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Diceless Dungeons
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/05/2017 19:12:31

I enjoyed my read through of Diceless Dungeon. I like the abstract take on diceless combat the Olde House Rules has come up with. I think this will click with my home group and hope to try it out in the near future.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Diceless Dungeons
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Diceless Dungeons
by Anthony O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/04/2017 19:14:21

I love this product! For a while now I've been looking for a simple diceless system that still offered a very small level of resource management. This is a fantastic baseline for many great hacks and house rules! Keep up the great work!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the kind words, friend! Now hack away at that thing...
Barons of Braunstein
by James H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/23/2016 02:40:35

A light, yet robust, set of rules that hearkens back to the earliest days of our hobby when Major David Wesely took wargaming to its next logical evolution. Although only designed to run historical or psuedo-historical games out of the gate, the simple and straight-forward nature of the rules makes them easy to hack (I've written a high magic plugin, myself) and mold to your particular campaign needs. Frankly, the buy in price of less than three US dollars is an absolute steal, whether you're just looking for a simple yet robust set of easily malleable rules or a rare window that allows you to gaze upon the very beginning of our hobby. You should really own this thing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Barons of Braunstein
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The Ruined Abbey of Saint Tabitha
by Michael M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/30/2016 20:38:48

If you plan on running a Pits & Perils campaign and you need a starting point for your homebrew world then this is an essential. Basic D&D had the Keep on the Borderlands and this is Pits & Perils foundation module/setting. They start you off with just enough base information and then your imagination fills in the gaps. I miss modular products like this.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Ruined Abbey of Saint Tabitha
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Pits & Perils
by Michael M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/30/2016 20:29:39

Pits & Perils is old-school perfection & not and OSR retro-clone. A very unique original system without any obtuse archaic rules. The d6 mechanics of the system is great, so that you can focus more on role-playing and using your imagination. I read the rule book cover to cover and had to order the rest of the pdf’s in their catalog & a set of hard copies. The artwork really helps to inspire the early days of RPG/War gaming.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pits & Perils
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Pits & Perils
by Anders N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/08/2016 02:01:43

I honestly, really love this system - it's a wonderful system both for beginners, introducing them to RPGs much like people were first introduced, and for veterans who want that experience again. It's not about nostalgia, it's about a form of gaming that requires invention and imagination over rules.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Barons of Braunstein
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/28/2015 15:25:39

Very rules light and interesting RPG, written for Dark and Middle Age adventuring. The game tries to emulate historical fiction, with very little room for high fantasy tropes, but can easy handle monster heavy sword-and-sorcery campaigns.

For the price point, this is a must buy game, and I plan to keep a copy in my GM bag for quick play opportunities. Character generation takes a few minutes at most, and adventures can be spun together on the fly.

I rate it 5 stars, but I think the "low definition, high trust" nature of the rules could make this game a bit rocky with players that like crunchy rules or tricky character builds.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Barons of Braunstein
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Infernal Realms
by James C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/26/2015 20:13:07

This expansion includes two specific topics I have been waiting for: the corsair character class and integrating Pits & Perils with Braunstein. The addition of new spells and arch fiends enhances the game without feeling bloated or introducing too much unnecessary complexity.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Infernal Realms
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Blood of Pangea
by James C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/26/2015 20:08:56

This is my favorite rule set produced by Olde House Rules so far. It is very rules light and diverse in character creation. The simple and intuitive magic system is refreshing. Olde House Rules read my mind when I wanted a merge of their older product with Pits & Perils. When Retrospace is re-released, they'll already have my money sent their way.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Blood of Pangea
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Blood of Pangea
by Sophia B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/19/2015 05:32:26
http://dieheart.net/blood-of-pangea/

Do you like sword & sorcery, rules-lite, narrative or old school games? Then take a look at Blood of Pangea. When the author advertised this little game in the Rules-Lite RPG community on G+ I was interested but skeptic as well. There are lots of games that promise an interesting narrative twist on old school games. I really like the indie movement which sprang from The Forge and I like the OSR but sometimes those two directions can be diametrically opposite. Before taking a gander into the system, I asked the author about it and he told me:

We call the game narrative because the character (and monster) creation and, to an extent, sorcery, all draw from narrative story-centric elements. But with an old-school structure and underpinning to hold it together…  Basically, Blood of Pangea is billed as a pulpy sword & sorcery game with old school leanings but narrative mechanics. I received a free copy for reviewing purposes. It is the newest product from Olde House Rules who already made an original old school game called Pits & Perils. P&P is a rules-lite game based on wargaming roots instead of D&D.

Please keep in mind that this is a reading review and I haven’t playtested the game yet.

Character Creation

Character creation is pretty very free-form and fits the narrative bill. Like in the indie game The Pool you have a limited use of words to describe your character. The Pool uses a 50-word-story, with Blood of Pangea you have 30 words. You need to choose an exceptional trait (like speed), a craft/skill and specialized knowledge (i.e. history). Nonetheless, the game uses classes. Basically, there are Adventurers (fighters) and Sorcerers. The Thief/Corsair is a sub-class of the Adventurer. So, if you want to use magic, you need to choose Sorcerer as a class and are not allowed to wear armor and can only wield one-handed weapons. Adventurers wear armor and can choose any weapons. The Thief eschews armor in favor of stealth but otherwise the class is the same as Adventurer and may be fluid. Every character has one attribute called MIGHT which is the resource for hit points and magic simultaneously. If you take damage, you subtract it from Might. If you want to use sorcery, you spend MIGHT. A beginner character has 10 MIGHT. If this score falls down to zero or less in a scuffle, you’re dead. Otherwise, it mostly means you’re unconscious. The game also includes rules for money and equipment. Money is based on the silver standard and starting characters only have 3d6 SP. This definitely smells old school to me. Beginner characters also get some rations and a single weapon. Armor can mitigate up to 3 hits from any single attack and must be purchased separately from your starting money. Shields soak up to 2 hits. However, this stuff is easily breakable and after taking the hits it must be repaired or replaced. In gameplay, the player may decide if he uses the quality of armor and shields with the GM’s approval. Armor also encumbers and hinders you from using stealth. In the end, armor and shields are a resource mechanic: you should use them when your life depends on it but as they break as soon as you take a hit to them, they are not useful all the time. You may wear armor (if you’re an Adventurer) and up to 10 small items, plus coins. Weapons are grouped into categories like bows, one-handed melee, two-handed melee and thrown melee weapons. There is no definite weapon list, just make up your own. Character creation is fairly easy. In the G+ community of Blood of Pangea are some example characters by Mike Hill: Sorcerer and Adventurer.

All in all, character creation is narrative but also has some minor old school roots like the rules for armor, encumbrance, silver coins etc. The idea behind this game is that the character’s success depends more on the player’s choices than special abilities and powers which is one of the old school principles.

Gameplay

The game uses 2d6 as a basic task resolution. The target number (TN) depends on the situation, with 7 as a challenging task, 9 daunting etc. The difficulty is up to the GM (who is called the judge). Remember that there are no bonuses adding to your die roll as there are no attributes in this game. Blood of Pangea gives us some guidelines on setting the TN but relies heavily on the GM’s call. For example, picking locks may be daunting while following a trail may be challenging. Attempting a craft or skill varies in difficulty (yes, that’s what the rules say).

Combat

In combat, characters are hit with a daunting difficulty (that’s a 9). The GM decides about the difficulty for foes. Initiative is rolled at the beginning of a fight for the whole party with 1d6. Weapon damage depends on how well you’ve met the TN. You do 1 to 2 hits per blow. Two-handed weapons deal an extra +1 damage. The game also includes simple rules for rest and recovery and natural hazards, poison, bear traps and similar. A character may use 1 MIGHT to add +1 to any physical attack. Sorcerers use it for casting spells. Although characters are supposed to be heroic, it’s a bit difficult to heal. Each day of rest grants 1d6 MIGHT and there is no magic healing available. Again, this is all subject to the judge. So you might decide that the characters can shrug off harm more easily, otherwise the game could be quite deadly depending on the number of foes and traps you throw at your players.

Sorcery

The approach to magic is narrative again. There is no spell list. Sorcery is draining and costs a minimum of 1 MIGHT. The cost increases if you want a wider radius or more targets. Interestingly, characters cannot use sorcery to permanently damage or destroy targets per default rules. Contrarily, NPCs can always use spells to injure at a cast of 1 MIGHT = 1 hit. The judge may optionally allow player characters to use this rule, too. Here’s a summary by Mike Hill: Sorcery Rules summary

Experience & Advancement

The game uses a basic achievement-style system. There’s no EXP for gold or something like that. Instead, if you go on an adventure, you gain 1 EXP. If you perform extraordinarily, you get +1 EXP and if you complete a quest, you get +2 EXP. As there are no levels in Blood of Pangea, advancing means you can decide to improve MIGHT, learn another language or learn a new skill. The amount of XP you need to spend varies. For instance, to gain +1 MIGHT, the player needs to have acquired 7 EXP. A menial skill (physical training etc.) costs 1-3 EXP, a skilled trait or specialised knowledge 3-5 EXP.

Judge’s Rules

NPCs come in three flavors: minions/thugs, commoners and heroes/villains. The book includes some sample beasts like bears, elephants or wolves. There are some suggestions for including nameless horrors into your campaign. Additionally, there are a few adventure ideas and suggestions for mapping adventures and travelling. The index contains a broad-strokes setting idea: Pangea. It has 6 kingdoms, each described in a short paragraph. Moreover, there is a small bestiary containing Ape-men, Jin, Kraken, Ymirs (giants) and more. You also get a small map of the island of Pangea. There is a pantheon and some monstrous and alien gods with rules for madness. The game doesn’t include beginner game-mastering tips (which isn’t necessary).

The game rules are quite simple and open to interpretation and GM fiat. The advice helps but is pretty general. There is no sample adventure. Although it’s not spelled out directly I have the impression that the game rules are supposed to provide a framework and the GM/judge should make up rules/rulings depending on the situation. This would fit the old school idea.

Appearances

The PDF is 34 pages total (including cover etc.), completely held in black and white. The illustrations are from the public domain and are thus are not that nice looking. The layout is very simple with one column. Like the other Olde-House-Rules-products Blood of Pangea uses an antique-looking typewriter font. While it conveys a certain old school charm it’s not easy to read. Visually, this product is ok but nothing special.

My thoughts

Yes, this game is narrative and old school. It doesn’t have lots of rules and thus requires some communication between players and GM to make it work. The GM is the ultimate arbiter of how things work. I like the free-form character creation and the sorcery rules. Sorcery can be useful but it’s not overpowering because you need to spend MIGHT (your hitpoints) to cast spells AND per default you can’t use it to harm someone directly. Although the sorcery rules are quite free-form there is enough guidance on how much a spell costs and what range and effect it might have. The game interestingly makes use of resource management (like in old school games): do you use your armor to mitigate a hit, do you use your MIGHT to land an additional hit or use sorcery or do you reserve it as it is also your hitpoints? Furthermore, you could easily skin this game to other genres and therefore it provides some utility. In fact, a retro sci-fi supplement which was previously released for another system, is planned for Blood of Pangea: Retrospace. I would have liked to see a better looking visual presentation with another font and better illustrations. Furthermore, some rules (i.e. armor) could be more clear. The section for the judge is a bit short and assumes that you’re already familiar with RPGs and with the genre. I feel that this is one of the games which put a lot of responsibility on the GM/judge. There aren’t a lot of rules and it will come to the interpretation and the GM’s call on how to handle situations (setting difficulties, how rest & recuperation works etc.). The inclusion of a broad-strokes setting and nameless horrors is nice. All in all, for USD $2.49 this is a neat rules-lite sword & sorcery game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Blood of Pangea
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/09/2015 11:13:11

Blood of Pangea bills itself as a Sword & Sorcery genre game, but really the rules are so universal that you could easy run almost any genre of game.

Characters are described narratively ("Blunk is an expert tracker and horseman...") rather than numerically, so the type of character you can play is very broad, but actual mechanical differentiation is very shallow. Players and GMs that love mechanical heft and detailed character construction will be unsatisfied. Players and GMs that like fast play and loose detail will like this game,

This game reminds me a lot of B/X D&D, but also a bit of Fate or Heroquest as well.

I was very pleased with this game, and will make a place for it in my GM's bag for pick up games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Blood of Pangea
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/02/2015 03:23:18

An inspired addition to the genre.

All actions are handled with the throw of two six-sided dice with the player choosing, or not, to allocate the character's limited resources to secure a vital victory or avoid impending doom.

Characters are created in five minutes or less and have a number of options for advancement. This is not just a rules-lite game, it is complete in just 32 pages.

I found ample inspiration in the beast and monster lists, improv magic and cunning traps.

A bargain at twice the price!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fear! Fire! Foes!
by James C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/17/2014 00:08:18

If Braunstein! was my Holmes Basic, and Pits & Perils was Advanced Holmes, it would be logical to think of this as the Advanced Holmes Companion. House rule suggestions such as combat moves for the fighters, new spells, the introduction of the Monk and Savant, and the capacity to become an Elven Fighter or Elven Magician. The document is still concise and evocative at 56 pages, allowing for expanding the game without feeling weighed down with a load of new rules. I believe the three titles can work together in a cohesive way; I should know within a couple months if that is the case.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fear! Fire! Foes!
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Pits & Perils
by James C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/16/2014 23:57:07

If Braunstein! is my new Holmes Basic, this is Advanced Holmes. It literally feels like what I learned in Braunstein! can be applied to Pits & Perils. I appreciate the take on race as class, and it even addresses where the Elven and Dwarven Clerics are hiding (i.e. not adventuring). The Spells and Monsters listing are inspiring without taking a one half or a whole page explaining what a Kobold is. It's evocative without being overbearing. The singular fault I've come across, if you can call it that, is rolling for a character's attribute didn't feel like it did anything until stumbling upon the last sentence of page 22. "Abilities determine what actions a character may attempt in the game (p. 5)." At first, I thought, "So not having Strength means I can't Lift Gates?" When I was just about to accept it as an old school concession, possibly house ruling it, I came across the suggestion on page 22; from a rules POV, I would recommend moving the statement into the Attribute section of page 5.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Pits & Perils
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Barons of Braunstein
by James C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/16/2014 23:47:11

I just received this along with a copy of Pits & Perils and Fear! Fire! Foes! I have been looking for a written copy (or reasonable facsimile) of the Braunstein rules. This was an awesome 24 page discovery. Even though I am less interested in historical gaming, I appreciate using historic settings as a foundation for fantasy. Combining the last page of the document (introducing magic and witchcraft) with Pits & Perils (using Braunstein's Luck vs. Pits & Perils HP and magic), might make for an interesting game. At its core, this feels like a new take on Holmes Basic D&D.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Barons of Braunstein
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