Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mutant Chronicles the movie

Mutant Chronicles the movie is loosely based on the roleplaying game with same title. If I recall there's also a collectible card game called Doom Troopers. I haven't played Mutant Chronicles RPG but I do remember owning some cards of the franchise. I cannot say how loosely the movie is based on the RPG though..

Anyways. About the movie and some roleplaying thoughts.

Mutant Chronicles is set in the future where four factions rule the world and are in a war. In the battlefield during an attack ancient horror - The Machine - is revealed. Mutants with right hand as a sword type of appendix appear and drag wounded soldiers into the depths of The Machine to be transformed into mutants.
The end of the world is at the beginning.

Old faction wars are soon forgotten as humankind has a new enemy. People are evacuated off the Earth but there's no space for everyone.

Luckily one religious order has an answer for the apocalypse. They have an ancient artifact what is supposed to destroy The Machine. And they also have a nifty ol' book tutorial to do it. Ron Perlman as brother Samuel naturally agrees to take the task and the rest of the adventurers hop aboard as they get free tickets to give for their family for example. For their quest brother Samuel has the book and the party has the artifact to destroy The Machine and swords that are supposed to be effective against the mutants.

The journey begins in the depths of The Machine to destroy it. This is where the action starts as they shoot and fight their way down there. And people die too.

Also one is transformed into a mutant and another halfway transformed. He looks a little twisted then and acts aggressively, otherwise he is okay.

I liked the movie. There was adventure, action and a cool story. And The Machine was awesome! Take  Silent Hill and Kult roleplaying game's Metropolis and that's what The Machine looks like.

The mutants are tough but the swords are supposed to kill them faster, so let the swords have lots of damage against the mutants (or penalty to AC if mutants' HP isn't that high).

Drawing the maps should be easy. Give players sweet maps (look at Zak Smith's work for example) and some pages of the book to use in the game and as a prop. Let them fight their way down, survive, find a right path, see some horrors and finally try to figure out how to place the artifact in the core of the machine to destroy it (SPOILER: It flies away instead of blowing up as it is a spacecraft).

I think Savage Worlds could be great for the pulp style (not too familiar with SW though) but probably Mutant Future (Gamma World 1e or 2e) could work well too as the rules are simple and player characters have more HP in the beginning than in other D&D versions and clones (in MF hit die x CON).

I think Mutant Chronicle the movie could be converted into a really cool adventure. And the movie wasn't bad either. It wasn't perfect but I enjoyed it a lot. Worth 4 stars for me!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

[Mutant Future] Thaumielsamael NPC

Thaumielsamael looks a little like ettin, but
less ogre-ish and more human.
Thaumielsamael is a mutant but even for a mutant he is a strange person. Actually Thaumielsamael are two persons in same body with two heads. They are former married couple what have merged together. Naturally this is not always easy and it is not rare to hear Thaumielsamael arguing with itself.

Thaumielsamael lives in the old farmhouse with their also mutated dog and perfectly normal horse and pony.

STR: 15 (To hit, damage, open doors: +1)
DEX: 13 (AC -1, Missile attack, initiative +1)
CON: 12
INT: 14 (Technology roll modifier +5%)
WIL: 15
CHA: 9 (Retainers 4, Retainer morale 7)


Aberrant form (Large arms, damage +1)
Mind thrust (3d6 dmg, 50ft, once every two rounds)
Force screen, greater (5d6 damage resistance, once per day)
Vampiric field (45ft radius, 2d4 hp per round in the radius, reserved extra HP)
Damage turning (3d6 damage relflect, +1d6 every turn)

Axe 1d8+2
Shotgun 3d6/1d6

Friday, November 16, 2012

[LotFP] Taking the quest from Joop van Ooms

Continuing this:

Liv and Christian B. Yale agreed to take the quest. They must retrieve a manuscript that has some information about "The Book" (reference to The God That Crawls adventure). They both will get 500SP and all the expenses are paid. They also get an extra retainer (Roger the retainer) to handle these expenses.

But before Liv and Christian leave Joop van Ooms wants to paint a portrait of them. The portrait is life like but the background is strange. There is a portal where the characters are smaller and behind the characters is yet another portal where characters are even smaller and so on. Christian as a Cleric is really uncomfortable with this "demonic painting".

Liv asks about the painting but Ooms only answers that they will find out later or sooner but he hopes that they will not find out...

The travel begins from Amsterdam to Norway. It's chilly there so first purchase is winter clothing. From  Norway harbor town they take a cart and start their travel to mountains where they are supposed to go.

At the mountains there's a small village and they ask about this graveyard but the villager is unfriendly. He seems to be really superstitious and the graveyard area in question seems to be something the villager doesn't want to talk about at all. No worries, the party can find their way there. So they leave the village and head to one particular mountain.

At the mountain the cart driver doesn't feel comfortable anymore and he leaves the party and two retainers there. The party starts to climb the mountain...

SPOILER ALERT! Now I start writing about Death Frost Doom adventure. So if you are a player and will play DFD at some point in your life stop reading now! Your Referee will hate you if you read beyond this point!

When the treeline ends there's a cottage. It looks horrible. There are animal carcasses, furs and blood around it. Even some dead smaller animals are hanging from the tree branches. Liv hollers but no one seems to be around.

While Liv peeks inside the cottage Christian takes guard. Cottage is untidy and no one seems to be home...

Next time they meet Zeke!

Vampire: the Masquerade rules mod for FARP

I am planning to run Vampire: the Masquerade (Revised) FARP. It is focused on politics and conversations between the characters but there's always a change you need rules for some resolutions. Because this FARP will focus on political power player characters being primogens I thought that the normal rules and character stats are too wide. So I narrow those down.

Vampire: The Masquerade FARP Rules

Character Stats And Creation


Physical, Mental and Social.
Points 5/4/3


Talents, Skills and Knowledges.
Points 5/4/3


Clan Disciplines: 7 points
Other Disciplines in ST's permission: 3 points

Find out your clan and other disciplines from V:tM Revised rulebook or consult your ST.


Randomly determine each rolling 1d10. Only results 6 - 10 apply.


Choose your humanity betweeb 6 to 8. Lower humanity score gives more flexible morality but restricts the maximum of Self-control when higher humanity's morality is stricter but self controlling becomes easier.


Courage + D10 (Minimum 8).




All characters are assumed to have access to almost everything what is realistic and suits the character description. For special items or really expensive or powerful items consult the ST. For armor and weapons V:tM Revised rulebook is used or consult your ST.


ST hands you secrets and or motives you should keep for yourself. Don't let other players know them. These are important how you play your character and the story.


ST gives primogens relationships towards each other. Play these accordingly!


Define five different retainers and detail them. These are important people for the primogen.
Two of the five retainers are vampires inside the clan. What they are like, what are their specialities.
Two of the five retainers are ghouls or people who work for the primogen. Who are they and what are their specialities.

Those four retainers are known for every other primogen, but there is one "secret" retainer only the primogen in question (and ST) knows about. Who he is, what he does and why is his identity and purpose kept a secret?


Character description is really important. Try to detail character as well as you can. It might be important during the game and your role.



Ability + Attribute. Roll 1d10.
Great success: Roll result exactly Ability + Attribute. Successes are roll result +2
Success: Roll result lower than Ability + Attribute. Successes are roll result
Failure: Roll result higher than Ability + Attribute.
Botch: Roll result is 10. Roll again. If the second roll his higher than Ability + Attribute


To hit and damage: Physical + Attribute* roll result + weapon damage
Subtract opponents Physical (and if dodged + Talent) roll result + Fortitude + armor
Inflicted damage is equal to to hit roll after opponent characteristic subtraction


Initiative: Roll 1d10 + Physical OR Mental which is higher. Act in order.
One action per turn. If character or opponent decides to dodge he cannot perform any other actions that turn.
Shouting and other minor actions are performed without losing a turn.


When primogens gather they have full blood pool. It is assumed that they have fed before a meeting.


As the characters are already more powerful than normal starting characters experience doesn't need tracking.


Willpower can be used normally for automatic success of 3 successes equal to die roll.

Regain one willpower point whenever character does something spectacular or meaningful in a bigger picture.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

[Interview/preview] Magicians - The language learning RPG

Magicians: The language learning RPG

What if you could learn a foreign language via playing a role-playing game? Soon you can. Magicians is a modern role-playing game set in Seoul adding Korean folklore, superstitions and mythology to create an unique and dense fantasy setting.
In this game characters learn magic while they deal with high-school and university life and learn the mysteries and horrors of the world. There's lots of strange things going on under the surface.
The magic system is really interesting. Your character learns nouns and verbs used to cast spells. And spellcasting is only not in-game. You actually have to pronounce what your character is casting! The magic system allows players to cast more advanced spells as they learn Korean. That is sweet. Imagine Harry Potter where you use these magic words. In Magicians you spell Korean to cast spells.
There are also cards that help building a plot and adventures without preparation. These cards are drawn each round to get unique adventures every time cards are drawn.
Each player needs a set of cards and their characters to begin the game. Magicians is a diceless system. You only need cards and some Korean speak and you are ready to go!
Magicians: The language learning RPG sounds interesting enough so I decided to dig deeper. And what would be better source for information than the author himself!

Hello Kyle. Thank you for your interest in my blog and thank you pointing out your project. In the Kickstarter site you already have written some background for Magicians, but would you like to review it shortly here?

Sure! What I usually tell people is that it's Harry Potter, set in Korea - it's Harry Potter-like in that when the students are around the school and its surroundings there are a lot of fantasy elements that don't blend with a modern-day setting like haunted forests inside the mountain the school is on, catacombs and dungeons, and other such areas I drew inspiration from Asian influences like Journey to the West and The Three Kingdoms along with Korean mythology, folklore and fantasy; instead of seeing things like orks and trolls, dragons and goblins, you still get dragons, just the Korean kind that live in water and achieved their power from yeouiju (think dragon ball!), dokkaebi, which are similar to goblins but can turn invisible and summon any item in the world to them, three-legged crows that live in the sun, bonghwang and other cool creatures you don't normally see in fantasy games. However, when the students are in Seoul, I wanted there to be some cool urban fantasy elements so it's more like The Dresden Files where it's modern-day but it has all these layers hidden just beneath the surface for those that can practice magic and I draw on Korean urban fantasy, superstitions and folklore for cool ideas like an underground magic scene that uses chicken-blood tattoos or embed sesame seeds in their skin as a magical ritual or dogs that barter and collect souls and that wear the face of their victims, which all come from urban legends which I twist for the setting, or superstitions still in use in Korea like whistling at night draws snakes and ghosts to your door, insects shouldn't be killed at night because they could be carrying someone's soul in them or that crows and mice can turn into you or steal your soul by eating your finger or toe nails. It's a big, unique playground to play in I think.

Why did you choose Korean to be the language to be used and learned in this game?

I choose Korean because it's the only second language I speak at a level I'm comfortable with teaching and, since my major is Korean education - teaching Korean to non-native speakers, I'm going to be using the game as a basis for my thesis paper as well. Korean is a really cool, unique language that is really easy to learn and get into but is very deep, interesting and is very different from any other language I've seen. In particular, Korean Hangeul, the alphabet, only takes a few hours of dedicated study to master completely since it's phonetic and was made expressly for easy learning by a Korean king. 

Can a group of players start playing and actually enjoy the game with zero knowledge of Korean? What kind of tools does the game give for the group to start with?

I wanted the game to be something that people could jump into with very little knowledge of Korean, especially for people who hadn't played an rpg before, that's why I set it in modern day and added in all those cool elements but I also created the basic system which uses only 13 words to cast spells. In order to play the game at lowest level of difficulty (there are 3 tiers that build on each other as you learn and get better at Korean) you just need to learn those 13 words as you play the game and get better at pronouncing them. The game uses a smartphone dictation app to check you pronunciation so it's something you can practice and get the hang of even when you aren't playing the game. 

I understood that basically more advanced you get in Korean more advanced things characters can do in the game. It's like while you advance in Korean your character kind of advances also. Is this right?

It's not so much that the more you advance, the more advanced things you do - at any tier of difficulty you can cast any spell you want. There are 7 nouns and 6 verbs at the basic level, you choose one of each to cast any spell you can think of. The nouns consist of the elements - fire, water, earth, wind and then there is also living things and the five senses. For verbs there is create, damage, transmute, remove, compel, and perceive so it works a lot like Ars Magica. The second tier of difficulty takes away that archetypal approach so you have to choose your own noun and verb to suit the situation and build your vocabulary. The third and final tier has you speaking in full, complete sentences and learning grammar patterns you can plug your new-found vocab in and out of as well as learning more target vocab which are tied to types of magic. For casting spells having to do with time magic, you first need to learn numbers, to cast telekinetic spells you learn relative position, directions, etc.

Korean mythology and folklore sounds really interesting. How much tools does the game give to work with? Does it provide superstitious folklore, monsters and other?

I've got a whole bunch of setting material that's going to be in the book - Korean superstitions, folklore, creatures and monsters, urban legends all given a twist so that they all fit into the world of Magicians and so that people can use them in their own games if they want to mine some cool Asian influences for their own games. 

You pledged for 3000 dollars but currently are in over 23000 dollars. How do you feel?

The response the game has been really amazing - I really didn't expect it, I thought it would be this tiny niche within a niche that liked the game but what it turned out being was that it was interesting for all kinds of groups. People who want to just learn another language like the idea of another tool to do so, rpg gamers in general are all educated to begin with and are always looking for something cool and the fact that you can learn more of something and a useful skill while doing something that you already love doing is an awesome proposition I think.

 Can you actually learn Korean with this game?

Of course! The main idea behind the game is the same process that is applied universally when learning any language, first you start out with pronunciation, learning the alphabet, then you start learning some words and building your vocabulary, then you start learning grammar patterns that you use that vocab in as well as target vocabulary associated with language you'll use and need when speaking in everyday life - directions, time, adverbs and adjectives, past and future tense, etc. Not only will you learn Korean with this game but the core of the game is so universal that it will be easily hackable for other languages as well - which is why I'm putting out the "hack pack", a stretch goal we at 15k, which will detail expressly how to hack any and all aspects of the game - the setting along with the themes and tone you want to set and, especially, for different languages as well as some fun ideas for use with other languages that work differently than Korean, like those that use gender, etc.

(Kyle also provided me with this fun little comic about learning Korean in 15 minutes (LINK).)

But what is your roleplaying history?

My dad first introduced my twin brother and I to D&D back when I was in elementary school but it didn't really take as I got into computer rpgs more like Bladur's Gate and stuff; I didn't actually start gaming again until I came to Korea when 4th Edition was released - the guys over at Penny Arcade did an actual play podcast series that made me want to get back into it and I wanted to meet some more people and make some friends so I looked for and found a group and got started. We played 4th edition for awhile but I really got into it and was soon buying and reading rpgs both to play and just to read, I started GMing for the group and have run lots of great games - Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, Burning Wheel, Burning Empire, Mouseguard, Pathfinder, With Great Power,  Fiasco, Cathulhutech and all kinds of other stuff. I started designing roleplaying games as well but more as thought exercises and for fun - my first rpg I designed was a solo one to see how it would play, I made another one to teach how to play go-stop, a Korean gambling game that uses hanafuda cards and then I came up with a language-ed game after teaching English, reading about dictation apps and trying to incorporate elements I love from books about learning magic like Magicians, by Lev Grossman (the game started out as a IP project for Magicians, hence the name with Lev Grossman on board but the rights ended up getting sold to Hollywood for a tv show), Harry Potter, the Earthsea books or The Dresden Files.

Final words from you. What would you want to say about the project and what would you like to say for the people who already pledged and for those who are interesting of it?

To all the people who have backed the game, helped got the word out or both I'd like to say thank you! For those who are interested I'd say come to the kickstarter page and check it out! I've got actual play videos of the first few rounds of a game so you can see how it works along with a video of how the smartphone app works as well. We've already hit the 20k stretch goal which was for a Japanese hack of the game by Andy Kitowski, of recent Tenra Bansho Zero game and kickstarter success and at 30k we unlock a Chinese supplemental system for traditional Chinese by Jonathan Walton, creator of the Geiger Counter RPG, among others, so if you're interested in the idea but not so interested in the Korean language element of it we might have you covered!


The Kickstarter campaign page can be found in the following link. The project will be funded on Monday Nov 19, 12:00am EST so now is the time if you want to hop in!

Campaign link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1858774754/magicians-a-language-learning-rpg

All the pictures are from Magicians roleplaying game.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fading Suns using dicepool is stupid - mod time!

There are some people behind Fading Suns who created some White Wolf products. And you can see the effect.

The basic system I like. To do a task add Attribute and Skill together and roll under with d20. The higher the result is more Victory Points you get. Victory Points determine how well you succeeded. Roll exactly the same and double the Victory Points. Simple.

But damage is tricky one. Add weapon damage to Victory Points. That is your dicepool of d20s. Every d20 over result 13 is one point of damage. That is stupid!

I haven't tested this at all but this could be how it works also:

The dicepool of damage would be the target number to roll with d20. The amount of the damage is equal to d20 result.

So for example if weapon damage is 4 and you get 4 victory points from to hit roll you have to roll 1-8 to deal that amount of damage. If the result is 9-20 you:
  • Don't inflict any damage
  • You only deal 1 point of damage
  • You only deal damage equal to to hit Victory Points (or weapon damage which is lower)
(The above needs testing.)

If you roll exactly the same result as weapon damage + Victory Points you get +2 damage as a very successful hit.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

[LotFP] To make ability modifiers affect skills

I like LotFP's simplicity but there's one thing I am not so sure about. Character abilities don't affect skill success propablities. No matter how dextrous you are you are as good in Sleigh of hand that the next guy.

This is a small modification if you want abilities to affect skills.

You can re-roll skill roll as many times as you have ability modifiers for a related ability but the minimum of skill rolls is always one.

For example if your character uses Sleigh of hand and your DEX modifier is +2 you get to roll the skill roll twice and pick the better result. If DEX modifier was -1 to -3 you only roll once.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Oddities in the Darkest Space - seriously?

In my last post I wrote how I had this dream I created a scifi rpg. Now I cannot get the idea out of my mind. Here's something I've been thinking.

- It uses modified LotFP rules
- Character classes are from LotFP with some tweaks. Re-naming them and changing a little the rules
- There is no magic but psionics instead. Basically it's M-U spells re-skinned
- There is no Cleric class but a "Medic" (or something). Cleric spells modified so it's this weird computer thingie what has these "powers" like Clerical spells
- Psionics don't learn spells. When they level up they find new abilities rather than learning those
- "Medic" can find chips (scrolls) to use or upload to their computer thingie like M-U spellbook
- Weapons have two values for damage. First is what dice you use and second for firearms when the clip is empty. For example weapon with damage 2/d8 shows that it does d8 points of damage and there is 2 in 8 change the clip must be reloaded
- Mass Effect video game doesn't count ammunition, I won't either. You just need to spend one turn changing the clip/recharging the weapon/let the heat go down
- Demi-humans are actually aliens. Those are based in Halfling, Dwarf and Elf character builds with modifications
- d6 skill system propably where "Tech" class is most advanced in skill usage
- Stances are aggressive, normal and defensive where there are slight modifications for AC/AB like in LotFP
- Encumbrance is from LotFP but CON modifier affects the first encumbrance point. (CON bonus 0 is 5 items, CON bonus +2 is 7 items before first encumbrance point)
- There are powershields what can nullify damage if damage result is in right range

Now I am thinking will I write whole thingie from a scratch or make a small add-on for LotFP explaining the modifications used. So basically you would need LotFP + OitDS to run it. It would save a lot of work writing for me saving time for fluff.

The greatest question is will I write this at all? I like Fading Suns a lot but the rules I'd like to use would be more LotFP like for simplicity. In the other hand I could just use Mutant Future but I want to keep it as its own game/setting/feeling. Also I prefer ascending AC over descending.

So, now the big questions are:
1) Will I write this?
2) Should I use LotFP but only write all the modifications?
3) Should I re-skin LotFP?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Started Mass Effect the second time and wrote scifi rpg in my sleep

Picture from Bioware website
Yesterday I started playing Mass Effect with PC again. I had started it earlier but didn't like PC gaming. Now I got gaming room with a nice armchair to sit when using PC so PC gaming is much more enjoyable.

Don't know yet how good Mass Effect plot is but I like the system how it works.

After playing Mass Effect I moved into bed and watched some movie before fell asleep. And in my dream I wrote scifi rpg! Here are some ideas I got from my dream:

- Game is based on LotFP rules (races as class, ascending AC, encumbrance system etc. etc.)
- It had a silly name: Oddities of the Darkest Space - Weird science fiction
- There are power shields what protect any damage in shields range. So if shield's range is 2-5 all damage results between 2-5 are nullified. Shields have charges how many times they can nullify damage before recharging it (Fading Suns style)
- To hit and Damage is D20 + AB + weapon damage solid + d against armor class. The amount of damage is the difference of AC and To hit roll (I think base AC should be higher than 12... maybe 15 or something).
- Weapon clip is empty when you roll weapon damage d equal to "empty" score. For example if weapon's damage die is d6 and "empty" is 1-2 you roll that damage result you need to reload
- Magic is replaced with psi-powers modified magic rules

Those above are the rules I was writing in my dream. It's a mix of LotFP, Fading Suns and Dungeonslayers I see.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Playing LotFP: Meeting Ooms

Group of two adventurers (player character and non-player character) with one retainer. PC is Elven specialist (combo class) and NPC is Fighter Cleric (combo also). I decided to use The Magnificent Joop van Ooms book as a seed for future adventures.
Elven specialist's name is Liv and fighter-cleric is called Christian B. Yale.

Party is at Amsterdam after they delivered an item there (this happened before game starts, they are 1st levels afterall). First task is to find a place to stay. I ask player to roll d50 for random encounter and a swarm of kids surround them. Christian is a good person so he gives 5cp for the kids. Liv doesn't but she notices one kid standing behind Christian. That kid is actually a pickpocket with 2/6 skill but he fails. Liv doesn't notice that attempted theft but she is suspicious and commands kid away. The swarm of kids move to next person. Really big black man in extra fancy clothes. And they go to an inn.

Next morning in breakfast a well dressed man invites them to a party. They just need to ask Joop van Ooms anywhere and they'll find the place. Gotta buy fancy clothes and get ready.

During the day Liv is asked to sign a petit to clear harbor area from trash but a set of jugglers are distracting the very moment. Liv is suspicious and doesn't want to sign it. This was a random encounter also.

In the evening they find easily Ooms residence because it really stands out. Inside there is a party going. Same man who invited Liv and Christian is surrounded by four ladies. The man called Henry XIII isn't that comely but chicks like his attention. Henry asks girls to leave and he greets new guests. Liv and Christian also see the same black man dancing in his cool clothes. His dance is a mix of traditional European dance and tribal African dances. He is really good and there's people watching him.

Third person is Joop van Ooms surrounded by some people who talk to him. Joop doesn't look that interested but he is really good in this kind of conversations. Joop dismisses the people to meet new visitors.

Joop has a conversation with Liv and Christian. Asking questions and telling stuff. He decides to show his 1st floor gallery room with "practice" art. Then he asks if Liv and Christian as adventurers would like to do a job for him. To retrieve a document of information. What kind of information? Information of some kind of book (The Book from The God That Crawls). Liv and Christians agree to take this mission.

Some Thoughts

Only dice rolling were random encounters. Lots of talking and stuff. You don't necessarily need dice for a good session.
Nothing important really happened. This was like an intro for next adventure (Dead Frost Doom) and all the adventures to become.
I bought The Magnificent Joop van Ooms because of this. To kick campaign going! Also player death could suck, but Joop is a magnificent painter, so that thing is handled now!

Player doesn't know this yet, but to Norway they will travel! And there's Death Frost Doom they need to "enter" to gain that document.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Die of luck, unfortune and die

Picture from colorbox.

"The Die" is in a beautifully crafted box with velvet inside. The die looks to be made of black bone or similar material. The pips are small blue diamonds.

If the die is touched with bare skin it will get stuck until it is rolled. When die is rolled ask player a number between 1-6 and ask him to roll one d6.

If the d6 result is exactly the same player said character dies.
If the roll result is higher next d6 die rolls will automatically success (or give highest possible result in damage, with potions etc.)
If the roll result is lower next d6 die rolls will automatically fail (potions don't heal etc.).

The die is worth 1000gp (sp if Lotfp) if right buyer is found.

[Review] The Magnificent Joop van Ooms for LotFP

The Magnificent Joop van Ooms is not an adventure. It is a small sourcebook for Amsterdam in 1615 and one magnificent person and his servants living there.

The book is small only 18 pages long what makes it easy to read and memorize.


The cover art is really cool expanding to back cover. In cover you see Joop van Ooms messing with a painting of adventurers and, well, one of the adventurers is messed up also. The cover is stunningly done.

Inside the pages are in greyscale, the font is easy to read but a bit small and layout is clear. Pictures are great in black and white and the style reminds me a bit of some of the old World of Darkness art. Usually LotFP books' art are done in painting like style but this works also if artist(s) is/are great.

The Setting

Joop van Ooms lives in Amsterdam in year 1615. There are only two pages worth of information about Amsterdam focusing into The United Provinces and commercial scene of that period. Because the book is set in historical Amsterdam Referees can easily expand the details using various sources from historical books and internet. This both saves space from the book itself and gives Referees freedom to include extra details as many as they wish.

In my opinion even though this books is supposed to be in real Amsterdam it is easy enough to include in your favorite setting you use. Mostly because The Magnificent Joop van Ooms doesn't go to deep in the location description.

Rules Part

There are basically only two additional rules. One is chart for selling and buying in black markets and other is a random encounter table. The random encounter table has 50 possible encounters but some of those are pairs with a minor difference. Some of the encounters can be also seeds for adventures.

The black market table I am really disappointed at. You roll 2d6 + Cha modifier to see the result of selling and buying. Mostly it affects is the item available and what its actual price will be. There are also some boring extra effects after failed or successful transactions. But these are really, really dull.

After natural 1 & 20 chart what gives various effects and not just bonus to damage this was a huge disappointment. You can quickly see what price you sell or buy and does the vendor like you or not but that's it.

Joop van Ooms

There are three NPCs. Joop van Ooms, his guard and his lackey. All of these three are interesting persons but still easy to play.

Rules-wise Joop is a Magic-User but basically it only means his HP and savings. He doesn't use spellbooks, spells, spellscrolls or anything magical Magic-Users usually tinker with. Joop van Ooms magic is in his art and crafts.

Joop can alter reality - or cast spells - using arts like architecture, paintings, sculpturing, poems and so on. He is also an engineer like Da Vinci and he has created a couple of advanced crafts. Other seems to be useless but another can be a blast with "wrong hands".

There is also map for Oom's personal residence. How magnificent person he is his home is a little boring. The focus is in what Ooms is in person and what he can do and not where he lives. His residence is basically for hosting parties and creating arts.

The description of Ooms is interesting. He is really extraordinary person with his fanbase but also enemies.

Adventure Hooks

The book also gives possible adventure hooks. As adventure hooks these are not that detailed but that's the point. They give ideas and inspiration to put player characters involved somehow in Joop van Ooms. I think the adventure hooks are broad enough and easy to use.

The Number 8

Nice little detail is the number 8 Joop van Ooms avoids. In several different contexts it is present. And it is no good.

Final Words

The book is nice little piece of introduction to 1615's Amsterdam focusing on Joop van Ooms as a character, adventure hook and a background for adventures. It is quick to read and easy to memorize and simple to use. Only flaw is really boring black market table what could have been more interesting. It works yes, but is dull.

If you are looking for yet another LotFP adventure this is not for you. But if you want something you can use as a small inspiration for your adventures this is a great little book. A lot of work to use this is left for Referee but it gives you a good starting point for interesting play.

The official product page: http://www.lotfp.com/RPG/products/joop-van-ooms

Thursday, November 1, 2012

...and everyone dies and world ends

One thing I try to figure out in Raggi's adventures is why there are some incidents, random rolls or triggers what either kill characters without any change to survive or destroys the game world/setting/whole goddamn rpg universe.

I don't know the truth and design philosophy behind these things, but here's some thoughts of mine.

Who uses these things?

Let's say that something happens in the adventure and Referee reads that that's the end of everything. Game over. Start again (well, if Raggi didn't say that's it for good). Or there's a random encounter roll what's only purpose is to kill characters right away. How many Referees response to these incidences saying "okay" and putting their rpg books away continuing the evening with Monopoly. Or how many players would think "that was frikkin' awesome"?

I think most of the player groups just ignore these effects. Most of the players. Some might find humor in these. "Lol this adventure ends now because you rolled result 8 from the encounter party" or "uh why did you do that guys, now the setting world is destroyed... forever! That was awesome!"


Are these some kind of (inside) jokes that Raggi doesn't think anyone will use but puts those things in his books just for laughs? Or is it some kind of homage for real oldschool adventures where this kind of things possibly happened back then (I don't know)? Or is it just to annoy people or boost some kind of "I am baddest mofo Referee out there"?

Oh, and what about painting your nose yellow because of meta game laughing? Share me some pictures around the gaming table where this really happened.

New Possibilities?

If character dies you can create another one right? But if character dies without a reason it is annoying. But could there be a possibility? Character is now ghost like creature, or new character is decided to be an incarnation of old with some quirks, advantages and disadvantages? This is up to Referee what he can make out of the situation.

And if whole party dies or world is destroyed Referee could take totally different direction for the rest of the campaign. Afterlife adventures characters trying to get back to life or even timetravelling when worlds collapse to prevent the apocalypse.

If Referee doesn't ignore these happenings and doesn't take those too literally he can continue adventure with a twist.

What Do You Do?

Have you played Raggi's adventure where character or party randomly died or setting was destroyed? How did you handle it? Did you start new game or did you continue with a twist? Or did you just ignore the effect?