d4 Bad Golems

  1. Rusty Needle Golem: Save vs. hepatitis!
  2. Robotic Lion Golem: A.k.a. Voltron
  3. Katamari Golem: Now that’s what I call a sticky situation

d4 Generic Dungeons

  1. Sewers. Hallways are long, straight, wide, and round; a sludge-filled trough runs down the middle of the halls. Pits and vermin are common.
  2. Crypts. Hallways are cramped, but well-worked. Traps, treasure, and undead are common.
  3. Worm tunnel. Footing is uneven and the slope changes frequently and drastically. Burrowing beasts are common, and cave-ins are a constant worry.
  4. Caves. Size of areas is unpredictable, from tunnels you can barely squeeze through to colossal caverns you can’t even see the ceiling of by torchlight. Stealthy predators and dark-adjusted humanoids use the terrain to great effect.

d4 Non-traditional Ways to Choose Political Leaders

  1. Lottery: Leaders are chosen at random from amongst all eligible citizens; leadership is seen as a burdensome civic duty.
  2. Art competition: Leaders are chosen for their culture and vision, as demonstrated through paint or sculpture.
  3. Harvest: Leaders are chosen for their capability to provide for the community, as demonstrated by producing the most bountiful harvest.
  4. Hair color: Citizens with red hair are believed to have been marked by the gods, and are placed in positions of leadership.

d4 Curses to Screw with the Bard

  1. Curse of Pubescence: Voice constantly cracks, afflicted with acne and patchy facial hair
  2. Curse of Sensitivity: Finger tips become incredibly sensitive, any task involving fine motor skills (playing most instruments) is intensely ticklish
  3. Curse of Insignificance: Nobody can remember bard’s name or any of his exploits
  4. Curse of Forgetfulness: Can’t remember words to any songs or poems, nor how to play any instruments

d4 Obstructions keeping a door propped shut

  1. A body slumped against the other side of the door.
  2. An old barricade, hastily erected from whatever furniture was inside the room.
  3. The door is watertight and the room beyond is flooded.
  4. A tree has grown through the cracks in the rocky floor right behind the door.

DWSW: The Corruption of the Dark Side

I’ve given a bit of thought for how I’d use the Dark Side in a Dungeon World / Star Wars game. I’m taking some inspiration from Star Wars Saga Edition, where committing certain acts earns you dark side points and if you get too many your character becomes an NPC.

My system would be fairly similar, as far as getting the points goes. Jedi will get some moves to give them dark side points, for example…

Fear Leads to Anger, Anger Leads to Hate, Hate Leads to the Dark Side

When you use the force in anger or fear, the dark side takes hold of you and you gain a dark side point.

Simple enough. Not really even noteworthy, I suppose. But the Dark Side is supposed to be tempting.

Force Push

When you use the force to shove someone or something, roll+force. On a 10+, you successfully fling your target away. On a 7-9, you may take a dark side point to fling your target; otherwise, you fail to move it.

Probably needs some tweaking. That’s just a quick and dirty proof of concept. So, now we’ve got the dark side points, how do we get rid of them?

Balance the Force

When you spend time meditating to restore your balance with the force, roll+Will. On a 10+, remove 2 unlocked dark side points. On a 7-9, remove one unlocked dark side point and then lock one unlocked dark side point, if you have any left. On a 6 or lower, lock one unlocked dark side point.

A couple things here. First, I’m going to be reworking the traditional 6 stats into Strength, Agility, Toughness, Intelligence, Will, and Presence. Mostly a cosmetic change, but there ya go. There’s also going to be a 7th stat, Force, which only force users have. Second, there’s that concept of locked dark side points. The idea here is that the dark side is truly a corrupting influence, and if you let it get its hold on you you may never be the same. Locked dark side points are basically permanent. You might be able to get rid of them with a particularly heroic sacrifice, but otherwise… Not really.

So what happens when you get too many dark side points?

Fall to the Dark Side

When you accrue 10 dark side points, you fall to the dark side of the force. You must retire your character,who the GM will use as they see fit.

Nasty? Perhaps. However, the player always has control over gaining dark side points. I think the only ones who would actually end up invoking this move are those who specifically want to play a character falling. Otherwise, I see the points being gained infrequently, going up and down, until the PC starts getting 8 or 9 points and then the player probably begins acting like a boy scout. :)

Dungeon World + Star Wars: A Match Made in a Galaxy Far, Far Away…

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m currently on kind of a Dungeon World kick. Coincidentally, I’m also on a Star Wars kick thanks to Fantasy Flight’s excellent Star Wars LCG. And it occurred to me… Dungeon World could be an excellent system for running Star Wars. SW is a setting which I’ve never really felt condensed well down into the typical D&D style of tactical combat and strongly-codified rules. DW could have a more cinematic feel befitting the series.

One of the things that really excites me is that there are so many sources of material for SW fluff. That would often be a pain to translate into whichever game system you happened to be using, but in DW almost anything that’s not written on one of the character sheets can be improvised trivially on the spot.

I’ve got some ideas rattling around in my head already. I haven’t actually played DW yet, though, so that’s probably a good idea before I get into trying to screw with the system and make it into something radically different.

New Beginnings

Happy New Year!

I’m looking forward to bringing Encounter-a-Day back to life in 2013.

I don’t really have any hard goals yet. Certainly the ideal would be to get back to a new post every day, but I suspect I’d fail at that goal very quickly. I guess my first goal is… to just post. When I can, when inspiration strikes, and hopefully more often than never.

New Year’s in Your Game

The transition from one year to the next is entirely abstract and arbitrary. It’s also exciting and meaningful despite that. Here are some things that might happen on New Year’s Eve/day

  • A curse or other magical effect might be set to end at the end of New Year’s Eve.
  • Changes in leadership could be scheduled to occur on New Year’s Day.
  • Most cultures that keep track of years probably have customs for New Year’s. Some common themes for such customs include…
    • Reflecting on the previous year
    • Looking forward to, or praying for luck in, the next year
    • Confessing sins, forgiving wrongs committed against you, in general turning over a new leaf
  • Fae are often concerned with transitions. Dusk and dawn (transitions between night and day), beaches (transition between land and sea), etc. New Year’s could be a ripe opportunity for some faerie mischief.
  • And, of course, parties! When the alcohol is flowing, the music’s playing, it’s a ripe time to make new friends, enemies, and complications.

Dungeon World: Factions

I’m currently reading through Dungeon World. One of the things I really like about DW is the way it codifies things using specific systems and tags. Actually, almost all the GM-specific stuff in DW could be lifted wholesale and used in any other roleplaying game. It’s mostly stuff done behind the scenes the scenes to assist with campaign preparation and improvisation.

One thing that DW seems to be missing is a way of codifying factions (although, to be honest, I haven’t finished reading the book and only barely skimmed the table of contents; it’s conceivable they could be in there, and I’m just making an ass out of myself). So here’s how I’d do factions in DW. Like the other stuff, this could also be easily applied to pretty much any other RPG with no modification at all.


Factions are groups with particular agendas which may work with, or against, the PCs. Societies of assassins, churches, and mercenary groups are examples of factions.

Factions are described by their range, influence, alignment, agenda, and additional tags. Range and influence can be adjusted up or down and can be compared as if the values were numbers.

Agenda: Every faction has an agenda which describes, in simple and broad terms, what it exists to do. “Kill for money.” “Protect the poor from tyrants.” “Preach the gospel of Morheim, Lord of the Northern Winds.”

Alignment: A faction’s alignment determines its modus operandi. Alignments may be somewhat lateral to the faction’s agenda, but should not be completely opposed to it. For example, the church of a good god might have a lawful or chaotic alignment, but shouldn’t have an evil alignment. Also note that the individual members of the organization, even its leaders, can have any alignment, including an alignment opposed to the faction’s own alignment.

  • Chaotic - The faction attempts to achieve its goals in defiance of the established order.
  • Evil – The faction puts its goals aboves all others, and will use any tactics at all to advance them.
  • Good - The faction achieves its goals by spreading goodwill and doesn’t try to cause undue harm or hardship to others.
  • Lawful - The faction achieves its goals through bureaucracy and political machinations.

Range: How widespread the faction, and its influence, reach.

  • Insular - A small wilderness area, a village or keep, a section of a town, or a neighborhood of a city.
  • Local – A large wilderness area, a keep and its attendant villages, an entire town, or a quarter of a city.
  • Provincial - Several wilderness areas and all keeps and villages within them, multiple towns and all nearby villages, an entire city.
  • National - An entire kingdom, a large area consisting of multiple city states, or all the wilderness on an entire continent.
  • Worldwide - The faction’s influence can be felt everywhere, and transcends borders both natural and man-made.

Influence: A description of how many resources the faction can bring to bear within its range. Depending on the nature of the faction, influence can belong to the faction itself or to particular members within it. In the latter case, eliminating those particularly influential individuals might serve to limit the influence of the faction as a whole. Influence can mean favors owed, political offices or military rank held by members, or even blackmail held over powerful individuals.

  • Inconsequential - The faction holds no more power than anyone else. It must either pay the going rates or have its own members do what it wants done.
  • Unimportant - Able to call on small groups of untalented or unimportant people. A street gang, a low-level clerk, etc.
  • Significant – Can mobilize large numbers of untalented people, small numbers of more skilled people, or mid-level bureaucrats.
  • Prominent - Can mobilize armies, multiple squads of skilled soldiers, or landed nobles.
  • Dominant - The faction has influence over anyone for whom it would make sense, up to and including kings.

Additional tags: The following tags provide additional descriptions about the nature of a faction.

  • Affinity - This tag will always include an area or steading which is already within the faction’s range. Within the specified area or steading, the faction gets +Influence.
  • Arcane - The faction is focused on the arcane, and likely includes arcane spell casters in its numbers.
  • Covert - The faction specializes in hiding its true activities. If the faction is not also Secret, it has a ‘public face’ which has little to do with its actual dealings. For example, a messengers guild which is actually a front for a cadre of spies.
  • Divine - The faction has a particular focus on the divine, and likely includes divine spell casters in its numbers.
  • Enmity - As Affinity, except the faction has -Influence.
  • Mercenary - The faction’s services are available for hire.
  • Military - The faction is focused on military strength. Its membership includes a large number of warriors.
  • Secret - The faction’s existence is not common knowledge. The faction may go to extreme lengths to keep its existence secret.

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