Sunday, September 20, 2020

Capital and Caravans

 This is actually the original of what became my HackTrade article. I wrote it because a player had too much money, and wanted to invest some. I came up with a modified version of what I call "The core crunch" on the spot (it was more generous, and made a positive return likely), and then built the article around it. When I got into Hackmaster a bit later, I polished the idea into HackTrade.


Capital and Caravans

Basic Investing for Castles and Crusades


There comes a point in many games when the characters simply have too much money. They may have purchased everything the CK will let them purchase, may be on the move and unwilling to buy real property (houses, bars and the inevitable stronghold), or may simply be wanting to make more money when they’re in that limbo between being having to scrape every last copper and being able to destabilize the local economy without half trying. Some mercantile-minded players may turn their minds towards investing some of their rewards in commercial ventures, hoping for a return in wealth and influence. Unless you truly wish to be playing Capital and Caravans, however, most CKs will seek to abstract this process a little, letting the game flow without preventing the character from spending his wealth as he sees fit.

Investments are of two different types: caravans and in-place businesses.  Many of the same principles apply to each, but some modifiers will have different effects depending on whether or not the business venture travels.


The Core Crunch

Before I spend a long time discussing the options in dealing with investment, let’s look at the core mechanic of simple investing: 2d8*10%. That’s the average return on investment for the gentleman adventurer. For those who don’t do the probabilities in your head, this means that, on average, an investor will see 90% of his money back; if he gave the merchant ten gold pieces, he gets back nine, for a net loss of one gold. This is intentionally not fair. A great many business ventures lose money, and if all the character has done is toss money at an investment, he will likely lose money. This number is, also, simply return on investment. It does not include taxes that might need to be paid or fees that accrue, which tends to drive returns even lower.

The average time for maturity on any investment is one month. This allows a trade caravan to make it to another city, sell its wares, buy more, and sell those upon return. For an in-place business, this covers a period of purchases and sales. Some investments may take longer to mature, or players may look to make quick money through short-term loans of a few days or weeks. All of these can be handled through similar mechanics, but shorter-term investments tend to carry a LOT more risks, while long-term ventures tend to be more stable. For short term investments, I suggest a return of (1d20-1d4)*10%; you’re far more likely to lose your shirt, but your returns will rarely be much higher. For longer-term investments, I suggest (2d6+1d4)*10%; the floor is higher, the ceiling about the same, and the average about the same.

What makes merchants (and adventuring venture capitalists) profitable is research, hard work, and a bit of luck.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Updates to CP-based D&D

 A couple updates to CP-based D&D:

I've put in a lot more abilities

*Psionics with two variations; Complete Psionics Handbook/Will and the Way version and Skills and Powers version. These are at the end, in the Psionics Addendum.

*Priest Spheres as an additional way of gaining spells. 

*Shamanic powers (as in Spells & Magic and Faiths & Avatars)

I've also included non-proficiency penalties for weapons, and added a way to determine your saving throws in this system; you begin with 70 points divided among your 5 saving throw categories (minimum 2, maximum 20, lower is, as always, better), with the total decreasing 3 points every level (meaning you reach all 2s at level 15). This is still experimental, so I would like feedback.

Follow the link above (or here) to see the document.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Talents for D6

Initially designed and written for Star Wars D6, this also will work for other D6 games, such as Space, Fantasy, Adventure, and Zorro.

Talents add +1D to tests with a certain skill specialization. Talents apply to a specialization, not a skill; you don't have a Talent with Space Transports, you have a Talent in Space Transports: YT-1300 or Space Transports: All-Out or Space Transports: Dodge; the last two aren't usual specializations, but they work for talents.

Humans begin with 2 free talents; anyone (including humans) may spend 1D of skill dice to begin with 2 (additional) Talents. In play, Talents cost 5 CPs per talent. Talents do not require a teacher; they are a natural ability (that may have been latent until now). If a player has 5 CPs, they may acquire a Talent at any time, with the Game master's permission. Talents are a bonus; they do not increase the cost to improve a specialization, as they do not increase the rating of the specialization.

You may have only one talent per skill, but you do not need any training in the skill to make use of a talent. You may have no more talents in a single attribute's skills than dice in that attribute (so, if you have 2D+2 Dexterity, you can have 2 Dexterity skill Talents; if you increase it to 3D, you can learn another Talent.)

Force Powers and Advanced Skills: Beginning characters may not have Talents in Force Powers (other other Metaphysical skills, depending on your system) or advanced skills; these must be acquired in game. You may have only a single talent per Advanced skill. You may not have talents in the Force Skills, themselves. A talent with a force power applies +1D to the use of the power; you may have no more talents in powers associated with a single Force Skill than dice in the Force Skill. Talents with Force Powers that rely on multiple skills (q.v. Lightsaber Combat) require only 5 CPs, like other Talents, but count against the limit of both Force Skills.

Friday, August 21, 2020

War Wizard for Castles & Crusades

War Wizard (Strength)

(For Castles and Crusades)

While the pursuit of magic is an intellectual activity, the use of magic is often a very practical application; the War Wizard is one such application, mixing force of arms with mystical might. Compared to a traditional wizard, a War Wizard is often poorly educated, enacting spells by rote, but with training in the use of weapons and armor, and physical conditioning to remain on the front lines of combat. In a way, their lack of understanding of magic is a boon; they learn some spells from both wizard and illusionist spell lists, in their own unique combination.

War Wizards are common among the elves and gnomes, and more common among dwarves than traditional wizards. Halflings lack the interest in martial combat, and half-orcs in rigorous study. With half-elves, it is often those elven-raised who gravitate towards War Wizardry… not only is it common in elven culture, but their comparatively diminished patience and tendency towards increased aggression makes the more immediate and visceral applications of War Wizardry appealing.



Abilities

SPELLS: A war wizard casts arcane spells. War wizards can only cast a limited number of spells, from each spell level, per day. The War Wizard Spells Per Day Table lists the number of spells per day a war wizard may cast of each spell level. War Wizards are poor spellcasters; from levels two to five, they subtract 1 from their level for the purposes of determining the effects of spells (saving throws, duration, damage, etc.). Between levels six and nine, they subtract 2, and they subtract 3 at levels 10 and higher.


A war wizard must prepare spells before casting them by studying from a spell book. While studying, the wizard decides which spells to prepare. Spell memorization and spell descriptions are covered in detail in the Magic chapter (Pg 68). War Wizards do not gain new spells automatically upon levelling up, and attempts to learn new spells are done with a bonus of their Caster Level, not their class level.


BONUS SPELLS: With a high intelligence score, a war wizard gains bonus spells. If the character has an intelligence of between 13-15, they can memorize an extra 1st level spell, when those spells become available. If the intelligence score is 16 or 17, the wizard can memorize an extra 2nd level spell, and if 18 or 19, the war wizard can memorize an extra 3rd level spell. Bonus spells can only be acquired if the war wizard is at a high enough level to cast them; where the spell table reads 0, the war wizard may cast spells of that level if they somehow have a bonus spell of that level. Bonus spells are cumulative.


WAR WIZARD SPELLBOOKS: War Wizards begin play with a book containing 4 Cantrips from either the Wizard or Illusionist lists. A War Wizard is capable of learning any spell available to Wizards or Illusionists (up to 6th level), but should the spell be available at two different levels to the classes, the War Wizard will always use the less favorable. For example, Continual Flame is a 3rd level spell for War Wizards, as it is 3rd level for Illusionists, even though it is a 2nd level spell for Wizards.

CONCENTRATION: War Wizards are used to casting spells in the heat of battle. If the Castle Keeper determines that a Concentration check is possible, the War Wizard makes a Strength check, and may add their level to the check.


WEAPON OF CHOICE: War Wizards train extensively with weapons, and are able to use any weapon that comes to hand, but their training tends to concentrate on a single weapon above all others. With a single type of weapon, the War Wizard receives a +1 to hit, on top of any other applicable bonuses. A War Wizard may change what sort of weapon this bonus applies to at levels 6, 10, 14, 18, and every 4 levels thereafter, but it does not increase.


PRIME ATTRIBUTE: Strength

HIT DICE: d8

ALIGNMENT: Any

WEAPONS: Any one-handed weapon, plus staff

ARMOR: Breastplates, chain shirt, cuir bouille, greek ensemble, hide, laminar leather, leather, leather coat, padded, ring mail, studded leather


ABILITIES: Spellcasting, Concentration, Weapon of Choice


Level

HD

BtH

EPP

Caster Level

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

1

d8

+0

0

1

2







2

d8

+1

2251

1

2

0






3

d8

+1

5001

2

3

1






4

d8

+2

9001

3

3

1

0





5

d8

+2

18001

4

3

2

1





6

d8

+3

35001

4

3

2

1





7

d8

+3

70001

5

4

2

2

0




8

d8

+4

140001

6

4

2

2

1




9

d8

+4

300001

7

4

3

2

1

0



10

d8

+5

425001

7

4

3

2

1

0



11

+3 HP

+5

650001

8

4

3

2

1

1



12

+3 HP

+6

900001

9

4

3

3

2

1

0


13

+3 HP

+6

1150001

10

4

3

3

2

2

1


14

+3 HP

+7

1400001

11

5

4

3

3

2

1

0

15

+3 HP

+7

1650001

12

5

4

3

3

2

2

1

16

+3 HP

+8

1900001

13

5

4

4

3

3

2

1

17

+3 HP

+8

2150001

14

5

4

4

3

3

2

2

18

+3 HP

+9

2400001

15

5

4

4

4

3

3

2

19

+3 HP

+9

2650001

16

5

5

4

4

3

3

2

20

+3 HP

+10

2900001

17

6

5

4

4

4

3

3