Friday, October 21, 2016

Yet another magic system...

I've been thinking today about a super-simplified approach to spellcasting in RPGs (especially those of the OSR variety), and the more I play it out in my head, the more I think it just might work.  Heck, maybe it's already out there somewhere in the million and one different mechanics for RPG magic that people use.

The root of the system was my admiration for the simple Hit Die as a general measure for fighting ability.  I learned D&D in the third edition era, so it wasn't until I started exploring older editions and retro-clones that I realized how much value there could be in a single number.  I'd love to be able to work with something similar for magic.  "Magic Dice" of sorts.  I guess.  So here's what I'm working with:

A character with X Magic Dice can cast spells up to level X and begins each day with a pool of X dice to use in casting.  When attempting to cast a spell, roll all of your magic dice; if the result is equal to or greater than the spell's difficulty (5x the spell's level), you succeed in casting the spell.  Whenever a character fails at casting a spell, add one die to their pool; when they succeed, remove one die from their pool (minimum of one).

Aside from my horrible use of pronouns in that paragraph, my biggest concern is probably that such a system could be exploited to cast low-level spells too often...although I guess that possibility is there with high-Intelligence Conjurers in The Black Hack, and it doesn't seem to break anything.

The spell list could be as broad or narrow as desired for the game, and it would be easy to add in "exploding" sixes...and rolls of "one" not counting for ensure that every instance of spellcasting has the chance to succeed or fail...

At any rate, I could imagine a really simple character advancement/construction system in which Hit Dice and Magic Dice are basically equivalent, so with each level, you just choose which one to add to your character.

Margo the Magician.  Because I wanted a picture in this post, and this one kind of fit the theme.

Friday, October 14, 2016

War Games for Boy Scouts (ca. 1910)

Considering the strong connections that remain between the two pastimes to this day, I'm sure I'm not alone among RPGers in enjoying reading about the history of miniature wargames.  I've often looked over the timeline presented by The Courier and thought about how cool it would be to give some of those foundational rules a try.  You can often find digital versions of old rulesets online, but I recently found that I couldn't locate the rules from War Games for Boy Scouts, a book published around 1910 and packaged with a set of toy soldiers, anywhere.

Maybe it was just weak searching skills, but I decided that since I am still a student for a (hopefully) short amount of time, I'd put my school interlibrarly loan program to the test and see what I got.  And so, with a BIG tip of the hat to the Georgia State University library (and the University of Oxford, which I'm pretty sure was the source), I'd like to share the book here for anyone else who's interested.  This link will take you to the PDF in Google Drive:

War Games for Boys Scouts by Sgt. A.J. Holladay (PDF)

I don't doubt that I'm violating some form of copyright with this, so...if you care that I've posted it and want me to take it down, please let me know (and let me know why).  For the sake of scholarship and fun, this seemed like the thing to do.

As for the rules, they're pretty darn short and seem to mostly govern the positioning of forces.  There's no randomness in combat; stronger forces always win a battle.  For someone who really wanted to amp up the old school in their OSR, though, these rules would work just fine in a campaign, and the simple presentation of combatant values (standard troops are simply worth two points, for example) would blend nicely with RPGs that use hit dice as a measure of combat strength.

Hope you enjoy!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Reboot vs. Remake vs. Requel vs. Revival vs...

You know how sometimes you just feel like making a Venn diagram about something trivial?  I felt that way earlier today.

No real rhyme or reason to the examples I chose.  Maybe someday I'll get really ambitious and try to fill out each section more completely.

I'm not quite sure where Superman Returns should go on here.  I am pretty sure this was just another one of my procrastination tricks.  I'd love any feedback you have, though!

Back to work now...

(Click to embiggen.)

(EDIT:  Oh, I should probably get "Reimagining" on here somewhere, shouldn't I?  I think the whole thing might topple...)

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Regular Joes, Adventurers for Hire

Had a thought on teaming up a couple of Dogwood City residents as mundane adventurers in a comic book world.

Made a video for it.

It's a good day for procrastination.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

On a more personal note

I've been bad about getting "fun" posts up lately.'s one that's less than fun, on the chance that someone who happens by here may be interested.

A few weeks ago, my wife Laura and I had to let go of our dog Sunny.  Laura sometimes manages her grief in these instances by writing a bit of the dog's story, and she has done so for Sunny.

I'll note that there's a good chance that some who read it, who may or may not be involved in animal rescue, will disagree with the series of decisions we made.  That's okay.  The rescue community is filled with passionate people who are sure of very specific convictions, and I know I can't agree with all of them.  Hopefully, the story gives a little window into the world of ups and downs that accompanies a girl like Sunny.

Click here for Sunny's story.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday with the Flame!

Well, I missed both Monstrous/Monster Monday and a shot at a second Were-Wednesday this round, so let me have some fun to close out the work about a Friday with the Flame?

One aspect of Dogwood City (my public domain supers "project") that I've wanted to correct is the fact that I've never identified a signature hero for the city.  Of the characters I've written about, there are a few that "speak to me" more than others.  I like the Arrow, Black Lion, and Cub quite a bit, but they're really all ersatz versions of other well-known heroes.  Daredevil is awesome, but he's been used a lot in other public domain supers projects (and there's something weird about the fact that another character is a much better known Daredevil).

Besides, my comic book heart might be happiest in the Silver Age.

I did include the Nature Family on the initial Dogwood City roster, and not only are they pretty awesome, they have the distinction of being some of the few pre-Barry Allen superheroes of the 1950s.  They'll certainly vie for the status of top Dogwood icon(s).  I've recently been reading the adventures of another contender, though...the Flame:

The Flame is really interesting to me because a big chunk of the Silver Age's genesis is tied up in DC's revamping of Golden Age heroes like the Flash and Green Lantern.  Reading about the Golden Age Flame's history over at Don Markstein's Toonopedia, I realized that this strategy is exactly what was going on when Fox's 1939 hero was revamped in 1954 by Ajax-Farrell, who had acquired the rights to the character.  Changing costumes, powers, and secret identities, the new Flame series only lasted a few issues, but it looks like it was one of those hints of things to come in the superhero market.

The Flame also fits Dogwood City nicely!  Here's the seal of the city that inspires Dogwood...

...and a logo for the university I attend in said city...

...and a logo for the first NHL team to leave the city for Canada (yeah, we've lost two)...

...and a symbol from the event that helped said city gain worldwide prominence (even if no one cares much about this thing anymore)...

...and a restaurant right near my house...

So, yeah, flames are kind of a thing around here.  I guess getting burned to the ground can do that to a city.  Weird how that works.

As for the Flame's connection to actual flames...well, we get hints, like that first image in this post, that he uses some sort of pyrotechnics in his crimefighting.  But for the most part, the Flame is just one heck of a brawler.  So the bad guys can take that...

...and that...

...and that...

...and that!

His best trick, though, is probably picking up a dude by the ankle and swinging away at the other villains.

That's one that I'd like to see again.