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.

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.