Sunday, April 27, 2014

Playing with the Kid

My six-year-old GM'd his first game, today.

You know how kids will draw out battlefields, and then sorta play out the scene by having everything shoot at everything else? My kid was doing a version of that, and I suggested adding dice into the mix. The result was a hilarious improv rpg.

I played "Pomo, the Monster from Asteroid Tomato Area." I'm not too sure what the rules were. There were lots of dice pools and jets of acid and it all ended in a TPK.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Kleywelt: Animated Objects

In trying to imagine a fantasy RPG based on Heinrich Kley's drawings, the first thing I wanted to captures was the riotous sense that anything could be alive and acting out its own dramas and comedies.

Gasoline Stallion
Animated Objects
Everything wants to live, even stone and wood and metal and glass. The world is awash in animating spirits seeking forms to inhabit. The more attention, be it care or anxiety, people focus on an object, the more likely it is that an animating spirit can bond with it and bring it to life.

Complex machinery, such as autos, firearms, and furnaces, are almost universally animated.

Beyond all the normal attributes and functions one would expect of an object of the given type, animated objects posses Mobility, Alignment, and Motivation.

An object’s form usually determines how mobile it is. If a normal version of the object is capable of movement, so is the animated version. If an object, such as a clawfoot tub, has parts that could act as limbs, they will. If an object can approximate the movement of an animal, such as a rope slithering like a snake, it will. 

If an object cannot do any of these things, roll below to determine its level of mobility.

1d10 for “Limbless” Object Mobility
1-4.   Sessile. The object cannot move around, and probably resents this state of affairs immensely.
5-8.   Mobile. The object can hop around. It is a slow, ungainly, and topples over regularly.
9-10.   Extraordinarily Mobile. The object has extra arms, legs, wings, or fins, and can move approximately like the animal it most closely resembles in appearance or function. 1d3+1 to determine number of limbs.

Die Schnellpresse

1d6 for Object Alignments
1.     Lawful Helpful
2.     Chaotic Helpful
3.     Apathetic Helpful
4.     Apathetic Unhelpful
5.     Chaotic Unhelpful
6.     Lawful Unhelpful

1d10 for Object Motivations
1.     Acquisition
2.     Envy
3.     Gluttony
4.     Independence
5.     Laziness
6.     Lust
7.     Pride
8.     Vanity
9.     Wrath
10. Ambivalence: select two competing motivations.
11. Specificity: Create a motivation based on the nature or use of the object.

Each adventurer will posses 1d3 animated objects. After all starting equipment has been acquired, list and number the ten most significant objects. Roll 1d10 to determine which objects are animated. If the same object is rolled twice, it has rudimentary powers of speech. If it is rolled three times, it has sophisticated powers of reasoning and speech.

Animated objects may wander off on their own errands, but will generally seek to be reunited with their owner, unless their motivation is “Independence,” in which case they will regularly try to escape.

Animated objects are NPCs and are under the GM’s control.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Setting: Kleywelt

A few weeks ago, +John Stater posted a notion of making a simplified version of his admirable Blood & Treasure as a foundation to build retroclones based on the work of specific illustrators.

That's an idea scientifically calibrated to pique my imagination, and I started wondering "What would D&D look like if it was based on the work of Heinrich Kley?"

I've been playing with it a bit, and it's synched up with a number of other ideas I've been noodling. Here's a rough outline of how I'm framing things:


Social Status

High Society

Spell-caster (Inventor, Spiritualist, Illusionist)


Right now, I'm building it all on a free-form OSR chasis, but seeing as Stater seems to be making progress on B&T Basic, I may use it when it comes out.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Centaurs for Saturday

Julius Klinger, 1909

Entirely relevant to a ruleset/setting I'm playing with.

Friday, April 11, 2014


Francesco Goya obviously had witch-sight.
Over on Roles, Rules, and Rolls, Roger the GS was describing a particular novel's depiction of elves, dwarves, and other faerie whazits, and said this:
They are normally invisible except to those humans who have been granted "witch-sight" through sorcery. However, their deeds sometimes manifest as omens, portents and misfortune for humans.

(As an aside, this would be a great campaign rationale. Ever wonder why the king with his retinue of knights can't go after those goblins threatening the village? They need the adventurers, witch-sighted all, to actually see the goblins.)
Aw, man. Wouldn't be a gorgeous bit of color for, say, Beyond the Wall? Or any folkloric campaign?

Everybody knows that there are beasties lurking about, and blame them for everything that goes wrong. Sometimes they're even correct. Everyone has a story about seeing a sprite when they were a child, or a kelpie in the swimming hole, and obviously that barn didn't catch fire by itself, there must have been a dragon! But the PCs were born with a caul over their eyes, or under a shooting star, or something. They are the real deal.

If you have non-human characters, and you didn't want them to be invisible bystanders during all in-town interactions, you might need a complimentary trait for them,where they can appear to humans. Probably in a human guise. Dwarves would appear to be short humans, elves as pretty youths, and satyrs seem unusually hirsute.

Maybe the visible fey are changelings who were raised by humans. Or they're wearing a glamour. Or they are somehow tied to the earth that brings them closer to humans, but causes them to be ostracized by their own people.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

B/X Movement Charts and Calulator

Okay, let's see if this works. Hopefully, if you follow this link, you can download a usable Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that will figure out all the variables for movement in B/X.

Movement Charts and Calculator

Please correct me if I've left anything out, or gotten anything wrong.

It should look kinda like this.
The Google Docs view is not editable, but if you download it (and have Excel), you should be able to monkey with it.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Things I want to make my PCs do

1. Spend a season working as City Guard, solving medieval crimes.

2. Defend a dungeon from outside invasion.

3. Travel the Ptolemaic solar system.

4. Harrow Hell.

And I'd like them to 5. Do it while dressed like an upper-crust hunting expedition from the Thirties.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Review: Beyond the Wall

Because I'm a super-brilliant genius, I seem to have erased this really long review I wrote this morning.

So, the $0.02 version: It's good! Don't let the desktop-publishing aesthetic keep your from spending eight bucks on it. There's some really great innovations here that are built of a clean, simple D&D core.

  1. Character Generation that also generates character history and setting locations and NPCs!
  2. Nearly no-prep scenarios that provide structured improvisation off all that stuff from chargen!
  3. Fun, flexible magic that doesn't wreck the game!
I can't wait to play it!