Friday, 30 November 2012

Microlite20: Skyrim's Nords

So, I have a friend who's never played D&D before coming home from a placement out in Canada, and I've managed to convince her to play a game when she gets here.

When chatting about character concepts, she said she wanted to play her Skyrim character - a brutal Nord warrior-woman.

Well, the Fighter (or one of the Barbarian homebrews) will fit perfectly for the Class, and I'll maybe work up a nice Advance scheme for her, but the Race is a little different from your baseline Human.

So, here's my first draft:

+1 STR, Resist Cold 5

Nord Advances
Battle Cry - you can Cause Fear as a Mage of your level once per day, with no HP cost
Warrior Culture - you gain +1 to-hit and damage with greatswords, battleaxes, and clubs.
Legendary Endurance - your Resist Cold increases to Resist 7
Hardy - you gain a +1 Natural Armour bonus
Rough Demeanour - you gain a +2 bonus to any rolls to Intimidate.

Looks good so far, but I might tweak it later. I'm also considering converting a few more Races from Skyrim to M20, and there's a sick little part of me that wants to work up a Dovahkin Class...

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

My Gaming Shelves...

Are surprisingly light due to the fact that I mostly use PDFs and borrow other people's books.

Disappointing, I know, but I will post my girlfriend's shelf this weekend.

You will marvel at it, in awe, and wonder how many books one needs to pretend to be a vampire.

Planar Undead: The Heroic Dead of Ysgard

Ysgard is a plane of the joy of battle - great heroes from all over the Multiverse come here, either when they die, or make it here still living to join the never-ending battles that take place here. It is a place of glory, honourable combat, and great heroes, both living and dead.

Sometimes, this never-ending battle can have strange effects on those who fall. The Plane has a slight bias towards Positive Energy - even the direst injuries are healed with great speed, and those who die are simply reconstituted the morning after their death (as if under the effects of a True Ressurection spell). Those who die many, many times may find themselves returning as one of the Heroic Dead - a strange form of Undeath, bestowed by the Plane to those who have proved their valour and glory time and time again.

They appear as themselves, wearing the armour and weapons they used in life (and still just as skilled, too), though they posess a shining, radiant quality. They appear "more" - they are taller, faster, more muscular, a shining example of their species. Their voices echo with power, and their will is unbreakable.

Consider this a "template", to apply to any humanoid (and a few distinctly less so), though other creatures like Dragons might also qualify, if they have proved themselves worthy.

AC - 18, regardless of armour
HD/HP - 8HD/Max HP per die (or more, if the base creature posesses more HD)
Attacks - 2, Favoured Weapon, +4 to hit
Alignment - CG
Special Attacks - the Heroic Dead can exude Positive Energy to Turn Undead as a Cleric of their HD. The Heroic Dead are also resistant to the level draining effects of other Undead, though other Negative Energy attacks may harm them as normal. Heroic Undead also have all other Undead qualities (immune to Charm and Illusion spells, etc).

Sunday, 18 November 2012

What I Want To Run

I'm getting a hankering for GMing once again, so I'll post up what I fancy running in case I can direct a few people here to choose what they want to play.

Also, should anyone in the Glasgow area fancy one of these games... well, leave a comment and we'll see what we can do!

The Sacred Art of Stealing
This city is rotten. The Noble Families have wrought nothing but nepotism and corruption here - how often do the streets run red with the blood of innocents due to their personal, petty struggles?

The Guard has either fallen or joined their cause. They become more brash - practically criminals themselves, bar a dedicated few. There's no guilds, unions, or organisations left that haven't had the taint of their hand in their ranks.

Well, there is one... The Thieves Guild.

Players take the role of members of the Valerian's Reach Thieves Guild, the only organisation not infiltrated by the local Noble Families to be used in their wars over territory and personal squabbles. It's time they learned their lesson - the hard way.
  • Mission-based, with sandbox elements (so, the players will receive specific orders from their superiors, but are free to pursue them as they see fit, as well as "downtime" between missions where they can follow personal plots and side-quests).
  • Gritty, low-powered game - players should be able to think their way out of trouble, rather than rely on their combat abilities.
  • Low Magic - magic items are rare (as in unpurchasable, for the most part), and access to spellcasting will be limited. There might be simple firearms (black powder weapons), depending on interest.
  • Either 3.5 or Pathfinder, using the E6 variant and a few other tweaks.
What You Are In The Dark
Let me tell you something. The world isn't what it seems. Behind closed doors, under the cover of night... things stir and toil against humanity. Witches who cloud the minds of men. Beasts who take human form, to better prey on us. Creatures of the night who survive by killing us, devouring our souls to reproduce. Ancient entities that walked the Earth before life was truly born.

And we won't stand for it. Each of us... a candle against the unending night. We won't ever "win" - no one candle can light up the darkness. But enough of us together, we can push it back, even just a little.

And if we're lucky... well, it only takes one candle to start a wildfire.

Tool up. We're going hunting.

Players take the role of Hunters in the World of Darkness version of Glasgow - a bright, striving city by day, which hides a seedy underbelly of corruption, death, and the occult. Can you defend your homes, your families, the innocents of the city, with little more than your bare hands, your wits, and sheer determination?
  • Hunter: The Vigil Chronicle (nWoD system) with a few of the Hacks from various sources.
  • Somewhat more "heroic" than normal, but still deadly and grim.
  • Sandbox - choose how and where you wish to protect, and be prepared for assaults from all sides.
  • Players should expect a lot of investment in the setting - they'll be setting up relationships, creating NPCs and locales, maybe even helping to dictate the enemies they face.
The Fall of House VanDemarr
It is the 41st Millennium. For more than a hundred centuries the Emperor has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of Earth. He is the Master of Mankind, and master of a million worlds by the might of his inexhaustible armies. He is a rotting carcass writhing invisibly with power from the Dark Age of Technology. He is the Carrion Lord of the Imperium for whom a thousand souls are sacrificed every day, so that he may never truly die.

To be a man in such times is to be one amongst untold billions. Fortunately, you are not just a man - you're one of the richest men that humanity has ever seen. You are a Rogue Trader, and the uncharted depths of the galaxy are your playground. You and your closest advisors plumb the darkness, find lost human civilisations, dread xenos, The Witch, The Mutant, and The Heretic. And, most importantly,

There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods. 

Strap on your most expensive hat, and wolf down this white truffle and caviar sandwich, Lord-Captain - we're going to Hell and back.

Players take the role of a Rogue Trader and his crew, plundering the stars for fame and profit. You'll face problems, enemies old and new, invasions, and the results of your own
  • Total sandbox - I'll throw out a few plot hooks, but this is a game driven by the crew's thirst for profit.
  • The tone will be skewed towards "grimdark" - an incredibly serious game, so serious it's totally ridiculous. Mainly though, it's pulpy action and adventure/investigation/whatever you get up to.
  • I have a few systems in mind for this one. First, Risus - I laid the groundwork for such a game here. And, again, MiniSix40k has passed through my mind, too.
  • There's an awesome Apocalypse World Hack here which is the most likely system.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Planning a Delve: Themeing Your Dungeon

How awesome is this!

So - you want to make a dungeon. You've got some cool ideas, an awesome map, even found something horrible from the Monster Manual for a great boss-fight for the end.

But what is your dungeon?

The theme of your dungeon helps to figure out why it's there, what's in it, and what the players will do once they get there.

Location-based dungeons can be easy to theme. Say it's a Wizard's Tower - you need some weird magic-based monsters (Living Spells, unusual Undead, Owlbears, Animated Objects), unusual traps (either traps explicitly made using magic, or "natural" hazards like pools of pure elemental matter, doorknobs that have been supercharged with electricity, etc), and some cool set-pieces (like a battle that occurs in a room with no gravity, or an area that continually shifts between the different Elemental Planes, or a series of rooms hooked up via teleportation gates).

Another easy way to work out your dungeon's theme is to think what type of creatures might inhabit it. For a classic example, The Crypt Full of Undead. You've seen it so many times, the ideas practically roll onto the page unbidden (creepy surroundings, no light sources, a few cursed items, skeletons, zombies, a couple of souped-up versions like Ogre Zombies or something such, weird encounters, spirits, bugs, ancient yet still functional traps, etc). While it might seem cliche, you can mix it up a little with underused monster types - an all Aberration dungeon (maybe a cave system with a link to the Underdark or Far Realms) could be really interesting, as could the legendary Ooze-based dungeon (you don't want to know where they all came from...).

Picking a theme, however, should mean more than picking monsters out of the books. If you do take Aberrations as your theme - did you pick them because they're weird? If so, make sure the dungeon reflects that. Non-Euclidean geography, maps that lie (or areas that constantly change shape), the chance of madness for PCs, a few mind-screw elements here and there... really amp up the theme of weird. If it's a tomb full of Undead, is your theme Horror? If so, make sure the descriptions of the Undead are terrible to behold, that there are hints of their past lives (or perhaps the suffering they are/were going through before becoming shambling horrors).
Even try and add a little fright into the metagame, by using Undead the players are not familiar with - whether from more obscure books, or made up yourself (and because I love to plug his awesome work, Dyson Logos has a great table for Unusual Undead Abilities) - when your players face off against a horde of zombies, only to find out each of them can teleport, or throw lightening bolts into the group.

Similarly, if you want to take things down a Cliche route for laughs, then ensure that everything's been done before - there's snakes (why did it have to be snakes?), mummies, trapped sarcophagi, legions of skeletal warriors, and dark wizard at the end... you know the drill. Try and add some light-hearted elements, like an Obviously Evil Bystander who turns out to be the villain, some comical mid-dungeon NPCs, whatever you want to reinforce the idea of humour.

My theme for this dungeon will be "Magic and Illusion" - as such, I'll be making a (not-so) Abandoned Wizard's Tower, which allows me quite a lot of leeway in how I go about it!

Monday, 12 November 2012

200th Post!

Well, I meant to get this up over the weekend, but due to an awesome time of noisy neighbours, unexpected guests, helping with moving, crippling migranes and the cat taking a massive adventure (hiding in the noisy neighbour's flat for 24 hours), I was a little busy.

So, another milestone achieved. I think I've got quite a bit of useful stuff up here, and I'm hoing to continue that for the next 200 posts.

The Dungeon Generation posts are coming along swimmingly, assuming I can find the time to get them finished up and posted.

The Unnamed Generic Fantasy Skirmish Game is still in the planning stages - I'm reading through both In The Emperor's Name and Mordheim for inspiration. I'm currently draftin rules for the following warbands/factions:
  • Dwarves - slow, tough, maybe with a bit of steam-punk machinery and rune magic
  • Elves - quick, weak, powerful magic-users and stealth options
  • Humans - the perfect average, but needs an extra "incentive"
  • Orcs - tough, brutal, but shoddy equipment and not much magic
  • Goblins - stealth and numbers are key!
  • Hobgoblins - militaristic, coordinated, maybe an "elite" faction (i.e. models are better but more expensive, so fewer total models than average)
  • Lizardmen - a mix of stealth and hard-hitting
And maybe a few more, as they come to me.

And, once again, thanks to everyone for following me for so long!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Planning a Delve: Dungeon Generation

So, as either a useful introduction for newcomers to the RPG scene, or a fun exercise for the more experienced, I'm going to run through the creation of a dungeon, from start to finish, with commentary about each step and the pitfalls that I personally face.

While making dungeons for a campaign is a deep, involved process, I didn't want to add more trouble (and limit the usefulness) of the dungeon by tying it to a particular game, so I plan on making it a stand-alone dungeon, perhaps for a sandbox-style game I might run at some point. I'll include some tips on campaigns and such as I go, no doubt.

The first part should be up tonight or tomorrow, focusing on the first thing you have to decide on when making a dungeon: theme. Whether it's a Wizard's Tower, a pit of unfathomable abominations from beyond time and space, or a natural cave system overrun with bandits, the theme of the dungeon needs to be established early on!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Necromunda or Bust...

Well, mainly bust.

We never got around to the Necromunda game this weekend, due to fatigue, illness, and a fateful Saturday morning delivery from LoveFilm:


I should settle my affairs now, to prevent the shame of dieing in front of the screen with no will ready...

Monday, 5 November 2012

Unformed Idea: Generic Fantasy Skirmish

So, I've noticed that many fantasy skirmish games are somewhat mired in their settings - Confrontation, Mordheim, Shadowsea... I'd like something that could conceivably use any fantasy mini, from Warhammer to the D&D pre-paints. I've heard Song of Blade and Heroes is also generic enough to use just about anything, but I've also heard that it's incredibly simple - too "light" for some.

So here's some ideas as they come to me:
  • I like the idea of a simple system, with flexibility and depth. In The Emperor's Name seems to have just the right balance of both - I'll maybe use it as a base, or use a similar "Grit" system.
  • Although I'd rename it "Heroism", or something more fantasy-appropriate.
  • In keeping with that theme, units and abilities will have a set points value, to allow for easier balancing of forces. 
  • The idea of WYSISWG for models is pretty cool - it allows you to use just about any fantasy mini, and make a quick judgement call based on how it is armed.
  • Melee should dominate - arrows or bolts could take enemies out easily in large numbers, but one-on-one it would take a pretty lucky (or skilled) shot.
  • Classic fantasy races are classic for a reason - I'll keep things generic by making them as close to the standard as possible.
  • However, I'll take a leaf out of Fantasy Craft's book, with a selection of special purchases or "perks" that allow players to customise their teams to closer reflect various famous interpretations of these races. (For a points cost, or replacing other special abilities).
  • While there will be standard, more powerful Leader units for each Race, there will also be recruitable mercenaries - Adventurers. I'll keep them somewhat cliche (like the Elven Ranger, Halfling Thief, etc). They'll have some unique abilities, be a little tougher and cost a little more because of it.
  • I might even include a way to create your own Adventurers, a list of special qualities and abilities along with points costs, to allow players to run a whole adventuring party through some classic "dungeon crawl" scenarios.