Friday, July 3, 2015

Four Pirates

I speed-painted two pairs of pirates, two at a time.

All four are Foundry pirates from a pirate horde my players bought me for my birthday over 10 years ago. Whenever you see barefooted hirelings, they're coming from this collection.*

 photo Pirates 001s_zpsnmxr1koz.jpg

 photo Pirates 002s_zpsgs1acmsa.jpg

(click to enlarge either one)

Each one is white primed, and single or double coated (metals are always grey under the metallic, the blue is actually two blues layered.)

They're all coated with a mix that's mostly acrylic floor wax plus a few drops of brown ink. They came out just a little more orange than I'd hoped, but no so much that they aren't satisfactory playing pieces.

The one with a stick is actually supposed to be holding a boarding pike, but the pikes are really long. So I tried a variety of spears, sticks, swords, knives, etc. until I hit on this stump of a stick I cut off of a polearm to shorten it. That works really well as a "walking stick" or maybe a fighting stick. He'd make a good pirate wizard, actually.

* One of my players is getting into painting, so I gave him a couple of duplicates (actually, a triplicate in one case) from the horde. So that's been a gift that keeps on giving.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Variant for GURPS Magic - cost & spells on

Something like this may have been done before, but I'm being lazy here and not looking though Thaumatology to see. Well, I looked through it but I didn't examine it in depth to see if this is offered up.

Magic Is Never Free

- Use GURPS Magic as written (or as modified).
- No spells are free. Minimum cost to cast is 1, after all other modifications, minimum cost to maintain is 1, after all modifications.
- No penalty for spells "on."

In short, spells are never free to maintain, or free to cast. Spells already cast don't interfere with spells you want to cast.

Options and Comments

No penalty for spells on means there isn't a limit on the number of spells you can cast due to chances of failure. In play, the spells on penalty is critical - spells that don't give it can be abused freely (Create Servant), and spells that do are capped only by the increasing difficulty of getting a further spell off.

FP and Energy Reserve are more important than skill. Skill reduces but doesn't eliminate cost, and it increases the range and effectiveness of spells. But the limit on casting is FP, not skill. Skill is mostly to overcome distance and resistance, not to overcome cost (even though it does indeed help).

You could allow a Perk that let a single spell be 0 to cast if you can otherwise reduce its cost to 0 via skill (For example, a spell that is 1 to maintain and skill 15.) I wouldn't allow 0 to maintain, personally, and absolutely not in combination with 0 to cast or you're back to where you started. A 0 to maintain spell, coupled with no spells on penalty, is defeating the entire approach. However, allowing a spell to be free at sufficiently high skill + low power levels would allow casters who can fling 1d-2d Fireballs around all day, or ignite candles with a snap without effort, etc. or do other things without allowing for the "I Levitate around Invisible all day with Dark Vision and See Secrets on" guy.

As it stands now in my game, skill is king until skill 20 or so, then FP/Energy Reserve is king. The goal is to get a lot of spells you can zip off for free and maintain for free, then have enough skill to get off spells with a -5 to -8 on for spells "on." I think this change would allow for greater effective combat use of spells (harder to resist, easier to get spells off on allies) at the cost of the need for lots and lots of FP.

I know the usual alternatives are "Don't allow skill to reduce cost" or "All it to reduce cost at a penalty to skill rolls." But I feel this is a sufficiently different approach to give a different flavor to a gave using it instead of those alternatives.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Miniature Abuse

Why do my players love taking any opportunity to stack my hand-assembled, hand-painted minis up like cordwood so I can see exactly how they've stacked up the fallen enemy's bodies?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Diesel on Forbes on D&D

It's not a secret, despite what the article says, that Vin Diesel played D&D growing up. It's nice to hear him credit creating things for an RPG with how he creates for a movie series.

How Dungeons & Dragons Informed 'Fast And The Furious'

It does help to think like a dungeon master. It's a skill - knowing what makes sense and how to plan for what's clearly coming, keep it all together in your head, and what to improvise and what to map out.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Rulings from last session

We always have rulings in play. It's the nature of tabletop RPGs. Here are two and a musing on a should-have ruling from last session.

Carrying Concentrators

Can you pick up and carry someone without breaking their Concentration? No. Just no.

I would let someone Levitate someone who is Concentrating, but to move the person you need to Concentrate, so it's not an effective way to get a Move 3 flying guy to use True Faith with Turning while the party runs along at 3. The caster will be limited to Step.

No, I'm not allowing some wacky explanation of Riding (Barbarian) as a skill so you can do this with a roll. It's just a no.

Botched Invisibility

All I came up with for the 18 Gerry rolled for Invisibility was increased odds of monsters attacking, and then had them attack him as if he'd put some kind of Visibility spell on himself. Even that came up after I drew a blank and then Gerry rolled two really freaking lame effects on the Critical Failure Table, none of which would have been a problem unless he was one second from being brained by surprise from behind. Even then, it would have been no worse than just failing.

So I came up with the Visibility spin.

But honestly, I should have done better. A perk-level Distinguishing Feature (Translucence) would have done - Gerry is mildly translucent for a while after using his Invisibility spell. Not enough for any positive effect, but just enough to make him seem disturbingly unreal, like a bad CGI character, for a duration as long as he was invisible. Not scary - it's not Terror - but more like a situational "-1 reactions you want to be positive because the mage is weird." Heh.

I may still do this* instead of the increased odds of attracting random monster attacks he's got on him now. After all, he rolled an 18 and has Weirdness Magnet. Right now, he's just getting the bounce going against him when it's an even shot of monsters showing up. That's nice but it's extremely minor. The critical failures rolled by other mages with Weirdness Magnet have created monsters (often especially hostile to them), floating mana changes - temporary or not, caused weird reversed effects, alerted mana-sensitive monsters to their presence in a wide radius . . . and I never tell people which of these have happened until they encounter it, and I don't always tie it back to the original event. I probably should, though. It's 15 points worth of the world doing weird - not cute, not fun - stuff to you. It's Unluckiness with -5 worth of supernatural effects tied to it.

Right now I think people see Weirdness Magnet at -15 and think it's an easy choice that offloads work onto the GM and doesn't really cause 15 points worth of issues. I should remedy that impression.

Maybe I just have . . .

* I have done delayed effects in the past - an 18 on Continual Light a few sessions back caused every subsequent stone the caster made for the next few hours be flawed so they'd all extinguish at the worst possible time. Which they did. Still further back an 18 on a Seek-type spell gave wrong information repeatedly to the caster, so the original failure wasn't simply triangulated or tested away with an extra casting. so maybe Gerry will flicker a bit for a while after he re-appears.

Heal Thyself

If you heal yourself with a damage-healing spell, you suffer a penalty equal to the injury you have. So what about Regeneration and the like? If you go for -1 x the injury that caused the original problem, you end up with a HP 10 guy suffers a -6 to self-Restoration his arm, and a HP 16 guy suffers a -9.

A flat penalty would probably make more sense - a HP 10 person would give a -4 for an extremity to heal the injury, -6 for a limb. That seems pretty fair for a self-healing penalty for all, regardless of their HP. Things deemed beyond "lost limb" (Casting Instant Regeneration to counter an Evisceration spell that took out your kidney or something) would probably be in the -7 to -10 range. One try. Usual rules for critically failing healing spells (Magic, p. 88).

I don't care if you healed the HP or not. Or rather, I do, but I expect you'll have healed them, otherwise I'd cheerfully apply a penalty for lost HP on top of this to the guy casting it. Those spells fix problems, they don't replace healing, and you are expected to deal with HP of injury and limb replacement separately.

This is, parenthetically, an oddity with HP. You can lop off someone's foot, heal the injury, and they are now a smaller person with identical HP and no foot. So you get guys partly dismembered, they down a few healing potions, and they are full HP but just lack a few limbs. Which is fine, but odd when it's during a game session. Whack, arm off! Heal that injury and you're fine!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

DF Game Session 65, Cold Fens 7 - Traps & Lizard Men

June 28th, 2015

Weather: Varied (mix of clear and some rain)

Characters (approximate net point total)

Asher Crest-Fallen, human holy warrior (302 points)
     Koric, human guard (~70 points)
     Orrie, human guard (~70 points)
Bjorn Felmanson, human barbarian (279 points)
El Murik, dwarven cleric (274 points)
Gerald Tarrant, human wizard (275 points)
Hannibal the Flammable, human wizard (264 points)

In Swampsedge:
Dave, human knight (252 points)
Galoob Jah, goblin thief (256 points)
Rahtnar the Vegan, dwarven martial artist (270 points)

We started in Swampsedge, where they players vacuumed up only a couple of rumors - not much to tell them, anymore, since no one is going into or out of the swamp. The church did tell them the hidey-hole they found surely would decrease in safety the longer they stayed in it, so they could use it as a bolt-hole and rest area but not depend on it long term at a single go. It's a good safe base, but not a wight-proof fortress or endless sanctuary.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Tiger II kit, 1/72

Although this is mostly a fantasy gaming blog, model tanks and painting the same are gaming to me - and this is primarily a gaming blog. And a little while back, I mentioned I was looking for a nice King Tiger tank model.

So I did find a King Tiger after all.

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