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The Dead Are Coming - A Zombie Apocalypse Survival RPG for #BastionJam

Chris McDowall is organizing a game jam over itch.io called #BastionJam, encouraging people to create material based on Into the Odd and Electric Bastionland. You can basically use the system without copying the text directly form the books to create anything you want. So you can make adventures for these games, supplements, new setting or even entirely new games!
So that's what I am going to do. I am making a new game called The Dead Are Coming, a Zumbie Apocalypse Survival RPG using these games as inspiration and, as usual, a lot of other sutff too!

Introduction The Dead Are Coming is a zombie apocalypse survival role-playing game. You and 2-5 friends play make-believe to create a shared narrative of a group of survivors trying to keep on living in a world that has gone terrible wrong. The rules help keep the story you tell consistent, interesting and challenging.

You play as a desperate survivor in a post-apocalyptic world, where zombies are a real thing and they won’t stop until t…

Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells 2nd Edition - Creating Adventures

The main job of a Referee is to create adventures that the players will enjoy. They do not create stories with beginnings, middles, and ends, but they create situations with locations, NPCs, problems, and complications, and potential solutions for the player characters to interact with and, as a result, create a story.

The Five QuestionsWhen creating an adventure, you can begin trying to answer five important questions about it: “Who?”, “What?”, “Where?”, “Why?” and “How?”. This helps you organize your thoughts and makes you focus on what really matters in the adventure.

Who?Who are the main movers and shakers? What are their assets? What are their weaknesses? What do they want? What motivates them to do what they do? Think about all of these questions and how each of those individuals relate to one another. Are they rivals? Allies? Enemies? How could they meet with the PCs and how would they relate to them? Try to create individuals and factions that can be manipulated by the PCs in in…

Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells 2nd Edition - Perilous Journeys

In a violent and savage world inhabited by ancient beasts and monsters spawned in the deepest abyss, traveling is a feat in which few people regularly engage. Going from one City-State to the next is an adventure all on its own.

Many dangers can befall travelers in their journeys, not only monsters and bandits, but many other hazards such as storms, wildfires and fetid swamps. Additionally, when adventurers explore savage and unknown lands, any raging river, steep mountain, or tortuous trail can become an obstacle.

In game terms, each character needs to make a Luck Roll for each leg of the journey. If the majority of the group succeeds, nothing bad happens. However, if most of them are unlucky, something unfortunate befalls the group. When this happens, roll on the table below.

d20Travel Hazards1.Mundane animals of the region are strangely agitated and act in weird and disturbing ways during the night. The group cannot sleep well and everyone receives a Negative Die during the next…

Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells 2nd Edition - Reputation and Contacts

ReputationCharacters in most fantasy games begin as nobodies. They are usually common people without significant past deeds that would make them noticeable or famous. That’s an interesting and important feature. It sets the stage so that the really special events happen during the game. If the PCs are to become famous, gather a reputation, this will be due to things they do in their adventures.

Thus, as the characters go on adventures, acquire wealth, and become more and more powerful and influential, their reputation will grow. Their names will invoke images and change the way people see them. To help reflect this on the game I’ve come up with what I call a Level Test. It works like this: The player rolls a 2d6 and compare it to your character’s Level. If it’s equal to or below the number, the NPC recognizes you somehow. Their reaction will vary according to your deeds and fame.

The Referee can also impose a Negative or Positive Die depending on how familiar each region is to the cultu…

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…

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…