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Monday, November 29, 2010

Lulu have a sale today

Use the code CYBER305 at checkout to save 25%. It's only good for today. I recommend Fight On! and any and all the retro-clones.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Relationship rules

Over on the RPGSite, there's a thread by Ryan Dancey about how games need to evolve with more rules about relationships and similar things, and less emphasis on combat. While I don't agree completely with this idea, I think a way to reward character relationships that I could tack onto S&W or BFRPG is a good idea.

Some generic ideas:
1. PCs get XP rewards if they work on a relationship with an NPC. This would need to be something important, like a spouse or a major contact. (Taking the princess to a ball and dancing the night away, on your own initiative).
2. PCs who actively work towards a relationship goal (marry the princess, become a confidant of the king) might get a bonus. Maybe as long as they are working towards the goal, they get +1 to rolls directly involved with achieving it.
3. PCs who ignore a relationship might gain a penalty, such as a reaction roll penalty, while dealing with the NPC and his friends. (If you blow off the princess after she asks about you, she gets angry).
4. PCs might be coerced by a significant other to accomplish some goal, by receiving a penalty if they ignore their relationship, and only losing the penalty when they start working on it. (If the princess invites you to a soiree, and you avoid it for some reason, you receive a penalty until you actually meet with her).

Not sure if I would use these or not, and if I did, I wouldn't use all of them. But I think it's an idea worth exploring.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why I don't like Fumble rules

A number of games include rules (or even house rules) for fumbling. Usually, on a  roll of a 1, something bad happens. I'm not real fond of this. While it can produce some funny results, this rule is much more likely to hurt players than it is to help them. In general, players roll the dice a lot more than the DM. They are using the same character week after week. Having fumble rules affect them is much more likely to kill off their character than it is to help them in some way. I know at least a few DMs have an almost adversarial outlook while gaming, so they really like adding in random stuff like fumbles.

I don't really think this is necessary, especially if you are playing some kind of retroclone or any older edition of D&D. In these games, player mortality is already pretty high. Adding in such a random factor like fumbles is just icing on the cake. If a player dies, I'd prefer it be because he did something stupid or lost in a fight that he already knew was dangerous. Not because he dropped his sword and the blade sliced open his leg.

I could see using fumble rules for NPCs only. That would still add the comedic effect that fumbles produce, without actively harming my friends characters.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hex mapping program

I found wildgen while looking for a hex mapping program. The linked page generates random maps similar to those found in old D&D products. On the sidebar, there is also a link to an add-on for GIMP that will let you make your own hex maps. It's very easy to use, and I thought I'd let everyone know about it.

There's also a pretty cool random person generator that uses tarot cards, along with Traveller hex maps, etc. It's really just a great site for gamers.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

BFRPG Shifters


Shifters have lycanthropic ancestry. 

Description: Shifters appear to be bestial human hybrids. Males are bearded, while women have sideburns. Their hair color is black, brown, gray, or red. Their eyes are black. All Shifters have pronounced canines, long tufted ears, and heavy claws. Shifters wear a minimum amount of clothing, as their nature prevents them from becoming too cold. Males average 6’0” in height, and weigh around 180 pounds. Females average 5’8” in height, and weigh around 145 pounds.

Restrictions: Shifters may become Clerics, Fighters, and Thieves. They must have a minimum Constitution of 9. Due to their bestial nature, they have a maximum Intelligence of 17.

Special Abilities: Shifters can see at night as if it were daytime. This only works if there is some light source available, such as starlight or moonlight. They do not have normal Darkvision. Due to their enhanced bestial senses, they gain a +1 bonus vs. surprise. Shifters are very fast, and have a base movement of 45’ per round. Their claws grant them 1d4 damage in combat, and are considered natural weapons which all Shifters are proficient with (Shifters do not use the standard unarmed combat rules).

Saving Throws: Shifters gain a +1 bonus vs. any Cold effects.

Middle           Old     Venerable    Age Limit

    35                50             70              +2d10

Special House Rule: Shifter Fighters may take the Profession of Claw Fighter. Their claws then do 1d6 damage and they benefit from the “roll 2d6, keep the highest” Dual Weapons rule. Shifters that are not Claw Fighters can roll 2d4 and keep the highest result if they don’t use a weapon.

A pdf is available HERE.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

BFRPG Nephilim


Nephilim have the blood of angels in their veins.

Description: Nephilim have an otherworldly beauty. Many are pale, with light blond hair. They have finely chiseled features. Males stand around 5’10” tall, and weigh around 160 pounds. Females stand around 5’6” tall, and weigh around 130 pounds. All nephilim will have at least one strange feature. This ranges from blue, green, pink, or white hair; eyes being all white with no iris or pupil; eyes of pure gold; vestigial wings; pointed ears; feathers instead of hair; light blue, light green, or golden skin; etc. Players must select 1d4 distinguishing features at character creation.

Restrictions: Nephilim may become Clerics or Fighters. They are required to have a minimum Charisma of 9. Due to their ethereal nature, they may not have a Constitution higher than 17.

Special Abilities: Nephilim have Darkvision with a 60' range. This can not be affected by magical Darkness spells.

Saving Throws: Nephilim gain a +2 vs. Magic Wands and Spells.
Middle           Old     Venerable    Age Limit

100                 150          200              +1d100

There is a pdf available HERE.

Friday, November 19, 2010

BFRPG Cambions

Cambions have infernal ancestry. They are the byproducts of a demon or devil mating with a mortal.

Description: Cambions have dark hair and dusky skin. Males stand about 5’10”, and weigh around 160 pounds. Females stand about 5’6” tall, and weigh around 130 pounds. All Cambions have a strange feature that sets them apart from humans, and many have multiple ones. These features include things like small horns, pointed teeth, red eyes, black eyes with no whites, a forked tongue, tufted pointed ears, an odor of burning charcoal, a tail, or even goat legs. No two Cambions are the same. Players must select 1d4 distinguishing features at character creation.

Restrictions: Cambions may become Clerics, Fighters, Magic-Users, or Thieves. They are also allowed to combine any other class with Thief, as described in Combination Classes. They are required to have a minimum Dexterity of 9. Due to their hellish nature, they may not have a Wisdom higher than 17.

Special Abilities: All Cambions have Darkvision with a 60’ range. They can not be affected by magical Darkness spells.

Saving Throws: Cambions save at +2 vs. elemental attacks such as fire, cold, or electricity.
Middle           Old     Venerable                Age Limit
   100              150          200                          +1d100

There is a pdf available HERE.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Carcosa's upcoming reprint

The upcoming Carcosa reprint is going to be expanded in some way according to Raggi's blog, and I hope they do more than just add some artwork. I'd love to see the various tidbits from Fight On! added in, along with stuff like Strange Sites. I would happily get all this stuff packaged into one big book. I doubt it would happen, especially due to all the different authors, but a big collection would suit me just fine. New material would also be very cool.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

BFRPG House Rules revised

I've been working on Basic Fantasy stuff again. I really like these rules, and they are inching their way into my favorites spot. These house rules adjust classes a bit, add in some new armor types, add rules for barding (which are referred to but not included in the ruleset), and rules for Two Weapon Fighting.
A pdf is HERE that is better formatted (posting tables here is very hard to format).



Clerics do NOT Turn Undead.
Divine Protection: Clerics gain a +1 to all saves vs. effects caused by undead (mummy rot, fear, etc). They also can make a saving throw vs. death ray against level drain attacks that normally do not allow saves (with the +1 bonus).

Fighter Professions: Fighters choose one profession during character creation and gain the associated ability. They gain an additional profession at level 10.

Archer: The Archer is a skilled bowman, and gains +1 to hit with ranged weapons.
Duelist: Duelists score a critical hit on a natural roll of 20, unless only a 20 will hit their foe. Critical hits automatically do maximum weapon damage.
Hoplite: Hoplites may attack with their shields. If they hit, they do 1d3 damage and their opponent must save vs. paralysis or fall down. Creatures larger than the hoplite automatically pass their saving throw.
Knife Fighter: Knife Fighters cause 1d6 damage with daggers.
Noble: Nobles gain a +1 bonus to henchmen loyalty and may have 1d3 additional followers.
Pugilist: Pugilists cause 1d6 damage with unarmed strikes. They may attack armored enemies with no penalty if they are wearing some type of hand protection.
Scout: Scouts gain a +1 bonus to avoid surprise.
Soldier: Soldiers gain a +2 AC bonus from shields, instead of the normal +1.
Templar: Templars can Heal a number of hit points equal to 2 times their level once per day.
Warrior: Warriors get one attack per level each turn against foes of one hit dice or less.
Weapon Master: Weapon masters may choose one melee weapon to master. They gain a +1 bonus to hit with this weapon type.

Use d6 for HD.
Thieves use the alternate thief skill advancement table.
Thieves specialize in knife fighting and cause 1d6 damage with daggers.

Minor Magic: Magic-Users can cast minor "everyday/non-combat" magic at will. Attempting something abusive fails automatically. Usable once per round if no other action taken. Abusive uses include pickpocket attempts, combat effects, etc.

Some examples:
• Light a candle or pipe with a flame from the finger tip.
• Dust things – at first level a minor magic spell might be needed for each shelf or piece of furniture, while at third level a single spell might dust a room and at sixth level the magic-user's entire three story tower.
• Tie or untie a knot.

Wizard Blast: A Magic-User can shoot a blast of magic energy once per round. They must roll to hit target normally.
Damage: 1d4 Range: short 60, medium 120, long 180.
Wizard Blast is usable once per round if no other action taken and requires pointing at the target. The visible effects can be fire, ice, or whatever the Magic-User desires (this effect does not affect damage, it only adds color to the ability).

Armor Type                  Cost                  Weight             AC
Quilted Armor              15 gp                      20                13
Bone Armor                  25 gp                      20                14
Studded Leather           40 gp                      20                14
Banded Armor            200 gp                      35                16

Barding: Gives an animal a +2 AC bonus.
Horse barding: 100 gp. Weighs 60 lb.
Dog barding: 20 gp. Weighs 5 lb.

Lost levels and ability points are regained at a rate of one level per week following the attack.

The optional ability rolls rule from page 141 will be in use.

Characters that fight with two weapons roll 2d6 for damage and keep the higher die roll. If the character is using two daggers or other low damage weapons, they roll 2d4 and keep the highest result. Knife fighters and thieves roll 2d6 and keep the highest result while using two daggers. Pugilists also roll 2d6 for damage and keep the higher die roll, while other unarmed combatants are subject to the standard Brawling rules.


Here's the games I played in the 80's and early 90's. I was just thinking about this stuff lately, guess I'm getting nostalgic.

Marvel Super Heroes - Played a few games. It was fun, but not a major campaign.
Moldvay B/X plus Mentzer Companion set - This was my go-to game for the first few years I played.
AD&D 1e - Played for a couple years.
AD&D 2e - Played a LOT. Vastly prefer the 2e thief to the 1e version.
MERP - Loved this game. We played this one a lot.
Star Frontiers - This was the generic sf game we played. Just a couple one-shots. We liked fantasy more.
Rifts - Several major campaigns of this. Loved the setting, and liked the rules. I had a Ley Line Walker that could just destroy stuff.
Twilight 2000 - We played this a few months while I was in the Navy. It was a lot of fun.

Settings we used:
Forgotten Realms 1e box set. We had a Wild West style fantasy game going for several years in between Rifts adventures.
A Middle Earth/Shadow World conglomeration. We used modules from both settings (though the game was nominally in Middle Earth).
The Known World. I got a LOT of milage out of X1.
Starship Troopers style game with the Star Frontiers rules.
Rifts North America. We wandered around causing all kinds of havoc. It was a blast.
Post-apocalyptic Poland and then Pennsylvania. We actually had the setting book for where I grew up in Bedford. It was kind of funny, and not so accurate.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerors in Hyperborea

There's some new info about this game on RPG Site that I think is interesting. I do think the retro game field is pretty damn full already, so ASS&H is already fighting an uphill battle.

This game appears to offer a lot of magic using classes, at least more than I would expect from an S&S game. Not sure if it will help or hurt the system overall. I also think the subclass Legerdemainist is a terrible name, with no basis in any S&S books. But it appears that it will be staying.

Ghul does make an appearance in the thread and allowed Benoist to post a first draft of the Hyperborea map, which looks pretty good. Anyways, this game has been in development for a long time, so hopefully it will knock my socks off.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Improved Fighters for S&W WhiteBox

In regular WhiteBox, fighters are kind of lackluster compared to clerics and mages. I've modified my BFRPG rules slightly to improve the WB fighter class slightly, without making it overpowered. 
Fighter Professions: Fighters choose one profession during character creation and gain the associated ability. This is in addition to the normal Fighter abilities. Dwarfs and Halflings may also choose a Profession.
Archer: The Archer is a skilled bowman, and gains +1 to hit with one type of ranged weapon (chosen at 1st level).
Duelist: Duelists score a critical hit on a natural roll of 20, unless only a 20 will hit their foe. Critical hits automatically do maximum weapon damage.
Noble: Nobles gain a +1 bonus to henchmen loyalty and may have an additional 1d3 followers.
Pugilist: Pugilists cause 1d6 damage with unarmed strikes and have a +1 AC bonus while unarmored.
Rogue: Rogues gain a +1 bonus to find traps.
Scout: Scouts gain a +1 bonus to avoid surprise.
Soldier: Soldiers gain a +2 AC bonus from shields, instead of the normal +1.
Templar: Templars gain a +1 bonus to save vs. level drain attacks.
Warrior: Warriors can re-roll one to-hit roll per game session.
Weapon Master: Weapon masters may choose one melee weapon to master. They gain a +1 bonus to hit with this weapon type.

NOTE: In WhiteBox, there are no rules for unarmed combat (I don't know why). For my house rules, I just have unarmed attacks do 1d3 damage. I would also add magic gauntlets to treasure tables.
I consider Trap-Finding to be similar to searching for hidden doors.
I also use the Variant Elf class, and they do not gain a profession since they are part-time mages.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Adventures featuring religion

I think it would be cool if adventures featuring religion were published. Stuff like getting hired to recover an artifact by one faction of a church in order to one-up another faction of the same church. Or to make the local priest look really good so that he can get a promotion to bishop. In a world with real gods, it seems that there should be a lot of this stuff going on. But most published adventures avoid this like the plague.

I understand part of it is to try and avoid the "satan worshiper" crap, but most of that has died out nowadays. And seriously, if White Wolf wasn't affected by it, I doubt an OSR publisher would be.

Anyways, I think it would be a cool idea. If there is a sacred scroll known to be in some ruins infested with monsters, I'm sure the local priest would love to have it recovered. And he would also take the credit for the recovery, at least with his fellow priests. It's an easy way to add politics into a game, as well. If the party cleric recovers the scroll, he might use it to gain influence with his higher-ups, trading it for more recognition and maybe a magical reward of some type.

Friday, November 5, 2010

People in the tavern

So, just who is in the tavern the adventurers are hanging out in?

1. Bartender/owner. Big, burly, happy guy.
2. Three wenches. Two younger hotties, one middle-aged. All three are single.
3. A couple off-duty guardsmen, just winding down from a patrol. They really don't want to be bothered.
4. Some laborers, drinking a couple for the walk home.
5. A group of partiers, celebrating someone's birthday. They might buy friendly people drinks and will happily gossip.
6. The local drunk. He might be passed out. He is rumored to be a deserter from the neighboring empires military.
7. A couple thugs, looking to start a bar fight. They don't bother the locals, though.
8. Some mercenaries, looking for work. They take an interest in obvious adventurers, hoping to impress them.
9. A local politician, plotting with some businessmen. The deal might be shady, or they might be planning a local festival.
10. A mysterious stranger, sitting in a dark corner. Rumors are that he is some kind of spy.
11. Another group of adventurers, fresh back from a successful dungeon exploration. One of them is missing from last week.
12. A road warden, looking for some help against poachers. He can provide a small reward.
13. A thief, looking for someone too drunk to prevent their coins from being lifted. She knows who the local thieves and fences are.
14. A traveling noble, a few guards, and some beautiful companions. The guards do not want the noble disturbed.
15. The local prostitute, who pays a bit to the barkeeper to use a room. She's very pretty, but will happily steal from the unwary. The locals look down on her.
16. A creepy, quiet guy that everyone avoids. Rumors are that he is some kind of cultist.
17. A great big warhound. He stays near the fireplace, hoping for spilled slop from the pot. The older wench watches out for him, and makes sure he's fed.
18. An elf. Obviously looking to cast a spell on some poor farmer.
19. A group of local farmers. Talking weather and worried about the elf.
20. A hunter, who brings kills in for the bartender. He's in love with one of the wenches.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The abandoned tower

Just why is there an "abandoned" tower near the village?

1. An insane mage used to live there. His creations still guard the tower.
2. A noble family was murdered there, and it's line wiped out. The tower is haunted by their ghosts.
3. Tax collectors kicked the last owners out when they could not pay their taxes. No one else can pay the taxes, either.
4. Bandits live there, and no one has bothered to remove them.
5. A lich moved in. Everyone is scared to death to go anywhere near the tower, now.
6. It's a giant trap, created to kill adventurers.
7. Goblins live there, and scare away the locals with fake ghost sitings.
8. The tower is holy to the local church. But it's in disrepair, so the local priest just holds a service there on certain days, but otherwise leaves the place alone.
9. The tower is an illusion. It was placed by some wandering mage, and the local villagers love to send unwary adventures there as a practical joke.
10. The tower only appears at night if there is a fog. And strange screams and howls are heard from it when it is there.
11. It's just abandoned. No one cares enough to live there.