a blog of short and medium length ttrpg thinking posts

Thursday, February 1, 2024

hexcuse me

 ...for the title of this post.

Anyway, I'm looking at a lot of hexes to stock and the best hex stocking procedure I have found so far is probably Luke Gearing's Hexfill one, although I also like a lot about Welsh Piper's Hex-based Campaign Design. But, I'm also constitutionally incapable of using something unmodified, so here's my spin on it.

My priorities are to have a procedure that takes into account the geography of the area being keyed, and also produces a more settled map than the procedures linked above.

Begin with a map of atlas (18mi) hexes subdivided into travel (6mi) hexes with terrain and roads marked.

For each travel hex, determine its difficulty (= hours of travel): open country (3), hills or woods (4), wooded hills (5), broken country (6). A road reduces difficulty by 1. Then, roll 1d6:

  • If the roll is a 1, there's something weird (see below). 
  • If the roll more than 1 and less than the difficulty of the hex, it's empty.
    • Roll a d20. If it is less than the d6 roll, there is a ruin of some prior settlement or structure.
  • If the roll is at least equal to the difficulty of the hex, it contains: (2) a city, (3) a town, (4) 3d2 villages, (5) 2d2 villages, (6) a camp, fastness or inn.
    • Camps and inns are abandoned 2-in-6, fastnesses 1-in-6

If something weird is indicated, roll 2d6 for its nature. If a Power is indicated, roll 2d6 again for that:

Roll Nature Power
2 Old Ones yet dwells here Nothing remains
3 Holds a vivid memory of the distant past No more than a hum or a few sparks
4 A student of Power dwells here Red (energy, heat and strength)
5 Strong medicines may be found here Orange (industry and motion)
6 A place of attractive Power Yellow (communication, illusion)
7 Works of the Old Ones, purposes now unknown Green (growth and healing)
8 A place of repulsive Power Blue (air and water)
9 Intelligible lore of the Old Ones Indigo (protection, force)
10 Roll twice Violet (domination, transformation)
11 Roll twice Forces poisonous to draw upon
12 Roll twice A malign intelligence possesses the seeker

Replace 'Old Ones' with whatever fantastical civilization dwelt here before the current peoples if you like.

Now, for each atlas hex, count 1 for every village, 2 for every town and 4 for every city. If a roll of 2d6 plus the number of weird hexes is greater than this sum, a monster lairs somewhere within it.

Friday, January 19, 2024

ADEPT: a modest proposal

Are you reinventing RuneQuest or Traveller this time? You fool. You rube. You absolute buffoon. I am reinventing HârnMaster.

the xkcd comic about how standards proliferate
xkcd: Standards

Listen. Everyone hates the six-score array. It sucks, and the history of non-D&D RPGs is practically a history of variants of the array and its uses. There are plenty of theoretical issues to raise with the standard six. However, here are three problems only the worst pedant would have with it:

  • The canonical order of the abilities is not alphabetical.
  • Two abilities share an initial letter.
  • There is no mnemonic device for the abilities.

I propose to solve these (and really, only these) problems with the ADEPT array:

Sunday, January 7, 2024

3eish: combat

Blogger ate a draft of this post and I'm not pleased about it. I realize I've posted ideas along these lines before, but here are the versions I like the best now.

two warriors in armor fighting
Artist: Simon Gocal


Surprised figures do not move or act during the first round that they join combat. Otherwise, the adventurers and their enemies move and act in alternate phases:

  1. Enemies move
  2. Adventurers move & act
  3. Enemies act
  4. Attacks are resolved

A figure's movement ends if they enter the reach of a foe that can act. If they start within its reach, their movement is limited to one inch.

A figure's movement depends on the load they are carrying. A burdened figure may move twice their Size (in inches, scale TBD), one in heavy kit may move three times their Size and one in light kit may move four times their Size. If a burdened figure moves more than their Size, on an unburdened one twice their Size, they may not act.

A figure may drop what they are holding, or drop into a kneel (-1 Size) or to the ground (-2 Size) freely. Instead of movement, a figure may:

  • Concentrate on magic
  • Draw or stow an item
  • Open or close a door
  • Stand from a kneel
  • Take aim

Or similar things; otherwise, these are all actions. Standing from the ground allows only one inch of movement and no other actions.


An attacker states their aim, for example, draw out, disarm, push back, restrain, seize, throw or wound. Then, they make their roll and add +1 for every 4HP they currently have. Subtract 4 if they are fighting in an awkward or unfamiliar manner. Then apply situational modifiers:

  • In hand-to-hand, apply the attacker's Strength modifier. Add +2 if the target was attacked by another this round.
  • Fighting at reach, apply the attacker's Dexterity modifier. Add +2 if the target entered the attacker's reach this round.
  • Shooting at range, apply the attacker's Intelligence modifier. Add +2 if the target has not moved this round.

Attacks at range are resolved first, followed by attacks at reach in descending order of reach and finally by hand-to-hand attacks.

An attack succeeds if the modified roll is at least equal to the target's defense. This has two components. A figure's dodge is 3 plus their Wisdom modifier. A figure's protection is 3, plus one for every layers of armor, source of cover or increment of the target's Size (in inches) between the attacker and target.

  • When taking cover or other defensive action, defense is dodge + three times protection.
  • Otherwise, when able to act, defense is dodge + two times protection.
  • Otherwise, defense is two times protection.

If the attack is successful, the attacker rolls damage based on their own Size. 

Example Size Die Type
cat 0 d2
fairy, monkey 1 d2
dog, elf 2 d4
deer, man 3 d6
horse, thark 4 d8
ogre, rhinoceros 5 d10
elephant, giant 6 d12
dragon 7 d20

The target may choose to either lose that many HP (if they have that many) or accept the aim of the attack.

Odd attack rolls fail against targets that are concealed from their attackers. If the target is totally concealed, the attacker must have some way of discerning their exact position before attempting an attack in the first place.


When a figure is wounded, the severity of the wound depends on how much the damage exceeds their current HP. For these purposes, subtract 2 from the damage of bare fists or feet. A wounded figure makes a saving throw, adding their Constitution modifier.

Excess Wound DC Success Failure
2 or less Light 12 Fine Unconscious
3 to 5 Serious 15 Unconscious Dying
6 or more Critical 18 Dying Dead

A dying character will die if their wound is not treated within a few minutes. An unconscious character may make another save within a few minutes to come to, otherwise they remain out for a few hours.

Saturday, January 6, 2024

3eish: what's a level

Theoryposting, maybe I'll get to the point of concrete details by the end of this post, maybe I won't.

Artist: Tennis Cramer

So, my goal of 3eish is to make something that feels like 3e to me, while also keeping it light enough to hold the whole thing in mind and play fast and easy. Can't get rid of levels without it starting to feel like something else entirely so it's worth asking: what's a level. In 3e there are a couple clear answers:

  • One HD.
  • 1, 3/4 or 1/2 a point of BAB
  • 8, 6, 4, 2 + Int skill points
  • 1/2 or 1/3 a point of each saving throw
  • 1/4 of an one-point improvement to an ability score (1/8 of a one-point improvement to its modifier)
  • 1/3 of a feat and some class features
  • various scaling on spells you cast

There are some rationalizations that suggest themselves, like making attack bonus or saving throws a part of the skill system, but I've been down most of those design roads at this point and most of them wind up reinventing RuneQuest. So instead I'm going to reinvent True20; a level is a feat and one HD and everything else falls out of that.

Let's nail that down somewhat:

  • As in the base rules, the benchmark for a boring feat is that it applies +2 on two different kinds of rolls. 
    • Boring feats (that only add bonuses to rolls) are now called skills and can be taken multiple times. This replace the skill list and save progressions; if a character does not have any skills that apply to a saving roll, they use 1/3 their level as a bonus.
    • Obviously not all feats are boring ones. The ones that grant more interesting abilities can generally only be taken once.
  • Each feat specifies an amount of HP (2, 3 or 4) gained when you take it. If you're proficient with it, add +1 to an attack roll for every 4HP you currently have. If you're not proficient, apply a -3 penalty.
    • Abilities for combat add 4HP.
    • Skills and miscellaneous abilities add 3HP.
    • Magic abilities adds 2HP.

You may notice there's no real purpose left for classes. That's probably for the best, let's lose them. Carve out their interesting bits into feats and leave the rest.

One-feat character creation is probably too bare to be fun. Instead we'll have two-feat character creation (truly, I have a dizzying intellect). There's a special set of feats called backgrounds, and you pick two of them to start. Your starting HP is 4 if both of them have experience with violence, 3 if one does and 2 otherwise.

The 3e PHB had 7 races and 11 classes, so for parity with its 77 combinations a pool of backgrounds would need...a pool of 14 backgrounds (14 choose 2 is 91, fourteen more combinations for a pool with three fewer elements). Now that's of course not the full range of customization of a 1st level 3e character but it's close enough for my purposes.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

the great humanoid relative size survey

comparative height chart of 5e races
Artist: Jay Robinson

There has been some interest in the purple OSR discord about what the relative sizes of various fantasy humanoids should be. I decided to make a quick survey asking people to size them on a scale from 0-10 with humans at 5 and send it around, and managed to collect 79 responses at the time of writing (though I exclude the response at 12/12/2023 14:44:45 from analysis as an outlier).

I'm just gonna do what seems most obvious to me and look at numerical averages, plus or minus one standard deviation:

Name Avg Stdev Minus Plus Dev Geq Man
Hobbit 2.68 0.64 2.04 3.32 -3.63
Fairy 0.76 1.19 -0.43 1.95 -3.56
Goblin 2.76 0.7 2.06 3.46 -3.2
Gnome 2.25 1.01 1.24 3.26 -2.72
Dwarf 3.5 0.71 2.79 4.21 -2.11
Kobold 2.58 1.25 1.33 3.83 -1.94
Ratfolk 3.26 1.07 2.19 4.33 -1.63
Faun 3.99 1.15 2.84 5.14 -0.88
Nymph 4.36 1.21 3.15 5.57 -0.53
Morlock 4.43 1.14 3.29 5.57 -0.5
Hobgoblin 4.72 1.2 3.52 5.92 -0.23
Half-elf 5 0.37 4.63 5.37 0
Human 5 0 5 5 0
Different Elf 5.11 1.66 3.45 6.77 0.07
Elf 5.16 0.97 4.19 6.13 0.16
Gnoll 5.43 1.33 4.1 6.76 0.32
Merfolk 5.33 0.78 4.55 6.11 0.42
Lizardfolk 5.5 0.93 4.57 6.43 0.54
Half-orc 5.54 0.65 4.89 6.19 0.83
Orc 5.94 0.72 5.22 6.66 1.31
Wolfman 6.05 0.78 5.27 6.83 1.35
Bugbear 6.65 1.22 5.43 7.87 1.35
Troll 7.64 0.86 6.78 8.5 3.07
Ogre 7.8 0.82 6.98 8.62 3.41
Ent 9.17 0.88 8.29 10.05 4.74

Dev Geq Man means the number of standard deviations between the average response and 5, the size of a human being. Now, let's just make a couple of observations:

  • About 72% of respondents indicated that Elves are human-sized or larger.
  • Trolls, Ogres and Ents are very large, three or four standard deviations above puny humans. Orcs, Wolfmen and Bugbears are somewhat large, at least one standard deviation above man.
  • Hobbits, Fairies and Goblins are very small, three standard deviations below humans. Note that there's also a strong consensus that fairies are smaller, but goblins are about the same size as hobbits. Gnomes, Dwarves, Kobolds and Ratfolk are also small, one or two standard deviations below humans.
  • Fauns, Nymphs, Morlocks, Hobgoblins, Half-elves, Elves, Different Elves, Gnolls, Merfolk, Lizardfolk and Half-orcs are all on average within one standard deviation of humans.
  • There is the least consensus on the size of Different Elves, which is unsurprising as that category is kind of just a joke about how many kinds of elves there are. Seventy-five percent of they 68 respondents who gave a size for "Elf, but Different (TM)" gave a size equal to or greater than they gave for Elf. They are followed, in uncertainty, by Kobolds, Bugbears, Nymphs, Fauns, Morlocks and Ratfolk.

Now, there is considerable overlap between most of these categories if standard deviations are included. Some of the categories that do not overlap (that is, their averages differ by at least the sum of their standard deviations) are:

  • Fairies are smaller than all but Gnomes and Kobolds.
  • Goblins are smaller than Hobgoblins.
  • Orcs are smaller than Trolls, but not necessarily smaller than Bugbears.
  • Ogres and Ents are larger than all but Bugbears and Trolls.

I don't think there are any great mysteries being revealed here, but I hope you enjoyed reading it. Please note that while I may have majored in math, I never took a statistics class. If you have a better handle on analyzing this kind of data, please try your hand at it.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

cultural proficiencies: a modest proposal

The idea here is that "martial weapons" refers to the type of weapons used by the warriors of a given culture rather than just "weapons that are good."

the kind of silly collection of weapons from the d&d 3.0 players handbook
Everyone can add their base attack bonus/proficiency bonus to attacks with a crossbow (2H 1d8, loading), dagger (2d4 in a grapple, 1d4 otherwise) or one-handed tool (1d6) such as a cleaver, hammer, hand axe, etc.

Fighters are proficient with the weapons of their culture. Other martial classes may have specific weapon groups associated with them. You can learn a group (or a specific exotic weapon) as a feat if you have a teacher.

  • Northern men: battle-axe (1H 1d8 or 2H 1d10), saex (1H 1d8) and thrown hand-axe.
  • Paladins and Eastern men: mace (1H 1d8), thrusting spear and arming sword (both 1H 1d8 or 2H 1d10).
  • Southern men: thrown or thrusting spear (1H/thrown 1d8 or 2H 1d10) and gladius (1H 1d8).
  • Elves, Rangers and Western men: self bow (2H 1d8), thrusting sword (1H, 1d8 finesse).
  • Dwarves: battle-axe and war-hammer (both 1H 1d8 or 2H 1d10). 
  • Barbarians and Goblins: mace, saber (both 1H 1d8) and composite bow (2H 1d8 ranged).
Attacks with these weapons are not usually penalized if you are not proficient. Attacks with exotic weapons are at a -3 penalty for the non-proficient.

Friday, December 22, 2023

spirit masters

Being psionics rules, because I've been reading the Saga of the Pliocene Exile and realized some specific debts that the 3e Psionics Handbook owes to it.

These assume you're using a standard six-attribute score array and that modifiers are on the "one-third score minus 3" schedule, and might need adjusted if you're using the WotC "half score minus 5" schedule.

a smiling man's face surrounded by a glowing halo in front of a starfield
Artist: Stephen Fabian, cover of The Adversary by Julian May

The human spirit is capable of marvelous things when properly disciplined. Masters speak of five awakened faculties, each of which has several modes.

  • Spirit Manifestation of energy, illusions and even substance. Associated with Dexterity.
  • Spirit Transportation of creatures and objects. Associated with Constitution.
  • Spirit Probing of other minds and spirits. Associated with Intelligence.
  • Spirit Discernment beings, surroundings or thoughts without the use of the senses. Associated with Wisdom.
  • Spirit Binding the bodily and spiritual faculties of others. Associated with Charisma.

Spirit Masters (HP, saves & advancement as magic-users) are always awakened, but any character has a chance to be equal to the sum of their attribute penalties in 20. Awakened characters start with two modes they are able to use. Masters learn an additional mode for every odd-numbered level they have.

Using spirit powers is taxing. Each use of a power costs energy (= encumbrance slots until next night's rest, or 1d4HP if no slots remain); however Spirit Masters have reserves of energy equal to their level to use each day without fatiguing themselves. Characters can only use modes in faculties if they have a positive bonus in its associated attribute. Furthermore, they cannot spend more energy in any mode than their their bonus in its associated attribute or half their Spirit Master level, whichever is higher.

Mental Contact

A spirit or awakened character can make mental contact with an intelligent being by touching it, making eye contact or speaking its name in its hearing. Characters in mental contact may bespeak one another, mind-to-mind, even if they do not share a language. Most creatures cannot bespeak anything that they believe to be false.

Being in mental contact is not without risks. All binding and probing modes require mental contact. Awakened characters with these modes are aware of all attempts to make contact with them while they are conscious, and can use them to refuse contact. 

To force contact, an awakened character must roll 1d20 + the attribute bonus of their mode + energy used on it and reach a target number based on the type of mode they are using and the mode of defense chosen:

  • Defensive binding walls off the mind behind a fortress-like wall. A probe must beat a 9, binding a 12 and discernment a 15.
  • Defensive discernment allows the mind to drift on the wind, evading contact. A binding must beat a 9, discernment a 12 and probe a 15.
  • Defensive probing leaves nothing to hold on to in an empty mind. A discernment must beat a 9, probe a 12 and binding a 15.

The aggressor always spends their energy, but the defender only does if they repel contact. 

If contact is made, characters still get a will save (vs spells) to resist the effect of a hostile mode. Awakened characters who make the roll may break contact.

Mode Descriptions

Unless otherwise noted, modes last for minutes equal to the associated attribute.

Binding Modes

  • Disable (1) — target cannot use a language, limb or sense of your choice for a few minutes.
  • Coerce (2, requires Disable) — target cannot take any action or speak any words (your choice which) except the one you designate as long as you maintain concentration. They may choose to remain still/silent.
  • Lock (2, requires Disable) — target cannot use any awakened faculties.
  • Puppet (2/3, requires Coerce) — your spirit enters an otherwise inanimate/living body which you control as if it were your own. Until you return to your own body by touching it, it will lose 1HP every sunset or sunrise.
  • Drain (*) — the target loses 2d4 HP and you gain the total, minus one, in energy until sunset or sunrise. If the target saves or fends off contact, you lose 2 energy instead.

Discernment Modes

  • Mass Sense (1) — extends through a few dozen yards through open air, a yard of earth a or an inch of stone or wood. As long as you concentrate, you are aware of the placement, shapes and sizes of all solid bodies therein.
    • Every additional point of energy you are able to spend on discernment powers doubles these ranges.
  • Mind Sense (1) — as mass sense, but instead gives awareness of minds and whatever most occupies their attention. Mental contact may be made with all, some or none of them, at your discretion.
  • Project (1/2/3, requires Mass or Mind Sense) — your sense of presence travels from your body as a disembodied spirit, up to 2/5/18 miles. Until you find and return to your body, you may travel through open air at the speed of thought, but 
    • your body lies unconscious at takes 1 point of damage with every sunrise and sunset.
    • you do not regain any energy.
    • may only pass a threshold if the house is abandoned or you have slept within.
  • Consult (2) — you reveal whether a single question can be definitely answered. 
  • Divine (2d4) — finds a short, true answer to a single question. If the question has no definite answer, you instead take the energy cost in damage.

Manifestation Modes 

  • Bolt (1+) — throws an arc of energy at one nearby target, dealing 2d6 damage for each point of energy. A reflex save [vs breath] halves the damage.
  • Glamor (1) — creates sense-displays for anyone in mental contact with you. While you concentrate, these otherworldly sensations are limited only by your imagination.
  • Radiance (1/2/3) — a soft glow provides light (as twilight) and heat for 5/10/20 nearby people until the next sunrise or sunset. You may gather it together into a bright blaze that cooks food for (or deals 1d6 damage/round to) that many people over 2d4 rounds, though this ends the effect.
  • Figment (2, requires Glamor) — creates an independent phantom for any two senses of your choice. Unlike a Glamor, this mode does not require mental contact or concentration, and the phantom can be detected by ordinary recording equipment.
  • Substance (3+, requires Figment and a transport mode) — creates up to sixteen pounds of earth, stone or water, four pounds of horn, leather or wood, one pound of base metal or four ounces of precious metal for every point of energy spent, which evaporates with sunrise or sunset. Creatures who consume the substance take no ill effect but their hunger or thirst returns when it disappears.
  • Construct (3, requires Figment and a probing mode) — you create a phantom, perceptible to all senses and recording devices. Until sunrise or sunset, it will follow up to three instructions you give it, which can be conditional or to be carried out in sequence. The phantom can move as fast as a bird through the open air, but cannot cross a threshold unless the house is abandoned or you have slept therein. 
a woman stands with a spear, eyes glowing as a implike shape takes form in the air before her
Artist: Sam Wood, Manifesting a Metacreativity Power

Probing Modes

  • Search (1/2) — if a a particular conscious/unconscious memory that you describe exists within the target's mind, you may re-experience it together.
  • Publish (1) — you place a memory or set of memories at the forefront of your mind, so that anyone who could make mental contact with you (even if they have not) can examine it.
  • Redact (2, requires Search) — submerges a conscious memory into the target's unconscious. When given a strong trigger of the memory, they may make a will save (vs spells) to regain it.
  • Balance (1/2/3) — neutralizes one emotion/wound/disease affecting the character. Balancing emotions calms the target and may allow a reaction to be rerolled. Balancing a wound or disease allows recovery as an additional day of rest would.
  • Program (+1 to any a binding mode) — you program up to three triggering situations to activate in those situations. For a number of days equal to your Intelligence, if those situations occur, the target is affected by the mode.
  • Subtlety (+1) — the target of your mode believes its effects are natural or come from within, rather than being a foreign influence, if they fail their save.

Transportation Modes

  • Float (1+) — makes a total mass you designate of about your bodyweight float lazily through the air at your command within a few dozen yards as long as you concentrate on it. Each additional point of energy doubles the range and increases the mass eightfold.
  • Impulse (1+) — something up to an eighth of your bodyweight a few dozen yards (and half as high into the air). Each additional point of energy increases the mass you can move eightfold; smaller masses fly commensurately farther, but take (and deal, to whatever they strike) damage as from a Bolt of the excess energy.
  • Atmosphere (1/2) — stills/creates winds for a few dozen yards around you as long as you concentrate on it. Keeps the rain off, if you wish to.
    • As with Mass/Mind Sense, every additional point of energy that you are able to spend on this power doubles its range for the same cost.
  • Support (Float +1) — rather than floating through the air, creatures in mental contact with you can run through the air as though solid ground existed wherever they wished to step.
  • Forceful (+1) — the target loses 1 (more) energy whether or not they make their save or fend off contact.

a golden figure levitates over an army of fantastically armored warriors
Artist: Michael Whelan, cover of The Golden Torc by Julian May
Mental Concert

Awakened characters may pool their faculties and act in concert. To form a concert, the characters must between them use the Mind Sense discernment, Drain binding and Balance probing modes. Everyone in mental contact with them may pool all the energy they have to contribute and place it in the hands of one character who acts as conductor. Then increase that pool by one-third. After the concert, reduce the pool by a quarter and redistribute remaining energy to the characters as the conductor wishes.

Total up the maximum energy each character in the concert could spend on each faculty; for every time that this doubles the conductor's allowance (or if the conductor has none for that faculty), increase their allowance by 1 for the duration of the concert.

three adventurers stand, manifesting a swirling vortex of colorful energy above their heads
Artist: Wayne Reynolds, Metaconcert

Monday, December 18, 2023

talent, time and tools

Being a universal 2d6 resolution mechanic and some extra bits.

An attempt succeeds if a roll of 2d6 is at least equal to the required target number:

  • You have an appropriate talent, time and tool: 5
  • You are missing one of those: 6
  • You are missing two of those: 7
  • You have none of those: 8

A roll of 10+ (regardless of target number) is a clean success. A particularly stressful situation may require a clean success to avoid costs or complications.


Create a character by giving them 2-3 traits or skills and however many talents your Referee finds appropriate. 

If you don't start with a talent you must:

  • Practice for a season with a skilled teacher or three seasons on your own for the archery, climbing, thievery or any weaponry talents.
  • Slay three armed foes by your own hand for the fighting talent.
  • Become initiated into the inner mysteries of a cult for its ritual talent.
  • Survive ten days in the bush without aid or supplies for the wilderness talent for those environs.


Talent. The fighting talent is for hand-to-hand or hand weapons and the archery talent for bows. No talent is required for crossbows or guns. Weaponry talents do not affect the target number of attacks, but they allow the attacker to use any special properties of the weapon.

Time. You have time if the target is surprised. 

Tools. Close weapons for hand-to-hand and non-close weapons otherwise.

An armed attacker gets +1 to their roll if their target is unarmed. A character with a longer weapon than their opponent starts with a +1 advantage to their attacks, but a clean success seizes the advantage from one's target (or seizes it back).

In hand-to-hand, a clean success damages, disarms, pins or throws one's target. Otherwise, success merely holds them. A held character may do any of those to their opponent with a clean success. Otherwise, success reverses the hold. Any success by the holding character may damage, disarm, pin or throw the other.

Magic Rituals

Magic rituals are done with one roll but involve a sequence of steps. Some might require all of the following, and some only one or two:

  1. Guarding the space
  2. Guarding the magician
  3. Opening the way
  4. Fixing the terms
  5. Closing the way
  6. Purifying the magician
  7. Purifying the space

Talent. Each cult has its own path of rituals, any its ritual magic talent counts for any ritual on that path. Anyone with such a talent is aware of the presence of other talented magicians and of powerful spirits, and may address them mind-to-mind.

Time. Rituals of 1-2 steps take 10 minutes, minus one for every time the size of the group of magicians doubles. Each additional step doubles the time required.

Tools. Guarding or purifying magicians requires oils or potions for each. Guarding or purifying the space require candles, diagrams or smoke to fill it. Opening the way requires an arcane connection to the recipient of the power. Fixing the terms requires a symbol of what is to be done. Closing the way requires a symbolic weapon.

If the power invoked by a ritual is an intelligent spirit, a clean success is needed to avoid some additional price being demanded. Offering a sacrifice adds +1 to a ritual roll to deal with a spirit, or +2 if the sacrifice is extremely dear.

one roll, one choice

 FMC Basic does away with ability scores (quite rightly!), but you might still want something of the sort. But we're doing one roll, one choice. 

Roll 1d20:

  1. strong, fast, tough
  2. strong, fast, smart
  3. strong, fast, wise
  4. strong, fast, charming
  5. strong, tough, smart
  6. strong, tough, wise
  7. strong, tough, charming
  8. strong, smart, wise
  9. strong, smart, charming
  10. strong, wise, charming
  11. fast, tough, smart
  12. fast, tough, wise
  13. fast, tough, charming
  14. fast, smart, wise
  15. fast, smart, charming
  16. fast, wise, charming
  17. tough, smart, wise
  18. tough, smart, charming
  19. tough, wise, charming
  20. smart, wise, charming
Keep two; the other becomes a flaw. 
  • Strong characters deal +1 physical damage. Weak characters can't tempt fate to force doors, jump gaps, or the like.
  • Fast characters get +1 on attack rolls. Clumsy characters can't tempt fate to go before their foes.
  • Tough characters get +2 HP. Sickly characters can't tempt fate to resist poison, avoid disease or the like.
  • Smart characters get +1 capacity. Dull characters have -1 capacity.
  • Wise characters get +1 defense if they are not surprised. Foolish characters are still surprised if their party tempted fate to avoid it.
  • Charming characters can re-roll a negotiation roll; if it changes from negative to affirmative there will be some additional quid pro quo. Off-putting characters must tempt fate to avoid making a bad impression when meeting someone new.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

heralds and little guys for FMC basic


I absolutely love FMC Basic by Marcia B. It's as beautiful for everything it leaves on the cutting room floor as everything that it includes. That said, here's a cleric and two demi-humans it intentionally omitted.