A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Palladium Game System: How I Would Redo it! Part 7: The Skills List

Consider this to be a work in progress. I am probably not gonna have any more time to work on this till next Monday so I want to strike while the iron is hot!

Skill Descriptions: A Skill will list its Name, and available Tech Levels if it has any. (In P/M/H or ANY format. Guess what the letter stands for? Can't? WHY ARE YOU HERE? Oh yeah, Tech Levels are an optional rule now so check section X if you want to deal with it. ANY means the skill works in all tech levels by itself.) Then there will be a simple description of the skill as warranted. Remember that ANY class can learn any skill. It is up to the GM to determine if your character can learn the skill given your campaign and what is happening with it.

Note: Where there is an X shown, it means you select a generalized type. Such as Drive Vehicle X means you would pick say, Boats, Animals, Automobiles, or Motorcycles.



Unarmed Combat: (ANY) The ability to hurt things with your bare hands, feet, head, or items designed to improve your ability to do so like brass knuckles.

Blade Combat: (ANY) The ability to use knifes, daggers, swords, axes or any similar type of weapon.

Blunt Combat: (ANY) The ability to use weapons designed for blunt force trauma like hammers, maces, blackjacks, ect.

Polearms Combat: (ANY) The ability to use spears, halberds, and all those long distance weapons only Gary Gygax cared about.

Thrown Combat: (ANY) Slings, throwing weapons, javelins, grenades, rocks.. the skill to take something and throw it at a target.

Bow Combat: (ANY) Bows, crossbows, and similar types of mostly physical projectile combat.

Firearms Combat: (P/M/H) The skill to use any sort of projectile or beam firearm that can be used on the go. Pistols, submachine guns, assault rifles, shotguns, that sort.

Athletics: (ALL) You know how to jump, climb, run, crawl, and slide under things, plus lift weights and all those other things most gamers never do. Like play baseball and football.

Drive X: (P/M/H) You can drive any civillian vehicle type appropriate to your time period. Motorcycles, bicycles, automobiles, horses, construction vehicles, boats. That sort of thing.


Education: (P/M/H) You can read, write, and do arithmetic, plus whatever basic knowledge is taught in school for your place and age of growing up. Level 1 is roughly a 6th grade US education, while Level 5 is a Master's degree.

Knowledge X (P/M/H) You know lots about a modestly generalized topic. History, science, the country you grew up in.

Computer Use: (M/H) You can operate a computer or other form of electronics such as a cell phone.

Construction X: (P/M/H) You can build and repair things of a simpler less technical type. Buildings and simple machinery mostly, though some more advanced things may be allowed. X would be what type.


Bluff: (ALL) Your ability to lie and misdirect someone. Popular with conservatives.

Charm: (ALL) Your ability to impress or seduce someone.


Artillery Combat: (P/M/H) The ability to fire siege weapons such as the catapult, trebuchet, mortars, howitzers, and other ground based heavy weaponry of the sort. Usually indirect fire type weaponry.

Heavy Firearms Combat: (M/H) The ability to fire bazookas, heavy machineguns, rocket and grenade launchers, heavy anti tank beam guns, and other support weapons.

Drive Advanced X: (P/M/H) You can drive any advanced or combat vehicle type appropriate to your time period. Mecha, tanks, combat aircraft, civillian aircraft, trains, advanced seacraft. That sort of thing.

Technical Construction X: (P/M/H) Advanced mechanical and electromechanical construction and repair skills. X being Aircraft, Automobiles. Mecha, Powered Armor, Firearms, Computers, or any other sort of complicated electromechanical topics you can think of. Pick one per skill.

Medical Science: (P/M/H) You can heal people. Level 1 is First Aid, level 5 is advanced brain surgery Doctor Frankenstein sorts of things.

Skullduggery: (P/M/H) Lockpicking, computer hacking, trap laying.. your character can break into things they aren't supposed to, or set these sorts of things to stop others.


Interrogation: (ALL) Users of this skill can get information or actions out of an unwilling target. Threats, physical coercion, or similar such methods.

Command: (ALL) Users can get mostly willing targets to do what they want. From organizing a team to build a home, to armies going to war, command covers it. Its your ability to get someone to do what you want them to via a means of authority.

(Updated on February 5, 2009)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Old Castles & Crusades House Rules

I made these waay back in the day for an aborted game. They were partially designed to appease no class D20 players used to munckining their way to victory as opposed to clever thinking or roleplaying. A discussion on one of the IRC channels I am in lead me to want to recover them from the pits of my Yahoo group nobody uses (Unless saying "I'm playing or not playing this week can be considered using it!) and put them up here!

Updated in March 2009.
Ok. Castles & Crusades is still basically Classic D&D with mostly just the archetype character classes and less of D20 D&D's variety of customizations.

On one hand, this makes for nice easy play. On the other hand, it means you have a little less difference in characters. So these little rules are here to give yall a little extra twist.

Starting Options: Players begin at level 3 with maximum possible HP for their level and 500 GP for equipment.

At level 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 PCs gain 1 point which can be used for a variety of different things.

At the moment, the points may be used for the following with more detail aftwerwards:

1: 1 point added to any stat.
2: A feat from D20 D&D that your character has the prerequisites for, and the GM approves.
3: An apprentice/relative who inherits your PC's gear on his untimely demise and who may be played simultaneously with your original.

Now to detail!

1: This one is simple. Add a point to any stat. This may NOT take a stat past 19.

2: The feat chosen must not replicate a specific ability a character class in C&C has. You must make all the existing prerequisites of the feat. The DM (me) reserves the right to allow or deny any feat.

4: Ok. This is the complicated one! :) At level 4 you get a level 1 character. At level 8 you get either a level 3 or 2 level 1s. At
level 12 you either get 1 level 6, 2 level 3s, or 4 level 1s. These characters may be played simultaneously with your original, or may sit around at home where they gain 10% of the XP your main character gains. These characters can be given your main's hand me down gear and what not. No, you can not have these characters have their own apprentices as well. You may switch out characters from time to time within reason as well. (Need a cleric? Leave your fighter at home and give the kid your +3 plate.) Note you cannot use your apprentices as Red Shirts or pack mules. You have to actually roleplay them and should you try to abuse them, the DM will take control over these young PCs as appropriate. Why do this? Well if your character dies and there is no way to revive her, the rest of the party gets all your stuff and your new character may take a long period of time to replace you. Apprentices get your gear and immediately come into play if with the group, and will be able to get their inheritance quickly if you fall in battle. Not to mention it allows you to shore up an understrength party and have characters safely advancing at home instead of having to start all over again from level 3. I would also like to add that in the event of a TPK (total party kill) and there are no apprentices waiting in the wings the campaign ends there and we move on to a new game, leaving players unfufilled, and the DM cranky because he spent lots of money on game materials that won't get used. Also note that should the group get too large the DM reserves the right to make the Robins to your Batman stay home.

The Palladium Game System: How I Would Redo it! Part 6: Psionics

Now for the final part of the actual rules! (Everything else is the laundry list of skills, talents, powers, and a few things I forgot like blast weapons and indirect fire weapons.)

Psionics: Regardless of if you are a magician, a mutant who neems people with your brain, or some kind of reality warping monstrosity, Psionics is what we call what you do.

To cast a Psionic power, you make an attribute check using your Ki stat plus the appropriate skill. Depending on the power level of the spell no matter if you made or failed the check you roll that power level in Psionic Points spent, with any extra points being taken from your Damage attribute. If your target has a Ki stat, they may negate your attack or effect by rolling the same die as your power level was and subtracting as many Psionic Points as they rolled, with extra being taken from their Damage. Otherwise the effect goes off as described.

Psionic Power Level: Spells (which if not already mentioned are skills and are otherwise treated as such for purposes of total known and improvement) all have a power level based on a die. From D2 to D20+. Lower end spells can be boosted by 50% (rounded down) in range, effect, and duration by increasing the power level. For every 2 power levels increased, it requires one extra combat action to cast (Normally a psychic attack costs 2 combat actions.) rounded down and it can take multiple combat rounds to cast if the power level is high enough. Also you can boost a spell 2 die codes and cast it as 2 simultaneous spells of the normal level at the same or multiple targets.

Rough explanations of what each power level is like. Note that the actual spells may be slightly different in their range, duration, and effect. These are guidelines for the actual spells when I get to writing them. (Estimate that like skills, talents, and powers there will be roughly 20-30 of them in total.) Also note that in some cases higher power level spells are in fact better than lower ones boosted to the same power level.

D2: Range 2 meters. Duration 5 seconds. Effect: Akin to a light breeze, moving a metal fork.
D3: Range 4 meters. Duration 10 seconds. Effect: Mild breeze, moving a large plate.
D4: Range 10 meters. Duration 25 seconds. Effect: Strong wind, moving a 20 pound object.
D6: Range 20 meters. Duration 1 minute. Effect: Tropical force winds, moving a 50 pound object.
D8: Range 50 meters. Duration 2 minutes. Effect: Hurricane force winds, moving a 100 pound object.
D10: Range 100 meters. Duration 5 minutes. Effect: Sound barrier breaking winds, moving a 250 pound object.
D12: Range 1 kilometer. Duration 10 minutes. Effect: 5 times speed of sound breaking winds, moving a 500 pound object.
D20: Range Earth Sized Planet. Duration: 1 hour. Effect: 1/10th speed of light breaking winds, moving a 1 ton object.
D20+: Range: A Solar System. Duration: 1 24 hour Earth Standard Day. Effect: Breaking the bounds of reality.

A Note on D20+ spells and boosting. For D20+ you roll a second D20 for number of points spent, though these are taken from your Damage attribute and not your Psionic Points. If you fail at making your Ki check when casting one of these spells both die rolls are considered to be a 20, and you PERMANENTLY lose 1d4 Damage and Psionic Points. This damage is counted as part of the 20 you lose for failing the check. Defending against D20+ spells works the same way. But better to take 1d20 damage than whatever the insane amount of damage you would take from the spell, right?

What happens if you go to zero or negative in damage when casting or defending against a spell? Well, in casting the spell's case you fail to cast the spell and are now probably dying as a result. In defending if you go to zero damage or below you not only fail to stop whatever spell is being cast, but you will probably be killed by the spell's effects if it is a damage type spell!

Regaining Damage and Psi Points: Damage is regained at 1 point per hour of uninterrupted light activity, or 2 points an hour while resting provided you are at 0 damage or higher. Negative damage requires medical care. Psi points regenerate at 1 point every 30 minutes of uninterrupted light activity, or 3 points every 30 minutes of resting.

Well, that's the game system. Now the long arduous task of writing well balanced and interesting skills, powers, talents, and psionic spells...

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Belated Painting Oath Update

I actually finished my oath for December on the first of the month, but for some stupid reason never posted pictures of my 95% completed tanks here. That extra 5 is just the odd touch up or extra coat I may want to do here and there. Most of my models are never really finished, they just get to a point I consider them done. Which my two lovely little babies below are:


The blue could use a second coat and if I ever learn how to do weathering effects I would love to add some. As it stands though, they are done, they look nice on the field, and they are effective to boot!

Sadly with all my other projects and the usual holiday busy schedule joining in the January painting oath isn't possible. Oh well, I can always do my Dreadnought next month. Bad enough I don't get to play 40K for 2 weeks because of the holidays.

But that saved me money which allowed me to make my oath of no goodies till at least after Christmas. Since the money I was alloted and would have spent could be used towards taking advantage of a 40% off coupon at Borders netting me a 50 dollar Dark Heresy sourcebook cheap! Its all Magic Drew's fault though. I wouldn't have even gone down there if he hadn't wanted to.

The Palladium Game System: How I Would Redo it! Part 5: Character Classes, Experience Points, and Level Up.

Due to semi popular demand I continue this project, though by this point its not really even vaguely like Kevvy S.' game system other than trying to not fall into whatever traps and bits of failure the Palladium system has become. Maybe I will come up with some fancypants name for it?


In our system there are only three classes, Soldier, Scholar, and Sorcerer.

Soldiers are your fighting men and women who get on the front lines and do battle. From Conan to Han Solo to Rick Hunter these are the guys and gals who make with the killy.

Scholars are your learned types who prefer to use their wits and knowledge more than bashing things about. This is the province of Sherlock Holmes, Nene Romanova, and Chief Tyrol. They might not be as tough in a fight, but they know what needs to be known, or they can turn your Aston Martin into a sea plane.

Sorcerers are those people gifted with the ability to put their Ki into action. From Gandalf to Professor Xavier to Yoda, their abilities to use Psionic powers no matter what they actually call it is their calling.

What do classes do? Well, your class determines what Powers you may select from without having to use a Talent to do so. (If you want to play say, Indiana Jones you might use a Talent to let his Scholar class take Soldier powers. Psylocke of the X Men is clearly a Sorcerer who took a talent to take Soldier powers. You get the drift!) Otherwise classes mostly determine how many skill points, damage, and psi points you get per level. The advancement works as listed below:

Soldier: 5 damage, 1 psi point, 3 skill points.
Scholar: 2 damage, 2 psi points, 5 skill points.
Sorcerer: 1 damage, 5 psi points, 3 skill points.

Level Ups: At 1000, 2000, 4000, 8000, 16000, 32000, 64000, 128000, 256000, 512000, and then 1 million additional experience points thereafter your character goes up a level. This is when you gain the above increases to your character, and as mentioned previously, depending on what level you may gain more combat actions, talents, and powers.

At the GM's discretion, the above listed values can be switched around where your classes' highest value increase can take 1 or more points from the other 2 categories. Thus a Soldier could choose to not get any skill or psi points and get 9 more damage this level. I recommend at least requiring 1 point to stick in each of the 3 categories.

Gained combat actions as mentioned can be sacrificed for another power and 5 skill points. You can also sacrifice a power for another talent and 5 skill points if you wish.

Advancing Skill Points: A skill has 6 levels. 0 (untrained), 1 (hobbyist), 2 (basically trained), 3 (Veteran), 4 (Expert), 5 (Master).
As mentioned in the skill section most skills can be used untrained though depending on the skill it is an additional -5 or -10 penalty before other modifiers are taken into account. To buy a skill at level 1 it costs 1 skill point. The value of the next level is the skill point cost to advance it. (Thus a level 4 skill costs 10 skill points in total.) You can save skill points from level to level if you need to learn a skill that costs more points than you gained this level.

Remember your Mental attribute is how many total skills you may know however there are talents and powers to give you either additional skills over this limit, or to give you multiple skills for a cheaper cost. (For example the Mech Jockey power would give you Operation: Combat Mecha, Mecha Close Combat Weapons, and Mecha Ranged Weapons all at level 2 as the cost for a power. One power spent and it saved you 9 skill points!)

Experience Points: Like many RPGs it takes experience points to level up. Its not realistic but its simple and everyone knows how these work. In our system a level 1 opponent is worth 100 experience points if defeated by one character. (Thus if 4 PCs defeated a single level 1 opponent its 25 xp per PC!) Every level of the opponent doubles the XP gained. (Thus a level 7 enemy is worth 6400 XP.) Non levelled opponents or things like role playing or solving tricky problems can be worth whatever the GM wants as a basis for however fast he or she wants the PCs to advance. But woe be it to the GM who would give a level 10 party a measly 1000 xp each for say, throwing the One Ring into the Pit of Doom. That's just being stingy!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Saturday Changeling LARP Report: Rufus' War Journal Part 3

The extra special holiday comics episode! Its written as if my character Rufus is sort of out of whack due to painkillers and numerous injuries sustained from fighting an evil beastie. No insult to other players or their characters is intended outside of me finding it mildly amusing to see what is going through Rufus' head due to said injuries and painkillers.







I hope everyone will enjoy the silly! Its actually sort of what happened, just in an abbreviated form. Plus Rufus' currently addled brain making himself a bit more heroic and all...

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Palladium Game System: How I Would Redo it! Part 4: Skills, Powers, and Talents

Im being lazy right now and thus my full on conversion will have to wait. And will mostly be here.

But call this a teaser and a placeholder.

Skills: Skills are used with an attribute check to do everything in the game. Levelling up gives you skill points, though there are certain powers and talents that give you more as well. You may have as many skills as you have Mental attribute points. (Though again, Talents and Powers can help this go higher.) An untrained skill check is a -5 or -10 depending on if its a Simple or Complex skill. (Again with modifiers any check of -11 or more is an automatic fail.) Complex skills are like Computer Programming, Robotics, and such. Simple Skills are like Firearms, Computer Operations, and Drive Civilian Vehicles.

As this is a generic framework system, it is up to GMs and players to determine what is complex or simple. If its something that even untrained a normal person could probably wiggle through doing its simple. If its something that generally needs a lot of training its complex. Obviously even complex can be tried, but outside of very favorable conditions it will most likely fail given our -11 is autofail rule. (Note a +11 does not exist. There is no auto pass. GMs may decide certain situations do not call for a roll and automatically say the check succeeds though. But if a player wants to roll and hope for a critical success they take the risk of rolling a 20 and failing. Or even more if their attribute and skill are low enough. (Normally you wouldn't need to roll to drive a car down the highway if you had even 1 point in Drive Civillian Vehicle and a 10 in your Physical or Mental attribute, but if you really want that critical success and are willing to deal with the potential for failing...)

Talents: Talents are mostly character based things that ignore classes. They can be racially based (Like an Elf may have Night Vision or Long Life.), or just a personal trait. Like Bruce Willis in Die Hard would have had the "Tough SOB" Talent. Characters have 2 of these starting out. Humans may select their two choices from a list, while other races have 1 or both preselected. At levels 5, 10, 15, and 20 characters get another Talent.

Power: Powers are CLASS BASED abilities similar to talents though set towards the class they chose. (Some Talents will allow selection of other classes' Powers allowing a form of multiclassing.) Powers can include being able to do special combat actions, use special equipment, or even learn multiple appropriate skills cheaper than normal. Characters get 2 of these at first level, then at levels 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 they get another one.

Combat Actions: Not really in the above, but as they are gained during level ups I will mention them here. As in combat, characters start with 2 actions at first level. At levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 they get another one. If a character chooses, they may instead of getting another action, receive 1 additional power, and 5 skill points. (So a 20th level character could instead of having 7 combat actions could only have 2, but have 5 extra powers and 20 extra skill points.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Palladium Game System: How I Would Redo it! Part 3a: Combat Movement

As the main combat overview was getting silly big, I decided to put movement into a subsection.

As mentioned, normal movement is 4 squares in any cardinal direction per move action, or 3 squares if any diagonal movement is taken. (All 3 squares could be diagonal if you choose.)

However there are a few special things to take into consideration. Fast characters move 5 squares (4 with diagonal), and slow move 3 (2 with diagonal).

Everyone pretty much has the same speeds then. Its how many move actions you take that really determine how far you go.

But there is a catch you say. What about stuff like cars, jets, or space movement? That's easy. We have 3 more scales of movement, with each being equivalent to 10x the movement on the previous scale. Meaning a slow space movement ship can go 30 squares in Jet Scale, 300 squares in Car Scale, and 3000 in Human Scale. Given that we consider a square in Human Scale to be 2 meters, this means a square in Car Scale is 20 meters, a square in Jet Scale is 200 meters, and Space Scale is 2000 meters, or 2 kilometers.

For you math fiends this means a ship in Space Scale is moving on average 8 kilometers every 10 seconds. Space is big.

For slower scale units trying to move in larger scale ones the best bet is this: they move ONE square in the scale above them every 3 turns if fast, 4 turns if normal, and 5 turns if slow. For scales more than 2 scales above the one being used (if you need to worry about a guy on foot while the battle map is in Jet Scale for some reason..), they do not move AT ALL. Likewise a unit in Jet Scale moving on a Human Scale map doesn't even get to move. It can pretty much be put wherever the controlling player wants to put it! (Though a good GM may require some sort of check roll to see if something that fast can even pinpoint itself! )

This is obviously abstracting movement, but the whole purpose of this inspired by Palladium game system is to simplify the overly detailed nerdshoes stuff Palladium does. (If you want megadetailed stuff go play Gurps or Advanced Squad Leader.)

Optionally you can even add in a ultratech speed scale where every square is 20 kilometers or a .2 meters per square if you like to play really tiny things.

Things that can slow down movement: This is simple. If its minor difficult terrain its 1 additional square of movement to cross. If its modestly difficult terrain its 2 additional squares of movement to cross. If its very difficult terrain its 3 additional squares of movement to cross. Anything beyond this may take multiple move actions to cross if not be outright impossible for certain units to traverse.

Ideas on the terrain: Minor difficult: Muddy ground, obstacles that go to about 1/3rd the height of the unit moving.
Modest difficult: Very broken and uneven terrain, obstacles that go to about 1/2 the height of the unit moving.
Very difficult: Extremely broken, uneven outright dangerous terrain, obstacles that go to about 90% of the height of the unit moving.
Beyond: Quicksand, massive snowdrifts, obstacles that go beyond the height of the unit moving.

Well! That should be it for combat. I could add in more combat actions with rules but I really do not see the point or the need.
Next up should be Talents and Powers, then Classes & Skills to finish it all up outside of some conversion guidelines. (The latter depends on how badly I want to see Palladium try to Cease and Desist me, and how vague I want to get on conversions. Since character sheets from Palladium are available online, it would be a piece of cake just to tell you "Take the stat from the first row, and add the third one together and average and that is your X stat." Plus its a way for fans to be inspired to do their own conversions without ever giving Kevvy Wevvy a chance to even challenge you. Like if I were to tell one what the big shiny Rifty guys on page XXX armor would be in my ruleset without ever using any of Palladium's silly and overzealous TM, R, and C symbolled words what can they really do to stop me?)

Nothing. Because even a sad goober like myself can be awesome for one shining, irrelevant moment online!

It is all just a basic framework

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Palladium Game System: How I Would Redo it! Part 3: Combat Overview

I continue this series of my own personal not to be used without my written consent but I will give it to ya for some credit a cookie. Maybe I am using that Creative Commons thing. I dunno. Except I am continuing on my endless diet and as thus, must generally be cookie less.

(Updated with MORE STUFF on December 10)

Combat Basics: Characters have 2 actions at low levels in combat. Each round of combat is considered to be 10 seconds in duration. Each square or inch is considered to be 2 meters(or 6 feet). You can select the following action options and resolve them one at a time in any order the active character chooses.

Move 4 squares (or inches) in a cardinal direction, or 3 squares with any form of diagonal movement. (Obviously if you use inches and a tape measure just follow that as it is.)

1 Action Actions:
Snap Attack. Normal attack check.

General Action: Something you can do while still being able to do other things in a 10 second timeframe. Reload or unjam a weapon, say something more complicated than a short sentence, start a car, ect.

Defensive Maneuver: Make a defense check to appropriately attempt to avoid being hurt by any enemies attempting to do hurty things to you. Its generic. Consider it to be everything from trying to stay in cover in a hedgerow to parrying a close combat attack with your sword to launching chaff from your jet fighter. If you succeed anyone attempting to hit you or do something to you has their stat reduced by 5. This remains on until your next turn or someone hits you. A natural 20 rolled on this check gives the enemy a +5 to hit you till your next turn. Your fancy footwork or mad parrying failed and you tripped up somehow.

Believe in Yourself: Make a Ki check to: A:) Transfer Ki into your Life Points B:) Make your next action an automatic success C:) Turn a Tech 1 attack into a Tech 2 attack (only good against Tech 2 Damage Targets). If you pass the check roll 1d6. This is how many Psionic Points you spend in doing this. If your roll takes you to negative Psi Points you take 1d6 Damage Points in damage for every point under zero you went.

2 Action Actions:
Aimed Attack: You steady your aim and if applicable get an extra reserve of strength for this attack. It is then just treated like a normal Snap Attack, except you have +5 to your check and to your damage.

Burst Attack: If your weapon can burst fire you may do a Burst Attack. You do +3 to your check and to your damage, plus add one extra die of damage based on whatever is the highest damage dice your weapon uses as a single shot. (So a 3d4 weapon would do 4d4+3 damage on a Burst Attack. A 1d6 + 2d8 x10 damage weapon would instead be 1d6 + 3d8 x10 +3.)

Guard Action: You prepare to do a 1 action action IF something simple happens to you. Your action is considered to happen before whatever happens does anything else. (Such as if an enemy shoots at you you will fire back at him. If you were to say "Attack and enemy if he comes within 5 squares of me" as soon as an enemy finished a move action that brought them within 5 squares you would then be allowed to attack, then the enemy would do any other actions they had to do.)

Psionic Action: Make a Psionic action. This could be to use a Psionic skill of any sort unless the skill says it takes more than a round.

3 Action Actions: (Yes I know most PCs only start with 2. Some things require more skill and training!)
Location Targeting: as a Snap Attack with an additional -5 to your penalty for purposes of hitting, but instead of doing normal damage, if you hit you do half damage if you make your check. However if your D20 roll is a 1-4 you do no damage to the target but you destroy what you were aiming at that you could realistically hit. (If a guy with a flight pack is charging at you, you probably can't see his flight back. ) This can be anything from a head shot on a zombie to hitting sensors on a giant crab robot with a sensitive mono eye to taking out a car tire. Note it is up to the GM to decide the exact results of the attack.

Full Round Actions: These are anything that either takes your character's full attention for the round, or something that is a continuing action. Like repairing a car or picking a lock or powering some ridiculously overwrought mega attack that the enemy is dumb enough to not bother you while you are doing it. It is GM's decision what happens if you get hit during this.

Full Auto: A Full Round Action requiring at least half the remaining ammunition in a weapon capable of Full Auto fire. This attack uses all ammunition in the weapon, and is counted as a Burst Attack, except it does 1d4+1 of these attacks that may be spread to any one target, and or any other targets within 1 square (2 Meters) of that target as long as the target is visible. Each attack has to be rolled to hit like a normal Burst Attack. If you were to say, have 3 as your number of attacks with this action you could attack a target and 2 adjacent targets, put all 3 on the original target, or split them up any other way desired.

The Combat Round:
As mentioned its 10 seconds. Initiative is determined by rolling a D20 for each side and the side with the most winning Physical Checks gets to move and activate a unit first. Then the loser moves one and it alternates till everyone has gone with the winning side going before the last units of the loser side. With odd numbers divide up who goes together to balance it out. (Like if it were a 5 to 2 battle and the 5 number went first, they would have 3 units going, then 1 of the loser, then the last 2 of the winner side, then the last loser. If it were the other way, the winner would use 1 then the losers would use 3 then the winner would move their final unit, then the losers move their last 2.) With odd units its up to the players and GM to determine how they want to divvy things up. Low to high numbers doing things, high to low, or whatever other solution works best.

Initiative lasts for the entire combat encounter.

An Attack Check is done by rolling the appropriate stat check and as in normal checks, rolling equal to or under the stat. In combat as in normal checks you raise your stat by the positive modifiers, and reduce it by the negative ones with the final modifier being no more than + or - 10. A natural rolled 20 is a critical failure and any remaining actions that unit had this round is lost. A natural rolled 1 is a critical hit, which either does maximum possible rolled damage, or in the case of Damage Level 1 attacks against a Damage Level 2 target, the attack damage is rolled as normal and is considered to be the Damage Level 2.

Damage: Most things have Damage Points. Some things using supernatural or ultra high tech construction have Level 2 Damage Points.

Normally damage is simple. When something takes enough damage to have 0 points left it is disabled or knocked out. If it goes into negative damage a Physical Roll must be made with whatever the damage taking it beyond 0 is as the negative modifier. If it passes the roll it is still alive or repairable. If it fails the roll it is either unrepairable or dead. For things that do not have a Physical attribute like armor, its Physical score is counted as 5, 10, or 15 depending on the quality of the item.

L2 Damage: As mentioned L2 Damage is for the ultra supernatural and the ultra high tech. Like Godzilla or Cthulhu or giant transforming robots. L2 Damage weapons do their normal adjusted damage times 10 to normal L1 Damage sources. L1 Damage to an L2 Damage target is reduced by 90% meaning 10 points of L1 damage does 1 point to an L2 target. (While a L2 Damage weapon doing 10 points does 100 points to an L1 target.) Round down for purposes of dividing up the damage.

As mentioned a Critical Hit ignores these restrictions and effectively makes an L1 attack an L2 one.

Some Combat Modifiers:
Range Weapons Range: Short Range: +5 to hit and damage, Medium: Normal to hit and damage, Long: -5 to hit and damage.

Cover: 1/3rd cover: -3 to hit. 2/3rd cover: -6 to hit. 90% cover: -10 to hit.

Target Speed: -1 to hit for every 10 squares moved this round.

Dual Wielding Weapons: -5 to hit and damage for the dual wielder's attacks.

Single handed weapon used in 2 hands: +3 to hit and damage.

Indirect/Scatter Attacks: These attacks have a normal attack, but may scatter with targets with 100% target having a -10 to hit as in 90% cover. If the attack misses, the attack scatters in a random direction 1 square (2 Meters) for every point you rolled over your attribute.

ARMOR: Armor takes damage (and sometimes reduces or increases the wearer's stats beyond normal maximums and minimums) before the wearer does. Though for every 10 points of damage the armor takes the wearer takes a point of damage that is not part of the total damage just received. In the case of L2 armor this means an L1 attack has to cause 100 points of L1 damage (making it 10 points to L2 targets) to cause 1 point of wearer damage. This damage point is always considered to be at the Damage Level of the target.

When an armor reaches 0 any remaining damage goes to the wearer inside, or the wearer's personal armor in the case of vehicles, ect. This damage going internal is counted as whatever level it was otherwise, meaning if 5 points of L2 damage gets through a suit of armor to the L1 damage wearer they are taking 50 points of damage. Likewise, if 5 points of L1 damage breaks through to a L2 wearer they will just ignore the damage.

Hand to Hand/Ram Damage: Normally for a human sized character it is D4 damage. Half human sized is D3, Quarter is D2. One and a half human sized is D6, twice is D8, triple is D10, quadruple is D12, more than quadruple is D20. Weapons override these close combat attacks, though weapon damage is increased by 1 for every die type over D4.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Palladium Game System: How I Would Redo it! Part 2: Game Overview

Ok, given how infamous Palladium is for defending its IP in the face of no legal evidence whatsoever, my version will not use any Palladium game names, but will make things obvious as to what gets converted here and there.

Legal Stuff: This is all copyright me on whatever date I post and edit these things. While I welcome people to use, tweak, and share my creation for noncommercial, nonprofit use as long as credit is provided, I reserve all right to do said commercial or profit use for myself. (Though I am not averse to working with someone on a collaborative version!) Note that most of the concepts and terminology used in this continuing project are GENERIC and are thus not intentionally swiping anyone's creative IP. (Which also means the god awful game system that inspired me to write this can't say I am actually stealing anything from their Dungeons & Dragons houserules gone terribly wrong. Cuz I am not. Levels and actions and damage & spell points are like in 80% or more of the RPG genre, tabletop OR electronic.) Some mechanics may be similar to other games out there, but as game mechanics are generally immune to copyright anyhow I am safe and no actual intent of stealing is.. intended. Though I can say there are a great many games I am inspired by! So NYAH NYAH NYAH Kevvy S! My system is better than yours because some people in IRC channels have said so! Oh yeah, any names of fictional or real characters are merely used as examples and do not belong to me, only to their creators/evil corporate overlords/their moms.

Ok... now that I have that out of the way, time for the basic overview of my swell homebrew RPG that shares some basic inspiration and a minor amount of compatibility with Palladium! As this is a continuing work in progress please be aware that some terminology and things are different further on. Should I get the game to a playable point and there be some legitimate reason I can sell it as a PDF or something (someone has already told me I should and they want to help me by getting me in contact with some artsy people and stuff! This is almost as making me feel good about myself as when I won the Best Roleplayer thing at Connecticon 08!) expect most of these issues to be fixed up in the public test version.

I will need to save some heat for the full one. I could make TENS OF DOLLARS off of this. Provided there is nothing I can be sued for in it. Frankly, I would be happy making enough for the Masterpiece Beta Fighter from Robotech. But who am I kidding? Anyhow, its time for the actual rules. I mean it this time.

Seriously. Rules.

Characters have 4 stats or attributes. Use whichever one you like more.
Physical, which covers all of those physical things you do from shooting a gun to dancing.
Mental, which covers all those things that require using that thing in your skull. Like technical stuff and math.
Social, which covers your looks and personality which gets you stuff without having to actually deserve it.
Ki, which is your sixth sense, your luck, your juju, your potential to make heads explode with a thought.

Generation is done by rolling 2d8 and adding 4 for each stat. For humans 20 is the max the stat can go, and while starting values do not go below 6, if injuries and the like happen they can go as low as 1. 12-14 are considered average. There is a -1 to various things per point under 6, and a +1 for every point over 15. For other races as player characters no more than 25 as the maximum for a stat, and no lower than 3 as a minimum, with a maximum possible score of 80 points combined.

Physical is also your starting Damage, or hit point value, and its +- modifer is to close combat damage. So a 17 Physical character would have 17 Damage Points, and do 2 extra points of damage.

Mental is also how many TOTAL skills your character may know, and its +- modifier is how many bonus skill points you get per level. A 17 Mental character may know 17 skills and gets 2 extra skill points per level.

Social is more or less just used as for Social skill checks, but its +- modifier is how many sidekicks you may have. Negative modifiers here mean you may not have any sidekicks and that NPCs really don't like you. The GM will find ways of using this to annoy you.

Ki is also how many Psionic Points you have, and its +- modifier gives you that many rerolls per game session for any Skill Check. A positive one means you may use a reroll, while negative ones means the GM can force you to reroll. A Ki 17 character has 2 rerolls per game session and 17 Psionic Points.

The last thing for Stats is your Tag Stat. Your character is just naturally good with things involving this Stat, even if the number is low. Whatever stat is chosen for your Tag gets 1 rerolled check per game session of your choice, and instead of a Critical Success being just on a 1, its on a 2 as well.

Now the basic game mechanic! Roll D20 equal to or under your applicable stat. Modifiers for skill level, various penalties based on difficulty can raise or lower your stat for the test. A 1 ALWAYS succeeds (Counted as a Critical Success), and a 20 always fails. Normal difficulty is considered to be 0 as a modifier.

A quick example: Repairing a car would be a Repair Automobile skill. This is clearly a Mental skill. The character has 3 points in Repair Automobile and a Mental score of 17. If this were a normal routine repair the check would be passed on anything but a 20, as 20 is an automatic fail even though the Mental score of 17 plus the 3 points in Repair Automobile would mean the Stat was counted as a 20. If this was say, fixing a broken brake line while careening down the hilly streets of San Francisco while in the passenger seat it might have a -5 or more difficulty modifier.

No Skill Check may have more than a +10 or -10 modifier from any one source, and even when multiple sources are taken into account the check cannot be reduced or raised past a value of 10. (Meaning a Skill level 10 mechanic fixing a brake line in a state of the art repair facility with A+ certified technician assistants and the best tools and tech manuals available would still only get a +10 to his stat for the check.) Note that an untrained check is usually at a -10 and if modifiers would bring it to -11 or greater it means the check automatically fails. (The GM can just tell the player it failed outright, or make them roll for it and count a 20 roll as a catastrophic failure based on how mean the GM wants to be.)

Well, its pretty simple so far! Next installment will cover Combat and Psionics. The third segment will cover character classes, talents, and powers. The fourth and final will be the quick and dirty Palladium conversions, with my reasoning for why I wrote things as I did. (Really quick and dirty. Its not designed to be a direct transfer over.) If anyone actually LIKES it, I will develop it further from there with lists of skills, powers, and talents.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Palladium Game System: How I Would Redo it! Part 1: Palladium as it is.

There has been constant talk over the years about Palladium. I am gonna start (yet another) project (that I will probably never complete) dealing with them. I would like to preface this with the understanding that I LIKE Palladium and have enjoyed their products over the years. However, they do many things that are not only counterproductive, but have actually HURT them. This project series will talk about the company, its games, the fanbase (or anti fanbase as the case may be!) and what I would do if I was in their shoes. But I will get more into it as we go!

They are a once big RPG company who used to advertise in comics who have now mostly retreated to a small but dedicated fanbase, with their biggest known game being Rifts. Largely the company is under the creative control of one man, Kevin Siembieda.

On the upside almost everything they have released in the last 20 years or so is compatible with what they release now. I can pretty much take my old 80s era Teenage Mutant Ninjas & Other Strangeness book and use it without much effort with more recent releases of theirs such as Dead Reign or Robotech Shadow Chronicles. Also their stuff is really fairly priced given the current ridiculous prices the gaming market seems to think are standard, being a "cottage industry" and all.

The downside of this is their system is REALLY pretty dire, being an insanely house ruled version of AD&D that barely resembles it anymore. This is also seen in that today's Palladium games look almost exactly like their releases of 20 years ago. In many cases the same art is used and entire sections of their books are cut and pasted (with errors and all!) from game to game.

Their games are almost exclusively black and white softcovers using a 2 column layout that as mentioned, is pretty much the same layout (and typeface!) as they have used for 20 years or more.

The game system itself is a D20 and percentile system, the D20 used to determine most combat results, and the percentiles being used for skills. Characters are based off of a character class (known as an OCC or RCC, Occupational or Racial Character Class) with an alignment and a pile of basic attributes that rarely have any direct effect on active gameplay.

Many of the classes are totally out of imbalance with each other, and many of the abilities and skills players can choose can even make things worse. In the Palladium games almost every single character concept has its own unique class. It is incredibly unwieldy and in many cases pointless. Do we really need a dozen or so classes of powered armor or giant robot pilot? About the same for Spellcasters? Instead of players making their characters unique, its based off picking a class and not much else.

Combat has multiple options and actions some of which are close combat only, others are ranged, others spell or psionic. Hit points are divvied up into HP and SDC (Structural Damage Capacity), and armor has a rating to ablate the damage. However you then add in MDC (Mega Damage Capacity) which has no armor values, but 1 point of MDC is equivalent to 100 points of SDC, (And if an SDC attack cannot do 100 points in a single attack it cannot do anything to MDC armor. Meaning a modern tank can possibly be an irritant to a light set of MDC combat armor. Maybe.) giving us hand pistols capable of making the extremely powerful sidearms of Star Trek look wimpy and that make armor in MDC worlds a virtual requirement unless you want an extremely short PC life. And the armor does meet this requirement. There are player character suits that have HUNDREDS of MDC points and weapons that do around the same.

Weapon and armor inflation is pretty bad. Back in their first MDC game (Robotech), a 200+ ton giant robot had around 300 MDC. In Rifts, a player character powered armor suit that was roughly 9 feet tall had over 700, and a cannon capable of averaging 100 MDC damage a shot. Yeah. The current version of Robotech brings their MDC closer in line to Rifts. And the 700 MDC power armor still has more points than the 200+ ton giant robot.

Numbers simply get entirely too high in this game, and usually for little gameplay gain. Its like a console RPG in numbers inflation. Do games really need numbers in the 100s or 1000s for life points? It just adds in extra math to deal with, slowing things down.

Overall your average Palladium product is like this: The book opens warning about how none of this is real and the game deals with violence and the supernatural. Its kind of stupid. Nobody cares about RPGs any more. Patricia Pulling has passed away, and the THINK OF THE CHILDREN! types are too busy freaking out over videogames which tens if not hundreds of millions of people play instead of a hobby mostly centered around virginal nerds in a basement with maybe a million active players total.

The next section is usually the fluff. This is the BEST section of the book and the reason many people will buy the game even if they wouldn't use the Palladium rules if their lives depended on it. While rarely full of hard data, the fluff is evocative, interesting, and invests you in the setting, firing off lots of neurons for campaigns and adventures.

This is followed by the character class section. Its 1/3rd ideas on the class, then 2/3rds more powers and skills that either break the game balance (most seen in expansion books) or could just be a variant of another class. But I have already mentioned the folly of the Palladium class system so that still stands.

Its cousin is usually up next, the NEW STUFF FOR EVERYONE section. This is full of weapons and toys, which like the classes are usually imbalanced and just take up space. Its made extra bad given that almost every machine has multiple MDC locations for called shots few people even bother with most of the time. In a tightly designed game, a suit of robot power armor could have its pictures, game data, and fluff done on 1 or 2 pages. In Palladium its generally 3 or more, and full of numbers. The good part is there is lots of hard data so as to convert it over to a better game. The bad is that its Gear Porn for technofetishists and NRA type gun nuts. Sometimes there will be a few interesting non combat items, but generally not much. Compared to GURPS its positively simple, but Gear Porn is still Gear Porn.

If its a core book the cut and pasted rules go here. As mentioned above its kinda janky and wierd, and if you are lucky it will have a minor tweak or two to it which may or may not help it make sense.

The last section is usually a mixture of new monster and NPC types to kill, some harder setting information, some open plot threads you can work with, and possibly some GM advice.

This covers the games of Palladium. However there is another insidious side to the company. (Most of what is to follow is based on hearsay and rumor, albeit ones that have multiple sources.)

The main man himself, Kevin S.

One would think the lead owner and writer for the company would playtest and use his own game system as written, right? WRONG. He hardly even plays RPGs these days, though given his insistence on self editing, doing artwork, and writing entire rulesbooks in a month's time from scratch it is somewhat understandable.

This leads to serious problems not just with game balance and design, but with editing and freelance relations. Take a current release of theirs, Dead Reign. Its a zombie RPG that had a preview version in their house bookazine/freelancer test bed, "The Rifter". A couple freelancers wrote a proposal, got the aforementioned preview version in Rifter, and were then tasked with writing up a full RPG. They did this. Once the manuscript was received, Kevin, who self admitted to not even really being a zombie fan decided he did not like the manuscript. Instead of either sending it back for a rewrite, cancelling the project, or actually guiding the new freelancers towards what he might have been wanting during the writing process, he dropped whatever project he was working on, threw out a good 60-80% of what had already been written, and spent a good 6 weeks redoing the thing himself, making himself the lead writer and merely giving the freelancers secondary credit.

No time for playtest, no real outside viewpoints, just a mass rewrite, and a public posting basically calling the original manuscript junk in so many words.

This is NOT a way to make a product.

This sort of behavior is something Mr. Siembieda is infamous for doing, and leads to their constantly missed product release deadlines, numerous typos and other editing mistakes, and lead to two well known and respected writers (CJ Carella and Bill Coffin) leaving the company and refusing to do anything else for them.

Except his quibbles go beyond just that. Palladium's web policies are the most paranoid about IP rights ones ever seen to the point that they will throw cease and desist orders around if you even DARE post say "A Star Wars light saber in Palladium system will do 1d6x10+Character level in MDC" to a public forum, or to a blog. I in fact, would not be too surprised if I get one for posting my example. Almost everything that can have a trademark sort of symbol in a Palladium product has so, and numerous sites have been shut down, or just stopped playing Palladium games entirely because of this overly paranoid IP mindset. They have even sued game companies for putting conversion charts in their books, as if it will cause them to lose all rights to their creations if they don't.

One reason they never got on the D20 bandwagon was an insistence Wizards of the Coast would then own everything they did. Well, clearly history has proven that one to be completely and totally WRONG.

All its accomplished is bad blood and cost Palladium most of its fanbase.

Yet the fanbase that remains tends to be ONLY Palladium system players with the kind of THERE ARE OTHER GAMES? NEVER! mindset Games Workshop can't even get. They are loyal to the point of rampaging over to RPGnet any time the inevitable threads bashing Palladium come up and even bailed the company out of going out of business when various financial things happened. (Which may or may not have actually been because an employee stole from the company.)

Outside of Palladium's own forums their games and system are largely looked at as crap. This even in spite of the largely negative stuff I have written above isn't really fair. Yet no criticism is allowed, and people who say negative things about the games and the company are called "haters" in official postings if not press releases.

This is a damned shame. Palladium has some wonderful game settings and ideas. What it needs is for Kevin Siembieda to give up his overwhelming control over everything and get some marketing and editing people to tell him NO, reign him in, and learn that all the bad PR over the years plus the abuse of talent and non fanboy customers has pretty much killed the company outside of a small insular fanbase.

Because like every product that just aims to please a small fanbase and doesn't try to get new blood, its doomed in the long run as the audience eventually leaves for other interests or decides they have all they need.

Things like their yearly holiday grab bag sale are great. The problem is they have done so much wrong few people are even willing to buy the stuff in the first place.

Its telling when you look for Palladium products in stores. Borders doesn't carry anything of theirs, nor do the 4 big comic shops in the area. (One store has 3-4 books with clearance stickers in them, and had a couple clearance Rifter issues before I bought them.) Not even the new manga sized Robotech RPG which you think would be a shoe in at the various manga shelves. Nope. And the one dedicated gaming store that does carry Palladium stuff is more getting it to service the few people buying it. Which isn't many given some of the books were 20 year old OOP releases, and Rifter issues you cannot even get from Palladium's own webstore anymore. Clearly its not exactly flying off the shelves, and its one store servicing an entire region!

Also telling was their book availability at Connecticon. The only books I saw were in half off or clearance bins. Also most of the books on Ebay were at massively discounted prices even in Buy it Now categories. I checked Amazon.com, and most of the Amazon sellers (known for jacking the price up of anything with even a HINT of being rare, out of print, or desired) have the books new and used for 50-80% off cover price. Talking with other gamers has brought up anecdotal evidence of most Palladium stuff selling for a buck a book at used bookstores as well.

That is NOT evidence of a healthy gameline to me. Not at all folks.

I am sure if any Palladium forums poster sees this I will just be considered another hater and my thoughts dismissed. But I love the writing and art and concepts in the Palladium RPG books. However the game system and treatment of fans, talent, and critics is just too extreme and I fear will lead to the premature end of what could be a great company.

And given how badly RPGs are doing in general, any mistake a company makes can be the beginning of the end.

And I care enough that I do not want to see it happen.

In part 2 I will begin my Palladium inspired game system overview as an idea of how I would revamp the system from the top. Look forward to it!

Oath Update!

Today, merely one day after the official start of the December oath cycle, and my sorry paint hating ass already has my 2 tanks 60% complete!


Still to do: Either black with silver drybrush (or silver with black wash) the wheels and treads, same to the Demolisher Cannon on the Vindie, the the barrels on the Razorback's Lascannon, the whole of the Storm Bolter, the bottom of the Dozer Blade, and the smokestacks.

Should I finish this next week and complete my oath well ahead of schedule I shall add in a brown wash to the treads and wheels, possibly to the Dozer Blade, and maybe experiment with some black wash here and there to make the model stick out a little more. Plus a second coat of Foundation Blue where the blue is, to cover the tiny missed spots.

If I reach that level I will then ask for assistance to do some weathering and mud effects.

Yeah, it isn't half the paint awesomeness many people in this thread can do, but it works for me. But the oath is getting me to paint something at least. And it even caused me to add some yellow wash to my 2nd edition Space Hulk Terminators' chest eagles, and a black wash to their knee pad symbols. (I may add some black wash to the shoulder Crux thingie too. I'm mulling it over right now.)

So what did I accomplish in 5 hours or so of painting? Mostly freehanded Foundation Mordian Blue all over the place as seen. Yellow wash on the headlights, targeting thingies, and eagle symbols. Brown wash on the skulls. (Its my easy way to do bone. Its not as good as anything a real painter can do, but its the closest thing I can come to having for acceptable boney ness.) Some black wash in the fans and vents and my tanks are good to go.

I don't have the really smooth and straight lines I want to paint, but its not too awful overall. The problem with painting over white is its REALLY easy to see mistakes. But it is the colors of the pre Heresy World Eaters so it is how it must be done.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Painting Oath.

Hmm.. I may regret this, but I guess I will call a painting oath. An easy one. One I could probably do in a single 3 hour timespan. But I am lazy and hate painting. So if I call an easy one I can have it completed and give my newest army a couple ok looking tanks.

My new army you (nobody really since as far as I know I am mostly only read by myself and the odd ex friend E stalking me in case I say something about him he doesn't like..) ask?

What, you didn't see my post in October about it? Well then, I TOLD YOU nobody reads my blabbering. (Its a good creative outlet if nothing else.)

Yeah, thanks to the Battle for Black Reach bought at 50% off thanks to Arkham Asylums 5th anniversary sale I had the core of a Marine army cheap. A couple cheap purchases and trades plus the odd wrangling of spare minis and my bits box plus 3 actual MSRP purchases and I have a 2000 point Blood Angels (cuz the army codex is free) army for around 140 dollars. Its pre Horus Heresy World Eaters as the theme and scheme, which works out given how they have angry psychotics just like the BA's Death Company. Except its not due to dreams of a dead primarch, but due to psycho surgeries performed on their soldiers.

Currently they are 3 and 0 for victories, though one of the wins was my Halloween house battle and I am not sure if an odd multiplayer game counts as a win.

Well over at the massive Warhammer 40K threads at Something Awful they have this Oath Project going on. If you fail at your painting oath, you may have your avatar replaced with a picture of a fat naked dwarf. One person who completes their oath gets a 20 dollar gift certificate. I don't really care about winning anything. I just need inspiration to get my lazy butt to some paint!

My oath is to have my Pre Heresy World Eaters using the Blood Angels army list Razorback and Vindicator painted to a simple 4 color standard (shading, washes, and highlights optional) by December 31st.

I just built the Vindicator Wednesday, and the Razorback is assembled and has one color on it.

How I will accomplish this feat of actually painting some goddanged miniatures for once:

Core color is white, done with Krylon Fusion White spraypaint. Razorback has this part taken care of already. The Vindie has just gotten its first pass of spraypaint 5 minutes ago. 2 more passes (flipped on a side for these two follow up passes) and it will have its core color by tonight too.

I don't thin and generally do one coat per color painting so making the tanks look nice but not too clean will be my challenge. Most of my tanks are extremely dark colors or metallics with panel lines done in. This little oath involves learning how to do bright Marine style tanks and make them look decent.

Color 2 is Foundation Blue paint. Probably 1 large area per side of each tank not counting the bottom. Something big to break up the white that is logical. The recessed area on the front is a given. Possibly the access points on the tanks, and maybe the smokestacks. Possibly the sides and teeth of the Vindie's Dozer Blade too.

Color 3 is Chainmail Silver on weapon barrels and other bits that obviously need to be more metallic. I may try some drybrushing here and there to simulate chipped paint. The Silver will be followed up with an Armor Wash coat. The tread wheels get this treatment too.

Color 4 is black on the treads, followed with silver drybrushing, and then Brown Wash overcoat, or possibly Snakebite Leather drybrushing.

Should I have time and the above looks fairly pleasing by my honestly weak and lazy ass standards I may investigate (By asking how in this thread, which by that point should be up to page 60 or so at the speeds we are posting at! Or I could just ask folks in #tinypewtermen on IRC.) putting some mud and dirt marks on the lower sections of the models and maybe practicing with some blood splatters here and there. (Just because they are loyal to the Emperor and quite pissed at coming out of the Warp and realizing their primarch betrayed his Thronieness, they are still World Eaters and violently killing things is what they do and all!) Maybe a couple smoke or carbon emission type effects too.

If I even get past that I will do some gold and yellow trim on things like Imperial Eagles and Heraldry type devices. Sadly, my non Chaos symboled World Eaters transfers are entirely too small to be put on such large tanks. It would actually make the tanks look WORSE.

And I will also put my own penalty on myself. Until these two tanks are at least up to the Color 4 stage, I MAY NOT buy any new miniatures gaming models that require painting.

If I complete my minor and easy oath I may reward myself via buying the Apocalypse rules via an online discounter because while the book is neat, it is a massive ripoff. And doing something worthwhile is a good way to reward myself. By spending my own money I shouldn't spend on a book I will rarely ever even have a use for.

But the goal is worthy. Setting goals and forcing myself to complete them is good for me. Hell, its the reason I lost 60 pounds in less than 2 years and outside of Zoloft putting 5 pounds back on (which I have since stopped taking and have gotten 3 back. Course the weight threat has also caused me to drop a good 1000-1500 calories a week out of my diet plus get back on the exercise train. I even have little notes of my progress on my calendar!) I have kept it off.

Keeping myself honest and giving my otherwise aimless self a goal makes me do the impossible and see the invisible.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My AD&D 2nd House Rules Part 8 - Combat Appendix

Due to various whines I have gotten over too many details elsewhere, and just some other ideas I have, this part 8 will be my Appendix section. An ever evolving area for short term errata and ideas other places and games have given me.

(Updated on 20 November 08)

Over at James M.'s Grognardia a discussion of the overly detailed and unfun Weapon Type vs Armor Type came up. The discussion lead to a brainstorm that is my first installment here.

Though I guess if you wanted a quick and dirty weapon effect system you could go Cutting, Bashing, and Penalizing. (Obviously counting things like ranged, polearm, or normal.)

(Bonuses are in general, not just against what's reduced.)

Cutting gets improved damage but reduced to hit against any armored target. (-1 / +1)
Bashing has improved chances to hit, but reduced damage. (+1 / -1)
Penalizing does less damage and is hard to hit with, but causes lots of saving throw or attribute check type effects. (Stunning blackjacks, blocking attacks with a Sai or Main Gauche, tangling with Nets or Bolas.) (-1 / -1)

Sure my idea is just generalizing things (An Axe, Sword, and Spear all hit and hurt differently after all!), but its a quick and dirty way to make different weapon types appealing. Technically an arrow is gonna have little trouble with most armor, but abstractly it could be affected, and its pointy bleedyness shouldn't be any stronger, but its a neat quick way of doing it.

Do you have armor or something armor like? Ok, the most popular weapons have a harder time hitting you, but now they all do more damage. However, the mace and warhammer are gonna hit you more often, but in general aren't quite as deadly though it hurts. Penalizing weapons have a harder time causing actual hits and the damage is reduced, but they can SERIOUSLY mess you up.

I really like this quick idea and may implement it into the big houserules list.

IDEA 2: Unarmored AC. Sadly, most versions of D&D really penalize anyone dumb enough to go without armor. Here is an idea to fix it. If a character shuns armor of any sort (this includes Armor, Helmets, Bracers, and Shields, along with any sort of spell that physically gives the character armor like Barkskin or Stoneskin) outside of magic jewelry or spells that do not physically alter the character, they get DOUBLE their DEX AC bonus. This is in addition to any bonuses certain classes or kits gain. Thus an unarmored character with a +2 AC bonus for DEX would have a +4 AC bonus instead.

We can even add some neat perks to help this. Unarmored Shield Fighting allows Shields to not be counted as being armor, while Unarmored Helmet Fighting would do the same for helmets. A character could rock out Gladiator or "300" Spartan style.

Ya know, I really like this idea too. Its neat! I can't possibly be the only person to think of this.

IDEA 3: Simplified Diagonals Movement. Putting this into my actual text would be a pain and require a couple hours of rewrites, but a quick and dirty thing I houseruled into a Tunnels & Trolls game was an epiphany. If you move any diagonals in a turn your movement is reduced by 1 for every bracket of 12 movement you have rounded up but you may always move 1 square, even diagonal. (So a MV 1-12 loses 1 square of MV. A 13-24 loses 2 for doing 1 diagonal, a 25-36 loses 3 and so on. No fractional accounting needed. It would be fine for weapon ranges too. Just increase the actual distance by 1 for the same distance bands. So if you fire at a 25-36 distance target and its diagonally its really 3 squares further away!)

IDEA 4: Improved Starting Hit Points. This is an easy one! At first level PCs can either take their maximum Level 1 HP + CON modifier, or their CON score with no modifiers. Whichever is higher.

For most characters this increases low level survivability immensely. It probably won't do much for D10 or D12 HP characters, but for everyone else its pretty huge. I would still keep max HP rolls for level 2 and 3 though!

IDEA 5: Character Generation Dice. Instead of the 4d6 take 3 highest approach, its 2d6+6.

This lessens the really crappy characters that just don't belong in a middle fantasy game as PCs anyhow. 8 becomes the new minimum, and 13 becomes the average. For a slightly weaker game, do 2+2d8, but any rolled 1 becomes a 2. Minimum becomes 6 and average scores will be 11. Actually I would probably use this over the 2d6+6 to tell you the truth, especially if Idea 4 is used as well.

ERRATA: Firearms Backfire Damage. Looking back I seem to be saying if you roll a 1 for damage you do 8 damage to yourself. This is incorrect. You do maximum basic die rolled damage for that firearm to yourself, ignoring any bonuses or penalties. Also it seems I forgot to give a bonus to damage for close range firing to Mr Runtherd in one of the examples.

See kids, this is what happens when you don't have an editor looking over your work, and you just blat out your ideas with only a couple quick reskims over what you wrote. This sort of thing needs to be done, lest you be like a certain game designer from Michigan. (OOOH! I MUST BE A HATER NOW! Then again, compared to what some sites say about the dude, I am being nice about it. He sure writes some infectious fluff though! :P )

Monday, November 17, 2008

This is why I love mecha!


Just watch this.

(Or try this direct download link if the video gets removed for whatever dumb internet reason: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_videoinfo.php?v=158077)

This is awesome, not even counting the fact they took yet another stupid song from yet another dumb Disney musical and made it fit perfectly to the beginning parts of this show.

See, this is why mechs rule. Heroic bravery, insane stunts, and just generally UNSTOPPABLE FIGHTING SPIRIT.

Your sword and sorcery RPG campaigns will NEVER reach this level of greatness.

A good mecha campaign could, with the right players.

And as I mentioned, this video only covers the early parts of the show. It gets MORE AWESOME AND MANLY.

Did Drizzt or Raistlin ever get into a fight where they were using ENTIRE GALAXIES as throwing stars?

I didn't think so.

And one day I will run a mecha RPG campaign for the right group of people and it will have this level of unadulterated awesomeness in it.

One day.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Saturday Changeling LARP Report: Rufus' War Journal Part 2

I have been lax on these! Now I have two game sessions worth to report on. Unlike last time, bold is ST stuff, and Italics is out of game bits, and normal text is in character text. Cuz I felt like doing it this way!

Teaser: "Join the Loyalist Army! Turn your friends in today! All traitors
will be spared!"
This is what greeted the Lost of Willimantic when they entered the Thread
City Cafe last month. Letters were delivered to the Lost, secret notes were
left, all pointing fingers at others saying they were a loyalist. Who can
you trust? The traditional Summer King, Sid, was killed in August and the
new King, Rufus, is still new and untried. The Spring Queen, April, has
been kidnapped and is being being tortured by a new force in town called the
Scorpion. As Autumn approaches, will the traditional Queen, Maude, be up to
the task of setting things to right in the city or will she meet with a
similar fate as the other two monarchs?

It has been a troubling time for us in the Lost. The Loyalists are trying to confuse us and throw us into disarray.

Its working well.

We had some folks from Virginia here to help us, a rather strange trio who seemed to have a thing for "efficiency". Between them and the regulars getting this group organized is proving to be a difficult task!

We came up with a plan to rescue April from Scorpion's bar hideout. One of us was sent to get April ready by morphing herself into a coin that our mirror visaged friend David dropped into the room after he transformed himself into a ganger type. I believe the coinformer was named Nothing. As I said, the Virginia folks were a little... odd.

As we needed an Autumn king I nominated David to run things at least in the short term, and the other local members of the Lost agreed enough and it was done.

This is sort of coming back to bite me though. We do not exactly see eye to eye even though we have similar objectives and ideas on how to take care of things.

We split up into two teams, one of which went to confront Scorpion who was within the Hedge, and I backed up our blacksmith as we sent Scorpion's den of evil into the dust, albeit with a few dead gang members along the way besides the ones now buried under rubble. No matter. Criminal scum like that shouldn't be left alive anyhow.

The other team confronted Scorpion and killed him, rescuing April. He thought we were the loyalists alongside April! But what kind of sick monster would do the things he did to her regardless of her actual allegiance and actions?

Nobody who deserves to live.

Last month the Lost formed a plan to go rescue the Spring Queen April from
the clutches of a sinister figure known as the Scorpion. Dog sized scorpions
and a building falling down on top of them were not enough to stop them and
April was brought to safety.
The long reigning Autumn Queen Maude is nowhere to be found. Her shop is
boarded up and abandoned. Has she left the Lost to deal with the loyalist on
their own or has something else happened to her? In her absence the Lost
elected the Mirrorskin David as the new Autumn King.
What was the connection between the Scorpion and the loyalist? Were they
allies or enemies? Why did the Scorpion kidnap April in the first place?
While Autumn is still the reigning season, Winter is just around the corner.
Why has the Winter King not made an appearance yet? Is he responsible for
what is going on in the city or has he also suffered some dire fate?

Some new people showed up this time while friends from the previous months were nowhere to be seen. An annoying duo named Vicks and Wedge accused myself and David as being Loyalists. They would believe nothing we said, even refusing a handgun I handed them. David tried to be a bit more political than myself in dealing with them as I was ready and willing to throw them out a window.

He eventually took an oath to fight against the loyalists lest he be striked down, and a little spirit frog appeared on his shoulder to make sure he kept that oath.

We are given a map, and find out information about Maude's hut within the Hedge. A few of us go to ask for some spirit frogs resting within some stone frog statues for help, but none of us having any real way to contact them meet with no success. I actually talk and inform these stone frogs of what is going on, which mostly just has people looking at us funny. Oh well, it was worth a shot, right?

And more bad news. After all the work we went to rescue April, a woman named Mia who was tasked with getting her to the hospital reported she was taken. AGAIN. This is not good, not at all, especially with the Winter king missing.

Given our lack of cohesiveness I came up with a list of objectives, based roughly on the seasons we seem to follow.

Summer would be the objective of investigating the Goblin patrols within the Hedge, and battling them off when needed.

Autumn would be finding out where our missing monarchs went off to.

Winter would be the fortifying of our stronghold.

Spring would be a catchall, going where needed.

It took me some time to explain using the seasons was largely symbolic and a little bit of yelling and force to get things going, but as I explained, all the Lost are my brothers and sisters and we have to work together. We have been constantly arguing and doubting each other. I have to nip this in the bud. I do not care what season king is in session. As far as I am concerned I am the main person in charge of this Freehold and the men and women within it. They are always my concern and always my responsibility. And I will fight for them to my last breath! I will lead by example and prepare others for command as well. David and I are butting heads a bit, but we will work it out, and a fellow from "Across the Pond" as they like to say who was there for the Sid incident is my tentative nominee for Winter king.

As repeated by Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction: "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who in the name of charity and goodwill shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."

This is how I must live and lead. It will be done. Perhaps I will be loved. Maybe hated. Maybe I will die, but I WILL fight for my brothers and sisters with everything I have to give!

We are given a parchment mentioning a contract made between a loyalist known as Red Johnny, Maude, and Sid. The very contract used to sacrifice one of us to go back. Proof has been found of their evil.

I send out an investigative team with our prospective Winter king. They return with 2 loyalists, one living, one dead. The area they were guarding was none other than Maude's hut within the Hedge! She was known to them as "The Evil Queen".

David organizes a strikeforce to investigate, and yet again leaves me at the Freehold. I have a chat with the living loyalist who lets us know he was told we were loyalists ourselves. He has no name, only called by Red Johnny as "325". I rename him "Doug" until we can find his original name. He tries walking out, but we stop him.

I now wait for my brothers and sisters to return...

At game's end I find out that Maude is within her hut, and that David has apparently defected to the Loyalist side, though it may be to keep himself alive.

Overall I am really enjoying the LARP games and am even getting sorta used to the lack of sleep one Saturday a month. I need to work on my outfit a bit more though. Right now a Navy ballcap and a pair of faux spiked leather fingerless gloves form my total outfit, excepting my normal clothes of course! Some folks really have kickass costumes! Of course I head off to work afterwards so I can't exactly go too out there to begin with, but it is making me want to step up my game. And both times I was invited to stay on for Vampire, but again, work. Yay.

The end of Wizkids

I'm sure most folks have already heard, but Wizkids' owner Topps has decided to pull the plug on the company that kickstarted the prepainted miniatures genre into what we know it as today.

Here are some thoughts on their games, mostly focusing on Heroclix as it was their biggest success. I am assuming some basic understanding of their core game system here, if not their website should still have the rules PDFs to download for more info. (I may also go back and add more to this post later. But its past my bedtime. Its been a while since I updated and time got the best of me!)

I'm an ex Heroclix player and even when I still played I knew Topps taking them over was a bad thing.

But that's not what really did the game in for me and why I quit it. It may be the reason others did as well.

The Clix game engine has pretty much been flawed from the get go, at least for me as a general minis game player.

The death spiral, colored icons to cross reference on a chart, having to pick up the model to move the base, the clix base making it a pain in the ass to even figure out what your models do for army building, the Magic like combo system, the activation system making weenie armies pretty hard to pull off, the vast majority of local play being tournament only, increased prices, and of course blind buy in general.

I originally bought Heroclix just for minis to use in RPGs. Ive got the old TSR Marvel RPG, the Mayfair DC game, and a couple generic systems. I mostly just bought cheap commons online of favorite characters and rarely bothered with boosters. My gamegroup had its usual falling out time and the comic shop was starting to carry and run the game with weekly tournaments.

Well anyone who has listened to me talk about hobby gaming (Been playing them actively since 1988) knows I think tournaments can take the fun out of everything up to and including an orgy.)

But that's what everyone played so I had to buck up or go elsewhere. I won quite a few tournies, though never actually enjoying myself to any real level. Theme teams were generally pointless, and certain combos were near broken, and for the most part your builds all but required certain powers to stand a chance over other model powers. It never actually felt like I was playing a superhero wargame. It was more an abstract math game with superhero figures on the top that never really acted like they should. For whatever dumb reason I started brick buying and all that too. But I was never really happy with the game. Not the way Warhammer 40K did, where even when dealing with complete tools I still loved the game.

Eventually I slowed down to just buying for the sealed games and after 2 of those dropped out entirely. I haven't bought a booster since a couple at Connecticon 07 when I was spending a little silly and hoping to get the Young Avengers figures.

Heroclix seems to be the only Clix engine game that had any legs. Halo was a non starter, Mechwarrior was doomed from the Battletech fanbase's nerd rage regardless of the game's actual qualities, Mage Knight was killed by an incompatible revision, and Horrorclix was doomed because people wanted iconic movie horror figures instead of generic horror, made even worse with expansions that weren't even good generic horror stuff.

For the non Clix games Pirates was a great concept with a god awful game system, and their Star Wars game is good light fun, but it hardly requires the cardstock models at all. I mostly buy it for cheap ships to use for Silent Death, which has been reduced since the ground models are in and I only need starfighters.

Of course the biggest problem is the blind buy deal. I am not a gambler. I do not like gambling. I like knowing what I pay for and getting a fair price. In a game like Heroclix where you really only need 1 of a miniature (Unlike the FAR better Star Wars Miniatures where outside of the rares and super rares you can never really have too many of most of the commons and uncommons. Of course the Rs and SRs have insanely high prices and I have so many minis from that line that in most new sets I really only want the Rs and SRs meaning I don't buy that game anymore either...) it can be really annoying, especially when the figures you want are packed 1 in every 4 boosters or something.

Blind buy is starting to die off in minis gaming. The new Mutant Chronicles game decided not to go blind, and D&D minis are going visible buy since WoTC realizes few people actually play the attached wargame anyhow. (And changing the rule system didn't help matters either.) Rackham's AT 43 and Confrontation both have gorgeous prepainted models, a fun game system, and are non blind buy for prepaints. WoTC's Heroscape and Marvelscape are non blind buy, have overall better paint apps than Wizkids, and are generally cheaper and far more fun to play games with.

This isn't even getting into build and paint miniatures games. I can get 48 Roman soldiers for 30 dollars MSRP for really high grade plastics, or even cheaper ones with still better than Wizkids sculpts. In the long run, even an expensive beast of a game like Warhammer 40K is cheaper. For the cost of 2 bricks you can have a decently sized army and rulesbooks if you like the 2 starter box armies.

I feel sorry for those of you who really enjoyed Heroclix, but Wizkids made more mistakes than successes, and never really had a compelling game system for many people.

It did lead the way though. They really were the first company to get prepainted miniatures wargames out on the market, and for that they have my thanks as a card carrying hater of painting models.

(Note: This post was edited to remove something I probably shouldn't have posted because the person in question is apparently E stalking my blog posts looking for me saying things even though I don't use anyone's real name anyhow. Though to be honest I never meant to post the comment for public consumption anyhow. Its what I get writing from the hip at 6 in the morning when I should be in bed. But I don't feel too bad given some of the things this person has said to me in front of other people in the past. However it was uncalled for and is thus stricken for the moment. )

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

My AD&D 1st ed Character: LET ME SHOW YOU HER

Over at Alive and Out of Print . org they are doing a Play By Post game of the classic Against the Giants series. I am joining in, taking one of the pregens and making it my own. I chose the first of the 2 Clerics and turned him into the following:

(She sort of looks like that. The picture is Rally Vincent from Gunsmith Cats)

Sister Marimae Flanaghan (Aka: Sister Mary Facesmasher)
Human Female Cleric of Sigmar
Lawful Good
Age: 31 Height: 5' 8" Weight 143 lbs.

STR 16, INT 10, WIS 18, DEX 12, CON 16, CHA 17
72 HP
AC -2, 0 Shieldless, 10 Unarmored
THACO 14, 12 with +2 Mace
Damage to S or M is 1d6+3 (2 for +2 Mace, +1 for STR 16)

1 2 3 4 5 6
7 6 5 4 2 1

Mace +2, Plate Mail +2, Shield +2, 2 Potions of Invisibility, Potion of Diminution, 2 Potions of Extra Healing

Backstory: Mary grew up on a different world than that which contains the lands of Greyhawk. A land with endless wars against the Undead, Orks, and the other dimensional forces of Chaos. It is on this world that she became a priestess of Sigmar, a god of justice and warfare, ascended from humanity. She was mostly tasked with teaching orphans and had little chance to go out in the field. However she became infamous for believing in the old adage of "Spare the rod and spoil the child".

Her students tended to be rather well behaved, even for orphans growing up under religious doctrination. (Many will grow up to be Witch Hunters, Inquisitors, or more fantatical Warpriests because of this...) With her reputation one of the senior priests decided he would prefer her to punish him for his sins. Because he was a VERY naughty boy.

Needless to say, Mary ran the hell out of there, collected her meager belongings, and decided to travel the world, which lead her into a portal bringing her to the Free City of Greyhawk. There she found her calling at putting large blunt objects through the faces of monsters, criminals, and anyone else who was an enemy of justice and peace. She became a freelance cleric connected to the St Cuthbert order which she considers to pretty much be Sigmar by another name anyhow.

After a few years of travelling and adventuring she decided it was time to settle down and start up a church of her own in some out of the way town with funds she had collected while cleansing the land of heretics and monsters. Life was fine except for one thing. One of the workers hired to build her church, a half orc named Geal. (LN Commoner) She was enjoying his hard sweaty work a little too much, and jumping into a nearby lake and small waterfall to pray away her feelings was working less and less each day.

Thus with little more than some money left to have her church finished and a note to the workers to finish and how to get some other priests to take care of it, she left to travel again, working out her (in her mind anyhow!) filthy thoughts by hitting more evil things in the face with blunt objects.

Quote: "Evil cannot speak it's blasphemies when it's jaw is crushed."

L1 (5 spells at level 10)
Cure Light Wounds x 4, Detect Magic

L2 (5 spells at level 10)
Silence 15 radius X 2, Find Traps, Slow Poison x 2

L3 (4 Spells at level 10)
Prayer x 2, Dispel Magic, Speak With the Dead

L4 (4 Spells at level 10)
Protection from Evil 10 Radius, Neutralize Poison, Sticks to Snakes x 2

L5 (2 Spells at level 10)
Dispel Evil, Flame Strike

Extra Gear: Silver Holy Symbol, Leather Backpack, Small Silver Mirror, 2 Water Skins, 3 Large Belt Pouches, Basic clothing with cloak, Boots, 2 weeks' Iron Rations, Tinder box, 12 wax candles, 4 flasks of Holy Water, 4 Iron Spikes, 4 flasks of Oil, Bone Scroll Case. (Obviously we have more food and probably mounts in the cave.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

40K Has me so in its vile grip!

Curse this game!

I was gonna give a friend my Black Reach Marines and a Codex as his Christmas present.
(I'll get him something else he would probably like more anyhow.)

I had gotten BR for 30 bucks so the Marines were practically free. Today at the 40K game I saw about getting some more Marine bits for him. Sadly one player wants to magnetize all his Terminators so he can switch weapons, meaning the 2 Thunder Hammer and 3 Lightning Claw Assault Termie idea could not happen.

Another dude sold me a 5 man assault squad for 8 bucks with one Power Fist, rest CCW and Bolt Pistol.

On the drive home I had an epiphany: The Blood Angels codex is free outside of printer ink. Why not do BA as the army instead of vanilla Marines?

Then I had a secondary epiphany: I should keep these Marines, throw in my spare Lead Mk6 Techmarine, my Mephiston model I used as a Chaos Lord, and 5 Space Hulk 2nd ed Terminators and have an army.

The concept: Pre Heresy World Eaters that have come out of the Warp a bit messed up and counts as a Blood Angels force. They have been pirating and stealing and killing anything they don't like, Imperial or otherwise.

My eventual goal is 3 Vindicators, 2 Terminator Squads with Thunder Hammer and Storm Shields, and a shit ton of Assault Squads and a Death Company.

I converted a spare 2nd ed era metal Legion of the Damned body to counts as Lemartes, and have currently added his pal, a venerable Dreadnought with Heavy Flamer attachment. And clearly their time in the Warp has messed em up a little:


My current army design is:

HQ: Mephiston (WE Captain that thinks his Pysker powers are really his ANGRY HATE) 225 points.
Lemartes: 125
Elites: 2 Terminator Squads, 1 W Heavy Flamer. 200 and 205 points each. (200 each if I convert to Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield.) Venerable Dreadnought with Heavy Flamer and Multi Melta. Extra Armor. 165
Techmarine 75 points.
Troops: Assault Squad Vet Sgt with Power Fist, Meltabombs, Combat Shield. 1 of the other 4 Assault Marines with Plasma Pistol 195 points. 10 man tac squad Sgt with Meltabombs, Chainsword. 1 Tac with Flamer, 1 Tac with Missile Launcher: 210.

1400 points. An army whose total cash expenditure was effectively 40 bucks if we count 10 for Mephiston, a couple of bucks for the Techmarine, 10 for the BR Marines, 10 for the SH Termies (50 dollar game) and 8 for the Assault Marines.

For 1500 point games I will probably just get 2 Drop pods or 2 Attack Bikes. For larger games more Assault Squads, and a trio of Vindicators. Hell, once I get them I may tweak the above instead of having 2 Terminator Squads.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Changeling LARP Character. LET ME SHOW YOU HIM.

Intelligence, Wits, Resolve 2
Strength, Dexterity, Stamina 3
Presence 3, Manipulation, Composure 3

Crafts 1
Politics 3
Athletics 4 (Specialty Acrobatics)
Brawl 4 (Specialty Claw Knockback)
Animal Ken 1 (Bless Spec Tiger)
Intimidation 3 (Specialty Physical Threats)
Persuasion 2 (Motivational Speeches)
Socialize 2

Mantle Summer 3
Brawling Dodge 1
Tiger Style Kung Fu 3

Fang & Talon 2 (Beast's Keen Senses)

Health 7
Willpower 4
Glamour 6 (11 max)
Wyrd 2
Clarity 7

Current Unspent XP: 16 (Most likely 15 will be spent on raising Intelligence to 3. Next two session's XP will be used to take Firearms, probably to 2 dots.)

Rufus grew up in the late 70s and early 80s. While his family was pretty poor, he was mostly happy, and his Saturday mornings were spent with a bowl of Corn Pops, a couple toys, and many glorious hours in front of the TV watching cartoons.

Cartoons were his escape from living in a trailer home and his generally off working (when they weren't out drinking) parents rarely being around. Optimus Prime, Duke, and Captain Global were his father figures. The Voltron Force his brothers and sisters. The Thundercats his pets.

In a rare difference one day in 1988 he was taken to an amusement park for his birthday. His mother being too hung over to even get out of bed, it was just Rufus and his dad that day. And it was there in a land of roller coasters and videogames that he was taken. His father was getting them lunch and Rufus was over by the Star Wars machine playing a couple rounds when he heard some splashing at the lake over the park's fence. It sounded like someone was drowning!

Following what he learned from various morals and messages in his cartoons he acted without hesitation, jumping over the fence to try to help whoever was in danger. There was NO TIME to waste! He yelled quickly for anyone to get real help and dove right in to help whoever was in trouble.

When he got to the thrashing person he found it to be a preteen just like him. In fact once he got a good look at him, he saw it WAS HIM. With an evil grin this impostor tried to pull him under only to get a solid punch from Rufus. Those martial arts classes at the Y were paying off! It worked for Snake Eyes after all. Then from below something was pulling him under! He grabbed at his doppleganger and didn't let go. Deeper and deeper till all went black.

When his father heard the commotion and got over there he saw something bob to the surface, lifeless.

His only son. On his 12th birthday. Dead.

Rufus was then indoctrinated into his new world by Stefan. A world of hunts and violence and death. Yet Stefan was stern, not harsh, and took a firm liking to Rufus' spirit and attitude. He had seen so few people who actually were as idealistic as this boy was. Rufus for a time followed his instructions, and let the beast inside come out. Yet it was a noble beast, a white tiger. Yet even the most majestic animal has a side terrible to behold, a side of wrath. Whenever Rufus saw injustice this side came out. The results were usually fatal for someone.

On what would have been his 24th birthday Stefan let Rufus go. The day before Stefan had professed all his feelings towards Rufus. Feelings Rufus did not share or reciprocate. In fact in spite of the power and magic and adventures they had shared Rufus merely wanted to be in the real world with his family.

Hurt, Stefan told him to leave. But now the hunter would be the hunted. Like one of Rufus' favorite movies said "If they catch you, they will kill you".

But first they had to catch him. And Rufus said he would take out anyone who tried, even if he fell in the process. Even if he had to face Stefan himself. Optimus Prime didn't back down when Megatron fought him on Autobot City, and neither would Rufus!

Getting back to the real world Rufus tried to reconnect with his family. His mother blaming his father, had left him via a cheap pistol in her mouth. His father had spent the last decade working and when not working drinking trying to forget it all. Yet this man seemed so much like his boy it brought a little life back to him. He helped his son get back on his feet any way he could, using some of his drinking buddies to get Rufus fake ids and data so he could live like a normal person.

Yet Rufus could not stay. They would hunt him. Saying goodbye to his dad, he joined the Navy for a tour and travelled the world, keeping moving and as sailors so often do, never really staying in one place for too long. He took this time to learn as much as he could, and sent most of his pay home to his father, outside of what he needed for martial arts classes and basic necessities like clothes and Corn Pops.

Upon completing his tour in the Navy he started competing in various martial arts competitions both legal and illegal, winning enough to live out of a suitcase and help people in the towns he visited, like Bill Bixby did in the Hulk.

Then one day a friend of his, Eric Stewart (possibly my secondary character) introduced him to other runaways. He found notice of a meeting one summer night in Willimantic Connecticut.

And yet again, everything changed.

(Actual play begins here.)

The Summer King Sid was murdered! The Spring Queen turned up missing! People were thrown into the Hedge without their consent! Thrust into this sort of situation Rufus helped to take charge, worked with his fellow runaways and brought Sid's killer to justice, and revealed the reason the area was so safe in the past. People were being taken as sacrifices and taken back to those nightmarish lands.

Rufus was elected Summer King and is currently trying to come to grips to his new role as a commander of disparate people who are full of mistrust and doubt. Rufus will bring them together as brothers and sisters in arms, even if he has to die to do it.

His childhood heroes would do no less, and neither will he.


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