Alignment in Adventures Grim & Perilous System

Greetings, as I am trying to catch up on posting after my depression fuelled drought of posts, I decided to compose another missive to cover Alignment in the TTRPGs powered by the Adventures Grim & Perilous System. I have always preferred the original Three Alignment Axis over the later incarnations in newer editions. That being said, there was very little description to what they were and how to utilise them in your games. Unless you were well read in the Appendix N bibliography, you wouldn’t really understand it.

Whereas Gary gave a firmer description into the Nine Alignment Axis and how he believed they should be interpreted, I never cared for it. It was unnecessarily bloated and frankly I never cared for how he described Neutrality.

Though I do prefer the Three Alignment Axis, I am not fond of how it was implemented in the game. The fact that there could only be Law and Chaos aligned Clerics, didn’t appeal to me. The expectation that PCs would either be Lawful or Chaotic, especially if they wanted to play a Cleric or Lawful only if they wanted to play a Paladin – just seemed to force players into Choosing Law as their default alignment.

Also, the implication that Law was tantamount to Good, while Chaos was tantamount to Evil annoyed me. Sure, Gary corrected that with the later Alignment Axes; and yet it only codified a shallow system without any real connection to the source material. Where was the constant struggle between the forces of Law and Chaos? Nowhere.

A lost opportunity, that made Alignment just another mechanic with little utility beyond the superficial. WotC surely hasn’t done anything to rectify this, the closest they got was with Eberron and yet it rarely played out beyond the novels and historical lore. Sure, DMs could plumb the lore to create a vibrant struggle that ran throughout their campaigns, yet the lack of official support for it was disheartening.

So, how does ALL of the above apply to the Adventures Grim & Perilous System and the TTRPGs that are powered by it? Simply, it is meant to illustrate the flaws of the established Alignment systems utilised by the iconic and dominant fantasy TTRPG on the scene.

As it stands now Alignment is seen at best a useful tool for designating factions and how they interact with each other. At the worse it is seen as a useless anachronistic mechanic to be ignored. Unfortunately, a vocal section of the customer base sees Alignment as the latter instead of the former.

In the Adventures Grim & Perilous System powered TTRPGs, Alignment is expected to play a pivotal role in the campaigns and settings within where they are based.

That is easy to say, yet harder to accomplish – at least without a proper foundation from which an enterprising Referee can build upon for their campaigns. That means the struggle between Law and Chaos must not only be woven into the lore of the setting, but have mechanical tools for the Referee to easily incorporate them into their campaigns.

There also needs to be firm well explained definitions of what Law, Neutrality and Chaos means in a mechanical way and in how they impact the world and characters that dwell within them.

This CANNOT just be a reaction table modifier, a list of aligned creatures or a few spells that just nod at them in a superficial manner. It MUST be integral to the system AND the setting. The mechanics MUST reinforce this throughout the various aspects of the game that they propose to address.

In Adventures Grim & Perilous System and its setting/TTRPGs, I will endeavour mightily to make sure that Alignment matters, that the referee has the proper mechanical tools and advice to better give life to that eternal struggle between Law and Chaos.

Will this make AG&PS and the TTRPGs powered by it overtly crunchy?

No, because of my ADHD I need to have a mechanical system of which is easy for me to run…so “crunchy” mechanics are out. Simple charts and abundant advice SHOULD allow even a Referee like me with ADHD to easily run it. The mechanics SHOULD just fade into the background and be easy to both master and implement within play. This philosophy goes for ALL aspects of my design philosophy as I move forward in the development cycle for AG&PS and its TTRPGs.

Before I close this missive, I do want to address the future accusations of “Bio-Essentialism” that MAY be cast about concerning Alignment in AG&PS.

  • The VAST majority of sentient creatures are Neutral, they are either oblivious to the struggle between Law and Chaos, OR they choose to instead champion Balance – which will be the Neutrality’s ruling Faction.
  • Those creatures that are aligned with Law are either Agents of Law born in the Plane of Law and thus their entire being is infused with Law or they chose to align themselves with one of the Powers of Law and their factions within the Mundane World. The same goes for the Agents of Chaos and Balance.
  • The Agents of Law, Balance and Chaos can be either Good or Evil. This is either reflected via their actions or factions with whom they are aligned with.

Well before I prattle on even more, I’ll close this missive and get it published and shared. As always, please take care of yourselves and be kind to each other. Fin.

Update on my TTRPG Projects

Greetings, sorry for the lack of content I have been mired in a pit of depression and self-loathing the last month. Yet, the break gave time to revaluate the direction that I was going with my TTRPG products, including Adventures Grim & Perilous. So, in the missive I’ll focus on what changes that I am implementing going forward.

The first decision that I made was that I’ll focus on two interrelated TTRPGs. Like with both Palladium Books did with their line and Monty Cook Games has done with their line, I am using the Adventures Grim & Perilous System as the core to my various future TTRPGs. There will be one exception, that being my “Orwerearld” project. It will be its own thing.

The second decision I made, was go back to my original idea for Adventures Grim & Perilous System (AG&PS) – it was meant to emulate a fusion of Chainmail and OD&D, with some bits inspired by both 1e AD&D and Talislanta 1e. Note I said, “EMULATE” – as such, this will NOT be yet ANOTHER retro-clone of OD&D; as there are enough of those on the market. Instead, I seek to emulate the core tropes that is brought to mind when I think of Chainmail, OD&D, and AD&D 1e –

                 Exploration, deadly combat and Vancian Magic.

Though I will keep my other project ideas and eventually go through the project folder and work on them once the Adventures Grim & Perilous System and it’s first TTRPG powered by it – VAL KARTH (2.0) TTRPG.

                        VAL KARTH – Adventures into Savage World

The development journal posts for VAL KARTH that I will be publishing here on this blog, will be the only project that I’ll discuss here and on my Twitter account. That said, I’ll post reviews on indie TTRPGs that I buy when I have time to read through them.

Before I end this missive, I’ll give you all a general idea what VAL KARTH will be like, as well as the AG&PS that powers it. I’ll start with Val KARTH as a setting.

                               VAL KARTH – The Known World

VAL KARTH is inspired by the default IMPLIED setting of OD&D, yet seen through the warped imagination that resides in my skull. Toss in inspirations such as late ‘80s to mid ‘90s 2000AD and White Dwarf, plus the sonic pollution of Hardcore Punk, Extreme Metal and Underground Hip Hop that inspired me growing up and continue to be the soundtrack for my tormented existence. Another two influences on VAL KARTH and AG&PS, are Talislanta 1e/2e and my friend, Black Dragon Games and his on game he is developing.

Whereas VAL KARTH is inspired by the implied default setting of OD&D it is more the Gonzo implied aspects of the implied setting that I am drawing from. In VAL KARTH there will be NO Elves, Dwarfs, Halflings; nor will there be Goblins and Orcs. That being said, future TTRPGs that are also powered by AG&PS will include those races, just not VAL KARTH. I want to take inspiration from Talislanta and create my own cultures, fauna and flora that populate VAL KARTH, as I used to do back in the day.

                            Adventures Grim & Perilous System

The Adventures Grim & Perilous System at its core is something I wanted ever since I delved into OD&D and Chainmail back in the fall of 2018. Yet, it also takes into its DNA elements inspired by the 1e AD&D posts by Black Dragon Games and my memories of Talislanta. Again, AG&PS and VAL KARTH simply EMULATE OD&D, Chainmail, BDG’s wonderous house rules and blog posts; as well as the Gonzo-ness of Talislanta. As I said before, I do NOT want AG&PS or VAL KARTH to be a retro-clone of my influences, simply emulate their spirit.

Though, I do not have anything locked down – besides the use of archetypes over “Classes” and “Races” as presented in OD&D, AD&D and even Chainmail, tis something that has been 100% firm since I began developing AG&PS. The other thing is how alignment works in the game. Like in OD&D, AG&PS and VAL KARTH are rooted in the 3 Alignment Axis – that said, how it is implemented will be rooted in my OWN interpretation of Law-Neutrality-Chaos and what it means for the settings that are powered by AG&PS. I’ll discuss that in my next missive.

Time to watch some Clone Wars and then go to bed. So please everyone take care and be kind to each other. Fin.

Projects and Blog Update

Greetings, yet another belated missive. My mental health has gotten in the way of both my blogging and game development. If you follow my blog and Twitter account you are aware that I am a font of ideas. That being said, some of those ideas though appealing to me at the time rarely hold my interest…not from lack of want, often I have issues figuring out how best to implement them properly. Adventures Grim & Perilous is still in development, as is its default setting of Xothun. The “Orwereald” project is on the backburner as it will be more esoteric in nature and as such, I need time to brainstorm how I want the game and default setting to develop and play.

Ord Chanoth and a few of my more gonzo settings are on infinite hiatus at the moment as I decide how I want to move forward with them. VAL KARTH died as a setting as it was initially envisioned. I want to keep core elements (such as the sleeping Titan, though he’ll slumber in the remains of the primary moon instead.

The Anime inspired TTRPG and setting died, though I love the idea of playing in an Anime inspired game I just have a hard time envisioning HOW to implement it. I have flirted with creating a setting inspired by Trash Mob Minis, and yet I hesitate as though it appeals to me I am not sure that it’ll appeal to others.

One thing I do know is I want to create a fun tongue-in-cheek fantasy setting. My old Skârn setting I used for both 5e D&D and my Rolemaster United play test campaigns was meant to be a Metal inspired “Beer N Bud” type setting loosely inspired by Brütal Legend video game (at least its visual aesthetic) yet morphed into a hybrid of Talislanta inspired gonzoness and trad D&D tropes. Not what I wanted, but I convinced myself I could only do deeply developed and “realistic” settings.

Was Skârn a bad setting? Not at all, I still love it and its potential, it just wasn’t what I was I was shooting for when I initially began to develop it. I may go back and revise it at some point, with a proper set of maps, since the initial maps though I like them I they didn’t turn out as I had initial sketched it out.

So, if the anime setting/TTRPG and Skârn are not going to be developed what will take their place?

Before I get to that, I want to discuss what prompted this in the first place the Blood Bowl Season Two review by Ash of Guerrilla Miniature Games channel (link here) especially the bit on the art style at starts at 5:32. It was this part of the review that 1) convinced me to buy Blood Bowl Season Two and 2) resurrect my long slumbering desire to create this campy and gonzo setting (TTRPG?).

Now, to the code name for this project is “Yagmoon” (Yes, I am reusing a name for a past potential project”. I’ll post more about it in a future missive, as I am still brainstorming it. I am not sure if it’ll have its own system or be used with 5e Hardcore Mode, ICRPG 2e or some other OSR system, I am still thinking about that.

Concerning my blogging, I had planned to blog nearly daily every week on a different blog on a specific day. Since, I deleted one of my blogs and decided to cover my AG&P development, comics, anime, miniature games, 5e Hardcore Mode, ICRPG 2e on this blog. I’ll still post weekly on my Star Wars Adventures into the Outer Rim blog and my future personal blog where I discuss my personal, spiritual and political evolution. I’ll be sticking with the weekly post schedule for all three blogs. I’ll launch a Publishing Company blog, where I’ll posting about my own TTRPGs, comics and Zines in the future.

That blog will also be where I post updates on any settings, games, mapping and zine in development; as well as my future YouTube Vlog and Podcasts. Posts on this blog be more frequent as it’ll cover official content for my Publishing Company.

The Vlog will cover miniatures, games I publish, mapping and video game streams.

The Podcasts will be discussing Geeky topics and potentially my own solo play campaign podcast.

The above will only be launched ONCE I have reached the pre-publishing phase of development of AG&P and launching my Patreon to fund editing and art commissions. Patrons will get first access to updates and at higher levels access to play testing and access to stuff like pins, vinyl stickers and monthly hand drawn mini maps.  

Well, I’ll close this so I can get it published and shared. Please take care and be kind to each other. Fin.

Now for something completely different

Greetings, in this missive I am going to discuss comics – mainly my on and off love affair with Superhero comics and the Big Two.

I’ve been a comic from the mid 80’s, so I should be a stalwart Superhero fan, and yet I am not. Sure, I liked the occasional title and character, yet I was more interested in the penciller on a given title often times.

That is not to say that I didn’t follow certain titles though successive art teams, because I did. I was simply very selective on what titles I followed.

I was a indie, underground and manga fan – even then. My Uncle D, introduced me to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Alien Legion, Love & Rockets; as well as a few others. So, Superhero comics were not my go to when it came to comics.

I was into Aircel’s Samurai, Elflord, Darkewood, and Warlock 5. As well as Conan zines, Adventurers, Ninja Elite, Elf Warrior, and Deadworld. Toss in some early manga from VIZ, as well as some other more obscure manga and Hong Kong comics, superheroes didn’t appeal until the late 80’s.

Amazing Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Uncanny X-Men, Excalibur, the Incredible Hulk, Strike Force Moritori, X-Force (especially Larry Stroman’s run) were my main go to’s. Outside Batman I was not a DC fan until later in the early 90’s with the launch of the Dakotaverse.

Icon, Hardware and Static were my favourite DC titles. It wasn’t until the 2000’s that I started following DC. With the Batman titles being my mainstay, followed by Justice League and Justice Society, and the various Green Lantern books.

Up till then I was mainly a Marvel and Image fan when it came to superheroes. That said, indie and manga comics still drew me in as they still do.

Now days I could care less about Superhero books. I would rather read manga and indies than the Big Two superheroes, especially how they are being done now.

The only superheroes that I still have a nostalgic interest in are the Dakotaverse characters – Static, Icon, Rocket and Hardware. Beyond those, Batman and his family of characters (heroes and villains) and Spider-Man. X-Men are dead to me.

I am looking forward to the new Dakotaverse books coming out soon. I will read older Batman books and Spider-Man titles, especially the Miles Morales books. That said, I will not be reading much of their newer titles.

I love Batman and Spider-Man, they are the iconic superheroes that I find appealing. I am just not a fan of how both DC and Marvel are treating them.

Both Spider-Man and Batman have excellent rogues galleries and supporting characters. The Joker, Penguin, Clayman, Poison Ivy, Robin, Nightwing, Redhood, Batgirl, Catwoman are awesome characters.

As are Aunt May, MJ, Gwen Stacy, the Vulture, Lizardman, Rhino, the Green Goblin, Kraven the Hunter, Typhoid Mary, the Kingpin, the Hobgoblin and Ganke Lee, are also classic characters.

I will likely collect collections of 80’s-mid 2010’s Spider-Man and Batman titles going forward. I will also buy merchandise of both titles and the respective characters because I love them. The same goes for the Dakotaverse verse titles and characters.

Moving forward, I am not sure if I will ever read newer superhero comics from the Big Two, their current editorial and creative teams make it nearly impossible to envision doing so.

I doubt that I will ever buy any new superhero titles be they mainstream or indie; I am largely done with them. Something REALLY special must come out for me to consider it.

Frankly, outside manga and a few rare indie comics I doubt that I will buy many new comics. Though I love comics, there just isn’t anything exciting out there. Even in the crowdfunding sphere I haven’t seen much to appeal to me other than Kyrie, Napalm Brothers and Saving the World.

Which is extremely sad. Wet Moon is over, for now at least; I am not sure of the status of Shadoweyes; so I am not sure what I have to look forward towards comic-wise outside the manga sphere. I want to get back into comics again.

Hopefully something new with come out that draws me back into American comics again – as it looks like my comic buying will be slim to none outside manga.

I want the kind of stories and characters that hooked me not only as a teen but as an adult with both Wet Moon and Shadoweyes.

Well it is going on 2:40 am, time to publish this and get it shared before I go to sleep. Take care and be kind to each other. Fin.

Yet Another Brief Update

Greetings, I am in a bit of a flux of late and decided that some restructuring needs to occur – NO I am NOT killing the blog or ending development of my TTRPGs. I am simply reworking how I will move forward so I can better use my time both for blogging, TTRPG development, work (hopefully soon) and training this May. I’ve been neglecting my other geeky blog and don’t want that to happen to this one or my just launched Star Wars based blog. So, something needs to change so that I can get back into a properly productive mindset and blog more, as well as do more development on my TTRPGs.

How will I do this?

  • Blog once a week on ALL my blogs ON a set schedule. Wódenesdæg for this blog, Mónandæg for my upcoming Personal Political/Spiritual blog, Frígedæg for my Forgotten Realms-Greyhawk Revised Campaign Blog, Sæternesdæg my Star Wars Blog and finally, Sunnandæg my newest upcoming blog – my currently unnamed ICRPG 2e & 5e Hardcore Mode oriented blog.
  • This blog will shift focus to being a development blog for my TTRPGs and occasional discussions of comics, manga, anime, light novels and video games – I am getting my Nintendo Switch on Mónandæg.
  • I’ll endeavour to spend at least an hour a day or evening in TTRPG development.
  • I’ll spend an hour or two practicing digital art every other day.

Instead of trying do multiple posts every week for one or two blogs, then neglect the others; trimming down post frequency and having a set posting day shall (I hope) help keep me focused. Why so many blogs? I am sick of cluttering up this one with my other projects and giving them second (or third) billing on this blog. Hopefully, I can start the blog schedule starting next Mónandæg. If not then, I’ll do so the following week for sure.

The rest of this week will be focused on working on and finalising my branding imaging for my new blogs and likely this blog as well. Once this is done, I’ll begin composing the posts in turn so they are ready for publishing on their scheduled day.

Just note that in May, all my blog posts WILL be likely brief affairs, as I’ll be doing training to be a Wellness Support Specialist. Training will take priority to my blogs, as the training will assist me in beginning a career as a Peer Support Specialist. I’ll also have to take driver’s training so I can get my license and car for work AND independence purposes.

Beyond the above, I need to get some new shoes and boots, a new jacket or two and new TV – my old one died. I also, need to get EITHER an iMac OR a PC – I love my iPad, and I hope to have it replace my Laptop as my go to writing and mobile workstation.

That being said, I want to get into freelance digital map making – both hand-drawn and via a program. I also need something better suited to 3D art/sculpting programs and desktop publishing. I have to decide IF I should stick with the Mac ecosystem or get a PC with Affinity suite of programs so I can easily cross platform with my Affinity applications work. I need to figure out WHAT I NEED computing wise to run each program I get at near full optimisation IF possible.

I am not in a hurry on that, I am just going to muse about it and explore all my options. Well, I have errands to run so I will end this post and get it published and shared before I head out. Please take care and be kind to each other. Fin.

Adventures Grim and Perilous TTRPG Update

Greetings, in this missive I wanted to give a general update on the progress and direction of my Adventures Grim and Perilous Adventure Game, especially since there was some confusion when I posted on Twitter about my personal blog.

My geeky blog is still ALIVE and is NOT going anywhere, neither am I stopping the development on Adventures Grim and Perilous, and its various supplements. My personal blog wasn’t filling a need I had for it and instead of just rebranding it – potentially causing confusion, I chose to delete it.

That said, discussing my old personal blog – is NOT the topic of this blog, nor this missive. If you have been following this blog for the last few months you have noticed an often-chaotic slew of RPG related post, many of which discussed budding setting ideas. I found that I was tossing out content WITH genuine desire to expand upon it and then often fail to do so.

Moving forward I’ll be focusing on posting about Adventures Grim and Perilous and its core supplements – Xothun, Journey into the Granand Wald and unnamed Anime-inspired Sci-Fi setting. I will also be posting about my planned “OrwerealdTTRPG and ICRPG 2e Setting.

I will occasionally discuss, manga, anime, comics and light novels as well.; but the bulk of my posts will be focused upon AG&P, its related Setting Supplements, “Orwereald” and the other TTRPGs. Posts will be less frequent, as I no longer want to neglect my other geeky blogs. They deserve some love, as I am sure there are people looking forward to my Færûn-Oerik content and my new Star Wars content on my brand-new blog.

So rest assured that both this blog and my TTRPGs are alive and well, they are not going anywhere. So, please take care and be kind to each other. Fin.

Three TTRPGs? Yes. I can’t help myself.

Greetings, as the title alludes to, I am developing YET another TTRPG. As Adventures Grim and Perilous is a dungeon delving and exploration based TTRPG that emulates Classic D&D, but with tweaks, and whereas “Orwereald” is a TTRPG that focuses on exploring both the mundane and supernatural. So, what will this new TTRPG emulate? Something a bit different, at least for me. I have loved both anime and manga since my teens, actually since my preteens if you include Speed Racer, Robotech and Star Blazers, though I didn’t know that they were “anime” at the time.

So, how will this TTRPG differ in a way other haven’t? Frankly, I am not sure – as I haven’t played them, so, I cannot really answer that question. What I can say though is, I am making the anime inspired game I want to play and run. The next question is what kind of anime do I want to emulate? Now, that is the rub. What genre do I want emulated?

Not romantic comedy, nor hentai, and definitely not harem genres. I could do straight Sci-Fi, but I am not really good at sci-fi, as a setting designer that is. My design niche seems to be fantasy, especially in the Science-Fantasy subgenre. How would I emulate an anime flavoured setting and system, beyond “visual” presentation?

The problem with a lot of Fantasy Anime, is the EPIC superhero style powers and action…Exalted does this well. That said, I do not want to emulate Exalted. You must also take into account like all fiction, anime and manga are story driven mediums. So, unless you are going to have the rules emulate that aspect, it may fit a solo style game with one player and a referee. As anyone who knows me, I give “story-games” a ton of crap for ruining TTRPGs; so I’d be hugely hypocritical if I produced such a game…oops, I am already doing that with “Orwereald”. That said, I do not want to produce a second “story game”, as “Orwereald” is a special project for me, so needs a more “story game” style to work.

Plus, I want to create a game for multiple players with cinematic action, minus the overblown superhero levels of abilities and power. I am still an Old School oriented referee and designer, so I prefer the “zero to hero” style of play. Though I am NOT a fan of 5e D&D or Pathfinder, things need to be more combat centred and have a higher lever of ability than OD&D, B/X D&D and 1e AD&D.

So Fantasy (or more accurately Science-Fantasy) is the genre to be emulated. Now, how so? What type of anime fantasy do I want to emulate? I also need to decide on how characters will be represented mechanically? Do I do archetypes as I am in Adventures Grim and Perilous? The Pros for Archetypes is ease of use, especially if you come from traditional fantasy TTRPGs. The Cons, does it fit the source material? That depends, is this TTRPG going to emulate Record of Lodoss War, Legend of Crystania, Log Horizon, Sword Art Online or Goblin Slayer? If so, archetypes would work, if not they won’t.

Then there is tone, both visually and setting wise.

If emulating anime/manga like Berserk or Claymore, a dark and gritty style would be needed; whereas if Log Horizon and even Goblin Slayer, there is a level of optimism and humour often found.

If I was to emulate Berserk, I might as well just create a setting expansion for AG&P and not create a new system/setting combo. And frankly when conceiving of this project I was inspired by the art for the anime/manga Radiant and other more “optimistic and bright” – Noble Bright if you will, style of game. Simply because 1) AG&P and “Orwereald” are darker in theme and 2) I’ve been wanting to do a Noble Bright setting for a while.

Now that we have those questions answered, I have to ask myself, so the TTRPG is going to be Science-Fantasy genre-wise and Noble Bright (optimistic with Humour implied), is it archetype or non-archetype based? The thematic archetypes of AG&P maybe too restrictive, and yet I am not sure generic archetypes would be flavourful enough.

This leads me to look at my inspirations, not just in Anime, Manga a Light Novels, but also other TTRPG systems. What can I glean from them? I know that system-wise I still want game play to be simple, fast and intuitive…including how archetypes work.

Something I really like about Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen and TTRPGs like Rolemaster and HARP, is that though you have basic archetypes, they are just starting points. In all of them, though may start out as a “Mage”, “Warrior” or “Thief” you are not prevented from learning new skills or specialising in a chosen path. This is often something you see in Fantasy Anime and Manga; you start out as one thing and evolve as you progress and develop.

So how to implement that without rigid thematic archetypes or overly generic ones? I will have to muse about that as I move forward with this project. This is a long term one, as I must finish both Adventures Grim and Perilous, and “Orwereald” first before I get deep into the development phase. That said, I wanted to discuss the project to help me commit to it and work through some ideas I have for it.

One thing I do know is that it will be a more cinematic style of play, thus less deadly that either AG&P and “Orwereald”. That the cinematic aspects hinted at in the mechanics are NOT bound by them; they are just given as examples on how to emulate and adjudicate during play.

Another thing that I know about the setting is that it is inspired by Japanese Language and Culture, yet presented as in anime/manga in a culturally eclectic manner – fusing aspects of both Japanese and Western cultures. Language-wise though Japanese will be the core in the setting, German, English and Chinese will also play a major part in the setting; especially the core base of the initial setting – a independent Floating Island City of Sky Pirates, Rogues, Mages and Sell-Swords.

Well, I’ll end this so I can get it published and shared today. Plus, I need to finish today’s personal blog post as well. Please take care, and be kind to one another. Fin.

Development Journal Update: Addendum – Answers and Clarifications

Greetings, this is a bonus follow up post to answer some questions that my last missive brought up. This is a prime example why I share my progress here and on Twitter, to get constructive feedback. Now I’ll jump right into answering the questions Kerc of Dice, Pencil Paper has for me, then answer any other questions that may come up.

  • Difficulty task modifiers are only +/- 9% variance, is it out of the question to make those higher/lower?

Since all Difficulty Tasks are rolled with 2d6, adding more/less than +/-1 to 2 will be too high or low. That said, if a referee wants to do so I care less, once bought it is your game to run as you please.

Also, should be noted routine tasks require NO roll. Players should role play and come up with tactics and solutions to mitigate the need to roll or lessen the difficulty of a given task.

Since non-combat tasks are roll under Attribute – which ranges from 2 to 12, a +/-1 to 2 can mean the success or failure chance is already going to be greater. If a Character has 2 Int and the task is Hard (+2) it is impossible – thus no roll for hard tasks (as well as moderate tasks).

Note: I am getting rid of the simple difficulty penalty/bonus modifier. The more I thought about it, it was unnecessary especially with Routine tasks requiring no roll.

  • Is Combat Prowess a negative modifier to the attack roll, or a target number?

An, character or their opponent’s Combat Prowess ability is a target number to be hit. Modified by both Wounds and Fatigue; plus, as you suggested (damn tired brain) a shield mitigates the chance for a hit to be struck.

  • Fatigue Pool: How do you determine the different Fatigue Levels?

A simple equation based upon your Fatigue Pool level. As with the Attribute Tests above, I am getting rid of the +/-3 modifier.

You divide your Fatigue Pool Max by three, round down. The Lesser Fatigue Level is the largest number of points in your pool, it doesn’t add a penalty to rolls.

The middle amount in the Max Fatigue Pool equates the Moderate Fatigue Level and adds an -/+1 modifier to the respective rolls.

The Lowest numbers of the Fatigue Pool Max equal the Severe Fatigue Level, and +/-2 from the given task roll.

Example: IF you have a Vigour of 11, your Fatigue Pool Max will be 11; so, the point spread will be as follows: 1-4 = Severe Fatigue Level, 5-8 = Moderate Fatigue Level, and 9-11 = Lesser or Light Fatigue, and apply no modifier. The lower your Vigour, the lower your Fatigue threshold will be, thus a Vigour of 2, means Severe Fatigue sets in at 1 in your meager Fatigue Pool, and a 2 = Moderate Fatigue, there IS no Lesser Fatigue for a character with a Vigour of 2. Fatigue DOESN’T go up with level, only one’s Wound Capacity does.

  • Do Weapons affect the chance to hit, or just do damage?

Here is how it works. I am using aspects of Chainmail to inform my combat system…minus the unnecessary fiddly bits.

  1. Polearms, Spears & Lances strike first in melee no matter who wins initiative.
  2. If a weapon is short or lighter/quicker to use, they depending on opponent’s weaponry grant multiple attacks…IF they can get within reach.
  3. A shield or secondary weapon can be used to parry attacks the defender IS aware of AND striking at the side or front of the defender. A shield or off-handed cannot parry IF the defender is unaware OR the strike comes from the back or other side. A parry IS possible from the main weapon arm IF the defender can afford to sacrifice an attack.
  4. Weapon size doesn’t affect Damage UNLESS wielded by Large, Huge or Gigantic opponents. These are special cases. Attacking Dragons, Trolls, Ogres and Giants are to be avoided IF possible…they are HARD to injure and ARE EXTREMELY deadly if they hit you. I am taking a Chainmail rules concerning “Hero” and “Superhero” equivalents with concerns for Dragons when flying.
  • Suggestion: Shields should probably decrease the chance of being hit.

You were correct. Sleepy brain not think right, error made. Thank you for the catch. I’ll edit the original post to correct the error.

  • Missiles: The attacker rolls to hit, or it’s just the target to save?

The Target rolls to save. IF the attacker has a High Dex, the a +1 is added to the defender’s save roll IF they notice coming; showing their high ability. Short Range adds a +3 to the Dexterity Test Save, a Medium Range adds a +2; while a long range adds a +1 IF wearing non-plate Armour.

Plate wearing targets w/o shield IF aware make an unmodified roll; whereas a plate wearing target w/ a shield IF aware do not have to roll, they use their shield to bat away the arrow or protect themselves with it. At extreme range no mods are made for targets in non-plate armour; whereas targets in plate with or without shields are without need to roll EVEN if unaware.

That doesn’t even account for cover…. but you’ll have to read the rules for that.

I need to eat, since no more questions were asked, I’ll end this post and publish it and go eat. Please take care, and be kind to each other. Fin.

Development Journal for Adventures Grim & Perilous and the Xothun Setting

Greetings, in this post I’ll be giving you a development journal progress update – I have been getting plenty of wonderful and supportive feedback so far, which makes me stay motivated to continue developing this TTRPG and its setting supplements. What I’ll be discussing in particular is some of the design choices that I have made, as well as my plotted development direction for my Xothun setting expansion.

First, I’ll will be discussing Adventures Grim and Perilous Adventure Game, most know this already but there are a few new folks showing interest, so I figured that I should mention it again briefly. Adventures Grim and Perilous is an emulation of tropes found in OD&D, B/X D&D and 1e AD&D – dungeon delving and exploration. That said, instead of traditional Classes as presented in D&D (in all the various editions) I instead use thematic archetypes in the vein of Talislanta; which is a huge inspiration for me.

Though, there are six attributes in AG&P; they are different and most tests outside combat are rolled against them. The attributes are rolled 2d6, as such the numerical value doesn’t equate raw ability – a character with 2 Int isn’t stupid, they are simply are less knowledgeable about a broad number of things that a character with a 12 Int will be. Attribute tests are roll under so a natural 12 is only a success for a character with 12 in a given attribute being tested. Modifiers are rare and only grant either a +/-1 applied to a roll. So, a hard difficulty test increases the chance of failure with a +1, whereas a simple (NOT routine) tasks grants a -1 to a given roll thus increasing the odds of success.

Things are different with combat rolls are against an opponents Combat Prowess for melee, a successful “hit” minus 1 from one’s Fatigue Pool – once one’s fatigue pool is reduced to zero, a Vigour test is made with a bonus acquired by the Fatigue Penalty +1 to +3. Minor Fatigue = +1 Penalty to one’s Vigour Test; Moderate Fatigue = a +2 and a Severe Fatigue = a +3. On a failed Vigour Test, a character or NPC is winded, battered and sore. If hit again they take a Wound.

Wound Threshold begins at 1 at 1st Level and increases by 1 every level to a Maximum of 12. Weapons deal Wounds depending on Type, and Armour mitigates Wound Severity. Shields further mitigate Wound Severity IF the character or NPC IS aware of the attack. Conditions apply. IF a wound is scored (passing armour and other protections) the Referee rolls on the corresponding Wound Chart and applies the results to the Wounded Character or NPC. 

Missile attacks are simply a save against Agility. Roll an Agility Test, with the same Fatigue Penalties. IF unengaged in melee a character gets a Perception Test to notice incoming arrow or volley of arrows. If successful one rolls an Agility Test to dodge the arrow. If One has a shield as well, they add a -1 bonus for a Buckler, a -2 bonus for a Round shield or a -3 bonus if using a tower or long “tear” shaped shield. IF in melee on a d6 roll of 1-2 the opponent in the foreground if the target character is surrounded by 4 opponents, a roll of 3 the opponent to the left is hit, while a roll of 4 hits the character, a 5 hits the opponent in the rear and a 6 the opponent to the right. If only the character and opponent is in melee the character is hit on odds, while the opponent is hit on evens. Exceptions to the above count when fighting Large, Huge or Gigantic opponents.

Same rules apply for a missile hit that apply to melee hits.

Things are different for Non-Humanoid combat. As the above rules only apply to Humanoid-vs-Humanoid combat. Depending upon non-humanoid opponent the characters come into conflict with, the chances to being hit are far different and as are the ramifications IF hit by a non-humanoid opponent, especially if they are Large, Huge or Gigantic Category opponents and the kinds of attack and weaponry used. Adventures Grim and Perilous is named so for a VERY good reason – try to avoid combat ESPECIALLY with larger and more powerful opponents. But you’ll have to read the rules to discover that.

Now onto the progress update on Xothun.

Xothun as a setting is meant to emulate the Gonzoness of the implied default setting of OD&D – though not in a direct manner. For one, another company owns the TTRPG license for Edgar Rice Burrows’ John Carter/Barsoom IP; so, the Barsoonian creatures/races wouldn’t be able to be used when published. Also, any “Islamic” inspired aspects of the implied default setting are also excised from my emulation of the setting for obvious reasons – the setting isn’t OUR Earth.

Which leads to the mapping project I plan on taking up as soon as I get my new art tool and bring my projector from storage and/or I get my digital drawing skills developed enough to so digitally. This project is to utilise old maps of North America to create the map of the setting much like Gary Gygax did with his home campaign, though he used modern maps to my best knowledge. I will use the outline as the basis of the continental map and the Great Lakes Region as the core campaign region…the same as Gary did.

Beyond the mapping project, I wanted cover some of the design decisions and plans for it. First, I wanted to give my reasons for trying to emulate the spirit of the implied setting of OD&D in the first place. In order for one to understand the reasoning they have to read Wayne Rossi’s wonderful (& free) PDF discussing it (Link here). This PDF is inspiring, if I had to quibble about it, I would say the focus on the Outdoor Survival Game map was unnecessary, but I understand the reasoning behind the choice.

Secondly, I wanted to honour both Gary and Dave Arneson without whom we would have the hobby that we have today. I also wanted to celebrate the Gonzo nature OD&D and its implied setting hinted of as you read the pamphlets and sample wandering monster charts and other aspects of the game.

One of the disappointing aspects of Greyhawk as a published setting, it downplayed the gonzoness of D&D and 1e AD&D. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the Folio edition of Greyhawk – in fact I’ll be blogging about my revisions soon on a separate blog. But Greyhawk as written and published by both TSR and WotC feels too much as a generic Medieval Europe based fantasy setting with a few tweaks. You read the location descriptions like Caliphate of Ekbir and the real-world titles and Medieval European clip art just reinforces it.

As such it lost a sense of gonzoness and frankly it is too “full” of realms, whereas the default implied setting evoked memories of Land of the Lost, Ralph Bakshi’s Wizard, Flash Gordon and the art of Frank Frazetta and Mike Ploog. Even the original Forgotten Realms box set implied a far more gonzo setting than any edition of Greyhawk, barring some flirtations in the various adventure modules that is.

Now I will speak about the core aspects of Xothun, to give you dear reader an understanding on what I included that speaks of “Gonzo-ness” in context to the setting. I need to put up or shut up, right?

  • Xothun is a World of Portals – Not just to different locals within it, but also to other worlds and planes of existence. An enterprising referee using just the Adventures Grim and Perilous Adventure Game and Xothun core supplement and map can incorporate whatever they so desire to make Xothun their own. Want to add Warforged (or even…groan – Dragonborn)? Craft a thematic archetype for one and introduce them. Want to add Lankhmar to Xothun, do so…it is YOUR setting now. Once you buy it, I have NO say how you use it.
  • Xothun has sky islands and other mysterious floating objects of wonder – This is something most of my settings include. I love the idea and it feels “Gonzo” to me, in fact it was the only thing I liked about the 4e Forgotten Realms abomination – Earth Motes rule!
  • Xothun has Magic Powered Technology and Sciences – What kind of Gonzo Science-Fantasy setting doesn’t? None I say. Fantasy puritans can go kick rocks.
  • Xothun has BOTH Magic AND Psionics – Again, Fantasy purists can go kick rocks for all I care. What is Psionics? Magic. Magic is NOT just invocations, incantations and magical items, it is ALL supernatural abilities – just applied in another fashion. The “Space Wizards” of Star Wars are by definition psions – they do not utilise incantations to do “hold person” or “Force Lightening”. They utilise their mind and training to do “magic”. If you think “eewww no psionics in MY fantasy”, then Xothun is NOT the setting expansion for you.
  • Xothun has no Elves, Dwarves or Halflings – Xothun does have races that emulate aspects of each race as presented in OD&D, and yet they are not fully identical. You have Trogs, Ratlings and Cambions (Screw you I love Tieflings). That being said, once you own Xothun you can add Elves, Dwarves, Goblins ect to YOUR version of Xothun. I may even add them myself at one point…Xothun IS a world of portals, right? Anything is possible.

Enough extolling the Gonzo creds for Xothun, I earned the right to use the “Gonzo” descriptor. Now before I end this missive, I wanted to mention that Xothun is replacing Granand Wald as the default setting for Adventures Grim and Perilous Adventure Game. Does that mean that I am doing away with the Granand Wald setting? NO. I am just refocusing in default setting, to give me time to properly develop Granand Wald the way it deserves to be…not rushed. That does mean I’ll need to do some minor rewrites on the AG&P document to mirror that change.

Well I have things to do (and another personal blog post to compose) so I better end this and get it published before I leave. As always, please take care and be kind to each other. Fin.

Yet another TTRPG Project (Why do I do this to myself?)

Greetings, and as the title alludes to, yes “Yet another TTRPG Project”. Initially I had planned this project to be simply another setting supplement for Adventures Grim and Perilous; that idea was quickly as this project doesn’t fit the OD&D/Chainmail style of play that AG&P is rooted in. So, what is this mystery project and how is it different than AG&P you may as? I don’t have a proper name for it, so I will be referring to it as “Orwereald” for the time being.

What makes “Orwereald” different than Adventures Grim and Perilous? Though there are similarities between them both – such as an exploration focus and a deadly combat system. “Orwereald” is not focused on treasure hunters and acquisition of temporal power as AG&P, it is focused on exploring ones spiritual and magical power.

Whereas AG&P is a game for multiple players and a referee, “Orwereald” is a dual based game – one focused on the endeavours of a single character via one player and a referee. That being said, there are two modes in which multiple players are used – a Ordeal mode, where players compete to level up. The other is in which the “core player” goes exploring and is joined with henchmen played by other players. This mode the core player of a given “journey” plays henchmen for another player’s “core character”. This gives each player opportunities to play solo with a referee and two ways to play as a group.

It also gives the “Orwereald” referee opportunities to run games with one player and groups, with their own dynamic. It allows the referee to develop a variety adventure types depending upon the player or players participating during a given session.

So how will “Orwereald” be a game focused on spiritual and magical power?

As a novice Wicca(e), Vitki, Völva, Seaðarmann/kona or Galdarmann/kona – you will be thrust into a supernatural world beyond the safety of the village. Interacting with spirits of nature and even deities – discovering one’s path. Not only must one survive and grow one’s magical and spiritual power, they also must navigate a culture that is suspicious of those who truck with spirits and utilise magic, especially if male.

A referee must make the world both strange and yet real – populated mundane allies and threats as well as supernatural ones of the wilds beyond the village enclosure. “Orwereald” will give the enterprising referee plenty of tools with which to assist them in doing so. Some will be as follows:

  • Numerous thematic random tables.
  • Flavourful and thematic descriptions of the supernatural and divine beings and places that populate the setting.
  • Examples of how to create one’s one and thematic tables for supernatural beings and locals.
  • Rules for omens and divination.
  • Rules for trances and dream-walking.
  • Gritty combat and how wounds impact play.

Though there will be some similarities with AG&P combat, the differences outweigh those similarities. Advancement is rooted in one’s spiritual and magical development and the challenges one’s mentor imposes upon their apprentices. Accumulating treasure doesn’t play into the equation, magical prowess and one’s spiritual development is the primary mode of advancement.

Another major difference between “Orwereald” and Adventures Grim and Perilous is the mahical systems; whereas AG&P’s magic system is a tweaked version of the tradition “D&D” style “Vancian” Magic System – the “Orwereald” magic system isn’t one of Lightening Bolts and Fire Balls. It is rooted in divination, enchantment, charms and more insidious types of magic curses.

Well, I’ll end this post so I can get it published and shared, before I eat some pizza. Please take care and be kind to each other. Fin.