28 February 2014

Latest Deluxe T&T Update — Still Quite Worried

Wow! Two Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls updates in a row. Apparently some backers are getting angry at not having received anything (except the postcards we received last year).

Unfortunately most of the backers' anger seems directed at not having received any of the promised goodies, not at not having seen anything rules-wise, not even a very first draft of the rules. People are weird.

So Rick has written a lengthy update explaining that it would be cheaper to send everything at once (which makes perfect sense), and giving some information on where they are with regards to the rules. Now, that's where I am still quite worried.

I am quoting: Ever looking to tweak and revise, Ken has continued to make changes to different sections of the rules. He has given Liz at least three versions of combat, there were three versions of talents (the final version will be number four), and right now Ken and Bear are wrestling over a second version of the weapon charts. My translation is: they've just started writing the rules. Bloody hell, this means that they didn't have anything to start with when they set up the KS in the first place. Well, I guess not everyone is Kevin Crawford, who has started his KS when he already had an almost-finished version of the text and was mostly looking to finance the art.

Also, Rick has revealed that Liz has set the following tasks and goals for the months ahead: [...] My immediate priority: finish the core section of the rules. Er, again this smacks of not having anything at the moment.

This is not a big deal. My gaming life won't collapse because the DT&T KS is late, and I'd rather wait two more years and have a fantastic version of DT&T than receive some shitty version in 2014. Also I know that Liz et al are not-too-young now, and that they live in the Land of the Free™ where even the slightest health issue can wreck your life because of the financial implications, but honestly they could have waited until they had at least an alpha version of the rules or something before setting up the KS. This just reinforces my view that game designers are simply jumping on the KS bandwagon for the easy buck (or quid) nowadays.

27 February 2014

Old School Gloranthan LARP

Just found this on Google Plus and wanted to give everybody a heads-up. This should be of special interest to Britons.

A new venture is starting up in Birmingham, UK that will feature LARP in Glorantha. Those chaps have developed a set of rules firmly rooted in Old School RuneQuest (e.g., POW and Battle Magic).

Moon Design have also kindly authorised them to reference spell names, cult names etc, so I reckon reading their site should be interesting even if you're not planning to attend their LARPs in the Midlands. The site is called The Big Rubble — and the name itself is a testament to their love for Old School RuneQuest.

10 February 2014

Dryad Treasure Chest

The following post has been inspired by a picture on the fantastic Chaudron Chromatique blog.

It is a well-known fact that Humans are incredibly greedy. Plant-Men are aware of this, and they take advantage of this cognisance to trap unwary human travellers to their forests and jungles.

The Dryad Treasure Chest is one such artifice. Mreli or Embyli (depending on the local flora) would persuade a pair of Dryads to grow together in an embrace around a treasure chest. This is quite a sacrifice for the two Dryads because they are then linked to the treasure chest instead of being linked to a whole grove of trees. Only a single tree from the grove remains with them and grows on top of the treasure chest.

Each treasure chest has been individually crafted and filled in by the Plant-Men, so it is difficult to generalise as to its contents. Plant-Men would usually fill it with precious treasures such as gems or magical items that carry a slight, nearly undetectable dwimmer-craft that gives off its negative effects weeks or even months after having been displaced. The idea is to affect the largest possible number of Humans.

The treasure chest itself is quite difficult to get hold of, so as not to arouse the suspicion of the greedy adventurers. The Dryads' eyes have the usual glamour-like effects, and their arms are very strongly curled round the treasure chest. The fruit hanging from the branches is brightly-coloured so as to entice the unwary into tasting it, to ill effects.

art by Cédric

Tunnels & Trolls version

Dryad Treasure Chest

(1) Each Dryad has eyes that cast a glamour-like effect onto anyone gazing directly into them. Technically, any delver looking at either Dryad must make a L5SR on WIZ or any Talent along the lines of "Resist Charm" or "Immune to Plant Magic". If the saving roll is missed, the victim remains in a lovestruck state for 1D4+1 hours; during this time, the victim wants to protect the Dryads and the chest, and will violently oppose anybody harming or otherwise messing around with the Dryads, the chest or the fruit.

(2) The Dryads won't otherwise act, but they have a combined STR of 50 around the treasure chest. This combined STR must be overcome to take the chest away. The chest weighs (1D6+4)×20 pounds.

(3) Should the delvers try to hack down the Dryads rather than overcome the STR of their arms, consider that the combined Dryads have a MR of 450.

(4) The fruit (of which there are always several available on the branches) looks alluringly delicious. Any delver looking upon the branches must make a L4SR on INT or any applicable Talent. If the saving roll is missed, the victim will rush to the tree to eat some fruit.

Roll 2D6 for the effects:
     02 | Victim is immediately turned into a Slorifing and runs away. He or she is an NPC now. The player may roll up a new character.
     03 | Victim is immediately turned into the appropriate form of Plant-Man (Mreli or Embyli)
     04 | Victim will worship Aldrya (if male)/Uleria (if female) from now on. Victim loses any magic associated with his or her former cult.
     05 | Victim becomes of the appropriate colour (brown or yellow); no other ill effect, but victim will have a hard time in less tolerant areas ("burn the monster!")
     06 | Victim becomes a plant-human hybrid. Roll 1D6 to find out which part of the body becomes vegetable: 1- head, 2- arms, 3- chest, 4- abdomen, 5- groin, 6- legs. The vegetable body part now contains sap instead of blood; it cannot be healed by human healing magic, only by Aldryami healing magic from now on. If the groin is affected, the victim can only produce children with a Dryad from now on.
     07 | Victim will forever defend vs plant magic with a penalty of 1 level, e.g., if the GM calls for a L2SR, the victim will have to make a L3SR.
     08 | Victim becomes vegetarian.
     09 | Victim becomes vegetarian and develops a hatred for non-vegetarians.
     10 | Victim becomes a frugivore.
     11 | Victim is slowly transformed into the appropriate form of Plant-Man (Mreli or Embyli), over a process that lasts 1D12 months.
     12 | Victim is slowly transformed into a Slorifing, over a process that lasts 1D12 months. Once the transformation is complete, the victim runs away. He or she is an NPC now. The player may roll up a new character.

(5) The treasure itself. The GM must decide what the treasure contains. 1 magical item + a stash of coins are suggested. The coins are important because they are possibly going to be spread amongst hundreds if not thousands of humans over time.

1D4 months after the treasure has been retrieved, the ill effects kick in. Anyone in contact with any part of the treasure, even a single coin, must make a L1SR on LK and a L2SR on CON. If the LK saving roll is missed, apply the effects of a random 1st level spell. If the CON saving roll is missed, the victim loses 1 permanent point of CON through spore contamination.

07 February 2014

Non-D&D OSR Blog Challenge

This is from a list of questions in the Tomb of Tedankhamen:

1 What was the first roleplaying game other than D&D you played? Was it before or after you had played D&D?
Tunnels & Trolls 5th ed. And that was after I had played D&D.

2 In what system was the first character you played in an RPG other than D&D? How was playing it different from playing a D&D character?
Tunnels & Trolls 5th ed. It wasn't really that different from playing a D&D character because at the time all we did was dungeon crawling.

3 Which game had the least or most enjoyable character generation?
Least enjoyable: Space Opera. Or the French rpg called Légendes. What a pain in the arse.
Most enjoyable: Any that didn't require hours and hours of calculations. I think I quite enjoyed creating
AD&D characters.

4 What other roleplaying author besides Gygax impressed you with their writing?
Steve Perrin, Ken Saint-André.

5 What other old school game should have become as big as D&D but didn’t? Why do you think so?
RuneQuest 2 (the original, Chaosium edition). It had a vastly superior system (hit locations, no character classes, no levels, no HP inflation), it had better products— Griffin Mountain, Pavis & Big Rubble, Borderlands, those are in my opinion the real OSR stalwarts, not Against the Giants or the Tomb of Horrors. I think the reason it failed was the über-stupid move from Chaosium to Avalon Hill just when the game was at the peak of its popularity. Or perhaps the crash of RQ:AiG.

6 What non-D&D monster do you think is as iconic as D&D ones like hook horrors or flumphs, and why do you think so?
The Gloranthan Troll.

7 What fantasy RPG other than D&D have you enjoyed most? Why?
RuneQuest 2.

8 What spy RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
None. I would have liked to try out Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes.

9 What superhero RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
I think I played Villains & Vigilantes once, but I don't think the super-heroic narrative translates well into role-playing.

10 What science fiction RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
Méga (a French role-playing game) because it was really what the GM made out of it, and I GM'd it really gonzo.
Star Wars (D6) because, well, Star Wars, and because the engine was quite good.

11 What post-apocalyptic RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
I haven't played any post-apocalyptic RPG.

12 What humorous RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
I haven't played any humorous RPG, unless you count T&T in :)

13 What horror RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
The Call of Cthulhu because of its engine (BRP), because of the setting (the 20s), and because I adore Lovecraft.

14 What historical or cultural RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
For historical gaming, BRP is best, but since this post is about old school I must admit I used AD&D for historical gaming before the various new versions of BRP (BaSIC, the BGB) came out.

15 What pseudo or alternate history RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
I haven't really played pseudo or alternate history RPGs. I like my history to be accurate.

16 Which RPG besides D&D has the best magic system? Give details.
RuneQuest, with its battle magic that everybody has access to, even non-spell-casters, and with different cults getting access to different spells. And that was waaaaay before the priestly 'spheres' of AD&D2.

17 Which RPG has the best high tech rules? Why?
No idea. I'm not a big fan of sci fi games.

18 What is the crunchiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?
19 What is the fluffiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?
I don't tend to use those categories.

20 Which setting have you enjoyed most? Why?
Glorantha. Because myths are real.

21 What is the narrowest genre RPG you have ever played? How was it?
The narrowest genre RPG I've ever played is D&D. To me "D&D-ish fantasy" is a very narrow genre.

22 What is the most gonzo kitchen sink RPG you ever played? How was it?
Méga. PCs can be space- or time-travellers, and one of the official adventures featured a world made up of different shards from various epochs of the Earth, with the GM being encouraged to exaggerate the clichés about its inhabitants and their accents when playing NPCs.

23 What is the most broken game that you tried and were unable to play?
Oriental Adventures. It was so un-East Asian I wanted to cry.

24 What is the most broken game that you tried and loved to play, warts and all?
Call of Cthulhu. If the PCs survive the first adventures and start acquiring explosives, magic, etc. it becomes a very broken representation (to say the least) of Lovecraftian horror.

25 Which game has the sleekest, most modern engine?
Tunnels & Trolls 7.5.

26 What IP (=Intellectual Property, be it book, movie or comic) that doesn’t have an RPG deserves it? Why?
Space Usagi. Laser swords and dinosaurs. In space.

27 What RPG based on an IP did you enjoy most? Give details.
Star Wars D6. I found it really close to the atmosphere of the original trilogy.

28 What free RPG did you enjoy most? Give details.
Er, if the BRP Quick-Start Rules count as a free RPG, then that's the one.

29 What OSR product have you enjoyed most? Explain how.
Cults of Prax (1979). Best "religious" RPG supplement ever.

30 Which non-D&D supplemental product should everyone know about? Give details.
Cults of Prax, as a lesson in writing an RPG supplement about religious cults.

31 What out-of-print RPG would you most like to see back in publication? Why?
RuneQuest 2. Because it is the best fantasy role-playing game ever. Period.

05 February 2014

RuneQuest 6 "Pack" - Best Bundle Of Holding Deal Ever

The latest Bundle of Holding offer enables you to buy RuneQuest 6 and the Book of Quest series of interconnected adventures for a mere USD 6.95. Now the RQ6 PDF itself normally costs CAD 25, and the PDF of the Book of Quests CAD 8, so by buying the current bundle you're already saving a hefty 77% off the nominal price!

But the Bundle of Holding is a charity so the idea is to entice donors to give more. By spending more than the current threshold (USD 16 as I'm writing this), you get three bonus supplements: the universally acclaimed Monster Island and its companion, and the mid-range adventure Hessaret's Treasure.

Spending extra to purchase Monster Island, which has been unanimously described as the best S&S supplement in years, is a no-brainer. Its PDF normally costs CAD 14.99 (approximately USD 13.54) so by adding a mere USD 2.50 you get a whole bundle of products so it's still interesting even if, like myself, you already own RQ6 and the Book of Quests.


02 February 2014

The Deluxe T&T KS Updates Keep Worrying Me

The Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls Kickstarter updates continue keeping me worried. I have mentioned the one which, for the very first time, has actually tackled the contents of the rules rather than the various goodies available for backers.

Well, apparently that particular KS update has attracted lots of backers' comments, the ones in favour of the talent tiers, the others against them, whilst some others were against the use of talents in T&T altogether [why do these guys need a Deluxe version of T&T, then??].

Rick has explained that the feedback is going to be taken into account. To me this means "we haven't really started writing the DT&T rules, we'll use this stuff as input when we do start".

In another KS update, Rick complains that some backers have complained about not having received any draft version of the book yet. Well, Rick shouldn't have complained-- it's pretty normal fare in all the KS projects I've funded to receive draft versions of the game before its completion. So what did Rick throw at us backers? A free PDF of the 4th edition of T&T, all the way back from... 1977. In my eyes, this confirms that they really haven't started working on DT&T yet :-(