Sunday, August 14, 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 Laws Supporting 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

Article 3 Revised by Jeff: No one cares how many total XP you've earned. All we need to know is your level and how many XP you've gained since making that level. If you level up according to the rules used for the current adventure you are playing, advance your character one level and zero out your XP. (the "zeroing out your xp" part is optional, see below...)
So Morgan Ironwolf earns her two-thousandth experience point. That's enough to make level 2 in Wessex. She advances to level 2 and resets his XP to zero. I often allow for advancement in the middle of the game and Morgan earns 232 more XP before the end of the session. The next day Morgan is in Vornheim. She earns a big ol' pile of XP, but whether she advances to 3rd depends on the chart for fighters in Zak's game. Hopefully he'll have handy his own version of the charts below, which are the BX charts reworked to eliminate tracking total XPs earned.

Is everybody following my proposal? A few XP are bound to be wasted along the way if we zero out the totals at every advancement. You could instead subtract the XP needed from your current total. That's only slightly more complicated. If you subtract rather than zero out completely, the charts above are exactly the same totals as the Expert rulebook, only expressed differently.

Original text of article 3 which says the same thing in a different way:

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.

Another example:

Instead of saying "My illusionist has 2500 xp and just levelled up to level 2 after a session of AD&D " you say, "My illusionist is 250 xp into level 2" to anybody who asks.

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 the Default 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
(your turn)


Allandaros said...


Legacy of the Bieth will sign onto the FLAILSNAILS Conventions and pledge full support going forward, with the proviso that currently existing characters (starting out at 3rd level as default) may continue to adventure with their FLAILSNAILS compatriots, and will be treated equally within the setting.

I would ask that folks allow my players to bring their LotB characters in on the handicap table (Article 4), but that's totally up to all y'all.

E pluribus unum, veni vidi vici, so say we all.

Zzarchov said...

I have no problems with PC's from other games bumping in and out of any ConstantCon game I run, I'd just require that PC's do any administrative changing of their character to fit any system changes themselves.

The only question I'd have before signing on the dotted line is if I have to police "cheaters", as honestly I don't care if people want to lie about how many fictitious gold coins they have as long as they aren't disruptive to anyone else.

Joethelawyer said...

I officially sign on on behalf of my LOTFP Grindhouse homemade campaign setting games, both for any games I may host here, or in person with the group I DM in CT. Their characters already fit the criteria, so they should be good to go if they ever decide to join in the FLAILSNAILS multiverse.

Also, I'll sign up as a player with my Thrangor the (al)Mighty!!, 1st level wizard, with 400 xp gained tonight by getting a duck drunk. Though I played a character 2 times in the past 18 months with a pretty much identical background in another guy's campaign, he started out at 3rd level in that campaign, so I totally rerolled him from scratch (3d6 in order) today for this outing. And he sucks far far worse than his parallel universe incarnation did---3 Str and 1 HP. Yet he survived!!! :) I'll also sign up my mentally retarded (5 Int, 5 Wis, yup, 3d6 in order) 1st level thief, Ludwig the Lightfingered, who likewise has 400 xp.

So in summary, three signatures. One for me as a DM, one for me with my gimp-ass wizard, and one for my characters, whom I will meet with next week and introduce them to the concept.

Long live the FLAILSNAILS!

Zak Sabbath said...


That's fine. So long as you pay your dues (thirty virgins at the first of each month deliverable to my PO Box), you just do what you want in your domain.

Nobody said...


Interesting that there are no conventions for 3d6 vs 4d6-drop-1 stats or rolling vs max HP at 1st level. Then again policing those ideas would be totally Unfun. And hey - some characters are wimps.

In any case, should I ever feel prepared enough to run a Constantcon game (a couple weeks at least):

Representing Xwulge: Antion

arcadayn said...

Arcadayn hearby officially pledges his campaigns current and future to the articles of FLAILSNAILS. Long live Constantcon!

Representing the Lands of Mystery: Arcadayn aka Shawn S.

Matthew Miller said...

Representing His Holiness, the Heaven-Abiding, Auspicious, Most Sincere, Far-Seeing, Vital-Bodied, Zenith-Standing, Literary and Martial, Lustrous, Filial, Compassionate and Pure Emperor Tianhuang, Sovereign of Kitai: Matt Miller (Laowai)

Anathematician said...

GDI 4 eva!

Jeremy Deram said...


Representing Outland: Aplus (Jeremy Deram)

S. P. said...

I've long been interested in this sort of cross-pollination. Count me in.


Representing the Imperial City and associated domains, Rev. J. Stuart Pate

Robert Morris said...

All in for the FLAILSNAILS Conventions but not so sure about cross-pollination...

Representing Alnair and the New Imperial Colony of Planet States, Bob of the Keep

Von said...

Fuck it. Not sure when I'll have the time or inclination to actually play, but I'm not letting this slip by.

Representing the Regency of Hearth, the Kingdom of Everward, and the Draconian League: Von Quixote.

(And if you look that name up on Google+, there should be a profile attached to it.)

Nope said...

simple concept based on honor system? sounds good!

Representing Terruizeng: Aberrant Hive Mind(Mike Fernandez)

thekelvingreen said...

Okay, well, I'm not running a game of anything at the moment, but I'm in. So...

There will be a FLAILSNAILS t-shirt, right? I'll weep like a child if there isn't a FLAILSNAILS t-shirt.

Nope said...

set up a blog for my campaign info and this con

also, does anyone run games around 10pm hawaii time? been looking to play but I'm in an odd time zone...

Trent_B said...

Representing whatever, if and when it becomes relevant: TrentB.

Calithena said...


Calithena representing for the World of Advent and the Kingdom of Ilthar, here.

Although I might be more tolerant about letting older characters into my games, esp. ones who were playing in my world when we started it back around 1980. :-)

Anaxim said...

Quite signed!

Miranda said...

This is, I think, a step in the right direction.

Representing Nightwick: Evan

Carter Soles said...

Representing The Lands of Ara: Carter Soles

James said...

Representing The Black Mete and Kastmaria: James A. Smith

Anonymous said...

Count me in, if it infuriates the gaming fundies I'm all for it - let's just play the game and have fun - Dave Macauley Down Under.

Reese Laundry said...

Can't say if I'll ever get around to running a Constantcon game, but just in case...

Likely be Rules Cyclopedia or S&W Core

Representing Trevail: Koren n'Rhys (Reese Laundry)

Chris Kutalik said...

Signing as the duly designated representative of His Resplendidness the High Hetman of the Hill Cantons with a big blocky "X".

Anonymous said...

Representing the New York Red Box's White Sandbox campaign: Tavis Allison.

Blair said...

Representing Planet Algol, The Pluton Zone, The Sean of Spices and Lacunae: Blair Fitzpatrick

Jeffrey Runokivi said...

Representing Eberacum: Jeffrey Runokivi

Zak Sabbath said...

@aberrant hive mind

10pm hawaii time is 3am Chicago time, which is an hour before Jeff runs his morning adventures.

It's also midnight LA time, and though I'm not in LA right now, I had no problem getting 3 or 4 midnight games together. It's morning in Europe and other ppl on the west coast stay up late.

Matt Finch said...

I like this idea -- in fact, Stan Shinn proposed something very, very similar back in July on the S&W boards, although based on a virtual gaming table concept rather than on Google+.

I'm not at all into on-line gaming, and I've been working out some of the twists and details that would be required to expand this idea into the world of conventions. I've been running a continuous campaign game at NTRPGCon for the last two years, and doing it with other DMs, although it (a) didn't involve any system conversions and (b) was basically limited to the convention because I was seeing it as an event rather than a potentially widespread idea, if that makes sense. Sometimes you've got blinders on, sometimes you don't: I had some blinders on.

I'd like to make a few suggestions in the next few days about how this can be expanded into convention gaming. The DM in an online game has more time to review something for "approval," which has to be a lightning-fast process if it's happening at a convention table, and the DM also has only a limited time to describe the house rules of a game, since people have a lot more tolerance for reading details than they do for listening to them while waiting for a game to "please, please just f**king START, already."

The difficulty is that in order to do the streamlining that would be required for conventions, some of the guidelines are probably broader than the requirements a convention would require. More needs to be pre-programmed to handle the speed and nature of a convention game. Just as an example, no one will want to mess around with a Pathfinder-to-OD&D conversion. Many conventions allow email conversations once the players are registered for the event, but not every DM or player wants to be involved in any sort of long, drawn-out discussion about the minutiae.

In terms of conventions, I think there are two sets of games that would work well for conversions within the categories, and not so well across them. The first category is the OD&D and Basic games (and their clones). OD&D, Swords & Wizardry, LL, and BFRPG are all easily converted with a few internal rules. In the other category, AD&D, OSRIC, C&C, and AEC (the LL companion for advanced-type play) all mesh well with each other. I'm not sure which category LotFP fits into. The modern games, meaning ones that depend on systems of feats/skills that are not hardwired into character classes are a mixed bag; some would translate easily into that advanced category, and some would barely be compatible with each other.

Anyway, I hope to think about this a bit more, because as I said, Stan and I have been thinking along lines that are almost perfectly parallel with this.

Zak Sabbath said...


Good point!

Here's what I hope: as we do this on G+, we will have to develop (and hopefully post on-line) conversion algorithms from one system to another. Once they are posted, convention GMs can look at them and see if any strike their fancy and them maybe use them.

i.e. I have to get PCs from my AD&D/3.5 variant into S&W or OD&D all the time. Whatever standardization system I come up with might be exactly what a Con GM might want to use to turn Pathfinder PCs into OD&D PCs and s/he can just attach that to his or her con announcement.

Matt Finch said...

The best way to handle that "speed" problem of the convention game is probably to put the onus on the player to handle the conversion, with the DM pointing players ahead of time to the conversion algorithm. I think it's entirely reasonable for the DM to expect that the players who want to bring in characters from outside will be the ones to do the work required for it to function properly. Players wouldn't mind either, but they'd need to have some clear guidelines. Clear guidelines -- not necessarily correct guidelines or complicated guidelines, but clear ones. Not everything has to be perfect, it just needs to be good enough to make the character sheet work properly in the other game.

Reese Laundry said...

I expect to see a logo in the next day or two. Your Flail Snail re-drawing and something in the Vornheim font is required. That would be made of awesome.

Zak Sabbath said...



ERIC! said...

Eric Campbell Representing: The Chronicles of Ganth; LL setting

Justin said...


noworkethic said...

Signed on behalf of Kamenal-Sur and the adventurers within, who are all compliant with the standards set forth in this post, and unlike myself are actually on Google+

Chris Goodwin said...

I wish to sign on as a signatory to the FLAILSNAILS conventions!

PlanetNiles said...

I PlanetNiles, aka Niles Calder, of whatever campaign I end up running, if any, do hereby sign the FLAILSNAIL Conventions.

migellito said...

Signed, for all the games I run now, or may start running. :)

Il Male™ said...

Representing Planet Yaqqothl & The Tower of Zordaz: Il Male™

Christopher Mennell said...

Representing all Worlds and all Things hitherto and yet unmentioned: The Secret DM

Unknown said...

What character sheet should we all default to when making new characters? Anyone have a link to a nice old-school D&D sheet?

John Matthew Stater said...

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.

H-Town said...

Representing 3d6 and the Flaming Canyons of the Transcedent Dawn and other gonzo worlds of the West that never was, Steven Stewart

Christian Kolbe said...

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

Espatier said...


SAMCC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SAMCC said...


frijoles junior said...


MJ Fetz said...

Representing Daysalanon and serving as the DM at Collectors Corner - Baltimore Outpost, I sign.

My D&D games and D&D-like games, including all OSR and d20 games, shall comply... because FLAILSNAILS!!