I do bounce around between projects. I’m working on a little supplement for Dark Streets & Darker Secrets, a monster book for Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, an adventure for Swords & Wizardry, a system neutral GM Aid, and all the stuff that goes on her at the blog and on the podcast. So what the why not one more thing?
I don’t remember where but someone was talking about their own house rules and fantasy heart breaker and that got me thinking about YARC. Since it’s been a few years, let’s start from the beginning. YARC stands for Yet Another Retro Clone. It isn’t ground breaking in my mind. It’s just me taking the best bits from across the retroclones and adding a bit of my own spin to some things. So with any home brew idea, you have to start somewhere. Well, I have to admit that of all the clones, my favorite is Swords & Wizardry. It’s easy to convert any of old school stuff into. I’ve used it behind the screen as an easy way to do NPC’s for Labyrinth Lord and 5E. So yep it’s handy. So that’s it in a nutshell.
So where’s the best place to start? Rolling them stats, of course. There’s tons of methods and I’ve played around with bunch that popped into my head but this one has stuck. And it came from running Dungeon Crawl Classics and was something that I totally made up on the fly. The players like it, it’s easy and keeps pretty much with the old school philosophy. I call it 3d6 Hi-Lo.
Step One: Roll 3d6 in order twice.
Step Two: For three of the attribute scores the player may choose the higher. But for the other three scores the player has to take the lower of the the two. Here’s an example:
Let’s say we want to make cleric so the first choice is easy.
Since clerics get in combat a lot, we’ll want a good strength.
Now it’s a little tougher. What do you want to suck at? Maybe a cleric should have an average charisma. It might help convert folks. But that means average dexterity, constitution and he won’t be that bright. We decide that this cleric will one of war and have his deeds rather than his words speak for his god. And that will leave us with this stat block:
And that’s it. So just like so many things on the blog (like the crazy city idea I’m working on), I’ll post more as the inspiration hits. Keep those dice a rollin'[.
I’ve should have checked this out a long time ago but I finally got around to it. Roleplay Rescue
Check out the blog too, Ubiquitous Rat. Yeah this is another one that followed for years and never made the connection. Both are great check them out.
Dirk Stanley is pushing out the fulfillment to Kickstarter backers and I got mine. And boy is it pretty sweet. So in case you missed it, there was a Kickstarter for an OSR version of Far Away Land. Far Away Land has been out for quite a while and uses it’s own system which is pretty cool. I ranted about it in a much earlier post. So you can read that and get quick overview on that. Let me do a little recap on the setting. To put it simply, Faraway Land is a strange gonzo setting. That may put some off but you can go as gonzo as you want. And for me personally I like coloring outside the lines of Tolkien and weird stuff. Sure it’s weird but doesn’t rely on shock to be weird. It’s weird just because it is. And it’s that fun kind of weird.
But this rant is about the OSR version and like I said. It’s pretty sweet. Setting-wise it’s still the same but many of the creatures, races, and spells have been converted over to an OSR system. And yes I know there are many OSR systems. In this case, Dirk used White Box or more specifically Swords & Wizardry Continual Light as a base for the rules. So most of the rules should be pretty much familiar to many.
The biggest change for FALOSR is the magic system. It’s pretty simple in a useful sort of way. First, there technically aren’t clerics in the game. There are Light Mages which are sort of like clerics and Chaos Mages which are more like your standard blow-stuff-up Magic-User. Spells are broken down into three categories White, Gray, and Black. Gray spells either of the classes can cast. However, a Light Mage casting a Black Magic spell takes a penalty to casting. And vice versa for the Chaos Mage casting White Magic. They can do it but there’s a penalty. Also, the number of spells a mage may cast is simplified. It’s Level+3. And no preparation of spells. If you know it then you can cast it. Basically. Once again there is a little exception and difference. Spells are broken down by level which corresponds to character level. This makes what level a spell is totally different than other OSR games that mimic the original sources. So a 2nd level character can safely cast second level spells. They can try to cast higher level spells but it’s pretty dangerous. Like I said, the actual spell levels have changed because of this and FALOSR’s own internal logic. A prime example is that Sleep is an 8th Level spell. You read that right. But there’s plenty of new and interesting spells to play around with.
So in case you were wondering, the other two classes are Fighter and Thief. That’s it. Just the classic four classes. For races, you have the standards less Halfling and then the Far Away Land specific races: Agnun, Blonin, Clockwork,Exions, Glacerian, Numan, Orka, Poomkin, and Simian. Plus there’s a few of the monsters you can easily convert. FALOSR has a whole host of little rules tweaks and mini games as well. Want to do 0-Level funnel. No problem. Collaborative wording building? It’s there too. Plus there’s vehicles and naval combat. Special weird powers and training montages. There’s a ton of little useful bits in there.
So if you were already a fan of Far Away Land, chances are you backed the Kickstarter. If you’re a collector of OSR rules sets. Grab it up for your collection. Heck, the art is even fun in the one. If you are an aficionado of White Box games then definitely grab this one up. There’s virtually no conversion to do. So you’re just adding to what you are already using. That’s what I plan on doing a crazy mash up of my own tweaks on the White Box rules and FALOSR.
As of this writing, the Far Away Land-OSR Version hasn’t hit the virtual shelves. You can keep track of that over on DrivethruRPG. And you can learn a whole lot more about the world and the whole product line, a wiki, and some adventures over at FarUniverse.
He’s back folks! I admit that I’ve never commissioned James for any artwork but I have used his stock art in some of the things. So what can I say? Great art at great prices. I know that sounds silly but it’s true. So yes. He’s back. Check out his site. Check out the Patreon. Take a gander at his stuff on Drivethru. So welcome back.
This week’s funny video. Yeah the OSR is kind of like that.
Frog God Games is doing a series of Indiegogo campaigns for short print run adventures. Now I haven’t backed all of them but I did back this one and it’s pretty cool.
Like I’ve said before it’s tough to rant about an adventure without spoilers but I shall attempt to do my best and note I’m going off the Swords & Wizardry version.
Encephalon Gorgers on the Moon is for 7th to 8th Level characters. There’s a good mix of things for the characters to do. It’s not really big enough to really call it a hex crawl more of an exploration of a couple of areas. The basic hook is that strange things are happening deep in the forest and the characters are supposed to find out why. There’s a few suggestions for getting them involved. It’s one of those things that shouldn’t be too hard to get the characters interested. So yep there’s some investigations for the PC’s to do too which also means some interaction some NPC’s. So the investigation and exploration aren’t too hard. They’d just have to follow bread crumbs. It’s not really that challenging but could be fun. That’s the very basics of it.
The tone of the adventure is where it gets interesting. It’s weird in that old pulp fantasy way without relying on the shock and ewe factor to make interesting. Heck, one of the mysteries is “What’s up with all the cats?” Let’s face it if there’s a Druid in the party, animal based mysteries aren’t that hard to solve. It does also have it’s share of eldritch alien monsters and their kin. This is where the characters run into the bad things. Like I said no spoilers but, just read the title again. There’s some major travel in store for the party. And that’s where things get interesting and alien. This part of the adventure has the real homage to the weird fantasy genre. Alien monsters and environments make it interesting. Now, I will admit there’s a lot of reskinning of things with tentacles that eat brains. But that’s OK. They are presented in their own way.
One of the other good things is that there’s lots of ways you can end the module. Not just beat the bad guy. Maybe you don’t. Or maybe you the party goes around exploring an alien landscape.
So yes. Overall. I’m pleased with it and am glad I back it.
You can find Encephalon Gorgers on the Moon on DrivethrRPG or on Frog God Games own site.
It’s been so long since I’ve done anything with Swords & Wizardry. While it’s been my favorite of the clones, I just haven’t had a chance to back to it. Sure I’m Labyrinth Lord now but I still miss Swords & Wizardry.
It probably has to do with the thing I have about tweaking rules and Swords & Wizardy is prefect for it. Enough crunch to cover the bases but still really flexible. And the rules aren’t built like a Jenga Tower. You know what I mean. Change one little thing and the whole game system collapses. Plus it’s easy as hell to convert all sorts of modules and resources into. Yeah, I know I’ve said all that stuff before.
But I’ve also go a hankering to do another setting. I know it’s weird. I’m already working on The City here at the blog. Don’t worry more to come on that. It’s one of those crazy things. But I want to do something more. As both an experiment and exercise. So we shall see.
It’s not I don’t have enough projects. But then I’m just whining. Oh, well. Food for thought, folks. Cross your fingers.