Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Goodbye, Zach

Fellow game designer and much loved family man, Zach Best, has passed. My condolences go out to his friends and family.

Zach suffered from Oesophageal cancer and died last night. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Zach, founder of conjecture games, was a pioneer in the gaming industry, with a focus on solo roleplaying in his UNE, CRGE and BOLD systems.

Jacob Ross has done a great job organising a bundle on Drivethrurpg, and Zach's Book, which he will be leaving up indefinitely for proceeds to go to Zach's family. You can get Zach's Book here.

I regret never getting to know Zach personally, but his spirit and work will live on through the gaming community.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Nurg Vampire for Tequendria


The Nurg Vampires live in scarlet towers whose enchantments surround them in eternal night for miles around. They are dead, brought back from the grave by the Thin Sires, mottled bags of bone and sinew who weave black magics in blacker nights.

A Nurg Vampire is pale of complexion, red of eye and keen of sense. They wear refined fashions of silk and bone and their manners are impeccable. If a Nurg detects an iota of impoliteness in a person, they will swiftly slice their throat and drink upon their blood.

Each Nurg carries with it its life force contained within a Jewel of Sheth. Breaking the jewel through magical means is the only way to ensure a Nurg will remain dead. Even decapitation won't work.

Nurgs do not and cannot say the names of the gods. Should they attempt, blood pours forth from their mouths.

Nurgs can envelope themselves in darkness, even when it is light and move objects with their mind.

Lvl 6
Type: Undead
Aggression level: Aware
Action: d8, Wits: d8, Ego: d10
Hits: 6d8
Attack: d8+3 (Bite d6+1 or Throwing Knife d6+1)
Defence: d8+3
Spells known: Phantom Hand, Smokescreen

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Get Tequendria in print now


I've just launched the print edition of Tequendria - the roleplaying game inspired by the works of Lord Dunsany. You can buy it here.

If you're already familiar with the game you will notice the updated cover by Ivan Bilibin.

Tequendria uses Unbelievably Simple Roleplaying as its engine, with 20 character archetypes, all of whom can cast spells, and everything you need to play.

Buy the book today http://www.lulu.com/shop/tequendria-fantastical-roleplaying/paperback/product-23369165.html

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Djinns of Tequendria


The Vunsa Mystics speak of the songs of the elders, songs of which were collected inside lamps with rosewater and whispers from dying sultans. Left for centuries the concoction grows sentience and becomes a djinn.

The People of Loz, desert nomads in the Cyresian Dunes are the current keepers of the sole djinn who now walks the world - Anthopon. The giant red humanoid acts as a defender and guide for the People of Loz, leading them through the desert in search of the Gates of Al Karthook, the entrance to the promised land where the gods play their harps and rivers run with sweet wine.

But Geeta of the Vunsa tells travellers of the azure lamp in which Zarta resides. This is supposedly buried away in the dreaded Theth, Realm of the God Spider. On Hlo-Hlo's mountain of treasures the azure lamp can be found. Only the most foolhardy thief would descend into the dark of Theth and choose to face the God Spider.

Djinns are technically demons - in that they are otherworldly spiritual beings. However this doesn't mean they are evil. Their disposition entirely depends on the kinds of song created it. They are intrinsically magical beings who will serve any who releases it from its prison for 500 years. If their master dies beforehand, the next in the bloodline becomes its master. After five centuries the djinn will become a free agent, doing what they will. There is no known free djinn.

Djinn
Lvl 7
Type: Demon
Aggression level: Aware
Action: d10, Wits: d10, Ego: d8
Hits: 7d8
Attack: d10+3 (Sabre d8)
Defence: d10+3
Spells known: Enchant Weapon, Create Fire, Magic Shield



What's that rain?


There are two varieties of rain in the real world: regular and chocolate. Let's look at some other rain effects for your fairy games.

1. Undeath rain - seeps into the ground to raise hungry corpses.

2. Tree growth rain - the roots lap it up and the trees grow twice their size and start to whisper secrets of the area to anyone who will listen.

3. Doom rain - get this on your skin and feel paranoia and impending doom.

4. Manic rain - the harder the rain, the harder you laugh. You might keel over and choke. Hilarious.

5. Bee rain - this rain is bees. Millions of bees.

6. Monk rain - makes people turn silent. Literally, they cannot make a sound with their mouth or body. Not even clapping.

7. Hunger rain - the drenched feel famished. They must eat. They might even eat each other.

8. Corrosive rain - all armour begins to corrode. All skin and flesh melts away. Bone too.

9. Phero-rain - your skin is soaked in beast pheromones. You attract beasts of that species. This isn't necessarily a good thing.

10. Brain drain rain - you begin to forget. At first it's the little things, but then it's where you're from, your earliest memories, even who you are.


Thursday, 28 September 2017

Observations from first edition Tunnels and Trolls


I've been having a re-read of the first ed of T&T and have come across some interesting stuff that I hadn't really noticed before.


  • The GM is called the Dungeon Master. I suppose this makes sense because up to then there was no other term for it.
  • Player actions are supposed to be relayed by one person on behalf of the group called The Voicer. Yep, one person leads the group and speaks for them.
  • Dungeons aren't drawn - they're 'dug'. I love this.
  • Magic-users (not wizards) can change into warriors. However, they lose all experience.
  • Misogynist is a monster type
  • If a monster reaches less than 10 con, players can enslave it temporarily until it revolts, or they can use magic to permanently tame it.
  • A Thompson machine gun has 16 dice
  • Magic-users are always the last to be hit in a combat
  • Supermarkets are built outside every dungeon
  • Monsters can go berserk

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

New T&T podcast - Werewolf Blood


Tunnels and Trolls is kind of on the roleplaying fringe. A tonne of people have heard of it, some may have even played it, but there's very few people actually talking about it. There are at least a billion OSR podcasts out there and nothing for T&T (I attempted once, but failed to keep up).

Thankfully one Peter Seckler has launched Werewolf Blood, a podcast all about Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls. It's just released its second episode (the first was a short intro), which you can find here: m.soundcloud.com/werewolfblood/wb-episode-2?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=googleplus

Put Peter's delectable tones adjacent to your eardrums (along with some sweet bluesy riffs). I order you.




Sunday, 24 September 2017

New dwarves


The dwarves only came into being by accident. It happened when Thren, the god of dark places, was slain by his treacherous brother Fiyal, god of hidden things, for rule over the darkness below. In the battle, the blood of Thren and Fiyal mingled in the flames of volcanic magma, cooling and solidifying. This shimmering rock became known as the Dwarrimstone, the birth mineral of the dwarves. One by one they clambered out of the cracked stone, squat, grey beings with lava in their blood. Fiyal, looking upon his creation, realised that he had an army at his disposal who could help him take on his final target of dark domains - Pella, goddess of the underworld.

Fiyal gave them the gift of the everforge, allowing them to craft metals into things unimaginable to the brightworlders above. They wrought cities from iron, great temples of steel and even clockwork beings to become their servants. It would be a millennia before they were truly ready to descend into the underworld and fight the groaning dead, but it would happen for Fiyal imbued it in their holy text - The Writings of Descent.

The dwarves (or dwarrim in their tongue) have a fiery temperament to go with the fire running in their veins. In fact, it's common for a dwarf to rage for hours, their eyes glowing yellow while they destroy structures and tear limbs from their own. This Molten Rage has become a problem in dwarf society, with those prone to it being locked in The Shell - a huge iron maximum security prison.

Dwarves do not have magic. Fiyal ever had a distrust for magical things as it tends to reveal hidden things. It is the domain of the brightworlders, so he taught his people the ways of craft and engineering instead.

Because they are literally made partially of lava, dwarves do bleed it. A decapitation causes a small volcanic eruption, and although it does little to harm the dwarves, brightworlders should stay clear unless they wish to be burned.

While dwarves are hairless beings, Fiyal's beard is iconic and holy to them. As holy garb they clad their faces in iron masks moulded with great beards in honour of their god.

Dwarves cannot and do not eat. They instead must inhale ash on a daily basis to maintain energy levels. Many use a special smoking pipe for this called a longshallow (describing the structure of the pipe).

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Further thoughts on MetaArcade's Tunnels and Trolls Adventures


I wanted to create a separate post to talk about stuff I'd like to see in the Tunnels and Trolls Adventures app.

First off - a shop. You end up getting a bunch of loot during your adventures but nowhere to spend it. Potions and rations that increase your Con wouldn't go amiss here.

Magic. Currently you can only create warriors, which makes it simple to run a solo - wizard solos tend to require a magic matrix, which could be a bit fiddly, I guess. But the option to be a wizard or rogue would add some depth to the game.

Talents. While the T&T rules are fairly open with talent selection, selecting from a list to get a bonus shouldn't be difficult to implement and means that characters aren't similar. I suppose the only annoying thing for MetaArcade would be to programme where each talent can be used.

Illkin. Yeah, maybe it'll unbalance the (pretty unbalanced) game, but let me be a minotaur already!




Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Automata kindred for T&T


Well, what can I say? I can't refuse a request from Kyrinn S Eis, can I?

There are two kinds of automata kindred: magical construct (or MagCon) and extraterrestrial.

MagCon

This automata was forged in fire from iron and given a spark of life from a wizard (and less often, a rogue). They are bulky humanoid beings that clank and creak when they move. They are powered by a magical crystal in their heart called the Vostrum.

Attribute mods: ST X2, DX x0.75, INT x1, SP x0.5, CON x1.75, WIZ x0.5

Extraterrestrial

This automata came from somewhere 'out there'. Nobody knows how they were built and by whom, but it is known they run on a strange viscous fluid and have an organic beating heart. They are sleeker and less haphazard than MagCons and their voices are smooth.

Attribute mods: ST X1, DX x1.5, INT x1, SP x1, CON x1.5, WIZ x0.75

Automata abilities:

- they don't sleep. Ever
- they can detect heat signatures through 1ft of wall
- spending an hour analysing a written language allows them to gain a rudimentary understand it. However they cannot speak it. This extends to 5 hours for the language of rare kindred
- they do not need to breathe



Automata for T&T


Despite the lack of technology available to the people of Trollworld, deep in the strange corners of the world machines do exist. Some are dreamt up in the fever dreams of mad wizards who fashion iron into nightmare constructs, while others awoke in the subterranean landscape inside the silver craft that plunged into the planet a millennia ago.

Automata are robots - some running on steam and gears, others on magical crystal cores, and some on actual souls. Automata are not to be trifled with.

Servitor Automata
MR 40 (5d+20)
Spite: 1/1
Special: The Servitor goes into emergency mode of its master is harmed, firing a laser at one assailant on its turn. The target makes a L3SR-DX or suffers 2d6 Con damage. Once used, the laser must power back up. Each round roll a d6. On a 5 or 6 the laser comes back online.

Servitors are a staple in the steel magician's abode. They clean the premises, water the plants, take care of the toddlers and often sort out the paperwork. While they aren't bodyguards they do have armaments and will try to kill anyone harming their master. Otherwise, they are pretty placid.

Octoid MK III
MR 84 (9d+42)
Spite:
2/ pocket rocket: a small heat guided missile is fired at one target within 100ft. They must make a L4SR-DX or take 2d6 Con damage.
3/ stranglehold: rubbery tendrils target 1d6 targets within 60ft, wrapping around their necks. Targets take 3d6 Con damage and cannot move in the next round.
Special: The octoid will attack anything moving. It is blind if you stay perfectly still.

Octoids are alien beings who reside in underground spacecraft which can be up to a few miles long. They are sentry automata, guarding their ships with extreme prejudice. They have a single lens in the centre of a bulbous head and eight long rubbery arms that can rip the heads of multiple targets simultaneously. They run on a purple fluid that, if drank, increases INT by 5 for 3 days.

Snekker
MR 48 (5d+24)
Spite: 2/ soar: the snekker take flight for the next round and can only be attacked by missile weapons.
Special: Snekkers have heat vision, able to see the heat signatures of warm blooded creatures through 1ft wall from 100ft.

Snekkers are sleek silver humanoid automatas from the Therian dimension. They are completely sentient, intelligent and dangerous. With retractable wings, they are able to hunt from the sky and the ground, making them terrifying foes.








Monday, 11 September 2017

T&T micro solo: Come, Come Into my Coven


This adventure is suitable for delvers with at least 30 adds. Ranged weapons can only be used in the first round of combat - it then turns to melee. No magic.

It has been three days since Vinnie hired you to take care of his witch problem. He spotted you glugging Dwarfmeister grog down the Pig and Muck in Gull and approached you about a job. Vinnie owns a farm out west and has lately been having witch troubles. First it was one, casting a spell here and there, then two showed up and now he's got a whole coven of the bloody things creeping around his land making newt-based mischief. It all came to a head when the buggers turned all his horses into adders and his poor wife got bit on the ankle. He asked you to take care of the coven.

You arrive at the farmstead as evening draws in. You scan the fields but see no sign of witches dancing widdershins and what have you. From your vantage point you see two possible places they could be:

Go to the dark wood - turn to 2
Go to the sinister cave - turn to 3

2.

The ominous hoot of a lone owl sounds above you as you trudge through the murky wood. The very trees look like they would rough you up and take your wallet. Soon you come to a small hovel, sole spiralling from the chimney. Seems witchy enough.

Burst in through the door - turn to 4
Try lure the witches out - turn to 5

3.

You head over to a craggy outcrop where the mouth of a cave waits, gaping at you. Lighting a torch, you enter cautiously, walking into the stone belly of the beast. Make a L2SR-LK. If you succeed, go to 6. If not, go to 7.

4.

Mustering your courage you tell a battle cry and smash down the door. The hovel is a single room littered with all sorts of odds and ends. Petrified toads, a jar of something particularly evil and monkey's paw. However there's nobody around. You suddenly hear a noise coming from underneath an upturned glass. You see a tiny person trapped beneath it, hammering on the sides with their little fists. It's a boy, no older than nine.

Free the tiny boy - turn to 8
Ignore him and have a good rummage - turn to 9

5.

You know full well that witches love the smell of delicious bacon. They can't get enough of it. You pull a few rashers out of you bag and waft them in the air. Unfortunately, you forgot that other things love bacon too, like the wendigo standing right behind you. The creature leers at you with its antlers and deformed monstrous face before charging. You must fight it. It is MR 32 (4d+16). If you survive you end up splattering its head all over the side of the hovel.

Burst into the hovel - turn to 4
Decide to go to the cave - turn to 10

6.

You manage to quickly dodge the razor sharp spear that was heading towards your face. Looking back, you see a large humanoid mole with a scorpion tale. Mithids! You should have known. Two more appear out of the shadows. You just fight them. They have a combined MR of 56 (6d+28). If you reduce them to 20 con, the remaining ones will flee. If you survive, turn to 11.

7.

You feel a spear pierce your back and you fall to your knees. Behind you three large humanoid moles appear with scorpion tails. Take 2d6 con damage. Within moments you are strung upside down over a roaring fire, the creatures flailing and chanting beneath. The day isn't going great, let's be honest. You feel yourself lowering and the heat getting intense.

Try wriggle free of the rope - turn to 12
Try swinging clear of the flames - turn to 13

8.

You lift the glass and the boy lets out a tiny cheer. "I am Roy," he says, as if on helium, "My father is the farmer here. You must make a potion to turn me back. I know the ingredients for the one that shrunk me, but I don't know the remedy. I'm sure you can figure it out though. The original potion was: a vole, a cockroach and a sparrow." You look at the ingredients to hand.

Cat, calf and eagle - turn to 14
Ant, spider and rat - turn to 15

9.

You don't have time to speak to a small child in a glass. Instead you start rooting through the stuff in the hovel. Make a L1SR-LK. If you succeed, turn to 16. If you fail, turn to 17.

10.

Night has fallen quickly and darkness is all around you. You get the sense you're being watched. Out of the darkness you can make out several shapes. Four crones wearing tattered black dresses reach out to you with pale, withered hands. The witches have found you. It's time to fight. They have a combined MR of 60 (7+30) and if they roll three sixes you are momentarily petrified, losing half your adds for that combat round. If you defeat them, turn to 18.

11.

You tear one of the Mithid's tails off and ram it into its face before dispatching another. The remaining ones flee, squealing into the night. Exploring the cave further you find the remains of several delvers. One is carrying a glittering sword (3d+3). Another wears a Ring of Frost Fist. This conjures a giant fist made of ice once per day that acts as a 9d weapon. You loot the bodies and leave the cave. Turn to 10.

12.

You kick your legs frantically, trying to loosen the rope. You can feel it slacken, so you continue. At last! Your feet are free, but you are plummeting towards the fire. You are at once engulfed in flame, never to emerge from the cave again.

13.

You use your body to swing away from the cloying smoke and burning fire. The Mithids shriek, watching you try to escape. One throws a spear, missing you and catching the rope sending you tumbling onto the ground. You quickly get to your feet and flee out of the cave, spears whizzing by your head. Soon you are in the dark field, far beyond the evil cave. Turn to 10.

14.

You throw the disgusting ingredients into the bubbling cauldron and make a viscous stew. Grabbing a ladle, you scoop out the brown mixture and feed it to the boy. The a pop Roy becomes normal size again. "Thanks for your help. But those witches are still out there," he says. You nod and tell him to run on home - you'll take care of the witches. Turn to 10.

15.

You concoct a grotesque green mixture in the bubbling cauldron and feed it to Roy. He begins to grow and doesn't stop. His skin becomes blackened and scaly and his mouth stretches into a maw riddled with ivory teeth. The roof of the hovel bursts open as the Nightshade Dragon opens its wings. You must fight it. It has MR 68 (7d+34). If you defeat it you leave into the night. Turn to 10.

16.

Under a pile of clothes you discover a pair of purple tinted glasses. Wearing them allows you to see what someone is really thinking in a situation. You chuckle and leave the hovel. Turn to 10.

17.

As you rummage you accidentally knock over a vial of liquid. It shatters on the ground releasing a noxious gas. You find yourself changing physically. You are now a golem. Your attribute modifiers are as follows: ST x1.75, DX x0.75, INT x 0.5, CHA x 0.5, LK x 1, SP x 1, WIZ x 0.5. Seeing yourself in the mirror you let out a shriek and flee the hovel. Turn to 10.

18.

You leave the pile of witch corpses in the woods and rest up in the farmstead. The next day you are woken by Vinnie, who thanks you for ridding his farm of the witches. If Roy is alive, he pays you 400gp. If he isn't he pays you 200gp.






Review: Tunnels and Trolls Adventures by MetaArcade


The best roleplaying session I've ever played was a Tunnels and Trolls adventure (it was one of my own published adventures, not to brag). I have an affinity with the game - it's the reason why Trollish Delver exists. So it's taken me a shocking amount of time to get around to playing Tunnels and Trolls Adventures by MetaArcade.

The app allows you to purchase and play several solo adventures - a hallmark of the T&T system, including classics like Naked Doom and Buffalo Castle, along with more recent entries like Grimtina's Guard and The Seven Ayes - the latter being shorter adventures. While Naked Doom is free, you have to pay to play the others, either by spending hearts, which give you one play, or buying the modules outright with gems. Alright, it's one of the few apps that I'm cool with pay to play, but considering it costs the same to buy a bunch of gems as it does a bunch of hearts I have absolutely no idea why you'd buy hearts since the gems give you the full adventure forever. Bizarre!

Thankfully MetaArcade has kept the ability to use the same character between adventures, levelling them up and gaining treasure as you go. When you begin you have access to a handful of pre-made characters, but you also have the ability to create your own using the usual T&T rules that can result in either really weak or ridiculously strong characters - I love it. Levelling is also kept the same, gathering adventure points for every creature you kill, saving roll you make and adventure you complete. Oh, and even if your character dies, you keep everything. For me, this is a little too lenient - I prefer permadeath, but that's just me being a sadist.

I've played through all but one of the solos on the app - although I have played the remaining adventure as a physical copy. Each contains some great art from a mish-mash of artists, including perennial favourites Liz Danforth and David Ullery. This is really old school art, much of it black and white and most of it lovely. Not only do you have the art, but the app also has some great atmospheric sounds that match your situation - so if you're standing in a tavern you will hear the din of chatter and the clanking of glasses. This is a nice touch.

I'm hoping MetaArcade keeps adding new solos to the mix because it won't take you long to get through the existing ones. All in all, I'm impressed with the app, but I think being a die hard T&T fan does help. If you fancy some T&T action, but can't be bothered cracking out your books then this is a nice diversion - especially if you're on the move.






Sunday, 10 September 2017

OSR micro solo: Ancient Sorceries


This is a micro solo adventure for OSR games. Stats for roll under and over rules are given.

Beyond the Dun Barrows of Akthania where the ghast kings dwell and further than the dread plains of Unreach where the Nevertribe makes its home lies the Husk Forest. Deep within the wood a stone temple has been left to the elements for over two centuries and it's history has become dust.

You stand before it, your mind still fractured by the horrors you have seen up to this point. Its crumbling grey pillars and haunted cavernous belly that resides just out of sight is both attractive and repulsive to you. But you have come too far to turn back now.

Its dim inner sanctum has been reclaimed by nature - vines crawl like fingers up broken walls, obscuring markings once made by worshippers here. A family of bats slumber in a dark corner and a skink darts across the stone floor. At the end is what remains of an altar, but fear prickles your neck when you see what rests on top of the structure. A perfectly preserved body wrapped in linen. It is a human woman, no older than thirty, but possibly hundreds of years old. Her face is pale, but it is noble and beautiful. In her left hand she clasps a silver sword and in her right a crystal vial containing an emerald liquid.

Take the sword - turn to 2
Take the vial - turn to 3
Explore the temple - turn to 4

2.

Cautiously you lift the blade from her grip. Make a saving throw Vs spells. If you pass, you feel a vibration through the blade and drop it before it ignites into blue flame. If you fail, the sword ignites, you're covered in blue flame. You feel no pain, but you see an age into the past. You see the woman forcing a robed man to drink a green liquid. You see him change into a structure of horns, scales, and claws. You drop the sword. Lose 1d6 Intelligence points for the next 1d6 days.

The woman begins to rot away, leaving only a skeleton. The hand drops the vial, which shatters on the ground.

Explore the temple - turn to 11
Leave the temple - turn to 5

3.

You lift the vial of liquid out of her hand gently and inspect it. Make an Intelligence check. If you pass on roll under, or score 12 or more on roll over, turn to 6. If you do not pass and want to drink the contents, turn to 7. After you remove the vial from her hand, her body rots away to bones, causing her to drop the sword, which erupts into blue flame and vanishes.

Explore the temple - turn to 11
Leave the temple - turn to 5

4.

You brush the undergrowth out of the way to reveal faded pictures on the walls. A lake with a stone building in the background. Within the lake are beings swimming, monstrous things you wish not to have seen. As you search you find a wooden flute.

Take the sword - turn to 2
Take the vial - turn to 3
Leave the temple - turn to 5

5.

The area around the temple is vastly overgrown, with willows looming over you like watchers. Moving behind the temple you find yourself in a clearing with a man-made lake. If you have the flute you may play it - turn to 8 but if you have the keyword Deep turn to 9. Or you may move closer to the water - turn to 10.

6.

A sniff and a light taste tells you all you needs to know. Transmogrification magic. You can drink it by turning to 7. Otherwise.

Explore the temple - turn to 11
Leave the temple - turn to 5

7.

Your bones begin to crack and muscles convulse. You shriek as your skin becomes mottled scales and bone slides out of your head to form horns. Your hands elongate onto claws with webbing. Obtain the keyword Deep.

Explore the temple - turn to 11
Leave the temple - turn to 5

8.

You play a simple melody that flows in the air. You don't know what you're playing, but it feels right to be playing it. Within moments the lake's surface is disturbed. Emerging from its depths comes a amphibious being with vast horns, yellowed eyes and a sinister grin. The creature means to devour your flesh, so you must fight it.

Beast from Below
HP 15
AC 14 (5)
Attack: +4 (roll under 15)
Damage: 1d6

If you defeat the creature, turn to 12.

9.

When you cast your bulbous eyes on the lake you feel yourself being drawn to the water. Yes, the cool water will feel wonderful against your scales. You submerge yourself and laugh with glee. You go down further and further. Soon you are joined by your own kind, swimming together for eternity.

10.

You peer into the calm waters and could swear you just saw something move down there. A large shape growing closer. You back away and decide to flee this cursed place. The adventure is over.

11.

You brush the undergrowth out of the way to reveal faded pictures on the walls. A lake with a stone building in the background. Within the lake are beings swimming, monstrous things you wish not to have seen. As you search you find a wooden flute.

Leave the temple - turn to 5

12.

The beast lays on the ground in a bloody pool. You stand over the heap panting, black blood covering your clothing and face. You reach down and break off the horn, knowing you can get at least 300gp for it on the market. You walk away from the lake without looking back. This is where your adventure ends.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

English Eerie


English Eerie is a game currently in development and due for release in time for Halloween. Why? Because it's real spooky.

It's probably a spiritual success to Quill - it's a solo storytelling game where players use a journal to create a horror story set in rural England. It's based around authors like M.R. James and Algernon Blackwood, as well as English folklore and folk horror films. Think things like The Wicker Man, The Willows and Lost Hearts. Scenarios use an oppressive and creepy English countryside as the backdrop - where natural beauty is only a veneer that obscures the true terror of the land.

The idea is that you're given a scenario (there are 10 in the main rules) and you use the prompts in there along with a rigged deck of cards to tell a scary story with rising tension. Each suit is tied to a type of event, with each scenario offering inspiration as to what type of event that is. It could be a secondary character trying to thwart your progress by whacking you with a tyre iron, or you may uncover a clue that helps shape your story. When obstacles crop up, you roll a d10 against the card number to see if you successfully overcome it, using Resolve points to increase your chances. Failure leads to your Spirit diminishing - the end of the scenario dictating what happens if you do or do not have any Spirit remaining.

Everything that happens is told in days and written as journal entries by a flickering candle. So far playtesting has gone well and it's almost ready to be published. It will also have a POD version.




Sunday, 3 September 2017

Thoughts on new Fighting Fantasy art


Yesterday I was at Fighting Fantasy Fest 2, which was a hoot. At the event Scholastic launched its Fighting Fantasy line, complete with all new covers and interior art. This is generally par for the course when FF gets a new publisher, but Scholastic is a pretty big coup for the franchise considering it's the biggest children's publisher in the world and had school-based book clubs. This in theory should put FF in front of a whole lot of kids, which is a fantastic thing.

Because Scholastic has to cater for a market of digital natives who are used to a certain style in their app games and animated series, Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson have kind of told us older fans that we've got to give the new art style a chance, and I completely agree. We still have our Nicholson, McCaig, Hough and other FF masters, but according to Scholastic these artists' works aren't going to resonate with the kids today (I don't agree with this - I think kids want quality and cool shit as much as the rest of us).

So let's talk about the new covers first. The first phase contains: Warlock of Firetop Mountain, City of Thieves, Citadel of Chaos, Forest of Doom, House of Hell(!) And the new Port of Peril. Guys, I really like these covers - particularly Forest. They're bright and a little trippy. Sure, they look like they've come from a gaming app but that's the point I think (not to be cynical about it).

I can't comment too much on the interior art, because I've only seen snapshots of some books, but I did pick up a limited edition hardback of Port of Peril (interestingly with a bloody amazing McCaig cover) and had a flick through at the art. Let's just say it's not for me and I can't see too many current fans being enamored. It's all a little flat and cartoony - a complete departure from anything done before in the series. The paragraph dividers are also quite poor - 3D rendered greyscale treasure chests that look like they've come from a generic fantasy app.

I don't know how engaging this art is to kids nowadays - I only know that the art of the old green spines were a joy to me as a kid and part of the reason I got into gaming. The art has stuck with me for two decades because of the absolute mind blowing detail, gore, and wonder it conjured. When I look through Port of Peril I can't imagine the art really affecting anyone in that way.

I'll have a review of Port of Peril on the blog soon .

Top image: Scholastic



Sunday, 27 August 2017

New elves


Elves, the common term used by the peasantry for the Elffumkin or 'people who hide'. They are creatures born from the earth's womb, brought into the world by the unfurled leaf of the Nurin tree when the moon wanes.

Each elf is connected through the earth through a psycho-biological network called the Root. Through this an elf can communicate danger to another at the other side of the continent. Because of this, all elves are intrinsically known to one another and so have no use for names. Instead they use symbols to represent themselves, beginning as simple shapes when they are young but becoming complex fractals as they age. They age like the tree, living up to 400 years.

Elves rarely venture from their hidden natural realms as few see the benefit. Some become envoys for the race, visiting the 'stoneworlds' as they call it, to meet with humans, halflings and occasionally dwarves.

There are several effects of an elf who is displaced from its natural realm.

- remaining in a place of little to no nature for at least a day causes shoots and saplings to grow in close proximity to the elf.
- the air around the elf smells like bark.
- animals are calmed in its presence and are drawn to it.
- fruit remains fresh as long as the elf is within 100 ft.

Elves do not use stoneworld crafted weapons or armour unless they have to. Instead, they may spend one hour digging in soil in their realm to pull out a simple wooden weapon or armour. Often this is a bow or blowgun, but the earth also provides some simple bladed weapons made of wood almost as tough as steel.

Elves can't technically 'see' in the dark, but they sense their surroundings almost as accurately as if they could, though they find it difficult to sense if they are moving at speed. Dark vision is reduced to 10ft while moving quickly or performing a strenuous action.

When elves die they rot in the same way a fruit would - becoming moldy, wrinkled and smelling of earth. Their blood is like sap - amber and viscous.


Saturday, 26 August 2017

My game designing story so far - part five


For a while I'd been considering giving Halberd an overhaul. I'd gone back time and again with new ideas to update it, but each time I was left cold. I'd been reading a tonne of Dunsany so I thought about how I could integrate some of his magic into the game. Once I actually began writing the thing I realised that it was turning into a completely new game. I was updating the USR mechanics and overhauling pretty much every aspect of the game, so rather than make this a rehash of Halberd I decided it needed to be a game in its own right. Enter Tequendria.

To my mind Tequendria is the first game of Dunsanian fantasy, which I was absolutely shocked by. It was probably my favourite game to create too - designing those archetypes was a hoot.

By now I think I'd found my stride after all these years. I'd grown in confidence and was losing some of that 'oh everyone's going to hate it' neuroticism I'd previously harboured.

My next project was again one I'd picked up from notes. I love cyberpunk and I'd created USR Cyberpunk to see how refined a game like that could be made. But I took a look at In Darkest Warrens and decided to challenge myself to make an ultra lite cyberpunk game. This became Wired Neon Cities. Fully playable realised cyberpunk world in a handful of pages.

It had been over a year since Quill was released and I'd been going back and forth between a Lovecraftian project - Quill's first campaign. It's actually the first thing I ever wanted to do with the game because the genre fits so perfectly, but I'd never been happy with the mechanics and story. One time I thought I had it down and started writing a scenario with mi-go, but it didn't work out. Then everything seemed to click into place. Quill: Shadow and Ink was a challenge, but I'm proud of the story that came out of it and I believe it's set the standard for future Quill scenarios.

I

As you can probably tell by now, if you've read the entire series, I spend a lot of my free time creating. I go to sleep thinking about mechanics and sometimes dream about the games in my head. I have a stack of notes and partial projects which I dip into but ultimately if I'm not inspired then a project will fall off the radar. If I get to the end of a book and end up disliking it for whatever reason it's thrown into game purgatory.

I feel like my gaming journey is only just beginning. I see the amazing creations that are coming out of the small press at the moment and feel inspired. I'm fortunate to be part of a community that encourages each other and helps each other along the way. There's currently a bunch of them playtesting a new game that's kind of a spiritual sequel to Quill.

So thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me on my way so far. I have a tonne to learn and maybe in the next 10 years I'll consider myself to be more than a passable creator. Let's hope.





Friday, 25 August 2017

My game designing story so far- part four


I was riding the high off Quill so I immediately wanted to create more Quill - people seemed to want it. I released the first supplement, Love Letters in time for Valentine's Day, but it wouldn't be for more than a year until I properly revisited Quill. Meanwhile other people were making cool stuff for the game. Derek Kamal released the awesome Coal and Parchment set in his Homes universe (novel and The Dig RPG). It was a cool time.

What's next? I thought to myself. Determined to burn myself out I started thinking about whether I could feasibly get a full game onto two sides of A4. More of an experiment than anything else, but one that worked out well. In Darkest Warrens became the first in my trilogy of compact games - one with OSR sensibilities without being OSR. Soon after I created Astounding Interplanetary Adventures, because I fucking love Flash Gordon.

Then I crashed for a while. I went back over my notes (I tend to keep teams of them - half finished thoughts, mechanics and concepts) and decided I wanted to get into the meat of the OSR. I'd been noodling with some mechanics that took the best parts of White Box, Black Hack, and 5e and got to work on developing those. Over a series of months I started writing and playtesting Romance of the Perilous Land, an OSR game based around British folklore.

Late 2016 I released it into the wild to generally positive reviews. It was my biggest game so far, so I told myself I deserved a rest. Did I listen to myself?

Not a chance.

Next time: Tequendria, Shadow and Ink, and Wired Neon Cities.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

My game designing story so far - part three


I didn't stray from Tunnels and Trolls, even during my more experimental phase. The power team of Christina Lea and Tom K Loney created a Trollish Delver line of GM adventures through Peryton Publishing, with myself and Tom alternating between releasing T&T scenarios in my Peakvale setting. I must get back into that.

I was beginning to become interested in broadening my horizons and challenging myself. In 2015 I released The Village on the Hill, my first 'storytelling' game and also my first game aimed at families. I remember making the game being a peaceful experience itself - it's a gentle game and I'm quite proud of it, despite it being one of my lesser known ones.

You can probably tell by now that I love making games. It's a hobby that, at the time, was starting to bring in enough money to supplement my income. Continuing my delve into less traditional games I wrote Canary Overdrive - a game all about badass female cyberpunk superspies.

Throughout the years I had been making notes on a space opera supplement for USR. Towards the end of 2015 this would become Somnium Void - a rip roaring space opera with a mystery behind it. I think this is the first book I released that had some buzz about it and as a result sold really well (for me). This was the point where I thought - hey, I might not be so bad at this thing.

Beyond Fear came next - a Lovecraftian USR supplement, which I believe does lite Lovecraft very well. I'd like to bring out a new edition of this with full USR rules.

The beginning of 2016 was huge for me. There I was, noodling around with my notebook when I had the idea of combining letter writing and roleplaying. I scratched out some mechanics and started playing through, honing the game and realising - holy shit, this works! Quill was by far the most off-kilter game I'd ever created and something that I'd never seen before, except to some extent with Dr Profundis. Quill sold like hotcakes and people were actually talking about it. Quite a lot of people. Soon people were getting in touch wanting to create their own versions. It was nuts! Podcasts were talking about it, blogs were reviewing it, I was being interviewed - it was pretty surreal.

Next time: In Darkest Warrens, The Pulp Hack and Romance of the Perilous Land.






Wednesday, 23 August 2017

My game designing story so far - part two


So USR in its first form was on the internet and people were warm to it. I decided to get in touch with OBS and set up a publisher account, eventually uploading several previous T&T supplements and USR.

I was apprehensive to say the least. This was a bigger platform than I was used to, so generally I was worried about all these seasoned gamers hating my creation.

Turns out, most people liked it. Some loved it. Spurred on by the reception I started putting plans in place for supplements, starting work on USR Cyberpunk. This was an effort to stretch USR as far as it could go - taking a traditionally complex gaming genre and making it work for a rules lite game and I believe it may have been the first to do this.

I followed this up with The Trollmanac, which is probably my favourite T&T supplement and my first book to get some kind of award (runner-up Diehard GameFAN 2013). Meanwhile USR was gaining traction by a handful of people online, one being my friend of quite a few years Stuart Lloyd, who is a gamebook genius. He proposed creating a short gamebook for USR as an intro to the rules, which became Locket Away.

At this point I was seeing that there could be something in this game designing malarkey and I was vindicated when The Mary Sue wrote about USR in an article about great games you've never heard of. Sure, the money was still only enough to buy a monthly pizza, but it was something.

Google Plus became a haven for me as a designer. Here was a bunch of people I could talk to, riff on and ultimately be inspired by. It also served as a ground for marketing my stuff and to this day it's one of my most effective avenues for this.

Late 2013 I released Halberd Fantasy Roleplaying, my biggest book at the time. This was the first supplement which I considered a slog, having worked since USR's inception on a fantasy version of the game. It's a fun game, but not my favourite work - but you can find the origin of my Dunsanian fantasy game Tequendria right here.

In early 2014 I released my refurbished version of USR to the world, with an aim to build off that over the coming years.

Next time: 'experimental' games, Beyond Fear and stepping into the Void.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

My game designing story so far - part one


Self-aggrandizing post in 3, 2, 1...

I was probably about 14 when I designed my first tabletop game. I use the term loosely -it was a grand theft auto clone with bodily hit locations and that was pretty much the gist of it. I would sit at my desk with my biro scribbling hacked up rules and draw cool robots and suchlike in the margins because - hello - teenage boy.

I would always return to that desk and notebook - jotting down ideas for new games that I can only half remember - something to do with aliens who could infect you with poison needle claws. Nowadays it would probably be considered Gonzo. Gonzo and shit.

Fast forward, oh, six years? I get in a conversation online with a chap called Tom K Loney, who I consider a pivotal reason for getting into game design and a guy who called himself Khenn - who I'd later come to know as the great Ken St Andre. Talk turned to Tunnels and Trolls after I wanted to find out more about solo roleplaying. From there I was hooked - I grabbed a bunch of solos and had my merry way with them, filthy devil that I am. Inspired by T&T I started up this here blog, making what would be my first public game design posts.

It wasn't long before I released my first published book - a T&T solo called Depths of the Devilmancer. By now I was part of the Trollhalla group, so designers like Loney, Sid Orpin, Andy Holmes and St Andre help spurred me on. I followed Depths up with Thornguard, an open world solo inspired by the Fabled Lands series, and Forest of the Treelords, my first GM adventure.

Trollhalla became a forge for my designs, helping them get seen and talked about (a bit). I eventually went on to contribute to several editions of Peryton Publishing,'s Elder Tunnels, my first taste of working for a third party publisher.

2011 rolled around and I'd been kicking around ideas for my own system. By then I had become a fan of S John Ross' superb Risus, which got me thinking about rules lite games. I knew I wanted to create something that was easy to pick up and could run any genre. I spent a Sunday afternoon in my crappy rented house at the time scribbling down ideas. What I produced became Unbelievably Simple Roleplaying. I didn't have a presence on Drivethrurpg back then, so I put the file up on 1KM1KT and kind of just hoped people would play it and like it.

After maybe a week of posting I had my first comments and they were really positive. I was over the moon! Had I really just designed a game and people actually liked it? Sure, maybe, what, 30 people had seen it, but it was a start.

Next time: Trollmanac, the rise(ish) of USR and Google Plus


Saturday, 19 August 2017

Quill wins an Indie RPG Award


It's awards season for RPG creators, so we're all dressing in our finest tuxedos and ballgowns to strut our fine selves down the red carpet, metaphorical and otherwise.

I'm excited to say that Quill has received the award for Best Free Game at the Indie RPG Awards. Who would have thought a bizarre solo game about writing letters would win an award? Not this guy.

Other winners included John Harper's Blades in the Dark, which nabbed Indie Game of the Year, Best Support AND Best Production - go John! Ben Robbins netted Best Supplement for Microscope Explorer, and #Feminism: A Nano-game Anthology by Misha Bushyager, Lizzie Stark and Anna Westerling wangled Most Innovative Game. Great work to all winners and runners-up.

You can see all the winner here: http://www.indie-rpg-awards.com/2016/index.shtml 

Some more good news for Quill - the game recently went platinum on DriveThruRPG! Noice.


Friday, 18 August 2017

Grab the Zach Best RPG Bundle for a great cause

I've been away from the internet for a bit, but I wanted to let you know about the Zach Best Family Benefit Bundle, which contains more than $180 worth of roleplaying magnificence for just $10.

Zach Best is a beloved creator and founder of Conjecture Games, making excellent supplements like BOLD and UNE. Sadly Zach is in hospice care suffering from esophageal cancer.

RPG creator Jacob Ross has kindly asked a bunch of creators to contribute to a fantastic bundle in order to aid with expenses. You've got full games like ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG and my own Romance of the Perilous Land, in addition to adventures like Castle Oldskull and Well of the Twice Born, as well as some great supplements. 

So please consider downloading and contributing. 


Sunday, 23 July 2017

Stormwytch, a new archetype for Tequendria


It's time to get witchy with Tequendria. Here's a new archetype for your game. 

Stormwytch

Electricity crackles through her veins and dark clouds bubble around her as she moves. The Stormwytch is chaos incarnate - the living roil who lives in mountainous regions where lightning might strike her, imbuing her with the might of storms. 

Starting Specialisms
  • Weather lore (Wits)
  • Magic lore (Wits)
  • Terrifying (Ego)

Starting Equipment
  • 2d6 x 10 shards
  • Mouse
  • Black cloak
  • Sprig of hendria root

Ability
  • Living Storm - you may cast the following spell:

Lightning Spark
Spell cost: 2
Difficulty: Medium
Effect: You fire a bolt of electricity against one opponent within 40ft, doing 1d6 damage. 

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Halfway through 2017, what does Trollish Delver Games look like?


Where does the year go? We're more than halfway through so I thought I'd take stock and share what has happened in TDG towers over the past six months.

Tequendria: Fantastical Roleplaying

My first release of the year was the biggest in TDG history. Tequendria began life as a revamp of Halberd Fantasy Roleplaying, but took on a life of its own as I drew heavy inspiration from the works of Lord Dunsany. The game has been downloaded 1172 times since April and is a silver seller on DriveThruRPG.

Wired Neon Cities

Being a fan of rules lite gaming and cyberpunk, it made sense that I merged the In Darkest Warrens ruleset with a healthy dose of cyberpunkishness to create Wired Neon Cities. Currently sitting on DriveThruRPG as a silver seller with 964 downloads as of writing. I was worried that the game wouldn't be as well received as IDW, because people kind of expect some complexities when it comes to this genre, but I've been over the moon with the response. You can listen to a fan-made actual play session below.



Quill: Shadow and Ink

My first supplement of the year was launched just last week, but so far I've seen a good reception. This has been in the works since mid-last year, not long after I released Quill itself, but I kept scrapping it because I was never happy with the story and structure. I'm proud of how this turned out and with 367 downloads in a week, I'm also heartened to see the enthusiasm for the game.

Liminality

I decided again to enter Game Chef this year with my game Liminality. You can check it out here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xMqtDgL4KZu9PflR4SuIYxRvDo5jIUDKBUDcDVBjvv8/edit?usp=sharing

Third Party Products

I'm fortunate that the Delver-verse has a growing community of publishers creating games and supplements.

Quill Quest: The Warlord's Downfall - Tim Snider's foray into the world of Quill is a great one and clearly we were both on the same wavelength with the 'quest points' gained at the end of each scenario.

Anthropomorphic USR - Jay Murphy continues to put out great games using the USR system. Anthropomorphic USR is a love letter to 90s cartoons and comics where human-like animals were the stars.

Horrors Material and Magic Malignant - Try say that twice as fast. Another one from the fertile brain of Jay Murphy for use with USR Sword and Sorcery. HMMM is a treasure trove of NPCs, magical artefacts and monsters for your Conan-style USR games.

Stuff on the Horizon

So yeah, it's been busy so far this year but there's no rest for the wicked. I tend to have a lot of projects on the go and some I'll give up on and some I'll pick up again. If I'm not happy with a project I'll either scrap it on rewrite it entirely. This can happen even when I've pretty much completed a book.

Doom of the Savage Land - This is an OSR game I'm working on that's currently 66-pages long. I've put it on hold because I'm not sure whether it brings anything new to the table in terms of the OSR landscape. Until I've figured this out, I don't know when this will be released.

Chronic Planet - Another OSR game based on a stoner version of the John Carter stories. Because I'm doing the art for this, it's taking a while.

Wired Neon Cities: Street Life - This all exists in notes at the moment, but this new WNC supplement will include new rules, gangs, tech, classes and more.

In Darkest Warrens: Rogue's Port - This is almost done. It's the first setting supplement for IDW.

Hell on High Water - Demons and pirates using In Darkest Warrens rules.

That's the stuff that's in the works, although I can't say whether all of these will launch this year (it's very unlikely this will happen).




Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Quill: Shadow and Ink has arrived

 

I'm happy to announce the release of the first official campaign for Quill, one inspired by Lovecraft.

Quill: Shadow and Ink is an addition to the popular Quill letter writing roleplaying game, where malignant forces are at work and those who cross paths with a certain book meet a cosmic doom.

The campaign contains five linked scenarios, each giving you a number of Story Points depending on how you did. At the end, adding up your Story Points will give you one of two endings.

The campaign is designed to mimic the epistolary nature of many of Lovecraft's stories. After playing, you will be left with several physical artefacts in the form of letters, which can be kept for posterity.

The book requires the Quill core game to play. Download Quill: Shadow and Ink as pay what you want.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Shift Vampire - In Darkest Warrens


Once a Shift Vampire has sated its ravenous hunger on fey blood, it may reach Haeomozenith where its body phases through time, both past and future.

Sometimes it can be merely a day while other times it can be years - sometimes centuries. As a result older Shift Vampires may have knowledge of the world beyond their ken - knowing the future - though one that tends to shift like the mist.

Victims of this vampire find their souls lost in time - constantly flowing like a river through the ages - back and forth. Rarely a soul will fall back into its original body, which in most cases breaks the mind of that individual. In the rarest of cases these become what the Warlocks of Echontha called Sagetouched. These are said to be the wisest and most knowledgeable people of all time, but few know where they reside.

Shift Vampire 4+
Wounds: 9
Special action: After a successful melee attack, the victim must Test Brawn. If they fail, they are pinned. Future attacks the vampire makes against the victim do not require an attack roll. If the victim is an elf, they take 2 damage instead of 1.





Sunday, 25 June 2017

What's next for Quill?


Quill remains one of my favourite creations in tabletop gaming, but I've not put anything out since last year. What gives?

I've been working on a cosmic horror campaign for a while, figuring out how it's going to work and what kind of experience I can give the player in a series of scenarios. I've got ideas flying around and I started writing the thing, but I wasn't quite happy with it, and when I'm not happy I tend to go back to the drawing board.

Depths of Madness will show its face, but I need to find out how to make it a better experience than just playing some scenarios. I'm playing with the idea of including puzzles and printable artefacts because at the end of the campaign you end up being left with this really cool collection of letters, photos, maps and other documents that you can store in a shoebox and come back to with fond memories. Depending on your score I want the game to reveal more clues to the story, opening up the world a bit more, rewarding savvy play.

The ultimate thing would be to release a physical boxed game full of goodies, but at the moment it's beyond my budget and I don't want the stress of running a Kickstarter.

So that's where I am. Rest assured, those waiting for more Quill will be rewarded.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Wired Neon Cities - Necrowretch


Even florescent cyber cities have graveyards, or more specifically Necrospace.

Necrospace is, in part, a sprawling mass of chalk land where the dead are put to rest, drilled out holes in the earth holding millions of capsules in turn harbouring the flesh body of the deceased.

Only the rich few get to be buried, but as with Glow City itself, there's a fine line between physical and digital. Necrospace is also the term used for the graveyard of online avatars that haunts the comms relays in physical Necrospace. Billions upon billions are digitally buried here.

But shit goes wrong.

Sometimes augmentations spring back to life, or a virus somehow crosses the boundary between the two Necrospaces, fizzing a corpse back into existence.

The warped beings that bust out of their capsules are Necrowretches - corpses kept alive by electronics. Their mind is fractured and dangerous. They feel no pain, require no sustenance and never rest.

Necrowretch 4+
Wounds 6
Special action: you activate an augmentation. Roll 1d3. Each can only be used once per day. 1) arm blades - inflict and extra wound in combat. 2) warp armour - increase wounds by 2. 3) flamethrower - you now hit on 3+ in ranged combat.

The longer the Necrowretch is in battle, the more augments it has access to. While rare, they can be devastating when unleashed into the public.

Once, before better security was added to the cyber Necrospace, a Corpsetrash virus hit, releasing more than a hundred Necrowretches simultaneously. They were eventually put down by private Pink Cat military, but not before causing a wave of death and destruction that hasn't been seen since.




Sunday, 21 May 2017

Introducing Doom of the Savage Land


Bloody hell, I can't do it. After creating Tequendria I was going to take a break, but I decided to release Wired Neon Cities. After that I again decided to take a break, but that's not happening.

Doom of the Savage Land is my new thing that I'm working on. I wanted to take the Romance of the Perilous Land system - a blend of 5e and white box - and design a game more akin to D&D. Romance is very much its own game, so Doom of the Savage Land will be my own response to things like Swords and Wizardry and Labyrinth Lord.

If you're familiar with Romance, you'll know that I did away with Vancian magic, instead using a points system. This is staying in Doom, but I'm lacing the book with conversion advice because I'm so very helpful.

Classes I have written up so far: Fighter, Wizard, Thief, Cleric and Ranger. I'll likely add Barbarian too. Races are human, elf, dwarf, halfling and ratling. Yep, rats, baby!

Doom has refined some of the classes for Romance and I've added a few more options - such as martial styled for fighters and thief archetypes, so you can be, like, an assassin. Also, multiclassing is an option.

Also like Romance, HD works like MR in Tunnels and Trolls - giving you everything you need in a single number. It's also fully compatible with other editions. I love simplicity, being a simple chap myself.

In terms of release - who knows? I've got the system down, I'm just building it out.




Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Praise for Wired Neon Cities


Reviewers have been kind to Wired Neon Cities, my new minimalist cyberpunk game.

"Anyway, this game is a ton of fun. And for ~$1.50 it’s a great quick and dirty RPG you can put together with your friends, but it’s also a great tool for really looking at what makes cyberpunk. That’s what these games do–they capture the barest essence of a thing and present it to you. And seeing how other people do it is a great way to add texture to your own endeavours." - Bell of Lost Souls

Read full review.

"WNC is a game that makes me want to play it. The rules fit together nicely and are wonderful in their simplicity. It would also be a good introductory system for beginners. No weird AC, grid based combat, and complex sub-systems." - Die Heart

Read full review.

"I recommend Wired Neon Cities. It’s fun and simple and captures the essence of 80s cyberpunk genre." - Jesse C

Like what you read? Download here.

Monday, 15 May 2017

1d20 things in a witch's hovel


Hubble, bubble, yada yada. Here's some witchy stuff. Roll a d20.

1. Three-headed turtle with a bio-luminescent shell
2. Cat familiar (HD1/2) with one eye. Its claws are laced with arsenic
3. Bowl of curdled milk with an eyeball floating in it
4. A wooden toy depicting one of the PCs. It's sat on a table next to an assortment of knives
5. A dry cauldron with a mummified baby monkey in the bottom
6. A dead king rat hung up in the rafters
7. A blasphemous book called the Doomus Demonicus. Reading it requires an intelligence-based save or the PC goes a bit mad for 1d4 days. They are unable to talk in this time and take a disadvantage or -2 to all saving throws.
8. A statue of a devilish figure, blackened with fire. It smells of rotten egg and you swear its mouth wasn't open when you first saw it.
9. A bloated frog inflated with poison gas. Touching it releases the gas, poisoning all in the vicinity
10. A broomstick that is hovering slightly above the floor
11. A purse containing a large crab claw attached to a chain
12. A human skull with the tongue still in tact. The skull will speak of foul omens when midnight arrives
13. A staff that, if held without saying the sacred words of the black wind, turns into an adder (HD1)
14. A mirror that when held up to the back of the hovel, reveals the location of a hidden panel containing several trinkets.
15. A small box of dead bees
16. A cloak with a crow talon in the hood
17. A stuffed hare whose eyes have been replaced with that of a human. Inside the hare is a key
18. A scroll of teleport rolled up inside a hollow torch handle
19. A music box that plays a tune that hypnotises the listener (requires a wisdom save or equivalent). The hypnotised will be susceptible to the witch's mind control, should they say the word 'buzzard'. If so, they are under the thrall of the witch for 1d4 minutes.
20. A bat pinned to the wall. It is riddled with disease and if touch will disease a PC. Constitution save or equivalent required.


Saturday, 13 May 2017

Random character generator - Wired Neon Cities


Roll up a random cyberpunk character for Wired Neon Cities.

Class 1d6:

1. Gunner
2. Cyberblade
3. Face
4. Hacker
5. Doc
6. Mechanic

Primary attribute 1d4

1. Brawn
2. Nimble
3. Person
4. Mind

Starting augmentation 1d10 (roll twice)

1. Air tank
2. Arm blades
3. Climbing arms
4. Eagle eye
5. Eye projector
6. Head jack
7. Hidden pocket
8. Night vision
9. Telescopic vision
10. Translator

First name 1d10

1. Quinn
2. Bitch
3. Barcode
4. Big
5. Cage
6. Ryder
7. Bullet
8. Patch
9. Drexler
10. Viz

Second name 1d10

1. 6
2. The Punisher
3. Able
4. Twyst
5. Rigger
6. Shocker
7. Smoke
8. Two Blades
9. Glitch
10. Steel

Ex or Current Job 1d10

1. Corp peon
2. DJ
3. Thief
4. Ganger
5. Food truck cook
6. Private Eye
7. Cab driver
8. Model
9. Unemployed
10. Mall security

Friday, 12 May 2017

Random bard song generator


Bards of the land, roll for your songs:

First part - 1d10

1. The Little
2. My lovely
3. Your saucy
4. The skipping
5. The flowers and the
6. The darling
7. The sky is a
8. The eye of the
9. Mary the
10. The incredible

Second part - 1d10

1. Pony
2. Basilisk
3. Potato
4. Ball of cheese
5. Dream lantern
6. Snot goblin
7. Starspawn
8. Ghoul
9. Bum cheek
10. Whistling piggy



Thursday, 11 May 2017

The Order of the Fisher King - Romance of the Perilous Land


The kingdom of The Fisher King is a crumbling wasteland - a grey husk of a body, reflecting the King's own condition. A severe leg wound from an enchanted spear carried by Mordred has caused him to become house bound, unable to move far. As his body withers, so does his castle and the lands around him.

The ailing monarch gathered his remaining Knights to for the Order of the Fisher King, a group that seeks to find the magical artefacts that could cure their King's leg and ensure his kingdom flourishes once more. These gallant few risk their lives travelling the Perilous Land, coming up against the foul agents of Mordred, the Sisters of Le Fey and untold creatures who horde such treasures.

The Order dress in scarlet garb, branded with their coat of arms: a fish with a crown. Their ranks are as follows:

Sir Brom
HD 8 (18)
Attacks: Longsword or short bow
Special: After hitting a target, Sir Brom may make a second attack against that or another adjacent target.

Sir Brom is a grizzled knight and the oldest of the order. A scar streaks down his left cheek, a wound from an encounter with Modred himself. His wife was killed by bandits eleven years ago and to this day he adorns his helm with a white rose in remembrance. Despite being an effective killer, Brom is a calm soul with a soft voice. In fact, he rarely speaks.

Lady Ellyn
HD 7 (17)
Attacks: Shortsword
Special: Lady Ellyn gains advantage on saving throws.

Lady 'Sword Dancer's Ellyn is one of the most brilliant Knights in the land. Her life has been harrowing - as a girl she was captured by a group of witches in the deep woods and kept prisoner, wasting away from lack of nourishment, save the odd rat tail or cricket. She eventually managed to slay the witches while they slept and escape the woods. Because of this, she is distrustful of new people and certainly can't abide witches (or witch adjacent).

Lady Isabel
HD 6 (16)
Attacks: Flail
Special: as an action, Lady Isabel may blow a horn causing targets within 30ft of her to make a Mind saving throw. If they fail, they have disadvantage on all attacks until the start of Lady Isabel's next turn.

Originally a priest (and hating every moment), Lady Isabel found her calling in serving her kingdom at war. Quickly rising through the ranks, she became feared on the battlefield. Mordred himself ordered his men to take her down, but none could. She is brash, loud and loves to curse.

Sir Gregory
HD 5 (15)
Attacks: Shortsword or long bow
Special: Rolls with advantage on ranged attacks.

Gregory the Hunter, as he is known in his kingdom, hides in the shadows, picking off his quarry with the bow his mother crafted. Gregory is one of the few people to come up against a Questing Beast and live to tell the tale - even managing to wound it. However, the encounter brings flashbacks to his mind so he has trouble sleeping and can be skittish in dark places. He is often the voice of reason in the group and is level-headed in the most dire situations.



Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Wraith - Romance of the Perilous Land


Wraith
HD 6 (16)
Attack: Chilling touch
Special: if the wraith hits with a chilling touch attack, it does damage plus the victim must make a Constitution saving throw or become unable to move from their spot for 1d4 rounds.

Wraiths are portents of death, often followed by a will-o-wisp. They will groan thrice - not from their mouths - but disembodied moans, each growing louder. These groans are a sign of an oncoming death.

Wraiths are flesh and bone. They have a skeletal visage and a sinewy body, often hidden under a black cloak. Ships that hit rocks of off the coast are often visited by a wraith to claim the dead.

1d4 henchmen (who aren't easy to work with)


1. Kruff Glipp, an ex cook from the borderlands of Yann, had a purple glass eye from a decade old scrap with a pike fish. He wears a cloak that twinkles light starlight in the night. He fears mules and will shriek at the sight of a horse, but otherwise he's as brave and hardy as they come. Kruff often writes to his true love, Marja, picking flowers on the trail to stuff in the envelope. His mother was part medusa (he doesn't realise), but there's a 1 in 20 chance whoever looks at his eyes suddenly becomes paralysed for 1d4 minutes. 

2. Viopa Tendershine, an elf whose forest home was decimated by the Thith disease, of which she was the sole survivor due to immunity. However, the disease changed her - on moonlit nights she becomes a spidery being that hunts night birds unless she manages to bury herself in the soil. The malady lasts for one hour before transforming back. It's gross.

3. Grim Brazengut, a sociopathic dwarf whose shield whispers calming words when he begins to rage. He keeps a lantern with a coiled glowing smoothsnake inside that casts 20ft of light, having spent so much time above ground that he can no longer see in the dark. He has no love for dwarf masonry, preferring​ human creations. 

4. Leeta Dunfarrow, a halfling kleptomaniac and anarchist. She despises authority and will only work with characters who have little to know renowned, as she equates fame to authority. Her raven Korrigan sits on her shoulder and barks at the clouds. These are weather portents - two crows for rain, three for a storm. She has trained Korrigan to steal gold. 


Monday, 1 May 2017

Wired Neon Cities - new minimalist cyberpunk roleplaying


Welcome to Glow City, where the corporations will beat you down as much as the gangs. Cyberninjas patrol the neon streets with katanas, the Iron Maidens roam the roads with chains and chop shops are filled with the poor and bored who want to alter their bodies beyond their wildest dreams. Hulking sentries guard the gleaming skyscrapers of the elite and psycho juicers drop adrenaline before holding up convenience stores.

Wired Neon Cities is a minimalist cyberpunk roleplaying game that uses the In Darkest Warrens system. Think a 1980's style future with a chiptune theme. All rules are covered in just two sides of A4, while setting details and a character sheet fit onto another page. Despite its brevity, these rules contain everything you need to play, including an enemies list, augmentations, hacking rules and more. 
Wired Neon Cities includes:
  • A simple d6 system that allows for flexible roleplaying
  • Setting information for Glow City
  • Six classes: Cyberninja, Hacker, Gunner, Mechanic, Face and Doc
  • A list of enemies
  • Augment your character with derm shields, voice modulators, flame throwers, arm blades and more.