Episode 63: And His Mother-in-Law and His Flat Feet

This month, Mike and Roger look at two games on special offer and one that’s just interesting, and examine name lists and stats for NPCs.

We mentioned Dragon Age/Fantasy Age at the Bundle of Holding (until 12 March), Dragon Age on TableTop and part 2, Titansgrave, Good Society on Kickstarter (until 5 March), Our Turn podcast, Reign, the Onomastikon, Roger’s FSA Markov chain implementation, The Art of Language Invention: From Horse-Lords to Dark Elves, the Words Behind World-Building, the Genesys core rulebook, Whartson Hall, RuneQuest, Dungeon World, and Feng Shui.

Music by Kevin MacLeod at incompetech.com.

(We do get free access to the Bundle of Holding contents, but this happens whether or not we plug them. We didn’t get anything for talking about Good Society.)


You should ask me for my opinion on Jane Austen novels some time, Roger…

Should I wait until there’s a recorder running, or until there isn’t?

Don’t worry, my views on Thomas Hardy are definitely harsher.

How about Trollope? I read The Warden and was Not Impressed. (“I’m going to tell you a joke. This is a joke. You are now amused. It’s funny because of this. That was a joke; it was funny. Now I’m going to tell you another joke…”)

You know, I’m not sure I’ve read any Trollope. Don’t think I have.

Incidentally, my method for generating Roman names is to use words with roughly appropriate sounds. As this has led to such memorable NPCs as Tremulous Anus and Fatuous Thermos (whose wife and daughter were called, if I remember correctly, Labia and Chlamydia) I recognise that it’s not a universally appropriate approach. Something of an Up Pompeii! style.

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I think that FGU’s Bushido had mooks in 1981. Called them “rabble” if memory serves. One hit point each, so any hit took one out.

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My memory is suggesting that “Mooks” in Bushido were “Extras” - possibly “rabble” were one of the types of extra - unskilled (soon to be) bodies - I also recall you could have extras with class and levels - these could be more dangerous, but still only had 1 hp per level so “paper tigers” (especially since Bushido only had 6 levels…)


Checking in my battered old copy of Bushido, I find that you are right: the one-hit-point mooks were indeed “Extras”. They had “classic man” stats and (reduced) professional skills, they could even have high levels, but with -2 to all saving throws and only one hit point each they were there to be mown like hay and stacked like cordwood.

The “Rabble” that I remember were weak opponents but not nerfed so thoroughly as Extras. They had with classic man attributes and (somewhat reduced) professional skills, -1 on saving throws, and 1D10 hit points (or “if desired”, 1D10 per level).

Some minor corrections:

Tunnels and Trolls did indeed have rules for fully statted and playable monsters in its first edition, 1975, although only for humanoid monsters. The Peters-Mcallister Chart for Creating Manlike Characters and Monsters is on page 20 of that edition and will happily let you play a troll or a giant if you fancy. By the time you get to the fifth edition in 1979 the available races are greatly expanded and there’s an additional table for all sorts of monsters that may be less acceptable as PCs. Standard monsters are represented by the Monster Rating shorthand, so a troll might just be noted down as MR40, for example.

Monsters! Monsters! was a standalone game rather than a supplement, published in 1976 by Metagaming (and edited by Steve Jackson, as it happens). It has different charisma effects for monsters than for PCs (this was later revised) but it lets you play an amazing range of creatures: in a memorable game I ran one of the players ran a shoggoth.

The first game to explicitly allow you to play a monster as a PC was Dungeons & Dragons, which actually suggests the possibility of playing a “young” dragon. However, it provides pretty much no support or rules to help you do it.

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Thanks, BJB - I was aware of the existence of Monsters! Monsters! but I’d thought it was an add-on to T&T.

A memorable game that is available in the Whartson Hall archives:

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They’re very minor corrections, obviously :grin:

But… but this is my whole system of comedy!

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I have a very gweat fwiend in Wome called…

Is this one available on the forum? I loved this game… I think it may have been my first, or among my first, roleplaying experiences with the hall.

Oh. I really should read the rest of the posts before I post.

No no, your current method is more fun.

Is this one available on the forum? I loved this game… I think it may have been my first, or among my first, roleplaying experiences with the hall

“Hello dahlinks”

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I felt the same way about FantasyAGE. The shiny book looked appealing, but the rules were just kinda there.

Also, I’ll just astonish the world by saying that I have more rpgs than I can play already, and certainly lots of combat/action-focused fantasy ones.