Archive for April, 2012

More Thoughts on the One Page Campaign

April 30, 2012

Well, I’m on this One Page Campaign kick right now, so I’m just going to roll with it a bit.  Actually, thinking on it more, it’s probably more accurate to call it a One Page Hex Crawl, because that’s what it would turn out to be.  As the party explores they have roughly a 1-in-6 chance of encountering as they forge through a hex.  Not every encounter has to be a one page dungeon.  Some might just be weird monuments, abandoned ruins, random monsters or some such.

While you’d have to pre-place any dungeons you seed as treasure maps or important points-of-interest, you wouldn’t have to prep every single hex beforehand.  If an encounter happens, you could just make a quick roll on some charts to determine what the encounter is (for example:  1 = dungeon or monster lair, 2 = ruins or monument, 3-5 = wandering monster, 6 = special encounter).  If a dungeon, lair or other structure is rolled, it’s set in that hex for the rest of the campaign (though monsters could reoccupy a previously cleared dungeon).  One of the great things about using one page dungeons is that you could just print out a bunch you like beforehand and then randomly draw one when needed.  Determine its level, either randomly (roll 1d10 for dungeon level) if you want to be hardcore, or use something like every hex out from a large settlement increases a dungeon/lair’s difficulty by 1 level, if you want to give the PCs a chance ;).  Then make a note on the sheet of it’s level and hex number.

If I have time I might work up an old-schoolish one-page supplement for hex crawling and wilderness encounters.  Cheers.

…No Bloody Heroes

April 27, 2012

Click on me to download ...No Bloody Heroes

So, building on yesterday’s post about the One Page Campaign, I worked up a variant of Searchers of the Unknown that I’d use for such a game.  There are a number of minor differences, but the biggest difference is that I did away with hit points.  Harkening back to the days of Chainmail, a character can take a number of ‘hits’ equal to their Hit Dice (well, PCs actually get one extra ‘hit-to-kill,’ plus a roll to avoid death).  I went with this approach because I wanted something that was even easier to run and keep track off, and it makes it a lot easier to convert monsters from just about any D&D source out there…so easy you can literally do it on the spur of the moment.

The concept is that the PCs aren’t Big Damn Heroes, the Chosen Ones born under the sign of the shooting star…or whatever.  They’re just peasants who decided that dungeon delving was a better way to make a living than shoveling pig crap, or dying in some noble’s petty war.  Thus, it is assumed that the PCs are illiterate rogues (though not rogues in the ‘thief’ sense) armed with weapons you’d find lying around the farm, though they can upgrade to better stuff.  And maybe they picked up some rusty chainmail off a dead soldier somewhere.

Oh, and another great thing about one-page rpg rules that comes to mind, is that you can print them on the back of the character sheets.  That way, everyone has a set of the rules handy for immediate reference.

Note:  I totally stole part of the XP rules from Swords of Minaria.

The One-Page Campaign

April 26, 2012

I’ve been musing over the concept of a one-page campaign.  The idea is to use a one-page rpg as your core rules, something like Nicolas Dessaux’s Searchers of the Unknown, and then populate the campaign setting using choice entries from the One Page Dungeon Contest.  You’ve got 60 dungeon choices (so far) for 2012 alone, plus at least a hundred more combined from 2009, 2010 and 2011!  And if that isn’t enough, use one of the many fine random dungeon generators available online (some of them even populate the dungeon for you).

One of the nice things about the One Page Dungeon contest is that the monsters are not statted out, so it’s easy to incorporate them into any system.  All you’d need to do is assign each dungeon a difficulty level, make a note of it and create a hex map plotting the location of each dungeon as the players explore the world (with a few towns and other POIs as well).  Keep everything in plastic sleeves in a single three ring binder, and  you’d be set for years of gaming.


The Consolidated Omega Box Document

April 25, 2012

Here is the Consolidated Omega Box document, including the never released mutations!  Omega Box is my post-apoclayptic take on Pathfinder’s Beginner Box, inspired by Johnathan Tweet’s Omega World article from issue 153 of Polyhedron Magazine (PDF available here for about $5, if you’re interested).

The mutations could be used in a standard Beginner Box game, but are not really balanced for such and thus could prove problematic if you let your PCs have them.  However, they could be used to good effect to spice up some of the BB monsters–imagine an Orc with psychic mutations, or an Ogre with big-ass pincher-hands!

I’ll continue to gradually expand the Omega Box, adding new relics, tweaking the skills, adding killer robots, etc.  But this is probably enough material to get you started on mutant-blasting goodness.  Note:  Many of the standard BB monsters make good stand-ins for monstrous mutants, with a little reimagining.

Edit:  Forgot to mention, since Omega World isn’t OGC, I had to tweak things a bit.  In particular, I changed the Explorer class, removing the bonus feats at levels 1, 3 and 5 and adding in the Survivalist ability, granting Survival points that you can use to reroll attack rolls, saving throws, ability and skill checks.

Have fun stormin’ the wastelands!

PFBB Consolidated Beastiary

April 22, 2012

Here’s the consolidated monster converions for Pathfinder’s Beginner Box, with a few new ones from David Jenks.  They aren’t in any particular order (sorry 😦 ) but the ones in the front are mine and the ones towards the back are David’s (also noted below each set of cards).  Again, these are intended to be printed on Avery 3×5 index cards (product #5388), but can nearly as easily (and much more cheaply) be printed on cardstock and then cut out with scissors or a cutting board.


Edit:  Once again, the preview mode at Mediafire makes it look like the document is formatted all wrong, but once you download it, it should look correct.

Random Thoughts on Armor in RPGs

April 21, 2012

Lazy post today.

I’ve been ruminating about the approaches to armor use in RPGs.  It seems to me it breaks down into two main approaches:

1) The first, and most intuitive, approach to armor is to have it reduce damage taken if the character is hit.  Taken to its logical conclusion, if you wear armor that is heavy enough, it may slow you down and actually make you easier to hit, though any hits would do less damage thanks to the heavy armor.  This approach is used by probably 90+% of the non-d20/D&D clone systems out there.

2) The second, less intuitive, approach is to have armor make you harder to hit in the first place.  The reasoning behind this is that the armor deflected the blow and therefore an actual hit on flesh never landed.  This approach is used by the d20 system and the D&D clones and simulacra (which, ironically, makes it the more common system due to the sheer popularity of The Game).

While approach #1 is more intuitive and, I would argue, logical, it does have one inherent flaw in my estimation:  it adds one (or more) additional steps to the process of combat resolution.  I know many players don’t mind a little extra crunch in their systems (or even a lot of extra crunch), but I prefer relatively quick combat resolution.  And that is where approach #2 shines, in my opinion.  Combat is resolved in basically two steps:  make a roll to hit and, if you did hit, make a roll for damage.  No need to determine how much damage made it through, or make a damage resistance test, or anything like that.  Just BAM, roll dice, move on to the next player’s turn.

PFBB Race Addendum

April 19, 2012

Here’s the corrected Race Addendum for the Beginner Box.

I think I’ll go ahead and consolidate all my Omega Box stuff so far into a single document as well.  However, after double checking the original Omega World article, the inspiration for my Omega Box project, I discovered that none of it is Open Content. 😦  So I’ll have to go through and de-Omega-World-ize it so I won’t get sued by anyone.  That’s okay though…gonzo post-apocalypse is still gonzo post-apocalypse.



PFBB Consolidated Feats

April 18, 2012

Okay, so here’s the corrected version of the consolidated feats for the Beginner Box.  Next up will be the race addendum and then the beastiary conversions.  Cheers.

PFBB Consolidated Feats (PDF version)

PFBB Conslidated Feats (RTF version)

Edit:  For some reason the ‘preview’ of the RTF version has all the formating all out-of-whack, but once downloaded the formating should be correct.

The Raid: Redemption

April 17, 2012

Saw The Raid: Redemption today, a brutally awesome Indonesian action movie.  The fight scenes are amazing, and the movie wastes little time getting into the action (something a few American “action” movies could learn from).  There’s some gunplay, but really the melee and martial arts fight scenes are the best, and most brutal, parts.

The movie is subtitled in English.  It wasn’t the best job (they frequently used “cos” in place of ” ’cause”) but still easy to follow what’s going on.  Not that you need them for the fight scenes, which were brutal…in a good way.

So, if you’re in the mood for an old fashioned beat down movie, and don’t mind subtitles, you may want to check out The Raid.

Revised Consolidated Class Conversions for the Beginner Box

April 15, 2012

Well, with inspiration and help from my readers I got my act together and corrected (I think/hope) all the legal stuff that had to be corrected on the PFBB Consolidated Class Conversion PDF.  I’m 99% confident I got it right this time, but if anyone notices something wrong in the OGL, I’d appreciate it if you could let me know.

Next up is the consolidated feats PDF and then a consolidated PFBB beastiary PDF.  I won’t be doing this for each and every PDF as I had before, as that would simply be too much work and there are other things I’d like to do with my time. 😉

Thanks again for your help, and with no further ado….

PFBB Class Conversion (PDF version)

PFBB Class Conversion (RTF version)