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, March 25, 2014


Lulu is running a 20% off sale!!

NOW is your chance to get those Heroes & Other Worlds books  you wanted or get your friends to join you!!  Use the promo code WAFFLESSAY20 to get 20% off for a limited time!!!  Make out like a bandit today!

Sorry I do not know if this works in all countries or regions!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What's in the bag? A d66 table

Back in January I shared a d66 table for what you might find in the woods.  It's the kind of thing I use when hexcrawling or just as a random table when the party does not head right to a location entrance but instead choose to "look around first."

In that same spirit below is another d66 table for "What's in the bag?"  I am not sure about your games, but I am not shy about having bodies pop up here and there to reinforce the idea of the world being a very dangerous and uncertain place.  Occasionally with the body, a bag with something odd, unusual or creepy in it will be found to push the "oddity" meter another notch up.  Sometimes, just a stray bag left behind in a dungeon, found along a river bank, filched off a cart from a merchant or stolen from a person in town should contain something unexpected.

If you are the kind of Referee who likes to have an arsenal of little interesting oddities to toss at players then this kind of table is great to have on a 3x5 card ready for work.  I like the strange and unusual to pop up and add a little unsettling feeling to the game. Consider it an added mystery for the players, "Well what the hell is it and what can we do with do with this?"

Some folks can go over board with the blood and gore and dark cults of the elder gods blinding horror stuff in an attempt to say "THIS IS HORRIBLE MIND BENDING EVIL!" but player reaction can be less than impressed.

I've never had that kind of stuff "wow" or intrigue a group as much as hitting them with something small, odd, and unsettling like, "You find a bag with a greasy hand shaped object in it. Each finger is a partially burned candle and a pulsing black mass seems to shimmer and writhe in the palm of the hand."  Step back and watch the player sit and debate all the odd stuff it could be and as the Referee hearing the players debate and talk about it, THEY will toss out a better idea of what it could be then I could possibly write!

Anyway, here is the table.  Grab 2d6 and put it to work for you!
d66 10 20 30
1 Candles shaped like fingers 6 colored threads, each is 6 inches long A collection of 100 feathers
2 Used bandages 6 wet pairs of long-johns 24 stones in different colors
3 A Jar of Eyes Carved bone flute Pine tar and 3 brushes
4 Tub of lard and 6 pieces burnt bread 6 metal bars wrapped in purple leaves 6 metal vials and 3 bamboo vials
5 Glasses with 4 color lenses A book with all black pages Floor plan of a tower
6 44 folded cloth napkins Climbing spikes and a hatchet a 1' angry squirrel
d66 40 50 60
1 Small pot of ink and brushes Dehydrated fruit, maybe its fruit A stoneware jug covered in hair
2 Partial eaten foot, humanoid Onyx box with gold sigil Broken pottery and hair
3 3 orange keys on a ring 3 Birds in wood cages Dried fish and rotting cabbage
4 Bottle of Old Ogre whisky Four undead rats on leashes A rattle made of finger bones
5 20' of chain and 2 locks 60' silk rope 2 fry pans, and 6 snakes in a box
6 Idol made of stitched skins Strange tin of tobacco and odd pipe Gem shaped like a clawed hand

...AND if that is not enough in one post, hot on my tip to check out Tad's Ars Phantasia site, I'd like to point you to a site of One Page dungeon wonders at I'll See it When I Believe it! Incredible art & unique one page dungeon adventures!  I supported it on Patreon and I think its well worth the coin! Click on over and see the greatness! If you like what you see and if you have a stray ducat to commit to their project, I think its one very well spent!  Game on!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Internet = hexcrawl

It is interesting to me how one can sort of stumble upon hidden treasure using your Google machines to wander Al Gore's World Wide Internets.  It's kind of like having your own digital hexcrawl complete with trolls!

Taking my morning constitutional around the interwebs  I stumbled upon quite a little treasure trove of fantastic material and resources.  I stumbled upon a wonderful island based hexcrawl!  Not too big, and not too small...kind of the perfect starting point for adventures really, welcome to The Isles of Mist.

Wait...there is even more goodness to be discovered! You see Tad has compiled a Hexcrawl resource page that provides a wonderful collection of links to develop and understand the idea and creation of hexcrawls!  Check it out on his Ars Phantasia site. Lots of great material and thoughts on gaming as well as outstanding cartography!  Enjoy it!

Friday, March 21, 2014

The hard part is knowing when to flinch...

So I am going to diverge from talking HOW for a bit to discuss something completely different. You can blame a long trip spent reading the last two Clancy novels published on the airplane combined with recent world events. Skip this post if you like, no harm/no foul my friend.

In the 80's and 90's I voraciously devoured a lot of techno-thrillers. I had started real gaming (advancing beyond Risk and Yahtzee) with old AH stuff like Panzer Blitz and Squad Leader.  I attribute my dad's collection of the Time/Life WW2 hardback series on our bookshelves as my kickstart for buying these games.

So in college I was studying History/PoliSci and German and my girlfriend (at the time) and her friends dragged from the library on a Friday to go see The Hunt for Red October.  They disliked it and I was so entranced I stayed and watched it again. Yup, thanks to Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October"  I obsessed and threw my self headlong into the techno-thriller genre. In fact in college it influenced me enough to look at applying to the CIA and I had applied to join Naval Intelligence but a childhood accident precluded my being accepted.  What could have been...no regrets at all for the path chosen, just a "what if..." in the life...

Anyway,  I read Harold Coyle's "Team Yankee", Col. Ralph Peters "Red Army" and every Clancy book I could get my poor college hands on.  This all happened in college so it was damn hard to find time between classes and working 30 hours a week to sneak these into my schedule, but damn if I did not devour them any chance I got.

So my love of techno thrillers lead to my leaving RPG's for a few years and instead gravitating to games like Harpoon, Third World War, and even TSR versions of Red Storm Rising and The Hunt for Red October.  I bring this all up as Tom Clancy recently passed away and a great article on the Escpaist discusses Clancy's view/use/value of war gaming.

Yup he had his own RedStorm video game company, the Rainbow Six video games and such, but for me his gaming  influence will always be in the realm/ importance of war games.

Given current real world situations: events unfolding in the Ukraine, what if Russia secures natural gas sales with China and they abandon the US dollar for trade? Iran is building a replica of a US carrier right now...and one has to wonder why? Israel is growing impatient with Iran and Russia's no longer going to support  sanctions against Iran.  I really miss a good techno-thriller writer who can capture the current world complexities that seem to be popping up all over, but I can't think of one that does it as well as Clancy did. 

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks to Tom Clancy for some great stories, for inspiring a lot of great gaming back in the day.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

That Sinking Feeling

Sadly of those who decided to join in the crowd sourced islands project aka Savage Shores, only one person actually returned any material, so thanks very much Narmer!  I will save Narmer's contribution for Cauldron #2 and include it there along with some seafaring rules for Heroes & Other Worlds.

On the development front the Tome of Terrors is still in the works for a summer release and my lovely wife is working her magic on art for the cover! So rest assured work is still clicking right along on new stuff for Heroes & Other Worlds! 

Friday, March 7, 2014

New Release!

Now available for Heroes & Other Worlds is J.D. Neal's The Chaotic Caves!

Mr. Neal's work is an homage to the classic B2 Keep on the Borderlands module from yesteryear.  There is a complete town to start your adventures in, a wilderness area to explore with multiple encounters and of course a cave system filled with various denizens and adventures!

I'd say there is actually more adventure in J.D. Neal's work than in the original!

If you are looking to start a campaign this is a great resource to start with, and it could be dropped into Robert Conley's Blackmarsh setting to start an entire campaign!

Note, some of the spells in Chaotic Caves require the Magi Carta or you could always just make it up! Use promo code SUPER20 this weekend to get 20% off all my stuff on Lulu.com (Not sure if that code works in all countries, sorry)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Retrospective: Thieves Guild and GameLords Ltd.

Thieves Guild manual cover
In coming up with bits for Cauldron #2, I am putting together some stuff focused on thieves and banditry.  So this had me reaching back into my game vaults to dig up my Thieves Guild RPG stuff from GameLords Ltd.  This got me thinking about GameLords and thought it might be an interesting subject for a little post.

In a nutshell, Thieves Guild was a D&D-esque system/setting focused on, well, thieves and running adventures around being the bad guy.  Fun things like tomb robbing, hostage taking, banditry, burglary, etc.  The tagline for Thieves Guild was "Sometimes it's more fun to play the bad guys." At times they are right.  We enjoyed playing Thieves Guild and used the GameLords City of Haven setting as a back drop for many adventures. In fact Brian Isikoff has used Haven with Heroes & Other Worlds as well.

The Free City of Haven was a boxed set that had lots of detail and an interesting construction. It seems to be an early Renaissance setting/time period as a backdrop. Within the box came a number of saddle stitched booklets each represented a different borough within Haven.  This is pretty cool as you need only have the little booklet for the borough you are in rather than a massive tome to flip through to find what you are looking for.  I can see where losing a booklet would mean trouble, but I managed to hang onto all of them through the years.

Intrigue on the North Bank Cover, never published
The Free City of Haven was to be detailed in three different products. The boxed set was the core product.  Next was a booklet detailing the "darker" portion of Haven in Secrets of the Labyrinth.  This booklet introduced more of the color and spirit of The Free City including The Black Hand, the Thieves Guild and numerous other potential plot lines.   The third and final book covering Haven was never released, Intrigue on the North Bank. This booklet was to finish tying together the various plot threads from the other Haven products as well as adding in more new NPC's adventures and finish the Borough maps and descriptions of Haven.  The box set provides a map of the whole city and the central boroughs maps/descriptions. The Secrets of the Labyrinth details out the southern boroughs/areas of Haven and includes the borough maps put right into the book.  These have to be removed from the book, but they are on thick card stock.  The never published Intrigue on the North Bank would have finished the Free City and provided the maps/ borough descriptions for that area. Sadly this was never published although the cover for this and Naked Sword by Hannah M.G. Shapero were completed.

Naked Sword cover, never published
GameLords and their "Fantasy System" were to provide the engine for three total games, Thieves Guild, Naked Sword a game about/for fighter type characters, and Paths of Sorcery a game about/for Wizard type characters.  The three together would have provided a complete game, but only Thieves Guild was ever released. This is a shame for while the "Fantasy System" was just sort of a tweaked D&D engine, the little bits of detail and added scope presented in Thieves Guild to thief type character would have been interesting to see applied to fighters and wizards.  The Fantasy system core book was 32 pages and covered all you needed to make a character for the Fantasy System.

The Thieves Guild specific rules booklet  was 40 pages and covered all the rules of play (like combat) and detailed the specific Thief abilities, scenarios, and game play additions for thieves. This was a slim but well put together assortment of details that are great for the perspective Referee and players interested in this kind of game.  Both the Thieves Guild book and the Fantasy System core book look as if they were printed to be sold individually.  I never saw them sold as such at retail, but certainly the product design supported it. The 2nd Edition boxed game (which this rambling missive focuses on) had an MSRP of $15 and besides the two core books included a character sheet and a 32 page saddle stitched bonus pamphlet (suspiciously containing chapters 6,7,8) with some interesting adventures.

Overall The Fantasy System had the usual interesting spins on the grand old game including adding/renaming attributes (Talent, Magnetism, Appearance) adding more playable races (Centaurs, Pxies and Kindoreans oh my!)
It's fine as a "D&D with a difference" engine, but I would not say the added attributes, races and changing of combat mechanics were earth shaking.  Uniquely the weapons each have a THAC0 rating. So combat is adding the weapon THAC0 (and any attribute mods) to the defenders Effective Armor Class (EAC+any mods).  That total number must be rolled equal to or higher on a d20 to hit. For example a dwarf with a short sword THAC0 9 attacks a guy in Chainmail (EAC5) and carrying a shield (EAC1). So 9+5+1=15 which mean the dwarf must roll 15+ on a d20 to hit.

GameLords were working with MetaGaming to provide a number of supplements. They apparently had big plans but only two were published before Metagaming went belly up. Warrior Lords of Darok and the Forest Lords of Dihad were the only 2 products published for Metagming.  A number of other supplements were done, but had to be reworked to fit the Haven setting rather than Metagaming's works. This included the supplements Within the Tyrant's Demense and City of the Sacred Flame.

There were quite a number of releases for GameLords in the time frame from of 83-84 and lot of plans as well, but when Metagaming folded in '83 it killed a revenue generating stream and sales of the GameLords products never reach a critical mass to support further production. The assets and company were sold to Chaosium (Tadashi Ehara) in 1986.  Mr. Ehara still offers some of GameLords products for sale including The Free City of Haven boxed set and the Secrets of the Labyrinth Haven addition (both highly recommended), the TFT supplement Forest Lords of Dihad, a number of Thieves Guild Magazines and even their fine Traveller supplements.  All are quite inexpensive and can be considered "new stock."

If you'd like more info on Thieves Guild, here are some interesting links:

Making a Thieves Guild Character
Another look at Thieves Guild
Rob Conley's look at Thieves Guild

I hope you enjoyed this little vignette and I should have the Heroes & Other Worlds version of JD Neal's "The Chaotic Caves" availble later this week.