Wednesday, 29 February 2012

People in paper

Recently I've been dabbling in paper miniatures. I've always been fond of miniatures from my Advanced Heroquest and Games Workshop days and the girls love them too, so deciding on using AHQ for my solo musketeers game lets me make use of what I have lying around. Paper minis have many advantages:

Cheap - very important! And sometimes FREE!
Near infinite - need seven guards tonight? Just print some more.
Easy to decorate - I'm not a very good miniature painter, consequently I have not painted many of my minis and my younger brothers kept the painting gear when I moved away so I'd have to buy it all from scratch. Do you know how expensive that would be? Alternatively, paper minis - colouring pencils!
Dispensible - the kids come running through and trample your skirmish? Who cares! Try that with lead (or whatever it is these days) and see me weep.

They don't look as impressive - but as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the quality of paper minis I have is very high I'd say.
Stability - they tend to fall over if a strong breeze sweeps through! However I'm lazy and a bit of cardboard would work wonders.
Scissor ache - I'm left handed so that means spending twice as much on scissors, or using a quite stiff/tightened right handed pair, hence, scissor ache.

These are the few I've got relevant to my intended game:
Microtactix Vyllagers on the Cheap
Honour + Intrigue
SPARKS Yellow Jack & Rum
Gwindel's Paper miniatures Swashbucklers and Thrity Years War

The ones I'm most impressed with are the Microtactix Cheap folks, the Vyllagers on the cheap are perfect for filling that gap when the PC is in a crowded square with city guards after him. Just moving around a handful of minis doesn't cut it, I want to see the massed clumps and general melee, I want to know where to go, rather than a unspecified side alley.

They are also particularly good for me because I am so humano-centric in my games, I find elves and dwarfs and orcs and goblins so uninteresting. I believe that non-humans should be used sparingly and so humans become the focus of my gaming generally. I have plenty of knights, duelists and other era humans so some ordinary people are most welcome. Definitely recommended.

I also like the Microtactix Rural and Urban folks, but then I have a cop solo on the back burner too.

Until next time Steve

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Well met sir!

So, I'm nearly there with everything I need to get going on my game. I'm just being hampered by my desire to have suitable encounter tables (you see this is where things all go wrong for me, always something else...).

OK, so I've made the decision, what should I do?

Commercial encounter tables
I could just pay to download one of a number of commercial tables at RPGNow etc. However they are nearly all for certain campaign settings, none of which seem to be human-only city and rural based with a certain French flavour. I think I am probably asking for too much.

Encounter tables I have
Well, I could just use the tables from Flashing Blades in particular, but I feel like they are not broad enough for me, and my other games either don't have encounter tables or are linked to that background setting (not unsurprisingly!).

I could just use Mythic, but this doesn't seem to fit somehow. Perhaps others could give me their opinions. I have asked in the Mythic Yahoo Group and got some decent suggestions I'm currently pondering on.

My own generic creation
As I've been thinking I've also been tinkering with a very broad category based system. For example Military, Religious, Noble, Government/Authority/Bureacratic etc.

For some reason writing this has made something click, how about using a variation on the random theme choice table in Mythic, i.e. Most appropriate, Second most, followed by my catgories...I'll give it a try and see what happens.

Until next time Steve

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Memories of: Warhammer Quest

This is the Advanced Heroquest (AHQ) usurper. It benefitted from improved visuals, better character miniatures, better (or more explicit) introduction to role-playing rules, better gameboard pieces, a good layout system, great inter-game events tables and focused character packs.

It suffered terribly from sticking Warhammer Fantasy Battles mechanics onto a character led game, the cost of the additional character packs and the simplicity and complexity of some of the rules, and finally it is all very, very random.

So to start off then with the good:

The whole visual package was much improved this time. The AHQ cover was particularly cartoon-y unlike both Heroquest and WQ, the rule books where better constructed, illustrated, thicker and just felt better.

The WQ board pieces, where AHQ suffered from utilitarian pieces, had bright, detailed rooms with scenery illustrated right on them, making a game out of the box look a lot better. Perhaps this was the start of the style over substance feeling I got with Games Workshop, who knows.

The game boards themselves had separate playing-style cards which were drawn to indicate which piece came next rather than rolling on a few tables as you did with AHQ. This made the game board itself smaller (and more focused, or more unrealistic?).

They did away with the small plastic doors and went with whopping 2 square doorways, they felt more substantial and perhaps reinforced the underworld feel better. Again no furniture to speak of though, although this would have represented a problem, more on that later.

After the dungeon your woes weren't done there, you had random events. First you had random travel events, you had planned your ingress but your egress was chaotic, you did not know where you would come out and this replicated stumbling through the wilderness back to civilisation. I think this is a wonderful idea (to a degree), OK so you may not totally know where you are when you resurface but it adds a little to the experience. I'm not sure it occured to them that certain items, like horses and carts, that aided your travel time, and therefore the amount of random events, wouldn't be at your exit point and would, in theory, be worthless. Unless you somehow managed to find them - but that would mean you would be back on familiar territory, rendering the random events a nonsense.

Once you reach civilisation you then have more random events, some of which are very funny, but you do start to lose patience with them, many of which are almost 50/50 tickets to instant death with no relation to the skills of your character, out of the book anyway. While I appreciate the events, the randomness is wearing and we can't have been the only ones to play out the encounters rather than roll a 1 and die.

Even the character advancement was random, you had to roll for a new skill rather than simply pick the one you wanted, this lead to characters you weren't totally happy with, and then you can start to lose interest in them so your game can go to pot.

This time GW actually included a 'role-playing' rulebook. It was a touch simplistic, and hideously complicated at the same time, for example it touched upon having a GM, but also included a long, and I mean really long, list of possible actions characters could undertake, which in itself is fine but it then gave individual modifiers to all of those actions based on the character type. For example a dwarf was good at finding traps, while a barbarian was good at starting fires (forgive me if these are wrong, I'm writing from memory) and they were both good at bashing down doors, while the elf had good hearing, and so on ad nauseum, a modifier for every possible action they could dream up. I had a friend who insisted (even on pain of death) on having to look through the list to find 'the right' modifier, quite why they couldn't have given simple guidelines I don't know. A lot of these rolls relied on a character's Initiative stat too, now in WFB Initiative details who goes first, it was never intended to be an arbiter for 'intellectual' tests, so a fast acting barbarian could be as brainy as a fully fledged wizard!

I believe the idea with all the modifiers was to differentiate the characters more then AHQ did, but WQ also had separate rules for each character type, a noble had a family heirloom which struck terror in the heart of a certain race, and the Witch Hunter an Amulet of Solkan which I can't actually remember what it did, but do know it had its own rules. I thought these added enough variety without resorting to a shopping list of skill modifiers.

Overall though I liked the character packs, they were well put together and really did differentiate the characters (without the numerous modifiers), the downside was the enormous expense of getting one, OK the models were exquisite (in the GW way) and each came with a booklet with that character's rules, a random selection token and a few item cards, but if memory serves me right they cost almost twice to three times as much (if not more) as a regular blister of minis which in total would give you 6 to 8 minis. But that's OK you only need to get one or two, well yes in theory, but the models were soo good it was like crack cocaine, I think between the three of us regular players we got all of the available characters, which meant I spent far too much getting to my un-local GW, handing over cash for one and then not paying my Mum the weekly rent I was supposed to give her from my Saturday job. It was exciting and depressing at the same time, something which lives with me still whenever I see a GW.

But do you know the worst thing? The mechanics. Rather than the WFRP light system that AHQ had, WQ had a Warhammer Fantasy Battles plus system, 'but that system's fine isn't it?' and yes it is, if you are fighting a battle! For character led combat it is far too random, it is basically a 1d6 system, which apart from the d4 you can't get a less spread of results from, this means that high level characters are insignificantly different to starting characters, apart from one respect, hit points wounds. Yes it is the D&D 'I am a meat mountain' principle of character advancement, you can't beat me, well OK you can but you'll have to beat me three times as often as when I was but a young whipper snapper. I hate it.

Coupled to this every character had to be on the same board before a single opponent appeared! I always envisaged them dropping from the ceiling, and when they did drop they dropped randomly! You had to pick a character token and place the toughest monster first, then another, then another etc. it was completely absurd, your wizard had to go toe to toe with the toughest monster because of a random draw, and ranged weapons were next to useless, all sorts of tactics went out the door. I know people moaned that there were specific tactics you could use in AHQ but this wasn't a solution, it was a computer game, if I wanted to play one of those I'd go and bloody do it, not sit with my friends trying to get them involved in a story before having a minotaur land on their toes.

Basically it didn't take me long to dismiss WQ, I still have it, the minis are useful and the boards more colourful, but the rules stank. Unfortunately I couldn't get those particular friends to try AHQ (not flashy enough), but I did get them playing WFRP so maybe it was a good stepping stone for them after all.

Finally I should say I just love the Warhammer setting (befire it got screwed, don't get me started!).

Until next time Steve

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Solo resources

So now I have my system, what other resources am I going to use?

Mythic GME
A must, without this the game would go nowhere and be predictable. I don't know whether to stick to the standard chart or select one of the variations, like action/adventure, or maybe even swap for the current scene.

Mythic descriptions
A download from the Mythic Yahoo Group

Mythic Control Sheets
My own designed sheets, Excel spreadsheets on which I can record Characters, Places, Threads, Chaos Factor and Events.

The Everyone Everywhere list
Another must, randomly generate a name for anyone you meet. Alternatively I might use Serendipity, and the French male/female name generators, just generate 50 of each and tick them off when used, this has the advatage of being free.

Adventure generator?
I like the idea of an adventure generator, like the Terra Incognita Adventure Starter or the Starblazer Adventures ones, but musketter based. I can't find one and to amend the TIAS or SBA ones would take quite a while. I may just have to use Mythic.

Personality generator?
I'd like something to dictate what personality a person may have that comes to the fore. It is important that it is just the initial trait because Mythic will take over the plot once they are introduced. I guess I could just use the Mythic descriptions chart.

OK, so those are my dream/required resources for any solo role-playing. Now on to the specific ones for my gaming system.

I've really turned to paper miniatures recently, and I have some slap bang in this time frame so I'm sorted here really.

A variety of Ye Olde Inn's/Agin's Inn delightful Ron Shirtz tiles, Advanced Heroquest room and corridor tiles, Heroquest board, furniture and doors, some more doors from Greywolf's utterly brilliant site, Warhammer Quest tiles, AD&D Cities of Mystery village/city mapsheets (my younger brothers have the houses), Chessex battle mat, and finally some resin furniture and features. I think I'm well covered here! But I could always use more!

Until next time Steve

Friday, 10 February 2012

The big fight round up

So, we've had our challengers, how did they compare?

Narratively great, it really suits the swashbuckling genre, but things can go bad quickly. No numerical values for anything.

Narratively rich.

A few Conditions and you can be swamped.
A narrow field of expertise.

Beef up FU Points, you can decide on the outcome desired.


Didn't go quite as well as I expected. The roles were good but the general mechanics didn't really work.

Very broad Skills/Roles.
Nice use of all the funky dice I rarely use.

Hard to pit against a solitary foe, racking up danger and introducing threats,

Come up with an alternate danger/threat mechanic. Maybe 1, 2, and 3 mean different things if they are rolled. 3 a complication or escalation, 2 a reduced hit, 1 a full hit?


An easy victory for the accomplished swordsman, shows how much the rank really means.

Uses plain language, meaning challenges are easy to guage.

Even low powered enemies can hang around a long time with the standard damage rules.
Damage from weapons is not variable, meaning even a small hit can step up with a large weapon.

Don't use the standard damage track for inconsequential foes.
Introduce a variable damage mechanic, like a damage dice for each +1 weapon damage modifier with + increasing MoS by 2, 0 staying at 1, and - reducing it 1. Statistically the damage will average the same, meaning no change to standard values.


Worked well, although the Heinrich profile was pretty potent against the Goblins/Bandits.

I get to use miniatures, and I've got a lot of stuff I'd like to use.
A nice simple system (with familiarity), especially with the Career system tacked on, could represent anyone.

No narrative push as it was originally a boardgame.
The standard stats were probably too good.
Would probably have to work up some ready to use NPC profiles for various trades/ages/statuses etc.

Amend the human average, say 4-5 in most things with 7s and 8s being exceptional, heroic average probably 5 to 7. See if there is a quick way to generate stats based on broad principles.


A very good system, as the others are, but maybe a little too heavy and unfamiliar to me.

A detailed combat system.
Passions can really make the solo experience work, taking over the GMs role.

I simply don't know the system well enough to run it on the fly.
There are a lot of stats and skills so I would need the book to hand at every turn.


Well clearly it is between FU, Fate 2 and Advanced Heroquest. FU is very good narratively, and the rules are incredibly simple while doing it. Fate 2 itself is incredible, there is so much to like about it, the Aspects, the Fudge dice and adjective ladder. Advanced Heroquest is an underused little gem, combat focused it provides easy rules, perhaps not as narrative as the other two, but does allow miniatures, something I'd love at this stage.

I think for what I want, Advanced Heroquest is the winner! It gives me the option to use miniatures, I know the rules inside out so I can run a quick game anywhere, and it has a little more crunch in the combat rules. I just need to do my tweaking and I think I'm set. FU is probably second, it is so rules light and narrative it is perfect for solo play, but I'm after a little more crunch here. Which I guess leaves Fate 2 as third, not bad in this line up, and really only just missing out in stellar opposition.

Until next time Steve

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Combat épisode cinq

The last one is Pendragon.
I'm going to use the De Falt knight (from the 4th Edition) against the Bandits in the back. I'm not going to reproduce the stat blocks here because they are quite large, and I will amend the stats as required (so Jousting/Lance skill becomes Firearms for example).

Pierre arrives on the scene and shoots, (19) and misses. The two bandits make a break for it (16 vs 16) and both fail. Next turn (10 vs 13), pass/fail so Pierre catches up with them, he swings his blade at the first bandit (16 vs 13) and both miss, Pierre now faces two opponents.

As it is cinematic I won't split Pierre's skill between them, I'll allow Pierre to attack one normally and simply defend against the other.

The first round (1 vs 4) and the first bandit recovers to land the first blow, as it's a partial victory I continue to deduct 6 from the damage, using the shield rules as a partial defence. The bandit rolls 3d6 (1 less than calculated as standard, (1,6,1 - 2 armour, -6 partial defence for no damage), his blade glances off Pierre's leather jerkin.

The other bandit attacks, (14 vs 14) and Pierre defends easily.

He attacks once more (3 vs 16), and despite a clumsy thrust the bandit is clearly unready and takes a (3d6 the same 6,6,6! -1 armour for 17 HP) bad injury, the bandit rolls conciousness (19 vs 11) and falls from his horse. The remaining bandit rolls Valourous (13 vs 8) and turns and flees.

I want to test it further so Pierre gives chase, Horsemanship (8,14) and catches the bandit, (17 vs 13) both fail to land a blow and they clash again (6 vs 19), (5,5,6! -1 Armour for 15 HP), roll Conciousness (7 vs 12) and knockdown (14 vs 12) and he falls from his horse.

Pierre jumps down too to finish off the bandit (probably would test a passion here but assume that's what he'd do) and they attack again (18 vs 16) neither landing a blow. They come together again (9 vs 13) and (2,3,1 -1 armour for 5 HP) and Pierre stabs him again. The bandit tests Valourous (19 vs 8) and surrenders.

OK, not bad. Pendragon has a lot of systems to go through, and I'm sure some of these I've done wrong, for example the second bandit suffered a Major wound but I didn't amend his stats, should I have?

It was a very one sided affair, although they did manage to land a blow, which could have been a lot worse and Pierre's blows were doing catastrophic damage. In some ways I like that the system can take over and portray the characters according to their natures, but on the other it is a lot of stats you need to generate or have the rulebook to hand something which I'd like to stay away from really.
I think simply because I don't know Pendragon that well, I will have to rule this out.

Until next time Steve

Combat épisode quatre

This time the system is Advanced Heroquest

To keep things simple I'll select Heinrich's profile:

Weapon Skill 8
Ballistic Skill 8 (Renamed stat)
Strength 6
Toughness 5
Speed 8
Bravery 9
Intelligence 8
Fellowship 8 (New stat)
Fate 2
Wounds 4
Sword 4 Damage Dice, Pistol 3 Damage Dice
Careers - Musketeer, Spy

For the bandits I'll select the Goblin profile:
WS 5, BS 5, S 4, T 5, Sp 6, Br 5, Int 5, W 2, Sword 2 DD, Careers - Bandit

As before Pierre races towards the bandits and fires his pistol (distance say 20 squares) (2) vs 8+ and misses. The bandits flee with Pierre in pursuit. Horsemanship covered by Musketeer and Speed (7) vs 8- and catches up with the two bandits. He swings his sword, (10) vs 4+ and hits (12, 1, 11, 7) vs T 5 and causes 3 Wounds killing him outright and toppling him from his saddle.

Seeing this the other bandit makes a Bravery test (11) vs 5-, fails and heads off into the distance. Pierre begins pursuit again, (1) vs 8- and easily catches up with the panicked bandit, he swings his sword again, (10 again!) vs 4+ and hits (11, 4, 12, 7) easily dispatching the last hapless assailant.

Once again a doddle of a fight, with both bandits going down in one attack. Perhaps Pierre's profile was too overpowering for the low level threat put against him (I'm inclinded to lower the heroic/human averages). Makes me wonder what would happen if they managed to hit?! Hmm, once again something to mull over. I like the system however, and it allows me to break out the miniatures, something I'd really like.

Until next time Steve

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Combat épisode trois

This time it's Fate 2.


[ ] Musketeer
[ ] Dandy
[ ] My father's blade
[ ] Winning smile
[ ] An eye for the ladies

Great Duelling
Good Acrobatics, Espionage
Fair Firearms, Alertness, Horsemanship
Average Carousing, Literacy, Etiquette, Seduction

Pierre hears the cry of someone and investigates to find a few bandits surrounding a young lady. He immediately draws his pistol and shoots. A Fair distance Firearms (+++-) with a Great shot (MoS 2) Pistol modifier +2, the Bandit is Hurt. The two bandits turn and gallop off, Pierre in pursuit. Horsemanship (+--+) Fair Pierre matches the bandits speed but digs in his spurs, Horsemanship (00--) Mediocre the horse doesn't respond but the bandits decide to turn and face him (I've got to test combat!).

Pierre draws his sword and charges at the injured one, Duelling (+0+-) Superb versus Average (MoS 4) Sword modifier +2, for MoS 6, Injured. He impales the bandit and turns to face the remaining one.
Duelling (-0++) Superb versus Fair (MoS 3) Sword modifier +2 for MoS 5, Injured. Pierre slashes the bandit across the arm and presses the attack.

Duelling (-+00) Great versus Average (MoS 3) Sword modifier +2 for MoS 5, Injured. Pierre then stabs the bandit who make a run for it. The remaining bandit suddenly attacks, Duelling (0++-) Superb versus Average, easily defending (Can't do damage just defending this second assault).
Pierre lauches a rispote, Duelling (0++0) Epic versus Average (MoS 5) Sword modifier +2 for MoS 7, Taken out. Seizing the opportunity Pierre slashes the man across the throat, sending him toppling off his horse.

Now that's more like it! An easy win for Pierre this one, perhaps too easy. I decided to keep static values for the bandits as it's easier to assume a 0 roll for NPCs. Pierre may well have outclassed them completely, but I guess that's part of what I wanted. I do like Fate, could I wriggle in Aspect compels into the Mythic structure? Probably yes if I ask the right questions. This combat did feel a little faster than FU, with perhaps slightly less narrative but the nature of the Adjective ladder certainly helps give an impression, a Superb thrust for example.

I could meld FU's/Fate 3's Conditions/Consequences onto this somehow, and/or try and introduce variable damage. You know, I think I may never decide!
Until next time Steve

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Combat épisode deux

This time it's my own Les Danger Corps.


Dandy Swordsman

Agent d10
Musketeer d8
Swashbuckler d8
Guard d6
Hunter d6
Sailor d4
Scholar d6
Swordsman d12

Pierre is returning to Paris when he hears a scream, turning to investigae he sees a few bandits surrounding a young female. He immediately draws his pistol and fires. Musketeer & Pistol d8+d10 (5,7) Two hits.

One of the bandits keels over and falls off his horse causing the remaining two bandits to gallop off, Pierre in pursuit. Hunter d6 (2) Escalate threat

He spurs his horse on hoping to catch the men. Hunter d6 (6) & Danger die d6 (1) One hit & escalate threat

Catching up with them he draws his blade and charges. Swordsman d12 & 2 Danger dice d6 (11,1,6) One hit & Escalate threat (now 3, swap for reduced hit)

Pierre stabs one but another catches him a glancing blow. Swordsman d12 (7). Pierre stabbeds the one he already hit causing him to fall from his horse and turn to the remaining Bandit. Swordsman d12 (5) after an exchange of blows Pierre stabs the remaining Bandit. Swordsman d12 (2) however he over balanced leaving himself slightly vunerable. Swordsman d12 (4) & Danger Dice (4), Pierre averts the danger and runs the remaining bandit through.

That was very quick, not sure about handling the opponents though. The build up of Danger is quite difficult in the situation set out meaning the standard DP rules don't really work that well. I do like the variety of skills/roles and the escalating dice but not sure this is a valid rule system for what I have in mind. Reluctantly parked for the moment.

Until next time Steve

Combat épisode une

OK, so I'll start with the easy ones. First up FU.


STYLE: Dashing
ROLE: Swordsman
ROLE: Agent
FLAW: Weakness for ladies
GEAR: Flashing blade
GEAR: Brace of pistols

High/Low method of result generation, rather than Beat the odds.

Pierre hears a female scream and takes a side road to investigate, he sees a few bandits harrasing a young female and immediately draws his pistols.

Does he hit? 1+Brace of pistols (5,6) Yes, and...

He hits one bandit clean in the chest AND knocks him off his horse. The other two seeing this immediately break into a gallop. Pierre gallops past the lady doffing his hat en route.

Does he catch the bandits easily? 1+Nothing (2) No. (I've got to fight so...)

After a long chase the bandits turn around to face him drawing their swords. Pierre charges into them.

Does he hit one? 1+Swordsman+Flashing blade-Bandits (5,6) Again! Yes, and...

He STABS one Bandit and SLASHES the other. The bandits retaliate.

Does he defend himself? 1+Swordsman+Flashing blade-Bandit+STABBED (4,3,4) Yes, but...

Pierre turns the blade of one attacker away but leaves himself OPEN (temporary).

Does he defend again? 1+Swordsman+Flashing blade-Bandit+SLASHED-OPEN (1,2) No

The bandit takes his chance and PIERCES Piere's side. Enraged Pierre attacks again.

Does he hit? 1+Swordsman+Flashing blade-PIERCED-Bandit+SLASHED (1,4) Yes, but...

Pierre batters the Bandit's sword aside but leaves himself OPEN again to the other bandit.

Can he defend from the bandit? 1+Swordsman+Flashing blade-PIERCED-OPEN-Bandit+STABBED (1) No, and...! FU Point! Re-roll (5) Yes

Pierre desperately turns aside the bandit's thrust and attacks once more.

Can he hit? 1+Swordsman+Flashing blade-PIERCED-Bandit+STABBED (4,4) Yes, but...

Pierre runs the bandit through again but the bandit just about holds on to his horse.

Can he defend himself? 1+Swordsman+Flashing blade-PIERCED-Bandit+SLASHED (4,2) Yes, but...

Pierre defends again but the other bandit recovers.

Can he defend himself? 1+Swordsman+Flashing blade-PIERCED-Bandit+STABBED (6,6)! Yes, and...

The bandit makes a wild swing at Pierre who simply ducks and RUNS HIM THROUGH. The other bandit seeing this gallops off Pierre deciding not to pursue because of his injury.

OK, so that's the first combat. It is very narrative heavy, leaving a lot to be decided by me but it does lead to interesting fights and shows Conditions can be pretty deadly. It's also fairly quick, I could have played that out in about a quarter of the time it took to write it so it's definitely still in the mix.
Until next time Steve

Friday, 3 February 2012

Dungeon delving

I got discussing my changes to Advanced Heroquest dungeon generation recently, so I thought I'd cross post about them here.

For the whole discussion see here:

We discussed a number of generation methods, from the original standard rules, to the Quest for the Lichemaster expansion, to the solo non-boardgame Chronicles of Arax to using playing cards in the style of Warhammer Quest.

The methods I'm currently tinkering with are an escalating roll system (can't think of a better name!) and playing card based.

The roll system involves a chart say:

1 Lair
2 Hazard
3 Normal
4 Normal
5 Normal
6 Hazard
7 Normal
8 Normal
9 Normal
10 Hazard
11 Lair
12 Lair
13 Quest

When you roll one of these results you cross it out, or put a tick next to it. If you later roll this number again move up (down!) the chart, so 9, 10, 9 would result in Normal (9), Hazard (10), Lair (9 shifted to 11). The room types are easily moved around, added or removed for greater interest (more Hazards), lethality (more Lairs), or other considerations (Furnished - for Heroquest furniture for example).

With this method the higher numbers more likely rolled, with 12 having to be rolled in order to get to 13. I prefer this over the 'Chronicles of Arax' method of adding 1 for every room entered, at least for now!

My second method is using standard playing cards, here 2-7 is Normal (with reds as Furnished for me), 8-10 Hazard, Face cards as Lairs, with Aces as the Quest rooms and Jokers as 'Special'. Each card can be keyed to a particular Hazard, Furnishing or even Lair encounter.

Special rooms can be almost anything, a lost chapel, a magical item, a treasure hoard. Usually it's player beneficial but it doesn't have to be, a Chaos cult sacrifice in progess for example.
So, take the Aces out and shuffle the pack, take the top 12 cards off, then the top 4 of those. Shuffle in 1 Ace then put the top 4 back on for your hand. Shuffle the remaining Aces into the 38 card deck and put it to one side.

Whenever a door is placed a card is immediately put behind it, it is only revealed when the players open that door into a room. If it's a passage (from a room door) then the card is placed at the bottom of the hand instead. If the hand is ever reduced to 3 cards immediately take 3 cards from the large deck and shuffle them in.

Couple these with my amended dungeon exploration tables and you tend to get more interesting dungeons. My amended tables are:

1-4 1 section
5-8 2 sections
9-12 3 sections

1-2 T junction
3-5 Right turn
6-8 Left turn
9-10 Dead end
11 Stairs up
12 Stairs down

1-4 Nothing
5-9 1 Door
10-11 2 Doors
12 Wandering monsters (and roll again)

Room doors
1-4 None
5-8 1 Door
9-12 2 Doors
1-5 Passage 6-12 Room

My final observation is to remove what seems a common problem for AHQ players, the Meat Grinder, otherwise known as the optimum door entry system. My solution is that when an enemy is defeated the victor is granted the opportunity to spent into the vacated square. If they pass this opportunity an unattached enemy may make the one-step move themselves. This replicates the crush of bodies with one opponent immediately being replaced with another. Now the victor is caught by the new enemy's death zone.

Until next time Steve

Thursday, 2 February 2012


I was recently mulling over using a slightly weightier system than FU or Danger Patrol for running a solo Musketeers-style game based on The Cardinal's Blades by Pierre Pevel (I highly recommend the books).

So I decided to take a look at the possibilities:

Advanced Heroquest
Barbarians of Lemuria
Cartoon Action Hour
D6 (or Mini6)
Fate 2
Fate 3
Flashing Blades

Advanced Heroquest
This is a system I love, and as it is very combat orientated (because it's a dungeon delving boardgame's system) I know it can handle that aspect.

Barbarians of Lemuria
In my opinion a lacklustre system coupled with an intriguing careers/skill substitution (I might just nick for AHQ).

Cartoon Action Hour
This I like but a lot of the work is up front setting up the series etc. plus it hits the wrong tone for what I am aiming for. If I was running it for the kids Dogtanian here I come!

I like this in its Star Wars incarnation, but rolling that many dice in one and having to add them all up just puts me off.

Fate 2
A really like this, was my system of choice before FU came along. I'd need to gather a skill list but this is a real possibility.

Fate 3
I know many people love this, but to me it adds unnecessary complexity. About the only thing I do like is the introduction of Consequences. I could use the Fate 3 skill list with 2, mmm.

Flashing Blades
I've never actually played the system but it seems to hark back to 'the old days' with disparate rules for different situations. The background information is vital so I'll definitely use that but the system? Unfortunately, no. On the other hand the skill list is pretty good and broad, maybe worth stealing.

I like Fudge, it's simple and malleable. The only trouble is I wouldn't use it 'as written' (many people don't believe such a thing exists), and therefore this involves time tinkering. Wouldn't I be better just sticking with Fate 2?

Way too complicated for what I want, sure I'll steal the setting info from Swashbucklers, but that's it.

An intriguing one this. Every since I saw Pendragon I thought it'd make a great swashbuckling system. I haven't played this in years though so it'd take some reading to get back up to speed, plus I might have to dial down the lethality somewhat, Pendragon has the generational aspect to ensure continued play. Still, something to consider.

So what I have, say, 3 systems in the running, plus my current standby FU and maybe Les Danger Corps. So how do I choose?

In the immortal words of Harry Hill - FIGHT!

The only way to really decide is run the same scenario for all the systems, it needs to include some different elements for lone skill checks, a ranged fire opportunity and multiple opponents to really test the systems' suitability for high swashbuckling action. This is what I have come up with:

While returning to Paris with an important message Pierre hears a female scream (or should do), he rides to investigate and sees two or three bandits harrasing a young women. He should ride in, take a pot shot at one of them, leaving two to fight (hence two or three).

This should be fairly standard stuff for the game in mind so I'd expect Pierre to win, maybe with a little difficulty, but triumph he should. I'll post the individual results here as I get the chance to play them.

Until next time Steve