Friday, December 10, 2021


It have always thought that I began roleplaying in 1979 when I persuaded my mom to buy me the Holmes Basic D&D set.  Well, this turns out to be false.  It was 1980.  You see, my Basic set came with The Keep on the Borderlands and apparently it didn't replace In Search of the Unknown in the box until 1980.  Sooooo, I've been wrong all of these years.  In the larger scheme of things it's not really a big deal but it's always a bit jarring to have a long held belief corrected.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Perilous Shores

I'm always on the lookout for a good online map generator.  I loved the now sadly defunct Wizardawn and it's map creators.  I particularly liked the area generator that would produce a regional map with terrain, points of interest and, if you wanted, populated dungeons.  Now that it is gone I have been looking for a replacement.  I have found one that is pretty cool though it doesn't have quite as many features as the Wizardawn generated maps.  Despite that I like it a lot.

It is called Perilous Shores and it is free to use on  It will create a random map with named towns, natural features and adventure sites. Once the map is generated you can modify the way it looks, add hexes to it, change tones, change the name of the towns and features and other miscellaneous things.

Here is a map as generated and then as modified by me.  You'll notice that there are some differences.  Changing some of the defaults will change the map.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Damn Lulu

 A while back Lulu updated their website.  It was a debacle.  I, and I believe others, had their libraries destroyed up.  I lost many of the PDFs I had acquired.  There is no record of the titles.  And I can't remember them. Now many of these were free but it is still frustrating.  Today I realized that some of the things I lost were the Labyrinth Lord version of Dave Bezio's Phoenix Barony setting.  This is extremely frustrating.  I do have the White Box version of Phoenix Barony itself but the LL version and it's supplements are no longer available.

Damn Lulu.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Cliff Clavin, Rebel Officer

 The original Star Wars trilogy has been on TV a several times lately.  And since it is my
trilogy I've watched it when I can.  The last couple of times I've seen The Empire Strikes Back I've noticed that one of the officers in the hanger scene on Hoth where Leia is worried about Luke and Han looked familiar.  He looked like Cliff Clavin from the TV show Cheers.  So I checked it in IMDB and what the hell do you know, John Ratzenberger was in The Empire Strikes Back!  He played Rebel Force Major Derlin.  Maybe many of you know this but it's news to me.  It both blew my mind and made me laugh at the same time.  Now John Ratzenberger is a fine actor and an excellent voice actor but he will forever be Cliff Clavin to me.  Not that he's completely type cast in my mind but that's the character I will always associate him with because of how much and how long I watched Cheers.  I watched it from when I was a freshman in high school until after I got out of graduate school.

Now, delving a little deeper into his roles he has some pretty impressive SF cred.  He was in both Outland and Superman II.  Beyond that he was in A Bridge Too Far, Gandhi and Reds.  Even though they were small roles, I'm still impressed.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Character Creation Challenge - Day 16 Far Away Land

Far Away Land is a simple little fantasy game that leans hard into gonzo.  If you've ever seen the cartoon Adventure Time then you'll get the vibe.  It's a d6 dice pool game but after rolling you only keep the highest die rolled.  If you roll multiple sixes then the first six counts as a six and the others add one to the result.

The first step in character creation is to create a concept.  I want a barbarian type character.

Next, stats.  There are three stats in FAL:  Brute, Dexterity and Wits.  You have six points to distribute among them and they can't start higher than 3 or lower than 1.


Hit Points:  BRT + 10 = 13

Armor Class:  Armor soaks damage.  I'm going to start my barbarian out with Leather Armor so his AC is 2.

Actions:  FAL has an action economy during combat.  A player spends Action points to do things like
move (which costs 2 ACT) or melee attack (3 ACT).   ACT:  DEX + 3 = 5.

Luck:  A character always starts with 2.

Boons:  Boons are skills that characters have.  They add bonus dice to appropriate activities.  The rules say that a character can start with up to five.  I'll choose three.  Alert, Athletics and Melee.

 Flaws:  A character also has flaws.  You roll a d3 to determine the number.  I rolled a 2.  I'll choose Naive and Reckless.

Spells:  None.

Gear:  Leather Armor, Battle Axe, Dagger, 8 GP.


Rolf Teethgrinder

BRT: 3  DEX: 2  WIT: 1
ACT: 5  Luck: 2  LVL: 1  XP: 0
AC: 2

Boons: Alert 1,  Athletics 1,  Melee 1
Flaws: Naive, Reckless
Spells: None
Gear:  Leather Armor (2), Battle Axe (1d6+1), Dagger (1d6), 8 GP.


Friday, January 15, 2021

Character Creation Challenge - Day 15 Spooktacular

Spooktacular, dubbed "A Cheerfully Spooky Role‐Playing Game" by the publisher is an
homage, yes a clone, of a very famous game based on a very famous movie featuring ghosts.  That famous game was also the first d6 dice pool game.  WEG's Star Wars used the system established by it.

There are several steps to creating a character in Spooktacular, many involving tables.  Now the rules say you can choose from the tables or roll.  I'm going to roll unless the results turn out to be contradictory.  

First Archetype.  There normal archetypes and weird archetypes.  I'll stick with normal.

Archetype: Inventory - I'm the only one who can create gadgets for hunting ghosts.  I can spend 3 Awesome Points to jury-rig a para-technology gadget.

Quirks: Dad Jokes, Goggle.  So I have a penchant for telling dad jokes and I always wear goggles.  Which makes sense for an inventor.

Stats: There are four stats that you divide 12 point between.  They can range from 1-5.  These are the number of dice you roll when attempting an action in each category.
Action 2
Brains 5
Contacts 2
Cool 3

Talents: You have one talent under each Stat.  When you use that talent you roll 3 extra dice.
Action - Run
Brains - Deduction
Contacts - Get Out of Jury Duty
Cool - Hard Sell

Motivation: Proving Myself - Gain Awesome Points whenever people recognize your

There's even a name table:  Eduardo Holtzmann


Name:           Eduardo Holztann
Archetype:    Inventor
Quirks:          Dad Jokes, Goggles
Motivation:    Proving Myself

Action 2 - Run
Brains 5 - Deduction
Contacts 2 - Get Out of Jury Duty
Cool 3 - Hard Sell

Awesome Points: 20

Etheric Ray Thrower
Ghost Puncher

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Character Creation Challenge - Day 14 Open Basic

Today I will create a character for Open Basic: Retro d100 Roleplaying.  This is a free
game based on a certain family of games from the late 70s/early 80s and is only 10 pages long.  It's focused on medieval type characters because that's what the weapons' list and skills are focused on and it has a supplement that adds in fantasy.  You can find Open Basic here.

To generate characteristics you roll 3d6 for Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence and Charisma.  And 2d6+6 for Intelligence and Size.

Then you calculate five derived Attributes.  Damage Modifier, Hit Points, Movement Rate, Lucky! and Smart!

Then Skills, which have a base value determined by your Characteristics and then you have points to distribute amongst them. 

And then finally equipment.  I rolled 70 silver pieces to spend and I start with leather armor and the weapon of my choice.

So here's my character.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Character Creation Challenge - Day 13 There and Back Again

I read and think about RPGs much more than I play them.  I look at a lot of blogs and read
a lot of posts.  One of my favorite posts (I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite) is "1937 Hobbit as a Setting" on the Rise Up Comus blog.  (Also "The Hobbit 1937" which is linked at the beginning of the post.)  It speculates out and then lays out what a setting and OSR type rules would be like if it were based on the original version of The Hobbit before it was modified to be more in line with The Lord of the Rings.

Well, a fellow named Ray Otus used these posts as inspiration to make a little game called There and Back Again.  The game is free and can be found here.

Here's a character:

Valdfast, Human Ranger
Toughness 7/Fate 3

Fighting: Hand to Hand Martial Combat
Foraging: Surviving (in the wild), Tracking

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Character Creation Challenge - Day 12 Dragon Warriors

Something a little different for day 12, a Dragon Warriors character.  Dragon Warriors wasn't something I heard about when I was a kid.  Of course, I think is was easier to miss being in the U.S.  I would've liked to have seen it though.  The original pocket book format is intriguing.  

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Character Creation Challenge - Day 10 Star Wars

I know I already created a Star Wars Character for the Challenge but when I turned on the TV this morning Star Wars was on.  The original one.  The one I loved as a kid.  And then The Empire Strikes Back.  And then Return of the Jedi.  So I just had to.  In fact I made two characters.  I'll post the second one tomorrow.  Today, I created the Brash Pilot.  He's a force user.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Character Creation Challenge - Day 9 Risus

Ah, Risus.  What can I say about Risus?  Such a simple, lovely little game.  And so easy to
create characters for.  Come up with a concept and split 10d6 between them with none starting higher 4d.

So, I think I'm going to create an Action Archaeologist from the 30's.  

Dr. Achilles Peters
Description:  An accomplished archaeologist whose field expeditions always seem to turn into adventures despite his best efforts and his classes turn chaotic as both female and male students seem to daydream the time away.

Daring Archaeologist (4)
Befuddled Professor (3)
Students Love the DR. (2)
Irremovable Hat (1)

Friday, January 8, 2021

Character Creation Challenge - Day 8 Melee

Though Melee itself isn't a roleplaying game, it was my gateway to roleplaying games and I actually used it kind of like one.  You are able to improve your character as they win fights and as they successfully completed the solo adventures like Death Test.  It was originally published by Metagaming in the late 70's through the early 80's and it was brought back by Steve Jackson Games in 2019 with most of the rest of The Fantasy Trip line.

ST 12
DX 12 (10)
MA 8

Broadsword 2d
Dagger 1-1

Leather     /  Stops 3
Sm Shield/   Hits

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Character Creation Challenge - Day 7 Cepheus Atom

 My choice of game for day 7 of the Character Creation Challenge is Cepheus Atom.  A post-apocalypse game powered by a simplified Cepheus engine. This is the first character I've made for it.  Super-simple and the entire game looks super-simple.  I loved Gamma World back in the day so I can't wait to try it.

Fillable character sheet from the Polyhedral Nonsense blog.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Character Creation Challenge - Day 6 The Sword of Cepheus.

For day 6 of the Character Creation Challenge I decided to create a character in a game that's
new to me, The Sword of Cepheus.  Though Sword is new to me the game it's based on isn't.  It's a direct descendant of Traveller.  And I've created dozens of Traveller characters over the years.  Most of them simply for the fun of it.  So here goes.

In this game you roll two d6 six times and arrange them how you want.  I rolled pretty well and, after looking over the career tables, decided I wanted to try to make this character a soldier.

STR 9 DEX 7 END 10 INT 7 EDU 5 SOC 9

I chose the Savage Hinterland background which gave me the skills:
Athletics 1
Recon 1
Survival 1

Your character starts at the age of 14 and goes through 4 year terms in their career.  You can choose the career you would like your character to be in, however, you must make a qualification roll.  If you fail the qualification roll you must take the Commoner or Noble career, depending on your Social Standing, or choose the Vagabond career.

So I wanted my character to be a Soldier.  The qualification roll is 8+ with a bonus for a high endurance.  I rolled a 7 but I got a +1 for my Endurance so I made it.

Term 1
First is basic training.  The character receives their six service skill at level 0.  So I get.
Craft 0
Archery 0
Artillery 0
Melee Combat 0
Recon 0
Riding 0

And I get Melee Combat 1 for being a simple Legionary.

Having a skill at 0 means you don't get an unskilled penalty.  Since he already has Recon at 1, receiving it at 0 has no effect.

Next is a Survival Roll.  If you don't make this your character dies.  I need a 6 with a STR bonus.  I pass easily.

Since I survived I get two skills for my first term.  I roll:
Melee Combat

Then an Advancement Roll which is SOC 6+.  I pass that and I'm promoted to Tesserarius.  I receive a skill for that and another roll.
+1 DEX

Then I rolled for a life event.  I rolled Art of War.

Then it's time to reenlist if you want.  I need a 5, rolled a 7 and choose to.

Term 2  Age 18
I survived, received another promotion, rode with the cavalry but failed my reenlistment roll.  So it's time to muster out.  I get two mustering out rolls, one for each term but I do not have a high enough rank to gain any rolls from that.  I decide to roll once on each table.
200 gold

So this is my character:

Jag Daku
Age 22 Former Soldier  Final Rank: Signifier

STR 9 DEX 8 END 10 INT 7 EDU 5 SOC 9

Athletics 1
Recon 1
Survival 1
Craft 0
Archery 1
Artillery 0
Melee Combat 2
Riding 1
Tactics 1
Leadership 1
Stealth 1

200 Gold
Fancy Sword

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Character Creation Challenge - Day 5 Swords & Six-Siders Expanded

I chose Swords & Six-Siders Expanded for Day 5 of the Character Creation Challenge. 

S&SS is an interesting little OSR type game that only uses a d6.  It uses the usual six attributes but they only range from 1 to 6.  The generation method is a bit unusual though.  You roll three d6's to and then take the opposite of the results to fill out the other three.  For example, if one of the results is a 6 then the opposite is a 1, the opposite of a 2 would be a 5, etc.  And then you place them how you want them.

The steps are:

Choose your race:  I choose Human.
Next you roll your attributes:  I rolled a 6, 5, 3.  So the opposites are 1, 2, 4.
The next step is choose class.  Since I want to be a Fighter I arrange my rolls as such.  An advantage Humans have is the get to add 2 points to their attributes.  I will add 1 to DEX and 1 to INT.


Attributes of 6 give a +1 on saving throws and 1's give a -1.
Next is Alignment:  Neutral
Hit Points 3

Heroes are given whatever equipment they need to start with.  He will be equipped with a shield and helmet which will give him an armor class of 6 and chain mail which will give him a damage resistance of 2.

So here here is my fighter.

Topias the Fierce
Fighter Level 1

HP 3 Attack +1 Damage +0
AC 6 DR 2
Languages: Common, Dwarf

Class Skills and Special Abilities
Cleave Attack
Dual Wield
Brute Force

Chain Armor
Other Equipment.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Character Creation Challenge - Day 4 Star Wars

I've been watching The Mandalorian recently so deciding what this character was going to be was easy.  A bounty hunter.  I'm using the 1st edition rules for West End Games' Star Wars:The Roleplaying Game.  And, of course, I'm using the Bounty Hunter template.  Character creation in WEG Star Wars is a snag with the templates.  It just takes a minute or two to decide how to distribute the skill points and your done.

Nikobo Oakmaat
Bounty Hunter
Dexterity 4DPerception 3D
Blaster 5DHide/Sneak 3D+1
Dodge 5DSearch 4D
Knowledge 2D+2Strength 3D+2
Streetwise 3DBrawling 4D+2
Mechanical 2D+2Technical 2D
Starship Piloting 3DSecurity 3D
Medicine 3D
heavy blaster
hold-out blaster
blaster pistol
thermal detonator
another knife
protective vest
two medpacs
1000 standard credits

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Character Creation Challenge - Day 3 Far Trek

 Far Trek is an homage to Star Trek by C.R. Brandon.  You can find it his Far Trek blog.  It is a simple 3d6 system.  It is classed based in a way as you are either a Yellow Shirt, a Blue Shirt or a Red Shirt.  I decided to go risky today and make a character who is not only a Red Shirt but also a member of the security branch.

Ensign Enibish Geser (Human, Red Shirt Security)

ST +2 IQ 0 DX +1 CH 0
Fate Points: 3

Skills:  Armed Melee +1, Interrogate +1, Investigate, Marksmanship +2, Unarmed Melee +1, Small Unit Tactics +1

Talents:  Brawler, Heroic, Ripped Shirt

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Character Creation Challenge - Day 2 OneDice Space

 My second character for the challenger will be for OneDice Space. The book comes with a

broad sample setting which I am going to use for this character.  The action will be set during the Federation era and the Character will be the captain of a UnitedSpaceOrg Deep Survey Ship.

Captain Carlos Ding

ST 2  CL 2 QK 2
HT 6 DF 6 Move 20
Stunt Points 6

Command 1
Negotiate 1
Pilot 1
Shooting 1
Computers 1
Artwork by David Okum
Bruiser 1

Uniform, Laser Pistol, Communicator

Friday, January 1, 2021

Character Creation Challenge

 There is a character creation challenge out there

So, I'm going to give it a try.  There will be repeats in systems.  At least variations of the same systems.  But I enjoy creating characters so what the heck.

First up is B/X created by the book.  I want to start with something simple.

Name: Thorn
Class: Fighter
STR 15 +1HP: 7
INT 11
WIS 9AC: 4
DEX 10
CON 14 +1Align: Lawful
Level: 1EXP: 0GP: 7
Lg Sack

Rolling attributes down the line gave me a fighter.  I didn't adjust any of the scores.  I rolled 90 gp to start with so there you have it.