Friday, May 30, 2014

101 Wises for Torchbearer

  • Aasimar-wise
  • Armor-wise
  • Ambush-wise
  • Betrayal-wise
  • Beholder-wise
  • Bugbear-wise
  • Basilisk-wise
  • Bone-wise
  • Centaur-wise
  • Crypt-wise
  • Chimera-wise
  • Cavern-wise
  • Cult-wise
  • Castle-wise
  • Dragon-wise
  • Demon-wise
  • Desert-wise
  • Disguise-wise
  • Ettin-wise
  • Egg-wise
  • Earthquake-wise
  • Forest-wise
  • Foul Odor-wise
  • Fungus-wise
  • False Idol-wise
  • Flood-wise
  • Goblin-wise
  • Giant-wise
  • Ghost-wise
  • Gargoyle-wise
  • Gold-wise
  • Hobgoblin-wise
  • Hidden Entrance-wise
  • Horse-wise
  • Hag-wise
  • Herb-wise
  • Imp-wise
  • Idol-wise
  • Inscription-wise
  • Illusion-wise
  • Jest-wise
  • Jewel-wise
  • Kobold-wise
  • Key-wise
  • King-wise
  • Knot-wise
  • Lich-wise
  • Lake-wise
  • Lock-wise
  • Labyrinth-wise
  • Lycanthrope-wise
  • Manticore-wise
  • Mindflayer-wise
  • Mountain-wise
  • Merfolk-wise
  • Magic Carpet-wise
  • Naga-wise
  • Necromancy-wise
  • Orc-wise
  • Ooze-wise
  • Oracle-wise
  • Ogre-wise
  • Owlbear-wise
  • Poison-wise
  • Portal-wise
  • Pirate-wise
  • Plains-wise
  • Planes-wise
  • Quicksand-wise
  • Riddle-wise
  • River-wise
  • Ritual Sacrifice-wise
  • Ruins-wise
  • Rune-wise
  • Satyr-wise
  • Sea-wise
  • Swamp-wise
  • Spider-wise
  • Skeleton-wise
  • Shrine-wise
  • Statue-wise
  • Serpent-wise
  • Temple-wise
  • Tomb-wise
  • Trap-wise
  • Troll-wise
  • Tiefling-wise
  • Tsunami-wise
  • Underdark-wise
  • Unicorn-wise
  • Vampire-wise
  • Valley-wise
  • Volcano-wise
  • Vault-wise
  • Worg-wise
  • Witch-wise
  • Ward-wise
  • Wand-wise
  • Wine-wise
  • Yuan Ti-wise
  • Zombie-wise

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dark Dungeons Headed to the Silver Screen

Dark Dungeons brings Jack Chick’s 1984 masterpiece to the silver screen. Debbie and Marcie arrive at college unaware of the dangers of RPGing. They are soon indoctrinated into this dangerous lifestyle where they face the threat of learning real life magical powers, being invited to join a witches’ coven, and resisting the lure of Ms. Frost, a vile temptress of a GM. But what peril must the two friends face when they stumble across the Necronomicon and their fantasy game becomes a reality game? Find out in Dark Dungeons!

From JR Ralls and the makers of The Gamers, Dorkness Rising, Hands of Fate, and JourneyQuest.

Learn more here.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Kickstarter: World of Dew

A World of Dew is a brand new Samurai Noir role-playing game, and a sequel to John Wick’s Blood & Honor. In the original Blood & Honor you played samurai who were members of a clan. In World of Dew you can now play everyone else: perceptive geisha, weary ronin, gargantuan sumo, greedy yakuza, and even gaijin. Instead of being members of a clan I have designed a slick city design system. Players build a vibrant living city with deep connections with both the characters and the rules. 

Fund it here

Kickstarter: Wield

You are an ancient and powerful magical artifact...

... and those who wield you believe themselves  heroes...

... but they are nothing more than disposable pawns.

Who was the wielder, Elric or Stormbringer?

Did anyone ever really master Sauron's One Ring? Or was it the master of all who carried it?

Orna, the sword of Tethra, tells the hero who picks it up the stories of all its murders... thousands upon thousands...

Claíomh Solais, the Sword of Irish Kings, always seemed to have its own agenda, regardless of who held it...

Tales of "willful weapons" are rife in fantasy literature, and now, here is your chance to play one.

Fund it here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sounds from the Crypt #1

For some reason, in my two years of sporadic updates I have never talked about music at the gaming table. This is especially odd since few of my games don't feature music. To remedy this, I bring you the first post in "Sounds from the Crypt", an irregular series of posts that will chronicle the music that gets played at my table as well as some occasional advice on how to get the most out of it.

John Fahey's Death Chants, Breakdowns, and Military Waltzes is one of my favorite albums of all time. It first showed up on my radar about four years ago, when I wasn't even playing RPGs. I'm not sure who had the brilliant stroke of genius in our group to put this one on, but it has never gone out of rotation since.

The album, entirely instrumental, is just perfect for for fantasy RPGs. We never try to use music for certain locations or during certain moments and prefer to just kind of let it organically sync of up with the in-game action. Few albums achieve this so effortlessly as this one.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Equipment Conditions in DCC RPG

One thing I've found is that players often lack for ways to spend their loot. After a few adventures they are usually able to afford any piece of gear they desire. Considering how much time is spent evenly and agreeably dividing the treasure, it should be a little more valuable. In an effort to create a much needed sense of economy and introduce some resource management into DCC RPG, I have created rules for equipment degradation. 
Weapons have three conditions: Good Repair, Damaged, and Broken. At the end of every encounter you must test to see if your weapon degrades. Roll the weapon’s damage die. If the result comes up a 1, it degrades a condition. If it was in good repair, it is now damaged. If it was damaged, it is now broken.
Damaged weapons are not as effective in combat. Reduce all damage done by half, rounded down to a minimum of 1. Track damaged weapons on your sheet by underlining them. This is to remind you that they need to be repaired.
Broken weapons are useless until repaired. Track broken weapons by crossing them out on your character sheet. This is to remind you that you can’t use them until they’ve been repaired. 
Armor has three conditions: Good Repair, Damaged, and Broken. At the end of every encounter you must test to see if your armor degrades. Roll its fumble die. If the result comes up a 1, it degrades a condition. If it was in good repair, it is now damaged. If it was damaged, it is now broken.
Damaged armor is not as effective at protecting you. Reduce it’s AC bonus by half rounded down to a minimum of +1. Track damaged armor on your sheet by underlining it. This is to remind you that it needs to be repaired.
Broken armor offers no protection. Track broken armor by crossing it out on your character sheet. This is to remind you that you can’t use it until it’s been repaired. 

Tools and Other Equipment
Unlike weapons and armor, tools only have two conditions: Good Repair and Broken. After each use, you must check to see if tools are broken. Roll 1d6. On a roll of 1, the item is broken. Unless they were masterwork quality, broken tools are worthless and cannot be repaired. 
Repairing Equipment

The two most common ways to repair items are through using the appropriate skill or hiring a tradesperson in town. The difficulty and cost of repair will vary according to condition and equipment is sometimes so badly damaged it cannot be restored to its former glory.

DC to repair Damaged Equipment: 10
DC to repair Broken Equipment: 15

Cost to Repair Damaged Equipment: 1/4 of Market Price
Cost to Repair Broken Equipment: 1/2 of Market Price

Weapons and armor that were broken can be repaired but only partially. Each time a broken weapon is repaired, reduce it's damage die one step down the dice chain. If this would reduce its damage die below a d3, the weapon shatters and is permanently broken.

Each time broken armor is repaired, reduce its AC bonus by 1 and its fumble die is reduced -1d on dice chain. If an armor's AC bonus is ever reduced to 0, it is too damaged to salvage.

Eventually it will just be worth it to plunk down on a new piece of gear. Better make it masterwork this time!
Masterwork Equipment

Masterwork equipment is made of sturdier stuff than its more mundane counterparts. When rolling to see if a piece of equipment degrades, players may re-roll the die if it comes up a 1. If a second 1 is rolled, then the equipment degrades. Otherwise, it remains in its current condition.

Broken masterwork weapons and armor can be repaired to their original values. The costs are the same for hiring a tradesperson, but the DC and the risk for doing it yourself is higher.

DC to repair Damaged Masterwork Equipment: 15
DC to repair Broken Masterwork Equipment: 20

Players who do not succeed on these rolls still manage to crudely repair their weapons and armor. Reduce the damage die by one on the dice chain for weapons and reduce the AC bonus by 1 for armor and decrease its fumble die -1d on the die chain permanently. It's best to leave this to the professionals!

Damaged masterwork tools and gear are only repaired on a successful roll but do not degrade

To represent this hardiness, all masterwork equipment costs twenty times the market price. Yes, I'm seriously going to charge my players 24,000 gold for a suit of masterwork full plate. Put aside these mechanics for a moment and consider what makes an item masterwork. The workmanship is only half of the equation. The other half is the raw materials. This is your chance to really instill a sense of awe and value into an item. That 24,000 suit of armor? It's made from dragonscale, and you better believe there's only one of them for sale in the entire kingdom. Players who can muster the raw materials themselves (easier said than done) will see a 50% discount.
Magic Items

Magic items follow the same degradation rules as masterwork items.

Salvaged Kit

Weapons and armor salvaged from dungeons and its denizens should have their conditions rolled randomly on the table below.

1: Broken

2-5: Damaged
6: Good Repair

For tools and other equipment, roll on this table:

1-2: Broken
3-6: Good Repair

The shops back in town aren't interested in your trash. They will only purchase items in good repair. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Kickstarter: DCC RPG #83 The Chained Coffin

The adventure is designed for level 5 characters. A whispered voice calls from a coffin bound in chains, urging the heroes into the depths of the Shudder Mountains, a place rife with superstition and forlorn secrets. In the shadowy, pine-grown valleys of the Deep Hollows lurk mysteries of a bygone age and a new evil emerging from the ruins of the past. The adventurers must plumb the mountains’ secluded reaches to root out this rising terror before its power comes to fruition. Standing in their path are cackling witches, subtle devils, lingering spirits, and a foul thing that moves in the night. Can the heroes appease that which lies within the Chained Coffin and thwart the dawn of a new and terrible age?

If it goes to $36,000, this module will grow into a box set. Full details here. Become a backer here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It Revolves on This: Say Yes to Failure

My final piece of advice for playing Burning Wheel is this: do not be afraid to fail. Whereas most games only reward success, Burning Wheel rewards both success and failure. I would even say that it incentivizes failure since its the game's philosophy that failure leads to complications and complications lead to drama and tough choices.

This is one of the things I often find players struggle with most when learning this game. Players want to play it safe and live to see another day. That's not what Burning Wheel is about. It's about challenging your beliefs and seeing how far you'll really go to see them through. Far more likely than dying is having to make difficult decisions about who and what you really care about. You'll never get what you want if you play it safe.

Take the chance, roll the dice, and embrace the outcome, whatever that may be.

Monday, May 12, 2014

It Revolves on This: The Sword and How You Wield It

You've read the rules. You're ready to meet the game on its own terms. You've assembled your group of players. Time to make characters, right? Wrong. As I suggested in a previous post, you should always begin with a module. For Burning Wheel, that means running "The Sword", a simple one-scene scenario meant to introduce the basics of the game.

The situation is a familiar one, how to split the loot, namely, a sword that all of the players have beliefs about. You can find it here, along with each of the characters here, here, here, and here. Side note: if you've been paying attention you have everything you need to take Burning Wheel for a spin between the free "Hub and Spokes" PDF and this adventure.

Aside from the obvious reasons why you should begin with the demo scenario, a major one is simply that creating characters in Burning Wheel is a lengthy process. There are no classes, no obvious builds, no way to game the system. It's all about concept and representing that concept within the rules. Since this will all be alien to new players, I find it's best to front-load the character creation session with "The Sword" so that players will better understand the ramifications of their decisions.

After you've played through this scenario, start talking about what you liked. What did the system do that interests you? What do you want to see more of? Keep talking and asking questions. Eventually you will have enough that you and the group can move into building a situation that you're all ready to explore. The most important step at this stage is concept. What kind of game do you want to play? What kind of character do you want play?

Friday, May 9, 2014

It Revolves on This: The Hub and The Spokes

At almost 600 pages, The Burning Wheel rulebook is a monstrously huge tome. The good news is that you don't have to bother with a large chunk of it in order to get a game going. In fact, it's discouraged if you want to have a successful game.

The core of the game is called "The Hub and the Spokes", and is the foundation that the rest of the game builds upon. These first 75 pages are really all you need to get a game off the ground. Seriously. Some of my earliest failed attempts were simply due to trying to engage too much of the system at once.

For your first few sessions, possibly even your first campaign, stick to the rules in this section. Focus on writing interesting beliefs, mastering intents and tasks, and creating dynamic failure consequences and you should see the Artha begin to flow.

Once you have that down, you can consider what you want to add to your game. The other sub-systems crank up the drama, but also come with a considerable amount of rules crunch that will interfere with learning the basics.

Finally, you can get those rules for free from BWHQ here.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

It Revolves on This: This Wheel's On Fire

Above all else, having a successful experience with Burning Wheel hinges on this: you must meet the game on its own terms. This is solid advice for trying out any new system but it is particularly critical for Burning Wheel.

The conventional wisdom is that you can just strip out the parts of a game you don't like and what add what you think is missing. This philosophy is largely the guiding principle behind all of the variations of the D20 system and it has produced some great games. However, if you go into Burning Wheel with this intent, you will likely break the game. The game's mechanics are so interlinked that any changes or additions may have significant, unintended effects. Often, rules that seem counterintuitive make much more sense in the context of play.

Along those lines, Burning Wheel is a set of procedures that, if followed, produce a certain kind of play experience: one that is fueled by the character's goals and the tough decisions they must make to achieve them. You may not want this or enjoy how Burning Wheel achieves that end, and that's fine. This game is not for everyone but it's important to honor these procedures if you're to find out if it's right for you.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

It Revolves on This: Getting the Most From Burning Wheel

Since I first discovered it a few years ago, The Burning Wheel has become one of my favorite games. It has mechanical depth (not to be confused with complexity) I've yet to see matched in any other system; it puts the focus on the characters and their beliefs, leading to an intense, drama-centric roleplaying experience; and it's totally changed how I approach and think about RPGs. 

This was not always the case. My initial desire to like it never turned into a good session, which meant a lot of false starts and campaigns that were total flops. Still, every time I sat down and read the book I was inspired, ready to challenge my player's Beliefs or see my own tested. Despite my persistence, it wasn't until I sat in the player's seat with some experienced Burners that things finally clicked.

"It Revolves on This" will be a short series of posts on how to avoid the pitfalls that I fell into while trying to figure this game out. I'm not sure how much of what I'm saying will be new but, if nothing else, my voice will join the chorus of advice so that you may get the most out of this game. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Kickstarter: Custom Dice!

Quality custom dice you can afford and a design process that's easy - even if you're not a graphic designer.

Help us provide the gaming community with customized 16mm (standard size) D6 dice - with more colors, shapes, and sizes available when we reach higher funding levels!

Right now, if you want to make custom dice for a game prototype, print-n-play game, or just to customize your old Yahtzee! game, it'll cost you several dollars per die - before shipping.

Fund it here.