Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dwarves - at least in Fletnern

We’ve been working on Gods and Demons - which is behind- and have been referring to the dwarven gods and their issues. I thought, maybe we should talk about them more fully, but it doesn’t belong in the book. So here we go: Some time ago, there was a revolution in the dwarven Rocchairian Nation. The noble clans had ruled over the commoner clans for centuries, and the commoner clans were done with it. Over two or three generations, they had begun to form themselves into a communist or socialist society, or at least the beginnings of one. The inevitable revolution (armed - violent) occurred. Several of the noble clans had seen the writing on the walls and joined the rebellion in order to preserve their standing in the new government. The revolution was successful, and the nobles were overthrown. A council of clanmasters was established, and the nobles lost their lands. Well, it wasn’t as clean as that. Some of the nobles managed to hold on to certain pieces of land, and a peace was established. In any case, the new communist government was quick to put down any ideas or traditions that they felt would enable the nobles to build a power base. One of the ideas they wanted to put down was religion. The communists insisted that no dwarf was beholding to any god or noble. While this was originally established to prevent nobles or churches from taxing the commoner clans, it served to nearly outlaw religion. Fast forward to the current, and the dwarves within the Rocchairian Nation are non-worshipping atheists. While the dwarves outside the Nation (mainly the remaining, weakened noble clans) still worship, they are too few to maintain the power of the dwarven gods, and without the adoration of an organized religion, the gods are weakening, weakening to the point of heading towards oblivion. So, when you read Gods and Demons - now you’ll know!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Why Legend Quest - part 4

This will be our last of these, but if you have any questions, please just let us know in comments or at Magic - hugely important for any FRPG. So how to use it? Well, I have always hated the “spell leaves your memory” model. Never understood that! I guess it’s from some forgotten fantasy novel series. Anyway - I wanted the mages to be able to customize just like the warriors (see the last post for details on shield fighters). So how? Well, in LQ, you need power levels in order to cast a spell. For attack spells, the more power, the more damage. So you can get your power way up and become a spell casting monster. OR you can get your control levels up and be more of a sniper. Instead of doing huge damage, you can get your accuracy (or range or area of effect) way up. That was always the intent, but wise spell casters learned to ride the middle - balance power levels and control levels to get fairly good on both sides. Here’s where the players have used the system to customize: number of spells. Some players get phenomenally good (control levels) with just a couple of spells. Others go for having dozens of spells at their command. These are the guys who love the Book of Wishes magic supplement. But this is a fun balancing act. Do you want to be a wizard with heals, fireballs, teleports, etc. or do you want to be a focused sorcerer with fireball, but a fireball that always hits and can be bigger and go farther than everyone else’s? It continues with which magic items you use, because those talismans are expensive. Which do you use to assist? Focus or broad ability? Further - What type of “magic” do you want? Mentalism, the “pure” magic of the mages and wizards, spell singing, alchemy or enchantment, etc. This affects whether or not you can use steel, how your spells are cast and a number of other influences, that may not seem important at first, but affect both the role-playing and the game. Mentalists don’t have to speak, while spells singers not only speak, but aren’t allowed to whisper. That matters! Both of them are unaffected by steel, while the wizards are, so if you want more of a fighter/mage, you are likely looking at a spell singer. Then again, a wizard with a glass sword (magically hardened of course) can be just as deadly in a duel. I wrote these posts to try and let some of the newer folks see “behind the curtain”. Everyone does things for a reason, and my reasons strongly influenced the rules of Legend Quest. Clearly, we think it is the best. Even when we started two decades ago, others agreed: “A real gem of a game. One of the best systems I’ve ever seen” - Dragon Magazine

Monday, December 3, 2012

Why Legend Quest - part 3

Legend Quest is a percentile system and only uses d10s. Several reasons for this, but the top two are: most female gamers have expressed that they hated the idea of different dice for different reasons. Since we had several ladies playtesting, d10 and d% seemed the best way to go. My personal opinion has always been that using 2d6 or 3d6 made the “pluses” silly. If you need to roll a “7” or better on 2d6 and you have a +1 modifier, it is a huge modifier. If you have the same +1 but need to roll an 11 or better, the odds are completely different. The +1 doesn’t mean as much. It’s the whole bell curve thing. On a % system, +5 means +5 whether you’re at the top or the middle or the % chance. This also then goes into damage. Damage dice are not 2d10 for a bell curve from 2-20, but instead 2D or a multiplier of “2”, so the damage is a smooth line from 2-20. In the first case, you will most likely do about 11 damage. In the LQ case, you have even odds of doing 2, 10 or 20. Yes - Average damage is the same, but the results are more dramatic. Plus, with multipliers, you can do a “half” die damage for 1-5. No need for a different die. Damage also comes with bleeding. If you are hurt, you will bleed, possibly to death. Why? Because someone with one point of life left should not be able to stand toe to toe with the bad guy and be perfectly the same as if he were fully healed. In LQ, bleeding first affects your Fatigue, slowing you down and making you less likely to succeed at things. Then it affects your Life’s Blood, meaning you could die. Don’t be stupid; go see the medic and get that thing bandaged! Armor blocks damage as it is coming in. The heavier the armor, the less of that damage gets through to you. Isn’t that what it is supposed to do? It doesn’t make you harder to hit, just harder to damage. It will slow you down as well, but you can get armor skill levels to offset some or all of the negatives. This means that a knight trained from birth to wear armor is going to be vastly better in it than some joker off the street. Little more realistic? We sure think so! Lastly (for this week) - Shields. I hate nothing more than in that historic first game where shields are +1. All shields were +1 to defense. No more, no less, didn’t matter if you were a moron or Captain America. Didn’t matter if it was a hand held buckler or a Roman legionnaire’s full bodied scutum. In LQ, different sized shields give different base benefits and the shield user’s skill levels (in Shields) dictate the added benefits possible. Why? Well, now it makes more sense, and now you can have a defensive fighter. You can set your guy up to have a huge shield and really know how to use it. Then he can “tank” or whatever you want to call it for the group. When I did it I was referred to as the “damage sponge”, soaking up damage for the rest of the party, but hardly ever killing anyone. next week - part 4 - magic