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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Worlds Apart - Traveller Based RPG From Expeditious Retreat Press (Free and Pay Versions)

Joe Browning has released Worlds Apart, a Traveller "Powered" RPG. Unlike many of the games using the OGL, which are D20 based, Joe went with OGL Traveller to build his latest game's engine.

At it's simplest, its a fantasy themed pirate RPG setting, with Dwarves and Elves (no halflings or gnomes - the shame). Well, actually not pirating, but I could see privateering happening in the setting.

AS far as I know, this is the first game that isn't Traveller using the Traveller game engine, including careers and tours (and possible death) during character generation. For this reason alone I want to give it a try.

I'm working my way through the paid with art version of Worlds Apart, and I like what I see so far. I need to see how well he's integrated magic spells ("Talents") into the Traveller engine. I'm very intrigued. I'll review it when I'm through the rules, but I wanted to bring it to your attention, especially with the free version of the Worlds Apart rules being released (and practically the whole art free package being released to the OGL) alongside the paid.

From the blurb:


Four islands composed the sultry chain, floating upon a bright blue sea under a tropical sun, each island gradually decreasing size as the eye passed from north to south. They were mountainous, etched with deep valleys, and covered with lush foliage. Greysolt surveyed the chain as best he could with his spyglass, taking the longest time upon the southernmost island, covered in a hazy steam of warm clouds. The crew of The Dromedary remained silent as the Captain surveyed what no other voyagers had ever seen. Each held different thoughts in the silence: thoughts of receptive natives, thoughts of fresh water and fresh fruit, thoughts of spices unknown to the civilized world, thoughts of slaughter and pillage.

The crew was a motley sort, a dozen or so hardened men and women in their late 30’s. Each had another life behind them; some, several different lives. They were unreliable in the mainstay, but rock-solid in a clutch. They bickered and feuded as they worked, helping each other make The Dromedary move, breath, and live. Their ship was not just a thing of wood and artifice, it was a collection of elemental powers: it was a voyager ship.

Greysolt declared the all clear indicating an isolated cove to drop anchor, and the crew jumped into action. Several went into the hull to tend to the elementals bound within eldritch machinery, but most headed towards their cabins, gathering various equipment for the coming landing. The cove beckoned, the unknown called.

The Dromedary calmly pulled into the bay and slowed to drop anchor. Two dinghies plopped into the water, and their crew descended into the rocking ships. Crossbows ready, the small craft rowed to the black sand shores. Behind the shores a seemingly impenetrable wall of vegetation dazzled in a multi-colored display. Now, to heed the call…

Welcome, traveler, to Worlds Apart! Brave the Forever Sea in a fantasy game of trade and exploration. Take the role of soldier or sailor, entertainer or scholar, dweomercraefter or drifter. A thousand thousand islands populate the world and riches, adventure, and danger lurks upon every shore!

More Thoughts on Racial Specific Character Classes - How Many Does a Race Need?

Assuming you are going to go the ACKS route of introducing Racial Specific Character Classes to your OSR game of choice, how many do you need?

What I mean is this - humans cover all four compass points in pretty much every ruleset (with the exception of S&W White Box, which lacks a thief class, just like the the original D&D Boxed Set). A human centric party has access to a fighter, cleric, magic-user and thief class. You can leave out demi-humans and not have a hole in your party.

Most OSR games have PC clerics as human only (apparently demi-humans dont actively worship their own gods - or maybe carpet bagger human clerics come along to fill the niche?). Elves are usually the only option for a non-human arcane spell caster. Sure, they can all be fighters to a limited extent, but the only class offering unlimited advancement to the non-humans is thief.

Think about that for a moment. Thievery is the niche that was given to demi-humans to thrive in. Apparently it's the only thing they are good at, and they all make better thieves than humans if your game uses racial adjustments.

I know, the demi-races are balanced by their level limits, but what about the limited options? Isn't part of the fun of playing a game about imaginary fantasy to be able to be and do fantastic things?

3e almost got it right by opening up all classes to all races, but even that fails to capture the uniqueness of each race. A Dwarven Warrior and a Halfling Warrior draw upon different backgrounds, and especially in the case of the halfling, I'm pretty sure the human centric "Fighter" class is a poor fit.

Yes, this stuff is kicking around in my head and on my hard drive to some extent. We'll see if it bears fruit.

So, does each race need to cover all 4 corners to some extent? If you want an "All Halfling" campaign, or "All Elf" campaign, the answer is probably yes. Doesn't mean each race would be equally good at each of the four "class type niches", but they probably all should be covered.

This, of course, would lead to an insanely huge rulebook ;)

I'm sure I'll have more thoughts on this soon...

The August DCC RPG Contest Has Closed - 25 Extremely Corrupted Entries

From the very first to the very last, twenty-five very imaginative corruption results have been presented by the readers of this blog for entry in the Design Your Own Corruption Result for the DCC RPG. You can read the entries in the original thread here. After we award the prizes I'll organize them into a general list and later work them out as two new variant DCC RPG Corruption Result Tables.

Not an easy thing to judge (I can see why people farm out judging contests like this - I may need some suckers... er, volunteers for September's Contest ;)

In any case, this current contest has a committee of two - my wife Rachel and myself. She's no gamer, but I'm sure she'll get a kick out of reviewing and judging the 25 entries we received here at The Tavern. Expect the prize awarding post to go up sometime tomorrow.

I want to thank everyone that took the time to enter the contest, and to everyone that read the entries. That one blog post has well over 500 hits as I type this. It was by no means an easy contest to enter, and the high quality of the entries shows the effort that was put into each.

Well done to all!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Blood & Treasure Complete - All the Cool Kids Are Doing It!

Yep - got mine!


Coincidentally, its the only RPG book I'm taking in physical format for my weekend in the country. Not saying my Nexus 7 isn't fully loaded, but for hammock and / or lake shore reading, there can be only one - Blood & Treasure Complete.

With Halflings Even!
Time To Roll a New PC...

Mini Review - Castles & Crusades Player's Handbook - 5th Printing - Now in Fabulous Technicolor

I've spoken about Castles & Crusades many a time on this blog. It literally is the game that brought me back to RPGs. It spoke to me like nothing else had since D&D 1e, and at the time it was first and only retroclone-ish release in the RPG market. I have every printing of the C&C Handbook - some multiple printings even, as I have the leatherette and the softcover PH / M&T flip book.

Every printing but the 5th. Well, now I have the C&C PH 5th printing in PDF. I still need to get it in HC.

So, what's the appeal of Castles & Crusades, when you have all of the other retroclones out there that hew pretty close to one classic ruleset or another?

Easy peasy compatibility from 3x to 0e. It plays very much like AD&D, and it's class selection is certainly built upon AD&D 1e.

Tons of support, adventures, and even a Fantasy Grounds ruleset available for it.

The 5th edition Player's Handbook is much like earlier editions, but with typos stomped and now color added. It's a pleasure to look at (and the PDF is nicely bookmarked) but it would be a PITA to print on your own. Consider yourself warned.

So many games, so little time ;)

What's Your Favorite Non-Classic Fantasy Race?

The discussions about halflings and gnomes has reinforced the idea that there is some push back against some of the "non-classic" fantasy races. I can understand why, even if I don't fully agree with it, but it got me thinking about my favorite "non-classic" fantasy race - Wolfen from the Palladium RPG.

Somehow the idea of wolflike humanoids that are organized enough to create their own empire strikes a cord in me. I really should write up a OSR styled conversion - Wulfs maybe, so big Kev doesn't get all up in arms ;)

What's your favorite?

What't your least favorite? (that would be Dragonborn for me - don't ask why, there is no rational reason)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

More Complicated the Rules = Lesser Expectation of Character Death?

I think I've touched on this before, but I find it interesting at the moment, as I'm reading a Pathfinder adventure with the idea of porting it over to ACKS or S&W Complete for my own use. It caught my eye, as a reviewer referred to it as "deadly" and "an old school dungeon crawl", but then seemed to be turned off to it in large part for those very reasons.

Does Pathfinder not mesh well with old school dungeon crawls? Is the risk of character death in a rule system that encourages players to plan out their skills and feats in advance too great for the "Oh Shit! Run!" style of play?

I really dug the Pathfinder Beginner Box. It kept the complications down and did a great job in presenting the system. I'd actually play the Pathfinder Beginner Box. My Pathfinder Rulebook? It's a great value, but it's going into storage with the rest of my Pathfinder goodies to make room for the OSR stuff that I actually use. Pathfinder is just too much for me. Too heavy. Too complicated.

I really wish there was a Pathfinder Basic or Light version that was compatible wit all of the great Pathfinder adventures without all the unnecessary system weight. Okay, the weight may be necessary for some people, but it's not for my taste ;)

As for the adventure I'm reading? So far it seems like a perfect fit for my style of gaming. Which isn't Pathfinder...

Came Home to Some Great Art - Elric By Jeff Dee!

Got my Kickstarter package from Jeff Dee. The man is a really good artist. I'd jump in for more stuff, but I'm going to have a hard time finding places for these after I get them framed. ;)

(poor lighting in my dining room didn't help the shots- ah well)




No Gnomes? Oh Nos!

I'm sure pretty much everyone remembers the "No Gnomes!" videos and other similar advertisements that WotC used when it was rolling 4e out the door. Somehow "No Gnomes!" was supposed to be a selling point.

How did the little buggers get such a bad rap?

In AD&D, the were the only non-elf (or non-half-elf) race to get access to arcane magic, although they did it as illusionists.

In the realm of OSR retroclones, halflings might get slighted, but they aren't overlooked like gnomes are:

Swords & Wizardry - Gnome free

Labyrinth Lord - I believe they make their appearance in the Advanced Edition Characters book

LotFP Weird Fantasy - Just be happy halflings made the cut and don't ask about the gnomes. They're probably being corrupted as I write this.

ACKS - Halflings were omitted on purpose. Gnomes weren't even thought about enough to be purposefully mitted - the were just left out.

Is it just because they were one of the last races (certainly the last race that wasn't a hal breed) that was added to the adventuring mix that they suffer this oversight? Is it because they are some ill defined quasi cousins of dwarves? Is it the curse of the Garden Gnomes that keep them down? Did the Tinker Gnomes of Krynn use up the last of the goodwill that was aimed in the Gnome's direction?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Found! Free City of Haldane (Iridia #87)

I've been trying to find The Free City of Haldane for the better part of a year. I knew I had it somewhere, but I didn't expect to find it in a bunch of papers sitting inside a box of RPGs destined for storage. All because I was trying to track down by softcover copy of Swords & Wizardry Complete (I think that must currently be IN storage - I'll track it down of Friday).

This was a classic issue in Christian's old Iridia zine. I'm glad I found it just in time for the kick off of The City of Haldane series in his Loviatar zine :)

I'm looking forward to the new version, but I'm extremely happy to have my old version too.

Sometimes You Get Amazing Quantity - Other Times You Get Amazing Quality - I Like Both :)

Last month's DCC contest had over 130 entries. Simply amazing. There were some real gems among the zero level professions entered, and I still need to whittle it down to a 100 entry long table for Crawl!

So far this month, the DCC contest has 9 entries for the "Post a DCC Corruption Result of Your Own". It's a fair number, and there is just under a day and a half left in the contest, so there is still time to enter as I post this (hint!).  This contest has struck the quality bar and surpassed it. The entries equal or exceed those in the DCC RPG rulebook on pure imagination alone. At least, that's my humble opinion.

As I am the sole decider of the non-random prizes, I can see this is going to be a beautifully tough contest to judge. I can also foresee that down the line, if the monthly contests pick up in both quality and quantity, I may need to farm out the judging.

Damn cool :)


Converting Between OGL Systems - On the Fly or Prior Prep?

To a certain extent, everything from OD&D through 3.5e (and quite possibly 5e) are somewhat compatible. Back in my early gaming I was using D&D adventures in my AD&D game without batting an eye.

These days, I've used LL, C&C and S&W adventures and supplements in my ACKS campaign. Most of the conversion work I can do on the fly, but there are times I wish I had spent a few minutes ahead of time making sure things were ready for ACKS.

I've also grabbed some stuff from 3x and Pathfinder with minimal effort in converting, but I suspect the reverse would be more time consuming if not downright frustrating.

So, do you mix and match OSR/OGL rules in your games? Convert on the fly or scratch it out ahead of time?

Racial Specific Class - Halfling Adventurer (S&W Complete)

Based on yesterday's Halfling discusion and my later post on Racial Specific Classes, I came up with the following for Swords & Wizardry Complete:

Halfling Adventurer

Prime Attribute: Dexterity, 13+ (+5% experience bonus)
Hit Dice: 1d4/level (gains 2hp/level after 9th - maximum level is 10th)
Armor: Chainmail or Leather; no shield
Weapons Permitted: Any, but magical weapons are limited to daggers, swords and bows

Adventurer Class Abilities:

Fights as a Thief of the same level. (No Backstab Ability)

Saves as a Thief of the same level.

Levels as Thief

All thieving skills except Climb Walls. If wearing chainmail armor that is not magical, thieving skill effective level is reduced by 2 levels (Adventurers of 1st or 2nd level can not attempt any thief abilities while wearing chainmail armor)

Dodge Fatal Blow 1/day (2/day at level 5, 3/day at level 10) the Halfling Adventurer can attempt to dodge a fatal blow (physical attack from combat or trap - does not apply to spells, or spell effects - it does apply to breath weapons). The attack in question must have the potential to reduce the Adventurer to 0 HP or less (the DM will state if it does if the player asks). 


After the roll to hit against the Adventurer is successful, but before damage is determined, the player of the Adventurer must decide if he will attempt to use his Dodge Fatal Blow ability. If he decides to use Dodge Fatal Blow, he rolls a saving throw, and if successful, no damage is taken (nor is it rolled). If he fails his saving throw, he takes damage as normal and loses his next attack due to disorientation from attempting to dodge the blow that landed.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Racial Specific Classes - Or - Are the Core Classes Too Human-centric?

I've been running an ACKS campaign for a couple of months now, and if there is one main difference between ACKS and other retroclones (besides the rules for high level / ruler style play) is the inclusion of racial specific classes. Dwarven Vaultguards are very similar to human fighters, but it is a specific class available only to dwarves. Elven Nightblades are a magic-user/thief combo class that takes some abilities from each, but not all (no open locks or find / remove traps, much to my party's dismay).

The thing is, these classes are unique to each race. They are different from the standard classes. It's been  an excellent roleplay tool, and it helps folks think of races in the game as other than just a set of adjustments to a class.

Now, I'm not saying you can't have dwarven fighters or elven magic-users in your campaign - I'm sure I will when I run my next campaign of length, which will probably be a slightly houseruled Swords & Wizardry Complete game. But I think there should be options available for those that want to play something that more "racial specific" in the way of class.

It might also be an excellent way to give the halfling a better definition other that "short thief".

Hopefully I'll have something for the morning, and if I do, I'll post it here. Well, not THIS post mind you, but a new post, but here on THIS blog ;)

How High Should Magic Spells Go in Your OSR Game?

Notice how I said in YOUR OSR game ;)

Should spells go up to level 9 for both Magic-users and Clerics?

How about level 9 spells for Magic-users and level 7 for Clerics?

As low as level 6 spells for Magic-users and level 5 for Clerics?

Magic does set the tone of a campaign to some extent, and knowing how high your caster's potential is can be a defining moment.

For me, the answer would be level 6 for Magic-users and Level 5 for Clerics. It just seems like the right spot to top off the power of mere mortals. Magic beyond that is the business of the gods themselves.

What's your answer?

(there is a poll that will be up for a few days to grab your statistical answers, but I'd like to hear your reasonings too)

Why Do Halflings Get the Short Stick in Many RPGs?

Halflings were never all that powerful in AD&D. Poor guys were limited to 4th level as a fighter (although unlimited as a thief, something they excelled at).

LotFP's Weird Fantasy made them into some kind of "kick it and see if it goes off" trap detector, where their only specialty was good saves. No offensive usefulness, no utility worth besides setting off traps, they seems more like an afterthought.

Adventurer Conqueror Kings System does away with them all together. They're in the moster section if I recall correctly, but they were intentionally left out during the design of the system.

Halflings fair a little better in the DCC RPG, with dual wielding and their luck ability. Actually, with their luck ability, they seem a wee bit like their shorter green cousins of Irish lore ;)

Is it a general disdain of the race / class? Has it been over used and over played due to it's LotR roots? Is there an Anti-Hobbit backlash going on?

I always enjoyed playing a halfling Fighter / Thief - it made for a nice dungeon styles ranger substitute, but maybe that's just me and my style.

Do you also feel the wee folks have been held down, or am I over reaching? (had to get some height jokes in while I could ;)

How NOT to Get a Link Back From the Tavern


Every once in a while, Google's spam catching software let's a post get through. More often, it catches legitimate posts, and I have to release them from the spam dungeon. The following comment dodged Google's Spam Police and actually was live for about 30 minutes:

I just found your site and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your posts.In any case I'll be subscribing to your blog and I hope you post again soon Mr. King Solomon Sword

The Mr. King Soloman Sword part linked back to a novelty store for knives, swords and such. Cheap prices and even cheaper quality.

If you think you have something that this blog's readers might be interested in, reach out to me direct. Figure out how to do it. Others do.

Trying to scam The Tavern's readers is NOT the way to do it. This means you - Jeffery R Carter on G+. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Free Game of the Week - Flying Swordsmen (OSRish)

So, what exactly is Flying Swordsmen? It is the OSR styled rules turned slightly askew. It's the Sunday Matinee Martial Arts Movies of your (or at least my) childhood brought to life - via an RPG. This is not Oriental Adventures. This is Flying Swordsmen.

Here's how the author's blog describes it at What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse:


Welcome to the home of the Flying Swordsmen Role Playing Game.  Flying Swordsmen is a game of fantasy martial arts, where characters use swords, fists, spells, and more to battle other martial artists and monsters, and seek out new techniques or magic to improve their martial skill.

Players take on the role of a Fighter, Wizard, Shaman or Thief, and can customize their martial arts abilities as they advance in level.  The Stunt system allows players to create the sorts of wild and crazy abilities and moves seen in Wuxia (fantasy martial arts) movies and comics.  

Alright, I guess it even covers the more recent martial arts flicks, but I still love my poorly dubbed ones from childhood ;)

If you are comfortable with OSR style rules, this should be an easy fit for you. The stunt dice even remind me a bit of Mighty Deeds of Arms from the DCC RPG.

What's the Deal With Parrying in S&W Complete?

Alright, this has my head scratching (Swords & Wizardry Complete Page 14):


Parry: Fighters with a Dexterity score of 14 or better can fight on the
defensive, parrying enemy blows and dodging attacks, as shown on the
table below.

Fighter Parrying Ability
Dexterity Score Penalty to Enemy Attacks

14 -1
15 -2
16 -3
17 -4
18 -5

Is this in lieu of Attacking? In addition to? Is this like a super AC bonus? Does it stack with the +1 from a high Dex?

Heron Prior on G+ got me thinking about this and I'm not sure.

I've read a post on Dragonsfoot that indicates Matt intended it to be vague and open to interpretation. I find that answer to be disappointing, to say the least. If there are options on how to use something (ability, skill, spell, whatever), say so in the book - don't leave folks wondering if they have it right or wrong.

There is a post at the above link suggesting that it be limited to Fighters in light or no armor. Another post suggested the Fighter choose between Strength bonus to hit and a Parry bonus based on Dex - you can't have both in the same round.

I think either solution could work, but a Fighter in plate with an 18 Dex get +6 (+5 from parry, +1 from pure Dex) to his AC - so then I'd say know to the Hit OR Parry bonus scheme.

My vote is - light armor or no armor, the fighter can elect to gain a parry bonus from high Dexterity.

So let it be written, so let it be done ;)

Re-Reading Swords & Wizardry Complete Has Started...

Somehow, I never noticed during my first read through that Con and Dex have a maximum adjustment of +1 for high stats. At first, my mind rebelled when seeing this, but in further thought, it keeps AC and HP less swingy. I actually like it.

Str bonus only for Fighters I'll probably house rule away, although I'd probably cap it at +1 for non-fighters.

S&W Complete feels much like AD&D, simplified to the way my groups played it. We had houseruled it without knowing that's what we were doing.

I do miss the Illusionist. I might have to write up my own version of the class, much like I did the Bard last year.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Google Nexus Tablet Meets My RPG PDF Collection

I've had the Google Nexus 7 Tablet for about 5 weeks now. I can tell from an earlier post today (talking  about the Blood & Treasure RPG) that folks are interested in knowing how the Nexus 7 holds up when reading RPG PDFs.

It holds up very well.

The last two PDFs I've looked at on the Nexus 7 (using the EZ PDF Reader App) have been Blood & Treasure and Swords & Wizardry Complete. Why? Because I just bought the first one, and the second one is on my mind with the Reaper Kickstarter and the Swords & Wizardry Complete Kickstarter.

Both are readable with the tablet held in the vertical position, like a book. The print is small, but readable. I've mostly been using it to read for a few minutes in bed before sleep. If I were going to read for a longer period of time, I'd probably hold it in the horizontal position and move the page up and down for the two column format most games seem to favor.

Actually, I've got bunch of stuff on it in PDF format, so I'll rate them from zero to 2 thumbs up for vertical (V) and horizontal (H) reading. In no particular order:

RuneQuest 6 - 1V, 2H
S&W Complete - 1V, 2H
Blood & Treasure - 1V, 2H
Death Love Doom - 1+V, 2H (just a tad better to read than the others so far in vertical position)
ACKS - 1-V, 2H (its readable in vertical, but the walls of text don't make it easy)
Advanced Dungeons & Savages - 2V, 2H
Attack of the Frawgs! - 1V, 2H
The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk - 1V, 2H
Stars W/O Number - Core Edition - 1V-, 2H (readable but not easy on the eyes in vertical)
Other Dust -1V-, 2H (readable but not easy on the eyes in vertical)
DCC RPG - 1V+, 2H (maybe it's the font, but it's a bit easier on the eyes than most of the others when held in the vertical position)

So, most is readable in the vertical (book held) position, but for extended reading, you'll probably want to hold it vertically. I couldn't even really try to read most of my PDFs in the vertical postion with my Kindle Fire. I'm going to chalk that up to the quality of the screen.

Tenkar's Magical Tidbits - Talizmar's Woundlicker (OSR Weapon)

I was going to label this for use with Swords & Wizardry, as it certainly has gained some fame over the last few days, but Talizmar's Woundlicker should work in any OSR/OGL game with little changes necessary. So use it in ACKS, DCC RPG, Blood & Treasure - it should work in all.

Talizmar's Woundlicker is a magic longsword with some known history. It's first owner of any sort of fame was Talizmar, a warrior that fancied himself a ranger of sorts. He found the sword in an ancient barrow, and quickly fell fond of it. Maybe it was the etchings on the blade that seemed to slowly flow when stared at, or maybe it was the minor yet consistant healing of his wounds in combat that caused the bond, but he was never without out it. He kept it until the day he was felled by Tal & Mal, the two-headed giant, who left the sword where it fell with it's owner.

The game effects of Talizmar's Woundlicker are as follows. It is long sword of excellent quality, and as such, it inflicts +1 damage on all damage rolls. The blade is enchanted, with the following effects. When first used in combat, it instills a -2 adjustment to the wielder's to-hit roll, as the blade is groggy and desires blood. After the first hit, the adjustment becomes -1 to hit, after the second successful hit in the same combat it has no adjustment, upon the third successful hit it is +1 to hit and so on until the 5th successful hit, where it becomes +2 to hit until the end of the combat (and combat within 1 turn / 10 minutes picks up where the blade's bonus last was at).

Additionally, each successful hit on a living opponent heals one point of HP damage of the wielder (2 points when maximum damage is rolled). These points can heal past the normal maximum HPs (phantom HPs) of the wielder. Any phantom HPs fade one turn after combat has ended.

When the blade heals the wielder, an observer will notice blood drawn by the blade flows down the blade, over the hilt and seemingly into the wielder's hand.

First Impressions - Blood & Treasure (OSR Ruleset)

I bought Blood & Treasure Complete (Player's and GM's Books rolled into one) the other night, as I had both a Lulu 20% off coupon and a desire to see what John Stater, he of the Land of Nod setting, was going to put together as an OSR RPG. Besides, he was offering the PDF for free to those that purchased the hardcover copy. Win - Win if you ask me.

So far I'm impressed. I don't agree with everything John has done with Blood & Treasure, and I'm not sure I'd run it as is (do I run anything as is?) but it appears to be a tight set of rules that are easily houseruled. I dare say they were built for houseruling.

Blood & Treasure draws deeply from earlier editions of D&D, but it's not afraid to also draw inspiration from D&D 3e (such as with the optional Feats he's included, but I'll probably touch more on that with a later post).

The classes seem like fun to play (and higher level assassins even get spells). Heck, there's even a Bard class included - and if you know me, you know I love a flexible Bard class.

I have a minor issue with the layout - it only effects the class section, and I understand why it happens. Sometimes, class descriptions get broken up by the full page spread of the following class's base info / character portrait. I understand why it is done - to avoid lots of white space, but it breaks up the flow while reading.

I do like the Spell section. Spells descriptions are, for the most part, short and to the point. Easy to reference. Much like the Monster section - easy and quick to reference.

I'm still working my way through the PDF (which is surprisingly readable on my 7" Google Nexus tablet held in the vertical positon) but I like what I see so far. I also need to go back and reread by Swords & Wizardry Complete PDF at some point, as it might become the standard currency of the OSR after Reaper's Kickstarter ;)