Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Gaming Shelves

My Shelves of gaming material

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons stuff
 From top to bottom D&D 4e, GURPS Traveller/Mongoose Traveller/GURPS Stuff, and the bottom two all my GURPS books.

My Harn Stuff

Box of handwritten Majestic Wilderlands stuff

My Sci-fi Modren Roleplaying stuff.

AD&D 2nd edition stuff plus Fantasy Hero, Ars Magica and other misc Fantasy Roleplaying

My GDW Traveller material

Monday, November 26, 2012

Building on Grognard's MA Beanstalk

Joesph over on Greyhawk Grognard has an interesting idea for an alternative setting for Metamorphosis Alpha/Gamma World. Basically take a space elevator and attach a bunch of StarLost/Silent Running style eco-domes in high orbit. I think the idea can be taken further for a variety of adventuring possibilities.

You still have your domes. However beyond geosynchronous orbit lies a asteroid that is the counterweight.

You several option with this asteroid. You can opt to populate it with levels creating a mega dungeon that you climb UP to. A crazy dungeon in the spirit of Barrier Peaks or Anomalous Subsurface Environment. Or you can have it essentially hollow with a hollow world environment.

You can have more domes spaced along the beanstalk each with their own levels of gravity until you reach zero G at geosynchronous orbit.  As for the counterweight asteroid note that the "deeper/higher" you go the heavier the gravity becomes. Something to add to the other craziness.

Lots of fun can be had with Joesph's idea.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A helping of 30% off

From various source I learned that between Friday (Nov 23) and Tuesday (Nov 27), Lulu is offering 30% off anything site-wide by using coupon code&nbsp DELIRITAS One of the reason I post on both Lulu and RPGNow is that Lulu offers get deals like this from time to time.

So head over to the Bat in the Attic page on Lulu and take your pick.
If you are just interested in the PDFs you can pick up a MW Supplement/ Scourge Adventure combo at RPGNow for only $12. $5 off the regular combined price.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Yet Another Harn Day (freebies)

Over on Lythia.com there is a couple of new releases that folks may find useful.

First is Many Manors 1 a PDF of ten Manor drawing in the Harn Map Style. These full color maps can be customize to depict any type of village or small settlement in your campaign.

Second is the Night People an article about Harnic Gypsies. It is generic enough that it can be transplanted into any vaguely medieval campaign setting. As a bonus it has a small map of a gypsy wagon.

Third is the Venarive Weather Generator, yes I have new agonies to inflict on my players. On a more serious note, the weather generation system for Harn is probably the most game friendly weather generator that emulates real world weather pattern. A problem has also been that we only every had two charts. One cool temperate for Harn and a sub polor chart for the viking land of Ivina. With Venarive Weather Generator all the other tempature/climate bands have charts.

What makes it simple is that it is just twenty entries. You move up and down the chart in according to a d6 roll. With a change of 1 up, 0, 1 down, or 2 down possible. The entries are arranged in a way that mimics real world weather changes. In all an simple and elegant to generate weather.

And while I mentioned this before, I can't recommend enough the Harn Pottage series or the Friends, Followers, Foes series. Pottage is a series of generic medieval locales and encounters while FFF has lavish illustrations and descriptions of NPCs.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thoughts on RPG Combat

In D&D armor does reduce damage. It just abstracts it into a single roll. The Armor Class system resulted from the days of Miniature Wargaming. In many games of the 60s you rolled to hit and then you rolled to see if damage was done based on the armor.

In Chainmail, and later D&D Arneson and Gygax collapsed that into one roll. The odds of actuall doing damage still was the same but now you reduced the number of rolls you needed to make by half. An important advantage in resolving miniature wargames. This carried over into the development of D&D. The d20 you roll doesn't represent the chance to HIT, but the chance to do DAMAGE. Better Armor is reflected by the reduced chance to do damage.

However as convenient this is, nearly all the gamers I know equate a single throw of the die to a swing of their weapon. It is a natural and intuitive way of visualizing what happening on the table. So it is understandable why some gamers have a dislike for how D&D portrays combat abstractly.

I myself prefer combat systems where

  1. An attack roll is single swing of the weapon.
  2. You get a defense roll based on dodge, shield, or parry
  3. Damage is reduced by how well armored you are.
  4. Hit Points are limited and even experienced character can be taken out by a single lucky blow.

Which is why I like RPGs like Harnmaster, GURPS, and Runequest/Basic Roleplaying (although 2nd edition RQ had the limbs flying a bit to readily).

The downside of my preference is that combat takes longer to resolve than D&D. In my experience about twice as long for well designed system like Harnmaster, and GURPS. So D&D has it virtues which I appreciate when running a campaign.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How much do Gems weigh?

I would call it at a 100 gems per pound unless you specifically state it is a certain size (like the eyes of the Player Handbook Idol). Gems are weighed in carats and the problem is that the value per carat varies between gem types. Harnmaster is the only Fantasy RPG I know of that gives that information. Even armed with such information I feel it strays over the line of too realistic of a rule. Harnmaster rates each gem type with a price factor and then multiplies it by the weight in carats squared. Note that a carat is 2 grams. 227 carats in a pound (I rounded up).
A 100 per pound is a nice average that reflect gem's compact value at a somewhat accurate weight without having to go through a lot of bookkeeping. For those 1,000 gp, 5,000 gp gems just make up a weight from 1/4 to 1 pound.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Scourge of the Demon Wolf Print released on RPGNow

Bat in the Attic Games is proud announce the release of the Print Edition of Scourge of the Demon Wolf on RPGNOW  

Three died. They were mauled beyond recognition. The Baron sent his huntsmen to kill the beasts and for a fortnight they tramped across the countryside. Between their whoring and drinking they killed twelve wolves, parading their skins through the village. They were hung on poles as trophies of victory. Then the huntsmen left, the beasts slain, the village saved… so we thought. As the fields turned golden under the summer sun the killings began again. Four more died. Then the Baron's man, the bailiff, was killed on the high meadow in sight of Mitra's Temple. His screams could be heard well into the village. He was only identified after we reassembled the pieces. With the priest's help I wrote a report to our liege, the Baron of Westtower. My report ended with,

There will be no harvest until the beast is slain and the killings stopped. 

 A 72 page adventure compatible with the Swords & Wizardry rules and a setting supplement to the Majestic Wilderlands. detailing a small barony, a complete fantasy village, a conclave of mages, a crossroads hamlet, and a camp of wandering beggars.

 For those of you who don't own the Majestic Wilderlands I also have a special $12 PDF only bundle of both the Majestic Wilderlands and the Scourge of the Demon Wolf.

For those who already bought the Scourge of the Demon Wolf PDF on RPGNow I have created a special $5 price for you to buy the print copy. As with Majestic Wilderlands I always intended the PDF to be free  with the purchase of the Print Version.

For those who prefer to take your business on Lulu, the coupon code NOVBOOKS12 can be used to get 20% off the PDF or Print. Unfortunately Lulu doesn't have the tools to allow the PDF to be free with the purchase of the print edition.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Games resources for Medieval Life

Here are my opinions on what I consider to be the best game books on Medieval Life

GURPS Low Tech,
This combined with the e23 supplements is by far the most useful gaming supplement on pre-industrial life. Since with these types of books GURPS is focused on realistic emulation the few mechanics can be easily translated. 

The length is not due to in-depth exploration of any one topic but rather due to is comprehensive  sweep of pre-industrial technology and society. The hardback is focused on technology and the three e23 release on pre-industrial society and life  And it has a extensive bibiliography. 

The downside is that the mechanics are in my opinion too abstract even for GURPS and really a toolkit for the referee to come up his own figures. And it is oriented to a single RPG.

A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe
For the d20 world this is one of the best supplement. It is comprehensive and well written. The downside is that the mechanics are just OK, and it is a bit wordy. 

I also recommend its companion A Silk Road which discuss medieval trade focusing on long distance trade. It include material I haven't seen written anywhere else for Roleplaying Games. 

Fief and Town by Lisa J. Steele
A good solid writeup of medieval life on the manor and in the town. A bit pricey but if you like reading the writing style of the preview, this will be a useful purchase.

Various Harn Articles 
The Harn Campaign setting is organized into a series of articles some of them on Medieval life and not specific to Harn at all. The downside they are pricey, upside is that what game mechanic are straight forward and easy to use with other RPGs and they are concise.

I recommend particularly Harn Manor 

It hits a sweet spot in terms of emulating manorial life, in the way that Classic Traveller hits a sweet spot in starship construction and interstellar trade. Yes it involves some math and a spreadsheet but it all straight forward. But what makes it shine is how it generate the yearly issues that the manorial lord has to deal with. Basically each tenant household rolls on a chart and some of the results can lead to adventures or complex resolutions for the lord.

And if you can find it Harn's Pilot Almanac has stellar Ship Construction rules and a straight forward medieval trading system. Again we are talking Classic Traveller simplicity.

Ars Magica, a Medieval Handbook.
This is similar to Lisa Steele's Fief and Town, it is a more comprehensive and  a lot cheaper, but devoid for the most part of Game mechanics.

These represent the what I consider the best and most useful summaries of Medieval life for gaming. I own all of these (and others) and used many of them in my Majestic Wilderlands campaign.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

More Lulu Discounts

I found that NOVBOOKS12 works for a 20% discount off of your lulu purchase.

So if you missed the October discount you are not too late to order Scourge of the Demon Wolf, Majestic Wilderlands, or other fine OSR products from Lulu at a discount.