MoldHammer is like (lots of old games), only better

Rattlemayne used to write very interesting and cool Into the Odd hacks, but then he noticed that his later hacks didn’t really look like Into the Odd any more. So he took a step back, started from scratch and built his own personal hack of Gary’s original game.

And boyyyyy, what a beaut of a game it is.

In a nutshell: MoldHammer uses to-hit rolls with a d20, hits instead of hit points (get hit = lose one hit, just like my Landshut rules, and OF COURSE, early Twin Cities roleplaying), a flexible magic system, and one of the few good applications of active parries I know.

That said, I’ll change only a couple of things:

  • re-introduce the six trad stats, without any mechanical benefits
  • maybe, maybe use d6 saves (“Luck rolls” for you ItO enthusiasts) for non-life-threatening situations, but saves vs. stats if the shit hits the proverbial fan
  • give characters at zero hits the chance to avoid critical injury (instead of killing them outright) by rolling 10 or more on 2d6
  • provide descriptions for critical injuries that monsters can inflict
  • I’d give non-fighter classes an additional heart every 3 levels or so

Without further ado – this is my fighter:

Jon Kreskill, Level 1 War Monk
3 Hearts
to hit: 11
armor: 5

And this is an orc of the Bloodvine clan:
(alls stats 10)
3 Hearts
to hit 11
armor: 3
When he crits an enemy, he cuts their beating heart out of their chest to eat it.

 Roll 1d6 for each fighter to determine initiative: Jon wins.
Rolls a 16 and misses the orc. The orc rolls a 10 and hits. To avoid losing a heart, Jon has to roll equal to or under his armor: 15 – the rusty blade of the orc penetrates his armor, and Jon loses 1 heart.

Next round: Jon wins initiative.
Rolls a 1 and hits. The orc now makes a d20 save vs. his armor: 14, Jon’s blow goes straight through, and the orc loses 1 heart.

Next round: the orc wins initiative.
Rolls an 18 and misses. Jon too.

Next round: Jon wins ini.
Rolls a 2 and hits. The orc fails to save against the hit and loses his second heart.

Next round: Both fighters rolls 3, so they hit simultaneously.
Jon rolls a 5 and hits the orc. The orc misses. Now the orc saves vs. his armor: a fail, he loses his last heart and dies.

Please note that this example fight didn’t use any maneuvers or tricks. They would have added lots and lots of opportunities.

Bottom line: go and play that game. It’s good.

5 thoughts on “MoldHammer is like (lots of old games), only better

  1. Hear, hear. I like how it handles magic and thieve skills. Everyone can try do them, only thieves are better. Similarly to maneuvers. The spell list is also very practical for a dungeon-delving party. It's got a good mix of useful utility and combat spells. And the rules for hex-exploration are a big plus. Rattlemayne said he might even make rules for hirelings and strongholds. That would be amazing!


  2. Really cool! At the risk of making things more (too) complicated, what about a slight variant in heart system:Wizards start with 2 hearts, Thieves with 3 hearts, Fighters with 4 heartsDifferent weapons have different potential damage; when doing the \”saving throw\” to avoid damage (to see whether damage penetrates or not), roll MULTIPLE dice depending on weapon the opponent uses: for light weapons (eg daggers), roll 1 die, for normal weapons (eg longsword), roll 2 dice, for two-handed weapons (only wielded by fighters), roll 3 dice. Each \”failed\” saving throw results in the loss of a heart, so a fighter with a two-handed sword might fell a thief in a single blow, but a wizard foolish enough to attack a fighter would require landing four blows … good luck with that!Anyway, just a thought on adding a LITTLE bit of variety without TOO much complication. :)This allows different monsters to have different damage.


  3. Thanks for such a kind review! I saw your comment on my but only just noticed this lovely shoutout. A new version of MoldHammer is out today – this time divided into \”Advanced\”, which includes new rules that bump the page count up by one, and \”Basic\”, which is trimmed back down to the more-polished versions of my original rules (and is still printable on one double-sided page). My 4+ page toolkit for running Star Wars themed MoldHammer games is also forthcoming, after I playtest and revise it.


  4. Very welcome, sir! One additional rule I'm using:Critical hits: if you roll a 1 to hit, roll again. 1 to 14, hit normally. 15 to 19, do 2 damage. 20, you scored a crit – roll 1d6, 1 to 5, the opponent is knocked out, 6, the opponent is dead.


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