Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sage's moment of Triumph

I set up an encounter to push my heroes a little. Have them think it over. Make them work for victory. They're 5th level now, and I wanted to kinda worry them.

I had an ambient youth run up and had a datapad to my wife's hero, a small flying assassin droid named T1-NK, and tell her that he was paid to deliver the message.

The datapad told her that someone knew why they were there and wanted the heroes to meet him on such and such landing pad at 0200 (yes, its mostly a twist out of DoD e3. i was rewriting it and keeping some of the elements to assist in flow).

So the party decides that they will scout the landing pad out early and just send in the assassin droid, not all of them. The kel-dor scout goes in 2 hrs early to an empty landing pad and passes thru the atmosphere shield, locking his magnetic boots to the outside to watch.

Time goes by.

A well dressed man in a uniform enters and stands on the landing pad, gazing out at the glow of the planet before him.

Tee-One enters a few minutes later, alone.

The man hears the doors and turns, smug, but is slightly startled when he realizes the droid is alone. He was expecting more. "Well, no matter," he says, "We'll catch up with your companions later. Now. Drop your weapons and... float down to the deck." At which time ten heavy stormtroopers enter behind her and line up pointing their blasters at her back.

Tee-One drops her blaster. A small panel on her back opens and from a spring loaded launcher flies a thermal detonator, landing right center of the group of storm troopers. One bloody mist cloud later, the storm troopers have been decimated and the commander stands stupidly slack jawed.

Tee-One, without missing a beat, "You had some information for me?"


Saturday, January 17, 2009

House Rules

This could also be subtitled as, "Big name publisher made hundreds of rules to control your little imaginative world, but you thought of stuff they didnt think of and made even more".

I read on a forum recently that it is a good idea to write down your house rules so they are not forgotten, misunderstood, or at least so there is a reference of them so the players don't think you're just making stuff up arbitrarily.

So, here's my top rules that follow me pretty much any d20 (or similar) system I play:

  1. Character Creation - When rolling ability scores, roll 4d6, dropping the lowest die, re-rolling all 1's. If you roll a set and you aren't happy with them, you can roll again, up to four times, but you can't go back to any previous set you've rolled. You have to use one of those five sets.
    Typically, this gives us heroic characters. Like... very heroic characters. If we compare our current Star Wars character's ability scores to the point buy system (which recommends 24-28 points), my party characters range more around 48-54. Are they overballanced? Maybe. But c'mon.. They're heroes. And no one likes to have an 8.
  2. Encumberance - This is kind of a tough one. I view it more like the video game equipment. You are not encumbered by things that you won't be using. Such as the seven suits of storm trooper armor that you plan on selling in the next shadowport. But all your gear that you wear and use on a regular basis should be accounted for.
  3. Ammo - You have enough ammo for just about any situation, unless you roll a 1 on your attack. (because rolling a 1 on attack is so confusing about what should happen, I like this rule. No worrying about if it blows up or shoots your buddy instead.) If you roll a 1 on the attack, roll 1d4. On a 1, you are out of ammo. Looks like you should have remembered to recharge that e-clip, or the e-clip failed. I might expand this to make 2-4 do other stuff on fails, but for now, I'm happy with that.
  4. Party bag of holding - I did this one to help with my wife's need to loot abso-freaking-lutely every baddie they kill. She sells the majority for 50%, keeps all grenades and explosives in this party bag that anyone can grab from. It's just for little stuff like grenades, that can be easily shared, without having to worry about who had them. I guess I can see the challenges that can be part of: "I throw the thermal detonator at the four clones and the badass bodyguard coming to capture me." "Nope, Sorry. Elzebub has them and she's on the other side of the station, " But i'm more of the mind that worrying about inventory takes away from the fun part. So, yeah. bag o' grenades ftw!
  5. Shooting into Melee - If you miss the shot by more than 5, random roll to decide who it hits. Damage is base weapon damage only, no bonuses of any kind. (level, sneak attack, etc) If you miss by more than 10 or less than 5, complete miss.

What are some of your house rules and where did they get their start?


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Game Theory - The Total Rewrite

This phrase really freaked me out when I first heard it. What could be cooler than a theory of games? But you know what? It isn't the cool new college course that all the design publishers are looking for, its actually military strategy. Which kinda works, if you're playing Total Annihilation. But I'm not talking about military strategem, or TA. I'm talking about design.

My first major campaign for Star Wars Saga Edition is going on. We are up to the third episode, and since I didn't care for the original RPGA written episode 3, I'm rewriting it.

Now, I've got to tell you, this is not just an easy throw something together thing. There is real thought and planning behind building an episode for an existing established campaign. I wanted to keep some of the same elements in the game so that key things that took place in the original will still happen in the rewrite, but will fit my new setting and events.

But it doesn't work to just cut and paste areas of the text, because they are very different in content.

For example, I just couldn't bring myself to put my very aggressive players thru four days of playing cards. It just wouldn't have worked. They would have been killing random npcs by the second day. So that had to go. But there is a purchase / exchange that happens during the card game. Now I have to have that purchase / exchange go down anyway, but in a diffent manner, and to where the players discover it anyway, and make it more interesting than hiding in shadows evesdropping or sitting somewhere high up and watching thru macrobinoculars.

So. For the first installment of my new RPG focused hobby blog, here we have:

Episode 3. Rewriting the Adventure.

  1. Keep the NPCs the same, just change their role. Rather than your Rodian being a scoundrel card sharp, throw him in position of the Noble. Dress him up in fancy clothes and give him an entourage.

  2. Keep the setting similar, just change the location. The original may take place on Jabba's Sail Barge over the dune sea. But that doesn't fit your new setting, since you aren't including Jabba, or the Tatoonian Dune Sea. How about a five day-six night stay aboard the luxury star cruise Correlian Star Resorts Cruise & Travel.

  3. Keep the main plot of the episode, just change the detail. The original was a rescue of the princess from the evil Empire's new space station detention facility before she's executed. Well, perhaps in your game, the Empire's base is an underground facility, and the rescue of the princess is freeing slaves. Plot: Rescue. Details: location / rescuee.

  4. Add in new stuff that makes your game different, but similar. Basically not all the encounters from the original episode are going to work in your new location/setting/goal. But coming up with interesting encounters can be a challenge. You don't want your episode rewrite to be the same. you want to give it your own flare and creativity. Let's say in the original the heroes were going to come across a datapad that would lead them to an NPC that knew what they were looking for. Well, that's a data encounter. How about instead, your hero's droid slices into the central station computer and that data that was going to be provided from the NPC is available there.

  5. Make it exciting. No matter how much you didn't like the original write, something about it made it exciting to the writers. Try to capture that element. It's okay to borrow from their example to do it. Just as the heroes save the princess and disable the tractor beam, escape from the big bad evil super villain (BBESV), they blast off into space only to discover their hyperdrive has been disabled. Dun dun DUN! Now they have to fight off waves of TIE fighters and fix the hyperdrive at the same time before the shields give out!

Yeah, keep that part.


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All of Soulie's RPG (paper and dice) related articles that will be published on RPG Blogger's Network.

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