Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Battlesuits

The Splintered Realm - Sat, 03/24/2018 - 23:32
In thinking about heroes who use battlesuits, it seems that there should be some fundamentally different feel to being an armor-wearing hero. This ties to the idea of an exceptional human. One of the things that I didn't like about the first edition (which I never resolved, and just accepted) was that INT and CHA are held to the same limit as STR, CON, and DEX. You cannot, as a non-super-powered character, have either INT or CHA in excess of 13. However, in one of the games I used as a model (Marvel Superheroes), really smart characters (even when they were normal humans in terms of their intelligence), had Reason of Incredible or even Amazing. There effectively was a different 'scale' in terms of Strength (which can lift 50 tons at Amazing) and Reason (which is actually comparable to some of the greatest minds who have lived). One is clearly outside of the realm of human potential; the other is not. Yet, they are both Amazing.

I am thinking that INT and CHA will do this in the new edition; they are capped at 19 instead of 13 for exceptional humans. Your mind is like a computer, or you exude such a power of personality that others are easily swayed by you. This stuff happens in the real world (or close to it).

This matters for Battlesuits, because generally the inventor of a battlesuit is likely to be the genius who also invented it. Tying battlesuits to INT in some measure makes sense; you are able to upgrade and maintain your suit at a higher level the smarter you are.

For battlesuits, you would roll up an exceptional human (who might have 14+ INT or CHA - or both), and would then build the suit with points.

Here's my first draft of this (literally just cut and pasted from my current notes)... BP is Battlesuit Points. You get 1d6 + INT Modifier BP per level (maybe):

If Anthony is a level 4 human with a battlesuit, he has 5D6 hit points
(with maybe a +1 CON bonus per level),
so he has about 20-25 hit points without his suit on.
You ‘buy’ features of your suit as you go up in level.

For example, the basic Man of Iron suit has the following enhancements:

Grants +10 (cap 20) to STR when worn (bumping his 8 STR to 18). (8 BP)Grants +10 (cap 20) to CON while worn
(bumping his 6 CON to 16; grants +5 hit points per level) (8 BP)Grants +2 to DEX while worn (increases his 7 DEX to 9, increases AC as well by +1) (2 BP)Blaster: 1d10; 60’ (8 BP)Invulnerability (5 from CON) (free)Air Supply 2 (4 BP)30 points total

Here are some things that might be included in a suit…

STR+2 base for free; 1 BP for each +1 thereafterDEXNone included; 1 BP for each +1 to DEXPWRIncluded at 10 automatically; 1 BP for each +1 thereafterCON+2 base for free; 1 BP for each +1 thereafterAC+1 base for free; 1 BP for each +1 thereafterBlasterNone included; 1d6 (30’) for 2 BPs; each die shift or range increment is 2 BPFlightNone included; each rating of flight costs 2 BPsInvulnerabilityIncluded with CON modifierAir Supply2 BP for each rating
Possible Add OnsSelf-Repair. Recovers 1D at the end of every turn from self-repair.
The suit can ultimately repair itself to full hits,
but any damage dealt to the wearer must be recovered normally.

Other Powers (as applicable) are generally 3 BPs to purchase,
+1 BP for any upgrade beyond the foundational power.
Many are linked to PWR.

At the end of the day, part of the fun of building a hero with the battlesuit is in building the suit.
It’s in the little details, and how you allocate points.
Alternate Suits. As a talent, you can have multiple battle suits.
You are able to maintain a number of different varieties of suit equal to your level,
limited to your INT modifier.
As a level 4 character with genius-level intellect (INT 14 or better),
you are able to maintain 4 different battle suits.
Each is built with the same number of points.
You get to choose which suit you bring on any adventure.

Fletcher Vredenburgh on A. Merritt’s Burn Witch Burn

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Sat, 03/24/2018 - 15:17

At last! Sword and sorcery junkie Fletcher Vredenburgh has finally relented and done a good turn to his own self by reading a masterwork by the great A. Merritt:

I read somewhere that Merritt wrote with “lush, florid prose,” but that wasn’t the case in Burn, Witch Burn. However he may have written his other books, that’s not the case here. He writes, yes, with occasional overwrought flourishes, but with precision. His prose rushes the reader along, winging him deeper and deeper into the story’s nightmarish events.

With the nighttime arrival of a patient who seems to be suffering from no known malady, accompanied by his mobster boss, Merritt kicks the book off at full speed. With each ensuing chapter, the tension builds and Lowell and his compatriots’ fear increases. Gradually, the action moves from crisp and clinical corridors of Lowell’s hospital to the druggy, psychedelic chamber of Madame Mandilip, highlighting the fight between reason and unreason. Slowly the curtain obscuring the villain is raised, until we see her in her full, dark horror. Merritt knew how to grab you by the lapels and keep shaking you with increasing ferocity to the very last page.

Read the whole thing!

Fletcher’s assessment is completely on point here. Merritt’s writing is among the best of the best… and yet much of the commentary on him seems carefully engineered to steer people away from the guy. As another example, that same source that Fletcher mentions there regarding Merritt’s supposedly “lush, florid prose” neglects entirely to mention that he was known as The Lord of Fantasy.

And while you can maybe wrap your head around the fact that some guy you never heard of held that distinction in the twenties and thirties, you may not be able to grasp just how long Merritt was able to hold on to that particular appellation. As Deuce Richardson points out:

…Merritt’s title of “Lord of Fantasy” went unquestioned here in the States from the 1920s until the 1960s. I’ve spoken with numerous pulp scholars and all agree that Merritt’s sobriquet went virtually unchallenged during that period. Donald Wollheim, the most important publisher/editor in the history of SFF, repeatedly called Merritt by that moniker for decades. Tolkien’s reign is only now reaching the longevity that Merritt’s enjoyed.

That’s right. A. Merritt was as central to the definition of fantasy before 1970 as Tolkien was after it. He’s that big.

If you haven’t read his works already, you really owe it to yourself to check him out.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Role-Play Ramblings Season 3 Ep 1: Pathfinder Second Edition

Gamer Goggles - Sat, 03/24/2018 - 14:28

In this episode of Role-Play Ramblings Matt talks about the Pathfinder 2nd Ed announcement. Find out what he likes, and needs to know more about, plus he discusses some of his thoughts on leveling up and the Fighter class.

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

I’m not nearly as, skeptical about this as I was 5 E and look at how well that’s doing.

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The Dusty Door

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 03/24/2018 - 11:14


By Shane Ward
3 Toadstools
Blueholme
Level 3

Halfway between here and there is a small roadside Inn. A weather worn wooden sign stands outside of the door “Adventurers wanted, apply within”. Weary from the road, you stand outside the Inn, smoke rises from the chimney promising a warm evening. The inside of the Inn is small and cozy, a set of stairs lead up to much needed beds. The small bar is decorated with old suits of rusted armour, a bookshelf with musty tomes and a large map of the countryside. The bar is empty save for a small gnome who is fast asleep at a table, smoke curls from his pipe.

I continue to be out of sorts. I’m hoping to settle back down come April.

This twelve page adventure details a ten room dungeon using five pages. It has a throwback quality, with room nearly its own little isolated thing. Not really evocative writing, but the DM text doesn’t overstay its welcome and the basic/nostalgia factor is high with this one.

Goblins hoot and holler while whipping prisoners chained to a wall. Smoke pours from under a doorway with figures inside dancing around a glowing orb. An old crone sites near a pool of bubbling black water. Zombies stand knee deep in purpleish slime tearing a body apart to feast upon. A troll slumbers in front of a door, with a large brass key around his neck. A stone well filled with black liquid sits under a terrifying mural drawn in feces and blood.

You know, I said the writing wasn’t evocative but the encounters sure as hell are. Just about each of the ten rooms features a little vignette, described in a sentence or two. These are basic encounters; they feel like bookcases that turn to reveal a secret passage or Harryhausen skeletons. Basic but iconic. That’s the main appeal of this adventure. There’s a charm to these encounters. Almost randomly strewn together, that just lends to the overall effect of mystery.

WTF is going on here? The gnome locks you in his basement after luring you there with rumors of treasure. Inside if a demon that trades the gnome longevity potions in return of victims willingly entering the dungeon.

Curses, weird potions, new magic items, +1 swords … the adventure has what you would expect from a basic Holmes adventure. The encounters capture the weird charm and iconic non-Tolkein/non-high adventure vibe from the early dungeoneering days. It’s easily worth $1 if you are in to such things, and could serve as a nostalgic one-shot.

This is PWYW at DriveThru, with a suggested price of $1. The preview contains the entire twelve pages of the adventure.
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/234962/Dusty-Door

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Lake Geneva Original RPG Campaign: Part 2 of My Interview with the RPGPUNDIT

Lord of the Green Dragons - Sat, 03/24/2018 - 01:11
Lake Geneva Original RPG Campaign: Part 2 of My Interview with the RPGPUNDIT: LINK:   http://therpgpundit.blogspot.com/2018/03/an-interview-with-rob-kuntz-part-2-of-3.html
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Doc Stalwart

The Splintered Realm - Fri, 03/23/2018 - 22:35

Doc is my first character to play test the new rules. In thinking about Sentinels Earth (or whatever the name ends up being), I have distinct eras in mind. There is a time between the first and second Messari attacks when there are relatively few supers; some of the ‘big guns’ have left earth for a time to go in search of the Messari (to wipe them out on their base at the edge of our solar system), and they have yet to return. I think it’s like a three-year period. I picture this as the late 70s/early 80s in comics (before the grim and gritty days), and stylistically the same as the first ten minutes of The Incredibles (or Batman the Animated Series).
Doc Stalwart is a scientific explorer who ended up with a chunk of Messari Technology, and he used it give himself superpowers (he already was super smart) to fashion a utility belt, and to build a ship that would take him around so he could go and explore and fight and things. Here is his character sheet (I don’t have a new character sheet yet, so I’m going with ye olde looseleaf paper). Two things that are different from 1E already: I am changing Control to the default difficulty of a check when operating that vehicle. Rather than the default being based on the situation and modified by the vehicle, it’s set by the vehicle, and modified by circumstance. I don’t care what you are trying to do in a heavy tank. It’s a heavy tank. Any maneuver is going to be difficult. A sleek motorcycle is going to have Control 16, while an elite fighter jet might be 18, and a standard helicopter is around 22. This is somewhere between those two: a clunky design with advanced alien technology.
I went with 2d6 for hit points per level, and am using the new power Impervious that +cmdrcody 2000  suggested a while back… (oh, and Doc himself is the first silhouette from this post).


More Visual Design Work

The Splintered Realm - Fri, 03/23/2018 - 20:55
Here are a few more character designs. I am really, really digging this approach to the visuals. These are, far and away, the best superhero designs I've done. These evoke everything I like about Batman the Animated Series without simply copying the style wholesale. I have not been able to get this level of design work out of full illustrations I've done of supers, but in this format I can leverage my cartoony style to elicit some cleaner, more iconic designs. I'm really, really pleased with how these pieces are coming out...




The Legendary Legacy of The Knight of the Yellow Pentacle For Your Old School Games

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 03/23/2018 - 19:33
"Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table, accepts a challenge from a mysterious "Green Knight" who challenges any knight to strike him with his axe if he will take a return blow in a year and a day. Gawain accepts and beheads him with his blow, at which the Green Knight stands up, picks up his head, and reminds Gawain of the appointed time."So I've been going over & over myNeedleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
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Space Empires: Replicators is the Bee’s Knees

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Fri, 03/23/2018 - 12:21

This expansion really make Space Empires 4X an order of magnitude more fun.

The super sized terrain tiles…? They’re just flat out gorgeous. And it’s so much easier to read the board. Also, the names of the planets remain visible for the duration of the entire game now. Heck, you’ll go explore deep space now just for the chance to place another one of these onto the game board…!

Now… about those replicators. This is the all-new all-different fifth-player faction, the Cylon/Borg/Terminator faction. I only have a passing familiarity with the rules for these, but I have to say… watching someone else run these things, their in-game behavior really is completely alien compared to the standard player factions.

They can explore their home space in half the time. They have this huge incentive to explore deep space, too. They don’t have much to think about everyone else is shopping for tech and ships. But during the movement and combat phases, they will spend a lot of effort battling against the unknown. They are denied the usual exploration tech, so it’s interesting to watch them get eaten alive by Danger!, Black Holes, and Doomsday Machines. The Minerals and Space Wrecks they collect are well worth the loss in scouts, though.

The big downside to them is that you’ve got all this crazy technology for the standard Empire factions… and then with the Replicators in play, they have this gigantic disincentive for using any of it!

It’s tough!

The game-play here feels more or less like the solitaire games from the original base set. You commit to a fairly narrow production strategy and then wait for the bad guys to come to you. The strategy notes do suggest throwing a series of technological curve balls to keep the Replicators off balance… which sounds more fun. I didn’t do that in my game, though, because I drew Giant Race for my empire advantage, which made Attack-2 Defense-2 Move-2 Destroyer stacks my preferred weapon. (Though springing for that extra move and defense maybe hurt me more than it helped when the toasters turned it into research points.)

The main thing that I’d do differently based on this first experience with the new faction is that I’d probably invest in more space exploration earlier than what I did. The Replicators look intimidating, but they do need to wait a while before they throw a punch. Exploring the edges of the board is tempting. Raids are (unfortunately) less tempting because you need a specially equipped transport to fully burn down a Replicator colony. On the other hand, beating up their ships before they can combine to become dangerous seems like a very good thing. So while you don’t have the option of doing something crazy that seriously dents their production, they does seem to be plenty of good reason to go fight them early on.

Given the number of things I’m puzzling over here, I have to say… the new faction is probably working exactly like it was intended to… and has fewer of the problems than I expected to see. So if you have an opponent that would rather play the robots than a “real” Space Empires empire, don’t fret. You’re still going to get to do each of the four X’s that make up the game.

Besides, turn ten where the Replicators start losing entire worlds due to pure exhaustion is right around the corner!

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On the Use of Secret Doors

Hack & Slash - Fri, 03/23/2018 - 12:00
How do you use a secret door?

Secret doors are an opportunity for wonder, amazement, and frustration. They are the diamond of puzzles: optional, intriguing, and rewarding. But they come with unspoken rules and can be misused.

The original rules for secret doors have remained almost unchanged over forty years. Secret doors and passages are not visible. Searching a 10'x10' section of wall takes a full turn. Men, Dwarves, and Hobbits discover secret doors on a roll of 1 or 2 on a six-sided die, and Elves discover them on a roll of 1-4. Elves may automatically discover secret doors they pass with a roll of 1 or 2.

After that, they are just treated as normal doors. Which as we all know are immincal to player characters and only open on a roll of 1 or 2.

While this is certainly an acceptable option, this text is located in Men and Magic, Volume 1:

"Caller: Okay, what does the room look like—we're examining the walls, ceiling, floor, and contents of the room itself.Referee: (After checking to see if dwarves and/or elves are in the party:) The room is a truncated pyramid. The east wall is the truncated part, directly opposite the door you entered. It is 10' long with another door in it. The walls connecting it to the west wall, the place you entered, are each about 35' long. The west wall, which is where you entered is 30' long with a door in the middle of the wall. The elf has noted that there seems to be a hollow spot near the east end of the southeast wall. The floor and ceiling seem to have nothing unusual. The room contains the bodies of the gnolls, a pile of refuse in the north corner of the west wall, and two trunks along the wall opposite the one which sounds hollow. Caller: The elf will check out the hollow sound, one of us will sort through the refuse, each trunk will be opened by one of us, and the remaining two (naming exactly who this is) will each guard a door, listening to get an advance warning if anything approaches.Referee: Another check on the hollow sound reveals a secret door which opens onto a flight of stairs down to the south. The refuse is nothing but sticks, bones, offal and old clothes. One chest is empty; the other had a poison needle on the lock. (Here a check to see if the character opening it makes his saving throw for poison.) The chest with the poison needle is full of copper pieces — appears to be about 2,000 of them."The Referee has taken the mechanical effect and turned it into a real-world situation. The elf doesn't discover a secret door, but rather a 'hollow spot' that could be anything.

This is the real magic of secret doors, which is why I always design a mechanism to open a secret door within the environment. For players, this creates interest no matter how the secret door is interacted with, instead of frustration.

  1. First, the players don't discover the secret door or the trigger. They go on their way, unencumbered by any knowledge as the treasure and other rooms stay safely hidden away for future delvers. Party Experience: If you don't know you missed something you can't be upset about it. 
  2. Second, the players discover the secret door, but not the trigger. They can discern the presence of a passage, but can't access it! This creates a puzzle of how to open the door. Of course like all doors it's possible to attempt to force it down, or even take the time and make the noise to bash it apart. But those both have consequences.* 
  3. Players discover the trigger and not the door, and are amazed and surprised when a secret passage opens!
Taking the extra time to come up with some triggering mechanisms for secret doors is the only additional work this requires from the Referee. I've already written an article on some basic types of secret doors here: On the Thursday Trick: 10 Basic Secret Doors for when your module or adventure has a ton of secret doors. 
There are rules for using these correctly also. Everything behind a secret door must be optional. Everything behind a secret door must be optional. If you've got something that's necessary for play to proceed, you shouldn't place it behind a secret door or a puzzle. I've told you three times now so you know it's true. If you commit this enormity, it's on you.
* Players always want to escalate! The attempt to open the door with the die roll is exactly that. Everyone working together to try and force open the door. That's the assumption. Either it's successful, or the group has failed in their efforts to open the door. Retrying is pointless. Attempting to do this takes a full turn which assumes retrying is happening. What occurs for the entire 10 minutes they are trying to open the door? They are trying to open it! Failing the roll is a failure.
"BUT!" comes the hue and cry from the players, "What if we are HUMANS and we use our WILL TO AVOID ACCEPTING REALITY". Well, fine. I'm running a game. You guys are heroes. You can bash down the door. Not kick it open, but literally bash it to pieces so it can't close on you and you can have free access to the passage. Why not? It takes longer than a turn, requires some tools that can damage wood or stone (depending) and has some side effects. Usually I have every monster in rooms within 100 or so feet show up in addition to three rolls on the wandering monster table. Sometimes they do make that choice, and it leads to exciting gameplay. After all, the monsters aren't necessarily all friendly with each other. And the question of dealing with 3+ encounters simultaneously in exchange for not taking the time to figure out how the door actually opens is a completely reasonable exchange. 
There are of course, caveats. It is important that you don't engage in "pixel bitching". If the secret door is opened by a button on the vertical part of a stair, and the players say "We search the area" you tell them they find a button on a vertical part of the stair. I would encourage you to recall that they do not have perfect knowledge like you do. Perhaps that button turns the stairs into a deadly slide. Providing multiple things that look like triggers, some of which are trapped, also leads to good gameplay. 
Very frequently just taking the turn to look around the room provides the trigger to a secret door. But that doesn't mean it's always obvious. One of the most challenging secret doors I've run is a secret door in a room with a iron chandelier on an iron chain. The room is otherwise empty. The way to open the door is simply to pull the iron chain six times. Behind the door are three keys (two trapped with yellow mold and one real golden key). The keys are optional that give players access to extra treasure.
This kind of challenge for the secret door is the exception. Like encounters, some secret doors are easy (It's a swiveling wall!) with a low challenge, and some are hard. This balance is key.
When running secret doors remember choice paralysis. In your mind it is easy to keep different areas of the dungeon separate. But if a player is approaching an encounter in character, this button could trigger anything in the dungeon! In order to reduce this option paralysis and keep things fun for the actual people at the table,  I try to provide some guidance as to scope. Much like in a video game, if a switch/trigger doesn't do anything obvious I give some insight into what it might be affecting. I try to be rather explicit about the scope of puzzles. In the example above, for example, I always let the players know that the iron chandelier is related to the nearby door to avoid confusion or uncertainty that the real trigger might be somewhere else or that the chandelier isn't related to the secret door and is doing something unknown somewhere else in the dungeon. 
People don't show up to play a game to be confused and made to feel stupid. 
If you aren't using secret doors, you should be. Have fun with them in your game and be sure to let me know how it goes!
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Day 1 of the #MY30DayWorld : 30 Second Pitch

Gamer Goggles - Fri, 03/23/2018 - 01:48

Matt Tells you about his world in 30 seconds. This is a part of #My30DayWorld.

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

I think I should work on this a little bit.  Next up What’s the name of your world?

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Thalos

Greyhawk Grognard - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 23:56
Tucked away in one of the corners of the Sundered Empire on the far northwest of Oerik is an island called Thalos. When I did my Beyond the Flanaess series of posts a few years ago, I naturally included it, but recently there's been a request to show the full-size version because someone is thinking about setting a campaign there.

As an impulsive whim of beneficence has overtaken me (quite alien to my normal nature as a Dungeon Master), I have decided to put together a composite map from the earlier ones, and post it here at full size. It's not a perfect map, because I just superimposed one atop another (you can probably see where, where the coast line sort of disappears), but it's serviceable. If I ever do the area in detail, it'll certainly get redone.

Click to embiggen.


I'm not going to get into the history of the place. Those with access to the Chainmail setting know it all already, and a quick Google search of "Thalos Chainmail" will get most of the broad strokes to everyone else. Part of the problem is that my own focus is on CY 576 at the moment, and Chainmail takes place years later. But it will be interesting to explore what the place looks like before the death of Stratis, won't it...?
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Sentinels Revision Wish List

The Splintered Realm - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 20:55
Since I'm at least working on a deluxe edition of Sentinels of Echo City, I thought it was worth asking what people wanted to see in this edition... here are my priorities right now:
1. Merge the absolute power guide into the core rules, and clean up/add to the traits (powers) listings. As it is, it's a pretty substantial list, but there may be a dozen or so powers I can add. Go ahead and send ideas my way. Add anything useful that came out of the various small supplements I published (maybe specific rules for underwater, space, other dimensions...)2. Clean up the level vs. level modifier thing (see my recent post on the topic).3. Specific rules for Battle Suits (I'll post about that soon) and maybe a magic system that is more comprehensive and super-heroic and less D+D ish.4. Flesh out the game world and Echo City more substantially.5. Give more information for the Game Master and add another layer of meat for those running games.6. Clean up the language (for example, the overuse of the word 'take' for any modifier in any situation. At least change it to 'suffer' for penalties)...7. Add some more starter adventures.8. All of the art in a consistent, iconic style. All of the images will be like these:
I also would like feedback on format. I go back and forth between an 8.5" x 11" book with 2-column pages (probably around 128-144 pages when it's done) or the 6" x 9" 1-column format of the original book (probably closer to 200 pages when it's done). I think if people tend to use print, the larger book is better; if people use devices to read and reference the game, the smaller format with single columns is better. I'm not sure what people would prefer...



Sentinels of Echo City Deluxe has begun...

The Splintered Realm - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 20:38
Let’s talk about level and hit dice
One of the things I notice as I look over the rules for SoEC is the use of Level Modifier. It’s a little bit clunky. I mean, it’s only one mechanic, and it’s easy enough to remember, but why not just have it be level, and cut the level scale in half (going from levels 1 to 6 instead of 1 to 12)? There are a few reasons:
- Level sets hit dice. If you cut level in half, you are effectively cutting hit dice in half as well. That is problematic.- Level sets attack modifiers for creatures that are not built like supers. A dragon of level 6 should be getting better than +6 to attack.
These are simple enough to solve.
Option one: you set every level as granting 2d6 hit points. This makes level 1 characters more durable (a good thing for supers) and makes each level a bit more significant (since you are earning all of your bonuses every level. That’s nice). It also means that minions and normals have 1d6 hit points, which sets them off well from the superhero population. You can also increase ability points to 2 per level (maybe with a limitation that they cannot both go in the same attribute). NPCs that aren’t built as supers take level x2 as their base attack bonus. The level 6 dragon is attacking at +12.
Option two: you set hit dice based on the size or type of the character, a la Saga of the Splintered Realm:
1d4    Small Creatures1d6    Medium Creatures, Normal and Exceptional humans (Tony without Iron Man armor)1d8    Large Creatures; Enhanced humans, standard supers (85% of supers)1d10    Huge Creatures; Especially hardy or larger supers (The Thing, Superman) 1d12    Giant Creatures (Dragons, Giants, probably Thanos, maybe the Hulk just because)1d20    Gargantuan (Godzilla, Galactus) or entities (Hela)
You start at level 1 with 2D hit dice, and add 1D of the appropriate type, each level thereafter.
Either way, this is my proposed revised XP progression chart (with the second option HD thrown in):Level - XP - Hit Dice1 - 0 XP - 2D2 - 150 XP - 3D3 - 500 XP - 4D4 - 1,500 XP - 5D5 - 5,000 XP - 6D6 - 15,000 XP - 7D
This means that Thanos, as a level 6 foe with CON 24 (+9) has 7d12+54 hit points, and he rolls well, so this puts him well over 100 hp, probably close to 125. Eh... maybe he's level 7 or 8, and we cap levels for mortals at 6.

Everything Published After 1940 is Inauthentic

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 13:40

Everything published after 1940 is inauthentic. To explain why I’m going to introduce my own “three-legged stool” theory of successful literature.  The three legs are thrills, wonder, and romance.

Thrills, because no one wants to read a story where nothing exciting happens. Adventure, heh! Excitment, hrumph! A jedi maybe isn’t supposed to crave these things. But everyone else sure does!

Wonder, because no one would settle for a mere story when they could instead experience a legend. An epic, even. An encounter with something truly mythical! Underworlds, overworlds, gods, and heroes are fundamental to the human psyche. People crave encounters with the superlative and the transcendent.

And romance. Ah, romance! Because face it, there is only one thing that can truly motivate an adventurer to risk everything in a daring journey into the unknown. Sure, there are all kinds of other motivations out there you could think up. But this one trumps them all!

What happened in 1940?

In a word, modernism. A tepid materialist outlook that decreed that the transcendent was out of bounds. An unctuous, slinking cowardice that insinuated that all heroes have feet of clay. A smarmy, contemptuous pretentiousness that insisted that our concepts of good and evil were arbitrary social constructs.

These losers rolled into town and kicked away the old stool. They declared it juvenile. They sneered. They mocked. They made a lot of noise about their “literary qualia” and the supposed deficiencies of their predecessors. They beat their chests and gave each other awards. And then they went on a decades long crusade in order to ensure that people couldn’t even imagine what the old stuff was like. And they made a new stool: instead of thrills, wonder, and romance, they gave us lectures, “realism”, and a celebration every conceivable evolutionary dead end you could mention.

But on a fundamental level, that stuff really doesn’t speak to who we are. They thought they could take the reins of culture and write whatever they wanted on the supposed blank slates of our minds. Yet time and again in field after field we see the same pattern: the greater the success of these sorts of people, the more astonishing the ensuing market correction.

They told us we were on the wrong side of history. But all this time it’s been them that had this distinction. And watching this play out, it’s clear: those “childish” stories of the ancient Greeks that we’ve told and retold over the course of centuries…? They’re far more applicable to describing what is actually happening in the wide world than anything the Poindexters have managed to put forward.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

DC at Marvel: Bring On the Bad Guys

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 11:00
This is a follow-up to this post and those that came after.


SILVER SCARAB

STATISTICS
F                 RM   (30)
A                 RM  (30)
S                 RM  (30)
E                 RM   (30)
R                 GD (10)
I                   EX   (20)
P                  EX   (20)
Health: 120
Karma: 50
Resources: GD (10)

BACKGROUND
Real Name: Anton Hastor
Occupation: KGB special operative
Identity: Known to authorities
Legal Status: Citizen of the USSR
Place of Birth: Unknown
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Previously New York City, now Moscow
Group Affiliation: Former Soviet Super-Soldier

KNOWN POWERS
None.
Nth Metal Armor: All powers and enhanced abilities derive from a powered nth metal exoskeleton he wears Without it, his physical stats at F TY, A GD, S GD, E GD. The Armor possess Incredible Material Strength and has the following powers:
Body Armor: Incredible rank.
Flight: Remarkable airspeed.
Energy Blast: Remarkable damage.
Solar Absorption: Remarkable rank.
Self-Sustenance: 1 hour air supply.
Talents: Trained spy, engineer.

History: Anton Hastor either is (or believes himself to be) the reincarnation of an Egyptian high priest. He is obsessed with killing Hawkman and Hawkgirl, but wishes to still all of Hawkman's inventions for the Soviet Union as well.


STAR SAPPHIRE

STATISTICS
F                 RM   (30)
A                 RM  (40)
S                 GD   (10)
E                 RM   (30)
R                 EX (20)
I                   GD   (10)
P                  EX   (30)
Health: 100
Karma: 60
Resources: EX (20)

BACKGROUND
Real Name: Carol Ferris
Occupation: Queen of the Femizons; Acting head of Ferris Aerospace
Identity: Secret
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record
Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: Carl Ferris (father)
Base of Operations: Central City, California
Group Affiliation: Queen of the Femizons

KNOWN POWERS
Star Sapphire: All powers are derived from jewel of Amazing material strength she wears.
Energy Blasts: Amazing rank.
Force Blasts: Amazing Rank.
Force Field: a solidified energy shield of Amazing rank in a single area.
Flight: Incredible air speed within atmosphere, Class 3000 in space
Life Support: A life-support field, providing breathable air and protection from the elements, as well as an Amazing force field. This field can be sustained even if she is unconscious.
Phasing: Remarkable rank.
Talents: Pilot, business.
History: Ferris is the boss and sometimes love interest of Hal Hogan, the Green Lantern. On a solo flight across the California desert, Ferris was transported to the 23rd Century (though she was initially allowed to believe it was a different planet) where a gynocratic civilization known as the Sisterhood of Femizonia had emerged in North America after a nuclear war. The sacred jewel fallen from space the Sisterhood venerated told them to select Ferris as their queen. The jewel pushed Ferris to proof her superiority to men by defeating Green Lantern.

Some Quick Notes on Best of the Dragon Vol. I From the Strategic Review and The Dragon Vol. I & II

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 06:20
There comes a time when you have to go back to the source material once again. For many people this means going back to Cons & onto forums of original Dungeons & Dragons. But for me its crack open a dog eared copy of the Best Of The Dragon Volume I & II. This tome has within it a whole array of articles from the hey days of the Strategic Review & Dragon's earliest issues. So why is this Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Lake Geneva Original RPG Campaign: Interview With the RPG Pundit

Lord of the Green Dragons - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 22:45
Lake Geneva Original RPG Campaign: Interview With the RPG Pundit: After 2 months of back and forth amid so much happening on my end, including the passing of my wife's father (may Georges Hachet ...
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Superhero Design Work

The Splintered Realm - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 20:00
I had a lot of fun designing Cupcake Scouts (which you should totally check out, by the way), especially in terms of some of the visuals of the monster design work. I started playing with silhouettes as the primary way to convey images, and I ended up liking them quite a bit. They end up giving you more iconic interpretations of monsters. Just for fun, I did some of the same stuff for a theoretical second edition of Sentinels of Echo City, and these are the things I knocked out in a few hours... I like it for exactly its archetypal, iconic approach. These are not particular characters: they are iconic sorts of characters, although they also somehow evoke quite a bit. I somehow know a lot about each of them, without knowing anything at all.



An Army Ants Page... Just Because

The Splintered Realm - Wed, 03/21/2018 - 18:19
For some reason, I felt like drawing an Army Ants page for the first time in three years... so I did. What the heck, right? I decided to play with color a little bit. I'm getting more confident and a bit cleaner in using color. My first few dozen tries at color have almost universally been a bit muddy. This is starting to look a little bit sharper...

And no, I don't plan on doing anything with this. It's just a page.


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