Get it at Lulu for $24.99! The thing is loaded with my art!
Get it at Lulu for $24.99! The thing is loaded with my art!
The immensely prolific John M. Stater has released the first book of the latest edition of Blood & Treasure. While it has elements of a 1e retroclone, the game has some of the better features from 3e, namely Feats, as an optional set of rules.
There are 13 basic classes, with something close to forty variant sub-classes; a slight modification to duelist gives you archer, the bard can be a jester, and a monk can be adjusted to be a ninja or a ronin. Clerics can be specialty priests, with simple equitable alterationd, magic users can specialize by college, and Sorcerers may have one of several bloodlines.
Best of all, humans don’t seem to be lacking when stacked against the other races, because they get a sizeable xp bonus, and the GM (called Treasure Keeper)’s choice of either an extra feat, if they are being used, or a bonus to Saves. To me, this feels like template balancing, and I like it far more than level limits, which this game has none of.
The system flows smoothly, the presentation is great, and there are seven pieces of my art in this book, with more to follow with the companion pieces.
You can get it here. Now hop to it!
As a heavy user of the Cultist template from DF15, I find this gaming supplement wery useful. It is chock-full of thematic woodcuts, and even has art by my friend Jack Badashski (see his other products here). The setting is specific to a darkly fantastic 15th century England, but the cults, varied in membership by social strata, aim and practice are sufficiently generic as to apply to most stettings. Get it in print for fifteen bucks, or in pdf for half that.
Adapting this for GURPS is fairly easy, as many of the chaos born mutations that active cultists suffer from translate easily to assorted advantages and disadvantages, from unnatural features to winged flight to monstrous appearance, and in many cases, Social Stigma: Monster. Excommunicated is probably a given for most of them, along with Secret (Death or imprisonment).
here is a quick sneak peak of my conversion project. So far, it is an essay about game systems, some basic characters, a few tentative monster entries and a bunch of legal disclaimers… about 27 pages, and you can get it here for FREE. Hopefully, in the weeks to come I will get the adventure itself written out. In the meantime, I have some more commissions for Blood & Treasure v2 to work on.
Moving along with this project… statted out two more classes… only three to go before I get down to the nitty-gritty of the adventure itself. My little writing project has take quite a bit of inspiration from the tower of Zenopus from the Holmes book,and a little from one of the illustrations in my stock art.
Update: finished off the two race as class distillations from Sean Punch’s Pyramid article, facing the harsh reality that 75 points gets you less and less once you start with mandatory pricey advantages. The adventurer class is underway, and seems to fare better in build than either elf or dwarf, despite having Jack of All Trades and Luck as mandatory items. Perhaps my recent Appendix N reading has helped with that.
I haven’t been able to post properly of late, as my house, game books, and computer has been packed up while my landlord takes care of something , and will remain so for a few weeks. This has not kept me from maddly scribbling away in a few small notebooks.
I have been asked by a number of my S&W friends how GURPS DF plays when compared to an OSR product, and I think I may have found a way to let them try. I am currently statting up an introductory game using both 1st level S&W characters and rules together with 75 point GURPS characters and GURPS Lite.
Why 75 points? I think that point level runs closest to 1st level, and besides, the 62pt 0 level characters fromPeter Dell’Orto’s DF15: Henchmen are lacking things like power investiture and magery, but they do form the basis for the characters, along with Sean Punch’s article Races as Professions in Pyramid 3/50.
Hopefully, I can get this written up as a downloadable pdf in a week or two.
About a month ago, I entered a contest for Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day by writing a blog entry, and recently I received a free PDF copy of Frog God Games Borderland Provinces. Currently, I am about seventy pages into its two hundred and fifty two pages, but there is enough good stuff already that I have to share.
This was a great win, and one that became more poignant to me when I found out that the Art Director and Layout Artist for the project was Chuck Wright. He has recently been going through a lot, and the link connects to his gofundme pages, set up by his work family at FRog God Games. They are selling a product to help support him. I was minimally involved, as were a great many, through Erik Tenkar, whjo heavily promoted the charity, encouraging many publishers to contribute incentives to donate to Chuck’s cause.As soon as I get contact info from Erik, I will be sending out someveral of my Stock Art PDF’s.
borderland Provinces is one of the most detailed Gazetteers I have ever run into, and I had both of the boxed sets of Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms. The layout and use of font sizes flows smoothly and the charts are well placed and readable. While being highly detailed, it is not overly restricting, and has tons of customizable territory.
The two features that are most appealing to me are the use of Tech Levels and the format of the Stat blocks for the territories and Cities. Those of you who follow my blog know that I primarily play GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, and while I love S&W, my interest is largely larcenous. Rarely do I find a feature that translates so neatly into GURPS. Tech Levels have been with GURPS for a very long time. They both indicate the availability of specific types of gear, and also describe a little of the world of the setting. The tech levels in Borderland provinces are a little bit finer that the general TL3 to early TL4 that is the default for Gurps Dungeon Fantasy, and I think it helps.
The Stat blocks for Cities seem to be a good fit for GURPS City Stats, which I do not own, but have seen previews of. These stat blocks, which while expanded into specifics in the body of text, give quick insight into the degree of lawlessness, civic corruption, population demographics and monthly purchasing power of the area. The last is significant, as it indicates how much of the dungeon spoils can be sold in the area without having to travel.
The flavor text is useful, and had me thinking a little of Sprague De Camp, who I am reading concurrently. There are cities where you cannot engage in commerce without a hat of the right sort, and hamlets where they only trade in chickens because any other barter is sinful. The heraldry has literal significance also; don’t attack the town with the dragon on its flag if you know what’s good for you.
For conversions, I make a lot of use of Peter Dell’Orto‘s DF 15:Henchmen in populating my gameworld, using the five tiers of fighter type: Men at arms grade 62 point guard, 3rd to 5th level equivalent 125 point Squire or brute, 5th to 7th level equivalent 187point Veteran Guard, 7th to 8th level equivalent PC grade 250 point knight, and Name level equivalent 375 point veteran knight.
There are one or two other areas that need addressing in this way, such as 1st-3 level fighter types, who I build by adding the following 30point template to Guards:
Battle Hardened [30pts]
combat reflexes  8 points to primary weapon skill, 4 points to secondary weapon skill or shield, 2 points to background skills( probably tactics) and 1 point toward guard perks like teamwork, shieldwall training and sacrificial block.
The listed leaders (Overlords, high Sheriffs, Barons) would also tend to have 50-125 points worth of IQ+1 , Born War leader [5/+1], Status [5/+1], Rank [5/+1] Wealth [10-30], Allies [in groups of 10+ at 62 point or greater level] and skills in Diplomacy, heraldry, Politics, Leadership and Strategy.
One thing that Borderland Provinces does is slip in non combatant classes indicative of personal power, like HD in Aristocrat or commoner. These are a fairly easy conversion.
Most of the 4-6 HD aristocrats would be built on the Agent Template, with Politics, Heraldry and Diplomacy as the primary skills, and Merchant, law and leadership as secondary, adding in Riding and falconry into background skills.