Category Archives: Home Brew Hacks

Just some house rules that I made up.

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.

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Skills Revisited

The Swords & Wizardry game is going well and as you may remember I did a whole home brewed skill system. But when the dice met the table, I wasn’t that happy with it. The characters just felt too incompetent at low level. The math seemed to work but like I said I wasn’t totally happy with it. So I brainstormed a little more and came up with a little tweak to it. And you know I love tweaking rules.
The system remains basically unchanged. See the Attack Save Cheat Sheet. The only differences are how the skills bonuses are figured and reduce the Skill “Save” by two.
NOTE: What I’ve been doing for monsters and NPC’s is that if it was “good” at something then there’s advantage on the roll, if they were “bad” at then disadvantage. You know like 5E. Remember, one of the axioms of old-school gaming. Monsters and NPC’s don’t have to follow the same rules as player characters. So for the player characters:

Skills
Appeal (CON & CHA): Seduction, Dancing, Performance.
Athletics (STR & DEX): Climbing, Jumping, Acrobatics, Swimming, Grappling.
Banter (INT & CHA): Fast talking, Haggling, Diplomacy.
Healing (WIS & DEX): Treating Wounds, Diagnosis.
Instinct (WIS & CHA): Detecting Secret Doors, Avoiding Surprise, Searching, Detecting Lies.
Tinker (INT & DEX): Building Things, Locks & Traps, Anything Mechanical
Skullduggery (DEX & CHA): Picking pockets, Disguise, Deception, Sleight of Hand
Stealth (DEX): Moving Quietly, Hiding, Blending Into The Crowd.
Survival (CON & WIS): Tracking. Foraging
Wits (INT & WIS): General knowledge, Education, Lore

A character gains +1 to the starting score if either of the linked Attributes below are above 13. The starting score is further modified by Race and class as below (This part has remained basically unchanged):

Class Bonuses:
Assassin: +2 to three of the following Appeal, Athletics, Banter, Instinct, Skullduggery, Stealth, Tinker. +2 to any skill check involving poison.*
Cleric: +1 Wits or Healing
Druid: +1 to any skill check involving Nature if WIS above 13.*
Fighter: +1 to two of the following: Athletics, Survival, or Instinct.
Magic-User: +2 to any skill roll related to magic and arcane lore.*
Monk: +1 to Athletics, Instinct, and Stealth.
Paladin: +2 Bonus to any skill check pertaining to Demons and Undead.*
Ranger: +2 Instinct or Survival, gain +1 in the other. Also, +1 to Athletics and Stealth.
Thief: +3 to three of the following: Athletics, Banter, Instinct, Skullduggery, Stealth, or Tinker. +1 to the others.

Racial Bonuses (Yes, I’m using more races in home game but this gets you started):
All player characters gain +1 to skills of choice.
Humans: +1 to three skills of choice.
Elf: +1 Wits or Instinct.
Dwarf: +2 to any skill roll involving Stonework.*
Half-Elf: +1 Allure or Banter.
Half-Orc: +1 Athletics or Survival.

*These are not bonuses to a specific skill, only a bonus to a skill under the right conditions.

Skill Checks:
Roll a d20 add the skill modifier.

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Swords & Wizardry with Finesse

If you’ve kept up with the blog the you know that I’m running the Blight with Swords & Wizardry. Now most of my players only have experience playing Fifth Edition so when they saw there’s no equivalent to finesse weapons,, they questioned it. Of course, this got me thinking. Well, why not? I’ve imagined the quick swashbuckler vs the heavily armored in my own character concepts. This lead me to do a little thinking and come up with house rules for it.
First let’s talk about the bonus. Basically, use the Strength chart but use the character’s Dexterity score to figure out the modifier. Here’s a quick break down if your book isn’t handy.

3-4: -2 To Hit, -1 Damage
5-6: -1 To Hit, +0 Damage
7-12: +0 To Hit and Damage
13-15: +1 To Hit, +0 Damage
16: +1 To Hit and Damage
17: +2 To Hit and Damage
18: +2 To Hit, +3 Damage

But there’s a couple limitations. Just like Strength the bonuses are capped at +1 for non-fighters. Second, a character can only rely on finesse if they are wearing leather or lighter armor. I just can imagine a character in plate armor fighting like that.
What weapons can be used with finesse?
For right now, I’m limiting it to dagger (1d4) and rapier (1d6+1). I know rapier isn’t in the book. So I just added it. I decided to put it between a short and long sword as far as damage goes.
Like so many of rants, this is the bleeding alpha version. I’ll let you know better once the dice hit the table. Remember. Roll dice, kill monsters, take their stuff, and have fun.

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