I want to talk briefly about three things I won in Tenkar's recent 12 Days of Xmas giveaway. Thanks to Tenkar and to the donor of the prizes, whose name I won't post all up in the internet.
So! Three things:
-Paperback copy of Swords & Wizardry Whitebox. I already had this on PDF, and I have a hard copy of Complete, but it's always nice to have an extra copy of the rules, and I find the compact size endearing.
-Whitehack: I love that this is a complete game in 32 pages. I love the "vocation" mechanic, which lets you have mechanical differences between a fighter who is, say, an archer vs. a fighter who is a cavalier. I might steal this mechanic; it seems to be the perfect balance between wanting to differentiate characters of the same class while not ending up with a RIFTS or 3.5 (at the end of its run) colossal number of classes, many which trip over each other.
The only thing I don't like about Whitehack is that spells cost hp. You could easily do away with this by giving Wise (i.e. spellcasting) characters spell points like hit points. Perhaps one could steal the mechanic from the original Das Schwarze Auge, where magicians can raise either their hp or their spell points when they level or could buy spell points for treasure buy training at a guild between adventures.
I really love the class/vocation system. It might be a little rules-light for my taste, but I'd at least give this a shot.
-Heroes & Other Worlds: This is basically a retroclone of Melee and Wizard, neither of which I ever played. However, being from the pen of a young Steve Jackson (the original games), I can see a prehistoric version of GURPS. Now, I hate GURPS, but Heroes & Other Worlds is delightfully simple, particularly the skill system. I'd totally play this and in fact find myself fascinated by it's beautiful simplicity. I could see myself fiddling with this to create a very simplified game engine for other genres, too.
All in all, I'm pretty happy with these prizes. Each of them has good ideas and things that are filch-worthy for my own games. Thanks again to Tenkar and all his donors.
Next blog entry: an actual play of Jim Raggi's Tower of the Stargazer.