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Sunday 24 July 2016

A Couple of Quick Reviews of Cults of Chaos!

I'm short on time today, so I'll be continuing my blatant self-promotion by sharing with you a couple of things other people have said about Cults of Chaos!

First, we have a very short but interesting review from someone who is mainly a GURPS fan.  It presents the opinion that even beyond the OSR, Cults of Chaos could be fairly easily adapted to use as a great resource for GURPS fantasy or semi-historical campaigns!

Second, I might have posted this already but in case I haven't, Swords & Stitchery posted a commentary to the Savage GM's youtube review of Cults of Chaos.  Well worth reading!

That's all for today. Remember that you can buy Cults of Chaos on PDF from rpgnow, or you can get it in print from either Lulu or from Amazon!

And while we're at it, don't forget to check out the main book that inspired this great OSR resource:  Dark Albion: The Rose War itself!

Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Quiete + Peterson's Balkan Delight


  1. Yeah, I can see the reviewer's point about Gurps but I also think that Tim Brannan's review hits some high notes about Sorcerer's Crusade from White Wolf as well. Yeah,yeah, your not a fan of Storyteller Games RpgPunit but I do think he hits some high points about Cults of Chaos in his review.

    1. Oh absolutely. I already linked to that review in an earlier entry.

  2. In this hobby, it's important not only to have a nice diversity of mechanics for the sake of choice, but also to take inspiration for your chosen systems in any form it comes.

    While OSR's principles include a lot of stuff proving it to include a whole lot more than simple campaign design and gameplay styles, that element is what makes the best memories concerning it. GURPS may not be an OSR system, but it's 100% compatible with the choices in style and methodology that make a good OSR campaign.

    A living, breathing world that appears to be independent of the player characters; and isn't catered to them; but provides enough warning for intelligent players nonetheless to ensure they can avoid biting off more than they can chew is something I strive more in "generic" systems more than any other form of game. This is an important element in OSR style campaigns, a key part of the "experience".

    Avoiding sacrificing challenge for story, when the challenge itself can create the story. Important for any game, not just OSR titles... Too many game designers and game masters forget this fact.

    trying to shoehorn mechanics into a setting where they don't make sense is the biggest "sin" a game master can commit in my book. Go ahead and give the players limited narrative control, sure... but the characters they are playing had better have a good reason that makes the mechanics in question make sense, or the whole thing just makes the game suffer. The characters should be the ones bending the events of that session to their will, not the players, and if they don't have that capability as part of their place in the setting, they shouldn't have it.

    And yeah, a game master can, does, and should have absolute control over the rules and rulings used in a session. They still have be applied equally to all parties, PC and NPC alike, but the flexibility of PnP is what makes it great.

    These things: The mechanics not violating the setting, the world not being just there as window dressing for the player characters, challenge being where it needs to be to ensure consistency and suspension of disbelief, and flexibility of the rules used as a framework for the game... aren't just OSR things, or choices you make when you try to host an OSR-Style game... they're pretty much common sense in game design.

    The only thing that makes these "OSR" design choices is combining them with other principles that make the OSR what it is.

    Sure, I'm not the type to stick to OSR rulesets, but I can understand what the mistakes "indie" RPG designers make, especially in creating "narrative" RPG systems. I've tried just about every style of RPG under the sun, from 1E basic and 2E advanced dungeons and dragons to fate core, and can objectively look at each system I've tried, find it's faults, and find what it does well.

    Then I piece together what works for what I want to do, leave out what doesn't, and use the result to host the best damned campaign I can.

    If I have to send the sacred cows of a few overly sensitive gamers that try to tell me that my way is wrong to the "Krusty Burger" to do it, I don't care. They've got their tastes, I have mine, and they are only in the wrong because they think that their way of doing things is the only right way there is.

    If they enjoy games that I think are "magical tea parties" where the characters are at no risk of anything bad happening to them, then let them enjoy them. That's not my way, that's not how my table runs, and I'll make sure they know it. If they get involved anyway, any issue they have is their fault and not mine. Same with adversarial dungeon mastering; Not my style, don't like it, don't stick with groups that rely upon it to provide scenarios.