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.