Sunday, November 12, 2017

How to Find The Sounding Board

One of the easiest ways to find new blog posts for The Sounding Board (that’s this blog in case you didn’t know) was to watch RPGBloggers, where all of our stuff was posted automatically.  Well, they seem to be tied up with something.  We really hope they finish their “maintenance” soon, but we’re trying to get the word out through some of the Google+ boards.  If you find our posts through Google+, please give us a +1!


But hey - if you have an idea or want to help steer us in a particular direction, please email us at  We listen!  and act on your advice.

Small Bites Marches On

We’ve posted another edition of Small Bites.  This one is The Chivalrous Knights of Myork aka All About Knights and Nobility.  You will hopefully remember The Mercenary Vators of Myork aka All About Men-at-Arms.  Of course, they are related, but the clear difference is that between noble knights and common men-at-arms.  If your game world doesn’t see a distinction between the noble warriors and the common soldiers, then you might want to try these out to see not only how it makes things more interesting, but how it will spark all sorts of new missions and ideas.

In case you didn’t notice it, we had also put out The Merchant Wars of Forsbury - aka All About Caravans & Cartage.  We’re serious about the “war” part of that.  These merchants don’t just move product.  They will actively battle each other if the profits seem worth it.  Of course profit and war scream for adventurers and other mercenaries to get involved.

And just so you don’t think we’re slaking off - We also published a choose your own adventure story.  It’s a little raw, but we’ll keep refining and lengthening it over time.  The folks who’ve taken the time seem to be enjoying it!

So take a look!  All of this stuff is free - gives you a chance to see of you like our style.  It’s not for everyone.  We’re a little old school and don’t spend a ton of money on fine art.  We figure, if you really want art, you can get that elsewhere; what we’re selling is content.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Choose Your Own Adventure

We’ve been talking about doing this for years, and we finally pulled the trigger.  Along with the release of our World Walker edition of The Merchant Wars of Forsbury aka All About Caravans & Cartage, we have released a choose your own adventure story based on the Merchant War of Forsbury (647P) and the Wet Behind the Ears character of Pyotr.

The World Walker edition is FREE!  The choose your own adventure story is FREE!  Just click those links to get those free products.  But if you want to get involved and become part of the project, then please check us out on Patreon.  We’re trying all sorts of things to see what you like and what you may not like.  Obviously the goal is to get you those things you want, so keep communicating with us.  We do listen!

There are a bunch of other editions of Small Bites out there too.  Please check out the other copies by clicking here.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Armor - How much can you afford to endure? Part 2

OK, so in the last post, we were pushing getting better armor made out of better materials and enchanted to even higher points.  So why not?  What can a GM do to prevent the PCs from getting impervious armor?

Well, let’s start with - Have you allowed your PCs to accumulate so much wealth that they could probably pull this off?  If the answer is yes, then game balance is already your problem.  If this is the case, you have two choices:  1) end this campaign and start another where you will better control the rewards to prevent the PCs from becoming the next billionaires. or 2) assume that everything we wrote in that last post did not concern the PCs, but instead the NPCs and let the bad guys get impervious armor first.

So we are now assuming that the PCs want impervious armor but cannot afford it.  Or can they?  First things first, the supply of some style of super steel needs to be restricted.  In Fletnern, the first level of “super steel” is considered to be dwarven steel.  Dwarven steel is a steel alloy assumed to be more similar to some of our modern alloys.  It is stronger than steel, but not as tough as “diamond”.  So yep, you guessed it, the next step up is diamond.  There are intermediary steps as well, but if steel is a “3”, dwarven steel is a 4 and diamond is a 5.

Dwarven steel is only available in smaller quantities, but someone with sufficient wealth could get a suit of dwarven steel plate armor.  Because in Legend Quest, armor slows you down, if you’re making dwarven steel armor, you have to decide if you are keeping the same general thickness and thus making the armor sturdier or if you are thinning the metal to give the same protection in a lighter form.  But getting that much dwarven steel would likely require someone to do a favor for the Rocchairian Nation (hint hint - mission reward, not something sold in the farmers’ market).

Which makes us turn to diamonds.  Obviously building a suit out of diamonds is out of the question - or is it?  Can alchemy do this?  In LQ it doesn’t matter, because enchanters can use the harden-diamond enchantment to make it happen magically.  So why aren’t all the adventurers running around in diamond hard armor?  Well, the cost of the enchantment is pretty high.  But also, a suit of armor is not a single thing.  It is a large number of plates, scales, and other items that are attached to each other.  So in order to enchant a suit of plate armor, you need to enchant every single piece.  Every strip, scale or plate would need to be individually enchanted.  For this reason, typically only the biggest pieces are enchanted - the breastplate and the helmet.

Just to take that one step further - In LQ, steel is tough to enchant, so enchanters often seek other substances.  For example, after a harden-diamond spell, a leather breastplate would be just as durable as a harden-diamond steel breastplate and a whole lot easier to enchant, so would the warrior be willing to have a breastplate and helm that did not match the rest of his armor?

Let’s add an additional element that likely affects both special substances and magic:  craftsmanship.  To begin, there shouldn’t be a lot of folks out there who can make plate armor - it is not only a specialized skill, but without factories banging out identical pieces, it is one that requires experience.  So whatever else you’re doing, you need to find an armorer willing to work with you.  That is a slight difficulty.

Once you find this armorer, you need to make certain that they can do the job.  Dwarven steel needs a hotter forge to work than regular steel - does the armorer have it?  What other complications kick in when trying something like this?  Again, in LQ (this is why we used the comic book references in the last post), there are nemean lions, like the thing Herc fought and kept the hide from.  Nemean armor is the best armor in the game, but it cannot be made by just anyone.  Why?  Because it cannot be pierced.  How do you stitch something that cannot be pierced?  You sew it with a needle that has been enchanted to be vorpally sharp.  Finding an enchanter that can do a vorpal sharpness enchantment is tough enough, but finding one that can do it on something as small as a needle is much more difficult.

So having the craftsman shouldn’t be a problem, but having a craftsman with the proper tools is.  Remember all the Wolverine origin stories?  Adamantium, really tough stuff to work with.  So are these substances.

So here’s the summary:  If you have enough money, you should be able to get really good armor, but you need to overcome the rarity of the supplies, the limitations of magic, and the rarity of craftsmen with the appropriate tools.  Once you’ve done that, you’re golden.  Oh, as long as you have the means to repair it when it gets damaged in combat.  Yeah, that’s a pain in the @$$ too.

I really like having stuff made out of stuff other than steel.  A character may want to have the greatest armor ever, but does that mean it resists weapons best?  Does it have built in fire avoidance?  Does it repel the undead when they look at it?  We’ve only begun to scratch the surface (sorry, that pun was sort of planned) of what armor can do.  Repelling weapons may be its main job, but there are so many other things it could do that have to be considered.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Armor - How much can you afford to endure?

A knight’s main weapon of war is his armor, right?  I know, doesn’t seem like it should be called a weapon, so if you want, think of it as a tool of the trade ... of war.  But what is armor?  Yeah, yeah, we all know - it’s the stuff you put between your skin and the other guy’s weapons, but is it just a matter of armor styles or simply of money.

In a fantasy game, better armor is nearly always simply a matter of money.  Let me explain my point, and to do so - I will use comic books!  Makes sense, right?  Give me a second on this.

Wolverine - sure he heals from anything and he’s a berserker, but how effective would he be without the adamantium?  Without claws and bones that cannot be broken, he would be all but useless against Colossus, Doctor Doom or anyone else with the slightest amount of protection.  It is the fact that you can’t simply cut him in half or behead him that actually makes him tough to kill, otherwise healing factor of not, he’d be lying in a heap at the beginning of every big fight.

Similar with the Black Panther.  We’re still trying to figure out if he is actually supposed to be super strong or just a black Tarzan, but in the comics and movies, it is his vibranium that makes him so tough to kill.  Without it, Hawkeye might be able to beat him.

So this is my point - I’ll bet your world either has adamantium and vibranium or substances that are similar.  Fletnern does!  But let’s take it to the next step:  magic!  Legend Quest has an enchantment spell that makes things tougher, in fact there are three:  harden, harden-steel, and harden-diamond.  So even if you didn’t have adamantium, you could still cast harden-diamond on things and it would be like walking around wearing the densest stuff known to man (maybe not densest known to modern man, but still in the top dozen and I do think top natural substance).

Wow!  Seems like I’m taking forever to get to the point here, but here it is:  If you can enchant leather to be stronger than steel, or find a metal stronger than steel, then why not build your armor out of that stuff?  And if you can afford to make your armor out of that stuff, how can you get wounded in the game?

I hear you yelling at that last paragraph - but you didn’t mention criticals.  True, but while that Robin Hood movie claims any boy can be taught to find the weak points in a knight’s armor, that job becomes vastly more difficult when you’re wearing a custom built suit of full plate armor.  Not only have you covered up what might have at one time been chain instead of plate, you have a suit of armor that the enemy has not seen before.  Sure, he will assume that the underarm is weaker than the breastplate, but he will not have been trained to defeat it.  Maybe your plates are articulated in a different fashion which makes piercing attacks from the front more difficult, though still possible from behind?  Yeah, Robin Hood’s boy wasn’t taught that in forestry school.

But take this to the magic world again, and the undercoat could be made of hell hound hide which is impervious to blades.  OK, I’m just making crap up now, but the point remains - Take a look at your warrior characters.  Ignoring how much you spent to make sure that your sword does both fire and shock damage, along with delivering a massive poison hit, how much have you invested in your armor?  Is +3 enough?

Go talk to your armor smith.  You know how much money you have and how much adamantium costs per pound.  Start by talking through the finer points of that.  Better yet - After you kill that celestial dragon thing, check out its skin.  How much armor did it have, and do you have a leather worker good enough to tan that hide into something that can become armor?  It is all a matter of money - How much can you afford to endure?

The next post will be about how GMs can make this not work for players.  Sort of a point-counterpoint kind of thing.