This Blog is now on Indefinite Hiatus

Greetings, I haven’t been able to post except sporadically for a while. I just found out I will need to find a new place to live within the next few months. Add to that September has been a hard month for me for the last few years since my mom passed away. She passed away nine days before my birthday. This all being said, I decided to put both of my blogs on indefinite hiatus. Frankly, I am not sure if I’ll ever resurrect them at this point. I will keep them up indefinitely if I should not resurrect them. Yours Truly,

Ezra

A Brief Update about the focus of this Blog

Greetings, in an effort to lessen my load I’ve decided to delete two of my other Geeky Blogs and resurrect another. My Forgotten Realms content will be fused to my newly rebranded Old Blog, whereas my Star Wars content will be posted here instead. Another change, is that I am no longer posting my game development posts here, as they will be now being posted on my Official Publishing blog Wódwulf Hús Publishing Blog that I’ll be launching once I get my branding done. As such my posts here will be focused on ALL of my geeky non-D&D centered hobbies, including TTRPG game reviews.

I will be posting here once a week moving forward on every Monday, whereas my future Wódwulf Hús Publishing Blog posts will be published on Wednesdays; and my Musings about Adventures in Classic Editions Play will be published on Fridays. I also, deleted my Personal Spiritual Blog as I launched it before it was ready and frankly I needed to figure out what I wanted it to be about. That said, it’ll be published either on Saturday or Sundays, depending upon my weekend scheduling.

Well this is all I have to say, as I have to finish the rebranding process on my Old Blog and make slight modifications to this one. I’ll also be contacting a few people to hire them to create logos and branding art for my Publishing company, its blog, and my Personal Blog today so I can get them launched in the near future. So as always take care and be kind to each other, and until next week. Fin.

Another Hex & Blade System update: Musings upon inspirations

Greetings, yes I know it has been awhile since I posted anything of late – life throws curve balls at you from time to time. I have been doing some mapping for the various Hex & Blade System powered TTRPs that I am working on and noticed that no matter how hard I try I cannot create an emulation of OD&D or 1e AD&D if my life depends on it (luckily it doesn’t). A few observations from fellow creatives on Twitter mentioned a definite Rolemaster and Warhammer FRPG influence on the Hex & Blade System. The more I mused about it, the more I became convinced that indeed Rolemaster 2e, HARP, Talislanta 2e, and 1e Warhammer FRPG are my primary influences. You could also toss in 1e Palladium Fantasy and the more recent Rogueland, Cairn, and Knave OSR TTRPGs as also being influences of mine.

For all my love for OD&D and 1e AD&D, they were NOT the primary games I played and have the most experience with. I chock it up to simple nostalgia and a desire to get away from the crunchiness of the Rolemaster 2e, the Rolemaster United play-test and 5e campaigns I ran or played in over the last decade (for the former, not the latter – I ran 5e for a year and a half, and RMU for four months or so). The OSR and games like Delving Deeper, Castle & Crusades, Swords & Wizardry, and even Blood & Treasure 1e relit my desire to run games again. They also made me want to create my own games; though it took following Kerc, Diogo, Alex T., and others on Twitter to have the guts to finally do so. For that I will ALWAYS be thankful of them all.

The only aspects of OD&D and 1e AD&D that have remained are the ones in terms of the Gonzo-ness, the exploration and alignment system inherent to both, otherwise they are not the inspirations I thought they were. There is nothing wrong with either system, and yet my subconscious seems to draw upon Rolemaster, HARP, Talislanta, 1e Warhammer FRPG, and Palladium Fantasy for the core gameplay engine for my Hex & Blade System; while Rogueland, Cairn, and Knave (along with Into the Odd and Mörk Borg) have inspired how I want my rules-lite Chapbook Adventure Games powered by the Hex & Blade System to be presented.

Whereas the OSR lit my fire of TTRPG design, it was the the quirky indie side of the OSR – Kerc, Diogo, Caverns of Heresy, Alex T., Yochai Gal, James V. West, Ben Milton, L.F. OSR, Perplexing Ruins, Pelle Nilsson, Johan Nohr, Spencer Campbell, Navi & Shawn Drake; amongst others too numerous to name – ALL inspired me to look at things in a different light and drop my hidebound devotion to OD&D, B/X and 1e AD&D.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still play and run those systems or ones based upon them. They are just not what I want for my games – be they my Hex & Blade System powered ones or those powered by Gila RPGs Lumen SRD, or any other indie based SRD I choose to use moving forward.

I no longer consider myself a OSR game designer (I’ll not cast aspersions upon it as I DEEPLY indebted to it) as it doesn’t represent where my design philosophy is evolving towards. Sure, there will be aspects of the OSR design/play philosophies still present, they just are not the be all end all of MY design philosophy.

I have found myself organically moving towards what the Pandatheist described in the New School Revolution post on the Bone Box Chant blog (link Here.) and Artpunk as described in the “What is Artpunk?” Post on the False Machine blog by P. James Stewart (link Here.).

Both the Pandatheist, Black Dragon Games & Creative Spheres are to be thanked for challenging my preconceived notions not just concerning a variety of things in the past I’d have derided as “Woke Rubbish” – to be rational well throughout positions.

As a Queer oriented bohemian, I find myself shedding my former orthodoxy – be it in the realms of politics, spirituality or TTRPG design. I am becoming the human being I am deep inside and yet suppressed for so long out of misplaced shame and self-loathing.

That being said, I am not being said not much will be changing. My stuff won’t be Rainbow covered Queer or Anarchistic rooted games – there is NOTHING wrong with them, just not my style of game, and there are far better designers already publishing such games.

Will my sexuality and politics influence my works? How can they not. I’ve been including positive Queer and POC representation in my campaigns and worlds for a LONG time…well before I came out and evolved politically.

How does ALL this impact the Hex & Blade System and my other future games? It has allowed me to break the chains binding my creativity and as such led to greater frustration and doubts, and thus more and more frequent and severe depression that would only naturally create barriers to my creativity.

By stripping myself of these self imposed barriers I hope to dive into the creative process again. A process in which my productivity often sputtered because of those doubts and attempts to emulate a type of game that was rooted in nostalgia and didn’t truly emulate the kinds of games I personally wanted to run.

D&D in any form is NOT my game of choice, the one that my creative spark yearns for. Will I run and play them? Damn right I will…from time to time. That said, I am creating games I want to play first and foremost. Trying adhere to the OSR design philosophies and OD&D template was killing my passion.

The Hex & Blade System will represent the kind of game that I personally have always wanted to play and run. It is the sum of my influences – both older and more modern in variety. Beyond the Hex & Blade System, my future games will also be powered by Gila RPGs Lumen SRD.

For over a decade I wanted to emulate a variety of Anime and Video Game IPs in TTRPG form, since I was locked into a narrow vision of how Gaming should be – I couldn’t fathom HOW I could run them.

With Spencer’s Lumen SRD I can emulate anime such as Log Horizon, The Seven Deadly Sins, My Hero Academy, Sword Art Online; the manga of Basilisk and the Yagyu Scrolls; plus video games such as Streets of Rage 4, the Street Fighter franchise, Samurai Showdown, Skull Girls, and BlazBlue now.

So my future TTRPG designs will be focused upon my Hex & Blade powered Chapbook projects, Ruin Delvers, and Xíphos & Goéteía Adventure Games; and my Lumen powered games. I don’t see any possibility of developing any other games until those are realised.

This missive went a bit longer than I had envisioned and meandered beyond the title, and yet summed up what I’ve wanted to say for awhile but wasn’t sure how to articulate it. Part of it was also fear of disappointing my friends and TTRPG design colleagues. Once I was able to get beyond both barriers I felt ready to post about it. I’ll stopping taking up your time and close this so I can get it published and shared. As always take care and be kind to each other. Fin.

Update time.

Greetings, I know that it has been a while and I will endeavor to post more frequently moving forward. In this update I wanted to discuss a few things concerning my projects. Work on both VALKARTH and BOLTERS & CHAINSWORDS are on hiatus until I figure out the basics of the Hex & Blade System which will power them. I also needed to get back into the head space that prompted me to get into TTRPG design in the first place. I got so wrapped up in being a Game Designer and Publisher that I put undue pressure upon myself. Coupled with a fear of disappointing dear friends BDG, Kerc, Diogo, Creative Spheres; amongst others I was wrecking myself mentally and creatively.

I have gotten to the point where I need to get back to what initially prompted me to design and publish games in the first place … my OWN joy. I wanted to create games I WANTED to play first and foremost. If others desired to buy and play them that was to be a pleasant bonus.

I am designing for myself and my future groups that I run games for. That being said, IF there is any real interest I will publish on demand by my own hands in both Chapbook/Zine/Pamphlet and Hard Cover formats. But it must be for ME first and foremost. I do not want to burn myself out or disappoint my friends if I end up failing at a given project.  

First on the docket will be the Chapbook Adventure Games:

Powered by MY Hex & Blade System:

  • WOLKOON: A Gonzo Cartoony Adventure Game inspired by Vaughn Bodé, James V. West & Wizards.
  • GRIMGARD: A Gonzo Cartoony Adventure Game inspired by Vaughn Bodé, Trent Kaniuga, Hollywood Monster Movies and Halloween art.

Powered by MY Original Edition inspired system:

  • RUIN DELVERS Adventure Game and the WORLD of EVAD’YRAK

MY Advanced Edition inspired system, and its linked Setting:

  • Xíphos ϗ Goéteia An Adventure Game Emulating Advanced Edition Play and Pangaian Adventures.

These projects will come before ANY OTHER project, or at least ANY future announced project (like VALKARTH and BOLTERS & CHAINSWORDS). I will keep notebooks filled with ideas for future potential projects, and only once the above is published will I discuss them on this blog and my Twitter account.

Both WOLKOON and GRIMGARD are the first Hex & Blade powered games I am developing for my personal campaigns. Each game has its own flavour, even though they use the same core system. Ruin Delvers is my emulation of OD&D and Chainmail; and its setting is informed by the implied assumptions found within their pages. As such Ruin Delvers is an EMULATION not a straight Retro-Clone of the source material as I am making some changes like getting rid of Clerics or more accurately, I am replacing it with a Warrior-Exorcists. Lastly, the setting Xíphos ϗ GoéteiaAn Adventure Game Emulating Advanced Edition Play and compatible with both AD&D and OSRIC; plus, the campaign setting Pangaian Adventures.

Well as it is 1:08am I think I will wrap up this brief update so I can get it published and shared. Please Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other. Fin.

Note: Edited to correct info on my games.

Rogueland – A Brief Review

Greetings, here’s a bit of extra content for the weekend – a review of Rogueland by Caverns of Heresy (link here). I bought Rogueland pretty much as a whim to support an indie creative. I am glad that I did, as Caverns of Heresy is a great person, there was a snafu on my part accidently inputting my zip code in wrong. CoV notified me of this when they noticed and sent out a replacement the next day.

When the package did arrive, within was a paper bag with a hand drawn map upon it front and back; to say this tickled me pink, would be an understatement. I was chuffed. I still keep Rogueland and the four mini character sheets within it and will continue to do so until it falls apart.

Rogueland comes in a nearly 6×8 & ½ inches black and white chapbook/zine size and has 36 pages, with the inside covers where publication info/credits (front) and the second page of Game References, so there is no wasted space to be found within its pages.

If you are unfamiliar with Rogueland, it is what some refer as a OSR game, though not a retro-clone of either OD&D or B/X, the most common derivatives often found within the OSR. That said, it does emulate the style of play of those early editions of D&D quite well.

Let us talk about layout, Rogueland is extremely well laid out, taking advantage of the small size and length of the zine masterfully. The test is clear and crisp, it just pops off the page with no notable bleed through. Everything is easy to read and understand, as the text is written in a noticeably clear and concise manner. There are charts for everything you need during a campaign. That said, it would not be hard to add creatures to the game, as it is a simple game and compatible with any OD&D and B/X based bestiary on the market, many of which are available as legally free PDFs.

The Locals are brief but flavourful enough to inspire you to flesh them out and yet, not be unduly constrained. As such you could easily plus the map and environs in any campaign with minimal tweaking if any needed. Rogueland also has two brief mini-dungeons.

Artwise, the style and quality are within the norm for such games. Not great, like you would find in an expensive professional grade game, and yet it fits the vibe and tone of the game. I personally loved the maps scattered throughout Rogueland, though I am biased as I am a novice fantasy cartographer myself, so they are right up my alley.

My only criticism of Rogueland is the difference in the art in the locals’ section of the book and finding their corresponding place the two-page map of the Rogueland on pages two and three. The scales for both maps are clearly different, meaning that you may need two sizes of hex paper to best represent the maps or simply have two separate sheets with different scales. If I were CoV I would include the map scales in future printings and an updated version of the PDF.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading the zine and look forward to running it eventually. I am also looking forward to what Caverns of Heresy publishes next, whether it is made for either Rogueland or another game entirely. If I was to give it a rated score, I’d give it a 4 out of 5, for the criticism stated above. Well, I will end this missive and get it published and shared. Please take care of yourself and be kind to each other. Fin.

Second Half of 2021 & Beyond: Update 2.0

Greetings, I hope that you are all well. I have been having a rough month, Mother’s Day and my mom’s birthday on the 22nd hit me hard. Anyway, I have an update to give you all; now let us get to it shall we. Also sorry for forcing you to reread a post, though you will glean more insight by doing so.

I am beginning to explore a variety of projects for my upcoming Publishing Company, which will be where I will offer small batch artisanal bookbinding, TTRPG products (under an imprint) and potentially indie/underground comix (again under a separate imprint). One project is doing a Kickstarter to fund a batch of custom D20 percentile (numbered 0-9 twice) and D8 (numbered 1-4 twice). Once I improve my digital mapping skills, I will likely offer cartography services (under yet ANOTHER imprint).

I am in no rush, as I still must 1) buy a domain, 2) register a trademark on the Logo and 3) potentially register the business; plus, I must get both TTRPGs to play testing stage and launch a Patreon to fund a professional editor and commission art for both TTRPGs.

I will likely not launch my Dice KS until January of 2022, thus not complicate my 2021 taxes. That all said, I will be working hard on the following during this, the second half of 2021:

  • The development of my Blender, Clip Studio Paint, Affinity Designer & Publisher skills.
  • Creating master files for D20 Percentile and D8 1-4 dice via Blender.
  • Commission art for my company’s logo.
  • Develop related branding for the company’s website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Continue developing the VAL KARTH TTRPG, to get it to play-testing stage.
  • Begin developing Bolters & Chainswords TTRPG, and hopefully also get it to play-testing stage.
  • Also develop a skirmish-based war game tied to Bolters & Chainswords, my homage to Oldhammer Rogue Trader 40,000.
  • Develop a line of Zine/Chapbook TTRPG and related supplements.

Concerning BOTH VAL KARTH, Bolters & Chainswords (and related projects) I have decided that I needed to reconsider the timeline of development and playtesting. When I initially decided to pursue the dream of designing and publishing a TTRPG my initial idea was for a zine-based game rooted in OD&D/Chainmail. Gradually over the last year and a half, the project morphed into something different.

Now VAL KARTH and the newer project Bolters & Chainswords are seen as full games, with their own systems to power them, this means a longer development phase and with my ADHD, an understanding chiefly for myself that because my brain works different than most, I must give myself some grace. Part of that grace is understanding though the projects WILL be completed, they will take longer to complete.

That leads me to the Zine/Chapbook project.

This project will help me: 1) learn to use Affinity Publisher, 2) learn bookbinding and 3) prove myself to my own self, as well as prospective customers I need something tangible to put out and show what I can do. This pandemic has shown me my limits and has helped me build my self-confidence.

I am going back to my initial plan, by creating a chapbook/Zine TTRPG and series of supplements. Though unlike my initial plan of having it rooted in the OD&D/Chain system, though the tropes will be there. I will be using this process to help finetune the system that will eventually power VAL KARTH. It also gives me a chance to investigate other similar Zine/Chapbook TTRPGs to gain inspiration, such as Rogueland by Caverns of Heresy.

Going forward I’ll not be posting about VAL KARTH or Bolters & Chainswords on this blog; though I will discuss the Zine/Chapbook project up until I launch my business website.

Now to the logo and branding bit.

I have an artist picked out for the logo design, the extremely talented Adam Archer. After first seeing his art, I knew that I wanted to commission him for something. The logo and avatar for branding were perfect excuses to do so. I already have the basic design developed; I just need Adam to replicate it in his own style. I also know what my publishing company will be called, so I am looking forward to getting a domain and trademark for it. Once I have all three things done, I will launch a website, blog, and other social media accounts for it.

I had been struggling with a company name for a while, and recently I fell back on my initial idea – and it felt right. The logo will be based on an OC of mine that will play the role of company mascot. I will post about her in a future missive closer to the launch of my site and business social media accounts.

To note, once the business blog/site is launched I will be posting all future updates concerning my TTRPGs, the dice KS, Patreon and other related news on them. This blog will go back to covering non-OD&D TTRPGs, Light Novels, Comix and such. Well, I got errands to run, so I will end this post now to get it published and shared. Please take care and be kind to each other. Fin.

Oldhammer WAS Wokehammer Chuds!

Greetings to another missive from yours truly, in this post I’ll be covering a topic that has become dear to me. I’ve been a fan of the settings of both Warhammer Fantasy and 40k since their inception and the first articles were published in White Dwarf. One of the people I follow on Twitter has been struggling against WH Gatekeepers for a while. I’ve grown fond of her and her family. They represent the best of our shared hobbies, and it chaps my hide to see her given shit because she is Black, a Woman and openly progressive.

I have to admit that I haven’t always been the best of human beings, and frankly I have been a “Chud” from time to time. I was moving away from my old beliefs and in my last fits as a “Right Winger” I at times got upset at what I THOUGHT (albeit wrongly) was the unnecessary politicisation of our hobbies. What was simply a desire by marginalised folk who were either new to our hobbies or older guard (trying to be true themselves after sometimes decades closeted as Queer, Nonbinary or Trans) wanting to simply be represented in the hobbies they adored…. was wrongly deemed “political” by reactionaries, including myself.

Things changed after my mom passed away and I met a new dear friend who helped inspire me to embrace myself, which led to an evolution both politically and spiritually for me. I had just came-out after my mom passed away, just before becoming homeless for several months. My friend along with my homelessness and health issues (both mental and physical) caused me to truly revaluate my beliefs and found the wanting. This led me to reconsider what else I might’ve been wrong about.

With a renewed sense of self and a desire to improve myself in all facets of life I was ready to truly get back to the things that I loved but denied myself ever since I began taking care of my mother during her last several years. I got back into comics and wargaming hobbies.

Having a younger brother who is a wargaming fanatic and awesome hobbyist, it was only natural to find myself drawn back to the Warhammer Fantasy and 40k hobbies again. Though not exactly happy with the changes to aspects of them, my new point of view as embrace what I did and let others embrace what they liked. Being never one to become tied to any corporate offering, helped me shed what minimal “Chudness” still lingering in my mind.

Part of this was following the massively creative Inquistor28/Necromunda28/AoS28 subcultures within the Warhammer community. The second part of the puzzle was reacquainting myself with the Oldhammer community, which led me to diving back into 1e Rogue Trader 40,000. These things helped remind me of what drew me to WH Fantasy and 40K in the first place… the creativity. The flipping the bird to “Tradition” and doing it your own way, which speaks deeply to this Metal Punk Bastard.

Getting to know TheBlackKristy, the HobbyistGirl, the BloodyJackal and other fine folx in the Warhammer Community on Twitter helped to inspire me to buy the tools I need to get back into the hobby as an active participant. I cannot thank them enough.

Recently TheBlackKristy posted about some Chud bemoaning “Wokehammer”. It is funny that this “True Man” and WH fan is so bound by fictional and ever shifting CORPORATE IP canon to complain when GW (a for profit business) is chasing new customers trying to stay relevant in a niche market. The fact that some of these Chuds are at best “libertarians” and at worst actually Alt-Right 4Channers, doesn’t surprise me that they bemoan Female Space Marines.

If they were TRUE fans of Warhammer Fantasy and 40K, they would be well versed in the roots of these games. The early creatives that developed them were often Punx & Metalheads into 2000AD comics and other subversive media. The fact one of the things I remember best (even after DECADES) was the vibrantly painted Pink Space Marines in ‘EAVY METAL in the pages of White Dwarf.

The fact that the WH Fantasy and 40K lore morphed over the decades and editions SHOULDN’T be lost on these Chuds. They are so invested in their “Canon” lore that they freak out when anyone wishes to see themselves included in their favourite hobbies. The mere THREAT of Female Space Marines throws these Chuds into apoplectic fits and they start bitching and moaning of “Wokeness”.

What they don’t realise is Oldhammer WAS what is now referred to as WOKEHAMMER. Pink Space Marines, Female Space Marines, Imperial Beastmen squads and lampooning Fascists, Tories and Football Hooligans WAS 40K. Now that progressives, open Leftists (as myself), women, BIPOC and Queers (myself as well) are embracing (or in my case reembracing) the hobby it is only nature that we want our voices heard at GW and within the greater Warhammer Community. OLDHAMMER WAS WOKEHAMMER! I AM WOKEHAMMER! 40K Chuds can rightly piss off! Fin.   

Bolters & Chainswords…a TTRPG Project

Greetings, in this belated post I will be discussing a side project to my VAL KARTH TTRPG. I know I said in my last missive, that I wouldn’t…I was also mired in a pit of depression at the time of the posting. I am doing better now. That being said, this project is something that I am passionate about. VAL KARTH was initially supposed to be this project, yet it organically evolved into a TTRPG/Setting more inspired by Talislanta and Monte Cook Game’s Numenéra instead of the Punk, Metal, 2000AD & GW 1e Rogue Trader 40,000 inspired game that I initially envisioned.

Bolters & Chainswords is a game akin to Classic Traveller and the more Role Play aspects of 1e Rogue Trader 40,000 (minus the War Game focus). That said, it will not clone either game in a mechanical sense. It IS like Traveller and Classic Editions of D&D more about exploration, acquiring experience via various operations beyond the frontier of the Galactic Imperium. Wild Space is dangerous, home to hostile “alien” species and cultures.

From White Dwarf issue 93

One thing I love about 1e Rogue Trader is the fact that the WH40K universe was vastly different than what it would eventually evolve into. It is also something that Warhammer Fantasy RPG had, then lost as new editions emerged. One thing that was present within the #Oldhammer games that was lost to “progress” and frankly, not well explored within it was the conflict between Law and Chaos hinted at, at least in 1e WH Fantasy RPG. The Gods of Law were tossed into the rubbish bin, a long with Zoats and Jabberwocks.

This struggle, likely influenced by GW’s publishing of TSR’s games back in the day, was excised so WH Fantasy (and related games) would have their own flavour. Yet, doing this the WH settings lost something vital, at least in my opinion. It had been something that irked me throughout the decades, the untapped potential of the Law vs. Chaos conflict. Sigmar took that role, of which I personally wasn’t a fan. To me Sigmar was a National deity of the Empire, that and nothing more.

I do understand the discission, especially from a marketing/branding point of view; trying to become your own thing, when TSR and D&D were the industry leaders, as is WotC and D&D today, to the chagrin of many.

Where the BOSR game Warlock! is an awesome emulation of 1e Warhammer Fantasy RPG, I want Bolters & Chainswords to the tone and promise of 1e Rogue Trader 40,000 within a new system designed to emulate said tone. A system and setting that fully embraces the eternal struggle between Law and Chaos, as well as exploration rooted in both Traveller and Classic D&D.

From White Dwarf issue 93

Though Bolters & Chainswords in DEEPLY inspired by the late 80s, early 90s era GW WH games – those beautiful Punk and Metal infused games that inspired me my whole life, as well as 90s era 2000AD and my everlasting love of Extreme Metal, Hardcore Punk and Hip-Hop. It needs to be its own thing, not just a homage to #Oldhammer with the numbers ground off the chassis. The tone and vibe HAS to be there, yet I don’t want it to be an exact clone either.

Well, I have errands to run, so I’ll end this missive so I can get it published and shared. Please take care and be kind to each other. Fin.

VAL KARTH update

Greetings, in this missive I wanted to discuss how the system is developing. I hit a creative block system-wise of late. I think that my desire to have the core system that powers VAL KARTH derived from OD&D and Chainmail was becoming a drag on my development progress.

The more that I tried to force it the more stuck and dissatisfied with the direction it was going in. I was so trapped in the mindset that the Adventures Grim & Perilous System must be rooted in OD&D that it was killing my interest in the project.

It began feeding my depression that I found myself mired worse, as I was feeling like a failure and a fraud. It started to effect my blogging and desire to draw.

I have come to the conclusion that IF I am going to continue developing my TTRPG, that I needed to drop my allegiance to OD&D and related systems and create a system that fits the type of game that I want to run.

Not only that, I also needed to reevaluate IF I wanted to create a system to power other games as I initially planned or one custom made for VAL KARTH. I chose the latter, the Adventures Grim & Perilous System is no more.

So, moving forward I will only be developing VAL KARTH and my Faerun-Kara-Tur projects at this time. This won’t affect my Star Wars blog as it isn’t solely focused on gaming.

Though I am still in the brainstorming phase of this current iteration of this project; I do have a few ideas for the system that I want to share.

A series of questions from Kerc (Dice, Pencil, Paper) had brought up concerning my previous post on combat for Adventures Grim & Perilous stuck in my head. Frankly I couldn’t figure out how to make the system work as I Initially described it.

A Twitter post by WhiteHackGames about opposing rolls chart got me thinking about something Kerc said about Opposing Rolls.

As I sat staring at my laptop screen I had an epiphany, VAL KARTH will not work in the way I want it to if shackled to OD&D and Chainmail. So, how was I going to move forward then?

Simply put, I decided that VAL KARTH needed to be a percentile system. One in which characters progress as they gain experience. One where combat was based matching and beating one’s opponent’s Combat Prowess.

Armour soaks up damage unless you roll a Natural 100. One’s Combat Prowess can NEVER get above 90%. A Natural roll of 100 means damage automatically passes armour and delivers a critical.

Whereas combat is rolls equal to or greater than your opponent’s Combat Prowess; not all rolls follow suit.

Skills are tied to one’s Attributes, the higher that your Attributes are the easier it is to succeed, Attributes also max out at 90%. They can also be increased by expending XP.

There are two types of Skill Check: Opposed and Unopposed. Picking Locks is an unopposed roll; though it can be modified based on condition of the Lock and Picks.

Sneaking passed a Guard is an Opposed check; though various conditions can modify the roll as well. You roll vs. their Awareness Attribute.

If they are asleep, THEY incur a penalty by having their Awareness Attribute lowered to a minimum of 10%. If you roll a 1-9% they awaken and must make a Perception Roll to notice you UNLESS you are in the open.

So Picking Lock is an Unopposed Dexterity Check, modified by the quality of the Lock. If the lock is new and of standard make, the roll is unmodified; whereas if the lock is Rusty or Complex, there is a penalty incurred,

Well, I think that this enough for now. I still have some stuff to brainstorm about concerning these mechanics and how to best implement them and progression and what various conditions will modify them.

Please take care and be kind to each other. Fin.

VAL KARTH, Xóthún & a Faerun-Kara-Tur Update – REVISED

Greetings, I know things have been spotty on the blog front of late, as I am in a much better mood (sans the aftereffects of the 2nd Vaccine shot) I’ll be getting back onto my posting schedule. In this missive, I will be discussing my VAL KARTH TTRPG/Setting project, my Xóthún – Adventures in a World of Portals setting for use with 5e D&D and 5e Hardcore Mode; plus, a bit on my Faerun-Kara-Tur setting for 1e AD&D/OSRIC.

VAL KARTH is going to my first Adventures Grim & Perilous System powered TTRPG. As I hinted in my last post, AG&PS will not be a separate TTRPG but the core system powering a number of TTRPGs that I’ll be publishing over the next several years (I hope). VAL KARTH owes much of its essence to the decades long influence of the Talislanta TTRPG, as well as 2000AD comics I read in the 90s, the Heavy Metal film, comics in the Heavy Metal Magazine; as well as the Metal, Punk and underground/Hardcore Hip Hop I love.

As my previous missive stated I’ll be using the classic three alignment axis and unlike in the older and current editions of the most iconic TTRPG, alignment matters. On Twitter I have shared the first drafts of the core realms of VAL KARTH, three of the four City States that dot the Kangmor Peninsula are tied to Law, each representing three main expressions of Law in the setting – from the benign Law of Ord Ghatha, to the just but strict Law of Ord Zhoreb and lastly, the cruel and tyrannical Law of Ord Yrcanós. Ord Dhákós is the sole city-state aligned with Balance, though it shows a darker expression of it.

Another aspect of VAL KARTH that is inspired by Talislanta is that there is no “traditional” Tolkien-esque “D&D” fantasy races. Also, though various kindreds do exist within the setting, VAL KARTH like all TTRPGs powered by the AG&P System using an archetype system instead of races and classes. These Kindreds were once humans but altered by a process of magical bioengineering by the Old Imperium. These Kindreds developed their own distinct cultures after the fall of the Imperium centuries ago.

Magic and technology are often indistinguishable from each other and technology is often powered by magic. That being said, though magic is prevalent in the setting much of it was lost, or hoarded by the surviving Magi and old Imperial remnants. These technologies and magics are often restricted to the wealthy and aristocratic spheres of society, though they may impact the common people in various – often utilitarian fashions, such as magically powered “trains”, airships, broadcasting devices and the like.

VAL KARTH is a Gonzo Science-Fantasy Post-Post-Apocalyptic setting; thus, it has airships, technology, wonderous creatures and geographic wonders unlike a lot of more “traditional” fantasy TTRPGs.

Now onto Xóthún – Adventures in a World of Portals, the setting for use with 5e D&D and 5e Hardcore Mode. I have been working on and off on one iteration of this setting since mid-2018 and finally found the inspiration to move forward on its development again. The main inspiration to dive back into it was seeing the lovely “anime-styled” art of Becca (Twitter link here) thanks to a post by their GM the Cedar Forge (Twitter link here).

I have been a fan of non-traditional Fantasy comics/art my whole life, from Aircell’s Elflord to Drew Hayes’ Poison Elves (RIP Drew & Barry Blair). So, taking inspiration from Becca, other anime-styled artists (RoninDude – Twitter link here) and comics like the Rat Queens is just natural for me. As you can tell from both VAL KARTH and Xóthún list of inspirations I have an eclectic and varied set of tastes both in art and music. As such I tend to utilise the best visual and aural inspiration for a given project.

With Xóthún – Adventures in a World of Portals I draw inspiration also from anime/manga I love such as Naruto, Fairy Tail and even Dororo. I like the fusion of “modern” technology with a fantasy milieu, as Science-Fantasy IS my favourite kind of Fantasy.

Becca’s art (at least for the Amber Wars campaign) is a perfect blend of “Modern” and “Fantasy”, which speaks to Cedar Forge’s wonderful imagination and GMing skills to inspire Becca in her art. Becca’s art has so much character that it was bound to inspire me.

Enough gushing about Becca’s art, I am supposed to be discussing Xóthún aren’t I?

I hate to toss the word Gonzo around, and yet it seems to fit most of my project ideas, so, Xóthún – Adventures in a World of Portals is no different. Another unlikely inspiration for this project is Warhammer Age of Sigmar, though it won’t be overtly apparent. Lastly, a non-art-based inspiration for Xóthún is the Craft Sequence series by Max Gladstone.  

In Xóthún, though designed to be far more dangerous than bog standard 5e D&D, since it is being developed with 5e Hardcore Mode in mind – it is STILL a 5e rooted setting. Yet, I wanted to still have the “wide-magic” and “magic-tech” that I want to be a core aspect of the Xóthún setting.

I’ll post further updates on the Xóthún – Adventures in a World of Portals as the development process warrants them, as it is still in the early brainstorming phase. Now onto the update concerning my Home-brewed Faerun-Kara-Tur setting project.

Much like the above Xóthún project, the Faerun-Kara-Tur project has gone through a variety of iterations over the years – in this case since mid-late 2014. Much like in my last iteration of this project, (I had even created a short-lived blog for it) it will be rooted the 1987 Forgotten Realms Campaign setting Grey Box set. Unlike my previous iterations, I will be faithful to the canon lore as PRESENTED within the Forgotten Realms Box set; and only then I will build upon that foundation as I homebrew my own version of the setting.

I need to discuss the Kara-Tur portion of the Faerun-Kara-Tur project…it is NOT rooted in the Quasi-Asian cultures of the 1e AD&D Oriental Adventures or its FR supplement – Kara-Tur box set. I want to stay away from overtly real-world cultural cognates, at least as they were presented in OA and the Kara-Tur Box Set. Instead, I’ll be utilising Korean, Mandarin, Japanese and Hindi Languages to simply influence the design for MY personal take on Kara-Tur. Much like I utilise the Anglo-Saxon, German and Old Icelandic languages as inspiration in a few of my 2020 “Covid-Era” maps, I am doing the same with these languages.

I’ll tread carefully and be respectful to the cultures whose Languages I am drawing upon for this project, as I have a deep love and respect for them.

Well, I’ll end this missive so I can publish and share it before I prattle on even more. Please take care and be kind to each other. Fin.