Thursday, December 29, 2011

Monitary Mapping

Over on Telecanter's Receding Rules, Telecanter spoke of The Pre-Mapped Dungeon and its effect on game play.

Introducing pre-mapped dungeons in the form of Player handout maps is an interesting topic for discussion. But past; whether it should be done, how accurate they should be, and the effects to game play, I had to wonder, 'Where do they get them?'

It would be assumed that either; the map is completely fraudulent (source had never been there), or if accurate, that the dungeon had been plundered by the cartographer at, or before, the time of the map's creation. Both could be circumstances that could lead to in-game disappointment for the Characters, and to a lesser extent the Players.

But what really got me was, "How did they get such a map?" One would assume that it was made for profit, as making a personally plundered map for oneself seems cost prohibitive unless it was used to extricate oneself from same.

So, assuming it was made for profit to be sold to others, how much would it be worth? Why don't Players ever try to sell their maps? Why don't big-wig NPCs hire Characters to map locations, even their regional terrain? And, if this was prevalent, should Characters receive experience for a successful cartography exploration?

A myriad of questions I must ponder upon!

Happy mapping,

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Messing Around With Wacom...

Just wanted to show off my new toy! Yes, I am not very good. I have been reading tuts and sketching all day and this is the best I have to show for it....
Much practice in my future, but at least I won't feel bad about crumpling digital paper and throwing it in the digital trashcan.

Constructive critism is fine, lay it on me.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Microlite20: Stats

Moving on, I have decided:

There are four stats the represent you Character;: Fortitude (FORT), Reflex (RFLX), Will (WILL), and Comprehension (COMP).
  • Fortitude (FORT) measure your character's ability to stand up to physical punishment or attacks against your vitality and health. It is often referred to as Strength in may RPGs. (Strength of Body)
  • Reflex (RFLX) is the speed associated with the body and your character's ability to dodge attacks. It is often referred to as Dexterity in some RPGs. (Speed of Body)
  • Will (WILL) is your character's resistance to mental influence as well as many magical effects, often thought of or referred to as Wisdom in other RPGs. (Strength of Mind)
  • Comprehension (COMP) is the act or action of grasping with the intellect, and how fast the mind can process stimulus. It is thought of as Intelligence in other RPGs. (Speed of Mind)
Rolling for, and assigning, Stat scores:
Players should roll three six sided die, annotated as 3d6, and assign them to one of their character's Stats after being totaled, before rolling for another Stat. At any time the player may take a total rolled and assign it as their character's starting gold roll (discussed later).

Calculating Stat bonuses/penalties:
Each exceptional or sub-par Stat will either produce a bonus or penalty, respectively,  to rolls during play. This bonus or penalty can be calculated by subtracting ten from the Stat score and dividing by two, rounding down.

Stat bonus = (STAT-10)/2, rounded down.

There, procrastination complete and OCD fended off... for now.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Village Of Nickime

A quick post to show the Large Village of Nickime that I created from the "It's All About The Quarters" post I did yesterday. Again I want to thank Talysman, for the motivation/inspiration. I haven't gotten into digesting his response on the last post, but soon will.

*Edit: Roger, over at Roles, Rules, and Rolls, took creating settlements with coins even further with several interesting twist!*

Without further ado, here is the map of Nickime:
A Keep was placed for the quarter, and merchant/craftsmen got a larger building. Then I just added ten houses per fifty cent piece. Here is what the original map looked like, if you missed it:
I was initially worried about the placement of the Church/Shrine, but when I did the rough map I think it turned out okay.


Friday, December 16, 2011

It's All About The "Quarters"

So, while perusing blogs, I stumbled on Talysman's latest post: Mapping Towns and Cities During Play.

There, I saw a link to: The Quarter System. I thought, 'Cool... That would be neat!' So off I went, Mozilla buzzing, to find it was not what I had thought. It was 'Cool', just not what I anticipated.

This, is what I had in mind:
Coinage! Quarters!

That lead to this:
Where I started with a Quarter to represent the Castle/Keep. Inspired again by Talysman, here, I quickly decided that dimes would be crafts, nickles would be multi-entity establishments, quarters the controlling interest, and half-dollars would be homes.

I placed the Quarter, then a dime, figuring that the controlling entity would want them near. To support that, I needed homes. Each additional coin had to touch at least two others and homes had to touch the establishment it supported. Each craft/merchantile had to be as close to the 'hub' as I could get it, then its supporting homes. When at all possible I shared the edge of the homes with another half-dollar to represent how homes tended to cling together...

And bingo a rough Large Village was created, again based on this.

I will assume that there are three entrances into the Castle/Keep at each of the dimes, and for the most part that each coin that touches another has a major thoroughfare connecting it.

Now that I know what each can represent, I should be able to pick up some coins (the amount based on the size of the settlement) and have a ready made establishment.

What to do with the penny?... Ruins or Slums! Done.

Hope you like it, it is rather 'outside-the-box' for me, and it is all because Talysman blogged about quarters!


*The only thing I had a problem with was the Church/Shrine. It probably should have gone NE or SW of the Controller, but I didn't want it near a Stable or a Blacksmith.*

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Trying My Hand At Silhouettes

Wanted to try it out myself since Telecanter makes them look so cool!

First One I did took me about fifteen minutes. And it looks like it...

Learned a valuable lesson. Not all poses look right. This fellow in the original was setting up for a backswing. In the Silhouette, it appears that he is going for a forehand swing... meh.

Second one was this one, which took me about ten minutes.

You loose the pick-sword in Silhouetting him, but better. The outline doesn't look as jagged with this technique.

Fun though,


Monday, December 12, 2011

Microlite20: Stats Start To Solidify

**Edit: My 100th, and I missed it**
Thanks to the author of Beacon, Todd's response here, got me over the mental block I was having. Now I didn't take the suggestion as is, but the result is worth thinking about. The question I have to answer is, "Do the changes that I would make add to the game, based on my design goal, or detract from it?" Answer, "I don't know yet."

I am fairly certain that converting to Fortitude, Will, and Reaction is a solid decision. The vernacular is familiar enough to the 'old hands' that I don't feel it would be distracting, and might as I suggested, add to the feel I am going for. A fair tradeoff, if not a slight advantage for making the change.

But what about 'Comprehension'? Comprehension: 'capacity of the mind to perceive and understand; power to grasp ideas; ability to know'. Or in my laymen's terms, 'speed of mentally processing stimulus.' I like the symmetry. You have the toughness and speed of both the body and the mind in four stats. Combining each individually with a M20 skill results in a large pool of Saving Throw options.

My concerns are that a) it might alienate conventional D&D players by going too far afield, and b) comprehension is not 'commonly' used enough to be understood in this context.

In retrospect, I used Charisma primarily as the strength of the Mind stat, when I used it. But 'Will' is more fitting. So, in this, perhaps what Todd said is correct, "As a proponent of Charisma I would convert it to Will and come up with something else for the MIND stat (or just go fortitude, reflex, Mind and Will.)" This is how I had used Charisma in the past, but my OCD will not release the symmetrical beauty of the option discussed earlier in this post...

Okay, maybe it has not solidified, but I am vigorously mixing it around in my melon! Come on Jello!!!


Question? What question?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mirolite20: Considering Stats

Not having gotten any feed back from my initial discussion of Stats for the conversion of Microlite20 to the system I want to use for Humanity's Reign & Ruin, I flipped a coin and decided to move on by expanding on the assumption that I would use Fortitude, Reflex, and Will as the default Stats. These will equate to Strength, Dexterity, and Mind of the standard Microlite20 rulebook.

As I mentioned in the proceeding post, Charisma is an often added stat for Microlite20 (simply M20 for here on out). Though I usually play with this added stat, I am apprehensive in trying to add it, based on my current decision to switch to the fore mentioned; Fortitude, Reflex, and Will stats, because there is no save in this capacity found in the source material (d20 SRD).

Proponents of the, "Don't use Charisma, just make it a Mind save" for conventional M20, have a point, considering my choice to change the default stats. Though I did not like the idea of using Mind as a charismatic save previously, it does makes a bit more sense to me now as a Will save. Even so, I have been toying with the thought of adding some form of 'Composure' stat, and relating save.

On Stat Values: Determining stat values vary from incarnation to incarnation of M20. Purest Essence, which I consider to be the default version, has Players roll 4d6 and drop the lowest and assign them as they are rolled. I had been thinking that I would drop Stat values altogether, but have reconciled that notion to my pending True20 project of M20. So how do I want to generate Stat values? Neither of these approaches appeal to me for this iteration of rules. The convention of 3d6 in order is suitably 'old school', and has the advantage of being gritty especially considering my adaptation of Feats, which I will blog about in later post. Though I want gritty, I don't feel compelled to gimp the Players out of playing the Class that they want to play. This is a rather weighted decision because of the possible perception that I am limiting Players on Race, which again I will address in subsequent posts. The short of it however, is that in Humanity's Reign, Humans will be the primary Race and in Humanity's Ruin, Demi-Humans will be.

So, currently I am planning on going with having Players roll 3d6, assigning the highest to the 'Prime' Stat for their Class and the remaining two scores (three if I decide to go with a 'Composure' Stat) go in order for the other two (or three) Stats.

On Stat Bonuses: Like Stat Values, Stat Bonus calculations vary widely on their mathematical determination depending on version of M20 you are playing. Purest Essence says, "Stat bonus = (STAT-10)/2, round down." On the high side, this could grant a +4 bonus with an eighteen Stat Value ((18-10)/2). Though this corresponds to the source material, I am much more partial to the normal spread found in older versions of the game, ranging from -3 to +3 with the bell curve resting on a +0 for the 9 to 12 range.

So, do I want to stick with the convention established with Purest Essence and the SRD, or do I want to tone it down and flatten the bell curve  bit? This is a harder question to answer in my opinion, and one that I am not ready to decide upon at this time. Advantage goes to flattening the bell curve for the gritty feel I want, but unlike changing the Stat names, changing it adds one more hurdle for compatibility.

I hope you have enjoyed watching my head implode over what might be thought of as trivial decisions, but I would REALLY like to hear some input, or thoughts, on the matter.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Making A Pocketmod Book

While I sat and ruminated on my last post I considered how I was going to release it. I really like Pocketmods, but for a book, even a small one, more than one would be required. How would I break down the data? Some folks have released four to five Pocketmods, each with its own topic. For example; one for character creation, one for Divine Spells, one for Arcane Spells, one for Monsters, etc.

Looking at my computer desk... I would lose 'em! Sure they are easy to print out, cut, fold, and enjoy, but I wanted something all-in-one. Then I found this:

Instructions can be found HERE. Which utilizes four individual Pocketmods bound with kite string into a single book. That might just work for what I have in mind! That is thirty-two pages of Microlite20 goodness right there. Depending on font, it could work, if legible.

Then I found this from the same author, icspots:

Yep, that is 50+ pages! Her instructions for this little beauty can be found HERE.

What say you?


Thursday, December 8, 2011

I Am Truly Torn...

About what I should/want to be doing. I just got done watching an... 'interesting' movie, The Lost Future. Surprisingly, it wasn't terrible, but I digress. At the moment, I am considering whether to go play Oblivion, Blog about how I want to implement Microlite20, or read the latest version of Beacon (release 5, as of this post).

Life seems to answer many of my questions for me as I procrastinate; the living room (where the Xbox is) is full of kids watching T.V., and though I need to read Beacon before my pending play-test, I don't want it's greatness to influence my first decision on how I want to tweak the system to give the setting its own feel.

So to get started, for those that aren't familiar with Microlite20, "it is a trimmed-down, subminiature version of the Primary Fantasy SRD rules (see license for more info) that has been designed to be quick and easy to play. The goal was to create a simpler game, but one where all of the resources of Primary Fantasy SRD (monsters, spells, adventures and equipment) could be used without conversion."" ~ Microlite20 Purest Essence.

Basic Microlite20 kicks things off with Stats. It only uses three of the six 'common' stats you would find in other fantasy role-playing games, and its source SRD; Strength, Dexterity, and Mind. Charisma is a commonly house-ruled stat, though I am somewhat torn on its use myself. But, I am not sure that I want to use any of them for this incarnation of the system to represent adventurers in Humanity's Reign & Ruin (referred to as simply HR&R from here onward).

My intention for HR&R is for it to be gritty and low magic. How can I reflect this through the rules even now, as I approach "putting pen to paper"? Stats. Perhaps, rather than be conventional, I can convey the gritty feel now. As I skim the basic rules, something caught my eye. Something that always catches my eye, "Note that there are no “saving throws” in this game; use Physical + STR or DEX bonus for Fortitude and Reflex saves. Saving against magic (Will save) is usually MIND bonus + your level."

Everyday in HR&R should be a day to save versus something, so why not just use these commonly removed items for stats? Perhaps I should just use; Fortitude, Reflex, and Will, instead or Strength, Dexterity, and Mind. If players have a preconceived notion of this verbiage being associated with 'saving their proverbial bacon', then could having them as stats convey the gritty life threatening nature of the setting I want to produce? Or, as I fear (1), this would be too large a step away from the conventional?

Well that is the first small stumbling block in my path to getting underway, getting what is in my head and in a small mound of written notes, into a congealed setting and rules set.

I would love to hear some thoughts on this.


(1) Thought on Fear as I wrote the above post: How to project it into the game, by implementing some mechanic that makes sense?

Pocket Encounters...

Digging this... A modifiable Pocketmod of Telecanter's silhouettes, for encounter booklets!

Sorry, just wanted to give this a quick 'shout out'. Probably gonna post more tonight about Microlite20, so if you like that kind of thing, stay tuned.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's Got Me!!!

Yep, my addictive personality had me go out and buy the Elder Scrolls: Oblivion game for Xbox because my cheap personality waits for Elder Scrolls: Skyrim to be beaten by youngens, so I can pick it up on the cheap, used....

Well, now I am fully addicted to it! Too bad the 3d person view stinks on ice! Thankfully, the nausia I get from 1st person limits my play time, or I would get NO sleep.

Back to bashing baddies...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Not Sure Why I Am Posting This...

But, since I posted a while back what I like: Mounted Characters, I thought I would post about what I don't like, or at least what doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Putting this down in a blog kind of surprises me - since they may be construed as being non-old-school.

  • Dungeons. Yep don't like 'em. They make no sense to me what-so-ever. A small one under a castle for prisoners, sure, but a large one for whatever reason... nah. Natural caverns, sure. A mega-dungeon? Not in my worlds. I can even go with some Dwarven mines and some billeting for the miners, but a conventional dungeon.... Why is it there? Specially when most have no rhyme or reason for their shape? Pass!
  • Vancian Magic. Another of the love-it or leave-it topics. I will just have to leave it. I feel so dirty... I guess it falls into my love of low-magic preference, but something as... incredible as magic, leaving your conscience after you cast it... nah.
  • Hit Points. Okay, I don't not like them, but the idea of them being 'wounds' is outside my level-headed obsessive compulsive comprehension. The best I can succinctly refer to them as, at this moment, is Resolve. I guess 'damage' falls into the same sphere. The best way I can explain my take on it is that it isn't damage to your opponent, but rather Advantage for the attacker....
  • Treasure. Not that I don't like it, but it makes no sense to me in the grand scheme of things either. I mean, why does a clan of Goblins have 'treasure' in the form of gold. Sure they are somewhat intelligent, but I just don't see them hording it either. What use do they have for it? I don't see them bartering with humans or demi-humans with it. It just seems to me that a society of chaotic, dungeon dwelling, defecate in the corner of their own 'living room', type of monsters wouldn't give... well two copper for the gold that humanity puts so much value into. If they are "intelligent" you would think they would push it all out under a tree or something to keep the big mean adventurers from ransacking their home. Now a bag of fungus spores... now that is worth fighting for!
I'll stop there before you think I shouldn't be allowed to blog about classic gaming and leave it on a high note:

Mounted Dwarves!! (Yes, again, pic used without permission and I have completely forgot where it originated from, but as always it can be removed should the originator request)


Monday, December 5, 2011

Critical Hits...

Something about -C's post here, has me thinking about an easy way to do Critical Hits. The post there really only mentions Critical Hits in passing, but something made me think, 'taking a penalty to hit should equate to something like a called shot, which in turn should cause more damage.' It was probably the similarities of how HPs started higher than other games at first level for Hackmaster. Same is true with my current rules preference; Microlite20.

This lead me to the following, which is not currently play-tested:

Taking a negative modifier to hit (say -3) will reduce increase the chance of a Critical (usually a natural 20) by an equal amount (17-20 in this example).

Typically in Microlite20, Critical Hits equate to max damage, but considering the inflated HPs that a character starts off with (typically Con Score, plus modifier, plus 1d6) we are looking at a rather large beginning threshold. I think to play-test it, a critical will do max damage + damage die roll (keeping in mind that my version of said mechanics will be 1d6 HP and Damage dice, exclusively). This could lead to 2d6 or 2-12 points of "damage" on a critical, which I think will scale well with the increased HP at 1st level

Part of me wants to make the damage die roll exploding as well, similar to what is described in the above linked post mentioned with Hackmaster.

I hope this will dovetail nicely with other alternate rules that I want to interject, such as Shields Shall Splinter (need to find link to originator) and some other choice bits.

Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think...

PS - I hope the new style is acceptable. My old eyes don't care much for black print on white expanses much anymore.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Help Me Find A Site...

Googling my arse off and for the life of me I can't find it! It was a 'random nemesis success' table. Each 'x' amount of in-game time, you rolled to see what success or failure a particular nemesis, protagonist, villain had. You had to acquire enough points (totals of your rolls) before the arch-villain could move on. It was a 'ticking clock' in the background so-to-speak.

Anyone know where I can find this?


Firmly In The Less Is More Camp...

Minimal systems are currently my preference. My Gamer ADD/OCD tends to have me wondering, so rules heavy systems don't seem to last. An example of a borderline too rules heavy system is Savage Worlds, that I began mulling over a while ago. I stopped then on page 78 and haven't returned.

I am currently fully entrenched in Microlite20, but what factoids I have gleaned from developing Savage Worlds - Plot Point Settings are interesting. For example; Plot Points, Set Pieces, and Adventure Paths and Delving into Design: Echo of Dead Leaves (Part II) (interesting reads if Plot Point Settings appeal to you). I am planning to attempt a similar tact while pushing ahead on a Microlite20 house rule set for Humanity's Reign & Ruin.

As I had mentioned, I envision Humanity's Reign & Ruin as being two settings, a before and after kind of thing. Humanity's Reign, as a middling magic, human-centric, middle-ages - with monsters, affair. The subsequent setting; Humanity's Ruin, a demi-human-centric, pronounced magic, humans are rare, dark and gritty - with monsters, affair. They tie together with my, for now only in notes and mind, game history.

Currently my approach to presenting these two, tied together, settings is going to be a short paragraph about each and allow the Rules, Tables (thanks to Zak's How I Want To Hear About Your Setting), and Plot Point Setting adventures to speak for themselves. I have a mental image of what, and how, the world and things in it coalesce, but have no desire to put out an expansive Setting PDF on it that no one wants to read. I think a simple Gazetteer focusing on the above, with maps, should suffice. Then six to eight Plot Points, with all the entail, for adventure.

At the moment, I am speculating on whether a Plot Point Zero adventure is in order? I think it would be interesting for the first adventure to be the 'lead-into the fall of Humanity' and have the Plot Point Setting Adventures lead up to that experience that the Players would have already experienced.

Thoughts on a Plot Point Zero for Humanity's Reign & Ruin?

Hopefully this is a beginning to an end...


Thursday, December 1, 2011

An Awesome Free, No Download, Table!

This has to be seen to believed!!!

It's called Taeble, and yes it is intentionally spelled wrong, but it rocks!

You can save it, host a game on it, and best of all customize it by bringing in maps and pieces from your PC or the Web! Nice! And it already comes with all standard D&D dice...

I so want to try this out with maybe Skype....