Thursday, April 27, 2023

On Spells, Mules, Canoes, Carts and Coin

If you check the sidebar to the left, you might have noticed that I list Basic Fantasy RPG as my poison of choice. Settling at this system as a chasis for any significant campaign play in the OSR style of gaming!

Anyways, my regular group of The Calaveras, where we jump on and off short games, story-games, etc. I'm currently running a campaign stitched from published adventures that were in my backlog, one page dungeons, and other materials. Now they are tackling The Sky-Blind Spire by Michael Prescott (Trilemma). Given the stitched nature of the campaign and our busy lives, the World and the base town of Amniposita have only been sketched out.

The characters stand at the moment at level 2 (had to enforce the rule of "can't gain two levels from one adventure" for the Dwarf Thief, so close to 3rd). They have a good change of coin! These vast amounts of wealth gained from previous adventuring are staggering. They throw off the local economy, bringing in throves of wealth.

So, how were those coins utilized and drained?

  1. The Elf Magic-User wanted to inscribe a spell scroll into their spellbook (Shield). 500gp
  2. After bribing some students at the Universarium in Amniposita, where the local Sage resides, the group found out that the Spire was in the middle of a lake. And potentially guarded by Undead? Total: 100gp
  3. Given the above (nautical nature of the location), they purchased two mules (40gp each), two carts (50gp each), two canoes (50gp each), and feeding for two beasts of burden for a week (1.4gp). Total: 281.4gp
  4. Given 2. they decided to hire two retainers, including a Human Cleric. Each requested, and was granted, 50gp upfront, plus a full share of treasure. Total: 100gp

This is only a dip on their wealth, but almost 1000gp evaporated just like that.

And I don't want to get into full accountant mode:

  • Taxing treasure brought back to town (I should, 10-25% seems plausible)
  • Or charging for upkeep costs (I hear 1% of current XP thrown around)
  • Or charging for a banker

I suppose there is no point to this post. Just wanted to get this in writing to remind myself that adventurer coin is there to be spent. Missing any carousing rules, or enforcing gold spent equals XP (not just recovered), there are still several avenues for wealth to be spent.

Also, Equipment Emporium is a great supplement, regardless if Basic Fantasy is your poison. Snatch it!

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Four Desert-Island Books

This touches on something I wrote about not long ago, namely how our collections look like, and their size. Running into the following video sparked some thoughts again:

I like this a lot! And find it a worthy exercise.

My Picks

1. The Tome of Adventure Design, Revised
2. Knock! Magazine, issues #1, #2, #3
3. Stonehell: Down Night-Haunted Halls (and Into the Heart of Hell if allowed to cheat ;) )
4. BECM Rules Cyclopedia from 1991


Some Considerations

Considered what I personally own, and what has been perused at the gaming table.

The author of the video above has some damn fine choices. Lots of overlap!:

1. The Tome of Adventure Design, Revised
2. Knock! Magazine, issues #1, #2, #3
3. Veins of the Earth or A Folklore Bestiary (cheating by providing two entries)
4. AD&D 1e DMG

These are some excellent books, by all accounts. Whilst I haven't cut my teeth with AD&D, and also haven't had the urge to add A Folklore Bestiary to my repertoire, I can understand their merit and inclusion.

In my opinion the best materials are those that provide (a) a ruleset, (b) randomizers for game generation, (c) an implied or explicit setting, and (d) in some cases rules for oracles, procedures, or solo play. Any book that gets close or reaches these four categories is a clear candidate. Doing everything at once well is almost unthinkable.

For example Maze Rats is great, because it is an easy-to-teach game (simple to pick up for neophytes), but also has a myriad of random tables. So it solidly covers (a) and (b). And it also has decent referee advice. On the other hand, Lamentations of the Flame Princess' Rules & Magic is great at (a) and (c), but severly lacks in (b), and needs extensive supplemental material to function at the table.

Some examples that condense a lot of the four categories, and are worthy contenders for a single book to take to a desert island are:

  • BECM Rules Cyclopedia from 1991
  • Some of Kevin Crawford's catalogue: Worlds Without Number, Stars Without Number, or Scarlet Heroes jump out.
  • Esoteric Enterprises by Emmy Allen.


What are yours? What did you get the most out of? Which island do you want to be stranded in?