Hello readers! Here is hoping you had a fun Halloween and are enjoying November. For those that have reached out over social media, thank you. Personally, things are improving, while there is a lot of rebuilding to do here in Puerto Rico post Hurricane María, I’m working, we are among the tiny percentage that have power back, and despite some additional problems popping up at home as consequences of the winds, rain and extended blackout, I feel like I’m on a better mood and a better place. The island still has a long way to go… If you’d like to help you can find out more in my first post on the subject.

Something else I have written about before is my love for Stars Without Number! From my first unboxing of the POD copy post, to my many lists thought the years, Stars Without Number is a staple. Backing the revised edition Kickstarter was a no brainer for me, and we recently got the Galactic Omnibus collecting all the previously published material for the game. Look at the pictures my friend Anibal Delgado took!

I am always impressed by Kevin Crawford’s Sine Nomine Publishing Kickstarters and products. He is a consummate professional, keeping backers informed, accessible to answer questions and sort out any problems. He delivers quality products in a timely fashion. I own most of what he has published. He consistently takes OSR mechanics and reimagines them in ways that consistently please and surprise. That coupled, with his advice and tools for sandbox gaming, make his games a must own!

You can find the free beta rules for Stars Without Number (SWN) here. One of the things I love in the revised edition is the inclusion of aliens as an option for players. This was something missing from the previous version of the rules and one of the elements that have really fired up my imagination. After reading the rules I began to tinker with converting the heroic alien species from D20 Future. Continue reading D20 FUTURE HEROIC ALIEN SPECIES CONVERSION

A Look At Shadow of the Demon Lord

imageThis morning, when I thought about writing about Shadow of the Demon Lord, I was totally amazed that I haven’t actually mentioned it on the blog at all. Robert Schwalb’s Shadow of the Demon Lord is an amazing dark fantasy game which rested for too long on my shelf basically unread. I bought the hardcover book back in December 2016 but I now finally had the time to give it a closer look.

Shadow of the Demon Lord was influenced by a lot of games and settings I love. The rules remind me of a streamlined version of D&D combined with Novice, Expert and Master paths reminiscent of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay’s careers. The setting, the world of Rûl, takes inspiration from the classic Warhammer World, but also from the fantasy-noir world of Eberron and the steam-fantasy setting of the Iron Kingdoms. This melange of different influences could easily end up in a weird Kitchen Sink setting, but Robert Schwalb managed to make everything fit together neatly.


When I first picked up SotDL I thought it might be an interesting alternative to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay with a more modern and D&D-like ruleset. But it is so much more. Over the last few days I realized that SotDL is a flexible rule set which could be used for more than one setting easily. There is support for Green Ronin’s Freeport setting with the SotDL Freeport Companion. Schwalb Enterprises also released a sourcebook for Mad Max style gaming called “Godless”. People have also used SotDL for games set in Eberron, the Forgotten Realms, and even the Warhammer 40,000 universe. What makes SotDL so easily adaptable to other settings?

Continue reading A Look At Shadow of the Demon Lord

Let the Quest Begin!

In my recent post (‘Looking for a Spiritual Home’) Johnkzin made loads of constructive suggestions and asked a few questions.

The problem with Pathfinder and 5e for that matter is that I have suggested both these systems to my players in the past and they are definitely not interested. I think to some extent they have closed their minds against all things D&D. I have been playing with this group since the early 1980s so I am not about to abandon them and try and find another group.

I have never played Pathfinder or even read a rulebook so I have no valid opinion.

5e on the other hand I have a strange relationship with. I have never played it but 5e and I keep crossing paths. I was one of the two editors in the 5e to d100 conversion project 5e x5. More recently than that I am doing a port of all the 5e SRD monsters to a generic form compatible with all versions of Rolemaster including the old RM2 right up to the forthcoming Rolemaster Unified and taking in HARP along the way.

There are two reasons for doing this. Guild Companion Publications jealously guard their IP. This means that you cannot publish any home brew adventures that use their monsters or the spell lists. I personally think that this closed shop approach has damaged the Rolemaster game community. If there are no free or pocket money price adventures out there or even throw away home brew supplements, then the system appears dead or worse unsupported. GCP have a terribly slow rate of production.

Rolemaster started life as a set of house rules for AD&D so there is a kind of symmetry in reintegrating the open attitudes of WotC and the 5e SRD back into Rolemaster. This gives independent supplement writers like myself a complete set of monsters with which to create adventures.

The other sticking point is spells and spell lists. I have future plans to write up my house rules for magic in Rolemaster and reintroduce the 5e SRD spells back into Rolemaster. That is a potential project for another day. I have already written up and sell my house rules for character creation. I have also fleshed those same rules out into a full on standalone rulebook.

The reason for the character creation and magic system is an insurance policy. One Rolemaster Unified comes out GCP are not going to support either current version of the game. It would be madness to release a new version of the game and still produce material for older versions. If, heaven forbid, the new version is a failure then there could be no future support for Rolemaster players. On the other hand, if there was a 100% compatible system out there released under the OGL and free for anyone to take, use and change then all these over versions can be supported. I will write more on this at a later date.

So back to my gaming investigations…

I do like my games on the light side of crunchy and more simulationist than narrative. This coming week I am going to start with looking at Mini Six: Bare Bones Edition by AntiPaladin Games. I have not checked but I guess that Michael reviewed this years ago. I will give my thoughts next time.

The featured image is obviously me, setting out on my quest for a new game system!

A Roleplaying Games blog