Tuesday 28 February 2023

In other news, D&D subreddit is run by bigots

 Dear friends.

If you ever need to remember how to behave if you want to support women, look at the mod team of D&D subreddit and don't do what they did. 

Don't ban the women who want to talk about a D&D 5ed consultant who won a defamation case in court. 

In one brilliant move, the moderators shown themselves to be antisemitic, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, and also lying and cowardly. 

That's something few people besides Vladimir Putin manage to do so quickly and efficiently.

Monday 27 February 2023

So about LotFP Japan... (Zak's new book)

 When I said Zak's "Lands of Southern Daimyos" is the closest thing we have to LotFP Japan, I might've spoken prematurely. 

Because Alex Hopson of Boonie Dog is publishing a new book with Zak's participation, and it's about Okinawa and weird volcanic magic and all sorts of wicked stuff and with Zak's wicked art. 

We have good chances of playing something new and cool in our Usagi Yojimbo campaign if we don't all get killed by russian missiles. 

Here's more about Zak's new book, and the reprint of Zak's Red and Pleasant Land.

Saturday 25 February 2023

A Red and Pleasant Reprint

 I must say, this is something that I did not expect. 

Red and Pleasant Land is one of Zak's books that I never had a chance to read, but people said it was beautifully made and published. Won awards, too.

And now it's getting back in print (by another company). 

That's a good day for tabletop roleplayers. 

Becami gathered the relevant links here.

Friday 24 February 2023

A Fistful of Ryo

As I said before, the games we play are weird mixtures. Imagine the core system of Gold Rush's Usagi Yojimbo, the adventures written for LotFP, the characters that I pull out from every story, comic book or cartoon I've ever laid my eye on, and the names changing as we play because it's easier that way - the Sleeping Crane castle became Sleeping Buffalo castle (untranslatable wordplay between the king's English, the tyrant's Belarusian, and our own Ukrainian), which later became Sleeping Boobalo castle because I like boobs. 

And also the homerules that I also pull out of different places. Lucky numbers kung-fu from Zak, "spend XP - add dice" from Xena Roleplaying Game, weapons - I honestly can't tell anymore, I'm pulling weapons stats literally from everywhere. 

Anyhow, we played a Cube World adventure named "A Fistful of Silver". Which is a reference to a spaghetti western movie which was a plagiarism of Kurosawa's "Yojimbo" which was inspired by Dashiel Hemmett. I love it how eastern and western culture influence each other. "Fistful of Silver" takes place in the Land of Southern Daimyos, which is the closest thing to LotFP Japan that we have (since James E. Raggi the Fourth, life, prosperity, health, said there are currently no plans to publish adventures set in Japan). 

The lords are gathering in what became the Boobalo castle in our game to discuss the threat of invasion from the Emperor (who rules what is the closest thing we have to LotFP China). Coincidentally, several of the lords and ladies secretly want to hire the adventurers, each for their own reasons. One of them needs a bodyguard for his sweetheart. Another wants to start a civil war. And someone wants to side with the invaders. 

Miyamoto Usagi doesn't advise you to side with the invaders. 

Art by Stan Sakai

 

Zak's Cube World adventures are good material, in the way that "I don't necessary understand if and why this part is necessary, but when I use it, people at the table react in fun and interesting ways and the game goes well". I took the basics offered by Fistful of Silver and ran with them, and I must say that when the wounded princess mutters "I know who the traitor is...", it's very pleasant when the players gasp "Who?!" 

And it was even better when they realized that the clue to the traitor's identity that they found fits not one, but two people. 

Note: in the end, I'd say we only used about half the of the adventure's potential. You could play it like "Yojimbo", offering your services to one side and then the other and then confuse both and then hide underneath the floors while bleeding all over; you could be good little samurai and pick a lord to serve, and face the horrible consequences; or you could just steal everything and run. 

There's always a fun way to play it out when the material is good.

Tuesday 21 February 2023

Zak won a defamation case

 I remember reading many times from multiple people that "Zak only sued Ettin for defamation because Australia has very bad laws, he'd never sue anyone in the US because FREEDOM OF SPEECH! and people can say what they want on the Internet for the same reason" etc etc. 

Those people were either mistaken or lying. 

Case in point: Vivka Grey lied about Zak harassing her. There was a lot of proof that she was lying, and that proof was presented to the court. The court ruled that Vivka Grey lied, that she's guilty, and that she must pay some money to Zak because he was the victim. 

The video contains extracts from the court process, some proof of Vivka's lies (and also Kimberly Kane being awesome, which does not relate to the story). 


And here's Zak's post for those who, like me, prefer reading to listening. 


Tuesday 14 February 2023

Converting Marvel Super Heroes to I Am The Weapon, issue 2

 As Zak pointed out, no way would Spider-Man have D12 Toughness (peak human ability) - his strength is clearly superhuman. 

I made this mistake because MSH has the same power ranks for all stats, but they have different meanings. Incredible Agility is peak human, but Incredible Strength is "able to lift 10 tons", something that Iron Man in his battlesuit or Spidey can do - and Incredible Endurance is also something superhuman.

Which means instead of having one nifty table, you'll probably need a table for every single stat to convert it properly. 

FINE! 

As before, Marvel Super Heroes stats are bold and I Am The Weapon stats are cursive

Fighting /Hand to Hand

Feeble - 2

Poor to Typical - D4

Good - D6

Excellent - D8

Remarkable to Incredible - D10

Amazing - D12

Monstrous - D20

Unearthly - D20+D4

 Again, I suggest you drop it if it's lower than the Toughness and Agility levels, because what's the point then?

Agility/Agility

As before. 

Feeble – 2.

Poor to Typical – D4.

Good – D6

Excellent – D8

Remarkable – D10

Incredible –  D12

Amazing - D20 

Monstrous - D20+D4 

Unearthly - D20+D6

 

Strength/Toughness

Feeble D4 (everyone is just stronger in  superheroic comics and movies, right?)

Poor - D6

Typical D8

Good D10

Excellent D12

Remarkable D20

Incredible –  D20+D4

Amazing - D20 +D6

Monstrous - D20+D8

Unearthly - D20+D10


Endurance/Toughness

Feeble 2.

Poor - D4

Typical D6

Good D8

Excellent D10

Remarkable D12 (again, this is Captan America's level)

Incredible –  D20

Amazing - D20+D4

Monstrous - D20+D6

Unearthly - D20+D8

As I wrote before, I still suggest you pick the highest of Endurance and Strength and use it as Toughness. So Spidey has Incredible Strength and Incredible Endurance, which translates to D20+D4 and D20... so he has the higher of the two, D20+D4 in Toughness. Sure beats the D12 I gave him before. 

 

Reason/Intelligence

Feeble 2.

Poor - D4

Typical to GoodD6

Excellent D8

Remarkable D10

Incredible –  D12

Amazing - D20

Monstrous - D20+D4

Unearthly - D20+D6

 

Intuition/Perception

Feeble – 2

Poor - D4

Typical D6

Good D8

Excellent D10

Remarkable D12

Incredible –  D20

Amazing - D20+D4

Monstrous - D20+D6 (Daredevil and Wolverine) 

Unearthly - D20+D8

 

Psyche/Calm

Feeble 2

Poor - D4

Typical to goodD6

Excellent D8

Remarkable D10

Incredible –  D12

Amazing - D20

Monstrous - D20+D4

Unearthly - D20+D6

 

Resources/Networking

Feeble 2

Poor - D4

Typical D6

Good D8

Excellent D10

Remarkable D12 (TSR, Inc)

Incredible –  D20

Amazing - D20+D4

Monstrous - D20+D6

Unearthly - D20+D8

 

Popularity/Appeal

Okay, Captain America's Popularity in costume is 100. Yes, I know he's the living legend of WW2, but I'm not giving him D20+D6 Appeal

Besides, the X-Men all have a 0 Popularity because they're mutants and people distrust mutants, and that doesn't mean they all have 0 Appeal. 

So this thing needs to be reworked. I don't see a simple solution here - since MSH doesn't have anything that could be easily turned into Appeal, and I think Zak didn't exactly figure out how Appeal should work in IATW (there are mentions of "tagging" Appeal but no explanation how it works), I guess you just have to take the level that makes sense. If you have a better idea, tell me. 

So here's IATW Spider-Man #2. 

Spider-Man

Calmness D12

Agility D20

Perception D8

Toughness D20+D4

Appeal D8 (I'll drop the "in costume/out of costume" for now, he can be a more-charming-than-average-guy and it's his actions that make him more or less attractive to people for the most part)

Intelligence D8

Networking D4

 

Hit Points 24

 

Powers:

Enhanced Perception: D20 (danger sense)

Climbing: D20

Gadgets:

Web D20+D4 (requires cartridges)

Tracer D20 (little thingy that can be tracked in a radius of a mile or less)

 

Skills:

Occupational skill: photographer D10

Science D10

Chemistry D12

 

Contacts:

Daily Bugle, Aunt (NAME REDACTED)

That's definitely a stronger, tougher, smarter Spider-Man than the first attempt. 

Monday 13 February 2023

I Am Marvel Super Weapon Or Whatever

 I've been saying a lot about things I want to do for I Am The Weapon. Converting from MSH - the FASERIP game, for example. 

Which shouldn't be so hard, right? Zak knows MSH, Zak played MSH, Zak appreciates MSH and clearly wanted to use the good stuff from MSH for his own game. 

All you have to do is... well, let's take a look. Bold is MSH and cursive is IATW...

Fighting – ignore it if it’s lower than Strength and Agility. Otherwise it becomes Hand to Hand skill.

Agility Agility. Man, converting stuff is easy!

Strength +Endurance – in IATW they’re both defined by Toughness. Pick whichever’s higher, this is superheroics, after all.

Reason – this is Intelligence.  

Intuition – this is Perception.  

Psyche – this is Calm

That's the main FASERIP stats, now let's take a look at the secondary stats. 

Health – this is HPs.

Karma – this is mostly experience.

Resources – this becomes Networking, sort of.

Popularity – I’ll think about it. Appeal + contacts or something.

And here you have all seven CAPTAIN stats, more or less. Yay! Moving on.

Powers: look, I am NOT GOING to translate every entry from Ultimate Powers to I Am The Weapon. It’s just not going to happen.

Talents: these become skills.

Contacts: these are contacts, duh. E-a-s-y.

Origins: these require some tinkering. 

So far so good. Here comes the tricky part, let’s look at Power Ranks.

MSH had this lovely table that goes Feeble to Unearthly, or Shift+0 to Shift+Z on a wider scale, but I’ll start with the narrow one.

Now, IATW has ability scores represented as dice. The worst case is just 2, no dice – you just always have a result of “2” when you try to use that stat, which means you lose to anything but a “1” or “2” on the dice. Lame, right?

Then there’s this table:

D4: Bad

D6: Average

D8: Impressive

D10: Amazingly good

D12: Arguably the best in the world (for a human) in that ability.

Fortunately there’s a table in MSH Judges’ Book with examples of what the ranks mean for, say, agility of the character. Since agility in MSH becomes agility in IATW, let’s use that.

Feeble – psysically limited. Let’s say this is 2.

Poor to Typical – clumsy, inaccurate. Normal human reactions. As an example, MSH give Mister Fantastic – just ask Victor von Doom, he’ll confirm that Richards is clumsy as a child! Let’s say this is D4, like my girl Dolphina out of water.

Good – some training in dexterity and accuracy. Let’s give it a D6 – “some training” is close enough to “average”.

Excellent – intensive training in dexterity and accuracy. Good enough for D8, I’d say.

Remarkable – Olympic athlete. Which seems to be amazingly good, so D10. And…

Incredible – Olympic gymnast. How an Olympic gymnast is better than Olympic athlete, I have no idea, but whatever, this is what Captain America has, and he’s literally got top human ability, so that’s a D12 and no arguing about that.

Anything better than Incredible is beyond normal human ability, for now I’ll just equal Amazing to D20, Monstrous to D20+D4, and Unearthly to D20+D6.

Now, if you look at the table for Reason, Reed Richards and Doctor Doom are both in Amazing cathegory, which puts them into “smarter than any normal human” in IATW if we keep the same scale. Does it bother me? Absolutely not, they’re super duper geniuses and deserve their D20 Intelligence.

Moving on.

Health in MSH is calculated by summation of initial rank numbers of Fighting, Agility, Strength, and Endurance. Which doesn’t make sense to me, I mean, your ability to hit something really hard doesn’t make you a healthy person, though in a superheroic campaign, it sure helps you stay that way. And it’s kind of complicated. I say ditch the health and just recalculate it based on Toughness.

Like Health, Karma is calculated as the sum of rank numbers, only here it’s Reason+Intuition+Psyche and clearly just a case of “Well it has to be based on SOMETHING”.  Since you can’t use experience points in IATW to affect the dice rolls like you can use Karma in MSH, I say let’s just cut it away and let the heroes get their experience points the old-fashioned way – in an alley! With their fists! Showing up in time to keep your old Auntie happy!

For new characters, Resources start at Typical, giving them a Networking of D4. Since in IATW you roll up Networking like every other stat, this doesn’t really matter.

Because Popularity in MSH is represented by a number and not a rank (and is used as a rank number), I officially claim it to be the lamest MSH stat ever. But fine, let’s make another table JUST FOR IT.

Popularity Appeal

1-22

3-7D4

8-15D6

16-25D8

26-36D10

37-45D12

46-62D20

63-87D20+D4

88-125D20+D6

Wasn’t that fun. 

Armed with our knowledge, let’s convert Spider-Man from MSH to IATW.

 


Spider-Man 

(IDENTITY REDACTED TO PROTECT 

SPIDER-MAN’S LOVED ONES)

 

Fighting RM

Agility AM

Strength IN

Endurance IN

Reason EX

Intution GD

Psyche IN

Resources PR

Popularity 30/6 (secret identity/public identity)

Health: 160

Powers: Wall-crawling – Amazing

Spider-Sense – Amazing

Web-shooters up to Monstrous

Spider-Tracer – Amazing

 

Talents: chemistry, photography

 

Contacts: Daily Bugle, Aunt (NAME REDACTED)

 

Becomes…

 

Spider-Man

 

Calmness D12

Agility D20

Perception D6

Toughness D12

Appeal D10/D4

Intelligence D8

Networking D4

 

Hit Points 12

 

Powers:

Enhanced Perception: D20 (danger sense)

Climbing: D20

Gimmicks:

Web D20+D4 (requires cartridges)

Tracer D20 (can be traced in under a mile)

 

Skills:

Occupational skill: photographer D8

Science D10

Chemistry D12

 

Contacts:

Daily Bugle, Aunt (NAME REDACTED)

 

So I cut out Fighting/Hand to Hand completely because it's lower than Spidey's Toughness and Agility and thus irrelevant. I also just wrote what the Spider-Tracer does because I couldn't find anything suitable in IATW list of powers/gimmicks. I kind of like how Spidey gets double Appeal based on whether he's wearing the costume. 

If I was making up Spidey from scratch instead of converting, I'd probably give him Personal Armoury or something similar to reflect how he tends to come up with new gadgets to deal with the villain of the week. 

I probably missed something here, feel free to tell me if you notice something. 

Excelsior.


Answering Jeff Rients's twenty questions for our Krynn game

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