Sunday, 31 March 2013

Percentile systems. Part 2

For a simpler resolution mechanic, the following can be used with minimal fuss:
The DM sets a base chance, based on his best judgement. For simplicity give the odds as intervals of 10. A tough action might be 30 percent while a specialty of a character might be 60.

To this the player adds the relevant ability score. For example a cleric deciphering an ancient religious text might get a base 20 chance but add his Intelligence. If he has a 13 INT, he'd have a 33 percent chance of success.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Champion. A LL compatible class


Champion (Cleric)
Prime requisite: WIS
Hit dice: D6
Advances as: Cleric
Attacks as: Fighter
Saves as: Cleric
Weapons permitted: 3 melee weapons selected at character creation
Armour permitted: Any
Magical items permitted: Any permitted to fighters as well as clerical scrolls.

With a defiant snarl, he struck down the icon of the lizard god. The false idol shattered in thousands of pieces, as the righteous prevailed once again. Looking around the cave, the lizard men started to fall back in disarray. Today, the gods would be proud.

The champion is a martial follower of a god or cult, spearheading their cause in often the most direct manner possible.

Divine fury: When facing followers of a hostile or opposing deity or cult, the champion inflicts +2 damage to all blows dealt in melee. However, due to his hatred, all reaction rolls with an opposing religions followers are taken at -2, if a champion is present in the group.

Bless the righteous: The champion may bless as per the spell, once per day, per level of experience.

Paragon of faith: As long as the champion follows the dictates of his faith, and tithes at least 20% of all treasure and income, he receives a +2 bonus to all saving throws, and recovers 1 hit point extra, every morning after rest and prayer.

Mentored in the rites: A champion may use clerical spell scrolls, as long as the spell level does not exceed the highest level of spell that could be cast by a cleric of the same level of experience. There is a 10% chance per casting that the gods ignore the champion and the spell fizzles.

Uncompromising: The champion may only have henchmen and followers of his own alignment, but all followers earn +1 to morale scores.

The Woodsman. A LL compatible class


Woodsman (Thief)
Prime requisite: DEX
Hit dice: D6
Advances as: Thief
Attacks as: Thief
Saves as: Thief
Weapons permitted: Bow, sling, thrown weapons, one handed melee weapons.
Armour permitted: Leather
Magical items permitted: Any permitted to fighters, as well as any item related to stealth

After 3 days of tracking the beast, the hunt was finally coming to an end. Moving quietly closer, she knocked an arrow she had carved just for the purpose.

Distinct from the ranger, the woodsman is more of a survivor than a warrior, at home in the wilderness and amongst the beasts.

At home in the wild: When travelling, a woodsman can forage for food on a D6 roll of 1-2, finding 1D3 rations worth of food. If spending the day in one location hunting, the chance goes up to 1-4, and D6 rations are found, but a wandering monster check must be made.

Born with a bow: Woodsmen have a unique relationship with their bow, as a lack of care leads to a lack of food. Woodsmen start the game with a bow that provides a +1 bonus to hit, only when used by the woodsman himself. If the bow is lost, the woodsman can replace it in a week, if he has access to the woods.
At the beginning of an adventure, a woodsman always has at least 20 arrows. He only needs to pay for arrows if he wants to carry more than that.

Move like the wolf: When moving in the wilderness, woodsmen move 20% faster than their encumbrance would indicate. They may move silent and hide in shadows as a thief of the same level. In urban or underground surroundings, they can still use their stealth abilities, but count as being one level lower.

Sense of danger: Due to their keen senses, the chance of any party being surprised if they include a woodsman is reduced by 1 (usually only occurring on a D6 roll of 1 then). In the wilderness, woodsmen are never themselves surprised, but their party may be.

Hunt down: If the woodsman attacks a target from a hidden position, using a bow or thrown weapon, he may add +4 to his attack roll, and if hit, the target must make a saving throw against Paralysis or be stunned for 2 rounds.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Sidequest table

A feature of computer RPG's is the sidequest: Little tasks that various NPC's will want done in return for a reward in experience points, items, gold or just reputation and good feeling.

If you are spicing up an area of your game world, you can use this table to throw in a few side quests here and there. A bit of imagination is of course required to position these things in the game world.

If the characters spend an extended period of time in an area, you can set a random chance of side quests appearing at given intervals. An option might be a 1 in 6 chance per week or similar. These could be assigned to a random contact of the group, or simply be from people encountered.


1: Fetch an item (known location)
2: Find an item (location unknown)
3: Clear out monster infestation
4: Deliver a message
5: Kill someone
6: Find someone's whereabouts
7: Deliver an item
8: Help build something
9: Heal or cure someone
10: Safeguard an item
11: Find information
12: Guard an area
13: Explore an area
14: Steal an item
15: Break something
16: Spy on someone
17: Pretend to be someone
18: Threaten someone
19: Pretend to carry out random side quest (roll again)
20: Combine two side quests (roll again)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Location and character event tables

When the players are becoming used to an area in the game world, it's important to make it feel alive. The world around us changes all the time, and the game world should be no different.

These event tables can be used to spice things up. The urban location table can be used for most "home base" locations such as villages, keeps, outposts and even larger cities.
The region table can be used for a larger area of land, such as a domain, fiefdom or kingdom.
Frequency of rolls can be determined by the GM, rolling once per week, once per month, or simply once per adventure. Another option is to test whenever the characters "return to civilization" from one quest or another.
If you want more randomness, or if the character's frequently travel and you want to avoid getting overwhelmed, you can give a basic 3 in 6 (50%) chance of an event happening. This chance could be reduced further.

The character events are intended as additional spice, role playing opportunities and plot hooks. Whenever events are checked, each character has a 1 in 6 chance of an event occurring to them.

Urban locations:
1: Bad weather
2: Excellent weather
3: Someone goes missing
4: Animals terrorizing locals
5: A new faction emerges
6: A new conflict emerges
7: Group makes a new contact
8: Change of leadership. Popular
9: Change of leadership. Unpopular
10: Crime spree
11: Festival
12: Construction project
13: Militia/Guard drill
14: Raid
15: Spread of sickness
16: Monster threat
17: Natural disaster (fire, flood, earthquake)
18: Magical disaster
19: Unexplained events
20: Newcomers/migrants

Regions:
1: Change of leadership. Popular
2: Change of leadership. Unpopular
3: Threat of civil war
4: Threat of external war
5: Area overrun by monsters
6: Bad harvests
7: Disease epidemic
8: Uprising
9: New religion
10: Regional tournament or competition
11: Natural disaster
12: Political struggle
13: Unexplored region discovered
14: Time of prosperity
15: New resource located
16: Unusually early change in seasons
17: Time of peace
18: Regional faction in multiple locations
19: Regional faction weakens
20: Regional faction strengthens

Character events:
1: Someone delivers a message
2: Meets an old friend
3: Meets an old rival
4: Catches a minor disease
5: Makes a local friend
6: Makes a local rival
7: Makes small sum of money
8: Befriend animal
9: See a crime
10: Hear a rumour
11: Offered a job
12: Someone asks for help
13: Victim of a crime
14: A friend is in trouble
15: Mysterious event
16: Omen
17: Learn something interesting
18: See a strange creature
19: Offered a strange item
20: Information about an adventure location

Home culture random tables


If the game world is not significantly detailed, the following tables can be used to determine important details of what the characters native culture was like. This serves to give the character a sense of belonging. Note that a character may share all, some or only a few of his cultural values.
The below should be taken as inspirational keywords. They'll describe the dominant view.

The tables can of course be used for other cultures encountered, particularly in an exploration or "hex-crawl" style of game.



Family structure
Laws
Religion
Economics
Politics
1
Tribal
Non existent
Atheist
Barter
Feudal
2
Loose
Codified
Monotheist
Trade
Caste
3
Tight knit
Honour
Pantheon
Guilds
Overlord
4
Seclusive
Tradition
Ancestors
Planned
Anarchist
5
Fluid
Consensus
Heroes
Loot
Democratic
6
Non existent
Repressive
Nature
Tribute
Communist
7
Small
Caste based
Celestial
Labour
Beloved leader
8
Large
Limited
Mixed
Gift
Councils
9
Assigned
Divine
Personal
Personal
Disputed
10
Random
Erratic
Disputed
Mixed
Erratic


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Recovering from disease

A character has contracted some sort of unpleasant illness? If a cleric isn't at hand, you can use the following simple mechanic:

Each day, the character gets a % chance equal to his/her Constitution score to shake off the effects of the illness. For example, a character with a 9 Constitution would have a 9% chance every day.
Receiving some sort of medical attention (typically costing about 1 gold piece per day) gives an extra roll each day.

Characters with a saving throw bonus against poison may add the bonus to their constitution score.


Monday, 25 March 2013

Three sample deities. The pantheon of Northrock


These tables were used to generate the deities.

The cold wasteland of the Northrocks breed hardy people. It also has it's own religious traditions quite unlike those of the mainland proper.

In the main village of Harmut, people tend to follow Siegrund, the goddess of the wind. (Wealth, Benign, Doctrinaire, Be truthful, origins disputed)
She is a goddess of wealth, fortune and income, followed by those who seek material wealth.
Followers tend to observe a fairly specific set of rituals, with the belief that honesty, truth and openness brings material rewards. This has helped Harmut traders be well liked outside the Northrocks as they can always be depended upon to bargain in good faith (literally).

There's a variety of stories about her origins, the most common being that she simply formed out of the winds. Strong winds are considered a force of life in the Rocks, due to the heavy reliance on sailing ships for trade and exploration. Some feel the goddess created the rocks to give the most honest of her servants a base from which to bring wealth back to the tribes.
Under this guise, even some warriors follow her ways.

Some of the older tribes tend to revere Ranwulf (Agriculture, Egalitarian, organized, avoid individuals, elemental). Portrayed as a swirling mass of pure life force, drawing upon the power of the Earth, Ranwulf gives life to those who follow his dictates. Men of the Earth as they tend to call themselves are fierce believers in equality, holding that to exalt one man above another does injury to the Earth itself, as all men are equal compared to the vast greatness of the Earth.
Those would seek to oppress and enslave should be opposed, but Men of the Earth tend to prefer avoiding such individuals, feeling that they are better ostracized than confronted aggressively.

In the shadows, there are still remnants of the ancient cult of Zorzek. (Balance, Harsh, Informal, avoid foods, born from dead deity). Zorzek the Scales is the relentless bringer of equilibrium. In ages past, he was Tarmal the destroyer but in the God Wars, Tarmal was slain by the demon boar, and Zorzek rose from the ashes.
Where there is a great threat to the foundations of reality, his servants come out of the shadows, bearing their swords. Until then, his worship is somewhat secluded, each man serving the balance in his own ways.
They tend to avoid the eating of meat, believing it to be improper, as man was permanently elevated above animals in divine times.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Character background events.



Everyone has a complex history behind them. This table may be used to determine 2-3 important things that happened to the character before the game started.
Players should be encouraged to use these events to tie the adventuring party closer together.

1 Betrayed by a friend 
2 Lost love 
3 Failed in a task 
4 Fell out with family 
5 Death of someone 
6 Framed for a crime 
7 Sided with unpopular cause 
8 Lost wealth 
9 Suffered a curse 
10 War 
11 Made a great friend
12 Found love
13 Succeeded in a task
14 Strong family ties
15 Saved someone from death
16 Solved a crime or injustice
17 Championed a popular cause
18 Had a lucky break
19 Survived encounter with monster
20 Peaceful  

Percentile resolution systems: 1

Apologies for the lack of a post yesterday. We'll do a double today.


Percentile resolution system:
When attempting a task that requires a dice roll, and does not have an established system, this resolution system can be utilized instead.
The DM must determine which ability score is most directly applicable to the task, and whether the task is one that is considered natural to the characters class, race or background.

The basic chance of success is calculated as the ability score x 3%. For example, an Intelligence score of 15 would give a 45% base chance for tasks relating to intelligence.

Experience brings confidence and knowledge, therefore add experience level x 2%.

If the task falls under the characters race, or character background/secondary profession, add +10%
If the task falls under the characters class, add +20%

Bonuses from race, background and class are not cumulative. Only the highest is applied.

Example: A fighter is attempting to fix a broken shield. The DM rules that it's relevant to his class, and is based on Dexterity. The fighter is level 4, and has a 13 Dexterity, giving him a chance of:
Dexterity 13 x 3 39%
Experience 4 x 2 8%
Class 20 20%

For a total success rate of 87%.

Note that if using this system, players should record their success chances next to each ability score for quick reference. Make sure to include the experience level bonus.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Random deity generator

If you need a random deity for your cleric, cult, village, temple or similar, you can roll up a few "areas of interest" on the following table.
A deity will usually have 1 or 2 areas of interest. More would be unusual.

Area of interest:
1: Luck
2: Agriculture
3: Animals
4: Wealth
5: War
6: Exploration
7: Relationships
8: Deception
9: Truth
10: Building
11: Health
12: Natural forces
13: Chaos
14: Law
15: Balance
16: Knowledge
17: Specific race
18: Specific culture
19: Willpower
20: Corruption

Different deities have different views on their mortal charges and followers. For a specific deity, this can be determined as follows.
In some campaigns, this may manifest itself in clerical magic, divine agents and so forth, it may be a typical trait of the followers or it may simply be how people view the deity.
Divine attributes:
1: Benign
2: Meritocratic
3: Compassionate
4: Disinterested
5: Exacting
6: Harsh
7: Ruthless
8: Impersonal
9: Erratic
10: Subtle
11: Inquisitive
12: Penitent
13: Forgiving
14: Demanding
15: Egalitarian
16: Treacherous
17: Unaware
18: Alien
19: Direct
20: Jealous

To determine the type of organization the deity tends to have, roll below.
Religious structure:
1: Wandering preachers
2: Small temples
3: Informal faith
4: Organized church
5: Secretive cult
6: Bureaucratic force
7: Local variations
8: Strictly doctrinaire
9: Individualist
10: Militant order

A true follower must obey certain requirements, as determined below. Generate 1-2.
Strictures on followers:
1: Live modestly
2: Humility
3: Extravagance
4: Protect the weak
5: Exalt success
6: Convert unbelievers
7: Set good examples
8: Avoid certain foods
9: Seek out certain foods
10: Daily rituals
11: Avoid certain individuals
12: Master certain craft
13: Be generous
14: Tithe
15: Chastity
16: Defend the faith aggressively
17: Be truthful
18: Dress in specific manner
19: Set lifegoals
20: Live by chance

Every deity came about in a different way.
Divine origins:
1: Ascended mortal
2: Alternate plane of reality
3: Elemental power
4: Predates time itself
5: Grew from the earth
6: Primal force
7: Descendant of another deity
8: Dead deity
9: Demi-god
10: Unknown origins
11: Created by another deity
12: Archetype of animal or concept
13: Born from remains of dead deity
14: Godlike being, rather than actual deity.
15: Reflection of another deity
16: Opposite of another deity
17: Two deities merged together
18: Answered a call for help
19: Origins disputed
20: Origins considered irrelevant


Alignment:
If the deity has a specific alignment, it can be determined randomly using an appropriate dice roll. Of course, certain results above may indicate (or discourage) certain alignments, but don't be afraid to ask interesting questions. What would a lawful deity of corruption look like? What about an evil deity that demands it's followers safeguard the weak?

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Dungeon origins and traits

A series of tables to help establish a theme for a dungeon, if you are stuck and can't think of anything good. Alternatively, for DM's who prefer a little randomness to their campaign.

Dungeon origins:
1: Castle
2: Prison
3: Stronghold
4: Monster lair
5: Natural cave system
6: Underworld city
7: Divine creation
8: Dimensional rift
9: Mining tunnels
10: Spacecraft

Primary dungeon inhabitants:
1: Demihumans
2: Humanoids
3: Wild monsters
4: Powerful monster and minions
5: Undead
6: Magical experiments
7: Warlord and troops
8: Sorcerer and minions
9: Cult and followers
10: Constructs

Dungeon layout:
1: Maze like
2: Numerous small rooms
3: Few large rooms
4: Separated by teleporters
5: Numerous levels separated by ladders or stairs
6: Maze leading to central hall
7: Erratic layout
8: Shifting layout
9: Rooms and tunnels form pattern
10: Rooms within rooms

Additional dungeon hazards:
1: Lava, acid, chasms or similar
2: Unstable areas
3: Frequent wandering monsters
4: Large number of traps
5: Tricks and oddities
6: Underworld plant hostile, threatening
7: Unusually dark
8: Interference with infravision
9: Minor magic interference
10: Interference with divine powers

Pleasant surprises:
1: Friendly group to be encountered
2: Shortcut to surface
3: Large amount of treasure
4: Safe areas
5: Underworld trader or merchant
6: Useful herbs or fungus
7: Prisoners to liberate
8: Natural resources
9: Two monster factions at war with each other
10: Valuable magical item or minor artifact.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Quick way to establish city or character traits

Sometimes a question comes up that you didn't prepare for, or you want an element of the unexpected in your game. If so, you can simply use a ratings roll.
This is done by naming the trait, and rolling a D6 (or another appropriate die). A higher roll indicates the trait is present to a larger extent, while a lower roll indicates it is weak or absent.

Example traits about a city might be "poverty" or "rule of law". Traits for an organization or faction might be "hierarchy" or "loyalty" and a character's traits might be things like "greed" or "fear of undead".

The trait rating can also be rolled against, with the appropriate dice type, to test if something occurs.
A hireling left alone to guard a treasure may test against "greed" to see if he pilfers a few coins, while a dispute in the leadership of the military order could trigger a test of "hierarchy" or "loyalty".
The DM and players can set and establish traits as they make sense. In one campaign, you may establish a set of specific traits that every city has, while in others you may only establish a rating when it seems interesting or relevant.

If there's a chance of a trait improving or worsening, roll the die again, with a higher score indicating improvement (if this was a possibility), while a lower score indicating deterioration (if this was a possibility).

For example a pay raise to everyone in the mercenary company could result in a test for improving loyalty, while a new leader could go either way.

A sample adventuring area

Today, we'll do a quick example of an urban adventuring area, generated using the City Plot generator and the Character motivations tables.

The town of Kur, near the southern border of the empire will be the home base for an intrepid adventuring party.

 We want the place to be pretty bustling, so we decide to go with 3 factions for the area. Rolling, we get:
Philosophical Movement
Church
Merchant or Craft guild.

As a frontier region, it stands to reason that there'd be plenty of trade passing through. We'll go ahead and assume that the merchants by and large run the place, hiring people as they need to keep things safe and moving along. The church has a stronghold here as well, which they use as a basis for missionary work in the frontier regions.
What of the philosophical movement? Maybe a pro-democratic movement that has become fashionable with the intellectual elite? A sort of fantasy-medieval liberalism.

Okay, so with our factions, we need some conflicts. We decide to go with 3 of them to have the place be interesting.
First roll is "random faction run by insane leader". The roll indicates the merchants guild. The boss of the guild has lost his mind, and is trying to turn everything into a financial transaction. This is likely what spurred the "democratic" movement.
Second roll is tension and rivalry between 2 factions. Rolling, we get that the rivalry is in fact between church and merchants. Maybe the church is objecting to what it sees as spiritually damaging "rule of money".
For our last conflict, a random faction has been forced underground.
The roll here is the church.
Now things just got interesting. Underworld preachers spreading the word amongst the downtrodden and the crime gangs? Guild-men patrolling the streets? Intellectuals discussing democracy while enforcers fight it out in the alleys?

The city just became a really interesting place!

We will throw in three acquaintances as well. The characters will need people to connect with, to survive here.
Our first contact can provide shelter.He's connected to the church, so likely a low ranking missionary that is taking in stragglers who can't pay the "housing fees".
Father Silvar's motivation is Curiosity about wealth, at the expected level of intensity. The church has always taken an analytical approach to the world, and Silvar largely follows this, as he has been raised to do.

Our second contact can provide rare items. He is also a church man, so possibly a supplier of various herbs and minor blessed trinkets?
His motivations is a shame towards influence, which is a life goal. Maybe a radical anarchist, who wants to liberate all men from their oppressors? Could turn interesting if the church manages to get on top and becomes a ruling force.

Our last contact is a trainer, so probably a place to go learn useful skills. Maybe as simple as level up training. An old adventurer perhaps?
For motivation, we roll pride in wealth, also as a life goal. Definately an old adventuring sort, who understands the gleam of gold.


Starting from scratch, we now have a hotbed of intrigue and urban mischief for the heroes to get into. Not bad!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Limited magic tricks

Just a quickie today.

The idea of "cantrips" is a very popular one. Minor spells to do more "wizard" type of stuff during the game, and reward creative thinking.

A very simple solution I saw proposed once is to simply let the player invent little effects based on spells already in memory. In other words, the wizard is "letting out" a little of the magical energies.

The trick must be thematically similar to the spell in question, and be very minor in effect. For example, a memorized fireball spell might let you heat up a bowl of food or set fire to already dry wood, while a memorized sleep spell could lull an already sleepy guard dog to a snooze.

Let the players be creative. If a player suggests something that is a bit outside the norm, give him a 1 in 6 chance of it working.


Do you use cantrips? Post a comment!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Armour restrictions. A few thoughts.


As is traditional, Fighting men and clerics may wear any armour types, as they are both of a martial stature to some extent.

Of the traditional classes, the thieves are generally limited to leather while magic users may not wear armour at all.

For simplicity, and archetype enforcement, this is quite fine, but other options could be examined:

I'd prevent either from the use of plate armour. To move effectively, and be able to fight and maximize the protection of this will take some training and skill. Squeezing an untrained man into such a suit of armour will basically grant him the movement loss of plate armour, while gaining protection only as chain mail.

A thief that is not intending to do any thieving could wear chain mail. This will prevent the use of any of his thieving skills, except ones that are purely observational or mental in nature.
Due to lack of physical training, a thief wearing chain armour for extended periods of time will suffer fatigue, suffering perhaps a -1 to attack rolls after 2 hours or so.

For a magic user, who is even less accustomed to physical knavery, leather armour is wearable, but will prevent any spell casting due to it's encumbrance. Chain mail is wearable for very short durations of time, maybe an hour or so, after which fatigue penalties would start to accumulate rapidly.

Note that a low Strength or Constitution will increase the threat of fatigue, according to the DM's perception. This is avoided by clerics and fighting men due to their training.

A thief or magic user with a shield would gain no benefits from using it, due to a lack of familiarity and training.

City plot generator (Fantasy Europe and others)

For urban based campaigns, as may often be common in Fantasy Europe, here are some tables to help you generate interesting stuff for the players to get stuck in. Whether used in a "random wander" game, or as inspiration for a DM needing a kickstart, I hope you find it of interest.

Don't be discouraged if you end up with a really strange result. Take it and run with it!


Factions of note: 
Roll a few times to establish who the movers and shakers are. For a major metropolis, you could go as far as 4 or 5.
1: City government
2: Merchant or craft guild
3: Military force
4: Church
5: Cult
6: Citizens movement
7: Bandits or outlaws
8: Noble
9: Philosophical movement
10: Presence of outsiders

Conflicts:
Roll once or more to establish what conflicts are currently ongoing. For a major area in the game, you'll want multiple conflicts to make the place seem alive. Most of these results will require one or more random factions to be generated.
1: Random faction subject to internal corruption
2: Random faction hugely unpopular with population
3: Tension and rivalry between 2 factions
4: Random faction run by insane leader
5: Random faction openly allied with outsiders
6: Random faction infiltrated by outsiders
7: Random faction has subverted another faction
8: Attempts to establish a new faction (roll type randomly)
9: Random faction forced underground by opposition
10: 2 factions in active conflict (overt or covert)

Useful acquaintances: 
To populate the setting further, you may want to roll up a decent number of interesting, useful people to interact with. They may be independent, or connected to an existing faction (3 in 6 chance of being independent). Acquaintances are described based on what they can provide.
1: Training
2: Knowledge
3: Guide
4: Equipment
5: Rare items
6: Social support
7: Shelter
8: Mystical
9: Ally
10: Contraband

There is a 1 in 6 chance of the character being secretly associated with a random faction.
If you need to know how a character views a given faction, you can simply roll 1D6, with a higher roll indicating more positive views or degrees of loyalty.

More will follow later, but I wanted to get this part out first




Sunday, 17 March 2013

Blood lines


 While debate rages over whether this or that race of demi-humans and humanoids can interbreed, folklore is full of characters with just a tinge of the “other” in their blood. Sometimes family legend tells of a fling with the otherworldly in the family tree, an entanglement with the divine or an encounter with the magical.
However it came to be, some characters seem just a little bit apart.

Blood lines are an easy way to give characters a slightly different feel, particularly in a human-centric or human-only campaign.
The effects of a blood line is generally very minor. To account for it's presence, simply raise the experience point requirement to reach level 2 by 100 points, and raise level 3 by 200 points.

As always, not every option should be considered equal in every campaign, even if such was desirable. The abilities are generally fairly minor, have low chances of activating or are otherwise limited in their effect. As always, the DM will want to review any options before permitting them in his games.

Troll blood
After 8 hours of rest, the character has a 25% chance of regaining 1 hit point in addition to any regained by resting normally.

Ogre blood
The character receives a +1 reaction roll bonus from goblinoids.

Fey blood
Upon reaching level 3, the DM may select a first level magic user spell that the character can cast for free, once per day. The spell should be one that is not specifically a combat spell.

Wolf blood
The character has a knack for finding his way in the wilderness. If the character would otherwise be lost, he has a 25% chance of finding the right direction. This takes 10 minutes and can be attempted every 2 hours.

Divine ancestry
At experience levels 2, 3 and 5, the character receives +1 hit point to his total.

Mark of the dragon
The character has an innate magic resistance of 10% against any elemental type of magic (this includes fire, water, earth, air as well as frost and electricity)

Mark of the sorcerer
The character receives a +1 bonus to saving throws against charm type of magic.

Raven touch
The character needs 2 hours rest per night less than normally required.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Humanoid tactics

Humanoid enemies, like orcs, goblins and hobgoblins can be some of the more interesting enemies in a game, however, all too often, they simply advance to melee range, swing their swords and dutifully gets mowed down by the heroes until they die or fail a morale check.

But even without delving into magical attacks and unusual weaponry, there's a host of interesting tactics that can make these creatures more appealing, and more challenging to fight.

Use spears
Historically, the spear has always been a pretty common weapon. The reasons are many, including ease of training, but it's worth pointing out a few advantages, particularly in a dungeon setting.
While creatures fighting in tunnels would be rather inconvenienced by spears, what about a ruined castle? Plenty of passable corridors and open rooms. A small group of orcs defending a doorway or corridor with spears can form an unpleasant barrier to any attack characters, and in particular, discourage charges.

Missile weapons
No group of warriors should be without missile fire. If the characters skulk about, or wait to cast spells, a few archers, slingers or crossbowmen (crossboworcs?) can pelt them with missiles, ideally while hiding among the melee troops (or the above mentioned spear wall). In magic heavy settings, anyone looking like a magic user is likely to be an initial target.

Thrown weapons
In the ancient world, it was common to carry thrown weapons to be used while closing in for melee. A group of orcs with melee weapons may also carry a few javelin or throwing axes, to be hurled as the enemy closes in. This gives them a ranged combat option, without toting around bows (which can seem unlikely in a tunnel situation)

Stick together
Lawful creatures should try to fight in some form of coordinated fashion. Valuable members, such as leaders, missile troops or spell casters should have a few guards. The rank and file should move reasonably close together. Past levels 1 and 2, noone is afraid of an orc. But 5 or 6 of them can be another story. A group can envelop a lone character, and get multiple blows, before he can kill more than 1 or 2 of them.

Exploit position
Particularly if using maps and miniatures, look at the battle layout. Ruined furniture is a good place for crossbowmen to place themselves, to be able to take cover. Wide open area where the players are likely to attack "up the middle"? Make sure it's under missile cover, and that there's melee troops that can intercept them and prevent them from moving around too much.
Impassable or barely passable terrain can be used to anchor a flank, or funnel the enemy a certain way.

Mind the numbers
If the humanoids outnumber the party, make sure their numbers are put to bear. Try to fight in an open area, where they can keep moving groups of combatants up to contact, and where it becomes harder for the adventurers to cover every flank. An outnumbered group (like a few trolls) should find a chokepoint, where not every hero can come at it at a time. If need be, use the grunts to form a chokepoint, by having orcs flank the troll.

Area of effect
If the group carries area of effect weapons, use them early, while the party has not spread out much. Alternatively, early use of this (flaming oil, spells, clay pots full of carnivorous bees) can force the party to spread out, then have groups of orcs rush individual fighters.

Attract fire
A large, powerful target, like a troll, an orc hero or similar is likely to attract most of the party's attention. This helps keep the grunts in one piece. Use the time wisely, to rain attacks, rush into melee (particularly with ranged attackers), and do other things to make life as rough as possible. While a troll might be the centerpiece of the battle, it's only one more unit on the board.


Got nasty tactics to keep your players challenged? Share them and we'll do a follow up article!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Search and observation


 Searching an area roughly 10 by 10 feet allows each character a 1-in-6 chance of locating anything of interest. If time-keeping is important, this takes a turn.
If the test fails, the character is unable to locate anything, and may not search again.
A successful test locates one item, and permits another test. If there is nothing to be found, a successful test indicates to the character that the area is completely searched.

Note that this system does not bypass roleplay, but rather supplements it. If the players indicate that they search a specific item or piece of furnishing in the location, they will find anything to be located there, unless it is particularly carefully hidden..
The search test is used to locate items and information that may not be immediately obvious, isn't suspected to be present or has been overlooked overwise.

If traps are present, these should always be the first item to be located.

Example: The players declare they are searching a book shelf. They will automatically locate anything of interest in the book shelf. 

 A character observing an area will generally notice unusual events or occurrences that are not otherwise obvious, on a 2-in-6 chance. More active investigations, such as searching a person for hidden weapons may require the Search rule instead.

A revised OD&D thief


An option if you don't like the skill based thief.

In combat, scouts attack as clerics. They take saving throws as fighting men, but receive a +1 bonus to all saving throws at level 3, and an additional +1 at level 5. This represents their sharp senses, quick reactions and general “thieves luck”.

Due to their sharp senses, scouts will detect hidden doors and passages when searching on a D6 roll of 1-4.
A scout passing by a concealed or hidden door will sense something in the area on a D6 roll of 1-2 rolled by the GM.
Scouts will detect noise on a D6 roll of 1-2, likewise they can open a door quietly on a roll of 1-2.

Scouts are adept at stealth, and can hide from view provided they have suitable clothing for their surroundings. They are as adept as an elf or hobbit at this.

A scout on his own may surprise enemies on a D6 roll of 1-3. If the party is surprised, and their surprise roll was a 2, the scout is not surprised, even though the reminder of the party is.

An undetected scout may perform a stealth attack. This gives him a +4 bonus to hit, and let's him roll twice for inflicting damage. This increases to 3 rolls at level 5 and 4 rolls at level 9.

Scouts may wield magical daggers and swords. They are restricted to leather armour only, and do not use shields.
All races may play as scouts, reaching level 6 (dwarves and elves) or 10 (hobbits). Elves playing as scouts must lose the ability to play as one of fighting men or magic users.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Last gasps in combat


Just a quickie today, since I am pressed for time.

Any player character or particularly important villain receives a single free attack when they are slain in combat. This must be made with a weapon already in hand, but can be melee or ranged.
Last gasps cannot be spells, spell like abilities or character skills. 


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Felids. A new OSR race

Somewhat ruthlessly inspired by the outstanding Dungeon Crawl roguelike computer game, here are a few thoughts of "Felids" in OSR games.

Description: 
Felids are essentially intelligent cats. In some worlds, they may be the result of a divine (or demonic) meddling in mortal affairs, magical experimentation, the servants of a feline deity or they may simply always have been there.
In physical stature, Felids tend to resemble a rather large cat with shaggy, long fur. The fur coat lengthens and thickens with age, granting a level of protection. While maintaining the graceful movements and reflexes of more mundane cats, their eyes have a piercing intelligence to them, obvious to anyone knowledgeable in magical arts.

Personality wise, Felids can vary significantly, but their feline instincts are hard to shake. They tend to be curious about anything and everything, and while they appreciate social situations, tend to approach them on their own merits. Felids have an extremely hard time entering into vows and bonds, doing so under nearly physical discomfort.


Rules:
Note that OSR games can vary greatly. Therefore, the below should always be interpreted and adapted to your specific rules set. For some OSR games, dropping ability score requirements may be appropriate, while for others, additional details may be needed.

To play a felid, the player must have average (10) or better intelligence and constitution and good (13) dexterity.
Due to their limited stature, any strength rating above 15 is reduced to 15, but the lost points may be relocated to dexterity and intelligence.

Felids may play as fighting men, thieves and magic users and can advance to the same level limits as elves in each class. In games permitting multi classing, they may multi class in any 2 of these 3 classes.
Other classes should be viewed and judged individually.
In games based on the original D&D (OD&D or swords&wizardry), they may switch each session between acting as thief, magic user or a fighting man. They must then track advancement separately for each class, using the best hit points available.

Due to their thick fur coat, felids have a natural armour class equivalent to leather armour. They inflict damage as a dagger with their claws and fangs, attacking twice per round in melee combat.

Lacking proper hands, they cannot handle weapons or many magical items, such as rods, staves and wands. They can generally open potions (with their teeth), may wear magical rings (and can wear one on each leg, for a total of four), and if equipped with a suitable harness, can carry equipment around and retrieve it.
Due to their particular body shape, they can't wear any types of armour made for other races. A leather harness could be specially crafted for 20 gold pieces, providing them a +1 bonus to armour class.

To compensate for their lack of fine manipulation, felids can see in the dark out to 180 feet, they are very rarely surprised (Roll D20 versus dexterity to foil any surprise or sneak attack attempt. Success negates all bonuses) and their sense of stealth gives them a +10% bonus to sneaking and moving silently.

Lastly, a felid may find hidden items on a 3 in 6 chance, including traps and doors, though they have no natural ability to disarm such obstacles.


What do you think? Drop me a line

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Why are you here? Quick dungeon motivations

Given the survival rate of your average OSR dungeon, sometimes players may want a little more motivation for why their characters have plunged into the darkness.
Here at the Daily OSR Fix we love random tables, and we love tools to get a game moving quickly (and slightly unpredictable), so what better than a table of random character motivations.

1: Search for loot
2: Obtain fame
3: Kill a particular monster in the dungeon
4: Find a person who went into the dungeon
5: Find a person that was abducted by monsters
6: Make the surface world safer
7: Scout out the dungeon and report back
8: Obtain a specific item
9: Unhealthy level of curiosity
10: Religious or cultural imperative

The Leader. LL compatible class


Leader (Fighter)
Prime requisite: CHA
Hit dice: D6
Advances as: Fighter
Attacks as: Fighter
Saves as: Fighter
Weapons permitted: All single handed weapons.
Armour permitted: All.
Magical items permitted: Any permitted to fighters.

Forward friends!” she screamed. Across the muddy field she saw tired, weary men rise from the ground, clutch their weapons and shuffle into ranks. They looked at her expectantly. She simply raised her sword, and once more the battle cry of the last free men echoed through the valley.

Some heroes seem to have a natural knack for getting people to follow them. Sometimes this is raw charisma, other times it's a natural purity of conviction or simply a way of being in the right place at the right time.

Well spoken: When selecting this class, the character's Charisma score is raised by +1 from it's original value. This is raised by another +1 at level 9. These bonuses cannot raise the score above 18.

Recruiting: When rolling for reactions from perspective henchmen or hirelings, the leader may apply a +1 modifier to the roll.

Follow into hell: As long as the leader is alive and participating in the encounter, his henchmen receive +2 to morale. All other henchmen in the same party receive +1.

People skills: The total number of henchmen permitted to a leader is raised by 3. In addition, he always receives a 10% discount on any wages he must pay to hirelings.

Motivational speech: By taking a turn to inspire the party, the leader may restore 1D3 hit points to every member. This can only be done once per week. 

Monday, 11 March 2013

Post-combat consequences

The battle is over, and the character's assess their situation. Roll for each character that participated in at least one round of combat. On a D6 roll of 1-2, the character is subject to a post-combat consequence.

1: Weapon damaged. -1 to hit until repaired, which will take at least an hour, and require appropriate tools. If not using skills, all fighters and dwarves can repair.
2: Armour damaged. 1 point reduction in defenses. Must be repaired, using above guidelines
3: Equipment dropped. Backpack contents scattered all over the battle area. Takes a turn to gather everything.
4: Winded. Until a turn of rest is taken, character is -1 to all attack rolls.
5: Shaken. The character has a loss of confidence. They are -1 to all saving throws for the remainder of the day.
6: Bleeding wound. Character will lose 1D3 hit points unless subjected to healing, or the party rests for 1 turn immediately.
7: Inspired. Character regains 1D3 hit points.
8: Learned a lesson. Character receives a special bonus of 10 experience points per character level.
9: Observed the enemy. If the character fights the same race of enemies again in this adventure (dungeon level), they receive +1 to attack rolls.
10: Loss of item. A random consumable item (potions, scrolls) was destroyed in the fighting.


Let me know what you think!

DMing. Keeping time

Time is often said to be extremely important in an OSR game. Spell durations, movement rates, durations of torches and time between rests. But how openly do you inform them?

While you could keep time, for example, from the time it takes a torch to burn down, bear in mind that the characters are hundreds of meters underground, in complete darkness except where local light exists. They would have no concept of the passage of time, except by very specific, known measurements (like the aforementioned torch).
When I run the game, I check off turns taken as we play. 1 turn to search a room, a battle always takes 1 turn (includes time to loot the bodies and bandage injuries), for simplicity, I usually let them move 2 "units" per turn in known territory. (A unit is either a stretch of corridor or a room).
This assumes cautious movement, in areas already cleared. Characters in a hurry could probably move 3 units and while fleeing, who knows where you'll end up?

As torches burn out, or the need for rest arises, I let the players know, but otherwise, they won't know how much time has passed, unless they return to the surface or acquire some sort of time keeping device, no doubt at significant cost.

Likewise, the players should not be completely confident in the duration of spells, unless they take great care to keep track. A particularly devious DM may vary things up by a D6 roll for anything with a known duration (spell, torch, time before rest) with a 1 shortening the interval by 1 turn, and a 6 lengthening it by 1 turn)


How much focus do you put on time in your games?
Do share!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Unusual starting items


Character items of unusual import:
A character may begin the game with an item that is unusually or particularly useful, well made or simply “lucky”. Roll once on the below table.

1 10 feet of unusually strong rope
2 Particularly warm cloak
3 Trustworthy flint and steel
4 10 finely made projectiles (+10% range)
5 Set of clothes that rarely gets dirty
6 10 sheets of paper that seem to stay dry
7 Boots that don't wear out
8 Very shiny mirror 
9 Quite spacious backpack 
10 Actual lucky dice 
11 Liquid proof gloves
12 Weather proof tent
13 Time keeping device
14 Magnifying glass
15 Universal key (15% chance to work)
16 World map
17 Sturdy weapon (wont break or rust)
18 Oddly clever small pet
19 Lantern made from sturdy glass
20 Excellent spices for food

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Fantasy Europe. Thoughts on magic.

One of the things you have to tackle if you do a fantasy europe game is magic. It's understood in FE that magic exists and is out there. Ordinary people know the old pagan herbalist can put a curse on you, and that a truly pious man can call for a miracle, but in your day to day life, this fades in with general superstition.

What you won't see is generally the sort of overt magic that you'd find in most D&D campaigns. Slinging balls of flame is the work of the dark powers no doubt. So the DM must decide how he will handle spell casting in the campaign, from a rules perspective.

The simplest option is to let the players play what they like. If there's a magic user or cleric in the party, they function as normal. However, it's unlikely that they'll ever encounter many other magic users in the game world, and if they do, it should be a memorable occasion.
The DM should bear in mind that overt displays of magic will attract a lot of attention. Uprisings, religious sects and crusades have started over less, and a mob of villagers can make life hard for a suspected devil worshipper.

The DM may elect to limit spell selection to suitable spells. Clerics could get slightly more leeway here, as people are fairly ready to accept various type of miracle from a truly holy man, but most spells then would be information and observation type of spells. This can lead to a very "covert" feel, where the magic user somehow always happens to have an idea what is going on.

The DM may delay spell casting. For example, counting all casters at a 2 level penalty. Hence, a magic user does not actually get any spells until level 3 (at which point he gets the spells of a first level magic user) though he'd be level 3 for combat, saving throw and hit point purposes. This will help limit magic ability in most campaigns, though with so little magic out there, even this delayed spell casting will still be significant.

Lastly, the DM may simply not permit player spell casters, keeping magic in the realm of the NPC. In this case, the question occurs of what classes the characters CAN play. It may be advisable to bring in additional non-magic using classes to the campaign world, or use a system that omits classes altogether. Luckily, we will be providing just such an option in the near future. Stay tuned.


Thoughts are very welcome on how you will handle magic in Fantasy Europe. Likewise, if you want to write Fantasy Europe articles, let me know, and I'll make room for you on the blog

Well crafted weapons and armour

These tables can be used in a few different ways. If the characters find weapons or armour in a treasure trove, you can give a 1 in 6 chance of each item having a unique quality, determined below.
You may also permit the purchase, gifting or acquisition of unique weapons and armour in the campaign. Such should generally cost at least triple the normal cost, and must often be specially acquired.
An item with 2 qualities must be obtained through a unique experience in the campaign and would be worth 10 times the normal cost.

Such an "exceptional" piece of equipment will have a random trait generated below. A fighter that rolls equal or below his experience level on 1D20 can identify the trait before using the weapon.

Melee weapons:
1: Penetrating. +1 to hit
2: Excellent grip. Will never drop or lose weapon.
3: Impact. Reroll any damage dice that score a 1
4: Durable. Will survive one incident that would break the weapon.
5: Light. Can be swung quickly for initiative purposes (for example, winning a tie)
6: Balanced. Can be thrown up to 10 feet (or 5 feet further if already thrown)

Missile weapons:
1: Accurate. +1 to hit
2: Durable. Will survive one incident that would break weapon.
3: Powerful. Extend each range interval by 10%
4: Comfortable reload. Every 2 rounds of fire, an extra attack may be made.
5: Quick. Can be reloaded and aimed particularly quick
6: Easy aim. Increase short range by 20%, but other range intervals remain the same

Armour:
1: Light. Weight reduced by 10%
2: Muted noise. Somewhat less noisy
3: Flexible. Can be donned and doffed very quickly
4: Durable. Can survive one incident that would damage the armour
5: Perfect fit. Can avoid drawbacks that would normally apply. (such as obscured vision)
6: Insulating. +1 to saving throws against physical threats


Thoughts and ideas? Let me know!

Friday, 8 March 2013

The Explorer. LL compatible class


Explorer (Thief)
Prime requisite: DEX
Hit dice: D6
Advances as: Thief
Attacks as: Thief
Saves as: Thief
Weapons permitted: Sword, dagger, spear, bow.
Armour permitted: Leather
Magical items permitted: Any permitted to fighters or thieves.

She laughed at their trepidation, as she walked unto the bridge. She'd crossed far worse in the jungles of the east. Now, if her instincts were right, the temple should be around here.

A traveller and wanderer, explorers live for the parts of the map that reads “here be dragons”.

Citizen of the world: Explorers have a knack for foreign customs and habits. When encountering other humans or demi humans that have no specific reason to be hostile, if the explorer leads the conversation, a “hostile” reaction roll may be rolled again once.

A sense of direction: A party involving an explorer is unlikely to be lost. All probabilities for losing their way are reduced to half the normal chance. In addition, explorers have a base chance of 5% per level for finding their way back to the entrance of an unmapped dungeon or cave they have travelled through. The roll must be repeated every hour.

That wasn't here before: On a D6 roll of 1-2, the explorer may recognize “moving” or “shifting” dungeon features, such as sliding walls, elevators, moving rooms, teleporters and similar.

Travel light and pack well: Explorers only count 90% of their carried weight, when calculating encumbrance. In addition, a staff or walking stick is never counted towards encumbrance.

Better path: When moving outside the dungeon, the party may move 10% faster.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Increasing level 1 survival

Probably the most common house rules are level 1 survival (usually through hit points), closely followed by ways to roll up ability scores.

I've played in both areas and find both options (hardcore versus survival) to be valid. So the point here is not to pass judgement, but present a few extra options suitable to a "pre-advanced" OSR game.

Option 1: Start at higher levels. This can be surprisingly effective, though it will leave out that early level experience of course. Back in hte day, we often played from level 3, and it can actually work really well, when playing a module that calls for a larger group than you have.

Option 2: Multiple characters. We've made it a habit of doing two characters each. For some groups, this won't be personal enough, but it's a nice way of expanding the groups capabilities.

Option 3: Max hit points at level 1. Probably one of the oldest rules in the book, and pretty simple.

Option 4: 2 hit dice at level 1. This gives more HP, without taking away the fun of rolling.

Option 5: Roll twice at level 1, pick best. Quick and simple.

Option 6: Give everyone a fixed +3 HP at level 1.

Option 7: Everyone starts play with a "kicker" of 10 temporary hit points. Once lost, they are lost forever, and can never be healed or regained. They are always lost first.


What do you do for your groups hit points, if you do NOT roll "by the book" ? Leave a comment

Hit point recovery revisited


If a game uses critical hits, injuries and similar options, such as those presented herehere and here, the game may be getting rather dangerous. To balance things, and to take into account that hit points are as much energy reserves, morale and determination as physical damage (hence why magic users increase in hit points too), you may want to change the healing rates.

Here's a suggestion:

Winning a battle: Recover 1 hit point immediately (the boost in morale from being a survivor)
Nights rest in dungeon or wilderness: Recover 1 hit point per experience level. Multi class types use their highest level.
2-3 days rest in civilization with no real actions taken: Recover all hit points completely.

Specific injuries and ailments must still be healed normally, such as using the rules presented here

How do you handle healing in your game?
If you use criticals, does that affect your healing rules?

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Starting age in OSR games

I always liked the idea that not every adventure is a 16 year old. Sometimes the grizzled old farm hand or village priest must go fight evil and find fortune, and who's to say he's too old to go?

At the same time, I never quite liked the "ability score modifier" approach to age. Once the ability scores have been rolled, why modify them right away?

Here's my take:

Youth: Fantasy stories often feature characters in their teen's (and for a medieval setting, that may be "functionally adult" in any event). Youthful characters get the ability to move silent and hide like a first level thief. (actual thieves function as one level higher in those two abilities).
This is pretty useful, but the ability won't scale over time, so it remains an emergency attempt.

Adult: In their prime both physically, and in drive and motivation, adult characters start the game with 1D6 additional hit points.

Mature: As age takes it's toll, experience takes over. Mature characters begin the game with one additional skill (if using a skill system, such as that provided here
If not using skills, simply have the player designate an area of knowledge or expertise and roleplay the effects.

Old: Once you've been around long enough, your skills might start to suffer and you can't run around like a loon all day, but you've been there, seen it before, and those experiences might save your skin. +1 bonus to all saving throws.


Under these rules, Dwarves are always Mature, while Elves are always Adult. Halflings age as humans but slightly slower.

Morale failure table

Want a bit of randomness when a monster or henchman fails a morale check? Well, here you go!

Monsters:
1: Flee in a panic
2: Hasty retreat
3: Orderly withdrawal
4: Negotiate
5: Bribe
6: Surrender

Hireling:
1: Flee
2-3: Retreat
4: Withdraw
5: Turn traitor
6: Desert, never to be seen again

Henchmen:
1: Flee
2-3: Retreat
4-6: Withdraw


This assumes that henchmen are generally made of sterner stuff than your average hireling. Surrendered (and possibly negotiating) monsters might end up as potential hirelings of the party, though they may not be very trustworthy.
Unintelligent creatures will treat negotiate and bribe results as generally ceasing attacking.


Comments welcome as always

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Heroic Achievements.

What follows is an extremely simple system for "stunts" in OSR games.

This is very similar to the "heroic abilities" system I have previously presented here and the two can be used together or individually.

Any time a character uses a class related ability, he may attempt to be heroic. This succeeds on a 1 in 6 chance.

For spell casters, this permits the character to get some sort of additional benefit. Examples might include unusual spell parameters (such as an oblong fireball blast), increased range or duration, a small penalty to saving throws (-2 versus a simple target might be reasonable), increased accuracy and precision or similar benefits.Another option may be to permit the caster to retain the spell in memory.
Note that if the roll isn't heroic, the spell must still be cast, though it could be aborted part way through the casting. In this case, the spell is still lost.

A heroic use of a thief skill would permit a particularly death-defying act to be carried out. Note that since the heroic chance is almost always going to be lower than the actual thief skill, a heroic roll will probably negate the need for testing the thief's regular skill chance. Note however, that if the thief is not heroic, he is still committed to the action, unless it's lengthy enough to abort part way.
Examples of thief heroics include scaling an almost completely sheer and featureless wall, picking a magical lock or disarming a trap so complex no mundane thief could do it.

Warrior types (and based on DM decision, other characters) may attempt stunts in combat. Examples can include pushing, disarming, changing position during a fight, inflict a critical hit and similar.

Characters with ability scores of 14 and above may also attempt heroic achievements for those ability scores. Examples include a superhuman feat of strength, memorizing a long text (intelligence) or feats of acrobatics for dexterity.


The system can be extended to other features as well, and is ultimately up to the DM to adjudicate. The chance of success is intentional kept low, to keep this from dominating the game.
I deliberately shied away from assigning a "failure" aspect. On a roll other than a 1, the heroic attempt simply does not work. Alternatively, you could make it a gamble by assigning "something bad" on a roll of 6.

Comments always welcome!

Injury recovery

This table can be used any time there's a question of a character recovering from injuries. Examples may include injuries sustained from critical hits, ailments the character has suffered, diseases and characters who have been incapacitated (for example through being reduced to 0 hit points).

1: Must receive rare magical or divine aid of a significant degree to recover.
2-3: Must receive specialist medical attention to recover.
4-6: Recovery time of 1D8 weeks
7-9: Recovery time of 1D4 weeks
10-13: Recovery time of 3D6 days
14-16:Recovery time of 1D6 days
17: Recovery time of 2D6 hours
18: Recovery time of 1D6 hours
19: Recovery time of 1D6 turns
20: Miraculously recovers in 1 turn

This can result in a minor injury lingering for an extremely long time, while a seemingly terrifying wound may in fact have looked far worse than it really was.
DM's may determine whether or not magical aid will speed up recovery times.

Possible modifiers: Particularly serious injuries are -1 on the table, while minor injuries are +1.
Characters with high constitution scores are +1, while low constitution scores are -1 (I use 8 and 13 as indicators of low and high respectively, but you can vary this as desired)

Leave your comments below

Monday, 4 March 2013

Deadly critical hits

As a counterpart to the "non-deadly" critical hit system presented previously some group may desire critical hits that are far more decisive. This can work well in a more "gritty" game, or a game where the group feels that a characters hit points primarily reflects luck, defensive ability and divine providence, all of which can be short circuited.

As an option, if another injury system is not used (such as the one presented here or here), a character reduced to 0 hit points may simply suffer a critical from this table.

1: Random limb useless until healed.
2: Character bleeding. Lose 1 hit point per round, until healed or bandaged (3 rounds but does not bleed while being bandaged)
3: Weapon destroyed
4: Knocked unconscious for remainder of battle.
5: Incapacitated and requires a days rest before recovered
6: Character slain outright.

These criticals have a far greater potential to end a fight early for a combatant, and as such, will produce combat that is more dramatic, unpredictable and frightening.


Did you grow up with Rolemaster or Warhammer too? Leave a comment if you like brutal criticals.

Fantasy Europe. Random religious convictions

Religious strife is very important in Fantasy Europe, so if you are randomly generating a character, it may be important to understand where they stand.
This is intended for non player characters and henchmen, but can be used for player characters as well, if the player is uncertain or wants a challenge.

There are three possibilities:
"The one true God"
"Defender of the Faith"
"Pagan"

In addition, a character may be a heretic.

This system can easily be applied to any other religious system you use in your campaigns, of course.

First, roll 1D6 for the characters conviction in the dominant faith in his culture. For a barbarian, this would be Pagan, while a character from western civilization would have the true god as their dominant faith.

The roll is read to indicate strength of conviction. 5's and 6's indicate very strong, solid beliefs. 3's and 4's are significant beliefs, but not dominating, while a 1 or 2 indicates a lack of belief.

Next, roll for the other two faiths. This will give you 3 totals.
If the character is a follower of the dominant faith in the region (3-6), the scores for the other paths are read as levels of tolerance. A high score indicates strong tolerance or even admiration, while a low score indicates distrust, intolerance or even outright hostility. The bigger the difference in scores, the stronger the antipathy.

For example, a True God follower with a 5 in his own faith, and a 1 in pagan faith is likely to react with intense hostility to characters that are openly pagan.

If the roll for the dominant faith was a 1-2, the highest scoring of the remaining faiths is taken as the characters actual faith.

A character rolling 1's and 2's on all three faiths is assumed to be a non-believer, or simply a character of particularly strong pragmatism. Of course, such a character may still follow basic rituals and some belief structures as a matter of cultural background.


Any character that has a faith rated over a 2 has a 1 in 6 chance of being a heretic. This indicates the character follows a branch of the faith that is reasonably distinct, or even problematic. The characters alignment and background can help determine this.For pagans, heresy is generally a different cult than what would be found in the area.

Characters that are not heretics have a 1 in 6 chance of actually being subversives. In this case their true belief score in this faith is a 1, but they superficially have the original, rolled score.


Of course, this can be adapted to any other setting where religion is a key factor.

What do you think? Let me know!