07 March 2021

Character generation on a grid

I like the old-school rules, but there are things I have always tweaked and twisted to fit my own taste.  For instance, the old 3d6 in order for character ability generation.  I'd like to see the players get a character they can live with right out of the gate.

3d6 in order is cool if your play-style is more loose or sandboxy. For longer campaigns I'd like the players to have a character they'll enjoy playing long-term without having to go through a drawn kind of funnel process.  I wanted something that was like 3d6 in order, but more likely to give a viable character for campaign play. I also didn't want anything that smacked of "character building", no point buy, no optimizing, no rolling extra dice, or putting the scores where you want.

So, we used a 6x6 grid of scores generated by rolling 6 sets of 3d6 in order.  Each player chooses a row, column, or diagonal, in either direction.  Each set can only be used once, counting the forward and reverse reading of a set of numbers as two different sets.

Some of the players were a bit uncertain about this, but once they saw the characters they came up with they got what I was aiming for.  Each character had reasonable scores in their prime requisite(s) but their best score might be something totally not needed for their class, eg. the charismatic fighter, the hyperintelligent thief, the wise mage.

Game blog, what game blog.

 It has been quite a while since I've posted here. It is time to resume some posting I think.

I have been playing in a weekly game of D&D 5e for the past three years or so, but my preference is still for the older rules.  I enjoy the low power curve, the fragility of the characters, and the real zero-to-hero narrative the old rules do so well.  

The older rules themselves are eminently hackable, that flexibility gives  a GM lots of room to make the game unique.  I find it's easier to make the game darker and scarier with the old rules, the characters are relatively easy to kill, so players need to think more in order to keep them alive.

I tried running Swords & Wizardry for a bit, I really liked it but only one of the other players was enjoying the game, so I scrapped it.

Ditto for Labyrinth Lord, tried running it for the 5e group a couple of times, but they were just not into it.

I put together another Labyrinth Lord group from folks who indicated some interest in playing the old style.  The game has been running for something over 30 sessions and I figure I have another 15 to 20 sessions before I wrap the campaign. 

So, anyway, I'm going to try blogging about gaming again.

02 October 2013

Classic Traveller redux

We haven't had a game in a few weeks and this weekend someone couldn't make it (2 players out of a possible 4 is too few).  We tried rolling up Classic Traveller characters using all of the books and supplements.  So far we have a rogue, a doctor and a scout.  The player who was out sick rolled up an army colonel the last time we tried it (with just the first three books) so this time I guess he'll be doing up the shooty-guy again.

18 July 2013

DG/Nemesis Game Prep

We've got four players committed for a DG game using the Nemesis rules with some of the modifications I've been tinkering with.

Character sketches (text) are short, I requested that they be "a couple of sentences, the sort of thing you'd learn about the person from the contents of their wallet/purse."

Sketches to follow.  After sketches are done we'll fill in their attributes, skills and traits.

27 March 2013

Delta Green / Nemesis

I've been gathering material to run a Delta Green campaign using the Nemesis rules.  The One Roll Engine rules look like they'll make for a pretty deadly game and the Madness Meters offer a different kind of insanity experience from BRP CoC's Sanity system.

I've found the Sanity system in CoC leads to a death spiral that rapidly leads to an unplayable character; not a great design for a campaign game.  The Madness Meters used in Nemesis offer a gradual hardening of the psyche that leads to various forms of sociopathy, along with the gradual onset of various other mental disorders.  See?  Much more entertaining!  It's a little more complicated than that, but it does seem to allow for a little more variety and playability in the gradual slide toward psychological entropy. 

The combat system offers limited hit points, non-lethal and lethal damage, hit locations and a variety of light tactical options for players.  It's interesting, but lethal.

Nemesis has a somewhat unfinished feel and it was never released as a for-profit publication, but it does have the essentials that you can use to build your own horror game.

So far I've gathered material from a series of posts converting various Cthulhu-mythos spells to Nemesis and I've begun assembling conspiracy material for cults and organizations working behind the scenes (much of it from The Fairfield Project and The Yellow Site).

There are a few good Delta Green scenarios floating around out there, Night Floors is definitely weird and creepy, you can use source material from Insylum to get the background for the Carcosa stuff.

You can find the spell conversions here.

Mythos creature conversions (WIP).

House rules for Nemesis/Delta Green (WIP).

09 February 2013

James Maliszewski update and a bit about being human

James Maliszewski, a well-known blogger and designer of material of OSR gaming, has been conspicuously absent from his usually daily blog posting.  His Kickstarter project for Dwimmermount megadungeon project hasn't been updated and people are in a tizzy.

Many people, chiefly people who have backed the Dwimmermount project, were bitching and complaining about not getting their updates and so on, which was understandable given that they'd paid money to back the project.

He has posted recently that he going through a difficult, existential even, crisis and has simply said that everything else will have to wait until he has gotten through this.  I wish him well.

Now that James has made a lengthy, deeply personal, announcement about what is going on with him and asked for patience, people are still bitching.  Not only is it uncharitable, it's downright heartless.  He's not a corporation, he's not even a big company, he's a guy who writes and the gaming side of his life is something that he does out of love.

To the folks who are pissing and moaning and calling him irresponsible and other nonsense: have a little shame. It's not all about you, hounding or denigrating him is not going to get you what you want.  Have patience with people when life deals them a shitty hand, and hope that when the day comes that you need patience and understanding, someone will cut you some slack.

Health and luck to James, I hope he weathers this shock well and comes back to us soon.

17 January 2013

Barbarians of Lemuria

Finally broke out Barbarians of Lemuria over the Christmas holidays and ran a session for four of my old gaming buddies. We played a scenario called Crimson Shoals set in Howard's Hyborian Age.

 The scenario was written by Garnett Elliott, who has written a number of BoL scenarios set in Lieber/Lovecraft/CASmith/Howard style settings.

Crimson Shoals is short, but about the right length for a one-shot game or part of a campaign. The pregenerated characters are authentic Howard Hyborian Age anti-heroes and each of them has interesting details in their brief back-story blurbs.

We had a blast playing the scenario. BoL is a great little system with a lot of flexibility and I hope to get more experience with it this year.

EDIT:  I should add that Crimson Shoals, and a bunch of other stuff for BoL, is available on the Strange Stones blog (see blogroll at right).