In the last few months and well, year, there have been some fresh releases for the D00lite system games Covert Ops and BareBonesFanatsy. Being who I am I totally missed those. It is time to remedy that. Here they are:
The already established Fanzine with an irregular schedule released their 5th issue. It is still PWYW and has again a mix of content for their various products. There is a table of Fantasy city encounters that is system agnostic and useful to many OSR gamers as well. There is some benign and some weird stuff (I am not saying it is aliens, but it is aliens!) and many that could kick off a great session.
There is GM advice from Tony Demetriou dealing with player trust and “when to roll” issues. It is more an opinion piece then really advice, but I appreciate the perspective he gives on the “What I imagine and the players imagine might be extremely different” issue many GMs regularly fall for, myself included, and how this relates to the question of when to roll.
Then we have a Plot Hook by Mitch A. Williams that is a summary of an adventure with some information on the location. I appreciate this kind of adventure ideas instead of fully detailed ones. It gives me enough to start from but I can flesh it out with details that resonate with my players. The premise of “Wizard’s Lake” contains old ruins, fighting brothers and an interesting way to source ones water, so to say.
The next article by Glenn Davisson deals with interrogations. Gives some light real world background of certain aspects and expands the interrogation rules from Covert Ops. While interesting to read the rules seem to add a level of complexity I do not need, but they still seem very usable and might be something you need in your game.
After this we get another expansion for Covert Ops: “The Agency Uniform” by Bill Logan. It is basically an armored suit with various available upgrades. For any proper Spy game there can never be too many gadgets and this adds something interesting to the arsenal for your operatives.
And finally a nice looking ruin map with some background.
Decahedron #5 is again a great offering. I am glad the zine seems to find its release stride and hope they can keep it up, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Cardains Creature Collection
From what I can gather this is the first foray into BBF for 10 Spot Games. This PDF contains 30 new creatures for BBF. There is a variety of creatures inside, mostly new and not part of the standard monsters almanac of fantasy creatures. Each has a simple, hand drawn silhouette illustration. The writing is a bit rough and I had hoped for some more background for the creatures. The PDF could also use another editing pass. Still, at 1,39 USD I can`t complain too much of course. It is definitely useful if you need more monsters, especially since the Barebones Bestiary is continually delayed.
It is the second D00lite release from10 Spot Games, this time for Covert Ops. As the name suggests it has 25 pages of material to help you use Covert Ops to play Sci Fi games. As DWD Studios own Sci Fi project is still not out this is very welcome to me as a Space Opera nut. The 23 Pages are full of various rules and guidelines. The cover makes it look cheaper than it needs to be and the illustrations are stock art, which is totally fine for a product like this.
There are no credits given though. This is a problem the author definitely should take care of. I know that some of the artwork requires credits given in the product. CORRECTION: There are credits, I just missed them below the license. Thanks for letting me know! The layout is ok and the writing about the same as in their earlier release, Cardains Creature Collection. It could use another editing pass as well. There is a printer friendly version included, without the color cover and page backgrounds. Very much appreciated!
First we have a chapter on Space Vehicle creation. It follows the Covert Ops guidelines on vehicles in general and expands it to include space vessels of various types as well as different upgrades for the same. There is enough here to get your Sci Fi Game going. What I am missing though are some more realistic craft to tie it in with Covert Ops. The tech described here is really more akin to Star Trek then Moonraker.
After detailed descriptions of the upgrades and weapons are a few example ships followed by three pages of space vehicle operation and combat guidelines. They work but sadly have the same issue so many other systems have: The Pilot and the gunner are the only 2 people really involved, and if push comes to shove the Pilot could do everything on its own. For many this is not an issue but I feel there is a missed opportunity to give at least some suggestions what people with other skills could mechanically do during a space fight.
The next chapter deals with Sci Fi equipment for individual operatives. There is nothing too extraordinary here but at least some of the items could be used in a normal Covert Ops game. Overall though it again is a tech level really far removed from Covert Ops baseline. This is not a problem at all if you want to run a pure Sci Fi game. I just feel it could be problematic to implement some of this tech into a normal Covert Ops Campaign. Again, more Trek then Moonraker.
Here we also find Droids and Robots. They are normal NPC with an additional section for “Code” where you should summarize in simple sentences what the programmed functions of the droid or robot are. The section sadly does not contain any advice for Droid player characters.
The last chapter gives advice on how to create alien species. Nothing really new here and
Overall the product is useful when you want to use Covert Ops for Sci Fi games and does a good job at that. The tech is for me a bit too advanced from Covert Ops and as such I can´t imagine it meshing well. I will find a use for some of the material within for sure though. And for 1,99? Worth it. One can always use more material for D00lite.
This is billed as a companion for Bare Bones Fantasy and focused on player characters. The cover looks nice and the interior uses the BBF fanwork template to good effect. The layout is OK if simplistic with several illustrations. Sadly they are BW images on a white background placed in black borders within the text. This I find rather jarring and really breaks up the text to hard. And makes it look cheaper than it is. The writing is concise and easy to read.
First is a chapter on expanded character creation. It begins with rules for 0 level characters. Something I like since running a DCC funnel. Due to the nature of BBF the characters can`t be totally blank slates and start with their primary skill already.
Next are random tables for starting professions. Each gives your character some background as well as some items specific to the profession at game start. Otherwise there is no mechanical effect.
What follows are several tables for your characters age, body type and height/weight. After that are more tables to help you flesh out characters background with family, friends, enemies and special events during your upbringing. There are even omens and portents on your birthday! All strictly optional but can help you to kick-start your imagination.
Next is a section that deals with characters that begin the game higher than rank 0 or 1. The tables here deliver some background of what the Character may have done in the past to get him where he is now. As they mention in the text, this is also really useful to flesh out NPC and great for replacing dead characters.
Following this are 2 new races, first the Deep Dwarf. They are living deep underground, gathering forgotten knowledge and are capable of casting “low wizardry”. And they have their own profession table! The same goes for the Satyrs, the second race in this PDF. Additionally they also have their own age/body type /height/weight tables. Both races are fleshed out in the normal BBF way and usable right away. I especially like the Deep Dwarfs as they go against some of the usual dwarf tropes. In contrast the Satyrs are exactly what you may expect.
After the two races follows a short, general treatise on the skills in BBF. It aims to clear up some confusion and misconceptions about them and their use. This contained nothing new for me, but may be useful to you. But they do not stop there. They also represent two new skills, the unarmed combat specialist aka Brawler that is pretty much what it says on the tin. Their unique ability is to appraise an enemy’s abilities and fighting dirty. And there is a skill called Mentalist. They have the unique ability to increase they STR or DEX for one turn. Additionally they are spellcasters, a kind of mage/cleric hybrid. Both have their place and will find players.
The new skills follows another short treatise, this time on spells and magic. The unbalanced power has been a point of critic in regards to BBF for a long time. At its heart BBF is an old school game where spell casters where indeed much more powerful in later levels than a fighter type for example. This lack of any balance may offend modern sensibilities somewhat. What you find here gives you some options and ideas on how to handle this in your game if you feel the lack of balance is an issue. They also give some suggestions on specific spells and how you can alter some of the really flexible spells in BBF.
The next chapter deals with “Legacy Items”. These are magic items that start as mundane gear but are imbued by a character spending some of their own DP. They then have a basic power but can unlock more and more abilities as time goes on. There are only 2 example items here. They are interesting and useful but for me not enough to get a good feeling for a baseline. More of them please, and if they come in their own little PDF! Items that grow in power with their wielder have always been something I wanted to implement in my games and the way they are done here is good. However I would have liked more mechanical guidance in setting up “unlocks”.
Then there is a rules expansions for BBF. The first is about splitting the single Body Points pool of BBF into two new pools, physical and mental health. An approach I can appreciate, as it allows for “mental attacks” against characters, a place where they usually are not armored. And with this you can have a whole new way to make enemies exciting.
Finally there is another short rules discussion, this time about multiple actions and why you should or should not use them. Definitely interesting and something to keep in mind as the ability to use multiple actions in a turn is one of the ways characters get more powerful in BBF.
In closing, the 34 pages are filled with useful stuff for your BBF game. At 4,95 USD I think it is well placed and well worth your consideration. The mix of new content and thought on BBF rules in general is great and makes this truly a companion to the core rules. If this is the quality we can look forward too I can`t wait for the next issue, “Combat and Encounters”.