Saturday, May 28, 2022

REAVER Session Recaps

Hello everyone!

Reaver has experienced a bit of a rough ride over the past months, but is definitely coalescing into a thing I'll be comfortable releasing. The Quickstart is in layout and will only need to be updated with a more finalized version of the combat rules (when they are ready) and edited. Rest assured, it is still on its way!

In the meantime, several podcasters have been helping me playtest the game as it has evolved since last September. If you are interested in hearing recaps of our sessions, or simply want some great gaming podcasts to listen too, check out Jason over at Nerd's RPG Variety Cast, Karl on The GMologist Presents, and Joe on Hindsightless

Thanks to those great fellows for their input and for their awesome session recaps!

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

REAVER Classes - The Fighter

This week we’re taking a look at the old staple of character classes, the sword-wielders, the shield-breakers, the slayers—The Fighter! Fighters are ubiquitous in RPGs, having first appeared in the original role-playing game, and they fill the important role of dealing damage, laying foes low, and protecting their fellow party members. In REAVER, Fighters have abilities that represent their masterful battle skills, they are technical warriors, well-versed with all weapons and able to employ all armors—an important ability, because in REAVER, armor grants Damage Reduction and can help keep a character alive.

To explore the Fighter class we are going to try something a bit more historically-oriented and experiment with the protagonist from Bernard Cornwell’s excellent series, The Saxon Tales. I highly recommend this series (and all of Cornwell’s work honestly) to anyone interested in historical fiction. The Saxon Tales take place in the time of Alfred the Great and follow the life and exploits of Uhtred, son of Uhtred, born a Saxon but raised a Dane, as he seeks to reclaim his lost birthright, the lands of Bebbanburg. I’m choosing to create a character from historical fiction to demonstrate that REAVER is malleable enough to handle such characters and their stories, one of the stated goals of the game.

In addition to Uhtreds own prowess and experience, he gathers about him a number of loyal followers throughout the course of the books. In REAVER, these henchmen would be represented by Companions, sworn followers who have pledged their service to the PC at any time during their career—not just when they are higher level and no special abilities necessary. Instead, acquiring companions is entirely left to the PCs actions, roleplaying, and the narrative.


Friday, March 26, 2021

What's Happening?!

 Hi All!

We've moved out of the year of Doom and its time to apprise you all of what's been going on at RGG! 

Regardless of 2020's troubles, I was able to work on Reaver regularly and have a number playtest sessions completed and ongoing. Those sessions revealed certain problems and inconsistencies that led to some moderate rewrites, which also let me clean the rules up quite a bit.

  • The player's portion of Reaver is completely drafted and I have been tinkering with layout styles. From the Introduction, through character creation, and inclusive of the Sorcery chapter comes in around 70,000 words.
  • Skills have been completely removed in favor of a narrative style of skills based on your class and careers.
  • Except the attack roll, all die rolls in the game operate on the die chain. Why not the attack? Because I favor the familiarity of the old-school d20 roll.
  • Sorcery has been the most difficult aspect to "get right"-- meaning supportive of the S&S genre and the feel of dark magic. Vancian magic is completely abandoned. Spellcasters must make checks to successfully cast spells, may suffer ill effects if they fumble the check, but can pull off unearthly feats of sorcery with success. They are not easy to play and require some careful use of their spells and abilities. More of that in another post.

What's Next for Reaver? 

  • I'm currently working on the GM section--monsters, treasures, advice, special rules, and the like; as well as a basic setting to be included in the book.
  • More playtesting! I'll continue running the game myself and plan to recruit some additional GMs to run it.
  • I also plan to release a "Quickstart" this summer to get the game in people's hands and support the official playtest.
  • Because I want this book to be high quality, I plan to take it to Kickstarter in spring of 2022.

Eldritch Tales has been on the back-burner since last year, but I do have issue #2 of The Eldritch Inquirer partially in layout and in the works. I plan to release this after the Reaver Quickstart. The issue will include support for pulp adventure games and an exciting, pulp scenario written by John Large of Red Dice Diaries!

All the best!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Eldritch Tales 10/1/20 Deal of the Day!

Just want to get the word out that, today 10/1/20 starting at 11 AM EST, Eldritch Tales: Lovecraftian White Box Role-Playing is the "Deal of the Day" over at DriveThruRPG!! If you are interested and haven't picked it up, you can get the PDF today for only $3.50 - a fraction of the retail price!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Eldritch Tales on Spikepit!

Just wanted to share the news here - Colin "Spikepit" Green dropped an overview of Eldritch Tales today on his excellent podcast! 

I'm a fan of the Spikepit podcast and back Colin's Patreon. He's started hosting occassional one-shots as a Patreon benefit and I'll be running Eldritch Tales in early October for Colin and three other players!

Visit Colin's Patreon here and drop him a buck or two if you're so inclined!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

REAVER Classes - The Barbarian

In all of Sword & Sorcery fiction, one character stands out above all others and it only seems fitting to start with ... the Barbarian! The Barbarian's prominence and popularity stems from the creations of Robert E. Howard…Conan, Kull, and others… as well as Lieber’s Fafhrd and from the numerous pastiche characters based on them. Barbarians appeared early in the history of RPGs, as early as 1982, when Gary Gygax penned the Barbarian as a fighter sub-class in Dragon Magazine, but from those early origins, the class has evolved (within Dungeons and Dragons) from a wilderness warrior who detests magic to a raging damage dealer who might employ magical effects. 

In REAVER, the Barbarian not a rage-oriented character, that place is left for the Berserker, and certainly has no magical abilities. Instead, Barbarians are warrior tribesmen who live close to the wild. They are excellent combatants, but while a Fighter relies on skill and technique, Barbarians focus on delivering powerful blows and following through when they fell an enemy. They are skilled in survival, have an uncanny sense for danger, and are comfortable fighting unarmored. Designed in this manner, the Class might easily represent a Conan-like hero, a shirtless Celt striving against Roman legionaries, or a bloodthirsty savage in a dark fantasy setting.

Let's borrow a barbarian hero from fiction and recreate them as a REAVER character, and best to start with character everyone knows - Brule the Spear-Slayer! (Did you think is going to "Conan?)

Howard didn't tell us much about Brule's backstory, but we can extrapolate a few things. He is a Barbarian Pict from the Pictish Isles; by his own words, he is very stealthy; he is sometimes an emissary and sometimes a soldier; he is as skilled at mounted combat as he is afoot. What is presented below is a draft version of the Character Class and is subject to change.
(*updated 3/28/21)

*The author claims no rights on the Brule character and is only using it as an example.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Introducing REAVER RPG!

Once again, I am returning after a hiatus away from the blog to drop a bit of an update! Back in January, I mentioned that I was putting together a new Role-Playing Game, and it has greatly progressed since then. I was off work during the coronavirus shutdown and was able to get quite a bit of work done and even ran a few early playtests. Concerning genre, it is heavy inspired by Sword & Sorcery, Dark Fantasy, and Historical Fiction... I literally don't know exactly how to describe it just yet but the title is ...

I cannot claim to have created something that is entirely new and groundbreaking for RPGs, and that is not my intention. Instead, I have drawn inspiration from a number of games, old and new, and attempted to make a game whose rules feel familiar and are flexible enough to support the various genres mentioned above. So, in this introductory post I want to describe the basics of REAVER (at least as the current draft stands).

ORIGINS: Origins replace "races" and represent a character's culture, place of origin, and nationality. In the core rules, all Origins are humans and are inspired by historical and mythological peoples of Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. I've chosen to do this so that they might easily be adapted to other settings, fit into historical fantasy campaigns and many Sword and Sorcery settings, like Hyboria, and be familiar to most readers. I have mentioned in the rules bits my own campaign setting, largely in describing the Origins, but have not decided if I'll include an overview of the world in the rules...I should say that I have striven to present the Origins in a respectful, and even historical manner, while making them suitably fantastic for the genre.

ATTRIBUTES: The familiar six common to many other fantasy games. What's different? The Attribute Feat system from Eldritch Tales has been modified to operate on a Die Chain, so that every Attribute has an assigned Feat Die, ranging from d3 to d10, and used as the basis for various tests. Dexterity modifies movement. Instead of a "reaction modifier," Charisma dictates a Base Loyalty Die (also a die chain) which is assigned to Hirelings and can be modified later. (As an aside, NPC Morale works the same way.)

CHARACTER CLASSES: I'll be discussing these in future posts, but the core book will include at least the Barbarian, Berserker, Fighter, Priest, Rogue, Scout, and Sorcerer. Priests are each defined by their Faith (Druidism, Shamanism, or Theism) while Sorcerers select a Tradition (Hermeticism, Mysticism, or Witchery). Classes grant the character all of their base abilities and have a format similar to early versions of the "world's first RPG."

CAREERS and SKILLS: Every character selects a Career at first level and two more at later levels. Careers mimic the fiction trope common to Sword & Sorcery where protagonists dabble in multiple occupations throughout their careers. The best example of course is Conan - he is a Barbarian (class), but was a Thief, Mercenary, and Pirate (among other things). These are all Careers in REAVER and allow a player to personalize their PCs. Mechanically, Careers grant the character a Skill and a Feature.
REAVER includes a fairly short and easy Skill system with 18 unique Skills. Most characters start with 3 Skills and have no more than 5 Skills at the maximum level. Skills operate on the Attribute Feat system and grant a +1d on the Die Chain.

RESOLVE and PERIL: The general rules and combat system should be fairly familiar to most, however all characters have Resolve, a measure of their luck, fate, and sheer will to survive. Resolve is based off of the character's Prime Attribute and increases as characters advance in level. Resolve allows characters to do things like heal during combat, increase their damage, gain Advantage on a roll, and cheat death. Resolve can also activate Class abilities, like the Berserker's fury, and is expended to cast magic spells. However, when characters spend Resolve they empower their enemies with Peril, which operates basically as Resolve for the Referee. 

SORCERY: Vancian magic is scrapped. Spellcasters use Resolve to cast spells and receive more Resolve than other classes. They must study or pray each day, but do not "prepare spells" and can rather cast any spell they know. Sorcery is dangerous, dark, and can lead to a character's ultimate downfall. I'll discuss Sorcery more in a later post. 

OTHER RULES: I've adopted the Usage Die for equipment, ammunition, and some other things. On a recent episode of The Purple Worm Podcast, I heard Dave Aldridge mention applying the Usage Die to spell durations and thought that was a very interesting idea and I plan to explore that a bit. There are rules for Hirelings and Companions and characters might gather followers at any level. Seafaring, Travel, and Downtime will all be covered for the referee. Advantage/Disadvantage is used.

Right, so that's a shortish overview. In the next post I'll talk about some Character Classes!