Friday, June 18, 2010

Roleplaying Tips Weekly E-Zine's Supplemental Issues and Dowloads

I mentioned these briefly before.  But, John Four has collected some great stuff over at the downloads section of the Roleplaying Tips website.  I decided they deserved own post and more exposure.

Supplemental Issues

Other Downloads

A grab bag of  goodness, overland encounters, book generator, 8000 first names, excel spreadsheets, and the like.  Also, awesomely, Roleplaying Tips Archives - plain text format - Issues 001 to 431 a 4.7MB zip file.

Not linking them all, head over to Roleplaying Tips Website's Download Section and scroll down.

5 Room Dungeons - Contest Entry Downloads

Before the One Page Dungeon Contest, there was the Five Room Dungeon Contest. These are all smallish (5 rooms) adventure settings based on the 5 Room Format.
  • Volume 18

    1. The Tomb of Three Brothers by Jake Sorensen
    2. The Wizard's Retreat by Jake Sorensen
    3. The Shifter by The Shifter
    4. The Braun Castle by Monstah

    1. Volume 17

      1. Retreat by Aki Halme
      2. Tomb of the Colossus by Bryan Smart
      3. Too Many in the Tomb by John Moseman
      4. Minaret of the Smoking Tankard by Michael Sinclair
      5. The Witchwood by H L

      1. Volume 16
        1. The Sledge by Dragonlordmax
        2. The Pyramid by Jeremy Coffey
        3. The Masters of Evil by David J Rowe

        1. Volume 15

          1. Prison Break by Nathan Wells
          2. The Company by Nathan Wells
          3. Catching the Traitor by Amy
          4. The Wizard's Land by Dr SciFi
          5. St. Nathanial - Harbinger of Doom by Thewizard63

          1. Volume 14
            1. Caravan of Courage by Nathan Wells
            2. Escape From Slavers' Isle by Jason Kemp
            3. Vault of the Wiglord by Ken McCutchen
            4. The Towers of Wisdom by manfred
            5. Through the Maze by Margaret Coffey

            1. Volume 13
              1. The Wizard's Challenge by Thewizard63
              2. Drop of Blood in the Bucket by mrcelophane
              3. Temple of the Four Elements by Nathan Wells
              4. Random 5 Rooms Dungeon Generator by Davide Quatrini
              5. Promised Aid by Jonas Dorn

              1. Volume 12
                1. Stranger Than Fiction by Uri Lifshitz
                2. Aboleth by Andrew Anderson
                3. Dragon's Lair by Aki Halme
                4. Lord and Killer by Drackler
                5. Upshi Rises by Cheka Man

                1. Volume 11

                  1. The Mercenary Shrine (sci-fi) by Ancient Gamer
                  2. The Cursed Keep of the Wastelands by Captain Penguin
                  3. The Well by Bert Isla
                  4. The Governor's House by Anthony Hart-Jones
                  5. Blind Pack by Jean-Christophe Pelletier

                  1. Volume 10

                    1. Revenge of the Urn Beast by Cheka Man
                    2. Raid on Tantalus IV by dark_dragon
                    3. Sewer Lair by Daniel Burrage
                    4. Orcish Olympics by Aki Halme
                    5. Pitfall Castle by Nathan Wells

                    1. Volume 9
                      1. Skanda Biologicals by Siren no Orakio
                      2. The Spirit Never Dies by Ria Hawk
                      3. Saving Plaque by Strolen
                      4. Barrow of the Bored Berserker by DeeCee
                      5. The Stone Labyrinth by Daniel Burrage

                      1. Volume 8
                        1. To Sell a Gem by David Hickman
                        2. Place of the Embalmers by Wulfhere
                        3. The Nobleman's Daughter by Dragon Lord
                        4. The Great Gate by Davide Quatrini
                        5. Heart of the Dwarves by Paul Darcy

                        1. Volume 7
                          1. Of Pines and Roses by valadaar
                          2. The Tomb of Agellar by Dragonlordmax
                          3. Deserted Island by Nik Palmer
                          4. Henge of Ascension by Nik Palmer
                          5. Taking Sides by Uri Lifshitz

                          1. Volume 6
                            1. Diamonds and the Deluge by valadaar
                            2. Bedizen's Traveling Dungeon by Scrasamax
                            3. Thieves' Guild by Aki Halme
                            4. 'Ringed' by fadeaway1978
                            5. Tomb of a Cleric by Uri Lifshitz

                            1. Volume 5
                              1. Spawn of the God-Egg by Wulfhere and EchoMirage
                              2. Foray into the Forest of the Frog King by Thewizard63
                              3. Troll Brothers Cove by Nik Palmer
                              4. Black Fire Ruins by Will Cartier
                              5. Shadow Vault by William K. Wood

                              1. Volume 4
                                1. The Sanctuary of Sumuho by Dozus
                                2. Crossbones Island by Chaosmark
                                3. Swamp Music by Nik Palmer
                                4. The Windspire by Nathan Meyer
                                5. The Message by Morgan Joeck

                                1. Volume 3
                                  1. The Haunting by Matthew and Paul Darcy
                                  2. The Quest for the Rod of Spellius by Davide Quatrini
                                  3. The Plague Devil by Nik Palmer
                                  4. Villainous Cellar Pub by Aki Halme
                                  5. Ye Classic Wizard's House by Gillian Wiseman

                                  1. Volume 2
                                    1. Warts and All by Paul Darcy
                                    2. Temple of the Volcano God by DJ Mindermast
                                    3. The Necromancer's Cave by Morpha
                                    4. Merchant's Crypt by Aki Halme
                                    5. The Temple Defiled by Tyler Turner

                                    1. Volume 1
                                      1. A visit to the Witch's Cottage by Gillian Wiseman
                                      2. Isles of Ice by Mothshade
                                      3. The Tomb of the Dragon Queen by Joseph Rapoport
                                      4. The Living Vault by Mothshade
                                      5. The Sunken Vault by Nathan 

                                    All 18 Volumes 181 pages! Includes a new advenrure, The Pool of Unmaking by John McCullogh

                                    Thursday, June 17, 2010

                                    Saturday, June 19 Free RPG Day

                                    Free RPG Day is sneaking up on us once again!

                                    [blurb from Dragon's Lair]
                                    Manufacturers like Paizo, Wizards of the Coast, Fantasy Flight Games, Mongoose Publishing, WizKids/NECA, White Wolf Publishing and many more provide free samples of their best games and retailers like Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy® run game demos, giving new players a chance whet their palate for the amazing gaming experience tabletop RPGs can provide and giving veteran players a chance to test out new games.

                                    This is a great chance to discover the world of role-playing games - or re-discover them and to share your love of the game with new players!

                                    Dragon's Lair Austin's Schedule

                                    TIME EVENT
                                    11 AM Pathfinder: Master of the Fallen Fortress (AM)

                                    12 PM Age of Cthulhu
                                    12 PM Shard RPG Demo [Shard is flippin cool, my Shard review cool from last years Free RPG Event.]
                                    1 PM D&D 4E: Bloodsand Arena
                                    3 PM World of Darkness Ghost Stories
                                    5 PM D&D 4E: Bloodsand Arena
                                    6 PM Pathfinder: Master of the Fallen Fortress (PM)

                                    Other than Shard which I demo'd last year,  "meh" is the strongest emotion that list brings. 

                                    Battleforge Games

                                    I don't see anything listed in their calendar.

                                    Tribe Comic & Games

                                    South side represent!

                                    They don't feel they have the room to support in store gaming (Although, I could squeeze me and four players in that front space).  So, I kind of doubt they are doing anything either.  Sad, cause S. Austin needs a place to game.

                                    Any other Austin / Central Tx stores doing stuff for FREE RPG DAY?

                                    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

                                    Central Texas Minicon

                                    Last year there was a small social (non-gaming) gathering of those with an "old school" inclination/interest.  It was fun.  Been thinking it's time for another one, but this time with games.  Found out at NTRPGCon I am not the only one thinking such thoughts.

                                    Seems there is a cadre of Dragon'sfooters conspiring to hold a multi-weekend mini-con in Austin.  They are currently discussing the "when".  Late July through earliest Sept are the current canidates.  You can vote for dates in that thread.

                                    Old School Success

                                    Been sick and there's so much to be blogging about; NTRPGCon discussion panels, Free RPG Day, games played, new Arduin, e-bay, and NTRPGCon loot, ...

                                    This elevation was formative.  There's been a Skull Mountain in
                                    every campaign I've made since seeing this sometime in the 80's.

                                    My boss has been interested in playing some D&D with his two boys (10-12 age range).  He's asked me various questions about running games and the like. [It's very enlightening and refreshing talking with an "empty mind".  To him it's just D&D, full stop. Not a jillion of editions, old/new school, sandbox/storypath, etc/deadhorse.]  I purposefully was not edition evangelizing (Although, I was totally evangelizing RPGing in general.  Mentioning the several bloggers posting about great times gaming with their families).  A couple weeks ago his kids cornered him and got him to run an encounter with the 4ed (intro set?) they had.  The Joy of Play was experienced by everyone.  But it was a short session and all involved craved more!

                                    I've endlessly encouraged him to go to an Austin's D&D Meetup [Which are great, btw. If there's a meetup in your area you need to go to it, if there's not you need to start one.]  I warned him that it might be a bit confusing to play a different version of D&D.  But, I fear that my raving about how much flippin fun NTRPGCon has been might have unduly influenced him.  Cause last weekend when they finally made it to the June 13th D&D Meetup they rolled up Swords & Wizardry characters and entered the Dungeon of Skull Mountain DM'd by Jimm Johnson also known as The Contemptible Cube of Quazar. [love that banner art]

                                    My boss and his sons had a blast.  He's been talking about it all week.  Has downloaded and printed S&W manual, monster collection, character sheets, and asked me for intro modules. [I struggled to find S&W specific, free, intro modules, wtf?  I gave him B1 and a copy of OD&Dities #12 which had "Ruins of Castle Vendegaar" by Robert Adkins. Thanks Robert!]  He wants to play D&D on long road trip. I told him friends don't let friends DM and drive.

                                    Any suggestions for him?

                                    I was kind of bummed Jimm ran his game when I was running something and couldn't join in the fun.  But, I believe he'll be running Skull Mountain as a continuing "campaign", booh yah!  So, all you Austin area old-schoolers (and I know there's a few of you) that haven't been coming to D&D meetups thinking it's all 4ed.  You're on notice.  Kick those kids off your lawn early so you have time to attend the Austin D&D Meetup.  There's now a S&W ongoing game, several 1st / 2ed ongoing games, and I'll run Labyrinth Lord on demand.  We also have space for more DMs, bring it.

                                    Jimm Johnson's irresistible game blurb.
                                    SKULL MOUNTAIN
                                    Two days north of the last outpost of the Sparn Empire, through the cannibal haunted jungles of Brool, across the piranha teeming river, a great boulder-strewn crag rises from the mists. An enormous, leering reptile skull sits atop the rugged formation. Some say the skull is an odd natural formation, while others insist it is the petrified remains of some primordial unhuman god. Whatever its origins, the whispered tales of Skull Mountain all agree on one thing: incredible treasure and unmatched glory await those bold and foolish enough to penetrate the mountain, unravel its dark secrets, and brave its untold dangers. Of course such treasure and glory will only accrue to those who can return alive!

                                    This is an OD&D/Swords & Wizardry scenario for low-level characters and beginning or experienced players. Characters will be created at the table before play begins.  [damn straight!]

                                    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

                                    4 Best Ways To Handle Town Guards Roleplaying Tips #492

                                    [Before I found all you bloggers RPTipsWeekly was my main "fix" for Cool New Stuff.  It continues to be important part of my RPG breakfast.]


                                    Here's a bit from "A Brief Word From John" I wanted to highlight.  The text archives are great. There's also a downloads sections with 22 focused supplemental issues and a bunch of other downloads. AND the 5 room dungeon collection.  RPGTW Downloads.  John's parting message is one we should all take up.

                                    Text Archives Available
                                    Reminder: you can get past issues in plain text format anytime at the website:

                                    Get at least one game played this week!

                                    Monday, June 14, 2010

                                    TSR 1992 Fall/Winter Catalog

                                    Look at how many different settings TSR was supporting/pushing in '92!  Lack of focus much?  The should have used SpellJammer / portals to link up all their settings into one connected mega setting with support for transferring characters between them.  But, I suppose the "epic" scale, "serious" campaigns Dragonlance and later-day Forgotten Realms couldn't handle anything that awesome.

                                    Dark Sun

                                    Ravenloft, Al-Qadim


                                    Forgotten Realms

                                    SpellJammer, Greyhawk

                                    Sunday, June 13, 2010

                                    Sunday Links

                                    [Been sick all week, haven't been reading much online, Found these though.]

                                    Roll and Interrupt initiative --  This really makes me want to use individual initiative...

                                    Epic6, D&D 3.5 limited to levels 1-6.  Nice, but nice enough? Simplify skills (fewer & no points), simply movement (hex or no 1.5 diagonal), some other tweaks (AoO) and I can see myself maybe considering DMing 3.5 again --

                                    Old Book Picture Blog hasn't disappointed yet --

                                    Mule Abides RedBox Workshop series, esp Spellbender --

                                    RuneQuest II --

                                    Friday, June 11, 2010

                                    My Favorite RPG Quote

                                    Character background is what happens between levels one and six. 
                                                                                                                       -- Gary Gygax

                                    Got no reference, maybe he never said it, doesn't matter to me.  I'm not like omg Gary said it so it must be awesome!!!  Rather it succinctly nails how I think about sandbox campaign characters. [although I'd say one through four since 9th lvl is my high end] Who you are, where you're from, what you've done are not as important (or as interesting) as what are you gonna do next?  We play the game to discover the answer to that question.  The most interesting character's history is built in game.

                                    Hmmmm, I like that "what are you gonna do?"  Good definition/delineation/explanation of a sandbox/rulings/seat of pant DM to new players.  DM's the guy/gal who asks you "What are you gonna do?" With the follow on implication that once you tell them, they then figure out what it means / how it works out.

                                    Others I've recently added to my collection of quotes.

                                    Booty may have different meanings in different places, but it's all the same to Conan.
                                    -- Matt

                                    Me early on:  Whats the goal of the adventure? Why are we here?
                                    Them: Gold, treasure, and to kill the minotaur king/Beastlord.
                                    Me: Why are we killing him?
                                    Them:  Because he's the guy on the cover of the module! 
                                    In 4E you call out the name of your attack. In OD&D you call out the name of the henchmen who are throwing javelins. [is the proper quote according to muleabides]

                                    In 4e its called Whirling Strike.  In OD&D it's called my 5 henchmen attack. [what I posted originally]

                                    Thursday, June 10, 2010


                                    [Really need to stop posting untested houserules, but I keep getting ideas from the blogosphere.]

                                    This is meant for mass of goblins swarming and brigining down Sir ThinksHe'sAwesome and maybe for grabby monsters like crabs and octoterrapuses (land octopie).  Not for ju-jitsu, wresting, or other mostly mano-a-mano unarmed combat.  I'd just use normal combat for that.  When hit points gone you got a knee-lock or whatever.

                                    • The strong man throws off buch of piled on grapplers trope.
                                    • Different than regular combat, specifically freaking avoid non-leathal damage/hitpoints.
                                    • Make weak, low level creatures a threat when swarming.
                                    • Fit in with 1 attack roll, multiple damage dice, all attacks do d6 themes of my other house rules.
                                    • Simple / vague enough to allow on the spot rulings for unusual situations. 
                                    • Grappling is not effective when target has something sharp to poke you with.  That is until there are enough attackers target can't poke them all fast enough.


                                    2x the normal number of attackers may grapple a target.

                                    Ungrappled defender (with weapon in hand/natural damage) negates up to BAB grapplers.  If all grapplers negated there is no grapple, attackers are kept at bay (and wasted their action looking for opening).  Alternatively grapplers can force their way through but then defender gets automatic 1 damage die vs each (up to BAB targets). 

                                    All attackers combine into one to-grapple attack.  Attack roll gets +1 per attacker.  If attackers are "natural" or "trained" grapplers also add (avg/highest/lowest) to-hit bonus to attack roll.  Attackers must roll to-grapple every round.

                                    On successful hit all grapplers add their grapple damage dice rolls to Pin Total.  If they choose to attempt to break free, a grappled defender auto-hits and subtracts their grapple damage dice roll from Pin Total

                                    If, at end of round, Pin Total is:
                                      <= 0 defender is free/ungrappeld, pin total reset
                                      > 0 defender is grappled (restricted movement/actions(no normal attack))
                                      > defender's Str score, defender is held fast/pinned (no further grappling rolls, no actions. The defender has "lost".)

                                    Grapple Damage Dice:
                                    Is based on size but some creatures (crabs, boa constrictor) may have fixed amount.  Tiny 1pt, Small 1d4, Man-sized 1d6, Large 2d6, Huge 4d6, etc.
                                      Extra dice (1 per Str mod) are only given to defender.    Ex. a Str 18 man gets 4d6.

                                    Aiding Grappled Defender: 
                                    Depending on size of "pile" one can shoot/whack attackers without much danger of hurting defender.  Alternatively ally can "dive in" and subtract the roll of their  grapple damage dice from defender's Pin Total.  No to-hit required.

                                    Base Attack/to-hit Bonus what they get for class/level not including magic, buffs, stats mods, etc.

                                    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

                                    City to Dungeon

                                    The recent (although I swore I saw this photo long ago*) big hole in Guatemala and Purple Worm Post got me a thinking.

                                    I'm partial to huge fantasy cities.  Places like Ptolus, Alexandria or Constantinople analogs, CSIO, and the like.  Lots of adventure, weirdness, and debauchery to be had. It's a nice change of pace/action from being way off on the edge of civilization in some po'dunk Keep on the Borderlands.

                                    But, eventually I get the hankering for some down and dirty megadungeon exploration and monstrous beasts.  I've never been able to  the idea of mad wizards castle/dungeon just outside of town, or "it's catacombs and forgotten dungeons all the way down" and all these fantastic monsters have had absolutely no impact on the city full of tasty civilians but 1st level characters can come and go as they please, or other even lamer "dungeon next door to city" hand-waves.

                                    This one is no less arbitrary but some how I like it better.

                                    50' wide Purple worm bursts through surface, rampages, kills thousands, devastates an entire district of the city, takes days to kill, an epic battle that claimed many of the region's greatest heroes.  Now, weeks later, initial exploration has revealed extensive tunnels deep withing the gapping hole left by the worm.   Authorities are calling for new heroes to step forward and explore these depths.  To determine if more of these purple monsters or worse threaten the city.

                                    * Actually this seems to happen regularly.  Karst formations - networks of underground caves formed from eroded limestone and highly unstable (sounds bloody perfect dungeoning territory) - are endemic to the region  More on karst:

                                    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

                                    Hackmaster Bootcamp

                                    Having little time or interest in babysitting miserable far flung hamlets such as yours, Bordertown, Good King Osric has proclaimed that all able bodied men and those stout framed women who so desire shall henceforth be formed into militias charged with protecting the Kingdom's villages from orcs and other miscreants.

                                    Report to your drillmaster, Sir Geant, on Sunday, June 13th, 12:30pm at BattleForge Games, Austin, TX.

                                    A Hackmaster Basic introductory adventure.  You're in the Militia now! "What Militia?" you say? Who cares! The point is you get to kill stuff! More specifically, you get to hack the enemy to pieces using Hackmaster, a version of D&D with all the wuss parts removed.  A preview of what's in store, here's a PDF comic illustrating combat: Knights of the Dinner Table.

                                    So Much Fun

                                    Bam!  That was fun.

                                    Damn fun, Thurs through Sunday fun.  Many game conventions I get a little bored or a lot tired and end up leaving early Sunday or skipping it altogether.  Not this time.  NTRPG is a small con, by the 2nd/3rd day people were calling me out by name (which made my poor memory for names even more embarrassing).  Despite the smaller size NTRPG is packed with great people and great games.  I played in seven and each one was good if not great.  DM'd by Rob Kuntz, Allan Grohe, Matt Finch, Jason Cone, and Jon Hershberger. Yeah, great. I'd play with any of them again.  Any time.  Any place.

                                    Also attended great panels on Megadungeon Design and Early Days of the Hobby (post more on those later).  Some pics (not mine) found via The Contemptible Cube of Quazar (one of many I met at the con).  Definitely will be going back next year.

                                    The "Best" Moment

                                    Fifth Expedition Into Mythrus Tower
                                    Matt Finch DM, Dennis Sustare right rear, "Father John" (me)
                                    decked out in purple, the real Father Brian middle left.

                                    Playing in one of the later sessions of con "campaign" Mythrus Tower with a LARGE group of 11 players.  Hunched over his S&W fighter character sheet discussing tactics with the party leader was an older silver haired gentleman, Dennis Sustare.  I couldn't really hear what was said but suddenly his eyes twinkle, his lips erupt into a huge grin, and his face is awash with laughter.  I have no idea but can't help but feel that at that moment -- However many years this man has been alive washed away.  He was a child again with a child's imagination enjoying a game of make-believe.  In fact, he has never "grown up", never lost the joy of play.

                                    That, for me, is the point of RPGs.  Why I play them.  Why I bother to introduce RPGs to others and attempt to expand the hobby.  Moments like those.  To create them, share them, and experience them.  To bring a smile to a child's face whether that child is 12 or 89.

                                    Here's to the Joy of Play, may it keep us all forever young of spirit!

                                    RedBox BCS June 20th

                                    Another session of RedBox BCS is planned for June 20th.

                                    That is all.

                                    Sunday, June 6, 2010

                                    Sunday Links

                                    [Throughout the week when I find something that piques my particular interests but I don't have time to say much, or don't have much to say I'll add link to to one of these Sunday Link posts.]

                                    Saves are abstract. Bam! Mind expanded. --

                                    Mega megadungeon collection --

                                    Boo Yah! Dark Dungeons retro-clone Rules Cyclopedia --

                                    Old book illustrations (either you understand or you can safely skip this link) --

                                    Find nearby gamers --

                                    Exactly! Plus role-playing the monster lovin/character killin DM is fun --

                                    Saturday, June 5, 2010

                                    Roleplaying Tips Weekly E-Zine Issue #491 When Players Cheat

                                    When Players Cheat: Game Master Tips to Keep Them In Line

                                    Roleplaying Tips Weekly E-Zine Issue #491 is out! Johnn is looking for tips on GMing cities for an upcoming issue. 


                                    Friday, June 4, 2010

                                    Giving the Gift of Old-School

                                    My gamer budy found RPGs late in life.  Not playing any until adult hood.  He's on a bit of a quest to make up for lost time and explore what he missed.  So, for his belated birthday gift I got him a bit of old old-school and new old-school. 

                                    Collectors set of D&D Endless Quest books

                                    Thursday, June 3, 2010

                                    See you at North Texas RPG Con!

                                    Whooo hooo!  Off to Irving, Texas for the North Texas RPG Convention. Four days of total RPG geekery!  And, unlike most RPGing I do, I won't be the oldest and definitely not the old-schoolist there.  For once people will yell at me to get off of their lawn ;)

                                    Got some things queued but proly not a lot of posts upcoming...

                                    Don't forget to buy tickets for the raffle! Updated prize list:
                                    • Custom module for North Texas RPG Con by Steve Winter
                                    • Custom module for North Texas RPG Con by Tim Kask
                                    • Other World miniature to be painted by Angela Imrie
                                    • Swords & Wizardry limited edition miniatures by Center Stage Miniatures
                                    • * Dragon Magazine # 1
                                    • * Castle Zagyg - Upper Works
                                    • * Strategic Review # 1-7 (each raffled separately)
                                    • * DCC #C9 w/NTRPGCon Logo (2ea)
                                    • * Jim Holloway special LE set from Cairn of the Skeleton King 14 prints per set on 65# paper(2ea)
                                    • * DCC #51 Castle Whiterock (2ea)
                                    • * Core Rules Expansion CD 2.0 in shrink
                                    • * Dungeon Magazine #1
                                    • * Forgotten Realms Menzoberranzan boxed set - VF
                                    • * NTRPGCon 2009 Dice Bag w/all 6 special guests signatures
                                    • * Chainmail 3rd Ed - 8th print - in shrink
                                    • * Dragon's Craig LE Lithograph by Paul Jaquays (signed if you want)
                                    • * Tabletop Warriors D&D Supplement from 1984 (signed by author)
                                    • * Digest size copy of Temple of the Weaver Queen - by Tim Kask
                                    • * Digest size copy of High in Hellgate Moutains - by Tim Kask
                                    • * Digest size copy of Palace of the Vampire Queen (reprinted by NTRPGCon)
                                    "*" - indicates you DO NOT have to be an attendee to win

                                    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

                                    No Bonuses

                                    Aggregating ideas from numerous sources and going down crazy rabbit hole... Is this even D&D anymore?  Does it matter?

                                    Got it in me that I want:
                                    1. at most 1 attack per round, preferably 1 die roll.
                                    2. to curtail bonus/damage creep.
                                    3. to eliminate bonus hunting/math.
                                    4. run a sub 9-12th level, low "power" game. 

                                    STR/DEX do not normally provide to hit/damage/AC bonus.
                                    • 1hand weapons do d6 damage.
                                    • 2hand weapons do d6 + STR mod damage.
                                    • two weapons do d6 damage, add DEX mod to the single attack roll.
                                    • Crossbow do 2d6(take best), doubles are critical/cool effect.
                                    I very much like how 2hand requires strength and dual wielding requires dexterity to garner benefit.  The all weapons do d6 is fallout from "hit points are not physical" and desire to not penalize rp choice of hammer over ubiquitous (cause mechanically it best) long sword.

                                    Instead of adding bonus tohit/dam, +X weapons increase damage die size. d6 -> d8 -> d10 -> d12.  +3 max.  Conversely creatures that required +X weapon to damage instead reduce damage die d12 -> d10 -> d8 -> d6 -> dNothing (immune).  A sword of Slaying Foo would do d20 damage against Foos!

                                    There are three levels of armor with increasing movement penalties and minimum strength requirements; Light AC8, Medium AC6, Heavy AC4.  There is actually a fourth Plate AC2, but is so rare/expensive it's not regularly available "equipment".  Instead of AC bonus +X magic armors (and other +X AC magical effects) provide a save.  High dexterity provides armor like protection rather than adding to AC.
                                    • Dex 13-15(+1) AC8 equivalent to Light armor.
                                    • Dex 16-17(+2) AC6 equivalent to Medium armor.
                                    • Dex 18(+3)      AC4 equivalent to Heavy armor.

                                    Pure Fighters have a couple talents unique to them.
                                    • "Melee Master" -- Melee weapon damage dice explode.
                                    • "Slaughterhouse" -- When in melee with opponents who are all less than your level gain X damage dice where X is "your level" - "highest opponent level".  Damage dice may be assigned (before roll) to opponents that are close.  One die per target, all targets get one die before any get two.  It is assumed fighter is hacking their way through this fodder and thus can reach enemies who aren't directly adjacent.
                                    Likewise other classes have some unique talents.  For example, the Scout/Archer class has the unique talent "Marksman" -- Missile weapon damage dice explode.  Then there are talents available to all (like 3.x feats, one of many options characters can select from every 1/2 level).
                                    • "Archer" -- Bows do 2d6(take best), doubles are critical/cool effect.
                                    • "Errol" -- Light armor provides AC6(medium).
                                    • "Flynn" -- Requires Errol. Light armor provides AC4(heavy).
                                    • "Bloodlust" -- After dropping opponent, roll free attack against close opponent.
                                    • "Backstab" When attacking a completely unawares opponent, damage die explodes >= half. So, e.g. 4-6 on d6 and  7-12 on d12.
                                    • "Disarm" When maximum value on damage die rolled may forgo dealing damage for attempt to send your foe's weapon clattering across the floor .  Success if rerolled damage die + Str mod or Dex mod > opponents to-hit bonus.
                                    Finally, some combat options are available to all no "talent" required.
                                    • "Charge!" if you can move at a jog or better and have room to charge then get to attack after move.
                                    • "Reckless Assault" -- Attack single target and take best of two attack rolls.  But suffer limited defense, anyone who attacks you also gets best of two attack rolls.
                                    • "Called Shot to the Nuts" -- Take worse of two attack rolls.  Normal damage and/or special effect depending on attacker's intention.  Used to leave permanent mark "Zorro", cut above eyes (-2 to actions), hamstring (1/2 movement), sever tentacle, cut rope, target vulnerable spot (double damage), to shoot arrow into apple on head, etc.

                                    Lots of other bits; Shattering Shields, Shield Walls, hit points aren't physical, Death & Dismemberment, Lucky Number, special weapon effects (flails negate shield bonus, pole-arms have reach, etc), non-martial types use d4 damage die, et "holy fantasy heartbreaker batman" cetera.

                                    Replaced +X modifiers, damage multipliers, multiple attacks, other with changing die size, exploding dice, multiple damage dice, and roll twice take best/worst.  What's the point?  So, will remembering fighter's but not scout's damage dice explode, and called shot is 2d20(take worst) rather than -4 to hit, and so on take just as much time and effort as remembering and adding up bonuses?  Even if so, one of my goals is alter player perception/behavior, reduce power-gaming, get them thinking "better" isn't more +x modifiers but rather tactics.  Still, need to review, simplify, and reduce number of different systems (aka refactor).  

                                    Bah, probably dump it all and go with stock Labyrinth Lord...

                                    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

                                    This week I be Pimpin Emperor's Choice Games

                                    Just so there's no confusion, no one has asked me to pimp anything.  These will always be products which I own a copy of, believe deserve exposure, and believe maybe worth your time/money.  The pimping idea totally stolen from The Underdark Gazzette. Hopefully I'll remember to change it every week.

                                    Emperor's Choice Games

                                    I'm biased, for good reason.  And, I suspect many of the gamer's who would enjoy Emperor Choice's Products have already bought them.  But, in case not...

                                    I own Arduin Eternal, and The World Book of Kas. And have recently ordered the Arduin Map and the Megaset of Arduin Grimoires.  Which includes the three Classic Arduin Grimoires in a hard cover bound set, the five Hargrave authored in the 80's, one new one from Emperor's Choice.

                                    If the planet's align I might stop buying stuff and actually get to reviewing some of it. 

                                    Combat Sequence of Play

                                    I congealed this from various discussions/blogs round the nets.  Meant for Labyrinth Lord or similar abstract/fast play system.  Really need to test it. Last sequence of play I thought was cool turned out like ass when used in game. (Been playing lots, but not as DM. Go Freddy Flame, 1/2ling wizard!)

                                    Combat Round Phases:
                                    1. Attack, ranged weapons only
                                    2. Move
                                    3. Attack, melee or ranged weapons
                                    4. Cast spells and other actions

                                    In initiative order all sides complete each phase before anyone goes onto next phase. 

                                    Each character may act in only one phase. In other words a character can do one thing and one thing only per round.  "Thing" being move or attack or cast spell or something else such as use wand, drink potion, flip table over and use as cover, etc.

                                    Ranged Attacks: Option to "fire" in phase 1 thus pin-cushioning the silly knights before they charge.  Or to hold fire until phase 3, a sort of "opportunity fire". Waiting to see who's threating who or what targets are left standing.

                                    Movement: Standard move distance is 30'.  Charge, rather than provide to hit/damage bonus is an exception to "act in only one phase". Charging allows move in move phase and melee attack in same rounds attack phase.  Initiative order is preserved so if you win initiative you might be able to whack charger before their attack.

                                    Seems fast and fluid.  Compatible with group or individual initiative.  Fewer "moving parts" and "do only one thing" should make player turns shorter and thus reduce how long each player sits waiting until it's there time to do something.  Getting things done with "we go / they go" and ability to do only one thing will require strategery.  Rather than just running up and bopping wizard on head, will have to combine initiative with encircling/chasing down spell boy.  At least I think it will be like that.  Jonesing to try this out!

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