Monday, January 27, 2014

Re-skinning for fun, not profit.

This is just a personal statement about use of stats. In a similar vein to +Jack Shear's Just Use Bears. I'm posting it here as a challenge to myself, and to provide a LINK to understanding how I intend to use / reference stats for things I post here later.

Don't spend hours and hours rolling, or building bad guys. Pick some stats from one of the following lists...maybe add a really important, distinct power that uses existing rules. What stats you use depend on what game you're playing. Making baddies tougher is easy. 

For D&D / S&W / LL, you simply add a hit die, or raise AC or both. Lots of times its much easier to pick a new stat block from a humanoid or something up the scale a step, and just describe it differently. NO NAMES, DAMNIT. Calling it a goblin ruins it. Let the players call it whatever they want...if a monster appears more than once, they will name it. 

In SW, you make a stat block tougher by bigger or smaller degrees through manipulation similar to D&D and the clones. Parry goes up when fighting goes up. Edges can make a stat block harder to hit, harder to wound etc. Don't re-invent the wheel. Use what works for you. Steal what you need and describe it differently.

In either system: Pick one thing. You won't remember more than that for each type / individual bad guy. Make sure it uses existing rules, don't re-write rules and stay away from obscure rules that never get used. Head towards the core of either system and just play.

I really like +Brendan S's house rules for the "Finchbox"game he's running. Borrowing his HD mechanic for NPC's / Monsters / Adversaries is a good idea. Your milage may vary, but it makes sense to me. Same for adopting a flat AC score, and removing bonuses. Although, I'd say that for a GM, having the HD demonstrate prowess in combat is a nice, simple a 3HD whatever might still have a +3 to hit, or hit as a Fighter lvl3 or what have you. Do what makes sense, anything else will atrophy in use because its not suited to your style. Steal stats from the LL Monster Matrix, and keep going. Use special monster that follow simple rules you know, or duplicate spell effects that you know. Add an attack, or a special power use in the same round as experience dictates. Establish your own Ascending AC reference, and then refer to it.

For SW I steal a lot of stats straight from the SWDX explorer's edition, and might tweak if I feel the need. Of the scads and scads of settings I have, there are lots of stat blocks to sift when I'm feeling like it. Also, you can raise or lower a die type pretty easily on the fly, figure out a Parry or Toughness score by comparison, and if you run SW you'll become familiar with the typical "buff" style special powers pretty quickly. Even just rolling a d6 and sending in more copies of the stat block you have on the table is a good one in SW. If they're not Wild Cards, they can ratchet tension and not really slow players down. Wild Cards have their own wounds, and chance to soak wounds so they really seem to freak the players out when they show up, or you declare their actions. Lastly, 

Skin Factories:
The early attempts to commodify me are very useful as skin factories because I know them well and I love them...Thundarr, He-Man, Scooby-Do and all those other shows whose theme songs I still have memorized...they are skin factories that I should be stealing plots, characters, and situations from every chance I get, or every time I'm not feeling creative.

Freebie Stats:
LL Monster Matrix
SW FREE Bestiary