minimald6: Bound for Glory

BfG is my minimald6 version of Dungeon World. It’s about 80 percent finished.

A couple of sample characters:

  • Strong as an ox, dextrous, but repulsive Thief Level 2, (d6 damage up close and at range). Best type of armor he can use: chainmail (armor 4). Pick locks/pockets. Disable Traps. Dungeon rations, leather armor (armor 2). 3 Bloodweed potions. 10 coins. Dagger, short sword. Ragged bow, bundle of arrows. Adventuring gear.
  • Brilliantly minded, stronger than average, but clumsy Barbarian Level 2, (d10 damage up close, d6 damage at range). Best type of armor he can wear: scale (armor 5).  Fight armed and unarmed. Hungry for pure destruction, fame and glory. Dungeon rations, dagger, some tokens from his journeys. Scale Armor (armor 5). Two-handed sword. Adventuring gear.
  • Charming and attentive, but fragile Cleric Level 2 (d8 damage up close, d6 damage at range). Best type of armor she can wear: Chainmail. Her Deity’s domain is What Lies Beneath. It’s an isolated cult. Cast spells. Commune with her Deity. She can cast these clerical spells without rolling dice: Light, Sanctify, Guidance. She can also cast Bless and Cure Wounds. Dungeon Rations, holy divine candle. Chainmail (armor 4). Mace. Adventuring gear.

minimald6: Anomalies (working title)

This is a new game I’m writing for my minimald6 rpg. It’s inspired (heavily) by Tore Nielsen‘s great Americano Anomalies game and Warren Ellis’s Transmetropolitan comics.

Take a look at the following characters, created with Anomalies.

  • A pure human, Nomad level 2, low strength, very high dexterity, very fragile, highly intelligent. A brawler on his road hog.
  • A modified human with a useful and harmless modification, Body Mage level 2, physical abilities powered by mojo, highly intelligent. Member of a cannibal family.
  • Insectoid human (grasshopper, clearly visible mandibles, four arms, powerful legs), Thaumaturge level 2, training in magic, combat spell
You need a drink? Take some Old Gut Rot draught. Or if you want to go non-alcoholic (why?), take a swig of Ayatollah Cola. It’s a revolution, you know.

minimald6: I’m back

A while ago, I wrote a minimalist rpg called “minimald6”. It’s a frankengame built with parts taken from different games, like Ben Lehman’s Deeds&Doers, DnD and several others.

minimald6 was a huge success, and still is. The Google+ community I created for it boasts more than 120 members, and dozens of games have been written for it.

Then, because of extremely aggressive behavior against me, I called it quits. I flipped those folks the middle finger. Now, I’m calm again. And I’m back again.

I have a few new m6 games on the backburner and will publish them once they’re ready. And yes, I’m looking forward to it.

In the meantime, please have a go:

Into the Odd: Why I don’t miss to-hit rolls.

I have some time on my hands (4 hours till my next appointment with clients, and the kids are playing outside), so I’m playing around with different combat resolution methods.

1) The Black Hack: you still have the chance to miss a blow, to whiff it. Hm. Some people have said they like that mechanism because it can build tension in a dramatic fight. Yeah, well. The magic word here is “can”. It’s possible you roll a LOT of misses, and that isn’t fun at all. Not necessarily because you don’t hit, but because nothing is moving forward.

2) powered by the Apocalpyse: you have the chance to miss or to land a partial hit. In any case, your character’s “moves” do trigger events in the game world (or at least, suggest them), and that’s a good thing.

3) Into the Odd: now we’re cooking with gas. Not only does every hit (okay, almost every hit because armor might negate 1 or 2 damage points) move the fight forward, but there’s also massive dramatic tension and narrative baked into that rule: a 1-point hit might be a glance, or a slight tactical impairment, or fear crawling up the fighter’s spine.

As much as I like playing around with traditional combat resolution methods, Into the Odd wins, hands down.

Let me try an example here.

I’m using my work-in-progress, Seattle Slicks. I roll a Cop with Body 10, Intelligence 7, Dexterity 8. Condition Monitor (hp) 3. This is what the table says:

“Flamethrower (d8),
EMP grenade (shorts all local
CYBERDECK (d8, including
cybermodem jacks) or
4 SPELLS (d8) or 4 SPIRITS
(d8) or 4 PHYSAD POWERS”

I can decide between a piece of Tactical cyberware or a cyberdeck. Since I’m playing a cop with mediocre stats, I’ll pick the ‘ware. The random table tells me I have an Echolocation System.

I roll for money: a 6. Oh. My salary is 1,200 bucks a month. My starting money is 1d3 times that salary: 2×1,200 bucks = 2,400.

My cop:
Bod 10 Int 7 Dex 8 CondMon 3. Flamethrower (d8), EMP grenade (shorts all local tech)

Let’s say he gets into a fight with a member of a go-gang (all stats 10, 3 hp, knife d6). 

I allow the cop to make a Dex save so he can fire the flamethrower once before the gangster closes in. A 17, that’s not going to help much. So the Cop tries to pull the trigger, fiddling with the safety latch first, but too late, the gangster is already too close.

The Cop wins initiative, and because he’s not very intelligent, he’s closing the distance and tries to engage his opponent in close quarters combat. He rolls d4 for his wild right haymaker: 3! This takes the gangster to zero hp, but he’s still standing. A quick flick of the knife (d6) inflicts 5 points damage to the Cop. He’s down to 0 hp and Bod 8. He makes the Bod save, bloodied, but still conscious.

Obviously, the Cop now understands that punching against a knife is not too bright, so he applies his CCQ combat training (which, I assume, took place many years ago): he tries to immobilize the attacker’s knife arm and take him to the ground.

NOW Into the Odd’s beauty starts to shine: You roll saving throws to avoid danger from risky actions or situations. Trying to immobilize a knife fighter’s weapon arm definitely justifies a save against Dex. The Cop rolls a 4 — success!

The gangster tries to break the Cop’s arm bar, rolling a 7 — success!

The Cop’s only chance to survive this fight is to trap the knife fighter’s arm again. Rolling a 15, his hands slip and can’t get a grip. The gangster hacks his knife into the Cop’s shoulder, repeatedly: 3 points. Now, the Cop is down to 0 hp and Bod 5. His Bod save is not successful: Critical Damage. Heavy bleeding. Blackout. The fight is over.

Did anyone feel bored? Did anyone miss the tension of missed to-hit rolls? Certainly, not me.

The Black Red Gold Hack (Das Schwarze Auge 1st edition for The Black Hack)

Alright then. I have finally finished the The Black Hack conversion of the first edition of Germany’s most popular rpg, Das Schwarze Auge.

I’ve just shot the publisher an email asking them if I am allowed to use their copyrighted names in my text. Fingers crossed. BTW, since it’s an archetypical German old school rpg, I decided to call it “The Black Red Gold Hack”.

The beauty that is Risus: Combat Magic

Risus has a warm and cozy place in my heart, and it’ll always be that way. Sure, I have an on-and-off relationship with it. Sometimes, I lovelovelove it because you can create characters in a few minutes, and you have ALL the rules you really need to play even an extensive campaign. And sometimes, I can’t stand it because of its “unified mechanics”, to use stilted rpg theory lingo.
But ONE thing, one thing will always stand out for me: The awesome way Risus handles magic.
A few bullet points:
  • no spell list — you specify what your wizard specializes in (or not)
  • spells against non-living targets use a target number you have to beat (in the rules as written always multiples of 5, so easy to remember)
  • combat spells are treated like regular combat, with the mages rolling their cliché dice against the target’s cliché dice, lower roll loses one (or more) dice. This rolls “spell drain” (exhaustion) and damage into one roll — beautiful.

So for instance:
A battle-hardened Combat Solipsissimus of the Royal Court (4) sends a combat spell (you can determine what exactly it is: a fireball? An ice ray? A cloud of distintegration? An ooze of stench?) against a Simple Town Guard (3). 
The mage rolls 2,2,3 and 6. We’re using the ‘Evens Up’ rule, so every 2,4 and 6 count as success, and you get to roll a 6 again, for even more successes. The mage has scored 3 successes so far. The player rolls the 6 again, and it comes up a 4, another success. Combat Solipsissimus (4) has a final score of 4 successes.
The Simple Town Guard (3) rolls 3d6, for 1,2,6. The six explodes, but the new number is a 3, so the Guard scores 2 successes.
The Combat Solipsissimus (4)’s 4 successes minus The Town Guards (3)’s 2 successes means the Town Guard loses 2 cliché dice, turning him into a Suddenly Very Frightened Town Guard (1).
The mage doesn’t lose any cliche dice — he dominated this situation.
What would happen if the Combat Solipsissimus of the Royal Court (4) wanted to blast a hole into the castle’s outer wall? Well, Risus Magic really is universal, so the referee can come up with a target number easily: we’re using Evens Up, so the mage needs 3 successes or more for the spell to blast through the castle wall. That’s a Hard task. The player rolls 4d6 and scores 3,4,5,5 — one success. In a very tough game, the referee could now say that the spell drained the mage’s energy (3 required successes minus 1 success scored = lose 2 cliché dice). In easy-going games, the mage would keep his cliché dice and maybe suffer some minor consequence instead.
That flexibility and ease of use at the table is the beauty that is Risus.

Soon: Pink Mohawk, a complete pbtA hack of Shadowrun, 2nd edition

Yep! I’m putting the finishing touches to the new and improved version of my best”seller” game Pink Mohawk. Downloaded almost a thousand times (not bad for a World of Dungeons hack, I think), it has undergone important revisions:

  • It now uses the Harm system from Apocalypse World
  • Decking has been greatly simplified
  • Spellcasting has been greatly simplified, as well.
  • The game flows a lot smoother now.

Kriegsmaschinen.: an Into the Odd mecha setting

I’m working on a Mecha game for Into the Odd. Its name is “Kriegsmachinen.”, and yes, I chose the German name deliberately because it sounds so cool.

Being a huge fan of miniatures on the table (even if I lack ANY skill to paint them, and WON’T do that), my idea is to write a setting and simple rules for miniatures, based on Into the Odd.

First ideas.

1-3: slow (d6 ramming damage)
4-7: mid-speed (d8 ramming damage); move miniature one length of a pen
8-9: fast (d10 ramming damage); move miniature 1.5 lengths of a pen
10: super-fast (d12 ramming damage); move miniature 1d4+1 lengths of a pen

1-3: light (d6 ramming damage); armor 0
4-7: mid-weight (d8 ramming damage); armor 1
8-9: heavy (d10 ramming damage); armor 2
10: super-heavy (d12 ramming damage); armor 3
11: titan class (d20 ramming class, not available for starting pilots)

Roll 3d6 for Power (STR), Mobility (DEX) and Sensors (CHA/WIL)

Roll 2d6 for Hit Points.

Mobility Class
2: Spider-mech
3: Quadruple/walker-mech.
4-8: Humanoid-mech
9: Jump/Leap-mech
10: Vehicle-mech (1-2: wheels; 3-4: tracks; 5-6: other )
11: Flying-mech
12: Swimming-mech

On-board Armaments
Roll 1d6 times to determine weapon systems; then roll 1d6 for each: 1-3 close combat weapon, 4-6: ranged weapon
1: light weaponry, d6
2-5: medium weaponry, d8
6: heavy weaponry, d10

Using On-board Armaments
Circle through your list of weapons continually, depending on the range of combat. You have two lists: one for close quarter/melee weapons, and one for ranged weapons.

Damage against Mechs
Muscle-powered attacks: 0
Firearms and power tools carried by humans do 1d2 damage, but can’t take it below 1hp.
Mecha-weapons do damage as listed.

Each time a Mech is wounded, but not critically hit, make a (second) Power save for each on-board weapon system. A failed save means this system is shut down because of structural damage (1-3) or overheating (4-6).

Mecha damage against persons
All damage inflicted with a mech-weapon is x3 against humans. Forget armor.

Ramming and Overrunning (taken from Chris McDowall)
causes damage depending on the vehicle’s weight or speed, whichever is better.
Light/Slow (d6), Mid-Weight/Speed (d8), Heavy/Fast (d10) or Super-Heavy/Fast (d12). If one vehicle is heavier than the other, damage against it is Impaired. Vehicles take no damage for running over soft targets like people.

Uses DEX saves for risky situations, or may simply incur damage to the mech.


Let’s try what we have so far:

My mech is a fast (d10 ram), light-weight (0 armor, d6 ram) Humanoid mech, 11 PWR 13 MOB 7 SNS, 5 HP,  armor 0, with 4 ranged weapons (3x medium d8, and 1x heavy d10) and 2 melee weapons (medium d8 and heavy d10).

When I’m piloting my mech and attack, using my ranged weapons, I circle through my list of 4 ranged weapon systems so no weapon gets used twice in a row. Some goes for melee: here I’m circling through my list of 2 close-range weapon systems.