Saturday, August 8, 2015

Wyrms & Warrens - Centaurs

At the request of one of my players, a new PC race for Wyrms & Warrens:

Ability Score Modifiers: CON +1, WIS -1
Experience Cost: 2 times the standard XP to advance each level.
The typical centaur appears human through the waist and upper body, springing from the shoulders and lower body of a horse, though zebra, goat and cervid morphology is not unheard of. A centaur can move as fast as a horse and carry as much weight, though when undertaking actions with the human portion of their bodies they gain no special strength advantage.
They also gain one of the following abilities:
Paragon – Like Chiron, these centaurs are among the best of their kind, superior even to most humans in their grasp of the arts and sciences. Centaur Paragons lack the WIS -1 penalty and instead gain an INT +1 or WIS +1 bonus.
Charger – Having seen many scuffle, centaurs of this sort have become superior in combat, able to wield a melee attack per round with their front hooves, doing 1d6+1 damage on a successful hit. This attacks comes in addition to those made with conventional weapons.
Lout – Weakness to strong drink is a tragically common affliction among centaurs. However, for some, the imbibing of alcohol facilitates a legendary capacity for destructive and poorly thought out acts. After heavily drinking (at least two gallons of alcohol), these centaurs gain +5 on any roll which involves damage to property, or is ill advised given the laws and social norms of the area. This effect lasts for about an hour, and leads to morose feelings which prevent it's reuse for the next week.
CompanionYou find you work well with the two-foots. Any humanoid you form a special bond of friendship may ride yourback and work in excellent concert with you. In battle this grants you and your companion each +1 to attack and damage when together. For rolls not directly involving causing harm, instead gain +5 if there is a reasonable way you could both work together.
Sign & PortentsThe world is full of mysterious forces and the hints of things to come. The incredulous joke that you're a superstitious grumbler, forever jumping at shadows. The joke will be on them though when next the unseasonal smell of petrichor presages an ambush, as you know it must.
Gain a +2 to any save in a situation you have expressed trepidation over. The bonus arises if you have pointed out the subtle omens (real or imagined) ahead of time, and functions even if the exact danger provese other than you suspected.

Sylvan HuntersYou originate among the wild dwelling centaurs, a people adept with bow and spear. When using spears or any bows except crossbows, you gain +1 to attack and damage rolls.

Friday, July 24, 2015


Reading through the first couple chapters of the Monte Cook's Cypher System, and it is pretty neat.  The only thing that seems a bit odd to me is the requirement to multiply a Difficulty rating (1-10) to a Target Number rating (Difficulty x3) which is actually rolled against.  This seems especially odd in the case of expending effort, where you spend several points to lower the difficulty, which in turn lowers the Target Number, which you then roll against.

Also while reading, the three pool system brought to mind Michael Wolf's wonderful WYRM System.  This in turn led to wondering:

Why not just roll a d6 for Cypher and cut out the x3 Difficulty conversion?

Looking into this, there's little trouble so far in switching from d20 to a d6 system.

Maybe as I read Cypher further there'll be a later section where the need to multiply by x3 will be better justified.  But in the meantime, the conversion seems pretty straightforward:

Basic roll

The standard roll for each system is as follows:
Roll 1d20
TN (3-30) = 3x Difficulty (1-10)
Roll 1d6
TN (1-10) = Difficulty (1-10)

Special Rolls
Roll 17 = +1 Damage
Roll 18 = +2 Damage
Roll 19 = +3 Damage or Minor effect
Roll 20 = +4 Damage or Major effect
If rolling a 6, reroll and interpret the reroll as follows:
Reroll 1 = +1 Damage
Reroll 2 = +2 Damage
Reroll 3-4 = +3 Damage or Minor effect
Reroll 5-6 = +4 Damage or Major effect


Example: Using 1 Effort.
Spend 3pt then Difficulty -1 (TN -3)
Spend 3pt then Difficulty -1

Edge 1

Example: Trying to reduce the Difficulty by -1 and Edge 1 applies.
Spend 2pt (instead of 3) then the difficulty is -1.
Spend 2pt (instead of 3) then the difficulty is -1.


Bonuses are a tricky conversion because it's the only place I've noticed so far where a number directly effects TN result and not difficulty. Tentative conversion is to treat each bonus as an Edge specific to the situation

Example: Bonus of +2 used to expend Effort 1.
+2 to the d20 roll.
Bonus of +2 lets you spend only 1point to (3-2=1) to reduce the Difficulty one step.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Wyrms & Warrens (0E) - Player's Handbook

Wyrms & Warrens is the primary fantasy heartbreaker I've been working on for awhile now, based largely on the Swords & Wizardry SRD with significant modifications.

I've broken it into a Player's Handbook (PHB) and a Warren Keeper's Guide (WKG).  Altough the WKG is still in its infancy, the PHB is more ore less complete and available for download at the links below.

This project is a labor of love, available for free to all for use, modification and critique.

Wyrms & Warrens (0E) - Player's Handbook v0.41 (pdf) (odt)

Wyrms & Warrens (0E) - Player's Handbook v0.4 (pdf) (odt)
Wyrms & Warrens (0E) - Player's Handbook v0.3 (pdf) (odt)

Wyrms & Warrens (0E) - Player's Handbook v0.2 (pdf) (odt)
Wyrms & Warrens (0E) - Player's Handbook v0.1 (pdf) (odt)

8/10/15 - Edit:  Updated Hurl power to include information about small animals, various corrections proposed by Mr. Grogan, and table of contents.
8/10/15 - Edit:  Changed how ranged attacks into melee work, added Tireless Watchman, indicated armor vs. casting for mages, indicated preparation time for cantrips and orisons, 
8/3/15 - Edit:  Corrected reaction table. Tried to correct formatting issue with Mage class table (v0.3).
7/27/15 - Edit:  Added additional options for Fighters (v0.2).

Friday, May 1, 2015

Partial Psionics Pamphlet

Interested in a simplified psychic rules for early edition D&D?

Based on the Swords & Wizardry rules, and drawing inspiration from Microlite20 magic system, it may not be the Complete Psionics Handbook, but its the:

This has actually been created for awhile, but never got around to posting it up before.

For completists, an older and simply more poorly edited version can be found here.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Swords & Wizardry: Warlock Style

Standard spell slot casting never sat right with me: too little magic at low level, too much at high level.  And why fire and forget everything for the rest of the day?

After playing the D&D 5th Edition Warlock class a bit, the magic system there seems like a good start as to how to go about things:  Only a couple spell options during a crisis, but more ability to make other choices when things aren't going nuts.

This was what I had in mind while cobbling together the following hack:


Spell Availability
Casters from standard classes obtain spells through the normal means (books or divine inspiration), and may learn spells of spell level equal to 1/2 their character level (rounded up).

Spell Retention
However, keeping multiple spells prepared and "left hanging" at the same time, ready to cast at a moment's notice, is a precarious balancing act and demands a certain amount of constant attention to keep from screwing things up.  As a result, spell casters can only retain one spell prepared at a time at first level, plus a number of additional spells equal to their level/3 (rounded down).

Preparation Time
The time required to prepare a spell is 5 minutes per spell level.  Wandering monsters and other time constraining events should be checked for every cumulative 10 minutes of spell preparation in a dungeon or other hazardous environment.

Preparation time for each spell is reduced by 1 minute for every two Ability score ranks above 10  (minimum 1 minute to prepare a spell).  Low Ability scores similarly tack on extra minutes.

Ritual Casting
Spells can also be cast from a book (or clerical meditation) as rituals.  A ritual is simply a spell which is cast immediately at the end of its preparation.  Ritual casting does not require a spell slot.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Coarse Light System - A Microgame

I've been tinkering with something along these lines for awhile now, trying to put together a light universal RPG mechanic along the lines of get something like Seth Zaloudek's Folklore, but without dice pools, or borrowing from Michael Wolf's Warrior, Rogue & Mage, but more generic.  So when I noticed Kyrinn (of Urutsk fame) participating in David Schirduan's 200 Word RPG Challenge, it seemed the perfect time to give it a serious try.

The resulting Coarse Light System was cranked out in only a couple hours, though fiddling with the word count and formatting took a bit longer.

You can find the game here:

Coarse Light System

It could probably use a couple supplements to clarify some missing details and provide settings.  But if this is your thing, hope you have fun with it.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Lithic Trove

In a recent G+ post, Eric Fabiaschi pointed out a few interesting things in a Lithic vein recently:

  1. The above picture.
  2. Random caveman mutations.
  3. OD&D Setting map and terrain description, much of which could be used directly for a dawn of humanity game.