Sunday, January 19, 2020

Finders Keepers - Background and Sources

Credit Konstantin Vavilov

For the rules and character generator, see here. This is likely to be a long and boring post, go make some funky weirdos instead!

Finders Keepers comes from a very specific and probably relatable moment, when a player forgets they had a +2 bonus to a check until after the outcome has been resolved, which would've been enough to make them succeed.
Or, when a zombie ambushes a paladin who the GM forgot had Detect Undead.
Or when a new player is swamped by a myriad of spells, powers, daily limits and jargon that mean absolutely nothing to them.
Or, unless the Fighter has the "Trip Attack" power, they never try and trip enemies, and once they do have that power, nobody else (including the DM) thinks tripping enemies is possible without it.
Or within the OSR scene, a whole session goes by without the dice or inventory being touched, with the system falling away to reveal the truth, that often system really doesn't matter. This last one isn't a problem, but seriously, we spend so much time arguing over the damn things, why not make something that actually matters?

Finders Keepers is also my attempt to actually use the dozens, hundreds of wonderful, amazing, exciting creations that we've all built together in this community. I've done my best to list all the sources I've used in collating the lists of starting equipment, and I'll likely be adding more!

Firstly, all of the abilities, items and mutations have a few guidelines that I've done my best to stick to. I've likely messed up here or there, but I'll be tinkering with this forever anyway.
  1. No passives, only actives. Everything has to be directly used, but spells out exactly what it does
  2. No daily resource tracking, everything can be used either a) all the time or b) only once
  3. Daggers, not lockpicks
  4. All abilities must "break the rules" to some extent. If it's possible to do normally, it's not a unique power
  5. Balance via randomness (some things are incredibly overpowered and game-breaking, but won't show up that often) and pain (some things are strong but cause the PC to explode)

The core of this system is Into the Odd, with all attacks automatically hitting, armour providing damage reduction, and cribbing from a variety of other rules. The stat generation is from Knave, as is the roll-over nature and the item-based characters. The combination is something I like to call "Rogue Odds", and I've got a few more projects using the system on the back-burner at the moment.

Fundamental to Finders Keepers are the 1037 (!!!) curated entries that make up the starting equipment, combat talents, weird mutations/abilities and powerful arcana. It's a nest of things I've found and liked, picked up and polished just how I want them, and slotted in somewhere. The largest area of truly original writing is the list of Failed Careers, each having a unique ability that match the five guidelines above ("Fisherman - You are incredibly patient, and can wait for something as long and exactly as required", "Author - If you go on a proper adventure and live to write about it, it's got a 50% chance of being successful. Only one chance")

While Die Trying characters are all created incomplete and broken, Finders Keepers characters vary wildly based on their starting HP and highest stats. Gonzo Finders are even less structured, they just have things. Maybe you'll have 2hp, +1 to every stat, five weapons and "Cloud-speaker - Standing in the rain grants you news from far away lands". Thank you Glum Cynn, the failed miller, for your startling array. If the first thought of a new DT player is "what am I going to do without...?", the first thought of a Finder is "how they hell am I supposed to use...?" Invariably, they answer that question for themselves in exquisite style.

It's the wonderful nature of the human mind to find pattern where there is none, to conjure story and life from "Pungent perfume, Box of tiny bells, Glass eye, you can still see through it if it's popped out". Die Trying was certainly a step towards this idea, with the "Before you became an adventurer" style of character creation, Finders Keepers goes to an extreme. There are no races either, only oddly thematic weirdness that might hint, perhaps, that the adventurer is more than human (" Goblinoid - Your bones are cartilage, you can only eat meat and you can smell as well as a dog"). Also, some of the names do very strange things. I encourage you to just roll and read, experiment a little and see how they relate to the equipment and abilities you have.

Oh! And you might start with a cannon.

Archons March On - Misc Magic Items
Archons March On - Rival Adventurers
Attnam - Magical Trinkets
Carceri Penterakt - Witches and Warlocks
Coins and Scrolls - Exorcist
Coins and Scrolls - Sorcerer
Coins and Scrolls - 100 Entities
Coins and Scrolls - 1d1000 Mutations
Cratered Land - Scholar and Thief
Cratered Land - Optional Rules
d66 Kobolds - Martial and Specialist
d66 Kobolds - Survivalist and Arcane
Dreams and Fevers - Treasures from the Vault
Eldritch Fields - Folk Hero
False Machine - Isles of the Imprisoned Moon
Goblin Punch - Catherine
Goblin Punch - Sister Witches, Monastic Wizards
Goblin Punch - 100 Minor Magical Items
Goblin Punch - Really Good Dog
Goblin Punch - Dungeon Hacker
Goblin Punch - Potion Rules
Goblin Punch - Potion List
Goblin Punch - Artifacts
Goblin Punch - More Artifacts
Goblin Punch - Secret Names of God
Bastard Magic
Hex Culture - Put a Spell On You
Hex Culture - Righteous Punching for Justice
Hmm Marquis - Thoughts and Fulmens
Homebrew Homunculus - Dicing With Death
Lizardman Diaries - Guild Dogs
Rogues Repast - High Level Dungeon Crawl
Zenopus Archives - Holmes References
Tarsos Theorem - Weird Powers
Ten Foot Polemic - Barbarian
Two Goblins - Moonhop
Two Goblins - Anything Not Nailed Down
ATWC - When All You Have is a Hammer
Unworthy Cudgel - Eire Artifacts
Bastionland - Oddities
Bastionland - Oddular Mechanics
Bastionland - Scars
Bastionland - Failed Careers
Mythos - Teramach Class
Incunabuli - Knucklebones
North of Reality - Bottled Goods
Occultesque - Magical Trinkets
Occultesque - Daramitz Magical Items
Occultesque - One Hundred Thieves Tools

This isn't the full list. Maybe there can never be a full list. And I'll be adding more to it soon!


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  2. Die Trying is incredible and this is even better. Keep it up!

  3. This is so cool. You probably have my favorite OSR blog.

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  6. Any ideas why I'm getting pageviews from your blog?

    1. I found it! You made the Garbage Wizard which I have linked to in my character generators that use GLOG wizards

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