Friday, November 4, 2011

Blood & Treasure RPG

You know how hard it is to think up a name for a fantasy game that hasn't already been taken?

Here's an idea that popped into my head today. I love the old school games and write for them and will continue to write for them until the cows come home. I am pro-retro in all of its glorious forms, from Castles and Crusades to Basic Fantasy RPG to Labyrinth Lord to Swords and Wizardry and beyond.

But ... I don't hate the modern game introduced in the SRD (System Reference Document). I stopped playing it because there were too damned many rules and modifiers to keep straight - I wanted simplicity - but why can't I have elf druids and dwarf magic-users and what about gnomes and half-orcs and prismatic sprays and you know, those conditions rules were pretty handy and the three saving throw categories weren't bad, just different.

Today, I'm driving around town and think - maybe it would be fun to just write a rules-lite version of the SRD that has everything in it - nothing (much) removed because it wasn't there 20 or 30 years ago or because I don't personally get much mileage from it. Feats could still be there, but optional (remember my Boons article from NOD 1?) for those who hate feats. I can do skills like I did in Pars Fortuna - as saving throws, with a blanket modifier of maybe -5 for difficult tasks and -10 for super difficult tasks - no skill points and all that guff, and anyone without the skill succeeds on a flat 1 in 6. The diplomacy and intimidate stuff can be optional for people who prefer to leave that up to the players' skill rather than dice rolls. About the only thing I can imagine leaving out is some of the alignment specific spells (i.e. keep it simple with Law/Good vs. Chaos/Evil instead of nine alignments). Prestige classes - why not? You can jump in at 6th level from certain classes, because dwarven defenders are cool. Yeah - we walk back the power level, because the game was overpowered and tended to make super heroes rather than adventurers. Basically, I don't want to be the GOD OF THE RULES who issues commandments from on high or gives you his version of the perfect, just the dude who put the rules together in a readable form and sold it to you.

I guess the real theme for Blood & Treasure is lots of options + super simple rules that you can mostly carry around in your head.

No, I don't know when. But eventually.

What do you think?


Image from Golden Age Comic Book Stories


  1. Go for it. I fiddled with such a project years ago and it was fun.

  2. Why not? I think there's definitely an audience for 'bridge' products. Just listening to the blather here on the internet, you'd think it impossible that someone could have fun playing OE and also 4E. But that's just crap.

    I know quite a few people who'd want to play something like that.

    word verification: conanic. Perfect adjective for a S&S game.

  3. Well I'm currently doing a very similar project to yours, but in a different way- I'm d20-izing Sword & Wizardry, d20 task resolution, skills and saves for S&W Core Rules.

  4. Blood & Treasure is an awesome name. So awesome, in fact, that you shouldn't waste it on a d20 modern clone. :-)

    Especially since blood and treasure is exactly how a classical D&D character gains XP. Though maybe it should be reversed: Treasure & Blood. The fact that this is a common idiom is an added bonus.

  5. I'm pretty content with S&W right now, but price it at $7.00 or less, and I'd still buy it.

  6. Have you looked at Microlite20 or True20 for ideas? I highly recommend both.

  7. Yeah, I'm not getting how I can't just staple feats or skills on to S&W, LL, OSRIC, or the games they clone. The chief benefit of OSR systems is the fact that they don't have a unified system, so subsystems can be added and it still appears to be part of the cohesive whole.

  8. There is some method to my madness. The phrase "blood and treasure" appeared in a draft of the Declaration of Independents. One of the themes of this game is feeling free to use elements from all the different versions of D&D, regardless of when it was introduced.

    When I used to play AD&D, I discovered that we really played Moldvay basic with all the extras that AD&D had. We liked the basic rules, but we wanted paladins and rangers and all the cool spells and all the cool monsters in the Monster Manuals and Fiend Folio. That's my guiding them here - simplest rules possible, from whichever edition plus all the cool stuff from all the editions, assuming I can legally use it with the OGL.

    I actually finished working on the character creation chapter this weekend - comes to about 25 pages without art - maybe thirty pages with art. I'm hoping to get this game in at around 120 pages, though I doubt I'll be able to do it. 150 pages would be acceptable - that would hold a print copy to about $20, maybe $10 for a PDF.


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