Tag Archives: role-playing

Friday Free-For-All: 6/6/14

In an effort to try to get more regular posting on the Chaos Grenade, I’m devoting Fridays to weekly ramble updates. These are essentially posts with collected, random stuff that I’ve been wanting to share but couldn’t justify writing a whole article over.

REWIRED: REVIEWED!remington_typewriter
Rob Lang over at The Free RPG Blog has posted an amazing review of REWIRED. Seriously flattering, and upon reading it you’ll be craving stew. Not joking. Even the stuff he found as faulty, I am 100% okay with because I wasn’t setting out to do anything new other than having a set of rules I’m comfortable running. What he calls the Achilles heel of the system, I consider it a personal strength, but I get where he’s coming from. Regardless, he gave it high marks, and in my book his is the approval any and all Free RPG writers should aspire to impress.

On top of that, thanks to his review REWIRED has been downloaded 1200 times this week! If you’ve discovered REWIRED through him and you’re reading this, please take time to comment and say hello! PS — In addition to Free-for-All Fridays, expect REWIRED Wednesdays for carried support!

Sigil & Shadow Progress
The initial draft is starting to wrap up — essentially all of the rules I want are present, I just need to fill in the good setting bits and inspirational fluff. This weekend marks the first official full playtest! My guinea pigs test players will be my monthly GURPS/d20 group, who just happen to be the players with the least input or knowledge of this project. Which is awesome, to me, because that means what I get from them will be completely raw reactions and feedback. Once I have a real, solid session under my belt, I plan on touching up the rough draft a bit and then proceeding with contacting people for further game testing.

Tavern Keeper
I’m in the process of setting up a REWIRED play-by-post using Tavern Keeper, a new community for rpg campaign management. Still in its early stages, I’m already charmed by what it has to offer. It has thinks you’d expect: A wiki, a discussion area, a place to keep track of characters and journals, etc. Some of these features feel barebones compared to other sites, like Obsidian Portal, but what won me over is their role-play support: you can set up scenes, with cool little dialogue bubbles between characters, that also include a built in dice roller! Plus, the GM is able to create NPC’s and toggle which character they are acting as in a role-play scene. It’s really motivated me to get back into running play-by-posts, and I’m excited to see where our campaign goes.

A Personal Update
My lease ends in July. For the past few years, I’ve been living with a rotation of friends in an apartment complex. It’s been a great time, helping me get my life back in line and helping me dust off the cobwebs of my creativity. There’s been a lot of parties, a lot of adventures, and a lot of gaming.  But now, I’m pretty much waiting for the all-clear to move into my next home. I’m excited because as much fun as I’ve had here, I’m looking forward to living in a house again, especially where my only room mates are my girlfriend and cats. Plus, I’m getting my own gamer cave / office again. We’re stupid excited to be moving into a place where we have our shared space, but also our hideaway spots. I also feel this will bring back my youtube videos and other side hobbies like it, as I’ll have more space and privacy to not be self-conscious about.


That wraps up this week’s Free-For-All. If you have any reviews of REWIRED, a cool self-published game, or anything else you want me to rant about feel free to leave me a comment or stalk me on Google Plus.



ArmSallyThe revised edition of my “Quick and Dirty Cyberpunk RPG” is officially out today! I’m really stupid happy with the outcome of this revision, really in love with the new booklet format and the overall flow of it. I hope everyone enjoys the changes (which you can read about on the previous blog.) Feel free to leave any thoughts, comments, criticisms, tokens of gratitude or hatemail in the comments.

If you really enjoy this game, feel free to share the love.  It’s released under Creative Commons, so feel free to redistribute and share among your gamer circles free of charge. Any reviews, reposts or retweets to boost the signal are highly appreciated.

Zip file includes:

  • Core Rules PDF — Perfect for any mobile device or laptop
  • Print Copy (booklet format — just print front and back!)
  • Revised Character Sheet
  • METROPLEX BURN setting PDF — official setting of the REWIRED playtesting crew.

REWIRED: Revision in the Works

A major revision to REWIRED is currently drafted up, and after some in-house playtesting and feedback this week it should be live.

This isn’t a major overhaul — the majority of the game mechanics are the same. But quite a bit is being re-tooled, as well as some new features being plugged in.

  • 14 - 1New Format: I feel REWIRED was too big for Pocketmod, even in an extended format, yet I didn’t really like the “core book” approach either. To me, the biggest plus of WYRED/REWIRED was that sort of underground zine aesthetic, the DIY game print feel, and the functionality of quick booklets to easily carry and get the game rolling. So the new revision will come in a complete PDF, but is written with the intention of it to be broken up into four, twelve page booklets (3 pages of paper folded together.) It will come with a PDF of the booklet version where you should be able to just print them off and fold without any special fiddling at the printer.
  • New Attribute: Joining Chrome, Wires and Data is Signal. I’ve decided to finally bite the bullet and add a fourth attribute. Social rolls have been pigeon-holed since WYRED in between Wires and Data. Signal is more than just good looks or the ability to charm someone — it is an attribute about how much your presence, reputation, and personal wealth can affect the world around you. Influence is going to be one of its primary skills.
  • Wealth and Contacts as Skills: Wealth as it works now is a Perk, but functions similarly to a skill. But it’s also a bit winded in the details, and I’ve had many folks report that their gaming group just “didn’t get it.” Taking a cue from Fate Core, which really inspired me post REWIRED development, I’ve decided to take a cue from them and have Contacts and Wealth function as actual skills under Signal. There’s also a Funds damage track, where players can etch off boxes to improve their rolls — at the risk of permanently damaging their skill!
  • Cleaned Up Terminology: Repeated mechanics have been given names, and certain rule descriptions have been cleaned up and streamlined by them. For instance: “Roll four dice, taking the highest” is now simply called a 4dH roll (or 4dL for Lowest.)
  • Trimmed the Fat: Most references to Mangled Earth have been taken out, returning the game to mostly a generic cyberpunk game. That said, I plan on bundling a cleaned up and revised METROPLEX BURN setting with the revision to help new GMs and Players.

    Expect this revision to hit sometime before June!

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.)


New Project: “Sigil & Shadow”

I’m happy to announce a new gaming project I’m working on for DwD Studios!

Sigil & Shadow is a “BareBones RPG of Modern Horror and Urban Fantasy.” It will use the d00Lite System (the same featured in BareBones Fantasy and Covert Ops,) and like those titles will be released under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA License. 

I plan on keeping the spirit of the system — if you’ve played any other d00Lite title, you’re already familiar with the bulk of the game mechanics. Even though you’ll see a lot of overlap from both Covert Ops and photoBareBones Fantasy, I’m doing more than just mashing the two together.  The biggest addition will be the approach for designing “Creepers” (our term for supernatural characters) — instead of forcing players and Game Masters into a specific set of powers and lore, we’re going to provide a fast and easy toolkit for creating whatever “thing that goes bump in the night” you want. It’ll be a system for both the GM to create archetypes and templates for their game world, or to let players invent their very own type of supernatural character. Much like the spell system from BBF, you can expect a broad power listing for you to skin appropriately to your mythos.

There’s also a couple more new mechanics on the workbench currently: a “Terror & Sanity” mechanic, as well as a system for magical rituals that any character can be a part of. All I can say at this time is I’m doing my damnedest to make sure these aren’t unnecessary tack-ons, and instead take advantage of existing systems. Expect to see Moral Code and Descriptors having a bit more use in game play.

Feedback Challenge: The Shades

Want to help out in the development? Here’s your first shot: The Shades. “Shades” are metaphorical, blanket archetypes that represent the source of both the power, and burden, of a Creeper.

  • The Hungered is all about dependency and addiction: the powers and nature of the Creeper centers entirely around a need. The classic example is a Vampire’s thirst for blood, a zombie’s craving for brains and flesh, a succubus desiring pleasure or the “Boogey Man” feeding on nightmares.
  • The Devoted receive their powers from external beings — cultists of Elder Gods, Faustian pacts with Devils, a shamanic oath to an ancestor spirit, or even a fanatical zeal to an ancient cause. The price of power is devotion, offering, and even sacrifice.
  • The Hosts also receive their power from another being, but said being is living within them. The relationship can be symbiotic or parasitic in nature, but almost always the person struggles living with an alien mind. Demon possession, Houdinistic Loas, spirits of murdered relatives and even avatars of ancient gods seeking a vessel are prime examples of what empowerss the Hosts.
  • The Afflicted, lastly, are those who never had a choice in what they’ve become. To the Wolfman cursed with lycanthropy, the loner born to a demonic bloodline that chose to awake in him, the occult scholar whom in his hubris learned too much, or even the creature that woke up into existence on a laboratory slab — these Creepers struggle to conceal their nature from those who cannot comprehend, nor tolerate, their afflictions.

The fact that there’s potential overlap is intentional: our goal is to accommodate the varied folklore and mythology throughout the world. A werewolf may very well be aligned with The Hunger, forced to seek out prey under the full moon. Or perhaps he’s a host to a demon that drives his beast form.

What I’m wanting to see is if someone can punch holes in this logic. Is there a fifth, or even sixth archetype I’m missing? Do one of these need to be re-evaluated? I’d love to hear from you.
Leave your thoughts in the comments.