All posts by Peter R.

I have been blogging about Rolemaster for the past few years. When I am not blogging I run the Rolemaster Fanzine and create adventure seeds and generic game supplements under the heading of PPM Games. You can check them out on RPGnow. My pet project is my d6 game 3Deep, now in its second edition.

Sagas of Midgard

I am lucky enough that in my day job I both work from home and work entirely online. What this means is that I could be pretty much anywhere in the world as long as I can get an internet connection. In practical terms I am a little more limited as it is not just me, there is a Mrs R, two horses, three dogs and a scattering of grown up children and grandchildren.

What I did do recently is move from the far south west of Cornwall, UK to about as far north as you can get in the UK. I am spending seven months living on Shetland. I have swapped Celtic legends and Cornish Giants for Norse myth and legend. This a little bit of an adventure.

And talking of adventures… I have been playing Sagas of Midgard for the past two weeks and I have come to really enjoy the game. The game is very rules light. It has a single rule for resolving everything. The GM sets a target number and the players roll a d100 and add whatever they can to it and try and roll over the target number. It is one of those games where the GM doesn’t roll any dice. Combat is players roll to hit when they attack and they roll to dodge when they are defending.

What appeals the most is that this is a game where the heroes are heroic. D100 systems have a nasty habit of thinking they need to be gritty and realistic. I think it is the fact that a single roll has a hundred options means the designers feel they need to use them all (slight exaggeration).

Just look at this quote about should giants using bows be able to shoot further than humans, *not* from Sagas. “But m/(m+mv) scales in a way that depends on the relative contribution of m vs mv. If we assume m is much more important than mv, that simplifies to m/m and velocity will double because m/m * L is double. If we assume mv is much more important than m, that simplifies to m/mv and velocity will remain constant. So, the actual scaling is somewhere between x1 and x2, dependent on the relative contribution of m vs mv.

I found one reference that suggested for a bow, mv is about 20% the weight of an arrow. It may be much higher for a thrown weapon…? Would be good to see some numbers. But my initial impression is that Dan’s approximation of x1.41 (square root of 2) is within the range of x1 to x2 and not unreasonable.”

Really? There is a point at which when dealing with giants and dragons you kind of have to leave the physics behind. Back in Cornwall one of our local giants, Trecobben, could throw a rock the size of a VW Transporter seven miles. I would like to see the calculations for that (not!).

Sagas is NOT that sort of game. Sagas is all about the story, heroic action and dying well in battle. There is a great rule called With Joy I Cease which allows the player to trade the death of their character in exchange for delivering a truly heroic blow either killing a normal creature outright or delivering a massive wound to unique creatures. It is better to die honourably with your sword in your hand and enter the halls of Valhalla than to die in your bed as an old man.

All in all Sagas of Midgard is a great little game, fast to learn, simple to play and the core system has loads of potential to expand into other genres due to its sheer simplicity.

Escape The Noose, A Zweihänder Adventure

ESCAPE THE NOOSE is a Zweihänder adventure from Nights of the Shed that makes full use of the Main Gauche [MG] supplement. The booklet does say that you may want to use Main Gauche, I would say it is virtually essential. I am not saying this is a bad thing, rather I think it is a great adventure to introduce some of the cooler parts of the Zwei addon companion to a game.

The stand out thing for me is the setting for this adventure. It is as close to ‘real world’ as I have ever seen in a published adventure, that included spell casters in the NPC list. What ESCAPE does is place the PCs into real world historical events and these play out as a backdrop to the characters’ trials and challenges. Zweihänder is not a game where the PCs are going to change history and turn back armies, the history books are probably safe.

The ‘adventure’ and I use the quotes intentionally is intended to last just one or two sessions and is best suited to bringing characters together and bonding them into a party. For that alone it is a great tool. The down side is that it is not really much of an adventure. There is one entry point and one exit point and a list of set play encounters in between.

So is this a good adventure module? I think it is. It is a little railroad but for a first session with new characters that is fine. At the end of the written module there are a number of ways the characters story can go, that is where the freedom to tell their own story really comes in.

Even through this is built out of a string of set plays the characters still have options. Zwei characters are not renowned for being heroic, just surviving is often enough. In the characters escape they have those opportunities to someone’s hero even if it is just one life at a time and their actions buy the victim just a moments respite.

You do not really have to take my word for this as you can listen to an actual play of this adventure on Sound Cloud https://soundcloud.com/user-458434613. I confess that I have not listened to it. There is not much in role playing that I don’t do but watching or listening to other people play is one of the things I simply don’t get.

Ballad of the Pistolero

A friend of mine has, completely by chance, been working on a Wild West RPG called Ballad of the Pistolero. I say completely by chance because the topic only came up when I was talking about my Devil’s Staircase Wild West RPG. The chances of two different developers writing wild west game at the same time has to be fairly low. It is hardly the most popular genre.

Anyway, DS Wild West is still plodding its way through public play test with over 300 downloads so far and I get a new download about every day. I have even set up a Discord server for play testers.

So a bit more about Ballad of the Pistolero… Foxwood Games tried to make a very cinematic action based wild west game but has included elements of Zweihanders d100 system in that mix. You can take a look at the test rules as there is a link to them near the bottom of the Kickstarter pitch. Making the test rules available is a nice idea as it does mean that backers get to know exactly what it is they are buying into if they support the pitch.

As this is a friend’s pitch I will particularly encourage you to take a look and lend your support. Not that I am biased at all!