Bob Portnell's Publication Page

Hi! I'm Walter Robert Portnell, Bob to most. Welcome to the drabbest webpage I've ever made. At least it loads fast, eh? I'm nerdily proud to say it's all hand-coded, just like my original site in 1997. And it's just for hosting links to things I've made. Please see My Last Blog for contact info and the latest news.


Roleplay Game Stuff

I've been in love with tabletop roleplay games since 1980. My websites have always had plenty of RPG documents; why stop now?

The Fantasy Trip

The first RPG I loved, and I'm over the moon to see it back in print and well-supported. Most of my roleplay these days is the solo sort using this game.

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TFT: Bob's Option Helper 0.0 MB PDF. A quick reference making it easier to see the relationships between options and movement in TFT Legacy Edition. Designed to be folded into a two-sided half-page card. (Don't tell anyone, but what I like to do is pick the movement on the initiative step, and then pick a valid action. Sssh!)
TFT: Bob's DX Modifier Helper 0.0 MB PDF. A quick reference for common combat DX modifiers. Two identical half-sheets on the page.
TFT: Thoughts on Personality Web Article Two alternatives to the Personality rules in The Fantasy Trip.
TFT: Superhero 0.5 MB PDF. House rules and design notes for how we played superheroes in the '80s using TFT Classic. Contrary to the article contents, I probably won't revise this for TFT Legacy Edition ... but y'all can figure things out if you want. I've been pretty transparent.
TFT: Bob Hacks Experience Web Article My house rules for handling XP in TFT Legacy Edition.

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Risus: The Anything RPG

I love Risus so much, I stole ideas from it for EZFudge. And I'm (twice) a member of the International Order of Risus, so I can completely testify to its utter grooviness.

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Stuff! Risusiverse I've written a few rules tweaks and designed some variant character sheets. They're in the Risusiverse somewhere, along with many other, much cooler, things.


Here's where I try to put all my loud-mouthed opinions about roleplay games to the test.

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Essentials Edition 2.9 MB ZIP of PDFs Roleplaying basic rules, with updates to latest popular Fudge practices and revised fight scene rules.
Final Frontier (Essentials) 1.1 MB ZIP of PDFs Yet another of my homebrews for classic Star Trek roleplaying.
Fantasy (Essentials) (CANCELED) Rules for magic and fantasy peoples inspired by the original RPG. The more I looked, the more I realized I had neither time nor appetite for the project.
Ultimate Edition 6.3 MB ZIP of PDFs Roleplaying basic rules plus classic Star Trek setting rules and way too many printable doo-dads.


I spent many, many years immersed in GURPS, even managed to get published a time or two. I wouldn't have the time for it these days, but that doesn't make it bad.

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Final Frontier 0.4 MB PDF Roleplaying rules for the Star Trek universe, rather minimalist by GURPS standards. Requires GURPS Lite (3e)
GURPS Lite (3e) 0.4 MB PDF "This is the boiled-down 'essence' of GURPS: all the fundamental rules, but not the options and embellishments that often confuse new players."

The Black Hack

A wild and fun take on THE classic game, light, quirky, and flavorful.

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The T22 Hack 0.2 MB PDF A rules hack for The Black Hack to make rolling higher always better. Supports any version of TBH including the spanking new Second Edition.

Dungeons & Dragons

I never thought I'd actually be adding a section for D&D, but I've become quite fond of 5E.

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TBD TBD TBD. Honestly, I have no idea what I'd bring that's particularly new or especially me. But something might turn up.


Steffan O'Sullivan's roleplay game to be played outdoors.
Here's my house rule to make Sherpa higher-is-better: For unopposed tasks, add the trait to the random number (and modifiers). The total must meet or beat 11.

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Play Aids 0.1 MB PDF Character, Reference, and GM scene cards

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Board Game Stuff


The classic space war game by Marc Miller, now ably published by Steve Jackson Games (and nearly out of print again).

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Basics of Space Flight Web Article Useful tips (I hope) for the novice interplanetary traveler.


The Looney Labs card game that's never the same twice.

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Fluxx Playmat 0.0 MB PDF A little one-pager I made to help me keep the tableau tidy.

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Steve Jackson Games' card game of the fantasy gaming experience without the pesky roleplaying.

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Munchkin, All On One Page 0.3 MB PDF My original flowchart. New rules have been added and a few changed, but this can still get you through the first few games until you've got the hang of it.
Playmat 0.0 MB PDF Another little one-pager I made to help me keep the tableau tidy. One per player, US Legal size.

Stargazing Stuff

Yes, just "stargazing." Maybe someday I'll put more investment into it, but for now I'm content learning and discovering via naked eye or binoculars. I've had two telescopes that didn't get used, so probably no point trying that again.

Being a nerd, I'm overprepared. I haunt weather sites — no point in going out if you can't see more than 10 miles up. I have grab-and-go bag with all my stargazing supplies: binoculars, basic star atlas, dim red flashlight, and a copy of Sky & Telescope's annual guide to sky events, Nightwatch. I don't use electronic tools in the field — I need my night vision! I just do a lot of prep, and here are some of my favorites.

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Navigational Star Chart at the U.S. Naval Observatory Web Site My first goal is to get acquainted with the five dozen stars that for centuries have been the navigators' guides in the night sky. These are even visible from my light-polluted backyard. When I want a better view, I can drive to public land a half-hour north.
Michael Shepard's Star Deck Web Site Then I can add the constellations. The Star Deck puts them on free printable cards and includes a guide to their legends and lore. On my cards I've hand-marked the navigational stars. These are great fun, even though I find the problem of scale distracting.
Star Wheel from Sky & Telescope Web Article The formal name for such a device is planisphere. This one is good if you enjoy craft projects. I also have this one, which I like a lot. However you spin, this puts constellations into their context on the dome of the sky.
NAVSTARS Web App in ZIP file When I wanted to know where to look for the navigation stars from a place and time, I wrote a self-contained HTML/CS/JSS program that will run in most any browser and print as a one-page table. Directions: Unzip the file, but don't open it with the browser yet! First, use a text editor to edit the location and time fields in the source code where indicated. Save, and then view it in the browser.
Data Services at the U.S. Naval Observatory Web Site The moon and the sun happen to be sky objects, too, so I use the USNO tools to print timetables for rises, sets, and twilights.

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