25 December 2014

RuneQuest 6 In Italian - Further (Good) News

The Christkind (or rather his earthly representative, Alephtar Games) has brought us an excellent piece of news for Christmas: the Italian version of RuneQuest 6 will be published next year, and it should be available by the time the 7th edition of the Play! gaming convention begins in Modena on 11 April.

As announced during the (failed) crowdfunding campaign, the Italian edition of RuneQuest 6 will be published as a three-book set. Watch this place for further news.

14 December 2014

Bookshelf-Based Random Adventure Generator, v3.2

It's that time of year again. Two years ago, I devised a simple, bookshelf-based random adventure generator. This generator was dubbed 'Giannirator' by imaginos, who also greatly expanded on it, until what we may consider its final version, v3.2, which he used to create forty, count 'em, forty original scenarios that he published on his blog.

Since v3.2 is in French I am translating it to English here, and obviously adding an example along to show how it works.

First, get hold of 1D6, 1D20, 1D30, and 1D100. Each adventure seed is based upon a mix of random results from two tables and from information randomly extracted from within six actual books of your bookshelf using the results of the dice rolls.

[NPC1 - from Book One] asks the PCs to go to [Location1 - from Book Two] to [Action - from Table One] [Person/Object - from Book Three]. Motivated by the [Motivation - from Table Two], the PCs will end up confronting [NPC2 - from Book Four] in [Location2 - from Book Five]. During the course of the adventure, [Element - from Book Six] will feature prominently.

For each of the aforementioned books, roll five dice, in the following order:

  • Roll 1D6. Check the results of the roll: 1-3: use the top shelf; 4-6: use the bottom shelf. Of course if you have more than two shelves use a different die.
  • Roll 1D6. Check the results of the roll: 1-3: start counting from the left; 4-6: start counting from the right.
  • Roll 1D30. Count as many books from either the left or the right, depending on the previous die roll.
  • Roll 1D6. Check the results of the roll: 1-3: start from the beginning; 4-6: start from the end. Ignore covers, indices, empty pages, etc.
  • Roll 1D100. Count as many pages. Using the guidelines from the blueprint above, choose the relevant element from within the page.

The random tables-based elements are to be rolled on these two tables:

 1D20 Result   Action 
 01   Retrieve 
 02   Deliver 
 03   Free / Liberate 
 04   Survive / Escape / Evade 
 05   Reach / Enter 
 06   Explore / Study / Discover 
 07   Investigate / Elucidate / Enquire 
 08   Avenge 
 09   Sell / Get Rid Of sb~sth 
 10   Humiliate / Bully 
 11   Protect / Defend 
 12   Convince / Convert / Recruit 
 13   Create 
 14   Hide 
 15   Blackmail 
 16   Destroy / Cull 
 17   Deceive
 18   Sacrifice oneself 
 19   Conquer / Invade / Raid / Pillage / Plunder 
 20   Other / GM's Choice 

 1D20 Result   Motivation 
 01   Obeisance (to a hierarchy, to one's master...) 
 02   Material Reward (e.g., money) 
 03   Intangible Reward (e.g., glory) 
 04   Spiritual Reward (e.g., blessing) 
 05   Survival 
 06   Obligation 
 07   Revenge 
 08   Pleasure 
 09   Fanatism 
 10   Succour 
 11   Selflessness 
 12   Excitement 
 13   Self-Inflicted 
 14   Curiosity 
 15   Malice 
 16   Sloth 
 17   Inevitability 
 18   Fear and Loathing 
 19   Mind Alteration 
 20   Other / GM's Choice 


NPC1 (from Book One)
1D4 --> 4. Shelf No.4.
1D6 --> 6. Start counting from the right.
1D30 --> 2. Second book from the right: Carcosa.
1D6 --> 3. Start counting from the beginning.
1D100 --> 24. Space Alien.

Location1 (from Book Two)
1D4 --> 1. Shelf No.1.
1D6 --> 2. Start counting from the left.
1D30 --> 2. Second book from the left: Sorcerer's Apprentice, issue No.16.
1D6 --> 6. Start counting from the end.
1D100 --> 27. the darkened streets towards the Palace.

Action (from Table One)
1D20 --> 3. Free/Liberate

Person/Object (from Book Three)
1D4 --> 1. Shelf No.1.
1D6 --> 3. Start counting from the left.
1D30 --> 12. Twelfth book from the left: Imagine, issue No.22.
1D6 --> 4. Start counting from the end.
1D100 --> 52. Greater Vampire.

Motivation (from Table Two)
1D20 --> 20. Other/GM's Choice --> I think I'll decide that the PCs have been tricked into what they have to do.

NPC2 (from Book Four)
1D4 --> 4. Shelf No.4.
1D6 --> 2. Start counting from the left.
1D30 --> 4. Fourth book from the left: Casus Belli, issue No.4.
1D6 --> 2. Start counting from the beginning.
1D100 --> 63. Harlequin.

Location2 (from Book Five)
1D4 --> 1. Shelf No.1.
1D6 --> 4. Start counting from the right.
1D30 --> 28. 28th book from the right: Les Érudits de l'Ambigu, issue No.3.
1D6 --> 4. Start counting from the end.
1D100 --> 11. Dagori Inkarth.

Element (from Book Six)
1D4 --> 3. Shelf No.3.
1D6 --> 5. Start counting from the right.
1D30 --> 21. 21st book from the right: The Middle Sea Empire.
1D6 --> 3. Start counting from the beginning.
1D100 --> 56. tsunami.

Result: A Space Alien asks the PCs to go to the darkened streets towards the Palace to free a Greater Vampire. Tricked by the Space Alien, the PCs will end up confronting Harlequin in Dagori Inkarth. During the course of the adventure, a tsunami will feature prominently.

Ouch, this is a tough one. Given the disparate elements, I think the best setting for this scenario seed is Glorantha In Space:

A Space Alien meets the PCs in whatever shady town they're currently located. He has some metamorphosis powers that allow him to pass for human. He has a close relative who is a Rune Lord of Vivamort (a 'Greater Vampire'), and who is currently a prisoner in the Obsidian Palace on planet Esrola. The space alien tricks the PCs into believing that he is a quiet human space trader whose brother was kidnapped by rival Argan Argar merchants and who is detained in the cells beneath the Obsidian Palace on planet Esrola.
Whilst travelling towards planet Esrola, the PCs are caught in a geomagnetic storm (the 'tsunami'), and are blown off course to planet Dagori Inkarth instead, where they will have to defeat an Eurmali trickster (the 'Harlequin') before being able to leave the planet. The trickster being a trickster, he will reveal the PCs that the phoney kidnapped brother is actually a chaotic cultist.
The PCs will then probably want to take care of the space alien OR — should they not believe the trickster — they will have to fight their way through the dungeons of the Obsidian Palace and ultimately confront the Vampire, possibly on their spacecraft during the return trip!

18 November 2014

Alephtar Game News

Alephtar Games is a discreet but constant publisher of high-quality games and supplements. There are two pieces of news regarding them:

1) Wind of the Steppe, a BRP-based historical role-playing game that will enable you to adventure into the harsh world of the steppe nomads should be out by the end of the year (i.e., soon!)

2) The Italian translation of RuneQuest 6, despite its failed crowdfunding campaign, should be available in March 2015.

27 October 2014

Deluxe T&T − The Last Hurdle?

Back in June, I expressed my sense of elation at having received a draft PDF of deluxe Tunnels and Trolls in such an advanced state of completion. Much more than the usual draft PDF one receives at the various stages of a Kickstarter project, the PDF file we backers of dT&T received was almost as good as the final product — except for one area: Magic.

Now without Magic, you can't really talk about a fantasy role-playing game, so this was really still a big hole in the project. In September, we received word that Steve Crompton was about to start laying out pages for the much revised section about Magic.

Well, a few days a go we finally received a link to download the dT&T chapters about Magic, all 73 pages of them. Basically, this latest PDF corresponds to the missing 'Section 9' from the summary of the draft version of deluxe Tunnels & Trolls.

Detailed contents of the PDF:
  • Magic IQ & DEX requirements per Spell level,
  • Generalities about spells,
  • Generalities about kremm (Power/mana in T&T parlance),
  • Technical intricacies about spells (damage, learning, stacking…),
  • Schools of Magic — This is pretty new stuff if I'm not mistaken. There are ten Colleges of Magic; each spell may be taught in one or several of these colleges. My understanding after having merely skimmed through the PDF is that these colleges are only there for added flavour. There is an optional rule, however, to allow magicians to specialise in a given college of Magic; basically, this functions as a Talent that enables a Conjurer, say, to cast Conjuration spells at a reduced cost.
  • Spell Book (35 pages),
  • Equipment for magicians (staves, wands…),
  • Creating magical items (amulets, potions, talismans…),
  • Kremm batteries — I believe these are new. They basically function like the original RuneQuest's crystals and matrices, so this is über cool,
  • Creating new spells.

The ten Colleges of Magic are (notice how they all start with the letter 'C'):
  • Clairvoyant [it should be called Clairvoyance, by the way]
  • Combat
  • Communication
  • Concealment
  • Conformation [all spells related with metamorphoses]
  • Conjuration
  • Construction
  • Conveyance [all spells related with movement]
  • Cosmic [catch-all category]
  • Curative

Each college comes with a neat icon used to illustrate the relationship of the various spells with the ten colleges throughout the Spell Book.

At this point, I believe we backers have received everything related with Magic, except the Elaborations section (again from the summary of the draft version of dT&T).

14 October 2014

13th Age in Glorantha Madness!

OK, so the 13th Age in Glorantha Kickstarter project has ended with an incredible grand total of pledges at $116,150. Wow... that's more than €90,000!

Jeff and Rob have just kept adding stretches to entice us fans into parting from our hard-earned cash... Which we are grateful for :)

  • The Trickster† as a character class!
  • Uz characters in, and in particular Zorak Zorani
  • Duck characters in
  • The magicians of the Sartar Magical Union as a secret society for the PCs
  • The Crimson Bat and its evil attending priests as NPCs
  • Further evil Lunar‡ NPCs: the Comet Seers, the Blue Moon School, the Spell Archers, and the Crater Makers
  • Cults of Chaos: Bagog, Krarsht, Thanatar
  • Plenty of new, additional, full-colour art!
  • Three adventures

† The Hero Wars has let Eurmal free from his bindings and slip openly into the world. Prince Argrath has placed those initiated to Eurmal under his protection and his magical societies are havens for Tricksters, outlaws, and other holy madmen. Some rumours claim that the new prince is himself a Trickster.  Others claim that Harrek White Bear is the physical incarnation of the Destroyer aspect of the Trickster. Still others claim that the entire Hero Wars is orchestrated by the Trickster. [Jeff on G+]

‡ You will notice that 13th Age in Glorantha is, alas, heavily slanted in favour of the Sartarite hillbillies. I hope a future Lunar book will enable us to play normal civilised people.

09 October 2014

Gagix, the Scorpion Queen of Jab

Why is 13th Age in Glorantha kewl?

Because Gagix:

Woman body: Gagix has the chest, head, and arms of a queenly woman. She has long black hair, yellow eyes, and wears a golden diadem with the Runes of Chaos, Beast, and Man given to her by the previous Lunar Governor-General of Dragon Pass. Her teeth are sharp and there is blood around her mouth.
She wears a vest or bodice (note: she is NOT busty - she is not truly mammalian). Her arms are covered in jewellery taken from her dead victims, and she has many necklaces draped around her neck. She is NOT tattooed. Around her waist (which connects to her scorpion body), she wears a loose girdle of human heads.

Scorpion body: Gagix has the abdomen, tail, stinger, and eight legs of a gigantic, bloated, black scorpion. She does not have pincers or Chelicerae. Her scorpion body is over 8m long.

05 October 2014

13th Age in Glorantha Interview Podcast

Idle Red Hands is a blog that features podcasts on various gaming-related issues.

Episode 171 is titled ‘Interview: 13th Age in Glorantha’; the Idle Red Hands team interview Rob Heinsoo & Jeff Richard, who are currently managing a Kickstarter project called 13th Age in Glorantha [but you already know this if you read my blog...]

The podcast of the interview is available here.
Its duration is 1hr 33min 24s, which is quite long, so read on if you don't have the time to listen to it.

Highlights of the interview
As we already know, 13th Age in Glorantha (13G) is going to be set in 1627-28, during the Hero Wars. The player characters will be heroes embarking on heroquests (called "mythcrawls") to save the world from Chaos. Apparently, at the core of 13G will be the fact that PCs from various conflicting backgrounds need to co-operate, with the common goal of defeating Chaos and/or the Lunar Empire†, whilst having to overcome their differences at the same time.

Since the 'Uz' stretch goal has been reached, there will be Uz character classes, and since heroquests will strongly feature in the game, all-new myths centred on Uz and Wonderhome will be added to 13G.

One way the Uz might be played (this is still being playtested) is that a troll character starts as a trollkin, then at around 4th level it gets eaten by a dark troll, and then you play the dark troll who's eaten your trollkin...

Interesting part @ 37min 30s: “What's in for us [hardcore Gloranthan fans]?”

☞ Chiefly, “play a D20 system game and like it”

☞ The “One Unique Thing” mechanism of 13th Age will basically enable players to tell the GM in what direction they want the campaign to go

Rob says that Gloranthan icons will be implemented differently to the Dragon Empire, without giving much further detail, except that there will be clearer explanations for the various results of the icon relationship die roll.

That was an interesting question from the hosts, who stressed the huge difference between D&D- and RQ-type magic. Unfortunately, Rob flatly said that 13G Magic would be 13th Age magic, period, and that they wouldn't try and implement Glorantha-style magic, except for the fact that your magic will be a combination of who you worship and what your class is. Essentially, the system remains 13th Age.
Anyway, since 13G will focus on Dragon Pass and the Holy Country, and not the West, there won't be many wizards. On the other hand, sorcerers will probably feature prominently.

Future Books?
At the moment Jeff & Rob have two adventure packs in mind:

☞ The Upland Marsh, ruled by Delecti the Necromancer

☞ Snakepipe Hollow, a dungeon crawl with mythic elements

† Can someone please tell Rob that the Red Goddess is not a Chaos goddess, it's more complex than that...

02 October 2014

An Alternative Combat System for T&T

TrollsZine is a free PDF 'zine for Tunnels & Trolls. Being a zine and being fed by contributors, and thus basically a labour of love, TrollsZine has a very irregular publication schedule, and it also shows, I am afraid, quite an uneven quality in terms of content.

The latest instalment, issue No.8, however, is a great issue! Amongst the highlights:

☞ A 33-page space-fantasy solo adventure set in New Khazan, consisting of 141 paragraphs of gung ho adventure, with outer space random encounters such as mining drones and space syrens, basic spaceship stats, a simple space travel system, etc. Lots of material that you may fruitfully scavenge for your own space-fantasy games!

☞ A 16-page GM wilderness adventure. This is particularly noteworthy as T&T adventures tend to stick to the dungeon bash model.

☞ A fully-fledged alternative combat system for Tunnels & Trolls, by Dan Hembree (TrollsZine's editor), based on the T&T Saving Rolls (SR) mechanism. At 9 pages, this is quite a hefty article. Now, since I have myself got rid of the standard T&T mêlée combat system for my own T&T homebrew, I have read Dan's article with utmost interest. Here are my thoughts.

Dan's alternative combat system is based on man-to-man combat, and not on T&T's seminal "each side totals all" mechanism. As a result, each combatant needs:
  • an attribute to base the SR upon,
  • a difficulty level for said SR
There is indeed a new attribute, Combat Ability (CA), which, for player characters, is calculated on the average of STR, LK, DEX, and SPD. For monsters, Dan suggests to base the CA on their Monster Rating (MR) but to "raise or lower it as necessary". This is my first criticism of the system. The CA should be clearly defined for monsters; if Dan thinks CA = MR yields too strong opponents, as in the case of the MR 50 ogre in his example on p30, then why not settle for CA = MR/2 or MR/4 or whatever. Obviously, in other cases, CA = MR yields too weak opponents, as in the case of the MR 15 goblins in his example on p32. Basically, what this shows is that it is wrong to equate a monster's MR with its fighting prowess. This is also why I have removed the standard T&T mêlée combat system from my homebrew. I think a monster's CA should be assigned independently from its MR— which is more or less what Dan ends up suggesting through the sentence "raise or lower it as necessary".

The difficulty level for the combat SRs is based upon the opponent's level or upon a monster's MR/10. I really don't like this— in almost all frp games, determining whether a combatant hits or not is based on their fighting capability, not their opponent's: in classic fantasy, it's based on the combatant's level, in D100-based games, on the combatant's skill, etc. In my homebrew, the SR actually doesn't have a difficulty level: each combatant rolls their SR, and then the actual difficulty levels reached are compared, so as to create a kind of opposed SR mechanism.
The cool thing, however, is that Dan's system allows for simultaneous combat results with weapon-dependent damage, part of which is stopped by armour, whereas my system does not take weapon and armour into account: I have opted for a more abstract system, à la HeroQuest.

Anyway, whatever criticisms I may have, I still think Dan's system is definitely worth a try, even if it kind of makes T&T mêlée combat closer to the D&D approach, where armour class (which depends on the opponent and not on the combatant) does influence the combatant's hit probabilities.

26 September 2014

Umathelan "Grain" Goddesses

Cereal or Legume?
Another gem from the Google+ Gloranthan community.

Umathela is an Orlanthi land, and all Orlanthi lands have their Grain Goddess. So I asked the following on the Google+ Gloranthan community:

Who is the Grain Goddess of Umathela?

To which I received quite a number of interesting comments; here are some of them:

 - The old Gods of Glorantha supplement doesn't list a Grain Goddess for Umathela as a whole, but does list Vrala for Vralos and lists her main cereal as being peas (which aren't actually a cereal)
 - I feel such sorrow for those poor tribesfolk of Vralos as they struggle to make an acceptable flour out of dried peas... :-)
 - [Jeff]  The Land Goddesses of Umathela are Enklosa and Vrala. Note that Ernalda is also worshipped in Umathela and is associated with barley and wheat.
Enklosa was a daughter of Gata and Pamalt and a lover of Flamal; she welcomed Aldrya. When trolls killed Flamal, Enklosa went into mourning and withdrew into the Underworld. She was guarded by High King Elf until the world was revived with the Dawn. She is associated with broad beans and lentils.
Vrala was another daughter of Gata and Pamalt; and like her sister she welcomed Aldrya. She took many lovers, including Flamal, Pamalt, Umath, and later his son Orlanth. When Flamal was slain by the trolls, Vrala followed Ernalda into sleep, and the land slept until the Dawn, guarded by High King Elf.

13 September 2014

13th Age In Glorantha Isn't Merely 13th Age Set In Glorantha

The Kickstarter project for 13th Age in Glorantha has been live since the day before yesterday and it has already funded — just as I had predicted. However, 13th Age in Glorantha is not merely an adaptation of the rules and of the icons of 13th Age to allow GMs and players to play in Glorantha. I'll explain you why, but first— some history.

RuneQuest, the very first Gloranthan role-playing game, by the Chaosium, was set in the Third Age of Glorantha. The RuneQuest rules do not indicate any clear "canonical" date for playing, but the time-line on page 7 ends with the following entry:

1613 - Starbrow leads another Sartarite rebellion, quickly crushed by the Empire.

so we may consider that the implied time frame of the setting was the late 1610s.

The second Gloranthan role-playing game, RuneQuest by Avalon Hill, doesn't indicate any canonical date for playing either. The Glorantha chapter of RQ3 indicates that:

Gloranthan supplements to come take place during the beginning of the Hero Wars

which puts the corresponding time-frame at 1621~1625.

After a long hiatus, Gloranthan role-playing came back to us fans in the form of the Hero Wars role-playing game by Issaries. Given its title, you would have presumed that Hero Wars was set during the Hero Wars, yet in reality it was set just before them: it is mentioned that the Lunar Empire conquered Dragon Pass 20 years before present. Since that happened in 1602, it results that Hero Wars is set in 1622.

The imperfect Hero Wars game was followed quite closely by the much perfected HeroQuest, which stated:

HeroQuest is a Game of Adventure. The game is set during the Hero Wars.

However, further supplements quite clearly set the game at the beginning of the Hero Wars, meaning a time-frame of 1621~1625 again, much like RQ3.

The next Gloranthan role-playing game in line was the Mongoose version of RuneQuest. MRQ was set in the Second Age of Glorantha (fantastic idea) but the game alienated the fan base with error-ridden books and too many departures from canon.

In parallel, HeroQuest by Moon Design grew and prospered. It is now canonically set in the year 1621, according to page 111 of the 'canonest' book of all, the Guide to Glorantha:

The current year is 1621 ST.

So, in a nutshell: we've heard and read so much about the Hero Wars in the last 30+ years, but the latest any Gloranthan role-playing game has ever let us play was actually 1625.

Enter 13th Age in Glorantha. According to its Kickstarter page, the setting of the game will be Peloria and Maniria. But, more interestingly, the KS project does not simply entail a book explaining how to play 13th Age in Glorantha, it will also entail a second book with lots of fantastic new system-agnostic stuff. Let me quote from the KS page:

We are also introducing The Glorantha Source Book, a 128+ page full-colour hardcover book that is the perfect companion to the 13th Age in Glorantha rulebook. Containing no gaming rules, it is a wonderful resource for people wanting to begin their journey into the mythic world of Glorantha.

The Glorantha Source Book will include:

 - Introduction to Glorantha and the Runes
 - Cosmology, History, and a summary of the Gods of Glorantha
 - Overview of the major regions of the world with a focus on Dragon Pass and surrounding lands
 - Who's who in the Hero Wars – the dramatic conflict at the end of the Third Age of Glorantha!

On the Gloranthan G+ community, Jeff added the following:

The Glorantha Source Book will be set in 1627 during the Dragon Pass Hero Wars.

Yup, 1627, the latest any Gloranthan role-playing game will let us play and, at last, during the Hero Wars, not just before them!

08 September 2014

Deluxe T&T − Excellent Kickstarter Update

The latest deluxe Tunnels & Trolls Kickstarter update is truly a marvellous piece of news.

I have already mentioned on this very blog how elated I was by the playtest copy I'd received of the dT&T rules as a backer, most notably by its high production quality, and by its content. I was even able to use the PDF to GM an adventure with my kids. Well, the spells were missing from it so I had to use the previous editions of T&T whenever my kids' characters (both rogues) would cast their spell.

Guess what, the latest KS update by Liz Danforth is about SPELLS! What she has sent is so cool I will simply copy it here. Again: I am happy this KS is going in the direction it is going. Who cares about being late! Honestly, for a 30+ year-old role-playing game, what kind of difference do a few months make?

Let me tell you about magic in deluxe T&T. This section has probably taken longer to revise than anything else in the game. I didn't expect that, but once I started digging into it, it proved to have more conflicting bits and pieces, more potential for confusion or problems, than anything else I'd worked on. Magic doesn't have any real world analogues, so Ken's core instruction to "Do what's logical" led down a blind alley. I found problems with how similar spells scaled to each other, how they scaled up with themselves when raised to higher levels, how spells might or might not interact or "stack," and where the tropes of fantasy faltered in the face of "but I can imagine a spell that does XYZ" wish-fulfilment. 


We built an Excel spreadsheet of spells, and I assigned one column to hold all the questions that came up about how each spell was written. Bear and I spent hours on the phone over the course of several days, discussing each spell one at a time. Ken weighed in on email. The KISS rule was applied over and over. If it couldn't be explained briefly, then something had to give. If a spell would work fine in a novel but badly in a game, then it was appraised more critically. Sometimes spells were rewritten; a few were ultimately thrown out. 

We broke down each spell by type — was this a summoning spell, a mind-control spell, a weapons-enhancement spell? That let us compare like to like — should a powered-up Vorpal Blade be better than a Whammy if both were cast at the same level? No, so maybe the way the spell powered up had to be restricted. Did a Banishing spell work on an Invisible Fiend or on an elemental? What was the determining factor, so players could use it consistently? If a spell could power-up in more than one way (say, by potency or duration), could you mix and match the effects, and if so how? (We decided against that: pick one aspect to power up and stick to it.) If a Wink-Wing powered up, how was it different from Blow Me To...? Bear and I discussed how the spells were used, back in the day, and that led to some clarifications — Wink-Wing is always shorter range and the Blow spells are always longer range now. 

We reconsidered what level certain spells should be at, and Stefan was particularly helpful here. Were first level spells apprentice spells, the equivalent of a high school education minimally preparing you to enter the work force? Then a powerful mind-control spell capable of permanently enslaving another person to your bidding (Spirit Mastery) shouldn't be as low as second level. If the first level Call Wind spell (a puff of air) could become a raging gale at higher level, then what made that different from the old spell known as Wind Whistle? Could Wind Whistle get a makeover into something more dynamic? Storm Force Five was created as something quite different from a simple wind spell, and interacts with Divine Disapproval (thunderbolts) to make a weather mage a force to be reckoned with. 

Ken wanted us to be sure similar spells did not stack. You should not, for example, be able to cast a Vorpal Blade on an enchanted mega-sword like Stormbringer, or even a Vorpal on top of a Whammy. He wanted to be sure two mages couldn't each cast Little Feets on a warrior to make him fight four times as fast instead of twice as fast (as intended). It took us all awhile to come up with some simple guidelines and rules that could be consistently applied, but we did. (At least I think that's what we accomplished!) 

So what does this mean to you? Will you recognise anything in the spell list, in how magic is used in the game? 

I say YES. Your magicians will still cast a Take That You Fiend! to slay monsters, and a Poor Baby to heal their friends. The casting cost points still come off their WIZ rating. A staff will still reduce casting cost for wizards, and rogues can still learn new tricks from a Teacher spell. But magicians won't risk fumbling every time they cast a spell any more than archers spill their arrows on the ground whenever they're under the frequent, familiar pressures of an adventuring life. 

Almost all the old familiar spells you've always known remain in the book. Some old spells may be at different levels or have slightly different specifics, but the descriptions should be a little less fuzzy (but not burdensomely detailed even so). Actually, most of the legacy spells needed little or no alteration; they were clear back in 1978 and they're still perfectly clear today. The Wall Spells have returned. You will have new spells to experiment with. (Some of those needed extra work.) We filled in holes here and there — we always had more ways to enchant weapons than armour, for example, and now that disparity has been improved a bit. And so on. 


Most of the pieces are in place now, and I expect Steve Crompton can start laying out pages this week. After he has performed his own brand of magic, the Kickstarter backers will get the Magic section to drive around the block and tell us if the wheels fall off. I hope and honestly expect you'll be pleasantly surprised with the result.

31 August 2014

THE KRAKEN 2014 Report

The Kraken 2014 took place from 20 to 25 August at Schloss Neuhausen in Brandenburg. For those who are not familiar with German geography, this is probably as far from civilisation as you can possibly get in the former GDR, meaning no stupid distractions from gaming such as shops, cafés, restaurants, pedestrian streets, internet access or mobile phones. But who needs those when you can have five days of fine food (incl. vegetarian fare), German beer and gaming in an 18th century chateau?

Krakeneer's Kit

The foremost thing to specify is that The Kraken is not a convention; The Kraken is a gaming vacation. It is less busy, more relaxed, and with appr. 60 participants and a five-day duration you get to meet and know everyone without the hassle of running from one game or panel to the next. Also, since the whole chateau and its dependencies (including a chapel!) are 100% dedicated to The Kraken, you can isolate yourself for a moody Call of Cthulhu game or you can join the boisterous Scandinavians for a bout of axe-throwing, depending on your preference, at any given time.

Some events like new game presentations or RPG sessions have their own schedule whilst some others are simply ongoing like the miniature painting workshop or the Diplomacy and Axis & Allies games.

Axe-Throwing Area

Anyway, with so much to see, to take part in, and to do, I simply couldn't take note of all that was happening at The Kraken. As a result, what follows has been compiled from my own notes, my kids', and my friends' (especially Éric Vanel's). Still, it doesn't give justice to the awesomeness that it was. There's more here, and also there, and probably on other blogs too.

Friends at The Kraken

WEDNESDAY 20 AUGUST, afternoon

I got to play Sandy Petersen's gargantuan board-game, Cthulhu Wars, refereed by the man himself. The game is finished, only the quality of the minis is still being improved. This is an 'asymmetrical' board-game: even though the basic game mechanics are the same (invade the world with your cultists and summon your Old Ones), each faction plays in a slightly different way, and collects very different spellbooks, which are needed to bolster your actions. I played the Shub-Niggurath faction, which has more troops than the others (as befits a fertility goddess) but not quite as strong. I didn't perform particularly well, but then I guess at least three or four complete games are necessary to grasp all the subtleties of the game, and especially of the factions – the one you play AND the others! Anyway, we ended up with three players tied in terms of victory points (VP) and one player having just one less VP than the others, so I believe the game is very well balanced.

WEDNESDAY 20 AUGUST, evening, Opening Ceremony

Fabian Küchler, The Kraken's supremo, officially announced the start of the five-day gaming vacation. This was also the time for a few announcements:
- HeroQuest Glorantha will be published by Moon Design in early October
- Sandy Petersen will seek to crowdfund the Gods War board-game via a Kickstarter project as soon as every backer of Cthulhu Wars has received his or her copy of the game

WEDNESDAY 20 AUGUST, late evening

Well, after Cthulhu Wars, I got to play Sandy's new board-game, the Gods War. Contrary to Cthulhu Wars, this is very much a work in progress. The minis we used were salvaged from other games and the board was pretty crude. The final game will feature all-new minis. The game is supposed to start with the Spike rising up from the centre of the Lozenge, but we had a mere disc of cardboard instead of the mighty  magical mountain. The game "engine" is similar to Cthulhu Wars', with the well-known Gloranthan factions replacing the Old Ones (see my earlier blog entry), and with heroquests replacing spellbooks. One big novelty is the presence of runes, which are  drawn from a random deck. Although they add Gloranthan flavour to the game, I found their effects to be really too random and too heterogeneous. Some runes  bestow a mere movement bonus, some others give the player +2 VP, which can be decisive at the end of the game.
Overall, I preferred the Gods War to Cthulhu Wars: the game mechanics are simpler, there are less choices, but they are harder as bad choices in the beginning can give you a very bad start that is then hard to catch up. It's also more difficult to try and get one's VP in isolation from the rest of the players... most heroquests (which give you VPs) have killing other units as a pre-requisite. There is also a fun event during one of the early phases of the game: the Spike explodes and is replaced with a Chaos Rift that starts sucking in the players' units (except Chaos's). The non-Chaotic players have to co-operate to remove the Chaos Rift and replace it with Magasta's Pool, which is a co-operative element that is missing in the parent board-game.
So again, overall, a fantastic game with the only caveat that some runes are too powerful. Sandy should either make them less powerful or maybe add a rule that after you've reached the 40 VP threshold you cannot win using the rune cards. Since the game is still in its play-testing phase, I hope Sandy is reading this blog and taking my suggestion into account :)

That's the Spike in the centre

Chaos Rift sucking in units

Chaos Rift removed: Magasta's Pool

THURSDAY 21 AUGUST, early morning

The main room of the chateau was full of "self service" games. We grabbed up a copy of 7 Wonders and played several games.

Other people were playing other board-games in a very relaxed mood, or ongoing games of Diplomacy and Axis & Allies.

THURSDAY 21 AUGUST, morning, Moon Design panel

Jeff from Moon Design addressed the fan audience and presented MD's future plans. This started with being at last able to view the Guide to Glorantha in all its dead tree glory. It is definitely the most beautiful role-playing supplement I have ever beheld. Two coffee table-sized books totalling appr. 1,000 pages, under faux leather covers, with a dust jacket, and glossy colour paper for each single page. And this was the standard version for the basic KS pledge! Unbelievable.

Moon Design schedule expected now to more or less conform to the following:

- HeroQuest Glorantha (early October), with a draft copy that we could peruse, which entails:
   o A clean-up of the rules system (main structural change = higher dice win).
   o How to create Esrolian and Tarshite characters.
   o Some cults re-written/cleaned up (Seven Mothers…) plus new cults (Waha…).
   o Every Magic system is better detailed (incl. Lunar magic better structured than in the Pavis book).

- A new edition of King of Sartar (beginning of 2015) with consistency corrections and with new chapters (appr. 20 additional pages)

- The Coming Storm (mid-2015), a massive Sartarite campaign by Ian Cooper, which only misses art at the moment

+ 2 or 3 more products (e.g., Prax Pak by Dave Scott, a full Prax sourcebook and campaign arc) by Gen Con 2015

- in the distant future: a Holy Country book

Moon Design has only one full-time employee and can only tackle one project at a time, hence the slow publication schedule.

However, in parallel to the publication of these scheduled works, there will be several Kickstarter campaigns:
  1. for the 13th Age Glorantha book (which will be published by Moon Design)
  2. for the Gods War board-game
  3. for the art of the Gods book, an endeavour similar to the Guide to Glorantha, but with less pages even though it will feature 500 entries (we were shown a draft of the prosopaedia)

Jeff also mentioned that the next issue of Wyrms Footnotes (issue No.16) would be a 'Lunar special', without providing any ETA though.

THURSDAY 21 AUGUST, afternoon

Jeff run an experimental HeroQuest game in which he had TWO player parties instead of one, each pitted against the other. This was (a) to show that the GtG could be used to ad lib a game using only the information provided in the book and (b) to experiment with the two-party approach. Obviously we had extremely simplified character sheets (1 keyword + 1 rune). A young lady from the other party opened the Atlas and chose the island of Melib. They played the natives, led by Prince Harstar the phenomenally awesome, and we played the Blue Zaranistangi invaders.
The game would last during all the gaming vacation, and we would play once or twice per day. Each session corresponded to a Gloranthan year; each of these sessions was like a mini-game in which the two factions acted against each other to take control of the island. The game went crazy, powers were dragged from all over the world, and finally we influenced the future of Glorantha by boosting the Hero War. They even dragged in Harrek!

(c) Eric Vanel

During the afternoon my kids played in a Call of Catthulhu game GM'ed by my friend Paolo, and had great fun.


I don't know if it is a new trend in RPGs, or just an area that I had overlooked in the past, and which I am only discovering now, but there are lots of GM-less RPGs nowadays. My epiphany can be dated back to the Chimériades convention and the White Books game we played there. Anyway, on Thursday night I got to play three GM-less RPGs in a row:
1) Enter the Avenger
2) We Are Here To See The Evil Wizard Kormákur
3) Amidst Endless Quiet

Enter the Avenger is a simple phase-by-phase game, in which each player takes turns to figure out whether one of the players (the Avenger) is or is not entitled to extolling vengeance from a supposed wrongdoer. The background, the offence itself, the path to revenge and the vengeance itself are all improvised at turns during the game. Quite classic, but very enjoyable.

We Are Here To See The Evil Wizard Kormákur was quite different. Each of us had a card with a limited set of actions (3 to 6), which curtailed our ability to improvise. Moreover, as a character who both wanted to kill the evil wizard Kormákur and who was in love with him, I had trouble finding a balance. I am afraid this was definitely less successful.

Amidst Endless Quiet was a very groundbreaking SF game. The roles were very strict but also mind-boggling, as one of us was 10,000 years old, another had a mind that could jump from one body to another, etc. We got to improvise great parts. Definitely recommended!

FRIDAY 22 AUGUST, early morning

More 7 Wonders and Citadels gaming in the tranquillity of the main room.

FRIDAY 22 AUGUST, morning, Gloranthan Q&A

This panel pretty much focused on the Gods War because only Sandy was present. Apparently the demos at gen Con were very successful. The game will be published with four starting factions (Chaos [purple], Storm [white], Sun [yellow], Darkness [black]), but it is currently being playtested with three further factions (Earth [green], Sea [blue], Moon [red]) that will be available as expansions. Further factions are planned: new gods, elder races.

FRIDAY 22 AUGUST, afternoon

We continued the experimental HQ game, then we played the Gods War and Cthulhu Wars again.

Éric played in Shaman Quest – Four Meadows, a game run by Topi Pitkänen. The game was set in Glorantha but its engine was based on Topi's legendary Gloranthan Tarot. The characters had to quest in both the mundane and the spirit world to meet and overcome Bad Man, awaken their fetch and become Shamans. According to Éric, it was a great experience!

We got to buy the Sharper Adventures in HeroQuest Glorantha chapbook [fundraiser] by Robin D Laws, a 32-page booklet chock-full of advice by Robin D Laws on running HQ games set in Glorantha.

FRIDAY 22 AUGUST, evening

One cool thing at The Kraken is that you get to play with the authors of the games, which always offers invaluable insight into their vision of the game. So on Friday night we played the The Cardinal's Blades RPG GM'd by the author, Philippe Auribeau. I haven't read the books, and I am not particularly a fan of the cloak-and-dagger genre, but Philippe's lively GMing style coupled with the game's extremely kinematic mechanism made it a wonderful gaming session.
In this age of artsy-fartsy RPGs, The Cardinal's Blades RPG manages to be completely old school in its extended use of abilities, skills, and numerous tarot card draws [instead of dice rolls], in a pulp rendering of a 17th century Paris full of scheming noblemen and courtesans. Since The Cardinal's Blades is published by Les Éditions Sans-Détour who are famous for their incredibly gorgeous games, The Cardinal's Blades also has its fair share of terrific props: the already-mentioned tarot deck for skill use and combat, another deck to create the player characters, and other cool goodies.


Another round of Jeff's experimental HQ game, and yet some more board-gaming.

SATURDAY 23 AUGUST, afternoon

Rise of Ralios freeform! Éric Vanel and Hervé Carteau, who had run the Rise of Ralios freeform at Chimériades, ran it again for The Kraken. This time I didn't play a character but I refereed the war-gaming phases of the game. I liked it better this way because I am a terrible freeform player. My daughter, who enjoys freeforms, reprised her role as Alangellia, earth priestess of Ralia, and did well again [sorry, but I had to add this bit of paternal pride]. My son, who missed the Chimériades freeform, played a badass fighter who got to become one of the Arkats.


I got to play in yet another game refereed by its author! This time it was Grégory Privat's Bimbo RPG, an homage to the Grindhouse genre, and possibly the gonzo-est RPG I've ever played. In Bimbo, each player takes the role of a curvaceous B-movie heroine in an adventure whose sequences mirror those of a film, with an introduction, several scenes, and an ending. Not only must the players go through the adventure, they must also shine better than the other ones in the eyes of the director (the referee), so there's plenty of room for exaggerated acting and witty punchlines. We played the "Space Vixens" adventure from the published game, which was a Star Wars spoof with a healthy dose of I Was Kidnapped By Lesbian Pirates From Outer Space in it. Definitely not a politically correct game but with a tremendous fun potential in it and — to get back to the GM-less games discussion from 21st August — with heaps of player agency through the mechanics of "let's shoot it again" when a player is dissatisfied with how a scene unfolded. Possibly one of the best ideas for a role-playing game in years (even tough I can't really see how the game can deliver beyond one-shot sessions).

SUNDAY 24 AUGUST, morning, Elder Secrets of Glorantha

Sandy Petersen entertained us to a string of anecdotes about the early days at the Chaosium, and he revealed us quite a number of Gloranthan secrets. Actually quite a lot, so I'll concentrate of the MGF ones and on the Pamaltelan ones, since this blog is supposed to concentrate on Pamaltela.

Heroes and Super-Heroes of Glorantha

Each hero is linked to a given rune, and each rune has but one single super-hero per age. Harrek for instance is the super-hero of the Death rune; Jar-Eel of Harmony. And they sort of influence each other at this level: after Harrek killed Jar-Eel in the Battle of Heroes he "retired" from adventuring, as if Harmony had overcome Death.


In Pamaltela, history and geology go backwards. Dinosaurs, for instance, are not a relic of the past: they are NEW animals.

Humans are going out, after having started at the height of civilisation (the Artmali Empire) and become less and less civilised. Fonrit is the only area that is trying to hold out. In the Fourth Age, Slarges shall rule Pamaltela.

Pamaltelan trolls are obviously different to Genertelan trolls. They don't suffer from the trollkin curse, but they have a curse of their own: they have lost the Cold rune and have become thin. They are heroquesting to become portly again like their Genertelan cousins. They have tried two different heroquests but both failed:
- in the first one they quested for Darkness; the clan who did this now begets trollkin
- in the other one, they quested for Storm: the clan who did this now begets Horned Trolls (a creature from before Time)


Sandy says Monster Island by The Design Mechanism is definitely Loral.


In the First Age, it was a Pirate kingdom. The people were already coloured, but any colour could be born to any other colour, e.g., a blue man and an orange woman cold have a yellow child and a red child. Each colour corresponded to a particular set of skills.
In the Second Age, the Middle Sea Empire suppressed the Teleons.
In the Third Age, the tribes are separated, which prevents them from having the set of skills necessary to scour the seas again but they DO remember the past!

SUNDAY 24 AUGUST, early afternoon, 13th Age Glorantha panel

Jeff held the 13th Age Glorantha panel. The interesting thing is that the KS will be managed by Moon Design, and the book (if funded but who doubts it?) will be published by Moon Design with a regular ISS… reference number. That should bring many new players to the world of Glorantha and, hopefully, expand its popularity beyond the current 'core' fanbase.

SUNDAY 24 AUGUST, afternoon

I've already mentioned how fantastic it was to be able to play in a game refereed by its very own author, and I had the privilege of experiencing that for The Cardinal's Blades and Bimbo.
Well, this being The Kraken and Sandy Petersen being the main guest of honour, there was also a Call of Cthulhu game GM'd by Sandy. But, guess what?, everyone wanted in, so Fabian organised a lottery. Six lucky people were drawn to play in Sandy's game. Believe it or not, both my kids got a place at Sandy's table; I was so jealous. The game was a contemporary CoC game called See! and featured a new drug with eldritch implications... My son's character died by being absorbed into Great Cthulhu (is there a coolest way to lose one's character?) whilst my daughter's got shotgunned from behind by a cultist; she was so disappointed.

SUNDAY 24 AUGUST, late afternoon

I got to play the stunning Copper Town board-game by Turkka Kylliäinen, refereed by the amazing Topi (again!). The game features three Tarshite hill clans who try to monopolise the trade of copper in Tarsh, plus the city dwellers of Copper Town, and two bandit clans, one Lunar and one Orlanthi. It was a four-player game with Topi playing one of the hill clans and the city dwellers, but without trying to win, and the rest of us playing the other factions. I had both the Orlanthi bandit clan and one of the hill clans.

Unfortunately, the game uses the game mechanics from Dragon Pass; I understand it is an homage to that venerable game, but game design has evolved quite a lot from the 70s, and hex-based movement and huge stacks of counters are slightly old-fashioned in 2014... Nevertheless, the game worked surprisingly well [thanks to Topi], and it was a close race at the end of the game to finish with the most VPs. I came second by a mere single VP to Rémy, so I guess the game is balanced.

Too bad there is only one extant copy of it.

SUNDAY 24 AUGUST, evening

First we had a heart-breaking closing ceremony. When a gaming vacation is this perfect, with fine food, good friends, and unlimited German beer, you just do not want to see it ending. Alas, it had to, and we parted with tears in our eyes [almost].

The closing ceremony was followed by a mediaeval banquet (which actually looked more like a Renaissance supper to me) in the beautiful basement of the chateau.

After the dinner, Sandy ran a very difficult Lovecraftian Super-Quiz, and then our Nordic friends organised a Cthulhuesque chant-along based on Christmas carols whose lyrics had been altered to refer to the Mythos. The Shoggoth Song was my favourite one:

I had a little shoggoth
I conjured up one day.
I used an elder sigil
So shoggoth and I play.

Shoggoth, shoggoth, shoggoth
With mouths and pseudopods.
Shoggoth, shoggoth, shoggoth
Foul creature of the gods.

One day while we were playing
My monstrous pal broke free.
I'd dropped the elder sigil,
Li'l Shoggy turned on me.

Shoggoth, shoggoth, shoggoth
He ripped me to a shred.
Shoggoth, shoggoth, shoggoth
We played and now I'm dead.

14 August 2014

Glorantha: The Gods War Boardgame

Your favourite gaming sleuth already had the news on 11 June:

Also in the works: a Gloranthan boardgame by Sandy, similar to Cthulhu Wars.
We were shown an early but working draft of the board — which obviously represents Glorantha with huge geographical zones (4 to 5 zones per continent).

Well, the official announcement about this new boardgame set in Glorantha by Sandy Petersen hit Tweeter almost an hour ago:

It appears the new boardgame will be called The Gods War. There will be seven playable factions, viz, Chaos, Storm/Air, Sky/Fire, Earth, Sea/Water, Darkness, Moon. Here's the blurb from Sandy's site:


Legendary game designer, Sandy Petersen (Cthulhu Wars), is proud to partner with Moon Design Publications (Guide to Glorantha) to bring a colossal new chapter to board-gaming! Glorantha: The Gods War is a new board-game taking place in the mythic universe of Glorantha, a fantasy setting beloved by fans for almost 40 years.

Glorantha: The Gods War is a competitive strategy game in which 3 to 5 players summon minions and gods, build temples and shrines, and cast spells. The players go on heroquests, gather mystic runes, try to destroy their enemies, and capture their territory. Each faction has its own unique set of spells, mortal units, and immortal gods.

Each copy of The Gods War will come packed in a sturdy box containing a durable, full colour, double-sided map with 36 highly detailed miniatures (even more with additional planned expansions). The units are designed to a 28mm scale so they can also be used in other tabletop games. They range in size from normal humans up to colossal pieces – larger than any game pieces we’ve encountered (aside from the legendary Cthulhu Wars). We believe the quality of these miniatures will speak for themselves. This game is for people who appreciate first-rate components in their gaming experience.

12 August 2014

How does RQ: AiG compare to 13th Age in Glorantha?

The following is from Loz, and has been posted today on the G+ Glorantha community:

How does RuneQuest: Adventures in Glorantha compare to 13th Age in Glorantha?

The brief answer is... you don't fully know yet because neither book is complete. However, we're likely to cover most bases (character creation, cults, magic, monsters) to a similar degree albeit from very different perspectives that fit the nature of the respective game systems. 13th Age in Glorantha will obviously have a heavier emphasis on the Icons whereas RuneQuest: Adventures in Glorantha will be more 'down in the dust' which fits with the overall ethos of RQ Glorantha gaming. However RuneQuest: Adventures in Glorantha will include HeroQuesting and also how to emulate HQ-style magic using RQ6's various magic systems.

Both books will also be quite awesome. Buy both.

11 August 2014

Gloranthan Goodness Galore

Two excellent pieces of news for us Gloranthan fans this Monday!

First and foremost, the Gloranthan web comic by Jeff & Kalin Kadiev that I had mentioned in my Eternal Con report is live. The first instalments look fantastic. I have been a fan of the art that Kalin posted on deviantART and on G+ for a long time, but I think he's really surpassed himself here!

The story almost starts in medias res: except for the first introductory page, set in a pastoral landscape that looks quaintly Thracian, the Gloranthan tone is immediately there, with the otherworld, the demons. Looking forward to the next episodes!

The second very interesting piece of news is the announcement by Moon Design of a 13th Age in Glorantha book. The supplement will be funded via a Kickstarter campaign but honestly I can't see how it shouldn't fund. With RuneQuest: Adventures in Glorantha by The Design Mechanism in the pipe, this means that around this same time next year, GMs and players of Gloranthan adventures will have the choice between three different official rule sets to play in Glorantha:
  1- HeroQuest, for narrative games
  2- RuneQuest 6, for gritty adventures
  3- 13th Age, for character-driven/centred gaming
plus all the unofficial homebrews, amongst which Timinits & Trolls by yours truly.  Which is really, really cool: Glorantha may now expand to all kinds of gaming styles and all kinds of different players.

06 August 2014

RuneQuest 6 In Italian - What Next?

So the crowdfunding campaign for an Italian-language edition of RuneQuest 6 didn't make it. This doesn't spell the end of RQ6 in Italian, though. Alephtar Games still have until 2015 to translate the game, and at least Alephtar Games now know how many people are ready to buy the book and may adjust the cost estimates accordingly. Anyway, in a very elegant gesture, Alephtar Games have provided all backers with a small surprise.

Stay tuned!

30 July 2014

RuneQuest 6 In Italian - State of the Crowdfunding Campaign

A short post about the state of the crowdfunding campaign for the Italian version of RuneQuest 6. There are only two days left, and the funding of the campaign is only at 57%. Please click on the link below, and contribute :)

RuneQuest 6 Edizione Italiana

Quick recap of what is to be expected, should the crowfunding campaign succeed:
- A three-volume edition of the game
- A5-dimensioned PDF files for improved readability
- Looking for a November 2104 availability of the manuals

There are also a few interesting stretch golas (esp. the firdst one below), but alas I doubt they will be achieved:
- An all-Italian setting book
- A translation of Mythic Britain (aimed at a 2015 publication)
- ...

29 June 2014

RuneQuest 6 In Italian! (cont'd)

The crowdfunding campaign for the Italian version of RuneQuest 6 has started! The game —if successfully funded— will be sold in three books (Player's Book, Gamemaster's Book, Magic Book). I don't know whether this is because Italian players are supposed to be poorer, and hence there is the appeal, for instance, of only buying the Player's Book if you're a player, or because Alephtar Games want to emulate the way a certain famous fantasy role-playing game has been sold for a long time...

Anyway, here is the page for the crowdfunding campaign. I am particularly intrigued by the 4000€ stretch goal: a campaign pack based on the Ladin Iron Age legends of the Kingdom de Fanes. Other stretch goals offer the usual perks of better presented books, etc.; others yet offer the possibility to 'unlock' the Italian translation of other RQ6 books, like Mythic Britain or the Book of Quests. These would still have to be bought separately, though; they are not part of the current bundle.

Funding is currently at 32%, with 33 days to go.

23 June 2014

My First Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls Solo Game

So poor Evil Ed was quietly sipping an ale and trying to make an impression on the tavern waitress when the burgomaster came in and talked him into getting into the dungeon to find some cure for an ailing child.

So Evil Ed entered the dT&T version of Buffalo Castle (also received as a free PDF as part of the KS project) through the left door. I had decided he'd have three doses of blade venom thanks to his Poisoner talent, his high IQ, and his re-rollable SR.

With his catastrophic CHR, Evil Ed din't manage to talk the troll into letting him through and had to fight it. Ed din't hesitate a moment, and used the blade venom. Good move as the monster had a MR of 50! Ed dispatched the troll in four rounds, and suffered 2 hp of spite damage during the course of the fight. He grabbed the 300gp jewel and quickly headed back to the exit. Tough luck, this meant he had to fight his way through TWO wandering monsters; first a swarm of killer bees, losing a mere 1 hp (and being now immune to bee poison), and then a giant!!!! A MR of 80!! Ed obviously tried to dodge it rather than fight it but missed two DEX SRs in a row. The giant smashed Ed flat. Bye bye Ed; we hardly knew ye.

My First Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls Character

The beta version of the Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls rules comes with an u·g·l·y blank character sheet, which by the way is called a “character card” in dT&T; I guess because it's small enough to fit on an index card. It's also not consistently shown throughout the rules.

Anyway, I couldn't resist, and I created my very first dT&T character! Let me introduce you to Evil Ed:

Given the dismal combat stats, I have dropped the Roguery talent and replaced it with the Poisoner talent. Ed is going to prepare some blade poison before entering that first solo dungeon...

19 June 2014

KickStarter News

OK, there have been quite some exciting news from the Kickstarter projects that I'm backing in the last few days, so here's a heads-up for whomever wasn't a backer.

The Guide to Glorantha

The printer has finished printing the pages and the covers for the Guide to Glorantha, and has sent Rick several samples to gauge the  colours, the quality and the weight of the paper, etc. — this is a printer who specialises in colour hardbacks, not your run-of-the-mill printer of role-playing books. As soon as the printer gets the green light —which it should— the pages and covers will be bound into hardcovers, and that task is expected to be completed early next week.

The picture on the left is a picture of a sample of the cover for Volume One of the Guide, with coins and notes for scale...

Also, Pegasus Spiele have been confimed as the distributors for European customers, so as soon as the books arrive in Germany, we should get them really quick!

Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls

I have just received the latest Kickstarter update, complete with a link to download a PDF of the beta version of Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls, all 105 pages of it. Yay!  This is the very first time we get to have a glimpse of something more concrete than a table of contents or a three- or four-page Word document. I am über excited.

I was expecting a PDF which would've looked like pages and pages of unformatted text, yet this beta version of dT&T looks pretty much like an almost-finished product, with a two-column text throughout, clean illustrations with the text around them, clean tables, boxed text with a different background and font to the main text, top and bottom friezes... The layout is clean and easily readable, with a slightly old-school presentation, which somehow reminds me of RuneQuest 2. Some of the illos are brand new, some others are old favourites from past editions of T&T or from the pages of SA, and old fans will easily recognise them.

It is too early to comment on the rules themselves (I may run a game at THE KRAKEN if I find interested players), but there appear to be a few novelties, especially in the Combat section of the rules, e.g., martial artists, Berserkers, stunning your opponent...

There is a section that lists all the stuff that it still missing for the beta PDF, and it is mouth-watering, since it mentions Citizens, Paragons, Illkin, Extended Talents, amongst other things. Can't wait!