Category Archives: Legacy D&D

Where No Man Has Gone Before

These six words immediately conjure up one image: the starship USS Enterprise NCC-1701. It’s also the name of an excellent fan-made Star Trek roleplaying game based on Microlite20. Recently my Numenera campaign had to go on a break because a player was abroad, so I decided to run a Star Trek one-shot instead.

The bold captain of the USS HeisenbergThe premise of the game is that after the V’Ger incident (see Star Trek: The Motion Picture), Starfleet is forced to un-mothball a couple of old Daedalus class ships and man then with inexperienced crews. One of these crews contains the player characters. Fellow RPG blogger and good friend Marcus aka Chaotic GM took on the role of captain and even sported a nice yellow shirt complete with Starfleet command insigna at the game table. The party also consisted of an Andorian chief engineer, a Vulcan security officer, a Human doctor, and a psychic communications officer. Their ship was the USS Heisenberg, a revamped Daedalus class ship, which had a brand-new Warp 8 drive and proper deflector shields and two phaser arrays.

All Artworks by Sven1310<br /><br /><br />
www.sf3dff.de
During their first mission the Heisenberg crew escorted a Starfleet Commodore to his new post at Starbase 15, made first contact with an alien species, the mysterious Maakar (which are loosely based on a species from the Perry Rhodan series), and helped to save said aliens and even the crew of another Starfleet starship. And in the good traditions of Starfleet not one shot was fired.

Overall we were all having a blast. Character creation was fast and each character had the proper Star Trek feel to it. Where No Man Has Gone Before manages to bring the atmosphere of the series to the game table perfectly. The rules are so light that they never got into the way and everyone agreed that we should continue the mission of the USS Heisenberg.

If you are now interested in checking out WNMHGB yourself, you can download it for free from the creator’s website. Please note that the site uses a non-standard port, so it might not work if your computer sits behind a corporate firewall.

First Impressions: Beyond The Wall

hodgson-coverYesterday evening I had the chance to create my first character for Beyond The Wall by Flatland Games. I have a digital copy of this fine game on my harddrive but alas I haven’t had the time to give it a closer look. So I was glad about being given the opportunity to actually play it.

Beyond The Wall is a very interesting D&D retro-clone which combines elements of old-school gaming with a couple of more recent ideas. The rules mechanics are clearly based on D&D, while character and setting creation reminded me of what I’ve seen in games like Apocalypse World or various Fate games.

You start creating characters by picking one of the available playbooks. I chose the Self-Taught Mage, which turned out to be a pretty cool choice. But the other playbooks are definitely as interesting. After that you can note down your starting stats. In my case, my character had an intelligence of 12 and all other attributes started at 8.

The next step is rolling on a table from the playbook which tells you something about your childhood. In my case I found out that my father was a stern but fair watchman. This also raised a couple of my character’s attributes. This step was done by every player at the table. The important part is that everyone in the group knows the story of the other players since the members of the group are meant to be childhood friends.

During character creation we slowly revealed more information about our characters’ backgrounds. Each step provided each character with more story details, improved their stats and provided them with skills, items, and spells. During several steps the players were allowed to add a place to the town map or write down an important person. All these information is later used by the GM to generate an adventure.

Continue reading First Impressions: Beyond The Wall

NaGaDeMon: It’s Full Of Stars!

One thing which makes NaGaDeMon so hard for me is that I tend to read a lot of roleplaying games especially the ones I like while I should be focusing on writing stuff myself. There are a couple of systems I love, and everything I write tends to slowly transforms into a bad copy of those systems. Instead of hanging my head in shame, I decided to share some of these games with you.

The main reason I started to work on WR&M Pocket Edition was that I wanted to create something as simple and elegant as Chris McDowall’s Into The Odd. Chris took D&D, stripped away almost everything and combined it with a very unique and awesome setting. The free version is still available on his blog, while a new version (which will also be available in print) is being worked on right now. Into The Odd has all the weirdness of a game like Numenera while being extremely simple to run and play. If you haven’t checked it out, you definitely should do so.

Apropos Numenera, Monte Cook’s Cypher system is another rules system I recently fell in love with. It’s fully player-facing, very easy to run, and has a couple of very intriguing mechanics I wish I came up with. One thing I love about the system is the Effort system. The players can lower the difficulty of tasks by spending points from their attribute pools.

This also reminded me of the way General skills in Robin D. Laws’ Gumshoe System work. Like the attribute pools in the Cypher system, the skill ratings in Esoterrorists, Trail of Cthulhu, etc. are resources to spend. Skill checks are done with a d6 and you can add points from your skills to improve your chances. I always wanted to write a system which uses skills/attributes in such a way, so it was no surprise that my updated version of Galaxy Core started to look a bit like a Frankensteinian creation – one part Galaxy Core and one part Gumshoe or Chyper. Not a pretty sight, I can assure you.
By the way, Gumshoe is now available under not one but two open licenses (CC and OGL). If you haven’t done so, you definitely should check out the SRD.

By the way, I also found the perfect magic system to be included in WR&M Pocket Edition or a WRM 2nd Edition.  R.E. Davis recently told me about his fantasy “rule manifesto” Patchwork Fantasy which is partly based on WR&M. It features an awesome spell system, which basically allows players to design their own spells by assigning 3 to 4 tags. Brilliant! You can check it out here.

At the moment I am not sure how I should proceed with my NaGaDeMon projects. I am tempted to put the two projects I wrote about earlier this week in favor of a simplified version of the Gumshoe system. It might even be possible to turn it into a system suited for fantasy games. And since it’s now licensed under CC it’s even perfectly legal now. It’s very tempting to mess with a system written by my favorite game designer, it really is.

Note: The image above was created by Pauline Moss and has been used under the terms of the CC-BY-NC 3.0 license. Check out her DeviantArt site!