The Quickly-Equipped Murderhobo (OSR)
This pdf clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC (also including introduction notes) and 1 page SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of content. Additionally, there is a second pdf included, which is 3 pages strong if you take away the front cover. More on that one later.
So, one strength of OSR gaming as opposed to more complex systems, would obviously be the easy to grasp rules – the entry barrier is very, very low. While PFRPG, 13th Age and similar systems require that you read a huge tome, OSR system basics, enough to play anything but spellcasters, can be explained in 5 minutes. There is one step during character creation (and if you play the same modules and games I do in the system, you’ll be making your fair share of them…), which puts a bit of a brake on immediately starting the game.
I am, of course, talking about the pregame shopping spree. This pdf tries to streamline that process, with the default assumed system being LotFP and a silver standard, though other OSR systems work just as well….but how does it try to streamline the process?
Each character gets 1 silver coin, appropriate clothes, a rough canvas sack, a small water flask, a crust of bread and the material within one equipment kit. Priests receive a holy symbol, more arcane magic-users a spellbook.
Depending on your preferences, you can either let the players choose the respective kits or have them roll randomly. Now we get two pages, with a table of 10 kits each: The first would contain equipment for violent types: From Men-at-Arms to Assassins and barbarians, we have a nice selection here. These kits also provide, somewhat akin to 5e’s starting equipment choices, some player agenda – assassins can e.g. choose an egg filled with fine glass shards, a vial of weak poison or manacles. And yes, the rules for these items have been included – the pdf also sports a sidebar for laminar/lamellar and scale armor, bucklers and improvised weapons.
Beyond these choices, there are also 3 d20-tables: Useful Wilderness Items, Useful Adventuring Items and Seemingly Useless Items. Depending on the kit chosen/rolled, you also roll on these to e.g. gain a tent, a pan flute or a hand drill.
Of course, there also would be occupations that are less martially inclined: The second 8-entry-strong kit-tables sports occupations, from butcher to barber-surgeon, which may or may not be particularly useful regarding the challenges faced in the adventuring life. To offset that, half of them – those that feel particularly…öhem…humorous, convey a 10% XP bonus from level 1 to 2.
Now I mentioned the second pdf in the beginning. This one is provided so you can just print out and cut out all those kits and just hand them to the players – not even notation is required! That’s pretty damn cool and useful. Oh, and the final pages of this bonus-pdf actually has empty, form-fillable cut-outs, in case you want to design your own kits. And yes, before you’re asking, each kit PRECISELY states what’s included in it.
That is not all – the pdf also sports a bit of dressing for the GM: The final page contains a table of 20 entries, depicting what’s in a dead guy’s belongings, as well as 12 hastily scrawled poems. The poems range in quality, but there are some solid ones.
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly, no-frills 1-column b/w + green highlights-standard or a 2-column standard, depending on what makes more sense. The pdfs are printer-friendly, with only editorial and cover sporting artwork. The pdfs have no bookmarks, but need none at this length.
Edward Lockheart’s “Quickly Equipped Murderhobo” is one fine little toolkit; particularly for convention games, campaign trips or the like…or any time you don’t want to carry around a ton of books, this is absolutely amazing and further quickens the action, allowing you to get right into the nit and grit of the game. The system is elegant, simple and can be expanded and developed further without any hassle. Ending up with a former baker magic-user or an Int 5 fighter who carries a scholar’s kit can actually make for some interesting roleplaying.
Now granted, I wished that this was longer. the kits are damn cool and getting more would have been nice indeed. At the same time…this is PWYW. It costs literally zilch to take a look at and is VERY MUCH worth leaving a tip for. If you’re like me and gravitate towards the more simulationalist side of GMing and are willing to invest a bit of time, you could conceivably use this as a basis to make 5e’s kits more defined as well, which is just one of the unexpected uses I got out of this one.
In short, this is a short, sweet and very useful little gaming aid of a pdf. While I wished it had more tables (particularly for magic users etc.), this is a nice little pdf worth getting. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.
You can get this pdf for PWYW here on OBS!