Librium – Changelog 2017-09-24

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0. General

  • Effects that last “1 round” now last “1 turn.” This means an effect that would last “until the start of your next turn.” Instead lasts “until the end of the target’s next turn.” This is because certain enemies take multiple turns in a round and they shake effects off faster, thus not being punished more times than their weaker counterparts.
  • Haste: instead of imparting additional AP during your turn, it will now grant an additional turn at +5 initiative. It also grants +1 reflex.

2. Races

  • Ersatz
    • Mechanical Body: Rest requirement changed from “4 hour of rest every 24 hours” to “8 hours of rest every 48 hours”
  • Gnome
    • Added a blurb about family circles.
  • Syvlari
    • Purity of the Wild: Reduces from Severity 5 to severity 2. The permanent severity reduction reduced from 2 from 1.

4. Skills and Talents

General

  • Effects that last “1 round” now last “1 turn.” This means an effect that would last “until the start of your next turn.” Instead lasts “until the end of the target’s next turn.” This is because certain enemies take multiple turns in a round and they shake effects off faster, thus not being punished more times than their weaker counterparts.

Communication

  • Befriend: 4 XP: Reworded for clarity. In addition, cost reduction increased from 1 minute to 2 minutes.

Polearms

  • Heavy Thrust: Reworded to support the attack the talent makes, specifically.

Staves

  • Lion’s Den: Changed from “repeat this talent” to “make a basic melee attack.”

Throwing

  • Rapid Volley: Changed from [W] AP to 6 AP
  • Rapid Volley: Removed ability to draw a new weapon as part of the attack.
  • Rapid Volley: Second trait: Allows you to draw a new weapon with each attack

5. Equipment

 

Weapons

  • All weapons: Damage expression updated to have parenthesis around damage values to express that the damage is per outcome.
  • Shortsword: Damage increased from 3 to 4.
  • Scimitar: Damage increased from 3 to 4.
  • Longsword: Damage increased from 4 to 5.
  • Greatsword: Damage increased from 5 to 6.
  • Flail: Damage increased from 3 to 4.
  • Mace: Damage increased from 3 to 4.
  • Warhammer: Damage increased from 4 to 5.
  • Heavy Maul: Damage increased from 4 to 5.
  • War Axe: Damage increased from 3 to 4.
  • Great Axe: Damage increased from 4 to 5.
  • Dagger: Damage increased from 2 to 3.
  • Parrying Dagger: Damage increased from 2 to 3.
  • Mage’s Staff: Damage increased from 2 to 3.
  • Quarterstaff: Damage increased from 2 to 3.
  • War Staff: Damage increased from 3 to 4.
  • Halberd: Damage increased from 2 to 3.
  • Short Spear: Damage increased from 2 to 3.
  • Unarmed Strike: Damage increased from 2 to 3.
  • Iron Arrow: Damage increased from 3 to 4
  • Karimata Arrow: Renamed Blade Arrow

Spell Foci

  • All Foci: Damage expression updated to have parenthesis around damage values to express that the damage is per outcome.
  • Damage types removed from spell foci. They cannot be used for basic attacks. Use the arcane bolt technique to make basic attacks.
  • Imbued Symbol: Damage increased from 3 to 4.
  • Mage’s Staff: Damage increased from 4 to 5.
  • Spell Tome: Damage increased from 3 to 4.
  • Scepter: Damage increased from 3 to 4.
  • Divine Weapon: Damage increased from 3 to 4.

Aether-tools

  • All Aether-tools: Damage expression updated to have parenthesis around damage values to express that the damage is per outcome.
  • Damage types removed from aether-tools. They cannot be used for basic attacks. Use the aether bolt technique to make basic attacks.
  • Savant Tool: Damage increased from 3 to 4.
  • Solaris Tool: Damage increased from 4 to 5.
  • Gemini Tool: Damage increased from 3 to 4.
  • Polaris Tool: Damage increased from 3 to 4.

 

5.5 Techniques

Arcana

  • Rank 2
    • Added Plant Growth

Engineering

  • Various undocumented changes.

6. Adventuring

Resilience

  • Tenacious: Removed
  • Convicted: Removed. Everyone has conviction.
  • Imbued: Added. Imbued creatures have technological protection increase their endurance. They take additional damage from impact and slashing
  • Warded: Added. Warded creatures are protected by magical means that increases their endurance. They take additional damage from piercing and warp damage
  • Hardened: Unchanged, but as a refresher they are protected through tough hides or heavy armor, increasing their endurance. They take additional damage from rending and magic

12. Character Sheet

  • Changed “Deity/College” to “Institute”

Character Reference Cards

Character Reference Sheet

  • Removed actions that cost movement points
  • Removed recovery of stress
  • New Action: Recuperate – 4 AP. At the start of your next turn, if you have not taken any damage, you recover 15 endurance stress. This gives players a way to heal that is intended but also not difficult to track.
  • Added damage-type table.
  • Added Status Effect list

TODO

  • Put Institutions in the Persona section, in place of deities and faith. Same layout style (don’t forget to recommend expertise skills associated with them)
  • Adjust heavy armors. They aren’t good enough.
  • Change all document top/bottom margins from 1.00” to 0.75”
  • * Kender shall be renamed Kaedar
  • * Add Tribe names for Mau
  • * Change sylvari racials to suit their new design more.
  • * Kender names
  • * Kender race name
  • * Change Auralei Active.
  • * Describe “The Essence, The Flow, The Lifeforce”
  • * Warp damage is often considered “dark magic” and uses “dark energy” perhaps related to the shadow plane?
  • * Create Archetypes

 

 

 

Librium – 70 Grey Plots

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Just... a little... further...

It’s so much easier to see the world in black and white. But grey? I don’t know what to do with grey…

– Garrus Vakarian, Mass Effect 2

Most storylines in roleplaying games are very, very straightforward. The noble, righteous good guys are under attack by the malicious, evil bad guys and we must stop them. Because the bad guys are so bad, it is okay to do so with gratuitous force. Reality rarely works this way. Everyone has motivation for their actions and no one considers themselves “evil”. Just talk to your social media about politics and I’m sure you’ll find some opinions you find reprehensible or people that find your opinions appalling. In our own mind, we are right.

Incorporating this moral gray into your game can have some… interesting effects. Not all players will like it since the correct path isn’t clear, but it will leave them with a memorable event and they will see how their decisions matter. To get things started, I’ve come up with 100 narrative hooks that offer some sort of complication to the players. Things might start out pretty straightforward, but something changes along the way that may have the player’s shifting sides.

Most of these plot hooks are designed to focus on a specific racial group, such as auralei or volkmyr. I’ve written 5 hooks and complications for each race. A lot of these plot hooks can be modified to work with other races as well. Continue reading

Librium – Overview of the Undead

Talk about raising an army.

The clattering of dried bones. The soft moan of anguish and the dragging of wet feet. The wail of a forlorn spirit. It is quite unfortunate that so many of us are familiar with some of the identifiable characteristics of the living dead. Despite laws restricting necromancy, adventurers may find themselves facing a horde of these monsters and if they are unprepared, they just might join their ranks.

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Librium – Persistent Checks

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  There are a lot of situations where a task is performed over a period of time rather than doing it and being done. While making a sandwich might only require one check, preparing a 5 course meal will take multiple. For the fact of it, even preparing a soup or stew might be enough to justify multiple checks. Librium has special rules for these situations.

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Librium – Species Spotlight: Vespa

Silithid from World of Warcraft. The inspiration for vespa.No one is completely certain where the Vespa originated. Some scholars hypothesize that they are the result of an arcane experiment gone wrong and they were released or escaped into the wild. Others believe that they may have evolved on their own, perhaps through the influence of magical meddling. Some believe they are natures response to the growing number of kobolds. The only thing known for sure is that a Vespa hive is a potential threat to all who venture near. Continue reading

Librium – Pawns

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"The pay isn't much, but the job security is great!"

Goons from Disney’s Snow White.

“They may be called the Palace Guard, the City Guard, or the Patrol. Whatever the name, their purpose in any work of heroic fantasy is identical: it is, round about Chapter Three (or ten minutes into the film) to rush into the room, attack the hero one at a time, and be slaughtered. No one ever asks them if they wanted to.” — Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!

Everyone is familiar with the lackeys or henchmen that infest all different forms of media. From the nameless guards to faceless lackeys, they serve both the side of good and evil. And for what purpose? They are almost always loyal to a fault, incapable of doing anything more than menial tasks, and abused by their employ and their enemies.

But these mooks serve a very important role. Even as faceless goons, they show us how far reaching the villain or heroes power may be. Shredder can send waves of foot soldiers at the Ninja Turtles just to try to slow them down. The king has dozens of soldiers guarding the castle, which lets us know just how important he is. Without them the world might feel empty.

They also show us how strong the opposing side is. The Ninja Turtles are able to take down a dozen foot soldiers in a single scene without breaking a sweat. The dark emissary after the kings life is able to infiltrate the castle without being detected by any of the guards. Clearly these special, unique characters are no match for the poor toadies. Only someone equally powerful can stop them.

Minions in RPGs

Minions are important in roleplaying games because they make the players feel powerful. They are a common theme and all roleplaying games handle minions differently. Personally, I have never been completely satisifed with the way minions work in a lot of games. Let’s take a look at some other games, then look at how Librium handles it.

Dungeons and Dragons , 4th edition had special rules for minions. Minions have 1 HP meaning as soon as they’re hit, they die. Some attacks in 4e still deal damage on a miss, so there is a specific rule exempting minions from this damage. Still, having 1 HP means they they’re either alive or not and it makes tracking them significantly easier. However, it does offer the drawback of knowing when you see 8 of the same monster type you know they only need to be poked to die.

 "An even challenge against four level 1 players is 32 kobolds. averaging 50% accuracy (Assuming 14 AC and +4 to hit), the kobolds deal an average of 2 damage each per round, or 64 damage in one round. Other editions of Dungeons and Dragons do not have special rules for minions. All enemies have full stat blocks, armor class, hit dice, hit points, etc. This is all well and good, but it presents a problem with which I could not cope. Not knowing they are facing a weak monster, a player may spend one of their more valuable resources, such as a spell slot or long rest action, to deal a minimal amount of damage. Anything that is “overkill” is lost.

A recent adventure sent my party of four against 8 goblins with other enemies mixed in. Goblins have 7 hit points on average and more often than not, my players were doing 5-6 hit points with an attack. Goblins also deal full weapon damage with their attacks (1d6+2), so they are able to overwhelm the party pretty quickly, especially when supported by bugbears and ogres.

 

In Feng Shui, Mooks have weaker defenses and deal less damage, but are knocked out immediately with a successful attack. There are even special “schticks”, or talents, that allow characters to take out multiple mooks at a time. From my experience with this game it falls victim to the same problem as D&D: It takes all of your effort for the round to take out a single mook and any additional effort you spend on that mook is lost.

Librium Pawns

In Librium I hope to make things easier both on the Architect and the players. Certain lesser-level monsters are flagged as Pawns. Pawns have no conviction score; If their endurance is exhausted they are immediately incapacitated. They also share the same health pool with each minion contributing a certain number of health to the pool. If a minion takes a hit that drops the health pool a threshold, the minion is incapacitated. This means no damage is lost.

Let’s look at an example. A group of 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons adventurer’s are fighting two bugbears (30 HP each) and eight goblins (1 HP each). The rogue, who has high damage single target attacks, only wants to fight the bugbears. He does everything he can to ignore the goblins knowing he can only deal 1 damage to them, even though his average damage potential is 25. The wizard will do what she can to hit as many targets as possible knowing that the more targets she hits, the more minions she can eliminate. The ranger will want to focus on the bugbears as well since his damage per hit is very high, despite being able to multi-attack.

For Librium, the rogue and the ranger are not punished for targeting minions. Each goblin contributes 10 endurance to their health pool (80 total). The rogue stabs a goblin, dealing 25 damage (55 HP, 7 goblins left). That goblin drops. The mage casts fireball and hits a hobgoblin and 3 goblins for 10 damage each. (25 HP, 4 goblins left). The ranger fires an arrow at two separate goblins, dealing 7 damage each and dropping both of them (11 HP, 2 goblins left). Whichever goblin takes damage next will fall.

No damage is lost using Librium. The Architect only needs one card to track eight NPCs.  In addition, I encourage Architects to have any remaining pawns surrender or flee if their endurance pool hits 0. For example, if the wizard were to deal 20 damage to 4 goblins at once, the remaining 4 would be so awestruck by the devastation that they wouldn’t want to stick around.

What do you think? I’d love feedback on this. I’m sure it isn’t completely unique, but I am very pleased with it and my limited playtesting shows it works rather well. Leave a comment below.

Librium – Species Spotlight: Kobold

Kobolds are malicious, cruel, xenophobic, reptilian humanoids. They hate almost every other intelligent creature, especially earthen such as dwarves, gnomes and goblins. Cowardly and weak in nature, they will only attack with overwhelming odds or with trickery, such as traps and ambushes. They are unintelligent and live in communal underground caverns where they dig holes, attempting to uncover shiny objects. They communicate through a dog-like yapping, often expressing anger and displeasure with each other.
Weak in both spirit and body, a single kobold can be easily dispatched by even a child, though in great numbers they can prove a nuisance to novice adventurers. They have no significant culture or society, though they do carve crude meaningless drawings in their cavern walls. Continue reading