Modos RPG

Updating Modules

As one of my favorite parts of the game, modules need to be done right. I’ve cut a lot of subjective material from the modules chapter, and I’m hoping that what’s left is short and sweet.

Each sample module is getting a makeover, and the rules module is complete, although I can’t code the new rules without properly coding the core rules first. The sample rules are:
- New attributes: power and reflex, replacing physical.
- Piecemeal armor: why wear a suit of mail when you could wear a leather cap, steel bracers, a chain skirt, and snazzy vest?
- Dragon magic: having a fourth attribute means another damage pool for fueling more spells. Dragon warriors get free casting actions as their dragon blood increases.

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Adventure Formatting

The sample adventure module will be divided into elements – snippets of useful information with reference numbers. Further, encounters are taking flowchart or map form in the hopes that visual information reads faster than written information.

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MOFL

Monsters of First Level: 10. That number will probably climb by a few before the revision is done.

Each of these monsters have one thing in common: they’re all first level characters. “Amateurs,” if you will, they represent the small, the untrained, the entry-level, and the harmless. Including several good candidates for PC pets.

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Module Creep

While working on the rules module chapter today, I hit the same unexpected point that I have three or four times before: I can’t write the chapter on special rules until I have my rules catalog system in place.

Which brought me to another improvement for version 1.30: instead of several reasonable, but somewhat arbitrary, categories for rules, the newest version will be composed of actual rules modules itself. These will, of course, start at the foundation and build upward from there. The modules so far:

000 – Core rules
100 – Characters
200 – Extended conflict
300 – Combat
400 – Spellcasting

The first three categories are fairly independent. Combat relies heavily on characters and extended conflict, and so does spellcasting. The intended beauty here is to illustrate the flow of rule dependence, and to make it easier to add or remove groups of rules. For example, if you don’t like the spellcasting rules at all and want a more realistic game, you can easily just unplug the 400-series rules from your game.

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Last Spell!

The last level 5 spell is Wind. It knocks one target out of combat for a round, or pins one down when in closed terrain. Unlike Hold, Wind allows physical defenses to break free, and all five defenses are required for that freedom.

Making progress on the Bestiary. First it’s the trap design section, and then I’ll start adding the sample monsters and sample traps.

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Beware the Artist

The first monster is in the revamped bestiary. He’s a scary one: the musician!

Artist, musician, level 1
Attributes: P 8, M 10, MP 13
Skills: persuade 2 (1), profession (artist) 4 (0)
Perks: specialize (artist)
Gear: guitar, guitar case, harmonica, Swiss army knife d4
Concept:A street performer who couldn’t become a rock star after college. He has some skill at swaying people’s opinions, and a knife for those who try to take his tips.

There are 63 monsters slotted for the new bestiary, many of which have types. The musician is an artist-type, which indicates that he’s a character for modern-genre games. The modern monster types have socio-economic themes: worker, soldier, artist, intellectual, and ruler.

Scarier monsters will be appearing, like the unusually-sized rat (level 3), qua-toa mutant (level 5), and the shapeshifting android (level 7).

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Chopping Beasts

The Bestiary is on the chopping block this weekend. I’ll redraw some monsters, trim some fat, and definitely add some more. Futuristic, like a Dark Shader or Blobba the Hut? Modern, like a navy SeAL or truck driver? It would be sweet to have a Jack Burton in there somewhere.

Of course, there are too many fantasy monsters to choose from. Skyrim was and still is a big influence on this game. So trolls, mudcrabs, and monstrous spiders could make appearances.

The monster-creation rules have not changed significantly. Their attributes start at 8, 10 and 12, and just like characters, they get more stuff with more levels. In fact, you can make yourself a monstrous character instead of a hero using the character creation rules. Do check with your campaign theme first, though.

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Spellcasting Example

This, and a few short paragraphs, marks the end of the new Conflict chapter. Here’s the new version of Neon’s training with Morpho:

Neon and Morpho are training in the dojo. Morpho pulls a Beretta on Neon, and instructs him to dodge the bullet. The GM starts the round with Morpho, an NPC, drawing the weapon on Neon. Morpho ends his turn, waiting for Neon to be ready.

Neon knows cast spell (ruse), so he rolls a cast spell contest and gets 9 on his d20. Neon adds his MP bonus, skill points, and casting difficulty for a contest result of 17. Satisfied with this result, Neon combines his next casting action and keeps the result of 17. He also takes his casting damage on the second action, taking half, of d8 + (spell level) – (MP protection), or 4 + 2 – 2 = 4 metaphysical damage. The contest result exceeds the minimum of 10, so Neon gains +8 to his parry contests, the spell’s effect.

For his last action, Neon raises a hand toward Morpho, dramatically says “no,” and takes half on defend (parry). With the +8 bonus from ruse’s effect, his parry contest is 20. Morpho responds to the defend action by firing with fight (missile), and gets a 16 result. Neon takes no damage from Morpho’s attack, and his player describes his successful defense.

Neon’s ruse lasts until the beginning of his next turn unless he maintains it. Since Morpho is a tricky one, Neon will use a defend (concentration) contest at the start of his next turn to keep the ruse in place. If the ruse were somehow contested, with cast spell (dispel) for example, Neon would use the original 17 result for the spell as his contest.

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Are you aware?

Delving into mental conflict today and awareness.

You’d think something like being aware of your enemies is sort of a no-brainer, but it’s worth the attention in a game where invisibility and cloaking can happen, and even more so when the mental aspects of battle can be separated from the physical ones. The full implications really are the subject of future rulebooks, but the core rules will still give you a good taste of what could be.

Rule of the day:

If you sneak up on your enemies and they have no idea you’re coming, you get a free action. If you sneak up on them but they’re alert, you get an initiative bonus.

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Combat Complete

The first draft of physical conflict is complete. Lots of small revisions, but the biggest change was the phrasing of the combat postures. Most combat is now in offensive posture, but defensive posture, special postures, and obstacles can thoroughly spice things up.

Combat rules are pretty simple, but there are a ton of tactical choices that can make combat very intense. Questions like:

- Which character should take defensive posture?
- Should you attack now or wait for your turn?
- Will parrying buy you time? Should you save actions for it?
- Does your initiative give you enough of an edge? Should you delay for a better init?
- How do you take on a better armored and better armed foe?
- Should you roll your damage/protection, or just take half?

The answers change with the situation. So combat is promising to be a very dynamic experience!

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