Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Kevin Crawford

Post has attachment
Here's a basic shim to help run SWN: Revised in a play-by-post environment.

It's completely untested, of course, and little more than idle noodling, but it's an attempt to deal with the significant number of response cycles normally required by D&D-based combat. Whenever the guns come out, a GM needs to query and get a reply from each PC each round, and it may take several rounds to actually resolve the fight. This isn't bad at a table, but it can be excruciating when it takes 24 hours to cycle through PbP players, even assuming they pay that much attention.

As such, these PbP rules try to boil down all challenges into a single exchange between players and GM, with only one post required from each before the situation is resolved. The PCs can push the matter, but even worst-case, it only requires three answer-response cycles before the conflict is resolved.

It sacrifices a great deal of precision and fine detail to get that far, naturally, and the original SWN:R character sheet is really only used as a reference to build a separate PbP list of PC Assets, but the conflict resolution system doesn't stop the players from using the existing rules to buy stuff or interact with the world in the usual ways.

Comments and observations are welcome, of course.

Post has attachment
Here's a draft of the optional magic research and development rules for the space magic supplement. I adapted them from my Crimson Pandect rules, with the general aim of making "being a mage" a more motivated sort of concept, one where acquiring tomes and instruments and sanctums was more than window dressing. Comments and observations, of course, are welcome.
Space Magic Research
Space Magic Research

Post has attachment
Here is a sketch of how I might handle Warriors and Experts with magical abilities in a theoretical SWN:R Space Magic supplement.

The trick, of course, is not depreciating the value of a conventional Warrior or Expert when you have people who want to have flat-out magic powers to go with their guns or skills. My general tactic is to clip off the keynote special abilities of the class and instead allow them to spend their resources on a pool of "magic powers" foci. A conventional Warrior will have the autohit/automiss ability and a selection of combat foci. An Arcane Warrior will not have the autohit/automiss ability and won't have any more foci than the regular Warrior, but they'll be able to pick them from a group that includes directly magical abilities. An Arcane Warrior doesn't have the deadly aim of a conventional one, but he might have the ability to spacewalk in his underwear or summon a Shadow warbeast to help him.

(A snippet from an eventual work on SWN Space Magic)

Before the Scream psychic powers were a known and well-researched phenomenon throughout human space. The existence of Metadimensional Extroversion Syndrome was a common fact and the complex regimen of mental exercises and training protocols were standard throughout Mandate-influenced systems. The psychics resulting from these training methods were capable of remarkable feats of psionic power, but tended to gravitate to a few individually-developed techniques and specialties. In theory, any full-fledged psychic not limited by natural neurophysical blocks could develop any psychic ability. In practice, the painstaking effort and neuroadaptive practices each technique required limited the number of techniques any psychic could practically master.

Each individual technique required the psychic to adapt his or her own neural structure to handle the specific influx of metadimensional energy that produced the effect. Without the correct neural lensing and cerebral restructuring, the raw energy would punch a hole through human cognition, resulting in the inevitable brain damage and trauma that would eventually result in death or permanent insanity.

These adaptation protocols were originally designed by the Psychic Academy, and were developed with flexibility and wide applicability as primary design goals. Because of this, almost any zone of neural tissue could be adapted to channel any given Academy technique. The psychic had to start from scratch in adapting to every technique they learned, but nothing they learned would foreclose other options. They could always work to develop a different neural zone along different principles, ones suitable for whatever new technique they were learning. Of course, simple systemic strain and neural flexibility exhaustion would limit the number of adaptations they could practically undertake, but learning one trick never foreclosed learning another.

Yet by the same token, learning one trick never made learning another any easier. The psychic invariably began from zero in mastering every technique they ever gained. More advanced expertise might make new techniques possible, but the actual process of learning them never got any easier over time.

The original Academy researchers who unlocked the essentials of the "arcane" method of metadimensional energy manipulation are lost to history. No one is quite certain who they were, and indeed, different sectors often credit the insight to different sources. It may be that the principles were developed independently in several places over time. The fundamental insight of these researchers, however, was soon widespread; with the right structure for developing techniques, the same neural adaptations could be made to serve multiple different techniques.

By voluntarily restricting their development efforts to a few basic types of metadimensional energy channels, the researchers were able to create a standard arcane neural interface specification. Any psychic who developed a fundamental set of cerebral adaptations could theoretically use any of these techniques, and do so with far less effort and training than a conventional psychic. A few relatively modest adjustments would need to be made to accommodate the individual quirks of a practitioner's brain tissue, but with the standard arcane interface, a psychic could exhibit dozens of different abilities without needing to undertake any serious neural adaptations.

Such flexibility, of course, came with its own set of tradeoffs. Standard psychic training protocols produced very responsive neural zones. Provided the psychic hadn't exhausted their net neural flexibility for the day, every technique they mastered was instantly ready to receive the metadimensional energy that fueled their powers. Every technique they had learned was constantly at their fingertips.

Arcane practitioners did not have this luxury. While the standard arcane interface allowed for great flexibility, the neural adaptations had to be primed for specific effects, charged and aligned in brief morning meditations so as to prevent neural damage when the energy actually was made to flow. Thus, where a conventional telekinetic could use any of their powers so long as their strength held out, an arcanist could only discharge a limited number of specific pre-chosen arcane effects before they exhausted their priming. The more developed the arcanist, the more neural zones they could adapt to the standard interface and the more effects they could channel before exhaustion, but they would never have the constant availability of a conventional psychic and their techniques. Once the neural zones discharged their priming, it would take a significant rest period before they could be safely re-energized.

Later arcane researchers refined the standard arcane interface. By further restricting the types of energy flows it would support and compelling the practitioner to shoulder more of the neural adaptation load, they were able to mitigate some of the availability limitations of a standard arcanist. These "focused" arcane interfaces were coded for specific bodies of arcane study and the specific techniques they developed. Once a practitioner had adapted his or her own neural tissues to the specific limitations of the corpus, they could use the same neural zones to trigger any of the techniques they had prepared, rather than dedicating specific techniques to specific zones. While superior in flexibility, these "magisters" were compelled to do a great deal more adaptation to the specific effects of the corpus, leaving their minds incompatible with the standard interface's techniques and making it much more difficult to develop new techniques that could be used with their body of learning.

Some historians believe, however, that some of these "magister" schools were actually precursors to the standard arcane interface. According to these scholars, the original arcanists were inspired to generalize the focused interfaces of their predecessors, rather than by a leap away from the conventional psychic training protocols. Some magister schools do insist that they predated the practice of standard arcane interfaces, while others were undeniably developed after the advance. The truth may well vary from sector to sector.

By some indeterminate point before the Scream, the practice of arcana had solidified into two main streams. The Academic tradition produced arcanists, who could use their generalized standard neural interface to "cast" an arbitrarily wide range of academic spells, provided they primed their neural tissue after each rest with the specific spells they wished to have available. The Heritor traditions of the magisters were restricted to a much narrower, more specific range of potential spells, but once they had primed their focused interface, they could use it to invoke any of the spells they had prepared that day, a range that steadily grew as the magister increased in their proficiency.

It was difficult but practical for arcanists to develop new spells, because the standard interface required only that the spell utilize specific, fixed channels of metadimensional energy. It was far more difficult for magisters to develop new spells, however, because each spell's structure needed to cooperate with the far narrower specifications of their tradition's focused neural interface, and each spell required substantially more personal neural adaptation by the psychic. For many Heritor traditions this was a perfectly acceptable exchange, as their founders had already developed all the techniques that were necessary for the tradition's function in its society. Academic arcanists, however, often measured their own accomplishment by how extravagantly they could push the limits of the standard interface.

Post has shared content
And it is live, a day or two earlier than I expected.
And the Lexicon of the Throne is live.

Within these pages, you'll find more than two dozen new Words of Creation for the Godbound RPG, guidelines and advice for creating new Words, gifts, and Strifes, and dozens of pages of Sine Nomine system-agnostic GM tools for building new religions for your own game worlds, whether fantasy, modern, or sci-fi.

The book is available at DriveThruRPG as print-on-demand softcover, PDF+Mobi+Epub, or a bundle of both.

Post has attachment
And the Lexicon of the Throne is live.

Within these pages, you'll find more than two dozen new Words of Creation for the Godbound RPG, guidelines and advice for creating new Words, gifts, and Strifes, and dozens of pages of Sine Nomine system-agnostic GM tools for building new religions for your own game worlds, whether fantasy, modern, or sci-fi.

The book is available at DriveThruRPG as print-on-demand softcover, PDF+Mobi+Epub, or a bundle of both.
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Table of contents for the Lexicon of the Throne. If all goes well, I'll be uploading print proof files Monday, with PDF+POD release in the first half of June if all goes well with the proofs.

The Lexicon of the Throne is now done in text. I've still got a few days before the cover art comes in, so there'll be more editing and scrubbing in the meanwhile, but if all goes well I'll have it in for proofing before next week.

All right. The religion section of the Lexicon is roughed. Now it needs final fill, and then the book needs its edit pass, and while that's going on the last art needs to get in. Right now, the religion section looks like this, though it'll probably take some tweaking in final.

Creating Religions
* Creating the Divinity and the Faith's Origin
** The Divine's Relation to the Faith
** Glorious Saints of Yore
** One-Roll Holy Day Generator
** Positive Requirements of the Faith
** Negative Prohibitions of the Faith
** One-Roll Cleric Generator
** One-Roll Temple Generator
* Structuring the Faith
** The Structure of the Church
** The Head of the Faith
** Organizational Structures
** Institutional Structures
** Religious Roles and Titles
** Clerical Ranks and Names
** Large-Scale Conflict Generator
** Small-Scale Conflict Generator
* Choosing Religion Tags
** (The tag list)
* Godbound Cults

Some draft ideas about shield walls for Wolves of God, my 710 AD Anglo-Saxon England project. The general idea is to make getting caught out alone by multiple coordinated assailants a lethally dangerous prospect, while making shield wall tactics relevant to small adventuring groups.

Multiple intelligent foes or pack-hunting beasts may choose to Mob a single target in melee combat. All participants in the mobbing must choose to act at the same time, on the initiative turn of the slowest member. They attack normally, but gain a bonus on all attack rolls equal to half their Hit Dice or character level, rounded up, and the same bonus on their damage rolls. Even if a Mobbing enemy misses their attack roll, they still inflict this bonus damage on the target.

No more than a half-dozen man-sized enemies may normally Mob a single man-sized target at once. If the attackers are formed up in a shield wall or otherwise held in formation, only three assailants may Mob a single foe in front of them at once.

Targets who have the benefit of a shield wall cannot be Mobbed, nor can Mobbing be used with ranged attacks. Beasts and foes that are Fell and terrible cannot be Mobbed.

Shield Walls
Combatants may choose to form a shield wall if they have shields and experience in forming one with their allies. To do so, all participants must voluntarily delay their action that round until it is the slowest participant's turn. Then all warriors move together into either a line or a square. Once they are in formation, they gain the benefits of the shield wall and retain them as long as they remain in formation and continue to hold a shield, provided at least two warriors remain standing in the wall.

Shield walls can either be a single line of warriors taking up about four feet of frontage per man or a square of about two feet of width per participant. Even two warriors can form a line, or can make up a "square" if they fight back to back. Lines face in a particular direction, while squares face all directions. A group can change formation or direction on their turn if their movement for the round is sufficient for such reconfiguration.

Well-coordinated shield walls can move on their turn in a round. Lines can move up to two-thirds their usual maximum movement and squares can move one-third their maximum. Individual members may choose to break the line and move freely on any round, but they can't then rejoin it until the next round. The wall is assumed to shrink or expand automatically to allow for these breaks and for losses, provided its members still have heart to fight.

An assailant can break through a shield wall by felling the opponent before him and passing through it. If they move so, however, they automatically suffer a free attack from the shield wall members to the left and right of the breach. Particularly large warbands may form shield walls of multiple lines to prevent an attacker from getting through until many defenders have been slain. Forming a line with a wall or other obstacle at one's back can also prevent any breakthroughs.

Participants in a shield wall gain a +2 bonus to armor class, a +1 bonus to Morale, and cannot be Mobbed. Lines forfeit these benefits against any assailants from the rear or flanks. Squares lose them if the foe manages to break the square and attack from within. Squares consisting of fewer than ten warriors are too small to be broken into.
Wait while more posts are being loaded