Sunday, March 30, 2014

Quick n Dirty PC Generation for My New Home Game

Roughly LotFP-based, except race and class are separate, non-fighters progress (slowly) in combat, and magic is this system. Players are new to D&D or haven't played in a long time, so I'm keeping things simple. I'm compiling this for me, but hey, why not share?

1. 3d6 in order (Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha); you may swap one. Then derive Power score (highest two of Int, Wis, Cha -28).

Ability Score Modifier
3                          –3 
4–5                      –2 
6–8                      –1
9–12                     0 
13–15                  +1 
16–17                  +2
18                        +3 

2. Choose race:

-Normal Human (no adjustments)

-Vesperblood (humans with ancestors who interbred with magical beings, requires +200 times level XP to progress in level over normal humans in class; IE +200 for level 2, +400 for level 3, etc)
--Earthkin (+1 Con, -1 Dex, +1 on rolls related to Earth Elementals, LotFP Dwarf Architecture bonus)
--Airkin (+1 Dex, -1 Str or Con, +1 to rolls related to Air Elementals, 1/2 falling damage)
--Firekin (+1 Str or Cha, -1 Wis, +1 rolls w/Fire Elementals, 1 Dmg Resistance & +3 saves VS heat)
--Waterkin (+1 Wis or Dex, -1 Int or Str, +1 rolls w/Water Elementals, double breathing & movement in water)
--Tiefling (+1 Cha or Wis, -1 Cha or Wis, +1 rolls w/Demons/Devils, sense magic/spirits by concentrating 1 round and rolling under Int, +1 Stealth)

-Moogle (~3 ft tall anthropomorphic cat or rabbit with tiny bat wings; +1 Wis, +1 Dex, -2 Str, +1 Pow, requires +500 times level XP to advance to next)

-IronGen (~7 ft tall steamwork automaton; +2 Str, +1 Con, -2 Dex, -1 Cha, -1 Pow, LotFP Dwarf encumberance bonus, +1 Int Check to repair self with other steamworks or generally operate them)

(more races will be available if PCs make friends with them as they adventure)

3. Choose Class:
-Barbarian (Zak's Random)
-Fighter (as LotFP; I may allow Zak's Random one later if people get antsy)
-Ranger (Zak's Random)
-Specialist (as LotFP but +half level to hit round down, or Zak's Random Rogue)
-Sorcerer/Witch (+one third level to hit IE +1 at level 3; edited to state cannot wear metal armor)
Class determines HP, Saves, level progression, etc, modified by race as above

4. Choose Equipment:
Everyone in the first session is starting as a teen (age 12+1d6) in a mining town near the edge of a steam powered magitek empire. People who start later will get more adventurey equipment options.
To start: Spend 1d6x10 SP in LotFP, GP in AD&D, or roll 1d20 below until you get the same number. You can reroll duplicates that are not the same number if you want (IE if you roll a 3, then a 5, you could reroll the 5).
1. candle
2. hammer and 2d6 nails
3-5. knife
6. leather apron and goggles +2 AC
7. sturdy hat or protective mask +1 AC
8-10. Backpack
11. hatchet
12. flint and steel
13. mirror
14. 10 foot pole
15. marbles or jacks
16. 25 ft rope
17. lantern +1d4 flasks of oil
18. lockpick
19-20. 1 day's rations

EDIT: Then roll 1d10 on this table:
1. wrench
2. bow and 10 arrows
3. a ranged weapon that is not a bow
4. bolt gun and 2d4 bolts
5. bolt of cloth
6. jug of water
7. compass/pocketwatch combo
8. spyglass
9. key to parent's Rouncer (a 10 ft tall two legged tank-like thing that fits 2 people. All weapons have been tripped from them in this setting, but they are useful for overland travel)
10. 1d4 jars of lard

I may use some tables to determine parent's occupation and resulting starting equipment or bonuses; if so I'll use the Hill Cantons Compendium or DCCRPG.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Proposed Magic System for My New Home Game

The premise is that spirits do magic, spirits are everywhere, but not many people can talk to them or get them to do things. The more you want them to do, the more risk you assume. It's mashing LotFP Summon with (1-3e) Stormbringer's magic system, trying to make it a little more accessible and broadly useful, but not losing too much flavor.
Note: the equation to get one's POW score below assumes "3d6 in order, swap one" for Ability Scores. If your Ability Score method is more forgiving (i.e. 4d6 drop lowest), use 30 instead of 28.

Magic is primarily done by elementals, ghosts, and demons. Humans are not inherently magical creatures. Some gifted men (and beasts) can communicate with the spirits and find minor spirits bored enough to fulfill simple requests. For more powerful magics, more powerful entities must be summoned and bound by a Sorcerer or Witch.

POWer: this Ability Score is found by adding the two highest of INT, WIS and CHA, then subtracting 28. If the result is positive, your character is one of the gifted individuals with some instinct for communicating with Elementals, Spirits, and Demons.
How POW is expended is detailed below.
A character recovers 1 POW by sleeping 4 hours uninterrupted. Another point is recovered for every 2 hours' continuous sleep beyond the initial 4.
Vespers are the most minor of spirits, immature and playful, like small children. They can be asked to do minor favors easily, since they are often bored. The favors they do are called "Cantrips." This list is not exhaustive, but covers most basics. To get a Vesper to do a Cantrip for you, spend 1 POW attracting their attention, then make a successful roll under the relevant ability score to see if you were convincing. If the character wishes the Vesper to bluntly enact their will, the roll is straight or at a penalty. If the player enacts the conversation with the DM or does a little ritual, the roll may have a bonus.
Cantrip Name
(Vesper type)
Roll Under
Produce one small globe of light (40 foot radiance) for 1 hour per level of caster. Produces heat if the requestor wishes, enough to light torches from.
Control of Body
(Earth, Water, or Air)
Total control over body (breath, heart beat, grip etc) for 10 minutes per level of the caster.
(Ghosts, Demons)
Can see through walls and other obstructions up to 50 feet from caster for 10 minutes times the caster's level.
Objects within site-distance of the caster may be moved up to 50 feet. Object can weigh no more than one ounce per level of the caster.
Cure Wounds
Cure 1d6 hit points damage. Also stops fatal major or critical wounds from bleeding out.
Comprehend Language
(Ghosts, Demons)
Can read/write/speak any language for 5 minutes duration per caster level.
(table adapted from  +Chris Kutalik 's Stormbringer Hack with ideas from Beyond the Wall.)

Sorcerers and Witches
These are individuals who, through a teacher and intense study of magical tomes, has discovered shortcuts and systems by which they may more easily contact spirits, demons, and elementals. Even if they are not naturally gifted in such matters (IE not high enough INT/WIS/CHA to have POW) they can contact spirits. They have a number of POW equal to their level, plus any gained as figured above or through other methods that come up during play.
Eedited to add: Sorcerers and Witches cannot use their POW while wearing metal armor. The studied form of this magic cannot be channeled and focused while in contact with lots of metal.
Sorcerer and Witch are interchangeable terms, and used for both sexes depending upon the region.
These individuals are able to summon and bind beings more powerful than Vespers.

Summoning and Binding
There are many types of spirits more powerful than Vespers, but the three who most commonly traffic with mortals are Elementals, Demons, and Ghosts. One can attempt to summon Elementals of Earth, Air, Fire, or Water, and Demons, at any time. Ghosts tend to be bound to specific locations, and thus can only be contacted in those locations.
Step 1: Attract Attention
Determine the type of creature you would like to summon, its number of Hit Dice, and number of powers. A creature's Hit Dice is always equal to or more than the Power spent to summon it.
Spend the appropriate amount of Power.
Minor Elemental or Ghost: 1 POW
Minor Demon: 2 POW
Major Elemental: 3 POW
Major Demon: 4 POW

Step 2: Make an Ability check to determine the entity's disposition toward you; you are trying to roll under the relevant ability...
plus your Power score after spending the above and any points from Garmonbozia or Rituals
minus the creature's number of Hit Dice and powers.
•If you have no previous experience with this type of creature roll under your Charisma, modified by Intelligence modifiers.
•If you have studied this creature from a book or another Sorcerer's anecdotes, you may choose to roll under Intelligence, modified by any Charisma modifiers.
•If you have previous experience with this type of creature, you may choose to roll under your Wisdom, modified by any INT and CHA modifiers.
Success: the creature will do the first thing you ask of it, then accompany you for a number of rounds equal to your success. On a critical success (roll a 1), add 1 to your POW for a day. If you roll your current max Power or less on a d100, the bonus is permanent.
Failure: The creature is angry at being bothered, and will manifest for a number of rounds equal to your failure. Your companions may be able to reason with it, depending, and it will probably not sacrifice it's life to destroy you, but it's first instinct will be to attack.

Elementals are similar to the descriptions in Stormbringer, editions 1-3 by Chaosium
Demons are as the LotFP Summon spell, except they have one Spell from the Magic User list or the reverse of one spell from the Cleric list per Hit Point. These are chosen by the summoner prior to summoning ("I call forth a Demon with the power of...")
Ghosts are each unique and what powers they have are unpredictable. They are not so much summoned as stumbled upon and communicated with. They can be powerful allies at little cost, or terrible enemies, possessing the summoner's body. It is not wise to meddle with ghosts one knows nothing about.

Garmonbozia the energy produced by strong human emotions. Spirits of all types are attracted to it, and Demons especially feed upon it. Sex and death reliably produce it. It is the reason virgin sacrifice is associated with demon summoning. Not only do you get the fear of the sacrifice, but the melancholy of the cultist thinking on the virgin's wasted potential in life.
The producer of Garmonbozia does not have to even be aware the summoning is taking place, however, only be nearby. Several couples have been surprised when their conjugal tryst helped some Sorcerer in the next room.
The methods of attempting to create Garmonbozia near the summoning are left to the player's imagination and the DM's discretion; when in doubt, use INT modifiers.

...let the players have fun making these up, but they cost 500 silver pieces worth of components for every +1 bonus desired. Alternatively, a ritual circle can be constructed from materials in the natural world over a continuous period of 36-INT hours for a +1 bonus, but the summoner cannot sleep, rest, or carry out any other meaningful work while constructing the circle.

After a spirit is summoned, instead of requesting an immediate favor, the summoner may choose to Bind the spirit instead. An item must be chosen for this purpose beforehand, and the same amount of Power spent to bind that it took to summon. Make the same Ability Check in Step 2 above. The creature is bound to the object for 1 day for every point of success, and can be summoned forth from the object at no additional cost during that time. At the end of the time, the creature is freed from the object, and will treat the summoner and his companions appropriately for how it was treated.
A Sorcerer/Witch can only have one creature summoned or bound per level, except...
At the expense of one Power point permanently, a spirit can be Bound to an object for a year per level of the summoner. At the end of this time, the spirit may choose to remain in the object. A spirit bound so does not count toward the Sorcerer's maximum.
A Witch can try to give the object some effect of the spirit by making a check as detailed in Step 2 above, with the difficulty adjusted appropriate to the effect. There are also less predictable events that can cause Bound spirits to affect their objects.

Necromancy the binding of a spirit to a corpse. The spirit is caught in the corpse for a number of months equal to the amount of bonuses gained from Garmonbozia and/or Rituals in the binding. It can also be freed if it's "body" is destroyed by violence.
This process forces the spirit to use whatever brains the body has left, or only be able to carry out simple one sentence commands. Decay is arrested by the binding.
(Necromancy will be fleshed out - har har - by the demon "construction" rules from Stormbringer if need be. I think it'll be an NPC thing mostly, though).

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Kalak-Nur: Fate Moves On The Wind

I'm starting a background, play-by-post/email game based on Zak S's Slow War rules for my 
Kalak-Nur setting. I was trying to be coy about it, but it's not gonna get done right without a big blog post everyone can refer to, so here is that. Players, remember, email me your moves. If you put them here or G+ you're giving info away to your potential enemies.
If you're not playing, it's full up at the moment, sorry. Comment here and if I remember I'll let you know if a spot opens up and there are unclaimed factions.

If you're in my every-other Friday games, hey, we're all adults here; either don't read this or separate player knowledge from character knowledge. Some of this your guy might even know, as history or whatever.

There's no functional difference between light and dark grey hexes; they're all dunes of metal filings. The whitish hexes in the frozen south are, uh, frozen. 
Movement is generally 4 Hexes on the Map per turn.
Special Movement notes:
-The following forces move at half the above, 2 hexes per turn, barring special circumstances: Digrot, Trepan, Rebel Droids
-EMFLWEM's forces must Occupy a hex for a full turn before moving on to properly freeze the ground for movement. Hella slow, but see bonuses to fight in those hexes.
-Occupying a hex: at least 20 STR worth of your forces are there unopposed (or winning a conflict) for a turn. This lets you take resources if there's a town there. Only the major cities are listed above; there are smaller settlements that can be found by exploration.
-The Goblin Coalition forces can move at double-speed below ground, IE not exploring just getting troops into position; there's less NPC stuff underground to encounter, but more of it is hostile.

A lot of this is adapted from Zak S.'s Slow War Rules.

Direct and relevant quotes from his blog:
Make a move at any time by telling me. Do whatever you want. I'll inform you what needs to be done to resolve your action.
There'll be a lot of rulings-not-rules and Common Law game design here. 
Most of the rest of this is just nitpicking and I-dotting, so don't let it intimidate you.... 
Timing and Speed:
I'll try to get back to y'all at least once per day. Actions where timing is immediately important will be resolved in order of fastest action first. 
Nominally, each day represents at least a day, so put everything you want done (including if/thens) in your orders.
Strength: **
Basically you start with 100 Strength. This is the currency you use for a lot of things representing wealth, power, influence, etc. 
1 strength point represents 1% of your army (usually about 1000 hd worth of regulars) or 10 levels/HD worth of special types (including whatever is needed to train, transport and feed them)--like if you need an assassin, you can spend a Strength point to get a 10th level assassin or spend a strength point to make a little force of 2 3hd fighters and one 4th level wizard, etc.
(At the start, some armies (like [Amaya Neow's or potentially Digrot's] army) are big; some, like [The Black Veil] are small, but the total strength of those forces is equal. One [Sister of the Veil] is effectively worth [several crazy biotech mutants or mindless undead].) 
When you win fights or take important territory you win Strength. 
A lot of things cost no Strength, you just do 'em. 
I'll keep track of how much Strength you have. 
**Exceptions: Town armies start at 50 STR, but a player may have two of them as their Forces. Digrot's army's STR depends on his first move.
Every space on the map has something on it...
Just rolling around purposefully searching territory without fighting anyone else is kind of like pulling cards off the Chance pile in Monopoly--you might get something good, you might get screwed. 
If you find anything good, likely at least one other faction will hear about it. 
Each side rolls d100 plus or minus modifiers plus the total Strength of the troops you sent. High roll wins, disparity equals the percent of the strength gambled that the losing side lost.
You can send as many troops as you want, but a maximum of 30 Strength worth of troops can be "gambled" on one roll. Battles larger than that go in phases, and there is time for forces to maneuver after the first engagement/roll. 
Many factions have a headquarters at their starting location. If you lose that, you lose half your Strength.
[Digrot, Rebel Droids, Amaya Neow, and The Elves of Trepan have no headquarters to begin with.] 
Winning and Losing:
When you're out of Strength, you gotta lick your wounds and take your army home. 
Maybe make a new faction. Last man, woman or salient entity standing is the winner or, if the game ends early, whoever has the most Strength when the game ends wins. 
The players will be ranked, and their FLAILSNAILS D&D PCs will be awarded bonus xp based on that rank.

When you do secret stuff there's a pretty good chance at least one other faction will find out. This is the table I'll roll on (note [Digrot] isn't on there, he only notices the obvious):
Who hears about your plans?

Roll d20
  1. Mocata (I know, I know, no one's playing him...)
  2. Mocata
  3. Victarion
  4. Victarion
  5. Chchcchchctktktktktk
  6. Chchcchchctktktktktk
  7. Chchcchchctktktktktk
  8. Goblins
  9. Goblins
  10. Rebel Droids
  12. Black Veil
  13. Black Veil
  14. Amaya Neow
  15. The Elves of East Trepan
  16. Targenmoor
  17. Baksheesh
  18. Vance
  19. Cortuth
  20. roll 1d4 on 16-19

Temporary Defense Coalition of Independent Goblin Working CollectivesCan move quickly underground to position troops. -1/4 STR if they attack Victarion's forces (they are traditional allies).
-10 in open battle; +10% to success of tricks and traps.

The Droid Army of Victarion the Brave
Occasionally, something draws Victarion's attentions beyond his plantation and the delivery of food from it to the settlements of the Grey Waste. Once his droids get out of the Westlands, whatever that something is usually doesn't last long. -1/4 STR if his forces attack Goblins (they are traditionally allies.)

Rebel Droids for a Free Future
A faction of Droids have freed themselves from Victarion's will and formed their own force. Through means both physical and otherwise, they have bound some of the mindless zombies infesting the Westlands to use as footsoldiers. 1/2 move, +10 to open warfare, 1 in 10 chance of fuckup (zombies, mindless, etc); -10 to attack zombies except in self-defense.

EMFLWEM The Ice Demon
Since being released by adventurers some time ago, EMFLWEM has taken over in the dark, frozen South. Ice Goblins are his footsoldiers, and if he freezes enough ground he can call forth Frost Giants.
(Must occupy a hex one entire turn before moving to the next; +20 to open combat in frozen squares)

 Sisterhood of the Black Veil
Look, poetry fails you sometimes, so here: Psychic Jedi Nuns whose mission is to keep anyone else from getting too much magical strength or using big items.
Low in numbers, so -10 STR to open warfare each turn after the first in sustained fights. They act first in battle.

Amayawjkqd neow3j0100101010 - Amaya Neow for short
An insane mutant vocaloid who has turned most of the isolated cults in The Grey Waste into human/android/insect hybrids. Lots of weird abilities, but 1 in 6 chance her forces get distracted by something shiny for a turn.

"We have lived among them, even loved them, but their time is over. The pretender moves through the waste, and we must end her and her tortured mutants."
Starts at 25 STR in any settlement, must get to any other to gain another 25 STR.

The one who had bound me is destroyed; I awake, and soon, all will sleep. Forever.
(His forces are at -25 STR to attack Droids; they hunger instead for living flesh. Possibility to raise the slain fleshy types to increase his strength.)

The Elves of East Trepan
Our spies in many settlements have stopped reporting; perhaps our inferiors are finally catching up. Time to crush them. Even separated from our homeland, we will triumph.
1/2 move (unfamiliar territory), Sorcery, -10 STR if they have not occupied a settlement in the last 5 turns.

The Armies of the Free Cities
Each starts at 50 STR; a player may choose 2 of them to begin with.
The grand bazaar is soon. (modeled on fantasy arabia, but just one sprawling city; allied with genies)
Built on crashed ships. Has some weird tech. Closely allied with Mocata. Why hasn't be communicated recently?
Grew around a remote trading post. Defiantly independent. Relies on trade to survive though. Protected by the Ludo, giant furry beasts that can control stone by singing.
Ancient, dark forces flow through here, causing the people to keep secrets, conspire against one another, and get in touch with dark powers.