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Charles Green

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Everything posted by Charles Green

  1. What you've listed would indeed make a decent scenario or short campaign, provided it was written in such a way that the act of preparing the performing the counter-ritual was set up in such a way that it was filled with tension, conflict and all the other stuff good stories are made out of. It wouldn't need a full-blown ritual magic system, since both the initial ritual and the counter-ritual would be out of the player's hands, since the rituals would have to be designed by the scenario author so that they would work against each other. A case could be made for allowing the players the option of designing the counter-ritual themselves. In this instance, I think having rules support for the GM to make on-the-fly ritual scenes fun and interesting would be more helpful than rules for determining what you can do with a ritual.
  2. In both of these cases, the actual ritual itself it not something that needs specific rule attention to make it part of the game. In the first case, a missing ingredient, as you say, can just as easily be determined by ahead of time, and the PCs can be sent off for it. In the second case, details about what details are involved in the ritual are needless, as the PCs presence is usually enough to disrupt any evil rituals. And what's wrong with focusing on the PCs? The game is their story, and I as the GM are there to facilitate that story. I don't need a lot of specific details about rituals in any real way. Simply saying, "The cult leader has a big knife, and he's chanting, you've got maybe rounds to stop him" is enough detail for me. Adding more details, or having my NPCs adhere to a ritual system, does not make the game any more fun for me or my players.
  3. Yes, but is this fun? And, more to the point, is it fun for everyone at the table, GM included?
  4. The thing about rituals is that they take a lot of time to perform. My big question is whether or not this is reflected at the table. If one character is a mage, and is performing a ritual to, say, summon a demon, how much game-time will this take, and what are the rest of the characters doing while this happens? Also, adding a lot of detail may add to the verisimilitude of the ritual, but will that add any significant amount of fun to the game? If summoning a demon takes a long time, and the player has to do a lot of groundwork beforehand (obtaining sacrifices, securing a place a power, etc.), it has been my experience that most players won't bother-it's simply too much work for the benefit involved. Mundane solutions are easier to think up, and often easier to perform. If this is something that only happens between sessions, you may as well not bother with any rules-work; simply declare the ritual a success and go from there. However, if this will happen at the table, here's what I'd do: 1. Skip directly to the end of the ritual itself, which is often the most dramatic part. Handwave the other requirements by assuming it has already been taken care of (unless doing the ritual is the point of a whole scenario, which leads me to the second point). 2. Make sure everyone at the table has a part to play in the ritual, otherwise the whole thing becomes a big spotlight for the mage and no one else. The part may be as simple as "protect me if the demon breaks its binding", or as elaborate as "chant this phrase without stopping" (i.e. make a skill check.) I'm not trying to be contrary. I've given this a lot of thought, and have seem how it breaks down at my table. If you're looking for research material, Magic of the Young Kingdoms for Mongoose Elric has a discussion of this very topic, as it pertains to summoning rituals, the problems of using them in play, and how to get around them. Not that it's the best way to go forward, but it might spawn some ideas.
  5. It was planned as a supplement to the BRP core book. Chaosium made it into a monograph at the last minute.
  6. There is an expanded setting/campaign book in the works, but it is sadly on teh back burner for now. My schedule is pretty full for the coming year, and I don't know when I'll find time to get everything scheduled done. I'm tossing around the idea of doing smaller mini-expansions as time permits and putting them up on the Internet somewhere. At the time I wrote the New York chapter, I hadn't heard of The Warriors, though , as I've become familiar with the title, I can see the similarities. The New York section is a commentary on how, in times of stress, people fall back to more primal routines. And, since one of the things that we use to identify ourselves is our work, I figured that after the Sundering, the survivors would be more likely to form little tribes around a central trait, so that people who worked similar jobs would eventually turn into gangs. Plus I liked the image of a gang, still wearing tattered neck-ties, hunting zebra in the ruins of 5th Avenue.
  7. The Essence Crystals are more of a plot device. There is no set method for getting them; they come into play when and if the GM decides they should. They might be as easy to harvest as finding them and grabbing them, or it might detail a lengthy quest to find one and collect it. So, I guess the real answer is "it depends".
  8. If you don't mind, let me know how the game goes. I'd love to hear some actual play results.
  9. There are few hard-and-fast ways to do this. MRQ has them cost a certain number of Hero Points, as well as requiring certain characteristics and skill levels. Since such a thing does not exist in BRP, you might have characters need to meet certain requirements, and then forgo a certain number of experience checks in order to "pay" for them. Conversely, you might say that, at certain points in the campaign, everyone gets to select one, so that no character gets a bonus that no one else does.
  10. It had been my experience that players develop a clear idea about what they want their character to be in character creation. If you say "no one can be a magic user" during creation, no one will creature a character that needs/wants to learn magic as play progresses. If you want to place a limit on the number of magic users in the party, it is much better to so, from the beginning; "I want a low-magic setting, so only one of you can be a magic user", and creating characters with this in mind. Otherwise, you will likely get no one who uses magic. If this is the goal, you may as well say, "No magic using characters" from the beginning. Otherwise, you'll have characters who can use magic, but only partially, or you'll have a no-magic party, since none of your players will want to pursue a power system that you've already said is not going to be a focus for the game. Also, be aware that, without healing magic, combat becomes way more deadly than it would be otherwise. Think about the fact that this means losing a PC or two every time combat breaks out This won't happen every time, but a low-magic setting using BRP means that PCs need to be extraordinarily clever, or your PC death rate will be rather high. I'm not saying healing magic needs to be widely available, only that without it, combat will cut through your characters, and slow down any survivors (since they'll need to heal, possibly for weeks at a time), thereby affecting the tone and pacing of your game. If none of the opponents the PCs will face know magic, then this is not really an issue. If NPCs can know magic, players may think of this as "unfair", since the NPcs have tools the PCs don't.
  11. Sorcerers in Fractured Hopes can indeed know magical spells, so long as their total number of starting powers doesn't exceed the amount a character gets, based on the level of the campaign. One of the characters is my playtest campaign was a techno-shaman who used both Magic spells and Sorcery to get the abilities he wanted out of the system. For your second question, I'm not sure I understand what you're asking. Sorcerers are no better than any other sort of magic user, and have no special position withing the Order. Position within the Order of the Lion is not based on how your magical abilities manifest, but on length of time in the Order, services rendered, and things of that nature.
  12. I've run a number of long-term BRP based campaigns, and I can see where you might have this concern. The system holds up reasonably well in long-term play, though the nature of the experience system does produce some artifacts that you'll notice as play progresses. Early on, low skills tend to not succeed as often, but when they do, advancement comes easily. At about the 60%-70% level, this starts to reverse itself; success comes easily, but advancement tapers off and only occurs every so often. However, your chance for a special or critical success (and therefore a free advancement in that skill) also increases. High-level combat works very differently than starting-level combat. In my experience, two characters with high weapon skills tend to trade blows and parries for some time, until someone fumbles a parry or scores a critical hit. This usually means that hgh level combats end with a single telling blow. This also results in a higher quantity of Major Wounds, and the difference between a wound that leaves a scar and one that is fatal is pretty narrow. So, what you've notices is a concern, certainly, though it's not game-breaking by any means. Characters to hit a plateau in development at some level, but this doesn't completely stop them from advancing, it just changes the nature of the advance. There is still room to grow, as they will have other skills that they can use and increase. Also, there are combat options for dealing with skills over 100%.
  13. No. The creation of a Void Engine is entirely covered by casting the Four Elemental Spells with the intention of creating the Engine. There is no craft skill involved. This is correct. Once created, the Void Engine can be repaired by any sorcerer who possesses the Repair (Void Engine) skill. It is also possible to create a new Void Engine instead of repairing a broken one. Since no skill check is involved in the creation of a Void Engine, the Knowledge (Occult) skill has no place in the creation process. However, since there is a skill check involved with the repair process, I see no reason why you couldn't use Knowledge (Occult) as a complementary skill for the Repair (Void Engine) skill check. I'm glad you like it. Let me know if you have any other questions.
  14. I like it. The only addition I'd make would be to have mythos beasties never immune to explosives.
  15. The sample from Pulp Cthulhu posted back in the day had a new rules system called "Traits," and the one described Trait was for "Weird Knowledge". Does anyone know anything about these or how they were supposed to have worked? I was going to buy the book and see, but that seems less and less likely as time passes. I suspect they were supposed to work similarly to Spirit of the Century's Aspects, which I think are pretty cool in and of themselves. You can find the article in question here. Anyone have any ideas?
  16. Thanks everyone. It's good to have birthday wishes. It helps take the sting out of getting older.
  17. Thanks for your support. It's nice to hear that people are reading it after so long. I had mostly given up hope that it would ever see print. I've contacted Chaosium about the blurb. Hopefully they'll get it addressed. Can anyone who has a copy of the book tell me if any of the artwork is credited to Paul Baker?
  18. I don't know if it's a good idea, but it's certainly interesting. It might be a neat way of streamlining combat, as you could essentially make it only a single roll done by the player. A couple of years ago, I introduced a handful of veteran gamers to BRP during the Fractured Hopes playtest. One of the comments that came out of the game was that the melee fighters in the group didn't like how their successful "hit" results could be so easily countered by an opponent's parry skill. They felt like a hit should be a hit. Basing combat on the resistance table might have been a way around this complaint: "You're facing off against a capable looking swordman. Based on your relative skills, you have a 55% chance to get past his guard and wound him." On the swordman's turn:"He's looking angry now that you've gotten past his guard. He's coming at you, and you'll need that same 55% to parry. Or you could Dodge at (quick calculation) 65%, but risk losing the possibility of a riposte." Taking it a step further, you could even resolve an entire round's worth of fighting in a single die roll: Compare skill levels and get the percentage from the Table. If you succeed, you have injured your opponent, roll damage. If you fail, it has harmed you, and you take damage.
  19. I don't have a TOC, since Chaosium got artwork and did the layout for this one. I can post the titles of the various chapters, to give a better idea of what's actually in the book: Chp 1: Introduction. Chp 2: Characters (Some discussion of what kind of character you can play, including the Random Character Concept Generator, where you can roll a d100 a few times and wind up with something like"Gunslinging Lizard Assassin" or "Robot Fallen Priest with a Dark Secret.") Chp 3: Skills. Some new skills particular to the setting, as well as some new ways to use existing skills. In particular, there is a skill that lets a character possess a Voidship. Groups can either use this skill in common to get a single big ship, or to own several smaller ships for a fleet of their very own. Chp. 4: Powers. A discussion on how to use the various power systems, what place they have in the setting, as well as a handful of new powers and new uses for existing ones. Chp. 5: Spot Rules. Nothing too fancy, mainly a section of what optional rules I recommend for the setting and why, and how things might be changed by making different choices. Chp. 6: Voidships. A section on Voidcraft, the main way in which people get around in the new Earth. A voidship can be created out of any existing vehicle, and a techo-magical engine is used to get it moving. I've also got some ideas about using Voidships for chases and ship-to-ship combat. Chp. 7: Post-Sundering Earth. The main setting chapter, where I describe the sort of places that exist in the new world, with story hooks for using them. I've also included a Fragment generator for GMs who wish to fill the world with new places for players to explore and exploit. Chp. 8: Gamemastering. Here I highlight the themes of the setting and offer advise on how to bring them home to players during the course of the game. I also have an essay on the Three-Act play structure, and how to use it to create satisfying, off-the-cuff adventures where the GM doesn't know what's going to happen until the players make something happen. Chp. 9: Equipment. Beyond being a selection of interesting items, this chapter also talks about how equipment that characters choose says something about who they are. This is a combination gear and character chapter. Chp. 10: Bestiary. While every creature in the BRP book is also in Fractured Hopes, this section also has a bunch of new creatures particular to the setting, including intelligent octopi, and air-sharks that swim between the Fragments. Chp. 11: Putting the Pieces Together. This introductory adventure finds a group of disparate adventurers in a processing factory, in danger of being turned into mindless combat drones. As they escape, they discover who they are, and what their abilities are as well. As far as other rules go, this book has some material that is generally useful in other games, as well as a setting that makes explicit use of them. For example, I've included my Minion rules, a Motivation system for earning extra experience checks for following certain actions, and the Voidship design and combat section can be ported into other setting, especially sci-fi ones. Generally I approach these sorts of books to cover specific rules issues, which are generally compatible with other settings, and use the setting to illustrate my points. I think it's broadly applicable, but I'm certainly biased.
  20. I like it too, though he's hardly the "Big" Bad wolf with only a SIZ of 7.
  21. Jason is correct. The book is called Dragon Lines because the flows of Chi are a core concept-it gives Martial Artists their powers, and makes it so spirits and ghosts can exist alongside humanity.
  22. I think it may also be a holdover from earlier version of the Stormbringer rules, where a prospective sorcerer had to have a 16 in both POW and INT in order to learn and cast spells.
  23. The word from on high is that Chaosium will be releasing Fractured Hopes as a monograph rather than a full print publication. I've made sure they have the most current files. I do hope there is still some interest in the book, even after having lain fallow for so long.
  24. I'm nowhere near you, so i sadly can't play. Good luck finding players, though. More people should play Stormbringer.
  25. I've wrapped up the 3rd revision of Dragon Lines this morning, and submitted the manuscript to Alephtar Games. I'm going to take a much-needed break and let my hands and wrists recover.
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