Sunday, January 29, 2012

Help With W, X, and Y...

I am participating in the A to Z April challenge this year.  The theme for all of my posts is the experiences of my gaming group and 80s gaming; of course, posts with related subjects like movies we watched as a group or video games will also be done.  I have 23 letters of the alphabet pretty much completely planned out ahead of time.  I am having problems with W, X, and Y.  Can anyone that follows this blog give me some words or phrases beginning with those letters to serve as prompts?  Feel free to submit whatever you feel - it may just be the thing that jogs some cobwebs loose and gives me an idea for that post.  Any and all suggestions will be highly appreciated!

Single D6: Action Results Table

My plans are for the single D6 game to be quick playing and easy to use.  I think the easiest way to do that is to base all attempted actions on the role of a single D6 against the Action Result Table.  Fans of Talislanta will find this table very familiar.  The process is pretty simple and straightforward.

1.  Compare the character's Skill or Attribute Rating against the Difficulty of the Action.
2.  Take the difference (positive, negative, or even zero) and apply it to a D6 roll.
3.  Refer to the chart below to see the outcome of the attempted action.

Action Result Table
If you roll a The Result is
0 or less Mishap
1 to 2 Failure
3 to 5 Success
6 or more Critical

The following guidelines may be used when interpreting the results from the Action Result Table.
Mishap:  The attempted action not only fails but has unexpected consequences such as the character drops or breaks his weapon, accidentally injures himself, the spell backfire, or some other similar outcome.  The decision is in the hands of the GM to determine the details of the mishap in correlation to the attempted action.
Failure:  The attempted action fails to achieve the intended results.
Success:  The attempted action succeeds and achieves the intended results; this could be anything from a moderate to success to a complete success depending on the circumstances.  The higher the roll, the better the outcome.
Critical:  The attempted action not only succeeds but also has unexpected benefits such as a major wound inflicted on the target, a bulls eye shot, or some other similar outcome.  Again, it is the duty of the GM to determine the details of the critical in correlation to the attempted action.


This is all just first impression type ideas without any play test being done at all.  I may have to adjust the numbers in the left hand column in the ART.  That will allow for a wider improvement range for characters over their adventuring career.  To go along with the table above, Attributes and Skills will be rated with positive and negative number; for example, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2.  This rating will be applied to the D6 roll in the appropriate situations related to the attribute or skill in question.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Single D6... (Part 2)

After my earlier post and the comments left by some readers, I had some more thoughts come to mind about  a role-playing game designed around using a D6 for all task resolution during play.  Some of these ideas are mine and some were taken from the comments left on the other post; no worries, I will give credit to any and all who contribute ideas in this continuing brainstorm process.

Inspiration and Concept
The inspiration and concept for this idea came from this comment on my post with the idea of using LEGO Heroica dice in an RPG:

Eldrad Wolfsbane said, "What about an entire RPG based on a single D6? Could it be done?".

After reading the comments on my original post and reading the suggestions made about such a design, I got a few more ideas of my own and decided to move forward with a little more design work on this game.  An additional design goal is for the number 6 to be important to the game in other areas of the game also.  For instance, I want the core rules to be done in 6 pages and all supplemental material to be done in 6 pages also.  I know that goal is limiting but it should make for a fun and interesting design challenge deciding what gets included and what gets removed.

I still have not settled on a decent name for the underlying rules system. Some of the labels I came up with for this project include uno6, single6, unoDie, solo6, just6, and simple6. I am not sure if any of those are near as "cool" as I would like but they do get the point across.  I am probably leaning towards just6 or simple6 but I am still officially undecided.

I am designing the rules with the intent of each rule book being no longer than 6 pages; in fact, if I can ensure that all rules and supplements are exactly 6 pages of content then that would be extra neat.  My plan is to do a core rule book, maybe a supplement of left out or optional material, a fantasy book, fantasy expansions, and then stretch out to other genres.

Core Rules

Since the goal is only 6 pages of rules the focus should be on including only what is essential to the game.  I think it might be best to have a player book and a game master book for the core rules.  I just do not think that character creation, combat, and gm stuff can all be included in just 6 pages.  If I discover otherwise, then I will go with a six page consolidated core rule book.

I would like character creation to be limited in detail but still offer a little bit of variety.  This is probably not a game system where campaigns could could last years unless advancement was slow.  It would be best to keep the defining aspects of characters to a minimum.  Something like this might work:

races: human only in the core rules.
stats:  Physique (physical power & toughness), Reflexes (balance and dexterity), Intellect (smarts), and Will (mental toughness).
talents: simple and broad skills that might pertain to play of the game
boons: advantages
banes: disadvantages

Task Resolution
Again, Eldrad Wolfsbane suggested doing a tiered set of values to show expertise and strike chances:

Unskilled 1 in 6
Average 1-2 on 6
Skilled 1-3 on 6
Very Skilled 1-4 on 6
Expert 1-5 on 6

Of course, combat would be handled with rolls of D6 also.  Ideas by Eldrad Wolfsbane include:

1 What you were trying to do goes very wrong.
2 What you were trying to do goes wrong.
3 What you were trying to do barely succeeds.
4 What you were trying to do succeeds.
5 What you were trying to do goes very well.
6 What you were trying to do goes far better than expected.


Hand to hand subtract -2
Clubs -1
Blades and Bullets
Large Blades and Bullets +1
Explosions +2

Light -1
Heavy -2

Agile -1
Very Agile -2

Talent level would also add subtract.
Unskilled -1
Average 0
Skilled +1
Expert +2
Master +3

This version of combat is completely simple BUT it would make the players and enemies think twice about combat.

A few sample enemies

-Town Guard with Spears and Muskets wearing Light -1 Armor.

-Expert +2 Assassins with Two Handed Swords +1 Wearing heavy Armor -2. That would be a total of +3 to hit and -2 to be hit.
Everyone gets six skill points. You may only put 3 in one skill only. After 6 adventures you get 1 point, then after 7 adventures you get another point and so on.

I kinda played with this system above.

Very deadly but kinda fun.

Blood everywhere!

Two normal guys Fed and Barney going at each other with swords both roll the highest get first hit a natural 6 (Fred) and the looser gets a 3 (Barney). Barney dies in a pool of blood as Fred cheers!

One roll to determine to hit, initiative, and damage. Very fast system!

There could be a simple speed modifier that adds to the roll only to determine if the character goes first and not for damage purposes.

Quick +1
Very Quick +2

On the roll above Barney's effective place in the round would have been a 5 if he were Very Quick. Still too slow for Fred's quick hit with a sword.

Armor and Agility BTW subtracts from the attacker's dice roll.

Fantasy Rules
Three races covered in base fantasy rules - dwarf, elf, and half-elf.

A set of classes to include warrior, mage, rogue, and maybe a few others.

Weapon damage would be handled as suggested by the Zenopus Archives:

short weapons 1d6-1
med weapons 1d6
long weapons 1d6+1
two-handed weapons 1d6+2

Other areas that would need detailing for a fantasy version would be monsters, magic, and treasure.

Other Genres
The base stuff could very easily be used for most genres with no problem but then you run into problems such as how do you have firearms all use D6 and all choices still be viable?  That is definitely something to consider.  I would like to maintain the 6 pages of rules - no more or no less - in each rules pamphlet.  You might need several pamphlets for one genre, though.  For example, you might need Fantasy, Magic, and Campaign Setting pamphlets to play in a fantasy setting.  All of them would be 6 pages each so the rules would only total 18 pages for fantasy and 6 for core.

I am going to try and consolidate all of these ideas together into a coherent set of core rules and maybe some fantasy rules to follow...

I Made Thinker

In the past few days I have had a spike in membership and I would like to thank all of those those have recently joined and those that continue to follow and read this blog.  With my current number of followers at 42, I have moved up to fifth level according to From the Sorcerer's Skull.  I am enjoying the blogosphere tremendously and hope to continue to contribute my little part.  I am basically flying by the seat of my pants on this thing.  There is a little bit of planning - and I do mean very little - to these posts but I do seem to have hit some sort of stride where it is much easier to come up with post topics.  With that being said, I gotta go check out some of YOUR blogs now.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Single D6... (Part 1)

This entire post was inspired by this recent comment here in response to my post about using LEGO Heroica dice for a role-playing game:

Eldrad Wolfsbane said, "What about an entire RPG based on a single D6? Could it be done?".

My initial thoughts were that such a game would probably be very limiting and would not be played very much at all.  After thinking about it for a while, I am starting to wonder if that initial reaction is wrong.  Could a role-playing game based on the roll of a single six sided die occupy the players with a satisfying play experience?  It might seem limited at first but I think it might be worth investigating to see what can be done with a game designed around that idea.  A little brainstorming on my part produced the following thoughts.

An RPG design that uses only a single D6 for all task resolutions in the game.  Damage immediately comes to mind as the only area that needs to use different dice than just a standard D6.  There are, however, other options that will maintain the D6 only resolution mechanic.

Damage could be a specific set amount for each weapon. For example, a club could do a static 3 points of damage. To offer some variety, the damage of each weapon could be altered by the character's strength adjustment.  For example, the previously mentioned club that does 3 points of damage could do 5 points of damage in the hands of a character with a +2 strength adjustment.  Now there is a method to do damage that does not negate the design goal of a single D6.

All role-playing games should have a decent name for their underlying rules system.  I like attaching cool labels to projects so a few I came up with include uno6single6unoDie, and solo6.  I am not sure if any of those are near as "cool" as I would like but they do get the point across.

The best bet would probably be to avoid genres - such as supers or science fiction - that provide the opportunity for a very wide character power range.  The genre should be more limited in power and could probably be done with a single D6 for western, horror, modern, or maybe even fantasy.  

Task Resolution
I am thinking that a simple chart similar to the one in the Talislanta rules might be the best option.  A player would roll and apply any attribute or skill modifiers to the roll.  Then the GM would call for any adjustments based on the situation or opponent and then consult the chart.  There would be differing levels of success or failure based on the total of the roll.  A quick playing simple system would probably be for the best.  

Final Thoughts
The ideas expressed above are just my initial thoughts on a single D6 role-playing system.  I honestly do not know if I will further develop it at all.  I just wanted to get these ideas out of my head.  It has been my experience that many campaigns are shorter than they were in the old days so I think a satisfying play experience could be realized from a simple set of rules with these ideas if it was done properly and characters did not drastically improve over a short period of time and the power level was kept at the appropriate level.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Missed Opportunities

Over the years, the role-playing industry and hobby has put out many products.  These products have covered and allowed campaign play in all sorts of genres from fantasy to science fiction to just plain weird.  There are also plenty of "I wish" products that never get made but would seem to be ripe for a role-playing game of one sort or another.  Here's some games that I would like to see.

AD&D Second Edition by Gygax
Of course, we will never get this now but Gygax did give many clues to where his design would have went. There have been numerous threads about this on various discussion boards and there is even a person/group working on what they *believe* would be a true Gygaxian 2E.  In the end, nobody knows exactly what Gygax was going to do other than Gygax.  This is probably one of the top hypothetical products I would want to be a reality.  I suspect if this would have been made then we would still be in the third edition era of the game. 

There actually was a Dune RPG released BUT it saw a very limited release after WotC bought out LUG.  At that time, Wizards had Star Wars D20 and Last Unicorn Games had (iirc, of course) Star Trek and Dune.  Imagine, if you will, that Wizards buys LUG and now has Star Wars, Star Trek, and Dune as RPG properties; all 3 products are powered by the same rules system also.  Think about the possibilities!

There are plenty of other hypothetical products that could have been hits in the role-playing community.  Possibilities that come to mind include RPGs based on The Prydain Chronicles, The Chronicles of Narnia, Image Comics, Transformers (powered by Mekton?), and Sliders just to name a few.  Maybe one of these days...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sliders Is Better Than Doctor Who

I find myself browsing and viewing a lot of the movies and shows on Netflix lately.  I only have the streaming service so I do not know exactly what I am missing out with the mail delivery service but I do know that I am missing at least "some" stuff".  Regardless, one of the things I have really enjoyed is the opportunity to watch all sorts of TV shows including older shows and much more recent shows.  Some of the TV shows that I have at least watched a few minutes to gauge my interest include Dark Shadows (60s original), Burn Notice (seasons 1-4), Night Gallery, Masters of Horror, and many more.  The TV series that I am currently viewing is Sliders.  I saw many of the episodes as they originally aired but there has been enough time lapsed since then that it's all pretty much new to me.  The bad news is that the streaming version is only a partial list of episodes for season one and season two is completely absent; all said there are 72 streaming episodes available for viewing.   

I made it through the shortened season 1 and I am currently two episodes into season 3.  As I am watching this episode a thought crossed my mind - Sliders is better than Doctor Who as the basis of an RPG campaign.  I can hear the Doctor Who fans screaming in anguish right now at the blasphemy of that thought.  Make no mistake, Doctor Who is an awesome series and my favorite show of all time.  On the other hand, when it comes to a role-playing setting Sliders has it beat for several reasons.  Please, put the torches away and hear me out before this blog and I face your wrath.

Player Characters
One of the goals of a role-playing campaign based off of a TV show would be the ability to emulate the setup of the main protagonists from that series.  I believe Doctor Who presents a problem with that because the Time Lord character (Doctor Who or otherwise) will typically outshine all other characters.  The humans will be overshadowed by either one of the other players or by an NPC; unless, of course, all players are a Time Lord.  That changes the entire setup from the TV show.  In contrast, Sliders has four human characters in the party.  Sure, some are smarter, more athletic, look better, etc. but they are all human.  My point is that one character may get the spotlight in certain situations but will not maintain the spotlight in the same fashion as The Doctor would.

The Setting
At first glance it would seem that Doctor Who has the advantage when it comes to the setting.  I mean, the entirety of time and space would be your playground in a Doctor Who game.  That would also be one big hassle for the GM.  Every time the TARDIS landed somewhere else then a new planet, space station, alien race, alien animals, etc. would have to be detailed.  Again, Sliders has the advantage when it comes to role-playing.  The setting is Earth - actually parallel Earths - so the setting is basically constant all of the time.  Of course, there are details different on each Earth so only a little work has to be done to get a "new setting" for the next slide.

Adventure Ideas & Canon
Doctor Who has many years of show history - 30+ years of the original and nearing 10 on the new series - that serve to give many details for the players to absorb and use.  There have been numerous visits to Gallifrey, Skaro, etc. and the players need to be aware of much of that information if they want to remain canonically relevant without invalidating of that history.  Stepping on canon will bother some (many?) players and there is a lot of canon to Doctor Who. Sliders was on for less than 10 seasons; a decent run but not enough to develop so much canon to hinder adventure ideas for gaming.  In fact, many of the episodes end or start with the Sliders about to leave a world for the next one.  The viewer only gets to see a few moments of that world before the slide so there is an opportunity for adventure ideas right there.  Another source of adventure ideas is real world history - what if the Nazis won World War II, or what if the U.S. moon mission was a disaster and the space program shut down, or what if the cold war between the U.S. and Russia was still going on?  There are numerous ideas that can be generated by flipping through an encyclopedia, almanac, or even cruising Wikipedia.

Those are just 3 of the reasons why Sliders is better than Doctor Who for a role-playing campaign.  I would list more but I can hear the crowd approaching.  I see the flames of their torches through my window shades.  Maybe I can slide out of here before they make it through the door?

Resident Evil 6 Official Trailer US

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Gene Is Passed On

My son, Ethan, received the Wii version of the Skylanders game for Christmas.  Since then he has gotten several additional characters.  We got him a new character yesterday and he started using him immediately.  As you are building up the various characters one of the things you can do is buy power ups from a fairy.  When you run out of money or your funds are too low, you can get more by bashing barrels or other items on a treasure hunt until you get enough for the next power up.

As I am surfing the net on my laptop watching Ethan play his new character, Sonic Boom, his funds become too low after a power up.  I expect him to go around breaking barrels or traveling to beat areas that have already been cleared.  I even asked him if that was what he was going to do.  Ethan responds with, "No, Dad.  This is what you do. Watch me.".  He grabs the treasure chest figurine, places it on the portal of power, and promptly locates the treasure chest and retrieves the money and jewels within.  At this point - to my surprise - Ethan immediately removes the treasure chest and places it back on the portal of power.  This causes the treasure to re-spawn so he can collect it again.  He figured out that he can just walk back and forth on a short trip doing this little trick to collect money instead of roaming all over the map.  He's figured out how to grind through character improvements at five, so I'm sure I will see more of this to come in the years ahead.

Friday, January 20, 2012

LEGO Heroica Dice

I have gotten my 5 year old son two of the LEGO Heroica sets recently.  Information about the rules and products can be found at the Heroica web site.  One of the coolest things about these sets is the included dice.  Of course, you have to assemble them before use and I believe that you can also buy other faces to put on the dice; that makes for complete customization. The dice are approximately twice as big as the standard dice found in most board games. 

Anyway, I just really dig these sets because it is a minimalistic version of fantasy adventure gaming rules that also encourage house ruling.  That got me to thinking about the dice.  I wonder what kind of tables or resolution systems could be designed around these special dice?  I may explore that in the future but I just wanted to point this out as food for thought.  If anyone has done this or knows of a site that has this information that I can mied for ideas, feel free to speak up!

Post Updates & A Blogger vs. Wordpress Question

After a week that was much busier than I hard originally thought, I am now checking up on the blogosphere this morning.  I see that I also have a little bit of catch up to do so this post will serve as an update on several things of mine that need updating.

A - Z Topic
I have decided on a topic for the A-Z challenge in April. I will post about (wait for it) gaming in the 1980's.  I tried brainstorming a few topics and then it hit me a few days ago - I have a role playing blog, I dig the OSR stuff, and I was there in the '80s playing D&D so why not just post about the games and people I was gaming with in the 80's.  

Old Gaming Item - FOUND
I was unsuccessful in locating all of the items I mentioned in the earlier post but I did find one; the rule books from the Dragons of Underearth set from Metagaming. The counters are not there but I know there are plenty of microgame fan sites that have many counters available for download.  I may need to compare Dragons of Underearth against Legends and Other Worlds, who knows?  I will definitely do a read through of Dragons to see if the feeling of missing detail is there like I remember.  The search continues for the other items...

Read Throughs of Adventures in Fantasy & Perilous Journeys
I will continue doing posts about read throughs on Adventures in Fantasy and Perilous Journeys.  I would probably expect PJ to be completed first.  I know I started AiF first BUT it seems somewhat irritating and confusing to read in some (many?) spots.  Never fear, I will continue.

I have no desire to change blog sites because I have had very few minor problems here.  With that being said, It seems that there are several blogs that have moved from Blogger to Wordpress but I have not noticed any blogs that have moved from Wordpress to Blogger.  I admit that I have not been actively searching for such sites.  I am just curious about hearing the opinions of others on this topic.  Is Wordpress "better"?  Is Blogger a big hassle?

Monday, January 16, 2012

D&D moving forward...

I'm sure everybody has already heard about the big 5E announcement from Wizards.  I know there are some out there arguing that it isn't 5E but "something different" that should appeal to fans of all editions because that is what the press release said. I don't have the desire to look it up but I believe the exact wording was "the next iteration" of D&D - sounds like 5E to me.  Let me bring this post back on topic at this point.  This is nothing more than me doing what most everyone else had done on this matter - stating my opinion and/or reaction - so here goes.

My Opinion of 4E
I come from a background of many years of experience with A/D&D in one form or another.  I have played many versions of the game throughout the years; it all started in the summer of 1980.  I know all of the versions share many of the same terms and are put together with many of the same parts.  I believe that Wizards took 4E just a bit too far.  In all honesty, 4E would probably be a great game from another company; one to "compete" with the current set of D&D rules.  As a set of D&D rules I think it just simply does not work. 

What Can Wizards Do For Me?
I admit it - I signed up for the playtest offer.  I am always curious about the newest version of the D&D rules.  I must also admit that the days of purchasing the newest A/D&D rules immediately upon release are gone.  I will approach 5E with an caution.  I hope D&D makes a triumphant return but I have my doubts. There are a few things that will definitely make me happy.

  1. Bring back the pdf sale of older editions.
  2. Drop the reliance on miniatures for combat.
  3. Bring back Dragon magazine in print.
  4. Get rid of the spiky, dungeonpunk art.

I am really not that concerned with 5E.  For older edition play, I have either the retroclones - hell, I'm even helping to write one - or the ability to purchase what I do not have from other sources such as ebay, etc.  For new school D&D I have C&C and also Pathfinder.  I even have a decent sized collection of 4E manuals since a co-worker is selling off his collection at $10 a book.  I have all of the bases covered at the moment so 5E is going to have to be pretty nifty for me to buy in.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Reclaiming Old Gaming Stuff?

I am making a trip to my parents house in the near future.  There is some old stuff of mine over there that I am supposed to go through and decided if I still want it.  With any luck there will be some of my old gaming stuff in the contents.  The items that should be there include the following:

*  A folder full of old V&V characters from an old campaign.

*  Starter Traveller boxed set.

*  Dragons of Underearth microgame.

*  Various old gaming notebooks with a set of super hero rules designed that I designed with one of my friends.

*  Maybe a surprise or two?

I would like any all of this stuff to be there so I could maybe add a V&V character to my blog or something similar.  Fingers crossed...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Land of the Lost

I remember watching Land of the Lost when I was growing up.  It used to be part of my Saturday morning ritual when I was a child.  I realize now that it would make a good premise for a campaign.  None of us ever made the connection back in our youth but I would definitely dig playing in a LotL campaign even now.  My suggestion is to only consider the original series canon.  The update by Nickelodeon in the 1990's was not nearly as good and the recent movie was - let's just say there is a special spot in hell reserved for people that trample upon the childhood memories of others in such a fashion.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Blogging A to Z? I'm In!

I am fairly new to the blog scene and missed the A to Z challenge last year.  I did happen to read some of the posts by others and thought it was a cool challenge.  I am going to give the A to Z challenge a shot this year after reading about it at The Other SideTossing It Out, and the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge Blog this morning.  I do have a few questions for anyone reading this that has participated in previous years.

*  Did you pick every subject yourself?

*  If not, how did you pick the subjects of the posts?

I am probably going to pick all of them myself but I was just curious about how other participants were approaching this.  

Thursday, January 5, 2012

[CFRPG Draft] Dwarf

I am helping Eric over at Back to the Dungeon write the neo-clone game CFRPG, the Classic Fantasy Role Playing Game.  Yeah, I know everybody and their brother is doing a retroclone but we wanted to do something similar but different from the retroclones that have been done.  The game will instantly be recognizable to anyone with any fantasy gaming experience but we are truly trying to do something atleast a little different.  One of the things we want to do is try to do a simpler D20 game that is compatible with existing products with minimal fuss.  We are still in the process of re-writing but here is a preview of the Dwarf race entry from the players book.

***Note: the following is open game content and subject to the terms and conditions of the Open Game License.*****

Attributes: Str +1, Dex -2, Con +2, Wis +1, Cha -2
Height: 4 feet to 4 feet 6 inches
Weight: 160 pounds to 190 pounds
Lifespan: 350 years
The rough and crude dwarves all stand a slight bit shorter that mankind although quite a bit more stocky. The dwarven men all sport long hair and beards while the women stand slightly shorter, a bit less stocky and have no beards. Most of the dwarves live in great and ancient underground halls carved out of the mountains or in cities deep in ancient giant caverns. Dwarves are a rough and tough race that likes the strong drink. They also enjoy mining and the crafting of weapons and armor.
  • Dwarves can see in the dark with their infravision of 60 feet.
  • Dwarves receive a bonus of +4 on spotting traps, sloping passages, and new construction while underground.
  • Dwarves receive a +1 to hit when fighting orcs and goblins; if the whole party of adventurers is comprised of dwarves then the bonus is +2 to hit.
  • Dwarves receive a +3 AC bonus when in combat with creatures larger than man-sized.
----------------( end of open game content )-------------------------------

RIFTS: Generating Attributes & Exceptional Attributes

I dug out my copy of RIFTS: Ultimate Edition earlier and started flipping through it.  I should have known better because it always makes me want to start up a new RIFTS campaign.  I have been a long time Palladium fan and player so I am comfortable with the rules.  I do, however, have ideas for some changes to the rules.  I have given some thought to Attribute score inflation over the years and what would be the best way to avoid it. I came up with some complicated methods of attribute generation that would work but they turned out to be more trouble than they were worth.  This morning a possible answer just came to me out of nowhere while scanning through the color plate section of RUE.  

Standard Rules
Each of the attribute scores are generated by rolling 3D6.  If a score of 16, 17, or 18 then that attribute is considered exceptional and an additional 1D6 is rolled and added to the score.  If another 6 is rolled then an additional 1D6 is rolled and added to the score.  End of process.

My Issue
I like the possibility of rolling an exceptional attribute BUT I do not like the fact that it is impossible to generate a score of 16.  Once you roll a 16, the attribute is considered exceptional and will be added to.

Possible Solutions
I came up with several different methods that would be similar to the original rules, keep a possibility of an exceptional attribute on a roll of 16 - 18, and would not add a bunch of unnecessary complication to the rules.

Method 1: 3D6 Roll Again
This method generates scores by a roll of 3D6 and then roll 3D6 again if the total is 16, 17, or 18.  If you meet or beat your score, then the attribute is considered exceptional and you follow the standard rules from this point on. 

I think this method is okay but it makes the chances of getting an exceptional attribute more difficult with the higher score you roll.  I know many players will not like this and I am not so sure that I like it either.  

Method 2: 3D6 + 1D6 (different colors)
This method  generates scores by rolling a total of 4D6 for each attribute but you roll 3D6 of one color with 1D6 of another color. If the total of the 3D6 is 16 -18 then there is a chance the attribute in question is exceptional.  At this point, look at the results of the other D6 and consult the following table:

*  When the score generated by 3D6 is 16, you add the score of the other D6 when the results are 1 to 3.
*  When the score generated by 3D6 is 17, you add the score of the other D6 when the results are 1 to 4. 
*  When the score generated by 3D6 is 18, you add the score of the other D6 when the results are 1 to 5.
(This additional D6 is the only additional roll that gets added to the attribute score.)

I like this method because you can generate scores of 16 - 18 that give you the possibility of an exceptional attribute.  Plus, the higher the score then the likelihood of an exceptional attribute increases.

Method 3: 3D6 + 1D6 (different colors) [take two]
This method  generates scores by rolling a total of 4D6 for each attribute but you roll 3D6 of one color with 1D6 of another color. If the total of the 3D6 is 16 -18 then there is a chance the attribute in question is exceptional.  At this point, look at the results of the other D6 and consult the following table:

*  When the score generated by 3D6 is 16, you add the score of the other D6 when the results are 1 to 5.
*  When the score generated by 3D6 is 17, you add the score of the other D6 when the results are 1 to 4. 
*  When the score generated by 3D6 is 18, you add the score of the other D6 when the results are 1 to 3.
(This additional D6 is the only additional roll that gets added to the attribute score.)

This method is similar to method 2 and shares much of the same appeal to me.  I kind of like the fact that if you reverse the table then no one can generate an attribute score through rolling alone that is higher than 21.  This method may be the way to go.  

There are my thoughts on attribute scores and exceptional attributes under the Palladium Megaversal System rules.  I do not like method 1 but included it for completeness.  If anybody has any experience with altering this part of the Palladium rules, feel free to give me any input at all. 

edited for clarity in method 1.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Peek at Perilous Journeys 4

With this post, I am looking at the professions and guild system of Perilous Journeys.  The explanatory introductory paragraphs hold a lot of promise.  Simply put, professions are similar to orders in Lejendary Adventures or classes in D&D.  The guilds represent an association of like-minded individuals that offers training and looks out for the interests of the members.  Perilous Journeys is really flexible in the application of this concept for the benefit of the game.  For instance, it is typical to have a thieves guild or an assassins guild in a fantasy game but Perilous Journeys points out that you can have a criminal organization with members of various professions working in one guild together; such as thieves, assassins, and bandits in a criminal guild as mentioned in the rule book.  Basically, guilds give a little bit of structure to these organizations but the players are not bogged down in a bunch of rules that try to cover every little detail of the organization.  

The GM is left with the responsibility of creating and detailing guilds and similar organizations for the campaign. This should not be a difficult process because it should just involve a name of the organization and the professions that are part of the organization.  The only other details that are necessary are any NPC members of the organization.  The GM really needs no more information than that.  The rules cover how to qualify for a profession and it is straightforward - the character must have the required first ability to be admitted as an apprentice.  To qualify for full member status, the character must have a rating of 50 in the first ability and 20 in the other required abilities.

There is one drawback to belonging to a profession or guild.  The flexibility of creating any type of character is sacrificed for the benefits of guild membership.  The guilds provide training at a greatly reduced  or no cost, professional materials, etc. but also require the player to make certain decisions to belong to that guild.  The choice is in the hands of the players and it is a fair trade off.  If the player chooses to not belong to a profession and guild then the listings can be used as guidance during character creation. 

The Professions
There are 13 professions detailed in the rules; technically, there are 15 because there are 3 builds of Cleric detailed depending on what gods the character follows.  The explanation of the professions is simple to follow since the entries are split into four sections.  First, there is a small description of the profession.  Second, the social class recommendations for the professions are listed.  Third, The first ability of each profession is listed.  Fourth, the final section is a list of 3 or 4 required other abilities for that profession.  The professions seem to offer a lot of variety and I think players will be happy with the selection available.  If a player should desire a profession not covered in the rules then it should be no problem to either re-skin one of the existing professions or use one as a guideline for detailing a new one such as a Witch.  I must point out that I don't feel any essential professions were overlooked in the rules; I was just using the witch as an example.


After a little more examination of the guild rules, I have decided to cover them in a separate post.  I continue to be impressed by Perilous Journeys.  It has taken a system I thought unplayable - Lejendary Adventures - and made it the center of my immediate gaming attention.  I look forward to my continued examination of this rules system.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Insomnia Induced Rambling

My original plan was to do a post about the professions and guild system in Perilous Journeys today but that has changed after a bout of insomnia AND my 5 year old absolutely not sleeping steady at all last night.  I am posting some gaming related thoughts instead; some will relate to this blog and some will be related to just gaming in general. 

D&D Online: During my insomnia I noticed that the client for D&D Online had finished downloading.  I had wanted to try it so I did the final install and got the game up and running.  It isn't completely terrible BUT the only reason I tried it is because it is free to play now.  Don't be fooled, though, because only SOME of the options (this includes basic choices such as races or classes) are free and others have to be paid for.  I wasted a few hours on it but I would rather be playing real D&D or something like Diablo, Ultima, etc.   

The new Conan film: I saw it recently thanks to the redbox.  I enjoy the Howard stories the best but do realize that some of the pastiche work is worthwhile.  Although the film was nowhere close to authentic Howard I actually enjoyed it as a general fantasy movie. 

Netflix: I have been watching the hell out of some Netflix during the Christmas holiday this year.  I have seen some damn good stuff like The Beast and the True Grit remake.  I have also caught up on some stuff I missed in the original airing like Twin Peaks.  Finally, I have also seen quite a bit of crap to go along with it. 

Dungeon Crawl name change: I have some assorted notes on my blog about the Dungeon Crawl board game that I wanted to design at one point.  I pretty much figured the name was taken but I looked it up on board game geek and it definitely is in use by another product offering a similar play experience.  If I were to continue with the design then I need a new name and that seems to be my dilemna.  Many good names are already taken - Dungeon Crawl and Dungeon Delve (4E book) are just two examples.  I am not always good with naming stuff so this could wind up being a real challenge for me.

Gamer ADD:  I fully admit that I have a problem with taking on too many projects when it comes to gaming.  I don't think it's a bad thing and it seems to be pretty common.  I am just going to try and focus a little more on the completion of several that are important to me. 

Reading: I have surged in my reading lately; probably due to the fact that my employer took two and a half weeks down at Christmas/New Years.  The last book I read in 2011 was Christopher Paolini's Inheritance.  I know he has his fair share of haters out there, but I did enjoy it and thought the ending fit the story.  The first book I will finish reading in 2012 will be Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings.  I have tremendously enjoyed it and will pick up more books by Sanderson in the future.  Anybody following this blog have any recommendations for Sanderson's other works?

Enough rambling for now.  Maybe I will get to take a nap soon?

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Peek at Perilous Journeys 3

The good news is that I was able to locate my Lejendary Adventure manuals.  The bad news is that the manuals are actually loaned out to someone that is very interested in the system at the moment.  I'm not going to ask for them back just to do a little section by section examination for my blog; besides, I can do that at in a later post.  The examination of Perilous Journeys continues...

Character Customization
After the selection of race, your character can be customized with the selection of edges, flaws, and contacts Edges are basically advantages while flaws are basically disadvantages.  Contacts are NPCs the character knows that may be able to give assistance to the character.  This section is where I run into my first issues - one minor quibble and one somewhat irritating inclusion - with the game system.

I just do not "get" the open eyes edge.  I understand that the character can sleep with his eyes open but I just wish there was a little more guidance on this one.  Is the character harder to surprise?  Does the character wake up quicker?  I am not sure BUT I am also not too concerned about it because it's not a deal breaker at all; not even close.  On the other hand, I find the inclusion of the gas edge to be irritating and somewhat of a mood killer.  Yes, I know it is a game and we are all just trying to have fun here.  Maybe it is just me but I would rather it not be included - not because I think it is offensive or anything like that.  I always seem to game with somebody that will take something like that and just try to be as goofy as possible with it.  I admit that the irritation with that flaw may entirely be just me; besides, I can always outlaw it in my games.

Other than those two issues, this section is well done.  There seems to be quite a bit of variety without bogging down with a bunch of rules covering every little circumstance and exception.

Back To The Good Stuff...
Unlike Lejendary Adventures, I have no confusion over the determination of the first ability of a character.  It is simply the ability with the highest score generated during character creation.  I knew that much from LA but was unsure of when and how to determine all of the point additions to the ability score.  

Abilities are similar to skills in other  games.  There are 38 abilities to choose from during character creation. The abilities serve several purposes in Perilous Journeys.  First, each ability grants bonus points to one of the  core attributes when it is chosen.  Second, each ability is linked to a core attribute and can not be increased over the score of the score attribute without using extra points to do so.  Third, each ability also generates a selection from the equipment lists -low, middle, high, and magical. 

That's it for now.  More later...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Oologah the Unmerciful

I recently registered for the Forums of the Megaverse over on the Palladium Books site.  One of the users, MurderCityDisciple, noticed my hometown of "Oologah" listed in my profile and decided it would make a good name for a troll adversary that could face off with the characters in his Palladium Fantasy campaign.  He posted the stats for Oologah the Unmerciful in this thread.  It's good stuff all around.  I think it's pretty cool that someone got a creative spark from a passing reference to my hometown and created an NPC to use in his campaign. Without further delay, Oologah the Unmerciful is also presented below.

10th level Troll Mercenary
IQ 14 ME 12 MA 10 PS 30 PP 24 PE 23 PB 7 Spd 18
HP:63 SDC:100
Size: 13 feet 670 lbs
Age: 140
Horror Factor: 12
Natural Abilities: Nightvision 60', Climb 75%/65%, Swim 60%.
Saves: +4 vs Magic, +4 vs Poison, +3 vs Horror.

Attacks: 5
Crits on 18, 19 & 20.
To Strike: +7
Parry: +8
Roll with Punch: +2
Pull Punch: +4

Claw: 2d6 +18
Kick: 2d4 +18
Body Flip
Body Block
Pin: 18, 19 & 20.
Crush: 2d6 +18
Bite: 2d4

Twin Duel-Wielded Battle Axes: (double attacks) +11 to strike +10 thrown (5d6 +18 damage)
Hooked Broad Sword: +11 to strike +12 parry (3d4 +18)
Cast Iron Shield: +12 parry +9 bash (3d4+18 damage) 180 SDC
Spear: +11 to strike (3d6+18) +10 thrown (3d6+18+1d6) range 120 feet
Net: +10 to strike +11 parry (2d4+18 damage when used as a scourge) can entangle, snare and engulf victim (see book)

Armor: Hodge podge armor consisting of scraps of leather, hides and random metal rings and plates equivalent to AR13 SDC 58.

Troll 98%
Gobbley 90%
Eastern Common 90%
Literacy: 75%
Wilderness survival: 90%
Detect Ambush: 80%
Track Humanoids: 75%
Interrogation/torture: 70%
Recognize Weapon Quality: 75%
Camoflage: 70%
Prowl: 70%
Faerie Lore: 45%
Use/Recognize Poison: 24%/16%
WP-Axes, Swords, Paired, Spear, Blunt, Chain, Net, Shield, H2H expert.

Oologah is a scarred, bent and wicked old troll. He has a broken tusk capped with bronze, his hair is caked in grime, matted and grey. Both his beard and hair have dozens of rings both precious and otherwise woven into it. Wise, cruel and treacherous he loves nothing more than an ambush followed by looting and slaughter (both of which he excells at). He usually tries to capture a few captives for his own amusement, which he cruelly mocks, tortures and eventually eats. Oologah usually keeps a band of (10 or 12) kobold sneak-thieves and woodsmen in his company to scout out and spy unwary travellers. Tactically, he prefers not to jump into a fight, but would rather strike foes unawares or those otherwise engaged. He loves nothing more than feasting on faeries, which he often hunts for with his net and kobold trackers. He attributes his long life and good luck to his long history of eating faerie-kind.