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Outclassed: Hybrid & Specialist Classes

Classes. The backbone of many a role-playing game. Whether you are a brave warrioror an ingeniousspellcaster, your class is what defines the things youcan or cannot due throughout the course of the game.

I've always been fascinated withclass systems -probablydue to my obsessions withPathfinder,Final Fantasy Tactics, andBaldur's Gate -and as a result I often toy with the game design aspects of class design. One of my favourite exercises is to imagine how game classes relate to each other, and what factors dictate a player character's lot in life.

For part two of my sure-to-be-sporadically-updated series Outclassed (part one can be found here), [...]

Coming up next week -- Let's Study AMP: Year One

After the historical horror of the amazing Achtung! Cthulhu I think we could all use a little break from the bleakness and try out something different.

Thankfully, I was fortunate to have received a review copy of AMP: Year One from prolific game designer Eloy Lasanta of Third Eye Games. Rather than just stick with a single review post, I figure I might as well give it the full Let’s Study treatment like I did Wu Xing: the Ninja Crusade.

For those curious, here’s the blurb for AMP: Year One

The year is 2015 and the world is getting its first taste of [...]

Transformation spell -- Form of the Iron Juggernaut

I’ve had this spell in mind for years, perhaps decades, and never written it up. An NPC wizard of mine in a 1990s Ars Magica game used to transform himself and also animate statues, but I’d never written it properly. In simple terms the person is transformed into a living statue, or as I like to think into an almost unstoppable juggernaut.

An animated status is almost unbeatable by mundane means. Normal weapons are not designed to damage creatures like this, and likewise defending against one would be a terrible challenge.

Given the effect that transformation has on targets with magic resistance [...]

[Let's Study Achtung! Cthulhu Keeper's Guide] Part 6: Conclusions and Review

Today’s entry is the wrap up of the remaining chapters of the Keeper’s Guide. Not that these chapters are somehow less noteworthy, but because they are essentially a no-nonsense list of GM resources that will be of use in any WW2 game involving the Cthulhu Mythos.

After the special rules chapters, the Keeper’s Guide has several chapters that cover magic and artifacts, a spell list, horrors and monstrosities and important allies and nemeses in the setting.

Beyond those, the last few chapters include Adventure Seeds, and a Quick Play Guide and resources for the GM’s use.

Each of these chapters goes into excellent [...]

Ghost Recon Phantom ~August giveaway

Today, Ubisoft announced the Phantom Heist event for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Phantoms that will take place throughout the month of August. The event kicks off with a Steam giveaway this weekend, the launch of a new web comic series on August 6 and Mad Loot weekends, where up to approximately 23,700* worth of in-game items will be distributed each weekend this August. This fills me with great excitement as I play this game so fraking much that it has become a part of my nightly dream cycle. The gifts they gave out during the last steam giveaway were very nice and enhanced my gameplay. I am hopeful that with the new round of goodies I will be able to win some of that expensive gear that the pay to win guys are running around the board with.

Following the success of the Steam giveaway weekend, Ghost Recon Phantoms will offer a free downloadable package from 6pm UK Time on August 1 to 5am UK time August 4 that rewards players with a 30-day 100 percent boost. This will help players speed up their progression and increase their in-game income which can be used to purchase new weapons and gear.

Every weekend, Ghost Recon Phantoms will increase the amount of mystery boxes that are awarded at the end of every round. All tiers of boxes will appear more frequently, with the Gold box appearing 60 times more often. Each box has a chance of containing a limited edition weapon or one of the legendary weapons which are only available through boxes.

To delve further into the story behind Ghost Recon Phantoms, a new eight-part comic series will reveal the untold backstory and identity of the Phantoms. Starting on August 6 and running [...]

Bundle of Holding Brings Back Stars Without Number Bundle

Bundle of Holding has brought back the Stars Without Number bundle from last October.

If you are looking for an OSR based scifi RPG, THIS is the way to go. It is an excellent system.

If you pay beyond the average, you also get get Other Dust - a post apoc RPG using the same core system. Think Gamma World for modern sensibilities.

The expanded bundle includes Engines of Babylon, which isn't available anywhere else (and should be linked to your account if you got this bundle back in October.)

#RPGaDAY Blogfest - Why Not?

I like blogfest and this one seems pretty simple, so I'll be taking part. 

1st - First RPG Played
2nd - First RPG Gamemastered
3rd - First RPG Purchased
4th - Most recent RPG purchase
5th - Most Old School RPG owned
6th - Favourite RPG Never get to [...]

Kratos: Go North

Sewer Tiles WIP

If you've been following my recent posts over on G+, you'll probably know that I've been playing around with a few sewer maps this past week (due to me being inspired by a recent submission to the Age of Shadow wiki).

Well, I've since decided to take it one step further, and I've just begun work on a range of high-res sewer tiles for the 'Basic Dungeon Tiles' range.

However, I'm still in the early stages of the design process at the moment, but I thought I would share a quick picture of the two tiles that I've [...]


So for the past couple weeks my Thursday group and I had been unable to play our regularly scheduled Torchbearer game because of attendance issues, myself included at times. Last Thursday for instance, I went on a last minute jaunt up-island to Tofino with a couple of co-workers (one who's also a player in our TB game). The weather was awesome though the trip was far too short/rushed/unplanned for my tastes.

A panorama I took of beautiful Long BeachDuring a stopoff at the Coombs Country Market (the renowned 'Goats on the Roof' locale) we picked up a bunch of [...]

Conflating Resource Types

Digaea, Magic: the Gathering, Risk: Godstorm, Settlers of Catan, the Decipher Star Wars CCG, 4e D&D, Ogre Battle, and Final Fantasy Tactics.

Besides me, what do these games have in common?

Each game features resource accumulation and conversion. Many also include character recruitment, customization, equipment, and development as core elements of gameplay. As an aside, most of them also include combat.

Right, I forgot to include Lords of Waterdeep in my last post, which has been a pretty significant influence lately. It combines gold, character recruitment, land management, building construction — and also questing.

What would happen if we mashed all these games together?

And [...]

RPG BUGBEARS - Describing Characters (video)

Talking about the strange way in which some people default to describing their characters.

Bujilli: Episode 100

Bujilli and Leeja were brought before the Queen of the Soulless by an ancient killing-machine. There before the Throne of Opals they watched as representatives and agents of the Triumvirate, who may or may not be the secret masters of Wermspittle, argued among one another even as Outside Forces laid siege to the remnants of the ancient Redoubt. The Soulless Queen was betrayed by her Grandmother who was conspiring with a Morlock Elder-Gardener to reactivate or reconfigure the cubic World Engine. The Queen escaped and Gazbonti the Jester now offers Bujilli and Leeja an opportunity to escape using a [...]

Texts from Kobold

Imagine the scene. An evil wizard is just trying to stock his tower with suitable monsters and minions. As the evil wizard manual says you start with the weak minions first, by the entrance, and then add progressively more powerful beasts.

Our wizard puts a single kobold in the first room by the door. He’s a modern wizard though and provides the kobold guardian with a mobile phone, on the Wiznet network, so emergency texts and updates can be sent if needs be. What could go wrong?

With apologies and inspiration to Texts from Dog.

The post Texts from Kobold appeared first on [...]

#RPGaDAY Blogfest

Maybe it is all the allergy drugs I am on or maybe it because I know August is going to be a busy month.
But I am going to take part in the #RPGaDAY Blogfest dreamed up by David F. Chapman over at Autocratik.  Dave is the main guy behind the Doctor Who RPG and Conspiracy X 2.0; two games I adore.

Since Fall term starts are coming up for me and Gen Con this will be something cool to do.  Plus I am a sucker for a good blogfest.  Yeah I think many of these I have answered [...]

Gamecast -- Ep 44 -- Is Another Man's Treasure

Topic -In this episode, we talk about reward mechanics, loot, and ways to make them interesting in game. Hosts -Dan, Mack, Steve, and Lucas           Media -Be sure to check out and support the Tsunamicon Kickstarter, a National level gaming convention based in Wichita, Kansas and being organized by our sister [...]

Mana Recruit, Mana Ritual

In this post, I’m going to list games that feature multiple resources, and describe generally how those resources are accrued and how they interact. I will follow up with another post about combining all of these into a single, massive game.

Mana … Disgaea
An accrued resource gained by defeating enemies in combat. Your recruits also gain XP in combat and level up, learning new skills and stuff. They can also change classes — of secondary importance, but noteworthy nonetheless.

Mana is spent to recruit new units and motion for various effects through the Dark Assembly. Effects which include but are [...]

A Quick Look at Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game

Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game, or BFRPG for short, is one of the oldest retro-clones around (the core rules are copyright 2006). It doesn’t get as much attention as some of the other big-name clones, but I think this is due to it being a non-commercial effort (you won’t find it on rpgnow, for example), and is certainly not due to any failings as a game. The rules and all supplements and many adventures are open source and available free of charge in PDF and open document format on the BFRPG downloads page. At-cost print copies of the rules and some [...]

015 'Incidental Artwork' for your modules and zines

Here's the first in what I plan will be an ongoing series of 'incidental artwork' - maybe to use in your module, rules or zine publications. Each set will be themed and will feature 10-15 pieces, they will be black and white for ease of use in home-grown publications. Please let me know if these will be of any use, and I'll produce more.

They are presented with a non-exclusive licence for use in [...]

AMBER ZONE: Littul Kittons

Players’ Information:

This port may have been a corporate paradise back in the day, but those days are gone. The whole place has a rundown, dingy feel. A SuSAG company town, the area is dominated by old drug processing factories, many of them closed. The market collapsed for products from this world decades ago, and nothing has taken its place. The streets are filled with unemployed locals earning Credits as street entertainers, or selling unusual plants, animals and illicit goods to starport visitors.

The plants and animals are native to the world, but apparently not common to the starport area. All are [...]

5th Edition: The Uninspired Bard

3rd Edition's bard was a big bag of poorly designed suck: your attack bonus was too low to make you a competent fighter, your hit points were on par with a rogue (whom you also had fewer skill points than), and your spellcasting was, well, to put it nicely inadequate.

Some mistakenly labeled is as a "jack of all trades", claiming that it could fill in for a variety of jobs, but the reality was that it fell far short of a master in any capacity. Well, aside from rolling Perform and maybe Diplomacy checks.

I played with a [...]

It's Almost Time... Have You Got Your Tickets?

Art imitates life

Looks like our Megacity is probably closer to reality than we thought:



Daily Punch 7-30-14 Special Spell Training quality for Shadowrun 5e

We all focus on what we’re good at, so how about some focus for spell casters in Shadowrun?


Special Spell Training

Cost: 10 Karma

Benefit: You’ve spent time working on one type of spell, so much so you don’t even feel the spell as it drains you. When you take this quality choose a type of spell (combat, detection, etc), when you cast that spell of that type reduce the drain by 2 to a minimum of 1.




Prep in Progress: Chapter 21, Part 4

  The Prep in Progress entries are short summaries of my prep for my ongoing campaignThe Tales of the Hero Wars.   Overall, yesterday was another good day for the game prep. The Wiki grew a decent amount as another chunk of backlog was cleared away. I did not make quite such good progress with …

Continue reading »

Does "Save or Die" Have it's Roots in Tournament Play?

Is that G1-3 in your hands?The latest Roll For Initiative (which I posted about yesterday) looks at G1 and remarks that it has it's roots as a tournament module. To the best of my recollection, all of the early AD&D module releases had their start as tournament modules for various conventions.

In my early days of running and playing in home brewed adventures and dungeons, the only "save or die" anyone encountered was Giant Centipedes (and even then the save was at + 4 if I recall correctly). Our traps caused damage, sleep, paralyzation, teleporting and the like. It could kill, especially if you failed your save and the damage rolled was high enough, but outright "save or die" was few and far between - [...]

Story Locale (Wonders of NaeraCull): The Stone Sentinels

The Stone Sentinels of NaeraCull are several immense figures, each standing over 50-feet tall, that appear to be large humanoids carved from the stone of the Stepping Mountain. The mountain itself draws its name from the fact that several of the Sentinels stand with heavy stone vistas hoisted upon their shoulders. These extend behind them […]

The post Story Locale (Wonders of NaeraCull): The Stone Sentinels appeared first on Adventureaweek.com.

Kickstarter - Lost City of Barakus - In Hand

I received my hard cover copy of The Lost City of Barakus yesterday
- and it was estimated to arrive in August, so it is early and one heck of a birthday present. My Barakus. My... precious.

How's that for another Kickstarter miracle?

I liked the old 3x version that I picked up in my "reading but not playing days" and the S&W version has that beat hands down. The Lost City of Barakus is more than just a mega dungeon - there is enough of a setting presented to play this as a sandbox with multiple points of interest.

I am sorely tempted to run this after my summer hiatus away from DMing for the regular group.

It's 40 [...]

Institutionalized or Not, A Duck is a Duck

     Picking up the ball and running with points made in a recent post by our lovely Overlord Erin, I'd like to throw a few words at the screen on the topic of racism and generalizations. One of the favorite go-to's of the Social Justice Warrior is to claim that anyone in a social minority (that word itself being a difficult one to define, as women are considered a minority, and yet make up roughly 50% of the population pretty much everywhere short of a few outliers -- seriously Oman, Qatar? What's up with that?) cannot be racist/sexist/etc. How can [...]

Investigative Adventures

I've been reading a bit about adventure structure in various books.  While I can whip out a fantasy d20 adventure with very little pain, I'm working on a different type of adventure.  It's an investigative adventure.  In most fantasy adventures the main action is combat.  In this type of adventure it will be information gathering.

I've been reading Exoterrorists, GURPS Mystery and I have a few shows I plan to watch just to get a visual structure. 

Forwhateverreason, this is what has my off time attention.  If any of you have a interesting read on that kind [...]

GenCon Approaches! And where to find me.

Less than two week until GenCon and I am furiously trying to get everything ready for my adventures. This is the most sustained game preparation I do all year.

Places you can catch up with me at GenCon:

My L5R RPG adventure are all in the Hyatt Regency, Rooms A & B, starting at the following times:

RPG1454530 Obsidian Night Thursday 9:00 AM

RPG1454532 Light of Jade Thursday 2:00 PM

RPG1454533 Light of Jade Friday 1:00 PM

RPG1454463 Obsidian Night Friday 7:00 PM

RPG1454534 Light of Jade Saturday 10:00 AM

RPG1454531 Obsidian Night Saturday 6:00 PM

RPG1454535 Light of [...]

Fantasy Court Cases

You may have noticed I created a new collection of links to the right.

These links include a projected table of contents for my game book, and links to lots of different posts that represent either a summation of my progress on a particular mechanic or system, or wherever I left off or got stuck.

Creating this list of links was a fun little trip down memory lane.

It brought me back to the code of conduct and legal system work I did a couple years back, where I tried to define a set of moral and ethical “classes” that PC and NPCs [...]

Throwback Thursday - Gygaxian Camelot & the Once and Future Game

There is an interesting article penned by famed gamer-author Jon Peterson that has been making the rounds on the Internet in gaming circles regarding the early years of TSR and the role of the major players in the fate of that company called "The Ambush at Sheridan Springs."  I'v read through it a couple of times and find it seems to jibe with accounts I have heard from many in the know.  Looking back, it is admirable that the early figures, Gygax Sr. in particular, wanted to keep Dungeons & Dragons in the hands of gamer, business-wise, but I often [...]

Random Gnoll Pack Names Table

Following on from yesterday’s post with a table for Orc & Goblin Tribe Names, here is a table for generating some Gnoll Pack names.

Gnoll Pack Name Generator (PDF)

Filed under: D&D, game mechanics, Gaming, Labyrinth Lord, RPG Tagged: D&D, DnD, gaming, Labyrinth Lord, monster, RPG

Kickstarter: RPG Tees

Some people like to keep their geekery on the down-low. Others wear it on their sleeves... or the front of their tees. If you happen to be in the latter group, Tom and Catherine Thrush may have just the shirt for you. Check this out... Random side note... if you like drow as much as I do, you might like this shirt.

#RPGaDAY Launches Tomorrow

#RPGaDAY prompts.

Tomorrow kicks off the #RPGaDAY blogathon concocted by Dave Chapman of Autocratik. I’ll be doing my best to keep up the pace throughout the month of August. I hope you’ll join in. All it takes is a paragraph or two on the topics shown above — and maybe opening a blog somewhere, if you don’t already have one, but that’s pretty much a useful life skill at this point in the decline of western civilization.

Tagged: #RPGaDAY, blogs, writing

Top Of The Pile: Star Trek Special - Flesh And Stone

Since the Doctor Who/Next Generation crossover comic Assimilation 2 I've been quite negative about the writing of the Tipton brothers (Scott and David), possibly because I felt as though they were muscling out Tony Lee (my favourite Doctor Who comic writer of recent years).Of late, though, I've found myself warming to their style and was particularly taken with the recent Star Trek Special:

Make Games Not War!

Since the release of the D&D Basic Rules another war is waged in the RPG community. This time it's not about editions but about the people who helped Wizards of the Coast to create D&D 5th Edition.

D&D 5th Edition is definitely the first edition of D&D that was [...]

Paper Warriors

I love miniatures, but it was only a few years ago that I gave paper miniatures a try. I’m glad I did. Paper miniatures are inexpensive, easy to carry around, replaceable and look great. That makes them worthwhile if you have to travel and GM.   Here are a few links I recently stumbled across: […]

The Book of Faces

I have a bad habit of spontaneously starting new projects, but that’s okay, because the wheel of progress is always turning and things do, eventually, get finished. My latest project is a little bit of an experiment in game book design. Do you remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, or the green backed “Fighting […]

Claustrophobia Art Update

When I see the awesome work my design gnomes have put into ClaustrophobiaI get really excited. I just wish I could share it all with you now! Unfortunately, I do have to save some surprises for the actual book. Props to my talented brother,Donovan Sloan, for this provocativework.   CopperLabyrinth Lunatic Labyrinth is a Best […]

Old timey climbing and mountaineering

Telecanter posted up some public-domain vintage illustrations of rock-climbing and mountaineering, illustrating a number of stalwart climbers in precarious positions...

So in my real-world adventures, I climb - on nice dry rock- I tend to stay away from slogging in snow or alpine climbing.  The equipment and techniques have improved a bit,

...but those old illustrations show the rudimentary technique and equipment of the time, much of which evolved into modern climbing techniques, and a few which are still in use. And they can be very informative for players whose characters' "climbing equipment" is equivalent. That [...]

Tact-Tiles Return, Breaking D&D is Bad, and is Ragequitting Okay?

|Episode 119|


Congrats to our Fool contest winner, we had to pick 4 instead of 3 because it was so hard to decide! Our winning NPCs areRoger Larrabee (telepath), Barkley (fey guardian), Craig the Battle Droid (butler artillery), and Terrence McGoven (awkward helicopter pilot).

Additionally, we’ve got a brand new d20Monkey Caption Contest up, also be sure to check out Brian’s new “Whining Is Coming” edition war T-shirt design.

Lastly, if you consider yourself a D&D history junkie be sure to read Ambush At Sheridan Springs- a story about how Gary Gygax lost D&D.

Topics Tact-Tiles Are Back!

Modular dry erase boards, great for [...]

A strong wind blows: Environmental effects for RPGs

This entry is part 2 in the series House Rules from The Adventurer's Club This is part 2 of a series presenting the various House Rules that have been introduced into the Pulp Campaign that I co-GM. Today I’m presenting some cold, heat, wind-chill, and altitude tables that were developed for the campaign in preparation […]


Tackling real-world history in an RPG can be daunting, especially if you have never done historical research. I think the first thing to keep in mind is even though history is a challenging subject and quite serious, your research is for gaming and therefore should be part of the fun. So do what you can and set reasonable goals for yourself. The last thing you want is to end up hating the very subject you are trying to learn about.   Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons
History can come up in a variety of ways in an RPG. For the Gamemaster (GM) [...]

Daily Cosplay


When Nepeleos was a child he wed his mother, Imbree. They dwelt in the lands of Al Liosh for many years before she conceived a child by him. At the child's conception, Nepeleos knew that his mother was actually Imbrisius, the Maiden of Pain, and that she was a god. Knowing his own divinity made him hate her with force, and he tried to slay her. She merely laughed at him and cut him with her nails. After that, she paid him no heed, raising their son as she saw fit. But Nepeleos turned his mind to the darker sorceries [...]


Don't give them a damn, just enjoy your games

After years of gaming and game mastering, I recently found interesting to read about RPG theories. I came across some forums, some blogs, and various sources. My intention was to understand what lies behind the curtain: how a game designer think? What are his choices? How do they influence a game design? How a mechanic induces a way of playing? Does the system really matter?

May be you know about all this stuff, and I guess that you've got firm ideas about all these points.

Well. I read all that things. Because. You know. On purpose. I'm hacking games, I'm trying [...]

The Wandering Monster Table -- Steal this Trap

This is an entry for a contest -- tell us about one of your traps...!

Way back in the day, I decided to spring a trap that was, quite simply, a pun. The PCs of my AD&D campaign were exploring a basic evil wizard’s tower, filled with all sorts of monsters and traps. At one point, they entered a room that appeared to be a normal study. There were heavily-laden bookshelves on the walls, overstuffed couches facing a coffee table and fireplace, lamps on end tables, and a very large, ornately carved mahogany desk.

They didn’t realize until they had their hands [...]

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