Saturday, February 28, 2009

4laCarte - alpha

What follows is my first draft for my piecemeal advancement system for 4e. Obviously, the two big pitfalls of such a system is munchkinism and gauging the power level of the characters, as now not all 4th level characters are the same.

The system will lead to higher to-hit scores at low levels. I thought this over a decided I don't have a big problem with it. Hopefully items that refer to my specific campaign rules such as hobby skills won't be too confusing.

Obviously this will need some tinkering. I am still editing the rules while I type this blog entry as things occur to me.

Okay, draft after the jump.


Character generation:

Build your first level character according to the existing rules except as follows:


Skills are bought on a rank by rank basis. First level characters receive an allocation of skill ranks to distribute among their class skills. This is equal to the number of starting skills under the regular system x5. So a Ranger, which starts with 5 skills under regular 4e, would have 25 skill ranks.

Characters receive a number of bonus skill ranks equal to INT-10 (minimum 0). These may be allocated to any skill.

If Hobbies (Secondary Skills) are used, a first level character receives a number of ranks equal to their INT.

No skill or hobby may have more than 6 levels allocated at first level.


Initiative (DEX) - used in place of the Initiative modifier. Class skill for Fighter, Monk, Ranger, and Rogue.

Ride (STR) - used to control a mount in difficult situations (such as combat). Class skill for Fighter, Paladin, and Warlord.

Weapons and Implements have skills that are used instead of attack bonuses. Each implement is its own skill, each weapon group is its own skill.

First level characters receive a number of ranks to allocate to weapon and/or implement skills.

Characters start with 2 ranks plus the higher of their STR or DEX bonus. Martial characters receive an additional 2 ranks.

Characters that use an implement start with 2 ranks plus the higher of their INT or WIS bonuses. Casting Freehand (without an implement) is a separate implement skill and may be purchased with starting ranks.

No character may start with more than 3 ranks in a given implement or weapon.


Instead of gaining levels, players spend xp to buy and improve components of their characters. It is up to the GM if a character may purchase something and how soon. Don’t expect the GM to let you buy Evasion for your paladin just because you find it mechanically useful. Also, non-level specific prerequisites still apply.

Ability Scores - new score x100
Defense Bonus - new score x100 (AC, Reflex, Fortitude and Willpower are all bought separate)
Feats, Heroic - 300
Feats, Paragon - 600 (must have at least 3 heroic feats and 1 paragon class feature)
Feats, Epic - 900 (must have at least 2 paragon feats and 1 epic class feature)
Powers - level x100 for main class, level +1 x100 for multiclass, level +3 for non-class but same power source, level +5 for non-class and different power source
Skills - Buying a new skill costs 100xp for a class skill, 150xp for a multi-class skill, and 300xp for a non-class skill. Increasing a skill costs new rank x10 for class, new rank +1 x10 for multiclass, new rank +3 x10 for non-class.
Hobbies - Buying a new hobby (rank 1) costs 50 xp. Increasing it costs new rank -1 x10.
Feature, Paragon - 200x the class level of the feature.
Feature, Epic - 300x the class level of the feature.

Hit points are gained by purchasing the Toughness Feat. The first time you purchase this feat you also receive additional hit points equal to CON bonus.

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Half-Blood Prince behind the scenes

"But I am the Chosen One."

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

IMAX. I'm just saying.

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Nick Fury will be bad-ass nine more times

Samuel Jackson signed a 9 movie deal to appear as Nick Fury in Marvel movies.

Now let's see if he appears in the upcoming Wolverine movie even though it's not part of the Avengers franchise.

"What the &#$@ are you doing wearing my god damn spare eyepatch Wolverine?"

"Um... it's a disguise, bub."

"Shut the &#$@ up and take that the &#$@ off. And stay the hell out of my luggage."

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

4e a la carte?

I gave up on my original Project 39 idea, making 4e more multiclass friendly and less videogamey as being too much work. Then yesterday something someone said sparked and idea that has been running rampant in my brain the past 24 hours.

One of the gripes that some multisystem players have with d20 is the pigeon-holing of characters into class structures and restricting advancement along those guidelines. That got me to thinking, why couldn't the system be set up so that if someone wanted to buy a feat, skill, or stat, they could do so?

My brain quickly started breaking down character advancement into blocks, things that improve and would need to be purchasable. There were a couple of questions and one big caveat that sprang to mind.

The caveat was that doing this made measuring a given character's power level much more difficult. I wasn't worried about munchkinism (too much). I play and run in systems where characters buy advancement such as Champions and my iteration of Marvel Saga. If the GM feels something would be unbalancing, he says no. Also, characters have to have justification for purchases, not just because it gives a games-mechanic advantage.

THe two big questions were how do I handle character creation and should advancement costs be linear (a la Champions) or progressive (a la Cortex)?

My first thought for character creation was to reverse engineer all of the classes into their basic building blocks and assign costs. That idea lasted maybe 30 seconds. Then I thought about having first level characters be pretty much "as is" in the current rules, as it represents the formative years for your character. Also, since all 1st level characters are presumably balanced, everyone starts on an even playing field. Finally, it saves me from deciding costs for things like class features and healing surges.

Regarding the second question, I'm leaning towards progressive. Part of that is probably because progressive advancement will keep a game from power-bloating out of control longer than linear.

Now I just need to decide on costs for skills, feats, talents (my own house system), attribute points, powers, defense increases, hit point increases, and attack bonus increases.

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Drizzt fan-made movie

I'm not a huge Forgotten Realms fan, and have never read a Drizzt book, but I know a lot of D&D players are fans. IN MMOs there are probably hundreds of Drizzt clones, or at least as close as they can get and work around naming filters.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Can't do this with a trebuchet

What the frak did they do... fill the basement with propane tanks?


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Thursday, February 19, 2009

WotC shuts down another fan site

The first site that I heard of WotC shutting down I didn't really raise an eyebrow. The site was charging money, and when you charge for someone else's copyrighted material, expect the owner to come after you.

This new case sounds a little dicier. The site in question provided free power cards for 4e. I guess WotC was worried that if someone offered a service for free, they wouldn't be able to make much money charging for the same service. Check out more here.

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Peek at the PHB II Gnome

Found via En World, a picture has been bouncing around the net of the Gnome from Players Handbook II. Check it out.

I might actually let these gnomes in my campaign, as I use a lot of Fae oriented material.

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Evil Day-Star

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Two new Wolverine TV spots

Second spot after the jump...

WTF is Cyclops doing there?

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen trailer


A Philosophy and Psychology spin on D&D, look here.

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Crossbow vs. Longbow

Remember how in old school D&D everyone took bows over crossbows because with a regular bow you got 2 shots per round versus 1 with a crossbow? Well, this video proves it was right. To a degree at least, seeing as the monsters in the dungeon generally didn't wait for you to arrange your arrows in the ground. I'd like to see the test with both using quivers. Then again I'd like to see the rest of this video.

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Where we're going, we don't need roads

Since they can't build longships and go raid Greenland, those wacky Icelanders rolls jeeps down sand dunes and drive them across lakes. The snowmoblie part didn't surprise me though, there's been competitions on water crossing with snowmobiles for years. When I was a kid and my family went snowmobiling, we were instructed that if we were going to hit a patch of open water to floor the sled.


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Monday, February 16, 2009

Wolverine TV Spot

There's a new spot for the upcoming X-Men: Origins - Wolverine. The surprise is that they are actually using the James Howlett story (the origins that were finally revealed in the comics).

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I'm a Gentleman Scholar

Your result for What is the Measure of a Man? The Gentleman's Test...

The Scholar

Learning is your passion!

Marvelous! You epitomize the gentlemanly tradition of ongoing education and self-improvement! Your sparkling tongue is the stuff of legend, and the wide breadth of your knowledge has saved others countless hours of pained research!

Women hang on your every word!

Take What is the Measure of a Man? The Gentleman's Test
at HelloQuizzy


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Feliz Ozzidad

Because 43 doesn't seem that different than 42.


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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Obligatory Bitter Bachelor Post

Christmas' corpse was still warm when pink and red invaded retail shelves. Actually, the uber-commercialization makes me feel better about Singles Suck Valentines Day.

Too be honest, it's hard for me to work up much rancor over the day. Maybe it's the eight years since my last girlfriend that has dulled the impact of the yearly celebration of "romance". Maybe I've just become such a feral bachelor that a girlfriend would be a major disruption to my life.

So if you're single, revel in your freedom today. Leave the toilet seat up, throw your laundry on the floor, and forget to take out the trash. Do something fun that a SO would never agree to or buy yourself a present a SO would insist is ugly/impractical/not-in-my-house and tickles your fancy. There's no one to tell you "no".


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Wizards wants your opinion

Poking around the RPG Bloggers Network I stumbled across a survey from Wizards of the Coast thanks to Greywulf.

The survey can be found here. It looks like Wizards is trying to find out why DDI is not living up to expectations. Maybe it has to do with customer service issues, glacial development progress, and some gamers not wanting to part with even more money after investing in the books?

I have two big suggestions for Wizards. Have an encounter builder where I can access monsters, put them into an encounter, and print off their stat blocks in as few pages as possible. Have buying a book give you 60 days access to DDI, which gives them a chance to prove their value so that the customer will stick around and become a paying customer and lessen the blow of book purchases.

Based on Hasbro's Q4 Earnings Call DDI is important to them and they want to figure out how to make it work. It makes me wonder if all of those layoffs a few months back were because of the problems or the cause of the problems WotC has had getting this bird to fly?

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Thursday, February 12, 2009


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Marvel Comics on iTunes?

While they won't be phasing out hard copy comics any time soon, Marvel will begin selling their In-Motion comics on iTunes. You can check out an article here.

Of course my question is whether or not these In-Motion comics will be part of mainline continuity?

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

MMO looks

Poking around I found a few videos I figured I'd share.

The first is just a quick look at Champions Online. Unfortunately you don't get to see the UI, it's basically a trailer.

The next is a look at character customization for Star Trek Online. The options are really quite impressive, because not only can you customize characters from existing races, you can create your own. Bring on the bumpy-heads!

The last one is the biggest surprise. DC Universe Online is going to have villain play and PvP. I would have thought that would have been a bigger detractor from people that want to play in the DC Universe.

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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Movie review - Push

Seeing Push was a rarity nowadays in that I had little idea what the movie was about and had not seen any reviews, so I went in with an unbiased view. My guess is that critics will be nowhere near as favorable towards it as I, nor will the box office. Other than a few tv spots, there hasn't been a lot of hype.

In a nutshell, the movie is about people with super powers, but is a lot more Firestarter than X-Men. In fact, a lot of analogies can be drawn from Stephen King's original story, including the term "push". Of course, there is a big bad secret government organization that wants to use powered people as weapons.

Powered people, who don't have a name as a whole as opposed to the titles applied to different power categories, have their own sub-culture in the movie. The film quickly establishes its back story, a necessity since it can't take for granted that millions have read a comic. Of course I found myself thinking this would be a great basis for a campaign. The Division is the government organization, and since the story takes place in China there is also a Chinese equivalent. People that don't work for one of these groups try to stay off their radar, until of course the story pulls them in.

One category of powers would normally make a movie challenging to write. The Watchers are precogs, able to see the future. How do you have any suspense then? And how do you beat an enemy that can predict your moves? Partly because the future keeps changing, especially as Watchers find out about it and set events in motion to change it. Also, it is established early on that Watchers hinge on being able to see decisions. The protagonists come up with a clever way to deal with that which I won't spoil.

The only thing holding this movie back is there isn't a lot of "holy shit that's frakkin' cool!" moments and since it isn't an X-Menish movie the action isn't very intense. I know, I know, I want story *and* action... I'm a greedy bastard. Still, the movie, in y opinion, is very good and will be added to my library when it comes out on DVD. And I'm still chewing what game system I'd use.

My rating... 4 out 5 telekinetic precognitive flying monkeys.


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More PHB II info

As more info trickles out on the new classes and races I find myself of two minds. Cynical Curmudgeon Oz wants to rail against WotC for soaking us for more money, still not showing us the monk, and making up a bunch of classes no one asked for just to fill books. World-Builder Oz immediately starts thinking of ways to incorporate new stuff into his campaign world, which he blew up and remade for 4e. And as soon as I told a player about the warden, he replied that now we know what class a certain NPC is.

There was a DDXP (D&D Experience) only a couple of hours away, but I didn't go. I could say it was because it was on my tribe's Imbolc night, but truth is I didn't even know about it after the fact because I stopped following WotC's site closely since most of the content went to subscription only.

Anyways, look here for some PHB II goodies. And Ft. Wayne? What the frak? If you're going to have a DDXP in Indiana, you should use Indianapolis, home of Gen Con. (Okay, I live in Indy, so I may not be 100% objective).

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Land of the Lost trailer

Looks like they didn't learn from Bewitched. Too bad, this could have been done as a kid friendly series that didn't just trample over our childhood memories.


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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

DTV delay passes House

Looks like the Mommy-crats managed to keep the DTV measure alive and now less than two weeks from the transition date, it will be pushed back.

I hope every broadcaster in the country flips Congress the bird and pulls the analog plug on the 17th. Plus who pays for the use of all those frequencies that have already been sold? I'm guessing us taxpayers... which of course is why the cost doesn't bother taxes, from what we've seen the past couple of weeks Democrats seem to think taxes are optional.

Anyway, check out the article here, I'm going to go kill some liberal bleeding-heart hobbits with my warg.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Star Trek Superbowl Spot

Please let this movie be as good as the trailers make it look.

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