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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

D20 NPC's from Pandelver


Your party is in a town.
Who do they run into first.
Whats that NPC's deal anyway?

Make one of these charts for  any  town the players may stay in for a while.
The interconnections of the  towns folk will lead to things happening.

Roll D20:


  1. Kyle O'Tooligan: Former sportsman, played the  realms version of Rugby at a high level, until he broke his knee. Now Kyle owns a small bar on the edge of town near the  sports pitch. He will give out free drinks if you are willing to sit and listen to his stories about the glory days.
  2. Tessa VonEtten: Midwife in town. Has a tremendously bad habit of vocally encouraging  young couples to have babies at inopportune times.
  3. Slayer Roberts: real name Mathias, Refuses to answer to anything but "slayer" Claims to any one who will listen  to have once killed a basilisk, there are no witnesses or proof to back up his claim.
  4. Kanna Vassil: A woman in her early 40's with a taste for  younger men. Kanna likes to hang out in the  market place, watch the  black smith (12) work and try to pick up any adventurer types that wonder through. She is very forward in her approach. Her greatest asset is her land which is some of the best grazing land near the  village. She has cleverly leverages the leasing of the land into a tidy income and  political sway in town.
  5. Lissa Nye: A woman of about twenty years. From the time she was quite young she and her older brother have been trained in swordsman ship by their father (10). She wants to join the town guard, but has been told that women are not excepted in the town guard. She calls that bull shit, but also refuses to do any thing stupid like dress up as a guy to get in  because that's boring , cliched and frankly more trouble than its worth. She is just itching to run away with a group of adventures but every group she approaches treats her like a mascot so she ends up bailing.
  6. Artur Nye: Lissa's (5) older brother. A young  guard in the  service of the town. He hates his job, but his father (10) insists that he has to do something to earn money other than work the farm. He has a way with animals, and enjoys working the land. Most nights he ends his patrol early by stopping off at O'Tooligans pub.(1)
  7. Old Karter: Old Karter is a local who fell on hard times somewhere along the line. He can often be found sleeping behind the church or in nearby forests. He speaks to himself mostly, and never bothers any one. Rumors to how he arrives at his present condition are numerous and varied.
  8. Hroin Brusbeard: A dwarf who heard sheep in the nearby valleys. Local farmers hire Hroin to watch their sheet  all he asks in return is mutton. Unusual for his people he is highly skilled with a sling.
  9. Jarmiah Marhar: Has been the local  apothecary for nearly  fourth years. His non-magical poultices and  droughts are well regarded. He can be relied on to  answer question about  herb-lore and  gathering. Those who know him well say he has been slipping a bit in the past few years and might want to think about stepping away form the cauldron.
  10. Harlan Nye: A former guard captain he has trained both his son and his daughter (5)(6) in the  arts of shield and sword. However as the  children have grown he has become more and more depressed over being an aging, lonely widower. He has an interest in Kanna Vassil , but his attentions have always been rebuked.
  11. Cindy Jessin: A woman who works a small farm plot in town, claims she can talk to crows but song birds speak too fast for her to understated.
  12. Brendan Gardith: Local blacksmith, hard working honest. He keeps to himself mostly  just working to fill orders. He is aware that Kanna (4) has her eye on him, but honestly he has never been much for the  ladies and would prefer if she just left him alone. He has a dream of saving enough  money form his black smiting  in Pandelver to open up a larger shop near a bigger city , but for now  this will do.
  13. Megahn Kane: The town jeweler. She doesn't find much work in such a small town, but remains upbeat about her potential to someday get admitted into a respected city guild. Her designs are eclectic and  her crafting  fairly done. She will often  ask travelers passing though if they need settings re-fitted or  have gems to sell. Bill Hanson (20) has been pursuing Meghan for some time , and while she likes his company she has no desire to get tied down in  Pandelver.
  14. Colton Fisk: Ask anyone in town Colton is a tough SOB. He once got kicked by a cow, stood up and punched it square in the face, knocking it out. Colton is also a bit crazy, built a tree house just outside of town and does nothing but fish all day. Sometimes Colton helps the local farmers during harvest time. He works like a mule they say.
  15. Hellen Yarsir: Hellen is a seamstress of no great talent or motivation. A spinster really, beyond marrying age and not interested any way. She maintains a small shop in town with an apartment above it. Rumor in town is that she's exceedingly wealthy from her business but chooses to live a simple life. The truth is slightly different. (19)
  16. Christoff Niles: Considers himself a great entertainer. Looks for any excuse to  play his lute and sing. Can often be found on the  green in the center of town. He lives in a small apartment above  O'tooligans Pub (1)
  17. Shania Woodrick: She runs a small bank in town where she excepts notes created by the Local Duke and exchanges them for gold.S he has done a lot of business with Cindy Jessin lately, and while she never asks, she is wondering where the money is coming from.
  18. Cleric Lerman: leader of the local church Cleric Lerman is a well respected member of the town community. No one in the town knows that Lerman ended up in Pandelver when he  lost his  courage during a journey as a member of  an adventuring party. He left his companions in the night  while they were camped in the mountains to the north, never seeing them again. The guilt over this breach of faith haunts him everyday.
  19. Bobby: Bobby is a 16 year old handicapped boy who is the illegitimate son of Kyle O'Tooligan (1) and Hellen Yarsir (15). Kyle for his part is unaware the child is his,  Hellen never told him. Bobby is a happy young man, lives at the church and  is capable enough to do many of the  upkeep tasks required around the  property. He is cared for by the  churches priest Cleric Lerman (18) and provided for with money given to the church by Hellen.
  20. Bill Hanson: Bill is a local farmer who raises sheep and keeps a fair herd of cattle. While he is about ten years older than her, he has become smitten with  Megahan Kane (13). She has refused his advances a few times already, but undeterred he has hatched a plan to sell off some of his  cattle to finance her bid for a Jewelers Guild membership.
-Mark


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Creating a new character. OR ALL HAIL the Plain Vanilla fighter!

Mamluk from Aleppo
My friend is starting a new campaign tonight.
This will be his second full fore into campaign play and I for one am looking forward to getting started.


Unfortunately this means I have to make a new character a level on sprout consisting of some class and race combo. Sometimes I wish  DM's would just hand me a pre-gen and say "let er rip." 

I'm a GM I know, when everyone comes to a table and you look at the assortment of freaks on the table and say, 


"That? group.... is going to be a party?!" 
"Yes! We have the  Thief, Paladin, Priest of death, Necromancer, Druid  combo!"

The joke around our table is, Mark always makes a fighter.


A strong silent type, 2 handed weapon fighter.
There are reasons for this  choice, those guys fill a role. My last character Orin had a pretty good amount of influence on the  games path even if he didn't talk all that  much.



No idea who this is, great pic though

Statistically it's nice to have  a brick of HP that deals damage three times a round in the party. That brick of HP can help cover up a a world of bad rolls by other characters and keep monsters occupied while the wizards do their thing.

There is an another less talked about facet of the "Plain Vanilla Fighter (PVF)."A fighter has very few constrictions placed on the player concerning background or personality. A druid for example or a Ranger have built in  out looks. Wizards are supposed to be at least bookish, Clerics follow a god and should show at least pay lip service to the  gods when played. And so on, these assumptions only grow when the  players start refining the characters even more tightly. Necomancers should be kind of Dark goth metal right? Paladins are the  Dudley do-rights of D&D correct?  These sort of defacto  roles have existed in RPGs for years and are kind of ingrained in the expectations when a DM says "tonight we're playing D&D." The players kind of know what "A druid" is and what to expect. It's not a bad thing, it's part of the shared language of RPG's that has been built up over the past four decades.

Fighters on the other hand seem to move more easily among roles. There are just so many historical and literary examples of "Fighters"



Conan. Typical PVF archetype.
The musketeers, Fighters.
Lampedo, Fighter (at least I assume she could kick but like the rest of the Amazons)
Knights of the round table, fighters.
Razia Sultan "Fighter"
Xena, Fighter
Indigo Montyoa, Fighter.
Kyuzo, Fighter.

Camilla, warriror
King Lenoidas, Fighter

Fafhrd, Fighter

The list could go on forever.



So many different ways to  play  or approach a fighter.

The PVF is just an empty cup waiting to get filled by player ideas.

the flexibility of the  form is the  greatest single  advantage to starting out with a fighter. Nowhere is this listed as a bonus or a benefit, but it should be. 
Your fighter could be anything from young farm hand  armed only with bravery and a pitch fork, to a nobles son setting out with his grandfather's mail and  a newly forged sword. The game doesn't care which.


For this game I will not be making a plain Vanilla fighter though I will likely stick to a melee class, like Paladin. I have never been much for the spell using classes * 

I guarantee after a few games of the  Paladin  Do-Gooder act, I'm going to be wishing for the  flexibility of my good old PVF.

Thanks for reading.
-Mark.










Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Your ritual is showing. (A quick twist on 5thEd ritual casting)


Ritual magic in  5thed D&D (201 to 202 PHB) is  a cool idea but I think it's execution is kind of bland. The idea of taking some time in the evening to set up  a ritual so that a spell can be cast sort of out side the  normal  spell slot structure speaks to me as useful, even utilitarian. (Why EVER waste a slot on the  Alarm spell?)
What I think was missed was the opportunity  to create variety through the  ritual. As in  some materials are better quality than others, the  wizard might draw the symbols just a bit more exactly this morning than other time. There are a myriad of details that might go into a magical ritual.

Lets play with this.

Before the game:
We will need a normal deck of cards.
separate the cards by suit into four piles

If the player decides to cast a ritual spell, the player draws one card off each pile face down on the table. Work the ritual as per the normal rules, once the ritual is complete flip over each card.

A player may spend inspiration to draw a new card if they  are upset with any single card, however the player must  use the second card drawn.

Each suit represents one aspect of ritual casting.
Diamond represent: Materials.
Clubs represent: The rituals form and lay out.
Spades represent: Inscription and symbols.
Hearts represent: verbal chanting and recitation.

The  lower the  value of the card the  worse the character did at that aspect of the ritual, for example a 2 of spades means the character was sloppy or when creating their ritual symbols. A value of  9 means the character was nearly perfect.
All face cards have a value of 10.

Add up the  values and  refer to the chart below:

Total value 
Effect:
40
Perfect: the rituals duration is doubled as is the efficacy of its effect. A dove lands on the casters shoulder.
39
The spells effect is aft it were 3 slots higher than originally planned.
38
The caster also gains the effects of a protection from evil / good spell or the duration of the rituals effects.
37
The caster is so at peace with their work that they gain a bonus first level spell slot for the upcoming day.
36
The spells duration is doubled.
35
I’m SO GOOD! The character gains a point of inspiration.
34
The spells effects are as if it was cast at two slots higher than originally planned.
33
The rituals casting time is halved.
32
The spells effect is as if it were cast at one slot higher than originally planned.
31
The spell duration is at +1 (whatever the unit of measure for the chosen spell may be.)
20 - 30
No effect:  The spell goes off as planned, no positive or negative effects.
19
The spell duration is at -1 (whatever the unit of measure for the chosen spell may be.)
18
The spell is only half as effective as normal. (however this can be measured, as per spell)
17
The spell is cast as if it is one spell slot lower than intended.
16
This is so Frustrating!! If the character has a point of inspiration they lose it.
15
The caster gives off a foul odor, attracts flies and vermin for the rest of the day.
14
The caster must make a con save Vs a difficulty of 14 or pass out after the ritual.
13
The ritual takes twice as long to cast, no other ill effects.
12
The spells duration is only half normal.
10
The spell is cast as if it were cast in a level 1 slot, If this is not possible they the spell cast is a random level 1 spell focused on the caster. This costs the caster a level 1 spell slot.
9
Ritual fails: Spell fizzles pathetically.
8
Ritual fails: The caster must spend a spell slot at the level of the spell be cast or suffer 1d6 damage from magical feedback per spell level.
7
Ritual fails: the ritual erupts into flames; You now have a camp fire.  At least I hope you were outdoors.
6
Ritual fails: Any other magic users within a number of miles equal to the casters proficiency bonus are alerted to the casters presence.
5
Ritual fails: Backfire! roll a random spell of the same level as the one being cast is triggers at the casters level  focused on the caster
4
Ritual fails, Major Backfire! Something horrid happens to the caster mutations are a good way to go with this one, be creative....

Face Cards:
Are all worth  10 points.
Jacks: Jacks Represent doing it with style. The caster is so impressive  while performing the  ritual that he or she may give on point of inspiration to any other single character present.
Queens: Queens are a wrote: This wrote allows the  caster to bank the  queen, while not for points but to half the casting time the next time the  same spell is cast as a ritual. (only works once)
Kings: A King is a boon: The caster may describe a minor special effect that the  ritual imparts on the casting. Say a minor (1d6) healing effect, glowing light, soft music. Approval is up to the  GM naturally however the  possibility are unlimited.
Aces: Aces represent a wrote. This wrote allows the  caster to  bank that ace until they next time they cast the  same spell via ritual. The caster may  automatically use the ace (valued at 10) rather than drawing a new card.  (only works once.)
Jokers: Much like a king a joker represents a strange or unusual side effect (not necessarily negative) stemming from the ritual. This is completely up toe the GM and is an opportunity to inject a little weird into the  ritual process. **Jokers are worth  0 points**

As always: Thank you, for reading.
I hope you find some use for this.
While it might not all jive perfectly with whats written in the 5th ed Players Hand book or DMG, but  what ever that's kind of the point.

Please leave any questions or comments in the  box of rainbow barfing Koala bears below.

*EDIT*
As a reader over on G+, Heiko Wiebe pointed out, I neglected to give any advantage to higher level Characters, which is  truly a major oversight.
Two suggestions:

Allow casters to redraw cards equal to their  proficiency bonus. 
OR
Even simpler, after level three (to reserve the chance of catastrophic failures at low levels.) Add the character's proficiency bonus to the total value of the cards.
Sorry about the  misstep and  thank you, Heiko Wiebe.
*EDIT*


** I forgot the add that back in after I ran through the  post the last time. Opps.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Prepping for an online game.

I find prepping for an online game (I currently use roll 20) a bit of a pain.

I pine for the days of a big binder full of notes and sketches. Unfortunately that just doesn't cut it anymore.

In an online game there is another layer between the  players and the GM , a layer that in the best cases should contain something.

The play space in an online game is a screen that everyone is going to look at, a "shared information-scape." To leave it 100% blank is doing a disservice to the players, lets face it those folks have to look at that screen for the duration of the game. (or to be honest chances are they are googling something in the background.) Still while the players are playing the  environment of an online game requires a bit different style of  presentation than handouts at the table.

My usual style is to put game relevant charts and such on the  front page. Things that we may all need for quick reference, then build maps and such on secondary pages.
I was doing that last night  getting the  action and result charts from Blood of heroes pasted in it all still look pretty bleak, but at least it's functional.

Next I started adding some makers for NPC's.
What I am shooting for is the  front page will be a big relationship map for the characters and the  NPC's. Each NPC will get an icon and  have notes written into their journal.
All of this seems pretty straight forward, except that it involves a few steps I have never had problems with during table games.
I want something more evocative than just a box with a name on it to represent the NPC's. I settled on using Military silhouettes that I found via google image search.
Such as this one.

After I found a few of these I liked I added them in and attached NPC names.  It actually looks pretty good even if finding an acceptable female  silhouette was a pain.

Now I'm looking for a good background image.

But here's the  thing, I'm spending  more time finding images and  trying to get the  look right then I am writing Notes about these NPC's and their motivations.
Even though I am kind of  "turn them loose and see what happens" kind of GM, I also know very well that creating a believable and interesting world will  allow for much more interesting things to just happen.

I was never as concerned about such things as a table GM. Sure a nice hand out is, nice. I have come to feel that getting too fancy with hand outs and such  was just a symptom of the GM saying, "Hey look what I can do !" to a captive audience. I would rather have the players play in a world I took the time to actually work on than look at my latest art project. That's a digression for another time, perhaps even another blog. (Someone else's.) the  point is I feel like playing online is constantly putting the Gm in the position of wanting to make it  look better. I watch live plays on the internet and I see some of the things other people have done with roll 20 and I'm impressed. Not sure how the hell they do it, or how much  time it takes them but I'm impressed.

I think this disconnection is a symptom of me being bad with tech. I will never be as comfortable typing into a  "journal" especially a shared journal with party information, as I would be scribbling into a comp notebook. The idea that I can  write notes and then share them with the  players or only certain players is appealing to me, and yet uncomfortable. I'm dyslexic , a terrible typist. Depending on the day jotting off a quick note to someone on roll 20 can be a real chore, because I don't want to come off looking illiterate.

As a gm nothing is  worse than having a player bust your chops over a typo in an NPC description. Not that I have thin skin, but it means any interest or involvement with that NPC the  player has just hit one more speed bump , a totally avoidable speed bump.
A the table all the world details are verbally communicated, while I jot off notes to myself. A much more comfortable process for me. On an online game platform there is a bit of an expectation that  some things at least be available for easy reference.

It's a different sort of Prep.

Does anyone out there have any thoughts about prepping for Online games Vs. Preparing for games at the table games?
Any tips, tricks or pointers.
Would you like to hurl rocks at me?

Thank you for reading and leave your questions or comments between the turtle juice covered pages of  Nintendo Power issue 33 below.

-Mark






Thursday, May 7, 2015

I drew something gamerly,

This is an unfinished image that was going to be  an interior scene in my AAIE game.
It had a strange beginning as a doodle (Minataur) I made while sitting around with friends playing Munchkin. I never win at munchkin, it's a known fact, so I usually kind of zone out and enjoy everyone's company when we play it. Things like this happen.
As a drawing it is pooched in a lot of places (the  background is shit, which is what I get for using a shit pencil that dulled out) but  I thought I would share it anyway, I think it's funny.

Pencil on run of the mill sketch paper
Thanks for looking
-Mark.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

There will not be an asterix.

Warning. To all  you amazing folks who read the gaming posts on this blog, this is not an RPG post.


This is a post about boxing. I need to say I am not a boxing expert, but I am a boxing fan, I have been a boxing fan since I was young and would watch matches from my grandfathers couch.
As an adult I understand the endemic and historic corruption in the  sport. I also have a fair grasp of the sociological and economic issues that underpin the sport. Its dirty, it always will be, and it always has been.

I still love boxing.
It can also be as close to pure competitive poetry as anything else we have to offer.

Barbaric?  outdated? outmoded? sure, absolutely.

Go on you tube, watch Micky ward vs Emmanuel Augustus. Come back and tell me those guys didn't leave it all in the ring, that there was not  respect at the end of the fight. There's something about that kind of purity that give me chills, every time.
Watch Tyson Loose to  Buster Douglas. In the context of boxing history that was not a fight it  was the culmination, the final scene of a Greek tragedy.

This post is not about that feeling however. This post is about the rock I get in my gut when I read about  the  recent "fight of the  century" involving Floyd Mayweather and  Manny Pacquiao.

Some things, are bigger than sports, and Floyd Mayweather' history of domestic abuse is one of those things.
You can read the police report here.
That Floyd is abusive is not surprising, sports, and life are full of abusers that do horrible things then get up and go to work the next day.

Years from now there will not be an asterix next to Mayweather's perfect record. It will say 47 wins 0 losses 26 knock outs.
It will sit there with Rocky Marciano's 49 and 0
People will talk about if Floyd was one of the best ever.

Sport is as much about what came before as what's happening  now. It's the conversations I heard my father and my Grandfather have about obscure pitchers that my grandfather remembered from the 30's. It's remembering that George Mikan solidified the center position. It's the Mohammad Ali Vs Mike Tyson argument, and  knowing that Archie Moore was underrated.

Sport history provides a common continuum that we as a society can have friendly discussions about when pulling our hair out over politics has worn thin. (The role of sports in society is a huge topic well beyond the scope of some guys D&D blog.)

It's 2015 and the internet information  monolith means we know a lot more about our sports stars now than we ever could before.


That for me is where the disconnect begins.
Floyd Mayweather beat Manny Pacquiao the other night. I watched the fight the next day through some pirated youtube video. It was clear to me that Manny had lost a step and Floyd was well, Floyd. A pitch perfect consummate defensive boxer. Perhaps the best at that style ever.

He is also a horrible person, who beat his wife while his body guard / friend held back his young son.

There will be no asterix for that.

If he had cheated? Like MarK McGwire had in baseball or Lance Armstrong had in cycling, sure there would be an asterix. There will not be for beating his wife, because (That's out side the ring, that's personal.)
That's where it ends, cheating like Pete Rose betting on baseball effects the line in Vegas, cheating makes bets questionable, cheating is a money issue.

A woman getting beat in front of her kids? Not a money issue.

Floyd Mayweather stands to make $180 to 200 Million dollars from that fight, Mann P. over $100 mill when it is all said and done. That means the promoters and other business interests are also making bank, and  Vegas..... Vegas was through the roof.

As long as this kind of huge money can be generated by sports the things that go on off the  field will only be internet foot notes, those of us  that said "I will never give that man a dollar of my money to watch him fight." are drowned in a sea of PPV buys.

There will never be a note after  Floyd's name that says 47 & 0 (* Served time in prison in 2012 for domestic violence.) Just like there never will be one for  because Mike Tyson concerning his rape conviction. Or any others for any number of sports figures who were not only  human of the field but flawed beyond the average.

Do me this favor.
Assuming you are young now, think ahead years form now, when you are an old person. If you find yourself sitting at a table  having a cup of coffee with your son-in-law and talking about "the best ever" and boxing happens to be the sport your talking about.
Add the asterix.  Say, "Floyd was a heck of a boxer but a total piece of shit as a man, so forget him." Your grand kid might be on the couch listening, and damn it he or she should know the difference.

Thank you for reading.
-Mark

 (Last point and I do this sometimes, I apologize if this disclaimer sounds stand-offish. I don't write opinion pieces often, but when I do I like to be clear. This is my opinion. If you don't share it  I am totally cool with that, there are often many sides to a story, and I will respect yours. I wont engage in an internet squabble over opinions.)

Some of the sources read before writing this:
Some stats taken from.
Gambling and sports form BBC
CNN breaks down the  Numbers at the bottom of this article.
boxing Junkie
ESPN breaks down the  Money. (Espn your web-sight is a mess)

I highly recommend:
Boxing "a cultural history, Kasia Boddy
At the Fights: American Writers on Boxing.
Anything ever by Burt Sugar.



Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Not every good idea...

I have been working on a home brew game revolving around my  D&D style fantasy setting.
It's one of those projects born out of a desire to see my setting  uplifted by the mechanics of the game, as opposed to setting and system being two separate layers in a cake.

I have been trying to come up with mechanics that will support the  kind of  experience I picture the characters having in the setting. A free wheeling adventure setting where combat is  fast, dangerous, and, creative strategies are rewarded over just running up to a monster and bashing it.

I'm not trying to sell anything here, I just really want to  encourage interesting actions during combat scenes.

It's not that that can't happen in say D&D 5thEd or red box basic, but there is nothing there to encourage it.

Monster hunter 4.. never played it.
If A player says "I want to  jump of this big stone, land on the  monsters back and start jabbing my
 dagger into it's skull."
As a D&D  DM I can  say, "Ok,  this round make me a Dex check, he's big and  moving so make it at -2. If you miss your going to loose your next turn and be right in front of it so, roll well."




That's fine. But....
In this case the player has to trust that the GM will arbitrate it fairly, that if she makes that -2 Dex check she is going to get some bonus on her next few attacks.  As we all know, every wicked cool DM is perfect so there is no way that anyone of us could ever forget to hand out a +2 to-hit and damage to reward an awesome maneuver executed a round ago by a player... We never forget .. Right? ummm ...

What if the DM is an ass and just says "OK you're on the monster, roll to hit with your dagger" Never giving her a bonus? My thought is that next time she fights a  monster she is going to run up and  bash it without ever considering trying to get that advantageous position.

If there is a system where in she knows she will get a  bonus to (fill you your favorite systems tweak here) For doing something smart, exciting and beyond  "I hit it with my  sword." Chances are she will try those things more often.

This is sort of a digression (SURPRISE!) but it all ties into why I'm thinking about this kind of thing in the first place.

With all that said I run into the problem of, "just because this is a good idea it is not necessarily a good idea for this game." It's fine  to have three or four fun ideas that might support the  style of play being aimed for, but trying to cram all those into one game can overwhelm the intent of the original design.

Not every good idea needs to find a home right away.

With that in my head,

During  a fight, I'm currently asking the players to track:

  • Combat score, which  goes up and down depending on  taking hits and other such factors.
  • Combat advantage, Which gives the  players a flat bonus during combat for good strategy and  generaly smart play.
  • Success points, points earned by  rolling well, which  are kind of an in game economy.


Knowing What's Too much is important.
It seems like too much.

So I have gone in with my scalpel and started trimming away some fat while keeping those three concepts intact.

Perhaps I should dump the scalpel and get a chain saw.. really change things around.

I wont really know until we can  play again  and  kick the tires a bit.


Until then I'm
Just musing.

Here's a snail.
https://scottmasters.files.wordpress.com

 





Thank you for reading
-Mark.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Another game I never submitted to the 200 word RPG competition.

Ok Last one.
I never submitted this one because it's not truly a game, Its more of an activity.
Though I might work on it a bit and add it to one of my other projects as a "Group scenario set up" mechanic.
I think it would be fun the  way microscope is fun only with  less index cards and dots.

What if, And, But:
  •  Two to five players each with a D20.  
  • Each player states “what if "  about a place._________.” then rolls 1d20. 
    •  The player rolling highest has created a “truth” 
  •  Each player then states an “And _________.” about the place, and rolls d20. 
    • The payer rolling highest again Creates a truth about the original place. 
      •  The player rolling lowest Can state a “But____________” about the truth created by the “And” statement. 
      •  The “But” may add or modify the “And” statement. 
  •  A new Round starts 
  •  The new “What Ifs_________.” may be related to any part of the first round and may be a person place or thing. 
If at any time there is a tie for highest or lowest roll both players get to create a statement.

 Play continues until the group has created something they find interesting and enjoyable, perhaps even for use in another game.

That's it.
Again I never really considered entering this  into the contest because it's more an activity than a game, but if anyone wants to steal the structure for some other use have at it. Just let me know , cause I would be super interested.

Thank you for reading.
Have a great day.
Leave any questions or comments you might have in the  bin of discarded squid beaks bellow..
-Mark.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A Game I didn't send to the 200 Word RPG Challenge.

The Ukraine loves it's 200, do you ? 

I never formatted this game to make it looked decent. Plus I felt it had a few cracks in its design.
In the end I never sent it in.

I have another one I might post tomorrow or next week that was even less finished.
Hey at least I got one game in.
Here is a link to view all of the submissions from the 200 word RPG challenge.

So for your consumption I present a kind of dungeon crawl party game in 200 words:


Endless Crawl: Always be descriptive!
Four players have a piece of paper saying Map, Danger, monster, or treasure.
Map player draws a room with at least three entrances.

Danger player:
rolls 1d10, under the (Danger) = A monster in the room.

Monster Player:
Monsters Have 1d10 HP + (Danger)
Split hp for multiple monsters.  
Monsters do 1d10-5 damage (+ Danger on a 10)

Choose a character.
Fighter:  10hp / 1d10-2 damage.
Cleric : 8hp / 1d10-4 damage / or may heal for 1d10 HP.
Thief  8hp / 1d10-4 damage per attack/ or skip turn attack monster attacking the wizard (2d10 damage)
Wizard: 6hp / does 1d10-3 damage to all monsters.

Players attack once per turn in the order shown.
0 damage is a miss.
Monsters attack the fighter first.
If the fighter misses the monster attacks the priest, And so on.
Extra monsters attack next character in order.

All monsters Slain?
(Danger level) goes up by 1.
Party gains +1 experience.

Treasure Player:
Picks one:  All Characters +1 hp  / one character +1 to damage scored  / takes  -1 from the danger level.

All of the papers shift clockwise to new players,
A new room is drawn.

Party wins at 50 Experience.


So there you have it.
Cut it, paste it, print it, play it.
Let me know how it goes.

Hope you  find some use for that.
Thank you  for reading.
Please level questions and comments in the pile of headless matchsticks below.
-Mark.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Starting Another campaign.

So being part of the  "write about your favorite RPG" project over at Dyver's (link in the left hand bar) got me thinking.

Ok I always say how much I love and respect the Mayfair Exponential Game System used in "DC Heroes 3rd ed," why have I only run it once in 20 Years?

That's a fair question if there ever was one.

It's comics.

I just don't know comics, and my friends do. So when I tried to run supers I always felt like I was faking to much of the funk. Not only that but all the  research into the standard tropes of comics that I could possibly do would never key me into what makes comics cool. People who love comics, LOVE comics. People who love comics have strong opinions about them, and I have always been ill-prepared to jump that knowledge gap.

Well Fuck that.
I guess I'm not quite so  self conscious as I was 15 or 20 years ago, because this week I started thinking up the  framework for a Supers game lack of Comics savvy be damned.

I got to thinking  what do I like watching on TV that is game-able, and a bit off the wall.

Naturally!


I love all that Alien theory , black helicopter, Erich Von Daniken, crap. It entertains the  hell out of me.
Government secret projects? Conspiracies? Yes please thank you.
 So that's where I am going, A Secret government agency  created to use genetically modified Agents to investigate and eliminate an alien threat right here on earth.
Would it make a good Comic? I have no idea.

However there are a ton of of places it can go  and that's what I want. My plan is to create this  clandestine world and  give the the  players the tools to investigate it. Sort of a modern day sandbox where the  players have an insight into the world that 99.9% of the rest of us can never have. And Aliens, aliens that will kill them.

Here is a link to the  first Blog post provided to the  players.
This is a kind of set the  tone, start the juices post.
It is also  "Character origin story railroading." While I hate railroading during play, I think in this style of game getting the "team" together as quickly and simply as possible is best.

Like this kind of...sort of.
Such a killer picture

"You have been recruited into a secret Gov organisation, you will be given abilities, you now hunt aliens, don't tell any one." 

That's it.

if I told the  players to come up with hero's and make up some origins, I would end up with  wildly differing views of, "what is a comic book hero anyway?". That could cause friction in the game right from the start. I would much rather have personality friction among characters than conceptual friction within the game. That conceptual friction is like rats in the walls, it might not seem so bad at first, but it is, and  it will only get worse.

So I have some ideas moving forward, much of it involves  the NPC's in game and what their  motivations for starting this organization really are.  Conspiracies and  Double crosses could be a thing. What I am really looking forward to is seeing where the players take the  whole concept. Allot of  different things could happen and the one constant is as GM's we never know exactly what the  players are going to do . Which in the end is what sets this hobby apart from say video games, or Decoupage.

My real hurdle now is trying to brain storm exactly what the aliens are and how they will manifest on earth. I don't want to use "greys" like we see on TV all the time, Cthulhu clones, and I don't want Giger's aliens either. I need to think about it a day or two and hopefully strike on something interesting.I mean  it's universe out there I can come up with something.
(my favorite alien race were the invid form Macros soooo... I might steal a bit form them, perhpas not)

In the  end I guess you can say I'm using a super hero game to run a story I think is interesting even if it's not exactly the typical bronze age comic book tone I missed out on growing up with..




Thanks for reading.
Wish me luck
-Mark.