Bat in the Attic

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A blog on 40 years of gaming and Sandbox Fantasy.Robert Conleyhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03863009007381185340noreply@blogger.comBlogger1380125
Updated: 1 week 47 min ago

Last day for some Viking Adventures

Sat, 10/12/2019 - 03:28
Douglas Cole of Gaming Ballistics and I have gamed together and since he started publishing often wound up chatting on the same podcast. He has created a distinctive fantasy Viking themed setting called Nordlond. Along with doing work with GURPS, The Fantasy Trip, and his own 5e variant Dragon Heresy.



His latest kickstarter is expanding Nordlund with a series of adventures. It now in its last 24 hours and like all his projects looks to be fun, and interesting. This version is for the The Dungeon Fantasy RPG by SJ Games which implements the GURPS system as a standalone fantasy RPG. I hope you check it and get in on the kickstarter. Douglas has delivered on all his kickstarters and spares no expense on the production values.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Evocative Maps

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 20:13
While Google+ was a thing I posted this map from my Majestic Wilderlands campaign


The party talked to the dragon Mori (center and up) and succeeded converting her to their cause. In turn she explained what she knew about the forest. But rather than write a description, I described it visually with the above map. Figuring that it was more effective in visually conveying the highlights of what could be found.

Recently I did another for the current Swords & Wizardry campaign I running using my Majestic Fantasy rules. In this case it is about the Valley of the Dead Queens northwest of Viridistan.
As with Dearthwood, the characters were able to have a long discussion with allies knowledgeable about the region. I felt it was easy to convey the information visually. In the valley you can see the towers of the Dead Queens along with the Obsidan Tower and the Serd Worms.

Keep in mind the scale of the Majestic Wilderlands is 12.5 miles per hex not 5 miles hex. So the maps are larger than the original counterpart. Which is why villages are now castles or towns. 
Below is how the above looks on the main map I drew for myself.

Finally here is the first poetic map I drew. It was for the last GURPS campaign I ran in the Majestic Wilderlands
And the written summary It is written from the point of view of the rebel giving the information.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Your help is needed for Jim Kramer of Usherwood Publishing

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 16:52
OSRIC along with the Basic Fantasy RPG ignited the OSR as we know it today. Jim Kramer is part of the OSRIC community and through his company, Usherwood Publishing, offered a print version of the OSRIC rules as well as his own works.

Jim and his family need your help. The OSRIC community explains,
You may know Jim Kramer from his Usherwood Publishing modules & supplements, or his work helping produce works like OSRIC and Knockspell. You probably didn’t know Jim had multiple brain surgeries to remove tumors, and the battle has gotten much harder. To help Jim and his family during this difficult time, a group of his friends, collaborators, and first edition enthusiasts banded together to make this fundraiser fanzine, where all royalties go directly to Jim and his family.To this end the Saving Throw fanzine was created.  You can look over the table of contents and buy the Saving Throw fanzine from this link. Or look over his store and if something interests you buy something from there.


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Journey's End (for now), the Wilderlands of the Fantastic Reaches has been released!

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 15:01
I am pleased to announce the release of Wilderlands of the Fantastic Reaches. This is the fourth of four products covering the eighteen maps that encompasses the Judges Guild Wilderlands setting. This product covers four of the maps as detailed below. The four sets combined will cover a region equal in size to Western Europe providing years and decades of adventuring for you and your group.

Unlike many setting products, the Wilderlands sketches out the overview and history in light detail. Then presents a comprehensive list of local detail in a compact format that is customizable. This eliminates much of the tedious work involved in creating a setting and allows the referee to focus on the campaign and the grand adventures the players face as their characters.

This is presented as two products both in PDF and Print on Demand.

The first product is a 44 page guidebook containing a brief overview of and commentary on Maps Fifteen to Map Eighteen of the Wilderlands along with lists covering details on Villages, Castles, Lairs, Ruins, and Islands.

Due to the extensive use of monsters from the supplements to the original edition, this release details 7 monsters and provides full statistics suitable for use with Swords and Wizardry and similar RPGs.

The Guidebook for the Wilderlands of the Fantastic Reaches also includes charts, tables, and rules concerning the Triumphant Grand Tactical mapping system used by the Wilderlands, how to build strongholds, and establishing baronies. In addition information has been added on the demographics of the Wilderlands along with new rules governing pastoral and nomadic cultures. Because Tula, the City of Wizards, plays a prominent role in this region, rules for potion and magic item creations has been included. Finally as the Isle of the Blest straddles the corners of four maps, a combined map and list has been added as a bonus chapter. This includes the background originally written by Scott Fulton in Pegasus #3.

Included with the Guidebook are letter sized blank map of the Wilderlands that can be used to take notes during a campaign. A PDF with the map legend. A letter size black and white guide to the placement of each of the 18 maps within the Wilderlands.

Finally a giant sized preliminary version of the master map that I used to crop the individual maps from. With the right printer this can be printed as a full scale map 5 feet wide and 8 feet long. With the PDF you can selectively copy out regions as complete maps that overlap the borders of the 18 maps. After the release of the final set of maps this file will be updated as a layered PDF allowing for custom maps of the Wilderlands to be copied or created.



The second product is a set of four maps:  Isles of the Dawn Map Fifteen, Southern Reaches Map Sixteen, Silver Skein Isles Map Seventeen, and Ghinor Highlands Map Eighteen. When ordered via print on the demand they are printed in two overlapping halves each on a 12" by 18" poster. In addition each map is presented as a 22" by 17" PDF file.

The maps have been redrawn from the original in a color style. Instead of the distinct symbols of the original maps, terrain has been drawn as a transparent fill and vegetation represented by colored areas. This allows both terrain and vegetation to overlap. Representing more accurately the complexity and diversity of the Wilderland's geography.

This release is the final book in a series of four covering the Wilderlands of High Fantasy.

A preview PDF

The Wilderlands of the Fantastic Reaches Guidebook

The Wilderlands of the Fantastic Reaches Map


Bundles

I now offer bundles of all four sets of guidebooks and maps at 25% off buying separately. There are four bundles two sets of print or PDF for the guidebooks, and two sets of print or PDF for the maps. DrivethruRPG doesn't allow maps and books to be mixed in the same bundle (or order).

Wilderlands Guidebook Bundle (PDF)
Wilderlands Guidebook Bundle (Print)
Wilderlands Map Bundle (PDF) 
Wilderlands Map Bundle (Print)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Some thoughts on Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax Part II

Mon, 09/02/2019 - 22:52
This is the second in my series post about the legacy of Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax.

 

I consider myself informed on the legacy of the two men and the history of DnD and tabletop roleplaying. There are other that have spent far more time, and money on the subject than I. Sharing what they learned in formal films and books.

However for each of us to come to our own conclusion on the topic we need a path to get there. The sources I have used were the following

Playing at the World by Jon Peterson
The Hawk and Moor series by Kent David Kelly
The First Fantasy Campaign by Dave Arneson and the Judges Guild Staff
Dave Arneson's True Genius by Rob Kuntz

Gygax Q and A series on various Forums
Dragonsfoot
Enworld

The TSR Q and A series on Dragonsfoot

Old school forums such as
The Comeback Inn
The ODnD discussion forum.
Knights and Knaves

Recently there an another new source of information the Secrets of Blackmoor documentary which I haven't gotten completely through yet.

Browsing through the above when you have the time and interest will lead you to other sources that I haven't mentioned.

The reason I haven't given you my opinion yet is that throughout the recent round of discussion there are lot of editorializing and opinion given but nobody is explaining how you can form your own opinion. Especially in a way that is compatible with the time and budget you have for a hobby. Everything that list except for the First Fantasy Campaign should be readily accessible to anybody reading this. You don't have to digest it all at once. Just read (or watch) through what you can when you can.

Eventually you get to a point where you have your own answer to the questions I posted in Part 1.

And no I am not going to make you wait for a Part III for my answer.

So what does Rob think?

  • Would have Dungeons & Dragons be written without Dave's help or Dave running the Lake Geneva session?

My conclusion is no. In the absence of that session happening in Lake Geneva maybe Gygax would have followed up man to man section of chainmail with a Metagaming Melee type wargame or some other type of wargame that had the players playing individual characters (like Gladiators). But it is Dave Arneson who the first to put all the element that we know as tabletop roleplaying. And more important did the work to figure out how to make it fun and interesting.


  • What was involved in developing the idea of a tabletop roleplaying campaign in Dave Arneson's Blackmoor Campaign.

Blackmoor started out as a miniature wargame campaign. Not a traditional one where the players were in essence the armies on board. In Blackmoor, like in the various Braunsteins being run, the players played the actual commanders and other important characters. Not just the good guys but the baddies as well. 
Dave's role was that of a neutral arbiter. He created the setting, drew up the rules to resolve battle, logistics, and prices list. Within those constraints the players were free to do anything that they would as if they were there. In short a wargame campaign but a very sophiscated one.
What turned Blackmoor into the first tabletop roleplaying was Dave's willingness to say yes. When Peter Gaylord wanted to play a wizard, he said yes. When Dave Fant figured out how to transform into a vampire, he said yes. And so forth and so on. Week by week the focus of the Blackmoor campaign shifted from a struggle between good guys versus bad guys to the individual exploits of the players as their characters.

My opinion that it is the introduction of Blackmoor dungeons the defines the clear line between two phases of the campaign. Prior the dungeon Blackmoor was mostly a wargame campaign, afterwards it was mostly about the exploits of the individual characters.

The reason I picked the dungeons, because the First Fantasy Fantasy campaign and other anecdotes clearly state that the good guys players were punished with exile because they lost Castle Blackmoor to the baddies by spending too much time exploring the dungeon. Instead of learning their lesson when they arrived at Lake Gloomy they went off to explore new dungeons.

I know my statement makes it sound like a AHA! moment. But I can't stress enough that this developed over weeks and months. With Dave and his players constantly trying things out.

When Dave goes down to Lake Geneva to run that fateful adventure. He has nearly two years of running Blackmoor under his belt. The same amount of time Gygax used from the writing his first manuscript and running the Greyhawk campaign, to the publication of Dungeons & Dragons.

Also keep in mind as Gygax ran Greyhawk, Dave continued to run Blackmoor that the two corresponded frequently.


  • What would have happened to Dave Arneson innovations if Gygax never had written Dungeons & Dragons?

So here the thing, Dave does not have a lot of published works to his name. Nearly all of the anecdotes paints Dave as a genius at running campaigns, making wargames.  But shined when it was face to face not words on paper. But Gary Gygax was able to see a project through publications and did so a number of time prior and after Dungeons & Dragons.

So what would have happened if Gygax never had written Dungeons & Dragons. We would have seen Megarry's Dungeon boardgame at some point. We would also probably seen wargames where the players played individual characters. Probably something like GDW's Engarde, the first Boot Hill, or the later Metagaming's Melee and Wizard by Steve Jackson. We would have probably seen some Braunstein scenarios published.

But without that Lake Geneva session run by Dave inspiring Gygax, we would have not have tabletop roleplaying. When I read through First Fantasy Campaign and the various accounts, I notices there is a lot of focus on the wargame side of the campaign. In terms of rules, scenarios, the miniatures, and the props being made.

But because Dave had to travel to Lake Geneva, he couldn't bring all that so brought the part of the campaign that was easier to transport (and popular in its own right) the dungeons. Hence Gygax was inspired to run his own dungeon campaign, Greyhawk.

My opinion that the dungeon was the perfect setting to convey how different this game was. Compared to other type of adventure locales, the dungeon is clearly focused on players acting as individual characters. In this case exploring the monster filled maze.

Gygax contribution to the development of tabletop roleplaying was to take what Dave did and figure out to make it work for himself. Then write it in a way that was understandable for everybody else to learn for themselves.

In my view that was as an impressive feat as Dave developing the concept of tabletop roleplaying. Is why I view that there is no path to what we have as a hobby and industry that doesn't run through the two of them.

Wrapping it up
There are people who wrote whole books about the subject (and filmed documentaries to boot). I can't encompass all that into two post. What I can do is outline for you the path I took to reach the basic conclusions I reached above. Hope this help.

In the meantime
Fight On!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Some thoughts on Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson Part I

Fri, 08/30/2019 - 17:04
A recent article that was published has ignited discussion, some heated, about the legacy of Dave Arneson relative to Gary Gygax. I have my opinions which I will explain in part 2. But the process I went through involved me answering three questions for myself.

  • Would have Dungeons & Dragons be written without Dave's help or Dave running the Lake Geneva session?
  • What was involved in developing the idea of a tabletop roleplaying campaign in Dave Arneson's Blackmoor Campaign.
  • What would have happened to Dave Arneson innovations if Gygax never had written Dungeons & Dragons?


Link to Part IIIn other news
Sorry for the light blogging this month. The time I have for this was mostly consumed by two major projects. Drawing maps for Gabor Lux's upcoming Castle Xyntillan, and the Wilderlands of the Fantastic Reaches. I am happy to say that the guidebooks are going through the print approval process. So release should be in two to three weeks.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Fantasy Medieval Style Law. Part 2

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 10:54
The Arrest
As Sigurt and Thil enter Lado's shop, the one of the two Greene men following them runs to tell Aldus and Marcus where Sigurt is. Unfortunately for Sigurt, the Greene has gathered everybody and ready to move. Several minutes later everybody arrives at Lado's shop.

Lado was successful at covering his discomfort at the arrival of Sigurt and Thil and managed not to tip them off that something was amiss. Their conversation about provision was interrupted by a loud insistent knock at the door. When Lado answered he see Marcus with his posse backed by a City Guard patrol standing nearby.

Marcus presents his writ and then turns to Sigurt and Thil announcing he is here to arrest Sigurt for the murder of his brother. Sigurt puts his hand on his weapon but Thil noticing the posse and the guards stops the Northeron. Thil examine the writ and finds it in good order. Sigurt and Thil get in to a heated argument until Thil pointed out the dozen or so armed individuals outside in the street. Thil will take Sigurt's gear and get back to Corbin to see what can be done. But for now they are out numbered.

To everybody's relief, Sigurt surrenders after giving his gear to Thil. Marcus, the city guard, and his posse take Sigurt to the nearest Jails and has Sigurt locked up. The writ is signed by the Jailor indicating that the arrest has been made.

The Trial
Aldus and Marcus Green return to Alderman Mallory and present him with the signed writ. Aldus requests that Sigurt be tried at the next assizes for the murder of his son. Alderman Mallory agrees and issues a Writ to compel Sigurt to appear before the commission of oyer and terminer when it assembled in 18 days at the monthly assize to answer for his crimes. Aldus pays the Alderman another two shilling for this writ.
Rob's Notes: Eastgate as a freetown is not allow to try capital crimes. The king holds monthly assize in where felonies can be heard and adjudicated. In this fantasy kingdom, the Grand Jury is a group at the assize that issues indictments requiring the named individuals to appear at the next assize. Indictments can be presented to the Sheriff or Aldermans to secure a writ to arrest the named individual to force them to appear.

The Commission of Oyer and Terminer, actually hears the case and renders a verdict. To have the commission hear a case the plantiff has to secure a writ in order to be put on the schedule or docket.

It is quite possible that the indictment step is skipped as in the case of Sigurt. In which case, if a suitable authority, like an Alderman or a Sheriff, issues a writ to put the case on the docket.
In the 18 days that follows these things happen.

Both the Greenes, and the Adventuring Party gather witnesses who would swear an account of the events that led to the death of Micheal. The Adventuring Party has a hard time of it due to the Greenes better connections. However they manage to find a merchant who was present during the incident who happened to be a rival to the Greenes.

Sigurt sits in jail and one of the adventuring party makes sure that he has food, water, and clothing each day. Medieval Jails provide minimal food and water. The expectation is that the family will keep the prisoner supplied. Luckily none of the jailers wants to mess with the Adventuring Party after the first visit so Sigurt is able to get everything that the party delivers until the assize.

When the day of the assizes arrives, Sigurt and the other prisoners to be tried are escorted by the city guard to the commons where the tents and the commission's benches are set up. It is cloudy day with rain drizzling off and on so everybody is in a foul mood and ready to get this over with.

At first the trial goes badly for Sigurt as the Greene line up an array of witnesses swearing that Sigurt instigated the fight with no provocation. And other testifying to Micheal's good character. However prior to the trial Thil managed to find out that one of the commissioners was a knight whose son got in trouble because of Micheal's rowdy ways. Thil's investigation and persuasion abilities (along with a few quiet Charm Persons) allows him to highlight Micheal's rowdiness.

At the conclusion of the trails, the commission finds Sigurt guilty of manslaughter not murder and fines him double weregild (400 shilling or 4,800 sp) for Micheal's death. The Greene family wanted death is not happy with the verdict. The party pays Sigurt's fine and quickly leaves Eastgate on their long delayed expedition to the Barradine Ruins. It unlikely the Greenes will be able to exact any type of vengeance unless the party returns to Eastgate.

Wrapping it up
I deliberately made the resolution more peaceful than would likely be the case. Odds are that Thil and Sigurt would have made a scene at Lado's shop. Either fleeing through the back of Lado's shop or attempting to take on the posse and the guard. Each with their own negative consequences.

But the scenario path I opted for allowed me to illustrate each part of how medieval style justice would work in a fantasy RPG campaign. The key to Sigurt paying a fine and not hanging from a noose is Thil clever work in discovering that others were negatively by Micheal. Thus painting the incident as one where a crime has been committed, manslaughter, but caused by Micheal's history of drunkenness. However because the Adventuring Party had no local ties it was a uphill battle at every step.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Fantasy Medieval Style Law. Part 1

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 15:25
Recently I created an example of how fantasy medieval legal system would work. I talked about this in a series of posts about building a feudal setting called Of Overlords, Kings, and  Barons. Of course there is a Harn Article on the subject called simply Law.

The Incident
The PCs are sitting in the Rusty Keg tavern in the City of Eastgate enjoying a meal and a drink after concluding a deal for a map that will lead them to the Barradine Ruins, their current focus. From two tables over, Michael Greene and his friends start mocking one of the party's member, Sigurt the Bold a Northeron. He is a member of the Greene family a local merchant family who works the northern trade routes. Northeron raider are one of the more serious threats that the family has to prepare on their trading voyages. As a result there is little love for Northerons from Micheal or his family.

Michael is drunk and starts making loud comments about SIgurt. His friends join in as well. Finally Sigurt had enough and walks over and just clocks Micheal after deciding that he can take on the whole lot if need be. Micheal jumps on top of Sigurt and the fight is on. Micheal's friend are about to jump but stops when the whole adventuring party stands up. The fight is between Micheal and Sigurt.

A few blows are traded by Sigurt has the upper hand being a veteran warrior. Unfortunately a few rounds in, Sigurt's player rolls a critical hit. Not only Sigurts puts Micheal down but also kills him.

The Aftermath
The tavern goes silent. Corbin, the leader of the party, decides that it is best not to stick around. He gives the barkeep 50 gp for the trouble caused. Then the party leaves and returns to the Wyvern Inn where they have rooms.

The barkeep, who also the owner of the Rusty Keg, goes over to Micheal Greene's friends and tell them to pick up Micheal's body and bring him to a back room. Then the barkeep start questioning Micheal's friend who are they and who is Micheal. Eastgate is large enough that not everybody is recognized on sight. However the Barkeep has heard of the Greene family and is well aware of their status as a merchant family. So the barkeep grabs his son and tell one of Micheal's friends to take his son to the Greene house.

A 1/2 hour later, Aldus Green and his eldest son and heir Marcus Greene arrive at the Rusty Keg. Sad and angered at the death of his younger son, Aldus tells Marcus to start questioning people as to what happened. While a lot of the patrons have left a few remained who saw everything. Between them and Micheal's friends, Aldus and Marcus gets a general description of the party, and along with the name of the person who they met, Lado Thorne a chandler local to the ward.

The Investigation
Aldus and Marcus secure a cart from the Barkeep and transport Micheal's body back to their house. It is almost midnight when this is done. Because it is night time Marcus gather a guard wakes up a handful that work for the family. Picking those who have brawled or can fight. They march through the street towards Lado's shop.

Along the way, a City Guard patrol stops them and asks their business., Marcus explains that his brother was killed and they were on their way to Lado's shop to question him about the identity of the killers. That they intend no violence. The guard corporal in charge of the patrol knows from experience that tempers are high. So he tells Marcus that he may go but only if one of the guard accompany to act as a witness.

Marcus agrees knowing that his family hasn't done anything formal yet. So the guards are well within their authority to order Micheal and his posse to turn back. But the guard corporal knows about the Green family and their status. Since the purpose of the posse is to question Lado it fine as long as it doesn't get out of hand. After Marcus leaves with his posse and the assigned guard.. The corporal sends a runner back to the ward's barrack to let the Sergeant and Lieutenant know that a murder took place and that the Greene family has sent out a posse.

Marcus, the guard, and the posse arrived at Lado's house. After pounding on the door for a few minutes, Lado open a window and ask their business. He becomes a little frightened at the posse below, he calms down a little when he see a guardsman with them. He lets Micheal and the guardsman into his shop and they begin to talk.

As a rule most proprietors including Lado keep quiet about their customer's business. However when Lado learned that Micheal Green was killed in a bar fight after he left. He quickly identifies the adventuring party to Micheal and to the guardsman as a witness. He also happen to know through the dinner conversation with the party that they are staying at the Wyvern Inn.

He doesn't tell Marcus what his business with the group was about. Telling Marcus that his father can talk to Tomas, the guildmaster of the Chandlers if the Greenes want to know. However that discretion doesn't extend to protecting his customer from a murder investigation.

The Writ
It been a long night so far with no end in sight, Marcus leaves Lado's shop. He tells the city guardmen that the Greens are going to keep watch on the Wyvern. The guardsmen acknowledges and asks for an escort back to the barrack. Marcus does this as well as send his own guard and one of other employee to watch on the Inn for the remainder of the night. Afterwards Micheal returns home and spends the remainder of the night comforting his mother.

Rob's Note: Aldus doesn't authorize Marcus or any of those who work for them to go into the Inn and grab the party as the Inn is the property of a innkeeper who in good standing with the innkeeper's guild. Innkeeper are expected to protect their guests and safeguard their property as one of their responsibilities. With a writ from a Alderman, the Greenes have no recourse to wait until they secure one. However if Sigurt or the party steps out of the Inn then they are fair game.

In the morning the party wakes up and has breakfast and plans the day's shopping in order to prepare to leave for the Barradine Ruins the following day.

At the earliest possible hour, Aldus Greene and his son Marcus head over to Alderman Angus Mallory's house. The Mallory family have long been friends of the Greens. The Mallorys own one of the largest weaving establishments in Eastgate and the Greenes often ship their linen and wool to distant ports.

Aldus reports the murder and has his son Marcus swear to the particulars. Alderman Mallory is more than willing to accept their sworn oaths and issues a writ authorizing the Greene to seize Sigurt's person and transport him to the nearest jail to await a hearing. The writ further allows the Greene to call on the CIty Guard as the accused is reputed to be a member of an adventuring party. Aldus pays the Alderman two shillings (24 sp) for the writ.

While the party is eating breakfast and planning their day. Aldus and his son Marcus are gathering every guard and employee they have along with sending a runner to the ward barracks to ask for a patrol to be on hand.

This takes time so the party conclude breakfast and break up to go shopping and prepare for the expedition. The two men that the Greene station see this and start to follow Sigurt. Sigurt is in the company of Thil the Cowled, a mage, and their job is purchase rations and other consumables for the expedition. Ironically they head over to Lado's shop.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A Harn City for $1

Fri, 07/26/2019 - 17:52

Columbia Games has launched a Cities of Harn kickstarter. Harn is a fantasy medieval setting that been in publication since 1983. It second product was called Cities of Harn and detailed seven cities on the island of Harn (Aleath, Cherafir, Coranan, Golotha, Shiran, Tashal, and Thay). Each city had a map, some background, a listing of two to three dozen businesses, and a handful of building mapped out and detailed including castles. All tersely described.

It was a popular product largely because it was medieval fantasy. Which made it easy to adapt to one own fantasy setting. I used just about of the cities to represent various towns and cities in my Majestic Wilderlands.

For example I used the Harn City of Shiran to represent Gormmah a capital of one of the factions in the Viridistan Civil War.


There are a couple of things you should be aware of.

PDF Only
It is PDF only. The purpose of the kickstarter to fund art and writing to expand the original cities. In recent there been a concerted effort by Columbia Games to get everything for Harn back in print. Along with updated to the latest standards that has been set for new Harn Articles.

Mainly for location like cities is that we get a tad more on the personalities and motivations of the NPCs and more fleshed out buildings and interiors.

The Price
At the $1 level, Columbia Games will give you the PDF for the City of Shiran, before the kickstarter ends. The reason for this is because Harn material has always been priced at a premium level. Which can be a tough sell. The Harn material is good but it is that good? Doing the kickstarter this way hopefully will entice to you get to buy into one of the higher levels if you like Shiran.

However the $1 for the Shiran is a sweet deal for what you get.

Is Harn worth it?
For me the answer has been yes, however I do what I can to cut cost due to their pricing. I am a Harnquest subscriber which dings me $20 to $30 four time a year and gives me the latest releases and half price on their PDFs. And I take advantage of sales when they come up.

And the fan support for Harn is second to none at Lythia.com.

Just look at the crazy stuff that has been posted for just one of Harn's city: Tashal.

Example: Eastside City Block
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Classic D&D, Weapons.

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 16:03
My friend Chris over on Clash of Spear on Shield talks about Sling damage versus Large creature. Particularly how sling damage increases versus large damage and how he finds issues with that idea.

Which leads to a wider question of the consequences of the different options for modelling weapons, injury, and armor class in various editions of classic DnD.

Recap
In Chainmail man to man combat the odds of an opponent be killed was found on a chart cross indexing weapon versus a specific type of armor. You roll that number or higher on 2d6 and the target was killed.

This element was not in the original release of the 3 LBB (Little Brown Books) but worked it way in with the release of Greyhawk. There it was presented as a weapon versus AC chart. Using the chart would result in a modifier (or not) to your to-hit roll if you were using that weapon versus that armor.

The chart is derived from the man to man chart in Chainmail. Basically that was a 8 or better to hit was a +0 modifer and the rest were calculated from there. Although Gygax tweaked the number as it doesn't quite line up with the man-to-man chart.

Greyhawk also saw the introduction of variable weapon damage where each weapon used a different dice and/or modifier. Along with a different set of damage for large creatures.

Finally in ADnD we see weapon length, weapon space requirement, and weapon speed factors. Weapon length explicitly defined how far an opponent can be attacked, and weapon space defines how small of a space a weapon can be used effectively. Weapon Speed factors only came into play if initiative was tied and could result in multiple attack for the wielder of the weapon.

The State of the Mechanics
Not all of these mechanics found their way into people's campaigns. Either back then or today. Of these varying weapon damage is the one that is most commonly used. A different set of damage versus large creatures is not found as often. Weapon Length is sometimes a factor especially if the weapon is clearly a polearm meant to be used in the 2nd rank or further back. Weapon space requirements is also run on an ad-hoc basis.

Weapon versus AC may be a little less popular than Weapon Speed Factor but not by much. Both are are generally not used. Weapon vs AC involves yet another chart lookup, and Weapon Speed Factor was part of a initiative system so poorly understood that there are two separate interpretations and  multiple page documents to attempt to explain them.

My Take
So when it comes to my Majestic Fantasy Rules, my reasoning was a follows. The core of combat is the to hit roll versus Armor Class. It bundles actual contact with overcoming the armor into a single roll and an essential part of how classic editions work.

I think varying weapon damage is the way to go. Injury is caused by force. Force is determined by mass time acceleration. Different weapons have different masses and are designed differently to channel that mass into force. So varying the damage dice for different weapon is a good way to model this without getting overly complex.

Because damage is a result of force, which equal mass time acceleration, it doesn't make sense to me to vary damage for large creature. Instead a more straight forward method to give them more hit point or hit dice to represent their increased mass. Luckily classic DnD is consistent with this with the various giant versions of creatures so I don't have to do any work in this regard.

As for weapon speed I prefer individual initiative where everybody rolls 1d6 plus bonuses. High roll has the option of acting first. The classic weapon speed mechanic has little relevance for me as it tied tightly to the ADnD initiative system.

While I think that Weapons versus AC is one chart too many, I think the concept is sound. Different weapons are designed differently and some are more effective than other against certain types of armor. Despite the abstract nature of classic edition combat, it at level that I think a light touch would be add something to combat.

 I opted to handle this by noting any special bonuses in the description of the weapon. For example maces gets +1 to hit versus opponents wearing chainmail or gelatinous creatures like ochre jellies or black puddings.

This method allowed to add other interesting attributes to weapons with a similar light touch. For example an axe can be used to pin a weapon if the opponent fails their saving throw. Something I learned from reading how axe were used throughout history. Typically this is followed up by a blow from the shield or a takedown after grappling with the opponent.

You can read my take with the either of the following two free downloads.

The Majestic Fantasy Basic Rules
The Majestic Fantasy Equipment Rules
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

D&D 5e Essential Kit.

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 14:35

What it is?
A boxed set available only at Target for starting out with DnD 5th edition. Includes rules, aides, and an adventure.

The Details
The rules are far more complete than the DnD Starter Kit. They describe five character classes Bard, Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, and Wizard up to 6th level. An addition are rules for sidekicks which clearly not only play the role of traditional hireling but also as additional adventuring companions for smaller groups. The rules go into how to level sidekicks. There are three categories of sidekicks; Experts, Spellcasters, and Warriors.

The aides include a doubled sided poster maps of the Sword Coast around Neverwinter on one side and the village of Phandelver on the other. A set of cards that are mostly magic items but also include initiative tracking, condition tracking, sidekicks, and quests. There is a referee screen, and six character sheets.

The adventure, Dragon of Icespire Peak, takes place in and around Phandelver much like the Lost Mine adventure in the starter kit. In general it is a set one session quests combined with tables to determine where the adventure's antagonist, Cryovain, a young white dragon, is at when the party travels.

The quest structure comes off a bit like a video game however it also a structured sandbox. It start off with two quests available on the "job" board in Phandelver and then goes from there. The quest, the town descriptions, and the random tables governing the dragon all point the party to a confrontation with the Cyrovain and the conclusion of the overall adventure.

Honestly for something that trying to get a novice going, this adventure is well down for a potential sandbox adventure. If the referee doesn't get it right away the quest structure will keep things going in a way that fun and feels like progress is being made. For referees that want to branch out there is enough in adventure and the boxed set to do so.

I will say that most of the adventure location are fairly fleshed out. Many are  complete small dungeons or adventures.

Yeah but I am not a novice
While a bit pricey as an expansion, this in conjunction with the Lost Mines adventure found in the Starter set makes for a very nice campaign. With two primary antagonist and a wealth of locations to explore nobody is going to feel railroaded or hemmed with the combination.

And the digital
DnD Beyond is the official digital platform for D&D fifth edition. There is a lot not to like about the business model as it could "go away" at any time because all their content is hosted on their server. Thus when they go away, the content will go away.

But the app and website make looking up stuff convenient on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Very convenient as I been finding out.  Enough so that there may some merit of doing something similar with the various retro-clones of the OSR.

The DnD Essential Kit comes with two codes. The first allows you to buy the 5e PHB on DnD Beyond at half price, the second gives you the Dragon of Icespire Peak for free.

In playing around with this, I learned that you can add the DnD 5e basic rules to your app or account for free. With the Dragon of Icespire Peak adventure you get a substantial peak of how the functionality of DnD Beyond works.

Like looking up specific spells, abilities, or classes, I can quickly zero in on a location within the adventure. With the website I can also pull up images of not only the keyed map but also a player version that I can save and use with Roll20, Fantasy Ground, or print out for the table.

For example the map for a mine adventure

DM Map                                             Player Map
Overall I was pleased at the functionality and convenience but it definitely optional. My recommendation is to try the Basic Rules and above adventure if you get the Esstentials Kit and see if it is for you. I opted to get the PHB for half off as I know I would use it. I just got a smartphone and it proving far handier than I thought it would be. This just adds to the functionality of the device.

Wrapping it up.
I consider the Lost Mine of Phandelver one of the best DnD adventures ever made.  The Dragon of Icespire Peak isn't quite up to the level of the Lost Mine however it function very well as an expansion to that adventure.

The Essential Kits does way better on the rules presenting levels 1 to 6 of five different classes in conjunction with the various packaged aides. I would recommend this for anybody starting up with tabletop roleplaying.


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Points of Light Borderlands and the Scourge of the Demon Wolf

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 14:44
Recently I was asked this question about combine two things I written, the Borderland setting from Points of Light and Scourge of the Demon Wolf.
Hey Robert, I've been reading Scourge of the Demon Wolf and it occurs to me I might want to attach it to a side of the Borderland setting from your Points of Light book. Do you have a quick thought about how you would staple the two together?
The Borderlands
For those you don't know Borderlands is one of four hexcrawl formatted setting in Points of Light. It depicts a time period when the Bright Empire was torn apart in a religious and political civil war. A conflict between factions supporting Sarrath the God of Order (Lawful Evil) and Delaquain the Goddess of Honor and Justice (Lawful Good).

In the setting the civil war has been going on for a few years. Parts of the region are divided between the faction, parts are devastated, and parts are neutral just trying to hang on.

The Scourge of the Demon Wolf
The Scourge of the Demon Wolf centers on a manor village terrorized by a pack of wolves. To adapt it for Borderlands I drew a map and recommended the following.

1416 is the Beggar Camp
1615 is the sacrifice site
1617 is the Bandit Cave in a bluff overlooking Cailly River and the swamp.

Instead of the Baron of Westtower as giving the mission I recommended that role be given to Count Travlin of Darcion. Instead of the baron's huntsmen in the stocks, it's Sheriff Melan of Saurton in the stocks

The Church of Mitra in Kensla would now be a Ecumenical Imperial Church of the four Gods with the statue of Delaquain removed. The personality of the priest remains the same. The bailiff that was killed was an agent of Divolic and an adherent of Sarrath and there is little love for him in the village.

As an added wrinkle Count Travlin is looking for leverage against the Mages of Order of Thoth in the Golden House in order to enlist their aid for Duke Divolic in the civil war. However would be more of a bonus as Count Travlin is not aware of the supernatural nature of the Demon Wolf or even the Demon Wolf exists. If made aware of the full circumstance Count Travlin would provide a handsome reward as the information would provide considerable leverage over the mages.

An alternative start is that a cleric or paladin gets a call from Veritas, Thoth or Delaquain. From the call the party starts with knowing that it has something to do with the Sheriff Melan of Saurton being thrown in the stocks in Darcion. Since the stocks are in the public square the party could question the sheriff which will lead them to Kensla and the adventure.

Once again the party will have to decide what to do with the information about how mage are connected to the Demon Wolf. Except this time they are nominally the "good" guys.

Finally a start I didn't mention earlier was that the characters were sent by the Duke of Stoneburg to Darcion to investigate why Sheriff Melan was thrown in the stocks. It would be similar to the above but without the religious overtones. Since the Duke has the support of the remnants of the old imperial church and the still loyal priests of Thoth and Veritas. The resolution of the adventure could be the foundation for an alliance between the Duke and the mage of the Golden House.


Click to Expand
Wrapping it up.
As a general note, all the Points of Light setting and Blackmarsh are part of the same loose background. Although set in different time period. Borderlands is the earliest time period depicted set during the civil war that ripped the Bright Empire apart. Wildland represents the aftermath after the collapse of the empire. While Southland and Blackmarsh are set in later centuries during the rise of the Grand Kingdom.

The settings of Points of Light II are also set during the Grand Kingdom period. They focuses on the expansion overseas to the New World of the setting and the colonial rivalry between the Grand Kingdom and the Ochre Empire.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A D100 OGL Carol

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 19:33
Appreciate the feed back on a A tale of two OGLs. During the various discussions I reviewed the various D100 based System reference Documents that Mongoose put out.
And there is an issue.
A recap to understand my next point.
Mongoose has released open content for a RPG using d100 mechanics in three products.
  • The Runequest System Reference Document. 2006
  • D100 II System Reference Document, 2011
  • Legend Core Rulebook, 2011
In the Open Game License Section 7 reads7. Use of Product Identity: You agree not to Use any Product Identity, including as an indication as to compatibility, except as expressly licensed in another, independent Agreement with the owner of each element of that Product Identity. You agree not to indicate compatibility or co-adaptability with any Trademark or Registered Trademark in conjunction with a work containing Open Game Content except as expressly licensed in another, independent Agreement with the owner of such Trademark or Registered Trademark. The use of any Product Identity in Open Game Content does not constitute a challenge to the ownership of that Product Identity. The owner of any Product Identity used in Open Game Content shall retain all rights, title and interest in and to that Product Identity.The issuePer section 7 not only you can't cite compatibility with a trademark, since trademark are also consider product identity, a strict interpretation means you can't use the trademark as part of the text. Since Mongoose lost their license to the trademark Runequest they can't grant a license to use it as part of open content.
The Runequest System Reference DocumentFails the compatibility test by having Runequest as part of the title, and fails the use of product identity test by referencing Runequest numerous times in the text.
The D100 II System Reference DocumentDoes not mention Runequest at all until Section 15. Which also the very last bit of text in the SRD. D100 II SRD cites three release by Mongoose. The Runequest System Reference Document, the Runequest Companion System Reference Document, and the Runequest Monsters System Reference.
Shades of Gray vs Crystal ClearThe reason to make this distinction is that if you want to publish something using open content without the advice of attorney then the open content has to be crystal clear. A major point of the OGL is make it easy for people to understand they are allowed to use.
The first SRD, the Runequest System Reference Document, clearly has issues in whether it crystal clear to use it open content. The second one, the D100 II System Reference Document, was a lot harder a call on.  It Section 15 "using Product Identity or citing compatibility" as Section 7 state? 
The common sense answer is doesn't violate either provisions. There is an issue that the presence of the three citations means that the open content of the D100 II SRD is based on part on the open content of three documents that Mongoose no longer has the license to give permission to use. Thus tainting the open content of the D100 II SRD despite it not using any of Runequest or Glorantha IP and being Mongoose's original work. 
However luckily for fans of D100 RPGs, the open content of Legends has none of the above issues. And with the core rulebook having been expanded with the open content of the "Legend of" series, you are not missing out on anything found in 
Gore and OpenQuestThe Gore RPG by Dan Proctor along with OpenQuest and OpenQuest II by Net Newport both cite one or more of the Runequest SRDs. In the long run they may to be fixed by only using the open content of the Legend RPG. 
Wrapping it upUpon reflection, if I was in Chaosium shoes I would have an issue with the original Runequest System Reference Document. Trademarks are valuable and with it being part of the title in the text would cause numerous issues with dealing with third parties.
I think complaining or taking legal action is going out on a limb with the D100 II SRD. Runequest not referenced in the title or the main body of the text. The only part where Runequest makes an appearance is in Section 15. Going after folks that used the D100 II SRD just make Chaosium look like bullies.
I recommend for future projects based on the D100 mechanics is to use the open content of the Legend Core Rulebook, and to the various Legend of  line for additional content. That way it is crystal clear. 
If you have any doubts then please consult an IP attorney. However just be aware you may have to walk them through what open content and what open content licenses are. IP attorneys first instinct is to give advice that either protect your material to greatest extent allowed by law, or to protect from any possibility of lawsuits. 
The key question I found to be useful is "This is my understanding of what this means, and this is what I want to do. I am correct? Or am I missing something?". I consulted with an attorney prior to publishing as Bat in the Attic Games as I was starting out as a licensee of Judges Guild and also using the open content of Swords and Wizardry

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A tale of two OGLs

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 15:19
Once upon a time Wizards of the Coast released the Open Game License and made the text of the D20 System Reference Document open content.

And the hobby and industry had a fit. At the same enthusiastically embracing it. Since then a variety of RPG material has been released as open content. Along with those that have negative view of the use of the Open Game License.

That dynamic is still in play in the hobby and industry.

Traveller and Cepheus
In 2008, Mongoose release Mongoose Traveller. It was accompanied by a System Reference Document, and a trademark compatibility license. Along with a license and outline of the Foreven Sector that was part of the Third Imperium setting. The Foreven license allowed 3PP to create content for the Third Imperium as long it was set in Foreven. The Traveller SRD was expanded to include material from Mercernary and High Guard.

Then in 2016, Mongoose released a 2nd edition of their Traveller RPG. It did not have any open content under the OGL. In addition both the traveller compatibility license and the foreven license were sunset.

It is important to note that Mongoose didn't and can't sunset the open game license for any open content they released.
4. Grant and Consideration: In consideration for agreeing to use this License, the Contributors grant You a perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license with the exact terms of this License to Use, the Open Game Content.In the place of the compatibility license and the Foreven License, Mongoose worked with Onebookshelf to setup a Community Content program for Mongoose Traveller 2e 3PPs called the Traveller Aid's Society. Moreso this program open up the entire Third Imperium setting for 3PPs.

The restriction was that any works could only be published on the site, and once published they have to part of the site forever. They could be removed from sale but you couldn't pull the work and sell it elsewhere even with the Traveller IP scrubbed.

A problem was found in the license that all OBS Community Content program share. A clause stating that any derivative work also can only be posted to the site.  This meant that if Gypsy Knight Games had posted their Clement Sector setting to the TAS site, their setting IP was forever locked in to the Traveller Aid Society.

This was unacceptable to most of the Traveller 3PPs in 2016 when the program was created. At first the various publishers continued to use the Mongoose Traveller 1st edition SRD and removed the compatibility logo. Similar to what happened when the D20 Logo license was sunsetted by Wizards.

Then in the summer of 2016, Jason Kemp created a Traveller clone called Cepheus. Some of it is his original work the rest is material culled from the following list.

  • High Guard System Reference Document, Mongoose Publishing
  • Mercenary System Reference Document, Mongoose Publishing
  • Modern System Reference Document, Wizards of the Coast
  • Swords & Wizardry Core Rules, Matt Finch
  • System Reference Document, Wizards of the Coast
  • T20 - The Traveller’s Handbook, Quiklink Interactive
  • Traveller System Reference Document,  Mongoose Publishing.

Runequest and LegendIn 2006, Mongoose released Mongoose Runequest after licensing the trademarks and Gloranth setting from Stafford's Issaries. This too was accompanied by open content under the OGL and a trademark compatibility. It represent Mongoose first major stab at doing this outside of their previous work with the D20 SRD. In 2010, a 2nd edition was release along with as updated system reference document.
After losing the trademark and Glorantha IP license in 2011, Mongoose scrubbed their rules of any Glorantha IP and released it as the Legend RPG. There was no system reference document as the text of the entire book was declared open content. Mongoose also expanded the amount of open content for the RPG through the Legends of ... series of book.
Meanwhile, the authors of Mongoose Runequest II formed their own company Design Mechanism and licensed the Runequest trademark and Glorantha IP from Stafford. Coming out with Runequest 6th edition in 2012.
Edit: I was made aware that Design Mechanism never licensed the Glorantha IP. There were plans for Adventures in Glorantha but the deal fell through.
But the story doesn't end there. In 2015 Chaosium runs into trouble. Stafford, and Peterson two of the original people involved decided to return and take a active hand in the business. A new team was formed. With Stafford's return, Chaosium regained the license for Runequest and Glorantha. The license with Design Mechanism was sunsetted and the two authors were forced to rebrand as Mythras.
What happen with TravellerAt first there was a bit of a uproar among the Traveller hobbyists, however this was quickly settled by Marc Miller when he authorized the creation of a Cepheus Engine subforum on the official Traveller forums. While not quite an official stamp of approval, Cepheus now had a place within the Traveller community. 
Cepheus compatible material has continued to expand and cover quite a bit of science fiction unrelated to the Third Imperium setting. Both Mongoose Traveller 2nd edition and Marc Miller's own Traveller5 continue to be worked on and have fans among the hobby. In short the Traveller hobby is thriving in a variety of areas.
What happen with RunequestDespite losing their license Pete Nash and Lawrence Whitaker continued to release material for Mythras. They both well respected for the quality of their work. 
There are few people using the Mongoose Runequest/Legend Content like OpenQuest over on D101 Games. But third party based on the three SRD that Mongoose released are scattered among different tags and are often mixed in with other system like Zweihander. From reading the various related forums the 3PP using open have not be embrased by BRP hobby.
In fact Chaosium is actively discouraging people from using any of the release by spreading uncertainty and doubt. This is from their FAQ.Q: Is there a System Reference Document (SRD) for Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, Magic World, the Basic Roleplaying system, Pendragon, or 7th Sea?
A: No.Q: Can I rely on the Mongoose RQ SRD to publish material?A: No. Mongoose’s license for RuneQuest was terminated in April 2011. At that point, Mongoose lost all rights to continue using the RuneQuest trademark, or to create and publish material derivative from the previous copywritten material, or to issue any sublicenses based on that agreement. Since Mongoose no longer had any rights to RuneQuest, it has no ability to issue a third-party license to that material (which is all an OGL is). Everything up to the last sentence is accurate.  The problem is that Mongoose didn't release anything as open content based on the trademark and Glorantha IP they license. Mongoose created that themselves undoubtably relying on their knowledge of IP law and their attorney to come up with a system that was similar to that of the original Runequest and Basic Roleplaying System.

That they had right to release under any license they choose and did so as Legends RPG. The entire text of which is open content.

Chaosium compounded this by posting this on their official forum.
To the extent someone has made an original work that is not legally derivative of Chaosium's IP, of course they have the right to do with it as they will, including issue a perpetual OGL. That's the WotC OGL - WotC owned D&D outright and could do with it what they wanted, including issue perpetual third party licenses. However, Mongoose's license for RuneQuest was limited in duration. You can't license to others more than you actually have. So when their RuneQuest license was terminated, any licenses they issued under that license died with it.Edit: I wrote further on the details of the various Runequest SRDs in A D100 OGL Carol

Wrapping it up
For a long time the dynamics of 3PP with Traveller and Runequest was the same. There was a dominant publisher or two that the majority of hobbyist looked to for new material. There a few 3PPs but most labored in the shadow of the dominant publisher.

The situation with Runequest continues to be like that with the major exceptions of Design Mechanisms and D101 Games. However with Traveller the fiasco with the TAS Programs was a kick in the pant to 3PPs. Provided just enough of jolt to have somebody finally get a legal traveller clone together and release.

I sincerely hope that Chaosium does not take the step of issues DMCA notices. Along with  cease and design notices. On the flip side, hobbyists who are fans need to release that the BRP RPGs that Chaosium rely heavily on their setting IP, Glorantha and Cthulhu. Those settings are a crucial part of their appeal.

While Cthulhu may be public domain, the stuff that makes Call of Cthulhu take on the mythos unique is not. All the things I mentioned about SRD and open license are easiest used for one's own original idea or setting. Otherwise I would talk to an IP attorney if want to so something involved with Cthulhu.

I hope you found this informative. 
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Majestic Wilderlands has gone gold!

Sun, 06/30/2019 - 17:04
It did take ten years but the Majestic Wilderlands has finally achieved Gold status on DriveThruRPG.

As thanks, I am offering the Majestic Wilderlands for $1 over print cost. And half off for the PDF for the holiday week.

PDF Discount $2.99
Print Discount $4.99

The supplement is compatible with Swords and Wizardry and other editions of the worlds first and most popular roleplaying game.









Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Skills, Abilities, Attributes, and Classes in classic D&D

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 14:48
JB over on B/X Blackrazor has posted some strong opinions on ability checks and skills. It stems from the following
 But for the game I play (and, sure, I understand not everyone plays as I do), I feel that a character's class IS the bulk of the character's training...that's where the emphasis should be and ability scores a minor consideration as far as representing a character's "skill."That is an approach the could work but what going on here?

It about that players can do more than fight, cast spells, turn undead, etc as their characters. They can sneak past a guard, open a locked chest, or weave a basket.

What important is not which is approach is right. It about what works with one's campaign. Because of my circumstances I opted to come up with an ability system.



Abilities
Going back to OD&D 3 LBBs we have three character classes, Cleric, Fighting-Man, and Magic User along with mechanics to handle combat, spell casting, and a few other things like turning undead. But suppose a character wants to sneak past a guard, open a locked chest, or weave a basket for that matter?

 The 3LBBs imply that the player describe what they are doing and the referee makes a ruling based on the circumstances and what been established about the character. This interpretation is supported by this anecdotes from back in the day. However the various anecdotes and few pieces of documentation (like Judges Guild Ready Ref sheets, Strategic Review) display widely varying methods of adjudicating this things. Some use attributes, some use an arbitrary chance, other account for class and level. Some use %, 3d6, or 1d20 roll low or high.

However there are some common elements among those accounts of using 3 LBBs. The most important is that outside of combat, and spell casting, any character can attempt any action. All three classes can try to stealth past the guard, try to open the locked chest, or try to weave a basket. But it up to the referee to decide on the mechanics of adjudication.

One way is to based it primarily on class and level with some modifiers based on attributes as JB does in his campaigns. His post states the reasons why.

I opted it to handle it a different way. My view is that any character can attempt any action outside of class specifics. That some classes are better than other classes at certain abilities. That attributes are important to determine how good a character is at certain abilities. That like combat, and spell casting not every class or individual character is equally adept in these abilities.

The result is the ability system as outlined in my Majestic Fantasy Basic Rules.

Related to this is my decision to ditch the thief class in favor of a series of Rogue classes. What distinguish the Rogue from the Cleric, Fighter, and Magic User, is that they are better at various abilities than other classes. For example the Burglar class in the basic rules is better at climbing, eavesdrop, legerdemain, perception, and stealth.

Because I had no issues with players trashing my setting as they tried to become kings or magnates I to deal with a player attempting a lot of different things. The climb to power required the players to do more than just fight or cast spells. Adventures and exploration were important in my campaign but often they were just the means to the player's end goal of rising to the top.

Wrapping it up
That why I decided to do things differently from JB. Again what important here isn't that you handle this in a particular way but that you think it through, that the result fits what you want out of the campaign, and that it is fun to play.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs