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 Rpgnow.com. 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.