Monday, May 18, 2020

AQUTGL v2

So I decided to spice up the barest outlines of the thing I'd made earlier this month, with a dash of inspiration from here added on for good measure. So here we are, AQUTGL v2 in all its glory.

Friday, May 1, 2020

AQUTGL

...or my OSR rules in 6 words.

Ask Questions. Use Tools. Get Loot.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Voices of the Coast - Preface

It was on a lazy midsummer's eve, nestled in my office at the Royal Academy of Firlund, that I first gained the desire to leave the ivory tower and head into the bowels of the Coast. As I sat there devouring The Los Karkinos Letters in my leisure time, I was struck by the fact that, while our leaders and statesmen received copious attention in various academic circles, we seldom considered the other denizens of our vast land. What magnitude of perspectives were being restrained by the shackles of obscurity? How many stories were being lost to the mists of time? I was thus compelled to pack up my books, pull out my travelling boots, and leave the cloister of academia to walk directly amongst the voices of the Coast. I present to you the compilation of my travels, and humbly hope this work may provide a small window for the inquisitive reader into the various, multilayered perspectives that inhabit this land we all share.

-Dr. Arvis Trilf, Professor of Anthropology, Royal Academy of Firlund




This post is a new experiment I'm going to be trying out. I'll be using Quill, UNE, BOLD, and the setting of the Coast to create a narrative in an epistolary format, told from the perspective Dr. Arvis Trilf of the Royal Academy of Firlund, who will be doing research by uncovering letters and conducting interviews throughout the Coast. I will start out by creating a character and scenario using UNE, BOLD, and the Incunabuli setting to fill in context. Once the random character and story thread are created, I will begin writing up a letter from the characters perspective, detailing how they fulfill the task at hand. The letter writing will be scored using Quill rules to calculate points for each paragraph, with the final score being listed at bottom of the post in an out of character section. Finally, I will interpret the score for the letter as Dr. Trilf, writing the outcome of the scenario addressed in the letter, as well as any other interesting history, in the form of his analysis of the document. Depending on how I can hack the rules, I may see if I can expand this to an interview transcript format as well, if it goes on long enough, maybe by re-skinning some of the Quill stats.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Serendipitous Meanderings 1

When we last left off, rules were laid out, our hero had been rolled up, and a prompt had been determined to start the adventure of our ne'er-do-well Avin. We'll pick up where our story begins. In regards to formatting, prose will be in italics, dialogue will be surrounded by "quotes", and mechanics and out of character descriptions will be placed in [square brackets].

A cold wind blows through the broken hills as Avin stands at the edge of a dark pit, watching a contingent of orc brigands pick their way through the wreckage of a caravan. Avin decides he will wait out of orcs, not being a big risk taker.

[Do the orcs come in his direction after they finish moving through the caravans? No, but they don't budge for a long while, almost hours on end.]

It takes until late afternoon as Avin squats in the brush, waiting for the orcs to leave, until at long last the orcs start up out of the pit and head into the wilds. Avin waits a bit longer, and then checks at the edge of the pit to see if there was anything else down in the awning depths.

[Is there something more sinister than orcs down in the dark pit (likely)? Yes, something that has been waiting for the dark to come from wherever it rests. A lightning-scarred treant seeks revenge against any wizard it encounters. Does Avin sense that something is moving down there? 5/6 Danger Sense, Success.]

Avin looks down into the pit when he suddenly notices a movement of one of the tree trunks in the wreckage, scarred and blackened to the point that it mixed into the ruined backdrop. He freezes, holding his breath as the trunk seemed to lift itself from the wreckage as darkness fell, and move around inside the pit.

[Is the thing coming out of the pit? Yes, and its heading in Avin's direction! Is Avin able to remain hidden as it passes? 5/6 Hide in Shadows, Success.]

Avin remains still, holding his breath as the tree beast reaches to the sides of the pit and pulls itself up, dragging its form out of the pit and to the land above. It doesn't notice the man hidden in the brush and lumbers onwards, receding into the horizon in the direction of the orcs. Avin looks down at the pit and up at the sky, growing darker by the minute, and decides that he'll have to head down now before it get's pitch black, or abandon any hope of getting anything from the wreckage today. He takes the risk goes ahead, lowering himself into the pit.

[Is there anything else in the pit? No, and it is absolutely still in the pit.]

Avin descends into the pit, slowly pulling himself down before going to the wreckage of the caravan. He starts to pick through what he can before darkness sets in, racing against the rapidly vanishing light.

[Is he able to find anything of use in the wreckage before it gets too dark? Yes. He finds 7 gp, 4 sp, and a Coral (7 gp).]

Avin pockets what he can and in the receding light, and gets out of the pit, not eager to stay there overnight. More than satisfied with the days exploits, he heads back to Town.

[Any encounters on his way back to town? Yes, but it's once he comes back into town limits. The main street is strewn with broken arrows.]

Avin kicks around the arrows, and squats into an alleyway, looking around to see if anyone shows themselves or anything else erupts. He makes sure that he's also not being tracked as well.

[Avin's Stealth: 2/6, success! Does anything happen in the next few hours to warrant further investigation or suspicions? No.]

After a couple of hours with nothing much happening, except some street sweepers coming to clear out the arrows and guards patrolling the area, Avin decides to leave the street. He wanders down to The Drowned Duckling, a seedy local inn of less than stellar repute and dirt cheap prices. He goes to ask for a room, and is told that he owes 3 silver pieces, which he forks over for the night. He goes up to the dingy quarters and gets a good nights sleep for the first time in a long time.

[Downtime (per my rules posted here): Avin will sell the Coral and spend the week blowing through all of his coin at the Drowned Duckling (Carousing). +16 XP. I'll be updating the character sheet in the introduction post.]

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Yet Another Downtime System

I needed a downtime system and looking around I didn't find one simple enough for my tastes, so I whipped up my own. I condensed downtime into its simplest classic elements, and structured it in such a way that I can roll a d6 to randomly determine activities and living costs if desired.

1. Carouse: Blow all cash and convert directly to XP+10%.
2. Make Friends: Roll NPC reaction. On a neutral reaction, reroll but with incentive or fail.
3. Find Rumors: Find d6 rumors.
4. Investment: Gain a +1 on investment related rolls for every d6*1000 gold invested.
5. Thievery: Roll d6. 1=Trouble with the law. 2-5=Fail. 6=Success, get random loot.
6. Unique: Roll a random encounter (or reroll).

Living Costs:
1. Poverty: d6/10 GP
2. Middling: d6 GP
3. Wealthy: d6 x 10 GP
*If you can't afford any of the options, roll a d6. On a 1-5, you are imprisoned. On a 6, you manage to avoid guards and scrape by on the streets.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Serendipitous Meanderings - Introduction

So I wanted to start an actual play series of sorts where I write out some of my solo gaming ventures into a narrative, strung along in a picaresque fashion around a singular character (or string of characters). I'll be starting out using Tales of Mordhearse, Recluse solo engine, and donjon for my random generation needs. I've replaced the game's prompt with my own randomly generated one, and I'll also be replacing monster and NPC reactions with the D&D reaction table, with a twist added in the form of a 1d6 roll to determine what the monsters want to help guide interactions.

This shit here's classic

What do monsters want? (1d6)
1-Food
2-Territory
3-Item/Gold
4-Information
5-Help/Quest
6-Accompaniment/Directions

To start off, I rolled HP for my first character and determined that he was a Burglar with 4 HP. I rolled up three items for his special toolkit and got a bow with 20 arrows of which 5 are magic, 1 sleeping gas bomb, and a boomerang. After that I noted down the other items and skills he started with in the game, and that's it. I wrote out his character sheet below, with a few additions to help ease solo play, along with adding a quick sketch for visuals.

Avin, Burglar.

HP: 4
Money: 0
XP: 16

Hide in shadows (1/6 chance of failure)
+HP for surprise attack
Pick Locks (1/6 chance of failure when rushed)
Danger Sense (1/6 chance of failure)

Items:
-Worn: Commoners clothes
-Carried: Boomerang, Dagger 
-Sack: Sleeping gas bomb, Food Rations (6)

Avin, our intrepid ne'er-do-well

Character all rolled up and ready to go, I pulled out the random fantasy location generator on donjon and rolled one up to get the starting prompt. This seemed to be enough to start the scene so I stuck with it. I'll leave this post with introductory hook to the adventure:

A cold wind blows through the broken hills as Avin stands at the edge of a dark pit, watching a contingent of orc brigands pick their way through the wreckage of a caravan...

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Getting Rid of HP as a Meta-Resource

So my narcissism finally got the better of me and I made a blog. This way I can spew my nonsensical blather into the ether and still feel the satisfaction of assuming I have a rarefied audience that pontificates over my profound nuggets of wisdom. I also want a place to keep records of games, random tables, and whatever other nonsense appeals to me at the moment, so I might post those here too.

Buddha Was Born In Nepal | HuffPost
Me IRL
Anyways, this post is a ramble on a thought I had recently about how getting rid of HP as a meta-resource would work. I got the idea from a game I recently discovered, Tales of Mordhearse (also check out their blog, Vile Cult of Shapes, which I also have listed in the sidebar). This game ironically uses a single stat, HP, to determine class and saving throws, alongside a classic inventory system and basic abilities.

Stripping things down to one stat got me thinking about the very point of even having an HP system to abstract an individual's hardiness in the world. What if you could strip the game down even further and bring it down to a purely item based system, in a sense, where your "HP" is directly determined by the items within your inventory?

I don't think such a system would be a stretch, given the fact that in most of the games I play in already focus on gaining resources in the forms of both items and people that can be used in the game world.  There already exists an interaction between HP and inventory systems, with items and tools acquired in the game world being vital to preserve this primary resource (alongside combat abilities, magic, and so on - Lungfungus describes the resource drains and renewals better than I ever could over here).

But I think this resource drain/resource renewal cycle could be optimized even further if meta-resources like HP were eliminated entirely - or rather, eliminated as their own entities and integrated directly with in game resources. Your likelihood to survive shouldn't be based on an arbitrary measure that you determine by a dice roll, but how long you've invested and been part of a game. Your "HP" should be a measure of the items you've acquired, connections you've forged, and knowledge you've gained over time. Losing those items, connections, or knowledge should be the real penalty you incur over the course of play, based on the context of whatever actions you are taking. Itemizing these into a list or record of some form, and gaining and losing relation to these aspects of the game world should be prioritized over keeping track arbitrary meta-resources like HP alongside these in a game. And without these tools that you've built up over time, there shouldn't be any innate protection against the cold cruel universe which can snuff your life out on an off day.

Ha-Ha-Ha, Classic Comedy
Of course, the big thing HP has going for it familiarity, simplicity, and a means of objectively keeping track of life and death in the game. Barring the migration to a purely narrative based format in determining life and death (which I feel robs a degree of tension), all of the above resources don't mesh nicely in a unified system compared to a single, simple meta-resource that accounts for objective survivability while allowing space for a narrative approach to resources and connections. Combining all the above resources earned in game into a cohesive system would probably require either copious note taking mixed with unnecessary complexity, or a simplification to the point that it would make the whole exercise moot. I might think more about how this could maybe be achieved satisfactorily someday, but for now - ain't nobody got time for that.