Ptolus battlemap reference

With the new release of Ptolus on its way, I finally got around to creating a page that collects links to the various battlemaps available for the setting. These can be a little hard to find, so I wanted a place where they wouldn’t get lost. This page does not host these maps, only links to where you can get them (and it doesn’t use affiliate linking or any of that, and I’m not affiliated with Monte Cook Games or Skeleton Key Games). Some of the maps are commercial, some aren’t. Most of these maps are not my work, but a couple are.

You can find the page here: Ptolus battlemaps

If you know of any other battlemaps made explicitly for the Ptolus setting, let me know in the comments below.

Seed: Convocation Prime

Convocation PrimeWorking from home for COVID-19 actually made getting this out the door take a lot longer, but it is now ready. Like all DivNull Seeds, this one isn’t entirely finished, but it’s as done as it is going to get for now. And, as is also standard with seeds, part of the purpose was to experiment with things I haven’t tried before. In particular, this product…

  • …is based around trying to leverage some common (but unnoticed) technology for gaming. Specifically, I’ve been interested in how 4-up printing (where you print multiple pages of a document in a 2×2 grid on a single sheet of paper) could be leveraged to build modular character sheets, like creating characters from blocks.
  • …is being released on itch.io, which I have never done before. After the demise of G+ (a social network that was unrivaled for makers and players of roleplaying games), a lot of the cutting edge of gaming moved to itch.io, particularly their game jams. I’m late, as usual, to the itch.io party, but we’ll see how it goes.
  • …aimed to use entirely open assets (for fonts, art, and the like). This was easier to do than I anticipated, as the quality of fonts available under the Open Font License has improved dramatically since I last checked. (It’s released under a Creative Commons license, like most of the rest of my stuff.)
  • …uses the unofficial 1.5 version of the Anima Prime rules as its basis (along with some ideas from Prime Spiral), giving me an opportunity to play with them a bit harder.
  • …contains three settings with very different flavor. I wanted to see how flexibly I could stretch the game’s framework to cover divergent tones and approaches to the same genre, using largely the same mechanics. (I rather like the three settings, to be honest.)
  • …intended to have commissioned art for a cover. At this I entirely failed.
  • …served as an excuse to play this song with my son more often than was, strictly speaking, necessary.

The game is now available for free on itch: Convocation Prime.

If you have a comment or suggestion, please use the comment section on itch instead of the one here. If you want updated, consider following me there. If you are on the Federation (diaspora, Friendica, etc.) or the Fediverse (Mastodon, Friendica, etc.) you can follow me here. If not, but you are interested in trying a distributed social network that isn’t controlled by corporations, join one (such as an rpg-friendly Mastodon or Diaspora node).

An unofficial Anima Prime 1.5 document

Back when Google+ was still the best place for tabletop roleplaying discussion, Christian Griffen posted a brief outline of an optional “1.5” version of his excellent game Anima Prime. Since a) the demise of G+ has taken this outline with it and b) Anima Prime is a Creative Commons game, I’ve taken the original text of the game, given it a new layout, and updated it with the 1.5 changes suggested by the author.

The results can be downloaded below, released under the same Creative Commons license as the original. Hopefully, this full version of the 1.5 rules works a bit better than comparing the summary of them from Prime Spiral with the 1.0 text of the game. The files are:

Gold Canal Sources

My entry for 2019’s One Page Dungeon Contest, a high security prison sort of thing named The Gold Canals of Irid’s Vault was named one of the thirty winners.

As per past tradition here, winning means sharing the sources. Just like the final project, these are released under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license. The source files in the archive include:

  • The 3d model used to block out the basic shapes (Cheetah3d .jas format) and some renders thereof (png)
  • The flat, grid-based floor maps, which got transformed into isometric maps (Illustrator)
  • The resulting isometric sources (Illustrator)
  • The composite drawing with the maps and text (Illustrator)

Download here: gold-canals-sources.zip (23MB)

Seed: Fourth World 1.5

LogoI never intended for this “drift” of Dungeon World to the setting of Earthdawn to take so much of my attention, but here we are with yet another iteration.

Version 1.5 exists because I wanted to explore questions of: if you make the rules of the Perilous Wilds required, what does that force you to do to the playbooks and the rest of the game? How does it allow you to change the game?

This already drifts away from standard Dungeon World farther than earlier versions, but that wasn’t quite sufficient. Passions needed some love. I also blame Jeremy Strandberg for some other changes made in the version. He has been working on his own variations of Dungeon World: the one-shot focused Homebrew World and “hearth fantasy” take on the game called Stonetop. Over the last year or so, he’s been noodling publicly on G+ about changes he has been making, and Fourth World has benefited tremendously from the resulting discussion. Not least of which: this version totally steals his versions of the Defense and Parley moves. So thanks, Jeremy!

Version History

Version Release Date Concept
0.5 2 Sep 2014 Alpha/proof of concept.
0.8 8 Seb 2014 Original public beta. First PDF layout.
0.9 1 Nov 2014 Integration of Mounted Combat. Airships
1.0 12 Feb 2015 Tinkering. Only released privately.
1.1 20 Feb 2015 Tinkering. Only released privately.
1.2 15 Mar 2015 First public “official” release.
1.3 20 Feb 2015 Replace bonds with flags, and collateral changes.
1.4 7 May 2017 Creation of steps. Changing playbooks to take advantage of changes to aid and hack & slash. Large playbook overhaul, particularly culling of vast majority of “take +1” stuff.
1.4 23 Feb 2018 Move to a 6×9 layout, using the same text.
1.5 today Passions. Integration of Perilous Wilds. Changes to Defend and Parley.

Changes in 1.5

Significant changes in this version include:

  • Passions mechanics made more abstract and interactive. Instead of working like alignment moves, now function more like icons from 13th Age, giving the GM a currency to spend to pull Passions into the narrative. XP gain no longer about hitting that “alignment” move, but examining how you measure up against the ideals you claim to follow.
  • Replaced overland travel moves with those from Perilous Wilds. Playbooks, particularly the Scout, changed to match.
  • Embraced the followers concept from Perilous Wilds (also written by Jermey Strandberg). Turns out this can replace more than just hirelings. Several weird one-off subsystems in Dungeon World replaced with unified follower mechanics, including summoning spells, mounts, companion animals and so on.
  • Replaced Defend (as mentioned above). It now gives a named type of hold called “readiness”. Various parts of the playbooks were added or changed to use readiness in various ways.
  • Replaced Parley (as mentioned above) with a version easier to use at the table.
  • Spellcasting changed to add a type of hold called “focus”, which can be spent to counter some of the mathematical brutality of requiring multiple tests for a single spell. Each casting discipline also gets a trick for doing something with focus.
  • Added examples of how spellcasting is intended to work in game and clarifications about what else you can do while weaving.
  • Removed discipline details from the main book. Everyone just looks at the playbooks anyway. In their place are advice sections to the GM about getting the most out of each discipline, with questions specific to each one.
  • Added a similar section advising on what player choice of species might signal, and how it can inform other parts of the game.
  • Leveraging the hack & slash rephrasing from prior versions, each discipline now adds a choice to the 10+ list, allowing each one to fight a tiny bit differently.
  • Added lots of examples of follower beasts and spirits.
  • Added some obsessions.
  • Added some monsters.
  • Playbooks are now generated from XML data, allowing new styles of playbooks to be constructed from a single data set. This uses XSL and FOP, based around my Corax data standard for RPG data. (I may make this standard more complete, open, and documented in the coming year. Maybe not.)
  • Most disciplines streamlined a little, reducing the number of moves slightly.
  • Was very temped to eliminate XP, but instead just give some advice on how to do so if you should want to.
  • General reorganization of book, changing chapters around.

The Future

In the short term, there may be future 1.5.x versions, to fix typos and such. There will probably be some additional playbook formats (starting with an A4 version of the minimal format).

Long term, this will definitely be the last in the 1.x series. If there is a 2.0, it won’t be based on Dungeon World. I think I’ve pushed the drift as far as it can go without breaking, and have already broke it a little. If a future PbtA version is in the cards, it will be much closer to Apocalypse World 2. There’s also a chance it wouldn’t be PbtA at all.

If you want to pick this seed up and plant it somewhere else, let me know. With the demise of G+ screwing up roleplaying, I’ll be harder to find. If you are on the Federation (diaspora, Friendica, etc.) or the Fediverse (Mastodon, Friendica, etc.) you can follow me at here. If not, but you are interested in trying a distributed social network that isn’t controlled by corporations, join one (such as an rpg-friendly Mastodon or Diaspora node).

Download

  • fourth-world-1.5.pdf (8.7MB): rulebook.
  • fourth-world-crib-1.5.pdf (1.3MB): several page summary of the basic and special moves, spellcasting, etc.
  • fourth-world-build-ref-1.5.pdf (186KB): an experimental kit to build-your-own reference pages. Each “page” in this document is a one-sixth six page. If you have a PDF viewer capable of doing “6-up” printing and can specify arbitrary page ranges, you can do both of those things to select six of the pages in this document to print on a single piece of paper as a reference. Pages include: forms for tracking Passions, followers, steadings and so on; obessions; relics; basics, like lines or a dot grid; basic moves; etc.
  • fourth-world-playbooks-1.5-legal.pdf (8.7MB): single page playbooks, using US Legal (8.5&inch; x 14&inch;) paper. Style is similar to prior versions, somewhat following the font aesthetics of third edition.
  • fourth-world-playbooks-1.5-minimal.pdf (640KB): intended for printing on US Letter (8.5&inch; x 11&inch;) paper, double-sided, then folded in half. Style is vaguely similar to Brennan Reece’s “minimal” style playbooks.
  • fourth-world-sources-1.5.zip (forthcoming): the InDesign and other sources used to build all this stuff.

Probabilities of the Aid move in Dungeon World

In Dungeon World (and in some other games powered by the apocalypse), a character can make a roll that, if successful, allows them to give aid to someone else’s roll. Because I mess with this move fairly substantially in Fourth World, I’ve had to analyze the probability of the Aid move and figured I’d share the results here.

Like all powered by the apocalypse (PbtA) games, Dungeon World relies on rolling 2d6, adding them up, and adding an additional modifier (typically from -1 to +3, based on a stat or something similar). On such a roll, six or below is a failure (allowing the gamemaster, who does not otherwise “get a turn”, to do something), between seven and nine is partial success (where the fun part of the game usually is) and ten or more is a full success. What happens on partial and full success depends on why the roll was made. Some rolls even have a higher level of success if you roll a 12 or more. These rolls are part of “moves” that get triggered when something happens in the fiction of the game.

The Aid or Interfere move in Dungeon World says this:

When you help or hinder someone, roll+bond with them. On a 10+, they take +1 or -2 to their roll, your choice. On a 7−9, they still get a modifier, but you also expose yourself to danger, retribution, or cost.

So, imagine you are in a game, and something is going on and you think “is it worth it to try to help out, or will I just make things worse?” How do you answer this question?

First, can you make things worse? Well, it is possible for you to fail when you Aid, and for the person you are helping to also fail. In this case, technically, the GM can now make a move of their own for each failure, where had you not tried to aid at all, the GM would have only made one. While it is not unheard of for a GM move to improve the character’s situation, this tends to be the exception. So, yes, your attempt to Aid can make things worse.

Plain Rolls

To figure out how often, lets look at a basic interaction of two 2d6 rolls without any modifiers. Let’s imagine that, for some reason, the only way to do something is to succeed on two 2d6 rolls in a row. Because each roll is an opportunity to fail, this is harder than just succeeding on one roll. The outcomes for each roll combine like so, with the number in each cell being the percentage chance of a particular combination of results:

Second 2d6 Roll
6− 7−9 10+
First
2d6
Roll
6− 17.3 17.4 6.9
7−9 17.4 17.3 6.9
10+ 7.0 6.9 2.8

So, this 3×3 table indicates that both rolls fail about nine times more often then both fully succeed. The odds of one of the rolls failing are greater than the odds of getting any kind of success (partial or full) on both. (Note that, throughout this post, percentages are rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent, so the percentages in a matrix like this may not add up to a 100%.)

But, rolls in PbtA games have bonuses added to them. Suppose the first roll gets between a +0 and +3 bonus, while the second is modified from -1 to +3. The following table shows how this pans out:

Second 2d6 Roll
-1 +0 +1 +2 +3
6− 7−9 10+ 6− 7−9 10+ 6− 7−9 10+ 6− 7−9 10+ 6− 7−9 10+
First
2d6
Roll
+0 6− 24.2 13.9 3.5 17.3 17.4 6.9 11.5 18.5 11.6 7.0 17.3 17.3 3.5 13.9 24.4
7−9 24.2 13.9 3.5 17.4 17.3 6.9 11.6 18.5 11.6 7.0 17.3 17.4 3.5 13.9 24.3
10+ 9.7 5.6 1.4 7.0 6.9 2.8 4.6 7.4 4.6 2.8 7.0 6.9 1.4 5.6 9.7
+1 6− 16.2 9.2 2.3 11.5 11.6 4.6 7.7 12.3 7.7 4.6 11.6 11.5 2.3 9.3 16.2
7−9 25.9 14.8 3.7 18.5 18.5 7.4 12.4 19.7 12.3 7.4 18.5 18.5 3.7 14.9 26.0
10+ 16.2 9.3 2.3 11.6 11.6 4.6 7.7 12.3 7.7 4.6 11.6 11.6 2.3 9.3 16.2
+2 6− 9.7 5.6 1.4 7.0 6.9 2.8 4.6 7.5 4.6 2.7 6.9 6.9 1.4 5.6 9.7
7−9 24.3 13.9 3.5 17.3 17.4 6.9 11.6 18.5 11.6 7.0 17.4 17.4 3.5 13.9 24.3
10+ 24.3 13.9 3.5 17.4 17.4 7.0 11.6 18.5 11.6 6.9 17.4 17.3 3.5 13.9 24.3
+3 6− 4.8 2.8 0.7 3.5 3.5 1.4 2.3 3.7 2.3 1.4 3.5 3.5 0.7 2.7 4.8
7−9 19.5 11.1 2.8 13.9 13.9 5.6 9.3 14.8 9.2 5.5 13.9 13.9 2.8 11.2 19.4
10+ 34.1 19.4 4.9 24.3 24.3 9.7 16.3 25.9 16.2 9.7 24.3 24.3 4.9 19.4 34.1

Clearly having bonuses helps avoid double failure. Just each roll getting a +1 cuts the chance of double failure in half. If both rolls have +2 bonuses, the chance of both rolls succeeding are nearly three in four.

Standard Aid

What does this mean for the Aid move? Based on the move text above, not only are bonuses in play, but the result of the Aid move alters the success of the test being aided by adding one to the roll, which makes success on the test more likely. This pans out like so:

Test Bonus
-1 +0 +1 +2 +3
6− 7−9 10+ 6− 7−9 10+ 6− 7−9 10+ 6− 7−9 10+ 6− 7−9 10+
Aid
Bonus
+0 6− 24.2 13.9 3.5 17.3 17.4 6.9 11.5 18.5 11.6 7.0 17.3 17.3 3.5 13.9 24.4
7−9 17.3 17.3 7.0 11.6 18.5 11.6 7.0 17.3 17.4 3.5 13.9 24.3 1.2 10.4 30.1
10+ 6.9 7.0 2.8 4.6 7.4 4.6 2.8 6.9 6.9 1.4 5.6 9.7 0.5 4.2 12.0
+1 6− 16.2 9.2 2.3 11.5 11.6 4.6 7.7 12.3 7.7 4.6 11.6 11.5 2.3 9.3 16.2
7−9 18.5 18.5 7.4 12.3 19.8 12.4 7.4 18.5 18.5 3.7 14.8 25.9 1.2 11.2 32.1
10+ 11.6 11.7 4.7 7.8 12.3 7.7 4.7 11.6 11.5 2.3 9.3 16.2 0.8 6.9 20.0
+2 6− 9.7 5.6 1.4 7.0 6.9 2.8 4.6 7.5 4.6 2.7 6.9 6.9 1.4 5.6 9.7
7−9 17.3 17.4 7.0 11.5 18.5 11.6 7.0 17.4 17.4 3.5 13.9 24.3 1.2 10.4 30.1
10+ 17.3 17.4 7.0 11.6 18.6 11.6 6.9 17.4 17.3 3.5 13.9 24.3 1.2 10.4 30.1
+3 6− 4.8 2.8 0.7 3.5 3.5 1.4 2.3 3.7 2.3 1.4 3.5 3.5 0.7 2.7 4.8
7−9 13.9 13.9 5.6 9.2 14.8 9.2 5.6 13.9 13.9 2.8 11.1 19.5 0.9 8.4 24.1
10+ 24.3 24.3 9.7 16.2 25.9 16.3 9.8 24.3 24.4 4.9 19.5 34.0 1.6 14.6 42.1

Because the Aid roll gains a bonus based on a bonds and not a stat, high bonuses to this roll are somewhat rare. Often this number of bonds will be zero, and multiple bonds with the same character are pretty rare. So in most cases, you’re looking at the +0 and +1 Aid rows.

Remember how some moves allow a higher level of success on a 12+? Given the effectiveness of high-bonus Aid rolls, a reasonable strategy might be to Aid rolls that have a high chance of success to try to push them up to the 12+ level, when such a thing is possible. To show how that works, the 3×3 matrix in each cell gets expanded into a 4×4 matrix, with the “full success” row and column get split into a 10−11 column and a 12+ column. When you break the results up like this using Aid, you get this:

Test Bonus
-1 +0 +1 +2 +3
6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+
Aid
Bonus
+0 6− 24.2 13.9 3.5 0.0 17.3 17.4 5.8 1.2 11.5 18.5 8.1 3.5 7.0 17.3 10.4 6.9 3.5 13.9 12.8 11.6
7−9 17.3 17.3 5.8 1.2 11.6 18.5 8.1 3.5 7.0 17.3 10.5 7.0 3.5 13.9 12.7 11.6 1.2 10.4 12.8 17.3
10−11 5.8 5.8 1.9 0.4 3.9 6.2 2.7 1.1 2.3 5.8 3.4 2.3 1.2 4.6 4.2 3.9 0.4 3.5 4.2 5.8
12+ 1.2 1.2 0.4 0.1 0.8 1.2 0.5 0.2 0.5 1.2 0.7 0.5 0.2 0.9 0.9 0.8 0.1 0.7 0.9 1.1
+1 6− 16.2 9.2 2.3 0.0 11.5 11.6 3.9 0.8 7.7 12.3 5.4 2.3 4.6 11.6 6.9 4.6 2.3 9.3 8.4 7.8
7−9 18.5 18.5 6.2 1.2 12.3 19.8 8.7 3.7 7.4 18.5 11.1 7.4 3.7 14.8 13.6 12.3 1.2 11.2 13.6 18.5
10−11 8.1 8.1 2.7 0.5 5.4 8.6 3.7 1.6 3.3 8.1 4.8 3.3 1.6 6.5 6.0 5.4 0.5 4.9 5.9 8.1
12+ 3.5 3.5 1.2 0.2 2.3 3.7 1.6 0.7 1.4 3.5 2.1 1.4 0.7 2.8 2.5 2.3 0.2 2.1 2.6 3.5
+2 6− 9.7 5.6 1.4 0.0 7.0 6.9 2.3 0.5 4.6 7.5 3.2 1.4 2.7 6.9 4.2 2.8 1.4 5.6 5.1 4.6
7−9 17.3 17.4 5.8 1.2 11.5 18.5 8.1 3.4 7.0 17.4 10.5 6.9 3.5 13.9 12.7 11.6 1.2 10.4 12.7 17.4
10−11 10.4 10.4 3.5 0.7 7.0 11.2 4.9 2.1 4.2 10.4 6.3 4.2 2.1 8.4 7.6 6.9 0.7 6.3 7.6 10.4
12+ 6.9 7.0 2.4 0.5 4.6 7.4 3.2 1.4 2.8 7.0 4.2 2.8 1.4 5.6 5.1 4.6 0.5 4.1 5.1 7.0
+3 6− 4.8 2.8 0.7 0.0 3.5 3.5 1.1 0.2 2.3 3.7 1.6 0.7 1.4 3.5 2.1 1.4 0.7 2.7 2.5 2.3
7−9 13.9 13.9 4.6 0.9 9.2 14.8 6.5 2.8 5.6 13.9 8.3 5.6 2.8 11.1 10.2 9.3 0.9 8.4 10.2 13.9
10−11 12.7 12.7 4.2 0.8 8.5 13.5 6.0 2.5 5.1 12.7 7.7 5.1 2.6 10.2 9.3 8.4 0.8 7.7 9.3 12.7
12+ 11.6 11.5 3.9 0.8 7.7 12.4 5.4 2.3 4.7 11.6 6.9 4.7 2.3 9.3 8.5 7.7 0.8 6.9 8.5 11.6

You can take these result percentages and subtract the result percentages from the corresponding results of just two rolls to see what sort of a difference Aid is making, compared to just making two rolls:

Test Bonus
-1 +0 +1 +2 +3
6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+
Aid
Bonus
+0 6−                                        
7−9 -6.9 +3.4 +2.3 +1.2 -5.8 +1.1 +2.3 +2.3 -4.6 -1.2 +2.3 +3.5 -3.5 -3.4 +2.3 +4.6 -2.3 -3.5   +5.8
10−11 -2.3 +1.1 +0.8 +0.4 -1.9 +0.4 +0.8 +0.8 -1.5 -0.4 +0.7 +1.2 -1.2 -1.2 +0.8 +1.5 -0.8 -1.2   +1.9
12+ -0.5 +0.2 +0.2 +0.1 -0.4 +0.1 +0.1 +0.1 -0.3 -0.1 +0.2 +0.2 -0.2 -0.2 +0.2 +0.3 -0.2 -0.2   +0.4
+1 6−                                        
7−9 -7.4 +3.7 +2.5 +1.2 -6.2 +1.3 +2.5 +2.5 -5.0 -1.2 +2.5 +3.7 -3.7 -3.7 +2.5 +4.9 -2.5 -3.7   +6.2
10−11 -3.3 +1.6 +1.1 +0.5 -2.7 +0.6 +1.1 +1.1 -2.2 -0.5 +1.0 +1.6 -1.6 -1.7 +1.1 +2.2 -1.1 -1.6   +2.7
12+ -1.4 +0.7 +0.5 +0.2 -1.1 +0.2 +0.5 +0.5 -0.9 -0.2 +0.5 +0.7 -0.7 -0.7 +0.5 +0.9 -0.5 -0.7   +1.2
+2 6−                                        
7−9 -6.9 +3.5 +2.3 +1.2 -5.7 +1.1 +2.3 +2.3 -4.6 -1.1 +2.3 +3.5 -3.5 -3.5 +2.3 +4.6 -2.3 -3.5   +5.8
10−11 -4.2 +2.1 +1.4 +0.7 -3.5 +0.7 +1.4 +1.4 -2.8 -0.7 +1.4 +2.1 -2.1 -2.1 +1.4 +2.8 -1.4 -2.1   +3.5
12+ -2.8 +1.4 +1.0 +0.5 -2.3 +0.4 +0.9 +0.9 -1.9 -0.5 +0.9 +1.4 -1.4 -1.4 +0.9 +1.8 -0.9 -1.4   +2.3
+3 6−                                        
7−9 -5.6 +2.8 +1.8 +0.9 -4.6 +1.0 +1.8 +1.9 -3.7 -0.9 +1.8 +2.8 -2.8 -2.8 +1.8 +3.7 -1.8 -2.8 +0.1 +4.6
10−11 -5.1 +2.6 +1.7 +0.8 -4.2 +0.8 +1.7 +1.7 -3.4 -0.9 +1.7 +2.6 -2.6 -2.5 +1.7 +3.4 -1.7 -2.5   +4.2
12+ -4.6 +2.3 +1.5 +0.8 -3.9 +0.8 +1.6 +1.5 -3.1 -0.8 +1.5 +2.3 -2.3 -2.3 +1.6 +3.1 -1.6 -2.3   +3.9

Fourth World Aid

In Fourth World, bonds aren’t used, so the Aid move has to change. In version 1.5 (not yet released), the move is also adjusted to have a bit more upside. It makes use of changing the result by a “step”, which means a 6− becomes a 7−9 result, a 7−9 becomes a 10+, etc.. The current text of the move is:

When you help or hinder someone, say how. You may do so either before or after they have rolled, but before the fictional outcome of their action is known. If you do it…

  • …using brute force, roll+STR
  • …with speed, agility, or physical finesse, roll+DEX
  • …with vitality, toughness, or vigor, roll+CON
  • …through emotional manipulation, roll+CHA
  • …through analysis, logic, or book-learning, roll+INT
  • …some other way, roll+WIS

On a 7–9, they take +1 or –2 to their roll, your choice. On a 10+, improve or reduce their result by one step, your choice, and choose one from the following list:

  • you do not expose yourself to danger, retribution, or cost
  • you help someone else: they take +1 forward
  • you help yourself: you take +1 forward
  • you gain a karma point

Using this approach, the exact same die rolls used in the table above turn out like this:

Test Bonus
-1 +0 +1 +2 +3
6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+
Aid
Bonus
+0 6− 24.2 13.9 3.5 0.0 17.3 17.4 5.8 1.2 11.5 18.5 8.1 3.5 7.0 17.3 10.4 6.9 3.5 13.9 12.8 11.6
7−9 17.3 17.3 5.8 1.2 11.6 18.5 8.1 3.5 7.0 17.3 10.5 7.0 3.5 13.9 12.7 11.6 1.2 10.4 12.8 17.3
10−11 0.0 8.1 4.7 1.2 0.0 5.8 5.8 2.3 0.0 3.9 6.1 3.9 0.0 2.3 5.8 5.8 0.0 1.2 4.7 8.1
12+ 0.0 1.6 0.9 0.2 0.0 1.1 1.2 0.5 0.0 0.8 1.2 0.8 0.0 0.5 1.2 1.2 0.0 0.2 0.9 1.6
+1 6− 16.2 9.2 2.3 0.0 11.5 11.6 3.9 0.8 7.7 12.3 5.4 2.3 4.6 11.6 6.9 4.6 2.3 9.3 8.4 7.8
7−9 18.5 18.5 6.2 1.2 12.3 19.8 8.7 3.7 7.4 18.5 11.1 7.4 3.7 14.8 13.6 12.3 1.2 11.2 13.6 18.5
10−11 0.0 11.4 6.5 1.6 0.0 8.1 8.1 3.2 0.0 5.4 8.6 5.4 0.0 3.3 8.2 8.1 0.0 1.6 6.5 11.3
12+ 0.0 4.9 2.8 0.7 0.0 3.5 3.5 1.4 0.0 2.3 3.7 2.3 0.0 1.4 3.5 3.5 0.0 0.7 2.8 4.9
+2 6− 9.7 5.6 1.4 0.0 7.0 6.9 2.3 0.5 4.6 7.5 3.2 1.4 2.7 6.9 4.2 2.8 1.4 5.6 5.1 4.6
7−9 17.3 17.4 5.8 1.2 11.5 18.5 8.1 3.4 7.0 17.4 10.5 6.9 3.5 13.9 12.7 11.6 1.2 10.4 12.7 17.4
10−11 0.0 14.6 8.3 2.1 0.0 10.5 10.5 4.2 0.0 7.0 11.1 7.0 0.0 4.2 10.5 10.4 0.0 2.1 8.3 14.6
12+ 0.0 9.7 5.6 1.4 0.0 6.9 7.0 2.8 0.0 4.6 7.4 4.6 0.0 2.8 6.9 6.9 0.0 1.4 5.5 9.7
+3 6− 4.8 2.8 0.7 0.0 3.5 3.5 1.1 0.2 2.3 3.7 1.6 0.7 1.4 3.5 2.1 1.4 0.7 2.7 2.5 2.3
7−9 13.9 13.9 4.6 0.9 9.2 14.8 6.5 2.8 5.6 13.9 8.3 5.6 2.8 11.1 10.2 9.3 0.9 8.4 10.2 13.9
10−11 0.0 17.9 10.2 2.5 0.0 12.8 12.7 5.1 0.0 8.5 13.6 8.5 0.0 5.1 12.7 12.7 0.0 2.5 10.2 17.8
12+ 0.0 16.2 9.2 2.3 0.0 11.6 11.6 4.7 0.0 7.7 12.3 7.7 0.0 4.6 11.6 11.6 0.0 2.3 9.2 16.2

How does this result compare with the standard rule for Aid? Each cell in the following table shows the result of the corresponding cell of the prior table and subtracts the same cell from the standard Aid table, showing the change in outcome for each cell (for clarity, cells with no change are shown as blank instead of zero). You can see that it only changes things when the Aid roll gets a 10+, as you’d expect from the phrasing of the change. The probability only changes a few percent either way, generally pushing to more success for the test, which was the whole idea of the change. The biggest change comes when helping someone with a penalty, which is definitately what you want from a move to help out allies.

Test Bonus
-1 +0 +1 +2 +3
6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+
Aid
Bonus
+0 6−                                        
7−9                                        
10−11 -5.8 +2.3 +2.7 +0.8 -3.9 -0.4 +3.1 +1.2 -2.3 -1.9 +2.7 +1.5 -1.2 -2.3 +1.5 +1.9 -0.4 -2.3 +0.4 +2.3
12+ -1.2 +0.5 +0.5 +0.2 -0.8 -0.1 +0.6 +0.2 -0.5 -0.4 +0.5 +0.3 -0.2 -0.5 +0.3 +0.4 -0.1 -0.5 +0.1 +0.5
+1 6−                                        
7−9                                        
10−11 -8.1 +3.2 +3.8 +1.1 -5.4 -0.5 +4.3 +1.6 -3.3 -2.7 +3.8 +2.2 -1.6 -3.2 +2.2 +2.7 -0.5 -3.2 +0.6 +3.2
12+ -3.5 +1.4 +1.7 +0.5 -2.3 -0.2 +1.9 +0.7 -1.4 -1.1 +1.6 +0.9 -0.7 -1.4 +0.9 +1.2 -0.2 -1.4 +0.2 +1.4
+2 6−                                        
7−9                                        
10−11 -10.4 +4.1 +4.8 +1.4 -7.0 -0.7 +5.6 +2.1 -4.2 -3.4 +4.8 +2.8 -2.1 -4.2 +2.8 +3.5 -0.7 -4.2 +0.7 +4.1
12+ -6.9 +2.8 +3.2 +0.9 -4.6 -0.5 +3.7 +1.4 -2.8 -2.3 +3.3 +1.9 -1.4 -2.8 +1.9 +2.3 -0.5 -2.8 +0.4 +2.8
+3 6−                                        
7−9                                        
10−11 -12.7 +5.1 +5.9 +1.7 -8.5 -0.8 +6.8 +2.5 -5.1 -4.2 +5.9 +3.4 -2.6 -5.1 +3.4 +4.2 -0.8 -5.1 +0.9 +5.1
12+ -11.6 +4.7 +5.4 +1.5 -7.7 -0.8 +6.2 +2.3 -4.7 -3.8 +5.4 +3.0 -2.3 -4.6 +3.1 +3.9 -0.8 -4.6 +0.7 +4.6

Summary

If you only care about the outcome of the test, and how Aid changes the likelihood of the four test outcomes, Aid clearly helps on average. This ignores the drawbacks of failing the Aid roll, though.

Test Bonus
-1 +0 +1 +2 +3
6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+ 6− 7−9 10−11 12+
Without aid 58.6 33.1 8.3 0.0 41.7 41.6 14.0 2.7 27.9 44.2 19.6 8.3 16.4 41.8 24.9 16.8 8.4 33.4 30.7 27.5
Standard Aid +0 49.0 37.9 11.6 1.6 33.7 43.2 17.1 6.0 21.4 42.7 22.7 13.2 11.6 36.9 28.2 23.4 5.1 28.6 30.5 35.8
+1 46.3 39.5 12.2 2.1 31.6 43.7 17.9 6.8 19.8 42.4 23.4 14.5 10.5 36.0 28.9 24.5 4.3 27.2 30.5 38.0
+2 44.1 40.4 13.2 2.3 30.3 43.9 18.6 7.2 18.4 42.2 24.3 15.1 9.8 34.6 29.5 26.1 3.7 26.5 30.6 39.3
+3 43.0 41.1 13.4 2.6 29.1 44.4 18.8 7.7 17.7 41.8 24.6 15.9 9.2 34.2 30.1 26.5 3.3 25.9 30.6 40.2
Fourth World Aid +0 42.0 40.7 14.8 2.5 29.0 42.9 20.7 7.4 18.5 40.5 25.9 15.1 10.2 34.0 30.1 25.7 4.7 25.9 30.9 38.6
+1 34.7 44.0 17.7 3.5 23.9 42.9 24.2 9.1 15.1 38.7 28.6 17.6 8.3 31.1 32.2 28.4 3.6 22.6 31.2 42.6
+2 26.7 47.3 21.3 4.7 18.6 42.9 27.8 10.7 11.4 36.6 32.2 19.8 6.3 27.7 34.2 31.8 2.5 19.5 31.8 46.2
+3 18.9 50.8 24.5 5.8 12.7 42.8 32.0 12.5 7.9 33.9 35.8 22.5 4.1 24.5 36.7 34.7 1.6 16.0 32.4 50.0

Code

All of these numbers came from rolling a million sets of Aid/Test rolls. Some of this was also secretly an attempt to become more familiar with driving HSL color with code. The Python 3.x code used to compute these results and generate the tables can be found here: aidprob.py

200 Word RPG entry: Enslaved Star

I submitted an entry to this years 200 Word RPG Contest, my first. This one weighs in at 197 words, inspired by a sequence in Avengers: Infinity War. It’s basically a round-robin narrative game, but could be played pretty much anywhere.

The text of the Enslaved Star is:

Cast
FORGE: A semi-sentient magical neutron star. You have been enslaved, converted to forge weapons for gods. You cannot communicate directly.
SMITH: The disfigured artisan who runs Forge, catering to the whim of the gods. You are lonely and bitter.
HERO: A patheon’s chosen champion. You are glorious and expendable.
THREAT: The dire problem that Hero requires a new weapon to defeat.

Each round, select who plays Forge, Smith, and a new Hero. Players take each role only once. Everyone else is Threat. The game ends after everyone has played Forge.

Hero casually mentions a pantheon of gods, and explains why they are its champion.

Threat decides what threatens the pantheon, and why.

Smith describes who comissioned a new weapon, and what is crafted in response.

Forge describes how it secretly undermines the weapon.

Threat describes how it destroyed d100 percent of the pantheon.

Hero describes how the weapon drove back Threat, but will never again be the same.

Forge describes how Hero lost the weapon and how it went on to further Forge’s agenda.

Smith describes how/why the weapon was eventually destroyed or fell into disuse, and why Forge will never be free.

Prime Spiral preview

LogoA number of years ago, I wrote up some notes on playing in the setting Exalted using the rules of Anima Prime. This snowballed into a long PDF for my gaming group called Exaltation Prime, which I have never released because it is filled with art and IP for which I do not have distribution rights. One of the things I love about Anima Prime, though, is that it uses a Creative Commons license, so I’ve wanted to share the changes and additions I made to build Exaltation Prime in a way that could be legitimately released under the same Creative Commons license.

The result will be Prime Spiral: Extensions and Hacks to Anima Prime. Each chapter will detail a way to hack the rules of Anima Prime, and explain why you may or may not want to do that. It is worth mentioning that, while I’ve been doing all this, Christian Griffen, Anima Prime‘s author, has been releasing his own changes, mostly meant to streamline the game, while the hacks in Prime Spiral mostly serve to make the game more complicated. You’ll need to season to taste.

At the request of Mr. Griffen, I posted a link to the in progress version of Prime Spiral to a G+ thread. I figured I might as well post it here as well:

Prime Spiral noodling.

Fourth World 1.4 relayout

LogoSomeone not as enamored of landscape PDFs asked for a more standard layout for Fourth World, my drift of Dungeon World rules to fit the Earthdawn setting. I was not that keen on doing this, but then got curious about experimenting with 6×9 layouts in InDesign. So, I changed the entire layout of version 1.4 and you can find the result at the link below. As always, the InDesign sources are available for tinkering as well.

I plan on using this new layout style for Fourth World going forward. Which means, yes, I will probably release a 1.5 at some point.

For now, here is the new layout of 1.4:

While on the subject of changing layouts, I should also mention the efforts of Seth Halbeisen, who built letter-sized versions of the playbooks (the originals will legal-sized). If you have hacks of your own, let me know here or on G+.