Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stay Alive! - Character Backgrounds

Gen Con is not too far away, so I need to get back to the task of getting this game ready to go for 12 strangers that have never heard of me or played in my GM'd games before. This is always a daunting task for me, even when I know the rules very well.

For the game back in February, I toyed with the idea of basing characters off of the real life players. I think that had both a positive and negative outcome. The positive was that the characters were all playing themselves in a building that they were actually sitting in at the time. It was not hard for any of the characters to imagine where the rest of their families were, how hard it would be for them to get home, and other such things that would come to mind if such a situation would actually occur. The negative was that while it is fun to play yourself, sometimes you don't want to play yourself. After all, this is supposed to be a role playing game - the idea of playing yourself with your own abilities, talents, and potentially limitations would decrease from the potential enjoyment.

Artwork © 2012 Jeremy Mohler, used with permission

What I think would still be something cool though would be some manufactured and random backgrounds for the generated characters to have that could be determined before we start that game. This would add a bit of a mix and also some ulterior motives for each character that would be a secret only to them, unless they wanted to share with the other players. In a setting such as a zombie apocalypse, the person with family waiting at home will have different objectives than the recently divorced person with no kids and no family.

Artwork © 2012 Jeremy Mohler, used with permission 

I plan on creating some pre-generated characters to save time at the table. At the same time, I plan on having some background ideas the characters that could help drive them to make some decisions that maybe the player would not do if playing himself.
  • The police officer with a history of being corrupt
  • The business person who has a drug habit
  • The soldier that is trying to get back to his wife and kids
  • The normal looking person who was in jail awaiting trial for a serious crime
I have a lot of work to do!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Missile Adds - Redux

There is something inside my crazy head that forces me to try to understand things inside and out. Whether it be for work, or for my games, rules define how my brain organizes, disseminates, and synthesizes ideas and thoughts into the eventual output. In other words, I like to know exactly what the rule is intended to be before I decide that I would need to change it. I fully would agree with anyone that thinks I am putting too much into this.

Regarding Combat Adds for Missile attacks, there is really nothing definitive to start with. The 7.5 rules are very vague about Combat Adds for missile weapons and judging by what Ken has mentioned in the following excerpt, that seems to be by design: Combat adds are the same for all weapons.
Combat adds and missile weapons - Page 68 (7E) or 93 (7.5E)
Whereas strength increases the damage potential when fireing an arrow with a bow or when throwing a knife or a chakram, strength should obviously not count towards calculating combat adds when using a firearm or a crossbow.
KEN'S ANSWER: "Strength has little to do with how much damage a firearm does in combat. Neither STR nor SPD should give firearm adds. What you might do, however, is give double LK and double DEX adds to those using a firearm."
I also asked him if missile adds still exist under 7E.
KEN'S ANSWER: "No, missile adds have gone away. It no longer seems logical to have them."
Therefore, when firing an arrow with a bow, you should apply normal adds (which depend on your STR, DEX, LK, and SPD).
Trollszine! #5, Summer 2012, "Reflections on the Tunnels and Trolls 7th Edition Rules" by Patrice Geille (Questions and Answers with Ken St. Andre)

This is how I will handle Missile Combat Adds in my T&T games.
All artwork in this blog entry is public domain

Combat Adds (Melee/Thrown Weapons): STR, DEX, LK, SPD
Missile Adds (Non-Thrown Weapons): DEX, LK
Thrown Weapons: Utilizing STR, DEX, LK, and SPD make total sense. The SR vs DEX is still required to determine if the target has been hit.
Bows and Slings: Once you pull the bow to its full length, any additional STR by the character more than likely would not have any additional affect on the damage done by the arrow. One could argue conversely with a sling and STR, but I will try to keep this simple (I know - too late for that). SPD could be argued here, but I believe missile weapons are basically a one shot at a time deal with T&T. Where in melee combat, SPD would give you more bonuses for getting more hits in, it would not translate to the same for these types of attacks. Using only DEX and LK makes sense to me.
Firearms and Crossbows: Once again, STR really does not fit with these types of attacks as it is not used at all through the course of the attempt to hit and the ensuing damage. SPD could be argued as well but I do not think it fits either. It would fit if it reflected the attackers ability to get off more than one shot, but I do not think the T&T combat is really taking that into consideration.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Trollszine! #5 Now Available

The newest edition of the FREE Tunnels & Trolls Fanzine is now available.

Published by Flying Buffalo

Get it here

I do have an article that I submitted for this one...

"Building a Better Zombie"
Giving Zombies More Bite

And plenty of other artists and writer contributions...

Check it out today!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tunnels & Trolls with Ken

Maybe it is something that we take for granted, having such direct contact with Ken St. Andre that includes give and take via email and communication via Trollhalla. Just having the opportunity to bounce questions off of the creator of the game we play is very cool; a chance to play in a game that he is running, even cooler.

When I first met Ken at Origins in 2011, he was putting out the offer all weekend that if anyone grabbed 2 or 3 friends, he would be happy to run a T&T game right there and on the spot. I was happy to see in 2012, he had 4 events scheduled in the registration system. For me, it was just a matter of which day would fit best into my schedule.

I am not wearing the hat...
Two other guys showed up to play the game on Thursday morning at 9 AM. One was (I believe) a newcomer to T&T from England. The second player was familiar with 5th Ed and had played before, but had little or no experience with 7.5. We created characters - we had a wizard (me), a warrior, and a rogue.

We started with a 'Riverboat Adventure' where we were all hired on as additional crewmen for a trip downstream. We still had time after that, so we entered the 'Dungeon of the Bear' as well. The warrior in the group had the worst luck: he fell in the river and then in the dungeon, he was also turned into a werebadger.

During the session, I did get a chance to ask Ken about how he handles Missile Combat Adds, which has been one of my hot topics. I cannot remember what he said (good job Jerry), but I personally am still leaning towards the MSPE method, only applying Luck to the Combat Adds since Dexterity is used to determine if the attack hits or not. I believe Ken said that he would only use DEX and LK for Missile Combat Adds. (JT Update 6/16/12 - I just read the Riverboat Adventure in the Free RPG Day 2011 where it is clearly stated that Combat Adds for Missile is DEX Adds x2.)

During the 'Riverboat Adventure', I wanted to cast a spell in a certain situation and asked Ken if such a spell existed, and he said no. So - this could  be something I write about in a future article for a certain magazine...