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  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 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


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 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.