Monday, 12 May 2014

The God-Machine Chronicle - The Rules

The following list summarises the mechanical changes the new half-edition of World of Darkness (that is, The God-Machine Chronicle) has introduced; as such, it assumes familiarity with the game's previous incarnation. Note that it does not list every single rule or change in the rules but rather helps see the main differences; as such, it does not substitute the rule book proper.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Abilities Acquired Diegetically

I have been thinking about character abilities lately; more specifically, about how they are acquired. In OD&D and B/X (and most games derived from them) characters do not gain new abilities as they grow in levels (except for new spells); they only improve their already existing ones. In AD&D (and its derivations) character do gain new abilities, but they are tied to certain levels. In newer editions of the game players may often choose their characters abilities (be they feats or class abilities) off a list.

I myself do not find character building much entertaining, but mostly because it is cumbersome and it is removed from the game world (i.e. my choices as an adventurer have no impact on which abilities I might be able to take). On the other hand, it feels rewarding to being able to pick a new ability and using it as soon as the right circumstances arise.

The solution might be making almost every character ability diegetic regarding their acquirement. That is, classes could be designed with only a few key differences (permitted weapon and armour; advancement of to-hit bonuses; hit dice type; and one or two distinctive feature), and we could provide ways of gaining new abilities tied to the setting. To keep niche protection, abilities could also be tied to certain classes (that is, a character may not acquire every available ability). Also, if abilities are not equal in power, the difficulty of their acquirement can be adjusted properly.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

How many hits do I need to kill that thing?

I was trying figure out the minute (or not so minute) differences between various hit point and damage systems. For that I just made a simple spreadsheet (available here) where I calculated a number of things - I thought it may be some help to others.

I provided a minimal amount of notes (how I obtained the average HP and damage at a given level), but the following should be notes, as well. The first and sheet includes how many HP a character (or creature) may have at a given level and how much damage he may deal. Assuming an opponent of equal level or Hit Dice, you can find the number of hits it may take on average; after that, how many attacking attempts are required depending on your chance to hit (25%, 50%, and 75% of success, respectively).

The third and fourth sheets differ: they show you how a character of a pre-defined level (1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th) compares to creatures of various Hit Dice. Therefore, average HP is calculated for the creature and damage for the character, and the number of hits or attacks are calculated from the character's point of view.

2014. 03. 13. edit: Last night I updated the file for there were some incorrect functions. Shouldn't have done it so late, I guess.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Campaign Pitch - Black Metal Marsh

Labelled in my notes as Black Metal Marsh, I present you this short background of the setting. No doubt it was inspired by the pitch of Rafael Chandler's new game (although when I read it first somewhere else only the short version was available). The original idea was to use Robert Conley's Blackmarsh as its basis; now I'm not sure if I will follow through with it (nevertheless, I haven't found a suitable alternate name yet).

It was believed that the world always existed and was never changing, for nothing could ever exist without Law and Order. Angels of the World Above served the incredible power that is the Operator and watched over mankind, inhabitants of the World Below, with ever vigilant eyes. None would have suspected that it be one among them who would betray the very foundation of the known universe.

Ledsabbath, an angel of the highest rank, found the never changing notes of the divine choir boring and the mortal crowds' uniformity pathetic; he wanted something that was never conceived before, something new.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Review: Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

This is a review of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (henceforth AS&SH), a game published by North Wind Adventures. AS&SH is a complete game, rules-wise mostly resembling 1st edition AD&D; its official world, Hyperborea, is greatly influenced by the works of R. E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, C. A. Smith, E. R. Burroughs, Fritz Leiber, Abraham Merritt, Michael Moorcock, and Jack Vance (the list is actually from the book), and it has a good deal of sword-and-sorcery and weird fantasy elements.

The game comes in a box with two books (Player's Manual and Referee's Manual) containing three volumes each, a poster map of Hyperborea, six character sheets, and some dice. Unfortunately, I cannot talk about the quality of these as I only bought a pdf copy (honestly, with international shipping costs added, the boxed set was way too expensive for me). Nevertheless, the books are extremely well-written and superbly edited; the reader is oft guided to other sections of the same or of other volumes and is given notes reminding him to important and useful things.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Vikings & Valkyries - Session Seven

Session 7 (February 22, 2014)

(Back to Session 1)

In which the party learnt of a legendary sword, fought some monsters, and negotiated with dwarves. The player of Esya (the Huntress) was abroad, so her place was taken by another player; the party thus consisted of the following characters:
  • Harald Greentooth (Viking 2), javelin-thrower and spear-wielder with an unlikely high Defense Class
  • Jormund (Sorcerer 2), cunning sorcerer; so far he has kept his powers hidden from his companions
  • Gottfried Flogasson (Prince 2), noble tank of the party; fiancé of Ingrid Olafsdottir
  • Freydís (Priestess of Freya 1), archer-priestess; eager to learn Jormund's secret identity
  • Möjmöj (Half-Giant 1), powerful warrior capable of turning any likely TPK to TMK (Total Monster Kill); at least so far

Vikings & Valkyries - Session Six

Session 6 (January, 2014)

(Back to Session 1)

This year's first face-to-face gaming session, during which we tested the mass combat rules found in the M&M Companion (slightly changed to reflect minute differences between M&M and V&V), some general raiding rules (mostly inspired by Aegir's Fire), and my crudely programmed village-generator; lastly, the party returned to Jarl Olaf Gunnbjörn's court and became involved in the local politics.

The party consisted of the following characters:
  • Harald Greentooth (Viking 2), veteran javelin-thrower and spear-wielder
  • Jormund (Sorcerer 2), cunning sorcerer
  • Gottfried Flogasson (Prince 2), designated tank of the party, also of noble heritage
  • Esya Valdensdottir (Huntress 1), a hunter living in the forest
  • Freydís (Priestess of Freya 1), a priestess coming from a secluded community of Freya-worshippers