Space Dragons

In a biologically uninteresting case of convergent evolution, xenobiologists have discovered that most Garden worlds of sufficient age develop similar apex predators: large flying carnivores with scales. Depending on local conditions and available minerals, these animals will often preferentially consume and metabolize metals such as iron, copper, aluminum, or titanium into their bones, scales, horns, and teeth.

Space Dragon
Large +3
Hits 120
Speed 50m (flying)
Skills Athletics (strength) 3, Survival 3, Stealth 1
Attacks Claw/Claw/Bite 7D
Traits Large (+6)
Behavior Hunter, Pouncer

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North Texas RPG Con 2021

Marking our return to in-person gaming, NTRPGCON was a delight. Braving airports, airplanes, and hotels Unicorn Rampant founder Adam A. Thompson visited the lovely Westin in Irving, Texas, where a lightly-attended but extremely friendly old-school Dungeons & Dragons convention awaited. Immediately ran into some friends from HawaiiCon and GaryCon. And they had a great goodie bag!

The old-school feel started right away, when the very helpful convention staff directed me to the physical pen-and-paper post-it board where the game schedule was posted.

It was great to see my friends Ethan and Jeremy from Hawaii’s RPGs On The Beach, and set up at their booth.

I pinned up a piece of paper with Vampyre Women of Venus on it and set up in the main common gaming area.

I also signed up to play in a twelve- player D&D game entitled Return to the Isle of Dread, being run by Dave “Zeb” Cook himself, author of the famous adventure in question. Playing in that game was a highlight of my entire life’s experience with RPGs.

Friday afternoon was spent learning and enjoying Artemis, a multiperson spaceship crew simulator, with some great folks.

Saturday was a round playing Freegrazers in the morning, and an afternoon working Slow Your Roll and Unicorn Rampant’s table in the exihibition hall.

This marked the release of the limited-edition ten-copy first printing of Unicorn Rampant’s new OSRIC / D&D adventure Siege of Black Mountain. Coming soon to

Followed by the Return to the Isle of Dread game. I played an 8th level human fighter with 8 Str, 7 Dex, 14 Con, and a 15 Wis who was returning to the Isle. I rationalized that he had survived mainly through his wits and toughness, and was scarred about the head from dinosaur bites. When we finished chasing down and confronted the magic-users who led the slavers, my character charged, swung his sword and missed, and was counterattacked with a feeblemind spell. I needed a 13 on my Saving Throw vs Spells but rolled an 11. Glorious! It was an honor.

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to put this great convention together, and to all the attendees! Look forward to seeing you next year!

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Mutant Economy

Costs for food, water, and other goods scales based on availability.

Marketplace Chart

Scarcity | Cost Modifier

  • Plentiful | goods cost slightly less than listed market prices with bulk discounts on large purchases
  • Normal | market price
  • Sparce | most goods are available at double price
  • Meager | goods available at triple price or higher, if available (roll luck dice to determine availability)
  • Unavailable | requires skill checks to locate any supply – may require persuasion, travel or special costs (doing the current owner a major favor, etc.)

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Let’s hit the mall!

More fun than ever with this new update to Class of 198X, The Adventure!

Featuring 16 new pages of mall encounters, this update is sure to satisfy every shopper!

Available now in your online RPG library here:–The-Adventure

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A Simple, Portable RPG System

Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament - Gibb's Hundred

As you may, or may not know, in the United States prisoners are restricted in their activities, including anything that might be construed as gambling, or at an attempt to escape. Unfortunately for prisoners who enjoy Dungeons & Dragons, that means that no dice or maps are allowed at all. Yes, even imaginary maps such as those in The Hobbit.

Therefore, because prisoners are usually allowed access to paper and writing utensils, prisoners will play Dungeons & Dragons by marking numbers on pieces of paper and drawing them out of a hat or a cup or whatever is available.

Hardback books are also usually not allowed, so when rulebooks are available, they are usually printouts of the SRD, or a copy of the basic rulebook. I wish I had bought a hundred copies of those little quarter sized AD&D books that got printed in the 2000s. They would be so welcome inside.

So here is a method for playing D&D or other role-playing games without dice or paper chits. This means that it’s also useful for students who want to play on the bus, or people on airplanes who want to play a quick game, or really playing role playing games in any setting where Dice and a tabletop are not convenient or available.

Going to be up front here, I built this idea upon my experience playing World of Darkness Live Action Role-Playing Games back in a beautiful dark forest, long ago and far away. In that magical place, we played using a modified version of the classic game of Rock, Paper, Sciscors (RPS). If two characters of equal power engage in some type of contest of trickery, might, magic, or will, they play rock-paper-scissors to determine who succeeds.

If the loser doesn’t like the outcome, they can spend various limited character resources (blood points, rage points, willpower points, etc) to force a re-match of RPS.

In the version I played, if a character was really powerful in a particular arena of contests (overpowering strength, mainly), they got a new option in the RPS contest: the Bomb. You throw bomb like Rock, but your thumb stays up (the wick on a cartoon bomb). Only Sciscors beats Bomb (by cutting the wick). Bomb beats Rock and Paper.

So, for example, Starfighter pilot character who was really good at fixing things could probably repair their ship and return to the stars, so their player would have the Bomb available when they did a RPS contest against the GM to determine if they succeeded.

Lets call this expanded version of RPS RPSB. My Version – RPSBM The second part of this idea owes credit to discussions with Steve and Sersa V after running and playing Tower of Gygax at GenCon back in the day. We were bullshiting and brainstorming like we love to, high on games and the energy of the convention, and talking about a game where you used bracelets or some other type of token to track your character and also randomize things. I kept thinking about that idea, of a way to play without having to have any dice, or even books.

At that time I had that time had been writing stuff for 3rd edition D&D for a while, and saw the game itself as a sort of game of rock-paper-scissors. in the original iteration, the warrior was the rock, but the rouge was the scissors, and the wizard was paper. Wizard beats fighter. Fighter beats rogue. Rogue beats wizard. WOW did something similar.

But there’s another 3-level iteration to the game. Characters, or monsters, are usually either average, poor, or good at something they’re trying to do. So it seemed to me that you could break characters into a much, much simpler form, where they are either good, neutral, or pore at doing particular things.

So, for example, a warrior would be good at fighting, and good at resisting damage, but poor against mental attacks such as enchantment, or mediocre at detecting people sneaking up at them.

Following these ideas, in order to combine the RPSB mechanic with a simplified, portable version of RPGs, I propose the following idea: Rock Paper Sciscors Bomb Minus. Minus is for characters or monsters who are poor at successfully doing something. When it comes time to do the RPSB contest, if one of the characters involved is bad at something, they are forced to “Minus” in the contest. “Minus” means that the player who is not Minus in the contest gets a free rethrow if they lose the first throw.

For example, when the Wizard casts a charm spell on a gullible Warrior, the warrior’s player might say, “My character is vulnerable to magic charms, so I’m Minus on this contest.”

The Wizard is good at casting charm spells, so that player has the Bomb available for this contest.

On the first contest the Wizard’s Player throws Bomb, and the Warrior’s Player throws Siscors, winning.

Because the Warrior is Minus to resist charms, the Wizard gets a free re-contest. This time the Wizard throws Scissors, while the Warrior throws Paper, losing. The Wizard has charmed the Warrior.

copyright 2020 Unicorn Rampant

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My Teenage Wasteland

Greetings true believers! I’m excited to announce that I’ll be speaking on a panel at #RTX this year, at 3:30 Saturday August 4th in the Hilton Grand Ballroom!

Come ask me all of the questions about writing #ClassOf198x !

Come see Brett and the boys (presumably)!

Hell, Geoff might even show up? I honestly have no idea!

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Space Opera – Season 3 – Deepest Darkness

Having crossed the length and breadth of the Skein Reach

nurtured a nascent Droid Uprising

faced off against, and robbed

the Imperium, and the Ragranok Krew

made enemies innumerable

and killed many

and in the process saved many from death and from fates worse than death

the motley crew of the starship CALAMITY

navigate ever coreward

following the impulses of a strange cyber-brain

and a pieced-together map from a lost star empire

past dead star after dead star

attended by tiny chunks of rock

(each gathering sufficient hydrogen from the bright strands of bright, colorful nebulae to allow refueling)


nestled in the glare of a deadly pulsar

a blank globe

of deepest darkness.


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Code of the Zone Ghouls

A scout wandering the wastes overheard a group of Zone Ghouls reciting the following creed:

Here in the Zone
We travel at night
We avoid the light
We leave no trace
We have no face
We are not here
We are everywhere
Do as you will
Keep what you kill


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More Maps for Class of 198X


By popular request we’ve updated Class of 198X – The Adventure with additional maps!

Get your updated version of the adventure here.

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Dwarven Death Knight

Medium undead, lawful evil
Armor Class 19 (plate armor), 21 (shield of faith)
Hit Points 67 (8d8+24)
Speed 25 ft.
Proficiency +3
STR 19 (+4) DEX 10 (+0) CON 16 (+3) INT 10 (+0) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 15 (+2)
Saving Throws Dex +3, Wis +4, Cha +4
Damage Resistances fire
Damage Immunities poison; necrotic
Condition Immunities charmed, exhausted, frightened, poisoned
Senses passive Perception 11, darkvision 120 ft.
Languages Common, Dwarven
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)

Multiattack. The death knight makes two Frost Brand attacks.

Frost Brand. Melee greatsword: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 7 (2d6 + 4 slashing and 1d6 cold damage).

Spellcasting. The death knight is a 8th level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). It has the following spells prepared:
1st level: (4 slots): shield of faith, thunderous smite, bless, searing smite
2nd level: (3 slots): aid, branding smite

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