Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Quick and Dirty Savage Worlds Psychic Rules

I am often disappointed by the default Savage Worlds magic system, as it gives you three powers straight from the start, combined with a power point system I find fairly unimaginative. So, here's what I've used in a previous campaign.

In my campaign, I used the Guts skill for all psychic rolls. The reason for this was twofold: first, the Guts skill was kinda useless otherwise (it's not even featured in the Deluxe version of Savage Worlds anymore) and second, psychic powers are basically about controlling your own mind to affect the outside world. You could easily use another skill, maybe make it based on Smarts instead of Spirit or you can do like I did and "hide" the psychic rule system behind Guts until you reveal the psychic potential in your characters.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Unlikely Martial Arts: Toad Style

So yeah, haven't updated in a while. Sorry about that. So let's kick this blog back in gear with three system-agnostic vaguely defined martial arts styles!

Martial artists who are trained in the toad style often do everything in their power to seem nonthreatening and keep their status as a formidable fighter a secret. The toad style relies on a single determined surprise attack to start and finish a battle, like a frog suddenly snatching a wandering fly.

In game mechanic terms, toads can direct their vital energies to make their very touch poisonous. This can take many rounds of concentration, depending on the desired potency of the venom. After the toad stops concentrating, the poison starts to dissipate and weaken at the same rate that it's potency grows while concentrating. A toad cannot start creating poison while still retaining any amount of the previous dosage in his system and must wait until fully purged to begin the process again.

Next time: Slug!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Psychic Power List Part VI

This time we have on the power list puppeteer, remote viewing and sleep. Puppeteer is your basic mind control discipline, where you can direct your target's movements. Remote viewing is a power that is great for recon work and divination. Sleep allows you to put others to sleep, which can be very useful in the right (wrong) hands.

You can control the bodies of living persons. The movements of the controlled creatures seem jilted and awkward unless you are possessing them. You can affect the voluntary movements of the target, including speech, but cannot affect other functions such as thought, psychic powers, emotions, chemical reactions or involuntary functions such as breathing and heartbeat. It’s harder to control the whole body as opposed to individual limbs. The target can resist the control if your concentration is not wholly on controlling it.
Trappings: puppet, unnatural movement

Friday, September 7, 2012

Psychic Power List Part V

This time we have phantasms, possession and psychometry. Phantasms allows you to create hallucinatory images, which can be very useful as diversions or bluffs. Possession lets you inhabit the body of an other. Psychometry allows you to 'read' things so you can feel the aura and the history of objects and places.

You can create visual illusions. The target creatures in see something differently than before. You can make things appear or change the appearance of something that is already there. You cannot, however, make something disappear or appear smaller than it actually is. You must concentrate on your illusion, with the amount of illusions causing the normal multi-action penalty. You can create many identical illusions with no added cost of concentration, for example turning all weapons in the vicinity into snakes. If you have genius, you can create an exact replica of something, provided it is the only thing you’re visualizing at the time. If you have weather control you can create illusionary weather and so on with other powers.
Trappings: smoke, mirrors, a light source

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Psychic Power List Part IV

In part four we have emotion manipulation, lucid dreaming and metabolism. Emotion manipulation can be a subtle tool for manipulating people or it can be used for more therapeutic purposes. Lucid dreaming allows a psychic to explore and control dreamworlds basically adding a new dimension into the game. Metabolism is yet another background power, allowing for a type of ageless immortality and survival in inhospitable conditions.

You can affect other people’s state of mind, making them angry, sad, calm, giddy or lustful. This is a more subtle effect than puppeteer, where you do not have actual control over your target, but can still influence them. The power has a much more pronounced effect when used to heighten an already existing mental state, turning a rainy day into a spiral of depression or bolstering anger into a furious frenzy. You cannot direct the subject of the target’s emotion. You could make someone angry, but directing that anger towards your enemies requires more mundane manipulation.

Trappings: mood swings, extreme emotions

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Psychic Power List Part III

So we have come to the third part of this list. This time we have mesmerism, genius and location. Mesmerism is your common fascination/captivation ability, which is useful among other things for preparing a subject to other psychic powers. Genius is a passive power, its most obvious utility coming from photographic memory. This power is mostly for flavor/consistency and so that devil-like creatures and dark muses can offer musical skills or mad genius for unfortunate souls. Location is another low-key power, though it can be useful if combined creatively with other powers as it allows you to know the exact location of anyone you have a psychic link to, including those sensed through telepathy or psychometry.

You can emit an aura of fascination that encaptivates one or more non-psychics around you. While using this power, the targets’ attention is fully fixated on your every move and word. Anyone under the influence loses all awareness of their surroundings and become harmless, unless attacked or physically affected. If you have animal control, you can use this on animals as well. The targets need to be able to see or hear you for the power to work, the effect dissipating if they are unable to sense you for more than a few seconds. The number of successes you get on your will roll count as a bonus to any subsequent powers used on the captivated targets.

Trappings: captivating eyes and voice, dumbstruck audience

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Psychic Power List Part II

So, on to the actual powers. First we have animal control, astral projection and commune. Animal control is useful for indirect operations, such as spying and guarding or even attacks. Astral projection is useful for exploration or sneaky maneuvers as you're invisible and pretty much untouchable while doing so, though your body is defenseless. Commune is mostly for NPC:s and is used by cultists and priests to commune with their god for advice or to provide sacrifice and prayer. To get the most out of commune you'd need to rely on the respect and fear the god itself has.

You can communicate with and command all types of animals. You can control the animals directly or assign them simple tasks that come to them naturally (such as hunting for a hound or running for a horse.) While you can control their actions, the creatures still remain of animal intellect and cannot perform complex tasks autonomously. Animals also never voluntarily attack you, even if you’re unconscious, though your control over them ceases if this happens. If you also have possession, you can possess animals at will. They will not resist your possession.
Trappings: one or more animal parts (teeth, feathers, scales, bones, etc)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Psychic Power List Part I

I've been working on a psychic power list for a while now. I didn't want to publish any part of it until it was complete and checked and such, but then I thought, why not? After all, it might give me the motivation to finalise the list itself.
So, first of all, a couple of restrictions I gave myself when composing this list:

  1. No flashy powers like pyrokinesis, especially not ones where you throw flames and fart around on firebursts like a rocket. This includes no powers that allow flight or some such as well as all kinds of magic missiles.
  2. Must adhere to at least some basic science and not be just miraculous 'magic', so no teleporting and no creating something from nothing.
  3. At the same time, the power should be one that can be used to emulate gothic and lovecraftian witches and other supernatural creatures to some extent. Controlling animals and weather and even time.
  4. The powers themselves should be broad and easily combined. Most psychic rules disappoint me in that they are mostly lists of effects rather than powerful tools and that you can hardly ever combine the effects of two different powers in a meaningful way. Psychic powers are not spells.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Psionics and Steel

Lately I've been thinking about psychics and cybernetics. I want a simple system to bolt onto the ever-changing Dark Sorcery rules. I have a list of psionic powers that fit the type of electropunk world I'm thinking of right now, which I will probably revise and post on this blog this month.

Note that my system has no armor rules (the Steel score is effectively an armor save) and that a single damaging attack can be serious (courtesy of yet another wound system.) A simple damaging attacks causes the character to gain the Wounded status, while a Critical success causes a roll on the knockout table.

But, for now, the rules for cybernetic implants:

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lady Blackbird hack - Traits, Keys & Secrets

This is the list of Traits, Keys & Secrets I'm giving to my players to create their characters from for our hack of Lady Blackbird by John Harper. Some of the traits have been taken and modified from the Lady Blackbird companion as I found their listings quite haphazard (not surprising considering the companion is just a conglomerate of various different Lady Blackbird house rules).

Setting details are still in shift but the basic premise is an urban Victorian alchemical steampunk fantasy.

Load the PDF here.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Owl Talisman

The Owl Talisman is a magic amulet created by the Odin-worshiping druids of the north. The amulet consists of a mummified owl eye hung from a string, with three feathers pointing downwards. The carrier of the talisman can see normally in darkness. The carrier's senses are also amplified and the talisman grants him a +1 bonus to all Instinct rolls.

The Owl Talisman has additional powers when fed with the blood of humans. The active power depends on the age of the last person in whose blood the talisman was soaked in:
< 10 Years old - Can see through illusions
> 50 Years old - Gains +1 to all Lore rolls
All ages: Can see invisible things

Once activated, a power lasts only until the next full moon, after which the amulet must be fed again to gain the benefits.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Efreet emissaries

On the coasts of the Sea of Burning Sand lies a city ruled by a council of mysterious men. They are known as the Emissaries, and they secretly work for the City of Brass on the plane of fire. As their efreet lords cannot easily enter the material plane in sufficient numbers to conquer it, they have created their own breed of lawful evil humanoids by magically mixing devil and human stock.

These emissaries of the efreet are exceptional diplomats due to their infernal blood, and most have some talent in simple sorcery. Most of their talents lie outside of combat, however, and they prefer to conquer cities with their silver tongues rather than their swords. While they have some resistance to fire, the efreet do not allow the emissaries to grow too powerful lest they decide to invade the plane of fire next. The emissaries are easily identified from their stubby horns and the stripped brass half-plate that has been branded permanently to their arms and breast. All emissaries radiate an aura of law and evil.

Quick Pathfinder stats for a typical emissary:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dark Sorcery PDF

I have finally finished the new and streamlined and shiny version of Dark Sorcery rules. They are for now in condensed pocketmod format, but I will probably create other versions as well when I have the time. I really think this new version is a lot more robust and extendable than the other abominations I have created but only time will tell.

Get Dark Sorcery Pocketmod version!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Faux-Persian mini-skirmish thing

Going through my archives I found this little skirmish type of rules-skeleton that I think was inspired by Dungeons of Dredmor of all things.
These rules have holes I'm sure and are pretty raw, but I think the idea of only rolling if you dodge, block or counter an attack instead of rolling if you hit is pretty cool. Cover/concealment could be implemented with a 'miss-chance' type of thing. Also I think the health system is redundant. Maybe only for larger monsters/heroes? The weapon categories can be combined, I think, so that you can be armored and have a shield and light weapon or unarmored with a heavy spear.

But yeah, bare-bones, as I found it, rules for Persian combat:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Smooth Criminal = Bard ?

So I was watching the music video for Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson the other day, and I started thinking that this is what bards really should be like. Then I started thinking how you would go about turning MJ into a D&D bard.
Perform(Dance) is a given. Most of the effects in the film fit the bard spell list or perform abilities with some minor wrangling.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Black Wheel Casino

Samael Black is the owner of the Black Wheel casino and a minor demigod of (mis)fortune. He is Neutral Evil, and uses his powers to alter the chances of players so that he comes out with the biggest profits possible but so that there's always at least one person with a magical winning streak. After all, it's excellent marketing. He can also use his powers for the good of other people. For a price, of course.

Black's powers as an aspect of luck allow him to re-roll dice for any action done in his presence. This includes all actual dice or drawn cards in the game world as well. However, the second roll once rolled has to be accepted and cannot be re-rolled.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kill it with fire!

Holy hell my update schedule has been dead lately. Sorry about that.

Sometimes mundane weapons are not enough. Sometimes you have to kill it with fire! Some methods of dispensing fiery death follow:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Emergent Backstory

So we're back in business after the unannounced, overlong christmas hiatus. I've been doing some serious game development during this down-time, however. Though I don't like to publish anything until it's final, so I don't have to grimace as I look at my previous posts.

Anyway, on to the topic at hand. I've been thinking of a new mechanic for creating backstory during the gameplay itself. Basically, every time your character fails a sanity roll (or equivalent) and thus gains a point of insanity the player must narrate a small detail/vignette/flashback of backstory that explains why the event affects him specifically. Maybe he's seen the alien diagram before, in his father's basement or the dead taxi driver reminds him of the murders he investigated in Paris twenty years ago or something.

Now, the main problem here is that in some games, sanity loss is much, much more common than in my design. Also, it could prove problematic if the player's narration doesn't fit the GM's plans. Though you could argue that a specific type of horror/weird gameplay doesn't need to have a coherent plot or timeline.

Also, it seems my use of the label system is woefully inadequate and really weird so I might rethink it.