Thursday, October 31, 2013

My NaGaDeMon Proposal: Occultpunk

The following is the basic outline of my National Game Design Month project. It's the skeleton of what I hope to accomplish in 30 days and is pretty much my entire planning process.

Working Name: Occultpunk

Genre: Dark Fantasy, both modern and medieval.

Randomizer: Tarot deck.

Core Mechanic: Player selected tarot card + skill + attribute must meet or exceed GM selected tarot card + difficulty level.

The Elevator Pitch: Occultpunk is an RPG that is firmly rooted in real world occultism. Everything about a character can be traced back to some sort of idea in actual magical traditions. For example, the characters have five attributes based on the five traditional elements. There is a more adversarial relationship between the players and the GM, as each is able to choose a tarot card from a hidden hand when resolving actions. Therefor, insuring success or failure requires strategy. The system is extremely loose in order to facilitate expansion and new settings.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

I Will Be Designing an RPG in November

This year I will be participating in National Game Design Month and thus will attempt to design a complete roleplaying game in 30 days this November. I was planning on writing a novel during the month, but since the novel challenge is dependent upon achieving a specific word count, a week-long business trip has made that goal unlikely.

I'm pretty unprepared for this task, but that's part of the fun. The game will be built on a rough idea I've been kicking around my head for about a year, so I'm not starting from scratch. The next week will probably have me preparing in any way I can, reading as many RPG rulebooks and essays on game design as possible.

I'll blog the process so you can see just how terrible an idea this is.

The DIY D&D Index

I'm making a big list of cool DIY D&D resources found on the internet. I'm keeping it here. There'll always be a link to it on the top of this blog's sidebar.

It is not a definitive list and it will be added to as I come across the resources or whenever I feel like reading someone's entire blog while doing a lot of copying and pasting.

The basic criteria for inclusion is that the resource has to be usable in a game of D&D, available for free, and produced by someone who is not a professional game designer who makes a living off selling games. My definition of D&D is pretty loose, but it basically includes any game that closely resembles something published under the name of D&D until the fourth edition.

Let me know if I'm missing something obvious and awesome or if it's clear I am not following someone who produces quality D&D material.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My RPG Person Profile

(Created on the gentle suggestion of +Zak Smith)

I'm currently running (at home): Cyberpunk Savage Worlds

I would especially like to play/run: Unknown Armies; DC Heroes
...but would also try: weirdo horror RPGs.

I live in South Bend, IN

Some well-known RPG products other people made that I like:
Vornhiem by Zak S.
Dungeon Crawl Classics by Goodman Games

Some novels I like:
The Illuminatus Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea
Those Song of Ice and Fire novels
VALIS by Philip K. Dick

Some movies I like:
Batman Returns
Pootie Tang
La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc

Best place to find me on-line: Google+

I will read almost anything on tabletop RPGs if it's easily manipulated for on-the-fly rulings, breaks from traditional settings.

I really do not want to hear about: What you find offensive. Games that aren't worth playing.

I think dead orc babies are ( circle one: funny / problematic / ....well, ok, it's complicated because....)
Problematic. For orcs.

Games I run are like this.

Free RPG Content I made for playing Attack on Titan in D&D is available here.
... for using Wealth as a Trait in Savage Worlds is available here.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Attack on Titan: A Quickie D&D Hack

Attack on Titan is pretty rad and begs to be translated into an RPG. The following is my attempt to translate the best parts of the show into something simple that can be used at the table.

(I'm only about half way though the show, so I might be missing something especially cool. Also, this hack is based around Castles & Crusades, but it should be basic enough to work with most D&D flavors. The armor class for the titans is descending with ascending in parenthesis.)

SIZE: Ranges from Large to Fucking Gigantic
MOVE: 40 ft.
HD: 9
AC: -2 / -6 (17 / 21)
ATTACKS 1 Grab, see below
SPECIAL: Fear Aura, Regeneration
INT: Animal
ALIGNMENT: Neutral Evil
TYPE: Titan
XP: 600+9

Titans are gigantic, naked and genital-less humanoid creatures who only exist to devour human beings. They range is height from 10 to 50 feet. The do not appear to have any motivation other than the consumption of human beings, which they do not require for food. It is speculated that titans gain nourishment from the sun. Upon death the titan's body dissolves into nothing, making it nearly impossible to study the creatures.

Titans are have extremely fast reflexes regardless of their size. If an attack roll against a fails, the attacker must make an immediate Dexterity-based saving throw. If the saving throw fails, the attacker is grabbed and consumed. The titan's grab attack also results in immediate death if successful.

Titans can only be killed by attacking the back of the neck. A titan's default Armor Class is -2 (17), but attacks to the back of the neck must beat an Armor Class of -6 (21). Essentially this is a called shot. Any attack to the back of the neck with a damage roll of 5 or better immediately kills the titan.

Attacks to other parts of the titan's body is essentially useless due to the creature's extreme regenerative capabilities. The titan regains 2d8 hit points per round. Titans that are reduced to 0 hp are unable to act for two turns while their bodies regenerate.

Titans are incredibly unsettling and grotesque monstrosities. Anyone character who has never encounter a titan before must make a save vs fear or be paralyzed. The character makes this check every round until passing the check, at which point the character can immediately act.

(This titan is 75% a re-skinned hill giant and only represents the standard grinning naked zombie variety. Other giants could work for the unique variant titans.)

Vertical Maneuvering Equipment
In order to reach the vulnerable spot on a titan's body, human beings have developed a technology that allows them to move quickly and gracefully around the hulking behemoths. This technology includes a harness with two pneumatic grappling hooks and a boosting mechanism to achieve momentum. Soldiers typically wield two swords with exchangeable blades to insure a deep cut into the titan's neck.

When using a vertical maneuvering harness, a character can move 80 ft per round, plus 10 ft for each point of their Dexterity modifier. For example, a character with a +2 Dex modifier can move 100 ft per round.

Due to the extremely high speeds of the vertical maneuvering system, it imparts an armor class bonus of +10. A harness cannot be used with any armor heavier than leather.

If a character is not actively using the system (i.e. standing on the ground), the armor class bonus and movement rate are negated.

One proven technique for combating titans with the vertical maneuvering system is flanking and distracting the target while one character goes in for the attack. For every character in range of a titan's grab, the attacker gains a +2 bonus to their To Hit roll.

While I like to avoid grids and miniatures, this would be a good time to use a grid for strategic combat, especially to help calculate the flanking bonuses and the disparity in the movement rates between PC and titans.

Please note that none of this has been play-tested and I'm just going off what would feel right to emulate the show in D&D. If you see any glaring mistakes or if you think my math is all screwy, let me know.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Stop Taking My Money!

There is yet another Bundle of Holding. This one has indie horror RPGs, including Dread, which is famous for basing its fear mechanics around a Jenga tower. Also included is Don't Rest Your Head, which I have heard good things about. Kingdom of Nothing and Murderous Ghosts are also included, but I know nothing about them other than they have cool titles. Luckily I can resist beating the average to get the bonus games, which is rare with these bundles as the BoH crew have made an art of getting the most money for the games they offer.

I've also broken down and tossed my money into the indiegogo campaign for the revised LotFP referee's book. I don't even run LotFP, but I found the original ref's book to be the best thing about the game's Grindhouse Edition. The revised book along with the revised classic adventures made it difficult to resist pitching in at the PDF tier.

I'm supposed to be saving up to buy a new computer. Stop taking my money, you guys!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

These Spiritualist-Inspired Playing Cards are Calling Out To Me

Regardless of the system I'm running, I use a deck of playing cards for initiative. As a result I have developed an addiction for different themed decks so that I have the perfect deck for the RPG that I'm running. These spiritualist-inspired cards would be perfect for a Realms of Cthulhu or old-timey World of Darkness game.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Link Dump: Oct. 8, 2013



New Releases

Ravenloft is Now Available on DnD Classics

If you're looking for something to run this Halloween season, you can't go wrong with the classic Gothic-horror AD&D 1E module Ravenloft. You can grab it from now for only $4.99.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Design a Game in November

Those familiar with National Novel Writing Month know that every November thousands of people attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in only 30 days. I have participated several times and have completed at least three terrible short novels. NaNoWriMo is frustrating but incredibly fun. Although it is unlikely that anyone participating in the event will produce a novel even close to readable, it's still a worthwhile creative exercise.

One option of NaNoWriMo is to produce something other than a novel during November. The organizers of National Game Design Month (NaGaDeMon for short) have decided that designing a complete game in 30 days can be just as fun. Participants can write their own RPG or design a board game and are encouraged to publicly discuss the creation of the game.

I am seriously considering participating this year since I have been kicking around an idea for an RPG for some time now and probably should just put pen to paper at this point. I did have a sort of five year plan for this game with designing an original system being the final step, but I've always found a close deadline to be extremely motivating.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque, vol. 3 Released

In time to make October extra spooky, Jack Shear has released his third volume of resources for running a Gothic-themed RPG and it makes me wish I were not committed to running a cyberpunk campaign. Once again Jack delivers the goods in the form of excellent random tables and setting details that will set your imagination sprinting. He's also thrown in a great deal of inspirational resources.

For shit's sake, he gives a option for bonuses based on phrenology! These are the options you didn't know your game needed but desperately does.

Download the free PDF or buy a hardcopy for the table.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Unknown Armies is the new Bundle of Holding

The newest Bundle of Holding showcases the Unknown Armies RPG. I don't know too much about this game, other than it has been described as the closest thing we have to an Illuminatus! Trilogy game. That description alone has made me very interested in this game.

Pay what to get the core rules. Beat the average to get a bunch of supplements. Currently the average is just under $11.

For more info on the game, check out the page on Atlas Game's website.

Cyberpunk Name Generation

The recent release of a Hacker Name Generator PDF has brought to my attention that there is a need out there for filling cyberpunk settings with appropriate named characters and places.

Before you spend any money, check out the cyberpunk name generator at donjon. It provides male and female names for American, Chinese, Japanese and Russian characters, along with netrunner handles. It also provides corporation and location names. Each click results in ten entries, so you shouldn't have any problems quickly fleshing out your notes and character sheets.

The handles, locations and corporation names are especially good and really capture the classic cyberpunk feel. The Shiki Datavault in Paris sounds like an awesome place for an adventure.