Thursday, October 27, 2011

Best Girlfriend ever

My awesome cool, pretty lady got me this rad shirt. It's from Teefury. There is a new limited edition shirt on the site each day, but it's only available for a single 24 hour period. So I am super happy she snagged this for me. It looks great. Now I just need one of those sweet Miskatonic U sweatshirts.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Roaming the Dungeon

Alright, Halloween is in just a few days so I've been thinking about my Ravenloft/Castlevania  inspired mega-dungeon Losh Nekkar.

I'm thinking the random encounter tables will be really small, probably only d6 or d8 tables, because there will be lots of planed encounter areas with more interesting stuff, and I don't want a huge number of random creatures running around.

So the creatures in each area should kinda be simple stock creatures and make sense for that level of the dungeon Exterior sections will have both night and daytime random encounter tables.

Like I said earlier though I want monsters to start to roam and migrate as the players unlock  different areas. To this end the 6th entry (or 8th if that's what I go with) on each table will be a redirect to a monster from a random adjacent (and unlocked) area of the castle.

So say I'm rolling a random encounter for the Great Hall and I get a 6- which indicates the encounter is a creature from a nearby area. I then randomly determine its from the Ballroom. I roll on the Ballroom encounter table and get a 3- A dancing ghostly couple appears in the Great Hall. If I had rolled a second 6 it would have meant a roll on the Treasury encounter table. Using this method something could theoretically crawl up from the Crypts and menace the PCs out on the Battlements.

I'm going away for a bit and might not post for a week or so.
Happy Halloween!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dwellers in the Dark

The Shadows where the Mewlips dwell
Are dark and wet as ink,
And slow and softly rings their bell,
As in the slime you sink.

You sink into the slime, who dare
To knock upon their door,
While down the grinning gargoyles stare
And noisome waters pour.

Beside the rotting river-strand
The drooping willows weep,
And gloomily the gorcrows stand
Croaking in their sleep.

Over the Merlock Mountains a long and weary way,
In a mouldy valley where the trees are grey,
By a dark pool´s borders without wind or tide,
Moonless and sunless, the Mewlips hide.

The cellars where the Mewlips sit
Are deep and dank and cold
With single sickly candle lit;
And there they count their gold.

Their walls are wet, their ceilings drip;
Their feet upon the floor
Go softly with a squish-flap-flip,
As they sidle to the door.

They peep out slyly; through a crack
Their feeling fingers creep,
And when they´ve finished, in a sack
Your bones they take to keep.

Beyond the Merlock Mountains, a long and lonely road,
Through the spider-shadows and the marsh of Tode,
And through the wood of hanging trees and gallows-weed,
You go to find the Mewlips - and the Mewlips feed.
-The Mewlips by Tolkien 

In the dark lonely places of the world things lurk. Dark things, evil things, HUNGRY things. No one really knows what the Dwellers are, but they seem to be horrid mockeries of the human form. Not much is known about these elusive cannibals, except that they crave hot blood and cold flesh. Dwellers are thankfully very rare, or at least very rarely encountered. Although Dwellers are usually solitary creatures they on rare occasions will band together in a small group. Physically weak but devilishly cunning Dwellers use traps or tricks to disadvantage or separate their prey, attacking when the victim is injured, asleep, alone- or preferably all three.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Livin the dead life

Immortality. Powerful men and women have committed some of the most atrocious acts to cheat death.  There are many methods used by the corrupt and desperate, many vile strategies passed down throughout the ages.

Warriors will arm themselves with powerful magic weapons and armor, melding their life essence with these tools of war. In death only the most horrible butchers will be able to exert their will over the souls those they massacred in life. Raising armies of slaughtered soldiers to sustain their vile existence these warriors will rise from their tombs and cairns as unholy Wights.

Wizards who seek to unnaturally extend their years will eventually become Liches. The process of becoming a Lich melds arcane science with pure evil and requires the life force of many innocents.

Evil priests who please the gods of darkness are sometimes able to continue their work beyond death. The priest is specially prepared in a ritual which turns the body of the deceased into a perfect receptacle for their spirit to live on within. Virtually immune to aging the body of the priest is wrapped in fine cloth bandages and robes and adorned with unholy vestments wrought of pure gold.    

The master thief can steal virtually anything, but immortality is elusive. A thief who hopes to steal the secrets of immortality must put aside every last shred of morality. The thief becomes an insubstantial shadow, the ultimate assassin or burglar. Able to glide through walls and stab through their victims chest to pierce the heart, without marking the skin. The Geist is sustained by its own dark personality, greed driving it forward, it covets treasure without having any mortal use for it.

 click to bigify

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Black Ops Classes

Alright, so I have been playing the Xbox 360 game Call of Duty Black Ops a lot. A LOT.
It is very fun and addictive, even though I'm not great at it. One of the things that makes the online multiplayer so fun for me is the class customization.

You start off with 6 class slots you can customize. As you play you earn more points that you can use to buy new weapons and equipment as you unlock them and level up.

Here's the best picture of a class creation screen I could find.


So you get:
  • one primary weapon 
  • one secondary weapon
  • a lethal option
  • a tactical option
  • an equipment slot
  • three perk slots
The first perk slot changes your appearance, as well as gives you a powerful advantage.
'Ghost' for example makes you invisible to enemy spy planes.
The other perks don't change what you look like but still break the regular rules.
For example 'Hardened' makes your bullets penetrate deeper though walls and cover, and 'Tactical Mask' makes you immune to the effects of a Nova gas grenade.

I was wondering how well this approach to character creation would work in a pen and paper rpg. For character creation and as well as for equipment and armament purposes. The perks would turn into your class and different class archetypes or fighting styles. Instead of a encumbrance system a character would instead have 'equipment slots'.

I donno.

More on this later probably.

Monday, October 17, 2011

QZ play report 1

Alright, so Saturday night me and the gang decided to get some Mazes & Minotaurs going for a change of pace from Pathfinder. We stated up characters pretty quickly- a fire and earth Elementalist, a priest of Dionysus, and Noble hero named Olympia- played by my pretty girlfriend via skype. We played for maybe 10 minutes but I wasn't feeling it so when another player arrived I moved we try my QZ game rather than stat up another character.

So armed with only the rules I posted already here on my blog we set off. ( relied pretty heavily on the random charts from Fenways Zombie Attack Scavenger's Guide supplement.)

I set the game off, saying that the players were literally starting play from the time and place that we were in (one of the player's basement at like 10:45), I told them that they had been holed up in the house for five months but now they are out of food and supplies. I think they thought that was cool. They wisely waited till morning and then set out towards a nearby gas station (one of the PCs rolled up a car as a random possession but i ruled it was out of gas).

Finding the station thoroughly ransacked they decided to head right on downtown to check our local Giant Tiger store. There they encountered 5 survivors who were wary but not hostile. After a little conversation to lighten the mood (a passed Attitude check) they were willing to barter a bit- trading 12 cans of food for a clip of pistol ammo one character had (he didn't have a pistol).

The PCs left the Giant Tiger and checked out a nearby pizza place. The place seemed empty till one PC checked the walk in freezer- two Slouchers shambled out. The Slouchers were taken out pretty quickly, before they had a chance to moan, and then one PC picked up a shotgun that was in the freezer along with a 5 shells. 

Moving on the PCs encountered 2 more Slouchers in an alley which they again took out quick. They then moved into a fitness gym and searched the place but didn't find anything too useful.

As it was starting to get late and I had to work the next morning we ended it there with the PC's barricading themselves in the gym as night fell.

Game Notes
-Character creation was fast and pretty easy I think, although I think I need a list of example Survival Skills. Just saying "make up your own- anything you want!" left it too open, all the players put the points into stats.
-Equipment and encumbrance rules- need em.
-I really shoulda had some more rules sketched out. The combats were too easy and generally didn't work well, but then again I was making it up on the fly. I need to pin down some real rules for how fighting works.
- More random tables, lots more- need em.
- A little map of the town would have been really helpful- at one point 3 of the 4 players were on their mobile devices browsing the google map of our town.
-Mazes and Minotaurs seems really cool, I think we will try it again sometime. The priest of Dionysus seemed like he was going to be a particularly cool character, he had really cool powers.

Ok, well more on this later. I hope to get more QZ rules up soon.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

QZ RULEZ (pt1)

Quarantine Zone

Each player takes on the role of a survivor in the post apocalyptic Quarantine Zone  (the locale of your choice, preferably your actual real-world location) . It has been roughly 5 months since the outbreak and society has more or less collapsed. The zombie outbreak seems to be a viral infection which in some cases causes bizarre deformities, as well as zombification.

QZ uses six sided dice. To resolve dice rolls a player rolls a certain number of dice and tries to get the required number of successes. The die result required depends on the game type, it will always remain the same and should be determined before play begins.

Game Types:
Action- dice are successful on 4+ result. An easier and faster paced version.
Survival- dice are successful on a 5+ result. Recommended default.
Horror- dice are successful on a 6+ result.Very difficult. Characters will die.

Each Player character has 6 ability scores-'B.R.A.I.N.S.'

Brawn- How physically tough and strong a character is. Used in hand to hand combat and to resist illness.

Reflexes- A character's speed and agility, also used to measure manual dexterity.

Attitude- A character's ability to connect and make relationships. Used in social situations.

Intelligence- The knowledge and mental capacity of a character.

Nerve- A character's ability to stay calm in difficult situations and overcome fears. Used to shoot ranged weapons.

Search- A character's ability to notice details. Used to scavenge supplies.

Each character starts with 1 skill point in each 'B.R.A.I.N.S.' ability. Each character gets an additional 6+1d6 skill points which they may assign to one of their 'B.R.A.I.N.S.' abilities or spend on Survival Skills. Each 'B.R.A.I.N.S.' ability or Survival Skill may have up to 3 skill points assigned to it.

A Survival Skill is some specific skill that the character has. A character may choose nearly any skill they can think of, provided that it is specific enough and plausible. "Good at Shooting Guns" should not be a Survival Skill, but "Good with Hunting Rifle" might be acceptable. "Very Charismatic" -bad, "Trained in Hostage Negotiation" - good. Survival skills are meant to help make characters unique and give them a bonus in a few very specific situations. In a situation where it is useful the player may use their skill bonus on a 'B.R.A.I.N.S.' ability check to grant 1 extra d6 for each skill point assigned to that Survival Skill. Survival Skill bonus dice do not count towards generating automatic successes.  

'B.R.A.I.N.S.' Ability Checks
When making an ability check the Games Master will tell the player which ability is being tested and how many successes will be required. The player then will roll a number of dice equal to their character's ability score. An ability score is the number of d6s a player will roll as well as the number of automatic successes.

Example: A character with a Brawn score of 2 will roll 2 dice but will also generate 2 automatic successes. So 2 successes are guaranteed with 2 more possible if both d6s roll high enough (5+ in the standard game type). The number of dice a character will roll can be increased if conditions are favorable, or if they possess a relevant Survival Skill.

GM note- You should not decrease the number of dice a player gets to roll to make a task more difficult, instead increase the number of successes required. Also do not adjust the d6 result required to make a success once play has begun, as the game type selected above should not change.

Example of Play: Reloading a Gun
 Reloading a gun should be a very simple task, and in most cases a check would not be required. In a dangerous situation however a Nerve check would probably be appropriate. 

Nick is cautiously walking down the street and finds a shotgun and some ammo for it in a police cruiser. He sees that the gun is empty and would have reloaded it easily, but a zombie staggers out of a nearby doorway.
To reload the gun Nick needs to pass a difficulty 1 Nerve check, requiring 1 success. Since Nick has a Nerve score of 1 he gets to roll 1 d6 and also gets 1 automatic success- he reloads the gun.
 A few minutes later Nick needs to reload the shotgun again. This time though a Sloucher is shambling towards him and moaning loudly (a zombie moaning commonly increases the difficulty of a Nerve check by 1), so this Nerve check is at difficulty 2, requiring 2 successes. Suddenly this check is considerably more difficult- Nick can't rely on his 1 automatic success, he needs to roll a success on his d6 to pass.

Steve is cornered in an alley with a horde of moaning zombies moving in, and he has to reload his pistol.
Steve is a hardened biker, unlike wimpy Nick (Nick has Nerve 1) Steve is cool under stress (Steve has Nerve 3). Steve gets 3 automatic successes and rolls 3 dice when he makes a Nerve check. Steve needs to pass a difficulty 6 Nerve check to reload his gun, he needs all three of his d6s to be successes.

Note-  I know this is a mess but I just want to get my thoughts down.
 Thanks to Fenway for letting me rip off the "B.R.A.I.N." acronym he uses in his cool Zombie Attack rpg.

More on this later.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quarantine Zone

Alright, with Halloween fast approaching I have been thinking about this. I am still slowly thinking up the actual rules and have come up with the different types of zombies which will be roaming the Quarantine Zone.

It is important to remember that every zombie is unique and that zombies are as varied in death as they were in life. Assuming zombies are all the same will get you killed or worse- false familiarity is deadly.

That said, there are a handful of broad categories which most zombies can be classified into.

Sloucher - The 'regular' zombie. Slow moving, uncoordinated, and very unaware. Will wander or lay collapsed until it detects prey, at which point it will issue a horrible moan and move to attack.

Dragger- A Sloucher that moves more slowly for some reason, perhaps due to injury or decomposition. A Dragger's slow but erratic movements make them more difficult to get a headshot on than the more steady Slouchers.

Shambler- A Sloucher that is able to move slightly faster than average. Like the Dragger, Shambler's erratic movement makes them more difficult to target precisely.

Crawler- A zombie which must crawl, usually because of severe damage to the legs or back.

Juggernaut- A very large Sloucher, either obese, muscular or mutated. Not faster or smarter but stronger and very difficult to put down.

Twitcher- At first glance a Twitcher will appear to be a regular Sloucher, but a careful observer will notice the Twitcher is much more alert and fidgety. Unlike Slouchers, Twitchers will run, climb, and jump to reach prey; shrieking the whole time.

Wailer- Usually a zombie child with enormous lung capacity. The Wailer is fond of climbing and will wait in treetops or on the roofs of houses until it spots prey. The horribly distinctive wail will attract all the zombies in the area.   

Banshee- Usually a zombified young woman. The hellish shriek of a Banshee will not only attract more zombies, it is said to be able to transfix the living, freezing the weak willed in place.

Thinker- Thinkers are thankfully very rare. They look like regular people, they are able to walk and move like the living and they usually don't have obvious injuries. Thinkers are self aware and alert, able to see their surroundings in a way that other zombies cannot. Thinkers can learn simple things, use simple tools, and recognize symbols and patterns.  A Thinkers most terrifying trait however is the ability to telepathically direct other zombies, allowing them to set traps and overcome obstacles.

More on this later.