Sunday, 19 March 2017


Having been to see Logan last night, I realised that I couldn't help spoiling the film for myself by thinking about the way in which stories like Logan vindicate my enjoyment of critical wound systems in RPGs - one of the reasons for writing Viscera! (now in v1.02 - a few typos corrected and acknowledgments expanded). It's something that I'd thought about on this blog before - The Rise and Fall of a Hero was a post I wrote nearly two years ago now. So, without any real spoilers, here was Logan - still powerful, still dangerous, but hindered by age, disease, and the accumulation of countless wounds. Logan even uses a special serum to temporarily undo the effects of these wounds, something for which I've suggested some rules in Viscera!

So, just as when I watched The Revenant, and imagined it as a LotFP adventure in which the main PC just keeps making his Saving Throws, I managed to enthusiastically undo some of magic of the silver screen by thinking about dice.

Anyway, Logan is a very good film. Indeed, it's shame that it has taken until now for Fox to get the best out of its Marvel licence - as the Legion tv show is proving to be even better. If only someone hadn't coloured the experience for me by describing it as [SPOILER?] a gory 'Little Miss Sunshine', with mutants! [SPOILER ENDS]

Oh, and there is no way that Logan should be a 15 certificate. The violence is very bloody and very frequent.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Viscera! (v1.0)

For a long while I've been mooting the idea of an Advanced Fighting Fantasy fanzine. I've chatted to people, got some agreements in principle, but never made much progress. So I thought I'd knock up an 'issue #0' largely by myself, just to get something out there. And, after a spell in which I put the project aside for several weeks, I've finally finished the thing. Well, 'finished' the thing - if there are typos, or egregious balance problems that you uncover when these ideas are not being applied at my own, idiosyncratic table, let me know, and I'll update it to v1.1.

[Update: pdf updated to version 1.01 (minor errors fixed) 190317.]
[Update 2: pdf updated to version 1.02 (minor errors fixed, acknowledgements expanded) 280317.]

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Behold! Treasure

For a while now I've looked for fantasy coins that I can use in my games. In games such as WFRP, where those pennies matter, I figured it'd be a bit easier if the players could just hand over the coins, rather than fiddle around rubbing out numbers on their character sheet. For a long time, I couldn't find any that were cheap enough.

I got these from the 'SuntekStore'. No, this is not an advertorial, but it wouldn't be much use as a post if I didn't actually tell you where I'd got these from. In truth, they're not much use for D&D, in which characters are regularly carrying around more than 100 coins - these come in packs of 100 - but for games such as WFRP, or Advanced Fighting Fantasy, or for many other flavours of fantasy in which fortunes aren't measured in tens of thousands of pieces of gold, these will be very useful.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Awesome new WFRP blog

Thanks to Strike to Stun* I have stumbled across a fantastic new-ish WFRP blog - Awesome Lies, by Gideon. I have been enjoying his WFRP Manifesto series, which looks at the history and design of WFRP1e, but it is also the home of his excellent The Enemy Within Companion, and a new document that sounds absolutely up my street - a conversion of Night's Dark Terror (original available here) to WFRP1e. 

*Strike to Stun is a forum I ought frequent more often, as I ought spend more time at Arion Games' Advanced Fighting Fantasy forum and BRP Central. But I can't remember any of my log in details!

Monday, 6 February 2017

On AFF2e SKILL and Skills: Collected

I thought I’d collect, for myself as much as anyone, my thoughts on how to use SKILL and Special Skills in AFF2e. But, more than anything, an AFF Director should have this table in their head, which helps them imagine an AFF character in as if they were written up in the most intuitive of skill systems, the percentile system used in BRP-derived games:
These are rough numbers, of course, but rough approximation is all you need to ‘eyeball’ roll-under chances of success. So, beginning PCs in AFF2e typically have a range of Special Skills in the 70-80% range, and a general effectiveness of about 60%. Keeping this in the back of your mind when running a game helps you to judge how and when to call for Skill Tests.
Anyway, here are my previous musings:

And generally, on skill rolls in RPGs more generally – Skills as ‘Saving Throws’

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Nasir for AFF2e

By popular demand – i.e. one request – here is Nasir, a Saracen and former Assassin who enters Robin's story as an ensorcelled thrall of the black magician, Baron de Belleme.  

Hero: Nasir (Player: Mark Ryan)



Talent: Ambidextrous

Special Skills
Swords 1, Thrown 2
Acrobatics 1, Climb 1, Dodge 2
Awareness 2, Stealth 3
Arabic 4, English 2, Religion Lore 1, Tracking 1, Secret Signs 1, World Lore 2

Treasure: 2d6 silver pennies

Provisions: 2

1 Scimitar (treat as ‘Short Sword’)
2 Scimitar (treat as ‘Short Sword’)
3 Throwing Daggers x3
4 Throwing Daggers x3
5 Long Bow
6 Quiver w. 20 Arrows
7 Leather Cuirass

Nasir’s starting Talent is an obvious choice – his whole shtick is two-weapon fighting. As a former Assassin, I have given him points in Movement and Stealth skills, and given set him up so that his highest ‘effective SKILL’ in combat is with his throwing daggers, not his sword – it seems to me that Will Scarlet and Robin ought be the best out-and-out swordsmen in the Merry Men, though Nasir’s ability to fight with two scimitars makes him very effective in his own right. In addition, rather than giving a point in Forest Lore or City Lore, etc. at character creation, I have given Nasir an extra point of World Lore to represent the fact that he is much better travelled than the rest of Robin’s band. I’ve also created the Special Skill Tracking, as I thought that Hunting didn’t really capture Nasir’s skill at finding and following the trail of humans.   

I considered giving Nasir an extra Talent, in exchange for a point or two at character creation. However, the Talents that I was considering – such as Combat Reactions – I am reserving as the ‘unique’ characteristic of other characters. Plus, I didn’t want to engage in ‘power creep’.

I also considered giving Nasir some MAGIC, to represent the uncanny disciplines and techniques that he may have learned while an Assassin, or even as a result of his service to de Belleme. Cantrips such as Extinguish and Noise would, indeed, be useful powers for an Assassin, but I decided that these would do too much damage to atmosphere of Robin of Sherwood. In a ‘vanilla’ AFF2e game, an Assassin should absolutely have some low powered magic that will help him move unseen and get the drop on his targets.