When you’re wandering around the streets of Great Lunden in the Midderlands there are a number of important buildings marked specifically on the map, but what about those buildings that aren’t marked?Continue reading Random Thing: What does that Lunden building look like?
So, UK Games Expo 2019 is over, I had a great time GM-ing for Games on Demand with my wife, Lloyd Gyan and all the other excellent GMs (and of course players), now I’m sliding into that post-Con funk stage of existence. However–one of the side benefits of attending the Con–is that it always fires me up to do a bit of changing and improvement to the way I run games and manage my game related stuff.Continue reading Red Dice Re-organisation
A Visitor’s Guide to Georgian England
Okay, it’s been a fair while since I’ve released any non-review Youtube videos, but recently helping my friend Fozz do some vlogging in Coventry has inspired me to pick up my (admittedly cheap) video camera and give it a go again. Unfortunately having just bought a second monitor, new desktop and a laptop for the wife getting a better camera is going to have to wait, I’ll have to make do with my tiny Toshiba Camileo, phone and webcam until then.
In this video I’m chatting about a cool book on Georgian England that I have been reading, and that I hope to use as inspiration for some future RPG goodness.Continue reading Appendix N
Hoon Hills: Lament of the Skylord
In the third episode of our Thousands Lands B/X Essentials, hex-crawl campaign, our heroes press on into the Hoon Hills in search of the hideout of the evil thieves cult The Dark Eye, but they find more than they bargained for when they discover a small village and it’s shining silver guardian.Continue reading Thousand Lands S01E03
We’ve recently wrapped up season one of our Lamentations of the Flame Princess Midderlands Campaign, as of the time of writing we’ve already started season two, which has seen the timeline move forward by ten years and a switch to the For Coin & Blood rule set.
Season One charts the rise and fall of the Locke Adventuring Company,
During their adventures they made allies among the people of Porthcrawl, enemies of many fierce creatures, many friends were lost along the way, but they never stopped striving to push forward against adversity in the spirit of their deceased namesake Edwin Locke.
Over twenty sessions chart the rise and fall of the Locke Adventuring Company, these are all available to watch on Youtube or Twitch.
Twitch PlaylistWatch Rose of Westhaven – Season 1 from RedDiceDiaries on www.twitch.tv
In this episode I discuss some ideas for manual prep and note recording methods going forward for my games:
If you’re interested in the idea of Bullet Journalling you can find out more here:
- The main bullet journal website
- Bullet Journal for RPGs tutorial
- Bullet journals for GMs MeWe community
Shinigami by XTaKeRuX:
Used under creative commons licence:
My First Thoughts
Okay, so you may or may not be aware–based on whether or not you’ve read Eldritch Cock James Edward Raggi IV’s FreeRPG supplement for Lamentations of the Flame Princess–that there is a second edition of LotFP in the works for some date in the distant future. The Eldritch Cock supplement features two pages of playtest rules that are currently under consideration for inclusion in a 2E of my current favourite OSR system.
Readers are invited to submit their feedback so I thought that I’d put mine into a blog article.
Aims of the New Rules
According to the document the aims of the new rules are as follows:
…keep things fresh and accentuate how LotFP is different from other superficially similar games without creating an edition war.
The process of play should remain the same…
Backwards compatability is a must…
The six perennial D&D attributes are still there and, essentially, the player rolls 3D6 for each ability in turn and receives modifiers based on their score as per the standard LotFP and other OSR-style games. The idea seems to be that each Ability Score should have more of an impact on the game than previously.
How Much do we Need Ability Scores to Affect the Game?
It’s no great secret that in many OSR games your stats only have a very minor effect on the game, perhaps boosting your attack modifier a little, maybe giving you the odd additional Hit Point here and there or–if you’re using a system like LotFP that incorporates skills–perhaps giving you the odd skill boost. I’ve never really seen this as a problem in OSR games because many of the games focus on the “rulings over rules” style that is often discussed in this style of gaming.
For those of you not familiar with it, “rulings over rules” refers to an ethos of not having a specific rule for every possible situation but having a simple flexible set of rules that are almost purposefully vague in some areas, allowing the common-sense of the GM and their group to prevail when it comes to interpreting how to adjudicate situations.
So how do the new rules give a bit more bite to Attribute Scores?
- Charisma: Determines the number of D6 that you roll for your magical based Saving Throws (there only seem to be two types of Saving Throw in the new ruleset, magical and non-magical), the better your score, the more D6s you roll. When you make a Saving Throw, you roll your dice and count how many 6s you’ve rolled, if you get one 6 then you have achieved a partially successful save, if you get two or more 6s then you have made your Save successful. No 6s is a failure.
- Constitution: Determines the dice type that you roll for Hit Points, that’s right, your HP is no longer based on your class but on an Attribute, ranging from D4s up to D12s (if you’re lucky enough to have a CON of 17-18).
- Dexterity: This Attribute determines what dice type you roll for Initiative.
- Intelligence: Determines how many Skill Points you begin with. Although the focus of LotFP’s simple skill system has always been the Specialist Class, with everyone else having low or limited ranks in the various game skills, in these new rules your non-Specialist character at least gets a few points to spread around between the various skills.
- Strength: Determines how many items equal 1 Encumbrance Point. The way encumbrance works in LotFP is that a certain number of items equals an encumbrance point, you work out how many encumbrance points you are carrying and this affects your movement and abilities in certain situations. Previously this number was set, in the new rules however, the higher your Strength score, the more items you will be able to carry.
- Wisdom: Works in a similar way to Charisma but for the purposes of non-magical Saving Throws.
I quite like the idea of the Attribute Scores having more of an impact on the game, especially when–as seems to be the case here–they do so without adding a great deal of unnecessary complexity to the game. Rolling a different dice or calculating encumbrance in a slightly different way doesn’t (in my opinion) add additional complexity, nor can I see how it would slow down the game much.
Character Classes & Gaining Levels
Only the following classes exist in the new rules:
- Specialist (this is the LotFP version of the Thief Class, sort of…)
That’s right, only three classes, the Cleric and the three demihuman classes (Elf, Dwarf and Halfling) have been axed in the new edition, the demihumans because apprently “this aint Tolkien” and the Cleric because “the existence of divine power defines the cosmology of an individual campaign that is best left to the Referee, not a game publisher”. These two viewpoints seem a bit of a contradiction in terms, on one hand telling you that the game definitely does not involve demihumans and putting a stern foot down, whilst on the other hand saying that it doesn’t want to impose it’s viewpoint, allowing the GM the freedom to do or do not as they see fit.
Perhaps this is the author representing the fundamental differences between everything having a Lawful plan which all things must bend towards and the churning, bubbling froth of chaos that tears down walls and allows ultimate freedom (to paraphrase the alignment descriptions from the LotFP corebook), but it must be remembered that these are only potential playtest rules. Although I remember hearing ages ago (before ever reading Eldritch Cock) that Raggi wanted to get rid of Clerics at some point and his opinion on demihumans is well known so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the author is sharpening his axe for them as well.
I suspect that this is going to divide the audience somewhat, I certainly know that–preparing for the game I’m planning to start soon–when I put it to the players they were quite keen to keep the demihumans and the Clerics. I can certainly see why this is the case, although their exclusion wouldn’t bother me terribly, they have been part of D&D and OSR games for many, many years. That said, it’s not terribly difficult to house-rule those classes to work in the new rules, I suspect the only difficulty–assuming you’re concerned with it–is that the demihumans (particularly the Elves) tended to be balanced by requiring more XP to level-up. In the new system it takes a flat 2,500XP to reach second level and double the xp required for each subsequent level.
Fighters get to roll their HP dice twice and pick the highest results at first level where the others get to roll once, giving the Fighter clear advantage when it comes to potential HP totals at first level, which makes sense. When characters advance in level they roll their new number of Hit Dice and–if the total is higher than their existing number of Hit Points–they up their total to the new number, otherwise it remains the same. I’ve encountered this rule before in the OSR sci-fi game Star Without Number written by Kevin Crawford and am a huge fan of it, since the number of dice you roll increases with each level the tendency is for your total HP to creep steadily up, however it isn’t guaranteed at each level and slows down the onset of superhero syndrome, where the PCs have enough HP to shrug injuries that would fell lesser men.
Essentially in the game there are now four categories of combat bonus:
Fighters gain +2 in each of these categories at first level and +1 in each category per level, whereas other character classes get +1 in Firearms and +1 in one of the other categories (chosen randomly); the higher combat proficiency of the Fighter Class makes sense, however the emphasis on Firearms for the other classes is a little confusing and may hint at a great involvement for firearms in this edition. Previously they were jammed at the back as an appendix, I love these rules to bits and wouldn’t run LotFP without using blackpowder firearms, but I’m guessing that these rules are going to be bought more centre-stage in the 2E of LotFP.
Like a lot of rules in this, and other, OSR systems there are a lot of random elements in this (rolling your Attributes, randomly determining where attack bonuses go, etc), some people may love this, others no so much. Again though it’s not difficult to allow people to jiggle their Attribute scores around and allow them to pick which attack category they get a bonus in.
Guarding is an interesting idea and replaces the Parry rules from the current edition of LotFP, essentially when a person chooses to Guard, they gain an AC bonus equal to their level plus their Guard rating. I like this, it’s nice and simple and gives all the Classes a way to fight defensively if they want to; however the second paragraph talks about choosing to Guard out of Initiative order and only getting half the level rounded up, plus their Guard rating, this seems unnecessary and I’m not sure it would add a lot to a game. Personally I’m not a fan of Initiative interrupts since I think that they make combats lengthier and clunkier, but it’s not exactly difficult to omit this bit.
Holding an Action
These rules allow a character to hold an action until an enemy takes a particular action then interrupt (with various penalties). As you can see above, I’m not a fan of turn interrupts, but I’d be interested to see if and how this actually works in a combat.
All weapons now do D8 damage, armour counts double against Minor and Small Weapons and half against Great Weapons and Polearms. This is interesting and seems to jibe in well with the existing weapon categories, sticking closely to the 2E rule-set’s guideline of “reverse compatibility”, although I’m not sure how it would work on Ranged Weapons and Firearms since they are not currently grouped into the same abstract categories.
In my own upcoming game I’ve chosen to ignore this rule and stick with the 1E weapon damages and rules.
The next section of the playtest rules focusses on LotFP’s simple skill system; previously Skill tests were determined by rolling a D6 and trying to get equal to or below your score, in the playtest rules you roll a D6, add your skill rank and are attempting to score a 6 or above to be successful. Each skill starts at a +0 bonus with characters receiving a +3 and a +2 bonus allocated randomly to two skills. Characters get bonus skill points (or lose them) based on their Intelligence score, Specialists get four +1s to allocate to skills of their choice and a further +2 points at every level thereafter.
There are also some additional Skills added:
- Leadership: This skill allows you to modifer hireling morale checks, a successful Skill Check providing a +2 bonus to a morale check and a failed roll giving a -2 penalty.
- Luck: Grants the player a number of re-rolls equal to their ranks in the skill per session.
- Medicine: Allows you to double the effects of healing naturally, although a failed roll on the seriously injured can result in serious consequences. Personally I find this a bit limp, I’d just have a successful roll heal D4 + the ranks in the skill or something similar, but I can see why the author doesn’t want this to become a super-skill that negates the danger of taking damage.
- Seamanship: There’s very little description to this skill beyond that it is going to be some sort of Bushcraft on the High Seas style skill, there are going to be some forthcoming rules related to this and I wouldn’t be surprised to sea them take a more central role given the authors obvious fondness for naval exploits (we can see this with how much coverage they get in the original LotFP rulebook).
This section was a little confusing, we’ve already been told that the number of dice rolled for Magic and Non-Magic Saving Throws are adjudicated by various Attribute Scores, given that the difficulty of Saving Throws is no longer based on rolling above a number but on how many 6s you roll, it seems as though their isn’t much point in the current Saving Throw classes, you really only need two (Magic and Non-Magic). Some parts of the playtest rules seem to imply this, whilst others make reference to the previous Saving Throw categories from 1E LotFP, so I’m not sure where the author is going with this, however I suspect it’ll get straightened out in the future.
So, what do I think?
I think that the rules are very interesting, some (like the Attribute, Skill and Combat Rules) I’m a big fan of, whereas others (such as Holding an Action and Weapon Damage) I’m not so fond of. For my own upcoming game we’ve made a few tweaks and ignored the Weapon Damage rules, I’ve produced a small character generation guidebook incorporating the new rules that we’re going to be using and look forward to trying them out.
Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock–or at least very isolated from social media–for the past few days you’ll have no doubt heard the news that apparently Google+ is officially circling the drain.
I woke up this morning to a flood of stories like this one
It would appear that–due to a security issues discovered by Google and lack of use–they’ve decided to shut down their social network over the course of the next 10 months, with it being gone by August 2019. Personally I think this is a great shame, whilst Google+ has never scaled the dizzying heights of public visibility that social media giant Facebook has, there were a few things it did that I really liked:
- There were some great communities chock-full of great links to RPG material and interesting discussion.
- It was blissfully free of the flame-wars and rampaging arguments that seem to rage across Facebook like seasonal storms.
- Originally it served as a handy gateway to Google Hangouts, before Hangouts was largely neutered, lost most of it’s apps and just became is shit(er) version of Skype.
So what do we do now?
Well one of the budding new social media sites that seems to be cleaning up at the minute is MeWe, numerous RPG-based community groups have sprung up over there in the hours since the future departure of Google+ was announced, many migrating from Google. The social network seems to have a fairly similar interface to Facebook and will certainly be easy to grasp for those used to the social-media giant.
I think it’s too early yet to say whether or not MeWe is going to emerge as a spiritual successor to Google+, there are people trumpeting other networks and even hearkening back to the days when forums were the thing for hobby-based interactions on the internet.
Whether or not Google+ does finally die though, it’s good to see we have options; in the meantime I’ve created a Google+ account for myself in order to interact with those communities moving over there, you can find me at:
We’ve recently been experimenting with live-recording group podcasts on Twitch so that people can watch an “uncut” version as it’s being recorded and get involved via the chat box.
These recordings are available on the Red Dice Diaries Twitch Channel.
Last night’s recording was about over-production in RPGs, although–as usual–we rambled and got off topic in the way that any group of RPers do when you start them talking.
These live-recordings seem to have been fairly well-received so we’re currently considering the possibility of doing them on a more regular basis (perhaps one every couple of weeks).
In the next day or two I’m going to edit the sound file from this recording and trim it down, before releasing it as a podcast on Anchor.
Rules for dealing with black market trading in LOTFP and other OSR games.
Trading and buying equipment is often something that gets glossed over in RPGs, and quite rightly so in my opinion since doing a bit of shopping doesn’t really compare to the heroic (and not so heroic) deeds that PCs engage in during the rest of their adventuring career. I’ve done it myself recently in my own campaign game, the players rocked up to the City of Blymouth to buy some gear and–wanting to get on with the rest of the adventure–I pretty much said “Yeah, if you can see it on the equipment list then you can buy it at city prices.”
It did get me thinking though, one of the things I’d half had in mind for Blymouth (since the high taxes that Duke Salt imposes on the citizens was mentioned in the Midderlands Expanded book) was that there would be a thriving black market economy. But how best to represent this without every shopping trip turning into a mission on it’s own?
I also wanted the black market expedition to have an element of both randomness and player-choice in it. With that in mind I’ve put together the following set of rules for Black-marketeering:
Stages of Black-Marketeering
In order to gain access and trade on the black market the PCs must go through the following stages (each of which is covered in more detail later in the article):
- Locating a black-market vendor.
- Purchasing the item/assessing it’s quality.
Locating a Black Market Vendor
In order to use the black market, the PCs must first make contact with it; if they have already had dealings with a named contact in the current settlement and are on good terms with them then they can do this automatically.
If the PCs do not have a named contact they are on good-terms with then they must make a Charisma check to locate an appropriate vendor, the player-character’s Sleight of Hand score is added to their Charisma for the purposes of this check (to represent familiarity with the underworld).
For example: Michael Childs is a suave thief with a Charisma of 15 and a Sleight of Hand score of 3-in-6; when making his roll to contact the black market he counts as having a Charisma score of 18.
If the player succeeds on the roll then they locate a black market vendor without any problems, if they fail then something has gone wrong; roll 1D6 on the following table to find out what.
|1-2||The PCs are spotted by the watch and are approached by a group of town-guard, if they can't talk their way out of it then the PCs will be fined 1D6x50SP. If they cannot–or refuse–to pay the fine then the guards will attempt to apprehend them and throw them in debtors prison.|
|3-4||The PCs locate a vendor, but he is actually a thug with some of his fellows lurking nearby, as they are discussing purchases a group of footpads attempt to disable and rob the PCs.|
|5-6||The PCs fail to find a black market vendor because they are distracted by another event (roll on the random encounter chart for this area).|
Purchasing the Item/Assessing It’s Quality
If the PCs manage to track down a black-market vendor then they are able to locate the item/s they are seeking to purchase, however such vendors are not like more reputable tradesmen, their wares are a jumble of broken, salvaged and cobbled together items.
When purchasing from a black-market vendor the player may choose to take a discount of 10, 20 or 30 percent from the cost of their purchase. Once they have decided on their discount, roll a 1D6 to determine whether or not the item is 100% functional, the chance of this being the case is listed below.
|Discount Taken||Chance of Something wrong with Item|
Please note: This roll must be made for each item purchased.
If there is something wrong with the item that has been purchased, roll on the table below to determine what exactly is amiss with it and consult the table below:
|1||The first time the item is used it falls to pieces immediately afterwards.||The first time the item is used it falls to pieces immediately afterwards.||The first time the item is used it falls to pieces immediately afterwards.||The first time the item is used it falls to pieces immediately afterwards.|
|2-3||The weapon does only half damage.||The armour provides 1 less AC bonus than it should.||The magic item has only half charges or provides 1 less bonus.||The item is evidence in a crime and is being sought by the authorities.|
|4-5||The weapon does only a quarter damage.||The armour provides 2 less AC bonus than it should.||The magic item has only a quarter the charges or provides 2 less bonus.||The item is sought by a powerful villain who will stop at nothing to recover it.|
|6||The item is cursed (as determined by the GM).||The item is cursed (as determined by the GM).||The item is cursed (as determined by the GM).||The item is cursed (as determined by the GM).|