Immortal. Classic. Throbbing with manly manhood. Everything a roleplaying game should be. Synnibarr! All others are just pale imitations.

Never heard of World of Synnibarr? You owe it to yourself to buy a copy on eBay (mine was $10), or at the very least to read the classic RPGnet review.

Thus Continues the Gospel According to Synnibarr

III. Ptoing! Your puny missile cannot penetrate my medieval plate armor!

Armor in Synnibarr offers logarithmic protection. And makes no sense. So not only is the armor system terrible, but let’s go get our TI-83 graphing calculators and figure out how terrible.

My character is wearing Sunstone Plate armor. (That’s plate armor in the true sense, not some powered sci-fi robo-armor.) Sunstone Plate reduces damage by a factor of 10,000 — so for every 10,000 points of damage I should take, I actually take one point.

You shoot a tactical-range Cobra Shadow missile with a 200′ blast radius at me. It does 1,000,000 to 10,000,000 points of damage. I’m fucked, right?


My plate armor knocks that down to a paltry 100-1,000 points of damage. Every race in the game except gnomes (wait, WTF?) can survive 100 points of damage. Many could live through several hundred and a couple could shrug off max damage.

Think killing PCs should essentially be impossible? You’re in good hands. This is what happens when a player who has only had abusive GMs designs an RPG.

(Thanks to Gnome Stew reader DaveTheGame for suggesting this entry in the gospel.)

IV. Any monster can be improved by adding wings.

Sometimes you can amp up an otherwise meh game element by giving it a little extra kick — something cool that makes it stand out to your players and turns it into a memorable part of your campaign.

Wings, for example. Wings are cool, right? I mean, who hasn’t dreamed of being able to fly?

Welcome to the Synnibarr school of game design (max flight speeds are in parentheses):

  • Flying deer (120 mph)
  • Flying elk (120 mph)
  • Flying lion (100 mph)
  • Flying sea-horse (150 mph)
  • Flying tiger (200 mph)
  • Giant flying fish (120 mph)
  • Giant flying grizzly bear (100 mph)
  • Winged cobra (400 mph)
  • Winged horse (112 mph — why 112, specifically?)

This is the same bestiary section that features killer dolphins, temporal were-wraiths and, of course, the giant mutant fire clam, so I take the presence of flying elk, et al, as a signal that the authors were out of ideas. Given the rest of the monsters, maybe that’s a good thing.

As a GM, when your creative well has run dry, take a break and let it recharge. It could be burnout, it could be you just need to play instead of GMing for a session or two. It happens to all of us (sometimes more than once), and it’s OK — stop before the flying grizzly bears put in an appearance.