Monday, May 28, 2012

D&D/MSH Sample Character - Merlott Incusper

I've rolled up my first character using the mash-up rules I posted last time.  For anyone paying attention to this experiment, I want to explain how I did it, what decisions were made, and then compare this character to an "ordinary" D&D character.

First, I rolled up the seven basic attributes in MSH.  My Fighting roll was 10, or Good.  My Agility roll was 5, or Typical.  My Strength roll was 6, or Typical.  My Endurance roll was 12, or Good.  My Reason roll was 19, or Excellent.  My Intuition roll was 17, or Excellent.  My Psyche roll was 7, or Typical.

Though the MSH rules would call for a high Psyche to work magic, the equivalent attribute to D&D's Intelligence is Reason, so it still made sense to make this character a magic-user-type.  I went with the race of human, somewhat arbitrarily, because I thought demi-humans should have a higher Psyche, even though that was not a rule I had written up.  My human magic-user, who I named Merlott Incusper, has a health score of 33 and a karma score of 43.

I rolled a 10, or Good, for Resources, and a 1, or Feeble, for Popularity.  I deliberately made starting Popularity scores much lower because, in a fantasy setting, the characters will not be the instant celebrities that a superhero would be in a modern context.

I was lucky and rolled 4 for number of powers.  The obvious choice for any 1st level magic-user is sleep.  I rolled a 9, giving the sleep spell the rank of Good.  Then I had to decide what that meant.  I decided that half your rank, rounded down, is how many targets you can possibly affect and that the duration is equal to the power rank in combat rounds.  Resisting the spell would require a modified FEAT roll, so that someone with a Typical Psyche would have to roll a red result to resist, someone with a Good Psyche would have to roll a yellow or red result to resist, and so on.

For a defensive power, I picked protection from evil.  I rolled a 19, making the power rank Excellent.  Since I had already determined that this spell would confer a column shift penalty to attackers rather than act as body armor, the rank would not matter except for duration.  I also decided to give Merlott my combined read languages = read magic spell, Read Anything, and rolled a 23, or Excellent, for that -- though I have yet to think of a particularly good use for the rank other than, again, duration.

Since these characters are not straight-jacketed into classes, I decided to use one crossover power and gave him the "Thief" ability of hiding in shadows for his last power.  I rolled a 12, or Good, for this power.  The "Thief" powers, I had decided, would require only simple FEAT rolls.  A green or better Intuition roll means Merlott had hid successfully, but a green or better Intuition roll from someone else meant that Merlott was still spotted.

I had not addressed talents yet, but decided to roll 1d4 for that and use AD&D non-weapon proficiencies as talents.  I rolled a 1 and chose animal trainer as his talent.  He won't get to start with an animal companion because he would have had to set aside a power for that, but he could train one later in-game by making an Intuition FEAT roll (and probably spending lots of time and gold).

At this point in character creation, Merlot should be buying starting equipment, though it is not vital to do this for our example.  His dagger, for example, will always do damage equal to his Strength score of 6.

Merlott will start out pretty lucky for a “1st level” magic-user.  Starting hp for a 1st level m-u is usually average or slightly below average compared to an average person, but Merlott has a 40% advantage over the average health score of 24.  He starts with, essentially, two good spells, making him more like a 2nd level m-u.  Because of his Good Fighting, he has a 55% chance to hit, while a 1st level D&D m-u has a 45% chance to hit.  Saving throws are even better.  Merlott’s chance, in D&D, of resisting snake venom would be a mere 35%.  With a Good Endurance, it jumps to 55%.  So, while Merlott looks pretty tame for a Marvel Super Hero, he is definitely well-off compared to a D&D character.

Some extra mash-up rules:

Karma is the new XP.  Karma points can be used both ways, to modify dice rolls and to go up in level.  Spending Karma to modify dice rolls would be limited to no more than 10 karma per level for each percentile roll.

Every time a character goes up in level, he gets to add 3 points to any one ability score, or spread them out, as the player sees fit.  Resources will always change based on how much money the character has, not what level the character is.  Popularity will go up 1d10 points per level.  The character will either gain a new power or raise one power one full rank at each new level, and gain one new talent every other level.

Because karma can be spent, characters can go down in level if they spend too much karma.  But, because karma has this dual function, the karma requirements for each level should be half what they are in D&D.  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

D&D/Marvel Super Heroes

The idea came up on my Facebook profile recently, could you run a D&D campaign using the Marvel Super Heroes (1984) rules?  I've begun a project that may not amount to anything, but I wanted to see if I could find a middle ground between the MSH rules and the 1st ed. AD&D rules.  Below is a rough draft of what the character creation rules might be in this mash-up.

Ability Scores:  Roll 1d20+1d12 for each score.  Keep that number as the value of that score for determining health and karma, but for the universal table determine each score’s column as follows –
2.  Feeble
3-4. Poor
5-7. Typical
8-15. Good
16-25. Excellent
27+  Remarkable

D&D Equivalents:
Feeble    Non-combatant
Poor    1st level Magic-User
Typical    Most 1st level PCs
Good    1-2nd level Fighters
Excellent 3-4th level Fighters
Remarkable 5-6th level Fighters

Feeble    DEX 3-4
Poor    DEX 5-7
Typical    DEX 8-10
Good    DEX 11-15
Excellent DEX 16-17
Remarkable DEX 18-19

Feeble    STR 3-6
Poor    STR 7-12
Typical     STR 13-18
Good    STR 18/01-75
Excellent STR 18/76-99
Remarkable STR 18/00-19

Feeble    Giant centipede
Poor    Giant rat
Typical    Human
Good    Orc
Excellent Gnoll
Remarkable Ogre

Resources:  Roll 1d20+1d12 and keep this roll to determine Resources rank.  Multiple this number by 10 for starting gp.  Resource rank helps determine the eligibility of an item as follows –
Up to 5 gp.  Feeble
5-10 gp.  Poor
11-20 gp.  Typical
21-50 gp.  Good
51-100 gp.  Excellent
101-500 gp.  Remarkable

Popularity:  Roll 1d8 for starting Popularity, but otherwise treating as above scores in terms of treating it both as numerical value and for assigning column value.

Powers:  Every character gets to start with 1-4 powers, determined by a random 1d4 roll.  Roll 1d20+1d12 for score of each power and treat as ability scores above.

First Level Powers
Fighter Powers (cannot be combined with Magic-User Powers):
Archery (double attacks at range)
Body Armor     (Leather = Feeble
 Leather & shield = Poor
Chain = Typical
Chain & shield = Good
Platemail = Excellent
Platemail & shield = Remarkable
Martial Weapons (+1 CS damage, can get kill results)*

*Fighter Powers are the exception to the 1-3 powers limit, as the other powers can be purchased using Resources and gp at any time

Magic-User Powers (cannot be combined with Fighter Powers): 
Fire Control
Light Control
Detect Magic
Hold Portals
Read Anything
Protection from Evil (-2 CS to be hit)
Mind Control (1 person only)
Induce Sleep (opposed Psyche FEAT rolls vs. up to 16 targets)**

Magic-User Powers, once used, cannot be used again for 10 minutes

Cleric Powers (cannot be combined with Thief Powers):
Undead Turning    (Skeletons = Psyche opposed FEAT vs. Poor
        Zombies = Typical
        Ghouls = Good
        Wights = Excellent
        Wraiths = Remarkable
        Mummies = Incredible)

Thieves Powers (cannot be combined with Cleric Powers):
Open Locks
Find/Remove Traps
Hear Noise
Move Silently
Pick Pockets
Hide in Shadows
Climb Walls
Backstab (requires surprise or Move Silently first, then +4 CS to hit and double damage)

Dwarf Powers:
Resistance to Poison
Stonework Awareness

Elf Powers:
Combine Fighter and Magic-User Powers