Showing posts from February, 2023

FMC Appendix B: Optional Rules

I wanted Fantastic Medieval Campaigns to serve, first and foremost, as a reference for the original 1974 ruleset that is easier to browse and parse. For me, the original booklets are just kind of an eyesore and an organizational disaster, so I wanted to have something nicer to read. That being said, it may be more interesting if the book had more going on. I would not want to modify the three main chapters and the first appendix, but I think there is room to show how the original ruleset expanded and transformed over time (both as a text and how people have practically used it). So I've written Appendix B: Optional Rules , for which you can find a preview on Google Drive . From Supplement I , I've included: Ability modifiers : For combat rolls, opening doors, knowing spells. Super strength (percentile): Additional strength benefits for fighters. The thief class : Based on the pre- Greyhawk version, with original hit dice. Variable damage: By weapon. Variable hit die sizes: By

OD&D/FMC Metric Conversion

On the Itch page for Fantastic Medieval Campaigns , LtPinback asked if I would consider including metric conversions for the game. Here is my attempt at converting the 1974 ruleset to use metric units, taking into consideration not only the fictional distances in the game-world, but also that the game as written is meant to be played using a physical ruler (in this case, a 30cm ruler). By the way, if you missed it, Version Beta of FMC is available now and (as always) free to download! Click the link above to check it out, and I hope you find it interesting and/or useful. Tabletop Scale As y’all know, the basis of movement in OD&D/FMC is the twelve-inch ruler whose length represents different distances in different contexts. I’d go as far as to say that the tabletop scale is more important than any of its conversions (tens of feet, tens of yards), and that the latter are ultimately just justifications for using a ruler. All concerns are secondary to physical, tabletop scale. C

FMC Version Beta, Out Now!

Fantastic Medieval Campaigns, Version Beta is now available and free to download! FMC is a faithful, one-to-one retroclone of the original 1974 fantasy adventure campaign guidebook. I made it originally for practice, and then for my own reference, and finally for others to read and use. As of this version, it also includes a complete version of the manual's default wargaming rules (originally published separately). Below is a summary of changes made since the previous version! Originally from the announcement . Appendix A: Chain of Command is feature-complete! Originally meant to be abridged, it seems like the people who use these rules are actually very passionate about what was missing: namely, unit formations and fatigue. These have been implemented so that, now, Appendix A is an accurate representation of the original ruleset! The Balor is here! The Balrog from The Lord of the Rings was removed from later prints of the original volumes because of a cease-and-desis

D&D 5e: Dialogue Procedure & NPC Traits

So. Dungeons & Dragons, Fifth Edition has a really intuitive procedure for handling character dialogues. Like, never mind that it's not really supported by most adventure design (to my knowledge), and that it's written in that same overly verbose style as the rest of Fifth Edition . I like it. I might even like it more than most reaction procedures in TSR/OSR rulebooks , which are typically (though not originally) a 2d6 roll that determines the NPC's initial demeanor and... that's it. But it's also not at all overly complex, formal, or procedural, in the sense that some other rulesets proceed automatically through formal rules without pausing for input or breath. I like it being basically informal. I'm going to go over how character dialogue is supposed to play out, and then I'll transcribe random tables of NPC traits meant to plug into this subsystem. Finding both of these things surprised me, so I hope you'll find them interesting. Open your Dunge

FMC New Art & Test Prints

I wanted to feature some new art in the upcoming beta version of Fantastic Medieval Campaigns on February 22 (2/22)! Some more artists have graciously contributed their work: Kalin Kadiev , Emanoel Melo , and Ben Overmyer . I'm extremely thankful! They are helping bring this thing to life. Here is also some new art by Hodag RPG and Gus L.! Test Prints As I've posted on Twitter, I also received my test prints from Lulu! I think they turned out really well for the most part. One thing I had to change was that the background images for the chapter headers didn't work with the page bleed, and weren't all that visible anyway. So I just made them black pages instead. These tests are for hardcover, costing ~$22 for black & white and ~$55 for color (!). On the plus side, I’ve just ordered softcover versions with standard ink, which cost only ~$10 for black & white and ~$13 for color. If the print quality is still okay, I may change the hardcover books to a

Abstract Combat in OD&D/FMC

Combat in OD&D is different than from subsequent editions of D&D . Characters make one attack per hit die they have, against “man-sized” opponents (though some have argued there is no reason not to extend it to all opponents, “man-sized” or not). Thus, a troll who has HD 6+3 makes six attacks (one of which with a +3 to-hit bonus). This system is more “fast and furious” than the one that appeared in Greyhawk which has vastly reduced numbers of attacks, but it is unintuitive, complex, and does not scale. It is no wonder that Gygax switched to the system we see today, but one has to admit there is an appeal in making combat faster. I have a specific motivation in interfacing semi-mass “skirmish” combat with individual combat, allowing players to have a handful of characters without making attack rolls for each. My friend Jenx of Gorgon Bones has been trying to figure out a skirmish combat system for his OD&D campaign, and has tried using the warband system from Errant t

OD&D/FMC Character Sheet

Above is an OD&D character record template from 1975. It looks a bit different than what we expect from character sheets now. We are used to dedicating the whole sheet to the character's various attributes and equipment, filling in neatly-aligned squares or circles with ability scores or hit point totals or saving throws or item slots. This is not that. Everything we typically expect from a character sheet is squished into the top third of the worksheet. The bottom two thirds are dedicated to a week-by-week description of the character's adventures, as well as changes to their gold piece and experience point totals each week. This sheet was unlike anything I had seen before, and yet to me it is quintessentially what sets apart this ruleset from all that had followed. I am going to go over the different presuppositions this character record has compared to our modern ones. Then, I am going to share screenshots of a recreation I made for my retroclone Fantastic Medieval Camp

Joseph Stalin's Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR: An Informal Review

I’m putting this out there. You might have heard of Joseph Stalin. I read his essay, Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR , from 1951. I also read two responses to that essay, by Italian Marxist Amadeo Bordiga and Chairman Mao Zedong of the CCP. As for myself, I’m a Marx and Lenin enjoyer, but I’m trying not to knock anything until I’ve tried it. Stalin’s central argument is that not only does commodity production continue into socialism by virtue of it being a transitory state of things on the road towards communism (is this disagreeable?), but that it is possible and even beneficial to organize society around commodity production without it being or becoming capitalism (hm). I don’t think I’m going to convince any Stalin enjoyers from not being Stalin enjoyers, but I hope my commentary at least articulates why one might disagree with his view of the commodity. Please read my previous post, “ What is Marx’s Critique of Value? ”, prior to this one if you are new to the topic of

FMC Version Beta Coming Soon!

Fantastic Medieval Campaigns, Version Beta is on the horizon! My hope is to publish it on February 22 (2/22). There's quite a few additions, changes, and corrections not only to bring FMC more in line with its source material, but to also give it more of its own unique character. The PDF will be free to download as before, and I will also try to make a print version available to purchase at-cost on Lulu (though maybe you'd want to wait to see if I make any post-publication edits). Let me tell you about all that has changed, and then share some spreads with you! Appendix A: Chain of Command is feature-complete! Originally meant to be abridged, it seems like the people who use these rules are actually very passionate about what was missing: namely, unit formations and fatigue. These have been implemented so that, now, Appendix A is an accurate representation of the original ruleset! The Balor is here! The Balrog from The Lord of the Rings was removed from later prints of t