Monday 28 April 2014

Creating a Warrior for Tunnels & Trolls

This is a step-by-step character creation for Tunnels & Trolls free rules, you can get from DriveThruRPG.

The Attributes are rolled 3d6 in order.

  • Strength: 11
  • Intelligence: 8
  • Luck: 8
  • Constitution: 14
  • Dexterity: 12
  • Charisma: 9
  • Speed: 15
Weight possible is how much you can carry equipment and that is Strength x100, so my character's value for this is 1100.

In addition to human there are three other races to choose from. Elves, Dwarves and Halflings make some changes to Attributes. I want to be a brave Halfling warrior, so the changes are: Strength x ½, Constitution x2 and Dexterity x 3/2. My new stats are:

  • ST: 6
  • IQ: 8
  • LK: 8
  • CON: 28
  • DEX: 18
  • CHA: 15
  • SPD: 15
Weight possible is now only 600!

As you can see the even though you use same method for generating the stats as in D&D the stats are not limited to 18. Experienced characters might easily have some stats at 40, 50, 60 and even higher!

In these rules there are two different Character Types to choose from. Warriors can use any kind of weapon and they get double protection from armor and shields. Wizards know magic but can only use weapons like daggers, quarterstaff etc. My Halfling is a Warrior!

Now the rules are in a weird order, as now it is time to buy some equipment before we get to write down our combat stats. I get 3d6 x10 gold to make purchases. That is 110 gold to use.

Complete leather armor costs 50gp, weights 200 and gives "hits taken" (damage reduction) of 6. But as a Warrior I can double that so "hits taken" is 12. Complete mail is 11 for Wizards so the Warrior class really gives an edge to combat!

Weapons are really expensive and I got only 60gp left. Before I go buy a weapon I want 1 provision for 1 day for 10 gp. That's one day's worth of food, drink, "matches". It weights 20.

Now I got 50gp left to buy a weapon. I'd love to have a bow but those are damn expensive and basically useless if a monster comes to melee range. So I have to forget it for now (and earn some gold adventuring first). Common spear costs 22gp and it can be also thrown so that's what I'll get. Common spear Dice + adds for combat are 3+1 (roll 3d6 + 1 + character adds), it has 40 yds range and weights 50.

I got 28 gp left what I decide to use to buy warm dry clothing and a pack (costs 5, weights 10) and hemp rope what costs 1sp per ft and weights 10 per 5ft.

The last thing is to calculate how well I fight. For each point above 12 of ST, LK and DEX I get +1 to my "Personal Adds". Attributes below 9 are a penalty to Personal Adds the same way. When attacking you roll dice from weapon + weapon add + personal adds against the enemy's equal roll. The difference of these roll results is how much damage the loser suffers. From that damage your armor's "hits taken" is decreased. That's the damage result you suffer. Your CON is how much damage you can suffer (like HP in D&D).

My Personal Adds score is 2 thanks to low ST and LK! When I attack with my spear I roll 3d6 +3.

I can also use my spear as a missile weapon and those rules are a bit different. The attacker must make a DEX saving roll (2d6 + DEX) versus the chart's "to hit number". Maximum range with my spear against humanoid sized creature difficulty is 35 I need to beat with 2d6 + 18. HARD! But luckily the dice are exploding so I can re-roll sixes and add to the previous number. But only the armor can protect from a ranged attack...

That was quick and my Halfling Warrior Merry The Spear is ready for adventures and gold!

Saturday 26 April 2014

[LL] Graveyard of Dusk

Graveyard Of Dusk v. 1.0

Location for Labyrinth Lord (by Goblinoid Games) and other old-school games. 


From the main road there's an old overgrown trail not much used anymore. Two hours walk down the trail leads to the Graveyard of Dusk. Closest town is half-day travel away.

The Graveyard of Dusk is on the hill which the setting sun beautifully illuminates. The site is old. The newest grave was dug almost hundred years ago. The place is eerie, but peaceful in daytime. In the night the scream begins...

This is a small location for Labyrinth Lord (by Goblinoid Games) to be used alongside a campaign or standalone adventure.

 What Characters Know

The well is an obvious place for travelers to rest at. The signing tree's voices can be heard to the well if carefully focused on. Also on the overgrown path traveling Cleric's tracks to The Shrine are clearly visible.

From the closest town rumors of the haunted graveyard could have been gathered.

Wishing Well

Old but well preserved well with clear and refreshing water. If carefully examined an old scribble reading "wishing well" can be distinguished.

 For every 1gp (in gold standard) worth of coins tossed in there is equal % change for that wish to come true. But the wishes are granted by a trickster fairy, who makes the results as funny as possible. Not horribly wrong, but wrong enough. Still, there is always a small change (1%) that the trickster is not in the mood of making practical jokes and he fulfills the wish as presented.

The Signing Tree

The tree itself is not signing but the spirit within. The tone of the song is sad. Once in the past the tree spirit fell in love with a mortal man and bewitched him. As the tree spirit couldn't leave the tree the man visited her daily, sometimes staying for days.
But one day the man didn't come. He was ill and old and soon after died. The immortal tree spirit was now alone drowning in sorrow.

When the tree is approached the tree spirit will fall in love with the character with highest Charisma score. The spirit will do anything to help the character out of love as long as the character agrees to burn the tree and let the spirit die. But if the character's, who the tree spirit fell in love with, Charisma score is over 15 the tree spirit tries to bewitch him. Save versus, or the character falls in love with the tree spirit and wants to be with her, forever.

The spirit can manifest as an eerie figure. Its shape and looks are viewed differently between individuals as their ideal of beauty and sexual preferences are.

The tree spirit can be only killed if the tree is burned. Chopping it down will banish the spirit, but eventually the tree will grow back.

The Shrine

The Shrine is old and made of stone. The god for whom it is erected is long forgotten. But the shrine still has some magical qualities. Evil and chaotic characters feel unnerved around the stone and for the next 1d6 hours roll twice as much dice as normally choosing the worst for the roll results. Good characters feel blessed and for the next 1d6 hours roll twice as much dice as normally choosing the best results. Neutral characters don't feel anything special.

At The Shrine there is also a Cleric (3th level, woman with a scale mail, shield, mace +1, normal adventurer's gear, holy symbol) praying. She refuses to tell her name, as she is a servant of her god, not a person. She could accompany the characters for a while as long as their next destination is a holy place.

The Rock

The rock is big, size of a mansion. It is slippery and hard to climb. On top of it the whole area can be observed. Inside the rock is a dungeon (of your choice).


To get to the lake you need to go through the woods or rough rocky terrain. Woods is the easy part, in rocky terrain party must make a dexterity based save or loose 1d3 hit points damage to legs. The lake is surrounded with a swamp. Not too deep to be hazardous, but crossing it will open poisonous gas bubbles from within the ground. Save versus poison or suffer 1d3 damage every hour for 2d6 hours.

The lake is muddy and smelly and the water looks dirty. In full moon a pony sized frog will emerge from the middle of the lake starting to stare at the stars. If attacked, the frog flees under the water immediately and cannot be reached that night anymore.

The frog is actually an alien who just wants to go home. The lake seems to be only safe place for him to stay at the moment. He stares to the stars to see when the spaceship comes to collect him.


Old graves, nothing special except maybe some historical value. For graverobbers graves have some valuables, as was (And is) a custom. 2d6 gp in gold (exploding dice, if 6 is rolled, roll again and add) and a 25% change for 1d4 items (use a random item generator of your choice).


The mausoleum carved in a rock. It is simple with some emblems. Near the door an adventurer's body can be found. He has died the last night. The adventurer has normal adventurer's gear, leather armor, a bow and full quiver of arrow and a sword. 164 gp can be found in his pouch. His locket hanging on his neck contains a small painted picture of his wife. The wife can be tracked to the nearest town. If opened, there is a simple grave inside. In the grave the body is only a pile of dust. Nothing valuable can be found.

In the dusk a spectre flies out of the mausoleum screaming with horrible voice and haunts the graveyard attacking who ever is there.

Screaming Spectre

Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 300' (100') fly
Armor Class: 1
Hit Dice: 6 + party size
Attacks: 2 (touch, scream)
Damage: 1d8, drain level, special
Save: F8
Morale: 11
Hoard Class: XIX

When a victim is struck, it suffers 1d8 hit points of damage and loses 2 experience levels or 2HD. The Screaming Spectre screams constantly and everyone in the graveyard must save versus Spells or loose 1 Con. Con is regained 1 per hour when the screaming cannot be heard. Those who visited The Shrine are immune to level train and Screaming Spectre's special attack.

Random Encounters

Roll random encounter table every hour party spends time at the location.

  1. Small animal, rabbits, squirrels, harmless snakes etc.
  2. Small animal, rabbits, squirrels, harmless snakes etc.
  3. Small animal, rabbits, squirrels, harmless snakes etc.
  4. Small poisonous snake bites random character. Save versus poison or suffer 1 damage.
  5. Bigger animal, wild boar, deer, moose. 1 in 6 change will attack, otherwise flees.
  6. Weird laughter which source cannot be tracked. This is the trickster fairy observing the party.
  7. Sudden rain what stops as quickly as it started. Everything smells fresh and nice after.
  8. Rare flowers, mushrooms or other potion ingredients.
  9. Old bones sticking from the soil.
  10. Roll the wilderness Forest/Wooded encounter table in LL rulebook page 104. 
Download a simple unedited PDF here:

Friday 25 April 2014

Times, distances etc. in my games

I want to keep things simple. That's why I rarely keep track on times or distances. Here's what and how I do it.

For ranged weapons I don't bother to think about how many feet away the target is. It's either in near, medium or far range. There are the ranges listed in weapon descriptions but I just decide how far away the target is without actually trying to figure out the real distance. I don't use minis so keeping track of how far away from each other everyone is could be hard. I do draw some rough combat situations for locations and surroundings but that's it. And it can depend on a weapon too. For a sling long range could be medium for a bow etc.

Also travel distances are how far away they are to reach. Half a day? Two days? If you leave at noon when you arrive to the destination? In my new hex map hexes are just travel times. One day for hard and rough, two for "normal" and three hexes for main roads. There's naturally some tweaking but that's how I do it roughly. Horses, boats and other vehicles might get you faster from place to place. For example a good road with a good horse might double the travel distance when in rough terrain horse might even slow you down.

In dungeons caves are small, medium or big. If more detail on the size and dimension is needed I figure it out. Random encounters (1 in 6) I roll every time a corridor or empty room is entered. When a room is cleared and revisited a random encounter is called again.

One big problem is a torch. With my abstract and rough time tracking how long does a torch burn? Same with spells, what's the actual spell duration? For torches it could be 20 rooms and corridors. -1 if more time is spent in a room like the party is spending a lot of time figuring out in a room or resting in it. Spell durations need more careful calculation in my opinion, but it could be as torches. Haven't figured that out yet. Suggestions?

Saturday 12 April 2014

Video games inspire me to GM them

Sometimes when I play a video game I really, really enjoy I always think playing it (and after finishing it) that this is what I want to run for my player. The reason is to somehow transfer my video gaming enjoyment into tabletop for my player to enjoy it too. And to enjoy Refereeing it also.

Sometimes I cannot come up with a rule system to use with a video game in question so I usually start thinking what kind of system I should create for it. The easy part is that video games are usually focused in a particular gameplay so the rules wouldn't have to be all covering. Just to do the things what in the video game happens.

Some of the games give inspiration to create house rules or custom classes for an existing game to emulate what happens in the video game. Here are some inspiring games I have wanted to run. In the end of this post are some reasons why I haven't done it yet. The first game in the list is:

Assassin's Creed 2

The first Assassin's Creed was ok. A little dull and the assassinations never went like in movies. I botched those cool tricks and most of the assassinations were melee hit-hit-hit. And the controls playing PC version of the game using keyboard + mouse sucked a lot. The second Assassin's Creed was pretty good and awesome. Not perfect, but I really enjoyed it a lot.

What could be more entertaining (in rpg) than to get to play an assassin in historical setting pursuing his cause killing people one in a time? And doing other things in between? Many things actually, but nonetheless this could be pretty cool.

Some D&D clone could work pretty fine. Roll d20 to hit when you are in melee and because of low HP in starting levels (gap to 6 or something not to make our assassin too powerful) direct combat is not an option you want to engage in. Sneak attacks and avoiding enemies is your goal to victory. Most of the Thief classes skills would be great for an assassin, but I'd probably go with Lamentation Of The Flame Princess' 1d6 skill system here. To keep things simple.

So, there's our assassin. Only bigger modification would be a counter attack. In Assassin's Creed you can counter attack enemy attacks what is nice feature in melee combat giving you an edge. In D&D clone I'd handle it this way:

When an enemy attacks and rolls 0 + assassin's level, the attack is countered dealing damage equal to the assassin's weapon in use.

So first level assassin's counter would occur on d20 roll of 1, second level assassin's on 1-2 and so on. There would be no limit on how many counters could happen in a round.

The rules are simple, it's the locations what matter. You'd need great city maps of different levels and layers for the game to be enjoyable. In the game you run the streets, climb the walls, dash through the rooftops and so on. So a detailed map would be a must for this.

Saints Row 2 & 3

Never played the first one, started with second. A little rough but a lot of fun! The main character (my version of it as you can customize it like in The Sims games) was awesome. Action was great and the plot not bad at all. The game was awesome! The third one I haven't finished yet but it is great too. More gonzo, more action, more sillyness, more cool than the already awesome second one had. Saints Row 3 is the bomb!

In a rpg it would be cool to be a gang boss dealing with gang stuff. Doing missions to make his gang the biggest one. Action, drama, street politics, management all there.

I thought that modified (new) World of Darkness (core mortal) rules would be fine for this. Modified for faster approach. And stripping some skills you wouldn't need that much. Also WoD character advancement is slower what suits this game well. Also you could give some special powers for the player character using these rules.

The biggest new rule compilation would be gang domain and management rules. I did find ages ago rules for this on some blog, made a PDF of it (using Printfriendly) and lost it when my external hard drive broke in a thunderstorm! But there are gang rules somewhere. I probably could find those googling (if someone doesn't tell me what I am talking about here).

What you would need is a city map. Not hard at all. Just take something from google maps, layer some hexes or whatever and done. Hexes for areas and noting points of interests (gunshops, bars, safehouses, etc. you know). The I would laminate the map after printing it to use markers to draw all the gang districts on it. It would be easy to sweep markings and modify them.

One problem is that the player should be really engaged. Naturally a Referee would give stuff to do but it would be up to the player to manager his gang empire.

Hitman Absolution

First Hitman was hard for me. A cool game but I sucked at it. Hitman 2: Silent Assassin on Xbox (original) was waaaaay too hard for me. Never finished the first level. Hitman Absolution on Xbox 360 (thank you Games With Gold program!) is awesome! I've read reviews of it and people don't like it that much, but for me it is easy enough to enjoy it without loosing challenge. I can survive gunfights usually but I can also perform amazingly cool assassinations and silent kills. The graphics are cool and crowded places rock. Also the game encourages you to replay levels because there are different challenges to perform. And you can play missions other people have created. This game rocks! Shut up internet, it does!

Anyways, as a rpg this would be like modern day Assassin's Creed. But as D&D clone rules would work fine with Assassin's Creed I don't think they would be fun with Hitman. Not sure what rules would, because Hitman is a badass. I thought a simple 1d6 system would work fine. There's a 3 in 6 change to hide from the police officers and the disguise gives you +1 to the change. Shooting that guy in the head so others don't notice it is 1 in 6 change but silenced weapon gives +3. And so on.

Hitman doesn't need stats. Because he can do what he can do and he doesn't do what he doesn't do. It's all x in 6 in this game.

The point is not what your character can do but how he will do it. For example if killing a baddie in the middle of the crowd unnoticed would be 1 in 6 change. So the player should be imaginative and try to create a better and more secure plot to get rid of him. Shanking him while passing by would be 2 in 6 but that's not good enough yet. Sniping him from rooftops would be 5 in 6 (someone might notice you still) and it would get the crowd hysteric but at least it would be better than other options. But how to get 6 in 6 change to kill him unnoticed? Well that's a task.

You need lots of maps for locations and lots of preparation for this one. Every mission should be a playground for the player.

Why Bother?

Joining a video game is different than joining a tabletop pen and paper rpg. Video games are an experience of audio, visual, hand control and reflexes combined to a story and what your body and mind thinks is fun. Roleplaying games are mostly imagination and mechanics what your mind think is fun.

The problem here is that if a game is fun to play it is not only the story and the imagination part. It's also the controls and visuals. In roleplaying game (for me at least) what makes it enjoyable is how the Referee runs the game. Even crappy rules or a setting I don't like turns out to be good if the Referee is good. If a video game controls are horrible it most definitely will eat the fun. Or the controls might be super sharp but the story and visuals are lame and unimaginative. Those are big problems what leave video games mediocre - or even bad. A bad rpg can be good if the Referee is good.

So if the game is fun to play on a Xbox 360 it doesn't mean it would be that fun in a tabletop environment. In Hitman Absolution it is fun to sneak and successfully kill an opponent and repeat this for the entire game but in a tabletop it would be boring in the end. The game would need more to that.

Also it is damn fun to climb quickly towers and hastely run the guards through the rooftops in Assassin's Creed, but in rpg it would easily be a mess of descriptions or lame random rolls (last year there was a 1 page dungeon of rooftop escape, go check it out).

In video games there usually is a theme and gameplay you more or less repeat through the whole game. In Assassin's Creed you climb, run, occasionally fight, collect treasure, assassinate. Repeat. Hitman you sneak, observe enemies, assassinate. Repeat. In a roleplaying game Assassin's Creed and Hitman as would be quests or missions of few gaming sessions total of a whole campaign. Not a campaign at themselves. Well, there could be a campaign focused on these themes but to make it more interesting there should be more (actually some people have been in dem dungeons for 40 years now with same old rules and same old races as classes!!!).

What my point really is personally I think I cannot turn the experience I find fun in video games into tabletop gaming. I have used some inspiration of video games or even video game concepts in games earlier for a quest or some sessions. Not entire campaigns. You could make a campaign of Hitman Absolution plot as easily as you could make a campaign based on a book, film or a rpg campaign setting naturally but I don't think you can easily convert the mechanics and repeatition of the video game to be fun in a rpg.

For one shots sure, but as a campaign not sure. My shortest campaigns have been a little over 10 sessions and longest 200 sessions or so - over 1000 pages of text of actual play. 1000 pages description of Saints Row 2 gameplay would be exhausting.

What Do You Think?

Now, what do you think? How often you convert mechanics or ideas found in video games into roleplaying game mechanics or custom little games?

How often your campaigns are shaped around a video game?

When you run a game based on a video game do you capture the fun of video gaming in roleplaying or do you have to do compromises to make it work as pnp game?