I took this week and last week off to relax a bit and to prepare for my driving theory test (passed, thank you). Starting next week I’ll be working more on my fiction than on gaming stuff. That may – oddly – mean you’ll see more things coming out from me for while as what I do write will be shorter projects (to keep things ticking over) and various other projects will be coming to an end.
Separate to that I haven’t given up on the idea of Machinations of the Space Princess but I think I need to testbed a few ideas first. I’m thinking of doing so via a fantasy-science (rather than science fantasy) hexcrawl/setting and putting a few of my rules adjustments out there to get some feedback.
‘Old School’ doesn’t mean much to me, I didn’t start with D&D and so I don’t quite have the same sensibility as the OSR. Raggi’s work is as much about attitude as mechanics though, about strong ideas and help in applying them and that’s something I can relate to.
Lamentations of the Flame Princess already deals with many of my existing issues with D&D clones and old school games. It’s a lot deadlier, it has a simple but usable skill system and an attitude towards improvisation and individual monsters that works very well.
I’m a fiddler though, I can’t help it. I still have a few issues. Race-as-class isn’t something I like, I think the skill system could stretch a bit further and I think some guidelines on ‘stunts’ and manoeuvres to give a few more options than ‘I hit it with my axe’ isn’t something that would hurt. It’d all be optional anyway.
So, for this hexcrawl setting I’d need to think about what I might change for Maksa-Jazra (the setting name).
1. Character Classes
Ditch the Cleric, Magic User, Dwarf, Elf, Halfling. Keep the Fighter and the Specialist. Add the Psionicist and Scholar. Rather than racial classes I’m thinking cultural/racial – in a human societal sense – minor modifiers.
The ones that are already there make a great ‘basic’ skill list, but if you’re removing some of the magic etc then I think you need to compensate by introducing some extra skills limited either by class or to the specialist (who can have anything). I’m thinking a few things like Alchemy, Craft, Healing, Psi Training, Learning. I also want to expand fighter’s combat capabilities with a few Fighter-centric skills to help guide/define/describe special attacks and so forth. Similar to Sneak Attack but a bit more broad. Things like Weapon Training, Combat Power, Trip, Parry, Knock-Out, Death Blow, Toughness, Disarm, Stun, Sniper, Deadly Aim and so on. Specialists would get 4+2 per level, other characters would get 1 skill point per level and Scholars might get 2+2 per level.
Just want to add some refined black-powder weapons, but not much more for this.
Keep things simple, character level + psi skill +Will/Int bonus for ‘power points’, and level of power is the cost to ‘cast’ in power points. The ‘spell list’ needs to be reduced down and limited though and would be combined and reskinned Mage/Cleric spells from the list.
5. Creatures & Twists
Most enemies would be human, but a basic bestiary of dangerous animals is always a good thing and I want to throw some random mutations in there too. So you can have nasty, horrible mutant animals and people who are ‘twists’ too.