Compiled herein you shall find the latest doctrine spreading across Malles Vermald, subject to the whims of that nameless fear. Mark it well.
HITTING THINGS WITH SWORDS, THE COMPENDIUM
After talks with Jeremy Duncan I switched melee combat to a contested roll, because why put all the variation on the attacker and not the defender?
Ranged attacks still target a static AC, but melee resolves as d20 +AB vs. d20 +DB, your Defence Bonus being AC -12 (assuming an unarmoured AC of 12). If the attacker fumbles or you roll a natural 20 on your defence you get to cut them.
For even more vicious combat you could rule that whoever rolls highest deals damage, regardless of who was attacking.
Rather than the traditional Melee/Ranged attack bonus split, I’ve switched to Hard & Fast.
- HARD uses your Strength modifier, and is for melee weapons that do d8 damage or more and bows.
- FAST uses your Dexterity modifier, and is for melee weapons that do d6 or less damage and most other ranged weapons.
If someone was throwing bigger melee weapons (like axes or spears), I’d probably let them use either.
The weapon properties I originally posted have been tweaked slightly.
Weapon damage is still determined by its size (minor d4, small d6, medium d8, great d10), but depending on what it is…
- Sword: If you haven’t been hit this Round roll twice for damage, take the best.
- Hammer: +2 to-hit vs. Medium AC or better, successful hit reduces Heavy AC by 1.
- Axe: Two damage dice vs. Light AC or less.
- Flail: +1 to-hit vs. Medium AC or better, ignores shields, successful hit reduces Heavy AC by 1, roll twice for damage and take the best. Can choose to attack weapon, Strength check to disarm on hit. On any miss roll under your AC or hit yourself.
- Dagger: Contested d20 + AB + Str/Dex bonus to grapple after hit, automatically hitting Flesh in subsequent rounds until they kick you off.
Make a contested Initiative roll to attack first when someone with a smaller weapon closes into melee.
Long/Great weapons automatically attack first and do double damage against charges.
EQUIPMENT WEAR AND TEAR
Every weapon has a Quality rating from 1-5; Quality 3 is average, Quality 1 weapons cost twice as much, Quality 5 costs half as much. The first time you roll its Quality or less when attacking, your weapon takes a number of Notches equal to its Quality. Weapons break when the number of Notches is equal to their damage die.
The next time you roll its Quality or less when attacking, or deal maximum damage, try to roll over the number of Notches on its damage die; if you’re successful, it takes another Notch, if you’re not, it breaks. So you might embarrassingly break your axe with a wild swing against the wall, or you might snap your dagger off in the merchant priest’s chest.
example 1: You roll a 2 when trying to stab someone with your new Quality 5 dagger. That’s lower than its Quality, so it takes 5 Notches. Daggers only deal d4 damage though, so it already has more Notches than it can handle and snaps on their armour. Don’t be such a penny pincher next time.
example 2: You roll a 3 when attacking someone with your Quality 3 longsword. You’ve damaged it once before, so it already has 3 Notches (equal to its Quality), and longswords deal d8 damage, so there’s a 3 in 8 chance of it breaking. You roll a d8 and get a 6, so your sword doesn’t break but it takes another Notch, increasing the breakage chance to 4 in 8 the next time you either roll its Quality or less when attacking, or deal 8 damage when cleaving someone in half.
If a player does something with a weapon that would obviously damage it, feel free to make them mark down another Notch or check for breakage.
And because I’m now having people roll for their defence with contested melee, I can use the same Quality range for armour.
When rolling for defence, if the d20 comes up as that number or less and the attacker hits you, decrease the AC of your armour by 1.
The standard rate for repair is a tenth of the item’s full cost per Notch or AC point (so one Notch on a Medium sword costs 2 silver groats to repair, and it will set you back 100 silver groats to repair the point of damage that drugged-up Nun of the Lotus caused to your Heavy armour).
Prices are still subject to review and gouging.
Also if you’re using firearms, the Notches rules actually work really well as a direct replacement for misfire rules and such.
Higher Quality firearms then obviously have less chance of misfiring, using an already-damaged firearm as a club requires checking if it breaks, and if you fail a breakage check on a misfire it freaking explodes!
First of all, everyone gets access to Combat Options. Only Fighters know how to fight recklessly? Pffft, nope.
- BUM RUSH: charge a new opponent, -2AC/DB, if their weapon is bigger than yours they attack first, double damage if you hit them.
- AIM: no action this Round, -4AC/DB, +4 ranged AB next Round.
- RECKLESS/DEFENSIVE: gain a bonus to your attack or defence by taking a double penalty to the other.
e.g. “I want +4 to hit this guy while I wail on him like a madman. Yes I know that means -8 to my AC/DB I don’t care I hate him.”
- PARRY: re-roll your defence instead of attacking this Round. You can do this a number of times equal to your Fast AB per combat.
- DUAL WIELDING: each Round choose between +1 AC, or two attacks. If you make two attacks split your AB between them with a penalty equal to the smaller of the two weapons.
(So fighting with a longsword and a parrying dagger is easier than fighting with two longswords.)
- GAMBIT: Just my own name for Called Shots, Stunts, whatever, built from one of Brendan’s posts.
If you want to make some kind of specific attack roll to-hit twice.
If both hit, it happens.
If one misses, it doesn’t.
If both miss you fumble.
It also means two chances to roll a fumble even if the other dice hits, and depending on how fancy/absurd the intended attack is I might increase fumble range. “You want to slide onto your knees beneath the spider with two daggers and slice its legs off? Okay that’s awesome, but you’re going to mess up super, really badly if either roll comes up 4 or less.”
[The reason I like this about a thousand times more than Called Shot (pick a range on d20, say 13-20, if you roll that you succeed, but if you roll the inverse range, 1-8, you fumble), which is what I was using before, is that it doesn’t disregard the AC of the thing you’re attacking, and characters with better Attack Bonuses are better at doing them, instead of the sickly wizard decapitating the giant mutated boar just because he rolled the number he picked.]
THE ART OF DYING
Flesh and Grit, pretty much the same as the first time I talked about them.
Flesh is the measure of how much physical punishment you can take before passing out, and caps out at your full class HD, plus anything gained from a Constitution bonus.
Grit is the rest of the hp you gain, and is a measure of ways you learn to avoid injury, plus glancing blows, exhaustion whatever.
- Attacks reduce Grit first, and when it’s gone you start taking Flesh wounds.
- You die at minus your class HD.
- If someone rolls a Critical hit against you it bypasses Grit and rolls double damage.
- Being attacked from behind or by surprise also bypasses Grit.
- Any attack that removes half your maximum Flesh or deals maximum weapon damage to Flesh causes a serious wound and removes any Grit you had left. Lost arms, plucked eyeballs, and messed-up innards don’t lend themselves to finesse.
If the damage was odd decrease a random Ability Score by 1, if the damage was even roll to see what body part you lost.
Bleed out d4hp every Round down to 0hp until you are healed.
After any encounter where you take a Flesh wound roll under your Constitution or contract an Infection.
If you don’t have any serious wounds, you can spend a Turn resting to regain Grit, roll your class HD.
PASSING OUT IN A HORRIBLE CAVE
Inspired by Josie’s Hit Point Stopwatch.
When you’re dropped to 0hp or below, you start using your class HD as a DEATHCLOCK. Each Round, try to roll a number higher than your current negative hp. When you fail, you pass out.
e.g. Malatesta du Caddis gets stabbed one too many times and is reduced to -2 Flesh. Being a Fighter, his class HD is d8, and needs to roll 3 or more to keep standing.
- Until you pass out, crawling away to a dark corner is fine, but every Round that you exert yourself (by attacking or running and such), you actually lose another point of Flesh.
- Characters that didn’t sustain any serious wounds regain a point of Flesh every Turn until they wake up at 1 Flesh.
- Characters that were dropped to 0hp with a serious wound have to make a Constitution check when they pass out, and another every Turn to stay alive until they are healed.
If mystical healing isn’t available, I’ve introduced a Leechcraft skill. [Which was then fixed by James Young who happened to have written this very rule a few months ago himself, minus the failure damage.]
- If successful, the character is stabilised and regains hit points equal to the number rolled.
- If you fail you actually cause damage equal to your failure.
e.g. Your friend just lost an arm and you have a 2 in 6 Surgery skill. You roll a 1 so you stop the bleeding and they regain 1hp. Later they also lose a leg but this time you roll a 6, failing by 4 and therefore causing another 4 points of damage to them, staring at your blood-soaked hands as they bleed out.
CARRYING SHIT AROUND
Okay okay encumbrance you horrible bitch, let’s do this, I’ll have you.
- Very small items in a pack don’t count towards encumbrance, just write them somewhere.
- Other items in a pack take up one slot each, number them from 1 upwards.
Small things like flasks can be carried in bundles of 3. Smaller things like iron spikes or sling bullets can be carried in bundles of 10.
Torches are not small, they take up a slot each.
- When you’ve got a pack on you’re carrying Dead Weight, you move slower and take a -2 penalty to physical rolls.
You can carry Dead Weight up to your Strength or Constitution, whichever is highest.
- If you carry more than that in your pack you are Overweight, you move at half speed and take -4 to physical rolls.
You can be Overweight up to your Strength PLUS Constitution, to a maximum of 30 items.
- If you carry any more than that you are Morbidly Encumbered, you can’t do anything but shuffle around under the weight because you’re greedy.
- If you want to find something in your pack in a pinch, roll its number or higher on a d30. No other action this Round.
- Money you pick up only counts as encumbering until you’ve visited a Merchant Priest or moneylender in a civilised area. Until then it takes up one item slot per 100 coins.
- You can carry up to 20 Worn Items on your person in immediately accessible places, including anything you’re holding in your hands. They can be strapped to you, in pouches, in orifices, wherever. Number them from 1 upwards.
Quivers of arrows, shields, and Medium or larger weapons have to be worn.
Heavy/long items take up two slots, and also they’re QUITE BIG. If you’re trying to walk around with a greatsword, a spear, and a 10′ pole strapped to you you’re a dickhead. Stop that.
- Now, contested melee means that there’s actually quite a wide range you can be hit on. Whenever you get hit in combat, if the number of their attack roll matches the number of one of your Worn Items, you lose that item as well as getting stabbed. Obviously the lower the number the less chance of it being hit, so shuffle your items around as you see fit.
The immediate penalty for wearing a pack might seem harsh, but have you tried swinging your arms around while wearing a backpack? Awkward.
Plus, this allows for carrying a whole buttload of stuff, so if you’ve crammed your pack with 26 different things, it’s then a matter for yourself if you want to bear the -4 penalty for trying to fight while carrying it, or put it down and risk losing everything.
Magic-Users remain much the same as the original Maleficar post.
One thing I’ve done away with is a lot of the bonus/penalty management because it’s way too fiddly and boring.
The only roll variations I’m still using are a bonus/penalty based on increased/decreased power or complexity for a Conduit of the Cosmos roll, and for preparation with spell components.
Reading Magic is still a deathtrap.
They’re all still carrying new spells around inside their skulls.
Then there’s Blood Magic/Sacrificial Lamb:
Before rolling on Cast the Bones, Maleficar can trade bled hp equal to the spell’s level to roll 4d6 rather than 3d6. The cost is triple if the blood isn’t their own.
They can also will the void into taking a part of themselves for guaranteed casting of a spell of any level. Roll d6 and count down from the top of your Ability Scores. Permanently lose a point.
Spell Research works like it says in this post.
SAINTS AND HERETICS
Here are the original religions.
HANDBOOK OF THE DEMIURGE
City/Alley/Roof/Sewer Crawling uses this post.
Random towns where drama and weird shit happens use this post.
SUNDRY DIVERSIONS FROM THE LAMENTATIONS of the FLAME PRINCESS RULESET
- Straight -5 AC when surprised/attacked from behind instead of losing Dexterity bonuses then -2 blah blah blah.
- The bonus for carrying a shield doesn’t vary between melee and ranged AC, it’s +1 for a small shield and +2 for a large shield, but probably only Fighters can use a weapon that requires a Hard AB while using a shield.
- If you aren’t a Fighter, you don’t get to add your Dexterity bonus to Medium or Heavy armour unless your Strength is equal to its AC.
- I’m using the firearms rules (see Brendan’s quick reference here), but the whole ignoring 5 points of actual worn armour but not your Dexterity modifier figure it out every time or record it on your sheet is too damn fiddly and mostly redundant. If a firearm is in armour piercing range, it ignores all your armour, too bad full plate, your AC is now 12 + Dexterity modifier. And forget reloading times, I don’t play with anyone that is going to spend 5-10 rounds reloading, so firearms are basically one-shot high damage armour punchers that everything is going to hear. That works for me.
- I ditched Architecture as a skill because it’s useless for my game and replaced it with Lore (cults, government, magic), and replaced Bushcraft with the more catch-all Naturalis, because Natural Philosophy and Taxonomy are valid occupations in Cörpathium and if your character wants to read up on things to have a bit more of an idea of the horrors that lurk out in Malles Vermald they have my blessing.
- Fuck alignment.
GIRLS ONLY WANT BOYFRIENDS WHO HAVE GREAT SKILLS
I don’t like Specialists being the only ones who can ever get better at skills ever.
So, if for some reason you needed to use a skill and succeeded, note it next to that skill. Note all of the times you successfully use that skill.
When you level up, roll a number of d6’s equal to your current skill level. If the result is equal or less than your number of successes, you gain a skill level.
Erase all your successes and start again.
Three Beard McGuigen, questionable Magic-User, found himself needing to find traps five times before he reached level 1, and only one of them blew off a body part. So that’s 4 successes.
He currently has a 1 in 6 skill level, so he rolls 1d6 and gets a 3. Hooray now he has a 2 in 6 chance of keeping his extremities when the Specialist isn’t around!