Monday, June 17, 2019

Mythras Monday - House Rules

Everyone has House Rules for the favorite RPG, here are mine for Mythras.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Fantastic Friday - FH&W Houserules

Here are my Houserules (slight tweaks really), for Fantastic Heroes & Witchery.

Ability Scores
In addition to the six Ability scores in the Fantastic Heroes & Witchery rulebook, characters have a seventh Ability Score - Luck.

A character's Dexterity Modifier is applied to (i.e. subtracted from) his Initiative rolls, thus a bonus (positive) is subtracted and a penalty (negative) would be added.

Luck represents a character's fortune, and influences events beyond his control that affect him personally. Halfling characters receive a +1 bonus to their Luck rating.

Spending Luck - A PC may spend Luck points to increase the result of an attack roll, saving throw or skill check, allowing him to succeed where he would otherwise have failed.

Regaining Luck - PCs regain one point of Luck at the end of each adventure. Upon gaining an experience level, a PC regains a number of Luck Points equal to his Charisma Bonus + 1. Finally a PC may also regain Luck for performing acts of great heroism, at the GM's discretion.

Luck Check - Roll 1d20, if the result is equal to or below the PC's Luck score, he is successful. Luck Points cannot be spent to increase a character's chance of success on a Luck Check.

Luck Modifier - A character's Luck modifier is determined at character creation and does not change as a result of spending Luck. Roll 2d6 to determine what is modified by a character's Luck.

2d6 roll....Modified
2-3............Missile Attack Rolls
4-5............All Attack Rolls
6...............All Damage Rolls
7...............Melee Attack Rolls
8...............Armor Class
9...............All Saving Throws
10.............All Skill Checks
11.............All Attack & Damage Rolls
12.............Roll Twice

Improving Ability Scores
   Characters have a chance of increasing an Ability Score upon gaining a new level. Roll 3d6 and choose any single Ability Score with a lower value than the number rolled to raise by one point.
Hit Points 
Wound Hit Points
A beginning character has a minimum number of Wound Hit Points equal to one-third of his Constitution score.

Vitality Hit Points
Upon gaining a level, all of a character's Vitality Hit Points may be re-rolled. His new Vitality Hit Points will then be equal to this total, or his current maximum, whichever is greater.
Spell Preparation and Casting
Magicians must memorize spells in order to cast them, but the memorized spell is not "lost" when cast. The number of spells the caster may use per day is unchanged, rather each casting uses a "spell slot" of a particular spell level that represents the magical energy and force of will the caster must exert. The magician has a number of spell slots of a given level equal to the number of spells of that level he can memorize.

Example: A 2nd level Wizard may memorize two first level spells. He chooses to memorize the following spells - Burning Hands and Charm Person. The Wizard may cast Burning Hands twice, or Charm Person twice, or each spell once during the day.

Additionally, higher level spell slots may be used to cast lower level spells, though provides no benefit apart from increased versatility.

Example: The aforementioned Wizard is now 3rd level, allowing him to memorize and cast an additional second level spell. He memorizes Invisibility in addition to his usual repertoire. This allows him to either use his second-level spell slot to actually cast Invisibility, or to use it for an additional casting of Burning Hands or Charm Person.
Spellcasting in Armor
Magicians may cast spells while wearing armor in which they are proficient at no penalty. Spells cast in heavier armor suffer a chance of spell failure as noted in the armor's description.
Innate Detect Magic
Most magicians have an innate sensitivity to the presence of magical energies, and are able to sense magic within 30 feet. This otherwise functions as the spell "Detect Magic".
The following classes possess this ability - Draconic Sorceror, Fae-Mage, Forestal, Illusionist, Magic-User, Magic-Using Bard, Occultist, Psychic, Specialist Mage (all), War Mage (both), Warlock, Wise-Man, Wizard

Monday, September 19, 2016

Kicking off a new campaign

Agreeing What to Play

Starting a new campaign, creating characters, establishing the setting and getting the players engaged can be one of the more challenging aspects of running a game.

Having already thought about what kinds of games I want to run, the first thing I recommend is to talk to your players about what king of game they want to play. That helps me to narrow down settings, game systems and adventures I'm planning to run.

After reconciling the preferences of the players and GM, and settling on a game system and theme, I make my pitch to the players. Only after the players express strong interest in the game and setting do we schedule character creation.

Character Creation

During character creation I give a fuller description of the setting and the characters' places in it. I guide the players through making characters who will work well within the setting, and within the party. Players new to the game system will benefit greatly from the advice of those more familiar with the rules as to how to build appropriate and effective characters.

The First Session

For the first game session I like to run an events-driven scenario. In an events-driven scenario an external event will occur on its own time-line. The consequences of this event will affect the PCs, but how they react to it is entirely up to them. The consequences of the PCs' actions (or inaction) are what drives the game.

In planning an event-driven scenario, it's important to think about how the event will affect the PCs and those around them. Imagine a time-line of events if the characters do not intervene, and then try to thing of alternative time-lines if the characters perform certain actions at certain points of time. Players can be unpredictable, but planning contingencies helps you to improvise when the PCs do something unexpected.

Building the Campaign

Also, as part of world-building, drop in hooks for possible future adventures. These hooks don't need to be related to the present scenario, but including them provides depth and makes the game world more interesting.

After the first game session, you should begin to pick up on some of the in-game interactions, events and character motivations to flesh out and expand upon. These, along with the aforementioned dropped hooks, can be used to create a campaign that holds the players' interest and grows organically.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Mythras Monday

Last month, Mythras Imperative was released. It's a lightweight, genre-neutral Quick Start version of the d100 Mythras rules set. Included are rules for character creation, combat, equipment, general system rules, and a small sampling of monsters. Absent are magic systems, which tend to be quite genre/setting specific.

The pdf is free and you can get physical copies from Lulu for a $9.99. I am looking forward to the complete Mythras core rules being released in the next month or so.

Once again Loz and Pete have demonstrated unerring instinct and excellent judgment in their handling of RuneQuest Mythras. A generic, lightweight d100 rules set (based on the fantastic RQ 6 no less) is exactly the platform needed for developers to launch their own settings and to bring new players to Mythras.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Fantastic Friday

   Some people become obsessed with making that they love perfect. I had been hacking AD&D since the mid-90's. Even after writing my own fantasy heartbreaker, I still felt the need to fix D&D, to perfect it.

   The first time I read Fantastic Heroes & Witchery I knew I could scrap all my previous attempts to re-write D&D. Fantastic Heroes & Witchery is the crown jewel of the OSR. In it Dominique Crouzet has taken the best, most elegant features of all the retro-clones that preceded it and Dungeons & Dragons from B/X to 3.5, and melded them into a fantastically streamlined and rational version of the game. On top of that, FH&W adds a plethora of weird-science fantasy options.

   In my opinion Fantastic Heroes & Witchery is the best edition of D&D ever written. Henceforth this blog dedicates Fantastic Fridays to FH&W.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Warhammer Wednesday

   IMO "the Old World" is the greatest D&D setting ever published. It takes the trappings of renaissance Europe, with its complex and believable societies, combines it with the most iconic staples of fantasy (dwarves, elves, halflings, wizards and orcs), and filters it through a lens tinged with dark, British humor.
"Forge of War" by Stanley Lau

    In addition to the Tolkeinesque, Warhammer adds the setting's defining element - Chaos. Chaos provides the existential threat and underlying theme of the world of Warhammer. Chaos corrupts and destroys.

    Chaos is manifest in the Old World through its minions and those it touches. Disease-ridden Skaven infest the sewers under even the greatest cities, animalistic beastmen stalk the dark woods for human prey, and mutants and cultists attest to the power of Chaos to corrupt Man's body and soul.

    No fantasy role-playing setting is complete without vikings, and the Chaos-worshipping Norsicans of the Old World are more savage and brutal than any medieval chronicler of Scandinavian pirates could have imagined.

    Finally there are the Chaos Warriors. Chaos Warriors are FUCKING METAL incarnate.
"Death and Chaos" by Kendrick Lim

    In honor of the sheer awesomeness that is the Old World, this blog hereby designates Warhammer Wednesday.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Cthulhu Cthursday

 "Cthulhu" by Douzen

   I've recently been listening to an outstanding Call of Cthulhu actual play podcast - How We Roll. The quality, editing, sound effects and incidental music are all exceptionally well done, and the whole cast is very entertaining. IMO How We Roll is one of the best AP podcasts on the web, give 'em a listen.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Mythras Monday - Combat Styles for Renaissance Europe

Here are some Combat Styles I created for my Renaissance Europe campaign, along with some unofficial houserules how Combat Styles grant Combat Traits. "By the book" each Combat Style seems to be limited to a single Combat Trait, whereas my variation assigns multiple traits to a single style, but with some restrictions (see "Learning Combat Traits" below). 

Links to relevant pdfs - Combat Styles, Combat Style Traits

Learning Combat Styles

Cultural Combat Styles

Cultural combat styles are broadly available to any character of the appropriate cultural background and social status.

Brawling, Common Defense, Knightly Art of Combat, Peasant Levy, Pugilism, Stick Fighting – Quarterstaffing, Swordsmanship – English, Swordsmanship – French (Lutte des Épée), Swordsmanship, German (Fechten), Swordsmanship – Hungarian, Swordsmanship – Italian (Arte della Spada), Swordsmanship – Scottish, Swordsmanship – Spanish (La Verdadera Destreza), Trained Militia – Archer, Trained Militia – Infantry, Woodland Hunter, Wrestling

Professional Combat Styles

Professional combat styles are related to a particular vocation, and generally are only learned by characters of the appropriate career.

Brawling – Sailor, Coraiocht, Knightly Art of Combat, Swordsmanship – English, Swordsmanship – French (Lutte des Épée), Swordsmanship, German (Fechten), Swordsmanship – Hungarian, Swordsmanship – Italian (Arte della Spada), Swordsmanship – Scottish, Swordsmanship – Spanish (La Verdadera Destreza), Trained Guard, Trained Mercenary – Balkan (Stratioti), Trained Mercenary – German (Landsknecht), Trained Mercenary – German (Landsknecht – Doppelsöldner), Trained Mercenary – Scottish (Gallóglaigh), Trained Mercenary – Swiss, Trained Militia – Archer, Trained Militia – Infantry, Trained Militia – Turkish (Akinci), Trained Militia – Turkish (Sipahi), Trained Soldier – Turkish (Janissary), Woodland Hunter

Specialty Combat Styles

Specialty combat styles are unusual fighting arts that typically must be learned by studying under a particular weapons master.

Arte dell'Abbraccio, Arte del combattimento del Maestro Fiore de Liberi, Dagger Fighting – Italian (Arte della Daga) or German (Dolchfechten), Fechten und Ringen von Meister Liechtenaur, Knife Fighting – Italian (Arte del Coltello), Knife Fighting - Spanish (Lucha con Cuchillo), Manus Nigrum

Learning Combat Traits

A character may choose to learn one Combat Trait for every 20 points he has in the relevant Combat Style. Some Combat Styles prioritize certain traits over others. Traits accompanied by a number must be learned in order, from lowest to highest, before traits without a number may be chosen.

Combat Styles

Arte dell'Abbraccio

Weapons - Unarmed

Traits - Cautious Fighter, Excellent Footwork, Iron Holds1, Joint Locking2, Knockout, Unarmed Prowess2

Arte del combattimento del Maestro Fiore de Liberi

Weapons - Unarmed, Dagger, Falchion, Flail, Longsword, Mace, Poleaxe, Quarterstaff, Shortspear, Shortsword, Buckler, Heater Shield

Traits - Defensive Minded1, Excellent Footwork, Joint Locking, Swashbuckling, Unarmed Prowess1, Unarmed Throws2


Weapons - Unarmed, Club, Hatchet, Knife

Traits - Do or Die, Impromptu Weapons1, Knockout, Knockout Blow

Brawling, Sailor

Weapons - Unarmed, Club, Cutlass, Gaff, Gaff Hook, Harpoon, Hatchet, Knife, Net, Sabre, Buckler

Traits - Excellent Footwork1, Impromptu Weapons, Intimidating Scream, Swashbuckling, Throw Weapons

Common Defense

Weapons - Unarmed, Bill, Club, Flail, Hatchet, Quarterstaff, Thrown Rock

Traits - Defensive Minded, Impromptu Weapons1, Throw Weapons, Unarmed Prowess


Weapons - Unarmed, Club, Great Club, Shillelagh, Viking Shield

Traits - Batter Aside1, Berserker, Intimidating Scream, Knockout1, Shield Wall1, Shield Splinter, Skirmishing

Dagger Fighting, Italian (Arte della Daga) or German (Dolchfechten)

Weapons - Unarmed, Dagger

Traits - Cautious Fighter, Defensive Minded1, Joint Locking, Unarmed Prowess1, Unarmed Throws

Fechten und Ringen von Meister Liechtenaur

Weapons - Unarmed, Battleaxe, Dagger, Flamberge, Flail, Longsword, Mace, Poleaxe, Sabre, Smallsword, Buckler, Heater Shield

Traits - Batter Aside, Defensive Minded1, Joint Locking, Unarmed Prowess2, Unarmed Throws

Knife Fighting, Italian (Arte del Coltello)

Weapons - Unarmed, Knife

Traits - Cautious Fighter1, Excellent Footwork, Joint Locking, Unarmed Prowess2, Unarmed Throws

Knife Fighting, Spanish (Lucha con Cuchillo)

Weapons - Unarmed, Dagger, Knife

Traits - Cautious Fighter1, Daredevil Matador1, Excellent Footwork, Flamboyance, Swashbuckling, Unarmed Prowess2

Knightly Art of Combat

Weapons - Unarmed, Ball & Chain, Lance, Longsword, Mace, Poleaxe, Military Pick, Heater Shield

Traits - Batter Aside, Mounted Combat1, Mounted Lancer2, Swashbuckling, Trained Beast, Unarmed Prowess

Manus Nigrum

Weapons - Unarmed, Club, Dagger, Dart, Garotte, Light Crossbow, Shortsword

Traits - Assassination, Cautious Fighter, Hidden Weapons, Knockout Blow, Poisoner

Peasant Levy

Weapons - Bill, Club, Dagger, Great Axe, Flail, Shortspear, Shortbow

Traits - Impromptu Weapons, Shield Splinter


Weapons - Unarmed, Knuckledusters

Traits - Batter Aside, Cautious Fighter1, Do or Die1, Excellent Footwork, Knockout1

Stick Fighting, Quarterstaffing

Weapons - Quarterstaff

Traits - Defensive Minded1, Excellent Footwork, Knockout Blow

Swordsmanship, English

Weapons - Dagger, Longsword, Rapier, Smallsword, Buckler

Traits - Defensive Minded1, Excellent Footwork, Swashbuckling

Swordsmanship, French (Lutte des Épée)

Weapons - Main Gauche, Rapier, Smallsword

Traits - Cautious Fighter1, Excellent Footwork, Flamboyance, Swashbuckling

Swordsmanship, German (Fechten)

Weapons - Broadsword, Dagger, Longsword

Traits - Batter Aside, Defensive Minded1, Excellent Footwork, Swashbuckling

Swordsmanship, Hungarian

Weapons - Sabre

Traits - Cautious Fighter1, Flamboyance, Swashbuckling

Swordsmanship, Italian (Arte della Spada)

Weapons - Club, Main Gauche, Rapier, Buckler

Traits - Defensive Minded1, Do or Die2, Excellent Footwork, Flamboyance, Swashbuckling

Swordsmanship, Scottish

Weapons - Broadsword, Dagger, Great Sword, Target Shield

Traits - Batter Aside1, Do or Die1, Swashbuckling

Swordsmanship, Spanish (La Verdadera Destreza)

Weapons - Rapier

Traits - Cautious Fighter1, Daredevil Matador1, Excellent Footwork, Swashbuckling

Trained Guard

Weapons - Halberd, Mace, Shortspear, Shortsword, Buckler, Light Crossbow

Traits - Knockout Blow, Mancatcher, Spear Phalanx

Trained Mercenary, Balkan (Stratioti)

Weapons - Dagger, Lance, Sabre, Recurve Bow, Heater Shield

Traits - Formation Fighting2, Mounted Combat1, Mounted Lancer, Skirmishing

Trained Mercenary, German (Landsknecht)

Weapons - Heavy Crossbow, Flamberge, Longsword, Shortsword, Pike, Buckler

Traits - Crossbow Handling, Pike Phalanx1, Reload Drill2

Trained Mercenary, German (Landsknecht - Doppelsöldner)

Weapons - Halberd, Partisan, Great Sword

Traits - Batter Aside2, Cautious Fighter, Formation Fighting1

Trained Mercenary, Scottish (Gallóglaigh)

Weapons - Dagger, Great Axe, Great Sword, Longspear, Morningstar, Javelin, Short Bow

Traits - Batter Aside, Berserker, Pike Phalanx1, Intimidating Scream, Shield Splinter, Skirmishing

Trained Mercenary, Swiss

Weapons - Heavy Crossbow, Halberd, Pike, Shortsword

Traits - Crossbow Handling, Pike Phalanx1, Reload Drill2, Siege Warfare

Trained Militia, Archer

Weapons - Shortsword, Shortbow, Target Shield

Traits - Longshot2, Ranged Marksman, Reload Drill1, Skirmishing

Trained Militia, Infantry

Weapons - Broadsword, Glaive, Pike, Shortspear, Shortsword, Buckler

Traits - Pike Phalanx1, Skirmishing

Trained Militia, Turkish (Akinci)

Weapons - Battleaxe, Dagger, Lance, Scimitar, Recurve Bow, Buckler

Traits - Formation Fighting, Longshot2, Mounted Combat1, Mounted Lancer, Skirmishing

Trained Militia, Turkish (Sipahi)

Weapons - Dagger, Mace, Scimitar, Recurve Bow, Buckler

Traits - Formation Fighting2, Longshot2, Mounted Combat1, Mounted Lancer2, Trained Beast

Trained Soldier, Turkish (Janissary)

Weapons - Unarmed, Dagger, Falchion, Mace, Scimitar, Recurve Bow, Buckler

Traits - Formation Fighting1, Longshot2, Ranged Marksman, Reload Drill, Siege Warfare

Woodland Hunter

Weapons - Hatchet, Knife, Short Bow

Traits - Longshot, Ranged Marksman


Weapons - Unarmed

Traits - Excellent Footwork, Iron Holds1, Joint Locking, Unarmed Throws