Sunday, July 27, 2014

Read an RPG Book in Public Week

Just saw this reported over at OSR Today and thought it worth passing on:

According to OSR Today, the idea is the brainchild of Bill Walton of The Escapist advocacy blog. Pretty cool.

Bloody Basic: Candidate for an E6 Game

I recently picked up John M. Stater's Bloody Basic – Classic Edition rules from Lulu and I quite like them. They are a "basic version of the Blood & Treasure Fantasy Role Playing Game" that "serves as an introduction to the Blood & Treasure system" (from the cover). My initial impression is that they would do well not only as an intro to B&T but also as stand alone game in their own right for those who enjoy streamlined rules and/or low-powered, low-level games. I definitely fall into both those categories.

Bloody Basic has the usual six abilities (with original-edition-style modifiers ranging from -1 to +1), the four core races, four core classes (with a variety of sub-classes for humans, and multi-classing for demi-humans, allowing for a nice range of class + race choices), ascending AC, three save categories (reflex, fortitude, will), simple combat (including an easy rule for "special maneuvers"), a simple task resolution system, and sections on GM-related material like monsters and treasures. Notable new features that don't appear in Blood and Treasure are the simplified encumbrance system and the automatic acquisition of a (random) retainer sidekick on hitting level 6 (where human PCs max out).

The fact that levels cap at six made me think these rules would lend themselves quite naturally to an E6-style game (if you're not familiar with E6, it's Ryan Stoughton's 3.x edition variant in which PCs stop advancing upward at level six, but continue to advance "horizontally" by gaining new feats as they continue to earn XP). All you'd need to do is create your own list of simple feats and bolt them on. Used this way, it seems to me that anyone who likes a low-power game could get a lot of mileage out of Bloody Basic. Honestly, I'm quite tempted to run a "Bloody Six" campaign at some point in the future.

Author's Description of the Game:

Ebook Edition:

Paperback Edition:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ephemera Session 9: Space, Time, and Death

Cast of Characters
Conner, Mage +Tim Shorts
Egbert, Mage +Rob Conley
Alfred, Human Torchbearer (NPC hireling)
Tub, Frost Goblin (Charmed NPC ally)
Bob, Swarthy Dwarf (Charmed NPC ally)
Rundt, Hunchback Swarthy Dwarf (Charmed NPC ally)
Belzar, Swarthy Dwarf (Charmed NPC ally)
Ruger, Swarthy Dwarf (Charmed NPC ally)
Dink, Swarthy Dwarf (Charmed NPC ally)
Gar, Swarthy Dwarf (Charmed NPC ally)

The PCs explored the giant hollow tree they had entered at the end of the previous session, slaying eight giant bats, nine woodrot tendrils and two centipedes in the process. They successfully acquired the centipede venom asked for by Cosmo. Returning to Cosmo's tower, they exchanged the venom for the location of the next Star Stone, in a village called Fargus, far to the north. During the course of their conversation, the PCs learned from Cosmo that the world they know is part of a larger multiverse.

Each hex is a day's march.

The party retraced their steps toward the village of Tarn on the way to Fargus. En route, they stopped at the cabin where they had met Mariana, the keeper of the Obelisk, in the previous session. The cabin, which only a fortnight before had been clean, well-kept and cozy, now appeared in a completely different state. In disrepair, dust-covered and cobweb-ridden, it looked as if no one had lived there for centuries. The obelisk remained, overgrown with moss, but Mariana, the Keeper of the Obelisk was nowhere to be seen.

The next morning, the PCs awoke to a cold snap and the first frost of the season,* and continued on their way.

Arriving in Tarn, the PCs re-equipped and spoke to the new village leader, Helen, a young cleric met in the previous session. Conner inquired as to whether Helen had ever heard of any phenomenon like the one they had just experienced with Mariana's cabin. Helen replied that she was not as knowledgeable as her late mentor, Regina,** but that Regina used to think that time did not necessarily flow like a river, in one direction only. Helen, however, admitted she did not fully understand what Regina meant by that.

The party left Tarn the next day, and made their way to Fargus, which (now 16 days after the information they received from Cosmo), was completely destroyed. The village had recently been raided and burned to the ground. Hacked up bodies were strewn everywhere, nearly everything of value taken, houses in smoldering ruins. The party looked around for the Star Stone Cosmo had told them of. On the ground, trampled into the dirt, the party found an open, empty box with a small brass plate on it reading "The Star of the Warrior."

A path trampled by many booted feet led northward out of Fargus. The party followed this until they came to a wooded hill, just north of a stagnant pond. The trail wound round to the north side of the hill, where it led into a cave.

And here we ended the session.

*Footnote: The campaign began on September 1, in game. The current in-game date is October 24.

**Footnote: Regina, the Cleric of Tarn, was killed by King Gor when he invaded, prior to the PCs first arrival there.