Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Character Concept Workshop. the Pure of Heart Assassin.

i know, the concept could be done with any class that could do a bit of sneaking and a bit of decent spike damage. whether by being a rogue, warlock, bard, ranger or possibily assassin or bounty hunter and here is my proposal.

most assassin or bounty hunter type characters are dark, broody and mysterious while being motivated by revenge, and i was kind of inspired by the concept of the stepford smiler, but how about an Assassin or Bounty Hunter who is so Pure of Heart she seems to be made of sunshine and rainbows? such a character could use the Stepford Smiler as a base, but the basic concept is a young assassin or bounty hunter who is idealistc, heroic, self sacrificing and naive. the complete opposite of a traditional assassin as per the stereotype.

such a character would probably be a fit for a good alignment because they aren't cruel or sadistic at heart, and does what they do because they don't know a better way to use the skills they learned. an assassin who defeats evil with doing the right thing as their primary motivation, who doesn't kill the seemingly innocent, and comes across as innocent and harmless in her own way.

the idea is to buck the dark stereotype of the assassin loner on its head by making an assassin who does the right thing in the name of heroism. an assassin who keeps a perpetual smile and offers to lighten the mood of the dark subjects she proposes by hosting tea parties. completely unaware of how dark the subject she discusses happens to truly be. a literal cloudcuckoolander.

this concept could be carried to other systems. but it is on my bucket list. an assassin who is mostly good at heart, who does the right thing from the shadows without thanks and without appreciation, but is happy to help others. a knight who walks the shadows as a path to the right thing.

a young maiden who delivers swift and precise blows to evil with the intent to minimize the loss of innocent life, dagger in hand, weeding out the wicked. the dishonest heroine who feels an honest motivation to do the right thing, infiltrating the big bad evil guy's lair and eliminating him in his sleep to save the world from another era of suffering.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Savage Worlds Characters are Not the Same At all. Trappings are a Thing.

all too often, you hear somebody new to the Savage Worlds community complain that every Savage Worlds character is the same because they as a player, build the same build every time and refuse to spice up the character's description in any particular way. this is generally called specialist syndrome, the specialist, is a player who specializes in one specific type of player character and overplays it to the hilt.

i'm a specialist of a different sort, instead of specializing in a single archetype or single race, i specialize in a particular aesthetic the Japanese Otaku community called Loli, also commonly referred to as the Lolita Fashion Subculture. the Lolita Fashion subculture is often marked to waifish figured short women in their late teens up to their mid twenties who want to dress the way a child of a wealthy family did in a prior historical era, generally with mannerisms appropriate to the nationality and era they emulate. in fact, a lot of anime characters used the Anglofied versions of this fashion style and forget about the others.

in fact, i usually roleplay 21st century style lolita fashion type characters who appeal to the role of the Millenial Otaku schoolgirl which is technically the modern period for period fashion. but it could also be a variety of related Aesthetics, because i always wanted a younger sister, mostly due to anime and RPG influences in my childhood which eventually lead to me wanting to become the perfect little sister,

enough about myself, some people can get bored of the ideal little sister. just as some people can get bored of dwarven fighters or elven rogues. but it isn't that the characters are the same, even if they had the exact same experience, attributes, skills, hindrances and equipment on paper, the two can still be different characters

take two characters with code of honor, heroic, loyal, and a minor habit of being addicted to liquor. imagine they both have d10 strength, d8 vigor, d8 agility, brawny, sweep, first strike, knight, a full suit of chainmail, a horse, a spear, a bow, a shield, a longsword, a d12 fighting, d8 shooting, and d6 notice,

at a glance, you would think both characters are the same, but one could easily be a medieval paladn from camelot who served under king Arthur while the other is a medieval Japanese Samurai who serves their lord, a third character with the same build could be a Viking War Hero and a Fourth could be the Champion of the Dragon Emperor of Quin.

all 4 of these characters are similar on paper and have similar edges and hindrances, but they are each different people from different backgrounds, even though they all essentially use a similar paladin archetype as a baseline.

with a bit of roleplay description, you could spice things up.

in an earlier thread i posted, i wanted to suggest the idea of a rogue with telepathic perception control, using skill trappings, and Zadmar gave me the simplest solution, narrating the success of such things as stealth and notice, "as the small youth passes by the guard, a subtle perceptive block stops the guard from perceiving her long enough for her to slip away through an alternate exit" or "the small figure sees the ambush as she spots the bandits by hijacking the senses of a nearby bird flying in a circle around the surrounding area."

i like these solutions and think they work best, but some game masters will want to attach arcane backgrounds and power point taxes to what basically amounts to narrative flavor.

when a player character is getting bored with various incarnations that feel the same to them, it is because they don't have much imagination as a player and are recycling the same character like a mass produced factory product. usually because they haven't had much exposure to other archetypes they could enjoy, or because they always liked dwarven fighters, but could never learn to appreciate elven or orcish fighters.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

you may want to keep multiple character sheets and here is why.

all too often, it can get too hard to track the amount of things you have to change on your character sheet. this is especially true in systems where you change your equipment loadout quite frequently. in fact. many RPGs have equipment that alters your basic combat statistics which themselves can be a pain in the ass to calculate. this is especially true for D&D druids who have to track the stats for dozens of commonly used forms or for even scenarios like prison breaks or social encounters where the most you might have is a concealed suit of light cloth armor, a dagger inside your sleeve and maybe a shortbow if you are in a rural area.

i mean, sure, a fighter's job is to beat things to a pulp, but depending on the campaign, your fighter might have to train certain skills that are normally not class skills for them or are not stereotypically associated, and you might want more than just perception,

at the same time, a wizard being able to use a few skills without relying on spells might stretch the endurance of their magic. one time, in a pathfinder game, i played a wizard with stealth, disable device, disguise,acrobatics, perception, sense motive, bluff, diplomacy, linguistics and spellcraft. i mean, with their intelligence, wizards can get a lot of skills at the higher levels. most wizards buy knowledge skills, this wizard was a bit suboptimal but was filling the secondary role of backup rogue.

the wizard was probably missing a few skills compared to a rogue, but had all the important ones at negligibly lower levels. and the reason was to not spam invisibility to sneak or disguise self to disguise. she had 2 levels of rogue for trapfinding, evasion and trapspotter. but was otherwise a single classed wizard. the wizard had certain skills the campaign demanded, because the rogue couldn't fill them alone due to activity.

so yes, player activity. and even changes in equipment loadout, can change how you build your character. or how you plan them. so it is best to keep a copy of each potential equipment configuration or keep multiple potential road maps. because your character might need to be altered or might need to retrain to fill a role that once existed but no longer does. or maybe to fill the niche of backup for an inconsistent player.

in fact, there are many things that could end up changing how your character unfolds, and you might even need a backup character or few. old school games literally required them like crazy.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Old School had a mountain of ways to generate attribute scores

Remember Old School D&D and the 3d6 down the line? what if i told you that there were 29 other ways to Generate Attributes and not all of them were random. here are 5 of my Favorites from Old School D&D.

2d6+6, Roll 6 Scores, Arrange as Desired

Roll 24, 30, or 36 d6 on a Spreadsheet, take any 3 you want for each score, the same die may be used once

take 2 each of cards 4-9. deal 2 cards face down in 6 piles. those are your scores, arranged as desired

Take 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8, arrange as desired, apply racial modifiers

take 75 points and buy each score point for point, starting with 0, no score may start lower than 3 or higher than 18, each ten percent of tremendous strength costs a point as well. for example, an 18/100 strength costs 28 points, 18 for the 18, and 10 for the 100 percent.

these are all seemingly powerful variants. but the truth is, they are customizeable ane produce nothing you couldn't get from the 3d6 in order ceiling. they just raise the floor to ensure you have a character you can immerse yourself into.

lots of people try to have concepts in a D&D game. i'm a concept girl myself. but i like the mechanics to at least put an effort to resembling the lore. a strong character needs a high strength. so the mechanics resemble thier aethetics.

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.