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Showing posts from 2021

Superheroes, Tiny and Mathematical

I'm enjoying my time with the TinySupers. It's simple enough to learn on the fly, but flexible enough to model a variety of different activities. The light, elegant mechanics have really freed up my imagination, making game-prep easier with better results. However, I've been feeling that it is entirely too easy for players to gain Advantage on nearly every roll. So I typed over to anydice to see how big a problem this is. ( Tiny d6 in a teeny-tiny nutsehell: roll 2 d6, count 5's or 6's as successes. Disadvantage: roll 1d6. Advantage: 3d6. If you spend time to Focus on an action, count 4, 5, and 6 as successes.) Here are your chances of failing the various types of rolls in Tiny d6: Tiny Supers Odds Test % Chance of Failure Disadvantaged Test 66.6666666667 Normal Test 44.4444444444 Advantaged Test 29.6296296296 Focused Disadvantage 50 Focused Test 25 Foc

Okay, this time for real: Free Starspiel

To my embarassment, when I posted the updated, play-tested edition of Free Starspiel, I actually posted an older version that did not refelct the playtesting, and, in fact, wasn't materially different from the even-more-previously posted Starshut Rules. So, here, for really real, is Free Starspiel: Free Starspiel (pdf) And, since I feel bad about spending a whole post to just correct a previous mistake, here is a list of names for on-the-fly NPCs. The names for the Star Frontiers species are, if I recall correctly, derived from published TSR sources. The human names are Nigerian and Slavic, whcih I chose as the cultural influences on this particular sector of the galactic frontier. Free Starspiel Names (gdoc)

Tiny Supers Rules Reference

Two sessions in, and I'm very happy with TinySupers as the system for my new superheroes campaign. TinySupers supports low-prep, improvisational play. The light mechanics make it easy cobble together threats and challenges on the fly. Yet it has enough structure that the players don't feel adrift in my whim. Below is a document I made. The first half is rules reference, and the second half is homebrewery. Some houserules are definitely included in the campaign, and some are under consideration. And then there's the homebrew powers. These are not presented in the hopes of creating a comprehensive list of powers, but to demonstrate the ease of making custom powers. Because part of the fun of daydreaming about superheroes is coming up with wacky new powers, right? TinySupers Cheater, House Rules, and Homebrew Powers (pdf) I'd like to be part of a larger conversation on homebrewing powers for TinySupers, and to get feedback and insight into whether these powers ar

Superheroes, Mysterious and Tiny

You'll be relieved to know that I have some opinions about Superhero RPGs. Superhero rpgs work best when they are qualitative, not quantitative. A story-game-ish approach that focuses on narrative outcomes emulates the genre better than one that ries to quantify exatcly how strong Thor is compared to Hulk compared to Spiderman. Superheroes are notably unbalanced, with cosmic spacegods hanging out with unpowered vigilantes. Call it the Angel Summoner/BMX Bandit divide. A test-case I like to try with Supers rulesets is to make a plucky boyscout with a really nice swiss army knife who can still participate meaningfully when the spacegods start punching each other. Marvel/FASERIP and GURPS Supers both, in my opinion, both fall down in this regard. I've also been disappointed with attempts to reskin D&D for Supers. I got started thinking about superhero rpgs after coming across the Legends of the Metaverse kickstarter. You can check out the rules here . It&

Free Starspiel

Here is an update of the rules I previously posted as the Starshut Rules . These now have the benefit of a summer's worth of playtesting, which mostly resulting in scrapping the unnecessary additions I had layered onto the base Landshut Rules . Free Starspiel PDF EDIT: Oh dear! I posted the wrong edition! You'll find the proper edition that actually reflects the paytesting, here. We ran the Crash of Voluturnus adventure from the Star Frontiers box set, with me converting on the fly. Well, "converting" may not be the right word, since running threats in Landshut is pretty much grasping their narrative impact and ignoring the mechanics. Instead, I could focus my efforts on making the adventure less of an iron-bound railroad. It is bizarre just how railroad-y this old adventure is. It prescribes player choice even when broader agency wouldn't have any outcome on the intended plot. I ran it without complain back in the 80's, but it sure looks awkward t

The Starshut Rules

This summer might require some one-shot filler sessions for one of my campaigns, as various players wander off on vacations. Feeling some nostalgia for Star Frontiers, I made a Landshut variant: Starshut.pdf! I may have played more Star Frontiers than D&D, back in the day. Having grown up on Star Trek and Star Wars and Isaac Asimov, I was eager for a science fiction rpg, and this was the one that clicked with me. It hit a sweet spot of just-enough world-building to feel distinct, but not enough to collapse under its own weight.  I don't remember much of the mechanics, other than it was a percentile system. At the time this struck me as very sophisticated, but I find double d10's distastefully granular now. It has the sort of persnickety skill system that drives me up the wall. And while I feel a fiddly affection for the paired attribute system, I recognize it too as unnecessarily baroque. All of which is to say, I was happy enough to ditch the mechanics but keep the societ

Lasers & Feelings, RetroRocket

 Necro-Cavaliers of the Astral Galaxy reminded me of just how much fun John Harper's Lasers and Feelings is. So I made a hack. Like so many others have. There's no new titular dichotomy for my hack, even though lasers aren't so much a part of the 30's era, Buck Rogers-style, planetary romances I wanted to emulate. Something like "Rockets & Romance" would have been entirely genre appropriate, but there's no improving on the geek poetry of declaring "I rolled LaserFeelings!" Anyway, I hope you like it. Let me know if you play it! LASERS & FEELINGS, RETROROCKET (pdf) Here's some of my previous noodlings along the same retro-futuristic lines: Ray Guns Food Pills Strange Powers An Exaltation of Rockets