Monday, December 13, 2010

Googaly Moogaly

1 Month and no posts, well unfortunatly that means I havent done anything with spider either.

In other news:
I bought a house, but still don't live there yet. Sad day. Really really hope to move at the end of this week, but I'm not sure. We'll see.

My baby can Read!
I mean roll over.
My baby can roll over. AND she has a little tooth coming through. How crazy is that? Soon she'll be rolling around biting things and people.

Hmmm, I sence a new monster.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Yesterday I managed to work on Spider. The new year will see some free time open up to work better on this.

sorry about the boring posts.

Or none at all.

thinking about making the damage "take your best", so if it's a 2d6 weapon, when you roll your 3d6 to determine if you hit, you take the highest two and add them for your damage.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My house

I'm officially naming my house.
"εργασία" Its pronounced, "ergasía"
and it's Greek for "labor"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Working On Work

So I finnally got to actually do something related to Spider.

I'm making a "quick start" guide so I can hand out durring test games, so I don't have to remember every rule (I could but i also rembere all the fluxuations of that rule, and I get confused). This will also be usefull so I can go through the full document and update it.

Also i found some free software that will combine two one-page pdf's into one two-page pdf. Multi page Charsheets AWAY!

Sunday, September 26, 2010



That's how the latest "SPIDER ALPHA TEST GAME" went.

I got to integrate my Aces mechanic, and it got a really great compliment.

Now I really, need to sit down and make a quick rules guide, so I can remember all the rules for everything.

Cuz I totally forgot the face that if you move on your turn you get a +1 to your defense.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Boo yah! Double meaning-ed AGAIN. Ok that wasn't a ""double"" meaning.

So what kinds of things can you spend Aces on?
Now this is not an exact list but rather a vague list.

So firstly, some combat maneuvers:

Laying down cover fire
Move your opponent two yards
Knock your opponent Prone
Make a second attack
Disarm your opponent
Move yourself to the top of the initiative

Now some non-combat uses:

Crafting items
Calling in a favor (Lets say the party needs horses, a party member might spend 3 or 4 Aces to say that they have an uncle in town that owns a stable and can give them a good deal)
Move an NPC 2 yards
Impress an NPC
Take another action immediately following your action
Make a prediction (Ask the GM a simple question about a situation such as, “Who here would be easiest to provoke in a fight?” and for the rest of the scene the answer the GM gives is true)

So all of these will have a set Ace cost, except Craft and Favor which will have a variable cost depending on how complicated the item or how powerful the favor is.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ace in the Whole

Ohhhhhh double meaning-ed!

Yeah so

Aces. I don't think I've mentioned them before.

Aces are the points you get whenever you Ruin and Redemption come up in play.

Whats that?

Well your ruin is something bad about your character, redemption is something good. If your ruin is "Running Late" than whenever your character is late, they get an ace. If their ruin in "murderous" than, well... you know.

You can only accrue so many aces before they top out so it's to your benefit if you spend them.

Any questions?

Next up...

What can you spend them on??!

Monday, August 30, 2010


That happy crazy time in your pinball game that you wish would just stop.

So things going on:

1) reading various stories by H.P. Lovecraft.... Eh? I'm sure in the 20's and 30's when this stuff was written it was amazing, but now its like...
"uh hu her dads a litch" or
"ok half-fish/people-hillbillies run a cult in this town, Anddd?" or
"So the narrator never actually sees chthulu, he just reads about a guy who did, riiiight" and my favorite,
"just reveal it already! His friend was replaced by a Fungi/Crab-man, I figured it out 4 pages ago!!!"

2) Mining Lovecraft for a game I want to run

3) Glancing knowingly at "Spider"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Somebody else

So without much to report, you should totally read Rob Donehue's series on adventure design W.E. R.O.C.K

Friday, August 13, 2010

New Abilities

"Spider is evolving... Spider is trying to learn new moves, forget old moves and learn new moves?"

Yes No?


The New stat lineup is...


Yes that's seven stats, a lucky number, a Divine number, an awesome number.

Giant duel-chainsaw-wielding barbarians now just have one stat, Might. Blood Points come from this, and the modifier adds to your attack and your damage.

Tank anyone?

That said, you could be taken out at 200 yards by a well placed rifle round, so zig zag while you charge the guy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I cannot post the PDF of the charsheet. But it's a moot point anyway since Ive already completely changed it!

Also In a game where there will probably be no serious melee combat, I've decided to alter the 8 stats.

More soon

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fill in the blanks


I'm far from finishing the Charsheet (v. 1d.0) but I do have all the blank spots filled in. At least on the 1st page. I'll try to have that up where you can look at it this week.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Done Stuff!

The skills section is very much closer to done than last week. So, "WOOOOOO!", for accomplishing goals. Below you will find the current skill list.

Animal Handling

I recently put those onto the first digital copy of the Character Sheet. !Yay!! I looked online for a free Illustrating software and found Inkscape and so far it has not disappointed. when I get done with this draft I'll post a copy if I can.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Despite the fact that I have a new beautiful baby girl, I actually made some headway on my next goal. I went through all of the feats, deleting unnecessary / redundant ones, combining similar lower powered ones, etc.

Most importantly, this means that there are now half as many weapon proficiency feats bringing the list to:

Weapon Proficiency: Bows
WP: Melee
WP: Pistol
WP: Rifle

The weapon proficiencies aren't designed around realism but rather weight of importance. It's less important, in a western, to distinguish a Kukri knife from a Broadsword, than a Pistol from a Rifle. Since making that distinction is not likely to come up, all melee weapons use the same feat, but will do different amounts of damage.

Next on the list:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Game #3

game 3 went off hitchless.

2 / 4 players had not been though the module before. so I got some more feedback.

Im now going though a makeing the first round of rules revisions. This will mostly be to put all my 'erratta' into the main document. After this I'll update the adventure a bit to alpha game 1.2 Hopefully after the revision, I'll be able to give the rules to someone, and say, "make a character, lets play".

Practily this means I need to really clean up:
Skills, what exsactly do each of them do
Feats, get rid of any unnessisary feats
Combat mechanics, how exsactly do movement, attack, etc interact

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ohhhhh Yeahhhhh

Boom! Goal accomplished.

New goal:

Start going though the "Spider" document and update all the rules so that they are all coherent, cohesive, and ... same-y.

Alpha game this weekend; rain or shine.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ohhhhhh Kayyyyy

So today I finished my Alpha2.0 CharSheet. Complete with up to date skill list, incorporating improved saving throw mechanics, and a NEW never before seen: Place to write your class! Wooooooooo!

I also printed off the Skills and Feats sections of the game to have at the table for the next Alpha game. (Coming June 27, 2010)

Goals for next week:
Copy the Alpa Test Character sheets from the 1.0v to the 2.0v while simultaneously integrating the new proposed skill system.
Oh it sounds SO much cooler than it actually is.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

mind dust

Ok. as I usually have to do, I have let the dust in my brain settle. Do not underestimate the power of the back burner.

So TO-morrow I will dissect the current version of "spider" and inject the proposed changes to the skills.

THEN i will test this temporary change and report the findings.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I need a hero... or something

Proposed change #2

My next proposed chage came out of my desire to have a magic item creation system that the mechanics and flavor (mechanoflavor? Flavorchanics?) was such that something becomes magical beacuse it's with you and you are awesome so you make your stuff magicaly awesome.

My gut reaction was to let you "spend" XP on items so they could gain magic power. (poo: stolen xp, not as high a level as the party)

The current proposal is thus:

Characters acrue "hero points". They get one at every level. They can spend these points on either a "magic power block" or a feat.
The trick is that each class pays a diferent cost for either feats or magic power blocks.

Fighter-y class pays 3 for feats and 5 for magic blocks
mage-y class pays 5 for feats and 3 for magic blocks
skillz-y class pays 4 for feats and 4 for magic blocks

Wtf is a magic block?
Each block would be worth, say, 5 "power points". This would allow you to make either: 1 magic item with 5 levels of power, or 2 items with 2 levels of power with 1 power point left over.

The cool thing is this; the magic is ""re-useable"" meaning if I have a level 5 item (some boots of flying) and i don't need them anymore, I can take the magic back and redistribute it to something more usefull.

So read it again and tell me what you think

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mad Skillz

Possible Change 1

Currently the skill system mechanics are based on a D&D 3.x model. You select your class skills and then pay one skill point for one rank for class skills etc.

I am thinking of changing them to something that more closely resembles 4th ed, in that it removes skill points and you now have trained and untrained skills.
You choose the skill that you are trained in, then you get a +2 to those skills in addition to your ability mod. At some level (maybe 5th) you get a skill bump to all your trained skills.

For skills that you are not trained in you add your roll + applicable ability modifier + your Luck modifier.

Monday, May 24, 2010


OMG! !Donuts!

Last night’s game and the resulting “talk about the game” session turned my brain into a fondue pot. My good friends Charlie and David (Jason couldn’t make it) then dipped their cubed breads into my brain cheese and pulled out delicious and overpriced gaming appetizer-for-dinner greatness.

… It’s not a perfect metaphor.

Anyway, the brass tacks of it are this:

I have a proposed new sleek skill system, which I will put into testing immediately. My current skill system is based on D&D 3.x and even at first level you can get too hoss. Changing DCs do not alter it that much and would just delay the inevitable.

I have a very workable magic item creation system

If I use the model we worked up last night, all the character advancement rules will be very sleek. I am pretty stoked.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Time for another Alpha game.
This Sunday


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How does it work?!

The masses cry out.

Well it is a Manna system where spellcasters get a certain amount of manna per day. (duh) The amount increases as you gain levels in spellcaster.

Spells cost a certain amount of manna to cast. This amount also corresponds to a Target Number. When the caster uses a spell, he makes a Skill check using his spellcasting skill. If he has the required manna and can beat the TN, the spell is cast. Easy peasy.

There is a chart that will be published with the book, showing how to design a spell (out of game), and what elements of a spell cost what manna.

You simply go down the list, “I want a ray (+1 manna) that does not allow a saving throw (+0 manna), that does 1d6 points (+2 manna) of electricity (+1 manna) damage”

Then you add up the manna: 4, so that spell costs 4 manna points. The TN at this stage in the game is simply 10 + ‘the amount of manna used’, so you would then have to make a “spellcraft” check of 14 to cast the spell.

If you don’t make the check you waste the manna.

Wizards have to hold a spellbook, but can cast any spell in the book.
Sorcerers do not need a spellbook, and can make up spells on the fly.

Q: “Why would you play a wizard?”
A: “predictability; Wizards use well researched spells, so if they miscast, the spell just fails, where as if a sorcerer fails there’s a chance they could “short out” (like a circuit) and the spell could explode in their face”

Q: “Why wouldn’t you play a wizard?”
A: “Versatility; sorcerers can custom craft an exact spell for their situation. Also with miscasting, there is also maxcasting (stupid name? I just made it up.) Sorcerers can also critically succeed and cause the spell to be … “Super Effective!”… Get it, like in Pokemon?

So there it is.
Ask and you shall receive.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Magic Spells!!

What other kind of spells are there???

Anyway, I am using my manna skeleton to make some more spells for people to use in the Alpha Adventure. It's going fairly well, but Ive hit a snag.

I currently don't have any mechanical time limit on curses, the opposite of buffs. So I'm going to have to backtrack a little to put in some, "1 point of manna means spell lasts X rounds" typed stuff.

Then I used photochop to re-arrange the heads on family photos. LOLCats eat your heart out.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A conversation with my own brain!

Brain: Dude you need to get to work on RUNNING something

Me:Ok I know, I know.

B: Sooo?

M:How about the weekend of the 15th?

B: who is going to play?

M:I don't know, depends on what my wife says.

B: Well what are the options?

M:If she says yes, then I'll wrangle up some of my friends, if no, then I'll run with our brothers. How's that?

B: Good


Friday, April 30, 2010


I 've woked on the Alpha game a bit, made a kewl new monster-y ending. other than that Im blah

sorry loyal readers.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pod people

So I hear great stuff about Printing on Demand, or POD, with sites like Lulu.

You write a book, upload it to their site, then when someone desides to purchace it, Lulu prints one copy and sends it to them.

Lulu keeps the printing cost plus a percentage of your profit.

Right now its looking like "Spider" is going to be a black and white book with a full-color softcover. Maybe with some "Limited Edition" hardcovers.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Survey Says,,,

It's a little rough, but it runs.

I ran the adventure Saturday evening, it took about four hours.

The players:
My wife - apprentice gamer
My brother - table top newb
My wife's brother - table top newb

Everyone liked the 3d6 system vs. d20. I ran a d20 game about a month back to show the brothers the rpg ropes.

My wife's brother liked the "Spider" setting in general, he felt like could relate to it, given that it has real life parallels.

Changes I need to make:
As usual I made up about 25% of the game on the fly, even though the party , more or less, went straight down the middle of the adventure. So I am going to re-write the ending so that I have a definite place to work from.

Skill checks/challenges were too easy. I am still going to use the same Target Numbers but I'm going to raise the difficulty by one level for everything.

All in all I think it went really well. I'll be excited to get another game going.

@Bryan C.: are you coming in town this summer?

Friday, April 16, 2010

In the end...

Tomorrow starts the mad dash weekend of fun extraordinaire

Morning: Scarborough Fair Renaissance Festival (yes we're dressing up)
Evening: THE GAME!!!!!!!!!!W007!!

Sunday sometime: Go see a prospective house I might buy
Sunday 3-5: (One of) My great grandmother's 90th birthday party. And I get to find out what being named executor of a will (not my great grandmother's) means I have to do.

Monday, April 12, 2010

In the beginning

Dude I am stoked. This weekend, I will be running the first ever "Spider" RPG game.

This game will kick-off a year long "Alpha test" where the rules and mechanics of the game will be altered and tweaked based on player feedback. The Alpha test will start with basic play: Skill challenges, Combat, and Magic. Then character creation, level progression, Mentalisim, and Alchemy.

The Alpha will start with friends and family, and creep out from there.

I am as aforementioned, stoked.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

3-2-1 CONTACT!

I totally had a e-mail talk with Fred Hicks, the business-y-er side of the Rob and Fred duo that brought about Spirit of the Century and the Dresden Files.

He was dead helpfull.
I am getting close enough to the alpha game being done, that I'm pretty much thinking, "I can wing it from here" and then I'll fill in the rest later. So I'm looking at Apr 16 - 18 to run the Inagural test (SWEET right on target!)

Anyway woot!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Moss grows fat on a Rolling Stone

I thought I was going to kick butt today, but then the vicious doubt spiral started and I frittered my time away. In the end I decided to stick with my guns on the matter.
Alpha Testing is for Adjustments.
Anyway, Im stoked for this year as well as 2011.

"Spider" 2013

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Slipping through my fingers

ok so my free time is slowly being chipped away.

i have not made alot of progress on the AAdventure.

I will not finish this week.
Perhaps before 4/17?

Monday, March 29, 2010


Goal Failed

I did work on the AA (Alpha Adventure). I just didn't finish, so, my new goal is to be finished by this weekend.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Weekend Goals

Finish typing out my betaAdventure (which is really for Alpha testing, so it's really my Alpha game)

Finish chopping up the bodies
Clean the house

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I know where I'll be June 22 - 27th in 2011.


Recon mission before the Spider invasion

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Obi-Wan's last thought...

Geeze I hope this ghost thing works!

I am finally confidant enough in the skeletal structure of my magic system to playtest it. Which is convenient considering that I am rapidly approaching the completion of my Beta adventure.

Soon I will be pestering all of everyone I come in contact with to play in this game. and then pester them again and again to play the same adventure until the end of time!!! Mwaahahahahaha!

No seriously just until I have to make a new adventure to test out new elements.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I wish I had more time to game.

I want to run a Star Wars game. Something I have never wanted to do.

It would be the same time period as Episode IV but Luke never went to go find R2, So he is killed by the Stormtroopers with Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. So Obi-wan has to find some new adventurers to overthrow the empire.

Friday, March 19, 2010



I like this adventure much better. I worked on the opening fluff describing where you are and what you are doing in the adventure.

The skill tweeks I mentioned yesterday were mostly cosmetic. I combined the "research" into the vaguely named "deduction" skill, and then changed the name to "examine".

Happy Friday

Thursday, March 18, 2010

When it rains it Pours

In the last 24 hours I've been tweaking my Beta Adventure, my skills, and my setting.

Today, the Beta-game

Ok so Yesterday I decided that I didn’t like the way my Beta-Adventure was going, so I decided to save it for another time. Instead Katie and I came up with another quicker, simpler adventure.

The adventure has the potential for two fights and some serious skill checks. It has three definite set-pieces and the plot flows pretty smoothly. I think it will be a lot easier to run, and play. I also think that the simpler design will make extracting data from the Beta tests much easier.

The plot is you and your close friends are travelling by stagecoach to visit your sister in a nearby boomtown.
The adventure starts as you end the first leg of the two leg trip in a small little trading post town. The town consists of a a hitching post a dry-goods store a Coach station and that's the whole thing, oh yeah.. and a Bar. The coach driver says changing out the hoses etc. will take awhile so they won't be departing for about an hour and a half.
(Now what does EVERY party do with an hour to kill with absolutely no character goals? They go to the Saloon.)
Once the saloon shenanigans are over, you re-board the coach and have some adventures on the way; once you arrive in the boomtown you find that a minor tragedy has befallen your family.

So that's the new adventure. I like it alot more. I'll keep the other one and make it a download once Spider is Published.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's day

You're out of the book.

I decided awhile back, that for in-game and story reasons I had to cut out Fey.

I know, it's sad. The Fey still used to exist, but they're dead now. There essence has been smashed down into a magically reactive mineral known scientifically as Arcanite.

That's what happens when Celestial Planes collapse, people die, and those people are fey. and elves. because elves are fey-ish mortals.

Goodbye Leprechauns.
Happy St. Patrick's Day

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Ok. I love being a nerd.

Unfortunately I suffer from a common nerd syndrome. It is not exclusive to nerds, but it does thrive in nerd populations. It is:


If you don't think that Nerds are more prone to distractability than your average 10 statted human than just play D&D one time and watch the distraction begin.

Anyway, I said that to say that I haven't been posting because I haven't been really doing anything. At least with "spider"

My immediate quandary:

How do I make a manna based spellcasting class that improves over time but doesn't get to the point that you can obliterate everyone. when a person's HP = Con score + level + (either 15, 12, or 10)?

Hey look people of Walmart!

Friday, March 12, 2010


Ok so 3 / 5 aint bad

I think there are times where I have been a great GM.

But there have also been some times where I was a really lousy GM. And so, to the universe, I apologise for putting my clever ideas before the party's fun.

At anyrate

"Permission and Forgiveness", my BetAdventure is coming along, I have it all planned out, so I'm in the middle of stating everything.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010


Train Job

Get on the train from the Aqueleon City station.
Switch out a painting on display in the 5th car with a fake painting.
Get off the train before the train goes over the Kaiawa Bridge.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Gunna work on my Beta Adventure.

Ill use it to test various mechanics, char-gen, combat, and eventually MAGIC!
With a single adventure I'll be able to use it on several groups and get feedback to get a well rounded idea of what the high and low points of the game are.

Also I'm gunna watch the Original Dracula w/ Bele Legosi the weekend. WOOT!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Solar Beam is Super Effective!

Ok, so there was some trepidation about how I want to do Crits.

Critting in D&D most often requires a 20. This is a 5% chance. Then you have to confirm the crit. This depends on the AC of the baddie, lets say its 16. So thats a 25% chance of a 5% chance.

So that means you have to roll a 20 THEN a 16,17,18,19,or 20 That works out to a 5/400 chance. Or 1.5%

Now when I say three of a kind in "Spider" I mean three of anything 2,2,2; 5,5,5; anything.

So that's a 6/216 chance or 2.7%

so really the odds of critting are better because, like a nat20 you don't have to actually beat the defence score if you roll triples. And you dont have to confirm the Crit.

Anyway, thats what we're going to beta with.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Two steps forward

Ok, so I touched on this earlier.

Saving throws are becoming,

(With thanks to Rob Donahue)

You use the Force ST when you are trying to overcome a situation by force, either physical or mental.

You use the Finesse ST when you are trying to wriggle out of a situation.

You use the Fortune ST when you have to rely on pure luck.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

And now for some Gamblin'

So a staple in westerns is the gambler. Unfortunately I've not seen an RPG handle gambling very well. Making it it's own skill seems like such a cop-out, so I think I'm going to do it this way.


1)Decide on Stakes. .50c/ Hand; $1.00/ Hand; $5.00/ Hand; Etc.

2)Everyone makes a raw Luck check (3d6 + Luck Modifier) This is to represent the fortune in the game. The higher your result, the better your hand of cards is..

3)PC makes Perception check vs. the Opponent’s Persuasion check to try and determine how good a hand of cards the opponent has by watching for tells. This check is opposed by the opponent’s ability to keep from tipping his hand. If this check is successful, then the PC learns whether or not the opponent’s hand is better than his.

4)(Optional) PC makes Persuasion check vs. Opponent’s Perception. This optional step lets the PC either try to make the opponent fold or to make the opponent put in more money. If the opponent folds, then the PC wins half of what the pot would be. If the opponent raises, and the PC wins, then the player wins the pot x1.5

5) Both sides show results of Luck Check, winner takes the pot. The last step comes when both sides show their hand. (unless one of the sides folded) The player with the higher Luck check wins the pot. The pot is determined by the difference between the Higher Luck check and the Lower Luck check multiplied by the Stakes.

(Had to edit this, Blogger Wacky formatted it after I posted. Sorry if it is incomprehensible)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Scratch That

Ok This is how it's going to work.

Race W gets 15 Vitality Points at first level, plus 1 point for every character level
Race X gets 13, plus 1 point for every character level
Race Y gets 13, plus
Race Z gets 10, plus

Damage effects your Vitality 1:1. No weird math.
If you Crit (Roll three of a kind) the damage goes straight to your Wound Points.

Once you take any Wound Damage, you are Staggered.

If you move on your turn, you get a +1 to your AC until your next turn.

Friday, February 26, 2010


So in D&D, hit dice are purely a function of your class and your level and your Con modifier. As your level goes up your Hit Die gets rolled increasing your Overall HP.

Deadlands uses a “wound” system where how much damage you can take is based on your character’s size. But, it stays the same throughout your career. When you take damage the number is divided by 5 (due to your size) and that number is applied to the hit locations (arms, legs, guts, etc.)

I like Race. I think that this makes more sense (Why does my Halfling have the same HP as this Half-Ork? Oh were both Paladins.) I also think this pushes Race to the forefront of the Race & Class selection.

But I’ve come to a quandary.
I don’t want characters to increase with their level. At least not that much. In the western genre there is not often the idea that a character can get shot, a lot, a be fine. They might be unwell and live, but rarely are they just like “Oh yeah that’s just my eye, it’s no big deal”

Right Nowww I have implemented a system from Star Wars “Vitality / Wound”
You have Wound Points equal to your Con Score. Your Vitality points are your regular HP, when they are depleted you go into the Vitality points and when those are gone you’re dead.

But I’m thinking:

What if I combined the DL and D&D:

Upon hitting and Critting (rolling 3 of a Kind) the number is applied directly to wound points.

But upon hitting without Critting, the number is divided by X (this number will be determined by your Race) the result, is subtracted by the wound points.

Anyway, its an Idea

Thursday, February 25, 2010

can you tell?

I'm really starting to take ownership of this game. I think ti's a side effect of really believing it will get published.


Saving throws


instead of describing save vs. effects as how they effect you describe them by how you get through them. By Overpowering the effect mental or physical (force); By finegalling the effect (finesse); or by chance (fortune)

What should your Hit die be based on... I'll go into this more tomarrow

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I've not been slacking... I swear.

To roll abilities, you roll 3d6. add the highest and lowest number together

Ability Scores - Ability Modifiers

2 - (-5)
3 - (-4)
4 - (-3)
5 - (-2)
6 - (-1)
7 - 0
8 - 1
9 - 2
10 - 3
11 - 4
12 - 5

What I like about this system:

1) Feels distinct
2) Simpler
3) Highly Customisable: If you want to run a horror game; roll 3d6 take the two least. High Power? Roll 3d6 keep the two best. Low power? 2d6

Obviously I'll need to change how frequently you get stat bumps.

but I think I like it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Char gen is short for Character Generation... btw

So totally ganked from various places;

within the mechanics of Character Creation (IE: Rolling stats, assigning feats etc.)

These questions should be answered:

1)Each PC provides a 1-2 sentence story/background for his PC; including what your character did in the war. Did he fight? Where? In what capacity?

2)Each PC creates 2 positive relationships/links with 2 other PCs (possibly just one for smaller partys)

3)Each PC creates a Tension with a PC he has no relationship/link with (optional)

4)Each PC creates a friendly NPC he is linked to

5)Each PC creates an enemy/rival NPC

6)Each PC creates a locality he/she’s related to. (Saloons, headquarters, gardens and so on)

With special thanks to Chatty DM over at

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dropped the Ball

Sorry about that guys.. er guy.

Anyway the Alpha TN Spread is going to be : 8, 10, 13, 16, 22

And now I'm thinking about Char-Gen.

Generating Characters is boring and tedious. And sense my mantra for this game is, "If it isn't fast, it better be damn fun" I'm going to try to make it as fun as possible. So I'll build in the (not my) idea of making character generation part of the play.

The idea being that your first session is just for Char-gen so you start off the adventuring with a cohesive party. And It's interactive so it's fun for everyone, not just boring work that we have to do so we can play. "Would you hurry and pick your feats!"

Of course there will be "quick"-gen rules.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Excel is your friend.

Unfortunately, the snow and ice of last week kept me from posting.

I created a spreadsheet detailing the odds for any particular outcome of a roll of three, six-sided dice. I then, using the D&D percentages as a rough guide, created Target Numbers (DC’s) for various levels of difficulty. I think the spread is something like:
8 simple
10 challenging
12 difficult
14 Hard
16 Heroic

I’m going to do like Deadlands and give you the TN’s in the front of the skills section, then give a couple of examples in each skill instead of like in D&D where, because of the layout / presentation, you constantly have to refer to each individual skill. (or at least I do)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

CHar Sheet action!

So I totally got some graph paper out and created the Alpha version of the 'Spider' Character sheet.
It seems like a small step, but, what is on the char sheet really seems to set the mood for the game. I really like that on the back of d20 mod sheets, they have all the feats in little check box form.

anyway gotta go


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

too many secrets mechanics

I am trying, with 'Spider' to create a very simple system.
As few rolls as posible
As few "wait what's the rule for that?" moments as posible.

I want to boil everything, as much as posible, down to a "core mechanic". So that in any given situation, you know what to do, or at the least how to adjudicate the situation beacause everything else works this way.

The problem is, that there are so many COOL! ideas. Oooo! What if there were
'focus points' or 'railroad tokens' or whatever.

I find myself getting destracted by what are really good ideas, just, not what I should be doing.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Brain dead Monday

Fluff vs Crunch

Fluff: the setting

Crunch: the rules

Crunch is the mechanics, where as Fluff is the skin around the mechanics.

Fluff: “I jump from the roof of the saloon to the second-story window next door”
Crunch: [I roll 3d6 and add modifiers and meet the Target Number of ‘28’]

Today I wrote some fluff about the northwest state in the land of the game "Spider"

Friday, February 5, 2010

Whoa, it's Friday. Right... Uhh

Uh. Go Outside and get some sunshine/rain/snow in your face.

It's good for you.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Alignment (check), XP (not so check)

Reading an article over at Critical Hits and I think I will drop the alignment idea in favor of a two word personality description.
Virtue & Vice

One word that describes something good about you, the other something not so good.

Kind / Ego-centric
Generous / Sarcastic
Punctual / Murderous
and the list goes on.


Now for XP..

um i dunno, just give yourself some xp.

No, I think I will have it goal focused, as in, "What is the party trying to accomplish?"
Rescuing the Princess
Putting the restless soul at peace.
Closing the gaping portal to the Spirit plane.

I dunno

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

No two brains are not on fire.

... you need 50 xp to attain the next level for any given level.

10 'challenges' give enough xp to level

each challenge accrues one player 5xp
(+-) bonus xp


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Moving along the Plot

Plot xp means you reward the players for moving the plot.
This got me thinking about “units” of plot, in order to dole out xp for those units.
In a general sense an RPG adventure is like a movie. A movie can be broken up into sequences and further into scenes.
Using the RPG – Movie analogy:
A movie is an adventure or series of adventures; we need to rescue the princess from the evil Prince Humperdink.
An act or Sequence is a smaller part of that plot; we need to resurrect the Dread Pirate Roberts.
A scene is the smallest unit and comprises of a single combat, a few skill checks, etc; we need to use our diplomacy to convince Miracle Max to resurrect the Dread Pirate.

So what gets the reward, a scene? a sequence? an adventure? A combination of the three?
What if the players chase a wild goose, creating unnecessary scenes?

Monday, February 1, 2010

X to the P


I realized just how hard I was making this for myself, and that this really is going to be a different game.

In D&D you gain experience through doing stuff (killing monsters, disarming traps, etc.) and someone has painstakingly assigned a number to every monster, trap, etc. that you can do so you know exactly how much XP you get for everything you did.

On the other hand, games like Deadlands, have no such system. Deadlands gives out XP for generic things like finding clues, killing significant baddies, solving mysteries.

And so I realized, you don’t need to know how many glowing orbs of experience each monster drops. Because that encourages players to open the door, kill what’s inside. (Not that that’s necessarily bad.) If you instead reward the story, which might be, “open the door and kill everything inside”, you can (theoretically) have the best of both worlds.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Monster makre

Yes, Im french canadian now

So my next mental hurdal (man i wish I was getting this all typed up as fast as I'm figureing it out) is monsters.

A game setting requires lots of monsters, and I have all the consepts, I just need to get them all stat-ed. Ug, I hate stats.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Magic XP

So let’s say you earn some XP.

In a classless system you spend the XP directly on skill points, ability modifiers, etc. If you want a character attribute improved you use the currency of XP points.

In a classed system, you accrue XP and when you have enough, you gain a new level with new cooler stuff.

What about a magic item creation system that creates a type of hybrid between these two ideas. What if there were classes but upon receiving XP it was not automatically applied to your level? What if you received XP, but then kept it, in a proverbial “bank”?

From the ‘bank’ you could certainly “cash in” your XP to put toward your next level. But with it you could do other things as well.

Because I’ve been contemplating it recently, what comes to mind first is Magic Item creation. What if you could take that ‘banked’ XP and apply it to an item. Once the item had accrued enough XP, it would qualify for an “item enhancement feat”. This ‘feat’ would grant the item magical properties.

The next thing that comes to mind is powering High Magic spells. Much like in D&D, some spells have a XP cost. This cost would come out of the ‘bank’ rather than the XP spent on the character. This way, casters could not cast themselves down a level. (Not that I know anyone that this has actually happened to, but still theoretically.)

Now to address the comment made on the last magic item post, The reason I would have them be feats and not an "imbue" ability is, that if I as a player don't want to imbue something with magic power, i don't have to. With a feat, I can decide, "oh I don't want to magic up my sword anymore, I think I'll take 'Mounted Combat' instead".

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I'm going to try and playtest Spider this weekend just to see where the kinks are.

and I'm thinking

Magic items

Monday, January 25, 2010

Magic Items ARE dumb

No, Magic items are cool, but the fact that everyone gets their items from "Magic R Us" is dumb. I think everyone should have a magic item or two or seven, but it should be your magic item. not one you just bought with all your shwag.

I'm liking more and more the idea that you make the items magical, not some wizard who cast a "cool item" spell on it. I also like that they grow with you so when you first get your awesome "+3 Guitar of Love" and it's so cool, you dont have to go buy a cooler one 4 levels later because now the +3 bonus just doesn't cut it anymore.

Burning feats to magic up your items could get costly, so the obvious answer is to give more feats.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Fun Post

Alright it's a link, you caught me.

Even though I haven't seen either of these movies, I somehow feel that this is a ridiculously accurate compare/contrast.
Why District 9 is better than Avatar

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Magic Items

In the Spider setting, I am using a concept I refer to OOG as "magical pollution" (the same way George Lucas refers to lightsabers as "laser swords"). Similar to the rules in Unearthed Arcana (3.0), a character can take feats that grant him minor magical boons do to being exposed to magic.

I am thinking of having magic items work the same way. Over time they accrue experience and qualify for, perhaps, some sort of "item enhancement" feat?

Just a thought as of yet.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Bah. I don't know why I've been so gamer-brain dead lately.

It probably has something to do with my wife being out of town. I haven't done any work on Spider this week.

I have been thinking about my experience point system. How I want it to be as simple as possible. the d&d (3.x) way wasn't complex per se, but the totals were huge. What was it? 2500 for second level? I don't have my books here with me.

I wish there was a way to have a relative experience system. If the monster was very very challenging, give X amount of experience. If the monster was less challenging, then give Y amount. So, if a 1st level party fought a tribe of goblin barbarians they would get X, while a 10th level party would get Y, far less than X.

This brings up the idea, couldn't a party make an easy situation difficult, by say not buffing up before a fight, to get more XP? This could be construed as power game-y. Should a party that intentionally pulls punches get more of a reward?

What about the scene in "A Princess Bride" where Inigo Montoya fights the Dread Pirate Roberts. Before the fight Inigo says, "I'll have to do it left handed". He was purposefully making it difficult, to try to even up the fight for Roberts. If he had won with his left hand, should he have gotten more experience?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Heist: RPG style

I was commenting in Rob Donahue’s blog, Some Space to Think, but decided that it was too long, and a good excuse for a post.

The only time I have ever been involved in a “caper” in an RPG was in a game of D&D. The party had been adventuring together for a while so we were familiar with each other’s abilities.

The target was a very influential council member of an Arcane Empire. We did some research and found out he was throwing a big party. During the party we had to locate, and breach the secret vault door. All of us had to get inside. Then we had to find the object, I can’t remember what we were stealing, some sort of Mcguffin. After all that we had to get out.

Figuring out how to get us all into the party was a blast. Some of us had invites, some were disguised and waiters. It was a lot like the scene in Mission Impossible. I remember I was posing as one of the invitee’s footmen.

The really fun part was seeing our plan work in MOST areas and in the places it didn’t watching each of us use our specialties to fix the problems.

So I guess to answer Rob's train of thought, I think that you have to let your players defeat the bad guy with their plan, and sometimes that means that they dont ever have to actually fight or even see the bad guy.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday: Funday WEEEEEE!

Boring post: Favorite movies ever.
Organised by genre.

Sci-fi: Star Wars: ANH, Dune (Sci-fi channel version)
Action: Die Hard, Equilibrium
Horror: Jaws, Night of the Living Dead
Comedy: Sean of the Dead, Three Amigos
Heist: Ocean’s 11, Snatch
Kung – Fu: Mafia vs. Ninja, Hero
TV: Firefly, MST3K Wait no, Spaced, the British TV series
Drama: Braveheart

I know, I know, Jaws isn't a horror movie, but it's the only movie to continually scare me.
And I know Equilibrium is sci-fi
Deal with it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

an Alignment by any other name

An anonymous made a good point in the comments yesterday. Sometimes in an RPG we, as players, immediately know our character. I’m the Diplomat; I’m the Curious Cat; I’m the Big Dummy.

Other times though our characters are more ethereal, we aren’t sure what our character would do in a given situation. What if your alignment was the result of a short questionnaire? Unfortunately I don’t think the general population would take the time to let a questionnaire tell them what their character’s personality was. Most gamers I know would reverse engineer the survey and just pick what they wanted anyway.

So what are the criteria?
Doesn’t affect the characters mechanically.
Doesn’t use convolutable terms like law, good, chaos, etc.
Helps players define what their character’s actions would be vs. what their actions would be.

How about Reckless vs. Conservative
I think this is very appropriate considering the western genre. Many western characters can be graded on how reckless or careful they are.

And because I think it’s clever White Hat vs. Black Hat
I think this would be a good way to do it, but it could potentially have the same problems as good vs. evil

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Magic Fuel and Good Humor

Well I think I have cracked the magical nut. Today I transferred my magic damage blueprints to healing spells. I have made it cost more to heal than to damage. I did this because it is easer to stab someone in the eye than to fix someone’s eye. It also makes the world a little bit grittier. Now I just need to fiddle around with power levels, manna quantities per level and all that fun stuff.

I was also thinking of an alignment system and harkened back to my high school literature days to remember the four Humors: Sanguine, Melancholy, Phlematic, and Choleric. I know I know this isn’t an “alignment” per se. Bad people aren’t melancholy while the good are Sanguine. But I dislike the limitations mechanical alignments put on players. I do like having a system to help direct players, especially inexperienced players, in their character creation.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

7 things to do today

Sorry about the no post yesterday. I was sick and my car’s in the shop. Sad.


Over the weekend I went through and prioritized all the things I need to do for Spider, from finishing the writing to having it printed to selling it. The things I think I need to have done [I emphasize ‘done’ because ‘finishing the book’ should be the first thing I work on, but I know it will be a work in progress till the end] by this year are as follows:

1) Register the Domain / setup the website. – Early 2010
I think I need to do this now so that I’ll have these when I need them.

2) Playtest, Playtest, Playtest – Mid 2010
I’ve somewhat already started this, but I really need to get serious. Unfortunately before I can sit down and run a pure Spider game, I need to finish the Magic system. I’ve got a working blueprint for damaging spells, so I just need to transfer that to healing, curses, buffs etc. Then it just needs refined.

3) Form the Business – Late 2010
I’m not sure if I’ll do a DBA, LLC, or go all out and INC. I know I’ll need to do something so I can be ready for 2011.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Post: New Boots

This will be my last post for this week. I'll try to stick to this posting schedule in the future as well (m-f).

On Monday I got some new boots of 90% leather construction. I quickly realized that new leather boots are much harder to break in than new shoes. But I'm looking forward to the challenge and the reward of good boots.

It also led me to think about new years' resolutions. I'm not usually into that sort of thing but I've made two for this year.
1) Write one letter to my congressman.
2) Start introducing myself as a Game Designer.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

3d6: Feels Like Chicken

While thinking about going to a d6 based system, my wife brought up something that I think I never would have thought about. She said that using only d6’s “felt” less magical. I had to stop and ask for clarification. She meant that using the polyhedral dice gives the game an innately “mystical” feel. The unfamiliarity of the strangely shaped dice lend themselves to a magical theme. I do intend to include magic in “spider” so I am weighing this heavily.

What ‘feel’ do you lose by using just plain old dice? Is that loss acceptable to highlight other aspects of the setting? The recently released Dragon Age uses an all d6 system. I’ve read some things about and it sounds like people like the game, but I think it’s too early to tell how game play “feels” without the other dice.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

3d6: HP / Level

“But what about Hit Dice?”
Yes, If you remove all dice but d6’s you can no longer say this class has dX hit points while this class has dY. I have so far come up with three solutions to this. Spider only has three classes so that makes it a little easier.

1: Easy but Unfair.
Take the lesser (casting) class; assign it 1d6-2
Take the middle class; assign it 1d6
Take the greater (fighter) class; assign it 1d6+2

This option is easy to implement but severely inhibits the caster. It gives them a 50% chance of rolling a 1 on their Hit Die. The fighter on the other hand has no chance of getting less than 3.

2: Hard but Fair-er
Take the casting class; assign it 1d3
Take the middle class; assign it 1d6
Take the fighter class; assign it 1.5d6

This option requires a little more thought when rolling but spreads out the points more evenly. Caster has 33% chance for each, Fighters spread is 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9. I honestly like this option but I don’t think people would like to do the math for 1 ½ d6.

3: Mostly Easy and Possibly Fair
Take the casting class; assign it 1d6
Take the middle class; assign it 2d6 & take the best
Take the fighter class; assign it 3d6 & take the best

Alright, my wife came up with this and I find it the most intriguing. It’s relatively easy, requires no math, but the numbers are a little ethereal for me. (I’m no probabilitition or statition or even a spellatition) Another problem that it has is it makes char-gen difficult for characters > 1st LVL

All of these have limitations and draw-backs and the best solution may to not have hit points / level even be a function of the dice, but some static number.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

3d6: On the Offence

Yesterday I talked about how 3d6 causes average rolling. In combat that means fewer Critical Hits, but also fewer critical failures. One way to compensate for fewer critical hits is to increase the odds. Say instead of crit-ing on a natural 18 (.46% chance with 3d6) that you crit on a 16 or higher (something like a 4.6% chance). This makes the odds of criting go up to be about on par with D&D. You could likewise increase the odds for “fumbles” if so desired.

On the other hand instead of making them more frequent, you could make Critical hits mean more. The standard (read D&D) method for rewarding high rolls in combat was to have you confirm your critical hit with another d20 roll, then deal double damage. This was nice but did not necessarily mean that your hit dealt any more than a regular hit depending on how much damage you rolled. With a poor damage roll you could end up feeling like you “wasted” a Crit.

In a vitality point system, where a character has an amount of hit points and an amount of vitality points equal to his CON modifier, a critical hit could bypass the hit points and deal straight vitality damage with a good damage roll you could severely hurt an opponent, and that’s what players want when they crit.

One of the, at first, unseen benefits of moving to a 3d6 system, is the ability to “enrichen” the dice. Let’s say you were to use this 3d6 crazy thing. What if then, all your damage was based around the d6. You could eliminate the need for damage dice because your attack and damage are the SAME roll. This means that when you Crit, you’ll probably really Crit.

Tomorrow I’ll go in to Hit Die

Monday, January 4, 2010

3d6: Average is Good

If everyone is special, then really no one is.

The first thing to take into account in using 3d6 instead of 1d20 is the fact that you end up with a much more average roll. With 1d20 you have a 5% chance of rolling any number. This means that you are just as likely to roll an 18 as an 8. In game, this means that, barring bonuses, you are just as likely to shoot the bad guy in the head, as to shoot his goat.

With a 3d6 however you have a similar range of numbers, 3-18, as opposed to ,1-20, but you are much more likely to get the result of a 10. This is because there is only one combination of dice that gets 18, three 6’s. There are twenty-four combinations that get you 10. In game this means that spectacular success and failures happen fewer and farther between.

This makes the numbers on your character sheet matter more. If you are more likely to land a few points from 10 on a die roll, then you can't roll hoping to get that 17 so you'll succeed. Your bonuses will mean a lot more. And in an RPG your bonuses and your character sheet are you. So this means that your character is more important than the dice you roll. This character is good at basket weaving not just a PC on a lucky streak.

Tomarrow I'll go over what this does to combat.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas and New Years

Phew. Havent been able to post due to Holidays.

During my work vacation I finally broke down and thought good and hard about changing "spider" from a d20 to a 3d6 system. I like the idea and I think I'll delve more into all the ramifications one at a time, this week.