Showing posts from October, 2020

In praise of "Rulings, not rules"

 If I look back at my history of roleplaying games, I see one clear arc. The rulebooks got slimmer and slimmer. My gaming started out in earnest with Dungeons & Dragons 3e, which is about an inch thick rulebook. Now, I play systems that barely take up a page. This is mostly the result of having experienced sessions that hit a slow pace for a variety of reasons, such as granular combat, or just discussions about how spells worked.  When I learned about the OSR, I was overcome with mixed feelings. The retro-clones seemed excessively punitive, with their “ save or die ” mechanics, the anemic hit point amounts, and total lack of feats. At the time, the table I was playing at was hosted by a GM that was flirting with OSR, but trying to make it work with Pathfinder. This led to some conflicting expectations, and inevitably some tough discussions. However, I was left with a copy of Swords & Wizardry in my hands, and that sort of started my journey into the OSR.  Running a game became

Islands of the Dreaming Sea

In a world half-remembered lies the Dreaming Sea. Hundreds of islands can be found here. Some are undiscovered, others are home to many. In an age of exploration, many have come to the Dreaming Sea to find a new home, trade, or discover. The worries of the Old World are left behind, but there are still dangers here. Strange creatures lurk beneath the waves, while corsairs prowl in the skies. Nature’s tempests will at times blot out the sun and cause great turmoil at sea.  So the blurb above describes the basis of an adventure setting I have been cooking up lately. The setting is inspired by Porco Rosso, NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind, the Odyssey, and just generally my appreciation of the early decades of flight. The idea is that the players take the role of Aeronauts (like aviators or pilots, really) who are exploring a vast sea that has yet to been explored. Adventures can involve racing, search and rescues, delving in forgotten temples, deterring sky pirates, and bragging about

Sci-fi Crawl Essentials - Locations

Previously I have talked about sci-fi dungeon crawls and how technology affects it. I mentioned in passing to draw inspiration from Immersive Sims, which is a genre of video games that try to present levels with interactive systems. What I want to do with this blog-post is to set the stage for discussing the design of sci-fi locations for roleplaying games. I will make up some terms, keep it system agnostic, and provide some perspectives that will hopefully be useful to you. The first three types of locations I want to bring attention to are spaceships , space stations , and surface bases . Generally, these types of locations feature complicated systems, ranging from power plants to security systems. These types of locations are inhabited, so it becomes important to also show that aspect of it. That could mean putting in a toilet and bunk beds, but it could also mean thinking about how daily life on the location works. How do people get from their beds to work? How do people pass the

FKR Revenant Sector Session 3 Report

We played the third session of Revenant’s Sector, a sci-fi sandbox campaign using the Revenant’s Hack . The characters are: Malik Zhao, a part-time ecology enthusiast.  Silas Nowak, generous bar patron.  Terry Browning, Guiney-monkey wrangler.  In the last session , they finally arrived on Taphos. With a mission to recover the Raker , the crew had decided to acquire firearms and meet up with a contact they made on the way.  Hanging around in Nara’s Outpost  The session resumed outside the general store. They had more than an hour to pass, so they decided to explore the surroundings of the outpost. Malik was curious about the ecology on Taphos, so he decided to examine the grass-like lifeforms there. To his surprise, he noticed that the “grass” was mobile, capable of retracting its tri-fork stem from the ground. They also came across younger fern trees, which were coiled up and preparing to bloom.  Back at Ryuma’s (the bar), they met with Tobias Alcantar. This time, he was dressed in pi

Money Wizards - Spells for OSE

So after a discussion about a D&D’ish society that has undergone its first industrial revolution, I came to think of a new school of magic. In this world, banks are a thing, and so is paper money. Now you don’t have to lug around chests of gold coins, but instead a fat wad of artisanal paper money. Enter the Kermamancer - the MONEY WIZARD . The money wizard has specialized in marking bills, locating stolen money, and launching fists of coins at enemies. Banks employ these wizards to ensure the safety of their clients’ fortunes. If a daring band of adventurers managed to delve their way into a bank, they might end up facing one of these types of wizards and their swole coin golems.  You will need these. Lots of them!

FKR Revenant Sector Session 2 Report

  We played the second session of Revenant’s Hack in the sci-fi sandbox . The characters are: Malik Zhao, script-slinger extraordinaire.  Silas Nowak, pilot and shady person.  Terry Browning, a get-away driver without a car.