Updated Physic rules, Seamanship [LotFP Skills]

So, I’ve got a fire under my ass (for the moment) and I’m re-upping the now four-year-old rules for my homebrew LotFP skills.
And before you get started on why Clerics get this, remember:
Knights Hospitallier.


“Physic is a shorthand for all the healing arts; diagnosing and correcting imbalances in the humors, knowledge of healing herbs, of staunching and stitching, fitting artificial limbs, and all things appropriate to the station of a doctor. ”

As a starting skill
Clerics may start with Physic at a base chance of 3 in 6, and advance as a Dwarf’s Architecture skill. Other classes may exchange their starting skill for a 2-in-6 chance at Physic, and advance as an Elf’s Search skill. All classes begin with 1 point in Physic.

1) All characters with Physic may attempt basic first aid on themselves or a single comrade following combat. This takes a Turn. A success heals 1HP per point of success. Characters with Specialist’s Tools (Physic), often called a Leech-bag, get a +1 to this roll. Specialists and Clerics with the Physic skill and tools always heal their skill level in HP on a success, and may divide this number between more than one character.

2) A character with Physic and Specialist’s Tools (physic) may forgo their normal rest to heal others. They may care for a number of patients equal to their skill level, and double each patients’ recovery rate.

3) A Specialist or Cleric with a Leech-bag may deal 1d3 damage to an ally who has failed a save versus Poison, drugs, or diseases (and similar imbalances in the humors). If the Physic roll succeeds, their ally is allowed to make an additional save.

4) A Cleric or Specialist with Specialist’s Tools (Physic) can attempt to resuscitate a “dead” character. This can only be done if the character has succumbed to wounds or other immediate trauma rather than “instant death”, and their body must be largely intact. No scraping Captain Pancake off the bottom of the cliff, or trying to undo your comrade’s tuberculosis. Poisons, diseases, and other conditions will remain in the character’s system, and they may succumb to these eventually.
If the character succeeds at a Physic roll, the “mostly dead” character’s player may make a Save vs. Poison. If successful, the formerly-dead character will stabilize at 0HP and enter a coma for 1d6 hours. They remain barely-lucid and helpless for 3 days, minus their Constitution bonus. They will usually suffer some severely disfiguring injury or mental trauma; to use the crit/injury table of your choice. Feel free to assign bonuses or penalties depending on the severity of the character’s injuries and the suitability of the environment.

Restrictions, Bonuses, and Penalties.
1) Rolling a “6” on a Physic attempt always fails. Unless the Leech is a Specialist or Cleric, the character(s) being treated immediately suffer 1d6 additional damage, reduced to 1d3 damage if the character is using a Leech-bag. Clerics and Specialists only injure their patients on an additional roll of 4+; with a skill level of 6, this is reduced to  6+ roll.

2) The Physic skill cannot cure conditions that specifically require magical healing. It also cannot cure magically-induced conditions and curses like a Blindness spell, but could remove a necromantically-conjured poison from a character’s system or restore the sight of a man blinded by the flash of a spell.

Depiction of a carrack, carrying John of Gaunt to Lisbon. From Jean de Wavrin's 'Chronicles of England', Bruges, c.1461-83. c British Library Board, Royal MS 14 E. IV, f.195r

Depiction of a carrack, carrying John of Gaunt to Lisbon. From Jean de Wavrin’s ‘Chronicles of England’, Bruges, c.1461-83. c British Library Board, Royal MS 14 E. IV, f.195r

The mastery of a ship at sea, and how to survive on the waves. Treated as Bushcraft when adventuring on the water or along the coast/rivers, with the following additions:

1) A Specialist or Magic-user with Specialists’ Tools (Seamanship), which include a Sextant or Sunstone, star-charts, and compass, can determine their rough location on a successful Skill roll.
2) Seamen may attempt to predict the weather for that day; on a successful roll, the DM should inform them of the day’s sailing conditions. Failure yields no information.
3) The character helming a boat may add their Seamanship level to the ship’s saving throws against weather effects, grounding, reefs, etc.

Savages may exchange their starting Bushcraft skill for Seamanship.
Hunting at sea requires fishing gear or harpoons (as Javelin). Lines and harpoons are expended as “ammunition”.

Busy Day [admin crap, LotFP]

Went through and updated the House Rules page, Occultism, the Savage, and a few other posts. Currently updating Physic to match my current offline rules, and reconciling firearms and Seamanship with my notes as well. Forgot how damn much some of this stuff has changed. Currently queuing posts for the next couple of days.

…also, I dropped the silverware drawer on one of my fingers and it’s pouring rain. So painkillers may be involved.

Occultism Skill Rework and Grimoires [LotFP]

It’s been a few years, and a good bit of play, since I posted the Occult skill here. Anon asked about it today, and I figured I might as well go root out my hardcopy notes and post the revisions here.
I’ve loosened the day-to-day bookkeeping restrictions in favor of a more intuitive system, and added a bit more gambling to the mix. The additional rules for bonuses are encouraging my players to do weird stupid shit, like carrying around live chickens for sacrificial purposes and cranking themselves on Red Lotus in inappropriate places, and it also allows me to throw in more evidence and clues when the PCs are dealing with cultists/EHPs/witches and diabolists. Those folks can also be a serious, time-sensitive threat to the party without needing to have a level 9 Magic-User running around. It’s also a lot more dangerous than using a regular skill, but still useful enough to tempt players. Finally, the Grimoire rules place a sharp limitation on ritual spellcasting while adding a new and desirable form of treasure to the DM’s options.


Harry Clarke – Faust – Faustus Appears


Additional Wasteland Deck cards, and other This is Not a Test House Rules

The following cards are playtest house rules, and of course not endorsed by Joey. Unless he does later :b

The first house rule is simple – instead of basing Agility tests on Mettle, I’m using MOV. It’s worked well in playtest games so far, and undoes the silly situations where a high-MET character in heavy combat armor is somehow dodging attacks and jumping gaps that an unarmored dog with a MV of 7 can’t. It also makes the choice between +1 MV/RNG a little harder, and reduces Mettle’s position as the game’s God stat.
Second, (though this was one I cooked up before the latest rules update beefed them up a bit) Flamethrowers get the Poison Gas special ability to reflect the way they kill – with carbon monoxide, not by setting you on fire. I also was testing having them automatically catch you afire with a crit.
Finally, I have a number of extra cards in my poker decks (as many do), and I figured “why not make use of them?”. I tried to keep in the spirit of the game, while also making some stats/items that the original Wasteland deck ignores available.

Advertisements (non-card-related)
The character sees something twinkling in the rubble just out of reach.
○ On a successful Survival (TN/10) test, the character finds some pretty, but worthless junk. Choose one: You may either gain the effects of the Barter skill for the next d3 games, or the warband gains 1d3 Shiny Objects for free
○ Failure: It was a trick of the light; the character finds nothing. They return from the wastelands discouraged with 1d6 BS in scrap.
○ Avoid: Fearing a trap, the character scavenges elsewhere, and finds a stash of old canned food worth 1d10 BS.

Advertisements (Card-related) –
A youngster on their own, impressed by your reputation, approaches the character seeking a mentor..
○ On a successful Mettle test (TN:10), a Rank-and-File model of your choice joins the band for free. If the searching character has the Fearful Reputation  general rule, they will automatically pass the test.
Note: Cannibal warbands may simply capture and eat the aspiring badass; treat as one captured enemy casualty for Upkeep purposes.
○ Failure: They were just a grifter – the character was rolled! The youngster steals one randomly-determined item from the character and disappears back into the wastes.
○ Avoid: You’ve heard that cannibals and muties use decoys as scouts or to lure the unwary into traps. Maybe someone should know about this. The character warns a passing caravan of their suspicions, and the grateful guards pass the hat. Gain 1d10 BS.

Rules cards (how to play poker, Old Maid, &c.):
Rooting through an overturned bookcase, the character finds a legible self-help book!
○ They may attempt to use it with a successful Int test (d10+MET/TN 10); if successful, roll 1d10 on the following table.
1: Mental Health and You – the character may either cure one psychological condition in your warband (Frenzied, Hatred, Dumb, Coward, etc.) that the model gained as the result of an injury, or the finding model gains the Brave skill for free.
2: Ballistic Calculations for Dummies – Gain Range Finder or Fast-Tracker skill for free; if the model has both, add +1 to the character’s RNG stat.
3: Recipes for Anarchistes – Choose one ordinary (non-Relic) grenade type, or an Aerosol Gun; the model gains it for free.
4: Tinkering with Firearms (Without Dying)Gunsmith or Field Strip skill (your choice). If the model has both, gain +1 RNG.
5: The Biscuit Scout’s Handbook – Gain the Survivalist or Trekker skill for free; if the model has both, increase its MOV by +1. If the model has the Soft-Bellied ability, remove it instead.
6: How to Win Friends and Influence Puppies  –  The model gains the Animal Handler special rule. If it already possesses the skill, pick one model in the warband with the animal  type; it gains +1 MET.
7: Kung Fu in Thirty Days or Less – Choose one: the model gains either the Flurry of Blows skill in melee when using fists or improvised weapons, the Spring-heeled skill, or +1MEL when using Fists and Improvised Weapons
8: You’re Awesome, I’m Awesome – Choose the Assertive or Confident skill; if the model has both, gain +1 MET.
9: Pump Yourself Up – Gain the Brute or Muscular skill for free, or +1 STR
10: Ladies’ Home Surgeon –  Gains the Medic General Ability for free, or you may cure one permanent physical injury on any model in the warband. If it gains the Medic ability, the model will cost one additional BS in all subsequent Upkeep phases (doctors are in high demand, after all..).

Note that this result may give the character skills or abilities outside their normal options, but it still cannot increase their skills above the normal limits. As with leveling, if none of the above options are usable the character may gain one allowable skill or a point in any stat (or advance in rank if they are at max stat points).

○ Failure: This looks like bullshit.. The book is a fraud, and the character sells it for 1d6 BS back in town.
○ Avoid: Reading is hard. The character sells the book for 3D10 BS to a more literate collector.

For the Archive: Solaris Stable Tag Match (Battletech)

I was reminded of an old game mode I used to run years ago by a stray comment in /btg/ – Anon wanted to know what BV levels we preferred, and it came back in a flash.

The Stable Tag Match works best as a mid-season exhibition match or a semi-finals match if you’re doing a full-on AccountantTech Solaris season (and really, there’s no reason not to). It’s sort of a modified Grinder, but flashier, and it makes for a fun demo game. It’s also very much a make-or-break event for the smaller stables, where you have a chance to deal – or receive – crippling economic harm against the competition. I recommend playing it as a double-elimination tournament over a couple of weeks, but with small stables you can sometimes get away with running it as a full-day event.
There are also some other rules in here that I’ve used for most of my Solaris seasons, like the “Face/Heel” bonus purses (see Crowd Support).

First things first: you’ll need the April Fool’s joke product XTRO: Royal Fantasy. It reprints all the necessary material from the old Solaris VII boxed set for free, including the map-sheets. You can even print them off in double-size if you want to use Dark Age clix minis, which I’ve done in the past to kick up visual interest in the game. Alternately, you can try to hunt up the Solaris map pack, but that’s been out of print for a good while. The scenario was initially designed for the Steiner Coliseum, but I’ve also used it in the Reaches, the Jungle, and the Factory to good effect.

You’ll also need at least four tag-out markers. I’ve used bottlecaps (good beer makes for good Battletech), Blip markers, repainted Krazy Glue bottle protectors with an LED in the tip, and cardboard hex markers with the word “TAG” on them in large friendly letters.  You can also add 2-hex-wide doors, one per player (I used Space Hulk bulkheads) to the edges of the map, representing the entrances at the edges of the arena.

Hiring Duncan Fisher is advisable but probably prohibitively expensive.

Force Selection:
Matches may be ‘Mech-only, or mixed, at the option of the organizers. The points limit is the total fieldable BV of the smallest stable in the Season, or an arbitrary value between 2,000 and 5,000 BV.  If playing with Stables during a season, the smallest stable(s) use their entire available force. The other stables must field ‘Mechs or other combatants, to the nearest 250 points (NOTE: You can go over, but only if you don’t have any units with a BV lower than the overrun. This is to keep you from winding up 500+ points behind because you can’t quite squeeze in a Light).
For single matches, the forces chosen must all be under the points limit.

Special Rules:
Tagging Out: If a ‘Mech successfully lands a physical attack on one of the “TAG” markers, the ‘Mech is swapped out with another unit from the owning player’s stable at the beginning of the next turn. Vehicles, infantry, and battle armor need simply remain in the same hex through the physical phase. The new unit is swapped directly on the tabletop with the old one, being placed in the same hex but with any facing the player prefers.
Tag Markers count as one vehicle for stacking purposes. They may be inset into one of the walls in a cramped arena, such as Ishiyama, at which point non-Mech units need only spend the physical attacks phase adjacent to the marker to tag out in this case.

No Tag-backs: If the player has more than two usable units, a unit may not tag-out with the most recently-used unit.

Forced Withdrawal: A unit that has been subjected to Forced Withdrawal must retreat to a Tag Point; they may not retreat to their stable doors.

Destroyed and Surrendered Units: If a unit is destroyed, or surrenders on the field, the killing player gets one free Movement Phase. The player who lost the unit may then move its replacement onto the map from their Stable Door in the Movement Phase of the next turn.

Crowd Support: The usual rules for Crowd Support are in effect; players may not agree to ignore them for tag matches. In addition, track each player’s highest total support rating in each match. At the end of the tournament, the player who achieved the highest total score in any of the matches gets the “Viewer’s Choice” purse of 25,000 Cb per match in the tournament. You can also award Viewer’s Choice after each round in the tournament.
At the management’s option, in tournaments with more than two players you may also include a “Heel” award of 5-10,000 Cb for the player with the lowest Support Rating after each round or tournament.
Note that tagging out is NOT considered surrendering; in fact, the Crowd Support rating is increased by +1 on a successful tag, representing the crowd’s excitement to see a fresh warrior enter the battle.

Example: Emily has just finished a match in the Factory. Over the course of twenty turns, she scored mostly sixes and eights, but after a particularly spectacular kill in the twelfth round her total support rating went up to 14, before falling once again to average numbers. The GM notes down “Support: 14” next to her win on the ladder chart; this places her ahead of Mike, who got a 12 in a Jungle match in the previous round of the Tournament. Her lowest rating, a 5, doesn’t come close to Dennis’s low water mark of -3 (bad rolls, cockpit hits, and away crowds are unforgiving at times), so she’s still not in contention for the “heel” award. 

Optional Rule: If players successfully execute a “flashy” physical attack (DFA, Charge, pushing an opponent off the fourth floor of the Factory or cliff) they gain +2 Crowd Support instead of the usual +1.
Set Up:
The organizer places the Tag markers before the match begins. At least one should be in a concealed but difficult-to-reach location and one in a highly-visible spot; try to keep them roughly equidistant from each other. In the Steiner arena, you can also roll a d6 at the beginning of a round to see the squares in which Tag Points have popped up; there is a Tag Point on each of the related black numbers for the rest of the round. If combining this with pylons, rolling doubles means there are no tag points available, only pylons.
Place each of the Stable Door markers into two adjacent hexes on the edge of the map, spacing them out as far as possible. The Coliseum already has two stable doors; for three and four player matches, simply add two more on the far side of the map.

Each player writes down their chosen unit on a slip of paper, and then rolls initiative for the first turn. The chosen unit must enter the battlefield from the player’s Stable Doors. Play then proceeds as normal.
Stables have the option to surrender at any time after having one ‘Mech or vehicle destroyed, and must surrender if all their available units are currently subject to Forced Withdrawal. A Stable surrender is considered a loss for the round.

Tables for Creating Low-Level Wizards & Other Fools who Would Tamper With the Skeins of Fate (LotFP/D&D).

Harry Clarke - The Snow Queen

Harry Clarke – The Snow Queen

In addition to my generators on Last Gasp (Wizardly Schools and First level Spells for LotFP wizards), I’ve been working on a full NPC speed-generator for mages, to go with a more general NPC supplement I’m writing. I used it last week for generating a couple towns and their conflicting magical populations. I’m retaining copyright on this one, mostly because I’m hoping to publish – but with a creative-commons attribution non-commercial license if ya want to use it.

Here’s the current draft document:
So, if you don’t know if this town is the kind of place that attracts Reality Warpers, roll on the first table. If you already know who’s there, or you’re just generating an NPC, skip the first table. If you don’t know their level, roll 1d6 at the end, adding mentor/school modifiers

Is there a wizard?
  (Roll 1d8, +2 if in a thaumocracy, +1 if inside a city (5000+ citizens). Note that these modifiers are cumulative. In a large city, roll once  for each major ward or district)

  1. No
  2. No
  3. Hedge-mage/shaman/goodwife of power
  4. Hedge-mage &c.
  5. A Magic-user
  6. A Magic-user
  7. A Wizard (see “Seclusium of Orphone” and “Isle of the Unknown” for more information on the distinction between Wizards and Magic-users. Loosely, “Magic-users” use magic, “Wizards” ARE magic)
  8. Several of them (1d3 to 1d6, at your discretion)

Are they part of a cabal?

  1. Yes. Several of them. Someone’s going to be in trouble soon… (roll twice on the table, taking both results. Keep rolling if you keep getting ones..)
  2. Yes, and the cabal has powerful rivals; they’re in an active turf war
  3. A secular secret society, not limited to Magi
  4. Yes, and it’s (roll 1d6): 1-3 – riven by internal conflict, 4-6 – stable – for now. Magi being what they are, of course, they’re still jockeying quietly for advantage.
  5. Yes, and this mage is in charge (+1 level, may have missions for or claims upon a PC mage)
  6. No, but they have a rival with whom they are as friendly as wizards get.
  7. No, and they have a rival who’s a powerful enemy
  8. No, and they’ve pissed off a cabal or society
  9. No, and they’re at war with another independent
  10. No, and they were cast out of one
  11. No, and they’re in a position of public power (secular or religious)
  12. No, and they’re hiding from one (other than the Church)

How did they learn their skills?

(Roll 1d10 for Magi in rural or heavily chaos-tainted areas, roll 1d20 for cities or larger, add +1 if there’s a major thaumocracy or city in the area. Roll 1d6+2 for Wizards.)

  1. Raised in a local tradition (themed spell list, little ambition, but unlikely to be set afire. Roll 1d6 – on a 1-4, ignore the “why aren’t they on fire” table, and treat as “locals approve” )
  2. Local Tradition (as 1, above)
  3. They’re self-taught (all spells rolled randomly, seeks magical information and knowledge more aggressively, lower a level)
  4. Self-taught, (As 3, above. If a wizard, he was created by an Item of Power)
  5. Pacts and Infernal contracts (Must bargain a thing of supernatural value to learn further spells. Constantly looking for ways to pay that don’t hurt themselves.)
  6. Feyblooded (no iron in their home, despises gulls, gets a +2 on all rolls to learn spells, but can’t roll again. Ever.)
  7. Possessed (Uses demonic abilities, cannot learn new spells. Turning has a chance of removing the demon)
  8. Plasmically conceived (Learns spells instinctively; cut research times in half, but gains no benefit from a library.)
  9. They had a mentor (roll on the Mentor table, gains some free magical nexus or trinket as a gift)
  10. As 9, above
  11. They killed their mentor (roll on mentor table, gains 1d3 nexii/trinkets, add a level)
  12. Their mentor was killed by a rival (gains an enemy)
  13. They escaped their mentor (may be hunted – roll on Relationship table)
  14. They mentor another wizard (+2 levels. Roll another wizard, skipping this table, of level 1d3; roll for the student on “mentor” and “mentor relationship” tables)
  15. As 14, above
  16. Poached from their mentor by another wizard or school
  17. Tutored in a school or cabal, and they were expelled
  18. School/Cabal, still in tutelage (-1d3 levels)
  19. School/Cabal, still in tutelage (-1d3 levels)
  20. School/Cabal, graduate
  21. School/Cabal, graduate
  22. Yes, and they’re in charge (+1d3 levels)

Mentor sub-table

  1. Mentor was kind, but incompetent (-1 level, minor magical trinket or tool)
  2. Mentor was kind and competent (+1 level, minor trinket/tool)
  3. Mentor grew bored and cast them out (-1 level)
  4. Mentor was ruthless and cruel, but competent (+1 level, gain a spell of cursing)
  5. Mentor was ruthless and cruel, but incompetent (-1 level)
  6. Still under tutelage (-1 level)
  7. Actively plotting to kill or usurp mentor. May attempt to enlist PC aid.
  8. Tried to kill, but failed (Under a curse, seeking to lift)

Relationship with mentor?

  1. Respect, genuine
  2. Respect, grudging
  3. Raw hatred
  4. Subtle hatred
  5. Resentment
  6. Fear (even if he’s dead. ESPECIALLY if he’s dead)
  7. Lovers, or similar physical/metaphysical desires. (Roll again on the table to find the mentor’s opinion on the matter..)
  8. Fondness
  9. Condescension
  10. Apathy
  11. Curiosity (“where are they?”, “are there secrets they didn’t teach me?”, etc.)
  12. Mentor or student is unwillingly enspelled (Roll 1d6: 1-4 – student, 5-6, mentor)

Why isn’t the mage on fire?

(In a Thaumocracy, roll 1d12 – this is how they’re maintaining their own power against their rivals.)

  1. Political favors/blackmail (to include providing black magic services, enchantments, or implicating the “patron” in their own crimes)
  2. Stealth and concealment of powers
  3. Vulgar displays of power (raw fear. This wizard probably isn’t long for the Mortal Coil)
  4. Subtle displays of power (targeted curses, illusionary omens, &c)
  5. Has ensorcelled locals (strategic charm spells, keeps them under threat of a death-curse, etc)
  6. Has ensorcelled major official or patron
  7. Wizard is laying low, hiding from a warrant, rival, or lynch mob in a nearby place
  8. Kills all inquisitors and challengers, subtly
  9. Kills inquisitors and challengers, extremely unsubtly
  10. Powerful magical defenses (Sanctum, magical traps, summoned creatures, extradimensional bolthole, etc.)
  11. Powerful mundane defenses (Bodyguards, army, traps, fortified home)
  12. Political power (Wizard uses an official position as cover, or is shielded by a powerful patron)
  13. Owns or provides an indispensable service (widespread blackmail, providing protection against a greater threat than himself)
  14. Stealth and concealment of powers
  15. Locals know there’s a wizard, and they’re trying to find him (Adventure hook!)
  16. Locals don’t care, government cares (this can change rather abruptly depending on the wizard’s behavior or omens, plagues &c.)
  17. Locals disapprove, government doesn’t give a damn  – and is suppressing witch-hunts (Locals may attempt to hire PCs to assassinate)
  18. Local citizens are down with witchcraft, government does not approve (Locals will be actively obstructive)
  19. Citizens and government approve of witchcraft (Possibly on the way to a thaumocracy?)
  20. Lies (roll again on this table)

Transports for Star Trek: Attack Wing (WiP)

So, Attack Wing is one of the better games Star Trek has ever gotten. It’s far from the best simulation, but it certainly scratches the fleet maneuvers itch in a way that ACTA and FASA don’t. Plus it has all-canon ships, post TNG season 1 (where FASA stops) and Animated Series (where ACTA/SFB stop). Yes, its action economy is fucked, and yes, Secondary Weapons are broken. It’s still fun to play, unlike Star Fleet Battles, if you have more than one ship. And let’s be honest, FASA’s non-canon designs are by and large complete shit.
Update: now with 200% more pictures, so you can see what the fuck I’m talking about.

FASA Ambassador top

The FASA Ambassador, designed in the middle of the second season of TNG.

Hey, that doesn’t look so..

FASA Ambassador sideOh Lord. Kill it with fire.
But today’s post isn’t about FASA, nor ADB’s “LALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” approach to game design. It’s about expanding Attack Wing a little.

Almost all of the STAW scenarios and OP events are based on episodes or movies. This is great if you’re a Federation player, but it eliminates many of the “classic” naval wargame scenarios. We only see a freighter in use a handful of times, for example, and a full-scale convoy attack is basically Right Out. Unless Worf needs to suffer, anyway..
One of the first problems you run up against while making freighters is the maneuver dial. Usually ships are either fast or extremely maneuverable, with Red maneuvers serving as a sort of half-assed choke on your Battleships turning like light cruisers. Freighters, on the other hand, are usually utter pigs. I realized a few days ago that the Mini-Clix dials I talked about in my Proxy Dials post would actually handle them fairly well, since they only have 12 slots.

My current test dial

My current test dial

This puts freighters at a nice, predictable 6″ average move. To put it another way, it’ll take about 5 turns of play (given a standard-sized board and set-up zones) to get a freighter off the other side of the map – or about 3 turns if you start in the middle. So, we’ve got their general piggishness and a basic parameter for the game length set out.

Cargo and Upgrades:
Thematically, Attack Wing is all about the upgrades. With that in mind, transports have a new Upgrade type: <cargo>. Some Cargo is free, others cost SP to field. If the ship successfully disengages as noted in the scenario, you gain extra Victory Points as noted on the card. If your opponent destroys or captures the ship, he gains the VP instead. The Convoy Attack scenario gives the Defender bonus points which must be spent on Transports or Cargo Upgrades (other Upgrades, if available, are paid out of your regular points allowance)

Captains with [Elite Talent] slots may not be assigned to a freighter. Nor may they be assigned any Admirals or Resource cards. Sorry, guys, they know as well as I do that’s a bad idea.

Current tentative cargoes:
Contraband – prevents attack cancelling, high VP award.
Grain – Tribbles are hilariously dangerous. Low VP.
Medical Supplies – “good guy” powers will leave you alone sometimes. Dice roll or Action? Average VP
Arms shipment – put a secondary weapon face-down under the card. Discard both during any Attack Step to attack with the weapon at Range 1-2, regardless of the Range printed on the card. Enemy gets the VP if you use it, High VP.
Q-Ship – Moderate SP cost. Adds AD and a shield.  No VP.
Bulk Goods – can discard to ignore a hit or crit, but the enemy gets VP for it. Low VP
Troop Ship – Add a “Boarding Party” to your ship for free, regardless of  the ship’s Upgrade limits. Instead of Discarding the Boarding Party, you Disable it instead. Average VP

All ships have a 90 degree forward arc unless otherwise specified. Most are in the “Light Cruiser” weight range, which means 1-2 Agility and ~3 Hull.

Bradford-class tug. 15 SP. 1A/1D/3H/2S; [cargo] x3. “Evasive Action” and “Battle Stations” actions. AKA “Ptolemy”-class. You may notice that this is basically a demilitarized Miranda-class. This is entirely deliberate.

The original, unfinished shooting minature of the Bradford

The original, unfinished shooting miniature of the Bradford

Antares-class drone freighter. 10SP. 0A/2D/2H/2S; [cargo]x1. “Evasive Action”. Special: This card can be used without a Captain, with an effective Skill of 1. Flip over any Critical Damage cards that reference injury to the Captain or crew, and ignore their effects. This ship always ejects the Warp Core in the case of a Warp Core Breach effect.

Ortho shot of the original Antares (there's also a Miranda-class variant of the same name)

Ortho shot of the original Antares (there’s also a Miranda-class variant of the same name)

Heavy Freighter: 22 SP. 2A/0D/3H/3S. [cargo] x2. “Cloak”, “Sensor Echo”, “Target Lock”, “Evasive Action”. 180* Forward arc, no rear. The White 2-Left Turn and 2-Right Turn maneuvers become a Red 3-Left and 3-Right  This is almost a warship. Almost.


Tuffli-Class Transport: 18 SP. 2/1/4/2; [cargo] x3. “Evasive Action”.

Not a Klink heavy frieghter

Not a Klink heavy frieghter. Totally. It’s, like, way bigger you guys.

“Hammerhead” Deep Space Frieghter: 10 SP. 0A/2D/1H/1S. [cargo] x1. “Evasive Action”. (this is Batris’ ship from TSFS).

Christopher Lloyd said blowing this sucker up was one of his favorite parts of his favorite role

Christopher Lloyd said blowing this sucker up was one of his favorite parts of his favorite role

For 5 SP, you can exchange any of the original Upgrade slots on a Marauder for a [cargo] slot.

Bajoran Medium Freighter. 15 SP. 1/1/2/3; [cargo] x2. “Evasive Action”.

Shot of the troop transport filming model courtesy of Drex and Greg Jein (used w/o permission and all that)

Shot of the troop transport filming model courtesy of Drex and Greg Jein (used w/o permission and all that)

You may notice that Wizkids  fucked up, and labeled the transport as a fighter. The Bajoran  fighter looks like this:

same source as above

same source as above

Dominion (Cardassian):
The Dominion can use the Tuffli-class, or the Bajoran Transport, without Faction Penalties.

Still working on a Romulan option.
I’m open to comments or suggestions, so let me know whatcha think.

Images used without permission for the Fair Use purpose of education and review.

Family Fun (Actual play)

Ran a game this week! AND I finally killed one of the bastards – even if the Cleric managed to save him shortly thereafter.

I was down in Oregon for my cousin’s wedding (glorious: the groom wore a Regency riding-coat, purple silk waistcoat and cravat, and pulled it off), and crashed at my sister’s place for a few nights.

We wound up with almost the entire family around a table for the first time in ages (missing 2 brothers due to work). It’s been a LONG time since I’ve had to run 8 people at once. Fortunately, we had a fairly sober table (‘cept for the drunken goat and his pet Irishman), which made things much easier. The game itself continues to run fast and clean. I tested out the LotFP fast-roll sheets (see the house rules link, above), which worked like a charm; the equipment lists continue to be a sticking point, however, and I think I may just need to set up some of my patented “Generic Adventuring Packs” on 3×5 cards again. More on that later. Still, I actually had players deliberately minimizing their gear to avoid encumbrance penalties, buying pack-animals, and using their remaining gear and weapons in much more creative ways. Guns continue to be a huge hit with the players, and a great deal of fun to manage; strategic misfires changed the outcome of several fights. I found a few minor points on the gun sheets I need to clean up and make clearer, so those will be addressed soon.   The players also continue to avoid spellcasting like the plague*, making me a sad monkey. Time to break out the wizards…

*Current total of characters rolled up for my games: 6 Specialists, 5 Fighters, 2 Savages (both shamans), 1 Cleric, and 0 Mages.

The players, in order of seniority:
• Malcom O’Maihle, Irish Whitesmith (Specialist). Notable items: cold iron dagger, tinsmithing gear, and Oliver the English Goat (“Called him that so I could beat him without feelin’ too guilty”) [Dad]
• Guysponge Fourpwood, Mighty Pirate (Fighter). Notable items: Fat sack of cash, Kettle Hat, Pig Latin proficiency. [Sister #1]
• Arturus Falconwrath, Dilettante and Upper-class Twit (Specialist). Notable Items: Elspeth the Camel-sheep (a pack-llama), Rifled carbine, attitude, disownment from family. [Sister #2]
• Giselle, Venetian whore Spy (Specialist). Kelptomania, hourglass, lockpicks, other tools of trade. History with “Arturus”. [Wife]
• Matahi, South-Seas Harpooner [Savage]. Taboos out the ass, shark-tooth sword, flensing knife, harpoons, the Arm of Zotz (God, I love that spell), assorted shaman’s tools. [Brother #2]
•  Kerwin, German Jäeger [Fighter]. Uniform, rifle, one of the only German-speakers in the party. Excellent character portrait. [Sister #3]
• Rajahan, Persian mercenary [Fighter]. One of the few players who brought shelter. Someone’s going to sleep way better than the rest.. [Sister #4]
• James, Cleric. Had Holy water and a good old “Holy-water sprinkler”. Only PC with a shield or armor heavier than a buffcoat. [Brother #4]

Plus one character who went unplayed due to its owner deciding that bed was the better alternative to math.

Scenario: Players are shipwrecked on the Isle of the Forgotten; items are what they’ve managed to salvage/lay claim on. The party were on two separate ships, both wrecked in the same storm, and of several differing religions, which I forsee making life interesting if we pick these poor bastards up again.  Mild spoilers for “Better Than any Man” below the cut, so if you still haven’t read it, go get it. (I re-skinned the Farmhouse complex from BTaM on the fly into a recently-raided Polynesian village.)


LotFP Expanded Firearms rules table (House Rules)

I put together tables for my firearms rules today, as part of another campaign booklet I’ve made. It’s also going to be good for making my own DM screen/ref sheets. The folio is stalled until I catch up with Raggi on the matter of open content, but is currently in a releasable condition.
Small arms tables

The Good Ship (insert name here) (New LotFP Ship types, campaign stuff)

Next session is Sunday. Huzzah! I’ll be doing some bookkeeping, then running Forgive Us. Review to follow.

New rules after the break.

As you may recall, my players capped a ship, and I figured I’d stat her out here. The characters plan to rename her. Incidentally, the Lamentations rules make ship’s tonnage of cargo and crews hilariously inflated compared to their historical counterparts, so bear that in mind as you read this.

S.S. St. Yvette (Portugese registry)
Low-quality Caravel
2-masted, lateen-rigged* (ignores first 25% of positive or negative wind effects)
Speed: 60 nm / day (can still sail ~15m/day directly into the wind)

Arms: 3 swivel guns* (4 mounts on sterncastle, 1 mount forward), one light cannon (currently tied amidships facing to starboard).
11 barrels powder, 13 5-lb shot, 21 1-lb shot, + 1 hundredweight of lead, crew armaments. 3 metal breeches for each swivel gun.
Cargo: 40t, including ~5t hidden compartment (5t liquor, 15t grain).
Crew: 15 + 2 officers (monthly upkeep: 950 sp, 3 shares for sailors: 1 share, 100 sp for Master of Sail. Ship’s surgeon is a PC.)
Marines: currently 5 (1 additional full share, if combat encountered)
SHP: 20 max, currently @ 16 (repairing in port)


LotFP Firearms, Pt Tertius – Misfire Table

I promised this update back in Part 2 (Part 1 is here) and finally sat down and hammered it out. The simple versions are first, but I just couldn’t resist making a longer and more complicated one.

Someone rolled a double "1".

Someone rolled a double “1”.

Damp weather is foggy, or with a very light rain (what we in the Northwest call a “mizzle” – not quite a drizzle, but worse than a mist). Most caves, crypts, and dungeons are Damp as well.

Wet weather means actively raining, or surrounded by constant soaking wetness (for example, hiding inside a mud-filled trench or culvert, or adventuring inside a sewer). NO blackpowder gun may be reloaded in Wet conditions unless the character is carrying Cartridges, or under cover and working with dry powder.
Wet weather penalties also apply if the gun has been in direct contact with water and not reloaded since – for example, while fording a stream, hit by a wave breaking over the deck, &c. The gun can, however, be reloaded without penalty.

Cartridges reduce weather penalties by 1, but cannot be used with cannon.

Using improvised repairs or supplies (powder, flints) adds 1 to the base Misfire chance (cumulative), but does not affect Misfire table rolls.
At your option, characters interrupted while re-priming or re-loading their gun may Misfire it, drop the matches or keys &c. I suggest a Breath save.

As written (Simplest):
When a gun is fired, the target rolls against the gun’s misfire chance.
Wheel and matchlocks must be completely re-loaded on a misfire. Flintlocks must be reprimed only. Advanced locks ignore weather penalties.
Fast but boring, makes flintlocks an utter no-brainer.

As I ran it last session:
When a gun is fired, the target rolls against the gun’s misfire chance. Guns always misfire on a fumble (natural 1), and cannot misfire on a natural 20, even if they would normally misfire automatically.
On a misfire, the firing character must roll 1d20 again. If the gun didn’t fail because of the weather, a result of 1 (or 1-2 on a fumble) means the gun exploded, hitting its user for half damage (save vs. Breath to avoid). Otherwise, odds mean dud loads and evens mean squibs (match goes out, flash in the pan, spark failure, whatever).
Fast in-play, and easy to adjucate. Also, it killed one of the NPCs. Well, technically the botched surgery to correct the injury killed him, but he was already at 0 HP.

I'm so totally not a disaster waiting to happen! No, wait! Come back! T_T

I’m so totally not a disaster waiting to happen! No, wait! Come back! T_T

The far more complicated but possibly more fun version:

When a character uses a firearm, their target rolls 1d20 as well (as in the standard system). (I’ll be keeping the fumble and crit options here)
If it comes up under the gun’s basic Misfire chance, the firing character rolls again on the misfire table. This table is graduated based on the various dangers of the gun’s type. The base misfire chance penalty I originally used for breechloaders, tack-on pistols, and multi-barrel guns has been removed, in favor of direr consequences when they fail.
“Shoddy” guns cost 75% of the gun’s final cost, and take 25% less time to make.

Misfire Chances by Weapon Type:

Misfires on a 1-6 on 1d20, on a 1-12 in the Damp, and cannot be fired in the Wet.
A Lockless gun rolls 1d6 on the Misfire table
Misfires on a 1-4 on 1d20, on a 1-8 in Damp conditions, and 1-16 in the Wet.
Matchlocks roll 1d8 on the Misfire table
Misfires on a 1-4 on 1d20, with no modifiers for weather.
Wheel-locks roll 1d10 on the Misfire table
Misfires on a 1-2 on 1d20, or on a 1-4 in Wet conditions.
Flintlocks roll 1d12 on the Misfire table

Misfire Effects
Roll: Result:
1 or less Explosion!
2-5 Dud load
6-7 Bad Load
8 Lock Damage
9 or more Squib/Flash-in-the-pan

Subtract 1 from the roll if the gun is Low-quality, a Breech-loader and/or double-barreled or multi-shot (cumulative).
Add 1 to the roll if the gun failed due to weather conditions (that is, it would not have misfired without a weather penalty)
Note that this means that a dodgy flintlock is more likely to explode than a well-made one (10% vs 5%) but far less likely to do so than a badly-made handgonne (~33%) or matchlock (~25%). This is very, very intentional.

Explosion!: Well, shit. The gun is immediately rendered useless. Player must save vs. Breath or take half the gun’s damage.

Dud load: The powder was bad, or water got in. The character must reload the gun entirely, taking an additional 3 rounds to clear it, before firing again.

Bad Load: Roll 1d6. If the roll is 3 or less, the gun was underloaded. Otherwise, it was overloaded. An Overloaded gun doubles its damage, and an Underloaded gun halves it.

Lock Damage: the gun’s base Misfire chance increases by 1. Flintlocks must replace the flints, Wheel-locks become unusable until repaired.

Flash-in-the-pan: The priming powder went off, but the gun didn’t, or the match went out.
Matchlock guns must relight the match, taking 2 uninterrupted rounds to remove and replace it.
• Flintlocks take 1 uninterrupted Round to recock and reprime
• Wheel-locks take 3 Rounds to re-wind the wheel.
Additionally, the gun’s base Misfire chance increases by 1 until it is reloaded or successfully fired.

New Magic Item, and a revised house rule

Courtesy of an idea by Fractalbat, I’ve revised my rules for using the Occultism skill for ritual casting: if you fail, you can now burn HP equal to the Margin of Failure to cast the spell anyway. I normally roll skill checks on a secret sliding-base roll (IE, I roll a d6 at the same time, and whatever’s on it becomes the “1” the other die is compared to), so I’m trying to decide whether to:
a) keep the results secret until the player chooses to burn HP (and possibly stop the burn at 1 HP to keep them alive/give them the option to burn out instead)
b) Roll the base die in the open on this one to give them a little more info.
I think having the choice to burn HP after casting, or keep gambling on better rolls next turn, makes for a little more exciting play. Plus, it means higher-level ritualists are going to be burning “just one more HP” a lot more often, making the skill more consistent in the middling levels but still giving proper Magi the edge. And, of course, with Magi starting out with a middling skill in Occultism to begin with, it gives them another avenue for repeat casting without becoming (as Fractalbat put it) superheroes off slinging Shocking Grasp every round. It also means that the Mage will be prepping casting-time-sensitive spells, but still have some access to “utility” stuff at low levels.
Edit: decided that burning years of your life expectancy once you run out of HP/instead of HP is a better trade. Plus, Koura, man. Koura (different video than the one below).

I’ve also reworded it so that Chaotics/Lawfuls with Occultism can’t cast spells from the other side (they’ve already sold their souls, remember..).

The Magic item’s deets are after the break. On that note, I’ve been reading 18th-century histories and the Arabian Nights lately. Can you tell?

The item is a casket made of some ancient and weatherbeaten bone or ivory. It is carefully and extensively inscribed with floral Arabesques and a flowing decorative script (Players fluent in pre-Islamic Arabic will recognize references to Suleiman and a “Thirsting Djhann”). It contains a “fluffy” white sand; when disturbed or poured out, the sand will slowly flow back into the box, through the hinges or keyhole if necessary.

Of Shares and Silver (Historical Inspiration)

With the capture of the pirate ship last session, one of those old DMing issues cropped up again. See, treasure’s always been a problem in D&D – hell, most of the verbiage that’s not tables in the 1e DMG’s section is about developing discretion with it, and making up “appropriate” treasures. It’s one of those areas where Gary’s personal experiences and historical knowledge made certain types of adjucation easy.. but he kinda forgot to mention it to all the newbies out there.

"Pandora" by John William Waterhouse. Public domain.

This is what rolling on the 1e Treasure tables feels like, half the time.

The topic of treasure sizes has been hashed over enough that I’m not addressing it today. There’s another, more pressing problem – what do you do once it’s rolled up? Division seems easy enough, but it can be a Hell of a headache for a GM and the players, especially with the big stuff.

That Class “A” treasure for knocking down a band of Men in the Monster Manual seems huge for PCs, but it isn’t a reward to the players for taking out the camp or ship.

It’s for paying the army it takes.

Think about it – most of the entries in 1e were scaled for stocking hexes or domain level play, not random encounters on the road. To take them out, you usually need an army or at least a band of retainers. Now, most heartbreakers and the main D&D rules vary wildly in their opinions of plunder. But IRL it’s been a thing since the days when an “army” was your cousins and the booty was a couple cows. The historical salaried pay for soldiers was much lower than their actual rates. Plunder was an expected part of their pay. I mean, seriously, would you go to war for the equivalent of about $20 a week? That’s a recipe for desertion and murder. Yes, they were endemic, but knowing that sacking that city over there would pay out in pants, meat, and enough cash to start your own farmstead was a Hell of a motivator. In fact, plunder was so normal, contemporary histories will often extensively remark on “no looting” orders in battles, along with the punishments offered and the general success of the order.

Unfortunately, with widening the scope of booty awards comes the necessity of figuring out who gets what. Now, there are a lot of traditional sharing mechanisms. They were especially important (and handled in much more detail in the literature..) among pirates, but every armed force used them.
Now, I should note that Lamentations already has a booty system, but a) not everyone plays it, and b) I’m a relentless tinkerer.
Here are a few historical examples, which I hope will make fiddling with your game a little easier, and inspire said tweaks.

-Smash and Grab
Can you carry it off? It’s yours. This is what your average rioting civvie is doing, and it’s popular among levied armies or other semi-organized mobs.
Problem is, this doesn’t work in a more structured society. Historically, it led to a lot of murdering and infighting post-battle, so more legalistic/”fair” options popped up almost immediately (either for the division or for the murdering..). If you have to wake up in the morning with the people you’re screwing you tend to treat them a little better in the act, as it were.

-Share and Share Alike
This was a simple split (popular among the more egalitarian revolutionaries and pirates)  and the one most DM’s use – it’s easiest to run with a group of alleged equals. Every man gets a share of equal value, and anything that can’t be split is converted to cash or “bought” with parts of your share. This is implied in the DMG, but contradicted elsewhere. It’s very easy to assign partial shares, however, and the general math is very easy.

-The Thieves’ Bargain, AKA The Pitcairn/Bounty split
A quartermaster is appointed or elected. He divides the booty into shares, then leaves the area, so he can’t see who takes what. He receives what shares are left at the end. A common variation allows each man in order (selected by lots) to take a share, with the quartermaster going last, then anyone entitled to a second share draws lots again for order until all shares are distributed (This means that whomever pulls the most shares also gets the last share left). Another common variation

In the Thieves’ Bargain, everyone gets a number of “whole” shares, rather than half-shares, so the individual shares tend to be smaller. It seems “fairer” to PCs, and offloads some of the work from the GM, plus it tends to increase player investment in the treasures. It does make it harder to “split up” magic items, or other high-value items; historically, they were often diced for – see the description of the Seamless Tunic from the Bible.

-Navy and Military shares
Most militaries had very specific policies, but there were some customary systems. Most of my knowledge is based on the early American and British Naval systems, along with medieval mercenaries and the Roman army; I encourage you to do some more research on your own. Even fishing boats still use a very similar system to the old US Navy divvy.
As with the Thieves’ Bargain, the unit or ship would have a Quartermaster or Paymaster. His primary job would be to issue goods like boots and weaponry, which were usually bought locally with an allowance from the Crown. He would also divide any plunder, but traditionally was not allowed to select the first share. The position was very, very frequently abused, with the QM buying shitty goods (or none at all) and pocketing the allowances, for example. Most armies tried to combat this by instituting particularly brutal penalties for abusive QMs.
There were also issues with lower ranks stealing and hiding loot; the usual penalty was forfeiture of all loot, with flogging, or even death.

In the Navy, prized (captured) ships were sold when they returned to port, or if they still had military value, commissioned and set under the command of the ship’s Lieutenant (necessitating multiple field commissions – 2 new Lieutenants, a Lieutenant of Marines, a new Doctor if possible, a Quartermaster and of course the brevetting to Captain of the old Lieutenant). Cargoes were usually sold and the cash divvied, with the crew having first shot at buying any special items. Prisoners were often enslaved, with any left after replacements (you always lost some in combat and from disease, especially at sea) sold off to middlemen.

The traditional splits varied: usually it was some variation on the following.
Captain/field commander: 3-5 shares, and often pick of the litter.
Lieutenants/officers: 2-3 shares.
Skilled junior officers, such as Doctors or Sailmasters, and non-commisioned officers: 2 shares.
Infantry, Men-at-arms, marines, or any other active combatants: 1 share
Non-combatants: 1/4 to 1/2 shares.
Camp followers, levied Serfs and slaves: nothing.

In a number of cases, you could also be awarded an extra full or partial share.
0 The first man over the wall/on deck in an assault was usually awarded an extra full share (or, more likely, his widow/descendants were). Sometimes this was given to the first survivor over the wall, or to the entire Forlorn  Hope (a slang term for the poor bastards who went through a breach in gates or walls). Used to encourage aggression.
0 Trophies – Bringing back the heads of enemy officers or other leaders. Rewards varied, but the practice was so common that Samurai ettiquette manuals included entire sections on how to clean yourself up, in case your head got taken. After all, it’s your last major social event, gotta be pretty, right? Used to minimize lower-class casualties (kill the officers and you break the army, not the people. Plus it makes it a lot easier to take over). If you just want to encourage slaughter, offer rewards for right ears, thumbs, noses, &c.
0 Pick of the litter – people with multiple shares were often allowed to sacrifice one to jump to the head of the line; if not, the leader of the force traditionally had the right to demand any one share of the loot. This caused some serious friction during the siege of Troy – Agamemnon demanded a specific slave-girl that Achilles had taken, which precipitates the entire last half of the Iliad (and the death of Achilles).
0 The Captain’s Take – In naval battles, the ship’s Captain, Leftenant of Marines, and the Quartermaster were each traditionally awarded the pick of one of the weapons taken before the remaining gear was shared out.
0 Ransom – Defeating a knight and accepting his surrender granted you rights to his arms and horse, which did not count as a share. Often, you had the obligation to take any reasonable offer for their return. In addition, you had the right to keep the Knight prisoner and demand a ransom for his person, or for his body (usually somewhat smaller..) from his fief.
0 Equites – A mounted man was often awarded an additional share for his horse.
0 Sundries – It was common to exempt clothing, food, and other trifles from treasure sharing; you could keep all you could carry, but any weapons or precious items had to be surrendered to the QMs

Lamentations of the Flame Princess Quick-start sheet

Quick links to a document I worked up for my campaign. Note that there are several minor rules changes here, particularly the addition of my new guns, a class, skill tweaks, and some rearrangement of items.
PDF Format: LotFP quickstart sheet
ODF (in case you want to edit it for your own campaign) LotFP Quickstart Sheet

The font is IM Fell English Canon, in 10 point, available from this site. Though they’re a little small on the screen, I assure you they’re perfectly readable at the table.

From the Archives: A Tea Party (Encounter, unique monster)

Most of my limited writing time has gone into the upcoming campaign, as I develop the entries in my Commonplace book. Incidentally, this is something I recommend every DM do; carry a small notebook and a pen with you pretty much everywhere, because Inspiration likes to sneak up on you and cockslap you on the bus and/or at three in the AM. Jot down the most inspiring bit of the idea in a quick sentence or two.
My Tribal class, for example, started as the sentence “Replace Dwarf and elf with archetypes. Noble Savage (last/mohicans, pacte de loups etc? Magical  Dilletante (Johnathan x Mummy)?”. (The latter is where the Occultism skill came from)
Another just below it reads simply “The Feast of Poisons”.

Then there’s this: “Mad princess, tea party, elaborate (and valuable) place settings.”

Ewer, Nautilus - Belgium - 1590Spoilers below the break. None of my players past this point.

Wandering Monsters Aren’t the Only Encounters.. (House rules/gaming philosophy)

I’ve been working on the Encounter tables for the current campaign, and it brought up something I’ve been doing for a while.
So, we all know the standard B/X/1e &c. tables run from 2-12, using 1d4 and 1d8 rolled together (and if you didn’t, you’re going to have a rather weird distribution – explanation after the break).  These days, though, I just throw d4/d6/d8 at once.  I originally started adding the d6 to do surprise for whatever I rolled, but then I started including non-combat “encounters” to screw with my players — um, “enhance the atmosphere of the game”. I’ve found it adds considerably to the tension when the players find a smoldering campfire and don’t know whether they’ve just lost a Surprise roll, or only come across an irresponsible camper’s leavings. So I experimented with making larger tables at first, but it never felt right.

Now I use two to three tables, with the d6 determining which the other two dice are rolling on. Generally speaking, even numbers on the 6 are an “event” encounter – stuff like finding signs of another creature or party, roadside shrines, omens, what-have-you. Odds roll on the conventional Wandering Monster tables. To adjust to the changed odds, of course, I have to roll about twice as often as I normally would. I also skip the d6 and just roll directly on the WanMo table for “triggered” checks like smashing apart furniture or noisy fighting among the party. I also occasionally use the d6 for other things, or to adjust the odds of Weird Crap happening – a deserted road in the middle of a plain is going to have a lot more encounters with random ruins, foul omens, or water sources than with other people/monsters, etc., so I might up it to 1-4 or 1-5 being on the “events” table, and only a 6 triggering a true check, or using the 6 as a trigger for a table of one-time encounters replacing some of the “usual” ones. Unique encounters that you re-roll can be replaced with the normal one at your option. You can also have one or more entries on the Creature table drawing from a local lair or “pool”, with a fixed number possible to encounter, and after that ignore the result or replace it with the corresponding event.

Anyway, my current procedure looks like this:
Roll d6 for encounters -> comes up positive
Grab 4/6/8 and check the tables -> find results
(Note: even when it’s a complete non-combat encounter like a gust of wind, I still follow these next two)
Throw a d6 for Surprise, and having the party’s scout do the same
Roll 2d6 for Reactions or Morale based on the party’s actions (if neither, both, or the party got Surprise) and/or appearance (if the critters did). Note that even a person with Surprise and a profoundly negative Reaction roll might still run or hide if it seems like a good idea compared to taking on a pack of heavily-armed murderhobos.

Here’s a sample table for a road through a moderately-traveled forest, with some notes added below:

Sample encounter table

* For omens: Take a quick card reading/roll off a manifestation, or make one up. Can also represent signs of a “sacred” or “cursed” area, a feeling of being watched or protected, etc. Yes, evil omens are more common. Life sucks.
Good Omens: Any hirelings will experience a +1 on morale for the rest of the day and all party members gain an additional point of HP resting that night.
Ill Omens: next Encounter will be a Creature on 2+ instead, and Unique on a 5+. Morale check for any followers, if failed they will refuse to continue
+ Shrines: Use Surprise roll to determine the size or type and the Reaction roll to determine compatibility of the shrine’s faith. Surprise die: 1, 2 = abandoned/ruinous : 3,4 = Maintained roadside shrine : 5 = Single Hermit : 6 = Monastery or Church.
[Examples of Pagan shrines could be stone circles (for a church), roadside offerings, or even Fairy Rings and burial mounds. ]
** Roll again on the Creatures table, and invent an appropriate sign of the potential encounter. If a Creature comes up on the next Encounter roll, disregard the result and replace it with this creature.


Hacking the Lamentations Spells list


I’ve been putting together a list of random magic user spells, as part of the folio project I mentioned a couple posts ago. Looking at the additional spells from LotFP’s secondary materials, I came to some interesting realizations.

First off, there are no additional Cleric spells. All the LotFP materials relating to Clerical spells, in fact, are basically about stealing them.. Kind of makes sense, what with Law not tinkering as much with their power as Chaos, but adding more Clerical spells is definitely something I’ll look at more later. Right now I’m rooting through my old Priest’s Spell Compendia to see if anything catches the eye. I might even swap all protective magic to the Clerical sphere, although I’d rather just fiddle with one thing at a time.

But the combination of Magic-user spells mentioned and presented in the First-Level Spell contest and the modules I have (Better Than Any Man, Tales of the Scarecrow, Death Frost Doom, Gingerbread Princess, Dungeon/Isle of the Unknown, The God that Crawls) actually present a fairly balanced and interesting list for magi on their own. 
Granted, the attack spells seem limited at first blush. Wrathful Scrotum, Gluttonous Eye, Palsied Affect, Gingerbread Curse, Scalding Touch, Burnt Potency (I upped these two to 2nd-level), Shadow Bane, Firebat, Hail of Stonesand the last four are all modified Magic Missiles. But I like the way they each say something about the wizard, and the way each feels more like a curse or manipulation of reality, rather than spraying raw magic power about. The one spell that comes closest to conventional “fireball blasting” is Burnt Potency and that’s some scary shit for anyone to use.

There are a few true physical alterations – the Gingerbread Curse, Decay Corpse, Plastinate. A single Warding spell – Precipitation Immunity.
The rest group pretty comfortably into bargains (where something is traded for something of similar value, usually with a tax), enhancing the wizard’s perceptions (including unnatural understanding of speech and symbols), or altering others’ perceptions.
I think I’ll pull some appropriate spells from 2e, like Remove Disease, which fit this paradigm, and swap out things like Mending for Fixing Spell and its ilk.

Unfortunately, my players seem to be terrified of playing mages. But it’ll make for some fun NPCs.

LotFP / AD&D Firearms, Pt’m Secundus

I’m putting together campaign materials for my Colonial game. Today, it’s time to update my last post on firearms with some more specific stats for the guns. Working on a misfire table for my own use, which I finally finished (here)
The usual disclaimer: These are intended for Lamentations of the Flame Princess, but suitable for pretty much any RPG with hit dice. As always, LotFP uses the Silver standard, so bump up prices to GP if you’re one of those folks. Encumbrance also works uniquely, based on number of items and their clumsiness, rather than on weight per se. I’ve listed standard weights for each weapon type as a nod to the AD&D folks out there.

Quite literally a hand cannon, the handgonne has a short barrel and a touch-hole (see: “No Lock” in my previous post). They suffer from a cannon’s standard to-hit penalties. They may, however, be hooked onto a stable surface or fired with a second crew member rather than fired from the carry; they then suffer only a -5 penalty to hit targets smaller than a house, & gain a +2 to hit larger targets. They weigh anywhere from 15 to 30 or more pounds, and count as a single Oversized item.
Range: As Pistol
Dmg: 1d10, or 1 ship-scale HP, ignores all armor less than AC 15 at all ranges
Reload time: As Musket.

A period image of a calliveri, fro De Gheyn's drill booklet

A period image of a calliveri, from De Gheyn’s drill booklet

The Caliver (from which the word “caliber” is derived) is a light-weight long gun. Well, light by the standards of the day – most still weighed well over 10 lbs. A caliver is what most are thinking of in the modern era when they say “musket”. Calivers were standardized at what we now call 20-gauge, Id Est, 20 round lead shot the diameter of the barrel will weigh one pound. Calivers may be fired from the shoulder without penalty.
Range: as LotFP Musket.
Damage: 1d8, ignores all armor less than AC 15 at all ranges. May be used as a club in close combat for 1d6 damage.
Cost: 40sp City, 80sp Rural.
A Caliver is an Oversized item.

Note the lanyard on the rest, which allows quick recovery when reloading.

A Musketeer, again from De Gheyn. Note the lanyard on the rest, which allows quick recovery when reloading.

A substantially more powerful weapon, the Musket is a 12-gauge gun, or a bit over .70 caliber. They also load a much heavier powder charge, kick like mules, and take three “hands” to fire effectively – see Rests, below.. A historical musket could weigh upwards of 25lbs, and was made sturdily enough to use as a melee weapon. The heavy diamond-shaped stocks on most muskets added considerable authority to a good smack upside the head with one, which was quite helpful in the years before the bayonet (plug bayonets were only invented around 1700, and latching bayonets that didn’t block the barrel wouldn’t show up for several decades thereafter).

Range and cost as standard LotFP muskets.
Damage: 1d12, ignores all armor less than AC 17 at all ranges. 1d6 damage when used in close combat.
Muskets count as one Oversized item (the musket itself) AND one Standard item (the rest).

Carbine/Dragoon’s Pistol:
Basically, a sawed-off caliver or a very long pistol. They were designed to be portable and powerful, and were occasionally carried as back-up weapons by pikemen or halberdiers. The carbine counts as a single item, and may not be combined into a brace. It may also be conveniently holstered on a saddle or even a character’s thigh, being about the size of a good sword. They may be fired with one hand, weighing only around 5-10 lbs.
Range: 30/60/120 feet
Damage: 1d8 (2d3 for scattershot, 2d4 if a blunderbuss), ignores all armor less than AC 15 at short range. Does 1d4 damage when used as a club.
Cost:   30sp City, 60sp Rural
Carbines reload 1 round faster than long guns. Note that, like other bonuses, this is subtracted >before< a halving effect such as a flintlock or breech-loading modification.

Miscellaneous items:
tend to break after only a few shots, and need to be constantly sharpened. Characters are, however, assumed to take care of this outside combat if they have a flint nodule, costing 6 coppers. If deprived of flint, or time to knap new ones, a flintlock or wheel-lock gun will become unusable after 2d6 shots. 1d6 flints may be improvised from a tinderbox, but increase the gun’s misfire chances by 5%. A flint nodule or knapped flint is a Negligible item.

Cartridges: Not the modern metal-cased cartridges, these are waxed paper packages of powder in a waterproof satchel. They reduce reload times by one round, and decrease the chances for misfire in the damp by 5%. They modify fire saves and cause damage if ignited in the same way as a powder horn. Cartridges cost as much as a single shot of powder, and may be prepared by any character with a gun in their downtime (basically, in the same manner as flints, it’s unimportant to track under most circumstances; assume a character on the run has 2d6 cartridges prepared if they don’t specify a number beforehand). A sack of cartridges is a Standard item.

Gun Rest: A standard musket rest costs 5sp. This price is consistent in urban or rural settings. A rest counts as an additional “hand” when firing a long gun; the character may hold a sword or other item ready for use in the off-hand while shooting any weapon that requires 2 hands. See also below, for hybrid rests. A rest weighs about 5 lbs, and counts as a single Standard item for encumbrance purposes.

Scattershot and Armor: Improvised scattershot, shots from a blunderbuss, sling stones, and bullets from pellet bows do not ignore armor, regardless of the strength of the user or the size of the gun.

A box full of very bad ideas.

Weapon Modifications:

Blunderbuss modification: The gun can no longer fire slugs. Halves range. Upgrades shot damage to 2d6 for long guns; all other shot rules remain intact. Improvised shot may still be used, at the usual 2d4 for damage.

Double-barrel modification: Cannot be applied to a Musket. Adds 90% to the weapon’s cost. Adds a 5% chance of misfire. Both barrels can be fired simultaneously, but the user must save vs. Poison or break an appropriate part of their body and/or the gun. Reload times are as normal for each barrel. Each additional barrel added beyond the second adds the same cost and misfire chance, and the Poison save if all barrels are fired is penalized by -4.

Breech-loader: Double the base price of the gun, and halve reload time. As with a Flintlock, bonuses are counted before this halving effect, and Fighters round down while all other classes round up. A standard misfire (in this case, misfires caused by dampness are ignored) has a 25% chance of destroying the gun and inflicting 1d6 HP of damage on the gun’s user.

Note that other concealable "hold-out" pistols, such as these, follow the same rules as Tack-On guns

Note that other concealable “hold-out” pistols, such as these, follow the same rules as Tack-On guns

Tack-on pistol: A small-caliber pistol may be built into virtually anything. A tacked-on pistol may not use scattershot. They do not increase the Encumbrance category of the item, and two hold-out pistols may be carried as a Brace. A tack-on pistol adds 5% to the lock’s base Misfire chance.
Range: 10/25/50.
Damage: 1d4. Can be fired in close combat, but cannot be used as a club. Does not ignore armor.
Cost: 25 sp Urban, 50 sp Rural
Reloads as a pistol

A French musketeer using a Hybrid Rest

A French musketeer using a Hybrid Rest

Hybrid Rest: For a cost of 2sp a musket hook can be added to any polearm. It inflicts a -1 to-hit with the polearm in close combat. This was one of the usual solutions to the problem the bayonet solved; a character may ready the polearm simply by dropping their gun, and be ready to receive a charge immediately.

Miscellaneous site updates, and yet another project from me addled head

Been busting ass lately at work, but I updated the firearms post. There are still some differences from the way LotFP “officially” handles guns, but I’ve adopted the printed reload rules. I’m also repairing broken links and other miscellaneous errors in the backend of the site, but most of what I’m writing right now is actually for the upcoming campaign.
Then there’s this..
Draft of folio
I’ve been working working off and on a folio and/or Octavo version of the first several levels of the LotFP Magic section, including all the extra spells from modules and such, a few of my own, and stuff adapted from older sources. Since I don’t currently have a PC mage, it’s not as pressing a concern as getting my adventures and house rules crap hammered out. Still, hand-bound octavo of spells = awesome. Eventually I hope to do mini spell-books for all my arcanists, both as a prop and as a way to keep the spells they use as handy as possible.

Review: The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions (LotFP)

I recently got my copy of The Seclusium of Orphone* of the Three Visions as part of the reward package from the Lamentations Rules and Magic reprint kickstarter. Now that I’ve got more than a couple hours to rub together, it’s time for that review I’ve been promising..
(*I see what you did there)

You can go here to look at my rating criteria. Remember, these ratings are for my needs and tastes, not necessarily yours, but I try to explain my reasoning as best I can.

Overall: 7/10
Every Wizard’s story is.. Max and Where the Wild Things Are”. – Pg. 20.
This book is a useful and inspiring toolbox, appropriate for virtually any universe with magic innit. Elements of its presentation are gorgeous, the writing is excellent, and the art evocative. The essays within will likely change the way you run your games, and for the better. Poor layout choices and redundant content, however, make it feel rushed; at once padded and incomplete. For something so chart-heavy, there are some basic elements missing that would have been helpful. Still, the framework it provides for both magic and Magi – which are explained just well enough to use without treading on most campaign worlds – is delightful and the book itself quite good for a GM looking to add some proper “fucked-up” to his wizard’s homes.

Make no mistake, this may not be the best of Lamentations’ products, but it’s still well above-average for the industry. I probably wouldn’t have bought the print edition based on my first impressions, but after reading and using it the inspiration value alone is worth the price of admission.

You can pick up the print & pdf here for ~22 Euros, order it from your LGS, or go for just the pdf at just shy of 8 Euros.

Detailed breakdown after the jump.