'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

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!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Expanse RPG. A Measure of Success.

If you have followed my online RPG presence, you may be aware that one of the things I enjoy about Conan2d20 is the ability to not only succeed at a test, but to succeed by measure. That is there is more to it than just a pass/fail concept.

I believe this idea lends itself to the potential for awesome levels of creative story telling. In standard d20 when I attempt to jump a gap the GM assigns a target number, I roll my d20 and I pass or fail. In a system like 2d20 the GM assigns a difficulty, if I succeed greatly my character can use that success to fuel further actions, such as attacking an enemy right away on the other side of the gap.

Ok enough about 2d20, what does this have to do with the Expanse RPG? As I mentioned in my previous post your basic skill check is a 3d6 roll with a "drama" die. And we will start here.

Before we go on I am going to lay a caveat on this post. All I have is the quickstart rules. I haven't looked at "Modern AGE" at all, although expect it to function similarly.

The drama die, although not a direct measure of success, gives the GM and players a method to see how well or poorly they succeeded at their task. Did they barely fail or almost make it? Did their disguise fully convince those looking, or simply move them beyond notice?

If your players are trying to hack into a computer system to gain intel on the proto-molecule and roll a success, but roll a 1 on the drama dice, you as the GM might decide they have succeeded but managed to set off an alarm that will bring MCRN operatives down on them in a few turns.

The system also has another aspect that I find interesting. Stunts. These are broken out into Combat, Exploration and social depending on what task you are looking at doing. Lets take a look at the idea within a fight between two ruffians.

Noelle
Accuracy: 1
Focus: Pistols
Weapon: Pistol, 2d6+1
Frank
Dexterity: 1
Focus: Knife Fighting
Defense: 10+Dex
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.

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!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Conan 2d20 on Roll20. Using Decks for Doom, Fortune and Momentum.

This is a simple how to tutorial designed to walk you through setting up a way to use Roll20s decks to build piles of Doom, Fortune and Momentum. It will give you a nice visual way to track the use of these items within Conan 2d20.

The following steps will build a DOOM deck, and you should be able to create the other decks as you need. Lets get to it!

The first thing we need to do is created a new deck. Go to the Macros and Deck sections of roll 20. Click "+Add", then click on the "New Deck" that was created. This will open the dialog box governing that new deck.
Give the deck a name, in this case "DOOM".
The players don't need to see the decks.
The players don't need to be able to draw cards.
We only have 1 card in these decks, so the set Cards are infinite and disable being able to choose from the deck. The discard pile should show the backs of the cards. They don't need stats and I set my size to be 50x50, although that might change depending on your screen and resolution.
Scroll down to the bottom of the deck dialog box and click "+ Add Card", in that new cards dialog box, add a name and drag and drop the icon you want to use. In this example I am using a basic doom icon, a red box with a black D in it. Once that is complete, save you changes and drag and drop the same icon into the Card backing area and again save those changes.
The deck is now set up. Click on "SHOW" (which will then change to "HIDE") and the new deck will be displayed on the side of your screen.
To use the deck, just hover over the deck and choose deal. Select the number of icons to distribute and select the player to give them to. In this case, 5 Doom tokens to the GM.

Here we can see the GM has 5 Doom tokens. Click on the 5, displays a box showing each instance of the token.
When you want to spend them, simply drag and drop them from this opened window onto the desktop. Once there they can be counted, compared and deleted when you are done with them.
Hopefully this quick guide gets you on your way to building a useable Roll20 interface for Conan 2d20 (and others!)

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!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Howard Days 2018 - What is coming up.

Over last weekend (June 8-10, 2018), fans of REH got together and celebrated his life and works.

As usual Ben Friberg filmed many of the panels. This one should of interest to REH and Conan fans. Check out what is coming up for Conan and the Howard properties.

Lots of talk about the plans for the upcoming TV show.


Check out Ben's channel and give him some love!

Monday, June 11, 2018

June 11, 1936

Not much to say today, but that date, or at least the result of that date has been on my mind all day.

So instead of my words I give you the words of the man on my thoughts today.

"He was a man," said Conan. "I drink to his shade, and to the shade of the dog, who knew no fear." He quaffed part of the wine, then emptied the rest upon the floor, with a curious heathen gesture, and smashed the goblet. "The heads of ten Picts shall pay for his, and seven heads for the dog, who was a better warrior than many a man."

-Robert E Howard, Beyond the Black River.
January 22, 1906 - June 11, 1936

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!