Limitless Worlds

Limitless Worlds

Monday, December 31, 2012

More variants for Psionics of Lore

Originally, I was going to only have one variant for each psionic class. However, I said "hell to it" and decided to have 5 for each, giving each class in B&T 5 variants to choose from. The list, along with a brief description, is as follows


Ardent- The ardent focuses more on improving their defense while in their psychic trance than improving their offense. The trance is basically my replacement to the bonus combat feats the warmind would get in 3.5

Crystal Warrior- This warmind specializes in drawing psionic power from crystals, as well as using crystals as weapons.

Relativist- The relativist is a master of manipulating gravity, able to move himself and others at his whim.

Blur- Most warminds are bastions of power, but the blur is a quick and agile brute.

Godmind- These champions release an aura of divinity, praising their gods while also ravaging brains.


Chrono- The chrono can manipulate time, both stopping it and speeding it up.

Enthraller- Enthrallers are controllers of mind and enslaves of will.

Erudite- Erudites have managed to find their way around having a psionic discipline, but finding powers is much harder for them

Cerebremancer- Cerebremancers are masters of both psionics and magic

Pyrokineticist- The pyrokineticist is a master of flame and conflagration, burning all in his path.


Soulbow- Instead of slashing with psionic blades, soulbows attack with psionic crossbows and longbows.

Soulfists- Soulfists wrap their very hands in psionic energy, punching holes through walls and minds

Slayer- Slayers make it their mission to seek out and kill evil abberations all across the world.

Warper- Warpers have molecular instability, which they can exploit by warping short distances around the battlefield.

Psywall- Psywalls can use their psionic energy to create shields in addition to their weapons, both to protect themselves and their allies.


Lurk- Lurks are psionic thieves who sneak around, using their psionics to best open up areas for backstabs.

Raver- Ravers not only lose control of their minds when they manifest powers, but they can also lose control of their bodies.

Savage- The savage is psionically in touch with nature in the entire world, using his mind to alter nature itself.

Mindeater- Mindeaters can drain others of their mental faculties, boosting themselves in return.

Placid- Placids actually live in pools of tranquility; they do not lose control, they cause others to.

Now to actually write the mechanics for these! Uh oh

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Psionics of Lore Update

I only have to write the Artifacts for psionic items and a few psionic monsters, and then I am done with the basic draft of of Psionics of Lore! Wooooooooooo. I am going to write an introduction about what psionics are and how to introduce them into your campaign, but besides that, the long road is almost over! Stay tuned!

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Deed is Done

I am proud to say I have finished writing out the psionic powers for Psionics of Lore! It's not all the powers from the Expanded Psionics Handbook, simply because some did not conform to B&T rules. But either way, they are 100% done. What's next? After a short break, psionic items! Then, formatting, proofreading and hopefully some art.

Also, Races of Lore is done! However, I am trying to get a piece of art with all the races. If I don't get it soon, I'll just send it off to Mr. Stater to format, and then I'll post a link!

I've also been considering opening up a store on DriveThruRPG to the Lore series, probably for cheap as free! I'm on the fence, but I'll let you know for sure.

Anyway, have a merry Christmas, you filthy animals.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Races of Lore Coming Soon

So, with a little suggestion from, I've reformatted Races of Lore. Furthermore, this reformat has allowed me to write up all the races.

Originally, each race had about 7 paragraphs describing it. I talked about the physical chracteristics, personalities, and cultural traditions. However, some user told me that I shouldn't think in "monocultures", such that every Tengu shared exactly the same culture. He was right, and it basically cut out around 2/3rds of my writing.

Further, in Blood & Treasure, the races aren't totally described, and I think the reason is so that people can interpret the races between GMs. I decided to do that, further reducing the word count.

Now, races are basically physical descriptions and a little bit about personalities. After that, its just statistics to play the race. I have to do a bit of editing, and hopefully John Stater will lay it out again in a similar fashion like he did with Heroes of Lore. So if all goes according to plan, Races of Lore will come out soon, possibly even within the month! Hope you guys are excited as I am.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Races and Classes for Psionics of Lore are finished!

Oh man! They are fully written up and stated, which is great. The races include Maenads, Kith-Yang (renamed githerzai) and half-dwarves (also known as muls). I also have the psionic feats planned out, and I have written out the psionic mechanics section. That leaves me with the following:

1. Write out the feats

2. Finish the powers (I am currently on the Ps)

3. Assemble the final power lists

4. Write out the psionic items

5. Write out the psionic monsters (only a few, I'm only very concerned about the astral concert).

Getting closer and closer! I'm pretty stoked

UPDATE: The feats are now done! Yay!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Astorian Map

I thought I'd give you all a little treat; I've just finished the map for my personal setting, Astoria. This is the setting that will be detailed in the World of Lore supplement, which probably won't come for a while. Please enjoy and give me some feedback.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Small Thing Coming Soon

Just thought I'd let you know that soon I'll be releasing a small and optional document for my Heroes of Lore companion.

A few months after the fact, I'm pulling a George Lucas and doing some re-edits. Mostly all of these changes have a basis. I only really have four I have problems with; the rest are still pretty good.

1. Pactforger - Kind of like a 4e Warlock. Replaces the Psionicist because I am writing the Psionics of Lore supplement.
2. Wild Mage - Relic from 2e. Replaces the Scholar because the Scholar was just really boring in my eyes. Wild Mage is much more interesting and unique.
3. Small update on Shaman text. Basically describes that they use their powers through a spirit animal, but that's it. This was always the intention, it was just never really clear.
4. Cultist - Update on mechanics and flavor. Upon further review, I realized the Cultist was basically like my Inquisitor variant except with more spells. Now the Cultist can inherently cast some pretty potent spells at low level (Bolt of Glory or Unholy Smite), making them somewhat like the Invoker of 4e.

I'm not releasing a whole new document, but rather a companion document. Thus, if you really like the old Scholar and Cultist, you can keep them in your game. It's coming out probably extremely soon.

Small Updated on Releases

So, as you know I currently have a few projects going on. They are

1. Pulpwood!
2. Races of Lore
3. Psionics of Lore
4. World of Lore

Sadly, Pulpwood! is on the backburner because school makes it hard to write fully fledged games. Supplements are much easier to do, and I can polish them off in a few weeks/a month or two.

Not too long ago, I said I would release Psionics of Lore before Races of Lore because it seemed like a much easier project. This was before I decided to convert most of the powers present in 3.5's Expanded Psionics Handbook. I'm on the Es right now, but it is long and tedious work.

On the other hand, all the mechanics for Races of Lore are done. It's just a matter of writing out all the background for the races.

World of Lore is in its infant stages, as I am still developing the setting and fleshing it out. I have some broad strokes, but now I need to get down to specifics.

So, what can you expect from these supplements?

Races of Lore - 12 new races to fill your fantasy game of choice with. From the aquatic Tuloids to the plant-like Spriggans, from the insectile Trinoks to the crystalline Welgs, these races will color your world and provide fair and balanced options for players.

Psionics of Lore - This is gonna be a big one. 3 psionic races (the half-dwarves, maenads and the kith-yang), 4 psionic classes with variants (the wilder, warmind, psion and soulknife), a giant list of over 200 psionic powers and a bevy of new psionic items to fill your campaign with.

World of Lore - My own high fantasy setting, Astoria. Enter a world inherited from ancient races after a mysterious war sent giant constructs ravaging across the lands. Discover the mysteries of the crysts, gigants and monoliths as you plunge through ancient tombs filled with strange magical technology, deal with courts full of lizardmen nobles and try to forge a new civilization on the backs of the old one.

Hope you guys are excited! I am.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Another Replacement Variant and Playing 4e with B&T

So I've been looking into D&D 4e for a while. It's nearing the end of its lifespan, and while it remains endearing in some aspects, there are just other aspects I can't wrap my head around. I really favor the classes and races, but I don't want to go through learning all these new things just to play a new edition.

So I decided "Why don't I find an easy way to take the main tropes of 4e and transfer them over to Blood and Treasure?" And I've basically been passively doing it ever since I wrote Heroes of Lore.

Here is the list of classes in 4th edition and B&T's equivalent, either in terms of pure class or as a variant. These include any classes from Dark Sun, Eberron and Forgotten Realms.

Ardent = Wilder (Coming soon in Psionics of Lore)
Avenger = Inquisitor (assassin variant)
Battlemind = Warmind (Coming soon in Psionics of Lore)
Invoker = Cultist (Cleric variant)
Psion = Psion (Coming soon in Psionics of Lore)
Runepriest = Runecaster (barbarian variant)
Shaman = Shaman (druid variant)
Seeker = Scout (thief variant, original B&T)
Warden = Warden (ranger variant)
Warlord = Marshal (fighter variant)
Artificer = Artificer (MU variant)
Swordmage = Warlock (sorcerer variant)

The only thing missing is the warlock, which I have a quick variant for here. The warlock is a Magic-User variant, and if I could re-write Heroes of Lore, I'd replace the Scholar with this variant. Since "warlock" is already taken as a sorcerer variant, let's call the variant a pactforger.

Pactforger - new variant

The pactforger does not get his magic from study or by being born with it. Instead, a pactforger establishes an agreement with a magical creature in order to gain some of their magic. The pact could be formed with celestials, infernals, elementals, creatures from beyond the veil, dragons, fey or any other inherently magical creature. The pact is almost never spoken of, especially in terms of what the pactforger offered for his power.

A pactforger can inherently cast bestow curse once a day by tapping in to the primal bond of their eldritch pact.


Further, you can easily emulate mostly all "core" races as well. These are races from the 3 Player's Handbooks and the setting books for 4e's three settings.

Dragonborn - Taninim (Coming soon in Races of Lore)
Eladrin - Gray Elf
Deva - Aasimar
Goliath - Juggernaut
Shifter - Ferals (Coming soon in Races of Lore)
Githzerai - Kith-Yang (Coming soon in Psionics of Lore)
Shardmind - Welgs (Coming soon in Races of Lore)
Wilden - Spriggan (Coming soon in Races of Lore)
Mul - Half-dwarf (Coming soon in Psionics of Lore)
Thri-Kreen - Trinoks (Coming soon in Races of Lore)
Kalashtar - Maenads (Coming soon in Psionics of Lore)
Warforged - Automotons
Changeling - Doppelgangers
Drow - Drow
Genasi - Primals (Coming soon in Races of Lore)

Now some of these aren't exact. The Trinok is not exactly like a Thri-kreen, but it is my answer to the classic  ant-man. If I ran Dark Sun with B&T, I'd use the Trinok. The same goes for Maenads and Kalashtars, but their case is a little different. Though they were separate races once upon a time, they both share a very similar theme and even physical appearance, so I decided to mash them together. If you'd rather have Kalashtars as a separate race, it would be pretty simple to adapt.


So that's really the short answer to my quest for 4th Edition on B&T. Seems easily doable, and I hope you guys can take a couple cues from it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Replacement Variant for B&T

Since I am now writing Psionics of Lore, I realize that the Psionicist variant for the Sorcerer in my Heroes of Lore book has no real place any longer. It is fine if you want to have psionics play a minor role in your game world, but I feel like I am kind of cheating you out of a variant.

So to make it up to you, I decided to make a new variant to replace the Psionicist, and it's a relic from AD&D 2nd edition: the Wild Mage.

I mostly did it in honor of the release of Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, which features a brand new Wild Mage character.

Wild Mage

Wild Mages tap in to pure, unbridled and primal magic. Far beyond the energy of elemental magic, wild magic is unstable, chaotic and random as it lies in its constant state of imbalance. Wild Mages try to harness this chaos, usually leading them to be quite strange and random in personality.

Wild Mages get one less spell per level. Instead, they can tap into the primal wild magic three times a day. When they access wild magic, they choose a spell and then roll a d20. The result of the roll determines at what effective level the spell was cast. For example, if a 5th level Wild Mage casts a spell and rolled a 20, the Wild Mage would effectively be considered level 7 for purposes of determining spell effects and damage. The table below details the level modification

1-4          -2
5-8          -1
9-12          0
13-16 +1
17-20 +2

The drawback to this is that every time a Wild Mage uses one of her taps, she must make a Will save. If she fails, she must roll on the Wild Magic table, located on p. 21 of the Treasure Keeper's Tome.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Another supplement for B&T - Psionics of Lore

Psionics are often an iffy subject in D&D. Some love them, some tolerate them and others hate them with a passion. Dark Sun is built entirely around psionics, and 4e has now made psionics as core of a system as magic.

So for B&T, I have decided to do the next thing and create a psionic supplement for the game, tentatively known as Psionics of Lore.

What's so great about this? The Expanded Psionics Handbooks for 3.5 falls under the SRD. That means, legally, I can take mechanics straight from 3.5 without risking legal backlash.

For sure, Psionics of Lore will contain the Psion, Psychic Warrior and Wilder classes. John State, creator of B&T, has already made an excellent Soulknife, and I'm trying to see if I can throw that in there. I've added some things to a few classes to make them more interesting, such as a trance ability for the Psychic Warrior. I will also most likely include some psionic items, such as psionic tattoos, and some enemies as well.

Now, I do run across a dilema I hope some of you can weigh in on

The list of psionic powers is huge, with about 300 in total. These are 300 "spells" that are not in the B&T core book, except for a few like Ego Whip and Mind Thrust.

I have managed to put together a smaller list composed of about 95% B&T spells, but I don't know if that would really kind of sacrifice the flavor of psionics. I could convert the SRD powers, it would just take a longer time. What do you think would be a better solution?

Either way, I hope for this supplement to be released soon, probably before Races of Lore. Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Coming soon - Races of Lore!

Do you like Blood and Treasure? Did you like my previous supplement for it, Heroes of Lore? Then you should be excited for Races of Lore!

Races of Lore is my newest supplement for Blood and Treasure. In it, I detail 14 new 20-level races to include in your B&T, or other retro-clone, games! Some are adaptations of old favorites, and some are brand new!

Discover the regal grimness of the ancient Gaunts! See the animalistic focus of the Ferals! Witness the unbridled strength of the Durga!

I am also considering adding how to make the other monster races presented in B&T go up to level 20, but that's up in the air.

All coming very soon! Stay tuned!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Confession Time

I bet you are wondering why I have not posted a blog in a while.

Well, the thing is I am in college right now. I also have a very heavy course load.

I am a journalism student, and I am taking an upper level class known as Reporting. In Reporting, I have to submit an actual news story once a week for a grade. This means I have to look for leads, get interviews, do research and write up a well supported article in seven days.

I am also in Fact Finding, which requires me to go out and obtain public records from courthouses, police stations, etc.

And I have daily German classes. And I'm in a band. And I have a weekly comic strip for my college's paper.

So I have not abandoned you! I am just really bogged down right now, and I don't have much time to do RPG things. I am barely running my own campaign, and I hardly get time to think up adventures, let alone updates about Pulpwood! or supplements for B&T.

So I'm sorry, but I hope you stick around, as posts will continue and be updated more as I obtain more time.

Friday, August 17, 2012

New version of Heroes of Lore!

Well, John Stater did me a mighty fine favor by laying out Heroes of Lore in the same style as Blood & Treasure. He also made it into a pdf! How cool.

The link still works, but it will instead take you to a download of the updated version instead. Enjoy!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pulpwood! Mint Condition class: The Adventurer

Thought I'd actually post some stuff for Pulpwood! today. We have the Adventurer class, which forms the muscle for most groups.

Hit Dice: d10
Skill Points per Level: 3
Favored Save: Fortitutde
Class Skill: Athletics

The Adventurer is a master of combat. Anyone who ventures through this dangerous world should know how to protect themselves from harm, either inflicted by humans or otherwise.
Adventurers can be anything from an adventuring archaeologist, a martial artist master, a former boxer, a noble savage or even a soldier. They can be skilled at ranged combat or hand-to-hand, or they can be a tricky and dexterous fighter.

Adventurer Talents

Trademark Weapon- The Adventurer has a certain weapon that is basically synonamous with it's user, such as a whip or a pistol. When you take this talent, choose a weapon to apply it to; that weapon then increases the damage it does by one die type (d6 to d8, d8 to d10). For weapons with multiple damage die, this only increases one of them (2d6 becomes 1d6 + 1d8). Unarmed attacks can not be Trademark Weapons.
Improvement- If this Talent is improved, you can either increase the damage of your Trademark Weapon by another die type, or you can have another trademark weapon. Having two trademark weapons would be for someone who has duel pistols or duel wields a lot.

Martial Artist- The Adventurer is a master of unarmed combat, be it either boxing, kung-fu or something else. The Adventurer's unarmed attacks do 1d6 damage instead of 1d4, and their attacks can hit normally unhittable creatures, like ghosts.
Improvement- If this Talent is improved, you increase the unarmed damage to a d8.

Sharpshooter- The Adventurer is master at shooting long distances. When they aim a ranged weapon, they gain a +4 to hit instead of the normal +2.
Improvement- If this Talent is improved, they can sacrifice their move to aim and fire in the same round.

Dual Pistols- The Adventurer can shoot a pistol from each hand. They can dual wield pistols, while other characters are not allowed to. Otherwise, the dual wielding works like melee dual wielding
Improvement- If this Talent is improved, the penalty to dual wield is reduced by 2. There is still a penalty, though, because of natural recoil.

Two Fisted Weapons- The Adventurer has become a master at dual wielding melee weapons. The penalty to strike with dual weapons is reduced by 2.
Improvement- If this Talent is improved, the dual wielding penalty is reduced to 0.

Style Change- The Adventurer can switch up his melee attacking style to either deal more damage or be more protective. They can exchange up to +2 to damage to get -2 AC for a round, or vice-versa. This can result in you have a reduced damage bonus to your attack (a +1 becomes a -1). Doing this exchange counts as a move action. The styles should be given flavorful titles (Rabbit Punches, Floating Crane, Bezerker, etc.)
Improvement- If this Talent is improved, you can exchange up to 4 damage for -4 AC, and vice-versa.

Fancy Tricks- The Adventurer has become a very tricky fighter. While  anyone can attempt these kinds of tricks and manuevers, this Adventurer is particularly good at it. Pick a trick (such as throwing sand in someone's eyes, trick shooting, and so on), and whenever you attempt to do that trick, you get a +2 bonus. This Talent can be taken multiple times, each time applying to a different trick.
Improvement- If this Talent is improved, the bonus to do that trick is increased to +4. An improvement only applies to one Trick, but multiples of this Talent can be improved seperately.

Atomic Strength- The Adventurer is extremely strong when it comes to things requiring endurance and power. They gain a +1 to non-combat Strength Action Rolls that require a lot of endurance, such as holding open a great, pushing a boulder, or moving heavy blocks.
Improvement- If this Talent is improved, the bonus increases to +2.

Mysterious Power- The Adventurer has some kind of paranormal power. Maybe they can fly, turn invisible, run up walls, or something else. Discuss with your GM what you want, and he will tailor the ability to be fair.
Improvement- If this Talent is improved, you gain another Mysterious Power.

Quick Reflexes- The Adventurer is rarely cornered, and always prepared. They gain a +1 when determining initiative.
Improvement- If this Talent is improved, the bonus increases to +2.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea has just got a formal release after its successful Kickstarter back in December, so I decided to give it a look.

ASSH, as it will now be called, is written by Jeffrey Talanian and put out under North Wind Adventures. It pens itself as a game of 'Swords, Sorcery and Weird Fantasy.' The tag of Weird Fantasy was what really drew me to the game, as I am an adamant fan of Lovecraft stories, and I haven't found that good system to integrate them into fantasy games.

ASSH is a pretty weighty PDF product. It comes with 6 files: The Player's Manual, the Referee's Manual, the Box Art (the game will be printed in a box set), a map of the setting, Hyperborea, and a two-page character sheet. The two manuals combined offer up about 500 pages, but the text is rather large, so the page numbers just seem to flit past.

In terms of the mechanics, its hard to mask my disappointment, honestly. I came expecting a very brutal rules set to reflect the deadly nature of weird fantasy, but all I got was an almost identical clone of AD&D 1e. Sadly, it's not even a very elegant clone; there are still all those warts from AD&D, such as disparaging task resolution, complex ideas such as weapon reach and combat tables, and different phases of combat. It even has the feel of a reference manual, with the table of contents listing Tables instead of topics. There is not even a detailed description about madness or sanity, which seems kind of contrary to weird fantasy. There is a system, but it is basically 1e's madness system. There is a fairly meaty Advanced Combat section if you like that kind of thing. If you like AD&D, then this is no problem, but for someone like me who started with 3e, I don't find very much appeal.

The game is class based, with the four traditional classes of Cleric, Fighter, Thief and Mage. There are also some pretty cool sub-classes, such as the Pyromancer, Ledgermainist (a slightly magical thief), and the Cataphract. There are no demi-humans in Hyperborea, but there are human cultures based on real world cultures, such as Celtics and Vikings. The max level is 12, which is kind of a strange number.

Spells are standard D&D fair, though the magician gets less spells than more high fantasy games. There are rules for Strongholds, Aerial Combat, Mass Combat and Naval Combat, but they all have that feeling of first edition rust on them.

The Referee Manual is a bit better. There is a bestiary, which is basically the 1e Monster Manual with some Lovecraftian monsters thrown in. The Treasure section is still pretty high fantasy, with things like +2 Fire Swords and Bags of Holding. The bright spot, though, is the setting. The setting is rich, detailed, and pretty creepy. Gods range from the ever graceful Apollo to the Lovecraftian Ithaqqua or Kthulu. I mean, even the lunar calendar is well detailed. It's a shame the system does not particularly back up the great setting.

The art in the books is really great, however. Ian Baggley is the sole artist, and he is a trained traditional artist. All of his work is done in charcoals, and its very dark and foreboding. The monster illustrations are pretty great, with the Elder Thing being really stand out.

Overall, ASSH has, what I feel, is a lot of failed potential. It's not a bad game by any means, and if you like 1e, it should hit a lot of sweet spots. I just don't feel like it accurately portrays Weird Fantasy in the rules, and is instead "D&D + Cthulhu", which you can do pretty easily by yourself. If the game was produced solely as a supplement for something like Labyrinth Lord, which would have the setting and additional classes, I would be much less disappointed. Granted, the entire 500 page product is only $10, so it's a pretty good steal and I don't really regret buying it.

I give ASSH a 7/10, mostly on account of the fantastic art and setting material. Though the mechanics are more than usable, I think they could have been so much more than they are.

You can buy ASSH through RPGNow or DriveThruRPG for $10.

Pulpwood! now has a followers bar!

Don't know why I didn't have this before. Now, on the right hand side underneath the Blog Archive, you can follow the Pulpwood! blog on Blogger. Oh boy!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Quick Errata for Heroes of Lore

I just found out from John Stater that Thieves actually do get Open Locks as a skill. Thus, part of what makes the Tombraider variant unique is gone.

So, instead of gaining Open Locks, the Tombraider instead gains Break Down Doors, representing the fact that some tomb doors just refuse to open, even after some convincing.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Heroes of Lore- New File in the 'Games I've Made' section

Like the post says, I have a new file over to the right in the 'Games I've Made' section.

The file is called Heroes of Lore, and it is a fan supplement for Blood & Treasure, made by John Stater. Blood & Treasure is class based, and one of the ideas in B&T is that of class 'variants', which function similarly to Archetypes in Pathfinder. I decided to create a butt-load more variants for you guys to use for the game, with 52 in total. That means there are four variants for all 13 classes!

I hope you enjoy it, and even though you can use them with mostly any fantasy game, I would appreciate it if you went out and purchased a PDF or physical copy of Blood and Treasure.

A quick note though, on the Oracle variant for Clerics. I mention that it uses the same mechanics at the Cyclopean race. However, the Cyclopean is in the forthcoming Treasure Keeper's Tome for B&T, so you do not know how it works. Here are the mechanics, though, so you can use the Oracle class immediately.

When you use your ability to see into the future, you have a 50% to see either a vision of Weal or Woe. The GM will determine exactly what you see, such as a friend springing a trap or a gilded treasure chest. After this happens, you are drained of energy, and have a -2 penalty to all your saves for the next hour.

UPDATE: I uploaded a new version of the file with some slight changes. I tweaked the Thug and Pugilist classes, and also added in the alignment when it is needed. I also added a copyright for B&T.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An Update

Sorry about the lack of chatter on the blog, but that doesn't mean I haven't been working!

In honesty, I've been busy with real life. Work, getting ready to move back to college, doing music and such. It happens, I won't lie.

However, Pulpwood! is pretty close to being in a playtest form. Yay!

I have a combat system whipped up, the Adventurer class talents and such are done, and the Adept is about 3/4 done. Then what's left before I release a playtest?

  1. Finish the Adept class
  2. Finish writing the general Talents out
  3. Figure out character progression (base to hit and saving throws)
  4. Write up an equipment table/section
  5. Stat out some example enemies
And that's about it. Vehicle combat, the setting and other various flavorful bits won't be in the playtest version, but those can wait a bit. I hope to have the playtest by September. I'll be doing it on and off with my group, and you can run it with your group and give me lots of juicy feedback.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Starting a fantasy-based project

I have decided to throw even more projects on to my plate, but hopefully they will not take long.

If you are not aware, John Stater over at Land of Nod is going to soon release his awesome retroclone, Blood and Treasure. I had the good pleasure of editing this document, so I have some investment in it.

Well, I got to thinking: John's game, much like most D&D simulcrum, uses a world that is roughly based in Western European fantasy: myths from France, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, and so on.

Very rarely, though, do these games cover more 'exotic' settings. The world is full of fantasy and myths, and it's not just relegated to Europe. Countries like Japan, China, India and Egypt all have rich histories and mythologies unique to their culture.

So I decided to produce the 'Worlds of Blood and Treasure'(name pending) supplements.

Each supplement will be, at most, 30 pages, and it will deal with a more 'foreign' fantasy setting: samurai fantasy, arabian nights, Native American totemic and so on.

My main goal with these is to NOT inject new mechanics into B&T. Things are going to be reflavored and molded to match the setting, but Barbarians will act like Barbarians and Fighters will act like Fighters.

I will end up reflavoring both races and classes, but I will also have a treatise on religion, mythology, monsters, cultures and magic items. Religion, mythology and culture will be relegated to a 'mini-setting' that will most likely take up the bulk of the supplements. The settings will be fictional and will mix culture, like how D&D combines together most western European cultures.

I have five supplements planned, with possibly more in the future. The first one is going to be The Empire of Red Blossoms, which will deal with Asian fantasy, with a strong focus placed on China and Japan, with hints of Mongolia and Southeast Asia as well.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pulpwood!'s Magic System

We're gonna take a break from setting for a bit, and go back to mechanics

I have just finished the draft for the Powers system in Pulpwood, which is the magic system. It's pretty simplistic and easy to understand, but I'll have to see how it holds up in playtesting.

The rules also assume a max level of 10, which is a pretty huge downgrade from my original idea of max level 20. I changed this for a few reasons:

1. It's much easier to get to level 10 than level 20
2. Level 20 was too absurdly powerful, and was more in the realm of superheroes than pulp heroes

I may raise the cap up to level 12 (or something else around there), but I'll have to think about it. But anyway, back to the Powers section

Though few may see it, the world is actually full of magic. However, it is a very rare thing to harness. The potential for magic is locked in all things, but it requires a special kind of person to unlock it. 
Magic and its practitioners fall into four categories, and though how their magic works is basically the same, how they impliment it is different.
Arcanists are the traditional magicians, and they have a long history dating back to the height of Greece during its Hellenistic period. Arcanists study ancient texts and magical writing, and derive their powers from that. Some attribute the new abilities to define providence or contact with spirits, but it all lies within the scripts. Many Arcanists carry around chap books that contain the writings they pull their spells from.
Mesmerists harness the psychic powers of their minds. They have almost complete control over their minds, making it both a peaceful meadow and an iron fortress. All people, even some animals, have psychic potential, but the mesmerists were unable to unlock it through sheer force of will.
Gadgeteers actually build their powers in the form of inventions, creations that are years ahead of their time. Advanced guns, jetpacks, communication devices, invisibility cloaks and more all come from these often deranged or unhinged minds.
The final type of magic is extremely dangerous, evil, and off limit to player characters. It is known as sorcery, and dates back to primordial ages of paganism and occult worship. Sorcery is characterized by blood sacrifices, chants to evil spirits, self mutilation, orgies and other evil things. Sorcerers fear no man or god, nor do they have a reason to, as their powers can even dominate any supposed 'god'.

Potential and Power Ranks
Any character who has the Arcanist, Mesmerist or Gadgetter Talent start the game with 5 Potential. Potential is what fuels powers, and it represents different things to each type of caster: for Arcanists it represents the extent of knowledge they have with their texts, for Mesmerists it represents mental fatigue, for Gadgeteers it represents power charges for each invention, and for Sorcerers it represents bodily fatigue.
At levels 2, 3, 6, 7 and 10 characters that have Potential get 5 more Potential. At levels  4 and 8, they gain a new Power Rank.
Powers come in three ranks: Novice, Heroic and Legendary. These represent the varying effects that a Power can have. The more powerful the effect, the higher the Rank. Characters with Potential all start with the ability to use Novice Powers.

Using a Power
Using a Power is very simple. You first dictate what effect you want the Power to have, upon which the GM will work with you to determine a Rank and Potential cost. Once you reach an agreement, you pay the Potential, and then do an Academic Intelligence Action Roll. If the roll is successful, the Power works. If not, the Power fizzles away and you have wasted your Potential.

Regaining Lost Potential
Your Potential functions like your HP, in that it fully restores after a good nights sleep. Furthermore, characters can also use Second Wind to restore lost Potential in the exact same way as help. This would indicate pushing your brain a little farther, or overclocking your gadgets.

Where are the Powers?
Powers are extremely variable, and it is difficult to make a codified list that would cover all situations and ideas. However, below are some guidelines on both effects for each Rank, and suggested Potential costs.

Novice Powers
Potential: 1-3
Novice Powers are, of course, the least powerful. Many of these effects can be replicated with a piece of equipment, such as a pistol, a grenade, a med kit, or a radio. These are the Powers that should see the most use.
Effect Examples:
Blast that does 2d6 damage
Telepathic communication
Armor class bonus
Blinding/dazing enemies
Temporary skill boost
Detecting magic
Protection from environment
Temporary attack boost
Create a light source
and so on

Heroic Powers
Potential: 4-6
Heroic Powers start to get into the impossible things to do. These are the Powers that grant invisibility, flight, telekinesis and more. Still, a lot of these would just constitute really advanced 21st century technologies. These should see a good amount of use, but will be more situational than Novice Powers.
Effect Examples:
Burst (like a grenade) that does 3d6 damage
Creating barriers
Major healing
Summoning spirits
And so on

Legendary Powers
Potential: 7-10
Legendary Powers are extremely potent, and often extremely dangerous or miraculous. These are the kinds of things books are written about. These Powers will only be used sometimes, and most of these Powers should have a 'catch' to them to balance out their extreme effects.
Bringing things back to life
Controlling weather
Stopping time
Traveling through time
Travelling through dimensions
Create matter
Destroy matter
Instant kill
And so on

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pulpwood!'s Setting Pt. 3: Asia


Soviet Union: Communism and super spies!
India: Thugee, ace pilots and a floating city!
Tibet: Monasteries, kung-fu and yetis!
China: Mystical crime syndicate, Hong Kong and ghosts!
Japan: Japanese government, ninjas, Yakuza and oni!
Southeast Asia: A civilization under the waves (but not Atlantis)!

Soviet Union
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or the U.S.S.R, is a giant
country headed by the Russian Communist Party.
The USSR is somewhat of an odd duck in terms of alliances. At times,
they back the allied forces (showing by their recent joining of the League
of Nations), but other times they support the rising danger of Italy and
Germany. The country's leader, Joseph Stalin, is secretive in most of his
The states of the USSR all share common languages, as well as
holding up the ideas of Communism, which exalts the ruler over the worker
and champions the needs of the many. Besides this strange idea of
government, the USSR has one of the largest armies in the world, known as
the Red Army (and sometimes Stalin's Sickle). It's composed of thousands of
soldiers with access to tanks, planes, artillery and even more dangerous
The USSR itself is an extremely hostile country in terms of
geography; everything that is not frozen is only frozen half the time. The
landscape is rough, rugged and mostly barren. Bears, moose, foxes and wolves
prowl the frozen wastes, and parts of the country could be considered the
North Pole.
Probably the most hostile area in the USSR is Serbia, which is
located on the east coast of Russia. The land is almost permanently frozen,
with animal and plant life being extremely scarce. However, hidden amongst
the ice and blizzards is the training grounds for a specialized branch of
the Red Army, known as Stalin's Hammer. These almost 300 soldiers train in
survival techniques, hand-to-hand combat, infiltration, sabotage,
assassination, and mastery of arms. They are modern super soldiers, and they
are trained by Catherine Burishkov, a deadly female assassin that reports
directly to Stalin himself. The only people who know the purpose of these
soldiers are Burishkov and Stalin, with even the soldiers themselves often
being in the dark.

India is a large country full of ancient mysteries. It has spawned 
many eastern religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, which are now the 
majority religions in eastern Asia.
India is another one of the numerous countries in the grasps of 
British colonialism. While this does offer them chances at higher education 
and other opprotunities, their rights are still supressed. India is 
extremely poor and overpopulated, though it is full of spirit. A strong 
independence movement has formed recently, led by a peaceful and passive man 
named Mohandus Ghandi.
India is also one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Certain 
Hindu temple ruins are even older than the Pyramids, and Hinduism is 
entwined into everyday life. People worship at holy places all over the 
country, including the extremely holy (and extremely polluted) Ganges River.
India is mostly composed of flat plains and the occassional desert, 
but the northern edge of the country is extremely mountainous. In these 
mountains lies the headquarters of the famous Garuda's Children, an 
organization that collects all the world's greatest pilots in one place. 
Some people believe that this base is a hoax, though, and that the real base 
is suspended in the middle of the sky like a cloud.
Though Hinduism is a mostly peaceful religion, it does have some 
dangerous sects. One of these is the Thugee, a cult though to be 
exterminated long ago. Worshippers of the death god Kali, these murderous 
heathens have had a swell in numbers, and many locals are scared for their 

Tibet is by far the most mountainous regions in Asia. The entire
country is situated on the Himalaya mountain range, which is the tallest
mountain range on Earth.
The Himalayas are an extremely dangerous place. They are extremely
cold and isolated, with hardly breathable air at high altitudes. Abandoned
monastaries and temples abound, along with sightings of the abominable
snowman, commonly known as the Yeti.
Very little is known about the Tibetan people. Most are of Chinese
or Mongolian heritage, but they have supposedly lived on that land longer
than their supposed ancestors. They are peaceful, and they follow the way of
Buddha. Tibet holds one of the largest monk schools in Asia, known as the
Gentle Lotus Academy. Not only will students learn the concepts of inner
peace, patience and tenacity, they will become disciplined in martial
artistry to the point of it being almost supernatural.

China is currently in a giant upheavel. One of their holdings,
Manchuria, has recently been captured by Japan, and a large portion of the
country has plunged into a civil war between the Republic of China and the
Communist Party of China.
Outside of all the current military strife, China is a rural country
who is desperately trying to reach the heights of industrialization. The
rural populace is heavily religious and superstitious; they often report
sightings of ghosts and demons amongst their farms and temples. These claims
have recently been escalating, so perhaps there is a certain vailidity to
Not all of China is rural, however; several cities are just as
advanced as European or North American cities. One in particular is Hong
Kong, which many describe as the jewel on China's crown. It is a huge city
that mixes western and eastern culture together. However, like most major
cities, it is ridden with crime. The largest gang is known as the Jade Fist,
a ruthless band of thugs who specialize in the opium trade, prostitution and
human trafficing. Many of the members are trained martial artists, and the
higher ups are extremely wise mystics. The Jade Fists have many allies with
other criminal organizations, but they are completely antagonistic towards
the Yakuza of Japan.

Japan was once a docile and isolationist state, but it has recently
done an about face to have more expansionist policies. Recently, they have
been taking over many smaller Asian islands, as well as invading and
capturing Manchuria. They have also made clear their alliance with Germany,
which could make for a potentially lethal combination.
The Japanese government is secretive and ruthless, traits descended
from the shogunates of old. They send secret operatives, sometimes known as
ninjas, to infiltrate and gather intelligence on enemies. Japan is a country
full of rigid honor and respect, but that does not mean they will forego
subversive deeds in order to gain that respect.
Aside from the government, the other major threat in Japan is the
Yakuza, a very old and dangerous criminal organization. Much like the Jade
Fist, they specialize in prostitution and opium trade, as well as illegal
gambling and fishing practices. The Yakuza are very well protected, as many
of their high ranking members hold a place in Japanese government. This also
means that the Yakuza's will is strong in policies.
Many Japanese citizens fear for their life, and they often whisper
of the Yakuza actually being Oni, great horned demons from ancient Japanese
myth. Oni tattoos are common amongst the Yakuza, and some have displayed
inhuman acts of strength and energy, so perhaps these whispers are not

Southeast Asia
The region of Southeast Asia is a pretty large mixing pot of
cultures. Largely composed of strings of islands such as Indonesia and the
Phillipines, these countries have been exposed to Buddhism, Hinduism and
Islam, and are a mix of races from all over Asia. Most countries still make
a living off of fishing and trade, but not much else.
Very little is actually known about what the region was like before
Islamist traders came upon the islands hundreds of years ago. Ruins lie
within the various jungles, but many are barren. An interesting point,
though, is that some of these ruins have extremely accurate maps of the
region, but the depicted landmasses are much, much larger. In fact, these
landmasses would now be covered up by the sea. Is the 'real' civilization of
Southeast Asia hidden beneath the waves? If so, what mysteries could it
hold? Some say that it has always existed, and that people still live and
thrive beneath the waves.

Pulpwood!'s Setting Pt. 2: Africa and the Middle East

Another installment, and another quick summary

Egypt: Pharaohs, mummies and dead cities!
Morocco: Revolutionaries armed with stolen technology and sorcery!
Heart of Africa: Warlords riding on dinosaurs in the Congo!
South Africa: Racial divides, and the headquarters for Pulpwood!'s mesermist organization!
The Middle East: Dark sorcery!

Egypt was once the head of a vast desert kingdom that spanned thousands of miles. Ruled by the god-king called the Pharoah, Egypt became reknown for it's architecture, religion and culture.
Now, Egypt is smaller and a shadow of its former self. It is under the hold of the UK, and now serves mostly as a tourist location and a large trading port for most of Africa. Irregardless, the ruins of the Sphinx, the Pyramids and the various necropolises scattered across the country are both impressive and terrifying. Egypt also holds the mighty Nile River, which is the longest river in the world. It provides necessary water to the crops around the capital of Cairo.
Most people go to Egypt to see the various tombs of ancient regals, diplomats, and priests. However, not even a fraction of these tombs have been discovered. These tombs can be huge in size, and they are often filled with great treasures and dangerous traps. The most recent one is the discovery of the boy king Tutankahmen.
Egypt is also full of supernatural creature sightings: mummys who have come back to life, skeletons of slaves, giant animated statues, and even phyiscal manifestations of the old Egyptian gods, such as Sobek and Anubis. Some say these old gods still exist beneath the pyramids and dead cities of the lands. Others also say that some of these tombs hold entrances to the Hollow Earth.

Morocco is a strange country, as it combines cultural memes from both Islamic states and European states such as Spain, Portugal and France. Morocco used to be part of the Byzantine Empire.
Morocco is positioned firmly under the thumb of France, even though they are only deemed a 'protecterate'. The French Government restricts their rights to free speech, the right to gather in public places, and other basic human rights. They are also supressing the native Islamic religion, along with forbidding natives to visit French-exclusive areas of the country. Some militant groups have begun to rise up to attempt to overthrow the opressive French, and though their goal is noble, their methods are not. The main resistance force, named Nekor after the first Moroccan kingdom, uses stolen weapons and blasphemous sorcery from ancient Assyria. Morocco is quickly becoming a battle grounds for independence, but Nekor is getting nowhere fast.

Heart of Africa
As your journey south in Africa, after you pass the great deserts and savannahs, you will eventually come upon the dark and sinister core of Africa. Often deemed the Heart of Africa, this place is rise to the alternate term for Africa, the Dark Continent.
The Heart of Africa is actually very similar to Brazil and the Amazon rainforest; it is full of unknown cities, uncontacted tribes, twisting rivers and dense forests. It is a dangerous place to journey into. However, there have been no sightings of giant primitive animals.
Instead, there have been numerous reports of dinosaurs. Though hard to believe, the proof exists: massive reptilian tracks are found in the mud, giant forests are made into clearings by some strange force, and even some lost tribes have been hunting more 'unexplainable' game.
Along with the dinosaurs, another potential threat is the various warlords scattered through the jungle. Most African nations are still under British influence, but their hold is weak at best. Militant leaders, either native Africans or corrupt foreign rulers/buisnessmen, can quickly grab a hold in the region. They terrorize and plunder villages, they illegally mine for precious diamonds, peat and coal with slave labor, and often crush anyone under their iron fist.
The largest militant group, simply known as Zulu, is ruled by a native Britain named Archibald Calendar. Archibald holds thousands of natives under his sway, has a massive compound full of slaves and consorts, and runs a nice racket on resource mining. He jacks up the price on these goods dramatically, but no one dares oppose him. Many claim the Archibald 'lost himself' in the Heart of Africa, and this 'person' is a shadow of his former self.
Archibald has recently been bragging that he has captured and tamed a few dinosaurs of his own. If the dinosaurs are in fact real, this could give the Zulu enough sway to possibly take over the whole of the Heart of Africa.

South Africa
South Africa probably has both one of the smallest and largest problems in Africa. South Africa has long been under the control of the UK, but it has recently been given its independence. It is a country with varied peoples, as a large percentage of a population is white. The democracy and culture is strongly European, and it also serves as a major trade hub to southern Africa.
However, the tensions between white immigrants and black natives is slowly escalating. Race wars are common, and hate crimes are committed against both ethnicities.
Aside from this racial tension, a place of note is the headquarters of the world-wide mesmerists organization, known as His Majesty's Society for Gifted Minds. Located in Johannesburg, the Society delves into matters of controlling one's mind, the depths of the human psyche and matters of philosophy. However, many mesmerists dig too deep, unlocking a part of their mind that is better left alone.

The Middle East
The Middle East is home to three major things: giant deserts, oil reserves and religion. Different areas in the Middle East are all holy to the world's three largest religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Currently, most of the countries are Islamic.
Many Middle Eastern states have been held under the colonial grip of the British Empire, and many are starting to shake off the shackles. Many are very angry at their former masters, and thus many are siding with Hitler's ever growing regime. The only country that is still friendly to the west is Turkey, though it has had independence for many years.
In addition to the various holy ruins and relics scattered through the deserts, the Middle East used to be the home of the ancient and strange Assyrian Empire. Their ruins are also prevalant, but few venture into them. Assyria coincides with dark magics; awful alchemy, worship of strange gods, blood magic and more. Some 'sorcerers' still exist in the Middle East, and Nazi Germany has an intense interest in them. The largest sorcerer organization is known as the Disciples of Pazuzu, who keep a front as a Islamist rights group in order to distract people from their devilish doings.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Just a quick thanks!

I just noticed that recently I have been steadily breaking the 20 visits a day mark, so I'd just like to thank my readers for supporting me, even if comments are extremely scarce.

These views mean a lot to me, and it shows that you are interested in what I'm doing, and that keeps me going when I get down. I appreciate every one of you, and I just wanted to thank you!

But we are just getting started! Soon, you'll get the next part of Pulpwood!'s setting: Africa and the Middle East. Asia is after that, and most likely Europe or N. America will follow that, with Australia and Polynesia coming in at some point. That's right, every continent is getting a little loving. Give me a smooch India, you are looking lovely this evening.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pulpwood!'s Setting Pt. 1: The Hispanic Americas

So, I've decided to include a setting with Pulpwood. While it will be pretty easy to morph into any setting you want, it serves two purposes

1. For someone who doesn't want to create a setting, they can easily use this
2. It allows me to build the world I want to play in, as well as gives me notes to build a bestiary upon

The bestiary is important. I need monsters, but I don't know what I need. If I actually write out what monsters and creatures are where, I'll get a good sense of what I need to write up.

So, I present the first section I wrote for the setting, which is the Hispanic Americas. This deals with the Caribbean, Mexico and parts of South America. To give a quick rundown of each area:

Northern Mexico: Drug cartels everywhere, and they are in league with the Mafia!
Southern Mexico: Aztec cults, ruins, and the walking dead!
Caribbean: Modern day pirates, along with mind controlled 'zombies' (instead of the real ones)!
Peru: The Inca actually discovered space travel and took to the stars! Channeling a lot of TORG's Space Gods supplement here, but these Inca are just technologically advanced humans. They also probably got the tech from Atlantis (whoops, spoilers for a later edition ;D)
Amazon: Lots of lost world/King Kong stuff! Giant ants, mysterious tribes, all that good stuff.

Mexico is a very long and varied country. Though most view Mexico as an arid badlands, this only really applies to the northern most areas, near the border. The coasts are mountainous and full of beautiful beaches. A lot of these areas are ruled under a huge drug cartel, known as Los Nueve Gatos. The leader goes only by the name Calico. They often make raids on small, defenseless towns in search of supplies to grow cocaine. Though cocaine was originally used as a pain medicine, this cocaine is raw, unrefined and extremely dangerous. Calico is known to be heavily invested in many other major criminal syndicates, such as the Mafia and the Jade Fists. They've recently also started extending their influence into the Caribbean.
As you journey south down Mexico, the deserts slowly give way to dense and inhospitable jungles. This was once the home to the mighty Aztec civilizations, who were all but destroyed by the Spanish, but their massive ruins and pyramids are still scattered amongst the jungles. However, many indigenous people still practice their ancient Aztec traditions. Some even venture too far, forming a cult following around them. One of these people is Jorge Rivara, now known as Jaguar With Two Hearts. He claims to be the reincarnation of Quetzalcoatl, and he has built up quite a following. He promises his disciples eternal life, and some natives have given reports to the Mexican government of 'Muerte Camino', or 'walking dead'.

  The Caribbean is a large island chain just off the coast of the United States. They used to be the battlegrounds of the Spanish, Dutch, French and English during the Age of Exploration, but mostly all of the islands are now independent nations. Their mixed heritage shows in the food and culture of each island.
However, piracy is not dead. Several rogue bands still run around, longing to live out the days of yore. Though their equipment is high tech, their methods are not. The pirates often raid cargo vessels headed for New Orleans or Miami, and with the rise of the drug trade from Mexico, the Caribbean can be a dangerous place to tread if you value your life.
        The Caribbean is also the heart of the Voodoo religion. Voodoo worships death and the afterlife, and many priests and priestesses deal in hexes, curses and evil potions. Some potions are even said to put people into a zombie like state, where they become slaves to the owner's will.
        Baron LaCrux is probably the most famous Voodoo priest on the islands, along with being one of the richest men. He's also the head of a large pirate fleet, though you may end up missing a few body parts if you tell anyone. People say his crew is composed of mindless zombies, and given the Baron's reputation, this is not unlikely.

Peru is on of the most mountainous country in South America. These giant mountains, inhabited mostly by goats and grasses, was once the home of the mighty Inca civilization.
The Inca, unlike the Aztecs, are relatively unknown. The few details are told through their giant mountain peak cities and their mastery of astronomy and the stars. They actually developed a calendar that accurately kept dates for over thousands of years! Though much of the indigenous population of Peru has Incan heritage, few don't know (or either won't say) what happened to their ancestors: mostly all the discovered cities are in too good of a condition to have been destroyed as the result of an attack, but if this is the case, what happened? Some theorize that the Inca had managed to build spaceships and head towards the stars.
This may actually have some credance to it. There have been reports of strange light shows in the mountains near Cusco, and other reports of robed figures and shadows around the ruins of cities such as Machu Picchu. Could the Inca have finally returned from wherever they ran off from? And if so, why did they come back?

Brazil is the largest country in South America, and is also home to the mighty Amazon River and it's surrounding jungle. The Amazon accounts for about half of the rainforests in the world. It is dense, deep, and forboding. While traveling through the Amazon, you are never far from the Amazon River, which is one of the largest in the world.
The Amazon is relatively unexplored. It is extremely easy to get lost amongst the trees, river branches and dense canopies. All types of terrifying creatures lurk within: tales of giant apes, ants and beetles the size of cars, and uncontacted native tribes who would not hesitate to kill or capture any 'white man' that enters their territory.

Pulpwood! Mint Condition class: Scholar

What is Mint Condition, you may be asking? It's my term for the new direction that Pulpwood is taking, mostly in terms of classes.

The game is still called Pulpwood!, but to distinguish from older posts, I am going to use the tag 'Mint Condition'. Pretty simple, right?

But for now, I present the first of the three classes, the Scholar.


Hit Dice: d6
Skill Points per Level: 4
Favored Save: Wits
Class Skill: Academics

The Scholar is the master of all things research and education oriented. Having spent years of their life improving their minds, they know more than the average Joe could learn in a life time.
Scholars are not only masters of research, but a select few have managed to tap into the arcane energies that fill the world. Some derive magic from ancient texts (called Arcanists), some have unlocked the powers of the mind (called Mesmerists), and even some have created technology that is centuries ahead of its time (called Gadgeteers).
Scholars are a force to be reckoned with, both in the lab and on the field.

Scholar Talents

Arcanist- The Scholar gets access to Powers in the form of magical spells. If he takes this Talent, he can not take the Mesmerist or Gadgeteer talent. In addition, once per day the character can make a Wisdom Action Roll to communicate with Creatures from Beyond the Veil. The character can then ask any question to the Creature, and the Creature will answer to the best of its ability. However, sometimes the Creature doesn't know the info, is not willing to give it up unless the Scholar offers something in return, or is just plain antagonistic. The attitude of the Creature should be up to the GM.

Mesmerist- The Scholar gets access to Powers in the form of psychic abilities. If he takes this Talent, he can not take the Arcanist or Gadgeteer Talent. In addition, once a day per every 4 levels (can use once per day at level 1), the character can attempt to read someone's mind. This is an opposed Wisdom Action Roll against the target. If the Scholar succeeds by a small margin, he will now the surface thoughts and emotions of the target. If he succeeds by a significant margin, he can read deeper thoughts. If he fails, the target senses their mind being tampered with.

Gadgeteer- The Scholar gets access to Powers in the form of supernatural gadgets. If he takes this Talent, he can not take the the Arcanist or Mesmerist Talent. In addition, a character can have a number of 'incidental' gadgets per day for every four levels (one gadget at level 1, two at level 4). This gadget can take any form, but should only replicate tools, such as lockpicks, flashlights, medkits, climbing gear, or anything else. After the tool has completed its use (the door is unlocked, you enter into light, the character is healed, you climb the mountain), the tool breaks and can't be used again.

Item of Power- The Scholar has a magical item or small gadget he found or made. The item holds one Novice Power. The Power can be used a number of times per day equal to the character's Wisdom modifier. However, unlike regular Powers, you do not need to roll to make sure the effect happens (though you may need to make an attack roll if the effect is a damaging one).

Specialist- Your Scholar has become a specialist in the field he works in. Whenever there is a non-combat test where the specialization could come into play, the player adds a +2 bonus to the Action Roll. The player must detail what the character is specialized in upon taking this Talent. This Talent can also be taken multiple times, each time choosing a different specialization.

Example Specializations:

Languages- Your Scholar has spent most of his time learning foreign languages. In addition to the languages you start with, when you take this Talent you gain two additional languages.

Researcher- Your Scholar knows the Dewey Decimal System like the back of his hand. When doing research on something, the Scholar adds a +2 to help in his search for knowledge.

Herbalist- Your Scholar knows the ins and outs of plants, herbs, fungus and what they can do. A Scholar can do an Intelligence Action Roll to determine the possible properties of any plant he encounters. Similarly, he knows how to make basic medicines and salves out of these plants. These salves do small things like heal minor injuries, cure simple poisons and so on. The GM should be the final arbitrator on these kinds of things.

Appraisal- Your Scholar has spent a lot of time learning about ancient artifacts and lore. Though other characters have to find out what an Artifact does through guessing and experimentation, the Scholar can do an Intelligence Action Roll to determine what the Artifact does and how it does it.

Decipher- Your Scholar has learned the ins and outs of ancient Heiroglyphs, runes and dead languges. The Scholar gets a +2 bonus when trying to decipher heiroglyphs or writing in an unfamiliar language,

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Success with Talents!

Coming up with Talents was WAY easier than I imagined.

Each class has 10 talents, and then there are 25 General talents to choose from.

Also, the Expert has become the Adept, and he has become the stealthy/sneaky character, who can deceive, investigate, and all that other good stuff. It will be good if you want to play a spy, a gumshoe, a cop, or some other kind of man of mystery.

Here are some changes I made, to give you a peak at how the old classes now fit in the talent structure

1. The Paragon was originally a superhero archetype that didn't really fit the Brains Archetype. He was also my attempt to shoehorn in a clerical character, which kind of sucked.

The Paragon is now the 'Mysterious Power' talent for the Adventurer. Since pulp heroes did not really have too many powers anyway, this will keep them at a good power level without having to fill a specific roll.

2. The Adventurer, Pugilist and Marksman have all been paired down and consolidated into the Adventurer talents. There is Martial Arts  and Quick Reflexes for Pugilists, Dual Pistols and Sharpshooter for Marksman, and Two Fisted Weapon for Adventurers.

You could even make a somewhat Wuxia character with the base Adventurer talents. Take Quick Reflexes, Martial Arts and Mysterious Power, and you've got a man from the Far East who can perform crazy roundhouse kicks and run up walls.

3. The Arcanist, Psychic and Gadgeteer have all been turned into Scholar talents. In addition to letting you use magical abilities, the Arcanist lets you contact spirits and creatures from beyond, the Psychic allows you to read minds, and the Gadgeteer allows you to create one-off gadgets that break after one use.

4. The Scoundrel and the Investigator make up most of the Adept talents.

5. The Pilot, Socialite and Pilot abilities have gone under General talents, for the most part. Some lie in the Adept talents, but not many. Still, you could take the Famous, Rich and Exceptional Attribute (Charisma) talents to create your Socialite very easily.

All in all, I'm happy with it. I have a total of 55 talents that are pretty distinct from each other and can allow for a lot of different kinds of characters.

Stay tuned for more!

Changing the direction of the Pulpwood! game

So, it has come to my attention that I've kind of been going about producing Pulpwood! in a different way than I want to. Like most things, I have been overthinking it, and making it more than it SHOULD be.

After looking at my notes, I have realized that characters are both

1. Not flexible
2. Too combat oriented

Almost every ability revolves around inflicting damage of some kind, with very few actually being skill or narrative oriented. I also realized I am making the classes a little TOO distinct from each other, and some are generally more powerful than others.

So, I'm changing Pulpwood!, but not very much. It will be the same game, but here is what I am doing instead:

1. The class list will be reduced to only 3 class (Adventurer, Scholar and Expert)
2. Magic, gadgets, psychic abilities and superpowers will take on a more free-form approach instead of having a big list
3. A talent system will be implemented

The talents are basically the equivalent of feats, boons, edges or whatever you want to call them. Each class will have a list of class specific boons, and then there will be general boons.

So, do you want to be a Mesmerist? That's a talent. Do you want to have a helper robot (or monkey)? That's a talent.

This will effectively drop the entire Darb system, which was honestly a bit of a headache anyway.

The things I am keeping though are the following:

1. Action Rolls will be unchanged
2. Fortune will drop the Moment of Inspiration effect, but will remain unchanged otherwise
3. Combat, movement and encumbrance will stay the same
4. Skills and attributes will be the same
5. Levels will be the same, though modified to account for Talents

The first order of business is to think up a list of Talents. This will require research, but shouldn't be too difficult. I was thinking 10 talents for each 'group' (Adventurer, Scholar, Expert and General). I was originally going to do 20, but unless I have outside help, I can't really think up 20 for each :X

Hopefully these changes will be for the better! Also, if you have some ideas for Talents, don't hesitate to leave them in the comments!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Review of A Wanderer's Romance

Imagine an ocean world created by the gods, where the largest landmass is only a few dozen miles wide. Thousands, perhaps millions, of these islands dot the oceans, and each can be radically different from its neighbors. Some gods descended to the Earth in mortal form, and became your ancestors. Now, you wander these islands, looking for adventure, discovery and self-fulfillment.

This is the world of A Wanderer's Romance.


A Wanderer's Romance is a rules lite wuxia RPG written by Cristopher McDowell. In it, you play a martial artist travelling between the aforementioned isles. And that's about it.

The setting is not much, but it gives you what you need: a basic backdrop in which to expand upon. Some games through gobs of useless and heavy setting bits at you, and you have to struggle to fit in your custom-made faction. In this way, the bare bones setting is actually a boon. It also allows you to just use the rules as is, and play in a feudal Asia setting with little hassle.


The mechanics for AWR are extremely simple: you roll two dice, add the appropriate stat(s), and try to beat wither 10, 12 or 14 (depending on difficulty). There are some slight variations, such as the application of the Balance stat, but nothing is too radically different than these basic rules. The stats, and mostly everything in the game, revolves around the four classical elements of earth, water, fire and air.

Since AWE is a wuxia game, you should expect fighting styles, and AWR delivers. They have about 54 offensive styles, and 24 defensive styles, each with 3 levels of advancement. Magic based on the elements is also present, but you won't get the generic 'fire magic = fireballs' thing. Instead, fire magic allows you to instill a strong emotion into someone, along with other similar effects.

Combat is resolved through contested rolls, upon which the defender actually rolls the damage, not the attacker. This adds a good bit of stress to damage, so nothing stays boring for too long.


The writing is very simple and flavorful. I was never lost at any point, and the small story excerpts really gave you a feel about the world, in that it is both an elegant and dangerous place. McDowell is a great writer in that he does not fluff up the mechanics behind strange language. He also has several text boxes detailing his decisions on rules, so you can see his reasoning behind things you may question.


AWR is only 45 pages, but they are a great 45 pages. The calligraphy headers used, and the amazing artwork by Pavel Elagin, really give off a sense of style. The cover itself is just gorgeous to stare at. The only gripe I have is the lack of a character sheet, but seeing as each character does not have much info associated with it, you could fit everything you need to know on an index card. I just think they could have produced an equally great looking sheet, is all.

Final Verdict

Honestly, A Wanderer's Romance is one of the most elegant and tasteful wuxia games I've ever read. It's easy to understand and to teach (great for first time RPG players), and it allows the characters to really come to the forefront. A lot of different types of environments and settings can be culled from the default setting, which is great if you have a hard time keeping plot lines strung along.

AWR is definitively not 'high flying' wuxia, though. I see it more as an elegant samurai story. It's more Ruroni Kenshin than Dragonball Z, for sure. So if you want to check it out, keep that in mind.

I give it a 9/10, with my only real problem being the lack of a character sheet.

Where to Get

A Wanderer's Romance is available for the low, low price of free from the Stargazer Games' website, found here:

Considering moving Pulpwood away from its status

Yes, I'm still working on Pulpwood!

No, I haven't had much time.

Yes, I'm sorry.

However, there is some news with Pulpwood: I am strongly considering moving it from a development blog to a pure gaming blog.

What this means is that in addition to having updates about Pulpwood! or any other game I am working on, I'd also talk about things related to RPGs: events, game reviews, campaign ideas, and so on. It'll be a less quality Grognardia, basically.

I think for reviews, though, I'd go for mostly smaller press games. There are 7 million reviews out there for Pathfinder, but not many for Remnants, A Wanderer's Romance or Aegis (the first two are great, the former needs to convince me). I'd also post links to interesting fan settings or adaptations, just anything in general that would sway my interest.

It will most likely go into effect soon, so look forward to it (or not, whatever).

Alrighty! I'll see you later.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Well shoot

I finished the pocketmod game, Nephilim, in under 24 hours! There is a link to it in the sidebar under the new 'Games I've Made' heading.

However, it's not TOTALLY a pocketmod. While it does come under 8 pages, the word length is probably too long to fit on a traditional pocketmod. However, you are more than welcome to try.

It is also lacking a character sheet and cover art, along with 'good' layout. I don't have much time to do that stuff (I may do some cover art), but if you'd like to do some layout or something else, shoot me an email.

Also, don't be afraid to leave comments/criticisms/rules questions. This has zero playtesting, so please go whole hog. You'll notice I took a lot of notes from the Storyteller system, with a base in Ubiquity, but it should function just fine.

Anyway, have fun! I hope you like it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A quick update on progress

I am still around! I actually have some classes written up that I plan to post, but first, I have an experiment:

Sometimes, when I'm faced with a big project, new projects keep flooding my mind. I want to do other things, even though I like all the things I'm doing.

Currently, I have a couple ideas for rules-lite RPGs, and I'm going to do something about them: Make a Pocketmod game

A Pocketmod, if you are not aware, is a small booklet with 8 pages that you can print out on one piece of paper. Some RPGs are this small (Weird West comes to mind), and I'd like to make a game so I can say I have 'finished' something.

So, I'm going to make a modern occult horror action Pocketmod game. In it, you play as Angels and Demons sent to Earth to combat the horrors of purgatory. It will be Lovecraftian, heretical, violent, beautiful and simple.

What it will have
14 races - 7 angels, 7 demons
Magic- very narrative in essence
Equipment- including suggestions for magic equipment, and even vehicles
Combat resolution, skills and tests
A bestiary and setting suggestion
Maybe art, if I get up the gumption to draw

I hope to write this up in about a week or two, and probably post it here. Get excited, because after that, it's back to the Pulpwood! grind.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Encumbrance in Pulpwood!

I've never really liked the idea of keeping track of individual weights when dealing with encumbrance, so I decided to simplify it in Pulpwood! The system is really simple, so the post should be pretty short

Encumbrance is basically measured in 'slots', instead of weights. Each slot is basically an abstract measurement of both weight and size of objects. Different items take up different amounts of slots, and some items can have multiples in a single slot. So, for example, a rifle may be two slots, put a few magazines of bullets may only be one slot.

Every character has a number of slots equal to 2 + their Strength score, not their modifier. Thus, if someone had a Strength of 18, they would have 20 slots.

Another thing that annoys me about encumbrance is movement penalties, so Pulpwood! will not have them. Basically, once you fill up your slots, unless you drop something, you can't carry any more. This would represent not having enough room in your backpack, being too tired to haul around another gun, etc.

Pretty simple, but it's fast and elegant.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Thinking About Movement

I want the Pulpwood! combat system to be very narrative. This means that there should be no need for maps, and no real measurement of feet.

However, this brings a lot of things into question: how does range work? How far can a character move? What is melee range? 

My idea is to borrow an idea from Marvel Superheroes and Fate/Spirit of the Century; the concept of zones

A zone is really any physical area the GM deems appropriate. For example, a tavern's main room may have three zones: behind the bar, main floor, and the entrance. Zones will usually be divided by either physical objects (i.e. the bar) or some amount of distance. If you wanted to be more granular and the tavern's main floor was really large, the main floor could comprise multiple zones.

So for movement, a character could move a zone and then do an action. So, a character could hop out from behind the bar and then punch a guy on the main floor. If you are in the same zone as someone, you are within melee range.

A character can also move two zones, but forfeit an action.

Ranged weapons, thrown weapons and spells would have a minimum range and a maximum range, For example, a shotgun would have a minimum range of 1 and a maximum range of 2 (maybe 3), meaning they could shoot someone in the same zone as them, or they could shoot someone in an adjacent zone. A rifle would have a minimum range of 2, and probably a maximum of about 5. The same idea applies to magic spells and thrown weapons.

Seems pretty good for now, but it will take a bit of extrapolating. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Narrative Powers in Pulpwood!

So, I'm not gonna talk about attributes today, because that is BORING.

Instead, I'm going to talk about the narrative powers system in Pulpwood!, also known as Fortune.

Narrative powers have become the new 'thing' in RPGs, giving players temporary control over the story. You have seen it in games like Savage Worlds or Spirit of the Century, and Fortune basically functions the same way. You may also notice a little bit of 4e D&D in there.

Also note that 'Darbs' are the new term for the upgrades each class ability gets. 'Darb' is 20s slang for something cool or awesome, so the word seemed appropriate.


 Though all pulp heroes rely mainly on their skills to get by, they also need a little help from Lady Luck every
once in a while. When the odds are stacked against them, and it seems like there is no way out, a little bit of
good favor usually swings their way. This favor is called Fortune.

All important characters, namely PCs, important NPCs, and important Villains, have Fortune. This is what makes them stand out against mooks and other unimportant goons. Every character, regardless of class, nationality, gender, etc, has 3 Fortune. This will never increase in a permanent sense, but can in a temporary sense (see Gaining More Fortune below).

This Fortune is replenished at the beginning of every session. Fortune can be used and spent at any time, on a characters turn, to create a wide array of Fortune Effects. Multiple Fortune Effects can be used at the same time, such as spending 2 Fortune to use Third Try's the Charm on a failed Moment of Inspiration roll. Each effect has a different cost depending on its usefulness.

Once Fortune is used, it is gone until the beginning of next session.

When Fortune is used, the player must describe what the character does that brings about the Fortune. Maybe upon using Moment of Inspiration to read some ancient alien hieroglyphs, they remember seeing such glyphs in a college textbook. Second Wind could be a rallying cry or a snappy one-liner. It's up to the player, and the more creative and flavorful, the better.

Fortune can be spent in the following ways, with the cost of that effect being listed beforehand:

1 Fortune Effects

Moment of Inspiration - Sometimes, characters need to do something outside of their expertise. While this is usually accomplished through skills, a character may need to go beyond their normal abilities.

When you spend 1 Fortune for Moment of Inspiration, your character can attempt to use the Level 1 ability of any other class, including their Darbs. This requires an Action Roll with the second classes class skill being
the modifier.

However, no matter how powerful you are in your skill, you are still not as masterful as the other class. Thus,
Darb multipliers are always in effect. So, if you wanted to do the Gamma Darb for the Arcanist Class Skill, you would have a -9 modifier, even if you had the Gamma Darb in your own class skill.

This allows parties that lack a certain class to do some of the things other classes can, e.g. a party without
a Pilot could still pilot a spaceship at the cost of a Fortune.

Grace Under Pressure - When you spend 1 Fortune for Grace Under Pressure, you can apply a +2 bonus to any Action Roll. This can be used multiple times on the same roll, to a maximum of +6 if you spend 3 Fortune.

However, this Fortune must be spent before you do an Action Roll, not after. It can't be used after the use of a Third Try's the Charm, but the modifiers do apply for any subsequent rolls made with Third Try's the Charm.

Also, this modifier can not be applied to damage rolls, only Action Rolls.

Third Try's the Charm - When you spend 1 Fortune, you can re-roll any Action Roll or damage roll in hopes for a better result. This can be used multiple times on the same roll, to a maximum of 3 re-rolls if you spend 3 fortune.

The drawback to this is that you must keep the new result, even if it is worse than the first one.

2 Fortune Effects

Second Wind - Sometimes a character will come under severe physical strain, and his only hope to succeed will be to buckle down, catch his breath, and head back into the fray.

When you spend 2 Fortune for Second Wind, your character automatically regains 1/4th of their maximum HP. This is useful if the party is on its last legs, but the enemy is also close to dying.

This Fortune effect can only be used in battle, and only after taking damage.

Edit - Edit is the first of two Fortune Effects that allow players to alter the story in a metaphysical sense.

When you spend 2 Fortune for Edit, you can alter the current scene in a minor way. For example, instead of
shotguns, the enemies may have pistols instead. Instead of a room being pitch dark, it is lit by torches. The
change should be temporary and not overly gamebreaking. All changes are subject to the GMs approval too make sure none are imbalanced, by players and GMs are encouraged to work together to meet a common ground

3 Fortune Effects

Rewrite- Rewrite is basically a more powerful and far reaching version of Edit.

When you spend 3 Fortune on Rewrite, you can change a major aspect of the current scene, usually in a permanent way. So, the bad guy may get away, but a lucky shot tears through his ankle, leaving him crippled come the next battle. A monster may eat an important artifact, but after retrieving it and discovering it has been eaten away by acid, you can do a Rewrite and say it is in perfectly fine condition.

Once again, the GM and player are encouraged to work together to get to a common ground. A Rewrite should not alter the entire story that the GM has planned, but it still has a lot of power

Gaining More Fortune

To gain more Fortune, you must be good at roleplaying. Throughout a session, a GM is encouraged to give out additional Fortune to players who roleplay well. This provides a good incentive for more engaging play, and it is also a more immediate reward than experience. It is suggested that the GM never give more than 3 additional Fortune to any given character in a session, with 2 being more conservative.

Take note though, that this additional Fortune does not carry on between sessions, so use it while you can.
When a new session rolls along, every character is returned to their base of 3 Fortune.