Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Seven Deadly Sins

I will go on a bit of a side rant here for how I shape a fantasy setting in which the players are (nominally at least) the heroes. I look about the setting and decide the Seven Deadly Sins.

Now, you may be wondering how one "decides" what Kevin Spacey has set out from on high? Wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony are what comes to mind when the seven deadly sins, but it was not always so. At one point despair replaced gluttony, other slightly different versions have also existed. In addition to the seven deadly sins are there corresponding virtues (humility v pride, chastity v lust, etc).

So when I set up a region I lay out the seven deadly sins and there virtues for the region there. I always fashion the sins as what are considered unwholesome temptations. For example in a viking setting I might replace pride, wrath and gluttony as sins (because gaining glory by smashing heads and getting tanked is the holy life if you want to reach Valhalla!) and replace them with fear, deceit and despair. To these vikings it is not good to be humble, patient or show temperance! No it is instead good to be brave, loyal with a steely resolve in the face of doom!

Where I in a dark ages Europe with a highly corrupt all powerful church (that old trope) I would replace Greed (God needs another solid gold altar!) with Curiosity. Yes good ole curiosity is now the sin, with faith being its corresponding virtue. Trying to know things man is not meant to know is evil, just accept things as part of "the plan".

For this to work well, make sure local evil things prey off these vices. Make sure there are demons in this dark age Europe who tempt with knowledge and seek only to entice curiosity in others. If this is the viking setting then make sure fear and despair demons abound!

Feel free to add other appropriate sins and virtues to meet the setting. In a Judge Dredd style game, perhaps some sort of Inquisitor or Witch hunter game, "Mercy" is a sin with "Certainty" or "Resolve" as its corresponding virtue.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Release - Beta 0.69

A few more tweaks and changes with the newest version. Healing has been streamlined and improved (including the addition of the "party/shindig/box social" rules), a few tweaks to weapon tags to streamline them, a pair of new armour tags that deal with armour crafted for looks above effectiveness (giving a bonus to presence and penalties to effectiveness).

The main change was a change to the powers a wizard could select. While casting spells is the most useful of any of the 5 starting powers available to a wizard, all of them had some use (even if minor) should you not choose spell casting. The exception being "Psychic Potential", which granted an extra kick of mana. If one took "Familiar" they could also gain more mana as well as a helpful servant, likewise if they didn't take the ability to cast spells the additional mana would be of no value. It dawned on me that such was the kicker, so I did some preliminary play testing on a new solution.

"Psychic Potential" is no longer an extra kicker of mana, rather it is a new use for mana. Relax though, it isn't any horribly complicated psionic system. Psychic powers are for all intents and purposes part of the "magic" umbrella. This power now instead grants the wizard the option to expend mana instead of luck points to avoid influence (damage) in a social conflict. This means that when a demon is attempting to possess a wizard with this power, the wizard now has an extra reserve of defense. This moves the power from the most useless to actually the second most useful ability

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Healing in a hurry: Spontaneous Part-ay

This last campaign I've been running for about a year is interesting in that it has had really, no priests and thus no major healing. This has added a nice slow touch to the campaign where health management is important and where time is spent in the winters to learn new skills, build an estate and so forth.

While leading the good life makes luck points restore much faster, for higher level characters there can be time where they really want to be able gain a pile of luck faster.

I have been rolling around the idea of a party or celebration to gain a big chunk of luck points back in one sitting.

Thus far I am setting the following criteria:

1 - It will restore luck points equal to a social die x level (in line with healing rules)
2 - It will cost an random and escalating amount of money, supplies and/or time. Potentially bankrupting a player if he is unlucky or poor.
3 - It can only occur after notable events. I am thus far defining this as whenever a milestone is breached for the party. Potentially whenever the party completes a goal worthy of their last milestone (ie, if they are national heroes then whenever they complete a deed where a local hero could become a national hero they could host a party to regain luck points). Special events like births of children or weddings may also be appropriate.

Its still rough formed at this point, any suggestions?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Your Highness: Your high school D&D game

"Your Highness" is out. It is puerile juvenile garbage that makes uncomfortable mockery of dwarfism, victims of pedophilia and homosexuals.

In short, it is your high school D&D game..you know the one..that one.., if all of the table banter was part of the actual story line. If all of the references to other pop culture, all of the immature dick and pot jokes were actually part of the game. No doubt some aspects of the humour are more or less relevant depending on when you went to high school and who you hung out with. More or less homophobic, more or less pot references, more or way, waay fewer breasts.

But if you have any nostalgia for such times, or can laugh at yourself (or at least who you were) its well worth seeing.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A great post elsewhere:

If you want to read a nice vignette of weird horror, try this.