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.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

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". At some later point, exhausted with the 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 novel authors instead of game designers 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 wargamers 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 fighting trousers weren't in the laundry, I might have been tempted to call you out.

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 itself 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.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Adventuer's Guild

In Austin TX there are a collection of DMs and players running in a shared campaign world, Planet Eris. Each DM, so far, has taken responsibility for different area of the world. Typically around a dungeon.

One of the groups goals is to encourage characters to move among the various DM's campaigns.  As a conceit to travel times and DMs maybe not wanting certain powerful magic items in their campaigns teleportation gates are placed around the world guarded by "archons" who magically and temporarily strip characters of anything destination DM don't like.

I'm running a "city" campaign and wanted something "around" this gate, a bank without really being a bank, gold sink, and path for players to involve their characters in local factions/politics.  So, created the Adventurers Guild among several others. I'm normally dead set against anachronistic "meta" organizations like that. But, it fits in with archon gates and the city, Durthos, which I've dubbed "City of Adventures" due to its proximity to various adventure sites and cosmopolitan trade hub nature attracting, researchers, wizards, tomb robbers and rest of the "adventurer types".

Adventurers Guild PDF

Adventurers Guild
Several adventuring parties established guild to provide support to its members. They have received
charters from numerous sovereigns and may be found across the known world.
Secretly founded and controlled by, d4:
1. Wizard Zantanos, as means of gathering secrets and artifacts both long forgotten and well
2. The Emperor to keep tabs on and exert subtle influence over these powerful individuals.
3. Trickster god, there being no humans more chaotic and entertaining than "adventurers".
4. Thieves' Guild, it being easier to steal gold once someone else has hauled it out of the dungeon.

Guild Activities
Operate Hostels, Inns, and other "support" businesses at prime "adventuring" locations.
Member services. Including coin exchange, storage, appraisal, legal aide, and hard to quantify access to
network of adventurers. Arrange for ransoms to be paid.
Grant monopolies and concessions (when local situation allows).
Operate Gates - Guild Houses
5gp toll outbound, inbound always free. Store tax free >1000gp gold for anyone coming through gate.
10% (1% members) coin exchange (at gates).
Political Influence:
Pushing for low/no tax on recovered treasure. Encouraging expansion into "wilderness" and "border"
regions. Promotion of "adventurer as hero" image and a valued, needed part of society through art,
literature and song. Suppression / Spin of negative "press". Such as when adventurers accidentally
burn down a town. Similar pro-adventurer lobbying.

At major guild houses several experts are at hand to appraise Art, Goods, Gems, Jewelery and other
objects of value. Depending on local resources, guild may offer to buy appraised items. Esp. goods
needed by guild, low-value gems, or unique items for The Auction. Some such items are typically
available for purchase. Will issue semi-recognized cert for 5% fee.

Legal Aide
Registry and enforcement of wills. The guild will enforce local death taxes which range from 20-50%.
Guild will assist members who run afoul of the law with bail posting, hiring of barristers, bribing of judges;
whatever is "normal" for local jurisdiction. Much depends on nature of crime, guild's opinion as to
member's guilt, and member's stature within guild.
Guild will arrange for the payment of ransoms demanded for captured guild members, their retainers, and
companions. Gold and other wealth stored with the guild can be predesignated for this purpose.
Otherwise Guild will provide a loan at 20% interest. This ransom grantee is well known. Which both
protects members and makes them targets.

Monopolies & Concessions
In many regions the Guild has been granted (or more rarely operates by force) a monopoly to a particular
adventuring site: tomb, dungeon, etc. In turn the guild leases these to it's members. Larger more popular
adventure locations are often split up into separate monopolies and/or concessions (such as right to
collect entrance/exit toll).
Claims (to a newly discovered location or previously unknown level) may be registered with guild. If
legitimate a short-term monopoly will be granted. The trade off is you must reveal the location, means of
access and provide maps to the guild.

Storage / The Auction
At major guild houses members may store wealth and other items in standard sized chests. Items are
subject to inspection and dangerous ones are prohibited. If desired, an appraisal will be issued and the
guild insures against loss equal to this amount. Although, it is rare to hear rumor of a chest being stolen or
lost. If this is due to guild's security or their suppression of any such rumor is a frequent, if whispered, bar
room debate.
These chests will be released (only) to owner or validated inheritor.
If a chest remains unclaimed for 13 years it's contents are forfeit to the guild. Unclaimed contents are sold
at periodic auctions. Which attract a fair amount of attention. Esp when a famous adventurer's belongings
are purported to be on the block.

Guild Duties
• Be good of character, an upstanding representative of guild, and support fellow adventurers.
• Obey laws, customs and norms of local population. Pay all local tolls/taxes/tariffs/etc.
• Respect guild granted monopolies, concessions and all other guild edicts.
• Keep guild business within the guild. Grievances against a member should be resolved in guild

Guild Ranks

• Nominated by two existing members or pay 1000gp "evaluation of character" fee.
Free use of gates. Use of guild lodgings & other services.

• 1 documented adventure / 2nd level
• 1,000gp total contribution to guild
• 100gp/level/annum dues.
• Free use of gates.
• Use of guild lodgings & services.
• Store 1 chest 13 years.
• Bid on unclaimed goods auction.

• 4+ documented adventures / 4th level
• 5,000gp total contribution to guild
• 100gp/level/annum dues.
• Free use of gates.
• Use of guild lodgings & services.
• Store 5 chests 13 years.
• Bid on unclaimed goods auction.

Master Adventurer
• 8+ documented adventures / 8th level
• 25,000gp total contribution to guild
• 100gp/level/annum dues.
• Free use of gates.
• Use of guild lodgings & services.
• Store 25+ chests and/or large objects 13 years.
• Bid on unclaimed goods auction.
• Part of Guild leadership

Thursday, January 8, 2015

ChupacabraCon this weekend

Austin TX very own game convention, Chupacabracon has snuck up on me. Apparently it is this weekend Jan 9th-11th at the Norris Conference Center 2525 West Anderson Ln #365 Austin, TX 78757.

Jan 9th-11th, 2015

Unfortunately, I'm already scheduled, Fri to delve Palace of the Vampire Queen (play Planet Eris OD&D roll20 online game). Sat, tdefeat the aerial hooligans and their limey armor (playing monster wargame Highway to the Reich) and on Sunday Count Strahd will hopefully, do away with these pesky interlopers that have been prowling around Ravenloft these past few weeks (5th ed run of I6 Castle Ravenloft). Sometimes I wish I had more time for games :)

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