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Author Topic: [OSR] Backswords & Bucklers  (Read 278 times)

Fighterboy

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[OSR] Backswords & Bucklers
« on: November 23, 2021, 08:38:15 AM »
My favourite OSR RPG (which I guess makes it my favourite RPG). Thought lost for years, I found the three books in a box in the attic last weekend, along with my notebook of houserules and a copy of Elizabethan York, which is mostly everything I need to run it forever.

However, since the last time I ran it, I've watched shows like Peaky Blinders, and would like to add in a subsystem for starting (or joining) criminal gangs and dealing with the trials & tribulations concerned, promotion through the ranks and maybe taking over. Is there anything (preferably OSR, but not necessarily) already out there before I start researching and writing?

Thanks!
« Last Edit: November 23, 2021, 08:49:35 AM by Fighterboy »

DoctorGlocktor

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Re: [OSR] Backswords & Bucklers
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2021, 09:56:40 PM »
I've never played it, but Blades in the Dark is all about running a gang of thieves. It may have some mechanics for you.

Spinachcat

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Re: [OSR] Backswords & Bucklers
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2021, 01:27:32 AM »
Tell us more about B&B! Why is it your fav RPG?

Fighterboy

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Re: [OSR] Backswords & Bucklers
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2021, 05:01:14 AM »
I'd heard about Blades in the Dark, but written it off as FATE wankery. Having found the SRD, there are some ideas about organisations that I can steal, so thanks for that!

As for why B&B is my favourite RPG, hmm let's see...

  • It's OSR - I've been playing various iterations of D&D for 40 years, so it's familiar;
  • It's old school OSR, so throwing in house rules, changing things, adding classes and the like won't break it;
  • I love historical RPGs (or RPGs set in historical periods) and this is set in the Elizabethan period. I can say to a player "Blackadder II period" and most will immediately be on the same page;
  • It's set in the real world so we can grab a location we're familiar with (York in our case) and we know what old buildings look like and where they all sit relative to each other. Gang fight in The Shambles? Dead easy to imagine. Chasing down a rival before he seeks sanctuary in the Minster? Players can figure out a way to get there first without poring over maps;
  • Crime! A great genre, and underused in gaming;
  • It's fantasy historical, but not overtly so - the PCs are human and have very limited magic so throw in a D&D monster and it's a serious challenge - kind of like Call of Cthulhu in that regard;
  • Random jobs tables! Couple of dice and those tables and you can generate scenarios and rumours 'til the cows come home!

And if you're not familiar with the game itself, Book One is free on Lulu: https://www.lulu.com/shop/christopher-cale/backswords-bucklers-book-one-basic-rules/ebook/product-17402084.html?page=1&pageSize=4

Basically, a game based on Elizabethan low-lives in an urban environment (nominally London) living a life of crime.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2021, 10:52:30 AM by Fighterboy »

Naburimannu

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Re: [OSR] Backswords & Bucklers
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2021, 05:25:01 AM »
However, since the last time I ran it, I've watched shows like Peaky Blinders, and would like to add in a subsystem for starting (or joining) criminal gangs and dealing with the trials & tribulations concerned, promotion through the ranks and maybe taking over. Is there anything (preferably OSR, but not necessarily) already out there before I start researching and writing?

The original ACKS (Adventurer Conqueror King System) had a few pages f rules for thieves starting guilds, even before name level. You might look at that for economics & some thief-specific job generation.

Fighterboy

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Re: [OSR] Backswords & Bucklers
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2021, 05:26:52 AM »
Is ACKS an OSR "redo" of the Rules Cyclopedia?  As I think I have the original sitting in a box somewhere too...