Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Maw

Done some work on my brand new, baby megadungeon. It's based on this:

Difficult to map, and represent to players. I've been working with oatmeal canisters and dental floss (to figure stairs). If things go well I'll try to post more detail later.

Looks like I have a party of 3 tomorrow and a party of 3 Friday, with only one player overlapping. That's the best we could do with everyone's schedules. Thank god for hirelings, or they'd have to stay in the local tavern and play cards.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

To Telecanter

What would you write to that version of yourself just discovering rpgs?

In some ways this blog functions as that for me; searching for elegant and simple solutions to the prickly challenges of the game. I know most readers are probably near my age and have years of gaming experience of their own. But . . . digital texts have a life of their own. It's possible that sometime, someday, a bright, introverted kid will find this blog (or your blog) and read it with relish.

And what would you want them to know?

I suppose you might tell them how to play the game-- give them tips and solutions. I'm not sure I have all that figured out yet myself. But I can imagine some tips I might give. For example: "Dear Telecanter, beware of adding detail because the game seems unrealistic. This is the first error. The game is not abstract because no one thought to research polearms before the game."

You might tell them what to expect as they go through life a gamer, and I'm certain this would vary considerably based on your own experiences: "You will never play as much as you wish you could. You will draw a hundred dungeons for every one you run. But those you run . . . you will remember the faces of your friends as they played them."

You might explain how unique this thing they just discovered truly is: "When rpgs came into existence in the 70's a new type of human endeavor was invented. Never before could someone craft something and yet have a group of others interact within it and through their choices make it come to life. Not drama, not symphony, not art installation. This may be the best interface of individual invention and group collaboration we humans can make."

Or, you might just say: "Welcome Telecanter! Check out these magic items I just invented, feel free to use them. And tell me how they work out."

The Torc of Trammel hinders those who wear it in the making of choices. The unfortunate wearer will not be contrary or stubborn on principle, but they will be unable to decide anything without help: whether to run or fight, which foe to strike, even which weapon to use.

A Ring of Redolance will emit a constance air of fragrance. Each ring's scent will be unique to it, mint or lavender, for instance. The atmosphere around the wearer will be safe from noxious fumes such as the reek of ghasts or the stink of wizard clouds. But the fragrance will carry far, especially in enclosed spaces, and none who wear it come unannounced.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Genius of D&D

I realize chance has played some part in Dungeons & Dragons becoming a cultural phenomenon in the 80's. I also realize there are many other games out there loved and played by diehard fans.

But I think D&D is the flagship of the field and what pops to mind when the average person thinks of roleplaying games for more specific reasons.

I think D&D had two strokes of genius:

Combat is Abstract

How many games have dealt with the "problem" of D&D's "unrealistic" combat? Over and over I've seen solutions offered to this dilemma that never became as popular as the original. I remember long ago reading xeroxed copies of Arms Law critical tables and thinking how cool they were. What others? Chivalry & Sorcery? Runequest? Even Tunnel and Trolls added piecemeal armor to the mix.

When I say D&D I mean the way I most commonly encountered it played. So even though AD&D included weapon vs. armor modifiers, I have never seen anyone use them in play. I think this aspect of AD&D, along with weapon speed, and rules for helmets etc. fit my premise: adding more detail to D&D's combat does not make it better. If by better you mean easier to understand, quicker to use in play, and, following from that, easier to keep several people around a table interested.

I think it makes perfect sense that wargamers would understand this sense of abstraction. The very figures on their sand tables that would later give birth to adventure gaming did not represent individual humans, but some varying number of troops. Or some abstract representation of unharmed, battle-capable troops.

Success is Abstracted as Treasure

I love the idea of playing Boot Hill, Gang Busters, and various other games but often ran into the problem of: what is our goal? I vaguely recall reading about the playtesters of Boot Hill making the "winner" the player that left a ~5 mile radius of the town with the most money, which seems very unlike the most archetypal westerns.

I also remember the few times I DMed horror games thinking: so is the purpose of the PCs just to survive? To return things to normalcy? Why wouldn't they run to Alaska at the first sign of horror?

And with our beloved superhero games, too; every adventure was about PCs trying to maintain status quo against forces attempting to upend it.

Don't get me wrong, we had great fun fighting various nefarious supervillains. But usually it involved the adventure coming to us. "Uh oh, the Psimaster escaped from prison again." And if I were to sit down at a table to play a superhero game right now, I would be waiting to see what the villains would do. Did they poison the city's water supply, infiltrate our team as a clone, blow up our not-secret-any-longer headquarters? How the villains were bringing it to us.

In old school D&D we know what our goal is, the DM just needs to give us some guidance on where to find it. Tell me where the bugbears are and I'll take it to them.

I suppose what I'm saying is, even though I know people have mocked D&D's treasure hunting aspect as juvenile and unsophisticated, it is inherently active, while games with more "sophisticted" goals seem much more passive. You have to figure out what to do, either from the prodding of the events in the DM's world or from the collaborative input of your peers.

I think, much the way D&D's combat system is just the right amount of detail to give a sense of conflict while working well in play, D&D's treasure hunting goal is enough of a reason for us to go out into the shared, imagined space and risk our imagined lives. Seeking treasure is inherently graspable by human beings.

Whatever RPGs or adventure games look like a hundred years from now, I would wager the most popular, those with the most vibrant communities of players, will have these two characteristics.

A few final notes: Oddly, I don't think D&D's class based player characters are all that essential to its success. As well as it works, and is an abstraction itself, I imagine you could have a more freeform system using archetypal abilities that would work well-- I just think most skill-based systems sort of miss the point and are inelegant and clumsy.

And maybe one of the reasons abstraction in D&D works so well is Zak's idea of distance. Because we aren't really trying to immerse ourselves in the experience of being a dwarven gladiator, systems that religiously try to assist us in that are also missing the point. But I think it probably has more to do with the fact that abstractions give us something to work with and then get out of the way. Specifics keep getting in the way of their own aims in counterintuitive ways.

Session Soon

I'm trying to herd some cats. I sent email to 10 people who have played with me or might be interested, but no one seems available at the same times. So I'm stuck not knowing what to prepare. My current thoughts are to begin creation of my Megadungeons first few levels and also a smaller location so that however many players I end up with come week's end I can accommodate them.

Not having regular sessions makes these games feel more like one-offs than a campaign. But I'll take what I can get. Also, if I can introduce these 2 new players I have in mind I have a larger pool of possible players to draw from.

Maybe I should just set a night/time and plan to play, consistently, every week and say come or not. Problem is, my buddies 4e game has the sweet Friday night spot.

Do people have this much trouble getting together to play bridge?

Insects Covered in Dew

Sort of gorgeous. That is all.

Here via Metafilter

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Simple Exploration Skills

Ian of Swashbuckler's Hideout offers up some ideas on exploratory skills. First, I've blogged about my thoughts on skills in general before. I also did some thinking about skills in relation to the thief class here and some other posts that led to my Choose-Your-Own Rogue.

But, as you know, even original D&D had some skill resolution mechanics, for eample searching for secret doors.

Two great ideas I take away from Ian's post:

Characters have a chance of noticing secret doors without searching

Much the way we just roll when characters walk over a pit trap, we roll as they pass a secret door to see if they notice a breeze etc. Ian suggests this for just the front row of the marching order, and I suppose I understand the distinction (everyone behind is distracted etc.) but it seems too fiddly for little gain to me.

One cool effect of this method is that players may be more likely to stumble upon secret doors without having to search every section of wall (boring). And yet you can still have some mystery if, as Ian suggests, you make noticing a secret door not neccesarily mean you know how to open it.

Make simple skills a dice pool

So, if you are looking for traps/secret doors 6 means success (I roll high), normal characters roll 1d6, Elves roll 2d6, Dwarves roll 2d6 if it involves stonework.

Thieves start out with 2d6 and could get another d6 every three levels.

This could be applied to surprise as well with rangers, for instance, getting more dice as they climb in level.

Instead of increasing the numbers that indicate success you increase the number of dice that might yield success. So, I'm not a math guy but here is what the probabilities seem to work out to:
  • roll a 6 on d6= 16.67%
  • roll a 5 or 6 on d6= 33.33%
  • roll a 6 on 2d6=27.77%
  • roll a 6 on 3d6=34.72%
If I'm not mistaken, that looks comparable enough to take advantage of this simple and elegant mechanic.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

100 Hundred Rare Wonders

Strange, Rare, & Frightening Encounters for a Fantasy City

Some of these encounters are stationary, used by beggars & buskers to earn money or by devout worshipers to perform sacred rites, others are moving through the crowds from one location to another for inscrutable purposes. To confuse these situations could cause predicaments. Some of these encounters are specific, some only evocative. All are yours to fuel your fantastic world. More than 100 are given in the expectation that some will be unsatisfactory. Enjoy.

*apologies for the file situation, having some technical difficulties. changed the link above to my hosted site 4/17/11

Basso Profondo

I've been working on a project and happened to start listening to basso profondo videos on YouTube. I'm no musician but was amazed at these deep singers from the Russian Orthodox tradition:

And how does this relate to DIY adventure gaming? . . . um imagine the demon singing like this as it slowly eviscerates your party. Or maybe this is the voice paladins sing with the one and only time they are ordained.

Update 4/28: check this out courtesy of ze Bullette's tip:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nidus - The Shifting City

So, I last left my daring players looking for a town. My initial thought was to make some small medievalesque town they could travel to, just big enough to get rid of their loot. But what I immediately became obsessed with was something completely different.

Once, I ran across a picture of a real town in a book that grabbed my brain and transported me. I think it was in Italy or Greece, it showed an old town with stairways leading to doors and a door under the stairs and another set of stairs going a different way, leading to a different door. Doors and stairs. It was like a urban labyrinth. Aha, I thought, what if a whole city was like how I imagined the Tenderloin of Lankhmar or the Maze, in the Sanctuary of Thieves' World to be. Something unmappable, unknowable, dangerous territory.

This is not the same picture,

but similar. The city is not just a maze in two dimensions, it's a nest of stairs and passages, doors and plazas. It is carved from stone and whitewashed. And it is on a tiny island.

Nidus, City of Pirates, City of Thieves, City of Lost Things, of cultists and heretics. The shops and lodging places shift constantly, those doing poorly forced to smaller holes-in-the-walls, those thriving taking over plazas. No one is in charge. No thieves' guild, no demon, no great mage. Nidus, City of Uncertainty.

In my mind it is a visual amalgam of the troglodyte houses of Matmata, Tunis:

the Greek isles of Santorini:

And Elkep Evi in Turkey:

My post about dicey lodgings was my first attempt at embodying this location in rules. But how do I convey this teeming white maze of doors and stairs to my players?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Misc Monsters

I made it back and I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. I wanted to throw up something so I don't get out of the habit. So here are some random internet pics for your monster making inspiration.

Hell, scouring my image folders I ran across some I'd totally forgotten about. These following of Butoh performers probably deserve a post of their own. Creepy and poetic.

And now for a palate cleanser:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I'm off tomorrow morning to a big conference to tell people about the work I've been doing/innovations I've made for the past ~10 years. It looks like the venue is a big ballroom and one of the other speakers is well known in the field, so I'm expecting a big crowd. A little nervous, but not too much, I've been working on drafts of this for weeks. Anyway, I'll be in Kentucky for a week and won't be posting for a while.

The good news is that after this is all over I should have more time for gaming, and finally get my players into the great outdoors or a megadungeon of my own.

Also, in my slides for this presentation I used TSR blue as a kind of personal joke. YEEEHaww, maybe people will come up and ask me what edition I play after the presentation. Haha.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Puzzle Balls

Called Chinese puzzle balls, mystery balls, or generation balls, they are hard to find any info about on the net. Every link seems to be trying to sell me one. The most informative site has this to say:
The layers of the ball can symbolize different things. For example, four layers represent the four compass directions or the four basic elements: air, water, earth and fire. The carvings on the surface also represent or symbolize different things. Two of the most common figures presented on the balls are the dragon and the phoenix, which correspond to our yin (female) and yang (male) characteristics. The dragon represents an emperor, or the husband, and the phoenix represents an empress or the wife. A puzzle ball decorated with these figures symbolizes a happy marriage blessed with success and prosperity.
This site says the number of concentric spheres equals the generations in the carver's family.

I think I'm going to have to call dibs on making a Wizard's "Tower" exist in a floating version of one of these puppies. Okay, not, really, you design it I'll be happy to use it.

Get the alignment just right just to open the front portal.

They could work as a nice treasure item container too, holding a saint's tooth, for instance.

Cliff Monasteries

"Meaning ‘suspended in air’ the name Meteora includes the entire rock community of 24 monasteries. There were no steps and the main access to the monasteries was by means of a net that was hitched over a hook and hoisted up by rope and a hand cranked windlass to winch towers overhanging the chasm. Monks descended in the nets or on retractable wooden ladders up to 40m long to the fertile valleys below to grow grapes, corn and potatoes."
From here.

Just for the record, I would enjoy living in a cliffside dwelling.

Originally found via TYWKIWDBI.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spell-Like Effect Spur

This is another of my Spurs. It uses the wonderful Grim's Roll All the Dice Method. It takes more work than a chart to use, but it is infinitely reusable and unique to the person using it at the same time.

This is a revision of my failed Magic Item spur. I've basically yanked out everything but the magical effects. Because of that I called it the Magical Effect Spur at first, but realized this doesn't include things that might happen to unlucky adventurers like getting shrunk or having their faces break out; it is more accurately a Spell-Like Effect Spur.

Because of its abstract nature it may take a little work to figure out what the effect actually is. But that's okay, its meant to be generative. So, you can either roll these up plenty of time before play and try to figure out how you might interpret the inscrutable results, or--and this is the option that is more fun and exciting to me--enlist your players to help you come up with a suitable effect.

So, to make it a little less abstract, let's use an artifact as an example:

The Crown of Cedifer the Sullen

As for that of most powerful artifacts, little is known of the history of the Crown of Cedifer.

It is known he ruled several centuries ago, that his reign seemed set upon by misery; first his heir died in battle, then a daughter died to plague. He must have called for the creation of the crown because its craft is unmatched and only the best in the land could have made such an item. Some speculate he meant it as a penance to save his remaining children, some think he meant it as a cruel illustration of the stray hands of fate.

Sometimes called the Fickle Crown, or the 999 Laments of Cedifer, this iron band is set with pale, clear stones. Stories say, the power of the crown is invoked if set upon a persons head and they speak a phrase with a number. For example: "This is my first lament," or "Fate is fickle in 77 ways." The exact phrasing is lost to history, but when spoken a spell-like effect will occur. Sometimes these effects are of great power, sometimes a fatal curse.

Demarth of Karthon is said to have carved an empire for himself just with the power of the crown, only to be turned on by his own guard one day. He attempted to invoke the 665th lament of Cedifer and disappeared forever along with the Crown.

Few are wise who dare to wear this crown.

Some notes: the Crown is just an example. I don't know how it might work in play. You might let it have 999 unique powers that can each be called once per day, or just have the crown itself be used once per day. 999 magical effects a day may seem very powerful, but the player would have to discover ever single one, they are often quite specific, and sometimes detrimental to the player.

Okay folks, lets see what powers might result at the table:

First roll:

4, 6, 1, 2, 4, 3

area of effect, attack/transport, range 10', for 1 round, conjure mineral

Okay, I'm seeing something like a meteor storm. It rains down earth in an area within 10'. The transport aspect I'll say is that the meteorites are permanent and can be used to fill pits and form bridges across ravines.

1, 3, 5, 7, 1, 17

wielder, utility, range of 50', lasts 1-6 days, alter, demi-humans

My first reaction: WTF! But, okay, we can work with this. This power lets the user alter their appearance-- actually alter, not just an illusion--to that of a demi-human for up to 6 days. Very useful for infiltrating the mines of the rabid half-gnomes.

Here's a little problem: what to do with the range category when you roll wielder or touch? Maybe that could be some kind of power level; a 1 would be harder to save versus/ cause more damage than an 8.

3, 6, 4, 0, 9, 14

Distance effect, attack/defense/utility, 40' rng, permanent, evoke, time

Hmm, this is hard work isn't it, but the pay off is worth it, don't falter on me: Within 40' the user can cause one target to age incredibly; living creatures, doors, and locks will all crumble to dust.

One last try:

2, 1, 8, 3, 4, 3

Touch, attack, utmost power, 1-6 rounds duration, conjure, minerals.

The user touches a target, petrifying them and most likely killing them in the process. In 1-6 rounds their bodies return to flesh.


There you have it. Have fun.

Serpent Sword

Another incredible item to put on a chart, or to hope your chart can create. This wonderfully crafted serpent is more than it seems:

Pulling the head out farther reveals a sword:

Found via the fabulous TYWKIWDBI

Step Wells

I have long imagined an ancient empire that sent its dead to the afterworld in tombs that resembled inverted pyramids. These sunken tombs as climates shift might turn into small lakes and sink holes. I found this interesting blog recently that describes the Indian step well. It isn't a tomb, in fact it is an entirely different beast, but does look very near what I had imagined my sunken architecture to look like.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Alabaster Tower II

Work is busy and I'm gearing up for a big conference next week, but I have been working on a "fatter" version of the tower location I shared with you earlier.

What I mean be "fatter" might be interesting to you because it isn't what some people call "fluff," campaign backgrounds and NPC stories, etc. At least I don't think it is. I'm trying to think of what you might need as a fellow DM and what you would rather do on your own, so labor intensive stuff etc.

The Tower of Science is magical so, it stands to reason you might want it to appear as a set of rooms in your megadungeon. To that end I made a map, still need to revise the key-- the puzzles have to interact a little differently because of the new layout. I also need to put some columns and stuff in the huge central chamber. Any way release early and often:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wild Boar

Check out the size of that mother! I can totally visualize a bunch of goblins (or dwarves) riding these as mounts. Scary devil, looks more like a bear than a pig.

Saw this pic onTYWKIDBI

Booklet Skillz

A situation came up at my Real Job where presenting some information would work best as a little booklet. It turned out my experience producing my little player's handout had me prepared to do this. My hobby helped me perform better as a diligent employee, haha!

Actually, my skills are not that great. I used the website people seem familiar with: The advantage is, if you can produce a pdf from your document (easy in OS X & Linux, don't kno0w about Windows) you send it through the ringer and get out a digest-sized booklet. No worrying about moving the pages around to arcane orders, and especially no worries about changing the page orders in your document when you add/remove pages.

The problem is that it just shrinks your pages to digest size. So, you've got to pump up your font size unless you are wearing Glasses of the Eagle; the default 12 point font turns into something that looks smaller than 10pt in print. This can be a problem if the pages you are digest-sizing need to remain as pages and upping the font size cause the content to flow to the next page.

Another problem is that when it shrinks it down to digest size Booklet Creator doesn't strip out your margins. And when you go to print, the new digest-sized document has margins of its own. The two are added together and you get tiny text floating in a sea of huge, blank margin space.

I went back to my original document and stripped out its margin before turning it into a pdf and that was a little better, but meant I had to go through and fiddle with a lot of the text in all my pages which what thi method was supposed to be letting me avoid!

Anyway, let me know if I'm doing anything incredibly stupid. Because the next option is the route I took for my player's handout and is incredibly work-intensive. I'll have to flip the document into landscape, make two columns and do my best to make the original pages fit into these new smaller pages. That might be impossible with my work info because the pages are sort of memo/template things with strict sturcture and won't take kindly to shrinking/massaging.

Okay, this post is starting to bore even me, I think I'll post about wild boar now.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Welsh Lovespoons

I keep finding fascinating things that I'd never heard of! Ok, fascinating to me. The latest find is the Welsh lovespoon. A spoon carved from a single piece of wood to give to a loved one. They even developed a common system of symbols. Via here. Check it out for history and lots of pictures.

Right now you might be thinking, but Telecanter, how is this of relevance to my campaign. Well, you don't need to keep them literally lovespoons, but look at some of the designs and think of some magical spoons.

For example:

Ranulph's Runcible

This utensil is carved from a single piece of maple. When used to spoon liquid from a container, the runcible will turn black if the liquid would be harmful to the imbiber. This black color will fade away in a day.

St. Lambert's Spoon

This crude wooden utensil will heal a person that sips clean water from it.

Clement's Cozener

This spoon is ornately carven with horseshoes and diamonds. The person that sips warm broth from this lucky utensil will charm all listeners, winning arguments, getting their way, and wooing the opposite sex.


Dammit, those are obvious as magical spoons, aren't they!? How about:

Collyng's Commingler

This ornately carved wooden spoon will allow the amiable admixture of any two liquids. Highly sought by alchemists, it allows two potions to be mixed in a way that allows both effects to function, if not additional affects.

Godith's Gauge

By floating this utensil on liquid, a person may find that which hopes to do them the most harm. The spoon's bowl will spin to point toward that which poses the greatest threat to the owner of the spoon.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Alabaster Tower

Here is the Alabaster Tower for your perusal and use. Three pages. If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you downloaded it, looked it over, and left a comment.

I'm specifically interested in the amount of detail. There are no specified treasures, for example, and the one creature has no stats listed. Tell me if the detail is fine or if you'd like more. Other general comments would be appreciated too, of course.

I'll probably post a fatter version sometime in the week anyway, and you can compare to that, too. I have some ideas on how to make the tower a location in a campaign and a second version of the tower that can be encountered.

Thanks, hope you find it interesting.

Update: 6:28 pm. I fixed a few typos and cut out a little more detail.

Update 9:42 pm: I cut out even more detail and worked over the map so it won't use up so much ink if anyone wants to print it. I think I'll go post about this at the Swords & Wizardry forums now.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tower Coming Soon

I spent most of today half-working on a leaping tower "module." I put module in quotes because it isn't very old school or moduly, mostly puzzles in a tower that you climb linearly.

I think it might interest people as a location, though. Thus I kept working on it. I was going for lean and managed to fit the 8 room key on one page. I wonder if I've still got too much detail even in that.

It made me think more directly about something that's been floating around in my brain for a while: layered modules. I mean the same location, with different levels of detail; 1 page gets you all the details necessary to know how the rooms function, but maybe 3 pages gives you suggested treasure and a little backstory, and 6 gets you ideas for using the location in a campaign and illustrations to show players.

Have you ever seen a product like that? I wonder if you can escape the detail once its there, I mean if you knew there was a "fat" version wouldn't you want to download it to see the details that the "lean" one left out? And having seen them, could you forget them?

Life got in the way of both the session I'm a player in and my own game. Sort of a bummer, but it let me work on this. If I had the map done I'd put up the lean version right now. Unfortunately it involves regular polygons which were causing me problems. I was basically making them in Inkscape, exporting and then importing into Gimp to work with my map. I wish someone would make a nice open source dungeon mapping program for Linux.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cup of Tantalus

If you caught my post on puzzle jugs and fuddling cups, this should have been included, but I didn't know about it until today. Not quite as elegant as the Pythagoras cup, it functions on the same principle; pour enough liquid in and the siphon activates draining it out the bottom.

Here's a page with some more examples of glassware functioning this way (although, giving the alternate name of dribble cup, seems inaccurate, that, as commonly understood, was a much later prank invention as seen here). And if you are interested you can buy one here.

I know, I know, not exactly the elegant rules I intended this blog to be about, but so kooky, I thought I'd share. And it's Friday. :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hat of Climbing

These hats, found in male and female forms, are long and ungainly, consisting of at least two yards of fabric. When the proper magic phrase is uttered they slowly stiffen to the strength and rigidity of steel. They can be climbed, used as a lever, pole, or even vault and will remain rigid until the magic phrase is uttered again.

The 6 mile Hex

I've posted here before about my trouble with map scaling. I've been floundering around lately with a party of adventurers just on the cusp of heading into the greater world. I have no sense of how to efficiently set up a traditional hexcrawl. My ventures in the past tended to be very fiddly and work intensive.

Anyway, I missed this great post back in December: In Praise of the 6 mile hex. I was trying to figure a way to use leagues because of the ease they would add to things (1 league = one hour of travel) and this allows for league measurement: center of hex to any face = 3 miles = 1 league. So, it looks like I have my hex standard determined for me thanks to the Hydra's Grotto!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dicey Lodgings

I have an idea for a seedy, epic, Swords & Sorcery city where nothing is certain. To try to achieve this atmosphere I've been playing around with simple dice games for players. I settled on a variant of Hog which is a variant of Pig. I'm not a mathematician, but from the best I can tell this might be playable. Tell me what you think:

On entering the city, tired, carrying your ill-gotten gains you seek lodging:

You may roll from 1 to 6 six-sided dice; you choose how many to throw. Roll a 1 on any die and you lose, and end with a tally of 1.

If you feel lucky (or greedy) you may tally your score and roll again, up to three times total. Your final tallied score means:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Digest Sized Player Handbook

Making your own digest sized booklet is like a Jedi making their own lightsaber right?

I took all my streamlined handouts and mashed them together to make a booklet. Unfortunately it is not wirebound like I planned, maybe the next draft.

It was a pain in the rear to do because I probably did it the hardest way possible. I started with Open Office, flipped the page to landscape, made two columns and started editing my one page handouts to make them fit nicely in the two column layout. But to make a booklet work, the pages have to be in a different order, so I had to, then, cut each page and place them into a new document in their respective place.

I was trying to have just what a player new to Swords & Wizardry would need to make a character. So, those new players are the intended audience. It doesn't contain too much explanatory text, though, because I assumed I would be there verbally walking them through it.

The picture above is pretty bad, so here is a link to the pdf I printed from if you're interested. (the pages are in the wacky booklet order, though). Very house ruled. I edited cleric spells and magic-user spells a little. I threw my rogue class in the back in case someone just couldn't be satisfied with a fighter that steals.

It was fun. I love the homebrew aspect of the OSR. I want to run this through another draft. Having made it I want to make something a little more sophisticated. Watch out OSR publishers! :)