Wednesday 15 December 2010

Castles & Crusades - Conan Style!

I was asked recently, would it be possible to run a Conan (as in set in Hyboria) style game using the Castles & Crusades rules, rather than the "mish mash" that Mongoose produced.

Although I actually quite like the 2nd Edition of the Conan rules from Mongoose, I really cannot see why not.

The BIGGEST obstacle is the lack of any Healing Magics available to a party, thus rendering all Characters really vulnerable to an untimely end.

In the Conan RPG, they circumvent this with Fate points - but in the SEIGE system I would probably use a "Luck" Attribute in stead, and give it the same 3-18 range (and option to make Primary or not, after all some people are luckier than others) as other C&C Attributes.

Races are another point of contention, as the 3.5 based rules give racial bonuses in the +2/-2 range - whereas in C&C all bonuses are in the +1/-1 range. Its easy enough to correct, dropping +2/-2 to +1/-1 and (should the occur) reducing +1/-1 racial adjustments to zero's across the board. Don't forget there are NO Demi-Humans really running around in the Conan Universe, those "sub-humans" that do exist (like the Black Giants of the Western Seas from Savage Sword of Conan #22) are not really suitable for use as Player Characters.

Classes are (kinda) the easiest to accomodate, so here are some "rough" thoughts.

Quite simply use the C&C Barbarian Class, nice and easy - no changes or messing about needed.

Borderers & Nomads
The quite happily come under the heading of Rangers, they are similar (but not the same) in many respects, I would "tweak" the Ranger class on a character by character basis if variations are required.

Nobles & Knights
I would recommend using the Noble Class from the C&C Freeport Companion. Knights (in the Core Conan Rulebook) come under the heading of "Noble" but luckily in C&C there is a seperate Knight Character Class.

Once again the C&C Freeport Companion has a fantastic Pirate Class, alternatively there are a couple of variant Pirate Classes to be found if you trawl the C&C forums.

There are no Scholar classes for C&C, I shall be attempting a conversion of the Scholar to C&C at some point.

Soldiers & Sell-Swords
Are Fighters, again you can "tweak" the Fighter class on a case by case basis if you want.

The Temptress
I shall be also doing a conversion of the Temptress class at some point, taking inspiration from the old White Dwarf Magazine "Houri" class as well.

Take the C&C Rogue class, rename it "Thief" and you're done!

As I have pointed out, Hit Points and Healing could potentially be a problem. In addition to having either Fate Points or a Luck Stat, there are a couple of other things you can do to make things easier.

First Level Hit Point "Kicker".

At First Level, give your PC's Starting Hit Points equal to -

A Dice Roll (or Maximum) + Con Bonus + Constitution Score. It might seem a lot, but there is a rationale to it.

The People of Hyboria are a tough bunch, much tougher than the average FRP "Joe" - plus it increases their "durability" in an environment with limited Healing.

Better Healing Skills.

Rather than 1D3 Hit Points regained during the use of a characters Healing Skill, give them a Higher Dice Roll - or (which I prefer personally) give them 1D3+ the number the task was beaten by.

E.G. If the difficulty was 17 (the number of Hit Points lost in this case) and the character performing the healing rolled a 12 (after modifiers) the person receiving the aid would be healed 1D3+5 Hit Points of Damage. HOWEVER it would take 2 minutes of "tending" per Hit Point healed, and the injured character would then need to rest for a number of minutes equal to the number of Hit Points healed multiplied by 5 (so 6 points of damage healed would require 30 minutes of rest), if the healed character becomes active during that time, he would only receive half the number of Hit Points restored.

Next - The Scholar

Sunday 12 December 2010

Villains, Demons, & Devils

I've been party to a lot of discussion on Villains for our games of late, whether it be AD&D/D&D ( or my my own case Castles & Crusades) - and their prospective power levels and types.

See, I'm in the camp where sometimes Villains (and even some encounters) should be insurmountable - that the Characters should have the common sense to "run away to fight another day" whereas some DM's believe that ALL encounters should be defeatable (is that even a word LoL) including Major Villains.

But, in my opinion at least - that's not very realistic, now is it.

There are plenty of heroic tales where the main protagonist(s) flee or have to return to complete a quest/defeat some evil (the Hobbits in the Lord of the Rings don't confront the Ring Wraiths for example, not until the have Aragorn with them - and the company flees into mines of Moria to escape the watcher in the water ) - if not at the very least the Hero in question prepares himself in some way to vanquish the evil (as in the legend of the Lambton Worm).

Unfortunately, the modern "trend" is balance over story telling - something I've never found particularly palatable when running (or even playing in) games.

A common thread in my own Games are the "Three Tiers of Villainy" as I like to call them, the different sorts of encounter a Party of Player Characters might encounter.

The Three Tiers of Villainy

Tier One - The most basic villain types, Minions, Monsters, and Morons. Those Low-Level (total number of levels/hit dice generally within two levels of the total Part Level) encounters that form the meat and potatoes of any game. These can be represented by a "spread" - as in 1 monster/minion/npc per party level, or as a "combined" encounter - eg 5 1st level PCs could encounter a 5 hit dice monster.

At the end of the day, even when designed to be a challenge to your players, they should be well-within your party's capability to deal with them.

Tier Two - The Bosses. This is the most challenging "encounter" a DM can put it, tough enough to (at least in theory) perform a total Party Wipe Out (if they are stupid enough to take such an encounter on) when initially encountered, but not unbeatable IN THE LONG RUN. These are the Baddies the PCs return to kill/exact revenge upon. The Long Term Villains that can make a campaign truly memorable. Of course, such "Bosses" CAN be taken on, and on rare occasions the PCs will get lucky (or the NPC unlucky with his saves etc) and defeat such a Tier Two Villain early on, if that's the case - let them gloat etc. Just have him (or her) replaced, and make sure the new Villain has an entourage with them this time!

To sum up, Tier Two Villains should be ALMOST unbeatable - but at the end of the Day they are there to entertain your Players, so don't be surprised when they do (eventually) get killed!

Tier Three - The Gods, Demon Princes, & Arch-Devils. Though such encounters will have attributes/statistics - they aren't in place for the PCs to fight. They are there rather for flavour, and to scare the "bejesus" out of your Players.

Evil Deities turning up to gloat (and tell the Party their plans of course), Demon Princes there to "slap them around" a bit, before you let them "find" a powerful magic item or two. Or an Arch-Devil, there to tempt them into "making a deal" (if you get me) - Tier Three encounters are there for one reason, and one reason only - the scare the crap out of your players.

DO NOT put such Villains/Monsters in as an standard encounter, at least some of your Players characters WILL die - and that's a fact.

So, even though I am not a fan of "balance" in the rule set (I find it a little too constraining myself) - I do believe in balance when it comes to telling a tale.

And telling a good story is what its all about for me as a DM.

Monday 6 December 2010

D&D, Lies, and Dungeon Mastery

In Dungeon Magazine 183, there was an article about being a DM "Save My Game"
- which basically went on about (the authors) three tennants for running a successful D&D Game.

The overall topics were "Lie, Cheat, and Steal" - something I vehementy disagree with to be frank

As a relatively successful DM of many MANY years, here are my thoughts on what was written.

LIE, LIE, LIE - "so-called truths of the world are fluid" - Sorry, BOLLOCKS. The Minute your players find out you are lying to them, you lose their trust, you minute you lose their trust, thats when campaigns start to go down hill (and rapidly).

I have a reputation for running difficult, but fair games - I never lie to my players (thats not to say my NPC's don't, but thats for another time) about anything in my worlds or games. HOWEVER I also don't tell them everything about a game mileu, thats for the Characters to find out.

The world should be consisten, and never change - unless politically or because something has happened because of a scenario.

CHEATING - CHEATING, FFS - NEVER DO THAT! How can you be the "master of the game" if you cheat. You are taking away the very soul of sportsmanship and story telling.

A lot of DM's (like the late great Don Turnbull of TSR UK) liked rolling dice behind their screens, if the rolls weren't what they wanted as a DM - they "fudged" around them. Something I simply don't subscribe too personally, I roll ALL my "Public" (Combat/Initiative/Monster Saves) Dice Rolls in front of my Players. I am firm with them too, if a Dice Roll isn't witnessed by myself or the rest of the group - it never happened.

My games have deaths from time to time, but my Players know they aren't deliberate - and in the same way, they know all their rewards and achievements were earned!

STEALING - Now I don't call it stealing, its more a case of borrowing ideas IMHO. Whether its an entire scenario, converted over to your system of choice - or borrowing plot threads from a TV show or Movie - doing such things is more about homage than it is stealing.

Plagiarizing or Paying Tribute to a great idea isn't stealing - thats why its got specific terminology to describe what it is (seriously Dude, learn the English Language) - whilst plagiarism can be considered theft under certain circumstances, when writing a scenario or creating a new non-player character for a game I personally don't think its the case.

"There are no new stories. It all depends on how you handle them" - Jude Deveraux.

Its borrowing, or taking inspiration - not stealing.

To sum up, Honesty is the best policy - in everything - and its especially important to a Dungeon Master who wants to be DM'ing for a long time.

I kinda resent this idea, (well, the whole article to be frank) the writer had a VERY jaded view of being a good Dungeon Master - Gary and Dave will be spinning in their graves over this!

Friday 3 December 2010

Dramatic Structure in Your Dungeon Crawls

There were some interesting thoughts this month over at D&D Insider, a Dungeon Editorial (from Dungeon # 185) about "Dramatic Structure".

Now I've never really thought about this personally, I just sort of "do it" without any bells and whistles or fuss.

You know, theres a beginning, a middle, and an end to every adventure - but it was REALLY interesting seeing it laid out and discussed like that.

Of course an RPG is different to other Mediums, but a lot of elements are the same - Protagonists (PC's & NPC's), Antagonists (NPC's & Monsters), the Setup (Act 1 if it were a Play - in RPG terms the PC's meet an NPC in a Tavern who "hires" or "Quests" them with a task), a steady build of conflic/tension through Confrontation & Encounters (Act 2), and sorts it all out for Better (Comedy/Resolution - funny moments in a game are very important, as is your Players achieving their goals, should they repeatedly fail - you WILL lose some or possibly all, of your group) or Worse (Tragedy/Resolution/Failiure - SOMETIMES your PC's HAVE to fail, for the sake of the plot - so you HAVE a "place" for them to go in your Game World) in the Final Part of a Scenario or Story (Act 3).

I've ALWAYS found Players enjoy "Dungeon Crawls" more than any other type of Scenario, now thats not to say that I DON'T run "non" Dungeon games - I do, its just that when I hear my Players chatting/reminiscing about games - the Dungeon "elements" always seem to stick in their minds. So I like to stick to whats fun, for both my players and myself.

One of the "pitfalls" DM's find when running extensive or repeated Dungeon based Scenarios is blandness, things always seem "the same" with no real variation in plot. Now THATS where following the rules of dramatic structure REALLY come in handy.

ALWAYS (and I mean always too LoL) follow the Dramatic Structure and you really cannot go wrong, by having a fairly "rigid" structure - you actually "free" your imagination up - giving you the ability to insert more "flavour" into your Dungeon based Scenarios.

ACT I - The Setup

Whether you actually run the Setup as part of the Scenario, or its just there as "fluff" for the players so they know why their characters are intering the Dungeon - it should be rich and fully realized. Don't skimp of detail, don't skimp on information. There SHOULDN'T be a Villain in every game, but by the same token don't have endless streams of "lost artifacts" for the PC's to retrieve.

Other options could be - rescue a Kidnap Victim, a Lost Child, Deliver a Message, Bury an NPC's Remains, or even (as I did in one scenario) rescue a lost Cat.

ACT II - The "Meat" of the Story

Keep things fresh, don't be afraid to "roll" with the punches your players throw at you. I remember one game I ran, the Party were storming through my carefully planned Dungeon - Kicking in EVERY wooden door. It was boring for me, so when they moved onto Level II - SUDDENLY all the Doors were stone, and very heavy (there was one moment in a Pit room with a sliding stone door, the Players spent nearly an HOUR trying to get out of that room. Searching for Secret Panels, JUMPING up and down to activate pressure plates etc - it didn't occur to them to check if it slid LoL).

ACT III - The Resolution

Again, keep things fresh and exciting - Don't "force" the ending. If someone Dies (a PC or beloved NPC) roll with it, play up the Pathos - ONLY ON VERY RARE OCCASIONS should you Plan to kill even an NPC. It just pisses of your Players when you do. By the same token, if your "Main Villain" (if you have one) fails to die, or manages to Escape - go with that too, then you have a Plot for later on (Revenge or Track him Down) - and never EVER get pissed off when your Players kill off a Carefully Crafted Major Villain or Monster! Thats what they are there for!!!

So, there you go - just some thoughts that I find useful and might help.

Sunday 28 November 2010

Kinda the Point . . . . .

Those who know me personally, know that I am one of the "old guard" - that I've been playing games of Dungeons & Dragons since I was 15 (I started in 1977) and have run games (and sometimes played) every edition of the "beautiful" game. When 4th came out, I reacted badly - much more so than when 3rd came out (though I now prefer 4e).

A good friend of mine was suprised at my recent blogs, wondering why I was SUDDENLY warming to WizBro!

HOWEVER I'm not really Warming to Wizards per-se, mainly because they've made some serious "errors" with their business model. OK, they have shareholders etc - but they have to remember the fan base for an RPG is a LOT different to the fan base of say a Card Game (and a lot more vocal).

I didn't (and still don't) like their original marketing approach to D&D. Whilst the system itself is playable, they didn't really explain (and therefore justify) their "approach" to the new edition.

There was lots of "babbling" about the "sweet spot" when it comes to playing D&D, but no real explanation (that I could find) as to the reasoning behind their sweeping changes.

All that was further compounded with their "dismissive" attitude to thier fan-base, resulted in the "knee jerk" reaction that I myself was guilty of.

HOWEVER, if you read through the rules (especially the "essentials" range - its very apparent what they intended).

Here are my own thoughts on the whole debacle -

Choice and Playability - Although the familiar character types are present. They didn't want everybody to be the same. So there are a LOT of choices, that in itself alienated the 1st/2nd Ed crowd. HOWEVER the choices in 4e are more "class driven" (though you can "cross class" Traits/Powers/Skills - its their way of multi-classing), this class-driven choice system with no real multi-classing in turn alienated the 3.X crowd. It is less complex to create a character than in 3.X D&D - and the 4e "Archetypes" are stronger.

They increased starting Hit Points, a lot of DM's/Players out there started games/campaigns at higher than first level. The increased HP at first level negates the need for this (although I prefer a Die Roll + Con Bonus at each level rather than a static amount myself, ad that is easily house ruled).

They also introduced "healing surges", an abstract concept that allows PC's to regain Hit Points "X" amounts of times a day - receiving healing magic also "burns off" a healing surge. This concept PI**ED OFF so many Fans its untrue, but I get the feeling these "fans" didn't understand the concept of Hit Points in the first place.
You don't suddenly get physically "tougher" as you rise in level, but rather Hit Points represent Training and Fighting Stamina - so Warriors get more and Wizards get less (see, logical). A "healing surge" would have been better described as a "second wind" pretty much representing an individuals ability to regain their composure, tapping into their hidden reserves.

In reality all it means is that you can throw more interesting challenges/monsters at a party.

The "fans" are missing that . . . . . .

Another "bone of contention" was the focus on Combat Powers -

Now even though in a LOT of D&D Stories - people ramble on about in stores and conventions are about killing a particular monster - combat in ANY edition of D&D can be drawn out and sometimes kinda boring.
By focusing on Combat and Damage, what they have done with the 4e Combat is make it more dynamic - allowing all party members to take part on some level during play. Of course, it still gets "bogged down" at higher levels - but thats generally a problem in all games with high-powered characters.

This, combined with some magics being turned into Rituals that can be cast as many times as you have components - really opens up game play

They Proved they Listen - Thanks to fan pressure, they have been releasing the "Essentials" range - a set of products that really show the system off, the Three that are THE MOST useful to players are - Heroes of the Fallen Lands, Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, and the Rules Compendium.

The Rules Compendium is a quick and handy rules reference and guide for the Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game. A REALLY handy and comprehensive book, it is basically a quick rules reference. It contains the complete core rules for the 4th Edition. In addition to providing an overview of the game and how it’s played, this book presents the core rules in a format that is easily referenced during a game. It includes information on level advancement, combat, experience points, treasure, skills, equipment, etc.

The Heroes of the Fallen Lands, presents builds for the most iconic classes: the cleric, the fighter, the rogue, and the mage. Loads of new powers, class features, paragon paths, epic destinies, and more that players can use to build the characters they want to play and experienced players can plunder for existing characters. In addition to the new builds, this book has expanded information and racial traits for some of the game’s most popular races, including dwarves, eladrin (sort of true Elves), elves, halflings, and humans.

Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, has builds for some of the game’s most popular classes: the druid, the paladin, the ranger, and the warlock. Again loads of new powers, class features, paragon paths, epic destinies, etc. There is also expanded information and racial traits for dragonborn, drow, half-elves, half-orcs, and tieflings.

As a Player, you need nothing more than these three - OBVIOUSLY the Players Handbooks contain more evocative classes, powers, and races. But the two "Heroes" books, have MORE than enough information for any player.

A lot of fans didn't like the more exotic races/classes from 4e, WizBro ACTUALLY listened. Games Workshop (for example) HAVE NEVER listened to the fans (they just keep flogging away with the now DREADFUL 40k ruleset, making it weaker and weaker with each edition) - EVER! Whereas WizBro have, and have taken a slight "back peddle" with the essentials, whilst keeping it all fully usuable with the initial 4e releases.

The range of DM essentials is amazing, a DM's Kit, Monster Vault (with new monsters and LOADS of Tokens), and even High Quality Card-Stock Dungeon Tiles! (Which are lovely btw).

Digital Rights Management Issues - The original approach to the 4e release - REALLY did alienate a lot of potential players; by changing the "Open Games License", and revoking PDF sales of ALL earlier editions - this really REALLY pissed people off (the withdrawn PDF sales is what pissed me off initially, it felt like they were trying to FORCE people to buy the new Edition - WizBro claimed it was to stop pirating of their products, but a lot of people came up with the same reasoning as I did) - hence my own personal rebellion, and not really giving 4e the chance and try-out it deserved.

The Character Builder for 4e, was a stand alone application - with Downloads/Updates available via a subscription. They have now changed it to an online Character Builder - people are now up in arms about this. BUT its interesting to note, the ones who are moaning don't seem to like or want to pay subscriptions - they obviously think their D&D Fix should be for free. By doing it as a browser only application, they can't get a hold of pirated software - so they have to buy a subscription. HOWEVER, there is a monthly subscription charge - for which you get Digital Issues of Dragon and Dungeon Magazines and access to Downloads and Updates. Considering Dragon Magazine used to sell in the UK for £3.99 last time it was available a couple of years ago, £6.38 a month isnt a lot to ask for the equvallent of two £4 magazines and use of all their online tools (it drops to £3.81 if you take a years subscription).

Like I said, the people who are moaning are the ones who seem to want something for nothing, and Wizards can do without them tbh.

Maintaining servers and developing software isn't cheap (as anyone involved in computers knows), and yet the "Fans" I mentioned earlier - seem to want it all for nothing. I say Bo***cks to them - they aren't really fans.

My Closing Thoughts - Its taken me a LONG time to come around, something I never really did with 3.X D&D (don't get me wrong I've run D&D 3.X and had fun with it, I've just never felt comfortable with the system as a whole) - and though I am still not 100% happy with WizBro (as a company they still have a lot to do to earn my respect), I am MUCH happier with the way they are treating D&D's History - and MUCH happier with the direction 4e is taking, and even somewhat happier with the pre-painted stuff (I STILL think it should be sold in sets rather than in "blind" packaging - but thats me) - but thats more to do with finding time to paint and the price of metal miniatures these days to be frank.

4e ISN'T D&D as the "old guard" remember it, and to be frank I wouldn't expect it to be. THACO was clumsy and outdated, the Saving Throw Tables were arbitrary, the "Vancian" Magic System is kinda outmoded and arkward (and actually makes little or no sense with Clerics, if their Spells are granted by their Deity - why do they actually need to memorize them), the Feats from 3.X were WAY too much for ANY DM to remember - but what they have done with 4e is taken the parts that worked, updating them where applicable - and changed/re-invented areas that needed attention.

I'm NOT saying 4e is perfect, such a game doesn't exist (even my beloved Castles and Crusades has its issues/problems) but its a game thats worth CONSIDERING looking at. I went back and looked at it again because I had the sense to "back peddle" and check things out again - plus I am mature enough to admit when I was wrong (as I WAS wrong in this case).
What this has taught me is that their shouldn't really be "edition wars" anymore - that the game OVERALL needs to be kept alive - no matter what the edition.
By bickering and fighting all we are doing is hurting Dungeons & Dragons on the whole, not promoting any edition of the game - but (more likely) putting people off taking up the hobby in the long run.

I am now in the position to run /play ANY edition of Dungeons and Dragons now, both from knowledge of the rules and love for D&D and Fantasy Role Playing in general -
And running/playing games is Kinda the Point . . . . .

Friday 26 November 2010

Snobbery & Pre-Painted Miniatures

I have quite a few WizBro D&D miniatures, you know - the pre-painted bits of rubber.

The reason why is simple really, when I travel to run games or am running games for Kids - NO WAY am I carting my Metal Miniatures around with me.

If they got stolen It would quite simple kill me (some are VERY rare indeed), plus you have to worry about damage (chipping, broken arms etc) - so the PP Minis fulfill a specific role as far as I am concerned.

Then there is the fact they have produced monsters you can't find elsewhere, I really REALLY don't like the "collectable" aspect tbh - thats the one thing that puts me off.

But, for the most part they are a LOT cheaper than their metal counterparts too.


WizBro Purple Worm - around £10 plus Shipping.

Reaper Purple Worm - around £20 plus Shipping.

Otherworld Purple Worm - around £30 plus Shipping.

I FINALLY aquired an Aboleth the other day, more than likely to the upset of my players LoL!

Then, there is the "snobbery" angle with PP minis, that they are "collectable" (something I mentioned earlier I'm not 100% a fan of), and for the most part the paint jobs are pants - OCCASIONALLY they are "OK".

I have (as part of painting commisions) re-painted some, and I have to say once stripped the detailing on the Vinyl is excellent and they paint up well.

The "miniature" snobs have to remember not everyone has the time or the skill to spend hours and days painting hordes of Miniatures, so these are a BOON in those circumstances.

So don't discard the idea of using PP WizBro stuff, its got its uses after all . . . . . . 

Saturday 20 November 2010

D&D Cat

I've been going through the 4th Edition D&D Books recently, as I'm going to be ACTUALLY PLAYING rather than being the DM soon - and found Frankie wanting to join in!

I wonder what sort of Character he would prefer . . . . . . 

Saturday 13 November 2010

Games, Rulesets, Genres, and Collections

Does every other DM out there stick to one system, one world, or one genre?

In my youth as a DM/GM I ran a LOT of different games (heavy on the D&D of course) -

Dungeons & Dragons - White Box Edition
Basic Dungeons & Dragons (Basic thru to Immortals Rules & Rules Cyclopedia)
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition
Dungeons & Dragons - Third Edition
Dungeons & Dragons 3.5
Castles & Crusades (which counts as D&D for me at least)
Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition
Hackmaster (up to 4th, I don't really rate the new Hackmaster Basic)

Call of Cthulhu (I stopped running it around 5th Edition, though I do have the excellent D20 rules)
Chill (Pacesetter)
Dark Conspiracy (AWESOME Fluff, OK system)

Star Trek (Fasa)
Star Trek (LUG)
Star Trek (Decipher)

Traveller 2300
Twilight 2000

Mythus - Dangerous Journeys
Lejendary Adventures

Metascape - Guild Space

Mechwarrior - The Battletech RPG

Shadowrun (1st thru 3rd Edition, not keen of 4th Edition)

Marvel Super Heroes
DC Super Heroes
Silver Age Sentinels (my personal favourite Supers game)
Golden Heroes (a FANTASTIC Supers Game IMHO - despite its flaws)

Star Wars (West End Games - still one of the BEST RPG's ever written)
Star Wars D20 (NOT the Saga edition, I really don't rate it at all)

I own a lot of RPG's besides - but the above are the ones I have actually run games for. But these days, I don't know why the "song" of Fantasy RPG's is calling me more and more.

I don't know whether its my inherrant romantic nature, or my Love of all things fantastical (in part thanks to my Mum) - but its there.

My RPG Book Shelves looks like a D&D Library, but (not unusual for me - as I like to write my own) very few Scenarios. I find bought Scenarios very "constricting" - they aren't written with your players (or their characters and any relevant backstories) in mind.

I wonder if any other "Veteran" DM/GM's feel the same, are they narrowing their focus - or is it the other way around, are they spreading their wings?

The "Realm" of Dungeons and Dragons has always been "Home" to me, and I imagine it always will . . . .

Thursday 11 November 2010

DM's Respect , Balance, and Moving Forward

One of the things I have encountered over the years is lack of respect, on behalf of the DM/GM with regards to his players.

I've run games in co-operation with and under many GMs over the years and though they are rare there are those that are totally reprehensible in their attitudes to their players.

From the guy who made Scenario's/Dungeons so impossibly difficult you were always (and I mean ALWAYS) guaranteed at least a couple of dead party members (and often total wipeouts) - and this guys doesn't even DM anymore, no one with even allow him in their group as a player.

To the DM who treats his players quite literally as play-things for his own amusement, don't get me wrong this guy had some great (if sometimes derivative from Movies and Comics) ideas - but everything was for HIS amusement, and he was totally regardless of his players feelings or needs.

Now, I have only encountered a few such "rogue" GM's/DM's - but thinking about it has led me to wonder if such arrant GM/DM behaviour is the reason for the total OBSESSION with RPG balance?!!?

Apart from the "everyone is equal" (and totally unrealistic) approach, the core systems of 4th Edition DnD ISN'T that bad, I kinda resent the oversimplification of potions and suchlike - and don't like the fact that almost all (if not all) of the powers/abilities/feats are so combat orientated (I have a batch of the newer books coming soon, so I shall be able to clarify that more in my own mind) - there need to be more "passive" powers/abilities/feats I reckon, that could be used outside of combat.

4th Ed is shiney and very pretty, and could benefit and be really strengthened by the addition of  more flavoursome "non-combat" elements IMHO. It would certainly redeem the ruleset in my (and a lot of others) eyes.

Monday 8 November 2010

4e (not) DnD as a "Tool"

Though I really am still not a Fan, I've actually been using 4e (not) DnD as a "tool" to get people to play Castles & Crusades.

I've been Running "Encounter" Level sessions here and there, and in the (innevitable) post game discussions bringing up Castles and Crusades.

Some (obviously) stuck with 4e (not) DnD, but more than a few have now taken to
Castles & Crusades - either as well as their Fantasy RPG of Choice or as their New Main System.

Though I am not a HUGE supporter of 4e (not) DnD, it is a good entry level RPG - very shiney, light on the Roleplaying, and heavy on the Combat Action - but (as is the general concensus amongst D&D Die-Hards) its not long before a lot of Players & DM's (both old and new) want more; and either change their style of play completely (whilst keeping with the
4e (not) DnD ruleset - generally heavily house-ruled) or move to a more enjoyable System. Castles & Crusades & Pathfinder being the most popular "live" D&D-Like Rulesets out there at the moment.

In summing up, Treat 4e (not) DnD as what it is; a good tool to draw people into the hobby - and nothing more.

Tuesday 2 November 2010


Sorry I haven't been posting for a while, I've had a LOT of personal shit to deal with. 

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible!

Sunday 10 October 2010

Back to It

For my Players and thier Characters -

Something Dark is stirring in Guildstown, an evil that corrupts and usurps all that is good and kind.

Lamaria will change, be sure of that.

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Play 4th Edition (not) D&D. It's good for WizBro and "OKAY" for you . . . . .

I really can't believe people are still defending WizBro, with all the usual Bull Shit - any role playing is good role playing is my particular favourite - not only is it puerile populist claptrap, its simply not true!

It reminds me of the segment with the Robotic Food Dispenser in the Stallone Judge Dredd Movie "Eat recycled food. It's good for the environment and okay for you".

You might get an "okay" game out of 4e, but ONLY with a lot of effort - if you played a decent system, its easier, more fun - and a longer lasting experience.

WizBro Role playing, events, merchandising - all it does is benefit WizBro, there are so many smaller companies out there who are doing it for the love of the hobby, and not out of some obscene desire to make it into big business.

You can moan at me, berate me, criticize me, slag me off - but that doesn't change the fact that I am right about this.

And all the sock puppet-like comments in the world cannot change that fact!

That WizBro is being run along the lines of any other Lucas owned company - merchandise the HELL out of a franchise and be damned. Why do you think so many new Star Wars Characters get introduced all the time - BECAUSE IT MAKES THEM MONEY!

With the (not) D&D brand, we will continue to see obscure and unnecessary products released BECAUSE IT MAKES THEM MONEY. Cash flow is what matters to WizBro, NOT the Hobby - the sooner gamers out there realize it the better. Give your hard earned cash to someone else FFS!

4e (not D&D isnt even THAT popular, check out this -

They are trying to promote gamers getting into systems, and doing trades/buying collections to help people find the system they want -  but (and I quote) "We probably lost money on the straight trade of 4E" - because no F***ER WANTS IT THATS WHY!

PLAY ANYTHING else, Earlier editions (4e is so f***ing w**k I have a greater appreciation of 3.5 now), AD&D, Castles & Crusades, Labyrinth Lord - ANYTHING but boycott the tossers at WizBro!

Saturday 18 September 2010


HOW T.F. can WizBro have the NERVE to create the Official "Dungeons & Dragons" page on FaceBook, like they are some "Beacon of Light" leading D&D Fans into the Future! 


One of my FB friends put it as "leading them down a long dark tunnel of despair is more like it" and in my opinion the "dark tunnel of despair" is called "The Money Pit".

Seriously D&D'ers out there, take a F**ing stand - play an earlier edition or use a "Retro-Clone" - the gaming experience is better and you will save a packet!


Sunday 1 August 2010

Mazes and Monsters, and the Healing Power of RPG's

For my first post in a while, I'm going for something thats close to my heart. The actual benefits of RPG's.

There are the obvious ones - 

Literacy & Numeracy Skills - no one who plays RPG's regularly (or even sporadically for that matter) ever has problems with reading, writing, or simple (or in the case of some games complex) maths. The educational benefits of playing an RPG are undeniable, yet those who berate RPG's always ignore them. Perhaps they would prefer it to be like the Dark Ages, where the Churchmen are education and the general populace aren't.

Social Aspect - I have made more friends via RPG's than from any other source. My oldest and dearest friend became that way because of regular contact playing AD&D. I have an enourmous amount of respect for him, not just as a Human being - but as a gamer. I've encountered kids who really find it hard to make friends, and because of playing RPG's have bonded with others and made firm friends. Again, the "RPG" haters ignore this - citing the evils of becoming an RPG'er and selling one's soul to the Devil.

Then there are the less obvious ones - 

Arts and Crafts Skills - though not as popular during play these days. I've seen some really elabourate Dungeon setups. Wonderfully crafted and painted, an old aquantance of mine wouldn't DM a game unless he had everything built in 3D and painted monsters for every encounter! A lot of DM's/DM's (myself included from time to time) make their own props. Treasure Maps, Chests, Magic Items, and Scrolls - all meticulously crafted. I seen some Amazing work over the years.

Health - yes, health reasons. From the kid who suffers with allergies and asthma so badly they can't play sports or even go outdoors that much during the summer months, to the poor sod who suffers with depression.

I've been demoing Castles and Crusades a lot recently, one of my Gamers has been suffering badly with depression - his Mother told me that his roleplaying outlet has helped him medically (his Doctors actually told her this, that his attitude has become more and more positive) and his recovery has been definitely helped by these gaming sessions - helped with perspective, facing up to problems etc.

 He's now DM'ing for his own group now, before he had very few friends - and wouldn't have had the confidence to set up his own group and be the main DM!

In my own experience - people who victimize/persecute roleplayers and vilify rpg's generally have problems of their own - and should put their own "houses" in order before causing problems and casting aspertions.

It makes me smile it really does, surely Jesus's message was one of tolerance, generosity, and acceptance - and a lot of "so called" Christians simple don't exhibit those traits at all!

In this day and age, of supposed enlightenment and tolerance (yea right - a local supermarket staff member has recently been "moved" because he's racist - very tolerant, but not very enlightened - the wanker should have been sacked IMHO) why are there still people with such an archaic attitude to RPG's.

It reminds me of the scare over Mazes and Monsters. Though some people think Mazes and Monsters was a "spoof" movie, it really wasn't.

Mazes and Monsters was based upon a novel of the same name by Rona Jaffe. Jaffe had based her 1981 novel upon certain wildly inaccurate newspaper stories about the disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III from Michigan State University in 1979.

The working title for the film was actually Dungeons & Dragons, but CBS dropped it in favour of the orignal novel's title - I would imagine to avoid the inevitable lawsuits over use of the trademarked name.

I had a friend back in those days who's girlfriend was very religious - he ended up letting her minister BURN all his D&D manuals and notes.

On a slightly ironic note - they are now divorced.

I actually love the film Mazes and Monsters, rather than a lesson in the "evils" of D&D (which is how simple minded bigots like to interpret it) its actually a lesson in dependancy and addiction and how too much of a good thing can present really big problems for anyone.

Robbie (Tom Hank's character in the film) had a co-dependant personality (needing the aclaim and affection from his parents that never came - leading to his obsession with his Brother, his girlfriend, and Mazes &  Monsters) his problems could quite easily have led him to become a religious fanatic, an alchoholic, or even a drug addict - to whatever solution he felt most comfortable and "in control" of.

When "abandoned" by his Brother, his Girlfriend - he resorted to retreating into his RPG persona; the only thing in his life he felt in control of and supported by. Retreating into his character took all responsibility away from Robbie, he was a different person - it was all Robbies fault, not the "characters".

Had his friends actually been aware of Robbies problems, rather than caught up in their own - they might have been able to help him via their Games. Turning them into a beneficial "healing" experience, rather than letting Robbie turning them into an addictive and destructive one.

In reality Egbert was a 16 year old child prodigy who was battling intense academic pressure, drug addiction, and personal issues. So he was actually two characters in the film Robbie and JayJay.

He had entered the school's utility tunnels with the intent of committing suicide and went into hiding after that attempt was unsuccessful.

Different from the sensationalist story, no insanity, no retreating into his character. Just pain and embarrasment for the poor kid.

After learning that Egbert had played Dungeons and Dragons - William Dear (a Private Investigator hired to find Egbert), because he was unfamiliar with the game, suggested that Egbert "MIGHT" have entered the tunnels to play a live action version.

This theory was taken as fact by the media (ooh, what a freaking surprise) and caused intense controversy over the psychological effects of role playing games.

After several weeks, Egbert gave himself up to William Dear.

HOWEVER in 1980 (less than a year after the incident) Egbert successfully committed suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Investigator Dear kept the true circumstances of the disappearance a secret until four years after Egbert's death, due to a promise he made to the boy not to reveal them.

If you want to check out the actual events, in William Dears words - try reading "The Dungeon Master: The Disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III" written by William Dear in 1984 - it gives his explanation of the 1979 "steam tunnel incident" which he feels was misrepresented by the news media.

The book recounts his experience investigating the 1979 disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III, a student at Michigan State University and is well worth the read.

OK rant over, normal Gaming Blogging will be resumed with the next Post :D

Monday 12 July 2010

Long Time No Blog

Long Time no Blog . . . .

Things (my other Blogs notwithstanding) got in the way a little, but my Good friend Chris has done some exemplary work on his Campaign and a LOT more work on the Real Elves I was blogging about some time ago.

Getting back to it, I've been reviewing my C&C conversions - and will be returning to the "Booty and the Beasts" C&C project, doing each page in turn (including the index).

Furthermore, as I am now a C&C Harbinger I will hopefully be running some C&C Demo's in my local area soon as well.

LOADS to do (as usual).

Thursday 3 June 2010

Federation Races

More Races (and Class options) will be added later (such as Soong Androids), but for now the Notes will Focus on those Races who are most active within the Federation.

Again I make an assumption here, that in reading these notes you are familiar with the Star Trek Universe – so detailed descriptions of these Races aren’t included.


Attribute Modifiers
+2 Con, -2 Wis

High Pain Threshold
Andorian Characters add double their Level to their Life Points.

Andorian Characters add a +2 Species Bonus to all rolls involving Tasks involving listening, and detecting anomalies (such as hidden passages) within a 3 meter radius.

Andorians who lose an Antennai suffer disorientation and migraines until it grows back (+2 difficulty modifier to all challenges).


Attribute Modifiers

The Pagh
Bajorans receive a +2 bonus to all Reflex, Toughness, and Willpower rolls. This is due to their natural determination, tenacity, and a strong belief in the Prophets and their “Pagh”.

Bajoran Culture
Bajorans come from a Culture of Artists and Craftsmen, and so receive a +2 Racial Bonus to all Tasks involving Arts and Crafts.


Attribute Modifiers
+2 Cha

Betazoids are naturally Telepathic, and so may attempt Tasks involving Telepathy and Empathy. These abilities are always considered to be Class Skills, so Betazoids may add double their level as a bonus to any rolls involving such Tasks.

Naturally Peaceful
Betazoids add a +4 Species Bonus to all rolls involving Negotiating and Mediating Tasks.


Attribute Modifiers
-2 Str, +2 Dex

Team Player
Bolians receive a +2 Racial Bonus applied to all Tasks when working as part of a Team. This applies to other members of the Team as well, not just Bolians. Providing the Bolian is present, everyone in the Team receives the +2 bonus to all Task rolls.


Attribute Modifiers

Human characters receive a +2 bonus to all Reflex, Toughness, and Willpower rolls. Courage and Luck tend to protect Humans in most situations.

Humans tend to excel at things they are passionate about. They receive a + 4 Racial Bonus to a “Field of Expertise” of the Players Choice (noted on the Character Sheet), or +2 Racial Bonus to any two “Specialities” of the Players Choice (noted on the Character Sheet).


Attribute Modifiers
+2 Con, -2 Cha

Exceptional Fortitude
Tellarites are a lot more robust than most Races, and so receive a +2 Racial Bonus to Toughness.

Tellarites tend to be precise and deliberate – giving them a natural “leaning” towards the Engineering Class. They receive a +4 Racial Bonus to all Tasks involving Engineering, Maintenance, and Repair. This also tends to make them impatient with other races, so they receive a +2 to the Challenge Rating of all Task involving Diplomacy and Social Interaction.

Trill (Joined)

Attribute Modifiers
+2 Int, +2 Wis

Joined Trill have many lifetimes of Training. They receive a + 4 Racial Bonus to two “Fields of Expertise” of the Players Choice (noted on the Character Sheet), or +2 Racial Bonus to any four “Specialities” of the Players Choice (noted on the Character Sheet), or they may instead take one “Field of Expertise” and any two “Specialities” of the Players Choice (noted on the Character Sheet) instead.


Attribute Modifiers
+2 Int, +4 Str, -6 Cha

Vulcans are naturally Telepathic, and so may attempt Tasks involving Telepathy – however for the purposed of these rules such Tasks are restricted to Mind Melds and the Vulcan Nerve Pinch. Such Tasks are always considered to be Class Skills, so Vulcans may add double their level as a bonus to any rolls involving such Tasks.

Vulcan Nerve Pinch – An application of a Vulcan Neuralpressure Technique, the nerve Pinch requires contact with a nerve cluster between the neck and shoulder of the subject. When using this talent, the character must make an unarmed attack roll – using the standard Attack Rules. Upon a successful hit - if the subject fails a Toughness save with a Challenge modification equal to the value of the attacking Vulcans Wisdom Bonus, the subject is rendered unconscious for 2d6 minutes, or until revived by medical attention.

Vulcan Mind-Meld – Often mistaken as a simple Psychic technique, the Mind-Meld is steeped in Vulcan tradition and mysticism – and wasn’t allowed to be used on non-Vulcans until the 23rd Century. By coming in physical contact with a willing subject, the character is able to merge minds with the subject, essentially creating a single consciousness in two bodies. This allows for deep two-way mental communication. An unwilling Target must make a Willpower Save, with a Modifier equal to the Vulcans Level – if the victim passes the roll the Mind Meld is unsuccessful, and may not be attempted again for 24 hours.

Rapid Healing - Vulcans may, once a day if injured – enter a trance-like state to heal themselves.

10 Minutes = 1D8 Hit Points or 1D4 Life Points
20 Minutes = 2D8 Hit Points or 2D4 Life Points
30 Minutes = 3D8 Hit Points or 3D4 Life Points
40 Minutes = 4D8 Hit Points or 4D4 Life Points
50 Minutes = 5D8 Hit Points or 5D4 Life Points - and so on . . . . . . . . .

Monday 31 May 2010

Star Fleet Character Classes

Star Fleet Characters receive 10 Hit Points + Con Bonus (if any) at level one, from level two onwards the use their Class Hit Dice.

• Command (d8 Hit Dice, Prime Attribute – Cha)
• Counsellor (d4 Hit Dice, Prime Attribute – Cha)
• Engineering (d8 Hit Dice, Prime Attribute – Con)
• Medical (d6 Hit Dice, Prime Attribute – Wis)
• Operations (d6 Hit Dice, Prime Attribute – Dex)
• Sciences (d6 Hit Dice, Prime Attribute – Int)
• Security (d10 Hit Dice, Prime Attribute – Str)

Star Fleet Personnel Experience Chart (Click to enlarge)

+ 250,000 XP per level required after 12th Level
*Hit Dice determined by Character Class, this number is the Total Hit Dice at that level.
** Maximum Combat Bonus

Career Placement

The easiest part of Character generation, is deciding what your characters position will be on the Ship. This determines their final level (don’t forget to roll for additional Hit Points).

Starts Play at Level Six

First Officer/Rank of Commander
Starts Play at Level Five

Head of Department/Rank of Lieutenant Commander
Starts Play at Level Four

Starfleet Officer/Rank of Lieutenant
Starts Play at Level Three

Next - Federation Races

Thursday 27 May 2010

New Blog

I've started a new Blog today, this time to help with my "Superhero Fetish" - its called "Pulp City Planet" inspired by one of the best (if not the best currently available) Skirmish Miniatures games on the market - Pulp City!

You can find it here - PULP CITY PLANET!

Starfleet Training, Skills, & the Seige Engine

If you are reading these notes, I am going to make the assumption that you are familiar with Castles and Crusades and the Siege Engine system.

There are little or no changes to the Siege Engine, and how it works – but there are benefits to being a trained Star Fleet Officer.

One of the main changes to the rules as written (an addition in actuality) is that a natural “20” always succeeds, and a natural “1” always fails.

Utilization of the rules below requires a reasonable amount of Games Mastering skill – do not be too generous with what constitutes a “Class Task”, by the same token do not be to strict over what comes under the heading of “Star Fleet Training”.

When performing a task that counts as a Class Task, twice (2X) the Characters Level is added to the roll.

Example – Captain Kurt is attempting to Negotiate Peace between the Anticans and the Selae – Negotiation counts as a Command Skill so he gets to add +12 (twice his level of 6) to the Roll.

When performing a task that does not count as a Class Task, but comes under Star Fleet training protocols – the Characters Level is added to the roll.

Example – Captain Kurt is attempting repair the Transporter Station, Chief Enginer “Taff” Jones is unconscious and Kurt needs to site to site transport himself onto the Bridge in an attempt stop the Romulan Pirates that have invaded his ship. Kurt is not an Engineer, but all Star Fleet personell have at least some training in this field so he gets to add +6 (his Level) to the Roll.

If the Task comes outside the province of Star Fleet Training altogether – but is still within the realms of possibility that the Character might “know” how to do such a thing, he may still attempt the Task – but with no bonus for his level applied to the roll.

Example – Captain Kurt attempting to beat a Ferengi at Tongo in order to get information out of the Ferengi, he is familiar with the game as he spent time stationed on a Deep Space Station. Tongo is a Charisma Based test the GM reasons, so Kurts base Challenge level is 15 + the Ferengis level of 3. The Ferengi passes his Tongo test, now its over to Kurt - should Captain Kurt roll 18+ he stays in the game for another turn, if the Ferengi had failed his Tongo test - Kurt would have won outright!

Next - Federation Character Classes

Monday 24 May 2010

Medical Aid in the 24th Century

There are certain liberties taken with this part of the rules, the simple reason being to keep the game going – if characters end up dead or incapacitated after one fight – where’s the fun in that! So I’ve made healing (and thereby Medi-Kits and Doctors) rather more powerful.

All Healing and Medical Treatment are dependent on the Star Fleet Equipment at hand as well as the Skill of the individual using them. As I mentioned in the “Seige Engine and Star Fleet Training” section, a Doctor gets +2 on the Roll when attempting a Medical Procedure, whilst a Star Fleet Officer would just get +1 per Level – and wouldn’t be able to achieve as much as a Star Fleet Doctor could.

The Challenge Rating is ALWAYS calculated as following –

Hit Points = to the number of Hit Points you want to heal.

Life Points = to 2 x the number of Life Points you want to heal.


No Medi-Kit = +2 to the Challenge Level for Medical Staff, +4 for all other Star Fleet Personel.

Example – Captain Kurt wants to heal 7 Life Points to the Ferengi Spy to bring him around. There is no Medi-Kit. The GM rules its an Int based Task for Kurt. Luckily Kurts Int is Primary, so the Challenge Base is 12. +4 for No Medi-Kit, and +14 for the Life Points Kurt needs to heal. This gives a final Challenge Rating of 30! Fortunatley in these rules a 20 always succeeds (and a 1 always fails) so Kurt needs to roll a Natural 20 to revive the Ferengi! But if he rolls a natural ‘1’ the Ferengi could be in a lot of trouble . . . .

Medi-Kit = +2 to all Medical Rolls

Runabout or Long Range Shuttle Medi-Bay = +4 to all Medical Rolls

Starship/Starbase Sick=Bay = + 8 to all Medical Rolls.

Sunday 23 May 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Its my Birthday today, so the chances of me posting anything more than an apology for not posting anything (like this LoL) is slim at best!

I hope everyone has a great Weekend!


Thursday 20 May 2010

Hit Points, Life Points, Combat, & Death

We all know about Hit Points in RPG’s, and in Star Trek there is little difference – they represent the characters durability and resiliance.

Reduction to your hit points can take many forms - Fatigue, Malnutrition, Grazing hits in Combat, or even some gribbly Alien Disease (Andorian Shingles for example).

In this set of rules we also have "Life Points" - they are important in this Star Trek RPG as they help draw the line between "Grazes" and "Hits".

Life Points are exactly that, the “Life” of the Character. Your Life Points are equal to your Characters Str+Con+Dex divided by three – plus your Level.

Example – Captain Kurt is 6th Level, and has 52 Hit Points. His Str is 14, his Con is 16, and his Dex is 18. 14+16+18 = 48, 48/3 = 16. 16+6 (for Kurts Level) = 22. Captain Kurt has 22 Life Points. When he advances to Level 7 he will have 23 Life Points.

Combat & Damage

Both Close Combat and Ranged Combat are worked out slightly differently in these Star Trek Roleplaying Notes, mainly because of the lethality of 24th Century Weapons – but partly due the the lack of Armour and therefore an Armour Class.

If the intended Target of the attack is aware that the attack is coming, you roll to hit as usual (applying all the usual modifiers for range, level, skill etc – you roll to hit, and the intended victim then rolls a standard Combat Based Reflex Test (Reflexes Score + 1D20).

If the Attacker rolls a “1” to hit, the Attack automatically misses.

If the Target rolls equal to the Attackers roll, they take a “graze” and the Attacker rolls the Damage rating of the Weapon – the Victim of the attack takes that many Hit Points of Damage to their Hit Points.

If the Target rolls higher than the Attackers roll, they successfully avoid the attack – and take no Damage.

If they fail the Roll, they take “Hit” Damage and the Attacker rolls the Damage rating of the Weapon and the Damage is applied directly to your Characters Life Points (see -10 HP and Death).

If a natural “20” is rolled, not only does the Victim take Life Point Damage – but he is also “stunned” for a number of Rounds equal to half the Damage taken. Medical Aid can reduce this.

If the intended Target is unaware of the Attack, the Attacker instead rolls against the targets Reflexes.

If the Attacker rolls a “1” to hit, the Shot automatically misses.

If the Attacker rolls equal or lower than the Targets reflexes score - the victim of the Attack takes a “graze” and the Attacker rolls the Damage rating of the Weapon and the Victim takes that many Hit Points of Damage to his Hit Points.

If you roll more than the Targets Reflexes, the Victim takes “Hit” Damage - the Attacker rolls the Damage rating of the Weapon and the Damage is applied directly to the Characters Life Points (see -10 HP and Death).

If a natural “20” is rolled, not only does the Victim take Life Point Damage – but he is also “stunned” for a number of Rounds equal to half the Damage taken. Medical Aid can reduce this.

The above rules also apply to attacks/effects that target an Individuals Toughness (in the case of Radiation, Explosions, and Diseases) and Willpower (in the case of Psychic, Illusionary, and Fear based attacks) as well.

Stun Attacks

Weapons which stun ALWAYS affect the targets Life Points, this is only temporary damage and should be noted on the sheet as such. Stun Damage is recovered at a rate equal to the characters Con Bonus +1 each round (with a minimum of 1 point recovered each round), when this temporary damage is reduced to Zero the character recovers conciousness. Medical Aid can speed this recovery.

If the intended Target of the attack is aware that the attack is coming, you roll to hit as usual (applying all the usual modifiers for range, level, skill etc – you roll to hit, and the intended victim then rolls a standard Combat Based Reflex Test (your Reflexes Score + 1D20).

If you roll a “1” to hit, the Attack automatically misses.

If you roll equal or lower than the intended victims roll, the Stun "grazes" the target and the Attacker rolls the Damage rating of the Weapon – the victim makes a Toughness Save with a Challenge Modifier equal to the amount of Stun Damage Rolled. If passed the target is not stunned and takes no effect from the shot, if failed the victim takes that many Points of temporary Stun Damage to his Life Points.

If the intended Target rolls higher than the Attackers roll, they have successfully avoid the attack – and take no effect from the Shot.

If the Victim fails the Roll, they take Stun Damage with no way of avoiding it - and the Attacker rolls the Damage rating of the Weapon and the temporary Damage is applied directly to the Characters Life Points.

If a natural “20” is rolled, the Stun Damage is doubled.

If the intended Target is unaware of the Attack, the Attacker instead rolls against the targets Reflexes.

If you roll a “1” to hit, the Attack automatically misses.

If the Attacker rolls equal or lower than the Targets reflexes score, the Stun "grazes" the target and the Attacker rolls the Damage rating of the Weapon – the victim makes a Toughness Save with a Challenge Modifier equal to the amount of Stun Damage Rolled. If passed the target is not stunned and takes no effect from the shot, if failed the victim takes that many Points of temporary Stun Damage to his Life Points.

If attacker rolls more than the Targets Reflexes Score, the Victim take Stun Damage with no way of avoiding it - and the Attacker rolls the Damage rating of the Weapon and the temporary Damage is applied directly to the Characters Life Points.

If a natural “20” is rolled,
If attacker rolls more than the Targets Reflexes Score, the Victim take Stun Damage with no way of avoiding it - and the Attacker rolls the Damage rating of the Weapon and the temporary Damage is applied directly to the Characters Life Points - and the Stun Damage is doubled.

-10 HP & Death

In a lot of D20 based RPG’s, normally when a Character reaches -10 Hit points he dies almost immediately. In these Star Trek notes its somewhat different . . . .

When a Character reaches Zero HP he is battered and exhausted, after that point – all Damage is applied directly to the characters Life Points rather than applying “graze” Damage to his Hit Points.

Losing Life Points

When a character takes Damage to his Life Points there are consequences, these are listed below.

If a Character is reduced to half his Life Points (or less) he must IMMEDIATELY make a Constitution Saving Throw – the difficulty is ALWAYS 18 regardless whether the Characters Constitution Score is Primary or Secondary. If it is failed, the Character passes out. If it is passed, the Character stays Conscious – and must continue making Constitution Saves every Round until his Life Points are healed and passes the Consciousness barrier (more on healing later).

If the Character continues taking Damage, and reaches Zero Life Points he must make another immediate Constitution Save (again Difficulty 18 regardless) and if failed the Character expires and must be resuscitated within minutes or the Character Dies permanently. If passed he must continue making Con Saves each round. However, the difficulty of the Save increases by 2 each time he passes (the poor fellow is dying after all) until the he receives medical aid or finally expires.

Death Saves Table

Initial Save vs. Death – 18+
After1 additional Round – 20+
After 2 additional Rounds – 22+
After 3 additional Rounds – 24+
After 4 additional Rounds – 26+, and so on . . . . .

Next - Medical Aid in the 24th Century

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Star Trek RPG Notes Part Two - Armour Classes & Saving Throws

Armour Classes are gone (especially as most weapons in Star Trek could vaporise almost any Armour), and is replaced with a characters “Reflexes” Score.

Note - As a “rule of thumb” Federation Training NEVER leaves a Cadet with a Dex Attribute ranked at less than Secondary.

Standard “Fantasy” RPG saves are Illogical in the Star Trek Setting – so more applicable saves are required - The "model" is take from 3.5 D&D.

Reflexes is calculated as following -

“Base” + your character level + Dex ‘Base’ + Racial Bonus (if any)

Choosing Dex as a Primary Attribute yields a base Reflexes of 12, whereas choosing Dex as a Secondary Attribute yields a base Reflexes of 10, and choosing Dex as a Tertiary Attribute yields a base Reflexes of 8.

Toughness is calculated as following -

“Base” + your character level + Con ‘Base’ + Racial Bonus (if any)

Choosing Con as a Primary Attribute yields a base Toughness of 12, whereas choosing Con as a Secondary Attribute yields a base Toughness of 10, and choosing Con as a Tertiary Attribute yields a base Toughness of 8.

Willpower is calculated as following -

“Base” + your character level + Wis ‘Base’ + Racial Bonus (if any)

Choosing Wis as a Primary Attribute yields a base Willpower of 12, whereas choosing Wis as a Secondary Attribute yields a base Willpower of 10, and choosing Wis as a Tertiary Attribute yields a base Willpower of 8.

As per the standard C&C Rules all saves can (and generally are) modified by Challenge Ratings, opponents level, and encountered creatures hit dice.

Next - Hit Points, Life Points, Combat, & Death

Monday 17 May 2010

Expanded Attributes, Primary, Secondary, & Tertiary

Presented over the next few Blog Posts will be the “bare bones” of the System, it uses Castles & Crusades at its core – and makes particular use of the “Seige Engine” Mechanic.

Star Fleet Personnel

It is the intention of these notes that the Game "Group" be centered around Teams of Star Fleet Personnel – Star Fleet produces some of the finest Officers, Explorers, and Scientist in the Star Trek Universe. If there seems to be sufficient interest I may do rules for civilian characters too.

How you “set up” your Games is entirely up to you, your Players could be the Bridge Crew of a Starship – or maybe made up of the Command Team of a Deep Space Station on the very Edge of Federation Space.


Star Fleet Personnel are generally healthier and in better condition than most in the 24th Century, that combined with the fact they don’t train Half-Wits means character generation will be slightly different.

All Attributes are generated on 2D4+10 giving a range of 12-18, this yields much higher scores than the standard 3D6 of C&C – but is a more realistic treatment of the 24th Centuries finest in my humble opinion.

Expanded Attribute Chart

With the Alien Races, better Nutrition, and impeccable Health Care of the 24th Century, come (possibly) higher attributes - hence an expanded attribute chart.

Primary, Secondary, & Tertiary Attributes

In Castles & Crusades the Primary Attribute concept is introduced, challenges associated with a Primary attribute are set at 12+. All other attributes have the base challenge levels set at 18+.

There are no averages, no middle ground - you are either talented at something or you struggle - base challenge level being set at 12+.

This “no middle ground” really doesn’t sit-well for Star Fleet Personell – they are better trained that that! So here we introduce the idea of Tertiary Attributes.
The idea behind this is simple - rather than all other attributes being set at 18+, Secondary attributes have a base challenge level of 15+, and Tertiary have a base challenge level of 18+.

All Star Fleet Personnel pick three Primes, two Secondary’s, and one Tertiary. Civilians pick two Primes, three Secondary’s, and one Tertiary. This way Star Fleet Characters are as well trained as they should be, and you get a better “spread” of numbers, further exemplifying Star Fleets training program.

However, ONE of your choices still has to be the Prime of the Class you have chosen.

So, to sum up –

• Star Fleet Personnel – 3 Primes, 2 Secondary’s, and 1 Tertiary.
• Civilians – 2 Primes, 3 Secondary’s, 1 Tertiary.
• One of your Primes MUST belong to the Class chosen.
• Prime Challenge Level – 12+
• Secondary Challenge Level – 15+
• Tertiary Challenge Level – 18+

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