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Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients» Forums » Variants

Subject: S.O.B. Attribute Overhaul rss

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Justin Ostensen
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Howdy hey everyone!

Preamble
So, I've been playing the game a fair bit and I've noticed several issues that the game has with campaign play, as well as a handful of other things. Many of you have probably seen the same issues and might even have good House Rules for them. This is just my take and is a continuing work in progress as more and more games are played in the campaign. That said, I absolutely love the game and just want to see it improve.

Goals / Issues
- Attributes (Strength, Agility, Lore, Etc) often feel pointless and choosing between which one to level up or acquire more gear for seems meaningless.
- Roll for movement isn't ideal, but the game isn't well balanced with the optional static movement either.
- Some dice rolls can feel like a death sentence when they happen at the wrong time and can drain the fun out of an adventure.
- Some aspects of the campaign system lack real player agency

We're going to tie all of these together by combining the attributes already on the character with a few updates to give more player choice and a bit more meaningful progression.

Movement
"When rolling for Movement, if a player rolls a 2, they may choose to change it to a 1 or a 3"
This one is quite simple. My group has played with a few different house rules for this and we found this one the best and quickest. It's simple to use and explain and offers a small increase in player choice without bogging down gameplay too much with extra decision making or ability tracking.

Attributes
Each attribute is going to be given a new secondary function in addition to its current use in Encounters. Strength is omitted from this as it already serves a core gameplay function by deciding a player's carrying capacity and Dynamite throwing distance.

Agility

"Replace the Range on all items with the following: Range = Old Range - 3 + Agility"
This change is currently the newest one in the group and has undergone the least testing. I wanted to tie Agility to something meaningful in combat, and this seems like a decent enough solution. As players increase their Agility, their Range with Guns increases, giving the stat a small gameplay use outside of encounters.

Cunning
"When rolling to Scavenge a map tile, make a Cunning skill check. For each 6+ rolled, draw a Scavenge card."
This was one of the first house rules we added and it has stayed ever since. It's a small change that doesn't really affect balance since Scavenging is already balanced by the division of good results to bad results. This just allows for more scavenge rolls to occur and more exciting encounters to happen.

Lore
"When rolling to travel back to town, make a Lore skill check of 5+. If you fail, add one travel hazard."
This one is also fairly new. We didn't much like the "roll a die and on a 1 or 2 a thing happens" when it came to traveling, so we added an attribute component. On balance, this might swing the favor a little too much towards player benefit and might need to be checked later after a few more adventures.

Spirit & Luck
"When rolling for an Injury or Madness after being KO'd, make a Spirit or Luck check and consult the new chart."
Google Docs Link to New Chart: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WQb9PCA18W0wU7UyrndLtEgj...

This one is a larger change and works to address a couple of problems. I wanted to fix the issue of a bad Madness/Injury roll ruining a game for a player as well as the issue of Spirit and Luck attributes not mattering as much.

These charts replace the Injury and Madness Charts. When a player is KO'd, they make a skill check associated with that chart (Spirit for Madness, Luck for Injury) and count the number of 5+ they roll. For each one rolled, they may move one step on the chart. The player must then choose one Injury/Madness from that group. They cannot choose a duplicate. If they cannot choose one because they have all the ones in that group, they must choose one from a group above (lower roll).

Overall, this gives the player a bit more control over when they get a truly troubling Injury/Madness and gives the Spirit and Luck attributes more meaning. It also maintains the spirit of the original Madness/Injury charts with the mechanic of "the more Injuries you have, the more likely you are to wind up dead".

-----

Anyways, that's all for now. Let me know what you think and please give any feedback you might have. More eyes means better design. Hope you all are enjoying your time with Brimstone.

~Cheerio
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Jan Meyberg
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Your ideas are pretty smooth, thank you! Especially to link Spirit and Luck with the Madness-/Injury-Tables is a stroke of genius!

Cunning for Scavenge sounds fair, Strength already has a derivated attribute (carry).

For Agility we use a different house rule: Instead of your Attack you can make a "Sprint"-Action and move another [Agility] spaces, following the usual movement rules.

Your idea for Lore is great, but since we play under campaign rule where Travel encounters are triggered by the length of travel I'm afraid we have to come up with another solution...

Thank you for your work, I'm eager to give it a try!

Best regards, Jan
 
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Dwayne Hendrickson
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Just a quick thought, there is no way that Agility can increase range. This isn't Wanted. I would say that Agility might increase Defense since you can dodge an attack. Doing a back flip while shooting a gun doesn't make the bullet go any farther.
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Neil Edmonds
United States
Washington
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Do you need more card ideas for the D&D Adventure System games?
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These are good changes if it makes the game enjoyable for your group. Your ideas are clever and don't appear to unbalance the game. Here's my suggestions for your variant since you asked for comments:

Movement

An even simpler change would be awarding a movement of 2 and a Grit when a 1 is rolled. So the movement distribution becomes:

2(plus Grit)-2-3-4-5-6.

Under the original variant, rolls of 1 or 2 could award Grit similar to the Other World Targa. For characters with a high Grit value like my Lawman who has a Grit of 5, I'd take the Grit every time. I don't know why anyone would ever choose '3' over '1' since they could acquire the Grit and immediately spend it to move a second time; true you could roll a '1' and only move 2 spaces total, but statistically speaking, you're better off rolling a second movement die.

Agility

Make an Agility 6+ test, for each success, the player may re-roll 1 of their Defense dice to avoid a hit by an enemy. (Note: any given die can only be re-rolled once per the rules).

If this modification seems too powerful for high Agility characters, you could have rolls of 1 count against the successes, with results of zero or less having no impact; for example, if a player with a 5 Agility rolled 6-6-2-1-5, you could award them 1 success because the other success was offset by a mistake the character made.

Cunning

Some players don't scavenge because the downside can be really bad. Here's an interesting alternative for cunning:

Make a 6+ cunning test. If successful, the player may re-roll one of the dice used to resolve a Mission requirement (eg - roll two dice and compare to the mine depth track, roll a die to determine the correct grave site, etc.) Thematically, this reflects clever characters coming up with a novel solution in a stressful situation.
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