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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

World of khaas website

I've received an email or two about the worldofkhaas.com website going offline.  I know its happened and will take steps to remedy it.  More likely than not I will integrate this information into the arduin.com website.

I know this transition could have been handled more gracefully but its too late for that.  Feel free to post any comments here, scathing or otherwise.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Enjoying the weekend

I hope everyone is having a safe memorial day!  I'm enjoying the weekend myself though I stay away from barbeques after the last one ended in a big fire...soooo playing games, chasing my daughter, relaxing, knocking a few things off my endless list...yeah, those are kicking it this weekend.

Just for trivia's sake, anyone know that the Arduin calendar has events just like this?  Think you can name them?


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

When the story trumps mechanics

For me, this answer to this question is pretty much always.  However I recognize its also a GM choice.  I like it when the story drives the game instead of the mechanics.  They are important but should bend if the story demands it.  Frequently it happens the other way around, where a crucial act is determined by a dice roll.   I'm not adverse to that as long as it doesn't derail the story.

Monday, May 21, 2012

ELs and general questions about AE


I’ve fielded lots of question about Arduin Eternal (AE) over the course of its development and even more after its release.  A common question/complaint has revolved around the why ELs (experience levels) were removed from the game.  The outcry seems to hinge around a couple of topics, some more legitimate than others.  

Previous iterations of Arduin revolved around ELs because, frankly, the games Arduin grew out of used them.  They were a measure of power, of durability (how long you played), and were a core mechanic in the gaming system.  They were the levels of achievement to measure off and the roadmap of improvement.  The growth from greenhorn to veteran and to legend was measured out in the slow (or fast) ascension from EL 1 to EL 2, 3, 4, 10, 20, and beyond.   It was effective but too integral at the same time.  It quickly became the focus instead of the game play.  EL 5 is better than EL 1 and EL 10 is better than EL 5 and if EL 10 is greater than EL 20 is grander; only EL 30 could trump them all and beyond that EL…anyone who has observed or played MMORPGs will quickly note this fact.  The journey of progression and growth from EL 1 to EL infinity is lost in the footrace to the top.  It’s so evident in so many ways it’s almost painful.  

Also, totally off topic, but look up MMORPG in the urban dictionary, and read the definitions for MMORPG like:  “a treadmill that makes you fatter” and “…perfect for people who are too slow for Counter-Strike and with no friends or imagination for role playing” just gets me to laughing…

Back on topic, Arduin Eternal combats the “race to the top” by removing the use of EL as a core mechanic.  Instead of balancing the game off of a scaling single value, Arduin Eternal uses the values hidden under the hood of EL.  Most EL-driven (or level if that’s more comfortable) games also use a holistic and mechanical advancement system.  Holistic advancements means iterating from EL 1 to EL 2 provides a benefit to all the values hidden within.  If EL is an umbrella for saves, attack/defense bonuses, access to powers/skills/spells/goodies (etc), bonuses to starting attributes, or other mechanics, then it’s holistic.  Compleat Arduin (CA) and the Arduin Adventure (AA) used this mechanic, for instance.  

Don’t be fooled by games that provide pools of resources as EL are gained.  With a few exceptions these games feature holistic advancement or hybrid holistic advancement.    They seem individualized but are not.  And don’t be confused by the window dressing.  Individuals of the same level and similar configuration will have a tight pattern of resources at their disposal.  Two EL 8 Thieves from the CA, for instance, with equal attributes will have the same amount of resources mechanically.  Use similar grading for your own favorite system:  If you cloned two people so the attributes were the same, EL was the same, their archetype was the same (profession, class, etc.) -- do they look alike within close variance?  If so, the game is probably holistic.

Right.  So how is AE different?  Well, let’s see.   It uses an individualized advancement system.  Not just one but actually two of them acting in parallel.  One of the advancement systems is driven by game events and player choices in game.  This allows role playing to directly influence mechanics.   If your hardbitten, crusty warrior spends the evening wining and dining instead of swinging his sword and shield butting people in the face,  he’ likely get better at it.   I say likely because it’s not automatic.  Just because you utilized interpersonal skills in game doesn’t mean they automatically advance but it does mean you will get the “chance” for them to advance.  Advancement systems of this sort are nominative, meaning that performance of some kind nominates a game mechanic into the advancement system.  Also, in AE, this advancement is failure possible.  In its basic sense, AE uses a d100 roll against a difficulty of your current value.  If you don’t attain this threshold you don’t advance.  I’ll give an example.

Our tough warrior spent the evening smoozing, using his Social skill left and right.  This game action nominates the Social skill for advancement.  At the end of the night when the GM asks people to check for advancement he makes this advancement check.  His current skill ranking is 7.  His chance of seeing some advancement is high (93%).  Rolling an 8 or higher means he’ll see some increase.  Should he roll less than this, however, he would not.  So while the skill was nominated, it can fail.  As skill ranks increase chances to succeed decrease.  If you charted it, it would be a bell curve.

The second advancement system is an individualized option system.  Gameplay is rewarded nightly or by story arc (depends on the GM) with experience (EPS).   Usually 1-3 EPS is given, which can be saved or used by the player to gain secrets, buy advancement bonuses, trade for skill points and basically tailor your character.  Let’s say our tough warrior didn’t make his advancement roll.  He could use his EPS to buy skill ranks and advance the skill anyway.

“How do I tell how powerful my character is without levels?!!?”  has been a frequent outcry.   The ability to say with a certain level of smugness that you have a 50th level mage or EL 30 Warrior carries with it a sense of confidence that’s hard to give up.  People know hearing you say it that the character is powerful, unique and “important”.  Even if you juiced them up to that point, it still gets a reaction out of your audience.  The AE equivalent is to say you are genius or legendary instead.  A character with legendary secrets (not skill) is truly legendary , since it takes the investment f hundreds of EPS, and consequently games to get there.  In my personal group, one player is just now ascending to legendary status, and that after 332 games and nearly 3 years of real time.  It has been a long, beautiful road  and they are as truly bad ass as that EL 30 or EL 50 from previous games.

Another outcry has been from GMs, who use ELs to “balance” an adventure for their players.  Granted, to a point everyone does this, especially for one-shot or convention games where the players are unknown and your snapshot of time is short to play in.  Outside of the above and perhaps a few other unique situations, its more akin to wrapping your players in bubble wrap.  I’ve previously released methods to do the same thing, using EPS as a mapping tool.  A little digging should recover it in the blog.  I’m not a fan, however, of doing this.  I find it unnecessary.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

MAPS and Modules:

The map of Chorynth is in its final stages at the artist.  We are working on choosing a printer now.  The Chorynth map is clearly suitable for ALL FRP or other game systems.

The main continent map on Khaas as you may well know has been started.  It has been laid out and the painting of it has begun, estimate of completion is unknown.  The size of this map is huge - It is being painted 34.25 x 45 inches.  We hope to print it on this size (1 or two pieces - unknown at this time).  It will be painted in a similar fashion to the map of Chorynth.

The Window of the Mother module is being laid out and art is in the middle stages (though we dont anticipate art being a major hangup).  The Window of the Mother is a small module based out of Falohyr.

Other modules in near final written stages include at least 1 or 2 for Chorynth.

Here is a very small taste of the UNFINISHED map of Chorynth:

 


All orders in house are being delayed about two to three days as our bank changes over to a different one.  Our bank was bought out by another bank and the transition started yesterday and should be complete by Monday or Tuesday.  Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.  -EC
Check out these guys - cool Gnome Wars stuff!

They also have a great look at prepping and painting Emperors Choice skeletons!



Friday, May 18, 2012

Arduin and Rifts

I was chatting with a friend who still enjoys a frequent Rifts game.  It was fun to talk about the good old days and reminesce about how close the two were in so many ways.  Arduin and the world of rift definitely saw some crossover.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Common martial animals

Someone asked recently if khaasian martial arts had a set of animals that hey referred to like we do with our earthly martial styles.  Indeed they do.  A similar philosophy was used in the martial styles born on the second continent prior to its sinking.  The common animals were (not an inclusive list):

Thorg
Quarl
Oron
Simbuldein
Spider
Wobra
Dragon
Scorpion
Wyvern
Manticore
Pybra

Each of these represented beasts that the old styles saw as "noble" or worthy of emulating.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Diablo III

I love it.  It came in for my birthday.  Jumping in (once I update a million drivers to make it work...).

Sigh.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Down in the Pits

A reference to the undercity area of the Arduin town of the Quarries.  Its a still growing thing,  in its infant stage.  It has a few disreputable places of growing infamy, such as the Slaughter Pits, a charnel house restaurant.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

NEWS:

EC has started to add some pictures with racial descriptions for the races of Arduin (with descriptions and some of the art pulled directly from Arduin Eternal).  Some of the pictures didn't make the cut parts of some them did.  Check em out to help flesh your game out. 

quick link:
http://empcho.bizhosting.com/arduin_races_1_photo_page.html

This is a work in progress and it has just started.  Other stuff to follow.

We are knee deep into completing the map of Chorynth and some module material for it.

The long awaited continent map has been started (painted for a poster).

Friday, May 11, 2012

PER checks and acute senses

A question was asked about PER checks when a racial option provides an ability where you can detect within a TD range, such as anything of TD 300 or less or something similar one.
How it works is pretty straight forward.  Anything below the stated threshold (TD 300) for instance is automatically detected if vulnerable to the stated sense.  So if the sense was sight then you would detect things vulnerable to sight.  Something that can only be detected via hearing wouldn't though you would have your normal chances to detect it.  As you do when TD are greater than your listed threshold.   Which begs for an example.
Lets say you are normally +78 PER but have acute hearing for TD 300 or less.  This means you could track someone by hearing in a crowded bazaar separating out the voices and noise of it everything around you.  Where it would not help is when glancing a document with hidden visual.clues.  or diving a secret door.
It could help.with ambush though.  Generally speaking the chance to detect an ambush or weather the effects of the ambush are based on PER.  Hearing and smell, when used to detect ambush are TD 100 worse.  So if I set an ambush with a combat of 140, the person with enhanced sight or hearing will detect it, ie 140 + 100 = 240 versus the auto TD 300 detection.  However the detection won't be until you are on the edge of or right in the ambush zone.  This differs from detection using the combat skill.  It will tell you where a good ambush site exists (TD 75) if one is set up there if you beat the ambush TD.  Detecting the ambush means you see it before you enter in to it potentially so distance or advantage away (depends on the GM).

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Attack magik and such

Its funny that this topic came up in conversation.  Or, rather in email.  In speaking to a new fan on the topic of Latin they asked why there was so few attack spells.  They had went on to say that they were going to have to convert a some of their favorites to feel like their was a good spread of powerful attack spells available.

I can honestly say I'm not surprised.  When first considered the balance of Latin in the game I went for a relatively even spread with a lean towards having more utility magic than attack magik.   The reasoning is simple.  Most people have no problem devising or converting attacking magik from other systems.  More often the utility magic or your non attack or defense styled magic was the most often missing in magic systems.

To combat this I wanted a good foundation of this style of magic for people to see how to construct it and to provide more capability in the magic spectrum beyond dozens of attack and defense magic. 

Of course for those that find that the balance insufficient they can convert old favorites like gent that emailed me.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Blood Curse


This cursed place is as much a part of history as it is a place in the land. Aveldans revere this place with a dark intensity and speak of its only sparingly. Even then, this is spoken of only in the greatest of curses or oaths. It harks back to the great Amazon Warrioress Omphalea, also called the Mother of Five Battles. In 331 BCY Boruumahr, she returned home from a victorious campaign against the invading nomads in the north only to find her steading nothing but burnt wreckage and her seven daughters hanging from ropes tied to the center beam. Her fury was boundless—as great as her sorrow and lust for vengeance. Overpowered by a great outpouring of spirit and fire, Omphalea uttered the first horrible words to this fell curse, each falling from her lips like cursed thorns to blight the blood of the soil underneath her feet. With each daughter’s name she proclaimed for vengeance, the ground darkened, and with crawling tendrils expanded until the last cogent and horrible part of the curse was spoken. At its end, the ground was like blood and formed a cursed blight on land where no seed could take root. Omphalea too was not untouched: Her eyes were the color of the soil and her voice a whisper screamed from a deep void. Fearful of her but bound by love and duty, her sisters did not abandon her then or later as she swept from the ruins of her home to slay those who had taken her scion and life. Her end was as tragic as her daughters, as the calling on such powers calls upon a great price, one that devoured her mind, body, and soul before its course was ended. Thus was the first Blood Curse sworn in Avelda, soiling the ground where it was sworn, tainting it forever to a sanguine hue.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

List of Weapon Classes

This was requested by email, a list of the weapon classes.  So, here we go!


  • Pole Arms. Pole arms such as the Halberd, Pole Axe, and Glaive.
  • Spears. Spears and hand held thrusting pole arms such as the Short Spear, Long Spear, Yari, Pike, Trident.
  • Missile Pole Arms. Javelin, throwing spear, and pila.
  • Two-Handed Impact arms. Two-handed blunt weapons such as the Maul, 2-hd Flail, or 2-hd War Hammer.
  • Maces and Clubs. Maces and hand held impact weapons such as the Hammer, Pick, or Club.
  • Two-Handed Blades. Two-handed bladed weapons such as the 2-hd Sword, 2-hd Axe, Daito, Bastard Sword, Claymore, and Flamberge.
  • Long Blades. Long bladed weapons such as the Broad Sword, Saber, Estoc, Tulwar, Falchion, Rapier, and Scimitar.
  • Short Blades. Short bladed weapons such as the Short sword, Cutlass, Dagger, Kukri, Dagger, Katar, Bagh Nakh.
  • Heavy Throwing Arms. Tomahawk, Chupa, Martiobarbuli
  • Light Throwing Arms. Knife, Dagger, shuriken, darts, boomerang, grenade, etc.
  • Impact Bladed. Axes and axe-like weapons such as the Hand Axe, Battle Axe, or Jhang.
  • Flails and Chains. Chains and Flails and chain like weapons.
  • Bows. Bows such as the shortbow, longbow or horsebow.
  • Crossbows. Crossbows, including the pellet bow, light, heavy, and 4-shot.
  • Slings. Slings of all stripes, regardless of ammunition.
  • Firearms. All firearms.
  • Claws. Weapons strapped to or held close to the hands. Cestus, Bagh Nakh, Katar, etc. Also covers natural claw weapons.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Warrior Profession Q & A

After receiving a few notes here and there about Warriors, I wanted to consolidate the questions and answers in a single location.  None of these change anything within profession.  They do, however, clear up a couple of confusing areas.  Also, the below list is only the ones I have received questions on.  If you have additional questions about other profession options, please post in the comments section and I'll answer and update this post.

In Profession Options

  • Dirty Fighter - You gain the Street Style martial art, ignoring its prerequisites. This doesn't mean you gain them, just that you ignore them.  
    • You only ignore the prerequisites to learn the martial art, but not the prerequisites of any of its secrets.  To gain those secrets, you'll need to meet the requirements.
  • Favored Weapon -allows you to add your WITS score to one of CF, ATK or DEF.  
    • If you take this option and apply it to CF, note the adjustment in full. The option cannot lower the CF of the WEAPON any lower than zero. However, if the WEAPON is penalized for some reason, you can use any excess bonus to adjust the CF penalty of the weapon against this additional penalty.
    • The bonus is skill based and not part of the weapon or its bonuses.  It can only be negated if your Warrior profession skill is negated or rendered powerless. 
  • Power Packed Swings - Please remember it requires 25 or greater skill ranks in the weapon, not total bonus.  This includes weapon classes/groups as well.
    • To gain the benefits of a "power packed swing", it has to be a weapon that you can apply a BODY damage bonus. Thus, it doesn't work with a bow unless its a power bow capable of applying BODY damage or a firearm.
    • You can apply this to the damage of Martial Arts styles WEAPONs as long as you can apply a BODY damage bonus.
  • Take a Path -This takes both profession options if you select it.  Also, calculate your skill ranks and skills for the Warrior Profession prior to taking your Path.
  • Trained Beginner -  If you took the Weapons Group election, the advancement bonus applies to the weapons group (instead of weapons class like it says).
  • Weapons Trained - The bonuses listed are bonuses, not skill ranks.  So if you took the +20 election, its a +20 bonus to that weapons class, NOT 20 skill ranks in that weapons class.

In  Profession Skill

You average your core skills to determine your profession skill.  If you leave your profession for a path or even another profession and return, you recompute your profession skill based on any changes that have occurred.  This means that you could leave your warrior profession to be a gladiator, spend time there and then return to being a warrior and see your warrior profession skill go up when you return.

Secrets

  • Abandonment -  The secret works with melee and missile weapons. This category includes firearms, laser weapons and other weapons whose use depends on your physical capability to deliver damage.
    • Abandonment includes any defensive or offensive capability you gain, even if secrets or powers provide them. So if you use the Guard skill and All-Out Defense while using the Abandonment secret to lower your DEF, you would not gain the bonuses it provides to DEF.
  • Follow Through - The additional attack is a normal attack and cannot be modified by a secret or other ability beyond normal.
  • Irresistible Blow - Some people have believed this secret duplicates the Secret Attack secret under the Combat skill. They are related but differ in important ways.  
    • They have different prerequisites.
    • Irresistible Blow builds on Mighty Blows which builds on Dismember.
    • Irresistible Blow requires a normal & quickened action. It cannot be Dodged, Parried, Stopped, Eluded, Blocked, etc. if you connect. This is in contrast to Secret Blow which only prevents Dodge, Parry, & Block actions. For example, some martial arts provided a reverse or redirect ability versus attacks: Irresistible Blow would prevent these from working while Secret Attack would not.
    • Irresistible Blow adds the bonus +1 for every 3 Warrior skill ranks to rolls on the critical success chart.
  • Momentum Strike - The additional attack gained is a standard attack and cannot employ a secret or other action along with it.
  • Parting Blow -This secret applies only to enemies that quit fighting you in melee combat and does not apply to missile weapons, either ones you use or that others are using against you.
    • Disengagement is more than switching from attacking you to attacking another person. The foe  must stop fighting you and retreat or move away to engage another foe. The movement must be at least enough to move out of the normal range of your weapons; you gain the chance to attack as they move away, treating the attack as an interrupt action.
    • If they engage and disengage more than once, you gain this attack each time they do it.
    • Your disengagement from them does NOT give you the attack.  You gain the attack by exploiting their weaknesses.  They must disengage from you.