Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Black Hack dead tree copies are on their way!

I've been busy at work creating, amending and general doing lots of stuff for my surprisingly successful OSR D&D clone 'The Black Hack'. So busy that i've rather ignored my blog - sorry about that faithful reader! But i'm mega excited to announce that you can officially purchase physical copies of the game, the GM screen and characters sheets! Peter is hard at work licking stamps and stuffing envelopes, so backers from the Kickstarter should start receiving their rewards over the next few weeks - but if you're not one of those wonderful, talented all round excellent people (and even if you are!) .. Here's some more cool things for TBH that you should totally be all over!

PDF's are available at - you can get the Screen/Character Sheets and Rulebook all for the princely sum of $3.50

Physical copies can be nabbed from +Peter Regan's website - they'll be available pretty darn soon.

TBH now has a G+ community - already with 200+ members, plenty of resources and the opportunity to hurl profanity at me - what more could you ask for?

The lovely +Bruno Bord has kindly developed a reference document for all your Black Hack 'hacking needs.

The free supplement 'Additional Things' is being proofed, and should be out and available in a day or two (in PDF format - there's no plans for a print run.. yet)

So what's next? I've got some ideas, me and Peter will be conspiring over the coming weeks as to what our next move will be - but i'd love to hear from yourselves about the things you'd like to see produced to support 'The Hack.


Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The 'Reactive BBEG'

Here's a method of procedurally 'activating' antagonists plans and actions, based on player rolls and relationships. I took inspiration from 13th Age and Dungeon World. I think it works best for GM who are slackers and make shit up as they go. Like me.

At the start of your campaign (no matter the length) choose a minimum of 3 Antagonists. These should be things that are capable of going the long haul - all the way to the end of the campaign if needed. But crucially they should represent something larger than the actual NPC you create. In my last campaign I had the Orc Lord, The Liche King and  The Great Druid. They each represented a 'prevailing attitude' in my game world, like the Orc was obviously war and chaos. Depending on the scale of the game its likely they'll have a shit-tonne of resources too.

Work those concepts up a bit - keeping them broad and undefined at this stage, but you need to assign each a goal or 'end state'. If their ultimate plan isn't stopped this happens, for good or for ill.  You should probably also come up with 3 loose 'milestones' - big things that need to happen in order for that final goal can be attained.

Have every character that is created choose 3 relationships with them - one positive, one undecided and the final negative. Have them spin a line or two of fluff around the relationship and they're good to go. At the end of every session have them roll d6 for each relationship - any 5's or 6's means that 'antagonist' will do something interesting to influence the story next session. Usually this will mean doing something toward achieving their ultimate goal, and hopefully someway that either reinforces or tests the relationship to the character that rolled a 5 or 6.

Now you've got an interesting sub-system with a bunch of antagonist that should react, act and generally have some backwards and forwards with the players. Also hopefully this takes some load off the GM between session, giving them a firm course to sail when creating stuff. - but also providing a lose structure so if it goes in an odd direction its not a problem. My games always go in odd directions.


Friday, 12 February 2016

The Queer & Deadly Town of Sorrowset

Here are two cheeky previews of the second stretch goal for The Black Hack Kickstarter i'm involved with. I ran a game live on Hangouts for a couple of reasons. One was to demo the setting to some people who'd backed the project and see if it was possible to prepare nothing - and rely entirely on the 4 pages of a5 to generate the game elements as we played. The proof is in the pudding, I suppose, really my players should be the ones to tell you if it was a success. But we laughed, we explored, met strange NPC's and fought Giant Moths. That sounds like success to me, and the best thing? All the ideas all the gameplay seeds were generated as the players explored. 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

The Black Hack - Kickstarting Now

It suddenly occurred to me that I haven't posted to my blog since 'The Black Hack' kickstarter went live - and I know most people who read this will have seen me pimping the living shit out of TBH on G+, but you know, there might still be someone who hasn't seen it yet.


The Black Hack is an 'OSR' retro-clone, based on OD&D. Oh great another retro clone I hear every groan in unison. Yeah, thats right - another one. But this one is a bit different, in fact its arguably the simples of all the clones. Here's some of the thing what it does, like.

  • Characters take 5 minutes to roll. You'll be back in a pit trap in no time.
  • The rules fit into a 22 page Digest sized booklet, table reading is important and the rules are straightforward and elegant.
  • Players roll the dice, the GM will only ever roll some damage (if they want to, that is)
  • 4 classes Warrior, Wizard, Thief, Cleric
  • Races dont have rules, being an elf is cool enough! (but someones already homebrewed that)
  • AC is damage reduction, a small amount of soak, assuming your character is well rested.
  • There's 40 monsters in the book.
  • The character sheet has a backpack to write all your loot on.
  • We're already funded, and we've hit our first 2 stretch goals, the next ones not far off either.
  • I made made it and therefore, by logical extension, it must be pretty good.
If you feel like throwing me a couple of quid (the same price as a starbucks you don't need) heres the KS link:

Friday, 15 January 2016

Clinton Clone 13

Made this in the photo shops and posted it to G+, was too funny and didn't want it to disappear so..

'Clinton Clone 13' a stasis frozen battle-clone from the United Nations of America commemorative-bloodsports, circa 3030 al (after Lincoln)

I'm playing him in a hyper gonzo space opera setting tomorrow, been doing my best Clinton impression when im alone - like some weird Gollum. Shits gunna be rad.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Asking Your Employees To Do Off Key Shit

House ruling out loud. Stop me if i'm talking out my arse.

So hirelings are just people you employ to do very unusual and dangerous jobs. I was thinking about this whilst watching a co worker using the kitchen sink, I wondered what his reaction would be if I told him there was 150 quid in the food processor, heres 20 quid and i'll split it with you if you get it out. Might go off mind you.

Commanding people to do dumb shit for money is all about your relationship to the person. Charisma.

From now on, every-time a player asks a hireling to do some dangerous-ass-shit im putting a tally by the npc's name. You need this many Charisma to enjoy the ride, sorry. You reset that when the boss character levels. In my games hirelings level when characters do - so another reason for job satisfaction.

Additional thing.

When hiring, choose from 3 abstract types of employee.

Complete Waster : d6
9-5'er : d4
Mega Keen : 0

The NPC starts with that many tallies when taken into employment. Im also going to make PC's fill out HR forms and stipulate clauses in contracts because fuck those meat-emoji PC bastards.

Friday, 1 January 2016


I really hate (during campaign play) people just acquiring spells as they level - like they just magically appeared in the spell book? pffft! I'm with you on dragons and car parks full of solid gold coins, but that's just one step too far!

Here's an idea I had for a gonzo campaign I might never run. Each Spell is unique - much like Highlander there can be only one, every magic user that a player creates - starts with one spell (randomly determined, re-rolled if the spell already exist in the world)

The only way to gain more spells is by stealing them from other Wizards. That's it.

Suddenly who has what spells became uber important, their actual acquisition roots for adventure - thanks for the hand out PHB but we make our own fun!

Some spells will be forgotten, if the Magic user dies and doesn't pass them on. Nobody knows them, I'd imagine they can be found on dusty scrolls at the bottom of a Dread Beholder's tomb. Apprentices just became important too. Double Dipper!

Also Happy New Year you Bastards.