Thursday, November 21, 2013

Majestic Wilderland RPG Part 3, Fighters

The Majestic Wilderlands Supplement was just that a supplement. Anything it didn't cover you used the Swords and Wizardry core book. In practical usage that is a bit of pain having to flip between the two. I now understand one of the primary motivations to collect all the ODnD books into ADnD 1st edition. I am just dealing with two books here and not the six+ books of the ODnD series.

So the core classes will be in now. And the first up is Fighting Men.  In Sword and Wizardry, Core that was just Fighters. In the Majestic Wilderlands that also included Berserkers, Soldiers, Paladins, Knights, and Myrmidons.

In the four years since the release of the MW Supplement, those classes have held up rather well. A major addition I made was that they all add their to hit bonus to their initiative die roll in addition to their dex attribute bonus. Coupled with that change monster received a initiative bonus equal to half their hit dice rounded down.

I also made a ability progression chart and placed at the beginning of the Fighting Men section. There was some text at the end of the explanation of ability that gave the progression for each of the SnW core classes but that quickly proved to be too much page flipping.

As for abilities, note that Athletics is used for the typical checks that high strength character get for break doors, bend bars, etc. Athletics is modified by your class bonus, if any, and your strength bonus. That why there is no chart for those actions in the section on the strength attribute.

Note that for the next view post on character classes I will be only be posting things that are changed. If it is not posted then it will be the same in the current supplement.

Ability Progression
All Fighting Men gains bonuses to the following abilities; Athletics, Intimidation, Strategy.

Fighters are warriors, trained in battle and in the use of armor and weapons. You are on the front lines of your adventuring party—going toe-to-toe with dragons, goblins, and evil cultists, hacking your way through them and taking the brunt of their attacks. The Fighter character is best-equipped to dish out damage and absorb it. You serve as the sword and shield, protecting the weak and taking down your enemies. One day they will tell legends of your battle prowess, and followers will flock to your castle stronghold where you revel in your fame, riches, and newly earned nobility. 

A Fighter gains 1D6+2 HP/Level
Use any Armor/Shield, any Weapon
The fighter’s to hit bonus is added to their initiative roll.
Against any creature of 1 HD or lower you make 1 attack per level each round. 
A character with a Strength of 13 or better will gain +5% to any earned experience.
At ninth level, a Fighter may establish a stronghold and attract a body of men-at-arms who will swear their loyalty to the character as their liege.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Majestic Wilderlands RPG Part 2, Attributes

I deviated from Swords and Wizardry on Attribute bonuses. I didn't want to use the full +1 for every two of the d20 SRD but felt the Swords and Wizardry was too minimal. So I opted for a +1 for 3 points of attributes.  This works hand and hand with the ability system that I use to resolve most non-combat actions.

For those of you use who don't have my Majestic Wilderlands supplement, the general rule is that the player has to describe what he is doing as his character. If failing has meaningful consequences then I have roll a 1d20 over a certain number. Typically a 15, 10 if it is easy, 20 if it is hard. To this roll the character can add his attribute bonus and the relevant ability bonus.

I have to stress any character can attempt any action. A cleric can lockpick, a fighter can attempt to puzzle out a magic item, a magic-user can try to bust down a door, a burglar can try to figure out a point of theology. However various classes are better at some things than others.

Also I pared down the wordage from the Swords and Wizardry original. I found the minimal description were more than adequate to explain even to a novice what the attributes represent.

I use the Lamentation of Flame Princess encumbrance system in place of tracking weight in Swords and Wizardry. I think Raggi's mechanics is simply brilliant in its simplicity and ease of use. In practice player hardly don't keep real track of it. I pay attention to the number of items they carry from time to time and it obvious when they are going to bust their weight limits. In the campaigns I ran so far, eventually the party pool their funds and either commission or buy outright a bag of holding.


The basic attributes of a character are: Strength (muscle power), Dexterity (quickness and coordination), Constitution (general health and hardiness), Intelligence (education and reasoning), Wisdom (common sense), and Charisma (leadership).  For human character attributes are rated from 3 to 18 with an average of 10.

Rolling Attributes
The roll the attributes of a new character roll 3d6 six times and arrange accordingly.

Ability Modifiers
Attributes modify ability and combat rolls. After assigning your attribute look up the modifier on the following chart.

Score       Modifier
3, 4, 5    -2
6, 7, 8    -1
9, 10, 11  +0
12, 13, 14 +1
15, 16, 17 +2
18, 19, 20 +3
21, 22, 23 +4

Prime Attributes
Each of the four main classes (Fighting Men, Clerics, Magic-Users, and Rogues) have an associated prime attribute. A score of 13 or better will give the character a +5% bonus to all experience.

Class Attribute
Cleric Wisdom
Fighting Men Strength
Magic-User Intelligence
Rogue Dexterity

Strength represents the muscle power of a character. It is the prime requisite for Fighting Men. It has the following effects.

Modifies the chance to hit in melee combat
Modifies the damage of a weapon in combat.
It modifies saving throws involving danger that can be avoided by using muscle power.
It is the prime requisite for Fighting Men. Granting a +5% to all earned experiences if the score is 13 or better.
Modifies the following abilities: Athletics and Climbing.
Modifies the amount of items one can carry before being encumbered.

Dexterity represents the overall quickness and coordination of a character. It is the prime requisite for Rogues. It has the following effects.

Modifies the chance to hit in missile combat
Adds to the character’s initiative roll.
Modifies the character’s armor class.
Modifies saving throws involving danger that can be avoided due to quickness or coordination or a character.
It is the prime requisite for Rogues. Granting a +5% to all earned experiences if the score is 13 or better.
Modifies the following abilities: Climbing, Legerdemain, and Stealth.

Constitution represent the general health and hardiness of a character. It has the following effects.

Modifies the number of hit points rolled as result of gaining a new hit dice when a character levels.
Modifies saving throws involving danger that can be avoided due the character’s health or hardiness.
Modifies the following ability; Survival.

Intelligence represents the general education and reasoning ability of a character. It is the prime requisite for Magic-Users. It has the following effects.

Modifies the number of hit points rolled as result of gaining a new hit dice when a character levels.
Modifies saving throws involving danger that can be avoided due to the education or reasoning ability of a character.
It is the prime requisite for Magic-Users. Granting a +5% to all earned experiences if the score is 13 or better.
Modifies the following ability; Accounting, Eavesdrop, Herblore, History, Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, Physician, Research, Strategy, Thaumatology.
Limits the maximum spell level a Magic-User can learn.

Score Max Lvl
3 to 7 4
8 to 11 5
11 to 12 6
13 to 14 7
15 to 16 8
17 to 18 9

Wisdom represents the common sense and willpower of a character. It is the prime requisite for a cleric. It has the following effects.

A wisdom score of 13 or better allows a Cleric to have one extra 1st level spell.
Modifies saving throws involving danger that can be avoided by common sense or willpower.
It is the prime requisite for Clerics. Granting a +5% to all earned experiences if the score is 13 or better.
Modifies the following ability; Perceive.

Charisma represents the leadership ability and personal rapport of a character. It has the following effects.

Modifies saves involving danger that can be avoided by using the character’s leadership ability or personal rapport.
Modifies the following abilities; Intimidation, and Locution.
Sets the maximum number of loyal henchmen the character can effectively command.

Score Max Henchmen
3 to 5 1
6 to 8 3
9 to 11 5
12 to 14 7
15 to 17 9
18 to 20 11

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Majestic Wilderlands RPG Part 1

I came out with the Majestic Wilderlands Supplement nearly four years ago. Since then I placed many sessions of Swords and Wizardry plus the MW supplement. Some with my Monday night group, some at conventions, and others at games stores like the Gold Star Anime.

The rules to my game haven't remained static. Since my adopting Swords and Wizardry and writing the MW Supplement I have added, and refined the rules I use at my tables. And now I find the need to collect together into something coherent. Eventually it will wind up as a Majestic Wilderlands 2nd edition.

Functionally it will be a complete RPG in terms of rule. Not because I have any great passion to add to the every growing collection of OSR rulesets based on the original roleplaying game. It because I would like to have a single document to hand to a player when they ask me how to make a character or need to refer to something in my game. If I do polish it and released as MW 2nd edition it will still be a supplement to Swords and Wizardry.

These irregular posts will serve to organize the material I developed over the past four years. And will appear along the with the ones developing the fudge based RPG I been working on.

First off is the list of steps needed to create a character. I developed a set of  reference cards and honed it so that even a large group can get all their characters done in 15 to 30 minutes.

You may notice that I don't give advice on all the attributes. The ones in the list are those that I found get asked about or pointed out the most beyond the obvious prime requisites. And remember in my game, any class can attempt any class. Some players when deciding to place attributes may decide to put their second highest or third highest numbers so that their favorite abilities get a boost. For example Dexterity for Stealth or Charisma for Locution.

Creating Characters

The following sequence has been found to allow groups to quickly generate characters before or during a session. To get the most of this sequence the referee needs to obtain and print out the character creation quick sheets. These quick sheets are available with the purchase of this book or freely downloadable from the author’s website.

Roll 3D6 six times.
Look at the character class summary and pick out the character class that interests you.
Arrange the six rolls accordingly.
It is recommended that the highest roll be placed in your class’s prime requisite.
Dexterity will improve Armor Class
Constitution will improve your hit points.
Charisma will improve your character’s relations with the NPCs of the setting and the increase the number of loyal henchmen you can have.
Rogues need to decide to focus on combat, or particular abilities.
Look at the character race summary and pick out the character race that you want to play. Keep in mind that humans get +15% to their earned experience in addition to their prime requisite bonus. Also keep in mind that some races come with complications when dealing with societies dominated by humans.
Modify your attributes according to race
Optionally roll 3d6 for starting experience point*.
Record your attribute modifiers, the abilities of your race and the abilities of your class.
Roll 3d6 and multiply by 100 for the number of silver pieces you start with.
First level characters start at maximum hit points.
Pull out the short equipment list and buy your weapons, armor, dungeon equipment, and starting magic items if any. If you are starting above 1st level and you are a cleric or magic-user remember to reserve some of your starting wealth for ritual spell casting.
Your character is now ready for adventuring.

* I use a modified chart based of the one at the end of Jeff Rient's Tower of Xylarten for some of my sessions.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Treasure for my Birthday and Dwarven Forge Notes

My wonderful wife, Kelly Anne got me the Ancient Treasure set from Dwarven Forge.

It is pretty cool and will come in handy along side the original Treasure Set it bought a couple of years back.

Also for all those you missed the kickstarter Dwarven Forge has started selling their game tiles both painted and unpainted. One set is $85 painted and $55 unpainted. 

If you think that the game tiles will be too unwieldy you may want to look at just some of the add ons like the Door Pack, Stairs, or Furnishing. Just use your dry erase as normal or you Dungeon Tiles and place them on top.

Finally even if you don't want any of the above. I suggest looking at their paints and brushes. They are top quality even for regular miniatures. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thieves of Fortress Badabaskor for $1

Paizo is selling print copies of Badabaskor for $1. It was the first print product I was responsible for. I did the maps for all three of Goodman Games Judges Guild products.

In Badabaskor I tried to remain faithful to Bob Bledsaw's original modules. I did alter a handful of area in the dungeon but for the most part left things as I found them. The main additions was taking the original sparse entries and tying them together. Resulting in a Bandit town sitting on top of a dungeon of clerics who worshipped a demon god which was once a fortress of the Dragon Kings of a long dead empire.

Also Stephen Cobert guest stars.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Blackmarsh exceeds 4000 copies!

Tenkar's reports on the downloads of the Free Swords and Wizardry Complete PDF reminded me that I forget to post that Blackmarsh exceeded 4,000 copies. I didn't make much money ($250 to date) but that wasn't the point. With the Heroes and Other Worlds version, the Hungarian translation, and numerous campaign reports from blogs, Blackmarsh has achieved the goals I set out for it. To have a straightforward high quality hex crawl setting for people to use and to reference.

At the current rate of downloads (about 75 to 125 a month) I expect 5,000 downloads will be reached in late 2014. And don't forget that the print copy is only $7 plus shipping.

Finally I would like to say that that if anybody wants to translate Blackmarsh into their native language, I am open to have it included in RPGNow download packet. Of course the translation will be credited. Feel free to email if you have question on the meaning of any placename or term you are not familiar with.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A correction to my previous correction about Lulu's 40% off sales.

OK for real this time.

From now until Monday (Nov 4th) you can use the code FALLSALE40 to buy books at 40% off on Lulu.

You can buy Majestic Wilderlands (in one of two covers) and Scourge of the Demon Wolf.

As well as OSR stuff along with Swords and Wizardry which the MW Supplement is based on. I personally recommend the Monster Book. Also have a look at back issues of Fight On!

And to prove it here is a screen shot.

Majestic Wilderlands/Realms Characters

Yesterday I posted what a Majestic Realms character looks like. As you can see it is rooted in the Fate/Fudge family of RPGs.
Note: 4dF produces a range from -4 to 4 in a bell curve. You roll +0 or higher 63% of the time.

I picked the priest because it show all my planned elements in a single character.

I will get to this later in the post.

This part echoes GURPS the most. I picked Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Constitution. The secondary attributes are Endurance, Reflex, Will, Perception, Fortitude. Each of the secondary attributes are based off of a primary and can be raised and lowered from there. There is one derived attribute Init which is your Dexterity + Constitution.  I opted for GURPS 3rd Edition version of basing Endurance off of Srength (Fatigue) and Fortitude off of Constitution (Fudge Hit points sort of).

Skills start at -3,-2, -1, or +0. You buy skill levels and when you make a skill roll an attribute will come into play. So to swing a mace you are rolling Mace (+0) + Dexterity (+1) for a total of +1 to your 4dF roll.

Spells and Gifts
I will explain gifts when I talk about Aspects. Spells are bought as spells slots that work just like Swords and Wizardry. You memorize a spell for each slot (duplicates allowed) and after you cast it you have to rest for 8 hours plus 1 hour of study. The spell slot have to be bought in a pyramid until you have four spells in a level. Then you can have a equal number of spells in the level above. For example 4 1st, 4 2nd, 3 3rd, 2 4th, and 1 5th is a legal pyramid.  I will have copious example to make this clear. It is the system I used when playing NERO LARP and it works well at replicating DnD style vancian magic with a point based system.

Combat Statistics.
Scale is straight out of the Fudge rules. Basically each level of scale is 150% heavier and/or taller than the level below it. It is added to damage rolls and damage resistance rolls as well as strength rolls. It is a very elegant way of handling creatures of disparate size.

In combat you get up to three defenses, Dodge, Block, or Parry. Dodge is based on Reflex plus Combat Dodge skill. Block is based on Shield Skill + Dexterity, and Parry is based on Weapon Skill + Dexterity. Shields give a bonus of +0 small, +1 medium, or +2 large.

Threshold is based on your Fortitude + Armor Bonus.

OCV (Offensive Combat Value) of a weapon is Dexterity + Skill
DCV (Defensive Combat Value) of a weapon is Dexterity + Skill + Shield Bonus
Damage of a weapons is Weapon Damage + Strength.

Combat involves everybody getting two actions in the order of a 4dF+Init roll.
To Hit = +1 or better on an Opposed Roll of your OCV versus your opponent's DCV or Dodge.
Damage = An Opposed Roll of Damage versus Threshold plus the margin of success on the to hit roll.

+1 to +2 success is a scratch. You can take 3
+3 to +4 success is a hurt injury. You can take 2 and you are at -1 to all rolls
+5 to +6 success is a very hurt injury. You can take 1 and your at -2 to all rolls
+7 to +8 success means. You are incapacitated and no longer act.
+9 or better you are dead.

This I borrowed from Fate. However I use it differently. Aspects are used to define the background and personality of the character. They are also prerequisites to Gifts and Complications which are may have a mechanical impact. For example to be able to cast divine spells you need to take an aspect that says the character is a priest of some deity. I arbitrarily said that in the Majestic Realms taking this aspects gives you the ability to buy and cast divine spell slots, and it gives you the give of being able to Turn Undead. Both of which are defined by a set of rules I wrote.

In addition being a priest of Delaquain brings in some complications like being a member of church's hierarchy and having to adhere to a code. For those of you with the Majestic Wilderlands supplement Delaquian is the Majestic Realms name for MW's Mitra.

Note the "I arbitrarily said". Majestic Realms aspects are meant to reflect how the setting of the referee works. If something is not covered by a skill or an attribute then make it an aspect. The only requirement is an agreement between the player, and the referee. If a referee and his players feel it OK for one player to be very wealthy and the rest are his employees then have everybody take the appropriate aspects to make this happen.

So what about points? In the 20 years of playing GURPS I fine that most campaign start with the players talking among themselves about what they want to play. This is a result of the wealth of options that GURPS provides. There is so many that to keep things that they organize things among themselves to make complimentary characters. This is without me prompting them, it just how GURPS (and Hero System for that matter) seem to work among a group of mature roleplayers. The downside of GURPS, character creation always winds up involving searching the disadvantage list to get the bit of allowed points. Even when you have everything you already need.

In Swords and Wizardry there are no mechanics for character background other than to pick a race and/or class. If a players decides to be poor it because they wrote it down on the back of their character sheet. Or if they are a noble it because the referee and the player came to an agreement that this was OK.

I think Swords and Wizardry is little too loose and GURPS a little to formal. I think the general idea behind Fate's Aspect is a good balance between the two. So I jettison the metagame Fate point mechanics and retained the idea of Aspect as prerequisite to various benefits and complications.

Because of my experience with GURPS campaigns I am not going to bother charging points for aspects as most of the time players and their referee wind up hashing things out anyway as part of getting the campaign going.

Now a mistake of many "generic" system is that they give you the mechanics and the ideas but little in the way of worked example. I am going to provide a complete ready to run implementation of all these ideas. Largely based on the style of fantasy I been running for the past 30 years. Some of which you seen in the Majestic Wilderlands Supplement, Blackmarsh, and Scourge of the Demon Wolf.

And it going to take a while I expect to release this no earlier than next fall. In the meantime I got other projects to complete that I owe people for. But I will keep you posted and eventually release a beta.

So far it has been an interesting experience and I learn a lot about some interesting games like Fudge and Fate.