The following classes are for The Lazaro Heresies, my house-ruled version of The Black Hack. Feel free to pilfer for your own use.
First off, if you haven’t seen it yet: CarPG is a new diceless rules-lite RPG framework written by my buddy Matt Bryant (the guy behind Main Sequence.)
While he designed it as a game to play on road trips with your buds, I’ve found it incredibly useful as a mechanic for playing Play By Post rpgs. In my past experience, play-by-posts worked either one of three ways: 1) The dice rolls were either handled completely by the moderator, leaving a sense of control out for the players. 2) The entire game was purely narrative focused, which while fun often felt more like a writing exercise than a game. And then lastly, 3) The die rolls were handled like normal (either on the honor system or with online dice rollers), and as a result the game system itself really bogged down the pace of the game.
Patchwork Fantasy is a fantasy “rules manifesto” I wrote in my free time over the last two weeks in October of 2014.
It’s essentially a mash-up of classic Fantasy RPG tropes with the classless, “Perk”-driven character creation in the style of REWIRED.
We call it a “manifesto” because it’s not really a complete system — more of a mashup of ideas to build a fantasy campaign with.
- Rolls are either 1d20 based –or- 3d6 based, GM’s choice.
- Perk system allows you to either organically build the character concept you want, or munchkin the hell out of a niche roll.
- Spell system is patchwork too: simply design your spells by assigning 3-4 tags. For example: “Cast Lesser Fire Bolt,” or “Brew Greater Restore Health.”
- “Levels” are just a milestone in character progression. Everyone levels the same.
- “One Roll” combat: weapon dice are added to the attack roll total, damage is calculated by subtracting defense. Fast, easy, deadly.
- Features public domain art, particularly prints from the middle ages, because I’m poor and this is a home brew project anyway.
It’s messy, purposefully vague in some areas, and leaves a lot up to the GM to either make up or rip off from another fantasy game. Although formatted to look good on a small tablet or decent-sized smartphone, this is really the kind of game you should stash in a Trapper Keeper filled with your campaign notes and heavy metal fan art.
This should be filed under “stuff I think of in the shower.”
A long time ago I compared d20/3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons to your standard, Wheel of Time fantasy cover art, while 4th Edition was like the front cover of a Hammerfall album cover. In the years since then, I must say my views of older and newer editions have shifted quite a bit. So I think a better comparison scale would be actual music and songs to represent each edition.
Typical disclaimer: I’m not trying to associate bands that were popular during the years these editions came out, and these are strictly my picks for songs that I feel capture the moods and memories I have tied to playing those editions.
Older Editions, up to AD&D 1e — “Broadsword” by Jethro Tull
Reasons: This song reminds me of the feelings I had glancing at my older brother’s AD&D books as a child: something powerful, epic, with imagery of valor and knighthood. Not so heavy on the magic, but filled with wonder, faith and honor.
AD&D 2ND EDITION — “Over Hills and Far Away” covered by Nightwish
Reasons: It’s that feeling of “Oh hey, I know this — but, it’s different. A bit prettier in places, a bit more refined.” Some people swear by this version, still many preferred the original.
D&D 3e/3.5/d20: “Instrumedley” by Dream Theater
Reasons: Because sometimes the beauty is found in the complexity of things. So much depth, layers, and technique. It’s daunting as all hell to play but damn if it isn’t awesome.
D&D 4e: “Through the Fire and the Flames” by DragonForce
Reason: Because upon first playing it I’m like “Holy shitballs THIS IS EPIC!” Then it got old pretty quick. I still like it, still have fond memories, but if given the choice I’d rather play Dream Theater again.
The OSR / Retroclone Games: “Riders of the Night” by Stone Axe
Reasons: “DUDE we were rocking this back in ’76!” “Dude, this came out in 2009…” “Oh, well, shit it still rocks.”
Special Mention — Lamentations of the Flame Princess: “SadoWitch” by Electric Wizard (NSFW) (See what I did there?)
Reasons: Because some people actually enjoy the aesthetic of black magic, acid, and S&M.
5th Edition D&D: “Far Cry” by RUSH
Reasons: Because it’s too new to be Old School, too old to be New School. It’s enough of a throwback to what made the older stuff good but still feels fresh. It stands on its own just fine, and there’s a lot to enjoy here. Who cares if it’s new or old…it’s
FUCKING D&D FUCKING RUSH.
Interrupting my self-imposed blogging hiatus to ramble a bit about the game everyone is talking about: D&D 5th Edition (at least, the freshly released-for-free Basic D&D game.)
I’m going to be lazy and, first, point you to this awesome post on RPGMusings with DM Samuel’s impressions. Seriously, click it, read it, and resume here. I honestly can’t say it any better than him, and I pretty much echo his sentiment. Exceptions being where he’s got mixed feelings on Backgrounds and Inspiration, I have “Shutup and Take My Money” for them.
I ran a one-shot game over the July 4th weekend, with buddies that I used to regularly play Red Box/Basic old-school D&D with. We all share a love for a game that plays pretty quick, isn’t a bitch about table economy, and where character creation doesn’t involve a whole session of time to itself.
I had minimal preparations — I copied some stat blocks of Monsters from one of the playtest packets into One Note, and kept open a PDF of the adventure module Better Than Any Man (written originally for Lamentations of the Flame Princess.) I didn’t run the adventure proper, but I was in the mood for using its historical backdrop of the Thirty Years War, and took advantage of its setting details and random encounters for guide lines.
Instead I ran a simplistic plot of the heroes being mercenaries answering the call to “weed out” chaos cultists who were plaguing the countryside, killing people in their sleep and converting others into “Pigmen” (read: Orcs) to ransack the villages and cause more panic in a time of witch hunts and pending invasion from the Swiss.
It was a good time, resulting in a couple players getting dropped in combat (and the complete death of the Rogue, whom despite having the Cleric constantly healing him ultimately met the working end of an axe by the last pig-man standing, who was near death but still capable of rolling criticals at full force.)
Having become burnt out on 4th Edition after a two year campaign, and then enjoying older editions (coupled with OSR variants) as well as lighter titles like Warrior, Rogue & Mage and BareBones Fantasy, it was nice to sit down to a whole new edition that maintained the romantic feelings I have for the brand but offer some fresh new mechanics.
I think once the Player Handbook and the other core manuals come out, the full game will be a good bridge between OSR and d20/3.5/Pathfinder types. I have no idea if WoTC plans on expanding rules for more 4E style — I’d probably point new-school die hards to 13th Age (from my impressions of a quick glance through) before 5E. But, man, 5E (from the Basic game standpoint) feels good to this veteran of many games and editions.
Already I’m scheming on a campaign that mostly focuses on Basic rules, with perhaps a sprinkling of options from the PHB. I’d like to see concepts like Barbarians, Bards, Rangers and Paladins be built more like Backgrounds and Class Archetypes of the core four classes (Fighter, Rogue, Wizard and Cleric) than full classes. But even if I am suckered into running the “full” 5E game, it’s nice to know I’ll probably have a much easier time hacking d20 or OSR content than I did with fourth edition.
Which is nice — I practically sold all of my 4E rulebooks. I still have a couple shelves filled with older material — including hefty tomes like Ptolus which I would love to crack open more often. It would be cool to finally have a base rules set that could potentially handle a couple decades of collecting.