Thursday, May 24, 2012

Unarmed Martial Arts of Midrea

Martial Arts that emphasize unarmed combat are far less common in a world with horrible monsters and where almost everyone travels armed with at least a dagger or cudgel.However there are a number that have developed over time or from pieces of other arts and that are widely taught and used. Here are six of them.

#1 Combat Wrestling

#2 High Hand and Foot

#3 Sama-Dab

#4 Initiate of the Litany

#5 Street Fighters Way

#6 Sport Wrestling

Armed Martial Arts of Midrea

As I mentioned in my last post I had a Midrea post in the hopper.

Knowing my readers this won't be most interesting or high traffic post but its one I wanted to do.

Midrea being a realm of gates has been exposed to Martial Arts styles of many cultures (Mostly European) from over a millennium. Technological and ecological changes for example have made the rapier and the smallsword passe and a lack of teachers and just preference has eliminated many Asian weapons from general use.

Over the 15 centuries of Midrean habitation these are the two dozen armed hand to hand combat styles that have proven to be the most useful and lasting.

#1 Masters of Defense

#2 Dagger Fighting

#3 Aramite Knife Dancing

#4 Cut and Thrust Fencing

#5 Eastern Fencing

#6 Sword and Buckler (with occasional "weapon" and buckler styles)

#7 Pollaxe Fighting

#8 Staff Fighting

#8 Stick Fighting

#10 Shortsword Fighting

#11 Weapon and Shield Fighting

#12 Spear Fighting

#13 Polearm Combat

#14 Slaver Method

#15 5 Elements Fighting

#16 12 Fold Path Sword Work

#17 Whiskey Stick Dance

#18 Speed Fighting

#19 Dream Blade (also Dream Staff)

#20 Discipline of the Forms

#21 Sword and Dagger

#22 Longsword Fighting

#23 Spear and Shield

#24 The Hala

What people are reading on my blog

I tend to write whatever I feel like. After all this blog is just for fun and not making me a dime, so the only audience I absolutely have to please is me.

I went through the most list and took advantage of Google's excellent analytic tools just to find out what people are reading.

The number #1 most viewed pots was my short SOPA protest post. It had well over 1000 readers and to y'all I say, thanks. You helped all of us save the Internet (for now anyway)

Now on a more focused note my readership is first and foremost here for casual talk about Old School. These hit decent numbers and often elicit conversation.

Stuff about me, house rules, chat about stuff I am playing that kind of thing, seems to do pretty well too. Its odd to think that anyone cares. The number #2 most read post, my old Pathfinder/3x class list fit here with well over a hundred reads as did the #3 post , an old school house ruled character of all things.

What people don't read is anything Midrea related. This does not surprise me. People rarely buy worlds and in my estimation rarely care much about most of them. There are exceptions with fan bases (Realms, Greyhawk, Arduin) but as a general rule, don't bother with your world unless its for your peasure. No one but you and maybe your players will care.

Also Pathfinder posts don't do well either, again not a surprise either. Most of the cool blogs sending traffic are old school and thats what people are here for.

A last curio, GURPS folks seem to like my blog. I get a lot of GURPS hits on my rare articles, maybe from the SJ Games forums or from some of the other blogs. Regardless its something to consider.

Anyway there you have it, what peopel are reading.

As for me I want by readers to enjoy their few moments here but push to shove "its my bloggy and I'll post what I want too."

OK that was silly, anyway I'll try to get more old school and less Midrea (at least after the one post in the hopper) and maybe a bit more GURPS too.

If any of y'all have things you want to see feel free to chime in too. The blog is really better with us not just me.

Thanks for reading

Confession: I haven't Bought Dice in Years

Grognardia was having an interesting conversation about dice and the feeling the engender over here and while I understand the nostalgia he is feeling I just don't have it any more.

Now I certainly use dice in GURPS (3d6 for most games, a few more for high powered fantasy, modern or SF) and in Old School (the usual suspects) they are just tools to help make them game fun and bring home the real reason I am there, to hang out, eat, drink and laugh with other nerds. What the dice look like doesn't matter.

In truth, I could care little about dice and the last set I bought was years ago, an enormous novelty set of six siders at a 99 cent store . They did get used oddly enough, for GURPS because I oculdn't find my others. That was fine but its not like even with weekly play they wear out all that fast.

Heck a lot of times I don't use any dice no matter what side of the screen I am on. When I run Buffy or Angel, I don't roll anything (its all fixed values) and use no dice. The players each need a single D10 or one for the group will suffice in a pinch

As a player, so long as its fair I don't need to roll either . In the the current game I am playing Lone Star Brotherhood, using the Fallout TTRPG rules the GM is rolling all the dice. And while this is new to me I really don't mind. Its one less thing to keep track off and its no less fun. Anyway given the tabletop game emulates another medium (the Fallout video game RPG series to be exact) it feels fine.

This doesn't mean I am a no dice snob or anything, I am not going to throw away my games for Amber Diceless or something , after all they serve a need and in an old school game they are actually pretty important, randomness being part of the play experience its just the physical object holds no nostalgia for me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Added a New Blog to the list

Mesmerized by Sirens. Catacomb Librarian's blog

This is an interesting blog that covers very obscure old school games. Its kind of a unique niche and as such deserves the coverage.

Plus it covered my grail game Melanda which is super cool.

So What is your Grail Game?

You know the one you are on a quest for that you'll probably never get.

For me that Melanda Lands of Mystery

Its the ancestor to Fudge and Ars Magica basically/

Mesmerized by Sirens has the most discussion I've ever seen on it with a second post here

Now this game can be had on E-Bay from time to time but there is a snowballs chance in the City of Brass I'd pay over a hundred for it. I like games but I have better uses for a Franklin.

As a side note I wouldn't terribly mind having Bifrost RPG either but only if I could find all 4 books. Thats not going to happen. Even if it did (which would require an infinite improbability drive or time machine I think) I suspect after I read them I'd be vaguely disappointed and end up selling them Catacomb Librarian (the blogger at the above link) much as I sold my OD&D books to ENWorlds resident OD&D grognard a while back.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Such Cool Pictures: Old School FRP

This beauty is a tumblr blog I discovered while searching for articles on The Fantasy Trip.

It has catalogs, art, game covers and all sorts of stuff from what the author calls "The original golden age of fantasy role playing games. "

Now normally I wouldn't post a picture blog but this is like OSR pron ...

So nice and well stocked...

Excerpts from the 5 Stones House Rules/Retro-Clone Traps

Another excerpt for your enjoyment. As in the other post woodcraft abilities will be explained later

Trap Finding.

Most traps in D&D are found in roleplay,that is “I tap the wall with my 10 foot pole or I examine the keyhole with a magnifying lens” and this doesn't change. However the “find/set/remove” traps ability allows several special actions.

1St, its functions as a trap sense. The DM should roll upon even simple examination , I.e. bend down to the chest” to detect any traps. Failure means the trap is found through roleplay only.

In addition traps can be disarmed with a simple roll without any RP. Unlike opening a lock, failing a trap removal roll will trigger the trap.

As per locks, some traps may be harder or easier than others and inflict corresponding bonuses or penalties. In addition thieves tools or a trap set works as in lockpicking.

Woodcraft proficiency can be used to set outdoor traps such as snares or pits ,

Trap Ability however can be used to set any traps including small ones and to reset defused traps. This is not especially dangerous however and such traps are only triggered on a critical failure if the Rogue didn't originate them.

Lastly magic traps and glyphs can be defused at skill-100

Excerpts from the 5 Stones House Rules/Retro-Clone Lock Picking

These are a couple of bits from my Version 1 of 5 Stones Rules.

This is pertaining to Rogue (and yes I use Rogue not thief,) class abilities Lock Picking and how they work, the additional "critical" rules will be explained in another post.

The rules below are inspired by Philotomy's Musings , Delta's D&D and Real Life, more or less.

Lock Picking:

D&D Locks are not true medieval locks which served mainly to stop crimes of opportunity. They more closely resemble later 17-18th century locks which require a bit of skill to pick.

However lock picking is not that hard of you have the time. A regular Joe can open many inexpensive modern locks such as a bicycle lock with improvised tools and a bit of luck and these would be harder to open that D&D locks.

To make lock picking more useful in game , more fun and more realistic I do the following.

To pick a lock open a character needs Thieves or Locksmiths Tools and the Open Locks Class Ability.

A single attempt takes 1 minute (this rule taken from GURPS for lack of better data and the fact it fits neatly being either 1, 6 or 10 rounds)

If it is a critical success the lock is opened as if a key is used. On a critical failure roll 1d6, 1-2 nothing 3-4 lock jammed 5-6 picks damaged. Damaged picks or tools are at -10 to all rolls as are improvised ones and being damaged again ruins them.

Superior Picks or Tools may be available and add a +10 to all rolls. Picks damaged results render the picks "normal" . Magic versions of these may exist with different effects however in general they can ignore picks damaged results

If a roll to pick locks is an ordinary failure, the player may roll again with one round per attempt until they either succeed or critically fail.

Note that some locks are easier to open gaining a bonus to rolls and others more difficult than normal and may inflict a penalty on attempts.

If the net chance is zero or less, its beyond the ability of the character. This will be known with one attempt, roll normally than inform the player the lock cannot be picked at that skill level. Also some locks are designed to trigger if picking attempts are made. Such locks open as per normal but any failed attempt renders the lock unpickable. These can stack with each other. If the net chance is 100% or greater, roll as normal but any result other than a critical success opens the lock.

Any rogue with over 100 in open locks may make one attempt to open a magical locks at skill-100.

Whats goin on.

Its been a little while, no heck its been too long since I've made a post so I'll let y'all know whats going on. Four things


I am currently playing a weekly game using the Fallout Tabletop system of all things called "Fallout Lone Star Brotherhood" Our GM is new but lives and breathes Fallout so we are having fun. Whats especially cool is we have a giant pad of grid paper (1 inch squares baby) and some modded Space Marines and assorted figures that look Fallout. Its a blast. Being the oldest member of the gaming group I am also playing the oldest character "Sarge" who is old enough to be my own father.


I am reading most of the retro-clones I have acquired. I have skimmed most of them but I've hardly given them a full read and so its time to remedy that.


I am tweaking my game world and creating a more traditional and modern "Secondary Fantasy World" styled version of it that leaves out the Gates and the wahoo stuff

and #4

Last but not least I am fooling with making a sorta of of house guidelines /retoclone. Its not a full rules set but a series of tweaks and hacks of of established systems for my own amusement. I might release it when done but unless things change, its a freebie more in line with a house rules document than a product.