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Showing posts from October, 2017

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Mundane Armor and Shields

Artwork by Louis Glanzman 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

Artwork by Louis Glanzman 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

Artwork by Louis Glanzman 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?

"You! You just died!" - Photo by Douglas Fóis 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

Artwork by Louis Glanzman I won't be using the usual system for monetary control on S olar 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 . Credits 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 probl

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Archetypes: The Gifted

Artwork by Louis Glanzman 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

Artwork by Louis Glanzman I am away from my computer for sometime, but I am still writing stuff for Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells . 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 ar

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 happen

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?

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Archetypes: The Nimble

Artwork by Miller Continuing the series of posts where I present some parts of the current draft of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells , today I bring you The Nimble, another one of the 4 Archetypes of the game! The Nimble You’re the fastest and most agile person you know, and anyone who sees you in action believe that too. If someone needs an skillful infiltrator they call you. If they need a sharpshoot sniper, that’s you too. Well any job for a fast, flexible, precise and nimble person is perfect for you, and you know that. So you charge accordingly. The Nimble is a character focused on quick reflexes, precision and nimbleness. They favor tasks where their trained reflexes can shine, be it entering a secure space stealthily, stealing a valuable relic from the ancient Empire, rescuing prisoners from the dungeons of the Galactic Overlords. In combat, they prefer using ranged weapons and are hard targets to read. Prime Attributes: Agility and Intellect Recovery Roll: 1d6+

Chronicles of Mezzanthia - Session #0 Report

Yesterday I started my new urbancrawl campaign using Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells (and a bunch of other stuff as explained here). Everything is still highly experimental, as I am toying with the creation of a City Setting Toolbox for SS&SS, inspired by the sword and sorcery literature and the great OSR setting material that has been released in the last few years. Anyway, we started with character creation. Since this was being streamed by a Brazilian RPG channel , we created each character in sequence, taking the viewers over the process and the rules of the game. It took a while, but it helped to establish the role and concept of each character too. In the end, we had the following adventurers ready to set foot in Mezzanthia , the decadent City in the Middle.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Archetypes: The Tough

As it is on Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells , Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells utilizes the system of Archetypes to allow the creation of characters with a broad range of abilities. This, allied with the character's Concept (detailed in this previous post), allows for the creation of a wide range of characters, almost without limitations, but without the need for infinite mechanical choices. Today, I bring part of the text regarding these Archetypes. This is still a draft text, so some information might change.

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Where to find these Advanced Artifacts?

Artwork by Louis Glanzman As with other sword and sorcery RPGs where magic items are rare, special and a driving force in game play, in Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells (a sword and stars game, advanced technology will be treated the same way. As such, there will be a section in the book encouraging referees to create adventures and special events for the acquisition of them. Laser weapons won't be found in every shop around the corner. Again, what follows is still a draft and some changes might occur before publication. Where to find these Advanced Artifact?  The search for advanced technology should be one of the main driving forces of the campaigns in Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells . As such, we developed the following table to inspire Overlords in the creation of adventures and locations to place these wondrous artifacts. d20 Where to find these Advanced Artifacts? 1 Inside the Vault of Relics in the Blood Castle of the Xzarian Galaxy’s Galactic Overl

The OSR in Brazil - Part I

The first RPG ever published in Brazil was Tagmar (a fantasy RPG that seems like a mash up of AD&D and Marvel Super Heroes with that colorful table - they are actually making a revision of this game, but it’s taking a non Old School approach now) in 1991. So we didn’t really have all those wonderful Old School games that are so ingrained in the OSR in general. The first full edition of D&D to be published here were the reviser core books of AD&D second edition. Thus, for many of us, the OSR is more like an Old School Revelation than a Renaissance. These games are new to us, they bring a refreshing take on the hobby that we have almost never seen. I discovered the OSR in 2011 and it changed the way I play RPGs ever since. All this was to explain a little how the OSR is seen here by many of us. It’s still a very small part of the hobby here, but it’s always growing. In this article I will present the OSR games that are currently being published and available in our cou

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Strange Artifacts of more advanced times

Artwork by Louis Glanzman Altought Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells is a Science Fantasy brother of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells , I wanted to make it a RPG that took sword and sorcery into space. Thus, much of the post-apocalyptic themes of standard sword and sorcery will be present in SB&CS also, including the rarity of special items, making advanced technology things of the glorious and almost forgotten past. What follows is a small part of the book, where some of these marvelous artifacts of the ancient time are described. Again, this is only a draft, and some changes might occur in the end.

Chronicles of Mezzanthia - Templates for Streets and Alleys for a Urbancrawl

These tiles can generate some pretty hectic streets! This one is going to be a really quick post. I just wanted to share something I found while I was thinking about how to generate street maps for my Urbancrawl campaign. Suddenly browsing through my Board Games, I saw my Tsuro of the Seas and thought it might be pretty cool to use the tiles as templates for actual streets on the game. I could simple draw a tile and place it on the table. Once the PCs ventured outside of it, I could just draw another one, and keep going. But since I wanted to publish my City Toolbox someday, I had to research how to do that, how many combinations are possible and etc. And I found some pretty cool thing. You can generate your own tiles, and even a board for them here . There are only 35 possible tiles apparently. So to make a 36 table (with a d66 roll) I would still need another one, that I decided it's going to be a big plaza that all paths lead to. So that's it. Need some street maps?

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Character Concept

How about another draft preview of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells ? This game will basically make use of the Expended Vocations rule presented in the Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells - Addendum book, maybe with some small adaptations. The following is taken directly of the draft document. Creating your character's Concept With the Attribute scores defined, it's time to define who your character is. This is called Concept , and it establishes what he knows, what he is good at, what he is bad at, what sentient species he belongs to, and can even tell us about his personality. Players have almost total freedom to create their character's Concept, as long as they stay within the confines of the setting and the style of game defined by the group (if everybody agrees to play outlaws, don't make a virtuous law-abiding crusader). All they need to do is create a single phrase that explains who the character is, what he does, what species he is from (if no alien spe

Adventurous solutions for mechanical issues!

"Wereleopard" by Luigi Castellani One of the things I like the most about OSR games is that they usually don't waste much of your time on character creation , letting you get to fun of the game as quickly as possible. However, one of the complaints I hear from people outside of the OSR (and even some of the people playing its games) is that there isn't many mechanical options during character creation. Accustomed with newer games where you can choose between 900 classes, 5000 skills, and 3 million talents, they look on OSR games and their less than 10 classes, no skills, talents and other stuff as not "flexible" as their usual games. But I believe this is not true. OSR games just focus on a different kind of flexibility and prefer to focus on it during play, and not outside of it with hundreds of mechanical options that, in the end, just limit your choices inside the game itself. The Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG thought me a great lesson about it that

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Actual Solar Blades

The legendary weapons of the Order of a Thousand Suns This weekend I worked a little bit on the equipment chapter of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells chapter. This will mainly contain mundane gear, rules for encumbrance and Credit Rolls (that will replace the book keeping of counting every single unit of money PCs have). However, the chapter will also present some rules and guidelines for advanced technology of past ages, like the legendary Solar Blades. What follows is a draft of the current rules regarding them. Although they are quite formidable weapons they require some quite heroic deeds to make them work, since PCs will have to be creative and accomplish some crazy feats to recharge their Solar Crystals!

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Introduction

Today's post will be a quick one. I just want to share a bit of the writing I am making for my Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells RPG (the science fantasy brother of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells ). What follows is, obviously, still in draft state, so some things might change. In a universe in collapse, planets and systems struggle for freedom under the rule of sinister despots. Against the malevolent sorcery of the Overlords, stand the few remaining bearers of the legendary Solar Blades. What will you do when the forces of the Void close in? Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells is a Rules Light, Star & Sorcery, Role Playing Game with an Old School spirit. But what does this really means?

Chronicles of Mezzanthia: Preparations for a Urbancrawl Campaign

Making notes for the upcoming urban campaign! I am about to being a new campaign using Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells . It's going to be focused on urban adventures of a band of mischiefs in a decadent, dirty, perilous but full of opportunities City-State in my personal setting (that I intend on publishing as a setting toolkit, inspired by the great books such as Vornheim, Yoon-Suin, Hubris and others). My intention is to make it a sandboxing urbancrawl campaign . I want to work on the project of creating a city toolkit for it, and at the same time playtest it with my players. They will be adventurers in the style of Fafrd and Grey Mouser, ambitious men and women looking for opportunities to earn gold, fame, power and whatever strikes their fancy. But I want to city to be alive too. To spring things at them in unexpected way and times. So I am studying a lot of possibilities and other RPG materials that can help me do this. However, even though I want to have an open

Appendix I: Influences and Inspirations of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells

Section of an Illustration I did for Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells - Addendum There are two books about creative work I swear upon nowadays: Steal Like an Artist and Share Your Work (both by Austin Klean). And one of the most important lessons I learned from them is that all creative work is collaborative. Even if you work all by yourself, it's still a collaborative work. Your ideas were born on the "corpses" of other people's ideas. Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells is no different. It's obviously a reflection of many influences. Many games and authors are, in some fashion, responsible for it. It was I who managed to compile everything into a cohesive format, but these influences are what lead me there. In the Brazilian version of SS&SS , I included a list of the main influences of the game, and now I want to share it here also:

What's in my RPG Survival Kit?

Some of my victims, I mean, players, and my Survival Kit on the table. It has been a while since I had players come over to play RPGs at my own home. Two years ago I got a son, and that made playing at home a bit complicated. He sleeps early and requires all the attention we can give him. So most of my gaming is done outside now. Usually on conventions and small informal gamers gatherings (we do that a lot here in Brazil, since conventions are rare). This means I gotta carry my gaming gear around. The problem is: I love judging Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG ! And that book is huge, not to mention heavy! Carrying it around with all the stuff I like to use (dice, props, character sheets, dice tray, erasable board) ain’t easy. So I had to create a RPG Survival Kit (and now I use it for all other games I run, including Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells ). First, I gotta tell you something. I like to call attention to my games. I mean, to the games I ran. I like to spread the love I

New way of using Difficulty on SS&SS

I believe games are always evolving, changing, especially RPGs. I thinks it's really rare to see a gamer, or at least an old school gamer, use a RPG without changing anything, ignoring one rule, implementing his own little creations into the system. And I love this. For me, the game isn't what's in the book, but what's actually happen at the table. RPGs are incomplete games to me, and it's up to the players to actually make them whole. Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells was written in this fashion. I wanted to provide a strong platform to support gameplay while still leaving space for people to create their own stuff. That way, even I create new stuff for it. The plan was always to publish more and more stuff for it until the point I have enough for a cool 200 or something hardcover book, a second complete edition. So I came up with a different way to use Difficulty on tests, inspired by other games like White Hack and other games.