Sunday, 30 November 2014

Printer Friendly Ample now available!

Printer friendly version of Ample Basic Rules now available as a download option when you purchase the BRB. Head over to and pick it up! If you've already bought it, you can download the new version from within your Library on the website.

The only difference between the 2 version is that the large background images have been removed from the pages, so only the black and white pics remain on each page. It prints up nicely, and for extra presentation value print the cover in colour.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Printer Friendly Ample to come

As the title suggests, we'll be getting the Printer Friendly version of Ample Basic Rules Book ready as an additional download for anyone who buys the pdf. We'll most likely add it to the standard download as multiple files that purchasers can simply choose to download once their purchase has gone through on

Was going to have it done this weekend, except I got smashed by a particularly nasty bout of food poisoning, missed my regular gaming session and spent pretty much all weekend with either my face or my arse in a toilet bowl. Good times!

Stay tuned, fans!

---<Jim fails Saving Throw vs. Poison>---

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Ample is LIVE!

Well, the Ample System RPG is now officially LIVE! The first week of release saw an excellent slew of sales, all thanks to and we even hit the Hottest Titles list. I think we got as high as number 4 for about a day, but we held onto #6 for the better part of the week!

For a small indy developer I think that's bloody awesome, even if I say so myself :)

As it is, we also released the first Campaign Setting for the system, the Atlas City Almanac, and work has already started on two more settings; one Sci Fi, one Fantasy.

Stay tuned for more info regarding these two beauts!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Impending Release!

This month, our newest product range is about to EXPLODE onto the RPG scene! The Ample Basic Rules Book, along with the first Campaign Setting of Atlas City Almanac will be released sometime this month. We'll be selling them exclusively from and the sister site of We envision the Basic Rules Book to sell for around US$4 and the Atlas City Almanac for about US$3. 

This month has seen a few key changes to Ample, most notably the way the Wealth System works. We weren't happy with our play test results, it got too clumsy to book keep and players ended up preferring to use a coin based system instead. So, in order to make the system a bit more appealing (although still completely optional) we simplified it and made it clearer how the Advantage fluctuates with purchases and injections of cash. 

Now, buying things and paying for services incurs a Slide on future Wealth Checks equal to the Cost -1. These Slides are cumulative, and last for a week of game time. Should you gain enough Slides to make it so you drop a die from a Wealth Advantage Check, you lose your Slides and instead lose a whole point of Wealth. 

Increasing Wealth is easier now, when you gain Bumps you can store them up. When you have enough Bumps to increase ALL dice in a Wealth check, plus enough to gain another die and increase that to d6 (which is another 2 Bumps), you can instead cash the lot in to gain a permanent increase to Wealth. Bumps can also be traded for Tips if short term gain is desired over long term financial growth.

On another note, we've nearly finished a beaut campaign companion for a Science Fiction setting we'd like to run for the local gaming store to celebrate the release of Ample Basic Rules Book. We're using a familiar setting; the universe of Exile's End, but set smack in the middle of the Epoch period before the Collapse.

We're very excited about gaming in a new area, and hope to meet lots of great new gaming mates!

Stay tuned for the impending release, and stay sharp!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Rules Lite vs. Rules Heavy

Today I'm going to talk about the differences between a rules lite RPG vs. a rules heavy RPG. The reason for this is to highlight a very important way that Ample gets played that differs from many mainstream RPGs such as D&D.

In a rules heavy game, character generation produces a complex, detailed list of abilities, skills and capabilities. During play, all a character needs to do when considering their chances of success in a particular pursuit is to look down at their sheet. Many nuances of their character are nutted out in stat form, leaving little to misinterpretation. You have a definitive list of skills that tells a player exactly what that character is capable of. This allows a player and GM to know very precisely what a character can and can't do. The downside to rules heavy characters, for me at least, is that you end up with pages and pages of statistics and points that become easily forgotten, easily looked over. A player needs to constantly refer to their sheet to get an idea of what that character has. Bonuses, penalties and other modifiers from difference sources become forgotten. The game becomes more of a maths exercise than a story telling session.

Rules lite attempts to strip back a character to it's bare bones. Trimming the fat, if you will. The appeal that many old school gamers find with the older editions of D&D is that there were so few rules. The idea was that you had a character, with basic stats, and the rest was implied in your Character Concept. You made a story and this was your character; more than the collection of dots or numbers on a sheet. Sure, you can have a story about your rules heavy character too, but more often than not that story needs to follow what the points say on the sheet, not the other way around.

This, above all else, is what we want in a game of Ample. With 4 basic Attributes, and 9 Core Skills that encompass any number of skill and attribute combinations we can cover pretty much every action imaginable that a character may attempt. The rest is pure story. As we talked about in the Character Concept post, a skill can be expanded upon through tying it to the characters background. So a character has 3 points in the Communication Skill? How did they get so good at communicating? What role did their background or upbringing have in gaining this level of expertise? Did they go through some trial or hardship to gain these skills? Did they spend long hours and nights studying and practicing? These questions tell a story, and they add flavour to a character that can be used during play.

Lets say that the character earned their Communications Skill 3 by being a salesman, an up and coming sales rep of a successful company before the zombie apocalypse occurred. During play the GM knows that this character is comfortable convincing people to see their way of thinking; they're great at talking to small groups of people. Lets take that same character and face them off against a large crowd. Even though the character has an excellent Communications Skill, they've never had to do public speaking like this before. The GM is well within their rights to make this kind of encounter very difficult for the character. On the other hand, the player can mention that their character regularly had to give sales reports to a board of directors, or at the very least a whole department. Already this gives us more story and more character information that we can use. Perhaps the character has a decent foundation of leadership potential to build upon, something highly valued in a post apocalyptic world looking to rebuild society.

These concepts can still be applied to a rules heavy game, but by their very nature the rigidity of a character prevents embellishments that are not supported by character generation or development.

Monday, 15 September 2014

House Moving

Just an update for you all, I've recently moved house and we don't yet have the net connected. The blog is still running and we're still working on Ample and on schedule for an October release :)

Stay tuned, folks!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Preview Live on!

The Ample RPG is now live on the store, so head on over and pick it up, already!!

Click here, now!!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Latest changes

Change Log 19 Aug 14
  • Changed the Moving in Combat section of the Combat Chapter; new artwork, better explanation (read – simpler)
  • Defined the ranges more solidly; 5, 15, 50 and 50+ metres respectively.
  • Removed old warehouse line art Diagram for Movement, replaced with lush colour Diagram using tokens for VTT
  • Re-worked Critical Success mechanic; Crit Success is performed on a roll of a 4, as opposed to maximum die roll, and maximum amount of re-rolls possible reduced by 1 per die.
  • Critical Successes achieved with different die types now only apply to the lowest die rolled, not the highest; EG a d6 and d8 both rolling a Crit Success will only apply to the d6.
  • Modified the way First Aid and Healing works; this was more just a clean up of terms and clarifying that it requires a Primary Action to perform.
  • Minor grammatical fixes and typos
The biggest change this version is the Diagram for Movement, we thought that the colour image of the orcs and PC suited our needs better, and better illustrated what we we thinking about when we wrote the movement rules. Also, this version has now been Optimized and had Preflight checks completed and is ready for fast web view.

The Preview version of the Basic Rules Book is also ready for release, and will be uploaded to RPGNow shortly :)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Character Generation Systems

Anyone who’s played multiple RPGs knows that Character Generation is first area that players and GMs alike need to get right. Each system, regardless of similarities with other systems, handles the process in a number of ways. Each way has merits and flaws, and end up tailoring to different play styles even if that is not their intent.

When I go through the Char Gen sections of a new game (or an old one I haven’t played before), I always notice certain things about them, and this post is an attempt to categorise or at least detail the various methods and where they tend to take me. You mileage may vary, of course, and that in no way reduces the value of your opinion on different games, but I hope that this post can help shed some light on the most important aspect of a game’s introduction to a new group.

Random Generation:

Systems that completely randomise character generation are fun to look at. They a usually filled with tables and charts full of data and story ideas for a character. We’re not talking about simply randomising ability scores, but the majority of the thing. Such an example is Traveller (and all it’s incarnations). You are given a few choices on where you’d like to roll, but then you must also roll to see if you are ALLOWED to roll in this section, if not your choices get even more limited.  This arbitrary way of generating a character has the benefit of assisting players coming up with the concept of their characters, but this concept must be tailored to the results of the rolls that you made previously.

This method tends to appeal more to the ‘simulationist’ player than the ‘story driven’ player, as you seldom end up with a character that you created from the ground up; the dice did that instead. It is one of the fairest systems, in concept, but has the potential to create truly unplayable characters, and is hard for a player to in end up with a character they look forward to playing. You wanted to play a dashing space pilot who’s handy with a blaster? Too bad, you got the ship’s cook who no one gets along with and has trouble with an old war wound. I say fair in concept, because it’s also possible to end up with characters on both ends of the spectrum; a really skilled and capable character who outshines a useless, flawed character with little in the way of capability despite that fact that both players had an equal opportunity to create either.

This kind of challenge can appeal to some players, however I’ve found that these game systems don’t tend to support play styles that focuses on roleplaying. What I mean by that is that there are seldom rewards for playing a character well, rather they award XP for defeating enemies or overcoming obstacles. This might not be the case with all systems that use this method, just that most of them that I’ve encountered do.

Hybrid Generation:

This system is one of the most common, and well known. You have random elements for some aspects of character generation, and ‘points’ to spend or selections to make that everyone gets the same amount of. Dungeons & Dragons is well known for this, although you can use a point generation systems completely if you so choose, early editions espoused random ability scores and a selection of classes, non-weapon proficiencies, feats and skills, depending on the version. Many of the OSR clones and d20 based games follow this method, but it’s not without its flaws as well. What is IS good for, is versatility. While it’s still possible to end up with a character that is no good at what they’re supposed to do, at least you are playing something that you wanted. You may be a space pilot who has a blaster, but you can’t fly for shit and couldn’t hit Jabba the Hutt’s arse if you were standing right next to him. But you still look good in Corellian Bloodstripes.

Where this system can go wrong is similar to the Random Generation method, but to a lesser extent. These kinds of games tend to support different roles in tactical situations, but a poorly rolled character who is meant to fill a role can’t do it effectively and the rest of the party will be left struggling because of that deficiency. Once again, this can be more of a roleplaying challenge that actually improves play for some groups, but these systems still seem to prefer rewarding encounter defeat and monster slaying as the source of character advancement, with a side note or two for good roleplaying.

This method is perhaps the most widely used system, simply due to it being able to appeal to most types of gamers.

Point Buy Generation:

This method is perhaps the fairest system of all. Everyone gets an equal number of ‘points’ or choices to make, and they build their characters from available options by spending these points. This method allows for the greatest weight to be placed on character concept, as in a player can have a solid idea about what kind of character they wish to play before any pencils touch the character sheet. Personally, I like this method the most as you can create nearly any type of character you want with a little imagination and a good understanding of what your choices mean. But therein lies the crux of this system; consequences of choice.
Too often I’ve seen players build a character they’re excited to play, but realise quickly they’ve built a ‘broken’ character that neither does what they hoped for, nor offers any realistic options for advancement that appeals to them. The players MUST have a good understanding about what their choices will mean for their characters, not only at generation, but during play and in the future. Many abilities or powers may rely on attributes, and if the intrinsic connection between them isn’t fully understood the end result is often a misunderstood character. On the other side of the coin, this system also allows the most advantages to Min-Max players, who can ‘work the system’ to their advantage. It is often hard enough creating a well-balanced character, but there is plenty of risk of abusing the system as well. This is especially the case for imbalanced game systems, which unfortunately many of the systems that use this method tend to be.

Some examples for this style are the World of Darkness series and Shadowrun.

Story-Driven Generation:

Similar to the Point Buy method, this style focuses more on the ‘character’ rather than the ‘statistics’ of the character. A character concept is usually required to start the process, and the rest of the choices usually become logical conclusions to this concept. Monte Cook’s Numenera is a solid example of this system. Sure, you get some points to build attributes, you pick some powers etc, but in the beginning almost all characters are fairly evenly powered in capability and skill level. More importantly there’s already a connection between the characters and the game world built into the generation process.

This system rarely appeals to players who enjoy tactical gaming, the simulationist, but is very appealing to players who enjoy roleplaying their characters as opposed to squashing enemies for XP. These systems tend to focus on story progression as a means for character advancement, and the capability of a character takes second stage.

The drawback of this system is that it’s more tailored to suite a certain style of play, rather than allowing for different styles as needed (or preferred). Starting characters may not be as specialised as some players like, and see relatively low powered characters to be mediocre at best. Players who see progress as gaining character levels instead of deepening of a plot may find this style of game to be uninteresting.

Archetype Generation:

I call this one Archetype Generation because it involves players simply selecting a pre-built character from a number of choices. This system is used for board games, one shot adventures or very ‘rules-lite’ games, where pretty much the only choice a player makes besides selecting a character is the toon’s name. This systems is very fast, gives the GM a solid idea about the capabilities of the characters, and means that relatively inexperienced players and GMs can get right into the game without spending half a day going over player’s options and builds. A GM can pre-generate characters using any of the other systems and present them to players as choices, rather than go through the full character generation process.

As mentioned, this system takes away the creative spark from the players. It can be difficult to ‘bond’ with a character that you did not envision, or spend hours pouring over tomes and rules books to generate. For one-shots, or board games, this is not so much a problem but if the game is meant to be played over prolonged periods of time this system can kill it faster than a red dragon.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and is in no way a definitive guide to character generation, but I hope it highlights for some how the different systems can support different play styles more effectively. 

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Project SARPS entering next production phase!

Project SARPS is entering the next production phase, that of presentation and 'beautification'. We've gotten a new round of changes added, mostly to do with balancing and correcting of errors. Focus now is on getting the 'Preview' ready for release, and adding the final pages to the Campaign Setting being released with the full product.

As you can see from the logo above, we've gone back to the original name for SARPS: Ample.

We feel the name reflects the aspect of the system we like the most - that it's enough rules to run a full game; it's Ample. The main rule book is labelled Basic Rules Book, and is the core manual required to play the game, although future products may incorporate the Basic Rules Book into setting, are fans can. We're pretty happy with the logo, in fact I'm pretty chuffed, myself.

Anyway, enough patting myself on the back. Whats new? Read on, peeps:

Change Log
This version has some key changes, after some careful consideration and play testing. The most significant changes are in the Wealth System and Combat.

  • A more detailed description of the system
  • A way to track purchases and have it affect the Wealth Advantage temporarily as players spend cash/gold
  • A fleshed out processes for raising and lowering the Advantage, giving GMs more insight into when players should have the Advantage improve or when it should decrease
  • Introducing Availability; players may also need to be able to locate an item, using the Region Advantage, in order to be able to purchase it
  • Availability is added to the number of successes required to Craft an item
  • Zero Cost items; how a player can purchase an item with a Cost of 0
  • Players can now make a Wealth Advantage check using a d4 if they have do not have any points in the Wealth Advantage

  • Active Defence has been changed to make it a little bit more balanced in the Attacker’s favour. Previously a Defender of mediocre skill and light armour could hold off several attackers at once with little or no threat of damage
  • Block and Dodge now add to the amount of Slides an Attacker receives, aside from Armour and Cover. They no longer provide Chokes like other opposed Skill checks
  • Taking into account the changes to defence, when an Attacker selects a target, the Defender first makes all Defence checks before the Attacker makes their attack roll. This is so the number of Slides the Attacker suffers is calculated beforehand.
  • Dual Wielding has been rewritten. An off-hand weapon makes separate attacks, as a Secondary Attack, using full Weapon Skill but suffering a Choke. Using the Block Defence while dual wielding also grants the Fast Trait. If only fighting a single foe, a dual wielding attacker can make a single attack roll and simply add +1 to damage
  • Executing an Exploit – this was added in the last version, but it’s been tweaked a little more. Using Skills, a character can outwit, out manoeuvre, or just play dirty and gain Bumps for their attacks. This can be done as part of an Attack (and hence Primary Action), or passed along to an ally as a Secondary Action. Exploits are very circumstantial actions that need to be narrated or at the very least explained to the GMs approval. Some actions, such as Burst Fire and Aiming (see below), expose a character long enough for other attackers to be able to attempt to Execute an Exploit against them
  • Added Aiming. By exposing yourself from cover for longer, you can negate the effects of cover on your target. This is a Tertiary Action that, as written above, allows others to take advantage of if they can and make Execute an Exploit Actions
  • Shields add 1 Slide to Armour, for all Attributes. This is a passive bonus.

  • Crafting difficulties increase by the Availability of an item
  • More ideas for modifying a game setting, such as Origins and Advantages, Equipment tweaks and simplification.
  • Advice on when to award Bumps to players
  • New Character Sheet, based on the mock up made for the Atlas City Almanac Game Setting for Ample. UPDATED – Character sheet reverted to previous version for now, software is playing silly buggers.
And that’s it for this version! There may be a few more minor tweaks I missed, but that’s
about the gist of it. New versions will be sent out shortly to all play test groups. Once again, if anyone is looking to play test a great new gaming system then send us an email or private message with your contact details and we’ll send you a copy!

Friday, 23 May 2014

SARPS Preview

Production has started on a free preview version of the Setting Agnostic Role Playing System. Using a stripped back version of the rules (if that were possible!) and simplified combat, we've nutted out an adventure idea with pre-generated characters to whet the preverbial whistle of interested parties. 

The setting takes place in a fairly standard fantasy world, with the players taking the role of a Warrior, an Assassin, a Priest and a Wizard who all have a personal vendetta in taking down several bad guys holed up in the fortress city of Cahr Mordain. With each character comes an objective, defeat their nemesis and the help the others defeat theirs. For each personal nemesis slain, a boost the Advantages of the characters enhances their abilities.

There is no advancement rules, but certain milestones in the adventure offer ways to increase the powers of the characters in order to simulate advancement, but true statistical advancement through the use of experience points is being saved for the full SARPS rules.

Offering well over a dozen monsters and NPCs, each with unique Advantages to showcase the flexibility of the Advantage system, there is plenty of stock material to pique the interest of the players and GM alike. Full colour maps of the dungeons, sewers and various hold outs of the nemeses for the characters fill out the content nicely.

The product is expected to be released as a free download, possibly with a built in code offering a discount on the full SARPS Basic Rules when it is released. Now, to finish the artwork....

Monday, 5 May 2014

Character Concepts

A playtester asked me the other day to clarify a few things regarding the Academics skill in SARPS. Specifically, they wanted to know how a character's fields of study can be reflected by a single 'knowledge' skill. This was a good question, as it had come up during play before. The character in mind had been built as a sort of chemist, turned drug king pin (someone watches too much tv :)) and they were arguing that as they had an Academics skill that was quite high, they should know about all sorts of sciency stuff. 

To a degree, this is correct, however the player was neglecting one of the most important parts of their character; the Concept.

A character's Concept is what guides the entire character generation process, but it doesn't stop there. The Concept provides a 'flavour' to a character that distinguishes it from other characters with similar skills. As the character in question had a Concept that specifically mentions they're a chemist with legal issues, I would say they know quite a bit of sciency stuff...Chemistry in particular. Other fields, while all part of 'Science' and therefore one could say 'Academics', are not mentioned in the character's Concept and there is no indication that they would know much beyond their indicated field. As a result, Academics checks may still be made to know things in fields other than chemistry, but the difficulties of such rolls would be greater than if it was a straight chemistry question.

This same idea can be applied to all of the Skills; Boxing can be flavoured to resemble kung fu, so long as the Concept points at a background in Eastern fighting styles. A track and field athelete would be very good at running and long jump and such things, but may find rock climbing to be out of their depth, conversely a character whose Concept specifically mentions an outdoorsy type explorer would be an experienced rock climber. 

It is this idea that makes 'rules lite' or old school gaming an effective system for many people. They don't need dozens of skills and perks to detail what a character can and can't do, they simply need a backstory. All the extra details tend to do is create a rigid set of limits that don't necessarily define a character, but simply point to what it can do in a set list of parameters. 

For example, get a piece of paper and try to write down all the skills you as a person may possess... try as you might, working out all these skills is going to take some time, and there's always something that you forgot you know how to do until the situation comes up. But if you instead list your background, activities that you like to do, you begin to see that each concept that makes you you also shows how well you can do certain things.

I have a background in the military, in particular electronics, so if I was to say that I know Academics that would be appropriate. The same cannot be said of the level of biology or philosophy I know. Sure, I may be intelligent and know how to learn things (at least I think I am), I can answer questions much more confidently if they're about electronics, especially if they're military electronics, than I can answer questions regarding Plato's Dialogues.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Happy Eostre's Day!

A bit late, but screw it, I ain't christian. Whatever you believe to be the origins and reasons for celebrating Easter, at least be safe and enjoy the 3 day week that we get here in Australia due to the near overlapping of Anzac Day.

Onto business!

Playtesting for SARPS is coming along nicely, gotten several good ideas and feedback that we've incorporated into the next version. Overall, we're happy with the general rules (with some minor tweaks as playtesting progresses), enough that we can start in earnest on the up coming companion setting 'Atlas City Almanac'.

The Almanac takes the SARPS Basic Rules and adds a skin to it, a cyberpunk-esque dystopian city of rampant crime and mutating nano-technology. Players have the choice of playing private law enforcement officers called Watchdog Operatives, or getting theirs on the other side of the law as a crime Crew. There's also plenty of adventures to be had in the Wilds, searching for valuable salvage and technology from before when a nano-Virus and the nuclear measures taken to stop the mutated hordes from spreading pretty much wiped out civilisation.

Playtesters looking for examples on what the system can do (and those looking to become playtesters) can email me directly, post in the comments or otherwise get in contact as the beta version will be available in about 2 weeks (less if I get motivated). All up it should be close to 100 pages of flavour and additional rules, new Archetypes and Advantages, full equipment lists and expanded Wealth system, adversaries and nano-tech powers. Plus a whole city waiting to be explored and plundered!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Change is Progress

After a rather successful week of playtesting, we've made the first round of major changes to Public Beta versions of SARPS. Received enough great feedback to start tweaking and modifying, finding things we wouldn't have found by ourselves (kind of the same as why you can't proof read your own work).

Change log is as follows:

  • Now all Archetypes receive 1 free Bump on their Skills, on top of +1 to each Skill at Generation. Without this, they were kind of meaningless.
  • Removed alternative references to Combat Skill as Combat Style. Clarified the Combat Skill base skill in descriptions
  • Removed requirement to 'Declare Actions' and removed the reference to it in the Order of Combat.
  • Highest Initiative simply acts first, and may delay their actions
  • Categorised Actions into Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Actions; Primary were main actions, Secondary remains the same, Tertiary are free actions.
  • All Primary and Secondary Actions produce Slides on subsequent actions, regardless of which type.
  • Added the Execute Exploit Action; previously the Bump/Slide economy was left a little vague, Exploits are ways to use a character's Skills in conjunction with an attack to grant a Bump. Exploit Actions can be opposed, and don't add a Slide to subsequent actions like regular actions do.
  • Shields allow for the Block Defence to be performed as if holding a weapon with the Fast trait.
  • Weapon Skills have their effects removed, these will now be added as Traits on individual weapons. Weapon Skill now simply act much as proficiencies, and detail which attribute is used with the weapons.
  • Burst Fire and Indirect Fire have had the penalty removed and changed to allowing anyone targeting them to Execute an Exploit with an Intelligence based Combat Skill check.
  • Mounted Combat allows the rider to move 1 Range Category as a Tertiary Action instead of a Secondary.
  • Unarmed Attacks work much like untrained attacks do.
  • Untrained attacks (always a tricky mechanic in an RPG system) now simply use the Combat Skill base skill and suffer a Choke.
  • First Aid is updated to match the previous change of damage per Wound. Now 3 successes on an Intelligence based Academics check is required to heal 1 Wound, and 1 per damage during combat.
  • Updated the sample equipment list to include more traits since the weapon skills had them removed.
  • Added a few more entries because I could.
  • Tweaked Wealth success requirements for purchasing items. We're sill not 100% sold on the Wealth system and but may end up just leaving there for those that don't care for book keeping coins.
  • Added the Slow, Armour Piercing and Bump on Exploit traits; Slow provides an additional Slide on subsequent actions, Armour Piercing removes Slides on armour and Bump on Exploit provides a Bump...on...Exploits...yeah, thought we didn't have to explain that one.
Playtesters, expect the newest version in your inboxes soon, this time they're amended with a version number for reference, which is the date of the update in day/month/year format.

If you find any references in the rules that don't make sense, flag it as it's probably something we missed after we made the changes. Keep it coming in!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Play Testers Wanted!

This week we kick off the public testing phase of Project SARPS:

What is Project SARPS? SARPS stands for Setting Agnostic Role Playing System. As the acronym indicates, it's a setting free roleplaying game thats both flexible and easy to understand. Once you have a grasp of the rules, you can tweak it, bend it and twist it to fit nearly any genre of roleplaying. We started the Project as a sort of internal challenge, to create a generic system that can be used as a base for further projects. The more we wrote, the more ideas we had. 

Some key features:

4 Attributes - Strength, Cunning, Intelligence and Personality - combine with 9 Skill - Academics, Athletics, Communications, Perception, Mechanical, Stealth, Stunts, Crafting and Combat Style - to produce 36 different ways to tackle problems. All with a just a few dice.

Attributes determine the type of die, Skill detemine how many - A Strength of d8 and a Combat Style of 3 means 3d8 on an attack roll. Successes scored based on individual dice, generally a 4+ is a success.

Modifiers produce 'Bumps' and 'Slides' that upgrade or degrade a single die at a time to the next higher or lower die type; a Bump on a d6 makes it a d8, a Slide makes it a d4 etc. 

Success and Failure are not absolute - Many complex tasks require multiple successes to perform, sometimes more than a character has in a single skill roll. As long as a character gets at least 1 success, and the situation warrants it, the next round can be spend making another skill check and adding the successes to the total until the require number is  met. Failing to get a single success on the first roll is a Total Failure, the task may not be attempted again soon, while getting at least 1 success, but failing to get any further successes is a Partial Failure - the character can attempt again but loses all previous successes. This can also be narrated instead, success at a cost to character, for example.

Advantages - Nearly anything can have an Advantage, magic, reputation, wealth, a car, a weapon, a potion, a piece of tech, a spaceship, an NPC or an area. This feature allows a GM to produce almost any effect, based on a simple roll of 1d6 per point in the Advantage. For example, a Gangbanger NPC has the Advantage of Thug Life 1; once per battle the Gangbanger may make a Thug Life Advantage check by rolling 1d6. If they score a 4+ then in 3 rounds time 1 more Gangbanger arrives to help out.

Wounds reduce Attribute die types - Someone with a Strength of d8 suffers a Strength Wound, and their Strength gets reduced to d6.

Abstract Wealth system - As Wealth can be an Advantage instead of an exact figure, you can treat it as a simple die roll to purchase things or achieve results by spending cash. Items can have a Wealth requirement, meaning the number of successes needed on such a roll to be able to purchase it. Partial successes could mean the item is purchased but the Advantage suffers a loss, or a temporary penalty.

Flexibility is the theme, and we want to know just HOW flexible we've made it. 

This is where YOU come in. We'd like to send out free copies of the beta version for play testing, with the one condition that you send us an email with your thoughts and discoveries, as well as any cool settings you've come up with and how you used the system to do what you wanted. Either post a comment or PM with your email address and we'll try and get you a copy to toy with!

#RPG #Playtest #openbeta

Monday, 27 January 2014

It's ALIVE!! It's alive!

Well, folks, we got it out! At long last the Hands of Fate Sci-Fi edition is here!

To celebrate, we're sending out special discount codes for customers who've purchased our products before, and for those who read this blog! Simply click on the hyperlink below to be sent to the store page with the discount applied. Hurry, though, this code expires in a month's time!

Hands of Fate - Exile's End DISCOUNT!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Oz Day Long Weekend

In 2 days, the Australia Day Long Weekend starts and so does a good solid grind to get the final stages of Exile's End proof read. If all goes well, and I'm not too distracted with BBQs, Triple J's Hottest 100 countdown, or other frivolities and festivities, I should have a new product being uploaded onto and

Plans for the future:
  • Get back on track with Behind the Throne - it's all written, just not formatted or had artwork added.
  • Consult the crew on a direction to take the first supplement for Exile's End; do we expand Psionics? Equipment? Starships? Or do we flesh out an entire Network, perhaps the Known Network, to support more than just sandbox style play?
  • Advise and take notes; Colin is doing a Conan port of Hands of Fate, and armed with the revised system from Exile's End this is an opportunity for me to start pooling together ideas for HoF 2nd Ed.
  • That's right, Hands of Fate Second Edition! It's in no way started yet, but the more we play, the more we build, the more ideas are coming forth; modelling Sorcery and Benedictions on the easier, yet still fluid Psionics; the Penetration vs. Fortification dynamic; Fatigue system revamped. Lots of positive changes to come. Don't worry if you've already purchased the Print on Demand version of the Core Rules you'll be getting a free update, the Pay What You Want version will be assessed at the appropriate time.
  • A Benedictions Supplement, and possibily one or two others focused on either Factions or combat in general.
  • Teaching myself 3D artwork using a few really handy programs. Already made a few beauts for Exile's End, and with some of the proceeds of selling Exile's End I'll be getting more resources to play with.
Back to Exile's End; if anyone would like to help out proof reading there's a free copy in it for you (with mistakes) on the condition that you send me back a word or openoffice document with all the typos and incorrect references in it. Just PM me or leave a comment for me to get in touch with you.

Well, thats all for this entry...oh wait...almost forgot ;)

The final short story from Behind the Throne:

The Eye Gazes West

Kalia, although a woman, bore the title of Master of the West. She paced before her subordinates, handpicked men and women from all over the Empire. They knelt before her as she paced, faces toward the ground in supplication. They all knew of her wrath, had tasted it first hand on their own rises to power. Momentarily, Kalia stopped.

“Nifam, you shall travel to this northern city, Skoro, and control this new conglomerate of merchants causing all the stirrings we’ve heard reported. Take whoever you need from New Corah, but for Lokan’s sake, do not let that pig of a Stralhd buffoon screw up the tributes to Anselm Gladius. He must receive the Tributes on time, or else the Emperor’s own agents will come looking for answers. How you ensure this occurs is your job.”

“Yes, Mistress” the young Kallamus Sorcerer struck a fist to his chest, then cupped his eye like a monocle. He rose and left the darkened chamber.

“Vance, you will monitor the retired good General Firebrand, ensure his forces pull out of the cities on schedule, if you can convince him to leave Karth altogether that would be grand, but not necessary; so long as the Magistrates have full authority to police their states I will be happy. Understood?”

A burly soldier, crippled but still strong, rose from the floor, a solemn nod followed by a repetition of the previous salute and the man limped from the room.

“Listian, my sweet spider, you will infiltrate the Great Houses in Karth. Use your body, use your brains, use other peoples bodies. Seduce who you must, but get them fighting with each other like ever before. We must have them more involved with themselves than with noticing who is really pulling the strings.”

“Mmm…seducing young noblemen is my specialty, Mistress,” came the sultry reply from the seductress Listian, as she too rose, a suggestive glance at her Mistress and the two remaining Overseers. Her perfume lingered for minutes after she exited the chamber.

“Langor, you will stir up the barbarian tribes. Cause unrest. Test the defences and security of the cities and find their weaknesses. You will spend the most time in the wilderness, so report what you can about these wild men and Alfari demon worshippers that I keep hearing about. I want to know more. If you can find a way to control them, I want to hear about it.”

A tall, weathered man with a hook instead of a left hand rose, “As you command, my lover.” he said, a knowing smile on his roguish face. Kalia returned the smile, and waited until only one man remained before her.

“You, my beloved, may rise. I have a special task for you.”

The last man stood, brushing off his knees. A wry grin on his dark, handsome face. “He still does not suspect. Poor Langor.”

“Hush, no more talk of this. Before you bed me, my true lover, I must get a pledge from you.”

“Anything, my mistress of the heart.”

“Watch the others, your task is to keep them in line. If one of them falters, or shows signs of slipping and you cannot intervene to recover their endeavour without revealing yourself; kill them.”

“Even your puppy, Langor?”

“Especially him. Our work is too important to let emotion get in the way.” Now she smiled at the unnamed man, “Despite his prowess on the silken battlefield…”

“Prowess, has he?” the man stepped closer to Kalia, drew her scent into him, “what does the boy know of prowess…”

Kalia’s heart thudded in her chest as for a moment she swore she could see his eyes change, a flash of the beast’s power within him. Such power is intoxicating, she thought, and it is mine…all mine…
She grabbed the man by the sleeves and pulled him to her.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

A New Year, A New Era for HoF

A new year is upon us, fellow gamers. With it we bring news of an exciting new product nearing completion: Hands of Fate - Exile's End! This new edition of the Hands of Fate System bring updated rules, streamlining of several key aspects of the game, and SPACESHIPS! Yes that's right, we go Space Opera!

But fear not, we haven't forgotten our previous promise; another story from the up and coming Behind The Throne enchantments supplement for HoF:

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

King Harlgrif was but the shadow of the man he was two seasons ago. The terrible poison of the foreigners had taken its toll on him and his household, eating away at his body, reducing him to a feeble old man as weak as a milk drinker. His finest warriors, his strongest advisors, they all suffered as he had. How foolish had he been? How could he have let the rat faced merchant trick him so?

The snake had never smoked his own herb, he had realised too late into the addiction. When he tried to stop, he could not. It made him weak of mind as well as body. The last of his cursed stock was dwindling and rationing had been in force for weeks. It had been disastrous when they tried to give up the smoke. His own son had died; two others perished when their hearts gave out, the rest were driven almost to madness before the King ordered them to ration the herb to all that needed it.

And now, when his worst fears were about to become reality – the last of the herb literally up in smoke, the foreigners’ army are at his Hold, demanding access to the mountain pass.

Their spokesman stood before him now, as the King slumped in his chair.

In addition to the unfettered access to the pass, we require the use of your Clan Hold as a staging point to advance towards the west. We shall build a fort in the middle of the Hold, the walls of the Hold itself acting as an added line of defence.”

Harlgrif did not like this man, reading from a list of demands like he was already defeated. He had yet to lift his axe to the invaders, and already they treat him like a defeated foe! His blood boiled, his rage momentarily giving him energy enough to ignore the terrible affliction plaguing his body. He rose, crashing aside a table beside him for refreshments.
I am King of this Clan! This Hold! This Pass!” He bellowed, “We are the Karthi! We do not bow to demands from foreign milk drinkers!”

To his credit, the foreigner actually looked impressed at the King’s outburst. “Your majesty, these are not demands, but requests in good faith. We have coin to pay for these valuable services you can offer us.”

We have no use for Imperial coins! What fool would trade his own currency for worthless metal from another land?”

The coastal holds accept our coin, as do several other lands we have encountered on our march through these lands. But if it is not coin you desire, we have other…luxuries.”

The King blinked. His energy spent he nearly collapsed into his chair. An aide rushed to attend him but the King waved him off in annoyance. “Go on…” he urged.

I can’t help but notice a certain affliction, prevalent in your good peoples…”

You speak of the poison brought to my Hold by one of your peoples. A snake disguised as a merchant.”

Yes, your grace, a most foul act by an unscrupulous individual. We have methods of weening the addicted off such poisons, advanced herbalism and medical techniques. If you agree to our terms I can arrange for our apothecaries to begin treating and teaching this aid to you immediately.”

For such aid, I will only grant you access to our mountain pass. I will not side with the Empire in this…invasion.”

Exploration, your grace,” corrected the spokesman, “we bring the riches and culture of a vast Empire to these lands, no more. Perhaps, though, I can sway you to accept my whole request…”

The only thing that would convince me to side with you in this war, for that is what it is to be should you pass beyond this mountain, is if you find me the snake that did this to me. His death at my hands would restore my honour. Nothing less shall I agree to.”

Your Majesty…the knave is indeed known to us, he is our prisoner even now, a criminal of the basest of crimes. Lieutenant Horten, bring forth your charge!”

An armoured soldier in the Empire’s livery advanced from the gathering of foreigners in the hall. The Lieutenant shoved a battered and beaten man before him, who stumbled and fell. The swollen and disfigured face of Finix looked up at the King.

Once more the King was on his feet, ailment forgotten. He looked at Finix with a hatred he had never known before.

You shall have your fort, Imperial, you shall have access to my pass and men for your war…”

The Imperials withdrew from the Karthi hall. Still the King stared at the broken man before him, seething.

What say you, dog? How shall you die?”

A small gasping moan was all Finix managed, but his mouth opened long enough for all to see his broken teeth, the blistered stump where a hot knife had cut out his tongue.