Saturday, September 26, 2020

OSE Continues

 My OSE game continues! 

I finally conquered my fear of mapping and started drawing maps. In the last week, I mapped the lower level of the sepulcher, and the series of hidden caves and caverns below that, complete with a juicy Type A treasure nestled in a warren of troglodytes. 

...aaaand the party decided they didn't want to try to figure out how to open the door to the western entrance to level 2, and they didn't want to fight the roomful of skeletons guarding the eastern door to level 2. They left town. -_- 

I've decided I'm going to keep these maps/this world and run them for future groups who I can con into trying OSE. 

In the meantime, the players have wandered a few days north and decided to try their hand at the Caves of Chaos. Yes, those Caves of Chaos. Mine don't exist next to a keep (although Harkon Keep is reasonably near), but I have placed a base camp of the lord's retainers and various adventurers and merchants a few miles off of the Caves. We ended with the PCs scouting out the various entrances (though they've missed a couple) and deciding to nope out of the Chaos Shrine entrance and pick the minotaur entrance. (Fools!) 

I should also note that the PCs picked up a new retainer, a fighter named Petrow. He is, unfortunately, an obvious con man, who has gleefully joined the cleric's enlightenment-pyramid-scheme religion. Their conversations are reminiscent of this. I keep envisioning him as a duelist from JB's Complete B/X Adventurer, but I'm not sure I'm going to introduce any more classes into the game right now. 

We play again in two weeks. Since they're doing the Caves of Chaos, I don't need to do any mapping or stocking, though I should probably bone up on good ol' B2. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Rethinking Troika Part 1: Stats

I ran Troika back during the early days of the pandemic. I think I ran it for a month or two, but ultimately shelved it. Lately, I've been asking myself exactly why. For one thing, it was a considerable sight sillier than I normally like my games, though one of my players said that was a feature and not a bug. I did have some problems with the system, echoed by same player, so I've decided to take a shot at it. 

One criticism I have with Troika is SKILL. You roll SKILL randomly. You also use SKILL as the basis for literally every task resolution roll in the game: attack rolls, spells, attempts to use any of your Advanced Skills. (Advanced Skills are different from SKILL) If you roll a low SKILL score, you just suck at everything LOL SORRY 🤷. You can also can't improve your SKILL, though you can raise your Advanced Skills. 

Before I run Troika again, I plan to revisit and hack it a little. Here's what I'm thinking: 

-There are three primary stats: PUISSANCE, THAUMATURGY, and ADROITNESS. (You can also call these COMBAT, MAGIC, and SKILL if you're boring) You use these as the base task resolution values for attacking with weapons, casting spells, and doing anything else, respectively. 

-The secondary stats are ELAN, FORTUNE, and ORGONE. Chronically bland MFs can call these STAMINA, LUCK, and MANA. I guess you can also cease with the insistence of all caps. One of them is your capacity for taking damage, the second one can influence saving throws and prevent character death, and the last powers spells. 

The procedure: Roll 1d3+3 for PUISSANCE, 1d3+1 for THAUMATURGY, and 1d3+3 for ADROITNESS. A result of less than 0 on your THAUMATURGY roll is treated as 0. You may add 1 to a single stat after stats have been rolled. 

Next, roll 2d6+12 for ELAN and 1d6+6 for FORTUNE. ORGONE is calculated by rolling 1d3 and multiplying the result by the character's THAUMATURGY score. After rolling, you may add 2 points to one of the secondary stat totals. 

Part 2 will be devoted to Backgrounds. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Twitter, 5e, and Tempting a Brain Aneurysm: A Love Story

Remind me to stop perusing RPG Twitter. Remind me especially to stop following discussions of 5e on Twitter. Each time I say it will be the last, with all the conviction of when I say I'll never eat popcorn again after I spend two days trying to get one of those little pieces to unwedge from between my gums. 

Today, some of the same people who constantly dunk on/trash 5e for being handholdy, too easy, and soft are now crying that the first encounter in the new Icewind book is too hard. 

 One common complaint I was seeing in the discussions is that there is "too much swing" at low levels in 5e. 

Anybody reading this ever rolled up a 1st level thief with 2 hp in the old days? DMs, did you ever roll up a dragon on the wilderness encounter tables when a 1st level party was just trying to get to whatever fetid goblin den they were trying to raid? This game has always been swingly at low level, except maybe during the 4e days when encounters were overdesigned and lasted an hour almost like clockwork. Anyway, I'm not saying I have an unshakable love for low level swing, just the the criticism is often wildly inconsistent. 

...I'll chalk up a win to D&D Twitter for the "orcs are racist" debate, though. I thought the idea was ridiculous at fist, but then I downloaded Orcs of Thar to come up with some ideas for OSE humanoid classes and whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. 

The moral of this story is that Twitter is garbage and you should find better things to do with your limited time on this planet. 

Monday, September 14, 2020


The only envelopes that come to my house that are any fun to open are those that come from Christian. He has sent me some paper skelly boys, that I might stage my own little Gath battles. Non-digital entertainment is at a high-premium in these awful times, especially DIY stuff. 

Thanks, man! 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Get Your Ag On

 I ran my OSE Realms of Agon campaign again tonight. Some things to note: 

-The party wisely avoids combat. We didn't even have a combat tonight; the party wisely lured the wandering gecko lizards they encountered into the room with the slain bandits, and got the monsters to feed on the bodies rather than on them. 

-Monster xp in OSE and B/X is saaaaad. The players have leaned into this, and seek clever solutions if at all possible Given that most of them have like 3 or 5 hit points, this is a good idea. 

-The cleric usually takes light, rather than cure light wounds.Given that most of the party is probably going to die if they take a single solid hit, it makes sense to focus on a spell that can reduce a monster's chance of making that fatal blow land. 

-Fortune seems to favor the players with regard to reaction rolls, traps being sprung, and wandering monsters. Fortune is not with them, however, most of the time I need to roll up a treasure. 

-The party cleared out level 1 of the sepulcher they have been exploring. There remains an enigma to be solved, but they want to do some research in town. 

-Now that one of my players has introduced me to the shift key function in jam boards, using it for mapping isn't quite as awful for my artistically-disinclined ass. 

-I have homework: at the end of the night, the magic-user's player declared that he wants to seek out a tutor who he can pay to copy spells, and the assassin has decided she wants to discretely find some poison for purchase. I'll have that worked up for them before the next session. 

-Rumor tables have become my favorite part of this campaign. 

-Emergent lore is dope. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Wizardawn? More like...WizarGONE.

 I used to use the shit out of Wizardawn, a website that generated all kinds of maps and resources for D&D and some sci-fi stuff, too. I used to to map my old AD&D 1st edition Tarraxian game a decade ago. I used it to map almost every damn thing in my Stars Without Number game in 2013ish. 

Last time I ran OSE, I was having trouble with the map generator. Now the whole website is gone. I think he might have actually taken it down while I was trying to use it. At any rate, it was there last time I ran OSE, and now it's not. 

While the creator did leave the ability to download and run a private server with the generators, I can't get it to work. One of my renters, an IT professional, couldn't get it to work. Feh. 

Luckily, I've discovered Dave's Mapper, which is superior to Wizardawn's map generator in some ways (grid overlay option in 5' squares, 10' squares, or hexes, ability to rotate and swap out tiles without generating a whole new map) and inferior in others. (Sci-fi city maps are pretty bland, can't generate world maps, doesn't have an NPC populating function) It also doesn't have any of the cool random non-map generation stuff that Wizardawn had. Le sigh. 

I'll miss the 'dawn, but I guess I gotta move on.