Guns!

Or rules for modern firearms for Pathfinder.

It seems that my own rule system is on indefinite hold and I’m switching to Pathfinder to run my own Kingmaker style campaign in the near future. The world I set the campaign will the same I used with my own rules so I need rules for various guns. Paizo has published rules for firearms up to around 19th century tech but I need rules for 20th century and future guns so I wrote my own. These are first version and I’m not entirely sure about these. The damage values and prices are something to carefully think. Not sure how expensive these should be, the idea is that player characters can buy these from certain NPCs if they have the money but they shouldn’t be cheap. On the other hand selling them for huge amounts of cash should not be possible. Also the campaign is supposed to be lower magic (magic item wise) then regular Pathfinder so these should replace some of the magic armaments PCs normally have.

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d12 Setting, Dyson Sphere

I’ve finally got a definite idea for the campaign world using d12 rules. It’s going to be about exploration of recently rediscovered Dyson sphere, more specifically Dyson shell. I’ve stated that the game is going to be space opera (among other things) so hard science can take back seat and I can do cool stuff based on concept.

Basic idea is that The Guild has discovered a lost Dyson sphere world and has invited all different factions to participate in its exploration. The Guild is of course interested solely in profit and control of interstellar flight and trade while other factions have their own motivations.

The Dyson sphere was built to be a paradise world and giant lab by the previous human civilization that was lost in wars long forgotten with enemies unknown. This of course means that there is lots of strange stuff waiting for someone to find it.

Enter greedy, ambitious, trigger happy explorers (i.e. player characters) supported by various factions and the game should roll with its own weight.

3:16 Carnage among the Troopers

Today I was playing 3:16 in my regular haunt, university’s RPG club. We started the night with 11 players. The start was bit chaotic with everyone shouting over each other and some of the more experienced players helping first time players with their characters. Situation improved bit by bit as people started to die and some left the game early.

Most of the dead players were executed by their fellow troopers. I’m not sure if it was the very crowded small room or people just getting fed up with the slow pace because the player of the major (first casualty) was giving conflicting orders to his squad. Also, I’m not sure if the conflicting orders were because he was messing with us or because he was drunk or both. Anyways, the major was executed by his sergeant. The other sergeant was promoted to major and and that triggered another trooper vs. trooper conflict when the new major clashed with his corporal. The corporal was trying to pull rank on him because the first major had put him in charge of the first squad… The corporal was executed by the new major and his lackeys.

Anyways… after these two episodes the player count had dropped to 6 and things started to move forward again. We actually managed to complete some of our mission objectives, saving friendly forces from lifeforms. Rest of the mission was actually quite good. All the usual 3:16 mission silliness ensued, our drop ship getting shot down just when we were supposed to go pick up last group of survivors, troopers almost dying to grenades and people using strengths and weaknesses to kill lifeforms or save their asses instead of executing their COs

d12 Project

I’m planning a new RPG campaign and rules.

It’s going to be gritty space opera/space fantasy with old school rules. In this case old school means the Old School Renaissance that’s currently running wild all over the internet. I’m currently running Pathfinder RPG game so I got the fantasy covered and because I’ve itched to play/run scifi game for a long time now is good time to do that. Second, I really liked WEG D6 Star Wars, so it’s another old itch that gets scratched.

I plan to make the rules framework light and easily extended during play. Immediate benefit of this is that I don’t have to write endless lists of crunch before even starting to play the game. The amount of crunch you have to go trough is one of the things I don’t like about Pathfinder but it is tolerable. In this case the idea is to tell player that to use their imagination and suggest stuff. The stuff is then assigned game mechanics based on how other things in the game work. This is an idea that I tested in my friend’s summer campaign.

Another thing about this project is that I don’t plan to make this original. The idea is to pick things from different game systems and combine them to make something I like GMing. Another thing I like to try is to minimize GM preparation if I don’t want to prepare stuff. This means lots of random generation tables, like Vornheim. I’m lately become fascinated by all sorts of procedural things and want to try them out in my own games.

The setting will be post-apocalyptic human populated galaxy with lots of forgotten tech, mystical powers, hidden riches and enemies from beyond and within. Think old school D&D with exploration, mystery, horror of unknown and grittiness of Warhammer 40.000 with threats to humanity everywhere and you’re on the right track. Besides, WH40k style chain swords are pretty cool way of dispatching your enemies, they’re not “an elegant weapon for a more civilized age”, they are manly. That’s the kind of action I want to see in this game.

Before I start rambling anymore, here the core mechanic of the game.

Task resolution is done by rolling 2d12 + skill (+ bonus/penalty dice + other stuff) vs. difficulty.

  • Skill: Still under development what this exactly means, current idea I’m playing with is attribute (0-24) + skill (0-6) with attributes being very broad (agility) and skills being much more specific (melee)
  • Bonus/penalty dice: These are the conditional modifiers that GM assigns to character actions like bad visibility, vital piece to information and such. Each bonus or penalty die is another d12 added to the pool the player rolls. Bonus and penalty dice cancel each other and if after all modifiers the character has bonus dice he rolls his whole pool and take 2 best rolls and adds them together. In case of penalty dice, 2 worst results are used.
  • Other stuff: This is the catch all category I leave open in case I think something that need to be added.

Difficulties are following:

  • 10 – easy (everyone should be able to do this)
  • 15 – normal (some skill required)
  • 20 – hard (professionals don’t have problems)
  • 25 – difficult (requires effort or great skill)
  • 30 – very difficult (experts only)
  • 35 – legendary (stories are told about these)
  • Additional difficulty in increments of 5  (you’re either really stupid or really good)

These rules don’t have critical success or failure, they use degree of success. Every full 5 points over the difficulty in character’s roll is a degree of success. Other way around, every full 5 points under the difficulty is a degree of failure.

Degrees of success can be used by player to stunt additional benefits/success form the task he was trying to accomplish while GM can use degrees of failure to introduce additional complications. For example, characters is trying to hack electronic lock. Degrees of success would enable him to do it in half the usual time, he did it without raising an alarm or he could gain access to the whole security network with all door and cameras. Degrees of failure would mean that the lock didn’t open and the character took more time than usual to find out that he can’t open it, he could have triggered the alarm, or worse he triggered a silent alarm and didn’t notice and now he hears the armored boots of security forces approaching around the corner.

Degrees of success/failure are all up to the GM but character’s can give their input on the matter. GM being quite powerful is another old school thing I want to include, GM is neutral party, he plays the uncaring world that the characters face without trying to make sure that the PCs “succeed” like D&D 3.x and 4th edition do. If a die roll kills a player character then he is dead. GM doesn’t fudge rolls.

This is post is getting quite long, I’ll write more about the system in future posts by detailing attribute/skills and various subsystems like character creation, combat, vehicle & equipment and magic.

See any obvious flaws in the system? Feel free to point them out, this is still work in progress, until I play the first session thing can change.

P.S. Why use 2d12? I got asked this almost every time I spoke about this project. The answer is because I’m fighting for the underdog. d12 has to be the most underused regular polyhedron in RPG history.