If you have ever played a classic pen and paper RPG like Dungeons and Dragons(TM), Pathfinder or any other true role playing game, you will immediately recognize that the lands of Eletreus make an ideal campaign setting, and the many locations, legends, monsters, magic and forbidden lore contain many seed adventure ideas.
This is intentional – and a lot of fun. Personally, I have been playing pen and paper role playing games for over 25 years, including old school first and second AD&D (showing my age) but also games such as Middle Earth Fantasy Roleplaying, Tunnels & Trolls, Warhammer Fantasy Role Play, Shadowrun, Cyberpunk and Dragon Warriors (first one actually) -and more recently Castles and Crusades on Fantasy Grounds, so if you are a fellow roleplayer, you are among friends here.. 😉
In this section we will do two things. We will be taking a look at some of the existing classic pen and paper roleplaying games and resources, with some tips on how to run a campaign for that game system set in the lands of Eletreus, and go one better with our OWN attempt to create a free open source RPG that you can try out.
Classic Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games
Personally, I have been the ‘GamesMaster’ (or ‘DungeonMaster’) for many pen and paper roleplaying games over the years, and also recently experimented with the Castles and Crusades system on ‘Fantasy Grounds’ which puts all the books, the tabletop and dice rolls onto your PC and can be played remotely over long distances. This is handy, for it is all to easy for players to guess what is coming next simply by the book they see the GameMaster reaching for..! Case in point, my players always used to feel a morbid excitement every time I would take out the book ‘threats’ while playing Shadowrun..
Out of all of the games systems I have played and GameMastered over the years – D&D still has a special place in my heart despite having changed so many times over the years to the point where I no longer recognize it – but my personal favorites are Dragon Warriors, Advanced Fighting Fantasy, Warhammer Fantasy Role Play and most recently, Castles and Crusades.
In my own case, my fascination with swords became more pointed (sorry, could not resist that pun) when I started reading Fighting Fantasy books in the early 1980s. I lost count of the hours I would spend engrossed in those books, rolling dice and fighting monsters. But I got my first real experiences roleplaying with Dungeons and Dragons (yes, first and second editions – by the third edition we were already playing something else and never came back to it) and would spend many hours in the nearby woods with my friends making sword sticks and acting out the fights from our games, getting lots of bruises, bumps, cuts and scratches in the process. Oh, those were the days..!
My biggest problem with Dungeons and Dragons was the hit points system – which to us seemed to reduce all characters to a blood sack with no internal organs nor fear of permanent injuries. Boy oh boy did we get a shock when we played Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay – which also had hit points of a sort but when reduced to zero, instead of being knocked out – things would start to get messy and rolls on the critical hits table could result in permanent loss of limbs, eyes or instant death. My players, used to the blood sack approach, hated it for a while until they adjusted to fighting in a more realistic manner by using ambush and dirty fighting tactics, and knowing when to try and break off from the fight and get out of there instead of blindly fighting on to the end..
None of these systems was or really can be perfect, but like all gaming groups we adjusted the rules to suit our play style and found that we liked some games more than others. As stated earlier, most recently I have GameMastered for Castles & Crusades, which captures the feeling of 1st and 2nd edition D&D but with clearer and better defined rule sets, and found that the use of computers with Fantasy Grounds made it easier to keep track of events in combat and is something that I would like to get back into once it is a little more refined.
But in the meantime, I have started designing a simple system of my own based on the elements I like from the games I have played previously that can be used in conjunction with the swords, maps and the creatures we present here!
If you wish to recreate the epic battle of the Paragon, fight as an Imperial Legionnaire in the battles against Escia, or become a wandering warrior monk from Lhasas Shaoshi Temple, here you will find a free and simple pen and pencil combat system you can use to simulate battles, both small and large scale, without getting bogged down in charts, tables, needing a computer or anything other than a couple of classic d6 (six sided dice).
Sound good? Well lets begin.
Advanced Rules and additional RPG resources coming soon!