Sunday, December 23, 2007

Comics used to be cool

That's right folks, that's our hero, Iron Man, who, in his secret identity as Tony Stark, is keeping America safe from commies by hooking up the Army with jet-propelled roller skates, allowing them to zoom down the highway at 60 mph.

Whatever Stan was on, I want some.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The first RPGObjects podcast is live

Hope you all enjoy my ramblings with Chris Davis!

BTW, since it wasn't terribly clear to me either, clicking on the title of this post will send you directly to the page for podcast #1.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

When you know a company might be in trouble

When they have an executive position, full time, named "Chief Restructuring Officer".

And what company would this be?


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Podcast Fever

This week's Accidental Survivor's is all about writing that modern adventure. Listen to here me admit my shameful lust for green jump suits. It's... I'm getting help.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Paizo Bubble

This was originally a message board post but people seemed to like it, so I thought I'd share it here.

First, let me say I don't dislike Paizo, they make good products. The Shackled City and Savage Tide adventure paths? Awesome. Their Greyhawk love? *Awesome*

But their current status as the "cool company that looks out for the little guys abandoned in the wake of big bad Wizards" is a bubble that's destined to burst.

Nerds love to stick up for the underdog, especially when they perceive that underdog as being bullied in some way. They also tend to dislike corporations.

Paizo, by having the license recalled, suddenly became that Jeff Gerstmann-esque figure, done wrong by the big bad company in the name of corporate greed.

They went overnight from being a nice company who made great products to THE GREATEST RPG COMPANY OF ALL TIME! THE MAGAZINE WAS NEVER BETTER THEN! ITS GOLDEN AGE HAD JUST TRULY BEGUN!

And when 4e hit, that following just grew, because now a lot of gamers felt wronged by Wizards, and turned to that perky little company that was done just as wrong as they were.

You can see this syndrome in the way people reflexively criticize DI articles. "Bad articles". When you point out that Wizards is, in fact, still working through Paizo's submissions, you get told that "oh it's not the articles, it's the editing, editing is everything".

When you point out that Chris Thomasson *was* a Paizo editor, both on Dungeon, Dragon and the adventure paths, you get told that he's not the RIGHT Paizo editor.

In other words, this amazing, stupendous company, really only amounts to the two personalities that these people have attached themselves to: Erik Mona and James Jacobs.

If your name isn't either one of those, you just get "Chris Thoma-who?"

So clearly, for a lot of these folks, it's not Paizo the company that they have latched onto. It's a couple of their personalities, and the IDEA of Paizo as the little company that could.

When these people realize that Paizo is every bit the business Wizards is, and that their corporate best interests are at the center of their world, rather than the feelings of some dispossessed gamers, they're going to lash out with every bit of nerd-rage they can muster.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Stuff that bugs: Stat modifiers that cancel out

I really, really hate this about most d20 races.

If I want to trade two points of Dex for two points of Con, I don't have to be a freaking elf.

Yes, I realize there's more to ability mods than that. Not much, but more.

It's still dumb.

Simple Pleasures Part II: Space Empires edition

So I have lately become a full-blown Space Empires IV addict.

What is Space Empires? Well, it's basically Civilization (the computer game) in space. If you're ever played Master of Orion, then you know exactly what I'm talking about.

But Space Empires has a lot of really rad features.

I was playing very, very deep into a game recently, when I began researching the Stellar Manipulation tech tree, something I hadn't paid much attention to in the past. The early rungs of the tech ladder let me do things like create solar storms or get rid of them (not very exciting).

But, I decided to climb that area of the tech tree just to see what was there. I hit the ability to destroy planets, turning them into asteroid fields, and to collapse asteroid fields into planets.

Interesting. According to myth, the Earth was created in 6 days. Now watch out! Here comes Genesis! We'll do it for you in 6 minutes!

So I research more and... and...

I discovered the ability to make Ringworlds and Dyson Spheres.

God I love this game.

And, it's an indie game that seems to be largely the work on one guy, which makes it even sweeter. I'm not giving my money to Capcom or Activision or Blizzard or Acti-Blizzard.

I get to play an awesome game and stick it to the man all at the same time.

Simple Pleasures

I'm not a complicated guy and most of the things I enjoy would be classified as simple pleasures.

Take, for example, the occasional cigar.

I smoke very little, but there's something awesome about writing while puffing on a lit cigar.

It makes me feel like Woodward and Bernstein, typing up my notes from the latest meeting with Deep Throat and preparing to nail that bastard Nixon to the fucking wall.

Friday, December 07, 2007

From Aikido to Zen (R)

Martial Arts 20, the first full-length, crunch-filled, hyphenated-word-described supplement for Modern 20 is out!

But that doesn't mean the previews have to end. Oh no. Just in case you have yet to be convinced this is the book for you, here's some mo!


Animal Style

By imitating the jerky steps and pecking attacks of the rooster you gain an advantage in combat (as well as being the ultimate funky chicken dance champion).

Prerequisite: Combat Martial Arts or Defensive Martial Arts

Style Maneuvers

Unarmed 4 ranks: Pressure Point attack: when making called shots with the Precision Strike perk, you inflict +4 points of damage on a successful hit.

Unarmed 8 ranks: Dodge Focus: +2 Defense bonus once (taking this feat additional times only grants the normal +1 bonus per feat).

Unarmed 12 ranks: Body Blow: On a successful attack to your opponent’s stomach or chest, your opponent must make a Fortitude save equal to your attack roll +10 or be flat-footed for the next 1-4 rounds. If you are using the injury rules, this is in addition to any effects from a stomach or chest hit due to injuries.

Unarmed 16 ranks: Weapon Finesse (unarmed): your Dexterity bonus is considered +2 higher for purposes of this feat.

Unarmed 20 ranks: Agility Training: +2 Dexterity

Thursday, December 06, 2007

podcast fever!

Just a note, Chris Davis and I recorded the first RPGO podcast the other day.

When it will debut depends on how fast Chris can edit it, but it IS coming.

So watch out!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Stuff that bugs: Attacks of Opportunity

There's little things about every game that bug me.

I've learned to ignore these things, because I have to.

If I'm writing for someone else's game, there's no point in trying to reinvent the wheel if something is small, but also fundamental.

Here's an example: attacks of opportunity.

I love the idea that certain circumstances will trigger free attacks.

I hate the list of things in a typical d20 rule set that trigger those free attacks.

Let's look at these shall we?


This seems like a good idea on the surface. You shouldn't just be able to walk around someone in combat. Orderly retreats should be difficult. Opponents fleeing in bad order should be cut down.

Except of course, that it leads to people charging an opponent, then standing completely still while they make a full attack every round.

Worse, the way to avoid it is just dumb. You mean if I take my 5-foot step first, there's no AoO for me fleeing the Mind Flayer in terror at x5 my run speed, but if I take the move then the 5-ft. step he kills me? Huh.

Unarmed attacks.

So wait, it's bad enough that he sundered my sword, leaving me with my 1d2 punch vs. his +3 sword, but he also gets a free attack? Why is that?

Ummmm.... uhhh.... reach! Yeah! He has a reach advantage!

Huh. So if a Hill Giant and I step into the squared circle for a little unarmed pay-per-view, does he get a AoO against me for reach? No?

And of course, as any 16th century Italian fencer will tell you, a small weapon in close will beat a large weapon every time. But the AoO rules don't represent that.


So it's not bad enough my AC sucks to holy hell, and that if I fireball this dude right in front of me I'll be blowing myself up, but he also gets a free attack while I cast my spell? Why is that?

Ummm, uhhh, because you can't dodge and cast a spell!

So casting a spell takes more concentration than avoiding another guy's sword, avoiding his shield, finding the weak spot in his armor, and making a thrust?

As you can tell, I don't buy any of this crap.

It's not necessarily bad design mechanically. It's just dumb. If casting a spell triggers an AoO, swinging a sword should.

If getting hit with a sword stops a spell, it should stop a sword swing.

If movement always caused an AoO, except for a Fighter ability to allow "withdrawing in good order" or a thief ability to "spring attack" or "wall walk", then I could get on board.

If the person with the smaller weapon always incurred an attack of opportunity, but always threatened a critical when he made it inside his opponent's defenses to deliver that punch or that knife thrust, then I could get on board.

It doesn't do any of those things though.

AoO are a good idea implemented in a really bad way. They add no excitement and add a lot of "bog" to the game.

A Fantasci race: Nyr Men

Nyr Men

Nyr Men are humans with the blood of giants in their veins. Whether this was the result of generations of interbreeding between humans and giant humanoids, or whether they have always been a distinct race is unknown. These mysterious individuals are cautiously avoided by most of the other races and (with a few exceptions) they return the favor, preferring to keep to themselves.

Sometimes, a Nyr Man village will send their young into a human village on trade missions, posing as humans, to ensure that the humans aren’t planning some sort of attack against them. This paranoia often fosters paranoid feelings in return among human villages that think that the Nyr Men are “scouting” them for some mysterious purpose. These confrontations rarely lead to armed conflict, though that has happened in the past.

Size: Medium through Large

Movement: Nyr Men move at the standard rate in all respects. They are humanoids (though somewhat brutish looking) and can move in all the ways a human can.

Racial Traits

Ability Scores: Str +2, Dex +0, Con +0, Int –2, Wis +2, Cha +0 (Nyr-Men are extremely strong and tend to favor instinct and “what everybody knows” to things learned in books. They are not dumb, but most of their race view formal education past the point where and individual can read and count and manage money as a waste of time.)

Attack/Defense modifiers: normal, based on size.

Growth Spurts: Nyr Men physiology is subtly different from that of most humanoids, in that they grow for their entire lives and their body is somehow able to support more and more girth as they continue to grow. A 1st level Nyr-Man is medium size and almost indistinguishable from a human. While not all Nyr-Men grow to enormous heights and not all grow at the same rate, it is a rarity for individuals of this species to stay within the human range of height and weight for their entire lives.

Every 10 levels, a Nyr Man must take Size Increase in place of a regular feat (this is required- Nyr Men have no more control over their growth processes than anyone else).

Powerhouse and Tank count double for this calculation. So a Nyr-Man who was a single class Powerhouse would take Size Increase, to Medium+ at 5th level. If the character wanted some levels of Speedfreak, he would have to take 4 levels of Powerhouse and 2 levels of Speedfreak (2x4)+2=10 before he needed to take a Size Increase feat.

Racial Feats: Except for the fact that they are able to take Size Increase feats (with some restrictions), Nyr Men have the same feat selections as humans.

Back in errr gray

Ok, the blog hasn't quite been getting its usual TLC of late. Let's fix that.

First, we have a new poll for your entertainment that will hopefully be every bit as thought provoking as our last one.

Second, we have some upcoming design diaries on Fantasci, the upcoming sourcebook/setting for Modern20 bringing a Japanese fantasy feel the game.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Listening to the Hotspot...

It's like a wake.

Fuck this is depressing.

Wait just a damn minute! Wizards knows what they're doing?

After reading all sorts of message board posts about how the Wizards designers are all lame idiots standing on the shoulders of giants, foisting their homebrew worlds filled with munchkiny dragonmen on us poor unsuspecting gamers, I was very pleased (though by no means surprised) to see this.


Mathematical and statistical modeling of games by trained mathematicians?!?

Next someone will tell me they have market research accurately informing them of how people PLAY.

Nah! Total crazy talk, I know.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Jeff Gerstmann saga

For those wondering what the hell I'm talking about, look here and here.

Gamespot fires Jeff Gerstmann: Why I won't be a subscriber anymore

I have posted many, many times here about my love for Gamespot, but that opinion has just changed radically.

Jeff Gerstmann was fired by Gamespot recently.

Whether it was over this specific review, or, as Gamespot management contends, a "larger issue" of his "tone" and "professionalism" when giving reviews is irrelevant.

Here's the thing: Jeff brought the real to Gamespot.

He'd call a spade a spade. He'd say a game was "terrible". If a game deserved to be made fun of, he made fun of it.

If the rumors are true, a big advertiser at the site pulled hundreds of thousands in advertising over Jeff's honest, 6.0 review of a game. Either way, we definitely know that the site has lost subscribers in the wake of his firing.

I had let my sub lapse, but I was a past subscriber and booster of the site.

Both of those are gone.

To any other site out there, hiring Gerstmann would be a great way to get me to pony up for a sub.

You were awesome Jeff. You were fearless.

You will be missed.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Or these gentlemen, last seen in a Joliet correctional facility.


This is a test of the Emergency Rock-Out System. If this had been an actual emergency, the voice in your head would have told you to form a band, get a car with a half-tank of gas, and a pair of sunglasses, you would then receive instructions on where to go an rock out.

Like, say, in Rio like these fellows.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Martial Arts20 goes on sale

This is a book I wanted to write even before Modern20 was finished. I started to see the possibilities in the new rules to add even more depth and flash to unarmed combat, and was literally chomping at the bit to write this before M20 was even done.

And now, here it is. Hopefully you guys like it as much as I do.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Modern20 editable character sheet

Kerry Harrison was kind enough to provide me with an editable character sheet that automatically calculates bonuses for ability scores to attacks, saves and skill as well!

Thanks Kerry for making this and giving me permission to share it!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fantasy Adventurers

Fantasy Adventurers is the light, fun strategy game where you explore dungeons, kill things, take their stuff, return to town, heal your party, gain some levels, then start all over again with an even harder dungeon. Sound familiar? As a strategy game, rather than a RPG, in Fantasy Adventurers you manage a party of four characters rather than a single character.

What you need to play: Fantasy Adventurers is designed to be a light, simple and fun two-player game that can be played almost anywhere. All you need to play is a sheet of paper, something to write with and a single d20. It’s that easy.

Customer Service. Or not.

Ok, that title's a little harsh, because my Capital One credit card is the best, least pain in the ass credit card I've ever had by such a wide margin it's simply ridiculous.

But everytime I checked my balance online or what have you, I always saw this little "message" tab, where I could basically email customer service from within Capital One while logged into my account.

I thought, that's cool, I can just fire them off a question!

So eventually, a couple of years after having this card, I actually DO have a question while checking my account, so I type it in and fire it off! Yay, way better than calling Customer Service.

And lo, within 24 hours, I had an answer waiting for me. Yay again! No more customer service calls ever, right?

Except, the reply I had gotten was "thanks for your question, we'd love to help, here's our customer service number".

Bangs. Head. On. Desk.

Ah well.

Being on the "inside"

So my aborted attempt to fund Fantasci through the ransom model (aborted mostly because I really had no idea what I was doing and blundering around) has sort of morphed into something I like better.

I asked the folks who had donated if I could sell it, and offered to keep the private group open for them and post updates as I worked on the book.

So basically, they got a book pre-order "plus", with the plus being an ability to see the work being created (I've uploaded 6-7 drafts at different stages of development) as well as the ability to chime in and offer suggestions before it's too late.

Basically, it's a much more detailed version of what you get here. More detailed because, since you've already bought the cake, what do I care if you watch it bake?

Honestly, I'm giving serious thought to doing this in the future.

Not only does it seem to have been fun for the guys involved, it's actually fun for me to share drafts with people in a way I feel safe and confident about.

Another Fantasci update

So, the draft is up to 22 pages, which is a pretty nice chunk of speed for 8 days or so full time on this project (so... 3 pages a day?)

So far the draft is all mechanics, and mostly spells and monsters. But hey, it's a science fantasy game.

One thing I'm totally still in the dark about though, while I follow inspiration down the magic-monster road, is races.

Since this is science fantasy, and in the style of Japanese RPGs, I can go completely bananas, and I want to.

Still, most of my ideas so far have been closer to lame bananas than awesome bananas.

Eventually, either inspiration will strike, or I'll do the thing I actually get paid for and grind a hole in that millstone with pure force of will.

Marvel Adventures Avengers: How to win Chuck to a comic in one page

So I checked out the Marvel Adventures Avengers via the Marvel Digital Comics service I recently signed up for (and raved about).

Marvel Adventures are all-ages titles, so they're for the kiddies, they're continuity-free and are meant to be that doorway drug for the next generation.

I'd been tempted by these before, but never taken the plunge. Since everything in the Digital Comics section is "free" (defined as not any more than I already paid) I checked them out.

Issue 1, page 1, a general tells the Avengers they're being fired. Why? Because they have a new automated defense system to handle threats the Avengers used to face.

They call it Ultron.


So you take Ultron, and you mix him with a healthy dose of Skynet. By the end of the issue they were fighting Ultron tanks, Ultron planes, Ultron ships. Basically military stuff with Ultron faces on them, controlled by the Ultron mainframe.

Did I mention how freaking radical this idea is to me?

And to top it off, they somehow made Ultron equal parts cute, funny and creepy, all at once. It was definitely for the kiddies, but definitely not just for them.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More crazy monster stuff from Fantasci

Fire Ooze, Small (Tank 1): HD 1d12+3; HP 9; Init +0; Spd 10 ft; Defense 11, flatfooted 11 (+0 Dex, +0 Class, +1 Size); BAB +0; Atk -2 melee (3d6+0, Fire Aura); SQ Resilience, DR 3 vs. Blunt, Immune to Fire, Vulnerable to Cold; AL none; SV Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +2, Rec +5; Rep NA; Str 4, Dex 10, Con 16, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 2

Skills (perks): Magic 4 (+6); Black Magic (Magic)

Feats: Elemental Aura (fire only), Fire Adaptation, Natural Resistance (Blunt), Ooze PhysiologyB, Size Decrease (Small)

Character Disadvantages: Mild Disability (-20 ft. ground movement), Severe Disability (Cannot manipulate objects)

Fire Ooze, Medium (Tank 1): HD 1d12+4; HP 10; Init -1; Spd 10 ft; Defense 9, flatfooted 9 (-1 Dex, +0 Class); BAB +0; Atk -1 melee (3d6+0, Fire Aura), or ranged (3d4+0, Fire Bolt); SQ Resilience, DR 4 vs. Blunt, Immune to Fire, Vulnerable to Cold; AL none; SV Fort +6, Ref +0, Will +2, Rec +6; Rep NA; Str 8, Dex 8, Con 18, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 2

Skills: Magic 4 (+6); Black Magic (Magic)

Feats: Elemental Aura (fire only), Elemental Bolt (fire only), Fire Adaptation, Natural Resistance (Blunt), Ooze PhysiologyB

Character Disadvantages: Mild Disability (-20 ft. ground movement), Severe Disability (Cannot manipulate objects)

Here's some more monsters from the upcoming science fantasy setting, Fantasci, the elemental oozes.

As you see, they're designed just like characters, only with some different feats made just for them.

All these feats will be fully described as well in Fantasci, making it easy as pie to make your own monsters.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Marvel Digital Comics Review

So this will be discussed by me on the upcoming episode of Accidental Survivors but between then and now I've actually gone ahead and signed up for Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

Long story short, Marvel has had comics on their website for some time, basically as free promotionals you could read online.

This new venture is MUCH more ambitious and is the first major foray by a comic company into online distribution.

What do I mean by ambitious? How does X-men #1-66, Fantastic Four #1-100, Spider-Man #1-100 and Avengers #1-50 sound for a first week upload?

They are also adding new comics weekly, and have some special "theme" additions that run in a scrolling banner at the top of the site, such as "Chris Claremont classics" and "Frank Miller's milestones".

For those who just want to browse, you can call up the entire collection by character or series title, and can view a series by either issue title and number (for example "Avengers #1") or by issue title and number along with a cover thumbnail.

If you look at an issue and want more by the same creator, each creator is hyperlinked and clicking on the creator's name will bring up all issues by that creator. Want to read everything written by Ed Brubaker in the digital collection? Everything drawn by Jack Kirby? Everything lettered by Tom Orzechowski?

The site is also linked with other viral networking sites, with links to rave or rant about an issue on facebook, stumbleupon, furl, newsvine, digg, reddit, tailrank and yahooweb.

Week 1, there are thousands of issues, from the first appearance of Captain America in 1941 through comics released in 2007.

Everything on the site is available for a flat rate, either 9.99 paid monthly, or 59.99 for the entire year.

Comics aren't downloadable but are streamed, which goes fairly quickly and smoothly for me (I have DSL, so not the fastest or slowest connection out there).

In general, by the time I am done reading the first page, the site has streamed three to my computer and from there stays ahead to the point that I never have to wait for a page to actually load.

The reading experience is also good. The default zoom setting is just about perfect for me to avoid eyestrain, and given the amount of time I spend staring at computer screens, that was a very impressive feat.

While some might prefer an Itunes-like set-up where you pay for individual issues and own them forever, I find this to be a great set-up for reading from home. Also, since accounts are not computer-specific, you can browse from anything that can connect to the internet anywhere you are.

I've even tested the service running it on multiple computers in multiple locations at the same time, something a lot of online services, such as Napster, don't allow you to do, but MDC does.

As you have probably gathered, this is a very positive review. I give this service the highest rating and have been having a blast reading through some great comics I never would have checked out otherwise.

If you're a comics reader, I highly recommend this service. Even without the ability to download its an unbeatable value, costing as much for a year's worth of comics as you'd pay for a single Marvel Masterwork.


From Aikido to Zen (P)

Pentjak Silat

Martial Arts Style

Pentjak Silat, which literally translates to “choreographed fighting,” is one of over two-hundred martial arts styles found in Indonesia. Pentjak Silat has a mystical side to its teachings, and it uses movements seen in Indonesian dance, as well as animal movements, to create an acrobatic style of kicking and punching. Many Pentjak Silat styles employ what are known as “Binuntang Empat,” which means “animal fighting mannerisms.” These styles mimic the fighting movements of the monkey, the tiger, the crane, the snake, the python, and the eagle. If you wish to mimic these substyles of Silat, you should “cross-train” in two or more of these styles. Pentjak Silat practitioners call their training halls Kendang. Students are either Pelajarn (Student), or for the slightly more advanced Murid (Disciple). They call their teachers Gurus, Pendekhar (Spiritual Grandmaster), or Dukun (Mystic).

Prerequisite: Combat Martial Arts or Defensive Martial Arts

Style Maneuvers

Unarmed 4 ranks: Pressure Point attack: when making called shots with the Precision Strike perk, you inflict +4 points of damage on a successful hit.

Unarmed 8 ranks: Improved Trip: DC of the trip check for the free trip granted by this feat is Unarmed or Acrobatics +5

Unarmed 12 ranks: Vital lore: +4 damage when making called shots with the Precision Strike perk, cumulative with Pressure Point Attack

Unarmed 16 ranks: Contemplative Master: your Wisdom is considered +2 higher for purposes of this feat.

Unarmed 20 ranks: Self-Help: +2 Wisdom

Friday, November 23, 2007

Some Fantasci spells

Elemental Arrow


You cause your bow to shoot arrows infused with elemental energy.

Prerequisite: Magic 8 ranks, Weapons 8 ranks, Black Magic perk

Effect: One missile weapon of your choice fires missiles infused with elemental energy. These missiles inflict +1d4 extra elemental damage. The type of damage of this attack is either air, cold, earth, fire or water and you must declare with before launching this attack. If the creature struck is vulnerable to elemental damage only this bonus damage is increased.

This use of the magic skill is a free action that may be performed once per round.

This feat lasts for 10 rounds, you make your saving throw (see special below) at the end of that time.

Special: Each time you use this feat you must make a Will save (DC 10) or become fatigued until you rest for one hour. While fatigued, the Will save of all your spells is increased by +5. If you fail a saving throw while fatigued, you become exhausted. In addition to the usual penalties for being exhausted, this renders you incapable of casting spells until you are able to rest for 8 hours.

Elemental Aura


You damage anyone near you with an aura of the elements.

Prerequisite: Magic 4 ranks, Black Magic perk

Effect: Anyone who touches or is touched by you (this is a standard attack and the target’s Defense applies normally) suffers 2d6 points of damage. The type of damage of this aura is either air, cold, earth, fire or water and you must declare with before activating this ability.

This feat lasts for 10 rounds, you make your saving throw (see special below) at the end of that time.

Special: Each time you use this feat you must make a Will save (DC 10) or become fatigued until you rest for one hour. While fatigued, the Will save of all your spells is increased by +5. If you fail a saving throw while fatigued, you become exhausted. In addition to the usual penalties for being exhausted, this renders you incapable of casting spells until you are able to rest for 8 hours.

Elemental Blade


You infuse your weapon with the elements, adding to their damage.

Prerequisite: Magic 8 ranks, Weapons 8 ranks, Black Magic perk

Effect: Your weapon inflicts +1d6 elemental damage in addition to its usual damage. The type of damage of this attack is either air, cold, earth, fire or water and you must declare with before launching this attack. If the creature struck is vulnerable to elemental damage only this bonus damage is increased.

This use of the magic skill is a free action that may be performed once per round.

This feat lasts for 10 rounds, you make your saving throw (see special below) at the end of that time.

Special: Each time you use this feat you must make a Will save (DC 10) or become fatigued until you rest for one hour. While fatigued, the Will save of all your spells is increased by +5. If you fail a saving throw while fatigued, you become exhausted. In addition to the usual penalties for being exhausted, this renders you incapable of casting spells until you are able to rest for 8 hours.

Here's some spells from the first Modern20 setting, the science fantasy setting in the style of JRPGS (that's Japanese RPGs) like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Phantasy Star.

Coming Soon from Vigilance Press

I mentioned awhile ago that I was going to do some work in a system I'd never worked in before. Well that time is coming soon, the project is the World Metahuman Factbook and the system is Four Color.

Four Color is a free (yes free, it does not cost one red cent) open-source superhero game written by Phil Reed. It bears a rather striking resemblance to a certain marvelous game from the days of yore but I'm almost positive that's coincidental.

My idea is to do a survey of superheroes from countries around the world based on the concept that superheroes are one in a million, with a take and style similar to the CIA World Factbook but looking strictly at metahumans.

First up, Germany, a country of 82 million, meaning its metahuman population is 82. A country with a past rooted in both World Wars as well as the Cold War, the bright future of one of Europe's leading lights might hide some secrets from a dark past.

Though this book won't detail all 82 metahumans, it will contain several (exact number to be announced soon) with full statistic write-ups, histories and plot hooks.

Obviously if this does well, there is a potential for a plethora of sequels.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Animals, Modern20 style

Horse, Draft (Tank 2): HD 2d12+10; HP 23; Init -1; Spd 30 ft; Defense 9, flatfooted 9 (-1 Dex, +1 Class, -1 Size); BAB +1; Atk +5 melee (1d2+8, Hooves); SQ Resilience; AL none; SV Fort +8, Ref +1, Will +2, Rec +8; Rep; Str 27, Dex 9, Con 20, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 6

Skills: Athletics 5 (+13); Endurance Athletics x2 (Athletics)

Feats: Natural Weapons (Blunt), Night Vision, Size Increase x3 (Large+ size)

Character Disadvantages: Mild Disability (Cannot climb), Severe Disability (Cannot manipulate objects)

Horse, Riding (Speedfreak 3): HD 3d8+12; HP 25; Init +0; Spd 75 ft; Defense 12, flatfooted 12 (+0 Dex, +3 Class, -1 Size); BAB +2; Atk +3 melee (1d2+6, Hooves); SQ Need for Speed, 2 DR/Ballistic; AL none; SV Fort +6, Ref +3, Will +3, Rec +5; Rep NA; Str 23, Dex 11, Con 18, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 6

Skills (perks): Athletics 6 (+12); Perks: Endurance Athletics x2 (Athletics)

Feats: Natural Weapons (Blunt), Night Vision, Runner x2, Size Increase x2 (Large size)

Character Disadvantages: Mild Disability (Cannot climb), Severe Disability (Cannot manipulate objects)

Horse, War (Powerhouse 4): HD 4d10+16; HP 38; Init +0; Spd 50 ft; Defense 12, flatfooted 12 (+0 Dex, +3 Class, -1 Size); BAB +4; Atk +10 melee (1d6+8, Hooves); SQ Melee Master, 2 DR/Ballistic; AL Rider; SV Fort +8, Ref +1, Will +3, Rec +6; Rep NA; Str 23, Dex 11, Con 18, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 6

Skills (perks): Athletics 1 (+7), Unarmed 6 (+12); Endurance Athletics (Athletics), Power Punch (Unarmed)

Feats: Attack Focus (Hooves), Attack Specialization (Hooves), Natural Weapons (Blunt), Night Vision, Runner, Size Increase x2 (Large size)

Character Disadvantages: Mild Disability (Cannot climb), Severe Disability (Cannot manipulate objects)

Since I decided to let creatures of all types use roles like everyone else, I decided a good test case would be an animal that serves in multiple roles in the real world.

Ladies and gentlemen, the horse.

Prometheus Rising: Frankenstein setting

Ok, so after dealing with some product shenanigans, the original Prometheus Rising is back up and available for sale at RPGNow.

It somehow got confused with another product, an e-novel of some kind, and there was this whole big thing.

Anyway, I've always loved this book, but its mostly something for the completists among you.

If you like the Prometheus setting and would like to see its first published incarnation, or if you'd like to see where the Blood and Space starship design rules got their start, or if you'd just like to see a book written, and even laid out by me in my pre-RPGO days, this is the book for you.

And at 69 pages for 4 bucks, its a bargain besides.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Some days...

I really don't know why I bother discussing 4e with anyone online.

My opinion, which is that I actually want to wait and read the core books before making up my mind, and that I want to give the new online Dragon and Dungeon 6 months after THAT to make up my mind about them, seems to please no one.

To the skeptics, I'm a 4e apologist (fuck you Joe Kushner) to the ravers I'm trying to have it both ways.

Friday, November 16, 2007

About the poll question

Basically, every time I came across an NPC who I wanted to have a certain skill, but wasn't a class skill, and I took the Cross Training feat, I asked myself, "do we need class skills"?

So now I'm asking what you guys think, and I'm going to leave this poll open for longer than the last one, just to get a sense of where folks stand.

Martial Arts20 is done!


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Live on scene at the Hanmei, fighter profiles: Brianna Ishinomori

Brianna Ishinomori

(Speedfreak 13): HD 13d8+26; HP 88; Init +9; Spd 40 ft; Defense 28, flatfooted 23 (+5 Dex, +13 Class); BAB +9; Atk +14 melee (2d8+5, Hapkido), or +14 ranged (by weapon); SQ Need for Speed; AL Max; SV Fort +8, Ref +13, Will +6, Rec +6; Rep +7; Str 10, Dex 20, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 8.

Background: Adventurer

Occupation: Reporter (Influence, Perception, Streetwise) Perks

Hobby: Vehicles

Skills: Acrobatics 16 (+21), Athletics 16 (+16), Firearms 4 (+9), Influence 8 (+7), Perception 16 (+35), Read Language (English, Japanese, Korean), Speak Language (English, Japanese, Korean), Streetwise 8 (+10), Unarmed 16 (+16), Vehicles 4 (+9), Weapons 4 (+4)

Feats: Acrobatic Feint, Agility Training 1, Agility Training 2, Awareness: Will save +2 from Reporter, Attack Focus (Unarmed), Career Advancement, Combat Martial Arts, Defensive Roll, Expert in your field: +2 Reputation bonus from Reporter, Hapkido, Improved Initiative, Improved Trip, Improved Uncanny Dodge, Self-Help: +2 Wisdom from Reporter, Uncanny Dodge, Weapon Finesse (Unarmed)

Access/Contacts/Followers: Confidential Access, Favors (5 points)

Wealth: 20

Possessions: Mini Digital Voice and Video Recorder

Martial Arts Maneuvers: Low Kick: hits below waist penalize movement for 1-4 rounds, Flying Kick: +2 damage, +1 per 5 ft. of jump on charging unarmed attack

Character Disadvantages: None

Background: By the time she entered college at the University of Georgia, Brianna had seen more of the world than most people see in a lifetime. She had been to diplomatic functions in Seoul, watched Kabuki in Tokyo, and met three U.S. Presidents. Having worked her way through the ranks of several major newspapers, Brianna sees the Hanmei as the perfect story to launch her into a career as a Foreign Correspondent.

Quote: “Sugar, I know y’all can hit harder than that.”

Role: Brianna is a martial artist through and through, blending power with speed, beauty with grace.

Adventure Hooks: A male PC might take Max’s place, helping Ishinomori find his ex-girlfriend.

Terry's Tells: It's like watching greased lightning! Only better looking. She just might win this thing!

Live on scene at the Hanmei, fighter profiles: Max Riggs

Max Riggs

(Tank 13): HD 15d12+75; HP 178; Init +1; Spd 30 ft; Defense 20, flatfooted 19 (+1 Dex, +9 Class); BAB +9; Atk +11 melee (2d8+2, Commando Training), or +10 ranged (2d6+3, Colt M-1911); SQ Resilience; AL Brianna; SV Fort +13, Ref +7, Will +4, Rec +13; Rep +6; Str 14, Dex 13, Con 20, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 8.

Background: Military

Occupation: Bodyguard (Influence, Legal, Perception) Perks: Flurry (Unarmed), Power Punch (Unarmed)

Hobby: Weapons

Skills: Athletics 16 (+18), Firearms 16 (+17), Outdoorsman 4 (+4), Perception 12 (+12), Read Language (English, Korean, Spanish), Speak Language (English, Korean, Spanish), Stealth 16 (+17), Unarmed 16 (+18), Vehicles 4 (+5), Weapons 8 (+10)

Feats: All-Out Attack: +1.5 attack per –1 Defense from Commando Training, Attack Focus (Unarmed): +2 to attack rolls from School of Hard Knocks, Combat Martial Arts, Commando Training, Cross Training: Stealth, Damage Reduction x3, Die Hard, Diesel 1, Diesel 2, Endurance Training 1, Endurance Training 2, High Pain Threshold, Human Shield, School of Hard Knocks

Access/Contacts/Followers: Supply Contact (Wealth +20 and military equipment)

Wealth: 16

Possessions: Colt M-1911 (Max will have this almost anywhere- he has friends in supply rooms around the world who are willing to “lose” equipment for him)

Martial Arts Maneuvers: Pressure Point Attack: +4 damage on Precision Strikes, Body Blow: On a successful attack to your opponent’s stomach or chest, your opponent must make a Fortitude save equal to your attack roll +10 or be flat-footed for the next 1-4 rounds

Character Disadvantages: None

Background: Max met Brianna while both were attending the University of Georgia. Max was in ROTC and eventually dropped out to join the Army full time. He has served in the Special Forces and as a hand-to-hand combat instructor. Always looking for something more exciting, Max decided to become a mercenary, and when that became boring, he gravitated to long-haul trucking.

Quote: “My style? I’m a dedicated shitkicker. You?”

Role: Max is the fish out of water. Though surrounded by Eastern Philosophy and lotus flowers, he remains the same as he ever was—former Army Ranger, mercenary, and long-haul trucker.

Adventure Hooks: If a female PC takes Brianna’s place, Max might be helping Katsumoto look for her. However, the GM could just as easily make Max a villain, an absolute terror, working with Marcel to become one of Lin Qi’s assassins.

Terry's Tells: Well, he isn't graceful, or pretty, or even particularly skilled if you ask me, but his ability to bull through fights might just land him in the finals!

Live on scene at the Hanmei, fighter profiles: Ishinomori Katsumoto

Ishinomori Katsumoto

(Empath 13): HD 13d8+26; HP 88; Init +0; Spd 30 ft; Defense 26, flatfooted 19 (+0 Dex, +9 Class, +7 Poise); BAB +9; Atk +14 melee (2d8+0, Aikido), or +9 ranged (by weapon); SQ Resolute; AL Family, Non-Violence; SV Fort +15, Ref +8, Will +13, Rec +13; Rep +7; Str 8, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 20, Cha 13.

Background: Military

Occupation: Martial Arts Instructor (Influence, Perception, Unarmed) Perks: Reactive Stance (Unarmed)

Hobby: Firearms

Skills: Athletics 4 (+3), Firearms 4 (+4), Legal 8 (+9), Medicine 16 (+21), Outdoorsman 8 (+13), Perception 16 (+34), Read/Write Language (Cantonese, English, Farsi, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish), Speak Language (Cantonese, English, Farsi, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish), Stealth 16 (+16), Streetwise 16 (+21), Unarmed 16 (+15), Vehicles 4 (+4), Weapons 4 (+3)

Feats: Aikido, Awareness, Career Advancement, Combat Martial Arts, Contemplative Master, Cross Training: Stealth, Defensive Attack: +1.5 Defense per –1 attack from Aikido, Dedicated (family), Defensive Martial Arts: +2 Unarmed from Martial Arts Instructor, Empathy, Improved Disarm, Mind Over Body: +2 Wisdom modifier from Martial Arts Instructor, Ninjutsu, Poise: +2 Wisdom modifier from Aikido, Self-Help 1, Self-Help 2

Access/Contacts/Followers: Complete Access (former diplomat with many ties in governments around the world, owed many favors in intelligence circles), Skill Contact (Chemistry 10 ranks)

Wealth: 18

Possessions: Medical Kit

Martial Arts Maneuvers: +2 Defense with Reactive Stance, free Trip attempt on attacks that miss with Reactive Stance, Shuriken-jutsu: range penalties with thrown weapons reduced by 2, Shinobi-jutsu: Stealth check DC reduced by 5

Character Disadvantages: None

Background: A professional diplomat, Katsumoto has served as a Japanese Ambassador to both Korea and the United States. While in America, he met and married an American woman, who died five years ago. His wife’s death drove a wedge between Katsumoto and his daughter Brianna, who blamed her mother’s early death on the family’s moves and the isolation caused by language barriers in foreign lands. In an attempt to both protect his daughter and heal the rift between them, Katsumoto has joined the Hanmei, a use of the martial arts that he finds particularly abhorrent.

Unknown to anyone, even his daughter, Katsumoto was in fact a spy for the Japanese government. His ability to make others trust him and use that trust to open up to him, as well as a natural gift for stealth and subterfuge are all areas of his former life Katsumoto attempts to atone for today.

Quote: “The way of the warrior is the way of love.”

Role: Katsumoto is the Sensei, always attempting to teach the “true meaning” of the martial arts. He will attempt to use his persuasiveness (which is considerable) to convince younger characters to drop out of the tournament. For the student seeking a master, Katsumoto makes an excellent choice.

Adventure Hooks: If a female PC joins the Hanmei, the GM could substitute her for Brianna, making her the unwilling target of the “Little One Lost” campaign theme. A PC seeking to train with Katsumoto might join the Hanmei to make contact with him in the “Legendary Master” campaign theme.

Terry's Tells: Wow! What drama! What excitement! A 50 year old father and his 25 year old daughter in the same tournament! Will youth or experience come out on top! Will they face each other! It's almost too much.

Moment of Clarity

While playtesting MA20 last night, one of my players to me: "Wow, Jujutsu and Kenjutsu work really well together."

Me: "Duh"

This might be one of those "had to be there" things.

It's definitely funnier if you know that Jujutsu was the Samurai's preferred unarmed art, while Kenjutsu was his preferred armed art (which I know- in other words- it's not accidental the arts compliment each other).

Live on scene at the Hanmei, fighter profiles: Jing Choi

Jing Choi

(Powerhouse 10): HD 10d10+10; HP 69; Init +2; Spd 40 ft; Defense 19, flatfooted 17 (+2 Dex, +7 Class); BAB +10; Atk +15 melee (2d6+6, Shao-Lin Kung Fu), or +15 melee (1d6+9, Hook Sword) or +12 ranged (1d8+4, Compound Bow); SQ Melee Master; AL Excitement; SV Fort +8, Ref +5, Will +2, Rec +6; Rep +6; Str 18, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 12

Background: Adventurer

Occupation: Martial Arts Master (Acrobatics, Athletics, Unarmed) Perks: Flurry (Unarmed), Precision Strike (Unarmed), Two-Weapon Fighting (Weapons)

Hobby: Influence

Skills: Acrobatics 13, Athletics 13, Influence 4, Perception 4, Stealth 4, Streetwise 4, Unarmed 13, Weapons 13

Feats: Armed Defense, Attack Focus (Hook Sword), Attack Focus (Unarmed): +2 to attack rolls from Martial Arts Master, Attack Specialization (Hook Sword), Attack Specialization (Unarmed), Career Advancement, Combat Martial Arts, Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, Shao-Lin Kung Fu, Strength Training, Two-Weapon Defense, White Crane

Access/Contacts/Followers: Favors (6 points)

Wealth: 14

Possessions: 2 Hook Swords, Butterfly Swords (pair)

Character Disadvantages: None

Background: Jing Choi, which means fantastic, is what he calls himself. No one knows if that’s his real name or not, because his Cantonese is almost incomprehensible at the speed he speaks it, and he speaks no other language. However, most people would call him that anyway, as he yells it all the time after a good move in a fight, and it sums up his manic, optimistic outlook perfectly. Jing Choi likes nothing more than a good fight. He is not a bully, and prefers fights against opponents of his skill level or higher. However, anyone seen being a bully, or disrespectful to a woman, will also attract Jing Choi’s attention. In short, if there’s any trouble around, Jing Choi will get in the middle of it, happily shouting his name while flooring opponents.

Quote: “Jing Choi!”

Terry's Tells: What can you say about this guy? He's got power, he's got speed and he's got the moves, both with weapons and with his fists. Still, he's a little skinny, and he's going to take some shots in the later rounds. If can find a way to take that punishment and get through it, he has the skill to go all the way.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Martial Arts20 Cover revealed!

Need I say more?

After Action Report on the Poll

I have to say, I'm pretty pleased with the poll. We got a lot of good participation. 68 votes was less than I was expecting.

It also seems that I totally goochered the results by commenting on Victorian Horror's comeback, because that seemed to spark a counter-surge of cyberpunk votes.

But all is not lost gentle readers!

I've decided to do both.

Live on scene at the Hanmei, fighter profiles: Kochou "Kimmy" Kimiko

Kochou Kimmy Kimiko

(Speedfreak 8/Powerhouse 2): HD 2d10+4 plus 8d8+16; HP 71; Init +10; Spd 40 ft; Defense 23, flatfooted 19 (+4 Dex, +9 Class); BAB +8; Atk +8 melee (2d6+0, Jujutsu), or +15 melee (2d6+9, Katana), or +12 ranged (1d6+3, Javelin); SQ Melee Master; AL Bushido; SV Fort +9, Ref +10, Will +3, Rec +6; Rep +6; Str 10, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 8

Background: Rural

Occupation: Weapon Master (Influence, Perception, Weapons) Perks:

Flurry (Weapons), Precision Strike (Unarmed), Precision Strike (Weapons)

Hobby: Weapons

Skills: Acrobatics 10 (+14), Athletics 12 (+12), Outdoorsman 5 (+6), Perception 11 (+12), Read/Write Language (English, Cantonese, Japanese, Mandarin), Speak Language (English, Cantonese, Japanese, Mandarin), Stealth 13 (+17), Unarmed 13 (+13), Weapons 13 (+13)

Feats: Agility Training, Armed Defense (25 defense against melee attacks), Attack Focus (Katana): +2 to attack rolls from Weapon Master, Attack Specialization (Katana), Career Advancement, Combat Martial Arts, Improved Initiative: +6 Initiative from Kenjutsu, Improved Trip: DC of free trip +5 from Jujutsu, Jujutsu, Kenjutsu, Quick Draw, Uncanny Dodge, Weapon Finesse (Katana)

Access/Contacts/Followers: Skill Contact: Medicine 9 ranks, Supply Contact (Wealth +20)

Wealth: 14

Possessions: Masterwork Katana (attack), 6 Javelins, Nunchaku, Tonfa

Character Disadvantages: Code: Bushido (DSR 5)

Background: Kimmy has always rebelled against her culture and traditional Japanese upbringing. She always felt her father, who traces his line back to medieval Samurai, wanted a son, and she chafes against his expectations for her. However, in many ways, Kimmy is the ideal son for her father; swift and dangerous, steeped in the history of her country, she is the soul of a samurai in the body of a woman barely five feet tall. Many opponents have failed to realize this about her until it is too late.

Quote: “Atashi Samuraikatagi!”

Terry's Tells: This reporter thinks Kimiko is something of a longshot to reach the finals. But if she does, watch out! Remember, weapons are allowed during the final round and her profile in that area is off the charts!

Modern20 gets its first review

Check it out.

Thanks to Mark Gedak for the thorough and thoughtful review.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Live on scene at the Hanmei, fighter profiles: "Rapid" Roy Waltrip

“Rapid” Roy Waltrip

(Tank 7): HD 8d12 +24; HP 81; Init +2; Spd 35 ft; Defense 17, flatfooted 17 (+2 Dex, +5 Class); BAB +5; Atk +10 melee (1d10+3, Boxing), or +7 ranged (by weapon); SQ Resilience; AL none; SV Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +3, Rec +8; Rep +4; Str 16, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.

Background: Blue Collar

Occupation: Boxer (Athletics, Perception, Unarmed) Perks: Fast Punch (Unarmed), Power Punch (Unarmed), Flurry (Unarmed)

Hobby: Weapons

Skills: Athletics 10 (+13), Outdoorsman 10 (+11), Perception 10 (+11), Streetwise 10 (+11), Unarmed 10 (+13) and Weapons 6 (+9)

Feats: All-Out Attack: +1.5 attack per –1 Def from Boxing, Attack Focus (unarmed): +2 attack rolls from Boxer, Boxing, Career Advancement, Combat Martial Arts, Defensive Attack: +1.5 Def per –1 attack from Boxer, Defensive Martial Arts (23 Defense against melee attacks with Move action), Diesel, Endurance Training, Strength Training: +2 Str from Boxer

Access/Contacts/Followers: Skill Contact: Doc Marlowe (Medicine 11 ranks)

Wealth: 17

Possessions: Cell Phone

Martial Arts Maneuvers: Lightning Jab (once per encounter opponent is flat-footed when using Fast Punch feat)

Character Disadvantages: None

Background: Roy feels he never got a “real” shot at boxing. He didn’t kiss the asses of the right promoters, and very few of the big-name fighters wanted to fight the tough, cagey slugger. He was offered jobs as a sparring partner, but Roy finds being a human punching bag boring. He overheard some guys in a bar talking about some organized streetfight, and after knocking them out, showed up at the appointment they paid for.

Quote: “C’mon, boy. I know you can hit harder than that. Hell, I barely felt it.”

Comments: Roy is a cagey veteran who knows the value of patience. Early in a fight he will use Defensive Martial Arts and Defensive Attack, coupled with Fast Punches and Lightning Jabs to protect himself while he wears down his opponent. Once his opponent is in trouble, he switches entirely, abandoning his Defensive Martial Arts for Multi-Attack (with the Flurry perk), mixing in All-Out Attacks and Power Punches as necessary until he finishes his opponent off.

Accidental Survivors talk Campaign Design

This week Fraser and the crew (which again includes me!) talk about Campaign Design.

And be sure to check out the blooper reel.

And now a post from guest blogger Terry McMannis

This is Terry McMannis, broadcasting from an undisclosed location. I’m in week three of a grueling, life or death struggle known as the Hanmei, or “the Proving”. Yet despite the hardships and death, my opponents and I have grown to respect one another, as true warriors of honor. Check out the excerpt of Chapter 1 of “Warriors of Honor” that I just uploaded to my blog, and be sure to go to the store on the site for a “Warriors of Honor, Fighters of Blood” t-shirt, now available in XXXXL! That’s all for now fellow warriors, I’ll post more when I have the chance. If I survive, that is.

Thanks Terry!

I'd also like to announce that RPGObjects has secured the exclusive rights to the role-playing game based on Terry's experiences in the Hanmei and also other famous characters from his many film franchises which we're calling Martial Arts^20. It's going to be big, trust me.

Monday, November 12, 2007

New M20 feat: Entourage

So originally we planned to keep the "hero-ordinary" disparity in Modern20.

You probably know that because there's some artifacts of those rules still in the book.


The biggest one of these is the Sidekick feat, which no longer does anything, since all followers are now the same as everyone else.

This is the feat that will replace it in the next Modern20 update.

You fine folks get it first because you're better than everyone else.

New Feat

You have one or more devoted followers.
Prerequisite: Reputation 3+
Effect: You gain +6 RP that can only be spent on followers.

Advanced Weapon Qualities

I've mentioned a time or two that I think Martial Arts20 (MA20 to the cool kids) will do as much for armed as unarmed combat.

It's time to put my cards on the table.

I present to you, Advanced Weapon Qualities:

Advanced Qualities: To add more flavor to melee combat, Martial Arts20 adds the concept of advanced qualities to weapons. Advanced Qualities are only available to wielders who possess certain feats or perks and represent the ability of a wielder to use his advanced training in combination with the unique qualities of a melee weapon to even greater effect.

Block (Armed Defense, Two-Weapon Defense): The weapon has qualities that make it ideal defensively. If a wielder has the Armed Defense feat, his Weapons skill is considered +2 higher for purposes of that feat.

If a wielder has the Two-Weapon Defense feat and is using a weapon with this quality in his off hand, his Defense bonus is improved by +2.

Bruising (Attack Specialization): A bruising weapon is functionally identical to a penetrating weapon, except it causes bruising rather than bleeding (see below and the Condition Summary in the Modern20 core rules).

Brutal (Attack Focus): A brutal weapon can inflict tremendous damage in the hands of a skilled wielder with the Attack Specialization feat. When making a called shot with a brutal weapon using the Precision Strike perk, the damage multiplier is increased by one-half. So for example, if the damage modifier of a location was one-half, with a brutal weapon it would be one (normal damage). A location with a damage modifier of 1.5 would have its damage modifier increased to 2 and so on.

The brutal advanced quality is meant to simulate a weapon that can take a limb off entirely in as “gameable” a way as possible.

Disarm (Improved Disarm): The DC of the free disarm check granted by the Improved Disarm feat is reduced by 5.

Grappling (Improved Grab): The DC of the free grab check granted by the Improved Grab feat is reduced by 5.

Penetrating (Attack Specialization): A penetrating weapon causes tremendous blood loss on hits to the throat, chest and stomach for wielders who possess the Attack Specialization feat. A hit to one of these locations (whether determined randomly or through a called shot made with the Precision Strike perk) causes mild bleeding. A second hit to one of these locations increases the bleeding to serious and a third hit increases the bleeding to severe (see the Condition Summary on page 84 of the Modern20 core rules for more information on bleeding).

A penetrating weapon can cause bleeding even if the optional injury rules are not being used. If the injury rules are being used, a hit with a penetrating weapon to the proper locations as described above always causes bleeding, and if an injury calls for bleeding, that bleeding is one category more severe (mild becomes serious, serious becomes severe).

Precise (Weapon Finesse): A precise weapon handles well and aids a wielder with the Weapon Finesse feat in landing carefully targeted blows. Reduce the penalty of a called shot made with the Precision Strike perk by 2.

Set (Attack Focus): A weapon with this quality allows a wielder with the Attack Focus feat to make a free attack whenever anyone comes within 10 ft. of his location. If the wielder of this weapon is charged, he inflicts double damage on this free attack.

Now you might be asking yourself, do these take the place of weapon martial arts? And the answer is no. Meaning, you will be able to combine these with a weapon martial art.

Also, not every weapon has all these qualities available. What qualities a weapon has available depend on the weapon's uh, qualities.

Like so:

Fan: The seemingly simple fan, like the chain, is a deadly weapon in the hands of a master. This weapon can serve to deflect attacks, disarm an attacker and even inflict damage, usually in conjunction with precise strikes to nerve clusters.

Advanced Qualities: Block, Disarm, Precise

I'm almost more excited about this aspect of the book, which was a relatively late stage of design, than the unarmed stuff.

Nahhh, who am I kidding.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

The "say hey" setting

Whoa, so it looks like Victorian Horror has come back in a big way.


Friday, November 09, 2007

From Aikido to Zen (N)


Weapon Style

The Naginata is the traditional weapon of the Samurai daughters, and the fluid, spinning footwork taught by this style for both attack and defense were considered the epitome of beauty, grace, and femininity in medieval Japan. Practice of this art by women dates back to Japan’s Tokugawa Period (1600-1867), but the form continues today in a Kenjutsu-like sport, still dominated by women. This style, however, represents the older combative form of the art.

Prerequisite: Attack Focus (naginata)

Style Maneuvers

Weapons 4 ranks: After a successful attack with a Naginata, you may make a free Push attempt against your opponent, using the Weapons skill in place of the Unarmed skill. Consult the Unarmed skill for more information on the Push skill use.

Weapons 8 ranks: Defensive Attack: +1.5 Defense per –1 attack penalty, rounded down (+1 Defense for –1 attack, +3 Defense for –2 attack and so forth)

Weapons 12 ranks: Vital lore: when making called shots with the Precision Strike perk, your penalty to hit is reduced by 2.

Weapons 16 ranks: Weapon Finesse (naginata): your Dexterity modifier is considered +2 higher for purposes of this feat.

Weapons 20 ranks: Agility Training: +2 Dexterity

Thursday, November 08, 2007

RPGnet thread about Modern20

Mangus is asking folks to share Modern20 campaign stories at RPGnet, so if you have one, share it!

I'm trying to stay out of the thread because RPGnet has a real itchy "ah! viral marketing! move it to ads!" trigger finger.

But if you guys have something to share, I, and RPGnet would probably love to hear them!

From Aikido to Zen (M)


Animal Style

You use an acrobatic animal style, characterized by rolling around on the ground like an angry monkey. Conventional opponents find it difficult to fight you. Variants of this style exist in both Africa and the Orient.

Prerequisite: Combat Martial Arts or Defensive Martial Arts

Style Maneuvers

Unarmed 4 ranks: +2 Defense when using the Reactive Stance perk

Unarmed 8 ranks: Dodge Focus: +2 Defense bonus once (taking this feat additional times only grants the normal +1 bonus per feat).

Unarmed 12 ranks: If an opponent attacks and misses you while you are using the Reactive Stance perk, you may make a free Trip attempt against that attacker

Unarmed 16 ranks: Defensive Attack: +1.5 Defense per –1 attack penalty, rounded down (+1 Defense for –1 attack, +3 Defense for –2 attack and so forth)

Unarmed 20 ranks: Agility Training: +2 Dexterity

Also, in case it's not clear, anything listed that's an improved feat, you still have to take the feat. The style just makes it improved for you.

The two eras of PDF gaming

Those of you who have listened to the chat I had with Daniel Perez on his Digital Front podcast will recall that I made an assertion that Daniel found somewhat surprising: that the last big innovation in PDF publishing was the short-form PDF, courtesy of Phil Reed.

Daniel himself says in his comments after the interview that he WANTS to disagree with that, but really can't.

Now, I wasn't attempting to say that there has been NO innovation in PDFs with that comment but when I was talking about changes, I was talking about BIG changes.

If you think about the PDF market, for years we were following the template Monte laid down in his early PDFs: take an under or un-explored area of the game and expand on it.

New magic rules, new PrCs, rules for tournaments. Make your PDF about the size of a small print book (64 pages).

That was the format pre-Phil.

The system in place at RPGNow helped perpetuate this structurally, with their minimum price point, someone had to buy a small PDF *and* something else, but still, mostly we wrote this way because, consciously or not, we were following Monte's lead.

Phil took a completely new model. Instead of picking a large un-explored area and fleshing it out, he would take small aspects of the game and give them a little more detail: new diseases, new mundane items, etc.

And of course, once he had several out, the minimum price point worked in his favor.

Instead of tacking on a 1.50 book at the end of an order, customers could now make their entire order up of Phil's little PDFs, meaning he got to keep all that money.

As Phil's company rocketed up the sales charts, other publishers began to imitate his model the way they'd imitated Monte.

So in terms of big innovations, we've had the Monte Era and the Phil Era.

What's next?

Digital Front revisited

The Digital Front interview I did with Daniel Perez is now up on Itunes as well.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007


So Martial Arts20 is coming along. I'm converting two of my favorite campaign models from the older books to go along with the styles: Hong Kong Knights and the Hanmei.

Then it will be converting the weapons, and I'm done.

After that, I have a quick solo project planned for a system I've never written for before.

More on that later, stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

From Aikido to Zen (L)

Lucha Libre

Martial Arts Style

A martial art that believes mystery is the key to victory, masks are worn during combat to protect the fighter’s identity and give him added ferocity in battle. Like many pure wrestling traditions Mexican Masked Wrestling has made its way into Professional Wrestling… at least the masks have.

Prerequisite: Combat Martial Arts or Defensive Martial Arts

Style Maneuvers

Unarmed 4 ranks: Immovable: the DC of trip attempts against you is your Unarmed or Acrobatics +15

Unarmed 8 ranks: Low Profile: once per encounter if you are masked you gain a bonus to a single attack roll equal to the difference between your Reputation and your opponent’s Reputation.

You may use this ability additional times per encounter if you spend an Action Point.

Unarmed 12 ranks: Aura of Mystery: while wearing a mask, your unarmed attacks are modified by your Charisma rather than your Strength.

Unarmed 16 ranks: Banter: your Charisma modifier is considered +2 higher for purposes of this feat

Unarmed 20 ranks: Public Speaking: +2 Charisma

Kick Ass Yakuza Assassin, courtesy of Martial Arts20


(Powerhouse 3/Tank 3): HD 3d10+6 plus 3d12+6; HP 52; Init +7; Spd 35 ft; Defense 15, flatfooted 14 (+1 Dex, +4 Class); BAB +5; Atk +10 melee (2d6+11, Katana wielded two-handed), or +7 ranged (2d4+2, Glock 20); SQ Melee Master; AL Yakuza Oyabun; SV Fort +8, Ref +4, Will +3, Rec +7; Rep +7; Str 16, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.

Background: Criminal

Occupation: Mobster (Crime, Firearms, Streetwise) Perks: Aggressive Stance (Weapons), Power Punch (Unarmed), Professional Reputation

Hobby: Streetwise

Skills: Athletics 6 (+9), Firearms 9 (+10), Perception 4 (+5), Stealth 4 (+5), Streetwise 7 (+8), Unarmed 9 (+12), Vehicles 4 (+5), Weapons 9 (+12)

Feats: Armed Defense (22 Defense against melee attacks), Attack Focus (Katana), Attack Specialization (Katana), Career Advancement, Combat Martial Arts, Enemy (Rival Family), Improved Initiative, Kenjutsu, Shotokan Karate

Access/Contacts/Followers: Supply Contact (Wealth 23 and Military equipment)

Wealth: 9

Possessions: Glock 20, Katana (Masterwork- attack and damage)

Martial Arts Maneuvers: +2 Initiative when using Aggressive Stance Weapons perk; +2 attack bonus when using Power Punch Unarmed perk

Description: As an Oyabun’s “bullet”, this loyal enforcer will seek out any enemies marked for death by his master and attempt to kill him. This particular Teppodama prefers the old ways, and will gladly engage an opponent in armed or unarmed combat, using his pistol only if an opponent runs. As part of his samurai honor, this combatant will not wear armor under any circumstances.

2d6+11 damage with a Katana means never, ever, under any circumstances, having to say you're sorry.

Monday, November 05, 2007


So of course, now that the styles are done, they're getting tweaked.

Low Kick (which you've seen in some recent styles like Kenpo) has been changed, and as previously mentioned, some of the more interesting goodies in B&Fists, such as adaptable and combination styles have been reintroduced to the new system.

In general though, I really like the changes, and they address the single #1 complaint I received about Blood and Fists: that each maneuver was a feat.

I always just sort of smiled and nodded when I got this complaint, because I agreed a feat per maneuver was less than ideal but couldn't really think of another way to handle things.

Without, of course, changing the underpinnings of martial arts totally, which I've now had the opportunity to do.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Styles... are... done...


I have a cold too. Stupid weather. Or immune system. Either way.

In a late edition comeback, both Combination Styles and Adaptable Styles made their way back into the martial arts rules, after being absent for about 90% of the design process.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

4 styles to go!!!!!!!

I'm so close. I can see the end. The styles left to convert all fit on my screen at the same time.

Brain melting... eyes killing me....

Gah,. I was absolutely determined to finish tonight.

From Aikido to Zen (K)


(Also Called Kempo)

Martial Arts Style

Kenpo’s origins are shrouded in mystery, but this art seems to be Chuan Fa, transplanted to Okinawa and then Japan via wandering Chinese monks. This inference is largely made because the Shaolin martial art Chuan Fa translates to “fist art” and Kenpo translates to “law of the fist”. Regardless of its ancient origins the modern era of Kenpo begins when James Mitose opens the “Official Self Defense Club” in Honolulu in 1936. Mitose taught William Chow, who in turn taught Ed Parker, who brought Kenpo to the United States. Parker, a greatly influential teacher, is often credited with “discovering” Bruce Lee at a Kenpo tournament, and was a martial arts instructor to the stars, including Steve McQueen and Elvis Presley. However, Parker also taught police self-defense, lending credibility to his style’s combat effectiveness.

Prerequisites: Combat Martial Arts or Defensive Martial Arts

Style Maneuvers

Unarmed 4 ranks: Low Kick: when using the Precision Strike perk to target an opponent’s Foot, Calf, Knee, Thigh or Groin, your penalties to target these locations are reduced by 2.

Unarmed 8 ranks: Attack Focus (unarmed): +2 to attack rolls

Unarmed 12 ranks: Body Blow: On a successful attack to your opponent’s stomach or chest, your opponent must make a Fortitude save equal to your attack roll +10 or be flat-footed for the next 1-4 rounds. If you are using the injury rules, this is in addition to any effects from a stomach or chest hit due to injuries.

Unarmed 16 ranks: Weapon Finesse (unarmed): your Dexterity modifier is considered +2 higher for purposes of this feat.

Unarmed 20 ranks: Agility Training +2 Dexterity

Friday, November 02, 2007

Digital Front interview

There's a nice chat between me and Daniel Perez, with some mentions of Modern20 and my general thoughts about the industry.

Possible Setting #5: Pulp/Cliffhangers

The year is 1934, Hitler has just become the Fuhrer in Germany and Sir Walton Smith has come to The Pursuit, New York's most prestigious adventurers club with a unique challenge: he has discovered another world at the center of the Earth, a place of untold wonders and horrors.

To make things more "interesting", he has also informed groups of explorers from Britain, France, Germany, Russia and Japan of this world.

Realizing the world is hurtling toward war, Sir Walton has decided to use his "challenge" as a twisted test to see which nation he anticipates being central to the coming conflict will be able to make the perilous journey to the north pole and plunder the secrets of this uncharted land first.

"And if you succeed," he notes dryly, "there are still other secrets I know so the contest can begin again."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Possible setting #4: Monster Hunters

Things that go bump in the night?

Things man was not meant to know?

That's like, so 5 minutes ago.

All you know is that some thing, more like a group of somethings, has been killing off the class of '08 one student at a time.

Worse, some of them seem to be coming back.

Someone has to take back the night.

You say you want a revolution?

Start by killing the Whisperers.

Before they kill you.


So it looks like Cyberpunk is the early favorite.


Possible Setting #3: Cyberpunk

Life is different at ground level.

In 2107, the elite live high above the mean streets of the East Coast Metroplex, which stretches from Boston to Philadelphia. Their feet never touch the ground. They live in the clouds and take computer controlled flying cars to their "jobs".

In history class, you were told that the elite moved so high after the terrorists detonated a nuclear device in Old New York.


It's all about survival now. Even the cops don't fly below the 30-story line unless there's a full-scale riot.

It's just you and the other gangs, avoiding the Auto-Cops, trying to scrape enough money together for that next cyber-upgrade or dose of stim and hoping to find some idiot with an undefended wireless point near his accounts.

Then you can live in the clouds too.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Possible Setting #2: Victorian Horror and Suspense

The year is 1890 and a group of exceptional men and women have converged on the city of London. Men and women with powers, abilities and knowledge that could be harnessed to bring an everlasting golden age to the British Empire, or bring the world into everlasting ruin.

Who are these heroes and villains, paragons and monsters?

What is drawing them to this city at this time?

Is it fate? Or something far darker?

Save the Queen, save the world.

Possible Setting #1 Superspies: The USHER Dossiers

4a. SuperSpies

Join the forces of the Unites States Headquarters for Emergency Response (USHER). What's a day like in USHER? You might be fighting animals from South America given human intelligence by escaped Nazi scientists decades ago, now following their own agenda.

Or attempting to stop the dreaded super-intelligent computer hackers of Medusa from stealing millions through electronic transactions.

Or tracking down rogue Shturmovik agents. Once the Soviet Union's elite guard of power-suit soldiers, these proud men and women have been reduced to mercenary status, selling their hydraulic powered expertise to the bidder.

Or maybe you'll track down a rogue cyberneticist selling bionic "enhancements" to athletes or criminals.

No matter what you do, you'll do more in one day working for USHER than most do in a lifetime! So sign up today!

Modern20 Settings

So, I've talked some about Fantasci here, and it's getting a bit of a new direction, which coincides to a new group of books on the way for Modern20, post Martial Arts20 (I'm on L now! the long dark night of K has finally ended! yay!).

We're going to do a series of settings for Modern20. Our goal is to package these with the core rules for a nice size print book, but that's only a DESIRE, not a definite, so don't send my boss emails asking "when" and get me in trouble capiche?

But I digress. The plan is for 4 settings, each showcasing the rules in a different way.

Three have been decided, with one left to go, subject of the poll to your.... right! Right there! Fire the flame gun damnit!


Anyway, settings 1-3 are:

1. Fantasci

Science fantasy, melding modern technology, magic and monsters in a world inspired by Japanese RPGs such as Phantasy Star, Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. This will include rules for magic as well as some high technologies.

2. Hunters

An expansion of the setting currently premiering in the pages of the Modern Dispatch. The "expanded" part will bring the setting timeline forward from the Cold War to the present day. See how a world with psychic men and women has progressed from the Cold War to the War and Terror and find out what new challenges await.

3. Dark Future

In the future, humanity has begun to change. What it's changing to, into something that will save humanity or destroy it, has divided the United States. After an attempted coup by those with superhuman abilities, the Mutant Internment Act has forced mutants into isolated Containment Zones.

You live in the Atlanta Containment Zone (ACZ). The "Axe" to those who call it home. You might be a desperate prisoner seeking to escape and rejoin your normal family on the outside, a mutant gangbanger enforcing your will on those with less powerful mutations, a struggling shopkeeper who attempts to make a living while being squeezed by criminals (mutants and humans alike), or you might be a freedom fighter, working in the underground railroad, staging non-violent protests against the treatment of your kind and fighting the terrorists of the Mutant Army of Nationalism (MAN).

Those are the definites. The next possibles are all up to you. More on these in future posts.

From Aikido to Zen (J)


Martial Arts Style

Jujutsu, which means “gentle art,” is anything but in practice. Originally, this style was the preferred unarmed style of the Samurai (one of the three major combat schools of the Samurai, in conjunction with Kenjitsu and Sojitsu), complimenting the swordsmanship learned through Kenjitsu (known today as Kendo) and concentrating on simple, brutal, yet effective kicks and bone-breaking locks. Classical Jujutsu is the parent style of modern Aikido, Judo, and Karate. In modern times, the philosophy of this art has changed from its violent beginnings, and it now concentrates on a measured response to an attack, applying enough force to discourage an attacker. Obviously, however, this philosophy still includes the possibility of killing a determined opponent. Jujutsu practitioners call their most accomplished warriors “Shihan.” A student who has mastered all the moves of the style, to the point that he is considered fit to teach Jujutsu to other students, is called “Kaiden.”

Prerequisite: Combat Martial Arts or Defensive Martial Arts

Style Maneuvers

Unarmed 4 ranks: Pressure Point attack: when making called shots with the Precision Strike perk, you inflict +4 points of damage on a successful hit.

Unarmed 8 ranks: Improved Trip: DC of the trip check for the free trip granted by this feat is Unarmed or Acrobatics +5

Unarmed 12 ranks: Brutal Strike: you suffer no penalties for making a called shot with the Precision Strike perk against a prone opponent.

Unarmed 16 ranks: Weapon Finesse (unarmed): your Dexterity modifier is considered +2 higher for purposes of this feat.

Unarmed 20 ranks: Agility Training +2 Dexterity

Monday, October 29, 2007

37 martial arts styles to go...

Sweet Jesus help me.

Movies that don't get talked about enough

Traffic: awesome, long and serious. Michael Douglas, Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Quaid, Catherine Zeta Jones, Don Cheadle, Julia Styles, Topher Grace, well, you get the idea.

This movie is definitely not for kids, but if you're in mood for a good story populated by all the fantastic actors noted above and more, this is a movie you should see.

Dead Again: If you want to see five of the greatest actors in the world (Derek Jacoby, Kenneth Branaugh, Emma Thompson Andy Garcia and Robin Williams) in a noir murder mystery with long black and white flashback scenes, then this is the movie for you.

Any Given Sunday: Yeah that's right, Any Given fucking Sunday. This movie is as fun and over the top and violent, with all the male full frontal nudity you want from a football movie by Oliver Stone.

Like all Oliver Stone, it's something of a mixed bag, and something you either love or hate. Stone's finest moment since Natural Born Killers.

And then there was K...

K is like, long.

From Aikido to Zen (H)

Hsing-I Kung Fu

Martial Arts Style

Along with T’ai-chi and Pa-kua, Hsing-i is one the three main forms of internal Kung Fu. While T’ai-chi concentrates on subtle yielding and slow movement to resist attack, Hsing-i, as its name suggests, emphasizes that the thought and action are one, and is characterized by lightning quick attacks. This does not mean the style is offensive in nature, however. As one master put it “your attack begins after your opponent’s, but arrives first”.

Hsing-i originated some time between 1637 and 1661. During this time, a Shanghai resident, Chi Lung-feng claims he was taught this “profound boxing” by a mysterious stranger.

Prerequisite: Defensive Martial Arts

Style Maneuvers

Unarmed 4 ranks: +2 Defense when using the Reactive Stance perk

Unarmed 8 ranks: Defensive Attack: +1.5 Defense per –1 attack penalty, rounded down (+1 Defense for –1 attack, +3 Defense for –2 attack and so forth).

Unarmed 12 ranks: If an opponent attacks and misses you while you are using the Reactive Stance perk, you may make a free unarmed melee attack against that attacker

Unarmed 16 ranks: Poise: Your Wisdom modifier is considered +2 higher for purposes of this feat.

Unarmed 20 ranks: Self-Help: +2 Wisdom

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Blood and Fists vs. Martial Arts 20

I love Blood and Fists. It's the book I've straight up adapted more than any other.

I've done similar martial arts rules for True 20, d20 Fantasy, even OSRIC. Yes, OSRIC mother fu- but I digress.

One reason there's been more adaptation than sequel was not wanting to mess with the basic formula, which I thought was great.

I've finally found something I think is better.

From Aikido to Zen (G)

Gun Fu

Weapon Style

Gun Fu is a martial arts application to gun combat. This style is seen in many popular movies and comic books, and has even become the adopted name of a popular paintball strategy guide. On a strictly historical note, since firearms were introduced to Japan the Bushi have had an art for firearms known as Hojutsu. Perhaps Gun Fu isn’t entirely silly after all… That said, campaigns striving for realism including all gritty campaigns and many cinematic ones may not wish to allow this martial art. Check with your game master before selecting it.

Prerequisite: Attack Focus (pistol)

Style Maneuvers

Firearms 4 ranks: You may use the Two-Weapon Fighting Perk with pistols, gaining an extra attack at –10 when wielding a pistol in each hand. Your Firearms skill works to negate this penalty.

Firearms 8 ranks: Attack Focus (pistol): +2 to attack rolls

Firearms 12 ranks: Bullet Time: once per encounter you can make an extra attack roll with a firearm at no penalty to your attack roll.

You may use this ability additional times in an encounter by spending an Action Point.

Firearms 16 ranks: Attack Specialization (pistol): +3 to damage rolls

Firearms 20 ranks: Agility Training: +2 Dexterity

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fantasci developments

We're currently going through a development of the Star Player class into something real, discussing races, magic and all sorts of other cool stuff in Fantasci private group.

Also, friend of the blog Walt has come on board, lending his considerable artistic talents to the project (cause lord knows I don't have any).

If you'd like to get in on the ground floor and help shape the next big thing I'm going to be working (after I slog through "K" and beyond), become a contributor!

What is fantasci?

Hunters, now available!

You can now pick up the Hunters mini-campaign model at and other fine e-book retailers.

From Aikido to Zen (F)

Fencing- Italian

Weapon Style

Unlike the French school, Italian fencing relied more on power than grace. Two-weapon combat was favored with a classic coupe-de-grace of this style consisting of a grapple (often with the cloak or by dropping the primary weapon and using the right arm to grapple) to allow a vicious stab to the ribs with a secondary weapon.

Prerequisite: Attack Focus (sword)

Style Maneuvers

Weapons 4 ranks: When using the Two-Weapon Fighting perk, your attack penalty is reduced by 2.

Weapons 8 ranks: Attack Focus (sword): +2 on attack rolls

Weapons 12 ranks: +2 damage bonus when using the Aggressive Stance perk.

Weapons 16 ranks: Attack Specialization (sword): +3 on damage rolls

Weapons 20 ranks: Strength Training: +2 Strength

Night Ride Part 1

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