Saturday, March 31, 2012

Transmogrifying your game

I have always been a house rules kind of guy. While I did not have any knowledge of T&T up until a few years ago, my first game group had always used a spell point system as opposed to the standard spell system in that other game (TOG), which ends up being very similar to the WIZ point system in T&T.

One reason I had always been hesitant about running events at conventions was that I have tinkered with my version of TOG so much, I was always worried someone signing up for a game would be getting something they would not be happy with. From Spell Points for the magic system, to keeping 1st Edition characters classes in my 2nd Edition game with some additional combat rules from 3rd Edition, my version of the game could more than anything just be confusing, not so much that I changed the core mechanics of the game.

And I guess in that interpretation, no one group will ever play the game as it was 'intended' by the author. I would anticipate that the author would also agree that she could not think of everything and by all means, throw in new stuff and change things as you go.

© Bill Watterson

In most cases, I have found that changing or adding a house rule is just a natural progression that usually occurs in the middle of a game. In my TOG game a few weeks ago, I decided to add a rule with some T&T roots after watching a History channel special on Robin Hood. The show presented the raw power that a single arrow fired from a bow could unleash. A grazing shot makes sense to only do some surface damage, especially when you are rolling a single die and have no modifiers from STR or Magic. However, a well placed shot will indeed pierce vital organs and muscle that could seriously make someone's day pretty darn bad.

© Bill Watterson

I decided to change my damage on arrows and added a bit of T&T to it in the form of DARO. My arrows now do 2d6 damage with the DARO rule (Doubles and Roll Over). The immediate result was a bit more excitement and anticipation for a damage roll that would normally be kind of anti-climatic, especially for characters that are using missile weapons because they are not so much the toe-to-toe fighter type. Coupled with the Critical Hits charts I already use, wading into the fire lane of a few lower level opponents now becomes a bit more dangerous in game terms and more realistic if you are visualizing the potentially fatal scene.

© Bill Watterson

That is not to say that every idea will work for the better, but it should not stop you from trying. No matter what system you run, we are dealing with a 60-75% commonality regarding the basics of most RPGs, which is the role playing part. The rest is just pages and pages of ideas about combat systems, spell systems, and basic ways to determine how good a character is with the actions and ideas that she is trying to accomplish.

If you don't like something, change it. If it does not work, change it back. But do not be afraid to try just because it goes against what may or may not be in the rulebook.

Monday, March 19, 2012

MSPE - Missile Combat Adds Question

Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes (MSPE) has generated some excitement around the homestead.

At first as I was researching using guns for my Stay Alive! horror variant for T&T, I wanted to get a look at MSPE to see the weapons lists and also to find out how guns were handled in the system. As I moved along with SA!, I started to really like what I was reading for MSPE, especially as a replacement to TSR's Top Secret RPG which I have found very difficult to play. The system is just too complicated for its own good in my opinion and the experience charts are impossible to figure out, at least for me.

MSPE however was very simple, being a variant itself of the original T&T system. I came up with a quick system to convert our Top Secret characters to MSPE - more on that in a later post.

My current issue is with the MSPE missile combat adds - I had posted a question on the 'Walla and got no response, so I am throwing this out to anyone that may have some experience with this system.

The rules clearly state that Missile Combat adds are derived by taking the number of LUCK points your character has above 12. Since Dexterity is already used to determine if you hit or miss, LUCK is all that is added to your CA's which makes perfect sense to me.

I cannot find anywhere in the rulebook where there is reference to adding CA's to burst fire or even fully automatic (full clip) attacks.

The simple question is this - Do Missile Combat Adds get applied to each bullet that hits a target?

I am assuming yes since armor is applied at a per bullet level, so damage is more than likely also applied as well. I really cannot think of any other way to do it since the each bullet could hit a different location, thus affecting different possibilities of the relevance of armor worn.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Stay Alive! - More on Resistance

I have been on a one track Zombie Apocalypse mind lately. From the low budget movies, to the small press novels that I have been reading, to the comic books and TV shows, I am more than likely driving everyone that I have any kind of daily contact with nuts.

One thing that tends to be a consistent in most stories regarding this genre would be the finality of infection. If someone gets bitten, scratched, or in some other way infected, it is only a matter of time before his or her demise. While this is great for a movie or a tv series, it is not so good for a RPG that is trying to be an ongoing campaign.

Artwork © 2008 Jeff Freels, used with permission

There should always be a fear of dying or contracting the disease. If that possibility did not exist, I guess it would not be the same. In game terms, that really cannot be something that can be acceptable as black and white.  While that same finality should in some always be present, there needs to be some gray area - a chance for survival. Either that or the players could end up starting new characters semi-frequently. But then again, that is always a reality in most RPGs.

So I see Resistance as a character's ability to not only have some possible immunity to the crap going on, but  also a bit of luck like a bite not actually getting through the clothes as initially thought. Throw in some possible mutation effects like PSI powers that could develop from some exposure to the environment, and there could be something that could last a number of campaigns.

Now - immunity or resistance to another bullet, that is something that will not be as easy to do. As society degrades and the zombies become the environment, dealing with other human beings will be far more dangerous.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stay Alive! - Resistance and Stability

Artwork © 2008 Jeff Freels, used with permission

Resistance and Stability are both blank when you start play.

Resistance is tied to your Constitution and will come into play when and if required to make a saving roll (SR) against a possible infection of any kind (disease, zombification, vampirism). The SR can be either rolled by the player or by the GM, whatever is preferred. The actual level of SR that is needed to be successful should be kept a secret so that there could be some doubt as to whether or not the delver was successful with the roll. I would prefer to let the character make the roll. She would be able to know if she has a 'good feeling' or not based on the roll that is made.Regardless if successful or not, the player gives herself a mark in the resistance box.

Any marks in the Resistance box should be considered a positive modifier on any Resistance rolls in the future. This would be added to the roll like you would for a Talent. The character may be lucky, or just be naturally immune to whatever crazy stuff is going on around them.

Stability is tied to your Guts and will come into play when and if required to make a SR using the Guts attribute (any situation that could cause a fear effect like running away, vomiting, or place). A mark should be made in the box anytime such a roll should fail.

Any marks in the Stability box should be considered a negative modifier to any Guts rolls in the future. This would be added to the roll like you would for a Talent. The character has a growing yellow streak and may not be very dependable in such stressful events.

Copyright © 2012, Jerry Teleha