Montag, Mai 20, 2013

[magic item] Manuals of Lasra

After Lasra had received a magic quill by an elven witch he did not write poetry, only. A collection of manuals is attributed to his authorship, as well. These manuals had been written by device of the quill and enhanced with several obscure enchantments that allow students of the manuals to make rapid learning-process by following the given instructions, affirmations, and exercises. Powerful mind-altering magic is said to be at work here, casting the reader into a realm of altered dreams, and daydreams where he is confronted with different tasks to solve in order to practice his skills, and gain higher understanding of the cosmos and its laws, and the perception of the self within and the connection to others.

The manuals are written on fine enchanted papyrus, and leather-bound as books. There exist several copies of most of the manuals. Each one is highly sought-after. Some of the guilds want them out of circulation. The Library of Harmony is rumored to have many volumes of Lasra's manuals stored in its vault.

A Selection of the Manuals of Lasra
  • Geometry, Cartography, and the Great Cities, and their Temples
  • The Fine Art of Fencing
  • The Fine Art of the Quarterstaff
  • The Good Recipes for Feast, Lunch, and Campfire
  • The Bestiary of Woods, and Hills
  • Sailing Sea, and Swimming River
  • Elven Runes, and Dwarven Riddles
  • Writing Anecdotes, Witty Songs, and Love Poems
  • The Art of Music
  • Of Gods, and Godlings, and the Hierarchy of the World
  • Seven Engineers: Building Ship, Bridge, Fort, and Town
Note that simply browsing through the manuals does not affect skills, or understanding. Each manual sets differents tasks and challanges with the dream realm, that have to be bested. There is no limit to the number of attempts at the different tasks.
Students of the manuals often took notes, tested problem-solving strategies beforehand, and pondered the mistakes of previous attempts at the tasks. These notes are quite precious for those who seek quick and easy progress with the manuals. But the eager student be warned. It is reported that cheating students were afflicted by some kind of curse, and rarely made profit of their skills. Or maybe it was only because of shame that they never put their aquired skills to much use.

In the Game

Most of the skills aquired by using the manuals are secondary skills. So, the manuals after extensive use and study, will grant the player characters new secondary skills, or allow mastery of those they had previously learned.
In some cases an Attack or Damage Bonus might be applicable, e.g. after studying the Fine Art of the Quarterstaff. Special maneuvers for use with the Hit Points as Currency Rule can be used, as well.

The dream realms created by the enchantment of the manuals can be explored as a mini-adventure.

Sonntag, Mai 19, 2013

FATE Core Final + FATE Accelerated ...

Die Unterstützer des FATE Core Kickstarters erhielten heute die finale Version von FATE Core und eine noch nicht ganz finale Version von FATE Accelerated Edition (FAE), beide als PDF.
FATE Core hat einen Umfang von dreihundertzehn Seiten, während FATE Accelerated mit leseleichten fünfzig Seiten punktet.

Den FATE Core RC May 2013 hatte ich bereits gelesen, weswegen ich die finale Version nur noch überfliegen werde. Was mich wesentlich interessiert ist FATE Accelerated. Diese schnelle Variante wurde (falls ich mich richtig erinnere ...) inspiriert von Kathy Schads deutschsprachiger FATE-Variante FATE-to-Go.

Anstatt verschiedener Fertigkeiten (Skills) wie FATE Core, verwendet FAE sechs Herangehensweisen oder Ansätze (Approaches) für verschiedene Situationen und Handlungen.
Die Ausprägung der Herangehensweisen wird bei Spielbeginn gewählt und gemäß der FATE-Leiter so bewertet: 1x Good +3, 2x Fair +2, 2x Average +1 und 1x Mediocre +0. 

Die sechs Herangehensweisen (Approaches) sind:
  • Careful (vorsichtig)
  • Clever (gewitzt, klug)
  • Flashy (effektvoll, theatralisch)
  • Forceful (kraftvoll, gewaltsam)
  • Quick (schnell, geschickt)
  • Sneaky (listig, hinterhältig)
Damit kann eine Spielfigur beschrieben werden. Ein Comicbarbar könnte so aussehen: Forceful +3, Sneaky/Quick +2, Clever/Flashy +1, Careful +0.

Gewürfelt wird mit sogenannten Fudge- oder FATE-Würfeln, von denen ich mittlerweile eine erstaunliche Menge angesammelt habe, obwohl ich FATE noch nicht einmal bisher spielte.
Das könnte sich mit FATE Accelerated allerdings ändern. Die Print-Version wird voraussichtlich ab Juli 2013 erhältlich sein. FATE Core sei angeblich mit einer Auflagenstärke von 13.000 Exemplaren aus dem Druck gegangen und FAE solle dem Beispiel folgen.

Ich bin gespannt, wie sich mein seltsames Verhältnis zu FATE entwickeln wird.

Weitere Info über das Spiel FATE findet man u.a. auf der offiziellen deutschen FATE-Seite faterpg.de.

Dienstag, Mai 14, 2013

[magic item] Sendrick's Box of Voices

There are rumors that Sendrick had stolen the enchantment from the grim dwarves of the white coast, others want to report that he was merely distributing these objects for one of the dwarven apprentices.
The Boxes of Voices caused a similar stir as the Weird Maps of Life-Like Illusion with owners now trapping voices, and using them for all kinds of mischief.

Box of Voices

These rare boxes are cubes (1'x1'x1') made of wood, crude iron, and kept in a leather sling. They rather look like ordinary boxes to collect small trinkets in.
When a command is spoken the sound of a chosen voice is recorded, and can be released (once only) upon command. The released voice has the exact same volume as recorded.

Box of Voice Trapping

However, there are more powerful versions of these items. They are referred to Boxed of Voice Trapping. If such a box is used on a chosen creature, it magically loses its voice which is then stored in the box.
With another command word the user of the box can now speak whenever he or she wants to using that captured voice. The Box of Voice Trapping has to be in the user's vicinity in order to be used (range: 60').
The voice can be released upon command. A 8th level dispel magic spell can be used to free the creature from the spell.

Sonntag, Mai 12, 2013

Basic Fantasy RPG auf Deutsch

Als kurze Meldung zwischendurch: Basic Fantasy wird in die deutsche Sprache übertragen. Einen kleinen versteckten Text hatte ich bereits dazu geschrieben (Link direkt unter dem Mad-Kyndalanth Header.) Im Basic Fantasy-Forum gibt es ebenfalls einen Thread dazu.

Mittlerweile sind die Teile 1,2 und 4 sowie das Standardcharakterdatenblatt übersetzt. Darin sind die Einführung, die Informationen über Spielercharaktere und Wichtiges für Abenteuer enthalten. Ich werde mit den Zaubersprüchen der Stufe 1 für Magiekundige und Kleriker weitermachen.

Wer Fragen zu dem Projekt hat, kann sich per E-Mail an mich wenden. Ich werde voraussichtlich am 1. Juni auf der RPC sein und würde mich über Plaudereien über Rollenspiele und Allerlei freuen.

Character Development: XP for encounters, gold, and stuff (as in 'good role-playing'?)

This post was inspired by quite a few blog articles on XP, such as Ghoultunnel's EP für Monster

For Gold and Glory

For years I did not have to face giving away experience points as a DM, because there are no XP in my favourite game: the Saga-System. It uses adventuring days, and you merely have to keep track of active days of adventure and skill use.

Now, that I started a campaign using the Basic Fantasy RPG XP distribution matters again. The player characters started out on level 1 with no XP. After the first session they had about 50 XP, and 200 XP after the second session.
That's not much, I gather.
I gave away XP for encounters, and the gold, and treasure they brought home. And that's the rule for experience points I told my players: Your characters receive XP for encounters (defeated, overcome, evaded, and otherwise successfully interacted with) and the gold they brought home.
Remember that Swuff&Slobosh, the player characters, are a treasure hunting dwarven fighter and a human thief. Both players are beginners. They know that the game system is quite deadly, so they do not charge into combat unhesitatingly. What they have not grasped, yet, is that gold has to be brought back home, or otherwise secured in a place they have access to, that treasure has to be sold.
They found a secret place in the woods, a home whose two inhabitants had been turned into undead skeletons. It obviously has not had any looting visitors before. The PCs defeated the skeletons, but Slobosh took a severe hit, and was down to 0 hp bleeding to death. Swuff bandaged him, and managed to haul him back to Morgansfort on a stretcher where his wounds were treated by Father Thelbain.
Then the session was over. Swuff had brought with them some silverware, an expensive mirror, and some coins.

Slobosh will have to recover first, and then they may try to find the secret place again, and haul back some more of the household to gain more XP.

I like the simple approach of XP for encounters, and XP for gold, because it obviously is a rule of a game. There is no need to simulate learning processes.

Good Role-Playing

Back in the teenage days when we played Das Schwarze Auge (DSA 1,and 2) and AD&D 2nd Edition I placed heavy emphasis on XP for participation and good role-playing.
Today you'd hear me snigger thinking about it. Players who do not participate should leave the gaming table. Participation is part of the game, and it is every player's (including the DM) job to make the game interesting, and worthwhile.

And good role-playing, ha! What did I expect? Professional acting? I fourteen-year-old being able to convincingly portray a veteran elven warrior-mage? Nonsense.

No XP for good role-playing. An occasional ruling, however, is possible: great session for everyone? Of course, I'd give out some extra XP - to everyone.

Hard earned XP

I'm no advocate of hard earned XP. Players should know that they earned the XP with their PCs by playing the game. If they decide to take on any dangerous encounters, they earn XP the hard way, should they survive. But I do not advocate putting a leash on the PCs and keeping them short on XP.

I did not give away too many XP in the first sessions, because the player characters faced only few encounters, and brought back little treasure.

Character Development

When I think of money, I do not think of wealth, but of possibilities, options, different paths before me. Without money some paths are restricted. Some steps can never be taken.

When I think of experience, I think of possibilities, options, different paths before me. Without experience some paths are restricted. Some steps can never be taken.

The 1 gp equals 1 XP rule should not be taken to extremes. Finding a treasure hoard with a million gold pieces will not boost your first-level fighter to level 15. There are restrictions within the game system. Basic Fantasy allows PCs to advance only one level from XP gained in a single adventure.
The fighter would be well-advised to guard the hoard, keep it secret, and take home shares of a thousand gold pieces per session.

However, I like the idea that experience, and gold allow the player characters to have a certain influence on the game world. They have options they would not without.

I would then define character development, in general, as the amount of influence the player characters gain on the game world.

Other aspects of character development are:
  • knowledge of the game world: roads, places, people, history
  • property
  • equipment
  • magic items
  • game stats: more hit points, higher attack bonus etc.
  • fame (put those bards to some use, and have them compose songs of your heroic deeds)
  • retainers, and hirelings
  • friends, and contacts
  • enemies
What do you do with that influence?

Some player characters strive for more adventures, more treasure, and more challenging monsters (or they ego-boost themselves by clobbering hordes of 1HD-1 foes ...)

But, in order to device influence you need a plot.

So, here are some questions that deserve an answer:
  1. What do the player characters believe is their story (or part) within the game world?
  2. And how can they make use of their influence to spin the story in a favourable direction?
  3. And what steps in character development would they have to take in order to gain further influence and make still bigger things happen?

What is the truth about experience and the game?

It may be quite simple: Play the game to become better at it.

Montag, Mai 06, 2013

[magic item] Quill of Lasra

Lasra was said to have been a thoughtful, and inquisitive student,  aspiring mastery in philosophy and several arts where he explored paths different from those found by students who followed their teachers.
He had, however, great difficulties in writing his thoughts down, structuring them, and completing them as whole readable texts.

When a female elven witch had an affair with him she crafted a magical quill, put her spells on it, and bestowed it on Lasra as a gift of love.

He completed five volumes of poems the following nights called the Wonders of Love, and the Experience of the Divine.

Quill of Lasra

The quill is bound by a golden clasp set with emerald, and black stone. He who wrotes with it has a direct connection to his higher self, and the surrounding, and is able to channel thought, ideas, concepts through the quill into fluent writing.
There is no writer's block. And any work once begun can be finished, either through a long process of finding oneself, or by helping out with the magic of the quill.

Sonntag, Mai 05, 2013

The Obscure Fantasy RPG Appreciation Day on May 30th

Mesmerized by Sirens initiated an appreciation day for the lesser known, and obscure old school rpgs that had been published from 1975 to 1989.

The blog is devoted to these rare rpg beauties, so over there you will find them celebrated in every blog post. It has a nice new-ish vibe, in a weird kind of way - the old and forgotten can be quite new and fresh to the formerly uninitiated.

Anyway, two appreciation days originated over too many drinks over at Tenkar's Tavern, and now the idea is spreading. Anyone with a love for the obscure rpg is invited, anyone who likes to rant against them is so, too!

OFRPGAD May 30th

There's an old school-ish logo for use with blog posts related to the OFRPGAD. (It sounds like a secret incantation needed to summon Cthulhu, or some dark petty godling, at least. So beware.)

I might write something... About which game, I wonder? Mmh... up to 1989. Got an idea.