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Andrew J. Luther

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  • RPG Biography
    I've been playing RPGs for almost 35 years; everything from D&D (every edition) through World of Darkness, many iteractions of BRP (RuneQuest, Call of Cthulhu, etc.), Ars Magica, Traveller, many superhero games, Fate (various iterations), HeroQuest, and many more. I almost always run the games, as my players prefer me to GM most games we play. I've written and published a few d20 System products in the past.
  • Current games
    I am currently running an AD&D 1E campaign for my son and his friends, an AD&D 2E game for my old gaming group, a Fate Core espionage campaign using the ShadowForce Archer setting for yet another group of friends, a 7th Sea campaign for close family members, and a solo HeroQuest game set in Ptolus for my son.
  • Location
    Burlington, Ontario
  • Blurb
    I'm a writer of fantasy novels in my spare time. I've written and published three novels in the Tales of the Undying Empire Series, and the first novel in the Undying Empire: Rebellion trilogy. I've posted a bunch of free short stories and a host of material about roleplaying games on my blog at www.andrewjluther.com.

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  1. Oooooh, that's an awesome take on the conclusion of the contest that didn't occur to me when I was writing it. You've totally nailed it here with the Parting Shot and Rising Action details. Do you mind if I update that blog post with a link back to your post here?
  2. And now I’m happy to announce that Betrayal at Shadewood Keep, the licensed adventure for the Mythras roleplaying game with the Classic Fantasy supplement, is now available in print! This 68-page adventure is a perfect-bound, full-colour book with a beautiful glossy cover. And it is now available from Amazon. Remember, buying the POD book entitles you to a free copy of the PDF. Please visit the official product page for more information.
  3. I'm definitely planning to do that (Loz suggested it), but I ran out of time yesterday. I'll try to get on there tonight or tomorrow.
  4. Betrayal at Shadewood Keep, a 68-page adventure for the Mythras roleplaying game with the Classic Fantasy supplement, is now available at and RPGNow.Raiding parties have been emerging from the dark Shadewood Forest to attack local villages. The paladin responsible for protecting the area is unable to stem the tide of destruction. Can you protect the helpless villages while uncovering the mastermind behind the attacks? Or will you fall prey to Betrayal at Shadewood Keep?This 68-page adventure is designed for Classic Fantasy characters of Rank 3 and can be dropped into practically any existing campaign. This primarily wilderness-based adventure will give your druids and rangers a chance to shine, while still providing plenty of adventure for all character classes.Betrayal at Shadewood Keep includes detailed descriptions of Kewin Town and Shadewood Keep, and all maps needed for play. Full monster and NPC statistics are provided, as well as two new gods—one good, one evil—that you can use to supplement your existing campaign pantheon.For more information, see the official announcement.
  5. For anyone who might be interested, I posted another segment on my blog today where I cover how one might use a published adventure for another system (in this case, Pathfinder) with the HQ 2 rules. I walk through the first adventure in the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path, Burnt Offerings and describe how I would run it in HQ. I hope it helps to show how easy it is to "convert" a cool published adventure with almost no actual work required.
  6. Group Simple Contests, while they do use Resolution Points, do not use the Rising Action or Climactic Scene Consequences. From page 34 of the HQ 2 core rules, in the Group Simple Contests section, under Consequences and Benefits: "Assign lingering benefits according to the group's victory level, as per the Lingering Benefits table, p. 31. Assign penalties for negative consequences according to the resisting force's victory level, as per the States of Adversity table, p. 30." Those are the tables under Simple Contests, and so they are used for Group Simple Contests as well. However, there is also the option in a Group Simple Contest to only apply the benefit or consequence to part of the group. From the book, same page as above: "Depending on which approach seems to grow organically from the story, ongoing repercussions from group simple contests may be assigned to the entire group, or to individual members who performed either especially well, or especially poorly. Default to rewarding everyone. Resort to individualized repercussions only when a group reward defies dramatic credibility, or when competition within the group is a pivotal dramatic issue." Only Extended Contests, both normal and Group, use the Rising Action and Climactic Scene Consequence tables.
  7. I didn't note it in the post on my blog, but those character sheets are pretty old, and I'd do a few things differently now. I'll probably update them if I expand on some of the D&D stuff over the next few weeks. (Not only that, but I did the character sheets in Excel at the time rather than InDesign, as I was having issues with the Adobe Design Suite on that PC, so anything I did now would look a lot better than those do.) I do agree that breaking things out to avoid the stretch penalties is a good idea, just as using racial keywords for what would normally be class abilities is also cool. My objective in any of these "conversions" is to be able to use an existing setting (e.g. Ptolus) or adventure (e.g. Rise of the Runelords) and have it capture the general feeling of the native system without converting over all the specifics. For example, I don't want to emulate levels at all, because I don't particularly like them. I'd like to have a group of PCs go through an entire Adventure Path, and then go somewhere else in Golarion and do a different adventure path with the same characters. That's something you couldn't do with Pathfinder, because at the end of one adventure path, you'd be way too powerful to go back and start another. But since a group could play through an entire Adventure Path using HeroQuest in a fraction of the time that it would take using Pathfinder, it would be great to have a campaign made up of wandering adventurers who get involved in one major event after another. This was why I used HQ for my Ptolus campaign. As I noted in my blog post, there's so much to do in that setting that the characters rise in level way too fast in standard D&D. That wasn't a problem at all in HQ.
  8. Some more thoughts... As I said, I've been batting around a few different ways of doing this: - The simplest method I came up with was that the wizard could cast all the spells he/she learned from the grimoire. When he/she cast a spell, if the contest result was Marginal or Minor, the spell would be erased from the caster's memory for that day, and if the result was Major or Complete, the spell was not erased and could be cast again. This worked fairly well, and the player of the wizard often made sure there was a spare Hero Point so that she could bump up the result of a contest when she really wanted to hold onto a spell for later use. I like this because it's easy, though if a player is having a rough night with the d20, they can end up with a lot of one-shot spells. - A slightly more complicated method I considered was more like Shadowrun than D&D. Each time a wizard cast a spell, he/she would then roll another Simple Contest to not "lose" the spell for the day. A Marginal result would allow one additional casting and then it would definitely be gone from memory, and any other successful result meant the spell was not expended from memory. I didn't use this one because it wasn't really like D&D and it wasn't as simple as the one above. - A third option was to simply say that once a spell was cast, that was it for the day. This is my least favourite option because it means that a character is regularly not able to use abilities for which they've paid. A workaround could be to make spells cheaper to learn, and a wizard could choose to learn multiple instances of the same spell. That might solve my issues with it, though it would end up cluttering up the character sheet after a while. - The final option goes the other way and gets rid of spells/day altogether. After all, characters are already balanced rather well in HQ, so spells per day is a mechanic in search of a problem that no longer exists. Of course, this also doesn't really feel like D&D either, so some groups may not feel it's appropriate. Personally, while I wanted to retain the overall feel of D&D, I wasn't going to limit myself by trying to emulate every last element of that game and my players were also flexible. We were after a game that emulated the D&D genre (which is its own thing within the fantasy genre), rather than just play "D&D but with a different roll-for-success mechanic." One other thing to keep in mind - as the GM (DM), I controlled what spells were in the wizard's initial grimoire (with player input of course), and I decided what spells she would eventually have access to, based on what treasure I threw into the game. This is, of course, exactly what earlier D&D campaigns expected, so it's no different than what we did with AD&D back in the day. This also means that I can easily avoid problem spells that I feel may have detrimental effects on the game. But the most important check and balance for me is that I rarely play with people I don't already know, and if something in a game turns out to be an issue, my players are very reasonable about making adjustments because they want the game to be enjoyable for everyone in the group.
  9. @JonL, the idea at the time I created these a couple of years ago was that the "Fight with..." ability was used for straight combat-related stuff, and the "...Specialist" ability was related to everything else that might come up. So the Longsword Specialist ability would be used to identify famous longswords, do basic repairs to one that was damaged, estimate the value of a particular sword, and other things like that. I knew that I could let the players use their "Fight with..." abilities to also do this as a stretch, but this was my first stab at D&D throug HeroQuest. One other thing you may note (that I totally forgot to mention in my blog post) is that I houseruled a difference between Hero Points and Experience Points. Basically, Hero Points were used for all the normal stuff except advancement, and XP were used solely for advancement. I was also looking at your posts above regarding magic users and spells per day. I've been noodling with a few different ways to do D&D magic. One thing to keep in mind is that the spells per day mechanic, in conjunction with the spell memorization times, were a limit on spell casters in order to help balance them against other classes in early versions of D&D (especially AD&D). This isn't an issue in HeroQuest, because you don't get the linear fighter / quadratic wizard problem due to the nature of abilities, the lack of classes, and the way characters advance. However, spells per day is definitely a part of D&D, and if you're trying to keep that feel, then it makes sense to either include it, or set up the magic system so that it has a similar feel, even if the mechanics are not the same.
  10. I've put up some material on recreating D&D using HeroQuest (including downloadable sample characters) on my site, and I will be adding more material each week, including some free "genre packs" over the next few months. My site is www.andrewjluther.com, and the first D&D post is here. Thanks.
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