Sunday, 14 May 2017


I thought that it was just too good to be true. But it happened.....
The best roleplaying game of all times (yes, I am too excited to be fair) has been released digitally at a price that should bowl you over!

Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes (aka MSPE) is available on RPGnow.

And it happened just after Tunnels & Trolls 5th edition (which can be used as a sourcebook for archaic stuff in MSPE) has been released a few days ago.

Make yourself a favor: buy MSPE (and T&T as an addon) and you are going to discover what makes a game a classic.

If you want to learn more about MSPE, I have already presented it in my blog:

and I have made a few ressources available for it:

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

oh thankyouthankyou....

They made it!!!!!

The best edition EVER of Tunnels & Trolls has been released as a pdf!!!!!

5th one, of course! The real one!

You can put the 7th edition in the dustbin! You can put Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls on a shelve! You'll never need them again!

5th edition Tunnels & Trolls is available on RpgNow!  Hurry Up, grab it!

If Flying Buffalo could do the same to Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes, we would know what Nirvana means!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Fantasy Trip played with figures and without grid

I am not exclusively a roleplayer, though it is the most frequent thing that we play when my group meets.
But, we also play wargames and whilst it happens less frequently, we have, on occasion replaced our rpg sessions with figures wargaming, sometimes for year long campaigns.

Peoples who knew me from my old Brabantini yahoogroup know that I make my own paper figures (and that I also use those from my favorite figures artists).

All this means that I have a collection of paper figures and 3d (mostly) paper scenery. So, why not use those in my TFT campaign? Of course, there will be no hexgrid on the table, even no grid at all, but that is certainly not a problem.

Paper figures and scenery have a lot going for them: cheap, easy to store and produce (easier anyway than painting and assembling lots of lead and plastic figures and scenery), particularly if you use an automated cutter (the main reason I am back into paper figures).

Figures must be mounted on appropriate bases. If using paper figures, glue them on card bases or if you prefer non permanent bases, use the litko bases (that's what I am using now).
Alternatively you can use One-Monk style basing, it is available HERE, and a lot of figures sets available on the web include variations of it.

Now, more to the point, what do you need to do to adapt TFT for tabletop gaming? Well, not much...

Figures Facing

First, TFT uses the orientation on the map for determining the front, side and back of the character. It can be quite easily translated into figure gaming by using standard squares bases.

To find from which side an attack comes, find in which direction the center of the attacker's figure front falls.

And, to be able to attack an enemy, the target must be in the attacker's front arc. Simple, No?

Distances in Hexes

To measure distances and movements, we must translate the hexes used in the game into units measurable on the table. That's quite self evident: distances in hexes are just used as inches on the table.

Distances and areas in Megahexes

TFT also uses a specific unit of distance/surface called a megahex. It is simply represented by a hex and the hexes around it. So, it is not very difficult to translate them on the tabletop.

If the rules speak about:
- A character's own's megahex: use a one inch area around the figure.
- An area of one or several megahexes: Use a template 3 inches in diameter.
- A distance in megahexes: each 1 megahex distance equals 3 inches on the table.

Campaign use

As I said in an earlier post, my philosophy for my TFT campaign is that what works works.

So I am not going to prepare all that I need to play a scenario specifically in 3D.
If I already have what is needed, fine, if not, a battlemap and tokens on Maptool or Roll20 are also fine.
Or figures on a sketch map drawn directly on a paper tablecloth for that matter.
Whilst it can add some flavour to a game, the physical representation of the action is not the important part. What matters is the action itself.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Melee and Wizard as simplified roleplaying fantasy trip

Melee was published in 1977 as Microgame #3. It was a small skirmish game about pre-gunpowder melee (hence its name) fighting.
Wizard followed in 1978 as Microgame #6. It was a game of wizards duels, but it could be combined with Melee to give a kind of wargame fantasy arena.
Wargames battles between fighters, wizards, demi-humans fighting on tactical terrain. It was almost a roleplaying game and it was used as such by a huge number of players who liked the simplicity and ease of the game.
Those were very fun games,  easy and simple, but full of flavor.

So, it was quite logical to turn the system into a complete rpg called The Fantasy Trip. It took some years to do and it was eagerly awaited.
When it was released, in 1980, it included Advanced Melee, Advanced Wizard and In The Labyrinth.

That was a fine game, but the expansion of the rules of Melee and Wizard made it more complex and not very different of others games of the time. Of course, it was possible to play The Fantasy Trip with basic Melee and Wizard and In the Labyrinth, but the discrepancies between the different levels of difficulties was not very fun.

That was the problem, the game was a more serious and complete game, but it had lost its fun factor (which is generally something that game designers don't really understand about their own games, I should write a post about it).

The charm was broken as was the collaboration between Metagaming (the publisher) and Steve Jackson (the designer). Steve Jackson was to design GURPS to expand its ideas, whilst Metagaming did publish a less complicated set of rules based on TFT and called Underearth. It was probably more like what TFT should have been (even if TFT fans don't like it too much for being not a Steve Jackson design). It was too late anyway.

TFT is one of those games that has kept a big following on the internet through the years and I had suddenly a urge to play some one-offs scenarios with it. Or more accurately with Melee and Wizard.
As I wouldn't use In the Labyrinth (except maybe as a ressources when in need for a rule), I decided to just write the minimal rules needed to add a roleplaying layer on the game.
YMMV of course, about what is the minimal amount of rules needed and how to write them. Here is my version anyway.
The basic Melee and Wizard rules can be found on the internet with a Google search (and you'll also find the derivatives, more or less akin to the original; some of them are really worth a look, being fine games on their own, though I prefer playing with the originals).

My addon rules are HERE if you want to try them.

I'll probably also publish the cardboard figures (like the orc on the left), paper scenery, virtual tabletop battlemaps and tokens I am using.
It is a very mixed campaign: cardboard figures with paper 3D scenery or tokens on maps with Maptool, depending on what is available. The idea is to keep the game rolling, so I prepare the stuff for the game on a session by session basis.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Isometric VTT - Roll20 too

It has been a long time since I used Roll20 (I am still waiting them to accept Paypal for payment instead of having to send my credit card info to an unknown company).
So, I was quite sure that isometric gaming was not possible with it. But...
Since my last visit they have added a feature called Rollable Table Token and that's just what is needed to play with isometric figures.

Here is the result:

It works quite easily. All the stuff made for Maptool would work with it (I think, I am not a specialist).