17 November 2019

Ætherjack’s Almanac Number 1

How exactly do golden barges traverse the humpbacked sky?
The anti-canonical answer to that is found here in the first issue of Ætherjack’s Almanac. Covering the three most common forms of engines, an unemployed elemental background, and npc statistics for air and fire elementals.

This is the first thing I've made with Affinity Publisher.

12 November 2019

Troikajammer 1.x Engines


These are rough mechanical ideas to facilitate dumping Spelljammer on top of Troika for purposes of having some rules.
Honestly should get around to asking the few other people who have done this for what they did, but also anti-canon.
As these are mostly just a conversion kind of thing I won't be bothering to rename most things.
Spell Engines
To fuel one of these engines someone must expend stamina as if they were casting a spell. This is enough to fuel one day's operation.
Ship/Spelljammer Rating is based on the Skill+Level of the spell being "cast."
For minor helms SR = 1/3 total Skill rating.
For major helms SR = 1/2 total Skill rating.
Elemental Engines
It costs 1d3 stamina to fuel one for one day.
SR is 1/2 the elemental's relevant piloting Skill rating.
These consume metals.
The SR is always 2. The amounts listed are a week's worth of fuel. Examples are in parentheses.
Iron - 5 TONS
Lead - 1 TON
Semiprecious metals (silver) - 8 pounds
Precious metals (gold or platinum) - 1 ounce
Ultra-rare metals (uranium or other radioisotopes) - 1/2 ounce

Related to these posts Spelljammer X Eberron posts

Part One
Part Two
Part 3

11 November 2019

Veterans Day 2019 Sales

So I've been telling myself that I was going to aggressively promote my games during this holiday weekend because I am a US Veteran and a disabled one at that.
Kind of forgot to promote myself during the weekend.
But I have two sales for today only.

Almost all of my games are 33% off for today.

And I have two games for 100% off today.

Also Science-Fantasy Potpourri is still bundled with Troika! Numinous Edition.

And if you miss the sale today, it suddenly became Veterans and Military Families Month this year, so I've had a 5% off sale this month.

Additionally, almost all of my games with price have some number of Community Copies which means you can probably get anything you want for free with the assumption that is due to some financial hardship. With a condition that I only add Community Copies based on the number of copies or money tipped sold.

And a reminder that if you want Science-Fantasy Potpourri you can still get copies from Melsonian Arts Council. There are an extremely limited number of copies and I do not know whether I will ever do another run.

If you want to keep up to date with High Fructose Hyper-Space a Troika-centric space supplement while I work on it you can still get updates here, but if you want to do that while supporting me you can check out my patreon which does have stuff like doodles and art wips.

Trying to make functional satirical monsters

Some critictism I have seen about Troika! is that no one is playing it, or folx are only making backgrounds and not other important content or some bullshit.
So, I was already planning on retooling these to be monsters.

Sof Boi Ludological Engineer
These pastel haired milk skinned beings are frequently found at the center of cults to their various, and seemingly minute and inane, interaction fictions and games. even if found alone, their cults are distant in the physical realm.
Skill 8
Stamina 8
Initiative 3
Armor 0
Damage Only Social
Can test skill to summon the phantoms of their diverse cult boost initiative by 1d6 which will be used to attempt to weasel out of any hostile situation (one frequently caused by themselves).

Woke Marketing Broseph
A sadly common being in larger cities and infosphere. Commonly found expanding upon older texts of ancient lore and amusements for added value; leveraging their wealth and position to enrich themselves; praying before their dark corporate lords; or directing attacks upon any whom have wounded their egos. Rarely found alone. They have a crowd of sycophants willing to sing their praises and commit "clandestine" acts of sabotage.
Skill 9
Stamina 13
Initiative 2
Armor -1
Damage Only to money

Sharp Lords of the March
These old money artistes dabble in all manners of amusements while slumming so deeply they have disguised their monied origins. Fond of ingratiating themselves deeply with the downtrodden, forming small armies to engage their foes for minor grievances.
Skill 9
Stamina 6
Armor -1
Initiative 3
Damage whatever their minions are using.
Can attempt to engage all foes in a "debate" by testing Skills, during which no other actions can be taken.

02 November 2019

Traumatized Mechanized Infantry Soldier a Troika! background

Traumatized Mechanized Infantry Soldier

You were betrayed by your unit deep in the humpbacked sky on a raiding mission. Left to suffer a slow death in the void through a combination of luck and a seemingly bottomless well of resolve found yourself on the outskirts of <insert your choice of multiplanar megalopolis with a junkyard>.
Breathing Mask
Light environmental suit
Partially refurbished solo standing tank
Advanced Skills
3 Standing Tank Fighting
2 Fist Fighting
2 Micro-grav Fighting
2 Standing Tank Programming
2 Engineering
2 Pistolet Fighting
Whenever you are reduced to zero or less Stamina, test Luck to survive, adding an advancement check every advanced skill you possess and add point to your maximum Stamina and Skill. (Note: this can clearly be abused so like don't or you might just die anyways).
You may test Standing Tank Programming <something involving initiative or as dodging skill?> as well as to have your Standing Tank act on its own for a number of rounds equal your to Standing Tank Programming skill.

01 November 2019

Sof Boi Ludological Engineer Troika! Background

Sof Boi Ludological Engineer
Your calm soft hair and choice of soft non-threatening coloring conceal your inner nature.
The aforementioned soft pastel hair (facial hair is optional but recommended to show you are not afraid of gender roles)
Viewing crystal broadcaster
Over rated treatise on the methodologies of pedagogical ludonarratives
More hair dye
A miniature self portrait highlight the ur-sof-boi that is you
A distant but massive cult
Advance Skills
1 Speaking
1 Ludonarrativition
3 privilege denial
3 deflection
Test luck to signal to your cult that an imaginary tribe hates you

20 October 2019

Unemployed Drive Elemental a Troika! background

Unemployed Drive Elemental

In some savage spheres your kin are imprisoned in engines, forced to labor, slowly dying in both body and soul. Fortunately, you hail from a sphere where such atrocities never happened while still inventing the mechanics of harnessing the power of elementals. Or at least such atrocities are so far past as to have been long forgotten. As such, you are a trained and formerly licensed, bonded, and insured Drive Elemental.

1d3 sixths of a mortal soul
Elemental Brethren of Drives & Engine membership card, expired
Intersphere work permit, exired
3d6 unpaid and overdue traffic citations
A body of and shrouded with flame (lightly armored & fists as fire bolt) or wind (modestly armored & fists as maul)

Advanced Skills
3 Astrology
3 Secret Signs - Elemental Navigation Buoys
2 Human Sexology
2 Fist Fighting
2 Golden Barge Pilot
2 Shuttle Pilot
2 Flitter Pilot
2 Spaceship Pilot
2 Dock & Harbor Smooth-talking
1 Elemental Bureaucracy

Assume you have 2 in any flying craft Pilot skill, but track the advancement of each and every such skill separately. (Or don't. It's not my game).
As both your membership card and work permits are expired, you, or a factor, must negotiate with any sphere's elemental court, bureaucracy, guild, or union to function in the capacity of a drive elemental within that sphere as well the duration and other such minutia.
Related to my Eberron X Spelljammer posts.
Part One
Part Two
Part 3

19 October 2019

#troikajam and backgrounds

I wrote a background for #troikajam, then wrote some more inspired by that in a manner, then took them all down, then updated Dead Traveller Character for the jam. Then re-posted the other backgrounds.

<<<<Troika Background Jam >>>> 

Been a wild couple of days.

17 October 2019

Even more Magical Exalted

Even more Magical Exalted

The Life Giving Sun and their companion the Ever Changing Moon are important beings

Possible mechanics:

Each charm has a mastery track (progress clock), and once found and "equipped" this track fills. Until the track is filled, the charm takes up "space." I guess this is experience for the charm. Something like materia I guess.

Related is the idea of each N sessions a MG's charm capacity increases in the same way that characters in Goon hacks level up each session and improve the inventory stat equivalent.

It is likely I'll place a hardcap of +4 from charms to any given move. This is to mirror the spread of attribute scores from other pbta games.

The goal to make/convert charms that grow MGs horizontally not vertically, if that makes sense.

Adjust the move success ranges to account for charm bonuses. Or have the level of a threat/difficulty either modify the move roll or have its own success ranges.

Some musings:

Someone once told me that magical girl is different from shonen fighting anime because in one combat is not how things are resolved. Sure. But at the end of the episode, and this relates to mecha anime, each show leads to a final moment that usually resolved with martial conflict regardless of what the actual build up through the episode was. There is always some kind of personal growth, some kind of interpersonal growth. The main characters are to various extents fueled by the feelings. The power of friendship frequently is what wins the day.

This is like the D&D is about combat argument in that folx get wrapped up in the wrapping paper. Sure, the trappings are important because the way we talk about similar things is what makes them different. So I don't want to be overly reductive, but say that the amount of cross-over in the themes of these genre is negligible feels wrong.

But, just like I've quipped that detailed rules for an aspect of a game form the setting. They provide a scaffold to hang the characters from. This is a long(?) drawn-out way to explain or justify what might turn in an "excessive" emphasis on magical combat for MFXalted.

There are a lot of "D&Disms" I am working against, but I may embrace if only because things like wandering a Nightmare Labyrinth as D&D-esque dungeon is a different take than other folx are probably doing with magical girl rpgs. We don't all have to have the same design goals. Hell, it's probably good we don't as we can filch from each other and other folx can remix our ideas.

I was going to muse through what it actually means to say PMMM is a deconstruction of the MG genre or that Mob Psycho is a MG anime because it is an inversion of shonen anime. Because I don't really know?

I am shooting for a much more hopeful or uplifting base assumption than something like PMMM or even Magical Fury. Such as the companions generally not having deep dark secret/malign goals like Kyuubey. More like Luna or Cerberus.

convert a few charms to being a name, one line description, and bonus.

get around to continuing Magic Knight Rayearth and Revolutionary Girl Utena.

16 October 2019

Some more Magical Fury X Exalted Stuff

Illustration from Undine by Arthur Rackham
The broad scope of this mashup campaign.

Part of the reason why I haven't written more on this mashup idea is that Magical Fury (MF) doesn't have stats/attributes/etc or a lot of other traditional things, so I didn't really know what I SHOULD do with the idea of the magical girls gathering charms or spells or whatever. I went from a here is the list of charms or where they come from and what they vaguely do with powers or something, to use them as basically cool things to say during the rolls. It went vaguer because even if you restrict yourself to the charms and spells from 1e Exalted core, that is a LOT of charms to write up for very little payoff because of the way I felt MF was written.

Fast-forward to Troika! and Goon Hack Jam. Both are pretty dead simple with what equipment do, if you have a relevant thing it's a +1 to the roll unless specified otherwise. Additionally, Troika! has possessions that aren't physical things like an Exciting Accent or Quixotic Undertaking. So it sets the idea of non-physical equipment in my brain, leading to Extradimensional Friends, by myself, and several other Goon hacks with similar takes on equipment as non-physical things, songs, martial arts techniques, philosophical concepts. Someone even wrote a magical girl goon hack, based on Card Captor Sakura, which did this with magical cards.

So charms in Exalted are magical supernatural powers that cool names and do things that effect realty in a variety of interesting ways. But charm can also mean a cool little tchotchkes. At the moment I don't know I want to have them be physical things or metaphysical, but I do know I want them to occupy a space, grant minor bonuses to relevant activities, and negatively impact rolls if too many are "carried." There are still just so many charms that I don't think I'll ever do really real full write-ups for them, but I will for some of them just to illustrate how simple I want to make this, because for most part any given charm will only be +1 to a relevant roll.

Combos are another important part of how charms work in Exalted and I'm thinking about that as well.

What does this all mean beyond all that shit?

I want to make charms things the magical girls will have to find to aid them in their mission to fight (for whatever that ends up being) (or not) against the growing forces of the Neverborn and the Green Sun witches and magical girls and the sorcerers of the dragon-blooded families.

Also working on the tone I want beyond trying to do as positive of a bend as possible even if things look bleak.

14 October 2019

Science-Fantasy Potpourri Backgrounds for Troika! zines can be found...

...here, at Melsonian Arts Council if you are someplace other than the US.
Or here on my Itch.io page if you are in the US.
And if you are local you can pick them up here at Tacoma Games.

This first run was a very small run, so each place has very limited quantities.

In game related news, I am still plugging away at High Fructose Hyperspace, and there is a Troika! Background Jam starting on Itch.io.

10 October 2019

High Fructose Hyperspace Part One

Decided this morning to release each discrete piece of High Fructose Hyperspace as a zini/pamphlet to keep from getting wrapped around the axle. First up is the map and key ver 1. Hazards have not been placed yet and might be cut. The sphere's are only named in this zine. Subsequent zinis will be on a single system/sphere and maybe its gate station. The way itch is working for this project for the moment I'm leaving this zine at $5 and the $10 preorder placeholder will at some point get all the subsequent zinis and later compilation. There will also be a later physical version.

07 October 2019

Updates for High Fructose Hyperspace will on Itch and Patreon

I'll be doing the "fancy" or graphic/illustration updates for High Fructose Hyperspace in the Preorder doc on my itch page. Things like replacing placeholder text for glyphs with the glyphs on the map, which is the latest update as seen here in the dev log.

Rough notes from my notebooks and wip of illustrations will be updated to my patreon.

05 October 2019

Short Sphere Descriptions High Fructose Hyperspace the last two, Lollipop and Ice Cream

<lollipop icon>: entry/exit gate for the LOLLIPOP sytem. This massive planet is thickly forested with giant lollipop trees inhabited by all manner of sugar sprites. It is ruled by a Fairy Princess. It is encircled by a solid ring of rainbow candy. It has multiple candy disk moons, each shaped to a specific phase of Luna of Terra. The GATE is built in the dark center of the New Moon. The Beanstalk is multiple overgrown and intergrown trees reaching out through and past the Ring.

<ICE CREAM CONE ICON>: the entry/exit gate for the ICE CREAM System. The sole planet is a massive Neptunian ice giant. It is covered totally by a sparkling ocean of sodas of all flavor upon which float ice cream bergs. The sky is filled with fluffy whipped cream clouds. Within the distance Oort Cloud are candied fruits, nuts, cookies and other assorted ice cream toppings from which there are frequent toppings comets and subsequent frequent and regular meteor showers. It has two large moons, one of sherbet and the other of sorbet. The Beanstalk is an ice cream berg so massive it rests on the bottom of the soda seas reaching past the whipped cream clouds. Planetary legends says the mountain is either where the Queen of the system sleeps or that the mountain IS the Queen. It is inhabited by an extremely diverse population, representatives of the peoples of other Candy Space systems have lived there for thousands of years. Notable creatures native only here are the frozen bananafolk, sodaceanids, and licorice krakens battling gummi whales in the deeps.

03 October 2019

Character Traits, Passions, Motivations and other such mechanics NOT rooted in the physical

Other random thoughts with regards to BRP Mecha.
  1.  I think I discovered a disconnect between my assumptions as the assumptions of the author of BRP Mecha, in that melee combat is extremely damaging even in the default rules for the real robot suggested rules, and melee combat seems to be intended to not be a part of RR games for Size Classes 1 and 2. Where as Super Robot games with the default assumption that all mecha are Size Class 3 and the kaiju they fight are Size Class 5 or higher, the armor values due to the way that armor is calculated based on Size Class and the assumed tech level or genre, are higher, and seem to scale faster than damage does, which I guess could be why he suggests that no matter how large a SR actually is, it stays Size Class 3. Like, a rough conversion of a Battletech Atlas, a 100ton mech, had it doing the same damage as a Spartan, a 29 metric ton Destroid, despite being over 3 times the mass and 50% taller, but that larger height was enough to bump it into Size Class 3 vs the Spartans Size Class 2, giving a bump in armor, and the capability of carrying larger ranged weapons.
  2. There is also the whole "fate points" and "motivations" thing. Fate points really being replenishable HP that are used to bump skill rolls during combat and therefore take on the plot armor role that increasing HP have in games with levels. Naturally I have no problem with players dying. To me a situation is much more tense if a character doesn't have some kind of plot immunity. That is not to say that I don't think that a heroic character should be prevented from calling up on some kind of inner reserve of strength to triumph over crazy odds. I mean the PKs are piloting 12m tall mecha. Which brings me to...
  3. Since I am using KAP, I have those lovely Passions, which can be used to become impassioned, giving sizable bonuses to rolls that are pertinent to the situation. The downside is that failing a roll will make the Passion decrease and fumbling one will cause the PK to go mad for one or more years and essentially removed from play until GM fiat returns her to play. But to me this is extremely in genre for Arthurian Romance, and even anime. Along side Traits that can, and eventually will, compel a PK to act against his interests, the Traits and Passions do model the fact that many anime heroes do stupid shit that they know they shouldn't, or are hopelessly mired in conflicting Passions and their innate natures. Like those stupid love triangles: Rick, Lisa and Minmay from Robotech being a good example.
  4. This for some reason flies against the views of author of BRP Mecha. One of his opposing points makes sense in the context of player agency:
    Moreover, the KAP or RQ6 passion system is often used to direct a character's course of action by requesting a roll in order to act. This should NEVER - and I stress NEVER - happen in Mecha, where activation of a motivation is always decided by a player. Once the players have learned how much they need Fate in battle, no one will dare start a game without throwing in his or her in-character scene. At this point, there is little reason to request "rolls to see if you can do this or that": you will probably identify the correct course of action by yourselves.
    It is your game, but personally I feel that compelling a player character's actions is always the worst option. When an ethical choice is to be made, there are plenty of people who are uncomfortable if the GM or a game mechanics tell them what their characters would actually do. If you leave players a choice, those who like rolling on their traits can still do it - the GM cannot prevent them deciding their player choice based on a Motivation roll, even if this is not prescribed by the rules - and this will be fun for them. However, if the GM is given a tool to dictate PC behaviour, then those players who prefer to make their own ethical decisions will feel their characters "taken out of their hands" and cease to have fun. One option is fun for everyone, the other option is not fun for someone: in such a situation, I always choose the way that guarantees fun to everybody.
     BUT KAP Traits don't absolutely compel action until a character has a 16 in that Trait. Granted acting contrary to a Trait should get a check on the opposing Trait. Also, the default for Traits in KAP 5.1 is that Relgious Traits start as 13, Valor is 15, and everything else is 10, which the option to increase one or more Traits during character gen. So to me, in the context of KAP and even an anime game, the Traits help a player remember what she intended with her character without being a straight-jacket against player agency.
  5. And he thinks that Passions would be terrible Motivations because they lack verbosity and specificity.
    Nothing prevents you using Traits and Passions, as they are, as Motivations, save the facts that the suggested formulation of Motivations in BRP Mecha is way more complicate than that given in KAP. And there is a reason for this. If you read the full-page example about Motivations, there is one thing about it that I have not transcribed. One of the players (the one playing Baron) had "Brave" as a motivation, the other had "I never turn my back to danger". As shown in the example, "Never turn..." is way more significant and has many more facets that you can effectively exploit in game. KAP and RQ6 are not as verbose with Traits/Passions as HeroQuest, and Mecha is best played with verbose Motivations.
     Which to me is just silly. A Passion that a character starts with or acquires during play is going to have reasoning behind it. Every default PK has Hate (Saxons), and there multiple reasons why they would, many of them simultaneous: they are invaders is the first most obvious, but there is the implication that everyone will have had at least family member slain by the invaders. Why does a character need a full bleeding sentence with a very specific reasoning?
    We recommend that you phrase a Motivation
    so that it contains at least two major themes,
    so that the Gamemaster and the other players
    have a wider choice of options to interact with
    your Motivation if you activate it. For instance,
    “Hatred for the Zaburai aliens” is an allowed
    Motivation, but “Hates the Zaburai for killing
    her beloved Patrick” is way more interesting
    and useful in game terms. The Gamemaster is in
    charge of asking questions to players about their
    Motivations before play begins (“What are your
    actual reasons to hate the Zaburai? Do you have
    anything personal or is it just that they are the
    enemy?”), and inviting them to better specify all
    details about them.

    I don't understand the need for verbosity with a character's Motivation. Maybe it's because his assumption is that BRP Mecha is going to have pre-combat scenes for each character that has non-combat drama, but I still don't really understand where this concept actually comes from in anime. Also the idea that Motivations need verbose specificity seems to be an attempt to both ensure that the GM can't say no, and to curtail the amount of GM fiat that gets used in the name of greater player agency. For some reason this reminds of the proliferation of narrowly defined feats and combat maneuvers in 3.x and PF.

23 September 2019

Short Sphere Descriptions for High Fructose Hyperspace 4/6

<plum icon>: entry/exit of hyperspace to the CANDIED FRUIT system. The sun is cheery and warm. The sole planet is orbited by the hyperspace gate station and a single moon-sized sugar plum. The "beanstalk" takes the form of a massive gingerbread tree. The entire planet is forested with gingerbread trees growing a variety of sugared and candied fruits. The inhabitants are short, stocky, green-furred people. Some of the fruits may grant a limited form of immortality, but only while within the system.
<peppermint icon>: entry/exit of hyperspace to the PEPPERMINT STICK system. The sun is a cold, small, white dwarf. The sole large planet is orbited by the hyperspace gate station and a cluster of peppermint shards, the remains of the shattered moon. The "beanstalk" is a miles tall pillar of peppermint candy. The planet is icy cold and covered with huge pillars of fractally growing mint candies. The primary inhabitants are giant semi-mechanical constructs of peppermint. The grown peppermint can be used as a superlatively strong construction material, suitable for large buildings and ships. Whole groves act like pipe organs when the strong icy winds blow through them.
<gumdrop icon>: entry/exit of hyperspace to the GUMDROP system. The sun is a multicolored mass that appears to be several suns mashed together. The system is a belt of asteroid-sized gumdrops and sugar crystals. Around the sole dwarf planet orbits the hyperspace gate structure. There is no "beanstalk." The inhabitants are a variety of gargantuan beasts, trolls, and giants composed of gums and gelatin.
<peanut icon>: entry/exit of hyperspace to the NUT BRITTLE system.

19 September 2019

Working Draft Explanation for the Map of High Fructose Hyperspace.

High Fructose Hyper Space
Candy Space
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.
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

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.

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

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.

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.


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.

Ætherjack’s Almanac Number 1

How exactly do golden barges traverse the humpbacked sky? The anti-canonical answer to that is found here in the first issue of Æther...