Sunday, February 28, 2016

[KIWF] new ability: Undying

I've already done a version of KIWF regeneration for monsters, but this is a new way. Click the monster abilities label at the end of the post for more of the like. See the insert below for the latest iteration of my beta fantasy heartbreaker rules that happens to share this blog's name.

Undying x: Each round, the monster's last (rightmost) hit die goes up by x pips. If it would go over six, give the monster a lost hit die back, if any are available, from the players' bloodpool and set it at one pip.

Conga Undying x: As above, but start hit dice gaining pips from the left, and carrying over each time they would hit 6 to their brother on the right.

Ultra Undying x: As above, but every hit die is gaining pips each round.

Glutton Undying x: as above, but the monster can gain new hit dice by stealing them from its own bloodpool.

Godlike Undying x: as above, but the monster can gain new hit dice by stealing them from any bloodpool.

Emotion Vampire: Like Undying, but  only get's new pips under certain conditions (barbarian launches into a berserker fury, player threatens the DM, (N)PC watches their loved one get killed or boinked, etc.), and the new dice come from the player's bloodpool if it can.

So below is KIWF (the rules have been tinkered with over the last 4 years), but I've also been toying with another set of die-pool RPG rules. I might combine them at some point. The new thing is here.

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

DCC spells shoved into 2d6 Dungeon World boxes

Access to DCC spells can make a DW PC pretty powerful. The below system is an attempt to allow access to some of that power to PCs, but the DW judge will also have to adjust a lot of spell results on the fly. For instance, damage numbers might have to be brought closer to what DW spells of equivalent levels usually do.  

When you cast a spell from DCC, add +Int (or +Cha for clerics).

  • On a 7+ you cast an iteration of the spell. Start with the lowest successful iteration of the spell as it is written in DCC rules. That is the result you get if you roll a seven. Then go one iteration higher in concordance with higher roll results, but only if you have a level equal to the amount you would increase in iterations (i.e. have be level 2 to cast the second iteration, etc.).
    • For instance, the first iteration of Animal Summoning (DCC core rules page 129) is the 12-13 result by DCC's rules. Any 1st level wizard could cast this, as it is the first iteration.
    • Normally, for Animal Summoning, the 28-29 (the 6th iteration) results are max you can roll with an ability modifier of 0. This could be cast by a wizard of level six or higher.
    •  If you have an ability modifier of +3, you'll get up to the "32+" iteration of the spell, as long as you are level eight or higher.
  • On boxcars, if you have a positive modifier to casting, you shift the spell results up one iteration.
  • On a 6 or less, mark XP, the spell fails to come to pass, and...
    • ...If you are a wizard, the spell is forgotten until you dedicate spell level's worth of hours to re-memorizing it from your grimoire. The judge will make a move based upon the spell's flavor or just some other appropriate gm move.
    • ...If you are a cleric, your disaproval range increases by one (it starts at 1) 
  • On snake-eyes, you suffer the iteration of spell results listed in the DCC rules for the spell as if you had rolled a 1 on a d20.  
    • Wizards might misfire, get corruption, or patron taints. Also, the judge may make a move.
    • Clerics will have to roll on the deity disapproval table. And their disapproval range will go up. The judge will make a move.
    • Neither type of character may burn Luck to get out of this. That would be boring.


SPELL BURN (get past those pesky level limits)

Wizards care little for the weakness of the flesh. It is a tool...

When you are a wizard and you conduct a swift act of self-mutilation or sacrifice (monsters will try to take advantage of this momentary pause if someone doesn't keep them at bay), describe the horrid thing you are doing and take ability score damage.
  • For each point of Constitution you sacrifice, increase a die in your next spell-casting attempt's size by one step (use the zocchi DCC dice chain). The dice must be grown in turns. For instance, one point would give you a d7+d6 to cast a spell, two points could give you d7+d7, but not d8+d6.
  • For each point of Dexterity you sacrifice, take +1 forward to maintain concentration on precise somatic and oral movements for a spell while being attacked by would-be spell-quashing foes.
    • For instance, a cheeky goblin shoots at you as you chant, but you keep casting despite the pain by applying the plus to a concentration move.
  • For each point of Strength you sacrifice, you can treat your level as one level higher (and thus get access to more powerful iterations of spells, and spell results with those iterations).
  • If you roll snake-eyes after committing spell burn, one of the ability points you lost (determined randomly) is lost permanently!
Clerics may spellburn under some special circumstances, as appropriate according to the fiction. See the DCC core rules.



Clerics may tempt the wrath of their gods.

When you plead with your gods for more of their holy might to fill your unworthy vessel, first increase you disapproval range for the day by an amount you choose.
Then you can ignore level limits for spell iterations by that amount. On a 7+ rolled to the cast a spell move, it will still work if even if the rolled result is within disapproval range (you'll face the consequences after the spell's results have started).

 Clerics can cast more powerful results from certain holy places.


Armor considerations

Maybe no wizard can cast spell iterations above level-armor bonus. That might be appropriate.



If you are damaged while readying a spell that should take a while (one round or more under the DCC rules), you will need to make a concentration check. Failure means you check for snake-eyes. If you roll them, you'll lose the spell and take other "1" results.
If you pass the concentration check, cast the spell with a roll as planned.



Lots of DCC spells allow targets saves. You'll have to figure out how to judge these on the fly, but maybe consider the monster's properties and tags. If it's smart, and facing a charm spell, maybe a follow up move from the character to overpower its mind is appropriate, etc. But DCC spell save DCs are crazy anyways, so don't feel to bad about letting the PCs affect monsters as a reward for casting a spell.


Learning/Knowing Spells

All the limitations to learning spells based on Intelligence score from DCC are applicable to the DW PCs. They should have numbers and levels of spells as per their DCC analog's advancement charts.

If a PC wants to learn a spell from a spell-book, make a quest out of it.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

d24 Names for Tough PCs and NPCs

Give them to a tough dood, dudette, or third genduder. Mix and match and mash the given and surnames.


Bonus name: Bloody Morose

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Interview! Aaron Kesher of THAC0: The Movie Fame

THAC0 might seem at first to be just some amateur project, but it is really, genuinely good, especially once the intro has passed. Based on a play, it has great dialogue and will make any RPG smile. Especially when they make fun of GURPS. And Neil Gaiman is in it for a second! It also scratches my suburban/cold-mid-west-hell gamer nostalgia itch.

I bugged Aaron (the guy who leaves everybody hanging all the time in the movie) on Google Plus for some info on this great work. The short interview is below the embedded video. It's short because though I asked follow up question Aaron stuck to character and left me hanging. Oh well, as long as you get a chance to enjoy a great movie, I've done my job!

"You've got to convert to 3rd edition!"
"Why?! What the hell kind of question is that? It's the new edition." 
"It's the new edition! It's one number higher!"


You've mentioned THACO started as a play. Who wrote it? How long was it? How many times was it performed? Were the cast members of the movie also in the play acting troop?

THAC0 did indeed start as a play, written for the 2005 Minnesota Fringe Festival by my multi-talented friend Bill Stiteler, who's active in the MPLS theater world. He's written a number of other plays for the Fringe as well, including an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's lesser known graphic novel "Signal to Noise", in which I also participated, and the slightly infamous "Watching Porn".

All FF shows are an hour long. It's a dynamic venue, so when you finish you have 10 minutes to strike your entire show and get off the stage so the group coming in after you can have 10 minutes to set up before their curtain. Needless to say, the sets are minimalist. In fact we managed to fit it all in my Honda Element, where we stored it until the next performance.

There were five performances, the last three of which, after word got out in the MPLS gaming community, were completely sold out. Some people even saw it twice, which was pretty awesome. You could hear people in the audience, as we were setting up, saying "Oh--I used to have that game!"

We did another run, about a year later, maybe, in a small local theater. Only  three performances I think. We also had the chance to perform selected scenes at CONvergence. I couldn't be there for some reason, but my shoes were awesomely filled by Dawn Krosnowski.

I dug this up after some searching: [the link was dead by the time I clicked on it, but you can always plug it into The Wayback Machine]

You see pictures from both instances in the Flash rotation... I'm the one with the earrings and SF MOMA t-shirt...

The play and the movie had the same cast, though with some of us in different roles. In the play, I believe our names were Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I played Mark, the DM, and I Bill played Matthew, the guy we were waiting for. The play had an extra element where, between scenes in the basement, Matthew was spotlighted and delivered a monologue about different aspects of geek culture. This didn't make it into the movie.

In the movie, Bill and I switched parts, mostly due to time constraints on my end (my wife and I had just had twins). Since the monologues were gone, my part was small enough that I only had to commit to a couple of days of actual filming. And we also all just used our own names.

Oh, and there was also that cameo by Neil Gaiman... :)

Claytonian JP
 Yeah, that was a curious cameo. How did you land one of the best fiction authors of our time? Was his initial reaction when approached as leery as the line he delivered in the movie, or was he up for anything?

Aaron Kesher
Actually, if I'm remembering this correctly, a friend of Bill and his wife worked for Neil in some capacity, so they had gotten to know him. It may have started with Bill contacting him back in 2003 for permission to turn Signal to Noise into a Fringe play. So anyway, he was happy to do it--the reaction was entirely acted. :)

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Deck of Many DCCisms

Recently a coworker gave me his old 3e core books. I don't like 3e at all, but I have to admit, the DMG of any edition has fun things for me to think about. Someone requested a DCC Deck of Many Things. Turns out there aren't many results on the 3e version of it, so I glanced over it, got ideas, and condensed them to 14 results. And since we are talking DCC, you could just roll a d14...

In any case, I'd probably have the deck only allow drawing of one card per PC (exceptions in the result).
  • Ace: I saw the sign!
    • Your star sign changes. Roll it. And yes, it can mean bad luck for you if you currently have a negative modifier. If anyone draws from the deck after you, their star sign changes too, but if they happen to draw an ace as well, they get to choose what it changes to.
  • Deuce: Two lumps are better than one. 
    • Grow a second head. Roll its Intelligence and Personality. It has a fifty percent chance of being a wizard or a cleric. If you have a mercurial magic effect that grows extra heads or faces, you instead lose that and roll a new effect.
  • Trey: Three alignments, or was it four?
    • Change alignment to opposite of party cleric (or most powerful party cleric). If they are neutral, you become militant-neutral, which is the opposite of neutral and requires you to create stratagems to take down Chaos and Law at the same time.
  • Four: Forlorn Forty
    • You are transported 40 miles beneath the earth, in a forlorn encystment, insensate and preserved against death. This is permanent, but who knows, maybe your party can save you.  If they do, you come back with one psionic power and some groovy stories.
  • Five: Glory or Guts
    • You now roll a d16 for saving rolls, but have +1d to crits
  • Six: Lucky to be alive (check your Luck mod)
    • If positive, Pass any Roll the Body check... once per positive luck mod you have right now. You must choose to do this instead of rolling before you would roll. 
    • If your Luck mod is currently negative, make a DC 15 Fort save vs death!
  • Seven:  The Hellish Hunt (check your privilege, er alignment)
    • If not Chaotic, The court of chaos has chosen you as a target of a great hunt
    • If you are Chaotic, they will send you a quest you daren't refuse. Or just summon you for their namesake adventure.
  • Eight:  Kick the puppy
    • Lose a level, change all your hit-dice to one size larger than they were, kick any nearby halflings, and draw again.
  • Nine: Tempting choices (choose one)
    •  gain a level by defeating the next monster(s) you see on your own
    • gain a signature deed with one weapon (and a deed die for that deed as a Warrior of your level)
    • Draw three more cards, know what they will do, and discard one of them
  • Ten: Materialism is magic (choose one)
    • a completely random melee weapon of magical nature is rolled up and pops into your hand
    • a completely random spell of random casting level appears in your mouth
    • an odd magical item the judge has always wanted to introduce pops into your pants
  • Knave:  I have a cunning plan (choose one)
    • Gain +2 to one ability score
    • Gain +4 to one thieving ability, which you may burn luck on like a thief to boot
  • Queen:  We are not amused (choose one)
    • All magic items on your person turn into wood
    • You lose your soul (you still function but have -1d to Will until you find it)
  • King: It's good to be the king (gain one)
    • Gain a fief and 2d30 loyal henchmen
    • Or inherit Tegel Manor if your judge has that
  • Joker:  Don't monkey around with fate
    • You gain 1d4 wishes, each of which has a 1d3rd chance monkey's paw type unintended effects
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Monday, August 17, 2015

1d12 things that could happen when a god dies

Arise Franken-god!

1: 1d14 new gods are born from its ichor.*
2: Killer apotheosizes!
3: The things that the god was in charge of stop working properly. Sure this seems great when you kill the god in charge of death, at first...
4: The god spits out an egg that falls through the planes. It will birth their revenge.
5:  The god splits into several relics or artifacts, spread about the cosmos, but one is right here.
6: Everyone in the heavenly infrastructure gets promoted to fill the divine vacuum (see what I did there, Catholic history buffs? Well here's a video so you can see what I did if you are patient and watch till near the end.)
7: Angelic bureaucracy saddles killers with the dead deity's responsibilities. Killers now have servants/wardens that will never let them leave, except for business trips.
8: One of the PCs is revealed to be the secretly progeny of the god, and charged with rebuilding or tearing down its mighty works.
9: The god curses killer with its dying breath. The gods' death curses are the most inviolable ones, so the killer is screwed.
10: The god is reincarnated or rebuilt somewhere. They will be different, maybe even switching from good to evil or vice versa.
11: That was a load-bearing god! All of heaven falls right on you unless you can get out quick.
12: Explosion! Any survivors of the blast will find themselves transfigured into something... more.
*In Greek mythology, Ichor  is the ethereal golden  fluid that is the blood of the gods and/or immortals.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Assigning RPG traits to Hamlets, Towns, and Boroughs

When your party rolls into a new area of civilization, you can roll some dice to see what the locals and their locale are like. There are key letters for each result, and you can seed them into a place's name, or make the street be the shapes of those letters so that it is easy to remember/record what the area is like.

If you add Luck (DCC style) to the rolls, you'll be looking at the PC in the party that has the most to gain from a roll. So thieves want a good economy, and Clerics want a good religious environment. Luck is the most easily ignored part of these tables though.

For our purposes, borough will refer to a district of a city. It may be walled off from other districts. You can give a city 1d7 boroughs if you want, or decide. You might decide the whole city acts like a borough for any given trait.

Economy (1d3 PLUS someone's Luck mod for anything below a borough, 1d10 for anything above that):
  1. ER: Everyone starving. They might let you sleep in your shack to repay kindnesses.
  2. BA: Strictly bartering. No metal-smiths. Only 50% likely to have adventure gear items for barter.
  3. CO: Can handle a copper-based economy. Might have enough change for your gold or silver-purchased goods.
  4. RE: Regular coin usage in effect. Baffled by anyone with platinum though.
  5. PL: Platinum and then some. There might be some hard bargaining for other treasure.
  6. GM: Gems, rubies,amethysts, etc. can all be sold at a fair price.
  7. (or higher) AR: Artwork and fine goods can be appraised and auctioned off or fenced.

Law enforcement (1d4 for anything below a borough, 1d10+ opposite of Luck mod for anything above that, also add +2 for fantastic locales, but keep the economy in mind and adjust accordingly):
  1. AN: Anarchy of the kind where bandits come into the saloon daily to pick fights with the PCs.
  2. SO: Sole figure, like a sheriff or poor lord, has to take care of the entire area by their self. They are probably helpless against local bandit groups.
  3. GA: A gang, such as a yakuza organization, deals with troublemakers while enjoying corrupt power.
  4. CN: A constabulary with 2d14 soldiers takes care of the town and mans a perfunctory town wall.
  5. BR: A barracks housing 2d30 militia is in place. They have fortified the area with a tall wall and man gates that everyone must go through. Occasional patrols.
  6. AR: Many barracks and soldiers. Regular patrols. Can respond to any alarm in diminishing 1d10 minutes (roll a d10 and check for a 1 to see if they've arrived, if not wait rolled minutes and then roll a d8 and so on down the die chain).
  7. GE: Gestapo has agents everywhere. Urchins and beat-cops regularly demand bribes, especially from outsiders. They'll turn their own mothers in if given the chance. Fences 20% likely to inform the gestapo of PC activities.
  8. RE: Weapons must be surrendered upon entering this area. Items such as small knives and kindling axes are allowed unless the guards have a poor reaction roll to the PCs. They'll be happy to take the weapons into their storage for a fee that may be reasonable.  
  9. SE: Siege resistance weapons and fortifications abound. This place mostly focuses on defending against rival armies or some kind of dragon-level threat.
  10. IR: The iron-grip of law is supported by alarms on everyone's house eves, and legions of city guard patrol regularly, itching to fight because there are not enough wars. WHY CAN'T THERE BE MORE WAR?!
  11. SU: Supernatural justice will show up within moments of someone committing a crime. The langoliers or what have you see all. More will probably show up if you kill the first wave. Or they might send a big guy.
  12. OH: Oh shit, some kind of entity like The Lady of Pain stalks the area, daring players to test her. 
  13. CM: The computer controls all and sees all. Do you have code blue status, citizen?

Openness: (1d5+Luck for anything below a borough, 1d10 for above, locals might start fights with those who try to come in anyway, and law enforcement has their back)
  1. FU: Fuck off, retches, no outsiders allowed. Oh wait... do you have lots of money?
  2. DE: Demi-humans are not to be trusted. Keep them chained in cold iron at all times.
  3. NO: No way we are letting anyone freaky in here. That includes dog-headed men, lizard-men, and especially wizards.
  4. MR: Merchants and their entourages are welcome. Merchants are responsible for any infractions their underlings take.
  5. OK: Okay with all races and monster hirelings as long as they behave.
  6. HA: A haven where weirdos are encouraged. 
  7. (or higher) SH: Shrugs all around. You ain't nothing we haven't seen before.
Religion (1d10 plus Luck):
  1. DE: Demons hold sway here. Horrors walk the streets. The people probably made some kind of compact with them. 
  2. CU: Hi! Would you like to talk about Cthulhu? We have a great cult hidden under our veneer of civilization. Join us or be eaten by our dark eidolon. Make this a druid-dominated area if cults are played out in your campaign.
  3. WE: We have one rule for our one dark god that must be followed. For instance, all dead bodies are given over to the kindly ones, no exceptions. 
  4. Local monarch has apotheosized. All praise to them. Might be ignored if far enough from the capital.
  5. WA: War gods, blood gods, kill your baby gods. We have all the gods that desperate people love in these hard times.
  6. NR: Normal pantheons of good and evil deities have shrines here. Gotta appease them all!
  7. HR: Hearth deities and house deities are the flavor here. Do you have your lucky charms? Did you offer wine to the statuette your kitchen-shrine this night?
  8. IN: Inscrutable religious practices mean the PCs will offend someone with a sin of omission ere long.
  9. AL: It takes all kinds. We don't care what you worship. Plenty of shrines, some of them generic.
  10. GO: Good deities and temples. Everyone one step more open than previously generated.
  11. PI: Piety is the order of the day. Godly PCs are treated reverentially as long as they are overtly lawful-stupid about their dress, deeds, and actions.
Customs and attitudes: (roll a d14 and get creative):
  1. FE: Are having a festival right now. What is it for?
  2. GE: Have a peculiar greeting style. What do they say or do?
  3. TA: Have a taboo that they will get excited about. What are they gonna pop monocles over?
  4. DI: Speak a weird dialect. Of what language?
  5. SP: Are superstitious. Name 1d3 things they must (not) do.
  6. EV: Must evoke a diety's name when talking about anyone in the third person. Which dieity?
  7. GV: Have a funky government model. Choose one.
  8. AR: Have 1d3 sacred or weird structures or features. What are they?
  9. ID: Have an allegiance to an ideal. What's that? Are they neutrals?
  10. TR: Pay tribute to some entity on the regular. What is it? A dragon? A pit?
  11. DP: Have a death penalty for that one crime. Which crime?
  12. GR:Have an ancient grudge against one group. Which group or race?
  13. WE: Wear peculiar garments
  14. OD: Have odd pets, livestock or mounts. It's rideable blonde humans, right?

Let's see it in action

Okay, so let me roll up a city division. AR, BR, HA, NR, GR. Artwork selling, barracked soldiers, haven for weirdos, normal pantheon, and a grudge against, uh... elves! Screw elves.

I then write those letters on the page and decide what areas of interest are around them (I kinda had them tie in with the letters that they are near). In retrospect, I'd probably want to write the letter pairs I generated on the map too, though it's not too hard to make them out. Basically the letters are for the main streets (in red). There may be lots of alleys not really visible, because alleys should be a thing that might be there if the PC needs one and is lucky.  You might note that since elves are shunned (and oddly any other race is just fine) in this place, I made them a ghetto near the city sewers, just outside the walls. The history museum in the result that generated this is all about how elves are the worst. I threw in a few gates and a river to keep people alive.  Finally, I based the name off of the generated letters. I have a feeling everything might have an arabic ring to it using this method.

I'm happy. It gave me ideas. I declare it a useful tool for DMs. But you may also just want to use my picture method for a less fiddly creation. Who needs a map, really? Well me, if it gives me good ideas. But you could totally skip the map for this post's methods too.
But what about Law/Chaos? Don't roll that. Instead, think about the area you've made and what kind of personages it might generate. Individuals are aligned, not areas. Powerful individuals might hold great sway, mind you.
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