This is the third post in what has apparently become a series on how to make skills interesting and useful. This discussion is something I wrote up a long time ago, back in the days of 2e. I thought the three-tiered approach to skill progression introduced there, and now continued by Zweihänder, was interesting because it reflected the medieval guild levels of apprentice, journeyman and master. I felt that some more use could be made of those levels, which I called Mastery, other than just +10% success.
I also felt that in an unjust society like the Empire, skill at Law would not determine the outcome so much as who was doing the judging. I therefore concentrated on the usefulness of the skill in getting a favourable jurisdiction or set of laws. The actual outcome of the trial would be determined by charm, connections, bribes and the like.
I’ve updated the discussion somewhat for 4e, but the basic assumption of three Mastery levels remains. In the case of Lore (Law), this could in the new system be reflected in levels in the Savant (Law) Talent.
The Rogue Trader Humble RPG Book Bundle, which includes a 20% coupon for the Cubicle 7 store ends tomorrow, on Wednesday 13 November. Get it while you still can!
In my first post on TobCon 3, I mentioned we ran into problems with the damage system in 4e. On the surface, it’s cleverly done: you add the Success Levels of the attacker to the damage, and subtract the defenders’ and that gives you a number. Simple, elegant, and reflective of how things went in the round.
But the same system also gets rid of the dreaded whiff of 1 & 2e by deciding a successful hit by an opposed test, so that it can happen even if both sides fail their rolls (the one with the worst Success Levels loses). Unfortunately, this makes calculating damage very complicated very quickly if you are dealing with multiple combatants, as we were. Continue reading
Surfing the web for various inspirational reconstructions, like the Pudding Lane Productions one for London just before the Great Fire (and here’s another one from the same project, but at night), I came across this one for Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire:
Although I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this reconstruction, I rather like how it shows how the castle must have been a mix of its medieval origin and later accretions. Too often fantasy settings look like they’ve sprung from the earth fully-formed (ironically, representations of Tolkien’s Middle Earth are especially guilty of this, despite the setting’s detailed history, or perhaps because Tolkien himself was a great philologist but his sense of history was very flat). But RL is much more complicated, with old things always far outnumbering the new and providing the foundations, often literally, for it.
One of the adventures run at the last TobCon, which I got to playtest in advance, is a dark scenario about a pattern killer who plagues the city of Kemperbad. The author, ‘dark knight of the twisted moon’, has kindly agreed to have it hosted here. It’s statted for 1e, so can be found under Downloads => WFRP1. Here’s the ‘trailer’:
A Pattern Killer is loose in the Freistadt of Kemperbad; the bodies of his victims turn up weeks or months after their disappearance, debased by signs of torture and the marks of gnawing vermin. The Watch are on high alert, seeking to catch the twisted perpetrator; their failure has caused a backlash from the good burghers of the town, and now agitators are seeking to use the unrest to rouse the mob for their own ends. Pamphlets have begun to appear claiming that the Freistadt’s thirteen strong Council has some involvement in the deaths. The most recent of these libellous scandal sheets goes too far – accusing the Council of bondage to the Ruinous Powers. The Council will stand for this no more, and so a special team has been assembled from amongst the espionage services to find and neutralise the agitator threat.
There is much more to this scenario than a ‘simple’ investigation, though. It is also most definitely for adults and touches on some very disturbing topics.