Saturday, December 26, 2009


Been a loooong time since I posted anything, but the ol' wheels are always turning, have no fear.  I've been busy researching cyberpunk, reading alot, and jotting down ideas.

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

Designation of Open Gaming Content

Throughout the upcoming months, I will be using this blog as an avenue for the introduction of rules and information pertaining to the development of my Cyberpunk retro-clone.

That content will be clearly designated as Open Game Content, and therefore released under the terms of the Open Game License, Version 1.0a as detailed below.


Open Game Content may only be Used under and in terms of the Open Game License Version 1.0a (OGL).

This entire work is designated as Open Game Content under the OGL, with the exception of the trademarks “Mages & Megacorps,” “M&M,” and “Feral Heifer Games,” and with the exception of all artwork. These trademarks, and the Trade Dress of this work (font, layout, style of artwork, etc.) are reserved as Product Identity.


The following text is the property of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. and is Copyright 2000 Wizards of the Coast, Inc ("Wizards"). All Rights Reserved.

1. Definitions: (a)"Contributors" means the copyright and/or trademark owners who have contributed Open Game Content; (b)"Derivative Material" means copyrighted material including derivative works and translations (including into other computer languages), potation, modification, correction, addition, extension, upgrade, improvement, compilation, abridgment or other form in which an existing work may be recast, transformed or adapted; (c) "Distribute" means to reproduce, license, rent, lease, sell, broadcast, publicly display, transmit or otherwise distribute; (d)"Open Game Content" means the game mechanic and includes the methods, procedures, processes and routines to the extent such content does not embody the Product Identity and is an enhancement over the prior art and any additional content clearly identified as Open Game Content by the Contributor, and means any work covered by this License, including translations and derivative works under copyright law, but specifically excludes Product Identity. (e) "Product Identity" means product and product line names, logos and identifying marks including trade dress; artifacts; creatures characters; stories, storylines, plots, thematic elements, dialogue, incidents, language, artwork, symbols, designs, depictions, likenesses, formats, poses, concepts, themes and graphic, photographic and other visual or audio representations; names and descriptions of characters, spells, enchantments, personalities, teams, personas, likenesses and special abilities; places, locations, environments, creatures, equipment, magical or supernatural abilities or effects, logos, symbols, or graphic designs; and any other trademark or registered trademark clearly identified as Product identity by the owner of the Product Identity, and which specifically excludes the Open Game Content; (f) "Trademark" means the logos, names, mark, sign, motto, designs that are used by a Contributor to identify itself or its products or the associated products contributed to the Open Game License by the Contributor (g) "Use", "Used" or "Using" means to use, Distribute, copy, edit, format, modify, translate and otherwise create Derivative Material of Open Game Content. (h) "You" or "Your" means the licensee in terms of this agreement.

2. The License: This License applies to any Open Game Content that contains a notice indicating that the Open Game Content may only be Used under and in terms of this License. You must affix such a notice to any Open Game Content that you Use. No terms may be added to or subtracted from this License except as described by the License itself. No other terms or conditions may be applied to any Open Game Content distributed using this License.

3. Offer and Acceptance: By Using the Open Game Content You indicate Your acceptance of the terms of this License.

4. Grant and Consideration: In consideration for agreeing to use this License, the Contributors grant You a perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license with the exact terms of this License to Use, the Open Game Content.

5. Representation of Authority to Contribute: If You are contributing original material as Open Game Content, You represent that Your Contributions are Your original creation and/or You have sufficient rights to grant the rights conveyed by this License.

6. Notice of License Copyright: You must update the COPYRIGHT NOTICE portion of this License to include the exact text of the COPYRIGHT NOTICE of any Open Game Content You are copying, modifying or distributing, and You must add the title, the copyright date, and the copyright holder's name to the COPYRIGHT NOTICE of any original Open Game Content you Distribute.

7. Use of Product Identity: You agree not to Use any Product Identity, including as an indication as to compatibility, except as expressly licensed in another, independent Agreement with the owner of each element of that Product Identity. You agree not to indicate compatibility or co-adaptability with any Trademark or Registered Trademark in conjunction with a work containing Open Game Content except as expressly licensed in another, independent Agreement with the owner of such Trademark or Registered Trademark. The use of any Product Identity in Open Game Content does not constitute a challenge to the ownership of that Product Identity. The owner of any Product Identity used in Open Game Content shall retain all rights, title and interest in and to that Product Identity.

8. Identification: If you distribute Open Game Content You must clearly indicate which portions of the work that you are distributing are Open Game Content.

9. Updating the License: Wizards or its designated Agents may publish updated versions of this License. You may use any authorized version of this License to copy, modify and distribute any Open Game Content originally distributed under any version of this License.

10. Copy of this License: You MUST include a copy of this License with every copy of the Open Game Content You Distribute.

11. Use of Contributor Credits: You may not market or advertise the Open Game Content using the name of any Contributor unless You have written permission from the Contributor to do so.

12. Inability to Comply: If it is impossible for You to comply with any of the terms of this License with respect to some or all of the Open Game Content due to statute, judicial order, or governmental regulation then You may not Use any Open Game Material so affected.

13. Termination: This License will terminate automatically if You fail to comply with all terms herein and fail to cure such breach within 30 days of becoming aware of the breach. All sublicenses shall survive the termination of this License.

14. Reformation: If any provision of this License is held to be unenforceable, such provision shall be reformed only to the extent necessary to make it enforceable.


Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

System Reference Document Copyright 2000-2003, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Rich Baker, Andy Collins, David Noonan, Rich Redman, Bruce R. Cordell, John D. Rateliff, Thomas Reid, James Wyatt, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Modern System Reference Document Copyright 2002, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Bill Slavicsek, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, Charles Ryan, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Richard Baker, Peter Adkison, Bruce R. Cordell, John Tynes, Andy Collins, and JD Wiker.

Labyrinth Lord Copyright Daniel Proctor, 2007-2009.

Mutant Future Copyright 2008, Daniel Proctor and Ryan Denison.

Swords & Wizardry Copyright 2008, Matthew J. Finch

Swords & Wizardry: WhiteBox by Matt Finch and Marv Breig, Copyright 2008, Matthew J. Finch.

Ruins & Ronin Copyright 2009, Mike Davison.

Mages & Megacorps Copyright 2009, Reese Laundry.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Another crazy idea I don't have time for...

I hate it when I get an idea in my head and it WON'T GO AWAY. I always loved the idea of Shadowrun - and yes, I know a lot of people hate it just as much, if not more. But for me, the meshing of fantasy - magic & monsters, elves & dwarves - with cyberpunk - guns, cyborgs and virtual reality - just ROCKS. I played a bit on and off while in college. We were playing mostly 2nd Ed. AD&D and needed a break, so switched to Shadowrun for variety. We loved it, but the rules? Meh. Too much a change from what we were used to, I guess.

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.

So there it is. It will be a long, tedious process but I think it can be done. S&W has proven itself to be adaptable to other genres - look at Mike "MikeD" Davison's Ruins & Ronin, David "grubman" Bezio's X-plorers or Michael "chgowiz" Shorten's The Seige Perilous - Ultima RPG. There are also "in the works" things (poke around S&W's forums page) for a superheros conversion (Hideouts & Hoodlums), Westerns (Fantasy Wild West) and pulp science fiction (Anacreon Zeta). Some projects are further along than others, sure, but they still show the flexibility of the 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


Voting for the ENnies opened up today and some great FREE OSR stuff has made the list of nominations.

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

Another S&W Index Card Character Sheet

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

S&W "Travel" Game Kit

As I discussed in the previous post, I'm throwing together a "digest-sized" set of Swords & Wizardry White Box. The idea is to be able to take it on vacations, camping or wherever, and be able to play if the desire strikes.

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


OK, those last two posts are ones that I started back on May 31st and just saved the drafts as I worked on them. So, I finish and post both this afternoon, and the date stamp still shows May 31!

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!

A Colored Map

Got out the colored pencils and played with some coloring last weekend. I want to get an idea where the mountain ranges are and see the global view brought to life. After that, I'll zoom in on a smaller region and go at it hexmap style.

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.

Sidetracked! (or why do I do this?)

I've held off from doing much with Swords and Wizardry so far. Sure, I went and downloaded both versions so that I could look through them, but hadn't really done much yet. Unfortunately, I finally caved in to the hype and took a bit of time to read the White Box version.

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

Random Rules Post 1

I find myself spending way too much time perusing boards ( & Dragonsfoot mostly)for ideas rather than coming up with my own stuff. I'll read and read and read,and always get more ideas than I can ever use, and I LOVE IT! So there.

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.
I guess my vote will be either "Save or Die" or "- CON Bonus"

  • 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 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

First Map

Here is the base for my world map. I've sketched out the continental outlines so I have a starting point, and can grow from here. I'm using the AD&D 2e World Builders Guidebook to some degree here. From this world view, I'll be roughing out the gross geographical features and climate patterns. Once that is done, I'll zoom into a smaller region that I can flesh out in more detail for the players.

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

Where to begin?

What is Trevail? What do I want it to be? Every author asks these questions of himself as he sits down, pen in hand. I want Trevail to be a world that mirrors the aspects of fantasy that I have always found most interesting, and it will be drawn from many sources.

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.

It isn't THE beginning, but it is A beginning...

For a player of Dungeons & Dragons - regardless of edition - there can be no undertaking more personal than that of creating your own world. For most it is a labor of love, and often a thankless task. We pour countless hours into these worlds: researching, writing, mapping, the list is endless. Everything we read can be a source of new inspiration. We constantly scribble little notes to ourselves when some new idea catches our fancy, and those notes are all seeds which often blossom into something new and wonderful within our ever changing, ever growing creation. For the most part it will mostly turn out to be nothing more than a creative outlet, never seen by our players.

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.