21 February 2014

Simple Fatigue Rule

I've been struggling with fatigue rules that aren't just some lousy modifier to keep track of, and this is what I've come up with. I'm trying it currently in my game, and it seems to be working - it's simple to understand, and fairly severe in its implications.

When exhausted, lose all levels, and move as if fully encumbered. If already fully encumbered, you movement is at a shuffle (essentially 0 for overland travel).

Thus class skills are no longer accessible - Burglars can't free-run or climb, Magicians can't cast spells, Fighters get no attack/defense bonuses.

You're just a slow, normal human when exhausted.

19 February 2014


Here is my take on summoning spirits, demons, fey, etc., and a few other bonus spells.
  • Ex Aethere, Servus (Out of the Ether, a Servant) (Mathias Penshawe)
    • PL: 20 + X
    • Duration: Until task is performed
    • Mechanism: 
    • Summary: Summons an arbitrary fey or daemon to perform one task. Requires an envoy, a path, a gift, and a timer. 
    • The envoy seeks out the summoned being, the path brings them to the caster, the gift binds them to serve, and the timer forces them to appear at a specific time.
    • Onerous service, complicated tasks, or tasks "beneath" fey can offend. They will comply, but may seek retribution.
    • X can be added to the PL to summon a more powerful fey:
      • 0: minor sprite, brownie, etc. - can do minor physical tasks (fetch this, mend that)
        • Gift: food
      • +5: lower fairie: some minor magic, can enchant people to misdirect them
        • Jewelry, etc. worth ~1£
      • +10: lower demon: will directly harm foes as a 5HD monster
        • animal sacrifice, goat or pig
      • +15: fairie: magic: can create masterful illusions
        • Jewelry, etc. worth ~10£
        • Must know specific name of fairie to be summoned, requires research
      • +20: daemon: very dangerous to summon, will directly harm foes as a 10HD monster
        • multiple animal sacrifices or human sacrifice
        • Must know specific name of demon
      • +25: fairie noble: exceedingly dangerous to summon - will almost certainly resent being forced to serve, but can perform any magic (this is, for instance, the only way to resurrect the dead)
        • Unique magic item, human slave
        • Must know specific name

17 February 2014

More Spells

A few more spells.
  • A Spell for Heating Hearths (Miles Tilghman)
    • PL: 12
    • Duration: Instantaneous
    • Mechanism: Sight
    • Summary: Cause an allied or neutral mass of flammable material (up to a few pounds) to ignite.
  • I Need Not Hear You (Dorothy Ackworth)
    • PL: 10 + X
    • Duration: 10 minutes + X minutes
    • Mechanism: Affinity
    • Summary: Subject cannot speak or make a sound.
    • A fey or other magically attuned individual will be able to see a rose flower covering the mouth of the subject.
  • My Secrets Are Mine Own (Dorothy Ackworth)
    • PL: 15
    • Duration: Permanent until dispelled
    • Mechanism: Affinity
    • Summary: Subject cannot discuss a certain fact / event / person. Any attempt to do so leads to them  burbling nonsense.
    • A fey or other magically attuned individual will be able to see a rose flower covering the mouth of the subject.

15 February 2014

An Example of Bad Pricing in D&D

LS over at Papers and Pencils has written an interesting piece about a trouble many people seem to have - what should their players do with all their money?

I don't tend to have that problem, as I use historically researched prices and plausible starting money, which ends up resulting in what a lot of people would probably think of as a pretty meagre starting-out package.

To illustrate why I think the traditional D&D prices and starting money are broken beyond belief, here's an example.

Consider that in England about 1450, a suit of mass-produced Milanese plate armour cost about 8 pounds sterling - about 2000 silver pennies.

A skilled labourer would make about 4 silver pennies a day.

Now consider that in D&D starting gold is 3d6x10gp, and a suit of plate mail costs 60gp.

That means that an average starting character in D&D has saved up the equivalent of 750 days pay for an average day labour BEFORE THE GAME STARTS, based on this example.

Where I am, the minimum wage (what a day labourer would make) is about $11/hr, skilled labour maybe $15. 750 day's wages at that rate is about $90,000 - three years salary. Consider that for a moment - if you use Basic Edition prices, you're starting your players each with enough money to pay cash for Porsche 911, or live comfortably for about three years without working.

Think about what you would do with $90,000 in cash. What material wants would you have unsatisfied if that was dropped in your lap today?

If you're having trouble finding things for the players to buy in town, consider that things are too cheap and starting gold too high.