Monday, April 30, 2012

Of burglary and traps...

I’ve always bought into the OD+D paradigm that you have two rolls- one to find the trap and another to disarm it. However, there’s no good reason this must be so... in fact, it seems that traps can be broken into two categories, simple and complex.

A simple trap is a one-roll situation. If you find the trap, you also know how to disarm it; you find the poison needle, so you can unhook it; you find the tripwire, so you can cut it; you find the spring-loaded block, so you avoid it or deactivate it as you find it. Finding it is the goal; once you find it, you won’t set it off. You fail the roll by 1 or 2, and you’ve probably found it just as you set it off...

A complex trap requires a roll to find it, but then the resolution is handled through role playing. You figure out that the pathway through the chamber causes the ceiling to collapse, but navigating the pathway and keeping the ceiling where it belongs are resolved in play, not through a single ‘disarm’ roll.

Magic Update 1

I’ve always looked for ways to simply define magic among different categories or fields so as to differentiate the actual experience of playing different caster types. I liked D+D 2Es approach to different schools of magic, although I found that almost everyone ended up playing evokers, since they had all the good spells.

I digress.

One way that seems to work for the current setup of abilities is to divide by linked ability; one type of magic links to intuition for effects/damage, while the other links to lore. You can be a ‘dabbler’ by taking spells linked directly to either intuition or lore, not taking the bolt available only to ‘pure casters’. I’ll keep working on Elementalists, but for today here’s a potential listing for Magicians. I’m taking a step back (at least right now) from the RTSR rules as published last year, going with a buffet-style approach rather than a more rigid spellbook approach.


Magicians use an arcane bolt as their primary spell ability, linking all of their repertoire and spontaneous spells to the bolt rating. Magicians use lore to roll damage with their bolts. Magicians select one field of arcane magic: eldritch, mind, light or shadow.
Twelve Magician Spells
- Alter Appearance. Use 1 turn to change your form to look like someone else for the rest of the scene. Targets with some reason to suspect this deception roll intuition to resist your action roll.
- Boost Invulnerability. You boost the target’s invulnerability or armor rating based on your bolt rating; this continues for the rest of the scene.
- Boost Might. You boost the target’s might rating based on your bolt rating; this continues for the rest of the scene.
- Boost Prowess. You boost the target’s might rating based on your bolt rating; this continues for the rest of the scene.
- Cancellation. Use 1 turn to cancel, dispel or negate another spell or magical effect. A short-term effect is canceled, while a permanent effect is negated for the rest of the scene; roll your bolt rating vs. the situational DT.
- Charm the Living. Use 1 turn to take control of another living creature’s actions. With 1 success, the target regards you as a friend. With 2 successes, the target views you as a superior; with 3 successes, the target becomes a mindless automaton under your control; targets built on more CPs than you are immune to this effect. Targets resist with the better of intuition or lore.
- Eldritch Shield. Use 1 turn to summon a shield that acts as a shield at your bolt rating.
- Invisibility. Use 1 turn to activate an invisibility on yourself or an ally within rating range. This acts as stealth.
- Hex. You force the target to replace the next several dice rolls with natural 1s. The target replaces a number of rolls equal to the successes you roll on the action. Targets resist with the better of intuition or lore.
- Life Tap. With one bolt spell each scene, you recover as many wounds as you deal on this attack, up to your starting total. If you deal 9 wounds with your bolt, you can elect to also recover 9 wounds.
- Portal. Use 1 turn to either unlock or seal a door or lock of any kind at your roll result; if you roll 17 to seal a door, it becomes DT to pick, force or dispel for the rest of the scene.
- Summon. You call a creature to fight for you. The creature is built on rating x5 CPs, and remains for the rest of the scene or until felled. Summoned creatures return to their native realms at -1 wounds.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


I'm relatively annoyed by the new interface here... text keeps coming out all black, which I have to manually fix, and if I accidentally add a background highlight (like I did last post) I don't know how to just turn it off...

This is actually making it much harder to post... grrr.

From the forums...

I posted the following in the forums for actual play on the fantasy rules I'm working on, but...

1. I write a lot about design here... and
2. No one goes to my forums (although I'm working on that...)

So, I'm posting here too...


I have been struggling with the names of some abilities; for example, I like reason for the supers game as an ability, but I don’t like it as much for the fantasy game; I want lore to be a more common application, because I’m seeing this getting a lot of mileage in the fantasy game. Already, I can see at least one way the heroes could have used lore, and maybe 1-2 more it could have been helpful- and that was in one session of one real scene. It hit me today that maybe I could have it both ways... you use reason in supers gaming, and you use lore (for the same fundamental ability) in the fantasy game. You know when you crossover between editions (a dragon can show up in both places), you know going in that these two abilities are used in the same ways... a dragon uses lore, because that’s how dragons think, while Kang the Conquerer uses reason, even when he time travels into King Arthur’s Camelot. I’d have to make this clear in various versions of the game where both abilities of the game could appear, but it seems that only reason/lore and armor/invulnerability are going to run into this overlap; otherwise, you have no real problems here.

I have to layer this over my existing characters, changing Luthiria’s Reason +3 to Lore +3. I also want to change the dwarf’s race ability from a might bonus to an invulnerability bonus. Honestly, this was the way I had things set up in RTSR, but I forgot to look it up and just went with might from memory - which was wrong! I used might for trolls and armor/invulnerability for dwarves. I make those adjustments, and my heroes now look like this:

Luc’ the Leprechaun Rogue (10 CPs)
Armor +1; Backstab (free); Burglary +2; Evade +2; Intuition +1; Luck +1 (racial bonus); Prowess +2; Stealth +2; Weapons +2
Purpose: To accumulate great wealth
Limitation: His desire for treasure clouds his judgement (+2)
Gear: Short sword +2; short bow +2; leather armor +1; basic pack

Luthiria the Moon Elf Mage (10 CPs)
Arcane Bolt +3 (eldritch); Evade +2; Lore +3 (2 CPs; +1 racial shift); Resolve +2; Signature Spell (free: eldritch shield)
Purpose: To gather ancient lore
Limitation: She is tempted by power, and could pursue evil in search of power (+2)
Gear: Spell book; traveling staff; basic pack

Shard the Storm Dwarf Fighter (10 CPs)
Armor +3 (2 CPs; +1 racial shift); Might +3; Prowess +2; Resolve +2; Weapon Specialist Axes (free); Weapons +2
Purpose: To earn fame for his deeds in battle
Limitation: He is easily riled up and drawn into conflict (+2)
Gear: Studded armor +2; hand axe +2; javelin +2, basic pack

Sari the Chosen Human Cleric (10 CPs)
Armor +2; Healing (+2; linked to Resolve); Intuition +1; Prowess +2; Rebuke Unhallowed (free); Resolve +4 (4 CPs; +1 shift); Weapons +1
Purpose: To help others whenever possible
Limitation: She will never leave a friend behind, even to her own peril (+2)
Gear: Studded armor +2; club +1; sling +1; basic pack

This actually makes Shard a little less offensive and slightly more defensive, but actually fits for how he’s being used- he has to soak up all of that nasty damage. I almost want to make the dwarf ability a +1 shift to toughness for just this purpose; they simply have more wounds than other races. I’ll stick with the armor bonus for now, but I’ll keep the toughness bonus as an option out there for when I roll out the half-ogre race...

Back to designing my dungeon (which I also like quite a bit, too).

During construction, Vishan employed a company of twelve dwarven miners who were especially rowdy and especially hard-working. They worked hard and partied hard, but didn’t really care for interactions with other races, meaning that most of the people of the Crossing had no idea they even were there- they had their own tavern (that actually traveled with them- more about that in a moment). As they got near the end of their work, they were betrayed by Vishan, and he went to have them all killed- he succeeded with three of them, but the others managed to escape. Two simply died, one became a ghost who continues to haunt (sort of) the dungeon, and the other nine were inflicted with an unhallowed curse that would turn them into ghouls, however... they managed to retreat to their other-dimensional pocket realm containing their tavern. An unexpected benefit of this tavern (which they had no idea about) was that the tavern actually exists outside of the time stream, meaning that they do not age while within- and nothing progresses. Therefore, anything linked to time itself- for example, a poison that deals damage over time or regeneration that ticks every round- cease to function within the tavern. The dwarves are within minutes of becoming ghouls- as soon as they step back into the time stream. The tavern may be accessed with a special key (each of the twelve originally had a key, and all but one have been lost somewhere- I think the heroes already have one now!) I think it’s thematically perfect that the dwarf is the one to find the key. They’d want him to have it! There is at least one key hole on every dungeon level (and the bigger levels will have multiple keyholes; the dwarves would work for the day, pop open the door to their traveling tavern, and head in for the night).

Okay, I need some rules for reactions. I’ve not created reaction rules for my last few game systems, because I always resolve this through role playing. However, I can see the interactions with the dwarf ghost and the dwarves of the tavern being tricky and important to have a concrete way to manage as we go... I want to keep this simple (like all things), so reactions are a simple D12 roll, with two modifiers to it... one based on the approach the heroes take and the other based on the natural inclinations of those they encounter. I’d say that a character with leadership gets to add his or her leadership to the roll result automatically. (Basically, this is a leadership role with two built-in modifiers, and a scaling situational result).

Your Approach Is:
+4 Overly friendly. You are going out of your way to play nice.
+2 Friendly. You clearly come in peace.
+0 Neutral. You have your guard up from the outset.
-2 Unfriendly. You assume there’s going to be trouble.
-4 Hostile. You are looking for trouble here.

The Target’s Natural Inclination Is:
+4 Very Friendly. They’d want to see you.
+2 Friendly. They wouldn’t mind seeing you.
+0 Neutral. They don’t care about you either way.
-2 Unfriendly. I don’t like you... and my friend doesn’t like you either.
-4 Hostile.

Your Leadership roll decides the outcome:
1 or lower My sword will say things my tongue doesn’t care to.
2 to 5 Be careful, kid. Them’s fighting words round here.
6 to 7 We don’t get many people like you in these here parts...
8 to 11 Pull a seat up and rest a spell, stranger.
12+ You must be hungry! Let me get you something...

Let’s Star Wars this... Luke walks into the Mos Eisley cantina and has his guard up (-2). He has no leadership yet; he’s just a simple farm boy (leadership +0). He runs across a goon at the counter (unfriendly, another -2). He rolls at a total of -4 and gets 7-4=3. This thing is about to get very ugly if Luke doesn’t handle it right. However, Obi Wan steps in. He’s got some leadership (say +3) but he’s dealing with someone who is now at -4 (hostile), so he takes an overall -1 to his roll. He offers to buy a drink (+2) bringing his total modifier to +1. He should be okay, but he rolls a natural 1, bringing him to a 2. The blaster comes out (which may or may not get used here- probably will) and he decides a lightsaber is the quickest way to end negotiations...

This is maybe a page of rules, but it’s something that could conceivably get a lot of mileage. It guides role playing, and creates a way for referees to quickly resolve a lot of social interactions with NPCs beyond just playing it out. I especially like this for the amount of solo play I do, because I can decide what the modifiers are and let the dice decide the results of social interactions. ‘Nuff said.

What do the tavern patrons need?

Food, beverages, and some fuel for their fireplace. They have to have some way to keep these things going. Sure, you can live here for eternity, but you are going to get VERY hungry...

Healing! They are going to be a very banged up lot- unless they have access to magical healing (and I haven’t decided on this yet), they are going to be in a world of hurt. I think they need a healer among them (a priest would be logical as part of a company like this). This guy could also conceivably have access to rituals to summon food and water, so they’d be okay. Although the ability to distill alcohol might be another matter entirely. Oooh. I like this as a hook.

Here’s a for instance. The heroes meet the tavern patrons and learn of their plight. The first thing they do is make friends, and ‘rent’ a permanent room so they have a place to camp every time they want to in the dungeon (assuming they are close enough to a keyhole). The dwarves welcome them, maybe invite them to box or wrestle... they learn more and offer to get some ‘real food’ and some mead for the dwarves. Returning with a keg of ale and some ‘real food’ beyond the pasty stuff they can summon for sustenance. Eventually, the heroes bribe them into bartering treasure (for cool stuff from their treasury), maps of sections of the dungeon, the locations of hidden sub-levels, and the functions of unusual items they find.

One more thing for this brainstorming session (my daughter just woke up, so it’s time to wrap up for the day)... the ghost of the dwarf can be summoned by pouring alcohol on the ground. Roll D12 + the gold value of the total alcohol you pour (DT 13). This is SOOOO Odyssey and I love it, and has something that makes the heroes invest. Then, every time they call him up, they get a bonus to their interactions with him equal to the number of successes; if they need a particularly valuable piece of information (for example, they want to know how a specific device works or where a hidden door is), they might invest into a great bottle of wine for the occasion. The idea is that every time they summon up the ghost, he is just realizing (for the first time again) that he’s dead. He will have no memory of his previous encounters (good or bad) with the heroes. Each time he’s called up, he starts by asking if he’s dead, and going from there. He’d have a +0 innate reaction to non-dwarven demi-humans, a +2 to dwarves he has never met, -2 to humanoids, and -4 to undead or anyone he’d associate with Vishan. They take their leadership bonus, the success bonus, and a modifier based on their demeanor, and from there we go. He can only be called up once per day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Irons in the Fire

I have irons in the fire for five different Resolute sub-projects right now. Normally I'd feel pretty scattered in this approach, but Google Docs is helping me stay quite organized, and developing the game in this way is helping me to design across genres and to look at the big picture in design, which is incredibly helpful. Tonight, I quickly created stats for 4 generic level 1 fantasy heroes, and put them up against a gnoll. As I played, I toyed with two mechanics: one is a tweak to the stealth rules, and another is an all-new mechanic that I can add as an advanced option for superhero play, but which feels right at home in a fantasy game.

What if stealth forced the target to take the resistant dice result at half? Instead of a full D12, the target effectively rolls a D6 to dodge the attack? That would be an effective ability, and not over-powered. You could still miss, but your odds go up tremendously, and it’s an easy mechanic to use… I have to blow this up and use it other places; an ability that makes the target take D6 instead of D12 is an awesome mechanic to layer over other parts of the rules; it's that sweet spot between a minor penalty (like -1 or -2) and forcing the target to take an automatic 0.

Another mechanic: FATE. You give the referee a point to use later against you to make something cool happen now. Oh, wow do I love this. So, you use resolve in combat, but you use fate outside of combat or when all of your resolve is spent. So, you’ve burned through all of your resolve, and you really, really, really want to do something cool because you just have to. You use a fate point, meaning that the referee gets to bank a point for later to use against you, or gets to roll on a random events table, or there’s some nastiness down the road. EXCELLENT! Using fate guarantees you of a success on your role, but at a major cost down the road. I'm play testing this that fate gives you an automatic result of 12 on your action roll (although I'm tempted to go with 13 for the unlucky nature of it- that's even cooler! It FEELS like a nifty mechanic, because it is). Your fighter uses a fate point now to get a natural 13 on his sword strike, knowing that when you get into the Lich's lair, he's probably going to go right after you with his mind control, and send you hacking at your allies. I love the social dynamic of this too- your team wants you to be awesome and kill stuff, but they do not want you using fate to make it happen; you always have the option of the easy button now, but you are going to PAY for it down the road in big ways.

I also stole the option of having characters decide their own sequence from the new Marvel game (at least what I've read about it... I don't have a copy). I truly wish that I'd thought of this first. It's such a simple, elegant solution, and it makes so much sense. The leader of the group will probably go first, and the referee can wait for his baddies to go at the end of the round- it's not going to kill him to let the heroes go first every round.
I'm posting the actual play results in the forums. Not to gush about my game too much, but this is far and away the most a session of any game I've written has felt like OD+D play. It had that same pace and all sorts of cool stuff happening... and this was a level 1 group against a gnoll. Oh gosh but I want to get to some higher-level play.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Player's Guide: Archetypes

Here's something from the Player's Guide, so you see how this supplement is shaping up...

Character Archetypes
Athlete (Keystone Ability: Prowess)
Blaster (Keystone Ability: Bolt)
Bruiser (Keystone Ability: Might)
Freak (No Keystone Ability)
Shaper (Keystone Ability: Control)
Weapon Master (Keystone Ability: Weapon)

Keystone Abilities
With an archetype, you have one keystone ability; this is your primary ability, and you must have this ability (at the end of character creation), rated equal to or better than any other ability you possess. As a bruiser, your keystone ability is might; if you have 10 CPs invested in any ability other than might, you must also have 10 CPs (or more) invested in might. Any time you roll for another ability rated better than your might, increase your might rating CP investment to match.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sepulcher Card and a New Talent

In working on my actual play, I've developed a 'big bad', a mastermind villain who is pulling the strings. One of the traits I've developed for him is called 'Word of Power'. Word of power allows you to tie up one of your resolve points to use one of your abilities to either boost an ability with your ability, or grant a one-time use of an ability (this would be a power-based way to do some of the things that I'm envisioning gadgets as doing- both of these will be in the Player's Guide). For example, Sepulcher ties up one resolve point (moving his resolve to +7 while so engaged) to allow one of his minions to issue a word of power that will grant a single-use teleport +8, as if that target had the ability himself (for one use). That's how I've been using it in the actual play I'm doing... I like how it works, although I want to apply this to other abilities and see what problems come up with it... here's Seppy the mean...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Surge Character Card

And while I'm on a roll, here's a character card for Surge, a pretty standard blaster type...

Tribune Character Card

Up next is Tribune, the Resolute world's closest analog for Superman (albeit more of a 'leap tall buildings' classic version rather than the more modern 'throw the moon at the earth' version). He's one of my signature characters for the game... for the next several of these cards, I'll be creating starter heroes and developing new abilities for the Player's Guide, but for now, here's a very 'classic' sort of superhero build...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Character Card: Gamma Grrl

I'm playing with a format for character file cards... I worked up one for a starting hero Gamma Grrl. I like the concept, but I'm still working on the format to get a cleaner image. I'm going from Word to PDF to an image file, and it seems like there should be an easier way to do this... anyhow, here she is...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tenkar's Review of Resolute: Legacy

Tenkar opened up the tavern to share his thoughts on Resolute. You can read what he said here.

Thanks, Tenkar, for the support!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Gaming Resources

I would like to put up some resources for the game- in addition to official materials I'm producing, and am in the midst of trying to find the best way to do this. Here are a few options...

1. The Forum. I have a relatively empty forum where stuff can go. I'm not sure if, in the grand scheme, this will be the best way to organize things.

2. The Yahoo Group. As above. Again, this feels a bit outdated with other options that are out there.

3. A Wiki. I'm looking at wikispaces, and this seems to be the best way to go...

Really, the big issue I have is this- what can I actually create and post there as far as support for existing comic worlds? Specifically, I'm trying to figure out what appears to be a very grey area when it comes to copyright. I'd love to just go ahead and post stats for all sorts of official Marvel and DC heroes/villains, but I don't think that I (as the game's creator and the one who can make some financial gain from it) can be the one to post things there... can I? It seems like I shouldn't be able to, but then again, players can seemingly do so without any negative consequence. I feel relatively foolish even fielding the question, but if anyone has a clear answer for me, I'd love to hear it!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Resolute Adventure Journal Zero

Resolute Adventure Journal #0 has been posted as a free update on RPGNow; it includes an overview of Echo City and a roster of 10 villains (along with some mooks) for you to use to get your games rolling right away! I'll be posting new issues of Resolute Adventure Journal as free updates on RPGNow as I get them done; the first sets of these will be placed in Echo City, and I plan to use that as the suggested base of operations for new games.

By the way, thanks to all who've purchased Resolute: Legacy... it has already cracked the top ten list on RPGNow! I'd love to hear what you think of the game so far, and be sure to let others know too by posting on message boards or putting up a review.