Friday, 23 December 2016

Touch of Class: The Infiltrator

Didn't manage to beat the deadline, but I wanted to post this up regardless.

This article is free for everyone to steal, modify, copy, adapt or use wholesale in any and all OSR products or publications.
Do give credit though :-)

This is intended for Labyrinth Lord/BX or compatible games.
All game stats are given in relation to the parent system, since things such as hit dice and attack rolls can vary by game.

Prime requisite: Dexterity.
Hit dice: As Thief.
Advances as: Thief.
Attacks as: Thief.
Saves as: Thief.
Weapons permitted: Single handed melee weapons. Short bow. Sling. Light crossbow.
Armour permitted: Leather but see below.
Magical items permitted: Any permitted to thieves and any item related to stealth, invisibility or concealment even if normally only permitted to a specific class.

As the guard patrol turned the corner, one of their number vanished into the shadows.
"Too easy" she whispered to herself as she scanned the courtyard for the way into the keep proper.

Infiltrators are a variant of the thief class, specializing in intrusion and stealth but lacking the more larcenous talents of their cousins.

Thief skills:
Infiltrators may Move Silent and Hide in Shadows as a Thief of the same level.
They add a special +10 bonus to their percentile chances in both abilities.
They may Climb Walls as a Thief of the same level.

An Infiltrator that is unseen may conduct an Ambush attack.
This receives a bonus to hit of +2 (+4 if using a ranged weapon) and inflicts double the normal damage.
If this attack kills the target, it is assumed to have been carried out completely silently.
If the attack hits but fails to kill the target, the target cannot cry out or raise the alarm until the end of the FOLLOWING combat round.

Disappear in a crowd:
Infiltrators have a base chance of 50% plus their Wisdom score and Experience Level to vanish in a crowd of at least 10 people.

This will hide the Infiltrator from all but the most thorough search of the crowd.

An Infiltrator spending at least 2 hours "casing" a location, whether through personal inspection, gathering information from locals or reading maps, will gain the ability to bypass any locked or barricaded obstacle on a D6 roll of 1-3.

Roll separately for each obstacle. Solutions may include slipping in along with a servant, bluffing a guard or slipping over a wall.

Upon reaching level 6, the Infiltrator can bring a single character along with them.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Day of Class: Wolf Blade

This is my contribution to the "create a character class" creative exercise.
Everything in this article is free to steal, modify, copy, adapt or use wholesale in any and all OSR product or publication.

This is intended for Labyrinth Lord/BX and compatible games.
All game stats are given in relation to the parent system, since things such as hit dice and attack rolls can vary by game.

This class is fairly heavy on special rules and abilities, though this is balanced out by the relatively limited chances to use the abilities.
This would fit well in a gothic horror styled scenario.

Prime requisite: Constitution.
Hit dice: As Cleric.
Advances as: Fighter.
Attacks as: Fighter.
Can use all combat options available to Fighters.
Saves as: Fighter.
+1 bonus against Poison and Disease.
Weapons permitted: May use all weapons.
Most prefer a mixture of heavy two-handed weapons and long ranged missile fire.
Armour permitted: No heavier than chain. May not use a shield.
Magical items permitted: Any permitted to fighters and any item related to regeneration, health or constitution even if normally not permitted to fighters.

The wolf pack closed in around him. 
Gripping the heavy sword firmly, he looked for the apparent leader.

There was a poisonous taste to the air, like a sickness emanating from the creatures.

He smiled slightly. "End of the road".

Wolf Blades are hunters of the most dangerous prey: Lycanthropes.
Many are self-taught, taking up the blood-stained sword after a werewolf slaughtered their village.
The few that survive tend to take apprentices, teaching the craft to those rare few that show promise.

The hunt often brings them into contact with other adventurers and many put their skills to use as hired swords to make coin.

Prey and Predator:
Wolf Blades can identify and follow tracks.
The base chance is 50% in the wilderness or underground, 40% in city scenes.
Add the characters Wisdom score to the chance.

The tracks can have an age of 1 day per level of experience, regardless of rain, snow or weather effects.

Bleeding strikes:
In melee combat, Wolf Blades do not require silver weapons to strike lycanthropes or other shape shifters.
At experience levels 3, 6 and 9 the character can strike as if they had a +1, +2 or +3 weapon respectively, for the purpose of being able to attack a creature only.
They do not receive the bonus to attack and damage rolls, it only permits a non-magical melee weapon to be used.

This benefit applies against any creature capable of shapeshifting, not just lycanthropes.

Danger sense:
Wolf Blades are only surprised on a roll of 1.
Upon reaching experience level 5, the Wolf Blade has achieved a heightened state of awareness.
If surprised, the character may immediately make a ranged attack with a missile weapon at hand or a thrown weapon in a belt, but will still suffer all normal penalties (such as loss of dexterity bonuses to armour class) and can take no other action that round.

Fighting style:
Add a +1 bonus to all close combat attack rolls when wielding a two-handed weapon.
Apply a -1 penalty to all close combat attack rolls when wielding single-handed weapons.

Upon reaching experience level 5, the penalty is removed.

Upon reaching experience level 9, a Wolf Blade can establish a hide out and will attract 1D6+1 followers.
These will be level 1 fighters, rangers, thieves or Wolf Blades.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Valiant Fantasy: Travel rules.

This is taking a little bit of inspiration from "The One Ring" game, but fitted to a method that is a bit more "OSR" in nature.

It is also intended to present a little bit of a mini-game that can be dropped in as needed or omitted as needed.

Note that this assumes a known world, rather than a "hex-crawl" where the players explore step by step.
Many campaigns will have regions that are fully explored and frontier regions that are not.

It assumes use of a hex map for travel. Freeform maps can usually be eye-balled to find how many hexes would be in a particular area.
Blame any inconsistencies on bad map makers in the game world or the capricious goddess of travel and direction.

Determine your travel route
The players will determine what route they intend to take, using their own map.

Measure out the number of hexes to be traveled and the expected time required.
The players must factor in any needed food and supply requirements and pack accordingly.

Delay dice
Any terrain other than flat steppe, plains or cultivated land will have a Delay Rating.
Add up all Delay dice together in one pool.

Roll the indicated number of D6 with every 1 causing a delay of 10% travel time.
For example, if you were expecting 40 hours of travel time, rolling a pair of 1's on the delay dice will add 8 hours to  the expected arrival time.

Travel skill
Some character classes are more proficient at travelling than others.
Two characters per party may contribute their Travel skill.
Negate a number of Delay dice equal to the total travel Skill pool of contributing characters.

A party of 6 may use the Travel skill of 2 characters.
The two best characters have a 3 and a 1, allowing the group to remove 4 Delay Dice from the pool before the GM rolls.

Travel hazards
Travel can be problematic, especially in a world that is raw and uncivilized.
If the party experiences any delay, roll those dice again with a second 1 indicating a problem, challenge, hazard or encounter.

These can range from detours due to impassable terrain, bad weather forcing the party to seek shelter, encounters with enemies or injury to travelers or mounts.

For now, the GM will add these encounters as they see fit. The complete rules will likely include some tables.
A single 1 can be treated as a minor inconvenience or concern, 2 as a major problem and 3 as something that threatens the success of the journey.
If multiple 1's are rolled, the GM will have to determine whether they are combined into bigger hazards or treated separately.

Resting up
Once the party arrives, they will require a day of rest, recovery and repair of equipment.
Failure to do so will impose a -1 penalty to all ability checks and attack rolls until a day of rest is received.

Note that this is based on completing a journey, rather than the length of the journey and serves to discourage breaking a journey into a dozen small trips to avoid Delay dice.

Typical Delay ratings:
Cultivated, plains or high road - 0
Rough or harsh flat land 1
Hills or forest - 2
Swampland - 2
Mountains - 3
Wilderness +1 (at least 6 hexes from a city)
Enemy patrolled +1
Bad weather +1

Typical Travel skill:
Rangers 3
Scouts (rural thief) 1
Druids 2
Elves  +1
Little folk (halflings) +2

A character with a suitable ally might add +1.

Final example:
The party will travel along a high road for 4 hexes, then enter 2 hexes of forest and one hex of mountains patrolled by enemies.
This gives a total of 6 delay dice.

They have a ranger and a scout in the party, allowing them to negate 4 dice. 

They will roll 2D6, scoring a 1 and a 4. 
This causes a 10% delay and another die is rolled. A 3 is rolled, causing no further hazards. 

Friday, 7 October 2016

Valiant Fantasy. Poison.

The requested post on travelling will come tomorrow (if all goes well) and Monday (if I get too busy tomorrow) but here's how poison will (probably) work and easily adaptable to your favourite rules as well.

Note that this is meant to make poison a far smaller threat than it is currently. If that is not right for your game, ignore it.

Being poisoned:
When a character is struck by a poisoned attack or threat, the player should mark 3 Poison Markers on their character sheet.
If you like external trinkets, use small "gems" or pebbles as Poison Tokens and give them to the player.

Monsters of level 5+ will inflict one additional marker per attack.

If a character has ANY poison tokens currently, any additional poison attack adds one single marker.

Taking damage:
At the conclusion of each action taken by the character, grab a handful of D20's and roll one Poison saving throw per Poison Token currently on the character.
Each failed save causes 1 token to remain and 1 HP to be lost.
Each passed save causes 1 token to be removed.

Optionally, any Save die scoring a 1 causes 1 additional Poison Token to be added.

A suitable anti-venom for the poison in question will remove 1D6 Poison Tokens upon ingestion.
It is common in games to have anti-venom be generic and work on any poison. More realism-inclined GM's will restrict this.

Medical treatment (requiring a successful skill check) adds a +1 bonus to the next saving throw.

Upon the characters immediate next action, they may attempt to bleed the wound to remove some of the poison (Note that this is probably unrealistic but its a staple in pulp novels).
This inflicts 1 HP of damage automatically but will remove a single Poison Token.

A character reduced to 3 HP or less is incapable of taking any actions if they have any Poison Tokens on their character sheet.
Optionally, heroic characters may move at half speed (crawling) but can take no other actions.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

What would you like to see next?

What do you want to see as the next bit for Valiant Fantasy tomorrow?

Another race?
Another class?
Rules? What for ? Travel, healing, experience, something else entirely?

Monday, 3 October 2016

Valiant Fantasy - Orcs.

An example of what a monster profile might look like.

The goal is to basically use the typical critters you get in any retro-clone rulebook but adapt them a bit, tweak some of the monster abilities and make things a bit more interesting.

I opted to start with an orc, since they're the most obvious critter.
The idea of these "expanded" profiles is to be a bit more in-depth since the monster list won't be terribly long.
As such, each monster that is included must make up some of the empty space by being a more detailed encounter.

They're also going to be set up to support a bit more tactical fiddling with miniature figures, though it won't really be a requirement.

This is focused just on rules, not on descriptions or fluff text, since I doubt anyone buys OSR games to read yet another explanation for what orcs look like or why they eat people.

Reaction Roll modifiers apply to a 2D6 roll, akin to the B/X D&D reaction roll.
Morale is a 2D6 roll.
This uses "level" instead of "hit dice" and gives a suggested hit point total (based on D6's).

Armour class: 6
Level: 1 - 3 HP.
Movement rate: 6". In caves, ignore 2" of terrain penalty per turn.
Attacks: 1
Damage: By weapon.
Typical group: 2D4. Add 1D4 in enemy territory.
Saving throws: As a level 1 Fighter. +2 to saving throws vs poison.
Morale: 6. Raise by +2 when facing Dwarves.
Reaction rolls: React at -2. If the group includes Dwarves, react at -3. Always hostile when facing Elves.

Scouts have AC 7 and may move at full pace and fire bows.

Elites have AC 4, 5 HP and +2 Morale. They receive a +1 attack bonus when attacking humanoid opponents.

Beefing up:
Any orc may be increased up to Level 3.
For each Level increase add +3 Hit Points and reduce Armour Class by 1.

Orcs are naturally craven and do not increase their Morale with Levels.

Valiant Fantasy: Visceral Combat rolls

When rolling for damage, two additional D6 are rolled.
These are only read to see if they roll a 6. Any other score is ignored and disregard.

For convenience of play, designate specific colours that are used only for the Visceral dice.
Once designated, these dice are not used for any other purpose.

We suggest Red for Injury and Black for Stun.

Injury die:
On a successful weapons hit, if the Injury die scores a 6, the target is Wounded.

A Wounded character must deduct 1 from all attack dice rolls.
If using miniatures in combat, subtract 1" from movement rates.

Multiple Wounds are cumulative.

After each days rest, roll a D6 for every Wound with a 6 indicating that the wound has healed.
Double the number of dice if resting in proper safe conditions with ample food and care.

Stun die:
On a successful weapons hit, if the Stun die scores a 6, the target is Stunned.

A Stunned character is unable to take any actions when they are next active.
They may move at half pace.

Stun is removed after the characters next action.

GM advice:
Visceral dice results are applied to all living creatures.
Undead do not suffer Stun but can be Wounded, representing physical damage hindering them.
Constructs cannot be Wounded but can be Stunned, representing the construct being staggered or knocked back.
Creatures without physical form are immune to both effects and will not inflict Wounds or Stun in return as their attacks rely on the draining of life force.

The GM may opt to make a particular monster resilient or immune to the effects at their discretion, for example if a significant size difference exists.

This system will make combat more dramatic and interesting, though it is not mandatory and can be omitted for simplicity.