Archive for the ‘Game Rules’ Category

A few months ago I picked up Pits & Perils from Olde House Rules. It’s modeled after the numerous war games-turned-fantasy RPG campaigns that proliferated during the early 1970s.

At the time, I also happened to read a bunch of John Arendt‘s posts from the Black City Project. John explains the Black City as follows:

The vision behind the project is to create a “weird horror” megadungeon, that blends the standard D&D tropes with aliens and elements of sci fi fantasy, a touch of H.P. Lovecraft, and a heaping helping of Vikings.

I was inspired to start making a mashup of the Pits & Perils rules with the Black City campaign setting. I’ve kind of abandoned my earlier Dwarven Glory game, so I figure I’ll post my Black City teaser here in case the whim ever takes me to run it…

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(UPDATE 29-Oct-14: I picked up the Codex Nordica from Troll Lord Games this week, and found some ideas to swipe. Nordica runes are highlighted in purple, while ones from the Additional Runes post are in blue.)

For your convenience, provided here is a compiled list of runes in Dwarven Glory. Refer to the Runecasting Supplement for more information.


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(These options haven’t been playtested at all, but I’m posting them anyways. Another pair of classes from the Codex Nordica by Troll Lord Games. The seiðkona and völva are primarily intended as NPC classes, but may be available to players if the referee allows.)

Seiðkona and Völva

Seiðkona and völva are practitioners of an ancient feminine sorcery called the Seiðr. With the Seiðr, the user spins charms and enchantments as she would thread from a loom. The distaff (or seiðrstafr) symbolizes the magic weave of the Seiðr and is not just an object for creating cloth. Male practitioners are treated with scorn and disdain by the majority of Asgårdian society, who deem them frail and cowardly.

Seiðkona are masters of charms of influence and illusion, while völva specialize in divination and prophesy. Rune magic is a lesser art for both these classes since they focus on the manipulative power of the Seiðr.

Although weak in combat, seiðkona and völva possess many special class abilities and moderate runecasting power.


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(I picked up the Codex Nordica from Troll Lord Games this week, and found some ideas to swipe. First up is the Giant-Killer class…)


Ever since the slaying of Ymir by the sons of Borr during the Age of Giants, there has been a tradition by many races to do the same. The progeny of the Jötnar – universally malicious and cruel – are found throughout Asgård, and some heroes make a life of crusading against them.

As with all house rules, use of this class option is subject to referee approval.


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(The description for several classes mention that “additional abilities can be gained at higher levels”. Described here are greater runes – an example of the secrets that can be learned by experienced runecasters.)


Greater runes are powerful magicks that can only be acquired by high-level practitioners. Each greater rune has a number of prerequisites – typically a minimum caster level plus several lesser runes known. In additiion, greater runes are a secret lore that must be obtained through adventuring or via a special quest – you can’t simply select one when leveling up.

The referee will provide additional information about greater runes as your character grows in experience.


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(I’m on a bit of a roll today with variant races, so I’m going to post something I swiped from HackMaster…)

Grunge Elf

Grunge elves degenerated into barbarism during the long years of Ragnarök due to destruction of their forests and isolation from other elves. (In this respect, they are not unlike slag dwarves.) They call themselves the grel; other elves name them grugach.

Forced to live as nomads, grunge elves believe in strength and survival of the fittest. Clans of grel are small but fiercely loyal to one another. Each clan is led by the strongest warrior, whose primary goal is survival of the group. Grunge elves will often make camp near communities of other races, though they are mistrusted.

Unless stated below, a grunge elf is identical to a standard elf in terms of rule effects:

  • Level Limits: Their nomadic existence has made them tough, and grunge elves may advance to 6th level as fighters. Conversely, advancement as runecasters is restricted to 7th level.
  • Combat Ability: Grunge elves gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls when using spears and javelins (instead of bows).
  • Adventuring Feats: The grel are tougher than other elves, but not as graceful. They do not have any modifiers to Skill or Might checks.

Grunge elves interact with many other races as they travel – even traditional foes such as dwarves and goblins. Some individuals have even been known to leave their clan an take up a life of adventuring with non-grel.

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The uruk are a synthetic race, magically-created hybrids of humans and gargun (mostly Gargu-Khanu or black goblins). Also known as orcs, they were bred as shock troopers during Ragnarök but now live as a free race and are spreading throughout Asgård.

Like trollborn, uruks are not well accepted by most Asgårdian cultures. Not only are they are viewed with antipathy by humans, dwarves and elves; but they are mistrusted (and often mistreated) by trolls and giants. They are held in awe by gargun, however, and often lead tribes of goblins.


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