Jason Hobbs, of Hobbs and Friends of the OSR, linked me in to a grappling duel that he was going to run in an ongoing game he runs. You can see it here, from about the 5 minute mark to about 10 minutes, maybe a bit longer. He used concepts from my book, Dungeon Grappling, to execute the duel.

Check it out. I’ll wait.

A few things about it that struck me, or that I really liked:

  • First, Jason looked at the rules ahead of time, trimmed them to his needs, and clarified the function with the other player in the duel
  • He made them his own: dividing the HP of each fighter into a few bins of a size that made sense to him. There seemed to also be a “no effect” zone up to a certain level, too
  • He eliminated modifiers to the damage roll: “just roll your Hit Die for control damage.”
  • He made the contest one-way: no way to counter-grapple. The player asked about it, and was informed not to worry.
  • It was fast, and especially in the duel, the “miss, miss, hit/damage, miss, hit/damage, etc” sequence was as fast as it should be, with no bizarre lookups.

That’s the point, really: everyone who plays any version of D&D knows the hit roll vs AC/damage roll paradigm. It’s basically in our blood. And with the relatively low number of HP in Old School games, using HP as Control Maximum is equally well understood.

The player was able to ask for things to do: “get in and take him down.” That was glossed over, but it could have been attempted as soon as the fight moved from “grabbed” to “grappled.” Make an attack roll, spend the CP to represent the effort of throwing him to the ground, and poof. He’s now prone (and presumably embarrassed) on the ground. Easier to hit, harder to hit you, and worse Dexterity-type saving throws.

I liked what I saw, and as the players and the GM get used to it, I can easily see adding some of the optional detail for more fun.

For what it’s worth: Dungeon Grappling is on sale until January 2, 2019!

GameHole Con 2018 – Con Report

Well, I survived! This was the first convention that I’d attended since my journey to GenCon 2017, as part of my first foray as being part of the con as Gaming Ballistic, LLC. I was, more importantly it turned out, also there as part of my Kickstarter rewards for backing the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (Powered by GURPS) at the “play the game with Kromm” level.

That’s important for this journey to Madison, Wisconsin for two reasons.
1. I played through what would turn into the linear adventure Lost Hall of Tyr (for D&D5e) there for the first two times
2. I got to know the Dungeon Fantasy RPG for the first time

My mission for this Convention, then? To demonstrate and run Hall of Judgment, the first licensed adventure or supplement of any kind for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG. To talk with the SJG folks (Phil and Steve were both there) about further ideas for supporting GURPS. To get to meet in person folks like Matt Finch, Erik Tenkar, Jason Hobbs, and many others whom I’ve interacted with – and who have helped me so much – in getting my games off the launch pad. I simply could not have done what I did on Dragon Heresy and Hall of Judgment without an absolutely crucial hour or so with Zach Glazar, who pumped an incredible amount of InDesign Starter information into my head.

I also was hoping to sell a few copies of my product, which was a secondary goal but a real one.

Let’s recap. Continue reading “GameHole Con 2018 Trip Report!”

Not Good, but Profitable

That’s become our motto. Tim Shorts got a great writeup done, and Peter followed. They covered everything, so I’ll restrict myself to comments about the system itself.

I like Swords and Wizardry. It’s a fairly rules-light system even in its Complete version, though some simplification or rationalization of game mechanics could still be done. That’s more a result of hewing to the original source material, which was of course a design mission for the game. But Erik, Tim, Peter, and others have played S&W Complete through many adventures.

Sword and Wizardry Light, and now it’s “Extra” version, which adds material rather than being Extra Light, is a rules skeleton by design. It’s got a bit more – such as the ranger and paladin classes – than the basic four of the SWL set. But it really does work best when all of the concepts in playing D&D are already reasonably well known, and also when the players are not shy about roleplaying disadvantageous ability scores with no mechanical support.

You roll 3d6, either in order or assign as you like. We’d decided on race/class before the game started, with Peter an Elf/Mage, me an Elf/Ranger, and Tim a Halfling/Fighter. I rolled 3d6, mostly hit 9-12, but picked up two 15’s, which are good for +1 to something. In my case I did DEX (for my bow) and CON (for HP).

The system only uses 20-sided and 6-sided dice, and d20s are only used for attack rolls and saving throws. Everything else, from Hit Dice to initiative to damage, are d6s. I’m cool with that. I play GURPS. Continue reading “Swords and Wizardry Xtra (Light) – B-Team Makes Friends”

After something like a three-month pause (Peter says 1/9/2015), we return to the Castle of the Mad Archmage. We’d abandoned the arena, and returned to Level 3, looking for stuff to kill and loot in the fine, grand old tradition of delvers everywhere..

After shooting the breeze for nearly an hour, we got down to business. We were moderately loaded with healing potions, so Rul went shopping, and bought 3 more for 500gp.

We decided to continue to avoid the mass of Hobgoblins to the Northeast (“because there’s a ton of them and they have a terrible Treasure Type.”) We elect to head to the area round the pink room, and as per usual, the three ST 16-17 characters all fail to open the door, rollng 5-6 three times on 1d6. Odds of that? 1 in 27.

Guess we need to find another door.

We do, and then Rul actually managed to kick open a door. The occupants of the room are dead, standing, and they turn to look at us but don’t turn to attack just yet. There are four of them.

“Greetings, denizens of the underworld,” says Mirado. We don’t see any treasure about – we say “sorry guys!” and leave.

As we walk, Minister finds a secret door as we go, and opens it. There’s nothing obvious, but we continue down the corridor, finding a dead-end. We all fail the secret door roll, so we miss the obvious second secret door in the dead-end corridor.

We continue. Continue reading “Swords and Wizardry – You can’t roll a ballista up a 5% slope”