Category Archives: Home Brew Hacks

Just some house rules that I made up.

One World, Many Possibilities

So how may campaign worlds do you use? OK, sure for a specific game, setting, or genre you use something specific but as a go-to setting how many do you use?

Let me explain this a little better. My standard fantasy setting is the world of Zoong. So if I’m just getting the group together that’s the place I go to. And it doesn’t matter which system I use. I’ve ran adventures in this setting with 5E, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Swords & Wizardry, and Labyrinth Lord. And it’s been with mostly the same group of players.

They’ve always had fun. They are already used to the gods, the lay of the land, and some NPC’s. We’ve had the unwritten “rule” that players shouldn’t use player knowledge. Plus there’s no indication which chronological order these campaigns have. Not all of the campaigns have taken place in the same geographic region. Heck, these might be alternate universes. Plus I’ve made changes here and there based on what the players have done and any really interesting things that have happened like Cthulhu hating demi-humans.

It also makes things easier for me as a GM. I don’t have t reinvent the wheel each time. I’ve already got a base to start. And plenty of old notes that haven’t been used yet. I like keeping my notes generic and inspirational rather than detailed. First, I want to have easy ways of importing cool published adventures. Second, you never know when a random NPC catches the players’ attention and becomes important. And third, some times there are world changing events thanks to the PC’s or even a really crazy die roll. Keeping the options open.

Barbaric!+Cepheus Atom

A quick little comment here on the blog got me thinking. Combine Barbaric! and Cepheus Atom and what do you get?

Both Barbarbic! and Cepheus Atom use the same underlying rules so kit bashing them would breeze. Sure, you could do it with Cepheus Atom alone but I think Barbaric adds a few things to make it a bit more interesting. So how would I do it?

First, I’d combine the skill lists: Combat, Lore, Physical, Social, Sorcery, Super Science! (Replaces Technical), Stealth, Survival. Use the Traits from Barbaric! with a few tweaks here and there and use the character advancement rules from Barbaric!

Moks as a race would be easy. Just use the Apefolk from Barbaric! And of course, you could do a Mutant race or use with some minor modifications the existing races in Barbaric! Home brew some Super Science! vehicles and relics. That’d be pretty easy too.

I might take out the Contamination rules for player characters since that doesn’t really seem to be a thing in Thundarr but those tables would still be handy to make weird mutated monsters. Of course, strange mutagenic pools or areas might make an interesting trap or encounter area but not as a constant threat over the characters’ heads.

And speaking of mutations, the thought has crossed my mind to add yet another skill. Psionics. Once again a super easy fix. Just look at the Psionics under Beneficial Mutations in Cepheus Atom. Since it would be its own skill, I’d slightly change the mechanics for the Skill Throws; Minor: 6+, Medium: 8+, and Major: 10+.

And that’s pretty much it. The only thing left is, “We Ride!”

Hacking Mork Borg

I’ve been re-reading Mork Borg because you just really can’t get this game with one reading since it’s got all that crazy layout. I can’t help to get the vibe of much of the early Lamentations of the Flame Princess stuff. Maybe because in my free time, I’m also reading Womb Cult and Black Blade of the Demon King. Of course, my next thought was why not hack this thing. I’m going to look at this two ways.

The first thought was grabbing the underlying game mechanics which aren’t bad and use those without any of the setting material as an old-school style game. Keep the basic classes and their HD. Weapons would be no problem to convert. Armor just compare to the Mork Borg armors with standard armors. Do a little mod on the spells. And pretty much there you go. Yes, converting monsters would be the biggest pain. So while a fun project probably something better left to someone with lots of time on their hands.

The second thought and the more interesting one is take all the setting material and take it over to your rules of choice. I mean that’s easy. Most of the setting material is in the form of random tables. Random tables for starting money and equipment. That’s a time saver. The crazy optional tables for Terrible Traits, Broken Bodies, Bad Habits, and Troubling Tales add that weird twist to characters. Maybe play around with the magic spells and tables. The optional Mork Borg classes kind of have direct correlations to your basic classes. So give those a little hack.

This is just some crazy thought that popped up in my head. Maybe I’ll play around with more or maybe I’ll do something else with it. I dunno. Only time and warped imagination can tell.

Forgotten Tales of Sword & Sorcery: Options!

It’s no secret that everybody plays differently especially when it comes to old school games. I love that and embrace it. That’s why I added lots of options for Forgotten Tales of Sword & Sorcery.

I admit that these aren’t as play tested as the core rules and may need a little tweaking to fit your individual tastes but it gives GM’s a starting point and/or some inspiration to tailor the game to their group.

The attached examples don’t have all of the optional rules. I only added the ones that I personally found kind of cool. And if you’ve been following closely, there have been a few minor changes to the core rules since I started sharing previews. Here’s the optional rules used on these characters:

Static HD: Instead of the White Box staggered HP system, these characters us a HD as later editions but still some what faithful to the White Box philosophy. Warriors: d6+1, Wanderers: d6, and Sorcerers: d6-1.

Improved Prime Ability Score Modifiers: This only affects a character’s Prime Ability Score Modifiers based on their class. This makes them a little better at the things that they are supposed to be good at.

Five Saving Throws: I personally like the Single Saving Throw but some people don’t. That’s OK. So I added the option. For the example, I did use the five “new” categories that I created to better emulate the genre. Most are self explanatory except Luck which I’m billing as a When In Doubt/Catch All Save. Who has the bad thing happen? Who steps on the trap trigger? That sort of thing. And the Traditional Five Saves are in the core book.

Checks As Percentages: I was inspired by the original Thief class and its percentage based skills. There are a few places where the math works out differently but I still think that it’s a fun option and offers more granularity than the x in d6 method.

Here’s how it works. Checks begin at 3 x the Ability Score. At first level, increase one Prime Ability Check by 2d6. Each level after that increase one Prime Ability Check and one non-Prime Ability Check by 1d6. Specializations can be either a re-roll at 30% or act as +20% bonus to the Check depending on which option the GM wants to use. If you remember, Ability Checks also have other uses in the game. A character’s score in an Ability Check can be used as modifier in some cases. Under the percentage system, it’s an easy conversion. Divide the tens digit by two. So a 35% Check would mean +2 modifier. (3 dived by 2). There are also cases where the result of a successful Check is the effect. For example, a CON Check is used to bind wounds. Under the X in d6 system, if the Check is successful then the number rolled is how many HP are healed. For the percentage system, a similar mechanic is used. Simply divide the tens digit by two for the effect with one slight exception. For really good rolls like 03% count the 0 as 10 (or 10/2=5).

Random Encounters More Than Monsters

I was thinking the other day that we get lazy as GM’s some times. If you look at the random encounter tables in most books, it’s generally monsters. So why not throw a little twist in there. Other types of encounters or just other things to keep the players on their toes. With this little exercise, I’m assuming some sort of dungeon or hex crawl of your pretty much standard variety. Let’s roll.

1. Just roll on the standard table. Nothing special.
2. Random character gets the feeling that some one or some thing is watching. 2 in 6 chance that they are right. Roll an encounter.
3. Random character is sure that they heard something. 2 in 6 chance that they did.
4. Random character saw some thing move “over there”. 2 in 6 chance they really did.
5. Dead monsters. Uh oh. Was it another party of adventurers? Or an even bigger monster?
6. Escapee from a bad place nearby.
7. Clue to something interesting nearby.
8. Survivor of another adventuring party that wasn’t so lucky.

Yeah, I know it’s short and simple. But that’s all you need sometimes to freak out the PC’s and get some interesting things happening during a session.

Like this post or others? Then check out the They Might Be Gazebos Patreon.