Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Raggi (LotFP) and monsters

This is how I see it.

In raggian games (adventures and modules typical to James Raggi) there are monsters but they are unique. In Raggi's core rulebook Lamentation Of The Flame Princess there is no monster manual nor section for monster stats. Only example how to create a monster using a vampire.

The point is that monsters should be weird, horrific, unique and strange instead of just bunch of experience sacks for player characters to fight with.

Raggian adventures focus in the scenario and what is happening, why it is happening and what player characters will do about it if they even can do anything about it. Or the player characters encounter weirdness in their travels and adventures.

It is more important to give players a whole scenario what is "the monster" of the adventure. The whole adventure in between the beginning and ending is the monster. It is more important to experience, observe, manipulate and possibly survive the adventure than introduce individual monsters or groups of monsters to encounter in a series.

But there are monsters. These monsters have a reason and background why those are there. These monsters aren't randomly placed around to give some entertainment in dice rolling. No. These monsters are there to make the adventure more horrific.

The experience rules support this. You don't get that much experience points by defeating monsters. The treasures are what you get experience from. Most likely because of that players are encouraged to come up with other plans to defeat or go around them.

And some monsters (as they basically are unique) have really nasty special abilities. Save versus death is not uncommon. In LotFP there are no those +1 magic weapons and if you use game system with lots of magic weapons you can't kill a monster too hard for LotFP characters to kill because of that. Why? Immune to magic is what Raggi will stamp those with.

In fantasy roleplaying games player characters tell that they attack the group of orcs with axes, spells and whatnot. In raggian games Regeree tells how the orcs screw up characters. And it is not always about monsters dealing HP damage to characters. No. They can screw up characters in many ways.

And there are not only monsters. There are places, items, surroundings what are like monsters to characters ready to make players cry for mercy. It is cruel and deadly but at least there are great SP rewards to gain... if you survive long enough to get out!

Possible spoilers ahead of Death Frost Doom, Death Love Doom and The Monolith From Beyond Time and Space.

DFD: There are undead. Some of these are more powerful individual persons but most of them (thousands in the end if things go bad) are just walking corpses with not that impressive stats. But the stats are not the point here. You can fight an undead or two, but that is not what the adventure is about. The adventure is about the evil undead vampire lord's deed. And about thousands of dead starting to walk and conquer surroundings.
So you do find undead stats, but who cares? There are bigger things going on in the adventure. You don't just go there, kill all the zombies and get back to claim your reward. No. You are lucky if you survive and if you do survive, there's going to be a heck of a mess around.

DLD: There are monsters. Really powerful entity and its human slaves controlled by parasites. You can fight them, but that is again not the point. The point is to experience the horrors of this adventure and see how screwed up it is. Even though player characters "win" this adventure, it still will eventually take place somewhere else wreaking grotesque havoc like it has done when player characters find about it.

The Monolith...: Again, some monster stats. One big fishie what you can fight to destroy it... but it will come back as it is in time limbo. Monster guarding monolith? You basically cannot fight it. Monsters within monolith are easy to kill as long as you are in different "place" than they. The point is not to kill the monsters. There is no point in monolith except explore it.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ikuisuuden Laakso is now available in English as Valley of Eternity

Long time ago I posted about my new games I got, and Ikuisuuden Laakso was one of them.

Now Ikuisuuden Laakso is available in English named Valley Of Eternity.

You can get it PDF or print from DriveThru RPG:

A penguin roleplaying game about everyday heroes and fate as an outcast, reserved for those who are in any way different from their fellows. Inspired by western movies, Valley of Eternity features a bit of comedy with serious undertones.
Designed mostly for one-shot adventures, Valley of Eternity is a good entry-level roleplaying game with a simple setting and deep meaning.

-Text from DriveThrough RPG product description.

Got my Monolith and other goodness

Long wait rewarded with above items. I finally got my The Monolith From Beyond Space And Time. But also two extra items. Death Love Doom was published almost the same time so I added it and a bonus for waiting for The Monolith so long people also got Green Devil Face #5.

The Monolith From Beyond Space And Time is the main product of the trio. It is thicker than it was meant to be with great menacing art. And the valley is great place to put your adventurers in and the Monolith... haven't read that far yet!

Death Love Doom has a reputation being repulsive, but I found it awesome. I do like horror and core and all the grotesque but I see how Referees should be really cautious who they play DLD with. There are some taboos people find disturbing - genitalia and kids, both mutilated.

Green Devil Face #5 is Raggi's Fanzine of Lamentations Of The Flame Princess and it is sweet little trinket full of interesting small items you can use in your games. For example nasty raggian trap and alternative experience rules. There is a big layout botch with natural 20 (critical success if you will) table but it will be fixed later. Well, nothing that a real Referee cannot cope with and fix himself.

These three items in one package provided almost overwhelming excitement and awe.

Raggi did it again producing two great new products and a fun additional ideas in GDF.

Don't forget to visit the official LotFP website: http://www.lotfp.com/RPG/

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Some fantasy equipment when I couldn't get sleep

Last night I had trouble getting sleep. I wanted to try to focus on something instead of just thinking and stressing about dozens of things. What I started to think about was fantasy equipment. These I was thinking when I tried to get some sleep:

Weapon stats are really simple and suit well for any edition of D&D including various clones.

Knuckles Of Weakening
Knuckles of weakening are nasty looking with devilish carvings and dull spikes. They were crafted for slavemaster Harrington to make too strong and rebellious slaves easier to handle.

Damage: 2d4+d6
Special: Every 5 points worth of damage victim looses 1 point of CON.

Biter Sword
Biter sword is Lich king Maradukai's personal weapon crafted from enchanted bones. The blade has dozens of tiny mouths that bite when sword hits.

Damage: 1d8
Special: Additional damage d4 for a number of even result of 1d8 damage. For example 1d8 roll 6 deals 6 damage + 6d4 in addition.

Helmet Of Screamer
This metal helmet is crafted to resemble a harpy. It gives 1 to AC and once in encounter wearer can scream.
Special: Scream. Save versus or stun for 1d4 turns.

Mace Of Healing
This mace is in shape of healer god's logo. It doesn't inflict damage but when successfully hit it heals 1d8 damage. If hit is a miss, target suffers 1d8 damage.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Naming characters

For me naming characters is easy when I have time to put thought behind it. But sometimes when I have to come up with names quickly for npcs it can be harder. Sometimes using name generators is not possible or it feels just lame option after you have clicked dozen times and you haven't got any name that you want to use.

Problem with name generators:
It takes time to find a suitable name.

Then I start to look around. Author of the book scrambled or altered is a good option. Or taking a product name to use or alter slightly. One Vampire: the Masquerade sheriff's surname was Crusti. Crusti is a brand of chips, but it sounded like dramatic old European vampire name, and still does. One motorbike driving gang leader Brujah was Heller inspired by Hell's Angels. Heller is actual surname I found out later so it was good and suited him.

There are dozens of names for npcs I have created from different real person names and product names this way.

But name can be also from items or other things. For example Straw McCloud can be a Fading Suns Charioteer pilot (I have a straw next to me and it's been more cloudy than clear summer).

Few examples I do right now using my surroundings.
- Toby Diskos (Tobacco and Diskos sports club pennant)
- Ash Tray (that's lame and obvious but could work)
- Rod Ernest Orwell (Rodeo energy drink)
- Toby Yellow (Yellow table)
- Orlando Trax (X-Tra Orange Cakes)
- Evira Glass (Evira company sticker and glass bottle)

It is easier to create more fantasy type names than realistic names this way. These names could work with scifi or fantasy setting better than modern world. Fantasy names are easier to generate. Just scrabble a lot.

In comments you generate names using these methods!