Monday, July 10, 2017

You shoulda been there when I kicked Satan in the Jimmies: A new way to level up

I'd eyed a lot of goal-based and accomplishment-based systems of late to include in Quest for It, but none of them were sitting quite right with me, so I came up with a system whereby you get drunk and recall the exploits of recent sessions.

The players get together to petition the Judge every once in a while, in the form of boasting PCs talking over drinks. “Remember the time you got turned into an egg and the dragon laid you?” For each of these stories the barflies (Judge) are impressed with, the players have gained one chance as a group. When the players are out of stories, the judge rolls a d10. The players’ chance of leveling up is x in 10, where x is the number of stories. Players that are below the party average level will have 1 higher chance in 10, but only the one die is rolled. If the die rolls x or lower, players level up.

Today was the first time we'd actually tried the bragging part out. The players talked about 8 things by my count. I was surprised by how fun it was to hear the players play this out as I goaded them on as a bunch of non-descript NPCs and the occasional hireling.

Things the party has done or seen:

  1. Zombies that were their former compatriots from the funnel
  2. Mankies--monkeys without heads and upside down faces on their chests, that they got paid to head-hunt
  3. The battle of giant ants and climbing/sleeping foibles
  4. Sexy oil stories (basically, the barbarian +Paul C  saw a bunch of oily dudes and got curious)
  5. Met a god that was an eye (thanks, +Rafael Chandler)
  6. Rival factions (this was a bit of a gimme, and maybe I shouldnna counted it, but there was a story about how the party stumbled into danger because they didn't realize how packed that manse was)
  7. Fought a ghost king
  8. Lost valiant hireling Igor to yellow mold (made the crowd weep until the cleric started dealing mold like a drug)

8 out of 10 chance there. I rolled a d10 and got a 7, so the party leveled up. If I'd had rolled a 9, just the newish wizard would have leveled, as they were only level 2 compared to the level 4 party average.

So, some drawbacks I noticed to other systems that make mine the obvious one true path:

  • XP for Gold: My players never found gold. Like never, ever. Always missed secrets and never checked under the right beds. And they still just murdered anything they could. But usually got murdered first.
  • XP for murder: Just reinforces the bad habit of stabbing all the things. Players do that anyways.
  • XP for danger ala DCC: It's pretty close to XP for murder, and hard to assess how much danger was averted when PCs are smart enough to actually avoid a fight because it is the severity of the fight that gets you XP in the first place. Also, didn't work well for our weekly 2 hour games; took forever.
  • XP for goals: Sometimes, everyone has different goals. But it's not too bad, really. Can take a really long time for some goals if the players are hexcrawling and whatnot.
  • XP for ignobles ala Rogue Swords/Conrad's Fantasy: Takes a long time at 2 hours a week. But it inspired the current system a lot.
  • XP for failure ala DW: Actually, I like this, 8 out of 10, would roll to hit again. Players are encouraged to try stuff.

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If you spot a typo or don't have g+, you can just email me. Claytonian at the gmails.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fan Maps Collection 1

So here are a few maps I've done over the years for other people's dungeons. Click on each to visit its original post and see some larger image options as well as ideas for how to run the dungeon.

Death Frost Doom

Damn, I wish I had signed this one; it has been spread all over the net. Have not checked if it is still viable for the Zack S. refurbished edition. No offense to him, but I'll stick to my flautist anyways.

Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror

This one got retroactively accepted into the module

Silent Nightfall

Prolly my worst one, but useful stats for murder owls

Deep Carbon Observatory

Wondering what I should tackle next.
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If you spot a typo or don't have g+, you can just email me. Claytonian at the gmails.

Deep Carbon Observatory Map (fan-map)

Deep Carbon Fan map. Click to zoom. Then view it in its own tab and you can zoom waaaay in, Morty.
 Here is my take on the #DeepCarbonObservatory map. Looks like Dr. Seuss drew the Grinch Meets the Underdark.

I hope it helps make things clear, but some things, such as the first room, had wonky dimensions and unknown numbers of statues, so this is just my take on it. It works really well on roll20; lots of zoom in power here.

Deep Carbon Observatory is that thing by +Patrick Stuart​​.

I really recommend the groundhog day approach to run the first part of this adventure (the town and dam).

I've decided the funnest way to run the beginning of Deep Carbon Observatory, with it's Sophia's Choice chain, is as a Groundhog's day infinite loop scenario. An early report I wrote on it:
Now the party is making different choices and seeing different consequences. They're on their second loop, and have already seen the butterfly effect. They're about to unwittingly hit the time trigger again...
 One of the wizards in the wizard duel uses his stick of do-over each time he loses the duel (the party ignored them the first time). It creates a large sphere, and anyone caught in the sphere has their mind sent back in time to the start of the adventure, when the party was coming in via a ferry. The ferryman also remembers what happened. As does the artful dodger Wit. Nobody has figured out the trigger yet; they think the Oracular God has cursed them.

Also, at least some of the Crows experienced it too. I let the party catch a glimpse of the crazy dwarf just before the blast.

I considered having the time trick actually belong to the crows. Like they have an item that lets them have a do-over provided they feed it a soul it has never supped before. It still could be... in either case, it will have a drawback if the players manage to nab it...

It was a fun way to let the Crows terrorize them a bit. My player assumed the time gimmick was the main thing Deep Carbon was known for until I admitted the truth.

Want to give feedback? Share this on g+ and give me a tag (+claytonian JP) (if you want to keep it private, share with only me).
If you spot a typo or don't have g+, you can just email me. Claytonian at the gmails.