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Friday, December 23, 2016

5E D&D Optional rules

This is a small list of optional rules I'm using in my current 5E D&D game. If we add more I'll update.

1. If players can take extra time and are not in eminent danger players can choose to "take 10". Taking 10 as their d20 skill roll rather than rolling.

2. Players can choose to apply either proficiency bonus or proficiency dice roll. Their choice.

3. On a critical hit in combat apply maximum damage for the weapon (8 on a d8) then roll the damage die and add it before adding bonuses.

4. When players would normally roll hit points (on a new level or healing) and/or weapon damage die they may instead choose to take the average roll instead of rolling.

5. Players may choose for their characters to fail at something rather than rolling to add a complication to the story. If they do so they gain inspection.

6. Optional rules that seem assumed but I'm not using. No multi-classing. And characters are limited to two feats, three for variant humans.

Monday, October 31, 2016

"Paint the target" New sniper ability for Ultramodern5

Inspired by the Tau from Warhammer 40k I thought this might be a good ability for a sniper to have. If you had two, one could be a spotter allowing the second to take full advantage of this ability as well as the rest of the team. This is intended for sci-fi settings mainly.

Paint the target
Marksman cost: 4
Instead of doing damage the sniper instead paints (marks) the target. This mark is compatible with smart weapons and advanced targeting systems. Once marked the target stays marked until the end of the snipers next turn.

Marked targets get no AC benefit from light cover or cover from obstructed view. And shooters get no penalties for low light. If the marked target is in plain sight attacks gain advantage. This applies to all attacks that can take advantage of the snipers mark.

Lich servants (Grave servitors)

These servants of the Lich Lords are not fully dead, yet not fully alive either. Held between worlds, these once mortal beings are Lich bound for eternity.

Medium Humanoid/undead, any evil alignment (usually that of their master)

AC: 15 (Natural)
HP: 50
SPD: 30ft.
CR: 4 (1,200 exp)

Str: 13 +1
Dex: 14 +2
Con: 16 + 3
Int: 11 +0
Wis: 14 +2
Cha: 13 +1

Damage resistance: cold, lightning, necrotic, and poison. Bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from non magical weapons.
Condition immunity: Charmed, exhausted, frightened, paralyzed, and poisoned.
Saving throws: Con+8, Dex+6, Wis+3
Passive perception: 16, truesight 60'

The servitor of a Lich lord always carry a wraith blade, usually a long sword but can be anything from a dagger to a great sword. Any attack with a wraith blade that hits on a natural 16+ does an additional (10) 3d6 cold damage. And must make a DC 10 Con save or be paralyzed for one minute. The target can attempt a saving throw at the end of each of its turns to end this effect.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Grammaton training (Savage worlds)

The character is trained in quickly calculating shooting angles and committing rigorous gun kata to muscle memory. The character is an expert in snap shooting multiple targets. Only the most Agile and strong willed can master it's techniques.

Training is very focused on two core weapons. Medium pistols and combat blades, specifically the katana.

Grammaton training
Requirements: Novice, Agility d8, Spirit d8.
When using a medium pistol or small to medium blade you can ignore the first attack when calculating multi-action penalties. The character can make up to 2 attacks with the same weapon.

Advanced Grammaton training
Requirements: Veteran, Agility d8, Spirit d10.
When using a medium pistol or small to medium blade you can ignore the first two attacks when calculating multi-action penalties. The character can make up to 3 attacks with the same weapon.

Expert Grammaton training
Requirements: Heroic, Agility d10, Spirit d10.
When using a medium pistol or small to medium blade you can ignore the first two attacks when calculating multi-action penalties. The character can make any number of attacks with the same weapon.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Spell drain for Shadowrun Anarchy

One thing about magic, it's dangerous. Not just for those targeted with it, but also those who wield it. Especially when magic is pushed to the limit of its casters power.

I want to add that level of danger back into anarchy from its roots in the core rules.

When casting a spell players may roll up to three push dice. The push dice should either be rolled separately or a different color than the other dice.

Each 5 or 6 adds an additional success. Each 1 rolled on a push dice does one point of stun damage to the caster. If the spell casting roll fails then the damage is physical rather than stun.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Shadowrun:Anarchy (review/overview)

Let me preface this by saying Shadowrun was the second RPG I ever ran. I've clocked more hours running SR than probably any other setting/systems. I've run every edition, at least a handful of times. I liked some more than others. I've also run the SR setting under dozens of other systems over the years. So SR is part of my DNA as a GM.

I'm still reading over the rules, first time through I gave Anarchy a quick scan. Now I'm looking closer and picking out parts to go a little deeper with.

First off I don't find the collaborative mode of play all that fitting for my group, but I never rule anything out. So I'm sure I'll be running Anarchy in a more traditional RPG style. But I already like to give my players narrative freedom if they feel comfortable doing so.

The other thing I don't see myself focusing much on is the Cues, I'm unfamiliar with the Cue system. From what I can see they are just phrases that are either about your character or something they would say. Which seem to be  way more useful in the collaborative style of play.

The core mechanic is a dice pool system, but instead of rolling against a set difficulty (threshold) the GM sets a difficulty and rolls that many dice. So all rolls are opposed rolls in Anarchy. I see myself adding thresholds back, if nothing else just to speed up play. Ability scores are just noted as number of dice in that pool, a 6 in physical means you roll 6 dice for physical rolls.

There is no dice pool limits like core 5th edition, but I don't see that being an issue as skill levels stay relatively low in these rules.
Gone are rerolls from 5th edition SR like 10 again, 9 again, and 8 again. Rerolls do show up but as the result of Amps, which I'll cover later. 

Each character has only a few skills, skills are noted as 3+P, meaning you would add three dice to your physical ability score for this kind of roll. 

Characters also have qualities (2 good, 1 bad), these define your characters further. Special aptitude, contacts, education, physical qualities, natural ability and resistances are all qualities. Negative qualities are things like phobias, enemies, being wanted, distinct look, or any other drawback can be your negative quality. Most Qualities add dice to a single action, some give rerolls to a single pool for an action and others are strictly roleplay driven resources like contacts.

Next is Shadow Amps, Amps cover a lot of different things. An amp is just a general term Anarchy uses for resources, powers, and gear. Amps include spells, adept powers, cyberware, bioware, special gear, drones, and spirits. Amps give a few different benefits, most common is extra dice to a pool, rerolls to a type of action, and some spells do damage. 

The one mechanic I think they present poorly is plot points. I get the idea of them. But the explanation of gaining and spending is all kinds of terrible. They break down that plot points are their to add twists you never see coming. 

It says players gain plot points through good narrative (that's it, no examples or ways to earn them) and can spend them on things like add plot twists, alter dice rolls, change turn order, gain back damage. But the first example of use is "add a glitch die to a players roll, including your own" another is "Surprise threat: corporate security suddenly show up". What player would choose to do these? These would be great ways to earn plot points, not use them. The glitch die can cause good effects, so I guess it's tempting fate to get a good result. 

The other uses of plot points make sense. Change initiative order, move twice, two attacks on someone who attacked you, heal one wound, and take a hit for someone else. I assume my misgivings about plot points is because I'm thinking of a more traditional GM player relationship and not the collaborative version. 

Combat is straightforward, if a weapon does 5 damage you fill in 5 boxes of damage. Damage can be stun or physical. Armor works very different than 5th shadowrun, armor has its own damage track to be filled in first. 

Anarchy has a pretty simple and clear character creation system. With rules for starting characters off at gange-level, street runners, or prime runners. Characters get X number of points for each category, based on what level you start your game at. I hope an official or fan based priority system comes out as it's my favorite way to build a SR character.

There is even rules for Amp creation, which can easily double as Amp customization, which I really really like. It's a base cost then add cost for effects. Left over Amp points can be turned into Edge.

Anarchy includes 30 pregenerated characters in the book, each character is two pages and cover a broad array of character types. I really like this as I find it will help with getting games going quickly. Players are assigned or pick pregens and you play. 

The book also has premade adventures, they are designed to throw you right into the action, instant playable. I assumed these would be designed with more collaborative play in mind and less reliant on the GM as storyteller. 
The adventures have a set of scenes numbered to be played in order. Which I'm sure is for collaborative play. I assumed that would be there only use. But after reading a few of them there is enough meat there to give a GM some solid framework to run a game filling in any blanks as needed.

Overall I like what I see. This is something I hope to run here soon. I'll be bringing my core 5th books to the table, but we'll be playing it through the Anarchy lense. I tried to touch on everything without rambling too much this time. Hope someone finds it useful.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Storyteller system using D6

I've been contemplating using d6 in the place of d10s for the storyteller system.
The general consensus when brought up around storyteller player is 'just don't'. But I'm kind of stubborn so I'm exploring it.

So rather that 8+ on a d10 success is a 5+ on a d6. Which is somewhat close but not the same. Each step on a d6 is 16.67%. while a d10 is 10% each step.

The rules that this change effects the most is 10 again, 9 again, and 8 again.
10 again would have to go away, which I'm ok with. 9 again would be best to become 6 again also as, as making it 5 again would be too high an advantage. 8 again would be best to become 5 again.

I'm sure there will be times this fast and loose conversion will not work out perfectly. But I think for my liking it would work just fine.

Agent Benjamin Andrews

Agent Benjamin (Cuatro) Andrews
Andrews is an agent in the newly formed maelstrom division.

Agent Andrews is made up of 3 individual forms who are psychicly linked and form a single individual. If any one form sees you or knows your whereabouts, just assume all three do as well.

Agent Andrews nickname came as a joke, even though there are three of him other agents joke the only way to kill Andrews is to kill him four times.

(Though agent Andrews is a wild card each for has only a single wound. If two forms are killed only the final form has the incapacitated condition. In the time others would heal agent Andrews other forms will reappear as if they were never harmed.)

Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, 
Strength d6, Vigor d8
Driving d6, Fighting d8, Intimidation d8, 
Notice d8, Piloting d8, Persuasion d6.
Pace 6, Parry 6, Toughness 6,

Agent Andrews carries a service pistol, and has access to other equipment as needed as a maelstrom agent.

Pit Fiend for Savage worlds.

Pit Fiend

Pit Fiends are a blight. They destroy and build breeding pits in the ashes. Each pit can produce 3-5 new Fiends.
Each new Fiend will then move on and destroy and build a pit of its own. Pits are formed from death and destruction, equal parts ash and remains of the fiends many victims.

Pit fiends stand around 6' tall and weigh about 350lbs.
Average wingspan is 5' across.

Before ever seeing a fiend the smell of sulfer and ash is always present. The same can be said about a breeding pit with the added smell of putrid flesh. If they feel threatened they may band together in small groups. Even heavily armored units can fall to a few determined fiends.

Agility d10, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d10, Vigor d8
Fighting d8, Intimidation d10, Notice d6, Tracking d6
Pace 6 (flying 12), Parry 6, Toughness 8 (2),
Natural weapons 2d6 claws (heavy weapons), tough hide armor (heavy armor). Spit fireball 6/8/10 (small template) 3d6 fire.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Ultramodern5 Review

From the launch of 5th I hoped a modern version of the rules would be released.
What ultramodern5 offers is so much more than just converted and reskined 
D&D races, classes, and backgrounds.

The meat and potatoes of this product is the character build options, so I'll mostly be focused on that. I think anyone looking for a review will be wanting more details on those options.

There is a section for equipment, adventuring, and antagonists. There is also adventures included at the end of the product and even sample chapters.

Characters in Ultramodern5 are comprised of Race, Lifepath, Ladders, and Classes. This is why I find Ultramodern5 so special, it's sheer number of character options.

While everyone is assumed human there is still a system for benefits and shortcomings to add some diversity from character to character.
Lifepaths are a reworking of backgrounds, to include a way of life and social standings. 
There are 11 backgrounds to choose from.

Ladders are how a character lives it's life. They are optional abilities characters can gain in the place of magic or other powers for non- fantasy settings. Any ladder can be mixed with any class. There are 7 total ladders. The ladders are born leader, juggernaut, runner, savant, survivor, veteran, and warrior.

Classes are about what you would expect,  there are 10 classes. They are Face, Grounder, Gunslinger, Heavy, Infiltrator, Marshal, Martial artist, Medic, Sniper, and Techi.

Classes are then again defined further with 24 archetypes. Archetypes are not tied to specific class, if a character meets all the requirements they can take the archetype. The archetypes are anti-hero, authority, banner head, brawler, brother of blood, cleaner, country gunman, diplomat, driver, field machinist, field medic, grandmaster, gun dancer, infantry support specialist, machine of war, man at arms, militarist, pathfinder, pistolero, recon intelligence, ring fighter, sapper, selfless protector, skirmisher, and suave.

The sheer number of combinations is brilliant. For two players to end up with exactly the same character it has to be on purpose.

While I'm at it I would like to address a criticism I've seen for UM5. That some weapons, specifically guns don't do enough damage. I want to chime in here. 

How UM5 handles guns is that training is what makes guns dangerous. Anyone can fire a sniper rifle, a trained sniper is always deadly with a good rifle. Not just do I appreciate this and find it to my taste I feel it's right for a class based system. Also it's right for a game based on D&D, anyone can use a dagger, but a rogue with a dagger is deadly. Class abilities build on core damage.

If you wish to pick up a copy of Ultramodern5 you can pick it up here. I was not in anyway compensated or approached to review this product. I'm not even an affiliate. Just for the record.

Game pitch: Special Crimes Division 2105

The year is 2105, humanity has advanced in technology and all areas of science. Mankind moved off world spreading out to the stars. But there are those that still live in the old world. Those without the credits or connections to move on to the utopian colonies.
For those in the city state of Seattle (Mega city 8) life is fast and cheap, cutting edge technology rubs shoulders with tribes of neo-savages and urban sprawl.

When a crime is committed that the Seattle PD can't handle or the Burroughs private security get in over their heads they call on the men and women of the Special Crimes Division, this is their stories.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Shadow of the Demon lord, Review

For some time now I have been ranting and raving about Shadow of the demon lord. And every time I do someone asks me "what makes this game stand out" or "what makes Shadow of the demon lord different than game X". Which is exactly the questions I would wonder in their shoes, so I am going to attempt an actual review-ish.

First off, let me try to answer those questions because I think most people looking for a review are really looking for that. Anything else is akin to the "what is an RPG" section everyone skips.

Shadow of the demon lord has a very nimble core mechanic. It's simple, streamlined, and consistent. You roll a d20, for most tasks rolling a 10 ( or opponent's ability score) is a success (except for combat which is a roll against defense score). Ability scores and a few things will give you small bonuses. Rules, class abilities, and situations can give you boons and banes,
Which are d6s you roll and either add or subtract from the roll. Boons and banes cancel eachother out so you will never roll both together. When rolling multiple boons or banes you add or subtract only the highest die. That is the entire system in a nutshell.

Next thing that stands out is the sheer number of options for the players. There are 6 races in the core and more scattered throughout supplements, which include very 'non-standard' races like clockworks, Changelings, goblins, orcs, dwarves, and humans.

When leveling to level 1 (yes you start as 0 and have to earn level 1) you choose one of 4 novice classes. Which are pretty straight forward fantasy classes of magician, priest, rogue, and warrior.

Reaching level 3 players get to choose an expert class. There are 16 expert classes. Expert classes include paladins, rangers, witch, Druid and more.

At reaching level 7 players can choose from one of 64 master classes. Master classes include assassins, avengers, cavalier, destroyer, defender, exorcist, executioner, hexer and many more. Another option is instead of taking a master class players can choose instead to take a second expert class at level 7.

Although expert paths are grouped as paths of faith, power, trickery, and war. And master paths are grouped as paths of either magic or skill and character can take any class, there are no restrictions.

Players have 30 traditions of magic to choose from. Spell casting is as simple as the rest of the system. Spells often have a 20+ effect that triggers if the player rolls over a 20. One nice touch is sacrificing spells to cast other spells giving some spells more than one way to be used.

There are only 10 levels of advancement in Shadow of the demon lord. And you get something at every single level.

At level 0 characters get ancestry abilities.
At level 1 characters get a novice path ability. At level 2 characters get a novice path ability. At level 3 characters get an expert path ability. At level 4 characters get an ancestry ability. At level 5 characters get a novice path ability.
At level 6 characters get an expert path ability. At level 7 characters get a master path ability. At level 8 characters get a novice path ability. At level 9 characters get an expert path ability. At level 10 characters get a master path ability.

The setting is reminiscent of the Diablo video game and Warhammer fantasy turned up a notch and rated R.
The game has a system for both sanity and corruption. The setting has snippets of technology that really doesn't feel shoehorned in, things like firearms and even technomancy magic.

As far as the products are concerned these books and PDFs are beautiful. Layout, art, and style are gorgeous. The core book has everything you need to play. Rules, character options, monsters, and setting. Supplements add more options and setting info as well as adventures. This week was the release of the 100th product for Shadow of the demon lord. Congrats to Schwalb entertainment!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Dramatic combat rules (Savage worlds)

I've been giving the quick combat rules some thought. On one hand I want to try them, on the other I just don't see myself only using them in a game. So I began thinking about how I could use both. When would the transition make sense?

So here is my idea, any time the player making an attack or combat roll of any kind aces a set number of times they get to go into quick combat mode as a kind of critical.

For example a GM could set the number at 4, any combat roll in that game that aces more that four times the player describes the dramatic combat by totally going Martin Riggs or john McClane and wrecking the whole scene.

Quick combat rules

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bennies in my games (SW)

I made a cheat sheet for my players, I thought it might be useful to others as well. This is just for my games, not me expressing my belief that the core rules are broken and in any need of changing or fixing.

Ways of earning bennies:

*Any time a player "invokes" or uses their own hindrance to complicate the story. For example: they give in to an addiction and lose a suspect they were watching. A player descides her phobia comes into play without the GM imposing it.

*Players can gain a bennie by choosing to fail a roll to further the story. Sometimes losing in a car chase will just make the story more interesting.

*The GM can offer a player a Bennie as a 'story complication' in exchange for a Bennie. Players may refuse the completion and Bennie by giving the GM a Bennie in exchange.

*Players may propose a story complication, the player describes a complication in the story that works against the party as a whole. If the GM agrees and runs with it every player effected gets a bennie. Maybe a rival gang shows up, or a trusted contact double crosses the party.

Ways of using bennies:

*Players can gain a reroll as per normal SW rules.

*Players can spend bennies to soak wounds per SW rules as normal.

*Players can spend a bennie to "remember" a piece of gear they packed.

*Players can spend a bennie to gain the benefit of an Edge for a single round.

*Players can spend a Bennie and get a "lucky break" this is entirely up to the GM, if the GM doesn't feel it's appropriate he will return the bennie. Otherwise he will describe or let the player describe something that is discovered or suddenly noticed in the players favor. It's also the GMs discretion to allow players To describe the lucky break and allow it or veto it.

*When players clearly have advantage against a weaker group, like a group of knight in disguise jumped by road side robbers. Or possibly a street gang trying to stop a party of prime street runners. Players can spend a bennie to use cinematic combat to resolve the combat.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Wild card villains and their minions.

I've been thinking about Bennie economy in my games. One thing I noticed is that I rarely give my wild card villains bennies. Often I forget or don't really find their use all that helpful. Most just get spent to soak or reroll and not much else.

Today an idea hit me, it may not be all that unique or useful to anyone else. I'm sharing it any way.

Most of my wild cards are leaders of a group of mooks. Like a goblin chieftain or shaman leading a mob of lesser non-wild card mooks.

From now on I'll treat the group of mooks as minions and an extension of the wild card. The wild card can spend it's bennies on the mooks in its group, not just on itself. Giving me a lot more opportunities to use those wildcard's Bennies.

Rippers: Resurrected, first look.

When the original Rippers first came out I had to have it. Rippers quickly became my favorite setting, at the time I was running nothing but Savage worlds....and a lot of Rippers.

As much as I loved the setting in the core book I equally hated the plot point that came in it. In my opinion the plot point destroyed the replayability of the game.

When the relaunch (resurrection) of Rippers was announced I was pretty exited, but getting in on the Kickstarter just wasn't in the cards for me.

Today I finally got my hands on the player and GM Guides.

These new guides are gorgeous. The art, layout, and feel of the books are perfect. I love the new two core book format. The plot point in the GM guide is a sequel to the original, which I find a weird choice.
The new books look to have more information and at least seems better organized.

I really look forward to getting a game of Rippers going again.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Turned

Some don't fall to the power of corruption. Some give themselves over to corruption willingly.

Drug to the infernal realm, hardened and forged into weapons for their demon masters.

Being from the plane of man means the power needed to summon them is less than that of their masters. Once on the other side their main goal is to find a way to bring their masters over.

Size: 1 Human/Demon
Perception: 12(+2) truesight
Defense: 15 Health: 15
Str:+4, Agi:+2, Int:+1, Will:+4

Immune: disease, poison, insanity, fatigue, frightening, slowed, and stunned.

Spell defense, make all spell defense rolls with 1 bane.

Natural weapon, or weapon carried. +4 (1d6).

Frenzied attack: can make attacks against two different targets, both with 1 bane. 

Void step: can use an action or triggered action to teleport to a medium range space he can see. Roll a d6, on a 1 or 2 he can't use void step again for 1 minute.

Yes, technically this is a watered down small demon, but i needed it to fill a nitch.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Making D&D basic more basic.

I really like running D&D 5th edition with just the free basic rules. I find it to be a simple elegant set of rules in and by itself.
Adding the occasional background or other options from the full rules set for flavor.

But I've been thinking, can I make basic D&D even more basic? Can I trim even more fat? I believe I can, here is how.

I propose dropping skills all together. That's right, no skills. Instead characters get their proficiency bonus to all rolls. Proficiency is the characters power level and experience. Like old school D&D weapons are restricted to your class proficiency weapons.

When characters make a roll that involves the characters background in any way, the character has advantage for the roll. If the character makes a roll appreciate to their class, they have advantage.

I haven't tried this yet. But I hope to soon.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Reaping blade (shadow of the demon lord)

The Reaping blades are relics of a lost past. Legends tell of 13 priestly knights who traveled the lands along the border of the desolation long before the empire built it's walls and outposts. Known for their ability to root out corruption and undead, laying the undead to final rest.

Legends go on to tell of the day the knights banded together and road together into the desolation on an epic quest ....never to be seen again.

A few of the blades have resurfaced over the years, but always seem to fade again into legend.

A reaping blade has all the attributes of a normal sword. With the exception of being priceless and Exotic.

When within 100' of an undead being or a corrupted soul the blade vibrates soflty, often only noticeable to the carrier of reaping blade. All attacks against undead gain one boon. On a 20+ attack roll against undead treat any one d6 damage die as a 6 instead of rolling it.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Shotguns for Shadow of the demon lord

Since shotguns don't exist in the official books, I figured I would do them myself.

Shotguns come in both single or double barrel configuration. Single barrel will fire once before needing reloaded. While double barrel can fire twice before reloading, or fire off both barrels in a single action. Both configurations require a turn to reload.

1 barrel. Dmg: 2d6, 2H, Range:M, 8gc, Av:E
2 barrel. Dmg: 2d6, 2H, Range:M, 12gc, Av:E
Misfire, reload, uses shells.

* Shotguns get a boon to hit at short, and bane at long. +1d6 damage at short, -1d6 damage at long.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Vampire Descriptor (Cypher system)

I know everyone has a different idea about how a vampire should be stated up. This is my take on a vampire by way of descriptor.


Unnatural grace: +2 Speed pool.
Unnatural strength: +2 Might pool

Skill: Trained in all speed defense.
Skill: Trained in all aspects of influence and persuasion in social situations.
Skill: Trained in all might defense.

Inability: Vampires have an adversion to direct sunlight. While in sunlight vampires have no edge when spending for extra effort.

Initial link to the starting adventure:
1. You are in love/infatuated with a member of the party. (do they know?)
2. There is a connection to your past, some aspect of the adventure is part of your own history (was it before or after your change?)
3. You have seen coming events in your sleep. You are connected to some aspect that even you might not understand.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Charlie Potts

This is another pregen character for an upcoming Call of Cthulhu 7E game.

Not a lot is known about Charlie. He was in the service, but doesn't like to talk about it.
After which he purchased a bar and has been running it ever since. Charlie has a way
Of being gruff and aloof, yet at the same time charming. Spending anytime around Charlie
Will prove that he is a deep thinker and we'll read. It takes a lot for anyone to get close to Charlie, once you do Charlie is as loyal as they come.

Charlie Potts (Modern era) Age unknown
Bar owner

Str 40-20-8
Con 60-30-12
Siz 50-25-10
Dex 50-25-10
App 60-30-12
Int 80-40-16
Pow 50-25-10
Edu 70-35-14

DB: 0 Luck: 60%, MP: 10, Hp: 11, San: 50, Credit: 60%

Charm 70% , Fast talk 50%, fighting 50%, firearm rifle 50%, history 40%, drive auto 40%  survival 40%.

Pilot 21%, stealth 40%, Listen 40%, firearm pistols 40%,

Charlie has a few old military buddies still in the know he can call on when needed.
Charlie has a brother who he doesn't talk to much, talked about even less. Charlie's brother is Sam Potts district attorney.

For Charlie his bar is his life. Nothing is more enjoyable to Charlie than just being a simple barkeep. Whether its serving a drink, polishing the stainless, moping the floor. It's all therapy to Charlie.
When stressed Charlie likes to field strip and clean his Rifles. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Thomas Landers

Thought I might try my hand at making a CoC 7E character using just the quick start rules. Will use it as an available pregen for a later game.

Landers never was good at taking orders or working for others. Preferring to be his own boss. From a young age Landers was good at finding people and digging up information he needed. Finding work quickly as a P.I. and occasionally a bounty hunter Landers is highly motivated to do what it takes to stay independent and not starve to death.

Thomas Landers (Modern era) 26yrs
Private investor

Str 60-30-12
Con 80-40-16
Siz 60-30-12
Dex 70-35-14
App 50-25-10
Int 50-25-10
Pow 50-25-10
Edu 40-20-8

DB: 0 Luck:75 MP:10 Hp:14 San:50 Credit: 40%

Art (Photography) 40, Disguise 40, Law 60, Library use 60, persuade 70, psychology 50, spot hidden 50, firearm pistol 50, 

Occult 25, stealth 40, Listen 40, Locksmith 21

Beat up crown Victoria, 1911 pistol (good quality), office space, a low rent one room apartment, lockpick set, and a trench coat.

Landers has two major contacts. His childhood best friend is a detective in the local precinct, and he has a brother working in city records.

Connections: Charlie's bar, Charlie is an old friend and Landers has a booth in the back. Sometimes you just need a quiet place to relax and unwing. Landers has a Friday night card game with a group of guys from the old neighborhood.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Shadow of the demon Lord (impressions) review

(Disclaimer-ish) This is not a review, it's me getting to know the game and writting my thoughts down. As I'm still taking it all in I may sound like the blabbering fan boy that I am.
I'm really late to the party on this game. Not just did I miss the kickstarter I missed the retail release as well. I had seen it, even folks raving about it. I didn't think I needed another fantasy game. Come to find out, Shadow of the demon Lord is not just another fantasy system.
Of all the things I find appealing about Shadow of the demon lord, The things I feel most fitting to my taste is the quick playing core rules mixed with the huge amount of character opinions.
Shadow of the demon Lord is definitely geared tword fast play, one might even call it 'casual play'. Seems like a game you can just sit down, roll up a character, and play. The system has enough depth to not seem boring or limited, but not so much to it as to overwhelm new players.
On the subject of character options I'm still stunned at the number of options available to players. Players start as 0 level and earn (through survival) the ability to choose one of 4 novice classes at level 1. If they live long enough they will be able to pick one of 16 expert classes. Then again later one of 64 master classes. I'm not sure how many possible combinations that is......I know it's a lot though.
The ancestries (races) are very interesting. Human, Changeling, Clockwork, Dwarf, Goblin and Orc. Each ancestry has 5-7 charts to roll on to make totally unique example. Not even getting into random profession tables. Again, players have a lot to work with here. All without even mentioning (even though I'm going to) 30 tradions of magic....
Some games go their whole lives (edition cycle) without having this many options spread out over many splat books. So for Shadow to feel 'easy to run' or even rules lite is a real feat.
The setting of the game is grim, with rules for both sanity and corruption. With a lot of wiggle room as to how dark, grim, and grindhouse you want to run your game. Even the exact nature of the 'demon Lord' seems to be left purposeful vague to GMs to fill in the blank.
I've got so many ideas floating between my ears right now I'm filling up a notebook  already. My players are in for a bumpy (and probably gruesome) ride.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Call of Cthulhu 7th Ed. Rpg

When I first read that a 7th edition was coming, and that there would be some changes I really didn't think much of it. I've run a little Call of Cthulhu, but I've run quite a bit of Basic roleplay system so I'm very familiar with the core system. I had the idea that I really didn't need a new system, I liked the BRP system as it is.

I decided to pick up the quick start, and give it a look over. I was a bit surprised. The level of success system is really nice, no more opposed roll chart. And a built in critical success system for combat.

Bonus and penalty die was a surprise, rolling extra dice and keep either the low or the higher 10s die.

The ability to press a failure into a success is an interesting concept as well.

I was impressed enough that I picked up the investigators handbook. I will be picking up the physical copies once they are available. This looks to be a great system for Cthulhu, I see myself using it for other games as well.

Players choosing their own fate (PbtA)

The combat style in Uncharted world has really got me thinking. The idea that combat move are not single attacks but instead a combat scene. Something about that feels so right to me.

I tried a little experiment with two of my players. I started them out with two premade characters, neither all that remarkable other than good stats. The characters had no special moves, only basic moves.

The scene was right out of daredevil season two, the hallway. One player was Daredevil, other was Electra. The set up was three hallways, two staircases and about 20 goons.

First few feet the players encountered two goons, each player rolled and succeeded. Each described a solid blow taking out the two goons.

Next the door to the stairwell flew open and four goons came running into the hall. As the goons approached I had each player roll.

Electra made her roll so she got free reign with her description, she spinning back punched one leading into a spin kick to a second. The roll was well enough she got one effect, she elected to knoch the one she kicked on his ass.

Daredevil on the other hand was not so lucky with a partial success. So I gave him two good hits and a bad effect, he had to describe both. He elected to punch one in the face while kneeling the second one. His bad effect was the one he punched got his arm around his Daredevils neck.

This is how the fights went with players describing both good and bad. Choosing a few time to disarm goons and being disarmed themselves. Choosing to deal damage, even choosing to take damage in some very brutal ways. Electra getting ribs cracked with a pipe and Daredevil getting cut and stabbed in the back once.
The players were more brutal to themselves than I usually am as the GM.
Very cinematic and very fun.

Battle mages gauntlet. (Basic fantasy)

These gauntlets are always made from fine materials and elegantly designed. No two will ever look the same.

During the second age the magi of the east made war against each other. Each great house raised armies and pushed their boarders in all direction.

The gauntlet stores 5 spells. 4 of those spells are magic missile. The fifth is shield spell. All cast as level 1.

Once all the spells are exhausted for the day the gauntlet is inert. All spells are regained at midnight ready to be cast again the next day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Sonic Spanner Lv8 Artifact

Rumor is this artifact was once the tool of a time Barron. It's a multi utility tool that can differentiate reality and mettle with simple mechanical or electrical devices.

To differentiate reality a roll is made against the level of the creature or device pulling subterfuge. The sonic spanner counts as 2 levels of resource. The exact nature of the subterfuge is not given, just that something is not as it seems.

As a tool the sonic spanner can lock and unlock simple locks. Can make security camera scramble for up to a minute and weapons misfire on their next use. 

The sonic spanner is immune to all forms of attack and for all intensive purposes is invulnerable. It's also immune to all effects of time distortion and reality translations. So it always looks exactly the same no matter where or when it is encountered. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Royal guards of the Fae nobility (Basic Fantasy)

Those who sacrifice themselves for their kin. Those who protect the true bloods. Ageless and faceless they stand. Trading self for service. without will of self, without question, and without fear. 

AC: 17
HD: 6
# of Att 2
Damage: 1D8+2/1D8+2
# appearing: D4+1 patrol/guards, 2D6+2 Royal ecort.
Save: as 10th level Cleric
Treasure: None
XP: 600

Infused with Wylder magic the stalwart and stoic guardians are the guardians of the Royal bloodlines.
Some say its a mark of honor to be accepted as a guardian. Other wispier that the honorably fallen fill the ranks of the guardians. Only the Oath keepers know who they really are. All know they are a force of nature in battle.

Limited progression, Epic 6 for Basic Fantasy

I've voiced my love for limited level progression a few times in this blog. Often revolving around Epic 6. If you don't know what it is check it out. Epic 6

I love the epic feel of these campaigns. To me a limited range of levels keeps the game grounded, no power or epic levels where players become superheroes in fantasy. Limiting hit die and attack bonus means there the game stays closer to most fantasy fiction.

Without the hundred or so hit points the players are never able to just waltz in and slay a dragon. Dragons and other high HD creatures will always be Epic and scary.

Limited level games make the need and necessity of epic weapons and armor quest worthy. Want to take out a dragon? Sounds like a quest for Dragon bane swords and resistant armor is in order. Rings of power and sound tactics. Anything less is suicide.

My house rules for starting hit points to be equal to constition score plus level grew out of my epic 6 games. (often with a small bonus for fighters and clerics. Or racial bonuses)

Weapon specialization (Basic fantasy)

Trying my hand at an alternate take on weapon specialization for fighters for my Lost realms campaign. 

Fighters at level one can pick a specific weapon to become experienced in. Being experienced in a weapon gives the fighter a +1 to hit. and all rolls of a natural 20 does maximum damage. 

At level 4 a fighter can choose a new weapon to be experienced in, or choose to become specialized in a weapon previously experienced in.  Being specialized in a weapon gives the fighter a +1 to hit and damage, and maximum damage on a natural 19-20.

At level 7 a fighter can choose a new weapon to be experienced in, or choose to become specialized in a weapon previously experienced in.

At level 10 a fighter can choose a new weapon to be experienced in, or choose to become specialized in a weapon previously experienced in. a fighter can also choose to master a weapon previously Specialized in. Having mastery of a weapon means the fighter rolls two dice when rolling to hit and keeps the best of the two rolls and does maximum damage on a natural roll of 19-20.

Experienced: +1 hit, Max dmg of 20
Specialized: +1 hit and dmg, Max dmg on 19-20
Mastery: Best of two rolls to hit, Max dmg on 19-20.

Lost Realms House rules (Basic Fantasy)

Here is a few rules changes I made to Basic fantasy to get the feel I wanted for my lost realms game.

1. All characters start with hit points equal to their Con score plus their level. Fighters and Clerics gain a 5hp bonus.
At levels 5,10,15, & 20 fighters and clerics get a +2 hit point bonus.

2. Spells that scale. Spells like fireball that normally scale a die per level now scale a die + 1 per level of the caster.

3. Spell focus. A spell user can Choose a spell to cast, but instead choose to focus the spell delaying its effect. For every turn the spell is delayed add +1 to the damage and difficulty to save against when the spell does go off. If the caster is attacked or otherwise distracted during a focus they must make an Int save to maintain focus.

4. All characters can choose to make a defensive action. Adding +1 to their AC until the beginning of the characters next turn. 

5. Recovery roll. After a combat any character who receives triage, Small breather, stop bleeding, bandage wounds gains one hit die in hit points.

Tattoo Magic (Basic fantasy)

Tattoo magic is expensive and rare. Even in the southlands where it's more prevalent, finding a skilled Tattooist is no simple task.

Having a magic tattoo inscribed into your flesh cost 200g times the level of the spell. the tattoo takes one half hour per level to inscribe, and can't be used until it is healed for at least 2 days. No one can have a magical tattoo higher level than their own level. Inscribed can only have a number of tattoos equal to their own level -1.Magical tattoos act differently on magic users and non-magic users.

Magic users use of magic tattoos is easy. A magic user can burn any prepared spell of the spell inscribed level or higher to cast the inscribed spell.

All other classes have to rely on the magic stored in the tattoo. Once the spell is cast the tattoo is inert until the next day.

All magical tattoos can be powered by the inscribed persons life force. Any time a magical tattoo is cast the inscribed person can give up hit points equal to the spells level to cast it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Mini review: Cross planes material for 5E D&D

I have been a long time follower of the cross planes blog and the plethora of work done by Mr. Mark craddock. His ability to grasp so many systems and make some of the most fun conversions always impresses me. I was glad to see he has made a few entries into the Dungeon master's guild.

These 5E character offerings are:
Dahmpires (race)
Goff (race)
Monster hunter (class)
The celestrial (warlock patron)
Mind mage (sorcerous Origin)
Tesseract (martial archetype)
Way of the Telekinetic (monk tradition)

Deities and Domains volumes 1&2, specialty priests of the forgotten realms (feats)

PDF's available here

I really enjoyed reading through them all, my favorite is the Dahmpire, but then I was pretty sure I would like that one.

The Giff, looks fun and different. Not often you hear of a hippopotami player race.

The monster hunter is perfect for my needs, will fit into my Ravenloft campaign nicely.

The celestial is now my favorite warlock patron, first time I ever thought a paladin warlock duel class could make sense to me.

I love that the mind mage, Tesseract, and Telekinetic are all psionis based characters, yet all three are distinct but feel very much part of the same psionic force. Each harnesess their power to their own abilities.

Though the two I think I will find the most useful are the Dieties and domains. Especially when using the sword coast's adventure guide. Nice to have the priests of the Faerünian pantheon laid out in usable feats. Or as I will, mine them for my own setting.

I look forward to seeing more from this very prolific author.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Cypher system initiative, Playing cards.

While I don't dislike the Cypher system's initiative roll, I love savage world's playing card method better.

So I have been Thinking of a way to use the best of both. Use cards but integrate them into the Cypher system smoothly.

Here is my core idea. Every player is issued a card at the start of combat. Adversaries are issued cards in groups, one card for all zombies ect.

Players act in the order from highest to lowest card.

At the top of any combat round any player can spend an effort to draw an extra card and act on the highest of the two cards. The player then discards the higher card and keeps the lower card for the rest of the combat. (yes there is risk of drawing an even lower card)

Option: surprised characters or adversaries draw two cards and act on the lower of the two for the turn. Discarding the lower card after and keeping the higher card for the rest of the combat.

More options coming.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Cyphers as power stunts

I've been toying with different ways to use cyphers in a game. Ways to explain them as a stunt rather than a device. Mainly for super hero games or more heroic games in general, so here is my cyphers as stunt idea.

All players draw cyphers equal to their class/level allowance as normal. Players describe how their power use causes the cyphers effect. At the beginning of every turn players draw new cyphers up to their max.

For example a group of thugs open fire with their pistols against a blaster character, all his abilities are energy attacks but he has a cypher giving him a temporary shield. He uses the cypher explains that he whips his energy around him creating a temporary shield. On his next turn the blaster chooses to use a cypher that allows him to teleport. He tells the Gm he plans to blast the ground and quickly tunnel up behind the thugs.

As usual the GM has the final say as to what uses is allowed.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Return of the healing surge (5E D&D)

Hit dice are a resource, something I want the players to have to manage, to weigh the pros and cons of every use. As is there is really only one choice that matters, and that is how many to use during a rest.

I propose a second option. Hit dice can be used during battle, but only a single use per battle, take what you roll that doesn't add Con mod to the roll. It's worse than a rested use, and it's a limited resourse. Great for when you don't know if you will live til the next rest. But something you might regret when the chips are down and you have burned through all your hit die.

Duel class, duel backgrounds, Batman (5E)

One of my players and I happen to be talking about backgrounds in 5E. How they add flavor even if they are pretty narrowly focused.

Somehow the conversation went the direction of playing more experienced characters who were not necessarily more skilled at their class. How two backgrounds might be even more fitting than a duel class. Or might even compliment a duel class.

As these conversations often do this one turned to comic books for a frame of reference. Specifically Batman. If batman at the start of his time as the man bat was a D&D character how would he be best represented?

So here is my quick and dirty conversation batman build. I would start him off as level 2: 1 Rogue, 1Fighter (fighter being his class) with both the Criminal and Noble backgrounds. While growing up with as a young noble the murder of his parents consumed him. Disguising himself he sought out those that could train him in the ways of stealthful fighting and ways of the underworld.

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...