Darkworm Colt — an Epic Fantasy of Sword & Magic: progression report

30 Weird classes: 43 percent done
Traditional classes (fighting-man, cleric, magic-user, thief): 100 percent done
8 Subclasses of traditional classes: 100 percent done
Magic rules (including Arcane Accidents and Dooms): 100 percent done
300 Spells: 100 percent done
Divine Powers (clerical miracles): 100 percent done
World-building tables: 0 percent done

Darkworm Colt — an Epic Fantasy of Sword & Magic

I’ve been looking for a name for my new fantasy game. Didn’t find it, at first, but it was right there in front of my eyes, the whole time.

Darkworm Colt — an epic fantasy of swords & magic

This is not only the name of my blog, but also appropriately weird, hitting all the right notes. Darkworm Colt takes its inspiration from Bakshi films, Heavy Metal 1 and 2, and other 60s/70s/80s fantasy movies. It will will contain:

  • a system based on Into the Odd/Electric Bastionland, i.e., super quick and easy to handle 
  • 30 weird character classes 
  • 4 traditional old school character classes, with 
  • clerics coming in two flavors: traditional clerics and holy men/women/hermaphrodites. Clerics use clerical insignia (item-bound spells) to do magic, holy people use guru prayer beads that bestow a new temporary power upon their wearer every day. 
  • 300 spells (colluted from Chris’s list and Ben Milton’s knave) 
  • simple level-less magic system with magic dice a la GLOG 
  • probably tables to generate mood and appropriate descriptions

I’m pretty happy with how it’s developing at the moment.

Through the week with a Holy Man: details on the Cleric in my Into the Odd fantasy hack

I’m currently working on a game that uses the Into the Odd/Electric Bastionland rules, but transplants the action into the fantasy genre. Depending on your mood, you can either pick the “weird” classes the game offers, or stay traditional and play one of the backgrounds of the original D&D game: cleric, fighting-man, magic-user or thief.

When you decide to play a cleric, you have two options:

  • a) Play a traditional Cleric (uses item-bound spells, colored to fit their god)
  • b) Play a Holy Person (prays each day and rolls to see what special power their god grants them for the day)
Clerics start with one Holy Symbol (spell-item) and one permanent special ability, bestowed upon them by their god. Holy Persons choose to pick so-called Holy Numbers and intonate them properly. Then, they roll a d6 to determine what happens.
Let’s stay with a Holy Man for this post. 

He has STR 8 DEX 11 WIL 14 hp 2. He gets a blunt weapon (1d6) and armor 1. His god is a protective god. 

On day 1, he picks the Holy Number 7, rolls a d6 and his god grants him the ability to turn a target or himself immaterial for 1d4 rounds.

On day 2, he picks the Holy Number 5, rolls a d6 and gains armor 3 for this day.

On day 3 and 4, he picks the Holy Number 3, rolls a d6 and gains armor 3 for these days.

On day 5, he picks the Holy Number 7, rolls a d6 and his god forces a target to be spiritually fascinated by a piece of armor the Holy Man determines, effectively cutting any damage the target does does in half.

On day 6, he picks the Holy Number 8, rolls a d6 and, for this day, can either turn ten pieces of garment into Armor 1, or give ten targets Armor 3, or let ten persons resist poison successfully, or turn ten persons immaterial for 1d4 rounds.

On day 7, he picks the Holy Number 4, rolls a d6 and his armor and that of his companions permanently gain +1.

These results are all pretty generic. That’s intentional. The random effects still need to be dressed up in colorful description by the player. The Holy Man I wrote about here might see the effects of his god’s powers as divine light surrounding his body, while another Holy Man might be protected by the giant spiritual hands of his goddess.

Bottom line: I’m pretty satisfied with how the Divine Miracles of the Holy Persons work. More on this after playtesting.

Into the Odd fantasy game: Traditional class 2: The Fighting-man

Traditional Background: Fighting-man

You have learned how to fight.
You get: one-handed weapon (1d6), two-handed weapon (1d8, bulky), armor (1); In armed combat, roll 2 dice for damage, and take the result you want.
Sample Names:
Where have you learned how to fight?
In the best warrior academy of the land. When you kill an enemy, you immediately may attack another opponent.
In the School of Shadows. Make a DEX test to avoid damage from a ranged attack. This counts as an action, and you may not attack in the same round.
In the School of Hardknocks. Your toughened body absorbs damage like 1 point of armor even when you‘re naked.
In the School of Divine Serpent Fangs. If you roll a 1 for damage, roll again and add the result.
In the back alleys of your town. In unarmed combat, when you are hit, ignore damage that‘s 4, 6, 8, 10 or 12.
In the Courtyards of Dirt. You‘re carrying a rotting disease (+1d4 damage after a fight is over, and 75 percent chance your opponent will be infected).

minimald6 is alive and kicking!

minimald6 logo

I’m happy to report that my minimald6 rpg system continues to be awesome. A whole army of creative people have written their own little games and hacks based on it, and it’s growing by the day.

There’s a minimald6 group on MeWe, in case you’re interested. Yochai Gal is the admin and has opened an online collection for all minimald6 hacks (or at least those whose authors want to share). Go there to see it in all its glory: https://yochaigal.github.io/minimald6/

What you can play in my new game

Four days ago, I showed you the 30 classes/backgrounds for my new weird fantasy game based on Into the Odd.

Today, I’d like to show you four of them in detail.

Elven Berzerker

Feared in all the lands.
Faithful only to their savage gods.
You get: Elven Darkblade (1d8), Runes of Rage, Talking Skull of your Ancestor
Sample Names: Khorzak, Yonkath, Urhuuz, Gorgo, Rilukk, Bolar
What do you know about yourself?
Rage is the gods‘ gift, so when you fight, there are no survivors. Ever. Make WIL save to stop the slaughter when there are still beings left. Failure doubles the damage you inflict.
Cold smile. Successful WIL test with advantage to intimidate.
That tattoo on your forehead might be a demon.
Blood is life, so drink it from the skulls of your enemies. Regain d4 hp.
If anyone ever knows your true name, they gain the power to give you one order – once.
You fight better with blades. Roll additional d8 for damage, take better result.

Quick, agile and nimble.
Specialized in property relocation.
You get: Dagger (1d6), Backpack of Holding a Lot of Stuff, Long Rope, Hooks
Sample Names:
What inspires you to show your skills?
High buildings, towers and cliffs – scaling them is what you were born to do.
Now I‘m here, now I‘m not: You can hide professionally.
When the henchmen of the guild are after your head.
When you move, only the cats and spiders hear it.
One of your fingers is a bone key. Sever it from your hand and open any lock. Once in your life.
Even the smallest, thinnest, most unstable surface is something you can walk or crawl on.

No kingdom, no empire, without mindless soldiers.
Comrades in arms, a force to be reckoned with. Weak when alone.
You get: Form-fitting armor (1), repeating crossbow (1d6 blast), mysterious locket with the picture of an old, bearded man in it.
Sample Names:
Why have you joined their ranks?
To disappear. You have a shady past. Shady, and filled with people who hate you.
To become tougher: You may roll a WIL test instead of STR to determine if you‘re critically wounded. Once per fight.
To get away from a life as subsistence farmer. But at least, you know how to use plant-based remedies.
To be with company. 2 in 20 chance one of your comrade in arms shows up when you need him.
To afford university. Little did you know you have to be on active service for 10 years before you are allowed to study anything.
To silence the voices in your head. Oh, the voices! They tell you what to do, and sometimes you can‘t resist their commands.

Some people know all the streets and places in town.
Others have all the important contacts. 
But you. You. Are. The. City.
You get: Impromptu weapons you can find always and everywhere (1-3: d6, 4-6: d8), Concrete plate armor (1), a horse, a carriage, a tiny house that‘s bigger on the inside
Sample Names: Craswell, Shiverpool, The Blanks, Compound-8, Hopefalls, Dawnburg, Solitude
What‘s so frightening about you?
You can crush their dreams and destroy their hope. Touch a victim and make them save against WIL to avoid total catatonia for the next (Level) rounds.
You know. You just know what they did. Make WIL test to remember.
You hate dirt. It makes you ugly. So much so, you have to spend hours every evening to groom yourself. Do this, or your stench demands a WIL save from everyone you meet to stay around.
You can make them or break them. Say who you want to help. Then roll. 1-3: make them roll 2d20 for a save and pick the better one. 4-6: make them roll 2d20 for a save and pick the worse one.
When you are with friends, they all somehow gain Armor 1 protection.
Where there was no street or no way around, there will be one. You are City.

Into the Odd: 30 backgrounds for my weird-fantasy game

Elven Berzerker

Cult Henchman
Hunchbacked Mystic
Troll Cannoneer
Nine Heavenly Seas Navigator
Netherworld Barbarian
Slugman Noble
Ruler of a Forgotten Land
Dwarven Engineer
Panzer Templar
Pig-Folk Witcher
Essence Collector
Spice Merchant
Gnome Jeweller
Brewer of Potions
Silver-tongued Preacher
Petty God
Ritual Grandmaster
Crab-Man Sherpa
Pandimensional Vermin Hunter
Cloaked Rent-A-Sage

Kriegsmaschinen.: an Into the Odd mecha setting

I’m working on a Mecha game for Into the Odd. Its name is “Kriegsmachinen.”, and yes, I chose the German name deliberately because it sounds so cool.

Being a huge fan of miniatures on the table (even if I lack ANY skill to paint them, and WON’T do that), my idea is to write a setting and simple rules for miniatures, based on Into the Odd.

First ideas.

1-3: slow (d6 ramming damage)
4-7: mid-speed (d8 ramming damage); move miniature one length of a pen
8-9: fast (d10 ramming damage); move miniature 1.5 lengths of a pen
10: super-fast (d12 ramming damage); move miniature 1d4+1 lengths of a pen

1-3: light (d6 ramming damage); armor 0
4-7: mid-weight (d8 ramming damage); armor 1
8-9: heavy (d10 ramming damage); armor 2
10: super-heavy (d12 ramming damage); armor 3
11: titan class (d20 ramming class, not available for starting pilots)

Roll 3d6 for Power (STR), Mobility (DEX) and Sensors (CHA/WIL)

Roll 2d6 for Hit Points.

Mobility Class
2: Spider-mech
3: Quadruple/walker-mech.
4-8: Humanoid-mech
9: Jump/Leap-mech
10: Vehicle-mech (1-2: wheels; 3-4: tracks; 5-6: other )
11: Flying-mech
12: Swimming-mech

On-board Armaments
Roll 1d6 times to determine weapon systems; then roll 1d6 for each: 1-3 close combat weapon, 4-6: ranged weapon
1: light weaponry, d6
2-5: medium weaponry, d8
6: heavy weaponry, d10

Using On-board Armaments
Circle through your list of weapons continually, depending on the range of combat. You have two lists: one for close quarter/melee weapons, and one for ranged weapons.

Damage against Mechs
Muscle-powered attacks: 0
Firearms and power tools carried by humans do 1d2 damage, but can’t take it below 1hp.
Mecha-weapons do damage as listed.

Each time a Mech is wounded, but not critically hit, make a (second) Power save for each on-board weapon system. A failed save means this system is shut down because of structural damage (1-3) or overheating (4-6).

Mecha damage against persons
All damage inflicted with a mech-weapon is x3 against humans. Forget armor.

Ramming and Overrunning (taken from Chris McDowall)
causes damage depending on the vehicle’s weight or speed, whichever is better.
Light/Slow (d6), Mid-Weight/Speed (d8), Heavy/Fast (d10) or Super-Heavy/Fast (d12). If one vehicle is heavier than the other, damage against it is Impaired. Vehicles take no damage for running over soft targets like people.

Uses DEX saves for risky situations, or may simply incur damage to the mech.


Let’s try what we have so far:

My mech is a fast (d10 ram), light-weight (0 armor, d6 ram) Humanoid mech, 11 PWR 13 MOB 7 SNS, 5 HP,  armor 0, with 4 ranged weapons (3x medium d8, and 1x heavy d10) and 2 melee weapons (medium d8 and heavy d10).

When I’m piloting my mech and attack, using my ranged weapons, I circle through my list of 4 ranged weapon systems so no weapon gets used twice in a row. Some goes for melee: here I’m circling through my list of 2 close-range weapon systems.