27 December 2013


I am a “rules lite” GM. I hate it when narration or gameplay are bogged down by calculations or by having to look up tables in the rule book. But I am all in favour of verisimilitude, and I also hate it when player characters carry too much loot or gear. So it's quite a dilemma as to how to manage PC encumbrance.

In all honesty, in my 30+ years of GM'ing, I haven't found any satisfactory solution and, as a result, I've always ignored character encumbrance and relied on my judgement to referee situations like chases, maximum loot carried, influence of armour on skills, etc.

Now I have just stumbled upon a solution that seems simple enough that I want to try it out the next time I'm GM'ing Timinits and Trolls. Basically, here's how it works: there's a new (derived) characteristic called CAPacity. It is computed by taking the smallest score amongst STR, CON, and DEX, and adding 10 to it. This is the amount of stones the player character may carry.

So if Delh the Delver has STR 15, CON 19, and DEX 17, his CAP is equal to 25.

The other nice subtlety of the system is the following rule: “items which can be carried in one hand weigh 1 st. If you need two hands it weighs 2 st.” — this effectively removes the need to clutter up the character sheet with detailed weight calculations. For smaller items, 20 w.u. equal 1 st. [note– this is for encumbrance purposes only, since the maths don't add up: a T&T w.u. is equal to one-tenth of a pound, meaning 20 w.u. equal 2 lb, whereas 1 st is 14 lb].

A character who is too encumbered loses reactivity. The real SPD to be taken into account whenever it's needed is the lowest between “free” CAP and SPD. “Free” CAP is defined as the original CAPacity of the player character minus the gear and loot he's carrying as expressed in stones.

Delh the Delver has CAP 25 and SPD 17. He is carrying 5 st of gear; his “free” CAP is hence 20. Should the GM call for a SR on SPD, Delh would use his SPD of 17.

Now Delh is carrying 10 st of gear; his “free” CAP is hence 15. Should the GM call for a SR on SPD, Delh would use his “free” CAP of 15 instead of his SPD of 17.

Alternatively, the GM may use the difference between the lower “free” CAP and the SPD score as a malus for encumbrance-impacted Talents.

Delh the Delver has an Athletics Talent of 23. However, he is in the situation where he is carrying 10 st of gear and his “free” CAP is thus lower than his SPD by 2. Should the GM call for a SR on Athletics, Delh would use a reduced Talent of 23-2=21.

23 December 2013

Inspirational Pictures of Pamaltela

The north side of the Tarmo Mountains during the Storm season:

The south side of the Tarmo Mountains where they slowly roll down as hills towards Jolar:

Exile Island, off the coast of Umathela:

20 December 2013

Steve Perrin Interview - 2

Steve Perrin's works have always been extremely influential to me. I think he is really, really one of the most underrated people in the industry. Ah, well.

Anyway, as soon as the rare Mr Perrin gets mentioned anywhere in a publication or on the internet, I must read the piece. The last time I stumbled upon an interview of his, it was two years ago, and I blogged about it.

Well, there has been another interview recently, and I am promptly providing the link. This latter interview focuses on the early history of role-playing, on how much influence the Perrin Conventions/the RuneQuest rules have had on what is probably today's most heavily used set of frp rules — without due credit even being given to the pioneering work of Messrs Perrin, Turney et al. Sigh. Anyway, enjoy the interview! (which does not otherwise reveal any particular secrets)

19 December 2013

Castle Waiting

I love the Castle Waiting comic book series by Linda Medley. Drawn in a simple yet precise B&W style, it tells the stories of various characters set in a world reminiscent of Europe's fairy tales. Contrary to Fables, which focuses on the most famous characters of the fairy tales (Snow White, Cinderella, etc.), Castle Waiting focuses on the characters who live in the background of the main protagonists.

The landscape, architecture, and costumes depicted in Castle Waiting suggest a fantasy version of north-western Europe between the 15th and the 17th centuries. Supernatural creatures from both the Christian and Nordic mythologies abound, more so in less inhabited areas; cities, however, do have their share of anthropomorphic animals. In addition to these, there also are Slavic beings, which is cool because I am quite fond of Slavic mythology. On the other hand, I haven't really been able to connect the anthropomorphic animals with any particular tale or legend.

The eponymous Castle Waiting is Sleeping Beauty's former castle — after she's abandoned it to live with the handsome prince. Part of her retinue still lives in it, and it has attracted all manners of misfits from round the world, most notably Simple Simon and his mother, two beastmen (a stork-man and a horse-man), a bearded nun, a single mother with a leshyi child, Iron Henry, a plague doctor, and several smaller fairies/goblins. There's also a community of Hammerlings (dwarves) living in the vicinity of the castle, and gipsy-like travellers.

In my Second Age Glorantha [which varies a lot], Castle Waiting is set on a small promontory overlooking the Dashomo Sea, north of [Third Age] Fengwal. This corresponds to the top left part of map No.68 of the Argan Argar Atlas. It is a former fortified mansion owned by a kind of Malki trader prince, and which now functions as a refuge for those who have lost all due to the upheavals affecting Umathela:
 - Sentient animal-human hybrids who have escaped the cellars of the mad GodLearners
 - former GodLearners who were not really involved in this madness
 - Malki nuns
 - visiting vegetarian dwarves from the Mari Mountains
 - unemployed delvers

05 December 2013

Guide to Glorantha KS Update (cont'd)

OK, we knew the books would only be available in 2014. But Jeff promised that at least we'd receive the PDF of the Guide to Glorantha in December 2013. I had my doubts, and they have been confirmed; the latest update says the Guide will be split in two PDFs. One that we'll get at the end of the month, and another one that we'll receive in January. Well, I'm not surprised, and I'm not even angry because when you see art like this you are ready to condone pretty much anything. This is simply AMAZING.

Sog City

02 December 2013

The Latest Deluxe T&T Update Worries Me

The latest post on T&T aficionado Tori Bergquist's blog is titled "Deluxe T&T Update 43 is out...and it actually worried me a bit". Well... Same over here at Timinits & Trolls!

I have read Liz Danforth's long update message about the Deluxe T&T kickstarter, and the more I read, the more I grew worried!
There's been a number of illustrations made available on the kickstarter updates but, basically, I am under the impression that the real work on the text of DT&T hasn't started yet. I know Liz was severely ill but reading sentences like “we haven't decided yet whether we should go class-less” or “Ken wanted elves, fairies, hobs, trolls, or ratlings to be their own class” is simply mind-boggling. The former architectural decision would turn DT&T into BRP/RQ, the latter into classic fantasy! Most of us already own and play those games, we don't need yet another d100 based game or classic fantasy clone— what we need is a streamlined version of Tunnels & Trolls combining the best features of the 5th ed., of the 30th anniversary rules, and of the French edition. Period.

I am a sad Troll

Still from Liz: “One of the Kickstarter comments was a request for the Table of Contents. I can’t give that to you”. Er, this to me translates as: 'I haven't started yet so how could I possibly give you even a tentative ToC?'. Sigh.

At this stage, I don't even want DT&T to be shipped in 2014— That would mean the game hasn't been sufficiently play-tested before it's made available. Grr.