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Posts posted by raymond_turney

  1. Dark Light

    Cost: 1 Point

    Duration: Episode

    This spell is like a Light spell, except that the light it creates is only visible to the caster and anyone in Mind Link with him. Others are left still in the dark.

    Digest Scroll I, III

    Cost: 1 Point

    Duration: Until One Scroll Has Been Eaten and Digested

    This spell allows the caster to eat a scroll, reducing the time needed to read it to the time needed to eat it. This spell also allows the caster to roll twice on each roll to read the scroll, and take the better result. Digest Scroll III gives the best of three rolls, and allows the caster to read scrolls in a written language he does not know, as if he knew the language.

    Ritual Beheading, I, II, III

    Cost: 1 Point for I, 2 Points for II, 3 points for III

    Special: One use, consumed when ta head is added to the collection

    Duration: Indefinite

    This spell allows the caster to capture some of the knowledge of the beheaded character. Ritual Beheading I captures oneof the victim’s skills or spells, with a loss 0f -5 to casting skill. Ritual Beheading II captures two of the victim’s skills or spells, with a loss 0f -5 to casting skill. Ritual Beheading Iii captures three of the victim’s skills or spells, with a loss 0f -5 to casting skill. This spell does not capture shamanic skills, such as spirit combat or discorporation. It can be used to capture a shaman’s Tradition Lore. It can effectivel capture sorcery skills or spells.

    Divine Magic spells are regained using the head’s cult lore, but no more than one head can regain divine spells at a time. The caster must take time out to regain the spell as if he or she was regaining the spell herself, since a severed head cannot regain magic on its own. Heads cannot act on their own, nor may their spells or skills be increased with experience checks.

    Spells from diferent heads cannot be combined. Casting a spell from a head is an action, and severed heads do not act independently. Spells cast by a head may be combined with spells cast by the caster of Ritual Beheading.

    This knowledge can only be called upon if the character is within divine magic casting range of the severed head. Thus users of this spell cannot capture a lot of heads and leave them at a far away base. On the other hand, they do not have to display them on their belts, either. This spell makes a good combination with Shrink Head, below.

    If the head is destroyed, the caster loses the abilities associated with it. If the head is destroyed, the caster may regain ritual beheading. Ritual beheading preserves the bones of the head separated from its body indefinitely.

    Shrink Head

    Cost: 1 Point

    Duration: Permanent

    This spell shrinks a head that has been ritually beheaded to a size of about an inch, to make it easier to hide. It has no other effect.

  2. Hi,

    The question here is, what groups have problems that BRP answers and other systems do not?

    After all, one someone has learned D&D, why should they pay the costs involved in learning a new system? If you're in a group with mostly power gamers and butt kickers it is not clear that switching to a more realistic set of rules will be worth the cost of learning those rules. If anything, having a lot of the decisions made for the players by the class and level system, and having a clearly defined scenario - go into a dugngeon kill some things grab some loot and get out, may make D&D more useful to these groups than any of the advantages offered by BRP.

    Other groups like to go for the newest thing ... they are easy enough to talk into trying something new and cool. Of course, since BRP has been around since 1984, it is not new and it doesn't have the kind of new features that make some groups consider Spirit of the Century or Exalted cool.

    BRP does not have advantages. But if these advantages are not what GM's and players already know they want, it is not clear that it is really a great idea for non-BRP players to replace their game with a BRP game. So you have to figure out how to reach the small fraction of GM's and players that these advantages outweigh the costs of switching systems.


  3. Hi,

    It's worth thinking a bit about the issue of why divine magic was one use.

    Divine Magic was one use for initiates to make priesthood a magical equivalent of rune lordship, creating a system in which priests were a lot better than initiates. In effect, it was assumed that most divine spells would be cast by priests.

    Having noticed that this did not work in RQ, in my new system I created multiple levels of divine magic, with some generic divine spells available to initiates and some better divine spells reserved for acolytes and above.

    Other people did other things. A lot of other people did nothing at all. Remember that an amazing number of people managed to play Old D&D, although when they got together at conventions, it turned out that they did not agree on what Old D&D was. In my definitely biased view, RuneQuest was much clearer than Old D&D, but there was no shortage of problems with it.

    For what it is worth, I tend to think that it is a good idea to try to keep divine magic as mathematically simple as possible. Sorcery is potentially very powerful and works quite well as a system for power gamers who don't mind math. There is no obvious advantage to making Divine Magic more like Sorcery.

    People who are interested in my current views on magic systems, etc can download a free copy of Fire and Sword, here, the short version of Fire and Sword, here, or my designer's commentary, here.


  4. Hi,

    His remark seemed to me to be reasonable, if tactless.

    Print is more costly to produce, though it is easier to read from cover to cover.

    I assume they are using the PDF sales to determine whether it would be profitable to produce a print run. If you buy a PDF when you would rather have a printed version, then don't buy the printed version, you reduce the number of printed copies that will be sold for a given number of PDF's produced. If you wait for the print version, it may never arrive.

    Buying the PDF and then having it printed at a local printshop doesn't get you out of paying twice, you just pay two different people. Also, the best fonts for pdfs and books are different. In my new game, Fire and Sword, I ended up providing links to Wikipedia for Monster descriptions. This is a less effective tactic in a printed book.

    Let's face it, in some ways business is harder than writing a role playing game:)

    I'm not much of a businessman, so I just put my new game, Fire and Sword up in PDF form at BRP Central and let anyone who wants to download it download it. There is a modest assortment of other stuff as well, available here.

    It should be noted that this is not an ideal strategy, since it doesn't help to keep me alive. As a result, the game gets only a limited amount of my energy. Also, the game gets only a limited amount of advertising and exposure. It is likely that if Fire and Sword has useful ideas that they will find their way into the design mainstream, but I won't get much from it.

    Anyway, 2700 copies of various editions of Fire and Sword have been downloaded, which suggests that there may be enough interest to create a printed version. At this point, I'm wondering about the best strategy for doing that, etc.

    One approach is to just a version that uses fonts appropriate for printing, and does not rely on outside links, make that available on the web, etc.

    A second possible strategy is to make another version of the game to sell as a PDF, and find a way to sell before the latest edition PDF {maye at $4 to $8} and a print version.

    RosenMcStern, do you have any advice to offer me on my next move?


  5. Hi,

    Have produced an improved price list of commonly used items in Fire and Sword, and post it in both PDF and RTF format in the files section. This will probably be in Fourth Edition, after some revision, but it seemed like it might be useful to other now.

    Use the PDF if you want it to look nice, use the RTF if you want to add items.

    If problems are found, please post a comment here so I can fix them.

    If you want more items added to the list, please tell me and I will be happy to do that.

    Note: the price list includes both a price to buy the item and an FTE level at which it is simply assumed that the character has one if he wants one.


  6. Hi,

    The data you asked about seems to be missing.

    Will post an updated version {4th edition} soon with your requested data.

    The rules on increasing characteristics are different. Figure you can only increase Power until the next version comes out.


    I'll admit I'm reading it off my PC and not a paper copy, so I may easily have missed it somewhere, but I couldn't find any of that stuff.

    So POW increases at the same rate (theoretically) as regular Skills (i.e. a single check)?

    What about other attributes?

  7. Hi,

    A character has a number of magic points equal to his or her POW, which may be increased by MP storage items. MP are regained at a rate of 1/4 POW per day, up if the number is evenly divisible by 2 but not 4.

    Characters roll to increase POW as if POW were a skill.

    I'll look and see if this information really is missing from the current edition, and put it in 4th edition if it is not now in there.


  8. On my character sheets, I have two different sections that refer to fame points and infamy points. I will use examples from Zojila, my current top character

    One gives the total balance:

    Fame {6-1 infamy point}

    Will 5+3+3 {this quest only} 11/2

    Zojila is on a Heroquest at the moment, she started with eleven Will, 5 from fame points, 3 from offices:

    Minor Carmanian saint, - Kivrin, earned on plague resistance quest

    Vizier {FTE 9} in House Artabanes

    Initiate of Deezola

    and 3 as a special one time grant from the GM for doing better than expected on the quest she was on {she fought the Black Death, and managed in the village she was in to save one person and herself, and keep the priest alive long enough to bury all the others}.

    The source of the fame and infamy points are recorded lower on the character sheet:

    1. Mystifying a demon twice, and the enemy skipper once, during a fight with a Crassus warship on (1/22/06)

    2. .5 for being present with the party at the Kallikos White Sea temple defense

    3. .5 fame point for summoning Meerclaw and Vorgo on the Hero Plane, winning a lost battle against air tigers and allowing Ma to send for reinforcements.

    4. 1 fame point for completing a substantial heroquest {quest to rescue Mira and bring back Dragon’s Egg}.

    5. 1 fame point for completing the chasing the quest to frustrate Charg’s theft of Bull Shah Imperial Regalia

    6. One fame point for Plague Resisance HeroQuest, combating the plague and becoming a minorCarmaniansaint, patron of milkmaids.

    7. 1 fame point for being a vizier in House Artabanes

    Reason for Infamy Point

    1. At a reception for the Moonshadows held to honor their arrival in Zern with Countess Yolanella as hostess, fell down at Countess Yolanella entrance {she was too drunk to stand}, then declined one of Countess Yolanella’s servants arms with a muttered “Damn Carmanians”.

    So to me it was obvious that a player should record the history of his or her characters, and how they got the fame points, infamy points, etc.

    The problem is that the system is evolving, and I don't know how to make use of the details. I should probably include a note to the effect that a GM can use this history in bringing characters into adventures, and that a GM can deny credit for Fame points if the player cannot remember what his or her character is famous for.


  9. Hi,

    Trefletraxor, what do you mean by a famous/infamous scale?

    Symmetry with some infamy point rules?

    The key idea here, though it may not be obvious, is that fame points are the major component of status and thus influence, and also gives Will for Legenday quests. So fame points may be misleadingly named. So could you rephrase your earlier suggestion?


  10. Added to the rules:

    Prowess Points

    Prowess points are awarded when a character does something that meets one of the requirements for a fame point, but not all of them. An example would be a sorcerer killing 15 people with a Fire Rain spell. This does not demonstrate the kind of admired courage that a warrior who kills a dragon does. But if the sorcerer kills enough people with big Fire Rain spells, he will become known as tough. So his action should be recognized. The gamemaster awards prowess points at the end of each session. A gamemaster should usually award at most 1-prowess point every three sessions or so, per character. Prowess points reward exceptional performance, not the normal performance expected of a character contributing to the success of a session.

    When a character accumulates ten prowess points, his or her player can trade them in for a fame point. Prowess points have no other effect.

    comments anyone?

  11. Hi,

    The third edition is now out.

    A 4th edition is planned. It will contain some version of roleplaying extension to cover passions, virtues and vices. The idea is to integrate these into the more "powergame" aspects of the rules, and leave room for characters to evolve in play. If anyone else has any ideas to offer in this area, I'll be happy to consider them.

    A few other things like a much more extensive price list giving the FTE/grade level at which things become available is also planned. Am currently thinking of rewriting magic item creation and tables so it is clear how to make all magic items in the tables, and what the base cost and level of availability of the items are.

    A printed version available from Lulu is being considered. It would have cover and chapter art, etc.

    The City of Tirhrei supplement is fitfully being expanded. Does anyone have any ideas on what would help Fire and Sword users most?

    Thinking of adding an introductory scenario and and an Orkpak.

    Coments anyone?


  12. For my next campaign, I'm thinking of going over to 1D6+3 experience checks at the end of each adventure.

    I'm also thinking of stealing an idea from Spirit of the Century, which SoC calls aspects. I'll call them tags. These are prominent things about a character, rash, talkative, etc. When a player does something that is "in character", but not wargame optimal, the character gets an experience check, up to a limit of three checks per session. A character could start out with up to 5 tags. The idea is to encourage players who help the GM a little by acting in character, without this becoming totally crucial to successful power gaming {characters whose players who can manage to bring characterization into play will tend, over time, to have a wider variety of skills, but 1D6+3 basic checks, suitably invested in combat skills, should insure that hack and slash characters are still possible}.

    I'm open to ideas for complicating experience generally, if something is gained by doing so. Since you roll experience only once per session, complexity in this are is much less costly than complexity in the combat rules. I've also considered adding edges from Saage Worlds, and good old RQ experience in what a character uses.

    What do other people think?

  13. Hi,

    Steve Perrin is, I assume, using his combat exploits in a wargame tactics kind of way. The purpose of his rule on "good hits" is to offer a wider assortment of possible combat results, to better mimic reality.

    D&D "feats" and Spirit of the Century's "stunts" serve the dramatic purpose of differentiating characters by fighting style. This makes fighters more interesting, by providing different ways of developing the character {to some extent SoC stunts are like divine spells in traditional RQ}.

    My combat exploits are intended to promote both additional tactical options and character differentiation, but with most of the emphasis on the later. Given this aim, it is obvious that abolishing the differentiation among characters in ability to exploit special and critical hits would not serve my ends.

    My limited understanding of reality suggests that (as usual) reality has not been coordinated with the needs of game designers. Most fighters most of the time can figure out what they want from combat maneuvers, and even how to perform them, long before they can actually bring them off in a fight. It is unlikely that real fighters either follow Perrin's abstraction and learn them all at once or that they follow my abstraction and learn them in discrete chunks. The relationship is probably some complex correlation in which all depend on a certain amount of training and ability to execute quickly, but which are learned first and at what level depends on the talents and motivation of the fighter. More seriously, trying to represent any form of combat {fencing, SCA combat, unarmed combat as taught by the USMC} in enough detail to be recognizable to experts in that form of combat rapidly brings up two problems. The first is that expert level combat in any fighting style involves things that are very hard to represent abstractly, and the second is that expert level combat in any two different styles is represented by the experts in whose styles differently. So it is just a can of worms.

    Finally, most of the players of any fantasy game are not experts in any martial art and their intuitions {to avoid creating problems in suspending disbelief you need to match the player's intuition, not reality} are formed by the movies.

    After all that, if your purposes are better served by some rule from SPQR {or BRP, or MRQ} than by my offering, use the SPQR {or BRP or MRQ} rule. I expect that most of the people downloading F&S will either steal ideas from it to use in their games, or use it as a framework replacing a couple of rules they don't like with others. While you can play F&S pretty much by the rules as written, I don't think this will be the way most people use it.


  14. Hi,

    Fire and Sword Third Edition is now available, here.

    It adds a fumble table. the combat exploits discussed in this forum earlier and rules for mounted combat. It also includes more spells and mosters as discussed here and in the Fire and Sword blog, etc. The character sheets have been added to the basic rules PDF, so that anyone who has a copy of 3rd edition also has character sheets. A list of divine spells, sorcery spells and monsters, with links, has been added in the front of the relevant chapters.

    In short, a useful improvement over 2nd edition.


  15. Hi,

    Considering changing new character creation in F&S, thinking of changing character creation as follows:

    There are two types of archetypes, primary and secondary. When starting a low level character, he or she gets primary archetype skills at 12; or 10 if a secondary archetype is archetype is also chosen. If a secondary archetype is chosen for a low level character, secondary archetype skills start at 8. When starting at midlevel, primary archetype skills are at 14, or 12 if a secondary archetype is also chosen, in which case secondary archetype skills will start at 10. When starting at a high level primary archetype skills are at 16, or 14 if a secondary archetype is also chosen, in which case secondary archetype skills will start at 12.

    Then, to individualize character skills sets, put the character through four “virtual adventures”. Ignore the adventure itself, and just give out an average number of experience checks. If your campaign is like ours, this will amount to 28 experience checks allocated by the players, in four batches of seven, so that the maximum number of checks that can be put into any particular skill is four. These checks should be rolled as if they had been awarded at the end of a play session.

    Any comments?


  16. It seems to me that the granularity issue is more closely related to the number of dice rolled than to the type of dice rolled. System can be divided into the following categories:

    a) roll one die, usually a D10 or D20 - most gamers seem to feel that this offers too little granularity

    B) roll two D10's and interpret them as a D100 to get a percentile system {RQ, BRP, etc}. Compare to different numbers, depending on skill, to find out if the success was a fumble, special or critical.

    c) roll D20 and if a potential funny result {fumble, special or crit} is possible then roll another D20 to see if it happens. This actually gives finer granularity than D100 systems, since you're basically using base 20, and 400 different results are possible. AD&D 3.5, I think, F&S and a number of other systems are like this.

    d) Roll several D6 and add them together, GURPS, etc. This gives a much more Poisson like distribution,so mediocrity is a lot more common. The tendency to have a lot of mediocrity is realistic, but undramatic.

    In theory, we could also have a roll D30, then roll D30 system {this is what the F&S Heroquest the characters in my personal game are now on amounts to}. This is equivalent to rolling D900 and offers even finer granularity than the common alternatives. The smaller size D30 make this fairly practical. I'm not sure I would want a system that did this on a regular basis, but I might change my mind if my characters get better, and more of the rolls become successes.

    Essentially, whether you prefer percentile, one D20 and another if necessary, or GURPS style dice rolling is a matter of taster. I like rolling the minimum number of dice necessary at a time, so I like D20 then a second D20 if necessary - but for characters as good as the PC's in our campaign, it is always necessary. So F&S at a high level also involves rolling two dice. I nearly always prefer rolling dice to interpreting a roll, since I think interpretation takes more time than rolling dice as such.

    Actually, I am not sure what dice you roll is a very important aspect of a system, once you get past rolling only one die at all times.

    Good luck,


  17. Hi,

    An idea being considered for Third Edition Fire and Sword is Combat Exploits. They are intended to be a way to put spice into specials, crits, and cinematic hits:

    Combat Exploits

    When a character manages a special, critical, or cinematic success, he or she has the chance to perform a “combat exploit”. A special success allows one combat exploit that round, a critical success allows two combat exploits, and a cinematic success allows three combat exploits in a given round. With the exception of “natural critical”, discussed below a character must know a combat exploit to perform it. , a character must know the exploit.

    All characters know the Maximum Damage, Negate Exploit and Ignore Armor Exploits. One additional attack exploit is learned when weapon attack skill reaches twenty; another attack exploit is learned when weapon attack skill reaches twenty five, and a new exploit is learned at every level divisible by 5 thereafter. A parry exploit may be learned when parry skill reaches twenty, twenty five, thirty etc. Exploits that are neither attack specific nor parry specific may be leaned as either attack exploits or parry exploits.

    A character may use exploits that do not increase damage whenever he or she manages a special, critical, or cinematic success. No exploit can be used if the success is reduced to a miss or fumble, whatever the initial level of success. Exploits that increase damage, such as Maximum Damage, Ignore Armor, Impale, or The Bigger They the Harder they Fall cannot be used when the success is reduced to an ordinary success (”parried down”), but are otherwise treated like exploits that do not increase damage.

    A player may choose which exploit his character performs after rolling. If both sides in a melee bring off a combat exploit, both players roll D20 and the lower result declares what combat exploit it is attempting first.

    Name Description

    Attack or Parry Emphasis Can switch attackand parry rolls as desired. Switch is made after rolling, if it is written on the character sheet that this is his default Exploit. Decision to switch if the die roll is good enough must be made prior to die rolling, either by announcing intent to use this exploit or by having it written down on the character sheet. If this is written down, though, the character does this even when it does ot help him or her. The default can always be overridden if the players announces that he is planning on using a different combat exploit.

    Maximum Damage (A) Attacking weapon damage roll is automatic maximum – i.e. 1D10 roll is automatically ten. Cannot be invoked if enemy parries the blow with a roller higher than the die rolled, even if parry is not a special, crit, etc.

    Negate Exploit Ignore effect of enemy exploit on character

    Ignore Armor (A) Eliminates up to 5 points of the effect of an enemy’s armor. Cannot be invoked if enemy parries the blow with a roller higher than the die rolled, even if parry is not a special, crit, etc.

    Force Retreat(A) Enemy must retreat at least one half normal move, independently of whether or not he is affected by damage from the blow. Enemy chooses where to retreat to. Effects of movement enhancing spells like Wingfoot not counted as part of normal move. If enemy cannot retreat and is forced to retreat, apply both Maximum Damage and Ignore armor instead. A second level of Force Retreat allows the attacker to choose where the defender retreats to. If a character has learned two levels of Force Retreat they only count as one exploit against the total allowed for a special, critical or cinematic hit.

    Fighting Retreat (P) May retreat from combat, moving up to ½ normal movement distance per round generally backward, whether or not retreater is affected by damage from the blow. Enemy must follow or disengage. Effects of movement enhancing spells like Wingfoot may be counted as part of normal move, if the retreater chooses to do so.

    The Bigger they are, the Harder they fall (A) Offsets one level of size difference, against larger than human targets only. May be chose three times, but never does more than damage than the enemy opposed has in size advantage. A character fighting a large, huge, etc monster, he or she can always use this if he knows it, even if he has attack or parry emphasis written down as a default. If a character has learned multiple levels of this exploit they only count as one exploit against the total allowed for a special, critical or cinematic hit.

    Impale (A) When using a broadsword, dagger or spear, add +5 to damage. If target falls down, the weapon is stuck in the target. Pulling it out will require a strength -5 roll on D20.

    Hold Enemy Off If using the longer weapon, keep enemy at a distance presenting him from closing to strike this round. If enemy attack has already been rolled, ignore it.

    Attack 2 Foes (A) Attack 2 foes at roll -5.

    Parry 2 Foes (P) Parries 2 foes at roll -5

    Attack All Foes (A) Attack All foes in reach at roll -10.

    Parry All Foes (P) Parries All foes at roll - 10

    Parry Arrows (P) Parries an arrow at roll – 5. May be chosen more than once, in which case more than one arrow can be parried.

    Situational Awareness Character may Listen or Spot with a -5 difficulty modifier while fighting

    Gift of Command Character may issue a seven word order, shouting to his followers, while fighting. Getting them to hear and obey will require a roll of Leadership with a -5 difficulty modifier.

    Comments Anyone?

    Issues Anyone?


  18. Changed fumble table to address the issue of making sure chances of critical hitting self does not rise with character skill. Fumble table now is:

    Roll Result

    1-2 Off Balance Cannot attack next round

    3-5 Off Balance – Can neither attack nor parry next round

    6 Lose weapon – weapon cannot retrieved for rest of fight

    7 Vision obstructed – Attacks and parries -10 till one round out of combat can be spent to remove obstruction

    8 Hit self – roll D20 and if you roll a 1 damage is maximum and ignores armor; if not do normal weapon damage; to self. If this happens while parrying, drop parrying weapon or shield.

    9 Hit ally, as hit self except nearest friend is hit. If no friend within reach, hit self.

    10 Expose yourself – all enemy attacks increase one level, thus enemy misses become hits, hits become specials, specials critical successes, and critical successes cinematic.

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