My Games

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Monster Hunting Special Forces

I originally had planned this as an r/d100 Let's Build series, but other than the awesome semiurge I didn't get any takers, so here it is as a Weird & Wonderful Table. I've written 20 (so I think that's 8 new entries compared to the reddit post), and also included semiurge's entries as BONUS.

Also, I say this in the reddit post as well, but to clarify, this is not related to the Monster Hunter videogame series! These are ideas for "character classes" (or at least cool NPCs) built around a unique method to take down a common fantasy or tabletop monster. It was somewhat inspired by the Vamprie Hunter D novels, but also takes inspiration from other series with unique methods of monster fighting such as Attack on Titan, or to a lesser extent Goblin Slayer (more so for its focus on tactics than for its unique methods per se).

  1. Ibian Jiraiya (Vampire Hunters): The Ibians are frog or salamander-like humanoids from another dimension or universe who have held a single colony, the city of Ib in the land of Mnar, for at least ten thousand years. Their soldiers, the Jiraiya, are known for being completely silent, and for mastering water magics. Their water magics make them uniquely suited to vampire slaying, as vampires are vulnerable when submerged in water.

  2. Holy Maiden (Vampire Hunters): Ibian golems, designed as the ultimate Vampire Slayers. Made of an exotic marble-like material, they appear as ornate iron maidens with an uncanny smile on their face, which turns into a laughing scream, projecting beams of holy light (which may also be Mu / Null energy or the projection of a white hole). When they strain themselves, they shed tears of blood. They have the intelligence of a golem, or sometimes an angel or ghost from heaven. They are powered by a vampire, trapped in a hibernating state as if in a coffin, needles draining their blood to power the maiden. An operator must occasionally blood-let into the maiden to keep the vampire alive. A more powerful vampire yields a more powerful maiden, but requires more blood, a more sophisticated operating system, and is more likely to go berserk. If a maiden is on the verge of going berserk, it will try to pulp the vampire inside for one final, explosive burst of holy light.

  3. Ibian Dhampir (Vampire Hunters): Half-vampire, half-ibian. Ibian dhampirs are unique in that they have absolutely no vulnerability to being submerged in water, in addition to being less vulnerable to the other weaknesses of vampires. Additionally, their vampiric powers operate on lunar phases, being virtually mortal on a new, crescent, or quarter moon, and nearly equal to a full vampire during a gibbous or full moon. Even during this time, they maintain their immunity to water submersion.

  4. Vaporist (Dragon Hunters): Witch doctors, plague doctors, and other learned specialists. They gather or cultivate herbs, fungi, bacteria, and viruses which agitate the unique properties of dragon lungs and guts associated with their element-breathing biology. They collect these ingredients into mounds which they set afire, vapors rising up to the dragons, or compress them into pellets that can be ignited from firearms or set alight and launched from bows, cannons, and ballista. They are also trained in butchery and knifework, and often carry cutlery carved from dragon bone or an equally hard and sharp material. As the effects of the vapors kick in and the dragon falls to the ground, they position themselves to slice open the plummeting dragon across their bellies, leveraging the dragon's own force and velocity against it, spilling their guts which smash into the ground at high velocity.

  5. Blink Master (Dragon Hunters): Beastmasters with a specialty in training blink dogs. The dogs are trained to draw the attention of the dragon, or lie in wait to ambush a charging dragon. They herd it towards the highest ground they can find with the best cover, in an attempt to force the dragon to charge towards the ground. As the dragon charges or exhales its elemental payload, the blink dogs teleport-pounce up to the dragon, dodging the breath attack, and collectively work to immobilize the wings and bite and claw at the dragon's vulnerable points such as eyes, belly, and throat, blinking around the body as needed or off to safety as the dragon crashes to the ground. Some blink masters breed their blink dogs to be immune or resistant to specific elements, or to be empowered by certain elements, making them better suited to hunting specific kinds of elemental dragons. Some extremely high-level blink masters use (barely-)tamed hounds of tindalos rather than blink dogs.

  6. Dazzler (Beholder / Basilisk / Gorgon Hunters): In every way trained to disorient and disable vision. They wear jewelry of reflective glass, shiny clothing and armor, and lights, learn blinding spells and spells of flashing lights, or carry magic items or wands that do likewise. They use the beholder's many eyes against them, disabling their eye magics and making it difficult if not impossible for them to aim their disintegration rays.

  7. Sundancer (Beholder / Basilisk / Gorgon Hunters): They wear the skin of a displacer beast, carefully butchered to maintain its light-bending magical abilities against monsters. They dance through the disintegration rays of beholders; their position is always a foot or two away from the stare of a basilisk or gorgon. As the monsters look in vain, the sundancer dances ever closer, until it reaches close enough to lash at the monsters eyes with its weapons or the tentacles of the displacer beast skin.

  8. Soulbinder (Lich Hunters): Priests, clerics, and exorcists, who collect heaven-bound souls. Often, they sell indulgences to the poor, offering them a chance at heaven so long as they allow the soulbinder to borrow their soul for a time. Liches draw their necromantic powers from the nether-portal where their soul would be, instead safely stored in its phylactory. As they use their powers, the portal widens, and eventually it grows wide enough for the soulbinder to lodge a borrowed soul into it like a plug, significantly impairing the lich, and temporarily turning them into a mortal. If the lich is not killed quickly enough, the soul will be thrashed by the necromantic energies and the lich will be undead again. However, if it is killed in time, the new soul will block out the original soul held in the phylactory, at which point the under-used soul will quickly wither away, and the soulbinder may safely retrieve the borrowed soul.

  9. Dungeon Custodian (Dungeon Hunters): Consume alchemical concoctions containing, or naturally produce in their bodies, an enzyme that makes them immune to the acid of a gelatinous cube. They enter a cube, usually naked or with rare articles of clothing immune to the cube, and operate it from the inside, manipulating its simple intelligence towards the custodian's aims. They sweep through the dungeon in their cube, cleansing the dungeon of monsters. Custodians will often carry capsules containing condensed gelatinous cubes within them, to use in emergencies if the dungeon does not have any gelatinous cubes in it or their current cube is destroyed.

  10. Spiral King (Mind Flayer / Psionic Hunters): Master mesmerists and tacticians, their name a reference to the King from Chess, and the fact that they are powerful psychics whose psionics are fully dedicated to the construction and maintenance of their psionic mind castles, making them the ultimate anti-psychics. Any psionic attack traps the psychic in the Spiral King's mind castle, where the castle itself assaults them from all angles. Even as they try to escape, they find themselves in infinite spiral staircases, recursively looped like an MC Escher painting.

  11. Nightmare Wendigo (Mind Flayer / Psionic Hunters): When humans or certain other creatures dying of starvation succumb to cannibalism, they transform into wendigo; skeletal, bestial, white-skinned or white-furred, supernatural monsters of rage and consumption. When a psychic on the verge of brain-death cannibalizes the mind of one of their own, they may become a Nightmare Wendigo. They are stark-raving mad, but often functional. Their affect is unsettling and most others are uncomfortable around them, but otherwise they are capable of reason. However, when in the presence of psychic beings, and especially when a psychic being such as a Mind Flayer attempts to feed on their mind, their physical body transforms into a wendigo, and the wendigo's shadow ravages the mind of the psionic attacker.

  12. Noble Dhampir (Vampire Hunters): A lineage of dhampirs descending from the most powerful vampires and most exceptional humans, usually selectively bred but occasionally inducted. They are often bred or chosen for the strongest resistance to vampire weaknesses, greatest vampire abilities, restraint towards bloodlust, or other supernatural or exceptional mundane abilities. Those inducted into the Noble family are some of the most dangerous and powerful beings in the world, usually indoctrinated to hate vampires and their vampire heritage.

  13. Lightning Golem (Giant Hunters): These metal golems are built by artificers with special training, and are not magical in nature. Given the intricacy of the work, the knowledge necessary to maintain them, and the cost, they are rare. It ends up being more sensible to make a smaller number of massive lightning golems scaled to fight giants and kaiju than to make many smaller, human-sized or large lightning golems. The artificers either make a deal with, or capture a lightning elemental, and force it into circuits of usually copper, silver, or gold within the Lightning Golem, and through means not well understood, the elemental animates the golem. Often the artificer will build an electric-proof cage within the golem from which a pilot can (partially) control the elemental.

  14. Meta-Alchemist (Elemental Hunters): Everyone is familiar with the elements; Earth, Water, Fire, Air, but these are actually the outward expression of two deeper philosophical principles of cohesion and combustion. The meta-alchemists have, through deep thought, transcended the planes, and have access to the sulfuric hellfires and the mercurial ichor of the gods. With these elements, they can snuff flames, steady torrents, crumble the earth, and thin the air.

  15. Slinger Grenadier (Giant Hunters): These hunters are masters of the shepherd sling. Their slings are magically enchanted with haste or similar spells, allowing them to spin far faster, and launch farther and more powerfully, than would otherwise be possible. Depending on the size of the sling and bullet, it can shred enemy lines, leave explosive craters, and puncture giants and armored monsters. Even the weakest enchanted slings require great muscle strength and training to use effectively, and the most devastating slings are positioned in-place like artillery and operated by a team.

  16. Necroborg (Undead Hunters): These necromancers hone their abilities towards the integration of life and un-death. They blend blood and blight, wearing skeletal armors and integrating undead appendages and organs into themselves. Zombies bite, and necroborgs bite back. By ingesting undead tissue, or siphoning blight through claw-syringes integrated directly into their bloodstream, the necroborgs steal the eldritch energies of their undead foes, or turn them to their will.

  17. Necro-Demolitionist (Undead Hunters): Divine channelers who invoke a so-called deadman's switch suite of spells. They use a potent combination of abjure undead and turn undead to create a simultaneously pulling and pressing, violent force; an implosion followed by an explosion proportional to the number of undead compressed within it. Another spell they cast triggers as a fresh corpse is being blighted, blocking the eldritch energies partway through the transformation, causing an explosive necromantic pulse. If any other fresh corpses are also being blighted, the necromantic pulse blocks their blight, creating a chain reaction of corpse explosions and necromantic pulses.

  18. Zombie Rancher (Undead Hunters): Cowboys of the blight. They use carefully controlled divine spells to compel the migrations of lesser undead, usually skeletons and zombies. Often they are utilized merely to divert the path of an undead scourge like digging a trench to change the course of a river. Some kingdoms have reached a level of capital and industrialization that they have employed zombie ranchers who use their spells to create logic-gates from the zombies, turning scourges into un-living computers. Less advanced but sufficiently wealthy kingdoms instead divert scourges towards their enemies, but that is a dangerous game, as the scourge grows larger, and the number of zombie ranchers rarely grows in kind.

  19. Werehound (Werewolf Hunters): A "breed" of werewolves, "domesticated" (enslaved) for generations and bred to be the ultimate hunters. They have exceptional speed and sense of smell and are capable of keeping werewolves in their sights, or tracking their scent into the day, when they are at their most vulnerable. Except for when they bloodlust, their feral instincts are attenuated compared to werewolves, but they are formidable fighters in their own right, and are trained in group hunting tactics and to hunt with humans.

  20. Cold Iron Jack (Fey / Werewolf / Forest Hunters): Lumberjacks and huntsman equipped with tools of royally-enchanted cold iron. The cold iron is devastating to magical beings, especially those of the forest, such as fey and werewolves, and can give a lumberjack the strength to chop through a tree in a single blow and the will to laugh in the face of Darkness. The cold iron is only as powerful as the royalty, or more generally the civilization, that empowers it.

Semiurge BONUS:

  1. The Knights of St. Gumbly (Giant Slayers): An order of mountain goat-riding halflings and children who specialize in the use of the javelin and grappling hook. As per the teachings of their founder they believe that giants are the embodiment of rapacious sin, and so slaying them while practicing strict temperance is their moral duty. Their preferred tactic is to climb up their targets’ bodies to strike their soft head bits.

  2. The Ash-Eater Lodge (Treant, Dryad, Druid, Etc. Slayers): Civilization’s hunger for fuel is always ravenous, yet the forests hold their bounty jealously. The rangers of the Ash-Eater Lodge wield their advanced knowledge of ecology as a weapon, collapsing predator populations, poisoning the earth, putting pockets of resistance to the torch, and otherwise softening the defenders of the woods for their harvest.

  3. Ironcrackers (Demon Slayers): Veterans of the campaign against iron-walled Dis, specializing in the use of occult siege weapons. Holy water cloudburst bombs, cannonballs of sacred salt, and horns of Jericho all number among their arsenal.

  4. Poor Unfortunate Souls (Witch Hunters): Pitiable and practically indispensable members of witch hunts. People who by accident of malefic influence of birth are lightning rods for curses, shielding their comrades from the same.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Minigame: Critical Roll Casino Dice Game

This is a casino-style dice game inspired by Blackjack. It could be a fun game in its own right totally independent of an in-universe tabletop RPG mini-game, but by using dice and playing into the idea of a critical roll, it has a fun tabletop feel to it.

The Rules

  • The goal is to roll the closest value to 20. 
    • Unlike blackjack, there is no busting, but on a tie in different direction (e.g. 18 vs 22), the lower value takes priority.
  • Players can play against each other or against the dealer.
  • Place bets and after all bets are placed, everyone rolls a d20.
  • Critical Success: On a roll of 20, the player automatically wins and receives 1.5x their bet.
    • If the dealer also rolls a critical success, it's considered a push and the player neither wins nor loses.
  • Critical Failure: On a roll of 1, the player automatically loses.
  • After the d20 roll, place the d20 facing the rolled value below the bet. Each player takes their turn from left to right (house goes last). Each player takes all of their actions before moving on to the next player.
  • Hit: If the player did not roll a critical success, they can choose to roll a d12 and add the value to their total, placing the d12 facing the rolled value under their d20 in a dice chain. Players can continue to hit, decreasing the dice size until >= 20, or the player has rolled a d4. 
    • d12 -> d10 -> d8 -> d6 -> d4
  • Critical Hits: Rolling the maximum value on a die is a critical success. Roll a d20. If the player rolls a 20, replace the current total with the 20. This is not the same as a critical success. A roll of 1 on this die does not count as a critical fail.
  • Miss: After rolling a 1 on a die, add the 1 to the total, but the player cannot make another hit even if they have smaller dice (e.g. if the player rolls a 1 on a d8, they cannot hit to roll a d6). This is not the same as a critical failure.
  • Split: If the value of a rolled die is the same as the directly preceding die in the chain (e.g. 5 on a d20 followed by 5 on a d12), the dice chain can be split.
    • Separate the dice and place a bet equal to the original next to the second die.
    • Start from the first die and decide whether or not to roll another hit (e.g. go back to the 5 on a d20 and decide whether to hit with another d12). Follow this chain, then move to the next (e.g. after finishing the d20 chain, go to the 5 on the d12 and choose whether to hit with a d10).
    • A dice chain can be split as many times as there are valid opportunities and the player can afford the bet.
  • Double Down: Rather than taking a hit after the d20 roll, the player can choose to double their bet, and roll one single die of any size besides d20, but they cannot take any other actions after the double down.
  • Dealer Rules
    • If the dealer and player roll the same value, dealer always wins (except critical successes, which push).
    • A roll of 1 on a d20 does not count as a critical failure.
    • Cannot split or double down.
    • Must hit until they have a value >= 20. 
    • No critical hits or misses.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Ghostbusting, Fire Fighting, Kart Racing, and Cooking Combat!

A followup to my meandering post about combat. Despite what I said, these so far haven't involved hacking FATE into OSR or TNT, and are just modifications of regular combat. I tried to design these with OSR and TNT in mind. Many of these involve a blend of Saving Throws (STs) for OSR or Saving Rolls (SRs) for TNT with regular combat actions. In many cases where I refer to Saving Throws for OSR, it might make more sense to just do a roll under attribute, depending on your preferred system.

Fire Fighting / Ghost Hunting: Inspired by the anime Fire Force (loosely), Mario Sunshine, Ghostbusters, and Luigi's Mansion. It seems strange to put these together but they work similarly. You have to be able to get within a certain range, and maintain your hold, either dousing the fire, or sucking up the ghost.

  • A successful SR / ST gets you in range. 
  • You may occasionally need to re-roll to stay in range. Other environmental obstacles or enemies may get in the way. The fire / ghost regenerates HP if you're throw out of range.
  • An "attack" is dousing the fire / sucking up the ghost. A successful hit against you is fire/heat damage or an attack from the ghost (in TNT, just an opposed roll).
  • Depleting enemy HP means dousing the fire or sucking up the ghost.
This should be more like a "boss-fight" game, where there are fewer enemies; one stronger one, and maybe a few weaker ones, or only obstacles. The key is to not only get in range, but be able to stay in range, so there's tactics in understanding your environment, or positioning yourself for the unexpected. The fire / ghosts should be less mobile and more reactive than active, at least until it's too late to turn back...

Kart Racing: Inspired by Mario Kart and other "Kart" Racers, Road Rage, Fast & Furious, and other action racing games, movies, etc. The players can still work as a team, where victory depends on one or more players ranking in the top three.
  • Fixed number of turns (laps).
  • Initiative determines starting position (if applicable). Otherwise SR / ST. There are as many positions as racers+2, and racers can hold the same position.
  • First is the attack round, where all racers make their attacks. Most attacks can only target enemies at the same position or one position ahead or behind ("neck and neck"), and generally cause the target to decelerate and take damage. Running out of HP means the kart is destroyed or blown off the track. Deceleration means moving one position behind.
  • Then comes the move round, where all racers make their move actions. SR / ST at full success (accelerate), partial success (hold position), or failure (decelerate). A racer may choose to hold position or decelerate without the need for a roll. Accelerating means moving up one position, decelerating means moving down one position. Cannot go past max/min position.
  • Environmental obstacles or certain items may also trigger SR / STs.
  • At the end of the last lap, the person in the first position wins. Rewards at first, second, and third place.
While enemies can still be KOed, this is more about positioning in a race. I do think some additional work needs to be done for this for it to feel fully fleshed out, like a list of items with varying effects, including AoE attack options or attacks outside of normal range. Tentatively, my thought would be that you get an item when you decelerate on the move turn, giving struggling racers a potential advantage, or allowing racers that are far ahead to tactically hold or decelerate. The racers+2 positions is to pad out room for the leader to be far ahead or loser to be far behind. There could also be rules for collateral from spinning out.

Food Wars: Inspired by Iron Chef and other food competition shows, and the anime Food Wars and Yakitate Japan. Here I'm assuming the party is cooking as a team but you can adjust accordingly.
  • The theme ingredient(s) or chosen main ingredient(s) of the dish are the "enemies". There should probably be 1-3 main ingredients with the highest stats and 1-5 other notable ingredients with lower stats. Alternatively, you can have fewer ingredients, but refresh their HP at each stage of preparation.
  • "Attacks" reflect progress towards preparing the ingredient using a given technique, such as slicing, cubing, garnishing, etc. Tally successful "damage" in addition to subtracting from the ingredient. If an ingredient runs out of HP, it is done being prepared or done with that stage of preparation.
  • Hits against a cook reflect making a critical mistake, or injuring oneself (e.g. cut or burn). Subtract damage taken from the total tally in addition to subtracting from HP. If the cook runs out of HP, they've been injured so badly that they can no longer proceed, or have ruined the dish beyond recovery.
  • The ingredients or techniques may elicit additional SR / STs or have other special conditions. Kitchen "mishaps" or sabotage may also come into play.
  • The total tally reflects the score of the dish, meaning the maximum score would be the total HP of all ingredients / stages of ingredients. This should be compared against some fixed acceptable score or an opposed team's pre-determined score. In addition, you may want to throw in some variability at the end for dramatic effect, like an SR / ST, or two flat die rolls like 2d10 or 2d6, where the first die adds a percent of the maximum possible score to the party or opposition's score and the second subtracts a percent of the maximum to the respective scores. These could also be flat values rather than percentages of the total if that's easier, but should be enough to sway the outcome, without being so large as to make the entire cooking challenge totally random.
I think this one might need some work. It may be a bit tricky to crunch the numbers since the scoring system is tied to the maximum HP of the ingredients. Maybe it should just be standardized in some other way. Also, I do think adding some randomness at the end is a good way to keep the outcome from being totally pre-determined, but I could see it being really dissatisfying for the party to lose because of it. Also, the fact that the outcome is so dependent on the total score, while true to a cooking competition, may not be satisfying in tabletop.