Saturday, September 22, 2012

Conclave Kickstarter

I've been playing Pocket Heroes on the Iphone for the past month. While initially I liked this game, my friend and I have overall been quite disappointed. I love the idea of asynchronous play in a RPG (great for busy schedules like mine) but having played for a month I'm honestly bored with the game. It's a total grind fest.

This is the asynchronous rpg game I've been looking for. Much deeper story, party choices via voting, better graphics, can be played on any platform (run through a browser so it can be played on a smart phone too) and it's asynchronous(you do not have to be playing in realtime - think 'words with friends'). There is only 12 hours left on the kickstarter and still has to 30% funding required. You can actually play the game here: (13 quests at this point). If you join the game (again it's free) let me know what your username is and I will join your party. Also consider funding the kickstarter too - for a $10 contribution you have full access to the full game once it goes live. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Virtual GM

I was a big fan of Lone Wolf back in my middle school years. For those that don't know, the Lone Wolf series my Joe Dever are a pretty great collection of CYA RPG books written in the 80's. Check out the wikipedia page for more info. Anyway Project Aon is a fabulous site that obtained Joe Dever's blessing to release all the books in e-versions, pdf form, mobi form etc. If you ever were a fan of CYA books, you should pay this site a visit.
   There are also online version of every book in the series. I recently bought a TTS app for my Iphone called 'Web Reader'. What makes this app better than your run of the mill text to speech apps is that it will directly do text to speech from any webpage. All the other TTS apps I found involve copying the text into the app in order for the text to be read aloud. The format of the online Project Aon Lone Wolf books are perfect for the TTS feature on this app where it is easy as clicking one button in order to hear each numbered entry. I played through a bit of Flight from the Dark with TTS and it's kind of cool. It's sort of like having a virtual GM (semi robotic yes, but doesn't sound that bad, especially the female voice) and adds a whole new element to CYA. You can control the rate of speech and choose between a female or male speaker. Stats and dice roles can be handled of course with paperwork and rolling the dice yourself. Jumping to new sections entails clicking on a hyperlink - so it's very user friendly.
  I also tried this out with Buffalo Castle on Flying Buffalo's website. Works well once you get past the intro page.
  I might try this with Zork as well, using siri on my Iphone to speak my commands (Action Castle?).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mythic Fate Chart Variant

I realize that some visitors to this blog might not know what Mythic is so I wanted to give some links that give a brief description and sense of the game.

Here is the official webpage with some info

You can buy mythic in print and pdf here

use the code 'PIRATA' to get 15% off whether you purchase the pdf or the print version until Sept 21

This is probably my favorite AP of a Mythic session. Really gives you a sense of why it works.

I would recommend either Mythic Gamemaster Emulutor or Mythic Dynamic Roleplaying(earlier version that includes the core rules that actually work very well with the emulator). The later version (Mythic GM Emulator) has some minor changes that are nice improvements. Mythic Variatiions is great too with some nice additions that really aid play.

The Mythic RPG Yahoo group is worth joining. There are some great fan made tools and tables (highly recommend 'Description Word List') and some insightful forum discussion threads.

What I describe below will make more sense if you've read the rulebook or played Mythic.

For my style of game, I prefer a simpler version of Mythic. Here is my variant adapted and inspired by Free Universal Roleplaying dice system:

Do away with the Fate Chart (so no cross referencing). You'll need 3d10 instead of 2.

50/50 1d10
10 - Yes, and (or exceptional yes, whatever you prefer)
7-9 Yes
6 - Yes, but (or you can choose just yes if you want to keep it more in line with Mythic. I prefer adding 'but', adds more complexity IMO)
5 - No, but
2-4 - No
1 - No, and(or again exceptional no)

 Somewhat Likely
10 - Yes, and
6-9 - Yes
5 - Yes
4 - No, but
2-3 - No
1 - No, and

roll 2d10, same as 50/50 but highest die stands as official result

Very Likely
roll 3d10, same as 50/50 but highest die stands as official result

Sure Thing

9-10 Yes, and
3-8 Yes
2 - yes, but
1 - no

Somewhat Unlikely
10 - Yes, and
8-9 Yes
7 - Yes, but
6- No, but
2-5 No
1 No and


2d10, same as 50/50 lowest die stands

Very Unlikely

3d10, same as 50/50 lowest die stands.

Almost Impossible

10 - yes
9 - no, but
3-8 - no
1-2 - no, and

On the official Mythic Fate Chart there is no 'somewhat unlikely' but I wanted both positive chances and negative chances to balance equally. That's just my preference and I know that the odds are not completely accurate to the Fate Chart but it's close. The purpose of this method is to cut down on the cross referencing and speed up play.

So how do I handle a Fate Chart random interrupt?

Instead of depending on obtaining a double result, roll a d10 at the beginning of every scene(the roll also used to gauge whether there is a altered/interrupt scene which is detailed below). If that same number is rolled whenever asking a subsequent "Fate" question then there is a 'Fate"random interrupt within the scene.
The interupt scene is still triggered if its under the Chaos Factor.

Stick to the Chaos Factor rules and follow the original scene modifier rules as well. Evaluate the scene - did it end chaotically? raise it. No? lower it. But of course you are not changing the likelihood of yes or no answers on the fate chart when asking questions.

If you are attached to the chaos factor affecting question outcomes then the above rules might not be for you.

I'm planning on writing up some APs soon. They may not be as detailed as the example I have linked above but I'll at least give some summaries and impressions. More on that soon.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Combat Stunts

The Lone Delver wrote this post about his combat house rules. There's lots of good stuff so check it out if you are a T&T player.

I especially like his description of "Combat Stunts". Attempting an action to affect the tide of battle really adds a lot of narrative juice to combat. I think this is what makes T&T combat really sing. Often faced with monsters or hordes with much higher MR's you'll be forced to think outside the box and attempt something else other than trying to clobber with your sword. Plus the combat requires a narrative description which IMO always makes for more fun play.

Here's some ideas I've been thinking about in regards to attempting Combat Stunts and establishing some kind of risk involved.

-Whenever attempting any kind of action (stealing the goblins spear, tripping the ogre, throwing sand in the cyclops eye) use 1 separate colored die (maybe the same as the colored arena bonus die referred to here) and roll it as one of your 2 die on the SR attempt. Whatever the result is, invert it, and count it against your adds on the next combat roll whether the SR roll is successful or not (this counts as the effort to attempt the action). On a failure subtract the difference from your adds on your next combat roll. For example a result of 22 with a result of 2 on your colored die on a SR difficulty level of 30 is -8 plus -5 (a result of 2 which is inverted. A roll of 1 = -6, 2 = -5 etc) for a grand total of -13 penalty on your next combat roll. If you were successful in the SR attempt then the penalty of course would only be -5 for the effort it took to attempt the action.

-Another idea I had to take this even further. This is inspired from failure on a character move in Dungeon World (Check out the free rules here).

On a penalty and failure of a SR combat stunt roll follow these guidelines.

If the total penality is 1-9 - take combat penalties from your adds as described above.

If the total penalty is 10 -20 suffer one of these conditions:

1. Your weapon is destroyed
2. You become partially immobilized and cannot move from the legs downwards (suffer an additional -10 penalty to combat adds, and of course in addition to being completely vulnerable to attacks you don't have the option of escaping)
3. You make a major mistake. Roll 2d6 +1 per level damage.

If the penalty total is 20 -30:

Suffer TWO conditions.

30 or greater:

You are completely immobilized so no combat role period in the next round. Maybe a SR attempt to free yourself from immobilization next round otherwise you continue to be immobilized?

All of the above options are of course justified through the narrative for example:

Attempting to grab the spear from a goblin and throw it into the gorge. SR difficulty is 30 for a STR roll. I roll 5 from my 2d6(a 3 on my colored die roll - inverted for a - 4) plus my STR of 14 for a result of 19 which results in a -14 (+1 for my level in strength based on 7.5 rules).

So I try to grab the goblins spear and after a brief struggle the goblin spins me around fast enough for me to lose my grip on the spear. I stumble on a rock and plunge down the rock slope of the gorge behind me! 2d6 +1 (I'm level 1) damage = 10. I land in a crumpled heap thirty feet down the gorge.

Either you could pick the condition randomly on a d6 result: 1-2 weapon destroyed, 3-4 partially immobilized, 5-6 major mistake or (similar to Dungeon World rules) the player could choose what happens as a negative condition maybe even negotiating if playing with a GM.

I need to test this so I'm sure there are some balance issues but I just wanted to share the general gist of my thoughts. I'll try to update this once I've messed around with it more.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Mythic and Tunnels & Trolls: Determining SR rating

One of the challenges of Solo rpg play is determining task difficulty. As I mentioned in an early post, rereading the original Mythic rules I got a better grasp of determining this. To paraphrase - it says use your logic by comparing the difficulty to what the average would be for example: busting down a door - what is the average strength of a door? Determine it based on what your logic tells you. Is the door made of metal? is the door thick? This can be aided by Mythic questions. When in doubt of course and you have no idea, it is fine to say "I don't know" and go with a 50/50 chance so you can move on without slowing your game down.

Some people use Mythic for task resolution but for me the Fate Chart is used just to ask questions. I use whatever system I'm using for task resolution.

Thankfully, Tunnels & Trolls is particularly Mythic friendly in regards to establishing task difficulty. All tasks are determined by making one standard SR roll which basically is 2d6 + appropriate attribute against SR level. The 7.5 rules uses these numbers to serve as a guideline for saving roll ratings.

Level One - 20
Level Two - 25
Level Three - 30
Level Four - 35
Level Five - 40

I have modded this to 6 levels of SR ratings:

Level One -  Somewhat easy 15 or more
Level Two - 50/50 20
Level Three - Hard 25
Level Four - Difficult 30
Level Five - Very difficult 35
Level Six - Almost impossible 40

If it a task seems definitely easy then of course no roll is needed. Based on the levels above, I could see most SR rating being assessed as Levels one to four in solo play to make it easier to assess (this is primarily for lower level characters). Very difficulty and almost impossible of course can occur but should only be used when a task is obviuosly at that difficulty level.

Circumstantial Modifiers: A small modiefier might change a SR rating by 1-2 both positively or negatively. A serious modifier by 3.

Another mythic question I sometimes ask is how wide/tall/big is the ____?
roll 1 d6 to determine an answer to asking how.

6- very
5- more than normal
3-4 - normal
2 - less than normal
1 - not at all

this can help determine SR ratings.

Here is an example of determine a SR rating:

A group of goblins is chasing me up a rocky slop. I come to a ravine, there is no other possible direction I can go. I will attempt to jump over it. Modifiers: (how much time do I have? result = 2 - not much time, they are about 50 feet away. Alright I have to do this in one jump so I determine that as a small negative modifier -2(1d2 = 2). How wide is the ravine? (the 'how' chart above, result =3 so normal). I set the SR rating at 22. My Dex score is 14 so I need a roll of 8 or more to succeed.

Another great rule for SR rolls in Tunnels in trolls is you can add your attribute level at the end of the roll in case might help you. So if I rolled a 7 and received a result of 21 then I could boost it to a 22(my dex rating is 14 which is determined as level one rating for attributes in T&T rules) if I needed to in that situation. It's helps with narrative too: I jump over the ravine and barely land on the other side grabbing onto the edge with my arms while my legs dangle over the 100 foot drop, I'm starting to slip but at the last moment grab onto a root of the tree pulling myself up.
I have an idea for taking this one step further which I'll write about in another post soon. 

Next time, I will write about a new little tool I've been messing with- solo geomorphs. Intrigued? check my blog in the next few days. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Tunnels & Trolls Combat Mod

In the 7.5 rules, damage dealt can be distributed to the recipients in whatever way the winning side(or GM) sees fit. This is a brilliant little rule because of course it begs to then be justified in a narrative.

What results is that I could see it be tempting to deal all of the damage towards the most powerful character when fighting multiple opponents, attempting to take them out first. Now combat in real life doesn't exactly work this way. People are often defended or protected by others.

Here is a optional mod to shake combat up and to address what I described above

When making your combat roll add yet another colored d6 to determine the following results:

If PCs win then on a:

6 - strongest enemy takes at least 75% or more determined by PCs
3-5 - damage division is determined by party
2 - damage dealt equally
1 - weaker characters take a 75% or more(divided equally if more than 1)

If the enemies win then:

6 - weaker character takes at least %75 or more damage (divided equally if more than 1)
3-5 damage dealt equally
2 - players choice as to how damage is dealt. (describe a sacrifice or 'jumping in front of a bullet' maybe?)
1 - strongest character takes at least 75% of damage or more

This obviously can be tweaked for balance and I need to try it out in action just to verify what I think could work well.

Especially with solo play, this table can prompt a another simple way to narrate combat(how do the weaker characters take more damage? what happens?) based on results and give a very simple random AI to monsters based on the d6's results. It could even suggest enemy movement in a very loose way.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tunnels & Trolls Combat Arena Mod

I love the rules in the 'Weapons and Arenas' from Old School Hack. This is a mod for Tunnels and Trolls inspired by the same rules (arena descriptions are taken straight from the Old School Hack beta rules):

Tight Arenas: Narrow Places that often limit your mobility somehow.

- All daggers and swords that are 2 1/2' or less gain up to a 1d6 bonus in adds determined each combat round (easy way to do this is to have a colored bonus dice assigned for each character that counts as a regular combat die but also serves the function of determining the bonus)

All hafted weapons, swords that have a weight of 150 or more as well, or polearms suffer a 1d6 penalty while missle weapons suffer a 1d3 penalty(1d6: 1-2 =1, 3-4 = 2, 5-6 = 3)

Hazardous Arenas: Places where footing is difficult or visibility is limited and requires care.

All swords 6' and over, spears and pole arms(including quarterstaffs gain a 1d6 bonus(determined by same method above)

daggers and swords that are 2 1/2' or less suffer a 1d4(d6 -2, most likely will receive a 1 for penalty) penalty.

Open Arenas: Stark, wide-open areas where there is little to no cover.

All Missle SR roles gain a 1d6 bonus (again determined by same method above)

Dense Arenas: A crowded environment that has lots fo fiddly but smashable bits that might get in the way.

All hafted weapons and swords that have a weight of 150 or more gain a 1d6 bonus(again determined by same method above)

missle weapons suffer a 1d4 penalty (d6-2).

Neutral Arenas: A bland or ambigious environment that's hard to define.  Most arenas are this.

Missle weapons gain a 1d3 bonus if in neutral arena and outside

Middle sized swords, and all other weapons not mentioned receive no bonus or penalty. Daggers and small swords have a bit of an advantage in balance but that's because they deal much less damage.

I like this for the same reason that I like this OSH - it give some more strategy in weapon selection and allows for more varied combat.

The brilliance of T&T combat is that the division of damage makes combat easy to narrate. This is true of bonuses added especially when determining the bonus or penalty each round. For example:

Round 1 using my dirk in a tight space such as a goblin's small barrack room.

If I roll a 5 and succeed in my combat roll then I could describe it as: "I roll beneath a table, leaping out and stabbing the Goblin in the legs as he runs past the table toward Glain the dwarf. 

If a 1 is rolled then I could describe it as: "as I grapple with the orc on the ground, I just barely find a way to plunge my dirk up under his chest plate while keeping the tip of his broad sword away from my body." (basically the degree to which you are successful with your bonus can  be used to narrate the degree to which your bonus works for you in your combat round)

Or if using my Sling in the same situation, losing the combat roll, and I roll a 3 on my penalty: "I try to retreat a few steps to get some distance then I release a shot directly at the goblin behind the bunk, but the goblin swiftly hides behind the bed's headboard and the shot flies directly over his head."

Since T&T combat rounds are essentially 1-2 minutes depending on your combat bonus, it's then easy to describe your movement and position in the room like if Glain rolls a 3 bonus with his Sax then he could describe his action as "I move away from the door, running over to the table, leap on top of it, then jump on top of the Goblins back stabbing him in the neck!" The table then becomes an advantageous set piece in the encounter and can be used to describe amazing attacks.

You're essentially justifying the dice results through the narrative and the T&T longer rounds(1-2 min) give you more freedom to describe what happens.

It is optional whether you decide to give monster bonuses or not. If so, I think it best to only apply them in the occasion where it is obvious for example: goblin archers in an open arena, giant troll in dense arena(bar fight) etc. If playing solo this obviously could be phrased as a question in Mythic (Will the trolls size be an asset to him in the bar fight? - answered as a 'likely' question)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tunnels and Trolls

I've had several Tunnels and Trolls solo modules sitting around my house that I bought a number of years ago. I enjoyed playing through one of the adventures and found it interesting but maybe a more sparse version of Fighting Fantasy book.

A number of weeks ago I stumbled across this post which rekindled my interest in playing some Tunnels and Trolls partially because I'm less interested in solo CYA style modules and more interested in doing my own thing via Mythic. I've got a special itch for Old School rpgs as well and T&T is about as old school as you can get since it remains for the most part pretty much unchanged since 1975 (it's also the 2nd oldest rpg ever).

I had looked for the new box set online (T&T 7.5) but didn't have any luck. Noble Knight was selling it for 60 bucks and that seemed to be the only option but seemed to steep to take the plunge. The other day I swung by my FLGS to check out some board games when I was surprised to find a new copy for 35.00 so I decided to take the plunge.

I really like this box set - very similar to Ancient Odysseys Treasure Awaits box set.

The artwork is fantastic - doesn't this cover make you want to play some Tunnels & Trolls? It's literally overflowing with stuff (You can't even completely shut the box). Contents include a 170 pg rule book, a solo module, 2 monster manual supplementes (about 60pgs total), a gm adventure, a magic supplement, map of the world, three pages of cardboard tokens, and 4 mini d6s. You got everything you need.

Anyway I've played through the solo module and have been reading the rules and after giving it another chance I have to say that there is a lot to like especially in the 7.5 version. I think it could work well with Mythic solo play.

What I like so far in my reading:

Battles are fast and resolve all combatants in opposing roles. It's very simple and at face value might seem too simple but it's actually is quite elegent system and seems to work well based on my experience with it in the solo modules. I could see this working with Mythic since combat results can be described easily in a narrative.

The mechanics eliminate the need for Monster AI which is a plus for solo play (less decisions and interpretations). Also, since single dice rolls are used for numerous characters that means it's easy to have other NPC's (or familiars) join you in your solo adventure.

The SR mechanics are simple and really easy to calculate. 2d6 plus attribute versus SR level. SR levels are easy to decide and lends itself well to balanced difficulty which again is plus for solo play.

Buying equipment is a mini game in itself. I like that that you don't start with plate mail and a long sword but may start only with a sling, a dirk, and a steel cap. You have to earn your items. Plus the weapons are awesome! A Sax? YES! I don't even know what that is but I bet it's bad ass!

The experience system is very clear and I think would be easy to calculate with solo play. Check it out to see what I mean. Basically killing monsters is only one part of gaining experience.

Here is a link to the free quickstart rules. This is for the 5.5 Edition and not the 7.5 edition but they are very similar.

If I feel inspired in the next week or two, I plan on doing a simple AP of using T&T with Mythic and sharing some mods and ideas that I think will make T&T even more Mythic friendly. Stay tuned for further details.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rant about the Czege Principle

Have you heard of the Czege principle? Basically it says that if you generate your own adversity in a game then the results are boring. I've struggled with this.

Using Mythic GM, why not just ask a question such as "Do I find a ring of invincibility?" or "Does a rock fall from the ceiling, crushing the dragon's skull?". Or simply just saying that a task resolution is easy. Who's going to call you out on this? The argument is that it's too easy to cheat. I think there are many good co-op board games that have rules that actually generate adversity very well in a balanced manner. Pandemic, Wrath of Ashardalon, LOTR the card game are a few. With balanced game play comes a horde of mechanics and in my experience that can kill the creativity in a solo RPG game making it no more then a puzzle to figure out.

What is wrong with generating your own adversity? How is that unsatisfying? Rereading the original Mythic RPG rules last night, I was struck by some advice on setting difficulty levels or enemy proficiency. The advice essentially suggests clearly following your logic and trusting that. A good question is 'what defines the average?' If you're busting open a door, what is the average strength of a door? is it an inch thick? So the door that I'm busting down now, is that stronger then an inch thick door? So is it likely that I can bust it down? I find by being as logical as I can, it's easier for me to trust that I'm being fair with establishing the level of difficulty in my obstacles. If a another GM ruled exactly the way I do based on my logic, why should that be different? Especially if I just trust my own competency and ability to discern and evaluate without cheating.

In improv, when your partner throws something at you, establishing a fact like "I just ran over your Dog" instead of saying "no you didn't, he's right here" you should say 'Really, did that happen!?' Go with it and say YES. Take it as the honest to god truth otherwise everything falls apart and it's unbelievable to watch as an audience member. Same is true of games. If you interpret, based on the Fate Chart in Mythic for example, that a huge fire breathing dragon emerges from behind the pile of treasure, then go with it! If you accept it as truth  and engage yourself with trying to overcome the obstacle, then what does it matter if it was you or someone else who came up with dragon in the first place.

When we dream, we create opposition all the time, or conflict in our lives manifest itself into opposition in a narrative. It's believable and we get entirely caught up in it without judging it or slamming on the breaks.

So if you have a goal as a character, why make opposition difficult and hard to overcome? Why increase the chances of losing? Because it's interesting, it's fun. It's fun to want difficulty, to say "bring it". If you're power gamer that might be a bitter pill to swallow. Look at any movie or great story. It's about characters trying to beat the odds. If there isn't any conflict it's boring. Why do people play RPG's? One reason, I believe, is to face dangers and maybe triumph over them without actually having to take the real journey of doing that. Why does it need to be created by someone else? Isn't the whole point to take a journey, maybe get caught up in the world and get your emotions running a bit.

Randomness makes this exciting. Not knowing what to expect and using mechanics to facilitate and encourage that is why I like to play solo rpg's. If I do end up rolling a 20 and slaying the dragon, that's really cool. Or if I come up with a great idea or plan and it works to trick the dragon, that's also really cool and satisfying from a gaming perspective whether or not Mythic or a live GM brought the opposition into the game.

Use and trust your logic , keep your impulse to cheat in check and say yes!

Dragon Dictation and Solo Play

Here's an idea that someone posted over at the Mythic Yahoo Forums as a tool for playing solo. Use this app on your iPhone and record your session while you play as journal entries or summaries.

I think using a journal could aid solo play. It encourages more of a focus on narrative as well as 'writing' APs or game logs super easy - just have to edit. This I think could allow for more episodic and shorter sessions since it's much easier to pick up where the last session ended.

Here are two games that use a journal mechanic and would work well with Dragon Dictation:

Swords_of_the-Skull-Takers  I want to write more about this game in length after I've played it (just read through the rules twice). I really am excited by the mechanics and the game world. Could easily be adapted to Zombie Survival horror, or an Aliens type session.

De Profundis I have yet to finish reading the rules for this one but from what I understand it is all based on writing journal entries whether playing it Gmless with another person or solo.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Old School Hack Pregens

I've made my love for Old School Hack known before. Today, Kirin uploaded this awesomeness to his website. Great little pregens to get you playing right away. They remind me a bunch of the character cards that came with the Hero Quest board game. A handy little resource to jump in and start playing an adventure right away. I might have use these with some of my OSH gmless/solo dungeon crawling ideas that I've been working on.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Some Inspiration for Solo Play

So I'm a Dungeon World Kickstarter contributor and there has been some great kickstarter rewards coming my way. I like Dungeon World a lot and hope to run it if I ever get around to getting people willing to play with me. I especially like it's simplicity. It calls for an improvisational/off the cuff style of play without much adventure design or 'work'. Really great stuff and I highly recommend getting a copy once it goes free or check this link here for the latest version of the pre release rules compiled by a fan:

People have been releasing 'Dungeon Starters' which are essentially basic  elements or ingredients that a GM can use to improvise an adventure from. Kickstarter backers got a whole slew of them as one of the rewards. This one should be available to everyone though(I found it in the forums but it also happens to be one of the Dungeon Starter that was released as a reward). Check out this one::

and this has a better format but is a little different(maybe better):

Seriously cool  stuff. I could see this being used to play solo. You start by asking one of the questions that acts as the adventure seed and then use Mythic or bust out the FU dice mechanics and let that guide your story while using your favorite rules lite fantasy ruleset (I recommend Tunnels and Trolls, or Swords and Wizardry). Impressions, People, events, obstacles, places are all compiled in two pages - all the ingredients for an adventure. You could either make these into random tables, make your own custom Mythic Event Focus Table based on all the adventure elements, or use my adventure deck idea which I've written about before. Maybe throw in about 30% random events based on the Mythic Action Tables to heighten the element of surprise. The custom moves even provide specific events (and read like a Fighting Fantasy entry) with multiple outcomes. Anyway these are on my mind and I'm getting some serious inspiration from them. Possibly a great way to create a specific world, adventure scenario for random solo play

Monday, April 23, 2012

FU Dice

So I had a realization today. Lately as I've been trying to work on  my OSH/deck idea/ solo rules, I've been getting a little bogged down in the crunchiness of balanced play and making sure that everything pieces together well. This is taking all the fun out of wanting to play my game. It's hard enough for me to find time to play games these days so I might as well put together something that I want to play and that doesn't require too much thinking.

To recap what I'm doing. I build a adventure deck so I can have some creative input in what kind of adventure I play. I randomize (remove cards etc. add random cards) and end up with a surprising unpredictable journey that is (hopefully) fun. The cards are there to prompt my creativity and give a very loose structure to my adventure. OSH is a great little rules lite rpg that I want to use in conjunction with the deck. It's a "beer and pretzel style" game (maybe best after 4 beers).

I stumbled across a link from the Story Games Forums and it reminded me to trust my initial impulse of a simple rules lite, play quickly/don't over think it style of solo play.

Check it out:

FU seems to play quickly and prompts a good active narrative.

Here's a link for FU rules:

I'm not going to use Mythic at all. FU or Free Universal Roleplaying Game is the way to go and is perfect for on the fly solo play and I seems particularly well being used with OSH. I haven't even read all the rules but the basic concept is roll a d6 to answer questions (much like Mythic).

6 - yes, and
5 - yes
4 - yes, but
3 - no, but
2 - no
1 - no, and

Maybe you could decide also on the likelihood of the results of a question. For example - Likely: roll two FU dice, best result stands. Unlikely: roll two, worst result stands.

There will be three simple result interpretations. 50/50, "likely", "unlikely". Very simple. Anything beyond "likely" just consider it done. Maybe for something that is clearly impossible like jumping over a fifty foot gorge, roll three and worst result stands. (nothing should be truly impossible in Old School Hack)

Mythic GM is a great concept but I find that whenever I use it I get a burnt out pretty quickly with all the number crunching. And don't even get me started on the chaos levels. The subject/action and descriptor tables are gold though and I'll continue to use them.

I want to play quickly and get to the good parts faster so my next step is finding small ways to make my sessions play fast.

Here are some ideas for faster play:

When coming up with words for the obstacle and description/location deck I think a list of words as a reference might be nice. Sort of like a grab bag of sorts. Maybe divided into sections like crypts or caverns, or underground city etc. I'll read some adventure modules and gather words and descriptions, ideas add them to the list. The more you add, the more options you have. This will be a reference for building a adventure deck.

The FU d6 dice will be used primarily for asking questions about the world I interact with. Maybe I could roll 20 d6's all at once and keep them in a small box (laid side ways) with easy access without being able to see them. Whenever I ask a question I pull out one of the dice, result side up and place it on the table. That seems like it could speed up play a lot. I have a question so I grab a dice. No rolling - it's already happened.

Monsters in OSH do not require stats. There are 4 types. Maybe some have a +1 or a +2 attack bonus or some kind of special ability. Monster Laws and minimal bonuses that is all that is needed. So combat will not require constantly referencing a monster manual of any kind.

I will adapt the general FU dice result idea for ability checks as well but with a d12(OSH uses a d12 for ability checks). For combat two d10's(again this is what OSH uses).

Modifiers would be added to the role if appropriat. The "GM" or opposition in solo terms would role another d12(again OSH rules). That dice would have bonuses based on difficulty.

the results would be interpreted like this maybe:

Yes and - +6 and above over the "GM" role
yes - +3, +4, +5 over the role
Yes, but -  +1
 and the no's are a negative reverse of this.

I will test this to get a good balance with it and update.

Most tests are a standard 50/50 and would not have bonuses added by the GM role so you don't have to figure that out and be tempted to "cheat". A bonus should only be added for the "GM" role if it obviously should. When in doubt, don't. In fact that seems to be the suggestion in the OSH rulebook if I recall. Makes things pretty random but exciting and creates many twists.

Combat. same idea. If there is a monster attack modifier than that is applied.

Awesome points will be rewarded for a "yes and"(also in some other ways as well). Plus it gives a good chance to have describe actions like "I stab the goblin in the face with my knife and slice open his cheek! Blood flies everywhere!". Or "I leap over the chasm and land in a full body roll and then leap to my feet attacking the closest skeletons"

If you have questions or feedback, I'd appreciate it. Blogger is still being shitty (even though I have all comments enabled, it seems people are still having trouble leaving comments) so feel free to email me at:

solodungeoneer at  (don't want spam so no @ in my email address)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Monster AI

Check out the combat tracker from Old School Hack that I'm using:

Love this thing. It keeps combat from being too tactical and drawn out but also gives a visual representation so its not all in your head. I find that handling monster AI is much easier too. You have 7 options in OSH for combat in turn order:

1. Defend
2. Shoot
3. Focus or Impede (usually preparing to cast)
4. Move
5. Attack
6. Push or Throw
7. Focused effects (basically casting a spell)

I've been messing around with giving Monster's basic AI for combat. They each have a law such as:

Brutal: Attack closest hero randomly (those in the attack hex or move towards those shooting or casting)
 Pack: Every monster attacks attacking character (roll 1d6 to decide who if there is more than one PC)
...and others

 I've been using the Monster AI tactics (or laws as it's called in the rule book) from the free to print board game Dungeon Plungin. It's worth a download to check out the monster laws.

I also am working on a very simple visual flow chart for monster decision. Almost dead - flee?(roll 1d6 yes/no). Shooters are getting there asses handed to them - do attackers rush to defend? etc

Occasionally a monster might act totally randomly as well (roll 1d6 - 1-2 attack, 3 defend, 4 flee, 5 push etc)

Also if anyone is having trouble posting comments let me know. Email me at the address listed in my profile and let me know - that would be appreciated.