Saturday, May 29, 2010

Comperative Stat System Example

Concept: An RPG system that works off of comparative values.


Character A has 25 Attack 50 Defense.

Character B has 20 Attack and 55 Defense.

You compare the stats of the attacker to the defender.

-Attacker's attack stat is only a quarter as strong as the defenders defense stat. To hit them they need to roll 80% or higher on a D100 in order to hit them.

-Attacker's attack stat is only a half as strong as the defenders defense stat. To hit them they need to roll 60% or higher on a D100.

-Attacker's attack stat is higher than half as strong but less than a quarter stronger than as the defenders defense stat. To hit them they need to roll 40% or higher on a D100.

-Attacker's attack stat is a quarter stronger than as the defenders defense stat or greater. To hit them they need to roll 20% or higher on a D100.

Adventurers Vs the KKK!

On the Metafiller blog I happened across an interesting article that equates adventurers to a white-man's raciest power fantasy.
It was written on an article from (

What do you think? Is this a product of the white man's agenda or is it instead just an illusion with a low DC to disbelieve?

Honestly, I can see the parallels. Dark skinned creatures vs the "good aligned" players (for the most part). However, I don't think it I write an encounter to be "O man lets see what whitey can get away with!", but instead I try to play on the fears that all humans have. The best example of this is the chimera. It's a fire-breathing monstrous creature with the of a lion, a snake for a tail, and the head of a goat erupting form it's spine. Humans fear this because lions are hunters and killers in our mind, the bite of snakes can lead to death, creatures of great size have hunted us in the past, and fire consumes all. We we are simply scared of what we fear. In general- we fear the unknown and the unusual. A red-skinned monstrosity with massive muscles, great fangs, wild eyes, and a bad temper who makes guttural roars at you is hardly a Jigaboo-esque racial stand in but is rather a combination of things we fear.

Wanna weight in? Comment!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

College + Game Design = A skill system that mimics degree progression....

Game concept with skills that mimic college degree progression. Duel major, bachelors, associates, masters in education, masters in a subject. Academic regalia for gear/style.

In order for a character to gain levels in a class (“major”) they must complete certain missions in the academy. Completing missions offers progression. When you have completed all the missions you may use that class out of the academy.
Academy missions are fun and teach/reinforce basic concepts of game-play elements the character needs to play in that style. (Teach tanks to kite for example and rogues to interrupt reliably if we were using WoW raiding for example) This should be tailored to include expectant emergent gameplay as well if at all possible.
There are a finite number of academy missions. Many classes take the same missions. Missions work much the same way that classes at a university work. Certain missions are only offered at certain times of day (for example- a mission that teaches “stealth” would only be at night!)

Example Academy Missions
-Basic Movement: This teaches you the basics of movement. You listen to a tutorial before you have to demonstrate the ability to do it.
-Basic Jumping & Falling: This teaches you how to jump and about fall damage. The players must jump up a series of ledges.
-Basic Combat: This teaches you the basics of combat. It includes how to select a target, how to attack, how to resurrect, how to attack. Players must dish out the pain against a room full of dummies.
-Advanced Combat I: You learn how to use skills in combat and are pitted against a series of different enemies to broaden your pallet. Enemies include, a single melee enemy, a single ranged enemy, a swarm of weak melee enemies, a swarm of weak ranged enemies, and an elite enemy.
-Basic Stealth Training: You must listen to the tutorial for “stealth mode”. Stealth mode allows you to remain undetectable by NPCs (and players) while in areas with a relatively lower light value than the sounding area.
-Stealth Training II: You must successfully navigate a long hallway with guards in a limited timeframe, grab an object at the end of the hallway and bring it back. This also shows that you can’t move quickly while carrying a heavy object.
-Double Jump Training: You learn how to air jump using the “Double Jump” class feature. A series of moving ledges with enemies try to preclude you from reaching your objective against the time limit!
-Ranged Combat I: After a brief tutorial you are challenged to shoot several rising balloons at the mercy of the wind!
-Ranged Combat II: You are taught about ranged skills and anti-air unit techniques.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pure Skill Check D20 System

Just a little idea bumping around my head and preventing me from sleeping.


Pure Skill Check d20 System

All stats are:

Skill Ranks + Ability Modifier + Equipment Bonus + Feat Bonuses

“Combat Experience” uses the same skill ranks for 2 different skill checks.

Offensive Combat

Combat Experience+ Strength + Weapon (+5 to check)

Defensive Combat

Combat Experience + Dexterity + Armor (+1-+3 to check) + Shield (+1-+3 to check)

To attack someone you roll 1d20 + “Offensive Combat” vs your target's “Defensive Combat” + 10. If you get higher you hit. The amount you succeeded by is the damage you deal them.

Magic is a skill check to cast the spell vs. the target's pure Defensive Combat (not +10) or the target's Magic (with the +10) if they have the feat “Counter Spell”.

Max Ranks

-You can only put ranks into a skill equal to or less than your character level.

-Other bonuses (ability modifiers, equipment bonuses, feat bonuses, misc bonuses) can give you a larger bonus than your level.

Hissy Fit Kitty and Drow Mage Mashers

So I was making a character for my lovely girlfriend Sam for a D&D 3.5 1 shot my friend is running in a few weeks at the school and I found that she couldn't decide what she wanted to play. She's still new to this entire genre (I'm kinda sucking her in) and she doesn't really understand classes and combat roles very well (or at least she doesn't yet have enough experience to appreciate the differences between them) so I opted to try to fit a character to what she likes. We all know she's going to grow up to be a crazy cat lady and take in about 20 strays a week so I decided to request permission from the GM to make a awakened cat for her to play. When I told her this idea she was filled with excitement about the prospect (Note: I feel that's how a character SHOULD be). She wanted to play a cat and more specifically a cat like her cat Jade.

Now Jade has something of a split personality. Sometimes the heavy set black cat is purring and cuddely and a moment later without provocation (or with Sam's provocation...) Jade becomes "Bagjeera" (named for the panther in the Jungle Book). Something inside me suddenly saw her character class... Barbarian. Thus this character took shape. An awakened cat (using the stats found at: with 12 levels of Barbarian. (The GM gave it a -2 level adjustment.)

To make this a viable character for a 10th level game I had to do some tweeking. I got permission from my GM to take "Improved Natural Attack" on her claws as 4 of the feats so it would do a decent dice size for damage. (1d8) I took the multi-attack feat to reduce some of the penalties. The result wasn't TERRIBLE but it should be able to stand up to a 10th level encounter. (Equipment helped a lot. We have the standard 49,000 starting gold to for starting out at 10th level) The biggest problem was overcoming the -8 penalty to strength it had. I dropped 2/3 advancement points into it's strength score and I would have dropped the last into it but it was on an even number and Dexterity was at 19. (20 dex is nice...) I even blew money on a +4 to her strength and managed to drag it up to a -1. I hope she enjoys it!

Player: Samantha Ramsey

Character Name:

Race: Awakened Cat

Class: Barbarian 12

Creature Type: Magical Beast (Augmented Animal)

Size: Tiny

Alignment: Chaotic Neutral

Ability Scores:

11 Cha (+0)

09 Str (+0) [+4 from Collar]

20 Dex (+5) [+4 from Gloves]

10 Con (+0)

08 Int (-1)

12 Wis (+1)

HP: _____/106

(+24 if in rage!)

AC: 20

(10, +5 from dex, +2 from size, +4 from Bracers)

BAB: +12/+7/+2


1d8-1 (+2 if in rage.) You can attack with your claw. (+14 to hit)

1d8-1 (+0 if in rage.) You can then attack with your second claw. (+12 to hit)

1d3-1 (+0 while in rage.) Finally, you can bite them! (+12 to hit.)


Fort: +7 (+10 if in rage)

Ref: +3

Will: +3 (+6 if in rage)

Speed: 40 feet! (You can move 8 squares per turn!)


-Dark Vision: You can see perfectly well in the dark for 60 Feet.

-Low Light Vision: You can see perfectly fine in low light as far as you can see.

-Scent: You can detect invisible enemies.

-Illiteracy: You can't read.

-Rage: 4 times per day you gain +6 strength, +6 constitution, +2 to Will Saves, but you take -2 to AC.

You gain 24 extra HP temporarily. (Basically when you end you loose that 24 HP. You can die this way if you are not careful!) This lasts for 5 rounds.

[For those more skilled I added a all the stuff in for her.]

When you're all done raging you get really tired and are “Fatigued”. A “Fatigued” character gets -2 strength and -2 dexterity until the fight ends. You can only rage once per fight.

Uncanny Dodge/Improved Uncanny Dodge: If anyone ever says “well that means you loose your dexterity bonus” just say “No! I have Improved uncanny dodge!”. Also- generally sneak attacks don't work on you because your so bad ass.

Trap Sense: When looking for traps you get an extra +4 to your roll!

Damage Reduction: Subtract 2 from all damage you take unless the GM says otherwise!


+12 Ranks in Jump* (+8 Racial) (+5 from Dex)= +25

+12 Ranks in Climb* (+4 Racial) (+5 from Dex)= +21

+0 Ranks in Balance (+8 Racial) (+5 from Dex)= +13

+0 Ranks in Hide (+4 Racial/+8 in tall grass and undergrowth) (+5 from Dex)= +9/+13

+12 Ranks in Intimidate (+0 Racial) (+0 from Cha)= +12

+10 Ranks in Survival (+0 Racial) (+1 from Wis)= +11

+10 Ranks in Listen (+0 Racial) (+1 from Wis)= +11

+0 Ranks in Move Silently (+4 Racial) (+5 from Dex)= +9

*You may use you Dexterity modifier instead of strength on these checks.


Bracers of Armor [+4 Armor] (16,000) (Appears as bangle on her front paws)

Belt of Ogre's Strength [+4 Strength] (16,000) (Appears as a thick leather collar)

Gloves of Dexterity [+4 Dexterity] (16,000) (Appears as kitten mittens on her front paws)

1,000 gold left

Scott's Notes:

Feats (5):

-Improved Natural Attack [General] (1d2->1d3)

-Improved Natural Attack [General] (1d3->1d4)

-Improved Natural Attack [General] (1d4->1d6)

-Improved Natural Attack [General] (1d6-1d8)


-Weapon Finesse (From Awakened Cat) It's calculated in but you are using your dexterity to hit the target with your melee attacks rather than your strength like you normally would!

Awakened cats have a +4 racial bonus on Climb, Hide, and Move Silently checks and a +8 racial bonus on Jump checks. In areas of tall grass or heavy undergrowth, the Hide bonus rises to +8. Awakened cats have a +8 racial bonus on Balance checks. They use their Dexterity modifier instead of their Strength modifier for Climb and Jump checks.

[2 Ability score increases went into Strength, 1 to Dexterity]

[This character had 56 skill points]

[This character had 49,000 gold to spend]

*Note: I tried to make this sheet "newbie friendly" by not giving her the mechanics so much as the effect. Sorry if I didn't show all the work.

On a related note, I made my Drow for the game next week. I managed to pull together a decent anti-mage out of a Drow Hexblade. (+38 Spell resistance, +23 to Will Saves vs enchantments, ect ect ect) I'll post that up after the game but it's a real "Mage Masher" :D

Roll for a Crit + Other News
My friend and peer Caleb Aylsworth just started a design blog in a similar fashion to my own! He's got a lot of experience in pen and paper games and it's always a pleasure to work with him! His first two blog entries are on the validity of a sunder build for Pathfinder (placing a scaling element against a non-scaling element) and a variant of the Bard class! Check it out!

In other news I am currently working on putting the final touches on the campaign setting I've been play-testing for the last month or so just in time for the campaign playtest! Let's see how my single-class, feat driven, low-magic mechanics hold up against other designers over the long haul. I still need to re-tweak the design mechanics for the Mass Combat system it employs. (Mechanics are good actually- statistics I used where bad.)

Happy gaming!
Scott Gladstein