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A quick reminder that the “Rule of Cool” is always in effect in my games.

The Characters:
There are no dice rolls needed for character creation.

Character creation should be done as a group event, with all players around the table (real or virtual), the GM can feel free to guide the creation as much or as little as they want, it’s a game that should be fun for all.

When I do this I go around the table, one player at a time, getting one of each of the following aspects from the player and then moving on to the next one, it gives the rest of the group time to think about what has been chosen so far.

Well duh!

Pick a character concept, this can be any fantasy trope, e.g. Robin of Loxley, Siren, Warrior Woman, Conan the Barbarian, Stealthy 2 weapon wielding assassin, kindly young mage, kindly old mage, necromancer, Cleric of a death god, literally anything you want to imagine.

Pick two words that someone else would use to describe your character to a 3rd party, e.g. loyal & strong, sneaky & brash, trustworthy & stupid, these two words should be evocative of a look or style and it’s probably best if you try not to overlap them.

Best Bud – Pick one of the characters in the group and tell everyone why you get on so well.
Friction – Pick one of the other characters in the group and tell everyone why you have friction with them.

You have whatever you need, unless the GM says you don’t.

All Creatures have the following health conditions (unless they don’t, see examples below) and in the style of D&D until you cross off “Wounded” there are no effects:

  • Healthy (everything starts at this)
  • Bruised
  • Hurt
  • Wounded
  • Unconscious
  • Dead

The Rules:
Roll 2d10 if you score 11 or more you achieve what you were trying to do.
Doubles on success are a critical success.
Doubles on a failure are a critical failure.
Go to town with the criticals, bearing in mind the “Rule of Cool” and the character tropes in play.

I leap from the roof and bring my sword down into the back of the demon.
11 plus? You succeed!
10 or less? You fail!
I gently coerce the young dragon hatchling from the nest.
11 plus? You succeed!
10 or less? You fail!
I want to save against the massive amounts of damage the stupid mage in our party has just done to me.
11 plus? You succeed!
10 or less? You fail!
Don’t fumble this roll, no really, DON’T FUMBLE THIS ROLL!

Combat is covered by ”The Rules”.

Every time a creature is hit in combat cross a health level off.
I recommend that a critical success crosses 2 conditions off for characters and takes a foe straight to unconscious, but feel free to totally ignore this and rule however you want at the time, e.g. when I had the characters fighting a Balrog, a critical success crossed 2 levels off, but when fighting orcs, goblins or any homogeneous bad guys (“hbg”), a critical killed the hbg.

In the game I ran:
Barbarians got an extra level of bruised to their health, as did the Balrogs and other much harder creatures.
I allowed the Mage an unlimited spell list, based on what people could remember around the table and no spell fatigue.
There are lots more you can do to tailor this to what you want to play, the comments I had afterwards where that it felt like a fantasy game that just flowed without having to do any maths.

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5 days in and I have floundered a little, not through a lack of desire, more through a lack of time, which in and of itself I guess is a lack of planning.

Pretty sure my boss would agree if he read my blog, which I’m sure he doesn’t, anyway, I digress (I know, the Inception gauge is starting to register) I have a story I started, the plot is running around in my head like a hundred sheep gambolling in a sun dappled meadow, dashing hither and yon without a care in the world. I have revised what I’ve written a couple of times too, pretty sure I’m not supposed to do that either, all the advice is just crash out that ole first draft, then when you’ve reached the end, go back and edit ruthlessly.

The basic problem I have is that I write a lot of drivel in a first draft, it makes me hate the project when I go back and read it, is that right? It certainly doesn’t feel right, further digression was to be had when I had an idea for the protagonist’s name, I started looking up names, where they originate from, likely nationalities, gender specific versions (not sure why), basically anything except just accept the name and carry on writing.


Does this blog count towards NaNoWriMo?

I certainly hope so.

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The Day Democracy Died

No, not 23rd June 2016, the day democracy died was 24th June 2016, when a bunch of self righteous, obsessed and vitriolic fools believed they knew better than the other side and decided that because a vote didn’t go their way it should be retrospectively invalidated and that the process simply had to be repeated until it did go their way.

It was the day when people decried those people over 65 and declared their views didn’t matter because they simply weren’t going to live long enough for them to see out their choices.

It was the day one side decided the only reason the other side had voted against them was that they were bigoted, xenophobic morons without a single redeeming feature and therefore were unqualified to have an opinion.

Congratulations, this is the day you asked for democracy to be killed in your name, this is the day you gave a government an opportunity to overturn an electoral result it didn’t like, this is the day you asked for the ability to disenfranchise people who have spent their entire lives in this country working on its behalf because they aren’t going to live that long anyway, this is the day democracy died!

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Glenn’s Painting Log Ep 2


Basecoating was a little messier than I thought, but it all went well enough, the main paint of Vallejo Model Air Steel went on really well, I still added a couple of brushes of thinner into it, but it probably wasn’t necessary, it certainly didn’t hurt.

The new airbrush turned up between the basecoating and the main colour, it’s so much better than the old one, freaking bargain for £20 delivered if you ask me.

Anyway, I really should have dealt with the rear end of the Battleship before painting, when checking over the model after painting I saw it was horribly deformed with flashing from the mould and stunningly boring.

I should have photographed it before getting to work on it, but I didn’t even think about it, just got straight in there with my files and micro drill, pictures of the finished article to follow on the next post.

The Hawker Industries Carrier Group set turned up after I’d finished the main painting, so flashing removal, scrubbing and prepping for more basecoating and main painting, pictures also to follow, I also remembered to do the rear end of the carrier.




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Glenn’s Painting Log

Whoops, not quite a year since my last post, wonder if I’ll remember to keep updating the Painting Log?

Anyway, after a year or so dicking around with an airbrush I’ve decided to put some effort into getting it working properly, upgraded the compressor, bought a 3rd airbrush, moving the single action jobby on, I don’t do enough with it and it’s just sitting there looking accusingly at me.

To be continued … Hopefully, full speed ahead and damn the ADD.

First up, some warm soapy water and a toothbrush to clean off any mold releasing agent, followed by a primer basecoat in black.



Tonight I’m going to be doing a test run with a main coat of Steel coloured paint, new post tomorrow depending on how that goes.

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Fitbit Surge

What can I say, I’m a sucker for a gadget and boy is this a gadget.

The surge itself

First a word of warning, if you think you might like one of these, try one on first, it is an odd shape and rather chunky, also I bought the largest strap they do and it is on third from last hole.

The battery life is excellent, it lasted a full round of golf whilst GPS tracking and still had battery to spare, despite getting caught behind “the four ball of creeping doom” and pushing our overall time on the course up to 4 hours and 20 minutes, we won’t discuss how the GPS accurately watched me meander all over the fairways.

Without GPS Fitbit claim a week of battery life and I could easily believe it, I haven’t tried a full to dead test as I’m not 100% keen on draining the battery to those levels, once you’ve experienced an android phone in deep hibernation you like to keep a little spare juice in everything.

Along with the steps taken in a day and the number of floors climbed, I’ve also got mine constantly monitoring my heart rate(because why wouldn’t you) so I suspect the battery life will be less than optimal.

I’ve also found out that I’m sleeping a lot less than I thought I was, which is apparently bad for you, so I shall be making a conscious effort to get a couple more hours of sleep a night.

Now the information is all being gathered and it would not do any good unless it were available on a dashboard somewhere so that you can view and make sense of it all.

The New Fitbit Surge Dashboard

This image was taken from The Fitbit Blog where they discuss the updates and all things Fitbit.

There’s an app for the iPhone and sadly that’s the one you get on the iPad too, but it’s a solid app and shows you the data you may be looking for and also, and this is crucial for me, allows you to back up the data from the surge to the cloud if there’s any danger of running out of juice, hopefully no more lost data due to an ebbing battery.

From the app store

You can get one from here for £199.

I’ve no doubt if you search around you can find one a bit cheaper, but if like me you have a hard time waiting then go straight to the source baby!!

Overall, the Fitbit Surge gets a massive thumbs up from me.

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Dark and Gritty – D&D Need not apply?

Here’s a quandary I’ve been pondering.

I have spent a lot of time preparing a campaign land for our local RPG group, it all started off quite simply, I wanted a place that was not your typical and hackneyed fantasy trope, so points of light was out, as was the kingdom in peril, the long established empire in decline, the death of magic, the birth of a new era, the … you get the point.

I needed to answer a few questions to get to where I wanted.
Where was the peril going to come from, what need would this land have of adventurers?
How did every day life reflect the surrounding differentness?
Why was everything stable?

The advent of D&D 5e has changed a number of things, for instance the power curve is a lot flatter than it used to be, the proficiency bonus only incrementing after 4 levels helps, this means the main difference between a 1st level character and a 4th level character is the number of hit points/hit die they have and whilst I agree that makes a big difference it also means a bunch of 1st levels can at least have a go.

So what now if we take everybody in the land and give them military service, so everyone has at least 3 levels of a character class.

What about Jim?
Yes, Jim too.
Even Lucy?
Even Lucy, everybody!

Now the reason for this military service is they’re holding back a huge threat to the rest of the world, there’s a worldscar, it’s black, it’s huge and it’s a gateway to the hells of this planet. I’m going to go a bit more radical here and say that of all the races on the planet, only humans are resistant to possession by the demons that live in the hells, this effectively makes the land resistant to the other races living there. I’d go so far as to say the only non-humans in this land are slaves and are absolutely not allowed to become powerful in any way, this doesn’t mean they have to be treated badly, but they cannot own anything, they cannot be taught to read or write, they cannot aspire to be anything other than a slave.

The people of this land are very insular, they don’t talk about the hellgate, they watch, they guard and they fight when needed. From the outside, without all the information available, the land these people live in seems dark, hideous and not a little fascist. Of course there are good reasons for the fascism but without all the details there might just be some people who want to change things for the “better”.


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And Hell Followed With Him

It’s really strange the things that set off a creative stream for me, for instance the title of this post was a line from a new TV show called “The Messengers”, it was used as a harbinger in the show and when I heard it I had to stop the playback and think.

That was a couple of weeks back, now I have the outline for a 3rd Ed. Chill RPG campaign set around a small town in the UK.

Looking around I wonder if it’s the same for other people, what sets them off, am I weird?

Anyway, I have to go now, I just heard the line “you were in my house! I’m the victim.”

I’m also using this as a test for using the automatic posting of a blog post from Word 2013, we’ll see if it works.


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So, Here’s The Thing.

I write stuff, I write lots of stuff, in fact I churn out stuff by the virtual page on pretty much every day.

Sometimes the stuff sees the light of day, like this blog for instance, but more often it stays buried in the depths of my computer, never to see the light of day, or any sort of public release.

I’m not quite sure why I never fully finish stuff, sometimes it’s because I’ll write a large amount of material for a campaign and then at some point something will happen which means the campaign is never played through to the end. I have a Drow campaign that’s been rewritten into 4 different systems, I shit you not. There are other times when I’m enthused about something and I start work on it, then something else comes along and enthuses me more, off I go on a different tangent leaving the original piece to sit in the dark wondering why I never visit anymore.

I get that a bit more discipline is needed and I could bring each piece to a satisfactory conclusion but ultimately I suspect that I’m the only one who cares about what I am writing so therefore it doesn’t really matter if I finish something that, in the end was only for me.

I’m on holiday at the moment, sitting in a sunny apartment overlooking the Mediterranean the waves lap against the shore, the sun shines down constantly, yet I’m inside tapping away at my keyboard yet again, this time it’s a story of a young man for a coming RPG, I’m the only one who will ever see the whole story, mostly because it probably won’t fully fit into the game, so things will have to be changed, but I don’t mind, it helps me to understand who he is and what he will do later in his life.

This new game is going to happen on a monthly basis where possible and I’m really looking forward to it, we will be playing “Les Ombres d’Esteren” or the Shadows of Esteren a rather delightful game written by some French Chaps/Chapesses, it’s really intriguing the way they’ve put together the character creation and skills system. If I’m honest I feel that it may need a change of mindset to fully appreciate the intricacies and the way it focuses on the actual character and not it’s stats, I’ll write up a play report after our first session, but for now I’ll just say it looks really cool.

Ah well, time for dinner and time also, for me to put this keyboard away.

Asta Luego.

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Monsters & Magic


A Brave New Old World

Monsters & Magic is a new game by Sarah Newton of Mindjammer Press based on the current trend of going back to the heady days of OD&D and BD&D known as the Old School Renaissance (OSR).

Now, in a departure from a lot of the other stuff out there it’s been designed with some rather new style mechanics to complement the old style mechanics, I’ll be honest and say it up front I was already a fan of Sarah’s work, if I hadn’t been at the start I certainly would be now.

In Monsters & Magic Sarah has effectively blended mechanics from the more narrative FATE style games to some very old style systems. After my first read through of the rules I felt this might even be a gateway drug to the full on FATE rules, more on this later.

The character creation relies on the standard six attributes between 3 and 18 and the method of generating these scores is pretty much up to you and your group, the races and classes presented are the standard fare of the fantasy roleplaying game and to be honest I think anyone with a little experience in games can get a feel for how the game works just flicking through the rules.

The system is designed to allow you to use all your old characters and modules from back in the day, a shrewd move when you think that there are loads of us from back in the day with much more disposable income than we used to have, not that the cost is outrageous you can buy this game on PDF from Drivethru for a measly £6.46 or $9.99.

Now then, back to the FATE style rules, this game uses something called “The Effect Engine” which at its core is a tool to allow the participants to narrate what happens and assign an “Effect” to it, the “Effects” can be anything appropriate that fits within the graded scale or level your success brings. To determine that scale you roll 3d6 add modifiers and compare to a resistance determined by the situation, the situation could be anything at all, this is actually one of the main strengths of “The Effect Engine” in my opinion and a genuine reason for everybody to try it out.

Combining this style of narrative with the very old style play and feel does in my mind make a very gentle introduction to FATE, the way the PCs determine personal traits and advancements as they level up will bring about a general acceptance and comfort with what to a lot of people are some of the more difficult aspects of FATE.
(did you see what I did there?)

As to be expected for such a new release from a small publisher the support for the game is currently residing with the author and is likely to be mostly community driven there’s a Google+ Community here if you want to get involved.

TLDR: It’s great, go and buy it!

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