Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mass Combat

I have a (not-so) secret (anymore) process for getting through an epic battle in a way that doesn't take weeks or months (or even hours), but allows for the player characters to determine the outcome completely.

"Impossible!"  You may say.  I do admit that it's fast and dirty, so not for everyone, but it's a fair way of handling it in a short amount of time.  Behold:

Mass Combat Procedure (developed specifically for Tri-Stat dX, but adaptable for most any system with active attack and defense)

1. PCs and key NPCs choose their opponents and make attack and defense rolls as usual.  You may either use one round to determine the outcome, several and average it out, or continue until one party is clearly victorious or someone retreats.  Add +2 bonus to PC party's Mass Battle Roll if attack and defense (or most attacks and defenses) both succeed.  Add +1 bonus if only one succeeds.  Apply a penalty of -1 if one fails, and a penalty of -2 if both fail.

2. Add a bonus or penalty for the PC party's army size (if not equal to the opposing army).  100 troops vs 60 should incur a +2 bonus vs their -1 penalty, etc.  Use percentages to figure this if possible, taking into account superior training and equipment if applicable.

3. Add a bonus for tactical advantages (flanking, using cover, etc.) and terrain.

4. Generals (PC or player representing the team vs GM) make an opposed roll to determine success.

5. Determine casualties: difference in rolls +/- all modifiers x 0.01 (to determine %)

6. Losing General (or representative) makes Soul roll continue with a -1 penalty per every 10% casualties.

7. Repeat until one side surrenders, retreats, or is annihilated.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Low-Powered" Doesn't Have to be Boring

Something to think about; this is a 50 point character i just made with Tri-Stat dX (which is a quick, easy, and free point-buy, variable dice system).

Dryad [50]

Mind: 5
Body: 3

    Less Capable: Running Speed (-1)
Soul: 7
ACV: 5
DCV: 3
HP: 50

Armor: 3 (30 damage reduction)
Plant Control: 5 (10 meters)
Special Defense: Hunger (2)
Special Movement (1): Plant Meld, trees only
Reincarnation 4 (easy to stop, takes 1 day)

Achilles Heel: Fire (-3; takes x2 damage)
Marked: Unusual color (-3; green hair, gray-brown skin)
Vulnerability: Electricity (-3; all attributes inaccessible)

Monday, April 25, 2011

GMing Play-by-Post Games

My friends over at The Disciples of Grell seem to have discovered my humble blog, so hello to them!  I now feel the pressure to, ahem, post something.  And since my new readers have a play-by-post gaming site in common, i will blog about GMing play-by-post games.  Heck, maybe i'll even do a series on it.

For now, just some basic tips:

1. This may be really obvious, but create or choose a forum site that will allow you to edit or otherwise moderate posts.  (It's easy to set up your own free site somewhere like if you don't know someone that'll give you a spot on theirs.)  Forums are by far the simplest and most flexible medium of play.

2. Choose a system that all of your players have access to or can obtain easily.  It's rude to pick something that's $75+ for a used copy and otherwise unavailable.  If your prospective players have no prior experience, be prepared to answer a lot of questions.

3. Choose a system with a simple combat sequence. It is infinitely simpler to use systems in which characters do not have variable amounts of attacks that must be performed in a convoluted sequence. If a round is a round and everyone takes a turn during each (characters with multiple attacks simply make them all on their turn), you can establish the combat order and then just post for the opponents and NPCs as needed.

3. Check the math on your players' character sheets.  Trust me on this one!

4. Use as many visuals as possible.  It's more difficult to immerse over text, so consider providing pictures or art for major NPCs as well as maps and photos of places.  Google maps has a feature that allows you to mark places in real cities and share your edited versions privately.  If you don't want to search for images (or your forum settings don't support it), provide a lot of details.  It's better to explain too much than too little.

5. Have a plan, but be flexible.  Give the players enough room to effect the plot and interact with each other.  You're not limited to weekly sessions, so take advantage of the slower pace.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

D&D 4e Red Box

The boy had his first experience with D&D tonight.

(his sister wasn't quite as enamored)

Verdict: the choose-your-own-adventure style character creation is a quick, easy, fun start-up for ultra-n00bs like my 9-year-old son.  However, it's really only good for introducing one character.  After that, you either have to hope the other players will diverge widely from the path the one first took, or you're going to have to get creative.