Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Ideal

For mine own clarity of purpose:

1. There is something interesting to do in every direction. The players know that, have some idea of the options, and can discover the rest of the options through play.  They have enough information for each option to make an informed decision on what to do.

2. All of my creative energy goes into making these interesting things to do. There is enough variety that the game doesn't feel repetitive. History, character motivations, relationships, etc are very important, but only if they can inform player decisions.

3. Prep feels like a game rather than a chore. I have a baseline of resources that can be repurposed when working on something new and prevent me from feeling overwhelmed. My methods are fun and efficient, consistently produce interesting material for the players, and don't burn me out.

4. Prep is useful no matter what the players choose to do and supports player agency rather than the illusion of choice. Prepared resources inspire me at the table. They don't allow me to go on autopilot, but they provide enough of a safety net that even when I have an off night the game is still fun.

5. Players don't feel like I am the boss who tells them what to do. They are in charge of themselves and don't feel artificially constrained.

6. Decisions have consequences. There are good decisions with good consequences and bad decisions with bad consequences, and these feel consistent and comprehensible. The rules enforce these consequences and are simple enough that players have an idea of likely outcomes.

7. The rules generate fun and interesting outcomes, whether good or bad. They support rather than resist creative problem solving. They don't get in my way but prevent me from screwing things up too badly.

8. I leave each session feeling energized and with clear goals of what to prep for next time, guided by the notes I take during and immediately after the session. I make sure that, no matter where the players go next, there is something interesting to do.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Death, Revised

I think I've made my death and injury procedure significantly more complex than the previous iteration without actually making it any more complicated for the players, and that makes me feel like a good boy.

At 0 HP, make a CON/Paralysis save to remain active and roll d100 on the following table. For further successful attacks against you, roll d100 + cumulative damage x 10 on this table. Italics indicate an infection, with an onset of 4d4 turns on a failed CON/Poison save. No infection has the same cure twice. The duration of non-permanent effects is 2d4 weeks or as described.

Flesh wound. Looks worse than it is.
Hideous scar or burn.
Broken ribs. Disadvantage on all CON rolls.
Internal bleeding. Disadvantage on DEX rolls.
Broken arm. Temporary -2 CON and disadvantage on attack rolls.
Broken leg. Temporary -2 CON and move as if one encumbrance level higher.
1: Wound blisters and turns a sickening fuschia color, burning badly. Disadvantage on all rolls.
2: Lacrymal glands leak a black mucus that seals eyes shut. DEX halved, disadvantage on all rolls.
3: Agonizing convulsions and retching for d4 turns on a failed WIS/Paralysis save during any physical exertion.
4: Vomit acidic, boiling blood that corrodes worn equipment.
5: Fever, can’t keep down any food or drink. -1 to all abilities each day, death if any reach 0.
6: Fetid pus-filled boils cover the skin. Confusion and madness. Too weak to stand after 2d6 days. Death follows d6 days later.
7: Lockjaw after d4 days, no speaking. Rest of limbs follow 2d4 days later, and death d4 more.
Lose an eye. Permanent -4 DEX.
Lose an eye. Permanent -4 DEX + Infection 1 (53), 2 (54), 3 (55), 4 (56), 5 (57), 6 (58), 7 (59).
Lose d4 fingers. Permanent -1 CON and DEX.
Lose d4 fingers. Permanent -1 CON and DEX + Infection 1 (62), 2 (63), 3 (64), 4 (65), 5 (66), 6 (67), 7 (68).
Lose a hand. Permanent -2 CON and DEX.
Lose a hand. Permanent -2 CON and DEX + Infection 1 (71), 2 (72), 3 (73), 4 (74), 5 (75), 6 (76), 7 (77).
Lose an arm. Permanent -4 CON and DEX. Disadvantage on attack rolls.
Lose an arm. Permanent -4 CON and DEX. Disadvantage on attack rolls + Infection 1 (80), 2 (81), 3 (82), 4 (83), 5 (84), 6 (85), 7 (86).
Lose a leg. Permanent -4 CON and DEX, always move as if heavily burdened.
Lose a leg. Permanent -4 CON and DEX, always move as if heavily burdened + Infection 1 (89), 2 (90), 3 (91), 4 (92), 5 (93), 6 (94), 7 (95).
Septic shock and agonizing death.

Why I like this:
  • Consequences kick in at 0 HP. No more negative numbers.
  • Players can remain active, but put themselves at considerable and quickly increasing risk if they don't run. Inspired by Small but Vicious Dog. I love forcing hard choices!
  • Standardized mechanical effects for injuries.
  • Infections! This is a gamey, built-in way for players to get sick. Inspired by Last Gasp. Pull cures from that post if you want.
  • Still only a single roll (per attack) on a single chart.