Well well well, look what the shoggoth dragged in.


A worked example of RuneQuest character creation

I’m gearing up to run a one-shot of RuneQuest - Roleplaying in Glorantha, but I found bits of the character creation pretty confusing. So here is a full worked example based on my current understanding of the rules.

Fleshing out clan Iuwoi

For the last few weeks, I’ve been running my players through The Borderland Run, a Traveller adventure by Mongoose Publishing. I wanted to develop the politics a little more than the adventure gives, and in particular develop the Aslan clan Iuwoi further. This post builds on a great series written by Garnfellow. If you’re a player in The Borderland Run, turn back now: there will be spoilers!

Traveller Cheatsheets

All my cheatsheets for Mongoose Traveller 2e, covering: all the basic rules, spacecraft, space piracy, and how to read a UWP.

My First Rumour Table

Rumour tables are a staple of sandbox style play, and I wanted to make one for my new Traveller campaign. I found it pretty tricky to come up with a list of 20 interesting bits of lore and story hooks from nothing, but I managed it in the end.

Dice rolls in Traveller

Traveller uses a 2d6 dice system where characters add their relevant characteristic and skill levels, with various possible target numbers and situational modifiers. It also has a notion of “task chains”, where one roll gives a bonus or a penalty to another. This post runs through all these variations, with lots of graphs.

Combat Tactics for Fog-spawn

The Fog-spawn (or Thing in the Fog) is an other-dimensional creature from the Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign for Call of Cthulhu. If you’re a player in that campaign, turn back now: there will be spoilers!

How to Learn a New System

Here’s how to learn a new RPG system. Or at least, how I learn a new RPG system. In brief: skim through the book, practice making some characters, read the book more carefully, run a one-shot, make cheatsheets, and then run that campaign.

Run a mid-campaign check-in

Campaigns can be huge games which last years. Players might come and go. People’s tastes might change. What you decided the campaign would be about one, two, or more years ago might not be what the players want any more. So, hold a mid-campaign check-in to ask about how everyone is finding the game and whether anything needs to change.

Izirion's Enchiridion of the West Marches

Izirion’s Enchiridion is a source book for West Marches style play. It’s written for fifth edition D&D, but has some guidelines for converting it to OSR systems. Overall, I like it, and have only minor complaints. It’s worth checking out.

1d12 + 1d8 Random Tables

The 1d12 + 1d8 table is commonly used for random encounters, because it gives a nonuniform distribution where some outcomes are more likely than others. But why stick to that? By rolling one of the dice with advantage or disadvantage, you get a very different distribution, and can make one table work in many situations.

Knowledge of the Future of the Universe (10%)

This is a homebrew skill I gave one of my Masks of Nyarlathotep players after they decided to become friendly with a time-traveller. 10% chance of answering a plot-relevant question, and immediate recognition of key NPCs.

I Roll in the Open

A lot of GMs advise rolling behind a screen, so you can fudge rolls when you get a result which would be bad for the story. I think that at best fudging is unnecessary, and can be remedied by being more thoughtful about what rolls you ask for (and I go in to how I think about rolls), and at worst cheating, where you’re explicitly ignoring the rules of the game.

The Manse of Mazirian

This is a starter adventure I wrote and ran for my Troika! group. It’s in two parts: first you have to get to the manse, by travelling through Emmy Allen’s Gardens of Ynn, then you have to search the manse for the magical artefact the party’s patron has sent them to find. Don’t worry, Mazirian is supposed to be long dead… but is he?

First Impressions of Troika!

Today I ran my first session of Troika!, a very weird Book of the New Sun / Dying Earth / Discworld style game. We had a lot of fun, it’s pretty rules light, and we’ll probably be playing it again some time.

Knock! An Adventure Gaming Bric-a-brac (#1)

Knock! is a recently kickstarted zine full of goodness from the OSR blogosphere. It’s wonderfully designed, and crammed with information. There’s a nice mix of stuff which is immediately useful (like Just Use Bears, or the Dungeon Checklist), and some more thought-provoking articles too. Plus some great art. I recommend it, and am looking forward to issue #2!

Dice rolls in Call of Cthulhu

Call of Cthulhu uses a roll-under percentile dice system. It also has a notion of task difficulty and situational modifiers, and a way for two characters to directly compete. This post runs through all these variations, with lots of graphs, and gives my rules for deciding what sort of roll to make when.