In the Light of a Ghost Star - Stats & Psionics Expansion

Nate Treme's In the Light of a Ghost Star tabletop RPG is about humans of the far future, whose ancestors fled to Mars during the Sun's red giant phase.  Now that the Sun has entered its white dwarf phase, they return to Earth to scavenge ancient items of interest among the weird things inhabiting the now dark planet.Since I've been thinking of running this game at some point, I was reading over it the other day and realized two things which seemed to be lacking, so created a supplement of optional rules to cover them:Social StatThe game grants three character abilities which are couched as professions but treated as attributes or similar stats:Fighter - For combat and most other physical feats.Explorer - Mainly for sneaking and perception.Scientist - Most other forms of analysis, knowledge and technical expertise.These seem a fairly elegant combination for each character to have, but the definition was extremely brief in the original documents, and didn't cover social…

The Forgotten Planet

Been listening to a bunch of Librevox podcasts of Murray Leinster's (William Fitzgerald's) work. The tone varies quite a bit among his works, but the stories often seem to follow the trope of speculating male protagonist inventively resolving problems to the delight and frustration of love interest and/or fellows.The Forgotten Planet is no exception. It takes place on a planet incompletely terraformed due to administrative error, where the highest form of life is amphibian, and giant fungi and arthropods dominate much of the wetter lowlands beneath a constantly overcast sky.Events of the story take place 40 generations after a ship crash lands on the world, a time at which the survivors' descents have been reduced to a pre-stone age existence with almost no social structure by the brutal nature of survival among terrifying giant insects and spiders.The plot involves the protagonist and his loosely knit band managing to improve their lot in life during a surprisingly short …

HexDrive Game Jam - The Astral Navigator's Handbook

The Astral Navigator's Handbook is my completed entry for the HexDrive Zine Jam.

The HexDrive Zine is something being put together by Micah Anderson & Anxiety Wizard. As they described it:
[HexDrive is] about the greatness of spelljammer, and how none of us have read spelljammer ... do not read spelljammer! (if you have, forget everything!) I'd never gotten involved with these kinds of game jams in the past, but this concept meshed perfectly with some ideas I'd been thinking about for years now, so it seemed like the prefect excuse to get things down in print.  Possibly this is the fastest I've ever written a game supplement from scratch, managing to crank the thing out in two about weeks start to finish.

The Astral Navigator's Handbook is a largely systemless CC-BY licensed supplement intended for use with your preferred fantasy role-playing game.  But unlike Spelljammer, it could be shoehorned into a game of slightly more sci-fi style space opera with only min…

The Battle for the Dwarven Gubbins

My daughter (11) and I, both fairly inexperienced with wargames, decided to try and run a session using One Page RulesAge of Fantasy: Skirmish.  As if to reenact the game's cover art, we opted to run humans (her) vs. ratfolk (me).

The two sides contested among the ruins, each seeking to lay claim to pieces of the lost Dwarven gubbins-technology.

I spent the week 3D printing a vast number of tokens (only a few of which ever got used) and a few pieces of terrain pieces (all of which saw play). Unfortunately, despite my hours of printing, the table was still a little sparse on terrain. So we added a bunch of clay pieces from kids early art projects and a couple other random items crowding our bookshelves.

Member of a ratfolk patrol manages to remain upright as comrades stumble around apparently falling-down drunk. Presumably the commander should've provided better basing for the troops.

We ran just the basic game, still learning the rules, but had a blast. Kiddo is now old enough…

The Hedge Lich

Originally written in response to:

Can a PC be a Lich in D&D 5E?

An actual lich would be pretty powerful for a typical player character to be at lower levels. So, probably successfully becoming a lich would make one an NPC in most games.  Instead I suggest a compromise for those wanting to play a walking skeleton:

The Hedge Lich Sometimes wizards try to become a lich when they just aren't well studied enough to pull off the appropriate ritual. Other times a mage creates a ritual attempting to resurrect someone, a gift which only divine power can truly provide. Often the result is simply failure, but occasionally the caster creates a lesser form of free willed undead sometimes referred to as a "Hedge Lich".

The flesh of a hedge lich gradually rots away leaving only an animated skeleton. A hedge lich has the same ability scores they had in life as well as any classes, skills or proficiencies. However, they lose any racial abilities except those which are innate physica…

Necromancy: The Hallowed Science

Someone on Quora asked:
How would you make a goodly aligned necromancer in Dungeons and Dragons? This garnered responses from a lot of folks.

Options that came to my mind included:

The Good Doctor - A humanist medical researcher who feels that it is not ideal to trust gods and magical patrons for healing and support, since they may have motives not aligned with those of individual mortals. Only a reasoned approach to magic can be trusted. Unfortunately academic understanding of magical healing and revivification is still in its infancy, but research continues!A Gray Gift - A necromantic prodigy. You didn't ask for this talent, but you can just perfectly envision how the entropic and animating forces intertwine within flesh. Sometimes you wonder how something so easy is so difficult for most folks to understand. Others view your abilities as ghoulish and unpleasant. But the gods can't have given you this understanding in vain, surely there must 11be some way you were intended to…

SKROP: Standard Kobold Rules of Play

Anne's been running us through some pretty great sessions using Arnold K.'s GLOG rules and Skerples Many Rats on Sticks variant.  And I'm really digging both the lightness of the system and the magic rules. But as much fun as it is, I can never leave well enough alone.

For one thing, no matter how much I love the old school DIY just cobble it together and make it work nature of games like this, I'll always miss the newer roll-high type systems.  So this, and a bunch of other little fussy preferences, are what gave rise to SKROP: the Standard Kobald Rules of Play.