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Weird lands and forgotten islands » Two styles of magic? » 5/01/2020 4:38 am

I'm still prepping my BoL/Everywhen powered game set in Finn Cullen's fantasy setting (in between running EW urban fantasy games set in 1933 L.A.) and now I'm addressing the thorny subject of magic. This is definitely a sword & sorcery game, so the BoL magic rules are definitely being used - but I might also have the EW magic rules used for another tradition.

The BoL rules would be used for the evil mages of the setting, while the EW rules would be used for more scholarly styles. Not so much a white and black magic 'traditional' split, but more rural/apprentice verses urban/pupil styles.

To explain my idea: in my version of the setting (not necessarily as Finn wrote it) this is a bronze age society of two city states both sited not far where a large river meets the sea. One city has a strong Babylonian feel, while the other is more like Egyptian Memphis. The EW magic system would be for respectable urban sorcerers, while the BoL system would be for rural wizards and urban mages who have 'lost their way' in the search for greater power.

The EW system allows for a speedier recovery of Arcane Points than BoL and there is no 'take an extra Flaw rule' - i.e. no corruption. I might limit mages using the EW rules to Cantrips and 1st and 2nd Magnitude spells only - this is to simulate the divination and fortune telling focus of real world Babylonian magical practice.Of course, EW mages can always go over to 'The Dark Side' if they choose to dabble in the different tradition. I'm not sure yet if I want to use EW's optional rule of Arcane Domains or not.

Does this seem like a bad idea to you? Has anyone done anything like this in their own games? All feedback gratefully received.

BoL Everywhen » Everywhen Intelligent Entities rules - have you used them yet? » 4/24/2020 4:20 am

I'm currently running games set in 1933 L.A. called 'Hollywood Pulse', (Alison's PC is a journalist - Judy Katz - and Hollywood Pulse is the name of her movie industry column in the L.A. Daily News). It's a urban fantasy game, where Judy and her P.I. boyfriend keep coming across occult and supernatural goings on in the Californian sunshine.

In the last game I used the Intelligent Entities rules (p.95) to come up with a demon, and they worked superbly in crafting a unique monster. Has anyone else used these rules to make a special adversary for their brave/foolhardy adventurers?

The look on Alison's face when Dr Eva Barthory fled the gun fight by jumping through a high window to drop onto the gravel below - and then pick herself up and hobble away, was priceless. Even better, when - after finishing the gunfight with the doctor's goons - her and her boyfriend saw Dr B drive her car off at speed, seemingly back to full health! [Regeneration Boon in play]

As pumping bullets into her during the car chase seemed something she could shrug off, Judy targeted Barthory's fuel tank. As soon as the merest hint of flame touched the doctor's hand however, she went up like a torch! [Fire was Barthory's weakness, she was highly flammable!]

Judy and Tom had no idea what Dr Barthory was, but they knew that they had stopped her! Good times.

General discussion » What RPG(s) are you playing/running/planning? » 4/17/2020 6:17 am

Gruntfuttock
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I've long wanted to run a BoL Hyborian campaign, but have never got around to it!

BTW - if anyone else is inspired by Sigulf's posts above, but you balk at the conversion work involved, I should point out that Phil Garrad and Nick Riggs did a BoL Mythic conversion of ‘Xothian Legends: The Vault of Yigthrahotep’. It’s available on DriveThru:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/218667/Xothian-Legends-The-Vault-of-Yigthrahotep

The pdf is $6.21 and the Softback is priced at $9.93 – but currently you can get both for $9.93! 

But remember, Sigulf is right – converting to BoL is easy once you try.

General discussion » What RPG(s) are you playing/running/planning? » 4/16/2020 1:13 pm

Gruntfuttock
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Sigulf - Upthread you posted:

"I've converted many different d20 Conan adventures:  The God in the Bowl, The Lurking Terror of Nahab, Vengeance of the Golden Skull from the Messantia Box set, Wine of the Gods from Signs & Portents, and several of the adventures from the Spider-God's Bride from Xoth Publishing to name a few."

What scenarios worked best for you? The Signs and Portents back issues are fairly cheap on DriveThru - are any of those worth getting? 

 

Greetings, this is where we meet. » Greetings, fellow Lemurian adventurers! » 4/16/2020 7:36 am

Gruntfuttock
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Sigulf wrote:
"What works for me and my wife is that she makes a character and I make another character.  I am also the GM, I have her character make the major decisions, though sometimes my character will advise...  I set up and convert the adventures for two PCs.

With Sword and Sorcery adventures, two characters really work well... think Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.  Another pair of adventurers that have given me a lot of inspiration on how two individuals work together - Gotrek and Felix from the Warhammer adventures.  BoL really works well for this because 2 heroes can know and be really good at a lot of Professions.  You can have a thief that is a really good fighter and excels in urban adventures and a barbarian that excels in outdoorsman skills and maybe is a skilled corsair or pirate too.  Lots of great combinations... that allow them to do a variety of things."

Repeated for truth! That's the way to do 1GM - 1Player games in BoL.

 

General discussion » What RPG(s) are you playing/running/planning? » 4/15/2020 5:02 am

Gruntfuttock
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As we are talking about Dark Age gaming, there was an article in the newspaper yesterday about a computer reconstruction of a Norse ship, originally excavated in 1860 in Norway, which may well have been the fastest Norse vessel of circa AD 900. The ship was relatively ignored after being found, in favour of working on traditional Longship finds.

However, Dr Knut Paasche of the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research has done laser scans of the surviving fabric, to show that although at 18 metres it’s shorter than a Longship, it had a different hull construction which meant it could still carry the full mast and wide sail (100sq m) of the larger vessels. Therefore it would have been faster than the 10-12 knots of a Longship. It has room for 12 oarsmen on each side.

Dr Paasche postulates that it would have provided a chieftain or king with a fast transport, capable of not only travelling the Scandinavian coasts but also crossing the North Sea, with a small squad of fighting men. And outrunning most other ships at sea.Now doesn’t that sound like a good ship for a band of monster hunting heroes!

Dr Paasche plans to build a scale model, and hopefully in time a full replica for sailing trials. His research is published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology.

[And I see that The Vikings, starring Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis, is on BBC tv this afternoon!]

General discussion » What RPG(s) are you playing/running/planning? » 4/14/2020 4:27 am

Gruntfuttock
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Gundar - if you are talking someone based on the Knights Templar, than you are really talking about a Late Medieval society inspiration, rather than an Early Medieval (Dark Age) society. Even if you are not dealing with a historical fantasy game, but a fantasy game inspired by history, that will change things quite a bit. A fantasy game inspired by Arthurian legend might be a good way to go. No King Arthur and all the baggage that implies, but a society like medieval Germany: lots of small baronies, dukedoms, bishoprics, earldoms, etc. - all nominally under an 'Emperor' who is actually a king who only has power in his own kingdom, and the Empire is no more than an historical relic and has little power over the smaller states, who go their own way. Add monsters and robber barons, and so a need to deal with them. Enter questing knights (returned from some undefined campaign overseas) including religious knights, who try to slay the monsters and bring aid to the long suffering peasants.

This could be a great game for the right group, although it's a bit too default D&D setting for me. Also, it doesn't fit my idea of Sword & Sorcery, but that's often a slippery breast to pin down and definitions vary. It this is your preferred style of setting go for it, and more power to your elbow!

Have you read the Cyrion stories by Tanith Lee? If not, I suggest you try and find them - they could be just the sort of inspiration you could build a game off of. I've got a DAW paperback from 1982, called simply Cyrion. [ISBN 0879977655] They are recommended anyway, as a good read, and you can still pick up copies online.

The protagonist, Cyrion, is a mystical swordsman wandering around a vaguely Byzantine or even Crusader fantasy Middle East. It's a time of peace, but there are sorcerers aplenty and even a few monsters (you might need to add more). The stories even have a 'Templar style' band of knights, who keep the land free of bandits - the Knights of the Angel. This might be the s

General discussion » What RPG(s) are you playing/running/planning? » 4/14/2020 4:02 am

Gruntfuttock
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Narmer - Beowulf is great inspiration. Did you see the link to the forthcoming rpg Beowulf? It's for D&D 5th edition but with rules to make it work as a 1GM - 1Player game. The designers are of the opinion that a story about a single hero is best for a Beowuf inspired game (with which I agree). There is a free to download quickstart with would be easy to convert to BoL - which would work better than a D&D engine in my view. The game seems to be focused on a single hero roaming the world slaying monsters that are terrorising communities.

Personally I've always been drawn to a game set in Barbarium - beyond the Roman Empire - around the time of the Gothic Wars and Atilla; around the later 5th and early 6th centuries. The further you get from Christian Rome, with its near constant civil wars and political strife., the weirder things get as you travel North. Here be Dragons (and dwarves and elves if you wish) and stern kings and jarls and bloodfeuds. And Trolls. Lots of Trolls.

There is an old tale of barbarian child hostages, one sent to Rome, one sent to a powerful Germanic kingdom and one sent to Atilla (actually a girl disguised as a boy, as the king did not want to lose his heir) who later meet as adults. The Age of Migration and the collapse of the West has a lot of potential, particularly when you add the myths and fell beasts of the various cultures. Your hero could start as a Germanic warrior who has served for many years in the Late Roman army, discharged and travelling home to find things have changed a lot in his absence. That mead hall politics and royal succession is just as poisonous as in Rome, and there are Trolls that have grown more numerous and unchecked since the clans have been infighting. 

Sadly, I've had this idea for years, but have never got around to running it. Maybe some day.

General discussion » What RPG(s) are you playing/running/planning? » 4/13/2020 12:51 pm

Gruntfuttock
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Not H+I but an Everywhen game. I think H+I is a great game, but it's just a bit too crunchy for me. So I developed an expansion  of some duelling rules written by Garnett Elliott, which do the job nicely to my tastes. Garnett's rules were based on an idea of 'Edge' in a fight by Phil Garrad - so it's really a work of many hands. (Someone pointed out on MeWe that you could use the H+I advantage system but drop the duelling schools to make a simpler H+I, but I system I use is nicely integrated to the EW rules, so it works for me.)

For my Princess Clodagh games set in 11th Century my main influences were Robert E Howard's short story Spears of Clontarf and also his 16th Century set story Swordswoman. I'm more interested in having a game set in a more pulp fiction/Hollywood version of history, rather than something slavishly following real history. I ran a series of games set in Ancient Egypt which I described as 30% pulp fiction, 30% Hollywood Egypt, 30% real history and 10% Lovecraftian horror. That works for me. If you get one good general history on the period or culture and mine that for real world detail, it should be enough. If there is a Osprey book covering the warriors of the era, that might help as well.

What Dark Age era or culture are you interested in?  

General discussion » What RPG(s) are you playing/running/planning? » 4/13/2020 4:48 am

Gruntfuttock
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I was busy running a BoL Swashbuckling game yesterday, so I missed Sigulf's post and the posts flowing from it. Good stuff Sigulf! The 1GM - 1Player games I run for my wife really show that BoL & EW are great systems for these 1+1 games. I think a single PC plus ally is a particularly good arrangement for Sword & Sorcery gaming. And as Sigulf pointed out, converting stuff to a BoL system is a snap. I loved his orcs = brigands conversion - perfect!

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