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!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Eye of Horus

I found a unique Eqyptian themed adventure by Graeme Davis published in Imagine Magazine waaaaay back in 1984--over 30 years ago--holy crap.  Graeme has provided many of his published adventures for free download--and Sethotep is one of those!

Sethotep was published with creature stats for B/X, AD&D, and DragonQuest...and I thought it needed stats for HOW! So I wrote up a cheat sheet for creature stats you can download here! Once you have downloaded the adventure from Graeme's site, you can use the HOW conversion creature sheet to play it.

The treasure can be a bit "generous" as is D&D's want, so I'd say make anything in GP silver instead, and  maybe cut it in half.  Up to you, but I prefer treasure to be not quite as bountiful.  Your mileage may very...

Now fire up some Iron Maiden Powerslave and get to it!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Status update

Hello strangers!

Well the year is coming to a close in my real life job, and what a year it has been. Unfortunately all that work left me with little time to get the HOW things done I wanted to, but never fear! I have time off coming up and intend to (finally) finish Cauldron 2 and get it out before the end of the year!

Then Blades & Black Magic will be the next project to complete--and I am hoping to make major progress during my time off.  I have some spells to finish and culture/people of Rodinia to write up.

In the meantime Warren asked for a list of OGL status translated to HOW--and I am happy to make that happen so click the link and download them for free!

My wife and I want to wish you and yours a very happy holiday season filled with much cheer and plenty of gaming! Lord knows I want to get 2 scoops of cheer and a lot of gaming in myself!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy HOW-lloween!

Well it is all treat and no tricks here at HOW central.  On October 31st, I hput together 3 adventures into a special free Halloween Cauldron PDF download.

This could be slip these into your campaign world quite easily and while one adventure has already been published as a free download before, I include it here as I used it to kick off this series of adventures with my own group.  Note, the final adventure is very hard and very deadly.  My own players fled and did not make it too far--which is fine because as the Referee it creates a thread of doom and story to use and to "threaten" players with long term.

Spooktacular Halloween wishes to you and yours, but like Halloween, it did not last and is now gone...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Sorry the craziest year ever in my work life last year...was trumped by this year's insanity.  I am very happy and grateful to have a great job in the real world, but the office demands and travel are severely cutting into any shot at time to write and create. I know this may come as a surprise, but my lovely wife would like to spend time with me as do other family and friends in those spare hours when I have time to do so. 

So I apologize to you that things are not coming along as quickly as I had hoped and intended. I can only ask your continued patience and hope that the results will be worth the wait.  I am as anxious to get some new stuff out as (I hope) you are to see some new stuff. Thank you!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

This is Ruskya

Don't let the quiet fool you, work on Blades & Black Magic is happening on jets as I travel (a lot) for work...

Below is a first pass at a Rodinia homeland entry for Blades & Black Magic--tell me what more (within reason) you need to make it worthwhile.  Keep in mind (from me) you are not going to get a frustrated novelist rendition of who begat who in the snowy wilderness among the wolf people before the ancients learned to write yada yada yada...

YOU can make that up and it will be more real and more important because YOU know what you like and how YOU want to play it! I want to give you enough to work with to develop that kind of story--without pouring a sticky syrup of words over it all that drowns your own creativity!

One of the features is a SWOT for each homeland.  SWOT is a business analytical brief used to determine: Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats.  This can be applied to new markets, current operations, new opportunities, etc. Having to do these in the real world made me think it might provide an interesting hook/framework to be used for each homeland.

So without further blather--here is the initial take on a homeland, let loose your comments for good or ill.

Government structure: Warring clans
Weather: Short spring and summer, long, rainy autumn, cold, snow heavy winter
Typical Food: Wild animals, root vegetables
Typical drink: Mead
Typical house: Animal skin yert or wood cabin
Gods: War, Trickster, Mother, Animal, Weather
Trade goods: Furs, raw metal, raw wood
Typical village: 140 men, 100 women, 210 kids.
Typical livestock: Goats and chickens

Ruskya Strengths
Strong fighters
Forest and mountains make them tough to invade
Many natural resources

Ruskya Weaknesses
Fear Magic
Clans mistrust each other
Harsh weather

Ruskya Opportunities
Develop industry to convert resources
Unite clans to become a power
Develop a trade city to bring in wealth

Ruskya Threats
Invasion by a unified power
Secret cabal of clan sorcerers seeks power over the clans
Clan leaders linking to outside powers to gain internal prestige but at cost of subjugation

This is Ruskya
Ruskya is a snowy, mountainous region of the north. The people are golden or red-haired, blue-eyed and the men are bearded and the women typically have hair in braids or long and left loose. Their land is made up of warring clans, but they are not opposed to working together if there is gold and prestige to be gained.

The Ruskya are traditionally armed in leather armor, furs, and using wooden round shields. They prefer hammers or axes in combat and dislike the use of bows except for hunting.

Typical Ruskya mercenaries are raiders, hunters, trackers and swords for hire.  The rare Ruskya sorcerer is seen as a dangerous oddity, not to be trusted and certainly to be feared.  

Typical names Bragi, Egil, Gorm, Heimdul, Horsa, Njord, Njal, Rann, Sigurd, Wulfhere

A Mercenary starts with basic clothing and boots, a fur cloak, a large shield, a spear, axe or hammer, and a knife. 

A Sorcerer starts with basic clothing, boots, fur robes, a dagger or staff.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pixie as Character

Those who purchased the Tome of Terrors & Treasures (thanks very much!) know that there are "Creature as Character" options for many of the monsters. The idea is to allow you to play that creature as a character in your game (with Referee approval of course.) I had a request to make a character playable Pixie...so per that request, I thought I would share it here:

Pixie as Character

ST (-6) DX +0 IQ+0 No EN

MV (DX/2.5) /12 flight

Small Size

Low-light vision

AR:-1 natural bonus

Standard weapon: Pixie knife (1d3)

Special Attack: Pixie bow (1d3) or sleep/confusion arrow per Pixie description.

Special: Greater invisibility: pixie can suppress or resume invisibility as an action-does not became visible if it attacks. Spell abilities 1x day per creature description.

These spell abilities do not cost ST/EN to use 1x.

Note if a Referee allows using any of these 1x abilities a second time, it causes ST1 damage.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Background work

One of the things I am working on behind the scenes is a book of backgrounds. The idea is you could roll up a back ground or two for your character to get starting skills and a hook idea for your character.  For the Referee it is a pre-made book of NPC's covering major and minor people the characters may run into.

I plan on putting a couple into the next Cauldron (yes it IS still coming) but in the meantime here is a preview of one such entry...the assassin.

Hiring killers is the task of any king, guild, or rebel...but when the job needs to be quickly, quietly and without the usual noise and mass destruction of an army, their the assassin works quietly and alone. In darkness, and with stealth the assassin seeks not glory nor fame and the best ones are not even known to have committed the crime.

ST10 IQ11 DX13(11) EN8 MV6; AR-2 (leather) DM 1d6 (daggers)

Hide/Spot Hidden+1, Stealth +1, Thief +1, Dagger+1, Athletics+1

Quick Draw- Once per turn you are able to produce a weapon or item of dagger size or smaller you possess on your person into your hand without sacrificing an action that turn to do so.

2 daggers, padded vest and worn clothing, dark travel cloak, padded leather boots, small sack, belt pouch. 2D6x10 coins.

Wandering is a part of your life. Those who know of you can always find a way to reach you but you never stay in any one place to long, for those who know how to find you may also be the ones who ultimately betray you. So you venture town to town picking up the odd job or task as necessary to provide a relevant cover and to see if your real skills might provide a bit of ready coin.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Inspirations for Rodinia

Really?? ANCEINT ALIENS? C'mon man are you serious?

The Ancient Aliens guy (Giorgio A. Tsoukalos) and his crazy theories just crack me up. I LOVE watching it because you can drive an 18 wheeler of logic through the gaps in their "theories" but it's a good mental exercise to keep your B.S. detector sharp!  I'd watch it more often but the show is excruciating for my wife! She can;t stand this uber-tanned psuedo intellectual know it all. I keep telling her he clearly DOES NOT know much (besides where to get a fake tan and lots of hair supplies) but hey, I sit through Project Runway so yeah she gets payback.

Anyway the real reason I watch stuff like Ancient Aliens and America Unearthed is for gaming fodder.  Despite the random "It was aliens" or "built this way...becuase TEMPLARS" there is actual interesting and unusual stuff to be seen and considered in these shows.

To that end a lot of this stuff is going to wind up in Blades & Black Magic especially as fodder in Rodinia. There is a lot of interesting ancient "lost" civilization stuff that makes great setting/inspirations for gaming and I hope to seed a lot of that as living civilizations in Blades & Black Magic.

So if you have not watched this show (or similar ones) you may want to give them a spin. In the meantime here is a link to site with a cursory look at "10 mysteries" that show some advanced civilizations in out past that we do not know too much about.  Hopefully you will find some inspiring stuff in there!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Black Magic sneak peek

Image Source
I thought I would give you a quick peek at how spells are coming together for Blades & Black Magic.  Currently just putting together spells, the normal details, costs, range and definitions will be added later...but here is a teaser of a couple Ward spells.

IQ10 Vermin Cloak (Ward)

Inscribed with a bat wing and spider venom on a cloak or other large worn garment stitched with black widow webbing and using bat teeth as the needle. When activated, the garment erupts into a swarm of bats and spiders which fill a 10’ space around the caster. Unprepared viewers must pass 4/IQ or become stunned and unable to move or act for 1d6 turns unless attacked. Those targeting/attacking the wearer must add +1 die to the test for as long as the spell lasts.

IQ 11 Seeds of Decay (Ward)

Seeds are harvested from rotting pumpkins and inscribed with corpse blood by the beak of a raven. Once the seeds are activated and thrown about by the caster, the ground around the caster for 30' becomes a spongy, slimy mass of stinking filth and decay.  Movement is at a crawl speed in these spaces and all actions or tests suffer a +2 DRM while in a decayed space due to noxious fumes and sludge. The sorcerer is unaffected and can move/act normally.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Into Rodinia

Just a quick update on what's up at HOW HQ!

Writing away for Blades & Black Magic and working on two different bits:

1) New spells created for B&BM
2) Creating the world of Rodinia

Now this won't be some huge tome filled with the minutiae of who begatt who and which pair of slippers the Queen Regent of Belsaur wore on her inauguration.  Totally cool if you want (or like) that kind of stuff...but to me that feels more like a frustrated novelist at work than it does a usable game book. 

Personally I want to know some basic outlines, a bit of details on  notable people or a place to give me something to work with...and then stand back and let me do this Brutus.  No one knows how you want to game better than you so if I can give you some thread, I figure you will stitch together a great game world you like!

So Rodinia, its a super continent that predates (I think) the pangea super continent...so that's the "world" idea. The map above is the basis I will use to construct the actual map using Hexographer.

Next on BBM book format, I am currently working Blades & Black Mag to be...pocket paper book size, just like my shelf full of old ACE Conan books and KANE novels. 

I think I might still do a 6x9 version of it as well!

Anyway, work is cooking right a long!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Skills again...

Yes another post showing how the sauasage gets made...

In revisiting my thoughts on skills for B&BM this is how I (currently) am going to play test them. There are 3 basic skill levels: Untrained, Trained and Expert. In a nutshell:

Untrained-Anyone can try any skill but they start with a base of 4 dice in the attempt.  So Jimmy the Knucklehead tries to throw a knife for the first time ever--4/DX in the attempt.

Trained-this is a skill you have "bought" and become trained in you roll 3 dice when attempting to use this skill. Jimmy the Knucklehead is a trained to pick lock, he rolls 3/DX.

Expert-this is a skill you "bought" twice to gain superior training and to become an expert in it.  The base test is still a 3 dice test like a trained skill but you add a fourth "expert" die to the attempt. For the test only use the 3 lowest dice rolled as a sum, the player dismisses the highest die rolled of the 4 and does not count it in the attempt.

Jimmy the Knucklehead tries to charm the ladies, and everyone knows Jimmy is an expert in sweet talking the ladies! So he roll 3/IQ+1 Expert die getting a result of 3,3,4,5.  The highest die rolled (5) is ignored and Jimmy's total is (3+3+4) a 10! Too bad Jimmy's IQ is 8...what a knucklehead

Note, The referee, based on difficulty, may still add a die or DRM to any attempt made.

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