Wednesday, November 30, 2011

updated Character Sheet

So here's the new character sheet for the 5th draft.  Since I'm sliding into the new draft document (almost finished - just proofing reading now) I thought I would sneak it out here first.
Character Sheet the fifth.
Added in Fabrication of course.  I also slightly changed the stat boxes to highlight the bonuses (put the bonuses in the boxes folks) - you use them the most) and left some space for the natural stats you roll up as opposed to the ones in effect - say you get hurt or something...

I also put in some funny little arrows in the HP box to indicate that damage and magic fatigue should add up to the total HP. There was a lot of problems with folks tracking HP in the playtest and I don't know if this will solve that, but I thought it looked nice.  Maybe I can figure out some awesome iconography that will let me replace rules with symbols in the future.

Get the PDF

Friday, November 25, 2011

Beacon update status

So you are asking yourself what's done for the next draft of Beacon?  Me too!  I thought I better make a list for myself and then I figured you might want to see it as well.

Here's a reprint of the list of stuff for the next draft with the status:

  • removing the section on Traps - these came right out of the Microlite book and are cool but I don't think people need these outlined and I would like to reclaim the page and a half - DONE.
  • adding minor changes to Initiative and weapon replacement - maybe that whole section can be rewritten to make it easier to understand. - DONE, details here.
  • Fabrication - I'm still waffling on adding in a new skill actually, but leaning on yes for now.  almost DONE.
  • Tweaks to Divine spells, including changes to healing and new spirit orientated spells.    - 90% DONE.
  • Tweaks to enchanter spells, and spell balance in general. - the handful of spells I did mention are all done but I still need to do a sweep of the arcane spells for problem spots.
  • Divine Rituals  - DONE.
  • Changes to Hunter and Rogue?  - I'd say 90% but I'm still debating the name for the savant class.
  • Changes to the Rules for dying and stat damage. - I think I have it but I still have to write it up.
  • Removing the spell extending stuff, reexamining counter spell?  Not sure anyone is using these, we still haven't used them in the play test.  DONE, leaving these alone for now to see how they work with the  combat round changes.
  • I thought about adding in 7th level spells, but until I play a higher level game I'm not sure if it's appropriate and which spells would be best - by that time in a campaign the GM might be better off making up their own higher level spell lists anyway.  - DROPPED.
  • anything else?  - That's a good question, is there anything missing here?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

a possible 6th level cleric spell

Here's an idea I was thinking of for that 6th level divine spell from my last post.
Voice of God
Range: Hearing
Duration: Instant
Description:  The caster speaks the true language of their god(s) which causes all who hear it to take 2d6 damage and be deaf for 2d6 rounds.  In addition, creatures and entities opposed to the casters religion (e.g. undead, spirits, minor devils, lawful clerics) suffer the effects of Turn Undead/Cause Fear.  In addition, opposed creatures of less than 2 HD must make a magic resist check or be destroyed and opposed creatures of higher HD but still less than the caster's level must save or take 4d6 +1/ caster's level damage.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

More messing with the cleric spells

First off I hate tinkering with the spells because it makes things different from other versions of the game, which makes people confused.  Also a lot of folks probably will use the d20 SRD spells, the Microlite spells or do their own tweaks based on their campaign setting and how rugged or fantastical they want things to be.  I can't just not adjust the spells when they appear broken however, and I can take some heart in the fact that many of the published D&D versions have absolute shit spell balance - even using Vancian magic which is easier to balance than a point system.  So the next draft - here are some more spell tweaks for divine casters.
  • Prayer is a sucky spell for 3rd level - it's gone.  If you want to buff people use Bless.  
  • Create Food and Water totally goes against the resource management vibe I'm working on in Beacon with it's 'Points of Light' and wandering about type game.  I can get into clerics making food and water for the party but I'm bumping the spell to 3rd level and cutting it's power by 30% to make it less of a daily meal replacement plan and more a survival option.
  • Magic Weapon is an OK spell with a terrible name.  It is very useful to provide groups with a magical weapon to fight some creatures.  Also I kept the greater 4th level version instead of the first level version.  That was probably a mistake.  I'm going to make this a 2nd level spell (back filling Create Food and Water), change the range to touch, and change the name to Bless/Curse Weapon.
  • Paralyzing Touch and Remove Paralysis are now the same spell, both touch based*.
  •  Hold Person re-added to level 2 spells.  The level 4 Hold spell now more clearly defined as Hold Creatures.  Hold is a good spell for clerics - its essentially nonviolent but good in combat.
  • Changing Circle of Protection and Divine Strike to make them more predictable and adjusted for point based and multiple daily castings (same reasons I adjusted Fireballs)
  • Edited Spell Resistance to make it work more like I wanted it to.
  • Added 4th level spell to Control Vermin to replace Magic Weapon.  It's a compromise between druid like animal control spells and insect plague.
Control Vermin:
Range: 400 ft. + 40 ft./level.
Duration: 1 min. / level.
Description:  Caster can summon and direct the emotions or reactions of swarms of small creatures such as ants, locusts, rats, spiders, etc.  These creatures can be made to attack a target, occupy an area, or flee in terror, but cannot be made to perform complex actions such as opening doors or fetching unseen items.
  • Hero's Feast is lame.  Replacing that with something else.  I thought maybe Forbiddance would be good, but then I thought it's not that common to use that one and wow 6th level spells should be awesome.  I think I should make it a good one.  Any suggestions?
I also think that the 5th level ritual I was trying to come up with was staring me in the face all along.  Commune is a wishy-washy 5th level spell.  It would make a much better multi-hour meditative type ritual.  I mean are you gonna ring up the Lords or Order while your waiting for the wench to bring your ale or are you going to retire to your tent to pray all night for guidance?  I know which one the Lords of Order would prefer!
Level 5 - Ritual of Communion
Range: N/A.
Duration: N/A.
Description: When attempting the Commune ritual, the caster enters a trance like dream state for a number of hours and consults with their deity or agents of their deity on a question or state of affairs they wish guidance on.  The greater the question, the greater the length of the meditation.  The more powerful the caster the more clear and informative the consultation, although the communion will never be simple and direct, but more symbolic in nature.  At lower levels the communion will give general impressions and feelings about the issues in question, but at higher levels the caster will have receive more definite images and impressions or even verbal answers and prophecy.  
To replace it I added Plane Shift.  Pretty much right out of the SRD except its a projection.  I feel otherwise it would be too powerful.  I don't get how this spell is level 5 but Astral Projection and Etherealness are level 9 in the SRD but I think a generic 'projection' spell is much more useful and can be applied to more settings.  Plane Shift as a soul projection spell seems about right.

I also have been tooting around with the character sheet that includes Fabrication and doing the necessary rule editing.  So that's moving closer to the fifth draft version of the PDF - I promise I'll have something out for you to play before Christmas if not the end of November.

*I like the idea of many divine spells being touch based - it's something about imbuing life energy into things I guess.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

slight delay

Um yeah, I'm still working on that Beacon update.  I know I projected mid November, but well...  The thing is I'd like to try out the new 2 phase combat a bit and we haven't had a chance to get a session in lately to do it.  Also I still can't think of a real great ritual for 5th level divine magic.  Also I picked up Agricola at Hammercon and I've been fondling the wooden bits and play mats a little and trying to trick my kids into playing a trial game (they just love it when I try to teach them new board games cold from the rulebook).  We've finally got in our first session of Trail of Cthulhu last weekend and that was fun.  So there is still gaming going on, and so I consider that the research portion of research and development - or so I tell my superego anyway.  Also Battlefield 3 came out and my thumbs are sore.  Them jets don't fly themselves you know.

So soon.  Stay tuned.

*update - noodling around on the OSR blogs and I found out that Jeff Dee is a pretty neat guy.  I always liked his D&D illustrations, good to see he's still around and mixing it up.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Going to Hammercon

Give me some of that sweet sweet galactic domination
So by Friday I'll be hanging out in Hamilton Ontario (in Canada) with a bunch of friends and a bunch of beers, and on Saturday afternoon I'll be at Hammercon.  I would like to say I'll be running play tests of Beacon but in fact I'll be using this as an opportunity to do something I rarely ever get to do - playing Twilight Imperium!

If Hammercon was longer and I had more time I might run some Beacon but the opportunity to sit down with 6 folks and slug it out for galactic domination is just too good to pass up.  It's a game that I've only managed to play through twice because its just too hard to get that many like minded folks together for that length of time.  It's like Civilization (the one by Avalon Hill) or Machiavelli in this respect - fantastic game experiences but only when you have a lot of engaged people with a chunk of time to spend.  I used to have a similar problem with the game Titan - the classic monster Slugathon game - but some clever folks managed to make a Java on-line version called Colossus which satisfies that particular itch and is a great way to spend a few hours during an evening.

I'm actually doing a double header to maximize my boardgaming and will be playing another Fantasy Flight game afterwards - A Game of Thrones the board game. This game I have played many times and it's one of my favourites because it is very fun and compelling - but doesn't take as much time as the some of the aforementioned games. It is theme based on the Martin books but pretty much a cross between Machiavelli and a euro game with nice turn mechanics to keep the play from bogging down and some great bid voting and supply mechanics. Both Thrones and Twilight Imperium have a similar feel in this respect which makes sense because they were both designed by the same dude - Christian Petersen.  And even though I've played A Game of Thrones quite a bit, it's not often I get to play a full on 6 player game - so here's hoping.

I would have liked to have some copies of my Beacon 5th draft available to give out at the con, but it's not finished yet.  I hope that I'll be able to hit Hammercon next year and play some Beacon - but then again it would be almost time for another game of Twilight Imperium, or maybe some Civilization - zug zug.