Category Archives: News, Rants & Reviews

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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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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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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Playing It Wrong: Bodaks and Such

This week is a little rant about Bodaks and how they changed. Plus in D&D Bootcamp: Wizard Vs Sorcerer Vs Warlock. And the Cleric spells in Supplement 1 Greyhawk. Plus it’s time to start decluttering around the house. Join in on the fun!

You can listen to this episode over on Anchor or subscribe on most podcast platforms.

And I’m going another shout out to Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars. It’s the last few days of the Kickstarter. And I’m only a backer and don’t have any other connection.

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Or just check our products on Drivethrurpg or hard copies on Lulu.

Life Gives You Lemons

Yeah, so I don’t have a tag or really a category for real life. So here we go any way. Yep No Podcast on Sunday. I was feeling like crap and thought it better to do no podcast than a shitty one. Then fast forward to Monday. My car went on the fritz. So we’re in deep discussions around the house about how to do the finances on that one.
So maybe later this week there might be a blog post and who knows maybe might do an Anchor cast at lunch on the phone as a little “I’m still alive” type episode.
So soon we’ll return to our regularly scheduled posting. Just probably not this week.
OH. And roll dice. Kill monsters. Take their stuff. And some fun out there folks.

Old School Urban Fantasy. Yes, Please

I don’t often shill Kickstarters. Usually, my various feeds are filled with them but then one comes along that gets me excited and I don’t hear that much about it. So well. I’ll just do my own little rant here. Now, the financial stake I have in this is that I’m a backer. Yes, I’ve chipped in my hard earned dollars and no one has asked me to do this. Now on with the show.

Yes, I’m talking about the Night Shift Kickstarter again. So let me give the low down as I see it.
First, it runs on old school mechanics. The best parts even like the no strict rules for every darned thing and the flexibility and familiarity we all know and love. My opinion on this is driven by the Quick Start rules on the Kickstarter and the actual play report over on the Cross Planes blog. Go read it for yourself. And there’s more previews coming out at co-author Tim Branna’s The Other Side Blog.
So mechanics aside, why am I excited? Well, I like adventurous urban fantasy (not the emo whiny goth stuff). The mixture of the mundane and magical is just en extension of another genre that I happen to like and that’s pulp. Just mull that over. Over the top action. Better than normal characters. And substitute 1930’s techno-babble with magic and pretty much good to go. And if it’s not your thing then cool.
Now I’ve had my go around with lot’s of different systems. From the ancient Night Life RPG, to the World of Darkness and I even looked and still own that d20 train wreck that was Monte Cook’s World of Darkness or as I called it McWoD. I’ve scribbled down some notes to try using Savage Worlds. While I’ve got both the Buffy and Angel RPG’s, I haven’t played them yet. And, of course, my last go around with the genre was Evil Hat’s Dresden Files RPG.
Now to present day, I’m still on the look out for a good old school take on urban fantasy. I’ve grabbed up Dark Streets & Darker Secrets Heck, I even wrote a little supplement for it. While it scratches my old school itch, there can always be more. Just like I can like and support Swords & Wizardry, Old School Essentials, Basic Fantasy, and Dungeon Crawl Classics. I can like more than one game of the same style and genre. One of my points is that I can take some little bit from one game and throw it into another. Which is something I do all the time.
So with that rant. Go ahead. Check out the Kickstarter, the Quick Start Rules, and the blog posts of others.

How about some Black Magic, kids?

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This week’s episode: Use The Environment to Make Encounters More Interesting

An encounter should be more than just a PC’s and monsters attacking each other. Those some interesting terrain or environmental hazards into the mix. Also, this episode the “new” cleric spells in Greyhawk and a little rant for beginners trying to play a magic-user. And don’t forget, 50 Likes on the Facebook page means Bonus episodes!

You can listen to this episode over here on Anchor.fm

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