Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Looking back at 2011 and looking forward at 2012, I really do not have profound observations, predictions, or resolutions to make at all.  Thanks to all that follow this blog and I hope you have a great 2012!  Most important, I hope every one out there is in a better situation this next year than they are at the current moment.  With that being said, I do have one thought about the future...

Actual Play 
I do not recall playing any role-playing games in the last year; maybe longer even.  I came back to the hobby with the release of 3E and since then have discovered the OSR movement and I am a fan of several of the games.  That is all well and good but I have not had many opportunities to play recently.  I have some games I would like to play - BFRPG, Mutant Future, Pathfinder, Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardy, CFRPG, Dark Dungeons - but I will be completely honest and say that I do not even care what the system is at this point. I just WANT TO PLAY just about any rpg.  I would not even care if it was not face to face, either.  It could be play by post or whatever.  I do not care!  Any suggestions?

I originally intended to include several more "thoughts" in this post BUT I believe this is the most relevant to my enjoyment of the hobby from this point on.


A Peek at Perilous Journeys 2

A Question Answered
In my last post about Perilous Journeys, I wondered if there were any differences between the pdf and the print version of the rules.  The author, Jamie Hardy, has informed me that the only differences are the cover to the print version and the fixing of some typos and minor clarifications. Just an FYI for those interested.

Now, a look at the character creation process in Perilous Journeys...

Two things caught my attention when reading the introduction of the character creation chapter of the rule book.  First, the beginning characters created with this system are not weaklings and the power level is one that is "appropriate... for characters that would be adventuring in a dangerous world".  Some might argue that the "OD&D feel" mentioned in the foreword of the rule book is not in agreement with this.  I disagree with that view.  The characters in both games just begin at a differing level of power.  Second, the rules ask each player to come up a somewhat fleshed out character concept before character creation begins. It is even pointed out that this concept should be more than just "warrior" or "thief" but should include details on personality, abilities, how the character was trained, etc.

The Character Creation Steps
There are 14 steps to creating a character in the Perilous Journeys rules.  Some of the steps are either optional or do not apply to every character due choices made in other steps.  It may sound like a lot of steps but - I am happy to say - the steps are clear without any confusion to the reader.  Unlike Lejendary Adventure, I am 100% confident that I understand the steps and can actually create a character.  In fact, I am tempted to once again pull out my Lejendary Adventures book to see if I can make any more sense of those rules.

Players have 8 races to choose from in the Perilous Journeys rule book.  Four of the races - Dryad, Fomorian, Lurikeen, and Wild Elves - offer a wider variety of chooses for the player.  Some might be wondering why the Wild Elf is simply not listed as a sub-race of the Elf.  After a little examination, it is clear that the two races are quite different from each other.  A simple sub-race listing would not work in this case.

Each race entry is laid out in an easy to follow format.  First, there are some introductory remarks about the race that includes physical details.  Second, the generation of the Core Attributes is covered in detail in this section.  Players have two options here - a point based method or a points plus random rolls method; both methods seem viable but the choice of method is up to the GM.  Third, this section covers the selection of Abilities (commonly called skills in other games) for the character being generated.  Humans are free to choose anything but the non-human races have abilities that are excluded - they can never learn them - and others that are restricted - they can not begin play with these abilities.  Fourth, the race entries end with Racial Traits that are other capabilities such as immunity, special hearing, special vision, etc.

This is just a beginning post on character creation.  I am going to try to locate my Lejendary Adventures rule books so I can do a side by side examination for several sections of the two rule sets; explaining my problems with LA and any insights with PJ.  I feel that is the proper way to continue this look at Perilous Journeys.  If I am unable to locate my LA books then I will just continue examining the PJ rules alone.  More later...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I'm Back...

To make a long story really short, I will begin posting ASAP after a real world issue.  I was supposed to do a temporary move so the apartment complex could do a renovation on all of the units and then move back in.  As expected, NOTHING went as planned so I was moved twice and just now got back into my unit.  Then there were issues with my belongings getting delivered from storage.  Without any boring details, I'm back and will resume posting in the next few days,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Peek at Perilous Journeys 1

My initial post about Perilous Journeys was just my way of drawing attention to the free download of the game. I've decided to take a closer look at Perilous Journeys in pdf form.  I will be purchasing a print copy after the holiday season calms down.  

Before I begin looking at Perilous Journeys I feel it is important to explain my experience with Lejendary Adventures.  I stumbled across the Lejendary Adventure players manual in a FLGS one day and immediately purchased it after I noticed the name "Gary Gygax" and skimmed through the book.  I was pretty excited because it looked like a simple and straightforward skill based game using percentile dice for resolution.  Unfortunately, I just did not "get it" at all. 

I made multiple attempts at character creation and never went further with the rules.  My biggest problem was that I came away with a different understanding each time I read the rules.  I agree with others about the language or writing style being biggest stumbling block to understanding the LA system.  I disagree about the use of nontraditional role-playing terms.  I have no problem understanding that Avatar is equal to player character, Order is basically equal to class, and on down the line with the rest of the terms.  I believe the use of these unique terms is a plus and helps set the tone as something different from the previous work of Gygax.  

I am no stranger to the works and style of Gygax.  I read and understood the AD&D works, Cyborg Commando, and Dangerous Journeys. After reading through the character creation process in LA repeated times I grew very frustrated with the rules.  At first they seem pretty simple to follow but using them left me utterly confused.  I downloaded the quick start and that seemed to help a little but I was unable to bridge the gap between the quick start and the core rules.  

Ultimately, I came away from the LA rules disappointed.  I got the impression that a smooth rules-light game was waiting to be discovered with the rule book. I also felt that the writing style did not facilitate the understanding of the rules.  I must point out that this is not a dig against Gygax.  I am just saying that the rules as presented did not work for me. 

As a quick aside, I just wanted to point out that I thought it was interesting that both Arneson and Gygax stepped outside the realm of D20 based gaming and explored percentile based games with Adventures in Fantasy and Lejendary Adventure.  

How did I find Perilous Journeys?  I frequently check the threads at Dragonsfoot; specifically, the General Discussion, AD&D, Workshop, Lejendary Adventure, and Simulacrum Games forum.  I was checking the forums one day and came across this thread bringing attention to a new game with a design similar to LA.  After a download and a little investigation of the rules, I decided to bring attention to this game by taking a closer look at it in my blog.

Basic Details
I am taking a look at pdf version of the Perilous Journeys core rule book.  The document is black and white with illustrations and weighs in at 129 pages.  The artwork does a good job of capturing old school adventuring and there is an overall absence of dungeonpunk characters and monsters found elsewhere.  That gets a big thumps up from me because I really dislike a lot of the modern art in 4E.  I assume the only thing missing from the pdf version is the front and back cover.  The cover of the print version is displayed below.

The preface states several important things that form my impression of where this game is headed with the rules.
  • PJ is a skill based game that attempts to mimic the feel of OD&D but not the mechanics.
  • PJ has streamlined and flexible mechanics that will not hinder play of the game.
  • PJ has broad skills that allow the customization of characters.
This sounds an awful lot like what I heard about LA but that is a good thing.  If Perilous Journeys delivers for me in the ways that LA could not then I will be a very happy gamer.

The next section is a list of the common terms used in Perilous Journeys.  Usually I just quickly skim through these in other rule books to see if anything unfamiliar catches my eye.  I actually read every one of these definitions and found them very satisfactory in their explanation of the respective term.  The terms and labels used in Perilous Journeys should be familiar to most people that have played just a few role playing games.  The few new terms are explained in a clear manner that causes no confusion to the reader.  


That concludes the beginning of my examination of Perilous Journeys.  Fatherly duties call at the moment but I will continue with this later.  The next part of the rules is about character creation.

Monday, December 12, 2011

For Fans of Lejendary Adventures

If you are a fan of Lejendary Adventures - or tried to get into the game and was put off by the writing style - then you might want to check this site out:

Perilous Journeys download and information

Guest Post: Ethan (5 years old)

Yes, this is a junk post.  I came in from taking out the trash and my 5 year old was typing away on my netbook.  He said he "wanted to add his words to mine" so here it is - a guest post by my 5 year old.  I'm sure there is some nugget of role-playing wisdom hidden within but I have yet to find it. 

******************** ( Guest Post Below ) *******************

  1. bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb      bbbbbbbb                 vvvvvv bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbhhhhhh         bbbbbbbbbbbbbbb           bbbbb  bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444  4444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444                                                                                                                                                 bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb                                                                                        bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb bbbbb          bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb4444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb vvvvvvvvvvvv bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb      vvvvvvvvvvvvv         bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbxxxxxxxxx xxx         xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx                                  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx                 vvvvcccc                                             bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb                          bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb1111111111111bbbb    vvvvvvvv                                                                               

Saturday, December 10, 2011

[Old Gaming Notebook] A Supers Campaign

I have played several of the superhero role playing games that have been published over the years; including Marvel Super Heroes, DC Heroes, Villains & Vigilantes, Champions, Heroes Unlimited, Super World, and a few others. I always preferred the ones that used Earth as the setting for the game. I was also a big fan of the Wild Cards series of novels. I came up with an idea for a supers campaign but I never did get around to fleshing it out and running any games using it. There are probably some pretty close parallels between Wild Cards in some areas. It's been a while since I read those novels, so who knows? Anyway, here are some ideas for the campaign setting.

The Setting
The setting for this game would be a parallel planet Earth in "modern times". The timeline and history of this fictional Earth would parallel the history of real Earth in every detail up to approximately the Vietnam era. At that time, the U.S. government (and others) would start experimenting with creating super soldiers to send into combat. This event would be where the big differences between the parallel Earths would begin to take place. Note: If I were to do this today, I would change that part of the back story. I would start the super soldier experimentation with the terrorist attacks on North America. As a result of this experimentation, the rise of super beings would forever change the world. Some of these beings would fight on the side of good while some would fight on the side of evil. Imagine how the existence of super powered beings would effect history.

Three Generations of Supers
Campaigns could be set up in one of three basic points in history.
  • The first generation of supers would be the result of the terrorist attacks on North America. Of course, I would probably change that to include the entire world. Maybe there were several countries working on a post-nuclear class of weapons. Among these scientists there was a group of radicals that wanted to prove a point. They set off these new weapons and the results are not completely as predicted. Some of the people caught in areas where these weapons were deployed develop super powers. These supers would be considered Altered or Mutated Humans.
  • The second generation of supers would be from governmental experimentation. These would be supers that the government would "control" and be used to combat rogue supers and fight in conflicts. There would also be governments that have early technological designs to fight with or against supers. There would be Altered, Mutants, and some techno heroes in this part of the timeline.
  • The third generation of supers would be the modern day of the setting. Supers are around due to the terrorist action, the reaction of the various governments, some of the descendants of the first or second generation supers have carried on the powers, and now there are supers due to weapons manufacturing corporations getting producing their own stuff.
Other Notes
I also thought that the tone and feel of the game could be enhanced by using quotes from appropriate sources to match the tone I wanted to get across. Maybe use a quote from the Bible such as Gen 1:26 " And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion..." at the beginning of the chapter detailing the history of the world.

I still need to figure out a way to bring in the other types of supers - aliens, cybernetic, magic, psionic, etc.

This is, obviously, just the beginnings of an idea. I kind of left the path of the original idea and just went with how I would update it now but it gets the idea across. I think if little details like the quotes and historical parallels were fleshed out it could be a fun campaign. I may turn out to be another project that I just do not have the time for...

[Adventures in Fantasy] Book of Faerry and Magic Pt. 3

In this post I look at the Permanent Magic section of the Book of Faerry and Magic.

The short introductory paragraph points out a few facts about the Permanent Magic system presented in this rule book.  First, the system presented in these rules is a simplified version of more advanced rules scheduled for a future supplement; it never saw the light of day.  Second, a magician using this system may turn any spell or Faerry rune that he is capable of casting into a permanent effect.  Third, in the basic game Faerry songs can not be made permanent.

What can a permanent spell be cast on?
A permanent spell can be cast on two things - a permanent edifice (building, statue, etc.) or an artifact (weapon, ring, medallion, etc.).  The magician casting the spell must be intimately associated with the permanent edifice.  For a magician to be intimately associated with an edifice, he must have lived in or near (within 200 feet) for no less than 28 days.  If this is not possible, then the casting magician must successfully perform a ritual of purification.  For an artifact, the casting magician must have made the artifact himself out of virgin material - material that has never been forged into an artifact previously.  In other words, it must start out as raw material and then forged into a sword before being enchanted.

The permanent magic ritual
The ritual for permanent magic continues the medieval flavor set forth earlier in the game.  Put simply, the ritual requires casting of a spell over a week's time and the magician must not be disturbed during this casting.  The permanent magic will be focused on a targeted spot and will trigger when someone other than the magician approaches within 10 feet.

The effect of permanent magic
This part is pretty straightforward.  Unless otherwise noted, the effect of the permanet magic will function exactly as if the caster has cast the spell from the focal point of the permanent magic.

Limits of permanent magic
There are a few limits to the permanent magic ability of a caster. 
  • A permanent spell cast on an edifice is limited to a total equalling the caster's Magic Ability.  For instance, if a magician has the ability to cast a total of 20 points of magic spells then the caster can use a total of 20 points in an edifice for his lifetime.  If the magician improves his magic ability to use 24 points he can now cast a 4 point permanent magic spell on an edifice.
  • If the permanent magic is put into an item or artifact then the toal is per year instead of over the caster's lifetime.
How to determine permanent magic ability
At this point, the book describes how to determine the magic ability of a magician with a formula that involves the experience level and magic points per level.  This section also covers the limits above but does so in an easier digested manner.

Permanent magic duration
It is generally assumed that permanent magic will last forever; even the death of the caster will not affect the magic.  There are, however, a few ways for it to end. 
  • If the magic is dispelled.
  • The terms of the spell are broken. (Applicable to artifacts, items, etc.)
  • Breaking of the item/focal point of the spell. (There are repercussions.)

That concludes the Permanent Magic chapter of the AiF rules.  It is interesting to see a magic system inspired by medieval beliefs that is not bogged down by a ton of rules, charts, and cross referencing back and forth between several different locations in the book.  Other systems have gone overboard in trying to replicate the medieval feel by tacking on rule after rule.  While that route may give a much truer and authentic feel, after a certain point it just becomes redundant. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

I Know The Weird Stuff You Are Into...

Yesterday, I was having a conversation with a co-worker.  The conversation was somewhat random and just going from topic to topic when I got blindsided from out of left field with, "I've seen your facebook page and I know the weird stuff you are into.  Is that Semi-Retired Gamer thing something you belong to or is that you?".  Of course, I admitted that it was me.  I got a blank stare and the "old knowing head shake" like I was some sort of cult member or something.  I was not really irritated but I thought it was quite humorous.  It just reminded me of growing up in the 80's when D&D was insanely popular and the associated witch hunts that "concerned" parents and others would go on in search of the evils of the game.  I recall hearing the unbelievable accounts of people losing their sanity, learning real magic, assorted Satanic groups using D&D as a recruitment tool, and other completely outlandish and ridiculous claims.  Yet, people believed that then and less (I hope) believe it today.  It just caught me off guard because I thought I would never hear any of this garbage again.  I am 39 year old father of 2 that has been sporadically playing D&D since 1980 with no ill effects - 'nuff said.

Help With a Blogger Fix?

This is not a major issue but a minor inconvenience.  I show 33 followers on my dashboard but it only shows 13 followers on my blog home page.  I like to check out the blogs that my followers follow in case I have missed any hidden gems out there.  Does anyone know what I can do to fix it?

Already Tried
  • I deleted the gadget and then put it back on.  Still no change. 
  • I refreshed the page and that did not help.
  • I cleared my cache.

If anybody can help me with this I really appreciate it.  I hate wasting a blog post on this but I just like things "right", if you know what I mean.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

More Judges Guild...

This is just a quick update.  Posting will be slow at present.  I have finals all weekend but I did add some Judges Guild resources to the Resources and Links tab for anyone interested.  There is a pdf download of the Universal System, a link to an html page of the Universal System. and a link to the Judges Guild page with forums, downloads, and other assorted stuff.  Back to work...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Judges Guild Universal System

I remember the use of the Judges Guild Universal System in their products.  I downloaded a pdf file of the system a few months ago.  I just remembered it earlier and I was curious if anybody knows if it is free for use by others outside of Judges Guild?  Does it require a licensing agreement or is it open?  I tried to find some details but could not.

Spotlight on Talislanta

I came to the RPG/OSR blog scene later than many others so this has probably been covered before but I thought I would just give a shout out to one of the games that you should play if you have not already done so.
The image above is from the second edition of the Talislanta Handbook and Campaign Guide.  I bought this slim volume one summer day because I was looking for something different in fantasy gaming.  I have been a fan of the game and world ever since. Talislanta occupies a spot on my short list of games I would want with me if I was stranded on an island.  Rather than bore you with any details or recollections - I am sure there has plenty of them about this game - I will just point out the most important web resource for Talislanta.

The Library is the storehouse of free pdf files for most (all?) of the rules and resource volumes released in the life of the Talislanta game.  It is a shame that Talislanta is no longer in print but it is awesome that the  creator has made all of this stuff available for free.  If you have never visited the site or explored the world and rules of Talislanta, follow the link and enjoy.

Monday, November 28, 2011

[Toldara] Half-Orc changes (new school version)

This is the original version of the changes to the Half-Orc race for the Toldara campaign.  Of course, it was written in the format of the "third edition of the world's most famous fantasy role-playing game".  This will be updated with a Pathfinder and a Microlite20 version in the future but this is a good start. 

The following information is considered 100% Open Game Content.  The use of such material is governed by the Open Game License.


I have previously mentioned the background changes to the Half-Orc race in this post.  The other changes are listed below.

HALF-ORC RACIAL TRAITS (in addition to the traits listed in core rulebook I)

  • +2 racial bonus on Intimidate checks.
  • Social Stigma: Half-Orcs have a – 2 penalty to Diplomacy checks and also receive no skill synergy bonuses related to Diplomacy checks.  
-------------------------- (end of open game content) -------------------------------------------------

Sunday, November 27, 2011

re: OSR Community Starter 2

As promised, here are my thoughts on what would go into an OSR Community Starter.

Credit Where Credit Is Due
First things first, this is not my original idea.  The genesis of this product happened at this sub-forum on the OD&D Discussion forums.  I take no credit for this idea.  The following is just my collected thoughts if I were to be involved in this project.

The intent of this product should be to introduce role-playing games to people that are interested but have never played or are now returning to the hobby after an absence.  I think there are two ways to approach this:

  1. Tailor the product to focus on the interested individual.  The only thing a single person would require is the product itself and some dice.
  2. Tailor the product to focus on a small group that shows interest in role-playing games.  
There is merit to both of these ideas.  It would be great to design this for a group but my initial gut reaction is to tailor it towards an individual.  Something like a "more involved version" of the old Choose Your Own Adventure books.  Plus, that would keep the page count lower.

Some would say that a quick start version of an existing game would serve this purpose well.  I am aware of and have some of the quick starts that are available.  They are fine products but I believe they are best used by people that have role-playing experience but just want to try out a different game.  I envision an OSR Community Starter being the product you grab when one of your non-gamer friends asks "What is this D&D stuff anyway?".

Game System
There are several OSR style games that could be trimmed down a little bit for a starter package but I think there is a better option.  I think a minimalist system specifically designed around showing the play options available in the starter package would be best.  There is no need to explain more than what is necessary to play in the adventure included in the starter.

I think it would be best to design the OSR starter system around 2D6 or some other D6 only system.  By keeping with the D6, interested players can just go to a set of Yahtzee, Monopoly, RISK, or some other similar game and grab the dice out of it.  No worries about an interested player needing to scrounge up a D20 to try out some role-playing fun.

Here are a few ideas about organizing this hypothetical starter package:

Of course, there would need to be a short introductory section explaining what role-playing is all about and how to do it.

I think that character creation should be mentioned but not detailed in the starter.  Instead, players should be able to choose from 3 to 5 pre-generated characters that they can play through the adventure; maybe a Dwarf Warrior, Human Mage, Elf Ranger, or some other combination of chooses.  These characters should be presented in a 2 column format with the character information on the left and the some notes on the rules in the right column.  There could be arrows or matching numbers that the player could reference to remember how to perform tasks and other things in the game.

I think the adventure should avoid the wide open freedom involved in full-fledged games and use a setup similar to the old Choose Your Own Adventure game books.  Yes, this will be somewhat of a railroad sort of adventure but it will get the point across.  Only the monsters and treasure needed for the adventure will be included in the starter.

What's Next?
For players that enjoyed the experience and want to know about their options.  There are several choices:

  • Further solo adventures for people that want to try it again without worrying about gathering a group for play.  There would need to be new monsters detailed in this product.
  • An adventure designed for group play.  This would basically be like the solo game but would also introduce the role of the game master and the adventure options would be wide open instead of programmed like the solo adventure.  There would be additional monsters and treasures detailed in this product.
  • A website with the complete rules of the system outlined in the solo adventure.
  • A short section detailing other OSR games that are available and their websites. 
There are my ideas for the OSR Community Starter.  What are your ideas?

re: OSR Community Starter 1

Over on the OD&D Discussion forums I have been checking up on this thread about an OSR Community Starter project.  The discussion has gone back and forth with no real consensus among the people involved.  In a nutshell, some people want a stripped down version of an existing product while others want to use expanded pre-generated characters; there was at least one person that offered up a system he had designed to serve this purpose.  I pretty much have a full plate as far as RPG projects go but I do have some ideas for designing such a product. I am not going to detail them in this post but there will be a follow up post that shows an outline and examples of what I would do.  If anyone would be interested in helping, let me know.  It should not be too difficult to make this thing a reality.


Friday, November 25, 2011

[Toldara] Oranian (new school version)

This is the original version of the Oranian race entry for the Toldara campaign.  Of course, it was written in the format of the "third edition of the world's most famous fantasy role-playing game".  This will be updated with a Pathfinder and a Microlite20 version in the future but this is a good start.  This was another contribution that Alex, my co-designer, made to the Toldara campaign.

The following information is considered 100% Open Game Content.  The use of such material is governed by the Open Game License.

Oranians are a bird-like race from the Oran Mountains. They are able to fly just as well as they can walk, in fact, flying is their preferred method of travel, as it is much faster. They love music and poetry. In fact, the best poets and musicians in the land are Oranians.
Personality: Oranians are poets and philosophers, musicians and knowledge seekers. Because of their ability to fly, they can travel easily to other lands. This has allowed them to hear the legends and histories of other races, as well as see their own culture. They have grown to love such interaction, always searching to learn more about something, whether it be the location of a mythical artifact, or the play time rituals of a human child. They often write songs or poetry about their findings. They are usually always cheerful, and are delighted to learn any tidbit of information.
Physical Discription: Oranians are tall and mostly humanoid in shape. They stand from 5 ½ to 7 feet tall, and usually weigh between 175 and 300 pounds. They are completely covered in feathers, except for their feet and hands, which are talons, and the top of their heads, which has something that can be called hair, though it resembles feathers as much as it does hair. They also have eagle-like wings on their backs, and generally have a wingspan equal to their height. Their heads are shaped more like a bird's head, than a human head, complete with a beak. Oranians who stick to their own race's clothing traditions wear elegant robes with golden support bars for structure and holes in the back for their wings. Their feathers come in all manner of colors, from the browns of a hawk, to the grays of a pigeon, to the rainbow colors of a parrot. They achieve adulthood at 50 years, and they have no known lifespan, as no Oranian has ever died of old age. Whether this is because they die of other causes before they are able to, or because they simply don't grow old is unknown. The oldest known Oranian was 986 years old.
Relations: Oranians make a point of getting along well with other races. They love to observe and learn about the culture of other races, and are more than happy to share their own culture. For the most part, they find the other races amusing, but they find all of them fascinating.
Alignment: Oranians tend strongly toward Good, and it is very rare to find an evil one. However, their are just as many that are Lawful as there are that are Chaotic.
Oranian Lands: Oranians make their homes in the averies of the Oran Mountains. They often go abroad into other lands for fun and adventure, but the Oran Mountains are the only place they feel comfortable calling home.
Religion: Oranians mostly worship the wind god, Metorlogis. However, some become so fascinated by other races, that they take on the religions of those races.
Language: The native language is Auran, the language of air-based creatures, but they also speak Elven, as most of their songs and poems are written in Elven.
Names: Oranians used to have names specific to their race, but they have been influenced by other races to the point that they no longer have any naming traditions of their own. Instead, they use the names and traditions of other races.
Adventurers: Oranians love to adventure. They are always looking for some bit of history or myth to unveil. They will almost always find a party to adventure with, and will try to pick one that is as varied in the races that make it up as possible, so that they may learn all they can. Also, there is no better material for writing poems and songs than a grand adventure.
  • +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, +2 Intelligence, -2 Strength, -2 Constitution: Oranians are agile, have excellent awareness due to their animal senses, and are quite smart due to their lust for knowledge. However, their hollow bones and unique body structure make them weak and frail.
  • Medium-size: As Medium-size creatures, Oranians have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Oranian base land speed is 30 feet. Air speed is 80 feet (agile).
  • Eagle's Sight: Oranians have excellent eyesight. Because of this, they can see twice as far as other races can in the same conditions.
  • Low-light Vision: Oranians can see just as far in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination as they can in daylight. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
  • +2 racial bonuses and Spot and Search checks. Their eyesight is so good that if they have line-of-sight to a secret door, they are entitled to a Search check as if they were actively searching for the door.
  • Unique Body-Type: Oranians have a unique body type that other races do not have (mostly because of the wings). For this reason, Oranians can only wear clothes and armor that is specifically made for them, whether it be custom made, or from a shop that sells Oranian goods. Such shops are not found just anywhere, and are usually just in large cities.
  • Automatic Languages: Common, Auran, and Elven. Bonus Languages: All except Halfling and Druid. Oranians learn the languages, as well as the cultures, of those they study. Only the super secret languages are unknown to them.
  • Favored Class: Bard. A multiclassed Oranian's bard class does not count when determining whether he suffers from an XP penalty for multiclassing. Writing songs and poems is what they do.
--------------------------------- ( end of open game content ) ----------------------------------------------------------

[Toldara] Karnin (new school version)

This is the original version of the Karnin race entry for the Toldara campaign.  Of course, it was written in the format of the "third edition of the world's most famous fantasy role-playing game".  This will be updated with a Pathfinder and a Microlite20 version in the future but this is a good start.  This was the first contribution that Alex, my co-designer, made to the Toldara campaign.

The following information is considered 100% Open Game Content.  The use of such material is governed by the Open Game License.

Karnin keep to themselves for the most part. They welcome visitors warmly, regardless of race. All they ask from visitors is to put aside their differences while in Karnin territory.
They see themselves as the rightful protectors of the wilderness and all those who live there. However, they consider the civilized world as part of the wilderness, as it is no more tamed to them than a beaver's dam, or a bear's cave. Cities and towns, to the Karnin, are nothing more than human shelters.
Personality: Karnin are honorable creatures, who value their personal and clan honor greatly. They can be a bit arrogant, especially when regarding their perceived Guardians of the Wildernesses duties, and often look down on members of other races as lesser beings. At the same time, they do not judge other races, as they cannot help their inferiority.
Karnin are not greedy, wanting only what they need. They prefer trade to currency, as currency seems to them like an unnecessary burden, however, they will use and accept currency when needed.
Karnin take their responsibilities seriously, real or perceived. If someone brakes the rules, the Karnin will ensure that justice is served. This is not to say that they impose their rules on others, except when the others are visitors in Karnin territory. They honor the laws of whatever town or other such community they happen to be in, but they enforce those laws as well. Karnin do not start wars, except with Anshus, who they have a great hatred for, but they will end them. If Orcs plan to raid a human settlement, the Karnin will stop them. However, if humans plan to slay a band of orc without proper reasons, the Karnin will stop the humans.
Physical Description: Karnin typically stand 6 to 7 feet tall while on the pads of their feet, and about 6 inches shorter while standing normally, the females being a bit shorter. They look like a cross between a human and a wolf. They are covered in fur that is usually a blueish gray, except for the fur on their chest and stomach, which is white, and some have white patches, usually over the shoulders or behind the ears. Other colors of fur are red, black, brown, black with brown patches, and white. Their faces have snouts, like that of a wolf, except that they are more broad. Karnin tend to have dark colored eyes, such as brown, but gray and even gold are not uncommon. Most Karnin wear little clothing, as their fur acts as much the same thing for the most part. However, the druids will often wear animal skin coats as a symbol of their position. Karnin stand upright and flat footed as humans do normally, but when they start to run, they run on the pads of their feet, like wolves.
Relations: Karnin get along well with everybody at first, but as one gets to know a Karnin, his true feelings are revealed. Karnin generally see other races as inferior, or as children needing their protection. However, these "Children" they see as their own, and take very good care of them, and even enjoy their company, even when they don't enjoy the company of the Karnin.
Alignments: Karnin are almost always Lawful Good, and usually to an annoying extreme. This is because those who are chaotic are usually exiled, and those who are evil are usually killed. Karnin believe strongly in their duties and convictions, and do not normally tolerate those within their race who don't.
Karnin Lands: Karnin live everywhere, and a different clan looks over each type of land.
Religion: The Karnin worship Galador, the God of Good, Lilithan, the Goddess of Law, and Calian, the Goddess of Nature.
Language: The Karnin language is fairly primitive, consisting mostly of growls, barks, howls, and roars. Very few people bother to learn Karninic, as all Karnin speak Common as well.
Names: Karnin are named at birth, much like humans, and also inherit their clan name. Their clan name is determined by which clan they were born to.
Male Names: Karnak, Fildar, Morthunk, Forgnik, Fido, Zefnar, Guroul
Female Names: Kiko, Fifi, Narkusa, Vikaga, Karnika, Lupinia
Clan Names: Grrahl (plains), Harul (mountains), Snouk (swamp), Tinkor (forest),
Paunti (desert), Blikarok (arctic/high altitude), Rulac (Ruling clan)
Adventurers: Karnin adventure, usually, as a way to prove themselves, either to themselves or to their clan. Those with a chaotic alignment are usually searching for their place after being exiled from their homes. Those with an evil alignment are usually out to destroy what the Karnin are trying to do.
  • +2 Constitution, -2 Dexterity: Karnin are tough, but their canine features get in the way of mobility.
  • Medium-size: As Medium-size creatures, Karnin have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Karnin base land speed is 40 feet.
  • +2 to Listen checks: The Karnin have canine senses, and hear very well.
  • Scent(Ex): Karnin have the Scent ability as stated on page 10 in the Monster Manual. Karnin can smell things 30 feet off, 60 if upwind, 15 if downwind. Stronger scents double the range, and overpowering scents triple the range. A partial action can be taken to determine the direction of the smell. Karnin can track smells using Scent.
  • Frightful Presence(Ex): Karnin are man beasts that can be a frightful sight to behold when they choose. Rules for Frightful Presence on page 8 of core rulebook III.
  • +2 racial bonus on Animal Empathy & Wilderness Lore checks: Karnin do not only live in the wilds, they are a part of it.
  • Natural weaponry: Karnin have clawed fingers that can be used to inflict 1d4 damage.
  • Automatic Languages: Common & Karninic. Bonus Languages: Orc, Goblin, Draconic, Elven, Gnoll, & Sylvan. Smart Karnin know the languages of the local creatures.
  • Favored Class: Druid. A multiclassed Karnin's Druid class does not count when determining whether he suffers an XP penalty for multiclassing.  
-------------- ( end of open game content ) ------------------------------------------------

[Toldara] Anshu (new school version)

This is the original version of the Anshu race entry for the Toldara campaign.  Of course, it was written in the format of the "third edition of the world's most famous fantasy role-playing game".  This will be updated with a Pathfinder and a Microlite20 version in the future but this is a good start.  I think the traits are pretty decent as far as design but the descriptive text in some of the entries could probably use some work.

The following information is considered 100% Open Game Content.  The use of such material is governed by the Open Game License.

Anshus are renowned for their abilities to hunt and track in the woods. Human armies typically have atleast one Anshu scout. Anshus are fairly strict traditionalists and believe their homelands will provide most of their needs. Anshus are typically slow to form bonds with outsiders but when they do, have proven to be steadfast allies. Upon betrayal or when their homelands are threatened, anshus have proven to be just as powerful adversaries.
Personality: Anshus are never quick to make any decision concerning others; slow to judge or trust outsiders. Those that gain the trust and friendship of an Anshu have gained a faithful companion. Anshus have a deep respect for tradition and generally oppose random change.
Physical Description: Anshus typically stand between 5 and 6 feet tall weighing from 125 to 175 pounds with a generally slim, athletic build. Their features are basically feline with fur that is often brown or yellow in color and even a tail. Anshus reach maturity at the age of 14 years and can live to be 90 years of age.
Relations: Anshus have been in a centuries long war with the Karnins. There are periods of peace between them but the truces are uneasy at best. Eventually, the hostilities seem to be always be triggered again. Anshus share a deep mutual respect of nature with the Elves and often trade goods with them. Anshus get along well with Humans except when they get greedy and try to expand into their lands.
Alignments: Anshus are usually lawful, and they tend toward neutral. Adventuring anshus may not fit the typical mold of anshun society.
Anshu Lands: Although Anshus can be found in most places, the largest anshu populations are typically located in the forests and plains.
Religion: The chief diety of the Anshus is Kitta, the Den Mother. She is the origin of all anshus in the world. They also revere numerous smaller gods in charge of such things as the seasons, hunting, food, etc.
Language: Anshus communicate with each other by a somewhat primitive language consisting of various feline like sounds. Many anshus have learned common as well. Most other races can not seem to master the anshu language.
Names: Anshus have three names. The first name is given at birth by the parents, the second name comes from the tribe, and the third name is awarded by the tribe elders based on the greatest aptitude or accomplishment of the individual.
Adventurers: Most anshus that travel outside of their lands do so to avenge some wrong committed against their people or to help curb the influence of evil in the world.
  • +2 Dexterity, -2 Consitution: Anshus are quick and agile to compensate for being somewhat frail.
  • Medium-Size: As Medium-size creatures, anshus have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Anshu base land speed is 40 feet.
  • Low-Light Vision: Anshus can see twice as far as humans in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and dress in these conditions.
  • Natural Weaponry: Anshus have clawed fingers that can be used to inflict 1D4 damage.
  • +2 racial bonus on Balance, Climb, and Tumble checks: Anshus are surefooted and agile.
  • +2 racial bonus on Animal Empathy and Wilderness Lore checks: Anshus do not only live in the wilds, they are a part of it.
  • +2 racial bonus on Listen checks: Anshus have keen ears.
  • Automatic Languages: Common and Anshunti. Bonus Languages: Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Goblic, and Orc. Smart Anshus learn the languages of their friends and enemies.
  • Favored Class: Ranger. A multiclassed Anshu's ranger class does not count when determining whether he suffers an XP penalty for multiclassing.
------- ( end of open game content ) -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Player Character Races of Toldara

The Toldara campaign not only uses the standard races presented in the core rules - with some modifications - but also allows more options for player characters.  A quick summary of these races and changes is detailed below.
  • Anshu: A humanoid feline race.
  • Goblin: Not all of the Goblins are minions of evil; some have risen to great heroic deeds. 
  • Half-Orc: The Half-Orc race is not a simple mix of human and orc; some details can be found in this post.
  • Human: In addition to the statistics presented in the core rules, the ability scores of a human character are generated by rolling 7 sets of scores and choosing the 6 scores to use.
  • Karnin: A canine humanoid race.
  • Oranian: A winged bird-like humanoid race from the Oran mountain regions.
  • Slarn: A reptilian or lizard like race of humanoids.
The Anshu and Karnin are often at odds with each other.  Their nations have been in a constant cycle of war with intermittent periods of peace but something seems to always ingnite the feud again.  Individual members of each race are, of course, able to over prejudices or preconceived notions when it comes to members of the other race.

The Goblin started out as a one person experiment in Alex's game.  It was such a success that other people wanted to play goblins occasionally also.  Part of the history of Toldara is the first age had a war between the gods of light and the gods of darkness.  Members of the goblin race discovered that being a minion of the gods of darkness wasn't what it was cracked up to be.

The Half-Orc origin is a result of my personal dislike for the often used rape or spoils of war origin of the race so I came up with the explanation I use in the Toldara campaign.

The Human characters getting an extra roll during ability score generation was just done to give them further advantage for lack of any real special abilities.

For information on the Oranian race, Alex is the best source of information.

In regards to the Slarn race, I am not sure whether to do a full fledged write up or just use the lizard man entry and do some background tinkering like the Half-Orc or something similar in the timeline to the Goblins of Toldara.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

At Commentator, Headed for Thinker...

It seems I have had a recent spike in the number of followers.  Specifically, I have doubled in the last two weeks.  According to the ranking system found in these old posts at Cyclopeatron and From the Sorcerer's Skull I am at 4th level.  I'm almost half way to name level :-).

On a serious note, thanks to everyone that joined the blog.  The current college semester ends in a few weeks and things should pick up around here.  If anyone is interested in helping with any of the projects I have mentioned, feel free to speak up.  I always seem to work better with a partner on those sorts of things.

edit - "bog" should have been "blog" - d'oh!

Monday, November 21, 2011

[A World in Ruins...] Developing the Idea

A World in Ruins... is an old idea I had for a post-apocalyptic RPG that I wanted to design.  I never did any serious design work on the project but I did mention a few details on this blog here and also here.  I would like to throw out a few ideas out about how to develop this premise into a full blown game.  If everything goes smoothly, this will be just the first of several posts that serve to put a little padding onto the very basic idea I put in one of my old gaming notebooks years ago.

Rules System
There's probably two different routes I would most likely take when it comes to the rules:

  • Use an existing open system (D20, Microlite20, etc.) and customize it to run the game.
  • Design a new system from scratch.
Regardless of the decision, I am more interested in playing these days than tracking a ton of stats, conditions, modifiers, etc. so it will most likely be a game of medium or low complexity.  I do want to use a system that will allow for variety in certain key areas - characters, weapons, etc. - but not be overly complex.

Every game needs a story and a big part of the story in this game is concerned with what exactly was to blame for the state of the game world today?  There are actually quite a few options:

  • All out nuclear war between the nations of Earth.
  • A catastrophic nuclear accident that spread from one central location.
  • A terrorist attack on several nuclear facilities that doomed the Earth.
  • An asteroid, meteor, comet, etc. crashed into the Earth, rotated the axis, and caused death and destruction world wide.
  • Something else?
As with the rules system, I am not worried about portraying "100% true to the science and facts of the matter" details.  I am simply concerned with telling a good story and providing a good background for the game world.

The World of the Present
It is now 100 years after the event that devastated the Earth.   Technology and progress has been set back dramatically.  There are pockets of civilization here and there but the human population has been drastically cut down.  The birth rate and survival rate is tragically lower than decades before.

Types of Characters
There should be several different types of characters to play in this game.
  • (Pure Strain Humans) Some of these humans will be descendants of human civilians that made it through the catastrophe and managed to stay alive.  Other humans will be descendants of military personnel that were locked away in safe bunkers; or, in homage to The Morrow Project, these military personnel could have been placed in some sort of suspended animation and awakened after the catastrophe to reestablish the nations of Earth.
  • (Human Mutants) People that were mutated as a result of the catastrophe.
  • (Mutant Animals) Several animal species could have been mutated and gained an intelligence level closer to that of humans.
  • (Others) There could be extraterrestrial or extra dimensional species available for play also.
Whatever the options available for player characters wind up being they need to fit with the background.  Obviously, the mutations would be better explained with a nuclear reason for the catastrophe.

There should be plenty of danger and obstacles for the characters in their fight for survival.
  • (Other humans) If the PCs are alive in this harsh reality, then why not other groups of humans that have banded together?  Some of these could be cannibals, religious zealots, or even worse.
  • (active robots) There could be places that still house old war machine robots that have come back online recently.  Maybe the programming of these robots got corrupted?  Maybe the robots do not recognize the players as humans if they are mutants?
  • (mutant animals and plants) If the radiation affected the human PCs then it surely affected the animal life also.
  • (other) Maybe the PCs could encounter life visiting Earth from other planets or dimensions?
  • (environment) radiation poison zones, old military complexes, etc.
That's a start with some ideas about how to design this game.  Of course, exploration and survival would be some of the major goals of the player characters.  I am sure I missed something in this brief exploration of game ideas but maybe I will think up some more details later...

The Demise of My Original Collection

At one time I had a massive collection of RPG and gaming material in general.  It all started with the Holmes Basic D&D that my uncle David gave to me in 1980.  He had been out of gaming for quite some time but wanted to give his books to someone that would use them.  After I established my interest he also gave me all of his AD&D hardbacks - PHB, DMG, DMG, and DDG with the Cthulhu & Elric gods in it.  That turned out to be just the start of my collection.

I started buying up new games and editions with my allowance, birthday, and Christmas money that I received during my teenage years.  The list of items that I added to my collection included:


  •  1st edition PHB, DMG, & MM with the new covers.
  • Oriental Adventures
  • Unearthed Arcana
  • Monster Manual II
  • several modules
  • character sheets
  • DM screen
Basic D&D (all forms)

  • Orange Box 
  • D&D Rules Cyclopedia
  • character sheets
  • DM screen
Steve Jackson Games

  • GURPS 1st edition box
  • Man to Man
  • GURPS Fantasy
  • GURPS Cyberpunk
  • GURPS Supers
  • Car Wars
  • Car Wars Truck Stop
  • Ogre
  • GEV
  • Shockwave
  • Deluxe Ogre
  • Illuminati
  • Illuminati expansion 1
  • One Page Bulge
  • Necromancer
Assorted Stuff

  • Star Frontiers
  • Robotech
  • Palladium Fantasy (original black book)
  • Marvel Basic
  • Marvel Advanced
  • Gamma World 1st edition
  • Gamma World 3rd edition
  • Fifth Cycle
  • V&V 2nd edition
  • several V&V modules, Most Wanted, etc.
  • Champions 3rd edition
  • Champions 4th edition
  • several Champions supplements such as enemies, enemies 2, etc.
  • Traveller starter set
  • Talislanta 2nd edition
  • Talislanta 3rd edition
  • Middle Earth Role Playing
  • DC Heroes 1st edition
  • Super Squadron
  • The Arduin Adventure
That's all I can honestly remember at the moment.  The point is that it was quite a collection for a teenager. We did actually play all of this at one time or another.  Of course, some items got more use than others.

So, what happened to all of this stuff?  That's a good question.  I know some of it was left in the care of one of the other players so the campaigns for those games could continue.  The rest was left at my parents house.  The best I have been able to determine is that many of these items were either "loaned out" or "borrowed" never to be returned again.  I do miss some of this stuff quite a bit and I would definitely like to re-acquire it.  I'm sure most of it is either too pricey or people are unwilling to part with their copy.  The items I would really want are the AD&D hardbacks, Palladium Fantasy black book, Champions 4th, and the Arduin Adventure.

My collection is pretty lean these days.  If I don't use it, I generally get rid of it.  I know there are retroclones of the D&D/AD&D stuff but I would like to have the originals.  Oh well, lesson learned.

Friday, November 18, 2011

[Toldara] Timeline Ideas

Toldara is the name of my campaign world.  It is still very much a work in progress.  The only thing really set in stone is the fact that Toldara has had two ages.  Here are some notes about the timeline...

First Age
  • Begins at creation.
  • There was only one supercontintent.
  • Gods were very involved & would even make personal appearances.
  • The world was split into very black and white.
  • There were just a few, large empires.
  • Magic was more powerful & the most powerful artifacts come from this age.
  • The most sought after treasure is from this age.

Second Age
  • Start of the second age begins with Gods splitting the continents.
  • Gods are not directly involved but do influence through priests, avatars, etc.
  • The world has many shades of grey.
  • The politics is very splintered. There are many, small empires.
  • Magic is still a powerful force but the priests/mages require more effort; per core rules - easier than core in first age. 

That's just the start.  Hopefully, I can come up with some more information soon.

edit - title changed twice.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What D&D Character Am I?

True Neutral Human Cleric (6th Level)

Ability Scores:
Strength- 15
Dexterity- 15
Constitution- 11
Intelligence- 14
Wisdom- 14
Charisma- 14

True Neutral- A true neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. He doesn't feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most true neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil after all, he would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, he's not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way. Some true neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run. True neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion. However, true neutral can be a dangerous alignment when it represents apathy, indifference, and a lack of conviction.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Clerics- Clerics act as intermediaries between the earthly and the divine (or infernal) worlds. A good cleric helps those in need, while an evil cleric seeks to spread his patron's vision of evil across the world. All clerics can heal wounds and bring people back from the brink of death, and powerful clerics can even raise the dead. Likewise, all clerics have authority over undead creatures, and they can turn away or even destroy these creatures. Clerics are trained in the use of simple weapons, and can use all forms of armor and shields without penalty, since armor does not interfere with the casting of divine spells. In addition to his normal complement of spells, every cleric chooses to focus on two of his deity's domains. These domains grants the cleric special powers, and give him access to spells that he might otherwise never learn. A cleric's Wisdom score should be high, since this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Taking Care of Business...

In a continued effort to get all of my ducks in a row here is a list of goals that I would like to accomplish with this blog:

Short Term Goals

  • Complete my examination of Adventures in Fantasy.
  • Complete the entries from my Old Gaming Notebook.
  • Make one post every day in a single month.
  • Post more of my house rules & ideas for AD&D, 3E, Microlite20, RIFTS, and more.
  • Post about my campaign world, Toldara.
  • Offer draft 2 of MicroToldara for download.
  • Offer draft 1 of Classic Fantasy Role Playing for download.

Long Term Goals

  • Post about actual play with Adventures in Fantasy.
  • Develop ideas from the Old Gaming Notebook into complete games.
  • Decide on a set posting schedule and stick to it.
  • Get my Toldara co-author (Alex) to participate in some of the blogging.
That's a good start.  This list will be modified and re-posted when appropriate.

Friday, November 11, 2011

[Old Gaming Notebook] The Rest of the Games

The information about the remaining game ideas contained in my old gaming notebook was pretty sparse.  That is the point of my notebooks - keep them handy and jot down ideas that come my way so I don't forget them.  The details about these four games is very limited but is included here for the sake of completeness.

A World in Ruins
This game will be Gamma World + RIFTS + Thundarr the Barbarian.  Player races will include Pure Humans, Mutants, & Mutant Animals.  Civilization is destroyed by all out nuclear war and the players explore the ravaged Earth and fight for survival.

I'm a big fan of post-apocalyptic games and fiction so that's really all the description I needed.  I played a lot of Gamma World and RIFTS in my youth and Thundarr is my absolute favorite cartoon from my childhood.  I am sure that "Gamma World + RIFTS + Thundarr the Barbarian" means that I should design the game around all of the good stuff to be found in those settings.

Army Men
A simple war game using those packages of low cost plastic army men found in the toy sections of various stores.

That little blurb is the entirety of the work I did on that game.  My war gaming experience is pretty limited.  I really enjoy Axis & Allies, One Page Bulge, and RISK.  I have been tempted to pick up Warhammer, Warhammer 40K, Twilight Imperium, or some other such board or war game.  I have not been able to justify spending that much money on a gaming purchase but I would be interested in low cost alternatives.  That's where the idea for this game came from.  I've seen those little green - other colors also available - army men in all sorts of stores from Dollar General to Wal-Mart.  Amassing a large force would be pretty inexpensive.  I've also seen sets you can buy to use with them have armored vehicles, sandbag formations, and other assorted stuff.

Old School Role-Playing
A game designed like the early competitors to D&D that tried to "out-D&D" D&D.

I think most gamers reading this knows the type of game I'm talking about with this idea.  For those that don't know the type of game this references the explanation is simple.  There were a run of games following D&D's release that could basically be summed up as "D&D turned up to 11!".  Where D&D had six Abilities, these games would have more.  Why have only Dexterity when you can have Agility and Dexterity or why have only Charisma when you have Appearance, Social, and Charm?  You get the idea - these games would be considered a fantasy heart breaker today.

To The Stars...
A game set in the 1950's during alien encounters with flying saucers, ray guns, little green men, etc.

In a nutshell, every cliche used in the old science fiction movies during the 1950's and 60's - bug eye monsters, martians come to steal our women, pseudoscience, and America winning in the end.  Plus, it would give me an excuse to watch a bunch of those old sci-fi movies.

Closing Thoughts
I think each of these ideas have some merit if done properly.  I will admit that I probably would not do anything with Army Men today.  I don't feel that I have enough practical war or board game experience to do it properly.  Old School Role-Playing could be a fun project but it is in opposition to the lighter approach I like to take with rules now.  To The Stars... and A World in Ruins would probably have the best chance of being developed by me.  In fact, either one of these would probably work great with the Microlite20 rules and I may just pursue that sometime, who knows?