Saturday, December 26, 2009
To keep things tidy, I've created a second blog Retro-Cyberpunk, which will be the home of my musings for cyber74 (the straight-cyberpunk S&W supplement) and ultimately, Mages & Megacorps (the full-blown Shadowrun game). I decided to keep Kingdoms in Trevail for it's original purpose - D&D musings, and development of my gameworld. Keep in mind that by "D&D" I mean straight fantasy. It will include tidbits for BECMI/RC D&D and Swords & Wizardry, I imagine.
While I've spent alot of time doign cyberpunk reading, I also have been reading some world-building and sandbox campaign creation stuff, so there are ideas brewing on both fronts. It seems there are too few hours in the day, but I do intend to occasionally post to both blogs.
So that's the story for now, intrepid readers! If you are here for the cyberpunk goodies, please hop over to the new place and become a follower there, and I hope you find something one place or the other that you enjoy!
See you in 2010!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
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Saturday, September 26, 2009
So now we fast-forward to 2009 and The Rise of the Retro-clones. The OSR is in full swing. I've fallen back to Classic D&D rather than the newer, more complex versions, and play around with Swords & Wizardry, too. Did I mention in an earlier post how much I love the simple elegance of S&W? I did, didn't I.
This is when the bug bites me. The OSR doesn't have a cyberpunk clone yet. Maybe it doesn't need one, but there it is. Obviously, somebody needs to write that puppy - so I'm stepping up. It will be a looooong process, I know, but I think it will be fun (mostly) and worth while in the long run.
Using Swords & Wizardry White Box Edition as my base, I need to first write a cyberpunk variation on the ruleset. Some of the things that need to be worked up include guns, cybernetics, computer hacking stuff, and some basic vehicle rules. For inspiration and research, I'm slowly working through the original - Cyberpunk 2020 - as well as Shadowrun (2nd Ed), GURPS Cyberpunk and even a bit of d20 Modern. I'm re-reading some William Gibson, too. Oh yeah, and watching Blade Runner at some point.
THEN, after the basic Cyberpunk/Modern rules are done, I'll need to put all that back together with the fantasy of base S&W. For the proper Shadowrun feel, I'll need to add in some additional new magic rules - most importantly Astral Space and a drain-based spell casting system.
Wish me luck! I'll be posting bits here and at the S&W forums for comments and vetting.
If anyone cares to comment, I'll initially ask one question. How should these rules be released? I see three options to choose from.
1) Offer the generic cyberpunk supplement (no magic or fantasy elements) first. It will be compatible with S&W, obviously, so people can add the bits they like from it into whatever modern or cyberpunk-esque game they want to run. Then follow that with the "full" Shadowrun clone version.
2) Offer it as a cyberpunk supplement and put in the magic rules in as optional, in an appendix or something.
3) Just go all out and do the thing as SR right from the start, with the fantasy fully integrated. People who don't want the magic bits can still use what they do like.
S&W: Cyberpunk first, or go right to Mages & Megacorps? Thoughts?
Friday, July 24, 2009
Get out there and drop a white ball for Swords and Wizardry as "Best Free RPG Product", and both Mythmere Games (Swords & Wizardry) and Goblinoid Games (Labyrinth Lord and Mutant Future) for "Best Publisher".
You can vote for more than one choice in a category, so don't be shy.
The OSR needs YOU!
EDIT: Got a Silver!! Congrats to Mythmere and everyone else involved.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
It seems that putting your "old school" character sheets onto index cards is all the rage nowadays. I think it's a great idea, what with them being so "stat light" and have seen some great ones.
In particular, my version was inspired by le bulette's and made use of the graphic elements in a full-sized sheet by Thomas Denmark at Original Edition Fantasy. Thanks again for letting me use those!
You can find the PDF here. And the editable Photoshop (psd) file is here. Help yourself if it's of any interest to you.
UPDATED 11/10/10 to add the master file and update the PDF link.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
At the right, is a pic of my setup so far - a digest printing of the WB rules, punched and put into a DayPlanner binder I had lying around. With it for comparison is my full-sized copy of the S&W core rules, comb-bound with laminated covers. It helps to work in an office supply store. (No NOT Staples.)
I've also copies of the Classic D&D Modules B1: In Search of the Unknown, and B2: The Keep on the Borderlands. Both printed up booklet style.
I found these great S&W index card character sheets (here) that fit right into the spirit of the kit.
And, based on another post in that sane blog (Thanks, bulette!), I need to make a little mini DM screen to pop in as well. Work, work, work!
I'll also be modifying his Labyrinth Lord 3x5 character sheet to use for my DM copies of character sheets and NPC sheets in my "regular" Classic D&D game.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Don't you think they'd go onto the blog dated for when they were actually PUBLISHED?
EDIT: I actually searched the Help section and found an answer! The date defaults to when you first started the post, but it can be changed. Yay!
Just based on how this came out, there are already changes of course. The other "problem" is that I've been playing with putting this image into some software that lets you do proper cartographic map projections, and when it's projected onto a globe (orthographic view) I can see the distribution of the continents doesn't work at all. So, I need to move somethings about, and maybe do a bit of re-sizing here and there to get something that is more aesthetically pleasing.
Now, as I've noted, BECMI/RC D&D is my system of choice for an ongoing campaign and that won't change. I do want a bit more crunch in my base rules, but RC still gives me all the freedom to house-rule as I see fit. I've never played Original D&D, and never have seen a real, live set of those little brown books. So, when I had just skimmed through S&W on other occasions, I just saw rules variation that I didn't get. They weren't quite "right".
This time reading through it, something was different. Maybe I just was looking at it with a different mindset, I don't know. But what I saw was really cool - the simplicity just kicks rocks, and I can totally see using White Box for one-shot and pick-up type games.
What's it got going for it? Well, simplified mechanics, mostly. The whole "all weapons do d6 damage" thing, a single saving throw, very basic monster stats, index card character sheets. I have to say that for these quicky games, I'll even use Ascending AC. It's pretty simple to understand and use on the fly.
I plan to put together a little gaming package in a digest-sized DayPlanner binder that I can take anywhere - vacation, camping and so on, so I can pick it up and play with the kids for an hour if it rains. The WB rules, printed digest size, a single set of dice, and some adventure stuff.
What I need to spend a little time on is the adventure part. I want to put together a small 'sandbox" style setting to include in the kit. A map of the PCs home base village and the surrounding area, populated with mini-dungeons and set-piece encounters that will be found as they follow rumors or just hex-crawl around the map. That'll be the most time-consuming part, but I think it will be worth it. Once it's put together, I'll be sure to share.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
By the way, can anyone recommend others that have enough "Classic" content to consider? I know there's the OD&D Discussion board, but it really does focus on OD&D, which isn't quite my thing.
One of the things this blog will help me to do is, as I said, get those ideas on paper so that I can focus on incorporating the ones I decide to actually use. So, this post will be the first in a series, I imagine. As I poke about the interwebs and find "stuff", I'll put it here for further consideration.
Two for this morning. Discuss.
- "Death's Door" Rules: I've always played in small groups and it sucks gettting killed too easily, so I see the value of not dying automatically at 0 HP. The "Survive to -10" seems arbitrary, and too much, as does "Survive to - CON" (survive to -14, or -18, really?), two options I've seen. I kind of like the "Save or Die" option from the RC, it gives you a chance, based on your class and level. Another good choice seems to be "Survive to - CON Bonus" which rewards those with high CON. Makes sense to me.
- Critical Hit/Fumble: I know that in "Classic" that Natural 20 doesn't actually mean anything. But like most people (as far as I can tell), it is house-ruled so that it does. At the minimum, it becomes an automatic hit, usually for Max or Double damage. I lean to max damage. What about more specific critical hit rules or damage. A recent thread on RPG.net turned up2 cool charts: here and here , but are they just more rules? What about teh "Natural 1"? An Automatic miss, yes. Chance to hurt yourself or an ally? Lose your weapon? I actually don't remember using this really, just Natural 20 rules.
Friday, May 8, 2009
My plan is to make classic Mystara-style hex maps initially, (OK, maybe not that nice), using the fantastic online utility Hexographer. Then as I feel artistic or more creative, work on redrawing everything more by hand, in the vein of the Tolkien Middle Earth maps, or Darlene's Greyhawk (1) & (2).
This map is a mash-up of a number of hand-drawn maps I made. I did 3 or 4 sketched maps, roughing out continental shapes, and scanned them all into Photoshop. I was then able to mix and match pieces I liked, rotating, flipping, shrinking or expanding, and so on.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
First off, my D&D is an older version of it. I started by playing Classic D&D by way of the Tom Moldvay Basic rules way back in...oh, '81 or so. Yes, I moved on to AD&D, then Second Edition. I never played 3e as a PnP game, but have been exposed to it via the videogame Neverwinter Nights. I've found that the game has grown so bloated and rules-heavy that I hardly recognize it anymore. Sure, there is a multitude of choices and endless character customization for the players, but it is too much for me - not the game I learned to play. As for the new 4e D&D? Well, that I really don't recognize as D&D anymore. Not the D&D that Gry Gygax wrote, anyway. When my children got old enough to show interest, I began to think about how to play with them. What needed to be simplified or otherwise modified so that they could understand what they were trying to do? I finally realized that the game I wanted them to play was the one I origianlly learned. It had changed, I know. The "Classic" rules had been revamped by Frank Mentzer: five new box sets had been released while I was playing AD&D, then merged into the Rules Cyclopedia. That tome was what I chose to play as I move forward. At least it will provide a place to start, and I will freely modify it to be the game I ultimately want to play. I think that is what D&D is all about. My world, my rules, my imagination at work.
World building is, for me, the most truly creative aspect of D&D. When we are actually gaming, we act more as an improv actor, and a referee. But when we are world-building, we are authors, artists and cartographers, historians, geologists and philosophers. We are the creators. As the world grows under our diligent labors, we bring to life a vision we have in our heads of where we want to be as players, filling it with whatever we desire.
And so, I present Kingdoms in Trevail, my personal creation. Right now it is mostly ideas rattling around inside my head, and scattered about in notebooks and on scraps of paper. I am building it for myself, and for my kids as well, so that they can play in someplace that is a part of me and not someone else's vision of a fantastic world. I'll use this blog as a place to get my ideas out of my head and onto "paper" so that I can begin to separate the wheat from the chaff. It will be a sounding board as I invite others to critique it or offer their own suggestions. I hope you can help me grow Trevail. I have lots of ideas, most of which likely won't make any sense, and perhaps seeing it through the eyes of others will help me get it all to fall more neatly into place.