Thursday, November 25, 2010

Getting ready for the expedition

Ooh...another late post, but here it is: Daily Blog Challenge post 24. Yes. Technically it is the 25th, but I'm sticking with my plan of at least posting before I sleep for the day, so we're good to go...Fortunately, all I need to do on the 25th is wake-up and drive the 2 hours to Oil City then eat. Not much else going on tomorrow.

As for my excuse for the late post? I don't have a good one today. I did some laundry, watched some Mythbusters and the Pens game, played the demo of Puzzle Quest 2, and did some reading. A fair amount of reading, actually.

Hollow Earth ExpeditionIn preparation for my turn back behind the screen once the Gamma World adventure wraps up, I started ripping through Hollow Earth Expedition. I picked up the book at origins this summer after a quick demo at the booth, but I never really sat down and read it. I have to say, the writing is darn good.

First off, if you are a fan of pulpy adventure stories and that cover doesn't draw you in, you best check your pulse. It is well matched to Hollow Earth Expedition's style: threatened explorers, big-ass dinosaurs, crazy looking scientific equipment. The back cover features some remnants of a ruin civilization. The book itself starts with an introductory pulp adventure story to set the tone followed by an overview of HEX and roleplaying. Pretty standard info here. We're then presented with a sort of gazetteer for Earth, ca. 1936. As the depression continues, the Nazis, Fascists, and Communists are coming to power around the world. There are sections for each region of the world and an overview of fashion, entertainment, and travel in the time period. For someone who doesn't really think about World History all that much, it was quite helpful. In college, when most folks were taking History 101, or whatever, I was studying the history of science. Oh well...

Chapter 2 covers character creation and is loaded with examples for developing the character you want to play. The examples provide a pretty clear thought process for how to develop a character to match your imagination. They also provided 12 complete characters, along with role playing notes and character background. These characters are perfect for inspiring players who need a little push or can be used a pre-gens if you like.

Chapter 3 gets into the rules and explains the Ubiquity system used to run the game. Ubiquity uses a dice pool system, where you have a certain number of nice in each of your attributes in skills. The player is trying to get a certain number of "successes", as determined by the GM. Instead of have a cut off number, such as getting "4 or better" on a six sided die, the players are trying to roll "evens". Every even number counts as a success; each odd is a failure. Sounds pretty intuitive to me. The game also has a system known as "Style Points". Style Points are a bit like Bennies in Savage Worlds. You can use them to get extra dice before you roll, soak damage in combat, or power up your talents. Players get style points in game for roleplaying or benefiting the game. Instant reward system. Nice. Again, there are great examples throughout the chapter to help players understand how to gain and use the style points.

In typical pulp style, I'm going to leave you with a cliff hanger for now. I'll cover chapters 4-9 in a couple days, after I have a bit more time to digest the info. Skimming through, they cover combat, give an example of play (I really love reading examples of play a little too much, I think), equipment, game mastering, Hollow Earth gazetteer, friends and enemies, bestiary, and a sample adventure.

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