I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's. I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.

- William Blake

Monday, May 30, 2022

Minimalist OSR spell casting (one spell per level)

One thing I like about OSR (and old school) games is that they are often somewhat simpler than modern games (but not always). 

But I don't find "traditional" spell casting particularly simple. You have a caster level, a spell level, and these numbers are different (and the relation is not always obvious, although mostly if you divide caster level by two, that's your maximum spell level). In addition, the number of spell slots vary in non-predictable ways. And, of course, the spell level is not only connected to power, but certain spells are available in certain levels... AND they scale with CASTER level. Take fireball (3rd-level), for example; an incredibly powerful spell at higher levels, but not much stronger than sleep (1st-level) the first time you get it. 

And don't get me started on the Cleric: 
First, the cleric’s spell progression is very peculiar when compared to the magic-user and the elf. For example, a level 6 cleric gets access to spells of level 3 and 4 simultaneously for no obvious reason. Compare this to the magic-user: despite requiring a lot more XP to level up, the MU does not have access to level 4 spells until level 7.
Second, spell levels seem almost arbitrary. Cure Light Wounds (healing 1d6+1 HP) is a 1st level spells, while Cure Serious Wounds (2d6+2 HP) is a fourth level spell. With a 5th level spell, you can raise the dead... or create lots of food.
Then there are deities, which will punish clerics that stray away from their path – or that cast reversed spells, making these kinds of spells a bit less versatile than they appear.
[...]
the game allows clerics to research their own spells, but there seems to be no obvious parameters on how to do so, since the spells are so different. Moreover, it makes it harder to “convert” clerics to the options presented in this book. Because of this, you will find a few alternatives below to make your job easier if you want to use this book for clerics. In addition, we added a few options to tweak the cleric in various ways.
This is from my Alternate Magic, BTW. It contains many options to simplify (but also enhance, twist, etc.) old school magic systems. If that's what you're looking for, you'll certainly find something useful in this book!

Spell points, for example, are a good alternative; or using HP to power your spells. Both options are presented in the book, and they require a bit less bookkeeping than the usual system.

But I also have a radically minimalist version which I didn't include in the book, because it is not perfectly compatible with OSR spells... but it is close enough, IMO. And it has a few advantages: less analysis paralysis (the default action is casting the most powerful spell available), a single number to keep track of, and so on.

Anyway, here you go.


When you cast a spell, you do so at your maximum caster level. For example, a 10th level MU casting fireball deals 10d6 damage, or affects 10d6 HD of creatures of HD 4 or less, or heals a total of 10d6 damage, etc. 

We'd have to rewrite most spells to be entirely dependent on caster level. There is no more "spell level".

The next time you cast a spell, you do so at one level lower (i.e., as a 9th level caster). The caster goes weaker during the day, and is recovered after a night of rest. This means a 10th-level caster can cast 10 spells, each less powerful than the last one.

But what if I am a 10th level wizard, and need to cast a 2d6 fireball against a measly kobold I found in my way? Well, you're casting as a 2nd level wizard. Roll 1d10 (because you're in 10th level); if you roll 1 or 2 (because you're casting at 2nd-level), you grow weaker (9th level), but otherwise you remain unchanged.

Maybe you can use 1d4 for the first few levels, to give the beginning MU a few extra spells before running dry, and go all the way up to 1d12 (d6 at level 5, d8 at 7, d10 at 9, and d12 from level 11 until 14). Maybe limit spells to level 10 to keep things simple... a 14th level spell-caster can cast at least four of them at full power!

Not sure if this is worth developing further (it requires re-writing most spells, as I've mentioned), but it seems promising.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

LAST DAY of the D&D Sale


Almost all of my books are included in this sale. If you want to buy all at a discounted price, try this bundle (and if you ALREADY bought this bundle, you can get any new books with a discount too! conversely, if you bought some of my books, the bundle is automatically cheaper).

Here are some additional highlights (including a few of my own), all with the biggest discounts available (40%).

I`ve mentioned those before. I have a few new books to recommended, but they are not included in this sale (at least not at 40%), so I`ll review them further down the line. I haven't read The Halls of Arden Vul Complete but I`ll admit I`m curious - 1000 pages (!) and many positive reviews. Probably it is more than I can handle at this time...

Anyway, here we go again.



OSR
Low Fantasy Gaming Deluxe Edition (review of the original version);
Monkey Business (apparently more than 40% off).

Classic D&D

If you want even more stuff (and some reasons why I pick those titles), check my OSR picksClassic D&D picks and D&D 5e picks from the last sale, back in March.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

ALTERNATE MAGIC is out!

My new OSR book, ALTERNATE MAGIC, is out!

ALTERNATE MAGIC is a collection of mechanics for old school and OSR systems.

If you like "Basic" games and its clones (Old School Essentials, Basic Fantasy RPG, Labyrinth Lord, etc.), or even other OSR games, and want to expand magic options, you'll certainly enjoy this one!
This book is compatible with Dark Fantasy Basic, including a specific chapter on conversions. Some ideas can serve as inspiration for any RPG system, but we assume you're familiar with old school or OSR games.
In these pages, you'll find:
- New spellcasting classes;
- Flexible spells, suited for any spell level.
- Blood magic, random magic, and spell points.
- Cantrips and rituals.
- Alternatives for the cleric class.
- ...and many other tools.
The book is entirely modular! Each chapter can be used by itself or in combination with other chapters. For example, you might use blood magic with the traditional spellcasting system or combine it with flexible magic. You can use random magic with spell points or cantrips, or by itself. You might use the new classes without changing anything else in your game.

If you buy any of my books, check your e-mail for news, discounts, and so on!

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Skills breakdown of 5e monsters (blog of holding)

A quick thought...

Blog of holding has lots of great posts, and this is one of them:

He breaks down "the percentages of monsters that possess each skill, broken out into monsters, beasts, and NPCs.", adding:" Might be off by a percentage point or two here or there because I didn’t double-check the counts carefully, but it’s accurate enough to let me draw some conclusions. I just used the Monster Manual for these counts."

Here are his results:

SKILL PERCENTAGE	MONSTER	BEAST	NPC
Acrobatics		0	0	5
Animal Handling		0	0	0
Arcana			6	0	10
Athletics		3	2	14
Deception		8	0	24
History			3	0	10
Insight 		9	0	10
Intimidation 		2	0	10
Investigation 		1	0	5
Medicine		0	0	14
Nature 			0	0	14
Perception 		54	46	24
Performance		1	0	0
Persuasion 		4	0	24
Religion 		3	0	14
Sleight of Hand		0	0	5
Stealth 		37	25	14
Survival		3	0	5


As you can see, some skills are simply ABSENT from the list - and perception remains the uber-skill. The interesting thing is that stealth is the second in popularity - something I hadn't considered.

One curious thing is the lack of "nature" and "animal handling", and the scarcity of "survival". Consider the definition of survival:

Survival. The GM might ask you to make a Wisdom (Survival) check to follow tracks, hunt wild game, guide your group through frozen wastelands, identify signs that owlbears live nearby, predict the weather, or avoid quicksand and other natural hazards.

So, for some reasons monsters lack the ability to "hunt wild game" and "avoid quicksand and other natural hazards". It's impressive that they managed to stay alive...

Nah, of course lions can hunt wild game. They probably use perception. The thing is - these skills shouldn't exist (or should be folded together in fewer skills). 5e has too many skills, and most of them simply go unused.

Notice that the skills I called "specialist skills" in a post about the subject (Medicine, Arcana, History, Sleight of Hand) happen only in a few NPCs... specialist stuff indeed.

Anyway, here is my post about the subject ("How many skills do we NEED?").


Another thing I found interesting are this conclusions:

So that’s a quick tally of what skills are common… now, how many skills does each creature get?

It varies a lot. While higher-CR monsters tend to have more skills, there are plenty of big tough monsters – especially bruiser types – with no skills at all, including the kraken, tarrasque, demilich, balor, and pit fiend, so it’s definitely not a necessity for a tough monster to have any skills at all. Smarter monsters tend to have more skills. Most monsters have a maximum of four skills. The two exceptions I noticed are the mind flayer and the spy, which have six skills each.

Makes me wonder:

- Are skills necessary at all for monsters? Shouldn't a skill like "predator" be enough to include hunting and stealth? Such a skill would be both more precise and more flavorful, IMO. Because I'm guessing the lion's perception is not about the sight of candlelight, as the skill suggests. 
- More intelligence = more skills. Again, maybe Intelligence should grant more skills; it would make it less of a dump stat.

Well, that's it for today.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Alternate Magic is near!

Here is a small teaser for my next book. The cover is nearly finished, as the text... but let me know what you think anyway!


Alternate Magic is a collection of mechanics for OSR systems - especially compatible with "Basic" games and its clones (Old School Essentials, Basic Fantasy RPG, Labyrinth Lord, etc.; it is also compatible with Dark Fantasy Basic, including a specific chapter on conversions). Some ideas can serve as inspiration for any RPG system, but this is not the main goal.

It contains about 30 pages, including: new spellcasting classes, flexible spells, blood magic, chaos magic, spell points, cantrips, rituals, alternate clerics, and other tools.

The book is entirely modular; each chapter can be used by itself or in combination with other chapters. For example, you might use blood magic with the traditional spellcasting system or combine it with flexible magic. You can use random magic with spell points or cantrips, or by itself. You might use the new classes without changing anything else in your game.

I intend to publish it in less than a week! I'll make a blog post when it comes out. 

As usual, if you got any of my books form DTRPG and accept e-mails, I'll send an e-mail with a discount code (almost all of my books are included in the May D&D sale, BTW). If you're an alpha reader or play tester, I'll send you an e-mail too. 

Stay tuned!

Monday, May 09, 2022

Railroading in space and time (and the "future timeline" method)

Here is another post about a frequent subject in this blog. Tackling it from yet another angle...

In the last post, we talked about the quantum ogre; a form of railroading in space ("wherever you go, you'll find the ogre").

This type of railroading is almost universally condemned in the OSR (in modern D&D, it can go either way).

However, one could theoretically do railroading in time ("whenever you arrive, you'll find three goblins playing dice", or, even more extreme, "whenever you arrive, you'll see the bandits approaching a princess as she sleeps...").

This form of railroading (that reminds of Schrödinger's cat, maybe even more than the quantum ogre) is usually accepted without much questioning (or, at least, it isn't discussed as much).

Why?

My guess it is that it is almost inevitable. Even if you have a very detailed mega dungeon, it would be hard to add another dimension (time) to every place. You might make some concessions ("there are 1d6 goblins in the room at any time, with 1-in-6 chances they are sleeping..."), but it can never be perfect: what if the PCs take a month or a year before visiting the dungeon?

It might take hundreds or thousands of pages to realistically portray how a small community may change over time with enough detail (unless we are talking about undead, automatons, etc.).

It is usually assumed that the goblins are there in a state of suspended animation until the PCs enter (or listen to the door, or hear rumors, etc. - Schrödinger's cat indeed!). Adventurers are written in the present tense ("there are goblins..."). But the present is indeterminate (and fleeting); events happen in determinate times.

Let's illustrate this.


Here is one example from The Wretched Hive (currently on sale!): 
Day versus night
The hive is active both day and night, but night makes it significantly more dangerous, because many creatures go out during the day to hunt for pollen, captives, etc. In addition, unless the PCs can see in the dark, their sources of light will make them easier to notice at night.
During the night, whenever you roll randomly to determine the number of creatures, re-roll all natural 1s. For example, if one room has “2d6 bee soldiers” and you roll a 1 and a 3, this would mean 4 bee soldiers during the day, but re-roll the 1 if the PCs enter at night (if you roll 1 again, there are four soldiers; if you roll 4, instead, there are seven soldiers total, and so on).
This rule applies to all encounters within the hive, random or not. On the upside, there is a 50% chance for every demon to be sleeping during the night.
Here is another example, this time discussing the time dimension:
[E] The Barracks
2d6+3 imps are here. During the day, half are asleep, but they do not seem to care with people coming and going. During the night, only a third of them is wake, but they'll be suspicious of outsiders.
The rest of the imps are playing disgusting games with small vermin and malformed dice.
A counter example would be the entrance to the Hive (room A). It is guarded by seven imps and a demon-ogre. No reference to time. Do they guard the entrance 24 hours per day? Obviously not. It is assumed that the PCs can wait for them to go to sleep, for example, but it isn't spelled out.

Finally, here is part of the aftermath (spoiler alert!):
If both the Queen and Malavor are still alive, the hive expands. In 2d4 weeks, the number of demons and bee-soldiers is doubled, and the hive’s defenses are reinforced. In another 1d6 weeks, Malavor manages to mutate himself into a bee-demon, half-insane, but with full control of the bee-people. The bloated and sick avatar dies after a while, but this no longer affects the bee-soldiers, that can now be cloned in the underground. Three months after the characters left, Malavor unleashes his army against the nearest village.
A list of pre-planned events? A pre-written ending? There are people that would think this is what railroading is all about! It is usually considered bad form if a module describes what happens next. You're supposed to find that out during play!

My point is: this does exactly the opposite.

A list of preplanned events might be the perfect solution to avoid railroading in space and time. I've made this point before, but I think it is easier to grasp with examples.

Here is a timeline of 12th century England:
  • 1135 Death of Henry I, accession of King Stephen to English throne
  • 1137 Beginning of a civil war between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda over the succession to the English throne; accession of Owain Gwynedd, the first Welsh ruler to style himself prince of Wales
  • 1154 Death of King Stephen, accession of Henry II to English throne
  • 1164 Constitutions of Clarendon, a set of laws which governs the trial of members of the Church in England
  • 1170 Assassination of Thomas Becket; death of Owain Gwynedd, prince of Wales
  • 1189 Death of Henry II, Richard I accedes to the English throne.
  • 1192 Richard is captured by Duke Leopold of Austria whilst returning from the Crusades
  • 1194 Richard is ransomed and returns to England; accession of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth to the throne of Gwynedd
  • 1199 Death of Richard I, King John accedes to the English throne
Since these are real events, most of them happen in an exact place and time. 

Now, let's say you're creating a campaign where the PCs are loyal to King Stephen, and the campaign lasts from 1135 to his death in 1154.

If you want your PCs to meet Owain Gwynedd before he ascends to the throne for some reason, but they decide to travel to Scotland instead, you just forced yourself to avoid railroading your players: they cannot meet Owain because he is fighting in Wales!

(Of coursing, using real events gives you much more information to play with; but even a brief biography of Owain could accomplish a similar result).

One important caveat: the PCs should not be included in the timeline. It is up to them to decide where to go, what to do, etc. Including them in the timeline will encourage railroading.

Of course, if you make Owain immortal before 1170, than you are back to railroading. too So you must plan the events... and let the PCs affect them, for better or worse.

(This is just an example; I know nothing about this period. Maybe The Great Pendragon Campaign works something like this; I haven't played it. I did run a Game of Thrones adventure 15 years before the books with a similar method, although I never had to decide "what happens if the PCs kill Eddard Stark", but I'd allow it. I found this easy to run, since I could turn to some GoT wiki for lots of information about what could happen.).

In short: the best way to avoid "railroading" might be building an explicit "railroad" of events and letting your PCs free to derail it, IF they are willing and able.

What are some of the practical implications?

Mainly, that it would be immensely useful if existing adventures and campaigns included future timelines. "This is what happens if the PCs do nothing". Having a note saying:
1137 Beginning of a civil war between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda over the succession to the English throne
Will give you lots of ideas about what might be happening in 1136. Rumors, tensions, enmities, alliances, discussions, scheming, skirmishes...

Knowing is even helpful when deciding what happens if Matilda dies before 1137! Are there other forces that would oppose Stephen (maybe Robert of Gloucester?). Or would the whole war be avoided? If the PCs want to avoid a war, what should they do? 

These questions will inspire GM to find their own answers. But the book itself might add some "ifs" and "buts" in order to make things even easier ("If both the Queen and Malavor are still alive, the hive expands...").

This is the implicit assumption of most campaigns, BTW. "The cult wants to summon Tiamat, and the PCs have to stop them...". But since there is no set time for the coming of Tiamat, it can never actually be summoned. The final showdown will wait for the PCs, and even if the PCs die before a new group will rise to face the "final scene". Some campaigns will be explicit about the deadline; they make it easier to know if you're railroading or not.

Anyway.

One method I haven't used is planning weather and encounters/events in advance. Those two are clearly distinct; no one would object the GM having detailed weather for the next 30 days, since the PCs usually cannot affect it. Having a pre-planned encounter in 15 days sounds icky, as if you're forcing the players down a railroad - but it is not so different from rolling it in advance.

When I ran Tomb of Annihilation, such script would be very useful - much better than rolling every day.

Let's see if I can add some of that to my next campaign.

Saturday, May 07, 2022

The Disoriented Ranger talks: Gaming Culture

My friend Jens, from The Disoriented Ranger, writes good, thoughtful stuff. Just take a look at the blog and you'll see. 

He just published the first part of a blog anthology. Roughly 130 pages. The first part is about Gaming Culture. I only read the first few chapters, but I'm already looking forward for the next parts (especially part 2!). Jens really knows his old-school/OSR stuff - his advice in my upcoming B/X alternate magic book (among others) has been invaluable.

(BTW, Alternate Magic is coming soon! Stay tuned!)

Complicating blog articles is a great idea, IMO; organizing is more important than creating. I hope I'll write my own someday.

It is only one dollar - click here to get it.

Anyway, here is the blurb:

What's this about?

Nothing is older than yesterday's blog ... or so they say. After 10 years of exploring "all things D&D and role-playing" on The Disoriented Ranger blog, most of it during the Golden Age of the so-called OSR (and some of it in the Silver Age, I presume), it is time to look back and see what I deem worthy of conserving.

I talked several subjects over the years, many of them about game design and gaming advice, but the most general was about Gaming Culture. How we play, why we play, consumerism, DIY, about communities in general, about where we are and where we could go with this hobby of playing role-playing games ...

I shared my takes about these and they make a good first anthology. So here they are: 15 posts on roughly 130 pages with thoughts and musings about The Hobby, all edited and prettied up for this pdf.

What's to come?

There are five more anthologies to follow in the next couple of months, so look out for:

  • Part 2: D&D and the OSR
  • Part 3: Musings about DMing
  • Part 4: Storytelling Advice
  • Part 5: DIY & Gamedesign
  • Part 6: Theories in Action

Parts 1 to 3 as well as Parts 4 to 6 will also be compiled for a PoD option!

This is not a trip down memory lane, the topics presented here are still as important as they had been when I addressed them. My sincere hope is that sharing them here will encourage and inspire new readers (or fans of the blog, but with fresh eyes) to see the wealth of potential our hobby has, as well as its pitfalls.

Other than that: I can just provide the map, and even I get lost ...

Cheers,

The Disoriented Ranger

----------

What qualifies me, you ask?

Just so you know: "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." (Hunter S. Thompson)

Definitely worth checking out!

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Weapons and bonus actions (5e)

D&D 5e is lackluster when it comes to weapons. Only a few of them are unbalanced, but almost all are a bit repetitive and uninteresting. A longsword, for example, is nearly identical to a battleaxe (glaives and halberds are simply identical).

BTW, if you'd like to see some of these issues "fixed", check my Manual of Arms: Weapons (currently on sale!).

However, we could go even further than fixing weapons, by making them more fun, and a bit different from each other. 

In 5e, this is usually achieved through feats. Feats are optional, however, and it wouldn't hurt to boost martials a little. Some of the most interesting feats (Polearm Master, Shield Master, Spear Master, etc.) use bonus actions (or reactions, but we will leave that for another post) to do that. Bonus actions are also what "light" weapons are about:

Two-Weapon Fighting

When you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you’re holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon that you’re holding in the other hand. You don’t add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative.


What if we gave EVERY weapon something to do with bonus actions? With one caveat: Two-Weapon Fighting is quite weak after level 5. So, maybe these options are ONLY available after you get Extra Attack (or "only beyond level 5", like cantrips). Maybe we kill two birds with one stone: make TWF stronger after level 5. 

Even better, we don't add any complexity in the first few levels, giving warrior types more options as they level up, but do not make the game more complex for other classes. Notice many of these options will make a warrior with extra attack have two DIFFERENT attacks!

Here are some ideas. Each weapon would have their own trait, some could be up to choice. These are weaker than most feats.


Light (modification): when you use your bonus action to "attack with a different light melee weapon that you’re holding in the other hand", and you have Extra attack, you can do it once per attack until the end of your turn. You don’t add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative.

Bash (any non-light, bludgeoning weapon, maybe axes): you can use a bonus action to bump your damage die by one step in your next attack (d6 to d8, d8 to d10, etc.). A maul could cause 2d8 damage!

Armor piercer (could be every weapon except swords etc.): +2 in your next attack if the opponent is wearing armor.

Extend (spears): add the "reach" property with a bonus action (maybe pikes etc. will extend 5 feet further).

Parry (shields, maybe quarterstaff): add +1 to your AC until the beginning of your next turn with a bonus action.

Duck (crossbows and some non-heavy ranged weapons): add +1 to your AC until the beginning of your next turn with a bonus action.

Speed (any light weapon or non-heavy sword): You can make one Attack with it as a Bonus Action on each of your turns. You don’t add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative.

Sweep (any big, slashing weapon): When you take the Attack action, you can use a bonus action to attack a different target within reach.

Sword-and-dagger (rapier, longsword): When you take the Attack action and attack with a melee weapon that you’re holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon that you’re holding in the other hand. You don’t add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative.

Anyway, this is just a rough draft for now, but I think it is a promising idea.

Monday, May 02, 2022

April 2022 Highlights - The Diamond Throne, The Last Duel, Raised by wolves

Here are some of my April 2022 Highlights. The first one is quite negative - you've been warned!


The Diamond Throne (1989 book)

This book is remarkably lame. I have no idea why I bought it in the first place; I probably heard the name of the author in something related to D&D, or some fantasy best-seller list. I've been underwhelmed by the fantasy novels I've been reading lately, but this one is specially dull: not a single cool monster, story, or idea I could identify. The characters are not especially interesting either. I should have given up halfway through but I'm guess I'm too stubborn for my own good.

The book begins with some version of the Nibelungenlied (*ahem*) and then goes on to tell a story of a brave "Pandion" knight (i.e., paladin) name Sparhawk (*ahem*) that has to find a cure for his Queen's malady... And then he goes from place to place talking to people for the next clue in a quest that goes nowhere.

The heroes use various ridiculous disguises and ruses throughout the book and foil every plan by the villains. The dialogue is puerile, as the jokes and situations - even when the heroes are confronting the antagonists face to face, they behave like brats. I thought I was reading some YA novel until one of the bad guys suggests beheading and sexual violence. 

But nothing actually happens. No important characters die or get hurt, no big twists or surprises, nothing. No shades of gray either - the heroes are noble and brave (at most, they are likeable thieves and adulterers), the villains are greedy and power-hungry, and that's it.

This is well below The Witcher. If you want something light-hearted, but funnier, try Kings of the Wyld (assuming you've already read the classics - if you didn't, go read Tolkien, Lieber, Dunsany, Moorcock, etc.).

I am not likely to read other books by the author and I'm certainly not reading the rest of the series. I've read the summaries - everything goes exactly as expected.

The Last Duel (2021 film)

This one was decent. It is basically the French-medieval version of In a Grove with some knight-fighting thrown in for good measure. The acting, cinematography, dialogue, etc., are all very good. It gets a bit repetitive and tedious - the story is not nuanced enough to be told three times - but it is really remarkable in showing the medieval point of view of the characters, instead of trying to shoehorn them in modern archetypes and sensibilities. I.e., the characters spend the movie trying to defend their (perceived) rights, as they see fit, in their context.

Also, if you care about this stuff, there is some good sword fighting and mass combat. Sometimes they use their swords as bats and other silly stuff, but overall the battles are bloody and realistic. I enjoyed it.

Raised by Wolves (2020 TV series)

I've only watched the first six episodes of the first season, them a summary of the rest (until the end of the second season, which got even better reviews than the first). The series is good but I've ran out of patience and time (I'm sorry if I sound grumpy today!).

Coincidentally, it is produced by Ridley Scott, the director of the Last Duel - who also directs the first couple of episodes here. Although it is mostly written by someone else (Aaron Guzikowski), it looks very much like a mix of Ridley Scott movies - especially the Alien franchise (including Prometheus), but also Blade Runner and Kingdom of Heaven.

Once again, the acting and the visuals are superb. The story is interesting - a couple of atheistic androids trying to raise humans in an inhospitable planet, until they got found by space-zealots, and so on. It is science fiction so deep into Clarke's Law that it becomes entirely fantastical, and often surreal. It is very violent and it kills dozens of characters per season (and there are not that many characters to begin with, but they introduce new ones as they go).

I'm guessing you'll like this one if you liked Prometheus, and MAYBE if you like the other movies I've mentioned. A bit slow and at times I doubt it is going anywhere but worth checking out if this piques your interest.

Sunday, May 01, 2022

Ancestry & Culture: An Alternative to Race in 5e (deal of the day)

Ancestry & Culture: An Alternative to Race in 5e* is the deal of the day on DTRPG.

If you like 5e and want to create custom races, this is a great deal (only $1.50). I remember preferring these rules over Tasha's when I read them. It is also a huge (adamantine) best seller.


Here is the blurb:

Character creation rules for 5e that replace race with ancestry, culture, and mixed heritage, for awesome new PCs

Two Time ENnie Award Winner for Best Electronic Book and Best Supplement!

Nominated for Product of the Year!

"Required reading for playing RPGs in 2020" - Polygon

- Play a character of one ancestry raised in a different culture, like an orc raised by elves

- Play a character of mixed ancestry, like the child of a gnome and a halfling

- Replace the outdated concept of Race in D&D with ancestry & culture

- Convert existing races into ancestries and cultures

- Create your own custom culture

- Comes with two friendly one-shot adventures designed for players of all ages

- Based on the successful ZineQuest Kickstarter

*These are all Affiliate links - by using them, you're helping to support this blog!