Friday, February 24, 2023
A Defense of Railroading
Thursday, February 23, 2023
- Be revisited many times.
- Serve as the foundation for an entire campaign / ongoing series of adventures.
- Be used for one-off adventures.
- Act as a launching point for campaigns that go in any direction.
- Not just be the Death Star with the serial numbers filed off.
I think I've got something that works. Here's the elevator pitch:
When the Enteri faced extinction, they built an ark that would allow their species to survive. Scientists and pacifists by nature, they created a legion of bots to assist in the creation of this. Within their tallest peak, they built a massive laboratory that would survive their planet's collapse. It worked, and they spent decades floating in space, gather all manner of flora and fauna for preservation. However, their bots became corrupted and turned on them. Now, mad bots patrol its halls, strange creatures break from their binds, and the last remnants of the Enteri hide in the deep recesses of the complex, struggling for survival.
I liked how work was going on material for Hack'D & Slash'D (with having a living online document as support), meaning that you can watch the design process in real time, if that's your jam.
Sunday, February 19, 2023
A Megadungeon... In SPAAAACE
Thursday, February 16, 2023
Saturday, February 11, 2023
Revisiting Shards of Tomorrow
The biggest takeaway was how much is packed into 48 pages. I kept turning pages and going "oh yeah - wow - this is cool". I remember reading an interview with Dave Sim late in his run on Cerebus where he said he would look back at issues from a few years earlier and think how he used to be better than he is now - he wishes he could draw like that (even though, of course, he still could - it is just that he was more critical of his current work, but could be more objective and therefore appreciative of older work). I had a similar response to the game - "wow, I don't write games like THIS anymore".
I mean, of course I do. I must. I'm still me. But still, it was great to have the reaction that the game was something I'd aspire to create, and then to realize that I did.
If this sounds like a lot of navel gazing and self-congratulations... well, maybe it is. But is also makes up for several decades of feeling like my work wasn't good enough and that maybe I didn't have what it takes.
I no longer feel that way. It's a good feeling.
Sunday, February 5, 2023
Top Rope Wrestling RPG Now Available
The Lord of the Squared Circle tournament. You’re backstage, taping up your wrists. Yeah, you’ve wrestled some independent house shows, but this is the big leagues. The International Wrestling League. IWL, baby. You just saw Assassin Ace pass through, and you’re pretty sure that was the Hangman headed out to the arena. The crowd cheers and you feel your pulse pounding. Mr. Ellis, the promoter, pats you on the back and tells you you’ll do great. You hear your theme music start.
It’s go time.
Top Rope is a flexible, simple, straightforward wrestling RPG in 2 pages that lets you recreate 1980s-era pro wrestling using 1d6.
Top Rope Wrestling Game Resources
You can pick up a copy of the rules for Top Rope here.
Options and Plug-Ins Include:
Promotion Play. Promotion play is an extended 'campaign', where you build a promotion over time. See this separate document for a variety of options for promotion play.
Battle Royales. In a battle royale, all the wrestlers in the match are the ring at the same time. The goal is to throw wrestlers out. In general, wrestlers break into one-on-one matches within the battle. When a wrestler gets to stamina 0, another wrestler can try to throw him out of the ring. This requires a successful might check. If the check succeeds, the wrestler is thrown out. If this fails, the one who was almost ejected recovers 1 stamina and continues in the match.
Celebrity Matches. Sometimes for events, the promoter will get celebrities to team with existing talent. Often, this means teaming the celebrity with someone far more proficient and experienced. The celebrity is always built as a jobber, since they have only had a few weeks of training to prepare for the match. Most often, two experienced wrestlers team with two celebrities in a tag-team match; a celebrity must be the one to claim the pinfall against one of the wrestlers for the match to end. A celebrity match always draws x100 fans in Promotion play.
Elimination Tournaments. In such a tournament (typically 8 or 16 man tournaments), you recover 1 juice after each match; you have only so much juice to get to the end of the tournament. Elimination tournaments are often held for a new promotion to determine its initial champion.
Handicap Matches. Sometimes, a more capable wrestler will take on two lesser foes; a new wrestler to a promotion might take on two jobbers in a handicap match to try to build a reputation, or a tag team of lower-tier wrestlers may take on one of the upper-tier wrestlers. These are gimmick matches but tend to be popular. One side acts as a tag team, while the solo wrestler competes the whole time.
Saturday, February 4, 2023
Numbers On My Mind
Monsters reflect this. They are granted a default bonus equal to their level. This means that (if we were to convert monsters to characters), monsters are sequenced in this way:
- Level 0 monsters have +0 to all abilities (so 0 character points).
- Level 1 monsters have +1 to all abilities (6 character points).
- Level 2 monsters have +2 to all abilities (12 character points).
- Level 3 monsters have +3 to all abilities (18 character points).
- Level 4 monsters have +4 to all abilities (24 character points).
- Level 5 monsters have +5 to all abilities (30 character points).
Let's stop there. These numbers suggest a few things:
Monsters scale up quickly. There is a significant power difference between a level 2 and level 3 monster. They are 8% better at everything. Level 3 monsters have a 50% chance of success all the time. That's quite a bit.
Having PCs start with 20 character points is incredibly high. They don't have the hits, but they are effectively as powerful as level 3 monsters at level 1. This is way out of scale. Furthermore, since a 'normal person' is built on 0 points, they are scaled way beyond normal creatures.
I can still allow characters to grow into bigger numbers but we can scale them back at level 1, and then grant +1 Character Point per level thereafter, to show this growth.
If I think of it this way, it makes more sense:
- A commoner is built on 0-4 character points.
- An exceptional normal is built on 5-9 character points.
- A heroic character is built on 10+ character points.
If you are built on 10+ your level CPs, you have 11 CPs at level 1, and will have 16 by level 6. This means that monsters get more dangerous as you go. They are scaling differently. While you are about as capable as a level 2 monster when you are level 1, you will only be about as capable as a level 3 monster when you are level 5.
It also means that having a +0 in an ability is not bad, it's just very average. I like that you only record exceptional abilities on your character sheet (if reason is +0, don't write it down).
I am really, really okay with this. This also causes two other sets of numbers to change:
For heavy weapons, instead of defaulting to 1d12 for damage, you add might to damage; light weapons always deal 1d6, but heavy weapons deal 1d6+might. I'd prefer the guaranteed damage every time over the chance of getting a 12. Using two-handed then gives you +1 edge to damage.
For armor, we scale back to light armors (leather +1, studded +2) and heavy armors (chain +3, plate +4). This gives better scaling options for magic as well (so now magical spells that increase abilities and ratings don't potentially break the game as easily).
Arath, Stalwart Human Warrior 1
Armor +3; Hits 9; Greatsword (1d6+4)
Check level for second attack; Defender (+1 edge to armor checks)
Might +4; Persona +2; Reflex +2; Stamina +3
Chainmail (+3), Great Sword, Adventurer’s Pack, 6 gp
Friday, February 3, 2023
Arath the... Daring?
Making a character to do some play testing, and I decided to draw him up as I was creating stats for him. He seemed to be very familiar... and as I was finishing the drawing, I realized that he was pretty close to Dirk the Daring from Dragonslayer... I am going to chalk that up to either 1) great minds thinking alike, or - and far more likely - 2) the power of my subconscious.
So, here he is, Arath the ... not daring. Not at all. Decidedly un-daring.
Arath, Stalwart Human Warrior 1
Armor +4; Hits 9; Greatsword (1d12);
Check level for second attack
Intuition +2; Might +6; Reason +1;
Persona +4; Reflex +3; Stamina +4
Chainmail (+4), Great Sword, Adventurer’s Pack, 6 gp