Category Archives: Legacy D&D

Caves of Qod

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Yes, this is first and foremost a pen & paper roleplaying games blog, but sometimes I just need to sneak in a post about related topics. Today I want to talk about Caves of Qod, a very intriguing roguelike computer RPG, which I was interested in for quite some time now.

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Roguelikes are games which are similar in gameplay to the original Rogue, which is – in a nutshell – an old-school dungeon crawl simulator. If you are familiar with the first editions of D&D you know what to expect: the game is quite lethal, there are countless monsters which are out to kill you, there are deep dungeons and countless treasures. Even though computers are now capable of almost lifelike graphics and sound, the classic roguelike genre with minimal graphics and turn-based action is still alive and well.

One of the more recent games in this particular genre is “Caves of Qod”, which is a game with a lot of depth and an intriguing world. The world presented in the game is set in a post-apocalyptic world. But from what I’ve seen so far, it’s no radioactive wasteland like in many other games of the genre, but it reminds me more of Monte Cook’s Numenera. You can either play a mutated human (and there are a lot of cool mutations to choose from) or a member of the true kin (which are – I guess – unmutated humans).

At the surface CoQ looks like any other roguelike, but after a couple minutes of play you realize that there’s more to it. One cool aspect is a very detailed skill system, which allows you to develop your character in any way you want. Currently I am playing a mutated human with the ability to regrow lost limbs and to suck the life force out of enemies who also happens to be a gunslinger. Just recently I acquired enough skill points to buy the Akimbo skill, which allows me to wield two pistols at once! I have started exploring some caves to the north of the starting village and already I have stumbled upon countless wondrous animals and plants.

There is a quest system and I already had a couple of interesting conversations with NPCs. It seems Caves of Qod is not just killing monsters and taking their stuff, but there’s also a story for you to follow. I have just started delving deeper into the game, so I can’t tell you that much about this aspect of the game though. But what I know is that the game is extremely addicting. I actually had to force myself to go to bed last night and that’s even though several of my characters died horrible (but unheroic) deaths. Being killed by some kind of snail is not the best way to go…

If you are looking for an exciting game with an interesting world and some old-school charm, you definitely should give Caves of Qod a try. It’s available on Steam for about €10 or you local equivalent. At the moment it’s on sale, so you get 10% off.

P.S.: There’s also a free version (which uses ASCII characters instead of graphical tiles). You can download it from here.

More White Box Shenanigans

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This Saturday we had to cancel or regular Titansgrave game, because three of the players couldn’t make it, so I pulled out White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game, and we quickly rolled up characters for the four players who could make it (yes, I have a pretty large gaming group). I offered the players to roll 3d6 six times and then distribute the results as they saw fit, but they decided to go all old-school and roll “3d6 in order”. This led to some pretty interesting character choices, like the highly-intelligent but not-so-wise cleric, or the all around mediocre fighter. But all these characters are actually pretty viable in a White Box game.

The session itself was 100% improvised. I randomly created a dungeon using some special dice my friend Marcus has brought with him. The world was made up on the spot and I used a lot of common tropes. The adventure started in a tavern, the “quest giver” was a mysterious robed figure, the dungeon was located under the destroyed tower of a wizard who had terrorized the whole area decades ago. It quickly became clear that we were all interested in a light-hearted game. Explaining some old-school concepts to the players I mentioned that the GM is basically God at the game table. So the player who rolled up the Cleric decided to worship St. Michael, a god clearly inspired by me.

One of the player characters fell asleep during watch, which allowed a lucky thief to almost rob them blank. Their unlucky streak continued when they got lost in the mountains and stumbled upon a basilisk. Only a couple of lucky rolls (and a mistake on the GM’s behalf) saved them from a TPK. Eventually they made it to the dungeon where they had to evade devious traps, face numerous skeletons and a pretty nasty Mimic. But in the end, they found the artifact they were paid to bring back.

What this session showed to me clearly is that White Box is a perfect pick-up-and-play kind of game. And if you’re not planning to start a serious campaign, you can easily improvise simple adventures. Because everyone knows the common D&D tropes, no long explanations are needed. The rules-light nature of White Box also has some issues. Mechanically the two thieves in the party were basically identical. This is not a big issue to me, but some more mechanically minded players might see this as a drawback.  White Box also makes it very easy to just handwave things away you don’t like, which is something you often don’t dare to do in crunchier systems. Someone really wants to use a sword as a Magic-User? Let him. If you go 100% old-school, all weapons cause the same damage anyway, so it’s mostly a cosmetic thing. Even if you use the damage values given in White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game, the difference between a sword and a staff is negligible.

Next week I’ll probably run something completely different, but White Box will definitely one of my go-to games in the future. By the way, my friend Marcus also wrote down his thoughts about Saturday’s game in a blog post. He focuses on the random character creation and it’s definitely worth a read!

Through the Moongate

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Yesterday evening I had the chance to run my first White Box game set into the world of the Ultima series, Britannia (or Sosaria as it was known before). Overall I have to say things went pretty well.

The player characters were all humans from Earth, who got lost in a renaissance faire and ended up in front of a gypsie’s wagon. The mysterious woman inside asked them 28 moral dilemmas which determined the characters’ professions.

Yes, I actually took the questions from the Ultima games to determine which Virtue was favored the most by the players. I could have reduced the number of questions if I asked each person seperately and then picked the questions more cleverly. But since I wanted to get the answers in one big swoop, they had to go through all 28. In the end we had a Paladin, a Druid, a Magic-User and Ranger. Continue reading Through the Moongate