Monday, September 21, 2020

Advanced Edition Tables with Javascript

I continue to covert over some of the tables I made with Inspiration Pad Pro into Javascript. This time it is the Grenade Scatter tables from the DMG and the NPC Personae Table.

Enjoy!

Advanced Edition Tables


Sunday, September 13, 2020

Bat in the Attic Kickstarter, Cover is Finished!

 Richard Luschek turned in all four cover pieces. Without further ado here is the completed cover. 

 I hope you are as pleased with his work as I am. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Bat in the Attic Kickstarter, Funded!

That was a strong finish and I appreciate everybody backing this kickstarter.

The deadline for this project is in November. The big unknown at this point is how long it will take to get proofs back from DrivethruRPG. With the current pandemic the times for cards and book shipping keep shifting. I will keep everybody up to date on the latest advisories as I get them. I posted the latest one (August 24th) at the end of this post.

Timeline

  • The draft is in the hands of my editor Emily. She is just starting her edits.
  • Richard Luschek is starting on the cover art. I have requested one of the pieces to be done in b/w for an interior illustration. More on that below.
  • When the editing is done I will update the quick reference cards first, apply the edits that Howard Bampton has graciously done, and post a release candidate for comment.
  • I will do the layout and cover.
  • While doing layout, order a print proof of the cards and release the final version of the quick reference cards. 
  • Post a release candidate for the PDF and wait a few days for comments.
  • Make any final corrections to the layout, and order a print proof of the book.
  • Post the Reward Survey to collect everybody's email address.
  • Release all DriveThruRPG print and PDF coupons to finalize the rewards.
  • Once I know the rewards are working I will release the products for sale.
  • First piece of art and additional content.


Richard Luschek has released the first piece of art to me. A b/w version of one of the cover pieces that I will be using in the interior of the book. This particular illustration will have a background and color added for the cover.


Creature being depicted is a Silurian. It not in the current draft so I moved it and the snake category it part of into the draft I submitted to Emily.

Click to see the full size version
I made a small 4 page booklet with Snakes and Silurians from the list of Majestic Fantasy Monsters. You can download the booklet from the below link

Snakes for the Majestic Fantasy RPG

(from DriveThruRPG) Printing & Shipping Update (August 24, 2020)

Printed books are currently taking roughly one month to be printed in the US (UK production is not delayed). In addition, due to Covid-related slowdowns, shipping can also take considerably longer than usual. Note, media mail shipments cannot be tracked and will not be replaced until 45 days have passed undelivered (or 60 days for deliveries to Australia).

Card printing and shipping is also somewhat slower than usual right now. Expect delays.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Bat in the Attic Kickstarter, The Final Hours


The kickstarter for the Basic Rules for the Majestic Fantasy RPG has entered its last hours. This kickstarter is to fund the cover art and editing of the Basic Rules for the Majestic Fantasy RPG. In addition I am offering a set of quick reference cards for character generation using these rules. The reward levels are $8 for both PDFs, and $12 for a at-cost (plus 50 cents) print coupon for DriveThruRPG that covers the book, and the quick reference cards.


Given the number of excellent systems that have been published for the Old School Renaissance, what makes the Majestic Fantasy RPG different? During the Kickstarter I wrote a series of posts going through the rulebook and highlighting some of its elements.

Attributes

Classes

Backgrounds & Abilities

Equipment, Magic, & Spells

Combat, Monsters, & NPCs

Treasure, Rulings, and the World Outside of the Dungeon

Bedrock Podcast Interview
Sometimes reading is not as effective hearing the case being made for a product. Recently I had a nice chat with long time friend, Brendan Davis. We talked about the kickstarter and gaming. Brendan is president of Bedrock Games, an independent publisher of RPGs. He specializes in publishing fantasy RPGs with settings inspired by different time periods and cultures outside of medieval western Europe. I have done maps for several of his products.

Bedrock Games

Bedrock Podcast Interview.

Wrapping it up.
I hope you decide to back this kickstarter during these last few hours. If not the both products will  be available for sale on DriveThruRPG late this fall.

Finally thanks to everybody who backed the kickstarter. It is great to have you all on board and your comments and suggestions have been appreciated and helpful.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Bat in the Attic Kickstarter, Treasure, Rulings, and the World Outside of the Dungeon.

This is the sixth and last in a series of posts about some of the design choices I made. In addition to explaining what the system is about, it will also help folks in deciding which elements are the most useful to them. One of the goals of this project is to support kitbashing.

Basic Rules for the Majestic Fantasy RPG Kickstarter

Treasure
Due the limited number of pages in the basic rules, I combed through various classic edition basic rules to get a sense of what available. From that I was able to cull a subset of the larger list found in Swords and Wizardry and what I added in the Majestic Fantasy RPG.

Viz
Viz is magic in physical form. The concept was developed during a campaign where every player played a mage using GURPS. Ars Magica was a great source of inspiration for the campaign and one of the elements that was adapted was the idea of viz. Since GURPS Magic wasn't the same as the magic system in Ars Magica, it got altered into viz. For those who know GURPS, it functioned as a 1 pt powerstone that dissipated after one use.

When I started running Swords & Wizardry I ported over viz. It still dissipates after one use but now one viz allowed a magic-user or cleric to case a first level spell without losing it from memory. It gives a substantial credit towards the creation cost of a magic item. More viz can be used to cast higher level spells without losing it from memory.

In the years since it worked out well as a source of low powered magical treasure. Plus flexibility of its concept allowed it to be found or harvested in interesting ways, ranging from a dragon's teeth, to a wellspring in the midst of a forest that produces 1d6 viz in the light of the full moon.

Treasure Assortment
In the full Majestic Fantasy RPG, I have an elaborate treasure generation system. I automated it using a program called Inspiration Pad Pro from NBos. Overall the system worked out nicely for my campaign. But not everybody wants to use software at their table. In addition, people don't want to use deeply nested random tables during a session.

I used Gygax's Monster and Treasure Assortments while experimenting with randomly generating dungeons. Unlike my treasure table and the treasure tables in Swords and Wizardry, the treasure tables in those books was a simple list with a 100 entries. Each entry is a complete treasure hoard.

I then realized that a complex sets of random tables can be made much more useful, if they are accompanied by a table of pre-generated results. I am calling these types of tables a random assortment.

For the basic rules, I generated 20 items for a 100d (silver piece) treasure hoard, then repeated this for 200d, 500d, and so on up to 2,500d. If I am writing an adventure and I want to generate something special I used the main set of tables. If something happens during a session or I need something quick while writing. I used the random assortment table.

For those who like to use software while writing or running a session, I wrote an on-line random generator written in html and javascript. This allows  you to randomly roll your own treasure hoards for the basic rules at any value.

Treasure Hoards for the MW RPG Basic Rules


Rulings
This is the first of two sections of referee advice I include in the basic rules. "Ruling not rules" is an idea discussed by Matt Finch in the Old School Primer. The minimalist nature of many classic editions, results in the need for a referee make a ruling for when a player does something that their character logically could do but there is no explicit mechanic to cover it. There been a lot of discussion about the idea but little in the way of describing the nuts and bolts of how one uses the classic edition mechanics to craft new rulings.

The section address that by talking about the available mechanics and how I use them to create specific rulings. I talk about when to make a ruling, assumptions about character competence, and the relevance of failure. Finally I talk about the elements that go into the ruling: Armor Class, Attribute Bonuses, the To-Hit Roll, Hit Points, Movement, Non-Combat Tasks, and Saving Throws.


The World outside of the Dungeon
Here I briefly cover the different elements that go into my campaigns. Why I focus on the World outside of the Dungeon, along with the various elements that go into bringing it to life, this includes constructing locales, characters, and plans.

Next, I talk about the World in Motion, how you take all that and make it work from session to session. The importance of the initial context, and how to handle the continuing saga as the campaign unfolds. Finally I touch on building one's Bag of Stuff. Material that you have memorized or made notes on to use when the players decide to do something unexpected like go west instead of east. Or decide to talk to the innkeeper on the other side of town, instead of consulting the sage by the waterfront.

The idea of this section to provide a useful framework as a starting point for one's own effort. In later supplements I intend to support these ideas further with various tools and techniques to handle common situations found within fantasy campaigns.

Wrapping it up.
This concludes this series of designers notes. I am currently working on various edits as are result of the feedback I gotten. I will post Rev 02 once that is completed. As part of the final push, I will make a combined document available with all these notes collected together.

I thank everybody who backed this kickstarter, your generous support, help and comments are all appreciated.

Basic Rules for the Majestic Fantasy RPG Kickstarter





Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Bat in the Attic Kickstarter, Combat, Monsters, & NPCs

This is the fifth in a series of posts about some of the design choices I made. In addition to explaining what the system is about, it will also help folks in deciding which elements are the most useful to them. One of the goals of this project is to support kitbashing.

Basic Rules for the Majestic Fantasy RPG

Combat



This section is the oldest of the rules I wrote. I am 50% deaf which made refereeing a crowded table of teenagers in the early 80s challenging. One reason I used miniatures from the get go that it was far easier for me to visually see what the players wanted to do in a combat round than it was for them to describe it for me. Another technique I used was to try to stick to the rules in the book when it came to combat. It was easier for me as result of my hearing loss.

As a result I tried running the combat in ADnD 1e by the rules. Some of it was straight forward and some of it wasn't, particularly initiative and what you could do in a round. In hindsight I came close but how I handled it still bogged things down in play.

Around 1984, I made my own system. Everybody got their own initiative roll and you could do two things when it was your turn; one attack and a half move. If you wanted to do a full move that all you could do that turn.

I played this for a few years before switching over to Fantasy Hero and then GURPS. When I started playing Swords and Wizardry in 2007, I picked up where I left off with the combat rules. Started to develop them further. The system still boils down to everybody gets a initiative roll, everybody get to do two things in a round. Some of the refinements included how to handle individual initiative with a large group, and combat stunts.

Of everything in the Majestic Fantasy RPG, the combat rules have most hours behind them.

Monsters
The description reflects how I use them in my campaign. I try to keep it short and highlight the elements that turned out important in my campaign.

A minor addition is that all monster get a initiative bonus. In general it is equal to 1/2 their hit dice rounded down.

I also added a line for what you can harvest off of the monster after you kill it. You can blame Tim of Gothridge Manor for this as he sold me on the idea and showed me how fun it was to incorporate harvesting into a campaign.

Perhaps a little controversial, I use a stat block to organize the mechanics for each monster. Traditionally classic edition systems used the one line stat block to great effect. I found that works well only half the time. For the other half, you only get some of what you need from the one-line stat block. For the rest of it you have read the description and parse out the elements that are important.



In the midst of my first campaign with Swords and; Wizardry I found myself making bullets list for certain creatures so I didn't have to read through the description to reference what they can do in combat. By the second campaign, I eventually wound up with the entire list of monsters formatted this way.


In the basic rules for the Majestic Fantasy RPG and future supplement, the description focus more about how the monster exists in the setting, and with the rest are detailed in the stat block. Aside from the addition of the Initiative stat, and Harvest, for most the rest is straight out of Swords and Wizardry just formatted differently.

NPCs
This section it not often found in various systems or editions. Because much of what my players do to make their mark on the world involves dealing with folks living outside of a dungeon or wilderness, I found I had a roster of common NPC types just as extensive as the list of monsters. They are formatted in a stat block similar to that of the monsters with the additions of what attribute the character has and any ability bonuses they possess.


The section on Rogues give a roster of NPCs suitable for a thieves guild, or a bandit gang.

Fighters give NPCs for any type of organized military force like a city guard or a medieval army along with knights.

Magic Users list NPCs at different levels of experience, apprentice, journeyman, and master.  I also add the typical spells they memorized.

The section on Clerics also list NPCs at different levels of experience. There are two separate lists, one for the Church of Delaquain, the goddess of honor and justice. Another list for the Church of Sarrath, the Dragon God of War and Order.

Next I detail lists of NPCs for Orcs, Goblins, Dwarves, Elves, Halflings, and Lizardmen.
For example the Halfling Shadows who are gentlemen who form a club in order to protect the Halfling realms. These lists reflect some of the details I created over the years for sentient beings capable of having their own culture. Last are the Viridians, the only ones to have escaped the Abyss after the demons were imprisoned there after the Dawn War. In the introduction for each of these, I give the mechanics needed to a make a new type of character from scratch.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Hobbs and Friends Interview

A couple of days, I spent an evening having an interesting conversation with Jason Hobbs on Hobbs and Friends. I appreciate Jason having me on his show and you can listen to our conservation at the below link. We talk about our respective experiences gaming, my work, and of course the kickstarter and what it is about.

Rob Conley Interview on Hobbs and Friends

There is a Twitch stream as well.

Basic Rules for the Majestic Fantasy RPG Kickstarter