Weird Roleplaying Starter Edition

I am releasing a free starter edition for Weird Roleplaying, a universal RPG system designed for for quick character creation, streamlined preparation and gameplay, and easy adaptability to any genre, setting, or source material.

As far back as 2013, I started looking to develop rules-light RPG rules that could be used with a wide array of adventure modules and setting material. I wanted to be able to run games in different genres, using anything I found interesting, without having to learn new systems or switch between systems.

Of course, I started by looking at the universal systems that were out there already. But they were either too minimal or too rules heavy, or they didn’t have the kind of straight-forward approach I wanted. So — as these things go — I wrote my own rules. Inspired by weird fiction throughout the ages, I called my game Weird Roleplaying.

I tested a couple core variants before I settled on the current system, and I’ve been running my games with it ever since. If you grew up playing old-school games like original D&D, Gamma World, and Call of Cthulu, like I did, the feel of these rules will be familiar. And yet, Weird Roleplaying is a thoroughly modern, streamlined ruleset that makes it easy to run games in any world you imagine.

The starter edition is a fifty page, black and white, print-ready rulebook that includes six quick-start settings. The bare-bones setting material is ready to use as is, and provides clear examples of how to tailor the core rules for different genres.

I am working on a complete rulebook that will have a color cover, illustrations throughout, additional content, expanded setting materials, and possibly even some adventures. Keep your eye out for future updates regarding a possible Kickstarter and launch date. Until then, I hope you enjoy the Weird Roleplaying starter edition as much as I have.

Free Revised Edition of Giant Available Now

GIANT in now available as a free download, ready for hours of print-and-play giant robot battles and skirmishes. This is an updated revised version, with a few errors corrected. Here’s the back-cover copy:

“Future wars are waged with huge humanoid machines known as giants. Human pilots are encased in neuro-conductive capsules behind layers of armor plating, their senses and nerve impulses merged with the artificial systems of the giants they control.

“Giant is a wargame played with paper, pencils, and six-sided dice. Inside is a complete game, including rules, a visual reference, a record sheet, a master battle map, and eight ready to play maps with various terrain. It’s perfect for travel or when you want an action packed game with minimal preparation.

“Each player controls up to three giants, chosen from fifteen different types. Arm them with missiles, guns, and lasers. Then send them into the battle!”

I designed this game back in 2015. I wanted to make a giant robot wargame that was simple enough to be quickly learned and played with nothing more than pencils, paper, and dice. It had to have just the right amount of complexity to provide strategic and tactical challenges, narrative excitement, and the promise of endless possibilities. Finally, it had to generate interesting, vivid, action-packed battles! During a year of development, writing, and play testing, Giant stayed true to that vision. I drew a bunch of illustrations, wrote some flavor text, and did a traditional acrylic painting for the cover. The final 20 page rulebook includes everything you need except dice and a pencil.

You can still support this game and others by purchasing a print copy of Giant from LULU with a glossy saddle-stitched cover for $4.99. Or purchase any of my other games, post reviews, or make a donation here. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Download the free rules, stand-alone record sheets, blank maps, and a print-and-play map pack below or on the games page.

Rulebook
Record Sheet
Blank Map
Map Pack

Here are some examples of finished games (click for larger images):

Dungeon Solitaire Retrospective: Part 2/6

Labyrinth of Souls Designer’s Notebook

Designing the Labyrinth of Souls game

Game design is a wonderful interplay between logical and narrative elements. I really enjoy both aspects of design, and the chance to combine them is one of the reasons why I love making games. This post will cover my thoughts on game design in general and my design notes from Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls. It’s a bit long for a single blog post, so I’m just going share here the PDF Designer’s Notebook I made for the Labyrinth of Souls Kickstarter. Everything is contained within: the origins of Dungeon Solitaire, major influences, design philosophy, testing methods, original images, and thoughts on the various challenges, solutions, and variations that went into Dungeon Solitaire.

Click here or on the title page below to delve in. Download if you want … and enjoy. :)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Terrain Map Symbols

“A man sets out to draw the world. As the years go by, he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and individuals. A short time before he dies, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face.”

— Jorge Luis Borges, The Aleph and Other Stories

TERRAIN SYMBOLS

pdf version – click here

I draw maps for working out the details of my fiction, for games, and for the sheer pleasure of creating imaginary places. A while back I posted a legend for my dungeon maps, and since then I’ve been working on this simplified set of terrain symbols for area and wilderness maps.

Maps excite the imagination. That’s why so many fantasy novels contains maps of their fictional worlds. The map itself is a link, translating the reality of a world into the imagination of the reader.

Above you will find my own key to my simplified symbol set. Below are few of my own recent maps, using this symbol set and a few variations. I’ve been working on a grid based layout, but these symbols will work equally well on a hex based map. Many more of my maps are posted on Google+.

three kingdomspost apocalypticstrange desert

Dungeon Map Symbols

“Show not what has been done, but what can be. How beautiful the world would be if there were a procedure for moving through labyrinths.”

— Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

dungeon symbols

pdf version – click here

The labyrinth, the dungeon, and the mythic underworld are all time honored traditions in story telling and games, from Theseus and the Minotaur to the “Tomb of Horrors,” from Galouye’s Dark Universe to the mines of Dwarf Fortress. When you start thinking about underworld settings the examples are really innumerable.

Growing up I spent uncounted hours drawing dungeons and labyrinths to use in stories and games. I was always fascinated by the icons and symbols used in maps to represent various things, and symbols for dungeon maps were no exception.

I’ve continued to use my map drawing experience to sketch out settings for my stories and I recently gotten back into game maps. Above you will find my own key to various dungeon symbols for any like minded cartographers out there.

Here’s some examples of my game maps:

grand entrancewater dungeonwizard's lair

*Update 8/26/2015: Posted a key for my simplified symbols for area and wilderness maps.