Code of Conduct for my game

So I have decided to make this weeks post on what I’ll expect out of players for my game. It is pretty simple, and I’ve never had a problem with it in an online game.

In the words of TheWyrm from IRC:

  1. “You get to role play your character.  You are still responsible, as a player, for the behavior of your character if it disrupts the game, because you chose that character personality and can freely modify it.  As such, claims that being ‘in character’ is an excuse to behave in a way that lowers enjoyment of the game for others is unacceptable.”
  2. “The game does not occur in a vacuum.  Your behaviour outside the game, in the D&D community and towards the other players, will impact your ability to play the game.  If you pick fights with or troll other players outside the game, just like with a real life game, don’t expect a place for you at the table at the next game.”
  3. “You have two main responsibilities in the game: Have fun, and help others have fun.  If you’re not having fun, talk to (not gripe at) the DM or find a different game.  If your enjoyment of the game comes at the expense of others enjoyment, D&D is not for you.”

I think these points are very eloquent and relevant and would like to see what other people think of them. I’m not running D&D- I’m currently looking at GORE and OpenQuest for my summer game, but I think they still apply.

I’d also add

4. “It is the players responsibility to contribute to the party. If you make yourself more effort then you are worth by stealing from the party, getting them into repeated trouble or other such antics asking your character to leave the party is a valid option”

Sorry for the short post, I’m not feeling that inspired this week. So, what do you think of those guidelines?

In other news, no one I emailed about my change of system has emailed me back, so if you are intrested in a weekend OpenQuest or GORE game (Both d% roll under systems) please let me know!

Thanks for reading! Until next time, Stay Geeky!

–Canageek

Published in: on May 15, 2011 at 11:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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.

RPG Blog Carnival– New Year, New Game!

The RPG Blog Carnival LogoSo I have decided to join the RPG Blog Carnival this month, which is being hosted by The Action Point, with the topic of New Year, New Game.

This hits at an excellent time, as my old game is wrapping up. I started running it two and a half years ago with 3 players. Since then two have graduated and moved away, and we have had several players join, two of which still play with us. The last of the original players has requested a special conclusion for her character, so I’m taking the time to work that into the final adventure(s). I’ve never written an end to a campaign before, and I’ve never worked a players desires into an adventure before. Therefore this year I will end a campaign with a bang, and it will be awsome. For me anyway. This is Call of Cthuhlhu.

However as Alex, one of the graduated players, cannot make it down much, and he is central to the game. Therefore I’ve been starting to look at an alternate game for when he is not here.

I crafted two plans originally and presented them to my players. The first was that I would run Dungeonslayers in a traditional fantasy game. This did not meet with great enthusiasm as two of my players thought the 10 pages of rules was too complex (I pointed out that Call of Cthulhu has 300 or so, but they already know those ones, or at least are familiar with the ones they need and I tell them the rest. We ignore most of them anyway.)

My second proposal was for a dimensional hopping game, similar to (though I didn’t realize it until later) Dr. Who, Reboot, Sliders, Alternity’s Tagents setting and GURPS Infinite Worlds. I have already blogged a bit about this setting, but in my original post I said I would never run it. This game was the more popular of the two, and I have decided to run it, spurred on by my discovery of the BRP Adventures book, which has enough alternate earth adventures to keep my game going for a long time. My idea for the game has advanced somewhat beyond where it is in the posts I’ve put up, with less of an emphasis on being chased, so I don’t have to worry about my players reading this. This setting works very well with the episodic adventures my players enjoy, and allows me to drag and drop any adventure that I can find & convert. Therefore I am going to start a new game this year, with a campaign that I’ve written from scratch, though it will connect publish adventures.

However, I was reading the host’s post in the carnival and very much liked point number 3: Run a related one-shot with Disposable Characters. I decided not to run a related one shot, but just a couple of the adventures that I was going to put into my new campaign, with the pregenerated characters they come with, and just tell the players the rules. I’m hoping that this will get them over there fear of new game systems as well. I may also find a way to let them bring characters they like into the genre hopping game, as one player doesn’t like rolling up new characters, and I think it would be a cool way to introduce new characters. I am not sure how many one-shots I am going to run before starting my game. Everyone had a great time at the last game, and I have a number of these introductory one-shot adventures, so we will see how things go.

Another thing I want to do this year is finish the adventure I am writing. I am almost done: I was about 80% done at the start of the summer, but have done almost no work since then, except for stating up each NPC. I am not going to attempt to get back into writing it until this summer, but if everyone could remind me of it I would be very grateful. I mean, all I have to do is write the final scene and it is ready to go…

And my final resolution: Play more games this year. I stressed myself out a lot less last semester, spent far less hours on work, and far more relaxing than ever before…and got my highest average since entering university, despite one of my classes having the highest workload of any class I’ve taken, and another being the single hardest class I have ever taken. Therefore, I am going to try to play more games and be more social this year, so that I don’t get buried by stress. Here is to gaming increasing my marks!

Finally, I have one very evil resolution: This year I am going to kill a character. I’ve been far to much of a carebear DM, prompted by early experiences where players got mad and fought tooth and nail if I killed  even a first level character. Therefore this year I shall kill at least one established character, not a new character, or a character during a one shot, but an established character. Bwahahaha.

Well, there are my resolutions. Until next time, Stay Geeky!

–Canageek

Published in: on January 24, 2011 at 12:37 pm  Comments (1)  
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My Christmas Game

EDIT: A very, very helpful person (Thanks Chrysalis) on IRC has helped me clarify my post:

The game is a dungeon crawl gone reality TV show. Contestants enter the dungeon, slay monsters and disarm traps, while live and televised audiences look on and are helped on through the gripping action, the highs and lows, in a manner similar to sports commentary.

This means players are expected to supply their actions as sports commentary, a wild and gripping way to describe the action, but also embed inside little statistical information such as ‘The last time a Young Adult Red Dragon was felled in 3 rounds by a 5th level party was back in 1996 by the Sharpe Dressed Elves.

The rules that will be used are from Dungeonslayers. No prior rules knowledge needed to play the game and characters can be made on the spot. Character creation and playing involves things like ridiculous outfits, over the top stage presences and armour that shouldn’t work.

I am looking at 4-6 players for a one-off session before the 2nd of January, due to holiday constraints. The game will be run over IRC or via Maptools.

Original, less well organized post follows.

Hello all! Another self-interested post: I am going to run a game over either IRC or via Maptools sometime between when I post this and January 2nd. It would be a one shot adventure and I’ll just pick whatever day the most people will be free on. Likewise I’ll pick whichever platform people choose, and just post the map as you explore it to flikr or photobucket since it doesn’t use tactical combat.

I’ll be using the very nice looking Dungeonslayers rules as they look quite good for fast play, yet at the same time are quite slick and modern.

To recap my idea:

Anyway the idea is…. a dungeon crawling game loosely based on XCrawl, where modern day gladiators descend into D&D style dungeons to fight monsters and traps for the amusement of the audience. Little touches such as bonus experience for narrating your actions like a sports commentator will hopefully contribute to the atmosphere.

To make this more silly your game states would be your stats in world, tracked the same way that they do baseball stats. My Dad likes baseball because of all the stats you can track and the weird things that happen (For example there is one play, don’t as me what it is, that has only happened 3 times. 2 of them were on consecutive days, as some player heard about it and thought ‘Shoot, I could do that’ and managed to do it the next day.)
Now instead of batting average you have BAB or THAC0, and so on (I was going to give more examples, but I don’t know baseball stats). Instead of some odd play with passes and runners you have “The last time a Young Adult Red Dragon was felled in 3 rounds by a 5th level party was back in 1996 by the ‘Sharpe Dressed Elves’….”

Now I’m going to have it a bit more fantasy than I planned originally, so that I can use a modified form of the adventure that comes with the rules, since I’ve never run Dungeonslayers before. This updates the idea a little, with it being more heavily fantasy that I originally planned, however I’m sure I can find ways to keep the fact that you are throwing your lives onto the alter of television in your minds. Also, though it should be obvious, please don’t read the sample adventure.

If you want any more details or want to express interest in playing please leave a comment below, email or IM my gmail: username Canageek. (Don’t you love spam? Stupid bots)

Anyway, until next time (or I run this) Stay Geeky!

–Canageek

P.S. I’ve run this game, and it went quite well, though I only had two players. They both hit second level, just, and got about 1/4 to 1/2 way through the adventure. I’m looking to finish the adventure, though I’m not sure when I will have time: If I am very lucky and don’t have much work I might be able to doso on the weekend of Jan 8-9, 2010. Drop me a comment here if you are interested in playing.

Just a short post

Sorry for the lack of posts in so long, I’ve been insanely busy with class, working from when I wake up till 2am type of busy. I will hopefully find a little time during my exam break, but really you should be looking for new posts after Christmas.

So a couple of updates:

I’ve talked to my group and they want to stick with BRP/CoC for now, largely due to liking their characters. However, I’m planning a big finally for the campaign, as one of the 2 remaining original players is graduating, and the others has a plan in mind for retiring her character. That means I am on the lookout for non-horror BRP adventures if anyone has any recommendations. Oh and they want more combat, in CoC as well. This should remove many characters very, very quickly.

Secondly…. I’ve started planning my next online game. I might run some maptools, IRC or skype or such over the Christmas break, failing that I’ll set up a play-by-post in April, after the end of 2nd semester.

Anyway the idea is…. a dungeon crawling game loosely based on XCrawl, with bonus experience for narrating your actions like a sports commentator, and a 2nd thread for non-player commentary. Since part of the game would be to please the crowd at the end of every adventure there would be a vote for the best character by the observers, with an XP bonus for amusing the audience.

To make this more silly your game states would be your stats in world, tracked the same way that they do baseball stats. My Dad likes baseball because of all the stats you can track and the weird things that happen (For example there is one play, don’t as me what it is, that has only happened 3 times. 2 of them were on consecutive days, as some player heard about it and thought ‘Shoot, I could do that’ and managed to do it the next day.)
Now instead of batting average you have BAB or THAC0, and so on (I was going to give more examples, but I don’t know baseball stats). Instead of some odd play with passes and runners you have “The last time a Young Adult Red Dragon was felled in 3 rounds by a 5th level party was back in 1996 by the ‘Sharpe Dressed Elves’….”

I’ve talked about this, and written about it so much that I want to give it a try. I’ll have to write an adventure, or at least convert one as I’m not running 3.5 or 4e online, they are both way too slow. I’m thinking of some retroclone or old edition since combat goes faster, possibly with a BRP style d% skills system tacked on (Very light weight: Like a page long in total).

Well, I have to go, until next time, whenever that is, Stay Geeky.

–Canageek

Players Scared of Death….in Call of Cthulhu

Sorry for the lapse in posts, university work has kept me insanely busy, and I probably should not be taking the time to write now, but I’m hoping that getting it out of my system will help me study.

I’ve encountered a new problem in my Call of Cthulhu game. I’ve written about ideas I’ve had for this game before, and I’m starting to implement some of them:I’ve not added in the XP system, though I have added a lot more liberal use of Idea rolls to give hints, and that seems to be helping– They breezed through the first section of the adventure, despite a fairly non-linear plot and quickly figured out what was going on, despite gaining a new player and some intraparty conflict. However they stalled for a bit at the bridge between the ‘figure out what is going on’ and ‘doing something about it’ stage. I managed to prod them into action, and they kidnapped a gangster, got him to confess and turned him over to the police. The adventure assumes that you are not going to do this, as do NONE of the CoC adventures I’ve encountered, despite it being the logical choice of action in many of them. Anyway, I have figured out a way to get them back into the plot (also a backup if I need, though it isn’t as good).

Anyway, the main problem I’m having with my game is players being scared of dying. I mean, no one wants there characters to die, but well, it seems a bit extreme. Now one player is retiring her character at the end of this adventure, so that she will not die and she can play one she is less attached too. Now, I like it when people get into my game, but I’m running CALL OF CTHULHU. The horror RPG known for killing characters. Confession time: I’m a bit of a carebear DM. I’ve only killed one character in all of my CoC games, that is ~3 gaming groups over 4 years of play. Which given the horror nature of the game is kinda low. On the other hand, they usually seem scared of dying, so I guess that doesn’t matter much.

Anyway, I would be interested in trying a different game with my group. Something outside of the horror genre, to let them have characters they can grow attached to without the constant fear of death. However they don’t like rules: CoC is about the heaviest thing I can interest them in I think, even the core BRP book has too many rules for them. They make there character based on the 1 page ‘how to make a character’ description, and ask what the skills do if the name is unclear. That is pretty much the extent that 3 out of 4 players want to know about the rules.

They also think CoC combats are about the maximum length they would enjoy, and let me tell you, combat in CoC is pretty damn fast as long as you don’t get a wiff-fest (Trying to do long ranged combat without anything but default rifle, for example).

So I’m looking for a new game where they will not be quite so paranoid about dying. I was thinking Savage Worlds, but that seems expensive to me, and when I browsed through it the rules seemed a bit too complex: I’m looking for something like ‘Pick a skill, roll under it’ like BRP does, not a big stack of advantages and disadvantages.

Now there are lots of retroclones and indie RPGs I could run, however I like a concrete rules system: None of this abstract ‘You have a combat state, a mental stat and a magic stat’ type of stuff. I like a nice concrete list of gear and stats and whatnot. D&D retroclones would probably be about the right rules density if I went and cut out THAC0 and all that legacy cruft that my players would be confused by, however they are not interested in D&D from what I understand.

Anyway, even if I do find a game I don’t have time to write adventures: I’ve had to take time off from studying just to write this blog post. So a large published base of adventures would be good, preferably short, episodic type ones. CoC is pretty good for this, since it is so old, there are a lot of ones from the 80s and such online. Ditto for pretty much any edition of D&D. I’ve contemplated the Serenity RPG as there are some published adventures for it, however 2 of my players are not really fans of the show, so that would be a hard sell.

So in summary: Are there any games that have:

1) Players do not need to own any books or look up anything during play

2) Non-abstract rules. Ie D&D, GURPS or BRP like, rather then The Pool, Wushu or such. (However both any edition of D&D newer then 3e, possibly even 2e, have too many rules for them, likewise with GURPs).

3) A large published base of adventures. They can be pay, though free is preferable. These should be episodic, not epic. In terms of plot more like an episode of CSI, Firefly or another serial show, monster/crime/problem of the week, as opposed to a epic Adventure Path or Lord of the Rings or something like that. Alternatively: If there adventures that I can convert to it given a couple hours of work that would be acceptable. For example, if they were interested in fantasy I could use Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game since I could convert any old D&D adventure without too much trouble since the monster states are almost identical. I couldn’t convert it to microlite20 however, as I’d have to write custom monsters, which takes too much time.

4) The ability to make a character in under 30 min. Under 1 hour is allowed the first time, after that it should be faster. It can also be longer if you take into account passing around 1 copy of the book to a bunch of people.

5) Works with 2-6 players + DM

6) Not horror, that is what I want a break from. Also low character mortality, something that will make them feel confident.

7) An interesting setting, not typical fantasy. I think I could sell them on Eberron, I could not sell them on Greyhawk, Dark Sun or the Forgotten Realms. 1890-modern would be cool, but other things could also work. Something I can explain simply is a big plus: CoC is pretty simple, I tell them it is the 1920s USA, and possibly a bit about the horror. Basically it needs a simple ‘hook’ that is all the players really need to know to get started, the rest they can learn as they go. Ex: Twilight 2000: “Instead of peace as in our world, in the 1980s nuclear war broke out between the USSR and USA. You are members of a military unit stationed in Europe. Both sides militaries  have collapsed, leaving you with one final mission: Get home.” or Fallout “Nuclear war broke out in the mid-21st century. You, along with many others, fled to underground shelters to survive. Now you need to go retrieve the water purification chip from Vault 60 to keep your vault safe.”. Stuff like that.

8) BONUS: If it is in either of the charity bundles that RPGNow has put up, I own both of those .

I’ve looked at Savage Worlds a couple of times, but it seemed complicated in all the wrong ways, i.e. adding in cards and such when it did not need too. I’d be willing to give it another look if someone pointed me me to a supply of adventures that will not eat my wallet.
I also own some other games that I have not had time to read through: I’ve downloaded all the OpenD6 books, and bought Atomic Highway. If someone could let me know if these might fit my requirements that would be cool.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I might try running the sample adventures from the BRP book and see how that goes once I finish the current adventure, and one of my players wants to run some Don’t Rest Your Head, so that gives me some time.

An Experience System For The Call of Cthulhu

I’ve been tempted as of late to write an experience point/level system for Call of Cthuhlhu.

For those of you not familiar with Call of Cthuhlhu or the BRP system it runs on character advancement works as thus: At the end of each adventure you have a chance to increase each skill you successfully used during that adventures. The chance your skill will go up is inversely proportional to the amount you already have in the skill. I like this as I find this rewards player creativity by encouraging them to use as many skills as possible, including ones they don’t use that often. If they solve every problem by playing to their strengths then they will soon find they are having a hard time raising their skills, if they have not maximized them already. This is somewhat opposite from most class/level systems which rewards specialization at the expense of everything else. While I do like specialization I find that one-trick-pony characters drive me batty. I also very much like the fact that characters are organic: The more you use something the more likely it is to go up. You want to be a better marksman? Shoot stuff. You want to drive better? Drive more. Skills can also be raised through training, though this takes a lot of time.

However the fact that this only occurs at the end of an adventure is somewhat problematic. During the last adventure I ran my players got bored partway through as they had been starting out going down each clue chain without finishing it and felt stalled due to a lack of accomplishments. I feel that some sort of reward system tied to each clue uncovered would help this.

I was thinking of a very simple system of 100XP per level. The amount of XP you need over time does not rise, in keeping with the very flat power curve the BRP system has- You can easily get the maximum possible value in a skill at creation, so effectiveness at any one area is less due to experience then choice, more experienced character tend to be more well rounded then new ones.

I was also thinking of combining this with an idea I heard about in Trail of Cthulhu/Gumshoe. In it you always pass checks to find a clue if you have the right ability. This prevents the plot from stalling on a failed roll when they miss something really obvious. Even if you give them a huge bonus to the roll they might still botch it. I am thinking of making this true, however you only get experience if you succeed on the roll. Also if you fail the roll you might sometimes get a less informative version of the clue: both will point you in the right direction, but one will take longer. There is the downside that players can use XP as a guide to whether they have found a clue or not, but they can already do that a little based on the fact they have found a clue.

The real question is how should I decided on how much XP to give out? 100 points is a pretty shallow scale, but they normally level at the end of an adventure. Should I let them advance twice as fast by giving out a level at the end of every adventure in addition to this? I think that they would be upset if they somehow did not level at the end of the adventure. Should I give out XP for killing things? That does make sense, but you also often gain sanity from slaying them.

Alright: Here is the outline
Players can at any time spend 100 XP to level. There are no limits on how many XP they may have at any one time. This allows them to store XP in case they gain a level when they only have a chance to raise one or two skills, say if they finished an adventure with 90XP then gained 100XP from finishing the adventure.

Everything that gives XP has a flat XP value. All XP gained is divided equally among the people present. Fractions are rounded up.

Finishing an adventure is worth 100XP. Major plot points are worth ~50XP, clues are worth ~15XP. Monsters give XP based on the difficulty of slaying them. Killing a God is worth 100XP to the survivors, if any, to enjoy in the asylum. Killing a major villain or horror is worth less. Killing a major plot monster is worth ~25-50XP. Killing a Dimensional Shambler is worth 15XP. Killing a weak zombie may only be worth 5XP.

Well? What does everyone think? Any glaring problems?

Until Next Time, Stay Geeky.

–Cangaeek

Edit: I should add that the group I’m referring to this is quite fun to play with, though with a very quirky playstyle. I’m trying to adapt my DMing style to match, and this is part of that. Most of the people in it are not gamers, or were not when they started, so some of this is learning via doing. It is nice seeing a totally fresh approach to things from people who don’t know the cliches and tropes of gaming. I thought I would add this since I reread my post and noticed this could be taken as a slight against my group when it shouldn’t be taken as such. –Canageek

Published in: on September 27, 2010 at 11:59 am  Comments (14)  
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The Haunter of the Ring

I’ve been working on an adventure but it is taking longer then I thought. I’m mostly done the statblocks & body of the adventure but still need to write up the finale and locations for when the players inevitable break into places. However it has been a month since my last update and well, that one was pretty light to say the least. So here is a preview: The Haunter of the Ring is the main threat in the finale, so I’d like some feedback on him. He is stated out from the Call of Cthulhu, which is about 90% compatible with BRP. If you are familiar with either of those systems let me know. The description is intentionally vague since I figure players imaginations are stronger then my writing, though if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them.

The Haunter of the Ring:
Str 25, Con 25, Siz 15, Int 36, Pow 36, Dex 35
Move: 7 flying

HP: 21
Damage Bonus: +1d6
Weapons: Claw: 55%, damage 2d4+1d6
Armour: 3 points of supernaturally tough hide
Spells: The Haunter knows a number of spells, all frightful in nature but will not use them in combat for Roelocke does not know about them and thus has not ordered it to use them. If the investigators summon the creature from the ring encourage it to trade them the most horrific spells the keeper has access to in exchange for horrific payments, preferably the character’s souls.
Skills: Bargain 60%, Mislead 75%, Spot Hidden 60%, Listen 50%, Entice Mortal 80%, Parry 60%
Sanity Loss: 1d4/1d8

Possession: The most dangerous power of the Haunter of the Ring is it’s ability to control others. For the cost of 5 Magic Points it can attempt takes them over with a Power vs Power test. Double this cost for truly innocent characters who also gain +10 to their power for the purposes of resisting. The length of time the character is possessed is also determined by their innocences. A truly innocent character may only be possessed for one action at a time. A normal man or women can be possessed for 10 minutes at a time, and someone risking a stay in hell already can be possessed for up to an hour. Truly depraved people can be possessed for an day at a time. The Haunter can spend an amount of Magic Points equal to 5+(The number of periods it has possessed the character for already) to continue to posses it. When possessing a character they must be in physical contact with the haunter or the ring. While possessing a character it cannot be physically harmed, though it does not heal or regain magic points. It can however still be targeted by magic attacks and is subject to bindings and exorcisms, even those not actually magical in nature.

Description: A demon as old as the world, the Haunter of the Ring is said to have been bound by Solomon himself. Those with more occult knowledge realize that Solomon’s reign is far to recent for that. When it takes physical form the Haunter appears as a shadow with eyes the colour of molten steel and dagger-length claws that glow as if they had just been pulled from the forge.