Monday, 15 August 2016

This is what TBH Mass Combat would look like

So Mass Combat, I've seen a few ways of doing it - some do away with the wargame, some embrace it whole. My version sits in the middle somewhere - still using the d&d trappings but adding weird story game style descriptive tags to units and adopting a GW inspired combat resolution. I dunno. Might change after a bit of testing, but this is fresh out the mind oven.

We take a monster and make them a unit. We don't need to know specific numbers, although to the nearest 10 or so is good. Goblins have 1HD. Lets say its a pack of goblins, that's? 20? So the unit of Goblins has 1 HD and we can make a few other bits of fiction or assumption. They have poor weapons, armor and training. Now lets take a squad of honor guards, there's 5 of them. Specific numbers still aint no problem though'. They have excellent weapons, Armor Training Morale etc. You get the idea. They also have 2HD.

So the two units face off, and roll a d6. They add their HD to the roll. You also get +1 for each of the following if they apply to your unit.

  • Larger Force than the foe.
  • Be better equipped than the foe.
  • Have more battle experience than the foe.
  • Being led by/is a champion.
  • Faster than the foe.
  • Battlefield advantage. (such as a water elemental troop fighting in the sea)

Players compare scores and whoever wins deals that difference in damage. This damage is taken away from the HD. When HD = 0 the unit is Out of the Battle (1d4).

1. No survivors, all dead, including champion.
2. Champion Out of Action and unit destroyed.
3. Champion and handful of the unit remain fighting, rest dead.
4. Champion remains fighting, rest broken and fleeing.

Players should have all their units selected in an order on the table in front of them. Perhaps cards would be a good way to do this. The everyone takes turns to activate a unit. Move and attack or Double move move. Standard TBH. Close, Nearby, Far. Scale is just fractal. (Don't tell FATE). resolve spells normally? I dunno. A unit of wizards? Really? I like warhammer battle wizards so maybe i'll have work on some sort of magic system that uses existing spells. Another night perhaps

Spelling and grammar, i regret nothing.


Sunday, 24 July 2016

The boys first dungeon

Benefits of having offspring is you get to experience cool moments where they show an interest in your hobbies. My hobby is d&d. What follows is the boy's (age 6) first dungeon. I consider it to be equal parts weird, familiar and interesting. I think ill run some players through it. Maybe add some 'filler black rooms' - plus yeah yeah, I get blank rooms don't need to be filler (all killer amirite?)

Room Contents:

1. Goblin Shark (Head of shark, body of Goblin)
2. Psycho Cyclops.
3. Creepy lab, Skeleton, liquid with label 'Toxic', if drank gain a level.
4. Cyborg Skeleton - teleportation, mind control, lazor eyes.
5. Bunch of Bats - Machine converts toxic waste to healing potions.
6. Another lab - more skeletons, sword that traps souls.
7. 12 chests - 6 trapped: Laval pit, Arrows, Scared to Death, Killed by darkness, Anvil falls on you, Virus Kills you.
8. Yellow orb - reach in? flip a coin, Heads: Ghost Wolf appears. Tails: Nightmare spawns.
9. No door, just a purple portal. (wait that's it?? shouldn't there be more? No. Apparently not)
10. Ghosts with some abstract medieval contraption that's basically a hoover. There was a picture but just trust me. 
11. Robot room - bear with hat.
12. Misty Room with chest guarded by octopus.

Friday, 10 June 2016

The Black Hack : Guns & Ammo

Here are my thoughts on guns, these aren't 'official roolz' or anything - just my thoughts about how i'd like to do guns.

All guns have ammo, represented by the usage die. Just as it was intended. You roll your ammo die at the end of a combat, and it works as per normal. I'd normally expect usage die's to be in the d8-d10 region.

You can bypass the DEX test to hit, do automatic damage but you have to roll the Ammo's usage die immediately.

High power shells, LAZOR beams, angry bee's - all pack a serious punch. A gun with crazy ammo can roll with Advantage when dealing damage, but must also roll with Disadvantage when roll the Ammo's usage die at the end of the combat.

Long barreled guns or weapons with computers and fancy shit can skip a turn, 'aiming' and automatically deal damage the next turn. Roll usage die at the end of the combat as per normal.

Area of effect weapons attack 1d4 targets in a Nearby area.

If you kill a creature with this gun, and have any 'damage left over' you have to give that damage to a Nearby creature. Oh there are only your friends around? Then you shouldn't be playing with guns indoors.

If you have a gun that shoots shrapnel, pellets or other short range spreadables - should you miss, you deal your Level in damage to the target if they're Nearby.

Replace class damage with a d12, the usage die for this gun is always a d6.

That seems like a nice set of rules to make Guns feel distinct, but not overwhelming. Also its unlikely that one single gun would have more than a couple of these little rule - tops. One each also helps distinguish the gun.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

How to make a successful RPG (or lessons i've learned)

I've got a game out as you know, one or two people thought it was pretty fucking neat :

Not bad for a jumped up little set of house rules-turned small press title. So far I think we've sold 900+ 'real copies' (bundles ofc) and 450+ pdf's, a bunch of GM screens, Char sheets and the 1 page micro-setting 'The Queer and Deadly Town of Sorrowset'. All gravy then. So much so, that the resulting conversation about the game, its mechanics and its success have given me reason to get my think on.

Why has The Black Hack been as successful as it has, despite it being yet another d&d clone? It really isn't doing something all that special, same rules just spun a little differently. (Although I'd claim, anecdotally, that TBH is what D&D looked like before it was D&D - Arnesonian style) If I were to draw a parallel - or reveal something that has inspired TBH it would be LotFP. Now i'll say upfront im not a huge fan of the LotFP rules. They're just B/X with some neat tweaks, but that's not what I wanted to talk about. What I really like, and the reason I think James has had the success he has? It's attitude. Despite having 'vanilla' rules - and I mean that as no real insult - when you play a LotFP game you know what you're getting into. Real cray-cray shit. So thats what I tried to inject into TBH's soul - the same level of projected attitude. And one thing I've learned is it's that 'voice' that the game needs to stand out from all the hundreds of other generic fantasy roleplaying games that are out there. Production values are real important important too. Super important. We asked for extra money to print on nicer paper, and it worked, and shit the bed did it make a difference. Arts important. I couldn't put any in the book, space was tight in places, but I made sure to do something bold for the cover. Just wait till you see the T-Shirts.

What's next? Well if I were to look at the Raggi method of success, its support. TBH has already in the few short weeks it's been available, had a shit tonne of 3rd party support. Which is good, It's also sort of a shame, because a lot of those things - were things I had planned on doing. I'm still going to do them of course, in my own unique way. I asked the G+ hivemind what they would want to see next ..

So there we are - pretty much an even split. Vertex of Hate is going to be something of a similar size to the rulebook, but purely adventure, with some other small bits thrown in. It's not a guaranteed go'er yet but it looks like it might be a KS with Gold Piece. That way there's the opportunity to get badges, t shirts and other shit I posted about made. But beyond that? Stay tuned. TBH will return.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

3RD Party TBH

There's been a tonne of really creative and inventive uses of TBH as an 'engine' which i'm really digging and totally happy about. People have been kindly emailing me their drafts, and enquiring about what they want to do - but some haven't (which isn't an issue, mind you). But it prompts me to think now is a good time to publicly make everyone aware of how I want to approach 3rd party content that wants to reference TBH. The TBH rules are OGL, so you can totally use them for whatever purpose you want. The name 'The Black Hack' and the Hand logo aren't, however. But having said that, in the spirit of DIY gaming I want you to modify, create supplements and spawn spinoffs. Its what its all about. So if you want to create a supplement/module/hack, and if you want to use the name 'The Black Hack' - here's how you should go about it:
Email me at for a set of high resolution hand logos. Freebies?!? Kinda. If it's a supplement (ie you need TBH to use it), somewhere on the cover you need the hand logo and the text 'For use with The Black Hack' If it's a standalone product (The opposite of above), somewhere on the cover you need the hand logo and the text 'Made using The Black Hack'

Any questions just get in touch!


Monday, 9 May 2016

Boxes, Maybe? Badges, Yes. Stickers. Yep.

So it occurred to me that I post alot over at G+ but have somewhat neglected the blog here. I don't feel bummed out on producing stuff, i'm in my most production period yet, dahling. I've got a bunch of old notebooks of ideas that, never went anywhere, I might go back through those and do some retrospective stuff? I dunno. But I've been working on The Black Hack stuff. Already written skeletons for the narrative and structure of The Vertex of Hate. Im not ready to talk about how it will get out there - but it's definitely gestating at a rapid pace. I also wanted to post a couple of photos - to show you some updates on other things that are going on, oh and the blog post title, those too, enjoy.

Thats a die drop to-hit table thing (the last one got ruined) 

Thats a tshirt.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Additional Things

Now the dust is settling, people all over the world are finally getting to tuck into their little black packages. Chortle. It's time to release 'Additional Things' - a document i've kept as I developed and whittled down The Black Hack to its 20 slim a5 pages.

Theres lots of variants, alternatives and optional rules in there. Theres some that expand on certain things or introduce whole new concepts such as Panic! and Failing Forward. Most were cut because of space, some because I wasn't sure they were right. But you get to decide now. Also there's a little bit of waffle from me on the rules, why I like them - a directors commentary if you will.

You can get it by clicking the image below, and in due time it will go on (I know i should do launches on all paltforms at once, but friday night)

It also worth noting that it's a living document, so if you would like to see something included - get in touch. Oh and did I mention that the games on sale, including all the Kickstarter Exra's if you missed those too?. Yeah im sure I haven't mentioned that before.