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Showing posts from June, 2017

Fighting Fantasy: An Introductory RPG

This morning I'm going to talk about an old school RPG. And that RPG is? Fighting Fantasy! Now, to clear up any confusion, I'm talking about the original Fighting Fantasy introductory RPG, not the later Advanced Fighting Fantasy (first or second edition), nor the earlier Fighting Fantasy solo game books (although this game sprang forth from those books).

Fighting Fantasy was the first RPG I ever owned, at least in part, thanks to my UK pen pal, Simon Garber. He gifted me with a copy of The Riddling Reaver, the first (and only) full length campaign for Fighting Fantasy. I still consider it one of the better published RPG campaigns I've read/played, despite the fact that it's pretty railroad-y. This is somewhat balanced out by the sheer gonzo factor of the adventure. You can definitely tell where the early Games Workshop weirdness came from. Oh, yeah, did I mention that? Well....

The guys who dreamed up the world of Fighting Fantasy and the game books that took place there…

Larius Firetongues's School of Sorcery: A Quick Look

So.... Ray Chapel's Larius Firetongues's School of Sorcery supplement for Swords & Wizardry White Box or similar old school simulacra. It's pretty cool. In fact, it's an idea that hasn't been properly capitalized on enough in RPGs, as far as I'm concerned (and, perhaps, oddly given the CRAZY huge popularity of properties like Harry Potter).

It's basically what it sounds like - a supplement detailing a school for the magical arts with everything that entails. It introduces a ton of new races (representing the diverse student body), new classes (representing new areas of magical study), new spells, and even new rules for using spells (a cantrip system, specifically). There are a lot of alternative magic supplements for Swords & Wizardy (and other OSR games), but this is, bar none, the strongest I've seen for a few reasons.

First, I give this supplement very high marks because of the aforementioned rules content - there's quite a bit of it and it…

Charlie Mason's White Box: A Quick Look

Charlie Mason's White Box RPG borrows from many different sources, Including the original edition of Dungeons & Dragons (the one in the little wood grain box printed in 1974), various versions of Swords & Wizardry by Matt Finch, Delving Deeper by Simon Bull, The Hero's Journey by James Spahn, Bloody Basic (Blood & Sinew Edtion) by John Stater, and Douglas Maxwell's SnW Whitebox Essential Adventuring rules. That is to say, it draws from many well-respected sources.

Having called out all of the sources that White Box draws upon, I think it takes the best parts of those many sources, improves upon them and, ultimately, provides a superior experience. It will, at least for the time being, be my old school simulacra of choice going forward. The rules are simple yet robust, the presentation is straightforward, the PDF is easily accessible (it's free; see the RPGNow link accompanying this post), and the books are available for a reasonable price (also from RPGNow).…

Jack Shear's Ulverland: An Overview

I mentioned Jack Shear's Ulverland a little while back, so I'd like to take a moment to discuss it. Ulverland is, at its heart, a Gothic fantasy version of Victorian Britain - BUT - it's more a skeleton for you to build on than a tome of canon carved into stone. Which, for me, is a huge, HUGE selling point.

As a GM, I like to take a setting and make it my own. I absolutely HATE being locked into canon (especially if it's culled from secondary sources such as novels). It's one of the reasons that, when I run Forgotten Realms fantasy, I stick to the original FR box set released by TSR and ignore EVERYTHING else published after that as I see fit (I do admittedly sneak in some of the FR series of modules because, well, they're really good).

Ulverland caters toward this particular foible of mine by providing a 'big picture' overview of the setting and small details that can be built upon as I see fit, rather than saddling me with excruciating detail presente…