Monday, September 30, 2013

Five by Five Weapons, Armor and Damage Alternate Rules

I am working on a Fantasy Supplement for Five by Five. In working on this I have decided that I would like a broader range of variables for weapons and armor than those given in the standard rules.

Here are my:

Five by Five Weapons, Armor and Damage Alternate Rules

The "Roll for Critical" rule for inflicting damage doesn't reward players who wish to focus on their weapons and armor. Below is an experimental new Weapon / Armor chart. Now instead of rolling for "Critcal" you roll for Damage to see if your attack penetrated the target's Armor.

It is possible with this new system to successfully hit but to fail to do any damage. If your weapon is not strong enough it may not penetrate your target's armor. To offset this, I have added a new Critical Success rule.

CRITICAL SUCCESS RULE
When you are using a Trait to perform an action and your Trait Rank Target Number is greater than 0, if you roll exactly what you need to succeed (without using Karma,) you have achieved critcal success!

CRITICAL SUCCESS IN COMBAT
If you score Critical Success with your Attack Roll or your Damage Roll, your attack inflicts +1 Wound of Damage. It is possible (but unlikely) to roll Critical Success on both your Attack and Damage Rolls earning a total +2 Wound bonus.

Using this optional expanded weapons/armor/damage system, attacks have a damage potential from 0 wounds to 4 wounds depending on the weapon and armor involved, and including the possibility of rolling critical success on attack and damage rolls.

If you score Critical Success with your Defense Roll, you are able to act during your turn just as if you were using the Sword and Board Combat Style option.

If your character is already using the Sword and Board option, then you gain a free Defense Roll for this turn. (Usually characters can only defend against one attack each turn, but if your character is using the Sword and Board combat option and they roll a critical Success with their Defense Roll they gain a free Defense Roll enabling them to defend against an additional attack that turn.) It is possible (but unlikely) to roll Critical Success on multiple Defense Rolls in the same turn, each time gaining the ability to Defend against another attack.


NEW WEAPON AND ARMOR RULES

Weapons and Armor are now measured using the same scale as any other Trait. It is no longer necessary to keep track of special numeric values for Weapons or Armor (no special TN's for Weapons or Rank Penalties for Armor.) From now on all we care about is the Armor or Weapon's Rank Descriptor.

For the sake of simplicity Armor and Weapons use the same Rank Descriptors as any other Character Trait. Although it might sound silly to say, "I hit the Orc with my Apprentice Billy Club."  So we just use the Rank Abbreviation. 

In addition, the text follows the abbreviation with an "A" for Armor or a "W" for Weapon. So, if you see the text: Billy Club (ApW) ... you know that the Billy Club has a Weapon Rank of Apprentice.  


Weapon vs. Armor – Roll for Damage!
( XxW = Weapon Rank / XxA = Armor Rank )


UnA
NoA
ApA
JoA
AdA
ExA
MaA
GrA
ElA
WoA
LeA
UnW
0*
20
15
12
10
8
6
5
4
3
2
NoW
2*
0*
20
15
12
10
8
6
5
4
3
ApW
3*
2*
0*
20
15
12
10
8
6
5
4
JoW
4*
3*
2*
0*
20
15
12
10
8
6
5
AdW
5*
4*
3*
2*
0*
20
15
12
10
8
6
ExW
6*
5*
4*
3*
2*
0*
20
15
12
10
8
MaW
8*
6*
5*
4*
3*
2*
0*
20
15
12
10
GrW
10*
8*
6*
5*
4*
3*
2*
0*
20
15
12
ElW
12*
10*
8*
6*
5*
4*
3*
2*
0*
20
15
WoW
15*
12*
10*
8*
6*
5*
4*
3*
2*
0*
20
LeW
20*
15*
12*
10*
8*
6*
5*
4*
3*
2*
0*

* Powerful weapons automatically penetrate weaker armor. The Target of this attack suffers One Wound automatically. Roll this number or less to inflict a Second Wound with your Roll for Damage!  

The chart above shows the Roll for Damage! needed in order for a weapon to successfully penetrate Armor and inflict One Wound of Damage on the Target. This information can be included for each weapon on the character sheet with a 13 column Weapon chart replacing the 8 column chart currently on the character sheet. 

In the Five by Five core book on page 24 I talk about Using Weapons and Armor. I show you how to find your "Critical" target by using the Target Number Table. Under the new system, the text would look something like this:

***

Simple Damage Rule

If you are playing in a setting where you don't care to keep track of the different weapons and armor in the game, use the Simple Damage rule:

Your Attack inflicts 1 Wound Level of Damage. Make a Damage Roll. If you roll 0, you inflict an additional Wound Level of Damage.

***

Advanced Damage Rules

If you want to use Weapon and Armor rules that recognize the impact that this equipment has on combat use the Advanced Damage rules:

WEAPON RANK IS EQUAL TO ARMOR RANK
If your Weapon Rank is equal to the Armor Rank of your opponent you inflict 1 Wound Level of damage. Make a Damage Roll. If you roll 0, you inflict an additional Wound Level of damage. (Notice that this is the same as the Simple Damage Rule.)

WEAPON RANK IS LESSER THAN ARMOR RANK
If your Weapon Rank is lesser than the Armor Rank of your opponent, you inflict 0 Wound Levels of damage. For each step your Weapon Rank is lesser than < your opponent's Armor Rank, find 0 on the Target Number Table and move one step to the left. (The first step to the left of 0 is 20.) This shows the Target number that you will need to inflict 1 Wound Level of damage.

WEAPON RANK IS GREATER THAN ARMOR RANK
If your Weapon Rank is greater than the Armor Rank of your opponent, you inflict 1 Wound Level of damage. For each step that your Weapon Rank is greater than > your opponent's Armor Rank, find 0 on the Target Number Table and move one step to the right. (The first step to the right of 0 is 2.) This shows the Target number that you will need to inflict +1 additional Wound Level of damage.

***

At first glance this might look more complicated than the existing Weapons/Armor/Damage rules, but I believe that in practice these rules will prove to be easier to work with.

With these rules you begin by asking if Weapon Rank and Armor Rank are equal and always begin from the origin point of "0." That's going to be much easier to remember and it eliminates the need for tracking special target numbers and penalty numbers for Weapons and Armor.


Jeff

Thursday, September 26, 2013

13th Age


Dungeons and Dragons 4E really didn't sit well with me. My first RPG experience was AD&D it was first edition, but for us it was just AD&D which distinguished it from Basic D&D which was somehow to our high-school aged minds inferior. I have watched the RPG evolve and I have been along for the ride. And through most of it, after AD&D and high-school I was the GM or referee. I have run so many different games and game systems ... Traveller, Villains and Vigilantes, Champions, Time Master, Star Wars, Ghost Busters, Doctor Who, Mekton, Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play, Dream Park, Toon, High Colonies, Justifiers, Fantasy Hero, Star Hero, Chill, Top Secret, Gamma World, Serenity, Marvel Superhero Adventure Game, Savage Worlds ... I am sure that I have missed a few ...

And there is Dungeons and Dragons, I've run original D&D and AD&D first and second edition and 3rd and 4th Edition, and even some D&D clones Labyrinth Lord, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Castles and Crusades. I have enjoyed all of them. All of the games that I ran were fun to play. But the list of games you see here is so massive because all of them eventually lost their luster and me and my players decide it's time to try something else. The thing is, of all the games I have ever run, 4E probably lost it's luster the quickest.

I know the game system gets it's share of grief. I believe that in some circles in the community the game is considered a failure. I am not sure what it is about the game that ruined it. But, here are my 2 cents ... such as they are ... there are many many mechanics and fiddly bits infused in the name of "game balance" that seem to restrict choice. Role Play felt somehow strangled by this restriction ... I am not sure why, but it was there. The game wasn't friendly enough. It didn't invite you as a play group to "make it your own" to "house rule" and pick and choose. In the name of game balance the whole thing seemed like a very delicate house of cards. We were "afraid" to mess with it ... to "play" with it. So, we didn't. And in a few months we moved on. That's the fairest evaluation I can give.

So ... 13th Age. My brother Chris (who has edited a few of my RPGs for me) is in LOVE with 13th Age. I have been looking it over, and ... it has mechanics and bits that make it so much like 4E it's scary, one of the game's two key designers is Rob Heinsoo who was the lead developer for 4E. Don't take my word for it, there are plenty of reviews of 13th Age out there. I won't get into too much detail here about the game or it's mechanics. I just want to share my "gut" feeling.

If what I speak of above regarding my impressions of 4E are on the mark, then 13th Age speaks to those. Many 4E design mechanics are present, but they are presented in an accessible and modular fashion that invites you to use what you want, change what you want ... to make the game your own. Perhaps there's something to my criticisms of 4E. Perhaps I am not the only one who had this impression of the rules.

So, 13 Age gives the appearance of being more user friendly ... but what really sold me, was USING the rules. I made a few characters, and it was SO MUCH FUN. At first the 4E-ness of it intimidated me and I was a little reluctant to start, but once I made my first character, I was all in. And I went to bed that night thinking about character creation. The next day, I made another character. The picture at top is my second 13th Age character. Both characters were so much fun to make. I find that I want to make more.

My other major concern with 4E was the way that the inaccessible structure seemed to limit role-play by tying everything so tightly up in rules (it really felt like playing a board game.) Well, I already mentioned that 13th Age has loosened up the 4E rules stranglehold. But, as if that weren't enough, the game also is loaded to bare with tools designed to give players all manner of role-play handles. It seems like 13th Age has addressed every concern about 4E that I had, and made the best of corrections.

D&D Next (based on play-test materials only) seems to have removed itself from much of what 4E was in the interest or reclaiming it's audience. It's a very different approach to the problem that was 4E. And, it too makes choices in both making the game that we play more accessible while attempting to retain some of what 4E had so as not to alienate those people who did play and enjoy 4E (they are out there.)

The D&D Next choices are very different, and I don't feel like it's an evolution of the previous edition so much as a reboot. 13th Age seems more like evolution. So, if you were a fan of 4E, then you really owe it to yourself to give 13th Age a look. If not ... well, if what I say above about my impressions of 4E resonate with you at all, then maybe you should look at 13th Age too.

There are some wonky, fiddly gamey-wamey bits that concern me ... but, I am reserving judgement until I have a chance to play. Because there is so much potential good here, it just can't be ignored. And as an aside this is one of the most beautiful game books I have ever bought. I don't mean the illustration or layout necessarily (which are pretty nice) but, rather the actual book. The weight of the paper, the quality of the binding. This is a really fantastically produced piece of hardware. It deserves a spot on your gaming bookshelf for sure.



Jeff

Monday, September 23, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hero Quest Board Artwork


For the Quests in my Diablo version of HeroQuest I am using a nifty program called, The HeroQuest Game Maker. This little tool is awesome for the designing of my quest maps, but I have decided that I'd like to have a final map image that shaded the inaccessible areas of the map and used icons that were more like the ones shown in the original quest book. So, I made my own tool for that.

This is just a layered graphic file that I created in GiMP. GiMP is an opensource graphic program available for free. I am making the final graphic versions of my dungeon maps using this as my foundation. I am really happy with the way that it's turning out.

Feel free to use these in your own HeroQuest projects if you'd like.

Regards,


Jeff

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hero Quest - Diablo Style





My roomies and I are getting ready to embark on a campaign of Milton Bradley's HeroQuest board game. Out of print since around 1993. It is in my opinion the very best implementation of a dungeon crawl board game ever made. If it has one weakness it is (in my opinion) the limited advancement options for the Wizard when compared to the Barbarian, Elf and Dwarf who are able to buy upgrades in the Armory.

The item based advancement system is easily expandable and house ruled and the whole game has received a lot of online support despite its age. This site has an revised version of the game that has been authorized by Hasbro (who owns the Milton Bradley brand.) But it's in French! I don't see any sign of the game being translated to English although I am seriously considering attempting to facilitate the move myself. Any French language speakers interested in helping me out?

My idea for correcting the Wizard advancement problem is simply to remove the "not usable by Wizard" limitation. Of course I needed to have some means to keep the archtypes in place. I decided to make item use based on BODY and MIND. It didn't take me long to realize what I was working on was an item based advancement system that mirrored the original Diablo computer game by Blizzard almost exactly.

And that was that! A HeroQuest Adventure Pack based on the Diablo computer game seemed like the only thing to do! My roomies and I are really looking forward to playing this!

If you want to have a look at what I've done so far, download the PDF of the DiabloQuest pack for HeroQuest and have a look!

Regards,


Jeff Moore