Monday, November 23, 2015

Rolemaster Post Apocolyptic

Awhile back friend, who had just seen Mad Max (a great disappointment btw), was bugging me to run a post apocalyptic campaign every time he saw me.

For the last month I've been semi-obsessed with the excellent rougelike Neo Scavenger which you should check out here

Which got me wanting to run a pocolypse game. Now in the past that meant Gamma World or Metamorphosis Alpha. With crazy mutants and towards the silly fun side of dystopias. But, Neo Scavenger and what my friend was imagining was "realistic" and gritty. And what's the grittiest of gritty games? None other than...

Aw yeah! I have four versions (plus two more sci-fi versions and various genre supplements) of Rolemaster. But haven't actually played it in 24? years...  Had to use RMSS/RMFRP cause I have most books for that (including 3 copies of core), RMSS Blackops gave modern professions and RMSS Arms Law, Firearms along with Privateers:Blaster Law provided the needed Bam Bam and Pew Pew to go with the hack and slash.

Keeping in line with Neo Scavenger and stealing from the Morrow Project characters
are part of The Project. A quasi-military, non-governmental organization created by a trillionaire to rebuild society after it collapses. They are members of a seven person recon team. Which in turn is part of a larger recon unit. The whole unit with equipment and supplies was put into "stasis" to be woken a few weeks/months after "the collapse". Along with other Project units all over the country / world.

The first session is team coming out of stasis and discovering things did not quite go to plan. Everyone has a varying amount of "movie" style amnesia. So, they may create as much or as little background / depth / history as they want. And may add/change that history during the game via "I just got some memories back." Amnesia also allows players unfamiliar with system hold off on some of character development until after they've played and learned how things work. It's really a great meta-game device I'm gonna reuse it.

Last Friday was first session and, cause Rolemaster, the entire session was spent creating characters. I like parts of RMSS but it's just too much. I would definitely use Rolemaster Classic or HARP in future.

First phase of campaign will be players just trying to survive. Get water, food, shelter. Then they will move onto scavenging and trying to get some actual gear and weapons while avoid being scavenged themselves. By this time, they are, hopefully pissed off and wanting revenge against the "Raiders". Motivating them to build/steal a vehicle and we move on to the Mad Max Punk Rock Road Battles portion of the campaign After that, well don't want to reveal too much.

The campaign map. Click to embiggen. I'm disinclined to discuss it much cause I'm sure my sneaky players are reading this post. I'm sure it helps that I understand what the map represents. But, creating and then looking at this has got me really excited to play. There's just so much potential action and fun represented.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Tuesday, June 9, 2015



A game that never was, Wildspace by TSR.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Christmas in March

I've been too busy playing games, DCC, 2ed, ODD with various board, war, and miniature games stuffed in between. But wanted to spread the word that the spectacular flood (over 300pages) of DIY greatness has arrived.  [quick browse I'm really impressed with the production quality. Really lot of work and great job done by the santicore team] 

My Galdr Rune magic is here.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Planet Eris House Rules PDF

As I've mentioned several times in the past, many Austin area gammers, including myself, play and run campaigns in a shared world we call Planet Eris. Mostly at various FLGS. There are now two online games as well (if interested in joining search that site for tags "ODD" or "Eris").

We share a set of house rules, which aren't exactly how I'd like things (but they are darn close). And what little fantasy heartbreak I incur is more than made up from having multiple DMs and players all interacting in the same world.

Thought others might be interested in the actual rules so with author's permission and without further ado I present the

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Pleskos Map

Yes it is a map of Pleskos (Gatetown), an adventurer boom town, outside ruins of Anatolis. Made for online, roll20, campaign I'm currently running.

Not all that exciting (the town is more interesting than map, probably post write up after players learn about most of it). Guess I'm posting it to encourage others to post their stuff. Even if you're crappy at art like me, or think it's dumb or boring, throw your shit out there. I bet somebody, someday will get a kick out of it. Or better get that push they need to do something of their own. Reading peoples blogs and seeing the stuff they do, has certainly kept me creating and playing.

Click it HUGE!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Point Crawl Map, Durthos Region

In Planet Eris, campaign shared by Austin area DMs/players, I'm currently DMing an area around Durthos, "city of adventure". This area is fairly civilized, known, and small. My campaign focuses on city adventure and possibly exploring ruins / megadungeon, not wilderness exploration. All around great candidate for a Point Crawl map

The following map will be used on roll20 starting Friday (OD&D 6:30 CST, contact me if interested). Circles represent villages, city of Durthos and Valum Auster, a fort. "Heraldry" of controlling power is shown for all but two. A camp of miners too small to care about and adventurer supply boom-town outside Anatolis ruins/megadungeon which no one has control over.  I included the population of each village to provide players some perspective.  Also on "DM Layer" of roll20 I have names of NPCs, Inns, and the like for each town.  Blue triangles are "adventure" points.  Dashed red lines represent actual road.  Other lines are more abstract connections between points. Each link takes one day of normal foot travel. Except lines with blue dots are only 1/2 day.  Large red dots are "points" with nothing really interesting there and exist only to split longer routes into one day chunks. 

Clicky to embiggen
The time to move between points and if there is a link at all depends not only on distance but also more abstract factors such as knowledge of route, how often route is used, difficulty of terrain, and frankly DM fiat. But players aren't strictly limited to the connections. The links are just the easy, fast routes when they just want to get to big city and back. For example there's not even chance for encounter in northern half of map (between civilized dots). 

Compared to "hand-waving" a trip to big city, Point crawl provides more context (for verisimilitude, to riff off of, chance for unexpected, pointing out "cool stuff is on these dots, go there", etc.) for players and DM. But, aren't as "slow" to create or play as hexcrawling. What I've done here isn't the only way to use point crawl. They can also be used for traditional, exploratory crawl the wilderness as in The Hydra Collective's Slumbering Ursine Dunes. And in modified form, a way to map and run a huge ruined city. But, that is a post for another time...

Friday, January 16, 2015

Why OD&D is my (sometimes) favorite RPG.

I've seriously played Original D&D, the Little Brown Books, twice in my life.  Long ago, in my early 20's, when I still had the white box and now, last year or so.

Many years earlier when my dad had bought whitebox for me, I looked at the goofy art and put them aside cause at the time I already had *Advanced* D&D. Why regress to something "inferior". Some latere point, exhausted with weight and complexity ("realistic" weather, economy, ecology, etc. etc.) of my own campaign world and especially with the endless splatbooks and crappy products being written by fiction authors instead of gamers being churned out in 2ed area, digging through all my junk found that white box, sat down and actually read them for first time. It hit me, that feeling, the same one wargammers in 1974 must have got. Awe, newness, excitement, wonderment that anything was possible, it would be easy, and fun!  Right there, I rolled up some characters (on plain ruled paper, no special character sheet) and started hexcrawling a random wilderness.

I play/played many RPGs, and try all editions of D&D. But always end up gravitating towards rules lite systems. First FUDGE, then Labyrinth Lord, more recently Swords & Wizardry (which is my 1st choice now). In Austin, TX there is large group of DMs and players using OD&D with shared set of house rules and campaign world, called Planet Eris. In between other campaigns I've been playing with them on/off for a couple years and will be starting my first OD&D Planet Eris campaign next Fri.

The appeal of OD&D (for me anyways) dawned on me while writing this somewhat tongue and cheek response to DM adding ranger class on roll20 (which I don't think you have access to so reproduced below)
BLASPHEMY! Damn you and your rules bloat.Where will it end? Subraces of hobbits? Comeliness attribute? Madness! Our forefathers succumbed to the seduction of splatbooks. Has their sad history taught us nothing! We play the original rules, not because they are old, but because they are NOT NEW! 
Sir, I reject your wanton modernity. And if my dueling trousers weren't in the laundry, I might have been tempted to call you out.
also fighting trousers ->

That line, "not new"...  OD&D is simple and **simplistic**. There are almost no rules. Which forces everyone to be more creative, to use more of their imagination. Also, nothing new to learn, no new class/rule breaking game, almost nothing to rules lawyer, min-max, or argue over. Even the basis of the game is simple. While you could play massive RP/court intrigue, ODD doesn't lend it self to that. It's heavy on *game*. And a specific, simplistic type at that, the crawl game. Dungeoncrawl, Hexcrawl, Citycrawl. Explore, do stuff with things you've found, explore some more.

It's all so refreshing and easy. Even more so than S&W which has variable damage, more complex monsters, other stuff. Sometimes I feel like gourmet almond crusted chicken with some freaky berry sauce arranged artistically and accompanied by nice wine. Other times I just want a hunk of meat juicily roasted with fire.

Those times I crave OD&D.

Monday, January 12, 2015

"The Family" Thieves Guild

The Family

The thieves guild of Durthos calls itself "The Family".

Many rumors surround the Guild:

1. Main hideout is hidden as noble's mannor.2. Ruled by powerful monster; Succubus, lich, demon, vampire.3. Controled / Controls Noble family.4. Stealing from dead is prohibited.

Family Traditions
The family has long standing unwritten code that is well understood by its members. These traditions are one reason The Family has
survived and prospered.
• Don't cheat, steal from, or harm The Family or its friends.• Non-family operators must be reported and unsanctioned Jobs disrupted.• Jobs must be approved by Brother / Sister.• The Haul from a Job must be sold through Family.• During a job, murder, maiming, and property damage are to be avoided.• The Family does not steal from the dead.

Family Ranks
Members receive a Family name. The number of syllables in one's name denotes their rank.

"Cousin" 1 syllable name
levels 1-3.
20% haul fee.
Fence goods at 50% value minus haul fee.
Safe goods/gold Stash: 10% fee on withdrawal.
Assistance if caught by law, local, mark, etc.

"Brother / Sister" 2 syllable name
levels 4-8
15% haul fee.
Fence goods at 50% value minus haul fee.
Safe goods/gold Stash: 5% fee on withdrawal.
Assistance if caught by law, local, mark, etc.
Access to safe houses.
May plan Jobs, recruit Cousins.

"Uncle / Aunt" 3 syllable name
level 9+
10% haul fee.
Fence goods at 75% value minus haul fee.
Safe goods/gold Stash: 5% fee on withdrawal.
Assistance if caught by law, local, mark, etc.
Access to safe houses. Permanent residence at guild hall.
May recruit brothers and / or cousins for Jobs.
Member of Family's ruling council.

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