Feedback wanted: Map, and some custom systems

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Tribe of One
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Feedback wanted: Map, and some custom systems

Post by Tribe of One »

I've been thinking through some house rules that I think/hope will make it easier to emulate some D&D-style gameplay, without the sort of slogging that comes with trying to do map and dungeon crawls with PbP. Let me know what you all think, as this is all open to modification at this point.

Also, what do you all think about using this map for the town, which we'll sketch in during Session Zero? Alternatively, we can start with a blank canvas and place everything from there, but I kind of like this one, and there are some fun details that get me thinking. The noble manse is more villa than keep -- perhaps Vesper's family has fallen on hard times, and the ancestral keep has been abandoned, providing a nice ruin nearby ... Also, no cemetery for Jaenelle, though what I take for a mine at the bottom left could be a community crypt ... Anyway, opinions wanted.

Map
town map.jpg

EXPLORATION
When we get into any actual dungeon exploration, or even in the wilderness, I want to avoid lots of wasted posts deciding on direction. I also want to avoid the problem, which is common to lots of RPGs, where you all roll individual Notice checks for everything, which almost guarantees someone will Ace and Notice pretty much any secret or ambush. I don't want to stack the deck against you, but I'd like there to be some actual risk. So, for exploration:

Marching Order and Group Leader
Prior to any excursion, either the group (or I) will set a marching order, with scout(s), vanguard and rear-guard. One PC will be designated the "caller." That character (probably whoever all the other characters consider to be "in charge") will be responsible for deciding which direction the party moves and including those "next steps" in their posts.

Passive Perception when Exploring
The group will designate a lead scout, as well as a rear-guard. When there's an enemy or other obstacle that might surprise you, I'll roll Stealth against the designated character's Passive Perception, calculated as Notice die + relevant modifiers + 2. So a scout with Notice d8 and Alertness would have a Passive Perception of 12. (This is set up in a similar fashion to Parry, Toughness, etc., with the +2 ensuring you're better off than an average roll). You'll roll Notice as normal whenever you want to actively search a room, etc.


COMBAT
We'll do full combats at least once a quarter, when there's something interesting fight to fight in a dynamic environment, but Quick Combats will let us do combats with rooms full of goblins or cairn-wights or bands of murderous redcaps without getting bogged down. The modification below creates a little more opportunity for injury, with some options for resource management, too.

Modified Quick Combats:
A set number of successes will be required for victory, based on quantity and quality of enemies.
Each player rolls an appropriate skill (typically Fighting, Shooting or Spellcasting/Faith). Each Success contributes +1 to the total (+2 on a Raise, but no more).
Regardless of success or failure, each character risks injury during the fight -- how much depends on how they approach the fight.
  • Full Defense: Staying out of harm's way is your priority. You suffer a -2 penalty to your Quick Combat roll, but take no damage if successful. On a failure, you suffer a level of Fatigue from Bumps and Bruises.
  • Cautious: You fight carefully, but don't hold back. On a failure, you take a Wound, which can be Soaked as usual. With a success, you only suffer a level of Fatigue from Bumps and Bruises, and on a Raise you emerge unscathed.
  • Fast and Furious: You attack like a wild berserker. You gain a +2 to your Quick Combat roll. On a failure, you suffer 1d4 Wounds, or 1 Wound with a success (Wounds can be Soaked normally). With a Raise, you suffer a level of Fatigue from Bumps and Bruises instead.

REWARDS
I'm a big fan of game currencies that reward the kind of behavior that's iconic to the game. For example, old-school D&D gave XP for gold pieces recovered, encouraging PCs to snag the treasure and at times avoid fights. Later editions changed to XP for defeating monsters or completing story milestones, which changed the focus.

The move away from XP in SWADE takes away one form of in-game currency, leaving us really only money/stuff, Bennies and Conviction. I'm going to focus on the latter (with a few tweaks) and use it to also power the former.

In-game, your characters will be able to amass Discovery Points, which you'll acquire by Unearthing Secrets and Resolving Mysteries. So, finding the lost village of Urtwell in the eastern reaches of the Weald might earn a point; recovering the journal of the Crusader-Knight Taglyn, which lays out the eventual fate of the village garrison, might earn another. Finding Taglyn's missing sword, which the journal mentions was lost in the Hagmere, could earn a point, while returning it to his heir in a distant village could do the same.

You'll be able to use Discovery Points in a few ways: At any time, a PC can expend a Discovery Point to gain Conviction. (You'll also be able to earn Conviction through Tragedy/failure, as outlined in the core rules, but Discoveries will replace the option of gaining Conviction through Triumph).

You'll also be able to spend Discovery Points as a group to purchase an advance (for everyone) during the downtime that occurs between adventures. I'm planning to include some narrative passage of time -- a season, or even a year -- between adventure arcs. I've got a table I'm working on that could help determine what happens to your characters in that time. If the group decides to expend enough Discovery Points (I'm thinking 5 or so, to start) you'll all gain an advance during the downtime, as well (which would be in addition to the advance you'll get at the end of each quarter).

Finally, you'll use Conviction (earned via Tragedy or through Discoveries) to "reveal" the power of magic items. While I may occasionally hand out items with already-discovered powers -- a mace that glows like a torch, or a jar that fills with restorative honey under a full moon -- most start out as mysteries. You'll activate them, discovering an ability, by spending Conviction at an narratively appropriate time. So, say your character finds a fire-blackened spear carved with ancient sigils in a faery grove. Later, while fighting an ogre (and faring poorly), you decide to "activate" the spear, spending your Conviction. Based on the circumstances, you and I decide it's particularly deadly to giants and their kin: It gets a +1 to hit and the Giant-Killer Edge. Or maybe you're beset by nighthaunts, and you spend Conviction and discover that the shield you found in the church catacombs can emit a sunlight-trapped damage field. Maybe being bathed in the blood of two score goblins rekindles the power of an ancient blade, or perhaps you just have enough downtime to figure out that pointing the bone wand and saying skippy causes it to shoot lightning.

Special starting items you gained from your playbooks can be handled this way (beyond any minor abilities we've talked about, like being exceptionally light or counting as a magic weapon,etc.) and I'll probably set a limit of no more than two "reveals" per item. But I'll make a point of including lots of strange and intriguing items for you to claim and potentially turn into implements of power.

Thoughts?
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Freemage
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Re: Feedback wanted: Map, and some custom systems

Post by Freemage »

Feedback by section:

Map:

Looks cool. Maybe the cemetery is beyond the Wall? A superstitious community might very well want some separation, there. Jaenelle's cottage would most likely be the one with the leaky roof, off to the right of the map. (Outsider means she has to do her own fixing, or wait for one of the villagers to 'gift' it to her.

Exploration rules:

Look solid. I would suggest that if the thing being detected has some sort of supernatural nature, a scout or rear-guard character's Passive Stealth should be increased (by one, most likely) if they have the sense magic ability active. As a balancing, given the nature of the setting, having your sense magic up when scouting could impose a penalty to Fear checks (again, one point seems sufficient) as you can see the horrors for what they really are....

Combat:

No quibbles here. Without the built-in awesomeness of SWD SR, the choice of Fast and Furious is a bit more risky (in SR, as I noted in the train fight sequence, it basically guarantees a level of Fatigue).

Rewards:

So. Damn. Cool.
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OOC Comments
GMC Bennies:
PCs
Sir Blurre, 18th COT/New West
Gaspard Gillead, 12th AAT/Dirty Dozen
Ryder, 101st COT/Trailblazers
Serival Drumm, 24th COT
Ophelia Monk, Field Team 6
Hexx, Rising Stars SPC
Malaetheryan, Phase World/Relentless
Jaenelle, Beyond the Wall
Yeitso & Alicia Forsythe, Prestige Unlimited

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Nomel Sagia, Nameless (Frozen)
Libertas Magicorum, 13th SET/Silent Ones(Retired)
Savant, 3rd SET/Losers(Frozen)
Other Mother, Ravenloft (Frozen)
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John Smith
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Re: Feedback wanted: Map, and some custom systems

Post by John Smith »

Map:

I like the Map, as long as we aren't 100% beholden to it. Its a good starting point and gives a basic idea of a layout, but if something isn't on that map I would hate to say it couldn't be in the village.


Exploration:

Love the idea. I was a big proponent when you were pitching it in one of the hangouts. I think the ability to be surprised without getting a heads up (via the "give a notice roll" request) adds a lot of fun to the adventure.

The only thing that passive perception might take away is the ability to improve detection chances via a bennie. IE if I were rolling notice, I could chose to use a bennie, whereas with passive perception that isn't an option. You are already pretty generous with using the WHOLE notice die (I would have thought 1/2 sufficient, but I didn't run any statistical numbers to see if that is roughly equivalent) and adding -2- on top of that, so I don't think it is a sticking point. If you were using 1/2 the notice die, I would say it would be good as a player to have the option to spend a bennie to "boost" perception by a modifier (+1/+2 ish) for the duration of a scene. IE, were are traveling between the Our village and the next, half a day away, and Halt is acting as scout. Halt spends a bennie to make sure he is extra vigilant in his efforts, increasing his passive perception by -2- until they arrive (or equivalent something happens).


Combat:

Good by me. I'll be interested to see if we all get laden down with Exhausted status within the first few encounters. But then they only take 24 hours to recover, so it really depends on the pace of the action.


Rewards:

Seemed complicated at first, but re-reading it, its actually fairly simple. Would we be able to "instanteously" trade in discovery points. IE, I roll poorly, am out of bennie and conviction, but have a couple of points so I buy conviction to add a d6 to my roll?
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Tribe of One
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Re: Feedback wanted: Map, and some custom systems

Post by Tribe of One »

John Smith wrote: Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:07 pm I like the Map, as long as we aren't 100% beholden to it. Its a good starting point and gives a basic idea of a layout, but if something isn't on that map I would hate to say it couldn't be in the village.
Definitely room for any needed modifications.
John Smith wrote: Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:07 pmThe only thing that passive perception might take away is the ability to improve detection chances via a bennie. IE if I were rolling notice, I could chose to use a bennie, whereas with passive perception that isn't an option. You are already pretty generous with using the WHOLE notice die (I would have thought 1/2 sufficient, but I didn't run any statistical numbers to see if that is roughly equivalent) and adding -2- on top of that, so I don't think it is a sticking point. If you were using 1/2 the notice die, I would say it would be good as a player to have the option to spend a bennie to "boost" perception by a modifier (+1/+2 ish) for the duration of a scene/
Crap. I typed that up late and forgot the "1/2" -- yes, the intention is it would be 1/2 Notice + 2 + modifiers. The +2 helps account for the lost wild die. I also wouldn't roll a Wild Die for enemies, and no GM Bennies, so it would just be straight Stealth. Odds of catching you unaware would be pretty slim, but at least possible. Letting the Scout spend a Benny to boost it for a stretch (maybe spend a Benny and you get to roll Notice and take the higher result? or just a straight +2).
John Smith wrote: Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:07 pmWould we be able to "instanteously" trade in discovery points. IE, I roll poorly, am out of bennie and conviction, but have a couple of points so I buy conviction to add a d6 to my roll?
I think so. Hopefully it will be a tough choice: Use Discoveries to save your bacon via Conviction, spend them on items or save them to snag advances between adventures.
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Sgt 86Delta
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Re: Feedback wanted: Map, and some custom systems

Post by Sgt 86Delta »

Tribe of One wrote: Tue Oct 22, 2019 8:09 pm I've been thinking through some house rules that I think/hope will make it easier to emulate some D&D-style gameplay, without the sort of slogging that comes with trying to do map and dungeon crawls with PbP. Let me know what you all think, as this is all open to modification at this point.

Also, what do you all think about using this map for the town, which we'll sketch in during Session Zero? Alternatively, we can start with a blank canvas and place everything from there, but I kind of like this one, and there are some fun details that get me thinking. The noble manse is more villa than keep -- perhaps Vesper's family has fallen on hard times, and the ancestral keep has been abandoned, providing a nice ruin nearby ... Also, no cemetery for Jaenelle, though what I take for a mine at the bottom left could be a community crypt ... Anyway, opinions wanted.
This map is a great place to start. Lots of room to add details.


Tribe of One wrote: Tue Oct 22, 2019 8:09 pm I'm a big fan of game currencies that reward the kind of behavior that's iconic to the game. For example, old-school D&D gave XP for gold pieces recovered, encouraging PCs to snag the treasure and at times avoid fights. Later editions changed to XP for defeating monsters or completing story milestones, which changed the focus.

The move away from XP in SWADE takes away one form of in-game currency, leaving us really only money/stuff, Bennies and Conviction. I'm going to focus on the latter (with a few tweaks) and use it to also power the former.
I cut my gums on D&D figures and dice. As a player we would run across more treasure than we could carry out at a time. We would as a party have to secure our finds bring back treasure as much as we could carry at a time.

Any consideration for installing something like a gringot's (sp?) vault so we can hold onto our lootz until we get things sorted out?


Tribe of One wrote: Tue Oct 22, 2019 8:09 pm You'll also be able to spend Discovery Points as a group to purchase an advance (for everyone) during the downtime that occurs between adventures. I'm planning to include some narrative passage of time -- a season, or even a year -- between adventure arcs. I've got a table I'm working on that could help determine what happens to your characters in that time. If the group decides to expend enough Discovery Points (I'm thinking 5 or so, to start) you'll all gain an advance during the downtime, as well (which would be in addition to the advance you'll get at the end of each quarter).
Use dicovery to locate someone to train with and thereby reduce the time it would take to learn a new skill or edge. Possibly use it in place of research to find help. I like being able to use it to "pad" a roll as well.


I personally like the d6/WEG system of receiving and using "Character Points". Much like discoveries, they can be traded in for advances on skills, used for extra edges, even improving attributes. Add in your previously mentioned uses on items and such, and I think you have an established well rounded form of in-game currency.
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KahlessNestor
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Re: Feedback wanted: Map, and some custom systems

Post by KahlessNestor »

Others noticed the Notice issue.

My only other thing was the map. It's a good map, and I'm fine using it. Just two things for Vesper.

1. They are the du Lacs. That implies a lake. There's a nice river in there. But easily solved if the KEEP is on the lake, I suppose.

2. My playbook roll specifically said she found her chain shirt in the catacombs below her keep, or something like that. Would that have been possible if the keep is now a ruin? (I would have to reread the specific text, but I got the implication it was still occupied.)

Looks good otherwise. I like it! Will need to activate my chain shirt :)
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Re: Feedback wanted: Map, and some custom systems

Post by Tribe of One »

KahlessNestor wrote: Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:28 am Others noticed the Notice issue.

My only other thing was the map. It's a good map, and I'm fine using it. Just two things for Vesper.

1. They are the du Lacs. That implies a lake. There's a nice river in there. But easily solved if the KEEP is on the lake, I suppose.

2. My playbook roll specifically said she found her chain shirt in the catacombs below her keep, or something like that. Would that have been possible if the keep is now a ruin? (I would have to reread the specific text, but I got the implication it was still occupied.)

Looks good otherwise. I like it! Will need to activate my chain shirt :)
We could put the keep on a lake, and have it closed up while your father is away at war (explaining while most of the able-bodied young men are gone). You and your mother/retainers are living in the estate in the village.

The other option is that du Lac is an old name, from before your family came to the village -- perhaps they are from "the southern kingdoms" and were granted these lands by one of the crusading kings. That would give the family a bit of exotic heritage (and possible tensions with the villagers). If we did that, the keep could be anywhere nearby. I kind of like the idea of it being abandoned (perhaps your family fell on hard fortune, forcing your father to go to war seeking spoils). You could have found the chain shirt in the catacombs while exploring the ancestral home.

But we can go whatever way you like.
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KahlessNestor
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Re: Feedback wanted: Map, and some custom systems

Post by KahlessNestor »

That's fine. I like that idea, sure. Don't want to limit you :) We did earn our title through war.
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Koshnek
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Re: Feedback wanted: Map, and some custom systems

Post by Koshnek »

I do kind of like Sgt’s Idea of trading discovery pts in some number for skill ups. Granted I wouldn’t want it to be abusive... but it always hurts a little to spend an advance on skills. If you decide this is something you can do for skills....

*looks at the very large list of powers 8-) *

Otherwise, as is, I think everything is super cool as written.
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Re: Feedback wanted: Map, and some custom systems

Post by Pursuit »

A query on the combat: could one choose to fight with no modifier, positive or negative, and just do a straight roll following the SWADE rules?
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Re: Feedback wanted: Map, and some custom systems

Post by Koshnek »

@Pursuit isn’t that “cautious”?
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Re: Feedback wanted: Map, and some custom systems

Post by Pursuit »

@Koshnek, oh, I guess it is. Question retracted. 🙂
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Re: Feedback wanted: Map, and some custom systems

Post by John Smith »

Pursuit wrote: Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:31 pm @Koshnek, oh, I guess it is. Question retracted. 🙂
Slightly modified from Tribes use in our New West game :)
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