Sunday 27 January 2019

After the Lords of Memory

Google Plus is shutting down, and so the tiny discussion/playtest community for After the Lords of Memory is going to fall off a cliff like so much eroding shoreline.

ALM is a fantasy RPG; it's far from finished, and I think it still has an ungainly puberty ahead of it before it actually does what I want it to do.

This is a much ado about nothing post, because I'm doing my best to avoid putting out a new revision of ALM, even though I want to. I'm focusing on the adventure compilation instead.

My design goals are written up in the first post about it. If you want to follow along ALM development (when it resumes), I will post revisions here, and tag them so you can find just the ALM posts if you want.

For now, the latest revision is v0.19. The core works, it's been playtested in a home game over a period of years--you can make characters, take them places, adventure, fight, advance, get injured and so on.

However, the whole point of writing this game was to enable a particular campaign style, and that hasn't emerged organically from my playtest campaign. If you read the design goals post, essentially what you get is a fairly simple, theatre-of-the-mind game where grubby villagers go forth and either die or become heroes. You don't get geographic advancement.

I have much more work to do there, in particular I think I need to lay out the way the campaign is supposed to work in a way that's obvious to everyone (GM, players) so that's the default mode of play.

By way of inspiration, B/X D&D laid out this very mechanistic, almost boardgame-like turn procedure for how you do a dungeon crawl. You don't have to use it - if you meet up with a posse of hirelings you sent in as advance scouts, presumably rolling initiative and then a reaction roll (hostile!) might seem weirdly out of place, but it's a good set of training wheels (a path, to use my own terminology) to get started with.

Anyways, as I said, no news is no news, but here is where news will eventually appear!


  1. I read through 0.19 and am very impressed with what's there. Especially if it's actually been put through the playtest gauntlet. Feels very old school but in a way that doesn't get bogged down. Hopefully some day we'll see the final version!

    1. Evan! Thanks - as the blog post says, there's a lot of work. I find that my games go through cycles of bloat and pruning, and v0.19 is due for a serious prune and then rebuilding to meet its design goals. I'm looking forward to doing that in 2020 once these stretch goals are dealt with!

  2. Can I bother you for a clarification on intended mechanics of exertion? It seems exertion points only accumulate for joining and interrupting? If so do only characters with exertion roll on the "recovering from exertion" table at the end of rush play?

    Thanks and good luck with the stretch goals!

    1. As written, it says that 'Everyone involved in the rush must roll Grit/Burdens,' so no, not just the people who spent.

      This is one of the bits that I'm going to replace. I've played a lot of Blades-based games, and I think having separate counters for Health and Exertion isn't necessary. I'm strongly considering merging the two.

    2. Ah yes, it does seem a bit odd that after a 1 round 1 punch dispute you could fail the roll by 2 and go unconscious, even if you didn't really do anything. Thanks! Blades in the Dark? I should check that out.