Category Archives: Home Brew Hacks

Just some house rules that I made up.

Lamentations of the Flame Princess, duh.

I rewatched the awful Solomon Kane movie over the weekend. Sure I may be a wee bit prejudice against since I had read Howard’s original stories. So it’s not that good of a movie. But the opening sequence is pretty cool. So at least that’s worth a few minutes of your time.

This got me thinking. Wow. Wouldn’t a Black Powder & Black Magic game be fun? Like a total idiot I spent about 45 minutes googling what was out there and it was right there on my shelf. Buff coats and all.

LOTFP has got weird magic, gritty rules, and some decent black powder rules (but they could a little clean up and made a little easier). Throw in a few those 2nd Edition play test rules and there you go. Sure the LOTFP adventures took a turn to the total negadungeon, whack weird stuff. The core game is basically on this theme.

But wait there’s more. Or should I say that I can’t leave well enough alone. Running with the Black Powder & Black Magic theme pretty much means that the good old Elves, Dwarves, and Halflings are out. But what to throw in their place?? Hmm. I think it’s time to make note of what I said in the About the Blog, “I ain’t no scholar.” So which leads us to what Fifth Edition calls Tieflings and Aasimar but let’s look a little more closely at these.

Tieflings well they’ve got demonic ancestry and Aasimar basically have angelic ancestry. While D&D has the Cambion as a half-fiend, if I do a little research online then I come up with Cambion as the offspring of an incubus, succubus, or other demon and a human. And if we do the same basic thing with Nephilim which (depending on which source you are looking at) is the product of the union of human and a fallen angel. So yeah one of your parents did the horizontal shuffle with a demon or an angel.

So what we do with these in a gritty LOTFP game? Easy make them racial classes. Even easier, it’s already done. Magic-User becomes the racial class for Cambions and Cleric becomes the racial class for Nephilim. That does leave Fighter and Specialist as “human” only classes but that doesn’t mean that a human character can’t be a priest or a student of the arcane. It’s just that their power is no where near that of those whose blood is tainted and a tad bit of house ruling.

And to keep things grim dark, well, because these characters actually have cool magic powers, there’s a good chance that they might end up getting burned at the stake or splayed out on some scholar’s table for vivisection.

There you go. As Elvira says, “Unpleasant dreams…”

Fifth Edition Proficiency Bonus..hmmm

This is a sort of followup from yesterday’s post about Rogues & Skills. While I was thinking about skills and how they are handled a few other things crept into brain. Something that was bugging me just a little bit about 5E but I didn’t put my finger on it until now.

Besides HP, there are basically four ways that characters improve. Attacks, Skills, Saves, and Casting (for the magic types). In 5E, much of this handled via the Proficiency Bonus. It gets added for Attack Rolls, Skill Checks, Saves, and influences spell casting. A single number to rule them all. I’m all for simple but maybe this one is bit too simple. Why should all of these thing progress at the same rate? This is more apparent at low levels before all the cool class tricks kick in. And yes Rogues and Bards get Expertise. And yes attribute modifiers play a big role on the final number.

But think of it this way. The modifier used to determine the character’s skill and experience is the same for all characters. So basically a second level fighter and a second level wizard have about the same training with a dagger. That really doesn’t make much sense to me.

And as I mentioned before this goes up at the same rate. So why not make each of these four categories separate proficiency bonuses. So from the previous example, a second level fighter might have a +2 Fighting Proficiency Bonus, a second level rogue might have +1, and a second level wizard might have +0. The rogue might have a +2 Skill Bonus since skills are their thing (usually). And so on.

Not trying to tear anyone or anything down. Just a random thought.

Enjoy.

YARC-Rogues & Skills

I spent a bunch of time this last week thinking about how to do skills for my little heart breaker and a couple of things popped into my head.

First, I realized that this whole project is starting to branch into two development trees; old-school based influenced by Fifth Edition, and Fifth Edition based but influenced by old-school games. This all started to come together with last week’s Let’s Go Crazy post.

First, yes, I’m running with Rogue rather than Thief. I just feel it’s got a broader definition than Thief. Second, I’m gathering a bunch of inspiration from Lamentations of the Flame Princess’ Specialist.

Skills need to broad but not vague and need to hit a sweet spot. Most “common” actions would be done with Ability checks. Things like jumping, climbing, searching, and fast talk. Class specific knowledge might or might not need a roll, depending what’s going on. So here’s my initial skill list:

  • Healing: Treating Wounds, diagnosis, herbalism
  • Monster Lore: Creatures and stuff.
  • Profession: Specific knowledge choose something when taken.
  • Languages: Decipher script, number of languages. 0 is illiterate.
  • Stealth: Moving Quietly, Hiding, Blending Into The Crowd.
  • Survival: Tracking. Foraging
  • Thievery: Picking Pockets, Locks & Traps, Sleight of Hand

Yeah. It’s a very short list.

So how am I going to handle Skill in the 5E world? Taking a page from 5E Hardcore Mode and little from my own previous thoughts. First, there’s no set attribute modifier that modifies a skill. It all just depends on what exactly the character is attempting. For example, Can I eat this plant? Roll Survival (Int). Can I skin this animal? Roll Survival (Dex). What about unskilled? Sure you can try. For that I’m going to streamline from Hardcore Mode. Just roll a d20 at Disadvantage. No attribute modifier at all. As far as progression goes, well, just do that pretty much the normal way.

For the old-school, it’s the good old x in d6 vibe similar to Lamentations of the Flame Princess. But taking a step further. X in d6 is for average difficulty. To adjust for more difficult tasks, increase the die type. So if a task is really hard instead of X in d6, it’d be x in d12. Now for progression under this there’s an idea that’s bounced around my head for a long time. Random class based skill points. So since the Rogue is the skill monkey. They get the best die. Probably a d8 while other classes would get a d4 or d6. Points can be saved from level to level. And any skill can only be improved by one per level. However, it’s not a 1 for 1 point buy. It takes the Skill Rating to go up one. So to go from 3 to 4, it costs 3 points. Like LOTFP, most skills would start off at 1 but in a case like Languages then going from 0 to 1 would cost 4.

Of course, Rogues are going to get other class tricks like sneak attack and better chances at certain checks. Plus a few other things as they pop into my head.

And in case you’re coming into these rants, mid-way through, these are my high level thoughts on the basic design. The nuts and bolt will coming later.

Keep rolling those dice and having fun!

Hit Locations for Barbaric!

Because why not. I threw this together for yet another option for Barbaric! It’s just something that hit this morning so I scribbled down some notes. Yes, another random idea.

So first this would replace the standard crit tables but not the additional damage from crits as per the Barbaric! rules. This still adds a whole bunch of danger and dismemberment to combat. On the referee side, I wouldn’t worry too much about a hit location table for each and every monster morphology. Just roll with it.

First the table. Throw 2D:

2: Head

3: Right Arm

4: Left Arm

5 to 9: Torso

10: Right Leg

11: Left Leg

12: Vitals

So what do you with that location? Well, first you can do piecemeal armor. Assume the price listing and optional encumbrance in the book is for a full set of armor. For piecemeal armor, adjust the price and encumbrance based on the percentages used below. Yes, you are going to have to do some math.

Head: 30%

Arms 30%

Torso/Vitals: 50%

Legs 40%

Vitals: 30%-Dead

Damage Modifier: Any damage that gets by the character’s armor is modified by the location that’s hit and damage effects applied as normal.

Head/Vitals: 2x

Arms/Legs: 1/2x

Torso: 1x

As I said earlier, this is just a wild idea that popped into my head. YMMV.

YARC: Let’s Go Crazy!

I’m still working classes and all the various other little bits that go into home brewing this Franken-Game. Sure it all started off as kitbashing a bunch of old school games but then I started to think about what things I liked about Fifth Edition. I blame this guy for making me think.

I had watched some of the Dungeon Craft videos now and then but recently I’ve really started to do a deep dive and binge. Hell, I’ll probably join up on the Patreon too.

Now, there’s a lot things in 5E that just don’t quite jive with the old-school vibe. I remember when 5E first came out and there was an attempt by many (including myself) to meld the two together. IMHO, a lot of those attempts really fell short. They just felt like the 5E Basic Rules with a few tweaks. Finally, I managed to find a couple that just hit the sweet spot for me when it comes to simplicity and feel.

Most folks have already heard of 5E Hardcore Mode. This little 18 page PDF packs in a lot of cool tools. Most notably for me, the very easy monster stat block,rolling to cast spells, and a more down to earth way to handle skills.

The second is Five Torches Deep. This one really puts the classes together with an idea that I was already playing with but they do it much better than I was. Here’s the quick and dirty low down. You’ve got your classic basic four classes. Then the class archetypes/specializations are the good old sublcasses. For example, Warrior has Fighter, Ranger, and Barbarian. Boom. There you go.

Of course, I’m still pulling a lot of crazy and different ideas from across the old-school spectrum. But more on that later.

Roll dice. Kill monsters. Take their stuff. And have fun!