Fighting Man, Priest, & Magic User Only?

After reading the tweet below…

…I decided to write this post.

For the record, I started playing D&D with 3E. I am not someone who has been with the hobby since Day One. Therefore, whenever I look at 2nd Edition or earlier, I am viewing it as an outsider. Also, I want to start by saying that I respect Mr. Oghma and his opinions.

All that said, I disagree with his tweet. Slightly.

I think that Thieves, Rogues, Ne’er-do-wells, whatever you want to call them…they have a place in D&D as the fourth pillar. Using the Thief class as someone who can scout and backstab people is a good addition to the game. I know many people do not like the additions to the game made in later editions, and there are a LOT of bad ideas in the history of D&D, but there are plenty of good ones too. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Raising the Thief to the same importance as the original three is one of those good ideas. From an Appendix N perspective, Fafhrd may be a Fighting Man, but what is the Gray Mouser? A Thief!

However, I think that Mr. Oghma is onto something with reducing the number of character classes. More classes = more mechanics, which can equal more headache for the GM that does not know how all of those mechanics interact. Also, in a high-death game, having only a few character classes makes it easier for players too. Many players do not have an encyclopedic knowledge of the 47 classes and their unique mechanics. Yet, having a few more options than just 3 or 4 may give players some interesting concepts to play with.

While pondering this tweet, I was reminded of a couple of features in some recent roleplaying games. The first is Pathfinder’s archetype system. With this system, a character can trade class feature A, B, & C for new class feature X, Y, & Z. Rather than create a new class (although Pathfinder has PLENTY of those), you could use an archetype, which has most of the usual features, but enough of a twist for someone to play a unique character concept.

The second is 5E’s character archetype system. Each character class is required to pick an archetype sometime between 1st and 3rd level. Each class has a core set of abilities and then a few archetype abilities as well. In fact, someone could take what I would call the 4 base classes (Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, and Thief), and turn all the other classes in the 5E Player’s Handbook into archetypes of the above. For instance, the Paladin, Barbarian, and Ranger could be reworked as Fighter archetypes.

Now, let’s tackle the Monk and Bard comment. The Monk and Bard may have been implemented poorly in 1E, but the concept of those characters was solid. In a fantasy roleplaying game, there should be a way to replicate just about any quasi-medieval or fantasy literature character. People will always try to create Monks, Bards, Jesters, etc. Let’s find a way to make them work!

Check out Oghma’s blog Temple of Iron and follow him on Twitter/Gab (@Oghma_EM). He’s a great guy with great content.

A Word We All Need To Use More


When I really like something, I will sometimes say that it is “Fan-damn-tastic”. I try not to let it slip in polite company, but it is tempting sometimes to see what certain people’s faces would be if I said that.

But in all seriousness, I think a lot of “new school” tabletop RPG people need to sit down and play Earthsiege 2, which is the game that this video came from. Now I can hear what you are all thinking:

“But The Mixed GM, why would we play a mostly-forgotten mech game from the 90’s?”

“Why don’t you use consistent branding online?”

“When will you finish Demons in Space?”

In Earthsiege 2, you could fail some missions and still progress in the story. Admittedly, things might be more difficult for you, but you did not have to succeed all time. When I mean fail a mission, I mean you fail the objective. If you are told to protect the base from attack, it actually matters whether or not you protect it well. It is your skill and your skill alone that determines how the game continues. This is generally NOT the kind of game where you protect the base for 30 minutes and then, in a cutscene, it explodes due to plot nonsense. If the base explodes, it is because you failed. However, you can pick yourself up, dust off your giant robot, and fight on.

If you want to reload from a previous save, that is an option. Or, you could soldier on despite the hardship.

Now apply this thinking to tabletop RPGs.

To answer the other questions:

Yes, I use @NotJohnDaker on Twitter / Gab / Discord. My online branding / persona / whatever is not consistent. I probably should care, but I don’t/

It’ll be done when it is done.

Catching Up On My Reading

I have been trying to catch up on my reading. I’ve been spinning my wheels for the past week or so on ‘Demons in Space’ and part of the reason is a lack of reading good fiction. Sometimes, you need to go back to the well of creativity and draw deep from it before you can create.

So I went out and bought a few books for my Kindle.

Sudden Rescue by Jon Mollison
– I finished it and I loved the heck out of it.

Star Realms: Rescue Run by Jon Del Arroz
– I finished it and I also loved the heck out of it.

These first two books are pulp-y goodness that really scratched the itch for heroism, romance, and being an appropriate length. Both stories move along at a good pace and do not drag on with useless scene after useless scen. I have had enough of books that have huge page counts, but no story.*

The Book of Lost Doors series by Misha Burnett
– I have not read these yet, but based on his stories in Cirsova, as well as his great blog, I bought all four books all at once. I don’t think I will regret that at all.

If anyone has any recommendations, let me know and I may check them out!

* Looking at you Wheel of Time series!

Fighting Off The Fatigue

I apologize in advance for this post.

I struggle with self-doubt. It’s pretty bad sometimes. It has recently flared back up and it is interfering with my ability to complete ‘Demons in Space’. There are times when I stare at the ‘delete’ button and consider trashing everything. I haven’t yet, which is more than I can say for some of my attempts at writing.

I had a private deadline of being 100% feature complete by the time I went to North Texas RPG Con at the beginning of June. Unfortunately, I do not think I will make that deadline.

But the point of this post is not for me to whine about my issues.

The point is to encourage you to create. I think with groups like the Superversive sci-fi people, the Pulp Revolution, and the OSR communtiy, there is some potential for more incredible creativity over the next few years. Already these groups are pumping out interesting and amazing things that you should check out! If you decide to look into what those groups are doing and never come back to this blog ever again, I would consider that a net win.

I would like to think that even if ‘Demons in Space’ is a bigger pile of feces than a Taco Bell blow-out, at least something was made. There is something new in the world. Maybe someone will find some enjoyment in it; maybe someone will be inspired to create something even better.

So whatever it is…do it. Just do it. This video is cheesy, but accurate.

Write that story. Draw that map. Create the campaign. Paint the picture. Draw that doodle. Sing that song.

There is real darkness in the world. From the formless nothing, pull out something beautiful. Don’t let doubt cripple you. There is a place for criticism and editing, but never let those stop you…let them improve you.

I Need Cover Art

Sick of this

I am sick of looking at this.

Every time I pull open the document that contains “Space Demons in Space”, I am confronted with the picture above. I am sick and tired of seeing that.

I don’t want to just go online and find some random picture to make my cover. I want to do the right thing and legally acquire something to use as the cover. I looked around the Creative Commons and could not find anything great.

Part of me is leaning toward commissioning artwork for the cover.

However, I am not made of cash.

Anyone know any good artists with reasonable rates?

Starter Dungeons

What makes a good starter dungeon?

One of the things I am working on for the 1.0 release is a little intro dungeon for the GM and players to run around in that will be in the back of the book.


Some notes I scribbled during lunch breaks at work.

So what makes a good starter dungeon?

I have been looking at various adventures, modules, etc to try to figure out what works and what does not work. I am still trying to figure out what works, but so far, it seems that open-endedness is a key component. However, working that into a little starter adventure is tricky.

The plan for the starter dungeon is that the characters all start in the brig of a space ship when pirates attack…and the demons come aboard at the same time. There is a flicker of power and their cell doors open. I want to give the players options, such as:

– Flee to the escape pods
– Blow up the ship (without or without fleeing)
– Purge every living thing on the entire ship
– Try to work out an alliance between surviving pirates, military, and civilian crew to take back the ship

I am leaning toward a more open-ended experience compared to a fully-complete dungeon, with some hallways that can lead to other parts of the ship, or can be blocked with debris, if the GM does not feel like creating more of the ship. Hopefully, this will inspire some great game.

A side effect of finishing this dungeon is that I will start to play around in Roll20 and possibly be able to run a playtest session online.