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Good Referee Practices - Preview of SS&SS 2e Chapter - Part III

Now for the last part of this preview of Good Referee Principles that will be part of the Running the Game chapter of the revised edition of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells to be published in the near future! For the first post go here, and for the second here.

Surprise Them We all have expectations in our games. The majority of people who will sit down to play SS&SS with you have probably already played other fantasy roleplaying games, read fantasy books, watched dozens of fictional movies or even played hours and hours of fantasy games in their consoles or computers. And that means they have preconceived notions of what magic is, what a monster do, what powers a magic sword has and things like this. Surprise them. Make monsters do things they don’t usually do in the fiction. Makes what initially seems to be bad actually be good in the end. Make the magic sword actually work as a vehicle somehow. Take their expectations and turn them around.

Adventuring is Perilous Player char…

Good Referee Practices - Preview of SS&SS 2e Chapter - Part II

Continuing with the previews of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells second edtion, now the second part of the Good Referee Practices I began sharing on this post.

Set Them Free Let the players explore the game and the world as they please. Don’t force them into any path you think it's more appropriate or that you have prepared in advance. If you need to improvise something due to their choices, look into the practice above this one. Use random tables or use one of the thousands of ready made material that’s available either for free or for very reasonable price all around (look for the One Page Dungeon entries). Doing this will not only allow players to have fun as they prefer, but will make the game exciting and surprising for you too.

Reward Exploration and Ingenuity This game has many ways to reward player characters, such as points of Luck, Coins, Daring and even the accomplishment of goals that are necessary to advance Levels of experience. Find a way to reward exploration of …

Good Referee Practices - Preview of SS&SS 2e Chapter - Part I

This section on the new edition of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells is intended to function as a quick guidance reference for Referees that are unfamiliar with the Old School style of play, or even more experienced Referees that like to keep these practices in their immediate mind. This was inspired by many resources such as the Quick Primer for Old School Gaming by Matt Finch, the Principia Apocrypha by David Perry and the Referee Book for Lamentations of the Flame Princess by James Raggi IV.

These principles outlined below are not absolute however. As the first principles outlines, this game is yours now, and you should play it the way you feel more comfortable and have more fun with it. If you don’t like one or some of them, just ignore them. Take what you want and leave the rest.

Make the Game Your Own This game has almost everything you need to play adventures inspired by the pulp literature of sword and sorcery. However, your vision of how the world and the game should work m…

More Challenging Combat for SS&SS, SB&CS and DS&DS

In my games, which use a system I am tentatively calling Old Skull System, the main Mechanic involves rolling a d20 and scoring a value equal to or under than the Attribute Score and above a Difficulty score. In combat, the Difficulty is determined by subtracting the Opponent's HD from the character's Level. If the Opponent's HD is lower than the character's Level, there is no Difficulty and it's only a roll equal to or under test.

However, this mechanic of lowering the Difficulty with the character's Level doesn't really happen in other Attribute Tests. Characters become more competent as they manage to increase their scores, and acquire new abilities, but jumping a 20 feet wide chasm is as difficult to do in the first level as it is in the 5th level. Characters may increase their Attributes and become more competent, or their Archetype Abilities might be able to help them more, but the Difficulty is the same.

So if you want to make combat even more chall…

Adventures in the World of Imagination - Running the Game - Part II

Here is the rest of the chapter focusing on running my RPG for Kids!

Be Open to Changes Don’t be a stickler for rules. Playing with kids isn’t the same as playing with adults who know how to face hardship and know this is part of the fun. Kids are still learning that. Don’t be afraid to change things on the fly. Maybe the trap just breaks after a while. Maybe the monsters hear something strange and decide to run (and the characters should probably do the same).

It is possible that the players will desire to change something about their characters in the middle of the game. Let them. They may even change their character completely, but they will still only get a Concept and 4 traits. Let them have fun and exercise their imagination. Over time, they will learn about growth and will appreciate consistency.

Share the Spotlight When playing with more than one player, make sure to share the focus of the game with all of them equally. If a scene has been dominated by a character, try to mak…

Adventures in the World of Imagination - Running the Game - Part I

It's been a while, but I am back with more preview of the develpment of my Kid's RPG called Adventures in the World of Imagination! Today, let's look on some of the articles the chapter dedicated to Referees! We will look at the rest in a future post.

Chapter 4: Running the Game One of the participants of the game, normally an adult or older brother, will be the Referee, the player responsible for act and a mediator and arbiter of the game.

What Does the Referee Do? Referees are movie directors and producers all rolled into one. They aren’t also screenwriters because in a Role Playing Game, the story is only created as the game is played, not before.

They are responsible for setting the stage for the characters to have great adventures. Referees create locations, other characters, monsters and other things that will interact with the player characters. They provide everything the players need to have fun playing the game, while also acting like judges and deciding how to a…

Lost in the Fantasy World and Maze of Many Portals

Nathan Treme is a freaking genius and started this magnificent Dungeon Pamphlet Jam over itch.io (although I can’t use it because it does not accept PayPal). He has been created some great small adventures and dungeons in pamphlet format and sending it to backers of his patreon and selling the PDFs over DriveThruRPG.

I, obviously, wanted to join this jam and do something with this charming format. So I did something I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. An RPG inspired by a cartoon that was inspired by an RPG, the classic Dungeons & Dragons series of the 80s! So using the things I was designing for my kid’s RPG and some other gaming influences I made a quick and simple system that offer enough options to be interesting to more mature players but that still fit in a single pamphlet. The game is called Lost in the Fantasy World!

In it, you play as a kid or teenager who was teleported to this fantastic world of adventure and been give a powerful magical artifact by this enigmat…

Nights of Daring Do in Lankhmar - West Marches Style Urban Campaign

As I write and illustrate more and more games (while still working on a day job) time for regular campaigns become rarer and rarer. I keep going to mini-cons here in Brazil and occasionally play with a more or less regular group. But I wanted to have a more regular game without the hurdle of organizing and remembering everyone of every session.

So I decided to Judge an Open Table of Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG set in Lankhmar, the iconic city created by Fritz Leiber! Inspired by the concept of the West Marches campaign, each session would be independent from the next one, and players could come and go freely.

In a urban setting, with lots of things going on, and focused on daring escapades of thieves and adventures done in the shadows, this concept could really shine I thought. Every session would be a single night. Everyone night one quick adventure or escapade, with almost endless possibilities. Players can do almost anything in a great city like Lankhmar and still go back to their …

Adventures in the World of Imagination - Character Creation

Sorry it took longer than I expected to continue my posts regarding Adventures in the World of Imagination, but here it is. Today, I will post the draft text for the character creation character of my RPG for Kids!

Chapter 3: Character Creation Who the players want to be in their daring adventures? A space cowboy who defend those in need? A brave knight who will fight the evil wizard to defend the Bright Kingdom? A magic amazon who defends everyone from the forces of shadow? They can be anything they want, and this chapter will help them create the character they want to have great adventures with.

Step 1 - Name and Concept The first step in creating a character in Adventures in the World of Imagination is giving it a evocative name and a Concept. A Concept is a short phrase that explains what the character is. This will look something like this:

Zultan, the Space Knight
Alza, the Magic Princess
Milus, the Super Wizard

The Concept not only helps establish who the character is and wha…

Dark Streets & Darker Secrets Kickstarter is Live Right Now!

Wow! Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells has just been released! It has been a little more than a month, but it seems like it was yesterday! But I have a new game coming out again!

Dark Streets & Darker Secrets is my take on action horror and urban fantasy and I call it street and sorcery. It uses pretty much the same system as Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells with various small adjustments to fit the genre better. The tone of the game is inspired by TV series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, Grimm, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and X-Files (and a little bit of our own world that is pretty terrifying).

This game is coming out through a crowdfunding campaign at Kickstarter, and it has already funded (yey, we got our initial expenses covered)! We have also reached 2 stretch goals, a Referee Screen (to be printed and used with customizable GM screens) and a small adventure, which will very likely be extended into a full issue of the upcoming Old Skull Zine (a zine to …

Adventure in the World of Imagination - Rules of the Game

Last week I posted about my latest passion project, Adventures in the World of Imagination. This is a simple, yet fun and flexible game to play with kids of 3-4 years old and up. I made this game thinking about my son, and I have been playing with him for a few weeks and we've had some fun times. Today I will post my draft of the chapter that contains the rules of the game.

Chapter 2: Rules of the Game This game is all about using creativity to solve problems and overcome challenges, but even though some rules must be established in order to put organize how the heroes created by the players will do all this.

Core Rule The core rule revolves around the acting player character rolling a D6 and adding all their bonuses (that can come from character traits and the player’s own creative actions) and comparing the result to a D6 rolled by the Referee, which is also modified by the obstacle bonuses. This rule is used whenever a situation involves risk and it’s unsure whether the hero w…

Adventure in the World of Imagination - Writing a Game for my Son

My son is 3 and a half years old. He talks a lot. He is kinda clumsy, but boy, he can talk. And create stories, and pretend he is all sorts of things. And he sees me gaming and wants to game with me. I, obviously, couln't wait to be able to play with him. So I didn't.

I made a game to play with him, a super simple RPG that would let me play anything he wanted, that he could make the characters he would want to play and that he could even be the Referee after a while. I am calling it "Adventures in the World of Imagination", and I am almost done with the first draft. I want to publish it like a children's book, with nice art and thick paper (you may not know this, but I did work with children's book some years ago and have publish my own books here in Brazil).

Thus, I will start sharing what I have here, and once it's pretty much done, I will share the whole draft with you!

Chapter 1: Introduction Kids are the most creative and imaginative people I’ve eve…

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells - Compatibility License

I am really happy with the reception Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells is getting. It is really a work of love and it’s amazing to see other people sharing this love for the game. But I want to share it even more. I want people to be able to make their own creations for it.

So I am releasing a Compatibility License with a cool Logo too. People will be able to create new material for game, be it adventures, zines, settings, optional rules and whatever they feel like it. It’s completely free, obviously, and will be amazing to see what other people can create with this game. I know a couple of authors that are already working on a few things that will be really fun to see when it’s published.

So what do you think? Do you want to make the Universe of Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells even more fun?

Grab the SB&CS Compatibility License and Logo here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/267646/Solar-Blades--Cosmic-Spells-Compatibility-License

If you like what you've just read, check …

Relationship Between Characters

As I am writing the draft text of the revised edition of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells, I am compiling things from the corebook, the Addendum, updating some rules and adding new tolls and options to make the game provide even more hooks and opportunities for adventures to create themselves. One of these tools is the establishment of Characters's Relationships. However, I made the table in a way that it can be used in pretty much any type of game, as it describe relationships in a way that is somewhat specific but genre neutral.


Characters’ Relationships
Oftentimes the game will start on the premise that the PCs already know one another in some manner. This is done to speed up game play and get to the adventure as quicklyas possible. After all, everyone is there to have thrilling escapades in a sword and sorcery setting, and relationships actually take a long time to form.


Thus, it is usually a good idea for each character to establish some sort of relationship to at least two ot…