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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Running 5E D&D using the siege engine.

Can the siege engine that powers castles and crusades be used to run 5E D&D?

I belive it can very easily. First assign prime attributes. One by class, second by choice.

Second ignore proficiency bonus (except for combat, more on this later).

If a player rolls on a skill he has add his level. Otherwise just d20+ability mod.

Proficiency bonus is now strictly to hit bonus for all classes.

Thats really it.

Now here is a twist:
Prime attributes add level to rolls.
Having a skill or not decides the difficulty of all rolls. 18 for not having a skill, 12 if you have it.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Faceless Ones (Basic fantasy)

Faceless Ones

AC: 12
HD: 1
# of Att 2
Damage: claw/claw d6/d6
Move:20' walk / 40'leap 
# appearing: 
Save: as 5th level Cleric
Treasure: None
XP: 25 each
Faceless ones are summoned by dark sorcerers as minions. Even those that summon them do not know from what foul realm they call home. The spell to summon them is a two part spell. The first is to summon, the second is to control and bind. Once summoned and bound the faceless ones will follow the command of the one who bound them. Faceless ones can track any target by smell. They tend to walk with a very slow and shambling gate. Once they have sight of their prey or target they sprint and leap in close to attack.

GM: This is not intended to be a spell for the players to learn and use. It's dark magics used by only those with villainous intentions.

If you do intend to allow players this spell I would recommend it as a scroll or consumable use spell.

Summoning Faceless ones:
The spell to summon is a quick one. A summoning circle is made and the incantation is spoken. At this time the number of faceless ones is chosen. T

caster must immediately give their own blood and life force to control the faceless ones. Their blood is dripped on the summoning circle. The caster gives one hit point per faceless one chooses to control. Only then can the 15min incantation to control be said. If for any reason the caster is interrupted the Faceless ones break free and will attack anyone in sight including the summoner.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Adrenaline Rush, Fighter (C&C)

New ability for fighters.

At level 3 fighters gain the ability to call on their reserve of fortitude to see themselves through. Once per battle at the start of their turn when they start with half their hit points or less they can activate adrenalin rush.

Adrenaline rush allows the recovery of 1HD+Con mod. In hit points. As well as +2 damage to the first attack that same turn.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

How the Siege Engine works.

I was recently told that my post on how the Siege engine that powers Castles and Crusades, Amazing Adventures, and Harvesters works is too "wordy". So what follows is my simple "how it works".

Difficulty of rolls:
At character creation some attributes are designated primary and others secondary.

Rolls against a primary attribute start at a difficulty 12, secondary are difficulty 18. This is the base complexity class (CC).

The GM then applies any complications as a complexity level. For example Dex (primary 12) roll for picking a CL4 lock would be (CC) difficulty 16.

How to make an attribute roll:
First the appropriate attribute is chosen for the roll. The player rolls a D20 and adds the modifier for the attribute. If the roll being made is either covered by a class ability, knowledge, or action appropriate to the class add the characters level to the roll as well. Thats it.

D20+Ability Mod+Level
Base CC + CL

Thats it......

Just as added examples, if you were to get stung by a giant scorpion, and it was HD 3. 3 would be the CL for the constitution save.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ranged vs Melee (Savage Worlds)

I'm always drawn to perceived issues with systems. Things that my players or other people believe to be broken and in need of a fix.

One that has caught my eye is the supposed discrepancies between melee and ranged combat. Which goes something like this:
Difficulty to hit in melee is 2+ 1/2 your opponents Agility. While to hit with ranged is a set number of 4.
Which gives range an advantage over melee.

By itself, out of context of the rest of the system I can see where this could seem unbalanced. Lets examine both as they pertain to the combat system at large. First I'll examine melee.

In melee your parry of 2+1/2 of fighting skill is only applicable if you are not surprised by an attack and only if you have a proper weapon reddied to defend yourself. If you are unarmed, weilding an improvised weapon, surprised, or making a wild attack your parry will be lower. So the defalt melee defense is assuming you are ready, knowing, and armed. So I say melee by defalt assumes the defender is at advantage to defend against a melee attack.

Now ranged combat on the other hand has a defult difficulty of 4. This assumes that you are not surprised, within close range, and not in cover.
The proper tactic against a ranged weapon is cover (causing cover penalties). The proper weapon for a ranged attack is one that is effective at the range you need (to avoid range penalties). So I say by defult the defender is assumed at a disadvantage against a ranged attack.

In quick summery, in melee the advantage goes to the defender, with penalties to the defender for being unarmed or unprepared. By contrast ranged assumed advantage on the part of the attacker, with penalties to the attacker for conditions and defender tactics.

Within context of the rest of the system I don't find this unbalanced. If anything it seems fair and makes sense given the nature of melee and ranged conditions and penalties.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

GM musings, Believable cyberpunk.

In my games the world revolves around my players. But if I am to make the world believable, it must seem as though it doesn't.

I'm in the prossess of planning my first interface zero game. Although I am new to IZ, I am not new to cyberpunk roleplaying. Shadowrun was the second rpg I ever ran, cyberpunk 2020 a close 3rd.  thought I might share some of my tricks to more realistic world building while running cyberpunk. This might be obvious to some, I just hope it's useful to someone. 

Organizations: make organizations with no ties to the players. Too often we as GMs only create what our characters will interact with as they interact with it. Create street gangs, political activist groups, political leaders, vigilante groups, gun runners and drug dealers. Make an alliance web. Who (atleast at start) is aligned with whom. Who has a beef with whom. Let those alliances shift over time from actions off camera revealed through media or rumors from contacts.

Interaction: create interactions between your groups outside of player interaction, rather these interactions happen around the players.
A few examples:

As the players cross the road to meet a contact gang A commits a drive by against gang B on the block across from the players.

As the players enter walk down the street a buildings windows blow out. A bomb planted by a political terrorist group just blew up the headquarters of their rival.

As the players enter a bar two rival biker gangs kick off a fight.

A bank is robbed right next to the players who are on stake out. With a shootout with police and everything.
A rival gang takes out one of your contacts as a retaliation for something totally unrelated to your characters story.

A corporate take over has random groups suddenly breakout in gunfire, corporate security have checkpoints or areas blocked off.

A living world: As your city or world moves and jumps it will seem to have it's own heartbeat. The players have to decide how to act, react, or avoid each and every group drawing them into your alliance web. Every action will have a consequence in the web.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Assassin's blades (5E D&D)

The Assassin's balade is a cestus that looks like a heavy leather glove with three small blades protruding from the nuckles. Fashioned with tips specifically designed to pierce deep into it's target.

Some are designed to leave the blades behind after use. Leaving the blades deep in the wounds.

These blades are crafted by artisans of the Raven house guild of assassins. They are fine crafted and well balanced.

Assassin's blades 1d4 Piercing light, finesse.

+2 to all concealment rolls.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mages Bow, Elven (5E D&D)

This well crafted elven bow acts as a +1 longbow in anyone's hands.

In the hands of a wizard it has an even deadlier side. Requires attunment by a mage for full effect. 

As the name of the bow is whispered into the string and the string is drawn an arrow of pure energy appears. Damage is that of a longbow but the damage type is radient.

If the wizard gives up a spell slot as the radiant arrow is fired some effects can be added. Only one spell slot can be expended on a single attack.

Level 1+ spell slot, treat the shot as a fired from a +2 bow.

Level 1+ spell slot, the damage type becomes the type of damage chosen by the wizard.

Level 2+ spell slot, add intelligence modifier to damage.

Level 3+ spell slot, gain advantage on the attack roll.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dabler, Talent (AGE system)


Rogue & Warrior
Willpower 2+
Intellect 2+

Though not a mage. You have a nack, training, or bloodline that has brought you some small magical ability.

You have a magic pool of magic points 5+Willpower+1d6. You have a spell power of 8+willpower. Choose a magic arcana, gain one of the two novice level spells of that arcana.

You gain 5 magic points. Your spell power is raised by one. Take the second novice level spell of your arcane.

You gain 5 magic points. Your spell power is raised by one. You gain the journeyman level from your arcana.

Mages Bow, Elven (AGE system)

Looks like a well crafted elven bow. In the hands on a non-mage the bow acts as a nornal long bow with a magical +1 to accuracy.

In the hands of a mage it becomes a focus for arcane blast. As the mage pulls the string back they can simultaneous cast arcane blast. A arrow formed of pure magic will appear.

Firing the bow draws 5 magic from the mage. The arcane blast gains the range of the bow and doubles willpower for purposes of damage. Spell stunts apply.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Tattoo mage, Specialization (AGE system)

Tattoo Mage

Willpower (2)
Willpower (self discipline)

Pick one spell that you know. That spell is now tattooed on your body. All costs to cast this spell is one lower in magic points.

Pick a second spell to also be tatooed. When casting tattooed spells the mage can spend both health and spell points to fuel them. If health is used the spell power is at +1 for resisting the spell.

Master: Pick a third spell you know to be a tattoo. If all health is used to cast a tattooed spell the spell is at +2 to spell power (total) for the casting. And add +1d6 to the spells damage if it's a damaging spell.

Fetish crafting talent (AGE system)

You are skilled in the crafting of magical fetishes.

Intellect (crafting) 2+.

You are skilled in the crafting of magical fetishes. You can craft Battery fetishes up to 10mp. You can craft up to level 2 Foci. You can craft up to level 3 Charms.

You are skilled in the crafting of even more poweful fetishes. You can craft Battery fetishes up to 20mp. You can craft up to level 3 Foci. You can craft up to level 4 Charms.

You are skilled in the crafting of very powerful fetishes. You can craft Battery fetishes up to 30mp. You can craft up to level 4 Foci. You can craft up to level 5 Charms.

For information on magical fetishes.

Seeks enlightenment through the sword (Kensai, Sword saint), Foci (cypher system)

Foci: Seeks Enlightenment through the sword (Kensai)

You have trained with a bladed weapon. Most likely a sword or a large knife. Your training goes well beyond physical and mental discipline, Your ability with your blade is spiritual.

Minor Effect Suggestion: You can attempt an intimidating task to cause your foe to immediately surrender.

Major Effect Suggestion: Your foe pauses, terrified by your prowess, and takes no action on his turn.

Tier 1: 
Blade in hand: You inflict 1 additional point of damage with your blade of choice. Enabler.

Practiced with your blade: You are practiced with using blades and suffer no penalty when
using one. Enabler.

Tier 2: Spirit guided blade: You can spend points from either your Speed Pool or your Intellect
Pool to apply levels of Effort to increase your bladed weapon damage. Each level of Effort adds
3 points of damage to a successful attack, and if you spend a turn in prayer/meditation, each level of Effort adds 5 points of damage to a successful attack instead. Enabler.

Tier 3: Turning the blade: After using Spirit guided blade and meditating for one turn add one free level to effort to speed defense against other melee weapons.

Tier 4: Flash of blades: You can make two Bladed weapon attacks as a single action, but the second
attack is modified by two steps to your detriment. Enabler.

Tier 5: Legendary swordsman: You can choose
from one of two benefits. Either you are
trained in using your bladed weapon (or specialized if you
are already trained), or you have the Spinning slash ability, which costs 3 Speed points: 
you can use  your weapon at up to three targets (all next to one another, within range) as a single
action. Make a separate attack roll against each target. The difficulty of each attack is
increased by one step. Enabler (being trained in using your blade) or action (Spinning slash).

Tier 6: Death dealer: You deal 2 additional points of damage with your chosen bladed weapon.
This is on top of the damage from the Blade in hand ability, giving you a total of 3 additional points of damage. Enabler.

Thank you +Michael K for the name!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Hulk (Cypher system)

Just a quick and dirty build. I'm sure there is a better way to do the hulk, this is just off the cuff.

The Hulk is an Intelligent Exporer who Rages.

Special abilities:
Muscles of Iron*
No need for weapons*
Fleet footed*

Power shifts:
(3) Strength*
(2) Resilience*

* all are tied to frenzy (Hulk form).

This actually looks pretty solid in that both explorer and Intelligent with gain mr. Banner a lot of intellect based skills....all of which are useless once he rages.

Thor (Cypher system)

Once again this is just my off the cuff quick and dirty build for Thor.
And of all things Tier 1.

Thor is a Noble Warrior who rides the lightning.

Special abilities:
Practiced in armor
Extra edge
* abilities tied to hammer.

Power shifts:
(2)Power: bash when using hammer.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Cassilian, priest of the god of thunder (Cypher system)

Npc Adept I made just for fun.

Cassilian is a Spiritual priest (Adept) who rides the lightning.

Might: 9
Speed: 10
Intellect: 15 Edge:1

Effort: 1
Cyphers: 3

Skills: Intellect defense, resist temptation.

Inability: initiative.

Helpful: +1 when helping others.

Special abilities:
Electronic surge (Onslaught)
Magic trainning
Lighting shield (Resonance field)

Magic in Cypher system.

I've been thinking of a way to make cypher system magic even more wondrous and flexable.

The number one goal is to not bog the system down with new rules or subsystems.

I have already expressed my love for the trading damage for effect optional rules. I think its an easy way to express different kinds of magic within the avalible special abilities.

Just for an example lets look at the special ability Onslaught.

An adept who chooses to flavor his magic with fire (either by choice or by foci) could gain the effect:
2 dmg to catch target on fire.

An adept who chooses to flavor his magic with Ice (either by choice or by foci) could gain the effect:
2 dmg to make your attack armor piercing, ignore 1 point of armor.

Another effect could be a 1 cost to have the attack effect a different pool. For example the cold based attacks effect speed as the slow the target with each attack.

Ice based armor might give an extra +1 armor vs heat based attacks.

Still thinking on this one, more to come.

Captain America (Cypher system) Revised

I bet if 20 different people all stated up Capt. America we would have 20 different versions of him. I'm cool with that. Here is my quick and dirty build. Captain Steve rogers A.k.a. Captain America.

Captain America is a Honorable Warrior who Leads.

Special abilities:
Natural charisma
Good advice
No need for weapons
Trained without armor
* = used in conjunction with shield.

Power Shifts:
Dexterity: Acrobatics.
Single attack: attacks with shield.
Shield, medium weapon, short range, on turns it's not used to attack it counts as a large shield.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Immortal, Descriptor (Cypher system)

You do not age normally. You and your kind walk the earth blending into humanity, Fighting a secret war. When you would die instead you reawaken in 1d6/2 hours. The only way for true death is for your body to be completely destroyed or head should be removed.

You start the game with one bladed weapon of your choice. You are trained in it.

Adaptability:+2 to any one pool.

Skill: being long lived you can often recall long forgotten skills. Gain the ability flashback (2 Intellect) gain a temporary trained level in any one skill, lasts a half of an hour.

Skill: being long lived you have faced and over come a great many obstacles in your life already to become as old as you are. Trained in speed defense.

Sensing others like you: you have the ability to sense the approch of other immortals. You know one is near when the come within their level/tier times 4 yards.

Enemies: being both hunter and prey has made you untrusting and paranoid.

Link to adventure:
1. One party member saved your life against another immoral. You owe them.

2. You swore ages ago to protect a good friend. One party member is her descendant.

3. You feel drawn to members or even the whole party. Being around them reminds you of your family.

4. You feel a connection to one or more member of the party, being around them helps you hold on to your humanity.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Trading damage, Cypher system

While reading through the Cypher system book I ran across the optional rules for trading damage for effect. Although I read over it in the other two Cypher core books it didn't really stick with me, maybe because back then I was still getting the rules down.

This rule is so in my wheelhouse it is not funny. The fact that I've run so much of The strange without even using this rule is ridiculous.

I'm a big fan of stunts in combat. The problem is in most games things like disarming an opponent or knocking them back increases difficulty to hit. It's a hit+stunt or miss completely kind of deal. Most times players missing a few times discourages further use of stunts.

In the Cypher system you buy stunts with damage. That in itself is cool, but if you also take into account that effort can be spent to add damage.  You have a way to purchase stunts with effort. If I wasn't already a huge cypher system fan those would have done it for me.

Now, to add more stunts....

Cypher system core rules book

I've now had a few weeks to pour over the Cypher system core rule book. And man is it pushing all the right buttons.

I saw a few comments before it came out that said "I've got Numenera and The strange, do I really need another core book?" Since I have almost everything for the Cypher system it did make me wonder. Do I need it?

What makes this book stand out is all the little touches. The optional rules found in the genera sections to help you better replicate the feel you want from different styles of games.

Optional rules like insight that help to find clues without rolling in mystery based games. Rules like madness and shock for dealing with horror. As well as power shifts to replicate superheroes amazing abilities beyond just lumping on more powers.

Another option that stands out to me is flavores. Along with you're blank blank who blanks. You can add a flavor and add "with".

So your clever explorer who looks for trouble. Can now be a clever explorer who looks for trouble with magic. Adding a theme to your focus. I love everything about this.

I'm more than happy with my PDF purchase, which I almost never just get the PDF without also getting the book. But I just couldn't wait. Now I'm that much more exited to get the book in hand.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Vampyre (AGE system)

Here is my take on a playable vampire race. I see no need to balance it against the normal starting races, since I dont feel doing so would be a very good representation. Although I dont feel its too unbalanced.

* Add 1 to your starting strength or dexterity.

* pick one: Constitution (stamina), perception (hearing), perception (seeing), or perception (smelling).

* Dark sight up to 20'.

* your speed is 14+dex.

* vampyres add 1 to both Defense and armor.

* vampyres have talons that do 1d6 damage. Damage governing attribute can be str or dex your choice.

* -2 to rolls for concentration while in direct sunlight.

* all fire based attacks add +1d6 against you.

* all radiant or holy powered magics are +4 spell power against you.

* vampyres do not heal or regain magic points as normal. They must feed. Feeding is a grapple attack that can only be attempted when a suitable target is below 1/2 hit points. A success attack drains 1d6+willpower hp and mp.

* If vampyres go 48 hours without feeding they take -2 to all stats until they have fed.

* Roll twice:
2: +1 constitution
3-4: communication (deception).
5: dexterity (stealth)
6: strength (intimidation).
7-8: +1 strength
9: willpower (courage).
10-11: communion (persuasion).
12: +1 willpower

Zen archery (AGE system)

Talent: Zen archery

Any class (favored by mages)
Req: willpower 2+, willpower (self discipline).

Novice: intuition guides your arrows, willpower is now your governing attribute for rolling to hit with a bow. Perception adds to damage as normal.

Journeyman: after spending one turn in standing meditation your next attack ignores all cover modifiers short of total cover.

Master: Any time you use the stunt Pierce armor the attack becomes penetrating.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Hand of fate, specialization (Age system)

I've seen a few posts about being able to "save" or "hold" stunt ponts for later. It got me thinking. This was one idea that popped into my head.

Hand of fate/Chosen one

Novice: reroll any one failed spell save. You must keep the second roll.

Journeyman: Gain the hand of fate stunt.

Master: The hand of fate stunt now cost 4 rather than 5.

Stunt: Hand of fate
5 : gain a hero token, heroes can only have one hero token and can't stock pile them.

Any time a hero can spend his hero token to make a reroll, the hero must keep the second roll.

During the heroes turn the hero token can be exchanged for 4 stunt points. These points cannot be combined with other points gained and replace any stunt points rolled for this turn.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Magical Fetishes (Fantasy AGE)

Fetishes are minor magical items that have a connection to spell casting. These fetishes are almost always hand crafted by a magic user, fetishes make very personal connections between a magic user and her craft.

Only a single fetish can be used to assist in the casting of any one spell. A magic users can only carry a limited number of fetishes. 4 up to level 6. 5 up to level 11. 6 up to level 20.

There are three different kinds of magical fetishes.

Battery: batteries are crafted to store power. Magic points are spent when crafting a battery, those points are then stored in the battery. Mp cost is the number of points to be stored plus 5. Battery fetishes are tied to a school of magic rather than a single spell. Magic points stored can only be used to fuel spells of that specific school. Mp spent can be done in any amounts from one to depleting the battery in one shot. Cost to make a battery fetish is 1gp. Once charges are used up the battery is dead and can't be recharged. Time to craft is one hour per 10mp charged.

Foci: Foci fetishes are tied to a specific spell. Foci are used to magnify the power of a given spell. When casting the spell the foci is tied to the foci adds it's level to the spell power of the caster. Cost to make a foci is 1gp x level (max lv4).
Every time a foci is used make a depletion roll. Roll 3d6 and subtract the mp cost of the spell, if the total is zero or negative the foci is depleted. Time to craft is 1hr per level.

Charm: charms are tied to a specific spell. When a charm is used during the casting of the spell add the level of the charm to the casting roll. Cost to make a charm is 5sp x level (max lv5). Every time a charm is used make a depletion roll. Roll 3d6 and subtract the mp cost of the spell, if the total is zero or negative the charm is depleted. Time to craft is 1hr per level.

Fetishes can also be fashioned in quick and dirty single use versions. This is more common with Foci and charms. A single use fetish cost 1/2 for materials and are depleated on a single use. These fetishes are often refered to as nacks or trinkets. Time to craft is 20min plus 5min per level or 10mp charged.

Murkwood Elves (Fantasy AGE)

The elves of mirkwood are mysterious and cursed. Centuries of dabbling in the dark arts has left them a corrupt and callous people.

Mirkwood elves make night raids into human lands for wealth and captives. Mirkwood elves practice blood magic, magic fueled by the blood of human captives. For whatever reason they rarely take other races. And never take elves of any kind.

Total dark vision, even magical darkness. Up to 40'.


Accuracy: 3
- Bow
- Initiative
Perception: 2
Willpower: 3

Health: 28

Spell power: 13
Magic: 18

Bow +5 hit, 1d6+4
Short sword +o hit, 1d6+1

Favored stunts:
Pierce armor & Mighty blow

Shadow dagger & shadows embrace.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Gunmage Talent (Fantasy AGE)


Class: Mage
Prereq: Accuracy 1+, Intelligence 2+.

Novice: gunmages can spend 2 spell points to Aim as a free action.

Journeyman: firing your black powder weapons is so imbued with magic that it is now a form of spell casting. Stunt points earned are now spell stunt points. Mighty spell, magic shield, fast casting, imposing spell, split spell, disrupt magic, and lethal spell are all valid uses of spell points.

Master: a bullet can be charged with arcane power. By spending 5mp and a minor action the next attack gains the effect of the lethal blow stunt.

Black powder Talent (Fantasy AGE)

Black powder
Classes:Mage, Warrior, and Rogue.
Req: Trained with black powder.

You are experienced with black powder weapons, rounds, & powder.

Novice: Aim maneuver gives a +2 rather than its normal +1.

Journeyman: Due to practice and familiarity you are able to load your weapons faster. Reloading black powder weapons is a minor action for you.

If you also have the Alchemy talent you have the knowledge to make your own powder. Materials cost 1/3 what the rounds would normally cost.

Master: When firing black powder weapons pierce armor costs only 1 SP.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Dark blades of the assassin kings (Cypher system)

Six blades forged. One for each of the six assassin kings. Passed from one king to the next. One destroyed And one captured. The remaining four kings fled taking these blades with them into the shadows, and off the pages of history.

Dark blades use the profile of an average dagger. when gaining a damage bonus for higher rolls (17-20) add an extra +1 to the total damage.

While attacking with a dark blade gain the move/esoterie/trick: Mark target (2 Intellect) target becomes the assassin blades prey. The blade becomes an asset to all attack rolls against the prey til they are dead or a new target is marked.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dark blades of the assassin kings (AGE system)

Six blades forged. One for each of the six assassin kings. Passed from one king to the next. One destroyed And one captured. The remaining four kings fled taking these blades with them into the shadows, and off the pages of history.

Dark blades use the profile of an average dagger. when gaining stunt points always add one to the stunt die. 

While attacking with a dark blade gain the stunt: 2 mark target, target becomes the assassin blades prey. +2 to all attack rolls against the prey til they are dead or a new target is marked.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Winter's reach (AGE system)

For all purposes Winter's reach is a normal short bow. Forged for Silvan elven king of the north. Silvan silverleaf, charged with defending the north from the barbarian hordes.

The wielder of winter's reach gains access to a new stunt when using winter's reach to attack.

2  The chill of winter's reach: The target hit with this stunt becomes slowed by the chill. Half the targets movement rate instantly and ends after the targets next turn.

Monday, July 20, 2015

In translation, The Strange character options

I finally had a chance to really dig into this book. I've got to say, I think it's pretty amazing.

After a nice little introduction by Bruce Cordell the book starts right off with new abilities for the three character types.

Pages 4-14 are full of new moves for Vectors, revisions for Parodoxes, and Twists for spinners. Looking over them I think all look useful, none of it looks like filler or redundant material. Reading over the abilities I think my players are going to want them added right away.

Pages 15-25 are new descriptors. I find all the descriptors interesting, even Slacker sounds like it would be fun to play.

Pages 26-90 are all new Foci. As well as adding info about Supers recursions, mastering wuxia, and tiers above level 6. I sat grinning ear to ear reading through these foci. These go a long way to completing and complementing the core book.

The last few pages are portraits and index this the very last page being advertising for other The Strange products.

Overall I think In translation is well worth its $24.99 sticker price. Especially for me since I've been using the core book to run all kinds of other settings.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Unspeakable Horror (Cypher system)

Level 4
Health: 13
Damage: Touch 5  

Can pass through walls and other obstacles. can only be harmed by blessed weapons and divine spells.

Unspeakable Horror are almost always found in groups of three. They are aberations of the shadow world summoned as guardians or assassins.

Unspeakable Horror can be kept at bay with divine wards or Arcane wards attuned to the shadow world.

Monday, July 13, 2015

T21 battle suit "Brute" (cypher system)

This is the "brute" suit, Designed to take a tremendous amount of punishment and keep upright. The outer shell is comprised of layers. I2 steel under frame with a plasteel layer over it. Final coat is ceramic plating. The armor degrades over many hits.

Armor 8, any hit roll of 17+ damages the armor. Even if the round didn't make it through the armor. Damage to the armor lower the armor by a value of 1. Armor will not drop below 2.

Armor is powered and adds as an asset for lifting and pushing actions. Armor equipt with night vision and is a sealed environmental suit.

T11 Rifleman armor (Cypher system)

This elite armor is dedicated loadout for hired mercs and security forces alike. Designed to enhance the wearers ability to reach out and touch their targets.

Armor:2 plasteel plating 0 encombrance. Belt fed ammo system (1000rds)

Enhanced targeting AI interface.
Interface acts as an asset for shooting attacks made with a linked battle rifle. Npc attack as 1 level higher.
Enhanced night and telescopic vision.

Neco Corp security forces (Cypher system)

Private security forces of the corporations are well trained and well armed. Limited enforcement power, corporation property only. Security teams operate in 3, 5, 8, & 10 man units.

Level: 5
Wounds: 12
Armor: 3, sealed suit.
Damage: 3 combat knife, 6 battle rifle.
Night vision, thermal vision.

3 level 4 flash grenades, 2 level 4 freg grenades, & 2 level 3 air burst krak grenades.

Skilled in intimate, battle rifle, and combat knife.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

SP-300 Elite armor (Cypher system)

Sp-300 is issued to only the most elite troops. On some occasions ranking officers will be issued this armor to lead their units into battle. Sp-300 has a power shield that can regenerate on its own. At the start of the wearers turn if the shield is below full strength roll a d6 and add the roll to the shields. All physical damage goes to the shield first.

Sp-300 Heavy armor (3), shield 8, no encumberance. Cost:prceless (military).

Using Numenera as Fantasy

I'm building up to a basic fantasy campaign using Numenera reskinned.

While most things will be just renamed and reskinned. I am planning a few house rules.

Every role gets a small boost at first tier. Glaives get two more phisical skills to be trained in (total of three). All Nano start with Hedge magic, doesn't count towards their two chosen esoteries for first tier. Jacks get 3 tricks of the trade of their choice at first tier rather than two.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Tanner's hammer (Amazing Adventure)

This pistol was forged and assembled by the pirate turn monster hunter Angus Jackson "jack" Tanner. Blessed by his first mate, Reverend Robbert "Rob" miller. It's said that after every kill Tanner would soak silver coins coins in blood of his prey. The coins would then be melted to make bullets. When fired from Tanners gun these bullets become bane to the creature whos blood it soaked in. (+3, x3 on crit, counts as magic).

69 cal., 9" bbl. Pistol with checkered wood grips & snobble forend, wedge bbl. fastener, engraved back action locks.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Bennies vs XP (Savage Worlds)

I've been putting a lot of thought into the use of bennies. Especially with regards to my "other uses" I've written about in the past.

The two additional used I've been trying out is using them as rewards much like Fate points for compels and GM intrusions.

The problem is I don't feel bennies are enough of a reward. If bennies are flowing and the game is moving along nicely a compel or intrusion are both complications to the story. Complications that must be delt with and overcome.

As an example; if one of the players is on a stakeout watching for a suspect to leave his home. If I offer a benny to compel the player to give in to his addiction by abandon his post for a minute to step over to a newspaper stand to get a pack of smokes, so the suspect can get away. A bennie just doesn't seem like a proper reward. Though my players are really good sports and almost always accepts the bennies its really out of interest in keeping the game interesting and not because the reward is well worth the complications.

My idea is from now on only giving 1xp to every player for just showing up. 1xp each player if a story milestone is reached during the session. All other xp will come from ones being offered from compels and intrusions.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Black shield detectives (Cypher system)

Being law enforcement in a mega city is a hard job. Being a black shield is the hardest job. Black shield detectives are judge and jury. If your a beat cop and a black shield is on their way to back you up, you know your going to be ok. If your a criminal the last thing you want to see is a black shield officer. (Could very well be the last thing you see)

Black shields are licensed to keep the peace, investigate crimes, punish the guilty. 

As an NPC:

Level:8  Health:18. Attack:Medium Armor:3 speed: slow bike:fast  officers cypher pack. 

As a player:

Most Black shields will be vectors or spinners. With a rare few being paradox as members of the Psi division. 

All carry a medium service pistol. But are allowed custom equipment as needed.

All are issued a set of Justifier body armor (armor 3) with multi spectrum visor and air purifier filter.

All are issued a special issue enforcer cycle (armor 6, speed fast).

All are issued an officers pack: stimpack regen injector (4) shock grenades (4) flash grenades (4) insta-hack entry device.

The metro gangs (Cypher system)

Life at street level in any mega city is hard, fast, and cheap.

Gang violence is rampant in the lower levels. Most metro gangs see themselves as protectors of their quadrant. Sometimes there is a fee for that protection. those that don't have other sources of income. Drug running, thugs for hire, and theft are all popular with metro gangs.

Level: 5

Health: 8

Attack: spray and pray:light

Speedster: level 8 to hit while moving at top speed.

"The Others" (Cypher system)

Not everyone who caught the Z-plague became zombies. Some became...something else.

Level: 8


Attack: medium (claws)


Round after a successful claw the others can make a bite attack. On a successful attack they gain 1d6+2 health back.

Direct sunlight is distracting and painfully uncomfortable. Level 5 when in direct UV rays, natural or artificial. 

Wasteland gangers (Cypher system)

These are very hardy folks. With them the saying holds true "that which doesn't kill me will only make me stronger"

Wastlanders are often those who cannot conform to society of the Mega-cities. They either left it, chased from it, or expelled from it by force.

Those banished are often marked or brain chipped as to never be allowed in society again.

Surviving the wastes is rarely a solo endeavour. Some wastlanders cling to towns or cities of the waste, finding security in numbers. Others roam the land in gangs preying on those weaker than they.

Armor: 0-2 depending
junker built firearms: medium weapon.

Scrapper: level 6 vs Melee attacks.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Authorized Corporate Bounty hunter (Cypher system)

These headhunters are legal to enter all zones in pursuit of their prey. Authorized and licensed by all corporate and federal courts.

Headhunters carry all manner of gear, gadgets, and weapons while tracking their target.

Level (5)
Speed defense: Level 6 to hit with ranged weapons.

Night vision
Thermal shielding
Weather resistance
Law enforcement power
System ID exampt.
Carries (4) random gadget cyphers.

Carries at least (2) of the following:
Supermag pistol: Rng:short Dmg:heavy
Service pistol: Rng:med Dmg:medium
Service SMG: Rng:med Dmg:medium double tap
Hardball shotgun: Rng:long Dmg:light at long, med at close, Heavy at point blank.
Sniper rifle: Rng:extensive Dmg:heavy. Cannot snap shoop. -1 unless aimed.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Shadow (Cypher System)

Stealthy Spinner who wields two weapons.

Speed:14 Edge:1

Intellect:11 Edge:1


Lies and trickery

Practiced in light+med weapons

Enthrall (1 Intellect)
Sleight of Hand (1 speed)
Tier 1: Wields two pearl handled pistols (light weapons)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dark Journey DA1 (mini review)

Dark Journey DA1 is your classic dungeon crawl. For 3-5 characters that are levels 1-4. By classic I mean it's exactly what you want in a dungeon crawl.

The hook or premise of the adventure is that the dungeon was once home to a powerful wizard who has long since gone on a great journey.  It is now populated with all kinds of humanoids and creatures.

The maps are excellently layed out and populated. Descriptions are plentiful and clorful. The inhabitants are classic monsters; orcs, goblins, skeletons, and others. In true C&C style stat blocks are simple and basic. 

If your looking for an old school dungeon crawl I don't think they get much better than Dark Journey. 

l've even used parts of this adventure as temples and ruins dedicated to ancient gods for my Amazing Adventures game.

DA1 could easily be used with any number of retro or classic D&D editions. Also looking over the adventure I see nothing that would not fit necely in D&D 5E with absolutely no effort. 

Dwarven Slayer (Cypher system)

PreGen for upcoming fantasy one shot.

Stallen IronWill 
Dwarf Slayer
Dwarven(Tough) Slayer(Glaive) who Masters weaponry.
Might:14 Edge:1
Speed:12 Edge:1

Practiced in armor
Practiced in all weapons
Resilient: +1 armor
Healthy: +1 recovery

Masters weaponry: +1 damage to all axes.

Might defense

Bash(1 might)
Trained without armor (speed)

ChromeThunder 454-30 (Cypher system)

I liked the Savage Worlds version so much I thought I might try a Cypher system version.
454 heavy weapon, $3,500
Ignores 2 points of armor.

30mm Grenade
Explosive; medium damage, short range of target.
Shot Shell; medium damage, short range from shooter. 

Forefathers Thunder Strike hammer (Cypher system)

An example magic weapon for a fantasy one shot I plan to run (high magic/Horror) with the Cypher system. Thought I would share some of my notes.

Carried by the most veteran wardens of the Dwarven kingdom of Thannar. The core of each hammer has a piece of thunder stone in it. Legend tells that when the wardens would wade into combat the cracks of thunder could be heard for miles around.

Medium weapon, Priceless.
Thundering strike (1 Might): 
Heavy weapon, knocks target back.

Undead Bane sword of the Black Templars (Cypher System)

This is just an example magic sword for a fantasy one shot I plan to run (low magic/Horror) with the Cypher system. Thought I would share some of my notes.

These swords were crafted for the knight of the black temple, during the third age. In those days the Black temple knights were charged with defense against all things dead or un-living. With the destruction of the city of Or and ransacking of the armory and Librium there is no account of what has become of these swords. Its believed that the dark lords destroyed or locked away all that remains of these powerful un-dead banes.

Medium Weapon, Priceless, 
Counts as an asset in attacks against undead, 
+1 damage against undead (5 damage)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

AGA ChromeThunder 454-30 (Savage Worlds)

This gun was made famous by Oswald Singer a.k.a. OZ. Very few have been produced, the exact number has never been released.

Chambered in the powerful .454 magnum with a 30mm under grenade launcher. Its like a crack of thunder in every pull of the trigger.
Two very common loads for the 30mm is grenade and shotgun rounds.

.454: 18/30/60, 2d8+1,Rof:1, cost:800, wgt:9, min st: d6, shots:6 AP3.

30mm:(grenade) 10/20/40, 3d6, SBT
30mm:(shotgun) 5/10/20, 1-3d8 min str d10 one handed, d6 two handed.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mask of Demonic form (Savage Worlds)

The origins of these masks are unknown. Only 6 are known to exist, all are identical in shape and size. Simply placing the mask over your face and peering through the eye sockets the user can see signs of demonic influence. Some examples are a red mist seeping from the ear of someone who is being manipulated by a temptation demon, those posesed are seen with a ghostly visage around them, and those who have given themselves over to demonic forced are seen with a vile black sludge oozing from their body.

Within the rim of each mask is a name. If the name is spoken while the mask is worn it bonds to the users face and transforms them into a demonic form. A grusome humanoid shape with bone spines from knuckles, knees, back, shoulders, and head. Worn armors and clothing are destroyed in the transformation.

 Form lasts for a number of rounds equal to x3 your level (3 rounds for novice, 6 rounds for seasoned ect). Changing can only be used once per day.

Demon form is Toughness 10, Str+1d6 dmg on a slam (shoulder, head butt, back) and Str+1d8 on a strike. +2 armor vs fire or necrotic sources. Horror 6.

Mask of demonic form. (Amazing Adventures & Castles and Crusades)

The origin of these masks are not known. Only six masks are known to exist, each identical in shape and size. By simply placing the mask over your face and looking through the eye sockets the user can see signs of demonic influence. Some examples; a red mist seeping from the ear of one who is being manipulated by a Temptation demon. Those possessed are been with a ghostly visage around them. Those who have given themselves over to demonic forced are seen with a vile black sludge oozing from their body.

Within each mask is a name. If the name is spoken while the make is worn it bonds to the users face and transforms them into a Bone demon form. A gruesome humanoid with bone spines from knuckles, shoulders, spine, head, and knees. Worn armors and clothing are destroyed in the transformation.

Bone demon form is AC 18, 1d4 dmg on a slam (shoulder, head butt, back) and 1d6 on a strike.
+4 to all saves vs fire or necrotic sources.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Callahan's Arc Rifle

Built by the prolific gadgeteer Arnesto Callahan. Built and designed in his own lab. One of a kind.

Firing the rifle has the same effect as casting Chain Lightning (lv6) effect as if level 8 caster, Cost 4 as it was built be an NPC. The gun has a flaw that Callahan could never quite fix, after being fired twice in an hour the gun gets very hot and must cool before being used. If a third shot made within the hour a vital part burns out. This will take an hour to repair, sucessful jury rig roll, and 1d4-1(minimum 1)x10 dollars in parts.

Devouring blade

This blade was forged for the great thief and assassin Alsheud. The blade is said to consume a small piece of the victims soul, in doing so it becomes a bane towards that target. After a successful Back attack or Sneak attack the blade becomes attuned to that target. Attunment lasts for 12 hrs or until the targets dies. A new attunment can't take place til the first has ended.

Before attunment: +1 hit, 1d4 as a normal dagger. Also against nonattuned targets.

Attuned: against attuned target only, +2 hit, 1d6, 30' Rng.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Vambracer of Vampiric Hunger (Cursed Item)

The vambracer of Vampiric hunger.
This cursed item has no legends or oragins known. Its as if its dark will simply wished it's self in to existence. Once placed on ones wrist the vambracer can only be removed by very powerful magics.

Stats: +1AC, +2AC vs Radiant or holy sources.

In use:
Every time the player does damage (rolled a damage die) they are healed 1hp. But any and all healing actually harms instead, equal to the amout of HP that should have been healed, even natural healing. Even natural resting drains life and only drawing blood will heal. 

Grayson's Clockwork bow (Savage Worlds & Amazing Adventures)

Jeremiah Grayson created the bow for one purpose, revenge.

Growing up at the dawn of the industrial revolution Jeremiah came from a long line of jewelers and clock makers. Jeremiah had a unique bond with mechanical devices, in both building and repairing them. He found work outside the family business as a machinist.

One night there was a robbery at the family business. The thieves took merchandise and the lives of Jeremiah's father and sister. Tormented with guilt and grief Jeremiah tracked down the stolen goods.

The thieves were well connected and Jeremiah grew frustrated with law enforcement for not acting on his findings.

Jeremiah withdrew into his worshop. He crafted this bow. It's diminutive size made it concealable in a long coat. Making no more noise than a humming bird. With the bow was crafted eight arrows desined to be used with the bow. The thieves were hunted down one by one.

 When using a normal arrow treat the bow as just a simple or short bow. But when the custom arrows are used use these custom profiles.

Savage Worlds: 10/20/30, 2d6, AP 4, wgt 3, st d4 +2 to all shooting skill rolls.

Amazing Adventures: +3 to hit, 1d8, 60', -6 AC worth of armor (worn armor only).

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Palladium style Armor for 5E D&D.

The armor rule in the 5th edition of D&D is by far my favorite of any edition of D&D. Though there is one system that I can't help but love. The Palladium armor rules grew from house rules of older editions of D&D. I want to do the reverse and see how I would handle a Palladium style system within the frame of D&D 5E.

I want to keep this system very simple so to be upfront about this. I'm going for the feel, while still keeping things simple. I have no interest in realism or direct porting from one system to the next. I'm also doing my best not to throw off the math. It will add more granularity to armor, Which is not everyone's cup of tea. This is totally untested, for now. So here we go.

Armor now has its own hit point pools.
All light armor has a base of 25hp.
All medium armor has a base of 40hp.
All heavy armor has a base of 50hp.
Obviously none standard materials could add or subtract from the base pool of hit points.For example a breast plate made from bone might have only 30hp, While one made from the Dwarven great forge could have 50 or more hit points.

Armor has an AR rating. AR is equal to original AC of the armor plus any Dex bonus it originally had.

Base to AC is now 5 + Dex bonus.

So for example:
 Athen the bard has a Dex bonus of +2 and is wearing leather armor. His armor would be:
Leather armor, AC 7, AR 13, 25hp.

Dillan the warrior with a dex bonus of +2 and wearing chain mail would be:
Chainmail, AC 7, AR 16, 50hp

Any roll of the AC or lower is a total miss. A roll greater than AC but less that AR is a hit to the armor, damage is rolled and deducted from the armors HP. Any roll greater than AR is a hit to the character directly and deducts from the characters HP as normal.

Once armor looses its last hit point it is useless and must be repaired or replaced. And the player looses the AR value all together. I'm sure GMs could allow armoring rolls to repair armor allowing armor to regain some or all of its hitpoints back.

This can also add granularity to well crafted items. For example maybe Dwarven armor has more hit points. While Elven steel is so light it adds more to base AC. And Human Fine craft adds to AR bonus.

Hacking Castles and Crusades.

I've been inspired by a great many games. Some leave their mark but for whatever reason fade from my table. Some I get an idea or two from but don't really care for some other aspect of the game. I've done a few house rules posts here and there for C&C. But I think its time I put more into them. make some real hacks for C&C. One reason I haven't is because Troll lord games already did a lot of that in the Castle keepers guide. They tore apart the Siege engine and put it back together again in different ways. They did such an amazing job of it I hate to reinvent the wheel so to speak. At some point I will do just that, But instead of hashing over already covered ground I will propose a few alternate resolution methods to replace the Siege engine.

I've been running a bit of 5E D&D and find a few of its components interesting.With both C&C and 5E being so modular I think a few of these components could easily be used in C&C. So here they are, C&C style.

BOON: This is a mechanic by which players are reworded for good role-playing. They gain a boon as a reward that can be spent at a later time to give themselves and one time re-roll choosing the best of the two rolls. Players can not stock pile boons, they either have a boon or they don't. Players may give other players their boon if they feel the player does something truly 'inspiring'.

Bonus/Penalty roll: Any time a player has a bonus or penalty to a roll +/-3 or greater the GM can call for Bonus or penalty roll instead of imposing the bonus/penalty. Instead the roll is treated as a re-roll. the player re-rolls the dice. If the roll was a penalty roll the player must keep the lower of the two rolls. If the roll was a bonus roll he keeps the greater of the two rolls.

More to come!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Space station mica one (cyper system)

I'm gearing up for a sci fi one shot using the material from both The Strange and Numenera.

The plot and location is going to be a space station in the far future besieged by an alien race. Think the movie Aliens mixed with Die hard.

I will be using the types from The Strange. But allow decriptors from either game.

Players can choose just about any focus and explain it as trainning, tech, alien biology, or psionics.

For example three different characters could all have 'Needs no weapon' focus. One might be an alien race whos biology make them a natural hunter/warrior. The other could be cybernetically enhanced.  And the third is a soldier who is trained in martial arts.

Equipment and gear will be drawn from both main books.

Very basic 5E D&D (basic 5E Hack)

I'm really working on an even more basic version of 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons. The free basic rules are great, or even a great start. One option I discussed in my proficiency hack was applying proficiency to abilities rather than skills. I really like this option. But what about another option.

The other day I was thinking about how well the three saves from previous editions of D&D worked. It was easy to tell which of the three categories any one save would fall under. What if those three were very broad skill groups? Physical, Social, and Mental.

So then I have to ask, Is it just one category that the character is proficient? or two? How about full proficiency in one, half on a second, and none on the third. I'm going to give this a try. Maybe once I do I'll come back and post a few pregens made this way.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Gaslight, Savage Worlds setting (Review)

I am a HUGE fan of roleplaying in the victorian era. I'm a HUGE fan of Victorian horror. I'm a HUGE fan of sherlock Holmes.

I'm a HUGE fan of Gaslight. A victorian era fantasy setting for Savage Worlds. Published by Battlefield press, Inc. Although it weighs in at only 80 pages it covers a lot of groud in those 80 pages. Packed full of inspiration and useful information. My copy is a POD from The covers are strong, the binding seems more than adequate, and the paper is heavy weight. Every bit of the book is quality. The art looks to be mostly from free sources. None of the art looks cheesy or out of place. It's plentiful enough to give the book a nice feel. And is well layed out and appropriate for its placement.

Chapter 1: (pages 1-27)
This chapter covers two major subjects. The world of gaslight, victorian themes for your game.
The second is Organizations and secret societies, from Holmes' Baker street irregulars to the secretive MI 7. Covered with (in my opinion) just the right information. Enough to inspire but not enough that it rambles on.

Chapter 2: (pages 29-43)
This chapter is all about making characters in the gaslight setting. Covering concepts, races, edges, and hindrances.
I find the races to be pretty interesting. Ratlings, Humans, Vampires, Werewolf, and Wildlings.
Each races is covered in a lot of detail. I love that it doesn't just give you a few racial packages and a sentence or two and leave you to it. It really fleshed them out with personality, description, relations, lands, religion, language, names, and adventures before getting to racial edges and flaws. Very nicely done in my opinion.

Chapter 3: (45-49)
This is a very small chapter entitled Worldly goods. Most of this chapter is menu style of charts with the goods and services avalible in the Gaslight setting. It's by no means exhaustive, but I feel it covers enough ground to get the job done. Every bit of it useful.

Chapter 4: (51-52)
This even shorter section is all about handling wealth and social status. Two very important topics in any Victorian setting.

Chapter 5: (53-54)
Beyond the veil is all about powers. Which one fits in which category. Which race or archtype is allowed which power. This is one area of the book I will say I disagree with. With the right trappings any power should be open to any type. But it's never bad to have options. If you so choose to introduce restrictions on powers it would not be a bad way to go.

Chapter 6: (pg 55-72)
This huge section is the Gazetteer of the Gaslight setting. Location by location of the world described in the Gaslight setting. So many great adventure seeds in here. I can't read this chapter without gleeming at least a little inspiration from it. Next is a timeline of the Gaslight world. From 1859 to 1901, again full of inspiring little nuggets.

Chapter 7: (pg 73-80)
The reliquary is full of wonderous items that can be found within the Gaslight world. The Ark of the covenant, crystal skulls, the holy grail, and the playing cards of wild just to name a few. This was one of my favorite parts to sit and read. Inspiration on every page. If the reliquary has any short coming, its that its too short. I would love to have even more.

Small but mighty. Gaslight is exactly what I like in a setting. Inspiring and useful. I didn't feel like I was reading a text book or some academic showing off. Hoping to see more in this line in the future.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Proficiency (Hacking) D&D 5E

I'm really loving the modular nature of the 5E D&D system. The great thing about modular systems is the ability to remove or change parts of the system. Sometimes to "fix" a part of the system. Sometimes it's to mold the system to get "the right feel" for a given campaign.

One such part of the 5E D&D system is the proficiency system. It would be very easy to customize it to taste. One could change out skills or even expand or restrict the number of proficient skills based on class, race, or background and not unbalance the game.

I'm also a very big fan of the DMG optional rule of being proficient in some abilities scores rather than skills. Much like my beloved Castles and crusades. Would be just as easy to also add proficiency bonus to any roll that just "makes sense" based on the characters Race, Class, or Background.

If you wanted to run a simplified (even more simple) version of Basic D&D you could ditch skills and just add Proficiency bonus to all rolls and just use that and ability bonuses. giving a +2 bonus to any roll that is covered under the class of the character, Like a rogue picking locks or moving silent.

Some may even like the DMG optional rule of rolling a die rather than use a proficiency bonus. This too has some potential for hacking. For example, rather than adding bonuses for class or other sources you could give a type of advantage/disadvantage by allowing more than one Proficiency die to be rolled. Picking the the best or worst one rolled.

Using the system to run modern of future games would be very easy. After all it's easy for me to treat a computer use as a tool proficiency. Using a car could be as well, after all  piloting a boat is in D&D.

There are so many ways to make the system 'your' system. Proficiency is a big part of the over all 5E system. Nothing would add more flavor or customization than hack the proficiency system.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cyper system character creation. So good!

I realized tonight that I love the Cypher system way of creating characters. I always thought it was nifty. Lately Im finding my players are more and more in favor pregens, They seem to have no motivation for character creation. If Character creation is more involved rolling abilities, than pick a class and race they just don't want to mess with it.

The other night the true beauty of the Cypher system stepped up and took a bow.

I keep talking about running the Diablo II AD&D dungeons as a cypher system game. One of my players and I was discussing it at length when he suddenly starts flipping through the players guides and players options for Numenera and The strange.

He suddenly gets a wicked grin. "I know what I want to play"

"Oh yeah? What" I asked

"I'll play a Clever Nano who Throws Boulders" he says with a wicked grin.

I wasn't sure what to think, "Throws Boulders? Isn't that more of a Glaive ability?"

My player still grinning says, "I'm an earth bender"

"Damn cool" About all I could say.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Why I still Castles & Crusades.

I've ranted before about how I'm constantly purging my gaming books. If any books/system sits on my shelf for any long period of time I get rid of them.

Today I was looking over my C&C books and something dawned on me. Although I haven't run C&C in a while I've been using the books constantly.

When I ran my Swords & wizardry game. It was a C&C adventure I ran.
When I ran basic fantasy game I used the codex books. When I ran my last 3e game I borrowed heavily from many C&C book and used bluffside as the setting. Even now in my 5E game I using many of my C&C books.

Without even mentioning the core mechanic of the system (Siege engine) Castles & crusades is a d20 system designed using the srd to replicate the feel of older editions of D&D. This makes it a middle ground system. Compatible with very little work with old school editions and its clones. Compatible with most everything with material from the d20 era games. And even close enough to draw inspiration and resources for use with 5E.

As for the core mechanics that make up the siege engine. They are modular enough to change to taste. The castle keepers guide has a lot of options for changing the siege engine to the system that works best for your style and preference. Most of the core rules of 5E were already in use in C&C. Other 5E mechanics like inspiration, advantage, and disadvantage could all be used in C&C with little to no changes. Flexability through being modular.

I might like a lot of different games. I run a lot of other games. But it seems C&C has become a major tool in my tool box. Not just another game.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Cards, Initiative (Savage Worlds)

Cards for initiative is often one of those "oddities" or in some people's words "gimmicks", of Savage Worlds that take some getting used to for new players. I for one have grown to love using playing cards and I would like to go over the key points of why I do.

Handing out a card to each player who in turn acts in order based on value is one of the most honest straight forward methods of initiative I've ever used. Its can't be manipulated or min-maxed. It never gets more complicated. And its a great visual reminder of who goes when. And it can crit! Drawing a joker gives you an effect akin to "critical rolling" on initiative. Everyone has an equal chance in every initiative to shine and an equal chance to be awesome....what is not to like?

The Savage worlds system for initiative can still be "gamed". There are ways to better your draw with edges that for example allow a player to draw two cards and pick one. These Edges don't add complication or manipulate the system in a way that guarantees their superiority over others. It just makes them better at what they have chosen to be good at.

The one criticism I do see time and again is that initiative is not tied to Agility or pace. That faster characters should have an advantage. My reply is that those (as mentioned above) who choose to take edges to act quicker can do so. That is who there character is, it should be part of the character beyond just attribute or skill.

Also I would argue that basing Initiative off Agility or fighting skill is double dipping. You get all the benefits of that attribute or skill plus a bonus to initiative. Its a short road that leads to min-maxing and dump stats. Rather than building a character from the concept up.

Also no other attribute/skill really makes much sense in Savage Worlds to limit or boost your "attack speed". Agility? Agility is eye to hand coordination and nimbleness. I'm sure in some small way it is a bit of quickness. But to say every person who is nimble or good coordination is quick in a fight is kind of a stretch. And to me its a hard argument to say its the ruling factor anyway. What about Pace? Pace is speed alright, but it's rather walking speed. Speed can be effected by a lot of factors. Most of all size effects speed. I'm not willing to belive walking speed should effect how quick you are in acting in combat.

After really thinking about it I do belive effects that manipulate initiative are best as edges. Detached from raw abilities and skills. Rather its attached to your character concept....which I think is just fine.

Attributes (Savage Worlds)

I've seen it asked many times. "If most active rolls in savage worlds is made on a skill roll, then why even have attribute scores?"

Lets take a look at attribute scores in the context of their function in Savage Worlds. What do they do? And are they pulling their weight as a function of the system.

First the most obvious. Attributes act as a limiter to skills who fall under their category. Climbing is a strength based skill, so buying climbing at a level greater than the characters rank in strength will cost two points each, rather than one.

Second attribute scores are factor in to derived attributes and formula. like toughness, as well as rolled along side a secondary die as melee damage. Attribute scores are a mesure of raw power or focus like range of a spell or limit for cyber tolerance.

Another often overlooked function of attributes is "saving throws". Overcome restraints? Strength roll. Dodge a bolder? Agility roll. Resist hypnosis?  Spirit roll. Resist poisons? Vigor roll.

I for one believe attributes pull their own weight. Their effect on savage worlds may not be as obvious and upfront as skills. But their effect and uses are no less important.

Initiative in Index card RPG.

I've had some time to think about some of the workings of ICRPG. Being a tinkerer at heart I can't help but want to come up with mat...