Friday, May 18, 2018

Fantastic Friday - FH&W Houserules

Here are my houserules (slight tweaks really), for Fantastic Heroes & Witchery.

Ability Scores
In addition to the six Ability scores in the Fantastic Heroes & Witchery rulebook, characters have a seventh Ability Score - Luck.
Roll 1d8 + 1d6 + 4 seven times, and assign in order. If desired, the player may swap any two scores.

A character's Dexterity Modifier is applied to (i.e. subtracted from) his Initiative rolls, thus a bonus (positive) is subtracted and a penalty (negative) would be added.

Luck represents a character's fortune, and influences events beyond his control that affect him personally. Halfling characters receive a +1 bonus to their Luck rating.

Spending Luck - A PC may spend Luck points to increase the result of an attack roll, saving throw or skill check, allowing him to succeed where he would otherwise have failed.

Regaining Luck - PCs regain one point of Luck at the end of each adventure. Upon gaining an experience level, a PC regains a number of Luck Points equal to his Charisma Bonus + 1. Finally a PC may also regain Luck for performing acts of great heroism, at the GM's discretion.

Luck Check - Roll 1d20, if the result is equal to or below the PC's Luck score, he is successful. Luck Points cannot be spent to increase a character's chance of success on a Luck Check.

Luck Modifier - A character's Luck modifier is determined at character creation and does not change as a result of spending Luck. Roll 2d6 to determine what is modified by a character's Luck.

2d6 roll....Modified
2-3............Missile Attack Rolls
4-5............All Attack Rolls
6...............All Damage Rolls
7...............Melee Attack Rolls
8...............Armor Class
9...............All Saving Throws
10.............All Skill Checks
11.............All Attack & Damage Rolls
12.............Roll Twice

Improving Ability Scores
   Characters have a chance of increasing an Ability Score upon gaining a new level. Roll 3d6 and choose any single Ability Score with a lower value than the number rolled to raise by one point.
Hit Points 
Wound Hit Points
A beginning character has a minimum number of Wound Hit Points equal to one-third of his Constitution score.

Vitality Hit Points
Upon gaining a level, all of a character's Vitality Hit Points may be re-rolled. His new Vitality Hit Points will then be equal to this total, or his current maximum, whichever is greater.
Spell Preparation and Casting
Magicians must memorize spells in order to cast them, but the memorized spell is not "lost" when cast. The number of spells the caster may use per day is unchanged, rather each casting uses a "spell slot" of a particular spell level that represents the magical energy and force of will the caster must exert. The magician has a number of spell slots of a given level equal to the number of spells of that level he can memorize.

Example: A 2nd level Wizard may memorize two first level spells. He chooses to memorize the following spells - Burning Hands and Charm Person. The Wizard may cast Burning Hands twice, or Charm Person twice, or each spell once during the day.

Additionally, higher level spell slots may be used to cast lower level spells, though provides no benefit apart from increased versatility.

Example: The aforementioned Wizard is now 3rd level, allowing him to memorize and cast an additional second level spell. He memorizes Invisibility in addition to his usual repertoire. This allows him to either use his second-level spell slot to actually cast Invisibility, or to use it for an additional casting of Burning Hands or Charm Person.
Spellcasting in Armor
Magicians may cast spells while wearing armor in which they are proficient at no penalty. Spells cast in heavier armor suffer a chance of spell failure as noted in the armor's description.
Innate Detect Magic
Most magicians have an innate sensitivity to the presence of magical energies, and are able to sense magic within 30 feet. This otherwise functions as the spell "Detect Magic".
The following classes possess this ability - Draconic Sorceror, Fae-Mage, Forestal, Illusionist, Magic-User, Magic-Using Bard, Occultist, Psychic, Specialist Mage (all), War Mage (both), Warlock, Wise-Man, Wizard

Monday, September 19, 2016

Kicking off a new campaign

Agreeing What to Play

Starting a new campaign, creating characters, establishing the setting and getting the players engaged can be one of the more challenging aspects of running a game.

Having already thought about what kinds of games I want to run, the first thing I recommend is to talk to your players about what king of game they want to play. That helps me to narrow down settings, game systems and adventures I'm planning to run.

After reconciling the preferences of the players and GM, and settling on a game system and theme, I make my pitch to the players. Only after the players express strong interest in the game and setting do we schedule character creation.

Character Creation

During character creation I give a fuller description of the setting and the characters' places in it. I guide the players through making characters who will work well within the setting, and within the party. Players new to the game system will benefit greatly from the advice of those more familiar with the rules as to how to build appropriate and effective characters.

The First Session

For the first game session I like to run an events-driven scenario. In an events-driven scenario an external event will occur on its own time-line. The consequences of this event will affect the PCs, but how they react to it is entirely up to them. The consequences of the PCs' actions (or inaction) are what drives the game.

In planning an event-driven scenario, it's important to think about how the event will affect the PCs and those around them. Imagine a time-line of events if the characters do not intervene, and then try to thing of alternative time-lines if the characters perform certain actions at certain points of time. Players can be unpredictable, but planning contingencies helps you to improvise when the PCs do something unexpected.

Building the Campaign

Also, as part of world-building, drop in hooks for possible future adventures. These hooks don't need to be related to the present scenario, but including them provides depth and makes the game world more interesting.

After the first game session, you should begin to pick up on some of the in-game interactions, events and character motivations to flesh out and expand upon. These, along with the aforementioned dropped hooks, can be used to create a campaign that holds the players' interest and grows organically.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Mythras Monday

Last month, Mythras Imperative was released. It's a lightweight, genre-neutral Quick Start version of the d100 Mythras rules set. Included are rules for character creation, combat, equipment, general system rules, and a small sampling of monsters. Absent are magic systems, which tend to be quite genre/setting specific.

The pdf is free and you can get physical copies from Lulu for a $9.99. I am looking forward to the complete Mythras core rules being released in the next month or so.

Once again Loz and Pete have demonstrated unerring instinct and excellent judgment in their handling of RuneQuest Mythras. A generic, lightweight d100 rules set (based on the fantastic RQ 6 no less) is exactly the platform needed for developers to launch their own settings and to bring new players to Mythras.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Fantastic Friday

   Some people become obsessed with making that they love perfect. I had been hacking AD&D since the mid-90's. Even after writing my own fantasy heartbreaker, I still felt the need to fix D&D, to perfect it.

   The first time I read Fantastic Heroes & Witchery I knew I could scrap all my previous attempts to re-write D&D. Fantastic Heroes & Witchery is the crown jewel of the OSR. In it Dominique Crouzet has taken the best, most elegant features of all the retro-clones that preceded it and Dungeons & Dragons from B/X to 3.5, and melded them into a fantastically streamlined and rational version of the game. On top of that, FH&W adds a plethora of weird-science fantasy options.

   In my opinion Fantastic Heroes & Witchery is the best edition of D&D ever written. Henceforth this blog dedicates Fantastic Fridays to FH&W.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Warhammer Wednesday

   IMO "the Old World" is the greatest D&D setting ever published. It takes the trappings of renaissance Europe, with its complex and believable societies, combines it with the most iconic staples of fantasy (dwarves, elves, halflings, wizards and orcs), and filters it through a lens tinged with dark, British humor.
"Forge of War" by Stanley Lau

    In addition to the Tolkeinesque, Warhammer adds the setting's defining element - Chaos. Chaos provides the existential threat and underlying theme of the world of Warhammer. Chaos corrupts and destroys.

    Chaos is manifest in the Old World through its minions and those it touches. Disease-ridden Skaven infest the sewers under even the greatest cities, animalistic beastmen stalk the dark woods for human prey, and mutants and cultists attest to the power of Chaos to corrupt Man's body and soul.

    No fantasy role-playing setting is complete without vikings, and the Chaos-worshipping Norsicans of the Old World are more savage and brutal than any medieval chronicler of Scandinavian pirates could have imagined.

    Finally there are the Chaos Warriors. Chaos Warriors are FUCKING METAL incarnate.
"Death and Chaos" by Kendrick Lim

    In honor of the sheer awesomeness that is the Old World, this blog hereby designates Warhammer Wednesday.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Cthulhu Cthursday

 "Cthulhu" by Douzen

   I've recently been listening to an outstanding Call of Cthulhu actual play podcast - How We Roll. The quality, editing, sound effects and incidental music are all exceptionally well done, and the whole cast is very entertaining. IMO How We Roll is one of the best AP podcasts on the web, give 'em a listen.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Discovering Mythras

I started this blog to share the rpg I wrote, Blood & Iron. I had spent countless hours working on my rpg heartbreaker when, towards the end of its writing, I became familiar with Cakebread & Walton's Renaissance and Mongoose's Legend rpgs. I liked what I saw, and even took inspiration from the way their skill systems worked. Still I cherished by homemade game, until I downloaded RuneQuest Essentials

After reading RuneQuest Essentials, I knew I had only been trying to reinvent a wheel that had already been perfected by Lawrence Whitaker and Pete Nash. I soon scrapped Blood & Iron and adopted RuneQuest 6 (republished as Mythras) as my game of choice. RuneQuest's intuitive, rational mechanics have been designed to be flexibly applied to produce descriptive and believable results.

This blog will feature my houserules and unofficial additions to RuneQuest 6 / Mythras, and other rpg related commentary.

Friday, September 25, 2015