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Jackals: Bronze Age Fantasy Roleplaying powered by OpenQuest


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Am I the only one in hype for the upcoming OpenQuest powered bronze age rpg coming from Osprey? https://www.amazon.com/Jackals-Bronze-Fantasy-Roleplaying-Osprey/dp/1472837428/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=

It does raise the bar for OpenQuest 3's production values, gulp! :D

Woah, that is a lot of responses. I will try to start sharing what I can! (Thank you for reaching out and letting me know about this and the RPGpub thread). OpenQuest is the core of the rules sys

32 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

Standard WotC OGL 1.0a is pp.270-71.

SDLeary

Unfortunately they've declared the whole book doesn't contain any Open Game Content, so it doesn't contribute anything back to the OGL ecosystem.

Edited by craigm
typos.
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3 minutes ago, craigm said:

Unfortunately they've declared the whole book doesn't contain any Open Game Content, so it doesn't contribute anything back to the OGL ecosystem.

Interesting. I missed that at the end of the colophon. I'm not sure it really matters though; while a nice looking game, I haven't come across anything yet that I'd really like to use someplace else; so far to me (still haven't had a chance at at real read) is OQ2 in a specific setting and renamed characteristics.

SDLeary

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12 hours ago, Bilharzia said:

Thanks for the correction, it doesn't mention that in the contents and the 'no open content' disclaimer is unusual.

Not as unusual as you might imagine. The Mongoose Runequest 2 / Glorantha books used a similar statement ("This game product contains no Open Game Content."), and it has appeared in subsequent OQ supplements and in the River of Heaven series. It's a catch-all statement that seems to be used to indicate that the author doesn't wish for any of the mechanics or setting to be reused without permission (whether that permission is impossible to transfer in the case of Glorantha, or requires special agreement in the case of the others is left as an exercise for those wishing to figure that out).

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3 hours ago, craigm said:

Not as unusual as you might imagine. The Mongoose Runequest 2 / Glorantha books used a similar statement ("This game product contains no Open Game Content."), and it has appeared in subsequent OQ supplements and in the River of Heaven series. It's a catch-all statement that seems to be used to indicate that the author doesn't wish for any of the mechanics or setting to be reused without permission (whether that permission is impossible to transfer in the case of Glorantha, or requires special agreement in the case of the others is left as an exercise for those wishing to figure that out).

It's not the "no open open game content" disclaimer that's unusual, it's that plus the OGL used at the same time that I think is unusual. No Mongoose Glorantha books ever used the OGL as far as I'm aware.

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50 minutes ago, Bilharzia said:

It's not the "no open open game content" disclaimer that's unusual, it's that plus the OGL used at the same time that I think is unusual. No Mongoose Glorantha books ever used the OGL as far as I'm aware.

The Mongoose Glorantha books are a strange case because the "This book contains no open gaming content" was redundant. I think that might have been a hold-over of their disclaimers from their d20 books.

The OGL is not a guarantee of open gaming content. It has two categories of content: product identity and open gaming content. Both must be explicitly be stated according to the license. That leaves a third category of content: content that is in the weird limbo of not being either category. If a book doesn't contain any open gaming content then it's safe to say that the authors and publishers wish no derivative works of that content unless made by some other special arrangement. Just because it has the OGL license at the end doesn't mean the book is open, only that it is fulfilling a legal requirement stated by the license to state where the derivative content originates.

Hope this helps!

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8 minutes ago, Bilharzia said:

Again, it's the combination of the two that seems unusual, I have no difficulty in understanding the OGL, but thanks for Crag- 'splaining it.

You're welcome. Licenses are a hobby for me, so I tend to pay special attention to them. It's a great conversation starter at dinner parties. 😁

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I think the point is that you can't close what has already been declared open content. If you use open content from another OGL work, it is open content and should be declared as such. If you didn't use any open content from another source and you aren't opening any of your content, then there is no logical reason to use the OGL for your book.

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2 hours ago, Spellslinging Sellsword said:

I think the point is that you can't close what has already been declared open content. If you use open content from another OGL work, it is open content and should be declared as such. If you didn't use any open content from another source and you aren't opening any of your content, then there is no logical reason to use the OGL for your book.

If you're using an OGL licensed work you are required to copy the OGL and cite where the material originates. So in the case of Jackals they had to put in the OGL license because it came from OpenQuest, which came from Legend. The part that I find troublesome with declaring that the book has no open content is that the open content had to come from somewhere for folks to be using it. So instead of having a clear list of what was open content and what could be considered open content I have to "pop the stack" to figure out where the open content came from. It's not that it's wrong, it's that it makes more work for me, and I am a fan of "share and share alike" in my licenses. (Aside: I find things where folks borrow from a permissive license and then declare "All Rights Reserved" a little disheartening, but that's just me).

Just because a work uses the OGL doesn't mean it has Open Gaming Content, or that it gives you the ability to enjoy the same rights that were granted to it in their derivation. It just means you get to do more work to figure things out.

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  • 1 month later...

Finally, Jackals arrived at my place after a failed preorder via Amazon and other shipping vicissitudes. The little book is lovely as the other Osprey books and the game inside seems really excellent. 

I jumped quickly to reading the Clash System and I like it immensely. It modernizes in intelligent ways the venerable d100 system, while remaining recognizably tied to its RQ/BRP roots (via Open Quest mostly, but I think I have spotted direct nods to BRP).

I'm still reading but almost everything seems excellent. The only thing that could be better is the character sheet. It's ok, but far from elegant.

All in all, I'm super excited by this line and look forward to the campaign book.

 

   

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I'm also pretty impressed by it - the setting really feels like a living and breathing thing. Not sure about clash points in combat yet, they might be a little to fiddly for me, but on the other hand, their use seems to be mostly reactive (counter-attack, dodge missiles, enhance a succesful attack), so maybe they won't lead to that much analysis paralysis ...

Like the mettle/valour concept (though it seems that it makes fighters a lot hardier than in standard BRP).

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  • 4 weeks later...

The setting is great, the additions to the Basic mechanism is good, but the magic is - for me - problematic. It feels a bit added, but not wanted. Like plastic in a biological body. I think after some games I need to find a better conversion from Mythras...

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3 hours ago, NurgleHH said:

The setting is great, the additions to the Basic mechanism is good, but the magic is - for me - problematic. It feels a bit added, but not wanted. Like plastic in a biological body. I think after some games I need to find a better conversion from Mythras...

Could you tell us a little bit about how Jackals magic system works? 

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There are less Rites and they depend on your human race. You need a an Attribut and a derived Attribut to cast the rituals. Only a ritualistic can do the rituals. The number of rituals is very limited, so a ritualist is very limited in his Special ability. Ok, being fair, Openquest is a very light version of a full D100-System. So I will try it, but when it not satisfy our groups wishes I change with the world to Mythras. I think it is simple to convert it. One other thing I miss is the graphics for all the races of the bestiary. Would be great to get them later.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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On 2/7/2021 at 4:49 PM, d(sqrt(-1)) said:

 

A few things I noticed on a read through. Not sure if there is a specific forum for questions other than here?

  • Some general typos but not major ones e.g. "Encumbrance" vs "Encumberance"
  • p52 : Weapons "Light melee and ranged weapons", I assume this is Light melee and light ranged weapons"?
  • p52 : Light weapons gain +1 Clash point due to speed - this ought to be mentioned elsewhere either under Fighting Styles (p66) or Clash points (p69) as it's easy to miss here.
  • p53 : Armour says "Soft armours provide less Protection but are less fatiguing to wear (p 74). p74 doesn't seem to say anything about this, I think it should be p 55 Encumbrance
  • p57 : Is there a minimum chance of success? Modifiers could easily knock it down to 0%
  • p63 : Initiative example, 18 rolled for Oritakan and 15 for the Norakan. On p 244/255 Norakan and Oritakan have Init 15, so the minimum would be 16 for Norakan.
  • p65 : Attack. The section on Clash spending sounds like it applies to melee only but doesn't actually say so. So if someone shoots at me can I make it a Clash and shoot back, highest successful roll hits? What if I dodge, obviously I can't damage them then (p 70 sort of implies this)
  • p66 : Criticals/Fumbles Jackal can spend Clash points for Power Attack after a critical for +6 damage (see p 66). This should be see p 70. Also maybe explain it is +6 because damage is maximised on a critical?
  • p70 : Clash Point costs - Clash a charging enemy. Highest success deals the damage it would seem, but it doesn't stop the movement etc (there's no definition of charge?)
  • p79 : Rite Defence/Save Effect - do I have to spend clash to resist a rite or is it just a normal opposed roll? p70 doesn't mention it as something to spend Clash on.
  • p83 : Crack of Flame. Enemies suffer penalty to non-defence skills equal to twice Devotion. Is that maximum Devotion or current Devotion?
  • p107 : Advanced Skill Talents (AST). Is it at 100% or 120% you get your first AST? Text here makes it seem like 120%, but p 117 under Rite and Fate talents says 100%. p208 Nahunum have Combat 120% and it says they get a talent, which implies at 120%
  • p109 : Healing: Triage and Respite say limited to once per day. Is that 1/day total or 1/day/subject?
  • p109 : Healing Arcana specialist says use acalana resin for 1 Clash instead of 2 in combat. where does it say 2 Clash points to do this? p70 doesn't mention it.
  • p196 : Many creatures have a Corruption rating.Does this do anything or is it purely for the purposes of rites like Touch of Law (p82)?

 

On the whole looks like a good system. 
 

 

Having received "Fall of the Children of Bronze" I also reread through Jackals and found a few more questions:


- p68 : Mettle : Says to recover lost Mettle requires a full day of rest, plus make END check to regain 1/1d4/4 Mettle. p74 says "One night of rest in a bastion removes 1 point of Mettle damage". Is this in addition, or is there a contradiction here? Also is there a specific definition of "bastion" - Village? Town? Orsem?

- p85 : Powder of Ibn al-Hanef : Range 3 yard radius, Advancement : range 6 yards. Dust of Geb (p86) has range 3 feet, and advancement says increase range to 6 yards - should this be 6 feet? Looks a bit like a copy and paste error.

- p111 : Quick Reflexes, repeated in Unarmed Combat (p112) - do these work for both? i.e. if you choose Quick Reflexes (Melee) does it only apply to Melee rolls? Skillful Strike explicitly says "Unarmed Combat check" but Quick Reflexes doesn't. Others that cross over e.g. Graceful Reflexes (Melee/Unarmed) just add +3 to initiative score so do they stack?
 
- p117 : Imbue Rite : When the imbued rite is activated does this require a skill roll? Presumably of the maker's skill (at time of manufacture?) as the holder may have DEV=0 and therefore no relevant skill. Or does it just work?

- p169 : Awakening an Item to greatness : rule says Wisdom x 3, example says Wisdom x 5.

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I'm glad to see some detailed discussion of rules issues for Jackals. I've read through it recently and have some questions, like d(sqrt(-1)). I won't post page numbers, though, since I have the Kindle version, which apparently has a different pagination.

  • Chapter 4, Clash System/Combat/Step 3: Initiative. The rules say to roll once for each type of foe, but in play the initiative slots do not belong to any given individual; the players (for the party) and the gm (for the npcs) decides who takes any particular available initiative slot. So, if as (in the example) the foes are 1 Oritakan with an initiative of 18 and 3 Norakan with an initiative of 15, can only 1 foe use the initiative 18 slot and the other 3 have to take the initiative 15 slot? Or could all three Norakan move at 18 and the Oritakan at 15?
  • Chapter 4, Clash System/Combat/Step 5: Combat Rounds/Clash Points/Improved Action Effects/Sweeping Arc. This reads 'If an attack hits, also deal half damage to one adjacent target.' Does this mean, in effect, that the character is making a second attack and needs to roll to hit? If not, it would seem that a good tactic for fighting an opponent with high weapon skill would be to attack the person next to him or her and then use this effect to do damage to the harder-to-beat foe without having to roll an attack.
  • Chapter 5, Rites. Are there going to be more of these? As it stands, there are 4 for each type of ritualist, which means players have access to all the rites of their tradition from character generation onward.
  • Chapter 5, Rites/Luathi Rites/Hasheer/Paths of the Moons. This useful rite depends on the phases of the three moons: "Certain effects of this rite are not accessible when the moon in question is new. Targets make Defence rolls as Simple checks when the moon is less than half full." First, which effects are not available? Second, how should the GM determine the moons' phases? The Lunar Calendar in chapter 8 Running the Game, covers only 1 month, though I suppose one could extrapolate from it. It's not clear how a GM would know when eclipses would occur, though.
  • Chapter 5, Rites/Gerwa Rites/Hekas. These alchemists prepare their powders, etc. out of combat. What sort of lab do they require to do this and how long does the process take? Is it something that could be done just before entering an 'adventure site' (lost city, etc.) or do you need a sizable setup and a fair amount of time?
  • Chapter 5, Rites/Gerwa Rites/Hekas/Powder of Ibn al-Hanef. What is the duration of this powder's effect once it is successfully cast onto an incorporeal spirit; that is, how long does it keep the spirit visible and tangible? There must be some interval, since if the spirit succeeds in its defence, "duration is halved." But the duration listed for the spell seems only to address the fact that the hekas prepares the powder in advance and reserves Devotion points into it until the powder is thrown onto a spirit: "Duration: Sustained: indefinite interval; lasts until used or dismissed."
  • Chapter 5, Rites/Gerwa Rites/Hekas/Imbue Lesser Elements. It's not clear to me what this rite is for. The general description states that "this is the basic rite the hekas use to prepare items for use in rites... This has the effect of making the item indestructible." Does that mean that a hekas has to use this ritual to create the powders for Powder of Ibn al-Hanef and Dust of Geb? It seems not, since the reserve Devotion cost for this is 2 points, while for those rites it is 3. Or is the point only to make an item indestructible? The description notes that this "provides a +1 to damage or protection on appropriate items." How long does this last? The duration given in the description is the standard: "Sustained; indefinite interval; lasts until used or dismissed." What does 'used' mean in this context? Or is this a copy-paste error from other spell descriptions
  • Chapter 5, Rites/Gerwa Rites/Hekas/Nightmare Token. What is the duration of this rite? The description says only "Sustained." According to the earlier general description under Rites by Tradition, "A ritualist can sustain some rites over multiple intervals if it has a duration of 'sustained.' The ritualist must pay the cost at the end of each interval or the rite ends.' So how long is the interval in this case? One night, once the spell has begun to work?
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Corruption plays a pretty big role in Jackals. It basically means movement towards 'the Dark side' so to speak, Chaos and evil. You can accumulate corruption points through various immoral or wrong actions, from tainted things or places, and so on. Gaining corruption can bring knowledge of Chaotic magic (though using this will increase corruption further) but it also has effects on the character's mind and body. Generally, these are pretty negative. The mental ones make pcs more likely to fail or botch certain skill rolls, and when they do, the gm takes over their character temporarily and makes them act in accordance with the mental flaw. Physical corruption is more patent--things like pus-filled buboes growing on the character. Some of these physical corruptions are advantageous--one adds 1D6+1 to Strength, for instance--but others are quite negative, like Flesh to Salt, which increases all damage taken by 3. Characters can shed corruption by engaging in atonement, once per season (i.e. every two adventures, in practice), which will require travel to an appropriate site and (usually) the expenditure of time and money. But the effects of corruption linger 2D6 or 3D6+6 months after atonement, for mental and physical corruption respectively, and if the character ever regains corruption points to the threshold that inflicted the result to begin with, the effects become permanent.

There are some vague or contradictory spots in the corruption rules, but my main issues with them are more general. First, the whole mechanism and the ideas behind it seem, well, a little off for the setting and the stories that are supposed to inspire it. They would be fine in WFRP, or something like that. But the idea that there is a strong battle between Law and Chaos and that Chaos is constantly waiting to corrupt individuals doesn't seem to fit well with the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Iliad, the Odyssey, or even the earlier books of the Bible that Jackals notes as inspiration. Heroic characters can certainly get themselves in hot water with divinities in the polytheistic stories, but those gods don't divide up neatly into Law vs. Chaos. Gilgamesh's problem is with Ishtar, not some Chaos spirit, and Greek heroes are typically patronized by some Olympian while being opposed by another. And the Jackals' universe seems too dualistic for the Early Hebrew material; Hebrew heroes may offend God and fall into sin, but they aren't corrupted by the Dark Side, so to speak.

This issue carries over into the list of actions that will gain characters corruption points. They include things like banditry, telling a falsehood to a lawful being, theft from lawful sources, and violence against or murdering a lawful being. The problem here is that in societies like Homeric Greece, heroes do these sorts of things all the time (well, maybe not murder, if we distinguish that as a special type of killing). Where would Odysseus be without the ability to lie? And various Homeric heroes are constantly raiding neighboring communities, killing those who oppose them, and carrying off cattle and goods. One would expect a similar ethos from the Trauj, the not-Bedouin of the setting, given the content of pre-Islamic Arabic poetry and epics. But any character that used Odysseus or Achilles as role-models would soon be in the depths of corruption in this game.

It is true that the corruption rules have some cultural specificity that make them apply most to the Luathi (the not-Hebrews). One effect of increasing corruption is that it cuts off some types of magic-users from their powers. This happens earliest for Luathi priests of Alwain (not-Jehovah), but soon afterward for Trauj berserks and a bit later for Trauj storytellers; while never for Melkoni (not-Greek) or Gerwa (not-Egyptian) magicians. But all characters regardless of culture suffer the mental and physical effects of corruption.

The other problem, from my perspective, is that characters suffer the effects of corruption too quickly, at too few corruption points--6 for the first mental corruption and 9 for the first physical one. They can gain those points pretty quickly. Going on a raid will gain you 1 corruption point + 1 per 100 silver shekels of loot taken. Since a bronze breastplate costs 1500 silver shekels, go on a raid, kill a foe, and take his armor (a very Homeric thing to do) and you have just gained 16 corruption points! That's enough to get the character 3 mental effects, 2 physical ones, and to gain knowledge to 2 Chaotic rituals. Or to give another example, one of the sample adventures includes a Chaotic liquor which, if ingested, can cause 1D6 corruption. Further, at 21 corruption points, a character is thoroughly Chaotic and becomes an NPC. It's just too easy to reach that threshold under the current rules.

I'm not sure what the best fix for this would be. For the second issue, that effects come with too few corruption points, I suppose one could just double or triple the scale used in the game. But that would have other knock-on effects, since there are some rituals, etc. whose outcomes are tied to the corruption level of the target. For the first issue, I think one would have to redo the list of which actions bring corruption, to make it fit better with the models for these fictional societies. Or maybe drop the corruption mechanic entirely.

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The Corruptive Actions table (p152) I think "Raid" is referring to Banditry specifically, and Murder I would take to mean premeditated killing rather than just in a fight, so I'm not sure it would be that much Corruption. I guess it might mean that bandits generally are corrupted though!

"Imbue Lesser Elements" (p86) does have the useful effect of making something indestructible and gives +1 damage or Protection until the rite is dismissed.

BTW there are some playthroughs with the author here: Jackals Actual Play which do cover some of the rules questions, and also mentions in passing that there is another book "Travellers on the War Road" which has new rites etc. 

Edited by d(sqrt(-1))
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20 hours ago, d(sqrt(-1)) said:

The Corruptive Actions table (p152) I think "Raid" is referring to Banditry specifically, and Murder I would take to mean premeditated killing rather than just in a fight, so I'm not sure it would be that much Corruption. I guess it might mean that bandits generally are corrupted though!

"Imbue Lesser Elements" (p86) does have the useful effect of making something indestructible and gives +1 damage or Protection until the rite is dismissed.

BTW there are some playthroughs with the author here: Jackals Actual Play which do cover some of the rules questions, and also mentions in passing that there is another book "Travellers on the War Road" which has new rites etc. 

Thanks for the reply. I guess then 'banditry' would only apply to raids on people of a character's culture or political unit? It seems to me that heroes of the mold of Achilles, etc. spend a fair amount of time attacking outsiders and taking their stuff. Even doing that would entail corruption gain, since 'violence against a lawful being' still brings a character two corruption points per act. And 4 such acts--say attacking 4 individuals? Or 4 different combats?--would bring a character to 8 corruption, enough to gain mental and physical effects. The corruption rules do not seem to be designed for a heroic society of the sort you find in the Iliad or Odyssey. (Another minor problem is that the rules don't define 'lawful being' or even use the phrase except in the Corruptive Actions table, as far as I can see.)

On Imbue Lesser Elements, I was wondering if it was needed for other Gerwa rites--the statement in the rules that "this is the basic rite used to prepare items for use in rites..." So would you need to invoke it for the powder used in the Powder of Ibn al-Hanef, for instance, as well as invoking that rite?

Thanks for the link to the playthroughs. I hope there will be a list of errata or rules corrections at some point, since it is not very convenient to have to watch videos and take notes on them. Is Travelers on the War Road another name for the campaign that has just been published (Fall of the Children of Bronze), or something else?

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