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  • giorgis 10:43 pm on June 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: discussion,   

    The Master of Puppets 

    The past few months I had trouble getting constructive solo plays. Sometimes, the system of choice was at fault, which is reasonable considering I was play testing their solo capabilities, and some weren’t suitable. Then it was the overall situation with the lockdown and everything (won’t go into details, others had it much worse). Then, the lack of a proper setting, or world building. I had some interesting one-shots using Ironsworn, Solipsism, quick dungeons, but nothing could make me return to continue the adventure. As everything went back settling to a new reality, and I was back to running traditional choices which I knew work, I still couldn’t get a flow going. I often had to push myself through the session. I was afraid I had hit an overall solo burnout, an enemy I would not wish to see.

    But then something happened. As I was trying another new solo play, everything fit together nicely. I could ask the right questions and was eager to find out what would happen next. So before going further with the session, I paused and asked myself, what did I do different this time? (and I also noticed it’s what I had done in my first adventures).

    So, I did not try to generate an adventure. No random events to get everything going. No seeds from an online generator. No cards with descriptors to point me somewhere. No, instead, I discarded completely my GM side and focused on my Player side. My player had an objective, and I actively tried to make it happen. There it is. 

    In my failed solo attempts, I tried so many times to view everything from a GM perspective and used a multitude of tools to get creative juices flowing, and it was okay until that point, but when I tried to have my player act through it, it just wouldn’t work. I hit mental blocks. It’s as if my Player was waiting for the GM to drive the action. 

    Almost all of the social TTRPG GM material is focused on how to make adventures and worlds and how to have the players run through them. Some GMs railroad the players into the story, others don’t need to as the players get the necessary signs and play through the story. In the solo community, traditionally we use those same materials to generate solo adventures, and here’s the catch. When you’re the same person running those sides, you end up testing how will your protagonist react to what you throw at them as a GM. It’s like puppeteering! The protagonist ends up being an empty shell, even if they have motivations, objectives and emotions. Because you ask, what will they do if the story goes X way?

    Protagonists in RPGs aren’t meant to be puppets. They are meant to act, not react. We play these games to be knights vying for glory! wizards trying to find immortality! rebels trying to overthrow galactic empires! These are not everyday people waiting to see what fate has in store for them, they make their own fates! Sure sometimes fate will strike back, but when they defeat the adversities, they get back on their task and find a way to do it. 
    The knight heads off on her own to find the orc chieftain and challenge them to combat, the wizard goes to the library to find forbidden texts on necromancy, the rebels spread pamphlets to call the workers on strike! 

    So instead of waiting for the Gamemaster to be a Puppetmaster and be the driver, be a Player and go do what they have to. Have the oracle react to your protagonist, not the other way around. 
    Closing I would like to note that this is a personal experience. What works for me might not work for someone else, even more so in solo play. But, who knows? Maybe there’s a lesson here for social TTRPGs as well. 

     
    • Corey Mayo 9:27 pm on June 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I can totally understand this. I’m running out of steam on an Ironsworn campaign after about 12 chapters and I’m realizing that part of the issue is my hero is being pulled by the story instead of pushing the action herself. Her main quest has been sidetracked two–and now three–times and it’s starting to feel too much like the star of the campaign is the Action/Theme Oracle, not my hero.
      I think I need to channel my frustration into the character and have her act accordingly…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lipe 4:15 pm on June 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Actualy the way you are playing now AWAYS was The “correct way”. Before you was playing with you character like a NPC. I thinc you have choose a side, or you is a GM tha control the history only by yourself, and the Oracle control the character or reverse way. Never let the Oracle co trol the both slides

      Like

    • Manfred 10:50 pm on October 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Hi,
      really enjoyed your post, I have felt exactly the same way, as you described it in your first paragraph.
      Can you give a practical example of how you changed the solo game mechanics to enable you to “switch sides”? Did you use the oracles differently, and if so, how? Did you ask different questions? What else did you do differently? Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      • giorgis 11:57 pm on October 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Hi,
        Thanks!
        So, a good example would be my tale of Dash Kile. This is a rebel agitator in the Star Wars universe. The most obvious way to start my adventure, would be to go to an adventure generator and try to fit my character in there. Say, an incoming imperial shipment of arms that needs to be destroyed, or information that must go to the Rebel Alliance.
        If I took this approach, I’d have all the problems I faced in the past. Instead I discarded entirely this train of thought and asked myself the question “what does Dash want to accomplish?”. So he’s a young rebel agitator, not very much connected, so he wants to hurt the imperial, but he has to start small. Dash needs more information, so he asks contacts in the local cantina. A failed skill roll leads the adventure on it’s own path. Once the scene ends, I still want Dash to act. He really wants to do something against the imps. So after spending some thinking, I decide, or you could say Dash decides, that an insulting prank to the imperial security forces would be the next thing to do. Again, I avoided turning into an adventure generator or a random event tool.
        In general, I would say, that whenever your adventure is at pause, ask. “What does my PC want to do? What is in his best interest considering the situation?” This is not an oracle question, it’s something you ask and answer yourself.
        If I could have an analogy as a social ttrpg, it would be a game where the GM told you “I have nothing prepared. Let’s play and make stuff on the way. What do you want to do?”

        Hope this helps! Feel free to ask more if I wasn’t clear.

        Like

        • Manfred 1:54 pm on October 3, 2020 Permalink

          Hi,
          Thanks for the prompt reply and the detailed example, much appreciated! This makes it a lot clearer. Will try it out in my next session.

          Liked by 1 person

  • giorgis 10:52 pm on May 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    The Social Conflict Exchange 

    Most roleplaying games do not have in-depth mechanics for social interactions. In some, thought has been placed, and there are a few skills covering several types of interactions and even progress rolls, while in others it could be left out to a single personality attribute.
    This isn’t so much a problem in social tabletop RPGs where, there is a conversation between two different persons. One, the Game Master, emulating the NPC, and the other, the Player, emulating their PC.
    In solo roleplaying this missing link, is even more pronounced, since the GM and Player, both come down to the same person.
    While playing some crunchier combat systems I noticed, that sometimes, the increased effort to run them, payed off, as there was ample narrative feedback.
    So this is an attempt, to create a social interactions mechanics framework, to drive the conversation, and maybe return interesting results in the process, while reducing mental effort and player bias.
    I was very much inspired by several topics discussed in Solo RPGs: Let’s Talk About Dialogues YouTube video by RPG Tips.

    Conflict, in the scope of this framework includes major social interactions, not petty squabbles or small talk. It’s what makes or break you. Consider the equivalent of combat, but with no swords drawn.
    You try to convince someone, questioning their beliefs, lie to them about a fundamental truth or scare one into betraying their own.

    There are three dispositions with two ends of the spectrum each.
    (Defiance/Fear)
    (Hate/Love)
    (Suspicion/Trust)

    The Levels for each disposition go from 1 to 6 for Defiance to Fear, Hate to Love and Suspicion to Trust. You can write them down, but I recommend using three different colored six-side dice to represent each value as it changes through the exchange.
    I’d suggest Black for Fear, Red for Love and White for Trust, but go with whatever dice colors you have.

    Examples:

    • A town guard captain searching for fugitives in the player’s description could have the following dispositions: Trust 1, Love 3, Fear 3.
    • A fellow street urchin who saw their escape could have the following disposition: Trust 5, Love 4, Fear 2.
    • A civilian who doesn’t want to be bothered in case they find trouble, and is scared of meeting outlaws could have the following disposition: Trust 2, Fear 4, Love 3.

    Level 3,4 borders on indifference.
    Level 2,5 has strong feelings.
    Level 1,6 is a major driver. It’s what dictates the NPC’s actions towards the protagonist.

    You can choose the level of each disposition, roll randomly (1d6), or even hide it and reveal it afterwards to decrease metagaming. In that last option, you can also try to ‘read’ the disposition through the use of a skill such as perception (see further below).

    Some game systems have specialized social skills, while others could be so broad as to even have just a generic social attribute. In any case, depending on the success or failure of the attempted skill, and by how much (critical/marginal), the dispositions are modified by one level, as defined in the table below.

    ActionConCharmPersuasionIntimidation
    CS+L+L+T+F
    MS+L,-T+L,-T+T,-L+F,-L
    MF-T-L-T-F
    CF-L,-T-L,-F-T,-F-F,-L

    So a marginally successful charm attempt would both increase the Love disposition but also decrease Trust. Whereas a failed charm attempt would decrease the Love disposition.

    The exchange ends, whenever a disposition reaches (or remains at) level 1 dictating failure or level 6, dictating success. If the result is contradicting, having both 1 and 6 at the same time, then its a draw, and another attempt must be made, until the number of successes doesn’t equal the number of failures.

    Examples:

    • The protagonist tries to Con the town guard captain that they saw the fugitives heading in another direction and fails. This means that Trust remains at 1, and the captain doesn’t fall for their ruse. He draws his sword and sounds the alarm.
    • The protagonist tries to Persuade the street urchin that if they help them escape, they will reward them, and they are successful, raising the Trust to 6. The street urchin decides to risk their skin and take them through the back alleys and lay low in his shack.
    • As they stumble upon the civilian, the protagonist draws his finger across his neck, while making a gesture to stay silent, Intimidating them successfully. Fear increases to 5 while Love decreases to 2. The civilian still considers his options. These guys look scary, but maybe his hatred for outlaws will outweigh his fear and he will sound the alarm.

    The dispositions changes are not necessarily long term.
    If for example the protagonist tried to Intimidate a close friend into abandoning their cause, and this reduced their Love, it could last only for a few days. Feeling hurt, heal over time, just like wounds in battle.
    Likewise, a conned guard who let the protagonist into the compound, won’t still have increased Love disposition once they find out the truth.

    Note:
    While performing the skills, do not forget to add any modifiers, according to the game system.
    A bribery attempt would have a bonus or penalty according to the bribe. A persuasion attempt to a close friend would have a bonus. An intimidation attempt when you are outgunned would have a penalty.

    Reducing metagaming:
    If the player knows beforehand the dispositions of the target NPC, then they can choose which skill to use or avoid the social exchange altogether, thus giving them an unfair advantage.
    To reduce this advantage do the following:

    • Before starting any exchange, do a Perception or relative roll, to see if the protagonist can ‘read’ the target’s intentions. Apply any modifiers.
    • If successful, then either decide the disposition, roll randomly, or ask the Oracle. In any case, you know. Optionally, depending on the level of success, you may know only one or two of the three dispositions.
    • If unsuccessful, or partially successful, then if you decide to go ahead with the social exchange, then, run the first round of the exchange, and roll/ask the Oracle for the dispositions afterwards. This way, there is an extra risk involved. It’s implied that after exchanging a few words, you have understood what their disposition is.

    Now I need to playtest these rules, and post the results. I’m thinking a high diplomacy, low combat one-shot.

     
    • Manfred 10:14 am on October 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Hi,
      Interesting approach. Have you playtested it and posted the results somewhere?
      Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      • giorgis 5:20 pm on October 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Hi,
        Unfortunately I haven’t playtested it. It’s something that’s been sitting in the back of my head but never gotten around to doing it. My current MERP sessions are combat-heavy so I don’t know if I’ll be able to squeeze it in.

        Like

        • Manfred 10:33 pm on October 6, 2020 Permalink

          OK, no worries. Let us know when you get round to it.

          Liked by 1 person

  • giorgis 9:03 pm on February 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    A dogfighting experiment 

    Star Wars D6 Dogfighting with Hexflowers Take One

    Intro

    Whenever I run solo space combat in theater of the mind or map grid I found myself and the system lacking.
    I could not beat myself doing anything more than rush to enemy while the enemy rushed to me, and perform bootlegger turns when we passed each other…hardly satisfying.
    I need something else, to provide functionality, food for narrative, and a level of realism, and most of all enjoyable.

    Purpose

    The purpose of this experiment is to run dogfights in theater of the mind emulating a 3D environment.

    Scope

    Using the It came from above hex flower engine as a basis upon which to set a dogfighting framework.

    Prerequisites

    I’m using a success count system instead of standard D6 addition of dice vs target number.

    Dice Definitions

    Wild Die

    The Wild Die succeeds on a 3+, explodes on a 6, and generates a mishap on a roll of 1.
    All rolls except defense rolls, have a Wild Die, which replaces a Full Die. It is denoted as W.

    Full Die

    The Full Die is the most common die roll. It succeeds on 3+. It is denoted as F.

    Note: Wild Dice and Full Dice together are denoted as D.

    Half Die

    The Half Die has half the success chance of a Full Die. It succeeds on 5+. It is denoted as +2 or H.

    Quarter Die

    The Quarter Die has a quarter chance of success of a Full Die. It succeeds on 6 only. It is denoted as +1 or Q.

    Example

    A character with 2D+2, rolls one Wild Die, one Full Die and one Half Die

    Procedure

    1. Initialization phase. Roll Initiative. This has importance only in terms of ‘who shoots first’. Determine starting distance based on circumstances. In a standard dogfight where both combatants are aware of the imminent battle, a good starting distance is the lowest sensors Scan distance of the two crafts.
    2. Declaration phase. Declare actions. Multiple actions incur penalties according to game system. Each combatant chooses an opponent. Squadrons can be considered a single unit in terms of maneuver, led by the relative command skill of their commander.
    3. Piloting phase. Roll the piloting skill of each combatant, modified by their spacecraft’s maneuverability. Count each Piloting Success. Depending on the space ‘terrain’ (e.g. asteroids) you may need to assign one or more piloting dice to evading obstacles or risk a collision. The successes that remain can be used for evasion or orientation.
    4. Orientation phase. Roll 2d6 without wild die on the HFGE. If you wish you may spend Piloting Successes from step 2 to modify the orientation by one hex face per success spent.
      Attacking craft roll as Top Down attackers. Fleeing craft roll as Bottom Feeders.
    5. Movement phase. Roll the crafts movement dice (use 1ed or 2ed conversion). Deduct the results from the distance if the combatant has a front orientation, or add it if it has a rear orientation. Reduce the moved distance by a factor of two for each additional axis offset.
    6. Support actions phase. Running jammers, communications, shields, or whatever else.
    7. Gunnery phase. If the combatant has weapons facing in the direction of his orientation, then they can shoot if they declared so in the declaration phase. Shooting happens in the order of the initiative.
      Shooting difficulty is distance OR dodge (remaining piloting successes), whichever is greater.

    Note: For the center hex (#19), the combatant is free to choose front or rear orientation.

    Example #1

    A-Wing vs TIE fighter, clear space, standard dogfight.

    1. Initialization phase.
      Starting distance: 40 space units.
      Initiative.
      A-Wing: 3D: 4
      TIE: 3D: 0

    Turn 1.

    1. Declaration phase.
      A-Wing: -2D (Piloting, Shields, Gunnery).
      TIE: -1D (Piloting, Gunnery).
    2. Piloting phase.
      A-Wing: 7D: 3.
      TIE: 5D+1: 6.
    3. Orientation phase.
      A-Wing: 9: 6 (Front right flank and above). Spend one Piloting Success to move to 4 (Front right flank and level).
      TIE: 7: 2 (Front and above).
    4. Movement phase.
      A-Wing: 6D: 22. One axis offset (right flank).
      TIE: 5D: 10. One axis offset (above).
      Distance: 40-22/2-10/2 = 24.
    5. Support actions phase.
      A-Wing: Shields: 1D+1: 3 successes, they choose Front, Rear and Right shields.
    6. Gunnery phase.
      A-Wing: 5D+2: 3/6: Miss.
      TIE: 5D: 5/4: Hit: Damage: 5D/3D+2: 1/1: Shields blown (-1D).

    The A-Wing and TIE fighter target each other and approach at full speed. Each performs a large turn to try to get the advantage and they let off a burst of laser shots at each other. The TIE pilot manages to evade the A-Wing approaching from below and hits it from the right flank, blasting its shields.

    Turn 2.

    1. Declaration phase.
      A-Wing: -1D (Piloting, Gunnery).
      TIE: -1D (Piloting, Gunnery).
    2. Piloting phase.
      A-Wing: 8D: 6.
      TIE: 5D+1: 4.
    3. Orientation phase.
      A-Wing: 3: 19 (Front).
      TIE: 7: 12 (Rear and below). Spend 2 Piloting Successes to move to 3 (Front and below).
    4. Movement phase.
      A-Wing: 6D: 21. No axis offset.
      TIE: 5D: 22. One axis offset (below).
      Distance: 24-21-22/2 = -14. (14).
    5. Support actions phase.
      N/A.
    6. Gunnery phase.
      A-Wing: 6D+2: 4/4: Hit: Damage:
      5D/2D: 5/1: Destroyed.

    Now the A-Wing pilot no longer is distracted by trying to activate the shields and focuses on the dogfight. He spirals the star fighter and gets on the TIE fighter’s tail, who has to perform a complete loop and rotation to get the A-wing back on his sights. Before he has a chance to open fire, a salvo from the A-Wing obliterates the TIE fighter.


    Summary and Lessons learned:
    The A-Wing with superior pilots and technology won the dogfight, but easily, they could have lost.
    Now I’m not certain about the piloting success economy. I will be watching it closely.
    One thing that needs changing is the shooting arcs. Right now if you have something in Front you can shoot it with Front Weapons even if it’s offset in two axes (e.g Front Right Flank and Below). I intend to change this depending on distance. On long range you can shoot with two axes offset. On medium range you can shoot with one axis offset and on short range you can shoot only on direct (no offset).
    I would love to have narrative distance ranges and not be based on space units. It’s kind of weird how space combat ranges are implemented in RAW. I mean weapon ranges are impacting accuracy directly, as does fire control. Why have two different mechanics for the same thing? I have some thoughts in mind regarding this, regarding keeping only a maximum range per weapon type and have fixed penalties based on distance.
    Another thought that came to mind is when you get a negative distance, which means one opponent passed over the other, maybe there’s a collision chance. Or maybe you could use some piloting successes to reduce the ship speed. Or maybe one could choose any speed rating between 1D and max speed. I’m still thinking about and will playtest some variants.
    Finally I am still missing some narrative. I am thinking of implementing some maneuvers to be bought with piloting successes which will give specific effects.

    Star Wars D6 Dogfighting with Hexflowers Take Two

    Updated Rules:
    1. Shooting arc is limited to axis offset. Long range can be offset by two additional axes, medium can be offset by one axis, and close is direct shots only. Turrets are an exception. They can shoot direct on all their relative axes. Common sense applies.
    2. Distances are now
    Close (1-7)
    Short (8-15)
    Medium (16-30)
    Long (31-45)
    Far (46-60)
    Distant (61-75)
    Extreme (76-100)
    A weapon emplacement can shoot at the maximum distance range it has, but all suffer the same distance penalties. So, a Laser Cannon (max range 25, Medium) that shoots a target at Short range has the same chance to hit as a Missile (max range 15, Short).
    3. Speed is rolled as successes counts. Every additional axis offset reduces the maximum dice by one step (Full to Half to Quarter). Piloting Succeses can be assigned to increase the dice rolled for speed. Approaching combatants reduce the distance by the number of successes, otherwise the distance is increased or decreased according to the differences.
    Distance can’t be less than Close. If distance is greater than Extreme, then combat is over.
    3. Initiative needs to be rerolled every Turn. Mainly for fun factor, and because dogfighting is more abstract than grid combat. You have advantage one turn, you lose it the next.

    Additional Rules:

    1. Squadrons are lead by a squad leader. The leader uses the Command skill. Multiple action penalties apply normally. The Command difficulty is as per the skill. Any successfully commanded squaddies benefit from the combined action bonus dice to their piloting skills.
      The command test is rolled at the start of the piloting phase.
    2. Passive (Non-dogfighting) targets must roll 2d6 so that their targeter can identify their approach (for shield coverage, speed and distance, etc). The targeter can opt to spend their own piloting successes to change their target’s orientation (they pilot their craft in a way to get a specific approach).
      An example would be a squadron of TIE Bombers heading for a Corellian Corvette that are intercepted by A-Wings. If the TIE Bombers opt to continue towards the corvette, then they are considered passive targets for the A-Wings in terms of orientation. Their speed and dodge values on their dogfighting against the corvette is used against the A-Wings normally.
    3. Formations. Squadrons can fly in formations deducting 1D from Piloting and Speed, and rolling as one the speed and orientation.

    Example #2

    I’ll implement all the rules here, it’s going to be a complicated fight.

    2 Y-Wings are heading after a Lambda-class shuttle carrying a Rebel traitor. The shuttle runs on skeleton crew. 2 TIE Fighters are escorting the shuttle. Each squadron has a leader with a command of 4D.

    1. Initialization phase.
      Starting distance: Long.

    Turn 1.
    Rebels: Initiative: 0
    Imperials: Initiative: 0
    Concurrent events.

    1. Declaration phase.
      Y-Wing Leader: -2D (Command, Shields, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
      Y-Wing Wingman -1D (Shields, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery)
      TIE Leader: -2D (Command, Piloting, Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
      TIE Wingman: -1D (Piloting, Gunnery)
      Lambda Shuttle: -2D (Skeleton, Piloting), Bottom Feeder
    2. Piloting phase.
      Y-Wing Command: 1/2: Failure.
      TIE Command: 1/2: Failure.
      Y-Wing L: 3D+2: 3.
      Y-Wing W: 4D+2: 4.
      TIE L: 4D: 3.
      TIE W: 4D+1: 3.
      Lambda: 3D: 3.
    3. Orientation phase.
      Y-Wings: 11: 4 (Front right flank and level).
      TIEs: 6: 2 (Front & Above).
      Lambda: 10: 13 (Back left flank and level).
      Y-Wing Passive vs TIE: 8: 4 (Front right flank and level).
    4. Movement phase.
      Y-Wings will add 2 to speed.
      Y-Wings: 4D+2: Halved: 1.
      TIEs: 4D: Halved: 2.
      Lambda: 2D+2: Halved: 2.
      Distances of Y-Wings to TIEs: Close.
      Distances of Y-Wings to Lambda: Far.
    5. Support phase.
      Y-Wing L: Shields: 1D: 1: Front shields.
      Y-Wing W: Shields: 2D: 1: Front shields.
    6. Gunnery Phase.
      TIEs are too close to get a clear shot.
      Y-Wing L Turret shoots at TIE: 7D+1: 3/5: Miss.
      Y-Wing W Turret shoots at TIE: 7D+1: 3/5: Miss.

    Turn 2.
    Rebels: Initiative: 3
    Imperials: Initiative: 1

    1. Declaration phase.
      Y-Wing Leader: -1D (Command, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
      Y-Wing Wingman -1D (Gunnery, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery)
      TIE Leader: -2D (Command, Piloting, Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
      TIE Wingman: -1D (Piloting, Gunnery)
      Lambda Shuttle: -3D (Skeleton, Shields, Piloting), Bottom Feeder
    2. Piloting phase.
      Y-Wing Command: 2/2: Success.
      TIE Command: 1/2: Failure.
      Y-Wing L: 5D+2: 4.
      Y-Wing W: 5D+2: 4.
      TIE L: 4D: 2.
      TIE W: 4D+1: 7.
      Lambda: 3D: 3.
    3. Orientation phase.
      Y-Wings: 11: 9 (Back right flank and below). They spend 3 to move to 1 (Front and level).
      TIEs: 5: 6 (Front right flank and below). They spend 2 to move to 1 (Front and level).
      Lambda: 9: 14 (Back left flank and above).
      Y-Wing Passive vs TIE: 10: 9 (Back right flank and below).
    4. Movement phase.
      Y-Wings spend 1 to increase speed.
      Y-Wings: 4D+2: 4: vs TIE Quartered: 1.
      TIEs: 5D: 3.
      Lambda: 2D+2: Quartered: 0.
      Distances of Y-Wings to TIEs: Close.
      Distances of Y-Wings to Lambda: Close.
    5. Support phase.
      Lambda: Shields: 1D: 1: Rear Shields.
    6. Gunnery Phase.
      Y-Wing L Turret shoots at Lambda: 7D+1: 6/3: Hit: 4D/4D: 3/2: 2 Controls Ionized.
      Y-Wing W Turret shoots at Lambda: 7D+1: 4/3: Hit: 4D/4D: 3/1: 3 Controls Ionized. Ship Disabled.
      Y-Wing W Lasers shoot at Lambda: 5D+1: 2/3: Miss.
      TIE L shoots at Y-Wing L: 4D: 2/1: Hit: 5D/4D: 4/3: Lightly Damaged: Ship Loses 1D speed.
      TIE W shoots at Y-Wing W: 5D: 3/1: Hit: 5D/4D: 4/0: Destroyed

    Turn 3.
    Rebels: Initiative: 1
    Imperials: Initiative: 2

    1. Declaration phase.
      Y-Wing Leader: -1D (Gunnery, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
      TIE Leader: -2D (Command, Piloting, Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
      TIE Wingman: -1D (Piloting, Gunnery)
    2. Piloting phase.
      TIE Command: 2/2: Success.
      Y-Wing L: 5D+2: 4.
      TIE L: 5D: 2.
      TIE W: 5D+1: 2.
    3. Orientation phase.
      Y-Wing L: 8: 5 (Front right flank and above). They spend 2 to move to 19 (Front and level).
      TIEs: 7: 2 (Front and above).
    4. Movement phase.
      Y-Wing L: 2D+2: 0.
      TIEs: 4D: 3.
      Distances of Y-Wings to TIEs: Close.
    5. Support phase.
      N/A.
    6. Gunnery Phase.
      TIEs are too close and offset and can’t shoot.
      Y-Wing L Turret shoots at TIE L: 7D+1: 4/2: Hit: 4D/2D: 3/2: 2 Controls Ionized.
      Y-Wing L Lasers shoot at TIE W: 5D+1: 3/1: Hit: 5D/2D: 4/1: Severely Damaged: Structural Damage, will disintegrate in 1D rounds.

    Turn 4.
    Rebels: Initiative: 3
    Imperials: Initiative: 3

    1. Declaration phase.
      Y-Wing Leader: -1D (Gunnery, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
      TIE Leader: Controls Ionized for 4 rounds.
    2. Piloting phase.
      Y-Wing L: 5D+2: 4.
    3. Orientation phase.
      Y-Wing L: 12: 10 (Rear and level). They spend 3 to move to 1 (Front and level).
      TIEs: 8: 18 (Front left flank and below).
    4. Movement phase.
      Y-Wing L: 2D+2: 1.
      TIE: 4D: 2.
      Distances of Y-Wings to TIEs: Close.
    5. Support phase.
      N/A.
    6. Gunnery Phase.
      Y-Wing L Turret shoots at TIE L: 7D+1: 6/1: Hit: 4D/2D: 1/0: 2 Controls Ionized.
      Y-Wing L Lasers shoot at TIE L: 5D+1: 5/1: Hit: 5D/2D: 3/1: Heavily Damaged: -2D Moves.

    Turn 5.
    Rebels: Initiative: 3
    Imperials: Initiative: 2

    1. Declaration phase.
      Y-Wing Leader: -1D (Gunnery, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
      TIE Leader: Controls Ionized for 7 rounds.
    2. Piloting phase.
      Y-Wing L: 5D+2: 6.
    3. Orientation phase.
      Y-Wing L: 6: 3 (Front and above). They spend 3 to move to 1 (Front and level).
      TIEs: 9: 3 (Front and below).
    4. Movement phase.
      Y-Wing L: 2D+2: 0.
      TIE: 5D: 3.
      Distances of Y-Wings to TIEs: Close.
    5. Support phase.
      N/A.
    6. Gunnery Phase.
      Y-Wing L Turret shoots at TIE L: 7D+1: 7/1: Hit: 4D/2D: 2/0: 3 Controls Ionized: ship is disabled.
      Y-Wing L Lasers shoot at TIE L: 5D+1: 5/1: Hit: 5D/2D: 1/2: No damage

    Summary and Lessons learned: Initially I thought I overdid it. Too complicated. But then it struck me. I run a combat with 5 spacecrafts in 3 groups!
    I mean this would have taken me ages to work out otherwise.
    Okay at certain points it felt too wargamey, and maybe I need to take a look at 1ed starship combat rules. Maybe there’s something that would speed things up.
    Overall I’m quite content with the results for now, and will keep that in mind for my next Star Wars D6 game.

     
  • giorgis 9:32 pm on January 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Clocks,   

    Unbeohrt’s Story – A simple experiment with secret clocks 

    Introduction

    In this session I will run a simple Sword & Sorcery adventure to test an example of the Secret Clocks that I posted about last time.
    This is as much as an example as an experiment. Nothing will be modified. This means that if the protagonist dies before having a chance to trigger the clock, then that’s it.
    Setting: pulp low fantasy sword and sorcery.
    Game system: Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition
    Oracle: Recluse
    Tools: Game Master’s Apprentice basic deck
    Clock: Independent Secret Clock

    Prologue

    “The tracks lead inside”. Hulfa lifts his head off the ground like a hound stalking its prey.
    “Let’s go then!” Unbeohrt unseathes his two swords and steps inside the dimly lit ruins.
    Hulfa stands motionless.
    “Chief Tane didn’t pay me to accompany you Unbeohrt. Only to track the kidnappers.” He replies.
    “Begone then you filthy curr! I’ll deal with them alone.” Unbeohrt doesn’t stay to see Hulfa leave. Time is of the essence. The Kazami, the tribe of the filthy short apemen who have pestered his people for generations, raided his village and kidnapped chieftain Tane’s daughter, Atrin. Symas, the seer has advised the chieftain that they are to sacrifice her to Mannazuu, their cthonic deity.
    Unbeohrt’s drew the shorter stick, and now here he was, stepping upon the cold, ancient stones that comprise the ruins of the temple to Mannazuu.

    Protagonist

    NameUnbeohrt
    ArchetypeFighter, Fencer
    RaceHuman
    HindrancesHeroic, Loyal, Outsider
    EdgesFlorentine, Two Fisted, Ambidextrous
    Weapons2 x short sword
    ArmorLeather armor

    Dungeon

    I will be using the Dragon Quest board to run this dungeon romp.
    The adventure will begin in the central south main room.
    Upon entry of each new room, I will be rolling 1dn to get the number of exits. Where n is the number of possible exits based on the map board, including the entrance of the room.
    In addition on each new room I will draw a GMA card and pick whatever of the senses feedback makes more sense.
    If any of the GMA cards includes both a 👑 and a 🎯 symbol, it’s going to be the final room, and the sacrifice clock will be revealed. Atrin, the Apeman shaman and the Apeman chieftain will be in the room.
    The last possible room will include them if they haven’t triggered until then.
    Each room except the final will have 1d6-1d6 number of apemen.
    Note: For the first two rooms I had rolled 1d3+1, but then I quickly realized that I need to have a chance for no encounters, and I came up with this new rule.

    Opposition

    Standard apemen will have the goblin stats.
    The apemen guards of the last room will have the orc stats.
    The apeman chieftain will have the orc chieftain stats without the armor.
    The apeman shaman will have orc stats and d8 in miracles and Stun and Entangle.

    Sacrifice Clock

    The sacrifice clock will be an Independent Secret Clock.
    Each turn I will draw face down a poker card from a blue deck (since Savage Worlds uses standard poker decks for initiative, I will use a separate red deck). Three consecutive clubs ♣️ will mean that the sacrifice clock has triggered and Atrin has been killed. Revelation of the clock will be performed when Unbeohrt enters the room were Atrin is being held.

    entrance

    Turn 1

    Exits: 2
    Apemen: 4
    sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
    Initiative: Unbeohrt (U): Q♥️, Apemen (A): 6♦
    U: attacks A1: 5/5: Hit: 8/4: Dead
    U: attacks A2: 21/5: Hit+: 7/4: Shaken
    A2: Spirit: 1/4: Fail, Shaken
    A3: attacks U: 2/8: Miss
    A4: attacks U: 3/8: Miss

    Turn 2

    sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
    Initiative: U: 10♥, A: 2♥
    U: attacks A3: 8/5: Hit: 9/4: Dead
    U: attacks A4: 7/5: Hit: 7/4: Shaken
    A2: Spirit: 7/4: Success, will act on next round
    A3: Spirit: 1/4: Fail, Shaken

    Turn 3

    sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
    Initiative: U: 7♦, A: K♦
    A2: attacks U: 5/8: Miss
    A3: Spirit: 4/4: Success, will act on next round
    U: attacks A2: 9/5: Hit+: 11/4: Dead
    U: attacks A3: 12/6: Hit+: 6/4: Shaken

    Turn 4

    sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
    Initiative: U: Joker, A: 8♦, Deck reshuffled.
    U: attacks A3: 13/6: Hit+: 10/4: Dead

    The dimly torch lit entrance is damp, but the air isn’t stale. There has been movement. A few steps forward, and Unbeohrt comes face to face with four short apemen, who curse something in their language and lash at him with spiked clubs and makeshift spears. They block his way to both doors that lead deeper into the temple.
    With a natural flow of movement, he guts one of them open, while hacking at the second. His dance-like posture evades their raw attacks, and one by one, the rest of the apemen fall under his twin blades.

    Turn 5

    Unbeohrt enters the left side room.
    Exits: 4
    Apemen: 4
    GMA Card: clock not revealed.
    Sensory Snippet: A scream
    Unbeohrt: Notice: 5/4: Success. I roll randomly. The scream sounded from behind him. He must have gone the wrong way.
    sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
    Initiative: U: ️Joker, A: 8♦, Deck reshuffled.
    U: attacks A1: 5/5: Hit: 7/4: Shaken
    U: attacks A2: 10/5: Hit+: 20/4: Dead
    A3: attacks U: 5/8: Miss
    A4: attacks U: 1/8: Miss
    Note: Totally forgot to roll for recovering from shaken for A1 in this turn.

    Turn 6

    sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
    Initiative: U: ️4♣, A: 8♥
    A1: Spirit: 3/4: Fail, Shaken
    A3: attacks U: 2/8: Miss
    A4: attacks U: 2/8: Miss
    U: attacks A1: 4/5: Miss
    U: attacks A3: 5/5: Hit: 5/4: Shaken

    Turn 7

    sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
    Initiative: U: ️5♥, A: 3♣
    U: attacks A1: 16/5: Hit+: 15/4: Dead
    U: attacks A4: 13/5: Hit+: 12/4: Dead
    A1: Spirit: 2/4: Fail, Shaken

    Turn 8

    sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
    Initiative: U: ️Joker, A: K♥, Deck reshuffled.
    U: attacks A1: 5/5: Hit: 10/4: Dead

    western room

    Having opened the path, Unbeohrt enters the door to his left. He has barely managed to open it, and gaze upon four more apemen groveling, when a loud female scream is heard behind him. ‘It must be Atrin!’ he thinks. He’s about to turn back, but he isn’t the only one who heard the scream. The four apemens’ attention has turned to him. They present their weapons and charge at him.
    He makes short work of them, without getting even a single scratch in the process. Both his short swords are now covered in blood, and he wipes it off in the fur of one of the dead apemen, as he rushes back to find the origin of the scream.

    Turn 9

    sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
    Unbeohrt returns and enters the right side room which is a passageway.
    Exits: 2
    Apemen: 0
    GMA Card: clock not revealed.
    Sensory Snippet: Tread on something gummy

    Turn 10

    sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
    Unbeohrt enters the only other room.
    Exits: 3
    Apemen: 3
    GMA Card: clock not revealed.
    Sensory Snippet: The air is hazy
    Note: a bit confused with my ntoes here, as the combat begins in the next turn. Maybe Unbeohrt was out of moves.

    Turn 11

    sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
    Initiative: U: ️Q♣, A: 4♦
    U: attacks A1: 10/5: Hit+: 10/4: Dead
    U: attacks A2: 4/5: Miss
    A2: attacks U: 7/8: Miss
    A3: attacks U: 1/8: Miss

    Turn 12

    sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
    Initiative: U: ️J♥, A: 8♠
    U: attacks A2: Snake Eyes: Benny: 8/5: Hit: 8/4: Dead
    U: attacks A3: 14/5: Hit+: 15/4: Dead

    Following the general direction of the scream, Unbeohrt enters a narrow passageway. He steps upon a weird gooish substance and continues to the only door on the side. As he enters, he comes across three surprised apemen. They begin muttering something, but Unbeohrt doesn’t waste time in conversation. He slits the throat of one, while his friends charge. He ducks down their swings and with a quick strike, extending both his arms, he stabs them both, spilling their blood to the ground.
    Quickly he continues down the ruined temple.

    Turn 13

    sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
    Unbeohrt enters the room continuing east.
    Exits: 2
    Apemen: 0
    GMA Card: clock not revealed.
    Sensory Snippet: Soggy crumbling ground
    The ground isn’t safe. If Unbeohrt isn’t careful we may fall down in a pit. I’ll see first if he notices it.
    Notice: 5/4: Success. He notices it so he doesn’t fall in.
    Q: Can he reach the other side to the door without falling?
    A: Yes, and it’s quite safe, there is no danger (no need to roll).
    Unbeohrt reaches the other side.

    Turn 14

    sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
    Unbeohrt enters the southeastern corner room.
    GMA Card: ♕, ☉. The sacrificial clock is triggered!.

    revealed cards

    She’s alive!

    Apemen: 1d6+1 = 4. 2 apemen guards, the apemen chief and the apemen shaman.

    As he walks through the rubble, he notices that the supports are barely standing. Unbeohrt walks to the side of the wall where the bricks are still connected to the foundation and reaches the entrance to the other side.
    As he walks past the arched entrance, he hears a grunted chanting in an unknown language. Upon an altar is Atrin. She’s still alive! Unbeohrt breathes out a sigh of relief. But the sickled blade in the hand of the robed apeman alerts him of the imminent danger. Three apemen are holding her down. These are big ones, unlike the short variety he met before. And the one in the middle is even bigger, resembling a gorilla.
    Unbeohrt grits his teeth. That’s his moment. He swore a vow to chief Tane. Atrin needs his help.
    His blade flashing he jumps in the room. “Eat my steel you primitives!” He shouts to attract their attention and charges.

    Initiative: U: Q♥, A: 2♦, Shaman (S): Q♦, Chieftain (C): 9♣, Atrin (At): A♥
    Atrin is still under the strong hold of the apemen.
    U: attacks A1: 10/5: Hit+: 18/4: Dead
    U: attacks A2: 10/5: Hit+: 12/4: Dead
    S: casts Stun to U: 10/4: Success+. U: Vigor-2: 1: Failure: Shaken.
    C: attacks U: 10/8: Hit: 11/6: Wounded. Benny: U: Vigor: 5/4: Not Wounded.

    Turn 15

    Initiative: U: 8♦,S: A♠, C: 2♠, At: 6♦
    S: casts Entangle to U: 9 vs 7: Success
    U: Spirit: 25/4: Success+: Not shaken, can act!
    U: attacks C: 9/8: Hit: 8/8: Shaken
    U: attacks C: 7/8: Miss
    Q: Does Atrin attempt to fight?
    A: False Presupposition. She runs away, out of the door.
    C: Spirit: 8/4: Success+: Not shaken, can act!
    C: attacks U: 6/8: Miss

    Turn 16

    Initiative: U: 10♥,S: 3♥, C: K♣
    C: attacks U: 10/8: Hit: 12/6: Wounded. Benny: U: Vigor: 3/4: Failure, Wounded
    U: Agility: 5/4: Breaks free of Entangle
    U: attacks C: 8/8: Hit: 11/8: Shaken
    U: attacks C: 8/8: Hit: 12/8: Wounded
    S: attacks U: 2/8: Miss

    Turn 17

    Initiative: U: 2♥,S: 4♣, C: 10♠
    C: Spirit: 9/4: Success+: Not shaken, can act!
    C: attacks U: 10/8: Hit: 22/6: Dead

    Resolution

    With a quick feint and slash, Unbeohrt cuts off the heads of the two apemen guards who turned to face him.
    The apeman shaman mutters something in their unknown language, and Unbeohrt suddenly feels a wave of despair filling every fiber of his being. He cannot bring himself to fight back as the gorilla-man brings down a huge two handed battle axe on him, and he barely manages to dodge it in time.
    Atrin finds the opportunity in the fight and runs off from the way Unbeohrt came. Neither of the two apemen goes after her as they are preoccupied with the warrior in front of them.
    With another spell, dark tentacles sprout from between the gaps in the stone floor, distracting Unbeohrt. They grab his arms, his legs, hindering his movements. He manages to break off the first spell and attack the gorilla man, slashing at him, as he momentarily stops his attack. But he’s too strong to be stopped that easily, he brings down his axe once more wounding Unbeohrt. The warrior gathers his strength and with agility he evades the tentacles, slashing off a couple of them. He pays back the gorilla-man with a wound of his own, spilling the blood of his leg.
    The huge apeman growls and with a quick strike, he aims right for Unbeohrt’s torso. The warrior puts both his swords in front of him in a futile attempt to block the strike, but its too strong. The swords are broken in half and the heavy axe blade splits open Unbeohrt’s chest, his leather armor doing nothing to save him.

    As he spits blood in his final breath, he can but hope that Atrin reached Hulfa in the outside, and she escaped, so that his death was not all in vain.

    Summary

    Savage Worlds was an excellent choice for running a one-shot example. I really liked it. Fast, furious, fun indeed! The Wild Card status of Unbeohrt gave him the upper hand, and since it’s the first time I used the Fighter, Fencer archetype, I must say I was pleasently surprised as the two-non-penalty attacks were an excellent boost for the solo game action economy. The dice didn’t favor him in the end against the gorilla chieftain (who was unbalanced against him), and he ended up dying. Maybe if he hadn’t spent that one Benny to kill the apeman in the room before, he would still be alive. Nevertheless he managed to save Atrin (most probably) and took down 13 apemen before he died!

    Clock

    Now on to the Secret Clock. I must say I really enjoyed it. Even though at first I was like, okay there’s nothing going on, when I started gathering the cards, when the time for revelation came, I was so excited! And the fact that if I had chosen a different suit (spades for example) the clock would be triggered, is an excellent example of how close I came to find the ritual concluded. I am looking forward to trying the rest of the examples I have in mind.

     
  • giorgis 11:19 pm on January 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    Secret Clocks in Solo Play 

    Introduction

    The dragon has swooped down in the village and the elders offered him a maiden as tribute. A young barbarian slayer has come to the rescue, delving into the dungeon to save the fair lady.
    Dark cultists have gathered in the ancient cavern. The stars are right and the ritual has begun to summon the thing that should not be into the mortal world. Two detectives and a medium have deciphered the ancient texts and are rushing to stop them.
    The bank robbery went awry and it has turned into a hostage situation. The police have surrounded the bank but have no eyes inside. The breach from the special forces is about to begin.
    The chaos space troopers have broken into the nuclear fission reactor of the metropolis and are setting it up to meltdown while at the same time they prepare the scientists for ritualistic sacrifice to their deities. Orbital drop from imperial space troopers is imminent.

    All the above are perfectly valid adventure themes in a tabletop RPG.

    What will the protagonists encounter once they reach the final scene?
    Will the barbarian have slaughtered scores of enemies to find the dragon’s belly full or will he find a maiden ready to fall in his arms?
    Will the detective reach the grand chamber to encounter an ancient horror ending all life on earth, or will they find the cultists still chanting?
    Will the special forces breach the bank to find the treasury wide open, hostages dead or will they find the robbers still considering their options, surprised from the assault?
    Will the imperial space troopers save the scientists and lose everything in a huge meltdown or will they save the city, but find them mutilated? Will they split their forces and risk it all?

    All these questions are solved either arbitrarily, by the GM, or in solo RPGs by asking the Oracle, or through another tool, which is the Clocks.

    A clock can be fixed, e.g. 10 in-game minutes, perchance, e.g. roll 19+ on 1d20, variable, e.g. roll 20+ on 1d20+number of turns, and/or modifiable based on certain events.

    In all cases it suffers from a serious metagaming issue. The moment the clock is triggered, the player knows it and has no motivation to keep going on.
    That isn’t a problem when the clock is fixed in-story as well, e.g. the space pirates will ‘space’ one prisoner every 5 minutes unless they are given the set amount of ransom. The player knows and the character knows.
    What about cases such as the examples above? Let’s say the barbarian is in the second dungeon room and the event is triggered. He won’t get his reward if the maiden is killed. Why go on? revenge only. Suddenly an interesting story has become a chore.
    That’s the issue to tackle here, with the use of Secret Clocks.

    Purpose

    Provide a solo gaming mechanic to maintain tension and the unknown factor in major story events where the time is against the protagonist.

    Scope

    Variable, perchance and modifiable clocks.
    Fixed clocks are out of scope.

    Procedure

    Expand upon the premise set by the Background Surprise Events Oracle by using a tangible, physical token as provided by a deck of cards.

    Base trigger

    Once the clock starts ticking, draw a card (default: face down), per each time unit. For a dungeon a good time unit would be a turn. Assign up to four clocks, on each of the suits. If three consecutive cards of the same suit are drawn (e.g. three spades), the clock is triggered.
    If you only have one clock, the base chance can be increased, by deciding on ANY suits (e.g. three spades OR three clubs OR three hearts or three diamonds), ANY suits of a specific color (e.g. three spades OR three clubs), or ANY color (e.g. three clubs OR spades).

    Independent Secret Clocks

    An Independent Secret Clock is one that:

    • Isn’t impacted by other clocks
    • Doesn’t impact other clocks
    • Isn’t impacted by player actions
    • Doesn’t get revealed on its own

    A good example of an Independent Secret Clock would be the dragon that has taken the maiden. No other clock impacts the dragon’s decision to eat the maiden. Also if the maiden is eaten it won’t impact any other clock rather than the story. The dragon is mighty, even if he learns of the barbarian’s assault that won’t cause an urge to be done with the maiden, so it isn’t impacted by the player’s actions. Finally, even if the dragon eats the maiden, the player won’t know it until the very moment that they enter the room.
    The Independent Secret Clock is drawn face down and uses the default base trigger. The revelation of the clock is performed upon entering the respective scene. By keeping the cards in order, you can also understand how much time has elapsed since the clock was triggered, if this is relevant to the story.

    Dependent Secret Clocks

    A Dependent Clock is one that:

    • Is impacted by other clocks
    • OR impacts other clocks
    • Isn’t impacted by player actions
    • Doesn’t get revealed on its own

    A good example of a Dependent Secret Clock would be if we changed the dragon in the maiden example with an evil sorcerer who will use the maiden for a dark ritual that will give him immense power. Here we have two clocks. One clock for the life of the maiden, and one clock for the conclusion of the ritual. The clocks are dependent, the ritual can’t be performed if the maiden isn’t sacrificed. So the ritual clock is impacted by the sacrifice clock. The clocks aren’t impacted by the player actions. The sorcerer must take his time to perform the ritual as described or they risk failure. Also the player won’t know of the success of the ritual AND/OR the performance of the sacrificial killing unless they enter the main temple chamber.
    The two Dependent Secret Clocks are drawn face down and use the default base trigger. The revelation of the clocks is performed upon entering the respective scene. By keeping the cards in order, you can also understand how much time has elapsed since each of the clocks were triggered, if this is relevant to the story. It is recommended to use ANY suits of a specific color for both the two clocks, but the impacting clock will trigger first always. So for example if three spades OR three clubs are drawn, the maiden is sacrificed, and then if the other suit of the same color is drawn, the ritual has been performed.

    Impacted Secret Clocks

    An Impacted Secret Clock is one that:

    • Isn’t impacted by other clocks
    • Doesn’t impact other clocks
    • Is impacted by player actions
    • Doesn’t get revealed on its own

    A good example of an Impacted Secret Clock would be if we changed the dragon and sorcerer in the above story with an orc boss waiting for a ransom in exchange for the maiden. If the orc boss becomes aware of the protagonist trying to thwart their plans, then they may kill the maiden, since she no longer provides leverage. The clock is independent by other clocks and doesn’t impact any other clocks. And also, the player won’t be aware of the event unless they finally confront the orc boss.
    The Impacted Secret Clock is drawn face down and uses the default base trigger. The revelation of the clock is performed upon entering the respective scene. By keeping the cards in order, you can also understand how much time has elapsed since the clock was triggered, if this is relevant to the story. If at any point there is a chance for the player’s actions and presence to become aware (e.g. a stealth roll is failed and the orc guards run off to an unknown direction), then from that point on increase the speed of the clock, by drawing twice as many cards per time unit.

    Known Trigger Clocks

    A Known Trigger Clock is one that:

    • May or may not be impacted by other clocks
    • May or may not impact other clocks
    • May or may not be impacted by player actions
    • Is revealed on its own

    A good example of a Known Trigger Clock would be if the dark ritual by the evil sorcerer example above, would instead summon a dark entity from the skies, that will engulf the entire region. When this event is triggered, the player and the protagonist becomes aware, no matter their location.
    The Known Trigger Clock is drawn face up and uses the default base trigger. But! the trigger isn’t preset. So when drawing the cards face up, once three cards of ANY suit come up consecutively, ask the Oracle a Yes/No Question: Is this the suit of the clock?
    The likelihood of the question for the first suit is Unlikely. If No, this suit is disregarded from questions from the Oracle for this particular clock in the future.
    The likelihood of the question for the second suit that triggers is unmodified. If No, this suit is disregarded from questions from the Oracle for this particular clock in the future.
    The likelihood of the question for the third suit that triggers is Likely. If No, this suit is disregarded from questions from the Oracle for this particular clock in the future.
    The likelihood of the fourth suit that triggers (if all suits trigger) is 100%. No question is asked to the Oracle.
    A Known Trigger Clock can be Dependent or Independent. If it impacts another clock, then, the impacted clock can be secret until revealed. If it is impacted by another clock, then consider the other clock as a Known Trigger Clock as well, using the rules for Dependent clocks for trigger chance.
    A Known Trigger Clock can also be Impacted by player actions, doubling the draw speed as per the relevant rules.
    The Known Trigger Clock is like Schroediger’s Cat. It is hidden and revealed at the same time. You see the drawings, but you can’t be certain until it triggers.
    A Known Trigger Clock could use a dice mechanic if that was desired, but in order to keep the harmonization with the other clocks, and to combine different clock properties together, the deck of cards was chosen as an option.

    Decks, Clocks, Locations

    It’s recommended to use one deck of cards per location for secret clocks, and a separate deck of cards for known clocks.

    Options

    These may be rules, but most of all they are guidelines. Random events could be inserted by using Jokers, special details could be chosen by the type of cards in the trigger sequence.

     
  • giorgis 1:43 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    Background Surprise Events Oracle 

    This ruleset and it’s playtesting will be my contribution to Solo Gaming Appreciation Month. During the playtest I may need to modify the ruleset, and it’s going to be finalized after the playtest adventure is complete.

    So this idea has been bothering me a while now. How to deal with events running in the background that your character wouldn’t know?

    In social TTRPGs the GM rolls some things behind his screen and you as a player have no idea what is going on.

    Then suddenly, in the next town you are arrested by the militia. The burgomeister was running the fence of the weapons shipment you intercepted in the name of the king and he was notified by a survivor.
    Or your thief barely escaped from the castle with a hefty jewel. He rides off, and a while later he finds out the constable’s men are after him.

    How can we emulate this, by keeping the element of surprise? I know the Oracles have chaos factors and interventions which you can use to add such events, but it feels too random, disconcerted, and on the whim of the solo player to use. I want something separate, running on the side.
    First of all dice as a check are out of the question. If you roll dice, then you know the result, which ruins any surprise and the sense of worry. This leaves me with cards as a randomizer. I will be using a deck of poker cards with jokers.

    So here goes:

    Choose one time unit for card drawing and one for resolution. I find a general rule for Day-Week is quite good, but you may want something more tense.

    Each day, draw a card, face down, and put it aside. Do this for the entire week. The order matters so don’t mix the cards, but put them one on top of the other.
    At the end of the week, reveal the drawn cards. If you get 3 or more cards of the same suit in a row, then there is an event. If you get 3 or more cards of the same suit, spread between other suits, then you get a rumor on an event, and if this happens again in one of the next two weeks, then an event is generated. If two different suits both happen, then the suit that wins is the one with more cards. If it’s a tie, then it’s the one with the highest total. Jokers can be applied to suits of the same color. Order still applies.

    For type of event see the following table.

    |Suits|Event|
    |—|—|
    |Hearts|Relationship, Family|
    |Diamonds|Debt, Weregild|
    |Clubs|Wanted, Hunted|
    |Spades|Wound, Disease|

    So for example:
    If you get an event in Diamonds, then maybe someone the party killed had a wife and kids. He is tracked down and asked to pay a Weregild to the victims family. This can go back to something that happened several adventures ago.
    If you get an event in Clubs, then maybe a wanted poster is raised on the characters because of the fight they had in the inn.
    If you get an event in Hearts, then maybe a friend has come to ask a favor owed.
    If you get an event in Spades, then maybe that rat bite you had when clearing the basement from the giant critters was diseased, or an old wound from the past has reopened.

    In any case when the event is revealed, it’s always connected to something that had happened in the past. If the adventure is still new and there are no past events, try to connect it to the character’s background.

    The event should always give a chance for the player to avoid it or come on top of the situation.
    If for example the character is hunted down in the city and he’s not actively laying low, roll a search/tracking/whatever skill for the hunters against a fixed difficulty. If he’s actively laying low, then the roll is opposed vs the character’s sneak/hide/stealth roll. If he’s found, then check for ambush and run the encounter, if not, then he’s made aware of his hunters presence. For example the homeless kid could run to him in the inn, and tell him that some nefarious looking figures are asking about him.

    Now, if an event has triggered in the week, really early, the event will have a bonus when rolling on avoidance. For example if the hunters were on the character’s trail since Monday, and now it’s Sunday, then they had ample time to find him and ambush him maybe.

    What I like about this mechanic is that it gives the player a warning at certain times, and also the results are hidden until revealed. For example if you had a ‘rumor’ on spades, and you felt that old wound bothering you when straining, maybe you start to take things slow to avoid reopening it. So you spend the next two weeks avoiding close combat and not responding to the insults of the thugs in the tavern, just to make sure that you will have an opposed healing roll if required. Then the two weeks pass and spades events didn’t trigger, and you took all those precautions for nothing.
    Or you had a ‘rumor’ trigger in clubs and you overheard the merchant about how a caravan was attacked and they are looking to find who did it. You know your character was involved, so he lays low, and when the event triggers next week in clubs, you have the bonus opposed roll for laying low.
    In addition it’s a way to connect game character creation disadvantages such as Hindrances, Banes or whatever else they are called.

    So, considering the cards instead of dice again, I realize it’s all about the feel. This could be done with a nice table and probabilities on a d100 die.
    But having the cards face down, makes one wonder about what’s going on each day that they don’t know about.

    Also maybe there could other side rules. If the player has a sixth sense, an active web of spies, insight skill, or is clairvoyant, maybe they could reveal a card in the middle of the week, based on a successful roll, and prepare accordingly.

    If for any reason, the character is otherwise occupied (in a dungeon, in hyperspace) then keep drawing cards face down, but reveal them only when he is back.

    Optional rules:
    If there are more than 3 cards of the same suit, then increase the intensity of the event.

     
  • giorgis 12:05 am on October 30, 2019 Permalink
    Tags:   

    Solo RPG Investigation Framework 

    #Solo RPG Crime Scene Investigation Framework

    Edit: This is a work in progress. I will be adding more examples and defining the framework with further rules in this page. I will be making short blog posts about updates referencing this link when this happens.

    Preface: These rules are to facilitate a solo rpg crime scene adventure.
    It’s meant to run without a story framework or threads, since knowing what happened kinda ruins the surprise. I seriously urge the reader to follow the rules on Solo Metagaming and how to avoid it, as the entire concept is based on this.
    I’ve tested these with a homebrew D6 system, but it’s supposed to be system agnostic.

    Order of set up for crime scene

    1. First of all define the Known Information

      The crime scene was called in by someone. Who was it? When was it called in?
      Where is the scene?

    2. Then, define the Obvious Information

      What is visible at a first glance?
      Is there a missing body part? Is there a weapon on the floor?

    3. Ask the Investigation Information

      This requires an investigation skill roll. Depending on the outcome you get one or more questions to the Oracle, regarding non obvious items.
      Since most game systems are not mechanically based on delivering information to solo players, I suggest that you use the relevant skill, and decipher the result in a way that a moderate success will answer 3 Oracle questions.
      Are there bullet holes? Is there a wound that may be the cause of death? Are there signs of struggle?
      Example modifications:

      System Rule
      OpenD6 Every 5 points of success, is one answer
      Savage Worlds Success 1 answer, Each raise 2 answers
      D100 Systems Every 10 points of difference from skill, is one answer
    4. Run a specific Search Information

      This requires a successful search roll. You must define beforehand what you search for. It could be for example shell casings. If it’s probable that the item is hidden, then increase the difficulty.

    5. Finalize Follow up Information

      If any of the above could generate more questions that can be answered at the scene, go ahead and ask them. If there are bullet holes, ask how many. If a knife was found ask if it has blood on it. Don’t ask the about the bullet diameter or whose blood it was on the knife. These need a forensics lab.

    6. Run Field Examination Information

      If the investigator has a kit at hand to examine gunpowder residue or blood stains, then perform the respective skill rolls and ask the Oracle.
      Likewise if there is a witness, run the respective social skill and questions and ask the Oracle for the answers.

    Notes on rules

    Always ask the Oracle after any successful skill rolls. The fact that your investigator has a keen eye and rolled a critical success on the search roll to find shell casings doesn’t mean that there are any to be found. Though they can be certain that they would have found them if they were there. So maybe the gun was planted since it wasn’t a revolver… who knows?

    Run a separate investigation roll for the crime scene and the location. Trying to find clues in the location of
    the crime is quite different than defining if anyone in the neighborhood could have seen anything.

    NPC or item generators are very useful, but one must be careful to use only the relevant information. If the generator states that the priest secretly worships an evil deity, disregard it, since there is no way your character would know. If it says that his hair is black, keep it.

    The Oracle will take your story in its own direction. Embrace it and go with it. The more a story progresses, everything will either get clearer or blurred. Makes sense. Not all crime scenes are to be solved, even by the best investigators. Sometimes the bad guy has confused everyone so much, they get to walk away.
    Also some clues won’t fit. Maybe they were irrelevant or their link is lost. Don’t fret over them, try an approach from a different angle.

    These are system agnostic and Oracle agnostic rules. If your system has a separate skill for interrogation, intimidation, persuasion, charm or only a charisma attribute use the appropriate one when talking to a witness. If the Oracle has interventions or unexpected events, use them normally.

    Cement Hypothesis

    During the course of the investigation, many hypotheses will arise. Once you have a hypothesis of what happened that you feel is most likely, run a 6M Why/Why Not analysis on it. Each M, that supports the hypothesis (a Why) adds one point to the hypothesis score. Each M that contradicts the hypothesis (a Why Not) removes one point from the hypothesis score. Each M that neither adds nor contradicts the hypothesis doesn’t affect the hypothesis score.

    6M
    Man:
    The suspect. His character, does it fit the hypothesis?
    Material:
    Evidence (not the murder weapon, see Machine) that supports the hypothesis.
    Means (Environment):
    The crime scene. Are there signs that support the hypothesis? Struggle? Forced entry?
    Measure:
    The reports, autopsy report, police reports, financial trail reports, do they support the hypothesis?
    Machine (Murder Weapon):
    The murder weapon, does it belong to the suspect? was it found on their possession? Is it their favorite tool? Is it a tool of their job?
    Method:
    The method of killing, does it support the hypothesis further? Could the suspect have committed the crime using this method? A slim young woman is unlikely to have strangled a heavyset wrestler.

    Once the hypothesis score is set, any questions to the Oracle regarding the hypothesis from then on will have the following modifier:

    Hypothesis Score Modifier
    1 Very Unlikely
    2 Unlikely
    3 No Modifier
    4 No Modifier
    5 Likely
    6 Very Likely

    If a further Oracle answer modifies one of the 6M, adjust the hypothesis score respectively.

    The adventure is considered complete with the Closure of the case. This can be a different thing regarding the objectives set at the start.
    It could be a trial and you send it to the DA. It could be an occult ritual and you hunt down the demon. It could be a plea from the suspect.

    Scene Example

    1. Story thread
      Let’s say I want to run a ’30s Murder investigation. I decide that my character is a police detective on homicide investigations. I will start my opening scene with the crime scene.

    2. Known information
      All the following question can be asked either with procedural Oracle questions, or generators, digital or tables. For the sake of the example I won’t be using any tools, just providing answers, to make it easier to showcase it.
      The following can be asked on the way to the crime scene, or before, during the assignment.
      Roll: What time of day is it?
      A: 10.00 am
      Table: Where is the crime scene?
      A: A mansion
      Table: Who called it in?
      A: Service maid
      Roll: When did she notify the police?
      A: 8.00 am
      since a service maid called in about a murder in a mansion, it’s likely they know the victim’s identity
      Q: Is the victim’s identity known?
      A: Yes
      Table: Who is it?
      A: The rich lord

    3. Obvious information
      The detective reaches the mansion.
      Q: Are they first responders?
      A: Yes
      which begs the question
      Table: Who opens the door?
      A: The butler
      Table: Where is the body?
      A: Living room, in an armchair next to the fireplace
      Q: Is there a weapon visible?
      A: Yes, and it’s next to the body
      Q: Is it a firearm?
      A: Yes
      Q: Is it a revolver?
      A: No, but, its a pistol, a semi-automatic
      Q: Is it near the hand?
      A: Yes
      Q: Is it the right hand?
      A: Yes
      this could look like a suicide
      Q: Is there a headshot wound?
      A: Yes

    4. Investigation information
      Detective succeeds on Moderate investigation roll, gaining 3 answers on the Oracle.
      Q: Is there an exit wound?
      A: No
      Q: Is there a flash burn on the head?
      A: False presupposition, there is too much blood to make it out
      Q: Is there any other wound?
      A: No, but it can’t be clearly seen

    5. Search information
      Detective succeeds on an Easy search roll, gaining answers on an out-of-sight but not hidden items
      Q: Are there shell casings?
      A: Yes, and, its two of them!
      so one shot missed, maybe during suicide there was a trembling hand, this means there’s a bullet somewhere
      Q: Is there a bullet hole?
      A: No, and there is no bullet strike either (no ricochet)

    6. Follow up information
      So maybe there is a window, and the bullet went out that way?
      Q: Is there a window?
      A: Yes, but, it’s not in the logical trajectory of the bullet
      something doesn’t fit here

    7. Field examination information
      Since it’s the ’30s I doubt there’s much of field examination kits going.
      Witness statements are taken here. Extra care must be taken when using a generator to define the NPCs. If I get a result that says that an NPC is a sleazy weasel, then that must be the feeling that the protagonist gets when talking to them, which could be far from the truth. A perception check is in order for any information given, to see if you can ask the Oracle if the NPC sounds truthful.
      I won’t go much into dialogues, maybe in a future update.

    Now, the investigator has a series of things to look upon. For now, I will jump to the end, and skip the main part of the adventure, but we’ll suppose that the following has been gathered.

    • The victim left a suicide note
    • The victim had suicide tendencies according to separated-wife
    • The victim was rich and had properties according to lawyer
    • The victim’s doctor said he was getting better
    • The cook heard one gunshot, but maybe it was two together
    • The cook says he was preparing a chicken for the day’s meal at the time of murder
    • The butler heard one gunshot
    • The butler says he was in the library at the time of murder
    • The service maid was out in the stables with the stable boy
    • The victim was left handed according to the doctor
    • The forgery expert derived that the suicide note is genuine
    • The autopsy report revealed two bullets in the brain and no gunshot residue on the head
    • The lawyer said that the divorce hadn’t been finalized yet
    • According to victim’s best friend the wife was a schemer who spent too much, that’s why the victim wanted to divorce her
    • According to the butler the cook was stealing cash from the victim whenever he could find the opportunity

    With the above and the clues from the initial crime scene, the detective is certain that this wasn’t a suicide.
    Hypothesis: The wife used a suicide note she had kept from when the victim was in a bad shape and staged his murder. Due to the fact that she’s not a resident in the mansion anymore she must have had help. Considering that the butler knew the victim very well, he couldn’t have made such an obvious mistake such as planting the firearm in the wrong hand, so that leaves only the cook as a possibility.

    6M Why/Why Not
    Man
    The wife spent a lot of money and would be left out with a minimum allowance after the divorce.
    Man supports the hypothesis.

    Means (Environment)
    2 shell casings were found away from the body, someone shot the victim from away.
    Means supports the hypothesis.

    Material
    A genuine suicide note was found which contradicts the hypothesis.
    Material contradicts the hypothesis.

    Measure
    2 bullets were found in the head of the victim. The lack of GSR means that the shot was from afar. Measure supports the hypothesis.

    Machine (Murder Weapon)
    The murder weapon was an easy to use semi-auto pistol, in the ownership of the victim. It neither supports nor contradicts the hypothesis.

    Method
    The wife was a schemer. Having an accomplice fits means she had access. The cook was a common thief.
    Method supports the hypothesis.

    So we have 4 points that support, 1 point that contradicts, and one that doesn’t support or contradict, for a final score of 3. The detective will try to intimidate the cook into confessing the crime saying that the wife gave him up, and will do the same to the wife. If anyone fails to the intimidation attempt, then we get to ask the Oracle with no modifier according to the score of 3, if the hypothesis stands, and possibly get a confession.

     
  • giorgis 11:24 am on September 26, 2019 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    Solo Metagaming and how to avoid it 

    Secret doors, trapped chests, cursed magic items, enemies patrolling around the corner, betrayal from a close friend.

    All these -and even more, when presented in a game by the GM provide a surprise element which can be exhilarating for the players. They are crucial for certain game types such as horror and mystery.

    All is good then for a table full of players and a good GM, but what happens when you play alone?

    Metagaming cannot be avoided at all cases, but it can be minimized.

    Of course, if you don’t care about the player experience and just want a good narrative, this is not for you, because this comes at the cost of a good narrative.

    Rule #1: The Oracle should answer the bare minimum.

    Imagine real Oracles. Pythia was asked How can the Greeks defeat the Persians? and her answer was The wooden walls will save you!.

    Of course you don’t have to be cryptic, but don’t turn the answer into You will defeat the Persians in naval battle in Salamis straits.

    Rule #2: Whenever condition you want to ask can be resolved by the game ruleset, use that, instead of asking The Oracle.

    If there is a perception skill, use it to find out if your character can see anything. If there are only classes and levels, ask The Oracle.

    Rule #3: Mix Rules #1 and #2. Once you know that your character could have seen something because he is perceptive (successful roll), then ask The Oracle. The fact that your elven scout is eagle-eyed doesn’t mean there is something to see.

    Rule #4: When you can’t avoid metagaming, use it. So you asked a question you shouldn’t and you learned that the bandit who blocks your way is in fact hired by the local sheriff. Then you must deliver this information to your character as soon as possible (preferably in the same scene) and try to do it without acting on it before knowing it. Maybe the bandits are haughty “Sheriff Smith surely delivered when he told us about the four strangers carrying gold in their caskets! At them boys!”.

    The switch between ruleset and oracle resolutions should happen according to the event type, see below.

    Action Events

    These are events driven by the player.

    In those, you roll first the game mechanic. If there is a success then you also ask The Oracle. The actions must be defined specifically. If you search for traps, you can’t ask The Oracle if there is hidden treasure.

    Examples:

    The dwarf scout searches for secret doors. Roll Success! Q: Is there a secret door?

    The halfling thief pickpockets the merchant. Roll Success! Q: What does the merchant carry?

    The elf wizard casts a premonition spell. Roll Failure! Can’t ask the Oracle.

    Reaction Events

    These are events that are triggered as a reaction to the player. If there is a chance for something to happen you ask The Oracle.

    Examples:

    The warrior opens the chest hidden below the goblin throne. Q: Is it trapped? A: Yes!, Roll Perception to notice it or Dexterity to avoid it, whichever is higher.

    Transition Events

    These are events that occur while transitioning from one scene to the next. This all plays out before any player actions or reactions.

    Something that the characters see which is clearly evident, common knowledge, or a chance to trigger a passive character skill.

    Examples:

    The players’ starship emerged from hyperspace to a new system. Make a Passive Sensors roll to see if the ship detects anything without actively searching for it. Whether the sensors roll succeeds or fails, continue with Oracle questions. If the sensors roll was successful, then the characters may have a chance to act first (roll if the other side detects them as well). If the sensors roll fails, then the event supposed that the other side has detected them already (if no one had detected each other there would be no event).

    Passive Events

    These are events occurring at downtime or behind the scenes.

    The player has no say in them, and usually they are not known.

    As a generic rule these are handled through Oracles, as Interventions (MUNE), Exceptional Yes/No (CRGE) or whatever the Oracle calls them.

    Examples:

    The heroes killed a wanted thief. Unbeknownst to them he was part of the thieves guild, and now they have a bounty to their head. There will be assassins hunting them down, but all this information will become known as the intervention unfolds.

    Where to stop

    Don’t overdo it. These rules are supposed to help avoid metagaming, not bog down the game with strict guidelines and questions. In the end, it’s your game. Do what you want as long as you have fun!

     
  • giorgis 11:15 pm on September 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Night of the Blood, ,   

    Night of the Blood Session Zero 

    Since I’ve left Star Wars D6 with Roy and Luca to rest for a while, my next attempt at solo roleplaying will be in the Warhammer Fantasy world, the Night of the Blood pre-written adventure module.

    I’ve chosen this as, I like the Warhammer setting (played the wargame back in the day), and I want to take a hack at a prewritten module to see how it will play out.
    I was inspired for this by /u/Classictoy ‘s attempt of the same module with Mythic GME.

    One thing I’ve learned from previous attempts, is that I need to take my sweet time, and prepare prior to starting an adventure. So I had to prepare my custom Oracle, the homebrew D6 system, and the characters.

    Custom Oracle

    To run the prewritten module, I will be using a modified version of MUNE, with the aim of delivering a result similar to what /u/Classictoy did with the Mythic GME.

    For each scene I will be asking the question to the MUNE Oracle: Is the scene as written?
    Yes, and: Increase Intervention count by 1, next question for scene stability will be more Likely
    Yes: No change
    Yes, but: Next question for scene stability will be less Likely
    No, but: Roll 1d4 on TWENE
    No: Roll 1d8 on TWENE
    No, and: Roll 1d10 on TWENE

    Beforehand, I will choose a likelihood for each scene based on what I feel like.

    Homebrew D6 System

    As with my Starwars D6 Legends system, I will be using the same success/failure system.
    Wild dies will explode on 6, and have a mishap on 1. On mishap you reroll. If it’s a 6 you get a complication, otherwise it’s a penalty (-1 success).
    Regular and wild die succeed on a roll of 3+.

    +1 pip die succeeds on a roll of 6, and +2 pip die succeeds on a roll of 5+. I am also thinking of introducing a +3 pip die in the future. Food for thought.

    Since I didn’t like how combat was bland at times in my Star Wars D6, inspired by Mythras and the D6 System GM’s Guide, I will be using the following rules for flavoring the combat system with effects.

    The Module

    I will be using the difficulties as described in the module, and converting the NPC stats on-the-fly. In general each 10% in Warhammer NPC stats I will translate to 1D in game. But this is just a rule of thumb for unaltered scenes.

    Reach

    Similar to how ranged weapons have a range, melee weapons have a reach.
    Close (0m): Unarmed, Knife, Dagger
    Medium (1m): 1-H
    Long (2m): Polearms, Spears, 2-H

    Roll Initiative

    Character with highest initiative acts first. If joining melee combat, between the two combatants, deduct reach from initiative.

    Example: Joe has a knife (reach 0) and rolls two successes at initiative. He acts first. He decides to attack Jim who holds a rifle with a bayonet at the end (reach 2) and rolled one success at initiative. Jim attacks first because of the longer reach.
    Combatants now are at Long reach.

    Each reach level difference incurs a -1D penalty to hit rolls.

    Example: Jim attacks at his normal skill, but Joe will attack at -2D because of the Long range.

    As per normal D6 rules the defender can dodge or parry/block or use his passive defense (weapon TN).
    For each SL, the attacker or defender in case of an active defense can choose a combat effect.

    Combat effects

    • Close/Open Range (each SL modifies reach by one)
    • Increase Damage (each SL adds 1D damage)
    • Called Shot (each SL can move hit location by one)

    Example: Jim rolled 2 successes on his attack, and Joe parried with 4 successes. Joe uses his two successes to close the reach to 0. Now it is Joe who has the upper hand. He attacks with 3 successes against Jim’s passive TN of 1. Now he chooses increase damage for 2D extra damage.

    Hit Locations

    I will be using Star Wars D6 Hit Locations:

    • 1: Head
    • 2-3: Torso
    • 4: Reroll: 1-3 Left Arm, 4-6 Right Arm
    • 5: Left Leg
    • 6: Right Leg

    Shields

    The shield adds its defense bonus to the block roll (melee combat) if actively defending and depending on the size (Buckler/Round/Tower) to the armor rating of the respective areas if passively defending (Hit locations: Left Arm/Left Arm, Torso(3)/Left Arm, Torso(3), Left Leg).

    Inspired by MiniSix barebones, I will use 4 attributes. Strength, Dexterity, Perception and Intellect. OpenD6 Fantasy Skills will be divided among them. I will be using the Star Wars D6 skill names over others, to accommodate a harmonized approach between my plays (e.g. Stealh or Move Silently will be Sneak skill).

    AttributeDescriptionSkills
    StrengthBrawn, Toughness, Constitutionlifting, running, stamina, swimming
    DexterityAgility, Coordination, Reflexesacrobatics, brawling, climbing, contortion, dodge, jumping, melee combat, stealth, lockpicking, marksmanship, drive, pickpocketing
    PerceptionAccumen, Initiative, Charismadisguise, gambling, hide, investigation, riding, search, streetwise, survival, tracking, animal handling, con, charm, command, persuasion, gossip, bargain
    IntellectIntelligence, Willpowercultures, devices, healing, navigation, reading/writing, scholar, speaking, trading, traps, intimidation, mettle, common knowledge

    Character Generation

    My characters will divide 12D between the attributes and also will have 7D in skills with a maximum of 2D per skill.

    I will be using a Warhammer chargen and interpret the skills to the D6 system. If a character doesn’t have the skill, they suffer an increase in difficulty by 1 TN.

    Talents will be giving a +1D bonus to respective actions. E.g. Very Strong will give +1D to lifting, Resistance to Poisons +1D when resisting poison effects, Sling Specialization +1D when using a sling, etc. I may have to make a call at the time of playing because I don’t want to spend my session zero devising a complete rulebook.

    I will be using Description and Motivations from UNE. I will be using BOLD for character backstories. Also I will be using Demeanors from Septimus.

    I decided on a simple story. One of the characters will be a noble lady, accompanied by her bodyguard and her servant, on her travel to a castle where the local prince has invited her to the ball. The details of each character will be randomized. In addition I will add a completely random career character, who just happened to be on the road alongside them, when the Night of the blood scenario begins. I wanted to give the characters a reason to be travelling together. Also I did not want them to be all combat-ready, something to give a bit of a story to the module.

    Without further ado, here are the four characters:

    Evie

    CharacteristicDescription
    NameEvie Vogel
    RaceHuman
    ProfessionNoble
    Age20 yo
    GenderFemale
    Height180cm
    Weight72kg
    EyesPale Grey, Almond shaped
    HairBrown
    SignThe gloaming star
    BirthplaceWissenland, Poor village
    AttributeStat
    Strength2D+1
    Dexterity3D
    Perception3D
    Intelligence3D+2
    SkillStat
    Melee combat4D
    Marksmanship4D
    Common Knowledge(Empire)4D+2
    Speaking(Reikspiel)4D+2
    Gossip4D
    Charm4D
    Read/Write(Reikspiel)
    Ride
    Persuasion4D
    Performer(Musician)
    Gambling
    • Etiquette
    • Savvy
    • Resistance to Magic
    • Public Speaking
    • Coolheaded
    • Schemer

    Inventory: Fine clothing, riding horse, short sword, jewelry, gold.

    Demeanor: Traditional
    UNE: lazy activist, offend the wealth
    BOLD: pleasant deputies overcome by scarce-used ability

    Evie is the daughter of Baron Vogel. She is traditional and doesn’t want radical changes, and has taken it upon herself to see that the wealthy merchants are taxed heavily and the taxes are given to the nobility. She’d prefer if someone else would help her on this task though.
    To that end, she wants to charm the neighboring prince into marriage and she has left the estate with her bodyguard Rudiger and her servant Gustav to go to the castle where she was invited.
    On the way they were stopped by some friendly roadwardens who, seeing her wealth, required tolls to be payed. Using her knowledge of the law she reminded them that only the toll collector had the authority to collect tolls and they should be careful lest they be mistaken for brigands preying on hapless travellers.

    Gustav

    CharacteristicDescription
    NameGustav Dickopf
    RaceHuman
    ProfessionServant
    Age19 yo
    GenderMale
    Height165cm
    Weight75 kg
    EyesGrey
    HairBlonde
    SignThe greased goat
    BirthplaceNordland, Small settlement
    AttributeStat
    Strength3D
    Dexterity2D
    Perception4D
    Intelligence3D
    SkillStat
    Melee combat3D
    Marksmanship3D
    Common Knowledge(Empire)4D
    Speaking(Reikspiel)4D
    Gossip5D
    Con
    Dodge3D
    Trade(Cook)
    Drive
    Haggle
    Read/Write
    • Ambidextrous
    • Coolheaded
    • Acute hearing
    • Hardy
    • Very Resilient

    Inventory: Fine clothing, hatchet, knife, cooking supplies, mule.

    Demeanor: Flamboyant
    UNE: obnoxious fortune-hunter, convey opulence
    BOLD: lethargic traitor overcome by strong attribute

    Gustavo is Evie’s servant. Despite his low status he is flamboyant, and tries to siphon off wealth from Evie to show off. He wears expensive clothing and behaves as someone above his class. Evie likes him so she tolerates it, but others are not so disposed. He passes of to his peers as an obnoxious fortune-hunter, which actually he is.
    When the estate cook started gossiping about Gustav, he managed to find him sleeping on more than one occasion and convinced Evie to demote him to stable boy. Gustav is escorting Evie to the castle where she was invited by the prince.

    Rudiger

    CharacteristicDescription
    NameRudiger Dirnbach
    RaceHuman
    ProfessionBodyguard
    Age37 yo
    GenderMale
    Height175cm
    Weight69 kg
    EyesPale Grey
    HairBlack
    SignGnuthus the Ox
    BirthplaceMiddenland, Hovel
    MarksSeamed face
    AttributeStat
    Strength4D
    Dexterity3D
    Perception3D
    Intelligence2D
    SkillStat
    Melee combat5D
    Marksmanship4D
    Gossip
    Dodge4D
    Heal3D
    Intimidate3D
    Common Knowledge(Empire)3D
    Speaking(Reikspiel)
    • Very Strong
    • Lightning Reflexes
    • Parrying Specialist
    • Throwing Specialist
    • Street fighting
    • Strike to Stun
    • Quick draw
    • Very Resilient

    Inventory: Sword, Shield, Chain hauberk.

    Demeanor: Hardboiled
    UNE: addicted judge, spoil the oppressed
    BOLD: deceiving labor overcome by on accident

    Rudiger is an old soldier who was appointed as a guard to the baron’s estate. As Evie grew, the baron appointed Rudiger to be her personal bodyguard.
    Rudiger is a veteran of many battles, and little that he sees shakes him. He has seen orcs, goblins and the occasional bandit. He believes firmly in the order of things and that the poor are supposed to stay poor and support the nobility.
    When he was younger, he was once deceived by an agitator to fight for ‘the cause’ and free the peasants from their lords rule. When, by mistake he came upon the peasant leaders divulging in their loot, he killed them all and left. He decided never to assist the traitorous peasants again and took it upon himself to punish them whenever possible. His combat skills and passion for riot control soon were noticed by the baron, who took him under his employment.
    After the last peasant revolt he has taken it upon himself to root out any danger that comes from the low classes. On such events, he alone decides the fate of the prisoners.
    His harsh life is not without scars though, and he has turned to be a functional alcoholic.
    Currently Rudiger is escorting Evie to the castle where she is invited by the prince.

    Bianka

    CharacteristicDescription
    NameBianka Geissler
    RaceHuman
    ProfessionRat Catcher
    Age17 yo
    GenderFemale
    Height166cm
    Weight70kg
    EyesGrey blue, bloodshot
    HairDark Brown
    SignWymund the anchorite
    BirthplaceNordland, Poor village
    AttributeStat
    Strength4D
    Dexterity3D
    Perception3D
    Intelligence2D
    SkillStat
    Melee combat5D
    Marksmanship4D
    Search4D
    Stealth4D
    Gossip4D
    Common Knowledge(Empire)3D
    Speaking(Reikspiel)
    Animal Handling
    Traps
    • Very Strong
    • Savvy
    • Resistance to poison
    • Resistance to disease
    • Sling Specialization
    • Tunnel rat

    Inventory: Hatchet, sling, bag of rats, rat cage, mouse traps.

    Demeanor: Aggressive
    UNE: reputable recluse, Record the public
    BOLD: common traitor overcome by personal resources

    Bianka is a young woman who has made a reputation as a rat catcher. She’s quite aggressive against the critters and doesn’t like the company of other people, keeping to herself.
    She wants to beat the numbers of rats she catches in comparison to the other rat catchers.
    In the last town she was in, a fellow rat catcher stole her bag of rats and sold it off as his own. She used her wits and skill and managed to catch an even larger number of rats, this fulfilling her contract.
    Bianka just came upon Evie’s company and by happenstance they go in the same direction.

    Summary

    Wow, using UNE which is meant for NPCs to create my characters, created some people bordering on the side of evil if this was DnD. But this is Warhammer, and I absolutely enjoy the results. I am eager to see how it will play out.

     
  • giorgis 12:56 pm on August 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , MythicD6, , ,   

    The level of success 

    I’ve had a discussion recently with fellow lonewolves (thanks, soypunk) with regards to streamlining the game rolls mechanic on Solo WEG Star Wars(SWD6)/OpenD6.

    When soloing you have to make a lot of dice rolls. You have to roll for the PCs, for the NPCs, you have to roll for random game events and you have to roll for The Oracle.
    I love rolling dice. It helps with immersion and gives me the old roleplaying feeling, but in those cases it can just become tiresome, especially when coupled with the difficulty associated with the SWD6 system.
    For every resolution you need to add up the dice rolls and compare it to the add up of the opposed dice rolls or against the target difficulty number.
    The target difficulty number can be chosen from a range, which is hard, when trying to be GM and player, or it can be rolled randomly, which in turn leads to more added dice rolls.

    So I’ve heard about D6Legends (mocked as D6 for the “mathematically challenged”) and it’s successor MythicD6.
    In D6Legends the dice are rolled and each roll of 3,4,5 or 6 counts as one success. No pips are involved so it’s a no-go if I want to use it as-is for my Star Wars play.
    In MythicD6 as described in the free QuickStart document, the dice are rolled and each roll of 4,5 or 6 counts as one success. The pips can be used to change the result of one die to a success. Promising.
    I playtested it and it was what I wanted. Easy to use, success count assists with narrative and helps with calculating % of work done.
    But, there is a problem. When reading through the rpg forum, I’ve stumbled upon a discussion on the odds of success in MythicD6. It seems that the +2 pip gives a higher level of success than a whole die for the same number of successes.

    Example: 2D+2 has higher chance for 2 Successes than 3D.

    This may be minor and not bother others, but it bothers me, so I went with a homebrew workaround: the pip die.
    If you have a pip, roll a different color die.

    • For +1 pip, a roll of 6 is a success
    • For +2 pips, a roll of 5,6 is a success

    This seems to fix the issue.

    Now to make sure that the odds between the two systems are similar, I compared the minimum difficulty succeeded at odds of 50% between them. Herein lies another problem. The advancement rate for success with this system is at 50% less than the SWD6. To rectify it I will try with D6Legends chances of success, brewed with pips of course.

    DieSWD6MythicBrewLegendsBrew
    1DVEVEVE
    1D+1VEVEVE
    1D+2VEVEVE
    2DVEVEVE
    2D+1EVEE
    2D+2EVEE
    3DEVEE
    3D+1EEE
    3D+2MEM
    4DMEM
    4D+1MEM
    4D+2MEM
    5DMEM
    5D+1DMD
    5D+2DMD
    6DDMD
    6D+1DMD
    6D+2VDMVD
    7DVDMVD
    7D+1VDDVD
    7D+2VDDVD
    8DVDDVD
    8D+1VDDED
    8D+2VDDED
    9DVDDED
    9D+1HVDED
    9D+2HVDH

    This seems to be aligned with the original D6 system success odds and it’s what I will be using. Extremely difficult will be translated to SWD6 Very difficult which has double the range than other difficulties.

    Difficulty Modifiers

    SWD6 has a lot of modifiers to skills depending on the situation. These need to be translated to the new system. I had in mind an advantage/disadvantage mechanic in which additional dice are rolled, and you take the lowest or highest of those, discarding the rest.
    In the process of streamlining, this has to go as well. Instead, every 5 points advantage grants one success, or disadvantage, removes one success.

    So to recap:

    • Roll a number of dice equal to the skill.
    • One different color die is the Wild Die
    • If you have pips, roll an additional different color die, the Pip Die
    • Any roll of >= 3 on regular or wild dice is a success
    • Any roll of 6 on the pips die is a success if pips = 1
    • Any roll of 5 or 6 on the pips die is a success if pips = 2
    • Any roll of 6 on the wild die explodes
    • Any roll of 1 on the first roll of the wild die removes one success
    • Every 5 points of modifiers is translated to an automatic success addition or removal

    The next session I will run (part 13 – I know I am a little behind uploading my past sessions to the blog) will be using those rules.

     
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