Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Jeeves and The Skeeves

I keep seeing this boardgame that i didn't back mentioned.  Dungeon Degenerates.  I love the art and the feel of the thing.

The Skeeves are a bunch of klartesh-smoking, nubile, attractive, totally sexless and seriously dangerous elf-like things that hang out in ancient wood groves and dungeon rooms-of-a-certain-size.  As the party approaches, a smell of sex and resinous smoke is detected, but a male elf will smell the smells a long ways off if the party doesn't approach directly.  A sentient creature with keen hearing can make out sighing, moaning, giggling, and slurping.

On arrival, a gaggle of pink and luscious forms can be discerned through a pall of what is evidently klartesh smoke, and a single representative will approach the party and welcome them in. Everybody, no matter their orientation, must make a DC 16 (i.e. fairly difficult, I mean these are adventurers, after all) Personality/Wisdom/Save vs. Charm analog. Failing means they come under the sway of the Skeeves and lose time. Roll 1d8 for the group.  This is how many days those who failed their saves will lose to slurping/moaning/smoking. The direct result is lost time, but the indirect result is loss of a random point (1d8) of (1-2) Intelligence (3-4) Constitution/Stamina, (5-6) Luck, (7) 1d4 Hit Points (8) Divine Favor/Patron Bond or equivalent per day. Sentient creatures who die as a result will be rolled off the cushions and hidden or taken away by servants. When the effects wear off, provided the victim is still alive, then they become disillusioned and irritable and harsh the whole mellow of the thing, and are promptly uninvited.

In the meantime, party members who did save have the odious task of dispelling the charm effect, by whatever means necessary. The most efficacious way is high wind, rain, flooding, or ice since these will undo the conditions that make the things so attractive (warm, smoky, cuddly, fleshy). In truth, the Skeeves are an elf-like race that preys upon the desires of adventurers and other sordid types. Bags of Doritos litter their lairs.

The Jeeves are a race of clockwork/steam/electric/organic/demonic/necormantic butlers. They secretly hate their masters, but will obey dutifully and to the letter of requests, especially if it will put masters in harm's way or transfer ownership/servitude of the Jeeve in question to a more powerful master. The never tire, never sleep, and need no food or water. The speed and cleverness of the Jeeve will depend upon their components: i.e. clockwork Jeeves are somewhat slow, uncreative, and wimpy. Organic and demonic Jeeves will be quite clever, malicious, and innocent looking but their beating hearts and sadistic eyes may give their intentions away. A Jeeve will follow any request it is given as long as the request will not effectively cause its own death, and it will obey gleefully if it will cause the death of its current master, and doubly so if the request is from the master in question.

Sometimes whole dungeons can be over-run with a nicely harmonic ecosystem of Jeeves serving Skeeves and their victims, and when equilibrium is threatened the homeostasis breaks and bonuses can be had to the Skeeves charm-effect saving throws and Jeeves will peel off to serve adventurers and redirect them to more imminently dangerous zones.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Autoconveyors of Thrend

All this RPG'ing, in my head anyway, happens in my own little contiguous universe.  The main world is maybe Aereth, I guess, like in DCC.  The other one is Nebulmor, the Tomb World where Space Dungeon takes place. There's a beat up shithole named Rad.  They farm radishes. Sometimes, they are highly irradiated and mutant-rich, some other times they are perched on the edge of a hole (I think one version of it appeared on top of +Daniel Bishop's Silent Night). There's Helleborine, "that town over there", and Marbourg - kind of my "home town".  Floating languidly down the coast is Aubergiole, where men dally with fishy horrors.

The confines of genre are stupid; my things are maybe more like Titan and Magnamund than Faerun or Middle Earth. Where maybe the lines between fantasy and scifi are not as clear as they are now, sort of like in the beginning.

For example, there must be cars. The roads suck, but there are cars since (in theory at least) I love car chases.  And I like the idea of scrounging for gas and parts. And flat tires.  I figure, if you can't smoosh a crummy beater into your imagination zone, you probably wouldn't enjoy the games I run anyways.  Maybe this post is a clear statement of intent.

I think most of the cars must be hilarious, awful, cramped boxes of shit that respond well to tinkering and are immune to the problems we have today in terms of proprietary parts. It occurs to me that having cars means people need driver's licenses and so, High Schools and Driver's Schools must be a thing. I refer you to the thing I recently dropped on Google Plus called Alma Mongrel.

Anyway, here are some of the cars I think do well in my fantasy/sci-fi/post-apocalypse world of Aereth in the Kingdom of Thrend (first named casually in a session but then somewhat codified in The Hounds of Halthrag Keep). When they DO breakdown, it gives you a perfect excuse for an adventure...

Imagine these with ballistae, .40 caliber heavy machine guns, steam and/or nuclear or shoggoth-powered engines... Rowdy paint-jobs, magic hood ornaments, missing pieces, weird gizmos. Screaming down the highway at night, chased by Nightgaunts or a Dracolich.  I don't know.  I guess I don't get to use chase rules enough...

Dystopian Simulation

Working on Actually finished since post was writ, that is I finished this Grand Theft Auto 4 mod project, just trying to capture a certain Half-Life 2/Stalker/Exclusion Zone feel. Maybe Innsmouth? Like a version of Innsmouth from that movie Dagon, in which the town really sucked. I don't mean to say I made a mod, but I collected a bunch and just enjoy driving around in it and watching bad things go down.  Why? I don't know.

Some mods listed below:


... and a couple of different Fiats


The Simple Native Trainer

The Selfie Mod

The Facial Animation Mod

Pedestrian Changer

First Person View

Then there's this one script in which total war erupts in town and it's cops and gang bangers and drive bys like 24/7 365 and I made sure it's raining and lightning all the damn time and it's not as fun as I thought.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Social interaction Combat

Social interaction "Combat"

Laying in bed. Back all fucked. Thinking about ways to reinforce RP the way that combat encounters are reinforced. Don't get me wrong violence in RPGs is fun but the way it's done is not fun. Maybe a better blog post about this after I think it some more. There are lots of improv games; I mean LOTS. I don't do improv. So I may get off base here. I tried LARPIng once at Camp Nerdly and it literally blew my mind about how different RPGs could be if we had the will to mix it up a bit. I use DCC as a basic thought framework, here, and it makes an assumption that you also add in reaction rolls a la Moldvay and morale rolls in combat (interestingly, I think that morale rolls can be transitioned into the system I am about to propose but hang on cause I need some Tylenol)

Say we wanted to promote Role-play the way that the ritualized combat roll-play gets highlighted in our games.  DCC is great in that it awards 1-4 XP based on encounter risks/costs more than monster power or gold accumulation. A dragon and a major demon and an angry god all gonna award 4. Easy peasey. That's if you kill it; sneak away; trick it; ally with it. Whatever - modified subjectively by the DM.  A friendly God of Partying will not award as much as an Angry God of Partying on account of less risk to the PCs

If we want to promote/reinforce role play, then players, rather than just DM ought to be role playing and expanding and advancing the story at these interactive times. So we need to reward those actions. In a non-combat encounter, a player needs to know motives to do the acting. PCs come with built-in motives. NPCs offer an opportunity for a group to expand the narrative and so if a group wants to Role play/improv and encounter actors and directors are nominated. You get points for rounds where you move the narrative toward your motivation as an PC/NPC but if aren't "acting" then you also get points for expanding on the action for people to use in the role playing. Personally I would give points or bonuses for "selling it" by using dumb voices and body language but that's me

You go a couple of rounds with no cap on length until the group or (optionally) the DM figure its enough. I think an hour of roleplaying/acting in turn in a circle would be as enjoyable (possibly more so) than dicing hits/misses. You can squeeze in mechanics as appropriate (bluff/intimidate) and this offers the opportunity to burn Luck on dicing

More later, maybe. The key is that no one's setting there picking their nose, either you're improving by acting/drama-ing/role-playing, or you are adding to the narrative by introducing/expanding the current action. ("The kobold is thinking that the thigh meet in the elf looks especially luscious" or "little does the party know that a gang of Meazels is around the bend with garrotes if this thing goes south")

Popcorn initiative. Passing is not punished it's just not reinforced with IP (improv points) that round. The IP points are divided up equally so if you pass, the group gets less IP which are converted to LUCK/HP/XP (choose one) at the end of the encounter. Sorry about the Blithering Idiocy, I'm still in bed and in a gray haze of lower back pain

More later. I encourage feedback and thoughts

Edit: makes the assumption that HP are not an indicator of physical condition but of ability to avoid killing blows  a PC with low HP is maybe unscathed but in existential peril, or maybe (according to the player) wounded pretty badly

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