Roll to Confirm


Character Rules
February 26, 2014, 4:38 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In aneffort to clarify and codify my rules for characters in the online play-by-post game, The Chronicles of Ashmont, here are the rules for player characters.

Decisions, decisions

1. A player may only play one character at a time. Hirelings, followers, servants etc will be played by the Dungeon Master and their stats will, in general, be hidden from the player. The one exception is for players who take the http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/general-feats/leadership—final feat.

2. Play whatever character you want. You may switch between characters at appropriate intervals, generally when the party returns to a village or other “base.”

3. Change your “build” when you please (so long as it is during a rest period.) If you want to retain a character but are unhappy with the “feat progression” you’ve chosen, remake the character. I don’t want something like the relative “crunchiness” of Pathfinder to be the reason you’re unhappy with your guy.

4. New characters start at first level.

5. New characters do not inherit the gear of their predecessor.

6. You may “bank” experience points at a rate of 2 to 1 from your main character, saving it for the time when making a new character is required or desired.



New House Rules
February 18, 2014, 1:50 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This is a crosspost from my online campaign, which is currently on hiatus:

 

I’m always considering ways to make gaming, and especially online play-by-post gaming, easier. During our hiatus I’ve had a couple of ideas that I think would make our work here easier and give us more time to do what we came here to do: play!

 

1. Initiative by side. I’m becoming disenfranchised with the granularity of initiative. It’s quite obvious to me that requiring every player to roll initiative increases the “time count” of our play exponentially but if I thought it helped the game in any way, I’d still be loathe to remove it. However, I’m beginning to be of the opinion that requiring individual initiative increases the granularity of combat in a negative way. That is, having everyone go on their individual turn actually makes it seem like combat is flowing more slowly than I think the narrative supports. I see combat happening all at once. Every round takes 6-10 seconds, but the thief is stabbing at the same time as the ranger is shooting his crossbow at the same time the minotaur is swinging his cudgel at the fighter.

 

Therefore I propose this change: each side in the conflict makes an initiative roll at the beginning of every combat round and each side goes in that order. If a player character wishes to defer, they will take their turn at the end of the round. Under most circumstances the roll for the party will be done by the character initiating combat or the character who is in the lead, using the best judgement of the Dungeon Master.

 

This has the added benefit of allowing the player characters a better chance to plan their tactics as a group without removing the verisimilitude of “the fray,” combat being a chaotic sort of affair.

 

2. Simplified Ranges. The fact of the matter is that Pathfinder, even my simplified Pathfinder rules, may not be the best candidate for an online game. The amount of “crunchy” rules makes for difficult situations when the game we’re playing is inherently more unsure than one played at a table. There will always be the danger of a disconnect between player and DM expectations, but that danger is amplified by the distance, and the time it takes for a single turn, in an online game. Mapping helps alleviate some of this disconnect, but the lack of reliable technology that allows player characters to move their own pieces on a real board limits the benefit. In most cases I think I’d prefer to spend my time writing up descriptions and running combat than updating a map once a round.

 

Therefore I propose this change: during combat, ranges will be simplified in such a way that positioning can be done clearly but without the benefit of a map. The ranges will be defined as Melee, Near, Far and Distant. Under ordinary circumstances, it will take a single move action to go from Melee to Near, from Near to Far and vice versa. Distant range will require a character to spend his entire turn from Far, as he must run to get to a Distant range. The dungeon master will do his best to adjudicate movement to the benefit of the player.

 

Thrown weapons are effective at Near ranges, ordinary weapons are effective at Near and Far ranges and longbows and crossbows are effective at Distant ranges.

 

The ranges break down as follows:

 

Range

Feet

Weapon Examples

Near

10-29

Dagger, Spear, Blowgun

Far

30-79

Javelin, Sling, Shortbow

Distant

80-120

Longbow, Crossbow

 

 

 

 

3. Supplies. Book-keeping is embraced by some and reviled by others. At the table, a player might jot a few notes down on his character sheet and move on, trusting that the information will be there when he needs it. In an online enviornment where a single combat may take weeks in real time, that becomes a problem. I have, in the past, stated some rulings about food being taken on journeys. I want to strive to codify that in a way that allows the efficient management of food, ammunition and lodging. For this I am looking for suggestions. My current thinking is that food and drink for journeys be made a requirement, but available to be bought in “parcels” that reduces the book keeping of listing bread, cheese and mead on a character sheet. For ammunition, I’m also considering a “parcel” system that requires a roll after every combat to see if you’ve used up your ammo in that parcel. For lodging, I’d like to use a tiered system where you can choose to pay for basic or luxurious lodging and have some mechanical benefit for choosing the better lodging.



Species
February 4, 2014, 5:54 pm
Filed under: Campaign Brewing, Kingdom Far Away, RPG's, Star Wars

I’ll put force users on the shelf for now and move on to another vital thing about both Star Wars and RPG’s: Species. Of course in RPG’s the common term is races, but I think for a Star Wars game species feels more appropriate. It evokes a slightly more scientific bent and also I hope makes the world feel bigger. Unlike the generic fantasy campaigns I normally run, in the Kingdom Far, Far Away, each species will have it’s own distinct homeland. They will still mingle in cities but I really want locations to be distinct. I’ll admit in my games all dwarves tend to be from mountains, all elves tend to be from forests etc. This helps speed up play at the table but it also makes things more generic.

One of my goals for this project is to create a campaign that has a very low entry point. I’d like to be able to run it for people in my area, mostly students, who haven’t played tabletop games before and come from a video gaming background. Familiarity with Star Wars is assumed, but not necessarily with RPG’s. I want a player to be able to sit down at my table, roll a few dice, and have a playable character in minutes.

How does this work with all those species?

Well, I’m going to limit the initial species selection to humans. You can hail from Corellia, Coruscant or Alderaan and each of those origin kingdoms will come with their own benefits like stat improvements, skill selections or social abilites. When your party, or group, ventures to an alien kingdom, gains the services of an alien species or makes a particular contribution to a species, you “unlock” that species as a character creation option.

I hope this will both simplify the game as well as open up more incentive for engagement with my world.