Sunday, July 29, 2012

Streamlining Combat Options in NGR


So some months ago I was running a Constantcon game of NGR with the esteemed Kyrinn and a situation arose in which she wished to slash at a the legs of a petty hired bandit.  I couldn't figure out a good mechanic on the fly and just flubbed it (an overall shitty call on my part),  and it also showed a rigidity I wasn't happy with in NGR.

Thinking on it over the months I thought about the critical hit system and maybe giving that some more options beyond double damage (in this case damage on a hit, damage and knockdown on a critical),  but just a rough idea at that point.  I do like choices after all.

I've been mulling on it more though and though and though about how clunky some parts of conflict (all types) are at this point when cleaning up some typos on stealth conflict for next years printing (start early).  And I thought about collapsing a lot of things in with each other, in much the same way I did with the "action" system for the 2012 printing.  Definitely inspired by a google+ post from Zak about dungeon world I think it was?

I'll use combat as an example.  I'd roll up double damage, power attacks (the effect of doing max damage), knock downs and grapples into just "plain old attack".   On a hit you choose one option. If the attack was a power attack you can choose one more, if its a critical hit you can choose one more.

- Roll the weapons damage
- Double the weapons damage
- Count the damage rolled as maximum (requires a roll to modify)
- A knock-down check
- A strength die of stun damage (blunt only)
- A disarm (requires 2 slots)
- A grapple (requires 2 slots)
- A unique situation dependent effect (also known as "other" or "misc.")

Similar things could be used in stealth:
- Roll an awareness die of suspicion
- Double the suspicion scored
- Count the awareness die as a maximum roll(requires a roll to modify)
- Other options?

Or Social Conflict:
- Roll an intelligence die of influence
- Double the influence scored
- Count the intelligence die as a maximum rolled
- Etc

Initial tests (one game) have gone well.  This may end up going into the 2013 printing or it may end up being dropped.  I have a nice mix of players in my home game of people who are casual, ludicrous and exceedingly good at manipulating and exploiting systems.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Things that go bump in the night still fear the mob

So in many games,  there are horrible monsters that will be largely immune to the assaults of the average man or soldier.  Creatures requiring magic weapons, dark spirits and weird things from beyond space and time.  But why don't they just over run and destroy town like a rampaging Dunwich horror?  Perhaps mankind has a few tools up their sleeve to protect their little hamlets from destruction?

Here are a few suggestions for what keeps the town safe and makes monsters avoid the mob:

Fire
    A common one, and a common one used by adventurers so it isn't that great of a secret weapon.  That said, many staple monsters fear the flame.  Maybe it doesn't even hurt, it just causes fear? Still a classic.

Holy Symbols
    I like to make holy symbols count as +0 magic items.  This makes them unsuitable (really) for any but the most desperate of attacks against a monster.  Still, an angry mob full of people holding up wooden crosses might give a monster pause against a frontal assault.

Dogs 
   Not only does their keen hearing and sense of smell allow them to sense the invisible and unnatural (a vital warning system against everything from from Elder Things to Terminators) but the baying of hounds may have supernatural powers which they lend to their human masters.  In OSR terms,  The barking of dogs counts as a turn undead from a cleric with a level equal to the square root of the number of dogs (1,4,9,16 etc).  In NGR I'd count a fair many dogs as having 'Exorcism'.

Cats
  If Dogs are mankind's best friend then cats are mankind's temperamental and weird roommate who poops in a box. Still cats are often fond of humans and help protect the home, in addition to their own ability to detect the unnatural cats are guardians of ancient secrets and powerful magic,  attacks from cats count as attack from magic weapons.  If you are some sort of virginity eating lycanthrope, you should invest in some traps as the cats congregate near your home in preparation for an assault.

Chains
   While it is true you may need magic weapons to harm some creatures,  you don't need magic items to hold them down, wrap them in chains, throw them in a sack and bury them under a pile of heavy rocks in a cave.  Further more, that might be a truly terrible fate for a creature to have to befall,  best stick to picking off lone villagers rather than risk a frontal assault.

Anything else I should add?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

OSR Bard

So,  Flailsnails is heavily OSR and "Retroclones",  and there is a bit of a distaste of the bard of later editions as the "Combat Lutist".   But I like con-men in adventuring parties.  So here is my take on an OSR Bard for your favourite retroclone.

Bards

Requirements: None
Prime Requisite: CHA
Hit Dice: As Thieves
Maximum Level: None
Level Progression: As Thieves

Tricksters, Charlatans, Jesters and Skalds.  These are the drifting vagrants who seek adventure along the path of least resistance.  They may have reputations as entertainers for sure,  but only because a vagrant with a guitar gets a free meal rather than a night in the brig. They ply many trades, but are masters of none, staying only long enough to pull their next con. Maybe tomorrow they will want to settle down, but until tomorrow they will just keep moving on.

Being a shifty type with needs somewhat greater than the law will usually allow, Bards have the following thief skills as if a thief of their level: Pick Pockets, Climb Walls, and Hear Noise.

This also involves bards needing a bit of strength of arms.  Bards may wear armour up to chain (if armour restrictions are in place) and have no weapon restrictions.

Being wanderers and explorers,  Bards are often also exposed to ancient magics (or more often lonely wizards who aren't too picky about an apprentice, and often wind up missing several valuable artifacts.)   Bards may cast spells as a magic user half their level (round down).  Bards begin play with read magic but no other spells, and never gain spells through research or leveling.  Bards may only gain new spells through adventuring or as gifts.

Finally Bards like to talk tall.  This gives bards a chance to know relevant tall tales about any crumbling ruin, dungeon, magic item or monsters equal to a roll of their level or less on a d20.  This also makes the stories a bard tells of his own exploits (and those of his friends) that much more impressive.  All adventurers earn 10% additional experience when adventuring or carousing with a bard.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Reports from the Northcote

A few expeditions have made it into the RFCS Northcote.   Rumours going about the town are sketchy but some details have slipped out,  how true are they?  Unknown.

1.) Booby traps and false warnings litter the place
2.) There is a bad swamp rat infestation. flesh eating.
3.) Some sort of "Space Madness" seems to have struck passengers
4.) Some areas have a plague of some sort
5.) Submachine guns were confiscated by a returning party.
6.) The interior Tube-Transit system is still functional
7.) I'm not saying it was aliens....but...
8.) A few new crops have been brought down to Will the Appleseed.
9.) There are escaped convicts on the ship, one was brought back
10.) It's believed the rebels are trying to get infiltrators onto the ship.
11.) There is an entire hold filled with Synthbrosia worth millions on board.
12.) "The Boss" is looking for a shipment meant for Will.
13.) The ship's orbit is deteriorating and will soon crash into the swamp.