Monday, 8 July 2013

Generating Pugs

(this is a post written in haste and ignorance and contains thoughts that have not necessarily been taken to any kind of logical conclusion; so who knows if there is anything of value here, or anything that can be taken to a valuable conclusion. Perhaps you will take a chance?)

The other day I was thinking about generating large numbers of Pugs. Pugs are a goblin-y kind of creature that I wrote about when I was DMing the Somewhere North campaign earlier this year. They start as 2/3HD creatures (clerics and chiefs have more 4HD) and are found in various group sizes, from two person scout groups all the way up to 150 strong warbands. And you would not want to look in the old Dwarven Fortresses under the northern hills. Thousands and thousands of them in there.

So. You have two Pugs running from a party. Quickly you roll four d8s and there we go, you can get their HP and know what's what.

But: the Party is ambushed by a Medium group. (dice rolled as I write to illustrate point). They've been lying in wait and are prepared. (6+3d6 leads to 19 Pugs, 6 of them are 3HD, roll for 50% check and one is a 4HD Pug Warlord's Son) So the Medium group is comprised of a 4HD leader, six 3HD Pugs (two of which are Clerics) and twelve 2HD Pugs. That's a lot of dice to roll to stat them up. You can do it, but it seems like a little chore.

Thus: I started thinking, can a reasonable generator be made? Say, roll 2d20 and consult a table that will give Pug numbers, HP values, what they are armed with and so on. Of course, the original conception of the Pug is something that I have put together. There must be a million and one similarly created opponent humanoids.

Here's the interesting thing that was occuring to me as I was sat in Costa: there is something beautifully mathematical about all of this. You create a system to model some kind of objects. It's totally valid to create the objects and move from there too. But in some respects the model is quite complicated in some ways (i.e., if you want to generate a lot of Pugs at once). So can a different model be created (a different means of generating large numbers of opponents) that means fewer dice are rolled, but the result is representative of the larger model?

As I said at the start, none of this is thought through particularly well. I'm just curious.

(and say you had A.N. Other opponent that has 2HD and appears in large groups; if there was a 2d20 table, or something indexed with two d20s or something like it - the result from the d20 rolls in terms of HP would be valid as well potentially, i.e., a group of 2HD zombies might have other features but their HP values could be generated similarly)

(all of this floating around in my head, and partially prompted by Zak S's post about Elegance, which made a connection with the idea of mathematical beauty...)

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Monster: Spellbook Golems

Some tomes in magical and rare libraries are cursed. The unfortunate reader, if not properly prepared, may go blind from reading the title page. A careless peruser may go mad from touching a hellish travelogue. An unwary thief may find that they are trapped within the pages of a magically charged Who's Who.

None of these fates compare to coming face-to-face with a secret library's secret guardian. No, not a Kamikaze Librarian (thought for later: run a game where people can only choose from extraordinary classes created in that style). A golem made of magical texts...

You run your fingers along the wrong shelf. You open a locked cabinet. You don't pay your fine. Any one of these might trigger a cascade of leather bound books of all shapes and sizes, spilling on to the floor and forming into a humanoid shape - or perhaps into a vaguely houndlike body. If it has been activated it is because you are not supposed to be there, or because you have taken something it is bound to protect. A Spellbook Golem will follow you, attack you, attempt to restrain you - but usually it will not try to kill you. The Librarian who finds you afterwards will do that...

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Where does the time go?

I like noisms' "generalised lament" about the amount of time that he has to run/play games (and write about them as well) - obviously not the fact of the matter, but the situation resonates with me a lot. I wonder about how things are going to change when I become a dad in a few months time. Will I be able to play in a weekly game? (nevermind run one) At the moment I am barely able to run a LotFP campaign once a week; in principle I am taking part in noisms' excellent Pendragon of Mars campaign, but in reality I'm either away or busy. I've taken part in two sessions.

Ah well! I can sit here and weep for my lack of time or I can start to think, like noisms about the five games I would want to run or play:
  • Chatting after games night yesterday I realised that I would love to play some more Cyberpunk; I really enjoyed the game that we played about eighteen months ago in alternate Soviet Cyberpool.
  • Apocalypse World. I'd love to play it, I'd particularly love to run it (I was hoping to run it for my nephew and his friends this summer, but think I will be too short on time).
  • I've read a lot about Monsterhearts in the last few months and it really intrigues me... I might have to pick it up soon...
  • Avarice Industries is an RPG that I supported on Kickstarter. It's a bit Cyberpunk-y with the twist that the big corporations (one of which the players work for) have technology that creates anything. You can ride a dinosaur to work or have a bag with dimensional pockets. Big Problem: it was due in April 2012, and it's still (as of July 2013) not here. I've had bits and pieces of pdfs but nothing playable... AP stuff that was shared looks really interesting.
  • Homebrew Dogs In The Vineyard in modern day setting with zombies. I bloody loved running Dogs, we played about five sessions and it was a joy to prepare for and play. While playing it I was struck with the idea of the Dogs being able to do what they do because they have the final say about what is right and wrong (by virtue of being Followers of the King of Life). I think this kind of theme could transfer well in a zombie game; people acting as they will because there are no courts or authorities to say otherwise. I act, therefore I'm right. Started making some notes about this some time ago and tagged them with "zombies".
It's Camp Nanowrimo month and so I'm spending time writing 31,000 words about games and game resources. So hopefully, like noisms, I will find my 30 minutes a day to connect with a hobby...

Somewhere South: The Plots Thicken

Previously: Patrick and David's characters hired some new staff for their bar, The Grotesque Cudgel, and spotted someone tailing them. Gorble of Corg, who is also blackmailing them, says he needs them for a job, and that he will be in touch. Orchard the magic-user kills a man in the street, but the party evade consequences by turning the dead body into gingerbread and distributing it to people... Later, they magically disguise Rowntree the Elf as a gingerbread man and sneak him into the house of a rich immortal. Destroying the painting that keeps the man eternally young, they then throw him out of a window with a fake suicide note in his hand, and "rescue" a former guest at their inn.