Monday, November 25, 2013

Quick and dirty RPG rule

Quick idea for an RPG, embracing the idea of play at the table being more important than a character build.

You’re really good at one thing, pretty good at one or two more things, and bad at one thing. That’s your stats.

There could be a list of Strengths and Weaknesses to choose from, but original ideas should be encouraged. Your stat shouldn’t be so broad that its useful for everything, or so specialized that its useless. The bonus would depend on what system you want to base it on. For d20, maybe +5/+2/-2 to rolls. For Dungeon World style (2d6), it would be +2/+1/-1. When the DM thinks a die roll is necessary to determine something, roll. If your strength or weakness comes into play, add the modifier.

For example, Ryu the ninja is really sneaky, and pretty good with daggers and acrobatics, but is small. Valgard the berserker is great at raging, and pretty good at hunting and leading warriors, but has a dangerous short temper. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013


From the Eldritch Wizardry excerpt on the WotC website:

"This book also represents a new trend in the fine art of Dungeon Mastering. As originally conceived, D&D was limited in scope only by the imagination and devotion of Dungeon Masters everywhere. The supplements have fulfilled the need for fresh ideas and additional stimulation. But somewhere along the line, D&D lost some of its flavor, and began to become predictable. This came about as a result of the proliferation of rule sets; while this was great for us as a company, it was tough on the DM. When all the players had all of the rules in front of them, it became next to impossible to beguile them into danger or mischief."

Sunday, September 22, 2013

30 Day D&D Challenge: Day 18-22

Day 18-Favorite Monster (Immortal/Outsider)

Devils, although I don't use them enough. I find the Devil/Demon dichotomy a little strange. I think the medieval idea of hell covers both types, but D&D loves its metaphysical organization so we have Lawful and Chaotic ultimate evil. I guess I just always wanted to use a pit fiend but don't get high level very often. I should fix that.

Day 19-Favorite Monster (Elemental/Plant)

Your basic elementals are pretty cool. They're the only thing in the AD&D Monster Manual that goes into detail about summoning, so they're the template for summoned monsters. And way cooler than a celestial dire badger.

Day 20-Favorite Monster (Humanoid/Natural/Fey)

Broad category. High elves, or 4E Eladrin. Because I can use them as a template for Sidhee, Tuatha de Danaan, Alfs, whatever mythological fae race I'm into. And the pupil-less eyes is just like elves in The Broken Sword. 

Honorable mention to Displacer Beasts, because they're badass.

Day 21-Favorite Dragon Color/Type

Green Dragons. Classic dragon color, and they're sneaky. Mythological dragons are usually serpentine and poisonous, so they're similar to that. And I seem to have a bunch of random green dragon minis, so I'd like to put a family in a campaign and have every mini be a different member.

Day 22-Favorite Monster Overall

Its not D&D, but something I've stated up a few times: the Nuckelavee. Scottish water fae/demon. Its like a centaur that's been burned by nightmare acid. Skinless, with blood and black ooze dripping everywhere. Flippers on its feet, long gangly arms with huge claws. An oversized head that rolls around because its neck can't support it, and a huge eye that burns and poisons everything. (Some versions say its basic form is a horse with a half human body coming out the middle of its back, but I prefer the centaur-like version.)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

30 Day D&D Challenge: I suck (4-17)

I picked a bad month to try and do a blog challenge. I took the second week of September off for vacation. The week before that was doing two weeks worth of work at my job, and my wife's birthday. So I've been less productive than I had hoped. Here's trying to catch up.

Day 5-Your favorite set of dice/individual die

This giant d20 is pretty awesome. I jokingly refer to it as my "Killer DM" die. Actually, I'm a fan of letting the players roll as much as possible so I don't use it much.

Day 6-Favorite Diety

Can't say I have one. I'm honestly not a fan of D&D pantheons, they're too neat. I like real world mythologies with all kinds of contradictions and weirdness. So I guess I'd say the Morrigan from Irish myth. The goddess of war and crows became the patron of the party in the Celtic campaign I ran.

Day 7-Favorite Edition

Third Edition revitalized gaming, brought me back to D&D, and helped me convert my friends. That being said, I'll play any edition, or any game for that matter. Right now I'm really jazzed about Dungeon World.

Day 8-Favorite Character You Have Played

Eodrid. Shocking, I know. He was a high elf Wizard/Oracle of Pelor. I was going for the stereotypical lofty elf mage, it was a lot of fun. Really arrogant around humans. I used a variety of spells, because part of the fun of playing a wizard for me is using inventive ways of overcoming obstacles instead of just blasting things. I also had a custom spell, Prismatic Arrow, that randomly affected the target with different spell effects. One time I Confused the high-level wizard nemesis who had repeatedly attacked the city and we finally beat him.

Day 9-Favorite Character You Haven’t Played

One I keep going back to is a rogue with high strength who uses knives and brute force as much as stealth. In other words, Riddick.

Day 10-Craziest thing that’s happened that you saw (to party/character/your players etc)

Oh gods…
I had an Eberron campaign run off the rails in the funnest way possible. Deck of Many Things-->souls trapped on other planes-->Plane of Chaos-->warforged takes malleable chaos goo, rubs it on his crotch, and zaps it with the rod of wonder (because how else can a warforged have a child?)-->roll on intelligent magic items chart for inspiration-->warforged now has a Lawful Good crotch that can Detect Thoughts (so it instantly knows how messed up the bastards its with are)-->Plane of Life-->party slaughters the lantern archons (angels) guarding the tree of life imprisoning a PCs soul-->the warforged's crotch-baby springs to life Pinocchio style and begs the remaining angels to save him from these awful people-->the warforged swears vengeance on all angels-->I can't continue the game anymore.

Day 11-Favorite Adventure You Have Ran

Castle Ravenloft. So intense and creepy, but still full of D&D craziness. Like Strahd dominating the druid to attack the dwarf fighter, and the dwarf winning a grappling check against a wildshaped rhino.
Day 12-Favorite Dungeon Type/Location

Haunted castles are fun. You can throw in all sorts of weirdness and the players don't question it, because its haunted. They'll question anything else, but say its ghosts and all the gloves are off, apparently.

Day 13-Favorite Trap/Puzzle

Kind of a trap: there was a Ravenloft adventure where Azalin put everyone's minds in the bodies of guests at Strahd's wedding in the past. So everyone was 0-level nobodies trying to find clues real fast before being slaughtered.

Day 14-Favorite NPC

I suck at roleplaying. I love DMing but I suck at voices, at speaking in character, etc. But one time we played a Gamma World game where the villain was a giant with mind-control powers. 

Yes, Andre the giant was making people Obey him. I thought it was funny, but apparently everyone else thought the funniest thing was my Andre the Giant voice. Trying to do a baritone French accent came out more like drunk Arnold Schwarzenneger mixed with Sean Connery.
Day 15-Favorite Monster (Undead)

Vampires. My first monster love. 

Day 16-Favorite Monster (Abberation)

Beholders. Come on, they're awesome. Crazy floating head with 10 magic eyes? Its sooooo D&D.

Day 17-Favorite Monster (Animal/Vermin)

Wolves are a good go-to. Occasionally dinosaurs. PCs should always have a good tyrannosaur fight story to tell their grandchildren.

..and I'm caught up for now. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

30 Day D&D Challenge, Day Three: Favorite Playable Class

Again, my two favorite characters: Draco the half-orc barbarian and Eodrid the elf wizard. Opposite ends of the spectrum.

Barbarian is awesome because its total power-fantasy. I get to Hulk-out and charge everything. And that's a good strategy most of the time in combat. Honestly, I've seen groups spend huge amounts of time over-thinking strategy before a combat and it all goes to hell anyway. Just get in and start fighting.

Wizard is awesome because you get to solve problems no one else can and it gives you the most character customization. Back when all I had was the red box the only class that was different from PC to PC (outside of ability scores and even then not much) was the wizard because they got to select spells. I'm also a big fan of customized spells, so when I DM I let player's go wild with spell descriptions if it fits a theme. As a player, its fun to write your own spells if the DM allows it (Eodrid's Prismatic Arrow was my favorite).

Monday, September 2, 2013

30 Day D&D Challenge, Day Two: Favorite Playable Race

Hmm…not sure if I have a favorite race. I DM more than I play, for one thing. Plus, I like to draw from real-world myth and folklore more than the "standard D&D" setting, so my take on elves and such is often different. My google name is taken from a grey elf PC I had, so I guess I like elves with a noticeable faerie element. 

I'm a big fan of settings that define races differently, or have very specific race selection to fit a theme. The "kitchen sink" of races in 3E and 4E sometimes bugs me.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

30 Day D&D Challenge: Day One: How you got started

A friend of mine in 4th grade had a bunch of books and I loved the pictures. I kept pestering him about them and asking to borrow books. 
I got a 1st ed AD&D Monster Manual from a comic and games shop on vacation soon after. That was my first dive into the rules and setting of D&D. 
I got whatever edition of the red box came out around then (levels 1-5, elf was a class, still probably my favorite D&D rulebook because it does so much in such little space). Playing was sporadic, getting friends or family to play single sessions here and there. 
I never got gaming regular until my friends and I got into White Wolf (mostly Werewolf: the Apocalypse) in high school. D&D 3rd edition came out in college and then it was easy enough to convert everyone. 

I've owned a huge number of games over the years (and even played a few of them). Lately I'm very much in "rules-lite" mode. I want to sit down and play, not waste time on character creation or looking up mechanics. I've played a little bit of Dungeon World and want to sink my teeth into more of that. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Things have happened.

I've been gaming a fair amount, just not blogging. So here's stuff:

Deadlands: Weird West rpg run by Tobias. I'm a big scarred bounty hunter with a whip and a mysterious past. So far I've entangled a werewolf and punched him in the face, and fought a Wendigo with a steampunk mech suit. Loooove the setting. Wish combat was a little faster.

Star Wars X-Wing miniatures: Tabletop minis. I've been Boba Fett in Slave I twice, complete annihilation once and victory the second. Lots of fun, good mix of strategy and luck of the dice.

Celtic D&D: Since I'm always working on homebrew ideas, I threw together four celtic themed classes (warrior, druid, bard, changeling) and ran through the Cairn of the Winter King for a one-shot. Biggest lesson--its hard to play D&D at a brew-pub without it getting silly.

Lands of Mystery: Just started a small Pathfinder game using the map I wanted to try as the setting. I'll post more about it soon. Full of roleplaying opportunity, just trying to push some "old-school" feel on a mostly "new-school" group.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hero Quest house rules

Played Hero Quest for the first time in years recently. It holds up well. It wasn't boring, but it also didn't require constant attention like most RPGs, so it was good for board game night.

Got me thinking about a few house rules (because that's how I roll):

--If you search for treasure in a room with the fireplace, tomb, or wizard’s desk, draw two treasure cards and pick one. The other is shuffled back into the deck. 
--The fire spells are resisted by a white die, only a black skull reduces damage. (This makes the fire spells about 50% more effective, which seems needed)
 Some hero-specific rules. I’m thinking a hero has to survive one Quest before they can use these special abilities. That creates a penalty for dying that doesn’t currently exist.
--The Wizard can trade one spell card not used for one spell card that has been used, once per quest.
--If the Dwarf rolls at least two white shields on defense, it does a one damage to the attacker (which can immediately be defended against as normal).
--The Elf can move through enemy squares on its move, as long as it ends its move in an empty square.
--The Barbarian can attack two adjacent targets by splitting his attack dice between them.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Game Ideas

I've got a ton of ideas for campaigns to run:

Castle Ravenloft

A one-shot game, at night, with candles and creepy music. Simple narrative rules (stripped down version of Dungeon World). You can be a Knight, a Vagabond, a Priest, or a Witch. You start with a gypsy fortune card reading, then enter Castle Ravenloft to hunt down Count Strahd von Zarovich.

Inglorious Rebel Scum

I have the Stormtrooper helmet & crossbones jacket, and I thought, what if that was a trophy of the Rebels in Star Wars? You’re part of a special forces team, all with a personal grudge against the Empire, behind enemy lines taking out high-ranking Emperial targets. Star Wars Saga edition rules.

Ar ais chun an Teampall de Eiliminteach Olc
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil with a Celtic twist. Fight the mysterious cults of air, fire, stone and water who are all trying to summon the ancient demon Crom Cruach. Stripped-down D&D with berserkers, shield maidens, druids, bards, and witches.

Explore fantasy Mars. Play a Earthling with super strength in low-gravity, a Red Martian with advanced light technology, a wild 4-armed Green Martian, or a mysterious Thern with 9th Beam powers. Every party gets a bonus 8-legged dog-thing for free.

Age of Bronze and Blood
The Egyptian d20 article actually got me thinking about an Egyptian campaign, then I remembered I have a setting/campaign book for ancient Mesopotamia. Everyone is a champion of a specific god and gets appropriate magic powers. Search for the lost riches of Ibnath, the city of a thousand gods.

Monday, January 14, 2013

...of Mars

Watched John Carter. Liked it a lot, it didn’t deserve all the hate it got (it also deserved a better marketing campaign). While I’m curious about the books now, I have some quick ideas for a Barsoom-esque D&D game.

Humans are Fighters. Great strength and jumping ability because of Barsoom’s low gravity. Humans would be extremely rare, and would all be exceptional (no “I’m just an everyday guy”).

Red men are Clerics. They are decent warriors, and their technology is often light-based and helpful. An altered “spell list” would work.

Tharks are Rangers. Four arms accommodates two-weapon fighting and they make frequent use of primitive firearms (in place of archery).

Therns are Wizards. Mysterious figures who manipulate events, and seem to have amazing powers (probably advanced technology, based on the 9th Beam).

No armor, so each class would get some type of defense bonus. High for Humans, medium for Reds and Tharks, and low for Therns.

I want to do something with the dog-creatures (Calots), but not sure how to do it.