Thursday, August 3, 2017

Wizard Spells in Dungeon Crawl Classics



I'm really trying not to mod the shit out of DCC, which is hard because I love tinkering with rules (which should be obvious from reading this blog or any of my previous blogs).

However, a particular aspect of the magic system rubs me the wrong way and it has to go.

Wizards in DCC have a very limited number of spells they are allowed to know. As in, a level one Wizard could have books with 500 spells in them, but can only cast four of them. Not four in a day and the next day can study and switch them out. No, they know the same four spells forever, unchanging. Those other 496 spells collect dust, never to be used.

How does that make sense? How does that go with Appendix N which DCC constantly trumpets the virtues of?

Screw all that. It isn't fun. The Wizard already has a pretty crappy lot in life; spells have a good chance of hurting them (temporarily or permanently), patron bonding is arguably more hurtful than helpful, they have few hit points and armor makes it harder to cast spells. On top of all that, they can never learn new spells?

It's almost like the rule is a mistake, but apparently it's made it through four printings and the official DCC forums say it's for real.

Furthermore, the rules say a Wizard can not cast spells higher than their level chart indicates. So a level one or two Wizard can not cast spells higher than level 1.  A level three Wizard can not cast spells higher than level 2.

But later on in the magic section it says spells of higher level CAN be cast, but it is more dangerous. It doesn't say exactly how or why it's more dangerous, but I have to assume it's because the Spell Check is higher and the Wizard being of lower level doesn't have as good of a bonus to cast as a higher level Wizard would.

Not only that, but non-magic characters can cast magic, albeit with mandatory Luck burning, but still. If a Warrior can cast a spell at all, then a first level Wizard should be able to cast a 5th level spell (with all the associated penalties).

So, here is my very simple rule change.

A Wizard character can know any number of spells. The number they can memorize is equal to the number indicated on the Wizard chart in the class description. So a level one Wizard can memorize four spells, regardless of the level of those spells. A level two Wizard can memorize 5 spells, and so on.

Spells that are available to be memorized must be researched and a check roll must be made, as is written in the rules. A character isn't just automatically going to have access to a spell just because they have a grimoire or scroll in their possession.

When a Wizard character successfully checks to learn a spell that is in their possession, it goes into their pool of available spells to choose from. If the check fails, they must wait until they reach the next level of experience before attempting to learn the spell again.

Example:
So a level one Wizard has their normal four starting spells from level 1. In the course of an adventure they find a spell book with two level 2 spells in it. For brevity, we'll assume that the adventure ends with the Wizard making it to a town or other safe area to rest for an indefinite amount of time. During this down time, the Wizard studies the spell book and attempts to learn the two spells contained within. The fail the attempt at learning the first spell, but succeed in learning the second spell. 
Now, the first level Wizard can memorize a total of four spells per day, but has five spells to choose from. The fifth spell being a level two spell means it is more difficult to cast, and therefore more dangerous to the Wizard, but gives them another spell casting option.

Man, I think that is a simple rule change. Yeah, it's more like DnD, but it also makes sense.

 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Strathos map using Hex Kit

The new DCC campaign (campaign in the loose sense of the term) now has a map!

I made it using Hex Kit. After spending about a year looking at various map creation tools like Hexographer, Campaign Cartographer, and others, I found Hex Kit and it makes the most sense for me and what I want to do.

I can easily make a map, I can make it abstract, I can add to it later, I can make it in layers, I can add labels and Fog of War, it's super cost effective, and it looks good! This image was exported as a .png, then I added a filter to make it look grittier, and turned it into a jpeg. Normally, it would be more brighter without the filter.

The village is where the player's Zero level characters are from. The Telescope Tower is the location of their first adventure (Tower of the Stargazer by Lamentations of the Flame Princess, with a play report here), and the Portal is the location of their next adventure (Portal Under the Stars by Goodman Games, in case you're wondering).


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Hobgoblin DCC character class!

Holy smokes! This is not the hobgoblin you were expecting. In fact, it isn't a hobgoblin at all in the classical Dungeons and Dragons sense.

See, I feel like the DnD hobgoblin, in all it iterations, wasn't much like the hobgoblins from mythology. That being said, making a class identical to mythology isn't up my alley, as there are different interpretations and legends. So I came up with a backstory I like, and stole ideas from others, and built the class off of one made by someone much better at this than me.

I originally wanted to include the Moss Dwarf class from the EXCELLENT Wormskin volume 1, which you should buy both the .pdf and dead tree version. And then when you realize how great it is, buy the next 5 volumes.

Anyway, the Moss Dwarf has too clumsy a name for me, and I'm not using the Dolmenwood setting, and I'm using DCC RPG not Basic DnD, and so on...

So I adapted the Moss Dwarf for DCC RPG and for my game!

Since Wormskin is awesome and I respect its creators, I'm not going to reprint anything found in that product. That would not be cool at all.

Hobgoblin class for Dungeon Crawl Classics

So you're a...

Hobgoblin!

Booyah! The hobgoblins of Strathos are short, squat humanoids with brown wrinkly skin, often covered with moss, mold, fungus, and lichens. They typically forgo wearing clothes apart from a loin cloth, and never cut or crop their hair or beards, which are also tangled with creeping plants, and maybe a bird's nest or two. Hobgoblins live for centuries; when they die, their bodies quickly rot away like fallen tree trunks, forming a rich compost. Hobgoblins prefer to live in the darkest parts of the forest or underground in shallow, natural caves.

Here is what you can do...

You can see in the dark! Up to 60 feet.

You can speak the Hobgoblin language, which is squelchy and wet and dank sounding.

You as a Hobgoblin can attempt to identify animals, monsters, or other beings native to Strathos as a Trained Skill.

You are invulnerable to harmful fungal poisons/infections and spores.

You are, however, vulnerable to metal. You suffer a -1 penalty to hit your opponent when wielding a metal weapon, and a -1 penalty to Armor Class (AC) when wearing metal armor. Hobgoblins do make their own armor out of plant and animal materials, and weapons of wood and stone.

At first level, roll on the Talent Tree table to determine your hobgoblin Talent. Talents can be thought of as natural magical powers innate to Hobgoblins. Each Talent Tree has a total of four Ranks before it is mastered. The talent you roll at first level is permanent and cannot be changed. At each subsequent level, you have the choice of rolling again on the Talent Tree table to start an additional Talent Tree at Rank One, or you may increase a currently known Talent Tree by one Rank. 


Level
Attack Bonus
Crit Die/Table
Action Dice
Reflex
Fortitude
Willpower
1
+1
D6/III
d20
+1
+1
+1
2
+1
D6/III
d20
+1
+1
+1
3
+2
D8/III
d20
+1
+2
+1
4
+2
D8/III
d20
+2
+2
+2
5
+3
D10/III
d20
+2
+3
+2
6
+3
D10/III
d20+d14
+2
+4
+2
7
+4
D12/III
d20+d16
+3
+4
+3
8
+5
D12/III
d20+d20
+3
+5
+3
9
+6
D14/III
d20+d20
+3
+5
+3
10
+7
D14/III
d20+d20
+4
+6
+4

 
The Talent list is the same as that found in Wormskin, with nary a change at all, so I will not show that here. The main difference is that Talents are rolled every time you go up a level, which gives a DCC character the opportunity to have many minor powers, or master one or two Talent Trees with a couple of minor powers from other trees.

Now if only I could find some mini's to represent them.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Magical Mutant Ape Men!!!!

I've been workin' out the kinks of a race-as-class for a while now. It's become an obsession.

First, I wanted to build it for Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Then, a heavily house-modified version of LotFP. Now, I am using Dungeon Crawl Classics.

These Ape Men (Women, People, whichever you prefer) were normal run-of-the-mill ape creatures that were suddenly and recently uplifted by some unknown magical means.


 While this is specifically written for DCC, it can easily be modified for any early edition DnD type game.




Yon, the Magical Mutant Ape People

You are a mystically mutated primate with human intelligence and speech! At some point in the near past, your entire species was rapidly evolved to its present state by unknown means. You are a second generation Yon, and you and your people have no real culture of your own. You pick the appealing parts from other cultures to adopt.

You are of a size in between dwarf and human. And you have a vestigial tail that is effectively useless and about half as long as the rest of your body. The exact details of how you look are up to you, the player. Keep in mind though, that based on your character's visual looks, all other low level Yon will look like you.


Here are some of the things you can do

You receive d6 Hit Points at every level! This is in addition to the hit points you had at Zero level.

You're trained in the use of the Battleaxe, Club, Dart, Javelin, Spear, Staff, Two-handed club, and Warhammer.

You have big sharp teeth that causes a nasty bite. You can bite as an extra attack when in melee combat! (ATK: d14, DMG: d3+Strength Modifier)

Your feet can grab and hold things. They aren't nimble enough to be of any use in combat or to juggle, but they can hold your body weight by holding onto something. The big toe is used as a primitive thumb. You tend to walk and run on all fours.

Unlike other classes, Yon gain random mutations as they are exposed to magic. Roll on the Magical Mutation Table once every time you are affected by a magical effect that alters you in some way (fail a save vs Magic). Examples include; Failing a save against a spell, or drinking a magical potion that requires a saving throw.
  • Cleric or Deific magic does not have this effect. 
  • Luck Modifier does apply; higher your Luck mod, the more likely you'll have a beneficial mutation.

Level
Attack Bonus
Crit Die/Table
Action Dice
Reflex
Fortitude
Willpower
1
+1
D6/III
1d20
+1
+1
+0
2
+1
D6/III
1d20
+1
+1
+1
3
+1
D6/III
1d20
+1
+2
+1
4
+1
D6/III
1d20
+2
+3
+2
5
+1
D6/III
1d20+1d14
+2
+4
+2
6
+1
D6/III
1d20+1d16
+2
+4
+2
7
+1
D6/III
1d20+1d20
+3
+4
+3
8
+1
D6/III
1d20+1d20
+3
+5
+3
9
+1
D6/III
1d20+1d20
+4
+5
+4
10
+1
D6/III
1d20+1d20+1d14
+4
+6
+4

 Yon Titles

As Yon don't have a culture or society to call their own, they don't have level based titles. Yon typically take the titles of other classes that they look up to and want to emulate.

Magical Mutation Table

  1. Magical Vulnerability! You take a -1 penalty to all magical saves. 
  2. Big giant head! Your skull, specifically your brain case and brain, grows disproportionately larger than the rest of your body. You can Mind Blast everyone (friend or foe) in a 5 foot radius for d3 damage on a failed Will save of DC 10+your Willpower or Luck modifier. They are -1 to all rolls for d4 rounds. You can do this once per day, for every time you roll this mutation result. Further, the damage increases by one die step, the DC increases by +1, the range increases by 5 feet, and the penalty for all rolls decreases -1. Using this power is painful and causes a piercing headache that forces a penalty of d3 to all your rolls for one Turn. Every time this is rolled, the penalty to all die rolls is made worse by one die step. 
  3. Skin toughens! Bonus to Armor Class: +1 every time this is rolled. This is not in addition to worn armor. There is no penalty the first time you roll this result, however, subsequent rolls of this result incur the following; reduce movement to the point that you move and function as if you were one Encumbrance step higher than you would normally be. 
  4. Intimidate! To intimidate a creature, you beat your chest and growl and roar and pound the ground. They must make an opposed DC 10 Will save if intelligent, or a DC 5 Will save if of animal level intelligence. Failure means they cower or flee. Undead, golems, automatons, and the like are not affected. Add your Personality OR Strength modifier (whichever is higher) to make the DC more difficult. Roll this again and you get the bonus from Personality AND Strength modifiers. Subsequent rolls net you a +1 bonus.
  5. Howler! make loud howls heard for miles. Rolled again and those in close vicinity must make a Fortitude save or go temporarily deaf for d4 hours. Roll this any more times and they suffer a -1 to their save attempt and the length of deafness increases by a die step in hours.  
  6. Prehensile tail! your tail can grab things. It's not very strong though, 1/4 your Strength ability. Rolling this again increases it's strength to 1/2, then 3/4, then full strength. With each growth step, your tail lengthens 12 inches. On the other hand, your size decreases by 6 inches each time this is rolled.  
  7. Bite! Your bite damage increases to d4 damage. Roll this again and it increases to d5, then d6, then d7 and so on. As your teeth enlarge, so does your jaw, and your overall features become more menacing; -1 to any Personality based check every time this result is rolled.  
  8. Hyper-intelligence! Choose a new skill to be trained in; roll randomly on the Background Profession table to determine this. Choose a new skill every time this is rolled. This focus is offset by a penalty of -1 to any and all untrained skill attempts. This penalty is cumulative every time this result is rolled.  
  9. Brute strength! add a D3 to any strength check or strength based action, including melee damage. Roll again and it becomes a d4, then d5, and so on. Your Crit Die also increases by one step!The massive increase in muscle mass causes a loss of dexterity, though; suffer a penalty of -1 to Reflex saves, and dexterity based actions. 
  10. Size increase! You are a foot taller, a bit meatier, and your hit die increases to d8 per level. Roll again and you grow another foot and hit die becomes a d10. Another foot and a D12, another foot and a d14, lastly another foot and a d20. After that, every increase is another foot +1 HP. Also, your Crit Table increases to Table IV, then Table V, then the Giant table. Unfortunately, your tail decreases in length by one foot, and you become incrementally less capable of thoughtful action. Every time you roll this, you suffer a permanent -1 penalty whenever you attempt a skill, and a -1 penalty to Intelligence and Personality checks, as well as Willpower saves. Whenever you take damage in combat, you must make a Willpower save or else fly into a berserk rage; attacking any foes within sight without regard for strategy, tactics, or the well being of yourself or other party members. 
  11. Prehensile feet! Your feet become more dexterous and useful. They can be used attack with a weapon and use a d10 as an Action Die. Each time this is rolled, the Action Die increases a die step. After reaching d20, you get a +1 to hit with your feet every time this is rolled. Agility and Strength bonuses do not apply to feet attacks.
  12. Hand-eye coordination! You get a +1 to hit in combat, and your Crit Die increases by one step. 
  13. Magical Resistance! You gain a +1 to s ave against Magic every time you roll this result.  
  14. Color Change! Your skin and hair change colors. These can be whatever colors you wish, or you can roll on a random table to determine color. 
  15.  Hair falls out! All your body hair falls out. Re-roll this and it grows back. Re-roll again and it falls out again.  
  16. Magic Spell! You learn a random wizard magic spell! This spell is determined randomly; roll a d3 for the spell's level, then roll on that level's spell list to determine the exact spell. Casting this spell is the same as if you were a wizard, and uses your Action Die to roll the spell check. All consequences for failure (corruption, misfire, etc) also are the same as per the Wizard. Any effect this spell may have on you does not cause another roll on this Magical Mutation table.


Friday, April 28, 2017

DCC Tower of the Stargazer play report






Yesterday I ran/played Dungeon Crawl Classics for the first time ever.

It was awesome.

Finding DCC was reminiscent of when I discovered Lamentations of the Flame Princess years ago; a breathe of fresh air! The fantasy game I've been looking for, for the last 20 years.

All the modifications I was making to LotFP are already included in DCC. So, I'm switching systems. A lot less work and stress for me to build the game I want. That's a big load off my shoulders.

The rest of the group enjoyed their Zero Level adventure as well.

So what adventure did we play?

Well, I ran Tower of the Stargazer with a lot of modifications.

First, I removed all the background from the module. The players were supposed to control four characters each, but three players chose to control three characters; I still have no idea why. I explained, exhaustively, how that wasn't a particularly good idea, but they insisted on three.

Anyway, the characters were all from the same town in a run-down barony ruled over by a powerful wizard. The wizard himself hadn't been heard from in many years, and the barony was run by an appointed magistrate who was killed in an ambush by bandits a few months before. Since then, the area around the town has been plagued by monsters, bandits, crop failures, cats mating with dogs, etc. So the town sent a small group of villagers to the wizard's tower in order to appeal to the wizard directly for help. They never returned. The player character's were the B team, sent to talk to the wizard and see what happened to the first group.

Outside the tower, I changed the four large lightning rods into a huge field of smaller lightning rods of heights varying between 10-20 feet. Each with a cable running from the base of the rod to the base of the tower. There was stone path leading to the front door of the tower.
  • Walking along the path at normal human speed would take 3 rounds to reach the front door.
    • There is a 1% chance x number of characters that a random character is struck by lightning for d6 damage. 
  • Walking through the field of lightning rods reduces the chance of lightning strike to a flat 1%, but unless walking carefully at half speed, there is a 1 in 6 chance of a character stepping on a "hot" wire and being electrocuted for d6 damage. I had figured that the players would be fearful of the lightning and attempt to run to the tower to avoid getting hit.
  • There were three bodies of the A Team of villagers on the path, and three bodies in the lightning rod field. Searching a body takes a round, which means another roll to see if lightning strikes.
The first character death occurred when a dwarf grabbed a lightning rod and tried to pry it out of the ground. Lightning strike for 1 damage; the dwarf had 1 HP.
The second death occurred when a human attempted to search a body of a villager and was struck by lightning.

Death Count: 2 

One of those dead villagers had a coin that when flipped, would always land on its side. This would become very important later on.

Reaching the front double-doors, one character decided to knock using the door knocker, while simultaneously another character went to open the other door by grabbing the door knob. Got stuck with a poison needle, failed the save, died.

Death Count: 3

I decided that the tower should not be cleaned/kept up by "magic" as stated in the module, and instead the Calcidus the Stargazer utilized animated dead bodies (zombies) as maids and butlers, While living assistants cooked food and helped with experiments.

Each of the zombies had an iron bar through their neck and would only be animated for a period of time before needing to recharge in the cells in Basement Level 1; each cell had a device with copper wires attached that the zombies would plug into and recharge. Two zombies plug in at a time, while two others work elsewhere in the tower.

So the characters enter the tower and in the foyer is a zombie maid dusting the couches and coffee tables and a fake plant in the corner. The maid has a note pinned to her dress that says, "Please wait to be summoned, Calcidus." One character found some Copper change in a couch, another stole a painting of Calcidus as a young man from the wall. This was a mistake on my part, as I intended for the painting to be the False Chanterelle painting from Maze of the Blue Medusa, but I completely forgot.

Eventually, they tired of waiting to be summoned and opened the door to the next room.

Opening the door caused the maid to attack the character who opened it, while from the other room, a zombie butler rushed at the character moaning, "nooooot summmonnnneed," and attacked. The zombies were eventually defeated by bashing in the skull of the butler, maiming the maid with a critical hit to the knee, and then finishing the maid off by dowsing her head in holy water. Fun tidbit; the Lick-Spitter character armed with a bucket and a tin of breath mints tossed a mint into the maid's mouth with a great roll before she was destroyed.

Searching the Sitting Room, where the butler attacked from, I described the china cabinet and the fine, fragile dishes within. A player stated that one of his characters was going to throw the dishes into his sack. The fragile dishes all shattered.

They quickly figured out the stack of crates were fake and found the trapdoor underneath. After carefully examining the statue, they figured out it too could be slid away revealing another trapdoor.

This is where things got tricky.

The party decided to split into THREE groups. One group went up the stairs to Level Two. Another group went down the trapdoor leading to the storage room in Basement One. And a single character went down the trapdoor leading to the small room in Basement One closed off with a portculis.

The single character didn't even try to lift the portculis, but that was partially my fault; I described it as iron bars, leading them to conclude it was a jail-type cell. My bad. Not that they would have been able to lift it by themselves anyway. Still, I made another mistake. They did notice a red glow coming from beyond the portculis but they couldn't see the source. More on that later.


The second group that went down to the Storage Room found the secret door, and the character with a background as a miner made a skill check to figure out what would trigger the door to open, and discovered a suspiciously loose flagstone on the floor and stepped on it, opening the door. Oddly, no one wanted to open the regular, normal door. They also did a cursory search of the crates, but found none of the strange contents to be interesting enough to take.

Going through the secret door,  they found the zombie recharging stations. The last three cells I kept as actual cells, including the 15 armed skeleton. That tripped some of the players out. I also kept the brain leech, and one of the characters swallowed it. That should be a nice surprise at the beginning of the next adventure!

The laboratory I kept pretty much as written, including the mirror room and the body on the table, and the microscope with the blood vials. One character immediately wanted to look at the blood through the microscope and missed a saving throw and licked the smear off the slide. ewwww. I haven't decided how the blood will affect the character; perhaps some sort of slow, agonizing death as the virus contained destroys their cells. Or maybe a couple rolls on the Corruption table! That's an even better idea.

The mirror room has an issue within it that I didn't realize until the players discovered it. One of the mirrors produces a doppleganger which either fights you or melds into you doubling providing another hit die. If you fight it, it has all the same equipment that you have, so potentially, you could just keep looking in the mirror and doubling your equipment and money, or get more hit points, for as long as you want.

Anyway, another character died here when they failed a save and a laser beam cut a hole through their chest. Two characters saw their ability scores increase, and one saw theirs decrease. Two of the mirrors were smashed. One character looked into a mirror and gained a profound knowledge of something... an answer to a question of their choosing at a later time. More on that later.

Death Count: 4

This group of characters discovered the elevator and took it up to Tower Level 5. 

On Level Two of the tower, the other group of characters found the living servants quarters, which has been long abandoned. They were very interested in the oven and several characters thoroughly searched it, finding nothing. They went up the stairs to Tower Level 3.

The door to Level 3 is locked and trapped, as written, in a really strange way that isn't consistent with the theme of the tower. So I changed it.

Instead of a trickle of blood, followed by a wall of blood pouring out of the door, I changed it to a simple lock trap that electrocutes the lockpicker if they fail their skill check. Unfortunately, the character that attempted to pick the lock failed their skill check and was electrocuted. A few of the other characters used a coffee table as a battering ram to force the door open. 

Death Count: 5

Entering Level 3, the characters found the Wizard's chamber. When I ran Tower of the Stargazer last, I felt that the wizard was... lame. So I killed him. The wizard was dead, laying face down in the circle of salt. Died of old age/starvation/whatever before the characters got there. One character decided to try and enter the circle to check on him. I allowed this, with the idea that anything can enter the circle, but nothing can leave. Before this little fact was discovered though, a different character swept some of the salt away, breaking the circle.

One of the characters took the Star Crystal, and they discovered the elevator on this level. Messing with the dial, they saw the characters who used the elevator to travel to level 5 go down past them, all the way to Dungeon Level 2.

Dungeon Level has a puzzle, and it took a while for the players to finish it. Earlier, one character looked into one of the magic and gained knowledge of something they could choose to ask about at a later time. They used it to figure out the puzzle.

All the characters regrouped at Level 4.
I didn't like the thing in the freezer, so I changed it to a Face-hugging alien who implanted its seed in the belly of an unfortunate character. That will be a gruesome death later on. I figured that an alien monster would make more sense for a wizard's tower dedicated to finding life on other planets than a vial of living, but evil, blood. Plus, there was already evil blood in the basement.

The characters searched the first library extensively and found what was hidden in there. They reached the "game room," with the ghost and a player had a great idea for beating it. The last time I ran Tower of the Stargazer, a character died playing against the ghost in a game of Blackjack. This time, it was a different player not involved the first time around who played against the ghost. This player's character was the one who picked up the trick coin earlier in the adventure. The game he chose was to flip the coin, and allow the ghost to call heads or tails. If the coin landed on what the ghost chose, the ghost wins. If it lands any other way, the ghost loses and the characters can pass through the door.
The ghost lost, and the players found the magical library. They searched this library even more extensively than the first, and found a few low level magical scrolls. I'm not as worried about overpowering low level characters with magical scrolls as I would be in other game systems, since they have to roll a d10 vs the DC of the scroll in order to use it successfully. It's pretty much a trap, unless they somehow get really, really, lucky.

Moving to the 5th floor, the characters find the telescope. I had planned for the telescope to be a trap as well; if the controls were manipulated in the wrong way, the whole thing would blow up, destroying the tower and everything in it.
I didn't count on the players though, a classic GM mistake.
The players quickly figured out the pool of water with the fish was acid. They quickly figured out to put the coal and the powder in the coal chamber. And, most surprisingly, they figured out the controls for the telescope on the first try.
However, after putting the powder into the coal chamber and powering the laser, a character looked through the view finder and was transported to another world. Where they were promptly killed and eaten by aliens. This grisly deqth was viewed only by another character who quickly jumped to the telescope when the first character disappeared.

Death Count: 6

The remaining characters found the other part of Dungeon Level 1. I changed the stone spider into a lava giant, who acted as protector if the "treasures," within. The characters dispatched the giant after a time with no casualties. Searching the treasure they quickly figured out the trick. Going into the easternmost room, one character made it in before the portcullis fell and trapped them. Another character got hit by the trap but managed to survive. The trapped character drank ALL of the potions. So, in a way, that character changed enough to almost be considered dead. 

The remaining characters left the tower and made it through the electrical field outside without a hitch. They were talking about using the tower as a base of operations in the future.

Final death tally: 6, with 3 more dying (brain leech, alien virus blood, alien egg) in the near future.

For a group that started with 21 zero level characters, I feel like this wasn't dangerous enough. Which means I failed.

Next adventure I plan to either run Deep Carbon Observatory, or Maze of the Blue Medusa.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Skills and Skill points

Skills and Skill Points


Every character has the ability to perform skills. In most cases, character's aren't particularly good at any skills, but have at least some chance of success. Skill rolls are only necessary if the Referee determines that there is a chance of failure if attempted. Otherwise, the Player should be able to role play the situation without needing to roll dice.

Skill level is ranked from 1 to 6. All characters start play with a 1 in 6 chance (around 16%) to successfully attempt a skill and is resolved by rolling a d6 and rolling equal to or less than the skill level. Certain skills are affected by a particular Attribute Modifier, and in that case the modifier is subtracted from the die roll, not added to the skill level. If a skill should advance to a 6 in 6 chance of success, then two d6 are rolled, with failure only occurring when double sixes are rolled.

The names of the various skills are:
  • Bushcraft: Bushcraft shows the chances of your character being able to survive in the wilderness through foraging or hunting, and identifying tracks, plants, and animals.
    • A successful Bushcraft check can mean that foraging or hunting for food takes less time and produces higher yields.
    • A character's Wisdom attribute modifier applies to Bushcraft.
  • Climb: This skill is rolled when a character is climbing under adverse conditions or attempting to scale a vertical surface that would be more difficult than the average person could reasonably attempt.
    • Climbing a tree or cliff with numerous hand and footholds would not require a roll against this skill. Climbing a ladder of any height would also not require a roll.
    • Attempting to scale a cliff face or castle wall with few hand or foot holds would require a roll against the Climb skill.
    • Situational modifiers can be applied, such as having (or not having) proper equipment, being encumbered, the weather, duress, etc.
    • A character's Strength Modifier applies to Climb.
  • First Aid: This skill is used for minor healing when a safe place to rest is not available. First Aid can only be used on a character once per encounter, or once per injury. Based on the skill created by James Young at http://tenfootpolemic.blogspot.co.uk
    • On a success, the character can heal a number of Flesh equal to the die roll.
      • For example; if your skill is 3 in 6, and you roll a 2, then 2 points are healed.
    • On a failure, the character takes an additional 1 Flesh damage for every point they failed the roll.
      • For example; if your skill is 3 in 6, and you roll a 5, then 2 points of damage are inflicted.
    • A character's Intelligence modifier applies to this skill.
  • Language: Language skill indicates the chances of the character to be able to understand a particular language.
    • Every time a new language is encountered, the character rolls against this skill. Success means they know the language.
    • Failure means the character does not know the language and may not roll again for that particular language until the character reaches the next level of experience.
    • A penalty of +3 to the character's roll is applied for obscure/dead/cryptic languages, and a +2 penalty modifier for exotic languages from other realms.
      • For example; a character has a Language skill of 3 in 6 and rolls to see if they somehow know the language of the Cult of Duvan'ku, which hasn't been spoken in centuries and was little known when even back then. They roll a 2, but with a +3 penalty, their total roll is 5, which is a failure.
    • A character's Intelligence attribute modifier applies to Language.
  • Navigation: Navigation is the character's ability to not get lost while traveling. Following roads and paths does not require a skill check, but travel through the wilderness or on the high seas does.
    • A character's Intelligence attribute modifier applies to Navigation.
  • Search: Searching is the ability to discover hidden items and clues.
    • Searching a 10ft area takes a single 10 minute Turn.
    • If you fail your roll, you may not search the same area again until your next level of experience.
  • Sleight of Hand: Sleight of Hand includes hiding objects on one's person, picking pockets, readying a weapon without an observer noticing, and other such actions.
    • A character's Dexterity attribute modifier applies to Sleight of Hand.
  • Sneak Attack: Unlike other skills, the skill level of a Sneak Attack does not indicate the chances of success or failure, rather, it indicates the amount of damage done in the attack.
    • A single rank in Sneak Attack means 1x normal damage. Two ranks means 2x damage. Three ranks means 3x damage, and so on up to 6x damage.
    • Sneak Attack bypasses Grit and inflicts damage directly to Flesh.
    • A Sneak Attack can only be attempted on an opponent who does not know the attack is coming.
    • Any character, creature, or opponent who is eligible to be the target of a Sneak Attack is also considered to be Surprised for the purposes of the Sneak Attack.
    • There is not an attribute that applies to Sneak Attack.
  • Stealth: Stealth is the ability of the character to move or hide themselves or an object, and remain undetected.
    • Stealth is always considered an Opposed Skill Check (see below). If the situation would not require an Opposed Skill Check, then success (or failure depending on the situation) is considered automatic.
    • A successful Stealth check to sneak up on someone means that they are considered Surprised for your next attack. This also means that a successful Stealth check can lead to a Sneak Attack.
    • A character's Dexterity attribute modifier applies to Stealth rolls in situations where the character is attempting to physically hide themselves or sneak up on an opponent.
    • A character's Intelligence attribute modifier applies to Stealth rolls in situations where the character is attempting to hide an object from visual inspection.
  • Streetwise: This skill is similar to Bushcraft but for urban environments. It allows the character to find food, shelter, and people within a city or town.
    • A character's Intelligence OR Charisma modifier applies to Streetwise.
  • Swim: This skill is used when a character is attempting a difficult feat when immersed in liquid.
    • Attempting to cross a raging river or swim across a pond while while encumbered would require a roll against this skill to avoid sinking and possibly drowning.
    • Attempting to swim a long distance would require a roll against this skill in order to avoid tiring and drowning.
  • Tinker: Tinker is a loose term used to describe the ability to manipulate mechanical objects. This can be used to pick locks, disarm traps, use unfamiliar machinery, build a wrist watch, and similar.
    • A character's Dexterity modifier applies to Tinker. 





Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Strathos Setting Update: part tres

Playtested last weekend. Here is the skinny:
  • Ran the players through Tower of the Stargazer. A quick, 1st level adventure by Lamentations of the Flame Princess. 
  • Got the players to try out the new Wizard, Fool, and Yon classes. 
  • The Wizard died after losing a game of Blackjack with a ghost.
  • They took to the three-save system immediately.
  • Flesh and Grit took a little bit longer to understand, but I used Palladium's HP/SDC system as guide - they are old Palladium players, so it made more sense to them with that example.
  • Didn't get to try out the new firearms rules, as no one had a gun. 
  • Didn't get to use Shields Will Be Broken, although we've used that in the past, so no big deal.
  • I got good feedback on my rules document and character creation document. By "good," I mean I now have more ideas on how to improve those documents. I play with people who ask a lot of questions and aren't afraid to tell me what they don't like. Which is great! It's refreshing to receive constructive criticism instead of just hearing that everything is wonderful.
  • Didn't get to playtest the Muscarn Mushroom Men, as I'm still working the kinks out of the class. There was a nice amount of interest in them though, so that makes me happy.
  • Looking back, I think the player who used the Fool class didn't fully read the Level Up section, because I don't think they rolled on the table at level 1. Which I should have noticed while playing, but didn't think about until afterwards. I'm rewriting and reorganizing the Fool class to make it easier to read AND make it more in tune with the setting, and less like the source material I took it from. 

Next up, I'm going to publish the Three-Save rules I came up with, and how to convert LotFP classes to it. I'm also going to publish the firearms rules I'm using. And yet another write up of the Yon class, Wizards, the Fool, Shaman, Barbarians, and maybe more setting specific stuff.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

New Class: Shaman

Shaman are the spiritual leaders of the Picts of Strathos. They are a combination of warrior and magic user, in other realms called a Cleric.

In fact, there isn't any fundamental difference between a Strathos shaman and a cleric from elsewhere other than faith.


Speaking of faith, all Shaman have a totem animal, which is the same totem animal as their tribe. By praying while holding or wearing the skin of that animal, the shaman can polymorph into that animal for a short period of time.



New spells:

1st Rank (I use the term Rank, rather than level, as I find it is less confusing)
Skin Change
For one 1 minute Turn per level of experience, the shaman can polymorph themself into their totem animal. The skin of the totem animal must be held or worn at the time of casting. The shaman retains their reasoning capability and may end the spell before the duration at will. Otherwise, the shaman loses all other powers while the spell is in effect, but gains the natural abilities of the totem animal.

3rd Rank
Group Skin Change
Same as Skin Change but affects a number of participants equal to the shaman's experience level. The duration is a single ten minute Turn. Same effects and rules as the 1st Rank spell.

6th Rank
Superior Skin Change
Same as the first level spell, but duration is 1 hour per level of experience and the shaman can speak and cast other spells as normal while polymorphed.







Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Strathos Update Part Dos

So, what exactly is Strathos and who lives there and what do they do and what game system is this and why should you care?

I'll answer those questions in no particular order.

Strathos is the name of a recently discovered continent on a world based on Lamentations of the Flame Princess type source material.

By "recently discovered," I mean by the standards of Europeans "discovering" the Americas, as there are already people living on Strathos. More on those people later.

Using LotFP rules as a base, some aspects of those rules have been altered to better fit the setting, or are simply fun additions; Shields Will Be Splintered and the d30 rule, for example.

Back to the setting;

Nations/Kingdoms from the European-stand-in continent discover a new continent in the Southern Hemisphere and send colonists to settle there and send back any silver and gold they find. The colonists discover little in the way of material goods, but do discover the natives.

The colonies are founded by members of several nations, so they each have distinct cultures and languages of their own. Proximity to the other colonies and the natives, as well as being more or less cut-off from their homelands, has had some effect of cultural homogenization among the colonies.

Not wanting to send their best and brightest to this far off and dangerous land, the European nations send their undesirables; wizards, religious zealots and heretics, convicted criminals, and trouble makers. These people are given the promise of self-government with the caveat of sending a portion of their wealth back home, in exchange for limited supplies and support.

The colonists are technologically advanced, with access to large multi-masted ships, firearms, and advanced agricultural techniques. They also have horses and cattle, which are not native to Strathos.

Classes available to the colonists include; Fighter, Magic User, Inquisitor, Specialist, and Innocent (Alice).

The natives of Strathos include the human Picts, the ape-like Yon, the fungus-based Muscarians, the plant-like Moss Dwarfs, Goblins, and Hobgoblins.

Picts are humans who live in nomadic tribes in the wilderness. Each tribe has a totem animal they revere for its survival abilities. Physically, they are generally larger, more muscular, and more physically imposing than the colonists. They are low tech, practicing a more hunter-gatherer lifestyle, and use the gigantic prehistoric beasts native to Strathos as work animals.

Classes available to the Picts include; Warrior and Shaman.

The Yon are intelligent apes who dominate a particular region of Strathos. Their culture is almost hive-minded, with each village centered around a large Giant Bee hive, and all aspects of society working in some way to build and protect that hive. Yon found elsewhere are outcasts who were driven away.

Muscarians are mushroom people who emerged from the Mushroom Forest which borders Yon territory. Muscarians have special powers derived from spores they can release. They have no technology or society to speak of, but are considered friendly and helpful by every other native species, even the hive-minded Yon and militaristic Hobgoblins.

Moss Dwarfs are creatures who live in the deep forests either by themselves or in small communities. They tend to keep to themselves, but do have an innate curiosity that sends them off to adventure and explore the world. Moss Dwarfs are renown for the alcohol they brew.

Goblins are essentially the same as the goblins of most fantasy games. Sneaky, conniving, not particularly bright, backstabby. They aren't liked by anyone, but are tolerated if they behave themselves. Some of the colonists employ goblins as scouts or laborers.

Hobgoblins are all from an empire to the North, that recently began expanding southward. The Pict tribes that first encountered them named them "Hobgoblins," as they drove the goblins south before them, and "hob" in pict means, "hearth," to show that the hobgoblins are civilized unlike the goblins. The Hobgoblin Empire is the single largest and most powerful political entity on the continent, although its expansion is stymied by the seemingly bizarre and chaotic nature of hobgoblin society. Hobgoblin society is based on a beaurocratic social structure based on family caste and personal status. To outsiders, it appears chaotic, but to hobgoblins, it is the pinnacle of order and law. In fact, they believe themselves to be the sole arbiters of law and order in a chaotic world, and expansion of the empire grants this order to the poor souls who they conquer. Hobgoblin "gods," if they can be called that, are more like mathematical formulas than the typical gods worshiped by other peoples.

Why should you care? Well, you probably shouldn't. Unless any of this sounds interesting to you.