Thursday, November 26, 2015

Old School Grappling Revised/Revival

There have been a few articles about grappling recently that I'd like to link to:

First is a grappling system for a DnD-based game still in development. The original rules are over at Goblins & Greatswords:

Goblins & Greatswords: Grappling made simple(ish)

And before I could even link it over to him, Doug spotted it and wrote up a really nice look at it:

Grappling at The Flagon

Doug is the man when it comes to grappling rules. He's got a very solid grasp of what's needed and how things work. Not only that, he's simultaneously the guy that made GURPS grappling much more complex and made the core of the rules much more simple with GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling.

Meanwhile, here is a nice spin on the DnD/Clone friendly grappling article Doug and I co-wrote for The Manor #8.*

Dynamic Grappling

It's both flattering and inspiring when someone takes what you've written and gone and worked on it more.

In theory, that's how Doug feels about all the emails I send him saying, "I made TG simpler again by ditching all of your hard work. What do you think?" Heh.

* Standard joke: Doug writes something awesome but complex. I saw, "Make it simpler, like so." Doug fixes it. I claim half the credit.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Vic's D&D 4th and D&D 5th Session Summaries

One of my players - Vic - is also a GM. He's got session summaries up of two campaigns.

The Unlikely Heroes of Nentir Vale (D&D 4th, completed)

Greyhawk's Lesser Known Heroes (D&D 5th edition, current)

Folks familiar with Caravan to Ein Arris will find some of the second group of summaries quite familiar . . .

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Minor DF Page Updates

I updated a couple of pages on this blog:

- The Monsters Encountered So Far list is now current, as far as I can tell. I got a few sessions behind.

- the DF Campaign list of PCs (added Kenner)

- the DF Campaign list of sessions (broke up the listings by setting)

- minor format fixes on Revised GURPS Magic for DF

Just FYI - all are related to my current DF game.

Monday, November 23, 2015

DF Game, Session 69 - Lost City 3 - Slimes, Why Did It Have to Be Slimes?

November 22nd, 2015

Weather: Varied (mix of clear and some rain)

Characters (approximate net point total)

Gerald Tarrant, human wizard (285 points)
Hasdrubul Stormcaller, human wizard (257 points)
Hjalmarr Holgerson, human knight (258 points)
Mo (his momma call him Kle), human barbarian (259 points)
Quenton Gale, human druid (252 points)

In reserve:
Angus "Mithrilbraid" McSwashy, dwarf swashbuckler (250 points)
Dave, human knight (252 points)
Galoob Jah, goblin thief (256 points)
Kenner Baumfellen, wood elf scout (250 points)

We started in the trading camp.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

DF game pre-summary

We had a fun DF game session today. I don't think I'll have time to do a writeup with full details, so here are the post-game bullet points:

- Army Ants + "Dislikes Insects" + a really bad Per roll to see them coming is funny.

- Even funnier is "Dislikes Insects" and "that includes spiders" and then being the unlucky one who gets bit by a deadly venomous spider.

- the PCs checked out the pillars, found another way out (sort-of), discovered an ape-filled cave, explored a "pyramid" (actually a tetrahedron), discovered an illusion concealing a structure, checked out the five towers building, cased another place, found a bit of historical information about the city, and managed to revisit some old stomping grounds.

- the party talked to some headless stone columns.

- not that much fighting, but there were combat rolls that really mattered.

- Sean Punch may have topped me on my players' "most hated monster maker" list. Two words: Icky Goo.

- I do declare that one of the party had a spell of the vapors. It's okay, though, Esoteric Medicine kits include smelling salts and a fan to fan victims back awake.

- 6 XP session, thanks to good loot, no casualties, and lots of exploration. Well, heavy, heavy, heavy loot. 120 plus pounds of it.

Good session - this might be the exemplar of what I was hoping to see in the Lost City.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Two DF game rulings

Here are a couple of rulings I've made in my DF game. And naturally, rulings become rules by repeated use, and I expect to keep using these.

Attacking Crippled Limbs. If you strike an already-crippled limb, you can't do additional HP damage to the target. But you do cause shock penalties normally, and dismemberment works normally. Attempts to use grappling to inflict pain (Technical Grappling, p. 38) work normally, as well.

I will apply a penalty to the HT roll to determine severity of a crippled limb (p. B422) as well if there are repeated strikes to the same limb. Such a penalty generally is in the -1 to -3 range, sometimes more.

Why? A crippled limb isn't a numb limb that's immune to damage. One that has been dismembered is, so if a berserk animal has your crippled hand in its mouth chopping it off at the wrist so you can escape and stop suffering pain and shock is a valid tactic. Not a long-term good tactic, unless it keeps you from dying. Also, this means if you arm lock someone and break the limb, they don't suddenly become immune to pain compliance. In fact, they're worse off . . .

Resisting non-Resisted spells. What if you throw a utility spell on a hostile opponent for some nasty effect? For example, Purify Air on a hostile air creature, or Minor Healing on a Nilbog, or Phase Other on a foe being touched by his own ally for a touch-based buff spell. It's resisted by the better of Will or HT. Spells that don't come with a native resistance are assumed to be poor at overcoming resistance and so targets get to choose their better resistance to stop it. Creatures who automatically take damage from certain effects may not get a resistance roll, but the default is allowing a resistance roll.

Why? Because it's not addressed in the rules, and it's clearly a case that should be. Turning utility spells into attack spells that bypass the rules for attack spells isn't really fair, it's trying to bypass fair. And yes, you can resist Great Haste, so your enemies can't toss that on you while in Ethereal Body and wait until you run down to -FP and pass out. Not allowing resistance is allowing clever loophole-hunting instead of clever play.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Random Notes from DF Template School

One amusing side effect of a rigid "follow the templates!" DF game is that characters of a type resemble each other.

Scouts tend to be loners who hate city folk and have Mimicry (Bird Calls).

Wizards all studied Magical Writings (and a large number like to be Excommunicated.)

Thieves all seem to be Greedy.


Naturally, our group has spun these into a whole system of education for templates. Here are some bits we're come up with at the table.

Swashbuckler School

The written test questions feature the following four answers:

A) stab it in the vitals!
B) stab it in the eyes!
C) It's too tough, we're all going to die.
D) Both A and B.

(If swashbucklers having a written test seems odd, let me tell you about the time I took a kendo written test before I could go on to actually doing forms and sparring to achieve a promotion.)

Scout College

The dorms are all singles. No roomies in Scout school. Also, groups larger than three scouts are only allowed for brief excursions.

Mr. Aragorn teaches Tracking class. He goes on and on and on about that time he tracked halflings in the dark. Also, according to Galen Longtread, Mr. Aragorn is, "a total d**k."

Mr. Legolas's bow class is pretty fun, but again, it's always why elephants count as multiple kills.

Mimicry (Bird Calls) class is the best elective, although none of our scout players has revealed why. Just that it is. Maybe the teacher is hot.

Barbarian School

Barbarians don't have a formal school, but they do seem to have a traditional and formal education system.

They have basketball teams. Played with monster heads, but still, everyone is SM+1.

"Berserk" isn't a personality flaw, it's a major.

Also (and this is Honus's fault), barbarians raise giant frogs. What kind depends on their background - mountain frogs, swamp frogs, jungle frogs, great grassland frogs, snow frogs, etc.

Holy Warrior

They've got a Psychology (Undead) practicum before they graduate. "Acererak, you seem quiet in group today. Maybe you should tell everyone why."

And one tangential one:

We had a discussion going about Gerry the Necromancer getting along with Asher the intolerant holy warrior and El Murik the cleric. His player said, "Gerry doesn't have any evil traits other than Magery."

That right there tells you all you need to know about Wizard school.
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