FLGS Quick Start

I’m on vacation, so I decided to learn a bit of LaTeX and consolidate the quick start rules I’ve been working on into a more print friendly format. Behold the fruits of my labor!

First page of FLGS Quick Start

Download FLGS Quick Start Rules

Free FLGS Quick Start rules!

LaTeX sources referenced and used:

Skeleton of Referee Section for Basic Fantasy RPG

Building on the previous post regarding skeleton rules for RPG, here is additional details.

BEGIN OPEN GAME CONTENT

Additional Equipment

Armor

Armor City Rural Base AC
Leather, Armor 25 sp 50 sp 12
Chain, Armor 100 sp 14
Plate, Armror 1000 sp 16
Helmet 25 sp 50 sp special
Shield 10 sp 25 sp +1

Weapons

Melee Weapons City Rural Notes
Light 10 sp 10 sp
Improvised -1 damage
Medium 20 sp 50 sp
Two-Handed 50 sp
Missile Weapons City Rural Range Notes
Bow 25 sp 25 sp 50/300/450
Crossbow 30 sp 50/200/600
Improvised 10/20/30 -1 damage
Ammunition (20) 5 sp 5 sp

Note: Medium Range -2 to hit; Long Range -4 to hit

Encounters

  1. Establish Encounter Distance (2d6x10 ft) (if applicable)
  2. Check Surprise (2 in 6) (if applicable)
  3. Check Reaction (2d6)
  4. Check for Random Encounter (1 in 6, appears in 1d6 rounds)
  5. Check Morale (2d6)
  6. Declare Intent
    1. Players may declare (+1 to initiative)
    2. Referee declares
    3. Remaining players declare (-1 to initiative)
  7. Roll Initiative (1d6 for each side in the conflict)
  8. Resolve Actions
    1. Magic
    2. Missile
    3. Move
    4. Melee
  9. If a pending random encounter arrives, go to step 4. Otherwise, go to step 5.

Check Reaction

2d6 The encountered creatures are…
2 Hostile
3-5 Unfavorable
6-8 Indifferent
9-11 Favorable / Talkative
12 Helpful

If you have a chance to parlay, you may add your Charisma modifier.

Check Morale

Player characters need never make morale checks. For all other intelligent creatures (including retainers and hirelings), morale checks are made if any of the following occurred in the round:

  • Opposition is first encountered
  • Half of the allies are incapacitated
  • Leader is incapacitated
  • Exposed to powerful fear affects (e.g. dragon fear)

Hirelings

Offering

Add your Charisma modifier to the roll.

3d6 Result
3-4 Refuse with Malice
5-8 Refuse
9-12 Uncertain
13-16 Accepts offer
17-18 Enthusiastic (loyalty roll +3)

Initial Loyalty

Add your Charisma modifier to the roll

3d6 Morale Modifier
3 2
4 3
5 4
6 5
7-8 6
9-12 7
13-14 8
15 9
16 10
17 11
18 12

Over the course of play, a retainers morale score may increase or decrease based on treatment.

Checking Morale

Roll 2d6 and compare to loyalty of the retainer; If it is higher, then the retainer leaves.

When to roll:

  • Returning from perilous environs to relative safety of civilization
  • Exposure to a perilous situation
  • When the hiring character is incapacitated
  • When orders are given from the non-hiring character
END OPEN GAME CONTENT

Skeleton of Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game

I’m preparing to run an RPG at my Friendly Local Game Store – Better World Books of Goshen. I’ve been vacillating between Sword & Wizardry (Complete, or White Box), Labyrinth Lord, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and the Heroes Journey.

Instead of picking one, I opted to create just what will be needed for that first session. This is by no means a complete game, but provides much of the player facing information to proceed. It is something I can print out and put in front of the players.

For more details concerning Old School Gaming, go grab Matt Finch’s free Quick Primer for Old School Games (PDF). See the following post for further Referee details.

BEGIN OPEN GAME CONTENT

Ability Scores

Ability Score Modifier
3-4 -2
5-7 -1
8-13 0
14-15 +1
17-18 +2

Modifier

  • Strength: to hit and damage in melee; feats of strength
  • Intelligence: to save vs. spell; For wizards, subtract from saving throws of spells you cast
  • Wisdom: to save vs. non-spells
  • Constitution: adjusts all HD rolls
  • Dexterity: to hit in missile; to AC
  • Charisma: to hiring; to loyalty; to parlay

Classes

Level 1

Features Cleric Dwarf Fighter Thief Wizard
Armor any any any leather none
Backstab +4/x2
Base to Hit Bonus +0 +0 +0 +0 +0
Base MV 12 9 12 12 12
Cleave No No Yes No No
Climbing 1 in 6 1 in 6 1 in 6 5 in 6 1 in 6
Detect secret doors 1 in 6 4 in 6 1 in 6 2 in 6 1 in 6
Hit Dice (HD) 1 (1d6) 1+2 (1d6+2) 1+1 (1d6+1) 1 (1d6) 1 (1d6)
Listen 1 in 6 2 in 6 1 in 6 3 in 6 1 in 6
Read Unknown Languages no no no 4 in 6 3 in 6
Saving Throw 14 13 15 15 15
Saving Throw Bonus +2 vs. death/poison +2 vs. poison/spells +2 vs. death/poison +2 vs. traps +2 vs. spells
Shield any any any none none
Spells 1 1st
Thievery 1 in 6
Turn Undead Yes No No No No
Weapon Damage, Medium 1d6 1d6 1d6 1d6 2W6
Weapon Damage, Light 2W6 1d6 1d6 1d6 2W6
Weapon Damage, Ranged 2W6 1d6 1d6 1d6 2W6
Weapon Damage, Two-Handed 1d6 2B6 2B6 1d6 1d6
XP to level 2 1500 2250 2000 1250 2500

Dice Notation

  • 1d6 – Roll 1 six-sided die
  • 2W6 – Roll 2 six-sided die, keep worse result
  • 2B6 – Roll 2 six-sided die, keep better result

Class Features

Wizard Spells

Charm Person Range: 30 ft, Duration: until dispelled, Save: negates, Affects: 1 living humanoid of human-size or smaller ; Caster is treated as trusted friend.

Detect Magic Range: 60 ft, Duration: 30 minutes; Caster senses location of magic within range

Hold Portal Range: 30 ft, Duration: 1 hour; Magically holds a door or gate for the duration.

Light Range: 60 ft, Duration: 1 hour; Target produces light as a torch (30 ft radius)

Magic Missile Range: 150 ft; A magic dart hits the target for 1d6 points of damage, no save.

Sleep Range: 240 ft, Affects: 2d6+3 HD of creatures, Duration: Referee’s discretion; Affected creatures enter an enchanted slumber

Turn Undead

Brandish your holy symbol and roll 3d6. Consult the following table. If the roll is successful, those creatures within 60 ft are turned – fleeing or cowering for 3d6 combat rounds.

HD Example 3d6
1 Skeleton 10+
2 Zombie 13+
3 Wight 15+
4 Wraith 17+

Equipment

Starting Equipment

You get both your class specific gear and an adventuring pack of your choice.

Class Specific Gear

Cleric: Mace with Chain Armor and Shield (AC 15)

Dwarf: One-handed weapon, crossbow, chain armor, and shield (AC 15) orTwo-handed weapon, crossbow, chain armor (AC 14)

Fighter: One-handed weapon, bow, chain armor, and shield (AC 15) orTwo-handed weapon, bow, chain armor (AC 14)

Thief: One-handed weapon, leather armor (AC 12)

Wizard: Spellbook (choose 1 spell, one at random), staff

Adventure Packs

Choose one of the following:

Pack 1: Backpack, bedroll, flint & steel, 6 torches (burn 1 hour, 30 ft radius light), 50 ft rope, crowbar, 7 days rations, and a water skin

Pack 2: Backpack, bedroll, flint & steel, hooded lantern with 2 pints lantern oil (burn 4 hours, 30 ft radius light), hammer, 12 iron spikes, 10 ft pole, 7 days rations, and a water skin

Pack 3: Backpack, bedroll, flint & steel, 6 torches (burn 1 hour, 30 ft radius light), a torchbearer (HP 2, AC 10, Move 12, Attack none, Carry torch, Loyalty 7+Charisma modifier), 7 days rations, and a water skin

Movement and Encumbrance

Encumbrance Modifier
Chain mail or greater -3 MV
Each 25 + (Strengh modifier x 10) pounds of treasure -3 MV
Excessive amounts of gear (Referee’s discretion) -3 MV

Note: Coins, gems, and jewelry each weigh 0.1 pounds. Note: Dwarves ignore the first two penalties to movement.

Description Speed Results
Sneaking MV x 10′ per turn As walking but able to move with stealth.
Walking MV x 20′ per turn Mapping and careful observation of the surroundings are possible.
Running MV x 40′ per turn No mapping permitted. Characters are automatically surprised and have no chance to surprise others. The sound of running may attract the attention of enemies.
Combat MV / 3 x 10′ per round Dashing around, battling foes, or fleeing.

Exploration

I encourage players to draw a map of the dungeon as it is explored (graph paper will be provided). Some things may only be discovered by reviewing the map.

Each turn of exploration (10 minutes), each character may:

  • Search a 10’x10′ area
  • Bind another character’s wounds (only in the turn after a combat); restoring 1d6-3 HP
  • Disable a trap
  • Move
  • Resolve an encounter

Every 3 turns, there is a 1 in 6 chance of a random encounter. Every 6th turn, the characters must rest.

Death and Recovery

When a character is reduced to below 0 HP, they must make a saving throw vs. death. Success means they are incapacitated, though any further damage they are killed outright. Failure means they are dead.

Characters recover 1 HP per day; 2 HP per day of bed rest.

Experience

While the current state of the rules does not deal with character advancement, it is something that bears discussion.

For each silver piece of treasure spent in town, the character gains 1 XP. Characters also gain XP for defeating monsters. However, the distribution of treasure XP to monster XP is about 4 to 1.

In other words, the vast majority of XP comes from treasure; plan accordingly.

Unlike many other systems, this uses the silver standard.

Checking Hireling Loyalty and Morale

Roll 2d6 and compare to loyalty of the retainer; If it is higher, then the retainer leaves.

When to roll:

  • Returning from perilous environs to relative safety of civilization
  • Exposure to a perilous situation
  • When the hiring character is incapacitated
  • When orders are given from the non-hiring character
END OPEN GAME CONTENT

Translating Old School Items to Dungeon World

From the Dungeon World core rulebook:

When making your own magic items keep in mind that these items are magical. Simple modifiers, like +1 damage, are the realm of the mundane—magic items should provide more interesting bonuses.

And in principle I believe this is very worthwhile advice. However, there are lots of magic items out there, especially those created for Old School Games under the Open Game License.

This post builds from my previous post concerning Saving Throws or Defying Danger. I actually began this post and had it mostly finished before I started writing the previous post.

Translating from the Old School Items

Dungeon World begins and ends with the fiction. When looking at old school items you should explore how the item interacts with the fiction.

Consider the following old school item:

Begin OPEN GAME CONTENT

Ring of Poison Resistance: The wearer receives a +5 to saving throws vs. poison.

END OPEN GAME CONTENT

In an old school game, a +5 to your save is rather significant but does not guarantee success.

A direct translation could be interpreted as:

Begin OPEN GAME CONTENT

Ring of Poison Resistance: You gain +1 ongoing to defying the dangers of poison.

End OPEN GAME CONTENT

But the above definition assumes a move triggers, which may not be the case.

In Dungeon World poison has the dangerous tag (see below).

It’s easy to get in trouble with it. If you interact with it without proper precautions the GM may freely invoke the consequences of your foolish actions.

The dangerous tag description hints that using this could trigger a move; But the tag doesn’t guarantee that a move triggers. And therein lies a difference between Dungeon World and an old school game.

The old school item builds on the saving throw – a reactive defense mechanism developed to give your character one final attempt to avoid a terrible fate.

Dungeon World’s Redbook (its alpha version) had the following move for Saving Throws, explicitly calling out poison.

Make a Saving Throw (Con)

When you take damage from an enemy of higher level than you or when something inflicts an effect (magic, poison, calamity) upon you, roll+Con. On a 10+, nothing else bad happens. On a 7-9 the GM chooses one. On a 6- the GM chooses two.

  • You drop something valuable
  • You break something mundane
  • You miss something important
  • You lose your footing
  • You lose track of someone or something
  • It’s worse than it seemed—take +monster level damage

Gone is the Saving Throw concept, replaced instead with the more generalized Defy Danger move – its fictional trigger is below:

When you act despite an imminent threat or suffer a calamity, say how you deal with it and roll. If you do it…

  • …by powering through, +Str
  • …by getting out of the way or acting fast, +Dex
  • …by enduring, +Con
  • …with quick thinking, +Int
  • …through mental fortitude, +Wis
  • …using charm and social grace, +Cha

✴On a 10+, you do what you set out to, the threat doesn’t come to bear. ✴On a 7–9, you stumble, hesitate, or flinch: the GM will offer you a worse outcome, hard bargain, or ugly choice.

From that fictional trigger a player could rightly narrate that they are attempting to defy the danger of poison by sucking out the poison or toughing it out; They could also reach into their pack to get some antitoxin.

But a Ring of Poison Resistance should provide a reactionary defense.

Begin OPEN GAME CONTENT

Ring of Poison Resistance: When you are exposed to the dangers of poison you can deal with it by relying on the ring. Roll+3 to defy the danger of the poison. Instead of rolling you may permanently drain the ring’s magic to negate the dangers of the poison.

End OPEN GAME CONTENT

If you are interested, you can checkout my Take on Magic Items.

Random Relationship Graph Builder

As I said earlier in my Random Clergy Generator post, I’ve been kicking around a campaign that involves a monastery (or perhaps more appropriately church). Around this time I read an old blog post at Deeper in the Game regarding 3 tiered Conflict Webs.

This go me thinking that I wanted to have the monastery filled with internal conflict at both a petty level as well as the leadership level. I also wanted the monastery to be in the maelstrom of the external world.

This may also be just in time for the rerelease of the Birthright Campaign Setting PDF.

Graph relationship of major players in the kingdom

A Proposed Kingdom Relationship

Relationships Defined

Within a living and breathing campaign world, consider three categories of relationships:

  1. External leadership
  2. Internal leadership
  3. Petty affairs

External Leadership

The inter-relationship between organizations and/or figures of authority that are in regular contact.

Thieves Guild, Bishop, Vizier, King, Earl, Duke

Internal Leadership

The characters of an organizational structure that are part of the leadership.
What are their motivations and relationship with other internal leaders.

Abbot, Prior, Subprior, Cellarer, and Sacrist

Petty Affairs

The characters of an organization that are part of the day to day function.

Butler, Footman, Scullery Maid, Driver, Stableman

Begin OPEN GAME CONTENT

Establish the Entity’s Attributes

Each entity has three attributes:

  • Influence – how the entity is perceived/interacts beyond their domain.
  • Sovereignty – the entity’s control over their subjects and domain.
  • Means – resources that can be leveraged to action; wealth, military might, spy network, etc.
Rank Influence Sovereignty Means
-4 Pariah, Outcast Fall is eminent Impoverished, insolvent, mutinous
-3 Shunned Leads in name only Deeply indebted, demoralized
-2 Ridiculed Strongly opposed Shaken, heavily taxed, indebted
-1 Distrustedm Disrespected Meager, Over committed
0 Heard Obeyed Bases are covered but nothing more
1 Trusted Respected Some excess capacity
2 Persuasive Revered Excess capacity and capabilities for securing more
3 Finger in every pot Infallible Owed numerous favors, abundant capabilities
4 “Puppetmaster” “God” Incomprehensible

Establish the Entity’s Relations

For any of the above organizational relationship categories, write each of the named entities in a line. It is the author’s recommendation that you put “obviously related” entities immediately adjacent (i.e. King and Royal Vizier).

For each named entity, roll 4dF and lookup the result:

  • Negative – connect the entity to the next entity in the line
  • Zero – connect the entity to the next entity in the line (as above) but also if an entity further down the list has no connections, connect to that entity.
  • Positive – do all that you would for a zero result and if another entity further down the list has no connections, also connect to that entity.

Each connection represents an established relationship between the two entities.

Optional Relationship: Draw a connection from the last entity on the list and the first entity.

Define the Relationship (Optional)

d8 Vice Virtue
1 Lust Chastity
2 Gluttony Temperance
3 Greed Charity
4 Sloth Diligence
5 Wrath Patience
6 Envy Kindness
7 Pride Humility
8 Roll 2 times Roll 2 times

Each established relationship between a character/organization is defined by one or more vices or virtues. Roll 1d8 and lookup the corresponding Vice/Virtue.
For each line roll 4dF and lookup the result:

  • Negative – the relationship is based on the indicated vice.
  • Zero – the relationship is defined by both the vice and virtue.
  • Positive – the relationship is based on the virtue.

It is up to the Gamemaster to interpret the resulting relationship.

End OPEN GAME CONTENT

Remember the Reaction Roll

Having hastily perused Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game Rulebook, I remember the Reaction roll, something that I’ve so quickly forgotten from my 3E and 4E days.

The reaction roll is for monsters that aren’t predisposed to attacking the player characters. And with a random component to how each encounter begins then most play-throughs of an adventure will be significantly different. Interesting.

This is very analogous to random encounter tables, but instead of provides a mechanism for the GM to defer a decision regarding monster reactions.

Sidebar

Remember Vincent’s Admonition? (TL;DR – “Roll Dice or Say Yes.”) The admonition is for a GM responding to a player. But sometimes, a GM, without input from players, may not know what to do next. Enter the random encounter, reaction roll, etc.

So I am realizing there is a corollary for this admonition for the GM – “Don’t know what to say or do next? Roll the dice.” I suppose that is what is behind the Mythic Game Master Emulator (a fantastic product in its own right).

Reaction Roll Table

Now back to the Reaction Roll Table from Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game Rulebook.

Begin OPEN GAME CONTENT
Reaction Roll Table (2d6+Charisma modifier)
Roll Result Explanation
2 or less Immediate Attack The monsters are so offended that they attack immediately.
3-7 Unfavorable The monsters do not like the player characters, and will attack if they may reasonably do so.
8-11 Favorable The monsters will consider letting the player characters live if they choose to parley; it does not necessarily mean that the monsters like the player characters.
12 or more Very favorable The monsters (or perhaps only the monster leader) do, in fact, like the player characters; this does not mean that the monsters will just hand over their treasure, but it does indicate that they may choose to cooperate with the player characters in mutually beneficial ways.
End OPEN GAME CONTENT

These days, when I see 2d6+n I think And when I see 2d6+X, I think its time for a move in Dungeon World. Given that the Charisma modifiers in Basic Fantasy RPG range from -3 to +3, this table could map directly, but would break with the concentric game design.

Dungeon World Move

When you attempt to placate one or more monsters that are waiting for you to make the first move, roll+CHA. On a 10+ they will cooperate with you so long as its mutually beneficial. On a 7-9 they are willing to listen.

Bulldogs! Pre-Release Review

I was a participant in Brennan Taylor‘s Kickstart Campaign for the Bulldogs! RPG.  As I wrote about earlier, I received my pre-release PDF copy of Bulldogs! RPG.  Whereas that post was about my initial impressions, this post is a more in-depth review

Table of Contents

The table of contents is on a single page, providing a list of the 14 chapters and their related subsections.

  1. Introduction
  2. The Galaxy
  3. FATE Basics
  4. Alien Species
  5. Crew Creation
  6. Aspects
  7. Doing Things
  8. Advancement
  9. Skills
  10. Stunts
  11. Gear
  12. Ships
  13. Running the Game

The Wheat

Aspects Everywhere – As is expected, Aspects are everywhere: Corporations, Systems, Ships, Weapons, Scenes, Campaigns, Adventures, etc.  Entities (i.e. aliens, corporations, systems, etc.) in Bulldogs! have a two or three paragraph description followed by three (or so) aspects and possible invokes and compels. Below are the aspects of the Frontier Zone, an area positioned between two rival super powers.

Begin Open Game Content

The Frontier Zone Aspects

Patchwork of Jurisdictions

Invoke: evading pursuit, “We just left Korrell Consortium space.”

Compel: issues with proper legal authorization, “Well, that writ was good two systems over. It’s nothing but words on the screen over here.”

“On this planet, I am the law.”

Invoke: you’re in tight with the locals, “Well, my buddy’s the administrator of this station, so you might want to rethink that.”

Compel: local hopped-up bosses can mess with you, “I don’t give a damn who you work for. Write an appeal to the AFFS if you want.”

Your Rep is all You’ve Got out here

Invoke: your rep is good (or scary), “I heard you were a fair dealer. Let’s talk.”

Compel: you’ve left a trail of infamy, “Aren’t you the guy who shot up the bar on Galvatorix V? My brother lost an eye in that gunfight.”

End Open Game Content

Resources – I really like how Bulldogs makes reference to loans.  The idea that you are going to slowly payback something that is beyond your financial means is very interesting.  It is well established that scruffy looking space scoundrels naturally owe gangsters money.

Minions – There are rules for quickly defining minions, and how a group of minions can work together.  The rules are rather elegant, defining a single as Average (+1), Fair (+2), or Good (+3).  This reflects their prowess in combat as well as the amount of stress they can take.  There are then rules for having minions act together so they can receive additional bonuses.  A nice rule for generating a meaningful battle between a group of stormtroopers and a couple of heroes.

Alien Creation – Aliens are comprised of stereotypical aspects and stunts.  You needn’t select the stereotypical aspects for your character, but they do provide a mechanical backdrop for playing a character of that species.  The stunts further define the uniqueness of your character’s species.  Below is the mechanical write-up of the Saldrallans.  The suggested aspects and stunts show us what a Saldrallan is all about.

Begin Open Game Content

Typical Saldrallan Aspects

Exothermic

Invoke: you can lie very still and quiet when resting, “Holy crap! I didn’t see that Saldrallan there!”

Compel: you’re sluggish in cold weather, “It must be 10 degrees in here. I think I’ll take a nap.”

Lidless Gaze

Invoke: this can really freak people out, “OK, I’ll tell you! Just stop staring at me.”

Compel: you seem weird and scary, “I don’t want to talk to you. Just go away.”

Ruthless

Invoke: no one can tug your heartstrings, “Damn. I can’t believe you shot him down like that.”

Compel: you’ll cut even friends loose if you need to, “Sorry, there’s no time to wait for you.”

Eefficiency, Expansion, Power

Invoke: you’re relentless in pursuit of what you want, “This is what it takes to succeed.”

Compel: your desire for success can strain your friends, “Again? I’m getting tired of doing all this work.”

Tolerant

Invoke: you can get along with anyone, “I don’t mind his peculiar habits. He has an excellent eye for investigation.”

Compel: you may miss problems that actually demand attention, “Hmm. His gambling wasn’t an issue before.”

Flexible Morality

Invoke: doing bad things just doesn’t bother you, “This may be illegal, but the net gain is quite high.”

Compel: you don’t understand why it’s bad, “I am confused. You didn’t want to sell your vintage discs? The profit was exceptional.”

Saldrallan Species Abilities [–2]

Heat Sense [–1]

Saldrallans have heat organs underneath their eyes that allow them to see in the thermal spectrum. Any scene aspect that restricts vision or other senses must directly block this additional sense, otherwise the Saldrallan can ignore the aspect.

Poison Bite [–2]

Saldrallans possess long fangs that can inject poi- son into an opponent. Once per fight, in addition to any normal damage, a Saldrallan may place an immediate consequence on an opponent (Poisoned, Spreading Weakness, etc.) if Fists is used for the attack. Only the lowest available consequence is used, and you must successfully strike your opponent to use this ability.

Cold Blooded [+1]

Saldrallans require external heat or cooling sources to regulate their body temperature. The GM can compel this attribute as if it were an aspect once per session. If the player wishes to avoid this compel, she must spend two fate points to refuse. Check out the Aspects chapter for more on compels (page 55).

End Open Game Content

The Chaff

Guessing Aspects – Standard fare for most Fate games, I prefer aspects to be known but not free-taggable.  The idea of guessing that the encounter has the aspect “Shadow-filled” seems a bit odd.  Perhaps in play this works a bit better.

Pushing Beyond the Limits – I feel that Diaspora pushed the envelope of the Fate system, whereas Bulldogs! settled within the boundaries of what was already established.  Then again, if it ain’t broke…don’t fix it.

Conclusion

Bulldogs! is a very engaging system that builds on the solid foundation of Spirit of the Century and other Fate 3 games.  The tone of the game is all about playing a scruffy looking band of scoundrels flying around the galaxy in their hunk of junk.  I’m eagerly awaiting my print copy so I can proudly add it to my game shelf.