Saturday, July 19, 2014

Japanese Style Combat

Okay, so I'm still cogitating over how to do a good Robotech style mecha game.  One thing which I need is mechanics for what I call "Japanese Style Combat".  It seems to me that in most samurai, mecha, and other anime stories the combat has a particular style.  Offense and maneuver are everything and defense (in the sense of armor) is nothing.

Before I go on, let me lay out the opposite, let's call it "Western Style Combat".  This style seems to focus on offense and defense, with maneuver being a minor consideration.  An example being a bar brawl where the two fighters stand there trading blows and taking hit after punishing hit.  You're badass because you can dish it out and you can take it.  A big part of being a combatant is that you can take a lot of damage and still come back strong.  This is rather like D&D, where there is minimal maneuver and a lot of trading blows until somebody runs out of hit points.

But in Japanese Style Combat damage is wicked deadly and armor is mostly a fashion statement.  Thus maneuver is critically important to avoid being hit at all.  (Check out this video on YouTube for an example of "Japanese Style Combat" with a scene from Macross.)  And damage seems to come in three levels: the nick, the critical wound, and the killing blow.
  • A nick is a very minor, essentially cosmetic wound which can score you psychological points, be the drawing of first blood, or (in large numbers) make you look like you've been through hell.  But the nick has no actual effect on the victim.
  • A critical wound is major damage, like a limb lopped off or a pierced lung.  The victim isn't dead but they are seriously impaired and will die soon with out major medical care.  Someone with a critical wound can still act for a little while (in RPG terms a few rounds) but is probably a goner.  They are usually literally bleeding all over the place in spectacular fashion.  A good example is the club fight scene in Kill Bill where she takes on the Crazy 88s and chops off arms and legs right and left.
  • The killing blow is just that, a hit which kills instantly.  The victim may live just long enough for one brief, minor action like pressing a button or uttering a curse, but that's about it.
I don't see an easy way to implement Japanese Style Combat with games which use hit points, particularly ones where a character continues to gain hit points over time.  I think it needs more of a skills based system with lots of maneuver skills and opposed rolls, and discrete wound levels corresponding to the three levels above.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Some Random House Rules for Traveler

Okay, so our bi-weekly Castles & Crusades game was pre-empted by a massive thunder and lightning storm which took out the power in my neighborhood last night.  A couple of the dudes showed anyway and we hung out and chatted and snacked by candlelight for a bit before calling it a night. So while I waited for the power to come back on I had some time to think.

At first I was mostly thinking about how it's usually around hour six of a blackout that the roving bands of mutants appear and come after your canned goods.  But then I started mulling over how to run a sci-fi campaign.  So when the lights came back on (uncomfortable close to that six hour mark) I dragged Traveler off the shelf and hit up the character creation section.  So here are some random house rules for ya.

Enlistment: Just ditch the Enlistment roll.  This rule is sadistic and a simply waste of everyone's time.  Players get to pick whatever the hell career they want.  Optional: if they want to change careers, then they must make an enlistment roll; their reputation may have preceded them.

Survival: This rule is sadistic and a simply waste of everyone's time.  Instead of death failure here now means you've suffered some major catastrophe but aren't dead.  (But no, that which does not kill you does not make you stronger.)  Roll 1d6 and subtract 1 (permanently) from the corresponding characteristic: 1 = STR, 2 = DEX, 3 = END, 4 = INT, 5 = EDU, 6 = SOC.

Basic Service Skills: you should learn one basic skill per career, so...
Navy -- Vacc Suit 1 or Ship's Boat 1
Marines -- Vacc Suit 1 or Rifle 1
Army -- Vehicle 1 or Rifle 1
Scouts -- Vacc Suit 1 or Survival 1
Merchant -- Vacc Suit 1 or Broker 1
Other -- Streetwise 1 or Carousing 1

Reenlistment: Optional, unless you suffered a Survival failure, in which case you may not be quite the person you were before.

Also, I don't really like the set of weapons they have in Traveler for the Blade and Gun categories, mostly because they feel too dated for me for some reason (shotguns are for hillbillies, not futuristic adventurers).  Here are my revised "modern" lists.

Knife: 8+/3-/2D
Hatchet:  8+/3-/2D
Machete: 9+/5-/3D
Katana: 10+/5-/4D
Chainsword: 12+/8-/5D

Laser Pistol: 9+/7-/3D
Laser Rifle: 10+/6-/5D
Laser LMG: 8+/4-/5D
Gauss Heavy Rifle: 12+/7-/6D
Grenade Launcher: 10+/7-/7D
Missile Launcher (shoulder-launched): 10+/7-/10D

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Journal of Katherine, Entry 53

Preparation.  To travel into the heat, we arm ourselves with light clothing, food, and water bags.  We are apprehensive about the trip.  How to use the mirror?  Is it witchcraft?  How do we get back?  How do we find our way back to the portal?  Do we have enough water?  We assure ourselves about each question, and while as a group, we all have answers, but individually, we do not.  I especially am not convinced the travel is possible without witchcraft.  When all is said, we just trust each other.

Before we leave, I again chant my prayer and draw my rune on the floor.  It glows.  I almost lift off my feet as the energy flows into me.  I turn to the others, and ponder: are they enthusiastic like I am?  I last look at Trevor and say to him:  do you feel it: the emotion, the wonder, the bliss?  He must, since he is a member now.  But he doesn't answer, and then I add, "this is the best feeling, ever!"

An awkward moment passes, then Trevor gets out the four rings and remembers the one to operate the portal with the scene of the desert.  Trevor is the first to step through, then me, Brute, Ohm Uri and Kull.  I am in the desert.  The trip is done before I can blink my eyes.  It does not feel like we traveled far, yet, we are no longer in the attic of the mansion that I dislike so much.  We are now in a foreign, hostile land.  Trevor tells us about an uneasy feeling that if he dies in here, the rest of us will not be able to return by the portal.  That will not happen, if I can help it.

We trudge through the sand, following Brute's innate direction sense.  Step after step, the same scene, sand, sand, and sand.  Sand everywhere.  My mind wonders to Keith, my friend that I lost.  He once said that many find it difficult to work sorcery, yet it was easy for me.  But it has caused me some pain.  But it gives me such a rush, however.  I look again out, nothing more than sand.  I look to the right, and then to the left, and then where we came from.  All the same, sand. 

My mind wanders again, just like my legs feel like we are wandering over the sand, from nowhere, to nowhere.  I remember my first teacher of the divine.  He saved me from the streets when I was young.  An old man he was when I knew him.  He carried with him two glass pieces that he used to read.  He taught me to read, too.  Although he taught me the principles of the Light, he did not show me how to pray for intervention.  Again, that does not come easy for some, but for me, it has.  He also had other metal devices that he used to guide us when we traveled.  I was never good at those for it required memorization.  If he could be here now, Brute may learn something... 

Trevor grabs my arm and points to the distant city.  I try to focus on it, instead of my memories.  He states, rather smugly that he is correct.  I look at Trevor.  A feeling of dread washes over me.  I feel so terrible.  Trevor is doing whatever I ask of him.  He is so cheerful and full of energy.  He also took the vows of my faith.

We all travel slow, and the temperature is hot.  I try one of my early prayers to shield me from the heat, but it does not work like Trevor's freshening cantrips.  He has more enthusiasm, determinism, and resilience than Brute or Kull, on this trip.  How does he do it?  We press on all day, not stopping for anything.  Normally we would stop for Trevor, but he does not need to rest.  But we drink.  And drink.  The water will not last for more than a day, at the speed we drink it.  I have a plan for the water. 

Finally, we stop for the night.  I state to the others, that we will have water soon.  With complete mastery, I focus on the sorcery energy and summon a force in the air.  I bend it to make a dish, the size of a small table and set it in place.  I test it to make sure it stays without concentration.   Next, I call to the Light, to bring water, to rain from my hands, so that the drips are caught in the dish and suspend over the dry sand.  Quickly, the dish fills.  When full, I reach down into the water, cup it and splash it on my face, and drink.  It is very refreshing, pure, and clean.  I mention to the others to fill their water bags.  Then they can wash the grime of travel away.

With most of the water gone and the dish still floating over the sand, the setting sun's beam catches in the water and I see the colors of the rainbow.  For food, dried meat, dried fish, and dried stuff.  Yuck!  If this place is not dry enough.

Then night comes quickly.  An array of stars shine in the night, much more than the night sky of Aden.  My old teacher taught me the names for groups of the stars, and with his tools he recorded numbers and compared to numbers from previous days.  To me, it is magic, magic that I could not learn.

The others begin resting, while Trevor and I prepare for the first watch.  The first day finishes with no trouble.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Review: D&D 5th Edition (basic rules)

Okay, so like many (many) avid gamers I downloaded the new basic rules for Dungeons & Dragons this Thursday and began reading.  My overall impression is that they took 3rd Edition, added some good ideas from 4th Edition, and then simplified some things to keep it "basic" as a nod to the very early editions.  If you're a 3E or Pathfinder fan you'll probably like it; it's an interesting new take on those rules.  If you're a 4E fan you'll be pleased to see the 4E ideas they included, but it does not have the powers-based classes of 4E.  And if you're an early editions/OSR fan you probably won't like it because it's clearly 3E based.  The two biggest changes from 3E/Pathfinder are the way spells are prepared and cast, and the addition of resting (the Short Rest and Long Rest).

The first thing I noticed is that the Basic Attack Bonus of 3E is gone and replaced with a generic Proficiency Bonus.  This is added not only to attack rolls but most other rolls.  It's simple and reminds me a bit of the way 4E adds to skill rolls based on character level.

For abilities they include most of the popular methods for generating ability scores (die rolls, arrays, and point-buy).  I was pleased to see that with point-buy you are limited to a max of 15 and a minimum of 8 in any one ability.  However, any racial bonuses are added on top on this so you can start with a final score higher than 15.  But at least the 8 minimum prevents the notorious "dump stat" phenomena.    Also the overall maximum score for any stat is 20, ever.  I'm glad to see that they imposed limits to avoid the sort of ridiculous min-maxing I abhor.

Yes, they're explicitly including the tiers from 4E.  I never really got to play a proper campaign with 4E but the idea of tiers always appealed to me as a design approach as a DM.

The basic rules have only the cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard.  This is clearly a nod to the OSR crowd but there are mentions of other classes in here.  You can be sure that we will eventually see all our old favorites.  D&D is a class-based game and I like players to have plenty of options.  The rules include Quick Build notes for each class, which will be particularly handy for beginning players.  Starting skills are limited to picking two out of about a half-dozen.  There are less skills overall than in 3E, which is fine with me, and it looks like the characters will have fewer overall than in 3E.  Each class has equipment you just pick from several choices.  This is great for new players but also avoids the usual agonizing over exactly what to buy.

I won't go into all four classes in detail here but I did read the new cleric carefully because that's my basic go-to class.  Here are some quick notes:
  • Clerics only get three cantrips to start, but they don't need preparation and are not expended when cast
  • Spellcasting is an interesting modification on the 3E "prep and slot" approach.  Clerics still prepare spells, however they prepare a number of spells equal to their level plus their Wisdom modifier.  These can be of any level out of those known by the cleric and need not correspond to the number of casting slots at each level.  However, the cleric is limited by the number of slots as to how many spells of a particular level can be cast before a Long Rest is needed.  So you could prepare four different 2nd level spells even if you only have two 2nd level slots.  Then you can flexibly select from that "pool" of prepared spells for your two castings for the day.  Also, you can use a higher-level slot to cast a lower-level spell--which is a well overdue change.
  • Domains are still here, but are handled a bit differently.  The cleric must pick just one of their deity's domains and stick with it.  Domain spells do not need to be prepared and don't count against your number of daily spell-slot prepared spells.  You only get domain spells at 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th class levels but you get two spells at each of those levels.  Domains also include a set of abilities which are rather like level abilities.  Only one domain (Life) is included in the basic rules.  I like that the domains are strengthened as a feature of the cleric.  Clerics in older editions were almost identical except for differing slightly in "evil" or "good" versions.
  • Channel Divinity replaces Turn Undead and is simpler to use (unlike the versions where you needed die rolls and a chart to figure out the effects).  Channel Divinity can also be used to power a domain effect.  You start with one per day (well, once before a Long Rest) but eventually get to use it three times per day.
  • No 3E style spontaneous casting of heal spells. This was probably done away with because characters get a lot of self-healing after short and long rests (see below).

These are handy sets of tables for quickly and easily generating some personality and background for characters.  As a DM I see these as handy for quickly fleshing out an NPC whom the players have suddenly decided they want to start interacting with a lot.  Also they would be great for those players who really can't be bothered to do character backgrounds.

All characters get a roll on this d100 table.  It provides one quirky item.  Looking down the list I can see as a DM how they all can make for interesting plot hooks later on.

Feats are still in the new D&D, but they are not detailed in the basic rules.  They are considered optional and are laid out in the Player's Guide.

Saving Throws
The 3E approach of WIL/REF/FORT is out (as is the charts in the older editions) and instead we're back to ability based saves.  You roll your die and add the modifier from the appropriate ability, your Proficiency Bonuse from your class level, and possibly a class bonus.  I rather like this because it engages all six abilities instead of just the three in 3E and it's simpler.

5E adds in the Long Rest and Short Rest concepts, borrowing from 4E.  With a Short Rest you can roll your class' hit die for "rest heals", up to a maximum number of dice equal to your current maximum.  So if you are level 5 and have d8 as your hit dies, you have five d8s you can roll as healing dice after each Short Rest.  You may spend one or all after one rest.  You recover the "spent" dice after a Long Rest.  Also, wizards can regain a few lower level spells after a Short Rest.  With the Long Rest a character recovers all (yes, "all") lost HP.  Actually, the Short Rest and Long Rest are probably the two biggest changes from 3E/Pathfinder.

In 5E death comes at a number of negative hit points equal to your maximum hit points.  Thus if a character has 20 HP, they die when they reach -20 HP--but there is also a death save which must be passed if the character is not stabilized promptly.

So overall I like the new D&D rules.  I would be perfectly happy to play them--and I've been talking with my friend Kaiser about doing a playtest session in the near future.  Am I planning to buy it?  Hmm, well I'm heavily invested in Pathfinder (like most of my group) and thus reluctant to chuck it all and start over with something else--particularly if that something else would require a similar monetary investment.  I may buy the Player's Handbook to see what they've done with the various classes.  There are a lot of ideas I like in here.  I definitely want to play a character for at least five levels to see how all the new changes affect play.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Neo School Hack - Some Thoughts on Making Magic Items

One area which was not covered in the original Old School Hack (OSH) rules, probably because it was a beta version, is how characters create magic items.   Now I figure an easy way to handle magic items for OSH is to treat magic items simply as objects with talents and/or attributes, a sort of "inanimate character" one might say.  So you could have a Swashbuckler's Sash which grants the wearer +1 to Daring rolls, or a Parrying Dagger which grants the wielder the Fighter's Parry talent.  An object can have multiple attributes and/or multiple talents.

Each attribute bonus of +1 and each talent could be considered a "level" for the object.  So you add up the "levels" and that's how much work and expense it takes to make that object.  Now, most talents are more powerful than a +1 attribute bonus.  However, many talents are not continuous and thus their power is moderated.  But for simplicity let's just stick with everything being worth one level for now.

Then let's consider that making magic items usually includes materials, rituals/crafting, and possibly tools/equipment.  The materials and equipment can be mundane or magical.  In some cases specifically magical materials or equipment might be required.  But OSH is all about elegant simplicity so we don't want to get bogged down in a lot of detail and record-keeping.  One simple way is just to say that X gold pieces worth of materials and equipment are needed, expended over X days or weeks of crafting, to create an object of X levels.  This approach is simple and also makes it easy for DMs to regulate the ease of creating magic items in a campaign by altering the cost and time required per level.  But a drawback of this approach is that it is rather boring.  It's more like accounting than role play gaming.

I'd like there to be various magic item creation talents, a bit like the item creation feats in D&D 3rd Edition. Having several allows character specialization and adds flavor.  But for simplicity let's just have one generic one for now, Arcanist:

Arcanist/rested-focus: Summoning forces beyond the ken or ordinary mortals you pour magic of your choosing into crafting materials to prepare them for fashioning into an object of arcane power.  Each arcanist performance requires the expenditure of 100 gold coins worth of supplies.

Each level of attribute or talent in the object requires the inclusion of six fully "arcanized" materials.  (I'm just grabbing six here to mirror that there are six talents per class, six domain talents per deity, etc.  This number is adjustable by the GM to fit the desired power level of the campaign.  Six is just easy to remember.)  Special very rare materials, such as mithril, count as two common materials.  Each material must be arcanized six times to "set" the magic into it.  The crafter of the item may arcanize into it any of the six character attributes (Brawn, etc.) but only up to a maximum of a bonus of +6.  The crafter may also arcanize in any talent personally known (GMs may place limits on certain talents).

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Old School Trench

Okay, so I've been laboring along in the background, on and off, on a WWI version of Old School Hack.  I've found it tough going to go from a simple swords & sorcery fantasy game to a modern setting while keeping everything simple.  Here is the intro, the six classes, and some other stuff.

Old School Trench: A Game of WWI Awesomeness
This game is a hack of the excellent Old School Hack rules by Kirin Robinson.  Thanks also to Andrew Shields and his Fictive Hack version of OSH.

The Setting
This game is based in a steampunk/supernatural fantasy version of the First World War in Europe.  War between the Continental Powers rages on the continent itself and in their many colonial possessions.  The shattered landscape is a seemingly endless battlefield littered with trench networks, bunkers, dugouts, barbed wire, poison gas, and corpses.  There are also huge fortresses of concrete and steel, often linked together by tunnel systems.  The heavy use of experimental poison gases created monstrous creatures who roam the landscape and infest the fortresses.  In addition the restless aggrieved spirits of the departed are everywhere, expressing their angst and rage whatever way they can.  Nevertheless the war between the Continental Powers drags on despite massive loss of lives and strategic stalemate.  Dressed in gas masks and clunky metal armor and burdened with equipment, the characters struggle across the terrain and delve into fortresses.

Random Character Motivations (roll 1d10)
1.    It was enlist or go to jail
2.    For the Fatherland!
3.    The enlistment bonus was great.  Too bad that sargeant in the barracks was so good at cards.
4.    Nothing really matters anymore
5.    Your <friend/family member> is missing out here somewhere
6.    It's fun to collect medals (your own or other people's)
7.    You're going to come back a hero or in a box
8.    The sooner you kill all the enemy the sooner you can go home.
9.    I really, really hate ghosts.
10.    All that matters is that we all make it back alive.

There are six classes in Old School Trench.  The Stormtrooper is a heavy infantry soldier specializing in special trench and fortress assault tactics.  They wear the heavy infantrie panzer body armor and lead the attack.  The Colonial Askari is a native from a colony of a Continental Power, trained and equipped as a continental soldier but otherwise retaining most of your native culture.  The Field Chaplain is a servant of the Church; lightly armed they minister to the soldiers and deal with the restless spirits of the dead.  The Sister is a nurse trained by a religious healing order; she heals, deals, and toughs it out in a job few can survive.  The Pioneer is a combat assault engineer, heavily armed and trained in the use of flamethrowers and explosives.

Starting Equipment: Basic kit; Mauser rifle, bayonet, grenades
Signature Item: infanterie-panzer armor
Limitation: Limited training; good with your basic kit weapons, but -1 with all others.

Available Talents:
- DEADEYE delayed attack, usable once per arena
Any delayed attack you attempt to make with a Ranged weapon gets a +2 added to the attack roll if it's not interrupted by the Attack Turn. Outside of combat, as long as you aim for at least a minute at something that you can see, you will always hit it. You can initiate combat this way.
- TOUGH BASTARD constant ability
Getting beat up as often as you do has its advantages. You're tougher than most, and can take more punishment because of it. You start off with seven hit points instead of the usual five. Plus you've usually got some old war stories and a don't-mess-with-me countenance that gives you a +2 on any Charm check when trying to talk someone out of violence.
- WEAPON OF CHOICE constant ability
You've become adeptly familiar with a specific weapon of your choice, and you use it as a natural extension of your body. As long as you are wielding it, all your attack dice are Face Dice. If for whatever reason you take up a new weapon, a week of training will switch your Weapon of Choice to that one.
- TAKE COVER! rested ability
Countless close shaves have taught you how to find safety anywhere.  You make a Daring or Cunning check at +2 to avoid any incoming danger.
- TRENCH FIGHTER. constant.
Any time you roll a 1 on the Face Die, you have pulled a dirty trick on your target. Maybe you hit them somewhere sensitive besides the face, or threw sand in the eyes, etc. Add +2 to hit or inflict +1 Wound, decide after rolling. (You may choose not to use this talent if in a “fair fight” because it violates whatever code of behavior applies.)
- INFILTRATE focused ability, usable once per arena
Despite their name, stormtroopers are actually trained to infiltrate enemy defenses, bypassing strongpoints to strike deep.  If you win a Daring check against an opponent's Cunning you get +2 on your next attack against that foe for out-maneuvering them.

Colonial Askari (a colonial native trained as a Continental soldier)
Starting Equipment: Basic kit; Mauser rifle, bayonet
Signature Item: wicked native melee weapon (player creates)
Limitation: must be native to one of the colonies of a Continental Power (DM option: character can actually be a from the Continental Power but in disguise for some deep personal reason)

Available Talents:
- CHARGER double action, usable once per arena
You're an expert at rushing in to attack. Once for every arena, you can make both a Move action and an Attack action in the same round, with a +2 bonus to the attack.
- NATIVE WEAPON constant ability
You are adeptly familiar with a wicked one-handed melee weapon unique to your native people. As long as you are wielding it, all your attack dice are Face Dice.  Also, brandishing it threateningly gives you a +2 on any intimidate checks against non-Askari.
- TRACKING constant
 Identify who or what was present, and where they went. Add difficulty for elapsed time, rain, difficult terrain, and so on. Can test Awareness to know one important fact about what happened or the state of those making the tracks. Can be opposed with Cunning if those being tracked are attempting to cover their tracks.
- CANNY PREY constant
Either a base Awareness test when none would be allowed, or +2 to a normal Awareness test, to detect traps and ambushes. You also know how to set traps, where they should be, and how they work.
- GHOST STRIKE arena only
Your culture is closer to the spirit world in everyday life.  You know how to strike ghosts and spirits as though they were physical. You can use this with a melee weapon, a thrown weapon, or flame.
- SPIRIT FRIEND focused spell, usable only once after rested
A spirit of a dead soldier has somehow become attached to you.  You can summon it with a few moments of calm meditiation and some kind words.  It appears as a floating light source that follows your commands, including being able to shine as brightly as a torch or as dim as a candle.  It can also guide you towards safety for a short while.

Field Chaplain
Starting Equipment: Basic kit; mace, Luger pistol
Signature Item: Chaplain's bag (holy book, candles, incense, silver holy symbol, etc.)
Limitation: Must adhere to the tenets of the faith at all times

Available Talents:
- TURN UNDEAD focused spell, usable only once after rested
By invoking your god and displaying your holy symbol, you acquire a holy aura around you and those nearby. Any non-Minion undead must test their Daring against your Commitment (at a +2) to be able to attack anyone in your party, while Minions can't attack you at all.  If you remain undamaged for three rounds of concentrating, you can disperse the aura outward, either destroying any one undead or group of minions in the same arena.
- AURAS OF EVIL constant.
Above and beyond simple malevolence in someone's heart, some places, things and people in the world reek of true evil, whether they are touched by fell gods or by demonic taint. You can sense this kind of greater evil by merely taking a moment and focusing, and by taking the time to make an actual Awareness check you may be able to discern the source or nature of the evil if it is disguised.
- BLESS WEAPON focused spell, usable once per arena
You can clutch a weapon and imbue it with divine essence at the cost of a little bit of your health. When touching a weapon, you must declare a purpose for its blessing, whether for something quick or for a long-term goal. Any weapon thus touched does an extra point of damage each time a successful attack is made with it for that purpose, but your character is permanently down a hit point. Once the purpose is reached or is declared unobtainable, the weapon loses its property and you get your hit point back.
- ARMOR OF FAITH constant
Field Chaplains do not wear armor, because faith is their armor.  Gain an additional Awesome Point each time you fight in real danger without armor.
Pray with those faithful to your god for at least 5 minutes, and all of you get 1 Awesome Point. Have a worship service of a full hour, everyone gets 3 Awesome Points.
- ACHTUNG! rested
As a focus action (upgrade to move action), draw the attention of every eye in the area; for a few seconds, everyone stops talking and looks at you. For the next few minutes, your voice will project up to 1 arena in every direction per Commitment rating.

Starting Equipment: Basic kit; Luger pistol
Signature Item: Medical kit (bandages, pills, bottles of medicine, syringe, etc.)
Limitation: Female-only class

Available Talents:
- I'LL BE FINE rested
Each point of Commitment allows you to ignore the fatigue of 1 sleepless night or the hardship of a day without food. When you can sleep or eat again, you catch up 2 points each day you get half of what you need.
- CONFIDANTE constant
 If you can get a target talking, the target will reveal things the target didn’t mean to talk about. Every minute of conversation, test Charm against the target’s Commitment or Cunning. If you win, gain another useful statement or line of inquiry.
- IT'S IN HERE SOMEWHERE special item, usable anytime outside of combat
You have an extra, unofficial bag stuffed with medical supplies.  Take 10 minutes to heal a wounded person for 2 wounds.
Spend a focus action on an unconscious ally (not dying or crippled) to give the ally back a Wound and the capacity to rise and fight on next round. If treating a crippling injury right after the fight (less than 10 minutes after) allow another roll on the critical chart to possibly get less damaging result. Also, spending 1 hour tending the wounded counts as 6 hours of bed rest for the wounded, once between periods of rest. ?effects of spending an AP?
- LIFE OF FAITH rested
Schwester are not expected to follow the strict work of prayer required of monastic nuns, but some have embraced it. When you follow a strict regimen, including prayer at dawn, mid-morning, mid-day, afternoon, and evening, you gain 1 Awesome Point per your level the next morning.
- RESCUE DOG constant
You have a sympathetic, helpful animal companion with Wounds equal to your Commitment. While they are sympathetic, helpful, and more clever than most of their kind, they will not react well to abuse or being exposed to extreme danger while you are safe (unless they volunteer.)  The dog wears a saddlebag type vest for carrying things which is stocked with medical supplies.  The supplies can be used as a Rested action to provide an additional use of Healing Touch; each additional use per day beyond the first requires the use of an AP.

Pioneer (Assault Engineer)

Starting Equipment: Basic kit; flamethrower or MP18 submachinegun
Signature Item: Beilpicke (pioneer's pickaxe)
Limitation: Little experience with regular guns: -2 shooting Mausers or Lugers.

Available Talents:
Either a base Awareness test when none would be allowed, or +2 to a normal Awareness test, to detect booby traps or mines. You also know how to set them, where they should be, and how they work.
- FIRE IN THE HOLE rested;focus action
You can see load-bearing points and weaknesses in structures and machines. Test Awareness to make a plan to bolster or collapse the structure or machine.  Do 2 extra wounds of damage to a structure or machine attacked after a successful application of this talent.
- MR. FIX-IT rested
You can fix it. Whether it is the engine on a tank, the wireless telegraph set, or a malfunctioning Maxim gun, you have the know-how to get it working again. Scale determines time frame; a boat or wall, 1 day per task. A gate or room, 12 hours. Wagon or door, 6 hours. Hinges or wheel hubs, 1 hour. Anything smaller, 30 minutes. Halve times with ideal conditions. Confronted with an unknown device, test Cunning to figure out how it works.
-  I GOT THIS constant
You can carry 1 more Heavy Thing than your Brawn normally allows.
- SACK O' GRENADES focus action/constant item
You have a special sack full of stick-grenades slung under each armpit.  As long as you throw carefully using a focus action you never run out of grenades.
- TUNNEL RAT constant
Your familiarity with them gives you a +2 to Commitment and Awareness checks inside of tunnels, trenches, and fortresses.

In Old School Trench weapons are grouped into classes.  With most weapons you roll 2d10 to attack with it and cause one Wound if successful; some weapons use 3d10, and some do more than one Wound on a hit.  They are also typed as melee, thrown, or ranged.

- Light Weapons (1 point of damage)
Smaller and quicker than other weapons but close ranged.  Using a light weapon allows you to roll 3d10 instead of 2d10, ignoring the value shown on the lowest die. [Examples: Luger (pistol/ranged), knife, sabre, Beilpicke (pioneer's pickaxe), mace, axe]

- Reach Weapons [1 point of damage]
Anything which allows you to keep an enemy at a distance of several feet while you strike [Examples: rifle with attached bayonet, uhlan (light cavalry) lance, long chain, whip]

- Typical Ranged Weapons [1 point of damage]
You attack earlier in the combat order and can attack an opponent in adjacent and far arenas as well as the one you're in. [Examples: Mauser (rifle/ranged), Karabingranate (rifle grenade/ranged)]

- Heavy Weapons [2 points of damage]
More dangerous than most weapons, they do an extra point of damage if you hit. Some are ranged.  [Examples: Maschinenpistole 18 (submachinegun/ranged), Stielhandgranaten (a stick hand grenade/thrown), maul]

- Very Heavy Weapons [2 points of damage (sometimes 4)]
Frickin' big and dangerous weapons, requiring both hands to use.  They also do an extra point of damage; plus, beating an opponent's armor class by 5 or more does two extra points of damage. Some are ranged. [Examples: Flammenwerfer (flame-thrower/ranged), bundle of dynamite (can be thrown), Maxim (medium machinegun/ranged), Field Gun (ranged), aerial bomb]

Weapon Range Table
Luger            Short (~15 meters)
Flammenwerfer    Short (~15 meters)
Dynamite, tossed    Short (~15 meters)
Stielhandgranaten    Medium (~50 meters)
MP18            Medium (~50 meters)
Karabingranate    Long (~200 meters)
Mauser        Very Long (~500 meters)
Maxim            Very Long (~1000 meters)
Field Gun        Very Long (1000+ meters)

Basic Kit (all classes get one free)
Stalhelm helmet, canteen, bread bag, mess kit, gas mask, knapsack, blanket roll, entrenching tool, and a field manual.

- No Armor: AC 8
- Just a Stalhelm (helmet): AC 9
- Infanterie-Panzer (clunky steel body armor, including helmet): AC 12

Other Equipment
Pocket watch
Electric torch (flashlight)
Messenger Pigeon Basket (with 2 pigeons) and bag of seeds
Regimental Battle Flag
Rescue dog (used by medics; wears harness with red cross badge and medical supplies)
Animal gas mask
Box periscope
Whistle on a lanyard
Diary and pencil
Good Conduct Medal
Football (soccer ball)
Hip flask
Playing cards

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Journal of Katherine, Entry 52

My day starts in the usual way, by doing my chores at the usual time.  However, today, I notice something strange with the others here.  Before, they were cherry and outgoing, but now, when I approach, they become quiet - more to themselves.  I suspect rumors of my past has reached them.  But I can hope for the better.

Later in the morning, early for one that enjoys his rest that is, I see one of my friends: Trevor.  A welcomed face to rest my eyes on, far from the suffering of the injured.  My spirit is renewed with energy.  I see him when I am about to talk to my superior about this item, and Trevor invites himself, despite my pleading that he not go.  He insists.  I am in a small room with the two people I never want to meet: my superior, one to look up to for guidance towards matters involving honesty, morality, justice and charity, and Trevor, the one that awoke my forgotten sorcery power and just about the opposite of my superior.  Let me rephrase that.  ... and Trevor, the exact opposite of my superior.

I tell of the dinner, of the request, and how we dealt with the witch and other members of the council, but sticking to the facts.  I leave nothing out, except details about the total amount, and any part with Trevor, unless questions are asked.  There are none.

I also add that I dreamt of it.  Trevor adds that he too has a dream of it, only the item oozed blood.  My superior says that I should go find this item, as a form of atonement.  When I ask of aid from the temple, my superior informs me that because others here do not trust me, they will not go.  I protest.  I only do actions that have a benefit for the Light.  Trevor also protests.  He should be spared this detail of my life.  The decision is made.

I make one more request of a different matter:  have Trevor become a member and true follower of the Light.  At this request, my superior is grateful as followers are always welcome.  I bite my lip hoping that Trevor behaves.  In a short ceremony, it is done.  I almost spontaneously radiate light for I am so happy.  I muster my training to contain the swelling of emotions.  I look down.  I find myself  hiding a reserved smile.  Yes!

After we leave, I am truly grateful of Trevor for his decision.  Then I state that I must try to retrieve the item.  I tell him I want to meet Kalef again.  Trevor is surprised about this, but I have a plan.  Since the decision is to go, we make our way to the market to resupply, specifically things for adventuring to a desert.  Once finished, we start towards the palace, but we happen to find a merchant selling jewelry.  

I stop.  In a flash, my head wonders to years ago, when I would have had a girl's fantasy of trying the items.  More recently, my life was dark, and I could barely find food.  Now, I have plenty of extra coins even after my tithe.  With the fist full of coins, I enter the store.  Now, I can enhance my priestly aura with a silver tiara and simple bracelets.  Trevor, seizing on the moment, points out a gem filled necklace, possibly emeralds, to match my hazel eyes and to my surprise, buys all of these for me, before I could deny his doing.

We have our meeting with the once ruler.  I try to scout his intentions, but he is vague.  I initially state that I accept, but I cannot give him a guarantee.  If I find the item and it is cursed or worse, my beliefs will not allow me to give it to him.  Then Trevor wants more time to decide and he agrees to give an answer in two days.  We take our leave.

We gather at the mansion and prepare to leave through the mirror to the desert.  Brute is his usual sure self.  Kull has a sled packed with items.  He hoists the stuff up the narrow, spiral stairs.  The bumps and noises he makes leave scratches on the walls.  Trevor is here too, ready.  Like expeditions that I read about, I feel a sense of amazement of the unknown, to survive with only our wits.  Once through the portal, we have only a short way to travel to the city of Andough.  I look at everyone, and notice Ohm Uri is not here.  What could he be doing this night?  Earlier this day, I asked if he would go. Without hesitation he replied yes.  We must wait till his return.  

Finally he returns, but he is not his usual self.  We decide to rest before we go.  

I look again at Ohm Uri.  My second view of him reveals something more.  A sight I have not seen in years.  One that my father would wear after being out.  I know the signs.  Ohm Uri has this same look now, one of a conquest victorious.  My intuition tells me it is a woman of power, but who?