Powers & Paragons: Superheroic Role Playing with OD&D - Part One

(This may form an eventual PDF (much like my Star Wars rules did), or it may actually morph into a complete game that I will release through Elf Lair Games. I'm not sure. For now it's a few thoughts I had.)

If there's one genre out there that is as popular with the sci-fi/fantasy community as high fantasy, it's superheroes. Since they first debuted in the pulp magazines in the 20s and 30s with characters like The Shadow, Doc Savage, The Bat and the like, super-powered masked vigilantes have held the fascination of the world. Eventually they made their way into comic books, where these powered men and women have formed a new take on mythology, the modern gods and goddesses of our popular culture. It occurred to me, in thinking about it, that OD&D, being a stunningly flexible system, can easily handle superhero games, so I wanted to put some notes down regarding how it works.

Approaches to Power and Core Rules
The first thing we need to do, to figure out…

Now on Kickstarter! Amazing Adventures 5e!

Hey, all, my newest project is now on Kickstarter: Amazing Adventures 5e! We funded in just two hours, and in 6 days we've smashed through 7 stretch goals, with lots more to come!

So what is Amazing Adventures 5e? 

Amazing Adventures is the modern multi-genre RPG that lets you take your game to any time, any place, and any genre. This new version is completely compatible with the 5th Edition Rules of the World’s Most Famous RPG and brings it firmly into the modern era without a ton of new and altered rules.

Within its pages you’ll find:
•New character classes, and new takes on existing classes
•New Sub-classes, paths, archetypes, etc.
•A new approach to Inspiration which allows you to build points for greater player agency
•Cinematic unarmed combat
•Modern vehicle rules
•Firearms rules
•Psionics rules
•And more!

Grab hold of the wheel and take on the bad guys from the 16th Century to the 51st Century and beyond with Amazing Adventures!…

NEW ELF LAIR GAMES RELEASE: Chutzpah! A Certain Je ne Sais Quoi

Chutzpah! is the bare-bones role playing game with a certain je ne sais quoi! It's a firmly tongue-in-cheek game that nevertheless can handle any kind of game you wish to run, no matter how serious. From one-shot over-the-top lunacy to long-term deadly-serious campaigns, this game has the gumption to make it happen. With stats like Cut of My Jib, Childlike Wonder and yes, a Certain Je ne Sais Quoi, you'll be able to take your character building to the next level. 
It's a simple stat and skill die pool system using d8s. Why d8s? I just decided on d8s. There's literally no other reason. You'll throw your dice and count Fist Bumps to succeed at tasks. Included in this simple, 44-page book is everything you need to play a game, including:
Complete character generationRules for combat, skills, vehicles, magic, psionics and moreRules for building weapons, vehicles, equipment and monstersRules for fear, terror, horror, and madnessBenefits and Bugs to customize your charact…

How to Tell if You're a Toxic Fan

We've all encountered them: those so-called "fans" who never, ever praise the things they love, but instead have only hate and vitriol to spew, and spew it they will, given any chance, any excuse, any outlet. They'll insinuate themselves into conversations celebrating the latest installment of a franchise, only to eventually chime in with, "Let me tell you what the problem was." This is toxic fandom, and it's becoming a major problem that will eventually cause a critical mass of collapse in many of the things we all love so dearly.

The worst part about these people is that most of them absolutely refuse to believe that they are, in fact, toxic fans. After all, don't they have the right to their opinion, too? Who are you to tell them they're not fans? How dare you call them toxic? You're the loser who just blindly follows everything and can't see the clear flaws in front of you. Are you that fragile and shallow that you can't handle a…

Game of Thrones Fans Are Angry about Being Game of Thrones Fans

Game of Thrones Fans Are Angry about Being Game of Thrones Fans By Jason Vey April 29, 2019
After last night's brutal and epic Battle of Winterfell episode of Game of Thrones, fans of the series are up in arms...apparently just generally about being fans of the show. The latest whining comes from insistence that the episode was too dark to see what was going on. 
"I really had to search to find a problem with this episode," says Bucky LaRoue of Lafayette, LA. "So I just decided on the actual brightness of the image. I turned the brightness on my TV all the way down, and decided it was the writers' fault that I couldn't see when my favorite character got stabbed in the eye." 
Says Jim Harbour of Seattle, WA, "I bought this TV last year. It's totally a 4k, but I only paid like $300 for it, so naturally when the picture was dark it had to be the fault of the producers. It's okay, though. I mean, I could buy a better television, but why bother…

Reading Original Dungeons & Dragons Part 2: Monsters & Treasure

In my last post, I discussed seeming rules inconsistencies in Original Dungeons & Dragons, and the reactions someone just opening those books for the first time in 1974 might have had from reading through. Now let's move onto the second volume, Monsters & Treasure. Remember, the conceit here is that we don't have 40 years of scholarship and play experience upon which to draw, without the benefit of the Internet, and without the benefit of having gamed with Messrs. Gygax and Arneson. Rather, this is someone opening a second or third-print woodgrain box (with all its early textual differences from later white box versions) and how they might have been driven to run the game.

Again, remember that I'm working from a third printing woodgrain box, and the books have different text than the later fourth through sixth print white boxes, so textual references may differ for those who have white boxes. Also remember that this is a thought experiement and nothing more; it'…

The Elegance of Non-Unified Mechanics

Like a great deal of gamers in this day and age, I have long been enamored of the idea of a so-called "unified mechanic," that is, a single die roll approach to resolve most, if not all, issues in a game. Current versions of D&D, for example, use a d20 ability check approach for everything--even combat is a Strength or Dexterity check. The only things that don't use the d20 are random probability rolls (which use straight percentile) and damage.

The Unisystem is another universal mechanic system, using d10 + attribute + skill vs. a target number of 9, and the cinematic version uses this for everything; there aren't even damage rolls, as damage is a flat number.

Even my own Spellcraft & Swordplay original ORCS system used 2d6 for everything, with damage rolls using xd6.

The Elegance of Non-Unified Mechanics
There's a certain ease and straightforward-ness to this approach that's easy to appreciate. Recently, however, I've come around to a new apprec…