Friday, May 30, 2014

A Few Thoughts on my hypothetical retro-clone Part 1 Char Gen a Missed Rule

I forgot a rule I have found quite helpful in my OSRgaming. It also works if you want to use a DCC style funnel or run L0 adventures.

Simply L0 Stacks

A L0 character has no class but they roll stats, an origin and get hit points equal to 1/2 Con modified by origin (+1 or -1 HP)

All this is retained at L1

At the GM's  L0  player characters may  roll their Gift and may have items appropriate to background added to the gear list.

My Buffy/Angel House Rules

It lks like next week I am be running the  Buffy RPG using the Unisystem rules.

I've done this quite a bit and in general the system works super well for me. better than almost anything I've run to be honest.

Like anything though I do have house rules.

Here are mine. Used in all games

#1 Subtractive Defense.

This is actually an optional rule (written by the systems creator) from Witchcraft. Basically all defense successes subtract from attack successes. This slightly improves survivability without altering game balance.

#2 Theme Song.

I admit this rule is a bit quirky and kind of Meta but I like and my players have enjoyed it too.  Once per game when appropriate (typically during a boss fight or the like)  a player may trigger his or her theme song. This costs 2 drama points and requires the theme song actually be played at the table. The effects are serious butt kicking and are treated like Righteous Fury

Used in this game

#1 Ghost of Albion Magic.

I'll be using this system instead of the Magic Box. I prefer it slightly as its better balanced and more refined.

#2 Teenage Blues

When characters are Teens (with the 2 point flaw) the following rules apply.
Wealth is the parents level of wealth and characters only have access to what a minor would. Also they may take bad parents as enemies (1 or 2 points) or good parents as allies if desired.

A Few Thoughts on my hypothetical retro-clone part 3 Equipment

I don't foresee that many changes to the standard equipment lists, maybe a bit of tweaking of the armor and weapon tables a large list of day to day items (bowl, spoon, towel) and a large alchemy list in only because I like alchemy items.

Buckler will be changed to its historical counterpart not the 3e wrist shield. This makes it a weapon actually probably doing 1d3 damage and giving +1 to AC if fighting defensively (bucklers are small) . A magic buckler would use its bonuses for both I don't know yet. Its biggest strength is that like the Main Gauche does not require any special ability to fight off hand with

Also since I figure since day to day equipment wasn't hugely different from 1040 to 1740 (save guns of course) my lists would encompass the entire spectrum allowing Arthur to Brotherhood of the Wolf type gear.

Last I'd very much like to include an optional flavorful personal equipment rule ala Beyond the Wall.

I love the idea of gear like "a drape of the stars" or a "charred staff once owned by your mentor" in some games.

Since I won't be using a life-path system making up a class specific chart will be the way to go.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Few Thoughts on my hypothetical retro-clone Part 2 Combat and Saves

 I generally think D&D combat is just fine but a few minor tweaks are not amiss

Level Based AC bonus
This is really my big change, no one has one and its sorely needed especially for low magic games

I use this rule in all my current D&D games and it works at least at low levels in both old and new. Basically each round declare a stance and take the following changes.

Neutral (no penalties or bonuses) this is the default stance

Reckless -4 T0 AC +2 to Hit

Aggressive -2 to AC +1 to Hit

Defensive +2 to AC -4 to Hit

Cautious +1 to AC -2 to Hit

Full Defense +4 to AC No Attacks  

4 Save system , 3 of them are ala 3e (the older system is too cumbersome for my taste) and an additional perception save. I will also use passives saves ala 4e or the SRD variant.

Heroic feats/Called Shots 
I want a good system to handle this and everyone should be able to do them with the caveat that Fighters should be generally better .Rogues and Rangers might also be good at a few tricks I am not sure.

20 F/X

Instead of a critical hit, a roll of a natural 20 would result in some kind of  cool extra effect based on the weapon or monster. 

A Few Thoughts on my hypothetical retro-clone Part 1 Char Gen

I am not making a retro-clone at least at this time but just to make up for the last couple of unpleasant posts here a a few bits on what you might see in a 5 Stones retro-clone

6 Classes, 1 for each stat
Fighter (STR)
Wizard (INT)
White Mage ( WIS replacing cleric)
Rogue (DEX, I like Rogue vs thief it covers more types of characters)
Ranger (CON, this is a little weird but it seems to fit, Rangers would be all about heartiness)
Bard (CHA. This is the face-man class, not a spell using jack of trades

I like the way Next and Iron Kingdoms do this. Basically is a package that anyone can take. Want a roguish mage? Take Wizard class and add Thief Background. This would also cover subclasses

Secondary Skills ala 1e or Occupations ala Dungeon Crawl Classics

Adventuring  Abilities
These would be things D&D calls thief skills. Anyone can do them to a degree, Rogues would just do them better

Nothing special here. Humans get a bump though.

Stop around 10-14 or so.

A random cool ability that helps  make each PC a special snowflake.

Play or GTFO or the New No Passive Aggressive Character Concepts Rule

This is a bit more angry than my usual post.

Starting now I am imposing a new rule, any time I am the GM or DM all characters must met the campaign needs and be something you are willing to play .

If the game does not interest you or you are not willing to play, say so. If  you choose a stupid, inappropriate , bland or disruptive  character concept a a passive aggressive protest to the game instead of acting like an adult and telling me you don't like the game I won't want to game with you.

As we  are adults and a polite "That doesn't sound fun." and I'll offer my second choice or "can someone else GM" will suffice.

Just say your piece and if you can't or we can't agree than  we both need a new gaming group.

Now this next bit is specific to rotational groups configured like my current group "Note as we are on a rotation this means everyone will have to play a lot of games of only marginal interest if this group is to work . Deal."

Too many Cooks, Not enough Diners

One big change I've noticed in recent gaming is the fact that there are a lot more GM's and a lot fewer Players than in the past.

if I may grog a bit, in the past most gaming groups had 1 or two person who wanted to GM or DM. This was an unwanted chore basically.

Over time, we did get a few more GM's but the usual problem was too many different games and a good chunk of the group didn't want to play someone else's favorite.  A personal example, I've loved GURPS since Man to Man but it was nearly impossible where I lived to bring non GURPS specific groups into playing.

We had the same issue with Rolemaster (though I could often find RM specific groups) Harn, Traveller and many other  games. In the end we compromised on something no one loved but no  one hated either. AD&D 2e. Fine. This rarely lead to long term games but sometimes it did and in general we had a decent enough time.

Als as I had a huge gaming circle to choose from (20+ players) it was easier to find players.

Now we have a different problem, everyone (me included) wants to DM each a  different system no less) and no one wants to play very much. Me excluded if we do D&D long term.

We ended up with a highly unsatisfactory compromise, 4 sessions one game , 1 boardgame night (I do like this) and than onto another game. This basically means nothing but extended one shots  and very little in the way of getting into a game.

This sucks but short of getting a new group (and we had a good player leave to do just that just prior to our compromise)  I don't have a solution.  The gaming is good its just not great.