... now with 35% more arrogance!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Horrific Elves

Everyone does ghosts, vampires, mummies, and reanimated corpses on Halloween. I thought I'd do something a little different: a more horrifying version of elves, drawing from folklore.

Horrific Elves (Chaotic Fantastic Humanoid)

up to 6; 1+1 dice, Move 12, Light Armor, paralyze/confuse

Eldritch, predatory versions of standard fantasy elves. Horrific elves have the option to turn any arrow, bolt, or dart into elf shot, which does no damage, but will paralyze a victim for a full ten minutes; on a 5+ on 1d6, the victim goes temporarily insane (as per Confusion spell.) Confused targets that are confused a second time are afflicted with Feeblemind.

Horrific elves are vulnerable to iron and will avoid standard metal armor and weapons. They may wear bronze, if available, and rare elven leaders are rumored to have silver mail. If a horrific elf is struck with an iron or steel weapon, they are paralyzed as if struck by elf shot and receive a grievous wound (doesn't heal naturally.)

Horrific elves are known to steal children and leave changelings in their place. Consult the changeling table below for the type:

2d6 Changeling Type
2 illusion of baby cast on block of wood (iron dispels)
3-5 transformed animal, will never learn to speak
6-8 intelligent transformed animal, still has beast traits
9-11 half-elf, can choose to be human or elf when grown
12 illusion of baby cast on ancient, senile elf, curses house until driven away
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Turns and Rounds

I really should get back to posting again…

So, I’ve been skimming through one of the arguments about the length of a melee round. It’s a frequent and unresolvable debate: some want a round to be something very short, typically ten seconds or six seconds or even 3.14 seconds. Others are happy to keep it at one minute.

But in a couple places, such as Keep n the Borderlands, there’s something like this:

For the sake of convenience, a DM can consider one entire melee turn to equal one normal turn (that is, 10 minutes), no matter how many melee rounds the combat took.

Ignore the phrase “melee turn” for a moment; after all, if we aren’t counting how many rounds are in a melee turn, then we’re really just talking about one combat. So one combat, no matter how long it takes, plus whatever time is left over, is one ten-minute exploration turn.

So why define the length of a melee round at all?

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mustard Over Ketchup

I want to follow up on my previous post on mustard vs. ketchup varieties and how they relate to RPG.

I prefer mustard to ketchup, both as a condiment and as an analogy to RPGs.

There are, quite definitely, tastes in roleplaying. People on RPG forums wouldn’t argue about the exact same topics every 4 to 6 months and reach an impasse unless there are features of RPGs that people simply cannot agree on, not because of stubbornness, but because they have incompatible preferences.

So I do not agree with Ozymandias, who says, “where it comes to taste, there is no right answer. Where it comes to gaming, there is.” Even if we restrict the domain of “gaming” to just the Class and Level Exploration Fantasy (CLEF) genre that D&D dominates and ignore other RPGs and other kinds of games, it’s very clear that one size does not fit all. Perhaps in a very limited sense, you could say there is only one answer: for example, if a game says that characters advance a level when they earn 2,000 experience points, but there are no rules governing experience point awards, then very clearly the game designer has done something wrong. But within a single setting, experience points could be replaced with advancement rolls and it would work fine, so long as that matched the players’ tastes.

WotC clearly thinks that Class and Level Exploration Fantasy RPGs are more like ketchup than mustard. That is, they believe they cab fine-tune one product’s ingredients (mechanics) and get 70-80% of the market, rather than tuning two to four products to capture specific tastes, which would add up to less than 70%.

I, on the other hand, believe D&D/CLEF RPGs are more like mustard. By this, I mean that they capture about 50-60% of the CLEF RPG market by creating a single balanced product, but could capture more of the market if they had two or three products that split along the taste boundaries. I have some ideas about what the distinct tastes are, and which tastes could be catered to with a few tweaks to a base game, and which require a distinct system.

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