Godslaying (Part 1)
In the month of March (before it was called by that name), the Greeks celebrated Anthesteria. During Anthesteria, the dead were believed to cross over into our world and traffic with the living. The eponymous Roman god Mars, who was not the god of war but an agricultural deity with blood-spilling tendencies, was frequently accompanied by his female counterpart Bellona, who is described by Virgil as bearing a blood-stained whip. What does she do with that whip? She drives soldiers into a battle-frenzy. By whipping them.

This is Springtime in antiquity.

The story runs so: The bloodletting of war is … Continue Reading

Wands, Redux

All wands and staves have a number of charges, which is rolled when a character takes possession of the item. Typically, a wand has 1-8 charges and a staff has 1-12 charges. Discharged wands accumulate 1-4 charges per week in the hands of a magic-user, or 1-2 charges per week in the hands of any other class that can use wands.

One charge can be spent to cast a memorized spell with a 2-in-6 chance of retaining the spell after casting.

In addition, many (but not all) wands and staves also have a secondary power, which is rolled … Continue Reading


(From the B/X hacks department)I am very fond of Moldvay B/X, as well as its latecomer descendant ACKS. What I don’t like so much is the old-school way D&D handled wands and staves. The ones with “charges.” The main problem with charged effects is that no one ever wants to use them up. The current situation is somehow never dire enough to use one of an unknown number of lightning bolts remaining in that wand.

Plus, charged items don’t feel right. I don’t know why. I have participated in the writing of a … Continue Reading

Spells for The One Ring

I know what you’re thinking! “Geez, man, this has already been tried by like a dozen people and it always kind of sucks.” Yeah. Well, here we go again.

First off, let’s clear up this bit of etymology: Dwimmer-craft (or more properly Dweomer-craft) means Dwarf-craft. So magic that falls under Dweomercraft ought to be the Dwarf-charms, i.e., the ones listed under the Broken Spells virtue for Dwarves.

Right. As might already be apparent, I intend to subsume the Elf-charms and Dwarf-charms from the Adventurer’s Book into my system — they are examples of spells that fall into the two aforenamed classes. It … Continue Reading

Broken Lance

Over on the Plus, an gaming friend posted some cool-looking, vaguely post-apocalyptical military art. It immediately made me think “Twilight:2000 with mechs.”

(Artist credit: http://alex-ichim.deviantart.com/)

It also made me think: Hey, I could do a short-form RPG for that. I already have the rudiments of a resource-hungry system that I started developing for a spy-themed RPG called Double O. (Which, by the way, I might go back to now that I have a better idea of how … Continue Reading

Lessons in Type B

I do tons of session reconstruction in my head for a day or so after a game. I am becoming totally convinced of a session strategy that I call “Type B.”

Type A play is where nobody talks about character internals, or where character internals are a secret. The idea is that since we aren’t mind-readers, we shouldn’t be aware of such things. All we can see are actions. So we try to express what’s going on inside the character through outward actions.

Type B play is where there is extensive discussion about character internals. We lay open our character’s heart and … Continue Reading

Character Pages from The 53

I recently got wildly inspired to work on a spy game, principally because I listened to Adele’s “Skyfall.” This game, tentatively called The 53, is an RPG that tries to recreate the feel of the James Bond 007 Game from back in the 80s. I didn’t have the chance to play it when it was actually in print (I was too poor to afford multiple games back then), and looking at it now, the mechanics seem awfully dated. Also wordy.

In any case, here are some pages for character creation. More to come.


Marks on Substrate

Sayla knew that the idea of noncorporeality, of bits sans grit, bodiless data, was an illusion, the construct of a mind that was itself a construct. The divide between simulation and reality was porously thin. Yet she felt irritated by these crude tactile inputs. The words floated in that other space. The keyboard was a dialing device. Trace the right ley line and an idea would wriggle from its ethereal sea into the world.

Sayla smiled at the signs. Printed words were not words. They are hints. Subtle clues for another mind to unravel. Games between constructs. The lowteks would not … Continue Reading

The One Ring Quick Start Rules

Seeing how Cubicle 7 has so far declined to release their own Quick Start Rules, and seeing how I feel the need to have them, I wrote it up. As a matter of fact, I think I quite like what I made here, because it illuminates certain strategies for playing the game.

There’s no way to play the game itself using only what I’ve written. You’ll still need a GM (aka Loremaster) who has the full ruleset. If you have the same profound affection as I do for both Tolkien and RPGs, you will go out and buy a copy of … Continue Reading


Curiously, the instrument’s murderer had transported the wreck from the original crime scene and laid the carcass here like an offering to the passers-by. Trams came and went, the passengers circumnavigating¬†the thing, rapidly finding anything else to look at, each in turn silently rejecting the implied responsibility thrust upon him by the killer.