Saturday, November 7, 2020

Owlbear Stew


  • Two classes only, large numbers of subclasses
  • Subclasses have a relatively strict structure for easy player-based hacking
  • Increased power at lower levels, reaching power max faster, equivalent to starting at level 2
  • Multiclassing encouraged to achieve many concepts, e.g. Brave Fighter + Holy Mage = Paladin
  • Spells all have related mishaps (or will, eventually)
  • "Mystery Abilities" (some abilities are just names at the moment, left as an exercise to the reader)

Character Generation

At level 1, gain AB in a single class, or AA in both classes. When a class is selected, an Archetype/Tradition must be chosen, and cannot be changed later.

3d6 each. Checking a stat is 1d20+[stat], Saving against a stat is 1d20+[stat/2]. Roll high, hopefully over 20.
Might - smashing, breaking, drinking, swimming
Wriggles - dodging, sprinting, finagling, stealing, hiding
Gumption - resisting, enduring, surviving
Wits - noticing, thinking, remembering, imagining, creating
Moxie - persuading, being lucky, hoping for the best

Derived Stats
Each of these is the lowest of the two listed stats:
Heavy Attack - Might or Gumption (deals x2 damage, delayed until the start of your next turn)
Light Attack - Might or Wriggles Ranged Attack - Wriggles or Wits
Defence - Wriggles or Gumption

Inventory Slots = Might
Initiative = Wits
Max HP = Gumption/2

Characters start with three torches, three rations, and the equipment package for their class. Fighters start with light armour, a war weapon, and an item from their Archetype. Mages start a simple weapon, a minor magic item, and an item from their Tradition. Characters that are multiclassing start with random gear from either option.
All new characters can pick an item of their choice, or improve an existing item.

At the start of a game, discuss what milestones are available to the group. Players are recommended to contribute their own options. The first time a character achieves a milestone, they gain one level. If a milestone is completed as a group, one character (selected at random or by group consensus) recieves the benefit.

Example milestones:
  • Acquire 10 XP. 1 XP granted via obeying a love potion, making an oath, or truly exceptional planning and roleplaying (excess XP can be donated to other characters)
  • Be the first to climb to the top of a mountain
  • Clear a dungeon / megadungeon floor
  • Defeat a dungeon boss
  • Touching one of the fate boulders (literal milestones), often at the bottom of dungeons, within castles or at the end of challenging trails of skill and knowledge
  • Spending loads of money on amazing revels or commissioned art

Level 2 and 3 grants an additional template in either class, and +Gumption/4 to max HP.

A - Extra Attack, +2 stat
B - Defence, +2 stat
C - Bonus, +2 stat
D - Capstone, +2 stat

A - Perk, Restriction/Drawback, +1 MD, +1 spell
B - Casting Style, +1 MD, +1 spell
C - Ritual, +1 MD, +1 spell
D - Capstone, +1 MD, +1 spell

Mages have methods of discovering spells beyond the four they recieve from templates, depending on their Tradition. Traditions also have difficult rituals or rare items that grant +1 max MD.

Recommended Rules

At the start of each round, everyone declares the action they are taking and rolls Initiative. If they succeed, they go before the enemy, if they fail, after.
Light Attacks and Ranged Attacks deal d6 damage, Heavy Attacks deal 2d6 damage but land at the start of the next round (if possible).
Not all types of attacks can always be used.

Benefits don't apply while surprised, prone or otherwise off-balanced.
  • Unarmoured - Increase slashing damage from big weapons by half
  • Light - No change
  • Medium - Reduce slashing damage by half
  • Heavy - 1 damage max from slashing, half from bludgeoning damage
  • Shield - As an action, guard against a melee enemy. If they miss you with an attack, you deal x3 damage to them next round

Tripping, disarming, shoving or other manoeuvres are accomplished by Gambits. Before making an attack, say what extra effect you want, as well as what will happen if you fail. They have to make sense, and be fair (not necessarily equal, but fair). The penalty for missing a Gambit against a goblin is far less serious than missing a Gambit against a dragon. The penalty for a Fighter using their favourite weapon missing a Gambit is less serious than a Mage trying to Gambit using a broadsword they just picked up.

Consuming a Ration in the middle of the day or while camping restores 1d6 HP or 1 MD. Sleeping in a safe location restores 1d6 HP or 1 MD. Resting for a full day in a settlement restores all HP and all MD.
Fine food, warm beds, dry socks, clean clothes and baths can all contribute to extra healing and MD recovery.
Indulging in luxuries, indulging in vices, creating shrines and doing research can restore 1 MD.

Death and Dismemberment
Mark one of the following each time you are struck at 0 HP. You cannot mark something more than once. If you cannot mark an option, you are dying. Clear a mark each time you use supplies, sleep, or rest in a settlement. The effects remain until resolved separately:

Out of Luck - Disadvantage to all rolls while at 0 HP.
Out of Action - Prone and unable to take any actions apart from crawling and groaning with misery. An ally can spend a full action trying to help you up and snapping you out of it.
Out of Options - Suffer a permanent injury.

Hardened by Adversity
The first time a character recovers from an injury, insanity, mutation or other long-term malignancy, gain +2 max HP permanently. This bonus is once ever per character.

Radioactive Blood
All magical items taste weird, some smell weird, and a few look and feel weird.

Spells exist in grimoires, wands, scrolls, weird orbs, the brains of mages, and stranger places. They are cast by adding any number of Magic Dice (d6s), which are rolled when the spell is cast. The total value of the MD rolled is the [sum] for the spell strength, the number of MD used is the [dice]. If a MD shows up as a 4 or higher, it is expended until recharged. If two MD show the same value, the caster suffers a Mishap depending on the number shown (1 to 6). If three MD show the same value, the caster suffers a Doom depending on their mage tradition. One of the mishaps that can occur is the "spell mishap", a unique result depending on the spell being cast. A spell cast using a scroll or wand that results in a mishap will automatically result in the spell-mishap.

Optional Rules

Improving Stats
Fighters receive flat stat increases per level, but anyone can try and improve their stats by performing certain activities. When performed, roll 3d6 and try get over the stat. If so, increase the stat by 1:

  • Hosting a magnificent feast, with plenty of friends, food, booze and revelry
  • Being crowned the winner of a grand tournament

  • Membership into the ranks of the most secretive of gangs
  • Drugs!

  • Getting yourself checked out by a doctor to deal with lingering issues
  • Successfully completing something you vowed to do long ago
  • Experimental medical procedures

  • Returning to your place of learning and taking an apprentice
  • Having a funeral for a treasured and dearly missed ally

  • Commissioning or otherwise creating a work of art commemorating your endeavours thus far
  • Making a grand and earnest sacrifice to the gods to ensure your future success, and in thanks for past victories
  • Becoming part of the nobility

Failed Careers and Bonus Templates
Instead of taking an item of your choice/improved item, a new character can start with a random Failed Career.
Instead of taking the ability or stat improvement of a given tier, a character can instead gain a Bonus Template. These are self-contained abilities that add extra flexibility to what a character can achieve. See here for Failed Careers and Bonus Templates.

If a character is comfortably resting in a settlement at the end of the session, they might go about their business performing various activities before the next session starts. See here for Downtime Actions.

Characters suffer from the trials and tribulations of the deadly adventuring life only under duress. If they are forced to go down into the depths again and again, they might start to rebel, fray at the seams, and crack. See here for Stress Rules.



1 comment:

  1. How do you keep producing such wonderful systems? :D I think I like Finders Keepers a tiny bit more, but this is delightful as well.