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An Array of Specimens Tagged as Combat

DEATH & DISMEMBERMENT


Emmy Allen just put up a great post over at Cavegirl’s Game Stuff about wounds/not automatically dying at 0HP, you should read it.

On a tangent, last year I found time to start thinking about D&D again, and I found that after such a long time without playing at all it really changes/solidifies what you want to actually get out of playing. And for me that’s FAST, RECKLESS FUN.

In looking at things I’ve written in the past, there’s a lot of doom you guys. So much doom.
I think previously I got a bit carried away because doom is fucking fun and interesting to write, but after having time away from it I read some of it and think “fuuuuuuck how would I even make than fun or even work in a game?”
I love horror, I love GROT, and I want to bend things back around to that kind of comedic gore and debauchery rather than the pockets of everything’s-fucked-forever that I had accidentally stumbled in to.

That said, I really don’t mind terrible things happening to players: My brother’s wizard having his 3 remaining good limbs torn off by thin air the first time he tried to cast a spell was fucking hilarious, and lead to him hiring a little mercenary girl who the dice told me thought he was the most amazing thing in existence and carried him around like a backpack. IT WAS THE BEST.

I also don’t mind cataclysmic game-changing things happening to the world – it’s part of why I built Corpathium to be something I could just re-generate over and over again.

I just want those things to be FUNNY (even if just in the extremity of their terribleness), and USABLE.
If I’d struggle to know what to do next if it came up in a game I don’t want it anymore.

And one of the most important things I’m keeping in mind is something Rose once said to me after a game, which to paraphrase: the players need something good to happen to them, otherwise it’s just all doom and terror and pain forever.
Which might be fun to dream up and write, but isn’t so fun to play through if that’s all there is.

So don’t expect to see my stuff suddenly become less gory and demented and psychosexual, I just want to make sure that it’s actually all usable, funny, and allows space to breathe, rather than just turning into a macabre writing experiment.
More Return of the Living Dead less Day of the Dead.

Corpathium is being re-written, my magic tables and system are being revised, I don’t know where I’ll get the time but I want to make some really great things.

And if my rules thought they were safe they were so fucking wrong.
For starters I stopped pretending I was playing Lamentations of the Flame Princess with house rules – bitch your game has been pure house rules for a long time.
Then I started looking really hard at things to decide what was important and what wasn’t, ditched what wasn’t, and pushed and poked what was to make it as simple and quick as possible (e.g. my original Weapon Breakage/Notches rules: it used to be that every weapon had a quality rating 1-5 and you checked it for breakage using the weapon’s damage dice whenever an attack roll came up as the quality rating or less. That makes perfect sense as an exercise in simulation! But not in fucking play! Now it uses a simple Shitty/Basic/Quality rating that the player actively chooses to test to do cool shit which I’ll explain some other time), with bonus points for using the same mechanics as other rules. Because I really can’t be bothered tracking 50 subsystems anymore.

It’s not all finished, and I don’t know when I’ll share things, but when I started revising everything I decided to type it up like an actual ruleset which is now tentatively titled GROT.

Long freaking story short here’s an excerpt straight from it explaining MY new way of doing HP/wounds/dying covered in filth:


Read the rest…

2 comments



Use Protection


It doesn’t pay to be defenseless out here, so who comes out to play when this town/city is under siege?

(Alternatively, throw them into armies for a bit of fun.)

 

TownCityd20 Special Protection
11Trained beasts with amazing outfits.
_2Alchemical horrors released from orb-like receptacles suspended along the streets.
23World-weary Watch that become crazed murder party animals when they drink from their special flasks. Then they have the most fun, everything else is just a come-down.
3_Rag-tag militia that smear faeces on their terrible weapons and hurl horrified-looking frogs who've had their orifices sealed shut, bloated with hallucinogenic gas.
_4Ceramic suits of armour full of yellow slime animated by the will of quadriplegic telepaths on stalking animal-limbed ceramic thrones.
45A stolen unit of lobotomised harvest soldiers, bearing lanterns full of Mondmilch.
5_A lusty troupe from a particularly violent burlesque school.
_6Gaily dressed ribald arquebusiers, accompanied by nervous squires carrying beautifully obscene painted pavise shields to protect them during their nonchalant mode of jocular assault.
67Wax soldiers animated by the black wicks burning from the backs of their heads.
7_Elderly shapeshifters trading protection for having someone to talk to.
88A Flesh Crafter sect and their creations abominable and beautiful.
_9Swarms of little girls with sharp knives who climb like spiders, with powdered white faces and brilliant pink painted lips spreading like a rash over their chins.
910Discrete poison-throwers that look just like everybody else.
10_A lone sorceress who lives in a towering mud-brick spire covered in drooping, determined flowers.
_11Fat, reconstituting giant mud spiders powered by clockwork orbs at their hearts, crawling out from beneath lifting pavement stones.
1112Beautiful sombre women in robes like a procession of Mother Marys, swinging rosary-like strings of censer balls full of smouldering narcotics.
12_Red beehives goaded into a frenzied madness by their keepers, stung to death in the process.
_13Purposely-stunted dwarfish entertainers riding on the backs of crazed beasts heavily pregnant with parasitic jellies. Wagers are taken on the outcome and chaos.
1314A Plague Priest colony swinging and swaying their bodies to ring the crusty bells hanging from their rotting wrappings.
1415Noxious green gases expelled from towering grotesque corals doused in water, sapping the fluid from anyone who didn't recently swallow a tiny squid.
15_Really unsettling malnourished figures wearing fly masks, slowly shifting their feet in incongruously marshy patches of land around the perimeter of the town, constantly wreathed in grey fog.
_16A rain of exploding, dividing frogs launched from bulbous pitted mortars. They reform from the chunks, getting smaller and smaller, getting into all your cracks.
When it's over they're cleaned up by ravenous herons with surgically-implanted copper bellies full of green stomach acid bubbling behind foggy glass viewing portals.
1617Ever-so-vaguely humanoid flesh-warped pink pigs wearing dented plates of armour and wielding shoddy halberds and hammers, squealing in fear and challenge.
17_Rumour holds that if a particular old man is injured, the town cats will metamorphose into vengeance-bound yellow-eyed black slavering beasts the size of cows.
They always get him drunk and push him to the front line.
_18The walls of the city are hollow, stone wall and walkways wrapped around a ceramic shell exposed on the exterior side. Expansive black puddings and violet jellies kept alive by food shoved through hatches slide and squeeze through them, released when necessary by watchman that bring heavy hammers crashing down on the ceramic exterior wall.
1819Twelve crows with golden nails driven into their chests by five cursed old women. Each crow drags d20 mindless spirits with them, eaten from corpses.
If a crow is killed its spirits dissolve - if the nail is removed while it still lives the spirits roam uncontrolled and vengeful - if an old woman is killed so are three crows.
The final old woman is a failsafe lest the others are all killed, in which case the twelve golden nails break free and plunge into her eyes, and she becomes a giant golden-feathered crow beast with glorious wings sweeping over four ragged arms and a headstone crown, crawling with restless spirits like lice.
19_The people are all infested by some manner of fungus, thin-stemmed fruiting bodies sprouting out from around their eyes.
It doesn't bother them much apart from imbuing them with a tremendous sense of community spirit, but when murdered they tend to explode in a cloud of invasive spores.
2020Grenadiers riding in chariots drawn by packs of armoured hairless baboons painted in the colours of the particular Grenadier House, each with their own alchemical recipe.
Turning base metal to gold still escapes them, but they're getting pretty close to that universal solvent.

One comment



Arts & Crafts: Morbidly Encumbered edition


My players love them some arts & crafts, when I give them little map pieces to put together they all get a little bit more giddy and conspiratorial (like with Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine or STEAL THE EYES OF YASHOGGHUH! which they are playing through right now).

But we were playing a week or so ago and they were divvying out stolen jewellery and codpieces and swapping equipment with each other before descending beneath a swamp and all I could think was “godddd I wish they could just pull things off their sheets and hand them to each other instead of all this erasing/re-writing bullshit”.

And then I realised why not? WHY NOT?? Why am I using ratty lined tables that are continually being scrawled over like an ambitionless mouthbreather? WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY. WE HAVE BLUE-TAC.

 

So I whipped these up before our next game, with a page of the character sheet devoted to worn equipment, and a separate backpack (drawn by Rose forever ago) for the rest:

 

And suddenly they were actually paying attention to what they were carrying and moving things around and watching how close they were to being over-encumbered and I DIDN’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING TO PROMPT IT.

Really they’ve never understood encumbrance rules properly but make it a bit more tangible and suddenly everything becomes clear and actually a bit fun what?

 

So hell yes, this is my encumbrance/inventory system now, it makes things so much easier to track, gives heaps of extra room for little details/rules/sweet illustrations, and also means I can do fun things like physically take things away from people when they get stolen or dropped or turned into spiders.

I feel dumb that it never occurred to me before.

 

Jeff Russell was lamenting about not being able to do this in online games and I ran off at the mouth about using Pinterest for it, which is actually a super good idea.

If everyone playing makes a Pinterest board containing a pinned picture for each piece of their equipment and then shares it with the other people playing, they can then move items around/be given stuff/drop stuff/whatever.

  • Want to give another player an item? Share the pin with them then delete it from your board.
  • Want to write down rules or little notes for that magic item you just got? You can type a message on the pin.
  • Are you the DM and you’ve got a bunch of items hidden away in this room? Collect a pin that fits each of them before the game then share them with your players as they find them.
  • Pinterest is more relevant to D&D than I even realised.

 

Here’s the new character sheet, click here and it’ll take you to a folder with separate files for the character sheet, the item cards, the backpacks, and the satchels and pouches (print everything except the item cards double-sided, they’re sized for A4 printing on machines that add a 5mm margin):

 

The dice are on there because I bought Emma the most metal set I could find and she now carries them around in her purse but she doesn’t know which one to grab to make Malatesta cut someone in half.

 

My encumbrance rules have changed a little to go with this so they now work like this:

  • Items you’re wearing can be grabbed and used at-will (they’re the ones that get stuck to your character sheet).
  • You have 5 slots for items you’re holding or simply want to protect better; these can’t be damaged or dropped unless you roll a natural 1 when defending in contested melee. If that happens roll a d10 to see which item is affected and check Breakage.
    When you’re actually holding any of these items in your hands move them to the 2 slots on the front of the sheet (but that doesn’t free up the ones you moved them from).
    [INTERLUDE: Breakage is just new wording for Quality from the Notches rules, it just made more sense on the whole, and now EVERYTHING has a Breakage value. Most Breakage values are between 1-5, and everything other than a weapon will use a d8 for its check (weapons use their damage die); if you roll the Breakage value or less, it breaks, otherwise it’s fine unless you roll the maximum value of the dice in which case you drop it. Weapons and armour take a Notch instead of breaking.
    Most items will have a Breakage chance of 3, non-intricate metal items would be 1 or 2, vanity mirrors and oil flasks would be 5.]
  • You have 5 slots for loose items, each taking up two numbers from 2-11.
  • You have 5 slots specifically for armour and nothing else, numbered 12-16. Medium armour takes up 2 slots, heavy armour takes up 3.
    I’ve started ruling that additional pieces of armour like helmets or gauntlets or Sabatons of Shame don’t increase AC, but you can sacrifice them to make an attack against you re-roll its damage (so if a successful attack against you just rolled 8 damage and you know that’s high enough to cut off a limb you can say “oh shit I headbutt the blade” and destroy your helmet and hope like hell the damage roll is lower this time).
    If you run out of armour slots and want to wear more pieces they can go in loose items.
  • When a successful attack roll against you matches the number of a filled loose item or armour slot (with contested melee a successful attack roll can be quite low), check Breakage for the item.
  • You can buy satchels or pouches to hold multiple items on a loose or held item slot. That means you can carry more shit and protect more things on those lower numbers, but if the pouch gets hit and fails its Breakage check everything falls out and you need to check Breakage for all of them.
    Satchels can carry 4 items, Small Pouches can carry 2, and some items (like the fabulous wig that Rose’s drag queen specialist Muffin McTavish is currently sporting) can store extra items inside themselves already.
  • You can carry as many small insignificant items in one slot as you can write on the item card.
  • When you’re wearing equipment the only items that stack are money (300 coins or small gems), ammunition (20 arrows/bolts/shot balls, 10 sling bullets), and small things like iron spikes or powder apostles (5 each). Every oil flask takes up a slot.
    When it’s in your backpack you can stack smaller things like oil flasks up to 3 per slot.

My other encumbrance rules work pretty much the same as before but with some different conditions that apply to encumbrance levels (Movement Dice explained below):

  • If you’re only carrying worn equipment your Movement Dice is d8, and you can roll twice and take the best for physical checks like climbing or jumping out of the way of giant rolling balls of gore.
  • When wearing a backpack you can carry a number of Dead Weight items up to your Strength or Constitution score, whichever is higher.
    Your Movement Dice is now d6, you roll once for physical checks, but can discard your backpack to re-roll (so if you’re hanging above a pit full of angry fishrats and fail your climbing check, you can shrug off your backpack and hope really hard that you don’t fail the re-roll and fall after it).
  • You can carry more than that up to a total of your Strength + Constitution and be Overweight.
    Your Movement Dice is now d4, you have to roll twice and take the worst for physical checks, but can discard your backpack to re-roll.
  • If you carry any more than that you’re Morbidly Encumbered, which is the same as being Overweight except that you have to roll twice and take the worst for ALL physical rolls including attacks and movement checks.

 

MOVEMENT DICE

 

Rolled for chases or when contested speed is otherwise an issue (like when you and the cultist look each other in the eyes and dash towards the slime-spewing altar).

  • Whoever rolls highest wins. In a one-on-one situation I’d rule that if your Movement Dice is the same but you’re wearing less armour than your opponent you can add your Dexterity modifier.
  • In a chase use the lowest Movement Dice of the group unless you bail on each other; on a lost roll decrease your dice size, on a win increase your dice size, and the chase ends when someone loses on a d4 or wins on a d20.
  • During a chase any ranged attacks suffer a penalty equal to your opponent’s Movement Dice.
  • If you’re being chased and your opponent rolls a 1 on any dice you can try to do something to lose them (so in a city something like jumping onto a roof or into an alley or a random doorway or spilling a cart in front of them), and if you win the next check it works and the chase is over.
    If you’re chasing and your opponent rolls a 1 on any dice you can try to do something to stop them (like yelling at Old Bob who’s always standing in front of the Bloated Cuttlefish to grab them), and if you win the next check it works and the chase is over.

The lowest Movement Dice of the group can also be used for random encounter checks, because if you’re Overweight you’re shuffling and jangling around like an idiot, as opposed to the guy padding around with nothing but a sack and a knife like an agile agile cat.

 

When crossing an area is difficult/dangerous/time is of the essence (like a room full of angry sludge crabs or something), you could also set the room a total movement number that the group has to reach before they cross it, and every Movement Dice roll takes a Round (so the Morbidly Encumbered idiot on a d4 Movement Dice is probably going to get nipped by a lot more crabs than the previously mentioned sack and knife guy on a d8 Movement Dice).

I haven’t tested that but it seems sound in theory?

 

And then hey that feeds in nicely to..

 

 

EXHAUSTION

  • After strenuous activity roll your current Movement Dice.
    On a 1, drop to the next encumbrance level until you rest for a Turn.
  • When removing your pack roll your current Movement Dice.
    On a 1, remain on the same encumbrance level until you rest for a Turn.

So after scaling a 50′ wall carrying Dead Weight there’s a chance you’re going to feel Overweight until you’ve had a little rest, and if you’ve been waddling around Morbidly Encumbered all “it’s okay if a monster shows up I’ll just drop my bag”, there’s a chance that when you drop it you’re not going to feel any more refreshed and suddenly regret your life decisions.

 

Apart from that there’s a bunch of other rules changes/tweaks on there so..

 

 

WEAPON TAGS

 

Rather than keeping each weapon type with its own special rules I changed it to weapon tags so they can get stuck all around.

  • ADAPT: if you miss an attack, you can use a Parry to try again. [mostly swords, Parries are normally used to re-roll a failed defence, which you can do a number of times equal to your Fast AB bonus (Dexterity modifier + AB) per combat]
  • TRAUMA: +2 to-hit vs. Medium or Heavy armour, successful hit reduces Heavy armour by 1. [mostly maces and hammers]
  • FLESHRIPPER: two damage dice vs. Light armour or less. [mostly axes]
  • REACH: automatically attack first and do double damage against Bum Rushes. [spears and polearms]
  • HEFTY: roll twice for damage and take the best while wielding with two hands. [mostly melee weapons that do d8 or more damage]
  • LASH: ignore shields, can choose to attack weapon, disarming on 4 or more damage. On any miss roll under your AC or hit yourself. [mostly flails and whips]
  • SHANK: can make contested d20 + Hard or Fast AB to grapple after hit, automatically hitting Flesh in subsequent rounds until they kick you off. [mostly knives]
  • ARMOUR PIERCING: reduces AC to 12 + Dex modifier. [firearms]
  • HORRENDOUS: keep re-rolling odd damage dice. [trying this out for arquebus/rifles to give a reason for giving up 2 slots to lug one around instead of a pistol]
  • BURST: anyone in range has to roll equal to or less than their DB (Dexterity modifier + armour bonuses) on a d12 or take damage.

Off-sheet I’ve been playing around with ranged weapons a bit to give them more obvious benefits/trade-offs.

  • LONGBOW: takes up 2 slots, d6 damage + Strength modifier. [Uses Hard AB (Strength modifier + AB), all other ranged weapons use Fast AB (Dexterity modifier + AB)]
  • SHORT BOW: d6 damage.
  • SLING: 2d4 damage.
  • LIGHT CROSSBOW: d6 damage, 1 Round to load, uses Trauma tag.
  • HEAVY CROSSBOW: takes up 2 slots, d10 damage, 2 Rounds to load, uses Trauma tag.
  • PISTOL: d8 damage, can’t reload under pressure, uses Armour Piercing tag.
  • ARQUEBUS/RIFLE: takes up 2 slots, d8 damage, can’t reload under pressure, uses Armour Piercing and Horrendous tags.
  • BLUNDERBUSS: d6 damage, uses Burst tag.

 

SHIELDS

 

When you get hit by a ranged weapon it bypasses Grit and goes straight to Flesh (the hit points where you really get hurt), so shields should be kind of a big deal.

Small shields give +2AC, large shields give +4AC but unless you’re a Fighter you can’t pair one with a melee weapon unless your Strength is at least twice as much as the weapon’s damage.

(Contested melee means that even with an extra +4 defence you’re far from unhittable.)

Using a shield is like dual-wielding weapons, so each Round choose between the AC bonus, or making an extra d4 damage bash attack.

If you make an extra attack split your AB between the two.

(Two attacks while dual-wielding usually incurs a penalty equal to the lower damage of the two weapons, but not with shields.)

 

 

MONEY

 

300 coins or small gems can be carried in an encumbrance slot (large gems count for 30).

Other than that you can give money to the Merchant Priests who are smugly present in every major city and sometimes in places you wouldn’t expect and always know how much credit you currently hold with them.

If you’re buying something and want to use your credit you can either find a Merchant Priest to oversee the transaction or leave a blood-sealed slip of paper with the shopkeep to cash in later.

Of course if you signed it for more than you’re worth the Merchant Priests will find you where you sleep and croon about ethics in the dark.

RATIONS

 

Buying/tracking rations exact to the day is boring and I am having none of it.

Instead of that I’m using Ration Dice – d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20.

[Similar to what I do for torches, inspired by the cascading dice ammunition rules by Intwischa (sadly no longer in existence, but the page is currently available via the Internet Archive)]

You can only have one of each and they’re purchased in increments from lowest to highest.

Each one takes up an encumbrance slot, and costs twice as much as its dice size in silver pieces.

THIS IS FOR THE WHOLE GROUP NO MATTER HOW MANY OF YOU THERE ARE.

Each day try to roll 4 or higher on your largest Ration Dice. If you fail, that Ration Dice is gone because you’re fat.

If you also have animals you have to roll 6 or higher.

 

 

SPECIALIST TOOLS

 

By LotFP rules if a Specialist fails to pick a lock they can’t try again until they gain a level because they’re not good enough, which feels… dumb?

Specialists can now try as many times as they want, but after the first try, they have to check their tools for Breakage after every failure.

 

 

BOOKS

 

Inspired by Reynaldo’s BREAK!! updates, books now come with a rating 2-6, and can be used in place of your own skill rating to make checks to do with that subject if you’ve got the time.

(e.g. there’s this big pulsating sac thing in the corner and you’d like to know what it is but your Naturalis skill is only 1 in 6, however you’ve got this big Creepy Crawlies book with a 3 in 6 chance…)

Successful skill checks using books also count towards trying to increase skills when you level up (when you level up, if you’ve successfully used a skill try to roll under your number of successes on a number of d6 equal to your current skill level, if you succeed you gain another skill point).

 

 

SAVING THROWS

 

Are GONE. That kind of consistent steady improvement just didn’t really jive with what my game is about.

Instead, everything is done with Ability checks now.

A normal check needs to roll equal or less than your score.

A hard check needs to roll equal or less than half your score.

If it’s something easy you wouldn’t be making a check.

 

Ability Scores in my game are pretty malleable, since they can be decreased by nasty stabbings, mushroom infections, turning into a drugfiend with opiate fluids… So when you level up you can try to increase a number of scores equal to the level you just reached.

Roll 3d6 and if it’s higher than your current score, increase it by 1.

 

 

I’ve also got this idea for gaining levels (because gold for xp has never tasted right to me) where to level up you need to tell AMAZING BUT TRUE STORIES about your exploits in major cities or places where you can make a name for yourself (number of stories equal to the level you’re trying to reach).

Which is a nice built-in incentive to seek out completely bizarre shit apart from just “there might be gold there”, as well as more social interaction/climbing.

I’ll probably do up rules for the chances of stories being accepted/appreciated in different places (town square, dive bar, high tea), along with potential consequences for those places (rabid admirers/rivals, being overheard by the relatives of people you’re bragging about stealing from/murdering, job offers, gaining more and more elaborate titles), which means leveling up also feeds into more game fodder and makes reminiscing about fun sessions an actual mechanic of the game itself.

Which I think is pretty great.

Wait where was I…

 

 

Oh yeah, having item cards and blue-tac for your inventory is excellent and you should try it.

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36 comments



The House of Rules: Second Doctrine


I’ve made a permanent House Rules page for reference and to make it a hell of a lot easier to link back to when I mention these things.

It can be accessed via the glaring triangle on the right.

 

Also surprise of all surprises I’ve made a few new ones and changed a few old ones.

As follows:

 

ATTACK BONUS

 

A little while ago I switched to Hard & Fast rather than the traditional Melee/Ranged attack bonus split.

  • 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.

 

COMBAT OPTIONS

 

Gambits are still working like an absolute treat, except I changed “miss your next turn on a double-miss” to a straight-up fumble.

I changed a couple of the other LotFP combat options to be more palatable though:

  • RECKLESS/DEFENSIVE: by the rules this is just +2 to AB/-4 to AC, or the other way around. Boooooring.
    Instead of that, gain a bonus of your choice 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 I don’t care I hate him.”
  • PARRY: by the rules you choose not to attack this Round to get +2 AC, which, what? Who would ever do that.
    Instead of that, and since I’m using Contested Melee, you can re-roll your defence instead of attacking this Round. You can do this a number of times equal to your Fast AB per combat.
    e.g. “Okay well I just rolled a 3 for my defence and he rolled a 12 for his attack. I’d rather not get stabbed in the face and I think I can beat that, so I’m going to try to Parry it thanks.”
  • 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.)

 

EQUIPMENT WEAR AND TEAR

 

I’ve changed the way I use Notches since I first came up with them, though the Quality rules that Smiler and I (mainly Smiler) came up with are still the same.

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.

 

What happens now though is that 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.

 

There’s a couple of reasons I changed it from the original rules. For one thing, after that first lot of Notches it’s going to feel a lot more likely that your weapon is going to break, making it a point of tension instead of just more bookkeeping and upkeep. For another, the original rules required checking for breakage after every attack which is way too much damn rolling, whereas only checking when you roll the Quality or less or maximum damage results in the same idea only without being a massive pain.

 

Since I’m 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.

 

[Further to that, I’ve noticed that the girls have pretty quickly started to accrue various bits and pieces of armour, and I’d like to acknowledge that. So what I’m going to do is give them an extra section on their character sheet to record the different pieces of armour they’re wearing along with their individual Quality and AC bonus, so that they can be individually affected. I’ll probably also rule that when a piece of armour is damaged it also absorbs 1 point of damage from the attack, like, “They swing their axe down at your face but you lift your hand just in time to block the blade. Your Vermillion Gauntlet is absolutely ruined, but shearing through the steel slowed down the axe enough to stop it cutting ALL the way through your hand.”

 

Oh oh and while we’re talking about armour, 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.]

 

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!

 

PASSING OUT IN A HORRIBLE CAVE

 

Hit points are still Flesh & Grit because they’re awesome.

I’ve found myself dissatisfied with dying rules/immediately fainting at 0hp though, which isn’t about making characters more durable, but rather about upping the drrrrrrrama.

 

[I know a lot of people prefer a simple Save or Die at 0hp, but it isn’t for me, which again, has nothing to do with protecting characters. In my last play report 5 of 7 characters survived, and 3 of the 5 survivors no longer have all their parts attached, which I find a hell of a lot more interesting than 5 beautiful corpses.]

 

So here’s some new dying rules, inspired by Josie’s Hit Point Stopwatch.

 

[Important things to note about Flesh & Grit are that you die outright at minus your class HD, and any single attack that deals maximum weapon damage or half your maximum Flesh causes a serious wound, like lopping off a limb.]

 

When you’re dropped to 0hp or below, a countdown starts to losing consciousness, a number of Rounds down to your class HD.

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, so in 6 Rounds he’ll pass out from the pain.

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.

 

[So instead of people fainting quietly around you, they’re screaming in fountains of blood spraying from their stumps, they’re using their final dying breath to stab your opponent in the back to save you, it’s horrible and beautiful.]

 

Outside of combat, when below half your maximum Flesh you can only travel for that many continuous Turns before needing to rest, and lose another point of Flesh every Turn you try to push onwards.

 

Characters that didn’t sustain any serious wounds (i.e. they still have all their bits), regain a point of Flesh every Turn until they wake up at 1 Flesh.

Characters that were dropped below 0hp with a serious wound have to save vs. Poison every Turn to stay alive until they are healed.

 

If magical healing isn’t available, I’ve introduced a Surgery skill. [Updated just now thanks to the wisdom of James Young]

  • 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

or,

ENCUMBRANCE

 

Yes yes this thing again, but, I think I’m finally completely happy with it. Less numbers to worry about, better trade-offs, ties in nicely with the other house rules.

  • Don’t count really small items, that’s just common sense, just write it somewhere damnit.
  • Other items in a pack take up one slot each, number them from 1 upwards.
    Things like torches, flasks, and bottles can be carried in bundles of 3. Smaller things like iron spikes or sling bullets can be carried in bundles of 10.
  • 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 any weapons or shields you’re holding. They can be strapped to you, in pouches, in orifices, wherever. Number them from 1 upwards.
    No bundles unless they’re small or something like a quiver of arrows.
    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.


No comments yet, tell me what you really think



Three’s a Crowd


Sometimes you suddenly need a big group of NPCs, like when you stumble into a brewhouse or swagger into a brothel or a cult abducts you or you accidentally start a gang war. And it’s a lot more fun to say “the big fat one-armed man takes another swing at you with his one arm” than “this scribbled note that says 3hp attacks you again”.

 

So I made a sped-up version of the NPC Birthing Sacs, complete with names and hit points for when you stab/chat them up, and an editable text box for each one so you can make notes right onto the webpage. Like the Birthing Sacs, the descriptions require some interpretation on your part; I might add more specific character quirks later but for now it’s all sparks.

 

You can play with this sexy new toy right here, and you’ll find permanent links for both it and the automated Birthing Sacs in the Library and sidebar.

 

 

What’s that? What sidebar? If you click the triangle it slides out a secret panel, didn’t you know that?


2 comments



The House of Rules


The new Cörpathium character sheet has a lot of new/tweaked house rules on it, so let’s collect them here for a little more clarification, and to make it easier to refer/link back to them.

 

First of all a few little tweaks to basic LotFP rules.

  • For one thing I’m giving everyone access to Combat Options. Only Fighters know how to fight recklessly or defensively? I call ballshit.
    …I meant to type bullshit but no, ballshit, that works.
  • 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 only Fighters can actually attack while using a large shield.
  • Straight -5 AC when surprised/attacked from behind instead of losing Dexterity bonuses then -2 blah blah blah.
  • I’m using the new 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.

 

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 fail so badly that you can’t do anything next round.

 

It also means two chances to roll a fumble, 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.

 

 

 

MELEE

 

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. If the attacker fumbles you get to cut them.

For even more vicious combat you could rule that whoever rolls highest deals damage, regardless of who was attacking.

 

 

 

NOTCHES

 

Notches stay pretty much the same as they always were, with the added Quality rules that Smiler and I (mainly Smiler) came up with.

Basically, every weapon has a Quality rating from 1-5, and whenever you roll that number or less when attacking the weapon takes a Notch.

Weapons can take a number of Notches equal to their damage die, but once they have two Notches roll two of the weapon’s damage die after every attack, hit or miss. If the roll is equal or less than the number of Notches, 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.

If the weapon takes another Notch after it has reached its limit, it breaks.

 

And because I’m now having people roll for their defence in 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.

 

 

 

WEAPONS

 

The weapon properties I originally posted have been tweaked slightly.

Weapon damage is still determined by its size, but depending on what it is…

  • Sword: If you haven’t been hit this Round roll twice for damage, take the best.
  • Hammer: +1 to-hit vs. Medium or better, successful hit reduces Heavy AC by 1.
  • Axe: Two damage dice vs. Light or less.
  • Flail: +1 to-hit vs. Medium 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.

 

 

 

HIT POINTS

 

Again, pretty much the same as they always were.

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 lose consciousness at 0 Flesh, and die at minus half your class HD.
  • If someone rolls a Critical hit against you but you still have Grit left, roll your Defence again. If it’s higher than their attack roll the damage affects your Grit first, otherwise it cuts straight to Flesh.
  • Being attacked from behind or by surprise bypasses Grit, and any attack against Flesh that deals maximum weapon damage or half of your maximum 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.

After any encounter where you take a Flesh wound roll under your Constitution or contract an Infection.

If you don’t have any Flesh wounds, you can spend a Turn resting to regain Grit, roll your class HD.

 

From Josie’s Hit Point Stopwatch, when below half your Flesh hp, you will be unable to act after that many Rounds of physical exertion such as combat, or that many Turns of simple movement until treated.

Lose another point of Flesh every Round/Turn you try to push on.

 

And some dying rules because I figure most adventurers would have some kind of idea about first aid, and because the Poison save matches up nicely with which classes would probably be better at it:

  • Once reduced to 0hp save vs. Poison every 2 Rounds. If you fail you die, if you succeed lose another hp.
  • Stop bleeding out if you roll a 1. If another character tries to stabilise you, both players save vs. Poison.
  • If both succeed, you regain consciousness at 1hp (but will lose consciousness if you do anything strenuous).
  • If they succeed but you fail, you stabilise at 0hp.
  • If both fail you die in their arms and they’re all “CURSE YOOOOOUUU! WHHHHYYYYY?”

I figure for it to be successful you need to stay with them for Rounds equal to negative hp. That seems about right.

 

 

 

ENCUMBRANCE

 

Because yes, I use it, I think it can be interesting. But I also don’t want it to be confusing or constrictive, which my first attempt kind of was.

I started pondering this back in September and think it’s pretty much perfect for what I want from encumbrance, which is the freedom to carry a pretty reasonable amount of stuff without constantly tracking it, but having it matter when it should.

  • You can carry an amount of Worn Items equal to half your Dexterity or Strength, whichever is highest, rounded up.
    They can be strapped to you, in pouches, in orifices, just draw it on your sheet.
    Every additional Worn Item adds a -1 penalty to physical rolls.
    A quiver contains 20 arrows and counts as a single Worn Item.
    Medium armour counts as 1 item and Heavy armour counts as 2, Fighters don’t count armour as a Worn Item.
  • Oversized items like two-handed weapons have to be on your person and count as 2 Worn Items. Ten foot poles don’t go in backpacks.
  • When you wear a pack you are encumbered, move slower and take a -2 penalty to physical rolls. You can carry items in your pack equal to your Strength or Constitution, whichever is highest.
    (Bundle amounts mostly taken from Arnold K) You can carry small items like daggers and flasks in bundles of 3 as a single pack item.
    Even smaller things like iron spikes or sling bullets can be carried in bundles of 10 as a single pack item.
    300 coins can be carried as a single pack item.
  • You can carry half that amount again, rounded up, but are even more encumbered, move at half speed and take -4 to physical rolls.
  • Carrying any more than that means you can’t do anything other than shuffle around under the weight.
  • Finding something in your pack during combat takes d3+1 per encumbrance level Rounds.

The immediate penalty for wearing a pack might seem harsh, but have you tried swinging your arms around while wearing a backpack? Awkward. If you want to fight as well as that other guy you’d better drop the bag.

 

 

 

THE FREAKS

 

Maleficar and Mystics remain intact, the only thing I changed is that being encumbered doesn’t make casting spells harder. If you want to risk more belongings transmuting into angry goo when you muck up a spell I’m not going to stop you. And Reading Magic is still a deathtrap.

 

Oh but hey Blood Magic/Sacrificial Lamb:

 

Maleficar can bleed themselves of hp for extra Cataclysm needed to cast. The cost is triple if the blood isn’t their own, and they need to smear themselves in it.

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.

 

If a Mystic wants to heal a bled Maleficar, they have to make a Hand of God roll.

 

 

 

GIRLS ONLY WANT BOYFRIENDS WHO HAVE GREAT SKILLS

 

This one only occurred to me the other day so it needs to be tried out, but 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.

 

For example:

 

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!

 

 


3 comments



Does This Look Infected?


So you’re sloshing about in hot muck swinging knives around, sounds like a germ orgy to me.

 

I love the theory of the Humours and the batshit insanity that is medical history, so what started as a list of medical services in Cörpathium turned into four tables of available cures from the major practitioners and the side effects of their failure, as well as a table of Infections and Diseases for them to cure. Because your 3rd Level Cleric isn’t always going to be around you know.

 

After any encounter where you take a flesh wound, roll under your Constitution. If you fail you have contracted an Infection, which probably won’t slow you down too much but it’ll be really icky. If you roll an ultimate-fail 20 that’s not infected, you’ve gone and caught yourself a Disease.

Once you have an Infection or Disease you can stop rolling, anything else that tries to get inside you just gets eaten up by the established bacteria.

 

 

Infections -– 4d4 hours to manifest
d12
1Your skin grows raw and red and sprouts enormous blood blisters that swell to the size of a small apple before popping in arcs of putrid plasma, over and over again like boiling mud baths.
2Pus weeps from your throat and crusts into barnacle-like lesions on your neck, causing intense pain if you speak anything but lies.
3A crater-like pox mars the flesh around the wound and creeps up your neck. The vinegary stench grows when you are under stress or heightened excitement and puffs of yellow vapour vent from the pox. Save vs. Poison or suffer the effects of Confusion.
4The wound will not heal properly; rather than closing, small bunches of fleshy tendrils emerge from the cloven flesh, like the fingers of babies.
5Thick black tears leak from your eyes, clouding your vision, and you find that after you have wiped them away, when your fingers are stained black with oil, your eyelids cling together every time you blink, your hands stiffen, like fingertrap lockjaw.
6The skin around the wound hardens and crusts in blackening shards like a burning tree, then begins its creeping spread. +1 AC for the first week is pretty great, but then your joints begin to stiffen, walking becomes a chore, you'd rather lay down in the dirt, bury your fingers and breathe in the muck..
7Your organs grind and groan like a wounded animal. Every d8 hours you will spend d2 Turns in agony while you pass a grotesque opalescent kidney stone. After you've stopped crying you can sell it as a spell component.
8The sound of dogs barking inflicts searing pain upon your bowels, you break out in fragrant pink boils in the sun, you have an overwhelming craving for all manner of crawling insects.
9Every d6 hours you disgorge a surging mass of green bile that continues to bubble and churn after it has left your throat.
10Gob Rot. Your gums fester and peel back, you swallow parts of your tongue as it begins to putrefy, teeth drool out of your mouth while you speak.
11Swollen boils sprout from your skin, oddly puckered like an anus. If they are still present after a week, the next time you are amongst a large group of people they unfurl like glistening mucus-coated blossoms of skin, violently jettisoning flesh spores into the air.
12Fibrous purple fronds curl out from your skin, interwoven and fragile, ever-growing. It would be beautiful if they weren't siphoning off your blood supply.

 

 

 

Diseases -– 4d8 hours to manifest, roll cure chance twice and take the lowest
d12
1Sticky, caustic sweat beads from your pores. It burns those that touch you like watered-down acid and corrodes anything exposed to your skin within d4 Turns.
2Tendrils of skin sprout in patches, softly swaying and bulbous at their tips. A fluid bubbles from them like snail slime trying to scare away a predator, the same consistency, the scent of compost. It is a sympathetic narcotic, every time someone takes the slime upon their tongue in order to explore the feculent gardens of their mind in search of lost inspirations, you lose yourself in the same experience.
3The flesh around the wound becomes spongy, pliant, it exudes the scent of fuchsia. Synaesthesia ravages your psyche, and pulling away clumps of your deteriorating body makes the most deliriously beautiful music.
4Leprous Crawl. Your flesh sloughs, a bicep one moment and a sack of atrophied muscle hanging from bone in a skin bag the next. But that's not what bothers you, it's when it comes back. Creeping up the bone, tendons attaching, muscle re-adhering, the sucking sounds within your skin. It never rebuilds the same way and your skin is starting to smell of rot.
Re-roll Strength each time.
5Your belly distends, swollen with bacteria and gas. During any physical exertion roll under Constitution to control the horrendous flatulence brimming for release.

Week Two: The bloated skin of your belly is a roadmap of stretch marks, the next failed roll will see your stomach split and spilt.
6Clothing has to be peeled away, you sweat like mucus, everyone seems to walk too fast for you.

Day Two: Veins pulse beneath translucent skin, you wonder if your legs are beginning to atrophy, you know you're being neurotic but you're so tired, everyone else is so fast.

Day Three: The flesh of your legs has jellied, you can see bone through blueish muck in the shape of a thigh, the translucent skin has spread up to your ribs.

Day Four: Your legs collapse, lost all integrity. You might survive another day before it reaches your brain.
7You wholeheartedly believe that tiny men with the faces of carrion birds pull themselves from your yellow blisters to whisper the secrets of the cosmos to you.

Day Two: They teach you a random 9th Level Spell. When you cast it you don't realise that nothing happened, that you were mumbling gibberish, you believe yourself all-powerful. They promise you so much more.

Day Three: Your companions must die, they know too much, the carrion told you so.
8Fingers, fingers everywhere. They start as bony nubs but they emerge soon enough, calloused, without fingernails, twitching and catching on things.
9Your skin is pocked with holes like the back of a pregnant frog. Fleshy nodules emerge to squirt thin streams of noxious green fluid before retreating back inside your skin. It isn't an infestation, it is your own flesh, and it is growing larger.
10Resinous Influenza. It's not the bleary leaking eyes that bother you, nor the deep-bone ache or even the delirious shakes. It's the absurd amount of mucus that you expel every time you sneeze and the fact that it sets like resin almost as soon as it touches your exposed skin.
Your face begins to look like a grotesque melted mask and that is not a good look for anyone.
11The Worm of Entropy grows within your bowels, emerging from your body at night to raise up and taste the air. Not an invader, grown from your own flesh.

Week One: Whenever you come into contact with a new person/entity make a Reaction Roll for yourself to figure out how you feel about them. Any time a group comes to consensus there is a 2 in 6 chance that you outright dissent.

Week Two: Strength and Constitution decrease by d4 each. At night you have the uncomfortable sensation of being watched.

Week Three: Your body suffers 2d4 minor Mutations. The worm is more bold now, and can be seen slipping from various orifices so that it can peer out at you.

Week Four: Your flesh loses its integrity, collapsing into a gibbering pile of sentient filth from which the worm emerges, laughing sludge sloughing from it's many-hued flanks. It is transmution made flesh, save vs. Hysterical Weeping.
12It starts with a dry itch, dustings of dead flakes falling from your skin as you scratch like chronic dandruff, turning strangely polychromatic as it settles.

Week Two: It's in the flesh now, your skin has almost entirely itched away and you're scratching canals into the muscle beneath. It doesn't even look like flesh and blood anymore, just polychromatic granularity like a bathbomb.

Week Three: Your hands have been ground away so you rub your itching limbs together as best you can, grinding biceps over your torso, crushing your chin against your chest.

Week Four: Without anything left to scratch it with, you find that your flesh slowly regrows, but the moment your limbs build back into moveable stumps..

The polychromous decay is a powerful spell component and many of those who contract its disease end up as limbless torsos in a Maleficar's basement, unable to scream through dust-filled lungs, forever regenerating porous dusty flesh only to have it scraped away.

 

And now for the fun part! Roll randomly for a cure depending on your contacts and budget. If a cure works I doubt I’d establish it as the ongoing remedy for that condition though, this is an age of experimentation.

Since a large part of these working is a placebo effect, players should get bonuses to the chance of success if they can demonstrate that they truly believe in their authenticity. If someone collected the components for their own eel blood and crab egg enema I would give them some god damn bonuses.

 

Continue onwards for the cures or head straight to Penny Pamphlets to download everything in a spreadsheet.

 

Read the rest…


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Always Carry Protection


First of all, Gus L has mentioned getting rid of leather, chainmail, and plate in favour of Light, Medium, and Heavy armour over at Dungeon of Signs a few times now. Which happens to be one of the things I really liked in the one game of Gamma World I played. I’d much prefer players to make up exactly what they’re wearing and apply an appropriate armour class than say they’re wearing chainmail and leave it at that. It also links in well aesthetically with LotFP’s existing weapon list.

 

Speaking of, in general I’m pretty happy with the LotFP weapon list, being that it consists of a few specific weapons and then Minor Medium Large Great make up what it is it does this much damage okay. No fuss, no muss. But. I’d still kind of like for the choice about what your Medium weapon actually is to make a difference beyond flavouring, without turning the weapon list into a 10-page section.

 

So, the size categories stay, that’s your damage, but depending on what the weapon actually is you also get this..

 

Sword: If you haven’t been hit this round roll twice for damage, take the best.

 

Hammer: When you attack choose +1 vs. Medium or better, or a normal attack which

reduces Heavy AC by 1 but deals half damage.

 

Axe: Minimum half damage vs. Light or less.

 

Flail: +1 vs. Medium or better, ignores shields. Can choose to attack weapon, Strength check

to disarm on hit. On any miss roll under your AC or hit yourself.

 

The reasoning being that swords are versatile, hammers can punch through with spikes or crush joints to reduce mobility, axes are built for chopping right into things (my thumb can attest), and flails.. well flails is flails.

 

[Edit: these and the Notch rules have been updated in The House of Rules]

 

 

That’s Not A Knife..

 

I use group Initiative, but would also like characters who have an Initiative bonus to get some kind of benefit from that. So, different kinds of weapons have benefits in different situations.

At this point I’d like to mention that this and the weapon categories were inspired by a couple of things mentioned by Brendan Strejcek, now of Necropraxis. In fact the dagger part is stolen directly from him and Gus L.

  •  If you successfully hit someone with a dagger you can choose to grab hold and keep stabbing, automatically hitting Flesh in subsequent rounds every time you win a wrestling roll (contested d20 + AB and Strength modifier). Anyone wielding a Medium or larger weapon will need to kick you away before attacking with their weapon.
    (Daggers should be deadly and useful, if you manage to get in close to someone you can cut straight to the meat, bypassing Grit and damaging Flesh. Finesse isn’t worth a damn when someone has a knife to your belly)
  • While wielding a Medium or larger weapon you may make a contested Initiative roll to attack first when someone with a Minor weapon closes into melee range.
  • While wielding a weapon with reach you may make a contested Initiative roll to attack first when someone with a smaller weapon closes into melee range, and automatically attack first and cause double damage to anyone that actually charges you.

 

Another Notch on the Axehaft

 

I find it really boring for characters to be able to pick a weapon when they start out and then hold onto it forever unless they find something magic or wake up naked in a pit. I mean sure, it’s nice to have a weapon with history, but don’t you want that history to actually mean something? I also want some kind of indication that all this murdering necessitates equipment maintenance, but I don’t want that to be a gaping pain in the arse.

 

So, Notches.

 

Every time you roll a 1 or 2 to hit in combat your weapon takes a Notch, this doesn’t necessarily mean it was damaged just then, more a simple way of quantifying wear and tear.

 

Each weapon can take Notches equal to its damage die (so a dagger can take 4 Notches, a long sword can take 8, Lumpy Space Princess’s knifemace can take 10).

Once the weapon has 2 Notches, roll 2 of the weapon’s damage die after every attack, if the roll is equal to or less than the number of Notches, the weapon 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.

If the weapon takes another Notch after it has reached its limit, it breaks.

 

Now, armour makes it harder to hurt your squishy parts, fair enough, but what about the armour? Every time an attack against you rolls 19 or 20 your armour is damaged, reducing your AC 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 subject to review and gouging.

 

 

[Edit: Go read Brush of Fumbling’s excellent post that works weapon quality into Notches if you’re tired of brooms being as durable as battleaxes and all of your blacksmiths being the same guy with a different moustache. I’m using it effective right now.]

 

 

If You Liked It Then You Should Have Put a Pistol On It

 

When you have to walk around with everything strapped to your back, economy of utility can become pretty important, and getting hold of something that actually performs more than one function may just make you fall to your knees for a bit of an ugly joy cry. Credit for sparking this particular thought fire goes to Tom at Middenmurk.

Fuck your +1 sword, give me a shield with a lantern in it and big spikes sticking out of it.

 

Basically, coveted equipment doesn’t have to have some bullshit charm on it, it just needs to be uncommonly useful for the kind of foolish things you’ve chosen to run around doing.

 

I’d rather carry an iron cresset than a torch, it burns just as long, using pitch, rosin, or pine knots, and if someone jumps out of the dark I can beat them with it for d6 damage. As a bonus on 18-20 they also catch fire.

10′ poles are useful but DAMN are they unwieldy to just lug around. Why not carry a 10′ spear or polearm instead, with several interlocking foot long sections at the end that can be easily removed if damaged? Hell, while we’re at it let’s make the top section removable as well so that it can be used as a weapon in close-quarters. Like Tom said, “As is often the case with historical reality, similar business ends are applied to different lengths of wood for different purposes.”

Check Tom’s other article and follow the link to My Armory at the end for more examples. Sure, a lot of them are just things with pistols jammed onto them, but you get the point.

 

For seriously though, fuck your +1 sword.

 


6 comments



I’d Hit That


 

Hey Logan, how do you do Hit Points?

 

Hit Points up to class starting Hit Die + Constitution modifiers measure the character’s ability to withstand injury before passing out; let’s call them Flesh. Hit Points gained beyond that measure the character’s ability to avoid injury; let’s call them Grit.

 

For example (using LotFP classes):

 

Brutus the Shamed, Deserter of the Travelling Arena (…a Fighter) rolls max Hit Points (8) and a Constitution of 17 (+2) at 1st level. At 10 Flesh he’s a strapping young specimen.

At 2nd level he rolls for Hit Points and gains 1. He already has his full class Hit Die so this goes towards Grit, and his Constitution mod pushes his Flesh up to 12. Seems like he’s been too focussed on re-living that last match with the Travelling Arena and crushing skulls to learn much about avoiding fireballs, but the scorching doesn’t hurt as much as it used to.

 

Maggie Calhoun, Undisputed Mistress of Misappropriation (Specialist) rolls 4hp (2 below max) and a Constitution of 16 (+2) at 1st level. Maggie’s a sprightly lass but her starting 6 Flesh shows that pickings have been a bit slim in the slums of Brackenholm, hence skipping town with the buff yet daft Brutus after that fateful night in the arena tent.

At 2nd level she rolls for Hit Points and gains 6. This fills out her class Hit Die and leaves 4 points for Grit, while her Constitution mod gives her another 2 Flesh. Maggie now has 10 Flesh plus 4 Grit. Seems like she’s been pilfering rations from Brutus while he’s brooding, and watching from the shadows enough to learn quite a little bit about not getting stabbed.

 

Arnestus Rutherford, Bookwyrm (Magic-User) rolls 3hp (3 below max) and a Constitution of 10 (no mod) at 1st level. At only 3 Flesh Arnestus is looking rather sickly since Brutus and Maggie convinced him to leave the Hall Between the Walls.

At 2nd level he rolls for Hit Points and gains 3. Arnestus now has his maximum 6 Flesh, but has spent too much time coming back to grips with food to learn much about the outside world.

 

 

Damage affects Grit first, which to the character will mean near misses, stunning blows, generally getting worn out by all this ducking and weaving, superficial wounds that can simply be strapped, so on and so forth. When Grit is gone the character is too worn down to ward off real physical harm, and starts taking Flesh wounds.

A character loses consciousness if reduced to 0 Flesh, and dies if reduced to negative half the class advancement Hit Die. An enemy attacking an unconscious character automatically disembowels them and feasts on the goods within.

When a critical hit is rolled against a character with Grit, the attacker has anticipated the character’s foolish jumping and stabbed them square in the chest, bypassing Grit and damaging Flesh (or in either case doing something rad that makes sense in the situation with any damage affecting the appropriate thing; read more on Playing D&D With Pornstars’ thoughts on Simple Combat and Called Shots).

 

[Edit: I’m now using my own take on this instead of Called Shots. The problem with Called Shots is that characters that are actually good at fighting are no better at them than those who aren’t, and because there’s such a high potential for success I’ve found them being used more often than normal attacks. With this mechanic, if you want to do something special instead of a normal attack you make two attack rolls. If they’re both successful, it happens, if they’re not, you miss. If both rolls are misses you fumble, and the fumble range of both rolls can be increased depending on how ambitious/insane the special thing is.]

 

Attacking from behind or by surprise bypasses Grit and damages Flesh, and any single attack that deals either maximum damage or half of the character’s total Flesh worth of damage directly to Flesh causes a serious wound. This can mean losing a limb, an eye, being wounded so deeply that it will never heal properly and therefore reducing stats, blah blah blah figure it out. Suffering a serious wound will also mean the loss of any remaining Grit; finesse is hard to maintain when the gushing blood from your shoulder stump has slicked the floor around you.

 

For example:

 

Brutus the Shamed, Deserter of the Travelling Arena has had too much to drink at the Withering Apple (good cider) and insulted the local swordmaster’s trousers. And if there’s one thing Swordmaster Reginald cares about more than swordplay, it’s fashion. Reginald lunges at Brutus’ head with his rapier, scores a hit, and deals 2 damage. Brutus stood statue still but leant his head to the side, avoiding being stabbed in the face by losing his 1 point of Grit and taking 1 Flesh damage after most of his left ear comes away with the rapier.

 

In the ruckus Maggie has crept around the edge of the crowd, hoping to lift whatever that shiny thing in this old bald man’s pocket is. Unfortunately for Maggie this old bald man is a Digestive Servitor and much more aware than she gave him credit for. As Maggie draws near he turns to face her, milky-eyed and utterly hairless as his jaw drops and a torrent of yellow filth spews from his gullet. Maggie makes to roll out of the way across a table but he’s scored a critical hit and dealt 8 points of damage. Maggie leaves a sickly orange mess across the table as she rolls and by the time she hits the floor on the other side her gams are nothing but blackened bone. The critical hit bypassed Maggie’s Grit, and the serious wound causes her to lose all of said Grit as she drags herself across the floor on splintering fingernails, struggling to remain conscious on her remaining 2 points of Flesh.

 

Arnestus is still in the corner trying to tackle his Sheep’s Heel Pie.

 

 

 

BE HEALED!

 

Outside of combat, characters can roll to regain their class advancement Hit Die worth of Grit for every 10 minutes spent resting or sleeping (so Arnestus can regain 1d4 every 10 minutes). During this time they’re patching up superficial wounds, bragging to regain their confidence or just generally calming the fuck down. This does NOT have to be done in a safe place, but dropping down for a nap right after you’ve gutted the Plague Prophet in front of his congregation may not be the best idea.

Note that if the character has less than half their Flesh they can’t regain Grit until that’s dealt with via sorcery or surgeon; they’re a little too preoccupied with their spilt intestines to be practising feints.

 

 

MAGICAL HEALING IN A BOTTLE?!

 

Yeah I don’t buy in to a vial of liquid that has been infused with the same power as the Devotee of the Corpulent One who keeps trying to convert us.

In place of Healing Potions I like a nice flask of Cuckold’s Courage.

 

Cuckold’s Courage:

The (allegedly) original brew comes in a bottle printed with a woman’s face blowing a cheeky kiss and wearing stag horns, which by popular lore was first brewed for an apothecary’s brother unable to deal with his infamously unfaithful wife, but its like can be found almost anywhere. Other names it has been found under include Deadbeat’s Draught, Slattern’s Ruin, and the always subtle Hang The Harlot.

It is a mixture of booze, narcotics, and some other things you probably don’t want to know about prepared by your local alchemist or apothecary. Being lucrative as all hell, the preparation of Cuckold’s Courage is fiercely guarded by those who’ve had the knowledge passed on to them, so good luck figuring out how to brew your own.

Cuckold’s Courage costs 50 silver groats (or whatever your standard currency is) per d6 it is brewed to restore, plus a 50sp tip of the hat to the brewer. Cuckold’s Courage can ONLY be used to restore Grit, not Flesh. It can, however, be used to increase Grit above normal limits for d6 hours, and will immediately end stunning effects.

If the character drinks more than 2 bottles within 24 hours they run the risk of adverse affects and addiction.

 

 

WHY WOULD YOU DO THIIIS?!?!

 

Well I guess it depends on what you feel makes more sense.

Option Number One being that the longer a character adventures around the more injury they are able to sustain, until they can walk around with arrows sticking out of their spines and flaps of flesh hanging off like it ain’t a thing.

Or, Option Number Two being that while they do become somewhat hardier, the longer a character adventures around the more they learn about avoiding injury, whether it be sidestepping a sword thrust they would have been too clumsy to avoid when they first started out, or where best to hide when a wizard starts mumbling and his eyes get all glowy.

 

Me I’m all about Option Number Two.

It makes sense in terms of progression; at 1st level the characters are fairly inexperienced regarding the things they’ll be facing, but the more they learn the better they get at not losing body parts. So the longer they’re around the more competent they become but remain human rather than turning into demigod battlewagons.

It also does away with a lot of resource-management healing. When pretty much every fight is going to mean flesh wounds there’s going to be a lot of magical healing being thrown around before we make it out of this hellhole. But when sliding the last cultist off your sword with 1 point of Grit left means that you fought with everything you had to avoid being cut by their filth-encrusted blades, you can have a bit of a rest on a bed made of their corpses or neck a bottle of Cuckold’s Courage and you’re good to go.

It also means that combat is ALWAYS a dangerous option. Brutus can reach 7th level and have let’s say 40 Grit on top of his (thanks to Constitution mods) 22 Flesh, but a critical hit in the second round of combat can mean his opponent managed to anticipate his next move and cut his legs out from under him. Or that a peasant got reeeeeally lucky with his pitchfork.

 

 

[Addendum: some dying and infection mechanics have been added to this in The House of Rules]


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