Skip to main content


So this past year I have had the opportunity to play some d20 games...

Yes, not earth shattering news,but for me this is unusual as my 'usual fare' has consisted of Savage Worlds, Fate, Dragon Age and pretty much everything not d20 related since 3.X came out.

Dungeon Crawl Classics has become something of a 'backup game' for me to run for the group when we have scheduling conflicts. When we start a game, we all know that some characters are going to die, some wizards are going to call upon the twisted forces of elder beings to fuel their spells and that the cleric may or may not help you because she is 'neutral' and the world will not be a better place
by the end of the adventure.

For me it brings to the table the 'good memories' I have of D&D in my early teen years. Balance goes out the window and everyone watches it plummet to its demise and laughs.

13th Age is one I have only played at conventions and a one shot in our group, but like DCC it favors fun over books of rules and enabled such wonderful characters as 'Mr. Chuckles' the Necromancer and his skeleton minion 'Pookie'. It is d20, but with enough 'dirty hippy indie game' elements to make it interesting. The skill system combined with the One Unique Thing help to make every character memorable, and most character concepts fully available at first level.

Finally, we've started a campaign of D&D 5E. It is in my mind, the best iteration of 'plain D&D', but therein lies my problem... it is plain. There is nothing (in my mind) that I could not do better with either 13th Age, Savage Worlds, Fate, or Barebones Fantasy (the first and the last in particular.)
The constant need to lookup spells (hello no pdf available outside of 'Basic') and the feel of being grossly incompetent at early levels has proven to be a challenge and the system feels very... passionless.

Perhaps this is just my gamer ADD kicking in.


Popular posts from this blog

Traveller 2nd Edition Character Creation

Well I find myself with time on my hands, so I’m going to go through the lifepath generation of the new 2nd edition of ‘Mongoose’ Traveller.

For those not in the know, Traveller is to science fiction rpgs what D&D is to fantasy. Traveller is interesting in that you may start with a character idea, but you play through various stages of the character’s life, so what you may anticipate at the beginning may not reflect where you end up at ‘game start’.

Perhaps a bit close to real life?

At any-rate, let us meet our future adventurer:  Hillary Sanders Trump.

Hillary is from Earth, around TL 10 (Tech Level 10, which means jump drives are available, but recently, we will say for the last 50 years or so.) This would be a fairly… disruptive time, as every person, corporation, religion and other organization will be rushing to carve out ‘their’ own piece of the cosmos, and many current governments will struggle to maintain control.

The first step in character creation is to roll 2d6 six times an…

Genesys: Combat Example

Valeria, the barbarian character I created in the last entry, finds herself travelling through a forest with her occasional compatriot Day-Vahd Bowie, Elven Ranger.

They are checking up on a small village after reports of Beastman raids in the area.

Day-Vahd is on point, and ahead they can see smoke rising from the location of the village. Unfortunately, Beastmen erupt from both sides of the trail having been waiting in ambush.

There are 8 Beastmen, four in each group.

Valeria and Day-Vahd will both roll Vigilance, with Valeria getting 2 Bonus dice due to Day-Vahd's 'Heightened Awareness' talent (which only helps his allies, not him.)

Valeria gets 0 Success

Day-Vahd gets 4 Success and 1 Advantage

The two groups of Beastmen will use Cool as they were waiting in ambush.

Group 1 gets 1 Success
Group 2 gets 1 Success

Order is Friendly-Enemy-Enemy-Friendly

Round 1

Players have 2 Story Points
GM has 1 Story Point

Day-Vahd will take the first Initiative slot, quick draw his bow (Inci…

Let's Make a Character: Shadow of the Demon Lord

On The Origin of Amanda Crowley

In Shadow of the Demon Lord one creates a character in a few fairly simple steps, with the aid of several random tables opening the road to fully randomized character generation if you so wish.

Step 1: Your Ancestry 
At '0' level, a PC is largely defined by his race, or 'ancestry' as it is called in SotDL.
For the purpose of this exercise, I am just going to create a Human.

Step 2: Your Attributes
As a human I get the following by default:
Strength 10, Agility 10, Intellect 10, Will 10 
Perception: Equal to Intellect  Defense: Equal to Agility
Health: Equal to Strength Healing Rate: 1/4 Health round down
Size: 1/2 or 1 Speed: 10 Power:0 Damage: 0 Insanity:0 Corruption:0
Languages: Speaks the common tongue and may either speak another tongue or add
a random profession.
We are going to have our character understand Dark Speech, because that opens up many
unpleasant possibilities down the road...
All characters can add one to a stat by removing one…