Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fantasy Fonts for Your RPG Campaign

Written by Justin Mason

So you want to give your player a copy of the ancient scroll his or her character is currently reading? Perhaps you want to dress up a character-history document for your game master? Here we have a collection of 33 free fantasy True-Type Fonts (TTF) that can be used for your personal role playing game sessions and campaigns. Stylized handouts and documentation can make a great impact on both players and game masters alike.

Please check out the Fonts Page in the Mythic Design website free resources:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Fighter’s Ally (Magic Weapon Template)

Written by Justin Mason

The idea with this magic item template, is to enable the creation of a magical weapon that helps to balance the “higher-level gap” between combat related characters and spell-casting characters.

Traditionally, the solution to this problem is usually to just provide more powerful magical items to the player characters, but this can be quickly unbalancing as items are easily transferred from character-to-character.

The fighter’s ally template can be applied to virtually any weapon, and the magical power of said weapon is then entirely dependant on how much the wielder is willing to invest into it over time.

Skill-based Enchantment Bonus:

A fighter’s ally weapon gains +1 per (existing bonus) in skill points dedicated to its use.

This would result in requiring a total of 1 skill points for +1, 3 skill points for +2, 6 skill points for +3, 10 skill points for +4, 15 skill points for +5, 21 skill points for +6, 28 skill points for +7, etc.).

These skill ranks are considered class, and of course are limited to the character’s current max skill ranks. A maximum enchantment bonus can be applied to a templated weapon.

Weapon-specific Feats:

In place of taking a traditional feat, the character may instead take one of the following weapon-specific feats. These feats only effect the use of the templated weapon, and a templated weapon may or may not have all of the available feats listed below.

Focused Strike: Character learns how to more accurately strike with this weapon. +1 to critical range/weapon-specific feat taken. This weapon-specific feat may be stacked up to a maximum critical adjustment of +5.

Moral Attunement: Weapon becomes more attuned with the character. +1 against targets of opposing alignments. This weapon-specific feat may be stacked up to a maximum bonus of up to +5.

Elemental Fury: Weapon is granted +1d4 (elemental) burst upon successful critical hit. This can include: fire, cold, electricity, acid, and sonic. This feat may be stacked, and can be applied for multiple different types of elements. (i.e. a weapon could have a burst of 1d4 fire, 2d4 cold, and 1d4 electricity). Of course, depending on the game master’s desired results, this could be limited to fewer, or even just one element.

Guiding Force: Upon missing a strike, the character may opt to immediately re-roll the attack. Critical hits may not result from this re-rolled attack. A character may only use this weapon-specific feat once per round.

Premeditated Kill: Character must select one “favored enemy”, and for each instance of this weapon-specific feat taken, he or she will gain +2 to hit and to damage towards that favored enemy when using the weapon. This weapons-specific feat may be stacked up to a maximum bonus of +10 to specified enemy.

Of course, custom combinations and new weapon-specific feat ideas could be endless, and each weapon could be honed towards it’s specific type of combat.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bonus Token Player Reward System (Alternate Rules)

Written by Justin Mason

There are many different ways that game masters have found to reward their players, particularly those who contribute much to a campaign or game session. This could be as simple as a bonus experience reward, or a more complex reward (such as working in some special event into the character's role).

The real question is, how to come up with a system that not only rewards your positive, progressive players, but to also motivates those players who are less than forthcoming.

After all, in many cases, this may be one of the few times everyone is available for a friendly get-together. And, it's very easy to become distracted from the game by catching up with day-to-day life, letting loose some pent up aggression, and sharing the latest jokes from the workplace.

The Bonus Token System is one solution I've come up with and have myself used with quite a bit of success.

Player's earn tokens for things such as attendance, magnificent role-playing, completing of major plot benchmarks, etc. I suggest rewarding 1 token for attendance to be sure everyone at least gets to participate, but not to exceed awarding three to four per player during each game session. Tokens should be rare and valuable commodities.

There doesn't have to be a physical token awarded to the player, though I find handing something tangible over has a very dramatic effect. I use Campaign Coins as a prop to represent the Bonus Tokens I award my players.

These tokens can then be used at the end of the game session to "purchase" bonuses and special features, and upgrades for the character. These should be fairly moderate adjustments, and never anything that would be a "game changer." Though, more powerful benefits could be offered as long as the corresponding token cost is relative to the advantage the character would be obtaining.

For example, below is the basic Bonus Token chart my players utilize for my OGL 3.5 campaigns:

+1 Misc Skill Point = 1 Token
(250 * Level) GP [Max 10,000] = 1 Token
1 Random Minor Magic Item (from DMG) = 3 Tokens
1 Re-Roll Attempt (In-Game Only) = 3 Tokens
(500 * Level) experience [Max 5,000] = 5 Tokens
+1 Ability Point = 10 Tokens
+1 Bonus Feat = 10 Tokens
1 Random Medium Magic Item (from DMG) = 15 Tokens

It can also be fun to find unique and interesting ways to work these rewards into the game session "in-character" to explain how and where they came from. They could even be used as small plot hooks or storyline hints as well.

However you utilize the Bonus Token system, it's a sure-fire way to keep your players on guard, and help keep the focus on role playing.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Platform-Neutral Products. Worth the investment?

Written by Justin Mason

So what's more important, the fluff or the crunch? We all have our own favorite role playing game systems, or own set of house rules and special mechanics. A lot of the time this can limit how useful certain materials are... especially if they are written for an unfamiliar game system.

I'm curious to know what other game masters think about platform-neutral products (or in other words, products that don't provide any sort of mechanical reference, but rather just detailed information about a setting, monsters, items, plot hooks, etc.).

I think it's a good concept. But I'm not sure I would choose to buy a product that was a description of a particular setting or series of events over a product that also provides the relevant mechanics for my particular game system.

I can read a good novel or short story, watch a movie, or even read material intended for another game-system and get that same imagintive seed for some really fantastic ideas to use in my game sessions.

What if platform-specific rules related to this crunch-less material were to be made readily available on the product manufacturers website? What if other role-players who also use this material were the source for those rules?

I'm just pondering the possibilities, and I am not 100% sure I see the benefits of RPG products produced for no particular game system. If I’m going to buy a product just to boost my imagination, what game system it’s geared towards doesn’t really make a difference to me. What are you thoughts?

Enchanter's Goo (Magic Item)

Written by Justin Mason

Enchanter's Goo

A glowing green slime-like substance, very highly reactive to magical items and artifacts. Its recipe is a guarded secret of powerful enchanters, but one fact that is known is that the ingredients for the foul smelling brew are found across many different planes.

Enchanters Goo is used to merge two magic items into a single object. The process is dangerous and painstaking, but often well worth the risk.

Items combined with Enchanter's Goo must be of the same type. For instance, a bladed weapon can only be merged with another bladed weapon, a wand, only with another wand, and full plate armor only with another suit of full plate armor, etc.

There must be 1-gallon of Enchanter's Good per 1-pound of the combined weight of both items being submerged within the goo, and both items must be in some way enchanted. If there is too little goo, both items will be completely dissolved and destroyed.

Items placed in the goo must remain undisturbed for 3 full days (72-hours), if they are removed from the goo before that time, all magical abilities of both the items are completely nullified.

If use is attempted by the untrained hand, then there is only a 50% chance of success. For each trained rank in Use Magic Device, +2% may be added to the success rate up to 90%. If the attempt fails then both items are dissolved and completely destroyed.

Results of successfully merged magic items:

• A random check will determine what physical form the merged item will take (or if desired the game master can be creative and come up with a combination of both the original items)

• Charged effects transfer as the same number of said charge effects

• Bonus Enchantments to the same statistic do not stack, instead the highest of the magic bonuses remains (this is applied to ability scores, armor class, saving throws, or any other such statistic). Bonuses to different statistics carry across.

• Recharging abilities carry across, if more than one like recharging abilities are merged, then both remain effective, though bound by their original limitations.

• Other effects, such as item sentience, alignment, curses, conflicting effects, etc. are merged, or changed solely at the discretion of the game master, but should be resolved at the time of item merging.

The known market price for enchanter's goo is about 250 GP per 1-Gallon. Finding enough goo to merge larger items (such as suits of armor) should be a challenge as very few enchanters would have so much of the substance readily available.

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