RPGaDAY2015: Days 24 Through 28

Been really busy the past few days (releasing a new class, writing yet another book, running some games, playing other games, writing/arting A Sundered World, doing some commission work, playtesting a thing that we can't talk about yet, etc), so here's another RPGaDay catch-up post.

Day 24: Favorite House Rule
I've already mentioned in earlier RPGaDay posts, that when it comes to 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons I employ a variety of houserules to make it faster/better. Rather than just repeat them here, I'll shift gears and talk about a couple of Dungeon World houserules I use.

First, I've taken to redefining the 10+ basic outcome, so that instead of it being "you do it with little trouble", it's "you get the best possible outcome for whatever it is you're trying to do". Partially this is because the game doesn't even abide by this definition anyway, partially because it's absurd to let a character do everything they wanna do based on a universal target number (which is incredibly easy to get once you get your main stat up to 18).

Second, the game tells you the GM to never speak the name of your move. This is fine, since monsters don't use any of the moves the characters do anyway. I've also heard, and the book seems to support this in the move examples, that players likewise shouldn't just declare the move they're using. I personally don't give a shit, and a player saying "I'm going to hack and slash the skeleton" saves much more time, than waiting for them to describe their action in such a way so as to "trigger" the move they wanted all along.

Not to say that I never ask for descriptions/explanations, but most of the time it's really not going to change anything.

Finally, I scrapped two-thirds of the undertake a perilous journey move. Frankly none of the move makes any sense at all, but we're still trying to figure out a good way to handle a group perception roll without making it virtually guaranteed. Once we suss that out, we won't be using it at all!

Day 25: Favorite Revolutionary Game Mechanic
I'd seen some people mentioning "saying yes, or telling the player to roll the dice". I disagree with this wholeheartedly: I think there are going to be some instances where you just have to tell the players no, sorry, not gonna happen, think of something else. I'm totally cool helping refine said action/plan, but sometimes you just gotta say no, and there's nothing wrong with that.

A good example was a looong time ago when, during a 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons game, a player wanted to make a Bluff roll to trick a wraith into thinking she was also a ghost. Other good examples could be many of the skill DCs in the Epic Level Handbook, which included passing through a wall of force, climbing on a sheer ceiling (with no tools), or convincing a lich to give you its phylactery.

More recently in a very short-lived Dungeon World campaign, the players encountered some Lovecraftian monsters. I didn't let them make spout lore rolls, because based on their origins/backstories, as well as the origins of said monsters, there just wasn't any way they'd know anything about them.

Anywho, yeah, I can't really think of any mechanics that I feel are "revolutionary". I liked healing surges in 4E D&D: great way to alleviate the need of a healer, magical or otherwise (though I also appreciated having a number of perfectly viable support classes). I also liked the addition of encounter powers and skill challenges, even if the latter took a couple years before they got good.

Eh, maybe next year.

Day 26: Favorite Inspiration For Your Game
I think pretty much anything can inspire me, though other games and movies seem to have the best odds of me actually running with it.

A while back I wrote If These Stones Could Scream after reading a Legends & Lore article about medusas. I'd say the article was terrible, but almost all of them were. Oh well, I got an adenture out of it. I much more recently wrote Lichfield, a short adventure inspired by Silent Hill, and we have a few upcoming adventures, one of which is inspired by playing various Mario games.

The board game Super Dungeon Explore was kind of the inspiration behind Dungeons & Delvers, and after playing the Adventure Time-themed Munchkin game, I wanna make a more gonzo/silly team-oriented dungeon crawler (which segues into day 27).

Day 27: Favorite Idea For Merging Two Games Into One
I got two of them. The first is the aforementioned Adventure Time-esque, silly/gonzo dungeon crawler. Given that I'm already working on a "kid" friendly game, I figure it'll be easy to just make a setting that uses said game as a foundation.

The second would be to mashup Gamma World and Star Wars, and run a campaign based on the plot of the original trilogy.

Instead of players going from planet to planet, they'd just be traveling to various regions of the Earth. So, instead of going to a desert planet, they just go to a desert, and instead of going to an ice planet, they'd just go to Antarctica.

The Death Star would be a high-tech, flying fortress (it'd also only be able to devastate regions, instead of the entire planet), jedi would just be psychic warriors, lightsabers energy swords, and so on.

Day 28: Favorite Game You No Longer Play
4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, of course.

I did talked with some of the players during our monster-mash one-shot (play report should be up today or tomorrow), so that might change after we wrap our current A Sundered World campaign. Depends on what the other players wanna do (I know at least one of them also likes 4E). Might end up using it as an excuse to start ironing out more details on my 4E hack, though.

After only a couple hours of design and writing, The Swordmage is good to go. If you want a solid fighter/wizard hybrid with twenty-five advanced moves to choose from (in addition to some other extras), 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.

The Dungeon World GM Screen is currently available in pdf and landscape insert formats. No matter which you choose, you get eight sets of pdfs that let you have access to the screen in both landscape and portrait orientation, in color or black and white, and with or without art.

We're waiting on the portrait inserts. Assuming they look good, they'll be available soon. They're now available.

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