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We’re getting ready to start a BECMI/OSR campaign and so I decided to review the following BECMI/OSR products:

  • Rules Cyclopedia
  • Labyrinth Lords
  • Dark Dungeons
  • Blood & Treasure
  • Swords & Wizardry
  • Red & Blue Books with B/X Companion

What I discovered was that all roads point back to the Rules Cyclopedia. To me, it’s the best book that I use to look up all sorts of things. It’s not the be-all, end-all of sources, but it’s my go-to.

I have to admit that back in the 80’s when I was playing original BECMI/AD&D, our group jumped on the AD&D products immediately, and I never really played too much in the Mystara setting. It’s a shame because I now believe that Mystara is the best setting for playing the type of BECMI/OSR game we’re going to be playing.

Also, we’re going to be using Chapter 5 of the RC which means Weapon Proficiencies and General Skills will be used extensively. The Mystara section and Chapter 5 are two more reasons why the RC is the source of choice. The following document clarifies certain rules that will be used in the campaign:

Session Zero for Mystara Campaign Using Rules Cyclopedia and Labyrinth Lord

To me, the coolest part of what we’re going to be running is using a very specific set of character classes. My players can only choose from the following 16 classes. These classes come from James Spahn of Barrel Rider Games:

Archer

Assassin

Bandit

Barbarian

Berserker

Bounty Hunter

Explorer

Gladiator

Pirate

Rune Smith

Scoundrel

Swashbuckler

Sword Master

Undead Slayer

Wanderer

Wild Wizard

I took all of these classes and made a resource for the players to use.

Since we’ll be utilizing Weapon Proficiency and General Skills, I found a character sheet online that has an entire page dedicated to these mechanics. I’m not sure of its origin, but it’s perfect for our campaign.

D&D Character Record Sheet (Knotwork)

Finally, the one area of adventure that I just couldn’t find a system that I truly loved was the Hex Crawl. I’m sure there are numerous systems that are just fine, but I wanted to make travel and encounters have a simple system and use the groups’ skills.

I found the perfect set of encounter tables online. They were created by Jed McClure and he calls them Wilderness Hexplore. The system was designed for a map with absolutely no idea what lies beyond the home hex you start on. Since we’ll be in the Mystara campaign world, I modified his method, but I still think his tables are pretty robust.

Jed McClure_Wilderness_Hexplore_revised

My system utilizes his tables, but it requires the party of adventurers to be more involved in taking on certain roles as the group travels. Here is the revised system that utilizes skills from the General Skills list in the RC.

Overland Travel Rules for BECMI & OSR

I’ve been toying around with a method to play Savage Worlds in a streamlined, solitaire style. The method I created requires the following products. The first is the Map & Dice deck from Inked Adventures. Each card includes a small geomorph dungeon section, suit and card number, and die results for a d6, d20, and d100. I created a Setting Rule that allows you to spend a Benny to use the dice results on the cards rather than the number you rolled. If, for example, the card had a 6 on a d6, you could spend a Benny a get an Aced die result!

I, once again, used Gold & Glory to create a random character. That is the character you must use for the 10 rounds of play. You’ll also need the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition and the Fantasy Companion.

I chose to use the Fantasy Companion character sheet for the play tests.

You’ll need a standard set of Polyhedral dice as well as a Wild Die. A set of percentile dice and an additional d10 to help track rounds are handy.

The goal is not only to survive 10 rounds (you could make it longer, too, to see how long you survive!), but to also see how much treasure you can accumulate each time you play. I converted everything to gold pieces just to make it easier. Don’t forget to calculate the value of magic items should you find those as well. Also, monsters in the Fantasy Companion have a treasure rating; don’t forget to loot the monsters you defeat.

Basically, each suit of the cards represents a different type of encounter: Spades = Traps, Hearts = rest and healing, Diamonds = Treasure, and Clubs = a monster.

For my fights with monsters, I chose to use the Quick Combat and Quick Skirmish rules. Quick Combat is just one roll. Quick Skirmish can be several rounds, but is still just one roll. In other words, by using these rules, you never need to roll for the monsters.

Begin with 5 Bennies, shuffle the deck, and follow these guidelines:

SW Solitaire Dungeon

Not long ago I decided to order a couple of Call of Cthulhu RPG materials. I found a great copy of “Dreamlands: Roleplaying Beyond the Wall of Sleep”. This is such a great setting book for the Dreamlands!

In the introduction, Sandy Petersen and Chris Williams provide sources for where they gathered their material from. While the Lovecraft citations are, of course, required, they also mentions works by Brian Lumley, Clark Ashton Smith, and Gary Myers.

My pursuit of these lesser known books by Myers, Lumley, and Smith began.

This would be a comprehensive library of Dreamlands related material that could be referenced for any adventures you might want to run in the Dreamlands for your role playing.

The Myers book was a pleasant surprise. It is a small, hardback edition. It might even be the first edition of the book. Pendragon Fine Books of California had it for a very reasonable price.

As far as I know, the only published Savage Worlds setting that takes place in the Dreamlands is the crossover book done for Aching! Cthulhu and DUST, which is an epic adventure!

And I must once again mention the map that ties all of this together at the gaming table, the map by Jason Thompson:

Map of the Dreamlands

Thompson also mentions Gary Myers as well as Lord Dunsany.

So, I decided to create some fantasy characters using a combination of Sean Patrick Fannon’s new product called A Hero Will Rise: Epic Fantasy and the random fantasy character generator in Giuseppe Rotunda’s Gold & Glory: Seven Deadly Dungeons. This was a fun way to create some interesting characters with good backgrounds as well as bonds between each of the characters.

I also decided I liked the retro look and feel of Middle Kingdoms Adventure and Trading Company’s Basic Savage Worlds Fantasy Character Record Sheet.

The results needed to be fudged ever so slightly with the classes so I could get a diverse group of adventurers; but I really enjoy just sitting down and creating characters using these products! In addition, I think these products go nicely together and have an old school, early D&D feel.

The end result is a group comprising a Male Human Cleric, a Male Elf Fighter (kind of Rangerish), a Male Elf Rogue, and a Female Human Wizard.

Kaervold Stormcrow

Wylghin Arazord

Skyjard Arazord

Lira Daravik

 

I wanted to share the high resolution pic of the goblin stronghold I created for Saga of the Goblin Horde.

Vulgorath G&G

First of all, there’s Saga of the Goblin Horde, which is epic, fun, and hilarious! Then, there’s this nifty little system called Gold & Glory  that has a certain reminiscence of Old School D&D – we’re talking back in the late 70’s and early 80’s type of dungeon crawly feel. Add a little home brew notes from Rob Randolph’s running of Saga of the Goblin Horde, and I present my Goblin Stronghold with a Random Encounter Generator.

The complex can be used in many ways. Any time that the gang gets their mission from Chief Bignose, use the random encounter generator one or two draws to determine what antics the gang goes through leaving the caves. Simply draw three cards from a pool of cards 2-10 of all suits (remove aces and face cards). Dice will also be used as well. Interpret the cards per the suggestions in the Gold & Glory core book. You’ll also need to have a copy of Saga, the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition, and the Fantasy Companion.

Another use is to generate betweener missions during the Plot Point Campaign in Saga. Or, you can simply use everything for your own ideas to execute little side missions within the caves.

I tried to keep everything as “theater-of-the-mind” style of play as possible. It’s up to you if you want to actually set out miniatures and set pieces, but it shouldn’t be necessary.

And here is the pdf of the tables:

Vulgorath G&G

Lately, I’ve been back in the home studio writing some music that fits well with running tabletop RPGs. These songs are written with a generic Fantasy world in mind, but would fit with almost any genre of game.

The Library of the Waves

The Falls of Gathar

The Fire Pools of Athaz

The Battle of Felnuir Bridge

The Goblins of Beolgir Swamp

After the Fall

I plan on releasing these songs along with several others on an album soon.

After watching The Hobbit, I convinced my boys to try out the first adventure in Wilderland Adventures from Cubicle 7’s  Adventures in Middle-Earth setting.

To further entice the boys, I decided to use Legos for character representation.

They thought it was pretty cool to design their Lego Mini Figs to match their character sheets.

And here is the opening scene of the campaign.

The adventure was a success and actually held the boys attention for the duration of the adventure. This setting is a great departure from the stereotypical D&D style of High Fantasy play. The changes made to the system further accentuate the feel of Tolkien’s world of Middle-Earth!

The Family Unit and I went to Universal Studios and Disney World for the Christmas Holidays. The entire time, the Savage Worlds part of my mind was constantly looking for ideas on how to Savage all of the creative things flooding my senses. So, I thought I would share some ideas. I’m also at a point with the new year coming where I want to decide a new Savage Worlds campaign I want to start running to kick off 2018. I’m going to talk about some various campaigns and which one I’m likely going to run.

I had been playing Adventures in Middle Earth, so I’ve been in a Fantasy genre mindset. I thought visiting Harry Potter at Universal would be a great inspiration. It was actually quite impressive all the work they’ve put into the park, rides, and scenery. I found this cool Wizard-themed deck of cards and thought It’d make a great Action Deck.

The cards have really cool artwork.

The disappointing thing, however, is that the deck doesn’t have any Jokers! Even though the box says it contains 54 cards, there were no Jokers. Only 52 cards. I feel ripped off about that.

I also found some cool Pirates of the Caribbean coins that would make great Bennies. I didn’t buy any, though, as they cost about 8 bucks a piece. I did’t want to spend a small fortune just to get some POTC Bennies.

Disney’s newest attraction is the Avatar-themed section of Animal Kingdom with its gorgeous Pandora scenery. I found these cool, plastic creatures from Avatar that might come in handy as miniatures at some point.

One of the ideas I had that involved the actual parks was to run a zombie apocalypse game where the heroes must enter one of the parks to retrieve some sort of MacGuffin. The parks would be completely overran with zombies and, thus, would be a serious endeavor to get through. To make this more fun, I thought it would be cool to use actual park maps you can get for free.

For me, the best part of the trip was the Pandora experience and the incredible sensation of riding “Flight of Passage”. That ride is breathtaking. That, plus seeing the new Star Wars movie while in Orlando, just made me really want to run another Last Parsec game.

Pinnacle has been releasing a serialized campaign for The Last Parsec in issues 2 & 3 of Explorer. I never managed to start Scientorium, so I’d really like to run those two while I’m still amped up about Sci-Fi!

In all honesty, though, I’m really looking to get into a full-on campaign that was as absorbing as Solomon Kane. A Savage Worlds classic Plot Point Campaign.

Solomon Kane was a great setting. It was the first Savage Worlds product I bought. The second product I bought is now a classic, too – 50 Fathoms. I must confess that I have never ran 50 Fathoms but I’ve heard so many people talk about how fun of a campaign it is to run. In the end, I’ve decided that I’m going to be running either 50 Fathoms or another campaign that people have said is a super fun campaign.

Saga of the Goblin Horde is what I’m currently reading and I’m leaning towards running it followed by 50 Fathoms. These two campaigns may likely be the most fun (and funniest to run) campaigns for Savage Worlds that there are. I believe these two are destined to be classics and want to enjoy them.

 

 

Just prior to Xanathar’s Guide to Everything being released, we were running some characters through the D&D Next adventures “Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle”, “The Scourge of the Sword Coast”, and “Dead in Thay”.

Ghosts is a great product to have in hard copy because it includes the adventure as well the entire rule system as it was during play tests; it also contains beasts and a huge amount of resource material. Probably the best thing I like about it, though, is the art work that spans the entire D&D oeuvre!

Of course, Dead in Thay has been redone for 5E in “Tales from the Yawning Portal”, so it can be ran using either D&D Next or 5E, even though there is very little difference.

We had gotten through a large part of Ghosts and were at 3rd level at the time that Xanathar’s came out, but I gave the players the option to convert their characters to one of the new classes since I used their characters to go through the creation process of the new classes in Xanathar’s just for my own edification. For those interested, here are the characters I created: Jelenneth Floshin (3rd Level Gloom Stalker who is a kinswoman of the famous Elven Floshin family who play a huge part in the region of Daggerford’s history); Holg (Half-orc companion of Jelenneth who is a 3rd Level Barbarian of the Ancestral Guardian Primal Path); Emporo Zuberi (3rd Level Bard of the College of Swords who is from Chult); Juma Zuberi (Younger brother of Emporo and 3rd Level Swashbuckler).

Jelenneth Floshin

Holg

Emporo Zuberi

Juma Zuberi