Saturday, March 30, 2024

Hawkmoon Redux #5 - Skills Revisited

Just as I reread the Stormbringer skill list to see my misunderstandings and offer clarifications or modifications were needed to enhance the game, I thought I'd do the same thing with Hawkmoon. Note that I will largely restate what I did for Stormbringer, but add (NEW!) before any section where I deviate from my previous work.

Let's dive in!


I will be using the same houserule where the group of skill determines which attribute with be used for calculating starting skill level.










Starting skills are calculated by taking the starting percentage in the Class Background and dividing it be 10 (round up if the skill is not a multiple of 10). 

For example, Farmers in Hawkmoon have the following starting class skills:

Blacksmith Craft 20% KNOWLEDGE (INT)
Plant Lore 20% KNOWLEDGE (INT)
Cudgel Attack 30% ATTACK (DEX)
Cudgel Parry 30% PARRY (STR)
Hatchet Attack 15% ATTACK (DEX)
Hatchet Parry 15% PARRY (STR)
Two Handed Speak Attack 20% ATTACK (DEX)
Two Handed Spear Parry 20% PARRY (STR)

If we divide all skill percentages by 1/10 and multiply them by the attribute, we get the following:

Blacksmith Craft KNOWLEDGE (INTx2%)
Plant Lore KNOWLEDGE (INT x 2%)
Cudgel Attack ATTACK (DEX x 3%)
Cudgel Parry PARRY (STR x 3%)
Hatchet Attack ATTACK (DEX x 2%)
Hatchet Parry PARRY (STR x2%)
Two Handed Speak Attack ATTACK (DEX x 2%)
Two Handed Spear Parry PARRY (STR x 2%)

As noted in my Stormbringer houserules, this has two advantages:
1) It gives great weight to attributes
2) It differentiates characters of the same class better

For instance, if we have Farmer A who is strong (STR 16) but clumsy (DEX 7), and his colleague Farmer B who is slightly above average in both strength (STR 11) and reflexes (DEX 11), they will have differing skill levels despite being the same class.

Farmer A

Cudgel Attack (DEX 7 x 3% = 21%)
Cudgel Parry (STR 16 x 3% = 48%)

Farmer B

Cudgel Attack (DEX 11 x 3% = 33%)
Cudgel Parry (STR 11 x 3% = 33%)

This means if our two farmers come to blows, Farmer A will have a better guard but smaller chance to hit, while Farmer B is a better all-round fighter.


For extra skills, roll 1D6+2 as usual for the number of points you can put into skills outside the class skills. Each point put into a new skill gives the attribute x 1% in the skill. For example, if a Farmer above wants to learn the Hide skill, for every point he puts into the skill he gets DEX x 1% in the skill. Our Farmer A has DEX 7, so if he puts 3 points into Hide, he gets DEX 7 x 3 = 21% in the skill.


Both Hawkmoon and Stormbringer rules -add 10% defaults to a number of skills, such as Climb, Dodge, Balance, Listen, Persuade, and Hide. I have some issues with this - why these skills and not others? Why 10%?

I think I'll stick with the houserules I made for Stormbringer, as I reiterate below.

For skills in which the player character or NPC has 0% (ie no class skill and no extra skill points put into it), they can make a roll against attribute x 1% during a risky situation in game. If this passes, they can make an improvement check as normal. If the skill improves, they add the new percentage to their character sheet.

For example, if Farmer A above (DEX 7) suddenly falls off a boat and needs to Swim but has no skill in it, he still gets a default of DEX x 1 or 7% to try and swim. If he succeeds, the skill is checked and he adds 1D10 to that 7%. If he fails the roll, the GM decides the consequences.

Note that this default roll only applies to skills that the character could naturally have a chance of being able to perform. If there is no way the character could perform the skill, they have 0% in it and must pay an NPC for training. For example, a character who hasn't any skill in Hide could make a default roll in an emergency, but characters with no familiarity with technology would not be able to make a roll to Pilot Ornithropter, but would instead need training in the skill.

The GM has the right to final decisions regarding default skills, but should at least hear out players before making a decision and moving play along. 


First, I must note that the order in which skill groups is presented varies from Hawkmoon and Stormbringer.

Hawkmoon order: Agility (STR), Communication (CHA), Knowledge (INT), Manipulation (DEX), Perception (INT), Stealth (DEX)

Stormbringer 1E order: Stealth (DEX), Agility (STR), Manipulation (DEX), Perception (INT), Knowledge (INT), Communication (CHA)

This may seem like a minor gripe, but it speaks to the lack of coordination between two games supposed to be in a series. Say what you like about the old Palladium games, their reproduction of skill lists in exactly the same order with the same descriptions between games was very useful when it came to running cross-genre games or sharing out rulebooks.

Now onto the skill groups themselves.


Climb - Same as in Stormbringer, this description is entirely serviceable. Basically, a save vs falling with a random height of D100, taking 1D6 damage per 10 feet fallen. Also, when sneaking, your roll also applies against Move Quietly as well to avoid detection. Some things to note is that fall damage from 11 meters or under can be halved if a successful Tumble roll is made as well. In my Stormbringer post on this skill I suggested several alternate damages, but found in the playtest people didn't care to use them so I'll skip explaining them here.

Dodge - Same as in Stormbringer, you can either fight or flee (Attack or Parry), but you can't do both. Dodge is useful against thrown objects, not missiles, and gets a cumulative 20% penalty after the first roll in a round. Considering the ubiquity of body armor and shields in the wartorn world of Hawkmoon, this gives a sufficiently gritty feel to the combat.

Note that some may feel that basing Dodge on STR instead of DEX may be strange, but as a karate blackbelt who competed in Japan, I can say that you won't be avoiding anything if you don't have the fullbody strength to get out of the way. If we see DEX as hand-eye coordination and STR as the base of body movement, this makes perfect sense.

Jump - No changes here. Can jump own height up or own height x 3 across. Armored characters reduce this by 1 meter. One fiddly bit, you add 1/3 of a meter if STR is over 15.

Ride - No changes here. Ride skill rolled when attempting a risky maneuver, weapon skill can't exceed Ride when in mounted combat. Failure is a fall, Fumble adds 1D10 damage, which can be halved by a successful Tumble roll.

Swim - Stormbringer specifies this must be rolled every 15 minutes, but no such stipulation here. The skill is to be rolled three times, the first two failures incurring 1 HP damage each, the third 1D8. This escalation of damage stops when one roll is passed, otherwise the 1D8 damage is taken every round until dead. If the character is rescued and successfully treated with First Aid, the damage disappears. If swimming while supporting another, two consecutive Swim rolls are needed, although this is not fully explained. Maybe double the number of rolls needed?

Tumble - Same as Stormbringer. Tumble halves damage from falls 11 meters or under, although this is given as 30 feet (9 meters) in Stormbringer. Tumble can also be used to escape combat, allowing the character to move 1/4 of their movement, and giving all attackers a penalty equal to their Tumble skill percentage. Note that Movement is given in the Combat chapter as 60 meters running or 30 walking during a 12 second round.


NB: Always remind players these are not magic abilities, and cannot be used to get NPCs to do their bidding. For that, a demon ability or chemical substance or other 'magic' is needed.

Credit - Really lackluster writing here for some reason. "All the Credit skill does is ensure that a loan is forthcoming." Ho hum, thanks. Also much fiddlier than the Stormbringer version. At creation, a successful roll nets you 1D10 x 1D100 extra silvers. You can also beg for an extra 1D20. However, the skill is very pass / fail and boring. How about we spice it up with some degrees of success:

Critical roll - Very good terms. Double cash if begging, low interest rate of 1D10% for loans.
Success - Average terms. Normal amount if begging, high interest rate of 1D4 x 10% for loans.
Failure - No one throws you a coin if begging, loan is refused.
Fumble - The guarda comes to arrest you for begging, or the loan offered is from a shark and comes with hidden obligations at inopportune times.

Orate - Short and sweet, a little vague, lacks the Stormbringer reference to being a leader. Once again, adding degrees of success could make things interesting:

Critical success - The crowd enthusiastically supports your message, 1 or 2 become fanatic supporters.
Success - Some of the crowd listen and become supporters, but only respond to reasonable plans.
Failure - No one listens, they just carry on with work / life.
Fumble - The guarda comes to arrest you for sedition, or an angry mob opposed to your message forms.

Persuade - Ugh. From Stormbringer's elegant description of this skill as "the ability to win arguments, to bring others over to your point of view," we have a disastrous shift to "This skill causes the target to agree with whatever the persuader is saying." Terrible description, which is immediately dialed back as only useful vs 1 or 2 targets who are not enemies or not in an opposing role such as jailor, but the damage is already done.

I get the feeling they would have been better off just reprinting descriptions such as this from Stormbringer, a trick that old Palladium excelled at.

Sing - Vague but serviceable description, you can 'impart emotions' or panhandle for 1D100 silvers, or x5 the amount if a critical is rolled. The Stormbringer descriptions are a lot more evocative and detailed, so again, this should have been copied over.


Lore skills - Here is our first breakaway from Stormbringer. Like Stormbringer's Plant and Poison Lores, Hawkmoon Lore skills cannot be learned through experience as with all the others, but must be exchanged with people who possess other Lores. This is a fascinating rules extension, and I can see how it emulates the 'meeting of the minds' of many scientifically oriented characters in the Hawkmoon books. Here is what one needs to progress in Lore:

  • Discussion - The characters need to discuss, with the lower skilled character gaining 1D6% and the higher 1D4%. This is reduced to 1% if the character is already a Master (skill 90% or more). No time is given, but I would say at least a day of gametime is required for any effect. (NB Just found a reference to needing one day in the Music Lore section, when it should have been here. Le Sigh.)
  • Research - Characters can also spend a YEAR of gametime to improve a lore skill by 1D10%, but need a library and laboratory for any improvement. This implies that the game is supposed to have years of prep for offenses or political movements, which is a nice bit of worldbuilding that could have been codified, and was reflected in the campaign rules of later editions.

NB: This procedure differs slightly from Stormbringer, which I won't go into here. Suffice to say streamlining the learning methods between games, while keeping Law vs Chaos flourishes, would have been a welcome touch.

Note that there is an EXCELLENT description of a character carrying out a scientific plan to build a fleet of ancient tech tanks here, yet again a great example of the Chaosium knack of putting information in one place that should have been in another, namely the Science book instead of the Player's.

Ancient Lore - Needed to recognize ancient artifacts, understand their purpose, and know general dates and trends of history.

Biological Lore - Covers all our modern biological sciences (genetics, anatomy, taxonomy, ecology etc), also needed for Bio-engineering or making ancient technology with a biological element (ie acid cannons). Can also be used to treat disease (with the right time and equipment), but gives no detail of skill level required for this. Curing disease was the domain of Plant Lore (level 6, 51-60%) in Stormbringer, so by extension the same skill level in this Lore seems logical. Bio-engineering details are supposedly handwaived to GM fiat, but using the bio-engineering rules from my previous post should provide a more structured way of resolving bio-engineering attempts.

Bonuses: Biological Lore also gives +5% to First Aid per 20% of Lore skill.

Cartography - Mapmaking in ruined cities, very evocative, called Make Map in Stormbringer.

Chemical Lore - Very basic description, but the Lore Table has lots of good information, such as the skill level needed to make drugs (31-40).

Craft - Simple yet useful description of manufacturing skill. Requires tools, 2D6 hours of time for simple repairs to 1D6 days for complicated tasks. There is a reference to making superior items with a Critical Success, but no details are given. However, if we crib from Stormbringer, we get the following:
Armor: Absorbs an extra 1D6-1 of damage
Weapon: Does an extra die of damage
Clothing: Protects against a further 10 degree drop of temperature (lame, I'll just say added protection vs elements)
Jewelry: Of great beauty, worth twice the normal price.

Critical Success: The item produced has one of the special attributes above, or something else determined by the GM. I would add that this increases the price by 50%.
Success: The item is produced on time and within budget.
Failure: More time (+1D6 hours) and materials (1/4 initial cost) are needed.
Fumble: Materials and time are wasted, must start over the next day.

NB: It should be noted the ability for a Critical Success only applies to lone craftsmen making items, and not to mass-produced items in factories, which reduce time and cost to make, but at the expense of quality.

Electrical Lore - The short description is balanced by the Lore Table explaining its levels of ability. It is overall vague when compared to other Lore skills, but slots in nicely to the engineering system I outlined in an earlier post.

Evaluate Treasure - Short and sweet description. The skill of estimating value, which is halved when evaluating alien objects from other dimension.

First Aid - An integral skill and well described. A successful roll stops HP loss and returns 1D3 lost hit points, with an extra +3 HP on a critical roll. As with the Stormbringer ruleset, I disagree that a fumble exacerbates damage and would ignore that. Although I see what they are going for, ie replicating medieval battlefield conditions and pushing the players towards finding magical or scientific healing, I am not sure it is satisfying in game.

Machine Lore - The last of the Hawkmoon only Lore skills! Once again, the description is sparse, understanding or creating machines, and slots into the engineering system I sketched out previously.

I would have liked to see labels on the different levels of this and all other Lore skills that would help us visualize or memorize the abilities it grants easier.

Memorize - This is a much vaguer description than in Stormbringer, so I'll just paste what I wrote about that here:

I would use this exactly like the above skill for anything that the PC has recently seen, excluding maps. If the PC is trying to recall a spell, a password or code briefly seen, a fragment of text, the number of enemies seen, etc, use this skill. Please note that attempting to recall ancient myths or legends falls under the skill Music Lore, interestingly enough.

Music Lore - This is much the same as the Stormbringer description, but with a welcome amount of setting specific information. We learn about Granbretanian instruments, the symphony of pain like Melnibone, then how to increase the Lore skill by interacting with others, with the stipulation that this can only be done once per person, a caveat that should be repeated for all Lore skills. There is also the bonus of learning a new instrument per 10% of skill. Sadly, the Stormbringer description of using Lore to remember a legend pertinent to the adventure (ie a free clue) is missing, and should have been ported over.

Navigate - This is sea navigation, and is much the same as in Stormbringer.

Read Write OR Speak Other Language - Very sparse description, each character has 80% in their own language and 40% in Common. Stormbringer had an entire page treatise on the difficulty of learning certain languages, how written language is largely social class based, etc. Adapting even a little bit of that for Hawkmoon would have been nice. I would at least keep the rule that literate classes (ie Nobles, Priests, Scientists, and Merchants) count Speak/Listen and Read/Write as ONE skill while illiterate classes have to have separate skills for oral and lexical communication because it replicates the class struggles that are a fixture of Moorcock's writings.


Juggle - Bring on the juggling! Needs a minimum of DEX 12 to do, failure means you drop the objects. The big reason to take this skill is you get a half skill level BONUS to thrown weapons! This is huge! I'd also allow street performing for 1D100 coins on a successful roll.

Pick Lock - Needs a set of sturdy tools for keyhole locks, while for combination locks the character must make a Listen roll at the same time. I would just combine these into one roll that fails of it goes over either skill level. Take 5-10 minutes to do.

Set/Disarm Trap - Notes that See or Search is required to find a trap. Setting failure means it won't work, disarm failure means the character takes damage. I would make a matrix of results but too tired at the moment.

Sleight of Hand - Requires DEX 14 to take. Can only be seen through if the watcher also has Sleight of Hand and succeeds at this roll. I'd also allow street performing for 1D100 coins on a successful roll.

Tie/Untie Knot - A bit vague like the Stormbringer text, and linking to Sailors seems a bit limiting. I would say it is useful for securing captured prisoners, making pulleys or jury rigging, or conversely escaping from restraints.


Balance - Decent description, balancing on ledges, balancing objects, finding slopes. Almost the same wording as Stormbringer, which more Hawkmoon skills should have been.

Listen - A rare description that is better in Hawkmoon! Whereas Hawkmoon explains the uses of hearing sounds such as twigs snapping, and also includes both conscious listening and unconscious hearing, Stormbringer focused on the differentiation of languages for some reason.

Scent - Used to identify substances, skilled halved if drunk or otherwise impaired. Similar descriptions in both games.

Search - Scrutinizing an area for secrets such as doors or traps. Also gives an example of difference between See and Search, ie seeing a door and activating the latch. Stormbringer focuses on searching bodies or looting rooms. Combining both descriptions would be perfect.

See - Lots of good examples of spotting hidden things, vs checking them with Search. Again, Stormbringer gives different examples of spotting things hidden under clothes or floors. Combining both descriptions would be perfect.

Taste - Basically described as a safe way to test for poisons, with the caveat that strong poisons may require a CON roll anyway. Stormbringer adds the effects of strong poisons, both lethal and non-lethal, as well as suggests the skill allow identification of metals.

Track - Useful description of ten minute intervals for skill roll, need for trackable surface and description of non-trackable surface, as well as 20% bonus if foe is injured (bleeding presumably). Also, the minus 20% penalty for each day old the trail is, and half skill penalty for trying to refind a trail that was lost. Not much difference between descriptions.

Overall, with this section I get the distinct impression the game designers were getting tired of making up new skill descriptions and started to stick closer to the Stormbringer skill descriptions. Would that they had done that with all skills!


Ambush - The reader is directed to the Combat section for details, a bad practice in my opinion.  I know the Chaosium crew were trying not to repeat the same information, but that is not always a bad thing.

The mechanic here is interesting and bears testing. Bascially the procedure is:

1) GM secretly rolls once against EVERYONE's Ambush skill, and the Ambush only succeeds if all pass. This is great! PCs are incentivized to send smaller, highly skilled numbers to Ambush, who won't know if they've succeeded until their targets arrive.
2) If everyone succeeds, they get 1d4 rounds of FREE ATTACKS against their targets. I can see players loving doing this, and hating it being done to them. Since they don't know if they have succeeded until combat starts, everyone has skin in the game.
3) If someone fails, the targets get a See roll to spot the ambush. 
If the See succeeds, normal characters can Parry with a shield but not attack. Masters of weapons succeeding at See can also attack this round, yet another bonus of being a weapon master!
If the See fails, the character is a pincushion the first round, can Parry the second, and attacks normally the third.

Overall, this is very fiddly, but I'd love to try in actual gaming. Stormbringer uses largely the same text, with two differences:
1) The duration of the Ambush is 1D4-1 rounds, a mistake in my opinion
2) Someone on the lookout for an Ambush can make a POW vs POW to detect the ambush ahead of time. This sounds like a terrible idea and negates the entire skill.

Note that I must have missed or misunderstood the Ambush mechanic and proposed instead that Ambush turn into a kind of save vs being ambushed. I hereby rescind that suggestion and hope I get a chance to try the old rule sometime.

Conceal - Hiding a .3 meter long object on the person or in a room. Needs Search skill to be busted. Same as in Stormbringer but worded differently.

Cut Purse - Covers pickpocketing, palming, and actual purse cutting. Skill is halved if target is directly against the skin. Plus there is an ill defined DEX x 5% save also specified, which seems superfluous since the skill roll already has a chance to fail or fumble. Stormbringer clarifies that this DEX save is necessary if the target is awake, which kind of makes sense.

Hide - Like it says on the tin. Can't be used in well lit places with no cover, naturally, but good to clearly state. If moving the skill is halved. Anyone within 10 meters making a See roll can spot someone hidden.

Move Quietly - What you see is what you get, moving without making noise. Like Stormbringer, Hawkmoon imposes a 40% penalty if wearing wooden or metal armor, natural considering the militaristic nature of Hawkmoon campaigns.

Once again I get the distinct impression that the Hawkmoon designers had run out of steam by this point in the process, and were cribbing more and more from Stormbringer. Which they should have done for consistency's sake from the start.


On the one hand, Hawkmoon adds in a few innovations such as scientific Lore skills and their use in engineering. Sadly, a lot of its descriptions fall flat compared to the sparkling prose of Stormbringer, which also lose some mechanical advantages of supporting roleplaying, such as with the misstep of the Persuade skill.

Overall, I feel again that if Hawkmoon had been edited better, it could definitely have given Stormbringer a run for its money. Moreover, had certain processes, such as learning Lore skills, been streamlined between the two games, The Eternal Champion series might have fared better, and made a great stab at being a true universal roleplaying game. 

Thursday, March 21, 2024

OSR Style Problems, Stormbringer, and D&D

Ben from Questing Beast just did a deep dive with This video about OSR style gaming. I think one of the reasons Stormbringer has lasted as long as it has with minimal changes is because it meets lots of the requirements he outlines.

Is Stormbringer OSR?

First, he notes the characteristics of an OSR style game:

1) The System Needs to be Incomplete

(As I've noted, original Stormbringer is almost rules lite in its lack of rule minutae)

2) System Supports Rulings via Disconnected Rules

(Elementals, Elan, Demons, all pretty disconnected and again rules lite)

3) System Has A Way To Resolve situations

(skill system)

Stormbringer's Crunch

Ben also notes that 'crunchy' systems don't allow OSR style gaming, but what do we mean by crunchy? Crunch, in my estimation, implies two things:

1 - There is a number or stat for everything

(Contrast the statted out Arioch of D&D's Deities and Demigods, who is a 10th level Bard for some reason, versus the paucity of stats for any god in Stormbringer)

2 - All effects have been laid out, leaving no room for interpretation (ie rulings)

(In D&D, all Arioch's attacks and abilities are clearly spelled out, conversely making him more limited in power. In Stormbringer, summoning an avatar of any Chaos lord makes them have all attributes at 10 x that of the summoner, with SIZ and shape at will, and as we are told, "Lords of Chaos may accomplish anything up to the destruction of the world... by fiat." This means power is effectively unlimited, as a god should be.)

Deities and Demigods shows up the difference in the D&D and Stormbringer / OSR mindset. In the Melnibonean Mythos section, all gods are given stats. This means they are killable.

"To a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Hit points imply combat, and feats & powers limit action to what is on the character sheet.

By this metric, Stormbringer 1E Elemental rules are very OSR, while demon rules become less so from 1E to 4E and its laundry list of powers, which is a very 90's thing.

Stormbringer has accumulated some crunch as it aged, witness the jump from 1E rules lite demons to 4E catalogue of powers demons, and Elric! spells. But this still pales in comparison to modern D&D.

Rulings Not Rules

Next, Ben asks, "How do you support the rulings not rules principle at the adventure level? You give players problems that can only be solved with innovation." He also notes, "I've noticed that fairytale and mythology frequently contain great examples of these types of problems."

What Ben has hit on is the narrative aspect of old school gaming. This is the influence of the source fiction, where triumphing comes from being inventive, not just the game of whittling down hit points of enemies. Moorcock's stories are very mythic, witness the golem Aubec defeats by showing it its own reflection, or how Elric uses elementals to escape the Sack of Imrryr, which is emulated in the Elemental rules' lack of heavy simulationist crunch. In game design, I think we forget the source fiction to our detriment. Part of the reason D&D went down the crunch for crunch's sake road is that it made its own (to me) lukewarm settings that I never got into, and that had no guiding narrative constraints for its designers. Thus D&D became its own game-narrative genre unto itself, an ouroboros eating its own tail.

This may be why Dragonlords of Melnibone failed - it is hard to have Moorcockean mythic stories in a game of preset feats and spells.

Zeroing in on OSR Style Problems

Ben then resumes OSR style problems according to the venerable Goblin Punch blog:

1 No easy solution

2 Many difficult solutions

3 Requires no special tools

4 Can be solved with common sense

5 Isn't solvable by ability on character sheet

Here is where Stormbringer falls down a bit. As I have noted, original Stormbringer is schizophrenic. It has stats and skills for characters, but none for Elementals. Some of its published scenarios are nothing more than reskinned D&D dungeon crawls, but even the starter adventure, Tower of Yrkath Florn, has hints of the mythic OSR style in it. The demon trapped in the tower can be bypassed, fought, or bound, depending on what the players feel they could or should do. This is a stark difference from the norm of monster = combat from other games.

Another way to express this dialectic is "Is the GM a computer, or is he a philosopher? Are the players bean counters, or fellow storytellers?" Stormbringer's inherent mode of combat = avoidable, emulated in the lethality of rules and inspired by the source material, pushes this question to the fore.

Ben calls the  principle "Create Problems Without Solutions" and notes that it is the players' job to find solutions, with or without GM help. Readers may remember I touched on this in my Moorcock bestiary, in which I changed the Kay from boring Kobold stand ins to mobs of psychic crabs, and wrote:

"How can the PCs defeat an innumerable enemy? I don't know. That is their job to figure out. Maybe their sorceror-noble can call on the Lord of Crabs, or use flaming oil, or start a Cajun crab cook up."

I agree with Ben when he notes, "For me as a game master, I just love seeing players find a way to bypass these OSR style problems." In my Laughing Tower playtest, young players unfamiliar with Moorcock / Stormbringer tried to emulate skills by rubbing mud on their face for camoflauge, while older Moorcock-loving players interacted with NPCs in unforeseeable ways to get what they wanted.


I agree with Ben when he notes, "Anything that gives you a numerical bonus is not an OSR style tool. What you want are tools that allow innovative problem solving, that stretch the brain." Stormbringer has tons of such tools in its Exotic Treasures section, all ripped directly from Moorcock. But its Elementals, though lacking hit points and other crunch, provide very flavorful yet unpredictable ways to solve problems.

As Ben says, "If OSR problems are problems without solutions, then OSR tools are solutions without problems." And this is a lot easier to do in Stormbringer than other games, due to both its system and source fiction. 

For this reason, in my next Stormbringer post, I will be looking closely at how the game mixes a minimum of stats with a modicum of narrative options in its Virtues vs 1E Demon rules, a dichotomy of power I have unfairly overlooked for decades.

Monday, March 18, 2024

The Devolution of Roleplaying

It is stories like THIS that make me realize how much roleplaying had devolved into pure trolling for some people.

The player of Old Man Henderson

1) Makes a backstory that lets him have any ability he wants

2) Kills all other player characters

3) Finishes the encounter in a matter of minutes in a HORROR game

I can't believe this is what passes for humour or roleplaying these days. I hope this is a joke.

If not, that Keeper needs a Sanity roll...