The Splintered Realm

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Michael Desinghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03826501692186095437noreply@blogger.comBlogger679125
Updated: 1 week 1 day ago

Random Supers Thoughts

Mon, 07/29/2019 - 20:40
1. I am mulling over what to do with The Stalwart Age #3. The draft of it is done, but I ran into a problem with it in terms of alignment with the core rules; I have something happening about 10-15 years earlier than it is suggested in the core rules; I suppose it could take a decade for the effects of an event to reach the masses, but I don't know... I don't want to give anything away, but I'm not sure if I want to go ahead as it is, make some major edits, or just rework the story completely. I'm at a bit of a crossroads with it.

2. Someone left a 3-star review on Echo City Sentinel #1... since it is free, and one page, and doesn't promise to be more than it is, I'm not sure why it gets a 3-star rating; but it's all good. I do wonder about 3-star ratings sometimes; many of the 3-star ratings have been with no review. I would welcome the feedback to know why people thought a product was lacking. Oh well.

3. I've been toying with some alternate character generation rules, and I really like where they are going. In thinking about how battlesuits work, I was thinking of a modified set of rules for character templates; if you want to roll up a character who is a bruiser, I could easily create a simple set of rules that makes sure you will get a bruiser, but also leaves the opportunity open for random things as well. It would allocate dice in different ways, and change the odds of getting certain abilities. For example, here's the brick archetype I'm thinking of:

Brick:

Origin: Roll normally. You could theoretically be a prodigy with a biomech suit that makes you a brick...

Traits: You have 1d6 random traits. Roll 1d10 below for your traits. You automatically receive either invulnerability or imperviousness, in addition to the 1d6 other traits.

1. Body Armor
2. Weapon, Melee
3. Pummel
4. Shockwave
5. Large
6. Alter Ego
7. Leaping
8. Tolerance
9. Energy Body
10. Roll randomly using the tables in the core rules

Attributes: When rolling for attributes, roll the following dice (either re-roll 1s or roll 1 additional die and keep the best dice allocated):

STR - 4d6
INT - 2d6
PWR - 3d6
DEX - 3d6
CON - 4d6
CHA - 2d6

So you want to roll up a character 'like' the Thing? Good news: use this quick guide and you'll get something like what you want... with probably a surprise or two you didn't expect.

So, to play test this:

I roll for origin and get 3. My character is a construct. I'm already thinking golem... and those +1d6 hit points are going to be useful.
Roll 1d6 for imperv (1-3) or invuln (4-6), and get 3; imperviousness it is. I roll and get 5; 1d8 imperviousness is going to be nice.
I roll 1d6 for total traits and get 6! Wow. That's a lot of traits; I roll and get:
4 shockwave
5 large
6 alter ego
8 tolerance
9 energy body
10 random trait (11 channel, 5 matter conversion)

He's a brick... and so much more. This is a lot to process, but it's still pretty unified feeling. As for traits:

STR - 4d6 and get 20 (!)
INT - 2d6 and get 7
PWR - 3d6 and get 13
DEX - 3d6 and get 13
CON - 4d6 and get 13
CHA - 2d6 and get 8

Dang. This boy is going to be pretty tough. No pummel, so he's going to be using found weapons. I'm going to min/max the CHA 8 to 6 to bump CON up to 14.

Okay, I've got my theme; he's basically an ice elemental. His matter conversion allows him to turn anything inorganic he touches into ice. This allows him to create a lot of found weapons, and to use these in combat (since his pummel is lame at the default 1d4).

He has tolerance to cold; it's not complete immunity, but it's close with his imperviousness stacked on top.
He is a big boy, roll d8 for hit points.
His energy body is going to be an ice body. His shockwave is actually a roar.

Ymir's Fist, Hero 2
AC 15; HD 4d8+1d6+8 (hp 35); Feat +8; Melee attack (+9/1d4+7)
STR 20 (+7); INT 7 (-); PWR 13 (+3)
DEX 13 (+3); CON 14 (+4); CHA 6 (-)
Traits: Alter Ego; Energy Body (deals 3 cold damage vs. melee); Large; Matter Conversion (inorganic to ice); Shockwave (1d6+7 to 30'; Feat for half); Tolerance (cold)
Talents: Focused (+10% xp); Second Wind (recover 1d6+2 hp once per turn, 2x per day) 
Drawback: Fear of fire (complex)

He's a magical creation generated by an ancient Norse ritual that bound a northern spirit into the body of a random dude who was part of an archaeological expedition, trying to get undergrad credit. He got a little more than he bargained for... the spirit comes out when it wants to, against the will of the student.

So, I get to play a character kind of like the Thing... but in a lot of ways, not really :)


Echo City Update

Tue, 07/23/2019 - 23:01
Believe it or not, I've got several irons in the fire for Sentinels of Echo City!

First up, I've released the first issue of a brief newsletter that I plan to have as an ongoing thing (yeah, I know... but I can try). It's one page. It's free. It's got some game stuff. It has a villain I've had on the back burner for over a year. Go get it.

Second of all, I've been working diligently on the next few issues of Doc Stalwart's adventures. I have had a rough outline of where I wanted the story to go, but I didn't really know how to get there... and then suddenly the thread to bring it all together emerged. Right now, I have a first draft done of issues 3, 4, and 5! I expect those will be out monthly for the next three months to get back on track with that. I've got an issue with the Norse gods, one on the moon, and one that ends up in the desert. I'm excited about this story arc, and where it's going. 

On The Fly Design Testing

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 00:42
Two weeks ago, my daughter Grace said she wanted to try playing one of my games...

After I picked my jaw up off the floor and stopped crying tears of joy, she rolled up a superhero and I took her through a short adventure. She actually liked it.

Then, last week, she said she wanted to try the fantasy game, and she made an elf scout, and I made a dwarf myrmidon. We went through part of the introductory adventure from the core rules and had fun. She wanted to play again tonight...

I decided to play test a system that I have had on the back burner for years, and which I think I read about somewhere else, but I have no idea where (I am not claiming originality on this; I am sure one of you can point me to where I got it from).

Roll 2d6:
3+  Probably
5 + Likely
7+  Maybe
9+  Unlikely
11+Very Unlikely

A roll of 2 is always NO; 12 is always YES.

You build the dungeon on the fly by asking questions and rolling 2d6. Before you roll, you decide the likelihood of an event happening... Is there a door? (Maybe, so yes on a roll of 7 or better) If so, it it locked (probably, so yes on a roll of 3 or better). Is the lock trapped (unlikely, so yes on a roll of 9 or better). Once the door is open... is there a monster in here (Maybe). Does the monster have treasure (unlikely). Is there anything else interesting in the room (unlikely). Is it a magic pool (very unlikely)... and so it goes...

Here's the map of the adventure we created in this way. I planned NONE of this, but we ended up exploring an underground river behind a waterfall in elfin lands that used to be a dragon's lair. We found the bones of the dragon (long dead), were attacked by a pack of swimming rats, and encountered three water-spirit elves at the base of a 10' waterfall that attacked us but then gave us a figurine of wondrous power when they realized they were going to be destroyed. It was a great adventure that I never would have designed on my own, and as we went Grace started asking questions and deciding on things without my prompting, which was fun to see as well.


Number Crunchin Time (Dollar Edition)

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 15:05
One of the things I wanted to do last month was release a whole bunch of product and see what stuck. I wanted to get a sense of how much interest there was in my stuff. Here's a recap since March 1 for five releases:

Stalwart Age Issue 1 (149 Downloads; $23.60 Gross Sales)
Stalwart Age Issue 2 (96 Downloads; $5.16 Gross Sales)
B1: Dungeon Denizens (181 Downloads; $8.65 Gross Sales)
C1: Trove of Treasures (114 Downloads; $4.00 Gross Sales)
D1: Against the Goblins (96 Downloads; $3.05 Gross Sales)

However, for context, there are two other important figures:

Sentinels of Echo City Deluxe Edition (9 Downloads; $78.11 Gross Sales)
A1: Tales of the Splintered Realm Core Rules (44 Downloads; $3.00 Gross Sales)

It's hard to take away anything concrete here, but there are a few general observations about these trends:

1. The primary purpose of the PWYW supplements is to drive sales of the core rules. Since the core rules for Tales of the Splintered Realm are also PWYW, that breaks the whole model. The benefit of Stalwart Age is not necessarily the sales of those supplements, but the way it drove sales of a game that is over a year old. At this rate, each PWYW release for Sentinels could be reasonably expected to generate 3-5 downloads of that game, which is nothing to scoff at. Making $20-$30 for releasing an 8-10 page supplement is a good business model from my end.

2. Stalwart Age 1 did remarkably well; earning over $20 when none of the other PWYW releases got to $10. That's maybe the first issue effect or something, since sales for 2 were in line with other PWYW releases.

3. The fact that the monster book had twice as many downloads, and over 2x the sales, of the adventure was surprising. I guess that the takeaway is to come out with more monster books than adventures; I didn't expect that, but I suppose that's already the model that D+D pretty much established; core rules sell the most, monster books and player guides second, and adventures in third place. My own small sample shows this trend to be true.

What all this means is that I better get going on Stalwart Age #3... that's in the early stages, but I hope to have it out by the end of the month (so I can still put May on the cover). I have a handful of story ideas for it, but I'm working out long-term plot stuff that will help the unify the whole thing later on a little better.

Let's Go Against the Goblins!

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 01:34

Module D1: Against the Goblins is now for sale. Here's the elevator pitch (for a really, really slow elevator)....
Overview
It seems like an easy enough task: cleanse the mound of the goblins. Not so fast there, buster brown. These goblins are bat-poop crazy. Maybe from eating all the bat poop. It’s time to take arms against the goblins.
Against the Goblins is designed for a fellowship of four heroes of level 1. This is designed for use with the free Tales of the Splintered Realmrules, or you can easily adapt this to the OSR game of your choice. I’m not saying you should do that, only that you can.
About the Goblins
These goblins are… different. They had a decent thing going here with a fortified mound. But then they discovered the slime pools… and the enchanted mushrooms… and then they started consuming bat poop.
It’s a whole thing.
The result is that there is a mound full of crazy, magically jacked-up goblins that live a paranoid and chaotic existence. As with all Tales of the Splintered Realm releases, this is a pay-what-you-want offering.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Sun, 04/21/2019 - 21:34
You might remember that I posted this map a few weeks ago. As I have been writing up the adventure, I felt like the map was a little... cramped. I also didn't like how pieces of it were fitting together with each other in terms of the 'flow' of the adventure... so I gave myself a do over.

May I present the goblin's burrow version 2.0: