Sunday, July 23, 2017

Felltower today

We have a full house of gamers today for Felltower - seven gamers plus myself. It'll be the last session for a month, as I'll be away from the GM screen for a bit. We do plan to get in some Gamma Terra, however, before I leave.

I'm not sure what the plans are today - but with that much firepower on hand, it could be almost anything. Will it be the Lord of Spite? Will the third Wish get used to bail them out? Will they finally assault the orcs? Try to finish up their maps of level 1 while the vets are here to confirm the details?

Who knows?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Reaper Bones 4 coming August 1st

So Reaper announced their next Bones Kickstarter:



I signed up for the alerts, but fat lot of good that will do me. I should be off the network most of August 1st, so I guess no 1st wave for me, eh? But I'll get in on it after I get back to internet access and get the earliest wave I can.

But sure, I'll go in for it, I'm sure I can get my money's worth from it.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Bones Modifications - Formorian Weapon Swap

I traded some off of my Bones 3 minis that I didn't like - weapons and vermin - for some other figures, including this Formorian Giant. That's good, because classically they come in twos, right?



I already had one, so how to differentiate this guy?

I did need to make a weapon swap.

So I cut off his club halway down, at one of the metal bands, and made it a flail.



The flail consists of some decorative craft chain. I looped it over a screw I'd had leftover from disassembling a stopwatch that stopped working properly, and screwed that into the club after making a safety pin tip guide hole.

Once that was screwed in, I made a Kneadtite cap for it and a ball as well.



My craft skills aren't up to making flanges or spikes. I could have inserted some, but I had nothing handy that wasn't also likely to be a real weapon - I didn't want to put in bits of wire or metal sprue bits. So I just went with round. I could have put a plastic Warhammer bitz head onto the chain, but it seemed a little small and would have been tricky to engineer.

He came out okay, I think. I made a couple of other weapon swaps on Bones guys, but this one seemed to most interesting for other people to see.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

GURPS Rules for Group Rolls

Last game, I needed to make some group rolls. I fell back on "everybody roll!" for some and "best roll with modifiers" and "worst roll with modifiers" in a couple of others. I knew GURPS had some official rules for this, but aside from the first one below I couldn't remember where or what they were.

So I asked some of my fellow GURPS fans and authors and so on to help me find them later in play. This way I can quickly search the blog for it. And honestly, if I type something down I tend to remember it better than just by reading it.

Thanks to Shawn Fisher, Dr Kromm, and Christopher Rice for promptly telling me where to look.

***



Complementary Skills are in Action 2 (p. 5), and in GURPS Martial Arts: Gladiators (p. 22).

Many examples of how to use this are in Dungeons and Wilderness Adventures.

- Basically, roll against Skill A to help the use of Skill B. Note that the person with Skill A and Skill B do not have to be the same person! Help your buddy out.

Got You Covered is in Action 2 (p. 5) and in GURPS Martial Arts: Gladiators (p. 22).

- Basically, roll against the highest applicable skill in the group, with a bonus for others trained in the skill* and a penalty for group size. In short, if everyone knows the skill, use the highest. If some don't, suffer a penalty.

* No defaults, not even the usual "But I have Survival-12 in everything thanks to my Survival (Mountains)-15" skill default.

Pulling Your Weight is in Action 2 (p. 5), but it's summarized in places all over Dungeons.

- Basically, use the highest ST plus ST/5 of all helpers. In my current game, if it's a ST-based skill roll, use the highest skill plus other ST scores (for example, Forced Entry). If you are lifting, add BL together.



Horde Rolls are in GURPS Zombies (p. 112-114).

- Basically, you can apply a projected success rate onto a group to determine which part of a group succeeds in, or fails, a roll.
- You can also subsume group rolls for stats such as Per into a size-based group Per.

***

In my own games, I also use a reversed version of Got You Covered, for times when anyone messing up can cause a problem and I don't want to deal with rolling for each individual. For the main example of when I'd use it, Stealth when sneaking in the dungeon. In that case, it will be lowest skill, not highest, but otherwise follow the rules in Got You Covered, above. If the roll can flat-out kill, obviously I'll go with individual rolls. But rolling Stealth for seven characters is tiresome at best.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

More thoughts on PI6 Druid Spells

A while back I talked about culling the megadungeon wreckers from the DF druid.

I've been looking at spells to add to the PI6 list to bulk it out, since I stripped it all the way down to nothing except Earthquake, and that comes with a warning to PCs that trashing the dungeon where they get their loot isn't a good way to get loot.

Here are the two additions I'm considering, and some notes on them.

Spark Storm - added. I see no reason why druids shouldn't be able to cast Spark Storm.

(Air) Elemental Possession - This is a new spell I'm trying out. I may modify it based on experience in play. But I think being able to directly control and ride an elemental makes the druid a potentially much more powerful template. This is expensive, but it does all that Control Elemental does but allows a direct ride.

And that new spell writeup:

(Air) Elemental Possession (VH)
Resisted by ST or Will.

As Beast Possession (Magic, p. 32), but only works on a specific type of elemental.

Duration: 1 minute.
Cost: 1 point per 5 character points used to build the elemental. Half that (round up) to maintain.
Time to cast: 5 seconds.



I briefly considered the lethal weather and plant spells from Death Spells, but I have reservations about handing those out and I know the weather ones would mess with our Air-college specialized wizard. Even if they are off-limits to him in any case - weather magic is druid magic in Dungeon Fantasy. I may add them later if the PCs ever get access to death spells (well, find the access to them that exists somewhere in Felltower.)

I'll consider Plant spells on a case-by-case basis, and they mostly would not be PI6.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Bones 3 trade list updated

I made a trade, so I updated my Bones 3 trade list. Email me or comment with some contact info if you are interested in a trade, and for what.

I updated the list of wants (no more ogres, more animals) and what I have.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Players Campaign Feedback Questionnaires

Want to know how your campaign is? Ask your players.

Something I've done at least once per major campaign is hand out player questionnaires. That's how I find out how many campaign is being received, even by those who don't normally give me a lot of feedback.

I generally split these up into three general categories of questions:

- Player Centric

- Character Centric

- Play Centric

Player Centric

These questions are the real heart of my questionnaire. What do the players like, dislike, want, and need from the game? Not their characters - the players. I try to find out what the players enjoyed so I can maximize that. I can also minimize the things they don't like.

Sometimes what one player likes, another doesn't. For example, in one game the #1 dislike of one player was the NPCs the other players had accumulated - spouses, hirelings, friends. Another player listed that as one of the best parts. So I knew I needed to keep them in, but not to spend too much time on them. I also needed to minimize the interacts between them and that player that disliked them.

These questions allow me to better identify the "awesome" in my game from a player perspective. I've added chances to get forbidden advantages people wanted. I've taken out monsters I like but players hated. I've added in events that tie into the kind of things the players enjoy.

Character Centric

These questions are aimed at getting the players to tell me what their character likes, dislikes, wants, and needs. This gives me a better idea of how the character fits into the campaign, and the motivating factors of the character. Even with a full set of disadvantages and quirks, I can't always see how it all fits in with the campaign. Sometimes these questions elicit changes to PCs, as players realize different things about their characters.

These often contradict the player questions, and that's fine. One case in point, we had a campaign period where the PCs were slave-soldiers in service to an ambitious military officer in a border war. One player loved it - he enjoyed the emerging story, the Mass Combat rolls, the challenges of the environment in general. But he noted that his character hated it - it was exactly what his character disliked. So he'd roleplay being a shirker, complaining, trying to get out of the situation, etc. Had I taken the player's actions in game as a guide, I'd have cut the story short, and ruined the player's fun to spare the character.

I've used these to determine quest offers, rewards, what magic items need to be sprinkled into the game, what monsters the players love despite their characters clearly hating, etc.

Play Centric

These questions are trying elicit opinions about how I run the game. How many rules, and how I apply them. How much I can tinker. How I run game (or how game runs). Rules people think are broken. General ways the game could be better.

My "No Rules Lookups" rule partly springs from the feedback I got in my last campaign from a questionnaire.

Notes

You might say an observant GM will just spot this stuff. That might be true. You might not need these. But sometimes the players don't even know the answers to these until you ask them. And I've never failed to learn something that changes my game for the better from doing these.

Example

Here is a cut-and-paste of a blank questionnaire I used in my last campaign set in the Known Worlds of D&D aka Mystara. I've lightly edited this to remove player names. Feel free to use this as the basis of your own questionnaires.

***

Q:In order, list the three advantages you would most like to acquire for your character. It is not important if they are normally acquirable in play or not (for example, Magery). #1 is the one you want the most, #3 the least.

1-

2-

3-

Q:What do you think was the best adventure or episode in the campaign so far?

q:What made this especially memorable, enjoyable, or exciting?

Q:What do you think was the worst adventure or episode in the campaign so far?

q:What made this especially forgettable, aggravating, or boring?

Q:Who is your most favorite NPC in the game world?

Q:Who is your least favorite NPC in the game world?

Q:What monster(s) or enemy(s) did you like encountering the most?

Q:What monster(s) or enemy(s) did you like encountering the least? Keep it short. ;)

Q:Do you like having your PCs work for a Big Important Guy?

Q:What do you like most about your character?

Q:What do you like least about your character?

Q:Is there anything you especially like or dislike about the game world in general, or you would like to see in the game world?


***

Q:What is your character’s biggest long-term goal? You can also answer this as “If I did one thing before I died, it would be…”

Q:What place would your character most like to go to, or go back to?

Q:What is your character’s favorite adventure or episode?

Q:What is your character’s least favorite adventure or episode?

Q:Who is your character’s most favorite NPC in the game world?

Q:Who is your character’s least favorite NPC in the game world?

Q:If your character could meet one “famous” NPC, who would it be?

Q:What monster(s) or enemy(s) did your character most fear or respect?

***

Now, for some technical questions:

Q:Are you satisfied with level of magic – in terms of items, enemy and friendly magic, access to scrolls, the public Beacon in Glantri, ease of learning new spells etc. – in the campaign, or should it be higher or lower?

Q:Are you satisfied with the growth rate of the PCs, in terms of experience points? Should it be faster, slower, or is it about right?

Q:Are you satisfied with the amount of combat we have in the game, or should we have more or less? The ferocity of the fighting is not likely to change, though.

Q:We have a lot of people playing – 7 players. Do you feel like you get enough “spotlight” time for your character, or do I give you short shrift when it comes to paying attention and giving you plot elements centered on your character?

Q:I have been using relatively few monsters, compared to human/humanoid opponents. Do you like the ratio, or would you prefer more monsters? (Less is unlikely)

Q:The campaign was designed with an over-arching plotline in mind – basically, a Big Event that will involve the PCs. Do you like this approach, or do you prefer a more basic “wander around and do stuff” kind of game? Do you think the plot is too opaque, or too obvious?

Q:Rules-wise, I am a tinkerer. I suspect this bothers people somewhat….but how much? Does it bother you a lot (please don’t change anything), a little (change stuff that is broken, but otherwise leave it alone), or not at all (whatever you think is a good idea, go ahead and do)?

Q:Rules-wise, we use a lot of rules. Back when (name deleted) was playing the first time, we played very fast-and-loose. Do you prefer playing “tight”, where we use rules for everything, or “loose”, where we have a basic core of rules and wing everything else?

Q:Speaking of rules, any rules you think really need to be changed, no matter what? Rules you hate, rules you think are broken or abusive, or rules that just annoy you because I enforce them.

Q:Any general comments about things I do that annoy people? Go ahead and tell me…I may not change what I am doing but I would like to know.

Q:If there was one thing I could do (or the others could do, even) that would improve the game for you, what would it be? Assume “You buy all the beer and soda” is not happening.

Q:If there is one thing you could do to make the game better for yourself and others, what would that be?
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