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, January 20, 2016

What I'm working on

Hello and a belated Happy New Year to you!

Well last year was a DUD in terms of new HOW stuff, and as personally disappointing as that was to me I am working to make 2016 much better.  Developing Blades & Black Magic is taking quite awhile as developing a world to play in takes a bit of time.  Then I have to decide what to add or leave out.

For example, I have worked on a "city" generator. It is a series of d6 charts that let you flesh out a city.  Like any random table exercise, things sometimes seem not to "connect" but I have always liked the oddities and variety of such things.  So I am not sure if it goes into BBM or maybe it is a better fit in a Cauldron issue--along with a sample city.

In addition--I am looking at adding "abilities".  Think of them as favors or feats or that sort of thing.  Again--not sure if I add it into BBM as a part of character creation--or save it for Cauldron as a test/optional rule.

Last, as the BBM rules are just a bit different--I am thinking of making the setting/world rules a separate Gazetteer--as well as including it all in BBM.  So if you are playing HOW and just want a setting? You got it.  Want the whole thing? You can have that too.

So what's different in BBM?

Skills have three levels: Inexperienced, Trained and Expert.  No bonuses/pluses.

Inexperienced rolls: 4/attribute-all skills start here
Trained rolls: 3/ attribute
Expert rolls 4/attribute--but only uses the lowest 3 rolled

Why change? I wanted a simplified clean system that would allow someone to jump in quickly. Also there is no EN attirbute in BBM.  Don't like it? No worries, just play straight up HOW rules! All the stats, magic, weapons, damage etc. and are completely compatible and really the same.

Want a basic conversion back and forth?

HOW skill +1 to +3 equals Trained in BBM
HOW skill +4 to +6 equals Expert in BBM

Magic--BBM adds ward magic and circle magic--and all magic in BBM taxes ST--there is no EN in BBM!

I transported my own HOW players into Rodinia and wizards suddenly having spells not work because they require blood/ST to work was quite fun--at least for me!

Last but certainly not least, Art Kid Luigi is working on new illustrations I will use in BBM so the work continues!


  1. I'm thinking the City generator (and the example city) should be in a Cauldron -- unless there is some reason why a city generated with it would ONLY pertain to BBM.

    As far as "abilities" go -- I did something like that years ago with TFT; basically certain existing "talents" such as Charisma, didn't make a lot of sense to me as a skill you could learn. Most times, it seems to me that you're either born with it, or your not. So what I did was I created a new definition for "Talents" that basically used them to reflect genetic advantages (fast reflexes, toughness -- which replaces the "veteran" and "warrior" skills, fast healing, alertness, etc.). Everything else became a learnable skill. Sure, some skills might help you gain at least PART of the advantages inherent in the birth talent, but it was harder to do that way. I also added the "Magery" talent which would indicate whether or not the character could use magic as a Wizard, or would have to do so as a layman. Oh, and the characters could only pick one or two Talents (depending on the campaign) during Character Creation -- you could never "learn" or "acquire" a talent in any way. As long as you restrict it to only a few special abilities, and further restrict the players so that they can't run the table and get all of them, I'd say it works super well.

    Should that be in BBM? Again, I'd say no; put it in the Cauldron as an optional rule.

    Likewise, another Cauldron article should be your new skills method -- which is simpler and probably easier for everyone to manage -- as an optional rule. Of course, that will still need to be in BBM...

    And, I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing what you do with Wards and Circles -- that's an area that's begging for some development, and has been for years!

    Anyway, can hardly wait to see all of this come out. Hopefully in the not-too--distant future! ;-)

    1. Yeah, give us a scrap of info about the deadline... :(

    2. Thanks Jeff for the the thoughtful feedback. I see the wisdom in a lot of your points regarding the "favors" being workable so long as there are restrictions. There is nothing specific about cities that requires it to be in BBM--just came along as I was working on it so maybe that is a tie that should not bind. Thanks again for the feedback!

    3. jeff are thinking alike on the 'abilities'. this gets into comments i've made in the past about being very selective about what is a skill and what is not. this is a great way to handle things like 'alertness' - which doesn't seem like a skill you can go to school for, be taught, or read in a book. it helps keep it clear that a perception check is not a 4-die Alertness skill check (if you don't have Alertness). a perception check should be a 3-die Attribute test (not skill; vs IQ).

      however, for these very good reasons of including 'abilities', it should be in BBM - not left out for Cauldron. Cauldron can expand and increase the list of 'abilities'. guess this is where jeff and i differ. just my opinion.

    4. btw, jeff, i like your 'Magery' talent. it would dovetail nicely with a 'Priest' talent. from time to time, i tinker with breaking various magic disciplines up into 'talents'. Using DCG's spell divisions...Summoning gives one access to Creation and Summoning spells, Enchantment gives one access to Enchantments, Illusions, and Morphing. Psionics gives one access to Illusions, Kinetics, and Seeing spells. Healing spells are common to all of the disciplines. Your Summoning, Enchantment, or Psionic rating is added to your IQ to determine what IQ-level spell you can learn within that discipline but gives no bonus to casting.

  2. Hi there!
    I'd like to see in BBM some kind of Hero Points, that fuels heroic actions. It's good to be sure, that when a roll was terrible there is an exit... Hero Point, Fate Point - never mind the name.
    Random City Generator treat as an option. It's neither fluff nor part of engine.

  3. Inexperienced roll: perhaps such a modus: 4 dice but drops the lowest die? Expert roll: 4/drop highest. Isn't similar in that way?

    1. Hello Marek! Thanks for the feedback. Sorry I cannot give a hard date as much as I would like to. Not sure about a hero point "get of bad roll free" point? But if you experiment with it, let me know how it goes! Interesting idea regarding Inexperienced-roll 4 keep 3 highest--I will give it a play and see how it goes!

    2. I THINK he's talking about something like the "Karma points" that Dark City Games uses. In TFT terms, it would be a relatively weak "WISH" that could be used to modify a bad die roll (I'd say either by re-rolling or by allowing the player to spend "hero points" to adjust the roll result by a number equal to the number of "hero points" spent -- as opposed to dictating an outcome like the original WISH in TFT let you do).

      I've fiddled around with that a couple of times, and the big thing is that again, you need to really restrict what can be done with it, and how many such points are available, otherwise you wind up with an "on-call" Deus Ex Machina that lets the players get out of any sort of trouble they get into. And if you're going to let that happen, you're headed straight for "Monty Haul" territory...

    3. Aha! Thanks jeff--I agree I am not overly fond of the "shoot my dice roll was bad give me another shot at it." Life sometimes sucks and is unfair and that's how it goes.

      What if you had to permanently sacrifice an attribute point to flip a bad result into a good one?

      You would think long and hard about doing it--probably only a life or death situation--and you would suffer a permanent "scar" by doing so...maybe too harsh--but as a referee I'd expect some sort of sacrifice along those lines to cheat fate. YMMV :)

    4. if you can improve attributes in BBM then the sacrifice of a point or two isn't too harsh in the long run. I would make it so the player had to elect to make the sacrifice BEFORE they make the first roll, so they'd only attempt it in life or death situations, even if they succeed at the first roll they lose the point, having overstretched themselves to succeed.

    5. I like Sean's idea on how to approach it. I will note in passing that in most of the games I play, you can spend XP to increase Skills or Spell levels (which basically improves your probability of success a bit), learn NEW Skills or Spells, OR improve attributes (VERY expensive in terms of XP), so, like BBM, it wouldn't be overly harsh to do it Sean's way...

  4. It does exist in: Savage Worlds, Barbarians of Lemuria. Hero Point it's a currency for heroic deeds. You failed a roll - so can spend one of your points to repeat the roll or change it into success. You got 3-5 such a "coins" to pay for badrolls :)

    1. Thanks Marek...hmmmm...I can see where this helps players, but too much of a good thing takes out the danger or the fate of things sometimes just do not work out. Not sure...

  5. Ok, n/p. I know it from BoL, so offered here. 2-4 Hero Points it's not too much per scenario.
    Deus ex Machina isn't as powerfull to disturb an adventure.
    Doesn't matter.

    1. It's not a BAD idea at all! It gives the players more of a sense they can control their fate to some degree -- and it makes for a very cinematic campaign! Cliff-hangers galore which the heroes somehow miraculously escape...tune in next week to find out how!

      I was approaching it from the GM's perspective though -- how do you deal with it in GM terms? And I think some limits would be absolutely vital, plus I want to know how the "hero points" recharge over time. You know, the kind of questions it pays to understand thoroughly before you even start designing a campaign so you can take them into account.

      The whole concept kind of comes from Laws and Hite and games like FUDGE, and those are pretty different (more "story-telling") games from HoW or TFT, so it needs to be thought about in some detail before being brought into the game. I would think it would be a very suitable game concept for "High Fantasy" or pulp style gaming, though.

      So please don't fold up your tent and quit on us -- expand the idea a bit, if you're willing, and let's see where it goes! Maybe you could even offer it as a Cauldron Article?

  6. :) I'm not as skilled in english to write an article.
    1. HP spendind - your hero has, say, 3HP per adventure. He can spend when he wants on: a) throwing dice again 2) lifesaving (when you become hit and in effect you could die-spend a point to be, say, unconscious c) extend damages- you make additional, say, 2k6 dmg.
    2. HP refreshing - 3 it's a pool of your HP on ONE adv. At the start of the next one you got 3 HP, again.
    What else?
    HP it's a fuel for heroic deeds. You feel more safe jumping on this narrow shelf when you got a HP. More confident, more sure, more proactive, less preservative.

    At the end- I'm not going to runaway - love this engine :)

  7. I like the skill system, I was dabbling with something like that in some concept last year.