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Monday, April 13, 2015

Because I Always want it to be good.

This despite how it reads at first is post about respect. Respect for my  hobby, myself, and my ideas. Most of all respect for the  three of four people I have played RPG's with for many years and who constantly put up with my ideas. If I don't they'll put a stop to it quick enough.




Sometimes in my enthusiasm I will jump into a project with both feet. I Run around in the project and dance like a like a cat with water on it's paws for a week or so before I finally slow down and look at what I'm doing. Kind of a bad way to get anything productive done.

So I have been working on a game explicitly to run my campaign. Something that finally encapsulates
what I want to  do with my  game, and how I want to present things. 

Just reading that last paragraph seems so fucking pretentious and stupid to me right now..

That is the  definition of "A heart breaker" or a darling of a game. The game is a good idea, and it may contain great ideas, but in the end it is completely unnecessary and bit pretentious.

The real problem is I want it, no I need it to be good. What I was working last night left me with the distinct feeling that it wasn't any good. Not something I think the  people who play my campaign would enjoy. Their enjoyment is paramount.

Here are my troubles, and it all starts with what I want to do with combat.
I want a very narrative combat style.
I want players to tell me what they want to do, Roll dice then interpret those dice to see what happens.
I basically want to skip to "tell me how you kill it." right from the  jump off.
I want damage, and bonuses and all that jazz to matter allot less than they do in 5thE and others of that ilk.
Neal just had a Blood Bowl flash back

I don't want combat to take 2 hours of my game time. Not Ever. Not when I mostly play  4 hour
sessions on roll 20 these days. The slow slug-fests that happens in some editions of the  worlds most famous RPG are cool if you have an all night session set up with beer and  pizza and a house full of  players. When time is limited however, god damn it just tell me how you want cut the ogres head off.


What I think I wrote is game with that narrative combat, but a very deadly version of it. Which is OK by me, Characters should have to think about the risks before jumping into combat, even a minor combat.

What happens in D&D in my experiance is characters gain hit points as they level which are basically one more hit they can take and one more opportunity to say,
"Forget this I'm in over my head. Sir Robin should runaway!"
I think I may have taken that safety valve out.
With the game as I have it written getting in over the characters head is a fast way to end up in a pine box. I'm not sure that bothers me, but I'm not a player and these characters have been around it's not like they are running in a 0 level funnel under some brewery  rife with rats and yeast tentacles. If one of them got smoked in one lucky shot .. It would suck.

Another area in which I'm tumbling around grasping at straws is with all the stuff that supports the combat system.

  • Characters have attributes that add to attack rolls or action rolls. (easy)
  • Skills that add to the effect of a successful attack or action. (OK still easy)
  • They can earn perks based on their skills and equipment if they roll high enough. (umm ok... )
  • They can have assets which are like perks which are always on, or apply to certain situations. (wait, another thing?)
  • Combat advantage gives +1 damage to attacks per level. (OHH GOD ANOTHER THING?)


It's quite a few moving parts, not as much as some games out there but on paper it looks like a cluster.

So I'm not one to give up.
While it is popular in the  game design world  right now to talk about  "killing your darlings." I'm not one to kill anything before it grows up a bit. Tonight I will play-test what I have and if the game absolutely sucks I will fall back on AD&D 2nd edition for the campaign. Either way I am going to start a process of bush whacking my first draft into something more usable.
Right now it's a wreck and that has to change.

For an example here is a peek at what a priest of Geb looks like from character gen.


god of earth , gets a goose on his head
Geb: Goddess of Earth: Widely  followed in Dairhouse and most of Aleria.
Patron of  Gentle farmers,  dwarves, domestic and wild animals.
Symbol: An acorn, The Stag, a sprig of holly
Opposition: Fire and  Water, Unlife.
Geb is a benevolent goddess representing the  cycles of  nature and the  spirit of renewal. The churches center is the monastery on Tradewinds isle founded after the first Ordouth war by a heroic priestess named Treegan an early follower of Geb.

A devout follower of Geb has the  following starting magical category levels.
Heal: level 2:
The  followers of Geb are well known healers. they will often use poultices and  herbs to assist their prayers.
Smite: Level 1: 
The  followers of Geb may smite any target that is a defiler of nature, any  entity of fire, undead and  anyone trying to do harm to the  allies of the  priest. When smiting the Priestess may  use one of the  following perks on a high roll.
  • Stun: the target loses an additional 10 points of Combat score per point of current faith the  priest pocesses.
  • Unfooted: The targets connection to the earth is momentarily lost, they are sent sprawling. Their next action will have to include standing up.
  • Damage: Geb has taken particular offense to this target and deals an additional 1d4 damage.

Bless: Level 2: 
 Blessings from geb come in many forms Growth of crops, bringing water and feedback to it’s natural state. Calming and fertility of  domestic animals. A priest of Geb must describe what type of blessing they would like to perform and the GM must determine it’s difficulty. In this case the  Priest's Faith modifies the  effect roll.

Hex: Level 1:
Priests of  Geb do not rely heavily on hexing enemies.  The skill of hexing for a priest of Geb  is useful only in removing  Blessings that were placed  by those they oppose. the  difficulty of doing so is 10 + the faith of the opposing blessing.

Summon: level 2
Followers of Geb can summon , minor earth or plant elementals to do their bidding and common animals to be their companions. The combat scores of these creatures are determined by the  priests effect roll modified by their current faith.

Dispel: level 1 A follower of Geb can attempt dispelling the  following targets. Undead, Followers of Nepus, and unnatural summoned creatures (elementals, demons.)
The priest can split their faith to affect targets within a radius of five feet per point or use their it to cause stronger effects. A Dispel is truly only effective if the Priest gains perks.
If a perk is rolled the priest may pick From the  following.

  • Harm, This perk comes in the form of rapid natural decay. 5 combat score damage per point of faith spent on the  effect.
  • Fear,  This perk causes the  affected to run away from the  priestess for a number of rounds equal to the faith used in the attempt.
  • Free, This perk breaks any mind control spells in it’s area of effect.


Other Clergy of Geb Abilities:
The player may pick one of the  following skills, at level 1.
Apothecary: (mental) Mix cures, identify natural poisons.
Diplomacy: (Social)  negotiate with others uses gebs wisdom to  change opinions.
Wilderness survival: (physical) The  priest is well acquainted with survival techniques for their environment.
Access to Tradewinds Monastery: (Social) The  monastery at Tradewinds isle is considered the birthplace to Gebs faith in Aleria. It has a well appointed library of  tomes interesting to the study of nature and that natural way. This Asset grants you access to this library for research.
Animal Paragon: (mental) You know the location of a wise animal paragon, this is the  greatest member of it’s breed and this priest can commune with it.

I understand that some of that does not make much sense if a reader is not familiar with my campaign. Even still its allot to have to wade through and process just to create a level 1 priest.
I have to trim the fat.
Even though the above drips with  in game history. Dairhouse, Treegan, Tradewinds Isle, Geb, the  symbols of Geb, and so-on are all things that have been created through play over the years. I want to  present them as vibrant parts of the current game. Still I'm not sure I'm doing it in the most efficient way possible.

As it is I look at it all and I say,
"Damn it's good to see those details as a part of the games structure but, is it good?"
My answer is,
"I don't know how good it is. I do know it has to be good."

I'll keep wrestling with it, updates to follow.
Thank you for reading.
Please leave an questions or comments in the  dead gnome skull below.
-Mark.