Wow. What a trip this has been. I’m hitting the home stretch on Forgotten Tales. That means that the final editing and lay out has begun. I’ve no idea how long this will take but I will say it’s down hill from here on out.
The rules are basically done. And may say a lot has changed since I started this. A few things that started off as optional rules worked their way into the core rules. Thank god for feedback. Since there have been a few changes I decided to redo the example characters from scratch. Yes, the came out a little different but that’s cool. And I did them as 1st level characters so they’d be handy for pregens or full blown NPC’s.
And another fun little game hits my radar. Yes, it says Brown Box but it’s largely compatible with your White Box games.
I know what you’re saying. Do we really need another one? Well, of course we do. As long as it adds something new. The bulk of the book has all the stuff that you would expect so there’s nothing new there. It’s the back of the book that is the real gem. There’s a ton of options, extras and tools to add to your game no matter which specific rules you happen to be using.
So let me go over some of things in the back of the book. There’s some interesting things there like Advantages and Disadvantages to the characters a little more character, Backgrounds and Talents, alternate advancement, and character generation options. Then there’s the Class Special Abilities. These are little buffs to each of the three core classes to give them a little more umph and flavor. For example, Clerics get a nice little Minor Divination ability. Fighters choose a special combat ability like Cleave or Brutal Attack. Magic-Users get a neat little Minor Magic trick which is a lot like Cantrips. You noticing there’s no Thief? Well, there’s an optional Specialist class plus Class Variants. But wait. There’s more. Sanity rules. More optional Combat and Magic Rules. And Alternate Wounds/HP rules.
I’m not done yet. Then we hit the Appendices. There’s a good little essay on old-school play. I know there’s a ton of those out there. Plus a good section on GM Advice and dealing with all sorts of special situations. And Random Tables because you can never have too few of those.
Overall, I’m really glad that I picked this up. It’s really useful for both inspiration on house rules and additions to your game or setting. Plus, like I said, Random Tables. Some of those are going to end up in my GM notebook.
I didn’t do many blog posts last week. I was still recovering from the catastrophic computer failure. But good news. Files are recovered and I’m starting the editing and layout for Forgotten Tales of Sword & Sorcery. So I figured it’s a good time to share some inspiration.
One of the things that I said early on is that I’m not trying to emulate the literary works. I’m going back to what first grabbed my attention in my youth. And that’s the tales of Conan, Thongor, Red Sonja, Marda the She Wolf and many that graced the pages of many a comic book.
And there was also a slew of movies. Let’s face it the original the original Conan the Barbarian with Arnie, was great.
There’s even more movies out there including Beastmaster, Kull, and even the Scorpion King. And don’t ever forget the classic Harryhausen Jason and the Argonauts and Sinbad movies. But those low budget flicks were fun too and yes many were very bad too.
I don’t keep this post just to inspiration from media. There’s gaming inspiration too. And some great resources out there that are worth checking out and mining for inspiration for your game.
Barbarians of Lemuria: This is the granddaddy of all Sword & Sorcery RPG’s. Just about every “What’s a good Sword & Sorcery RPG?” thread you see on the Internet mentions Barbarians of Lemuria. There’s lots of versions of this game, the Mythic and Legendary editions are the latest. And the BoL Hack is pretty darned good too.
Crypts & Things: The original edition of Crypts & Things was very close to Swords & Wizardry. The Remastered Edition does make some changes. And there’s some fine adventures especially Life & Death Zarth Edition is a good source.
Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea: There’s a lot here to inspire you. All of their adventures are great. As a bonus there’s a host a free resources that are really handy. I regularly use the Drunken Debauchery table and the Random Adventure generator in my other games.
The World of Xoth: Originally, this made for Pathfinder but there are some other conversions out there. The adventures and setting material are so solidly placed in the Sword & Sorcery genre. On the Xoth website, there is slew of resources and many of their titles are available on Drivethru. Really, check these out.
I know that there are many more resources and inspirations out there but I think I’ve ranted enough here and given you enough to ponder in one day.
Like most COVID practically wiped out any chance to game. This year I’ve got to get something happening. I doubt in person gaming will happen and I’m still looking at various online platforms and haven’t decided on any of those yet. But first I want to talk about the ideas bouncing around inside my head on what to run.
Call of Cthulhu: Yeah, I know that sounds kind of odd but I have been really wanting to run CofC again. I’ve got a couple of ideas for this. On the game mechanics side, I’m more partial to the old editions of CofC and the current edition of Delta Green. So I’d probably do a crazy house ruled hybrid. I’m just that kind of guy. For setting/campaign, I’ve got two ideas.
But then if I want to keep with the White Box theme, I could go with Eldritch Tales.
Old West/Down Darker Trails: I’ve been listening to Ain’t Slayed Nobody and have been enjoying it. It seems like a perfectly natural fit and just outside the standard. And there’s some pretty good inspiration out there like Bone Tomahawk.
Oh wait there’s more. Like The Burrowers.
And Dead Birds. Yes, I know there are many more like Ravenous but these jumped right out at me.
Of course, since I mentioned Delta Green that also means that a more modern game is on my mind too. And if you know me one little bit then here’s a double feature crossover bit of inspiration.
Now, I also stumbled onto Highway of Blood for 7E CofC for adding even more grind house creepy to it.
Who knows? Maybe this is just wishful thinking on my part. But we shall see.
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).