Thursday, March 31, 2022

Multiple Fighter attacks revisited for Swords & Wizardry

Inspired by the classic edition rule where a fighter gets one attack per level when attacking 1 HD or lower foes (or in ADnD lower than 1 HD starting at 1-1 HD). I came up with the following rule for my Majestic Fantasy RPG.

Can use a melee weapon to attack a number of creatures with a total hit dice equal to the Fighter’s level. There is always a minimum of one attack allowed. If the creature has a modifier to their hit dice, round up to the nearest whole number. For example, a giant fire beetle has HD 1+3; treat this the same as a creature with HD 2.

In addition, Fighters are allowed to add their to-hit bonus (or the difference between hitting AC 0 at 1st level and their current chance of hitting AC 0) to the initiative die roll. 

The conjunction of the two has given fighting in my Majestic Fantasy campaign a much welcome boost in effectiveness without being overpowered in the way the ADnD multiple attacks and Unearthed Arcana options are.

One thing I did think of when I wrote the basic rules was writing about how I applied the multiple attack rule during play.

One thing learned from my career writing software for metal cutting machines is that folks find division harder. While I can do division pretty fast, I do subtraction even faster. So the way I apply the multiple attack rule is as follows.

  • The players pick a target and resolve their attack.
  • I subtract the target's hit dice from the character level and there is nothing left over. I see if it equals or exceeds the target's hit dice.
  • If it does then the character gets to resolve another attack on the target. 
  • If it does not then I look to see if anything is within melee reach or within the reach of a single five footstep. If there are I look at their hit dice. If equal to or less than the remaining total. I narrate the result by saying "You see an opening on targets to your left and right, which do you choose?" 
  • The player can elect to follow up with another attack or a step and attack. If they do they get to resolve that attack.
  • This is repeated until the players exhausted all the hit dice they can attack.
Since I need to know monster hit dice (or character level) anyway to resolve their attacks, it doesn't require me to come up with any more information than what is already there. Because it involves subtraction it is easy to keep track of the total.  Because the totals are small (for example 5 HD worth of attacks at the 5th level) it doesn't take many steps to resolve in most cases. 

The times where it is most decisive is when you have a leader type and a bunch of minions. This rule allows the fighter to attack the leader, but also takes out one or two of the adjacent minions.

Monsters
I haven't applied these rules to monsters despite the multiple attack rule on page 5 of Monsters and Treasures from the original rules. I feel that this was in part superseded by the grant of multiple attacks in the Greyhawk supplement to various monsters.

However after a recent playtest of my Deceits of the Russet Lord adventure, I may add this as an explicit ability to certain monsters. For example, a Sidhe Lord with 10 hit dice would be able to target 10 HD worth of creatures or characters. But I would stick with the traditional three attacks that an Owlbear would get.

The cutoff would be if the monster hit dice is in part a reflection of skill as opposed to instinct, I would add this to the monster. NPCs are already taken care of as in the Majestic Fantasy RPG they are leveled characters. 

Saturday, March 26, 2022

You too can own Harn for a $1

 Columbia Games is running a special called the Harn's Beginner Guide for $1. 


Link to Special

This consists of the core books of Harnworld. You get the HarnWorld article, the HarnDex (a mini encyclopedia of Harn), The Cities and Town article, and of course the map of Harn.

This effectively replicates and expands the material from the original release of Harn. Also note even if you don't wind up using Harn directly there is a lot of info inside that is applicable to most fantasy settings especially they are a fantasy medieval milieu. 


Thursday, February 10, 2022

Your own custom RPG rulebook, mini binders

A couple of years back I found a mini binder at my local Staples. There was also various inserts including pouches and dividers you could buy as well. I realize this was the solution to a organizational problem I was having with running my campaigns. 

Often core rulebooks and supplements are too verbose to use as references during play. You have to read through a bunch of explanatory text before getting to the heart of the mechanics or details like the modifiers you need. 

So since the early 80s I been making cheat sheets for the RPG I used. Especially for GURPS. 


Binders were letter sized, often too big to be handy. So I shifted to loose sheets. But loose sheets get scattered.

So when I saw this


 I knew I could get the benefits of my old binders but in a convenient form almost as good as loose sheets and without the issue of things getting scattered. So I bought the above as well as some inserts. Then I started to make what I needed for my campaigns. The two that had the most work were for my Majestic Wilderlands using my Majestic Fantasy Rules (based on Swords and Wizardry) and for DnD 5th edition. Also included setting material from the Majestic Wilderlands and Blackmarsh.


Is is one of the binderx open showing the different pages, dividers, and pages.


The binder cover has interior pockets. I printed stuff on digest sized pages and used dividers to organize them. This was followed by a couple of pocket inserts. Then after I added some punched digest sized graph paper and digest sized punched paper with ruled lines. Then finally a pouch with pens, pencils, and index cards.

Here is what I put into each.

The Majestic Wilderlands


  • Pouch with Pens, Pencil and Index Cards

Rob's Notes: I am planning to replace my Majestic Fantasy Basic Rules in the binder with a even more terse reference. Followed by a character class reference so I can quickly answer player questions.

Blackmarsh/DnD 5e

This binder is also used when I run my Majestic Wilderlands using the 5th edition rules.

  • My favorite letter sized 5e reference charts, shrunk a tad, laminated and turned into fold outs.
  • A blank 5e character sheet
  • A terse combat summary


  • A letter sized foldout map of Blackmarsh
  • Pocket inserts with 5e monster stats printed on index cards.
  • Graph Paper
  • A pouch insert with pens, pencils, and blank index cards.
  • I also have 5e reference booklets that I used before this in the inside pockets of the binder.
Handy Amazon Links

Monday, January 17, 2022

Openquest SRD released!


Today the Openquest SRD was released by Newt of D101 Games. Openquest is an D100 RPG based on the open content of the Legends RPG released by Mongoose. It has a small but growing community of fans behind it.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Happy New Year, Bat in the Attic Updates, and a bit of medieval trivia.

 Happy New Year everybody! Hope folks have a great 2022.

An update on my Bat in the Attic projects. 

Into the Majestic Fantasy Realms

I am currently working on Into the Majestic Realms which will be a four map set combining the Wild North, Blackmarsh and Southland. This will be formatted the same as Blackmarsh as well as set in the same world as Blackmarsh and the Points of Light series. 

The maps will be offered the 12" by 18" format that DriveThruRPG support. Unlike the Wilderlands where I had to divide the maps, Majestic Fantasy Realms maps will be designed around this size. In addition like my Wilderlands project these maps are cropped from a much larger whole. So as the series progresses in the coming years everything will overlap perfectly along with the option of printing the entire setting as a complete whole. The image is showing the four combined maps.

Scourge of the Demon Wolf Redux

Along with the above, I will be reworking the background of Scourge of the Demon Wolf to set it within the Majestic Fantasy Realms. Which is will hopefully address one of the common complaints of the original that the hexcrawl setting I included was a bit thin. This will also allow me to continue to offer the adventure after the Judges Guild license sunsets. 

The Majestic Fantasy RPG

After I get this out I will get the next volumes out for my Majestic Fantasy RPG. Unlike the basic rules this will cover all the levels and options. The volumes currently being planned are:

  • The Manual of Puissant Skill - covering character creation and combat.
  • The Legendarium of the Fantastic - a collection of monsters. 
  • The Domesday Codex - a collection of NPCs. 
  • The Tome of the Mundane, Strange, and Arcane - rules for campaigns along with magic items and other treasures. For example rules for playing merchants, and lists of herbs and potions.

Like the Basic Rules I will giving everything a sense of "place" that they exist as part of a larger world. 

Deceits of the Russet Lord

This will be the next sandbox adventure. Like Scourge of the Demon Wolf, it is a situation that can be resolved in a number of ways. What is it about?

The Deceits of the Russet Lord is an adventure involving star crossed lovers, corrupt monks, rebellious peasants, tyrannical lords, bloodthirsty orcs, and the one that orchestrated it all, the Russet Lord.


Further out

The above should occupy my release schedule for the next year and a half. I have several less developed projects most of them focusing on the Majestic Fantasy Realms. I do want try my hand at science fiction roleplaying at some point. I have a setting that I call the Majestic Stars centered around the idea that 65 million years ago the dinosaurs had a star spanning civilization that terraformed nearly every world in local galactic space. It was then wiped out leaving many of these planets including Earth to develop on their own.  I came up up with the idea to account why there were so many inhabitable planets when you use the Traveller world generation system.

Medieval Filing System

So recently I been watching a Discovery of Witches. Part of the series is set during 16th century Europe. Throughout this portion I noticed this in several places.


Letters hanging from cords or threads. So I dug into it and found that during that era and earlier, places that deal with a lot of paperwork and letters would punch a hole in them and thread along a cord. Related documents would go on the same cord. You can see some of this in this painting. Just zoom to the upper left corner to see the cord those letters are hanging off of.


Hopefully you find this useful as a bit of color when the PCs break into some medieval clerk's or noble's office.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Happy Needfest! The Digital Darlene Greyhawk Map

Over on the Flanaess Geographical Society facebook group, I noticed that Zach Henderson started to post a clean up of the original Darlene Greyhawk map. One of the things he did was to go through the map with Photoshop and removed all the hexes. A monumental task. 

I realized that you could digitalize that version and make a crisp clean copy of Darlene's original Greyhawk map. I started talking with Zach and it turned out he broke up his work out into layers. We exchanged files and I started to digitalize the text, fills, and symbols.

Using a variety of tools managed to turn nearly everything on Darlene into a vector. This allow arbitrarily small or large maps to be made from the file. Plus you get a smaller file size for various resolutions.

I then added a few requested bells and whistles like 6 mile hexes, and a black and white version.

I was able to export as SVG file containing most of the map. The only thing that didn't come through are the forest and mountain drawings. The digitization of those layers did not translate well into a SVG  file. But I managed to export the rest and sort it into proper layers usable with the free Inkscape  illustration software and most other illustration and mapping programs.

This is released under the Wizards Fan Content Policy and the few original elements I have are released under the CC-BY-SA-NC 4.0 license.

The main file is a layered PDF. In testing this I found many PDF readers to be hit or miss on their ability to turn layers off and on. Adobe Reader definitely works. 

Digital Darlene Greyhawk Map (PDF and JPGs)

Rob's Note: I been received errata on the map. I uploaded the fixed PDF. It is Rev 12b. Appreciate everybody who sent me errata on Christmas Eve. 

Rob's Note #2: I applied more errata. Fixing up settlement symbols because of the lack of clarity in the original scan. Also restored the missing i in White Fang Bay. Finally I sorted out the issue with the mountain and forest fills in the SVG file. They are now present. The PDF and SVG are now Rev 12c. The JPGs been all updated.

Here is a jpg export of the full map.

Digital Darlene Greyhawk Map (JPG)

Everybody have a happy and safe holiday and Merry Christmas to one and all.

Original Darlene Style

Six Mile Hexes

Greyscale version

Friday, November 26, 2021

GURPS Nordlond Bestiary Kickstarter


Douglas Cole of Gaming Ballistic is having another GURPS related kickstarter. This time it is a bestiary for his Nordlond setting for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG. Nordlond as setting is centered around the culture of Norse Vikings. Normally a RPG supplement like this is fairly setting specific. Some of the creature that Doug has preview have norse origins. But he also repurposes many common DnD style fantasy monsters give them a viking twist. Making this work useful for expanding the number of creature the referee has for a Dungeon Fantasy or GURPS campaign.

Doug explains it best.

The Dungeon Fantasy RPG is purposefully generic: It is Powered by GURPS, after all. The Norðlond setting is not generic, borrowing from the literary tradition of the Viking culture. The sagas of looting, pillaging, and raiding for wealth and fame made a natural match for a game with a tag-line of “Smash Evil for Fun and Profit.”

Even with that in mind, the monsters here can be—and should be—repurposed and transplanted to other campaigns. Many of them are thinly disguised transplants from other cosmologies anyway: The nautamaðr is clearly based on the Minotaur; the Blóðughúfa, or “bloody hat” is the redcap, a fixture of Northumbrian folklore, perhaps derived or parallel to the Irish fear dearg, meaning “red man,” said to wear a red coat and cap.  Animals—normal, giant, and dire—don’t require any work to move between campaigns. Much as the player characters pillage loot, GMs should pillage the worked examples here to make their lives easier when running games in any campaign.

My view that this type of work for GURPS needs to be support and encourage. GURPS is great as a toolkit however it needs the same range of support as other similar types of RPGs for referee who don't have the time to sift through all the options. The Nordlond bestiary helps a lot with this.

The Nordlond Bestiary also has a enemies section of NPC characters to use in a campaign.

Nordlond Bestiary and Enemies