Friday, November 26, 2010

Dropped the E6/E8 Question

Asked on my Pre-Thanksgiving "Hows everything call" in fact. Player #1 who if things go well will also be one of my artists (personal stuff got in the way alas) seemed to be somewhat intrigued. This is a good sign.

I think using E6 or E8 might enable me to run a better game and that means more fun for all.

Hope You Had a Happy Thanksgiving !

For my American readers of course. By habit I don't update on holidays and I just plum forget my obligatory Pre-Thanksgiving post.

Ah well, may you not grow weary of turkey before its used up ;)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Asking the Old School Question to my Players

I finally got around to asking the dreaded "Interested in an old school game" question to my players.This group is a little younger than me and grew up with 2e so I am sure those expectations colored their decision here.

I explained the "thinking on your feet, exploration and simplified play" motifs to them and they answered with a resounding meh...

One of my players explained "Look 2e is cool, we'd play that and you run a good game but we'd rather have more mechanical support for actions and options. Honestly describing how traps are disarmed and exploring and all that doesn't sound that fun"

I can't say I really blame them with an ample selection of play opportunities out there and little cultural contact with the Old School style there is little draw for that sort of thing. Even the mighty old names like Demon Web Pits or Keep on the Borderlands are far too distant for them ..

Ah well. I am going to pitch E6 or E8 to them and see where that goes next. I think they might like it.

24th Letter Men #10 and Final :Rime

This guy was really easy, a straight across the board, Ice themed Battle Sorcerer. Heck the write up even includes his ice armor !Folks may note I decided to exclude Celebration, Risk and Rake. I have enough members already and these save maybe Risk were difficult to get right.

Name- Drake Son of Robert

Class: Sorcerer (Frost Bloodline) 18

Signature Gear : Frost Rod

Origin: Upon his change, Drakes father sent him to learn with teacher. He and his family are still on good if chilly terms.

Notes: While his level is very high, in most respects he is among the weaker members of the team, being entirely focused around one element and having little versatility.

24th Letter Men #9 Night Elf

One trick pony type characters are pretty difficult to do but I am happy enough with this write up for a blue furred, tailed, critter.

Name- Kurn the Waggoner

Class- Acrobat 9 Swashbuckler 4 / Sorcerer 13 (Destined Bloodline)

Signature Gear: Holy Symbol of turning undead (as Cleric of his own level 3x day, also grants +3 natural armor) +3 Combat Armor as studded leather, Magic Rapier

Origin: Kurn comes from a far off country and when his change came over him he was kicked out of his home and taken in by a circus. Eventually teacher found him and made him part of the extended family.

Notes: Kern is a half fiend though do to his piety does not radiate evil of any kind and is immune to anti fiend measures. Most all of his powers are teleport and movement based with a few divinations and subtle protections and buss he sees as prayers

Monday, November 22, 2010

What is your Sweet Spot?

A simple question and an open post.

What is your sweet spot, that is, what level is D&D most fun for you ?

For me its under 10th or so depending on edition (a little higher is fine with OSR games)

How about you?

For your consideration... The Sweet Spot and some tricks therein

This is a very long article on the EN World archive about preserving the Sweet Spot, that is the place in any D&D campaign in which the game is the most fun.

For me that spot tends to be pretty low around 6th or so. This is the place where the game is action oriented but still human. Regular stuff like say wolves or bandits can still challenge the party and its not "monster of the week" or "How come we never saw those before?" but OMG Orcs!

Its what Ryan Dancy calls the 1st (and maybe early second quartile)

Levels 1-5: Gritty fantasy
Levels 6-10: Heroic fantasy
Levels 11-15: Wuxia
Levels 16-20: Superheroes

Gritty to Heroic

I guess this comes from a steady diet of things like GURPS and Runequest where combat can be deadly. Of course I also want my fantasy to have verisimilitude, the notion that "well that could happen"

Now this sweet spot idea is nothing new,.

The older editions had an implied one in the form of an end game that capped hit points at levels 9-11 and abilities that lagged back a bit as well. Not much point in being past14th as a thief. 95% at everything is pretty awesome and it doesn't get better than that.

Spellcasters of course broke this mold with higher level spells but on the whole D&D was calibrated to "Pretty Heroic" as vs the Superheros we see in the last few articles I've written.

Now of course there are ways to alter the game to lengthen the sweet spot, E6 the game within D&D is decently well known (thread one, and thread two and great for those who like lower level play (L1-L6 or so) . There is also an E8 Variant and even an E10 has been bandied about

Another technique is to limit the spells list to remove abusive spells and spells that really effect verisimilitude.

This can be a bit of work but if you like higher level play (just not some of the spells) it can be worth it. Which ones to disallow is up to you but the usual ones are the ones that require magic to overcome, anything that creates stuff Ex Nilho (no more wall of Iron w/o a time limit) anything permanent (including Continual Flame) Teleports and Raises.

I've also seen people limiting spell casting classes to once every two levels, so that a 20th level type can have at most 10 caster levels. This can be cool as it encourages some the more mediocre prestige classes with limited caster levels that we seldom see such as Spellsword

All of these work to one degree or another .They key is to pick which you like, your players like and run with it.

24th Letter Men #8 Archwing

Another simple and relatively weak character.

Name: Warn or the Warra Clan

Class: Aristocrat 4/Expert 3 /Fighter 5

Signature Gear: Bracers of Defense, Magic Quiver with various javelins, Sword, Amulet of Disguise/Non Detection

Origin: Warn keeps his wings hidden most times as he is ashamed of them. In time Teacher has taught him to appreciate them more and to be somewhat more of a fighter. For a more advanced version, substitute Noble class for Aristocrat

Notes: Warn should be treated as an Avariel. Also coming from a wealthy and successful merchant family Warn has access to a great deal of wealth if he needed it.

24th Letter Men #7 Red Phoenix

Another easy character, this read headed lady psion has some TK and telepathy related abilities.

Name Graya Jen

Class: Psion 12

Signature Gear: None

Origin: Jen's parents turned her over to Teacher as soon as she manifested her changes and she has been with the crew since then.

Notes: She has another power as yet unknown to the others, upon dying she takes the form of a Phoenix for 72 hours then is treated as if a true resurrection was cast upon her. The origin of this power is unknown.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

24th Letter Men #6 Brute

Brute was a bit tricky as D&D is designed to support archetypes rather than versatility. However using the Acrobat from Legends and Lairs, Cityworks and Meta Classes from the 3.5 (on the OGL wiki) I can get a pretty good version.

Name: Han Maca

Class: Acrobat 13, Expert 2 , Con, Dex and Str Master 5

Signature Gear: Bracers Defense, Amulet of Mighty Fists and Alchemical Devices

Origin: Han was a scholar at the Great College when his change overcame him, giving him the body of a man ape. While the college did not expel him, his self loathing lead him seek help and thus he met Teacher. Now he works with the 24th letter crew to help humans and the changed to coexist and to fight evil.

Note: Han has a 16 INT the Educated feat and a talent for Alchemy.

24th Letter Men #5 Red Eye

Red Eye is one of teachers 1st recruits, the team leader and all around glass cannon. His design was not difficult though I gave him "Feat Rogue" substituting general feats for sneak attacks as a gestalt class to cover for his myriad of skills and tricks.

Name: Sum Scotta

Class: Feat Rogue 11/ Warlock 11

Signature Gear: Ruby Goggles (function as Warlock Rod with unlimited charges, may do subdual damage at no penalty with eldritch blast) Combat Armor (as Mithril breastplate +3) Hand Weapon.

Origin: Father was a space pirate among other things. Teacher took him from an orphanage and gave him, home family and purpose

Note: Eldritch blast is shot from eyes in the form a powerful red beam

Saturday, November 20, 2010

24th Letter Men: #4 Steel Golem

This is of course a big metal Rusky. He was might tricky to get right as his various abilities are not very fantasy in application. Eventually I made him a Warforged with an innate "human form" spell. As with Manhunter I abused the Adept of the Green Star class, treating it as a gestalt core racial class to make up some of his abilities. Also note the spikes ability of his Warforged Juggernaut prestige class is removed in favor of an Improved Natural Weapon feat.

Name: Pavtar Ruka

Class: Fighter 10 /Warfored Juggernaut 5/ and Expert 5 Steel Self Racial 10

Signature Gear: Big Hammer, Innate Mithril Armor +5

Origin: Born in a far off land to peasant parents, Pavtar was recruited by teacher and has proven to be a powerful and loyal team member.

Notes: Pvatar should be treated as a Warforged . He has the innate ability to cast Alter Self (Human Form) as a EX ability as well.

24th Letter Men #3 Ghost Cat

This girl was a little tricky and I vacillated between the WOTC Ninja class and the more exact Rogue with a special ability. I decided on rogue as the class as I felt it was more customizable.

Name Katara Prowd

Class Rogue 7

Signature Gear: +3 Ghost Touch Studded +3 Ghost Touch Hornblade (may become short sword or dagger as free action)

Origin: Found by Teacher, Katara's wealthy merchant parents sent her to what they thought was a finishing school but turned out to be a place where she can hone her innate gift. She is easilt the youngest member of the team, more than 3 years from adulthood

Note: Katara has a "Wraith" prestige race and cast Wraithform among several other spells as a supernatural ability

Friday, November 19, 2010

24th Letter Men #2 Quickhatch

Quickhatch is of course a short, hairy, nasty tempered clawed berserker who gets far too much air time in my opinion. He uses the "Prestige Races" rules that are seen in Dragon #304, Oathbound and Bastion' Faeries to represent some of his more famous abilities

Name- Lojan

Class Barbarian 17 /Rogue 17

Signature Gear: Quickhatch has been modified by magic which gives him scent, +5 Natural Armor, Cure Disease and Neutralize Poison (self only) at will , regeneration as per ring, unaging and and 75% damage reduction. His claws are treated as unarmed attacks and are Keen, +5 Admant

Origin: Born Hundreds of years ago, Lojan has battled, slain, loved and roamed hundreds of battle fields. Now he has his family in the form of the 24th letter team.

Note: Lojan should be treated as a Longclaw Shifter with the racial feats and 2 weapon style trees.

Good News

I just tested our first product today. While it looks a bit amateurish do to the very simple layout and my use of public domain art I am pretty happy with it. Everything displays on 2 different OS's (Linux and Windows) and its edited correctly.

Its short enough that I'll be posting it here soon.

So stay tuned ,,,,,

24th Letter Men #1 Teacher

Teacher is lower power than a person might expect and is simply best done as a Psion from D&D. For those who use Green Ronin's "Psychic's Handbook or Advanced Player's Guide, the Psychic class works as well"

#1 Teacher 24

Name: Charn Xavel

Class: Fighter 1 Psion Telepath 18

Signature Gear: Psi Throne, Combat Suit (+3 to AC non encumbering) hand weapon if needed

Origin: Former soldier whose early manifested powers lead to him to seek peace between the throwbacks and the normal folk

Notes: Bald and at different times he may be confined to a magic chair as he cannot walk do to a curse no one can remove.

The 24th Letter Men Intro

Instead of E6 and The Sweet Spot which I am still chewing on, I am going to another group of Supers, an upstate New York group of Gifted.

Again I have tried to capture the flavor more than the letter of the rules. In addition the "unusual DNA" that many of them have is represented with being a non human. For simplicity in their verse certain humans carry latent DNA from other races and this manifests for some at puberty and in the form of supernatural powers of different sorts.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The League of Justice in 3x The Wrap

One thing I learned with this little experiment is that the common assertion that 15+ level characters in D&D are functionally superheroes in many respects is entirely true .

I had only modest trouble making the entire JLA in 3x terms and while the ersatz heroes cannot throw tanks or buildings or the like, the certainly could handle any number of normal 1-3rd level people and create a battle that could easily grace the pages of any 4 color magazine.

Had I chosen to use Epic Levels (my original write up for Paragon was 30th level!) the power gap would have been even greater.

Now mind you, this is not a complaint, only an observation and as such, someone who is hoping for a more literary flavored game will want to take this into account.

Tomorrow or so, we will have a longer discussion on stuff like this and the Sweet Spot for play and E6 and well a bunch of other stuff. Till then, good gaming !

The League of Justice in 3x #9 Manhunter

This guy was really hard to get right. I originally had decided to be a little wahoo here and make him a mind flayer but this didn't work very well. I hope this gets his weird flavor acceptably well. Also I tweaked the Green Star Adept to allow it to work with psionics. I think I'd allow this is a normal game without many qualms.

#9 Manhunter

Name: Jzan Jzor

Class: Ranger 16/ Green Star Adept 10-Psion 6

Signature Gear: Ring of Human Kind (Alter Self to human form at will) Lightweight Combat Armor, Death Ray, Energy Sword, Psi Amp

Origin: Jzan was brought to The World by the trickster , Myx as part of an extra spacial invasion. However using the last charge on a belt of alignment change, The Speedster he was able to shift Jzan to Lawful Good and in so tricking the Trickster banish him. . Now filled with remorse for his previous evil deeds and an exile, Jzan aids the League in its fight against evil.

Note: Jzan should be treated as a Half Orc

The League of Justice in 3x #8 Speedster

I had a hard time actually making this guy as few RPG's support speedsters very well. However using an idea I learned when I long ago playing Champions that a power can be visualized with many different FX and the same game rules function and a dab of one of my favorite WOTC Prestige Classes, The Swiftblade I was able to capture his flavor pretty well I think.

#8 Speedster

Class: Scout 19/ Sorcerer9 Swiftblade 10

Name: Garrick Bar

Signature Gear: Magic Helmet, Magic Sword, Magic Throwing Axes, Magic Daggers Xeph Amulet (allows Xeph speed bonus 3x day) Ultra Light Armor

Origin: Garrick's Magic called him in strange paths, bending his fate to heroic speed.

Notes: Garrick has pretty much every feat for speed boosting and maneuvering in the books and can move his full movement and attack 3 times doing serious damage. While he does not have th raw combat skill of some of his peers he makes up for it with a variety of bonuses. In addition because of his speed he can appear anywhere (Greater Teleport) as needed.

The League of Justice in 3x #7 The Sea King

Until quite recently this guy had a reputation as Mr less than useful. However the recent makeover makes him a formidable and useful member of the team. This version can certainly hold his own as well.

#7 The Sea King

Class: Atala Paragon 5 Fighter 10 / Ocean Druid 15

Name: Artus

Signature Gear: Sea Scale Armor, Knife, Trident

Origin: Artus is an exiled King of the Lost Atala and shares his time between the surface world and his undersea kingdom

Notes: He has a Swim Speed and may operate underwater and above ground freely thanks to his race as paragon class.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The League of Justice in 3x #6 She Hawk

This character is a bit of a cypher to me as I have only seen her on the animated JLA cartoon which I seldom watch and in a couple of real old comics

#6 She Hawk

Class: Hawk Folk Racial 3 -Hawlfolk Paragon-5 Barbarian 10/Fighter18

Name: Shara of the Hawk Folk

Signature Gear: Ultra Light Breastplate, Belt of Power, Rod of Lordly Might with Greater Dispel at will, Magic Helmet

Origin: A traveler from the lands of the Hawk People, Shara is plagued by prophecy and knowledge of her past lives . IN service of this prophecy she has stayed among her friends in the lands of the wingless.

Special has a reborn soul and as such may draw upon that knowledge. Treat this as bardic lore giving her a lore check of 18

The League of Justice in 3x #5 Amazon Princess

I had a bit of trouble making her interesting but with a little work I am pretty happy with the results.

#5 Amazon Princess

Class: Warblade 15/ Feat Rogue 15

Name: Princess Dahna of the Mazi

Signature Gear; Bracers of Missile Deflection, Mithril Breastplate, Magic Bastard Sword, Magic Girdle, Boots of Flying , Tiara of Wisdom, Magic Lasso creates zone iof truth and may be treated as chain in combat.

Origin. Traveling far from the Matriarchy of the Mazi, Dahna has grown quite fond of the world of men and vowed to use her powers to aid all.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The League of Justice in 3x #4 The Lantern Knight

This guy was one of the hard ones, versatile and power he does not map well to 3x. However this version should feel roughly the same and with the spells listed be able to match much of what the original can do. Unlike the usual guidelines I did allow a hybrid prestige class, the Abjurant Champion as part of a gestalt build. This seems to match his capabilities pretty well.

#4 The Lantern Knight

Class: Fighter 19/Arcane Bloodline Sorcerer 9 -- Abjurant Champion 5 Argent Savant 5

Name Halis of Jorn

Signature Gear: Force Masters Ring (allows any metamagic use freely and doubles force spells, this is his bonded item) Force Sword, Celestial Guardian Armor (+5 Full Fortification, Fast Flight) Necklace of Adaptation, and an Enchanted Lantern

Notes: Halis has a feat that renders him fearless and need not make any fear checks for any reason.

Origin:Halis, a warrior of the Realm was granted his ring by an unknown emissary. This ring awakened the power in his blood and while at first he needed to charge the ring with the lantern to use his powers, this is no longer the case.

The League of Justice in 3x #3 The Archer

This guy is a another "normal" high level character. Like the Bat he is a lot of equipment, in his case a magic bow and magic arrows.

#3 The Archer

name-- Olival Queens-Son

Classes: Scout (Sniper) 9 Fighter (Archer) 9

Signature Gear: Magic Bow, Magic Quiver, Magic Arrows, Night Goggles

Origin: An expatriate noble turned hunter and scout, the Arrow hunts his chosen pray with consummate archery skills

Monday, November 15, 2010

The League of Justice in 3x #2 The Bat

#2 The Bat

name -Baronet Barret Vayan

Class Rogue 18

Signature Gear -- Lots. Vayan has the equivalent gear and magic items of a standard character of his level and may trade them in at will between missions. In addition he always has his Mask of Disguise and his Great Cloak which is a +5 Resistance Cloak of the Bat

Lord Vayan inherited the great manor upon the murder of his parents by outlaws. Over the years he has exacted a fearsome vengeance on those folks in the form of his late ego "The Bat." all the while appearing to be nothing more than rising young merchant prince with a bought title.

The League of Justice in 3x #1 Paragon

Yes those guys, or the 3x variations of them. I got this idea while I was studying the math behind 3x and realized that epic level 3x characters are pretty close to supers.

I won't be including the full write up (its time consuming and there are legal issues ) but just enough to wet your whistle and show you what this system can do.

All "powered" types are made as gestalt characters. Its assumed that the world they inhabit is somewhat lower magic than a typical 3x world and as such they gain the following bonuses to a maximum of 20th level

+1/2 lvl AC
+1/4 lvl Saves
+1/4 lvl to any Stats

#1 Paragon

name : Le-Kal of the Lost People
class -- Paladin 20/ Warmage 20
signature gear-- belt of strength, cloak of flying, invulnerable coat , holy avenger, shield of the sun

Le Kal is the last of his people and a paragon of good and law . Found in the carter of a great spell he was raised by freeman farmers and in his secret life known as Carlous of Kenvi,


Saturday, November 13, 2010

What If: The Inspiration had been Pirates

One of the more interesting ideas that has come from the OSR is the "faux revival" game "Mazes and Minotaurs" which the author describes as

Mazes & Minotaurs is what the first fantasy roleplaying game could have been if its authors had taken their inspiration from Jason & the Argonauts (yes, the 1963 movie with all the cool Ray Harryhausen monsters) and Homer’s Odyssey rather than from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings or Poul Anderson’s Three Hearts & Three Lions.

So let me ask you this

What if the inspiration of D&D had been pirate tales, pirate movies and the swashbucklers with the random inclusion of magic instead of Tolkien, Howard, Lieber and Anderson?

Personally I can see some Faerie stuff creeping in (Elves and Swashbuckling have been a good fit far longer than Xtreme Legolas) and lots of Vance, but where else would this lead us?

Todays Birthday Robert Louis Stevenson

Google noted that with a nifty image.

Of course RLS is the author of Treasure Island, Black Arrow and many other wonderful books. His works were a part of my earliest adventuring inspirations.

As I mentioned before Pirate movies and period books were a huge inspiration to me and while I have never found my "Pyrate D&D" (I own almost everything on the topic) I do keep looking.

So in honor of the man who would indirectly bring us Arr! (via Wallace Beery in the Treasure Island Movie) and who knew how to cook up a yarn, happy 160th!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some Silly Fun: Cthulhu Rising

Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Fhtagn Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Rising!

A bit of Nox Arcana, from the Necronomicon Album . Its just the thing to play when you don't take your Call of Cthulhu too seriously.

Happy Veteran's Day

No I haven't forgot and yes its late, but a big thanks to everyone who served in the the United States Armed Forces.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

4e Confession

A couple of 4e related confessions. 4e is not my cup of tea , my gaming circle actively dislikes the game so I probably won't be playing unless I find a new group

However there are a a few things I'd quite like to play

#1 Fighter possibly Slayer. Big Sword, Big Weapon, Big Nova Attack

#2 Teleport Centered Fae Spellsword. I think it would be fun to be "Johnny on the Spot" and able to port all over the board. Focus my guy on movement and I can get in the critters face and back my team up .

#3 Telekinetic Psion. Some of the powers look really cool and the idea of sliding dudes all over the map sounds boss. I don't know how it would mix with a more "strikey" class but man a 4e Jedi would be a ton of fun. maybe INT based Warlord/Psion or something .
This would especially be fun as I really like playing TK dudes and my DM's almost never let me. I Guess they know me far too well... Heh Heh Heh ...

Product Update Nov 10 edition

Here is where we are at

FSG 0000 is completed, art and all with the caveat that I am unhappy with the current amateurish layout. Once I finish learning a bit more about my desktop publishing software I am try a different layout, add an emblem I am working on and I'll have it ready

FSG 0001 is written but is awaiting art and layout

FSG 0002 and FSG 0003 are partially complete

FSG OSR 0001 has the art partially selected

Once these are ready for you, there will be plenty to fill your E-Stocking

Your Interdimensional Desert Island Game Choices Part 2 One System

This is a follow up to Fridays post.

same scenario as before.

This time however the same marginally benevolent aliens with inscrutable motivations (MBAWIM) allow you everything published for one system, circa I dunno 2012

My choice would be 3x. Originally I'd choose GURPS but GURPS would remind me of the real world far too often. 3x is much more escapist fare.

It also has several thousand books and PDFs. With that hundred years to waste I could try a whole lot of things I'd never have time to try. Heck I might even use as much as 1/4 of the supplements ;)

What would you choose?

3 Color Magic

I was just thinking about an alternate magic system. Instead of thr arcane/divine split or the
the druid , cleric, magic user dichotomy though how about a Chaos/Nature/Law split?

Chaos magic would be obvious "physics" violating spells, blast magic, walls and that sort of thing. Some of the shadow illusions would be here as well

Nature magic would deal with things that already exists animals, divination, mental spells plants, healing and such ...

Order magic would be things that effect probability, celestial energy maybe , turning undead (as as spell ala Lament of the Flame Princess) and some cross overs like divination and buff spells ...

If desired schools could be tied to a stat such Chaos magic to Cha , Nature Magic to Int and Order magic to Wis maybe

Or they could be tied to an OD&D 3 alignment system (Chaos= Chaotic, Nature =Neutral and Order = Lawful ) or even inverted (magic is about domination of the forces, so Chaos Magic Users are lawful and Order magic users and Chaotic)

As for the classes, in 3x/Pathfinder they'd be a custom deal mixing aspects of Wizard, Archivist and the Elements of Magic "Boon" system --

In OSR games they'd be treated as a magic user with a custom spell list and d6 for hit die instead of d4. Unlike MU's they can wear non metal armor (or mithril) and use most weapons. What balances this is that they have an MU's to hit ..

So what do y'all think?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bronze Dwarves

Just something that occurred to me kind of inspired by Runequest and by my brass bladed pocket knife ...

Bronze is an interesting metal in that it is as hard as and effective as iron yet easier to use in many respects.

Its biggest flaw historically was that it was expensive to get the copper and tin needed to make it in large amounts and as such and thus anything needing it was too pricey for mass use.

Of course once steel (as vs iron) came along, bronze was obsoleted for weapon and armor applications and such is history

However imagine if a fantasy culture, say a group of Dwarves, call them the Redsmith clan had deep nearly inexhaustible mines of copper and plenty of tin. Now these folks would keep using bronze well into the age of iron and would not have any real disadvantages in continuing to do so.

Now imagine further that they find by alloying a bit of some silvery metal they happen have lots of , I dunno starmetal or mithril or something into the mix they can make weapons at least as good as the finest steel.

This gives you something in game terms is simply "better quality weapons" masterwork or whatever your system uses that happen to be bronze. Thus you can have a sea of gleaming red armor that looks like a bronze age panoply but is a strong as steel.

This is even better if the opposing cultures are not quite to "blast furnace" tech and instead are still at mail and coat of plates. Graceful Dwarf (or Elf if you prefer) plate strong as armor that would not be seen for centuries on a battle field with mail and scale ...

Something to think about anyway ...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Your Interdimensional Desert Island Game Choices

OK here is the Friday fun question.

Assume that the marginally benevolent aliens with inscrutable motivations have decided that you and a selection of other people will be transported to a pocket dimension for the next hundred years or so.

It pretty nice all things considered and is fully equipped and can provide pretty much everything needed. You won't age, get sick or die (unless you are really dumb) its pretty much a gilded cage

However just at the last minute you blurt out "Wait there are no role playing games here!"

These aliens have no clues what an RPG is and are low on proto-matter. However they relent and as they already had provided you with plenty of dice and miniatures , they let you make the choice of what three books there can be.

No PDF's (the aliens don't like computers) but any three books that you can think of.

What do you choose?

My choices are

Dungeons and Dangers Custom Edition, 600 pages of LL styled D&D rules and options all in one book.

The Grand Adventure Book for D&D CE, every single adventure ever published for 0,1, LL and B/X. Thats several hundred BTW.

and one more book, probably Ultimate Unsisytem, 600 pages of cool stuff with an alternate conversion to Risus in the back

Alternate "the Book of Worlds" dfor D&D CE with loads of settings --

What would yours be?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Little Philosphy of Our Design

What I am aiming for in my products is something simple. I want you be able to download it, print it if you want too and use it in your game. Nothing more, nothing less

A lot of gaming products are cool and good reads but in terms of actually seeing play, well.. They end up joining a ton of games on the maybe someday list.

Other games are a feast for the eyes but if they are in PDf form you are scared to print them with ink costing more than gold (literally in most cases) .And if you like many gamers, you system is far from state of the art, they take forever to open th darned things

I don't want this. So I am aiming for mostly utilitarian, simple stuff that I hope folks will use and enjoy.

And yes this sometimes means less than state of the art graphical design and layout Thats OK with me. I hope its OK with you.

Pet Peeve: The Term Dead Tree

That one is simple. I hate this term. Its called paper or a book or magazine. In fact while we typically make ours out of renewable fast growing wood it can also be made of renewable cotton,unlike say a computer which is made of non renewable materials and which uses electricity on an enormous scale if you include Google and the other data centers that keep the Internet running.

Now don't get me wrong I am quite happy to take advantage of the benefits of PDF publishing but its not morally superior to print as the term dead tree suggests. Its its own thing with its ups and downs.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thinking About: Conversions

I am not much for converting settings to different game systems. Its not only a lot of work, I already have more than I can or will be able to play anyway.

There are a couple of exceptions, I kind of like the various worlds using Ubiquity in particular Hollow Earth Expedition, Regime Diabolique and Desolation. I do not however much care for Ubiquity or its silly insistence on "Average people as PC's" in pulp genres. This easy to fix however, its 1-5 scaling goes easily into Unisystem which I prefer

Two other candidates for Conversion to Unisystem are Serenity and Supernatural . I like the Verse but I don't much like Cortex (its OK just not great). Happily this is super easy as Eden Studios Presents #1 has "Spacefarers and Prairie Folk" which means very little work for me. Supernatural also using Cortex is more of an idea raid than a conversion. Its right up Angel with a few mods and I have no doubt someone on the Eden boards has done Sam and Dean already

As for conversions to D&D, I don't use them. I have lots of material and most of my favorite settings are already done. The closest I come here is using labyrinth Lord to run my old 1e adventures. This requires of course minimal work ...

so let me ask you... What do you convert to what ?

Status Report #2

I just finished a rough and ugly 1st draft of my free supplement. Its about 4 pages but I think y'all will find it most useful.

I also heard from one of my art guys and he is going to be sending me some concept art fairly soon. Apparently a computer error on his end munged up the 1st sending. As soon as that is resolved he should be sending the stuff.

Lastly, I am still experimenting with formats. Currently I am looking at sparse, easy printing and utilitarian with line art and rarely a little color art as well.

If this is too dull or less than interesting I'd be curious to know what kind of formats you folks prefer? So let me know ....

Campaign Ideas November Edition #2


A tabletop RPG designed explicitly as a soap opera rather than an adventure game. There will be some action but its mostly drama drama drama in the vein of Melrose Place and the OC

The Mighty

Another soap game, this time more along the lines of Dallas, Falcon Crest and Dynasty

These games might use Smallville (which is designed for soaps) or amusingly GURPS which is nearish to releasing a very detailed social engineering supplement.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Campaign Ideas November Edition #1

Survival of the Fittest

After a cosmic event only the top 1/10 the human race survives. This is a post-apocalypse campaign of rebuilding and discovery not shooting and fast cars .


Gestalt D&D with the PC's are people in the modern world who suddenly are transformed into high level D&D characters. What will you do with 15 levels and tons of magic?

Status Report

OK thought I'd give y'all a status report.

I have two Pathfinder products written and mostly edited, one is free and one is a pay product.

I am currently in the "Layout" stage which is the beast as my skills in this area about those of a deranged gibbon with hooks for hands ...

After I improve my layout and editing skills I am going to acquire some decent art and we'll have something then.

In addition I have an OSR Freebie coming up, my take on the Thief, the Adventurer. Its supports my someday I hope, Old School Companion product and the d12 Thieving Rules. While I could put it together right now, I'd like to make this a nice professional looking instead so, it maybe a while.

OSR wants list

My cash flow is mostly going to real world stuff right now but I thought I'd share my catch up list

#1 Big Pile of Magazines (in particular I like Land of Nod)

#2 Print Versions of Labyrinth Lord and Advanced Edition Companion

#3 B/X Companion

So do you play Non D20 /OSR Games?

Yep. I sure do.

I like AD&D 2e GURPS, Unisystem (Buff, Angel, All Flesh, Witchcraft and the most excellent Ghosts of Albion) and Risus.

Generally I don't use my other systems as these suit my needs just fine.

You won't see products for these though unless there is a 2e retro-clone.

GURPS stuff is done in house, Unisystem is basically impossible to license or use and Risus stuff is not really salable. And I do like money ...

However its not impossible I may slip a Unisystem Fan Article in sometime. You never know.

A few other games also tweak my interest and while haven't found a group that plays them (they all LARP around here) both worlds of Darkness any New World of Darkness save Promethean and Old Mage, Werewolf or Changeling (though I don't much like the system) would be fun. I'd also like to try Ubiquity Savage Worlds, Cortex or Traveller ....