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Customizing and Compiling


K Peterson

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When I run a d100 campaign, I tend to do a lot of system customization work during my prep-time. I usually use one product as a core framework and then replace parts with rules from other d100 products - cherry-picking my favorite d100 rules, basically. For example: a few years ago, I ran a Horror-Western campaign that used MRQ2 as a framework, and then imported rules from Call of Cthulhu, and various d100 sourcebooks. I've had very few campaigns where I've used a d100 game as-written - probably CoC 5+ years ago.

What I'm not good with, however, is organizing these house rules (/major system tweaks) into an accessible format. I've either had a rule-book handy during play, and scads of random documents with house rules. Or I've edited an existing pdf, and merged it with other pdfs. Inevitably, I get a player asking me where to look to get a better view of the final 'product'. And, I typically answer, "Well, it's here... and here... and here." Usually, these players just give up eventually and hit me up with rules questions during the sessions.

I'm making some plans now to put together a Sword & Sorcery sandbox campaign, and I want a better way of compiling and 'presenting' the chopped-up rules to make it easier for players to reference. In this case, I'm going to be using Elric! as a framework and replacing parts with pieces from OpenQuest 2e, and Renaissance. I've consider either:

  • Compiling a number of pdfs broken into sections for chargen, task resolution, combat, etc.
  • Or, maybe going whole-hog and copy-pasting the contents into a doc, editing it and formatting into a 'book', creating a 'private' publishing through Lulu, and ordering a few copies.

Any BRP GMs that use any specific methods to organize their house rules, or BRP mishmashes?

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I like to use NBOS The Keep. It's useful for this sort of organization. It's NOT pretty but it's free.

http://www.nbos.com/products/keep/keep.htm

However, I do tend to also do as you said, and merge PDFs

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I think what you need to do is print off the house rule stuff. That way you can tell the players ' We are using the Elric! rules, except where these bits here supersede them."

Just printing off the alternate rules you are using should cut down on the amount of work you need to do to make it accessible, yet still give the players a way to keep up with what you're doing.

But...you really should be careful mixing and matching stuff, especially without the players be up on it and able to playtest stuff. There tend to be unforeseen complications that arise from swapping out rule sections. One thing that MRQ proved was that the rules in RQ/BRP are interconnected and changing any one thing can have a domino effect.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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But...you really should be careful mixing and matching stuff, especially without the players be up on it and able to playtest stuff. There tend to be unforeseen complications that arise from swapping out rule sections. One thing that MRQ proved was that the rules in RQ/BRP are interconnected and changing any one thing can have a domino effect.

Interesting. I haven't encountered any problems mixing and matching d100 rules sets in the past. At least nothing that has caused a noticeable effect on gameplay. On the contrary, d100/BRP has proven to be pretty resilient to whatever goofy changes I've made to it.

Could you provide an example of how MRQ caused a domino effect of complications?

P.S. As one example, I'm considering swapping out Elric's Major Wound Table with the Major Wound system found in Renaissance. There are similarities but in Renaissance the results are broken up into rough hit locations, allowing for PCs to aim at, and damage locations when taking a penalty to their attack roll. It doesn't go so far as introduce RQ-like hit location tracking, but some more focused targeting, if player's are willing to accept the penalty (and still do enough damage to cause a Major Wound). I could see the penalty as something to consider in the case of Elric's general skill levels, but I'm not sure if a complication will result from this change.

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Interesting. I haven't encountered any problems mixing and matching d100 rules sets in the past. At least nothing that has caused a noticeable effect on gameplay.

Well if you didn't have the changes written down for easy reference, any effects might not have been noticed! As a general rule players are very good at finding really blatantly obvious, game derailing stuff, that the GM missed completely. It's unnerving.

On the contrary, d100/BRP has proven to be pretty resilient to whatever goofy changes I've made to it.

Could you provide an example of how MRQ caused a domino effect of complications?

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Another example was the errata. Basically they started to change the way the attack-parry mechanic works, and it caused problems (for instance, at one time they had a successful parry block all damage, which pretty much made shields useless). It got to the point where each version of the errata was written to deal with problems that arose from the last version of the errata.

Did this occur with the original Mongoose RuneQuest ("MRQ1")? Or, the later version (MRQ2), as well?

I'm not very familiar with their first attempt at RuneQuest. I remember buying it in 2008 or 2009, and then quickly getting rid off it. Seemed a sloppy mess with poor artwork.

I'm not familiar with the major wound system in Renaissance, so I can't say what the effect would be. It doesn't sound too radical. It depends on how similar the two methods are and how similar the two systems are. The only thing that comes to mid right away is the effect on armor. Elric! used a generic armor system where the protection give was for the whole body. Since Renaissance allows for some sort of location targeting does the game also have location specific armor? ANd if so, do you want to port that over to BRP with the major wound system?

Renaissance uses a flat armor value for the entire body. Similar to Elric!. Though, of course, Elric! used a random armor value (roll a die type depending on the type of armor worn, with modifiers whether you wore a helm or not). I don't have any problems with random armor value, as-is.

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Any BRP GMs that use any specific methods to organize their house rules, or BRP mishmashes?

I like to make a document that the players can use. It usually doesn't have all of the rules options but rather contains character generation, special abilities and whatever else I think to throw in there.

I mostly do this while I'm procrastinating on other projects, so I have half a dozen sketched out documents for games I would like to some day run. The only two that are really fleshed is a Young Kingdoms one and a Ravenloft one. Here's the first two pages of Ravenloft so you can see what the hell I'm blathering about.

RavenloftGenerationpamphlet1_zps22fb8d5a.jpg

RavenloftGenerationpamphlet2_zps0a7fc444.jpg

70/420

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Did this occur with the original Mongoose RuneQuest ("MRQ1")? Or, the later version (MRQ2), as well?

MRQ1. I didn't buy MRQ2-basically I swore off Mongoose after the MRQ1 debacle. Especially after one of the playtesters told me how the whole process actually went down. Much of the problems with the rules were spotted by the playtesters, but implemented anyway. And someone from Mongoose told Steve Perrin that he didn't know how to write an RPG! Which is when Perrin dropped out of the playtest.

MRQ2 is supposedly a different animal. It was written by some actual RQ players with the intention of being played, not just stored on a shelf. I've peeked at RQ6, which was done by the same guys who did MRQ2, and it's certainly better than MRQ1.

I'm not very familiar with their first attempt at RuneQuest. I remember buying it in 2008 or 2009, and then quickly getting rid off it. Seemed a sloppy mess with poor artwork.

You're familiar enough. I might want to quote this for a new email signature! ;-D

Renaissance uses a flat armor value for the entire body. Similar to Elric!. Though, of course, Elric! used a random armor value (roll a die type depending on the type of armor worn, with modifiers whether you wore a helm or not). I don't have any problems with random armor value, as-is.

Okay. In Elric! a major wound take the character out of the fight, and the table is the long term effects.I take then that in Renaissance targeting locations results in different long term impairments?

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Okay. In Elric! a major wound take the character out of the fight, and the table is the long term effects.I take then that in Renaissance targeting locations results in different long term impairments?

Well, slightly different. Much like Elric! they involve penalties to characteristics that differ in severity - penalties which may or may not be permanent. The effects in Renaissance are just localized to the hit location targeted. Elric's are more... amorphous. With Elric, the characteristic loss is specific but the location affected is from a suggested list. The GM determines the specifics.

When I get off work, I'll post a comparison. To make things make a little more sense.

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That's an attractive approach.

It's pretty but time consuming. Like I said, it mostly happens when I'm trying to procrastinate. It also helps that I try to stay with a setting for a while and so don't need to mock one of these up every month or so.

70/420

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I have most things available as PDFs, so I can just refer to them when required.

When I put things together, I use PDFTK to split/merge PDFs. If the PDF is locked down so that PDFTK won't work with it, then I extract the text into a file and use that instead. It's not always pretty, so sometimes I tidy it up into Word, print it as a PDF and then use PDFTK to build up a single PDf of the information I want.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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Our Dragon Age campaign uses RuneQuest 3 as a base but we have ported spells and talents from the video game Dragon Age: Origins on top of it. The stuff needs to be well documented, available and editable so we use a wiki. The wiki also contains the basic mechanics of RQ including an expanded resistance table (because characteristics grow beyond normal RQ standards), success level table (up to skill 212), hit points / location for humanoids table etc.

Works well for us and I'd recommend a wiki for others who need to document house rules etc. in a clear and accessible manner.

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It's pretty but time consuming. Like I said, it mostly happens when I'm trying to procrastinate. It also helps that I try to stay with a setting for a while and so don't need to mock one of these up every month or so.

Yeah it is pretty. Just how time consuming is it? I got a couple of small supplements/handouts for BRP Mecha in the works.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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IIRC, you were originally using Pages with the character sheets. Are you still using it or have you moved on to another program?

Good memory. Yup, mostly Pages. A bit of stuff in GIMP or photoshop when needed. They've put out a new version of Pages but it hasn't won me over yet.

When I put things together, I use PDFTK to split/merge PDFs. If the PDF is locked down so that PDFTK won't work with it, then I extract the text into a file

I splice PDFs on occasion too. Not only does it narrow the focus for the players (who aren't going to read the thing anyway) but it makes me feel better knowing that if the player wants the book they still have to go out and buy the darned thing.

Works well for us and I'd recommend a wiki for others who need to document house rules etc. in a clear and accessible manner.

I have been wanting to use a wiki for the longest time. Haven't actually sat down and done it.

Yeah it is pretty. Just how time consuming is it? I got a couple of small supplements/handouts for BRP Mecha in the works.

Most of my time is sunk into futzing with fonts and stuff and writing text. If you have your text ready and you have an idea of what you want your document to look like you can actually move very fast. It's all just manipulating text boxes really. When I have a chance I'll post a picture with the layout visible so that you can see what I mean a little better.

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I have been wanting to use a wiki for the longest time. Haven't actually sat down and done it.

One of the gaming hosting sites like Obsidian Portal might be a good place to start for those who are interested in the wiki approach. I use that one for my Nehwon campaign. I find more and more of my players have the ability to use electronic resources at the gaming table (not in a disruptive way). So, an accessible wiki can work better than printed out PDF notes. It's also changeable if you work out that your cool house rules really just ain't that good.

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Are you referring to your quest-bird.com page or something different?

One of the things that has kept me from the plunge is aesthetics. I like to have a lot of control over what things look like in order to set a mood. I've always thought your page looked rather sharp though, so if you did that through Obsidian Portal than my interest is piqued.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for praising my old old site Chaot :-P. No, Obsidian Portal is a different one and no you don't get complete control over the aesthetics on it unless you pay, which is a bit of a shame. However what you do get is the ability for your players to also edit or contribute to your wiki, comment on adventure logs or at least manage their own characters. It's the collaborative thing which is appealing.

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