Category Archives: Home Brew Hacks

Just some house rules that I made up.

Gnomlings: Why not?

OK, I admit it. I’m not that fond of Gnomes and Halflings. Oh, sure I have played a few in my time but I was young, experimenting and probably drunk.
To keep things simple, why not just make them one race. Sometimes I think Gnomes just might be Halflings with shoes. A race of short lucky kleptomaniac illusionist pranksters. Yeah, I know that kind of sounds like Kender but damn since Dragonlance just about every Halfling has been a Kender in disguise. Heck, they’re really not that much different.
This is just a random thought floating around in my head. But really do you need both races in a campaign world? Think about they really aren’t that much different.

YARC: Some Basics, Saves & Skills

Yeah, I know I haven’t ranting about my own little retroclone home game recently. That’s the joy of working without a deadline. Currently, my little gaming group is busy playing Classic Deadlands and teh Dresden Files RPG. So I got time to work on this little project. But any way I wanted to throw out some basics.
I really like the simplicity of one Save Mechanic from Swords & Wizardry plus tack on the Saves as Skills mechanics and it’s just golden. But I decided to make it one step simpler.
All characters have a base Save of 16. This gets modified by the appropriate Attribute modifier, Racial and Class Abilities. Additionally, characters gain a bonus equal to 1/2 their level rounded down.
This may sound over simplified but remember, kids, I like Castles & Crusades too. And that game has it’s neat Save mechanic. A Save for each attribute. Yep, dump stats can kill you. I’m looking at break down roughly like this:
Strength: Constriction, Crushing, Grappling
Dexterity: Traps and Effects Which Can Be Dodged.
Constitution: Poison, Disease and Drugs.
Intelligence: Illusions and Most Arcane Magic
Wisdom: Gaze Attacks and Most Divine Magic
Charisma: Fear and Charm effects
I know there a few other things I got to throw in there but this me just throwing random thoughts out there.

YARC Released Into The Wild

So I was scanning through RPG Blog Alliance feed this afternoon and there’s another brain out there that thinks sort of like I do. Frightening thought, huh?
There’s no hard feelings anywhere, so that’s no no problem. As a matter of fact, you should go check out The RPG Outsider’s blog. He’s got some neat stuff over there.
But on the drive home this evening I was thinking. Damn, YARC (Yet Another Retro Clone) should be just a bit of OSR jargon by now. So it should be released into the wild and set free of any “who thought it of first type” stuff. But if you do happen to write that retroclone that makes $1,000,000,000 then at least pass out some thumbs ups, OK? And as a little bonus here’s a simple graphic that I worked up awhile ago. Feel free to use it if y’all want.

My Home Brew Hack Has A Name

You know there just so many retroclones out there. Some folks say too many. Meh. Every one of them adds just a little bit more to my little tool box of ideas. A new way to this or that. An interesting take on a monster, class or spell. So as long there is something at least a little bit new, I can find a use for it.
But any way I got tired of just calling my own little kitbash “Home Brew Hack”. I wasn’t really trying to come up with a name but one popped into my little brain and stayed there.
YARC. That’s right YARC. “Yet Another Retro Clone”.

A Quick & Easy Way To Make Freaky Monsters

Just a little idea that popped in my head to easily twist monsters and just maybe throw something weird at the players.
Step One: Pick a random encounter table, roll on it. Get Monster A
Step Two: Pick another or same random encounter table. Get Monster B.
Step 3: Cross Monster A with Monster B.
It doesn’t have to make sense but just make it interesting and weird.

Vornheim Meet Your Fate

If you haven’t gotten your grubby little hands on a copy of a href=”″Vornheim/a then what are you waiting for? It’s the best city building supplement out there.
But this isn’t just about Vornheim, it’s also about a href=””FATE/a. Yes, I know FATE is not en OSR game. It’s story based game that places a lot of narrative control in the players’ hands. But I’m one of those folks who enjoy tweaking and twisting game rules and concepts. In this case I’m talking about a href=””city creation/a for FATE as seen in the Dresden Files RPG. The basic concept is that players and the GM sit around and build the city in a collaborative brainstorming session. You use the Aspects and Themes Threats from FATE (just short descriptive phrases) to describe sections or districts within a city. You also assign an NPC who is the “Face” of that area. The Face is basically the primary character who represents that area of the city from a narrative standpoint. So when you’re done, you have a nice tidy pile of notes describing your city. These concepts are pretty simple and can easily be used with the tools from Vornheim. You don’t have to populate each and every house in a city. The city map doesn’t need to look like a mega-dungeon. (Unless you’re really into that sort of thing). The GM could quickly scribble a small village on 3 x 5 index card in matter of minutes.
You don’t even have to do it collaboratively. The GM can just sit down create the city on his own. You don’t even need to use the FATE game mechanics. Just use the Aspects as springboards for adventure ideas and descriptions. You don’t even have to limit yourself to a city. Hell, you could design a nice little sandbox type area for the characters to explore.
The thing is that it’s OK to grab up any tool you can get your hands on that’s makes your job as GM easier and the game fun for the players.

A Simple Crit & Fumble System

Everybody loves nifty crits and fumbles. Admit you know you do. I was brainstorming the other for some other ideas. I mean charts are neat and all but sometimes it can be drag to look something up. The Crit and Fumble Decks from Paizo are pretty damned cool. We’ve used them a lot in our Pathfinder games. But I had this crazy little idea to something simple and quick so here you go.
On a Crit: The defender chooses to take double damage or have his shield destroyed (Magical shields can just be knocked away.) or have his armor damaged (Reduces it’s effectiveness by half, rounded down)
On a Fumble: The attacker chooses to lose his weapon or break his weapon or the defender gets a free immediate attack against him.
Of course, the GM will have to do some judgement calls in particular situations. That’s why there’s that little mantra: “Rulings, Not Rules.”