Monday, May 26, 2014

Sometimes we just game

Recently I've been working on a few more things. Some are Inspired things as always but some are just things that I want to play or run. 

Inspired things

I'm a wargamer. 

I've played many varieties of wargame as well as other miniatures games that I prefer to call skirmish games. My personal favorite for company scale is Epic: Armageddon. It does all the things I like and requires a combined arms approach to win. For those skirmish games though I don't have a favorite. I have hundreds of models for several but I'm not sold on the rules for any. 

What gets me about them most is the treatment of linear distance. I understand that a 6'x4' table is not that big a space even at 25mm scale when you compare to the range of a rifle. But that just means I prefer to see that fact used, rather than worked around. I don't want there to be small squads of infantry running around with a mix of tanks and aircraft all playing in that same tiny space with their low ranges. If there is artillery on the board it ought to be an objective in this scale from my perspective.

To that extent, I've been working on a 25mm game that uses only the smallest amount of abstract range: 1"=10' but the models have 1" bases so it's a little loose at melee range. In this case, I like the fuzzy range because hand to hand combat is extremely chaotic and I don't want the game to bog down in an area that will typically not be a huge part of the action despite often being a decisive part of the game.

It uses d12s, one of my old favorites, and your basic trooper has 4s in their stats. There are 9 stats in 3 categoies: Combat (Firefight, Close Quarters, Hand to Hand), Discipline (Command, Initiative, Morale) and Physical (Carry, Move, Wound). We played a few test games using squads of WW2 soldiers (Russians vs Germans) taking a farm house.

So far the rules are behaving and giving pleasant results.

Just things

OSR Romance of the Three Kingdoms

For those that aren't OSR players the acronym means Old School Revival and refers to a collection of D&D editions and clones. My poison of choice for this game is Adventurer Conqueror King System. Normally just called ACKS.

I'm using ACKS basically intact though I customized the classes for this game (Courtier, Strategist, Doctor, General) and added Weapon Mastery adapted from the venerable Rules Cyclopedia I got in '91. I've also lifted some concepts from Flying Swordsmen. Not much of the rules from FS are getting used but the idea of Chi Abilities is there because I want to emulate the proto-wuxia flavor of the novel. The specific powers come mainly from Qin: The Warring States and are adapted to ACKS rules. 

One of my goals was to allow players to make anyone from Lu Bu to Zhuge Liang. So far I think it worked.

The game begins with the Yellow Scarf Rebellion in 184. The PCs are officers in Bing Province under the command of governor Ding Yuan and his chief secretary, Lu Bu.

Vampire Blood & Smoke

I'm a big fan of the new WOD reboots so far. Blood and Smoke has a lot of things going for it, specifically making the vampires more monstrous and their powers more interesting.

My game is set in Greater Boston in 1890. I've removed Clans as a rule and as an in-setting thing. Mechanically players get to pick their 3 Clan Disciplines, their Clan Bane and where their free Attribute dot goes rather than those being predetermined. Covenants et al work as written. For chargen I put a few limits and also give out more points in Disciplines: 6 total dots in Clan Disc ranked 3,2,1 and 1 dot in anything (can raise the 3 to a 4 or but a non-Clan Disc). The 10 Merit points also can only be spent on Merits and Blood Potency is 2.

I created 3 NPCs for each PC: 1 rival, 1 enemy, 1 neutral. The players got to define their rivals and enemies, the neutrals were essentially random. This gives us about 25 Kindred to populate the rather considerable area involved. It feels like a good amount.

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