Sunday, November 20, 2011

100 Professions

In case you haven’t noticed, 100 Professions is now for sale on both e23 and RPG Now.
Buy it at e23 Buy it at RPG Now
Here’s how you know if you want this book:
Eons ago in one of the only rule books out at that time, there was a flat rule that said something to the effect of it costs 100gp per level per month for the character to live. Really? Based on what? Does that include the PCs steeds? Does it include the steeds if it’s a dragon or just a horse? What about if he owes 50 horses? What if he is experimenting in magic? What if she is a noblewoman? What if he is a beggar?
If a rule like 100gp per level per month either makes sense to you or seems to be a useless complication, please do not buy 100 Professions. You are clearly a gold farmer who is only playing an RPG for the action and really do not care about the story. That’s OK - Free Country and all. In the immortal words of Chuck Berry - Live how you gotta live baby.
For those of you who want more character development, more story line, more background, more PC/NPC interaction - 100 Professions was written for you. It gives 100 professions (surprising, right?) with descriptions, skills needed, how common they are, and how much you should expect them to pay. Why? Because every adventurer I have ever GMed for spends all their money on gear. No, really, ALL their money! They do not leave any for room and board. 100 Professions allows you to give them part time jobs when they are between the big mercenary work. Not a lot, but enough to keep a roof over their head and a couple of meals in their bellies. It also gives you as the GM a chance to give them contacts and lead them into all sorts of new missions, simply because you now know how they are filling their days. If you and your players are content that every single mission starts with - So you’re in a bar and this guy walks up to you, - well, I guess you don’t care how they fill their days.
Seriously, 100 Professions was written for the mature GM who doesn’t have a ton of time to handle these extra things. For $1.99, you can figure out what your players do with themselves during the in-between times. You can also think about each of these professions as being contacts that your PCs might need to get to know or NPCs you need to add into your world/city. As with all our 100s, this book is intended to give you the spark you need to fill a gap that you might not have worried about yet. With that spark - GMs really can run their games better and faster!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Need a ton of inspiration?

Remember that song We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel? The whole song is him going through a huge list of people and events that shaped American culture over the last decades. I was thinking about that song and decided to challenge myself. I will be going through the entire song and creating some manner of reference in my world (Fletnern) for each of the references in the song.
For example: Marilyn Monroe - Actress, tragic, affair with president - in our world. In Fletnern: Ammora Villishephska was a famous opera singer in Parnania. She was young, beautiful, and gifted with one of the most powerful soprano voices ever heard. Not surprisingly, she caught the attention of the Prince Governor and they began an affair. When Garnock’s army showed up at the gates of Parnania, The Governor even had her brought into the palace for protection.
During the actual battle, the Governor’s wife became very disturbed that her rival was amongst those being protected. The Governor was not willing to throw her out in the streets, but he couldn’t take Ammora with him when they decided to flee, so this beautiful opera singer, star of the entire city was left in the palace, virtually unguarded when the enemy came storming through the gates.
Now the rumor is that the Governor took her with him or somehow had her safely evacuated from the city. But she disappeared after the attack. The Governor was set up elsewhere, but Ammora was never seen again. No one in the royal family ever spoke of her, and it was known to be a taboo subject, so the mystery remains - What ever happened to the famous opera star?
As Ammora hid in the palace, she was discovered by a troop of soldiers. Assuming she was a noblewoman, they brought her to their commanders without allowing any harm to come to her. One of the commanders recognized her for who she was and immediately had a detachment escort her back to his villa in Garnock. There she still lives today. She’s much fatter and older, but she can still belt out a song like nobody’s business. She has been maintained as a concubine - a “slave wife”, but her life has not been that horrible, and at this point she has developed a rather severe case of agoraphobia. She does not want to be returned. She wants to live out her life as the pet and sometimes lover of a rich Lat general.
OK - for all you gold farmers out there who couldn’t care less about history or interesting mysteries in the social culture, Ammora still makes a fantastic adventure spark. What if someone (magically or naturally) gets a hint that she is alive? You can’t send an army to get her back; that would attract too much attention. They’ll need adventurers to “liberate” her. But once they get to her, she will not want to be taken from the villa. Oh, and don’t forget this guy is a general. So he may be past his prime and an easy battle. Anyone taking her will find his entire regiment hunting them down.
OK - one down, a LOT more to go.
and when that’s over, I might give Tim McGraw’s Southern Voice a try.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


It is my firm belief, after writing several books on fantasy economics and cities, that you cannot give the players a true shopping experience in game. No amount of effort would allow you to honestly list everything that could be purchased in a fantasy store in a fantasy city. OK, that is probably too broad a statement. The raw materials manufacturers would likely only have up to a dozen products and therefore could be detailed. This is the miller, the weaver, the brewer. Take the miller. Many people would think - The miller sells flour. Done. But even the miller would have wheat flour, probably in different styles, such as fine and course. He would also have corn meal, likely white and yellow. He might have buckwheat, grits, pancake mix, or even farina. What about rolled oats or possibly wild rice? While he’s at it, does he have his own farmland? Is he growing things himself, or possibly making maple syrup or honey? and that’s just the miller.
Imagine the cart of the common peddler. He has been picking up things for years, selling what he can. His cart would be filled with endless bric-a-brac. He would likely have things he bought from a tinker (forks, springs, hinges), stuff he picked up from the smith (nails, small tools, maybe horseshoes), some food items (jerky, fruit preserves, mustard), some leather goods (wine skins, belts, laces), some personal items (comb, brush, cup, pen), and a whole bunch of little wooden items that he carves while he travels from town to town (figurines, toggles/buttons, pipes). How do you decide what he has? Worse yet, what if it is a major store? What if it is a jewelry store? Are you able to document every stone, every setting, every bracelet, ear ring, bangle or bauble? If it could be done, it would not be worthwhile!
OK - so now what? Do you give up? Do you tell the players they cannot have anything, because you don’t know who has it? Of course not. My suggestion? Use a game system that allows for scrounging. Then, just let the player roll for his character. If he wants a ruby ring, have him roll to find one. Obviously it will be far more likely to find one in a jewelry store than in a feed store, so have him first scrounge up the jewelry store, then scrounge up what he wants within. If she’s looking for a leather long sword sheathe, she probably wants it custom made, but with a good scrounging, she may be able to find a serviceable one without waiting. Is she willing to take what she finds or does she have her heart set on a green dyed one? Well that affects the scrounging.
There are two advantages to this - #1 - Less work for you as GM trying to figure out your stores. Now you just say: Jewelry store, specializes in rubies and gold, but also carries other gems. That’s easy enough to use when they are scrounging. #2 - Since you’ll never write down everything they want, this allows you to be more capable of meeting their needs. When the wizard wants a robe made of purple linen, you just scrounge to see if he can find one. Oh, and by the way, just because they didn’t find it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Scrounging can be tough, and things sometimes get overlooked.