Quick Notes

I have a post in the queue about an alternate origin of dragons. This article is in the same vein (though not the same manner) as the dwarves of Dwimmermount. It should show up on Monday. Today, however, there is a hodpodge of ideas that I wanted to share instead of creating yet more draft posts.

Azamar Review

Over 250 people have read my review of Azamar over the past few days. I hope that it was helpful. Sales seem to be going well, it is #12 on the Hottest Items list at RPGNow.com. My two part review can be found at these links:

Azamar Part the First
Azamar Part the Second

Arcanist Rules

I've written about a skill-based mage called the Arcanist for Andras a number of times. Before jotting down a few notes, here is an index:

First Draft of the Arcanist (I don't like this version)
Discussion of Spell Points
Yet More Thoughts on Spell Points
A Brief Mention about the Spell List
The First Stats Appear for the Arcanist

I've shifted a bit from the OpenQuest Magnitude chart to using the Open D6 chart. I've also changed the spell point system. The main reason for doing this was the ability to create spells by effect. I still generate some spells from TFT, OpenQuest, 2e Psionics, etc. The difference is that now there are spells from OpenD6 as well. Basing spell creation on a simplied OpenD6 spell building system allows the Arcanist to have similar spell school options as regular Mages. In other words, you can have a specialist Arcanist.

Another reason for changing to something like the OpenD6 spell system is that I can provide bonuses/penalties for all kinds of situations that would pertain only to a skill-based mage. For example:

Increasing Casting Time to 9:                 +2
Increasing Casting Time by a round:   +5
Eschewing Material Components:         -2
Eschewing Verbal Components:            -2
Eschewing Somatic Components:         -2
Casting a Spell with students:                +1 per student max +10

Again, the Arcanist cannot change the intensity, range or area of the effect without researching a new spell. However, that research will be significantly reduced from the cost of researching the original spell.

With the group casting bonus, if would be fair to surmise that there are some spells that can only be cast by a group of Arcanists. The +1 per student bonus is only for spell that were originally created to be cast by a sole Arcanist. Group Spells that will be given in a later PDF have the benefit of a community already factored in.

New Dice

I went to an educational store and picked up some unusual dice. One is a d6 that has negative numbers. The others are all fractional. There is a red d8 that features 1/8 through 1,  a white d10 with 1/10 through 1 and two white d6's that have different fractions. One d6 has 1/6 through 1. The other d6 has 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/6, 1/8 and 1/12. Lots of fun to be had besides adding and subtracting fractions practice.


I've asked Google+ developers for a page that anyone could post upcoming hangouts on. I could post something here, but I'm thinking of something that is editable by the community and doesn't rely on me to find all the ConstantCon Hangouts and Games that are going on. Here's to hoping.

Also on the ConstantCon front, I hope to have a game scheduled to start in November for a Spelljammer game. I am a parent of two young ones, so it will be a weekend schedule.

A Project Begins that Probably Shouldn’t

The ill-advised retro-clone is under development. Unlike the misfire with combining the Fantasy Trip and M20, this project is actually gaining steam. I've developed my own "Appendix N" of influences on the game.


The main reason is that I house-rule just about every retro-clone I try. It's not that I don't like the system at all, it's just that I have a 'kitchen sink' mentality to what is included in games I run. For example, I love Spelljammer and Mystara. Both have flying airships and interplanetary travel. (Granted, you can only get to the moon in Mystara.) Looking at rules for aerial combat in various games, I rarely find any that are really straightforward that allow the player some diverse options. This generates a set of house rules for aerial combat. Once the rules for it are generated, I think about a class that specialized in it. That generates more house rules. Then I think about aerial travel over long distances, life on an aerial craft, fresh air for interplanetary travels, etc. More house rules and bolt-ons.

This is the way my first group played and I've never gotten far from it. You want lasers? Okay. Flintlocks and Aliens? No problem. A class of adventurers that use origami creatures to do its bidding? Sure, here's the XP chart.

I came this close to calling the system "Pocket Dragons & Pomegranates"

I abhor combat that takes 30 minutes for an encounter. I value combat, but not the feeling that a group of me and my friends are wading through layers of rules and charts. It's an element of the story. It could even be the focus of the story. Still, I award XP for good role-playing, treasure, innovative tactics, etc. Players wringing the rules for every ounce of advantage is just not for me, though I don't penalize for it. I have to admit that a couple times, this type of play generated some very unusual play that was fun  for everyone.

The real reason, though, is that I want to put together all the things my first group and I did into one cohesive whole. It's not easy, due in part to a lack of concern for contradiction. We just called it "gamer's paradox" and let conflicting rules lie. This time, I don't want a paradox, but I want largely cohesive system.

Having said all that, here's an sketch of what I imagine the system to be:

  • B/X and BECMI based with a mixture of M20, 1e and 2e.
  • Simple mechanics with lots of charts.
  • Build systems for new and existing classes, monsters, and races.
  • Race and class are separated.
  • Rules for adventuring in any locale (air, water, planes, ether, planets)

That says a lot, so here's a few specifics in no particular order. No THAC0 despite my love for it. No 2e style kits, at least not intentionally. I hope to achieve so-called game balance by XP, not by making everyone equal in power. I don't want to re-create a HERO system style build process for everything. I'll use BAB like Basic Fantasy does. There will be an optional silver-based economy set of rules. Lots of creatures, but not at the cost of making them look like they were created in a random generator. Yes, psionics, but using what I believe to be a non-traditional system.

In short, it will be a kit and a rudimentary setting ready for use. Folks will be able to pick and choose what rules they want to use, and what rules they want to discard.

As an added bonus, I hope to use Dokuwiki and the bookcreator plugin to allow individual players to download a customized ruleset. The layout may not be perfect and there may be a couple odd page-breaks, but it should work.

The class generator is complete. The monster generator only creates low-level creatures so far. True to my old school roots, they live as spreadsheets at the moment.

Otherwise, I can only say that I am fully aware that this is largely a vanity project. I have no illusions of 'energizing the OSR market' or being the next LL. More than anything, it's a labor of love for something I loved as a kid.

Stay tuned!