Monday, May 31, 2010

[Warriors & Warlocks] Character Template

Ok, so I am lazy. I wanted to do a few character builds for Warriors & Warlocks and put them here on the blog. I didn't feel like having to type the format each time so I figured I'd make a post out of it and copy/paste as needed. Hopefully I covered everything...

Character Name, Type, Power Level # (##pp)

Abilities [#pp]: Strength 10 (+0), Dexterity 10 (+0), Constitution 10 (+0), Intelligence 10 (+0), Wisdom 10 (+0), Charisma 10 (+0)

Saves [#pp]: Toughness +0, Fortitude 0 (+0), Reflexes 0 (+0), Willpower 0 (+0)

Combat [#pp]: Base Attack +0 [+0 type], Base Defense ## [## flatfooted], Initiative +0, Grapple (BA+Str+Size), Knockback (1/2 tough save, size, immovable), Hero Points #

Damage (dc): Unarmed (+0),

Skills [#pp]: Name rank (+0), Name rank (+0)

Feats [#pp]: Name rank, Name rank

Powers [#pp]:
Power Name rank [Extras: Name, Flaws: Name, Power Feats: Name, # Alternate Powers]
-Base: Game Name [Power Name rank; Extras: type; Flaws: type; Power Feats: type]
-AP: Game Name # [Power Name rank; Extras: type; Flaws: type; Power Feats: type]

Equipment [#ep]: Name [Facts], Name [Facts]

Drawbacks [#pp]: Type [Description],

Complications: Type [Description],

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Helm: A Redux

As Talysman was kind enough to point out in a response to my previous blog post on The Helm had some errors. To be honest, after re-reading it, it was full of wholes. In my hurry and zeal to get the ideas in my head down I rushed through it and somethings didn't jive.

So here is part duex, where I keep some things and re-write others. Keep in mind I am smitten by Swords & Wizardry and use it almost exclusively, and have taken the typical rule of Xin6 chance up to an equal Xin12 chance:

  • Effect on Armor Class: Not wearing a helm for the appropriate suit of arms is a +1 [-1] penalty to that Armor Class (Referred to as AC from here on out). So wearing a helm (the default) gives you the listed AC. Note: There is NO penalty for not wearing a helm when 'unarmored'. unarmored is not an AC as far as I am concerned and it retains its 9 [10] AC, and wearing a helm when 'unarmored' does not improve your AC.
  • Surprise: by default, characters are surprised 4in12 (2in6), were default assumes wearing a helm. Removing the helm, or being unarmored, should improve this. Un-helmed and unarmored characters are therefore only surprised 3in12 of the time. Great Helms, discussed further below, do provide better protection but increase the chance of being surprised to 5in12 when worn. Characters removing a Great Helm become surprise as an un-helmed or unarmored character (3in12), but it does take one round to put any helm back on.
  • Initiative: as with surprise, by default assumes characters with armor are wearing a helm. Initiative is typically decided by the higher roll of a d12. Unarmored and un-helmed characters should have a slight advantage, perhaps a +1, to initiative as they would be able to perceive the actions of others better and react accordingly. Note: An un-helmed character will almost certainly take the advantage of the first round to don their headgear. If not treat them as un-helmed until they do (see Combat Effects below).
  • Hear Noise: dwarves, elves, and halflings, by default have a 4in12 chance to hear noise and humans a 2in12 chance. Thieves, if used, also start at the same chance as demi-humans to hear noise, but increase as they advance (Hopefully oneday I will get thief rules wrote up). Again, the default assumes that armored characters are wearing a helm. A character, for whatever reason, devoid of a helm should increase the chance for hearing noise by one.
  • Basic Guideline: by default assume that an Armored character has their helm on unless they say otherwise. If the proposed action can conceivably have better results when not wearing a helm, give Un-helmed character a +1 to their Xin12 chance.
  • Combat Effects to Attack: when attacking; on a modified To Hit roll of 19+, the attacker may call the head of a helmed opponent as their target, and on a modified To Hit roll of 17+ the attacker may call the head of an un-helmed opponent as their target.
  • Combat Effects to Damage: striking a helmed head does regular damage, but the target must make a Saving Throw with a +2. Passing the Saving Throw causes the defender to be dazed in addition to the damage received, and will be at -1 for their next round's actions. Failing the Saving Throw causes the defender to be knocked prone and be dazed (-1 for their next round's actions). Striking an un-helmed head does full damage, no roll required, and causes a Saving Throw. Passing the Saving Throw causes the defender to be dazed in addition to the full damaged received for 1d4+1 rounds.  Failing the Saving Throw causes the defender to be knocked unconsious for 1d6+2 rounds.
  • Great Helms: will provide an additional -1 [+1] to AC, as do shields, but this type of helm will also add an additional +1 to the Xin12 formula, for helms mentioned earlier, for Surprise and an additional -1 to formulas for Initiative, Hear Noise, etc. (See Base Guideline rule above for guidance. Basically a Great Helm provides an additional +1 when its size and protection is beneficial (Saving Throw vs called head shot and AC) and an additional -1 when its size and protection is hindering.
A re-working / re-writing of the helm rules was required. I still do not feel 100% comfortable with the outcome, so additional observations or criticisms are appreciated.


    Saturday, May 29, 2010

    Warriors & Warlocks

    While I have been focusing on Swords & Wizardry (Fantasy being my favorite genre) lately, I have been known to try other rules sets out in the past. I once purchased several PDFs of Mutants & Masterminds (M&M from here on out) to play in a M&M Fantasy game that didn't work out. I even tried a teen game of M&M where my concept was a fifteen year old goth kid that would Nullify others, that he perceived as bad when he wore his goth attire and would Nullify everyone if he didn't have his jacket on (a black leather straight jacket FWIW). Much debate ensued on how many points this should cost. Needless to say I lost interest.

    Then, a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon Greywulf's blog and read about how much he liked Warriors & Warlocks! Well I was intrigued, to say the least. So, last night I purchased it as a PDF for just over $16. I think what I will really like about it is that it will be in a genre I love, which is fantasy, and has some built in genre constraints, or tropes if you prefer. Unlike convention M&M where if you can imagine it, you can build it, Warriors & Warlocks (W&W from here on out) establishes itself in a sub-genre of fantasy, Swords & Sorcery. Which is even better. My main concern was that Magic would be a catch all Power that would be a subsystem in character creation to sneak in all the non-genre appropriate abilities. With W&W starting in a sub-genre that governs Magic more harshly, I can slowly add-to rather than restrict. Another feature I like is templates. There are Racial Templates and Professional Templates. Want an Elven Rouge, pay the price for the templates, verify that resulting scores do not exceed game limits, and move out smartly! I had thought about building templates, and in fact Joshua Dunlow had created several fantasy templates and done a lot of other work on M&M Fantasy prior to W&W coming out, over at The Atomic Think Tank (a M&M Forum) already.

    I suppose I will finish reading the PDF and might submit a full review. At the moment my ADD is screaming at me to use W&W for Ukarea (TM) rather than S&W. Right now, I am forcing myself to say, "Maybe do it for both rules sets eventually, but stay focused on what you started with!" Tough sell ~ I love to tinker.

    The only thing that is kind of disheartening is the fact that M&M 3ed is do to be released soon and I have no idea if W&W will be re-released for the new edition. Not to mention how much interest can be garnered on PbP boards for a M&M 2ed game when it is.

    Wondering why I am doubly blessed; OCD & ADD

    Friday, May 28, 2010

    The Helm

    A full re-write on this is pending. Talysman, thanks. There are tons of flaws do to my haste to get my thoughts down. I know what I want to do, I just have to make it, make sense.

    Reading the Beyond the Black Gate blog I got to thinking about how the helm offended my OCD senses when I was younger. I had forgotten about it until now, but once again, I am obsessing on it.

    For the record, I almost exclusively use Swords & Wizardry: Whitebox (though I am leaning towards possibly switching to Swords & Wizardry: Core rules, but that is for another post) and occasionally refer to Mentzer Basic (BECMI or RC). Any other rules systems mentioned here will more than likely be tagged as such. I also prefer the Ascending Armor Class but usually try to mention both when the subject is approached, for those that prefer Descending Armor Class.

    Now, about helmets. Based on replies at the afore mentioned blog, I have decided to mash a couple of the ideas together. I should give credit to each author I suppose, but there are quite a few of them, so I will just say, "Go read the linked blog. It has tons of good info."

    Damn, ADD kicking in again! So, here is what I intend to try for my next game:
    • Not wearing a helm for the appropriate suit of arms is a +1 [-1] penalty to that Armor Class (Referred to as AC from here on out). So wearing a helm (the default) gives you the listed AC. Note: There is NO penalty for not wearing a helm when 'Unarmored'. Unarmored is not an AC as far as I am concerned and it retains its 9 [10] and wearing one when 'Unarmored' does not improve your AC.
    • Since wearing a helm is the default, Surprise, Initiative, Hear Noise, etc. is 4in12 (the old school 2in6 taken up to a d12 for Background Skills and such, which I hope to post one day). This is reduced to 3in12, possibly 2in12, when not wearing a helm.
    • Great Helms will provide an additional -1 [+1] to AC as do shields, but this type of helm will also add a +1 to the Xin12 formula for Surprise, Initiative, Hear Noise, etc.
    • When attacking; on a modified To Hit roll of 19+, the attacker may call the head of a helmed opponent as their target, and on a modified To Hit roll of 17+ the attacker may call the head of an un-helmed opponent as their target.
    • Hitting a helmed head does regular damage, but the target must make a Saving Throw with a +2. Failing the Saving Throw causes the defender to be dazed in addition to the damage and will be at -1 for their next round.
    • Hitting an un-helmed head does full damage (no roll required), and the target must make a Saving Throw or be knocked unconscious for 1d6 rounds. (Considering having a -1 dazed effect even if Saving Throw is passed.)
    These are just initial ideas and I would love to hear feed back before I playtest them. Please, thoughts?


    Still Undecided

    Now that I have slept on it and read up on it... I still have not decided how to determine the largest settlement in the barony, but I have a few ideas.

    • I think that whether the barony is standalone, or part of a larger dominion, should have a direct reflection on the size of the largest settlement in the barony. A barony that was part of a duchy for example, might have a city as a trade center, as it is receiving outside trade goods and would likewise want to have a communal place to bring it's goods and services to trade with the duchy.
    • The age of the barony should also have a direct effect on the size of the largest settlement. I have already established a 1d4+1 for this setting to determine the number of centuries the dominion has been established. I could use that as a modifier.
    • The size (square mileage) of a barony, to a lesser extent will determine the number, size, and location of settlements. Not to mention that a larger dominion could be a perceived a threat, in which case it might be concurred, or it might actually be a threat and be the ruling barony of a march.
    • As many of the larger dominions, at least in the Rules Cyclopedia, are defined on whether some or all of the combined baronies were the result of conquest, I might want to factor that in as well, based on the above thought.
    Guess it is time to work on some random tables.


    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    Time to Scratch My Head!

    So, I finished up the arable regions and their populace. I had started with a figure of 19,530 total inhabitants for the barony. After all the arable regions inhabitants were subtracted, I had 17,208 people remaining.

    The guidelines suggest taking the square root of the population (which is 131) and multiplying it by a randomly generated number (2d4+10), where I rolled 3 for a total of 13. The largest non-arable producing center in the barony would then be a Small Town of 1,705 inhabitants. My sensibilities thought this was fine, but when I started reducing 1,705 by a random percentage (2d4x5%), I got two more towns of 1,279 and 1086 persons, and a village of 760. This left me with a staggering 12,378 people in a multitude of tiny (<760 inhabitants) villages, which is not ideal for what I had envisioned!

    Think I will call it a night and mull this over. My knee-jerk reaction is to start with a Large Town, or even a Small City, and then reduce it to eat up some of the population...

    "OH NO! GODZILLA!" ~ resident of my starting barony


    Progress: Coming to Life

    The barony that I chose to start with in Ukarea (TM) is starting to take shape and I thought I would share, for those who care, and to make a log of what I have done so I can do it again if it works out well. I have the memory of a nat so hopefully I can convey what I have done so I can recreate it if necessary later.

    First question, how many inhabitants are there in the barony? I decided a general question could have a general answer; 16 six mile hexes (total livable area) each have 31sq miles of space, or (16x31=) 496sq miles total. This is comforting because it is on par with the 498sq miles of a default dominion (One 24mile hex) in BECMI or RC. OCD sated. So based on the random Population Demographics formula; 4d6xC where "C" is the number of centuries the barony had been around (2 full centuries in this case, see older posts). I multiplied the random population density by the number of square miles in my barony for a total of 19,530 people. That sounds about right, I guess.

    Second question, how much arable (farmland) is needed to support 19,530 people in a medieval society? Using the figures provided, 1 square mile will sustain 180 people. 19530/180=108.5 sq miles of arable land. I should have probably just said 108 or 109 one mile hexes, but I didn't. A one mile hex is not equal to one square mile, based on the .9306049 squared figure provided. A one mile hex is, based on that figure, .866 square miles. Multiplying .866 by the 108.5 square miles needed I discovered I needed 125 one mile hexes of productive arable land (farmland) to support the populace.

    Oh, Hexographer...
    Third question, how was the land dispersed and how much of the total population lived in the arable regions? I placed the 125 one mile farm hexes to taste, creating twelve separate arable regions. I decided that each of these regions needed farmers and families to work the productive lands. But how many? I decided to do the same thing that I did for the barony as a whole. I counted the number of hexes for each region and multiplied that by .866 (the square miles to a single mile hex) for a total square mileage for each of the twelve regions. I am kind of thinking of them as mini-dominions, which I think is a fair assessment. So as an example, farmlands covering 6 one mile hexes has a total square mileage of 5.196. I dropped that area into the Kingdom Population Calculator under Land Size, entered 229 years (figured earlier) for Kingdom Age, and rolled 4d6x2 for Specific Desired Density then hit calculate. Which gave me some key information; Total Population, Rural Population, and Urban Population. The key for me was Total Population.

    Note: I could have used the same random (4d6xC) that I had generated for the barony for each of the arable regions, but chose not to so that I would get better randomization. If two arable regions had the same number of one mile hexes, it would have the same number of inhabitants. Which I didn't want. With this, a second 6 mile hex arable region will more than likely have a higher or lower population (perhaps it was founded earlier or later than the first one I did).

    Note: I disregarded Rural and Urban results, as they felt wrong to me for the small villages, hamlets, and thorpe that I was creating. In retrospect, I think I could have inverted the corresponding results for the two fields to get a fair assessment of how many of the population lived in the settlement, and how many lived out of it, perhaps on a distant farm.

    Lastly, I took the number of people in the arable region and used it into the Population Center Demographics Calculator to find out what types of services were present, and noted it down for the dominion writeup that will come later. I have completed eight of the twelve farm regions thus far and hope to have the remaining four done tonight. Once I have all them done, I will total their populace and subtract it from the dominion total population. Once I have the figure, I can use the steps provided to determine the largest settlement and all subsequent settlements per the Medieval Demographics Made Easy site.

    This all sounds rather difficult I am sure, but once I figured out how I wanted to do it, it went rather quickly.

    Happy Gaming,

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    So the Rolling Begins

    Pulling out the dice, firing up Hexographer, and pulling up my old blank Ukarea (TM) map...

    1d4+1= 2 (200 hundred) + 2d10 = 2,9 (29 years) - So the new Barony will be 229yrs old (Recorded Time). Not a founding Barony by no means, but falls into what I suspect will be about average.

    5d6 = 21 hexes (6mi each) - where to plunk my first undertaking?

    So I chose a chunk of land from the Ukarea (TM) map, and picked 21 hexes and blew it up!
    Each small hex is now equal to one mile across, or from center to center. Keeping in mind that a hex at this scale has an area of only .866 square miles I can continue by placing Farm Land to determine the number and density of the populace and use 'Arable' land and figure out how many people could be supported the dominion by rolling 6d4x2 for each such hex.

    Additional Note: If each Farm Land hex has 6d4x2 farmers, then subtracting that from 180 (the number of persons it could support with its resource) I can figure out how many people are living in settlements.

    More to come as I splash in farmlands and tinker a bit...

    Hope you enjoy it! My OCD is being sated!


    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    Attempt at Randomizing Dominion Creation

    I decided rather than reinvent the wheel, I would take my blank map of Ukarea (TM) and repopulate it. I was never really happy with the breakdown of dominions anyway and hate to throw the work away that I have already done for it. Now to apply some randomizers...

    Pulling out my old copy of Dawn of Worlds (direct link to pdf), as a reference for world building time lines, I have decided to try some random calculations for the dominions I will be creating. During the Second Age in Dawn of Worlds, time is measured in 100 year increments and a minimum of five turns has to be spent on the age (500 years). Which interestingly enough corresponds to the multiplication factor for randomly determining Population Density in Medieval Demographics Made Easy by S. John Ross. I have decided to go with 1d4+1 for the number of hundreds of years, and a percentile roll, 2d10, for years between centuries. The number of full centuries will be 'C' in the converted Population Density formula of; 6d4xC per square mile of arable land.

    So, with that, I can determine how old the dominion is and how many people there are per square mile. Once I chose where the dominion will be placed, I can draw up a sub-hex map with arable land represented as farmland. Each 1 mile sub-hex is equal to .866 square miles. From there I can extrapolate how many people are in each sub-hex / each 6mile hex / and the overall dominion. I can also determine based on the number of hexes that could be made arable, how many persons the dominion could hold at full capacity. (This might lead to a fun little ratio that I could use to determine need for expansion, which in turn will influence the relations of neighboring dominions, when I get that far into this)

    In my previous post about distractions, I discovered that there was similar square mileage in sixteen 6mile hexes as in a standard BECMI (RC) 24mile hex dominion. Sixteen 6mile hexes being average for a dominion (Barony most likely) I have decided to try going with 5d6 (range of 5 to 30, with a bell curve around 17 or 18) for a random generator of how many 6mile hexes my starting dominion will cover.

    Now all this may sound silly, and I can rationalize that it is, but OCD is a remarkable fickle bitch. Good thing I enjoy doing such things, aka exercises in futility.
    More tomorrow, hopefully.


    Sunday, May 23, 2010

    Great! More Destractions!

    As I had mentioned in an earlier post I had ran across two topics that got my juices flowing. Now, I want to mash them together, with a couple of other ideas, and see what I can come up with:

    Take the following:
    • Micro-Megadungeons (at Evan's Swords of Minaria Blog, which takes the idea of  leveling a party to forth level all in a small setting)
    • The One Page Dungeon / The One Page Wilderness and to a lesser extent the 5 Room Dungeon (Sorry no link)
    • The Master Plan (by 3llense'g, over at Goblinoid Games) that suggests a Nemesis can advance as the party does, that I think of as a Mini-Game for the DM. 
    • And something else I can't remember at the moment... 
    Put it all into my brain, shake vigorously, and release! 

    ((Pulling this out of the Draft list so topic may wonder))
    So, while looking for the mysterious fourth inspirational item referred to above, I stumbled across S. John Ross' Medieval Demographics Made Easy. I had seen it before and scanned over it, but was not interested in developing a setting at the time. Now, unlike then, I am. Well to begin with I couldn't decide whether to start big and zoom in, or start small and grow the setting. I decided to take a middle route. I wouldn't develop a whole world, nor would I begin with a village. Inspired by the early works of Grubman with his The Phoenix Barony setting (Sorry can't currently find a link), I decided to start with a barony. I had to decide how big the barony would be, so I consulted my copy of Test of the Warlords module and Rules Cyclopedia. Both sources suggested starting with a 24mile hex for the basic dominion. This held me up for a brief moment, as I had decided to go with a 6mile hex scale, based on Steamtunnel's The Hydra's Grotto blog. I converted the 24mile hex to square miles and did the same for the 6mile hex. I found that their were 16 6mile hexes worth of land in a 24mile hex. So my starting barony would be 16, 6mile hexes. That soothed my OCD, temporarily...

    I set about using the guidelines presented on S. John Ross' site and tried some of the linked random generators, but none of the results fit my idea of the demographics of a fantasy role-play setting. Needless to say, I went to bed frustrated. While trying to go to sleep, I had an epiphany! I was trying to once again develop from a top-down viewpoint. The question was, what if I went bottom-up? Could I draw the map how I wanted it and then based on that determine how big the population was? How many Cities, Towns, Villages, etc. would be present? Sure I could. If I made a map with sub-hexes and put in farmland I could figure out the population and what size neighborhood to place based on the figure provided of 180 people could be supported with each 1mile squared. Off to fire-up Hexmapper!

    More to come, hopefully tonight!

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    Where did who go!?

    I really must find a way to organize all the wonderful things I find on blogs and forums better. Now that I have a blog, and its associated 'blog list', I have found a plethora of knowledge and can stay up with other blogs that I like. Unfortunately this is a double edged sword. Now I CAN stay up with them and I spend hours reading them, and Forums, while not being too productive anywhere else. To add insult to injury though, I forget to bookmark truly inspirational discussions (my Favorites are unmanageable as it is), and when I want to go back to them I can't remember where I read them.

    So, where in the words of the Internet are the discussions about advancing your Nemesis NPC (kind of like a mini-game for the GM rolling out your arch-nemesis' agenda) and a discussion on Creating Mini-Settings (or was it Mini-Mega Dungeons) in the vein of a One Page Dungeon that was inspired by Mega Dungeons, but had 3 locals that were meant to advance characters to fourth level before they got out of the AO? This one even had suggested XP, Gold, and Monster ratios.

    I went this way, the Internet went that way. I said, "Where did it go?!" The Internet said, "Where did who go?!"

    Happy gaming and may all your monsters be IC,

    Saturday, May 8, 2010

    Humanity's Reign (First Map of Ukarea)

    As I mentioned in my earlier post today, I had developed a Hexographer map of Ukarea during Humanity's Reign which I am not too fond of. I managed to pull it onto the web, and share it now in hopes of getting some constructive feedback, before I rerender it. What should I change? Where did I go wrong? Could it be salvaged? As I mentioned earlier, the only hope that I currently have is that thought the lands are claimed they may not necessarily be maintained.

    Thanks in advance.

    The Changing Times of Ukarea

    As I have mentioned on other posts, Ukeara (TM) is going to be a multi-time-line setting, taking place in the early years known as Humanity's Reign (TM) and a later period after humanity's fall, known as Humanity's Ruin (TM). Combined the setting will be referred to The Time of Humanity's Reign or Ruin (TM) or possibly just Reign and Ruin (TM).

    The setting started out rough, to be honest. I thought I would start with a basic map, develope humanity and then wipe it off the face of the planet. Changing the map as I went. After finding a great free (which I hope to one day purchase so I can do custom hexes) online java based map program; Hexographer, I set about trying my idea out with the program, and came out with this:

    This seemed to work just fine, but I was not happy with the size or layout, so I went back and started anew. I have a base map, that I am now finally happy with. The latest version of unsettled Ukarea (TM):

    I started assigning parts of the world for dominions (which I do not currently have a picture for), but am unsatified with it. I have taken some time off from the project recently, as I was getting burned out, and now when I look at the map for Habit for Humanity, I see issues. For one, I filled the entire map with claimed lands, nothing is not claimed. If there were Badlands, I probably would have settled them too. Granted that humans wouldn't be in every hex that they claim, but it does conflict with reality. Yes, I like alittle reality in my fantasy.

    So, back to the drawing board! I am thinking of breaking the time of Humanity's Reign (TM) down into several time-lapsed maps. This should help me keep a realistic human expansion and history easier, rather than looking at a settled map and trying to answer, "Why are they settled this way?"

    More to come as time permits,

    Friday, May 7, 2010

    Thoughts on Hit Dice, Hit Points, and Doing Damage.

    I was rummaging through some of John's older blog posts over at The Nine and Thirty Kingdoms and stumble upon 'an oldie but a goody', entitled Quick & Dirty Monster Hit Points

    It got me to thinking about using a number of dice equal to the monster's HD, as HPs and rolling them out when the Players come into contact with a monster, leave them on the table, and remove them as the Characters do damage. For an example, the party encounters a 4HD monster and decide they must defeat it to continue on. I roll out four dice; 6, 5, 3, 1. Sure, I could use some scrap paper and right down 15 and cross it off as they do damage, or use tick-marks as John suggests. But, meh, I hate writing stuff down during a fight and now I could just pick them up as damage exceeds one of them.

    But then another issue came to mind...

    This is all well and good for a small encounter with one or two monsters, but what about an encounter with a mob of monsters? I didn't want to have to have a mason jar of d6s (all monster's HD in S&W:WB are d6s BTW) and I didn't want several piles of dice around the table representing different monsters. Not to mention, how to remember what pile was for which monster, especially after some have taken damage?

    The thought of how HP are often referred to as being abstract, not actual physical damage, and changed periodically (don't have a link to that discussion / mind set at the moment) snuck into the equation somewhere along the line. Someone, somewhere (and I forget where) said they had their Characters re-roll every morning in game to simulate things such as a bad night's rest, having a bad day, etc. That coupled with how S&W:WB Characters re-roll their HPs at every level advancement, which I like, made me have an epiphany. The next logical step, for me at least, was to think, 'What if monster's HPs, but not HDs, change from round-to-round?' Interest...

    So every round I could roll out a new set of HD, before or after the Player determines if they hit or not, and if they hit and roll a damage value over one of the monster's HD, that die is removed. But, the original problem rears its nasty head, how to keep track of individual monsters and how many HD they each have left accordingly? My answer, more dice. This is what I envision, in a nutshell...

    The party encounters four 3HD monsters in their travels and engage. On the table in front of me I place four d6s turned to 3s to represent the monsters and their 3HD each. Now, as an aside, I have had a back and forth love hate relationship with the idea of whether Players should know how many HD and HPs monsters have, but what follows might just swing it for me. I am starting to think of the dice laid out on the table as physical representations of the monsters, if you will, FWIW. The Fighting-man describes closing on the monster to the left and attacking, scoring a hit, he rolls damage, a 4+1 for 5. All the monsters are at full strength so I grab three dice and roll; 6, 5, 4. The Player equaled or beat one of my die (the 5 or 4) so rakes his blade across the monster's shoulder. I pick up the three die I rolled and flip one of the d6 'miniatures' (the one on the left he mentioned) to a 2 so I can remember to only roll two Hitdice for that monster next round if it gets hit. And sure enough, it does. The Player rolls a 3+1 for 4 and I grab two d6s, rolling; 4 and 5. Another successful attack by the Fighting-man so I flip the 'Die Miniature' from a 2 to a 1. Now that we are down to a 1:1 roll with the next successful attack by the Player, things seem to become more... erm, dicey. With, typically, one die of damage being rolled by the Player and a single die rolled by me for HPs round-to-round, I might just beat him for a few rounds, whittling him down. This, I think, would make for a nice abstract representation of a desperate monster. It realizes that it is on it's last leg and goes all out. Could this make S&W:WB more precarious for the already lethal rules set? Maybe, but it might just be something I want to playtest.

    I just thought I would share something that is probably poppy-cock, is not play tested, and might not fit into the 'Old School' mindset. But, there it is, none-the-less.


    Monday, May 3, 2010

    The Adventure Begins, in Earnest.

    So the PbP game that I mentioned has advanced through the preface and has started off on the first leg of the adventure.

    Preface: All characters, for whatever reason they chose, found themselves in the small farming village of Handover. Handover supports a population of approximately three hundred inhabitants, or roughly sixty family. The man governing the village is the Mayor, the people governing the Mayor are the Merchant's Guild, a small group of business men and women of town. There is also no less than two churches, each with their whispers in the Mayor's ear.

    Village of Handover

    The characters, for the most part, arrived on the day of the Spring Fest. One of two days that the village assembled, sold their wares, and celebrated their harvest. Talyanna the Holy Woman and Balan the Guardian chose to be from Handover and have just recently returned to their home after Talyanna was sent away abroad to learn her clerical duties. Balan had followed her and hired on, while Talyanna studied, as a guard. Morzin the Hunter has wondered into town, ever vigilant for undead, as he hunts them with conviction and single mindedness (literally). Dagon the Mercenary found himself in town low on funds and took up work as a guard for the Mayor. Garen the Wanderer found his way into Handover when he was sent ahead of the Spring Caravan to announce their pending arrival, as he had hired on as a caravan guard.

    Things of note thus far: excellent role play. Creative and well written dialogs and descriptions have given me tons to work with. For example I mentioned a young girl in one of the first of my posts and Talyanna thought it strange how much she looked like her when she was young. The girl has sense made a couple appearances and subsequent vanishing acts. Based on this 'discovery' alone I have worked out a whole plot hook, should the game last through the first adventure, around the girl. Dagon has had some interaction with the local Sheriff who is also a dwarf and working for the Mayor. There have been some other minor interactions but the one that has kicked it off, is while waiting for the caravan to arrive the Mayor has asked Talyanna to bless the occasion. As she moved to the podium, a man runs from the woods, covered in blood waving his arms and is summarily shot in the back by an arrow from the tree line.

    What will the party do... there is a hook, but the player that it is for has not posted so I am curious to what will happen.

    Happy Gaming!