Thursday, January 31, 2013

Open Gamer Meet Jan 29 7pm (GMT+8)

Had a gamer meet on tuesday night. I was too tired after to blog about it. Anyway, there were introductions and a good number of attendance. We are still trying to figure things out, hopefully people  can run games soon.

Clifton is the cousin of one of my close friends, and surprisingly was up to date as to the politics of the RPG scene here in the Philippines at around the time we stopped participating in AEGIS. It is all interesting and surprisingly how small the world is in gaming. One of my biggest fears regarding the hobby is Insularity of groups. A common area to play and a team that wants the hobby to grow is important. Suffice to say an EGO-neutral group is needed.

There is a stigma for RPG gamers here. They take too long and are too loud or emotional for the gamer meets. War Gamers are not as welcomed either because of the prop heaviness and the cost barrier, but they keep Game Stores alive.

Gaming is a Charity Cause.
There is very little way for games to be economical, most young entrants to the labor force only earn USD$300-$400 a month, with the lifestyle often consuming 100% (drinking $3 starbucks being an irresistible).
Older gamers who make USD$400-700 finally afford to buy stuff, especially if they have shared consumption of a family unit where typical in the philippines both adults generate income.

Many game shops have closed and Neutral Grounds, being the strongest, proved the market is only big enough for one supplier. Also NG showed that RPGs are not cost effective to the store, especially because the changes the market has had. I think this it is foolish to think that the hobby has enough of a market here in the Philippines that will allow a brick and mortar shop to exist.

The most i can hope for is shared consumption: someone in the group is getting what I want also, and the cost can go down a little bit because we all purchase it and immediately I have people to play with.

Main Challenges: Politics.
"Are you hinting gamers are socially inept?" echoes in my head in Stu's voice. Politics is one of the main challenges. I realized that the gamers I'm dealing with will have a past with the other gamers. AEGIS, had a lot of internal problems despite how much work we put into it. Money aggravated much of the problems.

Also Cliques form and when people get Insular about their comfort zones, factional lines begin. what makes "differences" a problem, is being unable to related to the other and the constant need for attention and approval. Hopefully when many are having families, working, and growing up has changed all that.

Hopefully providing a free place that has ample gaming space, 24/7 food, parking space, and in one of the most commercially developed areas with the highest worker density will reduce the petty disputes (HA!). The space is bigger than most of the biggest shops, has a lot of facilities, and is not asking for anything from the gamers except for mutual respect, common courtesy and an open mind... (which in hindsight is a lot to ask for gamers, at least having no money in the equation makes it a matter of social norms and common good).

the lockers that will be provided for prop heavy gamers, so they can leave their stuff here. 

 the clinic will be cleaned up and converted into a game room. Move it to our office area in the 5th floor.

 how are we going to fit these in the open space without being weird to the clients. Both the GMs and the Wargamers want dibs, first come first serve... also if your the wargamer I and Carl can help provide the surface for the figs. 
 two of these couches in the area.

Speaking of Shared Consumption.
As a group what is possible is to provide certain services everyone wants, where if everyone can agree to a set of standards and all points they can bring the cost down through economies of scale.

Historical Wargames. 
Actually running historical wargames on the Cheap with Historical Mini's is my hope for the war-gaming future. It has a low cost barrier to entry, and it gets people into history. Particularly if I can get 19C figurines for Phil Spanish and American war. Min-art Figs cost about $5 for 48 figs. Painting them is another story, I'll work with Carl in how to make this go down. Historical, Painted, Cheap and free Rules. I'll make a Biz plan for fun to see what economies of scale we can have diminishing returns and how much market you will need to make such feasible. Suffice to say I'm sure its impossible without a ton of 

Print at Cost
Books, Maps and Materials can be printed to economies of scale. Forgot to post my printer post, still shopping around. I'm having an OJT help me research a good local supplier. F*cking Customs and BIR, 100% tax and i'm too small fry for the ombudsman to take the time to spit on. 

Interesting projects that employ my skills
I joined odesk just to look for projects that are interesting, for that sense of accomplishment. Like when I finished editing that GURPS Lite. My real life work is like a Call of Cthuluh game where I'm struggling to survive and just delay the impeding doom (thats why I need to shift to an IT career track), So gaming projects give me that sense of accomplishment and hope I sorely need after dealing with a lot of real life. Sadly the same skillsets I use for works, tells me there is no market and technology is shifting the hobby a direction that will make it mostly crowdsourced and on-demand. So I might as well accept the inevitable and start working on it that way. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Composition of Game Mechanics

There are two major Mechanics: Combat and the Core or Dice mechanics. Typically the Dice Mechanics or the Random Statistic Generator is tackled first, but Combat mechanics tend to eat up most of the pages in a given system.

Ideally, the Combat Mechanics are Derivative of the Dice mechanics... but is rarely the case. "modern" game systems have the tools and reference material to predict probability variance. Thus they can create the modifiers that will make the Core mechanic work in various circumstances, taking into account the kind of probability distribution of each circumstance.

Older and immature systems, have not taken into consideration the subtly of the "math" and have used "stop-gap" measures, breaking away from the core mechanic and introducing all sorts of resultion systems.

example. 2nd ed DnD, where we make Ability Checks, rolling 1d20 on or below the ability score. Why don't we use the same core mechanic when rolling attacks? Or IS the core mechanic the THAC0, where we roll a d20 modified by AC where a target number is provided by a table. GURPS has 3d and roll below a score. The context of the score and the modifiers change, but the mechanic stays, mostly, the same.  If GURPS used a Wound Save system, and a Social Condition Save system then TRULY gurps uses one core mechanic no matter what the circumstance is. 
World Physics and Character Physics. After combat, the Core mechanics are typically expanded to include various kinds of interactions. These interactions are two sets of "Physics" Character and World.
Example. in 2nd ed DnD there was a proficiency check, then a percentile ability check, then a d6 racial ability check (dwarf and elf). Special rules for things that could have been done by the same dice mechanic. In 3rd to 4th ed DND, we have Hit Points, Fort and Fatigue Saves, Spell Points, and Endurance Skill. 
Example 2. In GURPS we have the default: Human. GURPS has rules what defines, limits, and abilities of a human. Everything else that is different and exceptions, are then tackled and made into some set of rules. Recently, the heuristics of GURPS have changed much since 4E and the advent of the Information Age. Many of the books have expounded and clarified based on Human performance heuristics. 
Not a lot of Systems deal with Economics, but World Building economics is the most important, if not the cornerstone, of a sound  World Building system. Strangely, Economics has Game Theory making several synergistic relationships with RPGs and Gaming.

Few systems deal with Economics: GURPS and Traveller have very extensive studies into economics for Low Tech and their Merchant Campaigns. DnD DMG 3.0-3.5 has City Building rules, and DnD 3.5 has some extensive world building tools. Although, to my memory of something I've read about 8 years ago I can't recall any in depth economics.

Mentionables are
Medieval Demographics Made Easy by John Ross
Town and Fief by Lisa J. Steele
Grain to Gold by John Josten

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What I learned finishing this my Digest Sized Project

I had a night to sleep off the Myopia, with regards to this project and several things came to light.

  1. Digest Size fits is a perfect fit. Its for casual readers, players and even for Phablets like my Note 2 or my weak iPad 1 (and other cheap readers in the $99 range). 
  2. I found a Print or Publish on Demand here in the Philippines called Central Books. I did the costing, and it costs about x2 as much if I publish it myself for the 50 books minimum... not to mention the time it saves for myself. I asked how much a 32 page (GURPS LITE) would cost with the whole treatment it ended up roughly at $5 each and minimum 50. At the price I can buy all the supplies, and a kick-ass new printer (i had a post all about printers that is still in draft, until I find a decent reseller and find out more about what the product codes mean). I will check if they have editing services or references. I'm in the freaking placement business, I should be able to find free lance editors (on my to-do list). 
  3. I've pretty much had the chance to know how to best organize the book. I did a review of some material I was determined in learning... but I found myself saying a lot of negative things about it.  Particularly in the organization and mechanical  
  4. Layouting with Libre-office, how to use their index entry etc... and best practices moving forward. I should really write this all down, once the ideas settle. I learned a lot since I tried to make the SRD, GURPS lite, and several other documents in Digest Statement size. 
  5.  37,000 words fit in the 110pages. If I were to use an open-source game system, then I put in some art and more basic explanations... (or better, i use the proper searchable and academic terms) It covered all the fundamental mechanics, but i could have compressed the data more and made the formulas open ended interpretations. System "elegance" is being able to apply one core mechanic in every adjudication with little modification and a strong internal consistency. I could theoretically increase the word count by 50%, added important technical art, flow charts, hand-outs, and "illumination" and that would have added another 50% to the base. Would people mind it if it was 200pages? But it was setting focused: The Sins of the Crusade (10-12Century). Appendix notes in running eras after and before: Dark Ages (7-9 Century), the fall; and the 13-15Century (no title yet). Inclusive are all the Character archetypes and a Path generation system. Enough material, cards, and handouts to generate characters as a fun game in itself; while allowing for rules for quick generation; generate characters in 5 minutes or less. Maybe ask an IT ojt to make a simple PHP character creation website that formats in a way the GM can just grab a "TON" of npcs.   

  1. (wishfull thinking) Setting Fluff I'm already working on: Sins of the Crusade historical overview of the age. History has a funny habit of being interpreted way differently despite being handed out the same facts. My interpretation will be my 3rd re-writing. One key voice in my own interpretation is Kenneth Harl's and Crusades by Zoe Oldenburg and my byzantiine slant.   
  1. (wishfull thinking)the second Fluff is Sins of the Crusade fictional personalities. A whole host of additional characters and families found in the 10-12C. 

  1. The second crunchy bit is Mass combat of the open source game system with the areas of the Levant, Anatolia, Egypt. Layed-out. Attatched is a ready to go system overview.
6)  I should do a analysis of each project and how many manhours it would take and how much of my own personal resources it would cost. That I could publish... but if its related to the Crusade, i'll post it in to remove clutter from this blog.

Dead-horses f*cking. (happy jack's of season 7)
Tappy's use of Crunch = Mechanical Frequency. the frequency a mechanic is called on, instead of Ad-hoc GM and Player interpretation. 
Fluff Adjudication aka Ad-hoc Adjudication. mechanics can remove adhoc interpretation, especially when the GM or players are process oriented. There is still that feeling some Obsessive-Compulsive person gets when they go "off the rails". its like you feel dirty or guilty of something, even though you didn't do anything wrong. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Burned out and Done; GURPS lite Digest for Medieval games

Its a bit messy, and needs some fine-tuning but it will have to do.  I am tired and stressed out, and happy that I can put this project behind me. Maybe i'll look back on it in another year, because I can't remember them anymore.

Final tally

  • 109 pages
  • I put an index using the insert tables and index entry tool. 
  • Statement sized paper
  • Still needs some polishing, hopefully there is a command that allow me to reference an entry. 
  • Learned a lot in organization and layout.

if SJ games would make this into a letter sized booklet with art, it would be about 70 pages or hit their 14USD price range.

I was supposed to make a Character generation system inspired by traveller char gen. I just have to dig up and edit all my old templates. I also have to look for good life event tables.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The kind of gamer - the kind who takes RPGs too seriously

Listening to season 7 episodes 10-14 last I posted of happy jack's rpg podcast. There was a side discussion in the kind of GM or player. I noticed that I am outside the common archetype of gamer, which makes it more difficult to relate with others. I take RPGs a little bit more seriously than others... By serious let me quantify and specify how.

There are serious role players, professional game designers, writers looking for an audience, and min maxers. I am similar in many of these troupes but more specifically I us games as a crutch for my lack of a well rounded education and personal development. I came from a deeply religious and sheltered background, elements surrounding my development is lopsided but still in fertile grounds.

Simplified, I lacked a lot of maturity, survival skills, communication skills and introspection skills. I am a very late bloomer, as my blog suggests. RPGs is where I had focus, commitment, and an unreasonable amount of intensity. When a lot of bad decisions in my life crippled me from maximizing my potential RPGs required me to love studying, logistics, analysis, reasoning, and all those survival skills I failed to learn growing up.

RPGs became my survival skill, so because of the approach I have with the hobby I can pretty much alienate 99% of all other gamers I talk to... Except my brothers. This leads me to reflect on my relationship with them and what makes us odd in a way.

Our mother would complain about how we never had enough to talk about. I realized this relationship was an usual in an authoritative style of parenting. I was not the older brother who had authority,mad with many Filipino traditions, I was one of three brothers with no status difference.

This exposure to the right kind of relationship, was a saving grace to allow me to be salvageable despite many wrong turns. Maturity taught me how to live in a more diverse environments. In fact I chafe in homogeniety, especially those who steamroll over those who are different. These lessons fed into my being a GM, because in the end of the day you thrive in a diverse group of people who share a trust and common goal. The ability to work and communicate with people with very different set of enjoying the game and beliefs is core in being humanistic and free thought.

Disclaimer - I know I still have a very long way to go.

Because I am a bit too intense and dig too deeply in a gaming revelation I have just alienated myself to all those who have fun with the game. I can reign things back, I should be able to accommodate all forms of beliefs by following some core principles - empathy, humanistic values, and reason. I guess the gaming meet ups and bringing in more people into the hobby is the real test of my maturity.

Leading me to a perfect title for my blog... I got too much game in the brain.

This post was inspired by talk about work and corporate culture with my wife. How accommodating is ones professional culture to differences between people, and how professionalism is the secular belief that binds people to a common goal despite differences. In fact exploring the elements of professionalism, I find reason as a powerful tool that binds a group together despite differing beliefs. It also allows people who disagree to work together, and it can be a belief system that is in its core pragmatic yet can creat a lot of good will. I can actually make a whole post about professionalism that fits both Real life and gamer needs for implementation. I think it is a great foundation for a code of conduct for a GM.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Generating RPG Awareness: Entertaining Walk-ins

Working with some friends and gamers to promote the hobby. Using this space to entertain walk-ins, while I still have the authority and freedom to use it as I see fit. Looking for other gamers who can help me promote the hobby locally. 

This is in eastwood facility. I need to find enough table and chairs (the chairs are from our client, so no touchy). 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Song of Ice and Fire RPG references

Prep for a game.
Random Character Genrator
Awesome MAP and NPC App. Waiting for the android matter to be resolved, i hope it is resolved soon. It will really help with sandbox style game.
Random House
Random Noble
Cheat Sheet (the tables). I need ALL the tables, especially the equipment one. I'll see if I have time to make my own. Again, i wish I had an ojt to assign this to.
Other Tables I need: List of all the tasks and activities. Travel and movement rates.
On a separate reference material: House and Holding sheet.

I wish I had the free time and rights to set up my camera and maybe have a show and tell how to create characters, house, run battles, intrigue etc. for this game. Then how to do it in GURPS LOL.

Game of Thrones Companion. Android

George R. R. Martin’s A World of Ice and Fire – A Game of Thrones Guide
By Random House Digital, Inc.

IGN App For Game of Thrones By IGN Entertainment, Inc.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Prepping for Song of Ice and Fire by Green Ronin

I have learned a lot and taking on a system I haven't played is quite an interesting and time consuming feat. Even more so when the data is not ideally organized.

One of my problems with the book is the layout:
Not enough references - ex. league definition, stats of an Idea or Concept is not in one place or table, instead it is spread out in the page. Notice that Price, Weight, Bonus/Penalties, Character Gen cost, etc... are not simplified in one table for reference. Instead you have to search around for it. With my straining eyes and being very carefull not to damage the book moving back and forth it was a test of patience.
As a lesson learned and after editing a ton of D20 and GURPS material for my games, tables really have to be efficient. I have a bad feeling that if layed-out more pragmatically and easy for the eyes of someone who will diminish due to age, the book will be much thinner... In fact the book would have been perfect for Digest Size (half of a letter size) IMO. I am growing a fondness for the size.
I really need to use post its and move stuff around. I'm half tempted to slam the book down and get GURPS.
Ideally processes and steps are a side bar. Having to explain each step in blocks of large paragraphs or very sparse text between visual zones is confusing to me.

There are 18 Abilities (like Ability Scores)
There are a bunch of Specializations per Ability (that are like Skills)


Operations - This is skills behind the scenes. I lean towards operational mastery because its the details age has allowed me to appreciate and in my military studies. Most of these activites are long actions and are complicated. The thing is, operational effectiveness is what gets you to ambush and sieze the battle field (both in its literal and metaphor meaning) in order to have an edge on the opponent. Also, it allows you to win "without drawing a sword", if your a Sun Tzu nut, operations is where I'd rather fight because I have the opportunity to pull out and lick my wounds in very lethal games.  Operational includes Intelligence Ops (scouting and thievery).

  • Survival
  • Endurance
  • Awareness
  • Athletics
  • Stealth
  • Will
  • Warfare
  • Healing
  • Knowledge
  • Animal
  • Thievery
  • Status

    Front Line: Combat - I dont like front line. Its like court or gambling... it can swing any way and the costs can be very very high. If you've heard about the bidding cognitive bias (escalation of commitment and anchoring). I have low appetite for risk, and thats how you survive a lethal game.

    • Athletics
    • Agility
    • Endurance
    • Marksmanship
    • Fighting

    Front Line: Social - Much like combat, but has less risks if you check out the Intrigue rules. Influence, damage control, and information gathering, are common tasks of social. Social is one step removed from danger, as compared to combat.

    • Status
    • Cunning
    • Awareness
    • Will
    • Persuasion
    • Language

    Note where skills overlap in multiple fields (Combat, Social, and Ops). Those are the skills that have more strategic flexibility. Min-maxing, I will work along a frame work that will maximize survivability - that is focus on staying behind the scenes via being valuable and effective in Ops, a secondary strategy in social, and having one feat in reserve saved in combat.

    One of the best strategies is to Specialize and outsource where you are weak - this is where the party and NPC allies come in.

    My Game Format.
    A lethal game, is about Ops and Influence. if it was about fighting, then play DnD, because games like SIF and L5R are lethal. To make for a survivable character in combat brings one to escalation of commitment - basically you are ignoring diminishing returns and spending inefficiently in character creation.

    Running this Game.
    I need compressed and efficient tables. I need all the Ops related data - travel and exploration, the statistical data, all the uses and alternative uses of various skills and abilities. Which is a F*cked up use of my time. I wish I can assign this to an OJT. Right now I'm working in compressing the character sheet in Statement sized paper. Shrinking the data helps.

    If it was not a Rights issue, I'd like to make a video to explain rules and showcase how to resolve activities. Because of rights issues, its hard to do this as a fan. I wish I had time and players to help me finish my open system.

    * Characters run slower than GURPS. .67yrds/sec walking somehow translated to 3mi/hour. I'm not sure if this corrected in the errata.
    * Sprinting characters with 4b can travel 4yrds/sec which is pretty slow. I wanted to play RAW but to do so with some logistical sense means gutting the movement system. The big deal about the movement rates is that Logistics have a kind of physics inherent, that despite the broad deviations over time the average stays relevant for centuries.
    * Administration is built into Status, and Coordination is built into Will. I'd rather have organization be part of Cunning or some other skill. I am free mix specialties with other abilities.

    Recently, in editing my D20 SRD digest booklet, I realized how much of a BLOCK OF TEXT DnD 3.5 can be and how much formulas can save on table space.

    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    Small Posts in One Post

    The Amazing things you can Do with the SRD
    This must be my 3rd time compiling the SRD. I can't find where I did so back in the day. Anyway, I'm editing it to be RAW but only to level 10. So far copying everything that would be normally found in the PHB brought it up to ~350 pages.

    I will remove the tables and publish formulas instead. I hope to bring down the page count to 200 when I'm done. I'm excited about writing up the DMing part, in my own words. If I'm going to give this away and use it to introduce newbies, I was wondering if I should just add my edits. Like armor reduces damage, and all my other tweaks. I even added bennie system to make characters survivable. Basically give the wrong impression for the Newbies... I could just not give a crap.

    The Idea of a new batch of newbies learning dnd without HP creep, AC cognitive dissonance, Spell Points instead of Slots, With called shots, magical healing for trauma better than our modern medicine, having level 10 as the cap, imropved world building and economics notes, bennie system, and some of the Happy Jacks Philosophy, oh yeah... and no alignments, etc..etc... If they interface with regular people who learned DnD LOL!

    This will piss off dogmatists, probably will say I'm corrupting and perverting DnD LOL! Probably encounter Politics in philippine RPG scene again. (Note i'm giving away these books; my thoughts are if you can put in the hours to compile, edit, layout, print and bind, then SHUT UP). But there is always a fucker who will always gripe about something free and awesome.

    Bundling D20 Skills
    I know they did the same in 4E and Pathfinder.  What I did is just use the original skill names as the kinds of 'checks' that are possible under the skill. Ex. Stealth - character are able to move silently and hide.

    Stealth - Hide and Move Silently
    Savoir-Faire - Diplomacy and Gather Information
    Deception - Forgery and Disguise
    Focus - Concentration and Autohypnosis
    Mage Craft - Spell Craft and Use Magical Device
    Disable Device - Disable Device and Open Lock
    Trade Craft - Profession and Craft
    Persuasion - Bluff and Intimidate
    Athletics - Climb, Jump, and Swim
    Acrobatics - Tumble and Balance
    Animal Affinity - Animal Handling and Ride
    Perception - Search, Spot, and Listen
    Escape Artist - Escape and Use Rope
    Naturalist - Knowledge Nature and Survival

    Simplifying skills by removing the ranks and accounting would save time. Making it 3 + character level for Class skills and 2 + 1/2 class level for cross class skills. Spending a feat makes a character be a Master in this skill ( 3 plus Character level) if the skill is a class skill. While spending on a cross class skill makes the character a Novice (2 + 1/2 class levels). This makes the class chosen at first level a bigger deal, the Rogue having 8 + Int modifier in choices in skills (which are about 15 options), while fighters and specialized spellcasters have only 2 + int modifier.

    Languages are Feats by the way this system works. The mastery of the language follows the same Mastery vs Novice progression. A wizard is not as great as a bard in mastering languages, but he does get a lot in the beginning.

    Simplifying by making it HP instead of HD per level. So a Barbarian gets 12hp + con modifier and 6 + con modifier per level.

    Making Spell Casters more consistent in their specialization - They have 6hp in 1st level, and 3hp every level. They have Poor BAB and Will is their best save. They get few skills.

    Unlike 4E where endurance is a skill, the character's HP is his endurance. Its confusing to listen to all those HP creep apologists when there is a seperate system to track fatigue.

    Sneak Attack follows my homebrew rule where it just allows you to roll more damage dice but keep only one. Every sneak attack "instance" allows me to roll one more instance of 1d3 fist, 1d6 shortsword, or 2d6 greatsword but only keep one instance. IF i roll max value more than once, these extra instances reduce the DR by 1+extra instances.

    I will pump up and improve the value of some spells. Example is prestidigitation, which I will create a 1st level version that can be used as an immediate action. It is great for creative players and will reward ingenious use of the spell's limitation.

     I must have clocked another 10 hours this week end on the Character Creation Digest. At least because of the OGL I can publish this, not like my GURPS LITE which is really only for my games.

    Friday, January 18, 2013

    Running a Convention in the Philippines

    Running a Table-Top RPG convention in the philippines is a labor of love, and a charity. It will never make money, even to break even and requires charitable donations from the main sponsors.

    In around 1999-2001, my brothers and I were very active in AEGIS. Our president was the main sponsor of the largest event we hosted Gamers Eyeball Manila in around 2000. Our president sunk his own money, got sponsors and was able to get at two floor area of about 800sqm made up of about 16 rooms (8 on each floor) where every 4 was linked by modular partitions. Despite being the one who networked, paid, and talked to the shop owners he didn't get any of the credit for it. Infact it is pretty much forgotten except for those of us who helped him set it up. 

    At the time I was around 19 and my brother was 15 running games for guys who were much older than us: 25 and up. I have to look back at admire what my boss did, because I can't afford to make that sacrifice and I don't have the networking ability he had.  Note that I was a very awkward then, and improved little in the last 14 years. 

    The market has stagnated since, and about 2 gaming store start ups opened and closed since. The only one left is Neutral Grounds, whose misunderstood business decision gave it some negative opinions amongst the circles I deal with. 

    Right now, there are no place to sell dead tree books. We order from amazon here in the Philippines. 

    Why am I trying to start a con, or a movement to bring in new gamers? 
    I like gaming, and I can't wait for my son to grow up to game with... and the hobby may not be there anymore if I don't do anything about it. I am curious and interested in meeting new people, and have a high capacity to take crap if you knew my background. 

    Note that I don't plan to make money, I will be efficient, pragmatic and not wasteful but I don't expect to get any return on investment here. I just want the hobby to thrive, so I can continue to find people to play with, and the freedom to be able to continue when life gets in the way of playing. 

    I have been able to record and journalize my continuous failing  to recruit new gamers sine 2003 in my original and private blog. I've learned much since, and really can better Identify what are my serious challenges and weaknesses.  In fact, the disciplines I've learned requires me to at least state clearly my goals and dictate how much I'm willing to spend to achieve it. 

    Lessons Learned. 
    Face and Name. I'm not a face-man (duh), although I have a friend who is more than happy to play the role and has the same objectives as I do. So at least that part is covered. 
    Someone Interesting. Ideally we have a Person of Interest. It is a sausauge fest and we really need a woman to facilitate discussion and the attention. Unlike the faceman, who interfaces the crowd and disseminates information, the PoI captures attention. 
    Network and Influence.  I'll have to reach out more and follow up my friends who are going to help me find gamers. Follow up is the key word, but not to burn out my contacts. 
    Medium of Discussion. Convention and opportunities to interact have to be easily available, and skillfully facilitated. There is a growing curve, and we have to accept those cost while things gather momentum. 
    Wine and Dine. it is a social occasion  and  we need to make things comfortable and add value to the experience. 

    More people available. What I have going for me is the higher density of english because of the BPO industry. Right now everyone is expanding, almost every company I've talked with is adding an average mode of 500 seats. Some is as high as 2000, others about 200.  
    More demand for the ancillary benefits. A hobby and exposure to other accent neutralized speakers will help, and I'm sure some friends in Training will recommend us some people who can use the hobby to sharpen their interactive and language skills. Since I have a recruitment firm, i'll have the trainer, who is a fellow gamer, see if he can find some players when we pool for free training. 
    We have a facility. I can put an Ad in one of the highest traffic areas in Eastwood, infront of our building for gamers.  I have the canteen, the 7th floor, free to allow 2-3 gaming groups to run simultaneously. If we can get an event before March, I can offer 200sqm area to host 6 groups of about 6 gamers each. We have another facility, that has about 500sqm and host about 10 groups of the same size. But before all that, we have to generate marketing, awareness, and a good grass roots movement going. Of course I have to use these all in a manner that it will not cost anything to the business... or at least break even.

    Prizes. Dice and Open Source stuff.
    I need a prizes so I hope to finish Assembling the D20 3.5 SRD into a statement sized digest by the time things get rolling. To keep content Down, I plan to edit it so that it is capped at level 10. Once that is assembled I plan to have it printed and bound. I can probably have it done at about $10 a hard bound ($4 to get it bound). If I can get cheap enough dice, I'll make it my donation prizes to newbies.

    Funny is I have to convert ALL big tables to Formulas, so that it will fit digest mode. F*ck Tables LOL

    Thursday, January 17, 2013

    character sketch mongoose Traveller’s scholar

    Note 2 snote app
    I did this listening to happy jacks Episode 1 season 7.

    Generic Definitions: Economic Level

    Technology improves productivity, as the technology improves so does the economic capacity per individual (as seen in Per Capita GDP or Income). Economic level is the metric used to measure the effect of a technology. If the technology fails to make an economic impact, then the advance is not significant.

    We can build a bunch of wonderful gadgets in this day and age, but not all these gadget transform the way we live or do business. If I just look at the Gadget purchases I've made in the computer advances from the Netbook to the Tablet, productivity increased but not at 100% levels.

    the nice thing about economic level is that, you can replace technology with MAGIC, Psionics, Biotech, etc.. The GM or World Builder just looks at an end result, the macro, and decides what the micro is going to be like because of the details they are aware of.

    Take for instance the present economies of the world, and telescope from the Macro to Micro because of current events and economic theory. I listen a lot about Chinese, Philippines and US economic news so the Picture it paints on the abstraction of Economics helps detail eras advance and ancient. It also helps that I had about 100 hours of Chinese and Philippine history and economics; other than the easily available western economics and history.

    TL:DR - Economic Level helps draw brush strokes of technology level... without stepping on the toes of other Game Systems and Copyright, while being more Sciencey and Simulationist.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    Cleaned up Two OLD handouts: Horses and 11C equipment

    Moved a bunch of files to my shared gaming folder, and cleaned up two old hand outs. These are 11th Century Equipment and Horses. Basically I moved them to "statement" sized pages, 8.5" x 5.5" so that they can easily fit my Note 2 for editing for the future.

    I've made a little experiment decision that all my handouts and booklets will be in statement size. It will allow people to make a more portable and presentable hard copy for future users.

    In Gdocs it is simply File > Page Setup (at the bottom) > Paper Size. Strangely at 34, I noticed I'm having a hard time reading smaller print. I used to have size 8 arial font in all my stuff, now they are all comfortably at 11-12.

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    Rationalizing my Elder Gods mythos

    I was listening to Call of Cthulhu when I got inspired to make my own Elder Gods Mythos.

    Since I a science geek, I can't not ignore that we evolved in this world. That's one of those reasons that gives me a hard time wrapping my mind around Traveller's Vilani and Zhodani. I've since devised other rationals why they exist.  

    I am currently working on a kitchensink setting, a post apocalyptic world that has elements of the Twilight Zone in it. I got inspired by Silent Hill's alien and disturbing flow of time and how ghost zones is great dressing to be ported into how bridges into another world would appear.

    This dark sci-fi fantasy world, the Kitchen Sink setting, is where the elder gods come into the story. A creature that fit the profile of the elder beings had to have some kind of rationale (something that is disallowed in CoC; so please bear with me).

    The Elder god Virus
    What if these dark beings were a virus so old and evolved, they came from the universe before this one. What if they struck a perfect balance destruction and captive growth, and evolved to a level of sophistication that they became sentient, but as a virus they needed to propagate and destroy.

    They are a virus that existed so long, that they only evolved as other sentient species evolved. They need to consume and destroy, and even evolved beyond mere physical trappings, but extended to information, time, and concepts I can't imagine.

    These viruses are not just single entity but evolved into multiple competing entities. Competition and evolving into deeper and more complex organisms made them stronger and slowed their growth only to make them stronger and more voracious.

    What if these viruses needed sentient creatures to take form. The virus has individualistic aspects that allowed it to have a unique bond with a creature, and it searches the universe for more unique mutations of biology, psychology and information. Every Probabilistic variance mattered to the virus, that it began to exist in other realities.

    When the previous universe ended, so did the dominance of the elder gods but the virus bled into dark places where nothing could exist and nothingness protected it against annihilation.

    In the new universe, this one, they have come back from the darkest depth of sleep. The virus has spread and transformed and created creatures of maddening aspects. This is where the fiends of these elder gods come from.

    More scientifically most of these creatures feed on human misery, in an existential way that is very difficult to grasp. When they consume beings, they consume them in their mind and in all the probabilistic states of existence they can have. Sentient creatures, because of their sophistication in how data, time, and biology interact attract the virus and feed its creatures.

    The Mind Feeders
    There is a creature that feeds on minds, impregnating a being with their own viral loaded enzymes and increasing their cognitive activity. They slowly consume a persons mind, with their tentacled kiss as the mind goes overdrive. The virus causes the brain to improve its plasticity, and begin to slowly move around its functions in order to keep the mind alive until every morsel is consumed.
    The virus has enslaved a psychically talented race, and shaped it to meet its programmed desires.

    The Blood Feeders
    There is another creature that feeds off the brain through the blood. Its own virus loaded enzymes fills its prey's blood with euphoria, and a hormonal and neurological cocktail. This creature prefers to keep the prey alive as long as possible, but it burns out its prey's mind emotionally and physically. This virus can take many shapes and many hosts. Once taking on a host, everything beneath the skin melds into a homogeneous muscle-like system that has organ-plasticity (meaning it can easily adapt any part of itself for any specialized role) making it almost impervious to any injury. It has an adaptive programming in its design, that it takes the host's genes and biomorphicaly enhances the host's appearance to be at it's sweetspot. Its only vital organ is the brain of the host it has occupied, as it becomes the main digestive and energy storing organ of the virus. Its neurological functions has also plasticity.

    Creatures of the Elder gods
    The more primitive and unsophisticated viruses and hosts are merely tyrants and slavers. They are given hyper aggression, along with improved cognitive functions, and metabolic control. They provoke the most destructive and irrational side of its host, feeding off the pain, madness, agony and regret of its host.

    Psionics and Magic.
    The virus's multi-reality and space-time aspect makes Psionic and Magical minds a signal light in the darkness. Since the virus seeks to exist in all manner of reality, and Psionics and Magic tap these same spaces - this become a beacon to the virus. 

    Another Creature of the Elder Gods.
    The other creature of the Elder Gods are those who think they can tame, control or even harness the virus. what falls in this category are the Psychics and Mages, who replicate the sophisticated feats of the virus and bend space and time. There are also demons, powerful forms of the virus that are not exactly physical in nature, they can be understood and tamed to an extent...  

    Some Insight on the Virus
    The virus milks mirror neurons for the data feedback loop they can create, and all the empathic abilities of a sentient mind. The virus is weaker and less sophisticated in creatures that have a limit in these cognitive abilities. Social Animals are great food stock for the virus; the more neurological empathy load to weight of the animal, the more valuable to the virus.        

    The kitchen Sink setting
    GURPS Kitchen Sink is a Gdoc I'm working on, and in my previous computer I saved a Digest size (half of a letter sized paper) Random Character Generation Pamphlet. So its inspired by CoC and a lot of dark settings. You can choose to fight them, but since these creatures are not game balanced, they really will TPK if encountered... the way a party should not pick a fight with a dragon. 

    Sunday, January 13, 2013

    Many Small Topics

    Secret Rolls, and Trust Issues
    Recruitment for Mass Combat
    Just learned Alphabetical Index tools
    Digest Sized GML

    Secret Rolls and Trust Issues
    With smartphones I realized, i can ask a player to roll blindly and take a picture of that roll with a hand writen time stamp signed by the player.

    Some players are superstitious, and have trust issues. Until these can be overcome, while maintaining the information asymmetry important in having non-meta gaming response, I had to think of many ways I can ease players into letting me do their rolls.

    Personally i dont want to take away the chance to roll dice, its a game and if I have fun rolling a die myself I don't want that to be taken away from the player. Its irrational, I know, but I'm having fun and its I've proposed a harmless solution.

    Another option is a Dice Roller online, where he sends me the results. I'm convinced that I should use chat technology to distribute notes in game, particularly using my phones 3G or wifi if that is available.

    GURPS Mass Combat - recruitment
    Recruitment - of Units follow a metric, where in a given area and population One in every X amount can be recruited for Y unit. This means Fighting Persons are typically 1 out of 100, replenishing at a rate of 1 out of 400 every year.

    Over-drafting the population will result in a lot of problems - basically if timed poorly it can severely limit food production. Note that it takes 90% of the population to work the fields enough for a very small surplus for trade.

    Learning to Use Alphabetical Index in LIbre Office
    Just got around to learning to use it. I'm editing my game's GURPS lite right now. Brilliant tool, and its doubly awesome its free!

    Digest Size Version
    I am currently trying out a Digest Size version of the GML (GURPS Medieval LITE) . I am able squeeze about an hour into working on it. I started adding an Index. I forgot what were the items I had to fix, so I need to investigate the doc again. I now how to figure out how to layout Landscape pages in the middle of a document.

    LibreOffice Bugs
    * cannot style pages - i cannot mix portrait and lanscape pages.
    * index entries disappear when I load the page again... so all my effort in adding indexes are lost. :((

    TBone's Report on Armor

    RPG Science: Physical performance with armor and other loads found this by way of Jay Dugger in G+.

    So what can you do with this findings? Well go back to wikipedia and refresh your understanding of the definition of WORK and POWER. Which I actually have been doing, because of my little project I have not yet advertised:

    Open Source / Creative Common RPG Definitions. Basically I've made my own definitions for skills, abilities, traits,etc.. that is free to be used in any game (with attribution). I use science-y definitions and abstractions, hoping that no-one could copyright something as basic as approaching RPGS with science - in light the suing of 2011-2012.

    Basically what it does is try to use basic science metrics and some easy math to make sense of some RPG concepts and ideas.

    Example is that
    Strength is equal to WORK. I'll use biometrics of a soldier in my military studies to benchmark above average.
    Endurance is equal to POWER. Again using soldiers and the published documentation about them to create a scientific and open source approach to stat definitions.

    Intelligence is an over-all tricky thing to stat, what I can do is create a Subcategory of Intelligence Aptitudes.

    I'll be defining skills from those specialized, to those very basic and a taken-for-granted part of our education.  Also there will be space to put notes regarding settings, like how some skills disappear or do not exist yet or anymore.

    I think these definitions should be easy to share, and easy to tweak. If I don't get burned out and the rate I tend to work, in a couple of years there should be enough data for anyone to quickly put together their very own game system (I'll try to make an open library of dice or arbitrary number mechanics) for their use. If the cost of putting together a kick-ass RPG goes down, then game developers just keep pushing forward making more and more material and contributing to a shared database.

    People will still buy the product, because of the ease to make them and the convenience and low cost compared if they had to take the time to make it themselves. The common and shared database of mechanics, expertise and tools, is Infrastructure that one can build over. Allowing creatives to focus on Art, Story, designing the challenges, etc... and not have to worry about the mechanics.

    It allows for more open system content, since it has created a baseline that is scientific, thus evolving and improving constantly.

    Thursday, January 10, 2013

    They made my 8 year old Black Crane an NPC; it was awesome!

    My brothers group made my old character of mine is a featured NPC. I have to give props to Socksquad for his brilliant use of him in the story. The story is in the thread here. His character story is here.

    Note that Samurai Code of Honor aka Bushido and the Celestial order is alien to our modern virtues. The character I made, back in the day, was a character who discovered humanism, the same way anyone can discover a scientific fact. Heavily inspired by Rurouni Kenshin, it is a story of an abused and dangerously curious youth, who learned the hard way where his "code" failed to make sense and destroyed the lives of loved ones and his own. 

    This was in 2005, but now given 2013 it is quite refreshing to know my Cannibal Crane is considered by my brother and some as the most memorable character. My brother joined my other brothers group after choose to stay in the Philippines and only met my character in play. I've never mentioned this to him, and had a great time discovering the character I have left behind do a lot of amazing things in the story. Socksquad employed my Logistics knack on the character and built over him a very nice story that I would have never thought of myself. 

    In fact, he was the only who figured it my character as one of the personalities they met earlier in the adventure. This allowed him to figure out the Black Crane's motivation. 

    One of the players wants to make the character a villain, after there was a moment where there was a very strong contrast in virtues and behavior. One being a lazy ass crane, who was beyond help and incompetent and clueless; the other a humanitarian in a medieval age that is only looking out for the Eta and the down trodden. 

    I should make a GURPS version of him. 

    "What is a samurai's oath worth to the innocent?"

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

    FATAL RPG has some historic credence

    I've only heard of FATAL RPG from the Rape Jokes in Happy Jacks "Roll for Anal Circumferance"... rape even in a more rights aware country in the 19C has a disturbing pattern.

    from a reddit Thread

    tinyshadowAmerican Race Relations 1880s-1910s 198 points  ago
    Gosh, that is a good question, and the answer is just what you are suggesting. Poor women and girls were frequently abused in the 19th century, especially when separated from their patriarchs. Here's an interesting mini-chapter on the Child Protection System in America from early colonial times to now. It shows how little the law could protect women and girls, and how American society and the government has tried to protect them over time.
    In New York City, between 1790 and 1876, between a third and a half of rape victims were under the age of 19; during the 1820s, the figure was 76 percent. The historian Lynn Sacco found more than 500 published newspaper reports of father-daughter incest between 1817 and 1899. An 1894 textbook, A System of Legal Medicine, reported that the “rape of children is the most frequent form of sexual crime.”
    Most of the above info in the quote comes from Crimes against Children Sexual Violence and Legal Culture in New York City, 1880-1960 by Stephen Robertson.
    Although the quote doesn't state it immediately, I'm certain that most of the women are working class due to their location in New York City (a center for diversity but also industrialization and dense lower-class populations).
    Imagine what happens in a people who were not rights conscious? Where there is ignorance these things happen more often.

    Tuesday, January 8, 2013

    DnD 3.5 Combat System in GURPS and GURPS in DnD 3.5 Combat system

    This is for those in DnD moving to GURPS, or for GURPS guys who want to bundle up seconds instead of playing every second out

    As a simulations, there are wasted time units. Among the people I know, i can have a very acute sense of time, IF I'm not performing a long task, otherwise I can pretty much guess closely how much time i'm consuming - this allows me to plan activities with hindsight.

    What this does is gives another Framework for GURPS combat. Simplifying decision making processes so that people can make more tactical declarations in less time. Old DnD players have a framework to work with, and so does GURPS players.

    6 second rounds - Assume 4 seconds of standard action and 2 seconds of move actions
    Why 4 seconds of standard action? - Because ever attack has a full evaluate/aim build in. So every attack takes up 4 seconds.
    Synergy - having 2 second move, makes sense because Move 30ft is = to Move 10 (which is Basic Move x2).
    Synergy Note - if PCs always get max Aim/Evaluation bonus that's about +3 bonus in gurps, that is equal to around +6-+7 in DnD (+3 makes 50% to 83.33%; 30% divided by 5%). If you play with those statistics, GURPS guys playing DnD might allow multiple attacks at -7 (i recommend round down).

    Attack of Opportunities in GURPS. There are no attacks of opportunity, unless the Player Tactically predicates the conditions for one. It is not limited to non-combat complex actions. AoO builds into a combat a predetermined list of Wait/Ready or Anticipatory actions. AoO actually makes opponents more tactical than they should be. A DnD Zombies don't exactly know a Wizard is casting a spell or there is a weakness in the stance of an opponent... they just attack what ever is in reach at the rate of attack they can muster.
    Having no AoO, makes the game much easier... and even more tactical as players now must budget their time. If you budget 4 and 2 secs, you can simplify your decision making process. You can assign one or the other as "reactive" vs active actions.
    Ex. I budget 4 sec as step and evaluate x3, plus step and attack. Then with my 2 seconds I would reserve for anything that would provoke an AoO/any time the opponent drops their combat stance. Note that the AoO is at -7 in DnD, or does not gain the benefit of Aim and Evaluate. 
    In modern Combat the 6 second rounds carry over beautifully in my experience. It really captures the anticipatory and focused action in a way that players can't meta-game and interrupt themselves so easily and abort their current action. If you wait, you just wait - you can't pick and choose seconds. Modern combat is much more lethal, and thus focused action is a big deal.

    Because of my GURPS experience, I will use a gurps engine within my DnD game. That means when players become more detailed in what they do, I will Hack DnD with GURPS. This is how I plan to build my Open Source Combat System - simple and elegant, with the doctrine embedded but with the "source code" available for GMs so that they can bring much needed customized elegance to their players.

    Monday, January 7, 2013

    Combat Roles for Sci-Fi Ship Combat; hard Sci-fi hacking

    In theory one can make combat roles for every position on a ship, the same way you have it in a tactical miniatures game:

    Gunners - Point Defense ( Blocker/Intercept) and Striker (Damage over Time)*

       Have to make resource decision how much to save for point defense, and how much to use up in active defense. Allowing the system to be overwhelming (finite resources) makes things interesting. 

    Comm and Sensor take care of Electronic warfare - They are Crowd Control aka controllers... problem is this works a little different if you want to be a little more hard sci-fi

      Hard Sci-fi Hacking. Hacking is about getting direct physical access OR social engineering to be able to exploit system vulnerabilities. Assuming you dont have time to use social engineering, then the best bet for hacking is using drones to create a physical access to the system. 
      This works with a drone with sufficient payload to send micro bots that can scan and penetrate a system. The less optimally maintained the ship is the more possibility these microbots can latch on a vulnerable areas and have direct access to the system, then it will begin to use the ships own system. 
      Drones can be a "missile pod" and launch enough Electronic Counter Measures and Missiles to overwhelm the target ship. Note that Hacking is harder than attempting to kill and shoot down an opponent. It also only works in complete strategic surprise, which means any crew who has the basic discipline to follow protocol will have a very low likeliness to access the ship. 
      So most probably  like 98% of the cases of hacking is Social Engineering with microbots or traitorous personnel on board of the ship.  What will happen is that as a defensive Doctrine, merchant ships, will quarantine technology and have the Familiar Robots (i've discussed this farther back) to keep an eye for infiltrator robots. 
    Why not use Nanoswarms can be ECM jammed IMTU, the trade off of nano-tech is the ECM vulnerability. So ships tend to invest in Nano-detection ECM. I have some creative ways to overcome this, I'll save it for a chance to go online and discuss with like-minds who would want to make a doctrine and protocol with me.

    Pilot - Defender (inputing Evasion pattern algorithmic and using his own spatial intuition and reflexes to the ship's). 
    There is one Pilot, as there is one ship. There is a limit of what the Pilot can do, so what I recommend he places all the counters. 
    Engineer - Support
    Engineers allocate Robot/AI, power and Material resources for various systems. This make things run more efficiently... and in combat allow it to exceed performance standards. So the Engineer basically has to juggle resources every round, he divies up resources and if they hit below performance green line he has to roll for each.    
    Captain - Leader
    The Captain is the one calling out orders and strategy. Actually this can be boring on the board, so I recommend he aids other players by rolling his own skill as a second roll, "saving" the ship in case of a fumble. The Captain, depending on his skill level can aid up to 3 actions if his strategy or tactics makes sense of this.  When the Leader multi-task, the trade off is that the Leader can screw with his officers roll. This means the captains margin of failure subtracts from the Officer's roll (ouch). 
    This all works best with the doctrine I wrote about. The ideal is that everyone gets to do something, and those who are not normally part of the ship's armaments WOULD invest in some of the capabilities that can be very helpful. Drones are the first thing that can help and increase survival capabilities. the last thing you need to worry about the Drones is the cost since you can add it to your over all ship risk pricing assessment.  

    *Extra Bridge (the small bridge or large cockpit for Drones)
    *Bays for Drones (a good investment for ships that go to dangerous places)
    *Point Defense Lasers - I get it, the range of the the laser is dependent on the precision of the equipment since at extreme ranges the laser becomes a cone of light and the energy is diffused. At the ranges given, the beam has diffused to harmless levels.

    Hard Sci-fi Ship Combat.
    No more stealth, combat is about hitting at distances of the current technology's limits of precision. Damn, I already wrote about this... too bad I wont find gamers who will be interested in such a combat.

    Setting up a game these days

    Metromanila has terrible traffic. I consume the happy jack's podcast quite voraciously because of that. Also we all don't have good Internet. I have good Internet but my availability is after work, so it's not like I can game with people outside my time zone. another problem, is that me time is at most 4 hours (6pm to 10pm). I should wrap up a game in about 2 hours. If the game drags on too long, I'll get in trouble and don't have time to go home and prep my kid for bed.

    Metro Manila is pretty dry when it comes to gaming. It would be hard to coordinate if we are not accessibly to 10-20mins to our desired place. I have the advantage of being my own boss and being able to set my meetings outside the day I plan to run the games, I actually have to budget for 1-2 extra hours to get to the location and pick up my brother.

    Anyway things are moving slowly, I really need to meet and have coffee with all my potential players. I've asked friends who want to help me set up a game to refer those he can't entertain, I just want to talk to them over coffee to see if we are a good fit. Strangely these encounters are pretty fun since its my gamer side, and my analyst side doing an evaluation if we can get on the same page.m

    Regarding my game, my brother wants to use a Mul aka half dwarf. I just follow the half Orc and half elf in PF with regards to the dwarf. It takes very little rules tweaking because it's just a simple comparative exercise.

    Maybe I should take it further by allowing Half goblins with halflings or gnomes, what would you call that? Or half gnome and halflings? Or various other racial combinations to keep things interesting and break stereotypes.

    Thursday, January 3, 2013

    Just getting a lot of ideas down

    Recalibrating Classes and Some Rules
    I was wondering about re-calibrating classes in 3.5. Breaking some tradition, and making more sense.
    • Breaking down the Cleric - The cleric is broken up to Divine Warrior and Divine Theurge. 
      • Theurge (which means miracle worker) is the cleric's spellcasting capabilities with d6 HP, 1/2 HD BAB progression, Good Will saves only, and Channels divine energy of a undetermined type (removing the positive and negative dichotomy). Subcategories of Theurge is the Contemplative (Prepared, like typical cleric) and the Inspired (Spontaneous, limited spell known and more slots - follows Sorcerer progression).
      • The Divine Warrior has more of the old cleric capabilities d8 HP, 3/4 HD BAB progression, good Fort saves only, and spell casting up to 6th level. Also follows the Inspired and Contemplative subcategories. can also channel energy but severely limited. They gain Feats every 3 levels after 2nd (like psychic warrior). 
    • Arcane Warrior - drawing from the Psychic Warrior and the Cleric and Divine Warrior. These have 3/4 HD BAB, d8 HP, good Fort saves, and feats every 3 levels after 2nd. There are two subcateogries: Blooded (Spontaneous) and Disciplined (Prepared Spellcasting).
    • Experts - Feats are like skills, they are still bodies of knowledge. Its wierd that the Expert doesnt get more feats. Give it Feats every even level, and you've got quite an interesting class. Make the HP d8, and good Will saves. 
    • Aristocrat and Bonus Feats - give the Aristocrat bonus feats ever even level, and Leadership and Courtier Feat options they become very interesting and fun to play with, even as a PC. 
    • Tactical Feats - i can make a bunch of Tactical Feats. the key points I have to work with are: Positioning, Enemy Strategies, allow the Player to gain bonuses if he predicts correctly the opponent's next action, improve or provide additional advantages when coordinating (better flanking bonus and bonuses to Combat Manuvers when coordinating with allies).
      • Ex. When Enemies are Defensive, like when they withdraw or line up defenders. if the Tactician's side has a greater overall movement, the Tactician presses the advantage giving allies extra moves in order to flank
      • Ex. If Enemies are Aggressive, like when they charge and rush at the Tactician's side. The allies gain better reactive and defensive abilities. A bonus if a readied action correctly predicts the enemy's action, better AC when allies coordinate defense, etc. etc.
      • Ex. When the Tactician correctly divines the enemy's action allow readied allies to make a Full Round Action against these enemies. 
      • and more...  
    • Social Feats - Detail the Economics and i can allow significant resources. This is only good in high lethality games where Numbers can pretty much determine the odds of winning. In a numbers game, the person who can bring more to their cause and side wins... hence it is important to have Social Feats. These include Wealth, Connections, Binding Oaths of Loyalty, etc... not just schmoozing, flattery, lying etc...  
      • Its easy to transplant a sound economic system, like that in D20 modern or GURPS into DnD. Feats become a type of currency to gain these social advantages, there is much machination in the background when someone hands you power so Feats describes pretty well how "connected" and cunning the character is in amassing such. 

    Psionics and the Far East
    I was wondering If I could find some chinese terms that would fit Psionics and their classes. I mostly uses the english equivalent of many of the Chinese titles, ranks, and nobility because... its hella' easier than learning the chinese one.

    The idea came from making psionics an art of those in the FAR EAST. I can exactly use the "magical" equivalent in Chinese like Wu or the Daoist terminology. I was wondering if I could link it with Bhuddism. The Daoist using Divine magic, the Confucians with Arcane, and the Bhuddists with Psionics.

     I tend to set my game in the 11C, and in the Far East this is around Song dynasty. Plan to make the far east made up of 3 vying spellcasting elite: the Divine, Arcane and Psionics. Making the Conquering Horde "Psionic"would be fun.

    Mountain Ponies
    I like ponies, and I happen to be a brony. Funny thing is that Ponies in DnD are too weak, and there is not much allowance for stronger ponies. These Ponies with powerful build (doubles the carrying capacity of the pony). Double the cost of the Ponies. Mountain Ponies are sure footed and have +2 to balance or climbing related checks. The story I made up for these are that, dwarves use these. They are of the right size for dwarven stubby legs but have thicker bones without altering their build too much.

    War Rams is a Mountain Goat, the really big fantasy kind. They are very sure footed and these were bred to be mounts. They have the stats of a Mountain pony but Heavy horse HD and Strength.

    Mountain Surface Area.
    Mountains have a lot of surface area, but they are not very productive. We've seen humans maximise the productivity with Steps to grow rice. I was thinking Dwarves combine Step Farming with crops that don't need flat terrain: potatoes or yams. Cultivated mountain have Taters and Yam steps, those with hot spring have thick bushy wheat and rice step paddies. Dwarves still import a lot of food, because it takes more effort to cultivate for them in the mountains than everyone else in their low lands. You can have a mountain with abandoned steppes, which is a great backdrop and shows the evolution of how dwarves move to more defensible and secure upper areas.

    Wednesday, January 2, 2013

    Munchkining Out: the Crossbowmancer

    I wanted to have a little fun. the Crossbowmancer is not an original idea, but you would wonder why it has not been milked by WOTC. For a 7th level spell caster its not that cheesey.  I realize it makes for great "clockwork"-punk characters. here is the doc

    Here are my homebrew rules regarding crossbows. 

    • Crossbows can have strength bought up, at 7,500cp/75gp per +1 Str modifier. Crossbows deal more damage equal to  50% more modifier. A St+2, crossbow deals +3 damage.
      • Characters need to make a Con check equal to DC5 + 5 per modifier greater than their strength as a full round action to cock a crossbow greater than their Strength. On a failed roll gives the option to abort or continue to the next full round. Continuing On the next full round the Xbow is cocked if the Str modifier is at most 2 greater than the wielder. When the DC is impossible to make, a character cannot be allowed to roll.
        • Ex. if the character has only a +4 Modifier, but has a DC of 25, the GM does not allow the roll.
      • Prods allow a user to cock the crossbow a +2 Str modifier greater than their Strength as a full round action.
      • A Prod and Wynch allows a character to cock a Crossbow of Str modifier +4 greater than their strength in a minute.

    Lesser Swift Reload
    Transmutation [Crossbow]
    Level: Bard 0, Wiz/Sor 0
    Components: V, S
    Casting Time: 1 swift action
    Range: Touch
    Effect: Crossbow Touched
    Duration: Instantaneous
    Saving Throw: NA
    Spell Resistance: Yes
    Immediately upon completion of the spell, the target crossbow touched is cocked and a bolt from the caster's possession and his choosing is placed. This is only for hand crossbows, light crossbows, repeating light crossbows, and crossbows with no strength modifier.

    Swift Reload
    Transmutation [Crossbow]
    Level: Bard 1, Wiz/Sor 1
    Components: V, S
    Casting Time: 1 swift action
    Range: Touch
    Effect: Crossbow Touched
    Duration: Instantaneous
    Saving Throw: NA
    Spell Resistance: Yes
    Immediately upon completion of the spell, the target crossbow touched is cocked and a bolt from the caster's possession and his choosing is placed. This is only for crossbows with a strength modifier equal to half the wielder's caster level +1.

    Magazine Charge
    Transmutation [Crossbow]
    Level: Bard 2, Wiz/Sor 2
    Components: V, S
    Casting Time: 1 round
    Range: Touch
    Effect: Crossbow Touched
    Duration: 1 minute.
    Saving Throw: NA
    Spell Resistance: Yes
    Upon completion of the spell, a target crossbow touched is imbued with a number of charges equal to the caster level that will allow the the crossbow to be cocked and loaded with the bolts in the spellcaster's possession as a free action. Cocked and a bolt from the caster's possession and his choosing is placed. This is only for hand crossbows, light crossbows, repeating light crossbows, and crossbows with a strength modifier equal to a third of the wielder's caster level +1. Applying the Extend Spell doubles the charges and duration.

    Burst Shot
    Level: Bard 2, Wiz/Sor 2
    Components: V, S
    Casting Time: 1 swift action
    Range: Touch
    Effect: Crossbow with a Magazine Charge
    Duration: 1 round.
    Saving Throw: NA
    Spell Resistance: Yes
    Upon completion of the spell, a target crossbow touched which has a Magazine Charge spell. As an  attack action, you may fire a 3 bolts burst at a single opponent. These bolts use the same attack roll to determine a hit, divide the margin of success by 2 to determine how many additional bolts hit, then resolve damage normally.

    If the spell caster has multiple attacks, he can make each of these a 3 bolt burst attack as long as he has enough charges.

    Far Sight
    Level: Bard 2, Wiz/Sor 2
    Components: V, S
    Casting Time: 1 round
    Range: Personal
    Effect: Spellcaster
    Duration: 10 minutes per level.
    Saving Throw: NA
    Spell Resistance: Yes
    Upon completion of the spell, the caster gains the ability to extend his vision allowing to see x2 farther, and double every three levels after 3rd (x4 on 6th, x8 on 9th). This also grants a +5 enhancement bonus to vision based perception rolls, every time vision is multiplied (x2 has +5, x4 has +10, and x8 has +15).

    Transmutation [Crossbow]
    Level: Bard 2, Wiz/Sor 2
    Components: V, S
    Casting Time: 1 round
    Range: Touch
    Effect: Crossbow Touched
    Duration: 1 round/ level.
    Saving Throw: NA
    Spell Resistance: Yes
    Upon completion of the spell, a target crossbow touched transformed and enlarged into a crossbow one size bigger for every 3 caster levels. The crossbow has its Str modifier increased by +1 for every 3 caster levels. The caster has no penalties using this magically enhanced crossbow. Swift Reload still affects this crossbow in this new form, as long as it could have in its previous form.

    Hit Die: d8.


    To qualify to become an crossbowmancer, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
    Base Attack Bonus: +1.
    Skills: Stealth 2 ranks, Perception 2 ranks
    Feats: Proficiency in Crossbows, Exotic Weapon: Repeating Crossbows.
    Spells: Ability to cast 1st-level arcane spells and crossbow spells.

    Class Skills

    The Crossbowmancer’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Craft (Int), Stealth (Dex), Ride (Dex), Profession (Wis), Perception (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Use Rope (Dex).
    Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

    Table: The Crossbowmancer

    Caster Level
    Smart/Panache Aim

    Spontaneous Rearm
    +1 caster level
    Imbue bolt with ranged touch spell
    +2 caster level
    Imbue bolt with touch spell
    +3 caster level
    Imbue bolt with area effect spell

    Class Features

    All of the following are Class Features of the crossbowmancer prestige class.
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: An crossbowmancer is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light armor, medium armor, and shields.

    Smart Aim (Ex): A Crossbowmancer may add his Intelligence Modifier to all ranged attacks using crossbows wielded two handed. Wielding a crossbow one-handed, the crossbowmancer gains only half the bonus to ranged attacks. Alternative for Charisma-based spell casters: Panache Aim (Ex): A Crossbowmancer may add his Intelligence Modifier to all ranged attacks using crossbows wielded two handed.

    Spontaneous Rearm (Sp): A Crossbowmancer may exchange a spell prepared with crossbow spell as a free action.

    Imbue ranged touch spell (Sp): At 3rd level, a crossbowmancer gains the ability to place an ranged touch spell upon an bolt. When the bolt hits a target, it is as though the ranged touch spell hits this target. This ability allows the spellcaster to use the crossbow’s range rather than the spell’s range. It takes a standard action to cast the spell and fire the bolt. The bolt must be fired by the next round after the spell is cast, or the spell is wasted. This can only be done used an magical crossbow, that can impart a magical enhancement on the bolt.

    Imbue touch spell (Sp): At 4th level, a crossbowmancer gains the ability to place an area or touch spell upon an bolt. When the bolt hits a target, it is as though a touch spell hits this target. This ability allows the spellcaster to use the crossbow’s range rather than the spell’s range. It takes a standard action to cast the spell and fire the bolt. The bolt must be fired by the next round after the spell is cast, or the spell is wasted. This can only be done used an magical crossbow, that can impart a magical enhancement on the bolt.

    Imbue Area effect spell (Sp): At 5th level, a crossbowmancer gains the ability to place an area spell or burst spell upon an bolt. When the bolt is fired, the spell’s area is centered on where the bolt lands, even if the spell could normally be centered only on the caster. This ability allows the spellcaster to use the crossbow’s range rather than the spell’s range. It takes a standard action to cast the spell and fire the bolt. The bolt must be fired in the round the spell is cast, or the spell is wasted.

    Ambercrash Pryoblaster
    Transmuter (barred ench and necr) 2/ Crossbowmancer 5, Dwarf, female, Age: 100 (Late 20s)
    Med Humanoid (Dwarf); 2d6+6 plus 5d8+15 (50 hp); Con: 16; Init:+1; Spd: 20 ft. (4); AC: 15 (+5 BAB; +1 Dex, +2 shield), ff-15; DR: 3/- (Studded Leather) ; BAB/Gr:+5/+10;

    Mighty Str+4 Heavy Crossbow +6 ranged (1d10+6/19-20) (w/ prod and wynch)
    Mighty Str+3 Light Crossbow +6 ranged (1d8+4/19-20) (w/ prod)
    Full Attack:
    Mighty Str+4 Heavy Crossbow +6 ranged (1d10+6/19-20) (Trus Strike, Swift Reload)
    Mighty Str+3 Light Crossbow +4/+4 ranged (1d8+4/19-20) (Magazine Charge, 7 shots)
    Mighty Str+3 Light Crossbow +4/+4 ranged (1d8+4/19-20) (Magazine Charge, Burst Shot, 7 shots)
    Mighty Str+6 Heavy Crossbow +4/+4 ranged (3d6+9/19-20) (Trus Strike, Swift Reload)

    S/R: 5 ft./5 ft; SA: ; SQ: Darkvision 60 ft., +2 saves vs Spells, +2 saves vs poisons, stonecunning, +4 dodge vs Giants, +1 attack vs Orcs, +2 racial bonus to appraise and craft, Dwarven Weapons familiarity, Stability, Slow; Saves: F17, R12, W10; Abilities: Str12, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 8, Cha 8; Skills: Concentration+13, Spellcraft+13, Stealth+7, Perception+7, ; Ride+1; Feats: Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Practised Spellcaster, Far Shot, Scribe Scroll, Precise Shot.

    Familiar: Owl

    Spellcaster Level 7 (15/25 spell points)
    level 1 – *Magic Weapon*, True Strike x2, Still Image x2
    level 2 – *Alterself*, Far sight (3pts), True strike (3pts),
    level 3 – *Haste*, Major Image (5pts)

    Medium Animal (Mountain War Pony); 2d8+4 (18 hp); Con: 14; Init:+1; Spd: 40 ft. (8); AC: 12 (+2 BAB; +1 Dex, -1 Size), ff-11; DR: 2/- ; BAB/Gr:+1/+7; Attack: Hoof +3 melee (1d4+2); Full Attack: 2 Hooves +3 melee (1d4+2); S/R: 10 ft./5 ft; SA: -- ; SQ: Low Light Vision, Scent, Powerful Build; Saves: F16, R15, W11; Abilities: Str 15, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 4; Skills: Per +5, Athletics +5; Feats: Endurance; Alignment: None;
    Carrying Capacity
    A light load for a mountain warpony is up to 198 pounds; a medium load, 201-399 pounds; and a heavy load, 402-600 pounds. A mountain warpony can drag 3,000 pounds.

    Common tactics:
    1- keep hidden and magazine charge,
    2- true strike
    3- swift Burst Shot, Rapid Shot to attack twice at -2. 

    From a distance
    1 Far Sight, then pick off opponents at extreme range and a powerful crossbow. 

    • Make a Dragoon: taking mounted combat, mounted archery instead of precise and far shot. 
    • Wands and Magazine Charge make a great combo, by allowing the Crossbowmancer to house the wand in the crossbow. This allows to crossbowmancer to have a lot of charges. perfect for an assault specialist. 
      • A Crossbowmancer who can craft wand can make a 5 charge wand in a day at Caster Level 6 (good for 6 charges per activation) and 36xp and 900gp of materials. 
    • The Rogue can be a good user of crossbowmancer's tools because of sneak attack and the ability to activate a wand with such charges.
    • You can make a party of crossbowmancers specializing in various ranged combat roles, similar to modern day: marksman, gunner, assault, and crafter.