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Giving up the d20

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Games, RPGs, Tabletop

I’ve been pondering starting up a campaign for D&D again, and last week I ran the idea of a Guild Wars based campaign past my group and they gave the thumbs up to the idea — Now I just need to decide if I actually want to run a Guild Wars campaign, and what that would mean for the setting.

That’s not exactly what I wanted to talk about though. I’ve been mulling over running D&D with different dice systems — I’m kind of disillusioned with the d20, most notably because my dice have used up all their 20s long ago and nothing short of dipping them in the sacrificial blood of Polyhedro, the God of Dice, would be able to fix their consistently poor rolling.

I’ve been considering a couple of replacement systems:

  • 3d6. This is outlined in Unearthed Arcana (or is it Arcana Unearthed?), or available through the d20 SRD as a variant rolling method. This system’s got a couple of benefits. (1.) Everyone has plenty of d6s. (2.) A nice bell curve to decrease the chance that any one homicidal die will end up having your character fail at an easy task. (3.) All of the work behind figuring out this system has been worked out already.
  • 4d6. My main reasons for considering a 4d6 system are pretty superficial: 4d6 preserves the 20 point spread range of a traditional d20. You’ve also got an even larger bell curve, but I think at the point of 4d6 that might become as much of a liability as it would be a benefit: The dice are a constant source of amusement and twists and turns in RPGs … Too much averageness might reduce the importance of that. Not to mention I’d need to sit down and figure out the probabilities involved in 4d6 and figure out how that would affect weapons.
  • 2d10. This is a pretty obvious one, and though it’s not a full 20 point spread, it’s close. 2d10 was the first system I thought of when considering whether or not to run with an alternative rolling system. It has a curve, but it’s not as steep as either 3d6 or 4d6, and the probabilities are pretty intuitive as well, which is always a benefit to on-the-fly risk assessment.

I decided to go with a 2d10 system. It’s always a toss up to see how these things are going to work out, but a system that’s pretty quick to figure out on the fly, which has a bell curve but not a particularly steep one seems pretty ideal. On a purely visceral level, rolling 2d10 feels better to me than rolling 1d20, but it’s not like playing a game of Yahtzee with 4d6.

The major issue that needs to be resolved with 2d10 is weapon threat ranges. Although there’s room for improvement with d20’s weapons, for the most part I just to keep things simple. Things will look like so:

  • 20-20 -> 19-20, 18.H (Coin toss on 18s, heads threatens).
  • 19-20 -> 17-20
  • 18-20 -> 16-20
  • 17-20 -> 15-20

And so on. At some point I’d probably be compelled to cut the progression for large threat ranges down, but in terms of mechanical power a lot of the high threat range weapons are substandard anyway, so it doesn’t bother me all that much to give them a bit of a boost.

I think I might start outlining the sort of house rules I’m looking to go with…

Update: Redhammer the Old over at the Fear the Boot forums has this neat graphic illustrating 2d10 vs. 1d20…

Redhammer2d10vs1d20

Worldwide Adventure Writing Month

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RPGs

Apparently, it’s Worldwide Adventure Writing Month, or at least, that’s what I gathered from checking up on Treasure Tables. I’ve been wondering when exactly this was going to come about, because I half-remembered “signing up” so-to-speak, for the event.

Checking back on Martin’s forums, I notice that I only expressed my desire to participate. Excellent! Because I really don’t have time for something like this right now.

I’ve actually been thinking about this recently, most specifically because I’ve been tossing around the idea of running a Fear the Boot-style Aarakokra campaign, just for the kicks of it. I don’t think I’d be able to do justice to the box canyon setting with my own limited descriptive abilities, or handle the complex nuances of plot as the initial conflict with Aarakokra transmutes itself into a new and greater threat — Aboleth.

Seriously, though, I don’t see myself having time for this until later on in this month. And I don’t know if, at that point, I’ll be up for throwing myself into another project. Then again, it’ll be a big change of pace from my current work, so maybe. I still have a lot of ideas that I’d like to develop. Chances are that I won’t put in the effort to do a full thirty-one pages, unless I decide to do full d20 statblocks, but who knows. If I do end up doing anything I’ll probably put some updates here in case anyone may want to use my material.

D&D Shakeups

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Games, RPGs, Tabletop

I made a follow up post last week about some thoughts on D&D 4th Edition. Though 4th Edition is still speculative at this point, there have been a bunch of developments of late in the D&D world that lend credence to the idea that maybe, sometime, possibly in the near future, a 4th Edition will be released. Indefinite enough? I hope so.

So what do I mean by shakeups?

Back when 3rd Edition came out, Wizards of the Coast began farming out some of its material to other companies. The 2nd Edition days had left the D&D brand with a lot of neat settings, stuff like Ravenloft, Planescape, Spelljammer, Dark Sun, and so on. And while most of these settings were unique and interesting in their own ways, there’s obviously no way to support so many niche worlds (or at least, not do so and still turn a profit — generic splatbooks are probably better sellers than campaign-setting specific books)

Ravenloft was initially farmed out to White Wolf, publishing under the Sword & Sorcery brand.* DragonLance was farmed out to Margaret Weis productions. I don’t really understand the Oriental Adventures/Rokugan situation, so I won’t even speculate there. Dark Sun wasn’t supported at all.

*Details of some relationships might be incorrect. I don’t make it a point to care too much about the minutiae of who-is-what-and-how.

So sometime last year, Wizards took back the rights to Ravenloft from White Wolf and published their own “Expedition to Castle Ravenloft” module. Interesting. Wizards has mentioned that they are more interested in publishing adventure modules of late than they were initially. I consider this a good thing — I’m pretty darn sick of splatbooks whose sole purpose is to give powergamers more and more options to obsess over. An adventure, at the very least, gives some context for all of that to exist within. In fact, I think I’d prefer it if prestige classes and the like were only published in adventure modules, to reinforce the idea that Prestige Classes are not just super-classes but things that are earned through deeds or membership with organizations.

Sorry, I started to ramble. Anyway, now we hear news that DragonLance’s contract with Margaret Weis publishing isn’t being renewed.

And then we hear news that Wizards’ contract with Paizo Publishing, the makers of the iconic Dungeon & Dragon magazines, isn’t being renewed either.

What the heck is going on? It’s like Wizards is taking everything back in-house. A lot of people speculate that the reason for this move is in preparation for 4th Edition. Even though I’m betting we’ll see 4th Edition by 2010, at the latest, I’m not convinced these moves are specifically for 4th Edition. Wizards has been coyly mentioning a so-called “Digitial Initiative” (details are sketchy) whereby they presumably intend to create a system for distributing a lot of content online. It sounds kind of intriguing, but I wonder how successful something like that will be. Publishing a ton of content online will be problematic if anyone can copy and paste your content and give it away on their own website, or change the flavor text and pass it off as their own content (thus pretty much eliminating any hope of policing the behavior).

Some interesting notes from ENWorld:

2) The decision was made more than a year ago.

3) Content has not yet been decided.

4) Some Dragon/Dungeon features and columns will continue.

5) Accounts will be user based; payment options without credit cards will be available; content will be “previewable” before purchase.

6) Content will be released in frequent small bursts and then collected together.

7) DRAGON and DUNGEON, as brands, will continue to exist; implication being that this doesn’t replace the magazines, it’s the evolution of them.

8) Hardcopy compilation is a part of the plan.

9) Freelancers will still be used.

The real question I have, which I think will determine the success or failure of Wizards’ new venture, is whether the purpose of cutting off all of these contracts is to try and put the power, so-to-speak, in developing content into the hands of gamers around the world, via the Digital Initiative, or whether the goal is to try and consolidate Wizards’ assets and content and gain immediate control over how players interact with the material that they will be regularly publishing? Because I’m very supportive of the OGL and attempts to bring an Open-Source mentality into gaming, so to speak. But I think any so-called “Digital Initiative” whose purpose is not to explicitly democratize the creation and publication of content is going to fail, as it runs counter to the genius/madness and power of the Internet. The trick is always to harness that in productive ways, not to act like you can treat an online-distributed PDF as a magazine and maintain the same relationship with customers, as if the two are interchangeable. They’re not and never will be.

D&D 4th Edition Followup

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RPGs

I was following my referrer logs the other day and came across some links over from ENWorld. Specifically, I found a link to a thread a commenter (Agent Oracle) on my 4th Edition Wishlist post made. It’s interesting to see the breakdown of people over at ENWorld agreeing or disagreeing with me.

From my general impressions of the opinions of people in the thread it looks like a majority of the people agree with me on at least one point, about half seem to agree partially, and about a quarter want something like I want. I figure that’s a pretty good result, especially since my ideals for a D&D 4th Edition were intended, at least partially, to be pretty dramatic.

Since I’ve spent a lot of time perusing the ENWorld forums over the past week, and since there are some major shakeups in the D&D world at the moment (which I hope I can get around to writing about later), I want to elaborate a bit more about what my general attitudes and ideas are and how that informs what I want a new edition of D&D to look like.

D&D 3.X Isn’t Going Anywhere

Pretty much the most important thing, in my mind, when considering what a new edition of D&D should be is to look at what D&D currently is. If Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast stopped existing today, D&D would continue on just fine. Not only are there hundreds of official Wizards of the Coast books to explore, but the Open Gaming License insures that new content can be made by anyone. There’s virtually endless amounts of 3rd party content to use, and even if all of the current 3rd party publishers fold or give up on d20, the fans can keep the game alive as long as there’s interest.

I Don’t Want D&D 3.75

When D&D 3.0 came out, it really rekindled my interest in D&D. The same happened for plenty of other people. I tend to be very conservative with my purchases, but I know other people who spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on 3.0 material. Fast forward, what, two or three years and we get D&D 3.5. It’s been about four years since D&D 3.5 has been released and we’ve seen more broken material come out since 3.5 than existed in 3.0. Sure, 3.0 had some issues with things like Haste, the +Stat bunch of spells with durations over 24 hours, and so on and so forth. Virtually everything meaningful that 3.5 did could have been handled with errata.

Are errata ideal? No, it’s another step in the “Look up the rules” process. But when it comes down to using an errata or having to buy all of the core books again, I’ll take the errata. In my opinion, D&D 3.5 turns out to have been one of the biggest hoodwinks I’ve ever seen in gaming. Wizards tricked so many people into paying twice for the same content… Simply put, if 4th Edition doesn’t deliver substantial changes, I won’t bother buying it.

The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number

Most of the objections I’ve seen to my proposed changes come from the camp of, “D&D wouldn’t be D&D without X mechanic.” Considering the number of changes that took place from 3nd Edition to 3rd Edition, I find that a pretty laughable stance. THAC0 is gone, Armor Class counts up, the entire game usies a unified conflict resolution mechanic, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

What’s kind of interesting to me is the comments to the effect of, “If you want to play such a game, go play X.” The obvious riposte is “If you don’t want to play such a game, keep playing D&D 3.X.” I’d be perfectly happy with a state of affairs in which D&D 3.X retained a substantial playerbase. At the same time, I think if D&D implemented some variations on my suggestions it’d make for a better game, a better game system, and attract a wider audience to D&D.

If it weren’t so tedious dealing with the grognardism that says, “Because X, Y, and Z mechanics are part of my conception of ‘D&D’ means they shouldn’t be scrutinized or improved uponfor a new version” it’d be funny. I think gamers as a whole are a pretty conservative and stubborn lot, resistant to change and attaching a lot of importance to things they’ve invested mental energy in. I also think gamers, being a fairly brainy lot, tend to overcome their prejudices quickly when they encounter something legitimately better. So even though there’s a fair amount of resistance towards changing things up for 4th Edition, with this or that or the other thing being at least someone‘s sacred cow, I think a lot of the resistance would fall away once people played the game.

Although that’s not all I have to say, I am going to wrap this one up here and possibly follow up with another post sometime soon on this topic and other developments in the D&D world.

Setting Planning: Pantheon Thoughts

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Personal, RPGs

I’ve been thinking a bit about what I want to do with my D&D campaign setting. Ideally I’d like to start it up again “soon” (whatever that means). However, since I’m not currently running the game I have the opportunity to play around with setting details to create a more interesting campaign setting to play in. One specific area that I’m thinking of doing some major changes to is the pantheon of my world.

A little bit of exposition: In my campaign setting there are about 13 major gods. This isn’t a huge number but it is a significant number. The trouble is, in any homebrew campaign setting you’re essentially throwing out a lot of the passively accumulated knowledge that players may have. In some senses this is good, because you’re throwing out the expectations for established D&D settings. But when it comes to actually interacting with the environment it helps if you know who you’re dealing with, why they’re doing what they’re doing, and all of those other critical questions. Your players might not know everything about the setting, but if you’re like me you’ve been encountering Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk material for decades. Even though I’ve never consciously set out to learn about either of these settings I know enough that it’s very helpful.

So what can you do? I don’t like throwing thirteen (and, in reality, about fifty major gods, but thirteen primary ones) names at players and expecting them to remember them. They need to remember plot events, character names … Having huge rote memorization tasks to function effectively in the setting is not something that I want.

I’ve decided that I probably want to pare my “Olympian” gods (So to speak) down to twelve. If I can think of a way to do so, what I really want to do is pare it down even further to something like Guild Wars’ pantheon. In Guild Wars you have five gods: Balthazar, Dwayna, Grenth, Melandru, and Lyssa. There are other lesser deity figures, but they aren’t the sort of figures you need to know to grasp the general setup of the religion of the gameworld. Another interesting thing Guild Wars does to add a bit of flavor is to reference the gods in many of the skill names (e.g. “Dwayna’s Kiss,” a Monk spell that does healing). Assuming I wanted to, I could reprint all of the classes from Iron Heroes with modified skill / feat names. Unfortunately, unless I printed out a couple of nicely bound copies of this modified material I think this would just be a headache for referencing purposes.

The real trouble is, I don’t know if I can do what I want with the religions of the gameworld and simplify things down to five or six major deities. The sort of twist I want to put on the religions in the campaign world is pretty academic and thus I’m inclined toward basing my fictional polytheistic religion on … real polytheistic religions. Having an obviously artificial system like Guild Wars’ is nice for players because each core class is basically associated with one god and everything stacks up nicely. Unfortunately I’m coming to believe that the messiness inherent in real life polytheism is antithetical to the goal of making a religious pantheon easy to handle for players.

The one thing that I’ve been strongly considering as of late is to simply throw out the idea of creating a unique pantheon. Why not simply utilize a real pantheon like that of the Greeks? I have to say the possibility holds some appeal. It resolves my own hangups about believability and complexity. At the same time, I’m sure the players in my group know who Zeus is, they know who Apollo is, and so on and so forth. Virtually everyone has at least some background with the Greek/Roman pantheons, whether it’s from school or God of War.

This is seriously tempting.

Hordes: Prelude to Battle Reports

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Miscellaneous, RPGs

This week I got in my order of Hordes miniatures, consisting of the Circle Orboros starter Warpack and a unit of Tharn Bloodtrackers. Actually, the Tharn Bloodtrackers came in separately (since I placed my order the day before Privateer Press officially allowed distributors to sell them) and so I haven’t had a chance to use them yet.

The starter Warpack consists of a Warlock, one Heavy Warbeast, and two Light Warbeasts. For the faction I chose, this means that I get Kaya the Wildborn as my Warlock, a Warpwolf, and two Arguses.

-Kaya is, from what I can tell, a finesse sort of character: She has Pathfinding which allows her to pass through rough terrain unhindered, and a spell to give units under her command stealth, or to allow them to teleport from one location on the battlefield to another. She is pretty strong, as all Warlocks are (since they’re your most important units on the field), but she’s more of an assassin than a brawler.
-The Warpwolf is the standard heavy unit for any Circle army. It’s pretty fast and hits quite hard, but can’t withstand much damage. It has a limited ability to warp its physical characteristics, allowing it to warp for speed when not in combat and to warp for strength or armor when it is.
-The Argus is a two-headed dog whose primary feature is its speed. The Argus is relatively fragile and doesn’t hit that hard, but it’s not something you can afford to ignore. Its bark, while not a tremendous threat, gives the starter warpack a bit of ranged capability that can paralyze enemy units.
-The Bloodtrackers (although I haven’t played with them yet) are savage humanoid women who can toss javelins with deadly effect. They can pass through rough terrain without penalty and get to deploy ahead of the main bulk of your force. Though they’re fragile, collectively they pack enough punch to take down even heavy targets.

One thing I’m noticing with Warmachine/Hordes and Privateer Press is they pretty much actively encourage people to play the game with what are called “proxy” units. Privateer Press publishes all of the attributes for upcoming units in Warmachines/Hordes in their magazine No Quarter, which means that you can take those stats and play the game without even owning the miniatures. For example, the Bloodtrackers, which were actually formally released last week, have been being used in play for months already by people proxying the models.

Maybe it’s just my bad experience to the elitist “WYSIWYG” attitude of Games Workshop, but I think it’s kind of nice to see a game company which encourages people to play the game first and foremost, with the impetus to buy the models being convenience and appreciation for the quality of the models. Not to mention that my decision to purchase the Bloodtrackers was formed pretty much by accounts of players saying they have used them to great effect in their own battles.

Anyway, my starter Warpack comes in at 275 points, and adding on a base unit of Bloodtrackers puts me at 335 points. Although this is a playable level of troops, obviously tactics and strategies become a little more interesting when you’ve got more to work with. I’m looking to build up to 500 points in the next couple of months or so. In June a new unit is coming out called the Pureblood Warpwolf, which comes in at 124 points. I am definitely looking to add one into my own army. I’m also looking at adding in a unit of Standing Stones (although I don’t recall their points cost offhand), and possibly taking out an Argus to add in Druids (points allowing) or a Lord of the Feast solo unit, or a Gorax warbeast.

So many options…

Hordes

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Miscellaneous, Personal, RPGs

Recently one of the guys in my group has gone ahead and converted one of the rooms in his house into a full-fledged gaming room. He’s got a nice big table, lots of scenery, bookshelves for rulebooks, seating, a basic sound system … In other words, everything you need to game without distractions.

Lately the guys in the group seem to have been getting interested in the Warmachine / Hordes tabletop miniatures game by Privateer Press. I’m the only person in the group who doesn’t play Warhammer, but since everyone seems to be going through an exodus from Warhammer to Warmachine, I figure I may as well join in. I’m not usually one to get into these tabletop miniatures games, but a couple of things appeal to me…

1. Warmachine/Hordes are playable with a minimum of investment. Buy a starter box for $30 and you can play the game. You’re probably looking at $100 for a flexible army list, but that’s really nothing compared to the thousands of dollars it can cost to purchase a Warhammer army.
2. Warmachine/Hordes are focused, generally, on low-unit-count confrontations. Since I like to customize my miniatures and develop stories for them, it really appeals to have every unit be meaningful for more than cannon-fodder purposes.
3. The Privateer Press miniatures lines are really nice. Not every unit appeals to me, but the ones that do are typically excellent. All the models are pewter which is great for painting and durability.

Hordes1

I went ahead and bought a starter box for The Circle Orboros, a faction in the “Hordes” line of Warmachine/Hordes miniatures. The Circle’s aesthetic is probably the most consistently appealing to me and probably the most potentially useful for future D&D campaigns as well. Wolves and dogs and mysterious cloaked, druidic looking figures are pretty good staples for any D&D campaign. I also really like a lot of the Skorne units (From Hordes) for their heavily-armored aesthetic, or the majority of the pirate-themed Mercenaries (from Warmachine), but Circle overall wins out for me.

One of the things that doesn’t appeal to me about the Circle is the Woldwarden and Woldwatcher units… These are basically giant constructs made from stone. I’m not, generally speaking, big on constructs or robots (otherwise I would’ve run a Warmachine army instead of a Hordes one), so that aspect of the Circle doesn’t appeal to me. On the other hand, I’m thinking that perhaps I can purchase some Treant units from another miniatures line and field the treants as Woldwarden/watcher units — That’d be pretty neat. I know I’m already going to be making some customized Standing Stone units from quartz crystal…

Game Starters

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RPGs

Been a bit busy lately, but the other night when I was heading off to sleep ideas kept popping into my head that just wouldn’t go away until I wrote them down.

The stereotypical D&D campaign has all the players meeting in a bar, where they become best buddies and decide to “adventure” together for fame and fortune. The contrivedness of this scenario has always bothered me. In most games it doesn’t matter all that much, you deal with the formalities of getting acquainted and then move on to more interesting things in the game. Basically trusting that by the time your group has gone through its first dungeon crawl that each character will have saved the others’ necks enough times that it’s credible that these guys want to stick together.

Starting off with something different isn’t necessary, but it can give your campaign a little bit of extra flavor to “grab” the players. This is probably more important in a Con situation where you’re running a one-shot campaign with a bunch of people you don’t even know, but hey, why should your regular game be a trough of mediocrity?

Cutting to the chase,

Concept: All of the player characters are denizens of a local area that’s come under the rule of a band of mercenaries. The players have been captured and put in a makeshift jail in one of the minor forts that the mercenaries have in their territory. The idea here circumvents the idea of introductions by putting the players in a shared plight for which they must formulate a plan and then escape. I envisioned this as a combat heavy one-shot adventure mainly to introduce the players to Iron Heroes mechanics and a more cinematic combat style than D&D normally allows, but there’s potential to use it in many other ways.

Drawbacks: You’re going to have to be a little bit restrictive when it comes to allowing character classes and races in this scenario. Under normal D&D rules spellcasters don’t have the endurance to handle what would end up being one really long encounter (the escape) with a substantial number of subencounters. It also doesn’t really make sense to have wildly varying races if all the people the mercenaries have captured live in the region. (And the concept of a mercenary band taking over a region of land doesn’t map nicely onto an urban setting.)

Concept: All of the players are patrons of a local bar when the local constable bursts in with a cadre of guards and arrests everyone on the spot. The players are all taken to the jailhouse and interrogated: Naturally they will have very flimsy alibis and will have some trouble explaining the arsenal or occult materials they are no doubt carrying around.

This is sort of an urban twist on the first idea and a bit of a mix-up with the generic D&D intro. You can pretty much take this idea where-ever you want. My initial idea is that the constable in charge of the arrests is corrupt and in the pocket of an underlord crime boss. The players might go through a short crime-room drama and then set about to clearing their names by exposing the constable’s involvement with the crime lord (and possibly taking down the crime lord).

Another twist that would be feasible is to have the arrests be part of a genuine attempt to clean up crime in the area. Perhaps there is a Jack-the-Ripper figure who is known by his only surviving victim to haunt local taverns, and the constable was tipped off to the particular establishment the PCs had been in. In this case, the PCs may be recruited as undercover agents by the constable once he realizes their innocence. You can probably add a bit of emotional drama into the mix if you make the killer’s surviving victim an attractive young lady, which will give the PCs a bit more motivation to follow through on the job. Alternatively (or complementary) you can make the victim a noble, and thus have the PCs earn the noble’s trust (and thus receive his patronage and future “jobs”) once they take care of the villain.

There are a ton of ways to mix this up. Maybe the entire government is corrupt and the injustice of being wrongfully arrested is just a way to get the PCs riled up to overthrow the government. Maybe the PCs aren’t even in a bar, perhaps they’re in a market square when the Montagues and the Capulets start a squabble and the guardsmen simply block off the entire square and arrest everyone inside?

Drawbacks: Not conducive to hack-and-slash play. Might start off a little slow from the players perspective because they will be entirely reactive to the circumstances you throw them in, rather than active.

Concept: The PCs are all summoned to meet with a powerful oracle. The oracle is seeking people who have all been born under a specific sign, and as it turns out all of the PCs have been born under this sign. The PCs undertake a ritual or are the subjects of a spell that binds them all together.

This is a pretty decent idea, as it brings the PCs together and establishes them as a group. However, what it doesn’t do is give them any motivation to perform any particular task. The previous two examples take advantage of the fact that the players are generally going to want to be “in control” and will oppose things that interfere with that. It’s entirely possible to incorporate some sort of motivation into the general concept here but not without making it pretty specific.

A variant idea would be to have the PCs bound by a curse. For example, a curse that means that each will feel each others’ pain. Placing the PCs under a curse gives them a really strong motivation to go out of their way to break the curse, and ideally by the time they get around to breaking it they will have forged strong enough bonds that it seems natural for them to stick together.

Drawbacks: Player turnover and player death become tricky issues when you go this route.

Iron Heroes Crunch

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Personal, RPGs

We started playing an Iron Heroes game this week. Had a bit of a rough start as far as getting everyone to get their characters rolled up and such, but eventually we got things rolling and had some fun. I’m pretty excited about this game and hope it turns out well.

I’ve been looking for a bit of art to try and represent my character. I’ve got in mind a sort of germanic looking Ranger — I was thinking of using a screencap of Aragorn from Lord of the Rings … But, well, there’s just too much other stuff surrounding Aragorn for me to want to play a character presented as him.

Right now I’m thinking I will photoshop this image into something I like…

IronHeroesCharacter1

As for crunch…

Human / Hunter 1
Traits:
Intelligence (Mental)
Forest Born – Ghost in the Green (Background)

28 point buy (Original array in parentheses)
Str: 12 (14)
Dex: 14 (14)
Con: 12 (12)
Int: 16 (14)
Wis: 12 (12)
Cha: 10 (10)

HP: 9 (4+1d4+1)
AC: 15 (Light Shield +2, Dex +2, BDB +1)
Studded Leather, 1d3 DR

Fort: 2 (Class +1, Con +1)
Ref: 3 (Class +1, Dex +2)
Will: 2 (Class +1, Wis +1)

Initiative +2 (Dex +2)
Speed 30′

Melee +4 (Class +1, Str +1, Int +3)
Ranged (Class +1, Dex +2, Int +3)
Grapple (Class +1, Str +1, Int +3)

Scimitar +4 attack, 1d6+1(Str) damage, 18-20×2
Dagger +4 attack, 1d4+1(Str) damage, 19x20x2, 10′ inc, Small
Longbow +4, 1d8 damage, 20×3, 100′ inc

Skills: 6+3(Int) = 9 ranks. 9×4 (1st level) = 36 ranks

Groups:
Athletics (Climb, Jump, Swim) 4 ranks. (+5/+5/+5)
Perception (Listen, Search, Sense Motive, Spot) 4 ranks. (+5/+7/+5/+5)
Stealth (Hide, Move Silently) 4 ranks. (+6/+6)
Wilderness Lore (Handle Animal, Ride, Survival, Use Rope) 4 ranks. (+4/+6/+5/+6)

Miscellaneous
Heal 4 ranks (+5)
Knowledge(Nature) 1 rank (+4)
Balance 2 ranks (+4)
Escape Artist 2 ranks (+4)
Tumble 2 ranks (+4)
Bluff 1 rank (+1)
Diplomacy 1 rank (+1)
Gather Information 1 rank (+1)
Intimidate 1 rank (+1)
Bluff 1 rank (+1)
Disguise 4 ranks (+4)

Feats:
1st: Tactics of the Mind (1)
Human Bonus: War Leader (1)

Class:
1st: Tactical Pool, Hunter’s Eye, Terrain Advantage