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!

Friday, December 29, 2017

BLADES re-org?

Max Dunbar

I had my wife read through the current draft of BLADES and she pointed out that many of the setting options (like culture) are a bit confusing in terms of their placement in the rules. If it is an alternate way of creating/playing/using the rules--should it be better put in an appendix or she suggested culled from BLADES entirely and put into a separate overall setting/ gazetteer book. I am mulling it over as it important to listen to someone separated from the work. It is true, sometimes you cannot see the forest for the trees.

In your opinion are the core combat rules and adventuring guide good as a book? Is a separate gazetteer with setting character creation a good thing?

Let me know your thoughts and opinions, they are valued.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

BLADES update

Max Dunbar
A quick update on the progress of BLADES the first part of Blades & Black Magic.

First, I would say I am about 80% done with the writing. As this is a bit different from-- and learns from-- HOW there are tweaks and edits and additions. Some of those additions include adding in some additional and deeper character creation option (cultures) and spelling out tactical combat means more writing. I also want to add some brief mercenary and skullduggery missions. Rescue a hostage, kidnap a merchant, protect a delivery, fight in a pit, steal a wand, etc. Just small mission/adventure kick starts for a few silver more. 

Sure I could certainly take the easy way out and just zip out core rules with no setting/cultures content, but in play testing folks actually enjoy the use of culture as a character creation hook. Don't worry, it is not mandatory to use cultures, just added chrome/depth/ options--and double don't worry you will not get the frustrated fantasy writer text overkill.

One email I got asked why not include magic and combat all in one book? Good question and 2 reasons:

1) It will take longer to wait to get it all done, and I think you and I have both waited a long time already.

2) I think there is an opportunity for a no/low magic game to be played.

Those who have and play HOW will be able to add magic in easily to BLADES if you like immediately before the Black Magic book comes out--and with the Magi Carta, there are a lot of spell options already available.

So how does BLADES vary from HOW specifically?
1) No EN stat. HOW plays more heroic fantasy and B&BM is meant to be more gritty/ S&S. No EN stat changes the feel appropriately for a low magic setting.
2) Revised weapon table
3) Only Humans as characters
4) Clarified tactical combat/facings
5) Light setting of Zemya
6) Cultures as character creation detail opportunity
7) Skills have a simplified 3 tier rank system: Inexperienced (I) Trained (T) Expert (E)

BLADES will have a quick conversion page for HOW skills/spell casting, etc. so one does not supplant the other and they are compatible with little issue.

The work continues...

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

After many years

Steve Jackson recently announced he had the rights back to the Metagaming fantasy game that has inspired so many of us: "I have regained the eight TFT releases that I wrote myself: Melee, Wizard, Death Test, Death Test 2, Advanced Melee, Advanced Wizard, In the Labyrinth, and Tollenkar's Lair."

In essence, after 35 years, the copyright was up from Metagaming and the original author could apply to get the rights to his works back--Mr. Jackson did and here we are with this great news!

 What are Mr. Jackson's plans?

• Can you give us details on the TFT release schedule or the format of the new releases? No, because I don't know myself. We’ll probably do at least one Kickstarter – for Melee – in 2018. With miniatures! Lots of miniatures!

• What changes will you make in the new TFT releases? I want a fully modern presentation, but most of the rules are pretty good as they are. I might revisit the cost of spells, and I might make some changes in the character advancement rules. But I might just leave things alone.

• How did you get these rights back? Great patience . . . 17 US Code 203 requires a long wait.

• What does this mean for GURPS? Probably nothing; I have no intention of combining the systems. TFT is a much simpler system than GURPS, optimized for single sessions and dungeon crawls. They can co-exist on the store shelves and in your own collection.

What about the TFT releases that you didn’t write? What about other Metagaming releases? I did not get any of those rights, or any other Metagaming rights, and I can’t tell you anything about their status.

 In a nutshell it would seem like the classic games will be back and that is terrific news! Who knows what may come--but as SJG does a terrific job with PDF materials, and has kicked off unique offerings like the OGREZINE--it would seem like a series of PDF additions possibly collected into POD offerings may grow in support.

Perhaps the boxed edition of In the Labyrinth that Mr. Jackson wanted all those many years ago could be a reality in the future? Maybe boxed edition adventures (with minis!) for the Death Test adventures? OR possibly a true 2nd edition--AGANTYR has a great blog post on that possibility. 

As I write I have at my desk 100% mint, boxed, complete and never played versions of Melee, Wizard, Death Test, Death Test 2 and Grail Quest and I have to smile. I never thought these would be coming back, but am damn happy to see Mr. Jackson's patience pay-off for him. Second I am very happy to know that so many will now get a chance to play the originals as--if OGRE is any guide--Mr. Jackson may release both a deluxe boxed set of Melee--as well as a classic bagged edition as he did with OGRE.

So the nickle question, what does this mean for HOW? I am not sure. I am still working on multiple projects like Blades & Black Magic, the HOW career compendium and another issue of The Cauldron. I do not know where the path leads, but I am still rambling on. Thanks for traveling with me.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Marching on

nathan hale illustration
Hello fellow adventurers, its been a long time...

Thanks very much for keeping in touch through the tumult of the last few years.  I am at a spot now where I am starting to get some time to focus again on writing. So what am I writing? Blades & Black Magic.  Where I am at  bit of a loss though is publishing it.

I am considering 3 books:
1) Book of Blades (Warrior character creation, skills, combat, equipment)
2) Book of Black Magic (Wizard character creation, spells, combat, equipment)
3) Blades & Black Magic: combine both books+short gazetteer of regions. creatures and random charts.

The first two books would be small pocket book sized and the 3rd book would be HOW sized (6x9).

The thought behind this is smaller books are easy to pass around and digest especially for reference by a player.  If I am a warrior type that little book has all the details I need, same thing for a wizard type-one little book with all the relevant details.  For the referee, the third combined book of all rules as a reference plus some creative world stuff to spur adventure/ campaign ideas.

Not sure this is where I land, but it is my current thought and it is possible the Blades book could be done before the end of the year with the magic book done shortly after if all goes to plan.

On the HOW front, I have 2 projects in work as well: Hexplorers Handbook and a Career Compendium.  For the Hexplorer book its basically a sandbox stocking/ creation book. For the Career Compendium it is a booklet with various archetypes (Abbot, Tax Collector, Bandit, etc.) stated out with equipment, a few concept ideas and a brief overview of the character type. This could be used as NPC fodder for the Ref or as a ready made character concept for a player.

Sorry its been a long time coming. As a one knucklehead operation with a life that--like yours--fills up with the unexpected twists, sometimes my plans are not the ones that I get to execute when I want to. Appreciate your patience and thanks very much for the support.

I hope the wait will be worth it!