#RPG Fifth Fantasy: The Chancer – A gambling character class for 5e RELEASED!

gamblerBUY HERE

There are gamblers of all kinds across the many worlds, but a Chancer is something different. Lady Luck is not a god, she is something more and less, though she is embodied by and in many gods. Sometimes she reaches out and touches people with her blessing. For every unlucky person whose life is one of ruin and endless misfortune, there are others with blessed and lucky lives, raised or damned by her fickle favour.

Chancers are gamblers who have been touched by The Lady. Their abilities can be random and unpredictable, but their luck, itself, is predictable. Things tend to go right for them, not always, but often enough to make them, and those around them, supernaturally fortunate.

This book also contains gambling rules, magic items and equipment.

Having a Chancer in your party can easily mean the difference between success and failure and if you’re relying on luck, they’re essential.

Chancers are assets, making things easier not just for themselves but for everyone around them. The randomness of some of their special abilities can disrupt and disorder an otherwise ordered battlefield, usually to your benefit, sometimes to your detriment. They’re good in social situations and can raise money quickly, since they’re far more likely to win games of chance or bluff than anyone else. The trouble with that of course is that it makes enemies who don’t like being cheated.

Fifth Fantasy is intended to be a short series of alternative character classes, which are supposed to emulate the kinds of characters and roles found in classic JRPG and Anime games. As such they are most suited to high-magic games, and games which play up to the style of anime, manga and Japanese computer games.

No world is explicitly described, but the character class books will also contain magical items and some background material that will build an implicit setting – which may be detailed in the future.

You can keep up with Grim and Postmortem Studios in various ways…

Blog: https://postmortemstudios.wordpress.com/
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Board & Card Games: https://www.thegamecrafter.com/designers/postmortem-studios

Hardcopy: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/grim1031

PDFs: http://www.rpgnow.com/browse/pub/384/Postmortem-Studios?affiliate_id=50144

And should you feel so inclined, you can support my work regularly with a Patreon donation. https://www.patreon.com/grimachu

ZelArt Scholarship Extension

145584Unbelievably, it appears that artists don’t like free money as there have been no applications for the Zelart Scholarship.

As such I am extending the application period until the end of February.

Here’s the cliff notes on how to apply:

  1. In order to apply you need to be in full-time education or to be in reduced circumstances (disabled, long term unemployed or in need of the money (around $600-700 at the moment) for a good reason.
  2. You need to submit a piece of artwork to be considered. Ideally this should be a new piece of art and it needs to be of publishable quality (at least 300dpi and at least A6 in size).
  3. Your artwork and your area of interest must be science fiction or fantasy, more broadly ‘genre’ fiction pieces are what is desired. That can include horror, post-apocalyptic and other sub-genres as well.
  4. The winning piece of artwork will be sold in future in order to help fund and perpetuate the scholarship.
  5. Send a query to grim AT postmort DOT demon DOT co DOT uk if you need more information.
  6. As and when you win you’ll need to be able to receive the money via Paypal.

The fundraiser appears to still be open for late donations. If you ARE an artist who wants to help you can also donate art for sale to help perpetuate the scholarship.

Once again, I ask any and al SF&F artists out there to help spread the word to art students and struggling artists everywhere. A few hundred dollars isn’t much but it’s enough to eat for a while, get art supplies, replace a broken tablet or tattoo gun and to make a difference.

If we continue to have no applications I will either roll the money over to next year, or find a deserving charity (perhaps the CBLDF) to donate to.

Heads Up! – Limited/No Internet

StrandedMy Internet has been ballsed since Sunday night. I have been commuting over to my mum’s poaching her internet to work, but it’s not the best way to go about things and her internet isn’t the fastest and has a very low usage limit.

When we recently upgraded our Demon Internet they upgraded the wrong line (we’d had to change our number due to malicious phone calls and harassment a few years ago), this despite me telling them otherwise. We’ve stuck with this old ISP for two very good reasons.

1. Everyone knows where to find me.
2. Their support has previously been exemplary.

Our legacy connection went dead Sunday night and calling support we figured out what was wrong. Monday we re-ordered. Apparently the agent ordered for the wrong line again and screwed up a bunch of other stuff. Since then we’ve been trying to work out what’s wrong and to get it fixed. They still seem to have no fucking clue what’s wrong and apparently we could still be out until next week.

Living rurally and dealing with depression and anxiety the internet is not only essential to my business but also to my wellbeing. It’s a safe, effective, non-stressful way to socialise (believe it or not) and to keep up with scattered friends too far away, often, to ever visit. Especially since I find travelling and especially driving a butt-clenching ordeal of pain and misery.

This really isn’t good enough. At all, and it’s really starting to make me twitching. It’s like being stranded, alone, on a desert island, very abruptly.

So if I haven’t replied to emails etc, you now know why. Please be patient until this is sorted out!

Progressing from GNS Theory

GNS theory is, or was, a popular theoretical tool for the examination of tabletop RPG game design, though it was mostly fixed upon the player, rather than the game itself. Ron Edwards, and the forum that the theory came from, have a bad reputation in some circles, but regardless of these issues I have found the theory structure useful in the past while working on games and judging the design in terms of something to aim for.

That isn’t to say that GNS doesn’t also have some issues and I’ve been rooting around for some time to improve it to aid with my own game design structure and I think I have hit on the missing element for a structure to examine and design games of most types. The idea of something being a ‘Toy’.

There would, then, be four elements to any game.


The Game factor is the element of skill to the activity. This can take many forms from honing reflexive skills to learning how to build characters with maximum damage output. The Game factor is the amount to which you can ‘git gud’ and improve your personal skill and interaction with the game. Game elements tend to conflict with Toy and Narrative elements.

Examples of high ‘game’, games would include Dark Souls, 3.5 Edition D&D (character builds), or Chess.


Narrative is the extent to which story constitutes and controls the activity. Narrative factors tend to conflict with Toy and Game elements. Narrative elements can include story heaviness (often limiting free exploration) and tends to create a more passive, less player oriented experience.

Examples of high ‘narrative’ games would include Choose Your Own Adventures, visual novels or Once Upon a Time.


Simulation is the extent to which an activity tries to faithfully replicate something. This does not necessarily mean realism, activities can attempt to replicate the tropes and conventions of unrealistic genres (superheroic comics or action films for example). Simulation tends to conflict with Narrative and can conflict with Game elements.

Examples of high ‘simulation’ games would include Basic Roleplaying, Microsoft Flight Simulator and SSI Wargames.


A Toy factor determines how much the activity is a ‘plaything’ and how much it is self directed. This is another way of expressing the degree of ‘sandbox’ and latitude a game might have. Toy elements tend to conflict with Narrative and Game elements as a sandbox must allow for latitude and escape from the directed narrative and the constriction of needing to ‘git gud’ gets in the way of freedom.

Examples of high ‘toy’ games would include Lego, Minecraft and Hexcrawl tabletop settings.

You could then plot a game’s position by measuring the tension between these various factors to measure it against other games.


Rotating this 45 degrees and using it as a ‘political compass’ could let you plot and compare games.



#RPG – Pen & Paper & Laser Guns is rad, & you Should Watch it

Pen and Paper & Laser Guns is how I always imagined presenting an RPG-oriented TV show, cutting back and forth between the game and the action and it works well. It’s at least as good as a Syfy show (though I appreciate that’s not a ringing endorsement).

As a bonus, this could easily be a Machinations of the Space Princess game brought to life :)

#Gor #RPG Art Update

Just to prove things are still being worked on and getting closer to completion!






#RPG – Fifth Edition goes OGL


And while various RPG companies have been sidestepping it to produce things for 5th edition already, this makes it far easier and – more importantly – seems to have learned from the 4th Edition situation with a return to 3rd edition era openness.

Wizards have also created their own, semi-open, online webstore in which D&D material can be sold called the ‘Dungeon Master’s Guild’ though, with a cut of 50% and more stringent rules on content etc, it’s really not that tempting to a publisher like me, save – perhaps – as a place to sling a few short products.

The good thing about it is that it’s just another ‘face’ to Drivethrurpg/RPGNOW, which means an account on one of their sites is an account on all of them. That should help bring more people over to the other sites and increased attention and sales all around. Again though, recent greater pushes for censorship under the Onebookshelf banner is a cause for concern and getting the D&D online sales is another concentration of power in a single place, vulnerable to censorious pressure.

So, what to do with it, now I can play with it?


There’s a couple of projects I’ve been developing for the OSR:

  • A ‘city crawl’ inspired by Bloodborne and other Renaissance/Restoration/Victorian horror.
  • A post-apocalyptic fantasy hex-crawl across an environmentally ravaged landscape.
  • A dark-fantasy waste-world, mingling technology and magic in an interdimensional junkyard city.

A 5th Edition version of Machinations of the Space Princess could be done, though it would be a lot of work for a repeat project and probably not cost effective.

House rules options – like I did in the past for 3rd Edition – might be an option. Some people prefer grimmer and grittier rules more suited to low fantasy and dark fantasy but this kind of thing is more complicated than it seems if you want to retain game balance.

New races are always an option, but it’s hard to create something that truly stands out. The work I’ve done on various fantasy worlds makes me think I could come up with some possibilities.

New classes are popular, but it’s hard to find effective niches for new character types and there’s a lot of competition in creating them. The old Prestige Class system in 3rd Edition was a way around that, but doesn’t exist in 5e, though there are sub-classes to the classes which fulfil some of the same role. It might be interesting to do some anime-JRPG style classes, inspired by Final Fantasy ‘job’ systems though. A new ‘Actual Monk’ is a definite possibility though.

Backgrounds have plenty of room for additions, but are a thin thing to hang supplementary material on.

Equipment can always use additions, but as with background probably needs to be wedded to something else. A deeper crafting system definitely has some appeal.

Mass combat rules would be a useful edition, an updated Feast of Crows might be a good thing to do.

Feats were popular things to create lists of in 3rd Edition, and it doesn’t seem unlikely that they’d be popular again. Again though, a thin thing to hang a whole supplement off.

The Skill system is not remotely as deep or interesting – or adaptable – as 3rd edition and some alternative rules for skills might be a useful thing to introduce.

There’s always room for new spells, or types of magic.

There’s all manner of real and fantastical gods and pantheons to be potentially detailed.

There’s an insatiable hunger for new magic items.

People always need more monsters.

Then there’s adventures, but they never sell well and have limited long term use to purchasers.


If I do anything for 5e, I don’t want it to be the kind of mindless blown-through make-work that a lot of 3e products were. A few of the shorter ideas above appeal – such as the JRPG character classes – but otherwise I’m far more interested in the potential of creating worlds and lore and tapping into the 5e audience that way.

What do you think, what would you be after?