Monday, December 22, 2014

Setting: Herebury and the Wide World

Two additional maps for my Beyond the Wall campaign, now that they are moving past their home village:
The Olfdene Valley

The Wide World

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Harangue Your Enemies

I'm reworking my Adventurer class for Delving Deeper. For one thing, I'm probably going to call it the Expert class, and use "Adventurer" for what is now rather awkwardly called "the Combat Specialist."

Each type of Expert is also getting their own combat move. Subterfugue gets Backstab, Survival gets Ambush, Knowledge gets Calculated Strike. I was working on the move for the Communication Expert and decided to see if I could use the Turn Undead table.

+John Stater had mentioned the idea of testing other applications for this table, and, wouldn't you know, +Peter Fröhlich just happened to post an analysis of the table's math as I was in the middle of it. The resulting table is based largely on the numbers from +Dyson LogosAlternate Turning Table.

The move is Harangue Enemy, and the idea is that the Expert in Communication (a Bard, or Siren, or firebrand Preacher, etc.) would be able to speechify a real whammy on a group of creatures. The possible results are Flee (in which case they will continue to be a threat, but later), Surrender (which brings with it logistical issues), or Join (you made some converts, and now have extra henchmen).

There's still some details to work out, but since people are thinking about this sort of mechanic, I thought I'd throw it out there.

Compare the Expert's HD to the target's HD (3 HD could be one 3 HD creature or 3 1HD creatures), and roll 2d6.


Note that, unlike the Turn Undead table, nothing ever becomes automatic. It's nice to roll dice in a dice-rolling game. Some of the numbers dip down below what can naturally be rolled on 2d6. This leaves the GM with room for adding negative modifiers based on environment or circumstance.

Oh, and of course you could just play around with the Reaction Table, but I like that this gives the Communication Expert a distinctive mechanic to call their own.

Friday, November 28, 2014

DD/Oe/BX Skills

Delving Deeper, like Oe and B/X, has lots of 1d6 skill rolls scattered throughout the rules—listen at doors, open a stuck door, detect traps. Except for the thief skills, DD's skills are pretty much the same as the early editions and other clones.

Being someone who would much rather learn a guiding principle than memorize/look up specific instances, I decided to gather all the skills together and see what I could do with them:

Listen at doors
Halflings, Elves, Dwarves: 2 in 6
Thief: 4 in 6
Everyone else: 1 in 6

Dungeon Architecture
Dwarves: 2 in 6

Find Secret Doors (takes 1 turn)
Elves, Thieves: 4 in 6
Everyone else: 2 in 6

Thiefy Stuff: Open Locks; Disarm Device; Climb sheer surface; Sleight-of-hand
Thief: 4 in 6

Stealthy movement/Hide
Halflings: “nearly invisible” “almost silent” = automatic? (B/X: 10% in underbrush, 2 in 6 w/ cover)
Thief: 4 in 6

Surprise
Thief: 4 in 6
Everyone else: 2 in 6

Open Doors
Weaklings (STR 3-6): 1 in 6
STR 7-18: 2 in 6

Evade Pursuit (Dungeon)
Everyone: 2 in 6

Distract Pursuit w/ Food
Pursued by Unintelligent Foe: 5 in 6
Pursued by Animal Foe: 3 in 6
Pursued by Intelligent Foe: 1 in 6

Distract Pursuit w/ Treasure
“Inversely proportionate”

Evade Pursuit (Wilderness) (First success to gain ground; second consecutive success to lose pursuit)
If pursuers is 4x number of evader: 4 in 6
If pursuers is 2x number of evader: 3 in 6
Everyone else: 2 in 6
Pursuers surprised: +1
Low Visibility: +1
Side with >2x Opponent’s movement: +1

Initiative
Everyone: High roll
DEX 3-6: -1
DEX 15-18: +1

Remain seated when struck in mounted combat: 5 in 6

Survive Drowning
Non-swimmers: automatic drowning
Swimmers: 5 in 6
For each heavy item retained: -1
Leather Armor: -1; Plate Armor: -4
During a storm: -1

Alright. Having them all in one place made them seem more coherent, and easier to boil down into a principle. What follows is how I plan apply them to my game. A couple notes:
1. My game uses the Adventurer, who replaces the Thief as the skilled expert in the party.
2. I'm ditching most of the mechanical differences between races. You can be an ogre, viking, or leprechaun, but if you solve problems by fighting, you're a Fighter.


DD/Oe/BX Skills
All player characters are considered generally competent and well-adapted to the campaign world. As such, it is assumed that they will succeed in any ordinary task they attempt.

When faced with a difficult task, the player should explain to the GM how the character attempts to solve it. Well-reasoned explanations should succeed.

Most tasks can be resolved without recourse to the dice. When the outcome is genuinely in doubt, the character succeeds when the player rolls a 6 on 1d6. This is a 16.67% chance of success.

If a character is in their native environment (City, Country, Wilderness, Sea, Underworld, etc.), they receive +1 to appropriate checks (hide, surprise, spot hidden, etc.). This is a 33% of success.

If a character has a 15 or greater in the most relevant attribute for a given check, they receive +1.

The GM can assess a +/-1 bonus or penalty based on significant environmental or circumstantial factors.

The Adventurer Class receives a bonus to checks relevant to their area of expertise (Communication, Craft, Knowledge, Physical, Subterfuge, Survival) based on level:
Levels 1-4 (Normal) +2
Levels 5-10 (Heroic) +3
Levels 11-12 (Superheroic) +4

A high-level Adventurer will find themselves in contexts where they are guaranteed success. They are still bound by the physics of the campaign world and the good sense of the GM.

Skill checks never apply to combat or magic.

If a character wants to have a particular incompetence—they don’t get along with horses or they can’t dance, this should be role-played, and does not need to be mechanically modeled.

More Notes
3. It's not granular at all. A +1 is a big bonus, worth working for, and significant enough that the GM should be pretty stingy with them.
4. There's no bell curve. I totally get why people like weighted results, but the percentages for this are easier for me to wrap my brain around on the fly.
5. Players might find it austere. Even if the percentages are same, it may feel better to roll d100 and feel like you have 16 chances of rolling a success instead of just one on a d6.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Delving Deeper/0e Character Class: Combat Specialist

Okay, so. While the Fighter can model a wide variety of character types—fencer, archer, pirate, etc.—it effectively punishes any player who doesn't follow the same arms race of more-better armor and most-magic weapon. I mean, I could turn my back on that +3 plate because I'm really set on the image of Robin Hood. And my twelth-level mage could decide to stick to cantrips. But more than likely I'd start stretching the image of the character until it looks like every other Fighter out there.

Let's let the Fighter be the professional man-at-arms. Whether thug, barbarian, knight, or infantryman, the Fighter is someone who has dedicated themselves to general study of combat. They know all the weapons, all the armors, and spend a lot of time in chat rooms arguing over tactics and strategy.

The Combat Specialist is anyone who focuses on fighting but without the broad martial education of a Fighter. Perhaps this is because fighting is only part of their job (say, a Pirate), or because they seek to perfect a single martial art (a Fencer).

The Specialist handles HD, XP, and combat rolls as a Cleric, and Saving Throws as a Fighter. They are restricted to leather armor and shields. They can wield any weapon, but may only use magic weapons appropriate for non-Fighters, or which relate to their Combat Advantage.

Combat Advantage
The Specialist chooses one aspect of combat for their specialization. When determining outcomes relating to their Advantage, the Specialist rolls two dice and takes the higher result.

Advancement
The Specialist gains a new Advantage every odd-numbered level. If they take the same advantage over again, they roll an additional die when determining results.

Sample Specialists
Beast Master. Advantaged rolls in subdual combat and training of animals, and morale/loyalty/obedience checks for trained animals.
Goblin Hunter. Advantaged rolls to hit, damage, and parlay with goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears. Can use magic weapons with a bonus against goblins.
Guerrilla. Advantaged rolls to ambush an opponent, and to hit and damage a surprised opponent.
Horse-Rider. Advantaged rolls to hit, to stay mounted when hit, and to evade pursuit when on horseback. Also, when selecting a mount, rolling the animal’s hp is advantaged.
Shield Bearer. When fighting purely defensively, this Specialist forces a disadvantage on any humanoid opponent (opponent must roll twice to hit or damage and take the lowest result).
Weapon’s Specialist. Advantaged rolls to hit and damage with a specific type of weapon. Can use magical versions of that weapon.
Wrestler. Advantaged rolls in unarmed combat and grappling contests.

All Advantages are subject to GM approval. If, at any time, the GM decides an Advantage is too broad, she may either reduce its scope or assign the character a Disadvantage, requiring the player to take the lower of two rolls.


Combat Experience
Saving Throw Versus
Specialist Points Hit
Wands Paralysis Breath
Level Required Dice Poison Rays Petrification Weapon Spells
1 0 1 12 13 14 15 16
2 1,500 2 12 13 14 15 16
3 3,000 2+1 10 11 12 15 14
4 6,000 3 10 11 12 12 14
5 12,000 4 10 11 12 12 14
6 25,000 5 8 9 10 12 12
7 50,000 5+1 8 9 10 12 12
8 90,000 6 8 9 10 9 12
9 160,000 7 6 7 8 9 10
10 240,000 7+1 6 7 8 9 10
11 320,000 7+2 6 7 8 9 10
12 400,000 8 4 5 6 6 8


Monday, November 17, 2014

Adam Dant has drawn your next post-apocalyptic city for you

Adam Dant, Shoreditch in the Year 3000
Adam Dant has drawn some lovely maps exploring the town of Shoreditch, including this one, based on interviewing the towns residents about where they thought things were headed in the next few centuries.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Delving Deeper/0e Character Class: The Kobold Crew

I thought about making a Satyr Class for DD, and then realized that, with Boring Spells in play, the simplest way to model a Satyr would be just to use roll up a Magic User (probably an Illusionist) and use its Satyr-ness as the motif.

And it occurred to me that this could be a good way to handle pretty much any character race. Simply ask the player to describe what they want to play, and then ask them if that character is going to solve things by fighting, magic, or skill. Want to play an ogre or minotaur or lizard man? That’s a Fighter. A nymph or satyr or vampire is a Spell-caster run through Boring Spells. Your gnome or talking rabbit or animated scarecrow is an Adventurer. Angels and sufficiently religious-minded creatures of any species can be Clerics.

 Now, obviously, lizard men are better in water than minotaurs, and satyrs are better in daylight than vampires, but that could all be handled as role-play and off-the-cuff rulings.

So, I then immediately came up with a character class that didn’t quite fit into any of the above.

This class is heavily indebted to +John Stater’s Canting Crew Character Class.

You'll let me know if this is a terrible idea, right?

The Kobold Crew (or Band of Brownies, or Scrum of Gremlins, or Gang of Street Urchins, if you prefer)

Okay, so, not exactly this.
Kobolds are individually weak and have a strong tendency to bunch together in groups. Once kobolds attach themselves to a leader, they will literally follow them over a cliff.

The Kobold Crew is a multi-individual character class that advances by adding members to its ranks. This character begins as a single kobold, the Boss. Each time the character gains a new hit die, a kobold is drawn to join the Boss’ Crew. Each member of the Crew needs to be named, equipped with arms and armor, and hit points must be determined. Each Crew member attacks individually as a 1st level Fighter.

Kobold Crews attack in swarms and will never separate, Even in the face of direst peril, their instinct is to bunch closer together. When Kobold Crews take damage, it is the most recent addition to the Crew who takes damage first. When that kobold reaches 0 hp, it is dead, and the next kobold begins to take damage.

Lost Crew can be replaced the next time the Crew encounters a sufficiently large population of kobolds. Some outcast will be instinctually drawn to the group.

Kobold Crews fight and advance as Fighters. They cannot use large weapons, including long swords, long bows, or any two-handed weapon other than spears.

Each new member after the Boss brings some specialization to the Crew, determined randomly:
(1) +1 to grapple
(2) +1 to disarm traps
(3) +1 to locate secret doors
(4) +1 to hide
(5) 1 randomly determined 0th Order Spell (see Boring Spells)
(6) 1-3 new languages

When a kobold dies, the Crew loses that individual's specialization. If two or more kobolds share a specialization, the bonuses stack.

Kobold Level
XP
Hit Dice
Boss
2nd Crew
3rd Crew
4th Crew
5th Crew
6th Crew
7th Crew
8th Crew
1
0
1+2



2
2000
1+1
1



3
4000
1
1
1


4
8000
1
1
1
1


5
16,000
1
1
1
1
1

6
32,000
1
1
1
1
1
1

7
65,000
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
8
130,000
1+1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Delving Deeper/0e Character Class: The Adventurer

The recent burst of activity on this blog is largely traceable to being all fired up after reading the wonderful Delving Deeper Reference Rules. I'm not terribly familiar with pre-Holmes 0e, and not at all with Chainmail, but I found DD to be a spectacularly elegant ruleset. And after mentioning how much I like the new-wave OSR take on a broadly-interpretable Specialist/Expert/Adventurer character class, I thought I should write one up for DD.

This can model a thief (although the "Bidding Time" ability is less potent than Backstab), but I hope it will also model anybody who isn't trying to fight or cast their way through problems.

The Adventurer

Expertise
Pick or invent a non-combat realm of expertise, with its attendant Prime Requisite:

Communication (CHR)
Craft (WIS or DEX)
Knowledge (INT)
Physical (STR)
Subterfuge (DEX)
Survival (WIS)

All player characters are considered generally competent and well-adapted to the campaign world. As such, it is assumed that they will succeed in any ordinary task they attempt. Difficult tasks can generally be checked by rolling a 1 on a d6.

If a check falls under the Adventure’s area of expertise, however, they may roll as below:

Levels 1-4 (Normal)             1-3 on d6
Levels 5-10 (Hero)               1-4 on d6
Levels 11-12 (Superhero)     1-5 on d6

A player may argue any non-combat or non-spell casting check is relevant to the Adventurer’s area of expertise. If the GM agrees, the player should note that check as a skill on her character sheet. The GM may agree readily to the first six applications of the Adventurer’s expertise, but should consider further additions with more skepticism. Ten is probably a good place for a definite cut-off.

At 3rd level and above the Adventurer may roll as above to discern the meaning of any non-magical cipher, message, map, or other written instruction. At 9th level and above this ability extends to casting magic-user spells from scrolls.

Bidding Time
Adventurers are not trained in combat, but can rely on a keen awareness of the world around them.

For every turn an Adventurer spends studying an opponent without interruption, they may add +1 to their chance to hit and damage of their first attack on that opponent. The bonus can be accrued for as long as the observation continues, up to a maximum bonus equal to the Adventurer’s Hit Dice.

A cycle of observation-and-attack can be repeated as often as the Adventurer is able to retreat from combat in order to observe their target.

Arms and Armor
Adventurers lack the resilience and training of Fighters and cannot effectively wear anything more protective than leather armor.

Adventures can use shields, but are not trained to protect themselves and attack simultaneously. The shield’s AC advantage is granted only when actively and exclusively defending oneself.

Adventurers can effectively wield daggers, slings, and short swords

Experience Points, Hit Dice, and Saves are as a Thief.

Straight up copied and pasted from Delving Deeper Online:

Adventurer Progression
Experience
Saving Throw Versus
Points
Hit
Wands
Paralysis
Breath
Level
Required
Dice
Poison
Rays
Petrification
Weapon
Spells
1
0
1
13
14
13
15
16
2
1,250
1+1
12
14
12
14
15
3
2,500
2
12
14
12
14
15
4
5,000
2+2
11
11
11
13
14
5
10,000
3+1
11
11
11
13
14
6
20,000
4
10
11
10
12
13
7
40,000
4+1
10
11
10
12
13
8
70,000
5
9
8
9
11
12
9
120,000
5+2
9
8
9
11
12
10
180,000
6+1
8
8
8
10
11
11
240,000
7
8
8
8
10
11
12
300,000
7+1
7
5
7
9
10

Please let me know if I've missed anything obvious, or if you see any room for improvements!