Thursday, November 29, 2012

The 2013 Printing of Neoclassical Geek Revival

So as the year draws to a close,  it is time to once more start the notice that I will be making an additional print run of Neoclassical Geek Revival next year for a 2013 edition.

I will as always be striving to keep the same high quality binding, paper and all the rest as before.  However the print runs are starting to get bigger than I can reasonably handle in the haphazard manner I've been doing previously.

So I am throwing my hat into the ring of crowdfunding (figuratively, my hat is too nice for such cavalier tossing in reality) .

So here is an IndieGoGo campaign me and my elite crew of volunteers who seem to tolerate me have come up with.

I will be attempting to put in art in this version,  not just public domain stuff.  I can't promise that you will like it only that I will.

I also don't have any stretch goals, traditionally I lose a couple bucks from each hardcover so unless things change selling more doesn't do me many favours.  But if I do look like I will someone make cash off of this I will probably spend it all on more art.

With such lackluster praise like this,  how can you not want to contribute?

Google+ comments can be made HERE

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Quick 1001 Nights Equipment

Dirt simple starting equipment for dirt poor adventurers.   So your first character died?  Or maybe you just are arriving late? or maybe you just don't give a ship about starting equipment (or this is for an NPC).

Well, everyone has a small fruit knife to start,  but also rolls a d8, a d6 and a d4 and chooses what is most important:   Weapons, Armour or Miscellaneous stuff.

The most important thing uses the d8 for its result, the second the d6 and the least important the d4.  But you may notice there are more than one result for item, separated by a slash (/)  this is what happens when you get doubles or triples.   The portion of the double (or triple) with the highest die gets shifted over one slash for a double, or two for a triple.


Joe wants Weapons, Armour and then Misc.   He rolls a d8(4) a d6 (5) and a d4 (3)

He has a bow and quiver, a brigandine jacket, and 50 feet of hemp rope as his starting equipment.

Susan wants Armour, Misc and then Weapons.  She rolls a d8(4), a d6 (3) and a d4 (3)

She has a leather jack, 50 feet of hemp rope and a grapnel, and a spear.

Pat wants Misc, Weapons and then Armour.  Rolling the dice, all come up 2.

Pat has a bag of 30 gold dinars, a dagger, and a dark cloak.

1.  A simple wooden club/ a bronze mace/ an iron flail
2.  A dagger/ a belt of 5 throwing knives/a poisoned curved dagger
3.  A spear/  a satchel with 4 Javelins/ a trident
4.  A bow and quiver/ a heavy crossbow/ an arquebus or blunderbus
5.  A scimitar/a falchion (2 handed)
6.  A scimitar/ a falchion (2 handed)
7.  A bow and a scimitar
8.  A Scimitar and a dagger and a Spear

1. A leather cap/ a metal helm/ a bejewelled turban or crown
2. A dark cloak/ a dashing cape/ a jaguar skin cloak
3. A turtle shell buckler/ a large wicker shield/ a medium iron bound shield
4. A leather jack/ studded leather armour/ spiked leather armour
5. A brigandine jacket/  a coat of scale
6. A brigandine jacket/  a coat of scale
7. A brigandine jacket with a metal buckler and leather cap
8. A coat of scale with a metal helm

1. A torch/ a brass lamp and flask of oil/ a lantern and flask of oil
2. A bag of 30 copper pennies/ a bag of 30 silver shekels/ a bag of 30 gold dinars
3. 50 feet of hemp rope/ 50 feet of hemp rope with a grapnel/ 50 feet of silk rope with a grapnel
4. A large sack/ a backpack/ a backpack full of food with a wineskin
5. A wooden pole/ a steel crowbar
6. A wooden mallet and iron spikes/ a sledgehammer and iron spikes
7. Locksmiths tools
8. A forbidden and mystical tome

The Google+ comments thread is HERE

Monday, November 19, 2012

Real Life Experiences

So recently I was thinking about different common activities (or not so common) in the course of an RPG and how many people have actual real life experience doing any of those things?

Camping without a tent
Starting a fire without matches (or a lighter)
Riding a horse
Swimming with gear
Hiking up a forested hill
Hiking through a swamp or marsh
Hiking through subzero conditions
Hiking through a jungle or rainforest
Hiking through a desert
Moving around in a lightless cave (ie, not something with walkways and lights and tour guide)
Navigating at night with a torch or candle (for the UK folks, not a flashlight)
Firing a bow
Getting in a fight after childhood
Throwing a hatchet or knife at a specific target
Rowing a boat or Canoeing
Throwing a molotov
Picking a lock
Chopping down a tree with an axe
Throwing a rope and grapnel and then climbing that rope
Climbing a rope
Climbing a tree
Rock climbing
Climbing a building
Digging a big hole with a shovel (5 feet or more deep, 3 or more feet long and wide.)

Collecting wood and use it to start a fire
Navigating wilderness with no compass or signs
Sailed a sail boat
Determining location on a map (via triangulation, speed extrapolation) on sea and land
Distillation of liquids (extracting alcohol or purifying water)
Collecting rainwater

Firing a long gun
Firing a handgun
Firing an automatic weapon
Using explosives
Flying a plane
Gaining unauthorized access to a computer system
Writing commercial software
Using machine tools

Had a broken limb
Had a stab or puncture wound (we'll assume from accident)
Been on fire

Google+ comments HERE

(additional questions from the the writer of AFG)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What is the OSR really about? A discussion of Gender in Gaming

So I first want to note that I don't want to start this post with the discussion of how the various editions of D&D change certain problematic elements. That will be later.

First I want to talk about an example mechanic in Neoclassical Geek Revival to set as a baseline.  Much of the magic system in NGR is based around the competing claims of civilization and wilderness, with a potential third axis of destruction.   Bringing order and security to the wild reduces the power of magic.  Civilization would see demons and pagan spirits as one and the same, with different flavours to trick mortals. Pagans would see the demonic and the march of civilization as part and parcel, to build a mountain you need to dig a pit for materials.   The demonic cultists would tell their flock that the unending darkness will soon envelope both of these petty factions as it subsumes the last points of light, best sell your soul while it confers a high price.

So religion is specifically never explained who actually is right,  but it is set up to be a constant proactive conflict. If you have multiple faiths in the party, you'll risk getting into intra-party conflict.  The trade off being you can let adventures write themselves if you don't.

This moves into magic-users, currently I have more remote areas giving more mana back.  But I also note that Mystic Wastelands may cause mutations.

For the 2013 Printing I am going to be a little more explicit.  I am currently using the numbers based on wilderness to show the odds something supernatural will occur based on how remote an area is.   This works out remarkably well.  Basically for each campaign (or region) you would write up a list of a few "natural magics" like  "An unburied body may rise from the dead!" or "Burning a chicken egg in a church as it burns to the ground will cause it to hatch a wyvern".   The amount of mana a region generates in a day is the % chance the event will happen.

This maps out to
0% chance in the city
<1% chance in the rural (so round down to 0%)
1% chance on the frontier
3% chance in the wilderness
5% in uncharted, virgin territory
24% chance in a mystic wasteland.
100% in a magical vortex

There are also of course going to be spots in any region which are one level more magical (haunted houses, ley lines, etc).   So murdering someone in a haunted house has a slight chance of causing the body to rise back to unlife.

Once I remember being asked "why is it important to have a method to know the strength of a giant centipede?"  and my answer then is as now:  When you have a few numbers to work with you can work out repeatable subsystems that aren't purely arbitrary on the fly.

So the OSR is a tag some people use to self identify their work.  It contains members of all genders. Whatever version of D&D you like is best.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Diet Flailsnails, Flailsnails Zero and Flailsnails Blue

So last night I was privileged to play in a delve into the vats of Mazarin alongside Zak, James and Zach (who I don't know if they have a blog).  A blast was had, shenanigans were invoked and treasure was looted.

One thing that was brought up after the game is the nature of Flailsnails PC's getting progressively more weird things as times go on.  I would wager this is not so much due to gonzo settings but due to the "party" size.  Specifically that there are dozens of players, and even if a dungeon kills 99% of players in a room, the one that lives loots his fallen compatriots and winds up with an overload of cool things which individually aren't a problem.  Like toxins in a liver, so too is the over abundance of some stuff.

Now while a GM can veto any item,  it is usually good to do that before it is about to be used and no one wants everyone to be busy reading through a list of loot to have each one vetoed or allowed.  I propose the following variants of Flailsnails for the discerning GM (ie,  those who don't want the full spectrum of flailsnails).

Diet Flailsnails:
   You can bring your character and any mundane equipment that can be found somewhere in the world, weird technological items (guns etc) should use the rule of if it can be purchased in the game.  Bring 1 magical item, exotic item or strange beast (to be run past the GM) for every 3 levels or parts there of.  Other stuff is stuck in intraplanar customs awaiting your exit.

Flailsnails Zero:
   This is meant for settings where even standard gear might be a problem (like a caveman setting,).  Your character appears with nothing.  When you leave you can take 1 item with you (or handful of small items) for each full session in the setting you've played (including this one). The GM might be nice and allow you to start with items in the same way (so nothing the first time, 1 thing the second).

Flailsnails Blue:
  This is a quick start one.  Any time you use a non-native magical roll a d6.
   1.) The inter-dimensional shift has broken it, upon attempting to use it the item loses all power and does not get to use its desired effect before it crumbles to ash.
   2.)  With a snap the item will work for this round,  but then break and loses all power, becoming mundane.
   3.)  The item chugs along and slowly enters a death spiral. It will work for the next 10 minutes before becoming mundane.
    4.)  The item works fine!  For now anyway, it will crumble to ash at the end of the game.
    5.)  It works this time,  but then stalls out after this use.  You can try again next game as the item is fine.
    6.)  Hunky Dory! The item works fine in this setting.

Thoughts Suggestions?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Rural GM

I was reading the following from Noisms and though of my own habits as a Rural GM and my own reasons which very much mirror his own but with complete opposite outcomes.

To me a city is a place where the actions have the least consequences.  If you kill a blacksmith in the city you can always go to another blacksmith.  If you kill the blacksmith in a rural game, well I hope you like stone weapons.   And while a city can swallow players actions and work around them, in a rural game the consequences have real ripple effects.  Now that you've killed the blacksmith, what happens to the farm yield when a plough breaks?   What do the locals do about you now that you've set off every danger alarm their brains can muster?

To me, if a dead body occurs in a city people may notice, but they don't always care. In a rural game they notice, and they have to care, they depend.  The fabric of civilization is much more tenuous and even one cut thread has disastrous effects.

This also might be linked to the ease in which people view rural travel.  I read in an encumbrance article where an entire weeks worth of food was listed as the NGR equivalent of 1 dot (the system actually worked really similar to NGR's encumbrance system).  Travel to remote locations is hard, and so few people do it.

A rural game to me, will always be my default.

Friday, November 2, 2012

ConstantCon Schedule

So with the planet Hogswamp and the RFCS Northcote having run its final regular Online delve on Monday (my home game will continue with it) I'll be shaking up the games I run.

Monday Evenings:
   Fantasy Polynesia will be the regular game.  If everyone ends up with boats it may shift to a more naval game.

Random Saturday Afternoons:
   Mystic Winter:  A medieval fantasy game based upon the concept that magic only exists between Halloween and Easter.  The game would quickly move from no fantasy, to low fantasy to high fantasy and then back down.  Lots of ice and snow.

Every other Sunday:
    Cover Band:  I take someone else's setting and do my best to mimic and run it.  What is being played will vary by whim and availability, pretty much all one shots.

If you aren't on Google+ yet, you really should be.