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