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Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells 2nd Edition - Factions in Action

Due to their importance and influence on the sword and sorcery adventures, Factions can effectively be treated as characters and, as such, can influence the events of the campaign in a myriad of ways. But how do we resolve the outcome of their actions in a fair and neutral way?
This system proposes assigning them scores in 4 main Attributes similar to those of the PCs: Warfare, Subterfuge, Machinations, and Influence. These scores will normally vary from 0 (meaning complete inaptitude in that particular area) to 5 (meaning a very strong focus on that particular area).

WarfareThis faction Attribute will determine how well a faction perform in battles, such as wars or even small skirmishes in the narrow alleys of a corrupt City-State.

SubterfugeThis governs how competent a faction is in more underground activities such as thievery, smuggling, assassinations and other actions normally related to criminals and other underbelly actors.

MachinationsThis Attribute determines how skillful a facti…
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If you want to write RPG material, just do it! Don’t wait for inspiration!

Some months ago I wrote a post about 10 Quick Unpretentious Tips for Writing RPG Material and promised to elaborate more on each tip. Well, I started doing that, so here it goes!

1. If you want to write RPG material, just do it! Don’t wait for inspiration!
Inspiration is fleeting. It comes and goes. You can, and should, write down every idea inspiration brings you, but that won’t be enough.

Set Goals
The most important thing is to sit down and write. Write everyday. Put goals for your writing. Star small. 200 words per day. 300 words. 500. A thousand! And keep at it. Make it a routine. A game. Everyday you clear your goal, mark an X on your calendar.
Physical Imagination
Writing, putting ideas on paper, will kickstart your imagination to have new ideas. The first words you write don't need to be great. They probably won’t be. That’s fine. Nobody’s first work is a best seller. As you write, as you put your writing muscles to use, they will kickstart your imagination. Maybe you will have …

Lost in the Fantasy World is on Kickstarter Now!

My latest game, Lost in the Fantasy World (LitFW), is on Kickstarter right now! Go check it out and help us make the best out of it!
This is a Visitation Fantasy Minimalist RPG with a Narrative Bent. What does that mean?

First, Visitation Fantasy is that kind of fiction which puts real people, from our world, into fantasy settings. In LitFW, you play as kids and teens who were transported to a fantasy world and now are trying to get back home with the help of the Mentor (the GM in this game that also assumes a role in the campaign) and magical artifacts given to them. It’s obviously influenced by the classic D&D cartoon, Chronicles of Narnia and Neverending Story.

It’s also a game about friendship, finding your true home and the meaning of being a hero. The characters will have to form bonds and help each other to be able to overcome their challenges. They will also try to get back home and maybe find their true place might be elsewhere and make sacrifices to become a true hero.

Being…

Elements of a Good Adventure - Preview of SS&SS 2e

It’s really hard to define a foolproof formula for creating good adventures, but some elements certainly help make it more interesting and exciting for everyone playing it. Like everything else, however, a single group may not be interested in all of these elements, but it’s usually a good idea to try to insert them in the adventures first to see how they respond.

Choices that Matter
RPGs are first and foremost about making choices--choices that matter,not simply mechanical choices during character creation, or whether to attack one bandit or another,. Choices can  dramatically alter the events in the story, so these choices need to be informed choices too. It makes no difference to choose between two paths in the forest with absolutely nothing to tell them apart from each other. Give them information, feed their senses. Think about what you can tell them about the choices they have to help them make a judgment call, and let their choices really affect the outcome of the game. Never …

What’s Up With Old Skull Publishing in 2020?

Since my last blog post a lot of things have happened with Old Skull Publishing! I should update this more often but sometimes I get carried away with producing more and more stuff and push updates to “later” forever. Sorry!

We have released a few products such as the following:

The Egyptian Situation from Outer Time
A campaign changing adventure for Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells involving time travel, ancient Egyptian gods and the mad priests surrounding it.

Old Skull Zine #1 - Under the Cover of Darkness
The first issue of our zine, focusing on our games brings a new adventure for Dark Streets & Darker Secrets; an organization to help or oppose them; a new supernatural Archetype and rules for relationships.

Old Skull Zine #2 - Beyond the Prismatic Nebula
The second issue focuses on Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, bringing another adventure involving Space Amazons and a Void Star cult! It also presents new character options, information regarding said cult and a c…

The Faithful - An Optional Archetype for Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells Revised Edition

Work on the revised edition of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells is moving along. This will be a hefty tome, with a LOT of tools and new options to customize your campaign, keeping the style, simplicity and flexibility of the original game.

Today I come to present my lateste addition to the draft, a new Archetype for those that want to insert some elements of more tradiotional fantasy into the game. The Faithful is an archetype inspired by the Cleric of more popular RPGs, but with some twist to fit SS&SS better. Following it, there is a sample "God" to use with it.

The Faithful The gods have chosen you to represent them in the mortal realm, or at least that’s what you believe. Most of the priests, monks and shamans perform their rituals without any hope to get an answer from their patrons, but you know you are being listened to. Your patron, your god or your ancestors help you and those that they deem worthy through you. Your faith can actually operate miracles.

The Fa…

Words of Power - An Alternative Spell System for Old Skull Engine

I am writing the second edition of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells, my first published game (a sword and sorcery RPG with streamlined rules, modern system with old school spirit) and I wrote an alternative spell system to go with it inspired by many things, including Barbarians of Lemuria, Blades in the Dark and the great articles about Magic Words written by Nick L. S. Whelan on his great blog Papers & Pencils.

Words of Power
The default magic system of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells is inspired by a series of authors both in literature and in gaming. It assumes practitioners of sorcery dabble with incredible powerful and unstable energies to cast their spells, which they must learn the exact formula to cast. They usually can't devise new spells of modify the spells they know, as true sorcery is not a creation of mortals and these can only mimic this sinister arc with sinister consequences.

This alternative system proposed here changes things a bit. Magic will still b…