Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Grim Tales Combat Redux

I have been slowly working on Grim Tales (a dark fairy D&D-esque game with an implied setting; sort of my contribution to the thematic games list) behind the scenes, but it was actually Brendan's latest post that inspired me to finally work out my Reactions.

Characters are basically either proactive on their turn or reactive in others' turn, but being reactive is just that: you forgo being proactive. I still need to work out the numbers, though, but playtesting will surely help with that.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Snippets from Grim Tales Combat Rules

In dramatic situations, such as combat, the sequence of events becomes increasingly important, so determining who may act after whom is necessary. Participants (PCs and NPCs alike) roll 1d20 + Wits (+other bonuses if any) to determine their initiative score, based upon which they are placed in the Combat Queue in decreasing order. Equal scores favour PCs, and further ties are broken by negotiation between the players.

The first character in the Queue takes two actions (either two Minor actions, or a combination of a Major and a Minor action), then they are placed to the bottom of the Queue, and the next person takes their turn, and so forth. Characters may have a Reaction even when it is not their turn to act. That, however, puts them on the defensive, and they are placed right below the participant whose action they attempt to counter, thus delaying their own turn.

Major actions include melee and ranged attacks, charges, and most actions aimed at significantly altering the opponent's state. Minor actions include readying a weapon, reloading a crossbow, or traversing the battlefield (distances are handled in abstract Zones). Reactions are the likes of parrying an attack, rolling behind cover, etc.

If an attack hits, roll two six-siders called Red and Black. Damage depends on the weapon wielded (light weapons deal the lowest of them, heavy the highest, and medium equal to Red). If Black is a 6, it also triggers the weapon’s special effect.

Damage is deducted from the target's hit points. When someone loses all of their hit points, they become Incapacitated. When an Incapacitated character takes Damage, they receive an Injury, that applies one of the following three conditions to the character: (1) scarred, (2) maimed, or (3) dead. Each can only be opted for only once.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Grim Tales Hexcrawling

This post sums up the streamlined hexcrawling procedures I developed for Grim Tales. This lacks the tables referenced in the rules (except for the master level "Event Table"). I'd like to thank Gavin Norman, whose recent blog posts really inspired me.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Zweihänder Rules Summary

Originally made for my players, here is a rules summary of Zweihänder, a grim and perilous fantasy role-playing game.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Zweihänder - Session #0

Dramatis Personae
  • Ozir the Stump
    Elderly, Corpulent Ogre Hedgewise
    Scholastic Lowborn
    Drawback: Veteran's Foot
  • Ray "Walking Stick" Reddington
    Elderly, Slender Human Pugilist
    Reverent Lowborn
    Drawback: Cursed
  • Sir Fergus Witherwaddle
    Middle-Aged, Frail Human Slayer
    Villainous Aristocrat
    Drawback: Black Cataract
Events, Thoughts, Etc.
  • Character creation was pretty smooth. Everyone rolled twice for Racial Trait and Profession. Otherwise, everything (except the choice of Human/Demihuman, Archetype, sex, and starting weapon) was determined randomly.
  • Everyone opted for a Drawback to gain a second Fate Point. Ultimately, we ended up with a crew of elder adventurer wannabes. Cue in Silver Horde jokes by the dozen.
  • Didn't prepare much in terms of setting and plot, so it was mostly about making sure the players were familiar with the system (a Skill Test or two, a straightforward combat, stopping some Bleeding, that sort of stuff).
  • Party encountered a pair of wolves attacking a trio of small children. Put down the wolves. Took children to the village (one of them was severely injured). Went to look for their father, the lumberjack.
  • Another player will probably join, too. I expect an other handicapped elder, so... more Silver Horde jokes. Maybe Expendables, too. Won't lie, I'll enjoy hurting them. Unfortunately, so will they.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Comprehensive List of OSR Games

I present to you a comprehensive list of OSR/D&D-esque games. Only those games qualified that are either (1) retroclones (presenting an older system with or without modification; e.g. Kazamaták és Kompániák and AS&SH), (2) belong to the OSR by consensus (games building off of D&D's mechanics in innovative ways; e.g. Mazes & Minotaurs and Ghastly Affair), or (3) old-school in gameplay (having the same or very, very similar gameplay to D&D but with a different system; e.g. Torchbearer and Dragon Age).

Mind you the list includes games that had to do with 3E and 4E as well, so it is not strictly pre-3E D&D, and even some edge cases are on the list, such as Zweihänder and OpenQuest, which are clones of WFRP and Runequest, respectively (but the gameplay patterns are notably still D&D-esque, and they fit the spirit of the DIY OSR community). I fancy the term broad OSR (because some people would argue Wayfarers or Radiance disqualifies), but that might as well be as inaccurate as narrow D&D-esque (but then where's Infernum and Warcraft d20, one might ask).

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Thematic OSR Games

This is a taxonomic post; its goal is to establish a term referring to a subset of OSR products. Using the Pundit's terminology, these are a subset of third-wave OSR products, while in Dan Proctor's terms they fit the broader category of neo-retro games. Alternatively, you may just want to read further to find some cool games.

The OSR has many wonderful things to offer from straight-up clones (e.g. OSRIC and Labyrinth Lord) to neo-clones with refined mechanics (e.g. ACKS and AS&SH), from fantastic adventures (e.g. Slumbering Ursine Dunes and Deep Carbon Observatory) to innovative supplements (e.g. Red Tide and Vornheim). But one of the many kinds of products - one that I might enjoy the most - seems to attract less appreciation: thematic games.