Tuesday, June 2, 2020

d66 things in this unlucky stiff's pockets

(note that this post won't look good on mobile)
First, roll a d5 for location where this dude kept their good stuff: 1) Purse, 2) inner vest pocket, 3) Boot, 4) Hat, 5) Britches.

Second, roll a brace of sixers. I have some sub-tables for the items marked with *.
11 1d4 rations                           21 a statuette*                           31 a fan with a gang symbol*
12 twelve copper*                   22 a bonito log                         32 a very small "shower" spell scroll
13 thirteen copper*                23 a lump of purest green      33 someone (known)'s undies
14 ten copper, one silver*     24 a robot's battery                 34 an I.O.U. from "Big Paula"
15 two silver*                          25  a map to a dungeon           35 a deed to Tegel Manor
16 five gold*                            26  a tijuana bible                     36 scrip: a demon's secret name

41 an ear and a lizard            51 faerie in a jar                  61 letter from this dude's love
42 a wand (might backfire) 52 oil lamp (empty)           62 intercepted scandalous missive
43 a hymnal                            53 jewelry*                          63 note on where a cult is meeting next
44 a kung-fu manual            54 a key                                64 a monogrammed handkerchief
45 a prophylactic                   55 a court summons          65 letter written in PCs own hand?!
46 Matyroshka dolls             56 spool of thread              66 last will & testament of "Bad Bob"

Coinage sub-table (1d7): 1) shmeckles, 2) CHUD currency, 3) devil lucre (sabbat franca), 4) obols (good for deals with Charon, so maybe leave a couple for this poor stiff?), 5) coin of the next realm over, 6) coins from the future, where one of the PC's royal visage has been minted, 7) 1990s USA currency

Statuettes sub-table (1d8): 1) cat god; 2) unknown woman; 3) eldritch entity (sanity check!); 4) a member amongst the PCs!; 5) an unknown gods god, preferably a known one; 6) a pontif; 7) a king, 8) duck on top, key on bottom

Statuettes sub-sub-table of materials (d10): 1) dolomite, 2) gold, 3) pewter, 4) lead, 5) wood, 6) crudely carved wood, 7) wax, 8) copper, 9) brass, 10) melted coins

Jewelry sub-table (1d12)(roll a d6×10×danger of aquisition to find monetary value): 1) earring, 2) earrings, 3) eye-patch, 4) nose-ring, 5) necklace, 6) torque, 7) diadem, 8) sheriff's badge, 9) rapper's grill, 10) blinged knuckle-dusters, 11) codpiece, 12) a band (a ring).

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Thursday, May 28, 2020

I give this RPG a B+ (1½ page rpg)

The one with all the Bs.

Yarrr!
I have nothing to do with this RPG actually!
Isn't that scary?
Elevator pitch: Only ability scores, no separate modifiers (beginner friendly).

Very simple. Lots of fun surprises in character gen.

Your stats are your health, but there is hardly a death spiral. It is a resource that you can manage with cleverness and wisdom.

We have failure=XP like like in Dungeon World to help make bad rolls fun.

 Check it out on Google Docs (where you are honor-bound to point out typos). Or embedded in this post, down below.



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Saturday, May 16, 2020

Transplantable cannon

I run a lot of games. Every Saturday the lads and lasses gather and I usually run a one shot with one of my one page RPGs. But some things are usually the same for whatever elfgame setting I am laying out. Here are a few things I have as my default mythos.

Robots and god-computers are supposed to be everywhere. I am way behind on my robot quota. In general, the world is supposed to have clues that great civilizations have come and gone, and are out there in the cosmos.

I want to seed more slow mutants too. In general, a lot of The Dark Tower octalogy exists in my world, such as "the Jesus Man" being a god and gunslingers wandering the land.

Amazons are a buff, seemingly human but definitely not human race that has nothing to do with real world Greek legends. They look like us, the bad tribes steal human men and have no interest in human women. They do have use for men in terms of baby-making, but they only have more amazon (female) children.

Lately, the amazon cannon has expanded to include hags. Hags are what evil amazons evolve into, and they steal men to make more babies, but hags give birth only to monsters. Most amazons encountered are the PCs themselves, so the evil potential of amazons has been unexplored. Good players.

Manazons also exist, but we don't know how they reproduce. Only that they seem to look like human men, but that they are not. Maybe I should look into Gargareans?

Alignment languages are not cants or code-phrases. They are writings and vocalizations that only someone of the proper alignment can parse and comprehend. If you lose your alignment, you forget the language. It can be written down, but it just doesn't make sense to those not of the way. Only beings of other worlds naturally make these vocalizations, so the PCs can't spout Lawful to an angel and hope to be understood. There is just a certain quality to it that can't be imitated by mortals. It's like that Yiddish-speaking grandma you have that you can't speak back to in Yiddish.

Orcs don't exist. Oh, a few have slipped in over the years, but I've always regretted letting it happen. Orcs are boring. The kids on twitter will call you racist. Just say no to orcs. Evil humanoids that bubble up out of the underworld's toxic plasms? Okay, that's better.

The underworld is mythic, filled with dungeon-logic. You dig deep enough, and reality starts to change on you. Here's a good source on that sort of thing.

Gnomes are a foot tall. They are David. They are not PC race material.

Elves don't age. They live forever. They have lived forever too, as far as they can remember, but they can only remember a couple hundred years. Everything feels like it happens in the blink of an eye.

Dwarves reproduce through sculpture, not something as dainty as sex. They don't make women themselves, but occasionally have been commissioned to do so ala Pygmalion. Dwarves also do not cast spells, but they can make magical rings, swords, and other artifacts. Dwarves love gold and can smell it. They turn into dragons if they amass too much wealth and don't share it with their clan.

BTW elves and dwarves, not elfs and dwarfs.

Just as every monster is best if it is unique, so too for magical items. No +1 swords in these games.

More on the cosmology is contained here. The players have only uncovered a small bit of the information in that post or this one. I like to let them discover what they like, as if they are amateur archeologists. There is probably some fancy word for this kind of world-revealing. Diagetic? Whatever the word for the opposite of a blog post is.


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Tuesday, May 5, 2020

And now for something completely nihongo

I translated a short game because it looked easy. I did not make the game in this case, even though I make an average of one RPG in my folder per week, but I did kinda alter it a bit and added a missing 8th spell. But this will be pretty useless info if you are not a Japanese reader. If only there was some way to find the original English version. If you are a nippongo-lover, here is the current version of it!



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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Son of New Elfgame Rules


It had a baby!
I've refined my DCCish old school elf game rules since the last go around. Here's what we got now. If you want to see the old post, it is still full of 90s 'tude. DCC Lankhmar rules are mentioned a lot, because I am currently running a campaign on Nehwon.




Action Dice: When you roll, you do not add bonuses (+1 &ct); we only make action dice bigger. If you have an ability score of 14-15, you roll a d22 to do actions with that score. 16-17 gives you a d24. 18 gives you a d30. We do not usually have a die smaller than a d20 (use a d16 only when dual-wielding). Saves don't exist per say; just make an ability check roll with an action die.

The hit/to-hit/class die: If you are rolling to attack or do something that fits the idiom of your class/race/background, you may add your hit die onto that roll. Roll to meet or beat an AC or DC. The DCs are 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and so on (don't use DCC thief DCs).

Armor: Armor Class is your Agility score. Armor itself is ablative; for each plus it has, it can take one hit instead of you, negating one instance of damage. This damages the armor and it has to be mended. Shields usually give +1 armor. 

Damage: Arms* are flavor, for the most part, and don't affect damage. Maybe your implement of choice is important in some situations. Your HD from the to-hit roll is also counted--provided you hit-- as your damage roll.

Example: Thogar rolls to hit. His STR is 8 and his class is thief, so he rolls 1d20+1d6. He gets a 19 and a 2, for a total of 21 to hit. The 2 becomes 2 damage. The player shakes the Judge's hand for running such a fast system, but then they both get Coronavirus. 

Luck: You can burn Luck or Fleeting Luck to modify rolls up or down in your favor (you can spend Luck on someone else's roll to avoid being hit). Fleeting Luck follows the DCC L rules.

Spell-burning: Wizards can grow their hit die for one instance of casting. It grows one size for each point of ability score damage you take. Spell-burning is ritualistic, so it slows you down and your friends will have to be meat shields while you get it ready. If you know Lankhmareese black or white magic, the first point of spell-burn on those spells is free, but you have to burn more than one.

Magic: You have to roll to learn a spell (fail and you can try again next level). Lvl 1 spells are DC 10, lvl 2 are DC 15, and so on. So you might want to quest for a specific way to learn a specific spell at a lower DC (Lankhmar agent dice might work out too). When you first learn a spell, you have to roll on this table of quirks (no mercurial magic).

Initiative: If you roll higher to hit, you hit first. Most monsters are zaku (small fries). If you hit, you kill them and hit first and they don't get a counter hit. You're no hero, but you might be fit for a pulpy tale.

Deeds: Unlike in DCC where they have to wait for a precious 3+, Warriors in this house may declare a mighty deed each time they hit (don't declare, then roll; roll first) except when they roll a crit, in which case the crit becomes the deed. Tough monsters may get a save to resist the effects of a deed, in which case their DC is 10+the Warrior's level.

Get Gud: Every PC stops gaining HD after level 3, instead re-rolling all previous hit dice and taking the new score if it is higher. Thank you, Dave "Arduin" Hargrave. Another benefit of leveling is that you get to choose one ability score and raise it by 1.

Orizons, not spells: If we had clerics in DCC L, they would not have set spells, but would just beg their gods for help with a prayer roll. What a pointless bullet point this was though.

Star signs: On worlds that use them, we look at what the sign usually affects and give +1d to action dice involving that. No negative star signs, and Luck doesn't make it better or worse to have.

*: I might find a way to integrate arms into the crit tables in the future.
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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

DCC Lankhmar Class: The Artful Cutter

Lankhmar DCC is a great setting. It's a little rough, but has great breaks with DCC to the point where I'd say it is a kind of DCC 2nd Edition. One of the things that stands out is a lack of demi-human classes. The downside of it is that players don't have much in the way of class variety. So here is a shifty class with some inspiration from DCC hobbits.

BTW, if you choose this class, re-roll any benisons that were designed to make you a dual-wielder.

Advancement and weapons: As per the Thief class.

Abilities: Two weapon fighter. You fight as if you had Agility 16 when wielding two weapons. If your Agility is actually higher than that, use it.

Lucky guy: If you burn Luck, you get a return of two for one for each Luck point you spend. This works if you spend Fleeting Luck on someone's behalf.

Odds in your favor: You may burn a Luck point to grow your action die one size larger before a roll. Extend the weird die chain up to d50-d60-d100-d120 if you spend enough Luck to do so. I should point out the 2 for 1 boon of the previous ability doesn't apply to this one, but you may spend Luck after the roll to modify it as per usual DCC rules and with the Lucky guy boon.

Make my own luck: Note your starting Luck score at character gen. Most characters burn Luck permanently, but you do something different: you may convert any Fleeting Luck on you at the end of a session into permanent Luck up to your normal score.

Magic Dabbler: You may memorize spells you pilfer, but can only keep one in your head per day. It doesn't matter to you what color a spell it. You can read scrolls as a thief would, but are there any of those in Lankhmar?
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Sunday, April 26, 2020

D&D for hoboes but hopefully not murder-hobos

Hobos probably have access to pencils, paper, and playing-cards. So that's what we'll play with. Also, the rules are short so you don't need to have them written down.
 

Storytelling is very important to the hobo-tradition. If your characters tell a room full of hushed NPCs of their exploits and then each draw a card higher than their current level, they level up. You start at level 0. No story may be told more than once.(Each player draws separately.)


Chargen: Draw a card for each stat. Royalty count as 10s, and aces count as ones. The stats are murder, defend, breathe, consciousness (awareness), and brilliance.

Tests: When you try to do a thing, draw a card and if the drawn card is equal to or less than your stat, you do it. In this case, the royal cards all count as 11 when drawn, and spell a fumble. Aces mean you do critically well. Jokers mean a success, but something odd is also ad-hoced by the HM for the players to deal with.

Dying:
You can take a number of hits equal to your level without much consequence. When you take a hit beyond that limit, you draw a card and apply it to a stat. As long as that card is equal to or less than the stat, you can keep going, but keep the card. If the cards applied to a stat ever exceeds it, you lose access to that stat and fail all rolls with it (failing to breathe is deadly, so only an ace or joker can save you if you lose that stat).

Classes: Choose a class. Each class may have abilities or advantage on draws. Advantage means you draw twice and take the more advantageous card.
  • Fighters have advantage to murder, defend, or breathe. They play harmonicas.
  • Stabbers have advantage to murder and consciousness. They can sense traps are present without a check. They can play Three-card Monte with the Hobo Master to do legerdemain. They play mouth-harps.
  • Wizzers have advantage to brilliance. They may cast spells (or use psionics); they draw a card each morning and have that many spells to use that day. Spells are made up on the spot, but if players wish for the moon they'll get a monkey's paw. They play banjos.
  • Hippies have advantage to breathe. They have a faithful mutt with its own stats. Hippies can scrounge up either a day's rations or healing erbs (remove 1 card of damage from someone's stack) each day (player has to choose which). Such food or herbs don't last more than a day. They play cowbells.

Monsters are all unique. When one is generated, the HM draws a card for each stat and keeps it face down until it is tested (not even the HM knows how tough a monster is). However, a monster reveals a new weird ability each time it acts, or uses a previously revealed one. Monster abilities just work, and the players have to deal with them, usually with defense draws.

Initiative is done by drawing cards. Lowest cards go first (aces are ones). Starting with the HM, a player will reveal their initiative card and declare an action. Any player (including the HM) may interrupt another by revealing a lower card; otherwise the action is tested for success or failure, then play proceeds to the left until everyone has done an action. Running about it an action.

Will work for food: The world is one in which your characters are misfits and outcasts. But it is the kind of world with monsters and other problems that need to be dealt with. People post jobs, bounties, and commissions to bulletin boards that anyone can peruse. There is competition, so if you pass on a job, it's likely gone forever soon.

Hobomasters: The totality of your game prep should be writing interesting jobs to put on the boards. Each situation should have a number of steps equal to a card you secretly draw and note. If the players have done that many rooms/encounters/traps/&ct, or if they seem bored, wrap it up and get them back to the barrel-fires where they can spin their tales for the other adventure-hoboes.

This post was inspired by another dude's post.
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