Friday, November 27, 2015

introducing the Commander

To create your Commander, choose name, look, stats, moves, gear and Hx.

Adam, Alistair, Amazon, Artemis, Bonny, Capone, Card, Cowboy, Duke, George, Gordon, Greta, Gunderson, Hannibal, Hartman, Hiller, Jack, Lee, Lydia, MacReady, Miles, Mother, O'Neil, Rico, Shepard, Skull, Snowball, William

Male, Female, or Transgressing
Combat armor wear, formal military wear, scrounge camo wear, or vintage luxe wear.
Strong face, scarred face, grave face, brooding face, or pained face.
Calculating eyes, cold eyes, forgiving eyes, sharp eyes, or weary eyes.
Stout body, massive body, sturdy body, or wiry body.

Choose one set:
● 0=Cool, +2Hard, 0=Hot, +1Sharp, 0=Weird
● +1Cool, +2Hard, +1Hot, 0=Sharp, -1Weird
● -1Cool, +2Hard, -1Hot, +2Sharp, 0=Weird
● 0=Cool, +2Hard, +1Hot, +1Sharp, -1Weird

You get all the basic moves. You get Sir, Yes Sir and 2 more Commander moves.

You get:
● a squad (a small gang, detail)
● one military weapon
● fashion suitable to your look, including a piece worth 2-armor (you detail)

● sidearm pistol (2-harm close loud reload)
● assault rifle (3-harm close loud autofire)
● antique rifle (2-harm far loud) with bayonet (2-harm close)

Everyone introduces their characters by name, look, and outlook.
Go around again for Hx. On your turn, choose both:
● You work with one of them frequently and have become good friends. Tell them Hx+2.
● You don't trust one of them. Tell them Hx-2.
Tell everybody else Hx-1, you're mercurial and difficult to understand.

On the other player's turns:
● Write whatever number they tell you next to their character’s name then subtract 1.

Sir, Yes Sir: your squad is your gang, same difference. When you command your gang directly, you can make basic moves with them or through them. At the MC's discretion any move that misses with your squad may result in them faltering, failing, or questioning your orders.

COMMANDER MOVES choose 2 more
Blue Falcon: when you roll+hard and get a miss, if the MC agrees that the context is appropriate, you may sacrifice one of your squad to change the result into a 10+.

Cleared hot: when you take harm, you may choose to have your squad respond to your attacker immediately and violently, roll+hard. On a hit, choose two. On a 10+, all three.
● members of your squad get between you and your attacker
● your squad inflicts harm on your attacker
● your squad doesn't suffer harm
On a miss, your squad is caught flat-footed and vulnerable.

F.U.B.A.R.: when you suffer harm, you can have members of your squad take the harm instead and roll+hard. On a hit, you can reduce the harm by 1. On a 10+, nobody will die from it, regardless of how much harm it was.

Oscar Mike: when you or your squad move across hostile ground, roll+hot. On a 10+, you make it to your destination without incident. On a 7-9, you leave something (or someone) behind along the way.

Sitrep: when you or your squad are caught by surprise or ambushed, roll+sharp. On a 10+, hold 2. On 7-9, hold 1. Spend hold 1-for-1 to do the following during this exchange:
● your squad finds good cover, they take +1armor
● you press forward and advance, give yourself +1harm
● regroup and recover, take +1ongoing to acting under fire

Voluntold: when someone in your squad questions you, mutinies, or attempts to abandon the squad roll+sharp. On a hit, they fall back in line. On a 10+, hold 1. Spend your hold to take +1forward on any roll involving your squad. If you still have your hold at the end of the session, mark 1 experience.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: when you are in the thick of combat, roll+weird. On a hit, you may ask any one question of the MC as if you just read the sitch (advanced). On a 10+, you can reposition yourself or your squad to a new vantage point, with or without any real explanation of how it was accomplished.

If you and another character have sex, reset your Hx with each other to 0.

By default, your squad is about 12 soldiers with simple weapons who obey your commands to the best of their ability (2-harm gang small 1-armor). Then, choose 2:
• your squad consists of 25 or so soldiers. Medium instead of small.
• your squad’s well-armored. +1armor.
• your squad is well-disciplined and rarely questions your authority. Add +loyal.
• your squad’s self-sufficient, able to provide for itself by scavenging. It gets +rich.
• your squad is knowledgeable and well-traveled. Add +insight.
• your squad has decent weaponry. It gets +1harm.
And choose 1:
• your squad’s weapons are in bad shape and need constant maintenance. The gang is -1harm.
• your squad is young, wild, and reckless. Want: +unruly.
• you and your squad are in significant debt to someone more powerful. Vulnerable: obligation.
• your squad can't keep their genitals in check. Vulnerable: disease.
• your squad are not real soldiers, you've conscripted them to your mutual cause. The gang is -1armor.

• +1cool (max+2)
• +1hard (max+3)
• +1sharp (max+2)
• get a new Commander move
• get a new Commander move
• pick a new option for your squad
• get a holding (detail) and wealth
• get 2 gigs (detail) and moonlighting
• get a move from another playbook
• get a move from another playbook

Sunday, November 15, 2015

extra rules for Dwimmermount

Thulian Passion
Rage class ability, a Thulian-compatible Background
The Thulian people are an intensely passionate people, and the ones who have mastered their formative arts of combat are sometimes... a little too intense. You can initiate Thulian Passion during any kind of social interaction, this counts as one of your uses of Rage until you take a Short Rest. You cannot be both Passionate and Raging at the same time. While you are being Passionate you gain the following benefits:
- You have advantage on Charisma checks and Wisdom saving throws.
- You can apply your Rage Damage bonus to any rolls you make to Intimidation or Persuasion.
- Others have disadvantage when trying to use Deception, Intimidation, or Persuasion against you.
If you are able to cast spells, you can't cast them or concentrate on them while being Passionate.
Your Passion lasts for 1 minute. It ends early if any of the following conditions get applied to you: Charmed, Frightened, Incapacitated, Paralyzed, Petrified, Poisoned, Prone, Stunned, or Unconscious.

Specialty Priest of Typhon
Lawful alignment, Knowledge Divine Domain
- When you cast Guidance, the target rolls the highest die type equal to your level (i.e. if you are 6th-level they roll 1d6, if you are 8th-level they roll 1d8, and so on).
- The duration of any abjuration spell you cast is now doubled.
- You may use Channel Divinity to cast Banishment. The spell functions as if cast using the highest spell slot you have access to.
Also, you really cannot lie anymore.
- You always have disadvantage on Deception checks, regardless of the circumstances

Friday, November 13, 2015

no playbooks Apocalypse World hack

Character creation
1. Character.
What's your name? What do you look like?

2. Stats. The stats are Cool, Hard, Hot, Sharp, and Weird.
You have 3 points to spend to raise your stats up.
You can't spend points on a stat to bring it higher than +2.
You can lower a stat to raise another stat, one-for-one, but raising a stat from +2 to +3 costs -2 from other stats.
+3 is the max, -2 is the lowest.

3. Moves. Choose 3 moves, some moves come with gear for free.

Choose moves straight out of the rulebook/index. The following comes with gear:
Artful & gracious gives you 1 piece of luxe gear, per the Skinner playbook
Battlefield grace comes with an angel kit
Deep brain scan comes with 1 piece of brainer gear, per the Brainer playbook
Fortunes comes with followers
Hypnotic gives you 1 piece of luxe gear, per the Skinner playbook
In-brain puppet strings comes with 1 piece of brainer gear, per the Brainer playbook

Some moves won't work without a gang, a holding, a bike, or a car. In order to get these you need to give up one of your starting moves in place of the gang/holding/bike/car.

4. Gear. You have 8-barter to buy crap with. (see page 237)

5. History (Hx). You have Hx +1 with all other characters. Choose 1 character and tell them +1 Hx, create a positive relationship between your two characters. Optionally, choose a second character and tell them -1 Hx, create a harsh relationship between your two characters.

6. Improvement. Miss a roll (6 or less) and mark XP. At the end of every session, go around for Hx as usual and mark XP when your Hx with someone resets from +4 to +1. 10 XP can be spent to buy new moves, 10 XP can be spent to raise a stat by +1 but you can't raise any stat higher than +2.

7. Play.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

using HotDQ with Freebooters on the Frontier
Hoard of the Dragon Queen (HotDQ)

When I was running Hoard of the Dragon Queen last week, it was a spur of the moment decision to take the book down and start an adventure with the village raid in the first chapter. I was a little familiar with the book and thought I could wing it pretty easily but soon I noticed that the monsters and enemies described in the book didn't have stats, because those are in the online supplement for some reason, and at the time I didn't have that so I just made up the stats the best I could.

This adventure is not written very well at all. Hoard of the Dragon Queen is organized like a railroad adventure, which I thought I could ignore, but now that I'm reading the later chapters I see that the whole thing is just a series of setpieces. Here is a list of chapter summaries with a little information about how they're linked:
Chapter 1, the PCs help defend a village from being attacked by the Cult of the Dragon.
Chapter 2, the PCs are supposed to track and infiltrate the Cult's encampment to free a druid NPC.
Chapter 3, the druid NPC asks the PCs to return to the campsite where they are supposed to destroy the dragon hatchery nearby.
Chapter 4, one piece of evidence in the dragon hatchery is meant to compel the PCs to travel for 2 months to Waterdeep (this chapter is nothing but lots and LOTS of side quests with lots and LOTS of NPCs).
Chapter 5, tracking the cultists to, through, and beyond Waterdeep leads to a laborers' roadhouse where the PCs are supposed to find out what the cultists are doing without letting the cultists know they're being followed and watched. This whole chapter is weird anyway, the cultists go from marauding raiders to sneaky smugglers and I'm having a hard time understanding why they need to smuggle anything if they already have a strong presence in the roadhouse and the nearby castle.
Chapter 6, infiltrate a castle where the Cult is in charge. I'm not really sure what the connection is here because there is nothing directly linking any of the previous chapters to this one. It starts with the words "The tunnel from the roadhouse..." but the tunnel that is described is buried in the adventure text before the description of the roadhouse, and the tunnel is never described ever again! Not even in the room where the tunnel can be found.
Chapter 7, some villains are supposed to get away from the castle in chapter 6 and lead the PCs to a hunting lodge where more cultists live.
Chapter 8, the PCs are supposed to interrogate one of the cultists to find out where the last castle they're need to invade is.

So, we've got a bunch of side quests when on the road, a camp, a cave with a dragon hatchery, two castles, and a roadhouse. I can work with that.
The first three chapters I'm going to run pretty much as presented in the book, but I'm going to add some ideas used by Zak Smith and Courtney Campbell...

inspirational reference material
the Jade Fang of Tiamat
the Pale Eye of Tiamat
the Cobalt Claw of Tiamat
the Red Hand of Tiamat
the Black Wing of Tiamat
Courtney Campbell's invaluable notes

...the last few chapters are side quests and locations. If the PCs manage to investigate the dragon hatchery then I'll pepper some clues in the warrens there suggesting that the Cult is far-reaching and has an already-established smuggling business, and see where that takes me.

Finally, here is my evolving document of notes for running Hoard of the Dragon Queen

Character Creation
Ask players...
...who their characters' favorite person in town is? make those NPCs targets of the cult, for either obvious or secret reasons
...what their characters know of the Cult of the Dragon? incorporate answers into some aspect of the cult
...where they live in town? place major landmarks in the village near their homes long their characters have been friends? establish clear displays of friendship and camaraderie

Deities in this world:
Pogon - god of roads, patron of travelers & nomads
Metzger -
- goddess of comfort & hearth, patron of whores
- goddess of tricks, patron of thieves
- goddess of life
- god of death

Chapter 1: Galapagos in Flames (my players renamed Greenest as Galapagos, so I renamed the Mayor)
Mayor Green is a coward, a drunk, and swears alot:
"By Metzger's tits!"
"Under Pogon's flacid cock!"
"Where is that orcsucker?!"

The cultists raiding Galapagos wear green robes and use kobolds as support troops, they're part of the Jade Fang of Tiamat. However, several kobolds are commanded by Cyanwrath, a blue-scaled dragonkin, he of the Cobalt Claw of Tiamat. Cyanwrath brought the kobolds as fodder for the Green Fang. When the Jade Fang cultists are done raiding Galapagos, Cyanwrath is meant to travel back with them to the Cobalt Claw's campsite in the northwest.

I took the missions from the chapter and used them as individual challenges to bring into the game as they felt appropriate. These were notes that I wrote as we played and before our second session.

The Mill is on fire!
Cyanwrath is commanding these kobolds and appears out of the smoke after two missed rolls

The Old Tunnel
Mayor Green will shout at the PCs to find his Castellan, who has the keys to a secret underground chamber beneath the keep
the Thief could pick the lock (10+), but on a 7-9 kobolds (1d10) and an ambush drake have broken into the chamber as well
searching for the Castellan means finding where he's hiding,
if the Magic-user uses magic she'll find his dead body (10+) - behind the brothel, stabbed in the back while trying to get inside
if anyone uses Perceive: "where is the Castellan hiding?" - "probably the brothel, he's a known lech and fornicator"
if anyone uses Establish: 7+, he's at the brothel

6-dot countdown for the battering ram to break down the door
- battering ram crew is 4 jade fang cultists and 4 kobolds, battering ram countdown can't fill up if they are engaged
- mob of 15 kobolds, missed roll will bring them circling around the temple
- rear mob setting fire to temple is 8 kobolds (+1ongoing to any attacks made against this group)

Lennithon, the blue dragon
HP 12, Armor 4 - if Lennithon drops to 8 HP, he flees the battle
miss three rolls in a row and the dragon swoops down and destroys something
if anybody attempts to flee Galapagos during the raid, they will have to face Lennithon

in the aftermath of the raid Mayor Green will offer to pay 50 gold to anyone who will journey to Cold Cliff Keep and warn them of the raiders' approach
an additional 20 gold to anyone who follows the raiders trail and reports back
- where they're headed
- how many are with them
- who their leaders are
- where/when they plan to strike next
the Mayor will buy provisions for characters who agree to follow the raiders

during the first session Cyanwrath confronted the Magic-user at the mill and the Magic-user disarmed him before he was soundly defeated, the Fighter *punched* a cultist so hard that he killed them, the Thief spent a lot of time sneaking around and stealing from cultists/kobolds
during the second session the Thief tried to rescue Mortimer, a herbalist NPC, from being kidnapped and got subdued by kobolds; the Fighter punched a Jade Fang cultist so hard that he died, then the Fighter tried to get the Castellan to open the keep by setting the brothel on fire, he was rewarded by being stabbed to death by kobolds; the Magic-User used her spells to kill kobolds, disarm Cyanwrath, and then escaped Galapagos when the fighting went poorly, she was killed by the dragon who circled overhead

Chapter 2: Raiders Camp
following the raiders will only require a SCOUT AHEAD roll, 10+ result nets knowledge of a group of stragglers (4 Jade cultists, 8 kobolds)

• wet hills
• muddy sinkholes
• large rock slabs poking through the mud
• patches of matted, dead grass
• acrid smell as muddy tracks fill with water
• small creaks and ponds of brackish water
Horseshoe Plateau, perilous, evil
a single piece of curved rock that forms a wide plateau and in the center is dry dirt where the raiders of the Dragon Cults camp
when you approach the raiders' camp openly roll+CHA, on a 10+ the raiders welcome you assuming you are new initiates, on a 7-9 the raiders are cautious and question you, on a miss somebody recognizes one of you from Galapagos and they open fire with bows and spells
the Thief Circle, legendary
a muddy sinkhole surrounded by the dried out desiccated remains of 20 thieves, anybody may attempt to establish what they know of tales about the Thief Circle:
a thieves' guild fell to bickering and petty grandstanding, and in the night one of the members attempted to run off with the guild's most sacred treasure, he was hunted down by members of the guild but in recovering the treasure they fell into fighting one another, only one emerged victorious but the treasure was destroyed in the competition and now marks the site where one thief rose above all others through brute force
when a Thief steps into the sinkhole as if it were solid ground roll+LUC, on a hit they recover all burned ability scores (excluding Luck), on a 10+ they may take the Mercenary move (if they're eligible), on a miss they fall within the sinkhole and should be considered dead unless somebody ventures down into the sinkhole (60 foot fall) and checks the body per BITE THE DUST
the Rearguard, 6 Jade cultists, 2 Cobalt cultists, 1 guard drake
the Rearguard is actively preventing anyone from tracking the raiders' camp - the stragglers know about the Rearguard

the Raiders' Camp
Grim Portents

• having laid her eggs, the dragon Lennithon flies off
• prisoners in the camp are taken to the cave as food for the hatchlings
• the raiders vacate the caves, leaving the prisoners to be herded by Frulam Mondath and the kobolds
• the raiders begin to pack up, preparing to march on another town (Cold Cliff Keep?) with the Cobalt Berserkers
Impending Doom: the raiders disperse, some marching eastward to pillage and some traveling southward to set up their smuggling ring

the Dragon Hatchery
Grim Portents

• the fires are lit
• the prisoners are stripped of their clothing
• Frulam Mondath casts a spell to locate intruders
• the kobolds sweep the tunnels looking for for intruders
Impending Doom: the dragon eggs hatch and the prisoners are devoured

Jade Fang
Cobalt Claw cultist, HP 5, Armor 1, shortsword 1d6
Instinct: to steal power, to defame rivals
always wears green robes, bossy, arrogant, prefers to let subordinates do the heavy lifting
moves = call for reinforcements, set something aflame, coat weapon in poison (+stun)

Cobalt Claw Cultist
Cobalt Claw cultist, HP 5, Armor 1, spear 1d8 throw reach, sound alarm, take enemy by surprise, cast snake summoning spell

Pale Eye
Pale Eye cultist, HP 5, Armor 1, staff 1d4, turn ethereal, summon self from future for aid, cast curse upon enemy

Red Hand
Red Hand cultist, HP 5, Armor 1, battleaxe 1d10 reach two-handed, destroy object with magical fire, turn opponent's attack against their ally, reflect magic upon wielder

Black Wing
Black Wing cultist, HP 5, Armor 1, longsword 1d8, regenerate wound (1d8), instill fear, inspire follower to turn against leader
Instinct: to force compliance, to sow fear
wears black or purple robes, silent, patient, prefers grand displays of power
moves = cast a spell, destroy equipment/cover/part of a building

Frulam Mondath, HP 9, Armor 2, halberd 1d10 reach two-handed, regenerate wounds, cast paralysis upon enemy, attack twice

Rezmir, HP 11, Armor 2, greatsword 1d10 close reach two-handed, acid breath (1d8), cast a spell (listed below), wears the Black Dragon mask
Repulsion target must make a save with WIS at -1, 10+ no effect, 7-9 -1ongoing vs Rezmir, 6- cannot move closer or attack Rezmir
Extreme Bellow deafens and panics those who hear it, target must make a save with INT, 10+ no effect, 7-9 deafened for encounter, 6- deafened and terrified (must make a save with INT in order to act around Rezmir or flee)
Zero Content any writing not dedicated to Tiamat burns in Rezmir's presence
Mortification any who look upon Rezmir must save with CHA, 10+ no effect, 7-9 +1xp for committing reckless acts, 6- stab yourself with your own weapon
Impetigo acts like a disease, make a save with CON to resist, 10+ no effect, 7-9 burn 1 Dexterity, 6- your shadow attacks you (same stats as PC, but no armor)

other monsters
Dragon-dogs, HP 5, Armor 0, bite 1d8
poison = make a save to avoid being coated in slippery toxic sweat (7-9: -1forward) or succumb (miss: 1d4 dmg & -1forward & stuck wiping it off)
their dark scales secrete a slime and sometimes globules of this poisonous sweat drips off of them as they pounce onto opponents or run circles around them
moves = tackle to ground (also covers target in poison), pull prey to the ground, drive opponent into a corner

Ambush Drake, HP 6, Armor 1, bite 1d6, tail 1d8, surprise enemy (roll damage twice and take better result), attack two opponents at once

Guard Drake, HP 6, Armor 1, bite 1d6, tail 1d8, wrap tail around enemy's neck, attack two opponents at once

Cobalt Berserker, HP 9, Armor 1, greataxe 1d10 reach two-handed, unleash electricity (battleaxe blasts everyone for 1d6 1P), spit venom (-1forward)

Ropers and Troglodytes are in the DW rulebook, but I made the Roper tougher
Roper, HP 13, Armor 3, surprise prey, climb to ceiling, restrain in tendril (then) bite 1d8+2

magic items
Black Dragon Mask powers are in effect while being worn
cannot be harmed by acid; if Charisma is 13+ then +1 armor; can see in the dark; speak and understand Draconic; can breathe underwater

Monday, November 9, 2015

the random spells of Freebooters on the Frontier

This Sunday we started a new game, a hack of Dungeon World called Freebooters on the Frontier that emulates the randomness of old school D&D fairly well.

I like the Spell Name Generator from Freebooters so much that I made a page for it on Abulafia. The Magic-User in the group rolled up two spells: Winyop's Door of Despair and Murzmut's Call of Steel

The beauty of the Freebooters system is that the spells can have a more malleable and open-ended use, provided you can fit what the spell does within the themed name of the spell. Right away, Murzmut's Call of Steel was being used to snatch swords away from enemies, fling weapons around in a magnetic tornado, and draw daggers out from small groups of kobolds so that they'd all stab one another. Winyop's Door of Despair was less useful in such a direct way, but I allowed the "door" it could create to drop magical liquid out from it so that the Magic-User could attempt to extinguish fires and scald enemies who were running from house to house, attempting to set the PCs' home village on fire.

I was drawing from the first chapter of Hoard of the Dragon Queen for inspiration, as I wanted the session to start with a tense fight. This is everything I wrote during the session:

the village of Galapagos (one of the players named the village)
dirt poor, steady population, no militia, resource (balsam-pears), safe (village has walls from a collapsed keep), remote (large dwarven population), oath (to Cold Cliff Keep)
Temple of Rheezele, goddess of nature (and trickery)
the One Legged Cat, tavern
dwarven pathways: when a dwarf or halfling tries to sneak through the cracked walls surrounding Galapagos, roll+INT. On a 10+, you get where you want to go without being seen or heard. On a 7-9, you get where you want to be but not without being seen or heard. On a miss, some stones collapse and you're trapped in the pathway.

Danger: Siege of Galapagos
the keep is surrounded (half the kobolds have been routed)
□ the mill burns down (currently on fire)
the dragon attacks
the dragonkin commander arrives (he was defeated)
□ the temple is set on fire
□ the south wall collapses
Impending Doom: the village is overrun

cultists, HP 5, Armor 1, shortsword 1d6, set house on fire, call for reinforcements
kobolds, HP 4, dagger 1d4, surround an opponent, retreat and regroup
Cyanwrath - the dragonkin commander, HP 7, Armor 2, lead kobolds/cultists, challenge opponent

And that was enough to keep me busy. Next week I'll actually prepare some fronts to further this Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure, but the critics are right: this adventure is not written well.

The PCs ended up capturing some kobolds, killing some cultists, and taking the blue dragonkin commander as their prisoner. When the keep was surrounded, Mirren and Matti routed the kobolds successfully. Gerda stole the dragonkin commander's sword before anybody was forced to fight him. The fire at the mill was extinguished, but when Gerda was forced to flee from the mill some kobolds set it on fire again. The dragon swooped around the village several times, and two sections of the village were set aflame by it's fire breath.

Just for fun, I also rolled up quite a few extra spells:
Ward of the Pestilential Boon, I imagine it could be used to bestow immunity from disease or infection
Cloak of the Bloody Curse, the first thing that comes to mind is a red cloak that permeates fear in others and/or causes harm to any who approach too closely
Binding Rot of Ingoth, paralyzing/destructive magic
Zza-leo’s Venom Blast, I would use this to spit poison at enemies or even trap objects to explode with a poisonous gas/spray

Character creation plus the PCs' home village being under siege was plenty of fun, and a welcome change from playing 5th edition D&D.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

my house rules for 2nd edition AD&D (circa 1994)

I turn 39 today. I've been gaming since I was 7 years old, and if you count video games then a few years longer than that. I'm pretty sure the first time I played Pac-Man I was 3. These last few months I've been clearing out boxes and dusting off old books, figuring out if I should really keep six bookcases worth of games lodged around my house. Part of this housecleaning means I keep finding old notes that I wrote, some of which date back to my teenage days. This particular list of notes rested on a single page, and I remember it was stored in a .txt file that I could print off easily from my computer. The .txt file no longer exists but this one page still does.

I'm almost embarrassed to transcribe these, but I was only 17 years old so what the hell?! This is word-for-word what was written on my printout. Modern commentary will be in italics.
ALL CHARACTERS: regardless of PC or NPC status, receive maximum HP for first-level.
AT 10TH-LEVEL, ALL CHARACTERS: must complete secret "special" quests which I assign to them before they can raise to the next higher level. These quests will always involve playing "in character," following your set alignment, completing a goal you've set for your character, etcetera, and so on. Upon reaching 10th-level, your character may begin to have certain "feelings" that I'll tell you about. These will often be pointing you in the "correct" direction. I don't know why I'm excessively using quotation marks. I also don't remember actually ever handing out any of these "special" quests.
FALLING DAMAGE: is revised from the "official" rulebooks. My system is more elaborate, and also more damaging. I remember having these rules but I don't remember what they were.

SPECIALIST WIZARDS: get a +15% bonus to learn spells in their school of specialty, and receive a -15% penalty to learn spells in the opposition schools of their specialty. Specialists CAN casts spells from opposition schools, except in certain instances where the class warrants special spell usage (i.e., Magician class from BIRTHRIGHT, Preservers and Defilers from DARK SUN, etc.). Nobody ever played a specialist in my games.
THIEF SKILLS: can be brought above 95%, but, when rolling for successful determination, a roll of 96 or higher is always a fail. This is so the PCs can have superhuman scores, so that when penalized heavily they might still have a chance of success.
BARD KITS: do not get any True Bard skills when choosing a kit, except the Legend Lore ability, which all bards have access to. Nobody ever played a bard in my games either.

AMBIDEXTERITY: is open to all classes. This Weapon Proficiency allows the character to use a weapon in each hand with only a -2 penalty in the "off" hand. Basically, Rangers get this proficiency for free. I don't remember anybody playing a Ranger either.
NON-WEAPON PROFICIENCIES: characters get a +1 to put towards any proficiency every level they advance. A +1 earned at the same time a new proficiency is added cannot be added to that proficiency. For instance, at 3rd-level you can't put a +1 on the new proficiency you just learned. Was this a rough draft?

CANTRIP: is not a spell. The cantrip is an ability granted from any Spellcraft ability (except Priestly). A mage, or other character, with the proficiency can use a cantrip specific to the school he has Spellcraft with. For instance, a mage with Spellcraft-Illusion and Spellcraft-Conjuration can use cantrips that have effects indigenous to those 2 schools. A mage with a Spellcraft proficiency can use a number of cantrips equal to his level per day. All rogue classes with Spellcraft get half that number, rounded up. All other classes can use a cantrip, with a wizardly Spellcraft proficiency, once a day per 5 levels. The influences of Mage the Ascension
CASTING SPELLS: requires a Spellcraft proficiency related to the school of magic. If a character is not proficient in a school of magic, she can't cast, or even learn, that spell. However, if a character wants to learn and cast a spell that has multiple schools, but ONLY one that she is proficienct with, she can still learn and cast the spell. Priests need only learn a a Spellcraft proficiency for Priestly magic. I remember somebody playing a wizard and being really cross that the cleric didn't have to use as many proficiencies on magic.
WIZARD SPELLS: can have double the number of memorized spells (5 minutes to memorize one level of spells) and when casting can use a spell multiple times that they've memorized once. Memorized spells are lost after 2 days and must be re-memorized.
MEMORIZING SPELLS: can only take up to 4 hours of the wizard's time a day. Or else, the mage suffers a -2 cumulative penalty to THAC0 and proficiency scores for each hour spent in "extra" study. This means, a mage is limited to memorizing 48 levels of spells per day. I don't remember why that limit was there, seems arbitrary at a glance.

Friday, November 6, 2015


A meme is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.

Imagine the radioactive hazard symbol. The fact that you are imagining a yellow circle with a black center circle and three trapezoidal shapes at even intervals is a testament not only to the visibility of the ionizing radiation symbol but also to the definition of a meme. A symbol is a meme. It can communicate a vast array of ideas with its seemingly simple imagery. A word is similar to a symbol. A symbol is composed of lines and shapes and sometimes colors in order to communicate a complex concept within a small space, a word is composed of lines shaped into various letters when arranged in the correct combination communicates a concept. Words need to be known before they can be read, as is the case with symbols, but what if simply seeing a symbol instantly communicated what it was?

Imagine a word that doesn't exist. Flabonic. That's a word that doesn't exist. Except now it does, it exists now as an example of a word that doesn't exist. But it exists. Flabonic communicates nothing, other than it doesn't mean anything. We don't want to use an example word and I don't want you imagine a word anymore, we want to escape the language barrier, so instead: imagine a symbol that doesn't exist. I'm going to tell you what it means. When you see this nonexistent symbol your conscious mind reads it and tries to make sense of it and perhaps you dismiss it as a scribble or graffiti or garbage, but it plants an idea into your brain, the idea that your death is imminent and that it could occur at any moment. Seeing the symbol is simple and causes no reaction, but as the symbol is absorbed by your brain it dissolves into its component parts and attacks your thought process. Within a few minutes you start to fear that something bad is about to happen. Within an hour every movement and sound is causing you to flinch in fear as you await your death. You might try to accept this fate and just relax, this is going to happen and you can't stop it so what is the point in worrying about it, but this thought will be coupled with the thought that you might just have a chance to escape your death if you pay very close attention to what happens next and if you react quickly enough you can save your life for one more day. You may try to fight these thoughts, telling yourself it's all in your mind and you're jumping at nothing, but this thought leads you to think that it is while you are not paying attention that death will strike most painfully. Only if you pay attention carefully will you have a chance to evade your fate, which you know is certain and cannot be avoided, but if you don't pay attention then your fate will be slow and drawn out and you will suffer in agony. You are in a dungeon where the walls are scribbled with this symbol. As you venture farther down the symbol begins to take hold, and your progress is slowed by your own inability to act rationally, soon you have very little ability to act as you find yourself sitting in a corner of the dungeon awaiting what will happen next. The room you are in is littered with the bones of previous explorers who were all killed by something terrible in this room, and now you are here awaiting something terrible and it hasn't happened yet but it will any minute now, and you grow hungrier as the days pass but it could happen any minute and you need to stay alert. Best to just sit here and wait.

This is the terror meme. It paralyzes it's victims with fear and uncertainty. It is not magical, it is not a curse, it's a meme.

Of course, there are other memes. There is the one that tells your brain you need to run as fast as you can and if you slow down for any reason you're going to die, you better keep moving whatever the cost. There's the one that tells your brain if you take one more step then your heart will stop. The one that tells your brain if you urinate again your soul will slip out of you leaving your body an empty husk. The one that tells your brain if you dance you'll live forever, and can actually spread to anybody who approaches you and tries to make you stop dancing, and soon whole villages are dancing. There's one that tells your brain you need to share it with everybody you meet and you do this by talking about the weather, and soon everybody is talking about the weather, what it's like right now and what it will be like tomorrow and what it was like last year and how that's different from now. Sometimes, instead, you share the meme by talking about what a meme is.

Perhaps you've encountered one of these memes, perhaps you will encounter a new one soon. Flabonic.