Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Active v.s. Passive defense

After gaming for a while there are just some details you forget about, they become background and forgotten.
Having new players has been a reminder about things I've long forgotten.

After introducing my players to a few different games we were trying out something new, one of the players was attacked, I rolled the die and asked for the players defense to see if he was hit. I called out "18 that is a hit" the player reached for his dice looking a little concerned "what do I roll" he asked. I told him nothing that his defense was static like the first game we played, he sat back and didn't say much and took the damage he was assigned. He made a single small remark about liking the defense roll in the previous game.

Something in that exchange stuck with me. Hit a chord and reminded me of my many systems discussions so many years back. I would hang out with my original group going on about such things.

Looking at all my games I seem split right down the middle between games with active and passive defenses. My collection would lead to the belief that I don't have a preference. But I do, I prefer and active defense roll over a static passive defense. I feel it empowers the player and feels more heroic, its just a personal preference. It's not something I'm so hung up on that I can't enjoy the other. Matter of a fact my games that I run the most right now both have passive defenses.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Horror in RPGs

Over on the Savage Worlds community on G+ Mr. David Scott has a regular question of the day. It's been fun and thought provoking. Even when I don't have an answer myself it's great to see all the other answers. Last week, leading up to Halloween Mr. Scott asked about how we use players actual fears and integrate them into our games. I gave this answer;

I prefer to play on more universal fears. Fear of the unknown, death, helplessness and such. Most good horror writers are apt at going for things that scare most of us, not just a few.

Edgar allen Poe and Stephen king are both masters at this. IT wasn't scary because some people are afraid of clowns, IT was scary because it played on primal themes of being helpless and being prey to a predator. Once your top of the food chain your big fear is something will replace you at the top.

The Aliens movies are the same way, but also the first few movies were the best because you never truly saw the Alien, you didn't understand the motivation or the laws it operated by. Once you know the rules in any Horror fiction things are less scary. A mask wearing axe murderer is always scarier than a mask wielding axe murderer who only kills campers who are about to have sex. If you know the rules you feel empowered and you have some control. Less unknown.

You know the thing is Horror is my favorite medium. Books, movies, t.v., and even my own writings are full of horror. But as far as RPGs go I've run very few "Horror games". My longest running campaign was Ravenloft, and I've often added Horror themes to other games. I've almost never run games devoted to horror.....interesting.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Palladium Combat in a nutshell

In my Palladium rules rant post I gave a very simple rundown of combat. I got a few messages about it asking me to expand it to make a resource for new players.

Palladium Combat Cheat Sheet :
I find Palladium armor rules to be simple and elegant. When dealing with SDC armor:
Roll less than 5 you miss. roll less that AR, armor takes the damage to its SDC. Roll over AR, then the character takes the damage. Damage either goes to armor or character SDC, after character SDC is depleted damage goes to hit points. That is all there is to SDC combat.

Natural SDC armor is like worn SDC armor, but simpler. Rolls below 5 are a miss, rolls below its AR hit but do no damage. Rolls above AR do damage to SDC of the character.

Maga Damage is even simpler, all damage from a successful hit roll goes to armor first, only after all MDC is depleted does a character take any damage.
SDC weapons can't hurt MDC  objects. MD weapons do 100 damage per point of damage (x100) rolled to SDC objects.

Targets of an attack (defender) can use an action to make defensive actions. Defensive rolls try to beat the attack roll. Highest wins with defender winning on a tie.