Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Jewel Throne Update & 'Catholic' Retro-Clone Stat Block

Firstly, I HAVE THE JOESKY BARBARIAN CLASS WRITE-UP ON MY COMPUTER!!1 It emulates the over-the-top cartoon shirtless cliche, and also has an Encounter Critical style level advancement scheme! Between this guy and the Netherwerks Robot Fighter, one of the themes of this issue will be "Comic Book Character Classes," which is pretty cool. I wish someone would make a retro-clone-ish RPG designed to emulate eighties fantasy comic books like THE WARLORD and ARION: LORD OF ATLANTIS...

Secondly, I have a rough assembled document of all of the material I have so far, and at digest-size with 10-point Arial type, it's over sixty pages.

Also, Red Box Vancouver stalwart Johnstone has a submission he's working on, "...a random technology generator for Planet Algol and other Swords & Saucers style games. Or Gamma World and post-apocalyptic settings. And Jack Kirby settings." Jack Kirby settings!

As I'm compiling and editing the material, I'm trying to make it as "catholic" as possible, with the goal of including the information needed to quickly use the material with a variety of retro-clones & D&Ds (without going overboard and bloating the text!).

Here's examples of a stat-block format I'm using:

Bloakang Drongthur
AC 5[14]<16>, Fighter-1, HP 6, Move 90'(30'), Attack hooked pole-hatchet (1d10), Save Fighter-1[14], Morale 9, Alignment neutral (evil); chain mail, hooked pole-hatchet, dagger, 16 gp in a belt pouch.

Beslimed Moat Lurker
AC 6[13]<15>, HD 2+1, HP 9, Move 60'(20')/swim 120'(40'), Attack 2 suckered limbs (1d4/1d4 + attach and blood drain), Save Fighter-2[16], Morale 6, Alignment chaotic (evil), Special on an attack roll of 20 a suckered limb will attach and automatically inflict 1d4 points of damage through blood drain every round; a successful open door roll is required to pull an attached limb off, inflicting another 1d4 points of damage to the victim.

The Armor Class value within the '< >' is the value for use with LOTFP WFRPG, with the preceding brackets containing the ascending Swords & Wizardry value. I find the standard Swords & Wizardry AC notation elegant, buy my "triple" version is pretty clunky. Movement is presented in B/X format to accommodate those of us with poor math skills. The Save entry includes both the standard D&D reference and the Swords & Wizardry value in brackets. I am considering including Fortitude/Reflex/Will values for compatibility with Kard & Magica/Swords & Magic and the forthcoming Goodman Games DCC RPG, but I don't want to bloat the stat-block. I'd like to include XP values for the different standard D&D variants, but again, I don't want to bloat the stat-block.


  1. I wish someone would make that game too, and take it as seriously as the comics took themselves...

  2. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to this! This blog & your work continue to inspire me in my own campaign work! Very nice & I want this issue in my grubby little hands. Keep on keeping on in the DYI retro clone world!

  3. Hrm, I'm getting my hard copy of 4C in the mail anyday now. It is a kind of clone of the Marvel FASERIP system. Might be fun to do some Arion/Warlord/Arak style goodness with it. I'm a big fan of those comics along with the old Gold Key titles like Magnus Robot Fighter, Doctor Solar, etc.... Hmmmm, I'll have to think about carving out some time for this.

  4. Sixty pages? Good lord. Bump the font up to 12-point and you've got like three issues!



    Two minor niggles re: the stat blocks:

    * Take out the LOTFP:LWFRPG AC. Anyone playing it will already know they need to add two to the squarebox ascending AC number.

    * Fort/Ref/Will modifiers really aren't needed. You can easily extrapolate these from the S&W save number. IIRC Delta's OED suggested +1 save bonus per improvement beyond a based save of 15(?), with a minor kicker if the creature is noted as being especially tough, fast or stubborn.

  6. I suggest not using numbers for armor class in your stat block. Instead, have armor classes listed like this:

    "AC leather + shield"

  7. I like Geoffrey's suggestion about AC. As for saves, Kard & Magica has tables for classes so putting 'class +level' as per LL with the bracketed S&W number should give the reader enough to work with.

    60 pages -blimey!

  8. "AC leather + shield" is a bit verbose - it's very generic, but of course the more generic a thing becomes, the less useful it is for the majority. Presumably the game being played by the potential readers falls into the 80/20 rule, and around 80% are playing with one particular ruleset - I'd just use that ruleset's convention.

    I don't know which ruleset accounts for 80% of Jewel Throne potential subscribers of course.

  9. Thanks for the commentary and ideas guys!

    I was looking over the AC conversion chart in LOTFP and Basic Fantasy uses a THIRD Armor Class scale...yeesh!

    @ Pat: I'm going guess that the 80% would be OD&D/B/XD&D/AD&D/S&W/LL & OSRIC really the bracketed AC would suffice under that paradigm.

  10. This is a great idea--we'd really appreciate a good, solid, generic-like stat block that was the most usable/accessible to the most potential users. Doing multiple sets of stats is really boring, and like Pat said above, the moe generic it gets, the less useful it becomes for the majority. Geoffery's suggestion sounds like a good idea--it at least facilitates a quick extrapolation, especially if you have a set of handy-dandy DIY ready ref sheet-style cheat-sheets on hand...

    Looking forward to Jewel Throne...

  11. Looks good. Regarding the left and right AC carrots, however, you might want to use {curly braces} instead, because the significance of carrots in HTML will sometimes be annoying for posting stuff on the web.

  12. @ Netherwerks: In principle I'm down with Geoffrey's suggestion; however I'd be concerned with the "processing cycles" that would require at the game table.

    @ Paul: Thanks for the tip...I think I may just go with the S&W AC format, with both LOTFP and BFRPG using different scales.