Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Realization: I am not the market for a lot of RPG's

As it happens I am a pretty traditional gamer. I like games with lots of imagination, a conventional GM/Player set up and pretty ordinary rules.

A lot of games these days are different, some of the Indie RPG's go in a more collaborative story telling direction, others like 4e more board gamey and others are just plain too strange for me.

Thats perfectly OK though. Between the various games I do like (GURPS, Pathfinder. OSR, Risus and others) there is more material than I can afford anyway.

As long as I can get players I am good to go.

Thinking About: Dwarves as Cunning Folk.

This idea came to me while skimming Searchers of the Unknown, Revised .

The simple (its a one page game) description of Dwarves struck me as a great idea

posted here in part

Dwarfs are short and cunning

Subterfuge: Sneaking, climbing, fiddling locks, hiding, disguise,
forgery, picking pockets and so on are all feats of subterfuge. . Dwarfs add +2.

Rather than an entire race of Gimli's, throw in this and some of more magical Dwarf ideas (like say Eldoran arcane Dwarves from Advanced Race Codex Dwarves (Green Ronin BTW ) and you have a great replacement for the halfling and gnomes niches

Also if you want to play Elves as exalted and Dwarves and more base and sin wracked (play up the greed and anger) possibly Half Orcs too.

Its also very Nordic (they can be Dvergar and the Elves Alvar) if you like that flavor. or play them as selflish ala C.S. Lewis' "The Last Battle" bah, the Dwarves are for the Dwarves.

So you get a much more variated people (some will be doughty warriors) that is not as flavored with Gamer Scottish. Well just a little. ;)

Rules-Wise it requires very few rule changes. At most drop the various "hated foes" for some kind of craft cunning as I do already and if desired add some Fae traits .

In older games, all thats required is tweaking racial bonuses to thief skills and allowing Dwarf casters.

So what say you folks?

Pathfinder Content: Haflings of Midrea

Halflings almost didn't make the cut, no one plays them and they were a poor fit with the worlds original vibe. However I relented and thus were born the Shire Folk

Midrean Halflings are a pastoral people who live along a tributary of the river Arna. Their kingdom, as big as most, is lightly inhabited pastoral hills and valleys bounded by a thick Hedge of magical thorns and the Darkling Wood.

Attempts to enter the Shires en-mass by water seem to be thwarted by the river itself and despite the peaceful nature of the inhabitants, they can put up a nasty fight if attacked.

Typical Halflings are about 4 feet tall, shorter than Dwarves plump (around 95 lbs) and have furry feet. Females are about 2 inches shorter.

As a general rule they prefer good food and the comforts of home to adventure though there are of course exceptions.

They don't appear to have gods or divine casters though some Hedge Wizards and Herbalists with magic (variant druids) are known. They are also often fairly psychic.

Halfling marry for life and are generally honest tending to Lawful and Good Alignments.

Stats are as per Pathfinder.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Campaign Ideas Bonus Round

Just a few that occurred to me recently ...

Into the Big World
A party of sheltered shire folk must journey into the wider world to regain a powerful protective device. D&D with an all Halfling party.

Days of Dust
Explore the world and try to survive when essentially everyone is dead and turned to dust. Night of the Comet meets the Omega Man with twists.

The Rift Worlds Invasion
Can you hold the Imperial line and stop the invasion of a TL17 civilization?

Conquest and Glory
The Rift Worlds Invasion from the POV of the invaders. The PC's get to play the command personnel of the 1,000,000 ton TL17 cruiser Tribute of Cana as they try to get a foothold into Imperial Space despite the Jump 15 distances.

Trillion Credit Squadron
This is the classic GDW module updated. Players may either play the Imperium , who gets the eponymous tera-credit or the Rift Worlds who gain one TL17 1,000,000 Warship.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Campaign Ideas Day Fourteen

Boy its been Two Weeks already. Hard to believe. Today I am going to wrap this up with a nice long post with well everything else, including SF, Horror, Modern, Modern Fantasy and Fantasy stuff.

This Far and No Farther:
A GURPS game set in a stagnant near future. New technologies include Longeity Serum, Immune Amplification and Smart Drugs. The hitch, After a Neo Nazi Biogenic War hard science research is severely limited and controlled .
The PC's would be local police investigators on the trail of a homicide. Along the way they will discover all sorts of mad scientists illegal science labs and illegal micro fab computer chip plants.

Starlight, Iron and the End of Days:
This is DeLint style Faerie tales set in a 2050 where the demographic prediction of Phillip Longman et all are true. Less Men means the Fae have crept slowly back into the world. Normal people, poignant empty cities and greening

Revolution Rock:
Also set in the same Universe. A band of teen age friends try to get into the rock concert of the century.

Quiet Years:
A cop show set in the same Universe as above, though without any supernatural elements at all
System: Unisystem Medium or GURPS.

Project Restoration
The player characters come together while they are all working for a future government program called "Project Restoration" Since the Earths population dropped by 50% and the birth rate is really low (even with extended lifespans) the State of California decided to use a mixture of volunteers (called Tans from the uniform) and folks on alternative sentences (for various minor to moderate offenses, called Blues) from 16-25 (ish) to restore of demolish unused housing stock in hopes of making it easier to have kids (more space means more kids). said players uncover some very old problems (possibly occult) and wacky hijinks ensue.

Eldritch Hours:
Call of Cuthulu with the names and serial number filled off. New names, new faces and new horrors.

Wing Zero:Senego Dreams
Anime inspired. 6 ancient experimental ships and a rag tag commercial fleet against an alien invasion.

Under a Broken Sky:
Thundaar inspired post apocalypse super science an magic fusion using with D&D and Gamma World. . Who cares if its not logical, its fun.

They Who Were Chosen:
Modern fantasy. The PC's discover All Hell is Breaking Loose and its there job to stop it. Sort of like an all Slayer Buffy game without the background stuff

Simply Marvelous:
A return to my modified marvel universe using Beyond Human.

Faerie Triumphant:
The Elves have destroyed European civilization. But recently there has been a sliver of hope and the Fae sighting have diminished. Is it the new beginning or just a lull in the end of the world.

All the World is Trees:
Inspired by a recent thread Veridia of course. No oceans, no plains -- just trees.Tribal style adventuring with Anglo Saxon, Australian Aborigine and Native American flavor

All Along the Great River
Another Corner of Videria, this time the city states along the great river that traverses the world.

Scannerque modern intrigue in the vein of Firestarter, the 24th letter , Push and Jumper. The PC's are powerful psi fugitives on the trail of the mysterious "Haven" a place where psis can live in piece. Pursuing them is "The Shop" and "The Company" both of them who want to control this powerful asset.

The Elf Killer Way
The mortals of Anar will no longer be pawns of the Elves. Its time for war. Men, Orcs, Dwarves and Halfling vs the Evil fae.

Dark Streets
Pulp Supers with more than a hint of Wold Newton.

The Grand Campaign
L1 to the Demon Web Pits – Old School

Reign of Ghosts
This is the preamble to Wielders and is set in Midrea after the 3rd apocoli. All of the faiths except three (Wicca, The Way and The Left Hand Path) were actually soul collecting beings using the power for obscure purposes. These "Gawds" were killed during the Soul Taker War changing what was a D&D world into a True 20ish one.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bonus Campaign Ideas

Just because and just because it is just because I am posting a grip of short ideas

"One strange day exploring a city on foot, kind of a little Adventurers in Baby Sitting meets Up with a dose of Garfield. "

Keep Her Flying
A ship and a crew is a family. Sometimes a dysfunctional one. The players are a crew of Free Traders in the Verse, after the events of Serenity.

See Ya Space Cowboy
Cowboy Bebeop in the Verse

Special Crimes Unit
Law and Order +CSI +Weird

Classic modules using 3x D&D with light rule changes

Little Wishes.
Petty magic on the world of Cantrip . D&D using cantrips and osirons and magic items as the only magic.

Dark Cities
Dark Fantasy possibly with NWOD rules from Mirrors

Campaign Ideas Day Thirteen

All horror themed in honor of the triskadekaphobes out there.

Something Wicca This Way Comes
The players end up running a magical trouble-shooting service out of their downtown bookshop. Think a cross between Hellblazer and Practical Magic.

Welcome to Santa Carla:
Buffy/Angel set in the eponymous town from Lost Boys

Broken Faith
Now in the service of the Watchers Council the P.C.'s must contend with growing horror as well as rehabilitate a very damaged Faith the Slayer. Its Buffy/Angel with more psychodrama. Faith, or whats left of her, has returned from prison. Tormented body, mind and soul by the sadistic Warden, the Slayer is but a shell of herself. With darkness on the rise the world needs Champions. So until the new potential can be found its up to the PC's to hold the line and if possible help a young girl back to health.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I am a 4th level blogger!

At least says the Sorcerers Skull. .

The level title BTW is "Commentator" I like that though with any luck I'll make "thinker" soon ...

Thanks to my followers for making that happen and tell your friends ;)

Campaign Ideas Day Twelve

Fantasy Only today

Tombs and Troubles:
Plain old dungeon crawling, adventuring, wenching (or its female equivalent) hex crawling and woods running. This is classic style D&D with the players simply being Adventurers. There is a city, a few towns, villages, caves and dungeons. Simple archetypes and tons of fun.

Dungeon Maker.
This time you are the monsters, in this case Monsters who have learned to cooperate without an Evil Overlord for once. Can you get the dungeon built, fend of the Paladins and your rivals and kick butt? Who knows but you can try darn near anything to get there. This is based on Dungeon Keeper mixed with more standard D&D played only semi seriously

Midrea Unglued
I have run this before with great success. What was meant to be a single session turned into campaign. This is D&D played for laughs. Hanz and Franz, Talking Squirrels, Flumph Paladins and more goofiness played with the rules as written except when its funnier not too.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Campaign Ideas Day Eleven

No particular order today

All Along the Watchtowers
You were hard cases, throw away kids on the road to nowhere, till he took you in. The old man with his limitless patience. Now he has passed and is honor you have gathered to read once more from the Book of the Watchtowers, just as you did as children. Time for your Awakening. Mage the Awakening

The Stars are Calling
A Ship, A Crew, Classic Styled Traveler in the 3rd Imperium, 2 years after Stephron's Return.

Green Sails:
Flintlocks Pirates and Fae abound as the players sail the Sea of Green aboard the pirate vessel Queen of Winter
System: Unisystem or D20

Artifacts #6 The Three Staves

These artifacts, three staves, one black, one white, one gray ,are each exactly five feet tall. They are made of something like wood and are slightly warm to the touch. Each is carved with a myriad of runes of magic that seem to writhe and move but only to the bearer.

They combine the powers of a staff of the magi and a staff of power. Unlike either staff they do tell the user how many charges are in the staff and will not absorb more magic if the staff is overcharged. The ability can be used to determine the level of an incoming spell.

Also the staff can be used used in a retributive strike. The power functions as normal however it does not harm the staff.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Artifacts #5 Pact Stones

Stones of the Pact

These are fairly minor artifacts created during an alliance between men and elves. Both are polished beryl with a hole drilled through them. Like most artifacts they have some will of their own and will arrange to find a new owner when the time is right. Note though that the changes made to the Stone Bearers are permanent and will last even when the stones change owner

The "Stone of Man" grants the human racial abilities without supplanting native elven abilities to any elf who wears it. This gives the wearer more versatility, mental flexibility, an ability to lie and a measure of mental stability in addition to system appropriate abilities.

The "Stone of Elven" functions the same way but grants elven racial abilities to its chosen human wearer..

Lastly on the very rare occasion that a child is had between two pact stone bearers, the half elven child has all of the abilities of an elf, a half elf and a human and is always potentially a very powerful person.

Non Retro Non Pathfinder Character: James Algernon Boothroyd Peel

Still gaming related of course. I was digging through my old files when I came across an old unplayed character of mine.

James was designed for an old Pyramid setting called Polymath Prep, basically a high school on island where all the students were super geniuses. I was quite take with the setting so I came up with an against the grain character for it.

The system used is a kind of generic "write up language" not a true rules set but it would pretty easy to convert to any system one might choose.

I'd probably use Risus, by S. John Ross (who I think authored Polymath Prep as well) but then I use it for most silly games anyway.

So without further ado ...

James Algernon Boothroyd Peel
aka Spook

James (never Jimmy) is the illegitimate love child of James Bond and Emma Peel. Instead of a normal life he was raised mostly at MI6 and MI7. He regards most of England's top spies and gadgateers as his Aunts and Uncles and the world of Super-Spies as the regular world.
This has given him a rather jaundiced view of how things work and has made him mildly paranoid and a tad prone to aggressively proactive responses.
While working together during the Malachite Crises his Mother and Dad finally agreed on something and James was sent to Polymath Prep as a "learning experience"
Needless to say Spook is not a happy camper and other than his friend Jocko (1) is probably the least happy person in the school. Still orders are orders

Q Branch Technology

Trade Craft

Liberal Arts

Understanding Civilians

Many things James has are also gadgets of some kind. None of the weapons are lethal however (Uncle Q's orders) but many of them are plain nasty.

(1) Jocko is a canon setting NPC, a polymath like the others but with an interest in sports which goes against the settings Clich├ęs

Campaign Ideas Day Ten

A Mix of ideas, mostly "Modern Fantasy"

Driving an big rig is no easy job these days. But the family, a band of independent truckers can handle it, no matter weird things get. Convoy meets Supernatural

Badge of Iron
A modern day police procedural in a world with faeries, lots of faeries.

Falling Free-
The alien machines fell from the sky one day, no one can remember and life has never been the same since. GURPS Sprockets meets Big O ....

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Artifacts #4 Shard Weapons

These weapons, not all of them blades are minor artifacts that seem to be made from the idea of a weapon given form. Who made these weapons, when, how or why they were made is unknown but there are about fifty to a hundred of them known to exist, with more of them popping up in unusual places from time to time.

The resemble attractive unornamented though very well made weapons. Most are swords or knives although there are a few of them in other forms such as maces, axes or warhammers.

Shard Weapons are essentially unbreakable, cannot be enchanted or effected by any magic and gain +1 to hit and on damage. Most impressively they penetrate all defenses save structural ones (i.e the requirement for a blunt weapon when the weapon is edged) Since these weapons are essentially unbreakable its perfectly possible to find them in some very inaccessible location such as a monsters gullet or a pool of lava. Be warned ...

Campaign Ideas Day Nine

Getting the post in early ...

The Thin Line
A mixture of police drama and para normal. The game follows a group friends united by exposure to the supernatural throughout their lives as together they struggle to understand and cope with the supernatural that drew them together. Played in 3 raptures the game combines modern fantasy and horror with psychological drama and cop show plot

Our Friends the Whatleys
Oh the Mythos is dangerous all right but what if the cultist were the good guys? This Cthulhu in reverse where the players have to stop misguided investigators, insane cultists and oblivion itself while trying to stay sane and avoid being eaten.

Fire Base Echo
Weird Wars Vietnam. The Horrors of war just got more horrible. I'd run it without supernatural stuff but the players would want it so.. The PC's are draftees thrust into the war. The game covers before and after all the way to the 80's. Highlights include a kick-butt soundtrack and any props I can find at the surplus store

Friday, September 17, 2010

Artifacts #3 The Ever Ring

The Ever Ring

This distinctive ring is probably the most sought after item on Midrea and as such its ownership carries its own curse. Its a green ring wrapped with twining symbols of life in the shape of ivy chasing its own tail.

When worn the ring grants +5 to AC and saving throws (untyped) halts all aging, renders the wearer immune to disease and poison, regenerates 1HP per round as a ring of regeneration and functions both as a necklace of adaptation and a ring of sustenance.

Artifacts #2 Magisters Ring

Magisters Ring

When worn by a Wizard or other spell preparation based arcane caster, this adamant ring will dramatically increase their power doubling the spells that can be prepared at every spell level. In addition two additional powers are granted, First the wearer no longer needs a spellbook to prepare the spells they know and Second they automatically understand any arcane spell castable by their class they find, no roll required.

Artifacts #1 Deathlords Crown

Some of the artifacts of Midrea

Deathlord's Crown

More of a circlet of dark metal forged in a nightmare realm, these three circlets were designed to destroy the world during the Unhallowed War and nearly succeeded

When worn, the circlet cannot be removed except by the death of the owner or by the wearers choice . The wearer gains the powers of an evil cleric of equal level. Any spells they cast from any class can be by thought alone, requiring no verbal, somatic, material or focus components. The wearer is themselves turned into a sort of undead gaining all undead immunities (including aging) though not the true undead type. They cannot be turned. Lastly an unlimited number of undead can be controlled by the wearer of the circlet.

However, the circlet invariably leads the user to fanaticism and madness, changing them slowly into a death obsessed mirror of themselves.

Campaign Ideas Day Eight

A bit of this and a bit of that.

X -Verse
Adventures in a modified version of the movie and TV X Men Universes. No powers but mutant powers

Once in a while an apocalypse can be a very good thing. The ancient and terrible magics that were used to nearly destroy the world of Midrea are no more. However many of the magic items remain. As a wielder of one of the ancient items you belong to an elite group. However belonging can be dangerous...
System: D&D crossed with True 20 and AGOT D20

U.N.A.P.F.O.R. United Nations Anti Pirate Task Force
In a post global warming world the U.N. patrols the seas to check the pirates that prey on reconstruction efforts and trade. It is a little of the good parts of GURPS Terradyne, Blue Planet and Seaquest DSV.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cleaning Up the Cruft #10 What Are the Themes

More philosophical than rules related cruft. No game world can really encompass everything no matter how much we Judges want it to. So what I needed to do was cut it down to the thematic elements that actually get used, rather than the ones I think ought to be there.

Main Elements are

Sword + Sorcery and Faerie Tales

Minor Elements include

Weird Tales, Epic Fantasy in the Tolkien mode , Romantic Fantasy, Pulp, Western, Historical Pastiche, Anime for its pacing and social structures (or so my players say) Gothic Action and Horror, Swashbuckling, the Cold War and Fantasy Police Procedurals and Gor.

In a essence Midrea is an purposefully American kind of fantasy with some Europe thrown in for good measure. Because of that the biggest expected element that I think gamers will find missing is Orientalism in its Middle Eastern and Asian forms.

While there are monks and martial arts, most of the Japanese and Chinese elements are explicitly unimportant. There certainly are Asian descended peoples on Midrea but they are so well blended into the dominent cultures that there is little in the way of Asian cultures left

There is no analog to any of the nations in Asia and while many martial arts weapons are known, they are as likley to be wielded by a burly Viking or a Swashbuckler as a reed slender Japanese Samurai.

Also no "Africa" "Native American" or "Middle East" really exist either.

Cleaning Up the Cruft #9 Equipment

I am pretty generous on the issue of gear. This is well because I like detailed equipment lists, always have always will. Heck I liked them before I ever heard of Dungeons and Dragons

In general arms and armor are "whats in Pathfinder" or on my custom list. Other gear from other sources is allowed if vetted and in this case I even use the three Mongoose equipment books somewhat.I also use a lot of WOTC gear.

The only oddity is alchemy . I have a bunch of supplements from Bastion and Adamant I use as well as pretty much anything I can grab.

Cleaning Up the Cruft #8 Spells

This was a bit tricky as some of the Spell Compendium spells like Wraithstrike are unbalanced to say the least.

My general guidelines are as follows

#1 Starting spells must be from the Pathfinder SRD.

#2 Additional automatic spells may be added from Paizo PF sources

#3 Other spells may be researched or found with WOTC, 3rd party Pathfinder Eldritch Wizardry, various Green Ronin and Malhavok sources generally approved. Custom players designed spells are also encouraged.

Cleaning Up the Cruft #7 Monsters

This was actually easy. Anything that is not too setting specific is fine. I don't use many monsters but almost any of them fit in fine.

The psionic ones will need a bit of tweaking but otherwise all I need to do is decide on an origin (Gate World, N-Dimensional or made by Wizard) and go ....

Campaign Ideas Day Seven

A little of this and a little of that for today

Ride of Live Live to Ride
Outlaw Bikers meet the Supernatural in a combination of Angel, Supernatural and Sons of Anarchy.

Back in the 1980's they started freezing Felons. A hundred years later you defrosted convicts and your slowly failing computer system are the last of mankind. Can you restart the species while avoiding all the behaviors that got you frozen in the 1st place. Basically Morrow Project meets Fallout meets Oz.

Transhuman Blue
Blue Planet mixed with Transhuman Space run with GURPS

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cleaning Up the Cruft #6 Adding Custom Stuff

yes I am adding a bit of custom stuff

2 Base Classes and One Prestige Class to be precise

The Core classes are Sword-Mage which is a Wizard/Fighter hybrid I will be offering as a product soon and Stealth-Mage which will be my take on the Arcane Trickster as a 20 level class. Work will commence on that after I come up with a name I like.

The Prestige class is going to be Knight of the Palantir, which if it goes commercial will be named Knight of the Mirror. Its basically a psychic cavalier cross over class...

Cleaning Up the Cruft #6 Prestige Class List

Here is my tentative list of Prestige classes. These include WoTC sources and of course Pathfinder ones. The five classes in a tight clump are from the Psychics Handbook by Green Ronin.

Currently Arcane Trickster, Arcane Archer the various "Fighter/Mage" and Cleric/X classes are core classes or core class variants and as such have no real place in the game. You'll also note a couple of fae like shapeshifter classes, just because.

If you folks have any additional suggestions for classes that should be in my list, let me know.They should of course either function as a kind of lens to take classes in a new direction or that blend a couple of incompatible classes together.

Ultimate Magus

Urban Soul (in some games)

Enlightened Fist

Bear Warrior

Horizon Walker

Amethyst Rose

Arcane Tempest

Mystic Theurge

Swan May

Master Chymist

Rage Mage

Rage Prophet

Dragon Disciple

Tattooed Monk


Psychic Adept
Fire Starter
Ghost Hunter
Mind Hunter
Psychic Healer

Soul Bow

Cleaning Up the Cruft #5 Prestige Classes

As I mentioned before I pretty much decided to ban prestige classes. I don't think for the most part they add anything to do the game except complexity and "gaming the system" however after a bit of thought I have decided to allow a limited number that I think will enhance the game.

What i am allowing are prestige classes that either function as a kind of lens to take classes in a new direction (such as Master Chymist) or ones that blend a couple of incompatible classes together (such as Rage Prophet)

Sources will be mainly WOTC and Pathfinder with other candidates as appropriate.

Other prestige classes however will not be used and instead will be replaced with alternate core classes (for example for Fighter/Wizard types) or alternate class features instead. This keeps my list small and manageable while letting PRC's serve a very useful purpose

Oh yeah, and I am allowing Horizon Walker and Bear Warrior , just because

Cleaning Up the Cruft #4 Feats -- part two

The next part of the cruft cleaning is of course choosing what sources of feats to allow. With more than a decade of 3X and Pathfinder to choose from, feat selection proved to be surprisingly difficult.

Eventually I decided on an approach

Allowed are most Pathfinder feats, some 3rd party Pathfinder feats and from 3.5 feats from Core, Malhavoc, and Green Ronin . In addition any other feats that go specifically with 3rd party classes (for example, Gun-Mage) and a few custom, other provider and "web" feats will be allowed on a case by case basis as well.

That should leave me with more than enough feats to cover anything he players may wish to do while not bogging character creation down too much.

Campaign Ideas Day Six

Back to Fantasy

The players are members of an elite Unit of trouble shooters in a fantasy world. Standard fantasy stuff with a bit of structure and a focus on missions

Lost Colony:
Muskets, Magic and Indians in an world somewhat like colonial America. The campaign starts twenty years after the Old World was destroyed by dragons. Now without trade or new immigrants the colonies are on their own. I had this idea before "Northern Crown" though I'd certainly mine it for ideas were I to run this ...

Ruin Raiders:
Two generations after the Empire was destroyed by the Far Realms the majority of the Folk (human, elf, cat people, xeph etc) still huddle behind the Cerulean Wall -- the great barrier thats keeps the Far Realms Abberations at bay. Certain Folk (aka the PC's) have the nerves of steel to brave the unspeakable horrors in search of Loot or just to help the refugees that linger

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cleaning Up the Cruft #3 Feats -- part one

Feats are turning out to be the hardest part of clean up. There are so many, many of them very good and fun in play.Rather than bloat the game with a glorious excess, the trick is to keep to the ones that enhance the game.

The first thing though is get rid of all useless feats.The low hanging fruit here is of course stuff that has no place in the game.

All feats for magic systems that are no longer in use (Incarnum, Psionic,Tome of Battle , Shadow) can go. Thats actually a lot of feats no longer on the table and a good start to the whole thing.

The next fruit, a little higher up the tree are feats for options that are not in play.

Taint, Vile and Exalted -- gone.

After that, well whew.. That a lot of feats gone.

Tomorrow (or so) we start on the hard stuff...

Campaign Ideas Day Five

Some Supers Themed games

I've never tried to run these as I really don't have a set of rules that works well for me. I've dabbled in Hero, GURPS 4 Supers, Mutants Masterminds and several others but none of them balance ease of use/generation and results in a way I really like. FASERIP (Classic Marvel) seems to be the closest but its just not quite right...

They say power corrupts. In the case of Metapowers its literally true. The stronger the super the madder they are. As one of the Unimanifest you have the ability to defend yourself against powers in ways that no normal human can. Can you stop the costumed crazies before you become one?

Metahuman Armed Response Squads. Its time to take down those costumed crazies so that sane people have a chance. Powered Armor vs. Supers

Ground Zero:
This is an old comic universe my best friend and I built way back in 1990.
Supers with logically powers and continuity. GURPS would work pretty well but so would Beyond Human

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cleaning Up the Cruft #2 Classes

I feel inspired so y'all get a two-fer today.

The second part of my cruft patrol was much easier than I expected. I had expected to angst over the classes but I found to my pleasure, it was easier to delete them then it was to put them in the first place.
I did have a few troubles, 1st with the the pseudo "tech" classes like artificer and gun mage. After some thought I decided why not? I also was not sure about some of the "at will" classes but I decided to nix those and last, the Totem Warrior. I nearly kept that but in the end , it went away.

Psionics got a major change. All of the Psi classes except the Soul Knife which got altered a bit were removed and replaced with the excellent Psychic class from Green Ronin's Psychic's Handbook.

During this rebuild

Last as a general thing, I like non spell using classes so most of those stayed ...

Barbarian Extras
(PF) Breaker, Brutal Pugilist, Drunken Brute, Elemental Kin, Hurler, Invulnerable Rager, Mounted
Fury, Savage Barbarian, Superstitious, Totem Warrior
(UA) Hunter (drop rage for Ranger abilities as SRD) (everywhere)

(PF) Arcane Duelist, Archivist, Court Bard, Detective, Magician, Sandman, Savage Skald, Sea Singer,Street Performer,
Diplomat (as Half Elf Sub)
Gnome Bard
(H) Spell Preparation Bard (Firhom, Most Places, Human Bardic Knack is free)
(L) Bardic Colleges used

Cleric (everywhere) domains and sub-domains OK
(H/PF) Militant Cleric – loose channel and domain powers, gain full BAB, Deities favorite weapon,
may specialize
(L) Ancestral Speaker (Dwarf)
(L) Arcane Disciple (Hunzun City States)
(L) Spontaneous Domain Casting
(UA) Cloistered Cleric (everywhere)

(PF) Aquatic Druid, Arctic Druid, Blight Druid, Cave Druid, Desert Druid, Jungle Druid, Mountain
Druid, Plains Druid, Swamp Druid, Urban Druid., Bear Shaman, Eagle Shaman, Cat Shaman, Serpent
Shaman, Wolf Shaman,
(L) Environment Weapons List
(L) Organizations
(UA) Druidic Avenger
(UA) Swift Hunter
(H/L) Animal Focused: Lose Wildshape, May Share all abilities with Companion, may speak with all
Animals of type at will +3 Levels to Animal Companion
(L)_Spontaneous Rejuvenation: Drop Spontaneous Summons for Spontaneous Healing
(L) Shapeshifter

(PF) Archer, Crossbowman, Freehand Fighter, Mobile Fighter, Phalanx Soldier, Polearm Master,
Roughrider, Savage Warrior, Shielded Fighter, Two Handed Fighter, Two Weapon Warrior, Weapon
(H) Musketeer
(UA) Thug

(PF) Drunken Master, Hungry Ghost Monk, Ki Mystic, Monk of the Empty Hand, Monk of the Four
Winds, Monk of the Healing Hand, Monk of the Lotus, Monk of the Sacred Mountain, Weapon Adept,
Zen Archer
(L) Holy Monk
(L) Vigilant Monk
(L) Decisive Strike
(L) Fighting Styles
(L) Weapon Schools

(PF) Divine Defender, Hospitaler, Sacred Servant, Shining Knight, Undead Scourge, Warrior of the
Holy Light
(UA) Hunting Paladin
(L) Power of Self
(L) Angels Sight (for Divine Health)
(L) Charging Smite (for Mount)
(L) Gaze of Truth (for Detect Evil)
(L) Hunter of Fiends (for Smite Evil)
(L) Celestial Sword (for Mount)

(PF) Beast Master, Guide, Horse Lord, Infiltrator, Shapeshifter, Skirmisher, Spirit Ranger, Urban
Ranger , Extra Combat Styles
(L) Mythic Ranger
(L) Distracting Attack (for Companion)
(L) Solitary Hunting (for Companion)
(L) Moon Warded (for Combat Style)

(PF) Acrobat, Burglar, Cutpurse, Investigator, Poisoner, Rake, Scout, Sniper, Spy, Swashbuckler, Thug,Trapsmith
(L) Disruptive Attack (loose uncanny dodge)
(UA) Feat Rogue (Drop Sneak Attack for Feats)

(PFSRD) Aberrant, Abyssal, Arcane, Celestial, Destined, Draconic, Elemental, Fey, Infernal, Orc,
(PF) Aquatic Bloodline, Boreal Bloodline, Deepearth Bloodline, Dreamspun Bloodline, Protean
Bloodline, Serpentine Bloodline, Shadow Bloodline, Stormborn Bloodline, Verdant Bloodline
(UA) Battle Sorcerer

(PFSRD) Schools (A, C,D,EN, EV, ILL, NEC, TR, UNIV)
(PF) Elemental Schools and Focused Schools
(L) Arcane Reabsorption (Lose Arcane Bond)
(L) Wild Wizard (Anagakok)
(L) Hedge Wizard (as Halfling Substitution)
(L) Fildh (Lose Scribe Scroll and Bonus feats, gain Bardic Lore, Greater Divining, Must Take
Divination as prime school)
(H) War Wizard (lose 1 spell per level, scribe scroll, sub wizard feats for custom abilities gain medium BAB, D8 light armor cast)

(L) Skirmisher (aka Scout) (everywhere except Dragon Empire and 7 Nations-- save tribes)
(L) Light Cavalry (everywhere with horses especially Vi and Toulani)
(L) Sniper (everywhere, may still take 5' step, gains all Martial ranged weapons)

Swashbuckler (Pathfinder version, 9 Cities, Brin, 7 Nations)

Artificer (Pathfinder versions) (7 Nations, Dragon Kingdoms)

Gun Mage (7 Nations, Dragon Kingdoms)

Rogue-Mage (Custom)

Shaman (Green Ronin) (Beast Tribes, Toulani, Chun, Amer Tribes,)

Noble (as Green Ronin, everywhere)

Infiltrator (KoK) (Everywhere)

Witch (Aradia, Queens Domain, Ashanan, )

Warord (ToS) (?)

Sacred Fist (Kobold Quarterly 12) (Hajasa, Ro-Jin)

Phantom (Thief/Cleric) (Kobold Quarterly 12) (Hajasa, Ro-Jin)

Emissary (Thief/Cleric) (Kobold Quarterly 12) (Hajasa, Ro-Jin)

Sage (Kobold Quarterly 12) (Hajasa, Ro-Jin)

Spy (Adventuring Classes, Fistfull of Denarri, All)

Beastmaster ( Adventuring Classes, Fistfull of Denarri, )

Corbie ( Adventuring Classes, Fistfull of Denarri)

Sea Dog (Skull and Bones) (Sea Folk, Brin, 7 Nations, Dragon Empire )

Corsair (GRR Freeport) (Brin, 7 Nations, Dragon Empire, Sea Folk )

Buccaneer (Skull and Bones) (Sea Folk, Brin, 7 Nations, Dragon Empire )

Bounty Hunter ( Adventuring Classes, Fistfull of Denarri)

Arcane Archer (from its own book)

Savant (Thieves World) (Everywhere)

Assassin (Green Ronin Assasins Handbook )

Oathsworn (Arcana Unearthed, Lawbringer Theocracy)

(PF) Cavalier (PF) (Midlands, 20 Kingdoms) Orders Renamed
Knight of the Dragon (Order of the Dragon)
Knight of the Crown (Order of the Lion)
Knight of the Stone (Order of the Shield)
Knight of the Garter (Order of the Sword)
Knight of the Sword (Order of the Cockratice)
Knight of the Falcon (not available)
Knight of the Bath (not available)
Knight of the Palantir (prestige class)

Arcane Archer

Alchemist (PF) (7 Nations)

Inquisitor (PF) (Lawbringer Theocracy)

Oracle (PF) (anywhere, Ancient Ones)
Note this class does not gain the curse ability

Hexer (PF Witch Class) (Dark or Grey Elves)

Monster Hunter (GRR Freeport) (everywhere)

Yogi (Monte Cooks Best D20 ) (Hajasa, Vara)

Runeblade (Monte Cook Book of Experimental Might) (Northlands, Dwarfs)

Investigator (Crime and Punishment)

(L) Archivist (HoH)
(H) Cloistered Archivist lose all armor, gain Bardic Lore


Soul Knife

and whew, thats it....

Cleaning Up the Cruft #1 Races

Races proved to be the easiest. I was already leery about many races, so I only had to drop a small number of them.

First to go were the "machine" races Ironborn and Warforged. They gave it too much of a "science fantasy" feel when the highest technology I wanted was "clockwork"

Shifters went as well. They are not a well designed race and are just too "Ebberon" for my taste. It also deals away with the temptation by player or DM to insert a Wolverine clone.

Also getting the axe were Changeling and Illuminian. Both were cool but neither fit well.

Since I decided to do away with the standard psionics system (more on that later) that ruled out Elan. Now I like these guys but like the machine races and the other psionic races (the ones I did not use) they felt out of place. So away they went.

I fussed with Halflings for a while but in the end decided they can stay

So the current list, now far more Fae focused is as follows...

Half Elf
Elf (Grey or White)
Tainted (aka Half Orc)
Dwarf (Hill, Mountain, City)
Elf (Grey or Light)
Spirit Folk (OA, Wood (bamboo) River, Sea)
Azhar (Jinn Blooded, GRR Freeport)
Lesser Assimar
Lesser Tiefling
Troll Blooded (as Half Ogre)
Half Fey

oh and one more, a newcomer that happily is essentially Human, the Ilian from The Psychics Handbook web enhancement...

Of course as before Natural Lycanthropes, Talking Animals and various Fae are still allowed on case by case basis.

Clearing up the Cruft: Intro

My current personal project is something long overdo, clean up the 3X cruft and streamline my game world to emphasize for fun and more flavor.

Midrea was of course originally made out of bits and pieces from my various 2e games, a city here, a setting there and so on. GURPS bits and Rolemaster bits were added but until 3e, it was pretty much fantasy gumbo.

As 3x progressed, it became "the ultimate sandbox" where you can use anything and everything. This is actually how I pitched it back in 2004 WOTC contest.

The thing is, well its a poor way to make a game world. So many of the classes and races just don't fit in well, Gate-Worlds not withstanding, the feel shoehorned and forced. Yuck.

I think its time for a change...

What I am going to do is trim feats, classes, races and everything else I feel doesn't fit in well. when I done, Midrea will be mean lean gaming machine.

Not only I am going to clean house but I am going to document these changes as I go along.

I hope y'all join me and find something of interest.

Campaign Ideas Day Four

More Midrea Based Games

Destiny of Swords:
Someone has shattered the Jewel of the Stars. Each of the pieces will grant great power to anyone or anything THING that finds one. The characters are Jewel Hunters on the track of shards for good or ill. This is basically Inuyasha with a Midrea bent. D&D with Gestalt rules

Stand with the Joykiller and save your kingdom from all threats within and without. While you are at it find the King a wife, the Princess a suitable husband, manage the factions and keep the assassins at bay. Quite a task, even for a Kingsman.

Down Below:
There are few ways of the projects of Polis, money, connections or a military scholarship. Without those there is only the Rangers. The characters are the member of the Ranger corp (not necessarily the class) chartered to protect Polis from Down Below or sometimes itself. D&D with very very high magic

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New Item: Death Breaker Sword and Mace OSR Version

These items are relics of the Unhallowed Wars, each made of well cared for steel covered with runes of preservation and warding. They are usually found on the form of a short sword or mace although other one handed weapons are possible.

They are +1 weapons with the ability to strike and undead targets even ones that are incorporeal. They do double damage against such targets.

In addition a flask of holy water can be poured into the weapon, where it will be absorbed. Any target struck by the weapon takes the effect of the holy water though there is no splash. effect

It is rumored that there are also "fouled" versions of these weapons in the form of a wicked curved sword that are +1 and do double damage against living lawful targets and can take a flask of unholy water which has effects as above on certain targets.

New Item: Death Breaker Sword and Mace

These items are relics of the Unhallowed Wars, each made of well cared for steel covered with runes of preservation and warding. They are usually found on the form of a short sword or mace although other light one handed weapons are possible.

They are +1 undead bane ghost touch weapon with the unique ability to absorb a flask of holy water (and only holy water) poured in the hilt. Any target struck by the weapon takes the effect of the holy water though there is no splash effect or extra damage on a critical hit.

The cost of these weapons is 20,000 plus that of a master work weapon...

It is rumored that there are also "fouled" versions of these weapons in the form of a wicked curved sword that are +1 keen unholy burst and can take a flask of unholy water as above.

These would also cost about 20,000 if anyone was depraved enough to want one.

Campaign Ideas Day Three

A few that are not "D&D" in any form.

Kester Dawn:
Invasion of the Samurai Lizard Chicken People and their Beast Mechs. Fighting them, Earthforce, The various national armies (circa 2020) and a few experimental Human Mechs. And no its not silly....

I never did figure out what system to use for this. Canny players might have noticed the Kester were later influenced by the Guubaruu from David Brins's Uplift novels as well. Given that I was almost certainly never going to run this I put way too much work into it, naming all the Kester Mechs, having bits of language all that. I just had too much time on my hands...

S.O.L -- Soldiers of Lucifer. This is Gnostic reality with Lucifer as a good guy. Think the irreverence of Dogma, l mixed with Gnostism and a hint of the 9th Gate style camp, oh and don't forget the Rock and Roll. Can you help Lucifer protect individuality and free will or will mankind be "redemmed" like a bottle deposit

This was never seriously considered as I have only two players who could deal with the background. The others are far too religious I think. I also had no idea what system to use...

You have a myriad of Universes to choose from. With you Slip Walking talent you can traverse any of them with one two little flaws, there are OTHERS out there and you don't know how to control the Slip. This is based of Sliders and GURPS Alternate Earth

This would be easy to run with the right group but as always thats the rub...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Campaign Ideas Day Two

Hey its technically Day Two, if a bit early

Like the others yesterday, these games are all designed for Midrea.

Midrea Unglued -- D&D played for laughs. Hanz and Franz, Talking Squirrels, Flumph Paladins and more goofiness played with the rules as written (well mostly). This was run a a very extended one shot that turned into a campaign under the 2e rules back in 1999. It was some of the most fun I have ever had playing D&D in any form.

Younger Sons:
One hundred years ago a magical cataclysm killed every human in Amachia. Now the curse has ended and the rush has began. The party are all younger sons of Amachian expatriates with little prospects sent back to the motherland to make their way.

Children of Damnation: The party members are all children of Azgoth, Demon Prince of Defilement. You may be half a fiend but you have free will, what will you do with your gifts now that Father has taken an interest in you. This game was slated originally to be run with Rolemaster Standard System but that never panned out. The current version would be standard 3x with Tiefling race free (they'd get full build points) as the mandated race.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Its been decided: No prestige classes

The reason for this is really simple.Prestige classes add a lot of complexity and prep work but not a lot of fun.

What they do add can be handled better with variant classes and feat chains.

Level Based Defense Bonus in Old School?

A question for reader base.

If I was using Swords and Wizardry or Labyrinth Lord as the basis but I wanted to reduce magic items quite a bit, how much if any general bonus should I gave to AC at higher levels?

It seems to me that AC should go up a bit with combat skill and not just with magic gear so that a 10th level fighter is a bit harder to hit than a 1st level one.

My options to accomplish this seem to be some variations of....

Cyclopedia/Dark Dungeons Weapon Mastery

A slight modification of "Armor for All" at Retro-Roleplaying

Some kind of "parry rule" where I can take away from my chance to hit to take away from yours, possibly at a ratio ala Rolemaster or 3x's Combat Expertise feat . This would work better with raising AC but thats not an issue for me.

A flat class based bonus or maybe something else .....

What say you all?

Campaign Ideas Day One

All these games are Midrea based.

#1 Man Mech and Magic:
A Clockpunk Vision of Escaflowne mixed in with standard gamer fantasy environment. As it happens I ran one session of this with GURPS rules that didn't click and so next time I'll use 3X which should be a better fit.

#2 Cannon Dreams:
The Age of Pyrates Version of the above. What could be cooler, cavalry, cannons, sailing ships and fantasy mechs. Originally I wanted to run this with Savage Worlds "Rune Stryders" and "50 Fathoms" but Savage Rune Stryders was canceled its back to 3x

#3 Path of Blades:
The kingdoms war has been good for mercenaries like you . So come to Fourgate, spend some gold between jobs. help out your buddies,solve mysteries and raise some hell. Its a Merc's life.

Three Campaign Ideas a Day

Something to tide my readers over while I work on some actual content.

These blurbs are from my copious campaign idea notes. They aren't well fleshed out but they give a basic "elevator pitch" for various sorts of games.

Note that many of these are not for any for D&D and are meant to be played with GURPS or Angel or something else.

As always feel free to chime in with your thoughts and suggestions

Monday, September 6, 2010

The art of conversion, The Foes of the Wand

When I changed my campaign from 2e to 3x D&D like many DM's I tried to convert as much as I could.Whether this is a good idea or not (I am leaning not actually) it is a learning experience.

Probably the hardest thing to convert was the Anti Magic Item Cult called the "Foes of the Wand" . I lifted the idea whole cloth from the Complete Wizards Handbook and roughly fleshed it out as a "Group of Wizards who oppose the use of magic items believing that magic power trapped in items would destroy the world."

Since they were meant mainly as a PC adversary group I never saw much need to balance them. Back in 2e I just allowed them 1 extra spell per level to be memorized per day but they could not use magic items as do to a psychological block, they just wouldn't work.

When I converted to 3x I kind of left them behind since the ad-hoc conversion didn't work right with the more fiddly 3x rules.

However much later into the game, I came upon a solution.

I modified a feat I normally banned (Vow of Poverty from The Book of Exalted Deeds) and it worked fine.

Members of the Foes retrain "Scribe Scroll" in exchange for a variation of the benefits of the Vow of Poverty Feat. At this point magic items no longer function for them, even items that do not require a spell trigger or the like. This includes magic weapons and cursed items which promptly stop effecting the member though scrolls may still be added to spell books as per normal. Material Components and Alchemical items are not considered magical.

Each Foe gains the AC and stat bonuses of the Vow Of Poverty Feat although unlike that feat a member may have as much mundane wealth as desired so long as he gives at least 10% of the wealth and any found items to the organization . At any point where an exalted bonus feat would be gained as per VOP they gain Spell Mastery instead.

Any existing item creation feats are exchanged for Sudden Metamagic Feats. In addition members of the Foes gain access to the organizations library and may gain 1 additional spell free

Sometime if it ever seems appropriate I'll spring these bad boys on my players knowing that despite the more rigorous systems of 3x I have a fair and balanced set up.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pathfinder Low Magic Rules Up:

They are now in handy PDF form in the free fan content in the right hand column.

Hope y'all enjoy them.

Open question: What are your least favorite types of magical items?

For the me that has to be the "mega charged" items like staffs and wands. I find them unbalancing, a bad flavor fit and an annoying resource to track. In play it seems like either the players will use them with abandon blasting everything in sight or horde them for fear of running out of charges. Neither is exactly what I consider fun

Instead I find items like the Rod of Thunder and Lighting or some version of Ebberon's Eternal Wands far more interesting and balanced.

Now this dislike does not extend to "old school" games where items are rare and the wands can be recharged. In those cases its more of a signature item like the White Queen of Narnia's Flesh to Stone Wand or something like that.

Also dare I say, game balance is really not part of old school design and as such, the extreme power really does not matter that much.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pathfinder Current House Rules Update

Just a minor reformatting and a couple of rules I forget, namely that Keen and Improved critical and such stack and my improved stat roll rules.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Pathfinder Class and Race PDF

This list of classes and races is really for my players but I am making these available, well just because. Since it is a fan work it contains a risimic mixture of open content and closed content names. The formatting marks represent sources with PF being Pathfinder, H being house rules and L being "the list" . I've trimmed it a lot although with the new material from the APG there are probably far more options than there were before

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sorry for the slow posts #2

I have been kind of distracted of late. Too bad its not with a lovely lady but thats life. I should be playing catch up soon.

Pathfinder Current House Rules PDF

These are my house rules for Pathfinder. I am making them available to anyone who wants to use them in their games.. Most of its pretty dull though I am somewhat proud if my alternate time sequence rules.