Thursday, January 4, 2018

Task resolution in White Box

Raider attempting to pick a lock, something he will most likely fail at doing. -Matt

I have been running a White Box campaign lately, going strong on our ninth session tonight...that's pretty good for me - don't laugh. One of the things that used to bug me was the Single Saving Throw mechanic. It seemed odd to me, having mostly grown up with AD&D, to reduce all these down to a single die. Over time though, my viewpoint on this has changed, and so too has my use of the Saving Throw mechanic.

I know I did not come up with this, I've probably seen it somewhere before. A quick Google search gave me this link Tenkar's thoughts on saving throw mechanics (hey, I'm inherently a lazy guy.) So I know it has been done before, but I thought I would formalize it by writing it down. I have been using the Saving Throw for task resolution in my game and I think it has been working fairly well.

The tl;dr version:
We use the character's Saving Throw, then I apply a modifier based on the general situation. Takes a microsecond for me.

Note: For actions where success or failure are unimportant, success is the most likely outcome, or I as the GM find either outcome boring I will simply allow the character to perform the action without a roll.

For all other instances, I use the following table (mostly, but I freewheel things often):
  • Any modifiers for an ability that seems to fit the situation are added to the roll. Thus a high Strength would help someone trying to flip a table a bad guy is standing upon. A high Dexterity would help in walking a tight rope. Or a high Wisdom might allow a character a better chance to decipher a hastily note written. 
  • I also take into account if the character class would be helpful. A thief would know sneaky stuff, a mage magical type stuff, clerics know godly stuff. Now, you might say this is redundant because the saving throw is class based, but I give them a little more oomph if the task is something that would be familiar for any one of that class.
Then I apply a very liberal task modifier using the below as a guideline. This is a spur of the moment thing and I take in account many factors (environment, haste, lighting, familiarity, etc). I am fairly fluid on these, so don't be betting the farm on my picking one:

-10   Inconceivable! 
-5    A very difficult task, one the character has never done or has no knowledge of
-3    A hard task but one that has a slimmer of possibility
-1    Difficult, but certainly possible
+1   Fairly easy
+3   Done many times before

And that is about it. Nothing too fancy and it takes me a fraction of a second at the table so it does not slow the game down.

* Please note that I still require Thieves to use their Thievery resolution as displayed on page 19, despite the picture above on this post. I just used it to tease one player in my game. 

Monday, January 1, 2018


Since I am running a regular, weekly game now I like to have all manner of visual aids to help set the mood and such. There is a fellow on Google Plus that does some amazing photobashing work by the name of Jonny Gray (seriously, go check him out). So today, with little to do, I decided to take a stab at it.

My little group of players recently hired a couple of dudes from the local militia to help them on their current adventure. Toombs and Balix are part of the Greenguard, the local militia in Prolge (the small frontier village spotlighted previously on the blog). I really like how Toombs came together to fit his personality, he is a ballsy and arrogant type of guy who thinks he can tackle any problem. Balix is more of a young elf, eager to learn, ready to experience the world but with a hint of that elf better-than-thou stature.

Toombs (yep, totally stole the name and the face)
Balix, and elven bowman (still don't quite like his head but as this is a level zero extra, I deemed I had already spent too much time on him):

I wanted the uniform to look realistic and usable, but recognizable to the casual viewer. The original image is the torso, the hand holding the sword, and the legs. The other parts are stolen from other images and slightly changed to come together to a different image.

This was fun to try my hand at and I think they came out fairly good. I may do more of these in the future.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Village of Prolge

(Above) The Boneswall rises up from the mirror-like surface of Goodswell lake in the view from the walls of Prolge. The range's cliff walls and steep mountains make passage difficult, if not impossible. The highest peaks have persistent snow drifts and some of the valleys are covered in deep snow until mid-summer.

Far to the north of the civilized lands lies the frontier of the kingdom. This sparsely populated region is home to all manner of wild creatures, some never seen before by the scholars of the kingdom. Most knowledge of the region has been lost to history. What is known is can be gleaned from what has been explored and the returned treasures.

In the last three decades, settlers have begun slowly moving into the area, mostly kingdom humans and elves with a smattering of the other races of men. Small villages, some barely more than outposts, are scattered throughout the wooded, rolling hills, a day or two ride from each other. A large, mirror-like body of water called Goodswell is nestled in a valley, the Boneswall Mountains form a perilous and unexplored wall to the west. To the east are unexplored, thick forests and squatting atop a small hill on the south shore, lies the outpost known as Prolge.

The small grouping of buildings is Under threat from vicious beasts and shadowy horrors that regularly emerge from the mountains and forest. The villagers have put their faith in their leader, Mayor Boonswain Everyll, who claims to use knowledge of druidic magics to keep the village safe from the monstrous dangers. The last six months have been relatively quiet with only occasional attacks on the village wall. Valuable goods have begun to flow from the immediate area surrounding the walls. A small militia has formed, called the Greenguard strives to protect the interests of the village from harm. The villagers want to protect their homes from prying eyes, but this grows ever more difficult as the village’s prosperity increases.

Sharp stakes line the thick timber walls that encircle the village of Prolge. Compared to the ancient trees of the forest to the east and the looming mountains to the west, the village seems small and precariously at risk of destruction. The houses are tightly clustered together as if in fear of what lies beyond the walls. The sturdy village gates are never left unguarded or open, with at least two members of the Greenguard are always on watch. At least half the guard towers are manned at all times, armed with spears, torches, and large horns to sound an emergency.

While Prolge is more of a fortification than a settlement, things are slowly beginning to change. Freshly cut tree stumps and plowed fields surrounding the village indicated prosperity may have finally struck the village despite the ever-present dangers. The trading post is stocked with goods derived from the forest’s bounty and from merchants that occasionally appear at the gate.

POPULATION 91 (41 humans, 22 elves, 18 half-elves, 6 dwarves, & 4 halflings) LANGUAGES Common, Elven RESOURCES & INDUSTRY Herbal potions, farming, and logging WEATHER cool rainy (75%) during the day, cold and windy at night MAYOR Boonswain Everyll

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Prolge and environs

Prolge is a small village that sits on the shore of a large freshwater lake, far north in the frontier. Goodswell lake is large, fifteen to almost twenty miles across in some locations. Depth is unknown. The cold to frigid water is mostly unexplored after a tale of a fisherman who was attacked by some tentacled creature from the deep black water. Today no one ventures out onto the black, glassy surface and the boats lie rotting on the sandy beach north of Prolge.

To the west, and curving along to the northeast, lies the imposing and vast Boneswall, a young and sharply shaped mountain range. While little is known about this area it has been explored recently enough to know the region is filled with ruins and caverns. However, the area is extremely dangerous and few have ventured into this mountainous region.

To the east is an untamed forest wilderness. Rumors abound of an ancient city, lost to time and the forest, now overgrown with trees and weeds. Some claim to have seen it, some claim to have entered the ruins, and yet, no evidence has yet surfaced from these rumored locations. Large, dark shadows roam the forest at night and strange howls emanate from the green depths.

The party, consisting of Brother Menno Walther, Hagar Tryvald, and Raider, entered the small village of Prolge after serving as guards on a small caravan. Menno once lived here but it has been years, having left to learn more about his deity and the world. Now, all three have come here in search of their fortunes.

Next time, we explore the village of Prolge...

Sunday, July 30, 2017

If you were to follow that river....

Latest map I put up on Patreon today. A big thanks to those folks supporting me over there.

If you are interested, this map connects to the previous map I posted on Patreon as well, so it looks like this: