17 July 2016

Not Necessarily Beautiful, But Mutated

The Mutant Crawl Classics RPG Kickstarter is rapidly approaching End Times, so back it already! To accelerate your mutation, I encourage you to listen to these interviews with the game's creator, Jim Wampler:

30 June 2016

The Mutants Are Coming

I still haven't had a chance to run or play Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG yet (although I backed the 4th printing Kickstarter project and I now have the softcover copy as I wait for the hardcover copy to be shipped), and now I have this tempting me: the Mutant Crawl Classics Kickstarter project. It's perfectly reasonable as far as Kickstarter projects go, so I'd be kicking myself if I missed the chance to back it...

Blasted Kickstarter.


24 May 2016

Complimentary Critical Hit Table

Far too much of my game collection has been hidden in boxes for far too long. Yesterday, I finally bought a large baker's rack (now a gamer's rack) to hold most of my games, and as I was unpacking I came upon this artifact from my early gaming history...


It's a complimentary critical hit table from Diamond Dice Inc. included with an order. I must have acquired it in the 1980s because I distinctly recall using this table when I ran AD&D in high school. I allowed my players to vote on whether the table should be used in our game and they voted unanimously in favor (knowing full well that it had an even chance of being used against them). The author is anonymous, but if he or she is reading this, I would like to say thanks for providing many entertaining consequences for my players' actions.

Here is the text of the table from Diamond Dice Inc.:

30 Sided Die         Stock # 98B

HIT RESULT TABLE

Most fantasy role-playing systems utilize a combat result which takes the form of "x" amount of damage points per blow. This table should be used after you have determined a critical hit has been scored. I would suggest that the table be consulted on a roll of "20", all other hits would be treated normally. The table will personalize the damage done and produce some interesting character deficiencies.

30 Instant death, skull has been crushed
29 Spinal cord severed, crippled for life
28 Leg severed, game master will determine which one
27 Arm severed, game master will determine which
26 Eye penetrated, game master will determine which eye has lost sight
25 Hand severed, game master will determine which one
24 Groin damage, no longer capable of sexual activity
23 Throat damaged, loss of speaking ability
22 Lung punctured, loss of constitution determined by game master
21 Shoulder bone crushed, loss of strength determined by game master
20
19
18
17
16 Result is as normal, critical hit avoided by character
15
14
13
12
11
10 Fingers chopped off, loss of dexterity determined by game master
  9 Ear lopped off, loss of hearing in that ear due to scarring
  8 Glancing blow on scalp, most of hair gone, loss of charisma
  7 Brain damage, loss of memory
  6 Arm damaged, may not use for randomized period of time
  5 Leg damaged, walk with a limp
  4 Crushing blow to mouth, teeth knocked out, loss of charisma
  3 Nose crushed, lose sense of smell, loss of charisma
  2 Facial wounds, scars on face reduce charisma
  1 Buttocks slashed, you can't sit down for a week

17 April 2016

Options for Magic Scroll Manufacturing

This may be heresy, but I am thinking of adding the Holmes Basic scroll rules to my Swords & Wizardry White Box game, but with one change: Instead of requiring one week per spell level to inscribe a spell, I'd reduce it to one day per spell level. In a campaign in which adventures occur in rapid succession due to certain events, there is very little time for study between them. Taking a week between adventures just to inscribe one first level spell simply isn't worth the time and effort even if a week can be spared. A fourth level spell requires an entire month to inscribe, just so it can be used once. It would be more time and cost effective to manufacture a magic item that can accomplish the same effect.

As for the material cost, I'd rather leave it for the individual Referee to set based on his or her campaign needs and setting requirements. Holmes offers a good base cost of 100 gold pieces per spell level (or silver pieces in the case of my setting), but some Referees may prefer to send their player characters on quests for the exotic materials necessary for producing spell scrolls.

[Visit the Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day 2016 Contribution Index for a list of Swords & Wizardry contributions and resources! Special thanks to R.J. Thompson, this year's host!]

20 March 2016

Pits & Perils Now Available in Hardcover

The excellent old school role-playing game Pits & Perils (by James and Robyn George) is now available as a hardcover book entitled The Collected Pits & Perils. Read "The Collected Pits & Perils... Is Here!" in Pits Perilous for more information on this minimalist retro-gaming masterpiece.

NB: The various Pits & Perils PDFs by Olde House Rules are available at RPGNow.com/DriveThruRPG.

26 January 2016

Original Dungeons & Dragons Is Affordable Again

Yes, our beloved OD&D is both available and affordable again (in PDF form at least), and you can read a better article about it here in Semper Initiatavus Unum.

11 January 2016

How to Knock Out a Foe in One Easy Rule

Knocking out — or being knocked out by — an opponent ought to be a viable tactic in an adventure game, but more often it is made too obscure or unwieldy in the rules of Dungeons & Dragons and its offspring. As an alternative (and as an encouragement in the use of this tactic), I offer the following house rule.

Any attack with a blunt instrument (either unarmed or with a weapon) can be made with the intent to knock out an opponent. The victim is entitled to a saving throw. If the saving throw succeeds, the victim takes no damage if a helmet is worn or half damage if the head is unprotected. If the saving throw fails, no damage is sustained, but the victim is knocked out and will remain unconscious for 1d6 turns or until revived. Opponents who are surprised suffer a -2 penalty to their saving throw; opponents who are attacked from behind suffer a -4 penalty.

Edged weapons with suitable non-edged surfaces (such as a sword's pommel or an axe's handle) may also be used as a blunt instrument for the purpose of this rule.

01 January 2016

Applying Phantasticality in 2016

Last year was a quiet one for Applied Phantasticality. I posted only 12 articles, which is the least I've posted since I started this Web log. On the bright side, it gives me a low hurdle to overcome this year. I also have three other gaming Web logs that need my attention, so it remains a challenge nonetheless.

In 2016, I will be slightly adjusting the focus of Applied Phantasticality. Swords & Wizardry White Box has been moving to the center of my experiments with Old School Renaissance gaming, and it will remain an area of concentration, but this year I will also be giving a significant amount of attention to Dungeon Crawl Classics. (I backed the 4th printing Kickstarter project, so I should be getting my hardcover copy of the rules in April.) Session reports for both games will follow as soon as gaming resumes.

I'm still tinkering with my OD&D-inspired house rules, but I will probably hash out a definitive rule book before long.

Cargoes & Castaways continues to vex me for several reasons, one of which is its relationship to Swords & Wizardry and the Open Game License. (How compatible do I want it to be? Do I really want to deal with the OGL?) Then there is the issue of illustrating it (or not). I'd love to make it available in PDF and print, but until I can resolve those issues, it will languish in Limbo.

Whatever else the year has in store, I hope there will be plenty of gaming.

Happy New Year!

Game on.

24 August 2015

Dark Albion Is Here

This is something I remembered to post on Google+, but forgot to post here: my alternate hardcover edition of Dark Albion by RPGPundit. It is a setting book for any edition of Dungeons & Dragons or its clones and close kinfolk, and I intend to run it using my version of Swords & Wizardry White Box (quite probably with some of the optional rules at the end of book, which look very promising). Dark Albion is set in a quasi-historical 15th century Britain where folkloric beasts linger at the edge of civilization and magic is real. Both are far less common than they are in standard fantasy gaming fare, and the magic system is closely based on contemporary beliefs and practice. Social status is also of much greater importance, and may even cause player characters to become embroiled in the dynastic struggles of the Wars of the Roses. France, meanwhile, is ruled by amphibious humanoids. As I said, it's quasi-historical. I can't wait to give it a go.


Dark Albion (original hardcover)
Dark Albion (alternate hardcover)