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#1 JCormier

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 12:08 PM

I started a blog at tabletoprandomness.blogspot.com in case anyone's interested.

 

For the immediate future, it'll mostly be me musing and dicking about with the 5e rules. Might have some book/movie reviews (rarely as I don't think I'm very good at them), some play reports, and anything else that strikes my fancy. 

 

Feel free to ignore my badly processed ramblings :)


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#2 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 03:18 AM

Hey, are you the guy that used to go by @Maliloki - the dude who posted about his Rolemaster crit tables applied to Pathfinder?
 


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#3 JCormier

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 02:44 PM

Yes, same guy. I've stopped using the crit tables, not because of deaths, but because it adds more rolls and generally favors the DM (like any crit system) since you roll so much more often. I do have a table to use to figure out which crits to use if there's interest (there's a little interest at my own table. Player's like the chance of taking limbs off and such).

 

As my blog posts will (hopefully) show, I've gotten out of more of the crunchier systems and add ons in favor of simpler and streamlined things.


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#4 Hal

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 03:04 PM

You can pull your blog in through the site Blogs section as well if you would like :) You can link it directly. Illiani does that with his blog :)

 

Hal :hal:


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#5 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 04:57 AM

*Checks out latest blog update*

Looks like @Daniel won't be the only one playing Rappan Athuk. :)
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#6 Hal

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 08:50 AM

Cool! I have that game too and it is interesting - I think it is a little inconsistent in places and some of the instant death stuff is a little old school :P Which is not necessarily bad :)

 

Hal :hal:


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#7 JCormier

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 09:23 AM

I haven't read too much of it yet. Enough for the starter area and the first level of the dungeon that they'll partake in. I have to remove some stuff from the overland wilderness area, partially because I'm placing it in the woods in Mystara and partially because it seems like there's enough stuff there to run a campaign just doing the wilderness stuff. Which is cool. But my player's want to play in the dungeon. With a little other stuff to spice it up once in a while. But the dungeon will be the main draw.

 

The instant death stuff has actually become more of a draw for me depending on the system. Adventuring should be dangerous. BUT, I wouldn't deal with much instant death stuff in a system where it takes too long to create a level one character (Main reason I'm doing Swords & Wizardry. I'll probably make a post about the house rules I have in place for that later). I almost did 5e just to see how it converted on the fly, but without the monster manual or the print version of Rappan Athuk, I'd be flipping back and forth between pdfs on my tablet. And I'm lazy.


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#8 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 09:29 AM

You could try using a character generator to churn out a pile of back-up pregen PCs, so the players have a buffer for the inevitable character attrition. Of course, since it's old-school renaissance, they've got to remember to bring lots of NPC hirelings with them. :)
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#9 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 09:37 AM

Ability Score Overload in 5e

I think that 5e (the classes revealed so far anyways) have to much attribute gains. Raising one attribute by 2 or two attributes by 1 seems like every class will have their prime attribute at 20 really early, and Fighter's will be close to maxing all of their stats before long. I have three different rule ideas for "fixing" it.

  • Remove them completely.
  • When you gain an Ability Score Improvement, you can only raise one attribute one point.
  • When you gain an Ability Score Improvement, you gain two points to spend. It costs a number of points equal to the ability modifier you'll go to if you raise the attribute one point. (For example, if you were to raise an ability score from 14 to 15, it would cost 2 points since the modifier for 15 is 2. If you wanted to raise the attribute to 16, it would cost you 3 points since the modifier for 16 is 3.) The cost for negative modifiers are as if they were positive, so raising an attribute to a -1 modifier would cost 1 point, not -1.
Personally, I'm leaning towards option 1 or 2. Option 3 sounds interesting, and would keep the higher ability scores harder to get to, but it may be too much book keeping.

What do you think?


Whichever rules you choose to abide by, they should still take into account the most popular Elvish specialty class. ;)

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#10 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 08:50 AM

Read Six-Gun Gorilla and the first volume of Umbral over the weekend. I liked them both.

6GG_01_CV_FEATURE.jpg

Six-Gun Gorilla was 1) filled with beautiful, cartoony artwork. The coloring just worked as well. The script had us following a guy who had just enlisted into the army to fight a war against the rebels. He's depressed from a break-up and was using the enlistment as a form of suicide. You find out very early that the type of enlistment he did was basically to be killed for other people's......enjoyment?? That's not really the right word. People can "tune-in" to watch the war through his eyes and feel what he feels to get a rush. If that's all Six-Gun Gorilla was (notice I haven't even talked about the gorilla yet), it would be a bad book (for me at least). Instead, through a weird coincidence, the main character stumbles into a story and causes an even bigger revolution. For me, it had a nice resolution that spoke to the current (and long lasting) status of the Comic Book Industry. Namely, "How does it end." (that'll make sense when you read this book). I don't know if that's what the writer intended, but it's what I got out of it. It's about imagination and telling stories. I don't want to write about anything more because I don't want to spoil anything. Except the Gorilla talks. And dual-wields giant six shooters. Which is awesome.

Long story short. I like the book. It left me with a good feeling. I felt like I got a message, but didn't feel beat over the head with it, but I may also be reading into it. This is probably the worst review ever, but I'm not a professional writer. *shrugs*

Umbral is probably slightly better written than Six-Gun Gorilla, but it is also an ongoing, so it has more time to spend with the world building. And world build it does. But not to the detriment of the story. The main character is a street thief named Rascal who is friends with the prince of the realm. They apparently have the plan to steal the special jewel/relic of the nation for some reason that's not really explained. But it doesn't matter cause everything goes to crap. Demon-shadows (the Umbral) are back (never left?) and now are hunting our little Rascal (had to). By the end of the book she has her side cast (one of which could be a traitor), we know who the current villain is, generally what their plan is, but there are still tons of questions to be answered. Again, the art on this book is gorgeous as well. It's rough in all the right ways and I hope the artist stays on till the end. I'm looking forward to the next volume to be released.


Thanks for the recommendations, those sound worth checking out. (If only to support the worthy cause of the simian NRA.) ;)
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#11 JCormier

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 08:43 AM

Thanks for checking out my stuff. Six-Gun Gorilla is a fun book. I'd put it at a 3 out of 5. Umbral at a 4 or 5. Probably 5. But I love the world building. I think mini-series usually suffer because of that for my own personal tastes.


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#12 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 02:02 AM

I don't use halflings. I don't care for halflings. I don't want halflings.

In most worlds (Dragonlance seems to be the exception) halflings are content little creatures (although Eberron made them tribal, dinosaur taming barbarians), that according to their cannon, would rather just stay home. Hell, in the 0e D&D book I think they could only reach level 4 or 5! They are not adventurers. Not to me anyways.

In my own worlds, halflings just don't exist. When I run in published worlds, I find it doesn't change the world cannon pretty much at all if I simply change halflings into humans (Dragonlance's Kender would be the exception, if I ever ran anything in that world).

In my S&W hack and Adventures in the East Mark, I only allow Humans, Elves, and Dwarves. And I keep the level limits.

In 5e, it's the same so far. When the PHB comes out I'll post my list of races I allow in my games.


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#13 JCormier

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 10:47 AM

@Pencil-Monkey - Awesome


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#14 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 01:54 AM

BTW, @Thing already started a discussion thread about the Polygon article you blogged about, if you want to discuss it further. :)
 

Swords & Wizardry House Rules
 

I mentioned I'll be running a S&W version of Rappan Athuk for some friends. The first session is supposed to be August 1st and then go every other Friday. Hopefully. But I figured I'd post about some of my house rules. This is a fairly long post.
I'll probably miss some because I don't really have a list of them. I've taken the text of S&W: Whitebox (which is a retro clone of 0e D&D for those that don't know) and just added the information from various blogs and other systems. Much of it is taken word for word from other systems, which is why I don't want to just post the document.

Attributes give no bonuses to attack, armor class, or number of spells known. Strength gives a number on a d6 that you have to roll higher than to perform any strength feat (bending bars, forcing a door, etc). Dex does the same, except for dexterous feats (stealth, picking locks, etc). Intelligence gives a d6 Lore check, Wisdom is a d6 Notice check, Charisma is a d6 Persuasion check, and Constitution gives a HP Modifier. Intelligence is also the number of bonus languages you start with as well as the max spell level you can cast. Charisma also is the number of relatively loyal henchmen you can have.

Classes are Fighters (d8 HD up to level 9, then +2 HP), Mages (d4+1 at first level, then d4 up to level 9, then +1 HP), and Thieves (d6 HD up to level 9, then +1 HP).

Fighters have a target number on a d6 that gets better as they level up to perform Fighter Stunts (pretty much any combat thing that's not an attack). They also only have one attack unless they take the Rapid Strike or Rapid Shot feat from the list of Fighter Feats that I stole from Delta (except they get one at level one, four, and ever four levels afterward). Saving Throws start at 14 and get better every two levels (max 5).

Mages memorize spells as they do in 5e, except its equal to 2 + your level. Saving Throws start at 15 and get better every two levels (max of 6). They can wear any armor and use any weapon, but cannot cast spells in armor or if wielding a two handed weapon and suffer a -1 damage penalty with all weapons (minimum 1 damage).

Thieves can activate their sneak attack as they do in 5e and add 1d6 damage, which increases at levels 5, 9, 13, and 17. Their Saving Throws start at 13 and get better every two levels (max of 4). They get 2 points to spend between the skills Climb, Locks, Stealth, Traps, Notice, and Slight of Hand and 1 point every odd level. You add your skill ranks to any Dex Feat (or Notice roll) when applicable. No skill can have more than 4 points. At 3rd level, they can read most languages on a 5+. They can use any weapon and armor, but the heavier armors interfere with their skills and they cannot use their sneak attack ability when wielding medium or great weapons.

Elves and Dwarves are as written, except that they can only reach level 5 as thieves and I use the optional Elf class instead of allowing separate Fighters and Mages.

I use a silver standard, but have messed with the prices of a few things to make them more or less expensive as I wanted. (I divide the coin treasure by 10 to keep the balance).

Weapons are Minor (1d3 damage, but can be hidden easily, 1/2 encumbrance point), Light (1d6-1, minimum 1, 1 encumbrance point) Medium (1d6, +1 damage if using two hands, 1 encumbrance point), and Great (1d6+2, two-handed, 1 1/2 encumbrance points). I use these damages instead of polygonal mainly because the +'s to 1d6, on average, are equal to the d8 and d10, but you can't roll 1's. Which make them nastier as far as I'm concerned.

Thrown Weapons have a range of 10' (no penalty), 20' (-2 to attack), 30' (-4 to attack). Missile weapons have a range of 30' (no penalty), 60' (-2 to attack), 120' (-4 to attack). You get a +4 if the target is immobile.

I use Ascending Armor Class and Attack Bonuses (modified from the Whitebox rules, but pretty close. At level 10, a Fighter has a +7, Thieves have a +5, and Mages have a +3) rather than THAC0, mainly because I think its easier. Unarmored is AC 10, Leather AC 12, Chain AC 14, Plate AC 16, and Shields give a +1.

Combat round is as follows:

     1) GM determines suprize.
     2) Declare Spells
     3) Each side rolls 1d6, highest goes first. In the event of a tie, PC's act before monsters and NPCs unless there's a good reason.
     4) Each side, in initiative order, fires missiles and can finish spells of levels 1 and 2.
     5) Each side, in initiative order, can move.
     6) Each side, in initiative order, can finish spells of level 3 or higher. If an archer is unengaged and didn't move, he can fire a second time.
     7) Melee
     8) Start the next round.

Reach weapons can attack from the second rank, but require two hands and only deal 1d6 damage.

If your DEX is at least 13 and you use two minor or light weapons, you can dual wield them to gain a +1 to attack. Fighters can choose to parry instead by making a successful Fighter Stunt roll to instead gain a +1 AC for the round.

If you don't choose to attack or take any action besides move, you gain a +4 bonus to AC

Death and Dying and Healing are as my 5e house rules.

I have a slightly modified spell list for mages that I am too lazy to post here.

That's pretty much it. It might seem like a lot. But it's mostly little things that I've already written into the rules we'll have printed out at the table. Plus I'm the only one at the table that knows how changed they are. Things might have to change once play starts, but this is the base I'm working with.

 

You might wanna compare notes with @Daniel - he uploaded his own set of OSR house rules, for the campaign he's running and recording with his room mates.


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#15 JCormier

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 08:35 AM

I'll check it out.

 

EDIT: I checked it out. It's solid, but pretty much the exact opposite of what I'm going for with my house rules. My attributes are mostly only for bonus XP and a skill roll (except for the HP Mod of Constitution). There are no class/race restrictions or ability modifiers and classes, armor, weapons are abstracted down to what I consider the bare minimum. With my S&W rules, I hew closer to the Whitebox rules rather than the Complete rules that are more like 1e. Nothing wrong with those rules, just more than I want. With my S&W rules, I want the ability to have almost everything memorized so I can screw with stuff on the fly when I need to and be comfortable with that. Thanks for pointing them out though.


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