Making STR Super

As mentioned earlier this week, I’ve uploaded an updated playtest version of The Four Color Hack, implementing some changes based on playtesting and feedback. One thing that didn’t get changed in the update was lifting capacities for heroes. In the current playtest version, I think those lifting capacities are too low. They just didn’t seem super-heroic enough; this was bugging me, and I couldn’t figure out how to get rid of the bug. As is the case when I face things that bug me, it helps to ignore the issue for a bit and then return to it with fresher eyes.

Notice the two tables to the below-right. The first shows the overhead press for heroes who do not have super-strength. It dawned on me that the only characters in the game that have a STR Stat are the heroes. Villains don’t have Stats such as STR or INT or CHA. With this in mind, I chucked the d20 System, which is from where I took the overhead press amounts in the first draft of the table.

Instead, I fell back on the third edition of DC Heroes and those old Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe comic books. As you can see, even a hero with an “average” STR of 10-11 is quite strong with an overhead press of 200-250 pounds.

For super-strength, I got rid of the multiplier. Instead, a Hero Die gives a hero a specific level of super-strength as a defined weight. Thus, a hero with Super-Strength d8 has an overhead press of 5 tons. De-linking STR and super-strength this way makes it possible to have a hero who excels in hand-to-hand combat (meaning has high STR), but who isn’t necessarily super-strong. It also makes it possible to have a hero who can shift quite a bit of weight (say, Super-Strength d12), but who has only average skill in hand-to-hand combat (say, 10 STR).

The other item that was on my list of problems regarding the rules was how to handle on-going effects created by the use of powers. Professor Positron had Positronic Energy Control d12. He packs a lot of power with his ability to control positrons. Can Professor Positron surround a villain in a positronic force bubble? Sure. The player just needs to describe the effect and make a Stat check. If he succeeds, the villain is trapped by a Positronic Bubble d12.

This bubble lasts as long as Professor Positron maintains the effect or until the villain escapes/destroys/whatevers the bubble. While the positronic bubble is in effect, Professor Positron no longer has Positronic Energy Control d12. Instead, he has Positronic Energy Control d10. The concentration, energy expenditure, et cetera, has temporarily reduced Professor Positron’s ability to control anti-electrons. When the Positronic Bubble d12 goes away, Professor Positron’s power returns to its previous level.

This system for on-going effects seems flexible enough, and it taps into the idea that dice upgrade and downgrade, as well as the idea that a larger die can be traded for two smaller dice. Thus, Professor Positron could conceivably trap two different villains in two different Positronic Bubbles, but each bubble would be d10 instead of d12, since 1d12 equals 2d10.

In news unrelated to TFCH, work progresses on Goshahri: The City in a Cave, a site-based adventure setting due to be released to Patrons only before the end of January. If you’ve not checked out my Dangerous Places, please do so. You’ll find the first adventure, Narvon’s Stair, which was released for the whole world in December. If you like what you see, think about committing $1 a month and become one of my Patrons.

January 18th, 2017  in Product Development No Comments »

The Four Color Hack Updated

I’ve uploaded an edited version of The Four Color Hack after making changes in response to playtesting and feedback. Here’s a list of the changes:

1. All Stats start at 9. They can be increased during hero creation as before.

2. Body and Spirit starting values are reduced.

3. Base protection starting values have changed. Base protection now works like Armor Points.

4. Odds/evens only matter with failures.

5. Idioms affect outcomes differently.

6. Hero Dice recovery has been clarified.

7. Body and Spirit increases with leveling have been modified.

8. Villain creation has been overhauled, to include adjusting the values found on Table 8: Villain Creation.

I hope the game plays better with these changes.

January 16th, 2017  in Product Development No Comments »

Smite Those Undead!

…I am glorified in the eyes of the Lord, and my God is made my strength. (Isaiah 49:5)

Certain Lawful Clerics do not “turn” undead monsters. Instead, these Clerics call for divine assistance in direct combat with the undead. Such a Cleric’s player rolls 2d10 and refers to the table for turning the undead as normal, but the results of success differ as follows:

* If the number on the dice is equal to or greater than the number shown on the table, the Cleric gains for 3d6 rounds a +1 “to-hit” bonus and a damage bonus equal to the half Cleric’s level (round up) when fighting affected undead.

* If the table indicates “T”, the Cleric gains for 3d6 rounds a +1 “to hit” bonus and a damage bonus equal to the Cleric’s level when fighting the affected undead. Furthermore, the Cleric makes one attack per level each round against the affected undead.

* If the table indicates “D”, the Cleric gains for 3d6 rounds a +1 “to hit” against the affected undead. Any hit automatically destroys the undead monster, reducing it to dust. Furthermore, the Cleric makes one attack per level each round against the affected undead.

January 15th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

What’s Up This New Year?

Well, the holiday season has ended. My two or so weeks off for Christmas and New Year’s proved productive. I ran a Twelve Days of Christmas sale for select titles. I offered a bundle full of monsters for the OSR. I made a meat pie out of a hobbit. I wrote a few supernatural-influenced classes for WWII: Operation WhiteBox and posted those links on G+ and other Internet places. I started work on Heroes of Mirelyn’s Skyrealm, a White Box fantasy campaign that hope kicks off this coming Sunday. I started converting Chance Encounters for use with Dungeon World. I released The Four Color Hack, a playtest set of rules for superheroic roleplaying. I’m gearing up to produce the second iteration of those rules in response to feedback from players and readers.

I launched Dangerous Places, my Patreon site. For $1, you get about one short scenario a month, formatted into a printer-friendly PDF complete with hand-drawn maps. I’ll post the PDF link via patron-only message. I’ll post the maps without the scenarios separately for the public. My first few maps have been posted. So too has Narvon’s Stair, a low-level adventure for Swords & Wizardry, which is available to everyone, Patron or otherwise.

Now I’m working on Goshahri: The City in a Cave, which should be ready by the end of January. Goshahri outlines the city in a cave, the domain of a ruthless bandit king. The city and many of its denizens are described in broader strokes. The strokes get finer in Jail Break!, the mini-adventure included as part of Goshahri. The table at the right provides some random hook ideas to get adventurers involved. I plan to revisit the city in a cave at least a few more times in coming months, detailing certain sections and providing more short adventures set in the bandit king’s domain.

If you’ve not already done so, check out Narvon’s Stair. If you like it, consider becoming one my patrons. It’s risk free. I produce nothing? You pay nothing. Drop me from your patronage whenever you want.


Twelve Days of Christmas

The Monstrous Holiday Bundle remains on sale for $6. It collects 8 PDFs, most of them focused on Old School gaming. Starting on Christmas Day, Spes Magna Games celebrates the Twelve Days of Christmas by changing the price for a different PDF each day from its normal value to the pay-what-you-want option on DriveThruRPG. All of these deals vanish after the Twelve Days of Christmas end on January 5, 2017.

December 21st, 2016  in Spes Magna News No Comments »