Monday, June 29, 2015
I think I'm going to re-do how powers work, but I need to scribble some notes down before I decide anything concretely.
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Fate session 3 ran on Friday. I'm still not sure I get this game, and I'm now facing the possibility that it simply isn't my thing. I'm going to give it another session or two.
I think one area where I need further tutelage is that of conflict. So far, my players have been exceedingly good at avoiding conflict through ingenuity and stealth.
I'm not sure exactly why I don't grasp the game, but the experience so far leaves me with this feeling that I am somehow missing some large part of the way the game is supposed to work. I don't think I'm giving out enough Fate points, or perhaps the players have taken too many supernatural abilities and the lack of refresh leaves them unable to invoke their Aspects often enough.
Perhaps, since this is a fairly "Extra-centric" game, and both PCs possess Extras, I should rethink how they work. Perhaps turn them into stunts, or maybe even skills. There's the rub, though; I don't feel comfortable enough with the system to tinker with it. I've tried reading sections of the System Toolkit, but they've left me wanting.
I signed up for a Fate game at my favorite summer gaming convention, thinking that perhaps the best way to learn is to start by playing. Unfortunately, that con is still a month away and I'm notorious for punking out on Sunday morning con games.
I have the week off, so perhaps I'll give the rules another read through and see how things go.
In other news, tonight is D&D/E&E night at the LGS. What trouble will find Henrik and company this week?
Friday, June 26, 2015
Supernatural Gift: Vampire
+2 Strong, +2 Quick, Night Vision
Choose two of: Dominate Mind, Magical Heritage (Necromancy or Sorcery only), Shapeshifting (Wolf, bat, large rat, or mist, each a separate selection) or Spider Climb.
Weaknesses: Ban (Direct sunlight), Dependency (Blood), Vulnerability (Silver, Holy items), instantly killed if staked through the heart.
-Vampires can exceed the human maximum of 3 in attributes.
-If you are using the optional magic system, vampires who take Magical Heritage can select any magical lore known to the Twilight Brotherhood.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Since arriving on the island, Henrik has designed two pieces of weaponry:
*The Dammendal Fury: a six-chambered weapon that is loaded with the curious magical crystals the party has developed. By focusing one's will through the weapon and into the crystals, one can discharge blasts of magical energy from the crystal, though each crystal is permanently spent after such use. Depending on the load out, the Fury can be used as a flamethrower, ranged blaster, or even a flare gun. The weapon was named for the dwarven castle where the first prototypes were constructed.
*The Fist of Bjornstrom (aka the Fob): This weapon is a locked gauntlet with a crank-operated slingshot device built into it. The primary ammunition of the fob is grenades. A strip of specially treated rough paper ignites the fuse as the device is propelled from the weapon. Due to the arc trajectory of the grenades, the weapon shouldn't be used in dungeons or structures with low ceilings. Likewise, the heavy gauntlet should not be used as a melee/brawling weapon, lest one risk damaging the mechanism that propels the grenade. The weapon was named after the dwarven king who resides in Dammendal.
Of course, Henrik also has all the devices that a Technologist of his experience level would be expected to know, plus a few extras built from schematics he found, but the above two are unique inventions built specifically to be used against the death cult that resides in Shade Abbey...however, the dwarves now have the schematics and molds to build them...
Henrik's next project is to try and find some kind of material that can amplify magical energy. He has an idea for a larger scale version of the Fury to slay the black dragon that lurks in the Isle's northeastern wastelands.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Normally I don't like mechanics that let you "dodge" modern firearms. I suppose it's appropriate enough in some Cyberpunk genres that we can let it slide, though I like the idea of seeking cover in crumbling alleys and behind cars during a CB shootout. So, my proposal:
Melee Combat: Defense = Quick + Skill.
Ranged Combat: Defense = Quick. A character with some kind of cybernetic enhancement can add Acrobatics or perhaps double their Quick. Better armor up and take cover, chombatta.*
I imagine I'll have slight variants for Steampunk and Urban Fantasy, especially because the latter game seems to stress supernatural toughness as factoring into a character's Defense.
*Ah, Cyberpunk 2020.
Monday, June 22, 2015
Alright, so in OneDice you roll 1d6+Stat+Skill, aiming for a target number. Nothing new. In combat, that target number is the opponent's Defense. (Spelled Defence in the book, because British people) Defense, for PCs, is determined by taking the better of a character's Strong or Quick and multiplying it by three.
This formula gives most demihumans Defense of 9, because elves and halflings and such have Quick 3 and Orcs have Strong 3. Trolls, all of whom start with Strength 4, have 12 Defense. These are raw numbers without any armor or shields.
Why is this a problem? Well, I'm glad you asked. With the exception of Trollish Strong, no PC can start with a stat higher than 3. Similarly, no character can start with a skill higher than 2.
Let's make an Orc warrior. I have Strong 3 just because I'm an Orc. I also max my Blades skill at 2. In combat, I roll 1d6+3+2. I cannot hit a PC Troll in combat. The highest I can roll is 11, and all PC Trolls have Defense 12 without armor.
Hell, even against other types of humanoids, my maxed-out Orc only has a 1/3 chance of hitting. All Elves, Goblins, and Halflings have Quick 3, giving them 9 Defense. Adding my Strong 3 and Blades 2, I still have to roll a 5 or 6 to beat their Defense score. If they put on any armor, I'm sunk.
In addition, the formula for determining a PC's defense does not apply to monsters. Monsters, even NPCs belonging to a playable race, appear to have utterly arbitrary Defense scores, similar to the AC scores of monsters in older versions of D&D.
Defense= Quick + Skill+3. In hand-to-hand, this is going to be the character's appropriate weapon skill. (Blades, Bruiser, etc.) In ranged combat, this will be Acrobatics. Armor adds to Defense as per the table. This applies to monsters as well, since their weapon skills are usually noted. Particularly large, armored, or otherwise tough opponents can get a bonus equal to a type of armor. (A monster with thick fur might count as slightly armored, a lizard man might count as wearing medium/mail, etc.)
Take a look at another Troll PC. Trolls begin with Quickness of only 1 or 2, plus probably 2 points in a weapon skill. If my maxed out Orc gets into a scrap with this Troll, he finds himself up against a Defense score of 7 (2+2+3). He now needs a 3+ on a d6 to hit the Troll, whereas before it was literally impossible to hit the Troll. This Orc can now hit an unarmored Elf (Defense 8) on the roll of 4+. Keep in mind this Orc is a character designed to throw down.
One thing I should've noted earlier: Every OneDice character gets 6 Stunt Points per session, and those points can be used to ignore an enemy's Defense, but I don't think that remedies the situation when you find starting characters being literally unable to hit opponents with Defense 9 or 12, as Stunt Points are a finite resource and the Defense bypass is only for one attack.
I haven't checked the other OneDice games, but I suspect there will be a similar issue since I think the system is essentially the same. I'll check Urban Fantasy next, since it's the one I most want to actually run.
If I've somehow done the math wrong on my initial examples demonstrating the math problems in this system, please someone tell me. I'd love to be wrong about this, but I think the game is pretty straightforward.
Sunday, June 21, 2015
The Week In Gaming: Pocket Dimensions, Fate-ing by the Seat of My Pants, Accidental Swag, and Dwarven Grenade Launchers
Thursday night RIFTS was dandy. The PCs are slogging through a pocket dimension of my own creation. I've really started ignoring the initiative/attacks per melee rules. It makes combat go considerably faster. My players either didn't notice or didn't care about my stealth rules change.
I ran Fate Core on Friday. I really feel like I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to running Fate. I'm going to try to reread the rules this week and hopefully have my shit together this Friday. I know this hobby is all about imagination, but when I run Fate it feels like I'm just making shit up, and not in a good way.
Sunday evening D&D was a packed house this week. It was another amazing session. We have two newcomers (to the hobby, no less) and even another potential recruit who watched most of the session. My character, Henrik, invented another devastating weapon. At this point, he'll eventually be the campaign world's equivalent of Lockheed-Martin....that is, if we can ever get off the damn island. (Which I actually think would be the end of the campaign, so I'm in no hurry to do so.) We ended up naming the contraption after the local dwarven king, further ingratiating him to Henrik. (Hopefully)
I forgot about Free RPG Day this year, but I picked up some incidental swag that was left over at the gaming store:
-A GM screen for Dungeon Crawl Classics (Rockin!)
-Some quickstart for a game called Through the Breach, which turned out to be an rpg set in the world of Malifaux (no interest whatsoever), but I could pretty easily reskin this into a Deadlands scenario.
This coming week: Further RIFTS pocket dimension shenanigans, another attempt at making Fate Core make some kind of sense in my brain, and further adventures with a megadungeon and steamtech weaponry. Hot damn.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
This assumes you have Mike Lizardi's alien/robot class builder, available on Drivethru RPG for a buck fifty. If you don't have it... well, make your own random skill table.
I tried to use Lizardi's abilities wherever possible, but for some of these abilities you just have to make a ruling. I experimented with more liberal usage of the attribute modifiers in Star Frontiers. (Partially because you can roll a lot of attribute modifiers in Lizardi's guide.)
Aliens in Xplorers are classes unto themselves. Some of them have fewer skills than normal, but those skills start lower than normal. (Lower is better in Xplorers, if you're note familiar with the system.)
+1 PHY, -1 AGL
Skills: Sociology 17+ and 3 others rolled randomly
Multi-Limbed, Can use Sociology skill to detect lies
-1 PHY, +1 AGL
Skills: Sociology 16+ and two others randomly rolled
Special Abilities: Ambidexterity
-2 PHY, +1 AGL, +1 INT
Skills: Martial Arts, Survival 14+, Weapons Specialist
Special Abilities: Glide, Night Vision, Warlike Demeanor
(Note: Traded in one skill for an extra special ability)
See my SWN stats. You can pretty much use them as written.
+2 PHY, -2 PRE
Special Abilities: Immune to ingested poison, spring charge (+2 hit/damage on the first round only) , prehensile tail
Skills: Science 13+, Sociology 16+
Special Abilities: Cannot be blinded longer than one round
(Note: This race does not translate well at all, IMO....)
Mechanons (NPC Race)
Use my SWN stats. Monster stats between the two games are nearly identical.
+2 PHY, -2 PRE
Special Abilities: Can track by scent 12+ , can learn any language
Next: SF races with stats for White Star
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
As far as I can tell, all races in Star Frontiers could opt to be any of the professions introduced in Zeb's guide, including Mentalist. Therefore, I'm going to just say that all of these races can choose between Warrior, Expert, and Psychic. This assumes you are going to be using the Star Frontiers setting rather than the implied setting of SWN, where very few presently living alien races are psychic.
-Dralasites can form extra limbs, be it arms or legs or whatever else might prove useful. The maximum number of extra limbs is equal to Dex/2, rounded up. Note that these are extra limbs beyond their ordinary four. This doesn't grant any additional attacks or movement, but having extra arms can allow a dralasite to better multitask, more legs results in better balance, they can climb while shooting, etc.
-Detect Lies: A dralasite can sense if a person is lying to them using their Perception skill. (This does not give them the Perception skill or bonus ranks in it.) NPCs who are especially deceptive can resist this will a skill roll using their skill bonus.
-Dralasites have a base movement rate of 90.
-Dralasites are AC 7 naturally and cannot wear armor.
**Note: I modified the dralasites pretty heavily, since not wearing armor in SWN is a virtual death sentence.
-Once per game, a Vrusk may choose to comprehend a social interaction of some sort. (Business negotiation, subtle innuendo, etc.) Before rolling the dice, they may declare an automatic success on this check on the roll of anything but boxcars.
-Battle Rage: A Yazarian can go utterly berserk in combat. A berserking yazarian gains a +2 to hit and damage in melee. They can only engage in melee combat and can't use skills or psionic disciplines. A Mental Save is required to break out of a rage prematurely, otherwise the yazarian fights until all foes are dead or it is slain. After using a rage, a yazarian is exhausted for an hour, suffering -2 to all attacks, skills, and saves.
-Glide: Yazarians can glide like a flying squirrel. Their distance is modified by gravity. (See the chart in the original SF)
-Can see in dim light with no penalty, suffer a -2 penalty to all rolls in bright light without goggles
-Yazarians have -1 Strength modifier.
Sathar (NPC Race)
Being an NPC race, these guys are better written up as monsters. Armor Class: 6 No. Appearing: 1-6
Hit Dice: 4 Saving Throw: 13+
Attack Bonus: +4 Movement: 120
Damage: 1d6 or by weapon Morale: 10
Skill Bonus: +1
Special Ability: Hypnosis. The target is allowed a Mental Effect save to resist, otherwise they can be placed into a deep trance or implanted with a long-term hypnotic suggestion.
Per the book, there are reports that they are immune to electrical, stunning, and incapacitation weapons, but the reports are unconfirmed.
-Spring Charge: Humma can take a full move and still attack, and may make that attack at any point along their move. (Melee attacks only)
-Poison Resistance: Humma are immune to any poison that they eat, drink, or breathe. Injected poisons are resisted with a normal saving throw.
-Humma have a +1 Strength modifier and a -1 Charisma modifier.
-Can't be blinded (bright light effects them for one round only)
-Free skill: Ifishnit start with Business/0 or Profession (Gemologist)/0. This is cumulative with any skills from Background or Training.
Mechanons (NPC Race)
Being an NPC race, these guys are better written up as monsters.
Armor Class: 6 No. Appearing: 1-6
Hit Dice: 3 Saving Throw: 14+
Attack Bonus: +3 Movement: 120
Damage: 1d10 laser/maser Morale: 12
Skill Bonus: +3
The thinker caste are skilled debaters and are always considered to have the Persuasion skill.
Armor Class: 4 No. Appearing: 1-6
Hit Dice: 5 Saving Throw: 12+
Attack Bonus: +5 Movement: 120
Damage: 1d10 laser, 1d8 melee Morale: 12
Skill Bonus: +1
-Highly developed smell: Osakar can use their Perception skill to track people and navigate by scent.
-Osakar start with Culture/Traveler at 0.
-Osakar have +1 Strength modifier, -1 Charisma modifier
Edit: My god, the races in Zebulon's are horrid. Just saying.
Monday, June 15, 2015
First, let's take a system/mechanic agnostic approach to the races and their abilities.
-Form extra limbs (max number based on dexterity)
-Detect lies (not automatic)
-Slightly stronger than humans, slightly less dextrous
-Comprehension (kind of a metagame thing, a roll to force the GM to tell you what's going on in a social situation. Not automatic)
-Slightly weaker than humans, slightly more dextrous
-Battle Rage (Bonus to hit in melee, not automatic chance to trigger )
-Can see in dim light with no penalty, suffer a penalty in bright light without goggles
-Somewhat weaker than humans, slightly smarter and more dextrous
Sathar (NPC Race)
-Hypnotism, including hypnotic suggestion
-Potentially immune to electrical attacks and knockout gas, though the text states this as unconfirmed within the game setting.
-Slightly less dextrous and intelligent than humans, but somewhat more charismatic
And let's not forget the races from Zebulon's guide. (Although I'm sure many of you would like to) Personally I dislike these races, but I'm a completionist.
-Spring Charge (similar to 3rd edition Spring Attack feat)
-Poison Resistance (ingested poisons only, total immunity)
-Somewhat stronger than humans, somewhat less charismatic than humans
-Can't be blinded (bright light effects them for one round only)
-Free skill: Appraisal, Gemology, or Haggling
-Slightly weaker than humans, slightly smarter
Mechanons (NPC Race)
-Built-in Weapon (equivalent to laser or maser, possibly stronger weapons in thinkers)
-High Intelligence (75% maximum for warriors, 95% maximum for thinkers)
-Warrior caste has tail, thinker caste has Persuasion skill
-Highly developed smell
-Somewhat stronger than humans, somewhat less charismatic
And now, my annotations:
1. Given that Star Frontiers is a percentile-based system and the sprawling D&D family of games are based on d20 and myriad other rolls, conversion is never going to be apples to apples.
2. With regard to attribute modifications: "slightly" means +/-5 in the original Star Frontiers rules. "Somewhat" means +/-10. Keep in mind that the original rules rated abilities in pairs (Str/Sta, etc) and used a percentile-based scale.
Next: SF races with stats for Stars Without Number.
Sunday, June 14, 2015
Our party continued their assault on Shade Abbey, headquarters of a sinister death cult, using the new magic/tech weapons we invented. They are frighteningly effective, though I'm not sure if we'll ever be able to replenish the unique ammo supply once it runs out. The session continued to validate my old school philosophy of "avoid combat, acquire treasure," since there were huge amounts of combat (a rarity in John's game thus far) and our experience yield was absolutely pitiful compared to prior sessions. Still, the death cult needs to go, because there are so many things we can build and do in the immediate campaign area once we are rid of them. My character took damage for the second time this entire campaign. (Henrik is allergic to pain.)
In non-related news, I purchased and downloaded Tunnels & Trolls, edition 7.5. The new "not silly" art style clashes heavily with my notion of T&T, especially since they opted to keep the silly spell names. I think there's a little too much cruft in it, but I need to digest it further. My actual favorite edition of the game, 5th, is conspicuously absent from DriveThruRPG. They have 1st, 4th, and 7.5th edition (though a search for Tunnels & Trolls will not bring up 7.5; I had to search for it on Google to find the DTRPG link), but no others.
Disclaimer: Any and all attachment I might have to T&T is strictly nostalgic, hearkening me back to middle school when I'd hang out with my older "metal friend" and we'd listen to Black Sabbath and play T&T during the summer. (Some stereotypes have a grain of truth to them, I suppose.)
I continue to read Numenera. The rules are actually pretty simple, but I'm not sure how I feel about the whole "GM doesn't roll dice" thing. That would take some serious getting used to. Still, the book is beautiful and the rule are simple and interesting. I regret totally blowing off the dude who tried to start a game of it last summer. When he showed me an example character, a Mysterious Nano Who Bears a Halo of Fire, my first reaction to Numenera was "what a bunch of hippy bullshit." (To be fair, this is also my initial reaction to 75% of all stimuli I encounter in all circumstances) I fully admit I gave it a raw deal. I'm still not sure if I'll ever run it, but damn I am enjoying reading it.
Finally, I am working on OSR conversions for the alien races from Star Frontiers. Given that I am not presently running Star Frontiers, nor any of the OSR games for which I am converting the aliens, it makes perfect sense that I would spend time doing this. I've already completed a mostly system-neutral concept write up of all the aliens' abilities. My next step is to put them into race form for SWN and X-plorers, and into Race-As-Class forms for White Star.
This week: RIFTS Madhaven, Fate Core Worlds Apart, and another session of Engines & Empires Shade Island campaigns. Damn, do I love summer gaming.
Saturday, June 13, 2015
Our neglected poker chips from our concluded Deadlands game are presently serving as Fate Points. I also keep a stack of index cards handy. Unrelated: I think the official Fate dice look like hard candies and I must continuously resist the temptation to put them in my mouth.
Our inaugural session began with the NPC sorcerer for whom the PCs work asking them to investigate the disappearance of one of his contacts in a nearby town. Venturing there, the PCs found the landscape gradually beginning to wither. Arriving in town, they found it misty and abandoned, with decades of apparent disrepair on the buildings. Of course, the contact had only been missing for three weeks, so something was clearly wrong.
Trying to make their way through the mist, the bikkhuni began feeling a slight, sickening draining condition. The vampire, on the other hand, felt nothing at all. She took to the rooftops and he searched the streets.
Eventually the party discovered that the MacGuffin's house was empty, the population had been changed into some sort of wight-like creatures, and there was a crack to another plane in the center of town. The party wisely decided to head back to their base at Baccarat and report this to the sorcerer.
It's a strange game, no doubt, but I can see myself really getting to like this.
Friday, June 12, 2015
I've heard people refer to this as "Gamer ADD," but I'm not sure that's what's going on here. I have this weird compulsion to work on anything, anything, other than what I'm actually supposed to be working on...and if I switch what I'm working on, my attention moves somewhere else. It's one of the reasons I have half a dozen gaming projects in cryostasis.
This particular quirk of my personality only applies to gaming; it doesn't affect my job. It is quite vexing, however, and I feel like it's getting worse as time goes on.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll go back to doing just about anything but prepping for the Fate Core game I am running tonight.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Don't get me wrong; I enjoyed the hell out of it...but it's become so ubiquitous in gaming that really it's more of a punchline than anything else.
I like horror in my games, even if those games are primarily non-horror. I just think I need to take it in a different direction, because I'm all Cthulhu'd out.What direction that is, I'm not sure yet.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Pathfinder I sold off because I despise it, and every attempt I've ever made to run a PF campaign has ended in bitter disaster. WFRP I'm selling off because I've finally settled on the idea that I really do like the first edition better, and that's the edition I'm liable to run should I ever actually run WFRP again.
In the meantime, I've added Numenera to my collection, as well as several of the adorable little OneDice genre books. Those seem ideal for an afternoon where someone wants to game, but we're all feeling so painfully lazy. I particularly like OneDice Urban Fantasy, which once again threatens to undermine my Fudge and BXWoD work as something to replace White Wolf.
Hey, Sisyphus. I get you.
Sunday, June 7, 2015
The session wasn't all good, though. A random trap and a bad roll cost us our gnome expert, an NPC but a long-running member of the party. In fact, unless our on-hiatus brawler returns, my character is the only remaining member of the original party we rolled up in March.
Monday, June 1, 2015
The session was mostly one of interaction and exploration. Our posse ended up staying in a dwarven castle where we were well-received for various deeds done in the campaign setting. We hobnobbed with the NPCs in the castle. Our party learned from various dwarven masters (I from the alchemist and the gunsmiths, our party's druid from the dwarven high priestess) My technologist built a new device with the help of the dwarves. It was just absolute imaginative fun. We cleared the last bit of our first dungeon, we found several potential dungeons what need delving, and we learned some campaign world lore.
What was most interesting is that we had a spectator who had a lot of questions about older D&D, including why we chose to play an older edition. (He wasn't trying to proselytize, he just was curious about why people chose to play older versions of the game) He seemed fascinated by the sandbox style of play. He seemed interested by the fact that the storyline of the game is something that emerged from play.
I'm really loving this campaign. Thanks to John for running it.
Meanwhile, I pulled the rug out from under myself in RIFTS and I'm totally floundering with Fate, but those are other subjects for other posts.