Sep 212011
 

I’ve been chatting with a friend and fellow gamemaster about an upcoming Savage Fallout game I’ve been working on. He expressed dismay that the races were so restrictive and fixed compared to humans. Which got me thinking: why can’t you design races in Savage Worlds to be a lot more modular? If the points work out what’s the difference? The key here is that you need to balance out the races to a heftier starting bonus than the standard +2 assumed by Savage Worlds. But that’s fine with me, as I like beefier starting characters.

To put the theory into practice, here are the three major fallout races done in a more À la carte style.

 

Human

Adaptable: All humans begin play with a bonus edge of their choice.

Flex Benefits: Humans may select any two of the following options listed below. An option may be taken more than than once.

  • Adroit: Begin play with one additional Attribute point.
  • Aquatic: You hail from Vault 6 (commonly known as Deep Six). You cannot drown in water, move at full Swimming skill when underwater, and start with a free d6 in Swimming.
  • Fortunate:  Draw one additional Benny per game session. This may be combined with the Luck and Great Luck Edges.
  • Grit: Increase your Toughness by +1.
  • Scrapper: Increase your Parry by +1.
  • Skilled: Being play with 2 additional skill points.

 

Ghoul

Rad Immunity: Ghouls have already suffered the worst that radiation can offer. They are immune to the effects and hazards of radiation. Ghoul characters exposed to large amounts of radiation over a large period of time may, at GM discretion, become glowing ones or feral ghouls. In addition, ghouls are practically immortal but are also completely sterile.

Rotten Visage: A ghoul’s flesh is constantly rotting off, appearing very raw and discolored from necrosis. They begin play with the Ugly hindrance and may not select the Attractive edge.

Flex Benefits: Ghouls may select any two of the following options listed below. An option may be taken more than than once.

  • Adaptable: Begin play with one additional Novice edge of your choice.
  • Fortunate:  Draw one additional Benny per game session. This may be combined with the Luck and Great Luck Edges.
  • Ghoulish Vigor: Begin play with a d6 Vigor, instead of a d4.
  • Old School Ghoul: You begin play with a free d6 in Knowledge (History) and gain a +2 bonus to Common Knowledge checks related to bygone days.
  • Pretty Fly for a Dead Guy: You suffer no Charisma penalty for Rotten Visage and may purchase the Attractive Edge. In addition your outgoing nature grants you a +1 bonus to Charisma.
  • Skilled: Being play with 2 additional skill points.

 

Super Mutant

Rad Immunity: Super mutants have already suffered the worst that radiation can offer. They are immune to the effects and hazards of radiation. In addition, they are immune to disease and practically immortal but are also completely sterile.

Disliked: Super mutants are generally distrusted and many shoot them on sight. They begin play with the Outsider hindrance.

Flex Benefits: Super mutants may select any two of the following options listed below. An option may be taken more than than once.

  • Adaptable: Begin play with one additional Novice edge of your choice.
  • Big: Your Size (and Toughness) increase by +1.
  • Brawny: Begin play with a d6 Strength, instead of a d4. You also gain Brawny as a bonus edge but your Parry is reduced by 1 due to your bulk.
  • Nightkin: Begin play with a d6 Agility, instead of a d4. You also begin play with a free d6 in Stealth but suffer from Delusions (Minor) due to excessive Stealth Boy use.
  • One of the Good Ones: You no longer have the Outsider hindrance. In fact, you’re so well known that you gain a +1 to Charisma instead.
  • Smart: Begin play with a d6 Smarts, instead of a d4.
  • Skilled: Being play with 2 additional skill points.
Dec 202010
 

Game mastering is like any other skill – the only way to really get better is with practice and exercise.  To that end I like to keep sharp with several GM Exercises I’ve gotten on the web and made up myself.  One of my favorite exercises is 5 random songs.  Here’s how it works:

Open up your music player and select all of your music (excluding really long stuff like podcasts),  Put it on random and then start listening.  You have to take the next five songs and use them to create an adventure for your favorite game system.  I generally use one song as an overall theme, one as a showdown, one as a villain, and two as set-pieces but you can use whatever format you like.  The key is that you need to start thinking about how to weave different things together into a coherent whole.  Oh, and no cheating – you can’t skip a song if you find it hard (though songs you hate can be skipped, if you have them on your machine for some reason).

To give you an example, here’s my latest exercise:

Playlist

  • Milktoast by Helmet
  • Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix
  • Nineteen by the Old 97’s
  • Run to Black by David Newman (Serenity Soundtrack)
  • At My Most Beautiful by R.E.M.

Looking over my list I think I’m going to use Shadowun for this one.  We’ve got one song about lies and deception, one about killing a lover, one about young love, a tense orchestral piece, and one about pleasing a lover.  Definitely something to work with here.

I’ll take Nineteen and At My Most Beautiful as my overall themes.  This is going to be an extraction run focusing around two young lovers.  Give the forbidden tinge I’m getting lets make one of them a corp girl and another one a lower class ork.  Classic Romeo and Juliet.  So far, so good.  However, Milktoast is all about lies and I think that’s where we introduce the Johnson.

The Johnson is the girl’s father.  He’s going to hire the runners to take out the ork, claiming that he’s been stalking his daughter.  If the team gets moral he’ll just insist that they plant evidence instead.  If the team gets lazy we get an unhappy ending and the ork dies/goes to prison.  But if they’re good, and they investigate further, they’ll find out that the ork and the girl want to run away together.  The ork will hire them to extract his girl instead.  (This bit is inspired by Hey Joe, at least the killing part).

So now the PCs have to break into a corp and get the girl.  We run this as a really tense scene to fit Fade to Black.  Hopefully the team triumphs and we get a happy ending with the two lovers re-united.

And that’s my GMing exercise for the day.  Give it a try and see if it helps.  This method can really be helpful if you’re stuck for adventure ideas.  Otherwise it’s just a fun little exercise.

Mar 282009
 

Synopsis

Dungeons & Dragons has long been a game about exploring new places and fighting dangerous monsters. Usually these adventures are set either in an established campaign setting or a home brew world devised by the dungeon master. This variant outlines a method in which both the players and the dungeon master can create a world together, creating a new method for world creation.

Basic Rules

This method of world creation is quite simple; the dungeon master and the characters each take turns naming facts about the world, its geography, its people, its customs, and its legends. Both the dungeon master and the players are encouraged to think creatively and to place locations and legends that they’re interested in exploring and examining. This is a simple process that has only a few basic rules.

  • Everything Exists: Any information found in the core rules supplements exists in the world in some fashion. No participant in this process can state a fact or legend that invalidates a choice found in the rules books. The dungeon master and the players should be able to select any rules option in the books in this campaign setting.
  • The Basic Premise is True: The basic premise of dungeons & dragons is still intact in this world. Tieflings once hailed from Bael Turath, all of the core deities exist in some fashion, and adventurers still explore dark dungeons and buy magical treasures. While individual facts about the common legends might change, the basic premise cannot be altered with stated facts (though legends can offer different options).
  • No Contradictions: Once a participant in the world building process states a fact or legend, nothing can contradict this statement. If a player states that the village of Green Hills exists in the Flowering Valley another player cannot then state that the village doesn’t exist. Once someone states a fact it becomes just that: a fact. You can, however, append additional information to a stated fact. In the above example a player could state that the village of Green Hills is linked to the Feywild and that it only actually appears during the daytime, disappearing at night.
  • Beware the Monkey’s Paw: While this is a cooperative world, the GM does hold ultimate power over the setting, mostly in order to ensure that the game is actually a challenge. If you state that the town well holds powerful magical items the DM can alter this fact to ensure that 1st level characters don’t start off with holy avengers. Be careful what you wish for, as the DM can alter facts if they’re clearly placed only to give an unfair advantage to the players.
  • Be Cooperative: This is a group exercise and as such try not to rain on someone else’s parade. Work with everyone else at the table to make an enjoyable setting. If someone raises a big objection to one of your facts ask them why they object and consider meeting them halfway. While you have ultimate power on your turn you can and should talk to the other players if there’s some question about your fact or legend.

Building the World

Filling in the map is an easy and enjoyable process. Simply gather your group together, grab a piece of paper, and place a dot somewhere near the middle of the paper. This is the starting village where the characters will begin their adventuring career. You can name it now or leave the name as the first stated fact of the world building process. Then elect one player as the scribe (this is usually the GM). The scribe writes down all the stated facts so that there’s a written record of the world.

There are two smaller parts to the entire world building process. The first part is the phase, which is a broad category of the world building process. The phase determines what kinds of facts and legends each player can state during each round. Each round every player can name one fact or legend for that phase. Most phases consist of two to five rounds before the next phase begins.

Each round every player gets a chance to name a fact or legend appropriate to the phase subject. These statements can either be a simple word or phrase that other players can elaborate on or a one or two sentence statement. Players can make two types of statements.

A fact is something that is completely true (so long as it follows the general rules above). Examples of a fact would be the location of some terrain feature, a general truth about a race, or the name of a place or culture.

A legend is like a fact, save that the details of it can change to fit the story or the needs of the world. Legends can also simply be keywords, adventure ideas, or common beliefs of the world. Unlike facts, legends can be changed by the GM in secret to surprise the players. Examples of legends would be a story that a dungeon exists in the Sunlight Plains, that dragons cannot see people who wear their own color or that when a wizard casts a spell his eyes glow.

The Phases

While there are no hard and fast rules for how many phases are used before play begins or for how many rounds each phase contains, the general outline below will produce a vibrant and adequately detailed region suitable for adventuring.

Phase One: World Myths [2-3 Rounds]
World myths are almost universally legends rather than facts. World Myths tend to include legends about how each race was created, vast world spanning legends, and facts that everyone should know. This phase is intended to get everyone thinking about the broad theme of the world.

Phase Two: The Races [2-4 Rounds]
This phase can contain both facts and legends about equally. This phase allows the players to detail the races and how they might deviate from the core books. This phase is most useful for players who want to come from a unique culture or for players who want to ensure that a race is either common or uncommon.

Phase Three: Local Geography [3-5 Rounds]
In this phase the players begin to fill in the blank map with details about the local geography. Everyone takes turns drawing in terrain features such as mountain ranges, rivers, plains, and other such things. Players can either leave the places unnamed or given them a name that might suggest further facts.

Phase Four: The Village [2-4 Rounds]
In this phase the players begin to name facts and legends about the starting village. These can include the absence or presence of services or people, the local religion, the general feeling of the town, and other such things. This phase can be expanded if the players expect to spend a great deal of time there.

Phase Five: Local Threats & Factions [1-3 Rounds]
Once the world has been filled with a few terrain features and a local village, the players now need to place a few threats and monsters in the area. Threats are generally found in the surrounding terrain while factions are generally reserved for the starting village or for neighboring nations. Players can be quite vague here, leaving a lot of wiggle room for the GM to plan adventure around.

Phase Six: Local Legends [1-3 Rounds]
This phase is entirely limited to legends, not facts. Players should start listing common legends about places, people, and races. These are intended to give the DM ideas for story seeds and adventures, so the more evocative and vague you are the better.

Phase Seven: The World Beyond [2-4 Rounds]
During this phase the players all take turns filling out facts and details about the large world. This can be where the roads lead to, neighboring towns or villages, facts about the local nation, or even the presence of another continent. This is intended to provide locations for further adventures once the local area has been explored.

Phase Eight: Final Details [3-8 Rounds]
This final phase is intended for a catch-all where players can name a few last details about the world. No subject for facts or legends is forbidden and this phase is generally used to flesh out existing facts a bit further.

Bringing it All Together

Once all of the phases have been brought together, the DM should compile all of the information into one easy to read format. This is now the beginning of the campaign world. As play begins the DM and the players can further define the facts during play. Should the characters find themselves lost for something to do they can simple start naming more facts that the DM can use to create further adventures.

When the players finally progress beyond their home region you can go through this process once again to create a new region ripe for exploration. Simply start at phase three for the new area, keeping in mind that previous facts cannot be invalidated. In this way you create the world a little bit at a time.

Final Word

This process is far from the final word on cooperative world building, and indeed it is not even that unique. These are simply my suggestions for the process and you should change them to better suit your own group and play style. Above all remember that building the world should be fun for everyone.

Feb 012009
 

And by good design, I mean graphic and print design, not game design itself. I’ve been a practicing print designer in the RPG industry for a few years now, and if I’ve learned anything it’s that too few people pay attention to print design as it relates to an RPG. Sure, the big houses generally do a very good job, but I feel that the smaller press companies often don’t pay enough attention to the subject and art of designing a visual look for a product.

At its core, print design works to enhance the rules and feel of a product.  It should take the rules, present them in a clear and legible manner, and then give you a visual short hand for the theme and subject of the game.  When someone opens up your book they should immediately be able to grasp the theme of the game from the look of the product without actually reading the rules.  And when they do start reading the rules, they should be able to do so easily, with a minimum of effort.

I’m certain that part of this is that some developers do all of the layout and print design themselves, both out of necessity and lack of available help.  Yet even this isn’t a huge excuse, as it doesn’t take much effort to learn the very basics of good design.  There are dozens of wonderful publications and websites that explain the basics in a clear and concise manner.  Even if you’re not visually talented or skilled you can still at least create a product that’s legible and easy to read.

I’ve seen too many books that try to cram as much text as possibel into a set amount of pages, resulting in a muddied wall of text that’s intimidating to read.  I think that it’s better to either spring for the extra pages or cut some material in order to bring the text size up to something readable.  I’d much rather be able to easily access and read the rules than get a few more pages of content.

I think that this is where 4th edition really shines.  Sure, Wizards of the Coast has a lot of money to throw around on things like design, but for once they spent it wisely.  The text is airy, easy to read, and very distinct.  The visual design space is open but filled with a very neat visual shorthand and theme.  The artwork is wonderful and used correctly.  Some people complain that the large text size means less content for the money, but in my book this is an example of very good design.

Ultimately the goal of a print designer is to present the game text in as concise, readable, and beautiful manner as possible.  It’s not some job you can just pawn off on anyone if you want to produce something that’s going to be a truly memorable project.  If you’re working on your own game rules, try to find someone who knows what they’re doing.  It’s time that we give print designers their due and recognition in bringing an RPG to life.  Don’t settle for something that merely works when you could get a book that truly sings.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that this might be somewhat self serving.  I’m talking about my own role in the industry, but I’d like to think that I know what I’m talking about.  Print design is important, especially in a book filled with rules and ideas!  But I’ll end this with saying that I’ve always tried to help fellow designers, both rules and print, in this industry.  I’m willing to work cheaply (sometimes for beer) if it means showing the rest of the world how important this is.  Especially in this digital age, where you can hire anyone from the world over to work with you.

I mean, what would you rather have?  A book of rules that’s presented like a college textbook or a nice tome that looks like it was ripped right out of a wizard’s hand, a wizard who had very good penmanship?  I think that almost all of us would much rather have the latter.  And that’s the power of good design.

Jan 202009
 

Twofold Adept

I walk the twofold path, balancing and blending many skills into one harmonious and deadly whole.

Prerequisite: Novice Power, Acolyte Power, Adept Power

You have decided to walk the twofold path, focusing not just one your primary class but on your multiclass as well. You have better learned how to use the abilities of your multiclass and have even unlocked the secret of combining the powers of both your classes into one furious assault. You understand better than most that true power comes from versatility.

Twofold Adept Features

Twofold Action (11th level): You can expend an action point to regain the use of a single power you selected with the Novice Power feat instead of taking an extra action.
Twofold Training (11th level): You know one additional at-will power that must be selected from the list of at-will powers available to the class you multiclassed into. In addition, when you retrain the Novice Power, Acolyte Power, and Adept power feats you may choose to replace up to two of your class powers instead of only one.
Twofold Harmony (16th level): You may now use the benefit granted by your class-specific multiclass feat twice as often as normal. For example, a character with the Initiate of the Faith class feature could use the cleric’s healing word power twice per day instead of once per day.

Twofold Adept Powers

Twofold Attack Twofold Adept Attack 11
You unleashed one of your most basic attacks and then follow it up with an unexpected second attack.
Encounter * Multiclass
Standard Action         Personal
Effect: You can use two at-will attack powers as a free action, one of which must be from the class you multiclassed into. You may shift up to your speed as a free action either before or after you use your first at-will attack power.

Twofold Inspiration Twofold Adept Utility 12
With a cleansing breath and a moment of focus you achieve perfect insight into both of your paths of study, unlocking hidden talents.
Daily * Multiclass, Stance
Minor Action         Personal
Effect: You gain all of the class features of your second class.
Special: When you gain this power you make any choice that a member of the class you multiclassed into would make regarding class features, such as a fighter selecting either one-handed or two-handed weapons for the Fighter Weapon Talent class feature. These choices remain throughout your character’s life and may not be changed later.

Twofold Assault Twofold Adept Attack 20
You unleashed a furious assault of attacks, blending both of them into one harmonious flurry of devastating power.
Daily * Multiclass
Standard Action         Personal
Effect: You can use an at-will attack power from your class as a free action and then shift one square. If this attack hits you may then use an at-will attack power from the class you multiclassed into as a free action. You may then repeat this process until you miss or have used a total of five at-will attack powers.

New Keyword

Multiclass: Powers with the multiclass keyword are considered to have the same keywords as the power source of your class and of the class you multiclassed into. For example, any power with the multiclass keyword used by a fighter with the Initiate of the Faith feat would have the martial and divine keywords.

Nov 212008
 

I’ve talked about in the past why I think a realistic game system is superior to an inherently unrealistic one, ESPECIALLY in a fantasy or superhero game.

But that’s not what I am going to talk about now, even though its one of the strengths of GURPS.

Neither is it points based character creation, which I’m not actually a huge fan of.

Its the toolkit.

A lot of games these days are driven by their powers, races, options etc. D&D, as well as White Wolf’s various offerings relies hugely on this. Setting books don’t sell as well as rules books, and people like lots of rules to put in their games (looking at the games that sell well these days. overwhelmingly D&D and White Wolf, but also Shadowrun, GURPS and WFRP, they are all crunchy games with enough text and charts to make your eyes bleed if your not inclined towards that)

What drives me up the wall is that outside of GURPS and HERO, most companies never actually give you the keys to the toolbox. You can get book after book with countless pages worth of predefined powers, abilities, classes, races or whatnot, but you are never actually given the freedom to just use the toolset for yourself.

If D&D 3.5 was supposed to permit you to play any character, why can’t we have a system for constructing character classes? They published hundreds of the damn things, so obviously more classes were wanted.

Of course, if I can make it myself, I won’t want to pay you money to do it for me, but that frees up the developers to make books that actually matter, instead of just repackaging more “powerz” that I should have been able to do myself.

Aug 172008
 

After finally getting my new weekend tabletop group together and assembled I found that I had a rather interesting problem.  I had players willing to try several different games and systems, a different beast than my weekday group that’s strongly Dungeons & Dragons oriented.  I was immediately hit with a case of too many options and pitched several ideas.  We originally settled on Shadowrun.

Of course once we started creating characters I immediately wanted to play something else, one of my biggest problems.  So we started creating characters for two other systems.  Something wonderful happened when we started created characters, though.  At first I’d been rather aimless in focus for my Reign game but the characters immediately started generating ideas for a longer running plot.

This discovery was rather wonderful and slightly surprising to me.  Usually my game creation process is very different.  I decide on a game, write out a plot and general framework for the game, then have people make characters to fit.  This was nearly the reverse, as the newly created characters sparked several good ideas and now I have a lot of possibilities going forward.

Which makes me think that this might even be a better process for some games (not all of them, obviously).  But it’s undeniable that characters come with their own plot hooks and motiviations which a GM can use to great effect to give the game focus and a forward direction.

I think in the future I might use a hybrid of this system, creating a basic game concept and framework but leaving a lot of it open so that the characters can dictate more fully what happens.  Which isn’t to say that I don’t do that already, it’s just that generally I had several events that were going to happen that were altered during play to fit the characters.  So why create those if they’ll be altered when I can simply craft events afterwards that are a response to players.

Just a simple observation to get back into the swing of posting here like I’ve always said I would.  More Wednesday.

Jul 222008
 

This came up in a recent discussion on rpg.net about the status of “mooks” in an RPG. (Basic Role Play specifically)

Most of the games I play do not have mook rules, and I rarely add them in. Likewise, I rarely use them, even if they are present in the system. The reason for that is that I don’t find they fit my vision of how gaming should work.

The idea of the “mook” (I prefer the term Goon myself) is that of a disposable combatant. Someone the PC’s can triumph over, and shove aside with relative impunity. Often their role is there to either make the PC’s look good, or to make them use up limited resources before the big boss fight.

I find that dull and uninspiring, more importantly, I find it unappealing.

A fight against only mooks is, to me, pointless. If the sole purpose is one listed above, I would rather not bother going through the motions of RPG combat simply to dispose of a few zombies. Just give me a roll against your combat skill, and we’ll narrate how awesome you look, while you trash their decayed brains in.

More importantly however, I find the notion of “unworthy opponents”.. creatures that exist in the game mechanics purely to be killed and defeated without breaking a sweat to be strongly unappealing. It’s a throwback to the mid 70’s, when encounters could be divided into “slaughter”, “boss fight” and “buy new weapons”. Each creature encountered should have a rationale for being there, and should be a full fledged being in its own right.

Doesn’t mean you have to create it as a full blown character, I often just make up stats as I go, if I end up needing to know the Fast Talk skill of a Manticore. No need to do work you don’t need to do, after all.

At its core, it comes down to a fundamental view of what the game engine is for. To me, the mechanics are there to simulate a form of reality. Warhammer FRP simulates roughly how things work in the old world, Runequest simulates roughly how things work in Glorantha and so forth.

The idea that certain creatures are not capable of having their own goals, morals, dreams and designs, but are fundamentally resigned to being eviscerated by a bunch of heroes that happened to come by, is simulationally (is that a word) unsound.

When designing an encounter, think about why you are putting this encounter into the game. What purpose does it serve ? What objectives are the opposition trying to achieve ? What do I hope the players take away from this situation ? Could this time be spent better on something more interesting ?

Feb 102008
 

This is just a little idea I worked up for a thread over at RPG.net. I thought it was interesting so I’m going to share it here. Basically it’s a slightly tweaked format for a street level supers game.

———————————————

Seems like there’s one of us in every precinct these days. We don’t announce it, it’s not quite so you’d notice, but some of us are different. Just a little bit tough, or stronger, or faster. Me? I took a bullet that should have landed me in a grave. Three shots right to the chest with teflon coated bullets. As it was I was laid up for a good seven weeks and landed a desk job down here in records. But I lived.

I thought about what had happened long and hard as I was recovering. I should have been dead, but I wasn’t. Most of the guys on the force just told me I was too damn stubborn to die, but I knew the truth. I was just a little bit more than human, just that much tougher. Once I recovered I started checking all the incident reports and discovered something rather startling. In my town alone there were three other guys and two women that had survived unusual incidents. Reports of an officer dead lifting a car off a wreck victim which was officially cited as him pushing it off in a surge of adrenaline. Well, I talked to Lt. Williams and told him my suspicions. He then showed me that he could bend a 1 inch steel bar almost three inches. Nothing like you’d see in the comic books but he sure as hell had more strength than anyone else alive.

So Frank and I began our search for others like us. We managed to gather almost four hundred people from around the states with varying powers. One kid, only thirteen at the time, managed to create some sort of super cell phone for all of us. It could scan things, take pictures, do conference calls and do rudimentary chemical analysis. Granted none of us but that punk kid really understand how they work, but they’re still helpful.

To what end? Well, once I started working in records I started noticing a trend with a lot of these unsolved and cold cases. Strange evidence patterns, unusual suspects, just all manner of strange things. I suppose folks who watch too much TV would have claimed they were X-files or something. I didn’t, I knew the truth. Just as there are hundreds of us who have these special gifts and live normal lives, there are hundreds of criminals. Probably twice the number that we have, since power tends to corrupt. This isn’t great power, but it sure is good power. And it’s corrupting people pretty damn well.

Problem is, there’s no real evidence to close these cases. Trails have gone cold and killers, rapists, and worse have gone free because we simply don’t have the skills to put them behind bars. Well, that changes now. We’ve got our network of people all over the states and you’d be surprised just how many of us are in law enforcement, or the justice system, or the medical field. See, those of us with these powers who don’t become corrupted often have a draw to serve the public good. We’re never going to be funded or recognized by the police departments or the U.S. Government. So our job is to find these bastards, collect the evidence to link them to the crimes, then arrest them with that proof.

Every time someone like me somewhere in the U.S. finds a case that’s been shelved due to inconclusive evidence or strange circumstances we send out the call for heroes. We don’t wear tights. We don’t go in and beat up the bad guys and leave them in front of the police station. But we sure as hell put them behind bars. The old fashioned way; with a badge and good investigation work.

———————————————

Basically this is a low powered street game that follows the rules of the real world. You can’t go in and beat up the bad guys – you have to gather evidence and arrest them. Sure you might get shot at and sometimes you’ll have to make a citizen’s arrest (or a real arrest, if you’ve got a law officer in the team) but by and large you’re doing real investigative work. This is basically a weird mish-mash of a mystery game, Global Frequency, and low powered supers. It also owes a bit to Hunter: the Reckoning in that you might sometimes fight out and out supernatural things that aren’t human.

If I were to run this using Mutants and Masterminds I’d go a straight Power Level 6 but with about 100 points to build with. I’d limit everyone to about 1-3 powers in a very closely themed power set. The idea is that you’re not clearly above humanity, only at the very peak of human potential with a few extraordinary powers.

 Posted by at 11:39 pm
Feb 092008
 

As even blind and deaf Tibetan monks have now heard, the 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons is on the way. I’ve been following the threads and news with interest, even going so far as to check out the preview books. So far I’m liking what I’m seeing for the most part. Rather than debate about whether or not we need a new edition or whether this is a money grab, I’d rather talk about the potential this game has for me personally.

When 3rd edition came out I sort of missed the boat at the beginning. I started playing the game soon after it was released, but I missed the hype and the big changes. Plus it really didn’t change anything all that dramatically in a fluff context. It mostly just updated the rules and such. 4th edition is different in that they’re really changing up the backstory of some of the races. Plus the new rules also give us a different direction for design and development.

So I’m going to be doing my first home-brewed world in a long time. I’ve been following the news and tidbits, slowly working them into a tapestry that should be unique to my viewpoint but still fit within what they’ve put forward. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel but I would like to leave my own mark on the game. So slowly I’ve been working out my world and plotting the basics.

The world is tentatively called Altea. I’ve set the world up to be heavily based around night and day and the four seasons. There are two elder gods (the Moon Goddess and the Sun God) and together they had 8 children. Two for each season, a day aspect (loosely good) and a night aspect (loosely evil). Each of the major races will correspond to a season. Elves are the creatures of spring, humans the creatures of summer, halflings the creatures of fall, and dwarves the creatures of spring. The tieflings are a special case (which will be detailed later) and the Dragonborn are actually tied to the sun. I’m lumping Eldarin in with the elves as far as seasons go.

It’s a loose idea right now, but the big thing is that I’m working on designing a new world from the ground up specifically for this new edition. Which is a fun little project, when you get right down to it. I can present a world for my players in a logical manner that fits with the mechanics. This tends to smooth out play and create a better play experience, at least as far as I’ve been able to determine.

I’ll be posting more about this world on the blog at some point. I’m slowly working things up and I’ll have to start drafting a map before too much longer. But it should be a fun and bumpy ride!