Monday, December 31, 2012

Jump into the Cauldron

As promised, I am happy to say you can now download the #0 issue of Cauldron for free!

Inside the #0 issue you will find the following articles
  • Introduction: Coming to a Boil
  • FEATURE: Heroes & Other Worlds Basic Rules
  • Adventurers Assemble! Sample Characters
  • Filthy Lucre: Blood Harvest solo adventure
  • Beliefs & Believers: Veneration of the Ancients
  • Faculties & Staff: Grimoire of Shadows
  • Tooth & Claw: Frost Walker
  • Adventure: Rise of the Wickerman
  • Clone Conversion: Retro-Clone to Heroes & Other Worlds
  • Portals to Other Worlds: List of Links

    I converted my Pocket Full of Peril #10 adventure into a full Heroes & Other Worlds adventure! It features the cartographic wizardry of A.J. Stone of Stonewerks blog fame!

    For those curious about the system, here is chance to check out a free sample of the rules and even give the game a try with the enclosed adventures!

      Part of my gamer OCD issues is the need to have printed copies. So a I "arted up" the free download and you can buy it on Lulu.com.  It is offered at a special into price as future issues will be $10.

     I really want to say thank you to the many gamers who took time to try it, review it, comment, and support Heroes & Other Worlds.  2012 was a great start and I really look forward to an exciting 2013!  Lots of great plans for the new year!  
          Best wishes to you and yours for a very Happy New year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

TFT Tekumel


Brett Slocum has just released his new TFT Tekumel beta v.3 conversion!  As a longtime Tekumel, fan I really love his conversion and appreciate all of Brett's hard work making this version come to life. If you are a fan of TFT you owe it to yourself to go and get it!

Better yet, for those who have purchased Heroes & Other Worlds, here is a massive free setting and detailed resource you can start exploring right now!  As Heroes & Other Worlds is inspired by the TFT system, it is completely compatible! THis means more spells, creatures, and all sorts of original and new material to use!

Yes TFT is long gone but you are in luck as my own RPG Heroes & Other Worlds is inspired by TFT. So its compatible with Brett's work, Dark City Games programmed adventures, and the classic TFT materials. If you haven't bought Heroes & Other Worlds yet, now is your chance to get it at a 25% discount! Use the coupon code AMPLIUS at checkout!  The Price goes up in January so get it now and save even more!

Curious about Heroes & Other Worlds? You can read a detailed review from Branduan!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

25% off Heroes & Other Worlds

Lulu.com is running a 25% off sale!  That mean you could get Heroes & Other Worlds at 25% off! As the price goes up in January now is the time to buy and try!

Use promo code AMPLIUS at checkout!

HOW is inspired by TFT and is a simple, sensible and fun game system fully compatible with Dark City Games programmed adventure modules!  Treat yourself to a fun new game for the New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fresh thoughts

A fresh review (of sorts) of Heroes & Other Worlds is up over at Battleaxes & Beasties.

If you are on the fence about picking up a TFT inspired game, then Antony's review may persuade you.

I appreciate Anthony taking time to post a review, especially as we near the holiday season!  I can't seem to find enough time to wedge in as much gaming as I'd like. Hopefully Santa will gift me an extra hour in the day for next year!




Sunday, December 16, 2012

I don't know, therefore aliens

It drives my wife nuts that I like to watch shows like Ancient Aliens and Finding Bigfoot. It is not so much that I am seeking any sort of kernel of knowledge from these shows so much as I like to listen to the theories and then logic bomb them.  I think it is incredibly important to not only hear and understand differing opinions, but to understand where emotional reactions or assumptions cause a well reasoned statement to lapse into hyperbole and nonsense.  In that vein I share some Ancient Alien memes that have me howling with laughter.  Maybe its the post holiday party hangover...or just my odd sense of humor, either way maybe it will brighten your day as it did mine.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Detailed review

Branduan breaks down Brandon's new game Heroes & Other Worlds in detail.  A good and detailed review for those curious about my new fantasy RPG.

 Heroes and Other Worlds is, by today's standards a simple and rules light RPG that comes all-in-one in a handy booklet with a sample adventure and a sample dungeon included. I would heartily recommend it for someone wanting to replace their worn copies of Melee/Wizard/TFT or for someone wanting a simple game to try out on their kids that won't cost an arm and a leg yet could be played for years if they get to liking it. Likewise, though it may have some odd things for the current gamer to get used to, it's a good system in a small package for a reasonable price

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Experience

Handling XP's is one of the most difficult parts of gaming for the designer, referee and players.  The system used to award XP to players says much about how the designer views the primary activities during play and what is most important to successfully play the game.  Thus, XP (and levels) are the yardstick in a game to determine a player's individual success. Adventure games are unique in this just as they are for not having a singular winning condition.

In classic D&D, XP is rewarded for killing critters and picking their pockets clean.  As you increase in experience, you fight tougher monsters (more XP) who give you more treasure (more XP). So the game is an ever increasing ladder of tougher creatures and bigger hordes of treasure as the characters gain XP. So what does this tell the player about kind of game they can expect to play? What does this tell the referee about the kind of game they should be creating?  Is there room in such a system for being anything but murder hobos? Conceptually yes, on terms of rewarding player efforts in the game  for doing so? Not so much.

When I was designing Heroes & Other Worlds, the question of awarding XP was troubling.  My own prejudices against treasure being a dual reward (better/more equipment & XP reward) meant no XP would be awarded for treasure.

Second, while I agree that tougher foes means better loot, that is also in itself the reward for the risk.  At one point in design, the XP of a foe was equal to the creatures ST. Yet, that did not last long in play test.  It worked, but it did not fix the original limitations I saw in D&D.  XP awards for the death of foes only leaves the range and options for players to interact/defeat foes rather one dimensional.

Last, being a game with a range of skills, I needed to insure every skill from sword fighting, to spell casting to tracking or acting had an equal XP weight in the game and the equal opportunity of being rewarded.  In other words, when all options or actions provide the same potential XP reward, then the adventure design potential becomes wide open for a referee, and the possibilities for players to act also becomes unlimited.

In Heroes & Other Worlds, you roll 3d6 for a test.  The sum of the roll is compared to the total of the Hero's Attribute+Skill level.  Roll equal to or lower...and you pass the test.  Each test passed earns you 3XP. That's it clean and simple.  Any test from casting a spell to freeze a Yeti, using a bow to slay a dragon, or juggling fruit for coins in the market, all provide the same XP reward.  This is the basic reward system. There is an advanced option the changes the reward amount for a success, but the system for rewarding XP is the same.

My goal as a designer was to reward action, and XP is rewarded equally for any successful action a Hero may choose to make.  There is no XP weight in the game towards combat, non-combat, or spell use. The system rewards successful actions of any kind equally. With this flexibility it is my hope Referees will be free to design adventures and situation open to multiple resolutions, and knowing this, Players will also feel free to pursue any option they can think of.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review part #2

Geordie Racer has just posted the 2nd part of his review of Heroes & Other Worlds. 

Zip on over to his blog Bite the Bulette and read part #2 now, or start with part #1 of his review to get his whole take.

I am thankful to Geordie for his time and effort to present a fair and honest appraisal.

Ready to gt your own copy of Heroes & Other Worlds?

You can buy Heroes & Other Worlds on lulu.com and get 20% off right now by using the promo code: DECBOOKS12

Heroes review

Geordie Racer has just posted the first half of his review of Heroes and other Worlds.  You can find it on his cleverly entitled blog Bite the Bulette.

Where Robert Saint John's review comes from the perspective of a TFT player, Geordie's look is from the view of someone with no familiarity with The Fantasy Trip, Melee, or Wizard.  So if you have no particular knowledge of, nor remembrance of, those old Metagaming classics, Geordie's review will be of particular interest.

I am looking forward to the second half of both reviews soon.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mini-Review

The following is the first part review of Heroes & Other Worlds by Robert Saint JohnThe second part will come after play testing an adventure or twoThen Pt 2 will provide more insight into actual game play and his thoughts on them.  Thanks RSJ for taking time to craft this first review of Heroes & Other Worlds!

Mini-review for Heroes & Other Worlds - Pt 1

I don't have a general gaming blog, but I wanted to share my initial thoughts about Christopher Brandon's new game Heroes & Other Worlds. This is only based on two read-throughs, one quick and one leisurely, and I'll follow up with a lengthier review (probably on RPGGeek and RPGnet) after I get some play time in on it this weekend.

Short version: a worthy successor to The Fantasy Trip, but introduces some smart and unique twists that make it much more than a clone. Much more fleshed out than Legends of the Ancient World and Dragons of Underearth, and somehow captures the spirit of the Moldvay Basic Set. At 120 digest-sized pages, a surprisingly complete game that is well-organized, slickly presented and will appeal to fantasy gamers old and new.

Details: Although I referred to it in yesterday's post as a retro-clone of my personal favorite FRPG, Metagaming's The Fantasy Trip (1980), Heroes & Other Worlds (HOW) is more like the "missing link" between TFT and GURPS that never existed. It's completely compatible with TFT and its weird offspring Dragons of Underearth, and Dark City Games' more recent Legends of the Ancient World (and, as a result, compatible with all those programmed modules from both Metagaming and DCG). Heroes are either Adventurers or Wizards (with a flexible blurry line between them), and character generation is a breeze with a point-buy system to build the attributes of Strength, Dexterity and IQ. Based off the attributes, players choose spells and skills. XP is gained during adventuring to be spent later. Combat and task resolution is basically 3D6, roll-under attribute.

Where HOW diverges from its predecessors is the introduction of a fourth attribute representing health/fatigue, Endurance. Similar approaches have been adopted by TFT players over the years as a house rule (for various reasons), and Steve Jackson did something similar with Health for GURPS. Only Heroes have Endurance, monsters and NPCs do not. Endurance basically stacks on top of Strength and is depleted through damage or spell-casting. When Endurance is gone, damage starts hitting Strength, but Endurance points are recovered much more quickly than Strength.

Another notable divergence in HOW is that Heroes do not improve attributes over time. XP is applied to improving Skills and Spells, much like in Traveller. Choose those initial attributes wisely! And realize that as the adventures and monsters become more challenging, NPC hirelings (well-detailed in HOW) are going to be essential.

Combat, weapons and armor are much like they were in the other games, but not necessarily so dependent on the use of counters/miniatures and a map.

That's the first half of the book, basically a Players Guide, including 3 pages of Skills, 15 pages of Spells (IQ8-IQ18), and plenty of examples throughout. The rest of the book is Referee Resources, with 20 pages of Terrors (monsters), Treasures and Magic items, a solitaire adventure (Dark City's "Orcs of the High Mountains"), guidelines for building and stocking dungeons (with optional random tables), a 7 page sample refereed dungeon, tables of weapons and equipment, and very compact character sheets (like TFT, a 3x5 index card will do just fine). The entire book (POD from Lulu) is digest-sized, very nicely laid out, and illustrated profusely with art that ranges from very good to excellent. Fans of the original TFT are in for quite a treat when they see some of these illustrations, and I'll leave it at that.

Verdict: $15 PDF, $20 paperback. Pricier but comparable in almost every way to the Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox Rules. A great introduction to adventure gaming, but especially appealing to players like me who thought TFT was a more "logical" approach to fantasy gaming than OD&D, and never quite got over the fact that TFT met a premature demise.

More info: 
http://heroworlds.blogspot.com/

Sunday, November 18, 2012

UPDATE: Now Available!

UPDATE: get 30% off HOW on Lulu using the promo code DELIRITAS this weekend only!

It is done, commence quaffing of beer to toast the release of Heroes & Other Worlds.

 Thanks very much to those who have supported this effort over the year with their feedback, enthusiasm, and comments.  I am especially indebted to my lovely wife and to Mr. Beau Chambers for his eagle eyed editing and efforts to make the game great. I's also like to give special thanks to the fine folks at Dark City Games for allowing one of their programmed adventures to be included in the rules book.

If you are interested in purchasing your own copy of Heroes & Other Worlds, follow the link below to purchase:

http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/heroes-other-worlds-adventure-game/13374617

You can use the coupon code NOVBOOKS12 to get a 20% discount through the end of the month! 

Now that Heroes & Other Worlds is done I plan on enjoying the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday! I next plan on creating a zero issue of The Cauldron as a free download PDF, a holiday gift from me to you.

If you purchase the game and take time to review it just let me know!  I hope you will enjoy the game and I look forward to seeing where and how far this little journey takes us.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Before


As Heroes & Other Worlds gets set for release, I thought I'd take a post to say a bit about what it is and is not.

It is inspired by Melee/Wizard/ TFT system as well as by the Moldvay edition D&D Basic Rules book.
So what does that mean exactly in terms of the game?

1) Only d6 are used
2) There are two broad scope character classes: Adventurers & Wizards
3) Each Hero has 4 attributes and tests are made by rolling 3d6 versus your attribute. Roll equal to or lower and you succeed, roll over and you fail. No AC or charts.
4) You build your character, both attributes and selection of skills/spells.
5) Combat can be played tactically using a map (squares or hexes), but it is not necessary.
6) Armor hinders the Dexterity of the wearer and subtracts from damage done to the wearer.
7) The basic tropes of dungeon creation, exploration, creature catalog and treasure tables are all included.

If I had to compare it to something, I would not say TFT. Instead an idealized Dragons of Underearth by way of Moldvay D&D.

Now I know some people say they dislike skills based systems, and I can't help but wonder why.  If you play D&D, you are playing a skill based system already.  The various classes or race based classes with special abilities are really just light skill systems.  Indeed they are often presented in a different wrapper, but they are skill based just the same.

What HOW endeavors to do is to be a sensible and simple game system.  Where TFT and later GURPS took a detailed/simulation system path, HOW seeks to retain the original simple resolution but adding a Moldvian sense to game play.

How well it succeeds will be up to players to decide.  TFT/GURPS players may not find it crunchy enough while D&D players may find it not d20 enough.  Even so I really enjoy it and hope others will as well.

So the HOW Rules book comes out and then what?

DARK CITY GAMES
Well first, I am happy to say HOW has the support of Dark City Games. The systems are compatible and they are allowing inclusion of one of their short programmed adventure in the rules book.  More importantly for the HOW player, this also means a tremendous amount of programmed adventures are immediately available to support playing the game at launch.

BLADES & BLACK MAGIC
This will act as a sort of  Expert Rules book for HOW. It will include a few additional character options such as faults and favors.  It will include more spells, more treasures, more creatures and wilderness/ hexplore rules and charts. A simple sample Hexplore will also be included.

THE CAULDRON
This will be a (ideally) quarterly 'zine to support HOW.  I will take player submissions as well as creating original content.  Dark City Games has already discussed including additional sample programmed adventures, and any optional rules for HOW going forward will be done via The Cauldron.

GRIM VENTURE
This will be a programmed adventure I write inspired by Death Test adventures.

All of this is done without a single Kick Starter except my own gumption and the frequent and kind aid of some very generous souls: my wife, editor Pastor Beau, artists Richard Luschek and Luigi "Artkid" Castellani and the fine folks at Dark City Games.

I hope to make Heroes & Other Worlds available for purchase via lulu.com tomorrow.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Almost ready

Well my print test book arrived this week!  Damn I can't believe Heroes & Other Worlds is almost ready for release, because then I can finally get back to playing it!

I have some tweaks and minor additions to do, but at this point I think Sunday night it will be available to purchase on lulu.com.

Warm up your D6's and put away the rest of your dice because it's almost ready!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Heroes & Other Worlds

creation complete
print and approval commence
restless and eager

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Heroes Progress

My wife kindly went through the near final HOW rule book...and it's going to take me longer to get the edits done then I had anticipated.  Thankfully the edits are not major, but inconsistent spacing is a plague which I am seeking to cure.  I am thankful to Pastor Beau for his eagle eye and intensive major editing just as I am thankful to my wife for adding a little more polish to the final product.  I am trying to get the edits done this weekend, but completitng by 11/17 seems most likely.

Then a print test, final review...and then it goes up for sale!

Thanks for your patience!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Final Approach

The final polish editing and adjustments are underway for my Melee/Wizard/TFT inspired adventure game Heroes & Other Worlds.

Layout should take place this weekend and then a print test next week!  It feels like an idea of what could have been regarding these rules has long haunted me over the years.  I really wanted to like TFT more and wanted to love GURPS, yet it all became so overly detailed it lost me.  Maybe you felt that way too.

So inspired by Melee & Wizard & the Moldvay Basic Rules Book I have labored months to produce Heroes & Other Worlds.

No Kick Starter, no funding goals, and it's not another OGL game.  It may never garner any more players than those that gather at my own humble table with a handful of d6, but if you feel inclined to spend your time reading and even playing a non d20 fantasy game, I sure hope you find your time well spent playing Heroes & Other Worlds.

I'll let you know when its available, should be (if everything goes right) sometime during the week of 11/12. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dungeon Heroes

Recently WotC re-released the classic board game Dungeon! At the time when I was a kid, this was a lot of fun and I am glad to see it back.  What I want to point you to though is a new Kickstarter game that kind of takes this dungeon crawl board game idea into the modern age as a 2 player, head to head 30 minute strategy game.

In a nutshell, one player controls 4 heroes exploring a dungeon with a goal to find the 3 treasures.  The other is the dungeon lord attempting to stop the the heroes from succeeding.  It is a unique strategy game with a cool theme that could be played by kids and adults! Some prototype reviews of the game are up already and this link takes you to a great one. Below is the game play overview video so you can see what it is all about:


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Inspired by the Dead

Walking Dead that is...

A few years ago I whipped up a zombie pocket mod game.  I'd always considered fleshing it out, and for what ever reason my time spent watching Walking Dead marathons while I am sick finally motivated me to just get the damn thing done.  So here its, a simple to play but very expandable game of zombie survival: Zombies Attack.

Note, it is already sized at 8.5 x 5.5 and is ready to be printed in booklet form from PDF.

Season 3 of The Walking Dead starts tonight! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cover from my girl

My wife is just putting the last touches to the cover for Heroes & Other Worlds.  The initial edit should also be completed next week!  Yup a different kind of OSR fantasy flashback.

My Melee/Wizard/TFT inspired, using d6's only like the original, old school style game should be coming out in October.  Stay tuned true believers!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pocket Fulll of Pumpkins

Thanks very much to those who kindly took up the creative gauntlet!  Unfortunately this project is cancelled due to vast indifference.  

Could be bad timing, or a bad project or just vast amounts of gameritis? Possibly a combination of all 3.

Most importantly, thanks again to the hardy creative types who signed up and offered to make the the effort!  I really appreciate your offer of time and creativity!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Terror Project Update: 24 to go!

Hey we have a total of 7 brave souls in, only 24 more needed to make this community project fly!

What is it?

A mini adventure, just like the Pocket Full of Peril series, themed for the terrors and spookiness of Halloween!

Map fits on one side of a 4x6 note card, adventure fits on the back!

Below is a sample of a Pocket full of Peril so you have an idea.  Sign up now only a few days left to make it happen!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Pocket Full of Terror Project

I'd  like to propose a community October Pocket Full of Terror project.  Using the PFOP Template and format, you'd create a small adventure based around terror, frights, and  other spooky themes.  These will not be system specific, following PFoP standards. 

A Pocket Full of Peril format is 4x6 note card sized.  Map on one side and adventure on the other.  So the requirements are quite small. You can download samples in the Peril icon to the right or just search my site for previous examples.  Making one only takes a few hours of time!

If this is of interest please vote and commit below.  My goal would be to obtain 31 excursions into terror!

I would kick it off next Saturday (9/22) by sending you a template and instructions, then require all submissions by 10/21.  I will assemble and publish them all as a digest sized PDF booklet on 10/31. Assuming the project unfolds, if anyone wanted to supply a suitable cover image that would be outstanding! 

Any takers? Commit below and vote if you are interested in seeing this happen!
One week to make it a go or no go project...spread the terror!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

PFoP #11 GRAVE MISTAKE


The lord Gres Vonsul went mad they said,  after the sudden simultaneous death of his wife, twin daughters, and his two sons.  Some say the influence of his sage Nul Kaymen was the cause.  Nul had always been a practitioner of the arts, and some say he traded the lives of his liege lord's family for more power and knowledge. 

Despair and anguish set Vonsul to constructing a burial tomb for his family.  When it was complete, he had himself sealed within to live out his days, like his family, in the peace and blackness of the an earthen tomb. A lone black tower stood on the hill for centuries as a grave marker with no entrance visible, and none sought to find one.

Now Disciples of Nul are said to have ventured into these lands.  Seeking knowledge that may have been entombed with Vonsul clan.  Recent disappearances and bloody remains strewn near the hillside suggest the something is wrong.  Will the players discover the truth, or are they making a grave mistake?

Back again with a new Pocket Full of Peril!  This map is an edited version I made from Stonewerks blog.  It's been nearly a year since he posted, and nearly that long since we started a joint adventure project--and then he simply disappeared.  I certainly hope all is well, and hope by posting a new Pocket Full of Peril, he may be tempted to return. Download PFoP #11 here.

Pocket Full of Terror?
I'd also like to propose a possible October Pocket Full of Terror project.  Using the PFOP Template and format, you'd create a small adventure based around terror, frights, and  other spooky themes.  These will not be system specific, following PFoP standards.  If you create a new beastie, you have to work it into the tiny text space.   If this is of interest please vote and commit below.  My goal would be to obtain 31 excursions into terror!

I would kick it off next Saturday (9/22) by sending you a template and instructions, then require all submissions by 10/21.  I will assemble and publish them all as a digest sized PDF booklet on 10/31. Assuming the project unfolds, if anyone wanted to supply a suitable cover image that would be outstanding! 

Any takers? Commit below and vote if you are interested in seeing this happen!
One week to make it a go or no go project...spread the terror!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Progress: Out for editing

The draft version of Heroes & Other Worlds should be completed today, and then off to Pastor Beau for editing it goes!  My wife is working away on the cover for Heroes & Other Worlds while art work is rolling in.  Below is a new sketch from Artkid (luigi) that just came in. 

At this point the 6x9 Rules books will contain both an introductory programmed adventure (from a known publisher) and a basic refereed adventure as well!  The best way to explain the rules book is a Moldvay style with Melee/Wizard/TFT inspired rules.  Update: Draft is done, it is out for editing!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lucky dice

The following information reconfirms my favoritism for the multi-d6 method of gaming for Heroes and Other Worlds. You see a single die (d20) resolution will not produce an average result because of manufacturing vagaries. As a result, yes there are "lucky" or "unlucky" dice because of how they were made.  Don't take my word for it, see the results below from Awesome dice blog.

Do Your Dice Roll True?
The founder of GameScience, Lou Zocchi, has long claimed that GameScience dice roll more true than other gaming dice. In a well-known GenCon video Zocchi explained why GameScience dice should roll more true.
His logic is that due to how dice are made, traditional RPG dice are actually put through a process similar to a rock tumbler as part of the painting and polishing, and this process  causes the dice to have rounded edges. In theory the uneven rounding gives the dice an inconsistent shape that favors certain sides. GameScience dice are not put through this process, which is why they retain their sharp edges and is also why their dice come uninked.

While Zocchi’s makes a good argument about egg-shaped d20s, what was lacking was any kind of actual testing of how the dice roll. Nowhere were we able to find any tests of d20s — either GameScience or traditional d20s — to determine whether or not they roll true. As giant fans of dice and an impartial third party, we decided to run a test ourselves and see just how randomly RPG d20s really roll.

We pitted GameScience precision dice against Chessex dice (the largest RPG dice manufacturer) to see what science has to say.
Test dice condenders

Methodology

For the principle test we used one Chessex d20 and one GameScience d20, both brand new right out of the packaging. The GameScience d20 was inked with a Sharpe to make it easier to read the results, but the dice were not modified in any other way.

The dice were rolled by hand on a battlemat on a level table. For this experiment the dice were rolled on the surface for at least two feet and had to bounce off a flat backstop before coming to rest. This is similar to the requirements of craps tables in casinos. Our logic is that if this method successfully prevents cheating with six-sided dice, it will more than suffice for d20 dice being rolled without any intent to alter the results. (Since casinos are not losing money on gambling, we assume they know what they’re doing).
Each die was rolled 10,000 times, and the results recorded.

Test Results

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Transition

Work on my own TFT inspired game continues. As I read old articles regarding TFT, I thought it would be interesting to share the thoughts of Steve Jackson regarding Man to Man (proto GURPS) and how it compares to TFT.  It's interesting to see how Steve Jackson felt TFT was too limiting and needed to be re-done anyway to fit with his vision.  I liked Man to Man and had hopes that it might have spawned some of the original material support promised after Orcslayer:

1) A high tech weapons book (originally supposed to be in MtM but cut because it needed more play testing and SJ wanted MtM out at for GenCon and @ $9.95)

2)A book of pre-gen characters

3)An arena campaign with animal rules

4) medieval/fantasy City guards adventure

5) A dungeon crawl

6) A modern street gang adventure

Below are the notes from SJ on comparisons between MtM and TFT.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dead or alive?






























 I have read various missives over the last few days about the OSR and its relative health or lack thereof now that WotC is going to provide electronic (note, not necessarily PDF) versions of their old stuff.  Well I'd like to posit the following:

1) Most current OSR inspired folks have most of these already in book or PDF form.
2) One can currently, with some effort, find PDF's of many books/manuals/ modules already.
3) A lot of folks will buy the missing bits of their collections and then use them in OSR games.
4) WotC is NOT supporting nor creating new material (so far) based on the previous editions.

If your vision of the OSR assumes its only strength or legitimacy is based on the lack of TSR/WotC product in market...then indeed it would be on life support...for another 12-18 months.  If your vision of the OSR goes beyond this? Then rejoice because there are a lot of ancient tomes that you can look to and improve, expand or become inspired by creating something new.

For myself, OSR represents something beyond just making another Grand Olde Game rules set or  accessory.  Instead, it represents a do it yourself mind set.  Rather than waiting around for someone to make the game or accessory I want, I'll just do it myself! Sure that's been core to the hobby--but somewhere in AD&D 2e era it got lost as TSR produced more an more material, it became easier to just go buy something new....and then bitch about it.  Same thing in 3e...4e...and I will guess 5e.

I am thankful for the growing dissatisfaction with 3e+ editions of D&D and the rediscovery of personal ingenuity and initiative shared amongst a community of like minded creative types looking to share their own trove of tables, terrors, and treasures.  I have discovered some really talented people and some outstanding and unique products, free or otherwise. This creative storm has provided me with an opportunity to explore some of my own ideas and designs,like Rogue Space and the upcoming TFT inspired Heroes and Other Worlds. Yes even non-D&D inspired games are part of the OSR, which is an often overlooked strength of the movement.

I don't see the OSR so narrowly defined as D&D pastiche and whose life is based only upon the whims of WotC. Instead I'd argue the success, influence, and energy of the OSR has redirected the activities of many companies, even WotC, into areas they long thought shuttered and abandoned. Yes the OSR will change with time, that is the nature of everything. I do not believe the OSR spirit, creativity and talent will become lost by an expansion of its boundaries into lands previously labeled off limits. Instead I hope by back tracking new treasures might be discovered.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fear of the Dark?

Dark City Games just released a new programmed adventure, Shadows in the Dark.  If you are a fan of the classic TFT programmed adventures, then its like a library of gaming goodness!  Each includes basic rules, counters and map just like the Metagaming adventures of old!

My own game, Heroes & Other Worlds, will mesh very well with their programed adventures so when it is released, there will be a broad range of compatible adventures right from the start!

If you have not played one of their modules yet, head over and check out their full line, I highly recommend their modules!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ultimate D&D: a plan

Hasrbo's WotC division has decided to increase the profitability of their D&D division by bringing back previous iterations of the game "in electronic format."  Could be apps, but I'd bet e-book.

Now this provides an interesting opportunity for WotC.  Every new accessory, module, or other splat book created going forward could have 6 versions: B\X D&D, 1ed, 2ed, 3.5ed, 4ed, 5ed!  All one has to do is edit the stat lines. Publish 5ed...and make the other editions of the same book ebook format only.  This would effectively create "a one product to rule them all" approach to every game future accessory you publish!

Strengths
  1. Shows company support for the brand, its fans and history from every generation.
  2. Only printing/inventorying one book (5th) which supports your current version and marketing at retail.
  3. Revenue up (probably double at least) for every new accessory book you make.
  4. Electronic versions are high profit!
  5. Requires a small team (minimum 3 people) for each previous generation product line to verify/create stat blocks. 3.5 edition and 4th may require 6-10 each.
  6. Opportunity to print hard copy "hobby only" editions of specific ebooks which have demonstrated high sales.  This would let you make money 2x on the same product, support the core channel with exclusives, and minimize inventory holdings because you are producing something with known high demand.
Weaknesses
  1. You are adding head count to manage stat block creation/ editing for each previous, and already abandoned iteration of the game
  2. Translating product to other generations may prove a time consuming task creating uneven release schedule across the line, or it could delay flagship (5th) releases if one tries a universal release date.
  3. It could create competition with your flagship product in the market creating a softening of 5th ed sales at retail taking your brand out of the mass market placement opportunities.
  4. Some previous edition(s) may not be profitable enough to maintain full support.

I could go much further into the weeds with a business plan, but I don't work for WotC and there is more than enough free genius there already.

Overall the massive profit potential, no inventory holdings and small headcount increase, from a bean counting perspective, makes it a project worth aggressively pursuing. Leveraging the creation of one item to gain sales cross such a broad spectrum of customers is an outstanding use of resources and exponentially increases your profitability on each new item made.

This is the D&D advantage and it pulls from Pathfinder's player base while reaching anyone who has, or will play the game.

From a fan/player perspective? This is mana from heaven! Whatever edition of the grand old game you like...you are getting NEW content!  All generations/editions of fans are playing they same product creating a massive unified community. Sure not all will be in print, but who cares? It is NEW CONTENT for any edition of the game you like!

If I were WotC, to further advertise this and to promote the brand, I'd make e-reader covers (Ipad, kindle, nook etc) with images that look like the cover of many classic game books!  (Moldvay Basic, 1 AD&D Players Handbook, 2 AD&D DM's Guide, etc.) Advertise your ebook plan, and give gamers a cool hook to be excited and proud of their edition.   

Greg Leeds, give me a call if you want to talk.

Friday, August 17, 2012

All D&D products coming back

 

Apparently WotC announced @ GenCon that all of the D&D back catalog of products are coming back "in electronic format."  My gut says ebook, not PDF, but time will tell.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Welcome to Lithus

Hereticwerks begins exploration of a new sector for Rogue Space.  The will begin a weekly series exploring the Lithus sector.  They have published a free introductory adventure too as an entry seed into the Lithus Sector.  I am personally amazed to see so much creativity and talent create a whole new sci-fi sandbox for my wee little game.

I can't wait to explore more of Lithus weekly at Hereticwerks myself!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cauldron

Work continues on my TFT inspired RPG Heroes & Other Worlds. Part of the overall plan is to also have a 'zine to support it called Cauldron.  My hope is Cauldron will be a shared labor between myself and you the player.  A place for new spells, new creatures, random charts, sand pail settings and even short adventures! (programmed and refereeed)

One of the things I loved about the golden age of gaming was discovering new ideas and options in each magazine issue. Whether it was The Space Gamer, Dragon, Different Worlds or any of the other gaming mags of yore, each provided a variety of short and interesting potential additions to your game.

Considering the wealth and variety of talent in the blogosphere, I look forward to seeing what sorts of magic bubbles up in each issue. Once HOW releases I'll put up a Cauldron contribution email address if you want to add your own wing of bat to the Cauldron's brew.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Melee

As I continue to work on a final version of my TFT inspired game Heroes & Otherworlds, I thought it would be worthwhile to breakdown Melee.  This little wargame  is the genesis point for the madness I find myself working on.

I think that it is important to note the Melee/Wizard/TFT system, like Chainmail/OD&D, spring from the wargaming roots of the hobby. Melee itslef is a wargame which can be used to adjudicate combat in RPG's--but it does not (beyond including fantasy creature archetypes) present itself as an RPG. Melee never discuses creating characters nor adventuring, only creating figures and combat.

Figure Creation
Instead of the D&D way of randomly generating 6 attributes, Melee builds figures of 2 attributes using points the player can add to a base of 8.  Your 2 attributes (Strength/Dexterity) determine weapons your figure can use, how much damage it can take and how likely it is to hit someone in combat. All combat, damage and other uncertainties are resolved using six sided dice.

Armor
Armor does not make you harder to hit. Instead the heavier the armor, the slower you move and the harder it is for you to hit others! The benefit of armor is that it absorbs damage taken. So lightly armored characters move faster and act sooner...but heavier armored figures are harder to kill.  It is a unique give and take system and quite different from the D&D combat model.

Combat Details
As a wargame, Melee delves into combat details and modifiers for engaged vs disengaged figures, dodging and defending, figure facings, (rear flank, etc.) creature sizes as represented by counters.

Map and Counters
To play Melee (and Wizard or TFT) a map and counters were required.  All Metagaming adventures (except Tolenkar's Lair) came with map and counters. The TFT system required use of Melee/Wizard. The hex map and counter use goes back to the wargaming roots of the system.  It is interesting to note that as D&D moved away from its wargaming roots, Melee/Wizard/TFT retained its wargame roots.

Why it worked
It was SIMPLE: simple to explain, simple to make a figure, simple to adjudicate, and simple to play. My hope is the foll HOW RPG will retain this simple logical elements while straying towards RPG use rather than further codifying a fantasy wargame experience.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Werk of Heretics

Sometimes the awesome that is others astounds and continues to surprise me.  In this case, it has to do with the new content coming from Hereticwerks!

They just posted today a great FREE adventure for my little sci-fi game Rogue Space.  The skill, imagination and design of the adventure is exactly the sort of ideas that I hoped for when people play Rogue Space.  Better yet? The adventure is actually a prelude to the full sector they developed for Rogue Space: LITHUS!

If you aren't following Hereticwerks and their many projects (OSR & otherwise), your are missing out on some of the most creative ideas and inspiring werk on the web.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Heroes & Other Worlds Update

My own spin on Metagaming's Melee/Wizard/TFT continues to come right along.  The current beta version (1.7) will stay up for free download until shortly before I get ready to make it available for sale.  Original art is in the works and I am grinding through the edits, treasures, creature descriptions and such.

While TFT was a tactical board game made into an RPG, HOW is more simple RPG using the baisc components of TFT.  All told I think it will come in around 48 to 50 pages.

One programmed adventure is planned "Grim Venture" a riff on the original Death Test hundreds of years later.

Blades& Black Magic will be a Sword & Sorcery style supplement for playing HOW including additional spells, creatures, treasures etc.

I also plan on a having zine to support it with a mix of submissions and my own stuff.  It will be a free PDF download--and I may offer printed copies with exclusive art covers by my wife straight out of my printer.

In my own mind its sort of the basic game I wish Dragons of Underearth had been...and I am kind of driven by this letter:

 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ultima Forever


I don't like MMO's. I tried Everquest, tried WoW, wanted to love Conan...but I just don't have time to make it worth the monthly investment.  Then I happen to read an article on Touch Arcade...a NEW cross platform (PC/iOs) ULTIMA MMO is coming...and it is FREE!  It will be based on the Ultima IV game concepts and plays like Diablo. Currently sign up for the closed BETA is still open!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

TRANSMISSION RECEIVED

...signal is clear...

Rogue Transmissions 1 is now ready for download!

This is the first zine for my Rogue Space rules lite sci-fi game. It's formatted to print as a booklet, so pick booklet printing as your option when printing the PDF!

SPECIAL THANKS TO:
HERETICWERKS & PORKY'S EXPANSE

It is their contributions that make this first set of transmissions not to be missed!

Don't just read about it, be about it! Contribute to the second Rogue Transmissions by emailing your material to:

Roguespace@frontier.com

 ...transmission ends...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

More PERIL

The Alpha Peril RPG PDF is now available and I added a pair of quick character sheets as well for download.

If you are familiar with classic fantasy games its easy to play in the alpha phase but there is more editing, organization and a few more details to go in.  As is at ALPHA stage though its ready for play.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Into Peril...ALPHA

Well the work of a few weeks has come to fruition with an Alpha Edition of the Peril RPG. It is NOT complete, more of a players handbook sort of thing, but for those emailing and asking WHEN can I get more, well here is your answer...NOW!

The Alpha Edition is formatted to be printed as a booklet so go wild with 7 sheets of paper and print a booklet copy of the Alpha edition now.

This is my first Classic Fantasy game compatible foray into rules and I used bits from (and credited) Akrasia and Al Krombach with sections in the rules.

Go on, put yourself into PERIL!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

ROGUEMECH


M. Jared Swenson has just added MECH rules for ROGUE SPACE The Dark Frontier!  His Mech rules are now a FREE download for ROGUE SPACE as a pocket mod!  He kept the simplicity and clarity of Rogue Space core rules and added to them in a very ingenious way.  Best of all its so simple it works as a pocket mod! So now you can add MECHS to your exploration, defense, or conquest of The Dark Frontier!

It's MJ's 30th birthday and it looks like we get the gift!  Great work M.Jared and many happy returns!

Celebrate Independence!

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. 
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Experts in Peril

One of the challenges in making Peril is dealing with thief abilities.  I would agree with some who have said the addition of the thief as a class into D&D fundamentally changed the play of the game.  It isolated certain tasks to one class which previously were an option to any.

Much like my work integrating alignment into the game play mechanics,  I want to make these adventurer skills part of the overall game for every class.

The traditional thief skills (plus some additional ones) are useable by any class will be unified as adventurer skills (pick pocket, hide in shadows, spot hidden, hear noise, climb etc.). Certain abilities a character chooses when advancing can give them a bonus to test of specific skills.

Philosophically, the Wizard and Fighter classes are specialists in their fields, spending time focusing on learning magic or training for combat respectively.  The Expert would have more knowledge of the adventuring skills because it is assumed he used them more to survive over spell or sword.

The difficulty was insuring the Expert did have an advantage over the other two classes in doing these tasks while allowing everyone to do them.  I played with bonuses, percentages and other ideas, but they fell flat for me.  So using the mechanics from alignment solved the issues and insured the advantage will be given to the expert when using these skills:

The Expert class rolls 2d20 and uses the highest die rolled.

The Fighter class rolls 1d20 and uses whatever is rolled.

The Wizard class rolls 2d20 and uses the lowest die rolled.

I think this keeps the system lean and mean while insuring there is a class advantage for the Expert.

More to come...

(FYI the image is a sketch drawing by Warren Spector, submitted as a possible cover image for Ultima Underworld.)




Saturday, June 30, 2012

More Peril

Peril is coming together nicely.  One change will be using a multi-die test for alignment based challenges such as spell casting:

A Lawful alignment character:
roll 2d20 keeping the highest roll when casting Lawful spells
roll 1d20 when casting neutral spells
roll 2d20 keeping the lowest die when casting Chaos spells

 Balance
A neutral character rolls 1d20 regardless of a spell alignment

A Chaos alignment character
roll 2d20 keeping the highest roll when casting Chaos spells
roll 1d20 when casting neutral spells
roll 2d20 keeping the lowest die when casting Lawful spells

When using aligned weapons, or aligned artifacts the same rules apply.

I am not a fan of the whole alignment thing, but I am trying to turn (a system oddity in my eyes) into a simple and pertinent game mechanic.

More to come...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Magic in Peril

A quick PERIL RPG update:

The Wizard class does not have sub classes like Druid, Cleric, Necromancer, etc. Instead your spell selection allows you to focus in on the type of Wizard you want to be.

Spells are only separated by Alignment: Law/ Neutral/ Chaos. Your alignment influences your ability to cast spells of a different alignment.

In addition, I am looking to switch up treasure type a bit by basing it on creature HD.  That may not work exactly as I hope, but its a work in progress.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Compleat Spell Caster


As I work on my Peril RPG, I thought it would be instructive to look at and share some golden oldies from my Scriptorium.  Bard Games published a number of Compleat Fantasy books back in the early 80's (Alchemist, Spell Caster, Adventurer) and also created their own game and world books (Atlantis) which were all usable with the grand old game.  For now I will focus on the Compleat Spell Caster and tackle others later.

The Compleat Spell Caster had a price of $7.50 and came in at 42 pages.  As you can see from the back of the book there is quite a lineup information contained within.

I am no artist, so its hard to complain, but its of varying pencil and ink illustrations. Some is good and some looks like stuff your buddy in art class was drawing after the last game session when you assaulted the lair of Grimnak .

The introductory text is calligraphic while the main body is typewritten and looks similar to the work of Judges Guild products.

Pages 3 and 4 describe using the material with common FRPG of the times.  Converting to D&D, Runequest or TFT all require a bit of effort but nothing too difficult.  For example with TFT you's have to figure out IQ and cost of each spell and guidelines are given to help you do that.  Unfortunately they tend to be of the "find something similar and use that as your base."

Interestingly there is a "turn chat" on page 4 The Mystic class turns undead like a cleric, but the Necromancer class reverses the idea and uses the turn chart as a control undead chart. Always liked that touch and we've used it in that manner with Necromancer's ever since.

The spells
CSC presents 4 spell using classes and included with each class are 7 levels of spells.  Each spell level has 6-12  spells listed. Each spell is given a brief summary, below is a sample of the HEX spell from the Witch/Warlock Class

HEX: Allows the caster to "curse" any single creature or being, causing the victims to make all saves at a penalty of -1 on the die. The intended victim's true name must be known in order for the HEX to be effective, or the caster must have in his or her possession a hair, nail clipping, etc. from the intended victim.
SAVE: None
SPELL TYPE: Non-variable

On to the classes
Witch/Warlock (F/M versions of same class)  Described as a naturalist spell caster, in tune with nature like a Druid-but not worshipful of it. Can be any alignment and seven levels of spell given (60+ spells and descriptions follow)

Mystic a sort of holy wizard. Like a cleric they have turn abilities and serve a god, but they must abstain from physically harming any living creatures.  They can use physical force to subdue or stun if it is necessary to save a life-but they have to do penance afterwards spending a day in meditation. (60+ spells follow)

Necromancer described as an evil class of spell caster interested in death and the nether realms. Besides the interesting twist using the turn undead into a control undead chart, he Necromancer if raised from the dead comes back as a random undead spirit! This class I think is the most unique in the book and I've mined it for ideas for years.  (40+ spells follow)

Sorcerer as presented is a scientific spell caster, studying magic and learning through experimentation and research. probably the least interesting in terms of concept. (60+ spells follow)

Sage is sort of a jack of all trades spell caster. There is no specific spell list as the sage can learn from any spell list.  The Sage is limited to level 4 spells from any one category though. The Sage is an interesting idea, but not much space is given to it (roughly 1 column) and it feels a bit underdeveloped to me.

Halfway through the book now and we come to 2 pages on Runes, Symbols and circles of protection.  Each has a minor magical effect and a test vs Int is used to determine if it was drawn properly or not. We used these when playing TFT and B/X D&D as they added flavor to the game and were easy to incorporate.

Next is a brief section on familiars (types/descriptions), and then summoned creatures follow.  This summoned creatures portion is exactly the sort of stuff people THOUGHT was in D&D: Summoning, demons, devils, possession, magic circles etc. This section also includes elemental and a section on animal and pant summoning.  Though no animals are included, a few odd plants that could be summoned are.  The various demons and creatures are all given stats and a brief description and small picture.

Interesting to me is the lack of a Summoner class in this book.  While many clases have a summon spell-given the depth given to the subject here, it seems like a summoner class would have been a natural for this book.

The last 2 pages are really for the GM specifically these are Major Arcana which are secret powerful spells (10) the GM can use or allow characters to find.  Then a list of Arcane items (6) which are unique magical treasures or items.

All in all this book was, and is, a good reference and resource for magic in fantasy games.  While it is clearly weighted towards AD&D it can easily be used for RuneQuest or TFT games and just as an idea generator it remains a good shelf reference.