General · Table Top RPGs

Nobody Asked, But

Yeah, I’ll answer, anyway.

What do you mean you won’t buy ?

Well, it is not because of lack of interest. I am just not really wealthy, despite my living standard that is far above any of my royal ancestors. I occasionally come into a little money and splurge on a few books or a couple of Kickstarters. One of these most recent opportunities was my final grant for college at the same time as my tax return. I was very happy to be able to support The Pip System and Cortex Prime, and I am very stoked that both of these projects have funded and will be real books. I have had pretty good luck with the things I have supported, even the one that took two years to finalize with product in my hands.

What is so all-fired awesome about these dice pool games?

Yeah, I noticed that, too. I see that my two recent crowdfunded books are both dice pool systems. Some of my favorites from the past are also dice pool games, most notably Fantasy Flight’s iterations of Star Wars,  FASA’s Shadowrun, and <grargh> World of Darkness.* The way you feel when you can roll a bunch of dice to figure how things went, this is quite gratifying. I am also particularly fond of how in the Cortex Prime games, you get dice from several places on your sheet, roll them all and add the two best, or more if you pay tokens for it.

*(I was dragged into the WoD by my friends who wanted to play nothing else but those Critter: the Adjective games once they came out. Any appearance of enjoyment on my part is purely coincidental. I did get a little Soggy, though.)

Where is the video promised in a recent Facebook post?

Well, I tell you what is going on. Since Windows Movie Maker was deprecated, I have not found a satisfactory video editing program. I thought I had when I got HitFilm 4 Express, but I am having a lot of trouble getting my footage to work in that platform. It is just too feature filled for me to see past it. I still don’t have money, really, so getting the Adobe Creative Cloud is not happening since I have no desire to rent my software. That may totally be the wave of the future, but it’s just crashing on me and not letting me surf. I’m kind of too perfectionist to want to mess around with it too much, since that is frustrating and school is all I can manage this final quarter. Still I went to all the trouble to learn Photoshop, and I have found the freeware stuff entirely unfriendly for that. Maybe I should be more open to other paths.

So please don’t hold your breath for the videos, but they are somewhere in the future.

Thanks and Happy Waffling!

Table Top RPGs

More Pip System!

I mean to say I would like it.

So far we have a successful Kickstarter, a couple of great videos, and an actual play on podcast.

Also to note, they have a G+ group.

The Pip system has a simple and quick mechanic involving each die either being counted or not on a 50/50 basis, 1-3 no or 4-6 yes, and you roll against a number of target dice according to the difficulty of the challenge or the challenger. You have basic skills, which have qualities, and your roll is your skill + qualities in dice. Beginning characters can start with up to 4 dice in a skill and an equal number or less in each quality, all determined by allotment. More good dice than bad, success. More bad than good, defeat. Even, a success but.

I’ve read through some preliminary material, and the writing is good, and clear. The game will be a good one. It remains to be seen whether it will be adopted in the way it aught to be. I would really like to see it deployed into some grittier settings as well as the fun stuff we already see in the pipeline. Of course, even Mermaid Adventures could be played pretty gritty if you really wanted to, with just a few tweaks. While “A Kid’s Guide to Monster Hunting” will likely be very much like a preteen Scooby Doo, it could just as easily be played more like Stranger Things or even Horror Rules.  Oddly enough, though I want to see these serious things developed, I probably won’t actually buy them. I would, however, probably strongly consider yet another fantasy game using the rules, though it would be cool to see something drawing more from Asian or African lore than from Mr. Tolkein or Mr. Lieber. Another Mars game wouldn’t go amiss in my book. Still a fan of John Carter, but also of Space 1889 and Martian Chronicles. Maybe set the whole thing on a distant world under a bright red sun, and the mysterious giants invading the land are Humans and their mining equipment. Of course, Humans being the setting’s kaiju in Infestation is pretty brilliant, anyway.

Whatever it is, I am keen to see it.


Free Books Always Read Better

And now there is a contest, or a drawing, connected with another Kickstarter. This one for expansions to the Leagues of Gothic Horror game, which uses the Ubiquity gaming engine. The setting is the world of 1900, and things go bump in the night. Go look it up and back it if it appeals to you.


The Ubiquity system uses any dice, and you have a pool of dice for each skill, the dice are rolled, and the even dice are counted and the odd ones are ignored. This is compared to a target number to determine the outcome. It was first released in Hollow Earth Expedition, and has since been used in games from all sorts of angles.

I love Kickstarters. I don’t often get to invest in them, but I think they are a great thing to happen to the creative communities, and especially for role-playing games. As I have said, I recently backed the KS for Eloy Lasanta’s creation, the Pip System, which was seen in earlier works such as Mermaid Adventures RPG. The system has been updated, refined and is now, since the KS did succeed, going to be published as a stand alone system book, but also in a new edition of Mermaid Adventures and one or two other settings. I signed up for the main book and two settings. I will probably forego my usual practice of printing and binding the books myself and buy POD copies from



Kickstarters; The New RPG Business Model

Increasingly, I see new games being launched using crowdfunding platforms to advertise and get off the starting block. I have participated to several Kickstarter campaigns, and I would very much like to support several Patreon campaigns for various artists and writers but cannot afford to.

Of note at this time, the Pip System Kickstarter ends in a few days, but has crossed the line and will be published. I am sure the game will be fun and easy to play, and I have enjoyed what I have bought thus far from Third Eye Games, so I know their production quality will be great.

And then there is the campaign to make adorable plush owlbears.


[Q&A] Eloy Lasanta (Pip System Corebook)

This is a great interview about the Pip System Core Rules now on Kickstarter. The Pip System is a very simple and yet as complex as you want role playing game system built around a simple and elegant mechanic. It is innovative games like these that keep me coming back to the hobby.

The Hardboiled GMshoe's Office

[20:31] <+Eloy-3EG> Hey everyone! I’m Eloy Lasanta,

[20:31] <+CarolDarnell> I’m Carol Darnell

[20:31] <+JohnDKennedy> I’m John Kennedy, one of the writers.

[20:31] <+Eloy-3EG> I own Third Eye Games and we’re here to talk about our latest venture for the Pip System Kickstarter. (Link:

[20:32] <+Eloy-3EG> Its the culmination of about 5 years of writing, playtesting, and rules theory that has led us to a really awesome universal system that any player, new or old, can pick up and play almost instantly

Pip System Corebook, Family-Style RPGs from Third Eye Games project video thumbnail

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Giving Up, Then Getting Back

A problem which will face nearly every single role-playing gamer, and most gamers of any sort, is the gathering and forming a game group steady enough for reliable ongoing play. In the broader category of gaming, where each gathering is most often a single play through or even several individual iterations, getting a few gamers together to play is quite a challenge when people are very often busy with the requirements of life. With RPGs, the challenge is escalated by the desire to have ongoing stories for weeks, months or even years. I, myself, am between such groups.

I gave up.

I poured myself instead into video games; particularly The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I bought three games in January: Skyrim, Subnautica, and Astroneer. All are fun, but each in its own way. The main difference between Skyrim on the one side and the others on the other is the way Skyrim constantly propels you through stories so that there is a constant pressure to continue, while the others allow you to go at your own pace, mostly (though as Subnautica develops, there are time crunch elements coming into the game.) I sank into the other worlds written by the designers, and fell into the constant drive, racking up over 435 hours of play in a seven week period. Needless to sat this put a lot of pressure on my family relations and more on my schoolwork (I’m finally near graduating at almost 49 years old) so I had to take it off of my computer, much as I had to take Fallout 4 off of my machine just about exactly the same date last year. Only I spent about two thirds as much time in FO4.

So now, as I return to recovery from the ravages of this game, I find my mind opening once again to the possibilities of table to role playing.  I have one young man and his fiance willing to run me a bit of Pathfinder, which is great, even though Pathfinder is definitely not my favorite flavor of D&D. Black Hack or Anime Hack or one of the other cut down enhanced old school games rank above it. There is also D6, Savage Worlds, Fantasy AGE, and Ubiquity Engine to name a few other nifty things that all rank above it in my book. However any good game is way better than no game at all. And so my path back into the fray is set, and my return to the table is assured.