Thursday, April 19, 2012

E - Estimated value

"Jim Hawkins and the treasure of Treasure
Island" - Georges Roux
From Wikimedia Commons
When characters find treasures and valuables how do they decide is it worth to carry back to safe and exchange for gold or goods? Sometimes wooden goblet might be more valuable than gilded with jewels. In many OSR games there are no skill lists extensive enough to cover appraising so how should characters be able to appraise items when they find them?

Referee could give some estimated value when players ask it and maybe even use intelligence score for that. Or you could roll the table!

Roll d20 and refer score to character's Intelligence. Only one character of the party can estimate the value for one item at a time. That rate is the final estimation.

Over INT - No idea.
Exactly the same - It is or is not valuable. Not sure how much though. Could be few gp or thousands.
5 lower - Roll d100. Results 01-49 is % lower of the real value. 50-100 is % above the real value.
10 lower - Roll 1d20. Result 1-10x10 is % lower of the real value. 11-20x10 is % higher than real value.
15 lower - Roll 1d20. Result 1-10 is % lower of real value. 11-20 is % higher than real value.
Natural 1 or 20 lower - Exactly the real value.

You could let player(s) roll the INT check and see the result or Referee could roll the die so players don't know how accurate the estimation is. If game has some lore or similar skill you can decrease it from INT roll.
Example: Bard has lore 2 and player rolls d20 result 15 and subtracts his lore value of 2 for final result of 13. His INT is 18 so he gets 5 lower and rolls d100 to see the estimated value.

E - Ethereal encounters

Ethereal [ih-theer-ee-uhl]
1. light, airy, or tenuous: an ethereal world created through the poetic imagination.
2. extremely delicate or refined: ethereal beauty.
3. heavenly or celestial: gone to his ethereal home.

When encountering something ethereal Referee should pay attention for describing it. The description should be a little eerie, mystical or even strange from normal. Ethereal is not something characters meet in everyday basis. Ethereal is something beyond that. Should ethereal always be vulnerable and delicate? Pure and good? In weird fantasy, no.

Ethereal could be a place of evil but the mood there is ethereal in description as in definition 1. Evil is not always black and bloody red and heavy metal. Evil could be something else thus surprising breaking the assumption.

Ethereal beauty is not pretty bar-maid or council's daughter. They are just beautiful. Within ethereal beauty there is something weird. Ethereal beauty is something what makes your will bend, makes you feel nervous. Even makes you feel dread. Ethereal beauty could be also something evil-doer possesses. Countess' beauty might be ethereal, beyond imagination, as a result she bathes in virgins' blood.

Ethereal being could be something out of this world. From another planes, dimensions or even Heavens. But this kind of ethereal even though is good might be devastating. The power of ethereal creature might be beyond human (demi-human) senses and even a glimpse might make one insane. Ethereal being might also radiate power from great distances with different effects. Fallen wounded angel might be in agony but nearby villages get great harvest and people never get sick. Ethereal being's suffering might be other's benefit. Demons and other evil spirits and beings might also masquerade their true nature in ethereal cloak to deceive lesser beings.

For Lamentations Of The Flame Princess don't forget the weird-fantasy with horror. There's always two sides and even though there is dark black there never should be light white. Light at most is in the shade of gray. Ethereal place might bring comfort and be magnificent beyond dreams but because of that time there travels 10 times faster. Characters are so bewitched by the ethereal surrounding they get mentally stuck in there. Ethereal beauty might make ones crazy, bend wills, or be gained by horrible actions and murderous torture. Heavenly or celestial might not be what it seems, even good could be too powerful for mortals or it might be abused for evil gains.

LotFP Hardcover and Adventures Project - IndieGoGo

Check this out! Crowdfunding campaign for LotFP in hadcover. Also if funded enough there will be up to 12 adventures from different authors!

You can support this only with 10$ contribution and will receive items with 30$ (22$ if in Finland).

So check it out and make your decision to support this mega-campaign from Lamentations Of The Flame Princess.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

D - Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale review

Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale is game for both PC and Xbox 360. I got it from XBLA. The premise was good. D&D adventure game where you hack monsters, loot treasures, advance your character and so on but the gameplay was a big disappointment.

The cover art shows you heroes but doesn't tell
that they just keep running endless brown dungeons
killing thousands of monsters all over again.
The game takes place in Daggerdale dungeons and there it happens. The surroundings are all brown and boring. You run endless corridors and caves killing few different monsters. Lots of them. Luckily combat is fast but it gets dull after a while. Basically you just hack your way around. There were only a couple of exceptions to this so it didn't feel different to general gameplay. Fortunately the gameplay and controls are smooth and easy to use.

There are only four characters to choose from and all are pre-made race-class combinations and the variety of feats, powers and spells are narrow so there are not many choices to customize your character. I found out that playing solo Dwarven Cleric was best option. He doesn't need healing potions that much as he can spam healing almost all the time. It was easiest character to solo the game.

Loot is gold and items. You get gold usually from barrels scattered everywhere. It was stupid bursting all those barrels for few gold pieces. Who leaves gold in random barrels in random locations anyways? There are also treasure chests with items. I didn't use gold to buy items from vendors as you usually get enough new equipment from chests and drops from enemies. And for lazy people who don't want to turn items to vendors you can directly convert them to gold in your inventory. There's at least two achievements related to loot. Carry 100.000 gold at a time and collect one of every item in game. Every item achievement I got well before finishing the game. I suppose it is type of item. After first playthrough my Dwarven Cleric had over 50.000 gp. Most of the equipment are boring randomly generated generic magic items and most of the new items are worse than what you are carrying... so to gold you convert them quickly.

The adventure was mostly boring. Main plot was a little silly and all the additional quests were like go there do that come back. And kill tons of monsters in the way.

There are always more monsters than your party size (about multiplayer next). So most of the time you kill them. Unfortunately there are only few different types of enemies so it becomes a little dull seeing same or similar faces all over again. With healing power it was also easy. Without - more challenging and slower to advance, duller.

Multiplayer is always fun but it isn't that fun in this game. I didn't own headphones at the time I finished game also in multiplayer mode so I don't know how you can communicate with other players. There are no buttons to give simple orders (HALP, come here, follow, thanks) so it was sometimes a chaos trying to get people to follow the right direction, come to help you and find guys who needed healing and so on. It was just like four individual players running around and trying to conclude what other players are doing or want to do next. Also I found that if someone joins the game at some points the quest resets. It was annoying as hell. Doing 90% of the quest, see text KillMasta123 joined the game, then get reseted to the beginning, someone leaves, another takes his place, start again etc. When I played my quest I sometimes had to kick everyone out, quit multiplayer and do the quest myself to make advancement in my game.
Basically the one who is host is the one who's quest others join to help. It sucked that most of the players just took all the loot. Also those items they cannot use. I as a host kill monsters when some idiot goes and opens the treasure chest and finds dwarf only item and naturally takes it. Fastest player got the loot. Fortunately the gold gets shared but the item system was just shit. In many mmorpg loot is well done, like loot is "rolled" who gets it nevertheless who picks it up.
Also I didn't find any feature to see what level characters I join. Joining game with lvl 1 character where others are lvl 10 is pain in the ass. Get ready to be killed and standing in distance looking how others do everything. Fortunately when you die others can resurrect you standing near and pushing a button and you come back with few HP to continue. If everyone dies the quest ends. If players in multiplayer game have any common sense it is really easy.

The ending was cool though. Final battle was kind of epic and I liked the grande finale (won't spoil it but it was cool). I was just wondering how much I liked the final part of the game why the whole game couldn't be as good? It's like you run endless caves and corridors killing endless swarms of monsters doing mostly stupid quests and when you get to the good part it all ends.

Oh, and the level gap is 10 you can get with one walkthrough and a little extra effort in multiplayer. The trick is that you get an achievement getting all four characters to level 10. That is one boring task to finish the game four times or farm endlessly xp from random multiplayer games.

Don't remember how much this cost. 800 points maybe when I got it. Is it worth it? Hell no! It was okay the first game finishing the game but there is not much value getting back to it unless you are after achievements. There are also annoying graphic bugs in top of the fact that graphics are boring and location-wise the whole game is boring. Also there are no voice actors. You read by text what NPC's talk and get a grunt (hrhm, umh, urh) in the beginning of each text box. That is so lazy. And sounds? It doesn't matter if you play this game mute or not.

Could you get anything to your roleplaying from this? Nope. Too simple story, Daggerdale is presented shallow, quests are the kind you invent 5 minutes before the session starts etc. There is no value to improve or inspire your roleplaying gaming.

Gameplay: 4 stars because controls work and suit well for action.
Graphics: 1 star because they are dull and boring and there are glitches.
Story: 2 stars because not interesting enough and most of the quests seem too random and even 10 years old DM could write similar.
Overall: 2 stars because this game is boring, short, ugly and it doesn't offer enough variation for playing it again when you have already finished it. I finished the game and it had it's moments and turning brains to "kill-all-the-monsters" mode can be fun sometimes. Unfortunately there are dozens of games what do this kind of playing ten times better. Except achievements if you are after those.

D - Dungeon really secret door - Table

In every dungeon there might be this really, really secret door. This secret door is so secret it isn't marked in Dungeon Master's map or dungeons layout. In every dungeon, or dungeon floor in bigger dungeons, there is 5% change (1 of 1d20) that there is really secret door in. If really secret door is in the dungeon, randomly determinate where it is located (for example drop d4 on dungeon map to see it's location.

Really secret door should be additional puzzle. It can be found as searching for secret doors but it's opening mechanism should be more complicated and need serious effort. Really secret dungeon secret door might also be triggered with a trap.

Behind the secret door is one room with... See the tables below!

To be used with Lamentations of the Flame Princess, other retro-clones or any fantasy roleplaying game of your choice.

Is It Trapped?
50% change it is trapped. Roll d10 and see the table below to determine what kind of trap is in question.
1 - Burst of magical missiles in radius of whole room. 3d6 damage, but if roll vs. magic is success 1d6 damage.
2 - Trap door on the floor. Floor collapses and reveals a pit with sharp spikes. Dexterity (or similar) save needed or falling down suffering 20ft. fall damage (from rules you use) and 2d8 damage from the spikes.
3 - Poisonous gas. Save versus poison. If successful suffer 2d4 damage. If failed suffer 2d6 damage for 2d4 turns.
4 - Flashbang. Extremely bright light flashes. Save versus paralyze or -5 to all rolls for 3d6 rounds.
5 - Inferno. Flames burst to the room affecting everyone. Successful save vs. Breath weapon 2d6 damage or if failed 4d6 damage. Change to catch a fire (see rules).
6 - Descending roof. Roof starts to move towards the floor in crushing power. 2d6 rounds to prevent it or escape. If escaped through secret door trapped.
7 - Teleporter. Save vs. magic or be teleported to random location in the dungeon (DM can drop d4 on the map to determine where.
8 - Aging mist. Save vs. magic or age 3d10 years. See if aging affects your character's abilities.
9 - Alarm for the walking dead. 4d4 zombies (HD3) wobble to location in 1d6 rounds.
10 - Mist of rust. All metal items are immediately rusted into a pile of powder.

Inside The Secret Room
Roll d20 to determine what is in the secret room.
1 - Powerful lich. This room is a secret tomb of evil lich wizard. Lich wizard is undead HD8 creature using 8th level Magic-User abilities and statistics. Lich has 500gp worth of treasures and equipment.
2 - Crown of the forsaken. Crown is black metal with deep purple big stone. If weared the subject is forsaken and next 1000 xp rewards are not gained. In addition he looses 10 points of charisma for 2d4 months. Worth 400gp.
3 - Rare wines. The wines have great reputation being rare and are really wanted. There are total of 100 bottles. Problem is that these wines are hard to transport (70% risk of one bottle breaking in rough situation). One bottle equals one slot of carry capability. Worth 150gp per bottle.
4 - Gold gold gold. Gold pieces size of one gold coin each. Total worth 1000gp. 10% change per 100gp that one is cursed. Cursed gold coin makes everything worthless what character is currently carrying and will carry before everything he owns is destroyed or got rid of.
5 - Diamond of blood. This diamond is size of a palm and valuable but it leaks unlimited amount of blood. For every 8 hours one encumbrance point of blood is absorbed and/or dried to equipment. Worth 400gp.
6 - Fool's gold. Gilded treasure statue worth of 1000 and weighting as huge item. Drawback is that it is totally worthless.
7 - Ring of luring the dead. Who carries the ring is attacked by undead in the range of vision. Worth 200gp.
8 - Crystal ball of wisdom. Crystal ball answers one question per 24 hours. Save versus magic or the price is loosing 1 points of wisdom. Worth: 500gp.
9 - Manykey. This key opens every lock. It activates when finger is insterted into a slot. Save vs. magical device or lock doesn't open and user looses finger he is using to activate manykey. Worth: 600gp.
10 - Spell scrolls. Roll 1d6 to determine how many. Then roll 1d10 (roll 10 again) to determine each scrolls spell level (1-9). Then roll from that spell level what spell is in question. Worth: Varies.
11 - Journal of a grave robber. Some details of secret doors and traps to current or other dungeon. Worth: 200gp.
12 - Mirror to other worlds. Mirror doesn't show reflection but other world. This other world can be entered through the mirror and could be a seed for another adventure. It is up to DM if there is similar mirror in the other side or if it is one-way only. Too heavy to transport without extra effort and wits. Worth: 1500gp.
13 - Set of lucky dice. Set of dice (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 and d20). Player can use one corresponding die to re-roll. After that die turns into dust and player looses 100 exp. Worth: 100gp.
14 - Armor of the king. Set of plate armor, plate barding shield, and sword (medium weapon). Work as normal but are extremely expensive. Worth: 100x normal.
15 - Sword of blood. This medium weapon deals 2d8 damage when hit to opponent and 1d8 damage to wielder. Worth: 250gp.
16 - Lost child. Lost child is trapped in the secret room. He cannot speak but a family pendant gives hints of his parents. Child's parents are wealthy and are willing to pay for bringing him back to home. Worth: Alive 700gp, dead 100gp.
17 - Dogs of war. These mercenary retainers (1d4) were trapped and are willing to help characters the rest of the mission and next mission (quest, adventure, dungeon). Morality 8.
18 - Beast. This deformed and horrible beast attacks when the door is opened. HD is 2 bigger than highest character's level. It's 10 talons are valuable. Worth: 30gp per talon.
19 - Trigger. The secret room is empty except one lever what triggers something (DM determines) in the dungeon.
20 - Roll again two times.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

D for Dread

In high-fantasy games characters encounter monsters and horrors and it is their every day basis. No walking dead, horrible monsters or weird spells make heroes blink their eyes before they attack trying to destroy the nasty.
Different thing is in Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy. In LotFP monsters and other things are rare. So rare that even rules don't stat them (only exception is Vampire what is an example monster). In LotFP weird and horror should be weird and horror.

Sometimes you need a little push from rules to simulate this. One of the most famous example would be Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game where insanity rules are most important in whole game. You see and experience horrible things, you go nuts.

Even though this article is mainly for LotFP you can use it with every retroclone or other d20 game and with minor tweaks adapt it to your favorite game system.

What Causes Dread?
1. Something unexplainable and horrific
2. Mutilated corpses, walking dead
3. Horrible, strange and unnatural incidents (it rains blood, swarm of flesh eating frogs ripping flesh from everyone in the village, moon has grinning devil face...)
4. Strange monsters
5. Monsters and beings beyond understanding or from other planes/dimensions
6. Reading something not meant for mortals (occult books with horrible secrets better not to know)

Level Of Dread
Depending how horrible the incident or vision is dread has it's level. Levels are 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 depending on how horrible the incident or vision is. Seeing a mutilated corpse would be level 10 when horrible monster from other dimension causing all the surroundings to look strange and different would be 30.

To Roll Against Dread
Roll d20 and add your Wisdom bonus against dread level. If you success your character is not affected by dread. If you fail the roll roll Effect Of Dread table and add the difference of dread level and your failed roll to the result.
Example: Dread level is 20 and d20 roll + Wisdom bonus score is 15. Add +5 to Effect Of Dread table roll.

Effect Of Dread Table
Roll d20 and add difference of failure score and dread level to the roll.

1-5: Scared. Loose 1 from every roll you do for the rest of the scene.
6-9: Horrified. Loose 5 from every roll you do for the rest of the scene.
10-14: Petrified. Loose 1d6 turns and after it loose 5 from every roll you make.*
15-17: Catatonic Loose 1d6 turns. After those turns roll save versus paralyze to regain mobility.*
18-20: Insanity. Catatonic and also roll insanity table.

*When petrified or catatonic only use armor for AC 

Insanity Table
Roll d6 to see effect of insanity.

1 - Mental scars. Loose 1 point of Wisdom permanently.
2 - Fobia. Take a related fobia. When situation could trigger your fobia suffer -5 to all rolls.
3 - Nightmares and angst. Roll save versus magic every morning in game time to prevent -2 to all rolls that day.
4 - Nuts. Come up with an insanity. Loose 2 permanently from Charisma and roleplay it (blabbering with yourself, obsessive-compulsive behavior etc.)
5 - Gain both Mental scars and Fobia.
6 - Insanity. Loose control of your character for 1d6 days. After it roll Insanity table again. Insane character can do basic things like defend himself but cannot think logically and is a burden to other party members.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Update to A-Z Challenge

Unfortunately I got really busy after letter C and haven't been able to post to A-Z challenge since it. Still a little busy but it is getting better now.

I thought I'd quit the challenge as I am so many days, letters and posts behind where I should be now. Officially I am not in this challenge any more. But unofficially I will continue posting posts in alphabetical order when I have time.

So, for me this years challenge is over but I continue posting the remaining when I have time. I will label them as A-Z challenge even though it is a little misleading.

I feel a little bad I couldn't keep up to this but as it is lots of fun I will finish it in my own schedule.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A-Z C for Clothing

In Lamentations Of The Flame Princess characters start with adventuring clothing. Good clothing to get along. But what makes characters different from each other is style of the clothing. Naturally you write "clothes" on your character sheet but I think that character's style is also important. What colors they prefer and what kind of decoration they like. Even though there usually is only type of clothing written in equipment list player should write what kind of clothing it is. In my opinion describing the style of characters is as important as describing his facial features, body type, eye and hair color etc. Clothing is just extra for how you look like and most certainly personalizes your character further.

In addition to describe your character's looks don't forget to describe his style.

A-Z C for Cutpurse results table

When pickpocketing without an expectation what to find (key from a guard, particular ring from an yarl) roll this table for random pickpocketing results for cutpurses. To use with LotFP or any fantasy game of your choice.

There's 60% change that it's goldpieces worth of 4d6 and 40% change something from table 1.

Table 1. What's In There 1d20
1. Goldpieces (roll table 2 to see how much).
2. Dried fruits worth of one day ratio, unencumbering.
3. Thief alarm. Similar device to mousetrap hits fingers. Roll save versus yelling out loud!
4. Diamond (roll table 3 for value).
5. Nap and other discustingess.
6. -20% discount ticket to local magic scrolls store.
7. Bounty for character (roll table 2 and multiply result by 10 for prize).
8. Extra small magic scroll for M-U (roll randomly to determine what level spell and which spell of that level).
9. Small vials containing blood.
10. Tiny family portrait.
11. Ticket for high-end theater show tonight.
12. Tightly folded treasure map.
13. Numbers for safe. But the location of safe remains unknown.
14. Small ordinary stones.
15. Goldpieces (roll table 2 to see how much) but chained. Struggle ahead!
16. Tiny shrinked voodoo head.
17. Make-ups worth 2d6 goldpieces.
18. Strange little mechanical device what buzzes occasionally.
19. Ends of eaten carrots.
20. Purse is cursed! (Roll table 4 to see what kind of curse).

Table 2. How Much Goldpieces 1d6
1. Only few 3d4
2. Little 4d6
3. Not that bad 4d8
4. Nice 4d10
5. Rich 5d12
6. Jackpot 10d20

Table 3. Diamond Value 1d4
1. d4x100
2. d6x200
3. d8x300
4. d10x500

Table 4. Curse! 1d20
1. Blinded for 2d6 rounds.
2. Hair falls off and doesn't grow back next 2d6 weeks.
3. Horrible skin disease. Charisma -5 for 2d6 days.
4. Bad luck! -5 for every d20 rolls next 1d6 days.
5. Can only communicate yelling (no whispering) for 1d6 days.
6. Paralyzed for 3d6 turns.
7. Teleported to random location in 3d10x100 miles radius.
8. Annoying poltergeist follows for 1d6 days.
9. Hearing annoying voices in head for 2d6 days.
10. Can only walk backwards for 1d6 days.
11. Selling items prices are 10 times lower. Bying items are 10 times higher for 3d6 days.
12. All thievery (backstabbing, lockpicking, pickpocketing) 100% harder for 1d6 days.
13. Deaf for 1d6 days.
14. Fever 1d6 days. -5 to all body based rolls.
15. Weakening. Loose 1HP every hour for 2d6 hours.
16. Illusion of demonic features hard to hide for 1d6 months.
17. Speak turns into unknown language for 1d6 days.
18. Character does the opposite player says for 2d6 hours.
19. Rash. Character cannot wear clothing or armor for 2d6 hours.
20. Several case of anemia. Only maximum of 1HP for 1d6 days.

A-Z C for Cromwell by Reverend Bizarre

James Raggi IV has mentioned bands he likes here and there (one example is my interview HERE) and I have seen him wearing Reverend Bizarre t-shirt in pictures. I knew the band by name before but my only touch was a low quality live video in Youtube. Second time after my interview I checked Reverend Bizarre (and other bands mentioned) and the song I randomly chose was Cromwell. It was awesome.

After that Cromwell has been in my Lamentations Of The Flame Princess playlist and it is first song for my unofficial LotFP inspiration music.

Passing through the seven gates I ride 
Dusty road behind forever 
You have got no hope, no place to hide 
Ironsides will rise with Oliver Cromwell 

Once upon a time there ruled a King 
Now I see his proud head fallen 
Lord Protector knows true faith will win 
You should kneel to wait another morning 

Love will be my Law, Love under Will 
But first there is the Law of Cromwell 
Soon there will be graveyard on this hill 
Filled with those of you who are still standing 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A-Z B for Bat In The Attic blog

My third B blog is not text. But go check this really entertaining and cool blog called Bat In The Attic. I have read and enjoyed it for a while but now inspired by letter B decided to press the "follow" link.

Really, go check it out if you haven't already. It is really cool full of interesting material.

How Bat In The Attic explains his view on OSR:
To me the Old School Renaissance is not about playing a particular set of rules in a particular way, the dungeon crawl. It is about going back to the roots of our hobby and seeing what we could do differently. What avenues were not explored because of the commercial and personal interests of the game designers of the time.

A-Z B for Broom of magical cleaning

Broom of magical cleaning is enchanted magical item. Creating it follows normal rules and is 1st level Magic-User spell. Broom is activated like normal magic item and starts to clean up the place. But no one has yet completed the spell to be reliable. Roll 1d8 to see how broom works that time:

1 - 2 Nothing happens
3 - 5 Broom cleans but leaves spots
6 - Broom cleans perfectly
7 - 8 Broom destroys places and makes worse mess!

(Rules for magic items staffs for example from LotFP or other OSR/clone/d20 games or game system of your choice.)

A-Z B for Botox potion

This potion is brewed from the sweat of torturous pain of virgin girls. Magical botox potion is injected directly to several spots on the face or other body parts what are wanted to look young again. Potion makes skin and body look like 18 years old and effect lasts for 2d6 weeks. After that skin is back to normal and user ages 1d4 years. That cannot be reversed.

If new botox potion is injected before the first wears out roll 2d6 again to determine new duration of effect. The effect is not cumulative but the aging effect is cumulative.

Player characters if using botox potion should not know how long the effect lasts and Referee should roll the duration in secret. It is high risk to use it as aging effect is immediate.

Eight full hours of continous torture is needed to brew one dose of this potion. In most parts it is highly illegal and criminal act and is usually done in secret. Rarely the method of creating botox potion is revealed to outsiders. One dose costs 1500 gp and is extremely rare as only few know the method and are morally low to do it.

A-Z A for Adventuring in my games

For some reason only games I have ran adventures are fantasy games. Fantasy games I mean games like Praedor (Finnish low-fantasy rpg based on graphic novels), Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition, Blue Rose, Lamentations of the Flame Princess and Fading Suns (even though Fading Suns is science fiction I see it more fantasy than sci-fi). Other games I have ran are more character, location or politics of the place oriented. I haven't hand adventuring in Vampire: the Masquerade or Call of Cthulhu for example.

In my Vampire games focus is in city and how character fits in or what character does in there. It is not like adventuring but more like life in there. Also Call of Cthulhu games have been revolving around how character is affected by the situation rather than character following a path of an adventure.

In fantasy rpgs (like those I mentioned in the beginning) it's been somehow easier and more natural to run an adventure. There's a beginning and a end and things in between and character follows it. It doesn't matter that much what kind of character is as similar adventure would have been with different characters. Of course some parts of the adventure might differ depending on character's actions and even the outcome of adventure might vary based on that. But for fantasy type of games I usually make an adventure. Something where it begins and what should have accomplished in a way or another for adventure to end. Other games are more freeform for me. There is this overall situation where character is put and while playing we see what happens to the character.

Difference is, that in fantasy games character is put in the adventure and we see how character deals with it and what he does before it ends and how his actions affect the ending.
In other games there is a situation, starting point, we put character there and see how character affects the surroundings and how surroundings affect the character.

A-Z A for Antagonist random table

Random table to quickly roll an antagonist for LotFP and other fantasy games.

Race 1d4
1 - Human
2- Demi-human (roll again for 1 - dwarf, 2 - elf, 3 - half-ling, 4 - roll again)
3 - Monstrous creature (roll d6 for 1 - half-spider, 2 - intelligent monkey, 3 - toadman, 4 - mutant, 5 - boar-man, 6 - troll)
4 - Out of this world (roll d6 for 1 - undead, 2 - demon, 3 - spirit/ghost, 4, mechanical golem, 5 - hellish fiend, 6 - alien from other dimension or space)

Power 1d6
1 - Little lower than player characters, one special quality
2 - Same as player characters, one special quality
3 - Little higher to player characters, one special quality
4 - 25% higher to player characters, two special qualities
5 - 50% higher to player characters, three special qualities
6 - overpowered, five special qualities, defeating antagonist needs wits

Motive 1d8
1 - to gain power
2 - revenge
3 - to study strange
4 - to find the truth of something big (life, death, other planes)
5 - to build something (dimensional gate, altar to summon evil gods)
6 - to kill the king
7 - to slave the people to own will
8 - just being insane

Resources 1d10
(Roll d6 to determine how many times you roll for resources. Same results are cumulative and mean there's more of that type.)
1 - Hired guards. Human or humanoid equal to human
2 - Few powerful magicians, psychics or other with special abilities
3 - Monsters with intelligence of animals
4 - Traps
5 - Death traps
6 - Strange devices with strange effects
7 - Huge monsters with HD+7 to character party level
8 - Spirits and ghosts
9 - Illusions
10 - Labyrinth, doors take to different places, walls switch places

Story Seed 1d12
1 - Rumor about old abandon castle with riches one can barely imagine
2 - There are strange light anomalities on northern sky. Origin of them seems to be from ground.
3 - People of the town doesn't pay tithe to clergy anymore. They pay for someone else. Rumors are of this new religious leader around.
4 - People keep missing. But they come back and aren't their self anymore.
5 - Map is found and one particular location is marked. Under it is one word. "God".
6 - Adventurer party is invited to the place as guests.
7 - Around the castle/mansion/dungeon flora and fauna is mutated and it is spreading.
8 - Mysterious stranger tells about the evil place and its treasures.
9 - Adventuring party accidentally finds teleport and is transfered to the castle/mansion/dungeon without a way out.
10 - It should be normal dungeon with some evil creatures adventurers are paid to get rid of. But the dungeon is deeper than expected with evil secrets.
11 - In the location there is one particular item wizard wants. Other treasures found are adventurers to keep as a reward.
12 - Adventuring party members see dreams of this location and are plagued by them unless they travel there and find out the cause of their dreams.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A-Z A for Antagonists

Antagonists are those individuals who are against what player characters are doing. They might be evil wizards in their towers or town sheriff who make things different for adventuring party. Antagonist is not always monster or bad guy. Antagonist might be someone -or something- that has different goals to what characters' goals are.

Antagonists should have some features to make them important and feel like real characters. You could make these features stick out as you want antagonists to stick out from normal enemies.

Antagonists don't live in the game world just to be against characters. They have their own motives why they do what they are doing. Character's are just crossing their path and conflict follows. Many fictional antagonists do vile things just because they are evil. If there is evil wizard who tries to put magical crystals together to destroy the world it it can be a great adventure for players. But why does that evil wizard want to destroy the world? Is he just insane or does he think he has greater insight? You should determine why antagonist is doing what he is doing and what would be his award if he succeeds. Not necessarily player characters will ever find out his motive but as a GM you could possibly play the part of this antagonist better knowing his thoughts. So write a motive. It can only be few words as it is better than nothing.

How Far Would He Go
Not all antagonists are ready to die for what they believe. But in several games that's the case. Characters thrash antagonist's plan and continue to kill him. As a last straw when everything is already lost for antagonist he will fight to the death. But why would he do that? Isn't it enough to loose everything? All the captured guardian monsters, lots of treasures, possibly that doomday's machine is trashed and so on. He has nothing. Of course as there's nothing left his life won't matter and it could be logical to try to at least kill the guys who destroyed your plan. But why cannot antagonist be a whimp? He had these traps and guards and what-not to protect himself because he is not a fighter. Wouldn't it be worse punishment than death to face jail? Plus, he could also always later make a comeback... with a revenge. Or he might even turn his sledge and help player characters later if he did see wrong in his actions and changed his ways.
LotFP has morality. Enough damage dealt roll d12 against morality. Roll higher and opponent flees or something. You could easily assign morality for antagonist. Lower score for cowardly and as high as possible for insane megalomaniacs. That way antagonist won't fight to his death but can try to flee or even surrender when his hitpoints trigger it.

Special Abilities
To make antagonists really different they might posses one or few special abilities not included in game rules. That makes them totally different. But is it fare for players? Why not. Antagonist has to be somehow special because he has gone that far already. As player characters usually are special from normal people in game world. Player characters have spells, feats, better equipment and other gualities others don't possess so to make antagonist really the bad guy he should also have something. In low fantasy game antagonist might have robotic hand. Why not? He is one of the kind and might possess one of the kind technology or knowledge. Or he might have some special skills or powers what others don't have. It also surprises players - also those who know the rules like their own pocket.

Weak Point
There could be a weak point. Daughter antagonist won't put in danger or some valuables he doesn't want to loose. Basically this weak point could be alternative solution to win antagonist. But it should be hard to find out. This alternative method to beat antagonist through his weakness could be so well preserved characters never find out about but it should be there for alternative resolution. Some antagonist might have obvious weakness and others hard to find out.

You don't have to write a short story of the antagonists past but you should know why he does what ever he does. Was he bullied as a kid and now wants to be powerful and pay back? Is he just greedy or does he want power no one can imagine? This antagonist player characters try to stop destroying the world should have reasons in his history why he does want to destroy the world. History is tied really close to motive but only deepens the antagonist.

If antagonist has castle with valuable treasures, monsters and traps guarding it and other things you should think how he obtained them. Also if there is that death trap castle filled with monsters how did antagonist build it and how does he manage it? It should have other meanings than just being a challenge for player characters. Obviously antagonist didn't put it all together just for wait adventuring party to step in.

Make Antagonist A Character
Basically in game mechanics antagonists are part of an adventure and challenge for player characters but to make antagonist more alive you should think about these things in this post. Antagonist would be more interesting person if there is something else behind him than just statistics to fight against.