Tag Archives: fantasy

Sigil & Shadow: Public Play Test is LIVE!

Sigilandshadowtest

It’s finally here! Click the above image to go the download page!

 

The play test is the game in its entirety right now — nothing purposefully left out. It’s no frills, but I did attempt to format it as best to my ability. Once we’re confident with the feedback, we will be pushing forward with a professional layout, original artwork, and filling the final product with more goodies. Stuff like a bestiary, a pre-made setting, and a starter adventure scenario are in mind. But until then — there is more than enough here to run many nights of adventure, mystery and horror.

Help Make this Game Awesome! 

I need more eyes reading it, and most importantly: I need more people playing it! Over the last year and a half I’ve had many fun sessions at my table with this title. But I want to know how others are using it!

 

 

Recycling “Scorn of the God-Eaters”

Revisiting my old fantasy setting ideas in a new way — using the Cypher System Rulebook.

 

IMG_20150912_235815Last month, for my 33rd birthday, I decided to take a break from The Strange and run a more “traditional” fantasy game using the Cypher System Rulebook. The tricky part was I knew a couple of my players were burned out on the fantasy stuff, which made the weird aspects of our previous game so appealing. Having a conversation with one of them, I decided to scale back and lean towards a more ancient world/bronze-age setting to remedy the bad accents and tropes of high-fantasy feudalism.

What I ended up doing was recycling the setting notes I had for my Scorn of the God-Eaters setting (as well as a couple of other settings I ran using ACKS/LoTFP). The original concept was sort of a colonial/baroque era setting where exiled prisoners and heretics of an empire were forced to survive on a savage continent. Now, it’s been revised to:  Descendants of a conquered empire have fled across the Shattered Seas to regroup and rebuild away from the wrath of an evil Pharaoh who usurped the throne.

It worked surprisingly well. The player characters felt unique and diverse, each one bringing a cool spin on old concepts. We were able to build off the flavor of the setting without having to adjust mechanics or house-rule everything crazy (the house rules I have are really just setting guidelines.) Even though we had a long play session, the pacing was pretty spot on — even with me going to the extremes of using miniatures (because I wanted to, not because they were needed) combat felt engaging and constant and wasn’t bogged down in rule-lookups or complex mechanics at all.

After a great session like that, everyone was on board for a campaign to emerge from this. Previously with The Strange, I was running episodic endeavors that were sort of a “Recursion of the Week” affair. Focusing on a specific setting and genre I felt would alleviate the sort of disconnect we were experiencing every time the characters hopped realities.

I’ll be blogging about this endeavor more throughout the rest of the year.
In the meantime, feel free to peruse my OneNote workbook for the campaign that I’ve set up for my players.

(After)Friday Free-For-All 6/13/14

Well, crap, second edition of the Friday FFA here and I’m already a day late.  I’m going to blame Friday the 13th, the Full Moon, and Mercury in Retrograde like everybody else does. Anyways, the ramblings this week seem to have a percentile-system based theme. Roll out some double-naughts and feel free to leave comments!

RQ Essentials Cover SmallRuneQuest Essentials

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Wizards of the Coast’s announcement that Basic D&D will be a Free PDF  probably got some of its competitors scrambling to compete with ease of point of entry.  I’m not sure if that was the motivation behind RuneQuest Essentialsbut the timing couldn’t be more perfect. It’s a free, distilled version of the RQ6 rules — significant rules, magic system, monsters and setting details have been omitted.  Still, it’s a hefty two hundred page PDF that includes a pretty solid foundation of character creation, combat mechanics, and bestiary.

I’ve never actually played or read any edition of RuneQuest, but I’m aware of its influence on the industry. I have played Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu and I also own a few PDFs of Mongoose’s Legend, which I believe is derivative of RuneQuest second edition. Either way, this is my first foray into reading any official RQ book, and I have to say at first breeze-through the “Essentials” feels like a solid game to itself. The artwork and layout are pretty stellar, and the book seems full of ideas and guidelines for scaling the game. Even knowing a chunk of the magic system is missing, what’s presented here feels more than enough for anyone who’s spent entire campaigns in other games just using core rule books. If you’re wanting some detailed fantasy but sick of twenty siders, this is definitely worth the look.

Sigil & Shadow Playtest

I had our first full-session play test for Sigil & Shadow last weekend. We only got midway through the adventure, but it feels like everyone had a good time. Character creation was relatively painless, although there were a few hiccups in trying to explain the skill development progress. There were some other minor issues that have already inspired some quick revisions and editing, so hopefully those won’t be a big deal anymore. Monday I plan on sending out emails to select folks who have shown interest in play testing and feedback for the game.

Erinbour & Barebones Fantasy: Dynasty

I want to bring some attention to the guys at Heroic Journey Publishing.  They are developing an interesting new fantasy setting called Erinbour, and I’m really excited to see where they take it. Mark Reed has been posting a lot of historical and background information, as well as details on the magic and religion and how it operates within their world. A couple interesting design decisions that have grabbed my attention is that they are co-developing the rules for both Pathfinder and BareBones Fantasy. I think this is stellar because not only does that broaden their audience market, but it helps expose BareBones Fantasy to more players as well.

The other interesting tidbit is that this is also to be the official setting for their BareBones Fantasy: Dynasty game book! Dynasty is supposed to be bringing epic campaigns in the lieu of settings like Birthright to the d00lite rules. I’m excited to see their take on the style, and to potentially have politically-heavy domain-based games using the BBF rules.

That’s All I Got.

Let’s hope next week I can stay on schedule. If you have any news or game promotions you want me to plug, leave me a line in the comments. Also, feel free to stalk me on Google Plus.

Sigil & Shadow Update

A while back I announced a new project:  Sigil & Shadow – a Barebones Game of Modern Horror & Urban Fantasy.

I wanted to post today just to ensure interested parties that this is still a thing, and hasn’t fallen to the back-burner. That last few months have mostly been about brainstorming — how should we approach character creation? What new mechanics are we bringing in? What old ones are we bringing back, and leaving out? The challenge of this product, for me, is to maintain the best aspects of the DwD “d00lite” design philosophy while also breaking some new ground, and shaping up a game that I would want to run at the table (and hopefully, you guys will, too.)

The college semester is winding down for this non-trad, so I’m looking forward to putting the hammer down on the forge this week. Already the initial draft is around roughly 80 pages — and I still have a bit to go. The first important thing about this project is going to be size — Covert Ops really pushed the edges of “lite” gaming design at around 100 pages. So there may very well be some drastic changes coming up, before we even start sending play test copies out!

SigilBut here’s a bit of the design philosophies I have in place that I’m pretty sure are going to stay:

    • Style and Genre: At its default, the game swings more in line with modern horror fantasy style settings: World of Darkness, Unknown Armies, Buffy & Angel, and even Dresden Files have inspired the style and themes of the game. That said, those wanting more horror-investigation style games in the vain of Call of Cthulhu, Delta Green, Chill, and Beyond the Supernatural should also find something to love here.

 

    • Bones and Origins: Before I even raised my hand to work on this for DwD, I was already working with a friend on developing a supernatural themed campaign for Covert Ops. I love the character creation system built around the Bones — do you let the fate of the dice determine your character? Or do you cherry pick everything at the cost of being able to manipulate your destiny? I felt this ties over to a modern horror setting equally well, if not more. Not only do you get to spend Bones to determine your origins, if you’re playing a Creeper (our term for supernatural characters) you can spend them to acquire new abilities or learn occult arts.

 

    • Play Off Existing Mechanics: While I am adding some new systems for powers and magic to the game, I didn’t just want to add new stuff for new stuff’s sake. I wanted everything to feel organic to the existing d00Lite system, and play off rules that have already been established and show them in a new light. For instance, instead of just tacking a “sanity system” like in other games, I wanted to try something new. What I’m fiddling with right now is a Terror system that ties into the Descriptor and Moral Code mechanics, giving them a bit more play than what is normally used in BBF or CO. Imagine your character confronting a horrible, blasphemous entity for the first time — and the traumatic event causes them to take Suffers Frequent, Hellish Nightmares as a negative Descriptor — or having their Moral Code shift from Very Brave to Very Cowardly, and you get an idea of where I’m going with this.

 

    • Generalized Skills: One thing I do want to state that is being changed is a departure from professions as skills, which I know is a hallmark of d00Lite. Character concepts operate less on “party role” and more on individual development. Because of this, you’ll see broader names like Marksmanship, Investigation, and Subterfuge. But I assure you, they’re still modeled off traditional d00Lite skills, and mechanically operate no different (although certain traits of these skills may be adjusted for genre sake.)

 

    • A Supernatural Toolbox: We all have different styles of campaigns we want to run. Zombie apocalypse, vampire dramas, haunted houses — running “horror” is about as diverse as running “science fiction.” So instead of pinning everything down into details, I’m creating a quick system for GameMasters and Players both to design the kind of monsters they want to play with.  Are your werewolves part of a curse? A bloodline? Demonic spirits possessing people? Are your vampires allergic to holy symbols, or are they quite fond of them? Are your mummies shambling corpses or beautiful immortal entities? Mythology is wide and varied, and modern literature and cinema continues to broaden those boundaries.
    • Alternate “Magic” Systems: There’s three different systems in the game, completely compatible side-by-side but also designed to be stripped out if need be. The base level is “Manifestations,” which mechanically functions similar to spells in BareBones Fantasy. The skill itself is sort of a hodge-podge of Cleric and Enchanter, allowing “mediums” to tap into extensions of the human will to perform miraculous abilities, read auras, create small charms or scribe sigils of power. Thaumaturgy, on the other hand, is a more free-form, dynamic magic system. Academics who specialize in the occult can align themselves with beings and forces to control the different elements and fates. Lastly, Rituals are special thaumaturgic blue prints for any mortals to potentially cast spells — at a cost of time, energy and components. Game masters who feel Thaumaturgy is a bit too fantastic for their campaigns can easily trim that system out, but still use it as a guide for designing rituals for their players to uncover.

Expect more information to come in the very near future, as this is starting to finally take shape from the ether. Feel free to leave comments or questions here, or, join the BareBones Fantasy Community on Google+ (I’m admittedly more active there than I am on the DwD Forums. Shame on me, I know.)