Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Free-form magic via spell components

She didn't giggle much, but the birds teetered a bit.
People who have kept abreast of me for a while know a few things about me: I like humor in RPGs, I like resource management, I like free-form magic systems, and I giggle a little when I write words like "abreast."

Pause for giggle break.

Okay, so I'm combining some of those things into the following spell-casting system.
  • There are no spell slots, so you can cast all day.
  • Component casting is the only kind of casting. I want greedy wizards scouring dungeons and flea-markets alike.
  • To cast a spell, you sacrifice one or more spell components (they melt like cotton candy in the mouth of the æther). You also need the ability to speak and gesticulate.
  • You have to roll to see how effective your spell is.
    • The higher you roll, the better.
    • Rolling a 1 means the spell backfires or consumes more components than you were expecting. Also, I say have a table of like 120 spell mishaps and you have to re-roll that spell die on it, cause great hubris preceedeth the fall.
    • More valuable components give larger dice for you to roll. A whole fleece is better than a bit of wool. A dragon's blood is worth at least a d60, doncha think?
    • In D&Dish games, where some sort of spell save could be mustered, you can roll your spell die vs the target's relevant save inverted (old school) or 10+stat+level (new school) and try to roll high. If you do, the spell affects them.
  • Magic circles, sacrifices, extra casters, and cauldrons could bump up your spell's die-size. The costlier the better.
  • The caster tries to justify a magical effect (the spell) based on the components they sacrificed to it as well as their scarcity/value. Puns and jokes are absolutely allowed, nay, nigh-requisite. For instance (some of these are adapted from a popular RPG):
    • A copper penny to read someone's mind.
    •  Combining sulfur, charcoal, and saltpeter to make an explosion.
    • Socks to make an electric shock.
    • A tower model that helps you babble in any tongue.
    • Chalk or dust to see invisible things.
    • Sand to induce sleep.
    • A dousing rod to gain the favor of a water elemental.
    • A steak to command a carnivorous animal, or a leash to command any kind.
    • A whistle to summon the hounds .
    • A bit of fleece to trick someone or induce slumber.
    • Beans to create a gust of wind.
    • A bit of gold to create a zone of silence.
    • Wire or a mother's bell to create a message over great distance.
    • A log to make a shadow-clone.
    • An abacus might counter a  spell.
    • Shrooms to undergo an astral journey.
That's about it. Any component ideas or holes in the system? Make a comment!
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Sunday, December 29, 2019

Round Robin, a 1-page RPG with group-done PC generation.

The basic gimmick of round-robin is that you and your friends make each character together, passing the sheets around the table. Resource tracking in the form of TP is important, but if you ever run out of gas or choose to not use it, you can use the dice (2d6+bonus, kinda like Dungeon World but without the fail, suck, success track of that game and more something along the lines of the the ghost die from Star Wars d6. Wait.).

Anyways, it's simple and fast in the good ways and slow in the enriching ways. I hope you like it. It's embedded below, but you can also just visit the google docs link to print it.

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Friday, December 13, 2019

Arduin Artifacts lost to the ages

There were plenty of monster cards given out by Uncle Dave too.

On the MeWe Arduin group, a certain CK posted a list of artifacts without stats. Uncle Hargrave made scads of unique item cards over the years and would dole them out as treasure. My challenge to you: Make these cards for your home campaign. Honor Dave's spirit!
Quoth the CK:
Tonight, I was looking through an old email account and found from 2009 a email listing of an old Arduin gamer( don’t remember who) who was selling  off his collection of Arduin material, including  48 one-of-kind artifact cards keyed by DAH himself!
Unfortunately, the seller didn’t have scans or even the keys on display, so I have no idea what these items did but  I do have the names,
1) Magik Weapon: " The Damned Axe."
2) Magik Weapon: "Shortsword of Grund."
3) Magik Artifact: "Kinadraxian Scale Armor."
4) Magik Weapon: "Runeweaver Crossbow of R'lin."
5) Magik Artifact: "Belt of Inescapable Locating."
6) Magik Weapon: "Vector: Monomolecular Filiment Sword of the Phraint- Argalanthi Wars."
7) Magik Weapon: "Dwarven Clawed Mace: 'Four'"
8) Magik Weapon: "The Wail Flail."
9) Magik Artifact: "The Eating Amulet."
10) Magik Artifact: "Statan's Obsedian Crown."
11) Magik Weapon: "Devil's Balls Scourge."
12) Magik Weapon: "Kothi Priest's Sword."
13) Magik Artifact: "The Boots of Liamand."
14) Magik Artifact: "The Black Tome of Alsophacus."
15) Magik Weapon: "Templar: Sword of the Wu Jen Wars."
16) Magik Artifact: "The Black Skull."
17) Magik Artifact: "The Outlaw's Adornment."
18) Magik Artifact: "Rhyton's Rod."
19) Magik Artifact: "Helm of War."
20) Magik Artifact: "Armor of the Elders."
21) Magik Artifact: "Last remaining deodanth shield from their invasion of Arduin: The Somber Shield."
22) Magik Weapon: "Trelvian Sword."      
23) Magik Artifact: "Madrix's Crystal Ball of Guessing."
24) Magik Weapon: "World Forger Halberd."
25) Magik Weapon: "Kiss of Judas Rapier."
26) Magik Weapon: "Hyperborian Mace: The Bane of Arraddan."
27) Magik Artifact: "The Staff of Black Wizadry."
28) Magik Weapon: "Bellandra's Breast - Succubi Sling"
29) Magik Artifact: "Gauntlets of Fire & Ice."
30) Magik Artifact: "Halfling's Friend Shortsword"
31) Magik Artifact: "Gowns of Aphrodite."
32) Magik Artifact: "Brazier of the Arch-Mage Kleeesaiiick."
33) Magik Weapon: "Winged Javelin: Trelven Reign."
34) Magik Artifact: "Bracers of the Goat."
35) Magik Weapon: "Flametounge Scimitar."
36) Magik Weapon: "Dwarven Battle Axe: Vindicator."
37) Magik Weapon: "Elven Composite Bow: Searcher."
38) Magik Artifact: "Chalice of the Damned."
39) Magik Weapon: "Dagger: Phallus Flayer."
40) Magik Artifact: "Hawk Helm."
41) Magik Weapon: "Poseidonis the Trident of the Sea."
42) Magik Artifact: "The Majextrix' Robes."
43) Magik Weapon: "Gaspard's Blade."
44) Magik Artifact: "The Ring of Ruthlessness."
45) Magik Artifact: "Dragon's Plume Necklace."
46) Magik Artifact: "Doom Fire Wand."
47) Magik Artifact: "The Mirror of All Demons."
48) Magik Weapon: "Ghost Roast Wand."
The seller also mentioned, he had a print of Caliban with additional notes written inside by Dave himself detailing even more about the dungeon that were never published!
Sadly, to add to the heartbreak we all feel as Arduin fans, he even mentioned having original maps, letters, and other original  material written by David that somehow ended up getting lost.

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: At the top of many rounds, the players are asked to write down their actions for the round (combat is chaos). Monsters react. If someone rolls an attack result that is higher than their foe's roll, they hit first. Magic is not an attack, so it happens last.

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/bosses. 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.

Warriors don't roll a "deed die", but if they roll 3 or higher  on their hit die and hit with their attack, they kill one extra foe per level they have. 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, &ct, as long as danger has been telegraphed.

Do it: For skill (non-hit/spell) type rolls, 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 add a hit die to do theify things and backstab in most cases. They can add in more hit dice by spending a Luck points.
  • 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). BTW we use these instead of normal mercurial magic.

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 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.

If you hit zero HP, the next hit on you will require a DC [20 minus your level]  Stamina/Con check to survive. It'll still knock your ass down, but 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.

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 mis-gendered magic." Describe the weird way it manifests too!

Fumbled a spell? Roll a Luck die: 1 to 5) misfire and corruption; 6 to 15) misfire; 16+) corruption; nat 20) burn Luck to avoid corruption. 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.

Spells duels: If you intend to stop someone else's spell, you are the defender and the duel is rolled out after all the attacks of the round are resolved.

Lankhmar magic: If you are a white mage and do white magic, the first point of spellburn is free, and the opposite is true for black mages.

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.

Benefits of leveling:
  • You get to reroll your hit dice once you hit level four to try and get higher HP.
  • Crit rolls on spells add in your level, in cases where we resort to spell tables.
  • Level=HD in case a spell or effect is looking at that (HD have a cap).
  • One ability score is boosted by one point.
  • Wizards get a new chance to learn spells that they previously failed a roll to learn.

*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.

Share good posts with good goblins. Claytonian at the gmails.

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.

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.

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

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 whom 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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