Monsters & Magic is a modern fantasy roleplaying game which mixes cutting edge rules mechanics and narrative techniques with traditional fantasy roleplaying concepts. Specifically designed to be used with classic fantasy supplements and adventures with little or no conversion, it allows players and GMs to pick up their favourite fantasy campaigns and characters and bring them to brilliant new life. It’s a game firmly in the “Old School Renaissance” spirit, and works seamlessly with classic fantasy products, new and old. Pick up your favourite old school campaigns, adventures, wilderness maps and encounter tables, those bestiaries, spellbooks, and gazetteers, and revisit them with this new set of rules.
About the Game
Monsters & Magic uses a rules mechanic we’re calling the “Effect Engine”. Basically, you roll 3d6 plus modifiers against a target number, and the number of points you get above or below that target act as a currency you can spend to take all manner of cool actions. Some are standard actions – doing damage, moving, knocking people over – and some are custom actions specific to your character class or even invented by you as you level up. It’s a simple and yet extensible system.
You’ll find a lot in the Monsters & Magic rules that’s familiar – there are attributes, modifiers, and hit points; there are traditional character classes, there’s an Armour Class, and there are levels and hit dice. But there are mental hit points, too, and effects you can place on yourself and others, some standard, some improvised, which can give you bonuses or penalties and have other cool game effects. The system is specifically designed to be easy to remember, flexible and permitting lots of improvisation, while retaining a solid “gamist” backbone, non-arbitary and as crunchy as you like.
What’s in the Book?
The Monsters & Magic rule book contains eight chapters, covering creating characters, with races and classes, the game system (including the Effect Engine core mechanic), core equipment, advancements, running the game, and a selection of spells and monsters focussing on low-level play. There are also rules for high-level play, including running ships, castles, and kingdoms as extensions to your character. Remember: you can use your favourite spell books and bestiaries with Monsters & Magic, as well as using the game standalone. The book also contains an introductory scenario, “Silvermoon”, and an appendix on using off-the-peg classic fantasy material with the rules.
The Old School Renaissance
A lot of people have quizzed us about the “old school renaissance” aspect of Monsters & Magic – what that means, whether M&M is an OSR game, and so on. Monsters & Magic‘s core design concept is profoundly OSR: the game has been written specifically to play classic fantasy type games, using classic fantasy resources without having to convert them, off the shelf, as is, with minimal prep. All of the things you’d expect to be able to do in that kind of fantasy game, you can do in Monsters & Magic – but you can do more, using the Effect Engine rules, and that’s where the “modern” bit comes in.
Artwork & Layout
Monsters & Magic is a full-size paperback RPG, with all new artwork by RPG industry luminaries like Jennell Jaquays (of old school Judges Guild and TSR fame, and of course much more!) whose artwork you can see on the left, Jason Juta (Warhammer 40K, Wizards of the Coast, etc), who did the gorgeous cover at the top of this page, Eric Lofgren (Fantasy Flight, Paizo, etc), Linda Jones (Triple Ace, Mongoose, etc) and Gill Pearce (Mongoose, Moon Design, etc). Layout and graphic design is by the awesome Michal Cross (Achtung Cthulhu, Mindjammer 2e).
The Open Game License
Monsters & Magic will be released under the OGL (open game license), and we also expect to release the “Effect Engine” with its own open license and SRD. This means you can write your own material for the Monsters & Magic game, and even create your own games using the Effect Engine.