Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Barbarian for Dragon Warriors

Here is the first character I created for Dragon Warriors. I rolled pretty good stats for him. It was actually the second set I rolled up because the first ones were not so good. So, following the suggestion in the rules, I discarded them. So I now present:

Ulf son of Egil the Wolfkiller


Strength 15
Reflexes 15
Intelligence 11
Psychic Talent 10
Looks 10

Health Points 13

Attack 15
Defense 7
Magical Defence 3
Evasion 6
Stealth 13
Perceptions 5

Ride Warhorse

Battle Axe
Full Mail Armor
Flint & Tinder

Florins 29

Ulf is the son of a Egil, a minor chieftain in Thuland. Egil is long on reputation but short on wealth. Egil earned his appellation as a young man during a hard winter. A large pack of desperate wolves attacked his village and Egil slew 10 of the beasts before day's end.

Ulf is a headstrong and impetuous youth who has trained as a warrior since childhood. One day, in a fit of anger, he killed the son of an important visiting chief. Not wanting to start a blood-feud but unable to pay wergild, Egil had him outlawed. Ulf now wanders Ellesland seeking adventure and gold. His goal is to earn enough gold to not only pay the wergild and return to his village but to build several raiding vessels to further increase his wealth and status. In his travels he has kept his eyes open for future raiding opportunities. Ulf's most prized possession is his axe. His father gave it to him as a parting gift and Ulf has optimistically dubbed it "Bloodspitter".

Friday, December 25, 2009


As Calvin of Calvin & Hobbes (my favorite comic strip of all time) used to say: I got some good loot for Christmas. Including Dragon Warriors. I can't wait to give it a complete read-through. I'm sure I'll be posting a couple of characters soon.

We had an excellent day at our household. Hope your day was just as nice.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Golden Age

There is a saying about science fiction: The golden age of science fiction is twelve.

I think the same applies to role-playing games. Right around the age of twelve or thirteen is when I enjoyed rpgs the most and the time I look back on most fondly. As much as I enjoy them now, it doesn't seem to hold a candle to then.


Note to self: Remember name Spearhafoc. Anglo-Saxon name. Contemporary of Harold Godwinson. Very cool sounding.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Week Off from Work

...and I am sure looking forward to it. I may be able to squeeze in a bit of gaming with the boys too.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ancient Odysseys: Treasure Awaits!

Man, I hope so because I've become fascinated by this game. It's even on my Christmas list though its not published. I don't quite know why because there is very little information out there. There is a short preview at the publisher's website. There are a couple of threads on here and here. But that's about it. I think there are two reasons. First, it is supposed to be a simple game meant for beginners and dungeon crawls. I don't have the time or energy for complex systems at this point in my life. The second reason is related. I've been reading the rules and adventures for Advanced Fighting Fantasy lately and it turns out it is one of the inspirations for Treasure Awaits!.

Can't wait.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Inspirational Fiction - Space Viking

Periodically I would like to highlight various works of fiction that have inspired or influenced my rpgs.

First up is Space Viking by H. Beam Piper. This was originally published in the '60s but I did not read it until the early '80s. Right about the time I started playing Traveller. Space Viking and Traveller go together like (insert your own comparison here. They go together really, really well.) In fact Space Viking and H. Beam Piper influenced Traveller. The most obvious example of this is the Sword Worlds located in the Spinward Marches. I also think the round 800 ton Mercenary cruiser is modelled roughly after the ships in Space Viking.

Set during a "dark age" after the destruction of an interstellar entity, Space Viking is the story of Lucas Trask, his very short marriage and his search for revenge against the man who disrupted the wedding. While on his search he manages to begin the re-civilization of a planet, trashes several more by raiding them and plants the seeds of an interstellar empire.

I loved the battles, the adventures and eventually, as I got older, I came to appreciate, if not agree with, the political discussion. I wanted to create a Traveller campaign exactly like it. Not the Spinward Marches version of the Sword Worlds but one exactly like the one in the book. I never did though. Much to complex for me at the time. So many details that I couldn't or wouldn't work out. The faster than light drive wasn't the Traveller jump. Ships in the Space Viking universe could travel at about 1 light-year an hour. The characters would spend 2000 or 3000 hours travelling between stars sometimes. I didn't successfully translate it into game terms. And then there were all the planets mentioned and figuring out how far they were apart. To much for my poor, young teenaged mind. Then there are the societies, governmental relationships, etc. I wonder if I could wrap my poor, adult brain around it. Anyone know of a conversion floating around out there? I have a feeling I'm going to write more about Space Viking on this blog in the future.

You can still get hard copies of the book or you can read a version at Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Out of the Pit

I received my copy of Out of the Pit in the mail today. It is the monster guide for Fighting Fantasy. My collection of Fighting Fantasy RPG books is almost complete. All I need is Allansia but it is much too expensive, $65 U.S. dollars and up.

I hadn't planned on buying them all but as I recieved each one my curiousity grew about the rest. I may try to persuade my sons to give it a try.

Poll Results

With a total of three votes - Fantasy beat SF two to one.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Have I expressed my love for Melee on this blog yet? My undying love? If not, then surely it is time. I had to think really hard to remember if I got my copy of Holmes D&D first or Melee. I'm now sure it was D&D but it couldn't have been by much. I bought Melee in the Fall of 1979 or early 1980.

Now for those of you who may not know, Melee is a game of man-to-man combat (or man-to-creature for those so inclined) published in the late '70s by Metagaming. It was designed by Steve Jackson of GURPS fame. In fact it was the basis for GURPS. Melee was a microgame and came in a clear plastic pouch which contained a 4 x 7 inch rulebook, with a whopping 18 pages not counting covers, an 8 x 14 in. hex map and a sheet of cardboard counters. Small package, big fun. I think the hours, nay days, weeks even, of fun I derived from this $2.95 purchase is the best ratio of cost to entertainment value of anything I have ever purchased. The beauty of this game is that it was a simple game that could easily be played solo and Metagaming supported it with several solo adventures.

Although Melee itself wasn't a full blown role-playing game it did have several qualities that made it rpg-like. The combatants had two characteristics, Strength and Dexterity. Each starting character began with 8 points in each and distributed 8 more points between them. You then selected weapons and armor. Each weapon had a minimum strength rating. Strength also determined how much damage you could sustain. Armor affected your Dexterity. The heavier your armor, the lower your adjusted Dexterity. Your last statistic was your Movement Allowance. This was also determined by your armor. The heavier the armor, the slower your Movement.
Melee is a roll under system. To hit in combat you needed to roll equal to or under your adjusted Dexterity on three d6. You automatically hit on a roll of 3, 4 or 5. You automatically missed on 16, 17 or 18. Combat was divided into rounds. You rolled for initiative and the winner had a set list of actions he could take depending on in game circumstances. Then the other side went. Once the actions were determined and any movement executed then combat rolls were taken in order of adjusted Dexterity. Each weapon did a certain amount of damage. For example, the short sword did 2d6-1 damage. Armor reduced damage by a certain number of points. Chainmail absorbed 3 points worth of damage. Any damage that got through was subtracted from your Strength. When your Strength reached zero you were dead. Good, solid, gladiatorial fun. The other rpg-like trait the game had was experience. You received a certain number of experience points for surviving and/or winning the combat. Accumulate 100 experience points and you could increase one of your attributes by one point.

Metagaming came out with a companion game of sorcerous combat called Wizard. It was based on the same system as Melee but added an attribute: Intelligence. Intelligence determined the number of spells available to a wizard as well as the level of the spells. An Intelligence 9 character could memorize nine spells of 9th level or below. Each spell cost a certain amount of strength to cast. The wizard who’s Strength dropped to zero was either dead or unconscious. Although I own and like Wizard I have always preferred the straightforward combat of Melee. Just my preference. I have a tendency to prefer fighter-type characters in general and low magic settings.

As I mentioned early, there were several solo adventures published for the games. I originally owned Death Test, Death Test II, Grail Quest and Treasure of the Silver Dragon. Years later, I picked up Security Station and Master of the Amulets at a thrift store. My favorites were Grail Quest and Death Test. In Grail Quest you played an Arthurian knight attempting to find the grail. Good fun.
Melee and Wizard were stand-alone games that could be combined but they were turned into a full-fledged role-playing game called The Fantasy Trip when In the Labyrinth was published. Metagaming also published Advanced Melee and Advanced Wizard which expanded on the combat and magic systems of the originals by offering more options. Apparently a skill system was added as well. Oddly enough, I never owned any of these three. I don’t know why. I played it a little with a friend but only a touch. Someday I would like to get a hold of In the Labyrinth just to see what I missed.
Melee died with Metagaming but has two successors. As mentioned above, GURPS is based on Melee. Recently, however, a company called Dark City Games has started publishing adventures that are compatible with Melee. Ostensibly the adventures are for their house system called Legends of the Ancient World. Having read the rules for this system I think it is nothing short of a retro-clone for Melee. I own one of their adventures, Wolves on the Rhine but have yet to play through it. I am really excited to see that people are not only keeping the flame alive through personal websites but also publishing new adventures.

I’ve played Melee for nearly 30 years and still break it out occasionally. I’m going to introduce my oldest son to it soon. This game also had a long term effect on my life. The introductory fiction and the sample battle at the end of the book tell of a fight between a Roman legionary and a Germanic tribesman. This piqued my interest in the history of the times and history in general. I spent time researching the arms, armor and tactics of the era. This helped fuel a lifelong love of history, particularly ancient history, in me. I eventually went to college and majored in history, concentrating on ancient Rome and Greece. Not too bad for a $2.95 game, eh?

I love Melee.

Some Links of Interest:
TFT Codex 2000
An Review
A Fantasy Trip Site

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My RPG Christmas List

Oh, there are so many things I want for Christmas. Here are the RPG related items:

Dragon Warriors
Barbarians of Lemuria - hardcopy
Legends of Steel BoL Edition - hardcopy
Barbarians of the Aftermath
Ancient Odysseys: Treasure Awaits! - if it is published before Christmas.
Savage Worlds: Fantasy Toolkit.

(This list is subject to change. Particularly additions. I'm sure I'm missing something.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I put a poll on the right. Just curious.

Fighting Fantasy on

I ran across a review of Fighting Fantasy on here. The reviewer uses the word simple frequently also.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Fighting Fantasy, The introductory Role-playing Game

I finally had time to read through Fighting Fantasy. Some of you may have read my overview of Dungeoneer, Advanced Fighting Fantasy here and here. I bought Fighting Fantasy because I was curious how it compared to the advanced version. Well, I characterized Dungeoneer as simple. If you strip away all the "complicated" portions you have Fighting Fantasy. This thing is seriously simple. It has no provisions for character advancement, no weapons lists, nor does it allow player characters to be magic-users. Seriously simple. A five page overview of the rules can be found here. It distills the first 64 pages of the book pretty effectively. The rest of the book consists of two adventures. The first is a shorter introductory adventure, while the second is longer but similar in style. And the style is old school dungeon. Lots of men and creatures living cheek-to-jowl amongst strange traps with no visible means of support. Kinda cool actually. This simple (there I go using that word again) game would be ideal to introduce new and young players to role-playing but you would probably need to move on to the advanced rules, or another game entirely, pretty quickly. I still wish I had this when I started playing with my kids.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Two Advanced Fighting Fantasy Characters - The Wizard

Here is the second character I created using the rules in Dungeoneer. The first can be found here.

I refered to Titan, the Fighting Fantasy world book, to help fill in the background of both characters.

Age 26

Skill 8
Stamina 18
Luck 11

Magic 11
Dagger 9
Sleight of Hand 9
Con 9
Dodge 9
Languages 1

Light 1
Open 1
Stamina 1
Counter Spell 2
Force Bolt 2
Sleep 2

Equipment - Dagger, Staff, Spell Book, 2 gp.

Argol grew up rough in the dangerous city of Blacksand. Abandoned by his parents a local wizard noticed his cleverness and curiosity and took him in. Realizing this could be his escape from poverty, he worked hard and soon became an adept wizard.

Argol is willful, driven to succeed and curious. He is not always completely honest, a trait that hearkens back to his days in the streets. He does, however, have a loyal streak and a form of honor. When his master was murdered he hunted down and killed each of the thugs responsible. He then fled Blacksand.

"What's that? Let me see."
"No, really. That's what happened."

Two Advanced Fighting Fantasy Characters - The Barbarian Warrior

I created two characters using the rules in Dungeoneer. What I did was rolled one set of stats and used them to build two different characters. I did this to shows the flexibility and the limitations of this easy system. I chose two classic archetypes, the barbarian and the wizard. I thought of using the stats to build a third character, a thief type, but didn't. I may still do so in the future.

The stats I rolled are as follows:
Skill 11
Stamina 18
Luck 11

These are good rolls. The maximum you can roll is 12 in Skill and Luck and 24 in Stamina.

Here is the first character:

Barbarian Warrior
Age 18

Skill 11
Stamina 18
Luck 11

Sword 14
Spear 13
Javelin 12
Climb 13
Awareness 13
Wood Lore 13

Equipment - Sword, 1 gp.

Thorgard son of Thorgang was born into the Redspear clan in the foothills of the Freezeblood Mountains in eastern Allansia. He was son to a woodcarver. The harsh life in the hills hardened Thorgard and he became a skilled hunter and a feared warrior. Always curious about the wider world he left home to find it.

Thorgard is naive about the ways of the world beyond the hills, particularly of cities. This has caused trouble from time to time. He doesn't seek trouble but will not back away from it if it finds him. He has yet to develop extravagant tastes but rarely passes up the chance to acquire gold. Which he promptly spends.

"Ale. Now."
"I'll kill it."
"What does he mean by that?"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fighting Fantasy has Arrived

I received my copy of Fighting Fantasy in the mail today. It is the basic version of Dungeoneer: Advanced Fighting Fantasy. It will be interesting to compare them.

I also received my copy of Blacksand, the second AFF book.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dungeoneer: Part II

The third part of the book is The Rules of the Game
This is obviously the meat of the system. It starts out with a discussion of character creation. As I mentioned in my previous post, heroes have three characteristics: Skill, Stamina, and Luck. They are generated as follows:
Skill d6+6
Stamina 2d6+12
Luck d6+6
Skill determines how good you are at doing things.
Stamina determines how much damage you can take. If it reaches zero you go down. If it reaches -3, lights out.
Luck can be used to try reducing damage or avoiding negative consequences. You spend a luck point for the opportunity to roll.

The system has two major mechanics. In combat you make an opposed roll of 2d6 + weapon skill, higher roll does damage. The other mechanic is a 2d6 under skill or characteristic.

There are no character classes. The player can come up with a concept and then build the character to suit. There are no artificial constraints on these concepts either. If you want a sword-wielding sorcerer, go for it. There will be certain drawbacks to this, which I will explain momentarily, but you can certainly create one.

Advanced Fighting Fantasy is a skill based system. It has few skills, just 20 noncombat skills plus individual weapons skills. This isn’t many when compared to other systems but you can still build a variety of character concepts with them. The skill characteristic determines the amount of points you can put into special skills. If you have an initial skill of 10 you can put 10 points into special skills. The number of points you put into a special skill is added to your initial skill score to determine the final special skill score. So if a character with an initial skill of 10 puts 2 points into Axe, then the Axe special skill score is 12. This leads to the major criticism leveled against the system. A character with a high initial skill score will have more skills at a higher level than those with lower initial scores. These high skill characters have a good chance of dominating the action. I think this is easily remedied. Either give each character the same number of points to spend on skills or have some sort of inverse proportion solution. The higher your initial skill, the less points you have to spend on special skills.

Magic is handled the same way but with a slight twist. You can take magic as a skill, as many points as you can afford. For each skill point you put into magic you select three points worth of spells. Each spell is rated by the number of stamina points it costs to cast. So if you put one point into magic you could, for example, choose three spells that cost one stamina point to cast. Now the catch is this: You reduce your initial skill level by the number of points you put into magic. So, if you start with an initial skill of 11 and put 3 skill points into magic, you reduce your initial skill score to 8. Since your initial skill level is reduced so is any other skill you have selected. The spell list is limited to 38 spells ranging in cost from 1 to 10 stamina points. Magic has its drawbacks though. Like any other skill test a roll of double 6s is an automatic failure which can cause bad things to happen to the caster.

The rest of the rules cover combat in a bit more detail and noncombat skill in more detail, including positive and negative modifiers.

The rules section is followed by another, longer adventure. This is a sequel to the first adventure in the book. It is also fairly railroady also.

The fourth part of the book - Further Adventures – is a short section for the director. It discusses how characters earn experience points, how to create an adventure, how to set up a campaign, and contains a short monster section. Very succinct.

All and all I find this to be an interesting little game. Quite simple. I think it could be quite fun if you take it for what it is. I kind of wish I had this when I introduced my sons to rpgs.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


My copy of Titan, the world book for Fighting Fantasy, arrived today. Direct from the UK. It looks like it is going to be an intersting read.

Gaming Music

Until I recently started reading blogs about gaming, I had never thought of the appropriate music for a gaming session. Back in the old days we would just lock ourselves (figuratively) in a room and play for hours. Then it struck me. Muse would be great to play for the background of a gaming session. "Knights of Cydonia" and "Uprising" are truly epic tracks.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gamer ADD and Chaos

It turns out my son has an advanced case of gamer add. Seriously. We've played a total of about six sessions of Labyrinth Lord with three different characters in two different worlds. I'm doing everything on the fly and I haven't gm'd in years and years. He is having loads of fun but we haven't developed either of the worlds very much. Well, one of the settings is Arthurian. He read several King Arthur stories and wanted to play Gawain. He rolled up a first level fighter and away we went. Gawain was still a squire and he was ordered to escort his lord's niece back to her home, two days ride away. Well they just happened to camp near an old barrow which, unbeknownst to the characters, had become inhabited by a small roving band of morlocks. They abduct the girl from the camp and adventure ensued.

This brings me to the second portion of the post title. Chaos. The third character he created is a chaotic aligned elf. That is what he wanted. I don't know where he got the idea because I don't think he knows about Drow. I grabbed a free one-page dungeon off the web and away we went. The one-page is Goblin Gully by Dyson Logos. We've done two half-hour sessions and once again, he's loving it. Ok. He's hacking and slashing goblins. He stated that any wounded goblins he would kill. That's what chaotic creatures do, he explained. He understands alignment and such. Great. But later he secretly informed me that once they completed the adventure he was going to back stab his younger brother's character and take all of his treasure! What have I created! =) (Apparently a dedicated role-player. I told him that the gods and the game master would not be pleased. Hopefully I've squelched the idea.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Basic" Fighting Fantasy

Here are the rules to Fighting Fantasy as used in the solo game books. I found these on the website of the new publisher. Only about five pages long. But these are the "basic" version. 

Click here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dungeoneer: Advanced Fighting Fantasy

This isn’t so much a review as my thoughts and musings about Dungeoneer as I read through it.

So, what is Dungeoneer? It is a 394 page soft cover, trade paperback book that contains the rules for the Advanced Fighting Fantasy role-playing game. As the name indicates it based on the Fighting Fantasy system used in the solo game books. I have no previous experience with the Fighting Fantasy books and only learned of Dungeoneer’s existence through the forums of Advanced Fighting Fantasy is an expansion of the role-playing system used in the game books. Out of curiosity I have ordered a copy of Fighting Fantasy to see how advanced Dungeoneer is in comparison.

Dungeon is divided into four sections.
1. Getting Started
2. The Heroes
3. The Rules of the Game
4. Further Adventures

Getting Started is a very basic introduction to role-playing. Very basic. It discusses what is needed to play the game. It lists items such as six-sided dice, a watch, pencils, paper, and optional miniatures and then discusses each thing. Role-playing itself is discussed in terms of movies. The players are actors playing the characters. The game master is the Director. This is a very interesting approach but one aimed squarely at complete novices.

The second part, The Heroes, discusses the pre-generated character sheets included at the back of the book. It speaks briefly about the three characteristics that each character has: Skill, Stamina and Luck. It then covers and describes the special skills and spells for each character. It does all of this in less than 10 pages and then jumps right into an adventure. There is only cursory mention of game mechanics. This is a learn as you go proposition.

The adventure is called Tower of the Sorcerer. In keeping with the movie theme it is broken up into scenes. The scenes are used to introduce game mechanics, including combat. Combat is presented as a simple opposed dice roll of 2d6 + weapon skill. Highest roll inflicts damage. Damage is variable but instead of rolling dice for damage directly, you roll for the weapon on a damage table. The adventure is a nice introduction with lavish commentary for the first-time Director. It is also very railroady. Self-consciously so. It includes a problem section for each scene that will help the Director “…get the show back on the road.” The other thing I found interesting is that the text kept making comments about what to do if the players do something “stupid” or “dumb”. But it is a nice little adventure with a twist ending that teaches the basics of the game.

I'll post the second part when I finish the book.


I watched Cloverfield the other night. It's stuck with me. It was a touch disturbing and a bit depressing. I seem to like depressing things though. I really liked the point of view. I mean most giant monster movies seem to be about defeating the monster. This was about regular people just trying to survive. Sounds like a good rpg scenario to me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sick Day part II

I've read some of Dungeoneer. If I get a chance I'll write a bit of it up.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sick Day

Maybe I can get some reading done between bouts of sleep.

Friday, November 6, 2009


I received the copy of Dungeoneer that I ordered through Amazon today. Its in fair shape but was really cheap. Old school day. Advanced Fighting Fantasy and Tunnels & Trolls on the same day.

A Slice of Gamer Heaven

I have just returned from a trip to a gamer's heaven. Spurred by a post from JB at B/X Blackrazor I travelled south to Gary's Games and Hobbies in Seattle. It has so much stuff! Games I'd only read about online, both RPGs and boardgames, card games, miniatures, and plastic models. I was amazed. Now to be honest, I have rarely visited a dedicated game shop. I have mostly lived in smaller communities in Washington. So I happily browsed for a long time. There were so many RPGs I wanted to buy, Dragon Warriors, A Thousand Suns, Runequest, Stormbringer, Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion and others. I ended up going old school in my purchase. I bought Tunnels & Trolls 5.5 edition. Just for kicks.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Young Conan for Barbarians of Lemuria

Over on the forums of there is a thread about stating up the classic figures of sword and sorcery fiction. It is an old thread but hopefully this helps resurrect it. 

As a young thief in Zamora. 

Attributes Strength 2 Agility 2 Mind 0 Appeal 0 
Combat Brawl 2 Melee 2 Ranged 0 Defense 0 
Careers Barbarian 2 Warrior 1 Hunter 1 Thief 0 
Lifeblood 14 Hero Points 6 
Armor - Bracers 1 Weapons - Broadsword d6 
Languages - Cimmerian, Aesir, Zamoran 
Boons Marked by the Gods Hard to Kill 
Flaw Distrust of Sorcery 

What do you think?

Monday, November 2, 2009


I read several blogs regularly. Check them out on the right. I just added a new one called A Paladin in Citadel. It covers RPGs as well as microgames. I loved Starfire and Melee. I mentioned in another post that many of my games were lost or destroyed over the years. Not these two. I have sheparded them along through every move and change in my life.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Two Characters for Barbarians of Lemuria

So, I created two characters for Barbarians of Lemuria. Though I mentioned before that I am not overly thrilled with the setting included in the book, I created the characters by the book. So here goes.

Farnos Farhan
Farnos is the scion of a Satarlan noble family of minor standing. He was raised in luxurious surroundings, never knowing true want. Like many young nobles he serves when needed in his city's army as an officer. Unlike other young nobles he takes this service seriously and has the makings of a competent soldier. Farnos has been trained for combat since youth. He favors the slender rapier used in formal duels amongst the nobles of Satarla. He also enjoys the chase. He hunts frequently in the comparatively tame countryside surrounding the city. His big dream is to lead an expedition into the deep jungle to take truly large game. Farnos is tall, slim and always elegantly turned out.

Strength 0
Agility 2
Mind 1
Appeal 1
Brawl 0
Melee 2
Ranged 1
Defense 1
Noble 2
Soldier 1
Hunter 1
Merchant 0

Lifeblood 10
Hero Points 5

Armor - Gauntlets 1
Weapons - Rapier d6, Dagger d3, Bow d6
Languages - Lemurian (literate)
Boon - Etiquette
Bruthal son of Bruthus
Bruthal is a barbarian from the jungle of Qush. In his homeland he was a warrior and hunter. He killed a man from another clan because the man insulted him. As part of the blood price Bruthal was exiled. He has wandered the land at times serving as a caravan guard or a mercenary. However, he chafes under military discipline and only seeks that kind of employment when all else fails. He occasionally fights as a free man in the arena to earn extra money. he is large, well muscled but not overly bright. He excels at fighting with his tribal weapon, the great hunting spear.
Strength 3
Agility 2
Mind -1
Appeal 0

Brawl 1
Melee 3
Ranged 0
Defense 0

Barbarian 2
Hunter 1
Warrior 1
Gladiator 0

Lifeblood 13
Hero Points 5

Armor - none
Weapons - Great Spear d6+2, Dagger d3
Languages - Lemurian

Boons - Jungle Tracker, Keen Eyesight
Flaw - Distrust of Sorcery
Farnos was walking alone through the city one day when five dandies from a rival house set upon him. Bruthal saw Farnos being unfairly attacked and for some reason unknown even to him, he waded in and helped turn the tide. Afterwards they became fast friends. Farnos is currently putting together the financing for a grand hunting expedition into the Qush. Bruthal will act as his guide.
What do you think?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Barbarians of Lemuria

I fell in love with Barbarians of Lemuria the moment I read the free version. Don't exactly know why but I did. I have always enjoyed a good Conan story and as others have commented, this game fits the sword & sorcery genre perfectly. It is rules-lite which is a big bonus to me. I seem to have an antipathy for easy spellslinging. Magic seems to me as if it should be dark and mysterious. And difficult. BoL provides this in a flexible system. And though I am not overly enamored with the setting it seems as if it would be easy to change it over to Hyboria or some other land. I purchased the commercial PDF soon after reading the free version and I will soon acquire the print version. (The new, revised print version comes out in December. Hurm, just in time for Christmas.) I have not had the opportunity to play it yet (along with many, many other games) but I really want to. I also want to get the Legends of Steel BoL edition and Barbarians of the Aftermath (loves me some post-apocalypse). I would like to have them in hardcopy if it is ever published that way.

I recently created a couple of BoL characters. I think I'll post them soon.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


This is the character my son created for Labyrinth Lord. He named the character after one of the protagonists in the Knights of the Silver Dragon series. In the books, Kellach is an apprentice wizard who has a series of adventures with his younger brother and one of their friends. One thing my son quickly recognized was that, apparently, Kellach wasn't a 1st level wizard. He seemed to have more than one spell at his disposal at one time.

1st level Wizard
Alignment - Neutral
HP 5 AC 8

St 8 In 16 W 15 DX 13 Con 15 Ch 13

Spell book:
1st - Magic Missile, Protection from Evil, Read Magic
2nd - Arcane Lock

Languages - Common, Gnoll, Goblin

A Bunch of Equipment that my son agonized over.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New Games!

My copies of BASH, Supercrew and (beat up) WEG 1st Edition Star Wars arrived today. I'm very excited.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Starting Labyrinth Lord

So, when my 9 year old, who I shall refer to as Aha, said he would like to play a game like the books he was reading I said, "Great!" I had recently printed Labyrinth Lord and read it. It is so simple. I did not play the Moldvay version of Basic D&D. I started with Holmes and plunged straight into AD&D shortly thereafter. I really like the simplicity of LL. My tired brain absorbed the rules easily. Something I don't know if it is capable of right now with more complex games. I read a lot of discussion/controversy about race as class. Even though they were separate throughout my playing time it doesn't bother me. I don't know why but have discovered I don't care I don't know why.

So, Aha wants to play a young wizard like one of the protagonists of The Knights of the Silver Dragon. So I explain attributes to him and how they effect the game. He decided to read about each of the attributes anyway. Then we set about rolling up a character. Since this is his first time and he wants to play a wizard I have him roll 4d6, discard the lowest and assign as he likes. He assigns his highest to intelligence and we are off. It actually took us two evenings to finish the character because Aha would deliberate and read some of the book before each decision. Between the two sessions he read the spell lists. Not just the 1st level spells but all of them and he still deliberated for awhile. He then poured over the equipment list and agonized over what to buy. I didn't worry about encumbrance. That can come later. So we finished it and had quite a bit of fun with the process. We planned to start the next time we had the opportunity.

Then my five year old decided he wanted to play.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Traveller Characters

I've always enjoyed the mini-game of creating Traveller characters. Creating the back story of the character. When I got Mongoose Traveller I pulled out my LBBs and rolled up a few characters before I tried the new system. Here are a couple of the results, a couple of very successful navy men. Yes, they made every commission/promotion roll. You should see the pages of characters that weren't quite so successful. It is interesting to compare the results of the two systems.

Classic Traveller

St 7
Dx 10
EN 8
In 12

Ed 13
SS 14

Terms 6
Rank - Admiral
Age 42

Cr 12000
TAS Member

Fwd Obs 1
Dagger 2
Gunnery 1
Medical 2
Admin 1
Vacc St 1
Navigat 1
Engin 3

Mongoose Traveller

St 7
Dx 11
En 8
In 10
Ed 8
SS 15

Homeworld - High Tech
Navy - Flight
Terms 6
Rank - Admiral
Age 42

Cr 110000
Ship's Boat
TAS Member
2 Ship Shares

Computer 1
Gambler 1
Pilot SpCft 2
Astrogat 1
Medic 0
Melee Bl 1
Admin 1
Leadership 1
Vacc Suit 1
Navigat 1
Zero G 1
Tactic Nav 1
Gunner Tur 1
Diplomacy 1
Mechanic 1
Pilot SmCt 1
Gun Combat 1
Recon 1

The Mongoose version received more skills. For what its worth.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Games I Own

I don't have much left from the old days. All of my D&D, AD&D, Gamma World and Top Secret stuff disappeared or was destroyed at various times. About all I have left is my Classic Traveller books and my Melee/Wizard games. The last may not count because I never owned or played In the Labyrinth.

Several years ago I purchased the GURPS 3rd edition core book and the Gurps Traveller, Imperial Rome, Space, Transhuman Space, and Low Tech supplements. I've never played.

My recent resurgence of interest has prompted me to buy Mongoose Traveller, Savage Worlds, Slipstream, and 3:16 in hard copy. I have Supercrew, BASH, and WEG Star Wars 1st Edition on the way. I've also purchased PDFs of Barbarians of Lemuria, Broadsword, and HardNova II. I liked the read-through of BoL so much that I am going to get it in paper-version when the new edition comes out in December.

I've downloaded a bajillion free PDFs. Of these, I've printed out Labyrinth Lord, Basic Fantasy, ZeFRS, Mazes & Minotaurs, and 4C. Of these, I've only played a little Labyrinth Lord.

And you know what? I want MORE!
The Socrates quoter just displayed the classic, "The unexamined life is not worth living."

I can never see this without thinking about Saul Bellow's commentary:

"Socrates said, 'The unexamined life is not worth living.' My revision is, 'But the examined life makes you wish you were dead.'"

Most have probably seen this but it still makes me smile.

The First Post

I hope to use this blog as a sort of open journal about my reintroduction to role-playing games. You see, until recently I hadn't played for over 20 years. About 1986 to be exact. Oh, I had some of my old games around and would periodically pull one out and generate a character or three. I particularly like doing this with Traveller. I still have my LBBs from the early '80s. Recently, I purchased the Mongoose version and generated characters from it. Now, my main problem has always been finding the time and the people to play with. This has changed recently. My oldest son turned nine this year. He also read, or should I say devoured, The Hobbit and a series of books entitled The Knights of the Silver Dragon. This is a series of children's books based D&D featuring an apprentice wizard, his younger brother, and a young thief. I asked him if he wanted to play a game like that. He said yes. So I am back playing rpgs.