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RPG Character A Week
Play your favorite fictional hero in the best RPGs!
Recent Activity
I'm returning to activity with Microlite 20 Vehicles, a very simple addition to my Microlite 20 Modern-Day rules. In the best M20 tradition, it really is a quick-and-dirty rules set, enough to get the Millennium Falcon flying or put the Black Pearl to sea. You could even run a vehicle heavy setting with the rules — Mad Max would work, since the important part of that setting is the characters, not their cars and trucks and bikes. Going forward this blog will be for two games: Microlite 20 and Unbelievably Simple Roleplaying, my two favorite systems (at least, the "Domino... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2016 at RPG Character A Week
For a blog called "RPG Character A Week," there's been a lot of weeks without a character! I aim to change that. To begin with, I've revised my website, and I'm posting the games I want to promote there. My new and improved gaming webpage. Dozens of systems are released every day, it seems, but I'm only going to concentrate on a few, for the most part: mainly the "Domino Writing-style" versions of USR and Microlite 20 -- both games still have an active following, so I want to contribute to them. I have good ideas, and I can contribute... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2015 at RPG Character A Week
"Little folk" refers to real little folk from legend and fantasy: not halflings or traditional fantasy gnomes, but folklore gnomes (the ones small enough to find shelter under a toadstool), pixies, and a handful of copyrighted characters: Smurfs, Mogwai and Fraggles, the last being the sad inspiration for this post. An issue of scale for our heroes. (image: There have been games for playing little folk before, like Faery's Tale and Mouse Guard. But they're not much different than any other fantasy game, just scaled down. A fairy knight battling a fairy wizard is no different than a human... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
Well, if USR's Cthulhu Month is going to feature the King in Yellow, we'll need to have "True Detective" in there somehow... USR Action D8, Wits D10, Ego D6 Specialisms: "The world needs bad men. We keep the other bad men from the door." +2, "There were times I thought I was main-lining the secret truth of the universe." +2, Played by Matthew McConaughey (because there's more to Rust Cohle than just darkness) +2 Hit Points: 18 Combat Gear: Police-issue Sidearm +1 Narrative Points: 6 "Drinks Lots Of Beer" doesn't really work as a specialism. (image: Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
The second session of our 5e game took place tonight: Malum Vargr (wood elf rogue, noble) Paelis Liadon (wood elf paladin, alchemist) Tyndar (lightfoot halfling bard, criminal) We are using the Encounters version of the Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure. In the first session, the party made their way into the town of Greenest and met a woman who worked in the keep. She knew who to talk to get inside, to talk with the mayor. The big enemy so far. (image: Tonight, the party battled human cultists, kobolds and urds on their way into the keep. They... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
Every once in a while, fantasy gaming gets to mix with my other passion, journalism. This month's issue of Encore Magazine is no different, with a cover story on the fantasy gaming hobby (mostly D&D and Magic, as they're the big-name games around here, and pretty much everywhere else). I had great help from local game groups and the two FLGS in town, and I hope they enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. This is one of the things I've been doing instead of regular blog posts. (image: Yes, that's me as DM on the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
Dungeons & Dragons is a game that is immersed in magic. In the newer editions of the game, all classes have access to spells of one kind or another (fighters have their special maneuvers, the barbarian's Path of the Totem Warrior offers animal spirits). Bards are meant to be jack-of-all-trades: rogue-like melee combat, wizard-like spellcasting, warlord-like leadership ability. Bards can also be diplomats, using their spells to enhance their negotiating abilities. Bards with non-spell spells. (image: Non-spell spells from the 5e bard list: Cantrips (0-level) Friends: The spell enchants the target to think the spellcaster is an ally. As... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
Here's a character you may not have thought about for a while, though he's still going strong in the comics. He's not nearly as skillful as he appears in the comics, as characters on this blog are typically at first level. He's also human in all but appearance. He really doesn't have any rabbit-like characteristics, so no need for a special race for him. A grim Usagi. (image: Usagi is also a roleplaying challenge; there's much more to him than just a badass swordsman. To be true to the character, remember his place in samurai-era Japan (he's sometimes rude,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
There are dozens of ways to track combat initiative in RPGs. It's simple enough to write down a list of names, or even just trust the players to remember their order (or even, in some games, to have the players decide each round what they're doing). That's why a lot of initiative trackers offer space for other stuff, like hit point amounts and conditions. Who goes first? (image: My one-page sheet offers all that and more. It's designed for D&D, with eight PCs (I have a lot of people who want to roleplay but don't have a group; I... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
A Mon Calamari scoundrel, a Wookie scoundrel and an Ewok Jedi (!) walk into a bar on Coruscant... Getting back into roleplaying for the fall, three players joined me for Microlite 20 Star Wars. It was one player's first time roleplaying, so I started with a fairly simple system and Star Wars, of which he's a big fan. We used "Shadows Of A Black Sun," the Free RPG day Edge of the Empire quick start for the adventure. Years of playing 2nd and 3rd edition D&D has made all of us familiar with character sheets listing specific abilities and using... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
Now that the school year is back in session, and the weather is pushing people to stay inside, everyone is ready to roleplay again (except me; I'm always ready to roleplay). As I won't see some of my players for a few more weeks. We're holding off on starting a 5e campaign or continuing with Pathfinder - I'm leaning toward the former, as I always like trying new systems - and I'm thinking of running Microlite 20 Star Wars. The "Galaxy Tiles." (image: It's a touch more rules-dense than my own Microlite 20 games, but it's complete as one... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
The rogue or thief in a fantasy party has a standard operating procedure: 1. listen for sounds behind a dungeon door 2. see if the door is trapped (if so, disarm) 3. see if the door is locked (if so, pick the lock) 4. check the door frame and the floor in front of the door An elf rogue at work. (image: The rogue in my most recent Pathfinder game added a little twist: open the door just a crack and peek around the corner to see what's inside (though he is a halfling, so he can't see when... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
Duplication is a difficult power to portray in super hero roleplaying games, as it essentially gives a player multiple actions on a turn. The counter to that advantage, in Microlite 20 Costumes, is to keep each duplicate's statistics half of the original character's (and, of course, the duplicates can't duplicate themselves). Another simple solution is to have each duplicate to have just one hit point, to limit how long they're around. Jamie Madrox is by far the best-known comics character with the duplication power. The 1990s X-Factor run where he became a detective helped flesh him out... but honestly, this... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
So there are plenty of iconic character types that can be created with the new 5e PHB. Most of them are exactly the types you'd expect to see in a version of D&D - the powerful wizard, the backstabbing thief - and there's many of the more up-to-date types too. You can play a fighter/wizard without having to multiclass, thanks to the Eldritch Knight martial archetype for the fighter. The monk offers a ninja and a "Last Airbender." But even with all that, there are still iconic character types that you'll have to put together yourself (at least until a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
There's activity on the USR front: several new settings at Trollish Delver. By my count, it's now six specific settings, (say that three times fast). Cavemen (from Go Wherever) Cyberpunk Halberd (fantasy) Full Moon Defence Squad (modern day monster hunting, though mentioned in Go Wherever) Galaxy (space opera) Peakvale (fantasy dimension hopping - possibly like Rifts, but with a better rules set?) Very fitting art, from the cover of "Fantasy & Science Fiction" March 2007. (image: The last three are so new they're just a blog post of ideas now, but I'm looking forward to building on them with... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
Taking a cue from the OSR, a simplified stat block can be just one line, or even less for a PC. The old versions of D&D had a lot of "as X" in them; monsters made saving throws as a Fighter, for example. OSR monsters often don't have a to-hit statistic because they all use the same combat chart. In effect, they all attack "as monster," with the variation coming in number of hit dice. The same can be done with newer versions of D&D. My 3.5e Monster Manual list creatures from Challenge Rating of less than 1 to 20... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
So the Star Wars toy line finally introduced little green army men: Star Wars Command is a series of plastic figures in one color (except for painted lightsabers) for army building in a much less expensive way than using the LEGO figures or regular action figures. Of course there's still the WOTC Star Wars miniatures and the FFG ships from the "X-Wing" game, but these are new and easy to pick up. There's only one problem: they're two inches tall, army men/cowboys and Indians figure size instead of the usual 25/28 mm RPG and wargame size. Here's the characters from... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
We wrap up our long weekend of Ninja Turtles for Microlite 20 Modern-Day, USR and Generic d6 Lite with the turtle in orange. Mike is the youngest of the four, the most immature and fastest to make friends, which prompted a lot of the character choices for him (his other special ability in Microlite 20, his specialisms in USR). Having a "makes friends easily" character is often as good in an RPG as having a combat monster character. Michaelangelo from the Archie comics series, one of the less common interpretations of the characters. (image: Michaelangelo Microlite 20 Modern-Day Race:... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
Here we are, the "lone wolf" Ninja Turtle. The "Batman" Ninja Turtle. The "Wolverine" Ninja Turtle. You get the idea - rough and tough and sarcastic and cynical, even in the silly 1987 cartoon. In USR, he has a turtle shell that can be used as defense in combat. All four of the turtles could use that item of combat gear, but Raphael has more experience with it, as he's been in plenty of one-on-one battles. Case in point. (image: Raphael Microlite 20 Modern-Day Race: Turtle Folk, Character Focus: Stealth, Level 1 STR 14 (+2), DEX 16 (+3), MIND... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
Donatello's always been my favorite Ninja Turtle. He's the cliched geek (a technology expert, even more socially awkward than the others, etc.), but when writing him up as an RPG character, it offers a lot. He's not just a "ninja turtle" archetype (as much as that can be an archetype), he's also a "geek." That's a high concept right there. The tech turtle. (image: Donatello Microlite 20 Modern-Day Species: Turtle Folk, Character Focus: Stealth, Level 1 STR 12 (+1), DEX 13 (+1), MIND 16 (+3) Physical 1, Subterfuge 3, Knowledge 1, Communication 1, Technology 2 Hit Points 16, Armor... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
Yes, there's a new movie out, though it's getting mediocre reviews, but it is a good opportunity for my take on the Ninja Turtles, like every other blogger ever. This is for three of my favorite systems: Microlite 20 Modern-Day (in this case), USR and Generic d6 Lite. The turtles are all at level 1 here, as I usually want my characters to be playable immediately, though they're probably 3rd or 4th level by the time their adventures really begin. One turtle a day; let's start with Leo. Since I'm trying to tie in to the new movie... (image: Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
Another rules light RPG, even lighter than USR and Risus, is d6 Lite. You can find my version (Domino Writing style, of course) here. Like all rules light games, it's very open to interpretation of exactly what statistics can be used for, but detailed enough that there's a hit location chart! Our heroes, now for your gaming enjoyment. (image: Let's keep the "Guardians of the Galaxy" action going with Generic d6 Lite versions of all the movie heroes: Star-Lord: Fast (speed good), Brash (social poor), Average (others), Specialization: sleight-of-hand Gamora: Average (all), Specialization: martial arts Drax the Destroyer: Strong... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
So, I saw "Guardians of the Galaxy" like everyone else. It's a lot of fun, a space fantasy in the mold of "Star Wars," where all the heroes are Han Solo or Chewbacca. Today's character is one that was pretty unlikely to make the jump to live action, or so I thought. The unlikely movie star. (image: In the comics, Groot is a genius-level engineer, something that wasn't referenced in the film (though there was a scene where he performed first aid). So I tried to work that into the write-ups for Microlite 20 Modern-Day and USR. "Guardians" is... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
We've already seen the "specializations" for the classes in the 5e PHB. Each class has one traditional version of the class, as seen in earlier editions, and at least one other common version of the class. Yes, there's plenty of space for more specializations... undoubtedly in future books, and everyone has thought of one or two that would be good to add (for me, it's the scheming rogue, not a killer but a master of intrigue a la characters from "Game Of Thrones," and the scout ranger, a non-spellcasting woodsman who might possibly have a band of merry allies a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2014 at RPG Character A Week
Technical difficulties can take down a blog for a while, and so they have. But it has returned - just like your character can. It's a great way to keep a favorite character alive, no matter what system you're playing in. The simplest way, of course, is the tried-and-true "identical twin" who is exactly the same character with a different name. But more interesting is the eternal champion idea, as in Michael Moorcock's novel series (and a very old RPG, Stormbringer, from 1981) - one individual, reborn in different identities, each with different skills and personalities. Stormbringer the RPG. (image:... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2014 at RPG Character A Week