Thursday, May 25, 2017

Beast Hunter Class Illo WIP

Beast Hunter WIP...An extra class included included in the revamped version of WasteLand Beasts.  This is the last item to complete before updating the PDF on OBS.

Taking my sketches into Illustrator and "inking" them is a slow and often painful process, but it is the style I wanted to go with for the books so I am committed/ obligated to finish rendering them this way.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

One Page Dungeon Contest 2017 wrapping up

The 2017 One Page Dungeon Contest is wrapping up, and being the organizer has consumed all of my free time for the past month or two.

The PDF edition of the compendium is complete, and available via OneBookShelf.

I will be compiling a print edition and making it availble but also resuming work on The Wasted Hack in the coming week.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Factions in the Ruined World

While "The Wasted Hack" can be used to role play in any post apocalyptic setting, from a ruined version of the players' hometowns or countries of origin to worlds taken out of popular fiction and film, it does come with a default "Ruined World" setting inspired by the card game project the RPG evolved from.

In addition to a number of important locations (such as Snail-Town which is featured in the solo-play adventure), There are several factions briefly discussed in the rulebook as well.


Feared, hated, and at best tolerated, Infected survivors often struggle to exist alongside non-infected humans.  Members of the HereAfter seek to find answers concerning the origin of the anthropomorphic virus released during the End Times War.  Some believe they are searching for a cure, while others believe they wish to share their “special curse” with all that remains of humanity.


A secret association of cultists obsessed with ending the suffering of the wounded world. Members of the End believe in the existence of a weapon system that was never deployed during the End Times Wars. Often hidden in plain sight, members of The End pursue this lost technology at any cost.


Claiming roots to an official military regiment that fought in the End Times War, the Sword is a ragtag band of mercenary soldiers that sell their services to the highest bidder. Members of the Sword are just as likely to defend a settlement against raiders as they are to aid the raiders in breaching the settlement’s walls.  The Sword has access to heavy firepower and “world before” military vehicles and equipment.


Little is known about these bizarre monks that have recently been discovered wandering the Big Nothing. A consensus on their purpose is hard to reach considering they all seem to suffer from some manner of insanity and do not give straight answers when interrogated or tortured.

What is known is that they are deadly unarmed combatants who posses strange abilities not witnessed in others in the ruined world.


Inhabiting the fringes of the Big Nothing, often lurking in radioactive foothills, large numbers of mutants greedily eye the human settlements scattered throughout the sands.

The Mutants typically have tribal social structures, and are just as likely to kill one another as they are humans. It is prophesied they will one day unite and enslave or devour (depending on the prophet) all of humankind. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Nevermind Why: How Does a Ratling Cross the Road?

One of the key elements of the Black Hack core mechanic is that it is geared almost entirely from the perspective of the character. A player rolls below their relevant ability score to attack, and then repeats the process to avoid damage from an attacking opponent. This places the onus on staying alive clearly on the shoulders of the character. There are some modifications based upon an opponent's Hit Dice which make such actions easier or harder for the character, but monsters in general do not have relevant abilities, or a "target to hit number". Again, this is all taken from the perspective of the character. Even Initiative is dependent on the character rolling below their dex to go before the opponent. I have also left out the mechanics of advantage and disadvantage, which are very simply ways to make this whole affair a bit more robust.

I have seen some criticism of this system, stating that having players make all the rolls ruins the sense of immersion. I think this is a valid argument from a certain perspective, and a certain playstyle. I don't personally see it as a problem, but that is just my opinion.

The real challenge for me with this system comes when an opponent has to deal with the environment. If a character uses a snare to trap an opponent, does the character roll each moment against their strength to prevent the opponent from breaking free from the snare, a trap that was on the ground? This doesn't make much sense. What about a character leaping over a chasm to escape a pursuing horde of goblins. It does not make much sense for the player to roll against their own dexterity or strength to prevent the goblins from making the jump.

I have run into this challenge with driving rules. Allowing a player to prevent an enemy from boarding their vehicle with a dex test makes sense. The player is actively trying to move their car away from the bandit or raider that is trying to jump onto it.

But consider a rubble strewn section of post apocalyptic highway that creates a driving hazard for the characters. The driver must make a handling check ( a dex check modified by the handling rating of their vehicle) to avoid the rubble and prevent rolling on the "crash table". It stands to reason that pursuing enemy vehicles would also need to avoid the hazard, and there is no way to abstract or rationalize a roll on the player's behalf to simulate this.

At some point, enemies will need some sort of stat to roll against, something more than hit points or hit dice, and this is where things get a little clunky. The system that works so simply, often described as elegant, starts to break down a little, and "work-arounds" are less "elegant".


The solution I have found adds an extra layer of complexity to the "light rules".
Whenever an enemy is opposed by the environment, "they" must roll under a target number. This number can be a default difficulty number (17 for easy, 15 for moderate, 10 for easy, 7 for challenging, 5 for difficult, for example.), subtracting their hit dice from the roll. In this system, the GM must roll for the opponent.

Another alternative might be using a default number such as "9". and adding +1 for each hit die an opponent has, and this is their default "stat" to roll under (In the same manner that players roll). While this feels more organic as it is tied directly to the mechanics used by players, it does require the GM to determine the "STAT" for a monster. One way around this is to give monsters a value such as "STAT" in their description and chart. One problem is that it assumes that a monster/ opponent is equally skilled at overcoming every type of obstacle they encounter, and also creates a system that runs contrary to player's perspective. If a wizard casts a spell, does the wizard test their relevant stat (INT or WIS) to affect an enemy, or should the enemy have the chance to oppose the spell using their generic "STAT".

This could be taken even further, and one could argue that enemies could try to resist a character's attack using their "STAT".

I think, for my purposes, I prefer the generic difficulty table for enemies to roll against vs environment (GM must roll under a predefined target number and subtract "monster's" Hit Dice from the roll, a natural roll of 20 (5% chance) always resulting in failure).

This does not emulate the same system used by characters, and is easier to keep separate.
Whenever enemies are dealing with a character, the system always skews back to the perspective of the character.

Perhaps the only exception would be surprise attacks. A character should not be able to actively defend against an attack they are unaware of.

A hidden orc archer (raider sniper, etc.) takes careful aim at a party member. The GM makes a quick judgement on the difficulty of the task (Is the character moving? Does the character have partial cover or concealment due to obstructions or lack of light?. The GM rolls against the target number associated with the difficulty, subtracting only the difference between the orc's Hit Dice and the character's level (if the orc's number is greater) from the roll. - adding this extra element of comparing hit dice to levels compensates for the fact that this is not merely a monster vs environment situation, and is a compromise on behalf of the character.