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Frayed Lands draft in the works

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First draft is in the works. Currently 62pgs. with illustrations and >20,000 words. System is my “Simple 2d6” product available on RPGNow.com and DriveThruRPG.com.

There’s fast cars, ruins to explore, river traders, monstrous creatures, preternatural storms, spellcrafters, and more. Here is part of the prologue to set the flavour.

Playing Frayed Lands

Frayed Lands is about fast custom armoured cars racing through the wastelands. Crews of agents seeking answers and preventing threats. Adventurers exploring wild lands. River traders reaching out to remote settlements. Scavengers picking over ruins looking for the big find. Characters are anthropomorphic animals and altered humans. Threats abound in multitudinous forms; gangs, rival agents, smugglers, mutants, night-terrors, but the worst are those horrors from the Fray: those places where reality had been torn and another has bulged through like an intestine out of an abdominal wound.

For places like Sheridan, Furlham and Northumber this was a saving grace that prevented them perishing in a magical apocalypse. However, places like the lands near Argus and the Stonecrest it has been the beginning of what could be a magical apocalypse on Earth.

Your characters will be agents of a major power within this new world. They will investigate threats to their government, corporation, gang, or coven. Through investigation, travel and combat they will halt these threats or divert them. Horrors lurk in the wild abandoned places but so does the advanced technology of the ancients, or magic of the ruined kingdoms that fell through the Fray. The only thing that is for sure in the Frayed Lands is danger.

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Splatbook Cancer

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In the never-ending quest for power they forged an idea: the splatbook (expansion book). Revenue, alternatives, exotic-ness, all for the price of admission. Unfortunately designers desired for their exotic class to be the one ruling class and power creep spread like a shadow. More splatbooks furthered it like mutating cells and the cancer took root in the industry.

The flowery language is to describe something I’ve observed over decades. Splatbooks have power creep. More splatbooks make more power creep. More power creep makes cancerous character builds. Cancer characters castrate core characters.

For d20 system games the power creep can be extreme. It is not limited to them. Some games have power creep that destroys its internal narrative: Exalted, for example, where Solars become the least capable of the celestial reincarnations once splatbook cancer sets in yet the narratives says they are the world-savers. The main focus of expansions ought to be world building and campaign. Character classes are where the splatbook cancer creeps and requires the most vigilance to prevent class destabilization. What I recommend is buying world/source books over character class expansion books.

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Gaming Again

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Pathfinder “Rise of the Runelords”. So far PF is about the same as DnD 3.x. The campaign is, to date, a little reminiscent of “Power Behind the Throne” with a bit less conspiracy – but the fleshed out townsfolk is refreshing. Sandpoint really comes across as a breathing settlement. We are only level-2 and barely into the game.

Vargus “Gus” Icepelt – Warpriest, Human
Odol Ironjaw – Barbarian, Dwarf
Mo of Riddleport – Bard, Halfling
Silk of Korvosa – Rogue, Human

http://paizo.com/products/btpy8tc0?Pathfinder-Adventure-Path-Rise-of-the-Runelords-Anniversary-Edition

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Warhammer 1st edition – fixing the “Naked Dwarf”

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“Naked Dwarf” syndrome is an oversight of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying Game’s toughness mechanic. That is where a creature, monster, humanoid, can reduce damage by their Toughness value. Damage is rarely more than 6 so a Dwarf with 6 or 7 toughness is very difficult to damage.

Solution: Dwarves gain +1 armor point on head, arms and body with any armor worn.

Tough as all hell

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Frayed Lands

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FRAYED LANDS

Take the magnificent flexibility of RIFTS and put it in a working rule-set. That is Frayed Lands.

fray opens up unlicensed

 

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Duration System becomes Triple Ought System

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Duration system was an effort for an action oriented contemporary and beyond game setting. It is more on the simulation spectrum than fantasy yet indulges action-movie sensibilities. Essentially you can achieve the action sci-fi adventure with the rules not preventing suspension of disbelief.

Triple Ought uses 3d10 as the core roll, where d20 would use a d20, and this gives a good bell curve that has middling results a bit more often that 2 dice based core rolls. 3 dice smooths out that curve a bit more and makes it less “digital”, or obviously granular.

Core is 3d10 + Skill + mods vs. base TN of 15. Characters typically start with +12 or more in their chosen specialty and this can be raised with gear bonuses.

BLAS:ERS is inspired by Battlelord of the 23rd Century (BL) and having a rules “lite” version. At first I cut BL down to 4 stats, from 8, and kept most of the combat complexity. Then I started analyzing probabilities to be reminded how often I forget that d100 is a flat line just like d20 (which I don’t like because it removes the expectation of an average roll value). Of course the base setting is tweaked a bit to be human only and not really about the FTL tech. A “powder only” version is actually preferable because it keeps weapons on a standard spectrum. BL has personnel weapons starting at 1d2 going up to 10d10 and higher. With armour on a similarly large spectrum. This makes it more about gear and resources (IMO). BLAS:ERS is more about skill and tactics, I hope, with the element of gear and resources tweaking it a little for surprises.

Triple Ought happens to line up with Shadowrun (SR) gear in a surprising coincidence. One can import SR gear with little effort (SR2 and SR3). So that’s a nice bonus. If you’re interested in a draft contact me through the side bar information.

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RPGs Require Art

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Inspiring art is a benchmark for a quality product in the RPG industry. Without a captivating cover the book relies on marketing and reputation to reach players. For the private publisher this requires budget. Cover-quality art is about $1000 per piece from pro-artists. It will be a gamble if the cover-art alone can net you sales to recoup those costs.

What does this say about the people we sell RPG product to?

They are visually driven. The branding of RPGs is around the imagination of the artist who illustrate the product. It also says, to me, that we gamers are far less imaginative than we believe.

Peace and giggles.

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D20 Rune Paths at RPGNOW

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Another product released; this time d20 RUNE PATHS hits the virtual shelves at RPGNow.com

D20 RUNE PATHS at RPGNow.Com

Rune Paths are quasi-dimensional trails through forests that are slightly outside of space and time. Rangers are best at accessing them but Druids can, too. Using a Rune Path can greatly speed the travel of any group and lead to a very fast traversal of the forest. The risk is losing the trail which puts the lost person in the ‘primordial’ forest which sits slightly outside of time and space. The only way back out is on a Rune Path.

It’s only $5.00 so check it out.

Rune Paths d20 cover 2b logo

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Why Mechanics & Rules Matter

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When you enter a new system there’s usually a setting attached. It doesn’t have to be provided by the publishers because it’s inherent in the way the rules allow characters to interact with their setting. If uber-powerful reincarnated gods can be mowed down by a single squad of archers when the rule descriptions say otherwise then there’s a dissonance which undermines the fundaments of the game; and that is detrimental to fun.

Of course it’ll be impossible to make perfect mechanics because of preference differences. We can see that some rulesets expect an adversarial game-table in the way they describe the game running. Others expect the GM to provide for player desires and adapt to whatever they want, implying the GM is their to provide for the players. We all come to the table to get something out of it so it is best to co-operate.

I have a little saying: “Practice the 3BCs”.

  1. Be constructive. No matter what you do try to move towards building something for your game.
  2. Be co-operative. Work with everyone else at the table. Build characters to feed of each other. Consult the GM for ways to have hooks built-in to your background, or to get place-names incorporated into your BG.
  3. Be creative. With the above provisions you can fuel the creative fires and start building an awesome campaign.

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Passing the Rift Weave

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Around Stonecrest is a rift in the weave of time and space. This makes Stonecrest a place that is slightly out of time and space of the island of Kiltayre, and perhaps other places.

Traversing the Rift Weave requires intent and power. Stonecrest is therefore the home of various wizards, sorcerors, geomancers, clerics, priests and archmages.

The mechanic for traversing the Rift Weave is a pretty simple Will save. Base DC is 20 to get through to within sight (0-5 miles) of the location (Kiltayre of Stonecrest). Failure means you’re a random distance in a random direction from the target location area and you take subdual damage equal to the failure margin – which is also the distance in miles.

Example: Base DC 20, Will save total is 14. Displaced 6 miles in random direction and take 6 subdual damage.

However, you can alter the time of arrival by 30 minutes forward or back if you pour power into the travel. This raises the DC by 5 per 30 minutes. Each SL of power added to the group’s travel, if they are tied together, adds to the Will save. A guide, or guides, can add power but not go through the rift.

Minimum power required is 1 SL per person. If time alteration is intended the minimum is 3 SL per person. There is no discount or surcharge for large or small creatures.

Example: a party is going through Rift Weave with a guide. The total SL added to the travel is 16. Each party member who is tied together can add 16 to the Will save. The guide stays behind.

If the DC is 50 or higher, then the power requirements double. This restricts time traversed to 3 hours.

Using the Rift Weave to traverse time more than your level in hours per week has some nasty side-effects– like long-term spell-energy drain (lose PP, or SL, available per day), negative levels, ability drain and in rare cases internal anti-magic matrices that prevent the recovery of any magical energy whatsoever (even Supernatural Abilities).

The last effect of traversing the Rift Weave is the energies can dispel existing enchantments. Roll 2d20 as a caster level check against each effect.

It is a potentially dangerous things and it keeps most hostile spellcasters out of Stonecrest; since they rarely want to arrive depleted.

In light of all this the Rift Weave still has secrets. The time-travel component is not widely known and there are entities within, some attracted to negative energy, others attracted to positive energy. In all it is a risky move and each trip is different.

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