I’ve been saying that I’ve been working on a big project (well, big for me anyway) and I’m at a point where I think I announce it publicly. So here you go.
The current working title is Forgotten Tales of Sword & Sorcery. It’s built around the White Box set of rules and leans towards a Savage Sword of Conan style campaign with a little bit of Lovecraftian influence. I’m not trying emulate the literary works of Robert E Howard nor am I making it a game about cosmic horror. And it’s not a grim dark art haus type game.
The bigest influences in my youth were things like the Savage Tales of Conan, Frank Frazzetta and other genre artists, and all those B Sword & Sorcery movies from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. The goal is to make a game filled with a lot pulp style action .
I’ve made some major tweaks to the Combat and Magic systems and few other things here and there without losing the feel of the original rules. And if you like later old school rules, I’m adding some notes to help folks convert it.
Right now, it’s just over 90 pages and there’s a few more sections that I still need to finish writing but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. More previews, design notes and other goodies are coming soon.
If you want to see those updates early, I’ll be posting the previews and design notes on Patreon and Locals first.
As I’ve said before old-school games aren’t just about derivatives of D&D. One of those tried and try classics is the D6 system.
Like so many others, my first taste of the D6 system was West End Games original Star Wars RPG. I’ve played each of later iterations of Star Wars RPG’s and I still think that the the original D6 version is the best. A close second comes in as the many home-brewed Savage Worlds versions found all over the Internet.
The D6 system all sorts of later licensed games including Ghostbusters, Men In Black, Indiana Jones, and Hercules & Xena. There were some financial and other problems in the past but in 2008 the system and most of the original d6 genre books were released under the OGL.
The D6 system is damned good system for cinematic games and it’s pretty easy. In a nut shell, roll a bunch of d6’s and total them up. You’re rolling either against a Target Number or an opposed roll (greater total succeeds). Your die pool is determined by your stats, skills, or any other genre quirk that may apply. This simple system also makes it very flexible and adaptable to variety of genres. It’s one of the old systems that you have to play at least once for the experience.
I do have to admit that my favorite version of the rules after the flood gates were opened is Mini-6 by Anti-Paladin Games. It takes the core of the d6 system and makes it quicker and simpler to play. And that’s a good thing. Cinematic games need to easy and fast to keep the focus on the action and not rules minutiae.
You can find free PDF’s of the various WEG Genre books over on DrivethruRPG. And if you want to listen to some cool Actual Plays of some these games then head on over to Wild Games Productions/Roll High or Die and listen to the Star Wars Fall of the Order Actual Play Podcast.
Over the years, the old-school community has changed and things and people get moved around. G+ died, you forget about previously discovered gems, and things just weird.
I was just browsing on DrivethruRPG and stumbled up the Krshal Trilogy by Albert Rakowski. I didn’t think much of it at first then I looked further. Oh yeah. Bandits & Battle Cruisers, and Terminal Space. So I dived right into Krshal.
The Krshal Trilogy is actually three small PDF’s; The Towers of Krshal, Legends of Krshal, and Tombs of Krshal. The PDF’s are pretty system neutral but are squarely rooted in old-school goodness. They each offer random tables or inspiration about the City of Krshal plus a couple of mini-dungeons.
Krshal falls into the weird fantasy territory. But the good thing is that it isn’t over done. Just enough weirdness so things aren’t your run-of-the-mill fantasy world . And sure there’s weird and disturbing things but once again it doesn’t go over the top just for shock value. If everything is weird then nothing is weird. Same goes for shock value. Or to put it another way , if you’re running something like Mork Borg then it fits right in.
So what kind of stuff is in these PDF’s, Here’ some of my favorite: Ten Magical Skull, Six Bizarre Vampires, Features of the Ghoul Mothers, 12 Sinister Sorcerers, 20 Cthonic Gods, and Bizarre Pets and Animals of the Goat Market.
Now these aren’t “new” products and I’m not sure how they slipped under my radar but they did. And I’m glad I’m stumbled across them. These are relatively small PDF’s that filled with inspiration to add some weirdness to a campaign. Oh yeah. I’m already throwing together stuff in my head.
You can pick up the bundle of PDF’s on DrivethruRPG pretty cheap and you can keep with Albert’s blog over at the Word of Ortix.
And note to self. Pick up the Underworld Kingdom books too.
Looks like Mork Borg is the current fascination with large sections of the OSR so like a moth to the flame I decided to poke nose into it and see what the hubbub is.
I’m not going to go into a detailed review here. That’s all pretty much been done and my thoughts are the same. A simple rules lite OSR-style game with crazy layout that makes it at times difficult to use. But I’ve got other thoughts as well.
What I really like is that the setting/tone isn’t afraid to color outside the lines. I admit that I’m no metal head but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like the vibe. And well, I like to run/play in a variety of styles of campaigns. Sometimes I want your standard fantasy type world. Sometimes I want something more like Conan/Sword & Sorcery. And then sometimes I want weird and well something like Mork Borg.
I can’t help but the vibe of some of the early Lamentations of the Flame Princess stuff before it became shock for just shock and “It goes to 11”. You know what I mean. Also, (IMHO) the tone of game is set more by the GM and players than the actual rules. Sure those can help and guide you but when it comes down it you can take the dark themes of a game and easily transplant them into whatever other rule set you want. With that in mind, I’m looking at Mork Borg as more of a setting and inspirational rather than a game which means it still a cool thing to have and use.
And I guess that’s my biggest problem with Mork Borg. While the rules are simple and kind of neat, it’s not one of those games that it will be easy to convert on the fly to other old-school games. It’s very much it’s own thing. It’s not bad, it’s just different. It’s probably easier to convert stuff out of Mork Borg into your rules of choice rather than try to convert an adventure on the fly.
Yes, Mork Borg is useful and a good thing to have. Sure there’s some yucky stuff so to speak. And it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The rules are a solid old-school style alternative. But the real gem is the inspirational and setting material hidden in the pages.
And there’s a couple of cool Kickstarters out there, Strange Citizens of the City and The Masticator Gate.
You find out more and all sorts of resources and links on the Mork Borg site.
I mentioned Locals previously as an alternative to Patreon and I’ve messed around and did a soft announcement about making a community. After playing around with it a bit more, I like it.
The Patreon is not going away. I’m still going to use it as sort of tip jar to support the blog and the the podcast (which is still alive I’m just working around getting it into the schedule). As I mentioned before, Patreon is more centered on delivering some sort of benny to Patrons. Locals is more about building a community. Sure there are lots of social media groups and sites, forums, Discord, etc. Why bother with another one? Just like those old-school games, each one of them offers something slightly different.
Right now, I have no plans to move the Locals community over to the subscription model. That means you don’t have to pay anything to join. My current plan is to use it as place for early announcements and previews and for any weird thoughts that aren’t ready to prime time. As the community grows and evolves some things might change. But all that depends on where it goes from there.
Go ahead and check out it out.