Sunday, July 5, 2015

A July Fourth Adventure

Last night I invited my brother over and we celebrated Independence Day with a Revolutionary War themed role-playing adventure.

I've been trying to get my wife into role-playing games for some time but she hasn't been very interested. However, she does enjoy dungeon crawl style board games, like Mice and Mystics. Unfortunately, games like this have a lot of components that make them a drag to set up. A pen and paper RPG doesn't really need anything other some dice and pencils (although some nice miniatures are tempting)

I was discussing RPGs with my wife a couple of weeks ago. I asked her what kind of game would she most be interested. She mentioned something with werewolves and witches. It dawned on me - Colonial Gothic, a game of supernatural adventure set during the American Revolution. I created a simple adventure involving a kidnapped Benjamin Franklin (the first part of the adventure is described here on my Tales of the Templars blog).

We used the latest iteration of my Kevin's Krawl rules, which I initially created for dungeon crawl games but which I have been using for my Space Templar games. This version is sort of a mash-up of Traveller and the Dead Simple RPG.

Character creation is very simple, and involves the following steps:

  1. Select a Profession. For last night's Colonial Gothic campaign, the characters had a choice of Soldier, Scientist, Rogue, or Doctor. I am going to add Wizard as a profession but I did not announce it initially because the existence of magic is a secret in this world.
  2. Determine Attribute scores. There are 4 attributes (from Dead Simple) - Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Spirit (i.e. Willpower, Luck, etc.)
    • Characters immediately get 1 point based on their Profession. For example, Soldiers get 1 point in strength.
    • Characters then get an additional 2 points to allocate as they see fit among the 4 attributes.
  3. Determine other statistics:
    • Fight = Strength + Profession modifier (+1 for soldiers)
    • Shoot = Dexterity + Profession modifier (+1 for soldiers)
    • Defend = Dexterity + Profession modifier (+1 for soldiers)
    • Health - starts out at 3
  4. Determine stuff - the GM assigns starting equipment as reasonable
Task resolution is also simple, and is based on the Traveller rules. Roll 2D6 + attribute + profession modifiers + any other relevant modifiers. Typically, the target score is an 8, although the GM can adjust it. If a hit is scored, roll 1D6 to see if it wounds (on a 4-6) or simply stuns the opponent. As I noted before, the GM does not have to roll any dice. When characters are attacked, assume that they will be hit unless they make a successful Defense roll. I think this greatly speeds up play, and it gives the players the feeling that they control their characters' fates.

As you may notice above, the soldier gets a lot of professional bonuses in combat situations. Other professions also get modifiers. For example, rogues get a bonus for stealth in addition to any dexterity bonuses.

Last night's session went very well. It had a quick pace with plenty of opportunities for decision-making. Each character (we had a soldier, rogue, and doctor) had chances to use their abilities and benefit the party. My wife seemed to like it, especially because it was pretty straightforward without a lot of math. Because of her interest, I am planning a sequel.

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