Friday, August 31, 2007

WWII Tours?!?!

I just saw a Google ad for "WWII Tours", tours of places like Normandy, the Eagle's Nest, Dachau...

Has everyone lost their damn minds?

Its too bad our grandfathers spent all that extra toil (you know, after the fighting and all) to rebuild. They could have left Dresden in ruins, bought the land, set up lemonade stands, and then retired and drove around Bel Air in their Gold-Plated Cadillacs.


Too creepy.

At least this way the money ends up going to SOME folks who were actually there when the "arsenal of freedom" was falling on top of their damn heads. Now if we could just force the History channel to start paying the Japanese and the Europeans royalties, we'd at least not be total freaking scumbags.

Shiny Happy People Laughing

Just wanted to drop a quick note here that my players and I are really enjoying the Modern 2.0 playtest, and it looks like David Gallant might be doing some playtesting as well, which would be *awesome*.

Also, thank you Jesus for the Chinese place two blocks away from the domicile with its delicious take-out.

Legends of the Samurai: Escape from the Haunted Lands


"To ignore tradition is foolhardy; to anger the dead by not providing for them tempts fate; to be in a place where others have died subjects you to forces beyond your control. Avoidance, care, ritual, respect, tradition. These are your bywords."

-The Rule of the Dead

Welcome to legendary Japan, a land of unhappy ghosts and mischievous spirits, of cannibal demons and merciful kami. A place where honor is more important than gold and where one's skill with sword and etiquette is the only thing that stands between glorious victory and shameful defeat.

"The Escape from the Haunted Lands" is the first chapter in the "Haunted Lands" Adventure Path, a 10-installment campaign designed to lead the characters on a wonderful journey through the fabled lands of ancient Japan and latter Koryo in a quest to avenge their master's death and restore his son and heir to his rightful place.

This adventure is intended to serve as a tutorial to Japanese adventuring in general and as such contains many iconic encounters taken straight from traditional Japanese folktales and kaidans (ghost stories). Also, the "Seven Tales of Old Japan" at the end of this adventure is designed to give both the DM and the players a glimpse into Japan's rich and fascinating folklore by retelling some of Japan's best-known and loved stories.

Learn more or purchase it direct from RPGObjects here.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Example of Modern System 2.0 Character Creation

So in a recent post on ENW, I posted an example of Modern 2.0 character creation. Although you can read the whole back and forth that led up to this here (and I recommend you do), I thought it only right to put the character creation example up here.

As a huge Sleeper Cell fan (much more my speed that "24"), I use as my iconic character Special Agent Darwyn Al-Sayeed of the FBI, mole inside an al-Qaeda sleeper cell operating inside the United States and planning a major terrorist attack.

We start with Background.

Now we know from the show that Darwyn was an Army Ranger before he joined the FBI, so I set his Background as "military".

This gives Darwyn 4 ranks each in three skills, selected from the following list: Athletics, Engineering, Firearms, Outdoorsman, Perception, Stealth, Unarmed, Vehicles and Weapons.

It also gives Darwyn a little bit of Wealth.

I select Athletics, Firearms and Stealth. Darwyn receives 4 free ranks in each of these skills, representing the training he received during his Army days. However, they are not added to his class skill list, because he's not currently a soldier.

As for what he IS, we now we move to Darwyn's occupation.

This is clearly Spy, at least for his primary occupation (we'll talk about his bit as an FBI agent in a bit).

This adds three skills to Darwyn's class skill list: Crime, Influence and Perception. These are considered class skills regardless of class for as long as Darwyn stays in this occupation. He can leave it whenever he chooses, though this will impose some limitations on him while he transitions from one job to the next.

But Darwyn's not changing jobs right now, he has a mission, so let's not worry about that just yet

Darwyn's occupation also gives him 4 Improved Feats to choose. Not only can he take these feats whether or not they're on his class feat list, they work better for him than for another character, either because he uses them everyday on the job, or because he's had the benefit of special training, what have you.

Darwyn's improved feats are: Awareness, Low Profile (this feat actually allows Darwyn to shunt his Reputation into a separate identity in its improved form), Self-Help and Sneak Attack.

Finally, Darwyn's occupation grants him two "perks", special job bennies that can be used to grant Wealth or Reputation increases, or change the way some of Darwyn's skills work, again through special training or on the job familiarity.

Darwyn's perks are fluid and can be changed anytime he changes occupations, but also when he advances WITHIN his occupation (gains more ranks in occupation class skills or learns an occupational improved feat).

Now, after all this, we move to class.

Darwyn is a committed Muslim, who is defined by his strong love of his religion. He sees the events of 911 as sparking a war within Islam, a war he is committed to winning for the side that believes Islam is a religion of peace. Darwyn is quiet, reserved but when he chooses to stand his ground he is a rock that cannot be moved.

Because of these qualities, I choose Empath for Darwyn's first character class.

Now Darwyn can multi-class at any time, but his FIRST class is improtant, because it determines Darwyn's core ability. Each character only gets one of these, based on the class he takes his first character level in.

As an Empath, Darwyn gains the Resolute core ability, that allows him to add his Empath level to a saving throw once per day. If Darwyn spends an action point, he can treat a failed saving throw as a success.

Like I said, Darwyn's faith and his love of America, combined with a strong sense of personal duty, have made him a rock.

Now we get to Darwyn's hobby. To establish his cover identity, Darwyn actually does a long stretch in jail, where he infiltrates a prison Muslim gang with an influential religious leader (the prison librarian) who will be Darwyn's entry into the sleeper cell.

Because of this, we decide to make Darwyn's hobby crime. He might have been a boy scout before, an elite Army Ranger turned FBI agent whose patriotism is unquestioned. But now he's been an inmate, lived with a muslim prison gang, and on the outside, spends his time in seedy locations like strip clubs and adult movie theaters to maintain his cover.

Darwyn's hobby further expands his skill base, giving him 4 free ranks in the crime skill. Like his Background skills, this is a basic familiarity. The skill isn't added to his class skill list like his three Occupation skills (but remember one of those is Crime as long as Darwyn is a spy).

Now we pick Darwyn's feats. We pick three of the feats from his occupation's Improved Feat list:

Awareness- Darwyn's life depends on his ability to be a step ahead, to read situations and determine the right course of action.

next we take Sneak Attack- as part of being a step ahead, when Darwyn has to fight, he strikes before his opponent is ready; he has to put his man down quick, before he has a chance to blow his cover (or take his life).

Next we take Low Profile- Darwyn's Reputation as a highly decorated Army Ranger and FBI Agent whose loyalty is beyond reproach has been erased (Reputation reduced to 0 per the feat); but rather than being a man with no identity, Darwyn has become someone different- an Army Ranger who left the military because of his radical beliefs, ending up in prison.

Lastly we take a 4th feat, not on Darwyn's occupational feat list, the general feat Moonlighting. This allows Darwyn to gain some of the benefits of a second occupation. We select Law Enforcement, in keeping with Darwyn's double life.

As a final step, we give Darwyn some character disadvantages.

As part of his cover, Darwyn starts seeing a single mother, Gail who he meets through the sleeper cell.

Though she should be part of his cover, she becomes much more and her relationship with Darwyn, a man she believes to be an ex-con working as a bag boy, threatens both their lives, as some local Los Angeles police stumble onto Darwyn, who they believe to be a radical Muslim, and attempt to use her to find out information on Darwyn without going to the FBI (who they don't want to "hog" the credit for this major bust the cops think they've lucked onto).

As Darwyn's player, I represent this state of affairs through the Dependent disadvantage, and the Secret disadvantage.

Darwyn should discard Gail the moment she becomes a liability to his cover and not an asset but he won't. He also has a secret that he must keep from her, to prevent the sleeper cell from killing her to protect their "comrade".

These disadvantages provide no up-front benefit.

Instead, when they activate and make Darwyn's life even more wonderful than normal, Darwyn gets an Action Point as a reward for his trouble. This allows Darwyn to spend his action points much more freely, since he doesn't just have to wait to gain a level to recover his AP.

Of course, with a life like Darwyn's, he needs all the AP he can get.

Whew, I just keep talkin don't I?

Still, I hope this demonstrates that the character generation system is a lot more than picking from 6 classes, I hope it's a system everyone who buys the book loves as much as my players have.

4th Edition: Return of the Groundlings

One thing that has been really nice about the 4th edition announcement is the announcement by Wizards that there's going to be a new SRD released under the OGL.

For those not totally into the lingo, this means that the 4th edition rules will be made available to anyone who wants to publish open-source books to support the new edition of D&D under roughly the same conditions and restrictions (which were very generous) as 3rd edition was.

What I love about this is that it really sticks it to those people who turn their noses up at indie press publishers of d20 material.

These people have been telling anyone that would listen for YEARS now that Wizards would never make another version of its rules open. Oh no! They now recognize what a mistake that would be.

Think of the glut!

Think of the bad products!

The d20 bubble!

The bursting of that bubble!

Well, you can all get used to us grubby groundlings getting to muck around with Wizards' rules, because the company has realized what I always felt, always hoped they would:

Third party publishers are good for Wizards, good for d20 and good for D&D.

And it seems only fitting.

The license that allowed Mike Mearls to make his entry into the industry has been officially, and for all time, recognized as a success by Wizards.

And of course, another sign that Wizards knows how much they've benefited from the OGL lies in the man chosen as the lead designer for this new edition: Mike Mearls.

King of the Groundlings.

Thanks Wizards, for ignoring the arrogant snobs who feel that only big companies should be allowed in the sandbox. Only "true professionals" (whatever the heck that means) should get to play with the toys.

And this is the third time you've recognized this: the 3rd edition OGL, the setting search and now the 4th edition OGL.

To those who say Wizards is all about the money, to those who say a "glut" of products is bad for the market somehow, I would just like to say that I recognize the truth: Wizards is a great company that is run by gamers, likes gamers, and is willing to let us crazy gearheads do what we love to do.

And for that, one more time, you have the thanks of this gamer at least.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Intermediate Empath

Intermediate Empath (Empath 4): HD 4d8+4; HP 25; Init +1; Spd 30 ft; Defense 17, touch 17, flatfooted 13 (+1 Dex, +3 Wis, +3 Class); BAB +3; Atk +7 melee (1d6+1, Unarmed w/ Brass Knuckles), or +1 ranged (1d10+0, Crossbow); SQ Resolute; AL none; SV Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +5, Rec +4; Rep +2; Str 10, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 8.

Background: Military

Occupation: Martial Arts Instructor: Perks (Unarmed- Reactive Stance; Streetwise- Urban Stealth)

Hobby: Weapons

Skills: Academics (history) 4 (+6), Athletics 7 (+7), Firearms 4 (+5), Influence 7 (+6), Legal 7 (+9), Medicine 7 (+10), Outdoorsman 7 (+10), Perception 7 (+15), Streetwise 7 (+10), Unarmed 7 (+7), Vehicles 4 (+5), Weapons 4 (+4)

Feats: Attack Focus (unarmed), Awareness, Contemplative Master, Defensive Attack, Defensive Martial Arts (14 Defense against melee attacks when not flat-footed), Mind Over Body, Poise

Access/Contacts/Followers: Favors (2 RP)

Wealth: 12

Possessions: Brass Knuckles, Crossbow, Leather Jacket

The Empath player continues to walk his own way, pretty much ignoring the other players' strategies of getting the most out of the Wealth and Reputation systems and focusing on squeezing every possible advantage from his high Wisdom.

At present, this character has Wisdom modifying unarmed attack rolls, Defense, Fortitude saves and Recovery saves.

More tweaks to Reputation as playtesting continues

Man, when I make something more powerful, I do it RIGHT.

Page Count gettin' higher. Arms gettin' tired.

73.

Combat chapter done.

Character generation chapter done.

(As you can see, the boss and I decided to make this a complete game)

Essential X-men #2 review


This is the second Marvel Essential to chronicle Chris Claremont's record-setting 16 year continuous run on The Uncanny X-men.

This essential chronicles what is often sited as one of the best comic story arcs ever written: the Dark Phoenix Saga.

In this arc, we see the introduction of the Hellfire Club, including their White Queen, Emma Frost, a character that has become incredibly important to current X-men continuity, especially to Grant Morrison's acclaimed run on New X-Men.

We also see the introduction of Kitty Pryde, a character featured in the white hot Astonishing X-Men by Buffy scribe Joss Whedon and the death of Jean Grey.

In short, you have one of the most beloved comic arcs of the last 30 years and the introduction of characters that today's hottest comic writers come back to again and again.

If you call yourself a comics fan, or even just a fan of great storytelling, you owe it to yourself to get this essential. Even better, it's less than 15 bucks. You can't go wrong.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Intermediate Tank

Intermediate Tank (Tank 4): HD 4d12+12; HP 43; Init +1; Spd 30 ft (20 ft. in armor); Defense 14, touch 14, flatfooted 13 (+1 Dex, +3 Class); BAB +3; Atk +6 melee (1d6+4, Metal Baton), or +4 ranged (2d8+8, S&W .44 Magnum); SQ Resilience; AL none; SV Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +2, Rec +10; Rep +2; Str 14, Dex 13, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.

Background: Military

Occupation: Bodyguard: Perks (Professional Salary; Firearms- Double Tap)

Hobby: Weapons

Skills: Athletics 6 (+8), Crime 4 (+4), Firearms 6 (+7), Outdoorsman 4 (+5), Perception 6 (+7), Stealth 4 (+5), Unarmed 4 (+6), Weapons 6 (+8)

Feats: Attack Focus (Metal Baton), Damage Reduction x2, Defensive Attack, Die Hard, High Pain Threshold, Human Shield

Contacts/Followers: Supply Contact (+2 Wealth)

Wealth: 19

Possessions: Metal Baton, S&W .44 Magnum, Special Response Vest

Another shifting of perks, this time for Wealth instead of Reputation. Though all admit the Speedfreak player's use of a Supply contact to get that rifle helped shift the balance of power temporarily in his favor (which he couldn't have afforded without the supply contact).

Intermediate Speedreak

Intermediate Speedfreak (Speedfreak 4): HD 4d8+8; HP 29; Init +3; Spd 30 ft; Defense 17, touch 17, flatfooted 14 (+3 Dex, +4 Class); BAB +3; Atk +6 melee (1d4+1, Knife) melee or +7 ranged (2d10+10, Winchester 94); SQ Need for Speed; AL none; SV Fort +4, Ref +7, Will +2, Rec +3; Rep +6; Str 13, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.

Background: Law Enforcement

Occupation: Hunter: Perks (Weapons- Aggressive Stance; Professional Reputation)

Hobby: Streetwise

Skills: Acrobatics 6 (+9), Athletics 6 (+7), Firearms 6 (+9), Outdoorsman 4 (+9), Perception 4 (+9), Stealth 6 (+13), Streetwise 4 (+5), Weapons 4 (+5)

Feats: Acrobatic Defense (Defense 19 against ranged attacks when not flat-footed), Attack Focus (Winchester 94), Awareness, Defensive Roll, Far Shot, Night Vision, Talented (Outdoorsman and Stealth)

Contacts/Followers: Supply Contact (Wealth +8), 3 RP in favors

Wealth: 13

Possessions: Knife, Winchester 94, Light Undercover Shirt

Hmmm, another player who definitely learned from round 1, resulting in another shift in perks, this time toward Reputation, with an eye to buying a Supply contact. That was used to purchase the big boomer of the Winchester 94, which gave the Speedfreak a decided advantage with his improved Far Shot (from his Hunter occupation) and insanely high Stealth.

The player's strategy for taking that occupation has become clear. He's a frightening sniper.

Also, in case you hadn't noticed, guns are more powerful in Modern 2.0, which works to this player's advantage.

Intermediate Powerhouse

Intermediate Powerhouse (Powerhouse 4): HD 4d10+8; HP 34; Init +1; Spd 30 ft; Defense 14, touch 14, flatfooted 13 (+1 Dex, +3 Class); BAB +4; Atk +8 melee (1d6+7, Aluminum Baseball Bat), or +7 ranged (2d6+6, Colt Python); SQ Melee Master; AL Gang; SV Fort +6, Ref +2, Will +0, Rec +4; Rep +2; Str 16, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 12.

Background: Criminal

Occupation: Mobster: Perks (Weapons- Aggressive Stance; Professional Salary)

Hobby: Crime

Skills: Athletics 6 (+9), Crime 4 (+4), Firearms 6 (+7), Influence 4 (+5), Perception 4 (+3), Streetwise 4 (+3), Unarmed 6 (+9), Weapons 6 (+9)

Feats: Armed Defense (19 Defense against melee when not flat-footed), Attack Focus (Aluminum Baseball Bat), Attack Focus (Colt Python), Attack Specialization (Aluminum Baseball Bat), Enemy (rival crime family), Move-By Action, Point Blank Shot

Contacts/Followers: Supply Contact (Wealth +2)

Wealth: 17

Possessions: Aluminum Baseball Bat, Knife, Colt Python, 18 rounds, Tactical Vest

Playtesting continues. An interesting direction for the Powerhouse. This class did well in the 1st level playtest, coming in just behind the Star in total number of wins. Abandoning his Unarmed perk for a Wealth boost, the Powerhouse enters the intermediate round with a much better armor and weapon selection, allowing this character to be dangerous at range, while still being someone you never, ever, want to let get within arm's reach of you.

In the words of George Carlin, "It's amazing what you can accomplish with a simple baseball bat".

Monday, August 27, 2007

Test Star and a class gets nerfed

Of all the classes I expected to be immediately nerfed, Star wouldn't have made my list. Don't get me wrong, one of my goals was to make Reputation a valuable niche, but the extent to which the Star dominated the early playtests was both hilarious and troubling.

Still, the Star player did a great job of grokking the Star's role, taking a follower and a supply contact, using the teamwork feat and unit cohesion perk to give bonuses to himself and his follower, while using his Wealth to supply him and his follower MUCH better than any of the other classes.

Basically, the Star class is something like a Tony Stark type character, providing for poorer party members. Still, the Networking perk got killed dead by one night of playtest.

Star (Star 1): HD 1d8+2; HP 10; Init +1; Spd 30 ft; Defense 13, touch 13, flatfooted 10 (+1 Dex, +2 Cha, +0 Class); BAB +0; Atk +1 melee (1d6+3, Metal Baton), or +1 ranged (2d6+3, HK MP5); SQ Friends in High Places; AL none; SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +3, Rec +2; Rep +5; Str 12, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 15.

Background: Celebrity

Occupation: Actor: Perks (Professional Reputation; Leadership- Group Cohesion)

Hobby: Weapons

Skills: Acrobatics 4, Firearms 4, Influence 4, Leadership 4, Legal 4, Perception 4, Streetwise 4, Weapons 4

Feats: Banter, Endorsement Deal, Lucky, Teamwork

Contacts/Followers: Supply Contact (Wealth +7), 1st Level Follower (1)

Wealth: 21

Possessions: Metal Baton, HK MP5, Leather Jacket

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Test Brainiac

Another interesting build. I think the players are catching more as they make their characters, they got better as we went along.

Test Brainiac (Brainiac 1): HD 1d8+1; HP 9; Init +2; Spd 30 ft; Defense 12, touch 12, flatfooted 10 (+2 Dex, +0 Class); BAB +0; Atk +2 melee (1d4+3, Knife), or +2 ranged (1d10+0, Crossbow); SQ Thinker; AL none; SV Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +2, Rec +1; Rep +0; Str 12, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 15, Wis 10, Cha 8.

Background: Adventurer

Occupation: Spy: Perks (Weapons- Reactive Stance; Unarmed- Reactive Stance)

Hobby: Weapons

Skills: Academics (current events) 4, Chemistry 4, Computers 4, Crime 4, Engineering 4, Influence 4, Legal 4, Outdoorsman 4, Perception 4, Stealth 4, Streetwise 4, Unarmed 4, Vehicles 4, Weapons 4

Feats: Exploit Weakness, Sneak Attack x2, Weapon Finesse (Knife)

Contacts/Followers: None

Wealth: 10

Possessions: Knife, Crossbow, Leather Jacket

Test Empath

This is something of a cagey design. The player basically went toward a dedicated unarmed combatant at 1st level.

I suspect the player in question knows I love martial arts and suspects this area of the game might be a bit over-generous. He hotly denies it. Either way... an interesting build.

Test Empath (Empath 1): HD 1d8+1; HP 9; Init +1; Spd 30 ft; Defense 11, touch 11, flatfooted 10 (+1 Dex, +0 Class); BAB +0; Atk +2 melee (1d4+1, Unarmed w/ Brass Knuckles), or +1 ranged (1d10+0, Crossbow); SQ Resolute; AL none; SV Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +4, Rec +3; Rep; Str 10, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 8.

Background: Military

Occupation: Martial Arts Instructor: Perks (Unarmed- Reactive Stance; Streetwise- Urban Stealth)

Hobby: Weapons

Skills: Academics (history) 4 (+6), Athletics 4 (+4), Firearms 4 (+5), Influence 4 (+3), Legal 4 (+6), Medicine 4 (+6), Outdoorsman 4 (+6), Perception 4 (+6), Streetwise 4 (+6), Unarmed 4 (+4), Vehicles 4 (+5), Weapons 4 (+4)

Feats: Contemplative Master, Defensive Attack, Defensive Martial Arts (14 Defense against melee attacks when not flat-footed), Mind Over Body

Contacts/Followers: None

Wealth: 12

Possessions: Brass Knuckles, Crossbow, Leather Jacket

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Test Tank

Test Tank (Tank 1): HD 1d12+2; HP 14; Init +1; Spd 30 ft; Defense 10, touch 10, flatfooted 10 (+1 Dex, +0 Class); BAB +0; Atk +3 melee (1d6+4, Metal Baton), or +1 ranged (1d10+1, Crossbow); SQ Resilience; AL none; SV Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +1, Rec +7; Str 14, Dex 13, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.

Background: Military

Occupation: Bodyguard: Perks (Weapons- Aggressive Stance; Weapons- Reactive Stance)

Hobby: Weapons

Skills: Athletics 4 (+6), Crime 4 (+4), Firearms 4 (+5), Outdoorsman 4 (+5), Perception 4 (+5), Stealth 4 (+5), Unarmed 4 (+6), Weapons 4 (+6)

Feats: Attack Focus (Metal Baton), Damage Reduction, Defensive Attack, High Pain Threshold

Contacts/Followers: None

Wealth: 10

Possessions: Metal Baton, Crossbow, Leather Jacket

Test Speedfreak

Another test character, and a bit on methodology: no character could buy equipment at a price that would cause his Wealth to go down (this is to remove some of the "human" element from the test- removing the odds that a player might be very aggressive when purchasing equipment, while another would be conservative).

Test Speedfreak (Speedfreak 1): HD 1d8+2; HP 10; Init +2; Spd 30 ft; Defense 13, touch 13, flatfooted 11 (+2 Dex, +1 Class); BAB +0; Atk +1 melee (1d6+2, Hatchet), or +2 ranged (1d8+2, Compound Bow); SQ Need for Speed; AL none; SV Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +1, Rec +2; Str 13, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.

Background: Law Enforcement

Occupation: Hunter: Perks (Weapons- Aggressive Stance; Weapons- Two-Weapon Fighting)

Hobby: Streetwise

Skills: Acrobatics 4 (+6), Athletics 4 (+5), Firearms 4 (+6), Outdoorsman 4 (+9), Perception 4 (+5), Stealth 4 (+10), Streetwise 4 (+5), Weapons 4 (+5)

Feats: Acrobatic Defense (Defense 16 against ranged attacks when not flat-footed), Far Shot, Night Vision, Talented (Outdoorsman and Stealth)

Contacts/Followers: None

Wealth: 10

Possessions: Hatchet, Knife, Compound Bow, Leather Jacket

Testing, testing

So, we're in early playtests for Modern System 2.0, so the great melee has begun.

Since the Blood and Fists days, the way I balance characters against each other is to have my players roll up characters of various levels, and throw them head to head.

To give a sense of how the mental classes compare to each other, they fight other mental classes.

For non-combat balance/usefulness and how that factors in... well that's the real trick and there we're into "art not science" territory.

Anyway, here's sample PC #1, a Powerhouse, something of a thug.

Test Powerhouse (Powerhouse 1): HD 1d10+2; HP 12; Init +1; Spd 30 ft; Defense 11, touch 11, flatfooted 10 (+1 Dex, +0 Class); BAB +1; Atk +4 melee (1d6+4, Aluminum Baseball Bat), or +2 ranged (1d4+3, Knife); SQ Melee Master; AL Gang; SV Fort +4, Ref +1, Will -1, Rec +3; Rep +0; Str 15, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 12.

Background: Criminal

Occupation: Mobster: Perks (Weapons- Aggressive Stance; Unarmed- Reactive Stance)

Hobby: Crime

Skills: Athletics 4 (+6), Crime 4 (+4), Firearms 4 (+5), Influence 4 (+5), Perception 4 (+3), Streetwise 4 (+3), Unarmed 4 (+6), Weapons 4 (+6)

Feats: Armed Defense (16 Defense against melee attacks when not flat-footed), Attack Focus (Aluminum Baseball Bat), Move-By Action, Point Blank Shot

Contacts/Followers: None

Wealth: 10

Possessions: Aluminum Baseball Bat, Knife, Leather Jacket

Friday, August 24, 2007

Modern 2.0: The Big List of What's Different Part 1

1. Backgrounds provide a basic level in skills and a base amount of Wealth.

2. Occupations can be changed several times over the course of your career and provide Wealth, skill access, feat access, improved feats and perks.

3. Hobbies provide a basic level in a single skill.

4. Wealth still exists but is not used to roll wealth checks.

5. Basic, Advanced and Prestige Classes are gone replaced with six archetypes.

6. Skills have been streamlined considerably and can be extensively modified by perks. Several skills have been changed or merged. Some new skills have been added.

7. Opposed skill checks are gone, replaced with targeted checks.

8. Many skill checks (such as for crafting) have been completely eliminated. The skills themselves have been folded into new skills, while the skill checks are no longer made. Your total ranks in the skill determines what you can and cannot build.

9. Many feats have been eliminated, their place taken by new skills and perks.

10. Critical hits are gone. In their place, a number of abilities grant a character bonus damage based on his attack roll.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Modern 2.0: Class Preview- Tank

Tank

Description: The Tank specializes in sucking up damage. He can take hits that would fell even other combat-oriented characters and come back for more.

Class Information

The following information pertains to the Tank core class.

Hit Die: 1d12

Action Points: 6+ one-half character level, rounded down, every time the character gains a new level in this class.

Class Skills: The Tank’s class skills (and the ability for each skill) are: Athletics (Str), Crime (Int), Firearms (Dex), Leadership (Cha), Outdoorsman (Wis), Read/Write Language (None), Speak Language (None), Streetwise (Wis), Unarmed (Str) and Weapons (Str)

In addition to these skills, your Background and Hobbies will provide basic ability (4 ranks) in a number of skills and your Occupation will add additional skills to your class skill list.

Skill points at 1st level: 4 + Int. modifier (x4)

Skill points at each level: 4 + Int. modifier

Class Features

All of the following are features of the Tank core class.

Feats: As indicated on the class table at each level, you may select a number of feats from the General and Tank feat tables. You may also select any feat listed with your Occupation as an Improved Feat.

Resilience: Only characters that take their first character level in the Tank class gain this ability.

Once per encounter, you may make a Recovery saving throw (DC 15) to instantly heal an amount of non-lethal damage equal to your Tank level.

If you spend an Action Point, you can convert an amount of lethal damage equal to your Tank level into non-lethal damage.

Level

BAB

Fort

Save

Ref

Save

Will

Save

Rec.

Save

Special

Def.

Rep.

1st

+0

+2

+1

+0

+2

4 Feats

+0

+0

2nd

+1

+3

+2

+0

+3

1 Feat

+1

+1

3rd

+2

+3

+2

+1

+3

1 Feat

+2

+1

4th

+3

+4

+2

+1

+4

1 Feat

+3

+2

5th

+3

+4

+3

+1

+4

1 Feat

+3

+2

6th

+4

+5

+3

+2

+5

1 Feat

+4

+3

7th

+5

+5

+4

+2

+5

1 Feat

+5

+3

8th

+6

+6

+4

+2

+6

1 Feat

+6

+4

9th

+6

+6

+4

+3

+6

1 Feat

+6

+4

10th

+7

+7

+5

+3

+7

1 Feat

+7

+5

11th

+8

+7

+5

+3

+7

1 Feat

+8

+5

12th

+9

+8

+6

+4

+8

1 Feat

+9

+6

13th

+9

+8

+6

+4

+8

1 Feat

+9

+6

14th

+10

+9

+6

+4

+9

1 Feat

+10

+7

15th

+11

+9

+7

+5

+9

1 Feat

+11

+7

16th

+12

+10

+7

+5

+10

1 Feat

+12

+8

17th

+12

+10

+8

+5

+10

1 Feat

+12

+8

18th

+13

+11

+8

+6

+11

1 Feat

+13

+9

19th

+14

+11

+8

+6

+11

1 Feat

+14

+9

20th

+15

+12

+9

+6

+12

1 Feat

+15

+10

Modern 2.0: Equipment or Say goodbye to the 8 Strength Commando

I have a pet peeve: the 8 Strength commando toting a Desert Eagle and wearing heavy armor. Yes, I've seen it and yes, it annoys me.

So, all weapons and armor in Modern 2.0 will all have a Strength minimum.

The Strength min will determine (along with your Strength score natch) what weapons can be used one-handed, two-handed, two-weapon fighting, etc.

Armor's ONLY requirements will be Strength and money.


No feats. That's dumb too.

Monday, August 20, 2007

D&D Podcast is up on Itunes: subject 4e

Another awesome podcast from Dave Noonan and Mike Mearls, this time dishing about 4e.

Arms are gettin' tired. Page count gettin' higher.

51 pages and counting.

Not a bad three weeks work.

Modern 2.0: Class Changes

Some name changes to the classes.

Powerhouse (Str, offensive melee combat specialist, best BAB)
Speedfreak (Dex, ranged combat specialist, best Def)
Tank (Con, defensive combat specialist, best HP)
Brainiac (Int, skill specialist, best skill points)
Empath (Wis, skill specialist, best saving throws)
Star (Cha, skill specialist, best Reputation)

Modern 2.0: Sample class?

So, should I post a sample class? And if so, what class would you like to see.

Modern 2.0: Filling in the outline part 3 Classes

Character classes are done.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

Modern 2.0: Filling in the outline

Allegiances are done, that was very quick, as there was little I felt I needed to add. Now comes Reputation, then Wealth, then Action Points.

Then I'll be ready to tackle the real bear: classes.

Still, it's nice to see fewer and fewer blank spaces in the outline.

Reading is fun-damental!

Mike's post about comics below reminded I haven't posted about comics in awhile.

Here's what I've been enjoying lately:

Essential X-men: I'm up to volume 5 on this. A cheap way to get just about the entirety of Claremont's record-shattering run (16 unbroken years on one title). Since each volume is 2 years, and they go up to 7, Marvel only needs to release one more volume to have the entire Claremont run in the Essential format.

Wolverine Premiere Classic: The original Wolverine mini-series by Chris Claremont and uber-artist Frank Miller. An absolute classic. If you don't a copy of this mini-series I'm almost positive you're a bad person.

Young Avengers trades #1-2: A funny, smart, soap-opera-y take on a bunch of kids who declare themselves avengers. Good, light reading.

The more of an Avengers fan you are, the more you'll like these trades, as they are absolutely LOADED with easter eggs for Avengers fans. I mean, they have a reference to the Kree-Skrull War and the Vision-Scarlet Witch mini-series in the same issue!

Civil War: War Crimes The only dip into the CW pool I've taken beyond the core trade. This is an interesting and mostly silly story about a thug trying to make his way on the streets during the Civil War.

It also includes the War Crimes one-shot that gives the trade its name, which is a much more serious, and way better, story about Kingpin playing Cap and Iron Man against each other.

Wolverine: Enemy of the State 1-2 Wolverine is kidnapped by the Hand ninja and brainwashed into the ultimate assassin. SHIELD busts him loose, reprograms him, and turns him and Elektra loose on the hand.

Mark Millar is an awesome, awesome writer and this series finds him doing what he does best.

So...

I am finally done with occupations for Modern System 2.0, but I must admit to being a bit distracted.

By what? By hitting refresh on various message boards every 5 minutes to follow the conversations about 4th edition.

Fuck it, I'm excited.

I already want the rules. I want to dissect them, learn them, see what makes them tick.

I am in crunch-gearhead heaven right now.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

4th edition: I called it.

Allow me a moment to gloat if you will.

From January of this year:

That would mean announcement at GenCon 07 with the game coming a year later. I keep hearing people say they think WOTC is just going to "spring" 4e on folks, show up at GenCon one year and say "here it is!" but I think we'll get PLENTY of notice. This is a launch on the scale of the PS2 for the company. They will not spring it on folks.

Real Marketing

My little marketing push for Modern 2.0 has just been upstaged by events at GenCon.

4e is coming.

Oh well, it was nice to watch real marketers at work for a change.

And let me be the first to say that I welcome our new 4e overlords!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I'm still that guy

For awhile now I've been known as the martial arts guy for d20 Modern. So I know you've been wondering what the unarmed combat would look like in the new rules. More robust maybe? I think the answer is yeah.

Unarmed (Str)

You are a skilled unarmed combatant. This skill influences both your ability to attack without weapons, as well as your ability to defend yourself in unarmed combat.

Damage inflicted by this skill is non-lethal (it cannot inflict injuries - see the Combat section for more information).

Disarm: You force your opponent to drop the weapon he is carrying. The DC of this skill is your opponent’s Unarmed or Weapons skill (whichever is higher) +10.

Instead of forcing your opponent to drop his weapon, you can instead attempt to take it from him. In this case, the DC of this skill is your opponent’s Unarmed or Weapons skill (whichever is higher) +20.

Fast Punch (requires perk): When you perform a fast punch you reduce all damage inflicted this round by unarmed attacks to the minimum that can be rolled (so if your unarmed damage is 2d12, each successful attack would inflict 2 points plus any bonuses from Strength or feats). Your minimum attack roll this round is equal to your ranks in the Unarmed skill.

Flurry (requires perk): When you multi-attack an opponent (see the combat section for more information on multi-attack) you can add your Unarmed skill to the attack roll for purposes of negating any penalty to subsequent attacks. For example if you have 4 ranks in the Unarmed skill and attempt to attack twice in a round, you would suffer a –1 penalty on the second attack.

This skill use can never result in a bonus to your attack roll; it only serves to negate any penalty.

Grapple: You can grab another target and hold him motionless. The DC of this skill is your opponent’s Unarmed skill +10 or your opponent’s Acrobatics skill +10, whichever is higher.

Power Punch (requires perk): By taking a –4 penalty on all attacks this round, you inflict bonus damage equal to the amount by which your attack roll exceeds your opponent’s defense. The maximum additional damage is equal to your ranks in the Unarmed skill.

You also add 1.5 times your Strength bonus (if any) to all unarmed attacks on a round you are performing a power punch.

Reactive Stance (requires perk): While in a reactive stance you can only attack after an opponent attacks you. Your minimum attack roll is equal to your opponent’s attack roll, or your Unarmed skill, whichever is higher.

Trip: You trip or throw your target, rendering him prone. The DC of this skill is your opponent’s Unarmed skill +10 or your opponent’s Acrobatics skill +10, whichever is higher.

Unarmed Parry: This skill use allows you to use your Unarmed skill +10 as your defense rather than your class defense bonus +10. This defense only works against unarmed attacks. If you are using this defense and are attacked by a weapon, you use your class defense bonus +10 as normal.

Ranks

Unarmed Damage

0

1d2

4

1d4

6

1d6

8

1d8

10

1d10

12

2d6

16

2d8

20

2d10

23

2d12

Monday, August 13, 2007

Really Marvel?


C'mon guys. You're publishing this?

And Joe Q simple can't. stop. talking. about how lame it is that Spider-Man's married (cause you can't have a "soap opera" with married people in it- and by soap opera he means love triangles and Spider-Man catting around with the hot new thing he just met).

And you want to increase female readership Marvel?

Enlarge the image and look closely. It's tentacle porn. On the cover of a comic ostensibly aimed at teenagers (I say this because Heroes for Hire is rated T+).

And I don't even want to know what those tentacles are oozing (and dripping on Black Cat's breasts).

C'mon marvel. You can do better. YOU SHOULD BE doing better. Please stop making me be embarrassed to be a geek. I'd be ashamed to be seen carrying that, much less reading it, and I am not easily offended.

New Adventure for AZ on the Way

So, Adventure Locale #1: White Star Trailer Park is coming soon! It's a location based adventure for my zombie apocalypse game, AZ: Afte...