Sunday, 31 October 2010

[The Coin] Mynacea


Famed for its philosophers, its galleys, and its theatres, Mynacea is a rugged and mountainous realm of squabbling city-states. The region was long oppressed by the grip of the dark Taurian Empire, whose enormous, labyrinthine ruins speckle the land, but now the Mynaceans rule themselves, bowing to no kings and no emperors. Since the overthrow of the minotaur king, they have built great cities like Vulcanopolis, Liberos, and Maraphon, wonderous temples and oracles, and spread colonies across half a continent.

For mercenaries and adventurers alike, Mynacea is an land of opportunity. Little love is lost between the city-states, who compete in nearly every respect, from trade to colonies to sorcery. There is a constant threat of piracy, raiding, or even petty but brutal wars. And with the monsterous remnants of the Taurian Empire lurking in dark labyrinths, or the craggy badlands of the Korhos, it is a fertile land for monster hunters.

Yet it is also a land of great wealth and achievement. Philosophers and inventors thrive on the patronage of the city-states. Thanks to a relative lack of taxation and tariffs, merchants thrive on the Mynacean trade routes, bringing amphoras of olive oil and wine to distant markets, returning with hulls laden down by gold and grain.

Friday, 29 October 2010

AW style movies - Roguish Edition

Pick a Pocket (d20+Subterfuge+Dex)
14-: major failure, pick two results (see below)
15-19: minor failure, pick one result (see below)
20+: success!

  • You fail to pick the target's pocket
  • Somebody (50% chance it's the target, otherwise somebody nearby) notices you. If this result is picked twice, everybody nearby is aware of what you did.
Pick a Lock Under Pressure (d20+Subterfuge+Mind)
Performing this move requires a set of thieves' tools.
14-: pick one
15-19: pick two
20+: pick three

  • You open the lock
  • You don't break any of your tools
  • You aren't noisy in the process
  • You don't take very long
Sneak Past Some Guards (d20+Subterfuge+Dex or Mind)
In some cases, the GM may require a distraction before you have a chance to use this move.
14-: pick one
15-19: pick two
20+: pick three
  • You get where you want to go.
  • You don't spend much timing waiting for an opportunity/to realize it's not going to work.
  • The guards don't notice you.
Trade on the Black Market (d20+Subterfuge+Mind)
14-: pick three
15-19: pick two
20+: pick one
  • The price involved is unreasonable (and not in your favor).
  • Getting the deal done takes a heap more time than you intended.
  • You get mixed up in trouble in the local underworld.
  • The suspicions of the local law enforcement are aroused.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Microlite20/Troubles and Treasures House Rules

I was recently lamenting the fact that, due to all the changes I and my group have made to MicroLite20, I can't just point to a single document and say that that's our rulebook. So, I decided to list the main rules changes we've made as succinctly as possible. Unless otherwise stated, everybody conforms to the original m20 rules available here, or here, by Greywulf.

In addition to Humans, Elves, Dwarves and Halflings (Gnomes), there are also Half-Orcs (+1 Str, +1 Phys and Sub), Planetouched (+1 Mind, +1 Know and Com), and Constructs (+5 on saves against poison, disease and suffocation/drowning).

every odd numbered level opens up a feat slot. What feats you can take are determined by race and class, but you don't get a feat automatically. Sometimes a feat needs to be learned from a teacher, sometimes you pick it up to replicate, long-term, something the GM let you do on a special occasion. A compilation of feats will be forthcoming at some point. Until then, this is an optional rule.

sneak attacks deal an additional 3+level damage (this is not connected to the Rogue's Subterfuge bonus).

no change.

Wizards can use books, wands and staffs as focuses for magical energy, working like ranged weapons (light crossbow, shortbow and longbow, respectively). They get no favoured/signature spells (but spells are cheaper, and they have more hp, see below).

Performers (Bards):
Get 2 + level + Mind bonus uses of their music per day. By default they can use music to charm individuals, hypnotize crowds, and counter other sound-based effects, and can do other things with the right feats. They can wear light armour, and get +2 Subterfuge, Knowledge, and Communication.

Invokers (Clerics):
Get no spells or turn undead uses, but get to pray without any penalties, and with an optional re-roll. They can also tend to another character, allowing them to make a new save against an on-going non-permanent effect, or to spend a healing surge with a re-roll.

Combat Actions:
Use the normal D&D 3.5 system of 1 move action, 1 standard action, or 2 move actions, or one full-round action.

PC Hit Points:
Are rolled using a d8. Every character gets 4 healing surges plus their Strength bonus, per day. They may spend a healing surge as a standard action to heal 1d8 lost hp. Any healing effect will require the usage of a healing surge.

NPC Hit Points:
Are either 5 per level for "mooks", or 10 per level for "boss" monsters/characters encountered on their own. NPCs have healing surges, but most can't use them unless they have some outside effect working on them (such as a cleric). The GM will say when an NPC gets down to half it's hit points (is "bloodied").

Skills are equal to the character's racial and/or class bonuses, plus half their level, rounded up.

Attacks and Damage:
Attacks are divided into Strength attack (non-light melee weapons), Dexterity attack (light melee and thrown weapons), and Mind attack (bows, crossbows, firearms and spells). Each is the relevant ability modifier plus the character's level. There are no iterative attacks, although dual-wielding works as in the M20 books. Additionally, characters add half their level (rounded down) to their damage rolls.

Adventuring wizards know all the spells in the Adventurer's Spellbook, and can learn/create more, although the highest level of spells that is possible is level 7. Spells cost 2 hp per spell level, minimum of 1 hp. This damage is normal damage, and can be healed by anything that normally restores lost hp. If a spells is experimental, or of a spell level too high for the wizard (greater than character level+1, halved), there is a 50% chance the spell will backfire and do something weird and random. Otherwise that only happens when the wizard rolls a natural 1. Spells cast through prayer work the same way.

Carrying Capacity:
Objects are weighed in Stone (14 pounds, or 6 kilograms), rounding off, with 1000 coins weighing a stone. A character can carry half their Strength score in stone, rounding up, without any trouble. More than that can only be carried for short periods.

XP and levelling:
XP is handed out for fights, carousing, and eXPloration. Characters have to achieve something to go up a level (defeat a worthy foe in a new way, commit a new crime, learn a new spell, spread fandom/religion to new people, or something along those lines).

New Cleric Mechanic/AW-Style Move

Balance issues are yet to be tested...

Pray (1d20+Communication+Mind-10)
A character may only try to do this once per day.

14-: nothing happens
15-19: receive one miracle
20+: receive three miracles

Clerics ignore the penalty, and may re-roll the check, although they must take the second result, even if it’s worse.

  • 1d6 damage, + 1d6 per two character levels, damage to all unholy creatures in 30 ft. (save for half). Said unholy creatures may halve the damage they take, but if so they must flee from the praying individual.
  • Cast a level 2+ spell as if you were a wizard. (GM may veto spell if it doesn’t seem to match your god of choice, or alternately say that some other power supplied the spell...).
  • Ignore the fact you're wearing armour for spellcasting purposes.
  • All allies within 30ft. may spend a healing surge as a free action, and may re-roll the result.
  • All allies within 30ft. may roll a new save against any negative ongoing non-permanent effect they’re experiencing.
  • Be given another chance to pray for a miracle today.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Colony Five

Inspired by this post on RPGnet, but taken as an excuse to approach scifi with the sort of trope-filling gonzo-ness I like in my fantasy worlds.

The Elevator Pitch:
"Stargate Atlantis meets Farscape meets Red Dwarf meets Firefly. With just a hint of Star Wars and Indiana Jones"

The Full Details:
In the last years of the 21st century, Earth took its first steps into the galaxy, by sending out several sleeper ships to set up new colonies on habitable exoplanets. Some were sent by national governments, some were privately funded by eccentric trillionairs. The fifth ship was a cooperative effort by several nations working in tandem. Sadly, Sleeper Five ceased sending back telemetry a few years after it departed, and was presumed lost. History moved on.

Over the centuries that followed, humanity discovered faster than light travel, and the galaxy ws fully unlocked. The sleeper ships were actually overtaken by FTL vessels, although Sleeper Five was never found. Earth's nations explored the stars, exporting their hostilities to a grander scale, and roping in the technologically primitive aliens they found. Wars between opposing empires caused untold damage, but in the wake of these atrocities, in the new peace that followed, humanity found the utopia they'd sought for so long.

The Earth Empire, the first truly unified nation encompassing all humanity (and, to a lesser extent, the aliens) was set up, aided by the Great AI, a computer intelligence that encompassed the Empire's communication network, and was a part of every device in the Empire. A golden age flowered, with humanity wanting for less and less as the Great AI took over more and more responsibilities. Eventually, humanity as a whole was sitting in the lap of luxury, the Great AI tending to their every whim, responsible for all production and innovation, creating technological marvels that seem almost magical by today's standards.

Which was brilliant, up till the day the AI just... stopped. Nobody knows why. But little of the Empire's technology would run without it, and almost nobody remained who knew how to repair or operate anything. Within a year, 90% of humanity was dead, primarily from starvation.

Five hundred years later, the galaxy is just starting to rebuild, in places. The New Earth Empire, founded by a few worlds that were not hit as hard in the great crash, aims to bring back the glory days, although their methods are far from peaceful, and their technology, while on average better than that of most worlds, is nowhere near the heights of the Old Empire. The Fringe Worlds, sandwiched between the N.E.E. and an assortment of other stellar nations of varying viciousness, and the Wastelands that used to be the core of the Old Empire, are potentially in for a rough time.

And then Sleeper Five comes back, appearing out of an inexplicable aurora of light and peculiar sensor readings above a backwater fringe world. The inhabitants, a simple farming community, a couple of rogue archaeologists, and the independent trading ship that occasionally drops in to buy vegetables, are quite surprised, but not half as surprised as the crew of Sleeper Five.

The campaign revolves around the adventures of the Sleeper Five colonists, their farming friends, and the random interstellar hangers-on who've twigged that these people are the Next Big Thing, as they set up their colony, explore the ruins of the Old Empire, salvage bits of malfunctioning post-singularity technology, and fend off the depredations of various unpleasant people, aliens, robots, and other, stranger things.