Showing posts from November, 2023

Tinkering Fighters & Magic Weapons

You're a regular 1d figure. How many tries does it take to defeat another figure like you? Maybe 1 if you can land a hit, or 2 if you account for your chance to do that. Nope, 3.0 tries, on the dot. Then it takes 2.6 tries if you have 1d–1 hit die, and 2.3 tries if you have ½d hit die. That's pretty bad. And that's just for a 50% chance to hit. Upping this by 20% gives 2.2, 1.9, and 1.7. Not helping. Think about it this way, too: to find the chance of one-shotting a figure, multiply the attacker's to-hit chance by the chance they will deplete the target's hit points. For a 1d figure at a 50% to-hit, that's a 25% chance. Add +2.5% per extra 5% to-hit. Not good. This is why I've said before that fighters need some sort of cleave or sweep or multi-attack to be "useful", as well as an increase in damage over time, but as they stand the numbers by themselves are quite bad, and bonuses to damage can be hard to scale without getting out of hand . Here

Fighter Woes

Behold my woes: LBB or FMC : Lots of dice-rolling. AD&D: Stupid and bad; multi-attack hell. B/X or OSE : Plain boring. Boooooo. DCC: No multi-attacks. D&D4: Too many choices. D&D5 : The worst of AD&D, DCC, and D&D4. FMC Skirmishes : Hard to explain; relies on an alternate system; constant factor overwhelms random factor. FMC Basic : Having a damage floor is kinda awkward. What to do? Earlier I said that I like fighters adding their level to attack and damage rolls, in combination with some way for them to make multiple attacks per turn. That way, mid-level fighters are guaranteed to throw any regular figure they hit off the board, and can do so potentially multiple times per turn. I want fighter to be short for auto-fighter. The problem is that these effects have to be bound with respect to targets' hit points and bonuses from magic weapons, without becoming overwhelming. I don't really know what a solution looks like except for overhauling the who

Spotify Wrapped

You will look at my Spotify Wrapped.

Physical Media Collection

I'm thinking that I want to start collecting DVDs of movies and shows that I like. On one hand, it's because streaming is annoying and increasingly expensive. On the other hand, I want to fill my media console with stuff because my kitty baby Rainbow has proved a danger to all the little trinkets I used to have in there. So, I made a check-off list of movies or shows that I like to (or would like to) rewatch and maybe would want to display. Agatha Christie's Poirot Arrival Barbie Bottoms Breakfast on Pluto Clue Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Get Out Gone Girl The Green Knight Heaven's Design Team The Hunchback of Notre Dame Interstellar Judas and the Black Messiah Kingsman Knives Out The Lost City Mamma Mia (1 & 2) Mulan The Mummy Neon Genesis Evangelion Ocean's 8 Phantom of the Opera Pitch Perfect (1 & 3) Prince of Egypt The Princess Bride Renfield Shin Godzilla A Simple Favor Sorry to Bother You Stardust Taylor Swift: Reputation Studio Tour Tw

5e Campaign Length

Kaique pointed out in the comments of my last (actual) post, " 5e Campaign Structure ", that there is actually some variation in level duration between the beginning and end of a character's progression: namely, that levels in the second tier last for more adventuring days than levels in the other tiers. On one hand I wanted to bring attention to this in itself, but also I found another interesting effect. It seems like, if you round normally (instead of up or down), the total number of adventuring days it takes to level up is 31. This means that a campaign set at the default time tick, so to speak, takes 31 in-world days if you're hauling ass. This increases to 43 days if you round up, although that might not necessarily be reflective of actual play since 5e does not put any restrictions on leveling or gaining experience (e.g., a character could technically level-up midday and continue to gain experience even if they don't gain the benefits of that level until a



5e Campaign Structure

There's one of two ways this will go: either I'm a crackpot, or I'm a captain obvious. Been thinking of two posts: Dwiz on long rests , and Inevitable Gumbo on experience . Dwiz points out that the function of long rests in 5e is not at all to simulate the effects of sleep than it is to pace the game, by way of the consumption and restoration of resources (esp.: hit points and spell slots). He finds that the "gritty realism" variant is better at this than the typical 8-hour rest rule, since it's more likely that the party will deal with approximately 7 encounters between long rests. Gumbo looks at the encounter experience chart for general challenge experience. Not only can you use the guidelines for encounter difficulty to gauge the experience earned from completing a challenge, but you can use that same method to determine experience in hindsight of an encounter. You could combine this understanding with a simplified pip system for tracking experience, unde

Recent Approaches to OD&D

What brought this on was that I just published FMC Basic on Itch, and wanted to reflect on how the way I play OD&D has changed over the last few months. For a while, my skirmish rules were it (of which you can find the 'final' version in FMC proper ) because they felt like a direct translation between the mass warfare of Chainmail and the so-called 'alternate combat system' in OD&D . FMC Basic by Traverse Fantasy The gist is that any number # of ~1 HD figures can combine their attacks into one like a # HD figure; for example, 4 orcs can combine their forces and attack like a 4 HD figure. This relies upon a # HD figure adding # to attack and damage, so our 4 orcs fighting like Voltron add +4 to attack and damage. I fell out of love with this subsystem because although it condensed multiple figures into one unit, the rules themselves felt more arbitrary like they were still holding onto awkward D&D conventions. I don't like adding the same number

Dungeon Stocking Algorithm

Suppose my bite-sized dungeon ( now on Itch ) as a basis, that we have 2 static groups of monsters and 2 treasure hoards (one being guarded, the other being hidden or trapped). How do we fill those abstract boxes? Let's also suppose the OD&D monster experience formula with a twist: 100 experience per hit die, plus +50% for medium armor, +100% for heavy armor, and +50% for having special powers. This is more reliable than just using hit dice by itself, since a monster's armor class greatly impacts its difficulty. Now, let's say a level- x site should have an experience value equal to 1,000 times  x . For example, a level-1 site should have about 1,000 experience. This value is the budget for monsters and treasure (in separate pools) onsite. 1,000 experience can correspond to: 13 hoblins (HD 1/2, medium armor). 7 porcs (HD 1, medium armor). 1,000 g.p. worth of value (or whatever coin you use). Excluding wandering monsters, the site contains a total of 2,000 experience

Sword Art Online: An Informal Review

Ughghgghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Okay. Deep lore time. I didn't watch anime growing up, or really much now. Up to a point—put a pin in it—I didn't play much video games either except Minecraft because my friends had it (and now I'm basically back to just Minecraft and the occasional farming game, although lately I got really into Miitopia for some reason). Most of my interests were things that my friends were interested in, and I'm still like that now to some extent. I was 13 years old. My friends from my old school told me that Sword Art Online was really good. Some friends from my new school told me that Sword Art Online was really good. This scene girl who wore a fucking cat tail to school told me that Sword Art Online was really good. So I watched it. I really liked it. Sort of. I skipped the parts I didn't like on rewatches, but otherwise got really into it. I read all the books. I collected all the fan translations and followed their progress each day. I comp

Updated Mac & Cheese Recipe

Hi all! I've updated my mac & cheese casserole recipe after experimenting with it for this year's Thanksgiving, and also made a printout sheet to share with my partner's mother and her sister. Hope it comes handy for others!   Happy Thanksgiving! :)

OD&D Class Distribution

I wrote a program simulating the distribution of character types in OD&D , accounting for the total prime requisite bonuses players receive for high scores in ability categories. By class: 39% become fighters. 28% become mages. 34% become clerics. By XP bonus: 37% receive +10% (PR ≥ 15). 28% receive +5% (15 > PR ≥ 13). 34% receive +0% (13 > PR ≥ 9). 2% receive a penalty (9 > PR). Maybe the PR boundaries could be fiddled with, since it looks kind of like a weird distribution. It makes sense if you were using 3d6 raw, but not if you're virtually increasing PR. By the way, the average virtual PR is ~13.6. I wanted to also simulate a new class determination method. Roll d4 representing a mage, d6 representing a cleric/expert, and d8 representing a fighter. The highest die of the three is your class, and the number is your hit points. The result: 55% become fighters (average hp: 5.8). 13% become mages (average hp: 3.3). 32% become experts (average hp: 4.6). Total average hp

FMC Basic: Personal Pamphlet

Just wanted to get all my house rules in one place! Here's a GDrive link ; the PDF is in color. By the way, I just published a workbook for bite-sized dungeons on Itch!

OD&D Lost Procedure as Random Hex Travel

Quoting from FMC because it's on hand: "If the party becomes lost, the referee rolls a die to see in which way the party wanders. The party may then correct their course by one direction change" (p. 136). I also point out that, as a result, there is really only a 3-in-6 chance of ending up in the wrong hex. Which is interesting! Let me break this down some more: 3-in-6: You enter the intended hex. 2-in-6: You enter a hex adjacent of the one intended. 1-in-6: You go totally off-path. The last two results are split evenly between the (relative) left or right directions of the intended hex, because of how the die roll itself works. But isn't that neat? On one hand, it's actually extremely uncommon to end up in the wrong hex. The highest chance of this happening is in the desert where there is a 50% chance of invoking the above rule, and by extension only a 25% chance of ending up in the wrong hex. It's very forgiving. On the other hand, I kind of like the ide

Gran Carcosium: Session 1

My friend Alex from To Distant Lands has been working on a really fun campaign setting. In his words, it's Carcosa but with the nasty shit replaced with Final Fantasy aesthetics. I only have secondhand knowledge of Final Fantasy , but that means a mix of fantasy, sci-fi, and retro elements blended together into a fruity smoothie. This isn't Dungeons & Dragons . It's Crystals & Chocobos ! We played using Legends , a "lo-fi hi-fantasy" micro-game in the 24XX series. Summary My character was Trixie the Auto Tech, a car mechanic with an old red convertible (I don't know much about cars) and a giant wrench. I thought of her as being like fantasy Cuban. My friend Halloween from Underground Adventures played Malice the Gun Witch, which is delightfully self-descriptive. We were exiled from our ex-country for being public nuisances, and thrown into the strange prison land of Carcosium. One day, we happened to be driving across the plains when we heard a st

FAQ U: What is Fascism?

I seem to have stepped into some shit when I published Fantastic Medieval Campaigns. The olds were, as expected, aghast at the (not so) “secret postface”. This was on one hand because they were mad that someone put politics in their elf game—such that there are “depoliticized” copies of the PDF floating around online, which is deeply hilarious and stupid if not also poetic. On the other hand, there were more “educated” complaints that I invoked a vulgar notion of fascism detached from historical context or specificity. I think this is an interesting topic to explore, since it is so contentious and revelatory of one’s own political perspective. “ The Fascist Manifesto ” (1919) This text is short enough that I could replicate it here, actually. Italians! Here is the program of a genuinely Italian movement. It is revolutionary because it is anti-dogmatic, strongly innovative and against prejudice. For the political problem, WE DEMAND: Universal suffrage polled on a regional basis,

Modes of D&D

Prerequisite: " Six Cultures of Play " by The Retired Adventurer I feel like I have two orientations towards D&D that are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but are at least competitive with each other with regards to focus and approach. One is where I make a fun character and explore their personality and relationships with others, as well as with the game-world. The other is where I am basically playing an arcade game. Again, it's not that there's not overlap—I love some arcade gaminess with my OC role-play and some OC role-play in my arcade game—but the one that's the main focus of a session tends to overwhelm the other. Go figure! I've been working on my idealized OC-style game for a while, in the form of FIVEY . It's very fun and easy for what it is trying to accomplish, and it even meets gamey expectations well. But it's not the same as saying, " I'm a wizard in a cave !" One has a lot more buy-in and greater stakes, whereas