Saturday, July 22, 2017

Savage Worlds, Subterfuge can really save the Party

in playing multiple campaigns of Savage Worlds since 2010. i found that when you play with the 2011 shaken rules in a deliberately benny starved game, that the best use for a benny, is not to soak a wound in combat, but to completely bypass an unneccessary combat encounter that is irrelevant to the story and here is why.

Savage Worlds has an extremely dangerous combat system and healing is a pain because of the 10 minutes required per attempt and limit of one attempt per character no more than one hour after a fight. even if healing consumables change how healing works, this is why i consider a healer with arcane background a huge lifesaver.

not only are player characters frequently incapacitated or maimed. often taking permanent injuries. but an extra has just as much chance of taking out a wild card as another wild card does. so because of this, and because of how difficult it is to properly heal. the next best thing is is to have a very attractive face character capable of using social skills to stop irrelevant fights before they happen. you are effectively spending on benny to save yourself and your companions a potential two or three bennies apiece.

the best use of a benny is to prevent damage in the first place rather than to soak it. and some GMs like having a more social group or having a more social character in their group. because social minmaxers have less stigma than combat minmaxers, despite both being minmaxers.

being able to disguise yourself and bluff your way past encounters really, really, helps quite a lot.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Substititutions for Flavor

all too often. a particular reflavoring or reskin of a character concept will end up with some problematic abilities that make very little sense for the new concept, this is where i introduce concept based substitutions.

as part of a Reskin of a Class or Race, a character can do the following things for concept purposes

0. a concept must be pitched for the modified character, consisting of a cultural background and home region as appropriate to the setting, as well as values and standards.

1. a character may shift around racial attribute modifiers wholesale to better represent their new species or subrace. the Game Master has final say over any shifted attributes. if an Elf moves their +2 dexterity over to their Constitution, they must place that -2 penalty they would have had to another attribute. maybe they move it over to charisma, this is recommended not only for new Subraces, but for members of existing races that grew up exposed to different cultures or for reskinning a specific race to represent another,

2. a character may swap around resistances or immunities for equivalent resistances or immunities, 1 for 1, conditions for conditions and damage types for damage types. the GM may need to review the damage or condition types being substituted to ensure things are fair. swapping the rarely used necrotic resistance for ubiquitous fire resistance gives a race a lot of defensive gain, swapping cold resistance to gain fire resistance is fine, as is swapping radiant for necrotic

3. a character may swap circumstances for which an ability applies on a one for one basis. stone cunning can instead be applied to woodland areas instead of caves, but should be renamed something like Woodwise. to represent the purpose of the new ability

4. a character may swap out proficiencies and bonuses with weapons or skills for equivalent weapons or skills on a one for one basis. swapping longsword for rapier or scimitar or swapping battle axe for shortsword is fine, or swapping out longsword for katana. as long as the weapons make sense for the cultural background of the species. while trading stealth or insight for perception is fine, trading away animal handling or performance to gain perception is a bit iffy, trading away performance to gain animal handling is fine, this is best reviewed case by case

5. if the character is a member of a class that gains armor proficiencies but not unarmored defense, they can swap out armor and shield profiicencies for unarmored defense as long as they forever opt out of armor proficiency when they multiclass

6. look at the final product, and ensure the character isn't a modified race or class exclusively designed for a single purpose, such as being the best pyromancer or the best scimitar wielder. be wary of cultures developed to thinly veil these solutions behind story shortcuts. you are merely designing a character of an exotic background, not crunching numbers to fight better.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Close Quarters combat revision

Pierce the Gap (Requires Dexterity 13)

You have learned to deliberately make precise strikes to vulnerable vital areas with light weapons. Before you make an attack with a light weapon that you are proficient with, you can choose to take a -5 penalty lo the attack roll. If the attack hits, you add +10 to the attack's damage.

the benefit of Trading Accuracy for Damage, i hear lots of people say is a powerful benefit, especially in the hands of a rogue. but i wanted to retain that benefit, for primarily dexterity based fighters rather than for non rogues. so i changed the name and removed the other 2 benefits.  i wanted to keep this core mechanic, but it was intended to make dual wielding viable or to make other dexterity based characters work.

New 5th Edition Feat in Need of Review and Critique

i am working on a feat for the flavor of a Close Quarters combatant who gets inside the reach of their opponent's weapon and strikes weak points with a small weapon for extra damage. the basic idea was inspired by classic knife fighting and other forms of close quarters combat and is designed for tight spaces. i really don't want to give up the Sharpshooter/Great Weapon Master Benefit though but i need something to keep it valuable.

the original feat had a third benefit in the middle, but the benefit was too potent and too questionable in when it applied.

Close Quarters Combat
*Before you make an attack with a light weapon that you are proficient with, you can choose to take a -5 penalty lo the attack roll. If the attack hits, you add +10 to the attack's damage.

*you have advantage when attacking an opponent you are engaged in a grapple with when using a light weapon you are proficient with

Sunday, September 11, 2016

i am fucking sick of Power Armor

i have played in 8 Fallout themed homebrew campaigns with the same GM since i started savage worlds in 2010. you know what they all had in common? we had to collaborate with the Enclave as thier Fetch Dogs. it was pretty much "we need you to go to X Zone to Steal Y Item from Z faction." in a repetitive loop.

we always end up with fucking power armor by the 4th month, Pip Boys by the 2nd, and mimiguns by the 6th. then it is pretty much 4 months of hosing foes in lead and recovering valuable items. no matter the group. any character identity is lost to identical gear.

we have to snowflake ourselvves in the beginning. which screws us over, knowing how annoying the loss of identity is. here is what i want to see.


1. Player characters shouldn't be running around in power armor unless they are filthy rich

2. other armors should be competitive

3. miniguns should only be on vehicles

4. if players are going to all have pip boys. don't perk tax us to use them.

5. ammunition shouldn't be as easy to replace

6. reduce the damned cash flow. but also reduce prices

7. lower the damned number bloat. if you couldn't get an extra 6-16 toughness from your armor. foes with 16+ toughness won't be needed. it makes lesser threats dangerous again.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Powergaming? is it truly as horrible as Credit is Given?

i know that many people complain about powergamers for ruining the hobby. but how many of you honestly beleive the concept of powergaming could be something positive? something constructive? how many good things were born out of an honest desire to not actually drastically fall behind your companions? how many things were born out of a desire to tell a grandiose, epic and exaggerated story in the vein of various tales from mythology, anime or even fantasy fiction? if a mary sue is a wish fulfillment character inserted by the author? how many of us have wishes we desire to fulfill? how badly do we desire to fulfill these wishes?

i used to think being called a powergamer was a bad thing because of the stigma that surrounded the label and my desire to avoid the stigma. but everybody optimizes numbers to some extent. Archetypes, classes and roles in many RPGs prove this to be true. i realized, i was using a redundant word to hide from the shame of something i was exposed to for a little over 20 years.

everybody wants their character to be effective, to contribute to their role in a team. nobody wants to be the character that is carried, whether due to their character's age, disabilities or level. it is a primordial urge. Separate but Equal is an important thing in RPGs. i mean, murderhobos and minmaxers themselves aren't a bad thing. rather, it is jerkwads and elitists that are the problem, people who cause tension for their fellow players by simply being rude.

i mean. building a combat optimized character isn't an issue. building a socially optimized character isn't an issue. using dice to overcome a character's role despite an IRL deficiency isn't an issue. the issue, is players who feel a desire to bully other characters and rub their face in it.

do any of you think powergaming is honestly a bad thing? do you think any of the grandiose and epic wish fulfilment characters that pervade our world's literature is honestly a bad thing? Power Gamed Characters aren't Exclusive to Anime, many characters in Mythology, Comic Books, Literature and Stories dating back older than the written word, include powergamed wish fulfillment characters.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ilina Rants about D20

"3.5 Problems mostly still exist in Pathfinder, such as the Candle of Invocation trick to chain gate an infinite number of Ifriti for an infinite number of Wishes. all they really did, was inflate health pools for casters and remove a mountain of key martial tools that were mandantory for speeding up fights in d20. like Pounce or Shock Trooper. and most of the issues they removed, they eventually brought back. you still have slow and grindy fights, because every martial character absolutely required pounce and shock trooper, and you can get neither without houseruling in 3.5 content.

but most of the overpowered buffs are still overpowered. Save or Dies are now useless. Casters are tougher than they used to be, and well, all the things needed to speed up a fight to a reasonable pace are effectively gone from players. leading to longer and more grueling fights than the ones in 3.5. but even with 4e Sized Health Pools, healing spells still aren't good enough to save you from most things. because healing spells still use their 2nd edition numbers. which are inferior to the numbers that are actually needed for healing to be viable.

so Pathfinder fights take forever, and you spend long amounts of time being poked by a wand to heal between fights. because wizard health pools are literally doubled thanks to a combination of favored class bonus, the increase in minimum hit dice, the addition of flexible bonuses to several races, and the buffing of the toughness feat. meaning, by playing a human, you can start with your 20 INT and 16 Con. and literally receive 9 hit points per level, or pretty close to 15 hit points at level 1."


an old Quote of mine from Happy Jacks

oh; i just love d20. just as much as i enjoyed having to powergame and murderhobo during my childhood. Pathfinder, is the Literal Representation of everything i dislike about my d20 heavy childhood.

there is absolutely no difference between prestige class bloat and archetype bloat. especially when both are little more than page filler made to sell more books because player character options sell. now you know why i prefer savage worlds. i prefer trappings and substitutions over entirely new races or classes built around 1 new fighting style.

in fact, the Pathfinder Race Builder isn't balanced at all. it is designed to make the core races look equal while making splatbook races look imbalanced. it is also the primary reason players ner Aasimaar, Fetchlings, and Suli. because they pay tons upfront for situational low level abilities that are forgotten by level 3.

dwarves are literally nickle and dimed with bonuses. but nobody cares about how high you can jack a dwarf's saving throws. try a dwarven archer and wreck your foes.

Pathfinder is built around the concept of core races being better for cheaper. it is built around wizards being gods d20 is designed to be powergamed, to be metagamed, to be shattered. d20 is for munchkins.