Saturday, September 18, 2010

Random Encounters: Roll 1d8,1d6 and 1d4

So I am using a new method for Random Encounters, with each random encounter representing a distance to the destination.

This is done by rolling a d8, d6 and d4 at once and consulting a chart. One die for terrain, one for people or thing encountered and one for "the twist".

An example might be as follows:

The Main Highway: 5 points

1: Flat open plains for miles
2: The road crosses a small river at a bridge
3: The road moves through a light woods
4: Flat farmland, in the distance a barn.
5: A small hamlet
6: Light hills
7: An Inn
8: Gently rolling hills, some shrubs

People and things:
1: Nothing
2: More Nothing
3: Passing travellers (2d6) with a wagon (if 5+ travellers). Police/Military if total dice 13+
4: Danger! (Bandits if dice total 13-15, Wild Animals if 6-12, Large Monster on 16)
5: Caravan (Gypsies if Total dice is odd, Merchants if even)
6: Roll Twice more...

The twist:
1: Nothing
2: Shortcut (+1d4 travel)
3. Detour (-1d4 travel)
4. its Raining

This works best with other travelling options. So maybe rather than taking the main highway the heros want to take "Hellscape Pass"

Hellscape Pass: 25 points

1: A narrow winding path along a sheer cliff
2: A deep valley
3: A dillapidated rope bridge over a chasm some 300 feet down.
4: A rocky slope, tiring but able to be walked
5: Dense Pine Foothills
6: A glacier
7: Shattered ruins of a dwarven fort
8: Rapids leading to a massive waterfall

People and things:
1: Nothing
2: The Great Dragon Oerliken, with his 20mm dragon breath (unless already killed).
3: A cave entrance (Treasure if total die is 8 or less, roll once for inhabitant).
4: Orc Warriors (equal to twice total)
5: Eerie quiet(avalanche if loud noises)
6: Nothing if total is 13 or less, otherwise 3d6 Yeti.

The twist:
1: Nothing
2: Roll Twice
3. Haunted (ghosts come out at night, but avoid fire)
4. its a blizzard

Thus a party might be told, "City B is 30 away, it will take you 6 down the main highway, but you could shave 4 if you cut through "Hellscape pass" and brave its dangers.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Release: Piecemeal B020

Added into this release are the first draft of the new morale rules, as well as well as a few new combat tricks and the "minor" weapon tag.

Dredged from the Archives: Murder gets boring

This is one of a larger group of "Experience Point" flaws. All of the solutions mesh into each other, but for brevity I shall break them into smaller pieces.This one deals with the problem of wholesale slaughter of your enemies. In this particular post I'll deal with murdering opposing villains, the big villain or at least the stalwart dark lieutenant.

Many GM's are frustrated that they cannot have a recurring villain because PC's will not stop until they murder them. Its like a party of Terminators. This is a mechanically based flaw. You either get the same XP for killing, or its the only way you get XP added to the fact that dead villains can't trouble you later.

Piecemeal deals with this in the following manner. When you drive off (force to flee, abandon plans or the like) or kill a villain, your party gets experience points equal to 10% of the villain's experience point total. If you can capture an enemy villain you gain experience points equal to 25% of the villain's experience point total, even if you later execute the villain after a "fair" trial (or sacrifice on a dark altar if your evil). This creates an incentive to not ALWAYS murder, without making it mandatory. While taking prisoners is more valuable it is also more dangerous. If you kill Baron Von Badass he can't escape and menace you later, if you take him prisoner you will gain more. If he escapes and menaces you again, at least you'll be more familiar with his weaknesses (and can gain the experience points again).

Whats the logic behind this? Well, in Piecemeal the implied nature of "heroes" is that they have the blessing or at least interest of the trickster deities, fates, or the like. Thus when you take prisoners you increase the opportunities for high adventure. This has the side benefits that players should know they too can expect to be taken prisoner rather than killed immediately. After all, Baron Von Badass wants more experience points too.

Originally posted: Monday, June 15, 2009

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Notes from a madman: Jot notes on new morale rules

So right now between extreme overtime and travelling from coast to coast I am trying to rework the morale system from a "check to fail" to a more interesting partial results.

The basis will be the social combat rules of piecemeal. Launch "appeals", defend with "rebuttals" and score "influence". This in many ways mirrors combat.

Thus far I have the following notes:

Like regular social combat, score more influence than target's (unsure if leader or each individual) social score (social score now represents bravery as well it seems).

Standards give a bonus to presence.

Every round of combat is also a round of social conflict, limits on the tactics may be based upon the current causes for checks (felling more enemies etc).

The number of participants involved (group size modifier) work as size modifiers in physical combat. If your army outnumbers the opponents 2:1 then you score twice as much influence, and your opponent scores half influence.

The bard leadership skill I am thinking of using as an "Inspire" or "Rally" ability where you can restore points to your morale.

More to come...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"Mark the Berserker" or "Switching from continuous play to episodic play"

One thing that switches in different points in your life, is the regularity of your players. At some points in life, players can make it pretty much every game. This allows for really easy (95% of the time) continuity between games. Each game kicks off where the last one ended, there is no problem with ending in the middle of the dungeon and starting off next week exactly where you left in the dungeon.

But at some points in life there is the case where other obligations means that half of all games you are missing a player. This becomes a problem with "what to do with the PC in the here and now".

Do they excuse themselves and run back to town? What if they can't get back there easily? Do you bring them along as an NPC? What if the PC dies? Its not a problem if its and agreed upon rule, still blows though. In this case I have set up the "base camp" rule and the "Hans Solo" rule.

The base camp rule goes that the PC's must have a nearby, relatively secure and supplied base of operations. This could be a fortified cave, a room in the dungeon that has a lockable door, a town, a small island, a military camp (etc). This has to be somewhere the PC's can get back to with a reasonable chance of safety at any given point. This means that as long as the PC's don't end a game mid-combat, players can have SOME reason to go back to base camp (check on supplies, go to the bathroom, prepare a fallback position etc) between games.

This just plays shell games with the problems, now how does the PC get BACK to the party from the base camp? I use the Hans Solo rule. With no explanation of the Falcon gets past the turbolasers that are only unable to effectively target fighters (but can effectively target a much, much larger cargo carrying freighter), he shows up midcombat out of nowhere and jumps in.

This also means he can drop down from a ceiling vent, show up with some other chapter of the lambda lambda lambda fraternity, or pull up with a getaway car in the nick of time. I make the rule they have to answer any question with a throw away line such as "I'll explain later" or "Just get in the car, we'll talk after this"..and then just NEVER mention how.