Saturday, October 19, 2019

New Elfgame houserules

I'm mostly spitballing on how to make a DCC version of D&D go well...

A 1 on a d20 always fumbles, and a 20 always succeeds, but you never roll a die without the Judge telling you to. I mean it. Shtap.
Hit it: Your hit die is added to a d20 to hit ACs. Naught else is added. 
Damage: Roll your class hit die as a damage die, regardless of weapon choice. You already rolled the hit die during the hit it step, so save us all some time and don't reroll it.

Deadliness=Initiative: Everyone types or writes down their action and movement for the round, then hits enter or passes them to the Judge at the same time. The Judge has monsters intercept. (The secret is there is no initiative)

Once a monster is engaged, it sticks with you till it's routed or dead. Players always roll attack rolls or other checks together ("one, two, roll!"), and the Judge rolls at the same time. PC hits are checked for first (you may spend Luck to hit or damage more at this time). If they kill their foes first, the foe's counter-attacks become null.

If you use magic, your foe's roll to hit you is applied first. You knew the costs! Damn your rotting soul, wizard scum! At least your spell will still go off if you live, and it will be the last thing you do if you don't.

Monsters always have 1 HP unless they are solos. Solos always attack all melee foes within range each round. Monsters always do static damage (no rolls) based on progression into the heart of the dungeon or situation (climax damage and so on).

Warriors don't roll a deed die, but for each pip higher than two they rolled on their hit die, they kill an extra small-fry foe (the ones with 1 HP). So rolling a 5 gets you three extra kills. Solos will instead take crits (warriors describe their own crits or mighty deeds as there is no table). Remember, HD roll is both your damage roll and added to your to-hit roll, so there is no extra damage for a crit. 

All non-warrior classes can crit if they roll a nat 20, but to keep things speedy, just kill an extra 1-HP enemy or describe a crit against solos. Warriors get to crit on nat 20s, nat 24s, or as per the above paragraph.

Monsters that crit do something the Judge thinks up that seems appropriate. Solo crits should be brutal: insta-kills, eviceration, limb-loss, &, as long as danger has been telegraphed.

Do it: All classes roll a d24 if they have a relevant 15+ ability score or background related to the task at hand, or a d30 if they have both. To top it all off, if you survive level 5, go ahead and boost all such rolls to a d30 if they weren't already. Don't add anything to it unless it also has something to do with your class; in such a case as that, add your hit die too.
  • Everyone gets a hit die to add to the roll to hit.
  • Yes, thieves get to a hit die to do theify things and backstab in most cases. They can add on an extra HD by spending a Luck point.
  • Yes, wizzes/idolators get to add a hit die to cast spells. Wizzes have to spellburn at least one point to do so, and Idolators that roll their HD higher than their action die incur hubris (divine punishment).

The DCs to save or do things are 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30. I'm not looking up thief skill DCs again! Always roll high, even for luck. Monsters always fail saves, unless they are solos, but they can otherwise always succeed at monstery things like walking on ceilings.

I haven't mentioned ability mods because I'm sick of them. Maybe if a spell or class feature cares about one, you can consult it. Wut? You want your precious mods? How about you add the mods for Str, Dex, and Luck with 10. That's your AC. You disgust me.

Ability scores are there to stand in for AC when a monster or trap sends a weird attack your way, like a psychic one. They are also there for me to drain (temp damage) when I'm tired of draining your HP. Speaking of which, every PC stops rolling HD after level 3, except when you want to gamble to replace an old roll from your first three levels (one gamble allowed per leveling).

Another benefit of leveling is that you get to choose one ability score and raise it by 1.

If you hit zero HP, the next hit on you will require a DC [20 minus your level] to survive. It'll still knock your ass down. Any player may "you sonofabitch" hand-clasp you up, transferring any amount of HP to you in the process. Or the others might just leave your sorry ass after the fighting has died down. Get gudder, brophena!

Now, the spells. Those tables are pricks against which players always kick. You can gamble on them if you really want, but otherwise:
When you want to cast a spell you know, you think about its flavor and tell the judge what you are trying to achieve. The Judge gives you a DC to roll against and you either do the spell or you don't. You don't forget spells, but each casting attempt costs you a point of Int, Pers, or Stam (heal ability scores each dawn if you slept). You can bump up your bonus die size one size for each ability point you burn beyond the one that is necessary (spellburn, baby!).

When you learn a wizard-spell (by stealing it from a dead wizard as the gods intended), you don't roll mercurial magic. You have to roll on this table. You should rename the spell something vancian and find a way to interject the weirdness of the table roll. For instance, magic missile that happens to have changed your gender when you learned it may be called, "Berk's darts of misengendered magic." Describe the weird way it manifests too!

Fumbled a spell? Roll a d6: 1 to 3) misfire; 4 to 5) corruption; 6) both. Misfires and spell-corruption will be improvised as appropriate to the spell's flavor.

Idolators don't learn spells, they just pray to a god they've pleased lately and hope for a high roll. The roll has to be rolled behind the Judge's shield, because the gods are mysterious bastards. Do you trust them? Fumble and you might be struck down for your hubris in a manner flavorful to that god.

The game Judge does not use the tables for DCC, but should make it a priority to read them during down time to get inspired (particularly the monster crit tables). Read this blog post too.  Also, read odd disapproval tables to get ideas to throw out in a semi-improvised manner. Players should read all crit tables they can get their hands on, but not at the game table.

*In DCC, the DC to save against a spell is the result the wizard rolled, but I'm not gonna do that here. Just use the four DCs above. Only solos and PCs can save.


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Friday, October 4, 2019

Japan has some messed up and great gaming book covers, Part 1

Yep, it's mostly Cthulhu, because CoC took over Japan at some point.

ゴミ means trash. This is a scenario collection for Shirgomi-taku, which is short for ”シリ”アスできない”ゴミ”, which means trash that you can't take seriously. It's a spin off of CoC-type play where weird and happy ends are more the norm than the doom and gloom of serious CoC.


Spielberg? I think these are the same people
that made the 30 minute dungeon RPG
 I have around here, waiting to be translated...


Happy doge is on a book titled Hound of Tindalos. Good boy, you find those right angles. This scenario is described as a heartful scenario for two, and you can buy the PDF for a mere 100 yen.

クトゥルフ神話24時
A Cthulhu adventure with gorillas. Love the san loss.
I have another one by the same group lying around...


This one made the list because of the contrast between the honobono (heartwarming junk) and background stalker-thulu
This one is just cool and up my alley.
Title is "Let's Go to the Dungeon! II"
Which is a Dungeons & Dragons fanfic,
according to the cover.
ダンジョンへ行こう!Ⅱ

Too-Cthu! Tenguy vs Tengu.
Not the worst tengu art I've ever seen;
that honor goes to Judges Guild.
クトゥすぎ!



ウォーハンマー  キャラクター設定の作りこみ方七選び
Seven choices to set up your... WARHAMMER?! character. Mate...

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Party, a 1-Page RPG

An RPG that can be recycled to power other RPGs where character gen gets bogged down by people being obsessed with builds and making the most emo twee gnome bard. Just roll your damn character and get back in there!


The Party was inspired by my acquirement of The Clandestinauts. It's well worth a read, and the print version has even more content. Think I read that Holmes ran RPGs with a resolution system kinda like the one outlined in the last paragraph. You can find a version of this RPG in that folder that is linked somewhere to the top left on this blog. Don't forget that PrintFriendly is a thing too.


The Party by Claytonian

If you are the first person to generate a character, you roll a d12 and note what you are. Once your character is decided upon, the GM may change the class of that result and the dependent clause of it too for future rollers. The next person will roll a bigger die size. The die does not reset when characters expire.

My character is a

  1. Human warrior who has a hound trained to bite crotches.
  2. Human warrior who cuts a scar into their self for each kill.
  3. Human warrior who can cast spells by consuming monster hearts.
  4. Human warrior who is damned to hell if they can’t amass 1,000,000 gold.
  5. Amazonian warrior who is searching for the dragon that razed her village.
  6. Dwarven warrior who keeps their enemies alive but insists on crucifying them.
  7. Human thief who is unaware that they are royalty.
  8. Human thief who is hounded by the furries for stealing the wrong statuette.
  9. Human thief who poses as a blind masseuse.
  10. Hobbit thief who is addicted to beholder butter.
  11. Human wizard who can transfer their mind to any bound humanoid over the course of a day and a night.
  12. Human cleric who can smell stolen items.
  13. Elvish duelist who is a flawed clone of one of the campaign’s big bad evil guys.
  14. Dwarven thief who grows stronger each time their friends die at others’ hands.
  15. Dwarven rune-priest who sinks into the earth each time they sleep.
  16. Chthonic elf who unflinchingly kills for the slightest offense, should they not be dissuaded by their companions.
  17. Automaton warrior who claims to be the finest creation of one of the campaign’s big bad evil guys.
  18. Human warlock who promised their soul to the hell-slugs of venus.
  19. Slugman warrior who finds rhymes painful to hear.
  20. Cambion wizard who wishes to find a way to cheat their self into heaven.
  21. Zombie warrior who always regenerates 4 hours after dying.
  22. Human door-mage who is queen of the ants.
  23. Leprechaun eye-mage who has 3 lives.
  24. Crow-man thief who has a musket with a magical bullet that can kill anyone.
  25. Catman slaver who has 3 gnomes do everything for them.
  26. Mutant barbarian who bathes in blood to survive.
  27. Elven vampire who can enter the dreams of others.
  28. Reformed mindflayer who only eats the brains of those they have read and deemed to be sinful enough.
  29. Demigod javelinist who can ride their own javelins up to 7 leagues.
  30. Duo-cynocephaloid monk who can identify who bodily fluids belong to by smelling both fluid and subject within a fortnight.

To do things, roll a d20 and the GM will roll one too. If it seems to be something you would be better at than other classes would be—exempli gratia, a warrior rolling to hit—you can roll a d30 instead. If you roll higher, you do the thing. If the GM's die rolls close to yours though, maybe you didn’t do the thing so smoothly. If you failed, there is some bad thing that happens now and makes sense for the danger you have blundered your way into.

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Friday, August 9, 2019

Roll Under? Nah, Brah. Roll Uber!

But actually still roll under.
The problem: Your face. Sorry. No, the actual problem is that rolling a d20 at/under your ability score to do checks and saves is fine occasionally, but not satisfying as a unified mechanic. Think about it: if your score is even slightly low, you'll suck at everything, and if its too high you'll be bored as you wade through all challenges at a leisurely pace.

One solution is to stick to rulings not rules and have roll under being a last resort or bonus opportunity on top of normal competence. "You examine the drawer. You find a jeweled torque and a bedazzled cutoff denim vest. Roll a Wisdom check for me to see if you notice the assassin creeping up on you while you do that."

But today's post is about your mom. No! Not your sweet, sweet mom. I mean, the other solution. You have a percentage chance to do an action. It starts at 60% and goes up by 1% for each point of ability score you have. Simple. You want more competence? Add your level too.

Old school mutation: Your chance is expressed on a d6. Just like the elves get when they walk by secret doors. I like this one a lot, even though it merely masks the problem that is the central conceit of this blarg post.
  • 1/6= Ability score from 3 to 4
  • 2/6= Ability score from 5 to 8
  • 3/6= Ability score from  9 to 12
  • 4/6= Ability score from 13 to 16
  • 5/6= Ability score from  17 to 18
You can express even more competence by giving rerolls, and to account for classes, kindred, or careers. I like to give thieves their percentage scores as a last ditch chance to do something when their ability check says they should fail.

Oh, and feel free to flip these numbers to justify the title of this post. Like I flipped your mom last night, Trebek. 
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Sunday, July 21, 2019

PCs fall, everybody dies

Here's some fun falling damage ideas. Pick one or more:
  • Falling with more than half your encumbrance slots full moves the damage dice up a step in severity. Being fully encumbered moves it up two steps, and being over-encumbered does extra damage equal to your greed. By greed I mean extra slots, but let's call it that.
  • Rolling the max on a falling damage die means you broke a bone (basically the DCC rule). Roll a d12, modified by Luck or whatever way you track the support of the fickle gods in your system: 1 or less) neck (die or paralyzed, as a Luck roll dictates); 2) spine (Luck roll decides if you are para or quadriplegic now); 3) d6 ribs (roll a d12 over that number or have a punctured lung); 4) right humerus, radius, or ulna; 5) left humerus, radius, or ulna; 6) right femur, kneecap, fibula, or tibia; 7) left femur, kneecap, fibula, or tibia; 8) jaw (can't cast spells or shout warnings, only mumble); orbit (eye either temporarily or permanently blinded, depending on a Luck roll); 9) collar bone (can't wield weapon or one side, nor wear a backpack) coccyx (can't sit); 10) right or left ankle (has to hop about to move); 11) right or left wrist; 12) nose.
  • Roll a number of d4s as close to the number of feet fallen as possible, but only if you fell 10 or more feet.
  • That splat sound engenders a random encounters check as monsters come to see what's up.
  • Each item you have has a chance to get shattered. Maybe if the falling dice roll 1s the DM chooses something from your inventory.
  • Any creature you can grab and shove under you on the way down blunts your fall by 10 feet.
  • If you fall down a truly bottomless pit, its reality warping nature keeps you alive and conscious forever. There is a 10% chance that eventually you will develop psionics after millions of years of falling with nothing but your thoughts to keep you company and then develop the ability to come back through the illusion that is space-time to give your former companions one last boon--or push one of them in the pit and see how they like it. Shoulda tried to save me, jerks!
  • Damage dice get increasingly larger for every ten feet you fall. Something like the image from this post.
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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Session Achievements: Arduin XP rethought

While perusing the Arduin Grimoires, I kept thinking about the table of things you could do to weedle extra XP out of ol' uncle Hargrave and how to streamline them a bit for my needs.

A couple things I decide to change  are not mentioning core-D&D magic items*; to go from small, more likely to come up achievements at the top and Satan's own pitchfork type things at the bottom; and to integrate the XP for slaying monsters rules that were in a separate part of the grimoires.

As this is just a homebrew homage to Arduin, things are skewed a little to my tastes too. But you might find this useful fodder for any D&D campaign.

In session achievements
25XP for being a level 4~5 rear guard during most of session.
25XP for being a level 4~5 point man during most of session.
25XP per dangerous creature of HD less than you that you helped to slay.
50XP for figuring out a trap.
50XP for tripping a trap and taking damage.
50XP for cleverly using a lesser spell.
50XP for losing more than half HP.
50XP for doing extra-dangerous risky acts.
50XP per creature of HD equal to your own that you helped to slay.
75XP for being a level 1~3 rear guard during most of session.
75XP for doing simple detection spells.
100XP for being expedition leader.
100XP for coming within 1 point of dying.
100XP for acquiring potions (100 points per dose).
100XP for casting vitally-needed spells that keep the party alive or avoid great peril.
100XP per creature of HD more your own that you helped to slay.
100XP for besting foes that had magical items or powerful abilities.
100XP per spell lvl×uses or more XP for finding magik scrolls.
125XP for finding single or limited use items that aren’t scrolls.
125XP for using up supernatural items.
125XP for finding +1 items or very simple items.
125XP for casting spells like Wizard Eye that provide vital intel.
125XP for throwing a lightning bolt that kills the B.E.M. just in time to save the party.
150XP for being a level 1~3 point man during most of session.
150XP for finding +2 items, lesser rings, amulets, &c.
150XP for doing spells of the fourth order to useful effect.
175XP for acquiring +3 items, wands, most rings and amulets.
175XP for doing spells of the fifth order to useful effect.
200XP for acquiring items that are +4 or of unusual powers.
200XP for doing spells of the sixth order to useful effect.
225XP for acquiring +5 items, or most magikal staves or rods.
225XP for using a single wish.
225XP for doing spells of the seventh order to useful effect.
250XP for being cursed.
250XP for acquiring a cursed item.
250XP for dying but being regenerated back to life.
250XP for doing spells of the eighth order to useful effect.
275XP for doing spells of the ninth or higher order to useful effect.
300XP for acquiring a major artifact.
325XP for defeating, in single combat, any creature that is HD20+.
350XP for defeating, in single combat, a demi-god or major Demon.
375XP for being the sole survivor of an expedition.
375XP for acquiring the mightiest of artifacts (Satan’s pitchfork, nuclear weapons, phasers, &c).
400XP for dying (but somehow coming back).
400XP for reincarnation.
400XP for permanently being changed into another type of entity via a curse, &c.

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*I don't like weapons with pluses to hit for pretentious reasons, so they might get axed out of this list at some point.