Saturday, 18 August 2012

You're really smart Jovial, you must speak a lot of languages.

I speak English only, and even that with an Australian twang.

The more I live in England, and the more Continental Europeans I meet, the more I realise that linking intelligence to number of languages known is non-sensical.

What, every child in Continental Europe has an intelligence of 13 or above because they can speak English and their native tongue?

I think this reflects the ango-centric nature of the rules. Maybe in the USA (not Canada you lucky guys and gals), the UK and Australia you have to be pretty bright to be offered the opportunity to learn another language at school. But not so for vast areas of the world, where bi, or even try-lingualism is the norm. What everyone in Switzerland has a 17 intelligence (+2 languages) in their tri-language country?

I don't think it's even historical in England - French and English being commonplace in England during the middle ages, not to mention those that also knew Latin. Every vaguely educated person = 17 intelligence, I don't think so.

I suspect, assuming a basic intelligence, that number of languages spoken is cultural rather than intellectual. Perhaps languages known should be campaign driven rather than ability score driven? Social standing is probably a better guide to number of languages known, than one's intelligence score.

Intelligence might be used to modify speed of language learning?
You travel somewhere, how quickly do you pick up the lingo? Depends on your intelligence score.

Every week roll to advance, modifying roll by intelligence score. If fail, add +1 to roll for each subsequent week, until advance to the next level.

Level 1 = Tourist (starting level) Où sont les toilettes ?
Level 2 = Rudimentary (Requires 1 on a d6 to reach)
Level 3 = Conversational (Requires 1 on a d10 to reach)
Level 4 = Fluent (Requires 1 on a d20 to reach)
Level 5 = Native (Requires 1 on a d100 to reach)

Additionally, or perhaps, it is time to abandon the link between intelligence and number of languages known, and use it for XP bonus. 

You catch on quick: Only Intelligence gives XP bonus

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Rolling more dice in combat, and making shields more fun...

We all know shields are underrated, even with such rules as Shields shall be Splintered and all the good comments here.

I'm interested in shields and their offensive capability and I want more dice rolled. I would like shields to be treated as if they are an off-hand weapon.

My house rules:

If the player has a strength greater than 12 a shield not only grants +1 AC, but also can be used offensively using the following options.

Shield Bash
Roll a 2nd d20 'to hit' with the shield. If successful does 1-2 damage plus strength. Any shield magical bonus are applied to both the shield 'to hit' and the damage. The shields bonus to armor class is not effected.

Shield Overpower
Roll a 2nd d20 'to hit' with the shield. If successful it inflicts no damage but the opponent is -1 initiative for the next round. Strength bonus is additive as well as any shield magical bonus which is applied to both the shield 'to hit' and the penalty to initiative. The shields bonus to armor class is not effected. (I think this ability will prove very useful.)

Additionally a shield can be used by any character regardless of strength to cower.
COWER behind shield: – can’t attack, -2 AC (2 better AC), +2 saving throws. Any strength or magical shield bonus is additive.

If the player has a dexterity greater than 12, a 2nd off-hand weapon can be used to attack. If the strength is also greater than 12, two medium sized weapons can be wielded, one in each hand, otherwise a medium and small weapon can be wielded.

Both weapons get a 'to hit' roll, without penalty.

If the player has a strength greater than 12, a 2nd damage dice is rolled when wielding a two-handed weapon, and the larger number is taken as the damage.

Umm, woops, power inflation. Any suggestions...

Friday, 3 August 2012

Waterborne Adventures 
: Random Events and Monsters Tool

One of my projects, long on hold was the creation of the Old School Adventure Guide.
Re-inspired by JB which allowed me to find Jeff's eXPloration 2009 post (my vote is for 100-600 XP per wilderness hex explored, shared by the party), and having abandoned any HP loss for overland travel mechanic, here's something to add into the mix. 

And don't forget, everyone likes choosing cards. Blanks left for you to suggest and if you like blanks, you will find many more, in fact mostly blank, in the OS Adventure Guide. Join the project.

Waterborne Adventures 

Random Events and Monsters Tool
Daily roll 1d6, on a 1-2 get the players to draw a card…

54 Deck of Cards (2 Jokers)

♥ = Relational

♦ = Situational

♣ = Confrontational

♠ = Environmental

Joker = Draw 2 more cards and ‘somehow’ link them.

♥ = Relational

2♥ = one of the crew or passengers has a secret (traitor, spy, monster)

3♥ = one of the crew is to be punished for a minor offence (the punishment will be severe)

4♥ = trouble with the natives (at the next shore stop, the crew cause trouble or are accused of trouble)

5♥ = there is a thief onboard

6♥= betrayal (you will be betrayed)

7♥ = raucous rum filled party (join in or try and stop the fun)

8♥ = learn some wisdom (new song, new tale, new rumour)

9♥ = Contraband is in the hull

J♥= duel (after an argument on board, one of the players is challenged to a duel)

Q♥= one of the male crew or passengers is a she not a he

K♥ = mutiny on the high seas

A♥= one of the crew or passengers has formed a deep attachment to one of the players)

♦ = Situational

2♦= one of the crew / passengers has disappeared

3♦ = food / water spoilage 

4♦= slavers ahead

5♦= strange force at work disables all magnets AND Magic

6♦ = merchants on the seas

7♦= a strange darkness

8♦= buccaneers ahead

9♦= lost

10♦= the map is damaged / a fake / or just plain wrong

J♦= the stars seem different tonight




♣ = Confrontational

2♣= Whale

3♣= Termite, Water

4♣ = Snake, Sea

5♣ = Shark

6♣ = Serpent, Sea

7♣= Sea Dragon

8♣ Squid, Giant

9♣ = Hydra, Sea

10♣= Octopus, Giant

J♣ = Ahoy, it be pirates

Q♣ = Mermaids (and maybe Mermen)

K♣ = Dragon (flying)

A♣= Dragon Turtle

♠ = Spades (Environmental)

2♠= Becalmed for 1d6days

3♠= Extreme light breeze for 1d6 days (movement reduced to ⅓)

4♠ = Light breeze for 1d6 days (movement reduced to ½)

5♠ = Strong breeze for 1d6 days (movement increased by ⅓)

6♠ = Good winds for 1d6 days (movement increased by ½)

7♠= High winds for 1d6 days (double movement rate but lose 1d10 hull points)

8♠= Gale (triple movement rate but in a random direction and lose 2d10 hull points)

9♠ = 

J♠ = 

Q♠= Iceberg 

K♠= Tidal Wave

A♠= Maelstrom with/without Whirlpool 

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Poison, made simple

Don't like save or die, confused by Neutralize Poison rules? 

Then what I have introduced may be helpful.

Poison does damage over time. Roll for damage, roll for time, start the poison. Simple, and it is even realistic.

For example, in my Kids D&D campaign, a poison dart hit the thief and she failed her saving throw. On the fly I said it gave 1d6 damage over 1d6 rounds. I rolled in secret 2 damage, 3 rounds. She had 6 hit points. First round 2 damage. She panicked, took healing. Then 2 more damage. She waited. Then 2 more damage, more healing taken. No more damage.

Player anxiety, time to heal, no save or die. I am going to use this mechanic for all my poisons. Easy to scale up or down depending on strength of poison eg 1d10 damage over 2d6 rounds.

No healing available, time for that farewell speech. Unless one likes, "Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."