Pages from the Mage

Friday, March 20, 2015

The next new, old thing

Ok, for those who do not know me well - I am a bit of a rules hoarder.  I like collecting rules; almost as much as, if not possibly more than, using the rules for an actual game.  I love reading them, daydreaming about the possibilities, and then I am off to the next copy.  Some people will call this the Magpie syndrome, where I am easily distracted by the next shiny object; which in most cases is a correct assessment - at least until today!

After reading, and re-reading all of my hardcopy and digital editions of OSR, 3rd Party, and various other iterations of Fantasy RPG's, I stumbled across old copies of 1st and 4th edition Stormbringer.

For those of you who are not familiar with the rules, or the life behind the name, then shame on you.  For those of you who are, then you will know that the rules use an old school D100 system, or percentile die for action resolution.  Before anyone challenges me and says that this is not OSR, then I will reply by saying that the 1st edition was printed in 1981!

So, what does this have to do with anything? Another set of rules, right?  Well, I think I have found the Holy Grail of rules to meet my tastes in an RPG. If you have read my previous posts around Poison, Hit Points, and Magic, then you will understand my reasoning;

The rules offer;

  • Hit Points; More believable range. Characters tend to be more cautious when they have 12 hp
  • Poison; No save or die result. Works on a resistance table where Potency is matched against CON, or some other attribute. 
  • Magic; Non-Vancian for sure!

After reading Stormbringer again, I started poking around the webs to see what else was available, and found that there are several versions of the D100 system in the form of;

  • OpenQuest
  • Magic World
  • Basic Roleplaying
  • Classic Fantasy
  • Call of Cthulhu
  • Rune Quest
  • Elric!
  • And others

Well, being the hoarder that I am, I purchased copies of all of them and began my reading!  While all of the versions share the same DNA, there are differences in some of the mechanics which set them apart from each other in some way. I found that I liked some a lot, and others not so much.  I will focus briefly on what I liked;

  •  Classic Fantasy; I thoroughly enjoy the magic system in Classic Fantasy. The author, who goes by 'threedeesix"on some forums, did a fabulous job of taking AD&D spells and converting to a scalable "casting cost = results" system.  For example; In AD&D, you have many different types of Cure spells - each with a different result, level, etc..  In Classic Fantasy there is one Cure spell, and the result varies based on how many Magic Points are spent. 
  • Magic World; An excellent revamp of the Elric! rules and various supplements, which itself is derived from previous editions of Stormbringer. The rules are clear, concise, and I pretty much have everything I need in one book - except for magic.

The beauty of all the rules having the same basic DNA, is that parts from the various rulesets can be absorbed into another, without breaking the system - which is what I intend to do.  The bulk of the rules will come from Magic World, the magic from Classic Fantasy, with a sprinkling of flavor from Rune Quest and BRP

So, I was able to put a lot of checks in a lot of boxes with the D100 series of rules, as well as adding to my collection!! Life is good. 


  1. Elric! rocks. There is so much utility out of BRP, a great OSR system.