Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The World of B/X Darkness?

For months, perhaps years, I have hemmed and hawed over a replacement for World of Darkness.
While I still think that using the Unisystem or using Cryptworld + Creature Feature + Majus might be the best substitute, I also thought of this...

B/X World of Darkness.

Fighters are werewolves.
Thieves are vampires.
Magic-users are witches.
Clerics, ironically, are cambions. (Half-devils)

Special powers and skills are done in the style of skills from Xplorers. I'm thinking that vamps and wolves will have four skills each. (Stealth, Speed, Shapeshifting, Gaze for vampires and Claws, Regeneration, Speed and Tracking for werewolves.) Witches and Cambions get spells plus two other abilities. (Making magic talismans and a familiar for witches, body weaponry and mortal domination/turning for Cambions, which works on the cleric's turn mechanic.)

I've worked up some basic experience tables in Excel, though I want to tweak them a little more before I post them. Of course, this does nothing to flesh out who a character is beyond their monstery type. I might tack on a LotFP-esque skill system for those who absolutely need to play a vampire hacker or werewolf cop or whatever and have it be mechanically significant.

So there you go, yet another solution to my WoD dilemma that seems a lot more feasible than my FUDGE game. I love FUDGE, I really do, but it has a vexing tendency towards front-loading the work, and it just doesn't seem as good for conversions in light of my other, more recent ideas.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Mighty d12

I collect games, perhaps to an insane level.

What I'm trying to do now is not buy any new games, but rather buy tools for the games I already own: modules, system-neutral books like Dyson's offerings, etc.

I sold off my West End DCU (for three times what I bought it for) and I'm buying Dyson's Dodecahedron since it's 50% off on Lulu. (HC50, half off hardcovers, GO NOW.)

At KantCon this previous summer, I had fondly held, caressed perhaps, a copy of the Dodecahedron. However, I wasn't ready to part with thirty-five shekels for it. I will happily part with fourteen plus shipping, however.

Alas, if I had more disposable income, I'd probably get the updated OSRIC in hardback as well. Curse this holiday season and my vehicle registration. Curse it, I say!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Savage Worlds Tribe 8, Part the Third

Alright, so I've rethought the magic system. You can take any power as long as you can justify it/flavor it to your tribe's domains. There are obviously some that won't work; the healers and midwives of the Evites are unlikely to be able to use Blast or Zombie. Sell me on it and you can take it.

I'm not sure if I'm going to use Guilds. They seemed like a tacked on thing that didn't really add anything to the game. I mean, I like the idea of different factions within the eighth Tribe, but the ones as written didn't really do it for me.

Also, setting changes: This isn't post-apocalyptic Canada. (The only time I'd consider running post-apocalyptic Canada would be RIFTS. Missssssiles!) In fact, it's not even post-apocalyptic Earth. Nobody knows exactly what the world before looked like or what it was. In my mind, it's some vaguely cosmopolitan, soulless world of high technology and low scruples. It doesn't matter, because defining the world before is sort of contrary to the game's theme of the past being dead and the eighth tribe striving to build something new.

Finally, bestiary: Stat up some monsters. Some z'bri are growly beasties with claws and fangs. Some are alien horrors with magic of their own. Reskin monsters from Deadlands or whatever.

Man, converting stuff to Savage Worlds is easy. Why didn't I ever fly this route before?

This kind of makes me want to convert my other dusty old DP9 games to SW... although I think Heavy Gear would be better done with SWN, perhaps. Maybe I need to read over the mecha rules in the SW Sc-Fi book. Gear Krieg seems like a natural fit for SW. Jovian Chronicles could go either way, SWN or SW.

Hobby. Mental Illness. Who even knows anymore?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Savage Worlds Tribe 8 Part Deaux

Alright, so last night I looked up the affinities in the Tribe 8 rules. Each Fatima's tribe has two different affinities for using magic. I then referenced the powers in the Savage Worlds Deluxe corebook and assigned powers based loosely on the affinities. This is my first draft. Some powers I'm on the fence about; for instance I could see Yagans having Entangle as summoning a horde of bony hands from the earth. At the same time, I'm trying to keep the tribal powers different with as few "repeats" as possible.

There are also "Guilds" within the 8th tribe that grant further affinities, but I'll cover them later. I might revise the system to give starting PCs two powers from their Tribe list and one from their Guild list. I might also revise Dreaming to work more like the Blessed edge in Deadlands Reloaded rather than the basic Miracles edge from the core rules. 

Oh, and I also avoided "blasty" powers for the most part... I might revise that , might not. In my mind, Tribe 8 magic doesn't look very blasty. 

 Armor, Banish, Barrier, Boost/Lower Trait, Burrow, Detect/Conceal Arcana, Dispel, Divination, Fear, Fly, Puppet, Zombie

Evites- Empathy/Life
 Beast Friend, Boost/Lower Trait, Entangle, Environmental Protection, Greater Healing, Growth/Shrink, Healing, Mind Reading, Shape Change, Succor, Summon Ally

Magdalites- Sensuality/Conflict
Boost/Lower Trait, Confusion, Disguise, Drain Power Points, Mind Reading, Puppet, Quickness, Slumber, Speak Language, Stun, Succor

Dahlians- Motion/Illusion
 Blind, Boost/Lower Trait, Confusion, Deflection, Disguise, Fly, Invisibility, Light/Obscure,Mirror Self, Quickness, Slow, Speed, Telekinesis, Teleport, Wall Walker

Agnites- Capriciousness/Inspiration
Beast Friend, Boost/Lower Trait, Confusion, Darksight, Drain Power Points, Growth/Shrink, Havoc, Invisibility, Light/Obscure, Mind Reading, Slumber, Speed, Summony Ally, Sentinel

Joanites- Devotion/Fury
Armor,  Boost/Lower Trait, Damage Field, Deflection, Havoc, Healing, Smite, Summon Ally, Sentinel, Warrior's Gift

Shebans- Truth/Wisdom
 Banish, Blind, Boost/Lower Trait, Confusion, Detect/Conceal Arcana, Dispel, Divination, Farsight, Fear, Light/Obscure, Mind Reading,  Puppet, Speak Language

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Savage Worlds + Tribe 8= ???

....well, actually you just get a Tribe 8 with a set of rules that I don't totally hate. About ten years ago, I was working on a conversion of Tribe 8 to Fudge, but... I think Savage Worlds might better fit my vision of T8.
(Or I'm just lazy. Fudge requires a lot of work. Probably lazy. Let's go with that.) 

So first, you pick the tribe you were born into before you left or got exiled. Each tribe gives you a little bonus, either a free skill at d6 or an attribute that starts at d6 rather than d4.

Baba Yaga/Yagans- d6 in Dreaming (Dreaming is basically the spellcasting skill)
Eva/Evites- d6 in Healing
Magdalene/Magdelites- d6 in Persuasion
Dahlia/Dahlians- +1 to Agility
Agnes/Agnites- +1 to Spirit
Joan/Joanites- d6 in Fighting
Tera Sheba/Shebans- d6 in Investigation

Aside from that, you just make a standard Savage Worlds character. 

Let's talk about Dreaming.
Dreaming is my less-WTF-name for Synthesis, the magic of T8. Synthesis involves manipulating the River of Dream, so we're just going to call it Dreaming. Bam.

In order to use Dreaming, you must take Arcane Background (Dream). The associated skill is Dreaming, which is tied to Spirit. It functions similar to the AB (Miracles) skill from the rule book, with the following changes:
-The Powers a character can use are restricted by their tribe
-Specifically, Boost/Lower Trait is restricted in terms of which Traits you can affect according to your tribe.

I don't have the SW book with me, so I can't divvy out the powers to the tribes just yet. That will be my next post, I believe.

Odd how easy this conversion is compared to my laborious attempts to make this a Fudge thing.  All hail Savage Worlds!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

White Wolf + Unisystem = ???

So, here's a question that is not likely to be answered by the typical readership of this blog.

Could you do White Wolf/World of Darkness using the Unisystem die roll mechanic?

Here's the deal: I don't like chucking huge fistfulls of dice every time I want to do something and then bean-counting the successes.

Unisystem rates stats and skills generally on a 1-5, with higher stats possible for superhuman creatures.
White Wolf rates stats and skills 1-5.

Both systems call for Stat + Skill. White Wolf assigns a difficulty number (fixed at 8 in the latter version of the game) and Eden has you roll vs. a basic difficulty of 9 for an average task.

So... why couldn't I just borrow Eden's dice mechanic for White Wolf?

If I have Wits 3 and Computer 3 and I'm trying to get my hack on, instead of rolling 6 dice and counting successes, I roll 1d10+6, with 9 being the baseline difficulty. (Actually I think I'd bump it up to 10.) If you need to figure out how well a character succeeds, just check the margin of success (as opposed to counting successes in White Wolf.)

Any thoughts? And yes, I'm aware probabilities won't be exactly the same. I also don't care.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bundle of Holding +2 and DtF

So, I picked up my second ever Bundle of Holding, my first being Stars Without Number last fall.I'm still picking and scanning through the contents, but overall it was very much worth the $20 I dropped to get all the extra books. My favorite item so far is Death Frost Doom 2nd edition. It's even more jacked up than it was before and definitely has more of a Lamentations "feel" than the original, more system-neutral iteration.

In unrelated news, I had a 50% off coupon to the local used bookstore, so I picked up a cheap copy of White Wolf's Demon: the Fallen. (DtF...insert childish giggling here.) I never actually owned this one back in the day, but since I still like the content of old WW books, I thought I'd add it to my collection. It's one of the few OWoD core games that I never played.

Deadlands continues to chug along. BTS has been canceled the last couple of weeks, leaving me jonesing to get back into the fray.

Game on!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Tz-Ar-Ai, an Alien Species for Stars Without Number

Two years ago, I posted my original races for SWN- the Eldreth and the Solii. (Which originally I made for a short-lived Traveller* campaign, but later re-statted for SWN) My third original race, which I have periodically tinkered with, has never been posted. I'm restless today, and so here they are:

Tz-Ar-Ai  (Pronounced something like tizz are eye by humans)

Appearance and Biology:
Tz-Ar-Ai physiology varies by gender. Males stand around 6-6 1/2 feet, with females usually standing about a foot taller and with narrow, cone-like heads.  They are slightly insectoid in appearance and genetics. Their bodies are covered with a bony, plate-like structure. Females have small, vestigial wings reminiscent of a grasshopper's. The coloration of the Tz-Ar-Ai ranges from bleached bone white to a dark slate gray. The plating often displays subtle structural differences and patterns of another color. Other species often have a difficult time telling the difference between Tz-Ar-Ai with similar plate coloration.Tz-Ar-Ai often carve permanent markings into their plates, often reflecting membership in religious groups, sayings that the individual lives by, names of children, etc. The process is similar to a human tattoo, but Tz-Ar-Ai consider their markings sacred and never carve a flippant mark into their plates.

All currently living Tz-Ar-Ai are afflicted with a degenerative disease unique to their species. This makes them physically frail and sickly, and limits their lifespan to about 60 years. (According to their history, their healthier ancestors lived for 180 or 200 years.) The disease confounds all present medical treatment, and even proves resistant to psionic intervention. The disease manifests shortly after reaching adulthood and is incommunicable to other species.

Tz-Ar-Ai females lay clusters of eggs, which can be fertilized by any male Tz-Ar-Ai. Most of the eggs do not hatch, likely due to the disease that plagues their species.

The Tz-Ar-Ai have lost much of their history. They understand that they were a powerful species, prone to psionic ability, and that their ancestors had access to a multitude of arcane and esoteric psi disciplines. Their society had psi-tech that in some ways rivaled that of the Terran Mandate.

Then came the disease. The Body-Scourge, as rendered in their language. Current Tz-Ar-Ai can only speculate that it was a bioweapon specifically targeted at them by an enemy of some kind, though no trace of this ancestral foe remains today. As the disease slowly rotted their bodies, the governments of the Tz-Ar-Ai homeworld, An-Nr-Tar, came together in a desperate attempt to save their race. Several castes were designated with tasks designed to ensure continuity of the species: One caste of psionic healers with the ability to absorb the maladies of others, one caste of scientists, one cast of powerful bio-psi and telepathic psychics to place the rest of the species into a sort of suspended animation while the scientists searched for a treatment and the healers martyred themselves to keep the scientists whole for just a little longer.

Nobody knows quite what happened after that, because of the Scream. The Tz-Ar-Ai called it the Soul Scourge.

About one hundred years after the Scream, relatively few surviving Tz-Ar-Ai woke up. The scientists were gone. The healers were gone. The guardians remained, though they were thoroughly insane. The awakened survivors found they were still afflicted with a weakened body, but they were no longer dying off. Their young still developed the disease, but it seemed now immanently survivable.

Their history is gone. All knowledge of what happened during the Slumber is gone. They are a people without a past.

Psychology: The Tz-Ar-Ai are a grim people. Some are obsessed with uncovering the secrets of their past. Some desire to find a cure for the condition so that future generations don't have to suffer. Some search for a new place for their species. Some have given up and believe that it is only a matter of time before the Tz-Ar-Ai are gone.

Most cultures on the Tz-Ar-Ai world are deeply religious, and psionics factors heavily into their religion. They see it as a divine gift from the Creator, Her own omnipotent power given to them in some small degree. There are many different religions on the Tz-Ar-Ai world that focus around different psionic abilities and the saints or angelic beings that created them. While the central worship of the Creator is nearly universal, there are many different animistic traditions, ancestor worshippers, pantheons of saintly, siddhartha-like beings, etc. Tz-Ar-Ai often follow multiple religious practices, and some have even assimilated alien religious beliefs into their own personal spirituality. Many of the markings on a Tz-Ar-Ai's plates have religious or mystical significance.

Due to their grim and often philosophical and mystical natures, many other species consider the Tz-Ar-Ai to be off-putting, aloof, or just plain depressing. Others romanticize them as zen-like wizards. The truth, of course, varies widely, as no two Tz-Ar-Ai have exactly the same belief or life philosophy.

The Tz-Ar-Ai are best seen through Doomed and Mystical lenses. Their species sometimes seems backward or hopelessly impractical to other species. The Tz-Ar-Ai don't look for the reason why in terms of the scientific, but rather the cosmological. The Tz-Ar-Ai are acutely aware of their position: a race without much of a past, and unless they find a cure or treatment, not much of a future.

Tz-Ar-Ai as Player Characters:
*Tz-Ar-Ai have a -1 to their Constitution modifier, and suffer a -1 to all saving throws vs. Physical Effects.
*All Tz-Ar-Ai begin the game with one mastered Level 1 psionic power, regardless of class. Tz-Ar-Ai Warriors and Experts will never improve beyond this one ability (unless the GM allows multiclassing and they pick up a level in psychic.) Tz-Ar-Ai psychics may master additional abilities as normal.
*Combat/Psi-tech is a class skill for all Tz-Ar-Ai.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Races Without Abilities

Today I was thinking over my old Stars Without Numbers games, one with my old Sunday group at Mindy's and the other that I ran with Nathan and Dan. In each of those games, a new species was brought into the setting by the actions of the characters. I decided that next time I run SWN, both of these races will be available as PC races.

...one race, however, doesn't really have any special abilities beyond absorbing minerals and light for food instead of the normal digestive processes most humanoids have to do. It begs the question: Will players play a race entirely for flavor? Must every race be designed with powers and ability modifiers?

An interesting thing to consider before my next foray into SWN or some similar game.