Trick or Treat – October 2011 RPG Blog Carnival

The topic for this month’s RPG Blog Carnival is Making Loot Part of the Plot being hosted by Campaign Mastery. For more details about the RPG Blog Carnival visit the archive of past blog carnivals over at Nevermeet Press.

October is a container of time which brings us Halloween every year. Halloween has become a holiday where kids dress up in costumes and scour their neighborhoods for candy in a ritual known as “Trick or Treat’ing“.  This is essentially the same as an RPG ‘dungeon crawl‘.

Both of these focus on fun and loot. So we’ll do the same. Continue reading

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D&D Chess (with 4e framework)

I totally missed the time-frame on Speak out with your Geek out, but this gave me a chance to test this a bit more.

Chess is a games that I picked up at my grandfather’s. Chess teaches you to think before you act. Chess can be relaxing and exciting at the same time. I like chess.
Anyone can play, and if you pay attention and use your mind, anyone can win. Chess is tactics 101.

Dungeons and Dragons is a game that I learned from friends. D&D is a game you play with friends, and I have made many friends by playing. I like D&D.
Playing D&D with miniatures is a tactical game decided as much by the dice as by your choices.

D&D + Chess is Peanut Butter + Chocolate, yes it may be messy at times, but it’s always good. Continue reading

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Psionics in 4E

The psionics system in 4e D&D is much better than that presented in the previous edition, but I still have a few issues with how it works in play:

Psionic characters have At-will powers with Augment abilities. They also have the chance to exchange their At-will powers for newer, “more powerful” powers every few levels. In practice, each psionic class has a few choice powers that overshadow powers for levels to come. The incentive to get new powers is minimal when you already have the best power in the class (Ex. Battlemind 7 Lightning Rush, Psion 1 Dishearten, Ardent 1 Energizing Strike). Some powers have an interesting augment but are not worth choosing because the rest of the power is lackluster.

Psionic characters do not get encounter powers, instead they get powers points. Power points (Psionic Strength Points) are part of the D&D legacy at this point and what separates them from standard magic users. In older editions with Vancian magic, this was a more important distinction. The power point economy doesn’t match the standard power economy. Augmentable powers have a low cost and a high cost augment, 1/2pp in heroic tier, 1/4pp in paragon tier, and 2/6pp in epic tier. If a player chooses level appropriate powers the power point economy scales well, but keeping lower tier powers allows a player to use an augment incessantly. This creates another incentive to keep lower level powers for their lower level cost.

I have been playing around with this idea in a few different ways:

Psionic RBA + PP augment
This is the simplest idea. Starting with a Ranged Basic Attack like the Warlock’s Eldritch Bolt, the Psionicist attacks and adds an augment on a hit similar to how power strike functions for knights. The augments are chosen like encounter powers.

Modular at-wills
Here we again go with a plain vanilla Psionic attack to start, but the psionicist learns augments that function as modular modes for their Basic Attack. The modes are turned on an off as desired but incur a PP cost.

Discipline tree
Here we have a selection of at-wills representative of certain thematic psionic disciplines. The psionicist chooses augment effects from that discipline line culminating in an at-will similar to current psionic at-will powers where the player changes the augments as they level.

My preference lies in the first option.

Psionics of the editions of yore had interesting flavor to them, but mechanics that kicked the system in the teeth. The element that I found the most compelling, was the concept of “contact”. A Psionicist had to establish contact with an opponent’s mind before they could twist it like a pretzel. I want to bring this back. Using a basic psionic attack to establish “contact” before separate encounter augment powers can be used is the crux of my idea.

By making Augments discrete abilities, we can allow players to more directly plan a character to their tastes and re-incentivize choosing new powers. The idea is to make an augment a discrete effect that can be added to a basic attack after a hit or “contact” is made. This also ties into power point economy. If the costs of the powers are balanced based on effect more than by level, scalability can be maintained.

Here is my rough take on a ranking of some control effects:
Action denial:           Prone < Dazed < Stunned < Dominated < Unconscious
Movement denial:   Difficult Terrain < Slow < Immobilize < Restrain
Disability:                 Deafened < CA < Blinded < Weakened < Helpless
Forced Movement:  Push = Pull < Slide < Teleport

Let’s use the scale of 0-6 that is already in use, with 2pp for a heroic encounter power equivalent effect, 4pp for a paragon encounter power equivalent effect, and 6pp for an epic encounter power equivalent effect as a reference for how many points something should cost.

So what are the costs of various effects? Here’s a stab at it:

Save ends                            +1pp
Area                                      +1pp
Multi-target                       +1pp
Multi-attack                       +1pp
Damage increase              +1pp

Deafened                             p00p
Combat Advantage         0.5pp
Difficult Terrain              0.5pp
Push                                      0.5pp
Pull                                        0.5pp
Slide                                      0.7p
Slowed                                 0.7pp
Prone                                    1pp
Blinded                                 1pp
Weakened                           1.5pp
Teleport                               1.5pp
Ongoing Damage              2pp
Helpless                               2pp
Immobilized                      2pp
Dazed                                    2.5pp
Restrained                          2.5pp
Stunned                               3pp
Dominated                         3.5pp
Unconscious                     3.5pp

//As an aside, it would be immensely helpful if WOTC gave us some indication of how they weigh the various abilities when designing. I prefer to believe that they have some concrete guidelines that they just aren’t sharing. I wish they would though.

This is where I will leave off for now. Comments, counterpoints, questions welcome.

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Essentially a gunmage

Just this one diversion and then psionics, I swear!

Using the recent bladesinger as a model, we can make an essentials-style gunmage that is an easier conversion than making a full class. This might make it an easier sell to a DM.

The bladesinger is a variant of the wizard class and keeps controller as its role, we want a striker, so lets make a sorcerer variant! Continue reading

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Bladesinger? Inspiration! Gunmages and Psions

Have you seen the new bladesinger class for 4e?

The bladesinger operates primary by using melee basic attacks and augmenting them with at-wills that trigger on a hit.
The also have an ability to temporarily take it up a notch.
Aside from that they get limited access to wizard encounter powers (used as daily powers).

I find the class and its simple yet elegant mechanics quite intriguing. I hope to soon get my hands of the Neverwinter Campaign Setting to learn more about it.

Using a simple augment to a basic attack was one of the methods I pondered for the original design for the gunmage, but my idea wasn’t that great and was scrapped. This, however, is what I was looking for at that point.

I don’t really want to scrap the class that I developed, but I plan on doing a quick alternate version borrowing from recent classes.

More so than, just the gunmage, I have been noodling on how to rework psionics. The psionic classes presented in PHB3 were interesting, but they don’t work for me. They were an interesting experiment, but more recent classes have shown more elegant methods for doing many of the things they were trying.

I have some ideas that I want to play with:
-Psionic basic attack
-Power point economy
-Separate augments from at-wills
-Psionic flavor (bursting with ectoplasm!)

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Stories from Myth: Momotaro – August 2011 RPG Blog Carnival

The topic for this month’s RPG Blog Carnival is Animals in RPGs being hosted by Tower of the Archmage. For more details about the RPG Blog Carnival visit the archive of past blog carnivals over at Nevermeet Press.

This post was brought on by word association. I read “Animals in RPGs” and my mind thought of the dog, monkey and pheasant in Momotaro, or Peach boy. Maybe in another circumstance, “monkey-crab battle” might have popped up first or my mind might have gone off in some other direction entirely. Incidentally, in some variations of Momotaro, the supporting cast of Monkey-crab Battle join in rather than the dog, monkey, and pheasant, but we’ll get to that.
First, let’s look at the story of Momotaro, or Peach Boy, so that we are on the same page, and then we’ll look at things from another angle. Continue reading

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Cthulhu Dark 日本語翻訳

TRPGではキャラクター作成より話を注目すれば楽しいと思うので、
簡単なルールのTRPGを気に入った。

Cthulhu Dark(クトゥルフくらい)は
ラブクラフト風のホラーの
ライトなルールのTRPGです。

Cthulhu Dark日本語または
Cthulhu Dark日本語‐印刷版

みんなにお裾分けします。
よろしくお願いいたします。

*Click the links for a translation of Cthulhu Dark in Japanese*
“The only HP in Cthulhu Dark is Lovecraft.”

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