If you’ve been following the blog then you know I’ve ranting about two possible campaigns. First, there was New Bay City using Dark Streets & Darker Secrets. It’s a modern horror/urban fantasy setting that I’ve run before just with different systems. And then there’s my sudden love affair with The Blight. Well, just follow the link. I put forth both to the gaming the group. They decided they wanted The Blight. And for system? Well, just like the survey I recently posted, they decided to try Swords & Wizardry. By coincidence, I’m also working on my YARC (Yet Another Retroclone) project which is basically house ruled Swords & Wizardry. So there will be a bunch of house rules.
With all that being said, I just can’t leave things alone plus like many GM’s I like to put my own spin on things. I base this on what I like and what I think the players will like. So I’m going to put a few little tweaks to make it a little more fun for us at the table and easier to use for me since the book is nearly 900 pages. Most of the changes are going to be player facing. By that I mean opening up some classes and races that aren’t normally an option. So stay tuned for all that. While the work begins now, it’ll be a couple of months. They’ve got a couple more adventures to survive in the Labyrinth Lord game.
So yes, YARC is Swords & Wizardry at its core and most of the changes are the player facing ones. And here’s another. Last time I talked about roll stats. This time it’s about what those numbers mean. First, I don’t mind modifiers and second I prefer a simpler unified bonus table. Trust me it will make sense later. I want some penalty for lower stats but to the point that it’s punishing. It basically makes sense to those who have been around the block a time or two. Strength is for Hit and Damage; Dexterity, AC; Constitution, HP; Intelligence, Additional Languages; Wisdom, Spell Saves; Charisma, Social Reactions.
4 to 7 -1
8 to 12 0
13 to 16 +1
Yes, one chart to rule them all. Yes I know it’s simple but that’s what it’s about. Rules should be simple and keep the action going rather than min-maxing the crap out of characters and encounters. And yes I am planning something special for the fighter. Crap I’ve written enough about them and you’ve probably already seen that.
Yes, I know I didn’t get any blog posts done last week and I was hardly around on social media. Things were busy but I wasn’t idle on the gaming front. I almost have Back Alleys done for Dark Streets and Darker Secrets, I did some more brainstorming on YARC, and the whole reason for this post more mulling on The Blight.
Right now, I mostly messing around with the gods and Gods of Castorhage and thinking of how to make the various game systems. So I figured what the heck, throw out to masses and see what happens. Of all the games I have at my disposal I’ve narrowed it down to these (in no particular order).
1. Swords & Wizardry: It’s easy to do NPC’s. It’s flexible. It’s readily available in PDF form and the players can buy the book if they want. And there’s already a ready made version of it by Frog God Games.
2. Fifth Edition: It’s the elephant in the room. The players are already familiar with it and they already have their own books. It’d be a little tougher to run improved NPC’s off the cuff. The PC’s do have a lot more umph than in the other systems so make it a little grittier will take some house ruling.
3. Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar: Why? Well, DCC is cool and I should have my physical copies from the Kickstarter soon. The players are already familiar with it. The Blight is a city-based campaign so in my mind’s eye, it would make a good fit using the DCC: Lankhmar rules. Yes, I know no clerics and I would have house rule the partrons. So more prep type work on the DM’s part. I’m also aware of how crazy the magic can get. The players are already familiar with DCC and some have the books already.
4. Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Well, you can go weird and gritty without thinking about LOTFP. The players should be able to pick it up quickly. The art-free version is still available. It won’t take much to convert the Swords & Wizardry version over to LOTFP.
5. Something else? Oh. There’s plenty of other games out there. But the above are really my main choices.
So here’s a poll. Leave a comment. Let me know what you think.
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'[.
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.
So I’m working on a little supplement/fanzine for Dark Streets and Darker Secrets. The current working title is Back Alleys. So I figured I share a little preview of one of things coming up.
Possession and Exorcism
Damage Resistant: When a Possessing Entity is inhabiting a host, it (and the host) take half damage from mundane attacks. If the entity is expelled/exorcised then it is immaterial and immune from damage from mundane attacks.
Possession: The entity may take over the body of a mortal and inhabit it. Can be resisted with a successful WILL Test.
Poltergeist: The Possessing Entity may hurl loose objects doing base damage based on its HD. A successful AGILITY Test halves the damage.
A New Gift/Ritual
Exorcism is an exhausting ritual that takes PL Hours to cast. It will expel a Possessing Entity of PL HD. The Entity may resist with a WILL Test (assume 10+HD Willpower). If the caster increases the PL above the Entity’s HD then the Entity resists as per the Powerful Enemy rule.
Right now, I’m working on three new archetypes, some magical artifacts and host of horrors to disembowel the player characters. And yes there’s something for Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells but more that later.
Decisions. Decisions. So I’ve pretty run the gamut on blog posts for New Bay City. I still have some NPC’s to flesh out but I won’t post those until they make contact with the player characters. But then there’s another monkey wrench that’s been thrown into the mix. I may have to postpone it for a while since there maybe some genre conflicts in the gaming group. So we meet at the FLGS and alternate GM’s between two games and we try not to do the same genre or game at the same time. It keeps things fresh and keeps the players from getting confused. So I began thinking about other campaigns that have been sitting in the back of my head that I want to run.
The group had blast with Call of Cthulhu: Horror on the Orient Express and Delta Green. So my mind wandered into that territory.
An idea that’s been bouncing around inside my head for a long time, is Pirates Vs Cthulhu. The original idea was to use Savage Worlds and mash together Pirates of the Spanish Main, Solomon Kane, and Realms of Cthulhu. Which all would work together but there’s is that distinct pulp feel to Savage Worlds. Of course, like any gamer I get distracted with shiny new things. I thought about tweaking Zwiehander, and then I stumbled across Blood Tide. Crap it’s BRP with Pirates. Just add mythos.
Keeping up with Mythos feel, I’ve been hankering to do a Wild West/Horror mash up. So once again CofC has me covered with Down Dark Trails and I might be able to mix in some Devil’s Gulch into the mix.
And lastly something modern. Not exactly Delta Green. Ok maybe the surviving characters may grow into a larger conspiracy but in the beginning…oh just watch this and you’ll get the idea.
Of course, I’ve got a few problems with the current edition of CofC. So I may go back in time and dig out my second edition or tweak with some Mythras Imperative. So we shall see. What do you think RPG group brain?