Saturday, 15 December 2018


Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

 I was being shady/fucking hilarious about 3rd edition recently by referring to the above as "3rd edition
 art not aging well"
but honestly, I think it should be celebrated for pulling off (relatively) an iconic , classic but new ,and energized art direction.
Which did involve a lot of pencil diagrams done in a Leonardo da Vinci style , practical looking straps that weren't that practical because placement and sheer multitude, and fucking double weapons.
The Worst. The absolute fucking worst .

 But look, the intentions behind double weapons were good. 
Some weird shit that you could get for your character at the start that made it felt fantastic but "street level" fantastic. 
(I mean this aesthetic did wind up being called "dungeonpunk" )

 So I'm going to make my suggestions for better alternatives of "street level" fantastic

Actual Weapons:
 (the """east""" is generally the source for non-standard weapons but it's a jank if there's anomalous weapon names like "kama" or "tetsubo" in between conventionally named  guisarmes, gladius , zweihanders, arbalests , bec de corbins, dorys, javelins, bills and shillelaghs. Wait what was the point I was making?)

I guess these should/could ""balance"" via price and availability. Weapon proficiencys and specializations has never really been great so fuck that. Maybe that can be the swan song g+ hive mind secretions; a weapon proficiency system that's not character sheet busy work or build fodder.

it's a throwing axe but it bounces  alarmingly when it misses due to its weird protuberances,  according to several youtubers and a history channel show. That's good enough for me , I mean ring mail was a thing in d&d for a while right?
Mechanically its a throwing axe that on a miss resolves a new attack (with no modifiers) on a random opponent within half the range the axe was thrown.

3 section staff:
This is straight up kung fu weaponry but look I don't even follow my own rules and you think I'm going to make it the end of this without including a tetsubo you are new here.
3 section staffs are batshit ,so the fumble range is 1-2 instead of 1. On the result of a fumble it always inflicts its unmodified damage on the user in addition to whatever else happens. However when attacking with a 3 section staff , the attacker ignores any dex or shield modifiers to the armour class of whoever they are attacking. Its damage is a 1d8 (assuming staves are doing a d6)

Sword catchers:
Including Sai and Jitte here, as well as all the fancy looking renaissance ones.
Counts as shield when fighting an opponent with a melee weapon.  Additionally the opponent is  disarmed if they roll a 1,2,3 on their attack roll against the user of the sword catcher (If they roll a 1 they also fumble). Does damage as a dagger  

Like a  2-handed sword but with ambitions of being an axe . Damage as 2 handed axe or sword, but if it hits and rolls minimum for damage , a shield, piece of armour or regular weapon being used by the opponent is damaged.

There's been darts floating around d&d for awhile and no-ones sure if they were meant to be literal darts,kunai ,  mini-javelins , or these "lawn dart" things called plumata. If they were meant to be plumata the rate of fire seems a bit odd (3 per round for 1st edition if I remember correctly)
These ones do a d4 , have a shorter range than other throwing weapons but can be lobbed directly above a group of 3 or more. 
In which case a random member of the group takes the damage from it (with no attack needed)

Ball and Chain:
I saw these on Ultimate warrior and they looked  like a right laugh. It's like throwing like a non-chomping chain chomp.
Make an unmodified attack roll against everyone in the direction you throw this, until you get a hit or run out of targets. Does a d10.

Classic Fantasy Peoples and Their Weapons:
I think 3rd edition gave everyone their own double weapon. Wack. Anyway here is my attempt to make something that would happen with the conditions these demihumes lived in

Dwarven "old mate"
(the dwarvish translates to "the friend you are always glad see but isn't a beer" )
It looks like a short crowbar/pinch bar (just under a foot) with the claw longer and on a flatter angle and with a slight lateral flare to the tip. The opposite end has the chisel on a shallower angle and with a sharper terminal edge. One of side edges is also kept sharp. It often has an "eye" e.g a hole for threading a rope.
 It's proportioned to work as pick,hammer, trowel, wedge, chisel, spike, lever, climbing aid and grapple, and in dwarven hands maybe substituted for any other needed tool in some kind of improvised shenanigan situation.
In addition , on a successful attack roll (d6 damage btw) instead of doing damage it maybe used to lower the armour class of plated, exoskeleton , mineral or mechanic opponent by 2.
I've been up all night and now I'm editing this for typos etc and I still can't decide how much this armour class lowering can happen so dunno? Once? Not lower than 10?

Elven Lessoning Spear
A spear crafted from a tree that has been carefully messed up to give it a series of weaknesses running on an angles to the shaft. It other wise appears to be a polished wooden spear with only a slanted point and no edge.  It does a d4 damage instead of d6.
When stuck into someone and then twisted in a certain way, about 2 centimetres of the spear break off inside the muscle. The snap happens so the remaining spear has another perfect point  (each break being an obtuse triangle, similar to a boxcutter).  If time and care is available a point can be removed for 1 damage, if time is not available 1d4 damage (i.e you just stick your fingers in there and pull)

For each point still in someone : whenever they take a physical action requiring a roll (stat check, save, attack roll) they either take their choice of 1 point of damage or -1 to that roll.

Some rarer Lessoning Spears are made from poisonous woods.

Orc Axe Helmet
It's a helmet that's also an axe so you can do more damage when you are head-butting or trying to bite your opponents face . Can be used to make an additional attack (doing a d6) but the regular attack (also can't be using weapon longer than sword) and this attack will be at a Disadvantage and they are assumed to be already in range for a grapple attempt

Halfling Bastard Pipe:
A pipe heavy enough to be used a life preserver and can function as blow dart pipe, the first dart handily already poisoned by the nicotine build up.  Can also generate a small smoke screen

Gnome Whirlygig:
A large spinning top with blades attached. Do you have caltrops rules? It does that against a random opponent within a 3 metre diameter circular area where it was aimed.

Increasingly Weird Fantasy Peoples Suggested To Me on G+ and I want to get this done already so not bothering including mechanical suggestions

Centaur :
Centaur Staff: Centaurs are going to want to not have to bend down to pick stuff up so having a long staff with a scoop attached would be something they eventually would put together . The other end has a Y at the end for pinning snakes.
The Scoop end can be use lacrosse style to throw a projectile alarmingly fast, especially when combined with full gallop.

Mucus Grenado 
Hagfish slime is made up of these weird folded protein chains that expand when you try and wash it off. This is like that but worse , basically acting as a personal grease spell that makes enough slime to start suffocating you if you try and get it off by scrapping or washing it with water. Alcohol or vinegar is the way to go. It's delivered by throwing a knotted and fermented hagfish at you. : (

A hinge joint like the top of the femur or humerus with 4-8 cm of the bone sharpened into a spike. The marrow has been poured/scrapped out.
Then the space inside the bone further expanded.
This is to make room for a concoction of fermented fat, leftover marrow, certain herbs.
Then its capped off with a mixture of rabbit pellets, tar and fat.

This hearty mix serves both as ration source for gnolls and a way of giving people lethally infected wounds.

Gnolls that have been eating well and often, can have up to a dozen of these.
 As they are a food store and wasting food is anathema to gnolls , they only tend to use them in the following situations:
:bring down very big game , with the komodo dragon tactic of "infect and follow"
:in a series of methodical  harassing attacks , with the intention of exhausting and whittling down resistance , especial when the food that can fight back is protecting a bigger quantity of food, e.g a entrenched village militia defending their non-combatants and farm animals .
:right before fleeing a losing/not one sided enough battle, one where there's enough potential reward , that's it worth regrouping and coming back later

Chisel ended spears with a full metal haft that are used for Snailman vs Snailman conflicts. They are jammed into the shell and then brutally levered to propagate cracks.

They do a d8 damage but have damage disadvantage against things without exoskeletons or shells.
Against things with exoskeletons or shells they do d8 damage  and the next round after a successful hit they make their next attack roll ignoring any armour class other than dexterity modifiers and the like, and the weapon damage increases to a d10.

Radula Shield:
Something like a cheese grater made into a tower shield . It allows the user to attack without the penalty associated with using a tower shield, and inflicts a d6 damage. Some are equipped with a rope and can be swung at range,  inflicting damage from the sidelong blades cutting as the shield is pulled back and little from the initial impact.

Aquatic Elves: 
A hollow bone, shell or coral shaft like an oversized hypodermic needle , with some kind of bladder (seaweed or animal in origin) at one end.
They come in 3 sizes; a 30 cm close fighting one, a metre long skirmishing one, and metre and half sniping one.
They all are called Cnida-glaive , but technically the middle length one is the glaive, the shortest one is the Cnida-Spur and the longest one a Cnida-Lance
As well as straight up stabbing , squeezing the bladder can be used to launch darts (both in air and water) .
Darts are commonly repurposed  sea urchin spines and so can be barbed and/or poisonous.
Darts can be fired immediately after stabbing, lodging them very deep in the poor bastard so stabbed.
In a pinch the user can just pump air or water after stabbing someone , causing additional rupturing especially to something like a lung.
By squeezing the bladder before stabbing with the cnida-glaive and the releasing it once its penetrated , it can used to suck out a flotation gas or acidic slime or some other vital fluid in a monstrous adversary.

ThriKreen :
 Someone suggested ThriKreen and they already got their gythka and chatkcha.
Which sure, are goofy but goofy in some kind of freewheeling 80s barbarian movies way so it's hard to dislike them.
The only thing I'm going to add is they would have bola. It's kinda boring so maybe they have bola made from ant-heads or something

Bird People:
A bundle of dozen or more short spears with rudimentary fletching. Not able to be effectively thrown, instead dropped or dive bombed, the Cloudburster then separating into its component spears, peppering the area.

The damage done and the area effected depends on how far the Cloudburster travels before hitting things (no attack roll needed, ref save for half damage) 
Distance Traveled|  Dmg | Area affected
4 Metre Drop | 2d8 Dmg | 1 metre sq
8 Metre Drop | 2d6 Dmg | 2 metre sq
16 Metre Drop |1d8 Dmg | 4 metre sq
20 Metre Drop | 1d6 Dmg | 8 metre sq

A razor sharp disc at the end of a rope, like murderous yoyo.
The disc shape means it has little chance of getting hooked or stuck, as the intention is something that can be used in swoop attacks, striking quickly at any momentary exposed areas.
No real excited mechanics here, it does  d6 damage and counts as a ranged weapon , despite returning to user after striking.

Mind Flayer:
use other species as tools , so weapons would be other species. Manchurian candidates basically.

Very long , very slender , spears that multiple ettercaps can use at once, slowly moving it through the foliage from a concealed position until its within a breath from an unaware opponent before impaling in a blink.
When not in use Whisper break apart into smaller parts , like a tent pole.
The parts of the Whisper are hollow as it is made from giant spider legs, reverently gathered and shaved down to the bare structural minimum.

The hollow aspect to it means that it can deliver poison, either via stabbing or  blowing it down it , as if it was a giant straw,   dropping poison into a sleeping mouth , ear or exposed food.

The other use of it being hollow gives it is namesake ; it can be used to get a victims attention by speaking down it, getting them to turn towards the source of the noise , exposing an eye or throat to quick impalement.

Whispers are too laterally brittle to be used in combat, and ettercap will never do so, fleeing to conceal the Whisper safely if nessacery.

A Whisper can be a maximum of 10 metres long, (which will require at least 2 ettercaps to use, otherwise a single ettercap can manage). It will do 3d6 damage , however if
1 ettercap is using it reroll 6s
2 ettercap are using it reroll 1s
3 ettercap are using it reroll 1 and 2s
4 ettercap are using it reroll 1,2 and 3s. 

Tabaxi :`
(cat people)
Victory Crest:
A woven wicker shield reinforced with bones.
In the weave is set the claws taken from defeated rivals, giving the shield a ripping attack.
A Victory Crest does from 1d3 damage to d8 damage depending on how many claws have been included.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Hungry Sun

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF  Here is a more detailed example of what I was talking about in the Bad ideas with Legs post

 Man Panther (fighter with wizard spell mechanics)
Hitpoints & attack bonus as fighter, can only use weapons of obsidian, tooth, bone, silk and wood.
Get "Sacred Leaps", special fighting maneuvers  and spiritual directions that are treated like spells, though most happen simultaneously with an attack.

 (example of 1st level Sacred Leaps)
Red Haze:
 Everyone the Man Panther want to hurt badly glows with a red light. Duration as Light spell.

Thirst :
The Man Panther moves double their full movement and does their melee attack against an wounded opponent

Butterfly Step:
Immediately after missing an attack the Man Panther makes a new attack against any other enemy within there near melee range.

Screaming Weapon:
The Man Panthers weapon screams continually causing fear 

Hunters Hide:
The Man Panther appears as middle-of-the-food-chain animal appropriate to this area. Duration as disguise self

Rot Kings:(wizard using specialized equipment lists)

Hit points and attack bonus as wizard.  Can use any armour or weapons
Collect , breed , and trade "entropys" (parasites. worms, vermin, stains, rust, frays, rot, blights etc). Keep in sacks, cloaks , headdresses. Socially function like a combination of exterminators, engineers, and the runners of protection rackets.

Flesh Locusts (as long bow)
Debridement (as Halberd) 
Night Terrors ( expensive and rare , multiple ranged attacks only useable from surprise)
Death Stink (as leather armour , and makes wearer repugnant to carnivores)
Blood Cough (as spear)
Earth Star (exploding fungus, as a grenado)
Lice (as dagger)

Itinerant Clerk: (clerics using thief skill mechanics)
Hit points and attack bonus as Cleric . No armour . Only tools for weapons.

Flay (as pick pocket but removes spiritual and physical protections)
Weather sense (as hear noise)
Bureaucracy (as move silently/ hide in shadows , but allows the following with supernatural beings of the current sun :bargain, make contracts , intimidate , bamboozle, and hold to their word )
Placate (as picklocks, calms and soothes disembodied hungers , mindless ghosts, and pooled malices)
Nourish (as climb walls, boost natural heal by feeding sacred foods)

Exiles: (thief's using cleric spell mechanics )
Hit points and attack bonus as Thief.  Can use any weapons or armour.
People who the Bureau-Engine-Priests has declared are reincarnated souls from the Previous Sun. Not officially human, thus unbound and unprotected by law.
Can bring forth fragments of the Previous Suns world;
( for example these spells)
1st level
Change self
Heal light wounds
Feather fall

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Regular Card Game

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF The bigger post I got half written keep not getting written because the time and concentration needed to do them keeps being used on other things.
So y'all get the rules for this card game I've been playing a lot with my flatmates

It's a modification of game I learned in Melbourne that never had a good name ("Game of Threes ") and I've seen a few variation of .

The version we are playing has a notable enough extra bit we gave it a new and better name;

The aim of the game is to get all your cards out. (Thus giving you the title GILGAMESH) .

There can be 3-6 players, and it is played with everything but the jokers.
  1 deck is fine for 3 players , a bit tight for 4 players , and 2 decks is needed for anything higher.
2 decks is actually pretty good for 3-4 players as well.


Each player starts with a hand of 5 and 6 cards in front of them , with the remaining cards in a central deck.

The cards in front of the player are arranged with 3 cards face down and 3 cards face up , with the face up cards on top of the face down cards.

 Play starts from the left of the dealer.
This player chooses a card, or set of matched cards,  from their hand and places them in the centre (the "pile")

They then refill their hand.

Play goes to their left.


Play then consists of a player playing a legal card on the card/s pile and then refilling their hand if its less than 5. If they can't play a legal card they must instead pick up the pile and add it to their hand.

A legal play is playing any card equal or higher to the card on top of the pile.

Once the deck is gone, and players can no longer refill their hands , any player with no cards in their hand will use the cards face up in front of them, and when those are gone, .he face down cards.
The face down cards are played "blind", which might result in a illegal play, thus picking up the pile.
Once all their face down cards are played , they are out of the game.
First to do so is GILGAMESH , last is BEAST BOY or if you can pronounced it ENKIDU.


2 s can be played on any card and can have any card played on them.

5s can be played on any card ; however immediate next player card/s played on it must be legal for being placed on the card before the 5.
Additionally any other effects that previous card might have must still be considered

7s can be played on 6 or lower.  Any card played on a 7 must be either a 7 or lower than a 7.

10s can be played on anything except a 7.  A 10 will "burn" the pile, discarding it from play. Burning has additional special rules , see the BURNING section

4(or more) of a kind : burns the pile.  A 4 of kind does not need to be from a single players turn. The set just needs to be uninterrupted by other cards (other than 5s)

For example player A plays two 6s. Player B then plays two 6s. This is now a 4 of a kind.


A player who burns a pile , then refills their hand , and then can swap one card in their hand with one of the face up cards in front of them. They then play again, starting a new pile.


>When a player refills their hand and draws a card that matches the card they just played , they may immediately play it.

>Once the deck is empty and a player is playing the last card/s in their hand, they can include any of their face up cards if would make 2 (or more ) of a kind by matching the card played from their hand.

>5s don't prevent a 4+ of kind from forming. So a pair , a 5 , and then a pair of the same rank , is treated as 4 of a kind.

>if a player can play a card they must do so , they can't choose to pick up. However this has not yet come up that someone might want to do this , and it's possible a good choice in some situations. So you are welcome to allow it, we just haven't tested this out at all.

>the player that is BEAST BOY deals.  Sometimes we make them also be responsible for keeping the Burned pile tidy. Neither is that thematically appropriate though

The bit I added and we are now playing with is the bit about being able to swap a card after you burn the pile. In the original game players could freely swap from their hand to their top cards immediately after the cards were dealt but before the first card had been played.
This addition gives the early game a lot more considerations than just trying to avoid picking up lots of cards. I think I'm a fucking genius for thinking of it and its possible that I've been pre-scooped and this version exists already.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Bad Ideas With Legs

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

 I threw out an idea on the dimming but still alight g+  .
It was ridiculous idea but actually has more potential than I thought.

The idea is swapping the mechanics for how the classes work.

So fighters mediate and select their fight moves "magic missile" "light" etc
and wizards buy a halberd spell and use it.
Thieves steal "cure light wounds" and "sanctuary" from the gods in their sleep and clerics solemnly learn 45% Hear Noise from their hierophants and solemn tomes.

By frankensteining  around the raw mechanics , a different genre feel starts to happen.
(Although something more than just calling the halberd a "woeful finger" will need to be done)

Fighter "supreme techniques"/spells  as limited use encounter breakers starts becoming more wuxia

(though "limited use" isn't that common in Wuxia; it would have to be framed as Ultra taxing powers as opposed to the workaday cloudstepping and needle throwing)

Wuxia as a genre is extremely open to how much can be justified as possible via "chi" and "kung fu" technique so limited use supreme techniques could still include things like Charm person , Web and Phantasm force.

My favourite film "Swordsman 3: The east is red" features such abilitys as a ninja suspended in the air hiding behind a fake moon, sewing needles used to animate corpses, a dozen hearts exploded out of enemy goons simultaneous  (at range ) , a "laughing point" manipulated to cause compulsive laughter, disguises,  doves released from corpses upon death and a swordfish as flying carpet. It's a good time.

Wizards relying on equipment for power already has an easy form; in scrolls or calligraphy paper .
(the Palladium book "Mystic China" has some interesting magic based on this)
A greater range of abilities and power should be possible than what is normal for an equipment table, but it seems workable to me.

Thieves using mystic abilities could be added to a world as something elaborate as promethean thieves stealing powers from the gods themselves , or drawing from folklore such as the "hand of glory", "thieves oil" , protective talismans , or other superstitions and "one weird tricks".

This is more suggestive of component based casting than clerical powers, but that's not really a problem.

Further mixing it up could have the spells randomly determined and the player is required to explain their components and write them down, the spells become weaker if anyone else (including other players , not just characters ) knows the recipe.
Or the recipes could be learned as an item like reward.

Clerics having a set of skills instead of spells could be conceptualized as formal ghost hunters, exorcists,  Confucian scholars, or doctors.

Priests in folk stories tend to have a much narrower range of abilities than most spell lists (the "turn dead " ability is even already close to a thief ability)
A quick list from memory:
-banishing supernatural agents
-trapping said agents if they can tricked or convinced to enter a vessel
-casting out possession
-healing sickness, infertility, curses
-fertility (land /domestic animals/ people)
-weather prediction
-dispelling illusions/detecting of supernatural influence
-protective wards against disaster or ill intend
-assessing auspiciousness of dates , partnerships or signs
-lay dead to rest/ placating angered ghost or spirit

So using any of these as replacements for "pickpockets" and "find and remove traps" seems plausible to me.

The trick bit is how much to keep or modify hitpoints and attack bonuses . The thief and cleric seem similar enough in power that swapping or giving them the same seems fine to me . Though if you were using classic d&d having this priest having the lower hitpoints and attack bonuses makes more sense than a more robust bandit type.

For hitpoints /attack bonuses for the fighter and the wizard , I would keep them the same (maybe bounce the wizards hitpoints up a die), but have the wizards calligraphy magic ignore conventional armour a lot of the time.

Or have both classes having options to trade less hitpoints for more Special powers .

I'm still making slow progress on "plane scrap" , art is being done for DCO's re-release, I'm being commissioned for 2 other projects. The cyberpunk writing is still shelved for now and ditto Broken Fire Regime .

Me and Patrick made a zine and it's available now:

just remembered about some osr wuxia rpgs that its been awhile since I've read but I'm pretty sure had some ideas overlapping with this

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Dwarves In Space

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF Warhammer 40,000 has orks, humans, demons and elves in space. 
The other fantasy classic dwarves (also hobbits?) exist as the "squats" a modified human race that were dropped out of production by Games Workshop and sidelined by the lore.

Something about Dwarves couldn't translate into Sci-Fi, possibly because two of the central aspects of dwarves ,industrialism and being underground, are eclipsed by the scale of outer space conflicts.

But is possible to have Dwarves in Space being Dwarvish?

I don't think you could add them now to Warhammer 40 K , as any new faction some amount of  Starcraft and/or Lovecraft to be taking seriously. 

However here's my attempt at a Space-Dwarves that would fit in the earlier 40K warhammer.

Their origins indicate they were human , descended from humans that left with slower than light travel.

From there they increasingly compromised their humanity for the advancement of technology and the requirements of space travel.

Eventually being able to survive and traverse blackholes  and making use of the super dense materials and energys they mine there.

 Their form is now inseparable from their pressure suits, the being inside a oily like mass of bio-slime and crude nano bots.

The requirements for their extreme existence have turned their society into one of absolute routine and conformity,  spending millennium maintaining and improving their ships, gathering materials, and drifting through space.

Their ships are like brutalist sculpture or soviet reactor.
(Center for the Performing Arts, Albany)

Divorcing themselves from imagination and frivolous individuality is one of their solutions to the threat of Chaos.

Their goals now is render the universe safe from chaos, which involves converting anything that chaos could invest into the equivalent of concrete dams, like the apocalyptic madness of "paperclip making AI".

While not having access to the warp , they claim to have outlasted the universe and seen it loop over , allowing them to have already traveled to where they need to be.

Their ships are undetectable and vast fleets can be calmly traveling at sub light speeds, having traveled millions of years to arrive just as another fleet arrives out of the warp.

Their technology and weapons would involve moduleness , gravity, magnetism , and weird time effects, weird materials, blackholes, super bullets and railguns.

Aesthetically drawing from any human like technology which looks threatening or overwhelming to human scale, so brutalism, big massive lines, hostile cubic detail.

Additionally add signs of pitting and crust from the vast ages of their craft.

The central ideas and required horribleness (warhammer)  would be the fear of technology and overly applied rationality to transform things into unrecognizable alienity, as well as fears of deep time, and the unblinking gaze of those hidden behind protective suits

(Arnaldo Pomodoro sculptures)

Saturday, 25 August 2018

snares, ambuscade, and inveiglements

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF Look it's a game or a trend or something

and I have been mildly encouraged to join in! I am also mildly inclined to pay attention to what the criteria of a good trap is so ..

1. The Classic.
It's 10 by 10 metre square pit , smooth sided, and  deep enough that it would injure you to fall in it and it's hard to see the bottom with the lighting.  30 Metres  ?

It's not disguised, it's plainly there in the middle of the room. There is nothing in the bottom of it.
The odds are really good that your players will manage to spend a hour on this trap and resulting in at least one character badly injured.

2. Blood Stream
This section of corridor is partially flooded via a  fast flowing stream, very clear and fairly quick. Algae or some other slime has coated the submerged. The real danger is the concealed glass blades, spikes and caltrops  that are hidden here. Brushing past them will cut you , falling on them will impale you and trying to knock them out of the way will break them into smaller , but still sharp pieces.
Any resulting cuts or injurys have a high chance of infection because its down stream from a midden.
(if this trap is being used as defense rather than a fun house fuck you type deal , this will be a defense that scouts or sentry's will escape or fall back past, using stilts or a simple raft to get across.)

3.Statue Gallery
A looong winding tunnel filled up with statues in various poses, you have to  occasionally squeeze or clamber over them if you want to get through. Some statues appear crude and unfinished (or abandoned), others executed well. Mostly sandstone but some harder materials.  Creator has a good eye for movement and emotion, especially anger and sorrow.  Air is a bit stuffy though

4.Free Fall
Something is wrong with space here, there's no floor or  ceiling , and they effectively loop.
So something that falls through the fall comes out the ceiling, soon reaching terminal velocity .
A number of large rocks are doing this currently

5.Upper Crust
A boiling mud pool has a natural bridge of a thicker layer leading to a Obsidian Elephant Skull. It's heavy enough that if you try and carry it you will fall through the crust and into the mud.

6. Candle Snakes
An altar with unlit candles. The candles repeal undead when lit but have a snake skeleton inside. As the wax drips away the snake becomes noticeable. If it is burned much longer that snake bursts free and starts savaging the face of the holder.

These candles were made to allow junior archivist to access the archives, crypts , and mausoleums  but with strict time allowances.

Friday, 3 August 2018

OSR and what to explain

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
These definition of the OSR posts are the worst.

I feel the compulsion to explicitly state the things I desire in play and assumptions in the material I write,
they overlap so much with what people state as OSR , that it would incongruous for me to deny that.

However if there was a new term or a sub-term that was getting used instead and that was a better fit , sure use that (like Patrick's "Pretentious Hipster" or DIY etc etc)


There could be a new term that would be a "better fit".

-if somehow it was more clear about what it represented right there in the name, like "story games" (also constantly argued about) gives fairly good indicator of what it means.

         -there's OSR as a style of play and there's OSR as (numerous)  communities. A new term that could dodging the misunderstandings around this .
Like when someone talks about a shit head "in" the OSR there's an implied question about what other (OSR) peoples relationship is  to this person . If this New Term was one that described a style of play then this confusion could be avoided.

So "board gamers" is a term that describes a style of play and to talk about a board gamer community you have to actually put the c-word in there.

     -Because OSR is referring to numerous communities (each generally congealed around particular personalitys and/or websites /social media) and OSR-play to each of these communities generally refers the play styles and assumptions they have. These can vary enough that it causes a lot of confusion . I've read people dramatically stating they are an OSR heretic because they don't like Thac0/descending armour class/Gary Gygax. And basically everyone I'm talking to in the """OSR""" could not give less of shit if one like or doesn't like these.

and against all this:
- The inertia of a  term that everyone is already using is massive and it's rare that anyone has ever got a "better" term brought in. Like, slightly bad example to due length,  "Procedural generated content with permadeath"  is better than "rogue-like" but I've not seen it stick.

-I can't really think of a catchy 2-3 word title that sums up and I doubt its possible to summarize all the stuff I'm about to discuss below in this way.

-I am looking for a new term to describe exactly what I'm about or for the OSR as whole?


 A term with a reasonable of traction is "traditional play" / "trad games" , and while it is a term that is kinda useful to talk about a distinction from  "story games".
However  "traditional" by definition is fairly unchanging and isn't looking for refinements, and a lot of OSR** game design is about the refinements and breaking abruptly  from "back in the day" methods.

Additional "tradition" play could be the sandboxy , high lethality , "bob the fighter"  style of play or railroaded to shit , 3 page back story, fantasy novel,  style of play.

**a good example here of contradicting goals had by different self identified OSR people/communities; people who want to have play/game design closely replicate "back in the day" methods and people who want to improve and experiment with play/game design that has the same playstyle/goals as "back in the day"



With the games I run and write material for, these are the assumptions and desired play styles I have that overlap with the OSR enough for the term to be correct.

>Players Decisions  Must Matter: The consequences of their actions and decisions is the engine of the entire game. It is what results in an "emergent story", but even before then , the moment to moment play is interesting because what they are doing matters to what will happen.

 To best support this:
 They should be given all the information that would be available to their character.

The g.m should be prepared to accept the results of the dice and roll with the players effects on the world.

>Trying to force a conventionally coherent/cliche narrative for a "better story" by trying to force or cancel player decisions or consequences or ignore a dice roll, will always act against the mattering of player decisions.  Don't worry about the final results working as conventional story , worry about the moment to moment play being interesting .

> Any encounter /situation will be "balanced" ( i.e have the ability to effect) as is appropriate for its existence in the world.
Therefore the players should be able to seek the challenge they want by seeking out different areas, getting information, or coming up with plans, alliances or schemes to balance things in their favour.

Outright avoidance , fleeing , negotiation, schemes, befriending, disguises, and the like are acceptable and even desirable outcomes.

>Because of above , only exp for killing monsters is a bad fit. Consider exp for treasure, pre-set goals, or the like

 Here are some other statements about """OSR""" play I felt were good summaries for me.
They were from a g+ post about OSR assumptions that people felt should be stated.


Resolution of action by player skill first then dice or character mechanics. Like players don't declare I roll X instead players describe their characters actions and rolls are done if neccesary.

Gregory Blair :
 Killing things is usually not the goal, there is nothing that is "supposed" to happen, combat is not the default assumption for an encounter.

Character death is not taboo and is to be expected.

The adventure will not enumerate the one correct way to resolve conflicts and puzzles; player creativity is expected and should be rewarded by the referee.

Balance as a design goal is generally absent.

Brian Harbon

This is a game primarily about interacting with this world as if it were a place that exists. Outcomes will be based on how this world would react to your interactions, and challenges will be as unbalanced, unexpected, and exciting as they would in a real world. Your goal is generally to survive the enemies around you, whether that be via avoidance, negotiation, befriending, or creatively throwing the balance in your favor./
I think I just view story more as an emergent, secondary effect of OSR play rather than it's active, primary goal. i.e. The goal is not to tell the most interesting story you can, the goal is to interact with and overcome the problems at hand. From those interactions, the story passively emerges.

Brian Murphy

 It is not the DM’s job to balance encounters; it is the players’ job to unbalance encounters in their favor. (AKA: if you find yourself in a fair fight your tactics suck.)

But why all this?

I read this Maze Of Blue Medusa review and the author appeared to have no understanding of other peoples play styles and it was a trip. 
So I thought I could try and make a pre-face to use in future for any material I create.

Annus Horribilis:

 Speaking of any material I might create, let's address the commonwealth .

-The Stretch Goal of me writing material for Demon City has been reached so that's happening.

-There's an edition of Neoclassical Geek Revival happening with just my art. It was a selectable option for backers of the just finished kickstarter.  Not sure what the availability after that will be . I'll let you know

-Jacob Hurst (Swordfish Islands, up for ennie) is doing a Deep Carbon Observatory new edition , he's got a lot  on, there's logistic problems etc etc, but it will happen at some stage with better maps (not  by me, don't worry) , not be a5 (fuck a5) , and have more art and replacements for the stuff I'm not happen with.

Additionally the next release me and Patrick are doing with him will be Broken Fire Regime.
This one has been nailed with so many fucking delays and piss arounds including the previous publisher suddenly dropping it (a whole year of unnecessary delay right there, thanks for that) .

It's got like 95% of the writing and art done but that last 5% plus layout or anything else involving other people is a minefield and we keep stepping on them.

Ones possiblitys and potentials open dramatically up if you find the right people to work with but boy can working with other people send everything into the doldrums.

-The Planescape material has got David Shugars editing it , he is a star, I'm on the last plane now (lawful evil one) and it's being difficult but progress is happening. I'm hoping the decisions and quality of the later writing doesn't make me then have to revise all the earlier stuff however (some of which was written 3+ years ago now). Eta by the end of the year

-The cyberpunk thing: this is on ice at the moment (no pun) , kinda waiting for feedback from someone else in the project .  Will resume this and give it my full focus once the planescrap is out , or if I feel massively inspired. I needed to load the brain with fresh ideas for this anyhow and also? trying to extrapolate a terrible future from the terrible realitys right now is depressing.
It will happen at some stage but don't hold your breath.

These last 2 are the only things that could use that preface I talked about...

After these are done I am so excited about doing something that I'm 100% into and not one that I got caught up in .  Who knows what it will be, something small not involving anyone else most likely.


did Sherlock Holmes say Never The Less a lot?  Jeremy Brett delivering the line has always stuck with me  enough to make seem like he didThe fuck is with this Burma Shave Format?