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Monday, July 20, 2009

[RPG] Players' Manual Revamp Underway-

Blame groakes, if you like. ;).

Blood is receiving its due integration not only with Character Generation, but Combat and Tests. I am converting my previous game system material to the Classic-Play format, although it is pulling C-P into new territory.
--In brief, one's Sanguine Element (Elemental Blood) becomes the character's tie to the mystical reality which underpins the setting. The references to Alignment in the extant Players' Manual are being fleshed out so that one's Elemental Ruler will eventually have actual interaction as one continues to draw upon their power.

I am also making plans to modify the Spell Construction tables from the prior game to this one, which will eliminate the need for lengthy lists of spells, and their descriptions.

groakes has created a character, Qon Qol Kesh <-'I am wisdom's reflection, a trickster'->; created an insectoid monster using the Life Lab tables; and conducted a combat between the two (QQK narrowly escaped having his head bitten-off by the bug). In his e-mail, he also made use of impromptu uses for Blood, which has led to this resurgence of a fuller application of that mechanism.

Hi K - below is the account of the combat between Qon Qol Kesh (with 2 fightdice and two focus points) and the K'Kik K'Ree. A couple of questions which I couldn't find answers to in the published rules:

1. What is the Terminal Threshold (is it Physique + leverage 2M?); and
2. How is damage apportioned across hit locations?

Apart from that, it was quick and brutal. Just the way it should be. I DO like a system tha forces players to look at options beyond hack and slash and I DO think that this system will do that.

On another tangent, I also "made up" a use for the Blood Element. In the description below, Qon Qol Kesh Focuses his Blood Element to sense what is happening in his surroundings. In this case, he creates some smoke which he then picks up some snensations from the waiting K'Kik K'ree. Nothing solid, but just, if you like, an increased awareness of his surroundings.
Anyway, here's want went down:

The trees entered Qon Qol Kesh's dreams and urgently shook him from languid Jhanala’s arms as she dreamed deeply of her lover in the distant Western Isles. He blinked in the pre-dawn dark, the grove awash with a thousand shadows created by the soft blue glow emitted from ruined Thres A’alta at his back. He felt the deep, muzzy thrum through the soles of his travelling boots and wondered for what threat the trees had woken him. The subsonic glow of the ruins was normally enough to keep most beasts at a distance, but perhaps something with awareness had decided to come close to the normally deserted ruin. Anyway, he was glad he had taken the time to make an offering to the trees in the glade last night before he slipped into dreams even though his left hand still stung from the incision he had made. The trees had repaid him well for the blood honour he shared with them.

The trees, mindful of Qon Qol Kesh’s respect, wake him from the lucid shared dreaming with his lover. While he slept a K’Kik K’Rree detected his scent and stalked his sleeping form. The K’Kik K’Rree’s tactics are simple - hide on the underside of a tree branch and grab passing prey with its raptorial arms. Once grabbed, the mantid will lift the trapped prey up to its mandible and attempt to bite its head off, then proceed to feast on the decapitated corpse.

Each raptorial limb does d4. Raptorials are both edged and impaling. A character gripped by the mantid suffers a -2/raptorial to their Balance PM. The mantid attempting to lift a character rolls an attack die +1 for each grasping raptorial versus a characters defence die modified by leverage and constitution PMs. Once lifted, the mantid will attempt to “aim high” to deliver its bite - mandibles do d8 edged).

Normally a day hunter, the K’Kik K’Ree has been injured in a territorial dispute with another of it’s kind losing one of it’s four raptorial arms. Consequently, it’s desperate for food and willing to take a chance in the pre-dawn gloom on a lone, sleeping humanoid.

The K’Kik K’Ree has suffered 3 points damage of a maximum 15 points. It can only attack with three raptorials per round.

He unsheathed his tulwar and crouching, threw a handfull of green leaves onto the small fire he had left burning overnight. A pungent smoke curled into the chill air and he focussed his blood awareness on it. He blew gently and the smoke took on an iridescence beneath the still glimmering stars. The smoke coiled about the glade, caressing leaf and stone, a stream of image and sensation flowing back to him along the incandescent particles.


He gripped his tulwar and peered into the pulsing shadows beneath the limbs of the sky blue Hshtra trees. His eyes adjusted to the ancient blue glare and he moved carefully forward, listening and watching. Through the trees, the first threads of dawn were streaking the indigo sky but no chorus of birds greeted the day. The forest was soft and silent. His sharp eyes picked out diurnals cowering in the flickering shadows. Threat was near.

He draws his tulwar, casts some green foliage on his fire creating smoke and, drawing upon his Blood Element (smoke), uses Focus to determine what the reason for the trees’ warning. His awareness travels on the smokes tendrils and encounters that of the mantid hunter, delivering him a sense of ravishing hunger with a taint of pain. Sword in hand he edges carefully through the shadowy glade.

Having woken, he is wearing his travellling boots 1d4 - to delving boots like a leather vest Is to a studded vest - and leather vest 1d. His tulwar is the equivalent of a longsword.

The K’Kik K’Rree falls back on it’s normal patterns and hangs on a branch underside, grasping the limb with its rear legs, keeping its raptorial limbs free for the strike.


Instinctively he dodged left, pivoting in the Hait Berror manner with his right leg extended behind him and tulwar slicing figure eights through the air as the chitinous claws flashed murderously down. Above, clinging to the underside of a branch with its rear legs, a man sized mantid, it’s blue chitin the same shade at the leaves above it and flickering pale white in the azure light from the ruins, hissed in anticipation as it’s three raptorial limbs clutched lightning fast towards its prey.

The K’Kik K’Ree achieves partial surprise. Qon Qol Kesh knows something is somewhere near but doesn’t necessarily expect an attack from above - he loses his first round actions.

One chitinous limb he blocked with the twirling tulwar. Another flashed over his shoulder clawing the air. The third, though, closed around his outstretched left arm, its wicked striations drawing blood, though its long inner piercing spike missed his arms altogether

Mantid attack rolls 12, 4, 14. QQK defense rolls 10 +2 Balance PM = 12. Roll 2 on hit location. 2 points damage. End of round 1.

The chittering mantid dragged back, trying to lift Qon Qol Kesh up to its hungrily scissoring mandibles, but he set his feet against its strength and engaged in brutal tug-of-war.

(Initiative: Mantid rolls 13, QQK rolls 12 no mods due to being grasped by mantid - mantid with initiative. Mantid rolls 7 on its attempt to lift him, QQK rolls 17 +1 Leverage PM).

Its other raptorial arms lashed out attempting to further grasp the humanoid, but, despite being held in its grasp, he avoided the snickering chitin and slashed into one of the probing left raptorials.

Mantid attack rolls 5, 9, defence 5. QQK attack rolls18 +1 leverage = 19, defence roll 12. Hit location = 3 left fore limb for 3 points damage, 2 of which are absorbed by the mantid’s chitin. End of Round 2

Qon Qol Kesh pressed home his attack dealing a glancing blow to the head of the mantid

(QQK initiative 19, mantid 8. QQK attack 13 +1 leverage = 14, Mantid defence 8, hit location = 7, damage = 3 (-2).

The gripping claw unbalanced him and he was unable to resume his proper stance, his sword arm out of position to parry effectively. Though the mantid failed to lift him (mantid 5+1, QQK 8+1) it’s two savage raptorials both struck home, one gripping the leather of his vest, the other again gripping his left arm.

Mantid attack 17, 18, QQK defense 7, locations 3, 6 his arm taking another point of damage, 3 points damage - 3 for his leather vest. End Round 3

The Mantid hissed again in anticipation of delivering its lethal bite, lifting Qon Qol Kesh (Initiative 15 vs QQK 11, lift attempt 15 vs 6) and lunging forward, it antennae lashing about his face, but the struggling humanoid somehow avoids the mandibles (mantid attack 11, QQK defence 17) His right arm still free, he carefully paused amoment and as the mantid’s head reached its full extension he stabbed into the alien blue eye with the full force of his tulwar.

(QQK attack 18 +1 leverage +2 focus, mantid defence 7, damage 8-2=6) End Round 4.

The mantid shrieked (3 dodge pool points left) dropping the humanoid to the back first onto the ground (Initiative 17 vs QQK 4). He lay there for the briefest moment then rolled into “Hopeful Xarj” stance, peering into the moving shadows above him. In the distance he could hear the K’Kik K’Ree escaping into the foliage, it’s mandibles clattering amongst the tree limbs.

He edged back into the clearing, breathing the smoke that gathered him around him like the folds of winter cloak. The entire encounter had been over in less than a minute. He focussed on the sensations that the smoke brought him. Faintly, he could sense the mantid…pain/pain/pain. He turned and commenced to dress his wounds. Then he would make another offering to the trees. In gratitude.



  1. Yo...what just happened to your Iron Maiden post? What moment I was rocking out to the Greatest IM Song ever, and then it mysteriously vanished when I went to post a comment.

    You are totally f'ing with my head again! Yowza!

  2. What are you talking about?

    --Yeah, I'm mean. :D

    Dunno' just decided to get back to gaming. I'm glad you, I, and who knows how many others got to rock-out on that one.

    Look for future super-secret posts! :D

  3. Having just re-read that - I CAN see it in terms of a gig: flashing blue strobes, deep bass, smoke, altered states of consciousness, and some bug-headed bastard wanting to take your head off... LOL

  4. groakes,

    True. Which Hawkwind album most closely resembles that?

    * Palace Springs?
    * Quark Strangeness and Charm?
    * ?

  5. Space Ritual, sister. It's always gotta be Space Ritual....

  6. How do you figure?
    --Not that I am displeased, but I figured the bug-stuff, at least rated for Damnation Alley, or that creepy first track on Q/S/C.

    But, I've got to say that Down Through the Night and The Watcher trump anything on either of the other two mentioned albums.

    "We are looking in on you now, there is nothing you can do now. ...You're very small from way out here, the last thing you will feel is fear... This is the end now..." With the Gammalon Empire orbital bomb sounds as it fades out.

    Brilliant. :D

  7. See, I've got SR and Doremi Fasol Latido literally fused together. I don't know if The Watcher is on the restored version of SR. Is it?

  8. TS, how about a recap post of the overall detail of the game you are running/working on for us stiffs who came to your blog recently? I know you probably have a good post about it somewhere, but like a lot of folk I'm lazy. This is interesting reading, but I need to know the mythos behind it!

  9. Not on SR, but a great live version which tracks in at 6:40 opens up disc 2 of "1999 Party" (Live in Chicago in '74)...

    but there's something about the mix on SR which, for me, ticks all the boxes.

  10. ...and yes, Qon Qol Kesh was VERY lucky. I didn't rig the die rolls either. It was purely the whims of the universe....