Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Forgotten Gems

This is gonna be a low-effort post: a discussion on Reddit reminded me of all the forgotten little games of the OSR. They aren't necessary revolutionary, but at the time of their release/annoucnement, they offered something cool and/or fresh, and it's weird that they are so rarely - if ever - mentioned nowadays.
  • Adventure Fantasy Game (a simple but robust d6-based D&D-variant by none other than Paolo Greco; most notable for the 5MORE and EXPERT systems)
  • Avatars & Annihilation (I don't think it's ever got released, but I always thought the bits and pieces found on the author's blog heralded something extraordinary)
  • Cascade Failure and Errant (beautiful full colour D&D variants for sci-fi and fantasy, respectively; you can still find Cascade Failure on DTRPG, although Errant I believe was succeeded by Novarium)
  • Champions of ZED (I believe it was plagued by a late Kickstarter; still, best to read the KS page for a good summary; available on DTRPG)
  • Chanbara (a complete Japanese-themed fantasy B/X variant; I'm especially fond of the social interaction rules; available on DTRPG)
  • Epées & Sorcellerie (a French D&D-variant; first edition available in English for free; it's nothing extraordinary, aside from using d6s only, but it's still good craftsmanship)
  • Faerie Tales & Folklore (a re-imagination of D&D based on myths and Chainmail; a preliminary version is freely available along with lots of notes from the author; the finished product would be Kickstarted and incorporate my extensive editorial notes; alas, I haven't heard from Morgan in a long time)
  • Five Ancient Kingdoms (already reviewed it here)
  • Humanspace Empires (an EPT-based sci-fi game; sadly incomplete; lots of stuff on the author's blog, though)
  • Mazes & Minotaurs (although there's lately been some chatter regarding M&M, it's still relatively rarely discussed, even though it's obviously the best and most hilarious old-school game that isn't a clone of D&D; and it's completely free)
  • Platemail (a re-imagination of D&D based on Chainmail)
  • Renegade and Corruption (probably the most complete S&W-variants; available on DTRPG)
  • The Big Brown Book (another d6-based re-imagination of OD&D)

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Review: Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate

"Welcome to Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate, a game of gravity defying Martial Heroes. Characters start as lowly members of the martial world and roam the land perfecting their Kung Fu. Some uphold justice in the lawless shadow of a corrupt empire, while others seek only to further their own glory. Whatever path they take, to improve their martial arts they must learn from and defeat more powerful masters. Only then will their Kung Fu grow profound." - Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate, p23

Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate is a wuxia game (although heavily featuring xianxia elements as well) set in a fictional world (Qi Xien) inspired by ancient Chinese history, mythology, and literature. The system it uses (called the Network System) is fairly simple, and most of the crunchy bits come from the dozens of techniques and rituals characters can master. It also falls more on the trad/simulationist end of the spectrum (no metacurrencies or shared authorship) and promotes an open-ended approach (with the characters acting as wandering free agents collecting rare manuals and learning secret techniques, for example).

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Review: Warlock!

Disclaimer: Note that some of the links below are affiliate links (meaning I get a small percentage of the sale without extra cost to you or the publisher).

Warlock! is a rules-light traditional fantasy game, conceptually sitting firmly within the British old-school tradition (the revival of which is sometimes charmingly called the B-OSR). The terms Stamina and Luck and the way combat works conjure images of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, but the sort of freeform career system with Agitators, Footpads, and Rat Catchers make it look like a WFRP-light game played with a d20.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

2021 RPG Anniversaries

Just a fun little list of some of the games that have a jubilee this year:

10th Anniversary
  • Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2nd edition
  • HackMaster 5th edition
  • Lamentations of the Flame Princess (Grindhouse edition)
  • Legends of the Wulin
15th Anniversary
  • Basic Fantasy RPG
  • Deadlands: Reloaded
  • Exalted 2nd edition
  • Mazes & Minotaurs
20th Anniversary
  • Big Eyes, Small Mouths 2nd edition
  • Earthdawn 2nd edition
  • Exalted 1st edition
  • Fading Suns
  • HackMaster
  • The Riddle of Steel
25th Anniversary
  • Ars Magica 4th edition
  • Deadlands
  • Palladium Fantasy 2nd edition
30th Anniversary
  • D&D Rules Cyclopedia
  • Kult
  • Millenium's End
40th Anniversary
  • Bushido
  • Call of Cthulhu
  • Champions
  • D&D Basic/Expert (Moldvay/Cook)
  • Merc

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Character Sheet: Dragon Warriors

I have been putting together semi-automated character sheets for our own campaigns for quite some time (inspired by Skipper, a great player and friend of mine), and I feel like it's time I started sharing them. Since I just reviewed Dragon Warriors, here's one for that on Google Drive.

A few notes:

  • You need to go File --> Make a copy to get your own sheet you can edit.
  • Cells with a white background either contain labels or auto-calculated values. You normally ought to fill the yellow cells (the ones already filled are just placeholders so you don't see a lot of N/A in other cells). Feel free to add whatever else you need in the large grey area.
  • Base refers to the starting values of attributes; Mod represents temporary modifiers and such.
  • Weapons, armour, and profession use a drop-down menu, but the accepted values are unsorted, so feel free to start typing in whatever you want to pick.
  • Further weapons and armour can be added in the Data_Weapons sheet (check the notes).
  • Magic Points and Psychic Fatigue Check are missing (and so is a dedicated spell record table) at the moment. They will be added later.
  • If you have any feature you'd like to see, feel free to comment.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Review: Dragon Warriors

Dragon Warriors labels itself as "The Classic British Fantasy Roleplaying Game", and with good reason. It is the quintessential "British D&D", systemically and in scope very close to B/X D&D. Although its popularity has waned, it is experiencing a sort of rediscovery (see this thread on the RPGPub, for example).

Monday, 7 September 2020

Review: Skaldic Sagas

Disclaimer: Note that some of the links below are affiliate links (meaning I get a small percentage of the sale without extra cost to you or the publisher).

James M. Spahn's Whitebox Viking game was a-coming well before the demise of Google+ - and now it's here! Powered by the same engine as The Hero's Journey 2nd edition, Skaldic Sagas is a tight little fantasy game focussing on community and kinship and viking shenanigans.