venerdì 31 maggio 2013

CHEVALIER of The Obscure RPG Day

Today I will review Chevalier to celebrate "The Obscure RPG Day" (with the complete listing of all blog partecipating).

Chevalier was printed in 40 copies in 1976, it was a 131 page book of rules to be used with the original D&D Game (the 3 booklets abd Greyhawk). Luckly I'am the proud owner of one copy of the "1999 limited edition reprint" signed by both Ed Simbalist and Wilf Backhaus.

The  authors where clearly in love with the potentiality of D&D, with feudal history and with fantasy (in particular with Professor Tolkien works), and they wanted more from their game that killing monster in a vacuum.

Since the game grow out of the original game and a lot of thought went into it, by honor of arms should be into the library of every OSR affectionate, at least as a milestone for some less trodden road.

So whats sets Chevalier apart from other D&D Supplements?

To sum it up: attention to detail and some innovative ideas, it could help to think of it as the Advanced D&D that never was.

Most of the details and innovation went into tying characters to the setting by making them part of the feudal society, this was partly done by creating a system of honor and favors more binding than alignament, experience or money. Indeed there are some pages dedicated to a "influence" system used to ask favor and keep track of honor debt, other pages explain "Courtly love" and it's advantage and pitfalls.

Characters as usual are characterized by race, and as usual most characters will be humans unless you can score some very good rolls and become an Elf (and in no D&D, or derivative game, you will find a more Tolkienesque Elf), an Hobbit, a Dwarf or a Monster. But more than by race characters are characterized and strongly flavored by their social status as is befit to a feudal character, and with details on the number of siblings, your father trade and how good is your standing to the family your character will soon discover that he is far from the XXI century.

And speaking of innovations there was a reinterpretation of the classic characteristics (constitution, strength, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom and charisma) with different bonus and specific advantages, the addition of 2 new characteristics (poetic and comeliness). Also alignament become a sort of 3-18 characteristic going from 3 Saintly (Law) to 18 Diabolic (Chaos).

Then we had the differentiation between Body (real damage) and Fatigue (the usual hp), and the introduction of criticals.

A brief introduction to heraldry, chivalric orders and the role of the Knights could not be missing (and an useful read for people not in tune with this kind of topics).

Another complete innovation was magick and divine miracles, for the authors magick had to be complex and mages more in search of knowledge than way to blow up dungeons. So magick was based on long procedure of enchanting, on research and different order of mages, indeed we don't have simply wizard and cleric, we have a plethora of different magic-user (or to say it better a plethora of modes of magick: alchemy, astrology, divination, hex masters, artificiers, necromancy, conjuration, enchanters, thaumaturgy, power word, cabalaism, magick square, natural talent, drug trance, dance chant, shaman, medium) and miracle workers (clergy, templar, hospitalar, teutonic knights, hermits, friars, mendicants). Another innovation was the different way miracles worked from magick.

The way time was represented (more adventure in the summer and book-keeping in winter) so to have 1 campaign year go by in about 10 games, this would make possibles wars, sieges, the fall of kingdoms and extended campaigning. So there were rules on war, jousting and sieges, new spell and variations of old spells.

And maybe I am forgetting more than I am showing you....

In Chevalier there were all the ideas that made Chivalry & Sorcery such a great game, but at the same time the connection with D&D are very very strong making it an ideal book to plunder for every clone out there (Swords & Wizardry, Adventurer Conqueror King System, Basic Fantasy RPG).

In closing I must thank Catacomb Librarian for  wonderful Obscure RPG Day!

Obscure RPG Day

lunedì 20 maggio 2013

Flying Swordsmen il clone di Dragonfist

La copertina di DragonFist
Subito prima della pubblicazione della 3a edizione di AD&D, quando ancora non si sapeva che avrebbe perso la A di Advanced, la Wizards of the Coast pubblico un gdr completo e gratuito: "Dragonfist". 

Dragonfist era basato sulle regole di AD&D 2a edizione con alcune modifiche interessanti, l'uso di modificatori dinamici per le caratteristiche (1d4 invece di +2), e sopratutto un sistema di arti marziali molto valido frutto delle grandi capacità creative di Chris Pramas - poi fondatore della Green Ronin (Mutants & Masterminds, True 20, Dragon Age, A game of throne rpg....).  

Il gioco si proponeva di portare nel mondo di AD&D il genere Wuxia e sorprendentemente ci riusciva!

La copertina di Oriental Adventures per AD&D 1a edizione

Questo gioco, prezioso tesoro sugli hard disk degli appassionati dell'epoca (presente!), è ora tornato fruibile in modo gratuito ed è per di più in formato open, il tutto grazie all'opera di "clonazione" operata da Lord Gwydon, il clone recupera il sitema di arti marziali, le classi e i mostri orientali ed aggiunge delle piccole varianti (in particolare ora i maghi meccanicamente funzionano come gli stregoni della 3a edizione). 

L'ambientazione viene rivista rispetto al lavoro di Pramas che presentava un'ambientazione più dettagliata e specifica, invece in Flying Swordsmen l'ambientazione è più genericamente quella del fantasy cinese.

Il gioco inoltre risulta essere ottimamente illustrato (splendida la copertina).
A mio parere resta una delle poche presentazioni di un sistema di arti marziali decente per AD&D (e per tutti i giochi OSR) oltre quello presentato in "Oriental Adventures" della 1a edizione.

Oltre alle arti marziali il gioco è impreziosito da una splendida sezione di mostri, magie, oggetti magici e razze adatti ad un'ambientazione orientale.

In estrema sintesi le arti marziali sono così rappresentate: tutte le classi conoscono una qualche forma di arti marziali ed hanno un numero di manovre dipendente dal livello e dalla classe, le manovre sono divise in 5 livelli per cui ogni classe ha una tabellina come quella degli incantesimi che indica quante manovre il personaggio conosce, il mix di manovre renderà particolare lo stile di combattimento di ogni classe.

La splendida copertina!
Questo sistema risulta facilmente implementabile in qualsiasi gioco OSR (Labyrinth Lord, Osric, Basic Fantasy RPG, Swords & Sorcery) per chi volesse dare un tocco orientale alle sue avventure.

Il gioco (consigliatissimo!!!!) lo trovate qui:

martedì 7 maggio 2013

Kung Fu old school style

Sometimes you get a zen moment, Keith Davies in his blog put in the spotlight my proposal for martial arts as school (see his post Old Schools) in Swords & Wizardry (Old School: Kung Fu) for which I can only thank him :)

in this post I present my entry, here the Dazzling Duelist by Todd Colstrom, and don't forget to visit Keith blog:

Old School: Kung Fu

Thinking about it this could be a perfect way for many things, among others martial arts, I would take lead from Oriental Adventure AD&D 1st edition (this is an old school post after all) and bend it to the concept presented here :)
I have toned it down a little and put only “easy” to rule maneveurs (no choking holds/locking parry ecc)

Kung Fu (Hard-Soft style)

Kung Fu is an ancient martial arts learned in dojo, monastery and from traveling masters. Renowed in the area are the Dojo of Master Fei-Lon (in the big city, double the cost, need to convince the master himself to be a worthy student), on the mountain nearby there is the isolated Monastery of Shang-Ki a lesser deity of the zone (LN, fight honoraubly, perfect yourself, protect the weak) where student will be accepted if the swear to follow the teaching of Shang-Ki. A renowed if strange teacher is the (in)famous Jack Lee a peerless master (Fighter 11th + all 10 lesson of this school) but with a strange curse (must get drunk each day before sunset) so while he is an incomparable fighter it’s quite complex to follow him… to be accepted as his student you must drink with him….


  1. My body is a weapon: you can combat without weapons whit no penalty, your attack (kick, punch , knee) do 1d6 damage
  2. defense: in combat you have AC 8 [11]
  3. expertise of attack: you can do 3/2 kung fu attack each round
  4. expertise of defense: you have AC 7 [12]
  5. mastery of attack: you can do 2/1 attack
  6. mastery of defense: you have AC 6 [13]
  7. Iron Fist (attack does 1d8 damage)
  8. Flying Kick (need a running start only attack does 3d6 damage. if attack fail fall prone)
  9. Iron Skin AC 5 [14]
  10. Missile deflection (make save to deflect missiles – arrows, bolt, sling stone ecc)

* the idea is that you can take this lesson by paying 10% XP needed for your actual level, there is also a time requirement (1 week for each lesson level, 1 week for the 1st, 2 for the 2nd and so on), a money cost (I would go for 1000 gp/lesson levels at least) and a level requirements (level must be greater than lesson level)