Wednesday, April 24, 2013

D&D NEXT and the "maths" (ugh).

so, i've sort of been keeping an eye on the development of D&D NEXT. i know it's probably going to suck, but i can't help myself.  my friend chris has really been keeping an eye on it, however. this has led us to exchange emails every monday or tuesday after mearls updates his LEGENDS & LORE column.

today, this was in an email he sent me: "it seems to me that they're looking at D&D as a big math equation and not a role-playing game".

boom. dead on.   

so yeah, my hopes for NEXT aren't all that high. chris runs a D&D club at his school twice a week. the kids have abandoned 4E for 1E and LABYRINTH LORD. they also just voted to give up on the NEXT playtest that chris had been running for them.

what does all this tell you?

Friday, April 19, 2013

BEYOND THE WALL - more coolness

so, i had to give a presentation to the school board in my district on S&W AD...i'm only now beginning to wade into all the awesome that was created. i'll post up some links later in the weekend as i begin to explore stuff. 

anyway, i had mentioned the BEYOND THE WALL RPG the other day. they have some FREE playbooks posted up on drive-thru (they're the ones i mentioned i grabbed during the playtest, but now they're all laid out and stuff.). take a look at them here and see if you want to use them in your game - you'll get a sense as to how the village generator and all that jazz works.  i figure that's better than paying 8 bucks for something you won't use.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


so, today is SWORDS AND WIZARDRY APPRECIATION DAY.  i'm posting this now (at midnight) because i have a long day of work tomorrow and i'm not sure how often i'll be able to get online. so, rather than wait until tomorrow night to post all this stuff i figure i'll just do it now. better early than late, i suppose. anyway, i've created a few things in honor of today...

first up is a CHARACTER SHEET for SWORDS AND WIZARDRY COMPLETE. it's based off the sheet in the back of the new COMPLETE book.  now that i'm almost done with DUNGEON STRIKE i had ton of stock artwork laying around - so i applied it to the sheet. here's the result:

 if you like it you can grab a pdf right here!  now, as much as i like the COMPLETE rules, i've always been sort of partial to the ol' WHITE BOX.  if you read this blog at all, you know my love for the X-PLORERS RPG. the rules for that game were greatly inspired by the original SWORDS AND WIZARDRY WHITE BOX, and as i have recently gotten my hands on one of the og BRAVE HALFLING boxed sets, my GM juices have been flowing. partly inspired by the BEYOND THE WALL RPG i mentioned the other day and partly inspired by the HOLMES basic set (where he mentions parties comprised of dragons, werebears, humans, centaurs and elves) - i've begun work on a little homebrew for my players.  i have 2 things for you to check out - 1 is the house-ruled THIEF class. no matter what edition my friends and i play we always wind up tweaking the thief slightly. WHITE BOX doesn't include the thief at, based on the thief in the COMPLETE rules, i give you our houseruled SWORDS AND WIZARDRY THIEF. the class features a simplified skill system based on X-PLORERS. i also  folded a few skills into "delicate tasks".  check it out:
you can grab the pdf here. print on both sides and cut down the middle and you'll have 2 copies - one for your players and one for your WHITE BOX.

last but not least...i made a werebear. some of you older folk may remember the werebear class that was presented in WHITE DWARF #17 (along with the stone giant, lammasu, and blink dog pack!).  the pdfs of all those old magazines are floating around the interwebz, so if your google-fu is sharp you should be able to find 'em. anyway, based on that old article i created a werebear class (and i borrowed a pic from the article/1e MM) for my upcoming campaign:
the pdf for this is available right here.  and that's it, folks! i may remake some of the other classes in the WHITE DWARF article. if i do i'll post them here. i'm also working on a dragon PC. yeah. we'll see how that goes.  enjoy!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Beyond The Wall (and other adventures) RPG

have you guys discovered this little nugget of an rpg? no? well, it's available here for only 8 bucks! i don't really know much about the creators - but they have created a nice little OSR game here.  it's a le guin/alexander inspired version of D&D and it is currently tickling my fancy.  i fully intend on pillaging some of it for my upcoming SWORDS & WIZARDRY WHITEBOX campaign. the stuff in here can also be used with minimum effort for basically any OSR game.

so what has me so excited? why should you really care about yet another clone-esque OSR offering? well, for one - the playbooks.

i plan on ignoring the stat bonuses.

the classes have a few playbooks each; think of them as templates or background generators for each character.  included with the core bundle we have: the untested thief, the young woodsman, the would-be knight, the self-taught mage, the village hero, and the witch's apprentice. each playbook has a bunch of random background tables that players can roll on after they make their characters. these background tables help you create the town/village the PCs come from, they help explain how all the PCs know each other, and they drop in a bunch of adventure hooks for the GM.

A few weeks ago i snagged a ton of the playtest drafts off their website(click here for the site), and there were a ton of other playbooks - the halfling vagabond, elven highborn, and a bunch of noble-born human types.  all the playtest drafts are down now, but supposedly once those playbooks are laid out and the whatnot they'll be posted as freebies.  

the game bills itself as being "low prep"; just pick up the books, roll on a few tables and you should have a fully fleshed out base of operations, a few sandboxy hooks, and an overall mission.

i'll be keeping an eye on this game. i'd also love to have some of these playbooks in dead tree form. maybe soon? who knows.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

Random Robot Characters for X-PLORERS!

after all the positive feedback i received for my random alien class generator for the X-PLORERS rpg, i decided to sit down and try my hand at another class for the game.  so, i took aim at robots.

robot characters are a staple of the old sci fi/pulp stories that influenced X-PLORERS. i figured it would only be fair to let my players control one. obviously, these robot characters are NOT subject to the FIRST DIRECTIVE (for the good or ill of all involved). the robot abilities are basically re-skinned spells from the SWORDS AND WIZARDRY WB and the LABYRINTH LORD core book.  have a look at the rough draft and let me know what you think - you can download the pdf here.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Old School Marvel Super Heroes RPG

so, we were scheduled to continue a pretty awesome LAMENTATIONS OF THE FLAME PRINCESS campaign yesterday, but our friend who's running it had to drop out at the last minute.  i volunteered to run a few games on super-short notice - i offered up X-PLORERS and the old school TSR MSH RPG. we've played a bunch of XP lately so the vote was in for MSH.

original basic set
i've been re-reading the old rulebooks for this game off and on for the past year or so. i've looked at ICONS, BASH!, and the new MARVEL RPG (which almost made my head explode), but i always fall back on the ol' OG MSH RPG when i need my super hero fix. i think it's a great generic hero system...but the stuff i like about it is spread across 3 compatible systems.

advanced set
the original boxed set is my favorite. i'd be happy playing and running this version - and i pretty much am using the original BASIC BATTLE BOOK as my base.  i like the chargen from the advanced rules, however - it's the most complete. i'm not talking power generation - i'm talking what type of hero you are, the attribute generation tables and the way it fills in some blanks from the basic book (like contacts). for actual power/talent generation i like the REVISED BASIC SET that came out in 1991 or so.

i simplified the heck out of everything else. for example: you do something heroic and you gain 30 karma. you do something unheroic and you lose 30 karma. your hero kills someone and you lose all your karma. to raise a stat or a power up a rank it costs the rank's value times 100 in karma. stuff like that.

i also want to revise some of the weapon damage. a handgun does 6 points of damage? that means that a bullet won't drop someone who has all FEEBLE physical that needs to change.

revised basic set
anyway, i ran a session of my totally kit-bashed MSH RPG yesterday and it went over pretty well. i think i want to create a rules document that collects all the stuff i like about the game into one easy to use source - and then share it with the internet. i can't get in trouble for this, can i? the game is FREE over here so i'm guessing both marvel and wotc gave up claims to it...?     i'm pretty sure there's also a clone of this system floating around somewhere.  after i finish DUNGEON STRIKE (and my other "top secret" *HINT HINT* project) maybe i'll take a crack at typing this bad boy up.