(image linked from Gizmodo article)

A new tag! I keep coming across stuff like this, where we find out that yes, ancient technology was done for very good reasons, and that no, we’re not necessarily more clever today than we used to be. Whether it be hinging movement and stance for fighting, thin faced round shields for viking combat . . . or a nifty way of extracting tar.

https://gizmodo.com/new-experiment-reveals-secret-behind-200-000-year-old-n-1798636925

A cool article about how 200,000 years ago, it was perfectly possible to do cool stuff.

James Introcaso asked a simple question.

What is the kindest thing a player can do for a GM? #DnD #RPG

The answers are well worth reading.

A few things spring to mind here, many of which are doubtless repeated in the thread.

Show up on time

If you’re not going to show or are going to be late, let folks know ahead of time. As far ahead of time as possible. A decent GM can plan for almost anything. “The Key Guy” didn’t show up? Not so much.

Play the game, not the rules

Metagame rules discussions are a hoot, and I enjoy talking game mechanics. Everyone that has ever heard me on a podcast or been part of a discussion with me on a forum like Tenkar’s Wedneday night Tavern Chats knows I loves me some game mechanics.

But the rules aren’t the game, any more than a skeleton is the person, or the riverbed the totality of the river. They support the game, give structure and guidance to it. Provide the framework in which amazing journeys can be taken. All that stuff. But the game’s the thing.

The rules set expectations and give the players and the GM guidance to what the result might be when “anything can be attempted.” Depending on genre, some things are sensible (“Wonder Woman lifts the tank over her head!”) where in other genres, that same thing is not just implausible, but stupid (“You give yourself a hernia trying to lift the tank over your head. Seriously, what are you thinking?”).

This can get dicey when you’re playing games with a strong tactical or wargamey feel, such as DnD, GURPS, and many others. Still, by and large, save or table detailed discussion for after the moment. Continue reading “Nice things to do for your TTRPG Group”

As I was chatting with some very upset friends yesterday, I wondered what the Patreon fee schedule would look like if the cost to the Patron was the same.

This means that the listed pledge would be reduced. What “was” a $1 or $10 pledge, where all fees were taken from what the creator gets, would be listed as a $0.63 and $9.38 pledge, respectively. The fee structure, 2.9% + $0.35 per transaction, then increases those costs to $1 and $10, and 5% is taken from the “pledge” amount (rather than the cost to the Patron).

That paints a slightly different picture than my report yesterday. Note that the lowest “Pledge” is still $1, which costs the Patron $1.38, and I’ve adjusted the table accordingly.

New Fee Net to Creator
Cost to Patron “Pledge” Patron Fee Creator Fee Net to Creator
1.379  $       1.00  $          0.38  $            0.05  $                 0.95
5  $       4.52  $          0.48  $            0.23  $                 4.29
10  $       9.38  $          0.62  $            0.47  $                 8.91
25  $    23.96  $          1.04  $            1.20  $               22.76
50  $    48.25  $          1.75  $            2.41  $               45.84
100  $    96.84  $          3.16  $            4.84  $               92.00
Stripe Old Fee
% of Take
Cost to Patron “Pledge” Patron Fee Creator Fee Net to Creator Change with New Fees
1.379  $       1.38  $               –  $            0.40  $                 0.98  $                                    0.03 97%
5  $       5.00  $               –  $            0.65  $                 4.36  $                                    0.06 99%
10  $    10.00  $               –  $            0.99  $                 9.01  $                                    0.10 99%
25  $    25.00  $               –  $            2.03  $               22.98  $                                    0.22 99%
50  $    50.00  $               –  $            3.75  $               46.25  $                                    0.41 99%
100  $  100.00  $               –  $            7.20  $               92.80  $                                    0.80 99%
PayPal Old Fee
Cost to Patron “Pledge” Patron Fee Creator Fee Net to Creator Change with New Fees
1.379  $       1.38  $               –  $            0.19  $                 1.19  $                                    0.24 80%
5  $       5.00  $               –  $            0.55  $                 4.45  $                                    0.16 96%
10  $    10.00  $               –  $            1.05  $                 8.95  $                                    0.04 100%
25  $    25.00  $               –  $            2.55  $               22.45  $                                 (0.31) 101%
50  $    50.00  $               –  $            5.05  $               44.95  $                                 (0.89) 102%
100  $  100.00  $               –  $         10.05  $               89.95  $                                 (2.05) 102%

As you can see, when costs are normalized down to “what the the Patron pay before?” things don’t look quite so horrid. Not great, but not nearly as bad.

Take-Aways

The fees taken from low-dollar donations are still high . . . but they were high before, as well, at least for Stripe transactions. PayPal was the way to go for those, but now it’s reversed.

If you use Stripe for one-dollar donations, the net to the creator with the new Pledge schedule is within 5% of what it used to be. If you do this, use Stripe.

If you use Paypal, avoid $1 donations, but you’re within 5% of where you used to be if your “cost” for the pledge is about $5.

If you pledge somewhere north of $20-25, and use PayPal, the creator gets more of that cost than they used to – it’s actually a net win.

Creators: Lower your pledge amounts as New Pledge = (Old Pledge -0.35)/1.029

Creators: change your pledge totals to keep the cost to the customer the same and you will wind up with nearly the same take.

Creators: Request that your low-dollar donations use Stripe, not PayPal. Request donations from $20-25 and higher use PayPal.

If you can take these steps and adjust your fees, the change to the customer is minimal, and your take will be within a few percent of what it used to be.

This probably doesn’t help “pledge by post” at low dollar amounts as much . . . but it might mitigate it since the Patron’s costs are constant.

The lower bound on pledge amounts is still $1, however. That’s the real rub. The cost to Patrons will go up to $1.38, a 40% increase. But the “take” issue to the creators is not bad once you shift low-dollar donations to Stripe from PayPal, if you can.

Conversation with friends yesterday left me speculating as to what motivated this. Spreading out transactions from when the initial creator pledge was made has to be about load-leveling. And the shift away from low-dollar pledges might be seen as a good thing from an administrative overhead perspective. Low-dollar pledges are almost certainly the same cost to process as high-dollar ones, and bring in basically nothing under the old fee schedule. While horrid for the Creators, I can see a sigh of relief in shedding an unprofitable pledge level, and I bet the new fee structure is closer to covering the cost to process the $1 transaction than it was.

Not sure if it changes my thoughts much from yesterday in that it’s still the low-dollar donations that get impacted the most . . . but for the Patron, not the Creator.

Final word: I’m not defending or attacking Patreon here. I have only a couple pledges and they’re more than a buck, so the impact to me is minimal. I can say that the ham-handed way this was rolled out is doing Patreon no good, and almost certainly is motivating Dr.IP and other competitors to do handsprings of glee, and also motivating code-minded folks with an entrepreneurial spirit to say “I can do better than this.”

So I expect this will cloud the landscape a bit in a year or so, until someone really figures out how to make the $1 donations profitable. If you can do that, you can make the BIG donations very profitable.

So, Patreon changed their fee schedule. Lots of folks seem irked about it, and likely with good reason.

The way it’s now structured, if I understand it correctly, as a patron, you make a pledge. That pledge gets fees added on to it for the Patron, in the amount of 2.9% plus a flat fee of $0.35. Then they also take from the Creator a chunk of the money equal to 5%.

If the fees used to be 5% + 0.05 as a flat charge no matter the donation from PayPal and 1.9% + 0.30 from Stripe, then here are some figures depending on how your patrons used to pay.

Pledge Cost Pledge Fees from Patron Fees from Creator Creator Receives Receipt/Total % Pledge as Fee
 $         1.38  $     1.00  $                    0.38  $                      0.05  $                   0.95 68.8% 31.2%
 $         5.50  $     5.00  $                    0.50  $                      0.25  $                   4.75 86.4% 13.6%
 $       10.64  $   10.00  $                    0.64  $                      0.50  $                   9.50 89.3% 10.7%
 $       26.08  $   25.00  $                    1.08  $                      1.25  $                 23.75 91.1% 8.9%
 $       51.80  $   50.00  $                    1.80  $                      2.50  $                 47.50 91.7% 8.3%
 $     103.25  $ 100.00  $                    3.25  $                      5.00  $                 95.00 92.0% 8.0%
Old Stripe Fee Schedule
Pledge Cost Pledge Fees from Patron Fees from Creator Creator Receives Receipt/Total % Pledge as Fee
 $         1.00  $     1.00  $                        –  $                      0.37  $                   0.63 63.1% 36.9%
 $         5.00  $     5.00  $                        –  $                      0.65  $                   4.36 87.1% 12.9%
 $       10.00  $   10.00  $                        –  $                      0.99  $                   9.01 90.1% 9.9%
 $       25.00  $   25.00  $                        –  $                      2.03  $                 22.98 91.9% 8.1%
 $       50.00  $   50.00  $                        –  $                      3.75  $                 46.25 92.5% 7.5%
 $     100.00  $ 100.00  $                        –  $                      7.20  $                 92.80 92.8% 7.2%
Old Paypal Fee Schedule
 $         1.00  $     1.00  $                        –  $                      0.15  $                   0.85 85.0% 15.0%
 $         5.00  $     5.00  $                        –  $                      0.55  $                   4.45 89.0% 11.0%
 $       10.00  $   10.00  $                        –  $                      1.05  $                   8.95 89.5% 10.5%
 $       25.00  $   25.00  $                        –  $                      2.55  $                 22.45 89.8% 10.2%
 $       50.00  $   50.00  $                        –  $                      5.05  $                 44.95 89.9% 10.1%
 $     100.00  $ 100.00  $                        –  $                   10.05  $                 89.95 90.0% 10.1%

My take-aways:

If you’re a creator, under all circumstances, you receive more of the “advertised” pledge amount regardless of the pledge level. That’s just the plain effect of passing the fee for the transaction to the Patron.

If you’re a Patron, every single pledge level now costs you more, by anywhere from +38% for $1 pledges down to as little as 3.25% for $100 pledges.

As a percentage of the total money involved in the transaction, if you were, as a Patron, paying with Stripe then if you’re pledging small amounts, the Creator gets more of your now-higher money to spend than they used to, but that rapidly shifts to the Creator getting less of a cut than the total amount spent.

If you were on PayPal, it’s the large donations that benefit, as north of about $10 the impact of the $0.30 vs $0.05 flat fee goes away. If your pledge is more than bout $10, the creator gets a higher cut of your now-higher fee.

PayPal’s overall fee structure in combination with Patreon’s 5% produced a more flat structure overall, with basically 10-15% total fees, compared to a much more variable 7-37% fee for Stripe.

It used to be small donations should use paypal, larger ones Stripe, with the breakpoint being about $10. Now it doesn’t matter regardless of how you pay.

As a Patron, there’s no way around it: your costs just went up 3-38%. As a creator, you’ll take home more of the “sticker price,” but that only helps if that offsets the folks that drop because their own costs went up.

I was on the Geek Gab Game Night podcast just a few moments ago. Nearly two hours on adventure design and other topics – we didn’t hold ourselves tightly to a particular theme. As always, it was a hoot interacting with my gracious hosts, and it definitely plays out as a conversation rather than a lecture!

Give a listen, and of course, support Lost Hall of Tyr!

As sometimes happens, a comment is too good to pass up and reply to in the comments section. Kallatari, who I believe knows of what he speaks, wrote in. His comments are in quote-blocks, and my responses or notes follow.

First, just wanted to say that what you’ve described is pretty much exactly how I’ve been gaming suppression fire in my games. The one exception is that I only did one attack to someone who entered the cone of fire, and not once per hex. I’ll be implementing that immediately.

That was a bit to keep things moving, keep the math to a minimum, and make each hex scary enough that it features as a deterrent in the player’s mind, since most times they’re not nearly as risk averse with their little paper men as they should be. Another way to go would simply be to figure out the transgressor’s “bullet exposure” and base RoF on that. But I really do like the per-hex method, because scary.

One thing I’ve wondered about, but never worried too much because it’s never really come up in my game, is what happens when the RoF divided by width gives an effective RoF that’s less than 1. It’s unlikely to occur when the target zone is centered on opponents at range. But, in a hypothetical situation, what if he made his cone 3 hexes wide 1 hex away (really desperate against that horde of zombies that just closed into melee range)? He’s basically covering a 180-degree cone, and the bullets that don’t hit would likely keep travelling quite a bit further away. So at 10 hexes away in this situation, the RoF is effectively a small fraction. Do we apply penalties to the effective skill of 6 (at which point, may as well declare an automatic miss). But what about the fright checks? I’ve now suppressed a 180-degree angle. Should there be a bonus based on the fraction (RoF of 1/2 = +2, RoF of 1/5 = +5?).

This seems as a good a judgement as any, and the two or three bullets per hex which norms to zero isn’t bad. I think that the usual cut-off for suppression fire is RoF 5 per hex, and since that gets a +1 for RoF in the usual rules and my alternate, using a lower RoF and having the shots be vs the minimum 5 or less wouldn’t be horrible. On the other hand . . .

Additionally, I’ve been starting to question why suppression fire is treated differently than any normal gunshots.

There is this. Technically, with the rules in Tactical Shooting how any near miss can induce a fright check, they’re not. At least for fear.

If I pick a single target and fire at his hex with Suppression Fire, I attack him with a maximum effective skill of (6 + 3 =) 9, even if my skill, say, 25. Even if I miss, he needs to make a Fright Check roll to not take cover. Finally, if any bullets miss, then I get to roll to hit anyone else who enters into the line of fire until my next turn.

On the other hand, if I pick that same target and fire 15 rounds directly at him then I get to attack with my skill of 25 + 3 = 28 (minus range penalty, etc.), which means a better chance to hit. But if I miss, he doesn’t have to make any Fright Check or bother to take cover. And if any bullets miss, I don’t get to attack anyone else who crosses the line of fire before my next turn.

I think there’s a case to be made for a few things here

(a) It’s important to hit the fear check for any missed shots. You might even say that the fear-check zone extends RoF bonus more hexes to the left and right of the area being fired into

(b) ANY use of RoF 5 or more creates a suppression line. For a direct-fire attack, that line is only one yard wide – a line, actually – but you get attacked as stray fire if you’re in the line when the bullets are fired, or with suppression fire if you cross that line later.

These are basically almost two identical scenarios with widely different game effects. I’ve therefore been contemplating – but haven’t yet implement – a rule where anyone in the line of fire of any gun shot (or laser beams, or lightning bolt spells, etc.) has to make a fright roll to not take cover, and that, if a bullet hasn’t hit a specified target, than there’s a “live fire” line of attack that anyone who crosses becomes a potential target. To me, All-Out Attack (Suppression Fire) just allows you to divide your shots over a wider area, reducing your chances of hitting in exchange for possibly affecting more people with fright checks.

Or what he just said. Yeah, this is fair if you can remember it . . .

My one hesitation is that it would possibly slow combat down in order to track all the lines/arcs of fire. But since I use MapTools for my combat, I don’t think it would be that complicated.

. . . and VTTs make it really easy. In fact, in Roll20 in the game described, that’s exactly what we did. Drew the cone of fire. We still had one guy run across it, but that was OK. It also makes the Teamwork or Standard Operating Procedure perks that much more useful, as I think one or both lets you cross suppression fire zones of your own team with relative impunity.

And today, a guest post on Ritual Path Magic by forumite and Discordian Kalzazz. RPM is not my forte, so I’m happy to host articles by folks for whom it’s their bread and butter. -dhc

My first real serious joyful introduction to the concept of RPGs and what made me a huge fan was the old SEGA Genesis game Shining Force.   And one thing in Shining Force I loved was Tao the Mage and hitting enemies with fire spells for horrible death.

RPM was a giant step for GURPS, in that its ‘build your own spells’ system allowed not only all that secret magic for urban fantasy and monster hunters stuff, it also allowed good old fashioned fireball slingers with Charms as Memorized spells!

Here I discuss how a simple boring fireball, of the classic ‘erupts into being’ sort that I associate with fireballs can actually be a rather multipurpose tool.   This will help show the flexibility of RPM, and that a single ritual can be a starting point rather than a straightjacket.

RPM allows you to do such nifty things as cooking your enemies with fire!  First, on pg 17 of RPM we see that in order to do an Indirect damage spell at range (like the classic fireball that simply erupts into being, as opposed to one thrown like a fiery baseball) we add a Range for where the spell will be created, and roll Innate Attack to hit.  Notably this spell also goes off when we create it, not requiring a round to throw!

So what is a fireball?

Pg. 19 of RPM we see ‘Specific Definition’, it notes that a ritual must be specifically defined for Ritual Mastery perks and for Grimoires.   A mage may or may not invest in ritual mastery perks, but it might not be a bad idea.  Grimoires are love though, so trying to buy a grimoire for your favorite spells is a great thing!

  1. Specific Spell Effects – For ‘Classic Fireball’ we want Greater Create Energy.
  2. What those effects do – A fireball erupts into being and cooks people with painful hurtings.
  3. Modifiers pt 1 – Very important it says these can be changed ‘On the Fly!’, don’t list specific values.   For our Fireball we want ‘Area Effect’.
  4. Modifiers pt 2 and their specific effect – We don’t need the numbers, but we need what they are.   For our Fireball we want ‘External Burning’ damage.
  5. It notes we don’t need to worry about Range here.   

So there we have it, ‘Classic Fireball’, a Fireball erupts into being and cooks people with painful hurtings (External Burning).

Maybe a bit of improvement would help to get an even better spell.   For instance, ‘Classic Smart Fireball’, which has Bestows a Bonus, Narrow, To Hit with Me, as well as ‘Area Effect, with Exclusions’.   This is ‘A fireball that erupts into being (hopefully where intended) and cooks people with painful hurtings (but not the people you don’t want cooked!)’.  It adds a Lesser Control Magic effect to accomplish ‘helps hit where its supposed to’.

Classic Smart Fireball

Greater Create Energy, Lesser Control Magic.  A fireball erupts into being to cook people with painful hurtings, helped by the magic to hit the correct people where desired!  (Area Effect with Exclusions,  Burning External Damage,  Bestows a Bonus, Narrow, ‘To Hit with Me’)

We are going to want to use this as a charm, so another Lesser Control Magic will be involved.

Before actually writing down rituals, we need to get an idea of the Mage who is going to be casting so we know the numbers to play with.

Let us assume then our Mage has Magery 6,  skill 18 in Path of Magic and Path of Energy, and has Ritual Mastery (Classic Smart Fireball), and a +4 grimoire of the same (relatively affordable!), and a +1 Charm Lab (not so affordable, but we are hopeful), and Higher Purpose Pyromania (I mean, Pyromancy!).   So we consider our Effective skill since this spell uses two Paths to be the lower of the two, but in this case they are the same (this is usually the case, you want your Path of Magic to be high enough you don’t turf spells using them as charms), so 18, +2 for Ritual Mastery, +4 for Grimoire, +1 for Charm Lab, and +1 for Higher Purpose = 26.   

How much energy do we have to play with then?   Well, 18 from our Magery 6 (3 per), and we look at the Quick and Dirty Charms Rules on pg 26.   So 125 energy = Safe Threshhold.   So 143 energy to play with without exceeding our safe threshhold.

Here is our most basic elemental form of this spell!

Classic Smart Fireball

Spell Effects: Greater Create Energy + Lesser Control Magic.

Inherent Modifiers: Damage, External Burning + Range + Bestows A Bonus, To hit with me + Area Of Effect.

Greater Effects: 1 (×3).

Classic Smart Fireball – A fireball erupts into being, cooking those intended with painful hurtings (the bestows a bonus and exclusions help avoid cooking those not intended and actually hitting the intended)

This Casting: Greater Create Energy (6) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Damage, External Burning 3d (0) + Range, 2 yds (0) + Bestows A Bonus, +1 to To hit with me (1) + Area Of Effect, 2 yards (0). 51 energy (17×3).

Created using this extremely awesome tool by Nick Coffin

(Note, I’m not sure the number it came up with for the Area Effect there is correct!  But, whatever, what the tool says is what I am using!)

Add some more damage and stuff and see what we get?

Classic Smart Fireball

Spell Effects: Greater Create Energy + Lesser Control Magic.

Inherent Modifiers: Damage, External Burning + Range + Bestows A Bonus, To hit with me + Area Of Effect.

Greater Effects: 1 (×3).

Classic Smart Fireball – A fireball erupts into being, cooking those intended with painful hurtings (the bestows a bonus and exclusions help avoid cooking those not intended and actually hitting the intended)

This Casting: Greater Create Energy (6) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Damage, External Burning 13d-1 (13) + Range, 30 yds (7) + Bestows A Bonus, +4 to To hit with me (8) + Area Of Effect, 3 yards, excluding up to 2 subjects (3). 141 energy (47×3).

That is a nice spell!

But this blog post is ‘The Many Faces of Fireball’.   Say instead you want to hit someone farther off?  We can lower damage and raise range!

Classic Smart Fireball, Sniper’s

Spell Effects: Greater Create Energy + Lesser Control Magic.

Inherent Modifiers: Damage, External Burning + Range + Bestows A Bonus, To hit with me + Area Of Effect.

Greater Effects: 1 (×3).

Classic Smart Fireball, Sniper’s – A fireball erupts into being, cooking those intended with painful hurtings (the bestows a bonus and exclusions help avoid cooking those not intended and actually hitting the intended)

Sniper’s – This one trades damage for better range and accuracy!

This Casting: Greater Create Energy (6) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Damage, External Burning 4d+2 (2) + Range, 100 yds (10) + Bestows A Bonus, +5 to To hit with me (16) + Area Of Effect, 3 yards, excluding up to 2 subjects (3). 141 energy (47×3).

Or a closer ranged harder hitting one?  

Classic Smart Fireball, Intense

Spell Effects: Greater Create Energy + Lesser Control Magic.

Inherent Modifiers: Damage, External Burning + Range + Bestows A Bonus, To hit with me + Area Of Effect.

Greater Effects: 1 (×3).

Classic Smart Fireball, Intense – A fireball erupts into being, cooking those intended with painful hurtings (the bestows a bonus and exclusions help avoid cooking those not intended and actually hitting the intended)

Intense – This one focuses on intensity of the flames sacrificing range and accuracy

This Casting: Greater Create Energy (6) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Damage, External Burning 21d (24) + Range, 7 yds (3) + Bestows A Bonus, +1 to To hit with me (1) + Area Of Effect, 3 yards, excluding up to 2 subjects (3). 141 energy (47×3).

How about one with greater area of effect to hit more targets?

Classic Smart Fireball, Widefire

Spell Effects: Greater Create Energy + Lesser Control Magic.

Inherent Modifiers: Damage, External Burning + Range + Bestows A Bonus, To hit with me + Area Of Effect.

Greater Effects: 1 (×3).

Classic Smart Fireball, Widefire – A fireball erupts into being, cooking those intended with painful hurtings (the bestows a bonus and exclusions help avoid cooking those not intended and actually hitting the intended)

Widefire – This one spreads weaker flames over a farther area, trading accuracy and intensity. It also increases exclusions as you may have more people you don’t want to hit!

This Casting: Greater Create Energy (6) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Damage, External Burning 10d-1 (9) + Range, 30 yds (7) + Bestows A Bonus, +1 to To hit with me (1) + Area Of Effect, 20 yards, excluding up to 4 subjects (14). 141 energy (47×3).

It wouldn’t be right to avoid mentioning grappling!  Here is one intended to help squishy mages avoid being grappled!

Classic Smart Fireball, No Touch Me

Spell Effects: Greater Create Energy + Lesser Control Magic.

Inherent Modifiers: Damage, External Burning + Range + Bestows A Bonus, To hit with me + Area Of Effect.

Greater Effects: 1 (×3).

Classic Smart Fireball, No Touch Me – A fireball erupts into being, cooking those intended with painful hurtings (the bestows a bonus and exclusions help avoid cooking those not intended and actually hitting the intended)

No Touch Me – This ones range is less than its area effect, intended as a resort for mages in danger of being overrun! The wise caster will choose themselves as one of the exclusions.

This Casting: Greater Create Energy (6) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Damage, External Burning 18d (20) + Range, 2 yds (0) + Bestows A Bonus, +1 to To hit with me (1) + Area Of Effect, 10 yards, excluding up to 4 subjects (10). 141 energy (47×3).

There are 5 different versions of the same ritual, cast at the same level of energy, all doing the same thing.   But doing it in 5 different ways, so that they can each play a similar but different role on the battlefield.

Hopefully this illustrates that creating a spell for RPM need not be one and done, instead, by moving the numbers around you find new uses for the same ritual, and get more bang for your buck out of the same grimoire and Ritual Master purchase!   It also greatly helps out designing your spell loadout, as this way you can have several Classic Smart Fireballs listed.

I have used this method in play with several characters and it has seemed to work well . . . . until you run into enemies who are fireproof at least.   Which leads us to our next Face of Fireball.

Using the same Classic Smart Fireball we can make a Classic Smart Forceball by just changing ‘Burning’ to ‘Crushing’ and changing the text to say ‘A forceball erupts into being, smashing those intended with painful hurtings (the bestows a bonus and exclusions help avoid smashing those not intended and actually hitting the intended)’

Unlike all the versions of Classic Smart Fireball, the Classic Smart Forceball IS a different ritual!  It is using force (or kinetic energy or whatnot!) to smash people, not fire to cook people, but, the actual writeup is identical.   Lets assume our example mage still has 18 in skills and 6 magery and a +1 charm lab. So the mage buys a Grimoire of Classic Smart Forceball at +3 (doesn’t want to spend as much on a secondary spell) and has no Ritual Mastery and no Higher Purpose, so, are looking at a 22.   Safe Threshhold is 85, so our spells energy is 103.

Classic Smart Forceball

Spell Effects: Greater Create Energy + Lesser Control Magic.

Inherent Modifiers: Damage, External Crushing + Range + Bestows A Bonus, To hit with me + Area Of Effect.

Greater Effects: 1 (×3).

Classic Smart Forceball – A forceball erupts into being, smashing those intended with painful hurtings (the bestows a bonus and exclusions help avoid smashing those not intended and actually hitting the intended)

This Casting: Greater Create Energy (6) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Lesser Control Magic (5) + Damage, External Crushing 9d (8) + Range, 20 yds (6) + Bestows A Bonus, +1 to To hit with me (1) + Area Of Effect, 3 yards, excluding up to 2 subjects (3). 102 energy (34×3).

This way you do not have to reinvent the wheel, just tweak an existing spell and off you go!

I have been using RPM since it came out in MH1, and the ‘make one spell, and then fiddle with it for several variations’ is one of my favorite tricks, so I hope this was of use.   Thank you very much to Doug for agreeing to host this!

Reading an article on the differences between Pathfinder and Starfinder.

Well, I guess I was on to something with the Dragon Heresy Wounds/Vigor split.

I’m sure Starfinder has been in development for a long, long time. And I’m also sure I came up with Wounds/Vigor independently, though someone later pointed it out that Wounds and Vitality had long been tucked into an optional rule in the PFRPG Core book.

Still: let me echo that I think it’s absolutely the right call. Differentiating between “stuff that makes you bleed” and “reserve of skill, stamina, luck, and divine favor” as hit points were described on p. 82 of the original Dungeon Masters’ Guide by Gygax is, to me, incredibly useful and helps solve some real problems, especially when you push the game engine into the firearm era.

For now: yay, parallel evolution.

Also: Clearly Starfinder came out first, because, well, Paizo has resources and staff and I’ve got me. But Dragon Heresy, that rough beast, continues to move forward, slouching towards Bethlehem to be born, etc.

Live to Grapple. Grapple to Live.

  • Beowulf struggles with Grendel. Sinew parts, Grendel flees, dying.
  • A dragon plunges from above. It’s grasping talons seize the adventurers, bearing them away.
  • Mighty Ajax and Clever Odysseus struggle against each other, yet neither can throw the other, nor be thrown.
  • A python lashes out, grasping its prey first by the mouth, then its coils. It struggles weakly, then not at all.

From the first story ever told, to tales on the silver screen. They all have at least one thing in common: Grappling.

Grappling is thrilling, dangerous, and drives thousands of years of epic storytelling.

Dungeon Grappling brings those thrills to the oldest fantasy RPG with rules and examples for Swords and Wizardry (and other OSR-style games), the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, and 5e.

Dungeon Grappling provides:

  • Simple, unified mechanics, using the same concepts as weapon strikes
  • Variable outcomes – grapples can be good or bad
  • Dynamic, tense stories
  • Weapons, talons, magic . . . they’re all in here.
  • Grappling just got scary again!

What’s in the Book

First and foremost, this book contains rules based on Open Gaming Licence content from several editions of the industry’s most popular RPG – explicit examples for Swords and Wizardry, the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, and Fifth Edition.

This is the printed, hardcopy version. 

Let’s look inside:

Introduction: How can grappling be as epic at the tabletop as it has been in stories throughout history?

Core Concepts: Dungeon Grappling shows that the same basic concepts that you use to smite a foe with your sword are perfectly appropriate when grappling. The attack roll, target number, and effect roll are all unified in the context of grapples to minimize special cases.

Grappling Effects: Dungeon Grappling presents a variable effect roll – using both “control points” as well as conditions to make grappling exciting and unpredictable.

Grappling Techniques: This section gives you options, from simply rendering them immobile, to tossing or dragging, to takedowns, throws, choke holds, grappling with weapons, using magical spells to grapple in a way that makes all of them follow the same basic principles.

Monstrous Grappling: Let’s face it. Grappling is for monsters. A dozen examples are provided to highlight how to calculate the attack bonus, grappling target number (the equivalent of armor class for grappling), and the grappling damage roll, as well as brief discussions of how such monsters fight.

Combat Examples: An example vignette and grappling-oriented combat is provided for each of Swords and Wizardry, the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, and 5e.

Quick Reference Sheets: All of the key calculations, tables, and concepts are summarized in three pages in the back of the book for easy lookups and rules checks.

Art and Layout: Laid out and illustrated in full color by a great team of professionals, the interior is as beautiful as the rules are elegant.

 

I was invited by Jasyn Jones and John McGlynn to join them on their Geek Gab podcast to talk about Dungeon Grappling, after I posted my GenCon reports about the playtest.

Well, yeah, we covered grappling. But we also covered GURPS, the DFRPG, game design principles, and many other things, including HEMA and how useful first-hand research can be if you can do it. Roland Warzecha’s Dimicator videos got honorable mention. We talked a lot of 5e, some Pathfinder, a bit of Fate, and WEG’s d6 and GUMSHOE got a nod. I talked quite a bit about Dragon Heresy.

I had a great time, and we spoke for about 75 minutes. I talk kinda fast, but I don’t think I was incoherent, so yay.

Anyway: enjoy!