Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Vintage Gaming

The OSR has taken a good deal of flack lately because of the various groups vying for 'control' or domination of the group per sa. So, I am a little tired of it, tired of the "you are not part of the group" or "he thinks he is a gatekeeper" or "the OSR is just a bunch of old, white grumpy dudes" so I came up with my own term and decided to do a logo for it.

Yep, it looks a little rough around the edges, on purpose. We are old, we play older games, and we do not care what you think about it.

(white background)

Additional versions:
(yellowed background)

(transparent background)

(inverted colors w/blue background)

(greyish background)

(inverted red)

(inverted green)
This logo is released under a CC license, feel free to use it in your works so long as you abide by the license: Creative Commons License

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Task resolution, or, ability checks, in White Box

I have been mulling over how to do Ability Checks in White Box.

I have used Ability Checks for things forever. Like, forever. I do not remember a time when I did not use them. Welcome to the game there, 5e.

I tried the Saving-Throw-for-everything method. Hated it.

I went for the straight roll-under-your-score method and a player complained about rolling high to attack and low to succeed on ability checks. Too complex for him...though he loves 5e. Go figure.

So my next basic idea is simple:
If the task is something that an average person in this situation could do, then no check is required. However, if this is not the case, roll 2d6, add any Ability Modifiers from Table 7 and check below:
  • If the task is where success is questionable, roll 8+ to succeed
  • If the task is unlikely, get a 10+ to succeed
  • If the task is something really zany, get a 12+ on the roll to succeed
That's it. In a nutshell:
Average: no roll
Iffy: 8+
Unlikely: 10+
Crazy: 12+

Not tried this in-game yet but I feel like it will work. Using the d6 hearkens back to the origins of the game. This gives me a warm and fuzzy. Also, allows me to use the modifiers from Table 7 in the book as is, with no changes, and the modifiers still have a noticeable effect on the checks (on a d20, a +1 is negligible).  

Anyho, that is my latest idea. What do you think?
edit: I wrote this last night, then woke up this morning to +James V West dropping his fantastic zine Black Pudding #4 which totally, possibly, changed my mind. What a jerk.

Go buy it anyway, PWYW, chuck him a buck or two. He's still a jerk.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

White Box Encumbrance

I have never used encumbrance much in my games but for an upcoming magic system to work, it becomes important, so I am working out encumbrance for my game. Therefore I need a system that will apply some discipline and organization, yet I want the rules to fit within the scope and ease of White Box FMAG:
1) It has to be simple with very little bookkeeping
2) Players have to occasionally make tough, interesting decisions on what they carry
3) The PC’s strength should impact their encumbrance

You have a number of inventory slots equal to your Strength score, if you have a Strength of 12, you have 12 slots to fill with stuff. Slots are a measurement of weight, size, and volume - use common sense here, we are not building the Space Shuttle. A number of your inventory slots equal to half of your Dexterity score are Fast Inventory. These are items that you can reach instantly--hanging from your belt, in a scabbard, etc. Everything else is in your backpack, and takes 1d6 rounds to dig out, or 2d6 rounds if you want to avoid scattering shit all over the floor.

If half your available slots are occupied, you are half encumbered and move a little slower than normal (instead of 12 movement rate you go to 9, etc). If all your slots are occupied you are encumbered and move at ½ your normal rate. Using additional slots result in your character staggering around as if he was carrying a couch or refrigerator. Also, you can barely defend yourself.

General rules (again, use some common sense here):

  • Armor takes up a number of slots equal to the effect on AC score*: plate raises AC by 6, thus is takes up six slots, leather raise by 2 means it occupies 2 slots. Most shields take one unless they are those giant
  • If you can pick it up easily with one hand and use it, the item takes up one slot. A long sword, a lantern, a shield, and an ax are all good examples.
  • If you need two hands to effectively use it, it takes up 2 slots. Pole arms, 10’ poles, two handed swords, and battle axes.
  • If you can pick up a bunch of the items with one hand, these are Bundles and count five items to one. Most spell components, sling stones, torches, vials of oil fall into this category.
  • Arrows are collected into Sheaves of 20 to a quiver which takes one slot.
  • Coins. 200 gold or silver coins can be carried in a bag or pouch.

* I use ascending Armor Class rules. I am old, this is easier for my tired brain.

Most of this is derived from this post on Goblin Punch:

Monday, January 1, 2018


Since I am running a regular, weekly game now I like to have all manner of visual aids to help set the mood and such. There is a fellow on Google Plus that does some amazing photobashing work by the name of Jonny Gray (seriously, go check him out). So today, with little to do, I decided to take a stab at it.

My little group of players recently hired a couple of dudes from the local militia to help them on their current adventure. Toombs and Balix are part of the Greenguard, the local militia in Prolge (the small frontier village spotlighted previously on the blog). I really like how Toombs came together to fit his personality, he is a ballsy and arrogant type of guy who thinks he can tackle any problem. Balix is more of a young elf, eager to learn, ready to experience the world but with a hint of that elf better-than-thou stature.

Toombs (yep, totally stole the name and the face)
Balix, and elven bowman (still don't quite like his head but as this is a level zero extra, I deemed I had already spent too much time on him):

I wanted the uniform to look realistic and usable, but recognizable to the casual viewer. The original image is the torso, the hand holding the sword, and the legs. The other parts are stolen from other images and slightly changed to come together to a different image.

This was fun to try my hand at and I think they came out fairly good. I may do more of these in the future.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Village of Prolge

(Above) The Boneswall rises up from the mirror-like surface of Goodswell lake in the view from the walls of Prolge. The range's cliff walls and steep mountains make passage difficult, if not impossible. The highest peaks have persistent snow drifts and some of the valleys are covered in deep snow until mid-summer.

Far to the north of the civilized lands lies the frontier of the kingdom. This sparsely populated region is home to all manner of wild creatures, some never seen before by the scholars of the kingdom. Most knowledge of the region has been lost to history. What is known is can be gleaned from what has been explored and the returned treasures.

In the last three decades, settlers have begun slowly moving into the area, mostly kingdom humans and elves with a smattering of the other races of men. Small villages, some barely more than outposts, are scattered throughout the wooded, rolling hills, a day or two ride from each other. A large, mirror-like body of water called Goodswell is nestled in a valley, the Boneswall Mountains form a perilous and unexplored wall to the west. To the east are unexplored, thick forests and squatting atop a small hill on the south shore, lies the outpost known as Prolge.

The small grouping of buildings is Under threat from vicious beasts and shadowy horrors that regularly emerge from the mountains and forest. The villagers have put their faith in their leader, Mayor Boonswain Everyll, who claims to use knowledge of druidic magics to keep the village safe from the monstrous dangers. The last six months have been relatively quiet with only occasional attacks on the village wall. Valuable goods have begun to flow from the immediate area surrounding the walls. A small militia has formed, called the Greenguard strives to protect the interests of the village from harm. The villagers want to protect their homes from prying eyes, but this grows ever more difficult as the village’s prosperity increases.

Sharp stakes line the thick timber walls that encircle the village of Prolge. Compared to the ancient trees of the forest to the east and the looming mountains to the west, the village seems small and precariously at risk of destruction. The houses are tightly clustered together as if in fear of what lies beyond the walls. The sturdy village gates are never left unguarded or open, with at least two members of the Greenguard are always on watch. At least half the guard towers are manned at all times, armed with spears, torches, and large horns to sound an emergency.

While Prolge is more of a fortification than a settlement, things are slowly beginning to change. Freshly cut tree stumps and plowed fields surrounding the village indicated prosperity may have finally struck the village despite the ever-present dangers. The trading post is stocked with goods derived from the forest’s bounty and from merchants that occasionally appear at the gate.

POPULATION 91 (41 humans, 22 elves, 18 half-elves, 6 dwarves, & 4 halflings) LANGUAGES Common, Elven RESOURCES & INDUSTRY Herbal potions, farming, and logging WEATHER cool rainy (75%) during the day, cold and windy at night MAYOR Boonswain Everyll

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Prolge and environs

Prolge is a small village that sits on the shore of a large freshwater lake, far north in the frontier. Goodswell lake is large, fifteen to almost twenty miles across in some locations. Depth is unknown. The cold to frigid water is mostly unexplored after a tale of a fisherman who was attacked by some tentacled creature from the deep black water. Today no one ventures out onto the black, glassy surface and the boats lie rotting on the sandy beach north of Prolge.

To the west, and curving along to the northeast, lies the imposing and vast Boneswall, a young and sharply shaped mountain range. While little is known about this area it has been explored recently enough to know the region is filled with ruins and caverns. However, the area is extremely dangerous and few have ventured into this mountainous region.

To the east is an untamed forest wilderness. Rumors abound of an ancient city, lost to time and the forest, now overgrown with trees and weeds. Some claim to have seen it, some claim to have entered the ruins, and yet, no evidence has yet surfaced from these rumored locations. Large, dark shadows roam the forest at night and strange howls emanate from the green depths.

The party, consisting of Brother Menno Walther, Hagar Tryvald, and Raider, entered the small village of Prolge after serving as guards on a small caravan. Menno once lived here but it has been years, having left to learn more about his deity and the world. Now, all three have come here in search of their fortunes.

Next time, we explore the village of Prolge...