Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Bloggess

This was intended to be a quick review of "Furiously Happy" and "Let's Pretend This Never Happened". It ended up a long post about my issues. Then I finally got to the ...review? I guess it's that. I'm apparently terrible at reviews. Quick review if you don't want to scan through my mental issues - Go get "Let's Pretend This Never Happened". It's great. If you like that, go read "Furiously Happy".

I'm also not entirely sure this post makes any sense, but I'm kind of sleepy and too tired to go through and edit it for the....maybe 6ish people who read my blog.

OK, let's get on with this train wreck.

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I found Jenny Lawson (well, her blog - thebloggess.com) several years ago because my wife shared with me some of her posts. I thought they were funny. She was crazy. In a good way. Probably. I don't live with her so I don't know. I do know, through her blog and her books, that she suffers from many illnesses and fights to do the things she does despite what her body will allow her to and what her brain tells her she can't do.

She's pretty great.

She's also kind of a banner woman for all the crazy, misfit, people who feel like their alone at their darkest hour to show that they're not. Many others are going through the same feelings you are.

Again, she's pretty great.

I am normally a pretty average (possibly less than...probably less than) guy who occasionally feels pretty great about his life (my 1 year old daughter and my lovely wife are some of the greatest things in my life. My 3 bookshelves quickly filling up with books is a close number 3 on that list though).

Even more occasionally I go through bouts of depression. It's not as severe as most people who actually go through depression. You know, the type the commercials are for. Or the type that requires counseling. Or the type where I consider that the world would be better without me in it. It's still bad. There are days where even reading doesn't bring me any kind of thing remotely close to contentment. If I can work up the initiative and desire to even attempt reading. Sometimes I just lie in my recliner keeping my brain off while netflix runs something that I usually love, hoping that will work. Sometimes I just lie down in my library or sit in silence while by brain tells me how worthless I am. How nothing I've done is remotely good. I try to figure out how any of the people I know could like me. How they probably don't.

It starts to go into a terrible spiral. I know it's stupid. I know most, or at least some, of what I'm thinking during those times is wrong. I know I should be getting enjoyment out of the things I normally do. And I try. My wife tries. She used to get freaked out when I get like that because it's so out of character for me. She probably still does, but she's learned that, for the most part, I just need to be left alone and if I need her, I know she's there. Which is nice, but also makes me feel terrible at the time because I should be a better husband and I'm probably terrible at that too. There's really no winning during those times.

But those times pass. I don't require meds or therapy. It usually doesn't last more than a week (two at most) and I'm back to normal.

That doesn't mean that I'm better than those that do. That's not the point. Other's require that help, and if they're not getting it, they should. It's a hard, mostly invisible illness that many people suffer from to varying degrees and require different kinds of treatment. Mine is minimal. But I still suffer and I honestly didn't think that it was real depression until reading Jenny's new book "Furiously Happy" It's not as good of a book as her first book "Let's Pretend This Never Happened", and it's, like she says in the beginning, more of a collection of random essays or blog posts that she turned into a book. But the main "moral" of both books, but more blatant (possibly because I just finished reading it) in "Furiously Happy" is that everybody is weird in their own way. She talks very openly about what she goes through. I found myself completely understanding and thinking "I know exactly what she's talking about. I've felt that." many times throughout the book. It's a good book about her craziness, how she deals with her problems (even if it's hiding in a bathroom), and how she lives life better than a lot of people.

I would, however, recommend "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" over "Furiously Happy". It is more of a narrative and biography about her life, her childhood, meeting her husband, having her daughter, and some of the craziness she puts them through. Especially if you have never experienced The Bloggess at all before. If you read her blog (you should) and/or read "Let's Pretend..." and like them, "Furiously Happy" is a good companion book. Or if you suffer from depression, or anxiety, or just feel awkward and left out and want to know that pretty much everybody is crazy...go with either.

Personally, like I said, I prefer "Let's Pretend..." because it has more of a narrative story...yeah, let's go with that wording. I have a hard time with collections of short stories because I want a more continuous plot. In "Let's Pretend...", that plot happens to be her life and it goes through some dark times and she made me cry at points (I have a tendency to do that when I get emotionally invested in my stories...which happens a lot...which my wife finds endearing and hilarious), but mostly it was filled with laughter because of how she writes and talks about the events. I was reading chapters aloud while we were driving to a friends wedding and we almost died because we were both laughing so hard at one point and my wife could barely see....which is kind of important when you're supposed to be driving.

All in all, "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" is heartily recommended by me to pretty much anyone. You should get "Furiously Happy" if you liked the first book. It's not a sequel, but you'll have a better idea of her head space if you get the "Let's Pretend..." primer.

P.S. Jenny (I hope I can call you that), I apologize if anything in this post happens to offend, or I put words (text?) in your mouth. I love your work and hope you continue to live every day that you can furiously happy.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fighting Styles

Not really fighting styles (although that still works), but more of how many weapons you hold while fighting. But Fighting styles is a more succinct title. *shrug*

I'm only talking melee, because ranged doesn't really come into play here.

There's four different options when engaging in melee:
  1. One weapon and an open hand
  2. One weapon and a shield
  3. One weapon wielded in two-hands
  4. One "medium" sized weapon in one hand and one "small" sized weapon in the other.
That's all I can think of. Let's go over each of them.

One Weapon and an Open Hand

The "weakest" of the styles in terms of protection/damage/attacking, but it makes up for it in versatility. Having an open hand means that you can pick things up, try to grapple, etc. There's not much more to it than that. Just gives you freedom.

One Weapon and a Shield

Best defense is a shield between you an your enemy. You can use any one handed weapon, gain the weapons special ability (if any), and still gain a +3 to your defense against your opponents in front of you. If you use a balanced weapon, that's a +4 to defense. Even if you are not proficient in shields, you can still use one, but the bonus is only a +1.

Downside is it pretty much uses up your free hand. There are two types of shields; one with a handle, and one you strap your arm into. The one with the handle can be disarmed, or you can drop it, but while you use it, you really can't do much with your hand. The strapped one frees up your hand for very simple things, such as holding the reigns of your horse, and cannot be disarmed, but it can not be dropped on a whim and takes a little longer to equip properly.

One Weapon Wielded in Two Hands

Biggest damage output. If it is a weapon that can be wielded in one or two hands, the damage die gets stepped up (d6 becomes a d8, etc). If the weapon can only be used in two hands, the damage doesn't change. The other benefit is that you get to add your Strength bonus plus one half of your Strength bonus again to damage (1 1/2 total; so if you had a Strength bonus of 2, you'd add 3 to damage when wielding a two-handed weapon). 

I'm a kind and generous GM, so I think I'll do a round up on the half damage bonus. Ie, a Strength bonus of +1 will be +2 for damage with a 2 handed weapon. 

This favors very strong characters using two handed weapons, and it's probably the weakest of the weapon styles, but I'm okay with that.

One "Medium" Weapon and One "Small" Weapon

Dual wielding. I'm going with you either get to choose, at the beginning of each round, if you want to be defensive or offensive. You either get a +2 to Defense or your Attack based on your choice. Using two weapons does not give you an additional attack. You deal damage (and use the special ability) of whichever weapon you wish, but you must choose before you make the attack roll.

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Technically, there's another "style"; the unarmed style. When fighting unarmed, your opponent gets a +2 to their attacks against you if they have weapons and you do not. You also only deal 1d3 points of subdual damage. I don't have monks and don't really care about trying to make the unarmed fighting anywhere close to balanced vs fighting with weapons.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Weapon Proficiencies

This will be a quick post.

Each class gives you weapon proficiencies and a penalty when you use weapons you are not proficient in.

My rules state that, on top of suffering the penalty to attack as per the normal rules, you also suffer it to your defense and you do not get to use the special abilities of the weapon (this does not include magic abilities - just the inherent abilities of the weapon).

Simple rules.

I contemplated halving the damage you deal, but felt that that might be too harsh.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Vitality & Wounds

A random idea I had. Thought it might be an interesting way of dealing with damage as I'm not super in love with the way it's working right now.

What I want is to have Vitality and Wounds feel different. Vitality is your stamina, ability to withstand bruises and minor cuts and scrapes, and willingness to stay in the fight. Vitality should be relatively easy to heal, but you can get worn down over time, and, if not careful, you can die from that.

Wounds should represent serious (but not fatal) bodily harm. These injuries should hamper you and make it difficult to perform. They should also be much harder to heal from.

Also note that, only PCs and important/leveled NPCs (usually the same thing) have Wounds. Everybody else just has Vitality (standard Hit Dice/HP normally given to monsters in D&D.

Vitality

This is basically normal D&D style hit points, based on your class. You gain a new hit die every level up to 9th and then a flat bonus beyond that.

0 Vitality equals death.

You recover Vitality pretty quickly. You get a number of hit dice that you can use each day equal to your level (the size is the same as your class hit die and it maxes out at 9) to heal from damage during a 30 minute rest (adding your Endurance modifier to each die). You recover all your hit dice (but none of your Vitality) after 6 hours of sleep.

Wounds

Any time you take damage that you would rather not, you can choose to reduce the damage by an amount equal to your Endurance Score. If there is damage left over after that reduction, you take that as Vitality OR you could choose to take an additional Wound to soak some more damage.

You can take multiple Wounds for a single attack, but you CANNOT use 1 Wound to absorb damage from multiple attacks. For example, if a creature has 3 attacks and the first attack deals 12 damage, you choose to take a Wound and reduce it by 15. This leaves 3 damage that could have been soaked if the attack had dealt more damage in that blow. You cannot reduce the damage of the next attack by that three. You would have to take an additional Wound.

You can have a maximum of 5 Wounds, and each wound has it's own effect (Pretty much just stole/repurposed the 5e Exhaustion table):

  1. You have disadvantage on ability/skill checks.
  2. Your speed is halved
  3. You have disadvantage on attack rolls and saving throws and you take a -4 penalty to your defense.
  4. Your Vitality maximum is halved.
  5. You must make an immediate Endurance Saving Throw to stay conscious, and make an additional one every round. A failure means you fall unconscious for 1d4 hours. After that you are incapacitated for one month. If you are tended to by a healer, you can cut that time (or any remaining time if your group has to take time to get you to a healer) in half, after which, you heal back to 4 Wounds.

You always start with the lowest available number, and all of these effects are cumulative.

Healing Wounds requires 1 week of rest (healing from 3 Wounds would require 3 full weeks, but only resting 2 would leave you with 1 Wound left). Being tended to by a healer reduces this to 3 days of rest for each Wound. If this is being done by a PC, it requires a number of uses from the healing kit equal to the level of wound being healed (4 uses to heal a rank 4 wound, leaving you with a rank 3 wound), and an Intelligence check with a DC equal to 10 + wound rank x2 (wound rank 4 = DC 18). If successful, the wound heals in 3 days, if failed it takes the full week. (Note, trying to heal in unhealthy environments, or without proper tools imposes disadvantage on the check)

Or you can rely on magical healing, which requires 2 x the Wound Rank (ie, It takes 8 points of healing to go from 4 Wounds to 3).

---

This feels pretty right. The Wound penalties are pretty serious, but (besides healing time) there's no lasting effects to wounds. Would require more work than I would like to make a suitable number of outcomes. Plus, lasting negative effects would make taking wounds less appealing to take than just dying and starting over. As it is, taking more than 1 or 2 Wounds without time to recover is pretty serious.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New Action Economy

So...after playing a handful of games using the Action Points I've mentioned before, My group and I have decided that they're fine (absolutely works, give it a try), but that they don't really work for our group. I'm trying a new thing that kinda blends the feel of the rounds when using the action points, with the bit more free-form, standard D&D round.

  • Each round is about 6 seconds (as before)
  • Each race has a base Speed (usually 30)
  • Difficult terrain, climbing, swimming, etc costs 5 extra feet of movement for every 5 feet moved.
  • Leaving an Engaged hex (adjacent to an enemy) costs 5 extra feet of movement.
  • You can use up to half your movement and perform an action that could reasonably be accomplished in about 6 seconds
  • You can use more than half your movement (up to your max) and perform an action that could reasonably be performed on the move. Anything that would involve a roll is done at -2. Several things that would not require a roll, do now (usually an Agility saving throw), and failure could mean you tumble on your face.
  • Standing from prone uses half your movement. Standing from sitting uses 5 feet.

Some things require more effort and do not allow you to move at your full allotment:
  • You can load and fire a short/long bow (or a thrown weapon) and move up to half your movement without penalty, or up to your max movement with a -2 penalty.
  • You cannot use more than 5 feet of movement each round while you are casting or holding a spell before releasing it (though you can use the rest of your movement after releasing the spell)
  • You cannot move at all while loading a light crossbow, which takes a full round (you can fire every other round. On the round you fire, you follow the normal action rules)
  • You cannot move at all while loading a heavy crossbow or firearm, which takes 2 full rounds (you can fire every 3rd round. On the round you fire, you follow the normal action rules)

Running/Sprinting


Running - You move up to double your max speed, but you can do nothing else but run and you cannot turn to face someone who engages you if you are unengaged at the end of your move. (ie, Samuel runs for 50 ft, 10 short of his max running speed of 60ft, and ends his movement away from any enemies. Then a goblin pops out of the bushes and attacks Samuel from behind! He cannot turn to face the goblin, thus increasing his chance of defending, as he spent to much effort running to reach this spot)

  • When running, you can still move almost perfectly. You can make most turns, but not a 180 degree turn.
  • You are at disadvantage to make any type of detection based checks while running.
  • Once you end your movement and choose a facing, you cannot rotate until the start of your next turn.
  • If running over difficult terrain, you must make an Agility saving throw or fall prone.
  • You can run a number of minutes equal to your Endurance score.

Sprinting - You move up to triple your max speed, but you can do nothing else but sprint. Like running, you cannot turn to face someone who engages you.
  • When sprinting, you are limited in your movement. You can not make more than a 30 degree turn for every hex forward you move.
  • You cannot make detection based checks when sprinting.
  • Once you end your movement and choose a facing, you cannot rotate until the start of your next turn.
  • You cannot sprint over difficult terrain.
  • You can sprint a number of rounds equal to your Endurance modifier.
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This should add a little more freedom for my players (and me) while still being fairly restrictive and not as open as normal D&D. Restrictions breed creativity. Too much stifles it. For me at least. 

We'll give this a handful of sessions to try out. Might need some tweaking, but, knowing my group, this should work without too much trouble.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Rise of the Runelords: Session 1

The players:

  • Barlowe of Red Elm - Level 2 Human Ranger. One of the few survivors of a vicious goblin raid and trained by Shalelu (elven ranger) after she found him tending to a wounded dog. The dog's name is Ivy and travels with Barlowe now.
  • Gordo Knottingstein - Level 2 Human Templar of Sarenrae. After reporting visions of a darkness spreading from Sandpoint, he made his way to the town to investigate and see if there was anything he could do.
  • Gunthar - Level 2 Mul Fighter. An oddity in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings to the north, being a half dwarf/half human, he decided to test his mettle in the lands of the south and see what the world had to offer someone like him and his trusty war dog, Cujo.
  • Rosaria Delaporte - Level 2 Human Assassin. After a childhood trauma, she became an assassin to right the wrongs done to her in Magnimar. After it got a little too hot for her in the city, she traveled north to Sandpoint to let things cool down before returning to her crusade.

September 22nd

Things are pleasant in the smallish town of Sandpoint. It's a fishing village, a trading hub for the surrounding farmlands and a retreat of sorts for some of Magnimar's nobility who wish to "rough it" for a spell and maybe do some hunting in the surrounding woods.

The day the player's arrive is extra special because it is the Swallowtail Festival, sacred to Desna - the goddess of luck and travel - and the opening of the brand new temple to the various gods of the area that replaced the old one that burned down in the dark times five years ago.

The players participate in various festival games, Gunthar dominating in a pie eating contest and Barlowe showing off in an archery contest, and sample the local foods. Overhearing talk of how Lonjiku Kaijitsu wasn't present at the opening ceremony (though no one really expected him as he has been a bit of a hermit since his wife disappeared about 5 years ago, possibly running off with another man), that the shopkeeps found that his oldest daughter has been "shacking up" with a millworker and has pretty much put her on lock-down due to his over protectiveness, how sad it was that the old priest and his god-touched daughter (a half-celestial) both died in the fire that destroyed the old temple, etc.

Just before the closing ceremony at sundown, goblins erupted from inside the town. No one knows how they got in, but the immediately began causing chaos - setting things on fire and killing those who could not get away fast enough. The party made short work of a group of 3 that didn't run from them, then another group of three with torches were being egged on by a warchanter, shrilly singing the goblin chant, driving them to frenzy. These new goblins didn't last too much longer.

After these were put down, things seemed to have moved beyond the town square where the party was. Father Zantus (the new head priest in town, a cleric of Desna) offered his aid to anyone who needed it. Cujo had been viciously mauled by one of the goblins (as they HATE dogs and horses) was healed by Zantus. Barlowe destroyed his cloak and suffered minor burns moving one of the flaming, wheeled carts away from any of the buildings that could catch fire.

As he was throwing the ruined remains of his cloak onto the burning cart, a scream and barking of a dog from the north rose above the general chaos. The party launched into action to arrive in time for a goblin commando, mounted on a disgusting "goblin dog" to murder the dog they had heard barking. Gunthar and Cujo took care of the commando and the rest of the party took care of the three other goblins who had been hiding from the dog while the commando took care of it.

After these goblins were put down (only Cujo being seriously hurt), the noble who was hiding from the goblins thanked them, introduced himself as Aldern Foxglove and asked them to meet him later at the Rusty Dragon Inn so he could reward them. He seemed particularly interested in Gunthar's fighting prowess.

During the aftermath of the attack, the group ran into Ameiko Kaijitsu, owner of the Rusty Dragon Inn and an ex-adventurer herself, out and about seeing that the goblins were taken care of. Seeing these capable strangers had risked themselves to save her home, she offered them free room and board for a week. This was not the first reward they received. As word spread, the group are local heroes. This was expanded on when Gunthar, Barlowe, and Rosaria decided to unwind at the Hagfish Tavern and partake in Nora's challenge. They had to drink (and keep down) a full tankard of water from Nora's slimy tank. Barlow and Gunthar tried and Barlowe hurled before finishing the tankard. Gunthar finished, was confident he was good - then immediately hurled the water and all the pie he had eaten earlier in the day. Then Cujo tried to lap it up and then hurled himself. Seeing this, and wanting to put the boys to shame, Rosaria took up the challenge, threw back the entire tankard, and asked if that was it. Cheers all around for all three of them.

Gunthar, and the rest of his group, were paid a reward by Aldern back at the Rusty Dragon Inn and invited to go along with him on a boar hunt in the norther Tick Woods and to share in the feast after they slay the beast.

Barlowe tried his luck with Ameiko. She was busy, but still flirty. And also told him she tended to not spend the night with what smelled like a drunk hagfish and directed him out of her kitchen.

September 23rd

The next morning, things were trying to get back to normal. The party were greeted warmly by most of the town and Sheriff Balor Hemlock asked them to meet him at the temple. He questioned them about staying in the area (thinking that was good thing), agreed with Barlowe that the fact that multiple tribes were working together and attacking a large group of humans in their town was extremely out of the ordinary and that something must be pushing them to do it.

He brought them to the temple because Father Zantus, doing a walk around the Boneyard (the walled graveyard next to the temple), found the mausoleum where the old priest's bones were being kept had been disturbed. Hemlock wanted the party there to evaluate them. Searching the tomb, they found the sarcophagus opened and in it was a piece of parchment with a strange, seven pointed rune drawn on it. Barlowe didn't think it was any goblin symbol and Rosaria didn't think it belonged to any thieving/assassin guild. Looking at the tracks, there were goblins here, but also something closer to human sized as well. The sarcophagus was opened by force, not magic, and there looked to be some disturbance near the outer wall, adjacent to the woods, that looked like it might be where they placed a ladder to enter and leave the Boneyard. Barlowe and Hemlock think that it's possible that whoever got the various tribes to work together possibly used the attack as a distraction just to steal the old priests bones. But they cannot figure out why.

Sheriff Hemlock asks the party to keep this quiet while he investigates this, but Barlowe suggested spreading a rumor that the bones that were stolen were fakes, and that the priests real bones are buried under the Desnan Shrine inside the temple to try to lure out the thieves if they are in town. 

The party is getting ready to try to track the thieves through the woods.

**EDIT**changed the dates to coincide when the Swallowtail Festival actually happened...cause I screwed that up**

Racial Restrictions

Every race that I'll be using has minimum attribute requirements that must be met in order to be of that race. They're generally not to extreme, but it will mean that humans are the easiest to be (as they are the most prominent race on Golarion, this makes sense). If you don't meet these requirements, you cannot choose that race. Along side that, each race has classes that it is allowed to be. If a class is not on the list, that race cannot be that class.

Pretty simple.

Here's the list of the DM Approved Races of Golarion and their restrictions:

  • Humans - None
    • Any Class except Clans-Dwarf, Gothi, Fae-Mage, Warden, Folk Champion or Scout
  • Elves - Perception 12+, Charisma and Intelligence 10+
    • Fighter, Ranger, Druid, Thief, Assassin, Bard, Swashbuckler, Wizard, Adventurer, Fae-Mage, and Warden
  • Dwarves - Strength 9, Endurance 11
    • Fighter, Berserker, Brute, Thief, Assassin, Bard, Clans-Dwarf, and Gothi
  • Hobbits - Endurance 10+, Agility 12+, Luck 14+
    • Fighter, Thief, Bard, Folk Champion, and Scout
  • Elfmarked - Perception and Charisma 10+
    • Fighter, Ranger, Witch Hunter, Cleric, Druid, Thief, Assassin, Bard, Swashbuckler, Wizard, Adventurer, Necronimus, and Warden
  • Muls - Strength 10+, Endurance 14+
    • Fighter, Berserker, Brute, and Assassin
  • Halflings - Perception, Endurance, Agility 10+, Luck 12+
    • Fighter, Ranger, Druid, Thief, Bard, Swashbuckler, Adventurer, Folk Champion, and Scout

Some of the attribute requirements might seem kind of high compared to other versions of D&D, but I use/view attribute requirements as a idea of how rare they are in the world. It is a lot rarer to see a hobbit out and about than it is a human.

I'll be going over each of the races (and classes) in future posts and what the abilities are and a rough over view of how they fit into my version of Golarion (which I will also go over in future posts - using Paizo's published world as a base because I like it).

**EDIT**Added the Swashbuckler class that Humans, Elves, Elfmarked, and Halflings can be. Renamed Thick Brute to just Brute**

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Expanse

I just finished watching the 5th episode of The Expanse on SyFy. This isn't a "review", buuuut...

It's good. You should watch it if you like sci-fi.

Or even if you only tolerate sci-fi.

The show is based of a book series by James S. A. Corey (Leviathan Wakes is the first book) and I've read 3 of the books in the series and the 4th is on my shelf waiting to for me to finish up some of the other books that I'm reading. This prior knowledge is not needed, nor does it make the show better or worse.

It is a damn good interpretation of the books, riding very close to a straight adaptation with almost no changes for the format.

I only have one issue with it so far, I do not like the guy they got to play Frederick Johnson (Chad L. Coleman who I've only really seen in Walking Dead - and I didn't really care for him there either). He doesn't really fit the character at all, other than he is black. He doesn't have the presence that the character is supposed to have (or at least I attributed to him) nor any of the charisma.

Other than that, it's a really good show and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series (I believe it's already been picked up for a second season - but don't quote me on that.

Seriously, go watch it.

P.S., If you watch it and don't like it for some reason....I didn't tell you to go watch it, that was some other blog.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Rolling Attributes

I'll be using the standardized attribute modifiers from 3e and onward in my game. This is because, despite my liking of the Basic style bonuses, my players chafe at the lack of difference between the attributes when the gap between bonuses is that high. Changing the modifier to changing at every 2 points (for those that are not aware for some reason, the formula for determining the modifier is the attribute-10 then divide by 2) works better for them. It's a very minor mechanical change that has an additional advantage for me.

I prefer the attributes being more in the average range of 8 to 12. Changing the modifiers to the 3e version means that I can make the rolling of attributes a little stricter while still allowing them to have attribute modifiers. They're happy. I'm happy. It's a win-win.

In terms of determining attributes, I give my players 2 options and each can choose which she prefers at the time of character creation:
  1. Roll 3d6, reroll any individual die that comes up as a 1. Do this 7 times and arrange to preference. If your net modifier is not a 0 or higher, you have the option to reroll the entire set of six.
  2. Arrange the numbers 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8 to preference.
Option 2 is the fastest and prevents large disparities between the players' innate abilities. My players generally don't care too much about that, and I don't at all, so it's basically just for speed.

Option 1 exists because players are gamblers, and given the option to roll randomly or take a slightly above average array, they all tend to roll. Even the players who have notoriously horrendous luck.

Option 1 generates numbers between 6 and 18, with average being about a 12-13 based on what my players have rolled for their new characters (They TPK'd last session after foolishly charging into the cult leaders room after already being damaged by previous battles...The player's were totally out classed by the leader). Seems to work fine.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Attributes

I was going to get into my races and what their requirements were, and I realized whilst writing that post, that I haven't talked about my attributes. So I'll do that now.

Very little has changed from Fantastic Heroes & Witchery (or normal D&D), with the exception of four things:

  1. Attacking and defensive bonuses from attributes are removed and instead are from your class's Combat Skill (talked about here).
  2. Wisdom is out. Perception is in.
  3. Luck is an attribute. I use it to help me make up things that I didn't have planned that the player's want to do that wouldn't be based on any skill. Or random encounters.
  4. Because of changes 2 and 3, I don't use Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis (Per), Cha. I use S.P.E.C.I.A.L. because....why not. Basically the same, just different names for the attributes......Fallout 4 may have been coming out when I was already removing Wisdom and thinking about adding luck. It just gave me the push to rename most of the attributes to spell "special". Cause why not.

Wisdom is a weird attribute in D&D it covers, connection with the world, common sense, ability to deal with animals, and is your perceptive capabilities. I don't really like that. I don't need or want a ability score for "common sense" as that should be about the player making decisions. Connection with the world is too nebulous about what it means for the character. Dealing with animals is better handled by Charisma. You know, your interpersonal skills attribute. And perceptive capabilities is now covered by Perception. So...we're good. 

A nice side effect of this is that all those religious/leaders of men type classes no longer have a wisdom requirement and instead have a charisma requirement. This, I think, better reflects what the class (like the cleric) is supposed to be - a leader of the people. 

Anyways. Here's a rundown of the attributes, what the "mean" and do.

Strength (Str)

Strength measures muscle power and physical power. It is used when your character tries to do anything based on physical strength, such as breaking down doors, lifting things, climbing, swimming, and the like. This ability modifies your damage with melee and thrown weapons and helps determine the maximum amount of weight you can carry. A character with a Strength of "0" is too weak to move in any way and is unconscious.

Perception (Per)

Perception covers your physical senses as well as your intuition. It is what allows you notice things that others miss. It is used for your damage with missile weapons, such as bows, because of your better aim. It is also used in some saving throws based on noticing (disbelieving illusions) or resisting visual or auditory effects. A character with a Perception of "0" is shut off from the world, unable to process any information or interact with the world, but is not unconscious.

Endurance (End)

Endurance represents your character's health and stamina. It is the main factor in determining your Wound Hit Points and it modifies how many Vitality Hit Points you gain each level. It helps determine how much weight you can care and is used in saving throws to resist most physical effects that your immune system would have to fight off or resisting exhaustion. A character with an Endurance of "0" is dead.

If your Endurance Score is altered, your Wounds and Vitality are altered as well.

Charisma (Cha)

Charisma measures a character's personality, personal magnetism, ability to lead, and willpower. It is used for most actions involving interacting with someone/thing else, such as persuasion, sense motive, handle animal, performance, etc. It influences how many loyal followers you can have and what the loyalty of your hirelings is. It is used in saving throws most often when you need willpower to resist the enchantment. A character with a Charisma of "0" is not able to exert himself in any way and is unconscious.

You can have a number of loyal followers equal to your Charisma modifier +1.

Intelligence (Int)

Intelligence determines your character's knowledge and ability to reason. This ability is important to wizards because it affects the number of spells they know. Intelligence modifies the number of languages you know and is used for understanding what you're looking at, knowing things (like how to survive in a particular environment), and resisting some spells that try to limit your mental abilities. 

Creatures of animal-level instinct have an Intelligence of 1 or 2. Any creature capable of understanding speech has a score of at least 3. A character with an Intelligence of "0" is comatose.

The minimum score needed to cast a spell is 10 + the spell's level.

Agility (Agi)

Agility measures agility, reflexes, and coordination. This skill is very useful for any of the "Rogue" classes, as it is the base of any acrobatic maneuver, dealing with traps, picking pockets, stealth and the like. It is also used for saving throws to avoid most area effects, such as fireballs or dragon's breath. A character with an Agility of "0" is incapable of moving and is effectively immobile (but not unconscious).

Luck (Lck)

Luck is a measure of your general good (or bad) fortune and affects your character in various ways. It is used for a number of things that are not reliant on your character's skills or abilities. Usually to determine if something/one is at hand that your character is looking for that may or may not be there (not to be confused with making a perception check to search for something - more "Is there a large enough rock in the debris for me to pick up and throw to knock this guy off?"). If your Luck is reduced to "0", you are having the worst day and nothings seems to go right for you.

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That should just about cover it. I'll cover some of the more specific rules I've hinted at in later posts.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Crits and Fumbles

I'm trying this out in my new game. The tables are nice, but I want something a little faster:

Criticals

On a natural 20 (or lower if you're a fighter), you do maximum damage and ignore any Armor the opponent has.
     -Roll a d20 again. If you get another critical, you do maximum damage and get to roll your damage like normal and add the two together, ignoring armor.
     -Roll a d20 again. If you get another critical, you kill the opponent if it was remotely reasonable that you could.

Fumbles

On a natural 1, roll a die based on your weapon quality to see if you drop it and/or it breaks.
  • Poor/degraded - d4
  • Standard - d6 (normal cost)
  • Superior Quality/Materials - d8 (x3 cost)
  • Masterwork - d12 (x20 cost)
  • Magic - d20 (not sold normally)
If you roll a 1, your weapon is broken. If you roll a 2 or 3 your weapon is dropped to the ground and, if you are still engaged with an opponent, it takes a full round action to pick up.

If you roll a 1 on and your weapon breaks, you roll a d20, if you roll a 1, your arm breaks. This gives you a -4 to most actions until it is set (using a usage of a healing kit and a DC 12 Intelligence check) to most actions.

If you break your arm, you have to roll another d20. If you roll another 1, you somehow managed to kill yourself.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Level 4 Spells

Took longer than I'd like because of...life mostly. But here they are. At least the first pass through anyways. I might be removing and/or moving some spells to different levels when I go through them again at some point.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Updated Weapons




Not a whole lot different, but added a War Staff (a heavier-duty staff with metal bands and metal caps on the end. It is a weapon of war, not a walking stick that can be used as a weapon) and the Javelin because I accidentally left it out and one of my players wants to use one.

I also changed using a 1 or 2 handed weapon with two hands bonus to a die step bonus rather than a +1 in an effort to reduce the number of "+x" running around the system. Works out to be about the same statistically, but players love rolling bigger dice more than that +1, so it's a win-win for me.

See this post for what the special effects are.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Levels and Experience

So a brief post about levels and how they relate to my world and such. This is actually really easy because I quite like the descriptions of the various levels in the Fantastic Heroes & Witchery book. It's what I'm using as a guide if I have to figure out what level the average "whatever-the-hell-type-of-character" the PC's interact with in the world. This doesn't mean that every person of the same job will be the same class and/or level, but it's a good benchmark for me to use.

Note: I don't plan on using levels 14+, but they're there just in case...


Like I said, this works for me and how the levels fit into my world. There will of course, be weirdos who don't conform to this chart, but it's decent enough.

Now, for experience...

I'm basically stealing from Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Base Version: Each PC gets 1-4 xp per encounter, with 2 being an average encounter. This covers everything from trying to extract information from an npc to fighting off a gnoll slaver ambush. Or anything else you feel like going with.

For my current game, I'm being a little looser with the exp mainly because of how spread out our games are. I'm close to offering double that. It's closer to 3 or 4 for an average encounter. If we were playing every week, I'd stick a lot closer to the 1-4 with 2 being average and let the player's complain about it taking so long to level up if they decide to take the easy way and/or choose not to do much.

What constitutes an easy/average/hard/very hard encounter....well....I'm honestly still working that out. Combat is actually the easiest as you can get a rough estimate based on how much hp/resources they used. If a character or two comes close to death...probably worth an additional xp. It's the non-combat encounters that are a little trickier and all I have to go by/offer for advice would be to base it on the difficulty you set for the checks. Regardless if they pass or not. Failing miserably did not make it a more trying encounter.

Unless you want it to. Run with the XP however you want. Messing with a few points here or there is hardly going to break the system. Just keep an eye on how quickly they're leveling and adjust. If it needs a severe adjustment, let the player's know you screwed up and are going to be offering less xp from now on to balance things out. If you have decent human beings for players, and have established a good gaming environment, this will hardly be a problem and most people are happy to make adjustments for the good of the game. 


Monday, January 4, 2016

Two Sides of Magic

I've been working on spell lists a lot, so I figure I'll go into why there have been Black Magic and White Magic lists on the spell lists I've been posting (Elf Magic is something completely different)

Anyways...Magic. There are two types of magic in my world (technically 3..ish, but I'll talk about the third when I get around to working on that spell list/class), White Magic and Black Magic. They are both the domain of the wizard class (though the Adventurer dabbles a bit...if I keep the class).

White Magic is less destructive and more about life and balance and such. Black Magic is about death, destruction, and bending others to your will.

White Magic, except for the most powerful of spells, is perfectly fine to cast. There are no repercussions to bending the fabric of reality to do what you wish because you are generally not causing havoc to that fabric. Black Magic, on the other hand, is twisting reality to your wishes, often in the most perverse of ways. This corrupts your very soul and eventually your body and mind as well.

You gain Corruption whenever you cast any Black Magic spell, or a level 6 White Magic spell (The power is just more than mortals are supposed to be able to handle, even when trained). You gain Corruption as per the table below:


When your Corruption equals your Constitution Score (note, you do not gain the Corruption until the spell is cast), you must make a Charisma Saving Throw. If you pass, your Corruption stays as it is. Any time you gain more Corruption (or your Constitution Score is lowered), you must make another Charisma Saving throw with a penalty equal to the difference between your Corruption and your Constitution (ie, if you have a Corruption of 15 and a Constitution of 12, you make the Charisma save at a -3). Every time you pass, your Corruption stays as is and continues to build.

When you fail your first save, your alignment changes to Chaotic, if it's not already and your Corruption resets to 0. If your alignment is already Chaotic, you must roll on the mutation table I'm in the process of constructing. This will have psychosis as well as physical mutations on it. After gaining a mutation, your Corruption resets to 0.

This cycle will continue for as long as the character continues to choose to cast Black Magic.

I battled with having a saving throw or just having it happen, but I like the saving throw for a fairly thematic reason. It plays well with the idea of the apprentice dabbling in dark magics and succumbing to his dark practices very quickly (really poor save at low levels), and the high level mage who feels confident enough to dabble occasionally in dark magics to "get the job done" or "only when I really need it" type of thought process. They'll think that because they know what they're doing, they won't fall prey to the corrupting influence (good save at high levels).

The obvious problem with that is that the spells they're going to want to take are going to be the flashier, high level spells that build Corruption even faster. But that'll be fine, they think, because they have such a good saving throw...

Should be fun!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

More Geek Stuff Soon...

I know that I've done more Randomness and less Tabletop posts recently. Holidays, Work, and Family have taken priority. BUT, more rules talk and other crap like that will be in the near future....but expect more "Wife Conversation" posts in the future as they pop up because I find them entertaining.

Looking for Christmas Lights...and Porn

Driving home at night (after New Year's, btw) and my wife, who normally drives because I absolutely hate driving, takes a slightly different route home:

Me: What are you-oh. Hoping people were lazy and kept their Christmas lights up?

Wife: Yes. You got a problem with that?

Me: Nope. Just wondering.

Wife: These houses usually have pretty lights. I also like to look in their windows-

Me: I like to look in their windows too. See if they're watching porn.

Wife: ...to see their CHRISTMAS TREES. What is wrong with you.

Me: What? Christmas trees. Yeah. Me too.

Medium length pause.

Wife: I guess I look to see if they're watching porn too.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Typical Interaction Between My Wife and I

We're getting ready to go out to eat and I put on my super cool BB-8 scarf:


My wife sees me and this happens:

Wife: No. No. No. God no.

Me: What?
I assume issues with being seen with a "dork" for some reason...

Wife: People are going to think I'm with the Rebellion. Empire all the way.