Monday, March 17, 2008

The FHB project - part 5 - More on task resolution

My next step was supposed to be an outline of the classes, but when thinking about them I decided that I need a way to make each class better at whatever it's supposed to do, therefore I needed to revisit the Task Resolution.

When we last saw the Task Resolution system, it was based on a d% roll against a success number derived from the character's base attributes.

Many rolls that the characters make will be opposed; we could just have both characters roll, then assign victory to whomever succeeded the most or failed the least, but that's a bit meh, requires awkward number crunching and doesn't give a way to distinguish between classes apart from flat bonuses.

Instead we'll go with a one roll system.

To suceed at an opposed task your roll needs to be equal to or lower than your success number and equal to or higher than your opponent's.

Each level, your character gains a 5% adjustment potential that can be applied to rolls made in that character's area of expertise; fighters can use it on combat rolls, Magicians on magical rolls and Scoundrels on social or sneaky rolls.

The Adjustment potential is applied after the dice are rolled, and can be used to raise your Success number or lower your opponent's. It can be split between the two tasks in 5% blocks.

This also gives us the bones to hang a skill system off - each skill gives a character a new area of expertise that they can apply thier Adjustment Potential to.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The FHB project - part 4 - Races

Yesterday I decided on my attribute generation system and basic task resolution, today it’s time to work on the races.


The most common race, humans very adaptable. Most of the human Kingdoms have only been in existence for a few hundred years at most, the land previously having been under the rule of the Elven Empire.

- One attribute of the player’s choice is Favoured.


Half-kin are the children of a Demon and one of the other races. I’ll need to design the Demons before I can come back to these guys. Or maybe save them for an expansion.


The elves are a dying race; once their empire spanned the known world, but they were overthrown by an alliance of the humans and traitors from within the empire. The Elves now make their home in the great forests, and are regarded with suspicious amongst the humans.

-Agility and Intelligence are favoured
-Personality and Willpower are slighted
-Live for a couple of hundred years after reaching adulthood


The Dwarves have only recently started leaving their mountain strongholds; rumours are that they dug too deep and un-earthed a demon buried by the Gods in the Time of Creation.

-Strength and Willpower are favoured
-Agility and Personality are slighted
-Have sonar
-Suffer penalties to vision in bright light
-Live for a few hundred years after reaching adulthood. Old dwarves don’t die, they turn into stone.

Sea Elves

The ancestors of the Elves who sided with the humans and brought down the Elven Empire, the Sea Elves were exiled from the forests. To their dismay, they found no home for them amongst the newly forming human kingdoms, and were driven to live on the ocean.

- Agility is favoured
- Personality is slighted
- Can spend four times as long underwater as other races
- Live for a couple of hundred years after reaching adulthood

A Tolkienesque detail crept in there with the Dwarves, along with the start of a world history. Whatever the dwarves dug up is probably related to the Demons that are threatening the human kingdoms.

Need a better name for these guys. And the Sea Elves.

Until recently, the Eagle-men were thought to be the sole inhabitants of the Mountains. They have little to do with Humans, but tensions between them and the Dwarves are high.

- Strength and Agility are favoured
- Toughness and personality are slighted
- Can fly
- Have a Talon strike attack that can be used when flying
- Have really good eyesight

Next will be the Classes and some notes on the Demons.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The FHB project - part 3 - Attribute generation and basic task resolution

I've decided that I want a character's race to affect his attributes, therefore, before I can design the races I need to work out my attribute generation system, and related to that, the task resolution system.


I quite like D&D's attribute range of 3-18, so we'll go with that, however I don't like the idea of races providing a flat bonus to attributes, so we need a new way of adjusting attributes.

We could change the die-type used, but that would radically change the range of attributes generated, so instead I look at skewing the results whilst still keeping them in a 3-18 range.

One of the attribute generation methods in various forms of D&D is to roll 4d6 and take the highest three. This, I think is a good starting point for my attribute generation system.

Attributes can be Normal, Slighted or Favoured. Normal attributes are rolled on 3d6. Favoured attributes are rolled on 4d6 dropping the lowest number and finally, Slighted attributes are rolled on 4d6, dropping the highest number rolled.

The Favoured/Normal/Slighted attribute categories are simillar to the system used to Tales of Garghentihr, though I didn't make the connection until I'd decided on it. The terminology may be changed for the final version.

For example, if we're creating a character with Favoured Agility and Slighted Personality, the die rolls and final scores could look like this.

Strength ------- 4,3,1 ----- 7
Toughness ------ 2,1,1 ----- 5
*Agility ------- 1,3,4,5 --- 12
Intelligence --- 6,5,6 ----- 17
Willpower ------ 2,1,5 ----- 8
-Personality --- 6,2,2,5 --- 9

Whilst we had some pretty bad rolls, and the highest attribute turned out to be one of the Normal ones, I'm pretty happy with this as a generation system.

To allow greater customisation I'm going to allow one pair of attributes to be swopped, under the condition that if swopping a favoured attribute, the new favoured attribute must be higher than what was rolled, and if swopping a slighted attribute, the new value of the slighted attribute must be less than what was rolled, so in the example above, we could swop Agility with Intelligence, or Personality with anything except Agility or Intelligence. Any of the other attributes could be swopped freely.

Task resolution

Now that we have our attributes, I need to know how to use them in task resolution. The obvious one would be d20 or 3d6 and a roll under system, but I like percentiles.

The easy way to make attributes in a 3-18 range usable with percentiles is to multiply them each by 5. Since we don't want to throw away the existing attributes, we'll have a new stat, called a Success number.

Using the results above, we have the following success numbers:

Strength ------- 7 ---- 35
Toughness ------ 5 ---- 25
*Agility ------- 12 --- 60
Intelligence --- 17 --- 85
Willpower ------ 8 ---- 40
-Personality --- 9 ---- 45

Next we'll look at the races and classes.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The FHB project - part 2 - Outline



- Because you need humans

- Not sure what these are yet. Thinking that they're the offspring of the main evil race and any of the others. We'll need to define the evil race at some point.

- One of the staples of fantasy.

- As with elves, one of the staples of fantasy. I think that my Dwarves are going to have sonar, like a bat, rather than darkvision. It seems to make more sense.

I sketched out a world map, and added a large ocean. Deciding that someone needed to live on the ocean, I added Sea Elves.

Sea Elves
- Don't live underwater, but can dive for long periods of time. There was some sort of Elven civil war in the distant past leading to the ancestors of the Sea Elves leaving the forests.

Eagle people
- I've added these because I think it's kind of cool. They live in the same mountains as the dwarves.



I've decided to leave outAdventuring Clerics. There are going to be gods in the world, but their priests won't be going out having adventures. I'm thinking of adding some sort of 'Offerings' system for PCs to gain divine bonuses.


- Affects damage and combat ability

- Determines how much damage the PC can take

- Affects combat ability and defence

- Affects the ability to learn some types of magic

- Casting magic and avoiding mind control and persuasion attempts.

- The social stat

That'll do for now, though I may add some sort of Fortune attribute later on.

Task Resolution

I think I want to go for an attribute based, roll-under system. The dice used will be determined by the range of attributes. We're going to need systems for combat and magic, as well as more general skill check systems for other actions.

The Fantasy Heartbreaker project - part 1 - Introduction

Ron Edwards, creator of the Sorcerer RPG, suggests that everyone should write a Fantasy Heartbreaker - a way to get it out of their system.

What is a Fantasy Heartbreaker?

In short, a game that sets out to be D&D, but cooler. For a more indepth analysis, see these two essays from Ron Edwards.

Fantasy Heartbreakers
More Fantasy Heartbeakers

The latter essay contains the suggestion that everyone should write their own FHB. On one hand, I'm not sure that it's possible to knowingly write one of these, the whole exercise does feel a bit meta and self-concious. For instance, I've found myself, in attempting to write one, dismissing mechanics for being too modern, which is certainly not a thought that any of writers of a true FHB have had to contend with.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

AD&D 1st Edition

E. Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons and one of the founding fathers of the RPG hobby died today.

In his honour I will be creating a 1st edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons character.

This will be done entirely by the book, no houseruling unless a rule is unclear.

First we have to generate our attributes. These will be generated using Method 1 - roll 4d6, drop the lowest.
Strength: 6 (-1 to hit, -1 damage, -250 weight allowance)
Dexterity: 11
Constitution: 9 (System shock 65%, ressurection survival 70%)
Intelligence: 11 (Can learn up to 2 extra languages)
Wisdom: 16 (+2 magical attack save, 2 bonus 1st level spells, 2 bonus 2nd level spells, 10%bonus xp if a Cleric)
Charisma: 14 (+05% loyalty base, +10% reaction bonus)

Not too great. My best bet is going to be a Cleric. In later editions of AD^D I'd consider making him a demi-human to pick up some stat bonuses, but in 1st edition AD&D that would seriously limit my character's maximum level, so we'll leave him as human.

As a Cleric my character gets 1d8 hitpoints. I roll and get a 6.

At first level my character will get to memorise 3 spells.

I next need to decide on my alignment, and decide on Lawful Neutral.

My last step is to see how much starting money my character gets. For Clerics this is rolled on 3d6*10. I roll and get a rather measly 60 gold.

That 60 gold is just enough for the following:
Ring mail - 30gp
Small sheild - 10gp
Footmans's mace - 8gp
Backpack - 2gp
Iron holy symbol - 2gp
Tinderbox, flint and steel - 1gp
One week's iron rations - 5gp

Leaving me with 2gp for emergencies.

The armor+shield gives my character an AC of 6 (equivalent to a 14 in D20) and the mace does 1d6+1 damage vs. small and medium creatures, and 1d6 vs. large ones.

And there we are, all ready for Bob the Cleric to get murdered by a kobold.

Character generation was quite quick, and required far less referencing of tables than many other far more modern games. That said, I wouldn't want to run or play 1st edition AD&D - just staying in the D&D family, both 2nd Edition AD&D and Basic D&D are much cleaner.