Archive for November 2015

A Sundered Fragment: More Character Stuff Preview

About a day after A Sundered World was released (as well as a pdf that just has the race and class stuff for people that just want the race and class stuff), we'd already begun working on the first supplement (along with a bunch of other stuff, as usual).

Not sure what we're going to call it yet, but it's basically geared towards players, adding more races, race moves, class moves, advanced moves for races and classes (some of which require specific race and class combinations), maybe a new class, and gear (which includes rules for piloting enthollows and jotuncases).

Here's a B&W WIP of the ishim section:


This is what happens if you take the 6-10 advanced move Higher Calling: you ascend to the rank of cherubim, which is large, can fly (which lets you move through the astral much more quickly than normal), has a powerful claw attack, cannot be surprised, and can see through any lie.

I'll tease more as more art gets done, but if you have anything you'd like to see (or see expanded upon), lemme know!

Announcements
A Sundered World is out!

The Fighter is geared up and ready to go! Unlike the default Dungeon World fighter, your skills matter more than your special "can sometimes be lost but not really" weapon. There are a variety of fighting styles to choose from, including the ability make a DEX-based fighter.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

4Ward/FrankenFourth: Return to Epiro One-Shot

Cast
  • Ainslie (level 1 elf monk)
  • Liander (level 1 elf hireling)
  • Ruari (level 1 elf wizard)

Summary
The party arrived in the village of Sidon some three days after the murder of its previous ruler, Silas Kosta. His daugher Eleni had taken over, and put a bounty on the bandits responsible: five gold pieces per head brought to her.

The party were elves native to the Tunnelwood, and knew that the bandits were located somewhere along the Hydra River: they told Eleni that they would avenge her father's death for just one gold piece per head, if she also agreed to suspend logging operations at the Nasso Sawmill.

Eleni agreed, and the party returned to the forest. One day, ankheg, and bandit skirmish later they arrived at the bandit's camp. They had holed up in an ancient human fortress, long since forgotten in the forest and almost completely buried under a pile of dirt. Only a few crumbling towers jutting forth indicated that it was anything more than a great earthen hill.

There was no cover, but rather than wait for nightfall they charged across the clearing. A pair of guards spotted them, and as they made their way up the mound four more appeared. Two of them loosed arrows, while the rest moved to keep Ainslie and Liander at bay.

Once the party slew four of the bandits the other two surrendered. Ainslie and Ruari interrogated them, but they denied any involvement with the murder of Silas, claiming that they were hired to protect a group of scholars investigating the ruins. When Ainslie demanded to see their employers they bolted for an excavated door, but Ruari and Liander crippled them before they could escape.

Under torture one of them admitted to the crime, and said that their leader was in the keep. The party bound and gagged both men, but when Ainslie attempt to peek through the door another bandit opened it, muttering something about hearing noises outside.

Ainslie and Liander respectively punched and speared him in the face before charging into the room. Outnumbered, Ruari conjured an illusion of a gorgon. This caused two to flee and everyone else to temporarily avert their gazes, until one of them lashed out and inadvertently dispelled it. Ainslie tried taking out the leader, but one sword stroke later and she was sprawled out on the floor, quickly bleeding out.

At this Liander and Ruari focused their attention on the leader, and once he was slain the other bandits fled the keep. They bandaged Ainslie's wounds, argued over how much of the stolen loot to keep (in addition to their agreed pay, of course), and headed back to Sidon to deliver the bandit leader's head.

Design Notes
I originally ran the Epiro campaign back when 5th Edition was still in its "playtesting" phase. Eric Sheldahl wanted to give 4Ward/FrankenFourth a shot, so I think it was fitting to dust it off and run it using a game that is actually open to feedback and such.

The main point of contention is the wizard's illusionist talent. Currently it allows you to conjure a stationary illusion that can occupy up to a 5 x 5 x 5 space. You can't move it at all: you have to let it vanish and create a new one where you want it to be. If touched there is a visible distortion, revealing that it is fake.

This is because in our Age of Worms and Keep on the Shadowfell playtests, players have used it in some insanely, encounter-breaking ways, such as by making a bunch of wolves think there is a bear, causing some to flee or hesitate (effectively spending your turn to have 3-4 other creatures waste their turns).

The revamped talent still lets you create distractions (and illusionary walls, granting cover), but they're only likely to work for a bit, and against intelligent foes they're not likely to fall for it again. You also can't use it to make it seem like you have larger numbers than you do (at least, not at the start).

The problem I guess is that the talent doesn't make any of this explicitly clear, nor does it provide ways for the GM to rule as to whether it works or not (I've been having the wizard make an Intelligence attack against the target's Will defense, or let them use Intelligence with Bluff or Intimidate). So, that's something to add to a sidebar, or maybe the GMing section.

I think I should also make it clear what talents are primarily intended for: if you take illusionist and enchanter, you aren't going to be able to blow your enemies up. If you wanna do that, you'll need Evoker and other, similar talents, like Arcane Ordnance and Intense Evocation (or wait until you pick up Solid Illusion and Phantasmal Killer).

Announcements
A Sundered World is out!

The Fighter is geared up and ready to go! Unlike the default Dungeon World fighter, your skills matter more than your special "can sometimes be lost but not really" weapon. There are a variety of fighting styles to choose from, including the ability make a DEX-based fighter.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

4Ward/FrankenFourth: Age of Worms, Episode 103

Cast
  • Adair (level 2 elf war cleric)
  • Hedris (level 2 gluttonous cambion warlord)
  • Humal (level 2 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Sumia (level 2 elf rogue)

Summary
While waiting for Humal and Sumia to recover from their injuries, the party decided to take it easy and gather some information about the rings they'd found, local cairns, and the missing bodies that they assumed Alastor would also want returned.

Adair learned that Kullen, an albino half-orc infamous for his destructive temper and employed by the notorious and highly-influential Balabar Smenk, was somehow even angrier than usual after a recent "botched job". He also overhead that people had been visiting the observatory on the outskirts of the town, which was strange since it had been abandoned for years, and stripped clean about as long.

Humal visited Allustan, the town's resident sage, who had a standing offer to answer any question in exchange for a gold piece. Allustan explained that the cairns were built by a race that had come from another plane of existence. They'd fought a war against demons long ago, and buried their dead in the hills, hence all the strange cairns. Humal showed Allustan the glyphs they'd found, and while he believed he could translate them, it would require some time.

When Humal revealed that he and his companions had come across a new cairn, Allustan offered to waive his fee if he would tell him where it was. Humal said he would have to first discuss it with his companions, but likely they would want to wait to check it out themselves before divulging its location. This seemed to satisfy Allustan, who told him to return in a day or two to see what he could uncover about the mysterious glyphs.

Sumia decided to track down Khellek, a man that Hedris learned apparently possessed a ring similar to the ones they'd found in the cairn. Khellek had a fairly predictable dragonchess schedule, so it was easy for her to ambush him outside of Lazare's Emporium, a combination gambling hall and vice den.

Khellek agreed to meet her in the Emporium after his dragonchess match had concluded, but their exchange was brief: he assumed that she had come to threaten him in some manner, but all she wanted to know was what the symbol on the rings meant. He told her that it was the sign of the Seekers, an organization that looted tombs for personal gain. Frustrated that there wasn't some deeper mystery behind them, she flicked a ring at him and left.

As she exited the Emporium, Sumia saw a massive, white-skinned humanoid furiously pummeling someone's face outside of the Feral Dog. Fearful that he would attack her next, Sumia was relieved that, when his barbarous task was complete, he simply turned to re-enter the tavern. This was when she noticed noticed a symbol branded on his forehead: it was identical to the one she found on the arm back at the abandoned farm.

Against anyone else's better judgement, Sumia followed him inside. The Feral Dog's interior strongly contrasted that of the Emporium: people were crowded about a pit, loudly shouting as dogs fought each other to the death. Everyone was clad in filthy clothing and minin gear, and the whole of it rank of sweat and urine. Kullen sat in a slightly more sedate the corner, with a trio of sullen-yet-somehow-still-sinister-looking men.

Sumia strode towards the table, but as she opened her mouth Kullen snapped an insult at her. She tried to mask her surprise, stand her ground and grin, to which he responded by slamming a massive axe on the table. When she still refused to budge, he stood and advanced menacingly towards her, axe in hand. She blurted out an insult as she fled, which prompting him to chase her all the way out of the Feral Dog and into the Emporium.

Every patron but Adair and Humal bolted as Kullen barged his way in. With one swipe of his axe, Kullen carved a great gash across Sumia's abdomen. Fortunately, after a few solid wallops from Adair's maul Kullen was out cold on the floor.

Humal had managed to charm Kullen before he dropped; he suggested bringing him to a flophouse, and once Kullen had regained consciousness he would try to get some information out of him. Adair and Sumia reluctantly agreed, but Humal's magic was relative: once Kullen was back on his feet, it was clear that he didn't even regard his closest friends with much, if any, courtesy.

Adair was ultimately forced to knock him out again, but before he could deliver a killing stroke a man shouted behind him. It was the other three Sumia had seen sitting with Kullen at the Feral Dog. They warned Adair to stand down, and seeing as they were outnumbered he did as instructed.

While they were carrying Kullen off, Humal noticed a tattoo on one of their wrists, identical to the one on Kullen's face and the arm Sumia had found. He asked what the men did with the bodies, and they paused. First they exchanged a few glances between themselves, then whispered words, and finally one of them told Humal that they were doing a job for one of Smenk's friends.

He elaborated that this so-called friend was hold up at the observatory, that he was no friend of theirs, and that if something were to "happen to him" they'd be much obliged. As they left, one of them warned that, while they wouldn't tell Kullen who they were or what they were doing, they wouldn't be able to stop him from looking for the party.

The party went to the observatory the next day. It was a decrepit structure, teetering on a bluff overlooking one of the many abandoned mines around Diamond Lake. Sumia scouted it out, and after determining that there were no traps, they settled on just walking through the front door.

Sumia took point, but when she opened the door barely avoided having her head perforated by crossbow bolts: a group of skeletons, armed with crossbows that they were in the process of jerkily reloading, were standing at the wall opposite of the door, behind a makeshift barricade of overturned tables. The floor was littered with broken furniture, obviously intended to slow anyone down as they tried wading across.

Adair broke the hinges on the door, allowing Sumia to detach it and carry it like a crude tower shield. As they stumbled across the room one of the bolts penetrated the door, nailing it to Sumia's hand. Otherwise it performed splendidly, and once they made it to the skeletons they proceeded to smash them apart with a combination of maul, quarterstaff, and door.

Design Notes
As with Dungeons & Delvers, I'm changing XP so that it's more inline with Dungeons & Dragons. The biggest change is that I'm going to reduce it to the smallest amount possible. So, instead of getting 25 XP or whatever, pitiful goblin warriors will be worth 1, bandits will be worth 2 or 3, orcs 3 or 4, and so on.

Of course the amount needed will also be adjusted. The current formula is something like 50 XP, +50 per level, though in our Wednesday Keep on the Shadowfell playtest campaign, the players are opting for about half as much so they can level faster. I'm cool with that, as it'll let us see what characters look like at higher levels.

Still deciding whether we wanna award XP for things like discoveries, learning new things, treasure, and so on, and how that would work. I know 4E did it based on level and whether the quest was considered "minor" or "major". I could see something like that.

Announcements
A Sundered World is out!

The Fighter is geared up and ready to go! Unlike the default Dungeon World fighter, your skills matter more than your special "can sometimes be lost but not really" weapon. There are a variety of fighting styles to choose from, including the ability make a DEX-based fighter.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

Dungeons & Delvers: Garden Party

This was a pretty basic crawl, as we had our oldest both build and populate the dungeon (with a bit of layout guidance from Melissa). He didn't use our lava set, or even much of the other dungeon sets, so it was considerably smaller than expected (though made some creative use of the stairs from the temple set).

He enjoys the Mario games, so of course we got to square off against two-thirds of the Emerald Valley warband.

They were a breeze to stat out: the mushrooms and kodama were Attack and Defense 5 due to their size, though the ones with carrots could make a Range 5 attack. The bigger mushrooms were Attack 9; 11 versus Might, Defense 7, 4 Wounds, with a knockdown effect: easy to hit, but tough and pack a whallop.


The entire party failed their Intellect + Perception checks upon entering, so didn't notice the kodama skulking about as they spent some time clearing away a pile of rubble.


This allowed the kodama and mushrooms to coordinate an ambush, forcing the party to hack, stomp, and blast their way through a considerable force right from the get-go.


The battle chicken got knocked out out pretty quickly (only 1 Wound and a Defense of 1d6 will do that). The barbarian managed to take out all the kodama on her own (she really needs to up her armor...I'll add that to the bear totem tree), but she was forced to flee after getting smacked around by the giant green mushroom.


The frog knight and cat-caster destroyed the giant red mushroom, and while they fought the green one the barbarian returned to finish it off when it was sufficiently occupied.


Everyone was wounded, so the party camped out in one of the dungeon rooms (note to self: camping in dungeons should reduce Wound recovery). Nothing attacked them while they rested, but when they awoke found that the passages had partially collapsed.

When they tried clearing one out more kodama attacked, this time led by a carnivorous plant (which I had already statted out in the Heart of Hemskil playtest campaign).


It was considerably tougher since they lacked fire magic (I broke Evocation into a variety of element-types), but they were ultimately victorious...albeit after the battle chicken and barbarian were knocked out.


Design & Development
We're working on an intro adventure/playtest kit using a lizardman pyramid, which will also include some pregen characters. The adventure will gradually introduce mechanics, similar to what Edge of the Empire did, so kids (and parents) can learn as they play. We're also going to put an example region in there, similar to 4th Edition's Nentir Vale, to use or lose.

My initial treasure table was based on the monster's Attack value, because that way you'd be more likely to get more treasure from stronger monsters. But now, having read through The Classic Game/Easy to Master Game/Black Box, I'm really liking the whole treasure type system because I can link them to what a monster generally is, as opposed to how hard it is to beat up (for example, U seems to be mostly for animals).

It's either that, or I'll just add a treasure line in each monster entry that notes the amount of coins and chance for gems and jewelry. Whatever we decide on using, it'll also be ported over to FrankenFourth. On that note, we'll probably be doing a FrankenFourth this Sunday, so if you want to try it out here's your chance!

Announcements
A Sundered World is out!

The Fighter is geared up and ready to go! Unlike the default Dungeon World fighter, your skills matter more than your special "can sometimes be lost but not really" weapon. There are a variety of fighting styles to choose from, including the ability make a DEX-based fighter.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

Dungeons & Delvers: Bare-Bones Monsters

I know I've posted about monsters before, but that was over half a year ago and some things have changed. Let's start with a run-of-the-mill skeleton:

Attack 5
Defense 7; 5 versus Religion
Wounds 1
Speed 2/6
XP 1

Undead: Skeletons are immune to poisons, disease, and don't need to eat, drink, breathe or sleep. They cannot be charmed or reasoned with.

They aren't armed or armored, and are pretty easy even for a starting wizard to smash. They're intended to be used in large groups (say, two per adventurer), or to supplement other monsters such as...

Skeleton warriors are a better armed and slightly more durable:

Attack 7
Defense 7; 5 versus Religion
Wounds 2
Speed 2/6
XP 2

Undead: Skeleton warriors are immune to poisons, disease, and don't need to eat, drink, breathe or sleep. They cannot be charmed or reasoned with.

They can take a few whacks, but are easy fare for your typical fighter, who is rolling around 9 on his Defense rolls, and 8 or so on Attack rolls (and that's before you factor in defense and offense talents).

Unlike skeletons they work pretty well, even in small numbers, especially if they can gang up on someone due to mob attacks.

Mob attacks are where the GM takes the number of enemies and has them make a single, concerted attack against an adventurer. Instead of rolling multiple attacks, you make just one, but you increase the Attack value as follows: start with the highest Attack value of all the monsters attacking, and then add +1 for each additional monster.

For example, if you have 3 skeleton warriors attacking an adventurer, the target makes a Defense roll against an Attack of 9 (base of 7, +1 for each additional attacker). If you instead were using a skeleton warrior and four skeletons, the Attack would be 10 (base of 7, since it's the highest, +1 for each of the skeletons).

Normally, a hit is still just 1 Wound, though some monsters have the ability to deal more than 1 Wound if the Defense roll fails to meet the Attack value by a certain amount (usually 3 or more points).

Mob attacks are basically there to help overcome characters with a high Defense Pool, like a defender-tree fighter being supplemented by an abjurer wizard (though, after our Heart of Hemskil campaign, I've since reduced the efficacy of some of those talents). The GM can risk rolling individually to potentially get more Wounds, but if you want a sure thing there ya go.

Of course, some monsters get a bit more out of being assisted, like the death knight:

Attack 9; Charge; Multiattack 2; Onslaught 3; Weaponmaster +1d6
Defense 11; 9 versus Religion
Wounds 4
Speed 2/5
XP 8

Charge: The death knight can move its full Speed and still attack.
Devour Soul: When the death knight reduces an adventurer to 0 Wounds, they are dead, and the death knight either regains 1 Wound or animates the corpse as a skeleton warrior.
Multiattack 2: The death knight attacks twice on its turn.
Onslaught 3: If the death knight is assisted, it makes three attacks instead of two.
Undead: Death knights are immune to poisons, disease, and don't need to eat, drink, breathe or sleep.
Weaponmaster +1d6: When the death knight attacks, its Attack is increased by 1d6.

Pretty badass, and definitely not something for a starting party to tackle: he's very likely to hew through a 1st-level fighter in only three rounds, even if you have a cleric with the Healing Domain talent, and even sooner if he's got someone helping out thanks to his Onslaught trait.

Announcements
A Sundered World is out!

The Fighter is geared up and ready to go! Unlike the default Dungeon World fighter, your skills matter more than your special "can sometimes be lost but not really" weapon. There are a variety of fighting styles to choose from, including the ability make a DEX-based fighter.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

4ward/FrankenFourth: Ability Scores

In Dungeons & Dragons, ability scores have always been numbers in the 3-18 range (before racial adjustments at any rate) that gave you other numbers.

The "Easy to Master" black box, which I'm told is actually "The Classic D&D game", which I guess was a replacement for the Basic Set, mostly provided you with modifiers ranging from -3 to +3. Intelligence is the odd stat out, determining how well you can speak, whether you can read or write.

Ability scores in 2nd Edition (and maybe 1st Edition, I dunno as I never played it) differed quite a bit, by having them give you a variety of adjustments, percentages, limitations, and the like.

So, instead of Strength giving you the same +/-x to attack, damage, and opening doors, it now determined your hit probability, damage adjustment, weight allowance, chance to open doors (which I guess was a d20 roll), and your chance to bend bars/lift gates (which was for some reason a percentile roll).

Since 3rd Edition they've used a simple formula: your ability score - 10 / 2 (rounded down) was your modifier. They were also easier to use: instead of, say, having an arbitrary percentage to bend bars, you just made a Strength check against a Difficulty Class, and if you met-or-beat the DC you did it.

4Ward/FrankenFourth works a bit differently: instead of recording something like 7 (-2), 11 (+0), 13 (+1) or 18 (+4), you just record the modifier. So, you might have Strength +2, Wisdom 0, Dexterity -1, and so on.

You can roll for your stats, which currently have the same spread as the Classic D&D game (13-15 is a +1, 16-17 is a +2, and 18 is a +3). Note that you only roll for the number, and only use it for comparison purposes: once you have your modifiers recorded you can just forget about the rolls because they'll no longer impact your character. The only reason we're using them is to maintain the odds of getting a certain modifier.

You can also use one of three arrays (general, dual-role, and specialized). We're not sure if we're going to have scaling ability scores (the game "math" is pretty damned flat already), but if we do you'll just bump up the modifier by 1.

Announcements
A Sundered World is out!

The Fighter is geared up and ready to go! Unlike the default Dungeon World fighter, your skills matter more than your special "can sometimes be lost but not really" weapon. There are a variety of fighting styles to choose from, including the ability make a DEX-based fighter.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

Dungeons & Delvers: Into the Fire

In previous games we had all of the rooms populated in advance, allowing our kids to scan the dungeon and make an informed choice about where they went. This time I left the rooms empty, suggesting that they listen at the doors, and maybe peek through to better see what's in there (though I warned them this wouldn't always be reliable, and they might get detected anyway).

The first room had several pairs of skeletons walking about, though they weren't careful or silent, so ended up attracting all of them. Luckily the length of the halls allowed them to smash a few down before the next pair showed up, so they didn't get overwhelmed right from the start. The chamber in the center contained a giant spider. It managed to get in a few bites on the barbarian before going down, but there was a treasure chest in the room so I think they felt it was worth it.

The third room was empty, though the talking door leading out warned them that they would have to tell a funny joke or else it would scream and attract monsters. Our oldest offered a pretty well delivered poop joke, which actually got a chuckle out of me, so it opened without a peep.

In the next area a zombie hulk lumbered back and forth, oblivious to their presence. The wizard (ie, Melissa) wanted to fight it, but the kids wanted to sneak past (I think they were worried that it was too big). Since they were the majority vote I had them all roll their Agility and Stealth dice, and use the highest two to see if they overcame the hulk's piddlingly low Difficulty.

Of course they succeeded, and I need to note that a large party should force die discards: otherwise the bigger your party, the more likely you are to succeed. Anyway, as they made their way out they found another treasure chest. It turned out to be a mimic, but the barbarian tore it in half without the hulk noticing. Once they got past the hulk, the frog found a hidden chamber that contained a for realsies treasure chest.

The next room was filled with zombies. Now, zombies are individually slow and little threat (5 for both Attack and Defense), but they're tough (2 Wounds) and great at overwhelming you (+1d6 to Attack when mobbing, in addition to the usual +1 for each extra monster). Even so they only managed to wound the barbarian a few more times and the wizard once before they were all destroyed.

At this point the barbarian was limping along at 1 Wound, but they opted to press on anyway and stumbled across a necromancer's bedroom. He summoned a few skeleton warriors before diving out the window, swearing that he'd return. In his defense, they did manage to reduce him to 1 Wound. Once they'd smashed the skeletons they rested for the night: I rolled to see if anything showed, but they lucked out.

The last area on their tour of murder and lootery was a large, lava-filled chamber, infested with fire-immune drakes. As the barbarian took care of them, magma elementals started popping up. The wizard blasted them apart, literally, into two smaller ones, which the frog stomped out. Once they were all extinguished, they found a treasure chest tucked away in the corner of the room, along with a drake egg.

Design & Development
They made it to 2nd-level, but to keep things even simpler we just ask them what they wanna do better: kill things or not die. The barbarian class is a new addition, and while they'll have some overlap with slayer-fighters, they'll also have the ability to shift between various modes with totem talents. For example, wolf barbarians are faster and give better dice when aiding or defending allies, while bear barbarians will be tougher and stronger.

The current XP model is similar to Numenera or Dungeon World, except that you get 1 XP each time you accomplish a certain goal (defeat enemies, find treasure, or learn something), even in the same session. Defeat three "noteworthy enemies"? Whelp, that's 3 XP for everyone. Find four meaningful treasures? That's also 4 XP! Of course to account for this, we upped the amount of XP needed to level up.

But, having run a campaign using Melissa's Heart of Hemskil adventure (which she is totally wanting feedback for right now), and several sessions with our own kids, I'm thinking of making things less ambiguous/arbitrary, such as by, for example, giving each monster its own XP value.

Now, I don't wanna do it how more recent Dungeons & Dragons editions do it, where a cat is worth 10 XP, and you need 300 XP to level up (for starters, at any rate). I'd prefer to make it so that a goblin is worth, say, 1 XP, a skeleton is worth 2, an orc is 3, and so on. This value would be given to each character, so it'd help avoid issues of XP fractions.

I'm also considering removing treasure as an XP award, as I figure that getting to the treasure, which likely involves defeating monsters and disabling traps, gets you XP anyway. The rationale I've heard is that having gold be worth XP encourages sneaking, clever tactics, and so on, but then I can just change monster XP to also include bypassing or otherwise disabling the monster.

Finally, I also wanna add in guidelines for awarding XP for quests and possible optional objectives.

Oh, since I haven't posted this on the blog, here's some of the new game art:


You've got a pair of dwarves and cambions (reprising their roles from A Sundered World), and a lone elf. The frog isn't going to be a race or anything (maybe), I just wanted to draw the frog mini in the scale armor they found in the previous session because that's who they ended up giving it to.

Image Dump

This is about the biggest we can muster without digging into our temple set, which means we'll have to get more Dwarven Forge sets...




You can't se it in this picture, but that door totally has a mouth.








Announcements
A Sundered World is out!

The Fighter is geared up and ready to go! Unlike the default Dungeon World fighter, your skills matter more than your special "can sometimes be lost but not really" weapon. There are a variety of fighting styles to choose from, including the ability make a DEX-based fighter.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

DayTrippers: Game Master Guide Review

"I'm DayTripping," I thought."This can't be real..." Floating in a Dali-inspired reconstruction of a Gernsback universe, surrounded by images arising from my own subconscious, I glanced around rapidly at a cast of colorful characters. All the Egyptian gods were there, thousands of miles tall. My brother, somehow back at home but also here, laughing at my career choices, swigged a dark ale and dispersed into tachyons while Chaz the pilot suddenly began to sprout flowers without comment, and a giant baby head floated in space, mouth agape, tiny spaceships drifting in and out of its yawning orifice."

Disclosure: I know Tod Foley from G+, we've talked a bunch, Melissa and I both provided feedback on this and the GM's Guide, and Tod has provided feedback on some of our products. We received digital copies of this for our help, not for review purposes.

This is the second part of the two-part review: you can read the first part about the Core Rules here, which covers characters and game mechanics. Just to recap: DayTrippers is a standalone role-playing game, with the tagline "A Surreal Science Fiction Reality-Hopping RPG". It is written and designed by Tod Foley of As If Productions.

Overview
As with the Core Rules, the layout is good, the art is decent, and the writing is awesome. My overall impression is, where the Core Rules tell you how to play the game, the Game Master's Guide is all about telling you how you are "supposed" to run it.

For example, in the Core Rules the Combat section tells you to figure out whether you're attacking, defending, or doing something else, what to roll, and what the results mean. Contrast this to the Game Master's Guide, which tells you none of that, instead solely focusing on explaining how to run combat, to challenge the characters without implicitly trying to kill them, and even provides a table on random combat mishaps.

I know above I put "supposed" in quotes, but that's a good thing. Yes, a DM or GM or Storyteller or whatever is welcome to run a game any way they want (like, say, running D&D as a political drama), but I think it is useful for you to at least get a handle on what sort of experience the game was designed for. Then, if you don't like it you can run it another way and then maybe bitch on the internet about how it's not doing what you want to (despite not being designed to do that anyway).

The Game Master's Guide retreads and builds upon some of the content found in the Core Rules, like the MegaCorps, clients, SlipShip computers, starting up your own business, Downtime Events, and so on. There's also a bunch of...

Generators
Holy shit, the generators (all of which Melissa wanted me to mention that she is fond of).

There's a generator for missions (which includes the mission and node type, example complications, obstacles, and perks), stars, planets (size, gravity, atmosphere, pressure, water, climate, and biosphere), locations, lifeforms (very complex, which includes a bunch of possibilities for shape, body surface, symmetry, sustenance, and so on), societies, drama, characters, dream worlds, the multiversal chao, and time travel.

Fortunately, there's a flowchart for a suggested order of using the generators. For example, it recommends starting with the Known/Unknown Planet generator, then Star, Planet, Location, determine if there's life (going with the Lifeform and Society generator if there is), Drama, and finally Character. Of course these are just tools, not a monolithic way of running the game: you can use whichever is needed at a particular point in time.

Speaking of tools and running the game...

Creating DayTrips & RunSheets
I think certain DMs/GMs will dig these sections. They categorize and discuss story types, mission goals, and narrative structure, and does a lot to help guide you into making adventures that best emulate the short story/TV serial episode approach DayTrippers is geared towards.

RunSheets are a way to help loosely organize things, while still allowing for a flexible story due to character actions. As a minimal-prep GM, this isn't something I see myself ever using, but I could see new GMs, or those that prefer being more organized, lifting them for use in other games.

The Conclusion
As I said in part one, I don't play many science fiction games in general, which is really the only reason I don't think this game is for me (though I could see myself breaking down and doing some sort of horror/Lovecraftian one-shot).

I've heard tell that people consider it a game for "smart people", but I disagree. I think it's a game for good gamers. The rules aren't hard to figure out, and even with all the crazy stuff you can stumble across (especially in DreamWorlds and the Multiversal Chao), there are plenty of generators to cover your ass, and if you prefer to plan things the RunSheet tool can help keep your thoughts sorted, without railroading the characters.

There's a bunch of inspirational media in the back to help you get a handle on the tone or feel or whatever of the game which, in addition to being good reading, would make it even easier to come up with stuff on the fly (even in other games, so win-win).

Even if you don't care for the setting or theme, if you like sci-fi games you could get a lot of mileage out of the generators. If you don't like sci-fi games, you could probably still mine them for ideas for making strange creatures. Finally, the section on Running DayTrippers also has some useful gaming advice/ideas (I'm especially fond of Progressive Character Generation, as I prefer having characters with minimal hard-set backgrounds that are gradually expanded upon/discovered during actual play).

Announcements
A Sundered World is out!

The Fighter is geared up and ready to go! Unlike the default Dungeon World fighter, your skills matter more than your special "can sometimes be lost but not really" weapon. There are a variety of fighting styles to choose from, including the ability make a DEX-based fighter.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.
November 17, 2015
Posted by David Guyll

Dungeons & Delvers: Adventure Time!

Our internet was on the fritz on Monday, so we unfortunately had to cut our Age of Worms FrankfenFourth playtest short (and just when we were getting to a good part, too). Instead, I broke out the Dwarven Forge tiles again, and ran Melissa and both of our kids through a slightly larger, yet still pretty small dungeon.

I started things out by telling them that they could choose any non-Spawning Point mini from the Super Dungeon Explore collection. Our youngest stuck with the Claw Tribe Barbarian (good girl), Melissa went with a a wizard-type, and our oldest eventually settled on a frog.

It's not as silly as some of the 3rd Edition shit I've seen.
As before, I let them choose where to go, only stopping them to drop some monsters down to fight. We used boxes directly drawn on our battlemat to track Wounds. They rolled one set of dice to attack, and another to defend. When they cleaned a room, they gathered up any treasure chests that I'd also dropped (being nice to divvy them up fairly).

At one point our daughter plopped a rooster mini in a room, which she declared as best she coud that it had been captured by the zombies and that they were gonna eat it. They saved it, and I had it follow them around as a pet ("battle chicken"), which I realized was something missing from the game (adding it to the bard, druid, and ranger classes).

Implementation was simple: whoever the Battle Chicken aided would get +1d6 to their Attack Pool. I figure other pets could add other effects, like bonuses to Defense and specific skill checks. Mounts would be similarly easy to add to the mix: when you're on a mount, you use its Speed, and if you have something like a warhorse it'd just add some dice to whatever you're doing.

Anywho, they didn't finish clearing it out before we stopped: the barbarian ended up getting dropped to 1 Wound, so they had to go back to town and rest for a few days (Wounds are recovered at a rate set by your Might score). There's a necromancer about, so by the time they get back I'm sure he'll have restocked things: fortunately they found armor that protects against harmful magic!






Announcements
A Sundered World is out!

The Fighter is geared up and ready to go! Unlike the default Dungeon World fighter, your skills matter more than your special "can sometimes be lost but not really" weapon. There are a variety of fighting styles to choose from, including the ability make a DEX-based fighter.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

Dungeons & Delvers: One-Hero One-Shot

I broke out one of our Dwarven Forge sets to get a screen cap for the Dungeons & Delvers community over on G+, and of course my daughter wanted to play with them when I was done.

Normally she likes doing her own thing, but she's played in a few 4Ward/FrankenFourth playtests and scoped out the maps I've scribbled for our Hangout playtests, sometimes pointing at rooms and asking what's there, or saying that she "wants to go there". She's pretty much the reason I created Dungeons & Delvers: I wanted a simple game, aimed at kids, but suitable for long-term play.

So, I had her choose a hero from our extensive Super Dungeon Explore selection, and she went with Claw Tribe Barbarian (one of the best choices). I whipped up some very simple stats since there's no barbarian class in the game (Might d10, Agility d6, Intellect d4, Grace d4, 5 Wounds, Melee d6), and had her go through the small selection of rooms.

She cleaned house, smashing her way through a bunch of skeletons (Attack and Defense 5, 1 Wound) and a zombie hulk (Attack and Defense 7, 3 Wounds) before finding "the treasure" (she doesn't seem to care what's inside, she just wants to snag the treasure chest mini), limping out of the dungeon with just one Wound left.

Now that we got a few groups playtesting 4Ward/FrankenFourth in long-term campaigns, I'm going to break out the other Dwarven Forge sets to build something more extensive for our kids to hack their way through, which I'll supplement with Dungeon Tiles if necessary.





Announcements
A Sundered World is out!

The Fighter is geared up and ready to go! Unlike the default Dungeon World fighter, your skills matter more than your special "can sometimes be lost but not really" weapon. There are a variety of fighting styles to choose from, including the ability make a DEX-based fighter.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

4Ward/FrankenFourth: Keep on the Shadowfell, Episode 101

Cast
  • Belicose (1st-level human wizard)
  • Emery (1st-level kobold cleric)
  • Rigel (1st-level human warlord)

Summary
After hearing rumors of the walking dead and mysteriously abducted peasants, the party was en route to Winterhaven. On the fifth day they encountered a wagon, overturned and dragged off of the trail. Emery investigated it, finding only a few splashes of blood and a trunk containing expensive clothing, and a few pieces of jewelry.

They continued on their way until night fell, moving off of the road to find a suitable place to rest. Belicose took the first shift, but after barely half an hour had passed a skinless zombie shambling into their camp. He woke Emery and Rigel, but after they chopped and battered it to re-death, a half dozen more lurched into view,.

Despite being outnumbered two-to-one the party prevailed, though Emery suffered grievous wounds during the ordeal. Not wanting to rest amidst the carnage, they moved their camp some distance away, and the rest of the night passed uneventfully.

The next day they returned to their initial campsite, only to discover that the bodies were either carried off, or dragged themselves away of their own volition. Rigel would be able to follow the trail they had left, but they were running low on food and so continued on to Winterhaven.

Their arrival at Winterhaven's gate was met with a guarded, sullen response: many of the villagers were missing or dead, they'd had to burn corpses of friends and family to prevent them from rising again, and a good deal of the survivors had fled east to Fallcrest, possibly beyond. Emery traded the necklace she'd found in the wagon for a nigh-indefinite stay at the inn, and the next day they met with Lord Padraig.

He told them the dark history of the ruined keep to the north, how an order of paladins cleansed a foul temple, and then constructed a castle atop the ruins to guard against evil should it reappear. It had been abandoned for centuries, and though most of the disappearances had occurred south they'd initially suspected it to be the source of the restless dead. They sent a small group of soldiers anyway, but they did not return.

With men, supplies, and hope running low, he was not willing to send any more to certain death. Of course despite all this, the party eagerly volunteered to investigate both the undead and disappearances, opting to tackle the latter issue first.

After resupplying they ventured south to see if they could find any clues in one of the deserted homes. There were plenty of tracks around the house, and only minor signs of conflict inside. As with the wagon the home was not ransacked: furnishings, clothing, and other belongings seemed to be in order: it was clear whoever was here was only interested in bodies. Checking outside, Rigel discovered signs that the attackers had dragged their victims south.

It was a simple task for Rigel to follow their path, and after several hours discovered a clearing. A waterfall cascaded down a short cliff and into a large, murky pool, which fed into a wide but shallow stream. Despite the abundance of water, the vegetation surrounding it was dead and rotten. On the other side of the stream was a circle of jagged standing stones, stained with strange signs and surrounding a bloodied altar. Finally, behind the waterfall they also spied a cave entrance.

It was a safe bet that they'd found the right place.

Design Notes
Very little combat this time around, though between this and all the other playtests I'm noticing a trend: the party seems capable of handling monsters of their level in equal numbers. Beyond that, and it's very likely someone is going to lose a lot of Wounds, or even get dropped. Emery almost did, but thanks to her Healing Domain (spend Favor to reduce Wound damage by 1d4) and Hymn of Healing (everyone within 30 feet takes 1 less Wound damage) talents, coupled with Rigel's Inspiring Word talent, she was able to weather the fight.

Though I've already extensively modded Keep on the Shadowfell so that it actually makes some sense, given my deviations from much of the Dungeons & Dragons lore I've had to modify it yet again. In the original adventure, there was a band of kobolds being lead by a goblin hired by Kalarel (the big bad) to do...something. I honestly forget what. During my first round of changes, I expanded the kobold cave beyond one room, added a trap or two, and had them serving a wyrmling green dragon.

Since I've changed kobolds to be more inline with the Germanic spirit, I'm replacing them with orcs. From what I could gather, orcs are evil spirits or demons, maybe kinda-sorta like goblins. There was mention of Orcus, so I'm going with spirits or demons that escaped from Orcus's realm, or perhaps were permitted to leave in order to slaughter and sacrifice the living.

This means they're irrevocably evil. They're not misunderstood, there's no language or cultural barrier, there's not going to be any bullshit with killing orc babies (or, gasp, killing orc women), or any other Tumblrina nonsense: they're murderous entities, pure and simple. Kill them, or they're gonna kill you (and then kill others).

Announcements
A Sundered World is out!

The Fighter is geared up and ready to go! Unlike the default Dungeon World fighter, your skills matter more than your special "can sometimes be lost but not really" weapon. There are a variety of fighting styles to choose from, including the ability make a DEX-based fighter.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

A Sundered Fragment: Races & Classes

A Sundered World is out, but for those not interested in the setting, whether you prefer something more "normal", don't care for its particular brand of fantastic and gonzo, or don't run games, this product just gives you the player options:

  • Ten races, each with their own race moves, to better allow you to determine how much your race affects you (and serve as a foundation in case you want to flesh out an entire racial class). There's also guidelines and suggestions for using them in "default" Dungeon World games.
  • Six new classes.
  • New weapons, armor, and dungeon gear.
  • Materials to further customize your weapons and armor.

Each class gets their own character sheet, and there's even a blank, generic character sheet, which might be useful for characters that end up piling on race moves.


$8.99

$9.99

Announcements
A Sundered World is out! Delos Adamski, of the blog Ramblings of Jacob and Delos, has put up the first part of a kind of broad strokes review of the book.

The Fighter is geared up and ready to go! Unlike the default Dungeon World fighter, your skills matter more than your special "can sometimes be lost but not really" weapon. There are a variety of fighting styles to choose from, including the ability make a DEX-based fighter.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

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