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Monday, July 15, 2013

Notes for Napoleonic D&D.

Here's some basic notes to work with. I may actually sit down and write this, depending upon time.

Napoleon D&D Notes
Member of British, French, Spanish, Prussian, Russian, Austrian, or Ottoman army, or a guerilla of some type (often Spanish). Part of a scout or irregular unit of some type. May be infantry or cavalry. The focus would be on garrison work, patrols, scouting parties, and secret missions. Big battles might occur, but are rare.
Females ok. They even wear uniforms. 
Characters are human, and do not start the game knowing how to use magic. They can be affected by it, and might learn it during a campaign.
Officer, sergeant, or private? Catholic, Protestant, or Atheist? Royalist or Revolutionary? Noble or Commoner?
Fate/Luck Points. One point per session. Each Fate Point allows one reroll.
Duels. Maybe.
Fortitude/Reflex/Will saves.
Ascending AC, though there is very little armor to be had. Dex and Wisdom both modify AC. Maybe also include bonus AC as you level, to represent battlefield luck.
Cover! It has to be in game, and described well.
Hit points = Constitution plus one per level. (maybe adjust this for more epic style).
Shrug it Off. Regain hit points nightly. No worries about infection, etc. OR go grim and dirty. Gangrene is much more dangerous than the bullet wound.
Max level 10.
Characters are basically fighters, but have a Hide skill.
Only armor available is the cuirass, for cavalry. Helmets are also available for some regiments.
Weapons include: musket, rifle, pistol, club, saber, bayonet, cannon, lance, dagger, pike, spontoon.
Big Battles: Handwave final results. It’s not a wargame. Focus on the situation immediately around the players and how it affects them. This would be a perfect place for players to act as skirmishers on a flank, or to take a small, but vital objective, such as a cannon emplacement overlooking the battlefield.

Monsters may be encountered, though usually in out of the way places. A witch in the forest, a demon hound in the hills, or maybe a naga leading Indian troops. Most of the enemy would be regular humans, though. Just add a bit of magic here and there to spice it up.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Napoleonic D&D continued

I'd definitely keep the majority of a campaign limited to scouting or garrison work. After all, that's what soldiers did. Big battles only happened every few months, if that.

For a campaign, I could see a big valley or something similar in Spain or maybe Germany. An area on the border of France where fighting may happen at any time. I don't know if I'd have any major battle occurring, except as the finale of a long campaign.

Also, there were quite a few sieges during this period. That's an instant campaign zone, followed by the big capture. Have infiltrators, scouts, guerillas, spies, and smugglers all in one neat package.

Rifles were starting to get introduced, so maybe they could be an elite rifle squad (see the Sharpe series).

Friday, July 12, 2013

Napoleonic D&D

I've been reading some Napoleonic stuff lately, and I really love the atmosphere. I'd love to play a D&D style game, but with everyone as a member of a small unit. Just fancy uniforms, rifles, and bayonets.

Maybe they are scouting in Germany, and begin traveling through an old forest. Then they enounter an old hag, who just happens to use magic. Or the fae could appear. Or even something crazy like a naga could show up, as the leader of a group of Indian troops.

Sadly, I know of no OSR rules that do this. I know the armor system would have to be reworked, or everyone would be getting killed in the first battle.

Also, just which, if any, magical creatures would show up, and whose side would they be on?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Traveller: Imperium was awful

There's been a lot of chatter about Traveller over at RPGSite, which got me back into it a bit. I have owned every edition of the game, and played most of them.  Mongoose is still my favorite.

In any case, I think the Third Imperium was just awful. There was no frontier, and no really evil enemy that military-based campaigns could just go off and blast with no issues (the Zhodani were sorta-Russians, but basically just the Imperium with psionics).

If there had been a completely open border, and a border with something like tyranids, I think the setting would have been dramatically better. Having an enemy who was only interested in eating you, with no chance of diplomacy, just makes a game more interesting to me.

In addition, the setting is very anti-psionics, which I think is just dumb. Psionics are cool. In most games, they are a generic version of the Force from Star Wars, and what kid didn't want that in his game.

The default 70s era technology hampered the game, and when the Virus was introduced to try to fix the setting, lots of players were pissed. I think GDW would have been better off just creating a new setting, but sadly, that didn't happen. I personally liked the New Era setting. Unfortunately, the rules were not nearly as good as Classic Traveller.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Blog recommendations wanted.

What rpg blogs are among the best you read? In particular, I am interested in OSR/older D&D, Mage, Vampire, All Flesh Must Be Eaten/Witchcraft, and Rifts. General purpose blogs are also cool.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Black Magic

One thing that is missing in most fantasy games is the concept of Black Magic vs. White Magic. I think it would be interesting if players were only able to use White Magic (heals, blesses, even holy fire), but Black Magic would  be NPC-only. Stuff like zombie creation, curses, and magical diseases would not be available to players at all (or they would be heavily penalized for using it).

Older D&D sorta does this, with reversible cleric spells, but it has no implications if your player uses these spells (other than clerics possibly losing access to magic, but no issue for mages).

The best version I've seen of the split between White and Black magic is the various Star Wars games. Seriously. The various mechanics for turning to the Dark Side would be a fantastic baseline for a fantasy rpg. Instead, games tend towards the cthulhuesque penalty (a la Dungeon Crawl Classics), if they have any penalty at all.