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!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Wizard's work continued: ANIMALIA

Artist Matt Cavotta
Following up on the post from last week, I though it would be good to provide a short and broad snapshot of how this Black Magic spell system could work.

First I'll start with the ANIMALIA spell concepts. There are two basic header columns to start. The first is a TYPE and the second column is the EFFECT.

The TYPE choice will be limited/ impacted by the sorcerer's IQ.  Insects and rodents require a low IQ to manipulate and it gets harder to effect (requiring higher sorcerer IQ) these animals as the Animalia types get smarter and or larger.

So the base ST of a spell is 1 ST to cast. Then it becomes more expensive with the spell shaping (range, time, power of effect).  You can cut the cost and time of casting by writing it all down in a scroll or spell book and then casting from it, but of course scrolls and spell books can be stolen or destroyed. That sort of arcane knowledge would be very valuable...the work continues.


Insect Calm
Rodent Enrage
Avian Shrink
Aquatic Grow
Bovine Banish
Reptile Summon
Canine Speak with
Feline Silence
Equine Control
Ursine Sense
Pachyderm See like
Simian Shape Of

Friday, August 2, 2019

Wizard's work

May or may not be actual photo from my writing and game room
Well I hope with your BLADES you have done a little FROSTCRAWLing. Behind the scenes I have been noodling the BLACK MAGIC.

Some very fine suggestions have been sent to me regarding looking at some unique magic systems that offer some creativity to spell casting.  Notably the ZERFS system, but I also looked at Fantasy Hero which sort mimics CHAMPIONS for Fantasy.

Herein lies the struggle though, as to my knowledge none of the "make your own spell" systems have had much traction.  Absolutely they have fans and are good and creative systems--yet with the standard set by D&D and its follow on clones--it seems more player friendly to simply pre-create the spell lists.

This has all been in my mental blender for months and I have read multiple RPG book magic systems to the point where my lovely wife is finding 4 or more RPG books open on the kitchen table at a time like place settings for warlocks.  Except it is just me jumping chair to chair reading them and scribbling notes.

In the end I think I have determined I like both concepts.  I think it is necessary to have a predefined list of ready made (common) spells.  I also like the creativity of the player in the moment giving rise to something unique--and thus memorable.

I can hear it now, "Okay fantasy heart breaker game dumb-ass nerd--how do you plan to do it?"

Glad you asked! (Though your manners could use a little refresh my friend!)

First I am looking at there being 3 broad schools of magic (working names not final):

Animal (spells targeting/effecting natural living creatures: growth, speed, healing, increased ST, etc)

Elemental (spells using & effecting water, fire, wind, earth, wood and metal)

Spectral (spells effecting the strange, undead and space/time like teleport, raise dead, speak to dead, mutations, etc.)

In BLACK MAGIC a Sorcerer can learn and use spells from all 3 schools--BUT One spell school is advantaged when rolled to cast, one is normal and one is disadvantaged when rolled to cast.

A Mercenary could learn a spell from any school, but all rolls are always done (regardless of school) as disadvantaged.

Within each school is a list of common spells, plus a list of power words or power symbols for a sorcerer to get creative with in conjuring their own unique spells.  The cost of casting a unique spell is based on a combination of power words used and desired effect (time/range/power)

I am working to make this as EASY and fast playable as possible and not devolving figuring out the cost to cast a spell "on the fly" into a Squad Leader consultation of charts, tables and modifiers. I know that some of you LOVE that idea, bless your hearts, but that's not what I am making.

So for better or worse, that's where the magic system currently stands in structure. Filling in the details is the challenge, but nothing good came from anything easy--so the work continues.

As always your feedback is welcome--even if you think I am way off base, that's no problem

Side note: My lovely wife is working on her own covers for both BLADES book and for BLACK MAGIC book--and has a unique idea for a cover for the eventual "one book to rule them all" BLADE + BLACK MAGIC hardback

When Black Magic is finished and up for purchase then both of her covers (BLADES book + BLACK MAGIC book) will be made available simultaneously.

Monday, May 20, 2019


Chris McGill
And like that, the pocketbook Frostcrawl guide is gone for now.   I may offer a different version sometime in the future but for now, you can still download Frostcrawl as a free PDF! I do intend to include Frostcrawl in the hardback combined version of Blades & Black Magic.

Saturday, May 18, 2019


Now is your chance to purchase a printed pocketbook version of the freely available FROSTCRAWL PDF. This is made available at print production cost, I make absolutely NO profit/money from your purchase.  Keeping my word to make FROSTCRAWL free to you as a thanks for your patience and support!

Sorry, this opportunity has expired you can still download the PDF of Frostcrawl for free!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

FROSTCRAWL Updates (again)

Thanks to some kind feedback, I have gone through and tried to fix some wonky text issues as well as adding a terrain key.

Hopefully these are minor but important improvements, thanks to Jeff V and to Pastor Beau for the constructive criticism and for providing editing opportunities to improve FROSTCRAWL!

Sunday, May 12, 2019


Frostcrawl is a hexcrawl for use with Heroes & Other Worlds or Blades & Black Magic.  The map coves 441 hexes to explore, and I put in an entry of some sort for all 441 hexes.

NEXT WEEKEND: I will make a pocket book version of FROSTCRAWL available to order at cost, it will only be available next weekend so set your reminder!! (Pocketbook size is the same as the BLADES rule book)

Frostcrawl is my small way of saying THANK YOU for supporting this one knucklehead endeavor and sticking with me while life kept throwing curve balls.  My hope is Frostcrawl is a solid base hit, and not a foul tip!

Next up, I'm working to complete the BLACK MAGIC book!

Saturday, May 11, 2019



Tomorrow I will release the free PDF of FROSTCRAWL: A hexcrawl for use with Heroes & Other Worlds and Blades & Black Magic.

The PDF will be standard US page size 8.5x11

The following weekend you will have a chance to purchase at cost a pocketbook  sized (Think BLADES book sized) version of FROSTCRAWL.

I plan to make it only available for purchase (at cost) next weekend. The PDF will always be available.

I may fold FROSTCRAWL into the combined BBM hardback book when that is complete.

I might also do a limited boxed set with 3 pocket books: BLADES+ BLACK MAGIC+FROSTCRAWL--but there si a lot to do between now and the future.

In the meantime, it is done and I will see you tomorrow!

A sense of wonder and survival

Nothing too important here, just a morning philosophical ramble.

Gamers, like people, are as different as leaves on a tree. We may all come from a similar set of "game tree" roots, but the branches go all over and the leaves grow out from there.  In other words, I think we are all sort of similar but through our own experiences, likes and dislikes, we kind of branch out.

From the outset then, whatever I like + do is different from you and how you do it..and frankly that's great. So, in advance, my goal is not to say if you like GAME X and not mine you suck.  That's never me nor do I to get strident about stuff like that. Please like what you like and ignore the stuff you don't.

With that preamble out of the way, let me talk about characters in HOW/BLADES and B/X fits here too.  The rules of these games are a framework and guideline, giving you a basic understanding of how to create a character, play the game and provides the necessary core elements to build a game from.  The basic information needed for both Players and Referee are contained in one book. (Yes the Black Magic (wizard/spells) portion of BBM is still in work.)

Second these rule sets are slim.  I have talked before about my dislike of the college text book "standard" size now of multiple rule books now that seldom excite me.  Why? There is little creative imagination needed or required. Every element is now hyper detailed to create an assortment of rule breaks/ game advantages just for your character. Through all the backgrounds, special abilities, birth order, homelands and clans you have a detailed and developed character with a big back story.

It has turned character creation into its own "pre-adventure" session needing an hour or two to get everyone done. Additionally, after investing that much time into making 1 character, you probably have an expectation that it will be nigh invulnerable! The Referee in these games (in a separate book mind you) is instructed how to make fights and threats even or fair to insure characters survive.  I think of this all as something akin to a Disney ride. You get in and while it may feel dangerous here and there, you are totally safe.

That's not true for HOW/BBM/BECMI. I may have a dwarf fighter and he will have a couple abilities or skills in HOW or BECMI. Probably take about 20 or 30 minutes to create at most. Then its up to me as the player to make that character come to life!  The character sheet provides the basic mechanical framework for what the character can do and how well they can mechanically do it in the game system, nothing more. Only through play and adventures do I as the Player begin to develop the character, create a personality and create an attachment.  Frankly, because these games are lethal, I may not have too long to be attached anyway!

Also, since these characters can fit all relevant information on a notecard or a bookmark, it is kind of understood this character's life may be nasty, brutish and short.  There is no sense, nor expectations, that a fight or experience will be fair in HOW/BBM/BECMI.  Pick a fight with an ogre? Go traipsing down the dark and overgrown steps of the mad kings tomb? Enter an ancient wizards laboratory hidden in Mount Charon? You are likely to get stomped. 

That is how it should be! The reason now one else has gone in to tackle the ogre stealing the town's goats, nor go to loot the mad king's tomb, nor gone to fetch the wizard crown out of Mount Charon is because it IS dangerous, likely to fail and likely to get you STOMPED.  Your character is one of the brave (or foolhardy or greedy or insane) to have a go.

Ladies and gentlemen, going out to loot forbidden vampire tombs, conquering kingdoms and slaying dragons should be dangerous as hell and likely to lead to an early grave. Otherwise EVERYONE would be out doing it!

Now do you need a 400 page player guide covering every potential skill, feat, advantage or disadvantage possible to min/max your character build to take on these threats? Negative ghost rider.  (I mean if you do really NEED that? Cool, there are a dozen games out there to meet your need!) All you really need are the mechanical basics to try things in game and an understanding of how difficult your choices may be. 

For example in HOW, if I a Player's dwarf wants to slam dunk a boulder on dour ogre's head? I allow Players to make a nigh impossible roll (must roll a 3 on 3d6) IF they can explain HOW they intend to do it! No fancy feats or advantages, just explain it and let the dice decide.

What this all boils down to is: the fewer structured rules, the more sense of wonder, freedom and possibility a game can provide to your the Referee and to the Players.

I think often the massive tomes and ranges of feats, advantages and disadvantages--in their wish/drive to try and help you create unique or wondrous characters--they actually end up creating tiny little ivory towers. These make you within the tower "feel special" but actually it walls you off and removes you from the game.  Instead of starting out fairly similar (A fighter is similar except stats/weapons/skills) and then during play creating a unique nature for your character that comes from those near misses, foes conquered and tombs looted. 

Those are the things, the adventures undertaken and battles survived that make a character more than a handful of stats and skills on a page. Random creation charts and multi-page character sheets to be filled out can't do that, the play is the thing.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Ghost on the Throne

So let me talk a bit about what my summer obsession is this year: The Successors.  I think most of you have heard of Alexander the Great. A Macedonian cat who succeeded his father Philip II at the age of 20 (336 BC) and conquers much of the known world and dies at the age of 32 (323 BC).  Its an unbelievable feat and one that is legendary in the annals of human history.

Alexander's success is so epic and unprecedented it is why it lives on today!

Yet it is what happens AFTER his death that is far more thrilling: a messy empire wide chaotic civil war, power grabby men and women, an era of skullduggery that to me is 20x MORE interesting!

You want epic battles? The era of the Successor has got'em by the dozen! Betrayal, double crosses, rebellions, mercenaries, politics, strong women and strong men each claiming and vying to carve out a slice of Alexander's old empire and make it their own!  Let me put it this way, if the struggles between the Houses of Game of Thrones hold any interest to you? Then you need to start diving into the real deal!

James Romm's book Ghost on the Throne is a fantastically readable, short and comprehensive look at this era.  This is where I started my Successor summer reading and if the above sounds interesting to you--do yourself a favor and get it!   Anyone who likes Game of Thrones intrigue should devour this history--it would make a FANTASTIC TV series for HBO or someone else to air as well....maybe someday.

Speaking of someday, I am going through final edits of FROSTCRAWL this weekend and am HOPING (not promising) to make the FREE PDF available for free download Sunday.  Again--HOPING not promising.

Assuming the PDF happens, then I would expect to make a hard copy pocket book version available at cost 1 week later, next weekend and for the weekend only!

At a later time, I think I will add the entire Frostcrawl work as a bonus section into a combined Blades & Black Magic hardcover.

So back to editing and thanks very much for your kind patience and continued support.

I hope to post again with good news and free stuff Sunday!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Is a picture worth 1000 words?

You be the judge!

All 441 hex descriptions are now complete!!

Now a question: To Include a foe list with HOW/BBM stats as an appendix or would it be better to hae stats by each relevant entry in the hexcrawl?

Second I am going to make a limited time PRINT pocket book sized version of Frostcrawl availble for
 purchase at cost.  This will be same size/format as the BLADES book.

The Map will not work in a book that small but you can print it on a normal page, and fold it down to carry with you in the book.

The PDF of Frostcrawl will be released for free as a thank you for your kind patience and continued support of my work.

Once Frostcrawl is done completion of the BLACK MAGIC book is next!


Monday, March 25, 2019

Venture into The Middle Lands!

Marc Tabyanan has created a terrific NEW SITE to support Blades & Black Magic: The Middle Lands!!  

Lots of great material already--and knowing Marc's creativity there will be a lot more to come!!


Saturday, March 9, 2019

UPDATED: Mythic Ireland

John has updated his Mythic Ireland setting! It is available for download here!

Friday, March 1, 2019


Progress is steady and sure. the map is numbered 00 through 20 both Horizontally and vertically.

So that means a total of 441 hexes I have to create a description for to complete the work.

Yes I know traditionally not every hex requires, is supposed to have, or even needs a description. Still I produce what I play and what I like--and as much work as it is--I really think having every hex accounted for with some sort of description is worthwhile and adds to the overall feel of the setting.

So --currently I have 00 through 13 (Horizontal) completed: that is 294 hexes down 147 to go!

As noted I am building FROSTCRAWL based on the KALTVAL map and crowd sourced hexes as a base. It will be released as a free PDF download as a thanks for all your patience as I worked through obstacles in life to start writing again.

Pick up BLADES, Heroes & Other Worlds or a lot of other great stuff at a discount now!
LULU WITH 15% OFF AND FREE SHIPPING! Good until March 7th!

Working on US store front (you can change the store on the top bar). Use the coupons ONESHIP and LKAB317CD

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Download Mythic Ireland!

Guerriere Celte by naiiade
Well I am excited to say John Briquelet agreed to let me host a download of his Mythic Ireland work!  Lots of inspiration for your BLADES game and if you already have RAEDWALD this is a cool companion piece!

Download a free copy of Mythic Ireland here and thanks John for sharing your work with everyone!

Saturday, February 23, 2019



Have BLADES and looking for adventure? Love RAEDWALD and want something more? Then GO HERE NOW! John's put together a GREAT Mythic Ireland setting as a free download! Join the adventure! 

Friday, February 22, 2019

BLADES now available as PDF

BLADES is now available for sale as a PDF!

You can purchase and download your copy now at Lulu.com.

Frostcrawl is living up to its name as I am crawling to finish it, may not make February, but endeavoring to push and try to knock it out.

Thanks for your support and patience, game on!!

Monday, February 4, 2019

Limited time; 20% off!!

For a limited time you can get 20% off all HOW game books and the new BLADES game book on LULU!  Save 20% On All Print Products on LULU Your Promo Code: TWENTY19

I do not know if code will work in all countries or regions, sorry!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

BLADES combat clarification

After getting a question regarding combat  clarification elsewhere, I realized there is an error on my part and an opportunity to insure everyone gets the same understanding.  

First I apologize for not making things 100% clear in the original writing of the rules, lots of reasons for why, but what matters is fixing the mistake--not the blame.

In Blades there are 3 skill levels-Inexperienced (I), Trained (T) and Expert (X). How this applies to combat skills & combat:

A character in combat that is INEXPERIENCED (I) with their weapon can make up to 1 attack or 1 defense in their turn with the weapon.  Each additional action suffers a +1 die DRM, this penalty is cumulative.

A character in combat that is TRAINED (T) with their weapons can make up to 1 attack and 1 defense in their turn with the weapon. Each additional action suffer a +1 die DRM,this penalty is cumulative.

A character that is an EXPERT (X) with their weapons can make up to 2 attacks and 2 defenses in their turn with the weapon. Each additional action suffer a +1 die DRM, this penalty is cumulative.

There are some gaps/confusion as currently written--but this is what I meant in the rules. I will re-edit and clarify the rules text later tonight to better call this out. I apologize it was not done so originally.   
Thanks again for your patience and support!

Sunday, January 27, 2019


Sorry this is taken a bit longer than I had expected.  I am currently looking at some point in late February, as real world work load and travel is taking up more time than I had expected.

Thanks for your patience!

Monday, January 21, 2019


image by Chiou! source
ST: 5 to 10
DX: 12
MV: 6/ 12 flying
AR:-1 fur
DM: 1d3 blood drain (ST) per turn
Behavior: Territorial
Environment: Mountains, Forests

The wolfbat is a bloodthirsty beast seemingly created out of nightmares. They are svelte and smaller versions (about 3' long) of normal wolves but with bat-winged membranes that allow them to take flight for short periods of time. They often perch in high trees and glide down to ambush their prey.  Once on the scent, they may glide tree to tree to get ahead of their prey and then ambush them.  They drink the blood of their prey and rarely devour an meat from their kill. They will group together and try to pin down their prey and then bite an exposed neck or wrist to begin draining the blood to heir victim.  Anyone killed by a wolfbat has a 1 in 6 chance of rising as a ghoul on the next full moon.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Black Magic...when?

So here is a rough (and ideal) outline for what I hope to release this year:

1) FROSTCRAWL (JAN 2019) this will be a free PDF hexcrawl for use with BLADES or HOW, my way of saying thanks for all your patience and support!

2) BLACK MAGIC (APR/MAY 2019) This will include alchemy, spells and wizardy stuff for Blades & Black Magic.

3) CAULDRON 2 (FALL 2019)

That will be an "epic" release year for yours truly after may challenging years. After these I still plan on making a "Hexploration" guide book, a career/character compendium (writing up possible character background,samples for stuff like ratcatcher, herbalist, abbot, bailiff, etc.) that would be great for Players as a unique character choice to start with as well as Referee's use as NPC's.

All items are usable for HOW or for BBM so support of both systems is ongoing.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

BLADES Inspirations: Conan #1 (Marvel, 2019)

Just released this January is issue #1 of Marvel's new run of Conan.  For the last 15 years, Dark Horse Comics told the tales of our favorite Cimmerian and (IMHO) published some of the best Conan work outside of REH's original works. They lost the license and it transferred to Marvel this year. So the house that Spidey built is charting a new course.

During the original Marvel run of Conan, I devoured every issue of the Savage Sword of Conan Magazine I could get my hands on--but the regular comic run of Conan? meh.

So here is issue #1 of the new Marvel regular series and its story crosses 3 different time lines in our favorite barbarian's life: Birth + Young barbarian + King Conan all in the same story.  Is it successful? Kind of.

Granted it is one issue and the story line clearly is going to continue to build, so it is hard to judge in one issue. The set-up creates the opportunity for Marvel to use any time in the Barbarian's wanderings for stories long term. The Young Barbarian section was great and good inspiration for an adventure but the other sections of the story--I guess we will wait and see.  So at $5 for an issue can I say rush out and buy it? Nope.

I'd suggest you wait for the inevitable collection of the first 4 or 6 issues and buy that because as an intro to Crom's finest its a bit of a miss, especially when compared to the Dark Horse issue #0 prelude and issue #1.

I give it 3 cleaved foes out of 5, promising but not yet savage.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

BLADES unsheathed!

Well I am happy to say my own copies arrived and considering all the work time and effort that went into it, I am very happy to see the results. 

 I talked a bit about making a "BLADES boxed set"--and using some bits and pieces here is what mine looks like. If you make your own I'd love to see it!
I checked and my measurements were correct, 2 BLADES books fit in the box which means BLADES (and when completed) BLACK MAGIC books will BOTH fit in the same box with dice!!  The pencils and note cards will not, but still--it will make a crazy super fine portable boxed set!

With hard work and persistence, a dream (however goofy or small) can come true. Don't ever let anyone tell you different!

I am going to share a poignant bit from my reading of Letters from a Stoic by Seneca. I read this at lunch today and though written thousands of years ago, it still rings true.  When asked why he writes when he know the masses will not read or care, Seneca quotes Epicurus: "I write this not for the many, but for you; each of us is enough of an audience for the other."

I want to say thank you for letting me write for you, whomever you are and where ever you are-thank you.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Picture from the wilds

Well the first shot of a copy of BLADES in the wild comes courtesy of Rick Hull. He snapped it compared to his iPhone for size comparison! Rick also snapped a pic of BLADES alongside some inspirations!

Per Rick, in case you have misgivings because it is pocket book sized, he confirmed it is easy to read .

Looking forward to getting my own copies soon! You can get yours here!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Discount code

Have not ordered BLADES yet? well LULU has 15% off code right now to make the $9.99 price even cheaper!
Save 15% On Print Products
Use Code ONEFIVE during checkout
Offer expires January 10 2019

Saturday, January 5, 2019


With BLADES available now, my work is turned towards completing FROSTCRAWL. This will be a free PDF download hexcrawl for use with Heroes & Other Worlds  or Blades & Black Magic set in a mountainous/ cold setting.

The map I am using has 441 hexes to explore... (21 x 21) I am thinking about trying to make an entry for every hex--even if its not an actual "event location"  Something like

G14: Heavily forested with fog wisps winding between the trunks of ancient evergreens.

There will be included random tables for random finds.  A 1 in 6 chance with every hex explored.

Any thoughts or feedback on what makes a good hexcrawl usable for you is welcome!

The work continues...

Friday, January 4, 2019

3 & 4

 Thanks for the initial support and orders of BLADES! We are sitting at 3 and 4 this week on the Lulu games top 10 items!

Wow! This is remarkable to me as launching on New Year's Eve, I did not expect many takers/ interest yet as these things take time to get going.

I got notice my own copies are on the way so I hope yours are shipping soon to you as well!

I also got some of the hubless VHS cases so I can put together a "boxed" set and show the portable and playable fun size of BLADES.

I'm back from a business trip (the fun never stops!) so will be working on Frostcrawl this weekend.   Frostcrawl will be a free download that will pair well with either BLADES or HOW.  Its my small way to say THANK YOU for your support and patience.