'Barbarism is the natural state of mankind,' the borderer said, still staring somberly at the Cimmerian. 'Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.'

-Robert E. Howard
Beyond The Black River

Showing posts with label Kickstarter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kickstarter. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A comparison of Savage Worlds and the 2d20 systems.

Last year sometimes I picked up the Savage World rules. I had heard they were good, and I knew they had done the Solomon Kane RPG based on these, which I still need to pick up. Despite all I had heard I didn't know very much about it. Other games reached back far enough into my youth and young adult days that I at least had a basic understanding of general mechanics. Savage Worlds was different. So I picked it up and I took a look.

I haven't played the rules, but I generally like the idea behind them, and as it turns out the most basic mechanic isn't totally new to me. If you are not familiar with the basic concept it is this. You need to roll 4+ on a die to get a success. How good or bad you are determines the type of die you roll. In the 15mm war game world there is a game called "Tomorrow's War" which works exactly like this.

There is of course more to the game, but one of the things that really struck me about it as I read it was the similarity to Conan 2d20, or 2d20 in general. They are far from being carbon copies of each other, but certain aspects of SW remind me of 2d20. So if you have played Savage Worlds and are looking for something different, give 2d20 a try.

One quick final note, there is a kickstarter for a new edition of Savage Worlds, The Adventure Edition. This is written based around my knowledge of Savage Worlds Deluxe.

Overall Feeling

I'll first start by saying I am most familiar with the Conan iteration of 2d20, so my thoughts and opinions are going to be largely revolving around that specific 2d20 ruleset. Both rulesets provide an action centric version of game events. 2d20 might be a little more crunchy in terms of combat resolution and Savage Worlds is certainly more concerned with miniatures. Both systems abstract certain things in favor of speed, but both are written to mimic high action and adventure whether they be from a modern movie or the pulps of the 20s and 30s.

Similarities & Differences

My first reading of Savage Worlds struck me at how much similarity it had with the 2d20 system by Modiphius. Certainly not identical, but more similar than it is to something like Dungeons & Dragons. This extended beyond the feeling of the game and had roots in the mechanics of both systems.

Success by Measure - Similar

Coming back to RPGs the concept of not just succeeding at a skill test, but being able to succeed by a little or a lot intrigued me. It is one of the things I loved about Conan 2d20. I no longer simply rolled to hit, I could roll to hit and either hit or HIT. I liked the idea a lot. Reading over Savage Worlds which has an open ended exploding die mechanic, I could roll not only above that target number of 4, but I could get raises. I could succeed better based on getting a higher roll.

This idea of success by measure is critical to these games that are revolving around these very heroic characters as it allows them to get things done in an exaggerated, or larger than life, way sometimes.

Momentum - Different

The concept of momentum and doom is a pretty large difference between the two systems. In Savage Worlds getting raises have a specified result, either causing more damage, causing extra dice to be rolled or similar. In Conan 2d20 getting more success than you need results in momentum, which can in turn be spent on various effects such as more damage, armor penetration, more attacks and similar, this can even be stored in group pools to allow your friends to use it to a degree, basically it's a measure of how well things are going for you. PCs store momentum in a group pool that maxes out at 6 and NPCs simply store it in a group pool called, "DOOM".

Bad guys - Similar

The "Bad Guys" in Savage Worlds are generally in two categories: Wild Cards and Extras. Wild Cards are equivalent to a Player Character, tough and unique. The super villain in a story is going to be a Wild Card. That villain's henchmen are going to be Extras. In Conan 2d20 we have a similar idea with our NPCs being broken into Minions, Toughened and Nemesis. Extras and Wild Cards are roughly equivalent to the Minion and the Nemesis, with the Toughened falling between the two.

In both Savage Worlds and Conan 2d20, inflicting a single wound against a Minion or an Extra removes it from play, although how those are caused is different, although I would say share a similar overall idea. As well they are less able to complete skill or trait tests. In 2d20 the Minion rolls a single d20 instead of 2d20, and in Savage Worlds the Extra doesn't get to roll a Wild Die like the Wild Cards do. Conan 2d20 allows you to group your Minions into mobs of five and then allows them to aid each other in their rolls making them more effective, but also moving things along quicker, ie if you have 10 skeletons attacking it is easier to have them attack in 2 rolls vs 10. Savage Worlds allows groups of these Extras to roll a Wild Die with their Trait Die when in a group, but makes no provisions for groups of them in combat situations.

The Nemesis and Wild Card both represent a special character, a high level named NPC or similar. They are both roughly equivalent to the player character and can both suffer more than one wound before they are removed from play. Both of them are as capable as the players in terms of the dice they roll, 2d20 in Conan and Trait + Wild in Savage Worlds.

Savage Worlds doesn't have a toughened class, but a roughly analogous idea might be an Extra that rolls Wild+Trait dice and can suffer an additional wound over an Extra.

This system of classes of bad guys allows your heroic characters to have an easier time eliminating all those pesky guards or low level monsters, just like we always see in the movies, comics and action stories.

Miniatures - different

Savage Worlds is built to be played on a tabletop with miniatures, the rules say so. Weapons ranges are provided in inches with a footnote on how to convert to real world distances. 2d20 can be used with miniatures, but doing so is a small footnote. Conan and other 2d20 systems use abstract zones, ie Irene and Frank are over by the vending machines, which Susan is guarding the exit door. Frank and Irene are in one zone and Susan is in another, how large the zones are isn't really that important mechanically to the 2d20 system. House rules wise, using miniatures in 2d20, unless you can clearly define zones on battlemaps, I find using a range rulers to be pretty helpful.

Damage and Elimination - Similar

Neither system uses hit points to track when a player or NPC is eliminated. 2d20 has a mechanic that allows a characters reduction of stress before they are wounded that superficially looks like hit points, but they are simply a measure of how long before a character is actually wounded. Savage Worlds is much more dangerous in this regard requiring only a shaken condition before a wound is inflicted. Both systems penalize characters when they are wounded making it more difficult for them to complete tasks.

In Conan players can suffer 3 wounds and remain functional, becoming unconscious at four but alive. if they suffer a fifth wound they are considered dead. in Savage Worlds Wild Cards can likewise take 3 wounds and remain functional, and at 4 they become incapacitated. However in Savage Worlds Wild Cards only ever become incapacitated, essentially anything over 3 wounds.

Good Fortune and Bennies - similar

Both systems have a limited resource that can be replenished as a reward for excellent ideas and role playing. In Savage Worlds we have Bennies and in Conan 2d20 we have Fortune. In Savage worlds players start with three bennies and can use them to re-roll trait tests. Players can also use it to remove the "shaken" status a character may suffer from. Their equivalent in Conan 2d20 is a little more robust and can be used for a multitude of things, although re-rolling skill tests is not one of them, they can be used to practically guarantee a skill tests is successful. They can also be used for other things such as getting a second action, recovering lost stress, ignoring a wound. So while not identical they are both a consumable resource that allows the PCs to accomplish extra heroic actions.

Final Thoughts

These two systems have many differences, but despite that they have a lot of similarities, which shouldn't be surprising. In general both of the systems are aiming to recreate a pulp or cinematic style of fast high action based around bad ass heroes. At present Savage Worlds is a generic system and 2d20 is not. 2d20 will need to be repurchased for each setting you decided you might want to play in, but once you learn one, the others will be simple to learn. Both systems have strengths and weaknesses, but overall I like what both can bring to the table.

Don't forget to drop a comment about your thoughts on these two systems and how they compare and contrast!


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Friday, July 27, 2018

The Expanse RPG. Fortune favors the bold!

In my last installment I had the beginning of a small combat. It involved Noelle firing her pistol at Frank, she was successful and in fact bought a vicious blow and did an extra 1d6 damage. Still at the end, our narration concluded with her only grazing his shoulder.

Lets talk about why. All systems I have played have some method of mitigating damage, or recording how much punishment a character can take. The most basic idea of this is hit points. Conan 2d20 uses Stress and Harm in tandem to track the same thing. The Expanse is no different.

In the Expanse RPG each character has "Fortune". This is a measure of how fortunate they are, how much luck they have etc. Fortune can be spent to reduce damage taken or it can be spent to modify the dice. Pressing the luck and fortune of the character to succeed now for a possibly nefarious outcome later.

The pre-gens in the quick start have fortune scores of 15 or 20. In between adventures characters will be able to re-generate some fortune after an encounter (1d6 + Con + Level).

Ok, but how does fortune equate to damage received or punishment taken?
Once a hit is scored a player subtracts their toughness and armor from the total, the quick start rules have pre-gens with toughness from 0 - 2. Once we have the total damage done the remaining damage can mitigated through the spending of fortune on a 1-1 basis. If there is remaining damage then the players can take a wounded or injured condition. This removes another 1d6 damage per condition. If after this reduction, damage remains then the character is removed from the encounter and another condition is applied in line with the type of attack, generally dying or unconscious.

As we mentioned a player can spend fortune to modify a die roll. On the regular die a player can spend the value they want to make the die that number. ie you roll a 1, if you want the number 4, you spend 4 fortune points. If you are spending them on the drama die that value is doubled. So that same 4 now costs 8, but gives you more stunt points, so it is a trade off. Of course spending points here reduces how lucky you might be when staring down the barrel of a large caliber pistol.

Humans in this are actually pretty susceptible to damage. They can be lucky, sure, but in the end when that luck runs out it's not going to go well for them.

Lets take another look at Noelle and Frank.

Noelle


Accuracy: 1
Focus: Pistols
Defense: 10+Dex
Toughness: 1
Fortune: 20
Weapon: Pistol, 2d6+1

Frank


Dexterity: 1
Focus: Knife Fighting
Defense: 10+Dex
Toughness: 2
Fortune: 15
Weapon: Dagger, 1d6+3

Noelle draws her pistol and fires it down the dark corridor at her enemy!

Noelle has a TN of 11, Frank's dexterity + 10. She rolls 3d6 and scores 5,5,(2) for a total of 12 on the dice. +1 for her accuracy attribute and +2 for her focus in pistols bring her total score to 15!
Noelle ALSO rolled doubles. This indicates a STUNT! Noelle can now spent 2 stunt points, the number rolled on the drama die. These have to be used right away. Noelle opts to make this a vicious blow causing an additional 1d6 damage. She rolls (2d6+1) 8+1,(+1d6) 3 for a total of 12 damage.
Frank is not wearing any armor, but is pretty tough, so that damage is reduced by 2, becoming 10. Frank spends 10 fortune points, reducing his total fortune to 5.

Noelle's pistol echoes with a sharp retort! The round easily catches Frank and only by sheer fortune does he manage to avoid most of the damage, the bullet barely grazing past, leaving a bloody trail along his shoulder.......

Be sure to check out my other articles on the Expanse RPG!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Expanse RPG

Remember The Cant.


Sometimes things sneak along under my radar.  I am on a lot of forums and groups relating to RPGs and STILL, despite that, I miss things I am interested in.

Yesterday on Facebook a Kickstarter came across my feed that I vaguely knew would happen.  I didn't know much about it in terms of who, what, when, where, why and how.  Either way I was happy to see it. 

I was fairly late to the Expanse as a "thing". I hadn't picked up the first book until well after the TV show had started. Which I did not initially watch. Still I was aware of the series, and as a sci-fi fan, how could I not have been.

I downloaded the audio book and planned on listening to it on a flight to visit the Czech Republic a few years back. I didn't get much into it at the time, there was just too much going on.  That was the late summer.  I started again that winter and consumed the audio at a break neck speed.

I started watching the TV show.  I loved it. I still do.  I've watched most of the first and second seasons twice and just finished the third season.  Audio book wise I am caught up and anxiously await Tiamat's Wrath.

I am a fan.



Seeing an RPG being released?  I was in.  $70USD got me all the print stuff on Kickstarter.  Once I had backed it I grabbed a copy of the free quickstart rules to see what it was all about.

The game is being written by Green Ronin, whom I am not hugely familiar with.  They have an RPG system called AGE (Adventure Game Engine) and produce a few games based on it such as Fantasy AGE and Modern AGE.

My quick look at the rules showed me it's a roll over TN system much like d20, only we are using 3d6 to determine our roll, more on that in a moment.  Your roll is those 3d6+relevant attribute+2 if you have a focus.  Ie if your character has an intelligence of 2, and a focus on Computers, you might roll 3d6+3+2 when trying to work with computers.  Pretty basic system in regards to that. 

It also employs a "drama die" in that basic roll.  One of your 3d6 is a different color and can be used by the GM to determine the "drama" level around your success and failure.  Succeed with a 1 on the drama die?  Maybe you aren't as successful as you thought?  It's an interesting mechanic that will allow some interesting story telling opportunities for the clever GM.

The Kickstarter is going well, making it's goal in an hour and breaking all of it's planned stretch goals in a day. 

As I was writing this an update showed up in my mailbox saying we will see new stretch goals today. Stay tuned.

Don't forget to check out my TeePublic shop! I just had a look through and added some cool Expanse designs to the shop!

Be sure to check out my other articles on the Expanse RPG!

Friday, June 8, 2018

It Came From the Outerdark. Friday June 8, 2018

It has been a little while between posts. Between playing Conan Exiles (WAY TOO MUCH), work and other things I haven't had any really cool ideas to write about. I am pretty sure that has not changed. However that is NOT what this post is about. This post is about telling you what is going on out there in the big bad world! What is cool! What can I spend my hard earned coins on!?

KICKSTARTER!

We shall start with Kickstarters as there are a couple of note that I want to mention.

The first is Monolith's Mythic Battles: Pantheon 1.5. This kickstarter has some rule upgrades, but more importantly it gives you a chance to get in and get a copy of this awesome wargame. The figures are beautiful and range in size from the small to the GIANT. Check out my unboxing video from the original kickstarter to see them in more detail.

This kickstarter also has an add-on teaser for the "YMIR" which will be featured in their follow-up (and I understand compatible under the 1.5 rules) Mythic Battles: Ragnarok.

All in all this is an excellent game full of lovely plastic figures, that I heartily recommend you get on board for if you do any miniature gaming in the 28mm-32mm scale.

The second kickstarter I am watching, or rather will be watching, as it has not quite launched yet is "Solomon Kane" by Mythic Games. Mythic announced this back in February and I have been excited for it since. I am always happy to see more of Howard brought to a larger potential fan base.

It is billed as a game with 35mm figures so I will be interested to see how they stack up vs. the Conan BG and MB: Pantheon (as well as a host of other ranges.) Either way this hits Kickstarter on June 12th, so get your wallets ready!

DriveThruRPG!

There has been a few things cross my social network feeds, but only one has really caught my attention. Not surprisingly it's RuneHammers latest edition of index cards. This time they focus on his Ghost Mountain setting available in ICRPG worlds, but you will find cards in here for any weird west setting. So head on over and grab your copy of INDEX CARDS Vol.4!

Hankerin' over at RuneHammer also just released a combined publication of his three novels called "The Legacy of Mud", which is available over on amazon.ca. Not only is it available, it is listed as "PRIME".


Howard Days!

This weekend is also "Howard Days", a convention of Howard enthusiasts hosted by Project Pride down in Cross Plains, Texas. I had some serious thoughts on attending this year, but never got around to putting my money down for a ticket so it will have to wait for another year.

If you are like me and wish you could be there to see some of the talks or get a feel for the event, I will direct you to a small YouTube channel run by Ben Ben Friberg. Ben has been attending Howard Days and recording many of the talks and posting them to YouTube. I am sure this year will be no different. Check him out and give him a few subscriptions!

That is all for this week! I hope to have some new videos up on YouTube soon, some as companion pieces to my Conan mechanics series, a few box openings and MAYBE even a craft! Have a great weekend and remember to KEEP IT WEIRD!

Friday, May 11, 2018

It Came From the OuterDark. Thursday May 10, 2018

I used to do a YouTube segment on Fridays, but time has become tighter and I find myself unable to get those done, even as live streams. I thought I might be able to convert it to a regular segment on my blog instead.

The basic idea of this segment was a rundown of the things in gaming and popular culture that I came across that I thought were interesting and fit into my niche.

SALES!

The first thing I wanted to talk about is the sale for may over at DriveThruRPG. Billed as the MAY D&D sale a quick look shows that it encompasses more than just D&D. I picked out a couple of titles that I either own, have heard good things about or just thought they looked interesting!

Four Against The Darkness
This rules light solo or cooperative game pits you, as a party of four adventures, against a randomly generated dungeon. All you need is a pencil, some graph paper and a 2 six sided dice! I just picked this up so look for a detailed review soon.
Song of Blades and Heroes
A rules light wargame system. Easy to learn and fun to play. A go to set of rules for easy skirmish level gaming. Highly recommend.
Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (Second Edition)
One of the premier set of rules for swords & sorcery settings. Clearly influenced by Conan and other entries in the genre. I have never played this system but have hard many good things about it and it maintains a 5 star rating on DriveThruRPG. Certainly on my long list of things to check out!
Remarkable Inns & Their Drinks
This is another one I have not picked up, but has certainly caught my eye. Taverns are quite central to the fantasy RPG genre and a few of Conan's tales certainly start there. This Gold Seller on Drivethru looks like a great way to pick up some quick tavern ideas!

KICKSTARTER!

My Kickstarter radar has been fairly quiet lately. Zombicide: invader was my last backed project. I actually have nothing waiting for completion, all my money has been taken. I suspect this is a good thing even if it seems weird.

Modiphius launched the pledge manager for John Carter this week as well. If you are a backer and didn't see the message you should check your spam bins and contact Modiphius!
NOTE: There is an issue with the shipping costs so the pledgemanager is currently frozen.

One kickstarter that has crossed my path is Hellboy. A 1-4 player co-op boardgame playable in about an hour and a half. The teaser video doesn't go a whole lot into mechanics, but it looks like I might be a fun addition.

I suspect many of you are Hellboy fans, and if so this is probably a game that you will want to add to your collection, and has already received nearly 1.8 million CAD in pledges.

It comes with a lot of miniatures which is awesome if you like that sort of thing (and we all know I do!). The pledge is about $165cad and looks to get you well over 100 little plastic men! Head on over to check it out soon, there is only about 14 days left in the campaign.

VIDEO GAMES!

I don't play a lot of games, so you won't see much here from me. With that caveat I am excited to see Conan Exiles go from early access to full retail launch. There are of course a lot of people who dislike it for various reasons and these people, as always, are incredibly loud. However reviews from 3rd parties are positive and I have talked with actual players who believe it is a good game and fun! Check out my own review!

Speaking of EXILES, I also picked up my collector's edition yesterday. Although I don't think this collector's edition is as nice as the one they did for Age of Conan, it does have some cool stuff in it and I am glad I have picked it up, even if I would have preferred a form factor that would have allowed for full sized books.

That is it for this week, I hope to return to this on a weekly basis depending on what content sifts across my internet presence. If you found something interesting this week drop me a comment below so the reader of the blog can check it out!

Until next time. KEEP IT WEIRD.