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Thoughts on the Jedi
January 13, 2014, 4:27 pm
Filed under: Campaign Brewing, Kingdom Far Away, Sandbox Campaign

Of course, the very first question one would ask, when confronted with a Medieval Star Wars (Land Wars?) game is “will there be Jedi?”

The short answer is “yes, of course.” The long answer is a bit more nuanced.

Scarcity

My first impulse when converting Star Wars to D&D was to call Wizards/Sorcerors Jedi and be done with it. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it would take the game in a direction I didn’t want to go. I fear that if Jedi was a class one could pick at the beginning of the game, unless it were balanced precisely, it would be the default for most players. Why would you be a fighter when you could be a Jedi fighter? And I fear that those who don’t pick Jedi would be less effective, or even less invested, in the game. Basically, the general perception is that the Jedi are the ones in charge and the most powerful and everyone else can just follow in their wake.

That, of course, isn’t actually the case in the original trilogy but it seems to be the general consensus. I also want the force to be mysterious. No midichlorians in this game! This is a low magic, high tech sort of setting. And considered in the scope of the whole galaxy, there aren’t that many force users out there.

I want the path of a force-user in my game to be that of Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy. Luke was rather older when he became aware of his power. He sought training from Master Yoda. He grew in power. He still relied on mundane methods of fighting and problem solving. In the Extended Universe he again sought training from the Emperor Reborn and ended up falling to the dark side. He resisted taking on apprentices and when he finally did, some of them fell. Luke’s path was one of experimentation and resistance. Much like the path of your everyday D&D adventurer.

To Become a Jedi

Becoming a force user, then, must be difficult and at least partially random. The current iteration of my rules states that at character creation a player picks a single number between 1 and 100. A percentile die is rolled every level the character obtains, including first, and if that number comes up the player has “unlocked” force sensitivity for that character.

But you’re not done yet! When you become force sensitive, and at every level, you get to pick a force power and one is randomly selected for you from the three schools: Control, Sense and Alter. To gain more powers you must seek them out. Force powers can be discovered through holocrons, scattered in the deep places of the world. Perhaps you seek wisdom in the force through practice and meditation (and I have yet to develop rules for “spell research.”) You may also seek a master. But finding a master has it’s own set of difficulties. You have to follow their rules now and you’ve chosen a side.

Force Sensitive Factions

So there have to be Jedi and Sith but in the Extended Universe there are other groups of force users out there. The witches of Dathomir, the Aing-Ti Monks and the Grey Jedi are all out there and seeking one or more of these communities could make an adventure all of it’s own.

This game will rely heavily on a factions system that I’m developing. Each faction will have it’s own rules and affiliations and will come with perks that will develop much like prestige classes.

Using the Force

My current plan is to use a modified version of this spell dice system from Brendan at Necropraxis.



A long time ago, in a kingdom far, far away…
January 10, 2014, 11:25 am
Filed under: Campaign Brewing, Dungeons and Dragons, Kingdom Far Away, RPG's

So, last post I talked about the campaign settings I’ve written and DM’d. I’d like to think I’ve matured as a Dungeon Master and as a campaign setting writer and I’ve decided it’s time to tackle a “big idea” and to make a setting that is uniquely mine.

My weak point has always been with the lore of a setting world. I’m good at coming up with encounters, plot hooks, NPC’s and the like. My struggle has always been with “what’s the history of this place?” So I’ve decided to co-opt a setting with history and places and make it my own.

I’m taking Star Wars and turning it into a medieval setting.

medieval,men,star,wars-92deed41a28cc9d3bf9f0a31da7b7bb4_h

Instead of Dwarvs and Orcs and Halflings, we have Mon Calamari, Bothans and Wookies.

Instead of the Corellian system we have the Kingdom of Corellia.

Instead of blasters and vibroswords, we have crossbows and…well, real swords.

Planets become cities, systems become kingdoms, the galaxy becomes one big world.

The idea here is to use the Star Wars setting but reinterpret it into a generic fantasy setting. I’ve found I have to do a lot of rules tweaking to get it to work the way I want, but I’m happy with the progress I’ve made so far. So, the next series of posts is going to be all the building of this new campaign. I haven’t decided what to call it, but for now I’m tagging all the posts with the “Kingdom Far Away”category.



My First Time
January 8, 2014, 11:35 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The first time I DM’d I was just out of college. I started playing D&D in college using the 3.5 rules. I was, as most people, hooked immediately. We played every week in my DM’s homebrew campaigns and we changed games every semester and sometimes multiple times during the semester. My first character was a human favored-soul named Chocho San (because of the Weezer song.)

Ok, that’s my history as a player, I’ll move on. So the summer I graduated I talked all my homer friends into playing with me. I made up this introductory encounter where all the PC’s were prisoners of a king and they were brought in and the king was poisoned and there was a passage behind the king’s throne where they could escape and…it was awful. If they hadn’t just gone through the secret passage, I would have had literally nothing for them to do.

The rest of that year is a little foggy for me. I think we played a couple more sessions but as usual everyone was busy and there were varying levels of interest and it just petered out. But a couple of the guys ended up getting really into it and we played quite a bit. I think they got really into story games after they moved away and I know they were much more interested in the story than the “rules” or things making sense.

That fall I got a job and one of the guys that was hired right after me was a D&D player and he had gotten his group, who had been playing since 1st edition, to try this new game called Pathfinder. I joined them in the spring playing a halfling bard and got really into Pathfinder. I played with those guys for quite a while and ended up sharing the DM’s chair some. I DM’d a lot of games off the top of my head and I began to realize that having a setting was advantageous over using pre-prepped modules because if you didn’t know the answer, you knew enough about the world to make one up.

This post is getting kind of long and since I think I’m probably the only person really interested in my gaming history, I’m going to list the campaigns I’ve written and give a short summary.

Weights and Measures live game, set in the capital city of Ashmont. The central theme was that in the government seats on the high council were auctioned off every year and if you had the gold, you could have the power. The idea was to grow a campaign all the way to high level with intrigue and stuff. It lasted maybe 10 sessions.

Chaos Rift The central theme was a demon had attacked the world and when he was smitten, his ruin opened a deep rift in the world where monsters came out and adventurers made their living hunting minerals and gems and killing monsters. Lasted a year or so with multiple players.

Lights of Dawn My first attempt at an online campaign with my ex-WoW friends. This idea came from Chris Perkins’ “points of light” explanation on the Penny Arcade podcast. The players started in a little town and were adventuring to rid the world of a blight. Lasted 6 months or so, but we only got through one combat before jobs and life took over.

Heart of the Mountain A one-shot campaign I wrote to play with those same ex-WoW friends came to my state for a visit. It was set in a steam-punk-ish world at the top of a dwarf mountain. This was a really cool campaign and part of me wishes the players hadn’t spent most of their time on side quests so they could have found out what was actually happening. I’ve kept it a secret for years now and I wonder if it’s about time I go ahead and publish that.

The Chronicles of Ashmont I cannibalize my own stuff quite a bit so the Kingdom of Ashmont was cribbed from my old Weights and Measures. I’ve been running two parties (actually three parties, but one is made up of some of the same people in a different part of the world) in Ashmont for a couple of years now. The home team is up to 5-6th level and the online group has just taken a break so another person can take a shot at DM’ing. Ashmont is a relatively generic D&D setting with the regular orcs and stuff. After the steampunk and a break with Star Wars d20, I wanted to get back to my fantasy roots.

So that’s that. I’m surprised by how much I’ve run and I’m also surprised at the relatively short time most of those lasted. I think it’s mostly due to my player’s being grown-ups and having other things like kids and jobs and mortgages to deal with.

Next post, I’ll talk about my new campaign setting project!



Previous Campaigns Introduction
January 7, 2014, 4:50 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It has occurred to me that, since I’m a terrible blogger, I haven’t actually posted all the campaigns I’ve run. Nor have I posted much of my history as a DM at all. I intend to correct that oversight in the next few days.

This all stems from the new campaign I’m brewing at the moment. A campaign setting I’m very excited about.



A Shift in Perspective
January 5, 2014, 6:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m still working on the little ruleset-some might call it a “fantasy heartbreaker”- I started posting about last…wow, last September, but it has taken a backseat to a new project! A campaign setting with quite a few tweaks and houserules.

Just dropping a quick line to update and let you know to be watching for a new series of posts about what I’m working on, and why.



Classes
September 27, 2013, 1:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Well, A-Z lasted one day.

I’m not worried about it. My players are still exploring the Kingdom of Ashmont. Maybe one of these days I’ll go ahead and describe everything else. In the meantime, another project I probably won’t finish!

My own RPG rules. I want to start with classes and I’d really like to build them from the ground up, ignoring everything that I don’t like and keeping only the essential stuff.

First of all: How does each class solve problems?

Fighting man: might, cunning, strength of arms, tactics

Specialist: stealth, subterfuge, wits, tools, equipment, gear, “the right thing for every job”

Wizard: knowledge, imbalance of information, preparation, “science”

Devout: appeals to authority, fellowship, support, group dynamics, faith



A to Z Blogging Challenge, Day 1
April 1, 2013, 11:38 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I decided, quite on a lark, to do the A-Z blogging challenge. I figure it’s as good a way as any to motivate myself to post. After all, it’s not for lack of ideas that I don’t post. I’ll be posting on things from my current campaign world. Most of them are things that previously existed only in my head. So it’ll be nice to get some of this stuff down.

A is for Ashmont

Ashmont is the central kingdom in my world. It was founded relatively recently by 8 clan lords that decided to end years of civil war. Currently the kingdom is in a time of peace and only 5 of the 8 clans are represented in the city, the other three sitting lords have returned to their homelands. The main city of the kingdom of Ashmont is the city of Ashmont. It’s a bustling city full of intrigue and competing guilds.

As created by one of my online players.

As created by one of my online players.