Monthly Archives: March 2012

Fated Theme – Modern Assembly

. . .to be fated by Khanh Hmoong

Some people are born great, some achieve greatness and some are just surrounded by the abyssal horrors! Fiction is filled examples of heroes who aren’t smarter, faster or stronger than everyone else, they’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yet somehow these hapless regulars wind up on top! One way or another, they not only survive the fight but they manage to contribute significantly to the final victory, while fighting alongside super cops and powerful wizards.

These heroes rarely begin adventuring careers by choice. More often than not, adventure springs right up around them. They could be the only person who seems to notice the demons in their hometown. It could be that a group of established heroes are venturing into the local woods, and the fated is persuaded at knife point to come along as their guide.

No matter your reason for adventuring, you soon pick up other useful skills, and may even eventually gain a bit of courage and self confidence. Even when your battling against epic foes, there’s always that bit of luck or fate tat shines through.

Examples include Xander, Kagome, Katniss or Stephanie Plum.

Fated Starting Feature

You always seems to be have a little bit of extra skill just when it seems that failure is inevitable. Whether it’s fate or just a surge of willpower when all hope is bleak, the you get the job done when it’s the most critical.
Benefit: You gain the Burst of Hope power.

Burst of Hope Fated Utility 1
At the last moment you fumble with your tools as you try to disable the doomsday device. By some stroke of luck, they fall in just the right spot.
Encounter * Martial
No Action       Personal
Trigger: You make an attack roll, a saving throw, a skill check, or an ability check and dislike the result.
Effect: You add 1d4 + 1 to the triggering roll. At 11th level you add 1d4 + 2. At 21st level you add 1d4 + 4.

Fated Level 5 Feature
With all the crazy stuff happening in your life, you find yourself constantly running just out of reach of the next villainous threat.

Benefit: You gain a +1 power bonus to all defenses vs. opportunity attacks. This bonus increases to +3 vs. opportunity attacks made by aberrations or undead.

Fated Level 10 Feature
Sometimes when things seem there worst, that’s when the greatest opportunities arise. You spin a great failure into a moment of keen insight.

Benefit: Whenever you roll a natural 1, your action still fails as normal. Your next attack roll, a saving throw, a skill check, or an ability check gains a +2 power bonus.

Optional Powers

Level 2 Utility Power
Sometimes you just have to get across the room, in an impossible amount of time. You find something greater, deep inside, when the need is high.

Burst of Speed Fated Utility 2
With a great push you launch yourself desperately across the room.
Encounter
Minor Action Personal
Effect: You gain a +2 power bonus to speed until the end of your next turn.

Level 6 Utility Power
When your surrounded by soldiers in full battle gear and brutes with bulging muscles, it’s easy for enemies to forget just how tough you can be.

Tougher Than I Look Fated Hero Utility 6
When things get tough you rise to the task, shrugging off your enemies assault so that you can be the hero your destined to be.
Daily
Minor Action Personal
Effect: You gain resist 3 to all damage until the end of your next turn. At 21th level this increased to resist 6.

Level 10 Utility Power
It’s easy for others to dismiss your character in battle, but they have no idea how many times you’ve risen to the challenge. You know how to shrug off a debilitating effect and come back strong.

Sudden Revival Fated Hero Utility 10
Just when it looked like you were out of the fight for good, you stand and do what’s needed.
Daily
Free Action Personal
Trigger: You start your turn dazed, dominated or stunned (save ends).
Effect:  You make a save vs. that effect with a +2 power bonus.

*If this seems familiar it’s based on a theme written for A Night in Lonesome October. Modern characters were heavily considered for that project and it seemed folly not to include it in this project.

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Firearms and Other Weapons – Modern Assembly

DSCF1084 by joelogon

In our modern times, arrows and swords are often out of place, even impractical. The following modern weapons are written using the base rules presented for weapons in the core game.

They’re also balanced with the existing sword-and-sorcery weapons. This serves two key functions: First, you can easily swap a fantasy weapon for its modern equivalent; a baseball bat can use the same mechanics as a club, or a woodsman’s hatchet can be used as a hand axe. Secondly, both fantasy and modern weapons can be used in the same party, without any trouble.

There are a couple of key additions to help make modern weapons flow seamlessly with the core game.

Ammunition: Each weapon group uses a different type of ammunition. 20 rounds of any one type costs 2 gp. Weapons that use magazines instead cost 1gp per magazine. Some weapons, like the assault rifle or semi-automatic pistol, may actually use more than one bullet when fired, but for ease of tracking, only one round gets used for each enemy targeted.

Fuel: Chainsaws and flamethrowers also need to be loaded, but their ammunition is fuel. 1 pint of fuel is required every encounter and costs 1 gp.

Load: Just like bows and crossbows, guns take time to load. However, guns typically hold more than one round. If a gun has the Magazine property, it uses the same rules as a repeating crossbow, with each magazine holding the number of rounds in parenthesis.

Other guns need rounds loaded individually, like shotguns and revolvers. Each round takes one action to load, with the total number that can be loaded in parenthesis after the load type.

Grenades and the Grenade Launcher: Grenades use the same rules for the consumable Alchemist’s Fire, with each different level representing a different grade of explosion.

The grenade launcher is a special weapon, used to direct grenades and launch them greater distances. The grenade launcher uses a grenade as ammo, with the grenade’s damage determining the weapon’s base damage. However, a grenade launcher can be used with any ranged attack power instead of the grenade’s item power.

Simple Melee
One-Handed Prof. Damage Range Price Weight Group Properties
Brass Knuckles +2 1d6 - 5 gp 1 lb. Unarmed Off-hand
Superior Melee
Two-Handed
Chainsaw +2 2d6 - 10 gp 20 lbs. Heavy Blade High Crit
Simple Ranged
One-Handed
Grenade - - - - - - As Alchemist’s Fire
Two-Handed
Double Barrel Shotgun +1 2d4 5/10 25 gp 11 lbs. Shotgun Load Minor (2)
Pump Action Shotgun +1 1d8 5/10 35 gp 8 lbs. Shotgun Brutal [1], Load Move (6)
Military Ranged
One-Handed
Light Pistol +2 1d6 15/30 30 gp 4 lbs. Pistol High Crit, Off-hand, Load Free, Magazine 6
Revolver +2 1d8 10/20 25 gp 4 lbs. Pistol High Crit, Load Move (6)
Semi-Automatic Pistol +1 2d6 15/30 40 gp 3 lbs. Pistol Load Free, Magazine 6
Two-Handed
Light Rifle +2 1d8 20/40 25 gp 8 lbs. Rifle High Crit, Load Free, Magazine 5
Heavy Rifle +1 1d10 15/30 35 gp 25 lbs. Rifle Brutal [2], Load Free, Magazine 10
Superior Ranged
Two-Handed
Assault Rifle +1 2d8 10/20 50 gp 10 lbs. Machine Gun Brutal [2], Load Free (10)
Flamethrower +2 2d8 Fire 5/10 60 gp 15 lbs. Special Brutal [1]
Sniper Rifle +3 1d10 40/80 35 gp 11 lbs. Rifle High Crit, Load Minor (1)
Grenade Launcher +2 See Notes 15/30 360 gp 20 lbs Special Special

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Weekly Assembly: Swords & Sorcery Hacking

Welcome to another Weekly Assembly! I think the timing of the Weekly Assembly may change in the coming weeks to sometime other than noonish on Mondays. We’re working on options now, and we’ll keep you informed. I also want to welcome Keith Davies  to the MetaRoundup with his Links of the Week series. It’s well-curated and invariably interesting, so lend him your eyeballs for a bit. Now on with the links!

At Home

Articles posted here on The Gamer Assembly.

  • Only 11 Gaming Days Until PAX East! If you’ll be in Boston on Easter weekend April 6-8, you owe it to yourself to attend the best gaming con. Three-day passes have sold out, but you can still pick up day passes. We’ll be there running the “Fix Your RPG Problems with the RPG Doctor and Gamer Assembly” panel on Friday, April 6 at 7 pm in the Merman Theatre. Will we see you there?
  • The Call To Assembly, Volume 1, our collection of the first 2 months of Gamer Assembly posts is now available as a free PDF at RPG Now and as a not-free printed magazine at Lulu!
  • Some harmless joking on Twitter inspired T.W.Wombat to mine the chat room for ideas, culminating in a collection of Code Phrases for D&D Next, now including a code phrase randomizer at the top of the page.

Away

Content from people involved with The Gamer Assembly posted elsewhere across the Internet.

  • On Mission Statements by T.W.Wombat reflects on the past 1.5 years of RPG blogging and what it all means to focus the action going forward. Then again, the same technique works just as well with your campaign.

Notes From Abroad

Other interesting articles and cool links.

Wizards of the Coast went public with their announcement about the next edition of D&D on Monday 09 January 2012. We’re collecting D&D Next links in our wiki. If we’ve missed any good ones that you’ve read, feel free to let us know in the comments or join us in the chat.

  • The One Page Dungeon Contest is back for 2012. It’s a great competition in minimalist adventure design that offers great prizes.
  • On Successful Communication With the Other Side details an exchange of ideas and meeting of the minds between an Old School Renaissance enthusiast and a Story Game enthusiast. All communication of new ideas should be this civil and productive.
  • Thoughtcrime Games, a new venture from Ryven Cedrylle, Quinn Murphy, and David Welsh (@doubleplusfun on Twitter), provides an actual play description of how Marvel Heroic Roleplaying’s system handles social, mechanical, and combat situations with equal ease.
  • Todd VanDerWerff tries D&D for the first time after getting past his youthful belief that nerdy things are inherently bad in this article on A. V. Club, the first article in the Nerd Curious monthly series. It also includes some great history and unfortunate misconceptions about role playing games.
  • If talking about the RPG business model interests you, take a look at this thread on the RPG Reddit. 91 comments later the opinions remain civil and thoughtworthy, except for the hipster/porn star/art stripper thread.
  • This Game Starts at Level Three at Tenkar’s Tavern talks about alternate ways to handle training new players other than setting aside the first two levels of play as training levels. I see some interesting ideas on both sides of the discussion in the comments.
  • Further musings on starting a game above first level can be found in Starting Above First Level at Untimately, including the insight that the deadliness of a setting is inversely proportional to how long it takes to create a character.

MetaRoundup

A roundup of roundups featuring links of interest to the tabletop RPG community.
Please let us know about other weekly roundups in the comments!

  • Game Knight Reviews comes out with Friday Knight News articles on Fridays. Check out this week’s news to see a list of differences between D&D and Savage Worlds, trying out Tabletop Forge for Google+ gaming, and 20 ways to add color to your darkness. Thanks for hanging out and mentioning the chat, Fitz!
  • Keith Davies maintains In My Campaign and he publishes a collection of Links of the Week including recommended Kickstarter projects and interesting YouTube videos. Take a look at this week’s collection which includes the excellent series of articles showing how to make a fantasy sandbox, the Birthday Shoggoth, and a video for World of Workcraft – Papers and Paychecks upgraded for the MMO crowd.

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Faceman Theme – Modern Assembly

Me? I’m a nightclub singer. . . and a security guard. . . and a local politician. Don’t believe me? Just give me a few seconds to convince you.

Lust - CLose up by Anita Claven

A diplomatic leader who strives towards bi-partisan laws, or regularly entreats with foreign dignitaries. A charismatic rogue who smiles at you just so to keep you off balance, before he shoots you. The faceman represents the type of hero that can talk their way through anything.

Whether you’re a well trained agent or you just have natural charm, you’re party depends on you to speak for the group, negotiate in tense situations, and sometimes even infiltrate the enemies ranks.

Examples include James Bond, Templeton “Face” Peck, and Elizabeth Lochley.

Starting Feature

Most people feint with their weapons. A false thrust can cause an enemy to dodge one way and open themselves to your real attack. You know how to feint using your body as weapon. A seductive wink, a change in posture, or a sly word can make your target let down their guard and make your blow land all the easier.

Benefit: When making a Bluff check to gain combat advantage, the target may be within a close burst 5, as long as you have line of sight.


Additional Features

Level 5 Feature
All the world’s a lie and you’re its top player. You know the sweetest words, the meaning of body language and all the master tricks.

Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to Bluff and Insight.


Level 10 Feature
Facemen are often called into situations where they need to know an answer, whether it’s their specialty or not. Those with the skill and experience develop an ability to produce an answer so convincing it actually works. This ability to wing it is often the difference between a crucial success or failure.
Benefit: Once per day, you may make a Bluff check with a +2 bonus in place of an Arcana, Dungeoneering, Mechanics, Nature, Science, Streetwise, or Religion check.

Optional Powers

Level 2 Utility Power
Just as you can use your charisma to open up an opponents defenses, you’ve learned how to throw your opponent off balance when they attack. When it seems like you’re about to be taken down a notch, you slow them down with the power of your being.

Innocence Maneuver Faceman Utility 2
As they blade arcs toward you, a sudden flash of surprise or concern crosses your face, forcing your attackers aim purposefully away.
Encounter * Martial
Immediate Interrupt Personal
Trigger: Your AC is targeted by an attack
Effect: The attack instead targets your Will defence.

Level 6 Utility Power
When things are getting hot and all guns are blazing ,you need to get where you’re skills are best, even if that’s the heck out of here. You make yourself seem small and less imposing so that no one gives you a second thought as you pass by.

Nothing to See Here Faceman Utility 6
In the chaos of battle you quickly pass through the ranks of friend and foe.
Daily * Martial
Move Action Personal
Effect: You move up to your speed. You do not provoke Opportunity Attacks when moving out a threatened square for this movement.

Level 10 Utility Power
When people are at their weakest you are at your best. Whether working with a partner or solo, you know how take a confused opponent and knock the world out from under them.

Staggering Finish Faceman Utility 10
With a shove or a demoralizing look you send your confused foe staggering backwards and onto his ass.
Encounter * Martial
Free Action Melee 1
Trigger: An adjacent enemy becomes Dazed or Stunned
Target: The triggering enemy
Effect: You push the enemy back 3 and knock it prone.

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Filed under D&D 4E, Modern Assembly

Code Phrases For D&D Next


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Madness must be in the air, caused by the Vernal Equinox. It started with this tweet, which spawned this tweet, and then this tweet started the ball rolling. In the Gamer Assembly Chat we brainstormed for a while and came up with this. Kudos to the person who spots the two sequential lines containing a hidden message.

Simply roll a d6 and a d14 (or a d7 and a d12) to determine which code phrase to use when referring to D&D Next.

  1. The Canary Eats The Sunshine In Russia
  2. The Squawking Goblin Sheds No Tears
  3. The Reindeer Has A Large Handbag
  4. Tomorrow’s Soup Is Made From Owlbears
  5. When The Troll Farts, Eat Baguettes
  6. The Bag of Holding Has Developed A Portable Hole
  7. Your Princess Is In Another Castle
  8. The Ioun Stones Have Reached A Count Of Nine
  9. The Drake Squats On The Rooftop In The Rain
  10. Beware The Dwarf
  11. The Lady Watches What The Devil Desires
  12. The Wizard No Longer Lives On The Coast
  13. The Captain Dropped his Keys
  14. The Portcullis Is Down But The Lever Is Stuck
  15. I Saw The Baker But His Bread Did Not Rise Today
  16. Loan Me Two Copper For A Silver Bullette
  17. Knock Three Times On The Tap Or All Ye’ll Have Is Elven Wine
  18. The Tomatoes Have Not Ripened In The Dark Sun
  19. The Sorcerer Heads Inland
  20. The Platinum Has Left The Coffers
  21. He Lost The Trail In A Pile Of Gold
  22. The Griffin No Longer Speaks In Riddles
  23. I Wanted To Play D&D And All I Got Was This Lousy NDA
  24. My Parents Left Me A Portable Hole
  25. Orcus Is My Butler
  26. The Vrocks Fly At Midday
  27. The Griffon Dueled The Snake But The Wizard Still Fell
  28. The Eagle And The Stork Do The Lambada At Midnight
  29. The Game That Shall Not Be Named
  30. I Never Learned Thieves’ Cant
  31. My Other Game System Uses Powers
  32. Never Mind The Medusa
  33. Save Or Die!
  34. Fiddling With Vecna
  35. Delayed Polymorph
  36. Hare Today, Gorgon Tomorrow
  37. Illithid Bard
  38. Incanatrix With A Flame Tongue
  39. Save Vs. Errata
  40. Seven Defences Are Too Many For Forum Trolls
  41. Now With 100% Fewer Power Sources
  42. Shadow Primal Arcane Psion-ACK! *dies*
  43. Learning Fate Causes Worry
  44. Monte Cook’s Lejendary Adventures
  45. The Hunter’s Arrow Missed The Housecat
  46. Ten Gold Pieces On The Housecat
  47. Last Night I Married a Bar Wench
  48. Half-Dwarf Half-Elf Is A Viable Race
  49. Succubus In Sensible Armour
  50. The Temple Of Ioun Endorses This Knowledge
  51. Best. Game. Ever! (Thank you @ComedyRockStar.)
  52. The Prince Was Hexed But She’s Adjusting Well
  53. My Squire Buckled In Half The Time
  54. Charisma Lacks The Bison’s Heart
  55. Society For The Restoration Of Vecna
  56. The Tour Of The Sunless Citadel Was Cancelled Due To Poor Lighting Conditions
  57. My Other Weapon Is A Vorpal Warhammer
  58. You Don’t Have To Go Home But The Universe Is Ending
  59. Save Time; Cast Gate
  60. I Had A Witty Passphrase But I Forgot It
  61. Keep Calm And Roll Initative (With a nod to @SkylandGames’s Twitter avatar.)
  62. The Alleys of Sigil Are Never Wrong Turns
  63. Thay It Ain’t So
  64. Golems Growl At Stirges’ Proboscii
  65. Gold Pieces Don’t Grow On Trees
  66. Thief, Dagger, Gold. Old Story.
  67. I Should Have Suspected When I Saw The Girdle’s Aura
  68. She Had Tea With Vecna’s Taxidermist
  69. Beware The +1 Letter Opener Of Justice
  70. Is That Your Hut Or Do You live In A Giant Chicken?
  71. Mind Your Tongue, Trolls Ahead
  72. Orcus Begone Or I’ll Put That Wand Where The Sun Shines
  73. Con Is Not My Dump Stat
  74. Death Is In The Eye Of The Beholder
  75. Drizzt Is Just An Elf In Makeup
  76. Just For The Record, A Fifteen Hits My AC
  77. Never Trust A Halfling With A Spatula And A Frying Pan
  78. Dire Canaries Make Great Travel Pillows
  79. Beware The Proboscis
  80. Never Put The Barbarian On Watch
  81. Three Eyes Between His Two Heads
  82. Black Dragons Smell Of Death At Night
  83. Dryads Never Dance
  84. Never Extend Xerxes’ Table


Contributors: @absentdm, @adampageuk, @brentnewhall, @brianliberge, @deusinnomen, @gameknightrvws, @paulbaalham, @twwombat, plus an honourable mention to @greywulf for planting the seeds of madness this morning.

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Weekly Assembly: Vecna’s Birthday

Welcome to another edition of the Weekly Assembly! If you want to talk about anything contained in this edition, feel free to drop by the Gamer Assembly Web Chat and talk with us. But for now, enjoy this week’s links!

At Home

Articles posted here on The Gamer Assembly.

  • Only 18 Gaming Days Until PAX East! If you'll be in Boston on Easter weekend April 6-8, you owe it to yourself to attend the best gaming con. Three-day passes have sold out, but you can still pick up day passes. We'll be there running the “Fix Your RPG Problems with the RPG Doctor and Gamer Assembly” panel on Friday, April 6 at 7 pm in the Merman Theatre. Will we see you there?
  • March's Blog Theme at The Gamer Assembly is “Gaming in the Modern Age”. Have an RPG article idea set in Information Age earth? Contact us for guest blogger opportunities!
  • The Call To Assembly, Volume 1, our collection of the first 2 months of Gamer Assembly posts is now available as a free PDF at RPG Now and as a not-free printed magazine at Lulu!
  • Modern Assembly: Mundane Items by Brian Liberge provides a list of modern-specific purchasable equipment. You can use the existing 4e price list for items with similar functions, like paying the lantern price for a flashlight, or the backpack price for a briefcase or backpack.

Away

Content from people involved with The Gamer Assembly posted elsewhere across the Internet.

Notes From Abroad

Other interesting articles and cool links.

Wizards of the Coast went public with their announcement about the next edition of D&D on Monday 09 January 2012. We're collecting D&D Next links in our wiki. If we've missed any good ones that you've read, feel free to let us know in the comments or join us in the chat.

  • There's a new Tumblr that focuses on RPG projects listed on Kickstarter called RPG Kickstarters.
  • In The Swag of Yore, Vanir at Critical-Hits wonders where all the D&D toys and marketing tie-ins went now that D&D is owned by a game And Toy company. I would totally buy an Otiluke brand refrigerator to keep my Beholder Bites cold.
  • Tangentially related, Steve Winter discusses how a large RPG company makes money by offering more game choices to players, and why that model requires periodic rules revisions to clean the slate in Dysfunctional and Co-Dependent at Howling Tower.
  • Also at Howling Tower, Effect vs. Meanings talks about associative and dissociative design approaches and their impact on the game itself. Do you want more game effects with trumped-up or non-existent causes, or more consistent game worlds with game effects figured as outcomes of the internal logic?
  • In Don't Take Free Work, Ryan Macklin evangelizes some great advice to keep your professional and personal lives separated and happier: don't offer free work to friends.
  • And speaking of new blogs covering topics of interest to gamers who happen to be female, check out Gaming As Women. I found so many great articles over there in just the first 2 weeks that my head is still spinning.
  • Wizards of the Coast thinks about ways to let D&D Next players pick up a game and run something substantial in today's Legends & Lore column, entitled The One Hour D&D Game.

MetaRoundup

A roundup of roundups featuring links of interest to the tabletop RPG community.
Please let us know about other weekly roundups in the comments!

  • Game Knight Reviews comes out with Friday Knight News articles on Fridays. Check out this week's news to see random tables for making horses distinctive, picking up on your GM's tells, and encouraging your party to pick a base of operations so they'll be more likely to get involved and save it when it's attacked.

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