Saturday, August 13, 2011
This week's blog update will be delayed slightly, due to stuff.
See, the thing is I've recently decided to give Savage Worlds a go. I bought it at Gen Con along with the supers companion. As a way to dig into the system a little, I've decided to rip off Theron Bretz' idea on his "My Dice are Older Than You" blog of posting supers characters (and maybe some other characters, as the mood strikes me). But one thing is holding me back.
I didn't have room to get the stuff I bought at Gen Con into my bag for the trip home, so I sent Savage Worlds home with a friend who was driving. (Thanks, LJ!) I'll be taking possession tomorrow, if nothing goes wrong.
So I'll probably have something to show you on Monday or Tuesday.
If I feel guilty enough, I might upload the last few Gen Con pictures I have, but I didn't take many, and they're really pretty boring.
Friday, August 05, 2011
I don't take a lot of pictures, but I have taken a few. Here they are, for your amusement and occasional horror.
First of all, a lovely picture of the state of Oklahoma. I've never seen it looking better.
Here's Tim (DM Tim of Radio Free Hommlet)
Here's the Doctor Who collectables booth. The TARDIS has been around for years, but the Dalek is new.
This was a small fragment of the crowd at the opening ceremony yesterday. Thank GOD I got to be a VIG companion this year, and thus had no reason to stand in it.
The new sculpture for the alcove where the Westin skyway meets the convention center.
The villains of my childhood. To simply look at them was to hear outraged screeching in the echoes of my memory.
That's just a little of the cool stuff I've seen. I'll probably take a few more pictures tomorrow.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
We just played our first session of Hyperseed, so I got to try out my shiny new combat cards. A battle with four PCs and seven NPCs went very smooth. There were only two little hiccups, which I will probably fix with revised cards.
Problem 1 is that for unnamed NPCs, there's no good place to label each instance of a character. I had six soldiers with identical stats, and I had to squeeze in a little number for each one.
Problem 2 is that I've decided for my game at least, Endurance is important to track. One of my PCs uses Mindheal/Mindkill, and the easiest way for him to be effective is to zap enemies with his Mindkill 3 pain effect and wipe out their Essence or Endurance, which both tend to be smaller numbers than Life Points. (And less murdery)
My cards have no Endurance slot, since I needed room for Initiative. That's okay for mooks and non-powered guys. Their Endurance and Essence pools tend to be pretty close, so the Mindkill guy isn't unfairly penalized. But the PCs will eventually be facing other psychics who have Essence pools considerably higher than their Life Points.
I think I'm going to shift Initiative to the top bar and squeeze in an Endurance slot. This will probably also mean I split the Life Pool and Endurance Pool trackers into smaller boxes.
I'll see if I can get that done this week to keep my one update per week streak going.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Hi campers. This makes three weeks in a row. It's been a crazy-busy weekend, though, so this is going to be a pretty short contribution.
We just did Chargen for my Hyperseed game last week, which reminded me of something I don't totally dig about Classic Unisystem. The skills get really fiddly. It's realistic, but not particularly heroic. But then again, it's also not totally necessary.
Take the basic melee skill. The game says you have to specialize the skill, and based on the way characters are written, the idea seems to be that a fully-trained historical warrior would have three or four different weapon skills, one for swords, one for axes, and so on.
But you don't really NEED to do that. You can use similar weapons at a penalty. So if you want to be a rocking swordsman who's also competent with axes, spears, and numchucks, you're mathematically better off increasing your Sword skill by two than trying to buy three other skills up to a similar level.
Similarly, Science and Academics are skills you're supposed to specialize. But rather than penalizing players who would like to play characters who are really well-read or trained in science (instead of being Navy SEAL ninja gunfighters), I think you could probably take one Science or Academics skill and just use the others at a penalty.
And to keep things simple, the penalty is either -1 or -2. Mostly -1. That way, you can also just buy an extra Specialty and even your skills out if you want to play a guy who's generally competent with everything instead of an expert in just one.
So anyway, that's it for this week. Happy birthday to my favorite niece. (Her birthday was yesterday, but the party was this afternoon)
See you later.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
First of all, a note: I've added a PDF to the Unisystem Chronicler's Screen. I meant to upload the PDF the first time, but I'd saved it to the wrong folder and wasn't paying attention.
Now, on to business:
Here's another inovation I'm planning on using in my Unisystem game. I like the simplified stats from Cinematic Unisystem. I tried them out in an All Flesh game a couple years back, and ran into a problem. Classic characters don't have Drama Points, and therefore don't do well against enemies who always roll a 6.
Another thing I've tried and liked recently was initiative cards for D&D. They provide a place for every character in the initiative order, and a handy spot for marking down hit points and whatnot. So I wanted to do something along those lines for my new game. I'm terribly disorganized, so anything that can help me is worth looking at.
So I kind of combined those ideas. I wanted to get a functional character sheet down to an index card.
This is the result.
They're not quite perfect yet. I may muck around with the design a
little to get Endurance on there, since it's not quite fair that the PCs
need to keep track of it but the NPCs don't. But I think it'll be
okay. Major NPCs still have a full character sheet, since I plan to
only have to deal with one or two at a time. Mooks will probably tend
to die before Endurance could become an issue.
I use Hard to Kill
as a way to beef up the opponents. Mooks who are more set decoration
than real threat have none. Challenging guys who I don't want to see
falling over immediately will have three levels. Tough guys who are
supposed to be able to challenge several PCs have all five (or more if
they're supernatural beings). I like to have most of my NPCs in a given
fight with little or no HTK, but with a bunch of NPCs, so they start
off dangerous, and become less so with every round or two. Nerves of
Steel, Situational Awareness, and especially Fast Reaction Time are
judged the same way. Most folks shouldn't have them, and if you give
them to every opponent, that sucks for the PCs, so most guys don't have
them. Only opponents who are supposed to be really dangerous do. And I
only worry about Nerves of Steel if the PCs have powers that can
generate Fear tests.
Attributes shouldn't be tough to figure
out. Simplified stats are pretty much like the ones in Cinematic
Unisystem. I actually considered splitting Brains into two stats: One
for perception and willpower type stuff, and another one for knowledge
skills. But I decided to stick with the Unisystem standard for now.
I have slightly different ideas about calculating Simplified stats than
the official party line. When I do my characters, I don't bother to
calculate them exactly. I first build characters so a lot of their key
stats will be pretty easy to average, then I just rough it out. The
goons with Str 3, Dex 4, End 3, Int 2, Per 3, Will 2 who are supposed to
be pretty good at fighting but not too amazingly bright probably have
combat skills about 4, other physical skills about 3, and brainy type
skills at 2.
Mostly, mooks who should be easy to take down have
stats that will average less than or equal to the most of the PCs.
Challenging opponents will average a little higher. Really tough guys
will be four points or more higher, meaning the PCs need to be very
careful even fighting one.
For a Classic game, I think you need to roll dice even for the mooks, so you calculate the simplified stats without adding 6.
So our mooks would have Combat 8, Muscles 6, Brains 4.
in the Notes field, I put the damage for a few common attacks and any
Qualities besides Hard to Kill, Fast Reaction Time, Situational
Awareness, and Nerves of Steel. (Those go up at the top for easy
reference during combat.)
For download, here's a PDF designed to print out three cards at a time on Avrey 5388 card pages:Unisystem Combat Card.pdf (7.8 KB)
Here's a Publisher file of the same document:Unisystem index Blank.pub (136 KB)
And here's a Publisher file of the spiffy ones I use in my own game, where the top stripe is black and the character's name or label appears in white:Unisystem index Fill.pub (137 KB)
Saturday, July 09, 2011
As I mentioned, I'm setting up a new Unisystem campaign about psychic teenagers defending the world from aliens and running from the government. I'm using Classic Unisystem. I have the WitchCraft Chronicler's Shield, but it's not really very good, IMO. There's a good bit of wasted space, and there are tables that run across the creases. It's okay if a table runs across a concave crease, but if it runs across a convex crease, you can't see both sides at the same time unless you can get your screen to sit really flat.
So I spent the afternoon laying out a new screen. I have a generic GM Screen with four panels, so I did four pages. Print them on both sides, and you and your players will have virtually every common table. For my specific game, I wanted to fit on the Seer Power Art and Strength tables, but I didn't quite have room for that. So I added the Explosives tables instead.
The end result is very utilitarian, but functional. Enjoy.Unisystem Screen.pub (205 KB)
The original Publisher file, which you can edit to your heart's content.Unisystem Screen.pdf (44.75 KB)
A PDF, which I meant to upload in the first place. Sorry for any inconvenience.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
I'm warming up to use Unisystem for an all psychics game, so I wanted to beef up the selection of powers a little bit. My first entry is Mindjump - somewhat inspired by the Jumper movie (which is vastly inferior to the novel, but had really cool special effects)
This is the power of teleportation. Mindjumpers are able to briefly transform
themselves into pure Essence, leave the physical plane and enter the
Otherworlds where space and time flow differently, and then exit somewhere
else. Teleportation is difficult, and
causes considerable strain. Jumpers have
to be very skilled to avoid emerging weakened and confused on the other end.
Mindjump is most obviously used for teleporting, but moving
any major distance requires significant Strength. Mindjump’s key effect is the ability to “ripple”
in and out of reality for brief moments, which can let a skilled Seer seem to
be immaterial like a spirit.
A Jumper can teleport a distance indicated on the Mindjump
Strength table. The difficulty is
modified by how much extra mass he wishes to carry and how familiar he is with
his location. The greater his level of
Success, the less traumatic the jump is.
(See the Mindjump Success Table)
Failure means the Seer is stunned for one turn, and doesn’t teleport at
all. A single success level will let him
get where he’s going, but he’ll be at penalties to further actions for the turn
(or the next, if he teleports at the end of his turn). Further levels of Success reduce the
penalties. A Seer teleporting less than
his maximum distance reduces all penalties for himself by one level of Success
per Strength level he has above the needed distance.
Passengers on a jump face the same trauma, but don’t have
the same resilience. Passengers on a jump
who do not have Mindjump Art must make a difficult Willpower test in place of
the Mindjump Art test. Failure has no
additional affect, but Success levels reduce the penalties to extra actions the
same as they would for the Mindjumper.
Mindjump works best when the Jumper can impart real motion
to his jump. Having to jump from a
completely still start is more difficult.
Further, as Mindjump involves the flow of Essence, Jumpers
cannot teleport across Wards or similar Essence barriers, and a Jumper bound
with material that restricts the flow of Essence (such as Orikalk manacles)
Using Mindjump Offensively
Mindjump is not much useful for attack by itself, but it
allows a jumper to surprise most opponents.
A Seer with Mindjump strength of at least 2 can teleport to attack from
an unexpected angle. He jumps as normal,
taking any penalties, and each success level on the Mindjump Art task adds one
to his attack roll for his next attack.
If he has already moved in this turn, the jump counts as an extra
action, with all attendant penalties.
This can also be a defensive technique, in which the Seer teleports away
from danger, gaining a bonus to any other defenses instead of attack
rolls. But for that matter, he could
just teleport away from battle entirely.
A Seer with Mindjump can also deliberately grapple an
opponent and teleport him, counting on the transport trauma to weaken him. The Seer must succeed in the attempt to
grapple, and the defender can defend as normal.
If the Seer maintains the grab, he can teleport with the target as if
the target were a passenger. He can execute
multiple jumps in a turn with the usual multiple action penalties, which will
stack penalties on his target. That
generally makes the target an easy mark for some other sort of attack on the
Using Mindjump Defensively
Mindjump is very useful for defense. The simplest use is to teleport far away from
anything that could harm the Seer. But
while this is quite safe, it makes continued combat difficult. Another use, available even for Seers with a
Strength of 1, is to ripple out of the physical realm to avoid attacks. A Mindjump dodge works just like an ordinary
defensive test, using Willpower + Mindjump Art.
The only difference is that Mindjumping can let you dodge things you ordinarily
couldn’t dodge like bullets or area-effect explosions. Of course all the usual penalties apply for teleporting.
Mindjump Strength Table
No distance. Can only “ripple” in place. Can use Mindjump Art in place of Escapism.
Can jump 1 yard (meter) per
each level of Willpower + Mindjump Strength.
Can jump 5 yards (meters)
per each level of Willpower + Mindjump Strength.
Can jump 50 yards (meters) per
each level of Willpower + Mindjump Strength.
Can jump 100 yards (meters)
per each level of Willpower + Mindjump Strength.
Can jump 1 mile (1.5
kilometers) for each level of Willpower + Mindjump Strength.
Range increases to 20 miles
(kilometers) for each level of Willpower + Mindjump Strength
Mindjump Art Table
Level of Success
-5 to all actions for one
-2 to all actions for one
-1 to all actions for one
No penalty to actions.
Mindjump Difficulty Table (All penalties are cumulative)
Carrying up to half your
Carrying your mass
-1 for each extra
Cannot see destination
Have never seen destination
Have never been to
Must jump while immobile
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