Sunday, November 15, 2020

DCC Cleric Without Spells

  I know I'm late to the party by about 9 years to talk about Cleric's without spells, but I'm about to start running a new DCC game in a Sword and Sorcery type setting, and I really have never liked the spellcasting cleric.

  Most people suggest removing the cleric altogether, but I do think there should be a class for champions/avatars of gods beyond the patron/agent system. Preferably one that has little to no spellcasting ability. 

  My literary basis for this type of character would be Tempus from the Thieves' World books. Game design wise I looked at numerous systems including RPG pundit's Lion & Dragon, Dominique Crouzet's Fantastic Heroes & Witchery, Green Ronin's Thieves' World and Black Company sourcebooks, AEG's Good Sourcebook, and Some Sanctum Secorum stuff.

  The end result is a cleric that loses spellcasting, and divine aid. This means it just keeps Turn Unholy and Lay on Hands.

  In trade for all it lost it gains Zealous Wrath and Boons.

Zealous Wrath: The cleric can enter into a state of holy mania, trading points of STA for Zeal dice each round, and gaining temporary immunity to any effect requiring a Will save. The cleric also counts as an outsider while affected by this mania. While in this state it must trade at least 1 point, but the max it can trade is equal to his PER bonus(again, min 1). These Zeal dice are based on level(same size as a Warrior's Deed die), and the cleric may spend them on the following each round:

- The cleric applies the Zeal die to attack, damage, and mighty deed rolls just as if he was a warrior. Each die applying to a different attack.

- The cleric applies the Zeal die as a bonus to a spell check for Turn Unholy, Lay on Hands, and Boons that require Spell Checks.

- The cleric applies the Zeal die to himself as healing. Any extra healing is wasted.

- The cleric uses the Zeal die as damage reduction.

The cleric can remain in this state for as long as he's willing to trade STA points, even into negative numbers. When he comes out however, if he's at 0 or lower stamina, he falls unconscious until his stamina heals enough to return him to 1 STA(1 pt/hour). Until his stamina completely recovers(1 pt/turn of rest) the cleric suffers a 1 die step penalty to all rolls, and may not enter the holy mania again unless he burns a permanent point of stamina.

Boons: I am building the deities for my campaign off of d20 cleric domains and the AEG Sourcebook 'Good'. These domains grant the followers and clerics certain, minor abilities as well as providing a framework for what counts as sins/transgressions and what kind of divine aid a cleric can reasonably expect to receive for various levels of disapproval. I'll start posting examples as I get write-ups done for the individual gods.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

7 DM Questions

Saw this on an FB post and thought I'd answer them here.

1) How do you handle a TPK?

  Players either roll up new characters or take up one of their stable of backup characters/henchmen. Prior to 3rd level, you likely haven't lost much, and after 3rd level, you likely have a few backups floating around. If a full, everyone is dead for everyone, and it's past level 3, then it may be time to have a talk with the group about what happened and why.

2) How do you get players to do their homework?

  In my 30-something years of experience as a DM, I've learned that players do not do homework. Especially American players. And that goes triple for ones under 40. This is understandable however as 'let me tell you about my campaign setting' is the DM equivalent of 'let me tell you about my 12th level Paladin' and I don't think a lot of DMs have realized this(I know I've been guilty of this). Sometimes it's unavoidable however, at which point my advice is, keep it brief. No more than a 3 question thing. Offer benefits for completion.

3) What are some good monster combos? 

  The MM and Role Playing common sense handle this pretty well. Beyond that, I don't worry about it. Creating 'killer combos' always rubs me the wrong way as a DM. I can literally Herd-of-Tarrasque the PCs if I want to. I'd rather create interesting locales. Players who actually explore will be rewarded with stories for them to uncover that can lead to riches and power. They just have to put their detective hats on.

4-6) How do you DM line of sight vs. line of effect? How do you handle knowledge roles and player metagame knowledge? When do you allow skill substitution during skill checks?

  The rulebooks are usually pretty clear, and when they are not, common sense usually prevails. In the incredibly rare instance in which this doesn't happen, I roll a die or have players roll Luck.

7) How do you handle parties that are a combination of newbies and more experienced players?

  Like any other game. I expect the old hands to show the n00blets the ropes. It's in their own best interest that the rookies don't do stupid things. Plus, I have never met a veteran player who didn't like to flex his/her knowledge and skills.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Damage Mitigation for Swashbucklers

One thing that I've always felt that D&D does poorly is lightly armored warrior types. Additionally, a major issue for tired or neophyte DMs and  players is that they often allow combat to become devoid of any real drama. Strictly speaking, from an entirely gamist perspective, there's not much reason to move about, sunder, or do anything but cause direct damage once a melee type gets in range of another melee type.
 To that end, I offer a potential rule addition that I think should be useful for both new and old school games. It is somewhat similar to the Shields shall be splintered rule in that it has the potential to make fights last longer(which may be a good or bad thing), but I believe that it may prove beneficial for a suitably cinematic playstyle.

Rolling With The Blow
 I suggest for balance that this be made into either a feat, class/kit ability, or proficiency unless you want to encourage this to be used by everyone. A character with this ability who is not encumbered, and is in light or lighter armor may make a choice when his character is struck in melee combat. He either takes the damage or rolls with the blow. In the simplest version of rolling with the blow, the character takes no damage but "suffers" some other sort of ill effect at the DM's discretion, such as being forced to move out of his current location or losing a held/worn item. This rule can be expanded on with tables and even saving throws and  hit locations that determine the type and severity of the effect.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Bind Wounds

Getting ready to play Beyond the Wall as an online game and I'm thinking of playtesting a new rule idea.

  After combat, if the character spends 1 turn(10 rounds) binding his wounds(which requires materials to do that) he recovers all HP lost during the combat. There are two downsides to this however:
  • He takes a -1 penalty to all rolls. This is cumulative.
  • Heavy exertion requires the character to make a save or suffer 1 damage. This damage may not be bound.
  These penalties disappear after a full night's rest, though the damage done by reopened wounds must be healed through natural healing, the healing skill, or magic.
  Someone using the healing skill might provide a bonus on the damage save.