Friday 28 June 2013

Marvel-esque Initiative and Turn Sequence

In OD&D, where it is basically only a roll with a d6, initiative is not much of a chore - but not really much fun either. In other games which use individual initiative, it certainly gives more random and individualised results but also increases the book-keeping factor. It was argued by Justin Alexander that initiative, as is presented, does not function as a seamless way of transitioning from the previous game structure (hexcrawl, dungeoncrawl, or else) to the combat structure; furthermore, the book-keeping it requires weakens the dynamics the outbreak of combat would present to the players (see this post and this post with the comment).

Trying to solve these problems, I came across the new Marvel game which uses a turn sequence system that I find very clever: after acting, it is the combatant's duty to choose who acts right after him. There are two important restrictions: (1) you cannot delay your action, you act when you are called, and (2) nobody may act again until everybody has acted in the round.

The game leaves to the GM to determine the first one to act depending on the situation; in a D&D-esque game, I would say the one who states his action the quickest may act first. By instantly resolving the first participant's action, we - all of a sudden - find ourselves in the combat structure.

Opinions? What possible disadvantages you can foresee regarding this approach? Do you think the benefits proposed above outweigh them?

Thursday 20 June 2013

Vikings & Valkyries, Session 4

Session 4 (June 8, 2013)

(Back to Session 1)

The report of our latest Vikings & Valkyries game of ours, in which the party fights Sea Devils again, gain some help from villagers, and - by a hilarious(ly clever) trick - conquer a whole village, the home of the bastard Gregorssons.

Friday 7 June 2013

Land of NOD, Session 4

Session 4 (May 23, 2013)

(Back to Session 1)

We finally carried on with our Land of Nod sandbox campaign; it has been a while since we last played, and it took this whole session for us to get back on track with the whole sandbox/hex-crawling idea. Having defeated the pirates, the party decided to explore the whole of the island.

Thursday 6 June 2013

Weather and Fortune

Since our last Vikings & Valkyries game, I have been thinking about the random weather table, the given sailing speeds, and the sailing rules in general (Mazes & Minotaurs Player's Manual, pp42-43). I have read several takes on randomly determining weather (Talysman, LS, and Brendan) and decided to use the 2d6 reaction table for that, because (1) it eliminates the use of d10s (except for the morale rules - but I will get to that) and (2) I can easily roll 3d6 together, two for the weather, one for random encounters. Anyway, the revised table is below:

20 miles
Pleasant Breeze
40 miles
60 miles
Strong Gale
80 miles
2d6 x 10 miles

Last session I also had to improvise a way of determining a ship's Fortune modifier and ultimately settled on the following formula: 1d4 minus 1d4 (thus 62.5% of ships have a non-negative Fortune modifier). The only drawback of this that I can see is that it introduces the use of d4s, whereas it is my intention to use d6s and d20s wherever possible.

An alternate approach that popped into my mind was to use 3d6 and the traditional B/X modifiers to determine a ship's Fortune; I dislike it for two reasons: (1) the arrangement of modifiers in V&V resembles 3E not B/X and (2) non-zero modifiers would be much less common which, concerning the frequency of acquiring a boat, would make Fortune much less relevant.

I am not pleased with the official rules regarding Storms and Drowning whatsoever; in time, I will surely propose my own variant rules for those situations.

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Mal-Lam the Fearful Symmetry

Submitted for the Petty Gods project.

Although the thought of perfection in geometry amazes people, when it becomes a reality, they are terrified of it; that fear is Mal-Lam, who gains his powers from the right angles, regular shapes, and symmetric patterns of nature and our creations as well.

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Ixomant the Living Darkness

Submitted for the Petty Gods project.

Ixomant dwells in the deepest of caves and the darkest of dungeons. Even if unseen, his presence can be experienced as a feel of a nightly breeze chilling to the bone, a lurking amorphous shadow, or simply the overwhelming fear of the dark, for exactly it is he.