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A Thread For Random RPG Musings


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On 1/27/2022 at 6:24 AM, assault said:

It wouldn't be impossible to create a Hero System equivalent in a comparably short package. You'd have to drop Magic (Powers), but you could teach people to create simple characters, use skills and fight combats, hopefully in a way that would intrigue them enough to look for more options.


I've been noodling around with Champions Lite for a while. It's missing a lot of the more complicated Powers (no Adjustment or Mental Powers, for one thing), but it's definitely shows the power of the full system.

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2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:



I know there is HSBRB for 6e (really wish we'd kept the name Sidekick, though), but the company itself has proven that you can publish a workabke rules set in far, far fewer pages than the current edition- or any editiin since 3e, really.

You could cut it even further by tailoring it to a specific game.

That wasn't what I had in mind for my super-beginner-cutdown-to-the-absolute-basics version though.

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Disintegrate spell? Violates the conservation of mass. UNREALISTIC.
Titanic insects? Violates the Square-Cube Law. UNREALISTIC.
Giants? Violates the Square-Cube Law...again. UNREALISTIC.
Humanoids that live for several centuries? Violates the Hayflick Limit. UNREALISTIC.
Humans being interfertile with completely different species? Violates basic biology. UNREALISTIC.
Adventurers traveling for weeks on end without explicitly taking time to excrete waste? Violates basic biology...again. UNREALISTIC.
Adventurers spending tens of thousands of gold coins without devastating local small-town economies? Violates basic economics. UNREALISTIC.
Adventurers freely conversing with all manner of royalty in every population center they come across without suffering any consequences? Violates rules on decorum/protocol. UNREALISTIC.
Citizens who are terrified of dragons and fiends yet completely accepting of draconic bipeds and devil-spawn? Violates basic psychology. UNREALISTIC.
Citizens easily losing to one-on-one combat with moggies? Violates common sense. UNREALISTIC.

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On 1/28/2022 at 12:47 PM, assault said:

You could cut it even further by tailoring it to a specific game.

That wasn't what I had in mind for my super-beginner-cutdown-to-the-absolute-basics version though.

 What is the goal, the whole system, or a subset for the whole system?  Though making a slim D.I. or J.I. might be attractive, though, having something more Science fiction oriented might sell better.

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I note that the original Fantasy Hero was 160 pages long and didn't feel cut down or abbreviated in any way.  It even includes conversion notes and sample adventures.  I still consider it the best version of FH in many ways.


Unpopular opinion: Rules length is important, but not nearly as important as predefining powers.  Three months ago I had a Star Hero campaign end before it started, because it took literally weeks to stat out all the gear our characters were carrying.  And I've been playing Hero for over three decades--a new player doesn't stand a chance.  The rules for powers still need to be there, obviously, to explain what effects magic and tech have.  But more critical is to have predefined equipment and spell lists so players can start playing.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just had this wild idea at work. I haven't fully developed it yet, so bear with me. But I have to write it down before I forget about it.


I make a lot of calls in my current job, so I sometimes try to relieve the boredom of calling the same people day after day by looking at patterns. I started trying to see what angles and shapes I could trace with my finger when dialing. Sure, the odd polygon would show up. But today I thought of how to use the numbers as a way of designing constellations for your fantasy and SF games.


This is how it works. Pick a phone number; you don't have to use all the numbers. Trace your finger's movement as you dial. Connect the dots however way you please. There's your constellation; you just need a name. Numbers often repeat, but that's okay. Maybe it means the star is brighter or it's a double/triple star system.


Even if you don't detail the night sky in your world, perhaps you can use this system to place cities in your map.

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I can;t believe I used a reference to Fantasy Hero 4e in a post on the Old School Gamers Facebook group and did not properly attribute the system. I don't know if the term "Killing Attack" is trademarked by Hero, but maybe it should be.


I bring this up because of the references to an OSR game in the video. Part of me is thinking this borders on plagiarism, or at the very least lack of imagination.  But I must admit people enjoy it (to be fair, I do not own a copy of Basic Fantasy).


By the way, how much BODY do you need to do to lop off a single eyestalk or a larger critter (lets assume roughly twice the size of a human)? And how would it be affected?

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What exactly do you find objectionable on the video? All the OSR games are legally published under the Open Gaming License. Furthermore, Basic Fantasy author Chris Gonnerman allows people to download all the material free. Even the printed rulebook advises the reader not to buy the book until after trying out the game first. It's in the back cover. The game is a labor of love for him; he's not trying to make a profit. I'm pretty sure the authors of the other games feel the same way.


As for the systems, they were originally a way to bring new players into the games lots of people already know and love, older versions being long out of print. Some of us don't like the newer game systems, and they're not compatible with older editions. Some games reproduce the old games more faithfully than others, but it's a matter of personal taste.


As for how much BODY a creature needs to lose before losing an eyestalk, the GM will have to determine how much damage is enough, as well as what the effects would be. I would definitely say the creature would be stunned for at least a round and suffer a PER penalty in the long-term, if it survives.

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It depends on id the system counts BODY damage, I suppose, or uses hit locations- in which case I would think it would be the GM's call with every headshot, unless it was a called shot, in which case it would depend on Defenses reduced damage or reduced the odds of making a hit.


Either way, I am pretty sure that the HERO, Aftermath, amd Pheonix Command fandoms are the only people in the hobby who would demand specific rules beyond that.

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  • 2 weeks later...


  1. Buy a Balrog miniature.

  2. Paint your miniature with fluorescent paints and Musou Black paint.

  3. Buy a black light and download some Balrog sound effects.

  4. When it's time to reveal the Balrog during the game, turn off the lights.

  5. Place the miniature on the table while it's dark.

  6. Tell the players, “This is what you encounter.” Shine the black light on the miniature while playing the sound effects.

  7. Relish the screams of your players.

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