Tuesday 23 March 2010

News - Cyberpunk, Stargazer, Dungeonslayers, Supers, Geomorphs,

Spring is sprung, the dafodils are sprouting and the collective juices of inspiration appear to be flowing. The flow is no greater than in the world of Free RPG stuff. In this news update, we discover that modern Cyberpunk can be fascinating and novel, that podcasters will play any old stuff you send them, bloggers can write RPGs too, super Supers, random geomorph maps and The Free RPG Blog is going into print.

1KM1KT Cyberpunk Revival

Good friend and blogger Gordon McKerrel (Twitter: new2rpg) has been running the 1KM1KT Cyberpunk Revial Competition for just over 2 months now and the creators have noses pressed up against the grindstone. The aim is to revive Cyberpunk by crafting a modern setting that feels like Cyberpunk but is an extrapolation of this millenium rather than the last. A difficult task indeed.

The ideas that have bubbled up are both broad and deep. Unlike the 24 Hour Competition, the long deadline (end of June 2010 - yes, plenty of time for you to enter) means that there is a friendly, collaborative approach to the entries. Most have their own thread on the forum and advice and ideas are gladly exchanged. It's
  • Metropole Luxury Coffin by madunkieg
  • Squatters & Sleepers by Spacemouse
  • Project X by Hawell
  • Cybershade by Blaquesabe
  • ROME by WittyDroog
  • CyberSins by Thought
  • Technogrammation by Corone (who gave us Doom and Cookies)
  • Open Life by NoobHealer
  • Multiplicity by Koipond
  • Erreshet by SheikJabooty
  • ModernPunks by TadK
  • Flooded by Phil
  • Disgenesia by Maledictus
  • Code named Neon by Peril Planet (Nathan Russell of the Here Be Gamers Podcast no less!
  • The Grey City Machine by espynwislyn
  • Physrep by Nifara
If you like Cyberpunk and think you can modernise it, then there is plenty of time to enter. You have until the end of June and only have to submit 30 pages. You can use someone else's game system as it's only really the setting we're after. It's free to enter, so you really have nothing to loose!

Guerilla 60 Second RPG Podcast

I've been receiving some superb feedback from podcast listeners about the 60 second Guerilla Podcast. There are now 4 in the wild, have you heard one? Do you know where all four are?

If you are a podcaster and you would like to support the Free RPG community, the please do send me an email. Each 60 second podcast is unique and reviews a free RPG game or resource.

Gears by Michael Wolf

Gears - free RPG by Michael WolfMichael Wolf, blogger extraordinaire (Twitter: StargazersWorld) is having a creative gush at the moment. His lite system Gears, is a well rounded generic roleplaying game system that is neat and lite. Michael will probably not thank me for posting this news item because Gears isn't finished. You might have clicked the link and then come back, enraged that I've wasted your time. Stay with me for a moment.

What makes Gears a delight is the fact that Michael has been blogging the process - the ups and downs, decisions and thoughts. It's a fascinating read, written at the same standard as his regular posts. Here's a summary.
I do hope Michael completes Gears, you can keep up to date with Gears here. Michael has actually completed another project since, but I'll leave that up to Michael.

Jeff Moore's Xceptional

Jeff Moore is a free roleplaying game powerhouse. Imagine if you actually created every RPG project you thought of. That's the only explanation I have for Jeff, he's prolific. The fact I've not managed to review one of his games is statistically unlikely and an error I'll be fixing soon.

Jeff has been developing his super supers game Xceptionalon his blog. It's fascinating to see that he applied my guide to organsing a free rpg as a brutal editor. I won't witter on any futher as I'll be reviewing Xceptional in due course.

Lots of Dungeonslayers goodness

I love Dungeonslayers. Its mix of simplicity, efficiency and knowing what its trying to achieve has made me come back again and again. Christian Kennig has been spewing splendid content since my review. There are now 5 one-page Dungeons-2-Go which are all immediately playable. As if that wasn't enough there is also Forgeworks, a 4 page addon with weapons and armour. The supplements for Dungeonslayers are superb as they all stay on message: lite, efficient and effective.

Geomorphs Ahoy!

Geomorphs are map sections that can be printed and slotted together to make big maps. You might remember that Dyson Logos has embarked on a challenge to create a whole bunch of them. You might also recall I became nerd-aroused and used them to create a random map maker. It got StumbledUpon in a big way, so I asked OUR GLORIOUS BENEFACTOR on 1KM1KT. Dyson took a pause (more of deep breath) and is now ploughing on with more.

More Geomorph joy is provided by, Tim 'Risus Monkey' Ballew, who has made great use of my random map maker (with permission, natch) with his own Risus Monkey Random Map. It's effort such as this that makes me proud of being part of the Free RPG Community.

Open Game Table Vol 2

I'm proud to announce that The Free RPG Blog is going to be included in Volume 2 of the Open Game Table, due for release this summer. To stand shoulder to shoulder with some simply stellar blogs and industry professionals makes me puff my chest out with considerable pride.

You've been quiet, Lang.

Yes! I've been working on loads of things, here's a flavour.
  • Chom Isis, my web game of scheming and deviousness is running its first proper full-length game.
  • Icar Version 4 is heading on apace, I'm making great strides through the GM guide.
  • New 1KM1KT archive. The current archive is based on Wordpress, which is ok but requires a lot of work to keep going, I'm writing a new one and progress is slow but steady.
  • Finally, I am writing a series of posts on how to write an RPG, from the idea to the printed book.

Tuesday 2 March 2010

My die is bigger than your die in Adventure Squad by Andrew Domino

Adventure Squad by Andrew Domino is a light, generic roleplaying game system that will give you an excuse to unleash the four sided plastic caltrops, strip back the vain complexities of crunchy systems and get on with it! Based on Jason Morningstar's Dungeon Squad, it uses dice 'sizes' as statistic values and is very trim. Got a setting you want to run in a hurry? Adventure squad might just be the system for you.

Character Creation

Pumping down the same vein as most generic lite RPG systems, Adventure Squad places the onus on the player to imagineer everything about the character. You think up a name, concept, pick a race, assign attributes (oddly called skills) and pick two abilities (like skills but not called that). A sticky spread of the GM's setting love-jam is required to add taste to the process.

The attributes (yes, yes called skills) are Body, Fight and Mind. You assign D4, D8 and D12 to them. How delightful! Lovers of the much ignored D12 will cartwheeling with ecstasy to read that. Let's allow them a moment to compose themselves.


The bigger the dice, the better you will be (although I inform my wife of the opposite at any opportunity). Abilities nestle inbetween where the Skills and Feats normally are. And slightly strange for a generic system - there's a list! It's a cracking list too - I couldn't think of anything that wasn't covered. The supernatural (magic/psyonic/super power) is in there too. It's a smorgasbord of things you can do.

Hit points are dealt with simply, as is money and equipment. As you might expect from a game 6 pages long, common sense reigns supreme.


Mechanics sprawls idly across half a page. The GM sets a difficulty number between 2 and 8, you roll the dice next to the most appropriate Attribute (it's called skill, yes, yes, I know) roll a dice for an appropriate ability. Add those together and compare to win! Combat is quick and slick. Combat die decides who will go first. You then use your Ability dice to hit them and do damage by removing hit points. Like a Michael Bay film, there are no surpises there.

There are rules for players assisting each other. A concept I welcome but fear my players might find somewhat alien. For them, the joy of watching a colleague fall comprehensively on their posterior is only topped by the glee derived from twisting every mis-spoken word from their beleaguered GM!

Seven pages, you say

It's on the feather light side of RPGs and I am not sure it's aimed at the right target. The description is of a game for new players but it does require a lot of special dice (rather than ones scored from a battered Monopoly box) and there is very little hand holding that a new GM might need. Adventure Squad could do with some images to lighten the text load and more examples of play. I'd like to see a few more facets of my guide to organising a free RPG, especially page numbers and a web link.

The die mechanic and imaginative Ability list go a long way to make Adventure Squad worth using but I would like to see it go further. I would like to see example settings and adventures that show off the system. I'd like to see a series of bolt on optional rules and perhaps the Abilities list arranged like playing cards that you can print, cut out and hand to the players.

Finally, I'd rename 'Skills' to Attributes.


Adventure Squad is ideal for anyone who has a setting on the boil and needs a lite system to thicken it from soup to broth. The dice mechanic drives its novelty and good writing and clear layout throughout makes Adventure Squad a solid choice. Most importantly, Adventure Squad is under active development - which is great news as from this perfectly formed spark, a bush fire might erupt.

Thank you for sharing, Andrew!