Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Creature Feature: The Bogeyman

   Many of the local peasants warn their children of the Bogeyman   but they never truly wish to tell their children his true nature.  That would risk his ire, spoil his game.  Once a year at fall harvest he comes to a village to collect a single child from wailing parents,  but he always demands the child least loved by the community as his prize.   This the community must determine themselves,  for he demands a party and a celebration in the honour of all the children in the town.   Presents and treats are laden upon the children,  and the child with the least at the end of the night is taken.   Rituals have sprung up to bring fairness,  the children are hidden in costumes that townsfolk not know who exactly they are gifting treats too.  This was done to prevent political feuds and rivalries from determining the child to be taken, a course of action which began to anger the bogeyman.

     So the children march the night in costumes, gathering treats from the town, scolded not to eat them until their parents have had time to check the candy (in reality to allow the parents the ability to count and tally the treats).   And when the witching hour commences and the first second of dreary November passes the bogeyman comes, slipping unnoticed from any doorway to steal the child away.   

  Why do the townsfolk permit this?  Because those who participate in the ritual, signified by the display of a fearsomely carved or illuminated vegetable on their doorstep,  are protected from the supernatural for the long winter ahead.  Some say it is his will alone that keeps the peripherals at bay, others say he is their lord.

  Happy Halloween,  I hope you get lots of candy...just not more than my own kin..

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Incoming Fighters!

So what type of fighters are incoming?   Roll 2d6 to find out for a more routine encounter of 1d12 for something potentially disastrous.

1.)  UFO
  A small single seater flying saucer with three telescoping legs acting as landing gear and a transparent dome. It appears to run off an unknown power source, be made of an unknown alloy and be able utilize a staggering array of technology that borders on magic to the uneducated.  Mostly it seems to rely on heat rays and shields as they have the most obvious buttons that anyone who managed to steal one could operate.
Strength: 5, Agility: 20 Health (3d6), Alien Power Stores: 20,  Alien Power Generation: 10, Medium armour
Blast, Bubble of Protection, Cone, Fast (moves 2 zones as an action)

2.) Unknown Fighter Craft
  Occasionally found near space wreckage or radiation belts are these unusual fighter craft.  They seem to be amazingly intricate and well made crafts utilizing the top technology of 250 years ago.  They are not antiques however, making it a bit of an oddity that someone would have the education to assemble one but not do absolutely anything better with their time such as leave to become a citizen.  They appear to be aerospace craft featuring a dizzying array of guided missiles, miniguns, radar and railguns.
Strength 14: Agility 15: Health: 3d6,   Light Armour. 2 medium weapons, 2 large weapons, 1 tiny. FH

3,4,5.) Militia Fighters
   Durable, Reliable,  Dirt cheap to make and barely able to meet the lowest requirements to count as a space fighter by the federation.  While it absorbs an ungodly amount of fuel its 4 engine design makes it quite versatile, despite its thick armour plating.
Strength 15: Agility 20:  Health 3d6,  Medium Armour,  2 medium weapons, H

6,8.)  Pirates
    Made from readily distributed kit plans and scavenged parts the quality and workmanship of this vessel varies highly.  They are aerospace capable (to land and launch, not dogfight) and are designed for stealth.  They won't last long in a battle with real fighters, but against people with no weapons they are more than menacing in the void of space.
Strength: 6  Agility 10: Health (3d6 in theory, 2d6 in practice).  +5 to evade checks. 1 tiny weapon.

7.)  Armed Shuttlecraft
   Shuttles are primarily used for small cargo hauls from orbit to planet side for amounts of cargo too small, or to locations too remote from a proper lander. When needs arise they can be rigged with some weapons to serve as an incredibly poor fighter, often by administration police forces looking to posture. Their ability to land and launch from a planet carrying a crew is useful however.
   Strength 8    Agility: 8  Health 3d6, 2 tiny weapons

9,10,11)  Rebel Interceptor
  Rebel interceptors are built from salvaged parts and scrap metal.  Their elaborate design is largely a giant set of engines and a couple small weapons pointing forward.  They are incredibly fast however, making them very useful for hit and run assaults against vulnerable targets.
Strength 10:  Agility 9:  Health 3d6, 2 small weapons, Fast (2 moves for 1 action), C

12.)  Refitted Pinkerton Drone
  The Rupert-Furlcorp Pinkertons avoid wasting manpower on manned drones in out of the way places.  Deep system automated mining operations (such as around rogue planets, or ones years travel from the nearest star lane) have fully automated defence fighters.   Very rarely someone will take the mighty effort to raid these out of the way locations, or a drone will be damaged by a cosmic storm and drifts into inhabited areas.  Wrecked drones will have their computers removed and crude cockpit installed.  They are fast, manoeuvrable and armed with first world weapons.
Strength 12:  Agility 18:  Health: 1d6,  2 small lasers (burst, normal or armour piercing options). Fast (2 moves for 1 action). Light armour, Partial Heavy Armour, FH

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Journal of Abraham Nermal: Knight of the Black Rose

 So it has been a rough few months for Abraham.  No sooner does he get into Lychgate with his fortune and the money changers cackle with glee again.  Now there is a new coin to be spent.  Abraham had to trundle back to Nightwick fighting bandits along the way.  Somehow hero Stavros managed to utterly annihilate the shanty town in the few days Abraham was in the city.  Abraham has no idea what occurred as Abraham was too buy attending church and other wholesome activities like? bathing? no not bathing...talking to people without giggling? yes that thing.
     Destitute Abraham had to take work bringing a wagon to Rupert with Frederick.  Thankfully Stavros made friends with a Sergeant leading a band full of mostly loyal and barely murderous thugs to help guard us.   They were very important when we ran into even more murderous thugs trying to rob us.  We could offer them a job now!
  Back in Nightwick we had a good solid beam of daylight,  went into the abbey and explored.  Abraham found a secret door in the ashes,  found what the only normal person in Nightwick is looking for.  It is a magic garden, so says the precious. We had planned to return there in one, maybe two weeks,  but then we got drafted.  We were given ponies and told to go evacuate a little hamlet. Now ole Abraham was sad,  because while Ol'Abe here knew these would be murderous cultists out to eat us all in their dark rites to keep the pig men at bay,  everyone else riding out seemed to be pretty certain this was the case too. This would make it much harder for Abraham to escape while they are entombed alive, burned at a stake or sacrificed on an altar.
  We saw many burned out hamlets along the way,  had to shoot those hideous pigmen who rode those filthy manbeasts with their sickening sloughs of skin.  There be forty as sure as there be four,  too many for Abraham to count...Abraham really should work on that.  They slumped from their galloping beasts and fell dead to the moors. There veins be full of pus and old blood, their banner be a baby's flayed skin.  But somehow one hamlet on this blasted heath wasn't eaten and flayed.  It would be very hard for Abraham to convince others it is fine while he...and maybe Frederick, escape.
  Late in the day we reach this hamlet on the edge of the swamp along the River Dark.  Several small houses with gardens along a dirt trail with a larger manor at the end by the swamp. Peppers were being grown in the fields, and several goats and pigs roamed about.  Curiously there was also a lone bull and no cows by the manor. Stavros got all talky talky with the leader in his funny robes and his armed footknights.  Talk of evacuation,  blaming of Arnawald,  lies to get us to stay the night, lies where we can't join feast.  Abraham doesn't get politics.  They wanted to kill us all, we wanted to rob them blind.  Time could have been saved by stating the obvious.
 As they took our horses Abraham decided to try and help the townsfolk pick a pack of pickled peppers to prepare for the "Evacuation",  made sure to be extra nice.  Got invited to stay in a house like a person rather than forced to stay in the stables waiting to be killed.   Abraham and Frederick and a fancy Doctor who rode with us managed to get lodging in house, avoid being eaten.  Abraham peeked through thatch roof and watched unholy feast as old man leading town sat on raised dias as townsfolk partied.  Maybe Abraham would get to see his friends be eaten in stew,  Abraham hadn't thought that was an option.   Then it happened.
  The taterbar trapper was apparently not a team player and made a break for it, bolting off on a horse with Stavros and funny Preacher man.  Footknights gave chase.  Abraham aint the best at math,  but three less people to eat and three people in a house did not seem like a good idea.  These people were kind to Abraham, so Abraham only took the most obvious valuables from their savings and left setting fire to everything they had worked their whole life to build up to Frederick.  Frederick and Wolfram burned the mother down and ran out the front door like suckers.   Abraham being smart crawled through the thatch roof,  but some idiot made the thatch too tightly packed and it kind of collapsed a big portion and made a lot of noise.   Some Footknights started chasing Abraham instead and began throwing spears at him. Abraham is very good at running away,  but spears are faster than even Abraham's feet.  So Abraham opened the bull pen.  The bull did not like the noise the panicked townsfolk were making as their village burned, it did not like the knights running towards it to get at Abraham.  Abraham took the opportunity to disappear into the panic and free their horses.
   Then Abraham saw them,  a trio of old dead trees in the mocking image of a man moving towards the town,  covered in tangling vines and dangling peppers. They were living plants twisted into unlife, like a fabled black rose.  They were what the man and his footknights used to keep the pigmen at bay. As they strode into the town the old man screamed "no!".  Abraham learned an important lesson;  they either do not speak the tongue of man or do not care.  There was much snapping of bones and gnashing of teeth as Abraham rode away with Frederick and Wolfram.   Abraham was surprised,  no one died! Well no one Abraham knew the name of anyways.  Lots and lots of people died.  Abraham saw a lot of bodies the next morning,  like a lot of bodies.  But all is well that ends well (for Abraham).  Abraham managed to get 11 bronze coins, a rustic charm and two sacks full of packs of peppers he picked.
   Still it is a shame, if other people had been team players and accepted their fate,  Abraham could have had a delightful summer home.

Monday, October 22, 2012

What did you land on?

This was a simple d6 chart for rooftop parkour chases in an Arabian Nights game I ran.  Pretty simple, someone falls from a rooftop and if you need to know what they land on.

1. A wagon full of stuff
2. An awning on a stall
3. A horse
4. A group of people
5. A tree
6. A fence

But it could be better and made to be more useful. Roll a d6 and a d4.

1.) A wagon full of:
         I: Manure:  no damage but you are covered in shit
         II:  Apples, Turnips or other food:  1 pt of damage per 10 feet and an angry merchant wants payment
         III: Straw, no damage at all and you are hidden.
         IV: Small angry animals in wicker cages which will impale you as they break. d8 damage per 10 feet.
2.) An awning on a market stall, you:
         I: Bounce off it into (roll again)
         II: Fall right through it,  -1pt of fall damage and upset a merchant
         III: Bounce off it onto the street, only 1pt of damage.
         IV: Bounce into a second story window. During the day its open, during the night its a closed bedroom
3.) A horse:
           I: Which already has an armed guard riding it.
           II: Which is saddled and ready to ride!  How dashing!
           III: Which you just missed.  It will proceed to shit on you.
           IV: Which you land in front of, it will rear up to kick you.
4.) A group of people who are:
          I: Armed guards who don't take kindly to this assault as you send them sprawling.  1 damage to all.
          II: A thief escaping justice.  You will be rewarded with a few coins and praise for aerial tackling them.
          III: A wealthy merchant,  coins spill everywhere and a milling chaos ensues you can easily be lost in.
          IV: A poor pilgrim who is a revered holy man, an angry mob will form to chase and beat you.
5.) A Tree which is
          I: A date tree, if you make an agility check you grab hold and can continue the chase.
          II: A flowering tree in a garden, you appear to be peeking in a second story window with a woman changing.  Make a charisma check, failure results in screaming for angry relatives, success a smile.
          III:  The ugly tree, you take 3d4 damage (instead of fall damage) as you smash branches on the way down.
          IV:  Soft and verdant. you land and become tangled in the boughs.  No damage but it will take several rounds to get out.
6.)  A fence that is:
           I: A low stone fence,  take d8 damage per 10 feet instead of d6.
           II: A wooden picket fence,  take d10 damage per 10 feet instead of d6 as you are impaled.
           III: A wrought iron spiked fence, take a d12 damage per 10 feet and you are stuck on barbs.
           IV: Really more of a brick wall. Take d8 damage as you bounce into (roll again)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Making new classes

Neoclassical Geek Revival has its five classes and the pie piece system to mix and match between them.  Life is fine and dandy,  however as always remember that I built the system as a toolkit you can plug and play into your game,  and that doesn't just mean the content but how the content is structured.   Lets take a look at the classes "Warrior, Wizard, Rogue, Bard, Priest" :  these lump everything I want in a swashbuckling fantasy game.  But I don't use wizard and usually don't use priest when I play the sci-fi game I run with ConstantCon.

Perhaps you want a different type of characters and challenges?  It is easy to swap out classes.  If you wanted to say add in "the athlete" for an ancient greek setting or "the fool" for a more fairy tale game you could. Each class follows a different framework. The reason I say "swap out" rather than add is that five is kind of a "magic number" where a player cannot (no matter what) start out with one piece in every class, but if that is their ultimate goal they could achieve it and have one pie piece in everything by tenth level.  Assume we are removing "Rogue" for these examples.

1.) It has its own modifier:
  This modifier is given to people who do not have the class too, that is important.  Everyone can do this, people with the class do it better.  The modifier is given in the same way as the other class:  1/3rd your level if you not part of the class,  2/3rds of your level if you have one pie piece in the class,  your level if you have two pie pieces and your level plus your milestones if you have three pie pieces (technically your level plus two per milestone if someone manages to get four pie pieces at tenth level).   This score is also modified by a single attribute.  This attribute should not be shared with any other class modifiers your game is using.

      Athlete's improve Fitness,  modified by Health
      Fools improve Chance, modified by Luck

2.) It has five powers, and a sixth special power
   These powers should be unique and awesome benefits the class gives, try to avoid one "awesome power" and a bunch of crappy filler.  That is really hard.  Also remember that the modifier from step one should be useful beyond these powers. Having an "Algebra" modifier for "Mathmagicians" if it is only useful if someone takes the "Abra-Calculus" power.

So Athlete could recycle the Rogues power of "Parkour" without any difficulty.  You might also put in a skill like "Endurance" where they take less damage from wilderness travel, or "Sprint" where they move faster. A fool might have skills like "Blissful Ignorance" where they cash in luck at a two for one rate if they aren't aware they are in potential danger, you could recycle the "Jack of all trades" skill and rename it "lucky break" to work the same,  perhaps a skill to allow them to add their Chance modifier to saving throws.   The Rogue power "Opportunism" would work just as well for A fool with a rename.

3.) It has a personal item:
  Every class has a "personal item" that grows in ability when the class completes some act that is the point of the class.  Warriors who fight get a trademark item,  wizards gain a talisman, priests relics etc.  This has a corresponding result on the 2d6 that should have a 1/6 chance of coming true, or 1/3 if it is a very uncommon occurrence (currently wizards finding spells). Each of these die combinations should be unique in your game.  If Bards need to roll 10+ for their personal item,  nothing else should use exactly the same combination (10+) though it can use something that occurs on 10+.  Priests need to roll doubles,  meaning a bard/priest who rolls boxcars would improve both items.   Since we are swapping out Rogues in this example the cheater method is just to keep "7" as the die combination.

So the Athlete has a "Trophy" that improves whenever he wins events or solves a problem through a particularly epic task of physical fitness (like shoving over a building or swimming across a raging sea).  Each benefit level from the trophy could give a +1 presence bonus to appeals or something else, I am just wining it, figure out what you want it to do.  The Fool could simply recycle the "Lucky Item" the rogue uses.

So there you go,  always remember that Neoclassical Geek Revival was build not just as a completed product, but as something you can rip apart and plug into your game.  It is a toolbox above all else.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Repost from Google +
So,  Dungeons and Dragons and lots of people saying they never fight dragons. Jez  brought this up and loads of people commented how they haven't encountered an actual dragon in the game.

This began coalescing in my mind along some other comments I've heard recently about the OSR being for many about doing new things the old way to breathe some life into it, and a comment about how I run cliché filled games and how NGR doesn't exactly fit as old school,  but isn't a new "focused" game and still plays as D&D.

So it kind of crystallized as a semi-coherent thought that I like to run old clichés ,  except ideally done well.  There is a lot of talk about how "done to death" old clichés are,  but  what could be more cliché than slaying the dragon? and it seems very few people have actually played a game where that occurred.

I believe D&D does some tropes really poorly.  "Hack ankles until it dies" and weird clusterfudges of rules to make swashbucklers work alongside knights and blah blah blah.  But it strikes me as interesting design difference between finding the tropes D&D does well and rocking the hell out of them (many LotFP adventures do this) and games which focus on making the fantasy tropes D&D does poorly ,  be fun and awesome (to avoid pure self promotion I'll mention  OSH as another example of this)

Or am I did I just accidentally snort a line of Kool-Aid instead of having insight? It is easy to confuse the two?   Have you actually played or ran adventures that played these clichés straight and without irony or a twist?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fantasy Polynesia: Starting Gear

So I want to get across the inherent poverty of the current breakdown of social order.  So rather than the usual methods of choosing starting equipment,  players will simply choose three objects from the following list (you can choose an item more than once).

Starting Equipment

1. 30 feet of rope
2. A wicker basket and harness (equivalent to backpack)
3. A bamboo dagger (small, light, piercing)
4. A small bone pearing knife (small, simple, minor, piercing)
5. A small net
6. A wooden javelin (medium, throwing, pole)
7. A hunting bow and 3 wooden arrows (Medium piercing missile, ineffective)
8. A large wooden club (Large, Blunt, Simple)
9. A stone adze (medium, devastating, slashing, unsuitable, simple)
10. A reed sleeping mat
11. A leather pouch with 18 polished stones
12. A fire starting kit

After picking their gear, players also start with one random item (2d4)

2. Weighted Koa Leiomano (Small, Slashing, Devastating, Vicious, Versatile)
3. A large sling and two smooth granite bullets (1 dot each)
4. A gourd helmet
5. Zilch
6.4 engraved pearls
7. barbed pike (large, pole, piecing, vicious)
8. Robes (Ceremonial) and Garotte