What is Heroes & Other Worlds?

Heroes & Other Worlds is a game of adventure inspired by Metagaming's classic Melee/Wizard/TFT system combined with inspiration from the Moldvay edited basic game. The rules are easy to learn and use standard six sided dice. The system is simple, sensible and flexible in the spirit of classic role playing games from the early 80's. Become a Hero, Other Worlds await!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Skills in Blades & Black Magic

Below is a slightly edited skill (based on the HOW skills list) set for Blades & Black Magic.  Anything you see as missing or extraneous? In addition I am looking at the Parry maneuver (again) and am liking the play test of Parry at 4/DX--but you get to add your full weapon skill. AS always your thoughts and comments are valued.




Animal Handler 






Detect Hidden/Hide 

Detect or Tell Lies

Escape Artist








Pick Lock/Trap

Pole Arms

Professional Skill 

Recognize Value 














Two Weapon Combat 

Unarmed Combat

Unique Weapon


  1. As you are going for a Conan vibe, how do you plan on handling his knack of picking up a smattering of all languages?

    1. Conan must make a 3/IQ check when attempting to understand or speak languages he has 'picked up'. 4/IQ for those he has not 'picked up'. It all depends on Conan's IQ - his ability to read the body language and gestures that accompany speech or to recognize similar words in a foreign tongue.

  2. i'll reference the earlier exchange we had about skills where you said:
    >>activities that require specialization versus the Palladium/GURPS "everything is a skill"<<

    it all depends on how you define the skills, especially for something like alertness. i'll also repeat that what i said: (paraphrasing) ultimately, it all comes down to good vs bad Ref

    i still don't like the parry and shield block rule but it is much better than only using half the weapon skill. question: if i parry with a weapon for which i have no skill, is that a 5/DX test? also, you said earlier that skills would not provide any bonuses. has that changed? maybe i misunderstood you again. this new thought on parry seems to imply that skills will impart bonuses - not just reduce die used.

    please consider the following parry and shield block rules:
    3/DX with weapon skill; 4/DX without weapon skill. If successful, attacker rolls one (maybe two) less die for damage.
    Shield Block
    3/DX with shield skill; 4/DX without shield skill. If successful, attacker rolls two (maybe three) less die for damage.

    1. i would like to place heavy emphasis on the "activities that require specialization" for deciding what is and isn't a skill.

    2. This is still a work in progress--it is not written in stone--so I am gaming ideas one way or another to see what works and I appreciate your feedback, thanks!

  3. also, referencing earlier posts, to make myself clearer, here is an example of what i was thinking:

    Use 3/DX (instead of 4/DX) when attacking or parrying with swords.

    Prereq: Swords-1
    Make an extra attack OR an extra parry per round.

    Prereq: Swords-2
    Make 3 attacks OR 2 attacks and one parry OR 1 attack and 2 parries per round.

    1. I appreciate your outlining your idea clearly and I can see what you like, but I am not sure I do. Still thinking about.

    2. just to clarify, this is NOT something i like (all those extra parries and attacks; too many). however, i thought something like this may have been why you were back-sliding on the 'skill: no bonus' plan. i posted this to show that there are other ways to give some skills some extra umph. i'm very pleased with what you and Scott came up with.

  4. sorry if i'm bleeding all over the place. just trying to help, voo-doo man.

    1. No need to apologize, I don't have all the answers and appreciate a different point of view.

  5. What about using rerolls for additional levels above 1 or for each level lets you reroll one die.

    1. Thanks Scott--let me play around with that and see how it works in gameplay, I may still get rid of leveling skills altogether to keep it simple.

    2. Thinking that the dice rerolls would work for combat skills also. It keeps it very simple. One thing about the basic Melee and Wizard is that it is very straight forward with minimal charts and tables.

    3. Agreed Scott it would be clean and simple, and does keep in line with the source material. Still debating if skill level increases will be part of BBM or not.

  6. Two comments:

    First, I've been thinking about skills in TFT and its various clones for a while. Really "skills" or "talents" break down in precisely that way, it seems to me. A "talent" might be something that is inherently yours, not something you learn. For example, you could consider the ability to use magic as a "talent" vice a skill, and thus require it to be chosen at the beginning of character creation. Other, similar "talents" might be something like "charisma" (or the old "sex appeal"). Think of "talents" as inherent benefits gained as a result of the genetic lottery, as opposed to something you can actually learn. One doesn't "learn" charisma, one either has it or one doesn't. Now you CAN learn other things that might function somewhat like charisma -- such as "persuade" or "intimidate." Such things would be "Skills." Generally there should only be a few "talents" available, and they should be relatively limited in their overall effect (charisma gives a +1 to your IQ for reaction rolls, for example). Skills, on the other hand, can be improved as you suggest. Each individual level might not do that much to improve your overall capability, but by the time you get to level 3, you should be pretty darn good at what you do.

    Second (and sort of building on my above statements), for a weapons type skill, you could always go with something similar to what Dark City Games does with skill levels: When you lack a skill, you can attempt it (depending on the skill -- some you might not be able to attempt, or maybe attempts are much less likely to succeed with certain very difficult-to-learn skills) at 4/DX. For example, when you pick up a sword, but lack the "Sword" skill, you roll 4/DX to hit anything with it. When you learn the actual skill (in this case, Sword-1), your test roll drops to 3/DX. When you pick up Level 2 (Sword-2), you can EITHER add +1 to your AdjDX to make the skill test, OR you can add +1 to Damage achieved when you hit. At level 3, you can add +2 to AdjDx to hit, OR, you can add +1 to AdjDx to hit AND +1 to Damage, OR you can add +2 to Damage; with the choice being up to the player before he rolls to hit. For non-weapons skills, the damage modifier would not be an option, and you would simply add either +1 or +2 to your relevant characteristic when making the test roll.

    It's simple, intuitive and easy to keep automatic track of, all of which fits in with the original TFT KISS principle. Since you can only advance Skills to level 3, it also doesn't become something hideous in terms of long-term game balance effects. Anyway, just a thought.