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12 December 2010 Leave a comment

I’m not using this blog anymore, so please head on over to my new one, Sean May. Don’t be scared – it’s pretty much exactly the same as this one.

2d6 RPG – Luck

26 November 2010 Leave a comment

Each gaming session, a player may use a number of Luck points equal to their Luck value. These points reset and are available for use each session regardless of how much in-game time has passed.

A Luck point may be used to change the roll of a single die, improve a roll or improve a static value such as Defence or damage for the duration of a single action. For each Luck point spent, the player should roll 2d6 and choose the higher value. Any number of Luck points may be spent during one action, but their use should be declared before the outcome of the action is described.

If you the player rolls a double, they can add one Experience Point to their Luck XP. Critical successes and failures don’t apply to these luck rolls.

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2d6 RPG – Experience

26 November 2010 Leave a comment

Apart from the points given during character creation, experience points are gained in three ways: rolling doubles on 2d6 rolls, performing well during a gaming session, and training.

Adults receive one experience point per achievement, double rolled, training period etc, as outlined below. Child characters gain 1.5 times this; infant characters gain twice this.

XP Target Values (‘Next’)
For the nine trainable Abilities (Dex, Fit, Ref, Str, Spd, Cha, Int, Per, Wil; Luck is not trainable) the number of experience points required to improve an Ability to the next level is the current value multiplied by 12 – except for null and negative values, in which case the target XP is always 12. This value is written in the Next box for each Ability. Each feat has its own target value.

Most rolls in the 2d6 system involve 2d6. When the result is a double, including double ones and double sixes (critical failures and critical successes), the player may add one point to the XP box for the relevant ability. For example, if a player makes a Dexterity-based attack and rolls a double 3, they add one point to the XP box for Dexterity. If doing so increases their XP to the target value in the Next box, they may instantly upgrade that Ability score.

Players should get one experience point for attending a session, another for contributing, at least minimally, to the session’s game, one point for each achievement within the game that is above and beyond expectations and that contributes to the party’s progress (for instance, single-handedly defeating a difficult enemy, devising a good plan to deal with a situation etc), and one point for effectively roleplaying their characters’ positive and negative traits. The game master may award bonus XP as he or she sees fit.

Where an in-game achievement is both exceptionally helpful to the party and an expression of the character’s trait, the player can receive two XP for both elements. Where an achievement is exceptional but selfish and is either irrelevant or a hindrance to the party’s goals, the player will only receive XP on the basis of how true to character it is.

Roleplaying experience points are allocated at the end of a session and can be apportioned as the player sees fit amongst Abilities and Feats.

When characters have sufficient time and resources, they may undertake training to gain experience points towards a specific Ability or Feat. Characters must have an uninterrupted period of eight hours during which time they will do nothing but train. They must also have appropriate tools and resources available to them; for instance, a fighter cannot train a sword skill if she has no sword, and a rogue wanting to improve his bluffing cannot do so without people to lie to.

Training takes Willpower. A player should roll 2d6 + Wil or Fit – (target XP divided by 12) versus a Difficulty of 8 for physical Abilities and Feats (Dex, Fit, Ref, Str, Spd), and 2d6 + Wil versus Difficulty 9 for mental Abilities (Cha, Int, Per, Wil). Failing to meet the Difficulty means the eight hours is wasted and no XP is gained. Beating it means the character earns one experience point for that Ability or Feat. Matching it means the character earns half a point.

For instance, a character wanting to train Charisma would have to spend eight hours talking to people – in a marketplace, say. If the character’s Cha is currently at 3, their target XP is at 36 and their Wil is at 2, they would have to beat 9 by rolling 2d6 + 2 – 3.

It is possible to train for two eight hour periods in one day, although this is very difficult. The Difficulty rises by 3 for the second training attempt in a single day.

2d6 RPG – Introduction

26 November 2010 Leave a comment

In the 2d6 game there are no classes and no levels. Instead, characters are built specifically to players’ intentions and grow and develop organically based on their in-game experiences. Players should first choose what kind of character they want to play and should tailor their Ability and Feat choices to that end. In addition, there are no skills, as such. Skill checks can still be made, but they are based on Ability scores and Proficiencies granted through Feats.

One important difference between this system and D&D is that the vast majority of game mechanics are based on rolling one or two six-sided dice (a d8 and a d12 have bit parts in the system). All checks are based on rolling 2d6. The most common result from such a roll is 7 – having a chance of happening one in six times. Critical successes and failures (double 12s and double 1s) have a one in thirty-six chance of happening – less often than in D&D, but not too uncommon. Double 12s and double 1s often lead to further 1d6 rolls that determine just how good or bad the success or failure is. Another difference is that, while rolling lower or higher than the target (Difficulty, Defence or opposed roll) is a clear-cut failure or success, matching it results in a ‘minor success’.

The standard, minor and move actions of D&D have been adapted to a more logical system of Action Points per turn. D&D’s attacks of opportunity have been translated into a mirror system of Reaction Points per turn.

There are no damage rolls in this system, hopefully streamlining combat. Also, armour functions in a different way, effectively making the wearer easier to hit, but protecting the armoured character from a lot of damage.

Personality is a part of the system, albeit a minor one. Money is handled in a D20 Modern-style system. Encumbrance has been similarly simplified.

Magic in this system is intended to be modular, to be flexible without being overly powerful. Spells are categorised into a number of disciplines (Fire Magic, Healing, Prophecy etc) and can be built from a number of basic concepts (Base Difficulty, volume/area/length, duration etc).

One less tangible aspect of the game is that it is intended to prove gritty and challenging in the playing. Critical hits against characters result in life-threatening injuries, or even permanent disabilities. Although characters gain experience points continually, improving Abilities and Feats becomes exponentially harder – hopefully making it that much more satisfying to attain such an improvement.

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Writing diary

23 November 2010 Leave a comment

The manuscript that I began at the start of the month as part of National Novel Writing Month has pretty much ground to a halt at a touch under 17,000 words. My first week back from China saw me writing every day and producing around 2,000 words a day. But on Friday I reached a bit of a crisis, as I could no longer see where the writing was going. Since then I’ve been going back to the (now legendary) drawing board to lay the foundations that should have been laid earlier. Today I mostly completed a kind of potted history of the world up until the point at which my story starts. In the next few days, I plan to brainstorm more of the details that will go into the story’s background – and which I will then sweep away with the first words of actual story.

What I wrote up until Friday had definite merit. In particular, I created four characters with diverse personalities and personal problems. Unfortunately, the whole work just wasn’t quite what I’d intended to write. It happens sometimes that your imagination takes you on tangents that may or may not work out. Also, I think the first character I made – and therefore the first viewpoint character – was a little too YA for my taste.

I now have a firmer basis to continue writing – or, more properly to start writing again, this time on version 2. I have plenty of ideas about the plot, but they’re all either vague or disconnected at the moment. Setting down a real plot, a series of causes and effects slowly building in intensity to the story’s climax will be another important task I have to undertake soon. It’s vital, because I need to know what I’m writing towards in order to write. It’s also incredibly difficult.

I think that conceiving a short story is like trying to visualise a small group of objects, like five apples, or a moment from a film. Trying to conceive a novel, or, worse, a series of novels, is like trying to visualise a million apples or every moment in a film simultaneously. Caveat scriptor, indeed.

Game of Thrones pictures

23 November 2010 Leave a comment

For anyone with the slightest interest in contemporary, non-children’s fantasy, the forthcoming HBO adaptation of George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (or the first volume thereof, at any rate) has has to be the most eagerly anticipated TV series for a long while. Entertainment Weekly has some exclusive pictures.