Yes, I have neglected this blog for too long. I have this little weakness. When I’m not playing a game sometimes I just don’t feel like writing about it plus I’ve been busy running my Dresden Files campaign. So the best thing I can do here is use to start building my “perfect” world. Hell, I’ve got the time, it’s not there’s a deadline looming over my head. Plus I figured it would fun to drag along a few readers through what passes for my creative process.
To put it bluntly, I’ve grown a bit weary of thinly veiled Middle Earth (Tolkien) inspired fantasy worlds. I want something a little more warped. More Sword & Sorcery than High Fantasy. I want a world that’s dangerous, exciting and just a bit frightening. I not want to tear a part some of the tropes and tweak a few things that have always bugged me deep down. I want to make a world of my own that isn’t just another cookie cutter fantasy world.
For the crunchy bits, I’ll turn to my holy trinity of OSR games. Castles & Crusades, Swords & Wizardry and Lamentations of the Flame Princess. I also plan on throwing in some healthy inspiration from other great games like Arduin, Empire of the Petal Throne and ACKS.
How long will this take? Damned if I know. How far will it go? Don’t know that either. But it should be pretty fun. So stay tuned, kids this is going to get interesting.
It’s down to the wire folks and I’d really like to see some of those adventures. So throw in your bucks now. The fund raising ends this Friday. And yes, I’ve already thrown in. So why haven’t you?
Why do undead always fall into the evil things that just need to get killed. Yeah, I know it’s pretty easy to pigeon hole them into that category but I was staring blankly at the wall the other day a little thought crossed my mind.
Why can’t undead also play the role of harbingers of divine retribution? I’m not a zombie plague or anything like that. I’m talking Odin sitting back and slamming a few brews with a bunch of fallen heroes in Valhalla. He looks down on the mortal world and sees a bunch of “his” people slouching around like a bunch wily nily pansies and he decides to a little fire under their butts and weed out the weaklings. Unleash the souls of the Fallen Heroes.
Now we ain’t talking no hippy gods with this one. We’re talking angry mean warrior gods. You know like that Crom.
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.
Let’s face it I think too many of us are kind of getting lazy when it comes to fluff. There really isn’t that much deviation from the standard fantasy world formula.
I know that there are certain built in expectations and that as DM the more time you spend on fluff the greater the chance that your players will ignore it. But after this many decades, it’s ok to bend or break the mold. Take a world, ditch elves and dwarves. Make some of the iconic “baddies” into allies and not villains. Mix and match ideas. Make new and interesting monsters. Make races and places that are new. Not Ancient Evil Lost & Forgotten Temple Number 37. Don’t be afraid to add a little spark and gonzo to a game. Different characters and different campaigns can still start to run together after a while.
And that is my bitchy rant for the day.
OK, that’s really common complaint but when it comes to OSR stuff a lot of quality stuff is good.I don’t think that there ever will be that Holy Grail of the perfect game or One Game To Rules Them All. Now, every game has its own feel and nuances and everyone has their own tastes. And that is why we kit bash.
And this may really silly but kit bashing let’s you sort play more than one game at time. Pull a chunk here, a juicy bit there and mix thoroughly. So let me guide you through the insane maze that is my mind. I happen to like Swords & Wizardry (And Crypts & Things) but also there’s a certain fondness I have for Castle & Crusades and Lamentations of the Flame Princess. The single Save Mechanic from S&W and the basics of C&C make these two pretty much kissing cousins. One of the nifty things about C&C is that there’s a butt load of classes, almost too many for some folks tastes. So take the surgeon’s scalpel to them, trim the fat and slide into S&W core mechanics. What about Lamentations? I really like this game. Lamentations is about the feel of Weird Fantasy. Much of that comes from the totally awesome spells. Tweak them around and make them fit into your world.
And there you go.
Yeah, I’ve had the PDF of Adventurer Conqueror King for a while but I just my book the other day. Sorry, kids but nothing quite replaces the feel of a dead tree version. So I took the time last night to sit down and give it another look.
First, the basic core rules are pretty much your standard OSR game. Nice, simple, tidy. You’ve got the usual four classes (fighter, cleric, wizard and thief). In ACKS, they went with racial classes. I’m not a big fan of that but I do like that they added variation and options from the standard demi-human classes.
Monsters are pretty much your usual fare (But I do suggest looking at the dragons. They got a nice little trick.) and the same goes for spells. It’s just that the higher level spells are considered rituals and as such take longer to cast. Meaning you ain’t going to do it in the middle of a fight.
Now, there are a few things that just made me say, “Wow, that’s pretty cool”. I like the Proficiencies for characters. It’s a nice little tweak. Basically, it’s a little system that combines skills as well as bonuses similar to Feats from 3.X. Some may say that Feats aren’t Old School but I think they did a fine job of making a simple system that still has the feel of older editions. The system works very similar to Castle & Crusades or Saves as Skills in Swords & Wizardry. No keeping track of skill ranks and all that. Just a bonus and roll higher than a target number on a d20. Simple.
The cornerstone to ACKS and what really sets apart is all the other stuff. I’m talking about all those that usually aren’t normally in covered in detail in a core book. We’re talking ships, hirelings, mass combat and most importantly kingdom building. It’s not just you build a keep. It’s a whole system. I just finished playing through Paizo’s Kingmaker so I can’t help but make a comparison. My vote goes to ACKS, it’s much detailed and less abstract. And bonus you don’t have to build a whole mighty kingdom. Clerics can form their church or cult. Thief player characters can start their own guilds.
The real strength of Adventurer Conqueror King is that there’s plenty of awesome tools that you can use for whatever happens to be your rule system of choice. It’s going on the shelf of honor.
Just head on over to Autarch’s site and check it out.
mortal wounds and tampering with mortality