The Frontiers of Alusia is a campaign setting released by SPI for use with DragonQuest or other fantasy RPGs. I've used the Frontiers of Alusia (FoA) as a campaign base for DragonQuest off and on since its release in 1981. The included 22"x34" map has the quality you would expect from the preeminent war game publisher of time. The accompanying Travel Guide provided basic descriptions of the various named areas and features of FoA and included a basic history of the region plus hints about neighboring areas. There are ruins, abandoned cities, impassable mountain ranges, deep dark forests, haunted battlegrounds, primitive cannibals and barbarian tribes. Plenty of adventure hooks and room for GMs to put their own stamp on it. It's a real shame that further expansions for either the Frontiers or Alusia as whole were never produced.
In the cover sheet Frontiers of Alusia is described as "a thinly settled, semi-explored wilderness." In keeping with that there are only two settled areas within the Frontiers of Alusia: the Barony of Carzala and the Brastor Holding. They cover about 4% of the total area. If you've read any of my previous blog posts then you know that I like to dig into the numbers and I collected a few for the Frontiers of Alusia.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
DragonQuest specifies movement for the inhabitants of the DragonQuest world in two ways primarily. First is the Tactical Movement Rate (TMR) which defines how many hexes an entity can move in a Pulse (5 seconds) during combat and second is the Movement Rate for the Chase Stage specified in Yards per Minute (YPM). Then Book 2, Magic, comes along and uses Miles per Hour (MPH) for spells like Telekinesis, Windwalking and Shadow Wings which requires conversion to game movement rates when used on the Tactical Display. It takes no great feat of math to do the conversions but for Telekinesis and Shadow Wings it needs to be done with each improvement in spell rank. So a while back I threw together a few tables in OpenOffice Calc to do conversions from MPH to both TMR and Chase Stage movement for the two spells but also more general conversion tables.
Monday, January 30, 2017
One of the features of the magic system in DragonQuest is the Backfire Table. Attempt to cast a spell with too little skill and you may end up with a backfire which can have a variety of negative effects from the mildly irritating to the completely incapacitating. It's not easy being an adept in DragonQuest but not just adepts can cast spells. The non-adepts can loose magic spells that have been invested in items. These can also backfire but, to me, many of the backfire results don't make much sense in the case where the spell is cast from an item.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
DragonQuest incorporated languages better than many of the other RPGs around at the time of its release and it still compares favorably to those that came along later. Though brief at 2/3 of a page, the rules section on spoken and written language still manages cover in sufficient detail what it means to have Ranks 0 thru 10 in a language, touches on dialectic differences, mentions changes to language over long periods of time and which creatures would be expected to have their own language. Many of the other Skills available have minimum language skill requirements including Thief and Spy. The rules also detail what language skills a player character starts with. For humans and shape-changers, they start with Rank 8 in both Speak and Read/Write Common. For non-humans they start with Rank 8 in Speaking in their native language and Rank 8 in Speak Common. To me this is where the rules are a bit unfair to humans as well as a bit too restrictive and boring.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
As written the DragonQuest rules provide little incentive for an adventurer to take up the Mechanician skill. The brief description of the skill focuses largely on the making of traps, locks and safes. Not things you might make outside of the Mechanician's workshop. There are no abilities ascribed to the skill that might be regularly employed by the adventuring Mechanician. Those devices described in the rules all require tools, materials and, in most cases, a workshop. The Mechanician's ability to create locks, traps and other mechanical devices should give them some insight into disabling or disarming the traditional pit and arrow traps found in dungeons but nothing is said of this in the rules. The skill can definitely use some love in the form of more detailed abilities and some adventuring-targeted abilities.
Monday, December 26, 2016
If the reason you aren't playing DragonQuest currently is that your gaming group has become geographically scattered then you might consider using a Virtual Tabletop (VTT) program like the free MapTool from the folks at RPTools.net. VTTs allow you to connect with other players via the internet and have a shared virtual table top through your computer. Even for face-to-face gaming sessions VTTs can be a great gaming tool. MapTool is the VTT I have used for years now and is what I'm going to talk about.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Tables for generating random loot, encounters, names, dungeons, weather and everything else can be found on the net and as part of the rules for different game systems. Some are generic and can be used for any game system while many are specific to various iterations of Dungeons & Dragons or related d20 variants. Inspiration Pad Pro is a free Windows program (and Android app) from NBOS Software allows you to easily create your own tables or generators to match how things work in your game world and the game system you use. I love it and have created a few tables that I use for generating NPCs for my DragonQuest campaigns.