My Summer Game: Details Finally Decided

So here are the minutes from the character creation and setting discussion. There is still room for new players, and I will be updating this as we go.

Minutes

  • We are going to start with the modern dungeoncrawling idea, Rune-X, and after the first adventure possibly move on to the dimension hopping game
  • Mullem is in favour of adapting a classic adventure.
  • Guns will be allowed in the crawl, but be reduced in power to avoid risk to the audiance. Therefore they will ‘count as’ bows

The character concepts:

[13:25:09] <Mark> I’d like to keep it simple. A fighter-type. Maybe with a little bit of military experience. A smattering of skills and maybe a bit of battle-magic. Someone fairly resourceful, with a focus on fighting.
Going to it for the fame and glory

[13:25:59] <Ada> So maybe I should be a combat medic.
Is having trouble adapting to civilian life, and the money makes it more lucrative then mercenary work

Quirkygirl will be making a sorcery users. She likes danger, exitement and killing things.

Some imporant exerpts:
[13:22:14] <~Canageek> As I don’t have much of a defined world, I’m going to set the game in something vaugly related to our world, but with magic and whatnot
[13:23:31] <~Canageek> It just came out of a large war, and the Emporor wants something to keep the people happy in the post-war depression as the industries retool
[13:24:05] <~Canageek> So he brought in a new form of gladiator games, which have been hugely popular
[13:24:43] <~Canageek> I’m thinking a late-60s level of technology, with some specific advances in the areas of television as the Emporor views that as an easy tool to control the masses
[13:25:27] <~Canageek> Wait, make that modern, but computers are heavily maingframe based and state owned

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Update on my online summer game

So as you may have guessed from my review of Dungeonslayers, I will not be running a game of it this summer. I’ve gotten into a GURPS game on Wednesdays, but well, I have weekends free. However, I forgot how much 1.5 hours in transit and 8 hours of work a day took out of you, even if you have free time, so I’m going to have to limit what and when I’m capable of running.

1) I have been looking at what system to use. So far I’ve looked at FUDGE, ‘Warrior, Rogue & Mage’ and both Red Box Hack and Old School Hack. None of them have seemed to be quite what I am looking for, though I would like to place some FATE & FUDGE. The current front runner for my summer game is GORE. GORE was designed to be an eldrich horror game, in the sprite of another game I play a lot. However, it uses a more D&D like magic system and is freely available, so I think with some house rules it could make a good, if high danger, dungeon crawling game. Additionally, it is simple enough that I think I could convert old D&D monsters to it- Since it is % based I could just make a D&D character of the appropriate level and see what that monsters chance to hit would be, then use that.

2) I’m still interested in the following ideas from my planning post– I’m having less energy after work then I thought, so some of them are not as feasible. Basically I don’t know if I have the energy to run the Dimensional Hopper game and Tangents is definitely out- I don’t have the energy for the planning either of these would take. I’m also less sure of the Megandungeon based ones until I get my feet under me- I’m thinking I could start a standard game with smaller dungeons, and if it goes well move it into a megadungeon. On the plus side, if we use GORE then we could include guns in the X-Crawl based settings if we wanted.

I know what times I can do this at now: Friday night post 7pm, any time Saturday, or Sunday night, ending no later then 9pm, all Pacific Time. I don’t get hope from work until 6 most days, later on many, and that leaves me just enough time to shop, eat and relax a bit before I have to go to bed.  This allows me to move things along a bit, as I have narrowed down the times to the point I feel fine taking applications to join in and suggestions on what to run.

3) I think Google Wave, Maptools, IRC or similar is more my speed right now. I don’t have a webcam or a decent mic, so yeah, voice seems like a bad choice.

So yeah, there are my current plans for an online game. I’m willing to look at other free gaming systems, and if I do use GORE it will be with some houserules (Probably more skills, might use pointbuy. It has rules for gaining HP already, but I will have to look at the system more. I also might tack on a simple XP system, as ‘when you finish the adventure’ doesn’t work in megadungeons.

So, is anyone interested in playing? Leave a comment! Ask questions! Please!

–Canageek

Ideas for my online game

As you all probably know, I am planning on running an online game this summer. I am not officially recruiting yet, as I am unsure of my schedule once I start my job, and that seems like an important thing to know. However, I love writing out game ideas, so I thought I would set some down here.

Idea #1: “XSlayers” (Ie Dungeonslayers meets X-Crawl) I’ve blogged about this one a lot before, specifically when I first mentioned my summer game. To recap: The players are sports starts who descend into short, premade dungeons before a live and televised audience. A Master of Ceremonies runs the show,  providing live commentary, flavour and possibly altering the dungeon as the players move through it.

Idea #2: “Megaslayers” This is very similar to idea #1, except that the players move through a large megadungeon. A megadungeon is one of those giant, many levelled complexes with perhaps hundreds of rooms in it, where the players will never truly “clear” it: New monsters will move in, old ones will leave, and monsters may well migrate as the players kill others and create vacuums within the dungeon. This is set in the same world as number 1, but instead of being a short sports event this is a weekly show. Players still are in a modern setting, but instead of being in a small dungeon 1-page dungeon style affair they are in a long megadungeon, and thus can play monsters off against one another, retreat to the surface, will have to rest in the dungeon and conserve resources.

Idea #3: “XSlayers Classic”  This would be like idea #1 except that instead of going through an adaptation of a one-page dungeon or something short that I cook up the part will go through an adaption of a classic adventure. Probably an old TSR adventure, but I can take suggestions provided players promise not to use out of game knowledge to their advantage. This could very well branch into “Megaslayers Classic” if a longer adventure like the Temple of Elemental Evil is chosen to.

Idea #4: Straight up Dungeonslayers: If the modern-reality TV dungeon idea is not popular then I could go with running a traditonal fantasy version of Dungeonslayers.

Idea #5: “Dungeonslayers Classic”: If people like the idea of mixing Dungeonslayers and classic D&D adventures, but do not like the idea of the modern-dungeon crawling then I could do that to.

Idea #6: “Megadungeonslayers” Again, Megadungeon+Dungeonslayers but no modern.

Idea #7: Dimensional Hoppers: Another idea that I have blogged about before, this game would involve the players travelling across dimensions in search of a way home. Each dimension will be part of a slightly different genre and tech level for a highly episodic feel, but with (hopefully) continuing characters. I would be using a variant BRP system.

Idea #8: Dungeonworld/The Sargasso of Dungeons: Really I can’t think of much to add to this, except that I’d probably use Dungeonslayers, or if I can’t get support for that something like Warrior, Rouge & Mage or a retroclone. This one could be modern, fantasy or some combination of the above.

Idea #9: Tangents. I recently found the Tangents book for Alternity and discovered that it has a really cool adventure series in it. I would be willing to run this with the caveat that players either have to make their own characters or use a premade one from the adventure, as I don’t have enough experience to help them with it as I do the other systems.

I think I’m the most interested in running #1,#3 and #7, followed by #4, #5, #8 and #9, but if I get a bunch of enthusiastic players for any of them I think I’d catch the enthusiasm myself pretty quickly. Also it should be noted that while I listed a bunch of megadungeon ideas they all rated pretty low on my list: This is likely because I’ve not run enough dungeons yet to create a good atmosphere in most of them, and have them react organically to events in the dungeon. The Sargasso would be an inherently random place, so I think it might work more easily… That isn’t to say I wouldn’t try, which is why I listed them. Ideas which I really like, but am unsure I could run, like this idea I have for a game set on a Spacehulk/Sargasso of Death setting I haven’t listed, as I am sure I could run it, but can’t think of a system I am comfortable enough with and that has enough creatures for me to stock it with.

So, does anyone have any feedback on these ideas? Would anyone be interested in playing in one of them? Questions on bits of the setting that seem unclear? Just want more details on one or more of them? Please leave a comment!

Until then, or next time, Stay Geeky!

–Canageek

More BRP Advantages

I’ve realized that it would be very easy to churn out some more advantages for BRP by looking over what sorts of things other rules systems offer. I think this will also help me when it comes time to convert monsters and such from those systems (Mainly D&D) into BRP for my dimensional travelling campaign.

Also it should be noted that I say BRP, but we don’t use a lot of the tables and such and generally follow the version in CoC much more closely: Our initiative system is also generally counterclockwise around the table. Therefore if I miss anything please let me know and I will try and fix it.

My previous two posts are here, and here. However, I have collected all of the advantages into one place for convenience, including the ones below.

If a character successfully completes an adventure without managing to raise any skills they may choose an advantage. A player may forgo attempting to raise skills to choose an advantage. The advantage gained must (if possible) be related to something the did in the adventure or in the past.

Note: I’ve changed this to ‘or the player is unhappy with the result’ as there were a time when the player only raised 1 skill (out of 10 or so they rolled for) and another when another player raised 3 skills…by one point each.

I have also given one these out in a case of exceptional roleplaying (The player acted out a fear of zombies without missing an opportunity for 4+ adventures over 2 years. This wasn’t a required phobia or anything, they just decided that after that many close calls and that much sanity loss they had one. So I have them “I know it’s weakness” vs zombies after they rolled a series of exceptionally good shots against several zombies.) Experience for RP is a long tradition in D&D, so I figure this works just as well.

Athletic:

“Practice as if you are the worst, perform as if you are the best.”

You gain +10% to perform feats of athletics; Jumps, running, climbing, vaulting and so on.

Deceptively Small:

But Pete is 6’2″! How did he fit through that little hole?

You ignore 20% of penalties for working or fighting in a confined space. You also gain a 20% bonus when attempting to fit through narrow spaces, and can fit through any space a small, though normal, member of your race could, regardless of your actual size. (For example a 260 lb, 6’2″ human with this feat could fit through any space that the 5’0″, 120 lb scout can).

At home in the dark:

The light! IT BURRRNNNNSSSSS

You can ignore 20% of penalties that stem from operating in insufficient light (Twilight, emergency lighting, torchlight). You can ignore 10% of penalties stemming from total darkness.

Island of Tranquility:

Keep it down out there, I am trying to operate!

When performing complex actions you may ignore 20% of any penalties due to distractions (Nearby combats, ongoing artillery barrage, younger siblings)

Hard as Nails:

Do you really think you have a chance against us, Mister Cowboy?”Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.”

You gain 1 hitpoint.

I am a bush:

Don’t move or they will find you, don’t move or they will find you…

You gain a +10% bonus to Hide checks while completely immobile.

Sensor? What sensor?

“Saw my junk, missed 12″ razor blades”

You may conceal items in such a way as to negate the bonus to locate it granted by 1 form of technology.Under normal circumstances this will take 1 hour, though particularly sophisticated devices could take longer or they may only be partially negated (DM’s discretion.) Multiple methods may be guarded against, though there is a cumulative 5% chance per additional method guarded against that you will negate all your previous work. The DM rolls this in secret.

For example: Adam wants to conceal a sample of Fledge he is using to bribe an informant in his suitcase . Knowing that it will go through a chemical scanner, he places it with several masking agents, negating the bonus the scanner gives the agents searching for it. If his suitcase is x-rayed then this bonus will not help, though he could spend another hour packing it in with similar looking herbs and spices to negate this bonus.

Fast Reader:

I don’t see letters, just shapes. It saves time.

You count your intelligence score as being 1 higher when calculating the time it will take you to read a tome

Seeker of the Forbidden:

Madness takes its toll…

Requirement: Either: 10% in Cthulhu Mythos or Blasphemous Knowledge OR Sanity less than 40.

When reading a tome that drains sanity or that was written by someone insane you count your intelligence score as being 3 points higher when determining the time it will take you to read it. When determining the time it will take you to read a normal work your intelligence is counted as being 4 lower.

Special: If your sanity rises above 40 and you do not have at least 10% in Cthulhu Mythos or Blasphemous Knowledge the bonus from this feat drops to 1 point of intelligence, however the penalty to read normal works is removed. This lasts until your sanity drops below 50.

Special: If you have both a sanity score lower than 50 and 10% or more in Cthulhu Mythos or Blasphemous Knowledge then the bonus rises to 4 points of intelligence. However, the penalty rises to 5 points when reading normal works.

Nothing suits me like a suit

What? You are saying high heels are not practical monster hunting cloths?

You never take penalties for impractical clothing. You however still can take penalties for wearing inappropriate clothing in social situations, or the lack of some article of clothing

Limitation: This advantage will not let you breath in space without a spacesuit, or avoid mosquito bites without appropriate clothing. You could however survive in the arctic in a loincloth, if the time\expense were taken to prepare as normal then *fur lined* loincloth could ‘count as’ cold weather gear. in the same way as high heels can ‘count as’ appropriate footwear.

Authors Note: The purpose of this feat is to allow Swords & Sorcery or B-movie style ridicules outfits. Please use it to that end and not to try and get away with not outfitting your character or somesuch.

Modifications to my CoC/BRP game

So my in person games are going pretty well, people keep asking me when the next session is going to be which I take to be a sign everyone is enjoying themselves. However I’m a bit tired of it. I don’t know why, and this might get better when I get the books I left in Montreal back, since they update things in ways that I like and have adventures I can hopefully use. [Update since this was written: I’m intrested in the game again, see next post]

Anyway I’m looking for ways to keep the game fresh: One player has also expressed interest in actually using mythos spells & I am going to be introducing more spells into the game  to increase the temptation (Hand picked to give one character more of the voodoo powers his character wants to make it harder to resist)

I think it might be I’m just not a great horror DM. I’ve now run about 10 short adventures for a variety of players and so far I have killed 0
characters. In Call of Cthuhlhu. My players just have too much fun with complex plans, and gripping onto the side of racing cars and such, and well they have fun, and I have fun so why stop? [See next post]

The rules system is also working pretty well: Character generation is fast, though not as fast as pure CoC since we have to look up a couple
of things, and since we have new characters regularly (new players joining or existing players playing in 2 adventures at the same time)
and the rules are light enough a lot of non-geeks (or mild geeks) I know are willing to play.

I’m thinking of changing things to match the two-fisted style though as I know at least one player has complained about it being too lethal (He seems to think characters should never die though, whereas I like how lethal it is as a change from D&D).

I’m thinking of using the optional rule that PC’s get Con+Size HP instead of the average of Con+Size. This should make characters a bit more durable, but it might make them a bit TOO durable, so I think I will leave it for now. If we start having complaints about it I can add this in latter right?

I was also thinking of giving each character +1HP after each adventure so that experienced characters have a slightly better chance of surviving then newer characters. The most experienced character is on it’s 4th adventure, but in this system +4 HP is a pretty decent amount.

Also so that characters grow & change a bit more I’m going to use the BRP advancement rules (Your int gives you a bonus to raise a skill and you add +1d6 vs +1d10, so more skills will go up but they will each go up less. It is also easier to grow new skills)

I’m also going to make skills up to 50% cost one point, up to 75% cost 2 points/% and over 75% is 3 points/% instead of the normal flat 1 point per %. This should encourage more diverse characters. Existing characters will be grandfathered in due to the work and time of redoing every character (and it doesn’t change total number of points, just distribution)

So: Proposed rules changes:

+1HP for each adventure survived

BRP skill advancement (Really just part of moving to the BRP system)

Keep Sanity & Education

Added costs for new character boosting skills above professional level (To discourage characters starting with 99% in one skill as I’ve had a
couple of times)

Personal goals:
Give out more magic! I’m going to go and add more spells to adventures to increase the temptation to use them. I’m also going to drop more hints about what they do: I wanted it to be scary & evil so I labeled “Summon/Bind Dimensional Shambler” as “Summon/Bind Dark Angel of Glory” or some such.

Well that is my slightly rambly State of the Game post. The day after I wrote it I was struck with inspiration (Ok, so I read a book that filled me with ideas) so keep an eye out for the sequel to this post. Bonus point to anyone who can guess what author the book I read was by. Hint: The author was a contemporary to Lovecraft, had the Necronomicon in it.I don’t have any prizes, but consider it a challenge.

Until next time, Stay Geeky
–Canageek

Advantages for BRP and Call of Cthulhu

So I’ve decided to do something I’ve never done before: Write crunch. Yes, I am going to write up some rules. Now BRP does not have advantages so I’m also going to add them as I want players who fail to raise a skill after an adventure to get something, also BRP characters need some chrome to keep them apart. Something one player can do that the others can’t.

If a character successfully completes an adventure without managing to raise any skills they may choose an advantage. A player may forgo attempting to raise skills to choose an advantage. The advantage gained must be related to something they did in the adventure.

I’ve been reading [setting riff] Voices From Below and the Long Stairs [Great work by the way, I’ve been drawing a lot of ideas from it, just depressing as heck. Expect a post based on it soon] and the news so these may have a military theme to them, also given the source material some of thee may have a touch of a …bitter flavour to them. Sorry about that.

Some of these are fairly unloriginal I admit, but others I think are pretty cool. I admit a number of them are to help players start off new skills, or to give them a broader skillset. Others I managed to stick to my chrome idea. If you have any ideas please post them up!

Protect Your Own

“He may be a bastard, but he’s our bastard” -some solider in Highlander TV show

Requirement: Have lied to protect someone from serious harm at least 3 times OR have been a member of an insular group (Military, British bordering school, gang) where one would have reasonably lied to protect ones mates.

Bonus: You’ve lied to cover your friends/comrades/etc so many times it is second nature to you now. You get +20% on checks made to lie to protect someone.

Should I limit this more? ‘to protect someone from the consequences of their actions’?

Inspiration: Players lying to cover eachother, the behind the back messages in The Voices From Below and the Long Stairs, ‘Buddy codes’ and ‘Bro codes’ from many movies.

Acceptable Casualties

You’ve got so much innocent blood on your hands that you can justify just a bit more.

Requirement: In the course of the characters career they must have taken san loss equal to the maximum amount for killing an innocent person due to innocents dying in the course of the PCs mission

Bonus: You no longer suffer sanity loss for killing people as long as you can justify it for ‘The greater good’ (Stopping Cthuhlhu, Demogorgon, etc)

Inspiration: The news.

Our Boys are the Good Guys

Your side is the good guys right? They must have needed to blow up that bridge with civilians on it.

Requirement: Not sure. None? All you need is the ability to ignore things which much of the public seems to have during any war.

Benefit: You don’t need to make sanity checks for acts that are committed by your team members that you don’t directly observe or participate in. Even if your allies torture people to death as long as you aren’t there you can pretend it didn’t happen.

Inspiration: Also the news.

For the public good

Some things are just to much for the public to know

Requirement: Have lied to authority about mythos related activities at least 3 times

Benefit: You have been protecting the public from knowledge for so long you have gotten good at it. You get +20% to lie to conceal mythos activities.

Inspiration: Every piece of conspiracy fiction ever written.

Shall not be killed by a bullet

You’ve been shot so much you barely feel it anymore

Requirement: You must have been knocked unconcise my the weapon you choose

Benefit: Pick a manmade category of weapons: Guns, Blades, etc. You take one less point of damage per attack when struck by such weapons.

Inspiration: There was a western where a minor character made the above claim, though I can’t remember the title.

Fast on the Draw

You know that he who draws last doesn’t get a chance to try again

Benefit: You get +1 initiative rank above what you would normally get.

Inspiration: Westerns.

Bat Out of Hell

You’ve learned to run like the devils on your heels, as last time it was

Benefit: Your move speed is one point above normal

New Learning

It is never too late to teach an old dog new tricks

Benefit: Add 10% to 3 skills that were previously at default value.

Natural Prodigy:

“Why does one stop learning till he dies when it makes all lands and place his?”- Tiruvalluvar, Tirukkural: 397

Requirement: You must have succeeded on a check 3 times with a skill at default value

Benefit: Add 20% to that skill

I know it’s weakspot

“Hit them between the 2nd and 3rd set of arms, its armour is weak there!”

Requirement: You must have helped slay 3 of the target creature. You must have delivered at least one finishing blow yourself.

Bonus: You do 1 extra point of damage when attacking the target type of creature.

It’s my baby

Your baby won’t let you down when you need it

Pick one specific item. You gain +15% on roles using that item. If that item is destroyed or irretrievably lost you must spend 1 adventure familiarizing yourself  with a new item. The new item may be a different type then the original. (For example if an investigators silver-plated .45 is lost they may grow more attached to their car)

Inspiration: Various places: Dresden’s Blue Bug in The Dresden Files. Various characters that are attached to one item. Players that want custom items that give them bonuses.

Master of the Muses

“The blessing of the muses inspires you” – Natania Barron

Benefit: You gain +10% in all art skills that are at default value.

Science!

Stand Back, I’m going to try SCIENCE!

Benefit: You gain +10% in every science skill that is at default value.

Inspiration: Pulp, XKCD

Disturbing Insight

But if that is true then that means….Lord above have mercy on our souls….

Benefit: Gain +5% to Cthulhu Mythos or Blasphemous Knowledge along with all associated benefits and penalties.

Eternally Cheerful

For myself I am an optimist — it does not seem to be much use being anything else.  –Winston Churchill, November 9, 1954

Benefit: Gain 1 extra point of sanity at the end of every successful completed adventure. If every goal in the adventure is met gain an additional point of sanity. This benefit is not gained if player did not make an attempt to maintain an optimistic outlook.

I didn’t take nothing officer!

Wasn’t me govn’r, God’s truth!

Requirement: The character must have experience lying to such figures, either in backstory or play.

Benefit: You’ve lied to authorities so much it is now second nature. Gain +20% to checks to lie to people in significant position of authority over you. For example: Bosses, police, superior officers.

Inspiration: A number of books featuring thieves or streetkids.

Ladies Man/Seductress

“The names Bond, James Bond”

Benefit: Gain +15% to social roles when interacting with the opposite sex in a social setting or for other appropriate purposes at the DMs discretion.

Inspiration: Do I REALLY need to say?

Fast Learner

To look for something meaningful is the beginning of a life long search.

Benefit: Count all skills as 5% lower when rolling to increase them.

Blasphemous insight

Knowledge is power, power corrupts.

Requirement: At least 20% in Cthulhu Mythos/Blasphemous Knowledge

Benefit: At the end of any adventure you may sacrifice 5 sanity to attempt to raise one skill that you did not already attempt to raise.

So what does everyone think? Do you like the system? Are there any that you think are over/under powered? I am thinking of cross-posting this on RPG.net since I enjoy the discussion there, and would like more people to see it then the few who visit my blog. Heck, some might even visit my blog. Does anyone know rpg.net’s policy on such things?