Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Force Rules and "Wise Teacher" rules

Ok, so you may recall my Force Point rules from earlier, as well as the after-action.

One thing I am definitely doing away with on reflection? The idea that your Dark Side score innately adds to your Use the Force Checks. It worked well in d6 (where I got the idea from), but I think the "free force point whenever you're willing to embrace the Dark Side" is a much more effective lure. Thinking on it, however, I do have a slight change to make.

If you succumb to the Dark Side, things switch around. Instead of 1 red chip and 3 (or 4, with the feat) Blue, you will gain 3 (or 4; just take that as a given, now) reds and 1 blue. Spending a blue? That lowers your DS score by 1. But you can have as many of those as you want, provided it's in the service of the light side of the Force. If your side "switches" during a game, you don't "reset" until the next game... so if you go Dark, you can delve REALLY deep into the Dark but, likewise, it's possible to expunge a lot of Dark Side points at a heroically appropriate moment.

I'll post that on the Giant; there's likely some problems that need checking on my idea.

***

But, the Wise Teacher Rules. You know, where you have a wise old teacher who's adventuring with everyone else, and you wonder why in the heck he's a wise old teacher if he's level 1 like the rest of them? This may be your Kreia/Darth Trayas, your Jolee Bindos, or keep your Obi-Wan Kenobis in line when you're adventuring with farm boys. This may also work when playing other d20 games, especially with the popular "make your character old for the stat boost" trick.

To play a Wise Teacher, you must start at least 1 age category older than everyone in the party not playing a Wise Teacher, with the attendant alterations to your attributes; minimum age category is Old. Furthermore, you have to decide how far your character got before "retiring"; it's suggested that it be at least 5 levels ahead of the starting party level, but no more than 10. You must plan out the complete advancement for those levels, complete with feats, talents, and class selections. As you advance, you cannot vary from this until you exceed your "old level."

As a Wise Teacher, you begin at the same level as the party, but with all the feats your character "learned" in that time; if you were once 10th level, you'll have the feats of a 10th level character at 1st level. However, there are some restrictions upon this. First of all, you have none of the advanced talents and class features you once had; you have the talents and class features of a 1st level character. If a feat you select is dependent upon a certain attack bonus, level, class feature or talent, you do not gain access to this feat until you possess that bonus again... you don't need to seek out a trainer, but you can't use it until you're ready. Secondly, you forgo all attribute improvements during this time; if you are a retired 10th level character, you will not get an attribute improvement at 4th or 8th level. You had those points once; they're lost, completely. Furthermore, your maximum result on any HD is half; even if you have a Constitution bonus remaining, you can get no better than half the die size on any given HD. This debility continues even after you've exceeded your old level.

I get the feeling this is still a bit powerful; those bonus feats can really add up, especially in SAGA.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Several Sessions Ago...

Oh, boy, we've had a busy month with a lot of playing, leading to me getting way behind on session logs.

Soon after our time at Falcon Tower, we decided to head west to check out the pregnant woman's story of a den of orcs (and also wanting to investigate rumors of kobolds who robbed some miners). We headed west down the road, but found only a long-abandoned camp of kobolds. We briefly met with the "witch", Valdershenk, who told us that she knew the kobolds well enough, but that orcs were always trouble. She also gave us a bit of a potion, that most of us survived pretty well. We headed further west, past the river that marks the county border and into the mountains.

It was a fairly difficult trek, especially with the number of greenhorn travelers we had along. Being the strongest swimmer, Sevlan tended to lead our way across rivers, while the rest of the party would follow on a rope he carried, or ride a log downstream. There were some rough bits, but we made it to a small, protected cove beneath the cliffs, where we figured our lady must have come from.

Quite frankly, this is one impressive trek for her. She climbed down a sheer cliff, hundreds of feet tall, crossed two rivers, and walked down the road, all while heavily pregnant, with inadequate clothes and no shoes. We suspected that her captors were up near the top of the cliff, but we couldn't make it up safely, so we decided to head back to town and circle around. On the way back, we met Valdershenk again, still strolling happily through unsettled lands; she informed us that she had some cures and such at her hut near the old Has road, which we promised to keep in mind.

Since we were planning on heading back west, we talked to our friend, Captain Reymond, the captain of the guard at the Palisade, asking if he had anything that needed to be run out to the towers to the southwest... figured we'd get pay and the short-term use of a mule out of the bargain, and continue our good relationship with the captain. Before we headed out to Karpar peak, we retired to some rooms we'd rented in the keep itself... while cheaper to stay at the hostel in Quarrytown, I also worried about security, especially when we start picking up money (aaaaaaannnny day now, I swear). However, we got attacked by giant rats. Huge rats. Rats the size of medium-sized dogs. Ava, our priest of the Bear, got bit and fell ill. Since Balan was unable to cure her disease, and the disease wasn't fatal or contagious (so long as she didn't bite anyone), we chose to keep adventuring, figuring it would clear up and a few days on the road would give her time to heal. Then, we were going to go into the sewer to wipe out the rats.

We started to run supplies down to the tower, and Sevlen noticed someone picking one of our pockets. We caught him and presented him with a proposal: He could adventure with us, or we'd turn him into the guard. He was enthused by the prospect; he was Amnet, and his family was tradesmen, but died soon after arriving at the Keep. He'd been on his own ever since, stealing bits and, while never quite joining the Ravens, he was occasionally dependent upon their charity. We got him some armor and he came along with us on the supply run.

The supply run was... interesting. The Karpar tower is rumored to be haunted, so Grimwulf was interested in investigating it in his position as a dedicant on the Eternal Lantern. When we got there, we learned it wasn't so much "haunted" as "rumored to be a lousy duty station so those assigned there could party." Good food, good drink, even a prostitute out there. We partied with the Karpar guard, and they offered us a chance to join a "secret society", though they weren't clear about the nature of it.

After a good night (and looking west, since we're still worried about orcs out there), we headed back to the keep with an Ava whose symptoms were getting worse. Determined to exterminate the rats, we headed down below. We knew of several entrances to the keep sewers, but started with one well away from the privies. The first was a small complex, draining directly to the river below, but with one-way doors that we couldn't get open... but rats could. Heading to the lower bailey sewers, we found a vast complex... what seemed to be the remains of the old keep. We found a kennel, a jail (with evidence that someone named "Dirk" was executed by someone known as "Sir Trigger"), some storage and a great hall. The hall, Fredi told us had giant tapestries, some of them quite valuable, but all of them quite old and delicate. Exploring further, we found evidence of the rooms of several of Sir Trigger's "fingers", including Dirk, the Pointer Finger... who seems to have been the one executed. We thoroughly mapped the area, with Amnet (that thief we caught) finding a few traps, and Ava getting further diseased. This second one was more severe, but would clear up just fine... provided she went to spend a few months in the desert. Ava chose to leave us, then, heading south to the arid lands and her health.

After a couple weeks of training, and thoroughly exploring that remnant of the old keep, we decided to tell some of the authorities about it. And for this, we were torn. Did we tell the Earl, responsible for the keep and arguably the one who could inherit the treasures below? Or did we tell the Prefect, responsible for the protection of the keep, who would surely like to know about the passage between the lower and middle baileys? In the end, we chose to tell Greytar, the mage who was present for the last keep, and a possible friend of Sir Trigger. We kept some information from him, however... like the library below. Sevlen'd finally pieced out the Orcish writing in the diary we'd taken from the Orc priest, and had learned a different history of the keep... one that included Sir Trigger, the Grel Wizard, who had attacked the keep before he helped rebuild it. We weren't sure of Greytar's actual loyalties, but bribed him with a bottle of valuable wine to set up a meeting with the prefect and the Earl (figuring that telling them both at the same time would avoid appearances of favoritism, though Greytar clearly favored the Earl).

The Prefect react with bluster and anger to news of a complex beneath the keep, and the Earl with cautious optimism to word of artistic treasures below. We shared this discussion, and promised to spend more time mapping the deeps.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Alien Intelligence for Rifts

Yet another thing imported from my old blog. I tend to make these imports when the posts become part of a conversation elsewhere, and I want to direct people to my blog.


As many know (especially if you are on the Palladium message boards), my least favorite book in the Rifts line is Rifts Conversion Book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse. I feel that it's poorly researched and that it avoids one of the biggest pantheons around: the God of Abraham, and all the various permutations that he's undergone since the Old Testament. This is something of an attempt to exorcise my hatred of that book... to lay it to rest by doing what I feel was left out of that book. However, it will make the most sense if I indulge in a bit of definition, first.
Palladium has two types creatures who are nearly equal in power: Gods and Alien Intelligences. The difference, so far as can be determined, is that Gods are dependent for their power on their worshipers; if they are no longer worshiped, they will still be powerful, but they will cease to be deities. Alien Intelligences seem to possess this level of power naturally. They are also frequently capable of creating quasi-independent fragments of themselves; beings which possess a portion of their power, and are capable of acting independently, but still are part of the whole, and partake of (and contribute to) the knowledge and power of the whole. They are, in effect, one being with many bodies.
I think you can see where I'm going with this.
I should warn you that there's a group of people who're probably going to find this really offensive; I'm putting it all behind a cut, but I want to warn you in advance... caveat lector.