Monday, August 15, 2011

The FLAILSNAILS Conventions

We the GMs of the DIY RPGing, in Order to form a more perfect Ruckus, establish Justice, insure intercampaign Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and Play some Games, do Ordain and Establish this set of Free Location And Inclusion LawsSupporting New And Interesting Leisure Situations (FLAILSNAILS).

Article 1

Any PC that began play at 0 xp (or less) and level 1 (or less) on or after July 26, 2011 may move freely from their native campaign (or any they have participated in subsequently) into games of a like genre run by any GM subscribing to these FLAILSNAILS conventions whether via electronic media or in real life provided the player can get a spot in the game. That's the point of them.

(Like, if you made a PC for Arcadayn's Swords and Wizadry game, you can move it to my D&D game since I subscribe to the FLAILSNAILS conventions. If he does, too, you can bring it back to his game the next day, and then take the PC over to your Uncle Chippy's game if he is down, and then bring it back to my game and get the point.)

Article 2

As stated, PCs may be imported/converted from any game of roughly the same genre and system as the new GM's game, however the new GM is free to determine precisely what "roughly the same" means. GM and Player shall negotiate any complex translation issues regarding system-specific mechanics or powers.

In the case of D&D and similar games, any TSR D&D system or retroclone (Labyrinth Lord, Castles and Crusades, Swords and Wizardry, etc.) is considered acceptable in FLAILSNAILS games, plus, at the individual GM's discretion, refugees from Pathfinder, 3.5, 4e, Rolemaster, Tekumel, Warhammer Fantasy Role Play, LOTFP, Harn, GURPS, Pendragon, etc. providing the PC's stats can be translated into terms sensible in the new system. (And vice versa.) Ask GM if your PC is ok.

Same thing goes for other games--like if you want to run your levelled-up Shadowrun PC in my Gigacrawler game, I'm down because fucking FLAILSNAILS.

The details are up to the GM's discretion, but the purpose of the FLAILSNAILS conventions is to encourage sharing of ideas, rules, and funny stories across groups of gamers, so whatever can be done to encourage and facilitate PC immigration (writing Palladium-to-D&D conversion rules for instance) is encouraged.

Article 3 PCs will level up at a number of experience points appropriate to the system of the last adventure they played in before such time as they were eligible to level up in that system.

Jeez that's hard to understand. What we're saying is: if you gain 200 xp so as to total 1100 xp by the end of an adventure and that adventure was run in a system where you level up at 1000 xp, then you level up, regardless of what system your PC was "born" under or where it's going next.
A level is a level. While in a world you abide by the conventions the GM there uses for characters of your class; but likewise, when your PC gains a level he or she has earned it, even if he or she subsequently enters a world where a like number of experience points would not have earned you that same level.

For purposes of clarity, think of and talk about your PC's xp as follows: "I am 300 xp into 2nd level". Since, for example, a PC levelling up in vanilla 3.5 needs 1000 xp to get to level two, a 3.5 PC who has 1200 xp is "200 xp into 2nd level" in ANY system. S/he does not "have" 1200 xp in any system but 3.5, s/he's just "200 xp into 2nd level" in Labyrinth Lord.

If this creates a situation where a PC would automatically level up merely by starting an adventure in a new system (i.e. you're 3000 xp into 4th level and suddenly start an adventure in a system where you only need 2000 more xp to get to level 5) the GM may ask you to recalculate your progress as a 
percent of progress toward the next level in the old system.

If you want to make shit real easy for everybody, GMs can just look at the levels of the PCs involved and reward xp in terms of "percent towards the next level" for those PCs. Like say "congratulations, you all earned 30% of the xp you need toward level two or 20% of the exp you need toward level 3, go do math."

At some point we may come up with a unified xp table, but, like, Jeff or somebody can do that. 

Article 4 FLAILSNAILS GMs may run adventures designed for specific levels of PCs, just like anybody else. Since waiting around for every other FLAILSNAILS-eligible PC to level up as high as your barbarian did during that week you spent off school when you broke your ankle is boring, we have established optional rules for importing "overlevelled" PCs into lower-level games...

Each FLAILSNAILS GM is free to establish his or her own "handicapping" rules for such situations, however these are theDefault FLAILSNAILS High-Level PC Handicapping Rules For D&Dish Games... 

Roll d100 per level above the accepted maximum your PC is to see what disasters befell him or her during the long journey to the foreign domain wherein their next adventure takes place.These handicaps are temporary--results only apply during the adventure in question (if you survive your season of "slumming", you get better):

(penalties cannot take PC below minimum score for the system in question or below 4 hp)

1-3 Blinded
4-6 Deafened
7-9 Gone mute
10-12 Lost an arm
13-15 Lost a leg
16-18 Gone mad: 25% chance of doing the exact opposite of intended action (after action is
declared) each round during times of stress
19 Cursed: Slowed
20 Cursed: Laughs continuously and uncontrollably--must make a wisdom check to speak an
intelligible sentence
21-23 All equipment lost.
24 One of your items is now cursed--new DM secretly decides item and specific curse
25-Sex change. Armor doesn't fit now. Re-roll charisma.
26-28 Disease: halve your hit points
29-31 Disfiguring disease--charisma is effectively the minimum, no henchmen
32-34 Brain damage: lose d6 from charisma, intelligence and wisdom
35-36 Major brain damage: lose d8 from charisma, intelligence and wisdom
37-39 Too much light reading during your trip: lose d10 intelligence
40-42 Culture shock--lose d10 wisdom
43-45 Disease: lose d6 from strength, constitution and dex
46-48 Major disease: lose d8 from strength, constitution, and dex
49-Curse: kleptomania
50-51 Pregnant or melded to useless siamese twin -2d6 dex
52-PC smells terrible, scent is obvious to any foe at 100 yards
53-55 PC is on a bender and won't sober up until adventure ends
56-58 PC has become grotesquely obese: -10 dex, always last initiative no matter what system is used
59 Curse: PC can't see weapons, claws, teeth or fire. 50% chance s/he doesn't know it
60 Curse: 17 and 18 are cursed numbers for PC--rolling either # is a fumble
61 Mutation: roll on baleful mutation chart of DM's choice
62 Artificially aged: -d10 constitution -d10 dex, -d6 str, -d20 hp
63-65 Fugitive: extremely thorough authorities are following you everywhere
66 Shrunk to 1' tall
67-69 Hungover: -3 to all rolls
70-72 Type 2 hangover: hearing and vision are only 25% relaible
73-75 Having an Elric phase: can only go 4 rounds without needing to smoke/inject/inhale some exotic substance.
You will run out of it after d4 days.
76 Curse: in any round, all attacks will be against our PC until at least 2 have been successful
77 Curse: if any of your companions fall victim to a spell, you will, too
78-79 Haven't been eating properly on your trip--lose d12 hp, d8 con and d6 str
80 Depressed and pining for home. -5 to all saves.
81 Infected wound. -d6 constitution and -3 to attack rolls
82 Roll twice ignoring redundant results
83-85 Limping. -5 dex, movement is 1/3 normal, blows doing more than 2 hp will knock you over unless you're
braced against a wall
86 Paralyzed from the waist down, you have a wheelchair, though.
87-88 Just tired from all that walking: -d4 to all rolls
89-90 Frostbite on the way-lost 3d4 fingers.
91 Partially possessed by minor demon. Wisdom/will roll in times of stress to avoid aiding forces of evil.
92 Just loves it here! PC spends all free time writing a travel journal or sketching the landscape--cannot rest properly at all.
93-95 Can't speak what they call "common" around here.
96 Can speak it but finds the local dialect intensely grating-especially the way the locals pronounce the words "go" "if" "to"
and "get". Use of those words will cause the PC to attack the speaker for 1d4 rounds.
97 None of these hicks can understand you through your accent
98-100 Your blood is too thick for this climate. You shiver or sweat all day--minus 2 to everything. 
Article 5

Overlevel magic spells, spells not native to the new setting, unusual powers (such as psionics) and imported magic items may generally be used in the new game, however, the new GM is free to determine the exact details of how such things work. Spiritual conditions and mortal-deity compacts differ from domain to domain.

i.e. Use that crazy wand Jeff gave you in my game and it might no longer work the way you think it does, at least until you get home.

If such powers, abilities, or items are forbidden altogether by the GM s/he will make an honest effort to warn the player first. Neither GM nor player shall be a dick about this.

Article 6

The ontological status, authenticity, and rationale behind allegedly 'unique' items imported to settings where identical items already exist shall be determined by whoever's GMing during the time wherein the paradox appears.

i.e. If you go on an adventure to find the Wand of Orcus with Calithena GMing and show up at the pub holding the Wand of Orcus (because you got it in an adventure with Ian) then it's up to Calithena to explain this shit and he can make up any crazy thing he wants.

Article 7

When you post a new Costantcon game, say whether you are down with imported PCs or not.

Article 8

There are no in-game "hoops" to jump through in order to move a PC from one game to another--i.e. you don't have to have your PC sail in-game over the North Sea to get from my Vornheim campaign to Jeff's Wessex campaign.

However it is acceptable (and maybe fun) for GMs to create mini-"crossovers" in order to do fun, gimmicky things between campaigns. Like Jeff could say "first 3 PCs to kill the a sea dragon in Vornheim get to be in my Wessex game on Thursday".

Article 9

Players have the right to construct their own PCs "timeline" to justify how s/he ended up in place A on monday and place B on thursday. However:

-Once a FLAILSNAILS PC dies, you can't use that PC again in real-time, no matter when in the "timeline" the PC died and...

-If you gain items or level up over the ceiling for a given adventure in the middle of that adventure by doing a "side quest" somewhere else, it's the GM's discretion as to whether you now have the items or are considered "levelled up" during subsequent parts of that adventure.

Like: if I am level 5 and do part one of Evillossia Dungeon (adventure for levels 3-5) with DM Biff and we leave off with me alive in a pit, then the next day I go play with the same PC in DM Jed's campaign and kill an owlbear mastermind and level up to 6--(so high I'm no longer in the suggested "range" for Evillossia Dungeon), and then I pick up the next day in the pit in Evillossia, it's up to DM Biff whether I immediately level up to 6 for purposes of this adventure in Evilossia or whether I have to wait until that adventure ends.

Article 10

All this stuff, plus a calendar of FLAILSNAILS games on Google + and pages for individual FLAILSNAILS-friendly campaigns and PCs will all be on a webpage at some point. Or so we claim. Hey, Calithena's working on it. He's a busy guy.

Players will get xp rewards for pitching in with administrative bullshit on that site if and when we get it going.

Article 11

To speed things up, individual GMs might wanna post a blog specifying exactly what their conversion and/or overlevel handicapping policies are that they can put up whenever they're running a FLAILSNAILS G+ game.


We, therefore, the representatives of the Old School Ruckus, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Referee of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these campaigns, solemnly publish and declare, that these united domains are free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent gameworlds may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to FLAILSNAILS our dungeons, our spare time, and our sacred honor.


Representing Vornheim: Zak S
Representing Wessex: Jeff Rients
Representing Ilthar: Calithena
Other signatories here.
Sign yourself up there or here. 


  1. Great! But what about those without the desire for G+?

  2. I love the temporary effects like "lose a leg". :D

  3. Rowdy!
    Goddamm I gotta get my A/V rig back!

    Interesting stuff - I was thinking about this stuff last night while trying to compose a short-list of the house rules I like to play with.

    I like this - looking forward to the cross-pollination!

  4. But what about those without the desire for G+?

    You can still participate. G+, tabletop, whatever. This just happened to grow out of G+ gaming.

  5. Anonymous12:56 PM

    G+, tabletop, whatever.

    Then I hereby declare my Megaversal games all be open to FLAILSNAIL campaigns and adventurers.

  6. Anonymous2:14 PM

    What about us folks who did things like "XP numbers, award and required amount, are hereby cut by 1/10th just to keep the numbers smaller"?

    You could simplify the XP article like so:

    If you get enough XP to gain a level in the host game, you gain that level, even if you return to the home game and find that you wouldn't have enough XP. But to level up again you need to attain that next higher XP total.


    I have 500 XP, first-level Fighter, 1E D&D. I go to a 3E game, play a bit, get 500 XP, and level up because you need only 1,000 in 3E. Now I'm a F2. I go back to the 1E D&D game, and am still F2, but to hit F3 I will need to amass a total of 4,000 XP.

    This means a character might level up too early, but he won't get any lasting benefit from that.

  7. Anonymous2:20 PM

    Also, I suggest amending to include a legislative intent, if this is what you intended, that

    The point is to let a player have fun playing his character, in a new and strange gaming group and campaign, such that ruin and devastation does not rain down upon the host.

    Dunno if that was what you were going for.

    "Hey guys, because you're such good new friends, Vorpal Gunblades for everyone! Don't worry, I have enough to go around."

  8. I'm also a fan of an "XP is XP but level is subjective" approach.

    But I'm an even bigger fan of "this idea works well enough and is full of awesome so let's get some gaming on gogogo," so signed.

  9. @1d30

    I say if you level you level. If you go back somewhere and the DM doesn't want PCs on that level playing in the game s/he can have his or her own handicapping rules or use the ones we provided.

    For me, having different levels (or different xp amounts) for one character is just confusing.

    Especilly since there are many players who have no "home"
    campaign, they play in 4 places on 4 days and that's that.

    If you're worried about players gaming the system...

    A player who games the system to level up (like gets xp in a high-xp-reward system then rushes over to a low-reward system to level up) is likely going to:

    A- Be such a dick that s/he won't be able to get a seat at anybody's table at any level (G+ games are usually limited to 4 players.)( Remember that in order to implement this strategy you'd have to play in a lot of games w/ different DMs and people will start to notice the overlevel xp hog.)


    B-Overlevel so quickly that s/he will have to take multiple handicaps to play in anyone's game anyway, which will compensate for the megalevelling and be funny.

  10. @1d30

    as for cutting down xp amounts universally or adopting a universal level standard--that might be nice, but getting every DM to all agree to do the same thing is impossible. people just aren't that communicative or connected yet.

    Plus a nice thing about FLAILSNAILS is you can play in non-FLAILSNAILS games if the GM is ok with your imported PC and then return to FLAILSNAILS GMs whenever you want.

    Saying: "Ok, I got this 3rd level paladin so I can play your con game but can you give me my xp in this new system me and my friends on-line made up please" is a little complex.

  11. I figure I represent the non-GM, non-DM, non-player contingent of the OSR, and I'm delighted to represent, yo. Or, "word." Or, whatever works best for the lawyers.

  12. Eric Campbell Representing: The Chronicles of Ganth; LL setting

  13. I also cannot let this pass by. As sycarion, I hereby sign FLAILSNALS.

    System: Something like Core 2E with benefits. Genres tend to fuzzy, but magic generally works.

    Otherwise, ready to play in anyone's game if the time slot is right.

  14. Anonymous5:57 PM

    When conventions start casting around looking for people to run games, you guys who just happen to be going anyway, (and possibky running games) could halfway-organizedly (as in this post) mention in your advert-blurb that your game will be following FLAILSNAILS conventions. By the time GenCon rolls around you might even get a whole bunch of DMs running Flailsnails games (just because a lot of people go to GenCon). Pretty soon after that it might become sort of a thing.

  15. Cool, I think all of my campaigns are already covered by the FlailSnails Conventions, despite my never having heard of them before.

  16. I'm a bit late coming to this, as always.

    I, PlanetNiles, aka Niles Calder, of whatever campaign I end up running, if any, sign the FLAILSNAILS conventions.

  17. Damnit wrong blog >.<

  18. Representing the Land of Nod: John M. Stater.

    I do play-by-post, so I'm not sure how well it will work, but what the heck - should be fun.

    [I signed in both places, because I can, dammit]

  19. For the Republic of Saedom, I am now signatory to the FLAILSNAILS Conventions.

  20. So I wanna do this, but I'm totally new to this whole community. :/ I'm running a Sigil-ish 3.5-ish game for G+. :D

    So... how do I advertise this thing?