19 September 2019

Working Draft Explanation for the Map of High Fructose Hyperspace.

High Fructose Hyper Space
AKA
Candy Space
Or
Saccharine/Saccharide Space
This sub-net of the ancient Hyper Space Transit Network is modeled by the included map.
The entry point is the red space with the stone arch in the lower left corner.
The exit is the central pink space with the stone arch.
It starts out as a unidirectional and very linear pointcrawl.
Pink spaces signify the systems in this sub-net and their hyper space gates.
<PLACEHOLDER> signify a hyperspace hazard.
Travel through the sub-net is determined by drawing from a deck of colored cards.
Each draw of the deck represents one day of travel. When the sub-net is stabilized each space represents one day of travel downstream and two upstream. <OR 10 DOWN/20 UP??>
This represents the instability of this sub-net.
The ship will travel to the next space on the map that matches the drawn card.
Exceptions this rule are:
Any pink card will move the ship the matching pink space, and subsequently exiting through the gate.
The ship MUST stop in hazard spaces. Reaming there until a matching card is drawn.
Passing by a pink space with a broken gate allows for a disadvantaged Astrology test to notice a hyper space exit, and a disadvantaged Pilot test to exit hyper space. If a map or any other kind of foreknowledge is possessed that there is an exit there allows for a standard Astrology test to notice. Thereafter, it only requires a Pilot test exit.
Once (or if) the party repairs a gate within the sub-net it become bidirectional between it and the adjacent gates and will no longer require a card to be drawn. Travel with the flow is automatic, as travel upstream to another repaired gate. Otherwise, travel upstream requires a disadvantaged Pilot test (failure results in a draw from the deck and subsequent travel downstream).
There are two pairs of "short cuts" signified by a rainbow between two clouds, and a stone gate. Entering the upstream end of a shortcut is automatic if moving to the space, and if passing by requires disadvantaged Astrology and Pilot tests to first notice and then enter. Travel along the shortcuts is always unidirectional.
Additionally either Astrology and/or Pilot can be tested with disadvantage to draw an additional card, choosing one. <FUMBLE RESULTS?>

Hyperspace Hazards
These are ideas for either the cause of the Hazard or an encounter at the Hazard, or as random encounters.
<CURRENTLY> 1d6
1 Hyperspace Snarl
2 Licorice incursion
3 Spacehulk leaking exotic particles
4 Hyperspace Pallet-swapped Elfs
5 Goblin Exploration Team
6 Temporary Engine Failure

↓→↑←: direction of travel on the map of hyperspace.
<shield with rainbow/clouds>: Shortcut in hyperspace. Follow the ARROWS, or for simplicity sake, travel from the ORANGE space to the PURPLE space.
<megalith arch>: shortcut in hyperspace. Follow the ARROWS, or travel from the NORTH to the SOUTH-WEST space.

13 September 2019

Hit Points in Dungeons & Dragons, Or Please Read the Rules of the Game Before Theorizing

AKA
If you want to change how D&D and derivatives do combat (armor and weapons etc), that's fine, but please stop basing your arguments on hp in D&D being meat points. That is to say, granting unarmored AC bonuses to martial characters when they aren't wearing armor so they aren't mechanically disadvantaged because their skills or whatever. Or that <armor as armor class is fine dot arguement>.
 
I'm gonna dive into D&D first. Oe through 5e.
 
Oe: 'Constitution is a combination of health and endurance. It will influence such things as the number of hits which can be take...' 'Hit Dice: This indicates the number of dice rolled in order to determine how many hit points a character can take.'

Oe: 'Whether sustaining accumulative hits will otherwise affect a character is left to the discretion of the referee.' Conclusion: HP are meat and wind, but there also a lot of discretion for the ref. But how much does Oe influence the popular culture around D&D?

Holmes Basic: '[hit points] represents the amount of damage the character can take' Without basically quote the entirity of that paragrah, Holmes in congruent with Oe.

AD&D: PHB pg34 'Hit points represent how much damage (actual or potential) the character can withstand before being killed. A certain amount...represent the actual physical punishment which can be sustained.'

PHB: '[A] significant portion at higher levels stand for skill, luck, and/or magical factors.' '[T]he majoriity of hit points are symbolic of combat skills, luck (bestowed by supernatural powers), and magical forces.'

The AD&D DMG is similar but also uses an extended explanation via Rasputin on pg82.

I'm doing this in a basically chronological order. Moldvay/Cook/Marsh AKA B/X: 'Hit points represent the number of "points" of damage a character or monster can take during a battle before dying.' pg b6

Pretty basic. no Gygaxian prose telling you what. But how many people under the age of 30 grew up with this game?

AD&D 2e: 'Constitution (Con) score encompasses his physique, fitness, health, and physical resistance to hardship, injury, and disease.'
'To allow characters to be heroic (and for ease of play), damage is handled abstractly in the AD&D game. All characters and monsters have a number of hit points. The more hit points a creature has, the harder it is to defeat.'
'The AD&D combat system does not call for specific wounds--scars, broken bones, missing limbs, and the like. And in most cases they shouldn't be applied." I think this particular bit is important.

While constitution is always about physical health, & 2e doesn't go on like 1e on hp, & by spelling out what AD&D doesn't do w/ hp implying that hp is in part physical, by saying it's not recommended to do inflict injuries from hp loss. Also saying hp isn't wholly meat.

Menzter BECMI is pretty much same as B/X. And I hate reading the Menzter Basic books.

Rules Cyclopedia: 'Your character's hit point score represents his ability to survive injury. The higher his hit point score, the more damage he can sustain before dying. Characters who survive long enough to gain a good deal of experience typically gain more and more hit points'
'therefore, an experienced character lasts longer in a fight or other dangerous situations than does an inexperienced character.' That's extent to which the RC addresses hp. But just surviving an injury isn't merely physical toughness.
And you can't experience yourself to withstand multple stab wounds.

FUCKEN 3e pg 128 and 3.5 pg 145: 'What hit points represent: Hit points mean two things in the game world: the ability to take physical punishment and keep going, and the ability to turn a serious blow into a less serious one.
For some characters, hit points may represent divine favor or inner power.' And example of a paladin surviving a fireball as a demonstration of divine favor.
Damnit. Those are the PHB. Not going to dig out the DMG

4e: 'Hit points measure your ability to stand up to punishment, turn deadly strikes into glancing blows, and stay on your feet throughout a battle. Hit points represent more than physical endurance. They represent your character’s skill, luck, and resolve...'
DnD: the Tacticaling still has hp as luck and skill in addition to meatiness.

5e: 'Your character's hit points define how tough your character is in combat and other dangerous situations.' 'Hit points represent a combination of physical and mental durability, the will to live, and luck.'

10 September 2019

(Possibly Bad) Ideas for Troika!

Apply the concept of "just use goblins/bears reskinned" from D&D to create new and interesting monsters.
But there is no bear, so a bear is TWO goblins. And a dire bear is FOUR goblins.

Bear
Skill 10
Stamina 12
Initiative 2
Armor 2
Damage as Large Beast

DIRE BEAR
Skill 20
Stamina 24
Initiative 4
Armor 4
Damage as Gigantic Beast

Could you do better and more inline with the core monsters by using knights of road, manticores, cyclops, and dragons? Probably.

Pull mundane and magical arms from other games without converting their damage dice to a d6 while using the closest damage table to the weapon. When using a weapon with multiple damage dice, use only the highest, unless you want have murder murder MURDER.

Example:
d20 Laser Rifle does 3d8, so roll on the fusil chart taking the best d8 roll of the three. Alternately, use 3d6 to stick with Troika's d6 based everything.
d20 Beam Sword does 2d8, so use the sword or longsword chart in the same manner as above.
Is this balanced? Probably not at all.

08 September 2019

A tweet thread that almost but is instead a blog post about inspiration for game content.

Last night I quipped about how I felt like a genius for looking to board games for inspiration, but no, it's only genius in that aside from CHESS and occasionally poker, do folks look outside of the increasingly recursive RPG hobby for inspiration.

Sure, the much vaunted AD&D Appendix N is a source of inspiration and so is classic literature, but mass market board games, possibly especially children ones, are great examples of rules & occasionally setting design/use.
Uncle Wiggly is based on a series of children's books, and was the most popular best selling children's game from 1916 until Candy Land appeared 1949. Both of which are variants of the Game of the Goose, a 16th century game played in pubs that has been constantly reskined for centuries. These games aren't complex at all being wholly subject to the whim of the dice and therefore having no strategy, but even (especially?) with games like these, the simplicity has a lot of room for expansion in the context of RPGs, particularly if you ascribe to RPGs as collections of minigames, or "D&D is not a game. It's games."
 
The entire hobby is an outgrowth of wargaming, and a lot of games, like Risk, are outgrowths of the same thing. Look at board games. Ask yourself, "what if we just did this thing orthogonal to the game's play?"
 
With respect to the Appendix N in particular in the context of a lot of OSR writing and design and what have you, like fuck Lovecraft, and fuck Tolkien, and fuck Vance (but only little), or even fuck Moorcock (although I wish more mainstream RPGs derived directly from D&D went to his writing and dumpstered Lovecraft and Tolkien). This isn't just about the racism in Lovecraft and Tolkien. They are just so over fucking done. How many folks are looking to the shit that inspired them, never mind directly trying to emulate fiction based on D&D in some inbred ourobor0s of auto-voring. Like old ass wealthy aristocrat Lord Dunsany, who inspired both Lovecraft and Tolkien could be seen as GENIUS REVOLUTIONARY simply because he's different. Like, look to the weird ass children's books from the 19th century. L. Frank Baum Oz series is full weird ass shit that frequently is weirder than the gonzo shit I see pop up in the OSR. Like, who else other than Sorcerer's Skull's Lands of Azurth?

06 September 2019

Compendium Vol II: Science-Fantasy Potpourri Backgrounds for

I got my order from Mixam Wednesday or something. Now that I have them I can do a comparison between them and the two primary Print On Demand services, Drive Thru Rpg and Lulu. These are with nearly identical files, and none of the images were color corrected in anyway and were set in RGB not CYMK.

From Left to Right
Top Row: Mixam and two Lulu Covers
Bottom Row: 3 DTRPG Covers



From Left to Right
Top Row: Mixam Color and Lulu Premium Full Color
Bottom Row: DTRPG
From Left to Right
Mixam Color, Lulu Premium Full Color, Lulu BW,
DTRPG Premium Full Color, DTRPG Standard Full Color Softbound,
DTRPG Standard Full Color Hardcover



Color wise I have a hard time distinguishing between Lulu and Mixam; however, Lulu's saddle stitching is cocked and the trimming isn't as nice with either of the two Lulu proofs. And while there is a marked and quite horrible difference in color, DTRPG's saddle stitching and trimming is nice.
Mixam is also massively more flexible with the weight and finish of the paper. What I ordered is comparable to Lulu's Premium Full Color. And DTRPG paper has roughly the same finish across the three proofs.

Pricewise, Lulu has 2-3 times the base cost of either Mixam or DTRPG.
Ease of use for a total novice, Lulu is the easiest with DTRPG being the biggest pain in the ass barring some wonkiness I had to correct with this Mixam run.
The biggest down side to Mixam is that you have to buy multiples and do your own distro, so you have stock sitting around, unlike with POD.
The biggest upside to Mixam is that past the base price, which is very very likely to be below that of DTRPG is that you don't have to give anyone a cut, unlike the 30-35% cut that DTRPG takes.

So if you like what you see, you can go here to order a physical copy for US side people. 




Melsonian Arts Council will be where you will be able to get it if you are in the rest of the world.
And if it needs saying, boilerplate "Obligatory please don't hunt me down and feed me to the ghoul-bears text: Axes &
Orcs Compendium: Volume Two: Science-Fantasy Potpourri Backgrounds is an independent production by Ian Woolley and is not affiliated with Melsonian Arts Council."

22 August 2019

If your Euro Fantasy Setting has__, it should also have___, or you need to shut up about historical accuracy.

 https://proxy.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fmedia.giphy.com%2Fmedia%2F105OwsN7a4UQ2Q%2Fgiphy.gif&f=1


I am specifically talking about the long running and eternal dispute over "historical accuracy." Which is often trotted out for such things as justifying a lack of diversity in Euro based fantasy settings or the low level of technology.

So potatoes come from the Americas. Along with the tomato, they were imported during the Columbian "Exchange" (someone other than me can do some more unpacking on colonialism).

Ok cool. They came from across the fucking ocean, what does that have to do with historical accuracy.

They weren't cultivated in Europe until about 1544, tomatoes, and 1570, potatoes, both in Spain because conquistadors.

An abbreviated list of technological and cultural things that happened before or during the period when these 2 nightshades were introduced and cultivated in Europe. Because my basic thrust is about technology and diversity, although yall are still racists for having milk-stained folks.

Matchlocks: 1440s
Wheellocks: 1490s
The Protestant Reformation: 1517 to 1521, depending on how you wish to think of its start.
The Gutenberg revolution, i.e. moveable type printing presses: 1540s.
Snaplocks: 1540s
Snaphance: 1550s
Miquelet locks: 1560-70s

A list of historical treatises that cover in part the use of the rapier through this span of time, a perennial favorite of murder stab machine rogues in some games like D&D:
Conclusion, of a sort:
Yall need to learn some history. Yall need to stop using bad history to justify the exclusion of non-Euro peoples and cultures. If yall don't want gun in yall's fantasy setting because of magic sure, but if yall want to include potatoes and tomatoes, yall need to have fantasy equivalent of the Americas. And yall should not be racist as fuck when you do include them.

20 August 2019

[DRAFT] Extradimensional Friends

I've jammed out a game for goon jam. It's riffing on my long suffering Kyuun Kyuun Super Dimensional Love. It is very very rough (it's photos of my notebook pasted into a pdf). But there is a game in it. https://axesorcs.itch.io/extradimensional-friends

16 August 2019

[DRAFT] Gurrenvangelion: Dance Dance Revelations: the Musical: the Roleplaying Game

Gurrenvangelion: Dance Dance Revelations: the Musical: the Roleplaying Game

This is a Draft that has been sitting in my WIP pile since 2014.
This is a roleplaying game in which you and your friends play talented teenaged pilots of experimental war machines. Similar to other mecha games, in G:DDR:aM:tRPG the mecha are used to combat monstrous threats to humanity. However, unlike other mecha based rpgs, the mecha in G:DDR:aM:tRPG are used in titanic dance offs, rock concerts and other feats of the dance and/or musical nature to defeat for lack of a better term, gigantic mimes from outer space. These space mimes are fragments of the nothing before the universe and seek to render the Earth totally silent in part their goal to return things to nothing.

I tossed up on itch.io because reasons?

 

14 August 2019

[DRAFT] High Fructose Hyper Space Travel & Navigation


These are draft rules in plain unformatted text for

High Fructose Hyper Space
AKA
Candy Space
Or
Saccharine/Saccharide Space
This sub-net of the ancient Hyper Space Transit Network is modeled by the included map.



The entry point is the red space with the stone arch in the lower left corner.
The exit is the central pink space with the stone arch.
It starts out as a unidirectional and very linear pointcrawl. The arrows indicate direction of travel.
Pink spaces signify the systems in this sub-net and points of exit from hyper space.
<PLACEHOLDER> signify a hyperspace hazard.
Travel through the sub-net is determined by drawing from a deck of colored cards.
Each draw of the deck represents one day of travel. When the sub-net is stabilized each space represents one day of travel downstream and two upstream. <OR 10 DOWN/20 UP??>
This represents the instability of this sub-net.
The ship will travel to the next space on the map that matches the drawn card.
Exceptions this rule are:
Any pink card will move the ship the matching pink space, and subsequently exiting through the gate.
The ship MUST stop in hazard spaces. Reaming there until a matching card is drawn.
Passing by a pink space with a broken gate allows for a disadvantaged Astrology test to notice a hyper space exit, and a disadvantaged Pilot test to exit hyper space. If a map or any other kind of foreknowledge is possessed that there is an exit there allows for a standard Astrology test to notice. Thereafter, it only requires a Pilot test exit.
Once (or if) the party repairs a gate within the sub-net it become bidirectional between it and the adjacent gates and will no longer require a card to be drawn. Travel with the flow is automatic, as travel upstream to another repaired gate. Otherwise, travel upstream requires a disadvantaged Pilot test (failure results in a draw from the deck and subsequent travel downstream).
There are two pairs of "short cuts" signified by a rainbow between two clouds, and a stone gate. Entering the upstream end of a shortcut is automatic if moving to the space, and if passing by requires disadvantaged Astrology and Pilot tests to first notice and then enter. Travel along the shortcuts is always unidirectional.
Additionally either Astrology and/or Pilot can be tested with disadvantage to draw an additional card, choosing one. <FUMBLE RESULTS?>

Hyperspace Hazards
These are ideas for either the cause of the Hazard or an encounter at the Hazard, or as random encounters.
<CURRENTLY> 1d6
1 Hyperspace Snarl
2 Licorice incursion
3 Spacehulk leaking exotic particles
4 Hyperspace Pallet-swapped Elfs
5 Goblin Exploration Team
6 Temporary Engine Failure

13 August 2019

10. You will die, or a response to a question about the OSR

This is from the dead as a ghost town itch table top forum. This is response to a portion of the greater question and assumptions about old school play.

"10. You will die"

I think this is better stated as "You can die, and it may be at an inopportune or 'dramatically inconvenient moment'" In other words, being a PC doesn't grant them immunity from grave consequences.

"And lastly, "you will die" gives me the issue that... narratively, death is the least interesting thing that could happen. If a character dies, that's the end for them. There's no further drama, laughs or tragedy to be had. It's on this point that I don't think OSR games should really call themselves role-playing games, if this is their focus. They are very much games, but if cycling through multiple characters that die is the point, and its focused on what players can do rather than what characters can do, all those points together make it feel more like a board game with less rules than a role-playing game."

I agree that death as a consequence is one of the least interesting consequences, along with no lasting or serious consequences. I personally have PCs being down at 0 hp in a state of uncertainty until another PC comes to check them with a check penalized by time since 0 hp. and I've also offered other consequences of being downed like dismemberment and the like. Oddly, I've never had any players take me up on that, not even letting me get to actual possibilities of it; choosing death and reroll.

And like David says, I really don't think that even at a basic level, both in rules and in actual play, for death to be a permanent discontinuity in a narrative, such as you can have in D&D.  To me it feels like a reaction to the continuous ease of surviving death and the 'Level Appropriate CR Encounter' mode of 3e onward. Which is as the default CR equal to Average Level is basically 4:1 odds favoring the players. The immediate risk PC death is minimal by design.

There is the play-style of each PC also has a henchperson as well as hirelings which should the PC fall could become the newest PC, maintaining a certain amount of continuity through the shared experiences the previously NPC had with the party and their relationship with the slain.

There is the erase or add a suffix to the PC's name retaining all stats making death to be more of an inconvenience, and in the case of a suffixed name, or even a new name, the 'new' PC is a relation to the prior, with any and all prehistory between them and the drama of "oh my dear sweet dead relation." As well as the rolling up a new character and gaining an inheritance. 

In these cases, yes the PC is dead, but their death is added to the collective's story.

This does ignore the constantly dying at level one situation which means there is can be very little growth and continuity, which is a complaint that is made. This is also where the rewrite the name on the sheet thing most frequently comes into play.

But more importantly, IMO, than these ways of creating continuity through or despite PC death, is that within the Cook/Marsh Expert D&D book it says to make sure the starting town has some kind of temple with a cleric of sufficient power to cast Raise Dead. The Moldvay Basic book doesn't because it doesn't include spells of high enough level. And these two books, B/X, are one of the main editions of D&D to have OSR games based on. 

TL;DR(?)

"You Will Die" should be "Death is a real consequence." And it's more of an immediate consequence of reckless action and an acknowledgement that PCs aren't necessarily favored by fate.

Working Draft Explanation for the Map of High Fructose Hyperspace.

High Fructose Hyper Space AKA Candy Space Or Saccharine/Saccharide Space This sub-net of the ancient Hyper Space Tran...