Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Siege Perilous - Ultima RPG - playtest release

"Siege Perilous" is an RPG based on the Ultima Age of Darkness CRPG games - #1 through #3. It is developed from an adaptation of the Swords & Wizardry White Box (1st printing) and uses several other sources - Skathros's S&W Companion Rules, a magic system developed by Arminath, the Minimal Space Combat system by Timoth Swenson and a lot of glue, rewriting, adaptation and content by myself. This game uses names, monsters, spells, settings and features from all 3 of the games.

Siege Perilous - Rulebook (ver: 9/2/09)
Siege Perilous - Game Referee's     Guide (ver: 9/2/09)
Siege Perilous - Hawkwind's Gazeteer: Perinia (ver: 9/2/09 - no more than outline at this point)

It's not a faithful representation of the "canon" timeline - I had to make a hybrid game that a Game Referee could use to represent any point in time with the established Ultima universe. It's also adaptable enough that a Game Referee can make their own Ultima. Future settings information is going to assume the state of Sosaria in Ultima 1, based on my campaign world.

The rules themselves that I've been hacking over the months are "finished" in that they can be playtested. The chargen, task resolution, combat, magic, naval combat and space travel/combat is complete. The list of monsters and treasure is complete.

Left to be done:
- Fill in magic item (potions, items, spells) creation rules (Rules)
- Fill in Ultima setting overview information (Game Master Guide)
- Finish first setting mini-book (Peninsula of Perinia)

Before we go much further, let me please say two things:

First, these rules and settings use content from the first three Ultima CRPG games: Ultima I – The First Age of Darkness, Ultima II – Revenge of the Enchantress and Ultima III – Exodus. These three games were released from 1980 through 1983 and formed the basis for the wildly popular Ultima CRPG series and the Ultima On-line MMORPG.

Any content stemming from the Ultima games is used without permission and all copyrights, registered trademarks and licenses for the Ultima CRPGs are property of Electronic Arts and Origin Systems. I am doing this interpretation as a fan derivative work, under what I believe is Fair Use. I hold no license to any content save the adaptations to the rules/content that is of my own creation. The sole purpose of this work is to add to the pleasure and experience of the Ultima world and to bring new fans to enjoy the fantastic story and setting that was created almost 30 years ago.

That also means that technically, I'm in violation of the Swords & Wizardry White Box OGL license and terms, but I've also spoken with Matt Finch who basically said "I'm not going to sue you."

So if you go and use these rules, understand this is a homebrew system that I'm sharing with other Ultima fans. If you try and make some cash on this deal, I'm not responsible for the lawyers that might come your way.

The second thing I want to say is that being this is a homebrew system, it's liable to be tinkered with, changed, and even rewritten wholesale. I will try and announce when I've made changes, but the version you download/print is liable to be different from something that is in the future. That also means that if you discover a problem, bug, errata or major issue, I'm more likely to change it on the fly if it fits with my Ultima campaign.

So having said all that, please enjoy!


Chad Thorson said...

Cool! You sure put a lot of work into this! I've actually never played Ultima. I remember seeing it on the shelves but I've never tried it out.

Timeshadows said...

--As I was reading, I noticed:

* You have Druids listed twice, once for Cleric (as described), and once under Wizard (with no mention of that connection in their text).

* The Lark's Charm column is too narrow, making the 'm' fall to the next 'ine':

It looks pretty cool, and it brings back memories of watching 'friends' playing those games on an Apple ][e.
--I think you have done a great justice to the setting material.


Player of Kee said...

Hmmm, this is gonna be a good read...

When do we play?

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

@Atom - thank you!

@Timeshadows - thank you. I will be the first to admit this is not edited at all. :) That's why the homebrew label, but thank you for the notes.

Ultima and the C64 will be forever linked to me as well. Now I can play it on the tabletop.

@Kee - maybe we should do a separate game in October? I had also suggested something different maybe around the holidays for our groups.

Fenyx said...

Noes! I cannot open the files. I've tried with the most recent Foxit and Adobe Reader 8.

I'm really excited to see this too. My gaming groups has been playing white box D&D a lot recently.

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

@Fenyx - odd. I went and checked the files - they are compatible with Adobe 1.5 (Reader 6.x) and they were made with Adobe Acrobat. I'm able to open them from multiple locations. Can you try from a different computer?


Fenyx said...

@Chgowiz - Doh! I see the problem. When I moused over the link it looked like it linked directly to the pdfs. So I did a rt-click save as and ended up with some html with a pdf extension.

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

@Fexyx - thanks for the info. I've changed the links so that it doesn't look like it's a direct link to download.

Anonymous said...

I like what you did with the Exotics.

Ultima 3 never mentions what they look like, and I'd always assumed that they were standard fantasy weapons (like the Mystic Swords and Robes in Ultima 4).

But in SP, the Exotics are the non-fantasy weapons from Ultima 2, which is a brilliant idea IMHO.

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

@Anonymous - thank you! I thought that the magic weapons of S&W didn't really "feel" like exotics, where it seemed like the ancient power weapons from U1/U2 "fit" as Exotics. It was also the easiest way to make the two work together.

I hope you have fun with the game and let me know how it plays!

john said...

Wow. I had been thinking about converting the old Ultima-1 maps to hex maps as well. Online, I've only been able to find images of the original material (the actual screen map, and the paper maps), I hadn't found anyone who had actually converted them to a pen and paper type map (not even with a square grid map).

It looks like you did a 1->1 square->hex conversion. I was going to do something more like a 1->4 conversion (each square of the original ultima maps would be aprox. a 4x4 hex area). I was also going to try to use more terrain types than the ones Ultima used (add some hills, rivers, that kind of thing).

a) what program did you use to render the hex map? and what tile-set?

b) do you have any plans to convert the other 3 continents?

c) you mention Ultima's 1-3 ... any chance you're going to convert all of the Ultima 2 maps? (sure, could just use a world map, but that leaves out pangea and the post-apocalyptic map) Or the Ultima 3 map?

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

Hi Jon,

My original (and still current) plan is to recreate the maps from Ultima 1 and go from there. I'm going to give starting points and let the GM decide how they wish to do their campaign. I may do U2 and U3 maps specifically, but at this point, my Ultima writings are driven by my game needs. For now, I've only had to do the one continent, although doing the other 3 should be fairly simple.

I used Hexographer and it's default hex terrain. The new version has a slightly different terrain look, but is basically the same.

john said...

Cool. If I beat you to converting the maps, I'll be sure to share them with you. In the mean time, it's nice to see someone else working on the old Ultima material. I was in middle school when the very first Ultima came out (or was it my freshman year of HS ... something like that), so the material has a lot of nostalgia for me.

Hope you're game goes well, and thanks for the effort you've put into this (and thanks for making it public).

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

John, that would be great! If you use the RPG rules, you might want to contact me offline, I've made a change in that the "advanced classes" are now available at 1st level, essentially, players start at level 0 as "strangers" and have to earn a small pittance of XP (on the order of 100 or so...) to become "Heroes"

john said...

btw: what's the map scale? 1 hex = ?? miles (or km)

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

@john - I have no scale. I had no way to really "scale" the maps based on how the characters moved in the old game. So there's no real scale. My thought had been that 1 hex is about 25 to 30 miles, but I hadn't really given it much thought.

john said...

That would sound about right. I think the old "World of Greyhawk" games had about 30mi/hex.

That'd mean a typical horse-mounted person is probably going to take 5-6 hours to cross a hex, and a typical person on foot will take about 10 hours. That assumes they're not in a hurry or anything, aren't heavily loaded, aren't encountering much in the way of bandits and such, etc.

So, 1 hex/day on foot, 2 hex/day on horse.