Monday, March 21, 2016

Savage Dungeons: BECMI, Ranks, and a look ahead at the Magic User

  In our recent discussions here at The Middle-kingdoms HQ, we've talked about how Savage Dungeons should be modular in its approach adding new parts as characters (and GMs) go up in Ranks— Basic would use only the simplest core rules, Expert will add more moving parts, Companion/Master being the  version using all of the core Savage Worlds Deluxe rules, and Immortals using the complete Savage Worlds Deluxe rules plus some additional setting rules for epic play. It's still unclear how far we'll take this concept, but we'll have a better idea as we play through each. 

The current proposed breakdowns are:
·       Basic Setting Rules - Novice to Seasoned Ranks
·       Expert Setting Rules - Seasoned to Veteran
·       Master Setting Rules - Veteran to Heroic
·       Legends Setting Rules - Heroic to Legendary Ranks
·       Immortals/Epic?

We’re working on the Basic Setting Rules for character generation and we have been able to playtest the Quickdraw Wildcard creation using only Wildcard attributes predetermined by archetype and an edge. The edge is either chosen from a list of character backgrounds or can be rolled for as a random table. Hindrances and additional edges can be introduced after the first or second game session in a similar playbook fashion or perhaps written into the adventure. As I said in the first post, Quickdraw Wildcards were originally conceived as a way to quickly introduce Savage Worlds to my family play group who were mostly familiar with Labyrinth Lord and had never played Savage Worlds, so far they are working out great. We’ve been play-testing the Fighter Archetype and will start work on the Magic User Archetype next. Since trappings seem to be a hard notion for my old school style gamers to grasp, we’ll be rewriting the spell descriptions using the spells from the OGL and then applying the appropriate Savage World powers. 

We’ll start with the first and second level Magic User Spells for the Basic Rules.

First Level Magic-User Spells
Charm Person
Detect Magic
Floating Disc
Hold Portal
Magic Missile
Magic Mouth
Protection from Evil
Read Languages
Second Level Magic-User Spells
Continual Light
Detect Evil
Detect Invisible
Locate Object
Mirror Image
Phantasmal Force
Wizard Lock

I found with the Savage Worlds Basic Character Record Sheet that if I keep things familiar enough the transition from Labyrinth Lord to Savage Worlds is easy and fun. I look forward to posting some of the spells as and the Magic User Quickdraw Wildcard as it progresses.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Free Map Friday: Shrine of the Vampire Beetle

Hidden below the surface world are mysteries man was not meant to discover. Ancient alien cities, monuments and shrines that were once long forgotten, have become home to new creatures. Recently rediscovered the Shrine of the Vampire Beetle has become active once again.

I have a soft spot for dungeon delves and this week it shows. I hope you find a home in your adventure for this map. Let me know how you use it and what story it tells.

My imagination is already at work with a tale about six petrified aliens, a combination lock puzzle, and several traps. Oh, and don't forget the Vampire Beetles!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Free Map Monday: Bran Keep Level 2

This week's Free Map Moves up a level in Bran Keep. On level 2 we find the Hall, the Queen Mary bedroom, a Gothic hall - Yellow Salon, a Large Saloon, as well as some secrets.

Bran Castle is one of several reported residences of Vlad the Impaler, whom Bram Stoker based the character of Dracula on. This map is a bit smaller than the actual Bran Castle floor plan, but still captures some of the main features such as the long stair to the entrance, the well in the inner courtyard, and the giant rock that the foundation of the Castle sits on.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Free Map Monday: Bran Keep

With one of my all time favorite Vampire adventures making a comeback of sorts this month I thought I would explore the castles of Dracula. This week's Free Map takes its inspiration from Bran Castle in Romania. Bran Castle is one of several reported residences of Vlad the Impaler, whom Bram Stoker based the character of Dracula on. This map is a bit smaller than the actual Bran Castle floor plan, but still captures some of the main features such as the long stair to the entrance, the well in the inner courtyard, and the giant rock that the foundation of the Castle sits on.

Stairway to the entrance of Bran Castle
Check out the official Bran Castle web site for more information about this inspiring location. Oh and by the way, if you happen to have a dragon's horde of treasure sitting around, it's for sale.

Fortunately Bran Keep will only cost you the time to download it from here.

Heart of Darkness is a Science Fiction Gothic Horror Love Story, the story of the maiden voyage of the Mara Irons. After setting sail, the Mara Irons became the victim of an unexpected solar event. Blown off course and out of control, the luxury cruise ship was thrown into the uncharted regions of the Great Barrier Asteroid Field where it was tossed about and battered. Severely damaged and lost, the spacecraft finally came to rest in a sea of mangled metal, lost hope, and broken dreams and in the darkness, something evil wakes.

Heart of Darkness is currently available digitally as a White Star compatible adventure and as a Savage Worlds licensed adventure.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Savage Dungeons: Grognar the Veteran, Edges, Leveling Up, and A Cooperative Roll

     First let me say this is turning into quite the fun challenge. The biggest challenge is remaining faithful to my original goals. Because I don't live in a vacuum and tend to read RPG system and setting books like they were page turning novels, the harder it is to keep all the new ideas I find out of Savage Dungeons and remain true to the original idea of Savage Worlds with the trappings of Basic/Expert Dungeons & Dragons. Fortunately I have help. My good friend +Victor Diaz who has been a sounding board and playtester for my previous projects, has graciously decided to lend a Cooperative Roll and lend his talents to the project–especially his talent for keeping me on task.

I'm still working on getting character creation using Quickdraw Wildcards just right. The challenge here is to keep things simple but still maintain both Savage Worlds and Basic D&D flavor. I have to get the mixture just right or the whole thing will explode. The initial concept is to keep character generation simple enough for an eight year-old to pick up a character sheet and start right away with little or no help. In my home playtests with the Inkling we've found that character generation grinds to a near stop if he has to choose too many things or has too large of a buffet to choose from. To help this I'm going to break character creation up into smaller steps with game play in between.  To do that I'm thinking of breaking up the Rank into three segments. When playing with new or young players, they like the feeling of leveling up quickly. As the character gains experience they can add a new edge or hindrance appropriate for their archetype and adventure experiences. Those choices may also be something that gets written into each adventure.

Along with dividing the Novice rank into three segments, another idea I want to include from the Basic Rules is level titles. In the basic rules a character would have a title which coresponded to their level for instance a 1st level fighter would be called a Veteran, a 2nd level a Warrior, 3rd Swordmaster, etc. The only current system that I know of that keeps this tradition is Dungeon Crawl Classics. The idea was that when meeting with other characters or NPCs you wouldn't say, "I'm Grognar a first level Figher," but, "I'm Grognar the Veteran." For me there's a little more "character" in that. 

Here is the first playtest draft of the Fighter Archetype Quickdraw Wildcard.