Monday, July 31, 2023
Sunday, July 30, 2023
- PDF Download
- Print Edition (coming soon)
I'm going to be putting together a resources page (with a link on the left) for various Cupcake Scouts links and resources... and one of those is going to be to sashes you can color in. This is the first sash in what I expect to be a series of sashes that you can color. The idea is that you print these out, color in squares as you kill these monsters, and then color the badges as you complete the task and earn the badge. Badges are how you advance in the game, so keeping track of what badges you have credit towards in pretty important. You could just keep a list of badges you are working towards on a looseleaf sheet of paper, and then just keep tallies next to them - but what fun is THAT?!
Going to print one of these bad boys out before I keep going with my actual play experience.
One of the things that I like is that I've tied some monster origins to the Cupcake Scouts. Ancient Greece had its own variation of Cupcake Scouts (Souvlaki Sisterhood? Feta Friends? Pita Patrol?) - and they went bad. This allows me to tie some of the female monster archetypes (specifically medusae and harpies in these rules) to the Scouts. There are five scout troops, and I am confident that I'll be able to link five monsters to them... medusae were the classic version of Seeker Scouts (and the 'eyes' thing is a great connection), whereas Harpies were the Singer Scouts (their song is now horribly corrupted). It's such a nice little link between monsters and the Scouts that makes the whole world feel more complete and unified to me.
I'm looking forward to people reading this. I hope you like it.
Then, I'll probably crack out some dice and keep exploring Moridis' Tomb. Briar's relic isn't going to find itself...
Saturday, July 29, 2023
Thursday, July 27, 2023
Briar - Stalwart Scout 2
[Hits 12 | Dagger (5) | +1 to attack; baker; fighter; jeweler; resolve]
- She can use 2 gems per day; she has a stunning gem and a sunlight gem.
- She has the following badges (5): shade hunter, zombie hunter, friend to gnomes, cupcake baker, and one bravery badge. She will start with no credit towards any other badges. I’ll presume that she’s been doing all of her adventuring in graveyards so far, and been helping gnomes with a variety of problems, as well as baking them lots of cupcakes.
Before setting off into Moridis’ Labyrinth, she bakes a fresh batch of muffins (since that’s what she’s working on next). She actually gets a success (natural 10), so she will have two muffins with her on her journey! She has a healing muffin and a growth muffin. Good stuff!
I’m going to use the rules for likelihoods throughout, and will see how that goes.
Briar goes into the basement of the coffee shop (after getting a fresh cup of hot chocolate), and descends into area 33 on the map. She gets to the portcullis, which is possibly locked, but I roll a 4 and it is not locked. Someone left it open… for her? Rut roh. She carefully moves into the center of the area and looks around. She makes her social check and sees the secret door to the south; she checks that out first, and pushing the wall in (it’s spring loaded), she sees that stairs beyond descend into darkness. She is not ready to go any deeper yet! She decides to explore to the east. The room she is in was once an assembly hall of some kind (it has vaulted ceilings, and the remains of rows of seats that are long since rotted). She crosses east to area 35, and sees the statues. She examines the north statue first. The dice (rolled a 2) say that it’s an animated statue. She attempts a social check, but with the -1 edge she fails, and the statue springs to life as she is examining it. It attacks at +1 edge but misses, and she gets her turn; she leaps backwards while swiping with her dagger. She misses, despite her +1 edge (she needs to roll 7 on the dice to hit). It is very unlikely that the second statue is also an animated statue; nope. It might be special, but it’s not animated. Okay. The statue hits for 4 damage, and Briar is at 8. This time she hits for 5, but it soaks 1, suffering 4 and is down to 6. On its action, the statue swings at her hitting again for 4. She is at 4. She already has to pop that muffin in her mouth, regaining four hits (at 8) and then hitting (barely) for 5. After soaking 1, the statue is at 2 remaining. It hits her again for 4, and she’s back to 4 remaining. She totally misses (2, 1, 1 on the dice) and it hits her again! She’s at zero… Or she would be, but she uses her resolve ability to completely ignore that attack. She finally hits again for 5, dealing 4 and destroying the statue.
She was able to defeat it, but it used up a lot of her resources (she already used her healing muffin), and pushed her to use her resolve up. It’s all good, because she survived.
On the fly, I think that having to recover 2 points an hour of rest is a lot for this game. I’m almost thinking that ten minutes of rest is enough to recover your level… because I want the game to keep moving. It’s an over the top game, so I don’t think anyone is going to be like “I accept that 11 year olds go on dangerous missions to the underdark with adult permission, but I’m struggling with the idea that they heal in a few minutes of rest”... like, this game is pretty clearly a game in a cartoonish world. People will go with it.
So, she recovers 2 points per ten minutes of rest… since she is down 8, she needs to rest for 40 minutes. I’ll say that she goes back to the stairs and snacks on a regular old everyday muffin to get some strength back, sip some water, and get her bearings. It is possible that there is a random encounter, and there is. It’s a zombie. It comes clamoring from the west just as she’s getting her muffin out, and she tries to hide to jump it. Stupid zombies. She succeeds, and gets to attack with +2 edges. Wow. She almost misses anyway! (6, 2, 1, 1) If that 6 was a 4, she misses. Anyway, she hits the zombie for 5, and it is at 1. It hits her for 2, and she is at 2. I could have her use resolve, but I’ll hold off for an emergency… She hits for 5 and destroys it. This time she is able to rest for an hour, and fully recovers.
1 animated statue
There is a really, really nice synergy happening in the new edition of Cupcake Scouts where the art and the writing and the mechanics and the setting are coming together in a really cohesive and - dare I say lovely? - way. It all has this really whimsical quality, but it's rooted in a very, very playable and engaging game system. I'm really lucky to have stumbled upon this. Here's a draft of a page from the monster section.
Did two sets of designs today... worked on a 2d6 symbol for the cover of the game (and for marketing purposes at some point), and then Mary helped me work on the Cupcake Scouts uniform. I wanted to keep earth tones (green and brown) as the base, but Mary kept challenging me to make it 'prettier'... so my initial design is to the left, and the design I think I'm going with is the far right. You can see the evolution of how we kind of got there.
Wednesday, July 26, 2023
I've been working on Cupcake Scouts like I tend to do, and I'm making mad progress. I'm really happy with how the game looks. I'm leaning towards a 48-page rulebook, but we'll see. I've made a LOT of changes from first edition, and this game is much more well-rounded, with many, many more options. As a for instance, I have broken down gems into lesser (available starting at level 1) and greater (available at level 3) gems, so there's more character progression built into the system. It's still intentionally narrow - you're building a Cupcake Scout and going on Buffy and Supernatural type adventures. There's a big bad who is always in the background. Within that framework, there is still a lot of cool stuff and variety.
Anyhow, for today I thought I'd share a monster stat block. I've written about my love of brevity in stat blocks, and this is no different. I present the draft of the stat block for the Salamander. A few well-prepared level 2 scouts should be able to tackle this guy, but they have to be careful in doing it... and, yes, I am using a few pieces from Hack'D & Slash'D that I am coloring and adding a few flourishes to. I figure that I can't do a better salamander drawing than this one, so I may as well just go with it.
Tuesday, July 25, 2023
Last post, I suggested the idea that your character sheet might be a coloring page, and a large section of it would be sashes. I was thinking that it could have maybe the ten most common sashes, and then spots for ten others that you could be working on... and a blank page you can always add to. The idea being that you use the boxes to fill in as you kill these enemies or complete challenges to get the badge (a baking badge might have three boxes beneath it instead of ten, because you need three natural 12s to get that badge)... here's a first draft of the design for what the zombie hunter and zombie slayer badges would look like. You kill ten zombies (and fill in the ten boxes as you are doing it), and you get the badge. Once you have earned the badge, you pull out your colored pencils, markers, or crayons, and you color that little zombie in. This gives some incentive and a sense of accomplishment every time you kill one of these buggers. I could always add a third (master slayer) when you get another fifty, just to keep zombies interesting... the most common monsters (zombies, skeletons, ghouls, imps, shadows) would have preset badges, but there would be many blank badges for you to fill in. You decide to become a specialist at hunting wereboars, because they are all over the countryside? Hey, you go right ahead and design your own badge and start tallying.
As Emerson warned, "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds". Now, I think I have a medium-sized mind (at least), and I don't really like hobgoblins all that much, so I decided to take his words to heart. That said, I have given 2d6 another shot. And I like it.
For Cupcake Scouts 2E, I found that by scaling the numbers to cap at no better than +5 (usually +4), and by swapping out some of the things I had given as modifiers to be edges instead, I've kept the numbers very reasonable (to my mind).
So, I have a draft going and the first half of the book is roughed out already. I have learned to work very, very quickly at this point. It's at about 6,000 words (18 pages) at present, and about half of that is language I cut and pasted over and then edited the heck out of, and half of it is new language based on things I've learned and problems I've solved in the last four years or so. The previous edition was 48 pages, but the pages were pretty breezy, and there was a lot of white space. I'm getting almost twice as much information on a page at this point, so getting the whole package to 32 pages looks likely. I'd prefer 48, but I'm not sure if the game needs that much content. I want it to be light and airy, but you can always use more monsters, I suppose...
I thought I'd give you a taste of how it looks with the snapshot of the rules for character generation. This is my first play test character, and I'll have her fight some zombies and see how it goes...
1. Select a troop. Looking at the options, I decide that my character is going to be a stalwart scout, so she can be good at fighting monsters.
2. Select one tag. For my stalwart scout, I pick fighter so she gets a bonus to attack.
3. Gather your gear. I review the gear section. I will keep those blessed stakes at the ready!
4. Write down your weapon damage and hits. My dagger deals 4 hits (2 base +1 from being level 1, +1 from being a stalwart scout). I have 6 hits (what every scout has at level 1).
Name your scout and think of one adjective to describe her (other than the word for her troop). I go with Chase as her name, and ‘serious’ as her adjective.
Sunday, July 23, 2023
Full disclosure: I had written a REALLY long and complicated analysis of moving from 1d12 to 2d6, only to discover at the end that there are lots of good reasons I don't like 2d6. While there are some cool wrinkles (I like the idea that edges give a pool of dice, and you pick the most favorable or unfavorable 2 depending on whether it's positive or negative), the 1d12 is just better all around. And, it's such a cool and under-appreciated die.
All hail the dodecahedron.
That said, here are some considerations for Cupcake Scouts mechanically vs. Hack'D...
I don't think you have armor per se. That's not a thing. I would lean a bit more into the three traits as soaking damage; I'd use might instead of armor (since might sets the maximum rating for armor, it sort of ends up being the default anyway). If I have might 4, I'm doing everything I can to be able to purchase armor 4. Cupcake Scouts doesn't have the same sort of scaling of economics and gear. You aren't constantly trying to upgrade your gear; you collect relics that can increase your power, and potions that give power ups, but you are not getting a +1 dagger, and a +1 shield, and boots of speed, and gauntlets of might... you could end up carrying the dagger of shattered dreams, but that's a pretty special item and you want to keep it very safe. There are no generic magical items. You don't collect gold and spend it to get gear. The game needs an economy for sure, but that economy has to be something different than the economy in a traditional fantasy setting. This means that all supernatural abilities target either mind or reflex to make those important for all characters; you resist indirect magic (charms, control, etc) with mind, but you resist physical supernatural damage and all areas of effect with reflex. To summarize:
- If it deals physical damage to you directly, check might to resist (poisons are still here, as are all physical attacks from weapons and natural abilities such as claws and bites).
- If it deals mental damage, or affects your five senses, check mind to resist (petrification, charms).
- If it deals magical damage or affects you indirectly, check reflex to resist (most spells like bolts and bursts, breath weapons, elemental damage like from fire).
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
I put together the start of a color key to the level, showing it by conceptual sections. These are either the vibe of a place, or sections that are controlled by factions. I have a few things still to be determined, and I think that the Circle of the Serpent has a stronghold here as well, so they might end up getting one of the bigger unclaimed areas. I'm still not sure how this looks as a 'product', but I'm posting it all online for now so you can keep up at home. See the links to the left for the megadungeon, which is a very messy work in progress.
Saturday, July 15, 2023
Approaching the tower, they come upon three jackals picking at the corpse of a large stonecutter beetle. Two dead jackals are nearby, having taken the beetle’s best shot. The heroes see this from 60’ away, but the jackals do not see them (too busy eating). Gar prepares his blade and shield, Nil will fire a sling bullet at them, and Aria will use an arcane dart. Nil hits with a 9, killing one, and Aria automatically kills one with an arcane dart. The third fails its morale check, and runs away. The fellowship examines the corpse of the beetle; Aria makes her lore check with a natural 12, and they recover its oil membrane. This she is able to pour into a vial. They have enough oil of enchantment to coat three weapons.
At the bridge, they see that it is rickety and looks quite dangerous. Aria and Nil easily disbelieve the illusion (both getting 12s) but Gar struggles to believe that the bridge is safe. He refuses to cross until the others do; they both move across successfully. He finally disbelieves, but is on the other side when the ‘ogre’ emerges from the cave. All three succeed at disbelieving this illusion, and the fight with the zombie is on.
The heroes win initiative. Aria deals 2 hits with an arcane dart (leaving the zombie at 7), while Nil hits with his sling for 2, leaving the zombie at 5. Gar spends his action crossing the bridge. The zombie misses Aria with both claws. She deals another 2 (leaving it at 3) and Nil misses with a sling stone. Gar enters the combat, hitting with his dagger but missing with his shield. The zombie is at 1. It attacks Gar this time, but misses twice. Aria finishes it with another arcane dart. They investigate the cave, but find nothing of value.
This time it is Nil who struggles to disbelieve the illusion; he ‘knows’ that the tower is not really burning, but cannot bring himself to approach. It ‘feels’ to him like genuine flame, and he perceives pain as he gets close to it. He needs a few minutes.
Aria and Gar decide to approach, and they find the phantom of Calidar wandering about. Aria tries to greet him pleasantly, and succeeds with her mind check. He remembers hearing of her master at some point, and asks for help in finding his marbles. They begin searching about. Aria finds a scroll (Speak with Stone), and Gar finds a potion (Levitation). He asks if they will check ‘downstairs’ and see if they can find his marbles for him. They agree.
Nil again attempts to disbelieve, but the illusion is just too strong. He cowers at the foot of the tower. Aria sees this, and asks Calidar if he can help their friend to see that it is safe to come up and help him. Calidar does, and permits Nil to see through the illusion. Because Nil failed twice, he does not get to look for an item like the other two did.
Calidar speaks his name backwards, the magical portal in the floor reveals itself, and the heroes descend into the Halls of Moridis for the first time…
Friday, July 14, 2023
Tuesday, July 11, 2023
I have decided to make a team of three characters to actual play through my mega dungeon. I want something of a tank, a caster, and a thief/archer. I go with a stoutling with blade and shield as the tanker (hoping he can also deal some damage, but his primary role is to absorb damage for the team), a caster (who is primarily offensive, but will be able to heal as well through her signature spell), and a scout/thief/archer. I go with my moon elf for the mystic, and decide to make a narglyn (half goblin) for my thief (sort of an underground ranger is how I’m picturing him). I also decide to add a new weapon, darts, to the game. I am tempted to go with luck for two of the characters, but decide to try characters without that and see how they do. Luck was really vital for a solo character, but with a team of three, I have more versatility and can offset a missed roll here and there. I decide that all three have traveled together to Daggerford for the express purpose of exploring the megadungeon. I can actual play through a lot of the content I create for the dungeon as a result. The Sunken Chambers will be the area they explore first.
I've strarted a Google Doc where I'm crafting the megadungeon. I have four maps done, and notes for several locations. I will keep updating this as I go, and plan to eventually release it as a finished product and companion piece to the core rulebook.
New Weapon: Darts. Although thrown weapons, darts rely on reflex rather than might. Darts deal 1 damage, and come in a collection of 3 for 1 gold.
Aria - Studious Moon Elf Mystic 1
Armor 0 (2); Hits 5; Move 60’; Spell or Dart (1/20’)
Body 0; Mind 4; Reflex 2
Lore; Mystic (Common, Arcane); Spellcraft (arcane magic)
Signature Spell: Healing Word
Starter Pack; Alchemist’s Oil; 6 Darts
With an insatiable desire to learn more, Aria cannot help but explore.
Gar - Fastidious Stoutling Guard 1
Armor 2; Hits 12; Move 40’; Dagger (2) + Shield (1)
Body 4; Mind 1; Reflex 1
Fortitude; Guardian; Two Weapons; Warrior
Starter Pack; Leather Armor; Shield; Dagger (2)
A serious and meticulous watchman, Gar has forgotten how to smile.
Nil - Sly Narglyn Scrounger 1
Armor 1; Hits 6; Move 40’; Sling (2)
Body 1; Mind 1; Reflex 4
Archer; Sharpshooter; Stealth; Thievery
Starter Pack; Leather Armor 1; Sling 1; Tool Kit
Having a particular love of jewels, Nil embraces both his goblin and human heritages.