Sunday, December 7, 2014

PBF Shaggradd's Hives of Peril

I just solicited adventurers for a PBF of Fighting Fantasy over on Rpggeek.  I'm looking forward to playing.  I'm posting the list of my rules mods here for easy reference.

All dice rolls are Roll High + Stat.

Luck can be used in place of Skill if the character has low Skill.  This will let weak characters get a few lucky breaks, if they want to blow their luck on fights, jumping pits, etc.

1 Handed Weapons do 2 damage.
2 Handed  heavy weapons like Claymores, Battle Axes, heavy flails, scythes, etc. do 3.
Any armor gives a per-encounter damage soak.

Characters start with:

weapon of choice
lantern or torches
5 provisions

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bryce, The Spirit of Plenty and Good Cheer

"I awoke to a commotion outside. As I rubbed my eyes, wondering the time, I could swear I heard the animals in the barn in an uproar. Dozens of voices, from cows, horses, ducks and geese, all babbling at the same time. Assuming there was a wolf or fox harassing the barn animals, I grabbed my pitch fork and lantern and went to investigate. As I left the house, I became aware that there was a rhythm to the noise, as though they all were singing. Was that a harmonica I heard? Was someone in my barn? I saw a dim, flickering from between the planks walling the barn. Approaching cautiously, I peered in the crack between the two, weathered doors to see a most amazing sight.

Suspended in the air about the barn were several will-o-the-wisps. The animals were gathered around a short, round bellied fellow that dipped a ladle into a cauldron, from which he produced a variety of victuals. For the horses and cows, what appeared to be cabbage or lettuces. For the ducks and geese, each a ladle-full of corn. He then retrieved from the cauldron what seemed a small bit of steak or ham, which an owl fluttered down and took from his fingers. A loaf of bread for a family of mice perched on a hay bail. A rat climbed up his leggings to his shoulder, and for it the fellow produced a bit of cheese which it carried down and ate next to the barn cat, who paid it no heed she sat, patiently awaiting her meal.

After giving out foodstuffs, the fat man set the ladle in the cauldron pulled a harmonica out of his pocket. He reclined against a bail of hay, and began to toot out a lively tune, to which the animals began to sway and stamp their feet. Was he bewitching my animals? My livelyhood? Was he going to steal my livestock? In a few moments the mice, having finished their meal, climbed aboard his paunch and--I could not believe it--stood on their hind legs, dancing in a circle. Joining forepaws they circled to the left, then the right, hopping to the jolly tune. I found myself bobbing my head, almost unable to resist joining in the catchy rhythm. And then I sneezed.

Abruptly, the music stopped, the animals were still, and the fat fellow removed the harmonica from his lips, and turned toward me, looking at me through the gap in the doors. He extended a pudgy finger and beckoned to me. I couldn't help myself. I let my pitchfork thump to the ground, and entered, seeing all the animals of the farm gathered around this fat man and his cauldron.

At once the bouncy tune began again, and the larger animals bobbed their heads, and the mice danced. From behind the milking stall came a raccoon rolling the milking pail, which he flipped over, and began to drum on the underside to the rhythm of the song. Enchanted, I too found myself hopping in gaiety about the room, round and round the fat man as he tooted on his harmonica, the will-o-wisps pulsing to the music...."

In the woodlands, there is rumor of a short, round bellied fellow with a gray beard known as Bryce. Descriptions vary from person to person, as indeed few get a chance to have a look at this creature. He's said to carry a magical iron cauldron, from which he can produce all kinds of edible goodness. Sometimes he is seen off the woodland trails, other times in barns, in orchards, in the fields. This person was Bryce, the spirit of plenty and celebration. Animals that normally would not get along, hunter and hunted, put aside their differences for the festivities.

PCs approaching with goodwill or gentle caution are spelled, and join in the festivities. It is said that even rampaging ogres and trolls are stilled, some even joining the meal. PCs may test luck if they desire to not join. Any approaching with violent intent must pass a Test of Luck or be entranced by his magic. During this time he will gather his cauldron and attempt escape from the aggressor. From his pot, Bryce will get for them their favorite meats, breads, soups, vegetables, anything their hearts (and their stomachs) desire. After food, drink and dancing the night away, the fat fellow will take his cauldron and disappear, in search of the next site to celebrate.

Anyone passing a test of luck and aggressively disturbing the party will find Bryce a fierce opponent. While not evil in nature, he will defend himself and those invited to his parties. In one hand his ladle serves as a club, and in the other he will grip the handle of his cauldron and thump enemies with it for 4 points of damage per hit. In addition, any creature at the celebration has a 2 in 6 chance to join in Bryce's defense, the rest have the spell of joy broken and returning to their normal proclivities. Bryce can summon magical flying lights for illumination as well as control them to confuse and blind his adversaries, allowing his escape.

Should his cauldron be taken, the thief will find it filled with 1d6 worth of provisions of his favorite food. The ladle can be used to draw 1 provision per day, per person using it, from the cauldron. Bryce will do everything in his power to get his cauldron back.

Bryce, The Spirit of Plenty and Good Cheer

Magical Light
ATTACKS: 1 (special)
A successful attack will bewilder or confuse a sighted adversary, giving a -1 penalty to SKILL the following round.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Holiday Themed NPCs

Originally posted to Rpggeek.

Frost the Snow Demon

STAMINA 20 (varies, see below)
Intelligence: High
Reaction: Friendly at first, then Hostile
Armor: varies with size and thickness of figure
Weapon: Any

Frost is a demon attached to an enchanted hat which will animate any figure built of snow. He likes to inflict cold, frosty doom upon anyone he can get his hands on, especially children. He's been known to bury victims in snow, or throwing them into frozen lakes, or impaling them with icicles. Anyone who tries on his hat will become obsessed with building a snowman at the first opportunity (with all the typical accouterments) and placing the hat upon it. It will not be obvious to anyone but the wisest that there's something wrong with the hat.

Frost takes double damage from heat based attacks and spells but is resistant to cold. Frost can use additional snow to repair injuries. Removing the magic hat from his head will de-animate the snowy figure.

Frost's Stamina and Armor will vary with the size of the snow creature. If Frost will inevitably melt in the spring weather, he'll pick a place where his magical hat is likely to be found by some child to be used the following year.

Santa Claus
Armor: Light Monster Armor (Heavy coat and fat belly)
Intelligence: High
Reaction: Friendly

Santa Claus can gain Stamina from any number of provisions in a day. He knows Sorcery spells. Santa Claus carries a magic sack of gifts. He will give a gift to any well behaved character. He will not give a gift to any character who has behaved badly in this or the previous game session. Such as: Killing a surrendered or defenseless creature, stealing, telling lies to cover up evil. To such persons he will give a small pouch of coal.

Santa will attempt to strike any attacker with a large chunk of coal. Anyone hit by the coal will be cursed with intense shame and take -2 Penalty to all actions. May test Luck each hour to remove the curse or wait 24 hours for the curse to be lifted.

Santa is loathe to hurt anyone and will use his knowledge of sorcery for defense, escape, and to help deliver gifts. Santa can use the spell GOB to summon a small elfish servant (rather than a goblin).

If Santa's Sack is stolen, it will contain 1d6 random items (spoons, socks,chalk and slate, wooden toys, etc), 1d6 items useful for adventurers, 1d6 magical items, and luxury gifts worth 1d6 x 100 gold pieces.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Sci fi adventure done with FF

Session report submitted originally to

An improvised adventure while my wife and I barbecued some turkey on a sunny Sunday afternoon. This was almost completely improvised based on a mere nugget of an adventure I had planned for a larger group.

Troy (of no relation to a particular Troi from Starfleet), a half-Betazoid Starfleet scientist (honestly, not related, see another Troy here) was en route to Vega Beta Omicron Delta Poop 2 for a geological terraforming survey when her shuttle she was waylaid by an unknown vessel. Troy was knocked unconscious after her shuttle was hit by a beam weapon and she was thrown from the console.

Waking, shackled at the wrists, she looked about to see an ancient looking cargo bay on an unknown ship, dimly lit, filled with assorted containers and a transporter pad.

Not wanting to mess with the Ferengi, Troi decided to first unshackle herself if she could. She began opening cargo containers. The first contained tins of Federation field rations. She pulled the tab on one, finding it fresh, and ate it to recover her strength. Then she broke the tab off and picked the lock on her shackles with it. The next container contained assorted rods and plates commonly used for ship hull repairs, and armed herself with a duranium rod.

Next she tried the transporter controls, but finding the computer locked out with a passcode, Troy attempted to open the cargobay door to explore deeper in the ship. The door too was locked with a passcode. So Troy woke the Ferengi, cautiously, and asked him if he knew where they were. Blarg, his name was, said it looked like a Pakled ship. He demanded to be unlocked from his shackles.

Troy made a deal with the Ferengi. He crack the code on the door, she'll unlock him. Agreeing to the deal, he first checked his pockets, finding everything missing. Except, under his waistband, his secret stash of 5 strips of latinum, which raised his spirits. Watchful of the Ferengi, whose emotional state was not entirely one of cooperation, he popped the lid of the last container, containing scrap electrical equipment. Using some bits he found, he jury rigged the door, which slid open, then shut, open then shut, stuttering. When it opened, Troy put her duranium rod in the doorway to hold it open.

Briefly, the two debated their options: take over the ship, or escape.

The two armed themselves with more rods and explored the hallway, ignoring several doors and instead using a turbolift at the end of the hall. Up one level, onto the engineering deck where two Pakleds were attending to computers that monitored the warp core. Blarg crept up on one, clonking him on the head with the rod and sending him to dreamland. The other spun about, fumbling for his pocket phaser.

Troy ran up and restrained him, using a set of shackles that Blarg had saved, but not before he could shout for help. Two more Pakleds came through the door at the far end of engineering. Troy threatened to kill her prisoner if they didn't back off, so they stayed back. Blarg took a tiny pocket phaser from the prisoner's pocket.

Troy demanded to know where they were going. One of the Pakleds said they were en route to an Orion slave auction where the Troy and Blarg would be sold. Then the Pakled prisoner tried to make a run for an alarm switch to whack it with his elbow, but Blarg shot him just as he hit the button. There was a short firefight, Blarg hit one Pakled, rendering him unconscious. The second Pakled missed, and Blarg only grazed him, and he fled out the door. Then another, responding to the alarm, arrived via the turbolift, and fired at Troy. Troy made a brave charge, dodging the shots and smacking him in the wrists with her rod, disarming him. He fell back into the turbolift and the doors shut. Troy took his phaser.

Meanwhile, Blarg hacked into the computer system to transmit a Federation distress signal, for which Troy provided the frequency. He then found a map of the ship, revealing two escape pods and the layout of the rest of the ship. Deciding to run for the pods, Blarg set his phaser on overload and put it next to the warp core. 2 minutes to disaster.

They found the grazed Pakled through the doorway, which Troy stunned with her phaser. Through the next doorway they found the escape pod, which was sealed with a keypad. Up the hallway was the apparent captain who ordered two of his men to fire with primitive (but deadly) projectile weapons. Blarg dived back toward engineering, but Troy shot one, who dropped his weapon. The next round, Blarg tried the keypad but failed to open it. Troy shot the other, knocking him unconscious. The captain reached for his guard's weapon, while the two heroes fled through a door to the other side of the ship to the other pod. There they both tried the keypad, and Blarg succeeded to hack the code.

Launching into space, they looked through the window to see the warp nacelles pop and leak gasses from the reactor damage caused by the overloaded phaser. With her piloting prowess, Troy dodged a parting shot from the aft cannon of the now nearly crippled Pakled ship, which was slowly, ever slowly, turning about to pursue them.

The escape pod was old and the electronics in a really bad state of repair. Troy tried to send a distress call, but failed to wire it correctly. Blarg tried his hand at it, and failed as well. The Pakled ship began to come about and pursue, beams streaking from its cannons but just out of range. However, the initial distress call sent paid off, as a federation ship arrived, blasting holes in the Pakled ship with its phasers and locking a tractor beam on the pod.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review of Out of the Pit

I just received a copy of Out Of the Pit (1985 edition) from a UK books distributor. Its a delightful 128 page bestiary of Fighting Fantasy creatures with stats, descriptions and lovely black and white illustrations for each creature. There's maps of Allansia and Kakhabad. And there are a few full color fantasy illustrations in the middle of the book. There are random encounter tables, and there's a simple treasure generation table near the back of the book which may be sufficient in a pinch, but I suggest creating your own.

Statistics in Fighting Fantasy are quite simple: Skill and Stamina are the primary values. Also listed are the habitat they're typically found, the number encountered, Type (undead, humanoid, animal, other), Reaction (ranging from friendly to hostile) and Intelligence (high, average, low, none). All these are guidelines and the GM is encouraged to vary the statistics as needed.

What truly gives substance to the creatures are the descriptions of the creatures' various habits, abilities and tactics. When GMing a campaign, as opposed to playing a game book, the encounters need to be dynamic or they'll be a boring slugfest, and this book delivers on that need. Little creatures like Grannits (SK 4 ST 3) that one might easily crush in simple combat become menacing because their hides are indistinguishable (that word exactly) from the rocks in their environment and get a free first hit when they choose to attack. Imaging getting bit, falling back and landing in more that crawl all over you. Nip nip nip, the wizard panics and throws a fireball, blasting everyone. The goblin in the party dines on roasted Grannit.

The creatures are written for Fighting Fantasy: The Introductory Role Playing Game. As such, creature abilities are narrative (such as the aforementioned Grannit), involve tests of Luck or Skill by the Player Characters, or are an odds in 6 chance of succeeding. For example, Black Elves will hit with their bows 4/6 of the time, a test of Luck is required to dodge Gold Dragon breath, and a bite by a Cockatrice calls for a 2d6 roll on a table for the fate of the victim (Death, partial paralysis and skill loss, or nothing).

Not all the rules for different creatures can be readily plugged into your current FF or AFF campaign. For example, an Iron-Eater, a blob that drops from the ceiling and eats your metal armor, will causes a 1 Skill point loss for each item eaten. If you assume the players are equipped with armor from the beginning, then this diminished combat Skill may make sense. However if you don't have armor function as a boost to combat Skill, then you need to remember to rule a different consequence for the loss of a piece of armor.

This book is an excellent source of creatures for your FF or AFF campaign or to be adapted to use in any other game system. I recommend picking up a copy if you're a FF enthusiast or want a bestiary for your game system.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

More Rules Revisions and Simplifying Battle

I've finished my tinkering with the AFF combat system.  Here's what I'm going with at my next game:

All 1 handed weapons do 2 damage.  Two-handed heavy weapons do 4.   If non-weapons are used as weapons, I'll improvise their damage as needed.  Monster attacks, if they're basic FF monsters from the old version of Out of the Pit, will do the damage described.  
Armor has a per-encounter damage soak.  Light armor soaks 2, Medium soaks 4, Heavy soaks 6.

A shield will soak 2 per encounter.  This is when the shield is used passively.  If the character decides to take a purely defensive action, it will give a bonus to the contested die roll.  Not sure about other gear like helms, gauntlets, etc.

Armor skill will be similar to AFF.  Leather needs 1, Chain 2, Plate 3 (maybe 4).  Any deficiency in Armor Skill will penalize actions taken while wearing it.

For extended encounters, I will "reset" armor from time to time so they can take more hits. 

Players can burn their Luck without rolling to boost damage or die rolls. 

I'm still torn about character generation.  If they want to port their characters from Dungeon World, then that's ready to go.   

If they want new characters, I'm not sure whether to use the die roll system near the back of the AFF2 book:  Start with: SK 3 ST 3 LK 5 MG 0 and roll 4 dice, adding one die to any stat, and up to 2 dice to Stamina.  

Or do I use the old system from AFF1: D6+6 for SK and LK, 2D6+12 for Stamina.  If I use the old system, then Special Skill points will be given inversely to the quality of the Skill stat.  ((12 - SKILL) * 2)  + 6.  And then for each Special Skill you put into Magic, it deducts one point from base Skill.  Your total Magic Stat then is SKILL + Magic Special Skill.  

I don't like making hugely powerful characters at level 1.  12 Skill in the FF books was fine, because the vast majority of the time it was combat skill.  A 12 Skill now means you're a superhero.  If you're a superhero, why are you adventuring?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Encounter: Swamp Witch

The Swamp Witch

In a hot, thick, foggy swamp resides this witch to whom the local swamp dwellers come for favors, medicinal aid, to get their fortunes told.  Moss grows on all sides of the exterior of her shack, and from the eaves hangs two hornet's nests with insects busily buzzing around.

Inside of this shack is the usual assortment of witch's equipment.  Through the smoke from the fireplace  or incense one can see flasks of potions and powders, a few books on a shelf, assorted dried ingredients for spells.

The witch will cast one of many beneficial spells or cantrips, or produce potions, for a price. Perhaps she needs the party to fetch some spell components from a dangerous area, such blood-flowers that grow in a cemetery haunted by ghouls and zombies or even worse things.  

Anyone attacking the witch will be set upon by the hornets in the two nests outside.  The hornets will cause 1 stamina damage per round and put the offender at -2 to all actions until he escapes.  The witch will use her spells to help her escape, as she is not a strong fighter.

The Swamp Witch Stats

SKILL 5   STAMINA 14   MAGIC 10  MP 20

Suggested Spells

Cantrips: Attraction, Burn, Cool, Dry, Enhance, Inebriate, Instil, Mistake, Repulsion
Wizardry Spells: Befuddle, Flash!, Thunder, Weakness, Fog, Find, Weather Control