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Michael Julius

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"Whatever your game, regardless of age, take note that you have chosen to slow down time. You have chosen to break from the pack, those clamoring for more, now, faster and instead have chosen to chill, relax, breathe, think, create, play...pretend."
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I've probably come up with a half dozen alternate ability check rules for PnP. I just couldn't get my head around it as written.

Say the PCs have to move a heavy stone from a door. The stone, judged by the referee to be a task that isn't under ideal circumstances, requires attempting PCs to move it at a -3 penalty (assuming for the sake of this argument that only a single PC get behind the stone). The PC with the "strength" ability simply needs to roll a 7+.

A few rooms later they PCs find a heavy portcullis blocking their way. This thing is heavy and any attempting PCs will find it nearly impossible to move (-5). But that strong PC? Roll a 7+.

I use to think that this was madness and I struggled to explain it to a group of mainstream gamers in a one-shot. Now, I think it's brilliant. I love the broad strokes here.

Seriously, leave the tired arithmetic of DC's and bonuses to Pathfinder.

I've seldom ever used grids and minis, only bits and pieces of whatever we had on the table (dice, erasers, some PC minis brought by the players) to show basic positioning. This means that I'd never really benefit from PnP's really lean and light mini rules.

I probably won't be buying anything soon so reading +Abraham Gray's houserules was really interesting. Here's his take on movement rules:

"No movement grids. The battles will be theater of the mind, with props as needed. If there is a pursuit, divide speed of all participants by 10, and add it to 2d6. If your movement is 40′, 2d6+4. The higher roll wins the pursuit. If one side has an overall slower speed, I may give an initiative advantage to the faster side."

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This summer I had the enjoyable opportunity to proofread +Gavin Norman's excellent "B/X Essentials".

For me, the ruleset is forever associated with a five day camping trip with my young son along the Mogollon Rim in central Arizona.

The rules, then a bullclipped sheaf of papers, occupied the serene mental (and actual) landscape of mists in pine trees, hot camp coffee, feet propped up on a picnic table bench, and my not quite three-year-old son sleeping quietly in the tent.

B/X Essentials is a perfect morning.
B/X Essentials: Core Rules PDF edition out now!

The B/X Essentials line is a restatement of the classic Basic/Expert fantasy adventure gaming rule set, distilled down to its purest essence and given a fresh, new presentation:

* Basic and Expert rules seamlessly combined.
* Streamlined presentation optimised for ease of reference during play.
* Meticulously researched; a guaranteed 100% accurate rendition of the classic rules of yesteryear.
* Carefully clarified, ironing out ambiguities in the original rules.

This first book lays out the core rules of the game, including: encounters, combat, dungeon and wilderness exploration, seafaring, spell casting, and magical research.

Beautifully illustrated by +Michael Clarke, +Tom Kilian, +Thomas Novosel, +Matthew Ray, +Luka Rejec, +Andrew Walter.

Print editions coming soon! People who purchase the PDF edition will be sent a voucher to upgrade to the print edition, when it becomes available.

(For further information on the project as a whole, see this post on my blog:
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I know it's not Pits & Perils specifically, but listening to Blogs on Tape's "A Better Use For Bookshelves" (available as a post here: I couldn't help but think that this simple solution of using books to answer campaign questions and generate hooks would work well in a PnP game.

I especially like how this little mechanic interacts with encumbrance.

An interesting aspect of P&P that I haven't had the opportunity to see in play is the leveling off of the power curve as mentioned in the hardcover introduction.

I really like that there's some breathing room early in the game. Players can build the character they really want and still make mistakes early. But of those higher levels and the "uncertain survival", I'm really curious...

To those who've run this system, how many characters have bit the dust in the upper tier?

Been perusing my hardcover so dumb questions incoming....

Two first level characters both have dexterity and one is a thief. Do they have same chance to find/disable the trap or stealth?
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