Saturday, August 16, 2014

Stats revision

After some suggestions by +Marshall Brengle I rethinked the Steel stat and now I'm calling it Guts, as in brave and strong-willed but also instinct reaction. So I can work on moves for the players to see what their guts tells them.

Also, I want to clarify that Virtue and Taint are special stats, they are 2 sides of the same coin, so I'm thinking that whenever you increase you Taint you loose Virtue and vice versa.

Here is the modified Stats list. What do you think?

Basic stats
Might: meaning aggressive, violent, physically strong, resilient.
Finesse: meaning artfully subtle, graceful, quick, nimble.
Guts: meaning resolute, bold, strong-willed, intuitive.
Reason: meaning rational, clever, alert, perceptive, learned.
Passion: meaning impulsive, sensitive, alluring, inspiring, full of fervor.

Special stats
Taint: meaning stained with corruption, dark-hearted, connected to the Dark Powers.
Virtue: meaning holy, righteous, good-hearted, ethical, highly moral.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Old School setting with New School stats

Sometime before, more than once, I've found myself looking at the ability scores in my D&D character sheet and thought, "something here doesn't quite click". Take Charisma for example. Why does my Sorcerer's charisma allows him to cast spells? Why does my Paladin's charisma influences the effectiveness of his powers, does his looks or personality have a say on how pious he is? I mean, the Bard, ok that fits, but the others? And sometimes Wisdom and Intelligence kind of get me similar itches. I know it's just an abstraction, and obviously I just let it thru. And don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed hours and hours of gaming with those Ability Scores but, what if? Just, what if?
So here I am taking a shot, and trying something different, following the lead of other RPG designers. I'm gonna try to run my Ravenloft setting with completely new stats for the characters, borrowing concepts from Apocalypse World and other Powered by the Apocalypse games (particularly Monsterhearts and Tremulus). So let's be clear: I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel here, I'm just experimenting.
When I was deciding about the stats, I tried to keep in mind three things, the original Apocalypse World stats and basic moves, the D&D character classes as presented in Dungeon World, and the Ravenloft setting itself and the kind of stories that can be told there. And this is what I came up with:
  • Might: meaning aggressive, violent, physically strong, resilient.
  • Steel: meaning cool headed, resolute, brave, strong-willed, unfazed.
  • Finesse: meaning artfully subtle, graceful, quick, nimble.
  • Reason: meaning rational, clever, alert, perceptive, learned.
  • Passion: meaning impulsive, intuitive, sensitive, alluring, inspiring, full of fervor.
  • Taint: meaning stained with corruption, dark-hearted, connected to the Dark Powers.
  • Virtue: meaning holy, righteous, good-hearted, ethical, highly moral.
Well, it's somehow easy to see thru them, and pinpoint their ancestors.  
Might is like Hard from AW and it's also a mix between Strength and Constitution. It will be the main stat for the Warrior.  
Steel is like Cool and is kind of like the Will save from 3E which was modified by Wisdom... (see what I mean?), I'm thinking in this stat for the Fear and Horror moves, the trademark of the Demiplane of Dread.  
Finesse doesn't have an equivalent in AW, but it does in DW: Dexterity. This is the main stat for the Knave and perhaps the Hunter, shooting a bow has nothing to do with Might, right?  
Reason is like Sharp, and it's a mix between Intelligence and Wisdom. It will be of course the main stat for the Conjurer.  
Passion is kind of like Hot, but I'm really borrowing it from the Tremulus role-playing game. It will be a substitute for Charisma, and it will help the Minstrel to perform and the Believer to turn undead, and its passion what moves the Wildling to protect Nature.
And finally Taint and Virtue are like the substitute for Weird, but split in two. Taint will be what you get from failed Dark Power "checks", and I imagine that instead of opening your brain to the maelstrom, you can talk to the Dark Powers to get answers... always for a price. Virtue will help you resist the influence of evil, and I think it can be an important stat for the Saint, the Believer, and perhaps the Wildling. Overall Taint and Virtue will be like the moral system of the game, somehow replacing Alignment. Perhaps.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Champions of the Mists

Well, here is a list of the characters, that are basically the same as the ones presented in the Dungeon World role-playing game. But I'm giving them new names, trying to make them more flavorful, but also to differentiate them from the ones in DW since they are not going to be exactly the same.
  • The Warrior
  • The Saint
  • The Hunter
  • The Believer
  • The Wildling
  • The Conjurer
  • The Knave
  • The Minstrel
Of course, I imagine you will have no trouble guessing which is which. What do you think about them?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Dreadful Apocalypse

I've been always bewitched by the Demiplane of Dread. It was the second setting I ever played in Dungeon & Dragons, and I remember that ever before seen any pictures of browsing any books about the setting, a friend of mine described it like this: "in this world, whenever you enter a tavern, you have to pull out your cross and point it to every person there, to check for any vampire that may be lurking among the mortals. You can never tell who is the monster here". The scene I pictured in my mind went beyond the simple words of my friend's description. I was hooked up before reading a single word. So, here I'm not just entering a dungeon and killing everything that moves! That was my thought.

It's been a good while. We played the set of modules about the Grand Conjunction, among others. Hours and hours of play. I covered the windows in my room with newspaper, to make it pitch black during the day, and played with candle lights (sweating like hell, since my hometown has summer temperatures of 40+ยบ C, but we didn't cared). The soundtrack of Coppola's Dracula sounding on the background. Oh, the good all days (or nights).

Recently I played one of the Grand Conjunction modules with my new group. With a homemade conversion of the D&DNext playtest. It was good. But one thing jumped in my mind. The Fear & Horror check didn't worked so well. I don't know what it was, but it seemed too pushed that when the player failed the roll, he had to runaway, and then the player asked "can I come back?". It may be the fact that lately I have been reading a lot of indie role-playing games and theory, from Vincent Baker, Ron Edwards, Joe Mcdaldno, Luke Crane, and others. Who knows.

Then yesterday, I can't quiet remember how, the idea of making a Powered by the Apocalypse version of Ravenloft sank its teeth upon my brain. And remembering my player asking if he can come back, I pictured the whole thing with the AW engine: "Yes —I said— but you'll be acting under fire". So here I am, I'll use this blog to this little fan project. I'll be posting my ideas, and advancements, and if you want to share your opinions and suggestions about this Powered by the Apocalypse setting, you're more than welcome.