Quick Blade S-rank Killers – game expanded!

The game has been expanded and released on Kongregate. It has a new set of idle sections added on! Quick Blade S-rank Killers – It’s an excursion to a murky world where meat stabs at meat until one slab falls.

 

 

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Player Character Unconsciousness Vs Death – one very rarely transitions into the other!

There’s an issue in D&D 5e where really a PC is kind of untouchable in terms of mechanics once downed and unconscious. It’s seen as ‘unfair’ to directly attack the PC when they are in this state. In some ways this is good – it’s a soft ‘lose’ condition, in that the PC went down and that feels bad so it’s a way of losing without having to have a PC die (particularly useful if resurrection isn’t possible in the campaign). Some other PC stabilizes them or heals them and then it’s gets back to normal.

So they never die…but on the other hand they never die!

Here’s an idea: The PC has a significance rating – the more significant and meaningful things they do and are involved in, the more points the DM subjectively adds to the rating. It can add up to 25. In a way significance rating is a kind of treasure and the DM could suggest various things gain it (and some things might reduce it)

If the PC goes down the DM rolls an unmodified D20 and tries to get equal to or over the significance rating. If the result does so then an available monster will hit the PC once, but not for a crit! Just a regular hit, making the PC fail one death save. That’s all! Now if the PC A: Has to make a second save and B: Rolls a 1, they actually die! >:)

Even if the DM doesn’t equal or beat the significance rating, the rating goes down by 5 points after the roll. So best earn some more points after that!

This sort of thing I would tell the players before the campaign, either deciding whether I’ll negotiate with the players over it or whether I will insist it’s a requirement (which runs the risk of no one playing. But if something is important to you at that time, it might be better to not game at all than game without it)

The point of a significance rating is that sure, you don’t want that really important character to die. But on the other hand, if they are really important, shouldn’t they be earning significance points anyway? A player can feel they can be more secure in their character without feeling the complacency that comes with plot armour. Keep earning those points!

Capturing the Party

This started out as a reply to this post

Well common wisdom is forced captures are a bad idea – players fight to the death because they play to be bad asses and being captured severely damages the idea their PCs are bad asses. Also it’s a forced capture – there’s no point even playing out the event because there is no uncertainty in the outcome. Depending on who you talk to, this can be described as basically ruining what makes roleplay different from reading a novel (or even ruins what makes it different from a pick a path adventure)

For myself I would never do a forced capture – I would foreshadow that enemy forces might try to capture them, I would have various things they could do to lower the odds of that capture (some I would explicitly say, some I would hint and some I’d leave to the players to figure out on their own). They do enough of these things and I’d use some dice rolls to work out the capture party strength. So they might well get out of it, but if they are captured then they are captured.

At that point you have a question of how much you take from them. Frankly I think of it in terms of a difficulty slider. At the easy end all their stuff and wealth is in a box at the end of the corridor in the cell block they are being held in. At the hard end all their stuff is gone, they should feel lucky to be alive – in fact it’s not really even the hard end if they aren’t dead. Doing ‘what makes sense’ does not make sense. If you are running what could be classed as an easy game and you then suddenly strip everything from the PCs then you will just deliver an unfun game to the players. I’d argue this is a matter of basic human psychology. You can’t spike difficulty – if you’re running at X difficulty, you can increase it a little at a time. Kind of like the players are in a hot tub and you’re heating up the water slowly – you can’t just set it to boil suddenly and think everyone will find that okay because ‘it makes sense that would happen’.

So if you were running an easy game (and come on guys, don’t go  ‘Oh no, I don’t play with kid gloves’, lets be honest with ourselves in thinking about this because it really does matter to whether you make a difficulty spike or just a difficulty increment), then you could try out having all their stuff and wealth at the end of the corridor where there cells are located, but say 10% of their gold is taken. Why did the bad guys take that? Well make up a reason – the bad guys guards aren’t supposed to touch it, but they skimmed some off the top and lost it at the casino already. All game situations could generally result in multiple results, not just one. Look for a path of results that does not spike the difficulty of your game. I assure you that path is there if you look.

Tomb of Annihilation (short play account & spoilers, o/c!)

Omu. The party has 7 of the puzzle cubes.

I’d prepped that the first 15 minutes the players would actually be pursuing a pureblood Yuan Ti who had escaped into some ruins after a fight in the streets saw her brethren. Mentioned it but the players totally ignored it. Note to sell, if a NPC escapes at the end of a session and pursuit is put off till next session, players may be completely disinclined to pursue.

So, right to the long rest I guess? I have an issue with long rests basically making the resource depletion not matter, as it drains out the tension of that resource depletion. So I had a sort of loose system that the more you did in Omu, the more likely you wouldn’t have a night encounter. This has an out of game benefit in that you spend more time on game world events rather than random encounters. Anyway, they had done quite a bit so they got that much wanted long rest and got to the next morning.

I had prepped that the next 45 minutes or so would be negotiating with Ras Nsi and the red wizards for the puzzle cubes they hold. The thing about Ras Nsi is that if you just tell him about the soulmonger, he basically wants to give you the puzzle cube. The book says to leave a trail to Ras Nsi’s base when the party have seven cubes. Okay, heads on poles, leading all the way to the front tunnel.

So do they call to the front door or something, demand to know more?

No, one PC introduces himself with no actual purpose for being there, just saying hi. So the Yuan Ti tell him to tie his hands up and come in. Because they like slaves, really. Why not? Okay, door opens and then the invisible Barbarian wants to block the door. Then there was fighting, then a fireball, then a negotiation with a remaining, surviving Yuan Ti (after the only other survivor was intimidated into submission) and a readied action that could have made things worse. Interesting thing about readied action – whose interpretation of ‘I attack any enemy that comes into view’ is the one to use? If it’s the player, then they can attack anything they want, because they can declare anything as an enemy. Not much point setting conditions on a readied action in that case.

Anyway, Barbarian runs in further, runs into and manages to resist the gaze of Basilisks, then runs away like heck past the monk who had stepped in. The Basilisks march up from where the Barbarian ran from, the monk does not fare so well but shadow steps back through the door as he petrifies, then becomes stone!

There is a further negotiation, which I grant was at my suggestion but it was to be with the Bard closing the door and talking to the Yuan Ti without the rest of the party. As an offering of good will, you see.

Well, the Bard doesn’t die and they seem to come to an arrangement to see the boss, Ras Nsi.

I’m going to skip ahead here, because it really did go quite straight forward at that point – except in the middle of snake people town, they had the gall to ask for more from Ras after he gave them the cube. And I did give more – two healing potions each! And the wizard wanted spells now…that’s not really in the book at all. Actually the healing potions weren’t either, but it’s like almost that the act of generosity was like a kind of precedent that more aught really to be given because the NPC wanted to support them Consumables are okay to hand out but permanent is a different ball game.

All that actually ate up the last hour and forty five minutes of the session! I think I’m going to have the NPCs wear their hearts on their sleaves a bit in future so players don’t try to fight their way in through stuff just because they think they have to. If they get some cues from NPCs and ignore the cues and fight (and who knows, the NPCs might be lying, so that’s understandable), that’s okay. But I’ll make the NPCs a bit less mysterious and a bit overly open on information like that Ras Nsi wanted to see them so come on in. The thing was the book has the front guard wanting a bribe to get in – I thought that’d be interesting to have that resistance that he’s open to being bribed, but I think the players thought they’d have to break in.

In the end we do time extension and do a quick meeting with the red wizards, which a hireling and ex red wizard hireling of the party had arranged. Just a quick ten minutes, unless it breaks out into a fight. The book actually says the red wizards will fight the party once the party gets the second last cube (the wizards having the last one). But…it just didn’t seem necessary or to go anywhere to do that? The party was going to be the wizards trap detectors and clear a whole bunch for them and then die…why kill the thing that’ll die for you? So I based it on whether they could remember their contact with Valindra Shadowmantle to basically smooth over the relation, as the wizards were told by Valindra she’d sent some stooges, but they wanted to test these adventurers for themselves. Like something lurching from the mists of time, the party members who had met her did remember. Then the red wizards asked for her second name. Dammit! So the Bard does a persuasion check to sort of ‘Klaatu barata *cough!*’ their way through it. It wasn’t a big deal test, like they’d fight if the party failed to get the last name. But the party might have to bribe or do something clever or say something clever.

Anyway, they manage to appease the red wizards and they get the last damn puzzle cube! Took about ten minutes IRL to play out. If it had come to a fight, that’d be done next week. Now to be completely confused by the front of the tomb of annihilation next week!

But yeah, that door breach at up time like anything! Shenanigans at the door and multiple waves of enemies, etc.

Game Release: Quick Blade S-rank Killers

S_Shot_Front_Page

The creatures known as the S-rank flood the world. Their name comes from the titles of a mighty race, whose marrow were taken and twisted and mutated by a malevolent force to create an army of killers. Their dark lords gave them the name ‘S-rank’ in a mockery of the race they had used to create these perverted killers.

And now there is a bounty on them and coin has called an army itself, to kill the killers.

Quick Blades Game

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[[ Quick Blades Game

Setting inspired by the Prince of Nothing series by R. Scott Bakker

Support Link for Quick Blades ( Supporting the Community of Game Developers)

Support Progress: 0 / 320 (preferred goal) ]]

S-rank Dev Post #4 – Enter the fields appalling

The first part of the game – tracking down S-rank out in the hunting fields – is done! I linked it on reddit then saw some traffic on the old dev posts here and though it might just make sense to post a link here.

I’m pretty sure the tutorial links to the main game properly – if worst comes to worst, refresh and from the front page you can press ‘s’ to skip the tutorial and go right to the game. Press ‘?’ to advance in the instructions there and it’ll tell you more. If people are getting stuck on the instructions…I’ll have to figure something out.

S-rank Skinners

 

A faith pitch : The mind is hollow

Imagine it a bit like a Jehovah witness coming to the door, to sell faith. Though what faith undermines their own sell?

Or worse, imagine a philosopher coming to your clean door step?

But this is the very important thing about this idea – it involves the notion there is a black box you just can’t look into. Nor me. Unfortunately the extra part of it is that you being unable to see into the black box is also hidden – with an actual black box, you could hold it and see how it blocks you from seeing inside. But imagine some fool comes up and says you can’t see into a black box and that he can’t even show you the box. Maybe you ask why can’t he show it? And he says that’s part of it – you can’t see into the box and you can’t even see that there is a box. That’s how black it is!!

What tremendous rubbish! At least the Jehovah witnesses hand you a pamphlet with people frolicking in fields and sitting with lambs and stuff. That at least looks fun!

This guy goes on, because somehow the very forces of this example exclude slamming the door, and says there’s a lot of behavior that comes from the box – it has attachments for wires on the outside, and those wires send shocks of electricity about the place. From these behaviors a number of hypotheses can be formed about what is in the box – pretty good hypotheses as well, since in other material objects they’d prove right. But then again most people would still look at the very material object those hypotheses are about to confirm them. Say you saw water running down a channel into a container – you hypothesize there is water in the container. But you open it up to check, you don’t just have faith. Not unless you’re forced to for lack of time to open the container or some other such constraint on checking.

But this black box the fool is talking about? You can’t look in. Just can’t. Can’t even find the black box to see it as a box. I mean really! If you were forced by lack of time to not check the container from before for water, that’s one thing. That’s practical! But being told you can’t look! That’s just rubbish! That’s….that’s a demand of faith!

Thrilling build up there? What could this black box be a stand in for…ah crap, really the title kind of spoilered that, eh? What kind of weak sauce sell is this?

So the idea is that the human mind (as defined in many a way) is hollow. That hollow is the black box. Or so goes this line of faith – see, that’s the hard thing, it’d be nice to pitch this as ‘how it is, bro!’. But that contradicts the very idea.

But I’ll pitch is as if ‘that’s how it is, bro!’ anyway, for drama purposes. Hell, other people get pamphlets with lambs and frolicking – I get this!

What’s in your mind, while there can be many points of evidence about human behavior that suggest what is in that brain that is you, you cannot confirm any of those suggestions at all. Basically as simple as that. You lack inner access. Indeed, you lack the inner access to realise you lack the inner access.

No, it’s not a radical skepticism. Though in the skittering absence of self access, why not slip that way? But that’s the thing about this idea being a faith – when pitched as a fact, what would a being with a lack of inner access do in regards to that ‘fact’? They would not be able to confirm it because they don’t have inner access nor inner access that shows they don’t have inner access. The ‘fact’ would have to be rejected for sheer, absolute lack of evidence (most certainly it is a fact there is no evidence. Nor evidence of there being a lack of evidence!) – how it would be rejected doesn’t matter, it would be rejected and then the how determined afterward, rolling on a D&D chart of 100 random rejections. A skittering.

But a faith? A faith is like Gandalf – no one consigns Gandalf to the chart of 100 random rejections. And sometimes other faith stuff doesn’t get sent there straight away either.

So it’s a faith pitch. You can argue what is inside the mind from material effects and behaviors shown outside the mind. But how can you confirm it? Can you open the black box – or what you have about confirming it is merely a faith?

Can you really argue what is in the mind to anyone else, given they cannot confirm the argument? Wait, whoa – I just pitched that in a fact like way, didn’t I? Ditch that – What if a totes set of fantasy beings could not confirm what is in the mind, due to lack of inner access, but other beings of that race tried to argue to others of their kind what is in all their minds – as if it were a fact?

Would none of those argued to be able to confirm the statement, for having no inner access – there would be absolutely no evidence to go by. Without evidence the argument would HAVE to be wrong – how it’s wrong would just be just a matter of time to determine. That it is wrong would be the first step. Then rolling on the D&D chart of 100 random rejections for as to why it is wrong.

Essentially all of these fantasy beings would have hollow minds – the black box, the absence of absences, inside their mind. An empty space, lurking there.

Now here’s the fun bit – imagine you pitched to these fantasy beings the idea of the hollow mind NOT as a fact, but as a fantasy idea! Well, they might not rush to the chart of 100 quite so quickly, since they can humor a tall tale or two. If only for a chuckle.

So it might be quite possible to see them, sitting there, with this fantasy of them having hollow minds, when they freakin’ have hollow minds, and able to toss around that idea quite easily. They can handle the hard fact of this examples reality when it’s pitched as a fantasy – as a potential faith. When it’s just pitched as an example. But pitch the hollow mind as a fact to the hollow minded and [joker]everybody loses their minds![/joker]

What a freakin’ setting, huh? Well, maybe for philosophical readers – where the hell’s the action and adventure in that, eh? Blah! Needs work shopping to be really fun!

But to really indulge the philosophical and lack of action, imagine beings in the hollow mind example trying to argue others about the contents of their own minds. Imagine of another hollow being tried to say its a fact they can’t – the microphone feedback like effect of being A, who cannot confirm what is in their mind, saying to hollow being B they cannot argue to a group of hollow beings (group C) what is in their mind because group C cannot confirm it! It’d be like some kind of Rube Goldberg machine that is actually designed to fail at each stage!

Let’s go through the failures! Being B could not confirm that group C cannot confirm what is being argued is the contents of their mind. And being A could not inwardly confirm what the hell they were arguing to begin with – being B already thinks A cannot confirm this (and is actually right, but the reason for being right is not actually correct) and is hearing group C cannot confirm this from someone who cannot confirm it in themselves! Of course it can’t be right – it can’t be confirmed (by inner access)! And it’s definitely true that A cannot confirm this!

It’s kind of like a hot potato – in this example A cannot confirm what he is saying. If we go back in time before A showed up and there was just B trying to argue what is in the minds of themselves and group C, B has the hot potato because group C thinks B cannot confirm any of this. And they are right! Though again, for the wrong reason!

In such an example, the issue is there is a fallacy that confirmation is always possible. Whoever is doing the claiming of what is in the other hollow minds is always (correctly) suspected of not being able to confirm that inwardly. With that fallacy in place though, the reason for the lack of confirmation always ends up wrong – always ends up skittering across the chart of 100 random rejections. Falsely. For their minds lack inner access (and even lack inner access to that absence of inner access, like we lack access to where our sight runs out). The notion of facts, for these example beings, insists there is always a way to confirm something. Anything else is to be rejected (ala Russell’s teapot). And yet when they practice the fallacy they can always confirm (but in this example they can’t for lack of inner access), then they look for a way of rejecting and simply rationalize one, rolling on the chart of 100 rejections. Such is the strength of the fallacy.

What a wacky setting, amiright? What, wait? You hear the kettle boiling? You have to close the door now? Oh, right, well good day – I’m on to the next house on the street!

Though my mouth is dry.