Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Alphabet of Outer Beings - B is for Boons

Image Source: https://www.deviantart.com/jameszapata/art/Boon-336424298

B is for Boons

Deities provide many boons for their followers in the form of blessings, spells, and other divine gifts. Patrons often reward their followers with knowledge and understanding. Occasionally a patron may make a more direct hand in the affairs of their mortal followers however and provide direct assistance. These boons may come at after a great deed or labor is performed or be bestowed prior to the vassal embarking upon a notable quest for their patron. The boon lasts until such time as the patron deems the vassal no longer worthy, or as noted.

Table B1: Supernatural Boons (roll 1d20)
  1. Blessing of the Dragon's Blood (gain +1 AC)
  2. Gift of Hermes (gain +30' movement per round)
  3. Favor of Charon (may automatically succeed at a "roll the body" check one time)
  4. Gift of Zeus (increase all lightning damage dice +1d)
  5. Blessing of Horus (gain a +1 to Will saves)
  6. Gift of Aphrodite (gain +1 Personality)
  7. Blessing of Fortune (gain +1 Luck)
  8. Gift of Athena (gain +1 to Intelligence) 
  9. Blessing of the Crone (gain +1 to spell checks)
  10. Gift of Hades (increase all cold damage dice +1d)
  11. Blessing of Cthulhu (gain a cumulative 1% chance to spontaneously resurrect from death for every 100 years dead)
  12. Gift of Mars (gain +1 to attack rolls)
  13. Blessing of Osiris (gain +1 to Fortitude saves)
  14. Gift of Hephaestus (increase all fire damage dice +1d)
  15. Blessing of Achilles (gain +1 to Reflex saves)
  16. Gift of Poseidon (may breathe under water for 1 turn per level per day) 
  17. Blessing of Merlin (immune to surprise attacks) 
  18. Gift of Artemis (gain +1d on ranged attack rolls) 
  19. Twist the Strands of Fate (once per day re-roll a die roll)
  20. Gift of Aesculapius (gain a +1 to all HP recovery rolls)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Nuts & Bolts #152 - Hacking the Cypher System - Minions & NPCs



Minions in Cypher System have always been a bit of a mixed bag. The level system makes minion stats very easy to determine and their approximate power easy to gage. However because of the simplified way that minions operate they tend to suffer diminishing returns later in the game state as their skills do not generally increase nor do they gain the ability to apply effort to their rolls. As a result as antagonist NPC levels rise the target numbers for NPCs and Minions steadily increase and reduce the effectivity of the Minion or NPC.

This has been observed and discussed in the past with both fans and creators proposing ways for NPCs & Minions to grant assets, or apply effort out of their health, and similar. Ultimately however, none of these solutions have really solved the core problem. If a level 5 NPC face off against a level 6 NPC that level 5 is pretty much destined to lose. While defeat may be inevitable, there should be a way for that level 5 NPC to affect the level 6 without relying on 15% of rolls to be able to do anything. Likewise a level 6 NPC should be able to make short work of a level 2 NPC without the risk of poor dice rolling.

I'm proposing a simple fix, one that doesn't require the GM to pick up dice, that will help even low level creatures contribute (even if only a little), but that also allows high level NPCs to act accordingly. Best of all, it's super simple.

  1. Determine level of task the NPC/Minion is attempting
  2. Subtract the NPC/Minion level from the level of the task, the remainder is the final difficulty level
    1. If the remainder is positive this number x3 is the d20 target for the player rolling the dice.
    2. If the remainder is zero no roll is needed, the NPC performs the task, and if an attack deals their normal damage.
    3. If the remainder is a negative number the NPC/Minion applies that many levels of free effort, or may provide an asset to the PCs or other NPCs on a one for one basis. 
Easy right? How about some quick examples:
  • A level 4 minion attacking a level 7 creature that it's master is fighting. The player rolls at a level 3 (9+) for the minion (instead of a 21+ using the rules as written).
  • A level 6 NPC ally attacks a level 2 creature ambushing the group. It applies 4 levels of effort (potentially one hit killing it) or can provide as many as 4 assets to the PCs.
  • A level 3 minion trying to defend against a level 3 creature succeeds with no roll required. 
The GM can always use an intrusion to allow lower level NPCs to succeed on higher level tasks of course, which also means that the GM gains the leverage to keep the story momentum going where they need it. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Alphabet of Outer Beings - O is for Oracle


O is for Oracle

Oracles are people who provide counsel and often prophetic predictions of the future, via precognition inspired by their god. The methods of their divination vary, and some made require study and readings while other may be struck by visions. Oracles tend to be either well treated for the prophetic powers or shunned for the ill news and perceived bad omens they foretell.

Table O1: Oracular Methods (roll 1d6)
Oracles have various means of divining the future, some are studies in the ways of making readings while others are given the gift of prophetic visions. There is an even chance of a Oracle being a skilled reader or a gifted visionary. Roll a d6, if the result is even roll on Table O1a: Readings, if the result is odd roll on Table O1b: Visions.
  • Evens: Readings (roll 1d8)
    1. Ossomancy, the reading of bones
    2. Cubomancy, the reading of dice
    3. Hieromancy, the reading of entrails
    4. Tasseography, the reading of tea leaves
    5. Spodomancy, the reading of ashes
    6. Astology, the reading the stars
    7. Tarotmancy, the reading of tarot cards
    8. Chiromancy, the reading of palms
  • Odds: Visions (roll 1d6)
    1. The visions come at random, about a random subject.
    2. The visions come when touching the intended subject
    3. The visions come only when exposed to a holy substance
    4. The visions come during sexual climax brought about by the subject
    5. The visions come during epileptic seizures 
    6. The visions are brought about by ritualized fasting and prayer

Table O2: Oracle Status (roll 1d6) 
The oracle may be a respect member of the community or a shunned outcast whose prophecy is cursed.
  1. The oracle is an outcast who is shunned by all who know better.
  2. The oracle is the leader of a local temple or sacred site 
  3. The oracle is a respected "wise person" in their town or village
  4. The oracle is feared but respected, they wander the country but receive hospitality from those they encounter
  5. The oracle lives in a remote location and only by making a perilous journey can they be reached by those worthy of glimpsing their fate
  6. The oracle is kept by a powerful individual such as a king, high priest, warlord, or wizard. Their status will depend on if they serve willingly (50%), and the status of their keeper

Table O3: Prophetic Details (roll 2d4)
The gift of prophecy is a difficult one to bear, especially depending on how often the prophecy comes true and how easy it is to understand.
  1. IGNORE ME!!!!!!
  2. The prophecies are cryptic and couched in double meaning but 100% accurate and always come to pass
  3. The prophecies are cryptic and difficult to interpret, but are often accurate (70%), and often come to pass (70%)
  4. The prophecies are difficult to fully grasp (50%), and occasionally inaccurate (50%), and only come to pass half the time (50%)
  5. The prophecies seem easy to understand but are often misunderstood (20% chance of a false interpretation), and are often wrong (70%), or fail to come to pass (70%)
  6. The prophesies are somewhat easy to interpret (60%), but occasionally inaccurate (50%), and only come to pass half the time (50%)
  7. The prophecies are clear and easy to understand, and mostly accurate (80%) and often comes true (80%)
  8. The prophecies are clear and chillingly easy to understand, they are also 100% accurate and come to pass no matter how much one tries to prevent them