Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Tricube Tales: A minimalist generic RPG

I started designing a new roleplaying system in September 2016, as I wanted an alternative to Savage Worlds. Initially, I had two very different ideas for how the system should work. One of those ideas evolved into Swift d12, and I still have major plans for that system, but it's turning into a rather bigger project than I'd originally envisioned. The second idea was a much lighter system, and it had the working title "Small Worlds".

Small Worlds

Drawing inspiration from Frank Turfler's Savage Dungeons project, Small Worlds was designed to have a similar look-and-feel to Savage Worlds, and even be compatible with its statblocks, so that people could use it with the many free One Sheets adventures that are available online. I revisited the concept again after the ENnies, when there was some discussion about the definition of "game" -- I wondered if it would be viable to include a 2-3 page alternative mini system in the back of a Savage Worlds setting book, so that it could technically be played as a standalone product.

Small Worlds needed dice-based attributes, but I wanted to avoid exploding dice, as I don't like the effect they have on the probabilities at certain Target Numbers. However without exploding dice, it would be impossible for a d4 to ever succeed at TN 5+, or d6 to succeed at TN 7+, etc. Thus I decided to have the player roll their attribute dice and difficulty dice at the same time, and compare them.

However, the dice mechanics didn't really feel right. They worked, but they felt fiddly and overly complex compared to the simplicity of the rest of the system, and it also felt unintuitive for the player to roll the difficulty dice themselves. You can view the system here if you're curious.

Tricube Tales

Last year I designed a minimalist RPG called Blood & Bile, which uses 1-3d6 for trait checks. I like the dice mechanics, but the problem is they require color-coded dice, which seems to be a major turnoff for a lot of people (I guess not everyone has sufficient dice of specific colors). I tried to think of ways to remove the need for colored dice, but I came up blank.

Then I picked up Tiny Dungeon, while it was Deal of the Day on DriveThruRPG. Tiny Dungeon also uses 1-3d6, but as an Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic (conceptually much like D&D 5e, The Black Hack, etc) -- so players roll 2d6 for most tests, 3d6 if they have the advantage, or 1d6 if they're at a disadvantage. It's a simple and intuitive solution, so I shamelessly pinched it.

Once I'd dropped the stepped dice mechanics from Small Worlds, the only thing it had in common with Savage Worlds was the terminology, so I changed that too, tightened up the rules, and named the new system "Tricube Tales". Eli Kurtz ran the first playtest last week, and feedback was pretty positive.

You can get the current version here: Tricube Tales

I'm still trying to decide what to do with it. I think it might be worth pairing it with a simple setting, as that would provide the reader with some working examples of how to build characters and resolve challenges. Another possibility might be to include some guidelines for applying the rules to different genres. Or maybe I'll just release it as a simple "One Sheet" system.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

An Axe to Grind: Christmas One Sheet

Here comes a chopper to chop off your head!
Chip, chop, chip, chop,
the last goblin is dead!

A couple of years ago, a goblin crew hijacked a flying sleigh belonging to a mysterious red-robed sorcerer, and unceremoniously tossed him overboard. The jolly fellow was dashed upon the mountains below, leaving nothing but a stain to mark his passing.

A few days ago, a dyslexic human witch accidentally brought the red-robed sorcerer back from the afterlife while attempting to summon the devil. After breaking free from the ritual and killing the witch, the sorcerer headed west into the goblin lands, seeking revenge!

Every year, I release a new Christmas-themed One Sheet for Saga of the Goblin Horde – Sanguine Solstice in 2015, Sleigh Heist in 2016 and Season's Beatings in 2017. Here is the adventure for 2018:

Get it here: An Axe to Grind

This One Sheet is a direct sequel to Sleigh Heist and Season's Beatings, although it can also be run as a standalone adventure. The Configurable Map has also been updated.

Friday, 30 November 2018

Designing and Selling Custom Decks of Cards

Thematic Action Decks are very popular within the Savage Worlds community, and several publishers offer custom decks tailored to their own settings. There are even decks with specialized features, such as the Mutation Deck by Just Insert Imagination, or the Hellfrost Action Deck by Triple Ace Games.


The new Chase rules in the upcoming Savage Worlds Adventurer's Edition also require a second Action Deck, and it wouldn't surprise me to see publishers introducing new decks with special features for Chases. Pinnacle has released a preview of the Chase rules here.

While it's already possible to create your own Action Decks (like I did with my Countdown Decks), once the Savage Worlds Adventurer's Guild (SWAG) goes live, we'll also be able to publish decks that explicitly reference the Savage Worlds system. This will include Adventure Decks, equipment cards, NPC cards, decks with special rules (like the aforementioned Mutation Deck), and so on.

Getting Started

OneBookShelf (OBS) provide a lot of information about printing your own cards, including specs, tutorials, and templates for InDesign and Scribus. Take a look here for the details, and pay particular attention to this page.

As well as poker cards, you can also print (smaller) bridge cards and (larger) tarot cards. The same approach can be used for printing tiles and poster maps.

Designing your Cards

You can use image-editing software like Photoshop or GIMP to design the cards themselves. If your cards have text, some people will recommend adding that with your desktop publishing program (i.e., Scribus or InDesign) -- however I personally like to create the entire card as a single image, as this makes it much easier to offer print-and-play and Virtual TableTop (VTT) versions of my cards as well. It also means I can use a standard Scribus template to rapidly generate a new deck.

Usually, playing cards only have portrait illustrations on the face cards (king, queen, and jack) and jokers. Some Savage Worlds rules explicitly reference "face cards," so it may also make it easier for the players if you follow this standard. On the other hand, if you can afford sufficient artwork, some players really enjoy having a unique illustration on every card!

Development Costs

The artwork is probably going to be your main expense when producing a deck of illustrated cards. If you already have plenty of artwork for your setting book, then you can reuse it for your cards -- but if you have to commission a full set of artwork just for the deck, it could take hundreds of sales to recoup your expenses, and the market for custom decks simply isn't that big. Even if you're buying stock art, it can be difficult to break even, let alone make a profit.

For my Countdeck Decks, I used artwork I'd already purchased for the Saga of the Goblin Horde and Monster decks, and bought (and cleaned up and combined) some stock art for the Galactic deck. I used a free font for the ranks and suits, and Game-icons.net for the special symbols. It was a lot more work than I'd expected, but it was an interesting learning experience, and I was pleased with the results.

Of course, the decks don't need to be individually illustrated, particularly if they're primarily text-based. The Mutation Deck is a good example of this approach -- while it has a nice visual design, its main value lies in its functionality (the mutations).

Printing Costs

As of December, premium poker cards cost 9 cents each, so a standard 54-card deck of playing cards (plus a title card) will cost $4.95 to print. You can reduce this cost by ordering in bulk, but you will need to order at least 5,000 cards (they don't all need to be the same deck, so if you offer multiple decks you could order a mixture).

Deck Cases

When it comes to deck cases, you have two options. The first is a clear plastic case, which comes in "standard" and "large" sizes (holding up to 70 and 120 cards respectively). The second option is a tuck box, which can be designed for 54, 72, 90 or 120 cards (or 80 cards for tarot decks). You cannot offer both deck cases for the same product.

If you offer a clear case, the customer can choose to add it when they purchase your deck. This will cost them an extra $1 (regardless of deck size). Sometimes they'll get the large case, even if your deck is regular sized -- I'm not sure why, but I'm guessing it depends on what the supplier has in stock.

If you offer a tuck box, you will have to design it yourself, although once again OBS offer templates. As of December, the tuck box adds $2.25 (for a 54 card deck) or $2.50 (for all other sizes) to your production costs and is automatically included in the order. The tick boxes are quite a snug fit, and it can be a bit of a squeeze if you decide to offer 4 jokers instead of 2.

It should also be noted that if you offer your decks in a bundle, the customer cannot currently add plastic cases. They can purchase them separately (as part of the same order), but then the cards won't be delivered inside the case, and thus the shipping cost will be higher. OBS have said they hope to address this in the future.

Shipping Costs

OBS only offer card printing services in the US, and the shipping costs to Europe are brutal (this is the same for everything, it's not specific to OBS). However you need to order a proof before you start selling your cards, so it's a necessary expense.

This isn't a problem for publishers living in the US, of course. But for me (in Germany), the postage was $14.55 for 1 deck, $23.58 for 2-6 decks, then went up to $35.21 for 7 decks (I stopped checking after that). That's part of the reason why I decided to create multiple Countdown Decks -- it meant I could order two proofs at once, and add a few goblin decks to give to friends and family!

Unfortunately, while multiple decks can reduce the postage costs, they also increase the chance of your cards getting stuck in customs (adding further delays and expenses). Gah! OBS have said they're looking into a European printer for cards, so I really hope they find one soon!

Selling your Deck

OBS will keep 30-35% of any profit you make on top of the production costs (depending on whether you have an exclusive or non-exclusive deal with them). You will also need to recoup the cost of your artwork, as well as the printing and postage of your proof prints and/or any promotional giveaways for reviewers. A little breathing room in the price will also give you the opportunity to hold sales, or include discounted decks in bundles.

When I looked at other Action Decks on DriveThruRPG, I noticed that standard thematic playing decks tended to sell for around $10, while those with special features often sold for $15. In the end, I settled on a $12 price tag, or $9 each if you buy the bundle.

I was also quite surprised to see how popular the plug-and-play version is. That's a PDF designed for home printing. I sell those for $3 each (or include them for free if people buy the physical deck).

One drawback with print-on-demand decks is that you don't earn Publisher Promotion Points (PPP) from them. You do earn PPP from plug-and-play sales, but not from the physical decks. This is particularly annoying for me, as cards are currently the only print-on-demand products I sell!

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Status and Renown

I originally wrote this article over three years ago, back in August 2015 – but unfortunately it was never published, and much of it will become obsolete once the new Adventurer Edition of Savage Worlds is released.

However I figured it could still be of interest to some readers, so I've decided to release it now before it's too late. Enjoy!

Introduction

The greatest of heroes – and the most terrible of villains – are frequently preceded by the tales of their mighty deeds and grand accomplishments, and the influence of a powerful politician may often prove a far bigger long-term threat than the military skills of a mere gunman or lone swordsman.

Savage Worlds describes trappings as the “heart and soul” of the powers system, but it's also very common to apply trappings to Edges, Hindrances, and even skills. In this article I will show how trappings can be used to create characters with influence and prestige, with a particular focus on two core Edges that many people take too literally: Noble and Beast Master. If you ignore their flavor text (which is really just a default trapping) and focus on the underlying mechanics, what they actually do is as follows:

• Noble: You have high status in your society, and receive special treatment. Gain +2 Charisma and the Rich Edge. You can have minions, a home, and other assets, but you also have great responsibilities.

• Beast Master: A particular category of creature won't attack you unless provoked or angered, and you receive one loyal minion who can be replaced if lost.

Once we strip away the default trappings, what we end up with are two generic Edges representing various types of status and renown.

Noble Concepts

Here are ten example character concepts that apply their own trappings to Noble and Beast Master:

 A pirate captain could take Noble to represent her standing among other pirates, the booty she steals, her ship and its crew, and her responsibilities to the crew. She could also take Beast Master to represent her fearsome reputation (other pirates won't attack her unless provoked or angered) and to grant her a loyal first mate.

 A mafia boss could use Noble to represent his high status in criminal society, his ill-gotten gains, his estates and employees, and his responsibilities to his family. He could also take Beast Master to represent his renown (other criminals fear him and won't attack unless provoked) and to grant him a loyal bodyguard.

 A famous singer might take Noble to represent her popularity, her income, her expensive home and her adoring fans, as well as the responsibility for maintaining her public image. She could also take Beast Master to represent being a media darling (the media loves her and doesn’t attack her image unless provoked or angered) and to grant her a loyal manager.

 A town sheriff in an Old West setting could take Noble to represent his authority, the loot he confiscates from outlaws, his office and lawmen, and his responsibilities to the town. He could also take Beast Master to represent the respect of the people (citizens won’t turn on him unless provoked or angered) and to grant him a loyal deputy.

 A princess would use the default Noble trappings, but could also take Beast Master to represent the love and admiration of the common people (the populace won’t turn on her unless provoked or angered) and to grant her a loyal handmaiden.

 A noble savage might take Noble to represent his status among the beasts, the natural treasures of the jungle in which he lives, his domain and the animals within it, as well as his responsibility for protecting the jungle from those who would harm or destroy it. He could use the default trappings for Beast Master.

 A mercenary captain could use Noble to represent her military reputation, the money she earns, the troops she leads, her camp followers, and her various responsibilities. She could also take Beast Master to represent her renown (other mercenaries respect and fear her, and prefer not to side against her) and to grant her a loyal second-in-command.

 A pastor might take Noble to represent his popularity, the tithes he receives, his church and congregation, and his vows and duties. He could also take Beast Master to represent the love of the people (citizens wouldn’t turn on him unless provoked or angered) and to grant him a loyal aide.

 An action movie star could take Noble to represent his popularity, the income from his movies, his expensive home and many fans, as well as his numerous duties and responsibilities as an actor. He could also take Beast Master to represent the admiration of his follow actors, and to grant him a loyal assistant.

 The leader of a thieves guild might use Noble to represent her position of authority, her share of the loot, her secret hideout and guild members, and her responsibilities and duties to the guild. She could also take Beast Master to represent her dangerous reputation (other thieves are scared to cross her) and to grant her a loyal bodyguard.

Supporting Edges

In addition to Noble and Beast Master, there are several other Edges that could easily be reskinned to represent reputation:

 Attractive and Very Attractive: Rather than just physical appearance, these could also be used to represent the allure of your fame and power.

 Rich and Filthy Rich: As well as money, these Edges also grant further assets and responsibilities, which could easily represent the benefits and drawbacks of high status. Note that Noble already gets Rich for free.

 Connections: This Edge can be taken multiple times, and can represent fans, or those you control or who are indebted to you.

 Leadership Edges: These Edges grant bonuses to those who obey and follow you, and could just as easily represent fanatical loyalty as military leadership skills.

 Followers: This Legendary Edge can be taken multiple times, and grants five loyal minions each time it is taken. This can be an effective way to gain permanent loyal staff and retainers, but the minions are not replaced when killed, so if possible you should try to use the minions from the Connections Edge for cannon fodder duty.

 Sidekick: This Legendary Edge grants you a Wild Card minion who is generally loyal, but who doesn’t always follow your orders. It can be a great way to represent a headstrong protégé, or the heir to your dynasty.

Many settings introduce further Edges that can also be beneficial. In particular, keep an eye out for Edges that allow Persuasion to be used for Tests of Will, or which allow Charisma to be added to Taunt or Intimidation rolls, as these are very powerful bonuses for a character with high Charisma.

Reputation-Based Hindrances

Just as it’s possible to apply trappings to Edges, so the same principle can be extended to Hindrances. With the appropriate trappings and flavor text, Hindrances like Outsider, Enemy, or even Bloodthirsty might easily be reworked to fit certain character concepts.

Besmirched (Minor)
You were accused of doing something horrific in some point in the past, and your reputation has been forever tainted as a result. You might be innocent of the crime, and may even have been acquitted in a court of law, but in the eyes of the public you will always be guilty, and they'll never let you forget it. You suffer a -2 penalty to Charisma.

Hacker’s Target (Minor/Major)
Someone keeps trying to obtain your private and personal information to leak to the press, the government, a rival organization, or simply to post on the internet. As a Minor Hindrance they just want to humiliate you, while as a Major Hindrance they’re hoping to find something that could lead to your arrest or even your death.

Media Scapegoat (Major)
The media despises you, and you are frequently followed around by reporters and paparazzi eager to dig up (or make up) new dirt. Actions you take in public will be reported in the worst possible light, and anything you say in front of reporters will be turned into sound bites that can be replayed out of context. You suffer a -4 penalty to Charisma when dealing with those who have read about you in the tabloids or seen news reports about you on the television.

Unruly Relation (Minor/Major)
One of your relatives has a knack for getting themselves into trouble, and this often reflects badly on you. Perhaps you have a sibling with a drug habit, a teenage son or daughter who shoplifts for attention, or an alcoholic uncle with a predisposition for violence. As a Minor Hindrance the relative is usually just an inconvenience and embarrassment, while as a Major Hindrance their actions cause frequent problems and risk seriously jeopardizing your career. Should the relative meet a sudden and untimely end, replace Unruly Relation with another Hindrance appropriate to their fate (such as Besmirched).

Political Powerhouse

As an extreme example of how you might build a reputation-focused political character, consider the following individual:

Politician
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d10, Strength d4, Vigor d6
Skills: Intimidation d4, Knowledge (Politics) d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d12, Streetwise d8, Taunt d4
Charisma: +2; Pace: 6; Parry: 2; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Arrogant (Major), Vengeful (Minor), Greedy (Minor)
Edges: Noble

Noble represents his political status, his income, his home and constituency, as well as his various duties and responsibilities. As the character increases in power and influence, he might choose to take the following advances at each rank:

 Novice: Connections, Charismatic, Connections
 Seasoned: Attractive, Connections, Filthy Rich, Connections
 Veteran: Very Attractive, Connections, Beast Master, Connections
 Heroic: Intimidation d6 and Taunt d6, Connections, Strong Willed, Connections
 Legendary: Professional (Persuasion), Expert (Persuasion), Sidekick, Connections, Connections

As the politician grows in experience he would become increasingly influential, and after 20 advances he would end up as follows:

Politician
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d10, Strength d4, Vigor d6
Skills: Intimidation d6, Knowledge (Politics) d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d12+2, Streetwise d8, Taunt d6
Charisma: +8; Pace: 6; Parry: 2; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Arrogant (Major), Vengeful (Minor), Greedy (Minor)
Edges: Beast Master, Charismatic, Connections x 10, Expert (Persuasion), Filthy Rich, Noble, Sidekick, Strong Willed, Very Attractive

Beast Master represents his status as a media darling: He is very popular with the media and receives frequent and highly favorable attention from most outlets. He also has a loyal spin doctor who would never betray his secrets.

Sidekick could be his daughter, son, or protégé – or perhaps even a chauffeur or bodyguard.

With Persuasion d12+2 and Charisma +8, the politician would use d12+10 for Persuasion rolls, ensuring 2+ raises except on snake eyes. With 10 Connections Edges, he would be able to request the service of up to 50 soldiers each session – and unlike the minions granted by the Followers Edge, these could be easily replaced the following session if killed. The Connections Edges could also be used to obtain financial assistance, specialized experts, and all manner of sensitive information and dark secrets about his rivals and enemies.

Obviously this is an extreme example, but it shows how a character can be built around social power and influence, and the ability to control and manipulate others. The same concept could just as easily be applied to a king (who rules over various lords and their vassals), a necromancer (who calls upon the spirits of the dead to reveal their secrets and animate an army of corpses), a demonologist (who knows the true names of many demons and can command them to obey her every whim), and so on – once again, it’s all about the trappings.

Legendary Status

Here is a quick overview of the Legendary Edges listed in the Savage Worlds core rules:

Martial Arts Master: Gives the same benefit as the Novice Brawler Edge, but you can take it multiple times and the bonuses stack.

Professional and Expert: These Edges each give the same benefit as raising a Trait by one die step, but they allow you to exceed your normal maximum.

Master: This boosts your Wild Die for one specific Trait.

Tough as Nails and Improved Tough as Nails: These each provide the same Toughness bonus as the Novice Brawny Edge, but unlike Brawny they don’t also increase your Load Limit.

Weapon Master and Master of Arms: These each grant the same benefit as the Seasoned Block Edge.

Followers and Sidekick: These Edges give you minions which are not replaced if killed. The minions granted by Followers are basic Extras and are likely to die quickly in combat, while the Sidekick is a tougher Wild Card but includes additional built-in drawbacks.

As you can see, the Legendary Edges are not usually any stronger than other Edges, at least not innately – their main benefit is that they stack with existing bonuses. Their requirements are also quite narrowly focused: in addition to Legendary rank, some might require d12 in a directly appropriate Trait and/or another Edge, but that’s all. From there we can extrapolate, giving us a basis for designing new Legendary Edges for a reputation-based character, for example:

Great Renown
Requirements: Legendary
You are particularly loved or feared by one category of people, such as the media, criminals, the police force, etc. Members of the chosen category will try to avoid confrontations with you when possible, but will still react if you push them too far.
In addition, you receive a single loyal minion of some sort. This minion is a normal Extra with 4 attribute points and 8 skill points, and is replaced after about a week if killed or dismissed.

Majestic Presence
Requirements: Legendary, Command Presence
Your presence is truly awe-inspiring, and your followers rally fanatically to your call. Your “command radius” is increased to 20”.

Never Give Up!
Requirements: Legendary, Hold the Line!
Your men will fight to the bitter end in order to protect you. This Edge adds an additional +1 bonus to the Toughness of those under your command.

Royal
Requirements: Legendary, Noble
You belong to the cream of your society, with a status far beyond that of a mere Noble. You receive an additional +2 Charisma and gain access to considerable resources and benefits, although your responsibilities also increase accordingly, and not all of them can be delegated away.

The same principle outlined here could also be applied to designing other Legendary Edges.

Summary

Although Savage Worlds places a strong emphasis on combat, it is perfectly possible to create viable and interesting characters who focus on social abilities, relying on their resources and minions (and perhaps Tricks and Tests of Will) when a fight cannot be avoided.

But even if you wish to play a ferocious warrior, you should at least consider investing in one or two Edges geared towards boosting your reputation – the skalds won’t sing of your great exploits if they don’t know who you are, and your enemies won’t tremble before you if they don’t even recognize you!

Friday, 28 September 2018

Custom Wild Dice from Chessex

A couple of years ago I ordered some custom Wild Dice for Saga of the Goblin Horde, but I've been giving them to players when I run games, and recently ran out. This time I decided to order some from Chessex instead, and the new dice finally arrived (after being bounced back and forth by customs).


I have to say, I really like the new dice. The company I used last time weren't able to include very fine detail (they had to remove the text), and also had to convert the image to an outline, but Chessex were able to produce exactly what I wanted. You can see a comparison of the old (top) and new (bottom) dice here:


I've already given away the first die -- my son wanted one for his own collection!


I have to say, one of the things I really love about Savage Worlds is all the props. Custom cards, dice and Bennies really make the whole gaming experience feel more polished, somehow.


I wonder what other props I can come up with...perhaps a custom GM screen? :)

Monday, 20 August 2018

Saga of the Goblin Horde: Quick Start version 16

It's now been over six months since I released the last version of the SotGH Swift d12 Quick Start rules, but I've been working on this update for a while -- it adds eight additional pages and includes many changes to the rest of the document, incorporating feedback from several playtest sessions (including a very cool urban fantasy adventure ran by Manuel Sambs, using Swift d12 as a generic system).

Download it from here.

Summary of changes:
  • Removed the ability check descriptors (such as "perception-based guile checks"). These were a mouthful to describe, and the game feels more intuitive without them.
  • Briefly clarified how opposed ability checks work.
  • Streamlined advancement (dropped experience points).
  • Renamed the "abilities" to "attributes" (because of the introduction of talents).
  • Added three talents (Athletics, Perception and Stealth). Arguably they could have been left as part of the attributes, however they come up very frequently during adventures, and it makes it easier to reference them if they're listed separately (if I just wrote "Guile check" instead of "Perception check", I'd then have to clarify that it was related to perception, so that players knew which Feats or Flaws applied).
  • Added "Backgrounds". These are inspired by games like BoL and SotDL, Backgrounds represent broad skill categories (one might compare them to the way Common Knowledge works in Savage Worlds). I feel this is a good compromise, as it gives the characters more diversity without needing to track individual skills.
  • There's no longer a once-per-session cap on Flaws, instead you can now invoke them as often as you like, however you can only recover spent Karma Points (so you can't stockpile over your starting quota).
  • Rather than "Loner" being a special case, there's now a category of "Handicap" Flaws. There are also suggestions for changing Flaws during the campaign.
  • The "defend" action now provides twice the normal benefit when using a shield or buckler.
  • The "run" action now provides you a +2 damage bonus if you move at least 3 squares before attacking. In effect, it doubles up as a charge maneuver.
  • There's a small section about "Prepared Actions". This was necessary to avoid scenarios where someone steps out from behind cover, takes a shot, then ducks back again -- if there was no way to interrupt them, it would be impossible to ever shoot them back.
  • Clarified what happens when multiple complications are triggered at the same time, and added two examples of complications (friendly fire, and unstable devices).
  • If you "delay" during initiative, you can take one simple action as if it were a free action. Previously this cost a Karma Point, which meant there was no incentive for Mooks to ever delay. Now, it gives you a -2 penalty to your standard actions, and you have the option of spending a Karma Point to eliminate the penalty for rush/delay.
  • Added a section on mounts and vehicles.
  • Taking a free attack against a foe who withdraws from close combat now causes the attacker to become Staggered. This makes it more of a tactical decision, and avoids the scenario where 8 foes retreat from combat, and you get a free attack against all 8 of them.
  • Chases now use Athletics when on foot or mounted, and Agility when driving a vehicle.
  • Renamed "Fast Skirmish" to "Quick Skirmish", so the rule has the same name as the Savage Worlds version of SotGH.
  • Character creation now has a page on Backgrounds, and the Flaws have been slightly revised. The Feats have been redone (there's now a much larger list), they are now defined by category, with simple requirements and rules for stacking. There's also two pages on Spells.
  • The introductory adventure and pregenerated characters have been updated to reflect the new changes.
I'm now fairly happy with the latest rules, they smooth off the rough edges from the previous version (such as descriptors, lack of skills, the magic system, etc). Although there will no doubt be additional refinements in the future, I now feel comfortable starting work on the generic Swift d12 rules.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Galactic and Monster Countdown Decks

Back in June, I released the Saga of the Goblin Horde Countdown Deck. Feedback has been fairly positive, so I thought it'd be fun to create a couple more decks -- a planet-based Galactic Deck for science fiction games, and a Monster Deck that can be used for fantasy, horror or even science fiction (i.e., alien races). Unlike the goblin deck, these have illustrations on every card, not just the face cards.


A couple of people suggested giving all the decks the same back, so that they could be mixed and matched. I tried it, but it really didn't work out thematically (sorry guys), so in the end I decided to give each deck its own back:



As with the goblin deck, I've released free Virtual Tabletop versions (which you can grab here and here), as well as physical decks which you can purchase here and here.

I've also teamed up with Just Insert Imagination to create a couple of discount bundles, for people who want to buy all three decks along with the Mutation Deck. This is particular nice for those who live outside the US, as DriveThruRPG only print cards in the US, and the international shipping costs are brutal; if you're buying four decks at once, it's not quite so bad.

You can grab the physical bundle here, or the print-and-play bundle here.