Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Letting dice just be...dice

As I throw around ideas for Dogwood City and some other mini-projects, I've hit upon a thought that must have been explored in the OSR community at some point.  I wonder why we don't see more game rules with values simply noted in numbers of dice.

By that, I mean...wouldn't it be easy to write up a monster, or a character class, or whatever, with generic Hit Dice and Damage Dice, and the understanding that if you're playing White Box, you should use d6's...Basic games use d8's...maybe 5th edition uses 10hp/die...etc.?  The value of OSR material is raised so much by the quick-conversion-on-the-fly potential, and it doesn't seem like it would be too difficult to fashion a standard presentation method that wouldn't require any conversion beyond filling in a die type.  It can even apply to situations where rolling for hits/damage is removed from the equation, simplifying things for miniatures or card games by working with smaller numbers.

Maybe this is used more than I realize...?  I could be overlooking a trend, or an unspoken understanding that I've just been too dense to realize and articulate until now.  At any rate, it's changing the way I'll be approaching presentation of icosahedral RPG rules going forward. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Welcome to Dogwood City!

I've decided to take part in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this April.  I had a tough time settling on a theme for the month, but I finally have one that I'm really looking forward to:

Welcome to Dogwood City!

Dogwood City will be my attempt at cobbling together a superhero setting.  If all goes according to plan, each day in April will see one new character statted out on the blog.  What's the point of doing this, when there are already a billion and one superhero settings out there for gaming?  I'm glad you asked...

1)  Sounds like fun to me!  It will be cool to see the feel of the setting develop as characters are added.  I have some ideas for the genres of superhero comic I'd like to focus on, with room to grow out into others.  And the third coast down here in the American south doesn't get a lot of love in supers fiction, so I'll enjoy exploring a specifically southern urban setting.

2)  I think about comics way more than I should, so I may as well focus that energy somehow.

3)  I have some HeroClix figures that have been sitting around for a long time, waiting to be rebased and used in a game.  I think I'll make sure a bunch of the characters are good to go in a basic skirmish game based on In a World Where Bricks Rule...

4)  You never know...maybe if I stat 'em up generically enough, someone out there will get some use out of the characters in their own OSR/icosahedral supers game.

Also, it gives me a reason to post another one of these covers, which are so fun to make...

Each hero (and villain) will probably take a form something like a White Box-style monster.  I'll give 'em HD (Hero Dice!) according to their combat ability, then throw in some tweaks and abilities.  Hopefully a reasonable equivalent hit dice value...which I may as well just call "Level"...will present itself.  (Thinking on the page here...this is already fun...!)

So a character like Green Arrow may end up something like...

Green Arrow
Real name:  Oliver Queen
Level 9
6 Hero Dice
Defense 13

Bow (ranged) +9 (see Special)
Two fists (melee) +9 (1d6 damage)

Special:  Trick Arrows - Before an attack, Green Arrow can select a trick arrow to fire instead of a standard arrow (1d6 damage).  This can be an explosive arrow (2d6 damage), a net arrow (no damage, but target must make a saving throw to escape each round before taking further actions), or a flash arrow (1d6 damage and all characters within 30 feet must save or lose one round of action).

Players are also encouraged to design more trick arrows for everyday adventuring.

I think this might work.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

If I may point out a Kickstarter...

I don't think this is really a shameless plug, as I'm not connected to the project.  It's probably worth mentioning, though, that JR is my bud, and I've worked with him on a couple of card games and have some other projects in the works with him.

He's just started a Kickstarter for his indie semiautobiocomic magnum opus, STUCK IN MY HEAD (click here to check it out).

If you're a fan of indie comics, personal stories, or cool people, give it a look!  JR's a great guy with a fanstastic style and some killer stories to tell.  I'm looking forward to this one!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Tackles & Touchdowns

After musing on a d6-skill-based football game back here, I've followed up by exploring the idea a little more...settling on some rules, playing some games with generic players, and figuring out quick-n-dirty conversions of Madden 16 player ratings to skill values (making the occasional adjustment as I see fit).  I'm getting closer to having a full version of this ready...

The basics of the rules:

The average value of a game skill for a starter in the NFL is 4 on offense and 3 on defense.

The field is divided into four spaces, plus end zones.  For the purposes of the rules, I'll number the spaces like so...

After a kickoff, the offense starts in space 1.

Outcomes are then determined by identifying crucial skill matchups in a drive.  For solo play, flip a play card to determine which offensive and defensive skills to compare (e.g. running back's Agility vs. linebacker's Tackling).  (I'm still figuring out the best way to handle this for head-to-head play.)  Both players roll against their indicated skills, with success on a roll ≤ the skill's value.

IF the offense succeeds, and the defense fails…move one space with the chance to move more (the matchup to continue is indicated on the card...this is how big plays are made).

IF both succeed or both fail…one space if offensive roll > defensive roll, none if not.

IF the offense fails, and the defense succeeds…it's fourth down.
Two consecutive plays of no movement lead to fourth down no matter what.

The offensive coach can then choose to go for it, punt, or try for a field goal.  If successful on fourth down (moving at least one space), continue as normal; if unsuccessful, the ball changes hands at the current space.

A punt moves ball two spaces (or one space if in space 3).
Field goals are made on 5 of 6 if in space 4, 3 of 6 if in space 3.

There are six drives per quarter.  (I count up on a d6.)

Onside kicks have 1 in 6 chance of success if there are two or fewer possessions left to play; teams may attempt one onside kick per game with more than two possessions left at a success rate of 3 in 6 (by announcing a “surprise onside kick”)

And here's Cam Newton's updated player card:

Gonna update here when I hit the next stage of "developing" this...

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Age-specific Anthropomorphic Action Animals

I became a "serious" comic book fan right around the time that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was about to make the move from hot indie series to pop cultural phenomenon.  I can remember buying my first Turtles book while on vacation...a back issue of Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2...just because I so wanted to check out this weird thing that was getting so much hype in the mail-order comic ads.  Soon after that, I was blown away to see the first issue of the Archie Comics series in a Waldenbooks.  Even my 11-year-old self could recognize that this wasn't so indie anymore.

Over the next few years, I also enjoyed checking out any of the TMNT knockoffs that I could get my hands on.  I think the first one I acquired is also probably the best known:

...and this was just the start of the phenomenon.  Some of the other direct ripoffs/parodies included Naive Inter-dimensional Commando Koalas, Pre-Teen Dirty-Gene Kung-Fu Kangaroos, and one that my buddy Josh was kind enough to finally put into my grubby paws when he found it at a con:

Heck, even Marvel eventually threw their hat in the ring, making an X-Men themed parody of the book that was intended, in part, as an X-Men parody!

At some point, I'd love to see a complete list of these put together.  There are some pretty good compilations out there, such as this blog post in Russian, but I don't know of anything that claims (or tries) to be comprehensive.  In a world with infinite time, I guess I'd do it.

Until then, I made this 4d20 Random Anthropomorphic Hero Team Name Generator for anyone interested in getting in on the Turtle knockoff action.  Just roll a d20 four times and consult the lists below in order...you never know when you might need such a team in a pinch...

(And what the heck...let's see what I'll be doodling over the next few days...how about the Wizened Modified Mercenary Groundhogs?)


1.    Aged
2.    Baby-faced
3.    Childish
4.    Elderly
5.    Grizzled
6.    Grownup
7.    Immature
8.    Juvenile
9.    Middle-aged
10.  Midlife
11.  Minor
12.  Pubescent
13.  Seasoned
14.  Sophomoric
15.  Teenybopper
16.  Toddling
17.  Tween
18.  Wizened
19.  Young Adult
20.  Youthful


1.    Abnormal
2.    Anomalous
3.    Bipedal
4.    Chimeric
5.    Cloned
6.    Engineered
7.    Evolved
8.    Fine-tuned
9.    Gamma Irradiated
10.  Genetically Altered
11.  Humanoid
12.  Lab-grown
13.  Metamorphosed
14.  Modified
15.  Monstrous
16.  Reconstructed
17.  Transfigured
18.  Transformed
19.  Transgenic
20.  Transmogrified


1.    Aikido
2.    Buccaneer
3.    Daredevil
4.    G.I.
5.    Gladiator
6.    Hacker
7.    Mercenary
8.    MMA
9.    Paladin
10.  Paramilitary
11.  Pugilist
12.  Samurai
13.  Secret Agent
14.  Sniper
15.  Swashbuckling
16.  Taekwondo
17.  Viking
18.  Warrior
19.  Wushu
20.  Zombie


1.    Badgers
2.    Beagles
3.    Beetles
4.    Bobcats
5.    Chameleons
6.    Ferrets
7.    Goldfish
8.    Groundhogs
9.    Guinea Pigs
10.  Hyenas
11.  Hyraxes
12.  Kiwi
13.  Marmots
14.  Mini Horses
15.  Mosquitos
16.  Owls
17.  Parakeets
18.  Seals
19.  Shellfish
20.  Tapirs