Friday, February 17, 2017

Training, Research, Carousing, Gifting, and Sacrifice. (part 1)

Training, Research, Carousing, Gifting, and Sacrifice.

Turning coin looted on adventures into experience points for old-school dungeon fantasy games.

The original dungeon crawling RPG awards 1 experience point per gold piece hauled away on an adventure. This original method works fine for a simple campaign but in a complex and enduring campaign the PCs end up with incredible treasure hoards and little to spend all that treasure on in they aren’t empire builders.  The following outlines more explicit methods for turning treasure into experience points.

What changes and what doesn’t change in awarding experience points should be noted first. Experience points for defeating monsters, overcoming challenges, and specific mission awards are given to PCs as normal under the campaign rules used. No experience points are granted for the specific value of treasures gained during an adventure. For those GMs that wish to award experience points (hereafter  to be noted as exp) for magical items it is recommended to consider only awarding exp for utility as opposed to monetary value (it may be possible for some players to gain multiple awards from discovering magical items). Earned exp should be given as normal for the campaign but converting money to experience points requires specific actions on part of the PC/player.

Keeping track of downtime is essential as this shall be a resource as precious as coins when converting treasures won to exp. It is recommended that the campaign  be structured to allow for 2 to 4 weeks of downtime to occur between adventure sessions. It is during this downtime period players will make decisions on how to spend their treasure and the time required to do so.

Health and preparation are also essential to the entire process and recovery from injuries and other maladies will reduce the time a character has to convert wealth into exp.  Aside from Gifting and Carousing a character must be over 50% of their normal HitPoint total to benefit from the following methods of exp gain.

Throughout these guidelines "coins" will be used to express treasure costs. This is done to fit the coinage used in a campaign and is meant to be the common coin of value used in a campaign, so in a typical "gold standard" campaign all coins are gold pieces and in a "Silver Standard" these would be silver pieces of course. One should feel free to adjust fees as appropriate to the campaign economy of course as the suggested pricing assume lots of coins flowing even if the specific type may vary.

All of the methods of exp advancement require a 2d6 die roll with appropriate modifiers to determine the success and quality of the attempt to gain experience points. This roll may be made per week or at the end of multiple weeks depending on the campaign.

Experience Point Reward Table
3 or less
4 to 6
Limited Success
7 to 10
Typical Success
11 to 12
Unexpected Success
13 or more
Amazing  Success**
 * a roll of two “1’s” on the 2d6 roll will always be unsuccessful regardless of modifiers applied.
 ** a roll of two “6’s” will always be a success  regardless of modifiers to the contrary but will only be an amazing success if the total score indicates it to be such.

Training is study and exercise dedicated to a character’s class and skills. The time span for training is based on the week. The definition of training here is meant to cover potentially tiring and stressful exercises.

A character may spend a maximum of 100 coin per current level each week spent in training. A specific trainer may be employed if a character so wishes but the costs will be greater and may not contribute to exp gained.   

Training prohibits spending time on Research but does not interfere with Carousing, Gifting and Sacrifice in and of itself (those methods may prohibit or reduce time allowed for Training however).

Training Modifiers

-3 for self training.
-1 if character has inferior prime attribute.
+1 for prime attribute of 13-16
+2 for prime attribute of 17 or higher
+1 if Trainer employed is at least 2 levels/ranks above character
+2 if Trainer employed is at least 6 levels/ranks above character
-2 for Training during long term travel.
-1 if training in a space not dedicated to training
+1 if training in superior training space.
-2 to +2 depending on relationship with trainer

Training results:

Unsuccessful Training: No Experience points are gained and there is the possibility of injury or stress being inflicted upon the character, check on training mishaps chart to see what fate befalls character. A character’s relationship with a trainer declines during this training.

Limited Success:  Earn experience points equal to 50% of coin spent on training. Extra fees paid to trainer are excluded from these exp.  (Example: 150 coins are spent on training and 100 coins spent to employ a trainer and the character would gain  75 exp)

Typical Success: Earn experience points equal to coin spent on training. Extra fees paid to the trainer are excluded from these exp. (Example: 150 coins are spent on training and 100 coins spent to employ a trainer and the character would gain  150 exp). The relationship with the Trainer will improve.

Unexpected Success:  Earn experience points equal to coin spent on training. and 50% of fees paid to trainer up to normal weekly limit allowed.(Example: 200 coins are spent on training  by a 2nd level fighter and 300 coins spent to employ a trainer . The character earns 200 exp for initial coins spent and an additional 100 coins (half of the 200 allowed per week)).

Amazing Success: Earn experience points equal to coin spent on training. and 50% of fees paid to trainer. (Example: 200 coins are spent on training  by a 2nd level fighter and 300 coins spent to employ a trainer . The character earns 200 exp for initial coins spent and an additional 100 coins (half of the 200 allowed per week)). The relationship with the trainer will improve. Consult Training Boons chart to see if additional benefits are received.

Relationship with trainer

A character’s relationship with training will impact the benefits of training. A trainers disposition to a character will impact fees, training roll, actual experience points rewarded for training, and
the benefit or severity of boons and mishaps.

Initial Relationship with trainer.
If the relationship with a trainer isn’t defined by social relationships within the campaign roll 2d6  and apply the appropriate modifiers to determine that relationship.

Initial relationship modifiers:
-1 if CHA of student 6 or less
+1if CHA of student 15 or more
-2 if of opposing alignments
+1 if of same alignment
-1 if student prime attribute is inferior
+1 if student prime attribute is 15 or greater

Initial Relationship with Trainer
Initial relationship
3 or less
11 or more

Impact of Relationship with Trainer
minimum trainer fee
Training Roll
Impact on exp
Mishap or Boon
none required

Training Mishaps
Only roll on this table when an unsuccessful training session has been completed.
+10 to roll in a superior training space
-10 to roll in a makeshift training space
+1 per point of prime attribute over 14
1d100 roll
Training Mishap
1 or less
Permanent loss of Prime Attribute. Character loses 1 point in prime attribute. 
Grievously Injured during training. Character’s Prime attribute is halved for next 8 weeks. Recovers 1 point per week of complete rest (final points only recovered after all rest). HP reduced to 1.
Seriously Injured during training. Character’s Prime attribute is reduced by 2-5 points Recovers 1 week owe week of complete rest. HP halved.
I’ll fated. All saving Throws and Class actions are at -2 for next 7 weeks.
Strain/Stress reduce Prime attribute by1 point for 2 weeks.
Forlorn. All saving Throws and Class actions are at -1 for next 2 weeks.
Down the wrong road. Next three training sessions -1 to roll.
Took a wrong turn. Next training session is -1 to roll.
76 or more
Mishap avoided

Training Boons

Only roll on this table when an Amazingly Successful training session has been completed.
+10 to roll in a superior training space
-10 to roll in a makeshift training space
1d100 roll
Training Boon
25 or less
No Boon Granted
Insight gained, +1 to next training  session roll.
Good Student, +1 to next 3 training session rolls.
+1 to all die rolls until a failed saving throw, skill check, or hit roll.*
+1 to all die rolls until a failed saving throw, skill check.*
+1 to all die rolls until a failed saving throw.*
100 or more
Character Permanently gains 1 point in prime attribute.
 * Temporary bonuses do not stack.

Some campaigns may not handle permanent ability score gains well, treat this a bonus that will last for the next month of game time if a permanent increase fitting.

(more to come in future posts)

Friday, February 3, 2017

How Tough are Ogres?

Years back the PCs in my campaign leveled 1st to 2nd jumped a pair of Ogres and the fight was over in 2 or 3 rounds, only one PC took any damage. One player quipped “I thought Ogres would be tougher”. Looking back on that I have to wonder…just how tough are Ogres?

The situation above happened using a house-ruled set of rules that was still essentially Swords & Wizardry so my analysis will start there. I’ll pit 2 average Ogres against 2 different sample parties of 5 characters.

Here’s the sample Parties stated using Swords & Wizardry complete.

The B team, all level 1. All Ability scores 9 to 12.
Agon the Fighter, 5 hp AC5[14] chain, attacks two handed sword(1d10)

Bruli the Dwarven Fighter, 5 hp AC4[15] chain and shield, Attacks: Battle Axe(1d8 or 1d8+1 if used 2handed) and LtCrossbow (1d4+1)

Castro the Magic-User, 3hp AC9[10], Attacks: Daggers
spells: Magic Missile.autohit 1d4+1

Denny the Cleric, 4hp AC4[15] chain and shield, Attacks: Mace

Ernie the Thief, 3hp AC7[12] leather, Attacks: Sword and Shortbow

The A team, all level 1. Exceptional ability scores that impact combat are noted and everyone gets max HP. This is a maxed-out power party.
Floyd the Fighter, 8hp AC4[15] chain attacks two handed sword(1d10+3)
STR 18 +2 to hit, +3 to damage, DEX 16 Parry… -3 to enemy attacks, improve Ac by 1.

Gorddi the Dwarven Fighter, 9hp AC4[15] chain and shield Attacks: Battle Axe(1d8+1 or 1d8+2 if used 2handed) and LtCrossbow (1d4+1)
STR 16 +1 to hit and damage, Con 17 +1 hp

Hallucis the Magic-User, 5hp AC9[10] Attacks: Daggers
Con 15 +1hp
spells: Magic Missile.autohit 1d4+1

Ignatius the Cleric, 6hp AC4[15] chain and shield Attacks: Mace

Jack the Thief , 4hp AC6[13] Attacks: Sword and Shortbow
DEX 17, improve AC by 1, +1 to hit w/missiles

The 2 Ogres
Average Ogre HD:4+1, 19hp, AC 5[14], Weapon 1d10+1

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Alternate Venuses

Three tables to roll an alternate Venus (or Venus-like) world for your old-school campaigns.

 General Planetary Conditions
1. Dense (crushing) Atmosphere, unbreathable, surface temperatures high enough to melt lead.
2. Dense (crushing) Atmosphere unsurvivable by humans at low altitudes, high altitude contained habitats survivable but oxygen supplement needed to breathe outside habitats.
3. Dense Atmosphere unsurvivable by humans at low altitudes, high altitude jungle environment habitable.
3. CO2 rich atmosphere hot but endurable, filter mask required to breath outside habitats for human.
4. Thick but breathable atmosphere with surface ravaged by toxic clouds that periodically rain insidious acid rain.
5. Oxygen rich atmosphere requires filter masks to breath, frequent vast fires create they cloud deck that blocks out sunlight keeping surface survivable (aside from the frequent fires).
6. Otherwise breathable atmosphere tainted by gases bubbling from the vast seas of rotting biological matter. The seas are a riot of grotesque life-forms in an aggressive Darwinian contest.
7. A Seeming tropical paradise save for the toxic atmosphere which would kill humans in minutes.
8. A steaming world spanning Tropical jungle filled with dinosaurian life.
9. A riot of fungus-like growths dominate the lowlands in such profusion the spores are dangerous to human life. In the uplands isolated communities struggle to keep the infestation at bay.
10. An ocean world wracked by and ever storm filled sky conceals a vibrant and diverse aquatic ecology in the depths of the oceans.
11. A steaming ocean world  where the only surface is vast island-mats of vegetations. Great beasts of immense size swim in the seas mostly ignoring the relatively pathetic surface life that clings to the island-mats.
12. A world choked in the gases of a once great technological civilization. Little pockets of life exist isolated in precarious local ecologies but on the main the seas, land, and air are filthy with wastes from the fallen civilization.

Native Intelligent Species (roll 1d3, if more than one choose one to be dominant)
1. Blind Spiked Crustaceans
2. Levitating Cephalapods
3. Sentient Bivalves
4. Tripodal Fungoids
5. Chthonian Horrors
6. Communal Vegetable Intelligence
7. Gargantuan Insects
8. Large Singing Snails
9. Savage Reptilians
10. Sophisticated Myriapods
11. Machines from an elder civilization
12. Forgotten Atlantean Colonists/Amazons

Native Technology (roll 1d12 for dominant culture, 1d8 for others)
1. Non-technological society
2. Primitive/Stone Age; tools shaped directly from raw goods in the environment
3. Pharaonic; Chariot-like vehicles and pyramids
4. Bronze Age; catapults and small ships
5. Medieval; castle, swords, and handwritten books
6. Steam Age; an age of industry and science overtaking older way of life
7. Diesel Age; roughly analogous to the middle of the 20th century
8. Crystal Age; harmonic vibrational weapons and healing crystals
9. Space Age; Orbital weapons, Superalloy
10.Bio-Tech; Cultured materials and bio alteration
11.Psychotronic; Astral Detonators, Psychoactive beat
12.Cosmic; appears to be magi-tech to primitives

Some of the general conditions seem like they would prohibit much in the way of local species being around. Those that do seem out of place could be in isolated habitats (dungeons, domes, towers, redoubts, spaceships), micro-environments, just a notion to describe long lost ruins, or the undead remnants of a previous civilization.

Dense Atmosphere unsurvivable by humans at low altitudes, high altitude jungle environment habitable. Crustaceans and Insectoids with medieval technology battle it out over control of the lowlands while the remnants of an Atlantean colony struggle to survive in isolated mountain citadels with their slowly failing crystalline technology (they are ignorant of the fate of Atlantis on Earth).

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Working away

I'm working away on a few projects, one is the ink formulas I posted previews of earlier another is my next campaign as I don't have one active right now. I'm considering seriously embracing the whole murder-hobo thing with campaign rules geared more to that, enough expecting heroic play from tomb robbing scoundrels. Also got some paper soldiers/miniatures in the brew.

Likely Classes for the "embracing murder-hoboism"

Marauder: kicks in doors, kills stuff in way and loots. The straightforward melee masters of the game.
Rake: doesn't just steal coffers of coins also steal the hearts and trust of the gullible, these swashbuckling bravos are a tad less direct than marauders but still nonetheless they are action oriented.
Pilferer: Breaks in and takes off with loot.
Footpad/Thug:  Sneaks up on folks and does the whole backstabby take their stuff thing. Either going to use a kosh or be the unarmed combat master of the campaign.
Bushwacker: sneaks around outside and shoots people in the back.
Montebank: racketeer charlatans that discover magic comes to those who talk about it to much and they learn how to use it to steal stuff.
Idolater: In the hidden corners of the world there are relics, artifacts, altars, and icons of the forgotten gods by trickery and appeasement little specks of their power can be made use of.
Defiler: The dead hold no secrets to those that know how to loosen their tongues. Low class necromancers that spend more time talkign with the dead than they do animating them (not that that is off the table).
Pyromancer: why learn to work magic if you don't bother learning how to use create and manipulate fire? If it needs burning down, these are the guys that will do it.
Sarker: magic-users of sort who draw raw power from the skins of beasts they slay.

Not the good guys. Maybe not the worst guys, but certainly not pretending to be the good guys. PCs of this sort might just discover themselves the targets of the sort that consider themselves the good guys.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Level Nine Ink Formulas

One more preview of Ink Formulas for the reader, this time it's the ninth level spells.

Level 9
Astral Spell
Five measures of Chthonic Salts melted in and equal amount of Concentrated Morphean Plasma.
An Angel Plume with a Platinum Pent-tip is required to scribe a scroll with this ink.

The ink brewer should take caution not to use Diluted or Rarefied Chthonic Salts as this will result in the Astral form being unable to return to the body without outside assistance

Six Measures of Ethereal Syrup, Three Measures Purified Morphean Wax, and One measure of Aged Leviathan Jelly.
An Ostrich Plume soaked in extract of lotus blossom is used to pen a scroll with this ink.

The scribe of this scroll may replace one measure of Ethereal Syrup with Denatured Cerebral Salts gathered from the cranium of a wizard dead for at least thirteen years and in so doing the target of this spell will be hounded by a simulacrum of that wizard while trapped in the maze.

Two Measure of Cerebral Oil, Two measures of Purified Cerebral Salts, One Measure of Ethreal Essence, and Five Measures of Evaporated Demonic Umbra.
A Roc Plume is required to pen this scroll.

Up to three measure of Evaporated Demonic Umbra can be replaced with Aged Titanic Jelly but it doubles the chance of the wrong creature being summoned and typically it will be answered (in this case) by an angry elder titan.

Meteor Swarm
Three measures of Agitated Sanguine Earth, Six Measures of Celestial Salts, and One measure of Intensified Draconic Ichor.
A Griffon Plume is required to scribe a scroll.

The measures of Agitated Sanguine Earth has been successfully replaced with Pulsating Lunar Plasma but the quill used to scribe the scroll must have a Diamond Pen-tip in this case.

Monster Summoning VII
One measure each of Fresh Draconic, Necrotic, Elemental, Demonic, Verminous, Titanic,and Leviathan Oil mixed with Three Measures of Chthonic Earth.
A Roc Plume is required to pen a scroll with this ink.

As a variant the three measures of Cthonic Earth may be replaced with three single measures of the ash from three individual members of a specific type of monster and the scroll when used will only summon a member of that species of creature.

Power Word Kill
Three measures each of Necrotic Bile, Aged Necrotic Oil, and Denatured Celestial Essence, and One Measure of Pulsating Demonic Umbra.
An Angel Plume is recommended but not required to scribe this spell.

Please note that while any Plume may be used to scribe the spell scribes that have attempted to do so with a Manticore Quill have been found dead after scribing.

Prismatic Sphere
One measure each of Purified Sanguine Pigment, Purified Melancholic Pigment, Purified Choleric Pigment, and Purified Phlegmatic Pigment must be mixed with Six measures of Calcified Morphean Essence.
A Parrot Plume with a Platinum Pen-tip is required to pen a scroll with this ink.

Caution: if a non-purified pigment is used in breaking this ink  he spell will function but it will not contain 1 to 4 of the outer colors (1-Red, 2- Red and Orange, 3- Red, Orange, and yellow, 4- Red to Green).

Shape Change
Nine measure of Wax are used in brewing of this ink one each nature as follows:  Draconic, Lunar, Elemental, Ethereal , Chthonic, Essential, Morphean, Titanic, Verminous, and Leviathan. All are mixed together  thoroughly and reduced in Agitated Draconic Bile.
The scroll must be penned with a Manticore Quill dipped in mercury.

It is possible to replace the Agitated Draconic Bile with Universal Solvent but the fumes created by this process will render any who inhale them to be immune to beneficial transmogrification (polymorph and shape change) for up to a year after contact.

Time Stop
Three measure of Reduced Lunar Oil, Three Measure of Agitated Titanic Bile, Three measures of Evaporated Morphean Umbra, and One Measure of Shaved Leviathan Integument.
The scroll must be penned with a Platinum tipped Angel Plume.

One measure of Agitated Titanic Bile may be replaced with One measure of Aged Cthonic Earth but in doing so the user of the scroll may not enter or exit the area of the Time Stop during the duration of the spell.

One Measure each of Fresh Sanguine Salts, Denatured Cerebral Plasma, Crystalized Lunar Jelly, Rarefied Ethereal Dew, Infused Essential Essence, Concentrated Elemental Umbra, Condensed Demonic Mucus, Aged Celestial Syrup, Shavings of Calcified Morphean Essence, and Denatured Leviathan Ichor.
The scroll must be written with a Roc Plume dipped in Orachalcum and bearing a Diamond Pen-tip.

A Wish Scroll may be penned with a petrified Efreeti or Djinni finger crafted into a pen using a brass knife specially crafted for that purpose and then (the brass knife) reshaped into the ink bottle to hold the ink for at least one year prior to use. If the aforementioned is done properly the Wish spell cast from the scroll will not incapacity the user of the scroll after use and the wish is unlikely to turn against the user of the scroll, any Djinni or Efreeti will be aware of the manner the scroll was worked and react poorly to any who use it or the results of the wish.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Level One Ink Formulas

A preview of a yet to be named supplement for Swords & Wizardry and other compatible RPGS. The complete work will include all the spells from Swords & Wizardry complete, I'll post notice here when the whole work is published.

 Level 1

Charm Person
One measure each Sanguine Pigment and Phlegmatic Salts.
Must be penned with a Peacock Plume.

It has been reported that using Melancholic Wax in place of the Phlegmatic Salts has doubled the   duration of the spell but the target tends to need constant attention and is prone to fall into a stupor of brooding.

Detect Magic
One measure each of Lunar Powder and Cerebral Jelly
It is recommended that the scroll be penned with a Parrot Plume, other avian plumes have been reported to be functional but at a disadvantage to the initial scribing of the scroll.

Hold Portal
One measure each of Choleric Earth and Melancholic Salts.
Any Plume may be used but it must hold a copper pen tip.

Some ink brewers have reported success in increasing the effectiveness of the spell by mixing a double batch (requiring twice the ingredients above) with an additional measure of Elemental Oil.

Two measures of Celestial Essence.
The scroll must be scribed with an Owl Plume.

A scroll with an inferior casting of Light may be possible if one measure of Celestial Essence is replaced with a measure of Draconic Bile if Celestial Essence is of limited supply.

Magic Missile
One measure each of Draconic Ichor and Elemental Salts.
An Eagle Plume is normally needed to successfully pen the scroll.

If a Manticore Quill is used in place of Eagle Plume the first Magic Missile thrown will inflict 2 additional points of damage but the attempt to scribe the scroll will be at a disadvantage.

Protection from Evil
One measure each of Celestial Power and Necrotic Earth.
An Owl Plume is required to scribe this scroll.

If an additional measure of Celestial Powder is used in the brewing of the potion the duration of the spell when cast from the scroll will be increased by 50%.

Read Languages
A measure of Cerebral Gum mixed with a measure of Ethereal Pigment is needed to brew the ink for this spell.
An Owl Plume is required to scribe the scroll.

Read Magic
One measure each of Cerebral Salts and Lunar Dew.
An Eagle Plume is normally required to scribe this scroll.

If an Owl Plume with an Electric Pen-tip is used to scribe the scroll the user of this will gain a temporary+2 bonus to resist a curse or hostile magics placed on a magical work.

One measure of Elemental Earth and Ethereal Oil.
Any Plume may be used but it must be used with a Bronze Pen-tip.

If an Angel Plume is used the spell will serve to provide AC 2[17] against both missile and melee attacks.

One measure each of Lunar Powder and Morphean Essence.
An Ostrich Plume is required to pen this spell.

If the pen tip is dipped in an additional measure of Lunar Powder (which is entirely used) while scribing the scroll the duration of the spell will be extended by 50%.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

My 2nd Grader's First Computer Game

My 2nd grader has made his first computer game. It's a simple 2d shooter all whipped up by my son.  It's not slick,it's not complicated, it's not polished but it's ALL by him.  It will only run on windows machines but hey it's his first game.

I'm a proud dad.