heroes could deal with her.
I started to think about this and realized to a certain extent they were correct. If you look at most comics out there or superhero RPG supplements, villain books and so on you’ll find that most villains or heroes are in fact mostly male. I still had a problem with the reason they were taking the disadvantage/complication. If it fit the concept of their character would have been one thing. However, they were taking it because they simply felt they were free points and this bothered me a bit.
So I decided to see what would happen if the heroes showed up to stop a robbery and all the villains were female. Needless to say the players were shocked to say the least. Long story short, some players didn’t play with our group again and others not only did but also seemed to enjoy changing the way that we were designing characters. In the end our group enlarged and I had a new villain group. Though it was suppose to be a one-time thing it seemed the villains were a hit.
To me the bottom line is Complications are what you make of them. If you approach them as a hassle or a pain then they will be. If you approach them as a tool of character creation and even a tool for GMs then they will be that too. It’s all up you, they will be what you choose to make of them.
Hope something here helps, happy gaming
If you are interested in Hydro or the Knights of Purity you can find them in my S.I.D.s Report product line that you can find here:
The all female villain group, The Sisterhood, will be in a future installment of my Villainy Codex line of products that can be found here:
Sunday, April 3, 2016
Evolution of a gaming product
While working on my latest product I have to laugh at the way it has evolved and the way it evolved. My latest title started simply by me asking Jason Waters at hero games if I could use the Terror Inc. in a product. He put me in contact with Steve Perrin who owned the rights to the characters and he gave me permission to use them. So far, so good as it is said.
My plan was to make the product part of my S.I.D.s Report line. This line of products is small products that will introduce new villains and heroes for use with Champions. The characters powers and backgrounds are complete, though bases and vehicles are not usually included. This line was designed to simply be a small product that would introduce new characters while showing the difference between what is generally known about the character and the truth behind the character.
It wasn’t meant to be a large product or a campaign book or even a product that would greatly affect a campaign. I envisioned it more like the original enemies books where new characters were given and GMs took it from there. This was what I original plan for Terror Inc., to be included in this series of products. Plans to tend to changes though.
I mentioned on the Hero System Facebook page that I receive permission to use the characters. I figured that I couldn’t be the only person who liked the group and thought others might like to know. A few days later I noticed someone on the Hero Games forum mentioned the post. Through posting with them I realized there were others like me who would use the group. So I decided to make a thread and ask what they might like to see in the book. The posts and ideas start coming and I quickly realized that this was not going to fit in the S.I.D.s Report line at all. The information they were hoping for was not the information that is normally given in an S.I.D.s title. So a change had to be made to my plan and a lot more work was going to be needed.
Instead of an S.I.D.s title I decided to make it part of my Villainy Codex line, the second in the line to be exact. This line is a far larger and more detailed description of a group and the possible effects on a campaign they may have. The first product in the line was called Mutant Conflict and gave a description of a group that hunted down mutants. This group can greatly affect a campaign as can Terror Inc based on the information that I was adding to the group. With bases, vehicles and other information it was obvious that this was the product line for the supplement I was going to create. So the work started and through it all it was obvious that the book belonged in the series.
The work started and was progressing nicely the problem was the more I worked on it the more I added. The more I added the more Ideas I had for other things to add, so on and so on. The other thing I enjoyed about this title is the more I started working on it the more I discovered about the group. I’m not one to incorporate everything that comes out from Hero Games, or elsewhere, into my campaigns. However, there were things in 4th edition that I didn’t even know existed for Terror Inc. I never knew that they had an island stronghold of the coast of South America. I knew they worked out of South America but never knew that there was an island fortress there.
I never knew there was an island city that they were in the process of taking over either. All this, and some new characters Steve Perrin added, was news to me as I used the team from Classic Enemies. Now when Steve Long had Scorpia and Fuer, as he was known at the time, try and kill Professor Muerte and then moved on to Eurostar I knew about. This is where I started building my Terror Inc. as well as the history moving forward and the past as well.
This is what the supplement evolved into a supplement that was far larger and encompassed for more than I originally planned. Of course I’m sure this is the same thing other game designers and story writers have found when working on their projects. You start with a simple idea and sometimes it expands into something you didn’t plan but ultimately embrace.
You can find Villainy Codex II – The Return of Terror Inc. for sale at RPGNow, my website at http://www.tigerseyemedia.com/tiger/product.html , in the Champions section, and soon at the Hero Games Webstore
Saturday, January 9, 2016
There have been a lot of discussions, debates and arguments about dice rolling over the years. Perhaps the biggest is rather or not for a GM to hide his dice rolls from the players.
Well just for fun here is my two cents on the subject.
As a GM I have to say I favor hiding my rolls from the players. After all, this is why they invented the GM screen after all. I mean why make an item to hide what the Gm is doing if your not going to hide what the GM is doing. Yes the charts and information on the screen is useful, but you could have the same information on a sheet of paper without having a piece of cardboard in front of the GM.
Another reason to hide the rolls is so a GM can fudge them from time to time. Now as a GM I do fudge my rolls and will admit to it. However, the only time I fudge them in my favor is why my NPCs can’t seem to hit the barn they are standing on top of. I mean seriously, if the characters aren’t getting hit once in awhile where is the threat?
The main time I fudge them is in favor of the characters. While I have killed a character of twelve in my time as a GM, I don’t try to do so. If characters keep dying players loose interest. So, I fudge rolls when I know for sure the character is dead if I don’t. This is not to say I won’t kill a character, just try and help them.
I mean if I roll a critical hit on a badly wounded character; I’ll make it a normal hit instead. If I roll maximum or almost maximum damage on a character I will reduce the damage. I do little things like that to help the characters out.
Now if I hit the character again I may not worry about saving the, I mean yes I will help you but you have to help your self too. These are the fudges I will do and why I like to hide my rolls.
Another disagreement is should the GM make rolls for the characters. For the most part I say no, let the players roll for their characters. However there are some instances where it is better for the Gm to make the roll.
Luck; a character doesn’t know when his luck roll is made only when something lucky happens. Now of course them seeing the roll have little affect but it is “funnier” as a surprise.
A miss roll on the other hand can influence thieves. If a thief fails their find trap roll they will usually want to recheck. I will sometimes make the find trap rolls for a thief. The answer from the Gm is always the same regardless of the roll “You don’t find a trap” now the player can decide to check again or not. Of course the question the becomes “do you always check twice for traps”
So I think that they answer to both question is yes. GM should hide their rolls and they can and maybe even should make rolls for the players from time to time depending on the situation.
Just my two cents.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
There are a lot of role playing games out there, one question asked a lot is which one is the best game. The answer is solely dependent on who you ask and what your looking for in a game. To me the best game, hands down, is the Hero System published by Hero Games.
The system was created in the 80s for a game called Champions. This was and is a superhero role playing game. Several other games were created using variations of the system including Fantasy Hero, Espionage and Justice Inc. In 1989 the Hero System came out, a universal system that could be used for any genre.
The latest version of the Hero System, 6th Edition, came out in 2009 and various supplements have followed. This system follows the original with a few name, power and system changes.
A brief description of the system is your given a set amount of points to buy skills, talents, perks and powers for you character. You take a set amount of matching complication to complete the character's background. The point levels will depend on the genre your playing and the levels set by the GM.
I prefer this system to others because it's so flexible. You can use the system for any genre be it fantasy, superhero, western etc., with no changes to the system. You have everything you need, skills, powers or talents to create any campaign that you can imagine. While you may have to change a name of a skill, security system becomes find trap, the core rules have everything you'll need.
The other thing I enjoy about the system is creating the powers or items for a campaign. In some games you simply say that this item does this specific action. I.E. A bag of holding opens to a pocket dimension and that it can hold X amount of weight. In the Hero System you have to look at the powers and figure out the best way to create it. In this example you would use extra-dimensional movement to accomplish it. It take a little work and imagination. but it's just funner to me than just saying it works.
These are just a few reasons I like the system, I will be posting more about the system and various adventures in the future along with other rants.