Take a Hard Ride

As I am currently in the middle of writing a GRIT & VIGOR supplement for adventures in the “Old West”, I’ve been reviewing some favorite westerns. Today, the subject of Take a Hard Ride came up, and it occurred to me that working up some character stats for the film’s three heroes and main villain would make for a good post.

Take a Hard Ride was released in 1975, and starred Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, Jim Kelly and Lee Van Cleef. A “spaghetti western”, it was filmed on location in the Canary Islands, and had as its three heroes some names made well known in the “blaxploitation” films of the 70’s. The movie does not come off as a gimick to me, though – Jim Brown plays Pike, a classic western hero, Fred Williamson is awesome as a Maverick-esque anti-hero Tyree, and Jim Kelly brings something akin to Kung-Fu into the picture as Kashtok, a man raised by Native Americans.

The story involves Pike transporting $86,000 to his boss’ ranch – he made a promise on his boss’ deathbed to do it, and he aims to get it done. Hunting down Pike, his allies and the money is Lee Van Cleef as Keifer, a bounty hunter and Kane, a corrupt sheriff, played by Barry Sullivan.

It’s well worth a watch … and if you want to put those characters into action in a game of G&V, here’s my take on their stats:

(For those wondering how I determined levels – I just used the actor’s ages at the time the movie was made, minus 16 years as a guide)

Pike (Jim Brown)
Lawful Good Cowboy, 8th level

S 16 I 12 W 11 D 15 Cn 13 Ch 11
HP 40
AC 11
ATK +5
F8 R8 W11

Knacks: Handle Animal, Ride Mount

Skills: Appraise Value (Livestock), Endure, Gamble, Handle Animal*, Jump, Ride Mount*, Survive Outdoors, Track

Feats: Bum Rush, Exploit Weakness, Mounted Combat, Power Attack, Pugilist

Weapon Proficiency: Club, knife (large), knife (small), lasso, revolver, rifle, shotgun

Special: +2 save vs. fear and anxiety, temporarily increase two physical ability scores, delay damage (8 rd), rope and ride, choose exceptional horse, surprised (1 on 1d8, or normal while sleeping), no penalty grappling creatures one size larger than cowboy

Tyree (Fred Williamson)
Neutral Gunfighter, 7th level

S 13 I 10 W 11 D 16 Cn 12 Ch 13
HP 35
AC 11
ATK +6
F10 R10 W13

Knacks: Bend Bars, Gamble, Move Silently

Skills: Bend Bars, Break Down Doors, Endure, Gamble*, Lift Gates, Sleight of Hand

Feats: Ace Shot, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot

Weapon Proficiency: Brass knuckles, club, dagger, knife (large), knife (small), lasso, revolver, rifle, shotgun

Special: Extra attack, specialist firearm (revolver), +4 AC fighting defensively, +2 initiative with firearm

Kashtok (Jim Kelly)
Chaotic Good Boxer, 6th level

S 15 I 12 W 13 D 16 Cn 14 Ch 9
HP 42
ATK +5
AC 16
F9 R8 W12

Knacks: Survive Outdoors, Track

Skills: Acrobatics, Bend Bars, Break Down Doors, Endure, Hide in Shadows, Jump, Lift Gates, Listen at Doors, Move Silently

Feats: Dodge, Elusive Target, Far Shot, Lightning Reflexes

Weapon Proficiency: Bo staff, club, compound bow, jo staff, knife (large), knife (small), lasso, spear, tomahawk

Special: Extra attack, unarmed damage 1d6+2, 70’ movement, stunning attack (5/fight), deflect arrows

Kiefer (Lee Van Cleef)
Neutral Evil Ranger, 9th level

S 11 I 12 W 13 D 16 Cn 14 Ch 10
HP 54
ATK +8
AC 12
F7 R11 W12

Knacks: Track

Skills: Bend Bars, Break Down Doors, Hide in Shadows, Lift Gates, Move Silently, Ride Mount, Survive Outdoors, Track*

Feats: Blind Fight, Brawler, Great Fortitude, Improvise, Intuition, Mounted Combat, Pugilist, Rough & Tumble

Weapon Proficiency: Club, dagger, knife (large), knife (small), lasso, revolver, rifle, shotgun +1

Special: Avoid surprise, specialist terrain (desert Southwest)

 

Daddy-o Appreciation Day

Hey all you cats and kittens – just a quick note today in between Father’s Day festivities (my dad and fam was over yesterday, wife’s dad and fam today) to wish all the dads and their loved ones out there a happy day.

Hey all you cats and kittens – just a quick note today in between Father’s Day festivities (my dad and fam was over yesterday, wife’s dad and fam today) to wish all the dads and their loved ones out there a happy day.

In case you have some time today for fine cinema, enjoy this little gem from MST3K (ah, the old Comedy Central days – MST3K, Kids in the Hall) … Daddy-O:

Fun side note – a guy I worked with at the Video Park was friends with Dick Contino’s son. It’s a small world afterall!

For GRIT & VIGOR fans out there, here are some game stats for good old Daddy-O (or just about any other similar character from an old misunderstood-teenager b-movie)

Daddy-O

Grease-Monkey

AL NG, LVL 3, HP 14, AC 12, ATK +1, SV F12 R10 W12

Str 12 Int 11 Wis 13 Dex 16 Con 12 Cha 14

Special: Fearless (+2 save vs. fear), temporarily increase physical ability score (+1 for 3 rd), use wrenches as maces in combat, maximum performance from motor vehicles, +10% to motor vehicle’s top speed, apply combat feats to vehicles, +1 to attack and +1 damage to constructs

Knacks: Communicate, Mechanics, Perform

Skills: Appraise Value (Cars), Drive Car, Endure, Mechanics, Ride Bike, Search

Feats: Fancy Driving, Leadership, Stuntman

Weapons: None

THIS JUST IN – GRIT AND VIGOR ON SALE NOW

Well, it took 5 years of starting, stopping, and starting over again, but GRIT & VIGOR is now real. I put it up for sale last night on Lulu.com and rpgnow.com. So, what is GRIT & VIGOR? I’m glad you asked …

GRIT & VIGOR is the game of bold ventures for rugged fellows. Roll up a character, buy some gear, and get down to business. G&V is rules lite and options heavy. In its 200 pages, you’ll find everything from monsters to machine guns, with advice on running all sorts of modern campaigns, from gentlemanly mysteries to espionage to explorations into the unknown. It also includes a timeline of adventure, covering the years 1880 to 1939, with important events of those years as well a selection of the firearms, cars, planes and military vehicles of those years. Future supplements will expand that coverage back to the Golden Age of Piracy and forward into the far future.

GRIT & VIGOR is compatible with most old school games, including BLOOD & TREASURE.

What do you get for $10.99? I mean, beside my blood, sweat and tears …

  • A system you know and know how to run, that is broadly compatible with BLOOD & TREASURE and pretty much every OSR clone and D&D rules set that popped up before 4E – six ability scores, d20 to attack, etc.

 

  • Lots of classes and sub-classes

 

  • Random character backgrounds instead of fantasy races – roll d% thrice, ladies and gents, and nail down those formative experiences of your misbegotten youth

 

d% Youthful Experience
01 Collected trading cards (Appraise Value knack)
02 Won big game at school (Athletics knack)
03 Escaped from jail (Bend Bars knack)
04 Worked as a volunteer fireman (Break Down Doors knack)
05 Ran with a gang of toughs (Cant knack)
06 Received a chemistry set for birthday (Chemistry knack)
07 Climbed the tallest tree in your neighborhood (Climb Sheer Surfaces knack)
08 Grew up in a city with many immigrants (Communicate knack)
09 Invented a cipher for you and your pals (Crack Code knack)
10 Played with firecrackers (Demolitions knack)
11 Burned the midnight oil studying (Display Knowledge knack)
12 Participated in the amateur theatrics (Don Disguise knack)
13 Got first place in the soapbox derby (Drive Car knack)
14 Built your own crystal radio set (Electronics knack)
15 Rowed crew in school (Endure knack)
16 Escaped from kidnappers (Escape Bonds knack)
17 Received a fine home training (Etiquette knack)
18 Forged parents signatures on report card (Forge Documents knack)
19 Played cards with the boys (Gamble knack)
20 Always had an ear cocked for gossip (Gather Intelligence knack)
21 Ran away and joined the circus (Acrobatics knack)
22 Grew up on a farm (Handle Animals knack)
23 Pulled pranks on Halloween or Guy Fawkes Day (Hide in Shadows knack)
24 Ordered a book on hypnosis from the back of a comic magazine (Hypnotize knack)
25 Fleeced the marks at a sideshow (Influence People knack)
26 Jumped over the creek on a dare (Jump knack)
27 Was a nosy little cuss (Listen at Doors knack)
28 Helped out in the garage (Mechanics knack)
29 Sneaked out for beer and girls (Move Silently knack)
30 Learned from an amateur cracksman (Open Locks knack)
31 Spent time in vaudeville or music halls (Perform knack)
32 Befriended pilots at the aerodrome (Pilot Aircraft knack)
33 Had to help support the family (Practice Vocation knack)
34 Raced a bike down Dead Man’s Hill (Ride Bike knack)
35 Hunted with the lads – Tally Ho! (Ride Mount knack)
36 Worked summers on a boat (Seamanship knack)
37 Spied on the girls at summer camp (Search knack)
38 Spent your afternoons in pool halls (Shoot Billiards knack)
39 Wintered in the mountains (Ski knack)
40 Jumped off a roof using a blanket for a parachute … and survived (Sky Dive knack)
41 Worked the crowds as a pick pocket (Sleight of Hand knack)
42 Explored an abandoned mine (Spelunk knack)
43 Summered in California or Hawaii (Surf knack)
44 Spent a week on a deserted island (Survive Outdoors knack)
45 Raised by the water (Swim knack)
46 Got ventriloquist dummy for birthday (Ventriloquism knack)
47 Learned to hunt from an old scout (Track knack)
48 Took care of little cousins and siblings (Treat Injury knack)
49 Helped an older relation in the shop (Woodworking knack)
50 Caught frogs in the black of night (Blindfight feat)
51 Looked out for the little kids (Bodyguard feat)
52 Never said “uncle” (Diehard feat)
53 Interested in everything, never took a rest (Dilettante feat)
54 Shot at while trespassing (Dodge feat)
55 Learned the sweet science (Expertise feat)
56 Worked as a prize fighter (Exploit Weakness feat)
57 Took up archery (Far Shot feat)
58 Stole home base or racked up the runs (Fast feat)
59 Lived off the land for weeks (Great Fortitude feat)
60 Raised in poverty (Improvise feat)
61 Learned to trust your instincts (Intuition feat)
62 Stood up to the class bully (Iron Will feat)
63 Formed a gang as a kid (Leadership feat)
64 Narrowly escaped death (Lightning Reflexes feat)
65 Kept your head on swivel (Look Smart feat)
66 Studied physics (Modern Archimedes feat)
67 Played lots of football (Nip-Up feat)
68 Hunted rabbits as a kid (Point Blank Shot feat)
69 Felled a bully with one blow (Power Attack feat)
70 Had to learn to fight dirty because you were small for your age (Rough & Tumble feat)
71 Made many daring escapes after stealing apples (Run feat)
72 Always had a big mouth (Taunt feat)
73 Scrapped with the fellas (Toughness feat)
74 Took fencing lessons from an old master (Two-Weapon Fighting feat)
75 Worked on the docks (Workhorse feat)
76 Lots of hard labor (+1 to Strength)
77 Studied advanced mathematics (+1 to Intelligence)
78 Spent time hunting in the wilderness (+1 to Wisdom)
79 Was excellent with a slingshot (+1 to Dexterity)
80 Always ate your vegetables and drank your milk (+1 to Constitution)
81 Had to talk yourself out of many scrapes (+1 to Charisma)
82 Raised a stray pup (gain a dog as a free sidekick)
83 Lived with a gypsy family (+5% chance of psychic powers; See Appendix A)
84 Went abroad for the summer (learn one foreign language)
85 Worked hard, lived simply (double normal starting money)
86 Escaped from a burning house (+2 save vs. fire)
87 Never sick a day in your life (+2 save vs. disease)
88 Kept yourself morally straight (+2 save vs. temptation)
89 Wrestled with the big kids (no penalty when grappling with creatures up to one size larger)
90 Spent the night in a real haunted house (+2 save vs. fear)
91 Stood lookout for friends (only surprised on 1 on 1d8)
92 Worked as cowpuncher (+2 save vs. being trappled)
93 Dove for pearls (hold breath for twice as long as normal)
94 Well versed in the classics (+1 reaction with scholars)
95 No stranger to the saloon (+2 save vs. alcohol)
96 Inherited money (bonus $100 to start game)
97 Studied meditation from a master (+2 save vs. psychic powers and magic spells)
98 Trained to run a marathon (+2 save vs. fatigue)
99 Born under a lucky star (re-roll one failed roll per adventure)
100 Roll again, and take bonus roll

 

  • A simple skill system

 

  • Firearms and vehicles

 

  • Rules for intoxicants and radiation sickness

 

  • Animals, humans and monsters to fight

 

  • Supernatural stuff in the appendices, so you can ignore it or use it as you like

 

  • Advice on working in different genres – Crime, Mystery/Suspense, Kung-fu, War, Sieges, Horror, and Explorations into the Unknown

 

  • A timeline of adventure from 1880 to 1939 – that goes year-by-year presenting major events that might inspire or inform your adventures, and provides stats for firearms and vehicles, such as:

 

1939 The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler introduces Philip Marlowe, Hewlett-Packard founded, Francisco Franco comes to power in Spain, King Faisal II (Iraq), Slovak-Hungarian War ends, Italy invades Albania, New York World’s Fair opens, Batman makes first appearance in comic books, Pan-Am begins transatlantic flights, Tientsin incident, last public guillotining (France), Siam changes name to Thailand, Molotov-Ribbentrop pact signed, first turbojet-powered jet Heinkel He 178 takes maiden flight, Germany invades Poland, World War II begins, u-boots sink SS Athenia, HMS Courageous and HMS Royal Oak, Soviet Union invades Poland, Stewart Menzies appointed head of MI6, Soviet Union invades Finland

Arisaka Type 99 LMG (Japan): CAL 30, DMG 2d4, ROF 150, SHOTS 30 (Magazine), RNG 1320 ft, WT 23 lb

BSA Welrod “Assassin’s Pistol” Silenced Pistol (UK): CAL 35, DMG 1d6, ROF 1, SHOTS 9 (Magazine), RNG 40 ft, WT 3 lb

DS-39 MMG (Russia): CAL 30, DMG 1d10, ROF 200, SHOTS 250 (Belt), RNG 3280 ft, WT 32 lb

MP 40 SMG (Germany): CAL 35, DMG 1d6, ROF 80, SHOTS 32 (Magazine), RNG 330 ft, WT 9 lb

Oerlikon 20mm Autocannon (Switzerland): CAL 79, DMG 5d6, ROF 75, SHOTS 100 (Belt), RNG 3000 ft, WT 150 lb | Anti-aircraft

Pistolet Mitrailleur MAS Modele 38 SMG (France): CAL 22, DMG 1d6, ROF 100, SHOTS 32 (Magazine), RNG 300 ft, WT 6 lb

Type 97 20mm Anti-Tank Rifle (Japan): CAL 79, DMG 3d8, ROF 1, SHOTS 7 (Magazine), RNG 900 ft, WT 114 lb


Bedford OB Bus (UK): Huge Construct, HD 22 (77 hp), AC 14 , SPD 40 mph, ACC 10 mph, MVR -5, CP 1/29, WT 7.2 tons

Bentley Mark V Compact (UK): Large Construct, HD 9 (32 hp), AC 15, SPD 97 mph, ACC 35 mph, MVR +0, CP 1/3, WT 1.2 tons

Chevrolet 1/2 Ton Streamliner “Woody” (USA): Large Construct, HD 10 (35 hp), AC 15, SPD 85 mph, ACC 30 mph, MVR +1, CP 1/7, WT 1.5 tons

Ford DeLuxe Coupe Roadster (USA): Large Construct, HD 9 (32 hp), AC 15, SPD 87 mph, ACC 35 mph, MVR +1, CP 1/1, WT 1.4 tons

Lincoln Continental Full-Size (USA): Large Construct, HD 11 (39 hp), AC 15, SPD 115 mph, ACC 40 mph, MVR -1, CP 1/5, WT 2 tons

Royal Enfield WD/RE Scooter (UK): Medium Construct, HD 1 (4 hp), AC 16, SPD 45 mph, ACC 10 mph, MVR +1, CP 1/0, WT 130 lb

Fiat M11/39 Tank (Italy): Huge Construct, HD 30 (105 hp), AC 16 (Steel 1), SPD 20 mph, ACC 4 mph, MVR -4, ATK 1 x 37mm gun, and 2 x light machine guns, CP 3/0, WT 12.3 tons

Kliment Voroshilov Tank (USSR): Gargantuan Construct, HD 59 (207 hp), AC 18 (Steel 3.5), SPD 22 mph, ACC 4 mph, MVR -4, ATK 1 x 76mm gun, and 4 x light machine guns, CP 5/0, WT 49.6 tons

Panzer IV Tank (Germany): Gargantuan Construct, HD 47 (165 hp), AC 20 (Steel 3.5), SPD 26 mph, ACC 5 mph, MVR -4, ATK 1 x 75mm gun, and 2 x light machine guns, CP 5/0, WT 27.6 tons

Sd.Kfz 250 Armored Car (Germany): Huge Construct, HD 20 (70 hp), AC 16 (Steel 0.5), SPD 47 mph, ACC 10 mph, MVR -4, ATK 2 x light machine guns, CP 2/4, WT 6.4 tons


Boeing 314 Clipper Seaplane (USA): Gargantuan Construct, HD 44 (154 hp), AC 13, SPD 210 mph, MVR +1, CEILING 19k ft, CLIMB 250 fpr, CP 11/74, WT 24.2 tons

Brewster F2A Buffalo (USA): Large Construct, HD 12 (42 hp), AC 20, SPD 321 mph, MVR +5, CEILING 33k ft, CLIMB 410 fpr, CP 1/0, WT 2.4 tons

Junkers Ju 88 Bomber (Germany): Huge Construct, HD 18 (63 hp), AC 15, SPD 317 mph, MVR +1, ATK 5 x light machine guns, and bombs (3,100 lb), CEILING 30k ft, CLIMB 130 fpr, CP 4/0, WT 5 tons

Lisunov Li-2 Bomber (USSR): Huge Construct, HD 25 (88 hp), AC 14, SPD 186 mph, MVR +0, ATK 3 x light machine guns, 1 x heavy machine gun, and bombs (4,400 lb), CEILING 25k ft, CLIMB 200 fpr, CP 6/24, WT 8.7 tons


Admiral Hipper-class Cruiser (Germany): Gigantic Construct, HD 120 (420 hp), AC 3 (Steel 3), SPD 37 mph, MVR -2, ATK 8 x 8” guns, 12 x 4.1” guns, 12 x 1.5” guns, 8 x medium machine guns, and 6 x 21” torpedo tubes, AIR 3 x Arado Ar 196A-3, CP 1372/0, WT 15,900 tons

MS St. Louis Passenger Liner (Germany): Titanic Construct, HD 130 (455 hp), AC 2, SPD 18 mph, MVR -6, CP unknown/973, WT 16,700 tons | Undertook the unsuccessful “Voyage of the Damned” to deliver people from persecution by the Nazis

Scharnhorst-class Battleship (Germany): Titanic Construct, HD 130 (455 hp), AC 25 (Steel 14), SPD 35 mph, MVR -5, ATK 9 x 280mm guns, 12 x 150mm guns, 14 x 4.1” guns, 16 x 37mm, 10 x 20mm, and 6 x 21” torpedo tubes, AIR 3 x Arado Ar 196A-3, CP 1669/0, WT 32,100 tons

 

In the future, I’m going to produce some supplements that will highlight other time periods, or delve into sci-fi, post-apocalyptic and other kinds of play.

I’m also going to try to make Mystery Men! and Space Princess as broadly compatible as possible with G&V, to give people a nice toolbox to work with.

Give it a chance, if it piques your interest. Print versions will be up for sale in a couple weeks.

$10.99 for a 200 page PDF

LULU

RPGNOW

Until then – stay gritty!

Your Kung-Fu Could be Better …

When writing GRIT & VIGOR, I wanted to include some martial arts. You can’t very well have manly adventures without a few face kicks and quivering palms. To that end, there is a sub-class of fighter called the boxer which is, essentially, the monk class without the supernatural abilities.

Since the game uses feats, I decided to create several feats to simulate different styles of martial arts. All of them have prerequisites, of course, but could probably be taken by 6th level or so. Here’s a little preview of the martial arts master feats. You might find them handy in your game if it uses feats or something similar, or perhaps you could adapt them as special abilities for a martial artist class in your game.

Aikido Master

Prerequisites: Int 13+, Pugilist (or Boxer), Dodge, Expertise

An aikido master can sacrifice his own attacks against a grappled opponent to lock them into combat. Each round, the aikido master makes an attack roll, noting the total. To break the lock, the aikido master’s opponent must make an attack roll with a result higher than the aikido master’s Armor Class and higher than the aikido master’s attack roll. If he fails, he may not move or attack anyone else. If he succeeds, he may either count the attack towards the aikido master and deal damage as normal, or instead move or attack another.

Bagyazhang Master

Prerequisites: Con 13+, Pugilist (or Boxer Class), Great Fortitude, Iron Will

The baguazhang master adds his Constitution bonus to his Armor Class and to Reflex saving throws. This is in addition to his Dexterity modifier, not in place of it.

Bartitsu Master

Prerequisites: 13+, Pugilist (or Boxer), Dodge, Look Smart

When the bartitsu master gets his opponent into a grapple, the opponent must pass an Endure task check each round the grapple is maintained or succumb to pain and fall unconscious for 1d4 rounds.

Capoeira Master

Prerequisites: Dex 13+, Pugilist (or Boxer Class), Brawler, Lightning Reflexes

When fighting three or more opponents, a capoeira master may make one free trip attack per round, in addition to his normal attack, against one of those opponents.

Jujutsu Master

Prerequisites: Int 13+, Pugilist (or Boxer), Expertise, Trip

When using the throw or trip combat maneuvers, a jujutsu master adds his opponent’s strength bonus to his own strength bonus when rolling his attack roll.

Karate Master

Prerequisites: Str 13+, Pugilist (or Boxer Class), Cleave, Power Attack

Karate masters deal triple damage with critical hits when making an unarmed attack. Items rolling a saving throw to avoid being destroyed by a karate master do so at a -2 penalty.

Savate Master

Prerequisites: Str 13+, Pugilist (or Boxer Class), Brawler, Power Attack

When a savate master makes a successful unarmed attack against an opponent and rolls a critical hit, the opponent is stunned for one round or knocked prone (player’s choice) in addition to suffering damage.

Taekwondo Master

Prerequisites: Attack bonus +2 or higher, Pugilist (or Boxer Class), Flying Kick

You can make an unarmed attack against an opponent that is behind you at no penalty, or strike two flanking opponents by rolling an attack against each and splitting your attack bonus between them.

T’ai Chi Ch’uan Master

Prerequisites: Dex 13+, Pugilist (or Boxer), Dodge, Iron Will

When a t’ai chi ch’uan master is attacked in combat and missed, he may force his opponent to pass a Reflex saving throw or be grappled, or a Fortitude saving throw or be pushed back 5 feet.

Wing Chun Master

Prerequisites: Dex 13+, Pugilist (or Boxer Class), Dodge, Great Fortitude

Wing chun masters may re-roll failed saving throws made to resist combat maneuvers.

Xing Yi Quan Master

Prerequisites: Str 13+, Pugilist (or Boxer Class), Look Smart, Power Attack

When a xing yi quan master uses his power attack feat against an opponent at +3 to damage and -3 to hit and successfully attacks, he stuns his opponent for 1 round.

Grit and Vigor – Sample Characters

I’m finishing up on the final editing of Grit & Vigor this week (and maybe next), and thought folks might be interested in seeing a few randomly rolled up characters for the game.

The four characters below were created using the normal character generation rules – nothing special, no cheating – and should give you an idea of what 1st level characters might look like in the game.

For the first character, I’ll include a few notes in italics. Keep in mind I’m still editing and testing a bit, so there could be some changes between these fellows and the final product.

Emerson McLeod

Strength: 12
Dexterity: 13 (+1 bonus)
Constitution: 12
Intelligence: 12
Wisdom: 17 (+2 bonus)
Charisma: 16 (+2 bonus)

Ability scores are rolled in the “traditional way” (whichever traditional way you like). The bonuses and penalties are as in Blood & Treasure. In this case, I rolled 3d6 in order for the first two characters, and then 4d6 drop the lowest in order for the second two. Honestly – roll the dice however you want!

Alignment: Chaotic Good
Class: Rogue (Private Eye)
Level: 1
Hit Points: 5
Attack Bonus: +0
Saves: F15 R13 W14

Again, nothing too foreign here. Alignment has much less meaning in this game, since it isn’t bound up on lots of spells and special abilities. The game has four main classes – fighter, scholar, rogue and daredevil, and multiple sub-classes. Private eye is a sub-class of rogue.

Background: Won the big game at school, got chemistry set as kid, talked way out of many scrapes
Knacks: Athletics (Str), Chemistry (Int)
Skills: Cant (Cha), Crack Code (Int), Gather Intelligence (Cha), Hide in Shadows (Dex), Listen at Doors (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Search (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Track (humans only) (Wis)
Feats: Dodge, Improvise
Weapons: Brass Knuckles, Switchblade, Pistol, Revolver
Abilities: Backstab (x2 damage), notice concealed items (1 in 6), notice clues (2 in 6), note deception (4 in 6), get a hint (Will save, mod by Int)
Drive/Hunger: Tobacco

Backgrounds are rolled randomly, usually three rolls, and replace the concept of “racial abilities”, giving starting characters bonus knacks, feats and ability score adjustments. The game uses the same task system as B&T, and feats in this one are not optional. Drives and hungers help flesh out a character – this guy has a tobacco addiction, so he’s probably a heavy smoker.

Starting Money: $80
Spent: $73.85
Gear: Revolver, 20 bullets, lock pick set, switchblade, brass knuckles, business clothes, overcoat, concealed carry holster, standard flashlight, binoculars, fake identification, camera, camera film

The money system uses dollars as a catch-all. I’m still playing with the values, but this gives an idea of a starting character’s equipment. Characters start with $5 to spend per point of Charisma (to keep it from being a dump stat).

Alvin “Doc” Bailey

Strength: 12
Dexterity: 6 (-1 penalty)
Constitution: 12
Intelligence: 14 (+1 bonus)
Wisdom: 7 (-1 penalty)
Charisma: 10

Alignment: Neutral
Class: Scholar
Level: 1
Hit Points: 5
Attack Bonus: +0
Saves: F15 R14 W13

Background: Sneaked out for beer and girls, raised in poverty, worked on a farm
Knacks: Move Silently (Dex)
Skills: Chemistry (Int), Communicate (Cha), Crack Codes (Int), Display Knowledge (Int), Electronics (Int), Mechanics (Int) and Search (Wis)
Feats: Improvise, Toughness
Weapons: Dagger, Revolver
Abilities: Special focus (engineering), jury-rig devices, maximize performance
Drives/Hungers: Danger, Superstition

Starting Money: $50.00
Spent: $41.16
Gear: Dagger, revolver, 12 bullets, smoke grenade, tear gas grenade, gelatine, acid vial, electronics kit, chemistry set, travel bag, casual clothes, hip holster

John Harrow

Strength: 12
Dexterity: 14 (+1 bonus)
Constitution: 9
Intelligence: 12
Wisdom: 10
Charisma: 14 (+1 bonus)

Alignment: Neutral Evil
Class: Fighter (Duelist)
Level: 1
Hit Points: 8
Attack Bonus: +1
Saves: F13 R14 W15

Background: Worked as prize fighter, worked summers on a boat, took fencing lessons from an old master
Knacks: Seafaring
Skills: Bend Bars & Lift Gates (Str), Break Down Doors (Str), Gymnastics (Dex), Jump (Str)
Feats: Dodge, Exploit Weakness, Two-Weapon Fighting
Weapons: Cavalry Saber, Foil, Dagger, Pistol, Rapier
Abilities: Dominate foes, specialist weapon (x2 damage with rapier)
Drive/Hunger: Superstition, Vanity, Women

Starting Money: $70
Spent: $60.65
Gear: Pistol, 50 bullets, 2 daggers, business clothes

Sally Rae Stewart

Strength: 11
Dexterity: 14 (+1 bonus)
Constitution: 9
Intelligence: 10
Wisdom: 14 (+1 bonus)
Charisma: 14 (+1 bonus)

Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Class: Daredevil (Grease Monkey)
Level: 1
Hit Points: 7
Attack Bonus: +0
Saves: F13 R13 W14

Background: Studied physics, raised in poverty, helped out in the garage
Knacks: Mechanics
Skills: Appraise Value (Motor Vehicles) (Int), Drive Car (Dex), Mechanics (Int), Ride Bike (Dex), Search (Wis)
Feats: Improvise, Modern Archimedes, Stuntman
Weapons: Club, Dagger, Revolver
Abilities: Treat wrenches as maces, maximize performance (motorcycles, cars), increase top speed by 10%, can apply combat feats to vehicles, +1 to hit vehicles, + level in damage to vehicles
Drive/Hunger: Money, Tobacco

Starting Money: $70.00
Spent: $38.50
Equipment: Monkey wrench, revolver, 10 bullets, casual clothes, tool belt, CB radio, mechanical tool kit, duct tape (2 rolls), car opening kit, road flares (3), rope (150’)

Grit and Vigor … Almost Reality

Over the past weekend, I finished Grit & Vigor. Okay, 99% of it. Just need to rewrite an intro and do an appendix on how it can interact with Blood & Treasure. My first round of editing is done, though, and I have to say I’m pretty jazzed. When I write these things, I often write (and re-write) them in pieces, somewhat in the way movies are filmed. Reading through it to edit it was the first time I’d really look at it from cover to cover, and overall I was happy for two reasons:

1) I kept getting ideas for adventures and characters while I was reading

2) I kept statting characters in my head, and they made sense with the rules I’d written

G&V has been a pretty long time coming. It started life as Action X, but I never really liked the name and the game, as it stood then essentially a reworking of the Modern SRD into a more rules lite vehicle, had no soul. The shift to Grit & Vigor and “manly adventure stories” helped quite a bit – gave the game some direction and made it more fun for me.

What I thought I would do with this post is give a somewhat extensive “table of contents” for the game, so people could see what it looks like currently. My comments are in brackets. Here goes …

I. Rugged Individualists: Creating Your Character

… Ability Score [the basic six – you know them]
… Character Backgrounds [this replaces “race”, and consists of random rolls on tables to determine the four big moments in your character’s young life, and the feats or knacks or ability bonuses that go along with them]
… Character Classes
… … Fighters [with sub-classes Boxer, Commando, Dragoon, Dreadnought, Duelist, Gunfighter, Man-At-Arms, Ranger, Samurai and Sapper]
… … Brain [with sub-classes Archaeologist, Gentleman Detective and Inventor]
… … Rogue [with sub-classes Assassin, Gentleman, Grifter and Gumshoe]
… … Daredevil [with sub-classes Ace Reporter, Barnstormer, Big Game Hunter, Cowboy, Gearhead, Jungle Lord, Medic, Spaceman and Vigilante]
[The sub-classes are all really just variations of the main class, so they’re pretty simple for the most part and don’t take up much room]
… Feats [more integral to G&V than B&T]
… Character Details
… … Alignment
… … Drives and Hungers
… … Personality and Description
… … Patrons

II. Tools of the Trade: Gear and Gadgets for the Adventurous Man
… [this includes weapons, protective gear, artillery, miscellaneous gear and vehicles]

III. Man Versus: Overcoming Challenges and Providing Sound Thrashings
… [the basic rules of play, including rules for intoxicants and radiation]
… Tasks
… … Charisma: Cant, Communicate, Don Disguise, Etiquette, Gather Intelligence, Handle Animal, Hypnotize, Influence People, Perform, Throw Voice
… … Constitution: Endure
… … Dexterity: Drive Car, Escape Bonds, Gymnastics, Hide in Shadows, Move Silently, Open Lock, Pilot Aircraft, Ride Bike, Ride Mount, Shoot Billiards, Ski, Sky Dive, Sleight of Hand, Surf, Woodworking
… … Intelligence: Appraise Value, Bomb Target, Chemistry, Crack Code, Demolitions, Display Knowledge, Electronics, Forge Document, Gunnery, Mechanics, Practice Vocation, Survive Outdoors, Treat Injury
… … Strength: Athletics, Bend Bars & Lift Gates, Break Down Doors, Climb Sheer Surfaces, Jump, Swim
… … Wisdom: Gamble, Listen at Doors, Prospect, Seafaring, Search, Spelunk, Track
… Combat [includes the special maneuvers Airplane Spin, Bum Rush, Dazzle, Gouge, Ranged Disarm and Ranged Sunder]
… … Zero-Gravity Combat
… Damage & Death [includes rules for “the death scene”]
… Vehicles [I think I have some very simple rules for vehicle combat and chases here – pretty happy with them]

IV. Bold Ventures: Designing Adventures and Campaigns
… Genres: Crime, Espionage, Expeditions into the Unknown, Horror, Kung-Fu, Mystery & Suspense, Siege, War
… Timeline of Adventure: this covers the decades from 1880 to 1929, with notes on the overall happenings of the decade, fashion, adventure ideas, the price of gold and silver and then a year-by-year timeline of events that lend themselves to the game (wars, robberies, expeditions, discoveries, inventions) and stats for weapons and vehicles (and other things) introduced in that year, and some NPC stats worked in (see example to left)

V. Men & Monsters: Fearsome Foes to Fight and Conquer
… [the typical monster section, with an emphasis on animals and humans, but some cryptids and science-fantasy stuff thrown in as well]

Appendix A: The Supernatural
… [the book includes mentions of the supernatural throughout, especially in the Men & Monsters section, but I decided to separate the supernatural rules from the main rules in this appendix so people would understand that they are truly optional]
… Psychic Phenomena [rules for the chances a character is psychic, and list and description of psychic powers]
… Supernatural Sub-Classes [Occultist, Psychic and Vampire Hunter – all sub-classes of the Brain]

So that’s the book, as it now stands. There’s some more layout work to do, a bit more playtesting to do, and a bit more writing to do. At the moment, it looks good for a Fall release.

The Hierarchy of Materials

Machines are a pain in the butt.

Well, really, they’re a challenge, and challenges are half the reason to design a game.

The challenge in this case is dealing with 100 years of machine technology in a systematic way that allows one decade to flow into the next in a rational way that permits gameplay.

The specific challenge I’ve been playing with is Armor Class. Armor Class and attack rolls and damage rolls work – they’re an abstract way to deal with combat between individuals and they’ve managed to produce fun gameplay for a long time. I don’t want to rock that boat. There are some functional limits, though, that become apparent when you have to allow for a system that runs from “man in loincloth” to modern tank with 12 inches of steel armor.

Functionally, an attack roll involves rolling a d20, which gives you a maximum roll of 20. Characters in the sweet spot of levels are going to bring maybe a +4 or +5 to their attack rolls. High strength or dexterity adds another +3. Side factors throw in a +2 or +4 bonus to hit. The result: You’re not going to get many attack rolls higher than 30. Sure, at high levels, with everything on your side, maybe you roll a 40. But – and this is key – tanks were destroyed by guys with, reasonably, 1 or 2 Hit Dice all the time in World War II. A tank shouldn’t require a “40” attack roll to inflict damage.

So what do we do with that 12″ armor?

Well, damage reduction makes sense. This allows us two mechanisms to govern the ability to damage objects (and hit points lends a hand as well). Now, we don’t need super high Armor Class. We can have manageable Armor Class ratings, supplemented by Damage Reduction that makes sure certain classes of weapons cannot destroy certain objects. A fighting-man shouldn’t be able to sink the Bismark with a revolver, no matter how high his level is.

My first attempt at damage reduction was based on two factors – what is the object’s skin/hull made of, and how thick is it. I came up with some arbitrary values and used them as a place holder. Steel armor, for example, would provide 20 points of damage reduction per inch. Wood would be 5 points. Most other metals 10 points, etc. Simple enough, but maybe not realistic. With damage reduction in play, I needed to deal with the amount of damage inflicted by weapons.

Once again, a system was involved – in simple terms, rating firearms on the energy they were putting into their projectiles and turning these ratings into damage figures. Once again, I had a system that needed to take into account everything from slings to super-cannon, and now I needed it to interact intelligently with damage reduction. Obviously, some of these values were getting pretty big. Tanks were rolling around with 240 points of damage reduction, which meant anti-tank weapons needed to reasonably deal more than 240 points of damage (quite a bit more, actually) to destroy them. How does one roll upwards of 400 points of damage? That could take more than 60 d6, or about 20d20. That’s a lot of dice!

I won’t bore you with the details of the calibrations – and I’m honestly not done with all of them yet – but I did come up with a plan to simplify things.The point of my using damage reduction was to make sure that certain weapons were going to be ineffective on certain machines. In the real world, this isn’t just about how hard you’re hitting something, it’s also about what you’re hitting it with. This gave me the idea of a hierarchy of materials based on the strength of that material (or as near as I could figure it).

With this system, I decided that damage reduction would be 12 points per inch of material, regardless of the material. I chose 12 because it is easy to divide by 2, 3 and 4 (i.e. half-inch, quarter-inch, third-inch).

Using the hierarchy of materials, one compares the material being hit with the material doing the hitting. If they’re on the same “level”, or the hitter is at a lower level than the “hittee”, damage reduction applies as normal. If the hitter is one level higher in the hierarchy, use half the normal damage reduction value. If the hitter is more than one level higher, it ignores the damage reduction entirely. For every level lower, the damage reduction value is increased by 6 per inch.

Here’s the hierarchy I came up with (changes pending):

A. Kevlar
B. Tungsten
C. Steel (Hard, Armor), Titanium Alloy, Uranium (Depleted)
D. Mangalloy, Steel (Medium)
E. Cast Iron, Chainmail, Nickel Alloy, Spider Silk, Stainless Steel, Steel (Soft)
F. Aluminum, Bamboo, Brass, Copper, Fiberglass, Granite, Hard Woods (Ash, Hickory, Maple, Oak, Walnut), Nickel, Titanium, Wrought Iron
G. Bricks (Hard), Glass (Bulletproof), Lead, Limestone, Sandstone, Soft Woods
H. Bricks (Common), Concrete
I. Flesh

Let’s take an inch of steel armor (Class C). It has the following damage reduction values:

6 vs. Class B (tungsten projectiles)
12 vs. Class C (hard steel projectiles)
24 vs. Class E (cast iron, like old cannon balls)
30 vs. Class F (brass and copper, like many non-armor piercing projectiles)
36 vs. Class G (lead projectiles)
48 vs. Class I (Flesh, which sounds ridiculous until you realize you need to deal with things like Kaiju vs. tanks)

If we assume that adamantine is harder than tungsten, then we could say that steel armor has no damage reduction against adamantine. One could make that argument for magic weapons as well if they were using them in their game.

There’s still some work to do with this idea, and I’ll probably alter the hierarchy before I’m finished, but I think this is a simple, workable system that will make that campaign involving Hitler invading Mars as viable as one that just involves a small band of French resistance fighters committing acts of sabotage and espionage during World War II. The main idea is not to build a complex war game that takes every possible contingency into account, but rather to make a system that makes fighting tanks in Grit & Vigor not much more complex than fighting purple worms in Blood & Treasure.

Grit & Treasure (Blood & Vigor?)

German warbird, or …

Work proceeds on Grit & Vigor. The last couple weeks have been spent gathering vehicle data, turning it into something useful, and brainstorming the rules for dogfights, car chases and inventions.

On the vehicle front, I now have data for about 1,400 tanks, cars and airplanes, and believe I have found a way to turn the raw data into game data. Just for fun, I thought I might throw out some comparisons between military vehicles from the olden days and Blood & Treasure monsters. Obviously, I need to look at some heavyweights.

THE MONSTERS

The Neothelid – 25 HD wrapped up in acid-dripping, tentacled horror. Imagine it going toe-to-toe with a Russian T-18 tank. The tank is easier to hit, but can absorb some damage and deal it pretty well.

T-18: Huge Construct (Tank), HD 25 (88 hp), AC 19 (DR 6), SPD 10 mph (140), ATK 1 tank gun (8d8) and light machine gun (1d8), MVR +0, CP 2/0, WT 13,000 lb.

… fantasy robot – who would win in a fight?

The Balor Demon – 20 HD of demonic fury, roughly equivalent to a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. The Warhawk can deal more damage with its six heavy machine guns, but the Balor isn’t affected by such mundane weaponry. Better load that Warhawk up with magic bullets.

Curtiss P-40 Warhawk: Huge Construct (Fighter), HD 20 (70 hp), AC 16, SPD 360 mph (5280), ATK 6 heavy machine guns (2d6) and bombs (1000 lb), MVR +2, CP 1/0, CEILING 29,000 ft., WT 8,400 lb.

The Iron Golem – 18 HD of heavy metal death, the equal of Messerschmitt Bf.109 – though let’s be honest, one good strafe or bomb drop, and the iron golem’s iron hide and its vaunted magic immunity is going to go up in smoke.

Messerschmitt Bf.109: Large-X Construct (Fighter), HD 18 (63 hp), AC 16, SPD 398 mph (5830), ATK 2 heavy machine guns (2d6) and 1 medium machine gun (1d8) and bombs (550 lb), MVR +3, CP 1/0, CEILING 39,000 ft., WT 6,940 lb.

A few notes on the vehicles:

Size is based on weight (and how interesting would that be to do with all the monsters?). I used the full d20 scale (I only used Small to Huge in B&T), and added half-steps in. Size determines Hit Dice.

CP refers to crew and passengers. The crew is going to be making the attacks for the vehicle, so it’s their attack bonus that counts when firing their weapons.

The weapons here are generic, and the final stats will include their ROF and range. ROF works into the gun rules, with each addition round you fire at a target either increasing your chance to hit by +1, or contributing to an additional 1d6 damage at a rate of 5 rounds to 1d6 damage – player’s choice and they can mix and match (e.g. an extra 20 rounds of ammo can translate into a +20 bonus to hit, or +4d6 damage or something in between, like +10 to hit and +2d6 damage). The bombs I still haven’t decided on, but probably going to be treated as something like a fireball spell – damage dice and radius based on the poundage, with people and items passing saving throws to halve the damage. The game is really designed more for man vs. man, rather than man vs. B-17 Flying Fortress.

Speed is the vehicles top speed, in miles per hour and, in parentheses, feet per round. For car chases, I’m working out a system that uses top speed as a determinant for the difficulty of stunts, to make it easy for referees and players to create stats for vehicles without having to know much about them other than their weight, their style and their top speed.

Armor Class is based on the material of the vehicle’s skin, as well as its thickness. Size plays a part as well. Damage reduction (DR) is based on the thickness of the armor, since I needed a way to screen the tanks from weapons that, by right, shouldn’t be able to penetrate their armor.

MVR is maneuverability, which is based on the vehicle’s type and its power to weight ratio.

Not a perfect system, I know, but I think it will work well enough for game purposes. My focus is on three systems – aerial combat (aircraft vs. aircraft), car chases and a nod towards aircraft attacking land vehicles. G&V isn’t designed as a wargame, but the combat rules should be able to handle something as basic as two tanks plugging away at one another.

Oh, and just for fun …

Burrough’s Barsoom Scout Flyer: Large Construct (Fighter), HD 11 (39 hp), AC 20, SPD 300 mph (1460), ATK none, MVR +3, CP 5/0, CEILING 11,000 ft., WT 1,500 lb.

Nemo’s Nautilus: Colossal x5 Construct (Submarine), HD 250 (875 hp), AC 22, SPD 40 mph (580), ATK 1 ram, MVR -1, CP ???, DEPTH 52,000 ft., WT 1,500 tons

Well’s Martian Tripod: Huge-X Construct (Tank), HD 31 (109 hp), AC 22, SPD 10 mph (140), ATK 1 heat ray (10d6 fire) and black smoke projector (as cloudkill?), MVR +1, CP 1/0, WT 20,000 lb.

Martian Tripod vs. Balor – now that’s a fight I would pay to see!

The Evils of Drink and Other Intoxicants

From Wikipedia

A little preview of GRIT & VIGOR here for you. When you base a game on manly exploits of the olden days, you have to put some thought into rank drunkenness and other intoxicating past times. How can you run a Victorian-era game without using an opium den as a set piece, and how can you run a game set in the Old West without a drunken brawl in a saloon? You can’t – it’s somewhere in the bylaws I think – and so you need some rules to cover intoxicants and their effect on the human body (specifically, the PC’s bodies and those NPC bodies they’re going to be clashing with).

Why I never thought of writing these rules for Blood & Treasure, I don’t know, but they would work for that game and most other old school games I should suppose. Obviously, the rules are kept simple and abstract – they’re meant to take up a column of the rulebook, not a chapter – but I think they’ll do the job.

INTOXICANTS

Strong men often crave strong drink to dull the pain of living, or to celebrate a hard-fought victory. Of course, alcohol isn’t the only intoxicant a man or his enemies might use. Intoxicants are treated as poisons, and thus require a Fortitude saving throw to resist. They come in three broad varieties: Depressants, stimulants and hallucinogenics.

Intoxicants are also given two levels of efficacy – mild and strong. A strong substance not only has a greater effect than a mild one, and it imposes a -10 penalty to save against it.

The dosage of intoxicants varies widely, so use your best judgment. Mild intoxicants have a duration of 1d6 turns, while strong intoxicants have a duration of 1d6 hours.

If a character already under the effects of a mild intoxicant takes another dose and fails his saving throw, treat him as though he has taken a strong intoxicant.

Each time a character falls prey to the effects of a mild intoxicant, there is a 5% chance they will develop an addiction to that intoxicant (rules for that to follow). Strong intoxicants have a 10% chance per use of causing addiction.

MILD DRUG EFFECT

Depressant: -2 penalty to sensory task checks and balance and tumbling task checks, -2 penalty to AC and to all attack rolls, 10% chance per hour of falling asleep

Stimulant: -2 penalty to all wisdom=based task checks and Will saves and saves vs. sleep effects, +2 bonus to all other saving throws and to attack, -2 penalty to AC

Hallucinogenic: Confusion (there would be a page reference here in the rulebook, but if you’ve played ye old fantasy rpg, you know what confusion does)

STRONG DRUG EFFECT

Depressant: -4 penalty to sensory task checks and balance and tumbling task checks, -4 penalty to AC and to all attack rolls, 10% chance per turn of exhaustion of falling asleep

Stimulant: -4 penalty to all wisdom-based task checks and Will saves and saves vs. sleep effects, +4 bonus to all other saving throws and to attack, -4 penalty to AC, suffers 1d6 points of damage to body per hour of duration, after duration the character is left fatigued for equal duration

Hallucinogenic: Confusion, with a 10% chance that the condition is permanent

Some common intoxicants include the following:

Alcohol: Mild or strong depressantAmphetamine: Strong stimulant
Caffeine: Mild stimulant
Cannabis: Mild depressant and Hallucinogenic
Cocaine: Strong stimulant
Heroine: Strong depressant
LSD: Strong hallucinogenic
Mescaline: Strong hallucinogenic
Morphine: Strong depressant
Mushrooms: Mild or strong hallucinogenic
Nicotine: Mild stimulant
Nitrous: Oxide Mild hallucinogenic
Opium: Strong depressant

ACTION X is dead … Long live GRIT & VIGOR

Cover art by George Bellows

I tried. So help me I tried. But I just couldn’t get into the thing.

The idea was to do to the Modern SRD what I did with the fantasy SRD – i.e. turn it into a modern version of Blood & Treasure. The problem – I just couldn’t find the hook, the energy, the right feel that would make the thing gel. It’s tough to make something good if you don’t love it, you know.

And then the revelation.

I was musing on what kind of RPG Ron Swanson would play. I know – ridiculous – but an hour on a treadmill can send the mind into all sorts of odd places. Of course, the answer is that Ron Swanson wouldn’t play an RPG. He is, however, the closest thing modern America has to a folk hero, and symbolic of a movement by modern men to get in touch with their roots. I needed a subject that I found interesting, fun and inspirational – and by Ron Swanson’s mustache, the manly adventure of yesteryear was going to be it. Surviving in the wilds, steering tall ships, plunging into the mysterious corners of the globe in search of loot, hunkering down in a trench, preparing to dash into the oncoming bullets of the hun! – that was the ticket.

So, Action X is dead, may it rest in peace. I’m replacing it with GRIT & VIGOR – BOLD VENTURES FOR RUGGED FELLOWS. I’ve been writing the crap out of it for the last week, and think I can begin play-testing it on Google + in January and publishing it sometime in the Spring or Summer.

GRIT & VIGOR draws on the literature of Kipling, Conan-Doyle, Conrad, Hemingway, REH, London, Burroughs and their ilk. It’s about larger than life men going on adventures in search of money, power and freedom. Yes, women can play G&V – either as male characters (it is role playing, after all), or by flipping all the pronouns in the book from masculine to feminine – any woman worth her salt will do anything she likes with my game rules – she doesn’t need me to give her permission or molly-coddle her.

A FEW SPECIFICS

Characters, also called “rugged individualists” in G&V, do not belong to a permanent “class”. Special abilities, skills and weapon proficiencies are handled with feats. You get several at first level, many of them are rolled randomly on one of four tables meant to represent your character’s background (you can Go Rogue, Go to School, Go to Work or Go to war), though the referee could allow players to simply choose them if they preferred. All of the feats are given one of four classifications – Mental, Martial, Red-Blooded and Underhanded.

Whichever of those categories the majority of your character’s feats fall into determines your character’s “class” at that level, with their class determining what dice they roll for hit points, and what ability scores they can boost at levels 4, 8, 12, 16, etc. So, at 1st level, a character with mostly Martial feats is classed as a Fighter, and rolls 1d10 for hit points. By level 3, he may have more Red-Blooded feats than any other, so now he’s classed as a Daredevil that rolls d8 for hit points. Other than that, attack bonuses and saving throws are the same for everyone, though they are modified by ability scores and feats.

Combat, saving throws and task checks work as they do in Blood & Treasure, as do hit points, Armor Class, ability scores, etc. Aerial combat and vehicle rules will be included, of course. Psychic powers are included in the game, but are optional. For opponents, the game primarily uses animals and human beings, but a few monsters (vampires, werewolves, morlocks) are included as well for those who want a paranormal or science-fiction element in their game.

The game will also include what I’m calling an Almanac of Adventure. This will be a series of articles covering different time periods and genres that referees (Venture Masters) can use to build their campaigns. One might be “Wild West”, and will provide some tips and information relevant to that era, as well as any additional rules or equipment to run that setting. Another might be “Mystery”, and will discuss running mystery-oriented games. Hopefully you get the idea. There will also be “Steampunk”, “Atomic Super-Science”, “The Jazz Age”, etc.

I’d also like to include an element of taking the manly virtues expounded on in the game and applying them to one’s real life. Maybe XP awards for overcoming real life challenges that players can apply to their characters – a good chance for members of a gaming group to support one another outside the gaming table. Sounds corny, I guess, but I am corny so I don’t give a damn!

That’s the plan, ladies and gents. I’ll let you know when the playtesting is about to begin, in case you’d like to join in.