Saturday, February 15, 2014

Strong Magic - Muscle Wizards To Tide Us Over

So until Monstrous Television returns and we have the original and superior model to work from, consider this somewhere between a loving homage, and, if I'm honest with myself, the New Coke of everybody's favorite homebrew, FLAILSNAILS class, the Muscle Wizard.

HD: d6
Save: as MU
Attack: as MU
Advance: as MU
Requirements: Constitution 9, Strength 9, Charisma 9, a fucking tough and badass name.
  • Muscle Wizards may use no armor or use shields. They may use any one-handed weapon but insist on keeping a hand free for posedowns and punches. Their punches do 1d4 base damage. If they fight barehanded with both hands they gain +1 tohit that stacks with any other bonuses.
  • Spells are SLOGANS AND MANTRAS the Muscle Wizard repeats as she works out. Once their body is pumped up (with magical energy) they can release this through muscle magnetism, magic radiating off of their sweet poses and eldritch flexing. Mantras are revealed to you through disciplined effort by the DM, but this choice must be the most buff, fit, cut, badass choice available.
  •  Muscle Wizards are +1 to HP, Hit, and Damage for each spell they have prepared. Casting this spell reduces this bonus HP. Muscle Wizards reduced to 0 in this way pass out for a number of days equal to the number of spells they have cast today, unless they receive special medical or magical attention, but do not die. Overexerting yourself is detrimental to proper fitness, everyone.
  • If they punch someone but do not move or do anything else (or add bonus damage) they can deliver any spell effect with their punch. The effect is centered on the punch. Muscle Wizards are immune to their own spells when delivered by punches.
  • Muscle Wizards may only keep familiars if they are rad.
..and additionally I'm splitting the difference between a +Zak Smith random class and a +Jeff Rients bonus class with this:

Strength 13+: Muscle Wizards get a bonus to all saves equal to their Strength bonus.

Constitution 13+: Muscle Wizards impose a penalty to saving throws against their punch spells equal to their Constitution bonus.

Dexterity 13+: Muscle Wizards may spend 1 round of combat stretching and posing and gloating for an appreciative audience to improve their AC by 1 for the battle.

Intellect 13+: Muscle Wizards can speak Body Language, a universal method of communication based on posing and flexing and stretching and athletic displays and shouting. They may spend a round to communicate a simple concept or message, of no more words than their Intelligence bonus provides, to any creature that has or has had a body.

Wisdom 13+: Muscle Wizards can learn new mantras from spellbooks. They do this by spending 1 hr conducting breathing exercises and psyching themselves up, then ripping the book in half.

Charisma 13+: Muscle Wizards get a bonus to their punching damage equal to their level against a specific creature if they "cut a promo" against it to a friendly or neutral NPC.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Prep Steps

1. What's the game? This is usually BXish D&D or Feng Shui but could be TSR's Marvel Super-Heroes, Mutant Future, Edge of the Empire, Fate Accelerated, whatever. I'll assume it's BXish D&D.

2. Who's going to play? Probably some mix of Raven, Claude, Menda, Joshua, Matt, Troy, or some others here and there. Assume at least Menda and Joshua +1.

3. How long are we playing? 2-4 hrs usually except by special appointment.

4. Since I'm running BXish D&D, are we doing Arcis Enumre or Doublecrossroads? I'm hard into the latter right now so that.

5. OK NOW WHAT? Well I put together this town, I've got all these NPCs, I've got all these blocks of creature stats and treasure pre-generated and I've got all these other tools to generate stuff on the fly. So whatever they wander into, if we don't have it set up, I can throw something together in a few minutes while they talk amongst themselves.

There's some regular challenges and places and set pieces and dungeons and shit set up, though, and the idea is to try to bounce the party between these. Let 'em choose and keep 'em both moving and guessing, but make them guesses based off of real information. I'm trying to treat the town like a megadungeon almost.

5a. Where did we leave off? A lot of characters died and now we have a party who has a bunch of loot stashed in a scorpion hole, some weird magic shit, and a pet invisible dinosaur. Josh plans on paying the bail of the elf in the town's jail when they go back and playing 2 guys. Claude wants someone to talk to the churches and witches in town and see if he can get some Cures or Remove Curses.

5b. What is the next logical step of their current course of action? To do anything else they want to do, they need to head back in to town. Two days before they left there was a wedding in town and the suspicion of coyote marauders, and the accepted the dinosaur mission from the Sheriff. So they're looking to deal with the Witches, Sheriff's Office, the Churches, the hotel lady, and if they do any carousing the bartender. So at minimum make sure all these things are at hand.

5c. How can I escalate stakes? Well, they're here illegally, they didn't exactly complete their dino mission since they adopted it, everyone in town has to be interested in their sudden flush of cash, they have some powerful magic crap now that has to attract attention, the killer they're hunting has to have noticed them in town by now, there are some lizard people and coyotes out there to worry about, and of course soon night falls...

5d. What is proceeding apace without them? The killer they are hunting has the time to make preparations for escape. The big fair is drawing near and will be attracting more visitors, new structures and policies will be put in place, some other stuff I won't mention here...

6. What do I need that I don't have? A couple NPC stat blocks and spell lists and stuff. Better generate those. A good relationship with an NPC to feed them missions in the nearby area. Prioritize establishing that. Need to finish my city map for the players. Need to rewrite a lot of the XXR info page and finish some articles and blogs on the game. Better make everything.

7. If someone is brand new to the table, do I have materials they can use? Got a bunch of pregen characters, guide for how I make a character on hand, I should probably draw up a 10-step your-character-is-finished list they can tick off as they go. Links to LL and the BX books are at hand.

If building a new adventure from scratch...

  1. Build the themes and plot and secondary and tertiary elements using Fortune Deck.
  2. Accent adventure (dungeon, npcs, monsters, whatever) using the Symbol Dice.
  3. Build monsters, design traps, stock dungeon, cast NPCs and assemble their props (in-game items I mean, not some Robin Laws box of hats or anything).
  4. Determine which of the many dangling plot threads the PCs have pulled at leads to this adventure.
  5. Figure out both carrot and stick for their participation.

If building a dungeon from scratch...

  1. Roll 4d6+1d6 per PC you expect in the dungeon, +2d6 for a big boss type's lair, +3d6 for major plot crap resolution, +5d6 for major treasure haul. Get or generate map.
  2. For each room, roll separately for: creature(70%), treasure (10%), trap(45%), special feature (20%). Record the room roll results and replace these generic signifiers with specifics as you go.
  3. Each "Empty" room has 2d3 unique or identifying features so the party and mappers can keep track of where things go.
  4. Traps in rooms are on one of the doors 40% of the time. Weigh trap damage as more lethal the further into the dungeon you are. Put in a unique trap or just roll 1d4 for pit, spike, dart, or blade. 25% chance the trap is magic.
  5. Creatures are generally hostile, roll a reaction adjustment to bank though in case it comes up directly in play. Otherwise determine friendly NPCs at own discretion. Figure out what creatures are in here (at least 1d3+1 kinds) and figure out what treasure if any they're carrying. Determine how those creatures feel about each other or work with each other, what any given group wants. Roll up their stats and abilities.
  6. Generate any other "loose" treasure or loot to be had using Loot Deck. 
  7. Look at the map and figure out what the hell kind of structure this is. What is it used for, are these the original builders, where are your secret or unused passages, etc. 
  8. Compare to your results from the above random room roll results. Arrange everything in a way that makes some kind of fucking sense.

If creating creature from scratch...

  1. What drives this creature? Base or animal drives or higher ambitions? Is this a type of creature or a unique monster?
  2. If you can't make it new make it weird. If you can't make it weird make it gross. If you can't make it gross make it big. If you can't make it big make lots of 'em. If you can't make lots of 'em. If you can't make lots of 'em, make it scary. If you can't make 'em scary, make it PERSONAL and DIRECTED and PROACTIVE and AGGRESSIVE.
  3. Give it both a bullshit fantasy name and a simple descriptive name. Nekronozon or catoblepas? Fuck you: deathcow.

If creating treasure from scratch...

  1. Who can use it? Just MUs, just spellcasters, just humans, what? Anybody?
  2. What are the rules? Every object has rules.
  3. Why should anyone care? Like if you're a level 8 fighter and have a regular sword and I'm a level 3 fighter and I have a +2 sword and we're in a fight with my magic sword why would you care? You probably wouldn't, unless there were a better reason than "This sword is more gooder."
  4. Is the object cursed? 25%.
  5. Intelligent? 10%.
  6. Figure out if it has charges or is consumable or whatever.
  7. Figure out what it looks like a little but do not tell the PCs its name and effects if they find it. Let 'em experiment a little.

If creating trap from scratch...
  1. What is the environment/dungeon like? Make the trap make kind of sense given its surroundings.
  2. Where is it, if not the door?
  3. How is it triggered?
  4. How is it disarmed or removed SPECIFICALLY?
  5. If a magic trap, what is the effect? How tough is it to find or disarm or remove? Who can remove it? How long is the effect? How is the trap TRIGGERED? Is there a save?
  6. How badly does it hurt?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Drunken Dragons - I Make A Character

OK Rolling 3d6 in order for Strength-Constitution-Dexterity-Intellect-Wisdom-Charisma, and instead of the stat adjustment crap from Basic I'll just swap 2 so long as one of the numbers swapped is a Prime Requisite or needed to qualify for what I get.

8-14-14-10-11-10. Not bad at all! I'll switch that Strength score and Charisma score. This makes me hardier and more agile than normal, but I don't get along with people and animals that well. I guess I'm adventuring to be more self-sufficient, which means I'll make only light use of retainers and attack dogs and stuff as needed. What can I make with this?

Well with these awesome rolls I can do pretty much anything. When in doubt I'll make a Cleric for two reasons. One is that clerics are the bass players of D&D, you can always find some table who needs one. But the gods of this world I end up playing in, any particular god in whose sight I am anointed, etc have specific perspectives that shape my guy's worldview which is a heck of a lot more useful in putting me "in the moment" for rp than alignment.

So my faith is all I need and I want to establish myself a secluded place to worship. Maybe a god who rewards those who are more self-reliant people, a help those who help themselves thing. Makes it sound like work instead of being just its own reward comes with an expectation of holy reward, which starts sounding very Protestant except that D&D means those rewards take the form of actual riches, magical shit, and spells and the ability to blow up vampires. So he's behaving Spartan as a form of worship but also to an end. What end? Maybe high cleric power. What's a high level power? Resurrection?

Okay I had to become so self-reliant because my provincial fief was destroyed by a great power, dragon or something, and they were faithful people and I'm the sole survivor so I'm charged with my god to prove myself worthy enough to receive her blessing, through very hard work and trial, to be given the honor of being her instrument and rewarding the hard work of my old community and family and stuff and return them to life. But that requires me being very charitable and self-sacrificing which means I'll never be in the highest of esteem with her, so it's like giving up nirvana to help enlighten others kind of thing?

whatever POINT IS: 3d6x10, I have 60 starting gold. d6 hpt HD, plus one Con bonus, so 3+1HP. My AC before buying armor and stuff is 8 thanks to a dex bonus and I get a +1 tohit at range. I'll buy leather armor, a shield, a sling, a holy symbol, and the week of rations I could salvage off of my homeland. Makes me have AC 5.

Now before I note my regular saves what system am I playing? In LOTFP I can basically take Turn Undead at 1st level or roll up a spell. If it were me running I'd say I'd swap things out similarly for anybody who really wanted it. But I like the Basic Cleric. You level quickly, get some spells, good armor and acceptable weapons, and you're undead kryptonite. Really, not-quite-a-fighter who levels not-quite-a-thief who also blows up undead is a good enough thing that the spells Clerics get are just gravy to me really. So I'd basically be DONE.

I'd have to talk with the GM about the cosmology of the gods of this world, adjust the ideas that came to me as I rolled...if I rolled up a spell instead of Turn Undead I'd get (roll) Purify Food and Drink, which looks like I can cast it backwards and poison people. Write down my saves I guess...

OR DON'T, since if I'm playing this for the first time really only the GM has to know those. Name him, describe him, decide he's going to sound gruff and act put-upon so decide I'll make him sound a little like Nick Nolte...want him to Always Be Closing so he's going to be very focused on straight adventuring, the next gig/score, always ready for some well-earned rest right after we do THIS.

Name is Indre Foglet and he has no eyebrows any more and one cut scar on his arm for everyone he's trying to save and avenge that he rubs when he's nervous or bored.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

How Fecking Tired Am I

1. Make a list of the 30 things you would want to wake up in the middle of the night, reach over with eyes still closed, and accidentally put your hand in. It shouldn't be there, there's nothing on your nightstand except your phone, what's there? Why is it there? What is happening to you? Why are? Animal oo-oo-aa-aa reactions. Gut reactions, visceral grossout reactions. Build a dungeon that can only be navigated by blind touch, and include as many of those textures as possible.

2. Make a list of magic words that can cast common spells compiled from some horrible internet listicle about words people find the most discomforting. Panties. Phlegm. Moist.

3. Take any monster with a spine. Remove all bones and squeeze it to a shape consistent with a bean bag chair. Its only means of locomotion is someone being terrified of it and chases the player most obviously squicked out by this. Always somewhat warm.

4. Make a loop of Plant's scream from Immigrant Song. Play it when a giant shows up, on constant loop every time a giant goes each round.

5. Dream of drowning.

6. Combine?