Developer’s Journal 5: SW Powers = Techniques

1 Chi Point = 2 Power Points (roughly)

Holy Moly it’s almost the end of June. It’s been a bit crazy on the home front. Working through a lot of projects and this tentacle hasn’t had time to write Monday Manga or a Developer’s Journal.

So let’s do the Developer’s Journal since we just passed a Wednesday.

Expanding upon our last Journal , I have to transfer all the known powers from Savage Worlds to the Chi system. Which is pretty easy to do. 1 Chi Point = 2 Power Points (roughly).  Since SW players know what Trappings are, we look to design them differently. We go with the battle anime’s version of “Lazor Rocket 2000” or “Face Palm of Truth” as fun trappings to help set the mood.

I looked at naming conventions of Powers, which are now call Techniques. This might cause a ruckus in the area of game development of SW of “short and sweet” or “fast and furious”, but I wanted flavor than just generic bolt or burst powers. So we named Techniques after famous or legendary people, or after a “zodiac” animal of the world setting. Such as:

Crane Wing 
 Cost: 1
 Duration: 3 rounds (1/two rounds)
 Trappings: “Bare Palm Defense”, “Monkey Tail Swap”
 Those that push away swords with the palms of their hands, or samurai who practice two weapon style defense emulate a crane’s large wing span. This acts as the deflection power.

OR

Fang’s Draught
 Cost: 1
 Duration: 3 (1/two rounds)
 Range: Spirit
 Trappings: “Ex Remover”, “Poison Sting”, “Withering Touch”
 Alchemist Fang worked for one of the Imperial Families and had access to numerous resources for her studies. She also had an abusive husband who she started experimenting on. Fang’s husband was found days later in a living mummified state. Fang went on to remarry. This power acts as the lower trait power.

 

To keep in line with the Savage Worlds License you can’t reprint powers, but you can make reference to their source. And let’s be honest, I don’t want to reprint every power in the book. That cost time, money, AND page count. Like most third party references, you should always go back to the original source. This isn’t to say we haven’t come up with new powers Techniques, because we have. Like Clone and Fei’s Shout.

The Techniques give Art of War that little anime manga flavor bit to the setting, but also keeps the idea of fantastic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon running across bamboo limbs feel. The trappings are what make your home game personal vs that over there home game.

Developer’s Journal 4: World Setting Rules for SW

Setting Rules for an Asian Inspired SW

So some of my favorite rules are already implemented in the Savage Worlds explorer’s edition. Like Joker’s Wild and Blood & Guts. There is one that I like that was created by the folks over at Wine & Savages posted a fun setting rule that can be used for any martial arts / anime-manga style setting. They do a fun one called Comedy Backlash Comedy Backlash. (reprinted here for journal purpose)

New Setting Rule: Comedy Backlash
When a character utilizing Magic, Psionics, or Weird Science rolls poorly enough that backlash, brainburn, or a malfunction would normally be called for, the player (never the Game Master) can instead choose to suffer a Comedy Backlash effect. The hero is Shaken, but a second Shaken result cannot cause a Wound; instead, the player describes something embarrassing happening to the character.
Examples include:
  • The character accidentally destroys their own clothes, exposing themselves to onlookers.
  • Collateral damage from the attack causes debris to clonk the hero on the head.
  • The power explodes in the hero’s face, leaving cartoon scorch marks.
  • With the other player’s permission, the hero accidentally destroys another character’s clothes, exposing them to the original character’s bashful gaze. (The other hero does not suffer a Shaken result, but may wish to suddenly realize they’re naked after the fight is over.)
  • With the other player’s permission, the hero stumbles into a nearby ally, causing unintended intimate bodily contact and getting slapped for it.

With the above ^^ copy and pasted setting rule from them, I’ve developed a hindrance that could play well with the above. Rough draft for nose bleeds are below.

woooo

Nosebleed (major, minor)
Requirements: Novice
When being flirted with or having licentious thoughts most characters have blood rush to their cheeks, your character’s blood comes straight out their nose. Dirty thoughts, catching a risque glimpse of flesh or being placed in compromising situations, it’s fairly obvious when the character catches the slightest hint of the nude form.
As a minor hindrance your character’s nosebleed causes little to mild discomfort and results in a small trickle of blood running out of his nose. It’s more of an inconvenience and embarrassment in interactions.
When taken as a major hindrance the nosebleed turns lethal due to a fountain of blood loss. Your hero must make an unmodified Vigor check (beanies may be spent to reroll). On a fail, they fall unconscious after suffering 3 immediate fatigue and suffer one wound. One a success they suffer 1 wound due to intense blood loss and must take time to stop the bleeding. On a raise your hero only suffers from blood loss, 1 fatigue wound, and will need to take a minute to stop the bleeding.

With the 1st or 4th bullet point above, another player with the Nosebleed hindrance would play off each other very well.

A player who failed an activation of a Chi technique (my campaign setting powers) or who failed to activate a magic power suffer the effects of the 1st. Causing another player near by to suffer a minor Nosebleed adding to the anime comic relief of a glitch.

     Another setting rule I developed with inspiration stolen from HellFrost and Rippers is the our rule Way of Chi (draft)

Derived Stat:

Chi: 2 + ½ your Spirit die, modified accordingly.

What is Chi
Chi is the character’s inner capability to push themselves beyond the normal physical and mental limitations of the body. It’s a derived from the Spirit die. All characters can spend Chi to do many things. It’s their chance to will their destiny. A character can use it to re-roll their wild die,  increase their initiative, take an extra repeat action without suffering penalty.  It is sometimes used to fuel extraordinary powers that are called Chi Techniques. These techniques are explained later in this book. If a character’s Chi reaches zero a character suffer a Fatigue wound. A character is unable to heal this Fatigue until they have restored at least one point of Chi. Chi is explained further under the setting rules section of this book.

Way of Chi
Besides having the ability to power Chi Techniques for those that possess the ability, Chi can be used used by any Wild Card in the game. Chi is free to spend at any point on a Wild Card’s turn to perform one of the following actions:

  • Re-roll a Wild Die: A Wild Card can spend a Chi to re-roll a Wild Die at any point but only their Wild Die.
  •  Gain an Initiative Card: When initiative cards are dealt, a Chi point can be spent to gain an additional card. The hero decides which one to keep and discards the rest. Much like a Beanie is spent for re-rolling dice, a player can spend Chi to gain multiple cards. They can only keep one card as an initiative card.
  • Take a Repeat Action: A hero can spend a Chi point to repeat an action they just took, but suffer the multi-action penalty. They can spend 2 points to negate the penalty for multiple actions on the repeated action.

When a character’s Chi reaches zero they suffer a Fatigue wound. A character is unable to heal this Fatigue until they have restored at least one point of Chi to character’s Chi pool. The process of recovering Chi during a session is fairly simple. It requires the hero in game, to spend some time meditating. This meditation requires roughly an hour where the hero takes no other action except that of concentrating and centering themselves. If they take damage from any source or fall under an effects caused from of an outside source, they lose their focus and must start again. If distractions are avoided,  a successful Meditation roll, regains 1 Chi point, and on a raise they recover 2 points.

 

So that wraps up our (almost) month of silence since I got back from Japan. That blog of that is coming soon, as is the 4 draft reviews of Manga series I’ve finished.

Tentacle Out! ~TG

Developer’s Journal 3: Creating a Race for Savage Worlds

Construct Race for Savage Worlds – Terracotta

My gaming history started many years ago when I was just a young tentacle sitting around a table playing, if I recall: Vampire the Masquerade, but it also could have been Rifts While others might say D&D or AD&D or any other classic sword and sorcery game, my first introduction was modern day or post-apoc sci-fi tech fun. Now I make mention of this vague memory because within the last year, Savage Rifts was released using the Savage Worlds system. Which as a Pathfinder publisher, this is almost blasphemy for me to say. But I blasphemously say, I love Savage Worlds.

I always loved the d6 Star Wars game by West End Games, for it was an open ruleset to create the character you wanted. It had books and books and books of races from a 100 different planets spread across the galaxy. The openness of this ruleset reminds me of Savage Worlds.

So this week the tentacle sat down to try the race creation rules found in the Savage Worlds Science Fiction Companion. What I wanted to do with the playable race was to have statues that contained the ancestral spirits of the humans that had been brought to animated life. So starting with a little flavor of the above I delved into the book and followed the suggested rules and examples. Using the Construct template as the base, and adapting the flavor and a savage worlds ruleset for the upcoming Art of War , we have the Terracotta (First Draft)

Terracotta

The souls of ancestors of great reverance are entomb in the monasteries of the great cities throughout the land. Royal guards that have served an Imperial Family for at least 30 years or great leaders of rural communities can petition a secret sect of spiritual monks who hold the secrets of reincarnation. These monks guard the sacred ritual of bringing back life of those who have past, rebirthing them into statues of clay and stone. The Heavens do not always answer those who call, but if they are deemed worthy and the offerings are plentiful, the soul of the dead are pushed to animate the statues of their former likeness giving new life to the fabled fallen. These are the Terracota.
Preserved from oblivion at great cost, the terracotta are given a second chance at life. They must knowingly volunteer (or request) to an individual that must serve as a witness during the ritual. With the blessing of Heaven they return to full fill the duty they were unable to accomplish in life. Many terracotta remain in the service of the those that they served in life. Others have stood guard watching over the tombs of long enshrined Emperors they protected for centuries. Upon being brought back, terracottas negotiate their existence before the heavens and with those that bring them back. If terms are not agreed upon, the Heavens withhold their blessings and the soul passes to the afterlife.
Terracottas retain most of the memories of former lives and continue to perform their task. Many have been known to petrify in place where they stand or turn to dust upon failing in their duty. These souls are cursed and unable to pass on, leaving them to haunt the area where they failed. Those that succeed and fulfilled their contract, are given the second chance at life to explore and learn new things that they had missed out on previously.

Racial Concepts:

Immortal Soldier
Terracottas sometimes receive bodies carved from the strongest stone and hardened clay. The new bodies allowing them to take up weapons heavier than any mortal could swing. Going forth to fight again as undying soldiers in the rank and file of a Clan. Dying once only to learned from their flaws of battle and again to stand alongside the living to wage war.

Wise Hermit
After fulfilling their terms, they seek to continue to learn and research the things they were not able to do. Terracottas that play it safe live long and out last many generations of life to pass on the previous teachings to the next. Holding up in libraries and studying the lost arts or applying past techniques to new technologies, they are scholars willing to teach their skills to anyone that will listen.

Racial Traits:

Chi Dependent-2: Terracottas must align their chi for one hour out of every 24 hours to maintain the proper balance of control over their new form with a successful Meditation check. Failing to do so results in Fatigue each day that can lead to Incapacitation. Each level is  recovered with an hour of meditation. At Incapacitation the spirit separates the spirit from the husk and they perish. Alternatively, a terracotta can spend 2 chi points to skip this hour of meditation.
Created: Terracottas are constructs created of stone and clay. They receive +2 to recover from being Shaken, ignore one level of wound modifiers, don’t breathe, and are immune to disease and poison. They cannot heal naturally but must be Repaired (and ignore the “Golden Hour”).
Extreme Weather Sensitivity-2: Terracottas suffers a –4 penalty to resist a extreme heat and cold environmental conditions. It causes their skin to dry out, freeze and crack. If they suffer damage from an attack of these sources, this penalty acts as a bonus to damage.
Flesh of Stone: Their hardened material make up grant Terracottas a +2 Toughness at creation.
Heavenly Mandate-1: Terracottas are still bond to the heavens to serve a purpose after being freed from their initial reasons for rebirth. The being that agreed to fulfill their contract also gains a pawn on the material plane. This divine pact varies, but the terracotta must fulfill this duty. When there’s a chance to complete this goal, they’ll do anything, and take any risk to achieve it.
Inflexible & Heavy-3: Being made of hardened minerals makes it difficult for the terracota to move quickly. They suffer a -1 penalty to all Agility rolls. Their Pace is reduced by 2” and have a run d4 run die.
Unnatural-1: Death should be final for the soul so they can complete the cycle. Those that are rebirthed are seen as an interruption in this process. Not everyone favors the presence of the Terracottas and many view them as outside that natural order. They have the Outsider Hindrance suffer a -2 modifier to Charisma when dealing with those unaccustomed to Terracottas.

 

Overall: The concept of design when using SW is fairly easy for this race. The hardest part was the decision making on the translation of idea to mechanics. I’ll try to go over that next Wednesday for the Developer’s Journal.