Wednesday, April 29, 2020

New Cover Art


The updated wrap-around cover for Sorrow in Haven (Revised Edition)


I expect the new draft will be ready for player-driven testing and proofing (those folks are BRUTAL) by the end of May, which  is behind schedule, but we can't sit down anyway so I'm not worried abotu it :)

Property Rules
Haven is a packed, overcrowded place, but PCs can get their hands on property. The monthly cost to rest is based on the location (social class) and size of property (based on a tiered scale). Size is abstracted into "units" of 10' x 10' spaces. For property larger than 15 units in size, the price of additional units increases, and the price increases again at 26 or more.

 Class  Tier 1 (1-15 units)  Tier 2 (16-25 units)  Tier 3 (26+ units) 
 Low
3
10
30
 Mid
8
30
120
 High
25
125
625

Some examples:
  • A 9 unit property in a lower class district would cost: [9 x 3] 27 groats per month
  • A 17 unit property in a middle class district would cost: [(15 x 8) + (2 x 30)] 180 groats per month
  • A 28 unit property in a high class district would cost: [(15 x 25) + (10 x 125) + (3 x 625)] 3500 groats per month


Each Unit is a dedicated space. Some examples:
  • Personal Rooms: enough space for 2 people to have their own small rooms.
  • Barracks: up to 6 people can bunk in this space, cramped but functional.
  • Collection: libraries and laboratories require one unit per 200g of value.
  • Display Area: merchants need to be able to display their goods and folks to walk around
  • Storage Room: for areas packed with goods or materials
  • Common Area: open space with tables, enough for space for about 10 people
  • Prep Areas: such as a bar or kitchen, can handle up to 2 seating areas
  • Base Improvements: Base improvements (page 113), such as a Darks Chamber, may require additional units.

To outright purchase a property is the monthly cost x 100 (for low class), 150 (middle class), or 200 (for upper class). Then on top of that are monthly maintenance fees of 10% of the original monthly cost.

For those 3 properties mentioned above:
  • 9-unit lower class: purchase for 2700, monthly maintenance cost of 3g
  • 17-unit middle class: purchase for 27000, monthly maintenance of 18g
  • 28-unit upper class: purchase for 700000, monthly maintenance of 350g

Side Note: 33% of a character's monthly Lifestyle cost can be applied directly to property expenses.

So ... why do this?
It seems like some fiddly nonsense. However, more than one player over the years has started a money-making scheme, needed a base of operations, or any manner of thing where some rules for property became important. They aren't necessary and have little bearing on reality (but do work out nicely with the lifestyle costs.

Lets say you've got a crew of 3 adventurers who are "working class" lifestyle. That totals to 75g/month, of which 25 is considered to be applied to property. They could rent, for "free" any property that costs 25g or less each month. An 8-unit lower class property (definitely a bar with rooms), a 4-unit middle class place (an apartment with some storage space), or 1-unit upper class joint (a cramped barracks).

Fine. But WTF does that have to do with the Cover Art?
Nothing. But this does...

Escian Queen's Gimp 
Threat 6 - Large Neutral Filth (Human Intelligence); Demeanor: Hateful; Ferocity: Unrelenting
Encounter 1 wandering, 1d3 stocked; (never in lair)
 Init: +2    Attack: +3    Speed: 8    Damage: 3d4    Heavy Spear   
 Defense:+2   DR: 3    KO: +10    END: 32    VIT: 26   
Description: Escian giant-kin that have been bound to serve their Queen without question. They love her and hate everything else. Their armor is permanent and welded shut. Their massive spears cause opponents to stagger (each 4 rolled for damage is instead 1 damage but the target is stunned for 1d6 segemnts).

Escian Queen
Threat 12 - Giant Evil Fey (Brilliant Intelligence); Demeanor: Manipulative; Ferocity: Dangerous
Encounter never wandering, 1 stocked; (always in lair)
 Init: +4 Attack: +10    Speed: 8    Damage: 3d4+2    Pummeling Fist   
 Defense:+4   DR: 2    KO: +8    END: 174    VIT: 183   
Description: the giant witch-queens have the powers and advances of a 6th level wizard including 4 cynosure. They are incredibly rare to encounter, but their influence is likely felt by folk long before they know what is happening. They are outcasts of the Autumn Court and wish to gain power to destroy the Autumn Court. 4 Queens are known to still be living, and another 3 rumored to still hold sway. The Queens Yrio and Hesphetia are dead, but the other Queens still speak of them as though they are still in power.They rarely leave their throne rooms, but when they do they move without making a noise or leaving a trail. If forced into physical combat, a critical or legendary strike with their fist does an additional 1d10 damage.





Tuesday, April 14, 2020

New Logo

Going for that old school pulp scifi / fantasy vibe ... The revised edition is on the way!


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Art for Sorrow in Haven

The editing is in full swing and the new illustrations are almost done. Here are a few for you to enjoy!

A templar bringing down divine wrath upon the undead hoard.

A wizard with her familiar.

The five traditions of magic and their their connections to each other





Friday, March 27, 2020

Task Difficulty in BXDH

As editing progresses in Sorrow in Haven, I've been running a campaign with multiple parties in Castle Gargantua. I modded up Basic D&D (I'm calling the system BXDH) with a simple "Aim for 20" resolution system.

Aim for 20 in a Nutshell

  • Roll 1d20 + level  + modifier. If the score is 20 or higher, you succeed.
  • Level is character level, except for attacking (which is BASED on level and STR or DEX modifiers for melee and ranged).
  • Modifier is an attribute modifier, saving throw modifier, or skill modifier. Turning the Undead gets another mod based on undead HD, and attacking adds the targets AC.


I've kept it simple on purpose - originally for faster play at the table and now online. It works, but there are some questions about task difficulty. So ... some options ...

Advantage and Disadvantage
This works by changing the distribution of the d20 roll. Disadvantage is usually handed out when folks are in trouble (you are crippled by poison!) or do describe something amazing (handed out as a reward). It works, but is purely mechanical.

More Interesting Option: Change the Stakes
Changing the stakes of failure definitely changes things.  For example, climbing that 30' cliff could have 3 difficulties based on failure:

  • Low: you can't get a good grip and are unable to climb
  • Moderate: you'll get stuck part way up and have to check again
  • High: you'll definitely fall from 20-30' up (which is 2d8 or 3d8 damage, which is a LOT)
Getting a Critical Failure (Natural 1) increases the failure results

  • Low: you are stuck
  • Moderate: you fall
  • High: one of these: no save for 1/2 damage, 2d4+8 or 3d4+12 damage, automatically break a random limb

Another Option: Succeed with a Cost
I really liked this option in Dungeon World and use it sometimes. Using it all the time doesn't feel right because sometimes things just don't work. A roll fails, but I'll give the player an option to succeed for a cost. Some examples:

  • Low: it takes twice the time to climb (time tracking is a big deal in this game)
  • Moderate: Cut off your backpack to lose some weight
  • High: Lose 1d4 HP to exhaustion; 0 hp becomes 1 hp but you have a sprain and disadvantage to things for a while.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Gear Durability

I like the idea of gear breaking down - it makes choosing the right equipment important, adds another layer of resource management, and allows for some minor boons and improvements to gear. But tracking gear hit points sucks. Having items be in perfect condition or broken is boring.

I tried a durability system with descending die types, but that just didn't hit the spot - gear was too durable to the point where it wasn't even interesting to track - it became pointless book keeping.

So ... the Durability Die Rules for Sorrow in Haven v2:

The Durability die is used to check if an item breaks. When the GM calls for a Durability Roll and the result is a 1 or 2, the item is Damaged. A broken item may still be usable in this state (at the GM's discretion), but if a second Durability Roll produces a result of 1 or 2, the item is Broken and can no longer be used.

Repairing Gear
Repairing Damaged gear costs 20% of the base cost. Repairing Broken gear costs 50% of the base cost and 50% of the time will permanently reduce the durability die by 1 type. If the die type would be reduced from a d4, the item is permanently Broken.

Durability Scale
d4: super fragile
d6: normal items
d8: sturdy biz

The die an specific item also determine when a roll is made. If an item is encountering normal wear and tear or use then no roll is needed. Like a prybar being used to pry open a chest - no roll required. But if a 10' pole is used to brace across a hole and a bunch of people hang from it, you bet there is a durability roll.

Advantage and Disadvantage can be applied to durability rolls as well, but if it has Advantage why even roll?


Monday, March 9, 2020

Some Shitty Magic Rings

Artwork for Sorrow in Haven is still filtering in, and looking grand. I'm running some old school D&D and have a Mothership game in the works while I'm preparing for some hard editing. Also, some of my group are running their own games for a while, which is pretty sweet. In the mean time, here are some shitty magic rings I just thought of.

  1. Eldriband's Canker: simple silver ring with a grotty white stone. Put it on and you are covered, head to toe, in painful bloody warts. Disadvantage to everything for a day, then you get used to it. The benefit? Gain 1 DR forever. But you look nasty - which is Advantage or Disadvantage to PRE checks (depending on the situation). Cursed: take it off and a replacement GROWS on your finger in 1d6 days. If the curse is removed, the warts fade after 1d4 weeks.
  2. Ghostfinger: translucent crystal ring. Put it on and your finger is chopped off and the ring falls to the ground (it clearly has other applications) - lose 1 point of maximum VIT because it is really painful. After 1 night of sleep, your ghost finger, which is entirely invisible, appears and is fully functional.  Also, you can hit incorporeal things now. Lose more fingers? gain +1 to hit incorporeal things for each finger you lose. That last bit doesn't work if you are wearing gloves. 
  3. Ring of Rings: simple gold band inscribed with concentric circles. Roll 1d100 after each night of sleep. A new gold ring appears on an adjacent finger worth that much (in groats, of course)! The new rings are completely normal and you must have a free finger. However, for every 10g of value of new rings generated, add +1 to the next roll. If you ever roll MORE than 100 the next ring is a brass collar and you are now enslaved to the Ringlord Freldor who will find you and will be able to control all of your actions and he is pretty unpleasant. Also the when that happens the Ring of Rings disappears.
  4. Brass Destroyer: a brass ring that becomes brass knuckles when you get angry. you get +2 damage if unarmed and you punch with this hand. On a critical success do triple damage (quintuple damage on a legendary) but your hand is broken and won't heal for a month, which means no holding things (or punching) with that hand. Luckily you have another hand. And feet - it could be a toe ring.
  5. Ring of Posies: with a touch you give folks the plague, even if you don't want to or if they touch you. You are immune to disease until you take the ring off, then you immediately contract the black death, or red death, or whatever super awful plague exists in your campaign. On the bright side, you always smell like fresh flowers even if you take the ring off - forever. How delightful.
  6. Circle of Death: ring of bone, carved tiny skull on it. looks super metal. touch anything alive and say the word and they must pass a CON Save (difficulty 10) or die. Each time you do this one of your fingers withers and will remain on your hand as a blackened reminder of your move (no healing or magic can fix this relic's curse). When you lose a finger roll 1d6: (1-2) lose that many max VIT (3-5) -1 DEX (6) -1 CON and your shadow starts acting up and plotting what may be your own demise.
Not using Sorrow in Haven - no problem. some OSR conversions:

  • Chance PRE to CHA
  • Maximum VIT loses are losses to maximum HP
  • groats are whatever your base currency is (or if in a money-tight game the next lowest coin)
  • critical or legendary hits - just increase the critical hit results for your game. don't use critical hits? add them in for this one


Thursday, January 23, 2020

Castle Gargantua

taking a break from Sorrow in Haven for a bit. the new artwork is coming in (Scott Lemien) , which is fantastic, but I just can't start the editing process - need to spend some time looking at other things. So right now one of my players is running a 5e game for the group, but that is set to finish up shortly. Another is going to run a KULT game when he is back from a trip to Vietnam. In between, though, I I've prepped for a game of Castle Gargantua!

The Game System
I wrote up rules that I'm calling BXHD. They are basically BE(CMI) D&D with an adaptation of the Target 20 system. Human characters only - which means cleric, fighter, mage (I've always hated "magic-user"), & thief. Then to add some spice, I'm using a variation on the Random Character Advancement to allow for characters to have a bit of elf blood or be more barbarian than fighter. I'm 100% OK with a thief taking a ranger roll or a cleric picking up something from the barbarian table. Should be fun :)

I'm also a sucker and had to add in OVERCASTING. Mage and Cleric can cast a spell beyond their "safe" limit (spell slots), but failure has consequences. Magical Chaos in the case of the Mage, Atonement requirements in the case of Clerics.

... and the LUCK stat. CC is 3d6 in order ... then roll for Luck and you can swap it with another score. There might be a LUK check sometimes, but mostly characters can burn the score and get a +1d6 on their d20 rolls. Characters with a positive LUK modifier are "lucky" and those without are "unlucky" - that will start showing up immediately when random targets are assigned and whatnot.

The Castle
I took the random generators in the book and created some Tablesmith tables, then generated the whole damn castle, each region having 1d4+4 rooms. 20% of the rooms have descriptions pulled from my random dungeon generator instead of those in the book to add some spice, and i added a few other bits including a few restock rolls to make things faster later.  Generated rooms look like this:

Area 5-3: TUNNEL, Rectangular chamber (3x2) [STONE]
  Furniture: Man-sized      Lighting: Dark
  Enter from 1
     Exit 1 (N): Iron door; room after corridor with several turns and doors
  * Drizzling rain

Restock: Monster: Valkyries
Restock: Nothing
Restock: Nothing
Restock: Monster: Border patrol
Restock: Nothing
Area 6-6: TOPIARY GARDEN, Circular chamber (radius 5) [LUST]
  Furniture: Mixed      Lighting: Illuminated
  Enter from 2
     Exit 1 (W): Wooden door, painted; room after climbing several flights of stairs
     Exit 2 (S): Wooden door, painted; room just behind exit
  -- rotted Tatters lie bundled against a wall. Wode tattooed pigs pursue, nipping at heels
  # Monster: Houris
  # Loot: A sturdy copper collar with a chain worth 9cp

Restock: Nothing
Restock: Nothing
Restock: Nothing
Restock: Nothing
Restock: Nothing

I wanted to include the option for classic D&D monsters too, so 50% of wandering monsters are the patrols from the book, which are awesome, and 50% are random D&D critters (basic and expert only). The D&D creates are generated with NO REGARD for character level because that is just more fun. They don't have to fight them - they just encounter them, maybe in the middle of something else. Sample from the generator:


Castle Guards x3
  Made of: Rotting Flesh. The guards always attack last.
  They can shoot black laser rays for 1d8 damage with their eyes in addition to their standard spear attack.
  HD: (rabble), AC: 7, Spear: 1d6 (rabble scale)


Gargoyle x2 (Chaotic)   (B30)
HD: 4 XP: 125 Treasure : C
Mv: 90(F150) Morale: 11 Save: F8
AC: 5 Thac0: 16 Attacks & Damage : 2 clws (1d3), 1 bite (1d6), & 1 horn (1d4)
* Can only be hit by magic or magic weapons
* Not affected by Sleep or Charm


Bandit x1 ( Neutral)   (B25)
HD: 1 XP: 10 Treasure : U(A)
Mv: 90 Morale: 8 Save: T1
AC: 6 Thac0: 19 Attacks & Damage : 1 weapon


Castle Guards x4
  Made of: Tin. The guards are considered to be wearing chain mail armor.
  They ignore all creatures except undead.
  HD: (rabble), AC: 7, Spear: 1d6


They list Thac0, but only because I couldn't be bothered to remove it from the generator as it was written ages ago. Same with the treasure - that isn't happening.

So ...

  • I've pre-generated 2 Castle Gargantuas (one for a game I'm trying to run at the Granite Coast Brewing on their game night, the other for my home game).
  • I generated a few pages of wandering monsters, to be used by either game
  • I created a "quick view" of the monsters presented in CG for quick reference
  • I have the game system written up/out and ready go
  • Character sheets are ready

I'm super stoked to run this properly ... dipped my toes in a year or tow ago with a single session, but this is full prep madness. If anyone is interested in the tablesmith tables, let me know; i can set you up with everything.