venerdì 11 agosto 2017

Armor optional rule for D&D and OSR games

This simple rule gives more value to armor since it adds Damage Reduction when the character would go to less than 0 hp.

Armor works normally (give AC bonus) until the character goes to 0 hp then Armor absorb excess damage from that hit.
Note: This damage reduction works only on the hit that would take the character below 0hp, if the character is already out of combat the damage reduction doesn't work, so if attacked again you apply the normal rules against helpless target.

The Damage Reduction given by armors will be equal to their armor bonus. Let's call this damage reduction (DR) a DR at Zero hp (or DRZhp).

Example: Rodrick a 3rd level fighter with 21 hp and a chain mail has +5 bonus to AC (and so also 5 DRZhp), in a long fight is reduced to 4 hp, then he is it for another 8 points of damage. Normally this would take Rodrick to -4 hp and on his way to Walhalla, but with this rule Rodrick will go to 0 hp since the additional 4 hp of damage will be absorbed by his chain mail.

NOTE: for 5th edition and 0th edition
If the rule system don't makes big distinction between 0hp and dying this rule must be modified. The damage reduction (if sufficient) puts the character at 0hp unconscious and stable (and out of the fight unless healed) but not dying. Further attacks ignore DRZhp.

Armor table

AC bonus
Padded +1 1
Leather +2 2
Studded +3 3
Scale +4 4
Chain +5 5
Banded +6 6
Half Plate +7 7
Full Plate +8 8

Note: Wearing an helmet will add to the DRZhp as follow
Leather cap +1 (-1 to perception)
Metal cap +2 (-2 to perception)
Full Helmet +3 (-3 to perception)

Option: if the armor reduction is used the armor is damaged and needs repairs.

Compatibility: this rule works with every edition of D&D (original, b/x, becm, rc, AD&D 1st, AD&D 2nd, D&D 3rd, D&D 3.5, Pathfinder, D&D 4th and D&D 5th) and with all retroclones that use normal AC as originally presented in D&D games (Adventurer Conqueror King System, Swords and Wizardry, Basic Fantasy RPG, Adventures Dark and Deep, Fantastic Heroes & Witchery, OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, Dark Dungeons, Darker Dungeons, Dangers & Dweomers... and countless others). 

Design Notes

It's some time that I keep thinking about modifying how armor works, last time I took the route of critical hits ranges based on armor type OSR critical hit based on armor, this time I want to take a different approach.
The approach is to take a little further the basic idea that Hit Points are not Body Points (argument touched with the article on Death and Dismemberement article Morte & Mutilazione un nuovo significato dei punti ferita) as pointed out in so many description of hit points, read for example the explanation found in the Injury and Death in 3.5 SRD

What Hit Points Represent
Hit points mean two things in the game world: the ability to take physical punishment and keep going, and the ability to turn a serious blow into a less serious one. 
Effects of Hit Point Damage
Damage doesn’t slow you down until your current hit points reach 0 or lower. At 0 hit points, you’re disabled.
At from -1 to -9 hit points, you’re dying.
At -10 or lower, you’re dead.
Which is perfectly compatible with what Gary Gygax wrote in the Ad&d 1st edition Dungeon Master's Guide (and using the Hovering on Death's Door optional rule):

So I thought to mix the Armor Class bonus of Armor with Damage Reduction (something already suggested in the d20 3.5 srd Armor as Damage Reduction and also in the Pathfinder SRD Armor as Damage Reduction), my original addition to this is to use such reduction ONLY when the character would go to less than 0 hp.

Obviously the minimum for this system to work is that at 0 HP the character is out of combat and at -1 or worse the character is dying or dead, this means that until that last blow the character was not really hit but somehow managed to deflect or dodge the blunt of the blow, while the killing blow is somewhat reduced by the armor worn.

Why all of this?

Well there are at least two reasons:

  1. I wanted to give more importance to armor without changing the way combat and damage normally works
  2. I wanted to give reasons to wear armor even if the AC is naturally better (since I am thinking of adding AC bonus based on class and level)
Did I make it? Hope so!

Any comment will be appreciated.

NOTE: I'am flattened. I posted this around 13.15 local time (on August the 11th 2017), at 15.57 local time I am at 3246 visualizations... and counting... this is going to be my best blog post ever. And indeed at 16.25 local time (3h and 10 minutes it became the most viewed post of this blog ever! Surpassing post that are here since a long time ago).

NOTE2: 4343 views in 4h... this is awesome!

24 hours update: 8960 hits <3

10'000+: in less than one week (today is 16/08/2017 and we are beyond 10'000) :-)

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

mercoledì 19 luglio 2017

Dark Albion Fantastic Heroes & Witchery Appendix 3

The Dark Albion setting book is an excellent exercise in how to use the old rules in a historical setting, we have said something on the whole book in the Dark Albion Cult of Chaos and the Rose War reviews and we will come back to the two books in some future, and separate, post. Since a brief description as in the previous review is just not enough to transmit the exceptional value of the two books.

In this article we will concentrate on a small part of the book, Appendix 3 which weigh 21 pages on 275 pages of contents. 

And this 21 page are very interesting, classes that perfectly fit into Dark Albion and rules tuning for using the Fantastic Heroes & Witchery retro-rpg in the Dark Albion setting.

So let's get back to Appendix 3 of Dark Albion, it's divided in 7 subsection:
  • Character Races
  • Character Classes
  • More character Classes
  • Albion as a Low-Magic Campaign Setting
  • A Simple Cosmology
  • New Spells
  • Summoning Magic

Character Races

Since in the Dark Albion setting we have only human, this is quite a short paragraph, but longer than what you could expect. We are introduced to three "non human" that look very human: the Changeling, the Cursed One and the Fey Touched. The three of them are reskinned races from the FH&W rule book.

Character Classes

In this chapter we have new classes for the Fantastic Heroes & Witchery (see next paragraph) that are lovingly tailored to the Dark Albion setting, they are:
  • The Cleric (of the Unconquered Sun): this are a fighting friar with skill in armor and combat plus the prayers as presented in the FH&W book (you can call upon specific powers rolling a dice, each time you call upon a specific power the difficulty to beat rise by one starting by 0; also turn undead is a prayer; the dice goes from 1d6 at 1st level to 3d12 at 13th)
  • The Cymric Bard: an almost classical bard, spontaneous casting (as sorcerer of 3.x edition) of nature and illusion spells, countersong, inspire allies and legend lore.
  • The Demonurgist: a bad news character class, more apt for NPC or for an evil bent campaign. Quite interesting
  • The Hedge Witch: A nice presentation of the witch, a mix between druid and magic user. Not an evil class, but surely a class that will have some problems in the Dark Albion setting.
  • The Magister: a twist on magic user coming from Cambridge or Oxford, must choose between white or gray magic at the start but than can try to learn black magic with great risk and slowly loosing his previous spells. Furthermore the Magister is a master of rituals and from 9th level can memorize spell in higher level slot to apply meta-magic effect to them.
  • The Noble Knight: master swordsman in shiny armor. In a setting where being part of the aristocracy is an huge advantage the Noble Knight know how to make their status part of the equation.
  • The Warrior: master of the fight, are further detailed in 3 "sub-classes" with specific class skill and special abilities: Bandit, Gallowglach and Knight-Errant.
  • The Yeoman: master of the Bow, they are higher up than peasant and dedicate themselves to mastering the bow gaining the ability (at 11th level) of doing impossible shots.

More Classes

Here we have almost a full page discussing which classes from the FH&W book can be used and how much they would feel out of place in the Dark Albion setting, this is necessary because the FH&W rule set has lots and lots of classes, if you consider just the main rulebook you have: 

14 Traditional Fantasy - Core Classes (fighter, thief and so on; p. 27-39)
10 Traditional Fantasy - Racial Classes (your elf eldritch archer, halfling scout etc.; p.40-49)
7 Weird Tales - Alternate Classes (psychic, rifleman or wild brute; p. 51-58)
6 NPC Classes (Fighting-man, clergyman etc.; p.129-131)
4 religious variant classes of previous core classes (p.147-149)
30 religious variant classes based on type of deity (p. 149-153)
3 Champions classes (agents of law/chaos and neutrality - the classic clerics and druid; p. 157-159)
6 Additional Classes (in appendix 12; p.394-402)

to all this classes you can add the ones you find in the free downloads section of the Heroes and Witchery site where you can find also a compiled list of all classes (except the ones in Dark Albion).

So it's easily understandable why it's needed a page just to discuss which class can be adapted to the setting and which would prove more alien to it.

Albion as Low-magic

Two short paragraph for two options, the first option introduce spell failure (that goes from 0% of failure for spell cast at night to 10% of failure (per level of the spell) for Necromancy (and others) spell cast inside a temple of the Unconquered Sun; the second option suggest using the optional "Danger of preparing spells" mechanic from the FH&W book.

Albion's Cosmology

Almost a full page on the planar aspects of Dark Albion, a fun read that present 4 plane (underworld, celestial realm, ethereal and astral).

New Spells

Two new spells related to the underworld

Summoning Magic

Here are presented two incantation (rituals as presented in the FH&W book) related to demons: Call Infernal Myrmydon and Infuse Demonic Talisman.

Conclusions: a very fun and useful appendix for a great (really great) setting book. A nice addition to the plethora of classes and option that are the signature of the FH&W system.

lunedì 3 luglio 2017

Ricarica Magica Continua

Tutta la magia si ricarica in modo continuo quando l'incantatore* è sveglio. 

La ricarica avviene alla velocità di 1 livello di carica ogni 20 minuti per un massimo di 30 livelli di carica giornalieri.

Si ricaricano dapprima le cariche di basso livello e poi quelle di livello più elevato.

La ricarica s'interrompe nel momento in cui si lancia un incantesimo, se la ricarica s'interrompe si recuperano tutti i livelli accumulati in quel momento e si perde il resto.

Esempio un incantatore di 5' livello che ha la possibilità di accumulare 3 cariche di primo, 2 di secondo e 1 di terzo che ha consumato tutte le cariche in un incontro dopo 40 minuti in cui non usa incantesimi ha recuperato 3 cariche di primo e sta recuperando quella di 2' se decide di lanciare un incantesimo di primo la ricarica s'interrompe e dovrà ricominciare di nuovo.

Naturalmente il sistema fa riferimento ad un sistema magico come quello di D&D 5a edizione, di Adventurer Conqueror King System, o dello stregone (e simili) delle versioni 3.X di D&D (Pathfinder compreso), e dunque la regola si può applicare a tutti questi sistemi.

La logica è doppia:
1) Da un lato c'è la volontà di recuperare al sistema magico in questione alcune logiche delle prime edizioni (dove nella prima ci volevano 15' per livello d'incantesimo - 10' nella 2' - per memorizzare gli incantesimi, ponendo un limite al numero massimo di incantesimi recuperabili durante una giornata di studio),
2) c'è poi la volontà di riequilibrare le capacità degli incantatori di alto livello con quelle degli incantatori di basso livello (infatti con questa regola anche se un incantatore di primo livello può avere una sola carica prota, questa si ricaricherà ogni 20 minuti lasciando al mago sempre uno slot pronto anche se non in modo continuo, d'altra parte un mago di alto livello per recuperare tutti gli incantesimi dovrà utilizzare più di un giorno).

Incidentalmente c'è anche un'altro effetto, i maghi di alto livello tenderanno ad essere più parsimoniosi nell'uso degli incantesimi per non rischiare di restare senza incantesimi di alto livello quando davvero servono.

MEDITAZIONE: Se l'incantatore si pone in meditazione (dunque non fa null'altro che concentrarsi sulla magia) la velocità di ricarica raddoppia (1 livello di carica ogni 10') ma l'incantatore non è più presente a quello che gli accade attorno e quindi si può meditare solo se in situazione di sicurezza e quando non c'è necessità di muoversi. Per entrare in meditazione ci vuole 1 turno di preparazione, se si viene interrotti per 1 round l'incantatore sarà confuso.
Se l'incantatore medita ininterrottamente per 10 ore, allora può ricaricare fino a 45 livelli di carica, superando il limite di 30 livelli.
Limite: si può entrare in meditazione al massimo 1 volta al giorno, 2 dal 11' livello.

Questa regola è alla base del sistema magico di Castelli & Chimere (dove tutti gli incantatori possono avere PRONTI un numero d'incantesimi indicato dal livello e dalla classe, e possono accumulare un numero di cariche indicate dal livello e dalla classe) ed è già stata presentata su questo blog in inglese qui: Continually Spell Recharging.

*Per "incantatore" si intende qualsiasi personaggio in grado di utilizzare la magia (e in alcune edizioni o regolamenti qualsiasi personaggio in grado di utilizzare la magia "stregonesca").

giovedì 29 giugno 2017

Dark Albion Cult of Chaos and the Rose War reviews

I have published a quick review of Dark Albion: Cult of Chaos on (here: Dark Albion: Cult of Chaos

★★★★★   da Fabio Milito Pagliara il 28 giugno 2017 

A masterful tool for sandbox gaming

I have bough this game even already having a complementary review copy.

The book is thought first and foremost for the Dark Albion setting, a full setting for any OSR game or original game. But it can be used for every campaign, it shines specially in sandbox campaign where you want to create chaotic cults on the fly. 

The resulting cults will feel strange and hateful and "cultish". Your player will have their hands full fighting cults popping out everywhere in the campaign. 

Maybe there is some deeper source or force corrupting the land.

A really good gaming book.

What I can add? The book is really really good. You will really get strange and "uncomfortable" cults and cultist. More than this you will get endless hook for instant mini-campaign, never more dull and boring villages. Your players will constantly be on guard asking themselves if the jolly innkeeper is just a jolly innkeeper of some deranged cultist of the demon tainted Bacchus cult.

I had just reread "The name of the rose" when I got the complementary copy and that stopped me... this review is indeed late, but the point is that this book feel medieval, I had the same feeling that I got from reading the heresies in "The name of the rose".

So a very interesting and useful rpg book by the Rpgpundit and Domenic Crouzet (of Fantastic Heroes & Witchery fame).

A must buy for OSR sandbox gaming.

Furthermore the price is a steal (14,04€ on prime), and while the book can be used with or without Dark Albion the rose war this is another book that is a good buy at 20,53€ on prime.

Also of this book I did a review on (here: Dark Albion the Rose War: Grim Fantasy England In The 15th Century)

★★★★★   da Fabio Milito Pagliara il 4 novembre 2015 

A medieval setting for Old School Roleplaying game

This gaming book present the fantasy setting of Dark Albion for old school Roleplaying games.

This alternate world is presented in rich detail with all the necessary info to adapt normal character classes to the setting.... we have an Unconquered Sun religion that thake the place of christianity, cleric can be only lawful, and social class is really important for characters.

The book focus on the island kingdom of England but we have a presentation of the ex Arcadian empire (the romans of this world), this means europe from Spain to Russia and the north coast of africa.

There is history and detailed geographical information. There are specification on races (only human admitted with man from cormyr that have elf ability and scots that have dwarves abilities), and a lot of other things to discover in this nice book.

The book is enriched by a very interesting appendix is the one from Dominique Crouzet that detail rules for using Fantastic Heroes & Witchery with Dark Albion (variant classes, variant rules and so on).

The book is worth every cent, you will have a lot of useful material for a grim medieval fantasy and a lot of insight on how to use the old game for playing such kind of campaign.

PS: here (  another article on Dark Albion in which I go at an In-Depth review of Appendix 3 of the book, the appendix is about using Fantastic Heroes & Witchery, the retro-game of one of the authors, as the mani rule system for adventuring in Dark Albion

So what are you waiting for? Go and buy this two fine books!

mercoledì 28 giugno 2017

Enchanted Torch a less flashy Light spell

Enchanted Torch

Level: Mage 1st
Range: touch
Duration: 3h
Area of effect: one torch
Components: V, S, M (an unused torch)
Casting time: 1 round
Saving Throw: None

Effect: When the mage cast this spell the torch will light up and it will burn for 3h (2h more than a normal torch) and will resist gust of wind or being dropped (it will be doused, ending the spell only if totally submerged in water). Furthermore the torch will be brighter giving off a 60' radius of light.

Greater Enchanted Torch

Level: Mage 3rd
Range: touch
Duration: 24h
Area of effect: one torch
Components: V, S, M (an unused torch)
Casting time: 1 round
Saving Throw: None

Effect: As enchanted torch except for duration.
Note: this substitutes Continual Light, the idea is no continuous spells without some great price.

As pointed out in the first article of the "inconspicuous magic" series, Enchanted Dagger a less flashy magic missile, spells that use existing materials are more in tune with magic as presented in classic fantasy stories.

giovedì 22 giugno 2017

Enchanted Dagger a less flashy Magic Missile

Enchanted Dagger

Level: Mage 1st
Duration: isntantaneous
Area of effect: one dagger +1 each 2 level
Components: V, S, F (a special dagger)
Casting time: 1 segment
Saving Throw: None

The mage take her dagger(s) and throw it(them) at one, or more, enemy with perfect aim. Each dagger will hit for 1d4+1 points of damage. The dagger will lose any other bonus or property (cannot be poisoned or have other spell or magical effect active) while used as Focus of this spell. A dagger to be used as focus of this spell must be normally usable by the mage.

ACKS numbers
1d4+1 (25 point), max 1d damage (x0.1), 1 creature +1 each 2 levels (x3), range 150' (x1), duration instantaneous (x1), No saving throw (x1), need focus (x0.8) = 6

Arcane x1 = 6 point (1st level spell)
Eldritch x1.5 = 9 point (1st level spell)

The idea is to have spell that need a focus of some sort (daggers for magic missile, torchs for fireball and so on). It fit better in heroic fantasy to have less flashy magic (see the upcoming Heroic Fantasy book by the Autarch: and also here

What is a Focus?
A focus is a material component that is not expended in the casting of the spell. In this case the Focus is just a dagger that must then be retrieved to be used again (just as if the mage had thrown it).

mercoledì 24 maggio 2017

A Bundle of Dungeons & Dragons PDFs

The good old Tenkar of the Tenkar's Tavern signals us a double bundle over the RPGNOW site

an OSR Extravaganza:

where you can find the pdfs of D&D Rules Cyclopedia and the Gazetteer of the Know World from gaz1 to gaz14 for 15$

and you can find also the pdfs of 8 core books of AD&D 1st edition for 15$ (Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master Guide, Monster Manual I, Monster Manual II, Fiend Folio, Oriental Adventure, Wilderness Survival Guide and Dungeoneers Survival Guide) yes I know the Deitas & Demigods is missing as the world book... but still it's a steal:

before buying go to the Tenkar's Tavern so you will help the Tavern!