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!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year...let's go exploring!

I wanted to wish you a very Happy New Year and to say thank you for your support and for playing Heroes & Other Worlds!

To say thanks, and in case you are thinking of starting your own campaign in the new year, I uploaded a new free adventure! It is a Heroes & Other Worlds edition of the OGL intro adventure The Vile Worm.

For 2014, I have another two BIG projects on the table for Heroes & Other Worlds: The Tome of Terrors (the monster book for Heroes & Other Worlds) and Blades & Black Magic, an assortment of more game options, Wilderness/Hexploration stuff and some new spells. 

In addition there are two adventure books done already so my hope is to have a quarterly releases this year. In addition I want to get Cauldron #2 out and maybe #3 out as well.  Oh the ambition is there, but I am unsure if the time will be!

One other note, my Sci-Fi game, Rogue Space, is getting a refresh and should be availble this weekend for purchase on Lulu.  It is a completely different system than H&OW, but adheres to the simple to pick up and play philosophy I strive for in all my games.

Thanks again for a great 2013 and cheers to you and yours for a very happy 2014!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Discovered in Briarmoor

I hope you have a chance to get some gaming in over the holidays! In my own home game, Briarmoor,  the players ventured into the tombs below the ruins of Shadowhall.

Sealed and partially sunken in brackish black water was moss covered tomb.  When pried open a wight burst forth wielding a shimmering black and gold spiked mace.  Mad with blood lust the wight savaged the party before finally being set afire and decapitated.

Into the brackish water the mace sank and the players argued over who should get it. Eventually the rogue won the debate and is quite excited by his new prize, but as with so many things in Briarmoor, what may seem a blessing, might actually become a curse. 

I believe LULU is still running the 40% off promo code (LULUEMP2013) so there may still be time left to get Raedwald, Magi Carta, or the core Heroes & Other Worlds rulebook at a massive discount--don't delay!

Good gaming to you!

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Well on a cold Winter's Solstice...the shortest day of the year...RAEDWALD releases!  Lee has written a fantastic grim and gritty Saxon setting!  This is not your high fantasy skipping elves and all powerful wizards...this is mud, blood, backstabbing and brutal deeds by characters with nothing to lose.  The Heroes & Other Worlds system matches up nicely with Lee's work as combat is deadly and they system supports grim fantasy well. Remember, RAEDWALD requires the HEROES & OTHER WORLDS rulebook to play!

I want to than Lee for letting me publish RAEDWALD and appreciate all the time, effort, and inspiration he poured into RAEDWALD.  I'd like to thank Doug Anderson for the fantastic RAEDWALD cartography bringing Lee's land to life!  I'd also like to thank Luigi Castellani for his art contributions...and last but certainly not least, my lovely wife for her patience and support as I worked at times when she would rather I was doing something else.

You can purchase RAEDWALD now and if you use promo code LULUEMP2013 you can get 40% off!  I used the code a few minutes ago to order hard copies for Lee and I...so I know it works, but I do not know for how long nor can I guarantee it works in every country, sorry.

Now Christmas is here and the New Year too!  I am going to spend time with family and friends, and I hope you get to as well!  THANK YOU for all your support this year and for playing Heroes & Other Worlds.  From my wife and I, all the best to you and yours this holiday season!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Armour up!

I cannot believe...I got home...opened the mail...and the print test copies of Raedwall were here ALREADY!

Damn I am excited!

The cover is very dark so that needs tweaking to give it a little more pop!

Then there are some additional issues that will get fixed...but I think this will be ready to purchase on SUNDAY!

AND...just in time as Lulu is offering a 40% off sale!!

They have a current promo code LULUEMP2013 ...BUT YOU CAN ONLY USE THE CODE ONCE!  So I will work Saturday to get it already so you can order Sunday!

Thanks for your patience and support, Lee's Saxon scum gaming goodness is about to be unleashed!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Confirmation leads to waiting

The Saxon Thegn
Lulu confirmed the print tests are done and are now in the mail...the waiting continues...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Nearly there

I had spent all day yesterday working away on layout and editing, 90% done.  Stopped for dinner, comeback, and somehow the file corrupted when the computer went to sleep.  The saved copy also corrupted.  So I spent a late night working to redo bloody everything I had already done.

I am happy to say despite some colorful language here and there last night, the work is "done" and a print test is ordered for a final review.  Now its off to work I go...good lord do I need some sleep...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Kismet? Mini Campaign

I stumbled across a series of recent posts at Aeons & Augauries regarding mini-campaigns.  This process works up and populates 60 hexes. 

This is an interesting primer and should give you an idea of what the Pack Full of Peril project could generate and turn into.

Keep your ideas, concerns and suggestions coming!

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Pack Full of Peril

A few years ago I did a series of mini adventures using great geomporphs published on the web by A.J. at Stonewerks blog and Dyson Logos.

The idea was they were mini adventures with simple set-up for each room and it could all be put on an index card...creating a Pocket full of Peril!

This is the way I still do a lot of my adventures...but rather then just stumbling on a hole in the ground, these sorts of adventures need a place to be and stuff that happens before you get there.  Thus Hexploration or sandbox environments are a perfect way to create a setting for your adventure! May times, the journey can actually become the adventure!

I love the hexcrawl concept and game play style, but my time is limited and populating 300+ hexes feels more like a chore than a joy.  Populating a handful of hexes though with a neat idea or concept though when the idea strikes is a a lot of fun! 

So with your help, here is my concept for a crowd sourced Pack Full of Peril!

I'll put together an overview setting theme/idea for the setting.

 Then each participant uses a 7 hex template and an open source hex map iconography to "draw their map".

Next you populate 7 hexes, and there should be only one major encounter (adventure locale, city, village, town, ruin, or unique hook) in your 7 hexes. Every hex should have a description of terrain and any points of interest, challenges, or other strangeness that might be encountered. 

Then any referee could cobble the 7 hex treasures into their own larger, unique and very detailed sandbox setting map! This would be a creative commons effort and made availble freely after completion.

This is just a basic idea outline, and I will need to work on better detail of the project and better directions, but this would be a unique resource for your Heroes & Other Worlds game!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Choose your own adventurer...

I have some extra time off coming up this weekend so I am on track to finish Raedwald layout/editing and then a print test!

So a recent post on Jeffro's blog regarding H&OW lamented that his son found it difficult to make a new character because of all the choices (skills/spells).  Part of what is going into Blades & Black magic are Archetypes for each class (adventurer/wizard).  There are going to be quite a few but the idea is to give Players a hook for their character, and for the referee to use the same info to build NPC's if they'd like to.  Below is a rough idea of how it works:

For Adventurers
Archetype  (this is something like Ranger, Town Cryer, Mason, Sailor, etc.)

Skills-this will list 6 skills common to this archetype, (a player can pick or randomly roll 1d6)

Starting Equipment-this will list the starting/common gear for this archetype.

For Wizards
Archetype (Summoner, Pyromancer, Witch Hunter, etc.)

Skills (list of 6 player should choose 1 or roll for 1)

Spells (list of 6 player should roll or choose)

The one issue for wizards is they should probably all come from the core rules spells list, but obviously ownership of the Magi Carta vastly expands the potential/specialization.

In addition I am consider an optional "background" chart. This can be used to determine if your character comes from a village, town, or city and only certain archetypes come from each location.

Anyway, its a work in progress, I just wanted you to know the work is ongoing and there is more stuff to come!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Did you know?

Hey right now through DEC 15, Lulu is running a 30% off sale! Use promo code: DECKTHESHELF

Now your next question might be, will Radewald be available before the sale ends?? Sadly no.

I had zero time this past weekend, and am hoping to find some this weekend. Between Christmas shopping, lovely wife's birthday, holiday parties and such its a serious time crunch struggle.

That being said I am doing my best to find time, and in a case or two make time to get this done.  I have no doubt other sales will crop up on lulu before the year is out and I am striving to get Lee's awesome outlaw Saxon scum setting into your gaming paws as quickly as I can!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Closer now...

Lee finished his last pass edits and review of the text! I will go through it again for any more edits as well as adding Rune fonts into the rune magic section and then layout and a print test.

This is a busy weekend so my hope is by getting up crazy early this weekend I can devote a few hours a day to get this done prior to all of my other obligations taking over.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why? (off the trail)

While I have endeavored to keep this blog game specific, it's a blog so sorry, I am going to do a bit of personal yapping here, you were warned...and feel free to ignore! :)

Over the holiday I got asked by a family member why I do this "game stuff"? I trotted out some answer that seemed okay, but the question stuck with me and I have wrestled with it since.

1) It's not the money.
My real job pays me well, demands a lot, and is one of the best jobs a cat could ask for. Sure like any job there are ups and downs, but if you work hard good things happen. So spending a LOT of my own free time and funds doing game stuff is not a get rich quick scheme.

2) It's not a "look at me" endeavor.
I am not doing this to become noted or recognized.  My wife loves me, as does my family and I have some good friends too. What a blessing that is and how could I ask for more?

Yet, because of the games I get to enjoy (and very much appreciate) the folks who stop by to comment, commiserate and critique the game!  I'd love if more people did, but only in that we few, we happy few, can all get excited and build upon each others ideas around the game!  I love seeing other ideas, creative new bits and twists generated by people playing the games and talking about the games...but it does not really have anything to do with me in those conversations except as another eager participant just like anyone else.

3)It's not an "I'm right, they are wrong"effort.
A gazillion people dig a ton of different systems and my scribbling efforts scattered into the gaming maelstrom aren't going to change a single mind about the game system they want to enjoy. Cool, because that's not why I am doing it.  I am not making games because I think I hold the grail of gaming gnosis and am trying to convert all comers! 

So if its not money, not fame, and not a sense of converting others to my game system(s) then why?


Is it really that simple? Hell yes it is, but we are going to did that a bit deeper.

1) I do it for the joy of creation!
Anyone who plays these games knows about the joy of creation. From the joy of creating a character, creating a creature, a magic weapon, a spell, an adventure or an entire world!  Man this whole damn hobby is about creation! Take a pencil, paper, maybe some dice and you can start making something that will be an interactive shared mind blowing mental trip!

2) I do it for the joy action!
Social media (yup blogging is in there too) is kind of a misnomer.  It is "social", but not in the same way as face to face, in the same room smelling Bob's stinky feet, interaction. These games are a good reason to get together for a few hours with family or friends, or hell even strangers who will become friends maybe, and share some adventuring joy.  Every gamer has stories of this character's heroic action, or that character's death, or this adventure where a plan went wrong, or mysterious plot that unfolded or best a friend who got a d6 stuck in his nose at the table.  This style of game provides a joy that no other entertainment I have experienced truly does. Sure we can all talk about the movie or TV show we watched, book we read or sport event we attended, but we were all just passive consumers together.  Adventure games are different. From the Referee's activity in creating an adventure or acting as the arch villain, to the Player's character creation, to the adventure experience shared by all at the table, all of it is a shared, chaotic, interactive and everyone is an active participant.

3) I do it for the joy of sharing.
Let's just roll it out there, if not for doing these games, I'd never get the chance to interact with you!  Some other peeps who share some of the same interests, the joy of playing these games, exchanging ideas, and making other worlds to explore together.  I have met great people who have inspired me with their thoughts, creativity, critiques and creations. I don't find this sort of imaginative inspiration or interest anywhere else in my day to day life except here with you.

So there you have it.  Joy is why I do what I do. Thank you very for spending your valuable time (and even your hard earned money) to inspire me and I hope sometimes you too get inspired, get together with others, get gaming, and maybe even get a little joy in your life from time to time by playing.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Nearly there

We are getting closer now as the 3rd edit of Raedwald just went back to Lee for editing and review.

If all goes well with Lee's edit, and then a 5th one by me after that, I hope to do layout this weekend and maybe even get a print test ordered!

Stay tuned and thanks for your patience and support!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Meanwhile in Raedwald...

After reviewing the main document there were some gaps Lee wanted to flesh out and add. All I can say is, what an impressive amount of work is going into these latest additions to make Raedwald a complete and inspired setting. 

These additions may be completed in the next few days. Then another edit pass through prior to layout...the work is nearing completion.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


First a friendly reminder that the anniversary sale for Heroes & Other Worlds will end tomorrow without warning, so there is no time like the present if you wanted a copy or wanted to let friends know to get it!  Raedwald is still looking good for December so having the core rules will be imperative!

Hey kids, do you like Vikings? Cool, me too. I wanted to recommend an excellent manga, Vinland Saga written and illustrated by the imminently talented by Makato Yukimura. In essence Makato-san takes some well known sagas, and combines them into a new and very interesting saga.  It has all the stuff you expect from a viking saga, with a unique manga style.  The publisher, Kodansha Comics, has created a brilliant format for the work.  The first books is HARDBACK, 460+ pages and is a nice 8 x 5.5 size letting you really enjoy and soak up Makato-san's art!  I had meant to read it in sections so as to drag it out until volume 2 in January...but it was too good!  I read it in two days and look forward to enjoying it again over the holidays! MSRP is $19.99 for the book, but some hunting on ebay can turn it up for $13. You can also get a digital version, but I am still a Luddite and prefer (recommend) the physical book. Either way, it's worth your time!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Anniversary #1...

of Heroes & Other Worlds!  I can't thank you enough: the good folks at Dark City Games, the players, the supporters, the commentators, the critics and the lurkers for giving this knucklehead's game some of your time and attention! THANK YOU!

As a thank you, for this weekend only, the core rules are on sale!  Get the PDF for $9.99 or the print book for $15! If you are new to Heroes & Other Worlds, now is your chance to give it a go! This special pricing will end by Monday so get after it!

Holy crap, it's been a busy, and productive year for Heroes & Other Worlds and I am happy to say year two looks to be another good year of releases kicking off with Lee Reynoldson's Raedwald in December!  Blades & Black Magic, which will have lots of player options and some alternative stuff, will be out in 2014 and there are two larger adventure modules coming out next year as well! Undoubtedly, another Cauldron or two will also roll out next year too!

So from me to you, thanks and, God willing, I hope we get to share many more of these!   I am cracking a beer, rolling some d6's and sharing an adventue with some friends this weekend to celebrate.

Good gaming to you!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Some Raedwald info

So let's talk a bit about how Raedwald is different from your regular game of Heroes & Other Worlds.

Yup 3 levels total for characters to advance in. Your XP still is used for improving skills but Gielp (Glory) measures your advancement in level. Gielp is gained by successfully completing missions and being rewarded by your lord.  The Glory (Gielp) you get from gifts/ rewards is the value that applies to raising your level!

Like HOW, you roll 3 dice and compare to your IQ+level, trying to roll under it.  Unlike HOW, the spells and magic work a little differently. Not all spells cost EN, and none of the spells from HOW or Magic Carta work. Only Wizards can learn spells and then only from their specific class! 

Also note, Magic does NOT level up like skills with XP, instead your Level is the bonus applied as a bonus to your casting attempts.  So level 1 adds +1, Level 2 adds +2 and level 3 adds +3. 

That's just a very high level look at what's to come!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Busy week, two days in and this week feels like I have had a month of trouble...yech.

..but I have VERY GOOD news on the Raedwald front! Lee Reynoldson has finished the initial edit of the HOW version of Raedwald and is writing again! 

Lee is adding some additional bits which are going to really make Raedwald a complete setting!  In addition he has some ideas for possible articles in future issues of the Cauldron to build on to Raedwald after it launches.  So the work continues and is coming along quite nicely, thank you for asking!  Still looking positive for a December release! 

Friendly reminder the Heroes & Other Worlds rules will be on sale for this 1 year anniversary weekend (16-18), let your kith and kin know!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Time flies

Just dawned on me the 1 year anniversary of Heroes & Other Worlds is coming up! Wow time flies, and I can't thank you enough for supporting the game!

11/18/12 is when Heroes & Other Worlds launched and over the anniversary weekend (11/16-11/18) I think I'll do some special pricing on the core rules to celebrate!

If you missed the 40% off sale Lulu had, this will be another chance to grab the core rules at a special price!

  It would be a great time to do it as you will want them to use with Heroes & Other Worlds version of Lee Reynoldson's Raedwald when it releases (hopefully in December!)

Thanks for a great year, and there is much more to come!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

And now...

it's the calm before the storm! The working document of the Heroes & Other Worlds conversion of Lee Reynoldson's Raedwald is now in his inbox!  I have asked Lee to go throught it, let me know where things need tweaking, and once his edits comeback, then the final push to layout and get 'er done is on!!

Note, the Heroes & Other Worlds version of Raedwald requires the H&OW rules book to play it!

I am also considering running a contest of some kind to give away some hard copies of the completed Raedwald...not sure what the contest might be yet, but it's in the mental hopper. 

Friday, November 1, 2013


In my college days I liked that enchanting card game that people flocked around.  Lots of creativity in the monsters with a lot of original ideas and interesting creature flavor.

I am sure I am not the only Referee who thought this was a fertile wellspring for creating  new terrors to spring on my players and it wasn't unusual to keep a small stack on hand for inspiration during a session.

What's proved a challenge for me is how to read a card into a more friendly format.  Well having toyed with it bit I think I may have found a pretty reasonable conversion!  This will give you 2 base attributes (ST/DX), MV, AR and damage for monsters. Then you pick the IQ and if there are any special effects, you will have to figure that one out for yourself.  No ancient items, or spells or anything else can be converted using the spread sheet, just beasties.  Give it a spin and I hope you dig it!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

no worries, not dead

I had a couple private emails asking me "hey what's up? No posts lately? Iis the game dead or what?"

The answer is a resounding "No!"  Heroes & Other Worlds is very much alive, and despite my real job's best efforts to bury me this year, I remain fighting fit although quite weary.

 It's been a whirlwind of activity in the real world on the job in terms of travel and time commitment, and on the family front a number of bad news illnesses and surprises this year that have taken most of my personal time outside of work.  All in all,  it's really taken its toll this year.  Even so, all's well that ends well, and health concerns on the family front are blessedly on the mend and the majority of heavy lifting this year on the job front is complete, now its time to see if all the hard work pays off as we hope.

Yada, yada, yada...everyone's got problems Jack, so what about the game? Well glad you asked.

The HOW version of Lee Reynoldson's Raedwald  is still on track to be done and out this year. This is my one true goal to finish out lucky year 2013.  Beyond that, I do have two other projects already done and in the hopper for next year.  So more releases are coming for sure, no worries and thanks for your support!

I will have to ask for your further patience though, I do have ideas and a plan for 2014--but need to focus on completing Raedwald and getting that to you first, before saying more.  Stay tuned heroes...there is most assuredly more to come!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Alfred the Great, me not so much

I think I mentioned it before but two of my favorite reads are Ancient Warfare magazine and Medieval warfare magazine.

I subscribed to both and get PDF issues, then loot them for all sorts of great ideas.  So tonight they emailed and I downloaded the latest Medieval Warfare magazine.  This issue is perfect for those of you who dig a gritty and more Dark Ages style game.
Check it out for yourself here.

Now for the not so great part of the post.  I have more ideas than time in my life right now to do everything I want to get done.  Between work, travel, and other obligations, I am burning myself down.  So I had to make a hard choice, but I think its the right one...Cauldron #2 will have to wait as I focus my limited availble time on finishing the conversion of Lee Reynoldson's Raedwald.

Cauldron #2 will still come out, I just can't guarantee when, and Lee's Raedwald is so great, it's the one I would want to have first as a player too.

Thanks for your support and patience!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Where I am at

Work has me swamped so my posting and responses are not as quick as normal.  That being said I wanted to give you a quick update on where I am at on some projects:

Cauldron 2, about 75% done-this is planned to be out in Late October.

Lee Reynoldson's Raedwald- Also about 75% done this is planned to be out in December.

In addition I have two completed projects I have not mentioned before. I am saving these for release next year. My hope is those two will give me "cover" as I work on Blades & Black Magic. By cover I mean there will be continued releases as I grind away on Blades & Black Magic.

Thanks for your patience and your continued support!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hit location test

Clint Staples has provided the following as a test for humanoid hit locations and effects.  Give it a spin and let me know what you think!

Hit Locations - Humanoids

Melee [D66] Hit Location
60 - 66 Head
51 – 59 Left Arm
41 - 50 Right Arm
28 - 40 Torso
20 - 28 Left Leg
11 - 19 Right Leg

ARmor Value Hit Location


Left Arm

Right Arm


Left leg

Right Leg

Ranged [D66] Hit Location
64 - 66 Head
58 - 63 Left Arm
52 - 57 Right Arm
25 - 51 Torso
18 - 24 Left Leg
11 - 17 Right Leg

Minor Hit - Effects: Location hit but less that ½ ST – Next turn only.
  • Head – dizzy and confused, -2 DX and Move, 3/ Alertness or IQ to notice or act.
  • Arm – Lose the use of that arm, item carried [Weapon, torch, etc] is retained.
  • Torso – sickened and winded, -2 ST.
  • Leg – stumble, 1/2 Move.

Major Hit - Effects: Location hit for ½ ST or more – Effect continues until Healed or Physicked.
  • Head – as above; roll 3/ EN to remain conscious.
  • Arm – Lose use of that arm, drop anything carried.
  • Torso – as above; roll 3/ ST to stay standing.
  • Leg – drop to knees, fight from there, Move = 2.

If a location, previously wounded, is damaged again, the effect automatically becomes a Major Hit.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Here is a sneak peek of the Briarmoors which is the mini-hexcrawl going into the Halloween book.  Still have not decided if it will be a one shot book or official Cauldron #2, but I still have time to figure that out!

In addition here is one of the new critters showing up in the Briarmoors...

The Bog Rotter (Territorial)
Image Source
#1d6+1 ST6 DX9 IQ7 MV3 Walk /7 Hop
AR-1, DM1d6 bite/claw SP:Rot TR: Lairx2 (in lair)

Bog Rotters are pale froglike humanoids known to inhabit swamps, moors, and other unpleasant areas. They tend to live in tribe like groups and fiercely protect their breeding grounds.  Their eyes give off a pale red luminescence which is often mistaken as lamp or torch lights in the gloom or fog.  The Bog Rotters often use this to lure unsuspecting groups into marshes to get them stuck, into fog to get them lost or worse into ambushes so their young can feed on the victims warm living flesh.

SP: Rot
The touch coveys a rotting corruption to cloth, leather or even scratched skin. Cloth will rot to useless rags in 1d3 days, Leather in 1d6 days and skin touched becomes diseased. The touched suffers -1 ST per day for 1d6 days or until the wound is cleaned thoroughly with soap and hot water or is doused liberally with a high alcohol content liquid.   

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Image source
As I work on a spooky themed Cauldron #2 It's really fleshing out into its own book of sorts.

Currently a spooky mini hex crawl, a slew of spooky strange spells and two mini adventures comprise the contents.

I am considering making this whole thing a one time a year only, Halloween, purchase.

And part of me is even considering making it a one time only purchase on Halloween 2013--physical copies only.

Not sure yet where it will net out, but as I work away on it that's where I am.

By the way if you know Latin can you tell me which might be correct?

Ater Vade Mecum or
Vade Mecum Ater?


Friday, August 23, 2013

Revised hit location

I woke up at 2am thinking about this so I dashed off the revision below.  Nothing major really, just a good (IMHO) refinement.

This chart uses a d66 roll. This is best done with two different colored 6 sided dice . One d6 is read as increments of tens (1=10,2=20,3=30, etc) and the other is read as ones (1,2,3 etc.)  As an example, I have a red d6 read as tens and a blue d6 read as ones. I roll both and the red die is a 2, the blue die is a 4, so my result is 24.

In addition to further simplify hit location, I combined abdomen and chest into one simple Torso location. Where I am "stuck" now is in hit location results.  I envision two different charts.

The first is a simple list of modifiers like
If you are hit in the leg, suffer X movement loss during your next turn. 
If you are hit in the arm add +2 DRM to any DX action in your next action

Then a secondary list of critical results by location that each have a random roll.

The "stuck" part is how to determine when to switch between the two.  In my mind this can be either or maybe both:
1) the result of rolling a critical result (a natural 3 or 4) roll for a critical
2) or can be based on weapon damage delivered: (if 6 or more points of damage are taken,after AR deduction, by a human sized or smaller sized opponent in one attack, roll for a critical.

Thoughts or opinions?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Project reports

Just a quick update on what's happening behind the scenes:

Working on some materials for Cauldron #2

Working on the HOW versions of Redwald.

Working on translating 2 great OGL adventures to HOW.

The work continues

Friday, August 16, 2013

Inquiring Minds

So I had an interesting set of questions come up.

Just in case you had similar thoughts or questions I have posted it here:

Q: If a character has Dagger+2 (allows one extra attack per turn), and Two Weapon Combat +1, does this result in three attacks per turn or four?

What if the character Berserk Attacks?

What was your intent here?

A: Good questions. This situation never came up in any play testing situation, I never had any players try stacking skills or ask about doing it.

I'd rule it as pick which one skill you want to use in combat, either dagger or two weapon attack.

As to Berserk? This seems to be causing much more confusion than I ever thought possible. It's my fault for assuming the word and notion of Berserk was clear on its own.

So the definition of the word Berserk is
1. Destructively or frenetically violent: a berserk worker who started smashing all the windows.
2. Mentally or emotionally upset; deranged: berserk with grief.
3. Informal Unrestrained, as with enthusiasm or appetite; wild: berserk over chocolates.

In no way does the notion of Berserk imply a cautious or carefully skilled maneuvering.  Going berserk is the antithesis of a skilled attack as it is raw fury. In my own games only starting characters or low ranking foes used berserk as once they got some skill it was not necessary as a manuever. Most players saw going Berserk as making you too vulnerable, especially if archers or slingers were around.

So all of that to say, a player trying to combine their skilled attacks with a Berserk action is misunderstanding what berserk means as a word and why those two things do not go together.

Clearly that's may fault for assuming the term and idea of berserk would be clear.

Thanks for the questions.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cauldron #2: The Theme

Image Source
Now I am cold but a ghost lives in my veins,
Silent the terror that reigned -
Marbled in stone
A Shell of a man-god preserved -
For thousand ages,
But open the gates of my hell-
I'll strike from the grave!
--Iron Maiden, Powerslave 

For the past two years I tired to put together a 31 days of Halloween 1 page adventure compilation for October. It never worked out and after two strikes at the plate, I am not going to get rung up swinging for the fences with a third try.  

Even so I think Halloween  is the freaking PERFECT theme for  Cauldron #2. Why not have specialty Wizards like the Necromancer or Witch? A Specialty Adventurers like the Witch Hunter? How about creatures like the Vampire or Werewolf? I left lots of thing out of the HOW basic rules on purpose so they could be explored in depth in articles for the Cauldron.

With the theme set, IF there is something YOU would like to develop for Cauldron #2 like a creature, spooky adventure, or specialty variant class for HOW...here is your chance!  Deadline to submit would be Mid-September.

Friday, August 9, 2013

You hit him in the...

One of the good memories I have from RuneQuest (Started with the AH players box edition) was the idea of hit locations and armor by location.

It was a very simple system that added a little crunch and cool factor without going crazy (like the I.C.E. Law products or say FGU's Aftermath.)

So inspired by that to the left is a simple version for HOW. It will be fleshed out with optional impact results based on damage/location-but for now if you'd like to use something like this to spice up your game, have it!

Monday, August 5, 2013


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One of the opportunities for improvement in HOW are the rules for combat option Berserk. Having play tested it I did not run into the issues being raised now.  So let's look at it.

First what the frak is a Berserk anyway?

From Wikipedia
The actual fit of madness the berserker experienced was referred to as berserkergang ("going berserk"). This condition has been described as follows:
This fury, which was called berserkergang, occurred not only in the heat of battle, but also during laborious work. Men who were thus seized performed things which otherwise seemed impossible for human power. This condition is said to have begun with shivering, chattering of the teeth, and chill in the body, and then the face swelled and changed its colour. With this was connected a great hot-headedness, which at last gave over into a great rage, under which they howled as wild animals, bit the edge of their shields, and cut down everything they met without discriminating between friend or foe. When this condition ceased, a great dulling of the mind and feebleness followed, which could last for one or several days.[14]
So in combat you become a wild killer. Now my concept was to make this "berserk action" into a simple and clean basic option in combat.  The issues that have arisen make it clear that its neither clear nor simple. So let's see if we can't tweak it a bit: 

BERSERK you get two attacks on your turn, either two on one foe or one attack each on two adjacent foes, but you lose all defense options and any armor protection (AR) while you are berserk.

Wait...the rules don't say (currently) I can't choose to defend, and you are correct. I assumed the idea of going Berserk spoke for itself...Berserkers did not attack and then parry or block or dodge..they just all out attacked! So its my fault for assuming the idea of going berserk spoke for itself.  So to be clear...IF an attacker goes Berserk, he cannot choose ANY defending maneuvers/actions nor receive any AR protection while Berserk.

Next is the idea of Berserk rage. I was saving this as part of the advanced option in BBM, but what the hell, we are discussing Berserk here.  The following are advanced options for using the Berserk combat option in your game.  You can use them or not, but the Referee needs to be clear BEFORE the game begins if these advanced rules are in effect or not.

Going Berserk (Advanced option)
To use the Berserk combat option the attacker must spend 1 turn not moving and doing nothing but focusing on going berserk. If attacked or wounded during this turn of focus, the berserker adds +1 to any damage done while berserk.

After the turn of focus, the attacker goes berserk for 1d6+1 turns randomly. Each turn spent berserk the character can move up to 1/2 their normal move and may make 2 attacks on one target or one attack each on two adjacent targets.  A Berserker loses all defense maneuver/action options and loses any armor protection (AR) while berserk. If there are no foes left alive in combat, the berserker will next attack its own friends, starting with the closest ones, until they are dead or until the berserk rage is ended.

The berserk attacker spends 1 EN for each turn beserking. If no EN is available, 1 ST is spent for each turn berserk. After ending the berserk rage, the berserker collapses and is stunned for 1d6 turns. The collapsed berserker may make take no actions, no maneuvers, no speaking, nor any movements while stunned. After this collapse period the former beserker may move and act normally.

Remember HOW is the love child mash-up of of Moldvay Basic D&D, Melee, Wizard, and Dragons of Underearth.  I saved a lot of the more advanced, optional or crunchy rules for a later volume Blades & Black Magic. So stay tuned fellow gamer, there is more to come.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Wither Redwald?

I have had some private emails as well as recent post question asking, in light of Lee Reynoldson announcing he is no longer adding new material for Redwald, will there still be a Heroes & Other Worlds edition?

The answer is a resounding YES!

My goal is to release the HOW version of Lee Reynoldson's Redwald in Q4 of this year!

Lee has written an epic amount of brilliant material so it will be one hell of a great and complete Other World setting! It's grim, its gritty, its outlaw Saxon scum!

Note, the HOW version of Lee Reynoldson's Redwald book will require the HOW core rules to play/ use it.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Moor Hounds

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Moor Hound
ST8 DX12 IQ6 EN8 MV6; AR:-1; DM:1d6+1 bite; SP: Teleport; TR: none
A moor hound appears as a massive, slavering, deep purple or blue (3 foot at the shoulder) shaggy wolf like creature.  A Moor Hound is noted for its green glowing eyes and a blood curdling howl that sounds like a soul in torment. In fact a moor hound is the manifestation of a lost soul trapped in this world and tormented by its untimely, lonely death.  The hound itself has a unique and eerie method of combat. It attacks like any creature, but if hit and sustains damage, it disappears for 1d6 turns. Then randomly reappears within 1d6 spaces (5’ to 30’) of the one who wounded it.  If slain the Moor Hound regenerates on the next full moon.
The only way to permanently destroy a Moor Hound is to find the body of the person that spawned the Moor Hound. Regardless of how long the person was dead, it will look like it is only recently dead (within minutes of death.) A full burial service must be performed to lay the spirit to rest and end the moor hounds haunting.
Some more vile beings have been known to ambush victims in hopes of creating moor hounds and using them to protect their treasure, lairs or other buildings.  The chance of someone unexpectedly slain and being in torment due to unfinished business or other reasons is a rolled result of a 17 or 18 on a 3d6 roll.
Adventure Seed
The players are attacked by 3 Moor Hounds on the road to a village.  When they inquire of the villagers, they find the moor hounds have caused trade and travel to their village to trickle to nothing. In addition people have gone missing or not returned from trips outside the village. They agree to pay the party 200 coins if they can defeat the Moor Hounds. 
A witch is setting up an area of control and plans on using the villagers in her plans to build power. So far she has managed to get 3 moor hounds created from the deaths of the many travelers and villagers she has ambushed and slain.  The characters should be forced to scour the area or track the moor hounds to find the home of the witch. The witch and moor hounds will battle them and the players must proceed to have official burials for the slain that generate the moor hounds. 
The witch is actually the wise woman/leader of the village, she hopes to slay the Heroes as they will have a 1 in 6 chance of becoming a new Moor Hound if she slays them by betrayal.
The Heroes discover the witch is Belmina (from the Witch of Bruen adventure) and has set this trap to take revenge on the Heroes. She will escape if things look bleak.
There is no witch or evil plan, just 3 unfortunate souls slain by bandits scattered in the woods and moors who must be found and put to rest.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Saxon's Progress

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Just a quick update and special news:
Work continues behind the scenes on a Heroes &Other Worlds version off Lee Reynoldson's Redwald setting.

In fact Doug Anderson of Blue Boxer Rebellion blog fame has completed the Redwald setting map! As a sneak peek of what's to come, you can go to the downloads section and get the Redwald B&W map for free right now!

It is best to print as 11x17 (roughly A3), so download the map soon and visit Lee's Redwald blog to get a sense of the Saxon scum setting!

Also don't forget: You can get Heroes & Other Worlds, Magi Carta or other Lulu.com books at 25% off from 7/3-7/5...use code FIREWORKS to get 25% off!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Black Company

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I recently finished the first Black Company trilogy by Glenn Cook and I'd like to recommend them to you.

There are a number of books in the overall series, and while I have only read the first 3, I am hopeful the rest have the same qualities:

1) Gritty action
2) Grounded Magic
3) Interesting characters
4) Difficult dramatic situations
5) No clean endings

I think the literature (regardless of genre) I enjoy most are those with characters who are complex and do not always do the right or even the best thing.  I don;t like being able to guess where things are going or how things will play out within a story.  I prefer "mud and blood" gritty details to high fantasy wispy scenes.  I prefer lean prose to overly detailed descriptions.  In all of these things Glenn Cook's Black Company excels.

In a nut shell the Black Company is a mercenary group with a long history and the tales are told from the Company's Historian point of view.  The company (early on) ends up working for the bad guys (The Lady and The Taken) and there is a constant tension in the tales because of it. The Lady is an ancient evil who was wedded to The D0minator (think Sauron).  While the great evil was defeated, its come back...bent on domination...and the Black Company ends up working for them. Imagine if the LotR Fellowship was actually working for Sauron but torn about doing it...that's about the most basic (although not accurate) sort of idea.
There are many more details and twists to the story arc, but I won't spoil it by telling here.

The books are short in keeping with their lean prose, and I've manged to blitz through them on the many plane trips for business I've had this year.  I think they are quite good and if you are interested in a HOW military based campaign, or are looking for a unique take on villains and magic, this Trilogy is a great resource on top being a really good read.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


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As promised the map pack for Cauldron #1 is now available for free download at the Heroes & Other Worlds downloads link to your right.   In the span of 8 months the HOW system has seen the release of:
  • Basic Rules
  • Magi Carta spell tome
  • HOW version of the Robert S. Conley's Blackmarsh setting
  • Hunt combat quest (free download)
  • HOW version of The Beacon at Enon Tor (free download)
  • Cauldron #0 (free download)
  • Cauldron #1
Holy crap am I tired!

Behind the scenes I have two free adventures that will be available for download this summer. One will release in July and the other will release in August.  In addition, I have worked on Blades & Black Magic as well as a conversion of Lee Reynoldson's Outlaw Saxon scum setting Redwald.

All of that to say...I am taking a break....sort of...

You see I have an earlier SciFi game...Rogue Space...that is getting a revised edition.  So rather than burn myself out on HOW, I am stepping away for a wee bit so I can knock out the Rogue Space revision over the summer.

Fear not HOW fans, as I will still post here and as I said, I have two adventures to release this summer and some projects to tinker with continually for HOW. So I am in no way gone nor somehow taking a break form HOW, instead I am just taking a break form the crazy pace of trying to make stuff for HOW.  I am neither gone nor on hiatus, just slowing the pace for the summer....a repose if you will.

Don't forget Cauldron #2 can still use your submissions if you'd like to contribute! Submission deadline is 8/31/13--email me direct fenway5 (at) frontier (dot) com

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cauldron Map Pack

This weekend I will be compiling the maps from Cauldron #1 into a letter size (8.5x11) map pack for free download.  In addition there was an image omission from the "Gone to Ground" scenario that I will add into the map pack!

Thanks for your support!!

Map image to the left is a redesign of the Melee map from Kwanchai Moriya.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Cauldron #1 complete!

Well fellow Heroes, it is COMPLETE!  Man what a chore to get over the finish line today!

Well it would not have been possible with out the outstanding contributions (in alphabetical order) of:

T.M. Arnold

E.P. Donahue

Garrison James

A.J. Stone

Sean Wills

and of course my lovely wife!

Note the Book & PDF are both full art, thus the prices are fairly close to one another.  Use code JUNEBOOKS13 to get 20% off.

Also my wife's cover awesomeness is ONLY available if you buy the physical book.  It's worth it because she is going to get a nice bouquet of flowers from the proceeds! Check out that cover majesty, hell yeah she deserves it!

You can buy either (or both) editions of Cauldron #1 at lulu.com or just click the Heroes & Other Worlds cover image in the top of the bar to your right.

Below is the table of contents for Cauldron #1 and I sure hope to have YOU get inspired and contribute an article or adventure to Cauldron #2! Send it to me: fenway5 (at) frontier.com
  • Thoughts from an Other World...C.R. Brandon, p5
  • Zero to Hero...E.P. Donahue, p7
  • Caught in a Sticky Bind...E.P. Donahue and A.J. Stone, p12
  • Arms & Armor...T.M. Arnold, p15
  • Your Kingdom to Dust...Sean Wills, p18
  • Alchemist's Emporium...C.R. Brandon, p25
  • The (not-so-empty) Crypt of Baljessor...Garrison James, p32
  • Torch Tanager...E.P. Donahue, p 42
  • The Land Blight...E.P. Donahue, p43
  • A Season of Despair...E.P. Donahue, p44
  • Doors...C.R. Brandon, p50
  • Gone to Ground...Sean Wills, p51
 Also I am pleased to support Dark City Games with issue #1 as their ad reveals a new Sci-Fi adventure coming this Autumn!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Appendix Historia

Thanks to D&D, it is now standard to have an "Appendix N." For most games it is filled with lots of great, and some suspect, fantasy works. I have not decided if I will add one to Blades & Black Magic yet, but I thought I'd yap a bit about it here, and that in the end may be more than enough.

My "Appendix N" would actually be more an Appendix Historia.  I find history and historical fiction far more interesting as a draw and basis for creating fantasy adventures instead of say a Robert Jordan novel. That's not a slight against Mr. Jordan (God rest his soul) but more a statement about how I think fantasy novels can negatively  influence  your own adventures.  In other words, what you create will be in some way a pastiche of the fantasy work you were influenced by. Contrast that to taking a historical event and adding a bit of the fantastic into it.  To me, this creates a solid grounding which is a pigeon hole that players can become comfortable in, then you leak in the fantastic and up the ante. The Song of Fire and Ice series (Game of Thrones, etc.) has its genesis from the War of the Roses..but with a lot of fantasy tweaking.

So let's take the French & Indian War as we called the 7 years war here in the colonies.  In essence there were numerous raids back & forth by small bands and a few major engagements around forts and cities.  The majority of the conflicts were small forces raiding and harassing one another.  I used this as a basis for long campaign where two human kingdoms were at war between the edges of their colonies. The players were all "colonists" caught in between and tasked with defending their little village. Eventually they are raided...by a mixed force of humans...and elves! Yup the elves played a "neutral" force and many trials and misfortunes rested upon the ability to convince elves to stay on the player's side.  Then other fantastic elements would appear, caverns, wendigo, giants, ogres, undead.  The deeper they explored and the worse the war became the worse the fantastic element that was unleashed...but it never became a "monster of the week" sort of thing.

Anyway, my point is from a historical event I was able to slowly build a campaign that didn't rely on monster of the week, nor a deeper dungeon level, nor "more magic" to create excitement. The historical events were already proven tense and interesting, I just had to tweak them a bit and had the joy of adding a little more fantasy wow factor when I needed to!

So this summer I have embarked on a massive summer re-reading of some classics that form the core of the Appendix Historia for HOW. 

Herodotus, The Histories
Thucydides, History of the Peloponnisian War
Livy, The War with Hannibal
Arrian, The Campaigns of Alexander
Xenophon, The Persian Expedition

I have a laundry list of more history, a lot of great books from historians like Adrian Goldsworthy, John Keegan, Donald Kagan and Victor Davis Hanson, as well as great historical fiction to recommend as well...but finishing Cauldron #1 and making it available this Saturday is probably of more immediate interest.

The work continues...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

City of Aziz

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In Cauldron #1, Sean Wills has created a unique adventure entitled Your Kingdom to Dust. As written it hints at a middle eastern motif.

As I was editing I tacked a wee bit into it naming the city and adding a little color to the NPC's.

That inspired me to think a bit deeper about the now named City of Aziz.  I am going to blame the combination of having watched Lawrence of Arabia last night along with editing Sean's adventure today...and like chocolate and peanut butter they are creating something good!  Don't worry Aziz is in the "to do" pile...for the Cauldron #2!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bubbling Up

Work is cracking right along on Cauldron #1. This one is so chock full of adventuring goodness I can't wait to hear the tales of your Heroes experiences!

To the left is a sneak peek of a hand drawn map by A.J. Stone of Stonewerks blog fame to accompany E.P. Donahue's  adventure for "zero level" Heroes!  Better yet? He created it so you could download and use minis to play it!  That's just a tiny taste of what's to come in Cauldron #1

I am probably MORE anxious to get this completed and out because I'd really like to see more folks playing HOW and not just reading it.  With Cauldron #1 there are no excuses for not grabbing some dice and having a go! The work continues...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cauldron Update

Update on Cauldron #1 because layout has begun! Lots of great articles submitted and some fantastic adventures to dig in and play! I'd expect to have Cauldron #1 ready for you within 2 weeks.