Friday, September 10, 2010

A new blog home for me...

I am moving my blog over to a new one (thanks to new email and mistakes on my part). So please check out my new blog (and new project) at:

Swords of Abandon

I will also move my downloads over to the new site in the coming days too. Eventually this site will be shut down.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Sorry for lack of posts...

I have been busy finalizing divorce and getting personal affairs in order. I hope to resume posting in a month of so - once things have settled down. Things are looking up here, getting back out after 16 years of marriage. No worries, life is getting better. Wife leaving me may have been the best thing for me.

Mike D.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Finally back to R&R Sandbox

I have been distracted lately with turmoil at home (going through a divorce) - but things are starting to settle down again for me which will allow me to concentrate on the things I want to get done this year. Something that is moving up to number one is a sandbox for Ruins & Ronin to play in. I have created an atlas map of the island I plan to detail which can be seen below.

From here, I have started with the western most portion and plan to detail from there. Here is my first map (black & white just looks better to me).

This is an island in chaos, there is a war amongst the 5 highest clans for control of the Empire. Many villages that border the states are abandoned or put to the torch. Clan-less Ronin turn to brigandage and scour the remote settlements. The oni of the mountains take advantage and turn to pillage and plunder as well.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Awesomenicity! Fight On! #8!

In case you have missed the announcement....

- - - -

Surrounded on all sides by monstrous aliens, cruel demigods, and ancient lich-kings? Pull out your +4 Plasma Blaster and Fight On! Issue 8, dedicated to cover artist Erol Otus, is ready to ROCK YOUR GAME with new races, classes, spells, tables, gods, monsters, traps, reviews, a `desert sandbox' minicampaign, two longer adventures, eight minidungeons, and lots of other goodies to help you take it to the next level – or stop the PCs from getting there! With art and articles by Erol Otus, Kevin Mayle, Mark Allen, Lee Barber, Peter Jensen, Steve Robertson, Samuel Kisko, Patrick Farley, Kelvin Green, Anthony Stiller, Robert Lionheart, Ramsey Dow, Jeff Rients, Gabor Lux, Age of Fable, Baz Blatt, Zachary Houghton, Erin "Taichara" Bisson, Del L. Beaudry, Geoffrey O. Dale, Michael Curtis, Tavis Allison, James Maliszewski, Tony Dowler, and many, many more, this issue is jam-packed with the old-school action adventure you crave. Don't miss out – grab it today!

Fight On! #8 is available in print and PDF. You can buy the print edition here:

and the PDF here:

Table of Contents:
Mercenaries A to Z (Simon Bull)………..……………….3
Arendt's Old Peculiar (Antti Hulkkonen)………………..6
Experience for Exploration (Jeff Rients)………………...8
Supersize Me! (Daniel R. Collins)…………..…………...10
Insectaurs and Masterminds (Tim "Sniderman" Snider)..11
The Soothsayer (Ragnorakk)…………………………....13
I Thirst (Gabor Lux)…………………………………....15
Knights & Knaves (Steve Robertson & Alfred J. Dalziel)20
Creepies & Crawlies (Geoff McKinney & Sam Kisko).....23
Grognard's Grimoire (Calithena)……………………….25
Red Heart Fortress (Alex Schröder)……………………26
Tables for Fables (Age of Fable)………………………..27
Hidden Traits (Zak S.)………………………………….28
Let's Scrounge Up Some Wheels (Tim Snider)…………30
Post-Apocalyptic Stormfront Table ("Sniderman")...…...31
The Howling Emptiness (Ramsey Dow)……………….34
Education of a Magic User (Douglas Cox)……………..44
Mooning Ixtandraz (Peter Schmidt Jensen)…………….45
Smallweed's Ride (Baz Blatt)…………………….……...46
The Village of Pindle (Zachary Houghton)……….…….48
Welcome to the Microdungeon (Tony Dowler)….…..…49
The Understudy (Erin "Taichara" Bisson)……...….…....50
Badlands of the Bandit Kings (Robert Lionheart)……....51
Oceanian Legends: The Gods of Eá (Del L. Beaudry)….59
Random's Assortment (Random, Big Jack Brass, Ciryl)...66
Dungeon Modules (Geoffrey O. Dale)…………………68
Sites to Seek (Michael Curtis)…………………………..72
The Darkness Beneath (Calithena)……………………...74
Interview with Erol Otus (Erol Otus & Jeff Rients)……77
Random Events Make You Say Yes (Tavis Allison)…….80
Merlyn's Mystical Mirror (various)……………………...82
Artifacts, Adjuncts, & Oddments (Dalziel & Dow)…….88

Front Cover by Erol Otus. Back cover by Kevin Mayle. Fight On! and Erol Otus logos by Jeff Rients. Interior art by Bill Hooks (3,87), TARGA ( 3), Mark Allen ( 4,17,19,29,39,51,53,57), Antti Hulkonnen (6), Otherworld Miniatures ( 7), Geoffrey McKinney (8), Lee Barber (ghosttower. 9,10,62,64,75), Lester (12,24), Mikko Torvinen (13), Peter Schmidt Jensen (14,45,55,59,66), Black Blade Publishing ( 14, 22), Gabor Lux (16), Steve Robertson (21), DEI Games ( 22), Samuel Kisko (23,24), Kelvin Green ( 25,43,63), Alex Schröder (26), Javi Allison (27,32), Ramsey Dow (35,42), Jonathan Usiak ( 37), Douglas Cox (44), Baz Blatt (46-7), Zachary Houghton (48), Tony Dowler (49), Erin Bisson (50), Bronze Age Miniatures (bronzeagemin. com: 50), Robert Lionheart (54,56,58), Kevin Mayle (63), Gustav Dore (65), Anthony Stiller (66,67), Patrick Farley (70), Spellbook Games ( 71), Michael Curtis (72,73), (74), Calithena (75), Robert S. Conley ( 76,83), Erol Otus (79), J. A. D'Andrea (82), Harsh (84), Alexander Vis-kovatov (88), and Kesher (88). TARGA logo by Chad "Atomkid" Thorson; Creepies & Crawlies and Knights & Knaves logos by Lee Barber; Tables for Fables logo by Age of Fable; The Darkness Beneath logo by Rob Conley.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hex Mapping Templates

Not news, but new to me... I am not sure how many people are aware of the Welshpiper site. However he has provided some kick-arse templates (pdf, CC3, and Hexpgrapher) to create Atlas style hex maps (well atlas down to local level). If you have not seen it, I recommend checking it out NOW!

I can't wait to play around with some new maps...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My latest endeavor

I have been moving things around in my basement and gaming room, and stumbled across my Harn collection. I have loved this setting since seeing the old Dragon magazine ads for the encyclopedia back in the early 80's. I never knew there was a gaming system for Harn until the 2nd edition came out in the mid 90's however. I have since gone back and completed most of my Harn collection (even have the 1st edition rules). While I love the setting, the rules are about as "simulationist" and "crunchy" as you can get. (Not that I don't sometimes like that in a rules set).

However, one of the coolest things about this system is the armor and combat system. Sure, it plays slow, but it is bloody gruesome. On top of that, they added some really cool jousting rules in the 3rd edition. This leads me to my latest endeavor.

Way back in 2001 when I was pretty active in the Harn Forums (well, active as in lurking there often), I got a chance to play in a pbem Jousting tourney. Basically the players all submitted knights and the GM simulated the jousting and posted results. I only got to play in 1 joust (which I won) before the game died out, but it was a blast to play.

So yesterday, after looking through my stuff and checking out the Harn Forums, I went looking for the old website. Unfortunately it was removed ages ago, but thanks to my awesome internet detective skills (aka: using internet archives), I was able to find the old page and the rules used to run the game.

Now, I have setup a new blog here, where I plan to run my own Harnic Jousting tourney. I have made the initial post there, but will soon add the character creation rules and a link to submit them my email as well. So, if you are a closet Harniac, please check it out.

I still plan to blog here, so don't think I am abandoning sword+1, cause that ain't happening. :)

Mike D.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

An unfinished poem

The torchlight dances, and shadows sway

Through iron-bound doors that block our way

Down twisting halls, to depths unknown

With mindless horrors, to guard their bones

With treasures of gems, and golden rings

We seek the tomb of the forgotten kings

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Boarding Action Update.

I am still working on updating Ruins & Ronin though most of that work right now is mental notes and a few scribblings in a notebook. However I got confirmation from my cover artist that he is working on the Boarding Action #1 cover - so that has re-kindled my desire to work on BA again.

So, I have already started doing some layout of the work I have already completed (even have one great piece of art already by Kelvin Green - you have seen his work in Fight On! - and it is spectacular).

So, now is the time to send any articles or art you would like to see in Boarding Action. I would like to have a deadline of Apr 1st, but we will see how that goes.

I am now starting the initial layout of Behemoth Level 1. I have already jotted down some background information about the star system and local planets closest to the derelict ship. I plan on presenting it as an old school game, you have a local town (or in this case floating city above a gas giant now mostly inhabited by out of work miners and drifters)and the nearby megadungeon (the Behemoth) to explore.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My latest haul...

Thanks to Uncle Sam and a hefty tax return, I was able to grab these....

Good times.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ignorance is not bliss...

OK, for some 30 odd years I have been ignorant of Tekumel and the Empire of the Petal Throne. Oh sure, I knew it existed, but I never took the time to take a look at the setting or the rules (the original rules), until this weekend. After seeing Jeff's post about his wild EPT game at the Winter War Con, and now his talk of some of the rules - I decided to check it out. So, Saturday I ordered the pdf from Drive Thru RPG, and I am diggin' it.

I am so sorry I have missed out on this setting and rules-set for so long. I am even thinking of stripping the rules out from the setting and using it for a Ruins & Ronin type setting. Of course, Tekumel is all kinds of awesome too - but I would prefer a more personal setting - something of my own creation.

I especially like the d100 roll for attributes, being a long time Rolemaster fan d100 attributes are right up my alley. Being able to use d100 stats along with the normal D&D combat just sounds like heaven to me. I continue to read and absorb the pdf, and hope to post more thoughts about EPT later this week.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Labyrinth Lord Oriental Adventures?

So, I just ordered the new Advanced Edition Companion (as well as a new print version of LL) for Labyrinth Lord after seeing the preview of it given to the society members. I have to say, it is impressive. I am thinking of making the new v

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

North Texas RPG CON

I have just registered to attend the North Texas RPG Convention (held in early June). I wanted to go last year, but we just couldn't afford it, but things are looking better this year and I am excited about making the trip out. I plan on driving (from ATL to DAL) so it will be a scenic trip - and hopefully shouldn't take more than 9 hours or so. I am not one much for flying anymore (did enough flying in the military).

I have signed up for all of the "Mythrus Tower" events, a mega-dungeon in Mythmere's Sword & Wizardry core rules. Sounds like a blast to me, this will be the first convention I have ever been to (well the first where I have played games at anyway).  I have also signed up for the discussions about planning mega-dungeons and self-publishing. All in all, should be a great time.

If you are interested check out the site:

Maybe next year I will man-up and volunteer to run some Ruins & Ronin. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Shifting Gears, going back to R&R.

So I am flighty, what can I say. Lately I have been wanting to do something more with Ruins & Ronin, so I have decided to go back and expand it and put it into a digest format of 2 or possibly 3 books (6x9 book on lulu). When I say expand, I mean to add in new classes (those already available on my blog and a couple of old ones that never got published) as well as add a new player race or two.

I have already commissioned some art work for the covers, and plan to include interior art this time as well. In addition, I hope to put out a regional sandbox type setting or an adventure for R&R later this year as well.

For now 2 books will definitely be:

Book 1: Player's Book (character creation, classes, races, spells, and equipment)
Book 2: Referee's Book (rules of the game, monsters, and treasures)

For a possible book 3 I am thinking of

Book 3: Empire of the Eternal Sun (a sandbox setting for the game).

For now Boarding Action is on hold, mostly due to my lack of focus and short attention span.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring for me though?!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Current Reading.

I recently acquired Matt Finch's Desktop #1. This is going to be a great resource for me in the near future, and I am thinking of running through its paces to generate a supplement for Ruins & Ronin - something I think I need to do to inject some life into the game.

The Desktop Book is a great tool for kick starting your creative juices - just what it is supposed to do, with numerous charts to give you random elements to give your imagination an "image" to work from. I look forward to seeing more of these books.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Quick Update.

I just wanted to give everyone a quick update as I haven't posted recently. I am still working away on the Boarding Action 'zine, and have received my first art for it - a great armor drawing by Kelvin Green. It is an awesome piece, can't wait to share it with the community. I have yet to receive any articles from anyone however, so if you want to contribute, please drop me a line.

Hope to have some more meaningful posts in the near future.

Mike D.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Boarding Action : Psionic Warrior Monks

So, you need some "space opera-like super hero" who can move objects with his mind, battle alien monsters with nothing more than his sonic sword?  I give you ...

The Psionic Warrior-Monk (the name is still up for debate)

Psionic Warriors-Monks are guardians of the galaxy, eschewing lasers as crude and barbaric weapons, they fight solely with sonic swords and daggers. They are excellent warriors, and have powers of the mind that allow them to bend others to their will. They also are able to move objects with their mind alone.

Skill Table will be added in the pdf (which should be available later today).

Block/Deflect (Agi): This ability allows Psionic Warrior-monks to block laser shots fired at them from pistols and rifles, if the roll to block is equal to or higher than the roll to attack them was, then the shot is actually redirected back to the attacker. This ability can be used multiple times per round however each use after the first suffers a -1 to it's roll (cumulative).  (Skill starts at 13+, ends with a 5+ at 10th level)

Affect Mind (Pre): This is the classic "mind trick", the Psionic Warrior-monk makes a suggestion and the target must make a saving throw vs Presence or will be swayed by the warrior-monk's argument. The referee should restrict this from the ridiculous, such as commands to murder or commit suicide. (Skill starts at 15+, and ends with a 6+ at 10th level).

Manipulate Object (Pre): This is the ability to move objects with the Warrior-monk's mind. The stated target number is for small (less than 10 kg) objects, as the Warrior-monk tries to move larger objects, the referee should add additional modifiers to the die roll to move the object. Items can be flung at targets for an attack roll causing 1d6 damage for small objects and 1d6 for each category after small (medium, large, very large, etc..) (Skill starts at 14+, and ends at 5+ at 10th level.)

Ability Boost (varies): This reflects the Psionic Warrior-Monk's almost superhuman like ability to jump, run, climb, and hold their breath. Any superhuman stunt attempted by the Psionic Warrior Monk should fall under this heading and an appropriate attribute should be considered by the referee.  (Skill starts at 15+, and ends at 6+ at 10th level.)

- - -

After being entertained with Season 1 of the Clone Wars animated series, I had to do it. Not sure I would use them in my game, but if I ever wanted to run a game based on the animated series, I might use them.

Boarding Action - Deadline

I am setting a deadline of March 1st for any article submissions for Boarding Action.  The articles can be anything you would like to submit for the sci-fi game X-Plorers. New character classes, new aliens, new monsters, equipment, adventure ideas, random charts, alien planets, whatever you want to submit. I am also taking submissions for artwork, however that deadline will be sometime after March 1st - I need articles for art first. Please feel free to pass this information around to others who may be interested in submitting articles as well, the more the merrier.

Any submissions can be sent to trampled.dwarf AT

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Boarding Action : The Fanzine.

I would like to make Boarding Action a quarterly (or at the least a bi-annually) fanzine for X-Plorers RPG (and sci-fi rpg in general). Unlike the core rules, we are not going to make any assumptions about the setting, this could be a distant galaxy in an ancient time or the grim future where mankind makes war amongst the stars.

So, with that, I am now officially taking submissions at trampled.dwarf AT for anyone who is interested in contributing to this project. You can submit articles, npcs, missions, maps, art, etc. You will retain the rights to anything submitted, however Boarding Action will retain the rights to print the submitted article or art in it's original format in perpetuity (this just allows us to keep the magazine for sale as long as we like on Lulu).

I am currently working on fleshing out "THE BEHEMOTH", the derelict star ship ripe for plunder. Today I mocked up the below to get a feel for the layout of the levels aboard the massive ship. I would like to detail one level each issue much like Fight On! has done with "THE DARKNESS BELOW" mega-dungeon.

I have already been in contact with some artists to produce a cover and some interior art. So, do you have something to contribute? Please send me an email, and join the crew.

Or if you think I am out of my noggin, let me know that too.

Mike D.

Boarding Action: The Behemoth

I drafted a quick mock up of the levels of The Behemoth today, just to get a layout of what I want to accomplish. I am thinking of making Boarding Action a quarterly or at least

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Boarding Action: Alien Species - Sylphix

While not my cup o' tea, some space fantasies just wouldn't be the same without a bunch of space elves traipsing about the stars. So I give you the Sylphix.
I will add these as a download later today.


Sylphix  are  human-like  aliens,  that  stand just below the average human height  and  have  slight frames with slender arms and legs. Their ears are elongated and come to a pointed tip. Their eyes are large and almond shaped, and are typically colored a sky blue or metallic gray. Sylphix are long-lived, and typically live for 300 years of age.

Sylphix gather in extended communal tribes that live their lives amongst the stars
aboard elaborate world ships. These world ships contain biospheres that reflect the
the Sylphix home world that was lost long ago.

Sylphix are very intelligent and agile, though frail in body.


Restrictions: There are no restrictions for playing a Sylphix.

Attribute  Adjustments:  Sylphix  add  +2 to their Intelligence and Agility rolls (to a maxi­mum of 18), and must take a -2 to their Physique roll (to a minimum of 5).

Bonuses: Sylphix receive a +2 to any saving throw vs. Agility or Intelligence.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Boarding Action: Alien Species - Fomorians & Lemurians

Edited to add Lemurians.

I have tried my hand at creating my first 2 alien species for the X-plorers rpg. The formorians are ogre-like humanoids that can only advance in the Soldier class. While Lemurians are nerdy ring-tailed lemurs and capable scientists (or any class really). Here are my write ups for both. (They can be both be downloaded here) and here.


Fomorians are large (2 to 3 meters tall) human-like aliens, that have strong powerful limbs and large sloping foreheads with a prominent eyebrow ridge. They could almost pass for neanderthals from human ancestry if not for their immense size.

Formorians were living in archaic tribal societies before they were encountered by humans over 100 years ago. Since then, they have been accepted into the graater galactic society.

These human-like aliens do not have the mental capacity needed to excel in most jobs, however they make excellent body-guards and soldiers.


Restrictions: Formorians may only advance in the Soldier class, they may not take any other class skills. Due to their stature, any armor or environment suit costs double the listed price for Formorian characters.

Attribute Adjustments: Formorians must add +2 to their Physique roll (to a maximum of 18), and must take a -2 to their Intelligence roll (to a minimum of 5). Fomorians are strong and healthy, however they are not the smartest aliens.

Bonuses: Fomorians receive a +2 to any saving throw invloving Physique, this represents their sturdy constitution and impressive physical strength. They also add +1 to any physical damage they deal through unarmed (martial arts) combat. Each time a Formorion rolls his hit dice, he also adds +1 to each die rolled.


Lemurians appear as slightly oversized lemurs from Terra. These creatures are highly intelligent and have achieved a rather advanced society. While they may appear as cute and cuddly, they can be dangerous fighters when cornered.

Lemurians are usually 1 meter tall with soft grey or white fur with black rings along their 1 meter long tail. They originated on a forest covered moon, and have adapted well to life among the trees.


Restrictions: Lemurains can advance as any class, however due to their unique size and stature they are unable to purchase any EXO powered armor. They also may not use any weapon above pistol size, as they do not have the reach to properly handle these weapons.

Attribute Adjustments: Lemurians must +2 to their Intelligence roll (to a maximum of 18), and must take a -2 to their Physique roll (to a minimum of 5). Lemurians are highly intelligent, however they are not as strong and sturdy as humans.

Bonuses: Lemurians have the ability to “cling” as explained in the creatures section of the main rulebook. Lemurians also get a +2 to Intelligence based saving throws. For any saving throws vs. Physique regarding climbing or jumping, Lemurians also get a +2 bonus and ignore any penalty they may have due to a low Physique score.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Boarding Action: Weapons & Armor

I have added melee weapons and armor to my current Boarding Action rules. You can find the download here, or on the sidebar.

Now I would like to start planning out some parts of the Behemoth ship, I hope to start mapping out the first "level" this week.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Boarding Action: Ranged Weapons

I have created my first document for my upcoming Boarding Action project. I am still waiting on the delivery of my printed X-plorers book, but I have been digging the free pdf until then. Using the presented weapons as a guide, I have thrown together a list of expanded ranged weapons, taking inspiration heavily from Rogue Trader 40k universe.

You can download the document, here, or on the new download section under the Boarding Action header on my sidebar. The pdf is setup for a 6x9 inch document (which is what I am planning on doing if I ever get this loaded on Lulu).

If you have any comments or further weapon suggestions, just let me know.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New year, new project.

I am finally ready to get back into the swing of things on the ol' blog front. It has been too long since I posted and it has been hard to get back to it now that I have been away so long.

I recently purchased Fight On! #7 and X-Plorers from Lulu (they should be arriving any day now). I can't wait to get some new old school goodness in the mail. I am really excited about X-Plorers as I have been on a bit of a sci-fi kick lately, and have been wanting to do something in space for a while now.

My latest flash in the pan idea, is a mega-dungeon set in space. A little bit of Space-Hulk meets D&D. I am not sure (100%) that I will use X-Plorers for the rule-set, but it does look very likely. I plan to produce a guide/document called "BOARDING ACTION" which will cover the actual space dungeon as well as new weapons, monsters, traps, etc. I have tried to come up with a good name for the derelict ship, without using something like 'Space Hulk', and for now I am using Behemoth as a place holder. Basically this dungeon is a large floating space ship that is found in a remote region of a local star system. Groups of mercenaries, explorers, and government agents have all been attracted to this disabled beast.

Here is a small blurb I wrote about this idea last year:

The Behemoth. No one knows its true purpose. Was it a colony ship for an alien society? Perhaps it was a floating prison? Or even an alien “seed” ship? Regardless, what is known is that there are weird, dangerous aliens aboard as well as riches in artifacts and alien technology.

So, new year - new project. Now I need to catch up on all of the blogs out there, good to have so much quality blogs to read.

Mike D.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

I hope to pick up posting again in the new year, but for now I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday.