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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day 2016! Early Announcement!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

That's right. April is around the corner and that means Swords & Wizardry Appreciation day! This year "SWAP Day" will be held on Sunday April 17th. I will be hosting the festivities, as I did last year.  If you sell S&W materials (for any of the three iterations of the game) I will post links to those as well.  So, how do you take part in this? 
- Write a post, article, free pdf etc. related to any version of S&W  OR, get a sale going with product you already have.
-Email me with a link to you blog, website etc. By 8:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on Saturday, April 16th. Email both your link and title/sale. 
-Make the subject of your email: "Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day Post (or sale) and the blog/site title. Send email to: luxfaust_at_gmail_dot_com
-Make sure to have the actual post/sale by 12:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on April 17th.
-I will have all links and titles posted here on the blog around 12:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on April 17th. 
This is just an early reminder. Let's get the word out so that we can make this years festivities huge!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Simple Dice Mechanics for Reaction Rolls in OD&D and Swords & Wizardry

Reaction rolls are something that many modern games have gotten rid of, or are at least ignored by most Referees of said games. There may be some encounters in which reaction rolls could be ignored, especially those crucial to the adventure, after all, the dragon guarding her hoard shouldn't looked favorably upon adventurers coming to take it from her! Still, for lesser encounters, and random encounters, reaction rolls are a boon to the Referee, and can add interesting twists to the adventure.
OD&D and later Swords & Wizardry Complete give us this rule for reaction rolls:
"...the Referee may roll 2d6 to determine whether the monsters will attack if they surprise the adventurers. On a roll of 2-6, the monsters will be hostile and attack; on a roll of 7-9, the monsters will withhold judgment and wait to see if the adventurers are hostile; on a roll of 10-12, the monsters will have a positive initial reaction to seeing the adventurers, and might even be convinced to offer some help – if they are well paid, of course!"
That's OK...
Looking at a later edition, Moldvay gives us this option:
Reaction Roll Table (2d6+Charisma modifier)
2 or lessImmediate AttackThe monsters are so offended that they attack immediately.
3-7UnfavorableThe monsters do not like the player characters, and will attack if they may reasonably do so.
8-11FavorableThe monsters will consider letting the player characters live if they choose to parley; it does not necessarily mean that the monsters like the player characters.
12 or moreVery favorableThe monsters (or perhaps only the monster leader) do, in fact, like the player characters; this does not mean that the monsters will just hand over their treasure, but it does indicate that they may choose to cooperate with the player characters in mutually beneficial ways.

Both have merit. I think we can do a good job at using the best of both rules while making the rule simpler and more simulationist at the same time. In fact, I need to track my source, but I'm pretty sure that Uncle Gary gave us another method. See, the above rule for OD&D might have never been used at his table. Again, I need to check the source, but I believe it was in the 1E DMG that Gygax stated that he had a poker die with all four card suits on it. The heart was marked on one side, diamonds on two, clubs on two and a spade on one. According to memory in the DMG Gary said that he used this die for reaction rolls. The heart was very favorable, the diamonds we somewhat favorable, the clubs were cautious/suspicious and the spade was hostile. This is the basis that I use for my reaction rolls. I use a Gamescience "averaging die," which is a d6 marked 2, 3, 3, 4, 4 and 5. It is essentially the same thing as the die that Gary is talking about. That said, it's not like you need the novelty of either of these dice to get the same sort of results out of a normal d6. So, without further ado, here is my method as slightly altered from Gary's.
Ruling on Reactions
Reaction Check, roll 1d6.
Roll                Result                 Explanation                                                               
    1               Hostile                   Creature is hostile toward the PCS and attacks         
                                                   The creature(s) is suspicious or untrusting of the
    2/3  Unfavorable/Suspicious  PCs, it will take little to provoke it.                           
                                                   The creatures trust, or have reason to trust or like 
    4/5    Favorable/Trusting        the PCs. They could be cautious but are favorable    
    6    Very Favorable/Friendly  The creature(s) is very favorable and willing to help
 It's clean. It's simple. It simulates real possibilities. It's also scalable based upon the environment. It is very easy to knock of one extreme or the other and scale thing back. Take this variant as an example.

Recent Wild Fires Cause Food To Be Scarce; Animal/Monster Reactions:
Roll                Result                 Explanation                                                               
    1/2               Hostile                   Creature is hostile toward the PCS and attacks      
                                                     The creature(s) is suspicious or untrusting of the
  3/4/5  Unfavorable/Suspicious   PCs, it will take little to provoke it.                         
                                                   The creatures trust, or have reason to trust or like 
     6      Favorable/Trusting        the PCs. They could be cautious but are favorable   

PC Attempts To Affect Reactions:

PCs can attempt to alter the reactions of creatures they encounter. The PCs can attempt to move influence the creature's reaction either in their favor, or provoke the creature toward hostility, if they believe this to be a smart idea! This is done with a Charisma attribute check. This can be done using any rule that the Referee chooses for attribute checks. If the check is successful the creature makes a saving throw. A failed save results in the creature's temperament moves in the intended direction by one number. If the save is failed by a large margin, the Referee may deem that it's temperament moves more than one number. Of course, the referee may deem that the creature receives a bonus to their saving throw, depending upon conditions. If, on the other hand the PC fails the attribute check by a large margin, the Referee may move the creature's reaction in the opposite direction.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Funding A Good Cause With Goblinoid Games

For those that may not have heard Ryan Denison, co-author of Mutant Future, lost his wife unexpectedly last November. +Dan P of Goblinoid Games  has created a Go Fund Me campaign to help Ryan and his family. The campaign goes to a very good cause and also comes along with some good pdfs. You can find and fund the campaign here. This is something that everyone in this community should consider helping out with. At the time of this posting, they have raised about half of the proposed funds to get Ryan and his family through.

From the campaign page:
I write with profound grief that my good friend Ryan Denison (coauthor of Mutant Future) lost his wife (Suzanne) and mother of their two-year old son abruptly and unexpectedly on November 20, 2015.

I have put together a “donation bundle” to help support Ryan and his family through the next few months as he gets his financial matters arranged. The bundle includes links to many PDF and  a few print products provided by myself and other generous publishers. Supporters will have access to links to download PDFs for free and links to print products that can be purchased “at cost” of manufacture plus shipping.

Ryan is back to work, but Suzanne was the primary provider for the family. There are many, many expenses associated with this loss and getting a new start. In the long term Ryan’s financial situation will stabilize, but in the short term he needs some help to get there.

If you enjoy Mutant Future in particular, or any of my other products and those of my publishing partners, please consider helping my friend by donating to this bundle fundraiser.

There are many great products in this bundle, available at different funding levels. Links for products are valid until April 1st. It works best to already be logged into both RPGnow and Drivethrurpg before clicking to redeem coupons. You may have to copy/paste the links for them to work properly. You can order print products where applicable via RPGnow at cost to print, but you have to cover shipping.

Thank you for your time. I want to extend my profoundest gratitude to my colleages for contributing products to this cause.

(Please note that I have to manually email links to backers, so please bear with me! Please make sure to provide an email address when backing.)
Products available:


Goblinoid Games
Labyrinth Lord (PDF, soft and hard covers)
Advanced Edition Companion (PDF, soft and hard covers)
Original Edition Characters (PDF)
Realms of Crawling Chaos (PDF, soft cover)
Idol of the Orcs (PDF, staple bound)
Mutant Future (PDF, soft and hard covers)
Starships & Spacemen 2e (PDF and soft cover)
Wizards’ World (PDF)

All of the bove, plus:

Barrel Rider Games
Class Compendium (PDF)

Faster Monkey Games
The Gyre  (PDF)
Re-Energizers (PDF)
Realm of the Technomancer (PDF)

James Mishler Games
JMG First Three Years Bundle (all of their products) (PDF)

Lesser Gnome
Whisper & Venom (PDF)

The Savage AfterWorld
Deviant Database (PDF)
Deviant Database 2.0 (PDF)
One Year In The Savage AfterWorld (PDF)

The Knotty-Works
Going Postal - Tech Bites (Microbots) (PDF)
Going Postal - Tech Bites (Vehicles) (PDF)
Table Scraps Issue 1 (PDF)
Table Scraps Issue 2 (PDF)
Table Scraps Issue 3 (PDF)
Table Scraps Issue 4 (PDF)

Mithgarthr Entertainment
The Mines of Valdhum (for Labyrinth Lord) (PDF)
The Mines of Valdhum (for Fifth Edition) (PDF)
Campaigns in Cairnvarthi (campaign setting is system neutral, included adventure is for Fifth Edition) (PDF)

Taskboy Games
Manse on Murder Hill (PDF and soft cover)
Tranzar's Redoubt (PDF and soft cover)