March 30, 2017
A few weeks ago I ran a one-shot mashup of Dungeon Crawl Classics and Warhammer 40K (ish), which I called the Grim Dark Future Funnel. The players rolled up a series of WH40K(ish) themed Level-0 characters who set about exploring a space hulk for salvage, xeno-tech and ancient relics. The players had a strict time limit (in real time) to explore the ship before the Imperium blew it to pieces.
Not having time to map this stuff out properly, instead I just measured out inches for movement and range, and used templates for certain weapons, like grenades and flamers. I improvised terrain using blocks of Styrofoam and a few other bits.
I allowed replacement characters to teleport straight into the space hulk, but I required a Luck roll to make sure they didn’t accidentally materialize inside another object…or person.
Highlights include the players deciding that firing automatic weapons into melee combat was an acceptable thing, accounting for a high number of funnel character deaths. And the mad scramble to exit the ship before it blew up. A handful of characters were oh so close to getting off the ship, but didn’t quite make it (sorry guys 🙂 ).
Here’s a link to the rules I came up with. For small templates, use about a 1.5″ diameter, for large templates use maybe a 2″ diameter, and for flamer templates use a 12″ rule. I bought some cheap 6″ rulers to measure movement, which is perfect for most character’s movement. Psychic attacks are made using an opposed Personality check vs. the defender’s Will save.
February 21, 2017
I’ve come across a few more interesting OD&D links:
OD&D Referee Tools
An online generator to create OD&D characters, treasure hordes, bandit groups, monster lairs, magic swords and, most interestingly to me, castle inhabitants (including the lord, special monsters and men-at-arms). It’s not pretty, and there are a few bugs, but overall it looks like quite a handy tool. Should make populating an OD&D inspired wilderness a snap.
Helgacon VIII: Outdoor Sploitation Report
At the Delta’s D&D Hotspot blog is an interesting report on a con game run using OD&D and the Outdoor Survival Map. The players start with fairly high level characters, and the goal is to explore the outdoor survival map and collect 100,000 GP within the four-hour play session. Though it’s only a one-off game, it’s still an interesting take on how to play OD&D, and it’s a fun read.
The Oldest Dungeon Maps in D&D History
The Hidden in Shadows blog posted an interesting bit of gaming archeology: some of the original player maps of the Black Moor dungeon, an early example of player mapping in action. Also of interest is the number of tunnels, or passageways, in the Black Moor dungeon, most of them not angled straight north-south or east-west. What rooms there are also often of strange angles and shapes. This all may have been an attempt to confuse player mapping, or maybe Mr. Arneson just thought straight lines and 90-degree angles were boring.
January 25, 2017
Here’s an interesting interview by the BBC with Michael Mornard, one of the early players of Dungeons & Dragons. It’s only about 9 minutes long, so won’t take up much of your time.
January 10, 2017
The Chainmail miniatures wargame, grandaddy to D&D, is once again available in PDF format at One Book Shelf for $4.99. Apparently this is the 7th printing of the 3rd Edition, so many (or all?) of the Tolkien references have been omitted or changed. But still worth the price if you’d like to look at a piece of gaming history. Cheers!
Edit: I can confirm that hobbits have been changed to halflings, and balrogs have been removed entirely. There may be other changes as well, but those are the two big ones I noticed right away.
January 9, 2017
Artwork by Ariel Perez
The universe teems with life, but not all of it is noble or enlightened. All manner of unsavory aliens throng the crowded space ports and hive cities of the known worlds, displaced and exploited, eking out a living any way they can. These are desperate, dangerous beings willing to do anything to make a credit, and they’ve developed an equally dangerous skill set as thieves, thugs, snitches…and worse.
December 15, 2016
You’ve probably heard by now that Paizo is working on a science-fantasy version of Pathfinder they’re calling Starfinder. It’s not out until August 2017, so I haven’t been paying too much attention to the game so far, not that there’s a lot information available just yet.
However, there was an interesting 6-page interview at gameinformer about Starfinder. What caught my eye is that Paizo says they’re trying to streamline the rules. Specifically mentioned in the interview are the lessons learned from Pathfinder Beginner Box!
Of course, at this point we have no idea just how much “streamlining” is happening, or what form it takes. For all I know, Paizo’s idea of streamlining may actually make the game more crunchy and complex. But for now I’m cautiously optimistic that Starfinder may be closer to Beginner Box than PF Core.
Of course, nothing says somebody can’t make a Starfinder Beginner Box. Just sayin’….
November 23, 2016
The Outdoor Survival Map, Hexographer Edition
My friend Randy (TotalGMKills) sent me an email a few days ago regarding The Original D&D Setting by Wayne Rossi (Semper Initiativus Unum), an analysis of OD&D’s wilderness rules as applied to the Outdoor Survival Map. I had already read Mr. Rossi’s PDF (indeed, I read it again the other day), but I was inspired to assemble as many OD&D related links as I could find: materials, resources and inspirations.
So, here it is, in no particular order:
No doubt there are things I’ve missed, probably even obvious things that I’ll later feel like an idiot for not having included in the first place. So, as I find new OD&D related material, I’ll add links to it here. I may eventually create a separate page on the blog for this list if it generates any interest.
I hope you’ve found this interesting and useful. If you think of anything that should be added, feel free to comment and I’ll check it out. Thanks, and cheers!
November 10, 2016
Here’s an interesting and entertaining video interview with David Wesely, creator of ‘Braunstein’ style games. Braunsteins are an early form of role-playing game, sort of bridging the gap between wargaming and role-playing. If you’re interested in the ‘early days’ of our hobby, it’s worth watching (be forewarned though, it is a couple of hours long).
September 15, 2016
Something Pathfinder (or most fantasy RPGs, including D&D) doesn’t touch on is the frequency with which Medieval weapons broke. My research indicates weapons, especially swords, broke frequently, primarily due to the poor quality steel most blacksmiths had to work with during the Medieval period. But even weapons made of high quality steel could still break with ‘robust’ use.
It bothers me that, barring unusual circumstances, RPG characters can often use the exact same weapon purchased at creation all through their adventuring careers, when history suggests it was actually fairly rare for a weapon to be used so long, let alone be passed on to one’s heirs.
To reflect this, I am considering using the following rules next time I run a game:
- Standard weapons break on a natural attack roll of 1 or 2.
- Masterwork weapons break on a natural attack roll of 1.
- Magic weapons have a percentage chance of breaking on a natural attack roll of 1:
- +1 weapons have a 5% chance of breaking
- +2 weapons have a 4% chance of breaking
- +3 weapons have a 3% chance of breaking
- And so on
The purpose of these rules is to further complicate the logistics side of the game, to encourage players to carry multiple weapons (for backup), hopefully discourage the tendency of Pathfinder characters to hyper-specialize in a single weapon, thus injecting a touch more verisimilitude in the game.
If these rules seem unduly harsh to you, you may consider having normal weapons break on a natural 1, masterwork weapons having a 50% chance of breaking on a natural 1, and magic weapons break only under extraordinary circumstances.