Bat in the Attic

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A blog on 40 years of gaming and Sandbox Fantasy.Rob Conleyhttps://plus.google.com/116753362008267799901noreply@blogger.comBlogger1305125
Updated: 22 hours 17 min ago

Print option for the City State of the Invincible Overlord, Color Map now available.

Thu, 12/07/2017 - 04:56
When I uploaded this project to RPGNow I thought that the 18" by 12" small poster map was going to be discontinued because it was listed as being on standard paper.

From talking with my OBS rep that turned out to be not true. So I created a print version, uploaded it, and ordered a proof copy. As you can see it looks pretty good.

If you already bought the PDF I sent a email with a discount code to buy it at a low cost. I took the base price and added $1 so it will count as a sale for the site rankings.

City State of the Invincible Overlord, Color Map

If you haven't bought the map yet, the price for Print plus PDFs is $10. The price for print is raised by $2 to cover the cost that OBS charges me for the map. The print version comes with five poster maps.

  • Four full scale maps of each quarter of the city. There is considerable overlap between the different section.
  • One with the entire map resized to fit the 12" by 18" dimensions of the small poster.
The one downside of the poster maps is that they come folded in half leaving a crease. I already put in the suggestion that they have a tube option for uncreased maps. 

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

First question on the City State of the Invincible Overlord Map

Sun, 11/26/2017 - 18:04
+simontmn ask
I always thought the Cryptic Citadel was one big building, this shows it as a small circular building surrounded by a courtyard?On the original it is a judgement call. 

A case could be made for it to be a big giant building due to lack of interior detail like plants or roadways like the one leading to the lower entrance.
But then I got the no-name city photocopy.

Notice how the walls are shaded like the city walls. Despite the lack of a interior crenelation this to me meant the inside is a courtyard not a building.

Product LaunchThe launch went well. So far 100 kickstarter backers have claimed their coupons. Plus I made 18 sales enough to put the map at #9 on the Bestselling Titles and #3 on hottest small press. I appreciate the business and the numerous good compliments. When some reviews, good or bad, appear I will make a post linking to them.
If you are interested in getting this map for yourself you can buy it here on RPGNow for $8.
In addition to the City State of Invincible Overlord, Revised, and Guide to City State (1976) it was pointed out by Falconer that one can use the Initial Guidelines Booklet I as well. The Initial Guidlines Booklet I is what Judges Guild sent out after the selling the maps at Gen Con IX. 
Then there also the Necromancer Games version of the City State of the Invincible Overlord which fleshes out the entries and includes the Wraith Overlord Sewer Supplement

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

City State of the Invincible Overlord, Color Map (authorized release)

Fri, 11/24/2017 - 05:40
Bat in the Attic Games and Judges Guild is pleased to announce the release of the City State of the Invincible Overlord, Color Map on Friday November 24th 2017.

In 1976, Bob Bledsaw and Bill Owens went into business as Judges Guild. Their initial offering was centered on a magnificent 22" by 34" map of the City State of Invincible Overlord. First appearing at Gen Con IX, it was sold literally out of the trunk of a car during the convention.

Now forty years later that map has been redrawn in full color. It preserves all the original detail while adding new ones like rocks, foot paths, trees, and shrubbery. This has been checked against the no-name city blueprint that was the first draft of the map. This helped to clarify details obscured by the offset printing process used in the 1970s.

This map is not a scanned image of the original but has been redrawn from scratch.

This product contains several versions of the map.

  • A vector based PDF with layers at 22" by 34" 
  • A bitmap based PDF at 22" by 34"
  • A jpeg of the map with building labels and legends removed suitable for Virtual Tabletop software.
  • Instructions for using the VTT map with Roll20
  • A 17" by 14" map with the city arranged in its correct location on the original 5 mile hex map published on the back of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy.
  • A PDF with overlapping sections of the full map suitable for printing on letter size paper.
  • A PDF with a letter sized black and white only map suitable for taking notes on during a campaign.

This is a authorized Judges Guild release for the Wilderlands of High Fantasy.

A coupon for a complimentary copy will be offered to all backers of the City State of the Invincible Overlord kickstarter. Please check the comment section of the Kickstarter for instructions.

Link to Kickstarter

This product only contains color maps of the City State of the Invincible Overlord. The original guidebook and map can be purchased from Judges Guild on RPGNow/DriveThruRPG.

The original guidebook can be found on RPGNow/DriveThruRPG at

City State of the Invincible Overlord Revised
or
Guide to the City State (1976)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Barebones Fantasy, Death in Middle Earth, and a weekend at the Con.

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 15:30

Barebones Fantasy
So I went to Con on the Cob over the weekend. There I met up with +Tim Shorts and +Chris C. on Friday Night. Because I just got off of work, I had just enough time to check in, unload my stuff and head to my first game. Which turned out to be a Barebone Fantasy adventure.

Barebones Fantasy is an RPG about as detailed as Swords and Wizardry Complete, Basic DnD 5e or Fantasy Age. It uses a d100 and very basic skill system. You crit (success or fail) when you roll doubles (11, 22, 66, etc). Interestingly 00 means 0 and not 100. And counts as a crit. Skills are grouped by profession. Each profession (Thief, Scout, etc) have a number of skills that the your rating applies too.

Overall the system has it own favor and the rulebook cover everything you need to get started with a fantasy campaign using it. My only issue is that I have a number of RPGs of similar complexity and ease of use. So it doesn't hold much appeal for me.While it sounding I am damning it with faint praise. I feel it quite good ... for another gamer. My own personal bias is towards 3d6 based system when not using Dungeons and Dragons. So I would use Fantasy Age over this.

However if you like to use a d100 then you should take a look at this. Like Fantasy Age, like Swords and Wizardry Complete, or the Basic Version of DnD 5th edition, it quick to read and leap into. Recommended.

Barebones Fantasy Character sheet.


I will have a followup on the result of the Adventures in Middle Earth game I ran at the convention.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Of to the Con and Middle Earth!

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 13:10

So around 3pm I will heading from work to Con on the Cob in Richfield (Cleveland) Ohio. There I will hang out with my friends +Tim Shorts and +Chris C.. and get in on some gaming action.


On Saturday at 1 pm,  I will be running a modified version of my Scourge of the Demon Wolf for Adventures in Middle Earth called Scourge of the Werewolf. Because it is a face to face session I can go all out with my Dwarven Forges, props, and minis.




Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A free Harn Kingdom sampler.

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 12:18
Columbia Games has released a free 60 page page article about one of the larger kingdoms of Harn, Kaldor. If you want to see what all the hoopla is about concerning Harn. You can go here to download a free copy. The only downside is that you will have to create a Columbia Games account. This is handled during checkout.

The PDF has the following excerpts

Kingdom of Kaldor, City of Tashal (the capital of Kaldor), The Town of  Kiban, Manor (a set of rules for running a medieval manor, similar in complexity to running a Mongoose Traveller starship), and the Manor of Roganter.



Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

James Shields Fantasy Art Kickstarter

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 13:30

James Shield Fantasy Art Kickstarter has entered into it last 48 hours. He is a great artist with a strong black and white style that I like. For commercial use, he offering 50 images for $50 which is a great deal. And for lower pledge levels this kickstarter is a great way to get illustrations for paper standup miniatures.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Building a better thief (for me at least)

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 18:12
So over at Tenkar's Tavern, Erik wrote a thoughtful post on why he made the thief the way it is in Swords and Wizardry, Continual Light. I have a contrary view and figured the reasons why I hold it could be of use to others.

In the original game a 1st level fighter was considered a veteran a seasoned warrior. Not exceptional but not a just a newly made squire or somebody just out of training camp either. This stems from Chainmail man to man rules.

Judges Guild and Bob Bledsaw were a huge influence on how I conceived character levels. In the City-State of the Invincible Overlord and the Wilderlands of High Fantasy, leveled characters were a dime a dozen.

I evolved to consider level 1-2 to be apprentice level. Level 3 a full fledged professional. Level 6 a professional with responsibilities. Level 9 a leader among peers. Level 12 a renowned expert. And level 15 legendary. Level 1 meant that the character was trained and ready to do things on their own. Somebody just out of the academy so to speak. The other popular conception, and probably more common, is that anything beyond 1st level is special.

When I was using ADnD, the fact the thief only had 15% chance to Move Silently, 10% to Hide in Shadows, 30% to Pick Pocket seem very inconsistent with not only my view but view that leveled characters were special.

Think about it. In a setting where leveled characters are special that means the rest of the world is handled by zero level characters living out there lives. This means competent military and city guards doing their jobs, craftsmen working at their trade, and criminal types going about their business.

A good fix for this conundrum is consider the thief abilities to for special circumstances that allow a thief to go beyond what a ordinary person can do. But it is a fix as the none of the classic editions made this distinction. Starting with the Dungeoneer Survival Guide, the fix was to introduce proficiency as a skill system.

Then flashforward 30+ years and after reading the past decade worth of books about the DnD histories. I find that it that the original thief appears to be an afterthought. Something thrown into the Greyhawk supplement that made Gygax go "Neat!". Or equally likely thrown in to stop the folks who were bombarding him about why there were no burglars (Bilbo) or thieves (Grey Mouser) in the game.

So when it came to writing the Majestic Wilderlands supplement, I jettisoned the thief found in Swords and Wizardry as it was based on the original thief. But an important part of my setting that there were character types who where better at non-combat abilities than other characters types. So rather than come up with a unique set of mechanics for each class I opted to come up with a list of things that characters can do out of combat (abilities) and each of the Rogue classes would start off and process with different bonuses to these abilities.

When it came to the core books of the original roleplaying game it is apparent to me that outside of combat and spell any character to could attempt to do anything. So any character class could attempt to use these abilities. The various rogue classes were better.

I figured that at 1st level it was reasonable that the odds of success should be the same as a 1st level fighter hitting a moderately armored opponent, 30%.

There weren't really good example to draw from various classic editions. The various methods were either too stingy or too generous. Some of the one I read are:

  • Roll 1d100 under your attribute (too stingy)
  • Multiply your attribute by 5 and roll under with 1d100 (too generous)
  • Roll 1d20 under your attributes (too generous).
  • Roll 3d6 under your attributes (again too generous)

In Moldavy's Basic Dungeons and Dragons we have this. Which is too generous for me.

Page B60 Moldavy Basic
There's always a chance. The DM may want to base a character's chance of doing something on his or her ability scores (Strength, Dexterity, and so forth). To perform a difficult task (such as climbing up a rope or thinking of a forgotten clue), the player should roll the ability score or less on ld20. The DM may give a bonus or penalty to the roll, depending on the difficulty of the action (-4 for a simple task to +4 for a difficult one). A roll of 1 should always succeed, and a roll of 20 should always fail. I opted to make it a 1d20 roll high with the base chance being 15+ or 30%. Attributes could give a bonus ranging from -3 to +3.  A starting burglar could easily get a +6 to his stealth ability check. However keep in mind, that stealth is generally an opposed roll to the guard perception (wisdom based). That the base 15+ applies to ordinary circumstances, otherwise it would be 20+ or more recently the roll being made at a disadvantage.

Hopefully you find this useful in deciding how you will be dealing with this in your campaign.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Observations on what is Dungeons and Dragons

Thu, 10/26/2017 - 17:32
 After working with this stuff for a decade I observed that there are common elements in the RPGs that are consider compatible with one or more editions of DnD. I found it useful while working on my Majestic Fantasy Rules to keep these in mind as I develop various subsystem.  There is no right or wrong way of doing this but it is helpful to have a starting point. 
My view of what constitutes a minimum set of mechanic for a DnD related RPG are:
  • Six attributes: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma generated on a 3 to 18 scale with 10 being human normal average.
  • Saving throws to avoid bad things.
  • Armor Class as a target or an index to a chart to see if damage is scored.
  • A d20 to-hit roll
  • Difference races/cultures that offer a package of attributes bonuses and abilities.
  • Experience is represented by higher levels. 
  • Classes that are a package of abilities arranged by levels.
  • A character's health is represented by Hit Point when brought to zero incapacitates or kills the character.
  • Creatures can have hit dice instead of levels.
  • Creatures at a minimum have hit dice, hit points, movement, armor class, and a list of special abilities including attacks.

Beyond this anything is fair game. As long the above list is implemented it will be highly likely that the game will be seen as DnD compatible.

The Numbers
The interplay of the numbers used for the to-hit roll, armor class, hit points, and damage is a large part of what gives a specific edition their flavor.

You need to keep this in mind because the numbers work out differently for ODnD, ODnD+Greyhawk, ADnD, ADnD+Unearthed Arcana, Holmes Basic DnD, B/X DnD, BECMI DnD, ADnD 2e, ADnD 2e + Skill n Powers, DnD 3.0, DnD 3.5, PathfinderDnD 4e, and DnD 5e.  The good news it is not rocket science. Just need to figure out what edition you want it to be like and go from there.

Simplifying things even further the above can be grouped into broad categories:

  • Classic DnD (ODnD to ADnD 2e)
  • DnD 3.X (DnD 3.0 to Pathfinder)
  • DnD 4e
  • DnD 5e

The Stuff
If you noticed I didn't mention anything about specific classes, spells, magic items, lists of monsters, etc. To me these are setting details, either specific settings like my Majestic Wilderlands, Tekumel, Blackmoor, or Forgotten Realms. Or the generic fantasy that the core books of most editions of DnD assume.

With stuff like Dark Sun, Spelljammer, Eberron, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Arrows of Indra, Spears at Dawn, and other worthy works, I think it been established a RPG can be considered DnD even if it depicts a radically different setting or different vision of the fantasy genre.

For most of these games this was accomplished by having a different set of class, items, monsters, and even different systems of magic.

Conclusion
The point of this post is to offer a useful starting point from which to develop your own take on the world's most popular roleplaying game.




Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

D&D is back in the mainstream.

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 20:27

Well looks like D&D is back in the mainstream. An interesting article in the New Yorker.

Having grown up with the first video games like Pong, Space Invaders, and Atari. Then moving on to PC Gaming, then MMORPGs, etc, etc. It satisfying to see people balancing out things with a healthy does of face to face gaming. I have two sons, one is 20 and one is 13. There is a marked difference between the attitudes of how kids treated gaming when my eldest was 13 compared to what my youngest is experiencing now that he is 13. I am involved in Scouting and over the past five years there is a definite uptick in face to face gaming of all type including tabletop roleplaying.

Although to be fair, the people we owe the biggest thanks too are the euro-game companies who figured out first how to make face to face work in the internet era.


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A project I am working on

Sat, 10/21/2017 - 15:45
I was thinking of something I could do for Swords and Wizardry Continual Light. Then this came to me as an idea for a setting.

Far beyond the Borderlands,
Beneath the shadowed eaves,
The sighing wind blows,
And the elf maiden grieves.

In the sun, bright steel glints
War drums echos amid the dells.
The land stained red
Orc and Men alike fell.

In darkling fens
And vast caverns deep,
Shadows come alive
and death creeps.

Far beyond the Borderlands
There is no peace.
Will heroes march?
Will the maiden cease to weep?

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Google maps arrives for the Solar System

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 12:48
Google Maps now covers many planets and moons in the Solar System. Before they had Mars and the Moon and now it been greatly expanded. Pretty good especially for those who run near future Expanse style science fiction campaigns.

They even have the International Space Station.


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Is your D&D 5e Character Rare?

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 12:34
Five Thirty Eight niche is using statistics to analyze sports and politics. But occasionally they turn their attention other topics. This time was the different type of DnD 5e character made with DnD Beyond, the online tool officially licensed by Wizards of the Coast. Recently Curse, the company beyond DnD Beyond supplied Gus Wezerek of FiveThirtyEight with a breakdown of the combination of class and race people were making on the service.

Looks like there quite a few folks using the tool numbering in the tens of thousands. Below is the data presented in chart form. It look like the winner is the good old Human Fighter followed by the Elven Ranger.


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

How much is having Initiative worth?

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 18:54
So here is an interesting combat question how much initiative is worth to the side having it in various editions of Dungeons and Dragons?

When I was mucking around with Fudge, I wrote a program that simulated two guys whacking the other with swords. I did this to see how the number worked out over thousands of fight. I coded up GURPS Basic Combat and classic DnD Combat to use as comparison.

One of the things I did was randomized starting initiative at the beginning of combat. Then alternated sides from that point on. So I was playing around with it today and I noticed something interesting. When two combatant have equal stats with random starting imitative the odds look like this for 10,000 fights.

Alex Wins 5060
Brian Wins 4940
Average Rds 4.1268


So when I gave Alex starting Initiative all the time. The result was this

Alex Wins 5575
Brian Wins 4425
Average Rds 4.08065
Then switched to Brian

Alex Wins 4512
Brian Wins 5488
Average Rds 4.0986


The implication is that having initiative all the time increases your odds of winning combat by 4.5%. This is especially relevant to DnD 5th edition where the default is to roll initiative once.

Note: Both Alex and Brian had AC 12, +1 to Hit, 1d8 damage, and had 10 hit points.


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Lost Hall of Tyr

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 01:19
People who write and create RPG material have varied interests. One +Douglas Cole of Gaming Ballistic is focused a wee bit on grappling. First he came out with Dungeon Grappling a supplement to add easy to use grappling rules to various editions of Dungeons and Dragons. Now he has started a kickstarter to fund the art and final production of the Lost Hall of Tyr, an adventure showing off his setting and focused on, you guessed it, grappling.

The Kickstarter page is here.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

City State of the World Emperor

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 02:36
Right now I am running two campaigns, the first is on Wednesdays and is using Adventures in Middle Earth with +Tim Shorts and +Chris C.. The second is on Thursday nights and involves several friends I made back when I running boffer LARP events; Josh, Mark, Adam, and Jeremy. The second campaign is using Swords and Wizardry and my Majestic Wilderlands Rules.

It centered around the City State of the World Emperor or the City of Spices or Viridistan. Currently the year 4475 BCCC, (Judges Guild stuff was set in 4433 BCCC) the last Viridian Emperor is long dead, the civil war that broke out in the wake of his death had wound down a decade ago (in game time) thanks to the decisive action of the PCs in an earlier campaign. Viridistan is ruled by a council (formed by yet another PC group back in the mid 80s) and is basically a powerful merchant republic.

Our cast of character for the current campaign is


  • Tamaril Lenore - an aspiring merchant (Merchant Adventurer from the MW Supplement) and gifted singer and player of the lute. 
  • Alexander Hexation - one of the few surviving full Viridians (in hiding) and trained as a Artificer (can only cast ritual but can make magic items like scrolls for battle magic). 
  • Valgard Neuroth - a cleric of Hamakhis the god and judge of the dead. The party is damn lucky to have this guy as one of the possible adventure sites I seeded was +Greg Gillespie excellent Barrowmaze. The party just managed to shut down the Pit of Chaos so he even more potent in the megadungeon.
  • Rodney a Halfling trained as a knight and uses his stable of warboars as his steeds.
Right now the party averages about 5th level and just aquired a small merchant ship. It is because of this that I adapted the trade rules from Adventurer Conqueror King for the particulars of my Majestic Wilderlands. Once I get the kinks out I will be posting them for people to use. 
One of the prep I did for the campaign is started work on the Majestic Wilderlands version of Viridistan. 
The original map.
In the early 90s just before I started using CorelDRAW I worked on a hand drawn map of the above. The below is as far as I got.

One of the main differences is that due to how I presented the Viridian as a demonic race there were no temples in Viridistan when it was under control of the Emperor. The various temple in the present of 4475 are basically the equivalent of a storefront church that you see in the downtown of various communities.
Currently this is the status of the new map I been working.

Now that all the city blocks are in place next is to draw in the coastlines and transfer the numbered buildings from my original. Unlike many RPG cities, CSWE had the referee place all the building themselves. There was a little underscore where the assigned number could be written.
Once I transfer the number, I can start dividing up the various city blocks into individual buildings. The main difference between my take on the City State Invincible Overlord and the original CSIO is how each CSIO city block is divided up. The building sizes are more realistic and there are lot more alleys.
Hope you enjoy this little peek into what I do to run my campaigns. 

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Dungeons Fantasy RPG for GURPS has arrived at the Attic!

Sat, 09/16/2017 - 20:46
As long time readers of this blog know I been a fan of GURPS for thirty years. Believe it or not there was a time when GURPS was the fourth or fifth most popular RPG on the market back in 2004.

The Dungeon Fantasy RPG is designed to make it easy for people to get into playing and using GURPS for their campaigns. It does this by being presented as a traditional fantasy RPG. It tells you how to make characters, how to handle encounters and combat, gives you spells, monsters, and treasures to use. Plus there is an adventure included called I Smell a Rat!

It not a new edition of GURPS. Everything here works with the core books as is. But gone are things not relevant to the Dungeon Fantasy genre. Added are things that are useful for fantasy campaigns with GURPS.

So what do you get?


 I pledged at the $250 so got everything that the kickstarter had to offer.


Here is the box with my battered copy of the Basic Set - Characters book beside it.


Opening the box this is what I see.


So I have the DF RPG Boxed Set, GM Screen, How to Be a GURPS GM, Dungeon Fantasy Companion, a hardback of GURPS Zombies (which I already have). black cardboard hero bases, colored cardboard hero bases, and six dice with a pyramid symbol in place of the one. I agree with Peter that having dice with symbols does nothing for me.


OK opening up the box I see some full scale maps (1" = 1 yard = 1 hex), cardboard heroes, and the DF RPG books! Note that little under half of the Cardboard Heroes are PCs and the monsters are biased to the ones that appear in the included adventure.


So I pull out the five books, a set of three dice with pyramid logo, and twelve more bases.

All and all a pretty good haul for my money. I will be posting a review of the content.


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Bat in the Attic replies to Frank Mentzer

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 01:36
For those of you who haven't heard Frank Mentzer is hard at work organizing things to publish material for the Empyrea setting that is part of Oerth the world where Greyhawk can be found. Mr. Mentzer is the primary author of the BECMI edition of Dungeon and Dragons as well the author of numerous other works for TSR and Dungeons and Dragons.

Over on Tenkar's Tavern, Erik Tenker shares this interesting bit from a conversation he had with Frank Mentzer.
A common characteristic of most Old-School sites is adherence to one specific point in the Past, generally out-of-print game systems. Very cool. Nothing wrong with that, most systems have value to many. But of all the tabletop RPG fans, the OSR buys the fewest New Products. This is fine I want to give things away... strongly preferred in these circles of course. Culturally the OSR is unique and priceless, and I applaud it. But they have chosen to be irrelevant to the current market.I am sure there are lot of people in this industry that would agree with Mr. Mentzer especially the last sentence. I am not one of them. Why? For several reasons.

The first thing that people need to keep in mind about what the Old School Renaissance is the reason why it exists. It is the interaction of several things. First a continuing interest in the classic editions of Dungeons and Dragons from the 1974 Boxed set to the ADnD 2nd Edition. Second the ability to leverage open content to support these classic editions with new works that can be shared or sold commercially. Third, a radical reduction in the cost of creating, and distributing written works and graphics (like maps).

These three facts are the foundation of everything that we see in the OSR today.

Of the three it is the use of open content that caused the diversity of the OSR to explode. Once Matt Finch, Stuart Marshall, and Chris Gonnerman demonstrated how the d20 SRD could be used to create near clones of classic D&D in the form of OSRIC and Basic Fantasy. The gates were flung open for anybody to realize their particular vision of what classic DnD can be.

Just as important this use of open content wasn't limited to specific editions of classic DnD. It also enabled the creation of hybrids or the adaptions of classic DnD mechanics to new genres. Freed from the artificial constraints on creativity imposed by intellectual property the use of open content flowered into full bloom in the publishing world of the OSR. Resulting in the bewildering range of works we see being shared and published.

What drives all this are the whims of the individuals involved. So in a sense Mr. Mentzer is right that there is a choice involved. A choice that for some doesn't take into account what is marketable but rather what one individual or a small group thinks ought to be published. And let the market be damned!

But note my use of some, because it not true for all. Many OSR publishers, including myself do take a hard look at what we think people and the market want. People like Kevin Crawford, James Raggi,  have put a lot of hours in publishing works that are not only have great content but a great presentation. And from conversations I had with both, they put considerable thought into how to make this happen. In short they each have a business plan for realizing their vision. And they both adjust things as circumstances change. There are others like Frog God Games, and Goodman Games. Some are individuals like my friend Tim Shorts at Gothridge Manor.

Doesn't sound much different than what traditional publishers do.

Keep in mind that the freedom of open content doesn't just mean that you get to realize your vision. It means that everybody gets to realize their vision. For some that means preservation. Places like Knights and Knaves, Aceaum, Piazza, Ruins of Mirkhill, ODnD Discussion Forum, and Dragonsfoot are devoted to preserving specific editions of classic DnD.

And while some criticism of these sites have merit, the one I find unfair is that they are backwards or resistant to new things. It easy to make material for these groups. You just have to target the exact editions they are interested in. Not something close, not some hybrid, but the exact edition as close as you legally can with whatever quirks and nuances it possesses. And if you are not willing or unable to do that then they are not your audience.

Last there been some recent drama associated with one of these sites in particular and Mr. Mentzer. It sad that it occurred but I am not interested in who is right or wrong. I will say that if you ever want to "win" an argument in the OSR the best reply is always to write your idea up, do the work to make it usable by others and release either to share or for sale.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Majestic Wilderlands Races for GURPS

Sat, 09/09/2017 - 22:07
With the release of the Dungeon Fantasy RPG PDFs during Gencon to the backers of the DF RPG kickstarter, my Thursday night group really wants to give GURPS a try. So I agreed to do a campaign later this year.

Most of the development of the Majestic Wilderlands was done using GURPS starting in 1987. So I accumulated  a lot of notes about how the setting works using GURPS. Some of which you can see here. But since then I did a lot of work on the Swords and Wizardry version of the Majestic Wilderlands. As well as ran a memorable 5th edition campaign in the Majestic Wilderlands. So I am updating my material and the first thing I got done was the Races.

You can download the races from here. Note that because GURPS doesn't have an open license I can't use the Open Game License. Steve Jackson does have a generous fan policy so I opted for a non-commercial Creative commons license for the text I wrote. For the details of various terms and abilities you will need to refer to the GURPS core books. Some of them can be found in the free GURPS Lite.

Majestic Wilderlands Races for GURPS.

Variant Character Creation Rule
There is a problem with GURPS Disadvantages and it is the same problem with DnD alignments. Either they are too static,  a source of arguments about proper roleplaying or they are not much of a hindrance.

I am sure folks are familiar with the first two but what is the third one about? Why it isn't hindrance to be honest or too have a code of honor? Well it is at first glance but then you realize that how you were going to play anyway. So in the end a 150 point campaign is really a 195 point campaign.

But not all disadvantages are the same. Some have immediate consequences for how the character plays especially the physical ones.  So what our group did over time was to stop counting most disadvantages. If you were bound and determined to play a one handed fighter than you could get the points for that as there were on-going game effects. But stuff like being poor or wealthy was discussed before the campaign started. And having a Code of honor was a written down as a note on the characters. Sometime Codes would factor in for specific aspects like clerical powers or paladins. But like when I ditched Alignment from then one, your character personality is however you played it.

Technically it not even against RAW as it clearly states that the campaign can set the total number of starting points AND the total number point cost of disadvantages. We just opt to set it to zero with a few exceptions.

So this brings me to the variant rule in the MW Races for GURPS. That is there is no cost charged for being of X race. Instead the traits of the race modify the base character attributes and the players proceed on from there.

Like for my Majestic Wilderlands supplement, a Elf or a Reptile Man has superior traits compared to a human. The thing to remember is that I emphasize roleplaying and the Majestic Wilderlands is human dominated. So for the most part characters of other races are treated as outsiders even those that are considered friendly. And if the party happens to be dominated by non-humans then there iare plenty of adventures to be found in the surrounding non-human cultures.

All this is not because I think the GURPS default is wrong, it just my changes reflect better how I present my setting as a living breathing world. If because of circumstance the player decides to act against type, I am cool with that if it make sense. I want to see that play out naturally and not have the player worry about the points on his character sheet.

So this document includes the option to treat characters as a fundamental modification of the base attributes rather than something else to be bought.





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It not a Harn Day but a Ivinia Day

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 18:19
Harn is part of a larger world known as Kethira. The island of Harn lies off of the western shore of the continent of Lythia which is home to many cultures (mostly human dominated). Ivinia was the first of these to be develop back in the 80s. It is Harn's equivalent of Scandinavia and home to several viking kingdoms.

Columbia Games re-edited, and re-formatted the original Ivina module and it has been released. Like most Harn product it is pricey but the quality is top notch. One big change is that each Ivinian realm now has a page devoted to it compared to the original.

You can get it in Print or PDF.



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