Category Archives: Old School Role-playing

You Gotta Shoot for the Moon

This is an update on my Barbarians of the Ruined Earth Kickstarter, but I wanted to share it here as well.

Hey everyone! I hope you are all well and kicking ass.

By now it it fairly evident that the Barbarians of the Ruined Earth KS will not be funded at the current level. While I am bummed that the KS hasn’t funded, I am NOT unhappy. 336 people believed in my book and pledged $12,237 (at the time of my writing this)! That, to me, is a win and is fantastic. Thank you so much for the support on Barbarians, it has meant the world to me. Thanks to everyone who was at Gen Con who stopped by to express their excitement on the project as well!

So What Happened

As the title said, I shot for the moon. I wanted to use Friesens to print the book- their production values are top notch and with that level of production comes a cost- hence the high funding goal for this project. I knew it was a lofty goal, but dammit I wanted to try.

When I design my Kickstarters, I’m a firm believer in keeping shit simple, which makes my life easier, but presents unique challenges for a project: I’m not a fan of tons of bling, fling, wild high-level pledges, or cumbersome stretch goals. I’ve seen/heard the horror stories of people going bankrupt, stretched too thin, dropping the ball on shit, etc. on their projects due to everything becoming overly complicated and burnout and that just is not enticing to me. I want to deliver a cool, kick-ass product without a bunch of craziness swirling on around me.

I knew that having my highest pledge level at $60 (minus the retail level), would add a layer of difficulty, but again- I wanted to shoot for the moon… Unfortunately, the moon was just a little too far away this time.

What Next?

Barbarians is still coming. I worked too hard on it to just throw my hands in the air and bury my head in the sand in an epic pity party. Everyone who is doing art, etc. is still keen keeping plugging away, so I will relaunch the Kickstarter, but will be going full POD for the project. There may be a limited print run pledge level option, but I need to research some of the smaller printers who aren’t ass-expensive. One of the challenges for that is the size of the book vs what the printers can handle/willing to do.

Obviously the funding goal will be MUCH smaller and with your support (which I’m hoping you will give me this second chance), it will fund no problem hopefully. The stretch goals, by and large, will be the same, but I may add some other stuff:).

This weekend I will be crunching the numbers and probably relaunch in two weeks or so. I just need to do my research and make sure everything is set with the new figures.

Thank you all so much for the support. Thank you for the excitement. Never stop shooting for the moon, peeps- no matter how many times you miss. Much love and a middle finger 😛

Mike Evans

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Hubris GM Section Generator Now Available

This is a pretty cool thing to see happen! A few weeks ago Max from Weird and Wonderful Worlds contacted me and asked if I’d be cool if he did a auto-generator for Hubris: A World of Visceral Adventure’s GM Section and damned if he didn’t knock it right out of the fucking park!

Thanks so much, Max for all the hard work on this. It is absolutely fantastic and has made my damned week!

Here it is! There are 14 tables for you to use right right away!

Max also has a RPG out called Pixels and Platformers. It’s a cool rules-lite RPG that weighs in at 4 pages and is inspired by 2d platformers from days of old! Be sure to check it out!


Barbarians Q&A Session Complete, Gen Con, and New Art Pieces

Last night I sat with Dan Davenport from The Hardboiled GMshoe’s Office for a Q&A session about the Barbarians of the Ruined Earth Kickstarter and had a great time. You can find the full conversation here. Thanks to Dan for the opportunity and to everyone who came and asked a few questions.

Gen Con has come and gone and I had a blast hanging with Jacob Hurst, James Raggi, and Hanna Siitari at the Lamentations of the Flame Princess booth. I was really floored by the amount of people who came by the booth and pulled out a well-used and loved copy of Hubris: A World of Visceral Adventure and told me about the fun their group has had or talked about their excitement for Barbarians of the Ruined Earth- so to everyone who stopped by and showed support- thank you!

In the next week or so I’ll do a post about all the projects that I have on my plate for those who are interested and- as always- feel free to ask questions on those.

Lastly, Kelvin Green sent me more art for Barbarians of the Ruined Earth and how tasty are they!!

State of the Kickstarter

I know we still have a long way to go on the BotRE KS to funding and I, whether it is successful or not, I want to say A) I am thrilled with the support and excitement of the project. Nearly $10k in pledges and 257 supporters is nothing to be ashamed of. B) I will do a post after the KS has ended, one way or another, talking about the challenges of KS and how I approach them. And most importantly C) If the KS does not fund successfully, BotRE is coming out regardless. I will relaunch the KS and just do straight POD through Drivethru and Lulu and maybe do a limited print run through the same company that publishes the amazing Mothership RPG. Again, I’ll do a post after the dust settles and explain the new strategy, but I promise this book is coming- one motherfucking way or another.

Have a great day everyone! Keep rollin’!


The Updated Sorcerer Class With Layout Images

Thus far I’ve posted about the updated Barbarian and Beastman classes. Today is the Sorcerer! Feel free to take a look at the updated character sheet for Barbarians of the Ruined Earth.

I thought it would be fun to release the updated version of some of the classes, specifically the Barbarian, Beastman, and Sorcerer with the full images of the spreads that will appear in the book. Since those are the three main characters in Thundarr the Barbarian, thought it would be appropriate.

Lastly- if this is something you dig and think is cool- stop by the kickstarter page and pledge some support and also spread the word!

Anyways, here’s the images with the full text to follow below!

SORCERER

Sorcerers are not human; they are born of man and share similar characteristics, but that is where it ends. Though born from the womb of a woman, something happens during the pregnancy that transforms the fetus into a Sorcerer.  While most Sorcerers are selfish megalomaniacs that will stop at nothing to accomplish their own interests, regardless of who they harm, some are kind, valiant, and generous, while others are eccentric hermits that prefer to study in solitude.

“None have the powers that I do; energy surges through my body.  I could save civilization… or topple it; all with a mere thought and a few carefully chosen words.”

Starting HP: 1d6+4

HP Per Level/Resting: 1d6

Weapons & Armor: Light Armor, Short Sword, Long Sword, Dagger, and Staff.

Attack Damage: 1d4/1 Unarmed or Improvising

Magically Resistant: Sorcerers have Advantage on tests against magic and charm-like effects.

Sorcerer’s Staff: Sorcerers can channel their mystical power through their staff and release balls of energy from it at enemies. This energy deals 1d4+1 points of damage.  The Sorcerer can make their staff dematerialize, vanishing from existence until resummoned. When resummoned the staff will appear in the Sorcerer’s hand, no matter where they are.

If a Sorcerer’s staff is ever destroyed, a new, different looking staff, will appear by the Sorcerer’s side within 1d10 days (roll on Sorcerer’s Staff table, pg XX). 

Detect: The Sorcerer chooses to detect magic, Stupendous Science, or evil at the time of casting.  Everything Nearby that is considered that category glows. Duration: 5 minutes. If the Sorcerer studies the object for 10 minutes, it is identified for what it is and how it functions.  A GM can rule that truly complex or powerful items take longer to identify.

Spell Slinger: Sorcerers are powerful beings who have the ability to cast amazing spells.  See Spell Casting, pg XX.

LEVELING UP

Roll to see if attributes increase, roll twice for INT or WIS.

STARTING EQUIPMENT

WEAPON: Wizard staff (see page XX)

ARMOR: No armor

ADDITIONAL: Rations (d6), waterskin (d6), bedroll, torches x6 (d6), and healing salve (1 HD of HP restored).

INTERESTING TRINKET (roll 1d6): 1) A friendly animal loyal to you; 2) An orb that allows you to scry on an individual (player’s choice- once made cannot be undone- this decision does not need to be made at character creation.  This effect lasts until person dies); 3) A music box; 4) A fine silk robe of vibrant colors; 5) An ornate crown; 6) A beautiful golden necklace denoting your remarkable birth.

LIFE EVENT (roll 1d8): 1) You used your powers to bully those in your village; eventually they rose up against you and you were exiled; 2) Your mother abandoned you in the wastes, but somehow you survived; 3) You battled another Sorcerer in your youth and won, but part of their consciousness is in you; 4) You were a loner and shunned in your village.  Only a friendly Barbarian stood by your side and eventually died defending your honor; 5) You have used your powers many times to protect your fellow villagers.  The village considers you a hero; 6) Your family was pushed out of the village because of your birth; 7) As a child you lost your temper and accidentally set fire to several of the houses in the village; 8) You came across a demon in your youth and battled it in a test of wills.  Somehow you survived, but at what cost?

GENERATING YOUR SORCERER

Roll once on each table below to generate the following for your Sorcerer: Skin Color*, Hair Color*, Eye Color, State of Nails, State of Teeth, Weird Feature, and Wizard’s Staff.  A benevolent GM may allow the player to choose the features rather than roll.

*The skin and hair color options have two choices in each box, upon rolling the player chooses which color they desire.

Skin Color
Roll 1d10 Result
1 Natural
2 Blue/Lime green
3 Alabaster/Silver
4 Pink/Copper
5 Obsidian/Charcoal
6 Grey/Teal
7 Orange/Powder Blue
8 Yellow/ Plum
9 Purple/Fuchsia
10 Red/Sage
Hair Color
Roll 1d10 Result
1 Natural
2 Blue/Lime green
3 Alabaster/Silver
4 Pink/Copper
5 Obsidian/Charcoal
6 Grey/Teal
7 Orange/Powder Blue
8 Yellow/ Plum
9 Purple/Fuchsia
10 Red/Sage
Eye Color
Roll 1d8 Result
1 Normal
2 Compound
3 No pupils
4 Red
5 Cat-like
6 Orb
7 Static
8 Lava lamp-like
State of Nails
Roll 1d8 Result
1 Normal
2 Long
3 Jagged
4 Made of crystal
5 Blackened
6 Made of ivory
7 Made of circuitry
8 Made of rock
Teeth
Roll 1d8 Result
1 Normal
2 Cat-like
3 Yellow
4 Metal
5 Stunted
6 Jagged and sharp
7 Tusks
8 Mandibles
Weird Feature
Roll 1d10 Result
1 Leopard-like spots on body
2 Extremely beautiful
3 Much of body is artificial or mechanical
4 Space-age helmet
5 Long arms
6 Exceptionally tall
7 Eyes glow
8 Body changes color with emotions
9 Always floats about 2” above the ground
10 Horns growing out of head pointing in all 8 directions
Sorcerer’s Staff
Roll 1d10 Result
1 Made of strange metal from another world
2 Made of oak from the oldest tree, will never burn
3 Made of the darkest obsidian
4 Made from the ivory of an ancient dragon horn
5 Metallic, etched with decorative spider webs
6 Made of resin, with a whirlwind trapped inside
7 A pitchfork that is said to be the first to ever till ground
8 A metallic rod that has strange glowing lights and buttons on it
9 A boring wooden staff, and you feel self-conscious about it
10 Made from the spinal cord of a great snake

The full magic casting rules can be found here.


The Updated Beastman Class With Layout Images

Yesterday was the Barbarian class, so today is the Beastman! Feel free to take a look at the updated character sheet for Barbarians of the Ruined Earth.

I thought it would be fun to release the updated version of some of the classes, specifically the Barbarian, Beastman, and Sorcerer with the full images of the spreads that will appear in the book. Since those are the three main characters in Thundarr the Barbarian, thought it would be appropriate.

Lastly- if this is something you dig and think is cool- stop by the kickstarter page and pledge some support and also spread the word!

Anyways, here’s the images with the full text to follow below. Tomorrow will be the Sorcerer.

BEASTMAN

Beastmen hail from all over the Ruined Earth and are as varied in temperament and appearance as any human.  All Beastmen are known for their bestial appearance, strong traditions, and their impressive strength.  Beastmen emerged from the ashes of the Ruined Earth, savage, primordial, and tenacious; each tribe fighting to make a home for themselves in the wastes. 

“You fear me for my savagery and chastise me for honoring my ancestors, yet you covet my strength, attempting to control my kind by chain, by coin, or by magic.” 

Starting HP: 1d12+4

Hit Points Per Level/Resting: 1d12 HP

Weapons and Armor: Light and Medium Armor, Small and Large Shields, Claws, Clubs, Maces, Spears, Axes, and Bows.

Weapon Damage: 1d8/1d6 Improvised

SPECIAL FEATURES

Animal Features: The Beastman has claws and is never considered unarmed.  They can see in the dark (Nearby radius).

Super Strong: Has Advantage on feats of strength for lifting stuff, breaking things, flexing muscles, etc. (not attack rolls).

Impossibly Strong: Once per hour a Beastman can do impossible feats of strength and be awesome (i.e., lift a huge pillar of cement/vehicle/rock/etc.) and throw it, push it, or whatever.  No roll is needed to accomplish this.  If this is used to attack, an attack (Strength) roll must be made.  If successful, the attack deals 2d10 points of damage.

Thick Hide: Once per day the Beastman’s hide becomes thick and offers enhanced protection. They take half damage from all sources, save for magic.  This effect lasts a number of rounds equal to the Beastman’s level. 

Leveling Up: Roll all Attributes to see if they increase, roll twice for STR or CON.

Mark of the Beast

Determine what animal type makes up the Beastman.  Roll 2d8: 2) Wolf; 3) Bear; 4) Cougar; 5) Alligator; 6) Snake; 7) Armadillo; 8) Badger; 9) Tiger; 10) Lion; 11) Moose; 12) Frog; 13) Mole; 14) Rabbit; 15) Rhino; 16) Roll twice and merge the two (if this is rolled again, ignore).

Beastmen Species Names (roll 1d10): 1) Cull; 2) Sylthis; 3) Nok; 4) Kurd; 5) Bryll; 6) Dredge; 7) Grok; 8) Fanth; 9) Ryn; 10) Hulyth

STARTING EQUIPMENT

CHOOSE TWO*: Short sword, short bow, spear, dagger, axe, mace, or spiked club

ARMOR: Cloth armor (1 RP, 1 tick)

ADDITIONAL: Ammo for ranged weapon if taken, rations (d6), waterskin (d6), bedroll, torches x6 (d6), and healing salve (1 HD of HP restored).

*All starting weapons are made of wood, bone, or stone. For each weapon there is a 15% chance it is made of metal (i.e., the arrowheads, the sword blade, etc.).

INTERESTING TRINKET (roll 1d6): 1) A tooth of your father, worn around your neck; 2) The rusted manacles that used to bind you; 3) A flute; 4) A backpack made by your sister; 5) A bag of seeds to plant, given to you by your village elder; 6) A staff made from bones of a great beast. 

LIFE EVENT (roll 1d8): 1) You were a slave and escaped; 2) Your father was the tribe leader and you and your family were pushed into exile; 3) You fought off slavers who were attempting to take your sister; 4) You watched many of your tribe vaporized by a Sorcerer, somehow you survived; 5) You were down by the river when a Water Weird attacked you.  For some reason, the creature stopped its assault and let you live; 6) While on a hunt you came across the lair of a dragon.  It emerged, talked to you, and let you leave; 7) You won a fighting contest in your youth and are considered a celebrity in your tribe; 8) You stumbled across a lush valley that was fertile, had a fresh river, and defendable.  Your tribe has relocated here. 


The Updated Barbarian Class With Layout Images

Yesterday I posted the updated character sheet for Barbarians of the Ruined Earth and also discussed how I will organize my campaign notes going forward and once I get it all purdy, I’ll release it on the blog.

I thought it would be fun to release the updated version of some of the classes, specifically the Barbarian, Beastman, and Sorcerer with the full images of the spreads that will appear in the book. Since those are the three main characters in Thundarr the Barbarian, thought it would be appropriate.

Lastly- if this is something you dig and think is cool- stop by the kickstarter page and pledge some support and also spread the word!

Anyways, here’s the images with the full text to follow below. Tomorrow will be the Beastman!

Barbarian

Barbarians are fierce human warriors who know no fear.  Many Barbarians use their battle prowess to fight the oppression of Sorcerers. Some are the local settlement hero, happy to guard their kin, while others act as mercenaries, hiring out their talents to the highest bidder, even vile Sorcerers.

“Run?  Ha!  There are only fifty of them!  It is a fair fight!”

Starting HP: 1d10+4

Hit Points Per Level/Resting: 1d10 HP/lvl

Weapon and Armor: Any and All

Weapon Damage: 1d8/1d6 Unarmed or Improvised

SPECIAL FEATURES

Attacker: The Barbarian gains one attack every odd level (max of 5 attacks at 9th level).  Additionally, Barbarians damage explodes, meaning if they roll the highest number possible on their damage die, they roll it again and add the numbers together.

Avid Fighter: Once per combat the Barbarian can deflect an attack with their melee weapon, turning it into a failure.  If the enemy is using a ranged energy weapon, call even or odd and roll a die – if you called the right result the shot is deflected back at the attacker for full damage.

Battle Shout: Once per combat a Barbarian can let out a mighty shout that fills their heart with confidence.  Their next Strength or Dexterity test is considered an automatic success.

Stout: The Barbarian has Advantage on tests against Poisons and Fear Effects.

Loin Cloth Warrior: When wearing just a loincloth and badass bracers or a leather bikini, the barbarian is considered to be wearing Medium armor.  Also, if they are wearing a helmet, treat it as a light shield (for purposes of armor ticks).  If wearing a metal loincloth or chainmail bikini, this is considered Heavy armor. 

Leveling Up:

Roll all Attributes to see if they increase, roll twice for STR and DEX

STARTING EQUIPMENT

CHOOSE THREE*: Short sword, short bow, spear, dagger, axe, mace, or spiked club

ARMOR: Loincloth or leather bikini (2 RP)

ADDITIONAL ITEMS: Ammo for ranged weapon if taken, rations (d6), waterskin (d6), bedroll, torches x6 (d6), and healing salve (1 HD of HP restored).

*All starting weapons are made of wood, bone, or stone. For each weapon, there is a 15% chance it is made of metal (i.e., the arrowheads, the sword blade, etc.).

INTERESTING TRINKET (roll 1d6): 1) A memento from a lost love who was sold into slavery; 2) A dagger that once belonged to your father, he died defending you from bandits with this; 3) A thick cloak; 4) A piece of old world tech called a “flashlight” – it still works!; 5) A collapsible cooking pot set; 6) A necklace of fangs – the spoils of your first hunt. 

LIFE EVENT (roll 1d8): 1) You were a slave and escaped; 2) Your mother was killed by croc-men; 3) Your village was sacked by a Sorcerer and most of the villagers were taken; 4) You bravely fought off several bandits as a young teenager; 5) While resting under a tree, a spirit appeared and talked to you; 6) You went into ancient ruins on a dare and almost died – a family member saved you; 7) You went on a hunt with your village and landed the killing blow on a great rhino-lion; 8) The love of your young life died in your arms during a raider attack.


Barbarians of the Ruined Earth Character Sheet and Restructuring How I Organize My Games

This morning Matt Hildebrand sent me an updated version of the Barbarians character sheet and I wanted to throw it up on the blog.

The Kickstarter Update

The Kickstarter is progressing well and we still have 23 days left! We are currently hovering at the $8.5k mark. So there’s still a ways to go until funding, but I’m hopeful!

Reorganizing My How I Run My Games

This subject will feed into a longer series of posts, but I wanted to kick it off here. Due to RL obligations with work, DIY RPG Productions projects, and other general assfuckery, I’ve lost the wind in my sails to run my games.

There are several factors in this (stress, anxiety, burnout, work, not enough time to run or play in shit, etc.), but for this post I just want to focus on the fact that I am unhappy with how I’ve been running my games lately and how I’ve been organizing. So rather than continue to be frustrated and wallow in the murky mire that is self-pity, I decide to examine what I was doing and what I didn’t like and where I could go from there.

First- I’m not a huge fan of having my notes digital. I do it, because I hate wasting paper, but I have to have all these word documents and PDFs open, then I have to scroll through everything, and it just becomes tedious.

Awhile back I tried to bridge the gap by keeping important stuff in a notebook, but nope. Now I had notes all over the computer AND in a fucking notebook- that equaled more work.

Recently I’ve been thinking of how I used to organize my notes when I started RPGing back in mid-90s and into my college years and remembered I used to use 3×5 note cards for all my shit and kept my notes super lite.

This weekend I decided to read through Sly Flourish’s Lazy Dungeon Master and Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master to see if he had any thoughts/advice that hadn’t occurred to me. The book is a fun read and while it isn’t anything groundbreaking (I do recommend the books), it did remind me of a similar way I used to run my games and had some advice with a few new tips and tricks- that’s a win!

Also Skullfungus posted his notebook on Twitter about dungeon design and it was a great reminder on keeping shit simple (so thanks for that!). Along with nods to Goblin Punch and Grognardia.

I’m going full-on organized by index cards and taking the Lazy DM approach of only what is absolutely needed. A few other categories have wormed their way in since I took this picture (being items, previous adventures, and one more- but fuck all I can’t remember).

My Barbarians of the Ruined Earth group has been adventuring in the Western Sands for the past seven sessions (we only get to play once a month and we haven’t played in three months now…) and I don’t see them leaving the area anytime soon.

While tracking everything on note cards won’t be any different than how I currently write my games- in short hand and lite to keep the players and their agency the focus, I think that my way of organizing has become a sloppy mess, like the floor at a rest stop bathroom.

Once I get all the cards written, I plan on typing them up and releasing them for free on the blog to anyone who is interested and wants to run a game in BotRE and the Western Sands.

The Western Sands