If you are even remotely interested in the Ultima series of computer roleplaying games and D&D you owe it to yourself to check out Michael Shorten’s excellent “The Siege Perilous” rules.
Back in 2009 he took Swords & Wizardry Whitebox to create his vision of a Ultima pen & paper roleplaying game loosely based on the first three games in the series. The Siege Perilous consists of a 46-paged core rulebook, a 54-paged GM’s guide, and a 10-paged gazetteer which unfortunately he never finished.
One thing that makes The Siege Perilous special is its interesting approach to classes. At character creation you can pick between the classes of Fighter, Magic-User, Cleric and Thief – quite standard so far. But at level three you can either stick to one of the base classes or switch to one of the advanced classes like the Alchemist, the Lark, or the Paladin. Sure, advanced classes like this are nothing new to D&D in general, but I haven’t seen the concept in OD&D-based games before.
The playable races in The Siege Perilous are pretty standard as well, which is no surprise since the Ultima series was originally based on the creator’s own D&D campaign, but how they work mechanically is quite different. Humans for example do get an Intelligence bonus in the early Ultima games and so is the case in Michael’s tabletop game.
Another change from D&D is that The Siege Perilous throws out Vancian magic and replaces it by a spell-point based magic system complete with Ultima-inspired spells. The deeper I delve into this game the more excited I am about it. The Siege Perilous combines two of my favorite things into a perfect blend.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that the rules also include space combat? No? The early Ultima games like many other CRPGs of that era often combined fantasy settings with SF elements. Ultima 2’s story for example heavily relied on time travel. In Ultima 1 you eventually got access to Scifi equipment like blaster weapons, aircars and even space shuttles. From how I understand things these artifacts are left-overs from an ancient civilization. Perhaps Sosaria is actually a post-apocalyptic setting.
Overall I think The Siege Perilous is a great example for a White Box-based game which tries to do something different. While it’s still D&D at its core, it’s also a totally different beast. I also think that some of the ideas of early computer roleplaying games can still be exciting to explore even today. So do yourself a favor, and check out The Siege Perilous!
If you have recently picked up the Fallout Wasteland Warfare RPG and feel that you’re missing something, don’t fret. Modiphius has provided us with several free downloads that make things easier.
Fallout: Wasteland Warfare – Print & Play: High Res 2 Player Cards (Download)
This should actually have been included in the FWW RPG Download in my opinion, since it contains equipment and weapon cards needed to play the game if you don’t have access to the two player starter set of the miniatures game.
Fallout: Wasteland Warfare – Rules of Play (Download)
You read the RPG expansion and still have a couple of questions on how some things or if you are now interested in the miniature game, you can check out the rules for free.
Fallout: Wasteland Warfare – Getting Acclimated (Download)
”Getting Acclimated” is basically a quickstart version of the full FWW rules. It includes some basic scenarios and a phase by phase guide to the core rules.
Fallout: Wasteland Warfare – Print & Play: Dice and Ruler Info (Download)
This PDF is especially helpful if you don’t own the official FWW dice set. While the game uses d20s and d12s these are printed with special symbols. This PDF contains handy conversion tables for your dice rolls and colored rulers for use with miniatures.
A couple of days ago, David Sumner, co-founder of RPGSmith got in touch with me and told me about his free web application. RPGSmith is – in a nutshell – an interactive character sheet with additional features like item, spell and ability management. The current application is meant for players, but they’ll be launching a Kickstarter later this week to fund an extended version of RPGSmith which will feature a GM campaign management interface.
At the moment, the application supports the following rulesets: D&D 5th Edition, Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorers Edition, Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition, Fate Core, Fate Accelerated, and Pathfinder. It is possible to add your own rulesets though.
From what I’ve seen so far RPGSmith could be a pretty nifty tool for players regardless whether they are playing online or offline. There is a bit of a learning curve though, but luckily the site provides users with quite a few tutorial videos.
Having an interactive character sheet definitely comes in handy from time to time, and RPGSmith has support for desktop PCs and mobile devices, which is a plus in my book. You can even customize your character sheets to your hearts content. Will it change the way we play RPGs? I have my doubts, but it’s worth a look nevertheless.
What are your thoughts on RPGSmith? Have you had the chance to try it out? Please share your comment below!
A Roleplaying Games blog
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