Volume 1 Issue 29 – Crossovers

This week we welcome Michael and Colin from the Dead Games Society.

More plans are made for our old-school gaming convention Low Tech Con, and we talk about crossover games.
Get some Gamma World in your AD&D! How about sending your paladin to Boot Hill?


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  1. DM_Kade

    Alright a new show! Vincent I enjoyed that actual play episode. I’m looking forward to the next.

  2. PCB

    When you were talking crossovers with Boot Hill, and what happens if revolvers end up in Greyhawk, it brought to mind one of my favourite movies – Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. For the unenlightened (and really you should rush out and get a copy of this), in late 19th century Japan where the katana is still the dominant weapon, the dynamics of a corrupt town are being played with by a wandering ronin. Each gang in the town want him to fight for them, knowing that he will swing the balance over to their side. But the situation changes radically when a son from one of the families comes back to town from America, bringing with him a revolver.

    Suffice to say, the arrival of this modern weapon may tilt the balance of power, but Yojimbo shows that one revolver is not enough to extinguish the flame of a true warriors spirit. Or something. Great, great film, and the inspiration for “A fistful of dollars” too. I particularly like the way that the mood starts as a buffo comedy and then changes gear to become very sober for the conclusion.

    Long story short, I think that the risk to overpower characters is probably low as long as there is some limit on the number of uses. I haven’t heard of a campaign being spoilt by a wand of lightning bolts, after all.

  3. Mark Morrison

    great new show. keep up the good work!

  4. Xyzchyx

    I hafta say I like the idea of an RFI DM’s screen. Looking forward to seeing what you guys put together.

    So…. DM Nick doesn’t like psionics huh?

    Are all three of you opposed to psionics, or is there a possibility of an episode focussing on that aspect of first edition in a positive way?

  5. I’ve always kept psionics out of my campaign, but not because I’m opposed as such. I just didn’t want to complicate my game more than necessary as a kid, and now that I’m older, it’s just become one of those “we never used it before” things.

    I’m running two campaigns right now, both of which have started at first level. What I might do is wait until they’ve advanced a bit, then introduce some psionics into one of the games, perhaps temporarily.

    For example, they might undergo some experience that grants them all psionic powers while in a particular location, and we could pit them against psionic monsters and NPCs.

    I don’t like how hard it is for a PC to roll attributes that lead to psionics, because it seems to encourage power gaming – but if there were a way to bring them in more widely, yeah, maybe.

    Like they say, you shouldn’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. I’d like to play some psionics a bit and then do a show about it.

    Do you DM a game with psionics?

  6. Red

    Great podcast guys! Just wanted to mention that on the subject of Call of Cthulhu not being a Dead Game, it should be mentioned that in addition to strictly out-of-print games, the DGS also supports previous and no longer supported “EDITIONS” of games still in print. Thus we can play games like 1st edition AD&D, which technically is an edition of a game that WotC would argue to be still in print. Hence, when we do run Call of Cthulhu by Chaosium, we generally run an early edition. Because hey, old editions need love too!

    Keep up the great work guys:)

  7. DeathMetalNightmare

    Dark Sun’s (2e) psionics was pretty fun. i never used it before that in 1E much. seemed too strange of a system. 2e cleaned it up a bit (but of course people complained regardless). i think its a good spectrum shift from magic but id keep it to a minimum (even though some of the philosophical differences dont seem that far off. i guess since one is considered “fringe science” to modern thinkers it turns people off… id say theyre quite similar but use different means of harnessing/manipulating flows of energy [regardless if theyre internal or external]). i also like that psionics doesnt depend on literacy. theres plenty of people in the AD&D world who are modeled on illiterate people (who shouldnt have to depend on religious deities for the magic) and magic is taken for granted as a skill of the literate. “to spell is to spell” should be the be all end all for magic use.

    im starting a 2e campaign where i was going to base the origin of the PCs around psionics. they each enter the campaign one “Talent” (but have to find certain mnemonic triggers in the story to reveal them). if someone wants to play a ‘psionicist’, thats a different story, but its something just to try and doesnt lead to too much complexity or overpowering them. you could even modify the system so using a psionic skill is set to once a day like magic and then rest/meditation replenishes it.

  8. “Gamertable” was mentioned in either the special insert or episode 29.

    Is this it, or is my Google Mojo really bad today?

  9. JD

    Great podcast as usual. Loved the observation regarding how even back in the golden age of D&D, folks were grousing about the newest version coming out. Thought this recent Penny Arcade strip was appropriate: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/8/23/

    Hey, you all mentioned what I think was Kantcon which you thought was coming up in October and was in Kansas City. I live in the KC area and wasn’t aware of it. After some googling, I discovered that it took place back in July. The only game con that will be in KC in the next few months is the Kansas City Game Fair – Nov 4-7.

  10. Dreamslinger

    All of the talk about crossovers and dead games got me thinking about the Dream Park game put out by R. Talsorian in the early 90s.

    The game was based on the Dream Park novels where people go to a virtual reality theme park to play various games (VR LARPing).

    The rules were simple (especially if you only used the quick start combat rules) and the system could handle magic, superpowers, future tech or modern combat.

    My friends and I would all take turns running games. The rules were easy enough that guys who had never DMed before felt comfortable running games. One week we were playing a fantasy game, the next a dective noir story and then the next was a blacksplotation action film.

    Anyone interested in playing a cross genre-game might want to see if they can find a copy.

  11. Xyzchyx

    Yes, I do DM a game with psionics… and they aren’t nearly as hard to run as a lot of people think. Psionic combat can be done and over in a matter of minutes once you’ve streamlined the process.

    The biggest problem I think that actually exists with psionics was not that it was particularly complicated, but because there was so little described about it in the rules, it was highly ambiguous how they were to be played.

    What always really baffles me is why everybody thinks that psionics should only be in science fiction settings and that it doesn’t fit in a fantasy setting where magic is supposed to work. In my own opinion, I think psionics is as natural in AD&D as an exceptional strength of 18/00. Both are rare and allow the posessor to do some amazing things that not everybody around them can, but neither is actually magic, and they can both easily fit into a game that has magic in it.

  12. Red

    Issue #78 of Dragon magazine, that was like the definitive issue on psionics. It covered the ecology of the mind flayer, it expanded upon new minor disciplines and major sciences. It introduced for the very first time, the psionicist and gave us the ultimate bad-ass race to play with that class, curtesy of novelist, Kathrine Kurtz; the Deryni! These human-looking folk are only a few notches under an illithid in terms of raw psychic potential. And if you have not read her books, I highly recommend them.

    Now I know, everyone hates psionics. I actually do not though. I’ve read the rules from 1st edition and I have read issue #78 and combined I like how it can work. What I do not like is psionics in every edition after 1st. But hear me now and believe me later, read this issue then come back and tell me you still hate psionics. If so, well, I tried. But I really think that in that particular issue of Dragon, psionics is made workable. At least as much as magic.

    Ignore the fairie dragon. Nothing is perfect.

  13. Red

    Was just listening again to the podcast and I wanted to add one more bit; aside from the members of the Dead Games Society in the States, we also now have a few members in Australia, Brazil and England. Don’t want to leave them out in case they are tuning in:)



    “Bring out yer dead games!”

  14. DM Harold

    So…is the Dead Games Society dead? I’ve been slowly catching up on your podcast’s back issues since discovering it in March or April 2013, and I eagerly went to sign up for the DGS, as “dead games” are almost all I play (Skyrealms of Jorune, Universe, D&D, PLUS)…but it looks like there hasn’t been any updates to the site since 2010.

    About Psionics: I’ve almost never run psionics in my games, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. From the very beginning, I’ve always insisted that my players do the roll for psionics as part of character generation. That no character has ever been generated with psionics is just a measure of how next-to-impossible it is to get psionics, which I’ve always liked.

    Now, I say “almost never” because we did a “What if?” scenario once, where we did a “Who would win: a 17th-level ranger with psionics, or Jubilex?” one-shot. In order to do that, we just said “OK, he has psionics,” and forewent the roll, because if we hadn’t, we still would never have rolled up a character with psionics. Psionics are incredibly rare.

    - DM Harold

    PS: How did the fight turn out? The ranger had the upper hand – had actually managed to reduce Jubilex’s HP significantly – until the grey oozes entered the fray; their psionic crushes completely demolished the ranger. He never had a chance, but it was surprising that it was the oozes that turned the tide.

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