'Barbarism is the natural state of mankind,' the borderer said, still staring somberly at the Cimmerian. 'Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.'

-Robert E. Howard
Beyond The Black River

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Friday, February 18, 2022

Forbidden Lands: Character Creation

I wanted to put together a character creation walkthrough to help people build their Forbidden Lands Characters.  The process is pretty straightforward, but as with all things, there are always questions about how things are actually done.  In general the process involves 12 steps, but I am going to add a step 0.

Step 0: Get an idea of your character

It is always helpful to have an idea of the kind of character you want to play.  A muscular barbarian with a long sword?  A swift forest scout? A wrinkly old wizard with a grey beard? 

Of course there are times going the random route and having a character appear in your mind is fun as well.  The basic Forbidden Lands book doesn't have a life path system, but the Legends and Adventurers book does allow for a random life path creation system.

Step 1: Who are your people, pick your Kin.

Pretty basic decision here, have a look through the book and choose your race.  Elf? Wolfkin? Human?

Each of the carious Kin will have a few things to take note of.

  • Key Attribute
  • Kin Talent
  • Typical Professions
  • Typical Names

Step 2: What do you do, pick your profession:

Your kin has some typical professions that are the most common for your people, but you can pick any you want.  Choose one that best fits your character concept.  Like Kin your profession will give you a few things to take note of.
  • Key Attributes
  • Skills
  • Typical Nicknames
Your profession is also going to give you some more information about your character.  Three of them will influence your role play of the character and the people they interact with.  These are dealt with later in the character creation process in more detail.  You are free to make up your own, or choose from the samples.
  • Pride - Step 7 of character creation
  • Dark Secret - Step 8 of character creation
  • Relationships - Step 9 of character creation
The final thing your profession will give you is your basic gear, starting gold and resources

Step 3:  How long have you been around, how old are you.

You can pick one of three categories here, the actual number is less important.  Although there is a table that can give you an idea of this.
  •  Young
  • Adult
  • Old
Age will determine how many starting attribute and skill points you begin with.

Step 4: How strong and smart are you, what are your attributes.

You have four attributes to assign points to.  Each attribute must have at least a score of 2 in it.  The maximum you can place into a score is 4.  

If you have an attribute defined as a key attribute from your kin or profession it can be elevated to a 5.  

If you are of adult age and have 14 attribute points, you place 2 points into each of the 4 attributes leaving you with 6 points to elevate your scores.  

Step 5: What do you know how to do, what are your skills.

Like attributes your age determines how many skill points you have.  Unlike attributes these all start at 0.  You can still make attempts to use them, you just gain no extra dice.  

Any of the skills listed under your profession can have up to 3 points assigned, while the others can have a maximum of 1 point placed into them.

Step 6: Why are you a beautiful and unique snowflake, choose your talents.

You start with a number of talents.
  • Kin Talent
  • A profession talent of your choice (detailed in the Talents section)
  • A number of general talents, which is again dictated by your age.
Talents all have 3 ranks of ability in them, and you normally start with a rank of 1 in any talent you posses.  You can however choose to give up a general talent to gain a rank 2 in another.  This includes professional talents.  You can use one of your general talents to achieve rank 2 in a magic talent, for example.

Step 7: PRIDE!

You have had a look at this, and perhaps chosen what your pride is, this section in the rules details how it is used mechanically

Step 8: What lies in your closet, the dark secret.

Again this is looked at previously, this section simply details how it works within the game

Step 9: Who are you to me, who am I to the, relationships matter.

Simply a quick short sentence about how you feel about the other members of the party to help guide interactions and role play

Step 10: It is a harsh world and you are a tool using kin, get your gear!

You had some gear listed under your profession, you start with that.  If presented with a choice you are required to choose basic items.  Nothing rare, nothing magical.

You are assumed to have a knapsack and waterkin.

You can use your starting coins to buy additional gear before the game starts.

Step 11: What do you look like, choose your appearance.

Pretty straightforward here.  Choose how you look. 

Step 12: What do they call you, choose your name?

Pick a name.  There are samples provided for each kin, and nicknames for each profession.  Choose one of these or make up your own. 

Final thoughts.

With that you should have a character ready to go.  I haven't dug deeply into talents, as each talent and its abilities gained with ranks are individual, but with the main book and this you should be able to create a basic character fairly easily.

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Until next time!  Don't forget to KEEP IT WEIRD!

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Help Thy Neighbor!

During most 2d20 games you have ability to store momentum in a group pool, which maxes out at 6.  From that pool your friends can pull points and spend them on effects that can help them in their quest for glory: buying extra dice on a skill check, doing more damage on an attack etc.

How momentum is spent is largely up to the players and GMs.  The game certainly lists some ideas and uses for how you might spend it but really it is a measure of how well things are going for the players, and I have written several articles on how you might use that momentum, such as chaining attacks for cool narrative effects or re-enacting a common trope we see in Fantasy.

Conan of course already has assistance rules, but this is not that.  This is inspired by such ideas as the "Master of Tactics" in 5e and 5e's Help action in general as well as adding a boost die to the net allied attack in Genesys.  Still I think it would be cool to allow a specific spend of momentum that might be able to assist your allies.

This has yet to be play tested, so this is just a rough idea, but I feel it goes something like this.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Calamity at House Ralto

Two House Minors, Vondar and Ralto once stood as allies. That time has since past, now a bitter rivalry burns between them.  Once the pharmaceutical industry of Ralto and the scientific equipment and engineers or Vondar created profit for both houses.  As is the way of such things, the delicate balance of friendship can be tipped by the slightest flap of buttefly wings.

Since the announcement that House Harkonnen was to give up Arrakis to House Atreides, the politics of the Landsraad has begun to shift and change.  Now House Ralto has begun to gain favor with some of the House Majors. The Marquis and Marchioness of Vondar has seen this as a dire turn for Their House and has sent emissaries to House Ralto in an attempt to gain favor with the house once more.

Knowing that an end of the rivalry, even at some cost to the house is better than the potential destruction of the house They have chosen an entourage, you, to carry Their words to the Baron and Baroness of Ralto...

Can you help ensure the continuation of your House?  

Choose one of four agents: Bene Gesserit, Sword Master, Mentat or Suk Doctor and join us on a Spacing Guild heighliner to travel to the House Ralto to bring the will of your Marquis and Marchioness to House Ralto. 

Conan 2d20: GRAPPLED!

The blackness of the abomination rears up above you lashed out with inky blobs.  Your shield barely defends against the horrific attack warding off any serious damage, despite this you find yourself hopelessly entangled in the things grip!


Player: Umm.  Can I try and break the tentacles from my friend so they can fight this round instead of having to break free?

GM:  Ummmmmm.  Not directly....the rules say you can assist their effort, or you could attack it and hopefully gain some momentum to allow them to roll better.....but no....there is no direct way to help....

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Welcome to the RPG ALLIANCE Convention!

Welcome to the RPG Alliance Convention!  I am excited you found your way to my little space on the Internet.  If you haven't played met me or played any games with me, I hope we cross paths soon!  I am hosting an ICRPG Blood & Snow game this weekend (Nov 20 & 21st, 2021) and will be around the Gather Town platform to chat.

If you want to know a little bit more about me, jump on over to the ABOUT page and learn all there is to know!

If you are interested, I run a small bi-weekly newsletter highlighting what I found interesting over the last couple of weeks and also what I am working on.  I generally try to include some art or rollable tables as a little fun inclusion for all my subscribers.  It is totally free, just a way to keep in contact with everyone out there!  You can check out the latest issue and subscribe by clicking!

I also offer a few odds and ends for purchase over on DriveThruRPG.  Sale from those items allows me to keep picking up new rulesets and adding new ideas into my games as I strive to be a better GM and help my players tell the best and most exciting stories that they can.  The largest series of items I sell are my terrain decks, you can check out the Corrupt Cliffs for free by subscribing to the newsletter.

You can also jump over to TeePublic and pick up some cool t-shirts or custom Starships & Steel Merchandise to support my creative endeavors as well, every little bit is appreciated!

Games I am running this year at the Convention

A few of the games I like.

Some podcasts of note
Where to find me on Social Media
 Have a great time at the convention and don't forget to KEEP IT WEIRD!

Friday, October 1, 2021

Wrath of the Shaman

Your hunting party returns from the lowlands to find your village destroyed and the chieftain's son gone.  Only smoking ruins remain...

Welcome to Blood & Snow, a stone age RPG setting for ICRPG Master Edition, with a twist!  Welcome to Stone & Sorcery!

Join me as members of a stone age tribe in a twisted realm where men, dinosaurs and other unholy terrors roam the lands.  Can you and your hunting party find the lost heir to your tribe and bring some semblance of order back to your world?  ICRPG Master Edition from Runehammer is a rules light, intuitive d20 based system.  So light that we will complete character generation and then begin our adventure!

What do you need to do if you want to play beyond signing up?  Simply get an idea for your character.  Do you want to be a fur clad caveman with a big club, all brawn and no brains?  A slender intellectual type that knows the ways of nature?  Perhaps an expert archer, that rained hunting mammoths?  

Brand new to RPGs? Then this rules lite game might be for you! Come join us and tell a story!

This is largely a place holder that will have information about the game as it becomes available.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Conan 2d20, Character Attributes

If you are used to rolling 3d6 or using a point buy system, as is common in many RPGs the approach Conan 2d20 takes to determining attributes is going to be a little different. I suspect that might even be why you are here; the entire process of character creation is much more narratively driven. As such it is a good idea to have an idea before starting, although the process of creation can easily create a well-rounded back story.

The process is straight forward, and I think it is described pretty well in the core book on pages 16 -18, still I see people being confused by it and I know I was one of those people.

 Base attributes

All attributes start at 7.

 Mandatory attributes

Characters are defined by attribute aspects are they strong and resolute or eagle-eyed? Characters get two of these aspects which can be chosen or rolled for. A character can have the same aspect twice. The table defining these are on page 17.

Once determined the aspects will define 4 attributes that are above the base of 7. If we are Strong and Resolute as well as Eagle-Eyed our attributes are brawn and willpower as well as awareness and coordination.

 I think the confusion often comes from having doubled up attributes. The Brave aspect gives us agility and willpower. While the Dexterous aspect gives up us agility and coordination. Now our 4 attributes are: agility, agility, willpower, and coordination.

 Now that we have 4 attributes, we determine which of these is the best and which of them is the worst. This is the best and worst of these 4, not all your attributes.

   Add 3 to your best.

   Add 1 to your worst.

   Add 2 to the other 2 attributes.

With our example of agility, agility, coordination, and willpower we can't make agility both the best and worst.

   Agility = best, +3

   Agility = +2

   Coordination = +2

   Will power = worst, +1

 Optional attributes

Each aspect also defines 2 optional attributes, choose 1 for each aspect and add 1 to each of them. Brave defines brawn and coordination as optional attributes and dexterous defines them as brawn and willpower. So we can choose brawn twice since it is an optional choice for both aspects.

   Brawn = +1

   Brawn = +1

 Ancient bloodline

If an attribute is greater than 12 the character gains the ancient bloodline talent. This is described on page 17 of the core book as well as other supplements.


Characters cannot exceed 14 in any attribute.  This is the maximum they can have.

 Additional Bonuses 

·         During the nature step characters gain an additional +1 to an attribute (page 35- 37)

·         In the final step a player can increase an attribute by 2 or 2 attributes by 1. (Page 42)

Crom doesn't care, but I hope this helped!

And that is all there is to character attributes in Conan 2d20.  Since it is a narrative process with descriptors around why things are chosen it allows you to gain a better feeling for the character you are creating.  Alternatively it allows you to tie a character concept into the game mechanics in a simple manner as well. 

Till next time, don't forget to Keep it Weird!