23 October 2016
At any rate, I think it's interesting that an idea presented in fiction (and probably intended as an isolated or rare example) was adapted to be not just a common feature to all cities in a given game setting, but all cities in the game regardless of setting. Thieves' guilds, to my mind, should be an anomaly, limited to very unusual cities. Perhaps limited to one city per continent, if not one per world. Far more common, I think, would be cities full of gangs and rival criminal networks. These are better fodder for standard adventure plot hooks and random entanglements. A thieves' guild should be what it was intended to be by the writers who invented it: an exotic social structure that is almost a world unto itself. It should be an alternative to the player characters' typical experiences with the criminal element, something that puts them off balance, like a subculture or alien culture encountered for the first time.
I'll be house-ruling thieves' guilds out of existence in my own campaigns (except for isolated cases) and replacing them with gangs. Thieves' guilds should be unique, not ubiquitous.
(Thieves' Guild, the game of thieves and their guilds by Gamelords Ltd., is a topic for another day.)
07 October 2016
17 July 2016
30 June 2016
24 May 2016
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
16 Result is as normal, critical hit avoided by character
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
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
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 DriveThruRPG.
28 February 2016
26 January 2016
11 January 2016
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
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!