Tuesday, 10 January 2017

[Review] The Blood Hack

Before I begin with the review, I want you to know, that I have had a privilege to work with this game. I did the layout, edited the text, made covers and a character sheet and discussed rules. But this review is not biased, because when I received the draft for this game, I fell in love. As I said, it was a privilege for me to get a change to work with The Blood Hack and its author +Matthew Skail.

I love The Black Hack. It takes my favorite rules system and tweaks it to simplier and more versatile form. Even though I still enjoy early D&D and OSR games, The Black Hack is something different, yet familiar. And because it is a versatile system, it is easy to reproduce for different genres, like Cyber-Hacked! which makes cyberpunk fun and fast or The Super Hack which makes super heroes not a chore, with roots to my favorite game(s).

In early 2000 I played Vampire: The Masquerade. I played it a lot! So much I grew sick of it for various different reasons. When I found OSR, I started to think what V:tM would be with OSR rules. When I found The Black Hack, I started thinking what playing vampires in World Of Darkness style campaign would be with it. Then at Google Plus I found out, that Matthew was working on a game using The Black Hack rules with a feel of 90s vampires and modern gothicpunk world.

And damned The Black Hack system works brilliantly with vampires!

You get the normal rules, where you roll everything under your Stats, be it fighting, different tasks or saving rolls. Because this game is set to a modern era, you also get rules for vehicles, firearms, chases and such, which all work great with the simple core mechanics.

There are four different vampire classes from four different Houses of the Blood. They are not just those four core fantasy races re-dressed with fangs, but great write-ups with different knowledges and skills. Each of them is great for different types of archtypes from magisters to warriors.

Vampires naturally have their supernatural powers, Gifts. They gain Gifts more experienced they get, and start with few. You are free to develop your vampire with Gifts you want to take, and are not restricted to bloodlines that determine your future gifts. The gifts are not only things that boost your vampire to be more powerful than human, they are many really clever and more towards roleplaying rather than rollplaying.

Some vampires can also learn rituals, which are blood powered powerful magic. There are five levels of ritual powers, from quite simple to truly horrific! The rituals are absolutely fantastic and don't feel that they are just replacing fantasy roleplaying game's spells. They are a different beast, and add extra flavor to the game.

The great thing is how the innovation of usage die is used with blood points and morale (basically humanity from V:tM). Instead of calculating and spending blood points like hit points, you roll usage die for blood for example when powering gifts or healing. Morale has an absolutely brilliant adaptation of usage die what really captures the downward spiral of vampire morality! Really elegant adaptation of the original system, where you used usage die for inventory items.

You also get lots of different NPC stats from commoners to supernatural beings. Many have special rules, which are simple, yet flavourful.

The Blood Hack has everything you need to begin playing in dark modern days as an undead vampire, who only doesn't struggle with her humanity, but also the dangers of the night. If you liked World Of Darkness games, this is a must have or you like The Black Hack, this is a great addition to your collection to mix with other "hack" genres.

Year 2017 has just started, but as an ex-Vampire fan and a big The Black Hack rules system fan, at this point I can already say, that The Blood Hack will be one of the greatest RPG products of this year.

You can get the PDF from RPGNow and print-on-demand will be released later.
Buy it HERE.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

White Star Campaign: 0 - Plans and background

White Star can be bought from RPGNow -
both PDF and print formats available!

WHAT IS WHITE STAR?


White Star is Dungeons & Dragons in space, using Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox rules. Basically it is OD&D with a modern and simplified touch, frosted with space-themes. You get everything you need to play, including space crafts combat! In short, easy and fun science fiction gaming where the rules are not a cumberstone!

HOUSE RULE: DIS/ADVANTAGE

I plan to play-by-the-book as much as possible. There are not many different rules, anyways. Only thing I am going to adapt is the dis/advantage system from D&D 5e and/or The Black Hack. Skill tests are d20 < attribute rolls. If the conditions are favorable OR character should know what she is doing or her character class is good at the task, she'll gain an advantage. If conditions are bad, she'll get a disadvantage instead. Easy.

SETTING

I am going to use White Star's default setting with some additional touches from me as a starting point for my campaign. A remote location, with three factions: Space Pirates, Galactic Consortium and The Resistance. Galactic Consortium has cut this sector from rest of the space by shutting down the only (known) jump gate there. They want total power and dictatorship and don't want anyone or anything from other sectors or places to come and interfere with their plans. When they have a total control of this Kelron sector they begin to build their military strength to take on a sector after a sector... Or that's their plan on the paper!

It was 60 years ago when Galactic Consortium cut out the power of the jump gate. It is now heavily guarded, and no one is allowed to get near to it. Safety reasons, they say, but the rebels know better...

Supreme Lord Adlar is either very old, or not completely human anymore. True, some genetics and advanced medical care can expand normal human lifespan, but people talk. Some say that Supreme Lord Adlar is half human, half machine. Some whisper that he has learned darkest secrets of the Void and is immortal. Whatever the truth is, Supreme Lord Adlar's humanity is long lost, and what remains is hunger for power.

Galactic Consortium wants to bend everyone within the Kelron sector into its will. Those who will not become workers or warriors for them, shall die. Galactic Consortium has been careful this far not to just go killing people, as there are more free-willed than brainwashed followers. But they will get there in a way or another...

Resistance is against the Galactic Consortium believing in free will and democracy. They are strong, as Galactic Consortium is not yet ready to fight the people and the mass. They fight against the most active and loud members of the Resistance, using not only firepower and force but also propaganda.

Space Pirates are just people who want to make riches fast by venturing the space and smuggling and stealing. They are stuck here, when the Galactic Consortium cut out the jump gate - only way away from this sector. Many original of the Space Pirates who got stuck into this sector are already dead, but their power and will are strong. They recruit new individuals continually amongst those who want true freedom to travel and explore. They have no place with Resistance and the people, as they are feared because of their original arrival of plunder. They refuse to take steps towards the Galactic Consortium which originally restricted their freedom of travel.
Space Pirates are a loose faction. There are gangs with one leader, the Overcaptain. But as long as the gangs do what the Overcaptain says, anything can happen, resulting that the gangs are rivals. Some of them respect each other, some of them are backstabbers.

Planets and other places of interests are vague enough to be used as they are written in the book, so adding material and adventures custom to the events of the campaign will be easy.

PLAYER CHARACTER

This campaign is for only one player, my girlfriend. She has interest in playing Aristocrat character class, which is a little different from other classes more familiar to D&D or Hulks & Horrors, what we have played earlier. Because this is a one-on-one campaign, I let her roll her stats 4d6 drop the lowest and assign at will. Because more interesting in this is the story of the character than the adventures. Well the adventures create the character, but in this case player will be playing her character, the antagonist of the setting, and her story will be on focus instead of the story what developes by playing adventure modules. If it makes any sense at all.

Player character will also have NPC companions from the beginning of the game. They are close to her, her crew, her comrades, her support, her friends.

Player will choose which faction her character will be a member of. She can be part of Galactic Consortium and try to get rid of resistance in order for her faction to conquer this section before they travel forth. Or she might be part of the Resistance and fight against the Galactic Consortium. If she is a Space Pirate, she will do this and that freelancing for her own good - and maybe towards opening the gate so Space Pirates can get out of this section. It's not good for the business to have been space pirating the same sector for over 60 years!

CAMPAIGN BEGINNING

I'll start the campaign with the beginning adventure from the White Star rulebook called The Second Battle Of Brinn. It's a good introduction to the system, and I can sneak lots of campaign background information. Depending on which faction the player character will belong to.

  • Galactic Consortium: The player and her crew must retrieve the data so the Rebels don't get their hands on it.
  • Resistance: Get the data before Galactic Consortium will get it, because it is important for the cause.
  • Space Pirates: The data is valuable, and will be easy to sell for the highest bidder - Galactic Consortium of Resistance. But before you sell it, you should make a copy of it. The information must be important, because them two factions are both after it. (At location 7, there are pirates, but they are from another gang).
WHAT WILL HAPPEN?

It depends on the player and her character's actions and motives, what the campaign will be like. I will use some scifi adventures and modules I have, dropping them into the campaign where they fit - or I will make the campaign fit the adventures. I did this same thing when I ran Labyrinth Lord for her. We had this campaign plan, the great plot, but I used all different adventure material to flesh it out with fun content.

Monday, 5 December 2016

[Review] Slügs by Lamentations of the Flame Princess

Slügs was a free RPG day sourcebook, now available for everyone in print for a very reasonable price, and when they're all gone, a pay-what-you-want PDF will be released.

Most of the LotFP publications are adventures or settings, few being sourcebooks (like Vornheim for city adventures or The Seclusium Of Orphone for creating mages' towers). LotFP doesn't believe in traditional monster books, as its weird fantasy philosophy is, that each creature/monster encountered should be unique instead of just something out from monster manual. Slügs is a compilation of monsters - slugs in this case - but they are all unique and individuals. Or that's the impression the text gives. You don't meet 10 "muscle slügs" (yes, they're there) guarding a treasure in a dungeon.

 There are 16 different slügs in total, each different. Generally the aren't just meatbags and hit points for player characters to grind for experience and loot, they all have a gimmick or two - but the gimmicks are not stupid. Well, some of them are, like the christmas slüg what you get presents from if you're lucky, or breakfast slüg which is a slimy bowl of cereal. These slügs can be a big part of campaign, and a quest to find, for example the doctor slug to be found to cure horrible wounds and damage an adventurer party member has suffered. Some will make a quest, like mentallo slüg, who knows the future and wants you to prevent something horrible from happening. Some of them just have an effect, like sluggish slüg. But for those who want to fight horrible monsters, there are more traditional slügs like the vomit slug.

There are NSFW work included, but the quality of drawings is great. Kelvin Green's (Forgive Us) slüg drawings are great and he has captured the different qualities of the various slügs very well. Yannick Bouchard's inside covers are his usual great quality. And Rich Longmore's cover that expands to the back is very colorful.

Slügs was a fun read. There are many different slugs from which almost any Game Master can find something to throw into their campaign world. Many of them are humorous, some even stupid, but most of them are easily usable (the humorous and stupid depend on the players and campaign, rest don't that much). Even IF Slügs was just a big joke, you can use it without making your campaign just silly.

For the price of less than a dollar, when you order anything from LotFP strore, there is no excuse of not including this to it. I say, go get it!

Saturday, 3 December 2016

[Patreon] Cursed Town of Toerd and Orcnest Dungeon

Thanks to my patrons, here is new material for you to use in your D&D/OSR campaigns!

CURSED TOWN OF TOERD

This town suffers of a horrible curse, and only retrieving items of a war hero can save it.

Even though the Cursed Town Of Toerd is set to my Patreon set 2's default setting, Island Of Yingvaerd, you can easily use it in your own default setting.

Download the PDF here:
https://www.patreon.com/posts/cursed-town-of-7367029

ORCNEST DUNGEON



In Orcnest Dungeons there are orcs! And one of the aforementioned items can be found here. Sharpen your sword, prepare your spells and put on your best sneaking boots and venture to explore this location! Set in my default Patreon set 2 setting, but can easily be thrown into any campaign world of yours!

Thanks to my patrons, you can download the dungeon here:

Monday, 28 November 2016

Space Crusade with RPG/miniatures newbie

My friend knows I am a gamer. He knows, that I play roleplaying games and other games. I met him at a local gaming event (National gaming day at Pori), and he liked what he saw; people playing miniature games (Malifaux, Batman...). So we decided to have a boy's night with kebab and pizza, beer, candy, and miniatures! I chose Space Crusade, because it has Warhammer 40k (even though the plastic minis are simplier than wargame version's) in it but it is really simple. Even one of my friends, who couldn't care less about my gaming interests enjoyed it - and was talking about photon grenades - something she has a zero interest in generally. With a guy who is already interested in stuff like this and has seen it in action, what could go wrong? Nothing!

Meet Tapio. First timer. We have everything two guys need for a Saturday night (even dude a radio playing rock and metal, not showing on the picture).
I've almost finished painting my Space Crusade minis with help from my girlfriend. Some are not yet varnished, marines are not quite completed (weapons need painting and gluing for example), one genestealer is only in primer stage, and Destructor (yes, that's what a Dreadnought is called in Finnish translation of Space Crusade - isn't that more epic Warhammer name than English one?) needs details...
The game looks something like this in action.
Lot's of shooting happening here!
Here is my high-score!
We played five games, four in the night and one in the morning. Many marines were killed, many clones were destroyed. Destructor (Dreadnought) destroyed and was destroyed.