Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Wonderful Pathfinder Contest.

Troll in the Corner is running a contest that could net you 3 Pathfinder books and tons of pdfs for the game. Check out the contest at! Also make sure you check out his setting Aruneus which blends High Fanatasy with zombie action.

Monday, December 14, 2009

D20 and Re-Thinking My Feelings

"D20, its not bad, but its not good. I just don't like it." That was my usual mantra to people who ask me what my opinion on D20 and DnD 3.x was. But recently I have been asked to run Rifts using Mutants and Masterminds as the system. This has caused me to take the time to reflect back on my experiences with d20 and using hindsight try to figure what my true feelings really are on D20.

I have ran several games using the D20 rules in some form, most in DnD 3.0 or 3.5. Nine times out of ten it was because the players wanted it and not me. I've ran Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Greyhawk, Warlords of the Accordlands, Star Wars, D20 Modern, and I am sure several other instances of d20 I am not recalling right away. Each time I have ran one of these games, the players have enjoyed it and the game has for the most part went swimmingly. The few times things went not so well, system-wise, is when I messed around with the rules too much on my own. For the most part the rules are easy to learn and to be honest I had a decent chunk of them memorized by the end of the first time I played a d20 game. Its easy to find players for, and even new players often learn the rules quickly.

So why do I say that I don't like the D20 system? Well the answer is, I have no freakin idea! And to be honest it really bothers me that I have had these feeling for a game without really having a conscious reason to back it up. Its obviously never been enough to stop me from running it, but its been enough to make me complain and lessen my own enjoyment of it for no good reason. Hopefully my hollow belly-aching has not killed others enjoyment of it.

I can't think of a single game, or session really, of d20 that has not been enjoyable for me. I actually find myself looking back and getting waves of nostalgia! Wait a minute.....what can this be true? It is, and fourth edition has barely been out for a couple of years.

So it has come to me now that I in fact really like d20. I have cleared my mind and logically drove away my irrational hate and found a new friend and option in my hobby. I believe I am now more "into" d20 than I have ever been. I now understand why so many are happy with Pathfinder. Whereas before i had the mentality of, its just paying for the same thing, I now see it as hope. Hope that an edition many enjoy will not die, at least anytime soon. I would have killed for this when 2nd edition was dropped, and I am now happy to see it for 3.x.

So getting over my own mental roadblock, I am now re-reading Mutants and Masterminds in an attempt to prepare for the possible Rifts game. I am finding it to actually be a tremendously nice rules set, and already I can see how easy it is going to be to run Rifts with it and a Rifts-MM conversion document I found online. There is a possibility that within the next few days my group and I will be making PCs for this game. I am truly looking forward to it, so as to see if it raises any questions, issues or exciting prospects for Rifts to be ran with M&M. This should be fun!

So in conclusion, I am sorry D20 for not giving you your credit where due. I apologize to any GM or players out there that I may have lessened your fun with my humdrum attitude. I plan to try to make it up to myself and the greater cloud of PnP RPG spirit, by running an awesome game with my newfound mentality.

PS: There are some awesomely low prices on d20 stuff on Maybe right now is an awesome time for this newfound vigor for the system. :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dragonlance Races

So I have finished my rough draft of Racial Qualities for my Dragonlance Unisystem conversion. I ended up with these races:

  • Mountain & Hill Dwarves
  • Dark Dwarves
  • Gully Dwarves
  • Half-Dwarves
  • Qualinesti
  • Kagonesti
  • Silvanesti
  • Dargonesti
  • Dimernesti
  • Half-Elf
  • Tinker Gnomes
  • Wild Gnomes
  • Mad Gnomes
  • Half-Gnome
  • Kender
  • Half-Kender
  • Centaur
  • Irda
  • Ogres
  • Half-Ogres
  • Minotaurs
  • Baaz Draconian
  • Kapak Draconian
  • Aurak Draconian
  • Bozak Draconian
  • Sivak Draconian
  • Goblins
  • Hob-Goblins
  • Half-Goblins
  • Bugbear
They all have come out pretty good so far, with one major exception, the Aurak Draconian. With the way I have been converting it was the only race that came out with a tremendous cost, 43 points as it stands right now. Which means a beginning player could not choose it unless a GM offered more disadvantage points or started the players with XP already.
Auraks are known to be extremely powerful in DL, and it shows when you figure what all abilities they have and what their Unisystem costs are. They are tough mofos. So the question is whether or not to leave them be as is, pile some more disadvantages into the race quality, or get rid of them all together.

Oh well maybe something will come to me.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dragonlance Unisystem

So I officially started work on a pdf today. I decided I would convert Dragonlance to Classic Unisystem. Its going to be slow going with what little free time I have, but I believe I got a good start. I Photoshopped myself a cover. Take a look!

So far I have the cover and text done for the first chapter. The first chapter is basically just the explanation of stats and how many points a player gets to spend on their PC. Next I need to do work on converting the main races of Krynn, to Racial Qualities in Unisystem. I am using the 3.x Dragonlance books and the Hypertext SRD for my base and converting it based on those write-ups to Unisystem. I plan to make Racial Qualities for these races:
  • Human (actually default, no quality)
  • Dwarves (Mountain, Hill, Dark, and Gully)
  • Elves (Kagonesti, Qualinesti, Silvanesti, Dargonesti, and Dimernesti)
  • Half-Elves
  • Gnomes
  • Kender
  • Centaurs
  • Draconians (Aurak, Baaz, Bozak, Kapak, and Sivak)
  • Ogres (Irda and Ogres)
  • Half-Ogres
  • Minotaurs
I think that covers the general races, for the fourth age. I plan on this "core" conversion to be made for fourth age/War of the Lance era play. If the mood sets with me, and this pdf goes well, other eras may be covered in future works. Anyways, creating the Quality blocks for these races will be my next step.

Some of my ideas, inspired by the Eden Forums, James' Lord of the Rings Unisystem, and my own genius are listed below.
  1. Using the rules for Primals from Armageddon for Cleric's spells. Each god would offer certain categories of powers. This emulates Domains well.
  2. Keeping spell schools, so that High Sorcery limits and specializes for wizards.
  3. Modifying Ghosts of Albion's magic system to use Essence and possibly Endurance or Weariness from LotRs.
  4. Using Martial Arts from classic uni, and the MA Powers from Enter the Zombie for Monks of Majere/Sargonnas.
  5. Try to stay away from strict class-like qualities, or class packages. Instead allow the players to build the PC they want.
  6. Keep the skill list close to classic uni in number, while covering the skills of the DL setting.
  7. Perhaps find a system for Gnome tinkering and their creations?
  8. Damage System, at first thought I would want to use James' rules in LotRs, but now I feel the normal rules would be fine. Dragonlance is a setting where even the good guys fall at a decent rate. Also unlike LotR, Dragonlance does not have many instances of a Hero wading through tons of bad guys unless they are simple creatures, instead its more common for the Hero's to know they are on the brink of a losing battle and escape/run away.
So that is my initial thoughts. This project is just getting started so I hope to post much more information here as I work on it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gurps and a love of an older edition.

Well first off let me start by saying I have a couple of new reviews posted. One is for Alpha Omega's creature manual, The Encountered, and the second is for SSDC's Galactic Underground 3 for Battlelords of the 23rd Century. Have a look, both games are excellent in fact Alpha Omega is currently the only game I am GMing.

Now to the fuel for this blog. I recently re-bought both a Gurps 3rd edition revised core book and Gurps Supers 2nd edition sourcebook. This caused me to dig out my decent sized collection of 3rd edition stuff and start to flip through them reliving some fond memories of fun games in times past. After some nostalgic dreams, a few thoughts crossed my mind. I own most of the Gurps 4th edition books in pdf form. I have even contemplated what kind of game I would try to play with them, and I fall flat everytime. I end up looking through them and thinking "hey that's a nice bit", or "that rule is pretty cool", but it missing something for me. It doesn't excite me like 3rd edition did, and now I realize, still does.

The problem is, I can't figure out why. The rules are not much different from each other, what did change is a non-issue for me as the things they changed or fixed from 3rd seem to be things my players and I never had any trouble with. So I can't blame the rules.
The layout of 3rd esition has some nostalgia factors for me, and 4th edition looks a bit too uniform for me, but neither feel exceptional or terrible to me. So I don't blame the layout changes.
So this leaves me with the actual content. I don't know if I can blame the writing style, it doesn't seem too different either. The content itself seems to have gone too generic. Yes, yes I know that Generic is the first word of the system, but it seems that in 4th edition they held truer to the name than any other edition. I think for myself, 4th edition has made it so generic that I am at a loss as to what I want to use it for. IT gives me the feeling I will have to put too much work into it as a GM to get a game, and that's not what I go for anymore in a game. Don't get me wrong, I like crunch, but I don't like having to make everything myself. Gurps 4th seemed to head closer into HERO's territory. And also realize that I know 3rd edition could be used generically too.

I now realize what it is. The fluff is missing. It's the sourcebooks. 3rd edition had lots of sourcebooks, that if you look at again, are mostly fluff. This fluff could be an entirely new setting such as Yrth, or historical fluff on Japan and China, to licensed settings such as Vampire, Traveller, or even the Starfleet Universe. Sure they all had some crunch too that could be used generically, but every single book for 3rd edition, save a few, had lots and lots of fluff that gave you everything you needed to run in a setting without needing tons of prep.

Sure there is some of this for 4th edition, but with their slower production schedule it just doesn't compare with the library 3rd edition was constantly expanding and revising. 3rd edition often had a lot of fluff in basic supplements, such as Gurps Fantasy was basically the Banestorm setting plus the generic fantasy information. Gurps 4th's Fantasy comes across a lot more as a toolkit for you to make your own, yes it has a barebones setting for a Weird Rome, but its very bare and still feels like oyu'd need to work to flesh it out, that is if you even want to use it. Banestorm's Yrth was fleshed out much more while still using the generic crunch. The weird Rome, almost doesn't fit the genre, it is at least by no means a good representation of the average.

There doesn't seem to be the hunger for licensed properties like there was in 3rd. In 3rd it seemed companies were likely to want there settings Gurps-ized. 4th seems like it really doesn't care about that anymore and just wants to be there for those who like toolkit games. Which there is nothing wrong with that, but for me "I not wants". Seeing several forums and articles on the internet have lead me to believe I am no where near alone on this attitude either.

My thoughts end on realizing that Gurps is the one game that I truly love an older edition so much more than the current edition. Ad&d 2nd use to be another, but 4th has been extremely fun for me. I am not one to cry they messed up my game, and I love it when editions are truly different than previous ones. I am of the attitude "why would I want the same thing again?" so change is good. I don't think 4th is a failure or bad, I can see lots of people loving to use it, hell even I would have at another time.

Okay so one more thought, Gurps 3rd with Supers is probably the only game right now I would actually GM a supers game with. I lose steam with everything else.

So what older editions just really work for you even though they have more "modern" editions?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Exalted Spirit: Part Two

I feel that Part One of this blog actually did a good job of giving the basics of what I need. The only thing I don't think I have put down yet is the idea of Caste Abilities. Players choose a caste aspect in character creation, not only does it decide what caste they are a part of but it also decides what their anima looks like and gives them one or more caste abilities which are similar to stunts. Unless noted otherwise a Caste Ability adds 5 to the Anima Stress Bar no matter what its cost in FATE points. This represents that their inate caste abilities are used by truly manipulating the essence within themselves. This could possibly send the PC through all the consequences of the Anima Bar in one swoop.

The Solar Castes:

  • Dawn Caste - (The Forsaken) The Dawn Caste are known as the warriors of the Solar Exalted. They are the Generals and Champions. Their Anima Banner is a golden sunburst.
  • Zenith Caste - (The Blasphemous) The Zenith Caste were the Priest-Kings of the realm. They are hunters of the minions of darkness, being almost zealots in the destruction of the dark denizens of the Underworld and Malfeas. Their Anima Banner is a large bright gold filled disc.
  • Twilight Caste - (The Unclean) The Twilight Caste are the scholars of the Solars. They seek to enlighten the ignorant and seek knowledge and learnign through experience and study. Their Anima Banner is a golden circle filled with gold in the top half but an empty ring in the bottom half.
  • Night Caste - (The Wretched) The Night Caste were the protectors and security of the realm. They are known for the stealth, guile, skill and cunning. Their Anima Banner is an empty golden ring.
  • Eclipse Caste - (The Deceivers) The Eclipse Caste are the diplomats of the Solar Exalted. They are masters at social interaction and know how to handle court play amongst any groups. Their Anima Banner is a golden disc within a golden ring.
Each class has different Caste Abilities they may use when needed.
The Caste Abilities are:
  • Dawn - For 2 FPs a Dawn Caste member can  make themselves appear huge and terrifying for the remainder of a "scene". This gives them +2 in defensive rolls, often this would be Physical Conflicts, but in some instances a player and GM may find it appropriate for Social Conflict as well. Any creature immune to fear such as undead or controlled golems ignore this ability.
  • Zenith - For 1 FP a Zenith can burn a corpse with but a touch, sendign the smoke to heaven and preventing the dead from being raised as a minion of evil. For 2 FPs a Zenith can surround himself in bright sunlight that lights up the area around him as if it were noon. For the remainder of the scene the Zenith is +1 in Physical Attacks and +1 Health Stress to any minnion of darkness or undead.
  • Twilight - When a Twilight Caste receives Health Stress, they may spend FPs on a 1 for 1 basis to prevent health stress from the attack. A very potent ability, but can burn through FPs quickly if not careful.
  • Night - Anytime a Night Caste uses an action that would cause stress to be added to the Anima Bar they can spend 1FP to prevent the stress, this ability does not add 5 to the Anima Bar. Also for 2FPs a Night Caste may spend 2 FPs to add Aspects to the environment around them that cause the area to be darker, have more shadows, cause sounds to be muffled, and to cause smells and footprints to be lighter. All of these effects are rolled into one Aspect known as "The Night Unseen".
  • Eclipse - For 2 FPs an Eclipse Caste can sanctify an oath. The participants are bound to it and if they break the oath, they immediatelly gain the Aspect of "Oath Breaker's Curse". Oath Breaker's Curse can only be compelled by the GM and it should come at the worst possible moment for the one afflicted. There are special rules for Oath Breaker's Curse, when it is compelled the player receives the afflicted receives no FPs, cannot negotiate the compel, and fails the current action...terribly. Breaking an oath is a terrible thing with powerful consequences.
Well I believe this is all of my thoughts on using FATE to run Exalted. The one thing I did not work on was Sorcery. I am apt to make it a Tiered group of stunts with Celestial being a prereq to Solar and Terrestial being a prereq to Celestial. This would allow the PC to use truly remarkable rituals and powers based on their highest circle/stunt. I would probably leave it at that for now, being free-form and lots of player and GM fiat. But once Dresden Files RPG is out that may change things. I am not too worried about it as Sorcery has always been the most ignored part of Exalted for me.

Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or feel I left out something important.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Exalted Spirit: Part One

Well I guess i should start by saying this Exalted conversion to Spirit of the Century is being done with a copy of Spirit of the Century and the 2nd Edition of the Exalted core as the main basis for the whole thing. I will include a few things from the Starblazer Adventures core also. The reason I am going with the 2nd edition core is for some reason second edition really sets up the mood of the setting for me. 1st edition did to some extent, but 2nd really hammers it home for me. That being said, I am currently going on the idea that the PCs will be Solar Exalts, later as I feel like it, or decide the time is right I might give the other Exalts a try, but for now Solar is it. A lot of my ideas here are modifications or direct rip-offs from the Poster Gregor on RPGnet.

My first thought is to use the d6-d6 mechanic of SA, instead of the normal 4dF(Fudge Dice) of SotC. There is a very good chance that when I run this it will be online and d6-d6 is much easier to accomplish online. Another thought is this makes the range -5 to +5, which sounds better to me it allows the range to go higher into more legendary abilities and colossal failures, which sounds like Exalted to me.
I don't like the idea of changing much of the rules from SotC from what they are, so most of my ideas add to them more than directly change them. So first in a nutshell some of my ideas/thoughts/likes in summary.
  • Aspects - I keep the 10 Aspects per character, that should not change. However each character also recieves a Caste Aspect, a Virtue Flaw Aspect, and 4 Charm Aspects.
  • Skills - There is not much about skills I feel needs changing. Drive becomes Ride, Pilot becomes Sailing, Guns becomes Ranged and Weapons becomes Melee. The "trappings" of the skills(and stunts) simply need to be changed for the setting. The pyramid is unchanged and everyone gets 15.
  • Stunts - As stated in skills, I feel it doesn't need changed much except instances of setting trappings. Incidently skills and stunts are the two areas I could see me changing more as playtesting happens, but for now I feel I should err on the side of caution instead of changing to much from the get-go. Everyone gets 5 stunts.
  • Stress - Health and Composure work as in SotC, however I like the idea of having an Anima and Limit track.
The Character creation phases would look something like this:
  1. Age of Sorrows - This is the time before a PC's exaltation, their mortal life growing up. Choose two Aspects.
  2. Exaltation - This is when the PC has just exalted. Pick two aspects, your caste aspect, your virtue flaw aspect and a charm aspect. Aspects linked to past lives work best here.
  3. Force of the Unconquered Sun - This a character's main "novel". Choose two aspects and a charm aspect that are related to an adventure you have had.
  4. Forging the Circle - Work yourself into another player's Force of the Unconquered Sun story then choose two apects and a charm aspect from it.
  5. Forging the Circle - Repeat phase 4 with a different player.
A character's refresh rate is still equal to his normal aspects number.
Charm Aspects are apsects that cover a general style, formation or group of abilities that make the character near god-like. Some examples would be Iron Whirlwind Attack, Will Bolstering Method, Flawlessly Inpenetrable Disguise, and Venemous Whispers Technique. These are all from the Exalted book and the names leave no guess as to their abilities. What makes Charm Aspects special is they can be "stacked" with any other normal aspect, skill and/or stunt. Using a Charm Aspect makes the action fueled with Essence and adds to the Anima stress bar. The Charm adds an additional +2. This means coupled with another apsect it could be +4 or a reroll+2. With stunts it could take a bit more on the GMs part, but assume it adds +2 ranks or an equivalent.
Anima Stress Bar - Anytime a Charm is used whether by itself or in conjunction with other abilities, it puts a point of stress on the Anima bar. The Anima Stress Bar starts at 5 and is increased with Mysteries using the same table as health and composure. Once the bar is filled anything causing the Anima bar more stress causes a consequence. With Anima the PC can take four consequences any stress beyond the fourth just maintains the consequences at the fourth. The four consequences are:
  • Caste mark appears.
  • Caste mark lights up.
  • Anima flares up.
  • Anima becomes iconic.
A PC can use a Caste Aspect ability for 5 Anima stress, depending on what charms they have used this could jump them from no consequences to all 4.
Virtue Flaw Aspect - This aspect covers a moral that comes from the very core of the PC's soul. It covers an aspect of the character that they are so passionate about that at most times it cannot be denied. A good example of this could range from "Heart of Tears" where the PC cannot stand to watch suffering to "Hits the Bottle" where the PC is a drunk.
Limit Stress Bar - The Limit Stress Bar starts at 5 boxes and is modified by Empathy using the same chart as Health and Composure. Using the examples before a "Heart of Tears" PC would exchange places with a tortured hostage or the "Hits the Bottle" one might be completely unconcious.
to be continued.....