Saturday, February 17, 2024

Guerrilla (Miniature) Warfare

Play-Cast Name:

Play-List Name:

System:
Gambeson
Glorious Rainbow Gambeson

Thoughts and Review

Guerrilla Miniature Games is a gaming entertainment conglomerate devoted to the play and exposition of miniature war and skirmish games. Operated by Canadian game designer Ash Barker, the channel is awash with miniature wargaming: including playlists and scheduled content around reviews, actual plays, and hobby - painting, collecting, and related media: games, books, films, and so on - updated on what seems to be a daily cadence. 

I found out about Guerrilla Miniature Games when searching on a whim for actual play videos of Games Workshop's Mordheim: a discontinued skirmish campaign game wherein you take on the role of adventurers hiring a crew of mercenaries and delving into the heart of a ruined city for fame, glory, and most importantly - treasure! This theme should resonate with any classic OSR/TSR gamer - and may likewise with many others - though there is a shortage of actual play content for these old systems. Reviews abound, but play remains elusive.

So, in authoring this review, I wanted to bring to light Guerrilla Miniature Games' Mordheim series - a great playlist with over 70 videos as of this writing to vicariously experience a classic game.


What I Like

When watching wargame replays - the first thing that I don't notice is the terrain. Or, I don't want to notice. I want to think of the terrain as a compliment to the game - an element contributing to individual strategies employed by the participants. You want terrain on the table - but you don't want the artisanship of the terrain to overshadow the game, itself. 

Guerrilla Miniature Games finds the perfect balance.

The terrain used on the channel is appropriate and pretty - but likewise, not so elaborate or over-done such that I could expect the terrain I see at their table to appear at a given hobby shop. It works for the game, it works for the table, and it makes me think back to the days when I was playing the same game, four other tables around me working through their own league confrontations, and answering the occasional question from a young kid who may or may not have mistakenly moved one of my rat-men. And those are good memories to remember.

So, you have... rocks and ruins. Now try me a reason to actually care. Glad you asked! When watching these kind of programs - I look for two things: one, entertainment value (which, to be fair, is subjective); and two, educational value (which largely is not). While I cannot vouch for other playlists - as my interests led me to Mordheim - in the Mordheim playlist, Guerrilla Miniature Games does a phenomenal job in teaching the game. They follow a format - in the first episode of the series, they talk a bit about the rules: and before each match, they talk a bit about the different army lists in use. Further, they expose the rules - highlighting which one they are doing and how it works, if there is any nuance to it, during play. 

Parry - for example - comes to mind: where a character armed with a sword may attempt to thwart an inbound hit.

Orkish animosity comes to mind likewise: where a specific condition applied to and otherwise overpowered (in my humblest of opinions) army list and impacts play, introducing an element of spice to the list.

So if you are aiming to learn the game while still keeping a fast pace at the table, seeing the armies move, how they interact, and how the game operates - this channel is for you.

What Are the Hold-Ups

The strength, however, of the playlist ties in to the weakness of the same playlist for my usual audience. This blog - and its corresponding YouTube and Podcast and other social media - focuses on the OSR: games and gaming which emulate or recreate the experience of the first ten years of D&D: the Gary Epoch - where fantasy adventure meets tabletop wargaming and crashes into personal role-play. In order to truly be OSR, a product must conform to TSR Dungeons & Dragons - and while Games Workshop, the company behind Mordheim, did build wide acclaim as the importer and distributor for Dungeons & Dragons during the Gary Epoch in the United Kingdom, the Mordheim and Warhammer systems are not built to be compatible with the D&D game - representing instead the company's own foray into fantasy: initially in the form of rank-and-flank battles.

With that in mind - Mordheim (and thus the Guerilla Miniatures Games playlist on Mordheim) is not OSR: but I would argue that it carries some elements that translate over. Mordheim brings several elements to the table which will resonate with an OSR RPG campaign:

  1. A core of heroes who represent the main protagonist.
  2. A squad of henchmen which must be managed.
  3. A focus on gold at the end of the adventure.

For the third point - Mordheim does, by memory, award experience for Wyrdstone (a precious resource sold for gold and the primary reason for warbands to be in the city) acquired: whether that is scenario specific or core, I would have to look up - but at the core of it, gold is how you keep your warband moving. The logistics aspect is abstracted - that is, when playing a campaign, you don't need to feed your troops (where in an OSR game, you would) - but you will need to equip them, replace casualties, upgrade equipment, and perform other administrative concerns tantamount to resource management. What Mordheim can teach you in this regard is a skirmish game mindset - which is how TSR D&D operates.

  • The core of heroes - your stable and your player characters - represent the main protagonist.
  • Your hirelings and henchmen - bought, paid for, and managed - represent the warband.
  • Gold-provisioned XP focuses on treasure at the end of the adventure.

So - in that sense - Mordheim can get you into the right mindset: where the battlefield on the screen might be a ruined city, the battlefield in your campaign may be a cramped tunnel in a dungeon. But - if you enjoy (or are curious about) the domain aspect, this game might be a good spark for your interest. 

Lastly - speaking to my own experience of Mordheim - the story is what you make of it. Some players would simply do the upkeep/advancement aspect and keep playing, others would keep campaign journals where they detailed the intents and opinions of the warband chieftains. In this sense - the Guerilla Miniatures Games channel, while it does follow the campaign rules - players come back, warbands make repeat appearances, grow, shrink, win, and lose: some coming back for rematches against one another - it does not weave a story with it. With essentially all OSR actual play channels, there is a central story - either forced by a mediocre DM or emerging from the experiences of an active player base - with this playlist: you need to be here for the game, expressly. 

And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Like I mentioned, some players are there for the game. And if that is the case - if you're looking for a story - you will want to look elsewhere. It's right there in the name: Guerilla Miniatures Gaming is about... guerilla miniatures gaming.

Further Consideration

In terms of the game, itself, Mordheim has sadly been discontinued (though GW appears to have kept Blood Bowl, which is nice) - however, miniatures from any fantasy range can be used (including Age of Sigmar or upcoming Old World miniatures from Games Workshop / Citadel) and a quick internet search can easily uncover PDF versions of the old rules.

In terms of Guerilla Miniatures Gaming - if you enjoy his style and content, there is a plethora of other, similar content available on the over-arching YouTube channel. In addition, they can be found on social media - including a WordPress blog, on Facebook, and on Instragram - as well as operating a Patreon, which - while I am not a member - does have a free tier and does put out content regularly.

Lastly, for folks curious about Mordheim but who do not want to shell out for a dozen miniatures and a hobby shop at which to play, a video game version - Mordheim: City of the Damned - has been released for Windows and console, available on multiple platforms. I have not played the video game version, so I cannot speak to its quality or fidelity, but it did look neat when I watched the preview.

In Conclusion

To conclude, does Mordheim really belong on an OSR review column? Probably not. But as mentioned above - the game has some OSR-compatible elements and brings to the table a real mindset that can get you into the mood for the domain tier of the game. For that reason, I've rated it Gambeson: Glorious Rainbow Gambeson - for the wonderful paint schemes that I remember classic Empire armies having back in the day when I first learned about tabletop wargaming... and for the widely utilized armor that somehow didn't make it into (or, at least not by name in) TSR D&D.

I enjoy Guerilla Miniatures Gaming - and if you enjoy tabletop battles - I think you will too.

Delve on, readers!


Mordheim cover art sourced from BoardGameGeek.com but is property of Games Workshop. Still of Orks vs Reikland taken from Guerilla Miniatures Gaming YouTube, Throwback Thursday: Mordheim playlist, episode 12 (link) and is property of Guerilla Miniatures Gaming. Cover art for Mordheim: City of the Damned - Complete Edition retrieved from the Microsoft Store and is property of Microsoft, Focus Home Interactive, and Games Workshop. All images included and all trademarks referenced are included as under Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 107 as non-commercial review and remain property of their respective owners - Clerics Wear Ringmail makes no claim of ownership nor to rights over them.

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Meet GREG

 Meet GREG: the Guided Random Encounter Generator.

GREG is a project I started in 2020 but kicked back into gear last spring with a friend designed to do two things: to keep up to speed on the changes in a web framework I wasn't getting to use enough at work to remain competitive on my resume with but also to provide an avenue to generate random encounters, dungeons, and lairs using data provided, configured, or provided by the user.

Got custom monsters? Got a custom encounter list - or modified treasure types for your home game? In the past, having all of the above, I had never been able to do it automatically. And friends - I have friends who have made tools like this customized to do exactly this: but it's always hard coded - so when something changes, they go back into the java script... or the python... or the whatever the framework of the week was to make those changes, hoping the thing stays together. So - not having that resource, or not knowing about it at the time - this was my way to try to create an easy-to-use, easy-to-configure, will-always-work local or hosted mechanism to do exactly that.

Like I mentioned, I had been working on it last spring - and I had some folks testing it with me last summer. And I was using it to help generate Ash Coast dungeon restocking quickly! But knowing that, there are a few problems currently with it. As of this writing:

  • There is an issue with some of the "men" entries - Berserkers, in particular, will not generate super-normals (heroes, superheroes) as they should based on the size of the group: data issue.
  • It claims it supports B/X - technically, it only supports B: again, data issue.
  • Some accompanying units - evil Wizards for Bandits, etc. - may generate too frequently: that is, I did not code flexibly enough to handle some of OD&D's unique randomization rules.
  • There is literally nothing in terms of a "help" button or user manual.

I do have deviations or issues documented in GitHub - and folks who are savvy enough to care about GitHub will likely be able to find the source - as of this writing, it's public, as I had originally intended to open-source the code before realizing I was going to be entirely too painful to work with as a repo owner (I wouldn't subject you, kind readers, to me in that regard!) - and I do intend to take this back up and keep working on the fixes, changes, and updates necessary to address them.

So keep an eye out - try it out: see how it handles, if you're interested - and I will make a point to post updates to the blog (and a permalink, for folks interested, to the app from the blog) when fixes or improvements are applied.

Delve on, readers! Thank you for reading.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Some Old Maps

In a recent podcast, I had talked about finding older maps from long dead campaigns in the garage - while re-organizing my desk, I had found some more and thought it might be fun to share. It's not the dagger world I mentioned - but instead it's a middle map - one which represents both amazing amounts of prep but also actually did make it to the table - both in the form of players and of fiction prose.

I found this map deep in the back of a notebook I'm trying to repurpose for analog gaming going into 2024. The first thing I noticed was the label - "Middensphere" - which is a total lie: the original "Middensphere" looked more like a flooded North America: but the name was cool, and whenever you have a cool idea - take it with you to the next game! That said, I recognized the map immediately from the shape. Taken from a trace that I had made when coming across the concept of Pangaea Proxima for the first time (then Pangaea Ultima), it was an Earth-to-come, an Earth-after, and a really interesting map. Central ocean, mountain patterns, island chains, detached island continent - plenty to work with thinking about how to game with it.

"But what are those colors?" you ask. 

Well, see above.

After having traced it and flipped it (can't have it too recognizable by the players), I set to work defining where bands of latitude were. Knowing that, you can then think about where ocean currents flow - taking warm water into cold regions and cold water into warm ones - and identify climate bands.

On the interiors, in the shadow of massive mountains lining where the tectonic plates connected, deserts form - as well as in certain places where the current would take moisture away from the coast rather than inland from it.

Looking at it now - I kind of want to run a game in the southern reaches: the island to the south (the conglomeration of Antarctica and Australia in a far flung future) with its sea-capability, its multiple proximitous environments, and its obvious trade routes. But was that where I actually went, way back whenever this map was made?

Of course not.

You'll recognize this region from the North-East of the flipped supercontinent - an extrapolation of where bits of the US and Canada would have ended up, smashing into each other as the molten mantle conveyed them along an inexorable collision course.

Zooming in - I can see a dozen kingdoms: four of which are done in incredible detail. A long forgotten code of "x"s, dots, stars, and hatching coupled with colors and labels denote the wild lands and the settled, the adventure sites and the safehouses, and where cultures mixed or met.

In particular, my mind is drawn to "Alara" - a nation named after Alaric I, barbarian bane of Rome in its early decline - and the home of the tall, strong, warrior race that all fantasy settings seem to invariably crave. That's a name that has made its way into several campaign maps during my college period where I couldn't seem to settle on one world to just play games using.

And then to the north - some Aztec names. 

Arctic Aztec ancients, if I remember correctly, was the plan - though the campaign never went that far: so those lands, back in 200X through to the publication of this post - remain shrouded in unwritten mystery and half concepts, waiting for a party long graduated, diaspora from the old comic shop in new and allopatric hobby dens.

This map would go on to be forgotten as a young me put two and two together, noting that, in order for this continent to form, the pattern of separation across the Atlantic would have to cease and reverse - something that didn't sit quite right for me: going on to discover Novopangaea - which sat much better. But regardless of the eventual fate of the map, part of the reason I wanted to share: this one, I found along with page after page after page of hand written formatted notes identifying all the places marked on the map. It represented a veritable treasure trove of campaign material: easily enough to write a novel in - and obviously enough to have been influenced by a continual progression of play.

I'm not sure I would want to run a game exactly in this world again - the hexes are entirely too large, noted at 30 miles each on the key - but it has been a lot of fun looking through these notes: each page of which contains the name of the peoples, the populations, the distribution of that population among varied towns, the military capability of each area, striated across the breadth of settled space, and a list of ruins and adventure sites: calculated based on the length of the "castled age," but then detailed individually to drop into a living campaign.

I will attach a scan of the original trace - which I appear to have photocopied, over and over, onto hex paper when making nested maps - in case of someone else thinking this was a fun map, likewise.

I hope this has been as interesting to you - the reader - at least in passing as it has been to me, rediscovering this material hidden next to some floppy disks and mechanical pencils. In chatting about it on Discord or in other forums, I'd gotten some feedback and interest on the material - so I'll try to glean out the interesting and useful parts to post as the weeks roll on and time permits.

Either way - in the meantime - delve on!

Free Fight; Albert Robida

Saturday, January 6, 2024

0e Reference Sheets

Happy New Year, readers! And as a New Year's present for you, I figured I could share a ready-ref folio I'd been working on to supplement my LBB+Chainmail gaming experience. Link related below:

Desperate Curses; John Tenniel
LBB & Chainmail Reference Folio

As you might note from the file name - this was originally intended to be a DM screen. The idea that I had - and the end goal of the folio - is to fit into a spiral-type apparatus: where you might be able to put them, page by page, into three or four panels of spiral-ready screen holder, such that the relevant sections of each area of play would be covered on adjacent panels: if your party was in the dungeon, you'd pop out the dungeoneering and combat panels; if your party was in the wilderness, you'd pop out the hexploration and mass battle pages; and so on. Something like this:

Currently artless - you'll note that right away - but once I'm happy with the colocation of rules and have gotten the order figured out to make the flippy-screen idea work, it might be cool likewise to have other-side artwork that equally corresponds to tone: so, say, if you have the fantasy combat rules up on your side, the player facing side would have an epic Gandalf-V-Balrog type picture: or if you have the generic equipment and "town" panel up, it would have the marketplace of Zamora. But we'll see when we get there.

As for content, it's got reference pages for combat, exploration, and mass battles - including naval or aerial engagements - as defined in the LBB rules or as extrapolated on in my pet project, Ode to '74. It does have a very Chainmail flavor - the alternative combat system is not present - however outside that, it can be useful playing any 0e or 0e-adjacent game. 

See something missing? Let me know! And happy delving!

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Dungeon Doors on 3d8

TL;DR

For usability purposes, a summation of the beyond is provided here succinctly. For each door - roll three 8-sided dice, one for each column in the chart as follows, to randomly determine mechanical characteristics of the door, with something special happening on the extremes:

d8 State Concealment Protection
1 Locked Hidden
Trapped
2 Stuck Not Concealed Unprotected
3-6 Closed
7 Stuck
8 Ajar! Secret Trick!

For a more detailed explanation of the above, read on!

Dungeon Doors on 3d8

St. Mary Redcliffe - Windows and Doors; George Shepherd

Procedures exist in every edition of the game and every respectable clone or inspired system to assist in the placement of traps, treasure, and monsters - as well as intriguing room and map elements to both help in making dungeons come to life for the table and also to create in a randomized manner: allowing for unique and undreamed, unpremeditated adventures and ease of cognitive burden on the running referee. Among these tools are countless special room generators, special monster customization, and dressing tables to make the corridors and chambers breathe... but lacking among these tools - by comparative dearth to abundance - the exploration of the simple door. 

Doors are essential to the dungeon experience - providing barriers, choke points, intrigue, or entry and egress to and from dungeon rooms: but surprisingly little thought goes into them. Some generators will color them for you - tell you the make, model, and defining characteristics; some generators will tell you how many to place or what's on the other side - but generally, the system assumes that locks, traps, and so on will be at the discretion of the referee: peripheral to the story being told by the floor-plan rather than a driving factor herein.

So - in an effort to help contribute to that emergent dungeon building: to allow the doors to help explain the construction rather than to be tacked onto it - I wanted to share a mechanism to make doors interesting: dungeon doors on 3d8.

Procedure

For each door - placed or generated using other mapping mechanisms - roll 3d8: each to determine or inform a quality of the door, divided between the doors State, Concealment, and Protection.

State

The State of a door is a representation of how it will pose a challenge (or not) to the party based on its present nature. It's somewhat of an abstract term - but the meaning becomes clear, considering the options for results in the table:

  • Locked: The door is locked and must be opened - either by the wiles of a Thief or with a key.
     
  • Stuck: The door - swollen with moisture, hindered by rust, or perhaps possessed of an inanimate malevolence imbued by the mythic underworld, seeking to expel the party as an immune system for the dungeon - does not open easily and requires a Stuck Doors check to open.

  • Closed: The default state of a door, the door is simply closed. Visibility is prevented and sound is muffled, but the party may pass through at their leisure.

  • Ajar! The door has been left open (or at least partially so!) Visibility or audibility are not hindered: surprise is mitigated for (and by) potential inhabitants - and other implications might arise appropriate to the door having been left swinging on its hinges.

For games like 0e - where all doors are presumed "Stuck" and must be forced - the author suggests exchanging the two: that the party might be treated a quarter of the time or so by cooperative portals.

Walked In Hurriedly; Emile Bayard

Concealment

The Concealment of a door is how (or if) the door is hidden from detection by those outside the know. The most effective way to prevent entry is to provide no entrance, is it not?

  • A door Not Concealed will have no concealment whatsoever. A character walking into the space should be informed "there is a door in the wall at X point" as part of the exposition and mapping routine. These will represent the majority of doors.

  • A Secret door is one which is hidden in plain sight. A book case which turns when a candle is removed; a false wall which will push back when a latch in the floor is pulled - these are Secret doors.

  • Lastly, a Concealed door - one which is hidden, but hidden only. A door which is hidden behind a tapestry; a trapdoor hidden under a rug; a portal which has been obscured using illusion magic to seem like part of the wall - these are Concealed doors.

What is the difference between Secret and Concealed? In a pinch - a Secret door may require a roll or the expenditure of a locating resource to find: by comparison, a Concealed door generally would not: and is uncovered through clever player actions. 

Couldn't a skillful player who knows where to look figure out a secret door through clever application of player skill? Perhaps - and if the party, having done their homework, knows exactly where to look, a proud referee may allow it. However, consider that this is a brainstorming tool - not a rules-as-law prescribed process; consider what's in the room, what it's being used for by the dungeon denizens (or what it was used for by its builders) - and let the difference between a Concealed door and a Secret one fuel your imagination: not limit it to simply answer "Does the Elf get the free roll when passing it by or not?"

Lichfield Cathedral - Western Doorway; Frederick Mackenzie

Protection

The Protection of the door is a second layer of security added by the dungeon architect or the denizens since having moved in and adapted the space to their purposes. Protection serves as a mean to discourage or prevent passage by those who are not in the know - or to confound the utility of the portal to those same interlopers.

  • Trapped: a dangerous if not lethal trap has been placed on the door! Either apply your personal favorite, or for inspiration, potentially follow up on a 3d8 trap idea generator.

  • An Unprotected door is much like the door to your home or to a normal room. It has no particular qualities about it to prevent ingress or egress - instead serving the simple purpose of separating the space.

  • Trick! A Trick door has something clever about it - a ruse or an arbitrary quality, intentional or perhaps incidental to its use, which makes the door stand out. When a Trick is encountered, roll a follow-up d8 on the State table - applying both: or being creative when a duplicate or contradictory roll arises.

Ideas for necessarily creative Tricks, based on rolled results, might be as follow:

Locked + Locked
• Penalty to pick locks
• Requires key found in dungeon
• Magic lock: opens only for the polite


Wrought and Cast Iron Gate; Al Curry

Locked + Ajar
• Open, but will lock behind if closed
• Deadbolt is out - preventing closure
• Locked... but with a glass pane
Locked + Closed
• Can only be unlocked from one side
• Keyhole is concealed and must be located
• Not pick-able: opened by a puzzle or dial

Stuck + Closed

• Opens partly, restricting who can use it
• Opens partly, restricting how many can use it
• Requires force one way, but not the other

Stuck + Stuck
• Requires force to close after opening
• Requires force to close, but not to open
• Barred: multiple Stuck Doors checks required

Stuck + Ajar
• Door stuck, but has a pet-door in it which isn't
• Swollen or damaged, pops open on its own
• Portcullis style - and off-kilter, won't close fully

Closed + Ajar
• Closed, but a hole has been cut in it
• One-way door: will not open from one side
• Has been spiked open

Ajar + Ajar
• Burst asunder: door on the floor!
• Automatic door: opens as you approach
• Re-opens after 1d4 Turns if closed
Closed + Closed
• False door: opens to blank wall
• Double door: another door is directly behind
• Access panel: the door is hard to get to
• Heavy: negates surprise or stops quick retreat

Not all combinations are provided with suggestions above - some, perhaps "locked & stuck" for example, simply speak for themselves - but more importantly: this is intended as a creative prompt, not a definitive list - something to spur your imagination, challenge your players, and reinforce the theme and tone of your dungeon. Alternatively, if nothing comes to mind - you're more than able to treat a Trick! result as a Trap - or simply apply all conditions to the same door at once.

Isn't Concealment a form of Protection - even by your definition as provided previously? Yes - but the rolls should be separate. This is intentional - not because of any arbitrary grouping of qualities, but to promote the possibility that multiple characteristics of a door may turn it into a more challenging (and thus more memorable) experience - one likewise more open to player ingenuity and exploit.

And stop being a pedant.

Let's Try It Out

5, 4, 2: Closed, Not Concealed, Unprotected.

Well, that's anti-climactic.

3, 2, 3: Closed, Not Concealed, Unprotected.

Again, anti-climactic. But that makes sense, I guess: as you're going to have a lot more doors in the dungeon than anything else - potentially only eclipsed by corridors - and as such, you would want to have a majority of them be pretty bog-standard.

7, 7, 8 (5): Stuck, Not Concealed, Trick! (Closed)

I will admit, this is my fourth outcome - I had a third which I discarded, as it was yet again a normal door - but I am pleased with having rolled an 8 for protection: as I was worried I was going to have to cheat to see how it feels.

The door is Stuck, firstly, but also Closed. Consulting our examples above - we have "opens partly" (restricting either some figures from using it or a number of figures from using it at one time) and "force one way, open the other." Keeping things fresh, say... this door is a Dutch door - with one atop the other. The bottom side (because 5 is odd, why not) is stuck: but the top side will open with normal effort. The party - in exploration - may simply find an annoyance climbing over and through: but in the chance that - on the other side of the door - they find some cave Ogres: they may find their retreat somewhat hampered (or - who knows? - if they can surprise them, maybe a vantage point for cover to make missile attacks!).

And Them's My Two Coppers

In short, the majority of doors will be quite mundane - mathematically, one in eight will be trapped (compared to one in six rooms, if using the B/X rules, which will contain a trap) and one in four doors will be concealed or secret - keeping the party on their toes and keeping the mystique of the dungeon fresh.

Delve on, readers!

At the Witch's Door; John William Hennessy

 

Public domain artwork retrieved from the National Gallery of Art and from OldBookIllustrations.com and adapted for theme and tone. Attribution in alt text.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Ringmail: Medieval Battles

Presented for posterity and the benefit of the hobby - a love letter to 1971.

Scotch Soldiers; Lancelot Speed
Ringmail
Rules for Fantasy and Medieval Engagements

While I had announced this project in 2021, it occurred to me in recent vintage that I have never given the Ringmail project its own post - it was always in a shared announcement and, whenever sharing the project, I would have to say, "Look down at the bottom" or "It's this Drive link directly." But from here, for those who are interested in a particular 1971 wargame which might have become a precursor for the world's first fantasy adventure role playing game, now it has a direct post, a specific link, and a life of its own: a retelling of the classic, with inputs from community and playtest to break through the jargon and difficult wording, and with inclusions from other games and from cultural conventions common to wargaming which would have been omitted by an author assuming a familiar audience.

Announcing it now, too, as it is complete - rules-wise. 

Still need to look for more artwork, still need to finish up the layout, and hey - wouldn't hurt to play a handful of games to make sure everything works together - but if you wanted to use this game in conjunction with old school role playing? If you wanted to play a quick, quirky yet elegant battle system? You can.

Delve on - readers... or maybe, generals?

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Ode to '74

There has been a bit of hubbub - and thus, presumably, a bit of interest - in the social spheres through which I find myself floating in recent vintage regarding the original edition and its wargame roots. As such, I'm pressured a bit to share a pet project I'd been working on - one that I'd hoped would get me back to the table - that presents just that: an integration of 0e and Chainmail mechanics, presented together and seamless, as RAW as possible - allowing for clarifications that I'd run into at the table to date.

Player's Reference
Referee's Folio

The books are not finished. They are a jumble of rules, written legibly, but wrought with typos induced by the use of voice to text in the generation of descriptive paragraphs. However they are usable - and they present the spirit of the original rules in their entirety (including rules for griffon riders darting around dragons hundreds of feet in the air; including rules for catapult fire, mounted atop the aft-castle of naval war galleons; and for, of course, delving deeply into the mystic underneath below) as they would have been on original release.

But about WW&W? As returning readers will know, I had been working on my own twist of the original edition - Weapons, Wits, & Wizardry - which I had been working towards as an actual play last year. I will continue to work on WW&W - it is after all my own complete-genius heartbreaker - but in play, I found that my own preconceptions from future editions were polluting my judgements. I was integrating 1e elements, B/X elements, on the fly - I was instinctively incorporating mechanics from other games in the same genre to fit into niches while also experimenting with other resolution practices - e.g. "proficiency dice" - with wanton abandon.

This project was an attempt to, realizing the accidental inclusions (specifically stocking: stocking dungeon treasure is totally different in B/X than 0e!), understand the rules of their own accord, to enter into them with a clean slate, and to assimilate the spirit of the game - as it was in its first incarnation. Once I understood the foundation - only then would I be safe to build upon it and recapture the zeitgeist.

So here it is.

These are the rules I'm going to spin the Ash Coast game back up with - tweak, as needed - and ideally, re-release with art, readable layout, and a fancy license. I hope they help - if nothing else, showing off exactly how much was packed into those four booklets - three brown, one blue and spiral bound. 

And now the only question is... what do I call it?

Delve on, readers!

A Blow on the Head; Albert Robida

Guerrilla (Miniature) Warfare

Play-Cast Name: Guerrill...