Modos RPG

Update Update

New sections on player agency, how the dice work, and awarding hero points. And that’s just the GM chapter…

I’m happy to say that the Counters section is being superseded by a new initiative chart that will make combat a breeze. Of course, the initiative chart will require a sheet of paper or window, where the counters did not.

Upcoming rules patch

The game’s getting a workover, but gameplay won’t change much. You will hopefully feel a general smoothing of the bumps. There will also be some focus on increasing the details used in storytelling, and including players in that process. So, more imagination. And a handful of demos to help you get a better feel for how things work, before you start playing with your group.

What spell subsystem?

The streamlining continues. The cover rules for spells were bulky and confusing. I tossed them out. Now, what a spell can hit is determined by its range.

A Close range spell can hit just about anything to which it has a direct, unobstructed line: from offensive posture to offensive posture. "+ 4 difficulty.

A Short range spell can hit targets further away, or those with a little bit of cover. Read: offensive or defensive enemies. 0 difficulty.

A Medium range spell can hit targets who are out of combat, or those who would otherwise be very difficult to hit. -4 difficulty.

A Long range spell can affect just about anything – see Rule Zero for clarification. -8 difficulty.

Playtest update

Lots of revisions, recommendations, and revolutions are waiting for attention. I’m not quite ready to put out another playtest version, but I think an update packet is very likely. Visit here to get your 2 gold pieces in:

Perk evolution

I’ve been looking at levels today, which led to level points (probably becoming an optional rule), which led to perks, which are almost equivalent to level points if you consider that the perk substitution rule allows you to buy anything with a perk.

Well, as stated over a year ago, one goal of the game is simplicity. Which makes level points, perk substitution, and optional rules look pretty silly. So now I’m looking at something like this:

Attribute substitution perk:
With this perk you may increase an attribute score by 1.

Skill substitution perk:
With this perk you may add one skill point to any skill.

With these, you spend your perk (the one that you get with each level) on a perk, and that perk becomes the substitution. There’s no overlap complication when it comes to counting level points, because there are no level points. Sure, these perks can make attributes or skills look more inflated than perks (mostly when designing and balancing monsters), but it means that the total number of perks always equals character level.

Minimum Casting Difficulty

I’m taking a look at the minimum casting difficulty rule. 11 feels too high. I’d like to try a minimum of 1 instead, so that spells that are difficult to cast or spells cast under difficult conditions can have contests under 1 that prevent them from occurring. But do you really want to get caught in a magical spider web by a caster whose contest was only 4?

Bad example, because your parry contest to free yourself would be super easy. But you know what I mean…

Magic: Ice

My online group got to try out the Ice spell. As a 2nd level spell, it’s easily twice as interesting as its 1st level counterparts, Fire and Lightning. Now I believe that the caster was using a spell implement to cast the spell, which meant that Ice required three actions. For those three actions, he got to deal d8 ice damage and penalize the target’s movement by 4. Is it worth three actions for this?

Well, first, the caster gets to deal full damage at range. Second, he limits the movement of an opponent to the extent that the GM penalizes it, or gains an advantage in opposing that opponent’s movement contests. So the opponent could have a harder time chasing or fleeing. Also, that movement penalty lasts until the caster’s next turn (or until he defends with willpower), and can be maintained. So a busy opponent might suffer the penalty for the whole conflict.

Now a low level character can’t chase his slowed opponent after using three actions, because he’d be out of actions. But his friends sure could!

Next topic: minimum casting difficulty.

Savage Rules!

I played my first game of Savage Worlds. It was surprisingly similar to Modos RPG, especially considering that I wrote the majority of the game without ever having played Savage Worlds. But I had a good time and liked the system.

Some reactions:

The core rules are short and sweet, but I felt a little overwhelmed once I encountered Edges, Hindrances, Bennies, “Traits,” the Wild Die, Raises, and the derived attributes (Parry and Toughness). It’s not bad – just more than I was expecting.

The hero-makers, Bennies, the Wild Die, and Aces, feel a little redundant. Each seems designed to give the players a super-feeling.

The wound system is really cool. It looks like it does a nice job of eliminating hit points from the game, and with them some needless mathematics. Also not in the game: experience points – at least massive amounts of them. Gain 5 XP, and your character gets better. Simple and good.

While I also find it awesome that RIFTS is going to become a Savage Worlds book, I think it would be much cooler to see some Modos RPG modules doing that conversion for free – paid for with love and devotion.

Seamless Integration?

I had quite a mix of technologies yesterday: Modos RPG on .pdf, a random dungeon room generator on ENworld’s OGRE, and a virtual game table on

I would like to have included my GM screen in Excel (4th technology), but a hard drive crash made that option temporarily inaccessible. Situations like this make me extremely appreciative of the Average Person Rule (all characters and difficulties start at what an average person could do) and of course, Rule Zero (the GM is allowed to fudge anything!).

The Character Drawing Board

Just did a round of new character creation last night (and the following game session). The players would make me feel bad about drawing up character-concept-generation rules; they did a fantastic job without them!

We started with character concepts, which were fueled by knowledge of the campaign setting and the two extant PCs. Then I tried to bolster them by rolling up attribute scores, but they’d made most of the hard choices already.

After that, skills, perks, and equipment were a snap. Hero points are pretty intangible though, so we’re still working on how they’ll use them. One idea was to use them on attempts to convert non-believers! That one should be fun.


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