20 August 2018

The Aquabats Super Unofficial Super RPG Part 1: The Aquabats

The Aquabats have a VERY IMPORTANT KICKSTARTER PROJECT to #BringBackTheAquabats. You, too, can join the Legion of Righteous Comrades and help The Aquabats help the children help the world. You can also relive their adventures and more through the magic of Risus: The Anything RPG, a free game created by S. John Ross and subverted by me to produce something I am calling "The Aquabats Super Unofficial Super RPG." Starring The Aquabats.

Part 1

The Aquabats

On a mission to fight evil and destroy boredom!

The MC Bat Commander

Crime-Fighting Lead Singer of The Aquabats (3)
Fearless Leader and Chief Strategist (3)
All Around Swell Guy (3)
Battle Dancer (1)

Sidekick: Battletram, The Aquabats' Mobile Headquarters (3)

Hook: Insecure about his lack of superpowers.

Jimmy the Robot

Crime-Fighting Keyboardist of The Aquabats (3)
Team Scientist and Pillar of Logic (2)
Superpower: Is a Robot [3]

Hook: Confused by human emotions.

Crash McLarson

Crime-Fighting Bassist of The Aquabats (3)
Arguably a Big Strong Overgrown Baby (2)
Superpower: Becomes a Giant When Experiencing Stress [3]

Hook: Cowardly.

Ricky Fitness

Crime-Fighting Drummer of The Aquabats (3)
Handsome Healthy Lifestyle Role Model (2)
Superpower: Is Super Fast [3]

Hook: Distracted by feminine wiles.

EagleBones Falconhawk

Crime-Fighting Guitarist of The Aquabats (3)
Spiritual Visonary with the Gift of Second Sight (3)
Superpower: Laser-Shooting Electric Guitar (3)

Sidekick: "The Dude," an invisible spirit bird of prey, female (6)

Hook: Cocky. Sometimes a little too cocky.


24 July 2018

The Discretionary Ghost Die

The notorious Ghost Die of the Ghostbusters role-playing game is a wondrous thing. It is, perhaps, the earliest known example of a "wild die," meaning a die that is rolled with another die or a dice pool to introduce the chance that a result may be drastically influenced in a harmful or helpful way. From the Ghostbuster's point of view, the Ghost Die is never helpful. It complicates success, it exacerbates failure, and it rewards foes.

As I've mentioned previously, coming up with entertaining consequences every time a Ghost is rolled can be taxing on one's imagination and may even slow down the game. When rolling a Ghost becomes a nuisance rather than a novelty, it's time to reassess the role of the roll, if you will.

My solution is the discretionary Ghost Die. Don't include it in every roll. Roll the Ghost Die only when a ghost or any other supernatural phenomenon is involved. When Ghostbusters are knocking on the door of the spirit realm, that's when it's time to let the Ghost Die build tension. As per the rules, when a ghost rolls a Ghost, it benefits the ghost. When a Ghostbuster rolls a Ghost, it still benefits the ghost, regardless of whether the Ghostbuster's roll is a success or failure.

Furthermore, don't treat it as a D6. The discretionary Ghost Die is only rolled when the paranormal is encountered, so treat all faces except the Ghost as blank. It's an extra die used as a special effect — it is not part of the dice pool.

The best part is that the Ghostmaster only needs to worry about the ramifications of rolling a Ghost when there's a ghost to make it easy.

02 August 2017

RPGaDAY 2017: Day 02

2. What is an RPG [game, world, or adventure] you would like to see published?

My first instinct is to say a reprint of the original Ghostbusters role-playing game, preferably with an accompanying booklet that condenses the rules (and offers a binary randomizer option similar to that used in Prince Valiant) and higher quality equipment cards (with an emphasis on durability).

Otherwise, I would like to see a Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, or Barbarella game based on the Prince Valiant rules system.

A Fudge or Sherpa conversion of Timeship would also be welcome (especially if I am hired to convert it).

[For more information on #RPGaDAY (or #RPGaDAY2017 specifically), read this. Other installments from my own participation may be found here.]

01 June 2017

A Month of Tales from the Loop

Keith Garrett of The Adventures of Keith Garrett is devoting a month to writing about the Tales from the Loop role-playing game (available from Free League Publishing and Modiphius Entertainment). The game, based on the art of Simon Stålenhag, uses a d6 dice pool system that might be of interest to Decidedly Six-Sided readers.

The article series begins here.

01 August 2016

Garrett Goes Ghostbusting

Keith Garrett of The Adventures of Keith Garrett has completed his 31 Days of Ghostbusters (also known as July). An homage to Ghostbusters in its various incarnations (including the Ghostbusters role-playing game), it's well worth investigating.

30 June 2016

Binary Dice Meet Simplified Dice Pools

Not long ago I wrote about the virtues of simplifying dice pools for the Ghostbusters role-playing game in the manner of All for Me Grog (here and here). In a simplified dice pool, all that matters is that the randomizer gives one of two possible results: evens or odds on a die, heads or tails on a coin. Counting dice with even numbers is significantly quicker than adding all the numbers in a standard dice pool system, and substituting binary dice for ordinary six-siders makes it even quicker. Binary dice can have any number of sides, although I recommend the six-sided variety as they are the easiest to roll in large numbers and represent the perfect polyhedron (as far as this Web log is concerned). Binary dice, as the name suggests, give two possible results: 1 and 0. Roll your dice pool, count the dice that show "1," and ignore the dice that show "0." That's all there is to it. It's the fastest way to roll.

(Availability can be a problem. Koplow manufactures six-sided binary dice, and there is or has been at least one Kickstarter project involving the manufacture of other polyhedral binary dice, but binary dice of any kind are difficult to find in stores. Online stores specializing in educational supplies are an option, and some game retailers sell them occasionally on certain well-known online markets.)

04 May 2016

Extendable Random Hit Location Generator

Most of my random hit location needs are met by Hit Location Tables for All Occasions. I like to keep rules simple and memorable. Sometimes, however, I need greater detail from a hit location table, which is why I keep the Extendable Random Hit Location Generator in reserve. (This was previously posted as Random Hit Location Generator: d6 Version in Applied Phantasticality and here in Fudgery.net.)

30 April 2016

Hit Location Tables for All Occasions

Whether the rules require it or not, I use a hit location table in every role-playing game I run. Sometimes it has a useful function related to the rules, such as determining the extent of armor protection or the specific consequences of an injury. Sometimes I just want to make the description more vivid in the minds of the players or tell them where their battle scars are. A good hit location table is system neutral and easy to use. With that in mind, here are three such tables, all of which are usable with common, everyday six-sided dice.

Hit Location Table
(1D6 Version)

1. Left Leg
2. Right Leg
3. Left Arm
4. Right Arm
5. Torso
6. Head

Hit Location Table
(2D6 Version)

2. Neck
3. Left Foot
4. Left Hand
5. Left Leg
6. Left Arm
7. Torso
8. Right Arm
9. Right Leg
10. Right Hand
11. Right Foot
12. Head

Hit Location Table
(1D12 Version)*

1. Left Foot
2. Right Foot
3. Left Leg
4. Right Leg
5. Left Hand
6. Right Hand
7. Left Arm
8. Right Arm
9. Lower Torso
10. Upper Torso
11. Neck
12. Head

* To generate results of 1-12 with six-sided dice roll 1D6 to determine high or low. 1-3 is low; 4-6 is high. If low, roll 1D6 and read normally. If high, roll 1D6+6.

10 March 2016

Utilizing Simplified Dice Pools in Ghostbusters

Improving the dice pool system (q.v.) in the Ghostbusters role-playing game is a simple matter when it comes to tasks, but how does it fare in combat?

If you like the existing combat rules, nothing really needs to change in terms of determining damage, because once someone lands a blow, the Ghostmaster declares the injury and recovery time (subject to negotiation for Brownie Points). The dice pools have no bearing on damage.

If you prefer a system in which degree of success is linked to damage, then this can be done easily. All for Me Grog (the game that inspired my thoughts on dice pools) uses Salt as a means of recording a character's damage. (It's a pirate game.) All characters have a Salt of 9. Whenever damage is sustained, Salt is lowered, usually by the the victor's degree of success (the difference in the number of evens).* Regardless of the normal size of the character's dice pool (attribute + vocation + embellishment), the character may never roll more dice than his or her current Salt.** Presumably, a character whose Salt is reduced to 0 is rendered incapacitated or dead. In Ghostbusters, Salt could be replaced by Health or Pep or Vital Signs or Life-O-Meter or anything you like that represents the opposite of Rest in Peace. We'll say characters have a Health (or whatever) of 10 just to be different and better reflect the higher survival rates that Ghostbusters enjoy over pirates. [Edit: Better yet, set it to equal the character's total Trait points.] I should mention here that for each loss of Health or Whatever, a mark is made beside the Trait that was used. At the end of an appropriate period of time, a player may erase two marks from Brains or Cool (restoring 2 points of Health or Whatever) or one mark from Muscles or Moves (restoring 1 point of Health or Whatever). The period of time the player must wait may be lowered by spending Brownie Points of an amount deemed appropriate by the Ghostmaster. If Health or Whatever is reduced to 0, the Ghostmaster may rule that the character must spend x number of weeks hospitalized before returning to action... or tell the surviving members of the franchise to start making funeral arrangements for their dearly departed co-worker. Note that Health or Whatever can be reduced not only by physical combat (Muscles and Moves), but by battles of wits and will (Brains and Cool) as well.

Another approach (q.v.) is not to have a general well being status, but to have specific injuries cause direct penalties (dice pool reduction) only when they apply to something the character is trying to do. When an injury is sustained, instead of lowering anything, the victim gains Injury Points equal to the victor's degree of success. A description of the injury is noted beside the Injury Points, and anytime the injured character attempts a task that would be affected by the injury, the character's Trait or Talent roll is reduced by a number of dice equal to the Injury Points. If the character has multiple injuries that would affect an action, the Trait or Talent is reduced by the total number of relevant Injury Points. Alternatively, one could just use Injury Points generally and apply them to all rolls.

* Combat is ordinarily resolved with opposed rolls. Whoever rolls higher wins the round. If degree of success is linked to damage, then damage equals the difference in evens rolled by the combatants. Ranged combat may also be resolved with opposed rolls, or the attacker may roll to equal or beat a threshold (minimum number of evens). The threshold may be either the standard three evens, or a number based on range (such as 1 for Close, 2 for Short, 3 for Medium, and 4 for Long). In this instance, damage equals the difference between the attacker's roll and the threshold.

** As a reminder, dice pools in Ghostbusters may consist of a character's Trait, Trait + Talent, or Trait + Talent + Weapon.

[For more information about All for Me Grog, see my article here in Theoretical Swashbuckling. Buy it here at RPGNow.com.]