Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Miniature Abuse

Why do my players love taking any opportunity to stack my hand-assembled, hand-painted minis up like cordwood so I can see exactly how they've stacked up the fallen enemy's bodies?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Diesel on Forbes on D&D

It's not a secret, despite what the article says, that Vin Diesel played D&D growing up. It's nice to hear him credit creating things for an RPG with how he creates for a movie series.

How Dungeons & Dragons Informed 'Fast And The Furious'

It does help to think like a dungeon master. It's a skill - knowing what makes sense and how to plan for what's clearly coming, keep it all together in your head, and what to improvise and what to map out.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Rulings from last session

We always have rulings in play. It's the nature of tabletop RPGs. Here are two and a musing on a should-have ruling from last session.

Carrying Concentrators

Can you pick up and carry someone without breaking their Concentration? No. Just no.

I would let someone Levitate someone who is Concentrating, but to move the person you need to Concentrate, so it's not an effective way to get a Move 3 flying guy to use True Faith with Turning while the party runs along at 3. The caster will be limited to Step.

No, I'm not allowing some wacky explanation of Riding (Barbarian) as a skill so you can do this with a roll. It's just a no.

Botched Invisibility

All I came up with for the 18 Gerry rolled for Invisibility was increased odds of monsters attacking, and then had them attack him as if he'd put some kind of Visibility spell on himself. Even that came up after I drew a blank and then Gerry rolled two really freaking lame effects on the Critical Failure Table, none of which would have been a problem unless he was one second from being brained by surprise from behind. Even then, it would have been no worse than just failing.

So I came up with the Visibility spin.

But honestly, I should have done better. A perk-level Distinguishing Feature (Translucence) would have done - Gerry is mildly translucent for a while after using his Invisibility spell. Not enough for any positive effect, but just enough to make him seem disturbingly unreal, like a bad CGI character, for a duration as long as he was invisible. Not scary - it's not Terror - but more like a situational "-1 reactions you want to be positive because the mage is weird." Heh.

I may still do this* instead of the increased odds of attracting random monster attacks he's got on him now. After all, he rolled an 18 and has Weirdness Magnet. Right now, he's just getting the bounce going against him when it's an even shot of monsters showing up. That's nice but it's extremely minor. The critical failures rolled by other mages with Weirdness Magnet have created monsters (often especially hostile to them), floating mana changes - temporary or not, caused weird reversed effects, alerted mana-sensitive monsters to their presence in a wide radius . . . and I never tell people which of these have happened until they encounter it, and I don't always tie it back to the original event. I probably should, though. It's 15 points worth of the world doing weird - not cute, not fun - stuff to you. It's Unluckiness with -5 worth of supernatural effects tied to it.

Right now I think people see Weirdness Magnet at -15 and think it's an easy choice that offloads work onto the GM and doesn't really cause 15 points worth of issues. I should remedy that impression.

Maybe I just have . . .


* I have done delayed effects in the past - an 18 on Continual Light a few sessions back caused every subsequent stone the caster made for the next few hours be flawed so they'd all extinguish at the worst possible time. Which they did. Still further back an 18 on a Seek-type spell gave wrong information repeatedly to the caster, so the original failure wasn't simply triangulated or tested away with an extra casting. so maybe Gerry will flicker a bit for a while after he re-appears.

Heal Thyself

If you heal yourself with a damage-healing spell, you suffer a penalty equal to the injury you have. So what about Regeneration and the like? If you go for -1 x the injury that caused the original problem, you end up with a HP 10 guy suffers a -6 to self-Restoration his arm, and a HP 16 guy suffers a -9.

A flat penalty would probably make more sense - a HP 10 person would give a -4 for an extremity to heal the injury, -6 for a limb. That seems pretty fair for a self-healing penalty for all, regardless of their HP. Things deemed beyond "lost limb" (Casting Instant Regeneration to counter an Evisceration spell that took out your kidney or something) would probably be in the -7 to -10 range. One try. Usual rules for critically failing healing spells (Magic, p. 88).

I don't care if you healed the HP or not. Or rather, I do, but I expect you'll have healed them, otherwise I'd cheerfully apply a penalty for lost HP on top of this to the guy casting it. Those spells fix problems, they don't replace healing, and you are expected to deal with HP of injury and limb replacement separately.

This is, parenthetically, an oddity with HP. You can lop off someone's foot, heal the injury, and they are now a smaller person with identical HP and no foot. So you get guys partly dismembered, they down a few healing potions, and they are full HP but just lack a few limbs. Which is fine, but odd when it's during a game session. Whack, arm off! Heal that injury and you're fine!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

DF Game Session 65, Cold Fens 7 - Traps & Lizard Men

June 28th, 2015

Weather: Varied (mix of clear and some rain)

Characters (approximate net point total)

Adventuring:
Asher Crest-Fallen, human holy warrior (302 points)
     Koric, human guard (~70 points)
     Orrie, human guard (~70 points)
Bjorn Felmanson, human barbarian (279 points)
El Murik, dwarven cleric (274 points)
Gerald Tarrant, human wizard (275 points)
Hannibal the Flammable, human wizard (264 points)


In Swampsedge:
Dave, human knight (252 points)
Galoob Jah, goblin thief (256 points)
Rahtnar the Vegan, dwarven martial artist (270 points)

We started in Swampsedge, where they players vacuumed up only a couple of rumors - not much to tell them, anymore, since no one is going into or out of the swamp. The church did tell them the hidey-hole they found surely would decrease in safety the longer they stayed in it, so they could use it as a bolt-hole and rest area but not depend on it long term at a single go. It's a good safe base, but not a wight-proof fortress or endless sanctuary.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Tiger II kit, 1/72

Although this is mostly a fantasy gaming blog, model tanks and painting the same are gaming to me - and this is primarily a gaming blog. And a little while back, I mentioned I was looking for a nice King Tiger tank model.

So I did find a King Tiger after all.

GURPS Live broadcast. and a blatant book hint

I missed this on Thursday, not the least of which is because I had no idea they even did these Hangouts on Air. I was at work, anyway.

But here is Sean Punch and Steven Marsh talking about the GURPS line, for over an hour:



If you listen closely at the end with the what's coming up part, you will hear a totally blatant hint about my upcoming book, which I talked about here earlier this week.

Sean Punch did on his blog, too, mentioning that it is in production now.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Why of Combat Veteran's writeup

The Why? of Combat Veteran:

- I put all of the "isn't shocked by combat" elements together into one package, price out as Combat Veteran. The logic here is that these elements all represent how a trained combat professional would react. It's not necessarily faster on the draw or more likely to get out of the way of a bullet, but less shock and surprise from combat, and better overall ability (hence the +2 to Battle skill, from earlier editions of Mass Combat.) This is priced at 8 points because 7 seemed inelegant. Cost was totally eyeballed, which is consistent with the origin of Combat Reflexes as a Man-to-Man advantage.

- I coupled the +1 to Fast-Draw skills and the +1 to Defenses together in a "reacts quickly" package. This is for folks whose experience has also translated into quicker reactions overall. The improved bonus to initiative at this level is because you react just a little bit quicker, and therefore your whole side is more likely to get off to the jump first. This is priced at 7 points just because Combat Veteran is priced at 8. This is a steep discount compared to Enhanced Defenses, but I accept that those prices assume you're stacking them onto Combat Reflexes, and thus are an increased cost for +2 and beyond to a specific defense. You're supposed to buy CR before ED, and it's extra to get beyond a +1.


I did like the split in practice. I could make mid-grade experienced enemy troops that were harder to shock and surprise but who didn't get improved defenses. I could have PCs who reacted coolly without reacting necessarily faster.

It was a good and effective split in play. As I said elsewhere, I didn't allow this in my current DF game, despite the request of my players. A starting DF guy has 250 points, -50 in disads, and 5 quirks, for 305 points to spend. I wasn't really concerned that the lack of 7 points to get Combat Reflexes was an issue, and I wanted to make people choose - do I spend 15 points, or risk surprise?
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