May 212017
 

Like many I can’t wait to get my mutated little paws on Mutant Crawl Classics. And you’d be right on target if you were thinking I’d start kitbashing right off the bat.
Primarily, I’m loot stuff from Crawling Under A Broken Moon (and the upcoming Umerica Survival Guide). But of course there’s even more good stuff out there namely Crawljammer and Hubris.
So to start things going, I did a little alternate starting occupations table. Yes, this is still very much the beta version and it’ll probably get changed when I start running MCC (probably soon after the PDF gets released to Kickstarter backers). So there will changes as inspiration strikes. But here’s the first draft. Enjoy.
MCC Occupations

May 142017
 

I has the wild urge to make a very small character sheet for Swords & Wizardry. My main inspiration was the 0 level sheets from DCC. So roughly index card sized, four sheets per page, and as flexible as possible (Just put in whatever is right for the character under the “Notes” part). I also designed around may own personal tastes. I’m one of those weirdos who likes ascending AC so no little To-Hit Chart. May you find it useful.
Swords and WizardY Index Card Sheet

May 092017
 

Well that Savage Worlds Space Opera game got off the ground last week. (No pun intended.) Here’s what the players came up with: And sorry the silly GM left his notes laying about so I forgot most of the PC’s names.
Tyler Titanic AKA TyTi: That’s the ship. I went ahead and gave them light freighter that in no way has ever been used for smuggling.
The no nonsense bounty hunter and pilot with a few enemies and a few connections.
The beautiful Katana-Wielding Rebel (or Terrorist depending on your point of view) who likes to blow things up.
A deep space salvage expert who also happens to really good ar gunnery and probably not a pirate.
The ray gunslinging guy who sounds like Batman.
The crazy SPACE GOBLIN! engineer. And yes it is spelled SPACE GOBLIN!
And Nut who is not Groot.
The party got hired to find out why a supply ship has gone missing on its run to a remote gas mining outpost orbiting a gas giant. I hate doing whole sessions write ups but here’s the highlights of the session. As a GM I kit bashed a couple of Savage One Sheets for the adventure (Routine Extermination for FEAR Agent and Ghost in the Machine for Last Parsec) and I’ll try to keep this spoiler free.
The group miscalculated their hyperjump and ends up running out of food four days before they get to their destination. So yeah the party is in deep space and no food.
The stations is overrun with rogue killer robots and the crew (except for some blood and a finger that the SPACE GOBLIN! ate) were missing. They blast their way thru a bunch of bots with no problem until they get to the main processing chamber. There they find a huge bot, building more bots and doing something else but they just aren’t sure what. This fight is pretty bloody for the player characters with about half the party having at least one wound. The Rebel Bomb Maker (who is not a Terrorist) decides to throw a bomb this goes very badly and doesn’t even detonate and lands way off target (Read way too close to the PC’s). The bomb does go off when they finish off the big bot which explodes on it’s own thus causing the bomb to go off. This rips a huge hole in the floor and half the party gets banged up even more and starts falling down the umbilical used by the miners skim gas from the planet’s upper atmosphere. And that’s where we ended the session.

May 062017
 


Yep, another little house rule tweak that popped into my head for Dungeon Crawl Classics. It’s simple and can makes things a little more interesting.
Instead of the normal wizardly spell casting bonus of the character’s level, replace it with a Deed Die. Just look at the Fighter progression table to see what die type a wizard of equal level would get and there you go. This really underscores the chaotic nature of magic. That fifth level magic user rolls a one on the Deed Die and poorly on the d20. Well, tough luck.
Going along with the Deed Die theme, why not add in some Mighty Acts of the Arcane. Want a small side or special effect for that spell? GO FOR IT! And it works the same way as Mighty Deeds of Arms.
What about that Natural Twenty roll? For that the gets to roll and additional Deed Die and add that onto the total.
Now, this is just an idea and I haven’t play tested it and who knows somebody probably smarter and prettier than me has already thought of this idea. Heck, this idea will probably be tweaked and twisted a few times before it makes it to the table.

Apr 302017
 

This post appeared years ago on the old blog. Most of the thoughts still apply and since I’m starting up a little Savage Worlds game, I thought it would be good to bring it back.
This time I want to rant a little about Whiff & Ping. For those not up on the local gamer jargon, Whiff & Ping is easy to explain. Whiff: I swing, I “miss”. Ping: I swing, I hit, it bounces off my opponents thick scaly hide. Pretty much not matter what your system of choice is you’ve felt at least a little bit of this. In D&D, in it’s many forms, you’ve got high AC’s, Spell Resistance, Energy Resistance, Damage Resistance, Evasion, the lucky Saving Throw and the list goes on. In GURPS, you’ve got your Active Defense, Damage Reduction and a host of resistance rolls. In World of Darkness, you’ve got a one die pool mechanic, sometimes known as the “Roll a Pile of Dice and Nothing Happens” System. The danger of Whiff & Ping exist in pretty much every game.
At first glance, it might appear that Savage Worlds combat can suffer from Whiff & Ping Syndrome and in a way it does. In Savage Worlds, you have two defensive stats, Parry and Toughness. Parry is basically your target number to hit. Toughness is basically the target number to damage. Simple. Right? Anyway, some Big Bads can get some pretty high numbers. So it can be pretty hard for your buff fighter with a d8 in Fighting and shells out 2d8 in damage can hit the dragon but he’s going to have a hard time hurting it.
But here’s the deal. A lot of games out there basically use attrition damage systems (At least, that’s what I’m calling it here.) Let me explain. Most damage systems rely on a slow whittling away of Hit Points, Life Points, Wound Levels or whatever. Now, there’s nothing wrong with this. In a way, it’s kind of neat. It builds tension in the fight scene whether the players realize it or not. They slowly see their life getting chipped away bit by bit. When they hit an opponent, even it’s for the tiniest amount of damage it’s a reward. It builds the excitement and the players gain some sense of accomplishment. Our gaming brains have been wired to look at combat and damage in this light. Savage Worlds is more about the constant danger that the rug will be yanked out from underneath you at any moment. A couple of good hits and the right dice mojo will end a fight.
The act of hitting and not damaging an opponent equates to failure in most gamer’s minds. And nobody likes to fail. Even if you land that solid blow, you still might not hurt the guy. I’m going to use an extreme and overly simplified example here. Let’s say that we have an encounter with your standard D&D adventuring party of four versus a big nasty red dragon with 100 HP. On average due to various conditions each of our heroes does 5 HP a round to the dragon. It would take about five rounds with a total of 20 attacks to finally take down the dragon. In Savage Worlds, a similar encounter would run pretty much the same way. Twenty or so attacks until someone finally rams a sword through the beast’s eye. There will probably be a couple of Shaken results and maybe a Wound. Now, I know some of the math fetishists out there will want me to run some sort of simulation and work out all the probabilities. That ain’t happenin’.
Now it’s time to talk about the Whiff factor. This one is really simple. If you’re having problems hitting an opponent, read the Combat Survival Guide. If you are still having problems, you need to figure out if your GM is cranking up things too high. Finally, gauge your character to your oppoents. You might think your character is a bad ass but according the GM’s encounters, you’re a mook. Just talk things out, folk.
Just like any other game, it’s real easy to outclass the player characters if GM’s aren’t careful. The key here is just like every other game is to know the player characters and their capabilities and then design encounters that will challenge them. There’s no real magic bullet to balance an encounter and it doesn’t matter what game system you are using.