Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Three Crowns continued.

Three Crowns
Chapter 2

Myro took a moment to take stock. The chamber he was in was pitch dark. The floor and walls were old, worked stone. The stone was cold and seemed to suck the energy from his body when he brushed against it. He waved his hand in front of his face and thought he could see the hint of motion or it could be his imagination. Once he had closed the opening to the Tavern’s cellar all light had been extinguished. Myro paused his breath and really listened. All he could hear was the blood pounding in this ears

Well, he was safe for now. Time to get his bearings. Myro reached into his cloak and his hand closed on his flint and steel striker. Working it from memory he struck the flint. A spark lit the chamber briefly. The chamber was small, nearby on the wall was an old unlit torch. Now that it was dark again, Myro reached for the torch on the wall and closed his hand on the dry wood. Bringing the flint to steel again he sparked the head of the torch that glowed red. Blowing on the head of the torch Myro worked it to a flame.

Able to see the chamber now, Myro saw that it was an empty room, only about five feet square with a low ceiling. Facing him in the far wall was a stone door. On the face of the door was the symbol of three crowns.

“Huh”, Myro said aloud. What were the chances he thought?

Myro stepped forward toward the door and put his shoulder to it. It did not budge. He examined the crowns on the iron surface of the door. The symbols were raised figures. By the looks of it, the symbols could be depressed. Myro’s hand wavered over one of the crowns but he stopped before pressing it. Why would all three crowns be part of the door latch? It was likely, he thought, that only one of the symbols was the correct symbol. The other two might be trapped. Or maybe it has to be a pattern?

The torch guttered and slowly the flame went lower. Myro checked the torch. It was old and was going to stop burning soon. He needed to make a decision quickly before the chamber was plunged into darkness again.

Looking at the crown symbols more closely Myro could see that one seemed to have received more use. The edges were not as sharp and the others. The torch guttered again and the flame went out. All that remained was a low glow from the torch. Making up his mind, Myro pressed the more worn crown symbol. The raised symbol depressed smoothly until it was level with the surface of the door. There was a loud click sound. The door shuddered but did not move. Myro cautiously pressed against the door and it swung open easily. Beyond was a larger, cooler chamber. In the dim glow of the torch, Myro could see little. Rough shapes on the floor and no hint of the size of the chamber.

He stepped forward into the room and took a few steps. His foot slipped on something round and brittle. Like a small stick. Myro reached down and his hands closed on a slick, foot long stick. He took a few practice swings with it satisfied. Feeling ahead his hands came to a stone form rising from the floor. Feeling along the top of the stone Myro felt the familiar shape of a large candle. Relieved he used his flint and steel again, this time to light the candle. The wick lit almost immediately. The candle was a pale brown colour and longer than his forearm. The light flickered with the motion of his hand but lit a small circle of the chamber. Myro looked down at his other hand and immediately dropped his stick. It was not a stick it was a human bone.

Raising the candle, careful not to put it out, Myro took stock of the chamber. He was in a large chamber, at least fifteen feet square. Four stone biers rested against one wall. Atop the bier were several candles. One of which was now lit in his hand.

No windows and no doors, Myro mentally said in his head. It looks like the basement of some old temple. Perhaps for some long-forgotten god. The building must have fallen into ruin and the buildings of the Marn’s Crossing were built atop it. Hopefully, there was a way out of here somewhere they did not involve going back to the tavern. Myro thought that worst case he could wait a few hours and slip back into the cellar. Probably the excitement would have died down.

Myro walked carefully down the aisle in front of the stone crypts. I wonder if they buried their dead with their gold he thought. Myro moved to the closest bier and looked at it carefully. There was an obvious indentation along the edge marking a lid on a crypt. He quickly made the sign of Juvan the patron of thieves. Then he pushed against the lid of the crypt. The stone moved a few inches revealing that there was indeed a crypt beneath the stone lid. Re-doubling his efforts, Myro put down the candle on the nearest bier and put his back into it. The stone lid slid off the crypt and fell onto the floor with a crash. Myro nervously looked about then chuckled.

“No one is coming.”

Myro reached over, grabbing the candle and shone it into the crypt. Expecting to see a moldy skeleton he was surprised to see a set of stone steps leading down into the darkness.

“Well, what do we have here, then?” he said.


Monday, 11 February 2019

Three Crowns

I have not posted in more than a month. I have not been gaming or even reading gaming material. I will have to read some more rules I have on my bookshelves and post some more reviews.  Instead, I will post something I wrote recently to accompany a piece of 3D rendering of a seedy, fantasy tavern.

Three Crowns
Chapter One

“That’s three crowns!”, the big man said and looked at Myro in expectation.

“Hey, well that’s pretty good,” said Myro.. “But it doesn’t beat my four swords!” Myro reached forward and flipped his last two cards over revealing the four swords. His opponent sputtered in disbelief. Myro leaned forward to sweep the small pile of coppers on the table to his pile.

“You, You Cheat!” The big man staggered to his feet towering over Myro and fumbled at the dagger at his hip. Myro quickly swept the coppers into his open pouch and prepared to back away.

“He’s a cheat!, Get him!” The man yelled to the other men in the small back room of the Tavern. Myro looked about nervously. As a stranger in Marn’s Crossing the room looked to be siding with this dumb oaf. Best to get out of here with my winnings Myro thought.

“I won fair, I bet you yell cheat whenever you lose!” Myro said. “Am I right” Myro looked about the room and saw a few heads start to nod in agreement. Myro could see that the mood in the room was turning in his favour. The big man looked about nervously and his dagger started to edge down.

Myro reached into his pocket to toss a few coppers on the table, “For the drink”. There was a noticeable intake of air in the room. Myro looked down at the table. Two coppers lay there and a fifth sword card from his pocket.

“Oops”, Myro shrugged. He grabbed the edge of the table and tipped it toward the man. The small wood table went over and fell in the lap of the bravo knocking him to the tavern floor.

Time to leave, Myro thought. Amongst the yelling and confusion, he continued to edge toward the door to the kitchen.

“Getim!”

Myro darted for the door to the kitchen just as the men about the table began to move forward. Looking up he saw the enormous cook blocking the way. The fat, bald lout smiled with amusement at Myro.  That smile turned to an open grunt of surprise as Myro kicked him in the nethers and vaulted over his doubled over back.

Reaching the kitchen, Myro quickly scanned the place for exits. Two doors and a young boy tending a fire. Left, thought Myro and he tossed open the door and raced through. Abruptly, Myro’s feet flew into the air and he tumbled down the stairs to the cellar.

Damn, the cellar Myro thought. Now I am trapped. He glanced about the dirty room filled with crates and barrels. Diving behind some barrels he crawled into the darkness.

“He is in the cellar, follow me!” Myro heard from above. They are going to find me in a moment Myro thought. He crawled back against the stone back wall of the cellar behind some casks. A loose stone jabbed him in the back. A cold draft ran along Myro’s neck. He heard the sound of many feet clattering down the cellar steps.

Wait, a cold draft. Myro glanced about and saw a small opening at the point where the floor met the wall. Barely, a foot high and a foot wide. Luckily, I’m small Myro thought and squeezed himself through the tight opening. Beyond was a small dark chamber lit only by the light from the cellar. A block of stone on a metal swivel marked the entrance he had come through. Myro quickly slid it closed.

What is the innkeeper up to here with a secret chamber in his cellar thought Myro as he gingerly stood up? This bears investigating.




Friday, 28 December 2018

The Giant's Tomb

The Giant’s Tomb is a short adventure written for the Bare Bones Fantasy rules. The adventure is suitable for 3-5 players of rank 1. The adventure was designed with beginning players in mind.

Adventure Background

Cornear valley is located in the north of the Keranak Kingdom. The valley is a rocky one with pockets of grassland. Small farm villages dot the valley. The hamlet of Hartlepool is known for its grain farms and for the nearby barrows of long forgotten kings. The locals have dug into most of the barrows over the years finding human bones and little more.

Recently, a pair of adventurers came to Hartlepool asking about the location of a “long barrow” they were seeking. The village reeve, Esdras Reel, directed the pair of adventurers to an open tomb located in the hills to the north. The pair were not heard from again. Ever since that day livestock has gone missing from farms north of the hamlet. Farmer Owen Giles, whose farm was the furthest north came into the hamlet with stories of seeing two new blue stones shaped liked humans in the field before the Long Barrow. It was not long before stories of a demon that turns mean to stone were being told to traders passing through Hartlepool.

The players have heard these stories of a demon guarding a King’s tomb near Hartlepool and have come to seek their fortune.

The reeve of Hartlepool, Esdras Reel, can direct the players to Owen Giles farm and the Long Barrow that is thought to be the lair of the demon.

Approaching the Long Barrow


Approaching the Barrow

A short distance into the meadows beyond the Giles farm there is a weathered bluestone sitting upright. Owen Giles insists the stone just showed up a week ago. The stone looks like it was worked by human hands centuries ago into a vaguely human shape and size. But it clearly looks like it has been sitting in the field for hundreds of years.

As players approach the barrow, they will see it is a large, artificial mound (at least 100 feet long and 30 feet high). One end has a cut out where it appears the ground was dug out recently revealing large stones and an open doorway. In the dugout area is another human-shaped blue stone.

Inside the barrow dungeon, the floor is rough dirt. The walls throughout the dungeon are stone blocks stacked without mortar. Large stones are placed atop the walls holding out the dirt above. The dungeon corridors are only 5 to 6 feet wide but the walls are 10’ tall which seems very strange if it was built as a tomb by humans. There is no lighting in the dungeon. The entrance provides some light, but once players make there way 20 feet inside they will need to provide their own light.

Entrance (Map location A)

Large stones once blocked the entrance to the tomb. They have been dragged aside revealing the entrance. Inside the corridor descends about  10 feet over a 30-foot distance. Players will easily notice the change in grade.

First Tomb (Map location B)

Near the entrance, a small side alcove heads south. The chamber is only 15 feet long by 5-7 feet wide. A large, rectangular stone rests on the ground (only 3 inches are above ground). On the stone is a bare skeleton that looks unnaturally clean.

The skeleton will animate and attack if disturbed (if a player comes within 5 feet of it). Once the skeleton animates and attacks the skeletons in locations C and D will also animate and join the fight. Check if they surprise the players from behind. The Players should make a normal LOG Resistance check if they are checking their surroundings or a Challenging check at  -5 if players are completely unaware. If they fail, they are surprised (-10 to actions).

Skeleton
STR 40, DEX 50, LOG 0, WIL 0, BP 10, INIT 1, DR 0, MOV 6, Rank 1, Nature Evil, Claws 45%, Damage 1D. Immune to Charms and Cold based attacks.

The stone slab the skeleton rest on is too heavy to shift. It is 5.5 feet by 2.5 feet and 1 foot thick.

The Skeletons do not wish to be disturbed


Remaining Tombs (Map locations C and D)

There are two more tombs holding skeletons which can animate and attack. The chamber is the same as location A. There is nothing else of interest in the tombs.

Empty Tomb (Map location E)

Near a bend in the dungeon corridor is a small alcove, only 5 feet square. The alcove might have been built to be a tomb but there is no evidence of that now. There are a few stacks of extra stone bricks for the construction of the tomb.

Lair of the Beast (Map location F)

This is a very, large chamber, the roof is held up by stones supported by old tree trunks resting on the walls. In the center of the chamber is a seven-foot-long rock that has been carved and worked to look like a crude lizard creature with a tail and eight legs. The stone does not appear to match the local stone.

The stone is actually the guardian of the tomb and can animate and attack. The creature will wait until all of the players enter the chamber before attacking.

Stone Basilisk
STR 75, DEX 50, LOG 35, WIL 40, BP 40, INIT 1, DR 5, MOV 7, Rank 2, Nature Evil, Bite 75%, Damage 3D. Tail Slap 75%, effect 2D and knocked prone. The Basilisk also has a Stone Gaze, range sight, resist STR or be paralyzed. If paralyzed twice they are petrified.

Players petrified by the beast will turn to stone. However, they will appear to be an old weathered, blue stone in a roughly human shape. All of their equipment is also turned to stone. This is the fate that befell the recent tomb robbers.

In the corridor leading to this chamber, there is a crumpled silver disc 6 inches in diameter lying in the dirt on the floor. The disc is inscribed with runes on both sides. This disc created a barrier keeping the basilisk in the tomb but it was damaged when the tomb was recently entered by the treasure hunters and now the basilisk can roam free. It does not leave the tomb unless chasing tomb raiders. When the recent tomb raiders fled the tomb it chased them until each was petrified. On its return, it did kill and eat a few cows and sheep. The silver disc is worth 40 gold coins.

Fire Trap (Map location G)

There is a narrow hall that might have been meant to be a tomb leading off the main hall for 15 feet. Visible at the back of the tomb is a stack of three rocks arranged like a marker. Players entering into this tomb will most likely be struck by a burst of flame that fills the chamber and billows out into the corridor extending 5 feet down the main corridor in both directions. The trap is magical in nature triggered by a rune inscribed silver plate set in a small open space in the wall on the left as you enter. The plate is only 2 inches in diameter and is worth 30 gold coins for the value of silver alone.

Fire Trap: Avoid DEX Resistance check at -20, Notice Thief -5, Disarm None, Usage Once per day, Effect 1D, bypasses DR, Slowed and Stunned for 1D turns.

The trap can be found and removed but the problem is that it still goes off once per day when within 5 feet of a person. So if a player puts it in their pack they are in for a surprise the next morning.

The Giant’s Tomb (Map location H)

The corridor curves around to the left and enters a large tomb that is 20 x 15 feet with a 10-foot high ceiling. There is a 7 foot by 3 foot (by 2 foot high) smooth, black stone block lying in the chamber. Atop the block is the skeleton of a giant holding a sword and wearing a gold crown. The giant skeleton will animate and attack driving players out of its tomb if possible. It will not pursue players out of the tomb.

Giant Skeleton
STR 55, DEX 35, LOG 0, WIL 0, BP 30, INIT 1, DR 1, MOV 5, Rank 2, Nature Evil, Sword 45%, Damage 2D+4. Immune to Charms and Cold based attacks.

The giant skeleton is actually not one of the giants of legend. He is only 7 feet tall. He was just an exceptionally tall human. His sword is a serviceable two-handed sword in need of some cleaning and sharpening. His crown is worth 800 gold coins if taken to a merchant in large town. If the players want gold now they could melt it down and sell the gold for 500 gold coins.


Tomb Map


Sunday, 23 December 2018

Bare Bones Fantasy

Since I a still not getting in any playing time here is another game review.

I have had Bare Bones Fantasy since it came out and I browsed through the rules once before. But this time I took the time to take notes and observations as I read through the rules.

Bare Bones Fantasy is a product from DWD Studios. A fairly new Games company but one that I was aware of through their Star Frontiersman digital magazine. It is an OSR style fantasy role-playing game with a fair amount of support.




The Basics

Bare Bones Fantasy uses a Dice Standard of two 10-siders, so it is a percentile based system that feels a little like Chaosium’s Basic Fantasy in its conflict resolution. Characters have four abilities, Strength, Dexterity, Logic and Willpower. Abilities are rolled as 5d10+30.

The system uses classes but oddly the decision was made to call them skills. Logically, it makes sense but after a lifetime of playing games with class and skill, it is a little off-putting. I don't really have any game logic issue with the decision. The eight “skills” are Cleric, Enchanter, Leader, Scholar, Scout, Spellcaster, Thief and Warrior. The skills are rated in level from 1 to 6. During character creation, you pick a primary skill and give it a +20. Then you pick a secondary skill and give it a +10. As characters advance more skills can be purchased.

The system has the standard fantasy races, human, elf, dwarf, and halfling. The race chosen gives some changes to abilities.

Conflict Resolution

For Actions roll a d100 and compare the results to your Ability or Skill and any other modifiers. If you roll equal to or lower than the number you succeed. The rules allow for automatic success and failure. Any reasonable action succeeds on any roll of 00-05, and action with a reasonable chance of failure does so on a roll of 95-99. For example, if you want to pick a lock you would use your thief skill.

There is also a chance of Critical Success and Failure. Any time you roll doubles and succeed it is a critical success. Any time you roll doubles and fail in your roll it is a fumble.

On Contested Actions, both characters involved in the action make a roll. There must be a clear winner. Rolls are made until one contestant fails and one succeeds on the same throw.

Resistance Checks are made in reaction to some threats (like saving throws) to the character. An ability check that negates or reduces the otherwise successful threat. Resistance checks are actions. Each action taken after the first (in the same turn) results in a cumulative -20 to skill and ability checks.

Body points (BP) represent how much damage your character can take before falling down. When creatures reach 0 BP they are dead. When characters reach 0 BP they are unconscious for the rest of the battle. After the encounter, they must make a STR check. It is a save or die type check. If treated after a fight, 5 BP of damage can be healed (if it is recent). Characters heal 2 BP per day naturally. The system would appear to have fairly dangerous combat.

If you hit in combat, roll damage for the weapon used. The damage is reduced from the opponent's body points. There is also Damage Reduction (DR). If the opponent has DR, he may subtract his DR from the damage he would have sustained.

Spellcasting
For a mage to to cast a spell, the mage must have at least one hand free, be able to speak freely and succeed in a spellcasting skill check. Spellcasters can cast any number of spells (if their usage allows) each counts as an action. Only characters with levels in spellcaster or cleric can learn spells. If a spellcaster is the character’s primary skill he knows 2 spells per spellcaster level. Otherwise, he learns only one spell per level. Once a spell is known, the character may use it as often as its Usage allows.

Each spell has a different usage. For instance, Heal can only be used once per day but Dispel Magic has unlimited use.

GM Advice

The Gamemaster section of the rules goes over success modifiers, resistance checks, and disadvantage. Disadvantage is a situational modifier, a character is considered to be at a disadvantage in his resistance check for a few special situations. If an opponent hits a defender with a weapon in melee and the defender has no weapon. If the defender is hit by a ranged weapon. If the defender is not aware of the threat. Disadvantage causes your resistance check to be halved.

The rules include a simple list of spells and monsters. There is an an adventure idea generator and a random dungeon generator.

Keranak Kingdoms
Finally, there is a provided generic setting, Keranak Kingdoms. It is land of one kingdom that was formerly ruled by a monarch with near-divine powers provided by a crown. When the last of the line died recently, anarchy ruled as all fought for the crown, until the Knights of the Rose banished the crown. The lands await a ruler judged worthy of the crown.

It is a pretty plain setting, which can be a good thing if you want to just plug in standard fantasy adventures with little work.

Evaluation
Bare Bones Fantasy is what it claims to be. A simplified rule system for Fantasy role-playing. It appeals to me. One of my favorite systems was RuneQuest 3 which also uses a percentile system but it much more complicated. Bare Bones Fantasy does have levels, but I think they are not going to affect play very much. A new character should be almost as big a threat as a more experienced player. This very much appeals to me. If I have one major complaint with D&D it is the levels which results in characters who are eventually way more powerful than the average person. They in turn have to be countered with exponentially more powerful monsters. I prefer a system where you could reuse your favourite low-level monsters and have them be a worthy challenge (kobolds again?).

I would have to try the magic system to see how it works in practice, but it does appeal to me. Rather than fire and forget each spell has different uses per day.

Monday, 17 December 2018

Talislanta The Savage Lands

I just recently purchased Talislanta: The Savage Land. It is not a ruleset per se, it is really a rules addition for running a Talislanta campaign using existing rules. There are three versions, 5E, d6 and original. I purchased the 5E version so I do not know, but I assume original uses Talislanta rules?
The Savage Lands is I believe something new for Talislanta. Before the setting assumed a Renaissance level setting with nations, cities and a fairly advanced civilization. The Savage Lands takes place in the distant past. A “Great Disaster” has recently occurred and all that remains are devasted wastelands populated by savage tribes. As in the original, Talislanta is populated by a large number of unique species many of which are playable races. There are none of the traditional fantasy races (elves, dwarves, halflings) but there are various races of humans or near-humans.
There is the dragon-like Drakkan, the plant-based Narada, the lion-like Shaka and a number of near-human races. Each has various pluses attached to choosing that race. Only a few have negatives attached to their attributes.
The Savage Lands is a low-magic setting, the rules recommend banning all magic-using classes in D&D and removing spells from Rangers. There is also an interesting option to run the game without classes. Under this method, all characters start with rolled ability scores but their proficiencies are the same. As they advance, new proficiencies are learned to create more and more unique characters. An intriguing idea for me.
Proficiencies are skills, languages, tools, and in this case medium armor, and martial weapons.
In Savage Lands, everyone is assumed to start as a member of a tribe. Each of the races has carved out their own territory and there are few races that travel indiscriminately between regions. The gazetteer for the Savage Lands reads like a more primitive and brutal version of Dark Sun. There are no nations, towns, or villages. Just tribes wandering wastelands.
A very good list of fairly unique monsters that fit well with the Savage Lands Setting is included in a bestiary. It is rounded out with an extensive list of demons. Random Encounter Tables per region are provided. Making this useful for a good sandbox style game.
Included in these random encounter tables is the chance of encountering a magical storm know as the Gyre. Another table is provided for random results of the Gyre. It is a magical storm that deposits misfortune wherever it goes. A Plague of Demons, a rain of monsters, curses and the like.
Playability
The setting and rules are very playable. Open wastelands with a legitimate reason for tombs, ruined cities and monsters is simplicity for a Dungeon Master. But there are also no cities, towns, villages, civilization or agriculture. Just wandering tribes defending their territories. This makes it very hard to have a party of mixed races. It makes it very hard for the player characters to find food and water or trade what they find in that ancient tomb. There is no coinage, only barter. Coins could be traded but only in the value of the metal. There is an extensive section on trade goods and their value to help the Dungeon Master.
I can see easily running a single adventure in a ruin or a sandbox style game for a short period of time but beyond that, I think that "tomb of the week" could get tiresome. Rules are provided for the players to run the entire tribe and advance their tribe in addition to their characters.

Finding a Colossus in the Wastelands

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Fantasy! RPG Review

Another in my continuing series of reviews of products I have bought on RPGNOW and finally got around to reading. Only 600 more to go (I am only exaggerating a little).


Fantasy! (yes they have an exclamation in the official title) is a translation of a Swedish OSR Fantasy roleplaying game. They also have games called “Action!” and “Sci-Fi!”. It comes from a company called Saga Games.


On the first page, the editors put in a disclaimer warning that this is a translation to English done by people who do not speak English as a first language. It is noticeable, but we are reading rules and not a novel so it is not really a problem. If you are someone who gets annoyed by the use of the wrong word on occasion this product is not for you.


There is one funny spot in the main core rules where there is an entire sentence in Swedish. I used Google translate and it turns out it is repeated in English in the next sentence. The sample adventure in the back of the rules does have a lot of instances where the original Swedish was retained in the room titles. It makes the rooms sound grimmer than they actually are, “En mork korridor urthuggen ur urberget” is something like, “Dark Corridor”.


Core Rules

The game uses only 6-sided dice and characters are describes by four attributes (Constitution, Coordination, Intelligence, and Presence) and start with 5 abilities. The system does not have classes but there are optional archetypes that can be chosen, Ranger, Warrior, Assassin, Knight, and Thief. You notice there is no magic using class. The system is geared toward a low fantasy human-centric setting. Mages are assumed to be NPC’s but there are suggestions for including magic wielding characters.


Spells cost different mana points to cast. Non-magicians can use Power Words to do small magical tasks. Characters decide the number of mana points to use for Power Word and then roll that many extra dice in the resolution roll. The limit is 3 mana for a single Power word.


Dwarves and elves as playable races are also presented in the appendix. But the setting assumes dwarves and elves are rare.


The rules use hit points but they are fairly static. There are ways to improve them slightly. You do also have Temporary Hit points which are added hit points removed first and represent your experience at avoiding damage. Temporary hit points can be increased with advancement.


Humans pick 5 abilities to start play, demi-humans pick 4. Since any ability can be chosen customization is open. If this is to much work for you, there are optionally the five sample archetypes to choose from.


Play

In the rules assuming the action is not automatic (simple) or impossible a die roll is made. A Resolution Roll is a roll off as many dice as your level in the Attribute. Extra dice are added for abilities that fit the situation. On a 4-6 it is a success, less than 3 are failures. The number of successes is compared to the difficulty of the task. For every die that comes up a 6, you get to roll 1 more die.


The tasks difficulty is a fairly standard ladder of 1-easy, 2-normal, 3-difficult, 4-insane, 5-heroic, 6-Legendary, 7-Forget about it.


There is an added element of risk of spectacular failure if at least half the die rolls are 1’s.


After Play

The suggestion is that after each game session the characters each receive 1 experience die. The next time they play the character can add 1 experience die to any roll. The maximum experience dice you can hold is 10. After 10 you need to spend the dice. For me, the rules were not clear on this point.  The Experience die is also needed to improve your character. So is it either or? The note in the rules states, “When you spent your ED to improve die rolls you of course get them back the next game session”. So if you spend them on improvements you cannot get them back? Logically that is the way I would rule it.


Combat

Combat includes attack and defense rolls. You have a number of combat dice based on your attribute used to attack (CON or COR). You have to split these between attack and defense with at least 1 die always being held back for defense. If your number of successes is greater than the defender's number of successes the attack succeeds. You could also find yourself splitting your defense dice between multiple attackers. This is an interesting system and reminds me of one of the versions of RuneQuest I have used (RQ 3 I believe).


On defense, you also add dice from any armor or shield.


There are special rules for being caught unaware (you get only 1 defense die) or for having flanking protection from allies (1 extra die to defense per protected flank).


Armor gives defense dice and absorbs the Armor modification amount of damage.


As befits a low fantasy setting the healing of hit points is quite grim. HP heals at a rate of 1HP per day in the care of a healer or 1HP per week if just resting.

Gamemaster

The entire core rules section is only 23 pages. It covers everything an experienced role-player needs to play the game. Not every situation is covered by the rules and for an OSR game, it should not be. The gamemaster section has more information on running games, campaigns and handling magic (since the base assumption is that mages are NPCs). No example spells are provided. Instead, players should tell the gamemaster what they want to attempt with a spell and the gamemaster sets the difficulty. There is also a fairly standard section of the rules listing monsters.


The rules close up with a simple setting called the “Distant Dales”. There is enough information here for at least a half-dozen adventures. There is also a 3 dungeon level adventure called “The God in the Mountain”. It has the feel of something that has been done before but any reasonably experienced gamemaster can take the bare bones of the idea and expand upon it.


Conclusion

These are simple but complete OSR style fantasy rules. Perfect for someone who wants to run a magic light setting and enjoys customizable characters and no levels. Given that class and level is one of my least favorite parts of D&D I can see running some adventures using these rules.



Four adventurers prepare to enter the dungeon of The God in the Mountain.