Saturday, December 30, 2023
For my campaign next year, I will need a supporting cast for the players. The characters will have access to a Kon-Tiki shuttle smaller than an Assult Scout. Since the players will be using this new type of ship, it needs to have a bit of history, as if it were a character.
Wednesday, December 27, 2023
Tuesday, December 26, 2023
Let's start with the characters. They are not newbies. They have survived the events of Volturnus modules. To that end, they are in advanced officer training and learning to crew a spaceship.
In my campaigns, spaceship skills are selectable from the get-go. These characters have 20 experience points for anything they like from the Alpha Dawn set and 10 experience points to spend on one spaceship skills. The players have one special option at character generation - they can trade 1 exp point for 1,000 credits. This pairs nicely with the 20 exp for any AD skill. The characters will be nicely equipped with the expectation everyone has one or more guns.
I don't believe in yanking the character's equipment at the start of the adventure.
Next, the characters have a home base, a planet named Typhon. It's a water world with underwater living quarters. The population is small, but growing after the war. The planet features a chain of islands around the equator. There are many aquatic animals in the planetary ocean and more than a few amphibians inhabiting the island. Even the bird and rat-like creatures are amphibians. It is an interesting world without too much excitement. Typhon is one of those "best-kept secrets" planets, beautiful and safe, not well known yet and not completely explored.
Also in the Typhon system is the planet Dust. This planet is barely habitable, but the low-oxygen atmosphere is great for storing and repairing spaceships. It is a base for training future astronauts. It isn't as dangerous as training in a vacuum. All species hate the environment, it requires suits for comfort but you can survive on the surface. Just barely. Typical stints on Dust last between a month and 3 months. The planet has one main base and dozens of smaller bases scattered here and there.
If you weren't learning how to be an astronaut, you'd have no reason to visit and even less to stay. Everyone, including the general staff, tries to speed run any necessary tasks to get back to the comfort of Typhon. Failing that, a tiny ship and a hard vacuum would do.
Now we are to the meat of the setting. There has been a rash of incidents where the visitors to Dust go missing. They vanish after leaving Dust for other destinations. This is bizarre because they spend some time at the destination getting settled, checking in with friends and family, and getting spotted on plenty of security cameras. Then they are gone. The one commonality is they disappear at night. No bodies have been found, no ransom remains, there is no pattern to the destinations, and no foul play is evidenced but is obviously suspected.
Since the Sathar and their agents have been sent packing, it is an interplanetary locked room mystery for the players to solve.
I picked up the print copy of AD from DriveThruRPG. The printing is excellent and the binding looks sharp and clean.
Monday, December 4, 2023
In virtually all RPGs, archers are limited to how many arrows they have. Once the quiver is empty, they aren't an archer anymore. They lose the deadly ability to strike at a distance.
Looking at the first Avengers movie, Hawkeye doesn't miss so much as not hit his target.
Loki is a trickster and should have seen this coming. Now let's look at Hawkeye missing a target.
Sunday, December 3, 2023
I have one simple improvement for magic users of all stripes that doesn't involve dice throws. It is a clarification of my house rules.
First - To loose and/or lose a spell it has to be prepared. This is usually part of the rules of the game. One word to improve this rule is "completely", as in "completely prepared".
Adding this one word completely changes the dynamic of spellcasting.
Let's say a wizard or cleric selected a complex spell. They start to prep it then they are hit in the face. "Completely prepared" switches the result from "I lost a spell" to "I have to start over". They weren't done prepping. That seems kind of fair as the player and the character pays a cost in terms of frustration but doesn't actually lose anything else.
They need a better plan, but they can use that spell later.
The next modification to spell casting for simplification is: to allow the character to pull back unused spells. I can't tell you how many times I have had a player prep a fireball in the last round of combat and simply lose it. It seems reasonable to me that a player should be able to undo that action if nothing else is happening. Perhaps it takes the same amount of time to put the spell away as it does to prep it. Seems reasonable to me.
A third simplification is what I call "spell coast". On Monday, a cleric prays for three spells - Light, Purify Food and Water, and Bless. He has only one opportunity to cast the Purify Food and Water spell on Monday. On Tuesday, decides to replace that one spell with Cure Light Wounds. Being a small-town adventure, nothing happens until Sunday night. If the cleric is happy with his spell choices, he doesn't have to study every day. He coasts along with the 2 spells he prayed for on Monday and third, he prayed for on Tuesday.
The less time the players spend memorizing spells, the better. I had a diabolical DM that would take people's memorized spells away the moment they lost consciousness.
All of these things together make spell casters more powerful while also providing more role-play opportunities.