Beyond Belief…

Forget the OGL… I want to write about what I like to call the BogL. I wrote a while back about the Barbarians of Lemuria game from Beyond Belief Games, written by Simon Washbourne. This is a great, great game. It is super-simple, rules-light, and brilliant. The base of the system rests on rolling 2d6 and adding various stats.

I’ve recently dropped my Pathfinder game in favor of starting a Barbarians of Lemuria game. I’m running it a little bit differently than perhaps intended… we’re doing an Arabian Nights style adventure with the BoL system. But as I began to explore the Beyond Belief line of games I was surprised and amazed.

Along with Barbarians of Lemuria, Simon Washbourne has released a “Men’s Adventure Novel” game called Dogs of War. Using the same base system as BoL, the game is tweaked to account for modern military action and works very well.

And others have adapted the BoL system to their own games. Barbarians of the Aftermath is a great sourcebook for all kinds of Post-apocalyptic gaming for everything from Mad Max, to Fallout, even Thundarr the Barbarian style weirdness. And they expanded the scope of the system in new ways — with psychic powers, mutations, great vehicle rules, and a schmancy random apocalypse generator (it’s really cool). BotA is written by Nathaniel Torson and produced by Jabberwocky Productions.

Going even further is Honor + Intrigue. A swashbuckling game of cinematic 17th century fun, Honor + Intrigue introduces rules for dueling, fighting styles, and other subsystems without changing the core of the system overly much. The game also introduces rules for social combat, ship combat, mass combat, and a host of variant rules that can alter the structure of the game in new ways. Honor + Intrigue is written by Chris Rutkowsky and produced by Basic Action Games.

In other words, what I’ve discovered is a whole series of games based on the same simple BoL engine but with an exciting array of possibilities. It’s very clever how this system can be manipulated and with very simple additions to a solid core system create a wide variety of games. I applaud Mr. Washbourne for letting others use his system to create all these other options.

I’ll end with this — while not based on exactly the same system — Beyond Belief Games also produces a very simple superhero game just called SUPERS. It’s fast-playing and straightforward just like BoL.

I recommend all of these games, they’re great options, and I’m looking forward to incorporating ideas from several of these games into my current BoL game.

As always, thanks for reading.

PS — There is also a supplement called Dicey Tales that is a pulp game using the BoL system but I haven’t had a chance to look at it. I’ll report more on that when I have the chance.

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4 responses

  1. Thanks for the report~

  2. Just curious. I bought BoL and Barbarians of the Aftermath. I like ’em. Yet I haven’t done a campaign with them yet. In looking at the rules, as brilliant as they are, I’m wondering if there isn’t enough scope there to do more than 3-4 game sessions before you start hitting some limits of what they system can do. I’d be interested in a future post from you about how well your Arabian Knights campaign goes. Thanks.

  3. Sorry I took so long to reply…

    I think, in terms of character advancement and “getting better” that you may be right, the PCs will potentially overrun the curve of the game’s difficulty pretty quickly. Because advancement only happens at the end of adventures though, it is possible to control for this pretty well.

    Also, you might be interested in an idea from another one of the spin-offs, Honor + Intrigue. That book has an optional rule to use 2d10 instead of 2d6. They set the difficulty 12 instead of 9… though I’d recommend setting the difficulty to 13 if using this option.

    It’s definitely a system that could hit it’s limits if you were looking for serious long-term play, but it might just be a matter of controlling for how the PCs advance. I’m still learning that part.

  4. Nathaniel Torson | Reply

    Hi folks. To clarify, advancement takes place at the end of a SAGA, which is made up of 3 or more full adventures, so character advancement isn’t quite as quick as all that, so while faster than, say, D&D, it is still slow enough that you could have a campaign of a dozen adventures or so before the characters become truly powerful. And then they should be trying to take over the place…

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