Showing posts from September, 2015

Weight in Combat in the War of Ashes

+Evil Hat Productions' latest hardcover release is War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus, a Fate Accelerated-powered adaptation of Zombiesmith's "grimsical" miniatures games. I was very pleasantly surprised when I dug into the PDF of this game and saw the various new rules and systems that expand on the solid but slim FAE base.

One of those systems that I'm particularly impressed by and think can find a home in other designs is that of character weight and its impact on combat. Weight is an elegant new way to handle scale. In War of Ashes, each character and monster has a numerical rating of its overall impact on combat primarily based on size. PCs and many monsters on their scale are weight 1, while smaller creatures are weight 0. Large monsters range as high as weight 8 for the massive herbivores called foadstors.

In combat, you total the weights of each side within a zone. If one side outweighs the other by 2:1, you replace one die the larger side rolls with a + after…

Tholin, Dwarven Chipper-Shredder

Recently in +Christian Blouin's Kazad-Dum campaign, my eunuch dwarf swashbuckler Thordar perished in the maw of a purple worm deep below Moria. To replace him (mid-battle, no less), I generated a dwarven battle guard who had been with the PCs and had notably drawn blood in the previous session.

Turns out, it's because Tholin is basically a wall of muscle with a very long blade sticking out of it. Master of the dueling halberd, Tholin was relegated to the Guilt-lot due to his propensity to put fellow dwarfs in the infirmary during bar brawls. In battle, he does a ridiculous amount of damage, as the purple worm found out to its annoyance.

Of course, Tholin is currently at 9 hp after getting his halberd spike caught in the worm's flank and falling 15 feet after pulling it out. He's going to be fighting heavily on the defensive from here on out, which will limit his damage output significantly.

Tholin, Battle Guard of the Guilt-lot 352 pointsST 19 [70]; DX 14 [80]; IQ 10 […

Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition Now on DriveThruRPG

For the last few years, White Wolf and later Onyx Path have been resurrecting the classic World of Darkness starting with the 20th Anniversary Editions of Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: The Apocalypse. These editions served as both nostalgic icons and handy compilations of the major touchstones of those games' decades-long histories. Now, it's Mage's turn.

I've played my share of World of Darkness in both of its incarnations. The two versions of Mage are easily among my favorites. But it's Mage: The Ascension that I gravitate back to when I think about favorite systems and settings. Mage is a game that says, "Believe, and believe hard, and you just might change the world." It's a game that requires you to think about how your character views reality, and it rewards you both for defining the restrictions that belief places on your character and also for being creative within those boundaries.

The 20th Anniversary Edition of Mage: The Ascension i…

Drones in GUMSHOE

Unmanned vehicles (commonly called "drones") are a crucial tool in the modern intelligence arsenal. Drones can gather still or video images, track targets from tens of thousands of feet in the air, and carry deadly payloads for when force is unavoidable.

In the right GUMSHOE games—mainly Night's Black Agents, though GMs may make them available in Esoterrorists or more cinematic Mutant City Blues campaigns—a drone serves as a source of clues for investigative abilities like Electronic Surveillance, Military Science, Photography, and even Traffic Analysis. Information from a drone can be downloaded and analyzed in nearly real-time, making an unmanned vehicle a potential source of tactical fact-finding and tag-team tactical benefits.

Eventually, an agent may want to take more active control of a drone. The most important general ability is obviously Piloting (or Driving for ground drones), which works exactly as if the agent were flying in person. (Double Tap notes that mas…

A Captain and Her Ship for Interstellar Patrol

Here's a sample character and starship for Interstellar Patrol, my FAE campaign frame of optimistic sci-fi.
Captain Maya RileyHigh Concept: Charming Commander
Trouble: Rivals in the Fleet
Other Aspects: A Lover and a Fighter; Hold It Together; Unorthodox Tactician
ApproachesGood (+3) Flashy
Fair (+2) Clever, Forceful
Average (+1) Careful, Quick
Mediocre (+0) Sneaky
StuntsBecause I sit in the big chair, I get +2 when I Flashily defend against bluffs, feints, or misdirection in a ship conflict.Because I have lover in every port, once per session I can declare that a civilian NPC is one and gain their assistance in the plot of the week.Because I am an inspiring leader, I get +2 when I Cleverly create an advantage that organizes my crew and gives them a clear plan of action. Starship EndeavorPropulsion: Space-Warp Engines
Tactical: Phase Beams & Torpedoes
Sensors: Broad-Spectrum Ultrascanners
Amenities: Close Quarters
Other Aspects: Always the Closest Ship

Illuminati University Patented Self-Defense Training

Illuminati University Patented Self-Defense Training 3 points
This basic self-defense style is taught at IOU as MART102. Students learn to disarm and disable attackers by attacking sensitive areas. Ongoing practice is available through the Student Martial Arts Club as well as by fighting off over-zealous recruiters for psychological studies, escaped biotech experiments, and debt collectors.

Skills: Karate, Judo.
Techniques: Breakfall (Judo), Disarming (Judo), Evade (Judo), Eye-Rake (Karate), Knee Strike (Karate), Stamp Kick (Karate), Targeted Attack (Karate Knee Strike/Groin), Targeted Attack (Karate Stamp Kick/Foot), Targeted Attack (Karate Stamp Kick/Neck), Trip (Judo).
Cinematic Skills: Kiai, Pressure Points.
Cinematic Techniques: Presure-Point Strike (Pressure Points), Roll with Blow (Judo).
Perks: Improvised Weapons (Karate), Technique Adaptation (Disarming).
Optional TraitsPerks: Drunken Fighting.
Skills: Area Knowledge (IOU), Survival (IOU).
Techniques: Double Eye-Poke (Karate), Eye-…

A Few Rituals for GURPS Ritual Path Magic

Just a few random rituals I dredged up from my GURPS notes.
Immortality by DegreeSpell Effects: Greater Strengthen Body.
Inherent Modifiers: Altered Traits.
Greater Effects: 1 (¥3).

The ritual halts the aging process for one year.

Typical Casting: Greater Strengthen Body (3) + Altered Traits, Unaging (15) + Duration, 1 year (22). 120 energy (40 ¥ 3).
SwallowsenseSpell Effects: Lesser Sense Energy. Inherent Modifiers: Altered Traits, Absolute Direction. Greater Effects: 0 (x1).
This spell grants the subject the ability to sense the Earth's magnetic field. By orienting himself with this field, he gains the Absolute Direction advantage for 1 hour. 
Typical Casting: Lesser Sense Energy (2) + Altered Traits, Absolute Direction (5) + Duration, 1 hour (3). 10 energy (10x1). Transcribe MemorySpell Effects: Lesser Transform Mind + Lesser Transform Matter. Inherent Modifiers: Altered Traits, Delusion. Greater Effects: 0 (x1).
A single memory is removed from the subject's mind and transcribed on…