Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blogs I'm Grooving On

Here are a couple of new blogs that focus on Barbarians of Lemuria. Both have some cool write-ups of characters and such.


My mother's a Hobgoblin


Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Reviews and Overviews – a Disclaimer

Many of the blog authors that I admire and read regularly have the ability to not only review an RPG product thoroughly but to also place the item into a larger, gaming-related context. They can discuss the game’s philosophical place in the gaming world, its history, influences and impact. I, unfortunately, seem to be unable to do this. So my reviews will be focused on what I find useful, fun and attractive about a product. This, of course, is highly subjective.

Take, for example, my endlessly professed love of Barbarians of Lemuria. It is a rules-lite sword & sorcery game with the flexibility to be bent and twisted to other genres. It seems perfect for my situation. Working full-time, having a family and being a homeowner greatly diminishes my free time. The only place to gain that free time is to cut back on sleep (which I do too often). BoL allows me to swiftly create adventures that can be run quickly and are filled with excitement. In my long gone, misspent youth I had the leisure to role-play for hours on end, have epic campaigns and delve into the minutia of a game. And believe you me; I would agonize over which weapon to arm my character with or what armor he should wear. So back then I may not have like BoL as much as I do now.

Having said all that it is my hope that you will still find my ramblings useful.

Barbarians of the Aftermath - A One Word Review


You know how in movies and on television there is often a character who will say that word in a sing-song tone to emphasis the awesomeness? Well, consider it said in such a manner. I will write an expanded overview as I get the opportunity.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Real Life and Other Annoyances

I haven't had the time or energy to read/play/contemplate/write lately. This real life thing can certainly get in the way what's important. Damn it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Barbarians of the Aftermath

I broke down and purchased Barbarians of the Aftermath at the suggestion of others to help with my Star Wars ruminations. I've printed out the PDF but haven't had a chance to read it yet.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

BoL and Star Wars Again

If anyone is interested, I posted my previous blog entry on BoL and Star Wars on There are some interesting replies.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Barbarians of Lemuria and Star Wars

As I have mentioned before my son wants to role-play in the Star Wars universe. So I got my hands on West End Games D6 Star Wars 2nd Edition Rpg. And it left me cold. After reading various posts on, I determined that in my ignorance I had purchased the wrong edition of the game and sought out a copy of the 1st Edition. Ahhhh, much better. Easy, straightforward and even the perceived shortcomings of the game that I had read about didn’t bother me.


As easy as the game is I kind of wanted something a bit simpler. So I cast about (immediately discarding any thought of using WotC’s Star Wars Saga Edition for this purpose) and hit upon Mini-Six. Wow, all the goodness of D6 distilled to its essence. Nice. I would have to throw together rules for dealing with the Force but that shouldn’t be a problem.


I contemplate Barbarians of Lemuria a lot. It is probably the game I think about the most. And not just because of some of the illustrations. I mean, it is such a simple game. So very straightforward, easy to grasp and very flexible. So flexible in fact that there have been a couple of spinoffs for it. The similar but more traditional sword & sorcery setting found in Legends of Steel. The apocalyptic glories of Barbarians of the Aftermath. And the full automatic firepower of Dogs of War. I don’t have BotA or Dogs of War yet but plan on purchasing them soon. Yes, the BoL engine is very flexible.

Hey, wait!

Could I, perhaps, cobble together a Star Wars variant of BoL?

I actually think this would be very easy. It may have been done already but I’m too lazy to search around and find out right now.

How easy? Let’s try to stat up Luke as a beginning character as we are introduced to him in the first movie. (No, not episode 1. The first movie. The real Star Wars.)

Luke Skywalker
Young farm boy destined for fame

Strength 0
Agility 2
Mind 1
Appeal 1

Combat Abilities
Brawl 0
Melee 0
Ranged 2
Defense 2

Water Farmer 1
Droid Mechanic 1
Pilot 2

Force Sensitive

Now, you can quibble with the details. I just whipped this up as an example to show how it can be done. He was already a pilot of some skill. I mean, you don’t just jump into an X-Wing and fly off. I didn’t really know what to do for combat abilities so I just threw some numbers down. If someone has a better example of Luke at this age, I’d be interested in seeing it.

Now, at the end of Star Wars he would’ve gained a level in melee combat and gained Jedi 0 as a career because of his training with old Ben. He is just starting to get in touch with his Jedi-ness but is still very much a neophyte. He has just enough power to help guide his shot into the Death Star (along with his piloting skill) and to use Force telekinesis to get his lightsaber at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. He can use it but it is still a strain.

I’d have to create a list of boons and flaws. Two obvious ones would be Force Sensitive and Turned to the Dark Side. The Force Sensitive boon would be a prerequisite for the Jedi career. And I think I would probably steal WEG's idea of Dark Side Points. Although many would think it fun to be a Sith and wreck havoc throughout the space-lanes I think that, for my son, showing that there are consequences for evil actions would be a good thing. If you turn to the Dark Side as a result of your Dark Side points you lose control of your character. The character becomes an NPC. And as he commented about Dark Side points in WEG’s Star Wars, “I think only Jedi should gain Dark Side points.” I have a tendency to agree so I think I would use that as a rule.

One aspect of this idea that I really like, and shows the strength of BoL’s career system, is Force powers. You don’t need to have a long list of Force powers. The player can simply propose an action, the GM decides whether it is appropriate or not, and determines a difficulty for it. The weakness in WEG’s Star Wars of having to roll multiple times for certain Force powers would be nicely circumvented.

Lightsaber combat would be easy too. I’d give Jedi character the option to substitute their Jedi career number in place of their melee number. The same with dodging/deflecting blaster bolts.

I’m actually rather excited about these ideas and may develop them further.

Edit: Hey! I just remembered. WotC is giving up the Star Wars license. Maybe Mr. Washbourne could acquire it and produce a Star Wars version of BoL!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Reading in Public

I read RPGs in public twice this week. Both times in restaurants.

The first occasion was on Monday. I was reading a printout of the rules for Mini-Six. The little silhouettes for the sample characters, creatures and vehicles caught a lady’s attention. She asked what I was reading and I replied that it was the rules to a game. She asked what kind of game and I replied a role-playing game.
“Like Dungeons and Dragons?”
“Yes. But you can use the rules for any setting you want.”
She smiled and nodded and that was the end of the conversation.

On Thursday I was reading the quick-start rules for Basic Role-Playing. Nobody noticed except for one of the people I supervise. He noticed the cover as I walked out and chuckled.

I chose these two specifically because they were printouts. If someone would’ve shown enough interest I would’ve just gave it to them to keep.