Saturday, June 20, 2015

Character Sheet Philosophy

I have recently run across the argument that any point buy game system will end up resulting in every player having the same exact build. The phrase used is “one true build.” This attitude mystified me because I have never seen this “one true build” materialize in over twenty years of playing roleplaying games the majority of which has spent with point buy systems such as HERO, M&M, BESM and the like. Comments that I’ve never seen it materialize were met with the assertion that my GMs must not have been making the games tough enough. Further comments from both myself and other point buy players that we haven’t encountered a GM where it is even a good idea to have everybody built the same way was responded to with the comment that once we figured out a GMs habits and tendencies then we would start building to respond to those and then everybody would end up with roughly the same build. Which is where I found the base discrepancy that was resulting in the idea of a “one true build.” These players read character sheets in a vastly different way than point buy games do.

The Purpose of Rules

Before I go further, I’m using the term “rules” here in reference to the systems of a game. Rules of etiquette and rules of the house exist in even freeform games even if they are not outright stated. For the rest of this rant, when I talk about rules, I’m going to be using it reference to things like character creation, task resolution, conflict resolution, health maintenance and the like.

Friday, June 12, 2015

5e Shifter Barbarian (Lycanthrope)

The concept here is to create a playable lycanthrope type character using the official classes and races. The shifter is the official almost-but-not-quite lycanthrope race. In combination with barbarian it makes it rather easy to do the Hollywood style lycanthrope which is the big humanoid man-animal hybrid. What's still missing is to the sort of lycanthrope that turns into a natural seeming version of the animal they are part of rather than a hybrid form.

Also, this represents more the unstoppable beast sort of werecreature, for more stalker-ish werecreatures I would go toward Ranger or Rogue, especially for wererats.  This is of limited ability to model a real werewolf since shifting lasts for only 1 minute, but rages (which can be fluffed as transformations) can eventually last for an extended time.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Setting Conversions

Not all game systems are appropriate for all players. People just aren’t wired so uniformly that a single game can best serve the desires of every player out there. One player might thoroughly love a  playstyle and game system that another player just simply can’t understand. There might be a third player who enjoys a little bit of both systems preferred by the first two, but actually enjoys a third system much better. Some people might be more comfortable with a free-form RP situation rather than using any sort of system. None of this is accounting for the people who simply don’t understand or enjoy the hobby. This isn’t all that big of an issue and the general result was people trying various game systems until they found the one they most enjoyed.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Reskinning Feng Shui




Feng Shui 2 presents a lot of awesome character concepts and flavor, but they are very much based in the stated histories and settings of the book. Specifically, they are very much based on a Chi War where a lot of the heaviest battles are in Medieval China, Colonial Period China, Modern Day more or less as we know it and a Post-Apocalyptic Future. As such, it makes sense that most of the characters from the past are Chinese or at least Asian. However, the major junctures can and have changed in the past and even minor junctures can prove to be incredibly important, as proven by the rise of the Ascended. But the game isn’t made for that, right? No, all the archetypes are Chinese or Mad-Max-ish or the like. They even have little symbols about what time setting they’re appropriate to come from, totally can’t mess with that, right?
Actually it’s quite easy in most cases. I’ll look at them below.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

5e Mechanical Differentiation

To start with, and I will repeat this later, mechanical differentiation isn't important except to the people for whom it is important. Since the sources of enjoyment in the hobby are subjective, that means what is important is subjective as well. But, that said, on with the little analysis I spent time on when I could have been moaning about my current bout with writer's block.

Yuan-Ti Bodyguard (Yuan-Ti Pureblood Kensai)

This was another concept that came up when I was rolling up random combinations of race, class, and background. As I recall, I had split th...

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