Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Open Basic: Retro d100 Roleplaying

Image result for d10 diceHas anybody seen this?  It's a free game by James Hargrove of Mystic Beard Games.  It's a very light, boiled down version of the Basic Role Playing system.  I haven't played BRP, Call of Cthulhu or any of their relatives but I have read the quick-starts.  People talk about how easy and intuitive the system is but it was never completely clear to me.  For example, I never quite understood the Resistance Table in BRPCall of Cthulhu was a little better but my poor brain just didn't quite grasp it.  I know it is my shortcoming not the systems.

Now we come to Open Basic.  This is completely clear to me.  I'm actually a little bit excited about it and want to give it a try.  And better yet it's got a High Fantasy Plugin for only 50 cents that I'm going to take a look at.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Blades & Black Magic is Back!

Artist:  Max Dunbar
Several years ago C.R. Brandon, author of Heroes & Other Worlds, was working on a grittier sword & sorcery version of HOW called Blades & Black MagicB&BM is based on HOW which in turn was inspired by The Fantasy Trip of 80s fame.  Thus, with the sword & sorcery focus and its pedigree, I was very much looking forward too it.  In fact I even listed it as the game I was most looking forward to in 2015.  Mr. Brandon had to put the development of B&BM on hiatus for a while but now its back.  He's working on it again, testing various aspects and tinkering with various mechanics.  And I 'm excited again!

You can see the latest developments at Mr. Brandon's Heroes & Other Worlds Blog.

Monday, December 11, 2017

OneDice Space

I have some great friends. How great? Well my friend T surprised me today by buying me a PDF copy of OneDice Space as an early Christmas present! She and I have been playing the one-on-one Swords & Wizardry White Box game at work during our lunch break every couple of weeks. We've been talking about giving OneDice a try as a change of pace and decided to try the Space skin in Universal. Well, I told her Space had come out and I was going to get it for myself sooner or later. Well, surprise! Now I don't have to and we can use it for our game! Thank you T!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Lunch Games

Long time no post.

Wrathofzombie's BlogThe big news in my gaming life is that I've been playing a sporadic one-on-one game of White Box with a coworker during my lunch time.  Our session lengths are necessarily limited to about 45 minutes so they are usually short and sharp.  We've been enjoying ourselves particularly since it is strictly our game and we can do whatever we choose with it.  So, for example, the character my player runs isn't strictly by the book but hey, it's just us so who cares.  I posted about the background back in July and you can read about it here.  So far my player T's character Shael, an elf ranger, has left her home forest, helped an old farming couple by killing a wild boar that was ravaging their farm, fought some bandits on a road and is in the process of clearing them from their lair.  She just defeated their 4th level leader and sent him packing.  She is about to reap the benefits of her efforts with a surprisingly large amount of loot.

We've been trying various venues for our game which has lead to at least one amusing situation.  We met at a local Starbucks to play and we had one lady throw us several odd looks in the midst of describing a battle that involved axes and some gratuitous bloodshed.  I mean when my player rolls a 20 and one-shots a bandit I need to give his death a proper description, right?

Each brief session has been fun and stress free and both of us have look forward to our next game.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

How He Started His Sandbox

+Michael S aka Chgowiz who writes Chicagowiz's Blog wrote an interesting post about how he started his long running sandbox game.  I found this not only helpful but timely as I have been trying to create a sandbox setting to start a new group in.  I have a solid, if cliched, idea for the foundation and a way to tie the group together and to the setting.  And I have three or four adventure hooks to start out with, a starting base with key npc's, as well as an overarching plot if I want to use it.  My problem is that whenever I try to do a project like this is that I become overwhelmed, lose my self-confidence and end up almost paralyzed with doubt and indecision.  I had read Michael's excellent post "Dispelling a myth - Sandbox prep" previously but apparently hadn't taken it to heart.  However, "How I Started My Sandbox" seemed to pull it all together for me and helped ease my doubts to the point where I can now put the first seven or eight hexes down on paper and key them with the adventures I have in mind.  Thanks, Michael!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

One-on-One Campaign Background

I have mentioned elsewhere that my co-worker T and I have been planning a one-on-one White Box campaign during lunch hours at work.  Here is the background and the character T created.  In order to add flexibility and avoid her character’s early and untimely death we we’ll be using Black Streams: Solo Heroes by Kevin Crawford.

First the setting background. Or, in other word, another derivitive setting for your consideration.

The Sidhe have ruled the land for nearly 1,000 years.  The seemingly immortal fey creatures appeared suddenly and quickly conquered the petty kingdoms of Humans and Dwarves using force, guile and eldritch sorcery.  Orcs and Goblins joined the Sidhe and provided armies for the conquerors.  The High Elves willingly joined the Sidhe becoming commanders in the armies.  With the conquest began a reign of tyranny that ruthlessly exploited the peoples of the world.

The world is inhabited by many humanoid races.

The humanoid family tree has two branches that separated long ago.  One branch consists of elves, humans, dwarves and halflings.  The second of orcs and goblins.  The two branches have drifted apart so much that they can no longer interbreed successfully.

There are three elf-like peoples.  The Sidhe are brilliantly beautiful fey who are arrogant and aloof and rarely seen by ordinary people.  Over the centuries the Sidhe have grown tired of their empire and have given themselves over to indolence, debauchery and the study of black magics.  In fact none have deigned to leave their capital Aris the City of Crystal Dreams in the last century. This has led to the borderlands breaking away from the Empire, daring to declare their independence.  Fractious petty kingdoms have arose to fill the power vacuum.  It is a time of chaos in the Empire and the Sidhe don’t even seem to notice.  No one seems to know why the Sidhe came to this world to conquer it in the first place, only abandon it for their pleasures.

The High Elves, feeling a kinship with the Sidhe (though it is not reciprocated), have become willing collaborators of the Sidhe.  They enjoy the wealth of the Empire and have a prestige second only to the Sidhe.  They hold high offices and governorships and lead the Empire’s armies and since the Sidhe have withdrawn from worldly affairs they are the actual masters of what is left of the crumbling empire.

The Wood Elves withdrew to the deep forests when the Sidhe arrived and avoid outsiders as much as possible.  They are still subjects of the Sidhe but are largely left alone.  There are a few adventurous Wood Elves but but for the most part they stick to the their forests.

(My mental image of the elves of this world can be illustrated by the movie version of The Lord of the Rings.  The Wood Elves are typified by Legolas, the High Elves by Galadriel and the Sidhe by Galadriel as the White Queen she would have become if she had taken the One Ring.)

Humans are the most populous and varied group of people in the land and are the most versatile and adaptable.  They can turn their hand to almost any profession and can live in most climates successfully.  The Sidhe have enslaved the humans, taking their land, their wealth and their dignity.  They are forced to work at whatever tasks given them and have been exploited ruthlessly over the centuries.  However, humans have a strong spirit and secretly yearn for freedom.  They immediately took advantage of the slackening grip of the Sidhe and have set up a series of small kingdoms in the borderlands.  They are grinding away at the Empire and are slowing gaining back the land that was once theirs.  Unfortunately though, humans have the propensity to fight amongst themselves as often as they fight the Empire.  There is a theory among the more open-minded of elf scholars that elves are the result of the union of humans and Sidhe at some time in the incalculable past.  High Elves display more Sidhe traits while Wood Elves favor their human ancestors.  So far this is just a theory though but it does explain why elves and humans can procreate successfully.

Dwarves are as oppressed as humans.  Their clans are mostly confined to their mines and underground kingdoms.  They are master smiths and crafters and are forced to produce luxury goods made of gems, gold and silver for the delight of the Sidhe.  They produce the finest weapons of bronze, iron and steel in the world.  Though elves and humans can craft fine weapons, even magical ones, nothing can touch the quality of the dwarves.  Their finest weapons are reserved for the Sidhe and are made from the rare element thimril.  The Sidhe, being true fey, cannot use iron or steel.  It is poison to them.  So, they long ago began using thimril .  Thimril is a silver colored metal that is extremely strong, yet light and enchants well.  Thus, most magic weapons are made from thimril though iron and steel weapons can also be enchanted.  Because of the scarcity of thimril and its ability to take enchantment, the Sidhe have outlawed the use of thimril by any other than themselves.  The problem for the Sidhe, however, is that only the dwarves know how to work thimril and despite all of their efforts they are unable to pry the secret from them.

Halflings are said to exist but are considered a myth by many.  Legend has it that with the coming of the Sidhe they withdrew to remote valleys and dales and live their lives in seclusion and peace.  The Sidhe could probably find them if they wanted to but have never bothered.

Orcs and goblins are brutish creatures that have little regard for others and live in a state of almost constant conflict when not under the direct control of the Empire.  They live in tribes and are constantly quarreling with the other races.  When they don't have other races to attack they fight each other.  The union of orcs and goblins produced the hobgoblins.

Last, and definitely least, is the gnome.  A gnome is the unfortunate offspring of a dwarf and a halfling.  They are hairy of feet and hairy of face and are neither fish nor fowl and thus accepted by neither group. They seem to inherit the worst traits of both parents.  They are grumpy, gluttonous and greedy.  They live underground like their forebears but to quote Tolkien the typical gnome lives in "a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell".  As a result they are grubby and extremely malodorous.  In fact the easiest way to find a gnome hole is to follow the reek.  To top it off, gnomes are infertile and often their genitals are nonfunctional.  They dislike the world and everyone in it but, luckily, they are solitary creatures.  Fortunately, there are very, very few of them.

The playable races are the standard four:  Human, Elf, Dwarf and Halfling.
The class choices are:  Fighter, Magic User, Cleric, Thief, Barbarian, Druid and Ranger.

T chose to play an elf ranger.  Since White Box doesn’t cover this combo explicitly we kind of mashed them together.  This is her character and the backstory she came up with. I particularly like the bit about the Tree of Legend. There is so much we could do with this down the line.

Shael Cloudburst- Elf Ranger Level 1Player: TAlignment:NAC: 14HP:7 HD:1+1Str: 13 Dex:11 Con:11 Int:10 Wis:11 Cha:7 (all mods at 0)Saving Throw:16 (+2 vs. poison)Spells/Abilities: Forestry 2, Giant Slayer, Hereditary Foes, Two Weapon Fighting (2 longswords), Keen DetectionLanguages: Common, Wood Elf (can also speak with gnolls, goblins, orcs, hobgoblins)Chain Mail +4

Shael was born deep in the forest, in a small village of wood elves. The moment of her birth was marked by a sudden opening of the skies in unexpected downpour. The elves took this to be a good omen, and they believe Shael is destined for greatness. Coming from a long line of heroes and rangers, Shael grew up hearing stories of travel and adventure, stories of a time before the Sidhe, before their inglorious reign. Her favorite story is a tale told among the wood elves of a legendary tree. A tree that witnessed the arrival of the Sidhe. The stories say it knows their secrets. Shael is tired of her boring life in the forest. She wants to bring glory to her family. She wants them to rise once again as heroes. She believes this is her destiny, and her first step is to leave her forest in search of the tree of legends.

I have a home-base village and a couple of beginning adventures selected.  I have an idea of what the area all this will happen in will be like. And the beauty of Solo Heroes is that I can use any level appropriate adventure.  We are about ready to begin.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

OneDice Fantasy Ranger

I recently purchased OneDice Fantasy and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  One of the beauteous things about OneDice is that it is easy to mold into what you want.  That is what the author did with Fantasy.  The character creation process is similar to all OneDice tomes that I have read with the exception of what the book calls "Professions".  Professions are essentially templates that represent one of the classic fantasy RPG archetypes and give you two preset skills.  So you have Cleric, Fighter, Sorcerer, etc.  You then can spend the rest of your skill points as you choose.

My friend and I briefly talked about using OneDice as the rules-set for the 1-on-1 campaign we are planning.  We ended up going with something else but it got me thinking.  She will be playing a ranger and Fantasy doesn't include ranger as one of the professions.  So, I decided to make one.  Here is my version of the OneDice Fantasy Ranger Profession.


A woodsman at one with the natural world.

Track 2,  Survival 1 or Archery 1

Animal Empathy You have spent so much time roaming the outdoors and interacting with nature that animals view you as one of them.  Regular animals will not attack you without provocation or being controlled by an outside force.