Monday, September 29, 2014

Stick Her in the Closet

As a GM you always have to expect the unexpected. One time though,  my regular D&D group nearly derailed my campaign by simply using the spell "Gentle Repose"

The campaign was set in Monte Cook's Ptolus. The players had gone to capture one of the big bad guys of the campaign, Navanna Vladaam.  I don't even remember why they wanted to capture her now. I only remember that the plan was for her to be captured, give up some info, and then escape and continue being a bad guy.  Of course, they didn't capture her, they killed her.  From my memory, it went something like this:

Me: "Well she's dead. Now what?"
Cleric: "I can raise her."
Me: "That will take a while, are you sure you want to do it right here? You are in her house and just had a big loud fight."
Cleric: "I know!  I'll Gentle Repose her! We can raise her later."  (Gentle Repose allows you to preserve a dead body for a period of time so it can be raised later. )

Time passes....

Me: " Okay you are back in your hideout, you want to raise her now?"
Ranger: "Nah, then we'd have to keep her prisoner and she could escape.  Let's just keep her Gentle Reposed until it runs out then we'll raise her.  Stick her in the closet."
Me: "........"

And so, my big bad evil guy ended up being in the closet of their hideout for a while. They did eventually raise her and get the info they wanted. By that point, I had already transferred everything she was supposed to do to a new BBEG, as you do.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Ammo Stash for DCC Firearms

One of the biggest headaches in RPGs that employ firearms is tracking ammo.  In my modern campaigns like Delta Green.  I assume everyone has access to plenty of ammo. I don't worry about them running out unless they really start pumping out the lead or it suits the story.  In post-apocalypse games ammo is very scarce and a valuable commodity. I hate having to track every single bullet though.

Way back in 2011, +Jeremy Deram wrote a great article on his blog about tracking charges for magic items.  He expanded it into a full article in Fight On! #14.  I highly recommended both. I'm  using Jeremy's system for magic items in my Swords and Wizardry games, but I wanted something similar to track ammo for my Crawling Under a Broken Moon campaign.  I'm fine with tracking how much ammo is currently in a gun but tracking how much and what kinds of ammo the players carry around gets a little fiddly. Combining Jeremy's idea with the descending dice method in DCC I came up with the Ammo Stash.

The Ammo Stash

Each character has an ammo stash that represents the extra ammo for all of their guns. The stash is rated from 1d2 to 1d30.  If you aren't familiar with the DCC dice they go like this:
D30 - D24 - D20 - D16 -D14- D12 -D10 -D8 - D7- D5-D6- D4 - D3 - D2

Each time the character reloads one of their guns, they roll the die. If it comes up a "1" then the die drops down to the next lower die type. A character with a D30 stash has a lot of ammo. One with a D6 stash better be pretty choosy about who he shoots.  I like this because it lets me make ammo rare or plentiful without the  having to track how much ammo the players are carrying.  It also means I don't have to track a lot of different kinds of ammo for various weapons.  I can give out ammo as a reward by simply upgrading their current ammo die.  The player could also trade away some of their ammo by downgrading their die.  Players can even reload each others guns if they like. Post-Apocalypse games tend to be more cutthroat though. If a GM wanted a little more detail, they could assign an Ammo Stash die for each weapon the player has owns. This method can work equally as well for other OSR games that use firearms like Mutant Future.
The amount of dice in DCC allows for a lot of different stash sizes. If using the DCC funky sided dice aren't to your taste simply use Jeremy's Red-Yellow-Green system as written. Assign the ammo stash a die and a color and away you go!

Update: Charlie White over at Intwischa wrote a similar house rule back in 2011.  He even gets into the math as to why it works. Be sure and check it out as well.

For Reference:

DCC Firearm Rules  - Crawl #8
Swords and Wizardry Firearm Rules - Hack Fanzine
DCC Post Apocalypse Setting - Crawling Under a Broken Moon

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My D&D Part Two

Picking up from part one.  I  discovered AD&D and from then on that's all my friends and I played.   We happily merged AD&D and Basic.  We ignored things we didn't like or seemed not fun, like weapon speed and encumbrance.  I ran all the classics: Tomb of Horrors, White Plume Mountain, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, Lost Caverns of Tsjocath, the entire Giants- Drow-Demonweb campaign, Temple of Elemental Evil,  and even some Dragonlance.

During this time I discovered other games.  I remember playing Star Frontiers and Marvel Super Heroes a lot.  In high school I joined game club at the local community college and suddenly every game was opened up. If there was an RPG published in the 80's, I played it.  For some reason, and I don't remember why anymore, I lost interest in D&D.  I really got into Rolemaster and Runequest.  I think I must have been searching for more complicated rules.

In Runequest, I was a player in an epic Glorantha campaign,  but as a GM my go to fantasy game became Rolemaster.  I started my Rolemaster campaign in Middle Earth. After a while though, I wanted that D&D "feel".   I had the characters magically transported to the Forgotten Realms and converted the Curse of the Azure Bonds adventure to Rolemaster.  I don't remember it being that hard. I think there must have been D&D to Rolemaster conversion rules in one of the books.  Looking back, I think Rolemaster was intended to be used as a D&D rule replacement. After that I only used D&D conversions. I converted the entire Ruins of Undermountain campaign and the Night Below campaign. Somewhere in there was another run through Tsjocanth as well.

When I went on to college, I lost touch with my Runequest GM but I still wanted to play. I recruited my friends and we played a Runequest game that lasted almost my entire college years.  I still have a lot of notes and characters sheets from that game. (Including, unknown to me at the time of course, my future wife's character.)

I still wanted to play D&D though. I wanted my new players to experience those great old D&D adventures.  I picked 2nd Edition D&D at a used bookstore. I wasn't impressed. I thought about converting the adventures to Runequest, but that seemed like a  lot of work.  I fell back on my old friend Rolemaster, except by this time, I had tired of it's complexity.  I created aof mash up of the two games.  The characters were created using AD&D and I used the combat system from Rolemaster.  I had a single sheet of rules that I wrote up that told how to compute your Rolemaster combat stats using the AD&D stats.  It was actually pretty easy.  The magic system didn't quite fit, but no one seemed to care.  I ran my former Runequest players through the Temple of Elemental Evil campaign and everyone had a blast. 

Unfortunately, that was the end of D&D for me for a quite some time. The D&D/Rolemaster game ended sometime in 1994. I didn't play D&D again until 3rd Edition came out in 2000.