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.