Further Ponderings on Sorcerers- Alternative Magic Casting for Black Hack

As I continue to watch Thundarr the Barbarian, my brain ponders all the different things I can do with an upcoming project I’m working on, collaborating with Talon Waite; right now particularly focused on Sorcerers.

I was thinking about Swords and Sorcery and how in the stories there really isn’t a spell list, and that casters searched for forbidden knowledge and artifacts, but didn’t go hunting for new spells and scrolls…  This is also true for what I see in Thundarr.

One of the best systems I’ve seen to nail this type of format is Barbarians of Lemuria.  It’s a great little RPG.  However, my love right now is with the Black Hack and Into the Odd, and Dungeon Crawl Classics.  Each one serving a specific purpose in my warm, fuzzy OSR-beating heart.

I decided to cook up some quick rules, inspired by Barbarians of Lemuria, for Black Hack.


Black Hack Alternate Casting Rules


Sorcerers do not have spell lists or large tomes with spells scrolled in them.  They manipulate the very energy of the planet and cosmos to bring their will into manifestation.  A player describes what they wish to accomplish and through discussion determine what power level the spell is.



Each time a Sorcerer casts a spell, they roll a Usage Die as outlined in The Black Hack (page 8).  If the result is a 1-2, the die is reduced by one level.  Certain spell levels affect how this is rolled (see Power description below).  With a full night of rest, the Usage Die is raised one level.



Sorcerer Usage Die
Level Usage Die
1-2 d4
3-4 d6
5-6 d8
7+ d10




Example: Buzzfor the Grognard Wizard (5rd level) summons forth a ball of light to hover by his head, acting as a torch.  The GM and they player agree that this is a Power of the Sun level spell.  After the spell is cast, Buzzfor rolls a d8 Usage Die, with the result being a 1.  Buzzfor’s Usage Die is now reduced to a d6.  Later in the dungeon the group is besieged by a horde of undead.  Buzzfor decides to summon a wreath of fire to destroy these monstrosities.  The GM and the player agree that this is a Power of the Moon level spell.  Buzzfor rolls two d6 Usage Die and takes the lower result, which is a 2.  The Sorcerer’s endurance is slipping and his Usage die is now a d4.  After a good night sleep, Buzzfor’s Usage Die is increased from d4 to d6.  If Buzzfor doesn’t reduce his Usage Die through the day and gets another solid night of rest, he will be back to a full d8 Usage Die. 


Inner Strength: Once per day if the Sorcerer has expended all their magical power, if they rest for an hour they can get a second wind, bringing their Usage Die back to a d4.


Power of the Sun (Power Level 1)

sorcerer 2

The sorcerer pulls forth the power of the sun and is able to cast simple spells.  The sorcerer is able to wrap themselves in armor, deflect arrows, cure wounds, healing 1d8 HP, levitate off the ground, shoot out energy beams that deal 1d4/level points of damage, put a person into an enchanted sleep, blind a target, ensnare a target’s mind, making them a puppet for the sorcerer and the like.


As a rule of thumb treat Power of the Sun spells as 1st and 2nd level spells.


Power of the Moon (Power level 2)

sorcerer 1

The sorcerer taps into the power of the moon and casts powerful spells.  The sorcerer can summon waves of flame on their enemy, dealing 1d6/level damage to all nearby targets, see in the dark, even magical, transform themselves or another into a different creature, conjure a bridge of light to walk across a gorge, fly, bring forth walls of fire, ice, or stone, or even heal grievous wounds for 3d8+3 hit points.


Power of the Moon spells are extremely taxing and drain the sorcerer quickly; roll two Usage Dice and take the lower of the two as your result.


As a rule of thumb treat Power of the Moon spells as 3rd and 4th level spells.


Power of the Eclipse (Power Level 3)

sorcerer 3

When the sun and moon overlap, true power is obtained.  The sorcerer pulls energy from bot the sun and the moon and is able to cast truly powerful and dangerous spells.  The sorcerer can touch a target, killing them instantly, cause a plague to ravage a village, topple the stone keep, bringing it crumbling to the ground, summon powerful elementals, summon an acidic cloud that melts all in a Nearby radius, and even teleport great distances.


Power of the Eclipse spells exhaust the sorcerer, do not roll the Usage Die, but automatically reduce it by one level.

As a rule of thumb treat Power of the Eclipse spells as 5th and 6th level spells.


Power of the Cosmos (Power Level 4)

Sorcerer 4

The Power of the Cosmos are extremely powerful spells and not able to be cast at random and on a whim.  These spells can only be cast by ritual and require a Rare Special Component, a Lesser Special Component, 2d100+100 gold, and take 2d4+6 hours to cast.  See below for Rare and Lesser Special Componens.


Through the Power of the Cosmos the sorcerer is able to bring forth powerful earthquakes, utterly destroying the country side, completely resurrect a person from nothing, control the weather, bring forth meteors from the stars to crash down on an area, summon powerful demons, and even stop time itself.


Spells that are cast through a ritual can be stored in a ring or staff to be used at a later date.  A sorcerer can only have one stored ritual at one time.


As rule of thumb treat Power of the Cosmos spells as 7th level and beyond.



Rare Special Components
Roll Result
1 Dragon’s liver
2 Tears of a baby
3 Unicorn hair
4 Demon toe nails
5 Bottled sun light
6 Eyes of a witch
7 Breath of a dying man
8 Petrified goat stomach
9 Head of a gorgon
10 Enchanted
11 Lock of hair from a princess
12 A magic item that will be consumed in the spell



Rare Special Components
Roll Result
1 Enchanted spider webs
2 Goblin eye balls
3 Wolf fangs
4 Feet of a bird of prey
5 Squished toad
6 Deadly poison
7 Ruby worth 200gp
8 Kobold spleen
9 Troll slobber
10 The broken sword of a fallen warrior
11 Blood of the sorcerer (lose 1d4 HP)
12 1 pound of worm infested, freshly dug earth


Sorcerers Aren’t Human- Ponderings Thanks to Thundarr the Barbarian

Recently I rediscovered the joy of Thundarr the Barbarian (thanks to Waynecon) and purchased it from Amazon and have been watching it.  One of the first episodes (the one with the Death Flower), a baddie makes a comment about humans, but it didn’t seem to include Ariel, which got me thinking a little bit… What if sorcerer’s/magic users aren’t actually humans?  I mean ALL the other sorcerers in Thundarr seem to be apart from human society; they are feared, hated, reclusive, power hungry assholes, etc.  As far as I’ve watched right now, Ariel is the only one who is on the side of man.

I know this goes hand in hand with the sword and sorcery genre- sorcerers tend to be the bad guys of those stories, messing with forbidden powers, making deals with elder gods, summoning demons, listening to heavy metal music, what have  you.

As I’ve delved deeper into OSR and simplicity of rules, I’ve been enjoying toying with the race as class (thanks to my love for DCC).  With my development of Land of the Spirits, I’m taking a page out of Adventurer Conqueror Kings and doing Race as Class, but offering 3 different classes per race.  So I was thinking that sorcerer is a Race as Class as well- they are separate from humans…  they may even look human, but they are as removed from them as an elf, dwarf, or beast.

Wizard 1

The Sorcerer

(use your favorite ruleset for abilities or stats- I’ll be using Black Hack for mine)

Sorcerers are not human; they are born of man and share similar characteristics, but that is where it ends. While born from the womb of a woman, something happens during the pregnancy that transforms the fetus into a sorcerer.

Wizard 5

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.

Roll for 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

Wizard 2

Skin Color
Roll 1d10 Result
1 Natural
2 Blue
3 Alabaster
4 Pink
5 Obsidian
6 Grey
7 Orange
8 Yellow
9 Purple
10 Red
Hair Color
Roll 1d10 Result
1 Natural
2 Blue
3 Alabaster
4 Pink
5 Obsidian
6 Grey
7 Orange
8 Yellow
9 Purple
10 Red

Wizard 3

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 Fine
5 Blackened
6 Made of ivory
7 Made of circuitry
8 Made of rock
Roll 1d8 Result
1 Normal
2 Needle-like
3 Yellow
4 Broken and chipped
5 Stunted
6 Jagged and sharp
7 Tusks
8 Mandibles

Wizard 4

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
Wizard’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 sap from a tree
4 Made from the ivory of an ancient dragon horn
5 Metallic, etched with decorative spider webs
6 Made of resin- a whirlwind trapped inside
7 A pitch fork that is said to be the first to ever til 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

Thundarr the Barbarian-like Session Recap

Last night I ran a Black Hack game of inspired by Thundarr the Barbarian for two friends who had never cut their chops on OSR-style goodness, having played mostly (if just) Pathfinder- not sure.

I had character sheets ready to go and I had printed out one sheet of each class.  The classes available were: Warrior, Thief, Conjurer, and Man-cat-bear-thing I create in a post a few weeks ago (see below):

Man-cat-bear-thing (race as class)

Starting HP: 12 +4

HP Per level/Rest: 1d12 HP/lvl

Weapons and Armor: Claws, Swords, Maces, and Ray Guns.  Small and Large shields, no armor.

Weapon Damage: d8 / d6 improvising

can see in low-light (Nearby radius)

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

Once per hour can do impossible feats of strength and be awesome (IE. lift a huge pillar of cement/vehicle/rock/etc.) and throw it, push it, or whatever.  No roll needed.

Treat as wearing leather armor (4 AP, natural).  Once per combat cant ignore damage from one physical attack.

Leveling Up

Roll to see if attributes increase, roll twice for STR and CON.

We started with chargen (which took all of 2 minutes- and I think they were impressed by that).

Tyler made a human Thief and Jamie made a Man-cat-bear-thing (they both rolled pretty terribly on stats) and I gave each a mook to accompany them.

Something Smells…  Fishy?

The group started in the small rack-shamble village of Four Way Intersection, which was a shanty town in a field to the left of an ancient 20th century four way intersection, the sign bolted to the corrigated metal fence that surrounds the village, and a small purple-watered river running at the back of it.

The group was eating mushroom, lemongrass, and rodent stew while relaxing after a long journey to this area.  As they were eating several villagers began screaming and running from the river as three horrid looking fishmen began attacking them.  Fishman

Jamie and Tyler ran forward to beat the shit out of these creatures.  Jamie made an impassioned speech to get others to fight for him.  He succeeded, gaining the help of a scrawny young man and handlebarred mustache man.

The fight was quick, and two fishmen were downed, and the third escaped back to the river.

The villagers thanked the heroes for their help and pleaded with them to go up to the house on the hill and speak to Tin-Tin, the mad wizard who promised to devise a form of protection from further fishmen attacks.  The village hadn’t heard from Tin-tin or his apprentice, Ronald, for several days.

Tyler and Jamie agreed and with their mooks, they set off up the hill.

The Great and Powerful Wizard!

The group went to the dilapidated house on the hill, which was an old town-house that was not holding up so well- the entire second floor had caved in.  The group went in to the house and found it littered with junk and bits and baubles.  Eventually they came into the back kitchen and called out for Tin-Tin and Ronald.  Eventually they heard a metallic crunching and scraping noise; an old man wearing straightened out aluminum cans linked together with chain bits and wearing a bald cap with a sweat band around his head, holding a handheld radio.

The group looked at him, “you must be Tin-Tin.”

Tin-Tin looked at them, rubbed his shoulder, and grunted, “Yes I am!  I am Tin-Tin the Junk Wizard.  What do you want?!”


Old Lady Hackmore from Ernest Scared Stupid was a big inspiration for Tin-Tin

Tyler and Jamie explained that Four Way Intersection was under attack and needed the device he promised to make to protect them.

Tin-tin sighed and said, “Well I AM working on something for them, however my son of a bitch apprentice, Ronald, stole a invaluable tool from me, The Orb.  I need it to finish the construction of the defenses.”

Tyler asked, “soooo if we get it for you, you’ll be able to finish all of this?”

“Yes!  And make that little pansy, Ronald, cry!  He’s hold up in an carousel park across the river with some thugs!  Bring me The Orb and I’ll protect the village!” Ronald cried, “BRING ME THE ORB!”


The group went into the carousel park.  Tyler failed to notice a noise trap, setting it off and making a clatter- alarming all nearby to their presence and getting sprayed in the face with a pink dye.

Oh and the group named their mooks.

Tyler named his mook Dave.

Jamie named his first mook Nit-Nit, the second mook was named Mook #2, and the handlebar mustache man was named Handlebarbara.  

The noise attracted the attention of a mutated dog.  The fight was quick, but Mook #2 was killed in the process.

Carousel Park

Map of the Carousel Park

The group then wandered past the restroom (although Tyler was excited that he recognized ancient Earth symbolism of male and female respite rooms that were bolted to the wall and bragged about it for a few) and wandered over to the dumpster junk shop.  The shop owner, Heithcliff, complained that Roland had stolen all his goods and was forcing him to give up everything.

Tyler managed to sweet talk him into trading a torch for a mason jar full of a red liquid.

The group then wandered towards the carousel where three bozos wearing bondage suits were standing.

A quick exchange happened and one of the mooks said, “Hey boss!  They guys are just heres to talk to you!”

The group heard a voice from behind the carousel, “Alright- we can talk!  Let it rip, boys!”

One of the bozos grabbed a pull handle and gave it a tug.  The carousel came to life for a few moments, spinning slowly, the lights flickering and the music coming out warbled.  As the carousel spun around a man was laying across a table that old people typically sit on when riding with their grandkids or something.  He had a mask with a weird fishfin top and a cape.  The carousel faltered in front of the group.

“Right…” said the man.  He got up and flapped open his cape, revealing he was wearing nothing more than a banana hammock and had an immense bong in his hand, “It’s Wizard time, bitches!”

FormerlyIanShirt5 copy

 The picture is by Wayne Snyder for a Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad game.  Also you can buy this awesome piece of art as a sticker right here.

I flashed this picture at my group and tried to introduce this like a Borderlands 1 & 2 boss fight.  It was a great time.

The fight was hard.  The group got the crap kicked out of them and all the mooks went down.  Jamie and Tyler were both hurting by the end.  Finally the group convinced Roland that they just wanted the stupid Orb they stole from Tin-Tin and didn’t want any part of his gang or carousel park.  Roland said fine, gave them the orb, took a bong rip and vanished.

Off to See the Wizard…  The Other Wizard

The group went back to Tin-Tin and gave him the exciting news of having The Orb.  Roland was happy and reached out greedily for it.  He grabbed it and started rubbing his shoulders and neck and making moaning noises.

“Oh thank god!  My arthritis was killing me!  My neck and back were so sore!”


Behold the blessed Orb!

Aside- I also pulled out this exact massager and began running it on my neck and back as Tin-Tin.

The group stared at me for a second, a little taken aback that they risked their lives for a massage roller.  Then Jamie said, “You’re an idiot Tin-Tin…  Just finish the device!”

And we ended there for the night.

The session was great fun and we had a ball.  I made it as fun and silly as I possibly could and showed them the awesomeness that is Black Hack/rules-lite play and the kickassery that is OSR-style gaming!:)

Land of the Spirits, Group 2, Session 2- Troubles in the Village of Bibble Babble


Last session the group saved the Princess of the Moon from a Glemt Ruin and decided to make camp.


Omar- Brigam, Human Shielded Warrior

Liam- Ary, Clan of Fang Hunter

Nate- Heithcliff (it’s actually not this, but this is close and we kept calling him this because his character description was very close to the comic character) Clan of Fang Hexer

John- Bunq, Barnlig Spirit Master

Not Present: Fletch- Clan of Tusk Shaman


The session started with the Omar and Nate coming up to the village of Bibble Babble.  All the houses were massive turnips with bushy greens sticking out of the roofs.  The village was quaint and clean.  The group saw the inhabitants, and it was clear that this was a Spirit village.  The creatures had round bodies, mustard colored skin, skinny legs and arms, large bat-like ears with hair sticking out of them.  They wore typical peasant/farmer style clothing.

Omar and Nate walked into the village and saw Liam and John standing and talking to an older looking one of the Spirits in the center of town, next to the only two story turnip.

Both groups listened to the plight of the older Spirit.  “At night, after midnight, creatures of shadow appear in our village and wander the streets.  The bang and scratch on our doors and windows.  None have ever crossed the threshold, but they lurk just outside.  Any who have gone outside to confront these creatures, haven’t been seen since.

Omar said that they would gladly help rid the village of these pests.  And then asked, “What are you?”

The Spirit chuckled, “I’m not surprised you don’t know, human!  It’s not like we have seen many of your kind either.  We prefer to stick to the Twilight Forest and live a quiet life of farming.  I am Sbildam; that is to say we are Sbildams.  (Sbildams are actually Madlibs backwards- I have no idea what popped in my head to do that, but oh well).


Inspiration for the Sbildams- Tony DiTerlizzi


Exploring the Village

The group split up and decided to scope out the village of Bibble Babble, looking for clues, relaxing, and restocking on supplies.

Bibble Babble

Village of Bibble Babble

Omar went to Furgen and Gurden’s merchant house and bartered for a backpack and waterskin and met the bickering couple.

Nate and Liam went to the Left Foot Tavern and met the fun and bumbling Bumble and had one of their many turnip dishes.

Then Liam went and took a nap and Nate explored the village, finding a house that is abandoned and blood on the ground and looking as someone was drug off into the forest (this was the house on the right side of the Blacksmith shop).

John explored the village looking for clues and came across Hyssen the Healer and had a quick conversation.  She also asked if, after this was all over, if John and his friends would be willing to get the venom sacks of a few Nightstalker Spiders for their healing draughts.  Their stores have run dry and she doesn’t dare go attempt to get them alone.

After exploring the group met and exchanged findings and decided it was time to come up with a battle plan for the night.

The Plan

The group went to Furgen’s and bought bells and string and set up some noise traps by the blacksmith and at several other locations.  Liam went to Hyssen the healer and got a healing potion, a smoke cloud potion, and a potion of strength, fully cleaning out her stores of potions.

Omar would take up station near Furgen’s Merchant, Nate hid by the blacksmiths house, Liam hid in the well, and John took up look out on top of the Spirit Leaders two story house.

Best Laid Plans and All That…

The group waited for midnight- which came and went.  Tense, the group wondered what was going on.  Then John heard a noise behind him.

John turned around, “Oh shit.”


Shadow Spirit

A shadowy creature was behind him and took two swipes at him before he could react.

Coming out of the ground were more of these little creatures as well as one large hulking one and a lanky one that floated about a foot and a half off the ground.

Heartless Hulk

Hulk Shadow Spirit


Spitter Spirit

Spitting Shadow Spirit

The battle was pretty fierce and lasted 11 rounds.  Omar dropped one of the Shadow Spirits by Furgen’s.  Nate attempted to take on the Spitting Shadow Spirit and got a loogie in his face, blinding him (1 hour duration).  Omar ran over to Nate to defend hi, but got hit with a loogie as well and was blinded.  The Orb of the Moon (gained last session) helped Omar stave off some of the damaging effects of these creatures.  Liam was knocked around pretty good, as was Omar.  John took no damage and was able to get off three spells before failing his INT tests, losing his spell slots.

Liam used the well as cover, gaining Advantage on defense rolls from the two shadow creatures on him.

Eventually all four of Shadow Spirits were dropped, then the Spitting Shadow Spirit, and finally the Hulk Shadow Spirit.  The group gathered Omar and Nate up and surveyed the battlefield and their victory.  John noticed that the blackness of the creatures was evaporating, leaving behind a small figure on the ground with mustard colored skin.  John walked over to the one by Furgen’s and saw with a pang of sadness that it was Bumble, owner of the Left Foot.

This was a fun reveal- the group all had looks of shock and “Oh fuck!” on their faces.  They looked at all the other bodies- all were nameless faceless villagers, except for Bumble.

Aside- I rolled a 1 in 6 chance to have one of the Shadow Spirits be a named PC they had interacted with- and only the first one was.  Then I rolled a d6 for which NPC it would be and got poor Bumble.

The group started frantically asking what they were going to do.  Rain started coming down and a laugh echoed through the forest as more white orbs started appearing throughout the perimeter of the village.  The group started heading towards a turnip house to barricade themselves in for the night.

To Be Continued

Aside Land of the Spirits uses the awesome Black Hack rules and is a playtest for a future DIY RPG Productions publication.


The Hatter Class From Alice in Wonderland for The Black Hack

Yesterday I wrote up the Card Warrior for the Black Hack and decided it would be fun to create a Hatter class as well.  So here it is.

The Hatter

Hatter 3

Starting HP: d6 + 4HP

Per Level/Resting: 1d6

Weapons & Armor: Gambeson and small shields, crossbows, short swords, and daggers.

Attack Damage: 1d6 / 1d4 Improvising


The Hat: The Hatter’s hat contains a pocket to a swirling vortex.  They are able to store items in it up to the size of a large picture frame up there.  The hat can hold 15 items.  Also once per day the Hatter can reach into their hat and pull out a random item.  Roll 1d20 for item: 1) healing potion (1d8 HP); 2-6) tea set with piping hot, delicious tea; 7-9) jam tarts; 10) sleeping powder; 11) a mirror; 12-14) a block of cheese; 15-16) a water skin with wine and a loaf of bread; 17) darkness powder (cast Darkness- lasts 2 rounds); 18-19) a candle on a candlestick; 20) a chess set.

Hatter 1

Mallet: Once per day the Hatter can pull a giant mallet out of pocket.  When pulling out the mallet the Hatter must decide to either have it grow overlarge and deal 1d12 damage to a target and stun them for 1d3 rounds on successful attack.  The mallet disappears in a poof of smoke after the attack is made.  Or have it be a standard weapon that deals 1d8 damage per round for a number of rounds equal to half the Hatter’s level (minimum of 1).

Mad as a Hatter: Hatters are peculiar folks.  Once per hour they are able to break into song or recite a poem or speech which drives others utterly mad.  The Hatter must successfully test their Charisma for each group of creatures they are attempting to rattle with their words, adding the creature’s HD to the roll. A GM will determine which creatures are in any particular group.  Creatures that are driven mad by the Hatter are confused and each round must roll 1d10 to determine their action: 1-3) do nothing.  Stand still and drool; 4) scream and flee for the round; 5) start dancing in place; 6) attack self; 7-8) attack ally; 9) lie down on the ground; 10-12) act normally.  This effect lasts as long as Hatter speaks and for 1 round after.  The Hatter can do nothing else while speaking.

Hatter 2

Hatters are also immune to charm effects and madness-like effects, but suffers Disadvantage on saves against illusions as they are easily distracted.


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


The Card Warrior Class From Alice in Wonderland for The Black Hack

Had a dream last night about Alice in Wonderland and the song “Painting the Roses Red” was stuck in my head this AM.  So I thought it would be fun to create a Black Hack class for the Card Warrior

The Card Warrior


Starting HP: d8 + 4HP

Per Level/Resting: 1d8

Weapons & Armor: Small and Large Shields, All Polearms, All Bows, and All Axes

Attack Damage: 1d8 / 1d6 Improvising


Shuffle the Deck: The Card Warrior is able to stack the deck of fate in their favor.  A Card Warrior can either “shuffle” themselves into a new Suit (see below), or they can turn a failed test into an automatic success.  A Card Warrior can do this three times per day.

Suit Ability: Each morning roll 1d4, this is the suit the Card Warrior is when they wake up.

  1. Hearts: The Card Warrior that dons the hearts suit has Advantage on saves against poisons and diseases. Also once per day they can heal themselves or another person for 2 HD of hit points.  Heart suit is treated as though wearing Gambeson armor.
  2. Spades: The Card Warrior that dons the spade suit can make an attack per level as part of their action. Spade suit is treated as though wearing Leather armor.
  3. Diamonds: The Card Warrior that dons the diamonds suit knows how to fight defensively. Once per hour, whilst in combat, they can reenergize themselves, regaining half their Armor Points.  Also, if a Card Warrior fails a STR or DEX test and would be dealt damage from an attack, they can opt to sunder (destroy) their shield, if they have one equipped, and ignore the damage.  Diamond suit is treated as though wearing Chain armor.
  4. Clubs: The Card Warrior that dons the club suit is lithe and agile. They are able to squeeze under doors that are just a mere crack, have Advantage on checks to Move Silently, Hide, Hear Sounds, Climb, Jump, etc., and Roll Advantage when attacking from behind and deals 2d6 damage. Clubs suit is treated as though wearing Leather armor.

Painting the Roses Red: Card Warriors know how to disguise things and how to bullshit others.  A Card Warrior has Advantage when lying to people and once per day can “paint” someone or something to look different, giving them Advantage on tests to fool others.



Roll to see if attributes increase, roll twice for STR or CHR


Why Thundarr The Barbarian is Epic and Epitomizes How Minimalist/Rules-Lites are Fun and Viable

I just returned from a kick ass get together in Richmond, VA, dubbed WAYNECON!, with some truly awesome peeps!  I got to meet fellow games (and friends) in real life who I’ve been talking to for several years.  It was truly a kick ass experience.

Here’s some pictures

(Thanks to Bryan M for taking these pics (well Noah took the gangbang selfie)


Anyways during the festivities someone put Thundarr the Barbarian on the projector screen.  I haven’t seen this cartoon since I was a wee child, so for me it was like watching it for the first time.
I loved it.  It’s epic awesomeness and the adventures are amazing and totally fits with the type of games I like to run.

As I was watching Thundarr it really hit me how this show really hits the low mechanics/crunchy bits mantra for me.  The way I see it is each character has one ability (maybe two or three if you want a few) and that’s it.  It really puts the importance of the action of the story (or campaign) and the decisions you make that define your character and not the homogenous list of feats and spells.

This is why The Black Hack and Into the Odd resonate so well with me.  If I want crunchier I’ll go DCC or White Box.  I just like that simplicity and the freedom it gives.


Here’s the way I would break it down (and I’m gonna use Black Hack since that’s what I’m currently running/really enjoying).


Fighter: d8 HP/lvl

1 attack per level

Once per combat can deflect an attack, turning it into a failure.  If the weapon is a laser attack, roll a die and call even or odd- if you called the right result the shot is deflected back at the attacker for full damage.

Has Advantage on tests against Poisons and Diseaeses


Man-cat-bear-thing (race as class): 1d12 HP/lvl- claws d8 damage- 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).

Once per hour can do impossible feats of strength and be awesome (IE. lift a huge pillar of cement/vehicle/rock/etc.) and throw it, push it, or whatever.  No roll needed.

Once per combat can ignore damage from a physical attack.

Princess Ariel

Sorcereress: d4 HP/lvl

Has Advantage on tests against magic and charm-like effects.

Can cast spells- keep it low magic (only up to 4th level, anything else is a ritual).

Then boom- you play and the adventures develop your character instead of “how many feats do I need to take before my character is a swashbuckler?”  Oh and I would add the thief class since people really enjoy that archetype.  I prefer this method of play.  I am not knocking those who enjoy Pathfinder, 5e, etc.  I just wanted to discuss how the simplicity of Thundarr, to me, highlights how a rule-light system is totally viable and can be exciting.

I mean in one episode of Thundarr they battled Amphibious Amazonians, a mutated giant spider, disarmed a nuclear weapon, battled a humanoid-shark lady sorcereress, and a kraken that fired ink lasers out of its tentacles… Not once was it about the long list of abilities that the characters can perform, but their actions and decisions in the situations they were dealt.

I would be remiss to not mention Chuck Thorin’s World of Durth that he is working on currently that is inspired by He-Man and all that kinda stuff!



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