Episode 108 of the Save or Die! podcast focused on the Basic Fantasy RPG, and I joined the hosts to discuss all aspects of the game. Click on the banner to jump straight to the podcast!
If you’ve been following us on the forums, Google+, or Facebook you’ll know we’ve released a number of things in print recently. Of course, the 3rd Edition of the Core Rules and the Field Guide were the big news, but on Christmas Eve we released David Gerard’s DC1 Tales of the Laughing Dragon, making Dave the third author (after myself and J.D. Neal) to have a multimodule published in his name.
So today I updated the print versions of BF1 Morgansfort; most of the changes are just errors that we corrected, but it also contains the adventure-expanding changes that came out of a negative review by Alex on the Cirsova blog (see also the followup post). Let me say that I didn’t just “cave in” and change things because someone didn’t like them… read the long discussion on the forum if you don’t believe me. No, I really saw what Alex was talking about, and was not happy with the results. So I fixed it, and in so doing made the whole Cave of the Unknown better.
I also updated the cover of that adventure, going “darker” mainly because that’s the mood I find myself in. I also colorized Nathan Nada’s cover, with his (long ago) agreement; it’s a great piece, and I in no way think I improved it, but I wanted the whole cover to look a bit “richer” if you know what I mean.
Finally (for now, anyway), sometime before Easter I have every expectation that we will release J.D. Neal’s JN3 Saga of the Giants in print. It is a GREAT BIG adventure, as big as the Core Rules, and I think it will be one of the best bargains out there. Heck, it’s already free, and that’s a heck of a bargain.
There’s more to come beyond that even. Strongholds of Sorcery, by myself, Stuart Marshall, and J.D. Neal, is about 85% complete. I’d love to see in done by next Christmas… it’s a great set of adventures, combining the tricky and very bonkers Castle D’Angelo, the classic horror-movie with some twists that is called House of Coldarius, and the strangely deadly Tower of Light.
And there is the ongoing development of Adventure Anthology 2. AA1 has proven surprisingly popular, but then I should have known that a book of short adventures would be well received. Everyone needs a fill-in here and there, and that’s what the Adventure Anthology Series is all about. We’re still looking for submissions for the second book in the series.
So if you’re not a forum member… why not? Remember the answer to the human verification question is
Join us, and jump in!
I keep getting asked that question… so… here’s how I answered on Google+ earlier:
The 3rd Edition Core Rules add two magic items, a handful of monsters, a page of sample traps, and one additional official combo class (Elf Magic-User/Thief) which was in the Gnomes supplement previously. Besides that, a bunch of new art was added, a number of errors corrected, and a couple of things clarified.
The most important thing to understand is that new editions of the Basic Fantasy RPG Core Rules do NOT make older editions “obsolete.” I know there are some people with 1st Edition books who still use them, and they are playing the same game as the rest of us. My players all have 2nd Edition rulebooks, and they don’t need new ones… the 2nd Edition books will work just fine indefinitely.
As of this moment, the 3rd Edition of the Basic Fantasy RPG Core Rules and The Basic Fantasy Field Guide are both available on Lulu.com and CreateSpace.com! Amazon.com distribution will follow shortly, and both books have been submitted to RPGNow.com.
Lulu.com will have both hardback and paperback editions. CreateSpace.com will have only paperback versions, and as they supply Amazon.com, that’s what they’ll have as well. RPGNow.com will eventually have both hardback and paperback editions; note that RPGNow hardbacks are a bit bigger than Lulu hardbacks.
All our Lulu.com items, including the new releases, are here:
Note: You may need to go to the second page to find the new releases.
Here are the links to CreateSpace.com:
Coming in 2015
There’s more to come! I anticipate the release of both J.D. Neal’s adventure series JN3 Saga of the Giants and my own multimodule BF3 Strongholds of Sorcery sometime in 2015. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we managed to get J.D.’s adventure out by Easter; mine will take longer, but I have high hopes that it will make it out before Halloween. House of Coldarius, one of the adventures in Strongholds of Sorcery, is very appropriate to Halloween, so that’s why I’m aiming for that date. And depending on submissions, it’s entirely possible that AA2 Adventure Anthology 2 might be in print for Christmas 2015. So stay tuned!
This last Saturday the 19th I ran a Basic Fantasy RPG session at QuinCon 29 in Quincy, IL. My pass said “Special Guest” and they really made me feel welcome. Three of my regular players, Jason Brentlinger, Josh Eaton, and Chris Wolfmeyer joined me, along with Rob Cook (a former player whose schedule sadly doesn’t work with ours these days) and three players I didn’t previously know: Craig Philips, Jared Thrapp, and Richard Rittenhouse.
I chose Castle D’Angelo from my upcoming Strongholds of Sorcery multimodule. It’s an insane romp, and I knew there was no way they’d finish it, but it made an excellent introduction to the game for those not familiar with it. I should mention at this point the incredible debt I owe to Stuart Marshall and J.D. Neal, who contributed extensively to the adventure.
Highlights of the session:
The charge of the boars at the very beginning was quite funny, actually. After taking a few shots at them, the player characters let them pass outside and closed the outer door.
Barthal, played by Richard Rittenhouse (I hope I have that right) peeked into the keyhole of the room into which an NPC fled, and made his saving throw against the poignard she shoved through it. Got to keep his eye… good move. I loved his characterization of Barthal as a halfling who loathed humans.
Barthal again, escaping the ire of the madman with the dominoes and getting drops of alchemist’s glue in the hair of his feet.
A well-planned illusion by Morningstar, played by Chris Wolfmeyer, allowed them to set the wild boars in the ground floor of Roland’s Tower against the wandering band of Nazgorean Frogmen that threatened them, and then Lucas, played by Jared Thrapp (I think, if I didn’t get the names mixed up) finished them off with a fireball. I think they were relieved to have something they could hit.
Bork, played by Craig Phillips, was hilarious to start with (“basically he’s a moron,” Craig said about the character), but when he failed his save against the “crazy wave” (part of the adventure) I told him that Bork was convinced he was the smartest character in the group. He has an Int of 5, if I remember rightly. Craig played it to the hilt, jumping in to examine all the apparatus and all the magical books, even though his character couldn’t read.
Apoqulis, played by Rob Cook, failed his save also, and his character became a pathological liar. Chris Wolfmeyer immediately reminded me that I had done that to Rob’s character in our regular game once before. I let it stand, and he was almost as funny as Craig… especially since nobody realized he had changed. So when he said he could no longer heal anyone, they took him seriously.
Toward the end, on a hunch apparently, Jason figured out that Remove Curse would cure the insanity of a single victim, and he cured an NPC who could give them useful information about the castle. We were ready to wrap up then, so I gave those who were interested a brief rundown on how the adventure would play out.
Everyone who attended signed the sheet for credit in the module, so all those guys will be listed as playtesters starting with the R12 release of Strongholds of Sorcery. I gave out free copies of the Basic Fantasy RPG Core Rules, signed by me; my regular players declined, so I could give those copies to someone else, which I appreciate. I also donated two copies of the Core Rules and the original CreateSpace.com proofs of BF1 Morgansfort and BF2 Fortress, Tomb, and Tower to the QuinCon charity auction, all signed of course.
It was great. I’m definitely planning to return next year, and I think I’ll go hard-core and run Slaver’s Fortress from AA1 Adventure Anthology 1 next time. Give ’em something to hit.
I can remember when I first saw Mythmere’s announcement of Swords & Wizardry on the Dragonsfoot forums. I had a long familiarity with Mythmere’s work, gained by too much time spent on Dragonsfoot, and I expected anything he set out to do would be good. I downloaded that early version and was suitably impressed.
It has been suggested that, on this Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day, we should post something of use in an S&W game. So here you go:
One of the most wonderful things about true Old School games is their broad interchangeability. Any of the adventures, and many of the other materials, available on the Basic Fantasy RPG downloads page (and for that matter, in our Showcase and Workshop areas) should be usable in a Swords & Wizardry game with few or no actual changes, and the same applies to using S&W materials in a BFRPG game.
Converting a monster from S&W to BFRPG? Take the S&W ascending AC figure and add 1 to it (necessary to line up with the different combat progression in BFRPG). Taking a monster from BFRPG to S&W? Subtract one from the AC, or if you like descending AC, subtract the AC from 20. Most of the other stats will work directly, or with similar minor adjustments.
Not sure how to do it? Ask, in the comments here or in our forum. We’ll help you with the transition in either direction.
S&W is a great game in itself. I love how all the various retro-clone games can utilize their materials rather interchangeably. Rather than blather on about my experience with S&W, I would rather just share a couple original races that can be utilized in S&W games. There might be minor mechanical differences to iron out between the game versions, but usable nonetheless. Both are original creations, though one is inspired by a great author.
Copyright – R. Kevin Smoot 2009, originally within “New Races Supplement” for Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game. Images are copyright of Cory “Shonuff” Gelnett and should not be utilized outside of Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game endeavors without direct permission from him.
The first is a race inspired by my beloved dog whom passed away some time ago.
Description: A legend exists that there was a wizard who loved his dogs. This mage kept dogs as pets, trained them to guard his estate, and even used them in magical experiments to enhance their ability to serve. They were gifted with greater intelligence and a more humanoid stature. It is unknown whether the legend is entirely true or not, but it is generally assumed to be the genesis of the Caneins.
Caneins are a race of dog-like humanoids, known for their extreme sense of loyalty whether to liege, friend, or family. There is a great deal of physical variance among the individual Caneins, with some short and stocky, others leanly muscled, and variations in the colorations of their coats. However, all Caneins share a similar facial structure similar to the various bulldog or boxer type dog breeds, having jowls and squat features. Caneins vary in their height, but are rarely larger than the average human. Caneins often form almost knight-like codes and attitudes, often serving a patron in exactly that capacity.
Restrictions: Caneins can be any class, although they seldom become Thieves. Even when a Canein Thief is found, he typically uses the skills of that profession in more honorable ways than the typical rogue. A Canein must have a minimum Constitution of 9, and are limited to a maximum Intelligence of 17.
Special Abilities: Caneins have a keen sense of smell, able to identify individuals by their scent alone. This power olfactory sense allows the Canein to determine the presence of concealed or invisible creatures, and any penalties associated with combating such foes is halved for the Caneins. For instance, a Canein suffers only a -2 penalty when attacking an invisible pixie. All Caneins can track as Ranger of equivalent level, and an actual Canein Ranger (if the class is allowed by the GM) gets a bonus of +20% on Tracking rolls.
Caneins have +2 on any reaction rolls involving other canine creatures. However, Caneins do not like vile beasts such as werewolves, hellhounds, and the like, despite any similarities.
Saving Throws: Caneins save at +2 vs. Death Ray or Poison as well as vs. Paralysis and Petrification effects
The next race owes its origins to C.S.Lewis’s Narnia. Frankly, I am continually surprised that more material from him does not appear in RPG form. Certainly he brings a great vision of fantasy at least a good (if different) than Tolkein derived material.
Description: Fauns are a fey related race that resemble a sort of strange cross of goat with that of a small human or elf-like being. Standing only about 4 to 5 feet tall, they have human-like torso and head, but the legs and feet of a goat. One can find Fauns with other small features reminisce of goats such as small horns or large ears. Fauns share the Halfling love of simple agrarian life, especially with respect to vineyards, as they prize wine (among other brews) above most things in life. Fauns love frivolity and are often quite adept at musical pursuits.
Restrictions: Fauns may become any class. A Faun will typically follow the tenets of nature deities, and Clerics and Druids can be found equally in their societies (when allowed by GM). A Faun must have a minimum Constitution of 9, and are limited to a maximum Charisma of 15 generally accounted to overly gregarious personalities and lack of inhibitions. Fauns may not wear typical human style footwear.
Special Abilities: Fauns have Darkvision out to 30 feet. Fauns are resistant to charm-like effects from fey beings, getting an additional +4 on relevant saves. This includes charms of dryads, nixies, and similar beings (GM decision when necessary).
Saving Throws: Like Dwarves, Fauns save at +4 vs. Death Ray or Poison, Magic Wands, Paralysis or Petrify, and Spells, and at +3 vs. Dragon Breath.
Ibix: The Ibix are a sort of cousin to the Fauns. Ibix appear like Fauns except that their heads are much more goat-like. Unlike Fauns, Ibex are ill tempered and generally considered evil, sometimes even allying with humanoids such as goblins. They have identical statistics to those listed above, except that they do not speak Halfling, instead learning the languages of Goblins more commonly.
Solomoriah has given me the keys to the blog (wisely or not, I don’t know), so I’m checking it out, seeing how fast she’ll go, whether the radio works, that sort of thing.
I plan to mostly write about game design, with some posts about other random things related to BF. As for schedule, I will keep a very strict calendar of posting only when I have something to say, though I promise not to step on Solomoriah’s Friday spot.
Okay, let’s see if this Publish button actually works. (I’m skeptical, myself. Don’t I have to roll something for this?)
I spent some time studying RPGNow; even started signing up for a publisher account. But I don’t think we’re a good fit with them.
First, they’re oriented toward profit-making products. We don’t make profit, at all, and do not intend to ever change that.
Actually, that leads more or less directly into the second issue… locked, watermarked PDF files. We give ’em away here… why in the world would I want people to “buy” (for some definition of “buy”) a watermarked, locked version of something we give away for free in source or PDF?
I understand we get overlooked because we aren’t on RPGNow. It was mentioned several times during the Basic Fantasy Blog Appreciation Day event. But honestly, I just can’t see it as a good idea for us.
You may have heard about Erik Tenkar’s suggestion of a “Basic Fantasy Role Playing Blog Appreciation Day” on January 31st, that is, tomorrow. If not, I invite you to read it on his blog (go on, I’ll wait here until you come back).
My attention was called to his post a couple of days ago, and let me say right now that I am humbled by the outpouring of support for our game. It inspired me to start this blog, and to get on the ball and get J.D. Neal’s “Monkey Isle” module into print on Lulu.com.
Yeah, it’s there right now; I’ve already ordered my copy. Things snowballed after I announced my plans to release it, with newly appointed Art Director Cory “Shonuff” Gelnett supplying several more pieces of art for it just in time for the release.
Alerted by members of our forum, I wandered over to Christopher Helton’s Dorkland blog, which I found very enjoyable… his take on the game is different than mine, and that’s cool. One of my design goals for BFRPG was to decouple the rules so that you can easily mix and match supplements to get just the campaign you want. He has an earlier post also, just kind of introducing the game, where his comments mirror mine about both our different direction as well as the modularity of the game.
Looking through the list of volunteers in the comments below Erik’s post, I discovered J.D. Jarvis, a long-time supporter of Basic Fantasy RPG (and creator of my personal favorite character sheet), has a blog of his own at aeonsnaugauries.blogspot.com. Turns out, it’s full of game materials I didn’t even know he had written. I’ll have to remember to talk to him about publishing some of his stuff.
Now to see what tomorrow brings. Many people have promised to say a few words on their blogs about the game… I’m looking forward to reading them all.
EDIT 1/31/2013 @ 8:21 AM
Just read three more blog posts supporting the game, and thought I’d call some attention to them:
On the Unto the Breach blog, the author thereof gives a capsule review of our community as much as of the game. I liked the statement “They’re doing it for love of the game.” Indeed. Also, he (and I’m guessing “he”) notes how difficult it was to figure out who the author was… which is funny, because I can’t figure out who the author of the blog was. Probably I’m just dense…
On The Other Side blog, Timothy Brannan posted a short review of the game, followed by a discussion of his experiences using his Witch class with BFRPG. It’s an interesting read, showing again the benefit of designing a loosely-coupled game system where bits can be added or removed at will.
Raven Crowking posted just a few moments ago about BFRPG. He mentions the ease with which adventures and rules cross between BFRPG and other old-school retroclones, which is another of the original design goals of the game. Staying close enough to the old core materials that the old materials will still work has the side effect of making all class-and-level fantasy retroclones brothers under the skin.
More later, I hope…
EDIT 1/31/2013 @ 8:42 AM
They’re coming hot and heavy:
frothsof 4e has a post about Basic Fantasy RPG. In it, the author calls attention to the adventures we’ve written for the game. He mentioned in particular the hit point checkboxes, which put a warm feeling in my heart as they are one of my favorite features. He also calls some blush-causing attention to my own work in years past as a member of the Dragonsfoot.org development team. I remember those years fondly, and I can say without reservation that my experiences working with the Dragonsfoot team prepared me for my current role developing and managing Basic Fantasy RPG.
Lord Gwydion’s post on the What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse blog calls Basic Fantasy RPG a “little gem of a game.” Thanks, Lord Gwydion. I wish I could experience your megadungeon first-hand… and hey, when you’re done with it, we’d love to publish it on the site. Just sayin’.
Everyone sees the game differently, and like I said before, that’s a good thing. Supporting the visions of Game Masters and increasing the enjoyment of the players are what this game is about.
EDIT 1/31/2013 @ 10:03AM
Many more posts… wow. It’s hard to keep up.
Fabio Milito Pagliara, one of the guys who is working to translate Basic Fantasy RPG into Italian, made a post about BFRPG on his blog “Castelli & Chimere.” In it, he emphasizes the Open Source nature of the game as part of the attraction, and indeed, were BFRPG not Open Source, we likely wouldn’t have an Italian translation project at all.
Lars Alexander’s post on his blog Mad-Kyndalanth also calls attention to the game’s Open Source roots. Lars is apparently German, and mentioned the German translation of Labyrinth Lord, another retroclone game. Labyrinth Lord is among the games most compatible with Basic Fantasy RPG, and I have to admit, if it had existed before I wrote BFRPG, I probably wouldn’t have written my game. (Let me mention here that I wouldn’t mind at all if someone wanted to translate BFRPG into German. Email me if you’re interested.) He also called attention to my “Don’t buy this book!” message on our Lulu.com page as a positive feature. Personally, I just don’t see the point in someone paying for the game without knowing if they like it or not. Guess I’m just cheap…
WQRobb’s post on his site, “Graphs, Paper, and Games” sums his view up in one statement, Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game combines the ethos of Old School [rpg games] without the slavish devotion to antiquated and unhelpful rules, and its free. OGL rules require me to omit certain names… rules which happily do not apply to WQRobb. He printed his own copy, too, with his own cover. Nice!
Danjou’s Hand (hey, cool name) wrote about our “obscene amount of free gaming goodness” in his blog, Tabletop Diversions. I’ve always encouraged others to submit materials for the game. I’m proud of our many contributors… without them, Basic Fantasy RPG wouldn’t be half the game it is. It might never have been finished.
R.J. Thompson wrote about, of all things, our wrestling rules on his blog, Gamers & Grognards. The funny thing is, we wrestled with the wrestling rules. They are one of the very few things that changed substantially between 1st and 2nd editions. Sometime later, I’ll find the original discussion and give credit to those who created the current wrestling rules. It was definitely a team effort.
On his “They Might Be Gazebos” website, the author (whose name is escaping me) points out our “solid set of easy rules.” I couldn’t say it better myself.
More to come? Watch this space!
EDIT 1/31/2013 @ 12:44 PM
Three more blogs have posts about Basic Fantasy RPG since last I looked:
Steve Zieser, one of the original illustrators of the Basic Fantasy RPG Core Rules and BF1 Morgansfort, has a brief “thank you” post on his “Curmudgeons & Dragons” blog. I’d been wondering whatever became of Steve, and now I know where to find him. Steve did the “iconic character” drawings, featuring the Intro Story characters Darion, Morningstar, Barthal, and Apoqulis.
ERIC! (nice name) has a post on his “Chronicles of Ganth” site about Basic Fantasy RPG. He says he has a “huge desire to be a part of something like” BFRPG… dude, come on over and join us, there’s always room for one more.
Finally, Daniel Luce has a nice post on his “In The Shadow of Puzzled Vikings” blog where, rather than talk about the game, he posts a new race of his own design for use with BFRPG. I’ll have to remember to ask him about putting it on the site.
Thanks to all who have posted so far. We appreciate all the appreciation!
EDIT 1/31/2013 @ 2:45 PM
One more for the list… Omer Golan Joel has a nice post on his blog, The Space Cockroach’s Hideout. Sadly, in it he describes his defection from the rolls of the Basic Fantasy Project to ACKS, a more recent retroclone (if that even makes sense). While I’m sorry to see him go, I appreciate the contributions he made to the game.
EDIT 1/31/2013 @ 3:16 PM
Jeremy Deram has a post on his blog, “People Them With Monsters” (love that name) about Basic Fantasy RPG, with our old but well-loved slogan “make mine Basic!” as the title. He reminds me there that one of my early goals was a game I could play with my daughter, and I have to say I succeeded there; she is now a teenager and thinks she has cooler things to do, but we all know how inevitably you return to the things you loved.
EDIT 1/31/2013 @ 3:35 PM
Gene D. has a campaign journal on his blog, “Gene’s Worlds,” detailing an adventure session played using Basic Fantasy RPG along with a brief recounting of his selection of the game. Looks like a good time was had by all!
EDIT 1/31/2013 @ 5:18 PM
Two more, and I think this is all of them:
A guy named Roger has a blog called “A Life Full of Adventure,” and he has posted a brief “shout out” article about Basic Fantasy RPG. Thanks, Roger.
Michael Garcia, the Crazy GM (apparently, since that’s the name of his blog) has an article titled “What I Like About My BF.” The title made me smile, as did his comment about the core rules cover, which almost all of the Appreciation Day articles include. (I, personally, never get tired of Erik Wilson‘s beautiful cover art.)
It’s been a heck of a day. Thanks again to Erik Tenkar, and to Christopher Helton for whatever he said to Erik to start all of this. I’m really happy to see so many RPG bloggers really get what I was trying to do with Basic Fantasy RPG, and I want to take one more opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the game over the years, even those who later moved on.
I guess now I need to get to work and put some more materials out there…
EDIT 2/1/2013 @ 8:12 AM
I missed one… Herb has a blog called “Places to Go, People to Be,” where he writes that BFRPG was his first OSR game experience. The article is titled “I’ve Always Liked Redheads,” a reference to Erik’s description of the game as the “red headed stepchild” of the OSR movement. Herb also shares his Clockwork Skeletons on his site. Nice!