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Topics - Aglondir

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1
No one ever tried a Feint or Sunder in our D20 games. I'm not sure why. On the other hand, there were plenty of Bull Rush, Disarm, and Trip attempts. What are your experiences?




2
Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Nautical RPG books
« on: January 26, 2021, 02:48:20 PM »
What are some good recommendations for RPG books that deal with maritime campaigns?

I'm specifically looking for something:

Close to system neutral (Gurps books are good examples)
Heavy on real world economics, with good trade rules
Historically accurate ships, crew components, navigation, piracy, naval combat,, etc.
Real world nautical considerations

I'm not looking for:

Adventures (Don't bother suggesting Saltmarsh, unless it has the above items?)
Swashbuckling rules or cinematic pirates
Underwater adventures
Playable aquatic races (but monsters might be interesting)




3
Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Quick LOTR questions
« on: December 31, 2020, 09:14:26 PM »
Is there any reference in Tolkien's works as to:

1. Elves having pointy ears?
2. Elves having darkvision?
3. Dwarves having darkvision?
4. Any race having infravision?

I think the answer to of those questions is No, but it's been some time since I read the books. 

4
Design, Development, and Gameplay / Action Points for 3d6
« on: December 30, 2020, 11:12:48 PM »
I'm working on a simple 3d6 homebrew system, and I'm looking for probability help. Here's my idea: Players have a small pool of Action Points. You have two options: Spend 1 AP before you make a skill roll, and you can roll 4d6 (instead of 3d6) and take the best 3. Or you can spend 1 AP after the roll to reroll the 3d6.

The goal is to make the first option better than the second, but I don't know enough about probability to know if it works. Any math experts out there?

5
Forking from here. Author is mmadsen. Posted on TBP years ago. All that follows is his work. Enjoy.

STREAMLINING HERO

Preface

Champions has many great ideas, but few of them require the kind of complexity the system's known for. I have a few fixes I'd hoped to see in Fifth Edition. Deriving these fixes might not seem simple, but the end-user doesn't have to follow the derivation; it's the end result that's simple.

Stats and Figured Stats

Champions' stats -- and its figured stats in particular -- are needlessly complicated. Who's the genius who thought we should round stat values for bonuses? So now every character is full of stats like 13, 18, 23, etc. Changing the rounding rules, a trivial change, would lead to efficient characters having nice, round stats: 10, 15, 20, etc., not 8, 13, 18, etc.

Many of the figured characteristics are stat/5, but some aren't:

[table=width: 500, class: grid, align: left]
[tr]
   [td]PD[/td]
   [td]Str/5[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
   [td]ED[/td]
    [td]Con/5[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
   [td]Spd     [/td]
   [td]1 + Dex/10 [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
   [td]Rec     [/td]
   [td]Str/5 + Con/5 [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
   [td]End     [/td]
   [td]10 x Con [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
   [td]Stun     Body + Str/2 + Con/2 [/td]
   [td]2 x Con [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
   [td]OCV     [/td]
   [td]Dex/3 [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
   [td]DCV     [/td]
   [td]Dex/3 [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
   [td]ECV[/td]
   [td]Ego/3[/td]
[/tr]
[/table]


(Also, skills use stat/5 for bonuses.)

If we change those to use stat/5 in all cases, we don't even need any stats beyond 5, 10, 15, 20, etc. For instance:

[table=width: 500, class: grid, align: left]
[tr]
[td]PD[/td]     [td]Str/5[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]ED  [/td]  [td]Con/5 [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]Spd [/td]    [td]Dex/5[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]Rec [/td]    [td]Str/5 + Con/5 [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]End [/td]    [td]2 x Con   10 x Con/5 [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]Stun[/td]     [td]Body + Str/2 + Con/2 (OK, this one needs some work...) [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]OCV[/td]     [td]Dex/5 [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]DCV [/td]    [td]Dex/5 [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]ECV  [/td]   [td]Ego/5 [/td]
[/tr]
[/table]

Moving Spd from 1 + Dex/10 to Dex/5 keeps the norm at 2, and can keep the "human max" at 4. Dropping OCV and DCV to Dex/5 puts them in line with Dex-based skills, and doesn't change the game in any material way; it just makes Dex a wee bit less of an uber-stat (perhaps offsetting any higher Spd stats).

(Aside: Champions' Spd stat has always been too granular at the low end for such an all-important value. Going from 2 (human normal) to 4 (human max) doubles your combat effectiveness. If you're already at "human max", it's still awfully tempting to spend another 10 points (out of 250) to go from 4 to 5 (or even 6) for another 25% to 50% increase in attacks (and moves) per turn. There's no reason Spd has to start at 2. We could define average to be 4 or 6 just as easily.)

Once we've established that we only need stats that are multiples of 5, we can divide those original stat values by 5, making them the same as the figured stats we'd like to get to; we can eliminate the arithmetic.

We could have Str, Dex, Con, etc. scores of 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. instead of 5, 10, 15, 20 -- or 3, 8, 13, 18. And figured stats might look like:

[table=width: 500, class: grid, align: left]
[tr]
[td]PD[/td]     [td]Str [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]ED[/td]     [td]Con [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]Spd [/td]     [td]Dex [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]Rec[/td]     [td]Str + Con [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]End [/td]     [td]10 x Con [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]Stun [/td]     [td]5 x Body + 5 x Str/2 + 5 x Con/2 (OK, this one needs some work...) [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]OCV [/td]     [td]Dex [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]DCV [/td]     [td]Dex [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]ECV     [/td] [td]Ego [/td]
[/tr]
[/table]

Then, if we decide to subsume multiple related stats under one heading (more like Tri-Stat, but not so extreme), we might get something like:

[table=width: 500, class: grid, align: left]
[tr]
[td]Body[/td]     [td]Str, Con, Body; separate Super-Strength power for pure lifting and punching  [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]Dex[/td]     [td]Dex[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]Mind[/td]     [td]Int [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]Soul[/td]     [td]Ego; Pre; separate Attractive talent for comeliness, Intimidation skill for Presence Attacks [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]PD [/td]     [td]Body[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]ED [/td]     [td]Body[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]Spd [/td]     [td]Dex [/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]Rec [/td]     [td]2 x Body[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]End     [/td] [td]10 x Body[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]Stun     [/td] [td]10 x Body[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]OCV     [/td] [td]Dex[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]DCV     [/td] [td]Dex[/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td]ECV     [/td] [td]Soul-- or Mind?[/td]
[/tr]
[/table]

With no adjustments, a level of Body would cost the sum of five points of Str, Con, and (old-school) Body: 5 x (1 + 2 + 2)   25. A level of Dex would cost 5 x 3   15. A level of Mind or Int would cost 5 x 1   5. A level of Soul would cost 5 x (2 + 1)   15.

We'd probably adjust them though. Given the genre, I'd have no problem dropping the cost of a level of Body to 20 points, and, given its history as the uber-stat, I'd have no problem bumping Dex to 20 points.

A larger change would be to shift ECV away from Ego (now Soul) to Int (now Mind), and to use Ego (Soul) for psychic toughness, to parallel the Strength/Agility dichotomy of the physical stats. Then we might price both Mind and Soul at 10 points per level.

In this way, we could have a much simpler Champions stat system, one a bit like Tri-Stat (without going "too far"), that changes almost nothing about the underlying system -- or just a few bits that we'd like to change.

6
What's the big secret? And is the 5E book (Ghosts of Saltmarsh) worth purchasing?

7
Quick search on Amazon shows the publication date as Aug 1, 2019. I played it once and I can't recall a damn thing about it, except 3 actions per round (?) How are things going?

8
The RPGPundit's Own Forum / Wokists and Racists Actually Agree
« on: July 23, 2020, 09:07:08 PM »
Trigger warning: Contains humor

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev373c7wSRg

9
The RPGPundit's Own Forum / Get Triggered!
« on: July 13, 2020, 03:20:47 PM »
We need an RPG based on this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtqGh_qZgEc

11
On Drive-Thru RPG:

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/144495/Vampire-20th-Anniversary-Edition-The-Dark-Ages

Best grab it quick.

Edit: Rumor is that more of the X20 lines will be available for free in days to come.

13
Just finished reading the entire book. Last year I ran the "Death House" adventure for a Halloween-inspired game, along with a bit of the village of Barovia. It didn't quite work. I'm going to skip the castle and Strahd, and focus on the campaign setting as a whole.

Warning: Long, and possible spoilers.

Horror?

I don't think horror works for RPGs. One factor is that the characters are usually quite powerful. Another is the mindset of the PCs. When I ran the intro adventure, one player (probably unintentionally) kept breaking the mood with jokes, silly voices, and generally acting the clown. I'm torn on the issue: should the GM put a stop to it? Or, if the other players seem Ok with it, is it a sign they'd rather do something else? I assumed the latter, which is why it never got beyond the intro. There were some nice atmospheric trappings in DH, but in general it didn't seem very scary. CoS has excellent advice on how to run a gothic game, called "Masks of Horror."  One of the main elements it cites is dread, the anticipation that something horrible is going to happen in the near future. I don't think CoS really does much in that regard; the underlying premise of D&D is working against it. Players are not anticipating a dark fate, they are antiicpating getting magic items and leveling up.

Sandbox vs Story

The common opinion is that CoS is a sandbox game, which is mostly right. It's definitely not a story, a pre-ordained narrative that the players watch unfold. Yet there is a story in CoS, namely the story of how Strahd became a vampire and conquered Barovia. But it's pretty thin and doesn't impact much. At first I was afraid there was a railroad built in, since one of the NPCs is the reincarnation of Strahd's love interest, which drives his actions through the campaign. If you've seen the Dracula movie wth Keannu Reeves (1992) it's bascially that. I don't know if that was in the original Ravenloft module from 1983, or if was worked in later. At any rate, it doesn't really matter if you protect Ireena or ignore her, so I'm going to say No Railroad. On the other hand, I'm not sure this is a pure sandbox, more like a sandbox with game elements.

CoS as a Game

In the introduction, it says "the adventure ends when either Strahd or the characters are defeated. Your goal is to keep Strahd in play for as long as possible, using all of the resources at his disposal." That almost sounds like text in a boardgame rulebook: "You win the game if..." I find it a bit refreshing, actually. In the last few decades the emphasis has been on the RP side of RPG rather than the G, which is fine, but what if we switched that around a bit? Could CoS be played like a game, with the players whittling away at Strahd's troops until he can no longer hide behind his minions? Maybe, but it's really not set up that way. For example, there are monster entries for tree blights and zombies that seem more like spawning monsters in a computer game rather than finite resources. I think next time I run this, I will prepare a list of everything in Strahds's army before the campaign begins, and cross things off the list as the PCs kill them.

Elves and Dwarves?

CoS has a great intro by Tracy Hickman, Strahd's creator. When he saw the vampire entry in the Monster Manual, he thought "What is this guy doing here?" and hence he created Ravenloft. I've always felt the converse of that was true as well: What are Tolkien-esuqe races doing in a game of gothic horror? It leads me to think that CoS would be best run as a humans-only game. Hickman's premise is that the PC's are spirited away from D&D Land to Barovia, and they can't get back home until they kill Strahd. This reinforces the "game" idea: If you win the game, you get to go home.

The Good

The Abbey is probably the most horrific location in the book, a masterpiece of mood and imagery. In second place is a windmill inhabited by three hags who make mincemeat pies out of kidnapped children, that they sell back to the villagers. One adventure interacts heavily with the others called "The Wizard of Wines," which is soemthing the PCs can get invested in quickly. The Amber Temple stands out as the apex of the campaign, since it's where Strahd made his pact with the dark powers. Best of all, they're still there, so PC's can make their own dark bargains. All of the 5E campaign books I have seen have phenomenal art, even if the clothing and architecture looks more like the 1800's than the middle ages.

The Bad

I don't understand how the economy is supposed to work in CoS. I'm not talking about the standard suspension of the laws of economics present in D&D Land, but rather the immediate problem of selling loot. The book lists objects like "Silverware, worth 25 GP" but there's really nowhere to sell the stuff and no one to buy it. Sixty percent of the residences in the village of Barovia are either abandoned, filled with rats, or zombies. Barovians "aren't interested in speaking to strangers" and there's only one shop, with a ridiculous markup and an unfriendly proprietor. It feels like the village infrastructure is gone, like the village is an urban wasteland. That's great atmosphere, but if you can't sell loot, there's no point in looting. The other not-so-great element is the sandbox needs more hints on how to run it. Other than opening with Death House, and finishing with confrotning Strahd, it's not clear how you are suppose to handle the in-between. The whole thing runs the risk of being a linear slog rather that a world that responds and adapts to what the PCs do.

Verdict

I give it a B. I wish it had more Grimm-like elements (like the windmill.) A few of the locations (Argnvostholt, The Tower, Tsolenka Pass) seem like standard D&D fare, which is missed potential. If I run it again, I'm going to increase the level of commerce in the village a bit, and have the tavern be a nexus for adventure hooks. I'd encourage the PCs to set up a base of operations in the village, where they could plan excursions and return if things got too much. The viillage would get better or worse depending on what they managed to accomplish.

14
Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Old School XP tables
« on: October 10, 2019, 10:26:11 PM »
Does anyone know the rationale why each class had it's own XP progression?
(e.g. the Thief needs 1250 XP to get to second level, but the Mage needs 2500 XP.)

Ediit: Do you see this as a feature or a bug?

15
I've bene playing 5E off and on for a few years, mostly in one shot games or short campaigns, and never past 3rd level. By now, I imagine the problems (if any) of the game are well-known. What are the main issues?

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