25 February 2012

20 Answers for Brendan

Brendan over at Untimately posted 20 questions about rules you use in your campaign. Good timing. Here's how things work in The Bastard's Blade:
  1. Ability scores generation method?
    3d6 in order. My S&W house rules rely a lot on attribute scores, so people gots to roll with the die.
  2. How are death and dying handled?
    Minions, henchmen, and goblinoid rabble are on their way out at zero hp (but might stay long enough to whisper something important). For PCs and big bads, zero hp means you roll on the Hit Location table.
  3. What about raising the dead?
    Yeah, a raise dead spell will work, but the character just isn't the same. Better to get him resurrection to avoid nasty side effects, though clerics aren't gonna raise just anybody.
  4. How are replacement PCs handled?
    Roll 'em up, and the GM needs to figure out an artful way to bring them into the story.
  5. Initiative: individual, group, or something else?
    Moldvay-based group initiative. Something like this.
  6. Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work?
    Criticals, yes; working on fumbles. Here's the gist.
  7. Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet?
    Yeah - a save vs. a head crit.
  8. Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly?
    You can, and it's embarrassing. When you fire into melee, you have to roll a critical to hit your intended target. Otherwise, it's a sheepish "Sorry pal," then you watch your character's back.
  9. Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything?
    As the renowned bard Kys Regor advises, "You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away, know when to run."
  10. Level-draining monsters: yes or no?
    Yes, except they drain CON. I hate recalculating level-based stuff.
  11. Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death?
    Sure, but not in and of itself. You have to be low on hit points before a failed save kills a PC.
  12. How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked?
    Fairly. Characters have a limited amount of storage space. Something based on the Chimera RPG encumbrance experience.
  13. What's required when my PC gains a level? Training? Do I get new spells automatically? Can it happen in the middle of an adventure, or do I have to wait for down time?
    An d20 advancement roll whenever you earn your base XP amount (i.e., the XP required for 2nd level). If the d20 result is greater than your current level, you level up. When you do, you get hit points, save bonus, and to-hit increases instantly. Any class-based ability or spells, though, require 1d4 weeks of training. But there are rules for what your character gets up to in-between adventures...
  14. What do I get experience for?
    Dispatching foes, figuring out my tricks and puzzles, spending coin, and taking outrageous risks.
  15. How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination?
    Description of a reasonable plan, but a good die roll forces the GM to give you clues to work with. Same for removing traps, finding secret doors, diplomacy, hiring red shirts, and figuring out of you're being lied to.
  16. Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work?
    By all means, load up on retainers. Morale based on the character's CHA, and henchmen check after each adventure, plus whenever they're asked to do something crazy-stupid. During a fight, henchmen ignore morale checks as long as their master is doing alright.
  17. How do I identify magic items?
    Gandalf-style research if you're smart. Trial and error if you're in a hurry or don't mind getting possessed or having your soul sucked out by any one of several eager demon lords. Clerical magic items are another matter—they just tase you if you're a non-believer.
  18. Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions?
    Yes, but just potions. You can buy armour and weapons of quality, which grant non-magical pluses. And every now and then, you might pick up a magic tchotchke from a merchant who doesn't realise what he's selling.
  19. Can I create magic items? When and how?
    Yes, but it's a home brew system that requires its own post. The "when" is whenever you think you can hack it (because failure hurts). The "how" basically requires a skill roll, spell-casting, and a bit of your essence.
  20. What about splitting the party?
    You can do it, but the cranky GM in me tends to punish the PCs because it's a pain in my butt.

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