Thursday, August 21, 2014

RPG (every 10 or so) days

It's a thing -> http://autocratik.com/media/img/rpg-a-day.jpg
But, I can't be arsed to write 31 individual blog posts. You get them in several mass ramblings!

12th - Old Rpg you still play / read

Most the RPGs I play are old (or retro-clones of old games). OD&D. Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, I hope to be playing Metamorphosis Alpha when the kickstarter ships.

13th - Most Memorable Character Death

A dwarf defending fort till his death against Giants and humanoids while the civilians escape through escape tunnel. College game run by History Major.  It was keen.

14th - Best Convention Purchase


15th - Favorite Convention Game

Caves of Chaos (mash-up of D&D B2 and Hackmaster B2) which I've run at various conventions.

16th - Game  you wish you owned

Until they started re-releasing all the OOP print stuff I wish I owned D&D.  Wish I had the rights to reprint / make computer versions of all the old SPI and AH wargames. Although, I don't think question meant "Own the copyright to". I kind of own all the games I want, except some which are collector's items and ridiculously riced. I kind of with I still had the print copies of all the ICE Middle Earth modules.

17th - Funniest Game you've played

Paranoia

18th - Favorite Game System

I like different systems for different styles of play. Something simple, light OD&D, Swords and Wizardry for sandbox / exploration play. For the more heroic / story driven games I'm really digging FFG's Age of Rebellion. Thinking about Conan conversion of it's mechanics.

Art / Flavor wise Dungeon Crawl Classics is close tie with Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

19th - Favorite Published Adventure

B2 Keep on the Borderlands my first module ever, so great and flexible. I've done a lot with it.
S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks top of my short lest of classic modules I still need to run. Sci-Fantasy loves it.
Barrowmaze Dripping with flavor and unique dungeon layout.

20th - Will still play in 20 years time...

Everything I'm playing today. I'll be 64!

21st - Favorite Licensed RPG

Licensed games generally blow.  FFG's Age of Empire is decent. So was Firefly RPG if I remember correctly.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Epic Game of Thrones Board Game Customization

I have a friend. This friend has imagination, a hot glue gun, and way more free time than I do. He spends some of that free time modifying board games. Both by adding extra rules, cards, pieces, etc. And by making 3-D game boards. His latest "large" project has been "A Game of Thrones". The board is huge 7+feet, see last photo of game board folded in half next to creator. My friend says it's 90% complete, only needs some labels and pouring the water stuff modelers use (acrylic?) for the oceans.

I don't know game, and haven't even watched the series (or read books). So, mostly let pictures do the talking.

Length of board looking south.


Ice wall, with snow zombies behind it. The Black Watch?


Scoreboard, playing decks, council table, and throne room


Flash washing out castles and viallages detail




The "rolling game box" and creator Yoseph B.

Maybe it was more impressive in person, but at least for me... Mind Blown!

Monday, August 11, 2014

RPG (every 10 or so) days

It's a thing -> http://autocratik.com/media/img/rpg-a-day.jpg
But, I can't be arsed to write 31 individual blog posts. You get them in several mass ramblings!

#1 First RPG Played

First solo play was Moldvay D&D Basic Set around 11-12 years old. Freakin captured my imagination. Really has dominated my life for next 30 years. RPGs have been and continue to be my #1 creative outlet.  I've spent more of my time, money, and life on them than just about anything else. I think the main draw (and I'm primarily a DM) for me is the creation and control of "worlds and characters". It's not as hard as writing a novel, or as expensive/complex as producing a movie or requiring talent needed to paint but has creative aspects of all of those. It can be as private as staying up all night in your basement keying the dungeon map you drew, or as social as playing games with strangers at the FLGS. It can be done with nothing more than pencils and paper (or even just rocks and sticks). Or with ridiculously large amount of "bits".

I think the first game I played with other people was AD&D in high school.

#2 First RPG Refereed

Rolemaster in college. Finally got 3 people interested in something other than D&D. It lasted 2 sessions. While I may still not be a good Ref, I was much, much worse then.

#3 First RPG Purchased

The Little Brown Books in a White Box from forgotten hobby shop in Falls Church, VA.Tagging along with dad when he'd get model railroad stuff.  Around this time I also spent my allowance on a subscription to Dragon Magazine, this was issues 80's or 70's . That was freaking awesome. Every month a brown paper wrapped parcel of RPG stuff.

#4 Most recent RPG purchase

Currently contributed to several (too many) Kickstarters that have yet to fund / deliver. Arguably these are purchases from the future.
DCC Purple PlanetNecromancer Games 
5ed Monsters and Stuff 
Metamorphosis Alpha (next year's winner for #5 Most Old School RPG owned) 
CSIO maps baby! 
Dwarvenite Caves and Caverns 
Blue Dungeon Tiles 
Bones II
Di I mention up in #1 about spending too much money on games...

Most recent from the FLGS (wave Mage's Sanctum) RPG (I buy regular games too much too) purchase was FATE Core.

Most recent EBay win: Bunch of Ravenloft Guides to .... 

#5 Most Old School RPG owned

I prefer old school, so most my games are old school. Empire of the Petal Throne wins. For being actually old, old school in play, and not retro-cloned (to my knowledge). Although, Jeff Dee and friends are working on something like that.

Honorable mention goes to The Traveller Book. The only RPG I'm aware of in which your character can die during creation.

#6 Favorite RPG Never get to play

Ars Magica I never have played and can't be sure it's my favorite. I really, really want to find out though. 

Definitely my favorite never get to play RPG is Rolemaster / MERP / HARP and derivatives. 

#7 Most "intellectual" RPG owned

I've thrown away any of those I've accidentally acquired.

#8 Favorite character

I don't really keep characters for long or recycle them. As a player I tend to get the DMing itch and leave campaigns before too long.  I like this guy, an NPC  Pilger, Dwarven Priest of Horm

#9 Favorite Die / Dice Set

d30 OF COURSE.  Btw I picked up New Big Dragon Games d30 Companions at this years North Texas RPG Con and recommend them highly.

#10 Favorite tie-in Novel / Game Fiction

I friggin hate companies (i.e. White Wolf) and products (i.e. everything White Wolf has published) that combine 1/2 bad fiction with 1/2 bad RPG supplement. That being said a couple book -> games I've not hated are Jack Vance's / Dying Earth RPG and Robert Jordan / Wheel of Time RPG.

P.s. Dragonlance RPG stuff blows.

#11 Weirdest RPG owned

I have hundreds... and what's weird? If I had that diceless RPG Amber? I'd definitely call it weird. If I didn't dislike indie scenester games with all their cleverness and intellectualism, some of them are definitely weird. 

Macho Women with Machine Guns is nominally "weird" for those unfamiliar with the films of Russ Meyer.

Fudge / Fate has weird (relative to polyhedrals) dice.

Some of the Fantasy Games Unlimited RPGs have weirdly impenetrable rules.

Friday, August 8, 2014

One thing from column A, one from column B

An ancient post that has  been sitting in my drafts for, maybe a couple years. At one point this would be my mash-up D&D rules. But now, I don't even remember what some of these rules are... Some of them sound intriguing.


http://peopletobe.blogspot.com/2012/05/one-thing-from-column-one-from-column-b.html


OD&D: The castle rules from Book 3.

Holmes: Scroll creation for low level magic-users.

B/X: The baseline system for everything.

AD&D (both editions): Hobbits being mostly thieves, dwarves being clerics (so, now like the Elf being a fighter/magic-user, the hobbit is a fighter/thief, and the dwarf is a fighter/cleric).

BECMI/RC: Thirty-sixth level characters and fighter combat options.

D&D3: Interestingly enough, this turns out to be a tough one. Feats are covered by DD and if I wanted skills I'd use the DD system as well.

Type IV: It's Manual of the Planes, the one bit of assumed world I liked from it more than prior editions.

LotFP: The encumbrance system, attack modes for fighters, and the parry option. If I used my charlatan class (magic-user/thief combo) I'd base their player's company name level rules on the inn rules.

BX Companion: The high level thief traits. Possibly the mass combat rules.

ACKS: Ritual spells, high level magic user abilities (creation of half-breeds), cleave rule (for fighters only), and mortality table.

Dark Dungeons: Weapons feats and spell training/research rules. Thirty-sixth level demi-humans (I know they're an option in RC but DD assumes their use).

Neo-Classical Geek Revival: The various exploration and travel XP awards.

Classic 5ed - Classes

Classic 5ed in style of 70's and 80's D&D. Gritty, dark, "swords and sorcery", when elves were fighter/wizards and dwarves didn't dabble in the dark arts. A few changes and restrictions to 5th Edition Basic Rules to instill a particular flavor and style on the game I run. Demonstration of how easy it is to and encouraging others to make 5ed their own.

Classes and multi-classing are limited by race. Standard Ability requirements (15+ in Ability) for multi-classing remain. Humans, Dwarves Elves, Halflings and 1/2 Orcs are playable races. Fighters, Clerics, Wizards, Rogues with Rangers and Druids for Wood Elves only after PHB is released.

Basic D&D 5th Edition PDF


One thing I desire in a RPG is fast (preferably 10min or less) character creation. Partially for ease of new players and fast start up. But, also the style I often run there's occasionally is the need to roll up a new character ;) So, I really dig 5ed's choice to delay many character decisions to 2nd level. But they didn't g do it consistently.  Namely Clerics shouldn't pick Domain until 2nd level. And Fighters should likewise delay Fighting Style choice until 2nd level. These two in particular, give time for the player to grow into their character, experience the mechanics and game play before being forced to make important decisions.

The only other changes to classes are to remove social skills, add several more skill options* and the various race/class restrictions. Oh and wizard spells are mostly determined randomly (cause magic is strange, barely understood, and wondrous).

* In classic play you differentiate your character by how you play them. Overly restricting skills conflicts with the player's control over that.  For instance want to be a "paladin", give your fighter knowledge Religion and be righteous. Mostly allowed everyone to take "mental" skills.  I might still go with no skill restrictions. But for now, ruled on a case by case basis.



Cleric

  • All races except Elves may be clerics.  
  • Divine Domain is selected at 2nd level.
  • Choose two skills from Arcana, Athletics, History, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Performance, Religion, and Survival.

Fighter

  • All races except Wood Elves may be fighters (wood elf fighters are rangers). Dwarves and Halflings may be multi-classed Fighter/Rogues High elves may be multi-classed Fighter/Wizards.
  • Fighting Style is selected at 2nd level.
  • Choose two from Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Athletics, History, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Performance, Religion, and Survival.

Rogue

  • All races except High Elves may be Rogues. Dwarves and Halflings may be multi-classed Fighter/Rogues. Half-Orcs may multi-class one or more levels of Rogue.
  • Choose four from Animal Handling, Acrobatics, Athletics, History, Investigation, Medicine, Perception, Performance, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, and Survival.

Wizard

  • Only Humans and High Elves may be Wizards. High elves may be multi-classed Fighter/Wizards.
  • Literacy and Choose two from Arcana, History, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, Performance, and Religion.
  • Starting spells and cantrips are randomly determined.
  • One of the 2 spells gained per level is randomly determined. The other may be selected by player.
  • If an already known spell is selected randomly the player may then select a spell.
  • Player must create a unique, personalized name and manifestation for any and all spells they select. e.g. "Norm's Noisome Natterings" / Confusion.



Thursday, August 7, 2014

Classic 5ed - Halflings

Classic 5ed in style of 70's and 80's D&D. Gritty, dark, "swords and sorcery", when elves were fighter/wizards and dwarves didn't dabble in the dark arts. A few changes and restrictions to 5th Edition Basic Rules to instill a particular flavor and style on the game I run. Demonstration of how easy it is to and encouraging others to make 5ed their own.

Classes and multi-classing are limited by race. Standard Ability requirements (15+ in Ability) for multi-classing remain. Humans, Dwarves Elves, Halflings and 1/2 Orcs are playable races. Fighters, Clerics, Wizards, Rogues with Rangers and Druids for Wood Elves only after PHB is released.

I don't really like halflings. Cause, not on Middle Earth. And shouldn't even include them. But it seems that every group has that guy who has to play Bilbo the Halfling Rogue. So, standard PHB with class restrictions and fixed starting equipment.


Halfling

 - Re-roll 1's
 - Advantage on saves against fear.
 - Move through space of any bigger creature.
 - +2 Dex


Halfling Starting Equipment
  • (a) Leather armor or (b) Ring mail
  • (a) 2 weapons for which you are proficient or (b) 1 weapon and shield
  • Sling and stones
  • Pick two; Holy Symbol, Thieves' Tools, Bell, Cask of beer, Fishing Tackle, Iron Pot, Soap, Signal Whistle
  • backpack, bedroll, mess kit, 10 torches, tinderbox, 10 days of rations, waterskin, 50 feet hemp rope.

 Lightfoot

 - Only Cleric, Fighter, Rogue or Fighter/Rogue multi-class (must alternate levels)
 - +1 Cha
 - hide behind big'uns

 Stout

 - Only Cleric, Fighter, Rogue or Fighter/Rogue multi-class (must alternate levels)
 - +1 Con
 - Advantage on saving throws against poison and resistance against poison damage.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Classic 5ed - Half Orcs

Classic 5ed in style of 70's and 80's D&D. Gritty, dark, "swords and sorcery", when elves were fighter/wizards and dwarves didn't dabble in the dark arts. A few changes and restrictions to 5th Edition Basic Rules to instill a particular flavor and style on the game I run. Demonstration of how easy it is to and encouraging others to make 5ed their own.

Classes and multi-classing are limited by race. Standard Ability requirements (15+ in Ability) for multi-classing remain. Humans, Dwarves Elves, Halflings and 1/2 Orcs are playable races. Fighters, Clerics, Wizards, Rogues with Rangers and Druids for Wood Elves only after PHB is released.

Campaign setting happens to be adjacent to the Beast Kingdoms (full or humanoids of all sorts) and in city which is accustom to seeing Orc and other Beast races as slaves and mercenaries.  So, figured 1/2 orc fit.

Basic D&D 5th Edition PDF

Half-Orc

Half-Orcs are a beast race and widely disliked. Brutish, short-tempered and typically short-lived. Half-Orc race represents both the offspring of human and orc as well as the smartest, least bestial full-blood orcs.

Only Cleric, Fighter, or Rogue. May take levels of Rogue with either Fighter or Cleric.

 - Disadvantage to Charisma checks with Halflings, Elves, Dwarves and humans unaccustomed to beast races.
 - +2 Str
 - +1 Con
 - You can speak Common and Orcish.
 - Darkvision


Half-Orc Starting Equipment

  • (a) Leather armor or (b) Ring mail and Shield (if proficient)
  • (a) holy symbol or (b) thieves' tools
  • 2 light weapons you are proficient with
  • 2 melee weapons you are proficient with
  • 1 ranged weapon you are proficient with
  • backpack, bedroll, mess kit, 10 torches, tinderbox, 10 days of rations, waterskin, 50 feet hemp rope.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Classic 5ed - Elves

Classic 5ed in style of 70's and 80's D&D. Gritty, dark, "swords and sorcery", when elves were fighter/wizards and dwarves didn't dabble in the dark arts. A few changes and restrictions to 5th Edition Basic Rules to instill a particular flavor and style on the game I run. Demonstration of how easy it is to and encouraging others to make 5ed their own.

Classes and multi-classing are limited by race. Standard Ability requirements (15+ in Ability) for multi-classing remain. Humans, Dwarves Elves, Halflings and 1/2 Orcs are playable races. Fighters, Clerics, Wizards, Rogues with Rangers and Druids for Wood Elves only after PHB is released.

Basic D&D 5th Edition PDF



Elves aren't just another "race", humans with pointy ears. I'd go with what players come up with, but I see them as androgynous, indifferent alien, fey not bound by the physics of this world. Elves of Old England and grimm fairy tales. I'm of the opinion that elves don't eat, hence no rations. At least they don't require sustenance. Although they might enjoy a death cap and human baby roast for mid-summer's feast.

Elves

Elves are haughty, aloof, and otherworldly. They distrust humans, dislike dwarves, loath beast races (1/2 orcs, orcs, goblins, etc.)
 - Disadvantage on Charisma checks with non-elves.
 - May not cast spells which require willing target on nor use Help action to aid Dwarves or any beast race.
 - Automatically pass literacy checks with Elvish and Common.
 - Darkvision
 - Proficiency and Advantage on Perception Checks
 - Advantage on saving throws against being charmed
 - Immune magical sleep.
 - +2 Dex

High Elf

Only Fighter, Wizard or Fighter/Wizard multi-class (must alternate levels).

 - +1 Int
 - Proficiency longsword, shortsword, shortbow, longbow
 - Know one random Wizard Cantrip
 - Know an additional normal or esoteric Language.

High Elf Starting Equipment

  • (a) Elven Chain Shirt (14AC + max 2 Dex modifier) or (b) Elven Leather (12AC + Dex modifier)
  • (a) Shortbow and 20 arrows or (b) an arcane Focus (rod, staff, wand, crystal, orb, skull, juju bag, etc.)
  • Dagger and Longsword
  • Pick two: Artist Tools(pick), Book, Flask of Wine, Ink and Paper, Perfume, Scroll Case, Referee's Elf's are weird random thing.
  • Fine Clothes
  • 2d4*x10 gp


Wood Elf

Only Druid (of moon), Ranger, or Rogue

 - +1 Wis
 - Proficiency longsword, shortsword, shortbow, longbow, Survival
 - Hide when only lightly obscured
 - Advantage on Stealth Checks in natural surroundings

Wood Elf Starting Equipment
  • (a) Elven Chain Shirt (14AC + max 2 Dex modifier) or (b) Elven Leather (12AC + Dex modifier)
  • (a) Longsword or (b) 2 Shortswords
  • Dagger, Longbow and 40 arrows
  • Pick two: Bell, Flask of Wine, Leatherworker tools, Musical Instrument, Woodcarver tools, 50ft Silk Rope, Referee's Elf's are weird random thing.
  • Waterskin

Monday, August 4, 2014

Classic 5ed - Dwarves

Classic 5ed in style of 70's and 80's D&D. Gritty, dark, "swords and sorcery", when elves were fighter/wizards and dwarves didn't dabble in the dark arts. A few changes and restrictions to 5th Edition Basic Rules to instill a particular flavor and style on the game I run. Demonstration of how easy it is to and encouraging others to make 5ed their own.

Classes and multi-classing are limited by race. Standard Ability requirements (15+ in Ability) for multi-classing remain. Humans, Dwarves Elves, Halflings and 1/2 Orcs are playable races. Fighters, Clerics, Wizards, Rogues with Rangers and Druids for Wood Elves only after PHB is released.

Basic D&D 5th Edition PDF

Mountain Dwarves

Dwarves are insular, secretive, and paranoid.  They distrust everyone, strongly dislike elves, loath beast races (orcs, goblins, etc.)

Only Cleric, Fighter, Rogue or Fighter/Rogue multi-class (must alternate levels).

 - Disadvantage on Charisma checks with non-dwarves.
 - May not cast spells which require a willing target on nor use the Help action to aid Elves or any beast race.
 - May not be a willing target of any Wizard Spell.
 - Advantage on saving throws against wizardly magic and resistance against magical damage.
 - Advantage on saving throws against poison and resistance against poison damage.
 - Stonecunning proficiency and advantage on history stonework, detect slopes, stone traps, depth underground and the like.
 - Automatically pass literacy checks with Dwarvish and Common.
 - Darkvision
 - Proficiency with Light and Medium Armor
 - Proficiency with battleaxe, handaxe, light hammer, warhammer
 - Pick one tool proficiency: smiths, brewers, or mason
 - +2 Con
 - +1 Wis or +1 Str
 - +1 hit point per level


No Hill Dwarves. [wisdom bonus meant every dwarf cleric would be a hill dwarve, which just annoyed me.]

Starting Equipment

  • (a) Chain mail or (b) Ring mail or (c) Studded Leather
  • (a) Battleaxe or (b) Warhammer
  • (a) Lt Crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) 2 hand axes and shield
  • Pick two; Holy Symbol, Thieves' Tools, Caltrops, Climber's kit, Crowbar, Grappling hook, Miner's Pick, Shovel, Steel Mirror, Sledge Hammer, Cask of Ale
  • backpack, bedroll, mess kit, hammer, 10 pitons, tinderbox, 10 days of rations, waterskin, 50 feet hemp rope.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Classic 5th Edition

The world is not leveled to the player characters. Death is possible and so are great rewards. Until one "learns the ropes", caution and caginess are wise attitudes. Magical items are uncommon and not normally purchasable. The ability to cast spells. Most priests are humble servants or charlatans. Only a select few are granted the miracle of spell casting by their gods. Wizards are reclusive, feared, disturbers of the peace. Elves and Dwarves are alien, and indifferent to the follies of man.

Classic meaning in style of 70's and 80's D&D. Gritty, dark, "swords and sorcery", when elves were fighter/wizards and dwarves didn't dabble in the dark arts. A few changes and restrictions to 5th Edition Basic Rules to instill a particular flavor and style on the game I run. Not claiming any sort of superiorness. Really just showing how easy it is to and encouraging others to make 5ed their own.

Basic D&D 5th Edition PDF

Most of the flavor is in the races and classes (future blog posts). Below are some general house-rules.

Encounters

Every encounter starts with a reaction (Charisma Check) from one of characters in front rank. This check will guide NPC actions (flee, wait, parlay, attack) if they have surprise or initiative. Or, reactions to PCs friendly or neutral actions.

Group Initiative

Based on situation, their abilities, etc. Referee will split Character opponents into one or more groups and determine if each group acts before or after the PCs. E.g. slow zombies always act last, flyers and mounted act first, etc.

All Player Characters act together in any order they decide. Rarely the Referee may designate some PCs as being particularly slow or quick and place them in a separate group that acts independently.

[I have found few things that are as confusing, time wasting, in conflict with player desires, requiring all sorts of patches (delay, ready), and adding so little fun as d20 every round initiative. Having players act together also promotes teamwork and planning. FFG StarWars has interesting "middleground".]

Resting

Long Rest: Must be uninterrupted and truly restful. Including fire, warm food, relative comfort and safety. "Roughing it" unprepared or holing up in a random room of the Dread Dungeon of Doom ain't cutting it.

[The intent here is to not bring back "5 min workday" but rather provide Referee with option to have a stretch of dangerous wilderness in which characters must carefully husband resources. And return meaningfulness to the choice "press on for one more room or go back to town?" And / or treat dungeon complexes as Mythic places that must be escaped rather than napped in.]

Damage and Death

Consequences of  death / near-death: Brought back from death suffer permanent loss of one point of randomly chosen Ability. Two failed death saves, suffer permanent loss of one point of randomly chosen Ability. [Death doesn't have to be permanent, but it should be feared and avoided.]

Attempting to Knock Out: [Probably overcompensating for how annoyed I am with Pathfinder "subdual" damage"]
  - Attack with disadvantage unless using a Bludgeoning weapon.
  - Intelligence check required on final blow to avoid "accident".
  - Some creatures may resist (Con save). Some creatures will be immune to knock out damage.

Falling is deadly. Damage is cumulative: 1d6, 3d6, 6d6, 10d6, 15d6, > 50' auto-death.

Suffocating is too deadly. Not sure how to make it less so.

Spells

Magic is dangerous. Almost any mechanical method to avoid that will be ignored. e.g. Evoker school's ability to shape spells to avoid hurting friends. No. You must actually plan, communicate, and execute in game tactics.

No such spell as Identify.

Spare the Dying: provides 1 successful death save, not auto-stabilize

Probably no standard spell to revive the dead. 

Fireball is volumetric, similar with Lighting Bolt.

No Backgrounds

Instead make your own background; Pick one skill or tool proficiency and one language proficiency. Optionally select a profession.

No Feats


Skills

Referee will never call for a Social Skill check, role-play instead. Charisma checks will come into play often. Primarily in form of encounter reaction checks. [Social skills destroy games. Esp with explicitly called out Description based role-play they add nothing but boring, binary dice rolls. While robbing game of it's most unique feature, interaction.]

  - No Deception(Cha)
  - No Insight(Wis)
  - No Intimidation(Cha)
  - No Persuasion(Cha)

Literacy Skill
Literacy is not common. Characters must pass an Intelligence check to read or write a given piece of text. This skill allows you to add proficiency bonus to this check. Dwarves, Elves, and Wizards automatically pass this check for Common and their native language. There are several setting specific languages.


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