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.
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.
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.