Sunglar’s Savage House Rules!


I first became interested in Savage Worlds when I read a reference to it in a message board. Can’t remember which one now, but I do recall the poster praised the system on the ease of prep and how smoothly it ran. I was running a high level D&D 3.5 campaign back then and that sounded like music to my ears! This was in 2004 or 2005. I finally got the Savage Worlds revised hardcover in 2006 at The Compleat Strategist during a business trip to New York City. I remember reading the book that night at the hotel, and not quiet grasping the game. “It uses playing cards for initiative, and what the deal with the damage system?” I never figured it out, had other games to run, so the book just sat on my shelf.


In 2007 I went to Gen Con and visited the Pinnacle Entertainment Group booth and saw Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition. It was $10 for a complete game, how can you say no to that! I got 2 copies. I read the book, got a better idea how the game worked, and I tried running a one-shot using it but the shaken/wounded damage mechanic was not intuitive, the initiative was strange, I didn’t get how all the different bits worked together, so we didn’t play it again. Continue reading Sunglar’s Savage House Rules!

More Prep–More Props


I am a terribly lazy GM. If possible I try not to do any prep at all and usually rely on my improvisational skills to run my games. But this had led to a certain problem. I am not sure if my players have noticed yet, but I definitely feel it: the game is often not as exciting as it could be. Back in the day, I created cool props (like newspaper clippings, maps, etc.), prepared complex plots, and came up with memorable NPCs. I still do this, but on a much reduced level. Especially my weekly game could need some more “flair”, if you get my drift.

Recently my friend Marcus posted about his upcoming Fallout-themed Savage Worlds game. Wow! Check out the photo below and tell me that’s not totally awesome!


The character sheets look like the Pipboys from Fallout, he created Nuka Cola bottlecap (for use as bennies) and if I am not mistaken he even aged the deck of cards to look like they were from a post-nuclear-war era. This level of dedication and preparation immediately lifts the game to a different level. I am pretty sure most players honor such dedication to the game and it also should help to establish immersion into the setting.

If I am looking at my game sessions, this is what they are most lacking. Yes, my players are enjoying themselves, I usually do so, too, but I am sure things could be so much more awesome. There are a lot of reasons why I haven’t done that much prep work (or created props for that matter) anymore: work, family, the house, my mental health, computer games … But I think some more prep work and perhaps a few more props will help to improve my GMing and make our games much more memorable.

Of course not every game needs custom bennies and aged playing cards, but sometimes a simple handout prepared before the game can make a huge difference.

Ultima & White Box


What I want to write about today is something which started as a very small side project which eventually got a bit out of hand. Or you could say it’s still in the middle of getting out of hand.

imageInspired by a very awesome White Box character sheet, I decided to give Sword & Wizardry White Box another look. I couldn’t find my print copy anymore so I looked on the internet and stumbled upon a new White Box game called “White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game”. Leafing through the PDF immediately made me excited about running a White Box game again, something which I haven’t done in quite some time. So I started thinking about which campaign setting I could use. Since we are taking a break from our current Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay campaign (an important member of the player group won’t be able to come next time), I already had a time and place to run a White Box one-shot.

During the last week I have been basking in nostalgia already by playing some of the games from the Ultima series. So the logic next step was to combine two awesome things into one. That’s how the idea of an Ultima campaign powered by White Box was born!

After some attempts with Campaign Cartographer I switched to the easier-to-use (although less powerful) Hexographer. Using a map from Ultima IV as a basis I created a hex map of the world of Britannia. I was actually surprised how easy that was. Sure, I had to take some liberties, but overall the map turned out great.

britannia world
The map I created in Hexographer The Ultima IV map I based my work on

I decided to use Ultima IV as a basis, because that’s the game which changed the series. In Ultima IV you play a character who strives to become the Avatar, the embodiment of the Eight Virtues, Britannia’s philosophical system. There’s no big bad to defeat, no princess to save, no artifact to find. Of course there are many dangers in Britannia and even if you are not interested in following the aforementioned path you can still go on countless adventures. But I wanted becoming the Avatar be a viable option for the players. The Stranger, the hero of Ultima I-III was actually supposed to become the Avatar, but in my version of Britannia, he just doesn’t show up when the campaign starts.

Continue reading Ultima & White Box

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