Monday, March 30, 2020

Coronacation !

Gee lucky me, jut started my coronacation. Hopefully you and yours are well.  I (as has everyone else) have found my gaming aspirations curtailed by the plague of the day but with some free time (at least 10 days currently) I'll be able to get some more fun stuff done and share with folks.  Definitely need a new job-path for real life too, I really haven't enjoyed being one of the essential expendables the past couple of weeks. Again stay well everyone, growing roses from a dung heap (I hope).

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Material components with explicit cash values are bad

So working on my next campaign (as always) and I realized I wanted a fair number of spell casting classes and there's a lot of spells out there and a lot of different versions of spells so I went about marrying spell lists.

Here's what I really don't like about spells all across various versions of the game: material components with an explicit cost in GP.   "This spell requires a 5,000 gp diamond"... is excremental in my opinion. One it ignores economics, two it ignores economics. You want to know what sort of diamond would cost 5,000 gp if diamonds were needed in raise dead spells? All Diamonds would cost at least 5,000 gp.  The explicit cost is an attempt to set a limit on the spell which doesn't really explain the limit or take really take campaign economics into consideration. Explicit costs are also typically are  meaningless limits.

I enjoy material components for spells, I like the flavor and the limit they place on spell casting. Planning is good for a campaign as planning build investment in the campaign for the players.  I also just like the imagery of wizards and witches digging about in their magical kitbags for eyes of newts and a gold tooth from a dead liar.

But you must have 5, 500, or 5000 gp to cast this spell is weak because it typically isn't a limit. The economic burden of coming up with the required amount of cash is usually meaningless. The universality of the price is also annoying. The shorthand of cost also ignores what is special about the component.

If a given spell required "a diamond half the size of a dove's egg or larger" it might be a 5000 gp gem, or 12,000 imperial ringlets, or 3 demon would work in every campaign right out of the box for every DM, it would also be far more evocative. We want our games to be far more evocative. There's a lot more imagery in that diamond half the size of a dove's egg or larger than in most pile of generic gold pieces. The diamond size doesn't say it all , it doesn't explain just what the gem is doing helping out in that spell but it's heading in the right direction.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

More with Classes

What I want in my next fantasy RPG campaign.  Characters that do more character related stuff or more accurately have a greater focus on a class feature. Fighters that have give the player more decisions than get as much armor as possible and the weapon with the best damage rating. Magic-Users that have to fuss with magical things other folks don't seem to deal with. Clerics that deal with their faith and the supernatural more often then simply turning undead and bashing demons. Thieves that empower players that want to make decisions other than when to roll dice.

I suspect each of these is going to require a campaign specific subset of rules or mini-game.

Fighters can be expanded by the fighter having to learn different fighting stance and the tactics and special moves that go along with each so the subset of rules here is a bit more fiddly creation and advancement choices that on first blush don't seem to0 different from feats and skills. The clever player of a fighter should be able to learn to ask what stance his opponents are using and deploy their skills to counter and take advantage of their foes skills not just roll as high as they can with the dice.

Magic-Users have a number of subsystems that have been present in D&D and related games since it's inception that are seldom explored with any depth.   Magic item creation offers a lot of ground for the player of the Magic-User to discover and employ a body of lure so as to discover the formulas for magical inks and potions along with patterns for glyphs/runes. Magic-Users may also have to track and balance magical energies to empower their spells and provide an edge in magical contests by delving into what energies foes have invested in.

Clerics have a relationship with a faith or deity that could really be expanded on to better refine and define their access to spells and special abilities. This relationship shouldn't just be front loaded it should be active and require maintenance on the part of the cleric to maintain their powers. All but the smallest of mythological pantheons has a host of supernatural entities clerics can learn to interact with to gain favor(s) and lore.

Thieves can be expanded by putting bit more focus into breaking and entering and other tasks of the trade. I've touched on alternate lock-picking resolution in the past and feel expansion in this area will add more to the role of thieves as burglars by expanding the vocabulary and range of tasks that can be involved in cracking those locks. A thieves relationships with contacts and fences can also serve to give the class more depth within a campaign.

Just an overview of areas I've been exploring in my notes that I wish to embody in my campaigns. Some of the ideas I have touched on before on this blog and all of them will be getting more attention here.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

New Year New Posting

Hello anyone reading this, it has been a while.  I have not been blogging or gaming much over the past year and a half. My father grew very Ill and passed away shortly before Christmas 2018. There was a lot to deal with emotionally and else-wise.  My father has been a regular at the gaming table my entire life and was with me from the 1st basic set to ad&d, 3d editions. the d20 craze, and the OSR awakening so his passing had a real impact on my drive to game. I realized at one point with the passing of my father and my friends Matt and Tom before that there were gaming moments that are now remembered only by me. My 10 year old son is chomping at the bit for some D&D so it's time to get back to it. I post more when I game more so this blog will wake-up with posts. During my time away from the blog I didn't stopped creating for games so there's notebooks of stuff to edit and share. Let's all build some memories.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Megadungeon Slum Encouter Table I

An encounter table with 10 options to flesh out encounters in a megadungeon slum.

Megadungeon Slum Encouter Table I
Further Details
Melchsops (1d6)
Gatherers, cooks and sellers of Melch.

Roll 3 times to see what each Melchsop is carrying.
1- Gallon Cask of Raw Melch
2- Half a dozen Melch Loaves
3- Two small jars of Melch Paste
4- The means to setup up and quickly cook up to a dozen servings of Natters.
5- 3’ feet of freshest Jollies
6- a bag with 3d20 pieces of Traggy
Corpse Whisperer
Lowly necromancers that will pose questions for the dead.
roll d12: 1-3: a Cleric or Necromancer actually able to speak with the dead. 4-6 an illusionist or mountebank with some magical skills to fool marks 7-10 simple frauds 11-12 ventriloquist.
Bit Faker
Passes counterfeit money. May be posing as money changer but also likely will offer to buy some goods for a bit of coin.
Has 1d100 fake coppers, 5d10 fake silver, and 2d20 fake gold. Thieves and dwarves will note the  counterfeit coins 65% of the time, others 33% of the time. There is a 25% chance the Bit faker has 1 real coin of each type to fool a mark. The bit Faker will usually stash a few real coins within 100’ the current location.
Nobblers (1d3)
Enforcers that punish fellow dungeon miscreants by the breaking of limbs.
Has a big mallet or sledge hammer to break the kneecaps of those who haven’t paid their bills to loansharks, bartenders, and bookies. 
25% chance that any successful strike is good enough to break a limb if the victim fails a save vs wounds/paralysis.
Bludgers (1d12)
Hired beaters of unruly miscreants. Can be paid off to leave victim alone. Will Bludge for pay.
These lowly thugs are employed to quickly beat uncooperative miscreants for an established boss or paying customers.If the bludgers outnumber a target by more than 2 to 1 the victim must make a save or be knocked unconscious if struck during a round. On a successful hit they normally deal 1d3+1 temporary damage. There is a 67% chance they will not steal from their victims as their role is 
Pealers (2d4)
Dungeon muggers that specialize in clothing and armor
They will sneak attack inflicting 3d6 temporary damage and stay to peal the clothing and armor off their incapacitated victims. They aren’t above pilfering coin purses but seldom bother with the time it takes to go through or carry off backpacks.
Wailer (1)
A very capable noisy beggar.
These poor miserable sods will make all but the most wicked feel miserable if they don’t toss the wailer a coin or two. those who don’t toss the wailer coins must make a Wisdom save or all saving throws for remainder of day are made at -1. There is a 33% chance anyone that tries to rob or slap the wailer will be cursed.
Corby (1d2)
A corby can usually hide as well as a thief of 4th level. They will spot anyone within 100’ (or twice normal dark sight for species) unless the intruders are both silenced and invisible 75% of the time.
Dookin Seer (1d4)
A palm reader, probably not legit.
The Dookin Seer themselves have a 33% chance of having 2 or 3 levels in a spellcasting class. If more than one is encountered there will be an apprentice otherwise they are guards acting as helper or fake customers for the Dookin Seer.
Prater (1d6)
Itinerant priest, usually bogus. 
roll d12:. 1- Cleric, 2- Druid, 3- Fallen Paladin, 4- Illusionist, 5-9 thief, 10-12 simple fraud. If more than 1 is encountered the remainder have a 50/50 chance of being beggars or thieves posing as  traveling friars.

Note/Caution: Many players are really going to hate getting mugged by Pealers the most. Some players will likely act very poorly and irrationally after having a character lose equipment to a Pealer as losing equipment is almost as bad (or worse) than character death to some.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Terse Ogres

A brief collection of fearsome brutes .

Lurk- They seem too large to hide so well but next thing you know there they are.

Slather- Huge rude gaping maws with immense rude rasping tongues that they use to lick the clothing and the flesh from their victims.

Lank- Tall and thin. Their gaunt features almost conceal their horribly sinewy strength.

Gong Throttle- They flail about with immense hands until both grasp a hapless victim by the neck. This skin turns to iron while they themselves are immobilized with delight as they choke the life from their latest victim.

Goom- Gibbering, chortling, and drooling do little to conceal their appetites.

Gump- Their impossible gaze locks men where they stand to be crushed or gutted.

Snap Gorge- Keep your hand and feet and everything else away from this brute as he shovels everything into his mouth.

Red Anne- Screaming and sputtering in blood-stained finery and a wicked blade.

Molly Mugs- A weeping maiden that will crush to death any that dare her embrace.

Thanks to Throne of Salt and Monsters and Manuals for inspiring me. Need stats? Use an Ogre, troll, or giant from your favorite set of rules.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Keep The Backstory Short

On facebook today and somene mentioned how some folks spend an awful lot of time on long backstories for their PCs. I agree some folks spend an awful lot of time on them for no real benefit.
It's like people think a multi-page backstory is going to save them from blowing that last saving throw.

I had a character who became emperor of his realm and his whole backstory was "Bastard child of a nun and minor prince of The Empire next door". That was the whole backstory. It was presumptive, I don't think the DM or I had a clue there was an empire next door at the time, eventually there was one and my player invaded it with his army a couple times until a big chunk was taken over.  The backstory never conflicted with play.

The interesting stuff about a character happens while playing the campaign. The backstory only needs to be a brief hook.  Keep it short. Make sure it fits the campaign. Leave room to build onto the charater's story later.