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JonL last won the day on January 9

JonL had the most liked content!

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About JonL

  • Rank
    Senior Member


  • RPG Biography
    Not all the way back, but pretty far.
  • Current games
    Starcraft using d6 Space
  • Location
    United States
  • Blurb
    I play in a group that sets Tolkien's song lyrics to string band music, The lonely Mountain String Band http://lmsb.me
  1. WRT Prax in particular, I would expect animals that are party to the Covenant in the prey/grazer role to provide more nutrition to Covenant parties in the hunter/herder role than would otherwise be the case, just as the Covenant grazers are better able to be sustained by the limited resources of the chaparral than foreign animals like horses.
  2. Genre Pack Use Cases

    I just did a brain-dump on Flaws over in the House-Rules thread. What strikes me as relevant to this case is the idea of engaging in an extremely Extended Contest with one's Flaw. A VtM-style Vampire could have a "Beast Within" Flaw. Whenever the PC struggles with it, keep track of RP for & against. Every time the PC or the Beast hit 5 RP, assess Victory/Defeat. non-Marginal results will impact the severity of the Flaw going forward as the PC evolves a more harmonious relationship with its dark side or falls further into its shadow.
  3. House Rules from Veterans

    Unrated Flaws Instead of assigning ratings to Flaws, Players simply note them on the character sheet. The GM then chooses the Resistance for any Flaw challenges that present themselves in the game just like any other contest. This adds a bit more flexibility, such that the same Flaw might be a mere inconvenience one situation yet a major challenge in another. The downside of this approach is that it removes the Players' ability to express how big or small a problem they want a Flaw to be over the course of the campaign by tying it to a high or low rated Ability. Flaws Rated with Resistances Instead of having Flaws ratings tied to a character's other abilities, they get rated with a Resistance level (Moderate, Hard, etc.) that describes how hard it is for the character to overcome that particular Flaw. This produces similar results over time to tying them to ability ratings, while simplifying character creation and bookeeping. Flaws Rated with Penalties Essentially a combination of the above two approaches. Characters' Flaws are rated with a penalty describing their severity (-3, -6, -9, -w). The GM sets Resistance for a Flaw challenge based on the situation/narrative/etc. The character then applies the Flaw's penalty to whatever Ability they're using for the contest. It's functionally similar to a Consequence of Defeat, and long-term Consequences like loosing a limb or public disgrace can easily be integrated into the Flaw framework. Dynamic Flaws Building on the above, lingering Benefits of Victory or Consequences of Defeat from Flaw challenges could be applied to the Flaws themselves. This could either be done in a direct fashion, such that Victory in a Flaw challenge makes it easier to overcome the next time while Defeat makes the next flaw challenge harder - or - in an inverse fashion, such that overcoming your Flaw today means that it will be a bigger challenge the next time. The latter approach somewhat parallels the Pass/Fail cycle dynamic. Which approach one chooses would impact the tone of the game through the nature of the Characters' personal struggles. Extended Flaws A long term struggle with addiction, a vendetta, outlawry, poverty, societal acceptence, curses, and so on can be modeled as an extremely Extended Contest with one's Flaw. Keep track or Result Points from any Flaw challenge, and whenever the Player or the Flaw hit 5RP, assess the degree of Victory or Defeat based on the spread. Depending upon that result the nature of the Flaw and its severity (rating, penalty, however you're doing it) will change. A vendetta might escalate to a blood feud or calm to a respectful rivalry. An addict might become more regularly functional or fall off the wagon. A Complete Victory might resolve the Flaw entirely, while a Complete Defeat might add a Mastery to the Flaw's severity or add a new Flaw.
  4. Children and young adults

    Glad to share. Here is a list method array I put together a couple years ago for playing Monster High (or Everafter High, or Descendants, or...) with my daughters. For a teen-PC game, the characters' role within the school's micro-society replaces the profession that might describe how an adult fits within the broader world. Sadly, yes, Nameless Streets is OOP and the HQ version is unlikely to be republished. You might be able to find a 2nd-hand harcopy, but I'd look on ebay or Noble Knight rather than Amazon, as the latter's price-bots think folks are willing to pay $120+ for a rare item, despite those same half-dozen hard copies being offered for sale for a year or more. Short version on the Flaw variant is that when the GM presents a Flaw challenge, instead of rolling the player can simply choose to Fail the roll. Doing so gains the player an additional Hero Point. It's a nice dynamic that rewards leaning-into the Flaw, without being quite so intrusive into the flow of the game as the similar Compel mechanic in Fate can sometimes be.
  5. HQ2 Basics Page?

    On a sadder but hopefully useful criticism note, the mashup game I made the list roster above for ended up being played with Savage Worlds. I had more or less sold the other rotating co-GMs, all lifelong gamers who have played lots of different sorts of games over the years - including one published RPG author - on the of use HQ for the ease of prep and challenge balancing it provides and its qualitatively-conceptualized mechanics making it simple to have a cross-genre mashup party on dimension-hopping adventures right out of the box without worrying about balancing a +3 Mithril battle-axe's, armor-piercing rating vs futuristic power armor in a sensible fashion. They pretty much did a 180 when exposed to the rulebooks. Some quotes: Now the time constraint they're mentioning is a factor, but 3/4 of these guys had played in HQ games I've run once or twice before, all played modern games like Fate or Cortex+ before, and all either played in or run long Pendragon campaigns. They still struggled to absorb the rules from the books. I think showing them the quick-ref sheets actually made things worse, as the ones in circulation cram lots of seldom-used things alongside key elements, don't represent relationships between the tables application clearly, and mostly expect the GM to already know what to look for and just need a refresher. They saw a whole bunch of tables without much in the way of context and started making comments about Rolemaster. We had a great time at our old pals' weekend getaway playing our crazy mashup game in Savage Worlds, but sure enough there were the expected headaches trying to balance all the disparate mechanical bits in a satisfying fashion. My point in all this, and here directing to @Ian Cooper and @Jeff in particular, is that despite being a game that can be taught to utter novices in half and hour, and that can trivially have it's complexity dialed up or down to suit a given game/group's needs, in this instance the presentation sunk it. HQ would greatly benefit from a concise quickstart that clearly guides a new person through the key concepts. Similarly a play-aid that groups key related tables together along with notes on their application would be a great boon to adoption. I've started such a thing here, based on Ian and @Corvantir's work elsewhere on this board. I say all this not to bash the game or any author's writing style, but out of love for the game and a desire for it to be more accessible to new people.
  6. Children and young adults

    Apart from things that are in-setting limited to adults, I'd make them like any other character. Their "profession" keyword and related abilities may be quite different than what an adult character might have, but are not inherently less efficacious at solving problems for which they are well suited than an adult's abilities are. Where the differences would appear would be in how I set resistance for certain things when relying on credibility rather than story flow. Some things will be easier for a kid, some things will be harder. Using a youth-centric ability to tackle adult problems would be more likely to be a stretch, although there would also be angles where a kid's out-of-context approach to an adult challenge might actually be optimal. The player's selection of abilities & flaws will also guide the extent to which the character's youth should be relevant to the narrative. If the character is set up along the lines of Tom Swift or Tin Tin, the youth angle is seldom a big deal as the character interacts with the world much like the adults do. Contrast those stories with the Harry Potter series, where the constraints of the principals' status as juveniles and inexperience is central to the narrative. I think the Fate-ish Flaws-as-Hero-Point-Generators variant introduced in Nameless Streets is worth considering. Deliberately choosing to fail a Flaw roll in exchange for being extra awesome later on can incentivise the sort of story flow where the adults stymie the character's progress in the middle acts, only for the character to dramatically triumph later on (though perhaps in part by having taken the adults' lessons to heart).
  7. Genre Pack Use Cases

    Look also at Marginal Victories as opportunities for that sort of "Succss, but at what cost?" dynamic.
  8. HQ2 Basics Page?

    Here's a quick list method approach I threw together for an upcoming cross-setting mashup game. It pre-chooses some things and constrains in places so as to guide a player quickly through the process. How to Make a Character in Under Ten Minutes Write a pithy one-liner description of your species/culture/background. Assign it a rating of 15 Come up with two breakout abilities for details or specialties within it. Rate one at +1 and one at +2. Write a pithy one-liner description of your training/profession/experience. Assign it a rating of 17 Come up with three breakout abilities for details or specialties within it. Rate them at +1. +2, and +3. Describe three more abilities to represent other things not covered by the above, or things that are related but distinct enough to merit a seperate ability. These can represent special abilities or powers, connections, character/personality traits, special gear, followers, etc. - basically anything that might help you solve a problem. Rate two of them at 13, one at 15. Write a pithy one-liner description of a distinguishing characteristic, ability, or trait. Either make it it's own ability rated at 17, or a breakout under any of the above at +4 Do ten of the following, note the ability next to each one you choose. "Raise a stand-alone..." ability cannot be used on the same ability as "Add a new +1 breakout.." or "Raise a keyword..." Option Chosen Ability to which applied Raise a stand-alone ability by 1 Raise a stand-alone ability by 1 Raise a stand-alone ability by 1 Raise a stand-alone ability by 1 Raise a stand-alone ability by 1 Raise a breakout ability by bonus by 1 Raise a breakout ability by bonus by 1 Raise a breakout ability by bonus by 1 Raise a breakout ability by bonus by 1 Raise a breakout ability by bonus by 1 Add a new stand-alone ability rated at 13 Add a new stand-alone ability rated at 13 Add a new stand-alone ability rated at 13 Add a new stand-alone ability rated at 13 Add a new +1 breakout to an existing ability Add a new +1 breakout to an existing ability Add a new +1 breakout to an existing ability Add a new +1 breakout to an existing ability Raise a keyword (ability that has breakouts) by 1 Raise a keyword (ability that has breakouts) by 1 Raise a keyword (ability that has breakouts) by 1 Describe 1-3 Flaws. The first has the same rating as your highest ability/keyword. A second gets the same rating as your second highest ability/keyword. A third gets the same rating as your lowest
  9. House Rules from Veterans

    That's good to know. Understanding the baseline can let us judge where our games are relative to it. What I like about your approach is that it lets the advancement get ahead of the resistance for a while before correcting. I worry that keeping them in balance all he time would make the players feel like they're treading water.
  10. House Rules from Veterans

    I imagine making a spreadsheet with all the characters abilities on it at the start of play. If the median rating is close to 14, I might just say "Great -that's our base difficulty" and keep the spreadsheet up to date as advancement takes place. If the initial value is too far off from 14, I would probably keep track of the %-change from baseline and apply that as a coefficient to 14. This is more complicated than just following the session count, but it would reflect the actual pace of your players advancement rather than the designers' educated guess (and once it's built the spreadsheet does all the work). It still doesn't address the case where you have Alice spending all her points in play and Bob spending all his on advancement. In a short run, Alice's approach is actually more impactful, but in a long campaign, Bob's character will gradually become more effectual relative to Alice's. I don't think that the extreme case (which admittedly may never arise for many play groups) can be solved without taking away the resource trade-off between in-play boosts and advancement resource. The now-sadly-out-of-print Nameless Streets presented a few alternate advancement schemes, including RuneQuest/Pendragon-style use-it-to-raise-it approaches, along with a Fate-esque Flaws-as-Hero-Point-Generators option. I really like the approach jajagappa laid out above, and will probably try it out at some point. In the game I'm running for my kids & their friends, they start each session with a minimum of one Hero Point, and can gain more in play through deliberately failing Flaw rolls (as in NS) or through particularly good roleplaying. For advancement, I simply give them the opportunity at the end of each adventure to do one of the following: Raise a keyword rating by 1 Raise two different ability ratings or breakout bonuses by 1 Raise one ability/breakout by 1 and add a new ability at 13 or a new+1 breakout. With more experienced gamers, I might add some more options/permutations to that, but for the kids (ages 6-10) I like to keep it simple.
  11. Sun County (RQ) with HeroQuest Glorantha rules

    I can see where the approach is less of a good fit for that use case. I'm glad to have it in the toolbox when it does make sense though. I once ran a session at a con where, thanks to a terse description on a scheduling whiteboard, half of the players thought they had signed-up to play the Milton Bradley game, among which two had never played a tabletop RPG before. I handed them what I call "half-baked" characters - basically unfinished pregens. They have an essential concept and enough meat on their bones to start playing, but with some room for the players to customize and develop to their liking once they get their feet wet. Having fewer things on the sheet to take-in at first also helps a newcomer absorb what's there. I keep meaning to share the half-bakes on the Cult-of-Chaos forum, but they're all just hand-written at present. I've got two Gloranthan sets (one for Dragon Pass, one for Pavis) and a set of super-heroes. Each group contains some characters with personal/familial/professional connections to others in the party, which also helps an ad-hoc player group at a con or demo game gel.
  12. Sun County (RQ) with HeroQuest Glorantha rules

    It's a big help for players unfamilliar with a given setting and how their players fit within it.
  13. House Rules from Veterans

    I think that particular bit is one of the warts on HQ as written. It carries an implicit assumption about how many Hero Points get spent for advancement vs how many get spent in play. If your players' behavior is our of step with the assumed expenditure balance, the base resistance will be out of whack. A thoughtful GM can compensate, but it's still a pitfall. I haven't run a long-running campaign yet, but when I do, I might look at having the base resistance reflect the median ability rating of the PCs in the party. Something like that would work with whatever sort of advancement scheme one might be using.
  14. Bronze Chainmail

    RW bronze is an alloy of copper and tin and is rarely if ever found in nature. G bronze is the fragments of dead gods' bones and you can dig it up out of the ground where they fell. Their properties are somewhat different.
  15. In the absence of a specific ability, I'll often go to a culture/background keyword for catch-all "thing that everyone has some innate capability for even if you aren't specifically developing it" use. It may end up being a stretch depending on how intricate the challenge is, or may suffer from broad-ability-alongside-specific-ability disadvantage, but it still bares remembering that in most cases the culture keyword also implies a baseline of things an otherwise healthy adult member of your species can do. I wouldn't usually make someone go with the "Nothing Relevant 6" unless the challenge was something completely out-of-context for them, requires specialized training/knowledge, etc.