Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Brave Class Hack Beta (again)

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One of my most popular posts was the first Brave Class Hack, where I shared with the world my weird class system as well as the Knave, Warrior, Thief, and Cleric classes. I've made a lot of changes since then, including the addition of 3 more classes, so I figured it would be a fine time to update the world.

For anyone reading this who doesn't know, Brave is my personal hack of Ben Milton's Knave, which you can find the latest draft of linked on the sidebar of this blog as well as right here. If that link ever dies, it's because I forgot to return to this blog post to replace it. But the sidebar one should always be up to date.

Here is a link to the latest copy of the Brave: Enchiridion of Fates and Fortunes with some designer notes included. I also thought I might provide a preview below on each of the classes currently included, if you read below:

Sunday, March 21, 2021

On Dungeon Size

In the most recent Questing Beast Q&A he and his guests gave their thoughts of "ideal dungeon size" and it got me thinking. Here's a link to the part of the video where they discuss it. After some consideration, I want to propose 4 basic size classes of dungeon, divided partially by number of rooms but, more importantly, by the effect they have on the core gameplay loop of your campaign.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

An Incomplete History of Mazes in RPGs

Mazes and labyrinths are a staple of fantasy fiction, so it makes sense that you might want to see one in D&D. In many ways, the Greek Labyrinth was the original dungeon, so it seems like a perfect fit, right? Except that it's notoriously tricky to run a maze in D&D without it sucking, and there's no standardized solution. So in this article, I'm going to review a list of instances I've found in various gaming products where a unique attempt was made and then explain their method. If you've never personally encountered this problem before, it may not be obvious what's so difficult about it. But I bet that once you start seeing some of the following examples, you'll begin to understand.

This will ultimately lead to, at some point in the future, a set of rules I've made based on what I've learned. I'll include those in my RPG Brave when it's released, but whenever I make a first draft I'll probably post it on my blog as a standalone procedure. If you find any other unique takes on mazes in RPGs I'd love to read them, but this isn't meant to be exhaustive.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

A Faction System That Doesn't Get in the Way

I'm following up on my last article but I get tired of numbering every blog post that's related to another because not everything is always part of a planned series, you know?

Once again, I need to credit Gundobad Games for sparking this thought process, albeit in a completely different context from last time. It was many months ago when I was trying to do research on domain-level play and I dug up a bunch of reddit posts about it and read people's game recommendations and blablabla and one of the most fruitful things I found were these blog posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. I could say a lot about those posts but right now I'm just gunna focus on Part 3, and I'm gunna re-write everything relevant from it here.

So the writer was putting a spotlight on Chris McDowell's Into the Odd, a nifty minimalist old-school RPG, and in particular, on its faction system. He calls them "enterprises" which is a decent name. Here is the full text of Into the Odd's enterprise rules, reproduced here:

Between expeditions, you can try your hand at business, or muster a military force. DETACHMENTS and ENTERPRISES each cost 10 Gold to establish. Detachments demand a further d6 Gold in upkeep each month, or else they revolt.

Income: New ENTERPRISES generate 1d4 Gold of Income each month. They also face a Threat that will cause 1d4 Gold in Losses unless dealt with. If an Enterprise cannot pay its debts, it collapses. Growth: If an ENTERPRISE ends a month with Profit, its income moves up to the next type of die, to a maximum of d12. However, this larger die also applies to losses from Threats.

By the by, a "detachment" is his name for a group of warriors fighting together, which we won't be discussing here. Maybe another day.

Anyway, today I'm gunna talk about the strengths and weaknesses of this system, the more immediate ways in which I've thought to tweak it, and then how I might go about reconciling it with all those other thoughts I vomited up in my last post.