Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Wednesday Comics: DC, November 1982 (week 4)

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 08/23/2023 - 11:00
I'm reading DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! This week, we look at the comics hitting the newsstand on August 26, 1982.

Action Comics #537: This is the second cover in a row where Superman is trussed up in some way on the cover. Do Buckler and Giordano think this is Golden Age Wonder Woman or something? Seriously though I wonder if these covers, like the depowering of Superman that has taken place in Wolfman's ongoing storytelling are a means to up the perception of peril to incease reader interest? Anyway, Superman tries to go back into the past to resolve his problem, but Satanis stops him cold. Meanwhile (well, shown to us at the same time) in the past, Syrene plans to filter the Runestone of Merlin's magical energy through the other Superman's invulnerable body and into her. This will probably kill him, but that's not her problem. 
In the present, this new loser called Jackhammer has an armored suit with jackhammer projects on his fists, and he plans to make a name for himself by killing Supes. Jackhammer draws Superman's attention by wrecking a train track. When Superman shows, up he gets the first punch and staggers him, so Superman is barely able to stop the train with his Superman breath, then passes out with exhaustion. Jackhammer gloats realizing he can actually be the man to kill Superman.
In the Aquaman backup by Rozakis and Saviuk, Aquaman is convinced this woman who looks like Mera but claims to be Lt. Miriam Bridgeman actually is Mera, and he won't let it go. He lays a kiss on her and is further convinced though she still isn't sure. I guess she liked it enough to allow him to hook her up to electrodes and some sort of EEG, because that's what happens. The results of that are weird, but still don't prove her identity, so as a final test, Aquaman has her change into a bikini and jump into the ocean with him to see if she can breathe under water. Luckily, she doesn't drown, but instead finds out that she can breathe water and has telepathic powers, though she still does not remember her Mera identity. When she tries summoning fish, she and Aquaman are mobbed by dolphins, and she panics and encases Aquaman in hard water.

Arion Lord of Atlantis #1: Graduating into its on series by Kupperberg and Duursema. On the dead moon Anuleous, Arion has been ensnared by his "mother," a cosmic energy being responsible for his creation. The mage's former master Caculha comes to his aid to win his freedom. Back on Earth, Lady Chian and Wyynde face off against Garn Daanuth who has taken possession of Arion's mortal body. When Wyynde cuts Arion's body, the evil mage abandons abandons it and flees.
The forces of Chaos and Order are again observing and bickering, but this time their altercation leads to Arion being freed from his mother's control. He turns his magic on her, and with the help of Caculha, he is then reunited with his physical form which has been wounded by Wyynde. In anger his mother strikes down Caculha. Angered at his master's apparent death, Arion unleashes his full power against his mother, dispersing her energy across the surface of the moon. Caculha as it turns out isn't dead ,though. Arion brings him back to Atlantis where King D'Tilluh is preparing for a civil war.

All-Star Squadron #15: The next instalment of Crisis on Earth-Prime. We get a couple of sort of humorous scenes of Per Degaton doing some super-villain scenery-chewing with the more realistic reaction of his henchmen, but most of the issue is given to the heroes dividing up in small groups for tasks in classic crossover fashion. Their jobs are complicated by the re-appearance of the Crime Syndicate. Doctor Fate, Robotman, and Superman fly into orbit, intercept Degaton's space satellite, and start demolishing it, but a kryptonite boobytrap takes out Superman, and then are ambushed by Ultraman. Aquaman, Liberty Belle, and Starman head to the Pacific to investigate radiation detected on a small island and encounter a Japanese military outpost and Superwoman. Hunting for hidden missiles in the Midwest, Hawkman, Huntress, and Johnny Quick are attacked by Power Ring. 
The heroes prevail, of course, but Degaton has one more insane plan up his sleeve--one that will allow him to conquer the Earth or leave no Earths left!

Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #9: Scott Shaw and "co-plotter" Thomas continue the Time-Keeper storyline. The villainous Bear takes a liking to Alley-Kat-Abra, which gives her the chance to play for time (heh) while the other members are cast into various eras. This also gives Thomas, I presume, the chance to bring back old DC funny animal characters. Pig Iron and Captain Carrot encounter Nero Fox in ancient world. Rubberduck and Yankee Poodle meet the Three Mouseketeers, and Fastback encounters his uncle in his heroic guise as the Terrific Whatzit in World War II. In the end, Kat-Abra destroys the Keeper's hourglasses and frees her friends.
In the backup, Alley Kat-Abra goes solo against the Debbil-Dawg, a chihuahua painter, Salvador Doggi, who needs a portal out of a Ditko-esque dimension and back into the mundane world so that he can use his reality-warping power to remake it to his artistic whim. 
Detective Comics #520: Batman and his allies continue their fight to bring the current, corrupt mayor and police commissioner down. The Dark Knight appears to help Floyd "Deadshot" Lawton escape from prison and a corrupt warden in exchange for Lawton giving up Thorne as the mastermind of the attempt to kill Bruce Wayne a couple of issues ago, but he actually tricks Lawton and keeps him in custody in the Batcave. Meanwhile, Thorne is being haunted (again) by the ghost of Hugo Strange, or so it would seem, and he enlists Dr. Thirteen's help to get to the bottom of it. Thirteen (shaken by his memory loss from Wayne Manor in issue 509) goes on an investigation--and seems to be confronted by Strange's ghost himself! This is a good issue from Conway and Newton and a great Aparo cover.
There's a Catwoman backup by Rozakis and Kane. In Metropolis, Catwoman runs into an old member of her gang and worries he's slipped back into criminal ways. She follows him as Catwoman and learns that he appears to be involved in a robbery. She captures his apparent accomplice, but discovers her friend had actually set up a sting. With everything cleared up, the two decide to go out for a coffee.

New Adventures of Superboy #35:  Rozakis and Schaffenberger continue Superboy's tangle with Yellow Peri, who really isn't a villain but makes some questionable choices. In fact, I had wondered if the twist was going to be that her animate teddy bear friend/advisor, Gadzook, was malign and leading her astray, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Anyway, Superboy finally succeeds in returning her to normal, with no memory of her magic powers, by throwing her book of magic into outer space.
In the Dial H backup, the mysterious Master sends his agent, the Marauder, to break Naiad out of jail, forcing Chris and Vicki must dial up new heroes to fight them, naturally. Two identities for each this story: Gossamer and the Fan for Vicki, and Earthman and Any-body for Chris.

Saga of the Swamp Thing Annual #1: This is an adaptation of the Wes Craven film from earlier in the same year by Bruce Jones, Mark Texeira and Tony DeZuniga. 

Weird War Tales #117: The two features here are Creature Commandos and G.I. Robot, but only the Commandos get title billing where the J.A.K.E.-2 is an "extra." The first story has art by Carillo which is making me miss Spiegle. Anyway, the Commandos are getting some R&R (I guess) in Paris, but face prejudice for their appearance from the citizenry and their own military. Shrieve asks for and gets an alternate posting, but no one wants his old job. The Commandos head out for Lourdes hoping to be cured of their condition by a divine miracle. Shrieve, meanwhile, finds his new administrative duties don't have the same excitement, so he retakes the job with the Commandos, and rushes to join them as they've managed to run into Nazis along the way. They are freaks, he tells them, but they are his freaks. So he's still a jerk.
G.I. Robot is still hanging out in the South Pacific with his dog, CAPD. When protecting a reporter from a group of Japanese soldiers CAPD reveals there's a robotic kitten inside him in a hidden compartment. The military function of that cat escapes me, but its existence allows for JAKE, CAPD, and the cat to pose for a "family" picture. I can't say this story doesn't have a sort of kitschy charm, but Kanigher phone this one in, clearly. While I doubt that it would have been more commercially successful, in a way this book as currently constituted seems to beg for the more bombastic Marvel approach to war stories. The Creature Commandos, in particular, really seem to play with classic Marvel themes.

World's Finest Comics #285: Nice cover on this issue by Miller and Giordano. In this first full-length story for the title, by Burkett and Buckler/La Rosa, Superman is flying Batman back to Gotham when they spot a man being attacked by a tiger man. The heroes engage, and more animal humanoids appear. Superman is whisked away by a strange, black cloud leaving Batman to do battle alone. He wins the day but collapses from exhaustion and injury afterwards. This opening leads to the two being embroiled in a magical plot, one related to their old foe Dr. Zodiac and some mystical coins, but with Batman as a target. The story is continued next issue. 
What's more interesting than the story, perhaps (though it isn't bad), is the shift in characterization of Batman and Superman. They are still buddies as per the standard of this era, but their friendship seems more than just a surface camaraderie. Batman, particularly, is vulnerable in a way that seems shocking in this post-Dark Knight Returns world. He asks Superman to stay and have coffee to soothe his mind. Superman relates stories of his childhood in Smallville and Bruce actually likes hearing them. I can't fully say it's better as it's alien to the portrayal of these characters over most of my lifetime, but I'm also reluctant to say you can't take the characters in this more humanized direction. 

Hex Crawl 23 #221: Lake of Gesshed

Roles & Rules - Wed, 08/23/2023 - 06:56

Two hexes southwest, eight northwest of Alakran.


This body of water is simply called the Lake of Gesshed. Its year-round liquid surface is now less than 500 feet square, catching the flow of the Gasshadu river after irrigation ditches and urban users are done with it. In the rainy season it fills the whole basin, but the water acquires a distasteful, dusty flavor. 

People sometimes scratch their head and wonder where the water goes, and go diving looking for the hidden sinkhole they can plug up and restore plentiful water to the city. The people who came over the Scarp from Dulsharna just shake their heads. "It is happening here, as it happened there," they say, and begin counting their possessions. "Pray to Mitra, for portection from the Serpent." But the locals have no idea what they are talking about.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Review & Commentary On The OSR Adventure V1 Tragedy at Taigon’s Falls By Randy Nichols For Your OSR & Old School Game Campaign

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 08/23/2023 - 03:03
 "The calamity that befell Merrin Olson’s trade convoy must not be repeated. The wealthy merchant has hired you and your companions as a vanguard for his next delivery from Shadevale to Black River. A simple “guard the caravan” mission turns into something more sinister connected to the dark history of the region involving dark cults as well as dragons. Will the PCs step up to solve the mystery Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

S7 Stains Upon The Green, Adventurer, Conqueror, King Rpg, & the Borderlands Campaign - The Sinister Stone of Sakkara

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 08/22/2023 - 22:08
 Sometimes one has to come at a campaign ass backwards. And in this case it's with "The Sinister Stone of Sakkara" By  Matthew Skail, & Alexander Macris. And this picks up from here on the blog. Clocking in at eighty pages AX1 The Sinister Stone of Sakkara is an introductory adventure for the Adventurer,Conqueror, King system hearkening back to classic TSR era B/X adventures such as Keep of The Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Comic Horror Sale - Spotlight on Swords of Cthulhu (OSR)

Tenkar's Tavern - Tue, 08/22/2023 - 21:39

Continuing the more or less irregular highlighting of titles from the Cosmic Horror Sale at DTRPG, our next title is Swords of Cthulhu by Joseph Bloch/BRW Games.

I have Swords of Cthulhu in print and it is a thing of beauty that fits perfectly on my AD&D 1e shelf of classic titles. Normally 9.95 in PDF, Swords of Cthulhu is on sale for 7.46 during the Cosmic Horror Sale at DTRPG.

A 2023 "Three Castles Award" finalist!

Swords of Cthulhu is filled with new options to expand your old-school roleplaying game!

Plumb the rich depths of Lovecraftian horror with new races like Deep One hybrids and Degenerates, new classes like the cultist and the scholar, new skills, complete insanity rules, the Dreamlands, the Old Ones and Outer Gods, and much more. For both players and game masters.

Written for the First Edition of the world's most popular RPG, Swords of Cthulhu will also be useful to anyone running a game using old-school rules. 

The Tavern is supported by readers like you. The easiest way to support The Tavern is to shop via our affiliate links. The Tavern DOES NOT do "Paid For" Articles and discloses personal connections to products and creators written about when applicable.

DTRPGAmazon, and Humble Bundle are affiliate programs that support The Tavern.  You can catch the daily Tavern Chat cast on AnchorYouTube or wherever you listen to your podcast collection. - Tenkar    

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Let's Make... Zak

The Splintered Realm - Tue, 08/22/2023 - 20:33
Zak is the Army Ants version of Snake Eyes, so he's really good at a lot of things. If the game can support making Zak, then it can support pretty much anything. He's about as awesome as a character should be able to get. He's a commando and martial artist. He's clever and sneaky. He's kind of the closest thing I've got in my character aresenal to Batman or Daredevil. He's like that. So...

I know he's a commando, so I start there. That gives him Body 2, Mind 1, Reflex 3. 

As far as skills, he has to have at least one rank each in: explosives, martial arts, security, small arms, speed, stealth, and maybe even toughness. That's a lot. I think he should be at least level 5, and could be as high as level 7... It's pretty clear that he's at least expert in martial arts and small arms (so that's 4 skill points right there)... he also gets explosives, security, speed, and stealth at 1. That puts him at level 8...

Zak - Stoic Black Ant Commando 8 (A4; Hits 10)
Body 2 | Mind 1 | Reflex 3
Explosives (1); Martial Arts (2); Security (1); Small Arms (2); Speed (1); Stealth (1)2 Enhanced UZ SMGs (dmg. 4); 6 grenades (2 of each kind); 5 Aid Kits; 2 weapons (sword, nunchakus)
He ends up with 38 extra Clout he doesn't spend; I mean, he could load up on more aid kits and grenades (probably would), but that's about it. I know that I need more things to spend Clout on. He feels pretty powerful (he hits almost every attack, dealing about 5 hits per attack depending on the foe; he's killing level 1-2 foes in one shot, and mowing through others pretty quick).   

Underwater Matters - More Commentary On The Fate of The Atlantic Star - A Zaibatsu/Hostile Mini Campaign On Colony World Abyss

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 08/22/2023 - 17:28
 So if you've been following our Hostile rpg mini campaign then you know a variation of the  September Group or Сентябрьская группа's cybercriminal program has been implimented on Abyss.  And this blog entry picks right up from here on the blog.  And since talking with Ian Stead over on social media. I began looking into further underwater resources for old school Traveller. And I remembered a Needles
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Army Ants and Visual Style and Other Philosophy Stuff

The Splintered Realm - Tue, 08/22/2023 - 12:54
I am thinking about what to do with my newest iteration of Army Ants rules, which are hammering into place quite nicely, and I have started noodling with some art. A few things that make this 'different' from other things I've done recently - since I want to go 'old school' with the game, I also want to go old school with my drawing as much as I can. Thirty years ago, my art was all heavy blacks with a lot of small linework. One of the biggest things I didn't like about my work, in general, was contrast between backgrounds and characters. In general, my art was very 'flat', with everything merging together. It was sometimes difficult to tell the foreground from the background, especially when I was adding layers of detailed background. So, I figure for this, I'll do a few things:
- Ants are simple lines with heavy blacks with a little bit of linework (but minimal) for texture and mid-shadowing.- Backgrounds are gray-scale for high contrast with the characters. No gray-scale in the characters at all.- Long antennae are back! One of the quirky things about my drawing back then was that the antennae of the ants got shorter and stubbier as I went. I'm going back to the bigger antennae of the first few issues I drew. Hey, it's old school!
This drawing is an example of the kind of thinking I have around this. It's going to take me a few tries to really nail it down, but I can see where this is headed. 
Now... as for the game itself...
I'm thinking of going in a different direction with the game. I've got the core rulebook down to ten pages in a Word Document (8 1/2 x 11)... I'm going through, and it can do almost everything my previous 100+ page versions of the game can do, because I've got the mechanics so narrowly focused and clean that the game doesn't need any secondary mechanical systems. There's one core mechanic that applies almost everywhere, along with porting over the system of likelihoods (which I've still tweaked slightly) for the GM side. I might just release this thing at ten pages, and then do modules to expand the game, adding... well, anything.
I talked a little bit with a good friend about this the other day... and he suggested going bigger. Go for the 200-page, full-color release with all of the bells and whistles. Incude everything I can think of with this package. Swing for the fences.
Yeah. I could do that. But, this is the reality. I don't think I'm selling many books, regardless of what I do. I've tried a lot of different approaches and philosophies and strategies and ... always get the same result. I'm not complaining. To be clear, I'm grateful to have the creative work I have, and I'm grateful for anyone who supports anything I do. I'm just accepting that this is what it is.
So, if reaching the largest possible audience is not a consideration, then what is? Building a game over time. If I put together a really, really tight package that's ten pages for a dollar, and then release pay-what-you-want one-page expansions that are tight, and do that slowly and methodically and consistently over time, then maybe I build an audience. And maybe that audience wants a larger package. And then maybe, a year or two or five or never down the road, I go back and put it all together into a bells-and-whistles package. Right now, I don't have the audience to do that. And that's okay. 
So, I think my focus for this week or two is on getting some more play testing done, getting a few pages of Cupcake Scouts done (because I'd still like to finish this first story arc before the beginning of school), and maybe getting the Army Ants core rules out there 'officially' in some capacity.

Hex Crawl 23 #220: Shum's Tournament of Champions

Roles & Rules - Tue, 08/22/2023 - 06:53

Three hexes southwest, seven northwest of Alakran.


Bukhabar Shum is a kind commander, so his great tournament takes place when it is not too hot or wet, on the first day of the spring month of Iyarru and the autumn month of Sammu. All of the elite companies under his command, and several from adjoining provinces, compete in seven events in an arena drawn out in ropes on the hard, dry earth in the middle of nowhere (right here). An altar to Mitras, bull-son of Mitra, is set up, priests attend, and sacrifice is made before and after the games begin.

The events of this olympiad, in order, are: 

  • Archery (hit AC 12, 15 and 20 in succession from 100')
  • Heroic poetry (CHA and Performance, as well as INT and History if one composes one's own material as expected -- battle scenes only, with or without stringed instrument -- DC 10)
  • Footrace (three tests of Athletics -- STR for the initial burst, CON for the long haul and DEX for the final sprint -- no DC to succeed)
  • Wrestling (oiled; three tries each to Grapple, and then opponent tries break free with advantage)
  • Long jump (Athletics, STR, DC 10)
  • Javelin catch (DEX, DC 15, take damage if failed on a 1)
  • Feats of strength (three tries at pure STR saves, DC 13)

Who succeeds by the most, is the winner, and tie breaks may be improvised. Each event will have d12 + 8 contestants, from the companies detailed in the last post, and from additional companies from other parts:

1. Pride of the Solar Mane (heavy chariot, Eryptos)

2. Enraged Hive of Deadly Bullets (slingers, Eryptos) 

3. Brine-Soaked Cords of the World Anchor (marines without ships, Eryptos)

4. Black Gazelles of Gilded Horn (light chariot, Eryptos)

5. Unstainable Honour Guard of the Royal Venery (axe beak riders, Mu-Asharru)

6. The Strife-Quelling Company of the Unceasing Shout (medium chariot-borne infantry, Mu-Asharru)

Contestants will have the three highest of 6d6 in their relevant stats plus proficiency befitting a fighter of level d12 (or, in the poetry contest, restricted to active-duty members, a bard of level d4.

The prize for winning each event is honor for a half-year in all the East, and the cranium of the sacrificial sheep, which is filled with d20+100 gold pieces as a gift.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Bundle of Holding - Everywhen (Universal RPG)

Tenkar's Tavern - Tue, 08/22/2023 - 00:19

Barbarians of Lemuria. One of those RPGs, that, upon my return to roleplaying, was one of those vaguely "indie" games that spoke to me. An easy to learn system, an excellent setting, and it appeared that the engine would fade to the back during play. As the years went on, BoL faded from my active memory.

All of which means, the Everywhen Bundle comes out of nowhere in my eyes. It takes the Barbarians of Lemuria engine and turns it into a universal system based on a simple 2d6 mechanic. I'm sold :)

Adventurer! This Everywhen Bundle presents Everywhen, the rules-lite universal tabletop roleplaying system from Garnett Elliott at 13th Planet Games based on Simon Washbourne's cult-classic sword-and-sorcery FRPG Barbarians of Lemuria. Adapting the fast, fun BoL 2d6-based system and character Careers, Everywhen adds rules for vehicles, chases, investigations, social conflicts, psionics, and mass battles suitable for campaigns in any era or background. Play every kind of character from ancient Mesopotamians to Shaolin monks, 16th-Century vampire hunters to WWII commandos, and Miami vice cops to space truckers, all using the eminently hackable Everywhen, called "the AK-47 of indie games."

This all-new offer brings you almost the entire Everywhen line for an unbeatable bargain price. For just US$7.95 you get all four titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $30) as DRM-free ebooks, including the complete Everywhen core rulebook, plus the free supplement Weapons and Armour and the quickstart solo adventure The Fomorian; Pulse-Pounding Pulp; the scenario anthology Anywhen Adventures; and Darkness: Supernatural Creatures.

And if you pay more than the threshold price of $15.26, you'll level up and also get our entire Bonus Collection with six more supplements and adventures worth an additional $37, including the Vikings-vs-Mythos campaign sourcebook Wyrd Sails and five settings and adventures that range widely across genres: Blood Sundown and its adventure Dragon by the Bay, Neonpunk Crysis and its scenario Escape From Old Tokyo, and the rocketpunk setting Red Venus.


The Tavern is supported by readers like you. The easiest way to support The Tavern is to shop via our affiliate links. The Tavern DOES NOT do "Paid For" Articles and discloses personal connections to products and creators written about when applicable.

DTRPGAmazon, and Humble Bundle are affiliate programs that support The Tavern.  You can catch the daily Tavern Chat cast on AnchorYouTube or wherever you listen to your podcast collection. - Tenkar   

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Review & Commentary On Book of Lost Beasts By Joseph Bloch From BRW Games For Adventures Dark And Deep Rpg & Other OSR Games

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 08/21/2023 - 21:57
 "Nearly 200 new monsters for your old-school campaign!" From the massive prehistoric ambelodon to the terrifying plague zombie, within these pages you'll find a bevy of new monsters to use in your campaign. There are angels, bladegrass, undead dragons, rakshasa nobles, and much more! Creatures found in dungeons, wilderness, the prehistoric past, the sea, and even alien planes of existance are Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Army Ants '81

The Splintered Realm - Mon, 08/21/2023 - 21:26

Interested in following my working draft of Michael T. Desing's Army Ants '81?

Oh. I thought you'd be more interested.

Carry on, then.

A Walk In The Woods

The Splintered Realm - Mon, 08/21/2023 - 12:02

I went for a walk yesterday around a pond in my neighborhood, and started snapping pictures as I was going. This was Army Ants brain food. I could see this as their version of the 'Nam. For thirty years, the Army Ants stories have taken place in a version of the back yard of the house I grew up in... but THIS? This is a massive place. A ten-acre pond. A half a mile of trail (which I might round off to 1 km for convenience sake). The Thousand Meter Path sounds pretty cool. I have tried to define the ants and their environment by natural boundaries - the fence, the line of trees, the creek. These things have hemmed their world in (in my imagination at least). This is... different. The world centers on the pond, and the immediate area around it. Once you move more than maybe 5 meters away from the water's edge, you are into the borderlands. The wilds. The Untamed Lands. We don't know much about that. But the Thousand Meter Path? Oh, yeah, that's our stomping grounds. That's what we seek to control. 

That's where the war is taking place. 

The Tragic Curse of Grimhill Fort

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 08/21/2023 - 11:13
Aleksandar Kostic  Reverse Ettin Games Shadowdark Level 1

A terrible storm is brewing – you must find sheltef rom this accursed weather, and quickly! Veldmark, the nearest town, is over ten leagues away, so your only choice is the ruined fort on a nearby hill. As you approach, a faint cry echoes from deep within the decrepit structure. The hair on the back of your neck stands up in warning, but perhaps it was just the wind. Perhaps. Gathering up your courage, you enter the halls of the Grimhill fort.

This eight page adventure features a small fort with twelve rooms. Surprisingly decent for such a small adventure, with a touch of specificity that is rare to see. Perhaps one day the designer will do something good?

Yeah yeah, I know I know. I said no more Shadowdark. But, then, someone told me I was doing it wrong. She told me that the good stuff was on itch and DriveThru was a cesspool. The back half of that statement is certainly true, so, we’re testing out the front half. That means three SHadowdark reviews incoming, all recommended to me personally. If this is true then we’ve got problems. I don’t know where to look other than DriveThru for the cultural adventure zeitgeist. Plus, I mean, I make about $6.50 a month in referrals from DriveThru. In another six months or so I can go out drinking! (DId I mention my Patreon? I promise to spend it all on lottery tickets and drinking from brown paper bags under bridges.

This looks like a contest entry, it being limited to eight pages. Of which the designer decided that 3.5 should be useless shit like a cover, credits page, and half a page of backstory on a dead dudes body. And while I’m on a roll about density, let me cover the full page map that only manages to squeeze in twelve rooms. Yes, it’s isometric. Great. How about trying to make a real location next time, with a few rooms in it? And, the intro states you’re seeking shelter because you’re ten leagues away from the nearest place to sleep? I think not. EMpty space does not exist. I don’t know, maybe it’s the local lords hunting range or something. Otherwise, someone, or twelve, is living there.

And, that will be, very nearly, the last bad things I say about this one. It is surprisingly decent.

The first words of the adventure are: “A: Main Entrance” with three bullets that say “• Wooden signpost that says “You are not welcome here!”.• A gust of wind knocks a few branches and pebbles from the ruined walls above.• Sturdy oaken door, slightly ajar, squeaks loudly if not opened with caution, DC 9.” There’s some newlines in there so it reads easier, but, still, this is a very pleasant surprise! On two fronts! First, the fucking thing starts the adventure keys. No fucking around with all the usual padding that plagues adventures these days. “How to play the game” or “How to read a fucking stat block” or “ten pages of bullshit about a generic town.” Oh, no. Just the cover page, the blurb page, a map, and then the rooms keys. Noice! But, less meta and more pragmatically for play, check out that description! A nice wood sign. A gust of wind to add some drama. A squeaky door to reenforce it. I understand these are simple things, but, they are specific and therefore evocative. Its starting us off with a vibe. 

This continues through all of the room keys. “WIND HOWLS through cracks in the stone walls” Absolutely it does! A chandelier hangs from a beam, with pigeons having built a nest in it. Yupyup! I maybe would have made them cooing pigeons, or ruffling pigeons, but, whatever. There’s more. A bloated corpse floating in water, full of leeches and flesh-eating snails. Groovy!  And, then, when we get to a creature, some bandits in this case, we get “Two nasty-looking ruffians are yelling at each other, arguing, while the third one enjoys the show.” That a pretty short sentence, but sets up the room well. Why the fuck can’t more adventures do this? One sentence for a description and one sentence to add some action to the static description. Boom goes the dynamite! 

There are misses here. More than a few. In one room we barrels of “stolen good, worth 200gp but they are heavy” Yeah, sure, the heavy part is good. But “barrels of oats” is as short as stolen goods is and more evocative. BE SPECIFIC! And, there are some wolves that attack anyone carrying a torch. Seriously? Isn’t that the opposite of animal behavior? I guess because the bandits abuse them? And no order of battle for the bandits? Pfffft.

This is not a terrible adventure. Especially, when it comes to Shadowdark. It doesn’t feel like some ripoff thing published for a cash grab. The designer needs to stop fucking around with gimmicks though. Make a real dungeon/location. Stick in more interactivity than just stabbing shit and opening boxes. The Holy Blade: An ornate blade mounted on a jeweled iron handle” is boring. Better than Sword +1, but describe why its ornate and what/where that jewel is. Hellfire this is not. Do better. But, also, nice job not making a total shit-fest!

This is Pay What You Want at itch, with a suggest donation of $2./

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Classic TV Flashback

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 08/21/2023 - 11:00

Over at the Flashback Universe Blog, Jason Sholtis and I have started a series where we watch an episode or two of some "classic" TV show we find on streaming and blog about it. So, far we've watched Mr. Lucky (good) and Gigantor (less good)--a post that debuts tomorrow. 

If you're entertainment starved, might be worth a read.

Hex Crawl 23 #219: Sun's Greeting Castle

Roles & Rules - Mon, 08/21/2023 - 06:53

Four hexes southwest, six northwest of Alakran.


The mighty Sun's Greeting Castle is the command post of the eastern armies of Wahattu and their governor, Bukhabar Shum. Its foundations surmount a beetling hill with a view of Gesshed, Sutekh's Knee, and all the lands beyond. It takes a chain of three men to scale its outer walls, and its inner walls are twice as high; there are eight watchtowers without, and four within, and their parapets are proving grounds for all manner of siege engine devised by his engineers.

Shum is tall and powerfully built, with crinkled eyes the only marks of his years. He is the consummate military man and loves the sound of drums, the ring of bronze, and the shouts of disiplined men more than anything else. He handles the intrigues and jealousies around him with good humor, for his castle is staffed by delegations from all the companies under his command, and he must show favor to none. Only his company of engineers, the World-Bearing Ants with Stingers of Fire, and his quartermaster corps are stationes exclusively here.

The companies under his command are listed below.

  1. The Obliterating Company of the Leaden Fist (heavy infantry)
  2. The Never-Retreating Hunting Company of the Spearpoints of Dawn (axebeak cavalry)
  3. The Immoveable Shoulders of the Wall of Garam (heavy infantry)
  4. The Cloud-Skimming Company of the Crescent  (heavy infantry)
  5. The Earth-Cleaving Company of the Crescent  (heavy infantry)
  6. The Skin-Flaying Screen of Hail and Dust (skirmish slingers)
  7. The Infiltrating Mists of the Darkest Hour (spies and skirmish javelineers)
  8. The Avalanche of Rounded Granites (heavy eland chariot, patrolling the road Nama'a to the west)
  9. The Wheels of Peku Which Roll to the Horizon (gnu-wagon mobile crossbowmen)

There are also military attachés from the military governor of Pnokath to the north, and separately from the Prince and his Black Gazelles of Gilded Horn chariot company. As well, there is a liaison from the regular army -- yes, Wahattu has a regular army, providing spear and bow troops -- who answers directly to the King.

For official business or situations where his authority needs to be exercised, Bukhabar Shum prefers to receive people in his Great Hall of the inner keep, surrounded by honor guards and emissaries of his companies. For more private matters, he receives in his audience hall in Gesshed, or even more intimately, in the dusty courtyard of that palace where he is wont to do morning exercises.



Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Bussard Ram Jets & The Architects - Hostile Rpg Campaign Updates Involving - White Dwarf issue #32 August 1982 & Zozer Games Kosmos 68

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 08/21/2023 - 04:17
 So tonight I was looking into White Dwarf issue #32 from August 1982 which contains the article "STL: Slower-Than-Light Ships in Traveller" by Marcus Rowland.And this article contains an overview for both Bussard ramships and lightjammers as well as patrons and more information on these wonderful starships. According to the Bussard Ramjet wiki entry; "The Bussard ramjet was proposed in 1960 by Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Eli's Mission, Session 1

The Splintered Realm - Sun, 08/20/2023 - 21:11

It's playtest time for the newest MTDAA RPG I'm working on.

I’m going to go with a solo ant 1. I’ll make him infantry, so that he has the most flexibility (I think that’s going to be important as a solo character). I have a lot of skills I’d love for him to have, but for level 1, the ability to hit with his weapon is going to be paramount. I’ll go with small arms, even though something that gives him more flexibility (like speed) would be good, too. I rolled no successes on his MIND check, so he’s a private straight out of boot camp. He is going to spend his 10 clout on an AM-15 rifle (6) and 2 aid kits (2 each). 

Eli, Dutiful Ant Infantry 1 (E1; Hits 3)


Small Arms (1)

Standard Kit; AM-15 Rifle (dmg. 2); 2 aid kits

Eli shakes his head, waking up. The copter landed on its side. He looks around. The three others didn’t get into the harness in time, and the pilot was in the line of the rocket. Eli is the only survivor. Snot. He searches through the wreckage. 

It is likely he finds something he can salvage from one of the other ants. I roll 3. He does. I decide it is grenades. 

He recovers 3 fragmentation grenades from the harness of the patrol leader. Making sure he has enough ammunition and food, he decides to set out and complete the mission. He knows the orders: radio silence, neutralize the radio relay tower, report in. The helicopter is a total loss, and the Wasp Empire is likely to send a recovery team to check the wreckage. He can hear the sound of their propellers now; he beats a hasty retreat to the east, moving towards the radio relay station.

They were going to set down one click out but ended up at just beyond 3 clicks. He has 3 meters to cover over difficult terrain, but he knows the direction and general terrain features. I’ll see if he remembers anything from the intelligence briefing; he gets 1 success on his MIND check, so yes. He knows that there is a small chameleon that wanders this region. He’ll keep his eyes out for that.

In the first meter of travel through the difficult terrain, he is likely to have an encounter. Yes. Is it the chameleon? No. Is it a patrol of enemy insects? Yes. Is it gnats? Yes. Three gnats are coming this way. They saw the helicopter go down, and plan to scour the scene after the wasps depart to see if there’s anything they can salvage. Eli fails his MIND check to notice them, but they make their MIND check to notice him. He is moving through the foliage (crossing into a patch of moss), when they attack. 

Small arms fire erupts from the north. Three gnats have taken position near a leaf at 8 cm away. All three miss. Eli uses 1 action to get some light cover (no better cover is nearby) and uses his second action to attack. He gets 2 successes, which is enough to kill a gnat. In round 2, the two remaining gnats fire at him, but the 2 successes the first gnat gets are not enough to hit him behind the cover. He hits a gnat for 2 damage with his first attack, which is enough to kill it. He hits the final gnat for 2, which again kills it. He goes over to examine them, but they have nothing of particular value. He continues on.

He has another encounter. He again fails his MIND check, and the chameleon is upon him, having been attracted by the sounds of combat. SNOT! He honestly has almost no chance against this… I’m going to say that each round, it is possible that an ant gunship is out patrolling to see if there are any survivors of the helicopter crash, and that these can kill the chameleon. That’s about his only chance.

In round 1, the chameleon attempts to strike him with its tongue; it hits him, and he has to make a BODY check 3 to resist being pulled in for a bit. That’s a BIG ask.. He succeeds with a 6 and a 4! Wow. He twists out of the stickiness of the tongue, turning to his right and opening fire. He hits with his first attack for 2 hits, which is not nearly enough to penetrate its thick hide. His second attack misses. No help arrives.

In round 2, the chameleon again tries to hit him with its tongue; It hits; this time, Eli fails his BODY check, and is pulled towards the chameleon, which chomps down on him with a 5D attack. Ugh. It gets 3 successes (which is not as bad as it could have been), dealing a total of 4 hits damage. Eli’s BODY soaks 2, and he suffers 2, leaving him at 1 hit. He now takes a penalty of +1 to all DTs. That stinks. He’s going to try and toss a fragmentation grenade into the chameleon’s mouth to drive it away; He gets 3 successes on the roll! Even with a +1 to the DT from being hurt, and considering it would have been DT 2 to pull this off, he is successful. The grenade pops into the mouth and explodes. The chameleon cannot absorb damage from inside, so it suffers the full 3 hits. It’s down to 5, but more importantly has to check morale. I’m going to say it is likely that this is enough to drive the chameleon away; it is! The chameleon drops the ant it was trying to snack on and scurries away to fight again another day.

Um. He literally survived that fight without me cheating! That was… surprising. I’m going to rule that he can rest for three minutes to recover without incident, and he can finish crossing this first meter without further problems. 


  • No doubt this is already the best iteration of an Army Ants RPG I’ve created. The fact that battle with a predator actually, you know, works and is balanced and is fully supported is already beyond the pale. Scaling the game to make predators feel like predators without making them unbeatable forces of nature has always been a challenge, but this system just allows it. I’m really happy with that.

  • The game runs fast and loose, which is what I want. The combat with the gnats and the combat with the chameleon were both fast, but they felt different, and had different mechanical things happening. There were strategic choices that mattered in each battle (do I use an action to get to cover, or do I keep fighting from where I am? Do I keep firing with my rifle, or run away, or try to lob a grenade into the thing’s mouth?)  

New Campaign Questionnaire

Tenkar's Tavern - Sun, 08/20/2023 - 16:07


It's been.......NTRPG(?) since I've slung some dice. I completely blame my GM, who had to go and get engaged. Evidently hanging with the new soon-to-be-wife is more important than running an RPG for his group.

I'm actually happy for him and not bitter, but don't tell him that.

For the last week or two I've been contemplating picking up the GM shield again. Now I already have a preferred system and campaign already in mind, but I also don't want to force that down my player's throats.....assuming my group would even be down for trying that particular game in the first place.

A decade, or two, ago at Origins I ran a small GM panel with a buddy of mine and he introduced, well all of us, to a questionnaire he uses with his players prior to the start of the a new campaign. I recall two of his campaigns, one set basically during the siege of Constantinople and another that was an all magic-user campaign basically set in Hogwarts (every level was a year of magical college).

I think I'm going to tweak his questionnaire a bit and broach the subject with my group.....btw, simply making this post is already broaching the subject. This questionnaire is definitely established for HackMaster 4th Edition, but it'll work :

Answer the following questions to the best of your ability.  I am interested in seeing your vision of your perfect game world.  Obviously, I can't give every player exactly what they want, but I will do my best to find a happy medium.

1.  In what climates are you interested?

Desert Temperate Forest Tropical Forest Mountains

Swamp Tropical Islands Plains Other ___________

2.  What human pantheons of Gawds would you most like to see in your world?

Babylonian Celtic Central American     Chinese     Egyptian Finnish

Greek Japanese         Native American Norse Sumerian

Aldrazar Cerilia Fading Realms Krynn Kuchooloo Mystaros

Oerth Tellene Zakhara Don't care All of these GM Creation

3.  What class(es) of character would you like to play?

Cleric-types Fighter-types Magic-User-types Thief-types

Druid Barbarian Monk Pirate Battle Mage Assassin

Zealot Berzerker Paladin Samurai     Blood Mage Bard

Shaman Cavalier Ranger Soldier Illusionist Charlatan

Chosen One Dark Knight Bounty Hunter Swashbuckler     Wild Mage Infiltrator

Knight Errant Gladiator         Holy Knight         Other________     Other_______

4.  What class(es) of character would you not like to play?

Cleric-types Fighter-types Magic-User-types Thief-types

Druid Barbarian Monk Pirate Battle Mage Assassin

Zealot Berzerker Paladin Samurai     Blood Mage Bard

Shaman     Cavalier Ranger Soldier Illusionist Charlatan

Chosen One Dark Knight Bounty Hunter Swashbuckler Wild Mage Infiltrator

Knight Errant     Gladiator Holy Knight     Other________ Other_______

5.  What class(es) of character would you not like to see anyone else play?

Cleric-types Fighter-types Magic-User-types Thief-types

Druid Barbarian Monk Pirate Battle Mage Assassin

Zealot Berzerker Paladin Samurai Blood Mage Bard

Shaman Cavalier Ranger Soldier Illusionist Charlatan

Chosen One Dark Knight Bounty Hunter Swashbuckler Wild Mage Infiltrator

Knight Errant     Gladiator Holy Knight     Other________ Other_______

6.  Are you more interested in urban or wilderness adventuring?

         Urban |_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____| Wilderness

                     1         2        3         4         5       6         7        8        9        10

7.  Do you prefer each dungeon to be a self-contained plot, or do you like interconnected storylines?


                         1         2        3         4         5       6         7        8        9        10

8.  Do you prefer solving puzzles/social encounters or killing monsters?


                      1         2        3         4         5       6         7        8        9        10

8a. How "crunchy" do you like your combat? Relatively quick & easy or more drawn-out tactical second by second accounting?

 Quick/Easy |_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|Tactical Simulation

                          1         2        3         4         5       6         7        8        9        10

9.  Do you like your monsters smart or dumb? (Example: When you kill half of a band of orcs but have to leave the dungeon to get healed, do you want the remaining orcs to be prepared for your return?)


                     1         2        3         4         5       6         7        8        9        10

10.  Do you want the early adventures to take place in one general area, allowing the party to have a home base, or do you want the party to have adventures along a journey to a distant destination, possibly because they are fleeing a powerful foe?

    Home base|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|Journey

                       1         2        3         4         5       6         7        8        9        10

11.  Do you prefer serious adventuring (Sir Galahad's quest for the Grail) or silly adventuring (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland)?


                       1         2        3         4         5       6         7        8        9        10

12.  What race(s) would you like to play?

Dwarf Elf Gnome Half-elf Human Pixie Fairy

Drow Gnomeling Halfling

Grel Gnome Titan Half-orc Other ____________


13.  What race(s) would you not like anyone else to play?

Dwarf Elf Gnome Half-elf Human Pixie Fairy

Drow Gnomeling Halfling

Grel Gnome Titan Half-orc Other ____________


14.  Which of the following attributes would you use to describe your ideal character?

Loyal Inquisitive Reckless Trustworthy Greedy Restless

Selfish Sneaky Brave Cautious Ambitious Faithful

Crazy Creative Determined Horny Charitable Happy

Angry Confident Suspicious Noble Other _________

15.  Are you more interested in a mission-based campaign, where the party is sent on missions by higher authorities, or a “random” campaign, where the party wanders around looking for trouble?


                       1         2        3         4         5       6         7        8        9        10

16.  Which of the following goals apply to your ideal character?

Become a powerful warrior, etc. Expand the territory of my master Obtain great wealth

Convert others to my cause/religion Eliminate evil(good) Impose order on society

Gain knowledge Explore the world Defend freedom

Protect the weak Build a castle, temple, etc. Punish my adversaries

Acquire magic Other ___________________

17.  If my character gets killed, I feel: (be honest)

Angry Frustrated

Sad Happy, because I get to play a new character

Surprised, because I'm too good for my PC to get killed

Concerned, because how will the group survive without me?

Other _____________________

18.  I see my game master as:

God: He controls who lives and dies based on what he feels will make the game interesting

A guide: He leads the group through the adventure nudging us in the right direction

My adversary: I'm not fighting monsters or solving puzzles, I'm trying to outplay and outsmart him

A computer: He tells me what happens solely based on the actions of the group

Other _____________________

19.  My preferred game system is _______________ because:

Please write any additional comments on the back of the page.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Old School Army Ants Thinking

The Splintered Realm - Sun, 08/20/2023 - 12:43

As I mentioned yesterday, James V. West reached out recently, and he ended up with a copy of the first edition of my Army Ants RPG (my first 'published' RPG work - from 1996). He was kind in his appraisal of it, and I decided to pull out a copy and look it over. 
Wow, that thing is a mess.
I mean, there is a lot of ambition, and some good fundamental ideas there, but the execution is all over the place. It's very, very messy in parts. It has some extremely detailed rules for some things, but hand waves other things. It knows the game it wants to be, but is struggling to find its way. It would be a fantasy heartbreaker if it was a fantasy game. So, my brain started working on ways to help it.
I have mentioned that I like game design challenges. I've disovered it's not about making the 'best' RPG, but in setting a design challenge, and making a game that accomplishes that specific goal. So, what if I was to create the Army Ants RPG I had in mind in 1996, but done correctly?
Three hours later, I had a working draft going. Here are some thoughts about the thing...
It relies on three core traits: Body, Mind, and Reflex (I have learned that I like Reflex better than 'Speed', even though Reflex doesn't 'sound' like it fits as well with the other two. I don't hate 'spirit', but I'm really looking for eye-hand coordination, and reflex is the closest I'm like to get). These are the foundational pieces of your character, and everything builds from there. 
In the original rules, there was a secondary set of attributes (an 'active' and 'resistant' attribute) that built on the primary one. This is overly complex, doesn't add much to the game, and so doesn't make my draft. Buh Bye.
As a 'class-based' system, you have a specialty, which sets up a few things about your character. I like this. I'm keeping, streamlining, and clarifying the specialties. I'm linking these directly to your three traits: All infantry specialists have Body 2, Mind 2, Reflex 2. As an infantryman, you are a generalist by nature. Since all characters have six trait points, and traits cap at 3 for ants (with 1 required), there are only 7 possible combinations of traits (222, 321, 312, 231, 213, 123, 132). Hence, there will only be seven specialties using these combinations. The original game had 9, with some redundancies. I think I can clean that up without losing anything.
The 96 game used a dice pool system, where you total results and compare that to a random difficulty target, which the GM determined by rolling a separate pool. If this wall is 5D to climb, the GM roll 5d6 and added it up to get the difficulty. You would then roll your Body dice (2D for instance) and add the companion trait and skill level, to see if you beat that target. It was a lot of number crunching on each roll, and the random targets make little sense in retrospect. Why is this wall difficulty 7, while the wall right next to it is difficulty 26? 
The game relies on D6 dice pools, so I'm keeping that. However, I'm simplifying it to your trait + your skill, giving you from 1 (a trait of 1 and no skill) to 6 (a trait of 3 + mastery of a skill at +3) in your dice pool. A botch happens if you roll all 1s (so a single 1 doesn't hurt you, unless you only roll 1d6), success is 4-5, and 2 successes at 6. A roll of 1/4/6 is 3 successes, then. The Mission Master then sets difficulties that range from 1 (simple) to 5 (nigh impossible). 2 is challenging, 3 is difficult, 4 is very difficult. I think that MMs can get the hang of setting difficulties, realizing that 3 is going to be the 'default' for many tasks, and then modifying from there (is it a bit easier than 3? It's 2 then. Is it quite a bit harder than 3? Let's go with 4 then). 
Combat is pretty simple (which it tried to be in the core rules from '96, but failed). As a for instance, to attack with an AM-16, you roll your Reflex (we'll say 2 because you are in the infantry) +1 (from being trained in small arms) for 3D. If your foe has Reflex 2, you need 2 successes to hit; a result of 1 success, no successes, or a botch misses. Things get complicated if you have 1D in Reflex, no skill, and are fighting a foe with Reflex 3... you cannot possibly hit then. I'm going to port over the one-roll concepts I've recently been refining; your weapon has a set damage rating from 1 to 5. You deal the number of successes beyond the DT + the weapon's damage rating. An AM-16 is damage 3; so if you roll 3 successes against a target of 2, you deal 4 hits with your AM-16. Your foe reduces damage by their Body, so with Body 2, that foe suffers 2 hits. High Reflex foes are hard to hit, and high Body foes are hard to kill. Everyone has a least a 2 in one of those, so nobody gets 1-shotted by 1 point of damage. Your hits are relatively low (Body + Level), so a starting character with low Body might only have 2 hits, but their reflex of at least 2 is going to mitigate that to some degree.  I'm interested to see how that actually play tests, since there are several concepts here I've never tried out with live dice.
One thing to consider is using a result of 6 as a 'wild' die that explodes; you get the +1 from a success, but you also roll another die, and this can continue infinitely. This accounts for the inevitable 'you only get to roll 1D but the situation is DT 3' that will come up. Your 1D could explode, but you need a 6, followed by a 6, followed by a 4+ in order to succeed on your 1D. Furthermore, I'm thinking that ants get some grit or moxy (because I have used that sort of idea in every version of the Army Ants games I've written since '96) that grants bonus dice to apply as needed. It's easy to just say you have your level in bonus dice (levels range from 1-10 I think - still working on that). The problem I see is that once you start rolling lots of dice, the explosions can get a little crazy; you rolled 4d6, getting 4/6/6/6. This is 4 successes, with 3 explosions; you roll again, getting 4/5/6. This is 3 more successes, with one more explosion. You roll 6 again. 1 more successes, one more explosion. You roll 4. 1 more success. That is a total of 9 successes (CRAZY) and four rounds of dice rolling. It's a bit much. I think going with the 6 representing two successes and giving some discretionary dice to use as needed can largely mitigate things. Plus, if you get to level 3 and never at least picked up 1 die in a skill so you can attack with a light rifle, that's kind of on you at that point. 
One possibility is that 6s work like 1s do; that makes a lot of sense. 6s are 2 successes, but if you roll ALL 6s, your entire pool explodes and you roll again. This means that 1D has a 1 in 6 chance of exploding (so that poor 1D dude still gets a decent result 1 in 6 times), but the odds of explosion go down dramatically once you have a lot of dice in your pool (2D explodes 1 in 36 times, 3D only explodes 1 in 216 times). This reflects the difference between low skill (you rely on luck a lot) and high skill (you are precise, so luck factors into the equation less and less over time - high skill brings with it high consistency). I think this solves all of my problems intuitively and cleanly, and parallels the way that 1s work! That's nifty. 
I also had a complex system of hits and damage and such. I like the idea that your character gets wounded and therefore less effective. I'm thinking I can pull this back (but keep the core concept alive) - you are 'wounded' (suffering -1 success with all rolls) once you are at below half of your hits; you are  'critical' at 0 hits (suffering -2 successes with all rolls). You are then unconscious at -1 hits, and dead at -3. Any bug that starts with only 1 hit never goes to wounded; they go directly to critical when they sustain 1 hit. I keep the complexity I wanted with the various conditions of injury, but do this in a cleaner and more intuitive way. My modern game design sensibilities don't really want this in there at all, but the original game invested pretty heavily into putting this in, so it's something that the spirit of the game requires. It's in.
The original 96 rules were in 32 pages, but with 3 full-page illustrations. I want to get this entire game into 16 pages and put it up for sale as a pay-what-you-want release. Let's see how I do :)


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