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Showing posts from 2017

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Vehicle and Starship Combat - Part IV

How about the starship's weapons you ask?

Vehicles and starships can sport a great arsenal of weapons. Some of them have heavy machine guns, missile launchers, flamethrowers and some even have laser guns, blaster cannons and even somo more arcane armaments the Overlord can come up with.

In game terms, vehicle’s weapons work just like character weapons, although the Overlord must pay attention to the Scale in which they are being used.

RPG Gems of 2017

So 2017 is reaching the end of its life. It has been a good year, I think. At least in the gaming department. I like to keep good memories and forget the bad stuff anyways. So what 10 cool gaming products have I found in 2017 (not necessarily released in 2017, tough)? Let’s take a look!

Zweinhander: A reinterpretation of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying 1st and 2nd edition, compiled in one sigle massive book with all you need to play and a lot of inspiration for Grim and Perilous gaming! Great stuff! Beautiful art! I can’t wait for their future releases!

FrontierSpace: Do you remember Star Frontiers from TSR? FrontierSpace takes the agile, flexible and easy to use % system of BareBones Fantasy and make a exploration of the frontier science fantasy game with it, full of resources to fuel your imagination! Great acquisition and a great game! I just wish it had more artwork on it.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Vehicle and Starship Combat - Part III

Let's continue, shall we? Before they blast us away from the vacuum of space.

As characters have Vitality points, vehicles and starships possess Hull points. This measures how much damage they can suffer before falling apart. Bigger ships have more Hull points than smaller ones, but they tend to have a lower Maneuverability.

As long as a vehicle or starship still has Hull points, they work just as fine, unless they are hit by a Critical Hit. When a Critical Hit is suffered, the attacker rolls 1d6 on the table below and the vehicle or starship acquires a Destruction score of 1 (and it increases by one by each additional Critical Hit suffered).

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Vehicle and Starship Combat - Part II

Time to take a look on how Armor and Shields work on our starships! I will explain a bit about Scale later!

Vehicles and starships have are made of resistant materials naturally, but the weapons they used also sport very damaging attacks. As such, they also have armor which provides Damage Reduction just like the armor used by characters. However, it’s important to note that there is a difference in Scale (which will be dealt with below). Even though a starship’s light armor will only absorb 1 point of damage from the laser cannon fired at it by another ship, it will absorb much more damage points if the weapon used was of a smaller Scale.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Vehicle and Starship Combat - Part I

In all respects, except the ones on which we elucidate in this section, combat with vehicles and starships work the same way as combat between characters.

The Overlord will adjudicate any Surprise situation, Initiative will be resolved normally, attacks will be made and damage will be taken. But some details are slightly adjusted by the following rules.

Some vehicles and starships are capable of sharp turns, and daring maneuvers with little effort. Others, however, are sluggish and take some time to change its direction, even under heavy fire. In game terms, this is represented by a vehicle's or starship’s Maneuverability.

Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells Giveaway - Adventure Outlines!

A few months ago I asked on Google+ if people would be interested in participating on a small giveaway of printed SS&SS books, where participants would use the Adventure Idea Generator and the Adventure Title Generator from Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells - Core Book and Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells - Addendum, respectively, to write a quick Adventure Outline.

The response was impressively good, so here it is!

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - A Brief History of the Universe - Part VI

Let's get over with the history classes, shall we? Last part of the history section of the universe with more job tables!

The Age of Galactic Overlords

After the Cleansing Wars that devastated the universe and erased many cultures from existence, the Galactic Overlords came to power. They divided the sectors between them based on their individual powers and origins. Some of them were not happy with their lot and infighting happens till this day.

Some small sectors and regions, although nominally within the domains of the Galactic Overlords, are actually ruled by an ally or lieutenant of them. Others, still, are so remote or protected by some barrier or obstacles that make them independent, like the Outer Regions and the Ghost Sector. Thar, however, don’t prevent an occasional attack by a furious Galactic Overlord once in awhile.

Today, these sorcerous tyrants conspire against each other in the shadows, always vying for more power and influence. Officially, they have a truce and a…

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - A Brief History of the Universe - Part V

The Void has come, and it changed to universe forever with its agents, the Galactic Overlords.

The Cleansing Wars

It didn’t take long before the growing animosities turned into a great war that raged throughout the whole universe. Lead by the First Sorcery, a score of powerful servants of the Void lead a great contingent of humans to believe they were the heirs of the universe, and that all other sentients should kneel before their superiority.

This immediately lead others species to elect strong leaders, and even their own sorcerer warlords to fight their enemies. Many now believe these were also trained by the First Sorcerer in disguise, manipulating the whole universe as his playthings.

These forces battled for centuries, and the forces of the Galactic Overlords were on the brink of victory when they discovered the plans of the First Sorcery. He intended to dispose all of them of their powers as soon as the war was won. That’s what turned the tide of war, as the Galactic Overlords…

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - A Brief History of the Universe - Part IV

Behind any light, there is always a shadow, growing darker and darker...

The Coming of The Void

This era marks the decadence of the Empire. As it reached unparalleled levels of development and excellence in all areas, the Council was given more and more power and leeway. However, as it is said, power can corrupt the noblest of souls, and some of the members began to abuse their subordinates and take advantage of their position for their own good.

Some claim it was the influence of the Void, slowly seeping through the cracks of reality that were opening. Others just believe that everyone has a dark side, and it’s only a matter of time before it reveals itself to the world.

As such, discontent grew among the many systems and sectors, and animosity was rediscovered by the sentient species. Talk about leaving the empire and independence started to spread. And some within the Council backed this alternative.

This is the time the First Sorcerer revealed himself. No one knows who he really w…

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - A Brief History of the Universe - Part III

After the age of barbarism, comes the age of elightment, where the civilizations reached their peak!

The Age of Enlightenment

The age when the battles between barbarian civilizations ended and a great empire was forged. It was created to bring peace and enlightenment to all species across the galaxies, respecting their differences and each one's individuality.

A strong a wise council of sentients was formed to govern the empire, deciding on the best course of action to benefit the majority of all species. For many generations lasting thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands of years, civilization prospered like no other time.

Science, technology, medicine, robotics, arts, literature, everything that could improve the life of sentients and bring joy to their lives was reaching new heights under the gentle guidance of the Empire. But it wouldn’t last forever.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - A Brief History of the Universe - Part II

For the first part of this series about the history of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells universe, go here.

The Barbaric Age

After the development of the first civilizations and the discovery of space travel, sentients took to the stars, to spread their domains, acquire resources and put their mark in the universe.

This put strange and unknown species in contact with each other. And as it’s usually the case, what’s different and alien causes fear, and fear leads to hate. Wars raged amongst the stars. Some civilizations were completely wiped out. Others had to flee to survive, and some had to ally with their former e enemies against a bigger threat.

This era is marked by the constant bickering among species, and the always shifting spheres of influence. The initial efforts to reach peace and prosperity with the union of all sentients are also born here, but it’s also harshly persecuted.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - A Brief History of the Universe - Part I

As was established, the universe is old, but it’s history is lost. Some may claim to know what really happened in past eras, the Galactic Overlords included, but the truth is that no one alive really knows. Or, at least, not anyone you can conceivably contact easily.

Therefore, it would be pointless to make a detailed recount of the history of the universe, since it would hardly have any impact in the game (and no one wants to memorize dozens and dozens of facts that doesn’t have nothing to do with the actual adventures they are having). Instead, we will present brief descriptions of what is generally believed to have happened in the past and a table with rumors and legends that can be heard about these periods (and that can be developed by Overlords into actual game elements if he so chooses). What is actually true or just speculation will be decided by Overlord himself.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - 10 Characteristics of the Universe - Part IV

Ok, let's finish this series! The last 3 of the 10 characteristics of the setting of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells!

The Unknown Surrounds Everything

As knowledge and technology were lost, much that was once known is now a mystery. Whole sectors of the universe are beyond the knowledge of anyone, save some of the Galactic Overlords. Knowledge is power, and they intend to keep it all for themselves.

The influence of the Void has also greatly affected the universe, and its effects are unknown even to the most versed in these supernatural phenomena. Strange portals and effects are changing planets. Artifacts with astonishing powers but with great costs are seducing and corrupting sentients from all walks of life. And no one knows why.

Not everything the adventurers will encounter will be known to them. Strange places, unknown planets, never before seen creatures and monsters. All of this can and should be part of their journeys through the stars.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - 10 Characteristics of the Universe - Part III

Let's continue with more elements of the setting in Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, and a few tables to help Overlords represent them in the game?

Civilization is Decadent

Civilization reached its brightest moment thousands of years ago, before the coming of the Galactic Overlords. Sentients from all species cooperated to create art, technology and many advancements in science. The old Empire prosperity is legendary. But all of that is lost now.

After the Cleansing Wars, civilization was cast in ruins, almost to a barbaric stage. It took centuries to anything resembling a cohesive society to form again, and this happened mostly where the Galactic Overlords imposed their own order to the population. Outside their domains, societies took a while to organize, and most of the time it needed a strong authority behind it.

Either way, civilization in the current era is only a shadow of its former self. No art is produced, no scientific study performed. There is no press or free inform…

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - 10 Characteristics of the Universe - Part II

Let's check out a bit more of the 10 characteristics of the setting of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells?

It’s a Brutal Universe

Even though the Cleansing Wars ended, the Galactic Overlords maintain their power through the use of force and fear. The armies of these tyrants keep the people of their domains in a state of constant fear and submission. Signs of independent thoughts are treated with immediate violence, and rebels are executed in public spectacles.

Even outside of the Galactic Overlords domains, brutality has a strong hold. Without a strong force to keep peace, and the scarcity of resources all around, many believe it’s within their right to take what they want from others.

In the whole universe, people have to choose between living in the oppressive safety under the rule of Galactic Overlords, or the perilous freedom of trying to survive outside their influence.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - 10 Characteristics of the Universe - Part I

The universe of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells is a perilous one, full of dangers, enemies and terrible places. But it is also a universe of exotic and breathtaking vistas, of exciting adventure, and resourceful people.

The Cleansing Wars shaped the galaxies in such a way that entire cultures were changed, and some even erased from existence. The Galactic Overlords rule their domains with an iron hand. While their allies enjoy freedom and can have their own regions to administer, most of the universe population live under the boot of these sorcerous tyrants.

This game was created with the purpose of supporting adventures in the style of sword and sorcery tales but in a science fiction background. We can create adventures in which barbarians from the Outer Regions can go on a spaceship, together with a alien sorcerer and a robotic mechanic, to hunt for treasures of an older age of enlightenment, while also running from the cruel forces of sorcerous tyrants and their allies.

The Runn…

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Hazards and Other Dangers - Part II

Well, this is the last preview of the combat chapter of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. Next we will start to see some previews of the setting toolbox chapter, and then some starship and vehicles rules!


Old as time, the use of poison is still quite populated in the Universe of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, especially among the petty servants of the Galactic Overlords vying for their favors. Poisons vary greatly, but for ease of use, they all have an intensity score (which determines the Difficulty in an Attribute Test to resist its effects) and an effect. Most common poisons inflict a d6 of damage per intensity point, but some rarer substances can make the victim fall asleep for a number of hours equal to the intensity value, paralyze the victim for a number of turns equal to its intensity, and so on. Overlords can exercise their cruel imaginations and come up with a varying array of poison with strange and sadistic effects. Below we provide a few exemplary poisons:

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Hazards and Other Dangers - Part I

Okay, we are at the end of the Combat chapter of the book, and it's time to check out some other dangers the characters might have to face in the perilous universe of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. Let's see some of them?

Hazards and Other Dangers
Although deadly enough, adventurers face many other dangers besides swords and firearms across the Universe. Falling from high platforms, being exposed to high levels of radiation, being burned in a incendiary attack, being electrified by a security trap. All of these and more could end the life of a player character, so we took the time to prepare a quick guide on how to handle these situations in game.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Damage, Death and Healing

Since how hit points work a little differently in Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells and as there are no Clerics in space, I thought this section of the rules might be interesting to present as preview.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - With Guns Blazing

Firing hundreds of bullets and laser beams agains out enemies is part of the fun of modern and futuristic RPGs, and in Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells you can do it too, and in a simple and effective way!

Rapid Fire
Some weapons allow it’s user to fire more than once in a single round. However, doing so means sacrificing precision for more chances of damaging opponents. In game terms, the Overlord may authorize some combatants to fire more than once per round depending on the firearms used, but each additional shot increases the overall Difficulty of all the Agility tests by 2. An opponent making additional attacks receives a -2 penalty on all d20 rolls per extra attack.

One of Kaylia’s companions see her struggling against the bounty hunter and opens fire on him. Deciding for a less subtle approach, he firer two shots against him, making each Agility test with the Difficulty increased by 2 beyond the normal Difficulty. So if the standard Difficulty would be 3, now it would be 5.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - More Stuff to Do in Combat

I promise I will start sharing more setting information as soon as I am done with the combat section. Then I will post more about ships, vehicle combat and stuff! But hey, I think there are some pretty neat rules here too! Combat can get pretty creative too!

Solar Blades & Cosmics Spells - Criticals and Combate Modifiers

Combat can be quite exciting with the right group. A well thought strategy, a crazy idea one of the players come up with in the middle of a desperate moment. Not to mention that providential critical hit right when you need it. Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells has it all!

Critical Hits and Fumbles
Hitting the target in the bullseye, striking a vital organ of the beast, these are examples of Critical Hits. When a character roll their exact Attribute score when making an attack, and succeed at hitting the target, they have obtained a Critical Hit. The player, then, must choose between inflicting the full weapon damage plus the normal damage roll for that weapon (if the weapon inflicts 1d6+1 points of damage normally, the Critical Hit would inflict 7 plus 1d6+1); benefiting from a Positive Die on actions against the target for 1d6rounds, or imposing a Negative Die for all actions that opponent attempts for 1d6 rounds, while still inflicting normal damage. Opponents achieve a Critical H…

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Melee and Ranged Attacks

I don't know if I am boring you guys with all this rule stuff, but I thought I should finish what I've started. The setting / referee chapter is being written now and I am really enjoying it! I hope you will too when I share it here!

So let's go to some more rules regarding hitting stuff in the head!

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Combat Procedures - Part II

Continuing with the procedures of combat on Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells! Part I can be found here!

3. Combatants Act in Order of Initiative Each Round

In order of Initiative, each combatant can make a Movement and perform an Action. Note that some rules and Special Abilities allow characters and opponents to move or act more than once per round.

Taking advantage of her sudden influx of adrenaline, Kaylia moves to a nearby counter to take advantage from the cover and fires her heavy pistol against the assassin that had just tries to kill her.

4. At the end of Every Round, the Overlord Assess the Situation

After everyone has acted in the round, the Overlord will assess the situation. If combatants are still alive and want to keep fighting, another round begins, using the same Initiative order. Just repeat steps 3 and 4 until something changes.

However, if one side of the combatants have been defeated, want to surrender, flee or has been captured, the combat may have ended. Other acti…

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Combat Procedures - Part I

Combat is obviously a big part of any game that involves adventuring. Not because it's the part where it's focused on, as many make the mistake to assume, but because it's the part we cannot resolve without rules. You can't roleplay combat. Not to mention, it's the part the stakes are usually very high and the potential for impact is great (what's impact? Check out this great post by +Arnold K.).

So, what follows is part of the combat rules for Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. It's similar to how SS&SS handles it, but with some tinkering.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Learning New Abilities

It's not only through the accumulation of experience that characters can get better at Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. They can learn new things if they put an effort in the game.

If they work with the Overlord to create opportunities to learn new amazing abilities, they will be able to embark on adventures to acquire them through the game itself, instead of relying on artificial acquisition through the expenditure of points.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Character Advancement

As it's common in most RPGs, characters get better over time in Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, but instead of  tying XP to an specific task, like the acquisition of treasure or the killing of monsters, I decided to leave it open and determined to the number of adventures survived. That way, the group can tailor their game to their tastes.

Character Advancement
During their exploits throughout the stars, the adventurers will learn a lot of things. They will get better at what they do. They will become more resilient and capable of greater deeds.

To represent this in the game, characters have Levels of advancement assigned to them. Everyone starts at first Level, and as they gain more experience through a number of adventures, they get to advance to the next Level. As characters become more experienced, leveling up takes more time.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Sanity and Madness

There is a lot in the universe we yet don't know or don't understand. And maybe it's better that way.

In Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, characters may encounter things or discover truths they are not ready to witness yet, and that may shatter their fragile minds.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Distance and Time

I really like games that are more fluid, cinematic and kind of abstract instead of the more tactical ones. I prefer to leave combat to the imagination of players, instead of constraining it to a battle grid (I will talk about this in a future post, I promise).

Thus, in Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, I decided to handle distance and time in a more loose and abstract way, giving the Overlord more freedom to frame scenes and how the time passes as the necessity of the game play dictates.

Measuring Distance
During a fast and action packed adventure of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, the last thing you would want to do is counting squares, feets, meters or whatever measuring unit you are accustomed to use. That’s why this game opts for an abstract way of handling distances.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - NPCs in Action

One of the most common questions people ask me about Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells is how to handle NPCs actions, either when they are acting against PCs, against themselves or alone.

So in Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, I decided to provide some guidelines for this.

NPCs in Action
Most of the tests in this game are focused on the player character's capabilities, as they are the main characters of the story being created during the game. It’s also much easier for the Overlord to rely on the character’s statistic than to create detailed statistics for every NPC and opponent the players might run into.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Communication and Scene Resolution

What I am sharing today is not really ground braking but makes some parts of the game clearer. Since I received some questions about these aspects, I wrote a bit about it.

Language and Communication
In a vast the Universe of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, a large number of languages are used, and even machines have their own code of communication. Although this could prove a tough challenge for the adventurers, in the stories that inspired this game, this was never really a barrier, or at leasts, not for long. As such, there exists a universal tongue that most sentient beings in the galaxy can speak (inhabitants of isolated planets are probably an exception, as are xenophobic cultures who refuse to learn the language of others), or at least understand, a language originated in the glorious days of the Old Empire. But how do we know if a character speaks a specific language?

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - When to Roll Dice and Social and Intellectual Challenges

One of my fevorite principles that govern Old School play is "challenge the player, not his character sheet". I wanted it to be part of the mindset and, why not, rule set of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. Not everything should or need to be resolved using dice.

So I wrote these 2 segments in the draft text of the Rules of the Game chapter. I hope you enjoy the read!
When to Roll Dice
Player characters are competent adventurers that often get into problems much bigger than themselves. This means that most of the time they will be trying to accomplish feats that are not easing done, and that the consequences of success and failure are both interesting. But that may not always be the case.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Character's Complications

Let's check out another preview of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells rules! Today we look at how to use character's Complications during the game!

DCC RPG - Hand Mande Character Sheet

Today's post is going to be a quick one.

I really like making my own character sheets for the games I play. For some reason, the standard character sheets games usually have don't speak to me. They seem too, standardized, too regular, too "normal". I don't know.

So, loving DCC RPG the way I love it, I made my own character sheet for it. Completely hand drawn, the sheet allows the use of any class, even those created by 3rd parties (aren't those fun?).

So just click on the image above and get this character sheet. I plan on making some character class exclusive sheets someday for DCC RPG, but it may take a while.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Using a Character's Concept

Okay! The core rules have been covered in previous posts. Now it's time we dig in the complementary rules. Things that let you do some cool things in the game that kinda modify the way we use the core rules.

Today we take a look at the way we will use the character's Concept, which let's you define who the character is in more detail besides his Archetype.

Using the Character’s Concept
Characters are just like real people. The are more than just a single thing and have many layers of details on their lives. That’s what the character’s Concept does in this game. It established details and characteristics of said character, and this has an impact on how the game is played.

Every characteristic in a character Concept can possibly affect actions during the game and both the players and the Overlord may announce their effects in the game or propose a setback as described below.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Core Rules - Part III

Ok, this is the last part of the Core Rules section of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells book. There are other details explained in the book, such as the use of the character's Concept, how to use Complications and other rules, but those are complementary rules.

Today we take a look at Criticals and Fumbles, the Durability Roll (for pretty much any resource that can be depleted) and the Luck Roll!

Critical Success and Fumble
Sometimes, things go extremely well. On others, all hell break lose. When making an Attribute Test, there are special results called Critical Successes and Fumbles.

A Critical Success occurs when a player rolls the exact score of the Attribute tested on the d20, or when NPCs and opponents roll a natural “20”. This means the task attempted is accomplished extremely well, and further benefits might be gained, according to the Overlord judgment.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Core Rules - Part II

Shall we continue to revise the core rules of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells? If you missed part I of this section, go here.

Powerful Opponent
Some enemies are tougher, more agile, more resilient or simply more savage than others. In game terms, enemies with higher HD are tougher to defeat than those with lower HD. Actions against opponents and NPCs have a Difficulty equal to the difference between the enemy’s HD and the Level of the character attempting the action. Similarly, if an opponent is making a test against the character, he adds that difference to his d20 roll (see NPCs in Action below).

Running through the corridors of the Galactic Overlord’s fortress, Kaylia was almost getting to her starship when a single Void Sentinel steps in front of her. He orders then to stand down, but she doesn’t even flinch and draws her heavy pistol to shoot him. Since he has 3 HD and Kaylia is still a 1st level character, the Agility test to hit him will have a Difficulty of 2. This is going t…

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Core Rules - Part I

Solar Blades & Cosmics Spells is a science fantasy RPG based on Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells, but it is also a revision of said game (which will probably be revised sometime in the future). Since I decided Solar Blades would have more examples and would be more "begginer friendly", I took the time to make the game as clear as I can, so I ended up modifying some rules that I hope will make the game more intuitive to run.

What follows is part of the Core Rules section of the draft text. The next parts will deal with more details regarding other aspects of the game.

Attribute Test
Every time a situation arises in which the efforts of the character have a say in how well it goes, we make an Attribute Test. This consists of rolling a d20 against the appropriate Attribute. Success is when the result is equal to or lower than the Attribute score, but higher than the Difficulty. NPCs and Opponents have to roll higher than the appropriate player character Attribute, and use…

(My) 10 Commandments for Good Refereeing

I don't really remember when or where I read this, but I once saw a list of 10 commandments of good game mastering that was all about telling a story in a way that the GM had all the power to ignore rules, results and even what the player's managed to choose to tell "his story". I immediately wanted to write my own commandments. I thought that was a complete disaster, but I know some people enjoy that style of play (I have to freaking idea why though).

So I made one, I published in my Brazilian RPG blog and I thought I could share it too. I sometimes reread them to remember what I truly think it's important for my games. As it's implied in the post title, these are MY 10 COMMANDMENTS OF GOOD REFEREEING, and it's completely natural and understandable that other people might see it differently. But I thought this could be useful to somebody as a reminder or for simple food for thought. Any way, here are my 10 commandments for refereeing.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Encumbrance Rules

Yeah, yeah... I know. Encumbrance is boring. But it can be really important sometimes, and can add dramatic weight to the game if used correctly. Imagine being pursued by a big bad monsters and having to decide between dropping all your cool loot and escape, or keeping it and possible being devoured!

So yeah... Here are the draft rules for Encumbrance for Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Advanced Weaponry

As covered in previous posts, advanced technological items are not readily available for player characters to obtain. They will need to find it on their adventurers across the stars, possibly taking them from the cold dead hands of their rivals and enemies.

So, even though they are pretty rare, there exists laser weapons in Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, and today's post is about them.

Why I fell in love with the OSR?

Yeah, I like OSR games. I like the simple mechanics, the randomness, the lethality it implies, the possibility to use classic material in my games, the “challenge the players, not the characters” mentality, and all the jazz we know and care for. The illustrations are a plus, of course, as I really prefer the more personal stylo of art that is prevalent in OSR publications. But you know what really made me fall in love with the OSR movement?

It showed me that I don’t need a company telling me what I should be playing. For some foolish reason, before the OSR, I had the impression that once a new edition of a game was released, it was obvious that I needed to move to that edition. If the older one was abandoned and a new one released, the new one has to be better. Staying with the older one was stupid, since nothing new would come out of it. I sold all by 2nd edition AD&D books to buy 3rd edition stuff. What a fool I was.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Mundane Armor and Shields

Well, since I posted about mundane weapons on Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, I thought it was only coherent that I would post about armors and shields next.

As with weapons, highly advanced armors and shields are not commonly available, and are treated more like treasure to be sought than merchandise to be bought. And many cultures still favor the use of the good ol' sword, hammer or axe, so shields are still quite useful. By the way, I changed how shields work. This make it more useful for players with a high Physique and put the responsibility of using the shield rules on the players instead of on the Referee.

As usual, the text below is still a draft, and maybe modified in the final version.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Mundane Weapons

Although Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells is a Science Fantasy RPG, I want it to be a post-apocalyptic sword and sorcery amongst the stars kind of scifi. So all the fancy and colerful advanced tech will be pretty rare, almost like magic items in a sword and sorcery game.

So we will have pistols, rifles, shotguns and all that stuff, side by side with swords, axes, spears and bows. Laser guns are like ancient relics, some may believe they never really existed.

Below I present the draft text for the mundane weapons part. Nothing really fanciful, but I wanted to show work is being done!

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Cyber Implants

How about another small preview on what I am working on? Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells draft document is at the moment with 64 pages, and I don't think I've reached its middle yet. This is going to be my biggest project so far. It will basically combine content of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells, it's Addendum, some updates and modifications, a lot more examples to make it more user friendly, especially for beginners, and a bunch of generators and genre information.

Today I present my initial draft of cyber implants. As with other Advanced Technological gear, they are going to be pretty rare and will probably require some form of quest/adventure to be acquired. Galactic Overlords don't like the prospect of their subjects using technological advanced devices.

How do I prepare adventures?

When I first started playing RPGs, I would try to prepare for every possibility I could think of. I almost tried to write "Gamebooks" to run as adventures, with numbered index cards and sayings like "if players try to do this, go to card 15" or something. It was exhausting, and mostly useless. Players will do things can't ever imagine ourselves. And that's awesome!

So I needed to come up with a method that could provide me with enough information so that I could run a game, but not so much that I would lose more than half of it because it never really appeared in the game. Preferably something that could take as little time as possible.

So, taking inspirations from many sources (which I can only remember now as Tome of Adventure Design, The Lazy Dungeon Master and Fiasco), I came up with what I call the Adventure Structure method, and it works as follows.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Credits

I won't be using the usual system for monetary control on Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. I want the game to focus on action and adventure, bot accounting. So I opted to use an abstract way of handling Credits, the acquisition of goods and the loss of money that happens in between adventures. What follows is the current draft of this system. This is based on a similar system presented on Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells - Addendum.

Everything has a price in the perilous worlds of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. However, this game chooses a more abstract approach to the bookkeeping of expenditures and credits. Thus, every character has a Credits score (and the standard value of it is 2) and when they are purchasing something, be it an item or a service, they make a Credit Roll. This consists of rolling a d6 and obtaining a value equal to or under the current Credits score. A success means the purchase was made without much problem. A failure, however, means the buyer…

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Archetypes: The Gifted

I guess it's time to post the last character Archetype for Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, the one who will meddle with the weird powers of cosmic sorcery of the even rarer psionics: The Gifted (although many will sewer the correct term should be The Cursed).

This is also just the draft text, you know the drill.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Archetypes: The Smart

I am away from my computer for sometime, but I am still writing stuff for SolarBlades&CosmicSpells. Today I am sharing the draft text for the Archetype called The Smart, which is like a do it all technician, scientist sort of guy.

The Smart
If something goes wrong with a computer or engine, it’s you who they call. For some reason, you just have a knack for technology and machines. Even if they’ve never seen a device, it’s usually just a matter of time until they figure how it works and how to fix it. And if they give you a few more hours you can even make some improvements!

The Smart is a character focused on the use of technology and machines. They make great assets to an age where although technology is ever present, it’s not truly understood, and many of its secrets are forgotten. In combat they are invaluable allies, improving the effectiveness of weapons and vehicles, as well as being capable of making repairs to them when they are in dire need.

When not to kill a PC? When you have the chance to kill a lot more!

I am a huge fan of the Old School philosophy of "let the dice fall where they may". If this means the PCs die falling into a pit trap in the first room of the dungeon, so be it. Being an adventurer ain't easy. It's a shitty life, really. On the other hand, if it means they scored a critical hit and killed a very important NPC, getting awesome loot early on, so be it too. Adventurers sometimes get lucky! That's my usual and default drill when playing any RPG.

However, I also like to put tough choices in front of the PCs and see what happens. Do they risk carrying all that gold, being slowed, and giving a chance for the terrible thing that is following them catch up with the party, or do they drop the gold and just get the hell out of there? Do they take the fastest but dangerous path to their objective, or do they take the safe but slower one, knowing a rival party is on the way there too? This does not seem immediately correlated, right? But something happened i…

Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells is now an Electrum Best Seller!

I’ve been watching Uncle Matt’s D&D Studio lately, and I learned something. In Matt Finch’s interview with James Raggi (from Lamentations of the Flame Princess), James said something that made me rethink my approach to “marketing” my game. He said “you can’t be ashamed to sell your stuff” (I am paraphrasing here). And I think it’s true. If I made something, I cannot be afraid to promote it or say “buy my game, people”.

But at the same time, I think that the best way to do that is to show what others have said about the game. What other gamers think about it?

Well, the actual rulebook is now an Electrum Best Seller over DrivethruRPG (even though I mostly share links to RPGNow). That probably means something, right?

But if this doesn’t convince you to check Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells out, how about a few reviews of the game?