Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The 'Reactive BBEG'

Here's a method of procedurally 'activating' antagonists plans and actions, based on player rolls and relationships. I took inspiration from 13th Age and Dungeon World. I think it works best for GM who are slackers and make shit up as they go. Like me.

At the start of your campaign (no matter the length) choose a minimum of 3 Antagonists. These should be things that are capable of going the long haul - all the way to the end of the campaign if needed. But crucially they should represent something larger than the actual NPC you create. In my last campaign I had the Orc Lord, The Liche King and  The Great Druid. They each represented a 'prevailing attitude' in my game world, like the Orc was obviously war and chaos. Depending on the scale of the game its likely they'll have a shit-tonne of resources too.

Work those concepts up a bit - keeping them broad and undefined at this stage, but you need to assign each a goal or 'end state'. If their ultimate plan isn't stopped this happens, for good or for ill.  You should probably also come up with 3 loose 'milestones' - big things that need to happen in order for that final goal can be attained.

Have every character that is created choose 3 relationships with them - one positive, one undecided and the final negative. Have them spin a line or two of fluff around the relationship and they're good to go. At the end of every session have them roll d6 for each relationship - any 5's or 6's means that 'antagonist' will do something interesting to influence the story next session. Usually this will mean doing something toward achieving their ultimate goal, and hopefully someway that either reinforces or tests the relationship to the character that rolled a 5 or 6.

Now you've got an interesting sub-system with a bunch of antagonist that should react, act and generally have some backwards and forwards with the players. Also hopefully this takes some load off the GM between session, giving them a firm course to sail when creating stuff. - but also providing a lose structure so if it goes in an odd direction its not a problem. My games always go in odd directions.


Friday, 12 February 2016

The Queer & Deadly Town of Sorrowset

Here are two cheeky previews of the second stretch goal for The Black Hack Kickstarter i'm involved with. I ran a game live on Hangouts for a couple of reasons. One was to demo the setting to some people who'd backed the project and see if it was possible to prepare nothing - and rely entirely on the 4 pages of a5 to generate the game elements as we played. The proof is in the pudding, I suppose, really my players should be the ones to tell you if it was a success. But we laughed, we explored, met strange NPC's and fought Giant Moths. That sounds like success to me, and the best thing? All the ideas all the gameplay seeds were generated as the players explored. 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

The Black Hack - Kickstarting Now

It suddenly occurred to me that I haven't posted to my blog since 'The Black Hack' kickstarter went live - and I know most people who read this will have seen me pimping the living shit out of TBH on G+, but you know, there might still be someone who hasn't seen it yet.


The Black Hack is an 'OSR' retro-clone, based on OD&D. Oh great another retro clone I hear every groan in unison. Yeah, thats right - another one. But this one is a bit different, in fact its arguably the simples of all the clones. Here's some of the thing what it does, like.

  • Characters take 5 minutes to roll. You'll be back in a pit trap in no time.
  • The rules fit into a 22 page Digest sized booklet, table reading is important and the rules are straightforward and elegant.
  • Players roll the dice, the GM will only ever roll some damage (if they want to, that is)
  • 4 classes Warrior, Wizard, Thief, Cleric
  • Races dont have rules, being an elf is cool enough! (but someones already homebrewed that)
  • AC is damage reduction, a small amount of soak, assuming your character is well rested.
  • There's 40 monsters in the book.
  • The character sheet has a backpack to write all your loot on.
  • We're already funded, and we've hit our first 2 stretch goals, the next ones not far off either.
  • I made made it and therefore, by logical extension, it must be pretty good.
If you feel like throwing me a couple of quid (the same price as a starbucks you don't need) heres the KS link: