Saturday, April 29, 2023

The Importance of Sidekicks

I've written before about how Robin was my favorite character growing up - I always liked him more than Batman, and I always ended up taking him as my choice when my best friend and I played Batman and Robin when I was six with the big MEGO figures I had. Burt Ward was my spirit animal.

And that love of sidekicks has translated into a lot of my work. In Army Ants, Vince was my narrative point of view character; he was a new character to the team, and the stories were never about him. He was a witness to stories about Sarge and Gunner and Zak (and even Phil), serving primarily to observe and report.

The thing that has made the Doc Stawlart stories work is not Doc Stalwart - he's actually a pretty generic character. He is a big, strong, impervious dude who is also a scientist. The Thing's powers with Reed Richards' brain. The thing that holds those stories together is Mikah. It's really his journey the reader is following - he just happens to be on the journey with Doc Stalwart. If I was hired to write Superman (which would be AMAZING by the way, but also will never, ever happen), I would have Jimmy Olsen be front and center in his stories. If James Gunn cared what I thought, he'd take my suggestion to make Jimmy a major character in the next Superman film.

Which all brings me to Sky Stawart. I'm interested to tell some stories with him, but he's kind of bland on his own, to be honest. He's just Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers with a scientific mind. That's on purpose. But, the thing that would ground his stories would be a sidekick. I've already used Mikah, so having a parallel character to Mikah doesn't really interest me. The first thought was an empathic teen girl, but isn't that just Mikah with different pronouns? I mean, I could follow her journey to becoming my system's version of a Jedi, but it feels like a story I've already told. I toyed with the idea of going with strange alien, but the whole idea of wanting to use this character as a third-person limited omniscient narrator goes out the window when it's a blob or green monkey helping to tell the story.

Ultimately, I think I came full circle to Kirby my bot. I had written a story with Skye Stalwart (at least the first few thousand words of one), in which Kirby was the POV character and I really liked that. I am hesitant to pry him from Skye Stalwart and send him over to Sky Stalwart, but that seems to work the best. He's the Twiki to my Buck Rogers, and that dynamic works. I'll play with it for a bit and see how it works out...


Monday, April 24, 2023

LEGO Cormorant Complete

 Here is the completed LEGO version of Sky Stalwart's starship, the Cormorant. It features:

  • A cockpit with phase pistol, vac helmet, and jet pack at the ready for exploring space.
  • A hold with a work area, kitchen/bunk, computer system, and storage for land exploration (backpack, walkie-talkie, and binoculars).
  • A detachable cockpit for stealth missions and short-range exploration.
  • The middle back engine piece actually detaches and hooks to the back of the explorer pod/cockpit, but it's a little tricky to pull it apart, and I forgot when I was taking pictures :)
I had WAY too much fun building this. 

Sunday, April 23, 2023

A Sky Stalwart Update

I've been working on all things Sky Stalwart on and off this weekend, and updated a few things. I re-colored him in darker purples (because I liked that better, and it fits his LEGO figure better)... I also added to his Cormorant LEGO set (it's almost done), and created a stat block in Shards, using the streamlined character creation rules I plan to roll out in Dispatches from the Pale #2. I ALSO threw together a sample comic page - this is pretty rough, but I like the vibe, and I might end up re-drawing this as an 'official' page of his comic series. As is, this might be archived as the 'draft' Raymond Alexander did... or something. Anyhow, here's some stuff to look at! (The cockpit has his space helmet, his phase pistol, and a jet pack... the cockpit detaches as a pod for exploration apart from the main ship... it's a whole thing).

Sky Stalwart - The Man Who Fell From Earth; Clever Human Explorer 4

AC 19 | Hits 30 | Feat +10 | Move 3 | Resolve 4d8

Phase Pistol (x4 | +6 | 1d8) (stun setting)

STR 10 (+1) | INT 16 (+2) | WIS 10 (+1) | DEX 10 (+1) | CON 10 (+1) | CHA 12 (+1)

Attack +1; Attribute Focus (INT); Defense +2; Expert (Physics); Fortitude; Gadgeteer; Hacking; Resolute; Vehicles 

Belief: Life should always be protected.

Omni Suit (grants AC +2; acts as enviro suit and vac suit)

Saturday, April 22, 2023

The Cormorant in LEGO

I completed a first try at the outside of Sky Stalwart's spaceship, the Cormorant, in LEGO. I like most of this, although there are a few spots on the cockpit I still want to make cleaner. I still have the whole interior to do, but it's coming along nicely... my original drawing and then the toy model. It is surprisingly swooshable, and very solid.

Sky Stalwart and the Cormorant

My daughter often tells me I'm a nerd. Well DUH. Here is my initial design for the Cormorant, Sky Stalwart's starship, as well as a custom LEGO minifigure for Sky Stalwart. Sky's minifigure is a combination of Batgirl, a Cedric Diggory head (I think that's who it is), a random bank robber, and Fred from Scooby Doo's hair. I think that the pistol may be too big - he needs either a classic megaphone pistol, or something smaller. I wish I had a purple torso with some yellow accents, but that's something to keep my eye out for...

Now, I just need to make the Cormorant out of LEGO, and I'll be all set...

Sky Stalwart and Messy History

I had something of an 'aha' moment. I was thinking about the 'world' of Shards of Tomorrow, and how much I like how I solved the world of Doc Stalwart / The Stalwart Age by creating a comic that never was. It scratched an itch for me to have a comic series I always wanted to have. I could create a full series of hundreds of comics of an extended storyline, or I could just pretend I did! I chose pretend, and am much the happier for it.

It occurred to me that I could do the exact same thing for the science fiction world I want to craft. I had two competing ideas in my head - a classic two-fisted hero named Sky Stalwart, or a modern, not-manic-pixie-dream-girl-but-also-kindof named Skye Stalwart. One was Doc Stalwart's dad, and the other was his daughter. I couldn't decide which story to pursue...

Then I realized that, thanks to the messy real history of comics, I didn't need to! I keep embracing the idea that the history of publishing is fraught with weird events, behind-the-scenes drama, and outright plagiarism and intellectual theft. Problem solved!

I present to you the science fiction comic strip that never was (except in my imagination)... Sky Stalwart: The Man Who Fell From Earth. My plan is to create the world around the comic strip, and maybe even some sample comic strips, but to not actually make 12,000+ strips. This gives me the chance to 'own' a comic strip that lasted several decades (which I've always wanted) without actually, you know, doing the work of MAKING a comic strip that takes decades to do.

It's called having your cake and devouring it as well. I highly recommend it.

More to come shortly. I'm excited to design his starship, the Cormorant. I'm excited to delve into some of his most notable storylines. Tolkien once talked about creativity as taking a leaf from the tree of ideas that have already been written and describing your leaf as well as you can. I feel like the leaves of this are already created, and now I just get to go and pull leaves as I will. Fun! 

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Concepts in Shards

Here's some stuff I'm thinking of for the next issue of the Dispatches from the Pale...

I was going through the Shards core rules to do some playing, and I was thinking about how some of the concepts I developed for Hack'D would fit nicely in Shards. Specifically, I was thinking about character generation. Shards is very much a class and level game, but Hack'D breaks the concept of classes apart, having each character build from the ground up with tags, tailoring these to fit the character concept. It's a much more free-form approach. As I went through the vocation gifts, general gifts, and talents, I saw that these all fit under the heading of tags well. Instead of 1d4 gifts, alongside a few talents and some vocation gifts, you start with 2d4 tags (so an average of 5), which is pretty close to the previous setup. Mechanically, not much changes, but the flexiblity for character options increases dramatically. 

In the same manner, ethos is replaced with a demeanor (straight out of Hack'D), that guides roleplaying, rather than saying what 'side' you are on. As we know, the good guys aren't always on the same side. You'd then get a +1 to an attribute at levels 2, 4, 6, and a new gift at levels 3 and 5; your new gift would have to be one of the former vocation gifts or talents; you probably don't suddenly learn how to fly, but you could pick up some new contacts or learn how to disarm security systems in your travels. Also, since the armors already have minimum CON requirements, there's no need to add another layer of restriction for armor.

Here's a character using the revised character building ideas:

Gat Parmetheon, 
Honorable Maladorian Bounty Hunter 1
AC 14 | hp 7 | Feat +6 | Move 3 | Resolve 1d8 | 
Blast Pistol (+3/1d6)
     STR 9 (+1); INT 10 (+1); WIS 7; 
     DEX 11 (+1); CON 12 (+1); CHA 8
Attack (+1) | Danger Sense | Heightened Senses | Resolute | Vigor
Blast Pistol (1d6); Sivir Flex Armor 
The Maladorian are relatively terran-like, but with exceptional battle senses honed over thousands of years. They are a stoic people, with an entire culture built around warfare and rule by the strong. Their planet is composed of hundreds of city-states that continually wage war with one another.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Looking at Data

Let's do some transparency!

I have no real reason to hide any of these numbers, so I figured that I'd just go ahead and publish them, and we can do a little analysis... and see what we can learn. I've posted my total sales for this month, along with my total sales over time on my three 'biggest' releases. Historically, there are some books that have sold better (in some cases much better), but those were released in a different time, with rules I would no longer feel comfortable supporting, in a different retail environment. These are the three foundational books that I could justify supporting, because they are pretty good. My Army Ants stuff and other things (Cupcake Scouts) are a bit more marginal and have smaller audiences. These three games were released in similar formats within a relatively short period, so I can make some apples to apples comparisons here.

First of all, the top section is my sales this month. It does not include free downloads - since I have offered two things as pay what you want downloads, I have had dozens of each downloaded. This means nothing to me. I believe that there are a significant number of people who just download lots of free content and never look at it. If this was a convention, they are grabbing my free sample, sticking it in a bag, and probably never looking at it again. The only sales that mean anything are those that A) people pay for, or B) *and most important* generate other sales. I have sold 11 copies of Hack'D & Slash'D. Two of those sales happened after I released the Mini Module as a pay what you want (which sold three copies). These are not 'significant' sales. This also is while I've been running two banners to support that game. So... there's simply not a lot of interest in Hack'D & Slash'D. I've done a hard sell on it, but it just hasn't generated much interest.

On the next level up, I have Shards of Tomorrow. That is a game I am very proud of. I released a supplement for it a week ago. I expected that the supplement, Dispatches from the Pale, would have reached a decent audience, and would have at least generated some more interest for the core rules for that game. I would have considered three sales a decent return (I would make $10 in core rules sales for releasing a 4-page supplement. That's a sustainable model). It didn't happen. 

Strangely, Resolute, a game I published thirteen years (!) ago, still sells copies. I don't really understand it. Okay, maybe I understand it a little bit. 

Because there's a market for supers games. And it's only a dollar.

This month, I also sold one copy of Stalwart Age, which is a game I haven't released anything for in a year. I haven't tried to support it in some time. I haven't talked about it.

But it continues to sell. When I look at total sales (and these three games have all been on the market for a comparable amount of time; they are all formatted the same way, and have comparable quality), Stalwart Age far exceeds sales for the other two.

In looking at 'what I want'... in a perfect world, I've got a game (or two) that people like and that they play. It sells a few copies every month, and I make more than $20. I release a 2-4 page supplement for it once a month that adds some content, and which always helps to build the game and to increase its audience. 

I've got a lot of content on the Stalwart Age blog page, but that page (like this one) sees very little traffic. For example, the MOST read post there has 96 views, and many have 0-5 views. EVER.

That includes a wide range of character profiles, game content, and overviews of Doc issues. I've probably got about a dozen supplements sitting there already that nobody has seen. So, I'm going to start by taking that content, re-packaging it, cleaning up and re-organizing it, and seeing how that goes. 

I'm also going to re-structure all of my pricing. I think that part of the appeal of the Resolute rules is that the book is only $1. I'm going to re-set my pricing on books to either $1 for shorter books (fewer than 25 pages) and 2.95 for everything longer. I want to increase sales... I want more eyeballs on my work. I think that might help. 

I'll probably be back in a few weeks to tell you how it's going.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Kurdesh the Crime Lord for Shards of Tomorrow

I decided that my game needed a crime lord a la Jabba... although I ended up thinking of him more like the Thing meets Kingpin. He's more about business than he is about cruelty. I'd think he'd be a good foil for Eno the Prime Director... each of them goes about his business with cold calculation. For Eno, it's what furthers the causes of bots, while for Kurdesh it is about making money. I kind of see him as the ultimate capitalist. He'd be against the entire guild model, because it seeks monopolies, and he would want as much competition as possible, because that's where he can drive up prices on his end. He'd be more involved in bounty hunting, 'security services' (amoral guns for hire that he coordinates), and smuggling operations. He'd also have a heavy presence in gambling and casinoes, but not as much in things like drugs or 'adult services' such as they are. I might even give him an aversion to these - maybe he lost his daughter to that life, and that is where he'd draw the line. He's a criminal with his own moral code such as it is. I think that makes him a little more interesting. It's also more likely that a 'good guy' like Vex Kalar (he of the Centurians of Gal) is going to have to hold his nose and make a deal to work alongside Kurdesh to accomplish some greater good. He gives more story possibilities this way... 

Monday, April 10, 2023

Dispatches from the Pale #1

I finally finished Dispatches From the Pale #1! It's a newsletter for the Shards of Tomorrow RPG 2E. It's pay what you want, and should give you a sense of what the RPG is about. I like it. Maybe I'll take a break from Hack'D & Slash'D for a bit and start a solo Shards game... my other dice are getting lonely with me spending all my time with the D12s...

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Keepin on Delving

I played through one more session with my Delvers of Daggerford, which ended up being a lot less than I thought I'd get in during the week. Vacation is over.


I like the map I drew for level 2, and I like the encounters so far. I like that the D'Ro are evil gnome tinkerers who make all sorts of crazy stuff. It gives me lots of reasons to have lots of weird things here... already there was a field of time stoppage and a broken gate that a bunch of firenewts came through. My group almost died again, but still didn't. I think Cairn is really valuable in that regard... he's hard to kill, so he can usually grind out a victory at the end.

I don't love the monetary treasure rules over time. For a group that is getting well into level 2, they are pretty cash poor. I mean, they have decent gear, but they each only have about 20 gold in treasure, so cannot afford to really upgrade to good gear. I mean, once they start fighting level 4 monsters with some regularity, there is the possibilyt of those haveing upwards of 4 instances of treasure each valued at as much as 48 gold, so it can escalate quickly; one lucky set of rolls with a level 4 monster could net them almost 200 gp. I'll keep that in mind as I go. 

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Adventures and Visibility

Going forward, I have two goals for Hack'D & Slash'D:
1. Build a community of players
2. Continually create new content

That seems pretty straightforward, but there are a thousand ways to skin a cat (or to fillet a dragonet... or to dessicate a dwarf). The keys to this are frequent releases with high visibility. That means I have to have new stuff posted to DriveThruRPG a lot. I post to my blog almost every day (sometimes, like today, more than once a day), but I'm here in a little corner of the internet, and a few of you come by routinely, but I'm largely hidden from the greater game community. DriveThru is the only place where I can get a large number of eyeballs on my stuff.

I like the idea of the living bestiary and living companion. Those seem like the second-tier resources, but since I'm always going to be updating them, they really cannot be 'releases' on DriveThru. I love the Dragon Magazine model (here are three articles - one on dwarven weapons, one with some monsters, and here's a short adventure), but that model doesn't align with my 'other' model, which is the ongoing updates to the bestiary and companion documents. So, the living documents stay as the second tier (the first tier being the core rulebook, which is the only thing that people are expected to pay for).

The third tier then should be 1-2 page adventures. These would not include monster stat blocks (since the link will be in the document to the stat blocks).

Here's the idea for how to organize this right now:
- A series are for level 1 groups. These use the '5-room dungeon' model. I already have the first two of these done.
- B series are for level 2 groups. These use the '5-room dungeon' model.
- C series are for level 3 groups. These use the '5-room dungeon' model.
- D series are for level 4 groups. These use the '5-room dungeon' model.
- E series are for level 5 groups.  These use the '5-room dungeon' model.
- M series are for the Vault of the D'Ro (M is for Megadungeon). These would be numbered by level. The picture at the top of this post is level 1 of that dungeon, and I just finished the drawing for level 2. I would like to get these out pretty quickly.

Of Bottomless Satchels and Air Elementals

My Delvers of Daggerford have returned, and after a few tweaks to get them in line with the most recent iteration of the Hack'D & Slash'D rules, and some name changes just to do it so I can make them part of the 'official' game (if such a thing exists), I sent them to a different dungeon, dropping them into the second level of the Vault of the D'Ro (which I haven't mapped yet, but I might start today). They encountered an air elemental, summoned from a censer that is permanently and magically affixed to a pedestal. The censer will summon an air elemental once per day if a statue in the same room is manipulated without speaking a command word. Since the heroes don't have the command word, and they need to pull the arms of the statue to open the doors in the room, there is no chance that they get by without summoning and fighting an air elemental. They messed with the statue, got punched by an air elemental a few times, survived to tell about it, and moved on... 

But tomorrow, they may come back, wanting to investigate the next hallway. Or, they may leave and come back later, and need to open the door again - which would again summon the elemental. I mean, they could use something to wedge the door open (stakes and a mallet exist for a reason), but there's always going to be the risk of having to fight another elemental... and another... and another...

A Google search revealed (pretty quickly) that I am not the first person who has thought of this, when I remembered that my Delvers carry a bottomless satchel with them. They could always empty the satchel, use it to cover over the censer, mess with the statue, and have instant elemental in a bag. There are Reddit threads discussing this. It's not a new thing. However, I still thought of it independently, so I'm claiming credit for an old idea. Anyhow. I love this idea as a player. Now, the next time I come across a particularly fearsome monster, I open the bag, toss it into the room, and close the door. Elemental attacks. Wait one minute, and go in to fight the injured winner of the fight.

Right away, I want to say no as the GM, but the responsible GM thing to do is to allow it but to have some inherent limitation on it. For example, each time you do this, you weaken the magical texture holding the bag together. It is designed to hold items, not powerful magical creatures that do nothing but buffet the sides and beat at the 'lining' of the bag. Let's say that each hour the elemental is in there, there is a 1 in 12 chance that it deals damage to the bag. The bag might have 5 'hits' before it is ruptured. I might not even tell the players this - but on the hour when the 5th point is dealt, the heroes might be in the middle of a fight, or resting at the inn, or walking across the countryside (they do a lot of that) and bam - the bag explodes (maybe dealing 10 hits to all in a 10' AOE, check reflex for half) and out pops the really angry elemental ready to throw down.

I might even allow mind checks once the bag gets over 3 hits suffered to notice little tears forming on it, or threads coming apart in its seams. 

I like this on all fronts - both as the player and GM. I understand that I cannot have 'unlimited air elemental ally' attack for balance purposes, but the GM allows it, with a natural consequence for the choices the players make.

And then I probably make sure they never find another bottomless satchel and they have to carry all of their treasure in regular old sacks like a bunch of scrubs. That'll teach 'em.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Monster Mash

I just did a big update to the living bestairy for Hack'D & Slash'D. It now includes 50 creatures (Edit: Now 51!), and includes most of the most iconic monsters (to me) along with a few more unusual variations on some classic archetypes. One of the things I'm finding that I like about both the game and how monsters work in it is that monsters tend to have one or two unique things to them. I like that the stat blocks are pretty simple, but most monsters have at least one thing that makes an encounter with them different than just roll to hit and roll to soak being hit. There are fifty different monsters there, and while some are quite similar (the ghast is just a more powerful form of the ghoul), there are quite a few varieties of things to give each encounter a different feel.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

World Building On Overdrive

I just wanted to play a solo game with a character. Really. That was it. He could go on a few adventures, maybe encounter some monsters I could add to the game... keep it all low key.

Well, THAT didn't last long. You can read my actual play notes here.

My dice have led me down some unexpected journeys into the history of the Broken Vale, and some of the major forces at play. I've generated hooks for a lot of long-term campaign play. I've started to understand the larger forces at work here, and what they are all about.

And my character is still just level one! A summary of things I've discovered thanks to my dice:

1. There are two powerful demonic entities: a demon of undead and the spider queen. These are siblings (maybe sisters?). They really, really hate each other. The Vault of the D'Ro was engaged in civil war between factions of these two sisters. 

2. There was a powerful amulet that would have given the spider queen the edge in their fight. A group of gnomes went on a mission to take the amulet into the deepest parts of the vault, where it would be devoured by the 'beast at the bottom of the shadow pit'. It's still there, as far as I know.

3. Groth, the lord of Gauntlet, worked out a deal with gnome insurgents 100 years ago. He'd help them hide the amulet (he gave them the intel and tools to get there), and they would intervene with fate to help him keep power for 111 winters. That time is almost up, and he's started researching how to use a powerful relic to bring eternal winter to the Vale, so that he can live forever on his throne. I have since decided, without the aid of dice, that Groth has been warned that one of his own children will succeed him on the throne. He JUST got this prophecy, and has since set about finding and killing all of his offspring. Because he really likes to use his power to use others, he happens to have a LOT of children running around. One of them is my character Brand. That's fun.

4. My little gnome is in possession of a powerful compass - it is useless except in the underworld, where it will lead the bearer out. That is quite the valuable little object.

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Yet ANOTHER solo campaign

Because I have issues, I decided to start another solo campaign. My over/under is ten sessions before I burn out. It would be nice to at least get my character legitimately to level 3, but I have no idea whether or not my gamer ADHD will kick in before then. However, after one session (that you can read about here if you have nothing else to do), this is how my solo character looks (and I've decided this is the character on the cover... so he has to fight a medusa and cut her head off at some point):

Madrigal Gardilam - Hopeful gnome explorer 1 (10 xp; 9 gp)

Armor 2; Hits 8; Move 40’; Broadblade 4 + Shield 2 or Sling (1/30’)

Traits: Might 3; Mind 2; Reflex 1

Tags: Mystic (Common, Arcane); Two Weapons; Warrior

Gear: Leather Armor; Shield +1; Broadblade 4; Sling 1; golden compass (9 gp value) 

Hack'D & Slash'D is already growing...

One of the original goals for Hack'D & Slash'D was that it would be infinitely expandable. The core rules are the core rules; I have no intention of changing these (Good Lord willing, and the creek don't rise).

However, I also know that the game will (and want it to) continue to expand. After watching Dungeons and Dragons last night, I realized that there were things that Hack'D & Slash'D couldn't do... yet. Hence, the Hack'D & Slash'D companion is born. This is going to be an ongoing resource of supplemental game material (my own version of Unearthed Arcana 1E) that is not in any way required, but which can expand your game and allow for new options that add to (without replacing) the core rules. I've already added a few new tags and rules for signature spells. These open up spellcasting significantly; I liked spellcasting before, but this really kicks it into overdrive from my point of view. It's easy to create casters who use only the bread and butter spells in the core rules, but now you can personalize casters with one or two unique spells that will change the flavor of encounters with individual casters in significant ways. I'm thinking that this is great for including low-level spells in the game. I didn't want a spell like floating disc or fog to be in the core rules, because they are pretty niche - but if you are the 'fog and cloud' caster, then building some signature spells like fog, choking vapors, and something akin to cloudkill later on gives your character a unique vibe, and can add to the game in cool ways.

I've added a link to the Hack'D & Slash'D Conpanion to the resources page on the left.

Dungeons and Dragons Movie

Well THAT was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed Dungeons and Dragons - it had all of the things I would want in a D+D movie. I've read a few things that compare it to Guardians of the Galaxy, and I'd agree - the movie 'felt' like Guardians to me, in the best possible way.

That said, the game designer part of my is always watching with one eye towards 'could my game do this'? And, even more importantly, 'could my game do this well, and do so mechanically within the confines of the game as it is'?

Yep. The thing with Hack'D & Slash'D is that, as the title suggests, its somewhat modular by nature. You can easily create new tags and drop them in. For example, the druid's wild casting is pretty easy to emulate as a tag For example:

Wildshifting. You can use 1 task to assume an animal form, changing forms up to your level times per minute. Your animal forms must be wild creatures (of animal intellect) of your level or lower; you can increase in size to as large as huge, or as small as a fly. You keep your original hits and Mind in the new form, but otherwise assume the abilities of the new creature.

There. That mechanically solves the druid's ability. She'd have to be at least level 4 in Hack'D & Slash'D game terms, but based on the spells they were using, they were all pretty high-level characters. I mean, they were using time stop after all, which is a level 9 spell in D+D. Even the 'inept' sorcerer is using reverse gravity, D+D level 7, so he's pretty far along. If I was to guess at their levels without applying specific game mechanics, I'd put them all in the 3-5 range, with the paladin at maybe 8 or 10... but based on the movie, you have to add 10 levels to those estimates.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Hack'D & Slash'D Revised Now Live

I'm going to see Dungeons and Dragons tonight, and what better way to celebrate than releasing my own riff on the game? Hack'D & Slash'D (Revised) is now live.

Hack’D & Slash’D is a lean, fast, flexible, old-school fantasy RPG with several modern flourishes. While a previous edition of this game was rooted in the OGL, this new edition uses an original game engine, and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license, allowing you to take, modify, and expand the game as much as you’d like. Hack’D & Slash’D:

  • Uses 1d12 exclusively with one-roll resolution.
  • Has flexible character building, allowing you to mix and match traits and tags to create any character you can imagine.
  • Employs an innovative magic system that allows you to easily track mana and make strategic decisions about how and when to use magic.
  • Includes simple and flexible rules for creatures, allowing you to quickly generate foes on the fly, or to develop more nuanced and unusual monsters, as needed.
  • Provides simple, consistent rules for checks and task resolution with concrete guidance to resolve all common game situations.

Additionally, Hack’D & Slash’D is supported by several resources linked directly from the Splintered Realm blog. A living bestiary, campaign setting, and mega-dungeon are in progress, receiving frequent updates with new content. These will all be available as free resources in perpetuity.