Showing posts with label design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label design. Show all posts

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Fate Accelerated And Emotional Stress

From a Phonogram story inspired by TV On The Radio's Song "Wolf Like Me."
While I am in Las Vegas next week for my birthday, I am going to run a Fate Accelerated game (using my own Accelerated hack that I have talked about in various blog posts here, and around social media) about werewolves. I like werewolves, and I like Fate Accelerated, so they blend well together. This is an early form of something that I will likely use in a published game, once it gets to a more mature form.

Whether born as one, or made into one, Wolves are primal creatures with intense and powerful emotions. Like with their more potent senses these emotions can at times overwhelm a Wolf, particularly in stressful situations like combat. Wolves have an additional stress track built around their more profound emotional triggers. Rage and anger are common triggers for Wolves, but you can create a stress track for your character around any intense emotional response.

The write up for your character's emotional stress is simple. Like with 'regular" stress, they get three boxes. However, for emotional stress the Consequence that your character receives is predetermined during character creation. These consequences are considered to be Moderate. Some examples of consequences for emotional stress could be: "The Wolf Is Scratching Out From My Skin" for Rage, "I Have To Get OUT" for Fear or "Nothing Is Right" for Confusion.

The GM should compel these consequences...hard. When the consequence for their emotional stress has triggered, it should change everything about how your character sees and interacts with the world. Fate points earned from compelling the consequence of an emotional stress track should last until the consequence itself goes away. This means that you can keep those Fate points between sessions.

This isn't going to be for everyone, which is fine, but your character, as a Wolf, is more than human and more than animal, and their strengthened connection to the Natural Order comes with drawbacks as well as perks.

In case you've never heard the song...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

This Ain't No Fooling Around -- An RPL Fool In Classic Marvel Super-Heroes

If you haven't heard of Red & Pleasant Land by +Zak Smith at this point, I will be a bit surprised. Then I will point you towards the interview that I did with Zak for Bleeding Cool.

A Red & Pleasant Land is an adventure/campaign/setting supplement for pretty much any edition of D&D ever. It is a rich and intriguing setting (a more in depth review will come along later) that treads new ground in gaming and moves thoughts about what you can do in a game setting at right angles to what is ordinary and accepted. The link at the top of this paragraph takes you to RPGNow and the PDF of the book.

Our group is listed among the playtesters for the book, so we saw a very early version of some of the material. We had fun with it and the strangeness of the world.

But, what if you aren't playing a D&D game? What if you still want to use this material with your game, when that game is (for example) the Classic Marvel Super-Heroes game that TSR published back in the 80s? Well, in that case you do what gamers always do...make some stuff up.

We're not going to jump immediately into the world of RPL. That would be silly, and besides then the players would be expecting what would happen. And a GM has to mix thing up when their players are cheating bastards who read the game books in advance in order to game a benefit during play.

In the book, there is a new character class called The Alice (the illustration for the class from the book and linked above used Connie, a member of Zak's home group). In the book they also call it The Alistair or The Fool, for those who would prefer non-gendered or male-gendered versions. The class itself remains the same. For our Marvel game, I'm coming up with a new Origin called The Fool. If you've never played the classic Marvel game there is a link above to a website that hosts a lot of material for it, including the long out of print rules. Origins in the game are sort of like archetypes, and they help guide the character creation rules of the game.

Converting between two games that have substantially different mechanical approaches, not to mention very different rules systems, can be tricky. Really, the best thing to do is to go for the intent of the original in the new system. Trying to make an exact conversion will lead to madness.

Much like with all super-heroes, The Fool doesn't seek out adventure as much as the universe throws it at them. Some call them "weirdness magnets," because strange things happen when they are around, things that the so-called "normal" super-heroes never have to deal with. Where other heroes deal with bank robbers and world conquerors, The Fool finds themselves dealing with parasite realities and hungry realities. Some say that there is a Doom that follows The Fool where they Patrol.

Those who embody The Fool get a +1CS bonus to their Intuition and Psyche, because of their stubbornness and fierce independence. They know what is going on around them, and are watching carefully what is unfolding around them, even if it doesn't look like they are watching.

The Fool is often the chosen of fate, and as such can often draw its attention in stressful situations. During these times, make a Psyche FEAT roll, the result of which determines how they get to roll on the Exasperation table on pg. 31 of Red & Pleasant Land. On a White FEAT, the GM rolls a d4 on the Exasperation table. On a Green FEAT, the GM rolls a d6 on the Exasperation table. On a Yellow FEAT, the GM rolls a d8 on the Exasperation table. On a Red FEAT, the GM rolls a d12.

The results of the Exasperation table in the book are fairly generic, so converting them to the Marvel game's rules should be fairly easy. I'm not going to quote the table, or convert it here...mostly because I want you to get the book or PDF for yourself. Honestly, it is worth your money. I plan on just doing conversions on the fly.

In the book, this ability is used once per game hour, but I think for the Marvel game I will make it into a once per session ability instead.

Fate's Champion
The Fool is chosen by Fate to lead the life of strangeness and adventure that they lead. Because of this relationship to the Cosmic Forces of Destiny, twice per game session you can take an advantage with rolls made. To take advantage you roll twice for the die roll attempted and take the higher of the two results. However because Fate is stepping in more directly, you cannot spend Karma on these rolls. Likewise, once per session you can cause someone acting against the character to take a disadvantage on a roll. This means that (typically) the GM will roll twice and take the lower of the two rolls as the result. Like with taking an advantage, Karma cannot be spent on this roll.

Rather than the standard powers in the Marvel game, use the D100 Level Up Table from Red & Pleasant Land instead. Change ability score increases to ability increases of the relevant equivalent ability in the Marvel game. Dexterity increases can be either Fighting or Agility increases, with the approval of the GM. If you should need a rank for the power, use the standard random rank tables. If you're playing the Advanced version of the game, The Fool rolls on the same table as Altered Humans.

Starting characters get two rolls on this table and can purchase further rolls for 500 Karma. That seems a reasonable number for now, but once we get to use this Origin in actual play we will see how that shakes out and change it appropriately. One of the things that I have always liked about the Classic Marvel game is that when you use your character's Karma you have to weigh present benefits against future advances. That is a very super-hero-y sort of thing in my mind.

Those are the basics for creating a Fool in a Marvel Super-Heroes game. There will probably be more to come once we start with play. Any questions or comments can be asked on G+ or Twitter.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Some Magic Items For Your Gaming Pleasure

Here are a few magic items that I've been mulling over for the last few days. They aren't system specific, so it should be easy enough to work them out in your system of choice. My goal was more odd than useful in all of the examples, going for more of a weird magic vibe.

The Warlock's Face
Made from the flayed face of a warlock killed by an Inquisition, this mask is snug and nearly form-fitting against the wearer's face. Cloth straps affixed to either side of the mask must be tied before the object's magic takes effect.

The Warlock's Face has two main powers:

  • The wearer is shapeshifted into an exact duplicate of the person that had previously belong to the Warlock's Face. Each detail, even the voice, is perfectly duplicated. This lasts for as long as the person wants to wear the mask, or until it is dispelled by magical means.
  • Once per day, the wearer can teleport unerringly to the location last recalled in the warlock's last memory, just before death.
There can be more than one Warlock's Face in a world, but they would obviously be made of the faces of different warlocks.

A Cage
This small cage fits into the palm of a person's hand. When physically opened, a swarm of insects fly out of the cage to attack a target. The target's name is whispered by the wielder as the cage is opened. If no name is mentioned the insects attack the wielder. Death sometimes occurs from the multitude of bites and stings. Description of the swarm is up the the GM, but having it be a variety of insects is the best idea.

No one is certain any longer who the Eyeball originally belonged to, or if its matching number still exists or not. It is believed to be at least hundreds of years old, and is known to have been in the possession of one very rich family for three generations. When held in the user's mouth, it allows them to pierce all illusions, however their mouth tastes and smells of death for a week afterwards. The Eyeball itself is still gelatinous and and viscous, despite its age.

Swallowing the Eyeball causes intense, debilitating hallucinations until the Eyeball finally passes through their system. The Eyeball is nontoxic and cannot be digested.

The Paranoid Skull
Made of a highly polished, yet exotic, dark wood, with a smell of deep, lush rainforests that never seem to fade, this elaborately carved skull is roughly the size of an average human's skull. When held, it allows the wielder to "hear" the nearby thoughts of others, but only those thoughts directly about the wielder.

The more surface contact between the wielder and the skull, the clearer sounding the thoughts.

The Keeper's Key
Carved from the single finger bone of some unknown creature, with intricate and esoteric lettering and runes worked into the surface, this key is about eight inches in length. With this key, any manacles and padlocks can be opened.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Apocalypse May Be Rescheduled

By Stephane Gaudry (Flickr: Demolition of the ECVB power plant) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
People who know me know that I like post-apocalyptic things. I loved Jack Kirby's Kamandi and OMAC (if you don't think that OMAC was post-apocalyptic you need to reread the comics), and as a kid I watched Thundarr every week. I even run Rifts every week (even though I would argue that setting is more like a post-post-apocalypse, sort of like Unhallowed Metropolis).

You're probably all wondering why I'm saying this. It is only because I've been working on the Swords & Wizardry Field Guide for City of Clocks, and I have a couple of other projects in the queue. Having all of this to keep me busy, of course, means that my brains keeps telling me that I need to write an RPG in homage to the first edition of Gamma World. Not a retro clone, we have plenty of those. More like a game that starts from the point of being the old Gamma World game, but adding some bits and pieces to it. Obviously there would have to be magic, because there's a magic-user in Thundarr. I would use the various D20 SRDs as the starting point for the work, and reconstruct the parts of the old Gamma World game that I like under the OGL.

I like the fact that the game was classless, for example. It was pretty ballsy of TSR at the time to not just rebuild D&D and slap a "science fantasy" label onto the game. But it also has that old school sensibility that I like, where the rules are the starting point and characters develop through play, and the actions of their players.

How long will I be able to hold this off? I don't know, but I'm planning on being strong.

Monday, February 17, 2014

More SuperFAE: Big Bang Comics

A favorite comic of mine for a long time was Big Bang Comics. A part of the independent comics boom of the 80s and 90s, Big Bang Comics grew out of Gary Carlson's Megaton comic. Carlson and partner Chris Ecker, were part of the Detroit scene that also brought us Caliber Comics and Kevin Siembieda of Palladium Games. While there were original characters like The Sphinx or Doctor Weird, many of the Big Bang Comics characters were homages to Golden and Silver Age comics characters like Batman or Superman. True, characters like Ultiman and Knight Watchman did have enough twists to them to make them into unique characters, it was easy to differentiate them from their inspirations.

Big Bang Comics ran for a while as a mini-series done in conjunction with Caliber Comics (where I first encountered the comic by finding it in a bagged set in a K-Mart), and then as a full color series published through Image Comics. The character of Knight Watchman first appeared in Carlson's Berzerker, a post apocalyptic comic published by Caliber Comics that (to me) bridged the universes of the Megaton comic with that of Big Bang Comics.

Today I needed to do something a little uplifting today, so I decided to revisit my SuperFAE rules hack for the Fate Accelerated and talk about some of the characters from Big Bang Comics, and how I would address them under these rules. The SuperFAE stuff is still a work in progress, so this post may contradict or add to what I had previously posted. In all cases, stick to the most current rules implementations, as they supersede previous writings.

In case you missed my first SuperFAE past, you can read it here.

Because of its freeform nature, SuperFAE fits well with the freeform nature of the comics. Not familiar with Big Bang Comics? Click here for more information about them.

Knight Watchman is Reid Randall, a fashion designer and wealthy owner of the family clothing business. Yes, that's right the "Batman" of the Big Bang Comics Universe is a fashion designer. While Reid was still in college, training to compete in the Olympics, mobsters attempted a hostile takeover of the family clothing business, killing his older brother Ted (who currently ran the family business) and Ted's wife with a car bomb.

Using his athletic prowess, and garment making skills, he fashioned himself a simple costume to hide his identity, allowing him to track down the gangsters who killed his brother. After finding and defeating the gangsters, he dressed them up in women's clothing and left them to be found by the police. Sadly, this did not become his M.O. for apprehending criminals after he decided to become a costumed hero.

Realizing that there were others in need of help, oppressed by crime, in his hometown of Midway City, Reid took the identity of Knight Watchman and became the Twilight Paladin of Midway City.

These would be the aspects that I would use for Knight Watchman in a game:

High Concept: Twilight Paladin of Midway City
Origin: Using His Training For The Good Of Those Around Him
Trouble: Must Keep His True Identity A Secret!

For his other aspects, being that Knight Watchman is a fairly black and white character, in terms of morality, I would probably use Must Do The Right Thing! and Square-Jawed Hero. Those give him a certain Silver Age charm, without hamstringing the character at the same time.

For Knight Watchman's approaches I would do this:

Fighting +3
Agility +4
Strength +0
Endurance +1
Reason +3
Intuition +2
Psyche +1

While Knight Watchman is a fighter, he is also a thinking super-hero. Some may think that the +0 for the Strength approach isn't going to be enough, but rather than thinking of it as Mediocre (like the +0 ranking in Fate) I prefer to think of it as being human normal. A good way around this would be to give the character a stunt that would let them give damage with their Agility, instead of their strength:

Because I am a trained Olympic athlete, I can use my Agility to attack and damage people when I spend a Fate Point.

Ultiman is the Ultimate Human Being, and as former astronaut Christopher Kelly is the stand in for Superman in the Big Bang Comics universe. When Kelly was an astronaut on one of the Gemini space missions, his rocket was struck by a mysterious meteor. The radioactive rock bathed Kelly in its strange rays, making him faster, stronger, invulnerable to most harm, and able to fly. The radioactive energies supercharged his cells, turning him into a superhuman power battery.

Later in his career, this would turn on Kelly, as his energies dwindled and he looked for ways to reclaim his glories as America's foremost super-hero.

Concept: America's Super-Hero
Origin: Changed By A Radioactive Meteor Into The Ultimate Human Being
Trouble: Living Battery Of Supercharged Power

The nice thing about the trouble is that it can be Invoked or Compelled to represent Kelly's powers when they start to ebb, as well as when they are at peak capacity. This was, after all, how we first saw Ultiman, later in his life, when he appeared in Megaton Comics.

Fighting +3
Agility +2
Strength +4
Endurance +3
Reason +0
Intuition +1
Psyche +1

While super-powerful physically, Kelly is mostly unchanged mentally by the radiation that gave him his superpowers. When his powers are at his peak, I would give the following Power Stunt:

Because I am supercharged with energies, I can have a +2 to one of my approaches, when I spend a Fate Point.

The nice thing about the Fate Point economy is that it can be used to represent things like a super-hero whose powers ebb and flow. Without a Fate Point, Ultiman is just his "normal" self. While all of this is good for representing a Silver Age version of the character, if you want a modern version of the character just fill out his aspects with Must Find More Energy! or Hungry For That Recharge to simulate the fact that the radioactive energies in Kelly's cells is dwindling. Powerful electrical charges, or other intense energy discharges can also power up Kelly, for situations when Ultiman needs to be even more ultimate.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for the Big Bang Comics universe, but it gives you two characters that can be used as examples for creating your own SuperFAE characters. I know that there's interest in more posts about the SuperFAE rules, and this is trying to fulfill that. If you also want to see me talk more about the Big Bang Comics characters, let me know and I can do that too.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

SuperFAE: An Approach For Super-Heroes With Fate Accelerated

This post is more along the lines of my getting some game design ideas out of my head, mostly before I forget them, and less about putting out something finished and playable. I like super-heroes, and I like the simplicity and freeform nature of Fate Accelerated. I like the idea of a more freeform approach to doing super-heroes in comics, because I think that it can be a better fit for the source material in a lot of places. I plan (hopefully) on fleshing this idea out more, but for now I want to get what has been turning over in my brain out of it.

Basic changes to characters:
1. Characters can have up to four (4) stunts for free.
2. Characters start with a Refresh of four (4).
3. Characters have an additional Origin Aspect.

These two changes should already make your SuperFAE characters feel more "powerful." Depending even on the power level of the characters in your game (Avengers-type characters versus Challengers of the Unknown-type characters, for example) you may want to increase the starting Refresh to five or six. This will help out if you want character's like Marvel's Thor in your game.

The existing High Concept and Trouble aspects help you to define who your character is, and where they are coming from. This doesn't change with a SuperFAE character. With these three aspects, you can give your character depth and personality beyond just a set of statistics. Think in terms of the Marvel approach to creating and utilizing a character. In that approach who the character is has as much of an impact on their story as the powers that they have. A Spider-Man-like character could be built like this:

High Concept: Troubles With His Luck
Origin: Bitten By A Radioactive Spider
Trouble: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility!

Really, you can't make a FAE-based Spider-Man without utilizing the great Stan Lee line, "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility!" It is just too important to the character to not use. Could it be the character's High Concept? Sure. It could also work well in that slot, but putting it as the character's Trouble means that it becomes something that will definitely be bringing hardship to the character. Peter has a big date with an attractive lady for the first time? The Vulture is robbing a jewelry store right up the street. Which one of these will he choose?

Some would say that the High Concept is weighed more towards the negative, and that is intentional. The "Marvel Method" does play up the soap opera "aspects" of comics, and that means that bad things are going to happen. "Troubles With His Luck" can help out the character, it just means that it might do it in a way that may not always be the happiest of choices. That is pretty consistent with a lot of the happenings in Spider-Man's life.

Not everyone may want to play up the "hard luck" angle on their heroes, and that is a valid approach as well. I would lean on a more Marvelous approach only because I think that it would make for a better story. More "heroic" aspects for a SuperFAE character could be "Quirky Physics Professor," "Eagle-Eyed New York City Cop," "Crusading Defense Attorney" or "Driven Test Pilot." "Marvelous" High Concepts could be "Surgeon With Damaged Hands," "Driven To Stop Crime," "Reborn For A Greater Fate."

The important thing is that the three "main" aspects work together to create a cohesive character with a bit of depth. Look over characters from the Big Two comic companies and see how you could tease these three aspects out of their writeups. Check out DC's Who's Who or Marvel's Marvel Universe Handbooks to get to know characters, and figure out how they could tick in a FAE writeup.


These are approaches that can be used as an alternative to the approaches in the core Fate Accelerated rules. Fans of the original Marvel role-playing game will recognize them. Most of them are fairly straightforward in their applications.

The available rankings for approaches under this alternative would be: one at Great (+4), two at Good (+3), One at Fair (+2), Two at Average (+1) and One at Mediocre (+0). If you prefer to use the standard approaches, then choose One at Great (+4), One at Good (+3), Two at Fair (+1), One at Average (+1) and One at Mediocre (+0). Because of the typically higher power level of comic book super-heroes, having a bit of a bump to the rankings of approaches will help.

Powers in SuperFAE are fairly freeform, as is the nature of Fate Accelerated.

Rather than a lengthy list of powers, it is up to the aspects of the character, the creativity of the player and the adjudication of the GM to determine what characters can do. Obviously, this method won't suit everyone, but who wants that? Fate Core has a section that talks about "rulings, not rules" guiding play, and this should be taken to heart when dealing with powers for characters.

Using a power works like any other action in the FAE rules. The GM may want to charge a Fate point for effects that are particularly power, but this is not required. The GM is allowed to veto any attempted power that does not fit with the description of the character, however it might be better to suggest an alternative that does better fit the character. The Origin aspect of the character should inform what is possible.

Attack powers can often be built around the Fighting approach. Mental/Psionic abilities can be Reason or Psyche-based. Enhanced senses should be Intuition powers. Endurance protects against physical attacks and Strength is for the great feats of strength that a character can try to pull off.

If a power is something that will be used often by the character, you might want to consider building a Power Stunt for them instead. A Power Stunt is like a signature power, or common use of a power, written up in the form of a stunt, that the character is likely to perform more often, and with greater capability. A Power Stunt will also always cost a Fate point to "activate." This means that as long as the character has Fate points, a Power Stunt can be performed. A Power Stunt can also be an exception to the rules, possible for that character.

Some example Power Stunts:

Because of my Mutant Nature, when I use my eye beams to Attack someone, I get a +2 to my Fighting.

Because of my Highly Evolved Brain, I can get a +2 to my Psyche when I Create Advantages in the perceptions of others.

Because I am The Woman Without Fear, I get a +2 to my Psyche when Defending.

Because I am The Strongest There Is, I can use my Strength to Attack instead of Fighting.

Power Stunts basically have three parts to them: mentioning a relevant aspect of the character, giving a +2 bonus and saying which type of action this stunt covers. Power Stunts are purchased for a character with their (up to) four free stunts, along with any other stunts that they might have.

There is more to come, I will add a couple of sample characters to this post, and maybe tighten up a few of the rules things, and I get a chance to dedicated a bit more headspace to this.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What Do You Mean, Gordon's Alive? Flash Gordon and The Phantom in Fate Accelerated

These guys were super-heroes before there were super-heroes, and their adventures set many of the ground rules for the super-heroes who would come later. I have also been a fan of these characters for a very long time. Flash Gordon! The Phantom! Mandrake the Magician! Don't let the awful movies that two of these characters had to endure (or the equally awful live action TV programs) set your expectations for them. These are not campy characters.

In honor of Dynamite Comics upcoming launch of these characters in the Kings Watch comic (named after the fact that all three were syndicated and owned by King Features), I am writing up Flash Gordon and The Phantom for Fate Accelerated Edition. I have to think a bit about how I would do Mandrake, so he may come in another post after the comic comes out. I think that I need to see how Jeff Parker is going to handle the character before I write him up. Gordon and The Phantom are pretty primal, so I think that my write-ups should match them regardless of what the writer has in mind for them in the upcoming comic.

Flash Gordon
High Concept: Interplanetary Adventurer and Warrior
Trouble: Romantic Fool

Careful +0
Clever +1
Flashy +3
Forceful +2
Quick +1
Sneaky +2

Because I am an Interplanetary Hero, I get a +2 when I Flashily overcome when I’m trying to do the right thing

The Phantom
High Concept: The Jungle's Protector
Trouble: The Ghost Who Walks

Careful +1
Clever +1
Flashy +0
Forceful +2
Quick +2
Sneaky +3

Because I am a Jungle Warrior, I get a +2 when I Sneakily create advantages when I’m in the jungles.

I only gave these two the basic two aspects, I thought that leaving a couple of the aspects open would make it easier for GMs to adapt the characters to their settings as NPCs, or to allow players some space for customization if they want to play Flash or the Phantom.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Machinations of the Space Princess: Some Talk From Our New Game And A Rule Variant

As you may (or may not) have noticed last night, we started a new Machinations of the Space Princess game last night via G+ Hangouts on the Air. Now, if you've read my previous review of our playtests of Machinations using an earlier version of the rules, you'll know that we have a sort of love/hate relationship with the game (although hate is probably too strong of a word, really). Now, we have the really final copy of the game from the IndieGoGo campaign that a couple of us pledged on and we're taking another swing at the game. As fans of pulpy, sexy stuff and science fiction, we should be in the target demographic of this game. We're trying to like it.

One of the main problems that we ran into last night was the fact that the organization of the game made it difficult on us at times. Important pieces of information that should have been together wasn't, and the general information organization could have been better. It also would have help to better explain things like which attributes the Saving Rolls are derived from (hint: you have to look at the character sheet in the back of the book to find this information rather than the text). The section on racial/cultural traits is cool, and offers some great options for character customization, but how you pick traits for your characters could (still) stand to be better explained. You know that you get three traits for a character (before you start to take penalties) but the rules are kind of vague on how you take those traits. Rather than picking three of the traits listed, when you get your options for the characters you instead pick from the list under each trait. For example, the Chiropteran trait (which is what you would use for bat-like creatures) has the Acute Hearing, Echo-Location and Flight traits listed off of it. When you pick your character's three traits, you pick from those (I guess we could call them) sub-traits. We had problems with this in our first playtest, and in the final rules things aren't really that much clearer.

Now, the real reason for this post was to put out a rule variant that we will be using for the game. It isn't a secret that I am not a big fan of the skill system for Lamentations of the Flame Princess. That is one of the things that I've hacked around for our own games, but I never found something that I liked. However, with the larger number of Saving Rolls in Machinations of the Space Princess, I find that it is easier to implement a variation of Akrasia's Saving Throws As Task Resolution variant for Swords & Wizardry. Actually, I am not a fan of that variant for Swords & Wizardry itself, I'm not sure why exactly, but I think that the single save just isn't granular enough for me.

This is how it will work for use. If you look at pg. 13 of Machinations of the Space Princess you will see the initial writeup for Saving Rolls. There is the boxed text about rolling high. We use that, where the saving roll becomes a modifier to the d20 roll. Add the rank that the character has in the skill and get a total over 20. Simple enough. For our purposes, skills will likely default off of Dexterity or Intelligence.

I will bring up variant rules and our approaches to the game through blog posts as things come up.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Hollow Men: A 4C Space Antagonist Report

From the T.S. Eliot poem, The Hollow Men:

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

No one is sure what the Hollow Men are, or even if they have a name. All that is known is that they attack passing space craft, in groups of 4 or more, and completely drain them of energy, leaving the dead husks of ships in their wake with the crew and passengers to die. The stories of the Hollow Men have come from those few lucky individuals who have managed to be found by passing ships before they died on their dead ships. The description of the Hollow Men are sketchy, and it is uncertain why some ships are attacked and others ignored. They are believed to be extradimensional in nature.

Ships are warned to be cautious in systems known for Hollow Men attacks, and are warned to stay clear of them.

Origins For Your 4C Space Games

4C Space Origins
Origins in 4C tell you how the character became someone extraordinary. It is a combination of their background and how they became a hero. The Origin also gives you, as the player, some hooks into how to play the character. These Origins have come from science fiction comics, novels and movies. Each character has one Origin, which can be determined randomly or, depending on the style of the campaign being played, picked for a character. This post isn’t intended to be comprehensive, just to give you the ideas with which to start your own 4C Space games. And if you haven't checked them out yet, be sure to check out the 4C System rules page.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Paladins of Space: A 4C System Supplement

This post features some supplemental rules for the 4C System, a super-heroic retroclone. I am keeping exact locations vague in this so that GMs will have some wiggle room in placing these characters in their own campaigns. Space is big, so there is plenty of room for the Paladins and the Eidolon in any campaign.

Courtesy NASA

Friday, March 08, 2013

Fudge ASCB: Fantasy, Part I

Yesterday I put up the SRD page for Fudge: ASCB. As I said, periodically I'm going to put up notes and ideas for Fudge-based things on here, and that will be my baseline.

Fantasy is a cornerstone of our gaming, and it is something that I have thought about a lot. Most of my ideas have revolved around trying to smoosh D&D into a Fudge paradigm, and that just doesn't work. There is a Fudge build for fantasy (it originally appeared in the Fudge Expanded Edition rules put out by Grey Ghost, but it is derived by Steffan O'Sullivan's 5-Point Fudge variant). I like it, but I want something a bit lighter and less traditional.

This is obviously going to be more than one post, and while I'm not going to shove D&D into a Fudge hack, I am going to convert some D&D materials over. That's the fun part of Fudge and d20 both being released under the OGL, I can move monsters and spells back and forth.

If you haven't looked at the Fudge: ASCB page yet, you might want to now. The terminology will make more sense.

What D&D calls classes (Fighter, Thief, Magic-User, Cleric, etc.) we will use what ASCB called Aptitudes. These aptitudes will handle the basics of what classes do in broad strokes. A Fighter fighting. A Thief stealing. A Magic-user using magic. A Cleric smiting divinely. The broadest applications of these things will be your character's aptitudes. These are ranked on the standard Fudge attribute ladder. There will be more than the basic four, because otherwise it will be hard to make characters look different. I think Bard will be needed. Outside of that....I don't entirely know yet. I still don't want a straight up D&D knockoff. We've already got D&D and it does what it does just fine.

These are like aptitudes, but more specific and they help clarify the exact abilities that your aptitude gives you. They also help set apart characters, so that one character who has the Fighter/Cleric combination of aptitudes can look different from another one. They are player defined, so that will take care of most of that, but I do want samples. Combat maneuvers, for example. I think my posts on Old School Clerics and Fighters will help with making some predetermined Specialties.

This is an easy one. Basically what other games call races will be cultures in this hack. The nice thing about that is that it is also easy to make Cultures into cultures if you're interested in a more human-centric game, like something inspired by REH. But for most, Elves and Dwarves and all of those things will fit neatly into a Culture.

This represents your character's  place within their culture. In many cases it is an occupation, or something like that, but in the case of this hack I am going to imagine it as who your character was before they started on the adventuring lifestyle.

There will be other things, of course, like magic to worry about, but I already have some ideas on that. I am looking forward to fleshing out some of these ideas here on the blog.