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Friday, August 21, 2015

Rulings On Shields and Helm For Your Swords & Wizardry & Other Old School Fantasy Campaigns

+Talysman the Ur-Beatle has recently posted some updated rules for shields and helms for use in old school RPGs. I like it. However, I would house rule a bit differently, and it's rather a shame that this wasn't thought of prior to the release of Goldenrod Guides: A Guide to Swords & Wizardry Combat. These rules may have made it into the document. So, allow me to riff on Talysman for a minute.


I have long been fan of the Shields Shall Be Splintered rule, though I have not used it in actual play when I am running a game. I also like Talysman's rule that shields absorb damage rolls of 1. HOWEVER, I am an asshole Referee and don't think that this should be automatically allowed. Therefore:

Any creature using a shield can attempt to fend of a blow with said shield absorbing damage dealt. Any damage roll of 1 (and only 1) may be absorbed by a shield with a 4 in 6 chance of success. This reflects successful blocking with the shield.

The wielder of the shield (upon being damaged) can attempt to splinter their shield, absorbing all of the damage dealt. This causes the shield to splinter and become useless. There is a 2 in 6 chance of success to absorb all damage. On a failed roll (3 - 6 on 1d6) only half of the damage dealt is absorbed.

Additionally, if a rule is used allowing a character to make a shield bash attack (such as the "Sword & Shield Combat Style" in the aforementioned Goldenrod Guide) the wielder of said shield can splinter it on a successful attack (again rendering the shield useless) causing it to deal an additional 1-6 damage.

If  a shield being splintered is magical it gains a 2 in twenty chance to survive per +1 point of magical bonus. Thus a +2 shield survives splintering (still absorbing damage) on a roll of  1-4 on a d20.


My rule for helms is far more specific and applies only in two specific situations (one requiring the use of critical hit rules.)

Any creature wearing a helmet may make a roll to avoid damage that would normally take them to 0 or fewer hit points. There is a 1 in 6 chance of success. Success, in turn, causes a 2 in 6 chance of the helm being damaged and becoming useless or damaged. Additionally if critical hits are being used in a game there is a 2 in 6 chance that a helm prevents the critical hit and only normal damage is dealt.

Well, those are my thoughts. And that, as they say, is that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

U-Con OSR Track Guest Announcement!

It is with great pleasure that I give this announcement. This year at U-Con our OSR Track has been lucky enough to get a sponsorship! For this my thanks goes out to +John Reyst and his company Open Gaming and website http://www.d20pfsrd.com/! John has given a great deal of support this year and thanks to that support we were able to bring in both a Guest of Honor and an Industry Insider for the track. Without further ado, I give you our guests!

First off, I would like to point you in the direction of our Guest of Honor, founder of both Necromancer Games and Frog God Games, as well as the author of famed mega-dungeon Rappan Athuk, Bill Webb!

Next I would like to introduce our Industry Insider, coming to represent Goodman Games, but also known as for being the creator of Mavin the Mage, author of the forthcoming Mutant Crawl Classics and a host of two OSR podcasts Save or Die! and Spellburn, I give you Jim Wampler!

Both will be participating in the OSR Track's panel this year on Friday night.  Additionally, any GMs with games on the OSR track will be able to participate in special events featuring this fine gentlemen. More information will be forthcoming!

Remember the convention is only a few short months away. If you have a game you would like to run, please click the link on this blog.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Returning To the Blog, Goldenrod spells, U-Con and MY Keep on the Borderlands

Wow. It has been nearly a month since my last post. Apparently the gaming hiatus took hold here as well.I had some vacation time in there. But really, I just haven't had the time. There was vacation, and some of it was a working vacation. In fact, I got several new spells completed for "Goldenrod." Some of these (previous OGL spells converted to S&W) will be released in the Goldenrod Guides: Sorcerer's Compedium through Open Gaming. Others are being saved for a later release.

I've also been working on/scheming things for the OSR Track at U-Con this year. I will have a full update posted this coming week on that. In fact, it looks like it's going to be a great track this year. It's only three months off at this point, so now is the time to think about your games and get submissions in! You can get information here. We have some excellent folks coming out this year, but more on that in my full OSR Track announcement this coming week.

In other news it appears that the gaming hiatus is over! In fact, Last week I began to run a new campaign (which will be run bi-weekly on Fridays.) I'm running Swords & Wizardry ("Goldenrod" options with Arduin Grimoire material included.) I am kicking off the campaign with a mashup of B1 and B2 on the Keep on the Borderlands map! The first session was fun, (though it almost ended in a TPK.)

In my version of B1/B2 that we are currently taking part in, Chaos looks similar to what one would expect out of a Warhammer FRP 1st edition game. The Keep is the last bastion standing between the lands of man and the waste of Chaos. The Caves of Chaos are only the beginning. Cults of Chaos war with eachother in the wastes. Demogorgan's worshipers fight against those of Orcus. The Slime Lord Juiblex's forces wage war against the Cults of Tsathagga in pestilence filled marshes. Pazuzu and Yeegnhu are fickle and turn against the others as quickly as they aid them. If all of these forces were united, surely the forces of Chaos would overrun the world of men, dwarves and elves. All of this the Jale God watches. And it schemes...

This is the world that the PCs have entered into. They journeyed far to get to the Keep, seeking fortune and glory. In less than one day the found that the Taint of Chaos is strong. The party nearly fell in the sewer beneath the keep to what should have been normal rats. The Taint touches all things in this forsaken wilderness. The rats beneath the keep were mutated into pestilence spreading creatures of the Glottkin. And if such terrible creatures can be found beneath the Keep itself, what lies in the Unknown and the Caves of Chaos?