Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Peasant King

in GURPS fantasy, there's this concept of a king who is spiritually attached to his land. Apparently it's called a Fisher King on TVtropes, but somehow I like peasant king better, because it doesn't tie the character down to a particular profession.

So I asked the folks over at the DW tavern:  if there was an existing playbook. Someone suggested a compendium class. Surprisingly among the more helpful responses was "Just do it". They're also where I found out it was called a Fisher King in the first place. A very short conversation, and a cursory glance at DW Perilous Wilds and I got the idea that the book could almost write itself. I was basically right. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Current Playtest Projects

I've done a good deal of World Engine houserules, and in the past work with a lot of mainstream systems, but occasionally I strike on an idea that deserves its own full rule set, so I write an entire book either cold, or drawing on inspiration from previous works. I'd like to take this opportunity to share my works with anyone who gives enough shits to read my blog.

The first was inspired by a jacksepticeye Let's Play series for a video game called Until Dawn, which for the uninitiated is a QTE driven survival horror. I was thinking about the LP one night and randomly stumbled upon attributes which would spell the word SCREAM with their first letters, so I called it SCREAM!

The book is here:

It's currently in an (inactive) playtest on here:

The second is inspired by one of my favorite HD games (I have to specify HD because I don't know if anything will ever dethrone FFIX) Grand Theft Auto V as well as the Saints Row series. Criminal Sandbox type games.. I was playing online creating a character when I noticed everything had a percentile number and I could easily convert that to a d10 dice pool by assuming that each 10 points (or half a bar on the GUI) could represent a d10 for task randomization.

The book is here (as is a character sheet):

There is an active playtest as well on here:

I hope the relatively few of you that pay attention like/want to play in either of these systems/playtests.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Collateral Damage: A Deeper Look into Vehicles

I've been thinking about something I said regarding the price of some vehicles. in the previous article. 
Thus would make each point of stress is worth $12,500.
This runs into problems. For example, take a  3 bedroom 2 bathroom house with drywall interior. It can be assumed to have: 
  • space for 6 occupants
  • A kitchen
  • 3 armor
That would be 10 stress and $125k, which works for cars, but it's been over 20 years since that conversion rate made any sense for a house. For a GTA based game I created a while back, I thought 50k was a fair price per bed, bath, or other significant features. That would put this same house at 500k, but research suggests that a house with those features is between 3-400k. So tripling it for houses, but leaving it $12,500 for vehicles is fitting.
 Applying this to actual cars is problematic unless cars aren't considered to have the 3 armor assumed by a steel frame (the material I previously mentioned is iron, but the difference is not significant) because that gives them a minimum price around 3,600 with no control stat, no occupants, etc. Consider the following:

Here's what's stated
  • 707 Horsepower
  • 6.2L Hemi V8 Engine
  • 3 Armor

The vehicle probably has +1 Control at the least. I won't bother trying to think too deeply on that one. The pictures show enough room for 3 kids in the back, in addition to 2 front seats. We'll call that 4 Occ.

Thus we have 
  • 707 Horsepower
  • 6.2L Hemi V8 Engine
  • 3 Armor
  • 4 Occ.
  • +1 Control
That's 10 things, for about 28K. It would not be unfair to assume vehicles are between $2500, and $3000 per point of Stress. If a house is $50,000 per point, and a Vehicle is $2,500 we can thus assume that "Basic Amenities" multiplies price by 20. Otherwise the multiplier is closer to about 17.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Collateral Damage: Structures and Vehicles in World Engine games

So I was reflecting on how in Inverse World, vehicles have 3 stress unless otherwise noted, it takes 10 points to drop it by 1 stress, and removing all stress destroys the vehicle. Presumably they thought something was to be desired with vehicles that Dungeon World left out. I wasn't really satisfied with this static number because I felt that it fell a little flat on granularity between smaller and larger vehicles. I also saw potential to use it for buildings, but no building was gonna take 30 damage and call it a day. Thus, I decided on an expanded Stress Modifiers list
  • +1 per Occupant (Occ. Includes very basic but accommodations)
    • A bedroom is 2 Occ.
    • A booth table or pew is 4 Occ.
    • If a complex consists of multiple rooms, minimum occupancy is the number of rooms
  • +1 per point of Armor
  • +1 per notable feature, even if it’s decoration
  • +1 per Move an occupant can do (needs 1 Occ. per move unless otherwise stated. Any staff can tend to the number of people stated, multiplied by a relevant stat)
    • Armory
    • Kitchen and/or Dining Hall (waitstaff serves 4 people)
    • Infirmary (1 Nurse can tend to 1 room 2 Occ.)
    • Lore Library
    • Move like a vehicle (has additional stress of 1 per Control Stat) 
    • Mystical Library/Laboratory
Material                                                                                    Armor 

Particularly thin Wood or particularly thick Paper                          1 
Wood                                                                                        2 
Iron or Stone (wood and drywall counts as “or stone”)                   3 
Iron and Stone (structural steel and concrete probably counts)      4 
Magical Protection                                                                    Varies

After some experimentation with converting Dungeon World coin to other currencies (I put a coin equal to 500 yen to get prices that neared those in the Persona series for another project I'm working on) I came to about a coin for 500 yen or 5 dollars, I assumed a 1 room cottage was 2 stress, and at 2500 coins, Thus would make each point of stress is worth $12,500.

This runs into problems. For example, take a  3 bedroom 2 bathroom house with drywall interior. It can be assumed to have: 
  • space for 6 occupants
  • A kitchen
  • 3 armor
That would be 10 stress and $125k, which works for cars, but it's been over 20 years since that conversion rate made any sense for a house. For a GTA based game I created a while back, I thought 50k was a fair price per bed, bath, or other significant features. That would put this same house at 500k, but research suggests that a house with those features is between 3-400k.

I have further thoughts on this on: where I basically peg "Basic Amenities" as an x20 multiplier.

For games that feature low "Harm" scores like Monster of the Week, 3 points of DW damage is 1 point of Harm. This isn't as much an attempt to convert to any particular system as much as it is a quick generalization. Feel free to make it 2-5 to better suit your game's survivability. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Visual Novel Ideas: The Attributes

Represents an aesthetic of attitude, behavior, comportment, appearance and style that is generally admired; Because of the varied and changing connotations of cool, as well as its subjective nature, the word has no single meaning.

Represents your physical appearance mostly; It’s used as other games might use Charisma. Although being Hot doesn’t necessarily mean you have Charisma, it still works in a similar manner. You might also extend this one to something like Cooking, which can literally be hot.

Having or showing quick intelligence or ready mental capability, shrewd, sharp, clever, or witty.

This represents a character’s athletic ability, both for engaging in competition, and for getting around the game world on foot.

How unusual you are, in a mundane way.

These scores are rated from -1 to +3, but they only go up to +2 by default.

Some ideas I have right now for character creation:

Choose Archetypes

Choose two or three common anime Archetypes (what Dungeon World called Specialties, not to be confused with what Dungeon Fantasy called Archetypes). If you choose 3, you start with all their Starting Moves. If you choose 2, you can take an Advanced Move with one of them. I'm looking to ballpark around 7 Moves per Archetype, and I have a few ideas for archetype right now
  • Accidental Pervert
  • Bokukko
  • Cuckoolander
  • Dojikko
  • Foreigner
  • Genki
  • Idol Singer
  • Iinchou
  • Journalist
  • Kuudere
  • Meganekko
  • Miko
  • Ojou
  • Osananajimi
  • Otaku
  • Sensei Chan (might not go with this one because I'm calling the GM Sensei)
  • Shrinking Violet
  • Sports Star
  • Sukeban
  • Tsundere
  • Yandere
Choose a Look
Pick one of your three archetypes to derive your look from . Each one will present 4 options for each of eyes, hair, body, and clothes.

Choose Attributes
Pick one of your 3 archetypes to derive your Core Attribute from(which does not have to be the same  one you derive your look from). Your Core Attribute is +2. The other scores are either
  • +2, +0, -1, -1 or
  • +1, +1, +0, -1 

Whichever you pick, arrange them however you like.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Spouting Tavern Lore

Inebra is the dwarven Goddess of Drink. She was forged when Navanor Truestone was experimenting with different quenching materials, and he used rum (dwarven of course, 3 times more potent than that human drivel). Being what serious minded people might think of as the Divine posterchild of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, during her youth, she would disguise herself and engage people in drinking contests.

After a few centuries of this, a human named Ogmar recognized her, and he asked for her hand in marriage should he win. She was conflicted in this, but in that moment of doubt, she knew she had to reaffirm her position as The Best of the Best. She won, but he lasted long enough to get her a little tipsy, drinking at least 8 times what a human should. She could have at that point, changed her mind and he not do a thing about it. Her father would not have anything but a dwarf wed his child either, so she transformed him into a dwarf, and promoted him to demi-god. She also bequeathed the name Oathbinder upon him for making a god keep her word.

This is why in proper dwarven society (for a game featuring this lore) there is a largely matriarchal chain of command with every step having a council of 8 males acting as council to a woman holding the actual position.

The question has been posed how she was forced to keep her word, and the answer, is that she was tipsy and confused.

Monday, August 22, 2016

All About Mooks

This post builds on a previous post I made about hordes and mass combat here: it's inspired by the fact that in the Diablo series, there were creatures or fixtures that just generated and unloaded large numbers of low HP opponents. As mentioned in the link, I prefer to think a horde has one stat block, featuring one HP score for the entire horde, and that defeating this HP score doesn't necessarily annihilate the horde, but sends individual members scattering. That's sort of applicable in the Diablo series I guess, but I think it would be more appropriate to handle Diablo hordes entirely differently. Two moves are relevant to GMs of diablo based games:

Generate Encounter
When the party enters an undiscovered area, the GM rolls +nothing. *On a 10+, hold 3, *On a 7-9 hold 1. At any time in this area, you may spend 1 hold on the following:
  • +1d6 mooks in a horde per player
  • 1 normal monster
  • A hidden room or event (roll again)
*on a 6-, The party gains 1 treasure roll without any particular risk.

Fight Mooks
A slang term for the hordes of standard-issue, disposable bad guys whom The Hero mows down with impunity. Also called "baddies", "goons," "scrubs," "drones," "small fry," "flunkies," "pawns," "toadies," "grunts," "minions," "lackeys," "underlings," "henchpersons," and "cannon fodder". When you fight mooks, roll +STR. On a 10+ choose 2, and on a 7-9 choose 1:
  • you roll your damage normally, and take out that many mooks.
  • you suffer no injury or condition.
  • you are not slowed down, inconvenienced, or distracted from an objective on the other side of them.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tavern Moves in Dungeon World

Someone suggested that NPCs don't make moves in the comments of my Tavern Characters Post but p. 18 doesn't corroborate this
The GM’s monsters, NPCs, and other assorted beasties also have moves, but they work differently.
In any case, I mentioned that I would write a new post on Tavern Moves. Partly to alleviate their concerns, but also partly because I've been thinking about other expectations players tend to have about tavern interactions. The two biggest expectations of taverns in fantasy settings are wenches and brawls. They will be addressed in that order.

The aforementioned commenter suggested also that players do stuff that triggers moves. I gave the Wench a move called Sexual Healin', which allows the wench to treat patrons as if they had either taken Make Camp or Recover without actually resting long enough to do either. In that playbook, it was written as a Wench Move. Here it will be presented as a special move framed as if the PC is not the wench.
Special moves are moves that come up less often or in more specific situations. They’re still the basis of what characters do in Dungeon World—particularly what they do between dungeon crawls and high-flying adventures.
When you pay for a night’s “companionship”, roll +CON. *On a 10+, you heal as if you took a Recover action without the required amount of rest. *On a 7-9, you heal as if you chose to Make Camp instead. *On a miss,gain a Debility of the GM's choice

One of the mainstays of a tavern brawl is the use of fists to deal nonlethal damage to your opponent(s). This often happens because you missed (6-) on Carouse or Parley. Pulling out a real weapon is a major faux pas in a brawl. 

Whenever you tear it up in a tavern, roll +STR. *On a 10+ you deal your normal damage as Stun Damage. If you have moves relating to dirty fighting, tavern settings, or unarmed combat that modify damage numbers they apply to your dealt stun damage. *On 7-9 you deal your damage as stun damage, and choose one of the following:
  • When the brawl is over, you are hit up for tavern repairs worth 2d6-CHA coins.
  • When the brawl is over, you must roll for Outstanding Warrants.
  • Someone cut you with a bottle, or real weapon. take 1d6 damage

On a miss you choose two, and don't deal damage. The brawl is over when the party outnumbers their opponents, or when all the party members have either been knocked unconscious or suffer the stunned debility as outlined below.

Stun Damage
Stun damage is non-lethal damage. A PC who takes stun damage is defying danger to do anything at all, the danger being “you’re stunned.” 
Dungeon World isn't particularly clear on this, but digging up debilities I find:
Stunned (INT): That last knock to the head shook something loose. Brain not work so good.
Stun Damage also states:
This lasts as long as makes sense in the fiction—you’re stunned until you can get a chance to clear your head or fix whatever stunned you.
It is weird to me that there are two different rules for the same thing. I prefer the debility rules:
Debilities are harder to heal than HP. Some high level magic can do it, sure, but your best bet is getting somewhere safe and spending a few days in a soft, warm bed (with recover, it's 3, or 2 with a healer BUT you can go Wenching to reduce the time using these rules). Of course, debilities are both descriptive and prescriptive: if something happens that would remove a debility, that debility is gone.
If a character manages to not become stunned, or take a debility they will be knocked unconscious when their HP would be driven to 0 by stun damage. This applies to GM characters too, because the default ruling doesn't make sense.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

On the subject of Hordes and Mass Combat in Dungeon World

I want to be clear to note what I'm about to say may be in direct violation of the canonical rules established in DW for hordes:

I don't really consider Horde HP to be the HP of one monster, I consider it to be the HP of the whole horde, and evaluate HP bonuses based on how much space the members would take up as a rank and file unit (although they are often not organized that way).Considering that an apocalypse dragon has less than 30 HP; I don't have any problem with assuming a pile of small monsters that takes up as much space as a cart would have 7 HP or more than a house full of them would have 11 HP collectively. I also think battles could be fairly resolved in this way with a little tweaking.
  • Armies are always huge. They have a minimum of 11 HP.
  • Most of the time, even though the entirety of an army may not have armor the bulk of it usually has leather (with a few chains and plates here and there) so they always have +1 or more Armor.
  • Though individual soldiers aren't always in the fight, they often cycle who is on the front lines.This qualifies them for Uncanny Endurace (Giving them +4 HP bringing minimum HP to 15)
  • Its armaments are vicious and obvious (wicked looking pikes, swords, etc probably qualify. Hell, torches and pitchforks probably qualify): +2 damage (or you could probably upgrade damage to a d8)
  • It organizes into larger groups that it can call on for support: organized, write a move about calling on others for help.
  • It’s as smart as a human or thereabouts: intelligent
  • It actively defends itself with a shield or similar: cautious, +1 armor
  • It collects trinkets that humans would consider valuable (gold, gems, secrets): hoarder
Dealing 15 damage to a huge army doesn't mean that all members are killed, it means that it no longer forms a cohesive group. Individual members might run away, defect, be impartial merchants, and so on. Civilians might not abhor damage but nonetheless, non-professional soldiers roll damage twice and take the worst result.

On the subject of damage, DW says:
If multiple creatures attack at once roll the highest damage among them and add +1 damage for each monster beyond the first.
This is impractical for armies sized in the thousands. Or more accurately, it is practical for armies numbering in the thousands against just the PCs but probably not against roughly equal armies where one of them happens to also contain the PCs. When two armies are going at each other and the party is involved with one army, the damage of the opposing army is modified by adding the numerical ratio of one to the other as a whole number (2 to 1, 3 to 1, 4 to 1, etc). If players are not in an army, and yet face a Horde, its size ratio is also subtracted from their damage. Thus if an opposing army has a 4 to 1 ratio, the army gets +4 damage every hit, and the players get -4 damage every hit. Larger armies add this to their dice roll and smaller ones subtract it. This represents the fact that the overabundance of targets is sufficient that the individual players draw far less individual attention. 

Player Damage
It's obviously true that an army doesn't literally have 15 HP, and a player doesn't literally take out an entire army in one attack, but it's fair to assume that each exchange represents several minutes, and that the players actions on a microcosmic scale have tactical effects that amount to dealing damage. In other words, if you deal 12 points to a 15 point army, you didn't kill thousands of men on your own, you made them retreat from a key point, or something of that nature.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

PVP in DW?!

At first I thought "Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies" or something similar, because on the one hand, no one likes having their campaign spoiled by petty squabbles. I find that PVP often has a one sided instigation. That being said I can see merit in rewarding the level headed player. Instead of outright banning PVP, I offer the following:
  • If one player rolls Hack and Slash, getting a 7-9, and the other player chooses not to act on the opening granted, the passive player marks XP.
  • If a player chooses not to retaliate when another player's Volley puts them in danger, the passive player marks XP
  • If one player chooses to roll +Bond they mark XP.
  • If both players choose to Roll +Bond at any point, the fight is over, their bonds are resolved if the actual RP permits it, and they get to make new ones, and mark XP.
  • Players may only ever mark XP from one PVP. If they engage in another, with any player, they can't mark XP. 
It's up to the GM whether future PVPs require the instigator to sacrifice the character or not, or whether they'd use this rule in the first place, but I wrote it, so it should be taken as a given that I would.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

On the Subject of Herculean Appetites

a discussion came up on the DW Tavern G+ community, and I posed a kneejerk response to it. I don't like Herculean Appetites as written:
"Others may content themselves with just a taste of wine, or dominion over a servant or two, but you want more. Choose two appetites. While pursuing one of your appetites, if you would roll for a move, instead of rolling 2d6 you roll 1d6+1d8. If the d6 is the higher die of the pair, the GM will also introduce a complication or danger that comes about due to your heedless pursuits."
My knee-jerk was to add in a second +Wis roll, but as mentioned in the thread, it (rightly) feels like punishment. Not that I don't think it shouldn't feel like punishment, I just think there's a different way to go about it that maybe feels less like punishment.

I have since sparked on a different idea. I would change the text I italicized in the quote to "when a chance to indulge your appetites presents itself , if you would roll for a move, take -Worst Mental Attribute." If you fail, the GM will introduce a complication or danger, etc, in addition to whatever complications normally arise from failure.

That is, if you are being tempted, your mind is in some way negatively influenced by the temptation. Why the worst? because some players may want to try to game the system and not get penalized for their inconvenient appetites. Physical players are most likely going to try to choose their top 3 attributes in STR, DEX, or CON, but if they try to swap one out for a mental attribute, the fact that at least one of the others will be negative, will provide a penalty. The underlying assumption is that the distraction either makes you forget things, or not pay attention, or become crabby.

As with the original, the penalty only presents itself in a fairly narrow circumstance, so I don't really think it's unreasonable.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Wench Vital Statistics

In all my years of gaming (It'll be 17 this fall) I have never found a group that wasn't at least 20% (and usually closer to 50%) interested  in all the details of any wench they attempt to gain the services of. As noted in the Wench class I previously posted, they grant healing based on the amount of rest they prevent their client from attaining, so it was implied that the service was sex. What follows is a great deal of discourse on the dimensions of a human. Before reading this article consider the following:
  • I am aware that Dungeon World is about asking questions and making statements, and not about how to bog it down with all sorts of rules.
  • This is pedantic/nit-picking/immature.
  • I don't care.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Edits to the Brewmeister and Wench

I took heed of some advice given to me in the previous post, and removed some 6- results (but not all) tweaked the brewmeister's gear (but didn't make any eliminations per se...) tweaked the way Improvised Weapons works, may do some more tweaking.

Randomly stumbled upon a way to make Influencer not so abusive, so I fixed that. Been thinking about making the ongoing drunk penalty "either an hour, or until the end of the next combat. or other high adrenaline situation."

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Dungeon Worlds Tavern Characters

I'm not sure I'm doing this right, but I made a couple classes for Dungeon Worlds of characters you might find in a tavern.