Thursday, February 7, 2013

Monster Party

I like monster squads like BRPD, Hellboy, and Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., and so running a game where the PCs have the potential to become one interests me. I like objective challenges and watching people problem solve, so PCs will start with nothing in a deadly dungeon. D&D excels at producing new weirdness from the mixture of many people's creativity, so I am eager to run a setting I haven't thought out much backstory for or anything like that. I'll prep the bare minimum for a fun session, and then after each game think about the ramifications of what was discovered and extrapolate from there.

The idea I'm running with is this: you're a bunch of monster types, tied up in a dungeon with no stuff and no memory of the last month. PCs keep what they find from session to session. New guys start with nothing all over again. There's gonna be stuff that's too hard to kill sometimes, and you gotta figure out how to deal with that. There's deadly traps. I'm going to discover a lot about this setting along with you as it's generated through play.

Rules are from Moldvay Basic D&D and LotFP except as below. I may add crit charts after I see how it plays without.
Characters can go into FlailSnails after 2 games. I'd like to keep PCs to a core of natives, with maybe a FlailSnailer or 2 to fill out the team if this stays interesting for enough sessions.
Characters begin with no outside equipment or money, even if they came in from FlailSnails.

For Race/Class, roll or choose below. These are the only options for new PCs. 

1. Goblin (as LotFP Halfling except no auto-progression in Bushcraft; get 2 points per level to spend on Specialist Skills)
2. HobGoblin (as LotFP Dwarf)
3. Bugbear (As LotFP Fighter with 3 in 6 Stealth, progress as Dwarf)
4. Skeleton∞ (Fighter or Specialist, progress as Dwarf, Base AC is as if wearing Leather)
5. Devil-man*
6. Kopru or Sahuagin (as LotFP Dwarf but all reference to underground stuff is underwater, can swim and breathe water, skill progression listed for Architecture is instead related to underwater stuff)

You may also choose to take on the abilities of a Magic-User or a Cleric instead of your racial abilities. Use simplified or full DCC casting but player should be familiar and have the book (or iOS app) for full. No casting in armor. You are still one of the races above in culture and appearance.

If 3d6 in order nets you high enough ability scores and you have the book, you can be an AD&D 1E or LL Paladin (and can make up your own restrictions like a Wu Jen if you want instead of using a Good/Evil binary). All characters start out with no equipment, but Paladins also start out naked.

Skeletons also get +2 to saves (except against cold) and don't need to breathe, however, they get -2 to casting checks and make bad magic users.

*Devil-Man: As LotFP or Moldvay Basic Elf, with the following changes:
•1d4 damage unarmed attack
•Add 1 HP for each spell you have memorized, but subtract 1 HP when you cast a spell
•Your area of effect spells have at 10 ft range, your targeted spells are by touch or weapon only.
When you go up in level, instead of the normal stuff, you roll on Zak's Random Wizard chart.
•Armor must be magical or the natively made armor of an inherently magical race; no spellcasting in normal armor.
•Devil-Men do not use spellbooks. They learn new spells by staring into a fire for 1 hr per level of the spell they desire, shedding blood and watching as it gouts out of some unfortunate's throat (victim must be alive and unable to escape), or otherwise meditating on universal processes that put them in touch with other infernal beings who give them mystical power. This cannot be done in combat or other stressful situations, but can be done in a dungeon. The beings who grant Devil-Men spells may ask boons occasionally.
•Casting is a simplified version of DCC. I may refine this later, and players who are familiar with DCC and have the book (or the iOS app) may use the full version if it doesn't slow things down too much.
Simple version:
1. Make a spellcasting check by rolling 2d6
2. Add and subtract appropriate modifiers (Tables B, C, D)
3. Compare the result to the appropriate column on Table A (below)

Table A:2d6 Roll Spell Effect
1)    Consult Spell Fumble charts in DCCRPG
2-4) Fail (Spell Lost)
5)    Wild Magic Surge in 1d3 Rounds (Spell Lost)
6-7) Delayed 1d3 Rounds (Spell Lost)
8-9) Success (Spell Lost)
10-12) Success (Spell Saved)
13+) Consult Spell Overpower charts in DCCRPG

Table B:Charisma Score Modifier
 3: -2
 4-8: -1
 9-12: no modifier
13-17: +1
18: +2

Table C:
Devil Level Modifier
1-2 +1
3-6 +2
7-8 +3
9-10 +4
11+ +5

Table D (Other Modifiers):
Use of Material Components -3 to +3 (victim's hair, voodoo doll, tears of a Harpy, etc)
Use of Victim's True Name +5
Spell Burn (STR or CON) +1 per Point Burned
Spell Level -1 per Level

(I was trying to make this simple, then Zach had some crazy ideas for the Devil-Man that were too good to pass up. Simplified DCC/Chainmail Spellcasting from Jeff Rients and Christian Kolbe.)

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