Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ruins & Ronin Still Rolling Along

My Ruins & Ronin supplement for Swords & Wizardry is still rolling along. I have completed most of the base classes, the weapons, armor, and equipment tables. I have put together a play-test draft text (here) for anybody that wants to test run the system. I will be running it for my local group on November 30th if all goes well. If you do happen to download it and use it, send me any feedback you have for it.

I am currently working on the monster/creature side of the setting - one that will probably require the most work.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wicked Webs...

Today I am previewing my favorite monster write-up (so far) for my Samurai project using the S&W rules. I give you the wicked Jorogumo.

Armor Class: 7 [12]
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: 1 bite [1d6 + poison] or 2 web attacks [see below]
Special: Lethal poison, Webs
Move: 9
Saving Throw: 13
Challenge Level/XP: 7/600xp

Jorogumo are ancient spiders than can take the shape of a beautiful woman. They typically make their homes in deep pools or near waterfalls. They attempt to drag victims to their lair by entangling them in their webs. A Jorogumo can use its 2 web attacks (treat as ranged attack with range of 30 feet) to capture prey, those that are hit must make a saving throw to avoid becoming stuck. Once hit with webs, the Jorogumo will drag the victim 5 feet per round (the victim can make a saving throw each round to either break free from the webs or attempt to keep from being dragged). The web can be attacked as an object with an AC 9 [10] and 4 hps. In the form of a woman the Jorogumo can cast Charm Person twice a day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Asian Adventures

I am working on a supplement for Swords & Wizardry rules using the ideas I had earlier for a Samurai version of OD&D. This new work is using the S&W rule-set as a base and adding new classes and monsters. So far I have completed 4 classes, one of which is the Bushi which I detail below.

This project is not so much about depicting a historical Japanese setting, but more about "what if Gary had been playing a Samurai wargame when D&D was created" much like Mazes & Minotaurs is for the classic Greek setting. So you will not find any rules for Honor or Family History. You will find Bushi, Samurai, Yamabushi, Shugenja adventuring in weird underground settings searching for adventure and gold. So watch some Kurosawa flicks and get ready to play.


Bushi are wandering warriors with no tie to a lord, temple, or monastery. They can often be found in the service of some noble Samurai or serving themselves as a brigand or bandit. Most are warriors from poor families looking to make a name for themselves and escape a life of poverty.

Hit Die Type 1d6+2
Armor Permitted Any
Weapons Permitted Any
Prime Attribute (5% xp bonus) Strength 13+

Nimble: As a Bushi is sometimes too poor to afford armor, they learn to be quick on their feet. In addition to any Dexterity adjustment to their Armor Class, a Bushi gains a +1 to his Armor Class for each 5 levels of experience he has. This bonus applies regardless of any armor worn.

Establish Stronghold (9th): At ninth level, a Bushi may establish a stronghold and attract a body of loyal bushi who will swear fealty to him. Most likely, the protection of a castle will attract villagers, and the Bushi will become a feudal lord (Samurai) or even a Daimyo (baron).

Scrounge: A life of poverty has made the Bushi a master at finding “loose” items. A Bushi has a chance of finding a common piece of equipment in any settlement as depicted in the chart below.

Settlement d20 chance
Small Sized Village 4 in 20
Medium Sized Village 5 in 20
Large Sized Village 6 in 20
Small Sized Town 8 in 20
Large Sized Town 12 in 20
Any City 18 in 20

Friday, October 31, 2008

More Ruins & Ronin work

After reading the "Swords & Wizardry" rules (which I love), I have started my conversion of the rules to run a Ruins & Ronin game. Basically I am renaming the classes to fit my milieu and will update the equipment guide with traditional Japanese weapons and armor. I will leave the basic rules in place for the most part and offer both ascending and descending armor values as per the rules as laid out in the open game license.

I may even have some artwork commissioned for this work, if I do I will most likely release it (my rules) as a free pdf - as I am really doing this for myself (and do not know if people would be interested in this setting).

I personally plan to use the ascending armor values with my game, as I can offer a little more

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Getting back to it.

I have been remiss in my blogging of late, and I hope to rectify that in the coming days. For a quick update Matthew Finch has released the "Swords & Wizardry" retro-clone of the OD&D rules. It is available for free pdf download here. I highly recommend it, as it is a thing of beauty. I would love to run a game of this in the near future (I may have to do it through play-by-post as it seems my local games are dying). Check out the fantastic cover by Peter Mullen - abso-feckin'-lutely fantastic.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I have re-tooled my armor rules yet again, and will go with the base AC of 10 with armor adding to the base (so a Do-Maru with AC +2 makes AC 12). To do this I had to re-vamp my attack rolls making it a d20 roll plus FC = the AC you hit. I am not sure I am happy with this yet, but it is growing on me (I need to test my rules soon).

I have written up my three primary classes (Bushi, Sohei, and Shugenja) and even created a new Yakuza class (a thief like character - based off of Sham's Scout class for his Solstice house rules).

I have even adopted a name for my rules, currently they are called Ruins & Ronin. It works for now.

--Mike D.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Rethinking Armor.

I have re-thought my armor and would use armor pieces (with a minus to base AC 9 for each piece worn), as pointed out in the picture below.

New OD&D Creature - The Jungle Elf (Hu-Sen)

Hu-Sen (Jungle Elf)
Number: 2d6 (2d20)
Alignment: Neutral
Move: 12
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice:1
Attacks: 1 [by weapon]
Saving Throw:
Challenge Level/XP: 1 / 10xp
Hu-Sen, more commonly called jungle elves are a race of green skinned humanoids. They are long legged, flat-headed creatures standing just under 4 feet in height. They walk in a crouching posture, but are deceptively fast. Their skin is a dark green and covered in short coarse black hair. Their coloration helps them to blend in with their environment (usually jungles and bamboo thickets). They are skilled hunters and trackers and typically hunt the giant spiders of the jungles. They are mostly armed with short throwing spears and knives.

They typically build their homes in the tops of trees using ropes disguised as vines to gain entry into these lofty homes. They have crude rope bridges connecting their homes to form a sort of tree top village.

The Hu-Sen speak their own language.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

OD&D of the Rising Sun.

The other day I watched "Seven Samurai", again (it is probably my all time favorite movie), and thought about how cool it would be to play in that world. I own Bushido and a couple of other Japanese themed role playing games. But I am not looking to play in a purely historical Japan. I want the weapons, the armor, and the general "sense" of Japan but with D&D thrown in as well.

I want ronin, I want katanas', nodachis', goblins, and dungeons. I want a world of villages isolated and in distress, through a growing civil war as well as the raids of goblins from their mountain lairs. So what am I going to do about it?

I am going to create an OD&D version of Oriental Adventures. No worries, there will be no non-weapon proficiencies, hell there won't be any "proficiencies". This is LBB D&D with only 3 classes.

I plan to use three classes that are eerily similar to OD&D. First we have the Bushi, the classic Fighting Man. No need for a samurai or ronin class. Bushi covers them as well as your peasant warrior. Want to be a samurai? Enlist your services with a local lord. Want to be a ronin? Hire yourself out to anyone willing to pay for your services. Want to be a Daimyo? Find some land and build a stronghold. (Sounds familiar, right?)

The next class is the Sohei, he is the cleric of my setting. The sohei were warrior monks of Japan. The sohei of my setting also includes the Yamabushi, the mystical hermit-warrior monks attributed to have mystical healing powers. (They may be added later as a paladin option - but I want to start with the basic three). The Sohei will not be allowed to use swords (just because I need to somehow balance the bushi from these spell using warriors) but they are allowed all other weapons.

The final class is the Shukenja, this is the magic-user of my setting and will be restricted to short swords, staves, and daggers (again purely as a balancing aspect).

I raided Bushido for information regarding Armor Classes, and came up with the below:

AC9 = Fundoshi & Shirt (Peasant) Fundoshi & Kimono (Noble/Samurai)
AC8 = Light Samurai Armor Cost: 110g Wt: 20
AC7 = Partial Heavy Samurai Armor Cost: 130g Wt: 25
AC6 = Complete Light Samurai Armor Cost: 200g Wt: 30
AC5 = Heavy Samurai Armor Cost 250g Wt: 40
AC4 = Complete Heavy Samurai Armor Cost: 300g Wt: 50
AC3 = Superior Heavy Samurai Armor Cost: 600g Wt:60
AC2 = Master Heavy Samurai Armor Cost: 900g Wt: 65

AC8 Consists of light body armor (covers the torso) and a light helm.
AC7 Consists of heavy body armor (covers the torso) and a helm.
AC6 Adds limb protection (both arms & legs) and face protection.
AC5 Adds leg protection (shins & thigh guards).
AC4 Adds Arm protection and face & throat protection.
AC3 As above but of superior materials and craftsmanship.
AC2 As above but of master craftsmanship.

I plan to keep the 1d6 damage for all weapons, though I will add 2d6 for two-handed weapons (you keep the higher of the 2 rolls).

This is of course a work in progress and I hope to have a document up when I finish my setting. Now what should I call this thing?

Friday, August 8, 2008

I am the maker of worlds!

I decided to play around with the world generation rules in the new Traveller book. I am creating a subsector of my universe based on Mythological names (from mostly European myths). I rolled for the first hex in my subsector map and rolled 1d6 to see if a world was present. I rolled a 6, so yes we have a world here. So my first hex 0101 has the world CORB in it. I then rolled for the presence of a gas giant, and there was one.

Now we can really get into the good stuff. First things first, we determine the size of our world. I rolled 2d6-2 and got 10 (-2 to 8). So we have a roughly Earth-sized planet.

Next, I rolled for the atmosphere type, using 2d6-7 (+ planet size) for 2d6+1 and get 6 (+1) for 7. This is a Standard/Tainted atmosphere (a filter is required on this planet). Interesting.

Next up is the Hydrographic percentage, again using 2d6-7+1, I roll 11 (+1) to get 12. Ten is the maximum percentage however so my new number is 10 (A). This gives us roughly 96 – 100 % coverage of liquid oceans. Very interesting, it seems most of our populations live on gigantic platform cities built on top of shallow ocean shelves.

Next we roll for population, this roll is 2d6-2, I roll 12 (these dice are hot) for a total of 10 (A), that is 10 billion people! Wow, those are very crowded cities, perhaps the cities extend underground and only the factories exist on the platforms (causing the tainted atmosphere). This is one crowded planet.

Now we roll for our government, my roll generates a 10 (A), which is a Charismatic Dictator as the ruling government with 2 other factions: (1) Non Charismatic Leader (faction strength: 3), and (2) Impersonal Bureaucracy (faction strength: 6). Not sure what to do with this yet.

Next is the level of the Law. I roll 9, giving us a very strict rule of law here.

Next up is starport, I get a result of B (a good port) and find 2 bases here, an Imperial Consulate, and a TAS.

Next is the Tech level, I roll with many DM’s for a result of 11. (early steller tech).

Lastly I find the trade values for my world and find it is a High Population (Hi), Industrial (In), Rich (Ri), and Waterworld (Wa) planet.

Giving me a UWP (Universal World Profile) of: 0101 CORB B87AAA9-B IT Hi Ri In Wa A

So we have a water world that is roughly the size of Earth, with large platform cities of industrial plants spewing toxins into the atmosphere. Most dwellings have been moved underground into crowded cities. The leader is a powerful dictator that recently ousted the previous leader (who still has a small following in exile). The law is strict and draconian refusing contact for most off-worlders. The dictator does have ties to the Imperium and trade has prospered making him rich. The Imperium has setup a base here as well as the TAS.

I am pretty pleased with these results, a lot of bits to work with.

Next up, I will generate a character from this world.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

It has arrived!

Sure, as soon as I get something to read something else arrives. Today I was most excited to find Fight On! #2 had been delivered. Wow, very nice, 88 pages of old school goodness. I have only read a couple of articles, but I am very impressed. My favorite so far is "The Outdoor Map" by James Maliszewski (map by Robert Conley). This thing is just screaming to be used, nice map with great little hooks for any DM. I love it. I am off to devour more of this awesome magazine, what a great age we live in when fans can get together over the internet to create something like this for a hobby they love. OK, I will stop gushing now.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New reading material.

I have got my paws on the new version of Traveller (by Mongoose Publishing), so I now have some new reading materials for the next day or so. I missed out on playing Traveller in my youth and only recently acquired the Classic version of the rules. I liked what I read of the classic and I can see that Mongoose followed closely the old ruleset with this new edition.

Now I am going to have to get the available seasons of BSG from netflix.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Good news for Fight On! fans...

They have setup a website for the excellent OD&D magazine, it can be found here. Issue #2 was just released and it is over 80 pages, so go and order your copy today!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On the OD&D wagon.

I have decided to work on a campaign world using the OD&D rule-set (mostly), however I will be house ruling a lot. I have already decided that I want to use a 2d6 method for combat resolution and will be posting more on that later.

This is just a quick post to put some content on the new blog. There is much to be done, so hopefully I can post more in a day or so.

--Mike D.