Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Goodie

I received, much to my delight, a hardcopy of Beasts & Barbarians for Christmas.  I like!  I hope I get to put it to use soon.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Would You Like a Little Salt With That?

An unfortunate truth is that I rarely play the games that I love, or any others.  There is always something going on.  I'm tired from work or I get off to late.  I don't have a day off.  My gaming group (i.e. my two boys) has homework to do or they are playing video games.  Video games are actually a biggie.  It's hard to compete with video games.  So, I was thinking of ways to actually get them to play as well as minimize prep time for me.  I have also been looking at Mazes & Minotaurs again lately.  The Bronze Age calls to me.  So, I had an idea.....

It's not a new idea for me but I like it.  I think I will run a saltbox campaign.  Here's the setup.  (Though I originally thought of this for Mazes & Minotaurs, I may end up changing systems.)

Ten years ago the king of Thena established a colony across the wine-dark sea.  He chose a leader who planted it on the northern coast of the Umbrian Sea to the east of Umbria.  Though the colony is politically independent, it has maintained ties, particularly commercial ties, to Thena and the king.  However, no ships arrived during last year's sailing season and the king is concerned.  So he decides to send one of his trusted nobles to investigate.  The characters are part of the noble's party.  What role they play depends on the class they pick.  A spearman could be one of the ten soldiers the king sent for the leader to command.  A noble could be the companion and assistant to the leader.  A barbarian noble would be the noble's bodyguard.  A priest or sorcerer could be the nobles secretary and be used as a supernatural assistance.  And I don't think either of the boys would choose a nymph to play.  The noble is also given the use of a pentekonter and its crew.  Interesting NPCs could include the captain and first mate, certain crew members of dubious worth, etc.

Minoan Town Fresco, Akrotiri, Thera.After they set off on their voyage they are soon struck by a vicious storm.  (What caused the storm?  Was it completely natural or has the expedition somehow offended a god?  Perhaps someone skimped on the sacrifices?)  They survive the two day storm intact but now have no idea of their position.  The will soon stop at an island, either by choice or because of short supplies.  And the adventure begins.  Each session could consist of a different island and a different challenge.  If I run out of inspiration I can always use the random island generator in M&M or the one in Agon.  Then, after several adventures or sooner if they lose interest they can finally reach their destination and have to deal with what ever is going on there.  Perhaps the Umbrians took umbrage at the colony's presence.  Or a roving band of northern barbarians are attacking the city.  Or some supernatural force is affecting them.  Or stasis has taken hold because of feuding factions.  There are any number of possibilities.

What do you think?  Any suggestions or criticisms?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Happy Holidays and a Christmas Gift to Myself

Happy Holidays to all!

I purchased a couple of presents for myself and I'm anxiously awaiting their arrival.  I bought myself a hard-copy of Far Trek, C.R. Brandon's homage to a seminal t.v. series.  He's only made them available in print twice so I'm glad I managed to get it this time.  I also grabbed Mr. Brandon's conversion of Morgansfort for his HOW system.  I'm excited to have a playground and starting point for HOW.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Conan Inspiration (Non-Howard) haven't read Conan of the Isles in about 35 years.  And I believe I only read it the once.  Frankly, other than a very rough outline I've forgotten most of it.  Except one scene.  After abdicating the throne of Aquilonia in favor of his son Conan heads west with the goal of sailing across the ocean.  Why?  I can't really remember.  But he does.  Anyways, he's in a port city trying to raise a crew under his old nom de piracy, Amra, when a swordsman with a rapier attacks him using a fencing style.  Upon being attacked Conan whips out his broadsword and begins fencing too!  Parry and thrust with a broadsword!  The swordsman eventually begins to tire.  In desperation he draws a dagger and throws it at Conan.  Conan, without blinking an eye, catches it left handed!  Then throws it back, burying the blade in the swordsman's throat!  So badass!  This is one of those scenes that lives on in my imagination and inspires my love sword & sorcery.  
And hey, maybe someone can help me with this.  I seem to remember an illustration that shows Conan fighting with a broadsword that is so old and had been sharpened so many times that everything from the ricasso to the tip were significantly worn down.  I'm associating the illustration with this book.  Does it ring a bell?  Or is it just my faulty memory at work again.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Grit the Barbarian (Dragon Warriors) on the Mercanian Coast is hard, particularly the winters.  Grith grew up with this reality.  The tall, blond warrior's childhood was spent helping his father scratch a living from the poor soil of their small farm.  As well as teaching Grith how to farm, his father taught him how to fight.  From the start Grith was better at fighting.  Then, during Grith's 17th winter, disaster struck.  Folks called that winter the Frostburn.  It was the harshest winter in living memory.  It was also the winter that the Wasting Plague hit Grith's village and nearly wiped it out.  Grith's entire family died save for one younger sister.  Grith attempted to keep the farm going but not having the natural skill of his father, he failed.  Despairing, Grith arranged his sister's marriage to the local jarl's youngest son using the farm as dowry.  With her future assured, Grith took the only option left for a free man.  He joined the crew of a longboat on a raiding expedition.

Grith excelled at the life of an adventurer.  After a few raiding seasons he had amassed enough booty to buy a nice farm in Thuland.  The more fertile land and with hired workers, Grith was more successful this time.  However, the mundane life of a farmer bored him.  Adventure kept calling and he answered.  He rented the farm to his workers and took up raiding and adventuring again.


Strength 15
Reflexes 13
Intelligence 9
Psychic Talent 7
Looks 12

Attack 15 Defence 7
Magical Attack 0 Magical Defence 2
Armor Factor 3
Evasion 6
Stealth 13 Perception 5

Skills:  Track, Berserk, Ride Warhorse

Equipment:  Two-Handed Sword, Mail Armor

Health Points 11

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dragon by the Bay

So, I opened my email up yesterday and what do I see?  An advertisement from Amazon for a new story by Garnett Elliott called Dragon by the Bay.  A post Civil War historical fantasy novel set in San Francisco.


Find it here.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Grit the Barbarian (Savage Worlds Lankhmar)

Gritd son of Gritd is a Northerner of the Granite Clan from the Cold Wastes.  He will talk endlessly of the hardships his people endure and how tough it makes them.  And how tough he is.  Truth be told, and this is something he only speaks of when deep in his cups, is that Gritd hates the cold.  He hates the cold, snow, sleet, hail.  He even dislikes cold rain.  As soon as he was old enough to make his way in the world he went south to warmer climes.  He ended up, as many do, in Lankhmar.  Young and naive to the way of civilized folk he quickly became the target of thieves and he lost everything.  Fortunately, he was temporarily taken under the wing of a fellow Northerner name Fafhrd, who taught him how to get by in the big city.  He is a member with good standing in the Slayer's Guild and now makes a comfortable living as a bodyguard for the rich and at times serves as protection for merchant caravans.  He is a good fit for the Slayer's Guild as he is an honorable fellow.  He refuses to attack an unprepared opponent.  Gritd is a large red-haired man with enormous strength.

Gritd son of Gritd

Agility d6
Smarts d4
Spirit d6
Strength d8
Vigor d6

Charisma 0
Pace 6"
Parry 7
Toughness 7

Fighting d10
Riding d6
Survival d6
Throwing d6
Tracking d6

Named Weapon - Broadsword "Shieldbreaker"

Code of Honor (Major)
Impulsive (Minor)
Quirk (Minor) Sharpens his sword almost compulsively

Special Abilities
Stature - Size +1
Survival - +2 to survival rolls

Monday, August 31, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 Day 31: Favorite Non-RPG Thing to Come Out of RPGing

Day 31: Favorite Non-RPG Thing to Come Out of RPGing

The final day.  The final day and I got nothing.  Nothing, nada, zilch.  The big goose-egg.

Talk about ending with a whimper.



#RPGaDAY2015 Day 30: Favorite RPG Playing Celebrity

Day 30: Favorite RPG Playing Celebrity

Tough one.  I'm not much of a celebrity follower and thus don't really have a favorite celebrity gamer.  I guess I will go with Wil Wheaton.  I've enjoyed the things I've seen him in, particularly the Big Bang Theory, and I like the way he's been representing gaming.


Saturday, August 29, 2015


Not a REAL Spartan*

That last post happened to be my 300th.  The RPGaDAY posts put me over the top.

*I only picked this photo for the number.  I have never and probably will never see this travesty of history.  Gosh.

#RPGaDAY2015 Day 29: Favorite RPG Website/Blog

Day 29: Favorite RPG Website/Blog
Another toughie for me.  I like several. 

I like reading the forums and the reviews on like the blog Strange Stones by the Venomous Pao.  Cool Barbarians of Lemuria posts and the G-Man BoL adventures keep me going back.  Also nice Mini Six and Labyrinth Lord stuff.

I enjoy The Most Unread Blog on the Internet.  Ever. Tommy Brownell writes really good reviews on a wide variety of games and its one of my first stops when I am looking information I trust.

Then there's Vargold:  The Wolf-Time by the Good Professor, Rob Barrett.  He likes several games that I like (BoL)and teaches college level courses on fantasy literature.  Which I think is extremely cool.  I also like the blogs subtitle:  Barbaric Yawps on Comics, Role-Playing, and Spec-Fic.

Heroes & Other Worlds blog by C.R. Brandon.  All about the wonder of his game.  Mr. Brandon also writes the Sword & Shield blog.

And a new blog for me.  die heart by Sophia Brandt.  I have found myself reading her blog more and more often.  Not only does she write helpful reviews but she is a Linux user also.  (I am writing this on Lubuntu running off of a flash drive.)


Friday, August 28, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 Day 28: Favorite Game You No Longer Play

Day 28: Favorite Game You No Longer Play two games I play most in olden days were Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and Melee/Wizard.  I had the black box Traveller but spent more time fooling around with it than I did actually playing it.  Since I still pull out Melee and its successor Heroes & Other Worlds, I guess by default this catagory goes to AD&D.  But it's not like I miss it.  I mentioned recently that I wish I would've gotten ahold of Moldvay Basic instead of getting into AD&D.  I really liked it at the time but there are too many rules.  Maybe this is just me looking back through my current rules-lite loving filter, but hey, I can't speak for my teenaged-self anymore.

I just discoverd while googling for an image that AD&D also stands for Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance.  Come to think of it, many D&D characters could use an AD&D policy.


#RPGaDAY2015 Day 27: Favorite Idea for Merging Two Games into One

Day 27:  Favorite Idea for Merging Two Games into One

Sorry.  I can't really think of anything.  I do like the idea Weird Wars Rome.  Historical gaming with horror thrown in.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 Day 26: Favorite Inspiration for Your Game

Day 26:  Favorite Inspiration for Your Game Conan of Cimmeria.  The original Howard version as well as representations by later writers and artists and the comics (particularly Savage Sword of Conan).  All of the adventures and illustrations have something to steal, borrow or disguise for games.  The stories are what inform and color my view of Sword & Sorcery and feed my desire for games and gaming.


#RPGaDAY2015 Day 25: Favorite Revolutionary Game Mechanic

Day 25: Favorite Revolutionary Game Mechanic

Ummm... Well...  Ummmm.  Polyhedral dice?

I play essentially traditional type games.  I guess.


Monday, August 24, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 Day 24: Favorite House Rule

Day 24: Favorite House Rule

Ya know, I don't really house rule.  The closest I came to house ruling was with Basic D&D.  when my boys were younger I would allow them to roll 4d6 for stats and place them where they wanted.  That way they could play the character type they wanted to.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 Day 23: Perfect Game for You

Day 23: Perfect Game for You

Really!?!  That's both difficult and easy.

I am now being horribly repetitive but I'm going to have to go with Barbarians of Lemuria again.

Here's why:

  • Sword & Sorcery is a genre I enjoy.  Human-centric and a bit grim and dark at times
    with the right amount of mysterious magic that can seriously bite you in the butt.
  • It captures the genre very well for me.
  • It is rules-lite.  I don't have the time or energy anymore to memorize large volumes of rules anymore.
  • It is adaptable.  It captures the feel of S&S really well but it can also be adapted it to any action oriented genre.  And it has.  And with a little work of your own you can adapt it too.


#RPGaDAY2015 Day 22: Perfect Gaming Environment

Day 22: Perfect Gaming Environment

Anywhere where I am comfortable.

Friday, August 21, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 Day 21: Favorite RPG Setting

Day 21:  Favorite RPG Setting

Another hard one for me.  Though I like Lemuria of BoL, it's not my favorite.  I like the setting for Lankhmar, Heroes of Hellas (Ancient Greece, of course) and Legends of Steel.  I think my favorite though is the Servants of Gaius.  I'm going to combine it Weird Wars Rome and just run with it.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 Day 20: Favorite Horror RPG

Day 20:  Favorite Horror RPG

First, let me wish H.P. Lovecraft a happy birthday!  125th if I'm correct.  I hope he's resting in peace....

Ya know, I haven't really played any horror RPGs.  Some games have had horrific elements but I've never played a specifically horror centered game.  Maybe, in honor of the day I should pull out the Call of Cthulhu quick-start and try it out on my H.P. Lovecraft loving son.  I also just received The Outer Presence, a short horror game that I'm looking forward to reading.  Oh.  I also have the Horror Companion for Savage Worlds.  Hmmm.  Going to have to get my horror on one way or another.

Question for those of you who run horror games.  How do you set the atmosphere to get maximum effect?


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

#RPGaDay2015 Day 19: Favorite Supers RPG

Day 19:  Favorite Supers RPG,204,203,200_.jpg
This one is simple.  My favorite supers RPG is Supers! by Simon Washbourne.  I have the original version.  I hope to get the revised edition at somepoint.  I hear good things about it.  Til then, the original version will work fine.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 Day 18: Favorite SF RPG

Day 18:  Favorite SF RPG

Have to go with Traveller.  Played it a lot, mostly solo, back when.  Loved the mini-games of character creation and system creation.  I enjoyed the starship construction and the other little bits and pieces.


Monday, August 17, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 Day 17: Favorite Fantasy RPG

Day 17:  Favorite Fantasy RPG

You'd think this would be an easy one for me.  (Bol, BoL, BoL!!!)  But it's not.  I love Barbarians of Lemuria.  I've probably refered to it as my favorite game.  But...I have an abiding love for Melee/Wizard/Heroes & Other Worlds.  Early loves are hard to shake and Heroes & Other Worlds just increased that love.  And it's not one I want to shake.  And then there's my new love, Basic D&D of the Moldvay variety.  I did not play it back then.  I went from Holmes to AD&D.  I wish I had played Moldvay back then.  Simple and straightforward.  As many others have said, we didn't play AD&D with all of the rules.  Not even close.  So when I finally did read Moldvay it was closer to what we were playing anyway.

So, a very hard decision that I don't feel like making now.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 Day 16: Longest Game Session Played

Day:  Longest Game Session Played
Not us.  I wasn't this cool looking.
Once again I must go back to my Middle School days.  Imagine it is a hot summer day.  Say 90 degrees.  The second floor of a two story house without air-conditioning.  A small room on the second floor with one window.  Then imagine two 12 or 13 year olds playing AD&D for 14 hours with only brief breaks for sustenance.  Wiping our sweaty brows as he guided me through whatever dungeon I was fighting through.  We must've smelled LOVELY after that.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Grit the Barbarian (Barbarians of Lemuria) son of Gritus of the Sandstone Clan was born in the wilds of Valgard.  The Sandstone Clan was a small, poor clan that was often the target of raids and often came up short in conflicts over hunting grounds.  Grit grew up to be a doughty fighter but even he could not help the clan in its plight.  Shortly after Grit passed his 17th birthday the final disaster happened.  A combination of other Valgardian clans combined and broke the Sandstone Clan and expelled them from their traditional homeland.  Though Grit survived, his family was killed and the remnant of his clan scattered.  To top it off, girl he was matched to marry decided to marry a warrior from a victorious clan and live amongst them.  With nothing left tying him to Valgard he we south over the mountains to seek his fortune and bury his pain.

Grit's naivete and ignorance of the Southern Lands soon displayed itself.  He fell in with a band of travellers who drugged him, trussed him and sold him into slavery.  Grit's strong arms and broad back gained his captors a tidy sum of money.  Grit ended up on a large latifundia as a field slave.  It quickly became apparent to his new masters that Grit was completely unsuitable to be a field slave.  Grit was to stubborn and proud to bend to his new masters no matter what punishments they inflicted upon him.  Given the choice between killing him or selling him, they recouped their investment by selling him to a lanista.

Grit quickly proved his fighting skills and soon became a top gladiator.  After a near miraculous victory in which he single-handedly defeated two raging deodargs, Grit was granted his freedom.  He has since wandered the land serving and distinguishing himself as a mercenary for various companies and cities.

Grit is tall, blonde and well built.  He is just starting to regrow the traditional long braid that the warriors of the Sandstone clan wore that was cut off when he became a slave.  He tends towards brooding but can be humorous and enjoy life when he breaks free of the darkness that envelopes him.

Grim son of Gritus

Attributes: Strength 3, Agility 1, Mind 0, Appeal 0
Combat Abilities:  Initiative 1, Melee 2, Ranged 0, Defense 1
Careers:  Barbarian 2, Slave 0, Gladiator 1, Mercenary  1
Boons:  Marked by the Gods, Trademark Weapon (Valgardian Blade)
Flaws:  Country Bumpkin
Lifeblood: 13  Hero Points: 6
Languages:  Valgardian, Lemurian
Weapons:  Sword (Valgardian) d6+3, Axe d6+3

#RPGaDAY2015 Day 15: Longest Campaign Played

Day 15:  Longest Campaign Played believe the longest campaign I played in was a two year AD&D campaign I played in middle school.  That was the height of my actual role-playing.  I played a cleric who reached, I think, the 7th level.  I have his stats and such written in a book packed away somewhere.  I'll have to dig him up and post him here.

I don't have my AD&D books anymore.  They were well used and got fairly ruined in storage years ago.  (Thanks, Mom.  That old chicken coop was a great place to store my RPG books.)  I thought I was done with role-playing after college so I got rid of them.  Then I rediscovered the joy of role-playing and now I kick myself.  I did the same thing with the red Basic D&D set.  Fool I am.


Friday, August 14, 2015

#RPGaDay2015 Day 14: Favorite RPG Accessory

Day 14:  Favorite RPG Accessory

My imagination?  These days I really don't have accessories.  I have dice, a writing implement, the rules and maybe a binder as a screen.  Not much else.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 Day 13: Favorite RPG Podcast

Day 13:  Favorite RPG Podcast

Gotta take a pass on this one.  I don't listen to any.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 Day 12: Favorite RPG Illustration

Day 12:  Favorite RPG Illustration'm going to have to cheat a little bit again.  My favorite RPG illustration is that of Arak-Aree from Barbarians of Lemuria:  Mythic Edition.  I really enjoy Peter Frain's artistry and unique style.  He really brought the character to life for me in a way I wasn't quite expecting.  I'd like to post the picture but I don't know if I'm allowed to.

Edited to add image.


#RPGaDay2015 Day 11: Favorite RPG Writer Part 2

FREE DOWNLOADSOk.  That's what I get for posting tired and unfocused.  There is a second RPG writer that I wanted to mention but didn't.  My other favorite RPG writer is C.R. Brandon, the author of Heroes & Other Worlds, Rogue Space and the upcoming Blades & Black Magic amongst others.

There are two things in particular I like about about Mr. Brandon's writing and another two things I like in general.  So, the first thing I like about his writing is that he writes in the same playground I play in.  What I mean by that is he writes rules-lite games, some of which are based on Melee/Wizard/TFTHeroes & Other Worlds is and so is his newest free item Swords & Spells.  (Which by the way is a nifty one-booklet combination of Melee and Wizard which will give my poor, battered 35 year old copies of those games a break.)  The second thing I like about his writing is that he seems to write specifically for me (which I know isn't true, but I like to say it anyway).  I think we think along similar lines when it comes to games and I really like that.

The two things that I like in general is, first, he puts out a lot of free games and supplements.  The above mentioned Swords & Spells is one example.  Free is always nice particularly when it is good quality free.  Second, he is always open to input when he is creating games.  He's taken suggestions from the comment sections of his various blogs and worked them into his games.  That's nice.

Oh, a third thing I like is that his wife does some of the cool art for his games.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

#RPGaDay2015 Day 11: Favorite RPG Writer 11:  Favorite RPG Writer

Another difficult one for me.  But, at the risk of sounding like a skipping record, I'll go with Simon Washbourne, author of Barbarians of Lemuria and Crimson LordsBoL caught my imagination from the beginning.  The character creation system naturally builds the character's backstory in a way that really fits the sword and sorcery vibe.  That's why I choose Simon.


#RPGaDay2015 Day 10: Favorite RPG Publisher

Day 10:  Favorite RPG Publisher

This one is tough for me also.  I don't necessarily think of RPGs by publisher, I think of them by games.  So, if we go that way my favorite game publisher is probably Beyond Belief Games because of Barbarians of Lemuria.  Honorable mention would go to Pinnacle for the cool Savage World stuff they have.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 9: Favorite Media You Wish Was an RGP

Day 9:  Favorite Media You Wish Was an RPG

I've been thinking and thinking about this and can't come up with one at this time.  If I can think of one later I'll post it.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Grit the Barbarian (Far Away Land)

I was going to create a character for Far Away Land when it struck me:  Why don't I create the same character for multiple systems just for kicks.  Since each system has a different tone I would adjust the character to match the tone.  Since Far Away Land has a humorous tone to me, I would make the character humorous (hence the name Grit.)  Barbarians of Lemuria has a more heroic feeling to me with a dark undertone, I will match the character to that.

So, without further ado, here is Grit for Far Away Land.

Grit the Barbarian from the far hills.  Never met an ale he didn't like or a shirt he did.

BRT 3  DEX 2  WIT 1  HP 13
ACT 5  LUCK 2  LVL 1  XP 0
AC 0

Boons:  Athletics 1  Melee 1  Punk 1  Scuffle 1
Flaws:  Gullible, Obnoxious
Gear:  Two-Handed Sword (1d6+1), Fur Diaper

Grit is a large blonde barbarian with a large mustache and long braid that he is inordinately fond of.  He is new to civilized lands and has yet to learn its ways.  Thus many take his behavior to be obnoxious and he is easily taken advantage of by slick city-folk.  Don't make him mad though.  He will tear a building down with his bare hands in order to get at the target of his ire.

#RPGaDay Day 8: Favorite Appearance of RPGs in the Media

Day 8: Favorite Appearance of RPGs in the Media
I am a fan of the t.v. show The Big Bang Theory so I would have to say my favorite would be the times D&D has appeared on the show.  There is even an episode when the female characters join they guys and play.  And seemingly enjoy it.


Edit:  I ran across this after I posted.  It made me chuckle.

Friday, August 7, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 7: Favorite Free RPG

Day 7:  Favorite Free RPG

This is a tough one.  So I'm going to have to split it.

The first of the two:  Mini Six.  Light, flexible, uses only six-siders.  Comes with a bunch of mini-settings.  Love it. second of two:  Mazes & Minotaurs.  Faux Ancient Greece. Hoplites, Amazons, haughty nobles, Olympian gods, mythological creatures and other sword and sandal goodness.  Basic  D&D type game with some cool innovations.  Oh, and a random island adventure generator for your own Odyssey like experience.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

New Savage Worlds Test Drive

Test_Drive_2015-1I was poking around on the Pinnacle website looking at the products available for Lankhmar and, lo and behold, I noticed that there is a new Test Drive.  Set in Lankhmar!  I was surprised.  I apologize if this is common knowledge and I just missed it but I think it's pretty cool.  You can find it here.

#RPGaDay Day 6: Most Recent RPG Played

Day 6:  Most Recent RPG Played

I had big plans for the summer playing with games with my boys.  Big plans.  But they didn't come to fruition.  Damn computers.  (As I type on a computer.)  The last RPG I played was Heroes & Other Worlds.  I was running my youngest solo through Death Test.

It's been to long.

On the other hand, I finally got Munchkin and we've played that several times.  It works as advertised.  It brings out the worst in my boys.  Scheming little villains!


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 5: Most Recent RPG Purchase

Day 5:  Most Recent RPG Purchase

Far Away Land: Core Rules

I bought this after reading the free Quick Start Rules.  I like the Adventure Time like vibe and the rules lite nature of the game.  Oh, and all of the free adventures.  Love free adventures.  You can actually get a good sense of how the game plays with the the Quick Start and the adventure in it.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 4: Most Surprising Game

Day 4:  Most Surprising Game

The game that most surprised me is Servants of Gaius by Bedrock Games.  The mechanical aspects didn't surprise me, the theme did.  The characters are in a secret organization in the service of the Roman emperor Gaius, aka Caligula, fighting a conspiracy against the Empire.  Having studied history a bit I had trouble with Caligula being portrayed as a good guy.  His historical reputation stemmed from a negative propaganda campaign by the conspirators.

So, I love the ancient world for gaming, particularly Rome and Greece.  What really sold me though was a review by Tommy Brownell and then the conversation I had with Tommy and the game's creator in the comments section.  You can read the review and the conversation here.  The last thing that really hooked me after I read the rules was that the book doesn't define what the conspirasy actually is.  It could be purely man-made or of a supernatural nuture.  It's up the the GM.  So, now the setting really fires my imagination and is really cool to me.  Surprise!

Monday, August 3, 2015

#RPGaDay Day 3: Favorite New Game of the Last 12 Months

Day 3:  Favorite New Game of the Last 12 Months

This is a tough one.  It's tough because I have been diagnosed with a case of clinical Gamer ADD.  I am constantly seeking the "perfect" system that contains the right balance of light mechanics but evocative game play.  Even though I am entirely happy with three systems that I think cover my needs.  With one or two auxiliary systems for variety.

So, I'm going to cheat a little.  I'm going to pick 1 1/2 new games.

The first game is one that really intrigues me though I haven't played it yet.  And that is Far Away Land.  It is rules-lite but with an interesting die mechanic that I've never used before.  It is also kind of a riff on Adventure Time and its twisted setting.  I've been known to watch an episode or three with my boys, who love the show.  It has 7 or so free adventures which is always nice.  I only wish I could afford the Tome of Awesome which incorporates the core rules, the bestiary and the other supplements into one book.  Oh, I'd like it in hardback as well as pdf.  Not, that I want much.

My half choice is such because it is actually a setting for Savage Worlds.  It is Lankhmar: City of Thieves.  Once again a sword & sorcery choice.  Lankhmar, and by extension Newhon is one of the iconic s&s settings up there with the Hyborian Age and the Melnibone and the New Kingdoms.


Sunday, August 2, 2015

#RPGaDAY Day 2: Kickstarted Game Most Pleased You Backed

Day 2:  Kickstarted Game Most Pleased You Backed

As I commented on a +Tommy Brownell post, the game I am most pleased that I backed is Barbarians of Lemuria Mythic Edition.  I like BoL so much that his is the third edition I've purchased.  I usually don't do things like that.

I love this game.

#RPGaDay Day 1: Forthcoming Game You're Most Looking Forward To

Not the real cover but really cool looking
I've never tried one of these post-a-day for a month challenges before.  But I'm going to try this one.  And of course I start a little late.

Day 1:  Forthcoming Game You're Most Looking Forward To

For me, right now, the game I am most looking forward to is Blades and Black Magic by C.R. Brandon.  This is a sword & sorcery iteration of his Heroes and Other Worlds.  This game brings together two of my loves: sword & sorcery and Melee/Wizard.  I discovered Conan the Barbarian about the same time as I got into RPGs.  Melee and Wizard were among the first RPGs that I got so the barbarian and these games go together perfectly in my mind.  So, to have Melee/Wizard tailored to that type of game is just awesome in my mind.

Friday, July 31, 2015

die heart

I ran across a blog a while back that I'm really liking.  It is called die heart.  It contains reviews of various rpg products that I find helpful when deciding what to purchase as well as resource pages for solo role-playing and a couple of other things.  Check it out here if you get a chance.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Koschei the Deathless

Image from Spes Magna Games website.
Mark Chance of Spes Magna Games posted a really cool character from Eastern European folklore on his blog.  This villainous fellow is a sorcerous giant named Koschei the Deathless.  Not only did Mark write about him but he created stats for Barbarians of Lemuria, Mini Six and three other game systems.  And made it into a free pdf.  Find the post here.  Thanks, Mark!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Dark Secret

I have a dark secret.  A dark, terrible secret the will brand me a heretic and blasphemer in some corners of the Webs.  Even though this blog is obscure and has few followers, I'm sure word will get out about my transgression.  But it is time.

One of my favorite Conan stories was not written by Robert E. Howard.  There, I said it.  The story in question is "The Thing in the Crypt" by L. Sprague De Camp and Lin Carter.  It was originally meant to be a Thongor story by Carter but was adapted to the Hyborean Age for the Lancer/Ace Conan paperback series.

I originally read the Conan stories in the early 1980's in the Ace paperback edition, as many fantasy enthusiasts my age did.  As I have written before I didn't (or couldn't) distinguish between the Howard pieces and those written by or modified by others.  I didn't have a very refined literary palate and, truth be told, I still don't.  I enjoyed some stories and enjoyed others less so.  I didn't matter who wrote them, only that I enjoyed them.

"The Thing in the Crypt" is one of the small handful of stories that stuck with me through the 30-some years since I first read the paperbacks.  Two of the others are "Beyond the Black River" and "The Tower of the Elephant", both classic Howard stories.  But I've never been able to shake the image of the "Thing" coming to life, the dry rustle of the bones, the thrill of horror that Conan felt.  And thus, it is one of my favorite stories.

So I mention this for two reasons.  One, to relieve myself of the secret burden I've been carrying all these years.  And two, because I am going to blatantly rip it off for the Hyborian Age Barbarians of Lemuria game I am preparing for my son.  It will be the basis for the second scenario I will run him through.

The first scenario will be a not so blatant rip off of "The Tower of the Elephant."  I have done this before quite brazenly but now my son has read the original stories so I will have to disguise it fairly heavily.  The character he will be playing is a thief/assassin from Zamora.  I will start the scenario with the minion of a wizard hiring him to steal an amulet that a rival has stolen from him.  Instead of a tower, the target will live in a mansion with an extensive basement and sub-basement.  There will be guards, servants and unnatural creatures to trick, avoid or slay.  And as he is about to grasp the amulet (if he survives), the wizard appears do defend his property.  If he wins the battle he will be in for a surprise.  It turns out that his employer was actually the brother of the target.  As a game, they would hire thieves to attempt to rob each other.  It simultaneously tests the security of their abodes and sates their sadistic blood lust.  So he will have to kill another sorcerer or run.  If he runs he will gain the Hunted flaw.  It's not a good thing to irk a wizard.

So, for the second scenario, "The Thing in the Crypt" rip off, the character will be captured by slavers after he flees the city.  The scenario will start either with his escape or in media res with the slavers and/or wolves chasing him.  He will only have a piece of chain to fight with.  The chase will lead to the tomb entrance and he will be forced to take a stand or enter the tomb.  When he enters, a little exploration, the sword, the battle against the crypt thing.  Then he has to face whatever is outside.  The best part is that my son has never read the pastiches.  Though in other games I have run every damn skeleton seems to come to live.

All in all I anticipate great fun.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sword and Sorcery Quotes IV

"...Troylin should have slaughtered you in your sleep!"
"That's been tried before," returned Kane, swinging to his feet. "Count yourself lucky that I recognized you as a harmless old lecher before I spilled your insides out."

Kane "Reflections for the Winter of My Soul" by Karl Edward Wagner

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sword and Sorcery Quotes III

"...(T)he judge squalled that I had shown contempt for the court, and that I should be hurled into a dungeon to rot until I betrayed my friend. So then, seeing they were all mad, I drew my sword and cleft the judge's skull; then I cut my way out of the court...."

Conan, "Queen of the Black Coast" by Robert E. Howard

Friday, July 17, 2015

Blades & Black Magic Part Deux

Also NOT the real cover.  But also cool looking.
I have been following Mr. Brandon's further posts and comments on the subject of Blades & Black Magic, his new iteration of Heroes & Other Worlds and very much like what he has in mind for the magic system.  He seems to think along very similar lines to me.  Read about it here.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Blades & Black Magic

NOT the Real Cover.  Just Cool Looking.
I'm so excited.  Mr. Brandon of Heroes and Other Worlds is again working on Blades & Black Magic, a sword & sorcery rendition of Heroes and Other Worlds.  Details here.

Saturday, July 11, 2015


I don't think I mentioned Hereticwerks before.  Hereticwerks is an RPG blog chock full of materials for your gaming purposes.  OSR, Heroes and Other Worlds and more.  Have a look.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Eldritch Dark

Clark Ashton Smith was one of the earliest writers to produce Sword & Sorcery stories.  He set stories in the imaginative lands of Averoigne, Hyperborea, Zothique and Poseidonas.  Like many early S&S stories, his were a melange, often containing and combining Lost World, Dying World, SF, Horror and Fantasy elements.  Until comparatively recently, I didn't know much about his work and had read none of it.  It doesn't seem to be widely available in print anymore.  Fortunately, for those who are curious about his writing and for long standing fans, there is an authorized website that contains a large number of his works.  The site is The Eldritch Dark.  A list of his stories that most resemble S&S (according to the website's author) can be found here.  Click on the links and enter the realms of CAS.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Barbarian Lord

I ran across this in the library.  This graphic novel was published last year and has been around longer but I hadn't seen it before.  I really like it.  This is what I want a sword & sorcery rpg Barbarian Lord is drawn in a cartoony style black and white.  I really like this kind of illustration, probably as a result of reading to many issues of The Savage Sword of Conan as a kid (though, of course SSC was drawn more realistically).  Savage Sword had such an impact on me that whenever I envision a sword & sorcery story in my head it is in black and white.
campaign to look like!  This is the story of how farmer poet Barbarian Lord (that's his name, apparently, not a title) had his farm stolen from him by his skull faced enemy and his adventures on the road to getting it back.  Very grim but it doesn't take itself to seriously.  The author drew on a host of inspirations from legends and sagas to cartoons. 

If you get a chance, read Barbarian Lord.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Savage Worlds - Lankhmar: City of Thieves

I am rather excited about this.  My son recently read a bunch of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser and so he's interested in it too.  Maybe a game will actually hit our table!