Swords & Wizardry and 5E??

Yes, please. Swords & Wizardry is my favorite retro-clone and some have even called the old-school Rosetta Stone since it’s so easy to bring things from other games. Guess what? It cross pollinates with 5E too. But the why listen to me? Let’s get the insider track on this.

But wait there’s more.

For The Blight, I’ll probably be mixing the rules a lot. More than I originally planned after some discussion after the last game. And you know I just might do more it in the future. It may even turn into some crazy project here on the blog. Let’s face it Swords & Wizardry is a streamlined system with its single Saving Throw and Ascending AC, it gives you a solid foundation to work in stuff from other systems whether it’s extra races, skills, feats, classes or whatever. Bonus, you still have all that old school material to use. There’s no way you could just add a bunch of that stuff without a little tweaking but it won’t totally break the game or cause any weird cascading effect. So maybe this is a way to show that those old-school games still are good games. So yeah. It’s an idea that bouncing around inside my head.
And if you’re still with me. Go ahead and subscribe to Frog God’s Youtube Channel. If they hit 1,000 subscribers there’s going to be a giveaway. And doesn’t want a chance at some gaming swag. (And just to be clear. I don’t have any financial interest in this. I just like their stuff.)
So there you have it. A thought. A plug. And now one more plug.

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Wererats for Swords & Wizardry and 5E

Well, I’m still prepping to run The Blight and we were having a little table talk before the Labyrinth Lord game started last week. One player mentioned that he does miss 5E abit. So next time, we’ll have to nail things down. I’m expecting to start this after the holidays so with the speed I write stuff, Ill need the time. Another was excited that the setting isn’t so normal and asked if he could play something weird. So I asked, “Like what?” He replied, “I don’t maybe like some sort of were creature.” Hey, wererats are pretty key to the setting so I thought, “Why the hell not?” So here you go.

Swords & Wizardry Version
See in the Dark
+1 Save Vs Disease
Half damage from non-magical or non-silvered weapons. But double damage from silver weapons.
Bite (1d3) (Save Vs Disease to avoid Lycanthropy)
Cast Animal Summoning I (Rats only) Once per day
+1 Stealth (That’s with YARC Skill System).
Shapechange (Human/humanoid rat)
Suggested Classes: Fighter, Thief, or Fighter/Thief

Fifth Edition Version
Ability Score Increases: +2 DEX, +1 CON
Size: Medium
Speed: 30 Feet
Darkvision: 60 Ft
Damage Resistance: Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing From Nonmagical Attacks Not Made With Silvered Weapons.
Vulnerabilities: Damage from Silver Weapons
Shapechanger. The wererat can use its action to polymorph into a rat-humanoid hybrid or into a giant rat, or back into its true form, which is humanoid. Its statistics, other than its size, are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies. Bite in Rat or Hybrid form does 1d4 damage. (f the target is a humanoid, it must succeed on a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or be cursed with wererat lycanthropy)
Keen Smell. The wererat has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.

I based these, of course, on the monster stat blocks with some tweaking to make them a little more balanced. Of course, I may change this up later on, but this if the first version of this idea. And I’ll keep you all update on what the players decided. Swords & Wizardry or 5E. We shall see.

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Gangbusters BX!

Yeah, I know I’m a little late on this one but real life has been crazy. So here you go.
What can I say? Gangbusters BX is hitting the old school crowd like, well, gangbusters.

At its core, Gangbusters BX is good old BX D&D. Now there a few differences based around the genre (more on the genre later). This hits most obviously on the Saving Throws. It’s still 5 but they reflect not only the things that characters in a more mundane world would need to resist but also very common “skills” (Driving and Observation). There other “skill” options based on background or class. It’s not really a hard skill system like many modern games but just things a character is good at or use some other mechanic such as the special use of a Saving Throw, or even the good old x in d6. These are all things that folks who are used to old school games can pick up right away when they read rules.
Gangbusters BC does use that tried and true standard of class and level. There are four basic classes (Brutish, Connected, Educated, and Street Smart). They pretty much fill both the usual roles and broad enough to fit any of the genre roles.
So what genre is Gangbusters? Well, that all depends on what exactly what you want to do. If keep things at it’s core then you’re looking at all the old gangster movies and even hitting the film noir stuff. Tack on some of the optional rules and you’re heading into pulp territory. Think character like The Shadow or The Spider. And hell you could even delve into Lovecraftian Horror (this will take more work on the GM’s part). Creative GM’s don’t even need to keep to old times of 1920’s or 30’s. You could move to the 1960’s or 70’s if you wanted to. And since it’s based on BX, you can easily use it for your standard fantasy type game.
Yes, you could. Now, you could drop the classes but there’s plenty of subsystems for building gangs, legal entanglements, bribery, and investigation making some handy rules for those wanting to run an urban thieves guild type campaign. Like I said before, it’s based on BX so that means you can grab so many resources that out there and use them too and thus making Gangbusters another tool in your GM toolbox.
So should you get? I say, “Hell, yes.” Am I going to run it? Probably some time. I might end up using part of it The Blight and do a little brainstorming in my free time and come up with some crazy idea that might mix some of the pulpy masked avengers. Hmm. I don’t know yet. But it’s something that is on the “let’s play this” list.
Go ahead and check out Gangbusters BX Edition on DrivethruRPG. And word on the streets is that more Gangbusters stuff on the way.

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Playing It Wrong: Buried Content

It’s another episode. This time I go totally off the normal beaten track and talk about search engines and social media and that they’re pretty much stacked against the little guy or the “outsider”. Let’s face it. Celebrity and controversy get more traction than content. So to heck with it. Time to do things your way. Enjoy the doing and let the rest of it rot.

You can listen to the episode on Anchor or subscribe via where fine podcasts are found.

Or you could just stream it right here.

With that I leave you to have fun out there. I’m still playing catch up after a crazy week so there’s some fun blog posts coming up. Thanks again.

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Playing Wrong It With Super Powers

In case you haven’t noticed the blog domain is updated! And yes it’s been a busy weekend but I’ve squeezed in an episode. This week I talk about Super Hero RPG’s and dang it they are tough to run. I talk about some of the problems and the two best games that fight my tastes depending on what kind of campaign I want to run. My two faves right now are Supers Revised Edition and Vigilante City. Plus a review will coming up on the blog for BX Gangbusters by Mark Hunt.
What else? I offer up a little wisdom to new DM’s and rant about the “new” monsters from Supplement 1: Greyhawk.
You can listen to this Episode on Anchor.fm or search for Playing It Wrong on your favorite podcast service.
Or heck just stream it right here. I told I was working on the blog too.

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YARC: Races Part1

Real life got everything bogged down last week. So let’s get back on the horse and talk more about races in YARC. Like I mentioned when I posted about Clerics, races too should be tied to the setting. There’s no reason that the demi-humans should all be the same no matter what world they are on. And the same goes for humans. Speaking of humans. They’ve always been kind of boring. In old editions, they just didn’t have a level cap and they had some special classes they could take. Later on. Everybody could be any class. There weren’t any level caps and the human got extra “stuff”. Based on my own experiences, level caps just never quite worked. Either the campaign would end before it really became an issue. Or if it went on long enough. The extra survivability at lower levels doesn’t that much help at really high levels when those characters were behind the power curve.
So what’s my philosophy for YARC? Two things. First, options and aptitudes. Humans get more options. Demihumans have natural aptitudes in certain areas. Level caps are out. What race can be what class is decision that’s best made based on the setting rather than any core rule. Also, looking at the Swords & Wizardry Complete rules, IMHO, some the races Saving Throw bonuses are just too high. And with that. Let’s get to the crunchy bits. And for this to make sense, you may have to refer back to the YARC: Skills post.

Humans
+1 to any three skills of choice
+1 to Armor Class, Saving Throws, Damage, To-Hit, or Hit Points/level.

Dwarves
+1 Stonecraft (bonus to any skill related to stonework)
+2 Save Vs Poison
See in the dark: 60 Feet*

Elves
+2 to Instinct
Cannot be paralyzed by ghouls
See in the dark: 60 Feet*

Halflings
+1 to Stealth
+2 Save Vs Magic
+1 To-Hit with ranged attacks

Half-Elf
+1 to Instinct
+1 to Appeal, Banter, or Stealth
See in the dark: 60 Feet*

*I don’t care what you call it but our house rules were always, “OK, you can see in the dark.”

So that’s the basic races. Next there’s more to come.

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Night Shift: Burton Tested, King Approved


It’s the last week of the Night Shift Kickstarter and yes I’m only a backer and yes I’m still ranting about it. But this one has got me excited and, heck, it’s my blog sooooo.
I’ve already did a little overview then some NPC’s and a whole rant about the genre. This time I want to a deeper dive into the Quick Start and the Kickstarter. Let me say this first. This is based on the Quick Start and things I’ve seen, bit of speculation, and a whole lot of opinion. If anything is inaccurate then just post in the comments.
Most of the mechanics are familiar if you’re used to old school games. Heck even newer editions the base mechanics are familiar. Six stats, classes, AC, HP, and so on. It does use descending AC but in a way that makes it understandable to those who aren’t used to it. There aren’t Saving Throws per se but instead you just Attribute checks. In that way you see some of the DNA of both Castles & Crusades and dare I say it 5E. Now one of the really old school things is the skill system.
Like old D&D, the skills are all percentile based. You know like the old Thief class. While I understand the design philosophy of keeping with some of the old ways, I’ve always preferred a skill system that is more unified with the other mechanics of the game. But this is really a no brainer when it comes to tweaking. Just take those percentages and divide by 5. Take that as a modifier, roll a d20 and get better than 20. No problem. This was even mentioned on the chat held by the designers. Of course, somebody will say that you have to do it as written. Sigh. Doesn’t affect the math of the game. It’s a personal preference of mine. And speaking skills. Spell casting is a skill too. That’s one thing I really like over the Vancian system that we’re so used to. Now one thing that’s bug me in old games is that there thing that every character is going to try but is some other class’s skill. Most notable is sneaking around. For those situations, Night Shift uses the Rule of Two. Basically, 2 in 6 chance to get away with it.
So what about classes? Well, the easiest three are the Veteran, the Survivor and the Spell Caster. If you want very rough equivalents to your standard fantasy classes then you’ve got Fighter, Thief, and Magic-User respectively. Then there’s the Sage. I dunno but it put that almost in the Bard type wheel house for equivalent. They are the font of knowledge and all that. Then there’s the Psychic/Medium class that good with spirits and for the life of me I can remember what it’s called but that’s not in the Quick Start. So this one really doesn’t have any similar type class. Then there’s the Chosen One. You know what mean. One in every generation. The one foretold in prophecy and so on. Based on what I’m seeing in the Quickstart, it looks like the design has some bits from both the Monk and the Paladin. Now this is my guess but it works for the genre. Of course, there’s got to be races right? Yeah there are but you won’t a super human supernatural. From what I’ve read, the character basically starts with an XP deficit to earn those extra abilities. There is a stretch goal for a totally point buy system.
So what about weapons? This goes all the way back to White Box. Everything does a d6. I know some one will it’s not realistic. Two things. First, it still is a fantasy game. Second, it makes the character more important than the gear. It gets really bad in modern games when there is an alleged gun expert at the table who argues over every mechanic. Sigh. But then who says you have to do modern. With little or no work, a GM could do a campaign probably any where from Ancient Rome to the Near Future. And even a wider range is they want to do a little more tweaking.
Now, I know a lot of this stuff has been said before and I even posted some of this in my first rant about the project. So please just take a look over on Kickstarter and give it chance.
And really folks. I can’t wait to get the full game write up those two guys. Thanks for stopping by.

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Roll Dice. Kill Monsters. Take Their Stuff. And Have Fun!

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