Thursday, January 29, 2015

GURPS Spell Option: Healing costs the healed

This isn't a new idea, but it's a fun one I haven't worked out the details of myself.

Healing Costs the Healed. Healing spells - specifically Minor Healing, Major Healing, and Great Healing work as written. As is normally the case with beneficial spells, the target must be willing (or unconscious, which here is assumed to be tacit willingness.) However, the caster pays no energy cost. Instead, the target of the healing spell pays any FP cost and is healed any HP. The caster chooses the level of healing, but if such healing takes the target below -FP the spell fails automatically. Reduced cost for high skill is applied before any cost to the target.

On a failed casting, the caster still pays 1 FP if the spell would have cost anything to the target.

For example, Reverend Al Murik casts Major Healing on his wounded buddy Vryce. Vryce has 15 FP, 30 HP, and has suffered 23 HP of injury and has lost 4 FP due to combat and movement; he's currently at 11 FP and 7 HP. Al wants to heal him fully and specifies the casting at 4 energy. He has skill 16 and thus the spell is -1 cost, for a final cost of 3 FP to Vryce. The spell heals 8 HP x 3 = 24 HP of injury, bringing Vryce to his full 30 HP and dropping his current FP by 3. He's fully healed, but much more tired - he's at 8 FP and 30 HP. Al's FP are unchanged.

Alternative: Both Pay. Alternatively, the caster always pays 1 FP for any spell that would otherwise cost points (in other words, if the net cost to the caster would be 1+, after energy cost reductions). This is in addition to the cost to the beneficiary of the healing spell.

You could probably do this with a lot of buff spells - Great Haste already does this to an extent, since it charges both the caster and the subject 5 FP. If all buffs cost the caster and the subject, you'd see a much more cautious approach to buffing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

5th edition D&D Survey

If you haven't seen this yet, this went up last night:

Fifth Edition Feedback Survey

Wizards of the Coast has a survey up about D&D 5.

You can get as deeply into it as you want, or as shallowly as you want. I rated the things I read, understood, played, and observed in play - and didn't comment on stuff I didn't.

And yes, I said a Rogue is more powerful than a Fighter. My fighter in Montporte felt like a chump compared to the damage the Rogue dealt out! My job was basically to stand and give the Rogue the chance to deal the real damage. When did they morph from "thiefly type" to "heavy hitter" anyway? 3e?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cthulhu gods, or Single Malt?

My friend Thomas Pluck, who is both a professional write and runs Reverend Al Murik in my DF campaign, wrote this awesomely funny piece:

Brands of Single Malt Scotch or Elder Gods of the Lovecraft Mythos?

I've read a lot of Lovecraft and I've tasted a lot of single malts, but there are a few on here that made me pause and think . . . am I sure that's a whiskey? Wasn't Cardhu the sworn enemy of Nodens or something?

All Hail Cardhu, Cthulhu's angry brother.

And the Old Hebridean mythos has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

How is my Secret DF Project coming?

My secret Dungeon Fantasy project continues apace.

It was peer-reviewed, got some playtesting by an experienced GURPS GM and his enthusiastic players, more authorial review, and even more fiddling around with by me. It feels much improved. Usually that's the case after others work on it, but this time more than most. The book feels like a much better book for the input that I received.

Naturally, any of it that didn't spring from my own gaming in the first place got added into my gaming, because generally I like my own ideas and want to implement them.

Last night and this morning I did some re-writing and I hope to get the final comments on it so I can submit the draft. Once that's done, it's (largely) out of my hands.

I'd have gotten this done faster, and indeed I intended to, but a fantastic job came along to take care of that.

Hopefully you'll get to see it earlier rather than later in 2014, but scheduling things like that are far out of my hands. Once you do, maybe you'll recognize the silliness awesomeness I ported directly from my campaign into the book.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Learning New Skills/Abilities in DF Felltower

Buying and improving skills, spells, and abilities is central to advancement in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy.

So how do I do it?

Some important facts about my game:

- it's a pickup game, so characters are only involved and tracked when the players show up and play them.

- I only charge for one week of downtime costs between game sessions. So weekly upkeep doesn't crush PCs who don't adventure because of real-world issues.

- Time passes on 1:1 ratio with the real world.

- We don't use any non-point based learning. Period - no Time Use, no nothing.

With those in mind, here is basically what I do:

Spells: Wizards can learn one new spell between each session, assuming they stay in town and pay upkeep (no Dumpster diving with Urban Survival or roughing it with Survival).

Why? To avoid wizards rapidly expanding their spell list and basically being able to add a wide breadth of coverage each and every session.

New Skills: Depends. If it's not on your template, it's $40/point to learn it and you're limited to one, and it must be cleared with the GM. If it's on your template, you aren't limited at all and there is no cost.

Why? To encourage people to stay with their template. It's only a minor obstacle, but it does seem to remind people that "Hey, I'm a Knight, not a Barbarian" or "That's not what Holy Warriors do, generally."

New Abilities: Broadly, meaning Advantages. On your template? Unlimited purchase, no monetary cost. Off-template, $40/point (at least) and it must be cleared with the GM.

Why? To allow people to develop in an unlimited way within their niche, but control expanding the niche and thus possibly undermining the utility of other current or future characters.

New Lens: These can be purchased piecemeal, but when finally adding the lens-specific new skills and advantages you have to pay a new-ability cost for the whole template. At that point, you get access to everything from the lens's base template with regards to skills, advantages, and power-ups.

Why? I like allowing piecemeal purchase, but it's easier to have a flat fee for adding a lens in-game (they cost $2,000) and then let the player work out the best way to get to the lens during play.

Overall, this has worked pretty well. Advancement is fast, but dramatic expansions in magical coverage and new abilities are limited. Within your niche, you can expand freely and become a bigger, better (whatever) without limitation. Outside of it, you aren't paying any more character points, but must expend in-game resources to expand your niche. The result has been a knight-among-Knights, very wizardly Wizards, Holy Warriors who worry about undead and demons primarily, and so on. Plus, it makes your starting choices interesting not limiting.

After playing this way for a couple of years, I'll say that it's been working well.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Felltower Hobgoblins in GURPS/D&D 5

Amongst the original inhabitants of Felltower (and the Caves of Chaos) were hobgoblins.

GURPS stats

In GURPS, a generic, base-level hobgoblin warrior looks like this:

Hobgoblin Soldier
A basic male adult hobgoblin. Females are –2 ST and HP (11/11) and have –2 weapons skills or are non-combatants. Young are –4 ST and HP (9/9).

ST: 13 (1/2-1) HP: 13 Speed: 5.5
DX: 11 Will: 10 Move: 4
IQ: 10 Per: 10
HT: 11 FP: 11 SM: +0

Dodge: 7 (9 w/shield) Parry/Block: 9 (11 w/shield) DR 2

Crossbow (14): ST 13, 1d+4 imp or 1d+4(2) pi, Acc 4, Range 260/325.
Thrown Spear (13): 1d+3 imp, Acc 2, Range 13/20
Punch (12): 1d cr, Reach C.
Weapon (13): Axe (2d+1 cut, Reach 1), Mace (2d+2 crushing, Reach 1), Spear (1h: 1d+2 imp, Reach 1*; 2h: 1d+3 imp, Reach 1,2*), Broadsword (2d cut, 1d+2 imp, Reach 1), or Dueling Halberd (2d+3 cut, Reach 1,2*; 2d+2 imp, Reach 1,2*; 1d+3 imp, Reach 1,2*)

Traits: Appearance (Ugly); Bully (12); Callous; Infravision; Magic Resistance (Thaumaturgic only) 5; Rapid Healing; Resistant to Metabolic Hazards +3; Social Stigma (Savage); Teeth (Sharp Teeth) [1].
Skills: Axe/Mace-13, Broadsword-13, Polearm-13, or Spear-13; Crossbow-14 or Thrown Weapon (Spear)-13; Brawling-12; Stealth-11.
Class: Mundane.
Notes: Notable equipment includes:

• Axe, $50, 4 lbs.; Broadsword, Cheap, $240, 3 lbs., Mace, $50, 5 lbs., or Spear, $40, 4 lbs. or Dueling Halberd, $120, 10 lbs.
• Medium Shield, DB 2, $60, 15 lbs. (except polearm dudes)
• Leather Armor (DR 2 covering all locations except the face), $340, 19.5 lbs.
• Crossbow, $150, 6 lbs.
• Hip Quiver w/20 quarrels, $55, 2.2 lb. (quiver $15, 1 lb.)

D&D 5 stats:

Hobgoblin - As Monster Manual (D&D Core Rulebook), p. 186, except:

- add Magic Resistance. Hobgoblins have advantage on Saving Throws against wizard spells.
- replace Longbow with Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, range 80/320 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d8) piercing damage.


In appearance, I use some GW Mordor Orcs as hobgoblin minis:

I haven't painted mine up yet. I had them queued to paint, but then the PCs slaughtered almost the entire tribe, enlisted the remainder, and then got them killed. The few stragglers were killed off by other dungeon inhabitants. But hobgoblins still exist, so I keep the unpainted, black-primed minis handy. They'll make a good line-painting project when I have time and the inclination to do one.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Silly Game-World Measurements

Inspired by a throwaway line from andi jones about measuring mileage "as the stirge flies."

Gaming measurements

Inch: 10 feet or yards, depending on the presence of a roof overhead. A 10-foot pole, however, is never measured in inches.

Hexes: In game worlds powered by GURPS, all people count things by hexes. "Well, we've got a nice studio updown that measures 11 hexes by 10 hexes."

Half-Moves: As in, "How much is that in half moves?" Used mainly in D&D-inspired worlds in my experience.

Full-Move: As in, "He's like 3 1/2 Full Moves away. I'll never get to him on time."

You'd think with the very standard sizes of some gear, new in-game measures would emerge:

Poles: A measurement, like the inch, of 10-foot lengths.

Rope: A standard unit of length consisting of 5 poles. Rope is only sold in coils of 1 standard rope length.

All of these distances multiply by a factor of three aboveground, if you're running AD&D, which means a standard rope can't reach 1 aboveground rope. Or maybe they get bigger too.

What did I miss? What would you add?
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