More bookbinding pictures

Yesterday I went for more bookbinding lessons. This time around we put together an half-bound book with a rounded and jointed spine. Enjoy some pictures.

More pictures of my handmade books are here.

Way of Tinkering. Engineer: a new class for AFG and other Old School Games

With many thanks to Reynaldo for his Magitek Engineer. My Engineer, written for Adventure Fantasy Game, owes a lot to his. The Engineering rolls are regulated by the 5MORE system.

The Way of Tinkering

Characters who embark in the Way of the Tinkering are known as Engineers. The Way of Tinkering focuses training and growth on building, maintenance and sabotage of machinery and other artefacts. Engineers can be architects, ship-builders, military engineers, machinists, bridge-builders and sappers. Engineers roll 1d6 to determine Hits for each level gained in the Way of Tinkering, receive training in using light and medium armours but not shields.

Technical Knacks

Every Engineer has a knack for something specific. It might be extremely accurate craftmanship and design, an eye for detail or the boldness to try extremely silly solutions. An Engineer picks a Knack at level 1, then another at level 4, 7 and so on. Knacks can be used a limited number of times a day: each Engineer has 1 Rig point per Engineer level, plus 1 for high Craft. Each Knack use spends one Rig point. Engineers recover all Rig points at sunset, enabling them to pull all-nighters as needed. A list of knacks follows:

Jury-rig: Broken things can be fixed. Anything else can be improved. Spending 1 Rig point you can attempt an Engineering roll every round/turn/hour/day (depending on artefact complexity) to either improve its performance for 1d6 rounds/turns/hours/days or fix it for 1d6 turns/hours/days/weeks. The Referee will improv like a boss and relate the consequences of your mad skills.

Good Job: You are careful, thoughtful and methodic. Double redundancy might not satisfy you, you double and triple check everything all the times. When you roll an Engineering roll you can spend additional Rig points and add them to your roll (+3 per Rig point if the Engineering check is done with a d20). Decide the number of points to be spent before rolling.

Quick Hack: You have your way with devices. A coupole of soft spoken words, a sharp but precise mallet hit and a twiddling of the swabulator make artefacts behave the way you want. They might fail afterwards, but at that point it might not be a problem. After spending a Rig point and expressing what you want the artefact to do, you can start hacking a device and attempt an Engineering roll every round/turn/hour/day (depending on artefact complexity). Once the roll is successful you can alter the behaviour of the artefact, making it operate in spurious ways.  The Referee will artfully describe how and what exactly the artefact behaves. After 1d6 rounds/turns/hours/days (depending on failure mode) the artefact will completely stop working unless it saves successfully.

Gadgets: You have gadgets. They are cool swag that make you happier and your life easier. Like a wall-drilling crossbow bolt, a portable hamster-powered ice-cream maker or an automated, wire-controlled slinky. To build a gadget spend a day tinkering with your bag of tools and components and get a 5MORE in Engineering: on a successful roll the Referee will either confirm the gadget creation or relate that the design is too ambitious. You can maintain a number of gadgets equal to your Engineer level + 1 before they’re so unmaintained they become useless. Each gadget activation costs 1 rig point.

Review: You are able to find a weak spot of an artefact. You can attempt an Engineering roll every round/turn/hour/day (depending on artefact complexity) to find a design or implementation fault in the artefact and understand how to exploit it.

Coffee, Tea and other Stimulants

Having a coffee, tea or other stimulants revs up Engineers, but abusing stimulants might be counterproductive. When you use stimulants, roll a Coffee Save with a -1 for each three stimulants you had in the past 24 hours (if using a d20 for saves, roll against Poison or Toughness applying -1 for each stimulant instead). If successful, recover 1 Rig point, but recover 1 rig point less at the next sunset.

Game Police: the Beginning


Edit: added video content below (and many thanks to Roger the GS).

The dream police, they live inside of my head.
The dream police, they come to me in my bed.
The dream police, they’re coming to arrest me, oh no.


‘Cause they’re waiting for me.
They’re looking for me.
Ev’ry single night they’re driving me insane.
Those men inside my brain.


Western League – Lake End Map

If you follow me on Google Plus you might have noticed some hand-drawn maps of a town.

Lake End is the starting town of my Western League campaign. All post-2008 campaigns in the Six Cities Settings have started from here, while before they started from Unis, an independent trading city a few hundred miles due south. Years of adventures made this little town more and more detailed, but all the previous mapping attempts have been functional but horrible to look at and ultimately forgettable.

The map was drawn with a 0.5mm rotring pen on lined paper. Lines help a lot for architectural-y axonometry drawing if you keep the rules vertical. In caser you wonder, they can be ‘shopped out easily.

I’m not an artist and I’m pants at drawing, so it’s far from being good. But since people asked me to share it, it’s here for grabs.

The coastline and hinterland are not finished because, well, you might want to place the town somewhere else without a really productive and chaotic lumber and woodworking industry.

As (almost) always, it’s licenced with a Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-SA 3.0.

Quick Update: London, CORSICA, Engineers, Adventure Sailing Game

[Post written from Cafe Floris in South Kensington, London, on a tiny screen, so expect lack of links and bad spelling]
I took some days off, combined them with a company trip to London and Suffolk and it’s all a bit crazy. London is a strange place. If it was a setting you’d think that the authors did an awful job because it’s so heterogeneous that it almost seems fake. On the other hand if you ever felt like writing a  citycentric setting London is a good baseline. Plus it’s full of underground tunnels with those lightning powered trains.
And Canary Wharf is as cyberpunk as you can get, especially the Jubilee tube station. Security in there is private, you get abused if you take pictures for too long and it feels completely artificial. Knowing that the place abunds in people that gamble with the world economy and that one day might make us jobless and homeless to receive a bonus is also very unsettling. To remain in theme the adjacent neighborhood is one of the poorest in Britain.
I’ll leave England today to go to Milan, chillax, see parents and friends, eat pizza and play boardgames at the local gaming society. Hopefully I’ll also get some writing done, or at least transcribe what I’ve scribbled on my notepad here. The list include: an Engineer class for AFG, the archipelago generation rules for Adventure Sailing Game, material for CORSICA and my article for Burgs& Bailiffs. The article is about food surplus and why it’s important for your campaign, especially at a domain level.

Well, that’s the plan. I might end up playing Netrunner all week with my cousin.

My gaming week, part 1: AFG Saturday is Fantasy F*ucking Milan

I’ve been playing a lot in the past few months. A lot means playing Elder Dragon Highlander during the lunch break with Simon plus a few games now and then, WHFRP on a Thursday night with my s/o’s group, AFG on Saturdays on Google Plus, AFG on Sundays with the Glasgwegian Usual Suspects. I feel like I should be spending a few words on the games because they all rock in their own quirky different ways.

The Saturday game started with me getting a new iMac and broadband connection and a massive urge to try those FLAILSNAILS things that has been going around the intertubes recently. The idea of running a campaign set in a Mythic Europe sort of setting was alluring, where superstitions are real, the divine is present through relics and monsters are in the thick of the woods. Being born and raised in the countryside near Milan, where remains of Medieval and Renaissance architecture and art are still present, the Duchy of Milan and Lombardy felt perfect as settings. After spending a few good hours on Wikipedia trying to frame the historical period I set on running Fantasy F*uckin’ Milan in Spring 1491.


Because this man was awesome:

He married this super-awesome woman:

and together they brought fancy people at their court, including these two exceedingly awesome dudes:

I should probably mention that the man above was the regent, not the duke, and that he had awesome mistresses floating around too, like:

The Duke was his useless nephew, until he died of apparently too much sex.

And that the period is fraught with crazy peninsular politics, foreign invasions regularly repelled (at least until 1498), condottieri, the discovery of a new continent is going to happen in about 18 months. And Milan was only one of the burgeoning powers of Renaissance Italy: Florence, Genoa, Venice, Pisa, the Papal State, Naples.

I kicked off by having the PC attending mass in the Cathedral for the Rite of the Cloud. The Archbishop is hoisted up to the dome, removes the Nail of the True Cross and brings it down to be shown to the worshippers. Only this time someone forgot to hoist the bishop down, pulled him through the incomplete roof (that church took 700 years to complete, they installed the last stained glass windows when I was a kid), yoinked the Nail and legged. The PCs (Giovannuccio da Castellazzo and Marcone da Verona) caught one of the thieves and recovered the nail, while the other thief fled west on horseback.

After giving the nail back to the Duke Regent, the Regent charged them with pursuing the thief and report. They got horses, left westwards toward the neighbouring town of Rho: the caught thief confessed that the theft was commissioned by a shady dude he never met before and he was supposed to give the Nail to a dude with a green hat waiting outside the Cappuccini convent in Rho. On they way they met a lot of people fleeing from the basilisk (poisoning variety) that appeared in the church square. Fearlessly they continued.

So, what’s the first thing the characters did in town?

They stole boots from corpses, like proper murderhobos. You go to Italy and you shop for shoes as soon as.

Shenanigans followed up, involving the convent librarian Fiar Martino remembering that the Naturalis Historia by Pliny the Elder explains how to kill the basilisk, the convent copy being stolen from his library the day before the basilisk showed up, a lecherous friar and a sassy burglarix, an ermin, a lobster, a frog and a nigtingale. And an old walled door in the convent basement nobody wants to talk about. And the wanting of a trebouchet. And way, way to many mass attendings.

So it happens that the group managed to recover a stack of stolen books, gained a sassy contact in  Legnano, caught an ermine and used it to kill the basilisk. A party was thrown in their honour, they gained a level and another accomplishment, met Leonardo da Vinci and sold him the basilisk corpse.

All of the adventuring above comes from 10 Wikipedia pages or less. Just open the Wiki, take notes and play. Historical adventuring is hated by the Game Police, but try to chill: your history professor won’t be around to lament that you forgot that, hey, these walls were not there yet, Milan doesn’t have an armorer guild, tobacco was not available yet in Europe, the above awesome map is from much much later on. Stop caring, think about running a smooth, enjoyable game. If you manage to cram these details in without being boring it’s gonna be much better, but if you don’t chill and be smooth, the Game Police is going to catch you only if you let them.

So, yeah, that’s how I roll on half of my Saturdays. The other half are Western League sessions. Mopre on that later.