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 Post subject: RPG rough draft.
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:31 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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Hello all. I've been posting in Pens for a while now. Writing a weird little story that has turned into a sprawling mess. But that's neither here nor there. What brought me over to this thread is a side project that came to me in a fever dream, left me in a fit of blind ennui, and then came back to me during a bout of severe head trauma that turned out to be indigestion.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SNvgWns8ikJETQm754_QKFFSQiVi33aqYS3hKxzpmSs/edit?usp=sharing

Right now it's a brief 44 page document, because I apparently don't know how to keep my word count down, detailing how to adapt the rules of 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons to play in a post-Chosen version of the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's very similar to the way the D20 Modern books adapted the rules of 3rd Edition D&D to simulating the experience of walking into a McDonalds and ordering a Whopper.

In fact, come to think of it the D20 books might have done it better... Or at least with higher production values. Please ignore this and go back to whatever your were doing. I'm clearly a crazy person.

PS. Feedback and comments welcome.

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 Post subject: Re: RPG rough draft.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:44 am 
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Original post from Azirahael
Quote:
As to your game thing, umm, not perfect.

Detailed critique:
Spoiler:
1: D&D is probably not the best system to build a modern game system out of. And a fantasy game, really doesn't need seperate Slayers. They can just be monks or fighters with the right feats.
2: The Slayer progression is a decent idea, but basing it on how many master vampires you kill, or age [like dragons] is not good. Tie it to your level or something. Because otherwise you can have a huge mismatch if someone gets lucky. Or unlucky.
3: Mixing 'racial' qualities of slayer with 'class' abilities like monk's punching etc is not the best move. I suggest that the race part [you don't choose to be a slayer, so that's fine] is minimised to stat bonuses and outright mystical power like dreams.
4: Dragging in the various demons species as PC's is gonna be a problem, as A: it removes some of their specialness, B: what if most of the party pick demons to play? C: and pulling in aliens from Farscape seems... not great. I'd suggest simply mentioning them in passing, and keeping the stats and such on a seperate doc, for those few that are determined to play Angel/Clem/Doyle etc.
5: The vast bulk of D&D spells are not the sort of clever cunning things that a modern campaign would find easy to integrate. Too many lightning bolts and fireballs, and not enough persuasion spells and hack computers remotely.
6: might wanna ditch the vamp vulnerability to running water. We've seen vamps take showers, and fall in flowing water with no problem. Also wash their hands.
7: what are the rules for staking a vamp?


If you want some help, lemme know. Also, i could use some help on my similar thing


My long winded response.


Quote:
Hi Azirahael, thanks for checking out the doc.

You had a lot of good points and some of them are answered by deliberate design decisions I made going in.

1. Yeah D&D can be wonky for a modern setting game, but there's a few specific reasons I chose it. D&D is a lot more popular than the Cypher system and Unisystem rpg's that have modern settings printed for them already. The D20 Modern system proved that it's doable, and it even has a Buffy~esque campaign setting that worked just fine, but D20 Modern had all the wonky messy rules bloat of 3rd edition D&D. Also the books for the Buffy RPG and D20 Modern are harder to come by nowadays.

Also I got the idea for Slayers being a specific sub-race from the way 5e Eberron is handling Dragon marks. Slayers being their own race that can't be multiclassed into allows for Monk Slayers (Buffy), and Fighter Slayers (Alonna), and Rogue Slayers (Faith) that still outclass non-Slayer Fighters like Xander. This was actually part of the reason I chose D&D instead of a game with more modern settings built in like Call of Cthulhu. D&D is class based and allows for insane power scaling that makes high level characters pretty much gods. Slayers start out further along on that power curve and progress in their martial prowess at a much faster pace.

2. I need to go back and add more clarification on this point. D&D vampires start at CR 15. I've stripped out a few of their tricks and Dracula themed abilities so that probably brings it down, but Slaying Masters in the setting I've outlined is a group activity. All the PCs who rolled a Slayer should get credit for each Master the group takes down. Thank you for catching that.

This also feeds into the franchise lore because if we count Lothos, The Master, and Angelus then Buffy was venerable by the end of Season 2. I like the idea that Buffy was Venerable very early on but only around level 10 or 12 when she defeated the First.

3. The unarmed strike damage and proficiencies might be a game breaking issue, but really they are there to reinforce the fact that a Slayer wielding a wooden stake is a much different story than a regular fighter wielding a wooden stake. These traits also feed into the mythology of the Slayer line. Every living Slayer who throws a punch has all the "racial memory" of most of the Slayers before her who ever threw a punch.

4. Reinforcing "Human only" party composition is probably a good idea. The options are there in case any prospective player really wants to play a "tiefling", hence why I started with orc and tiefling racial traits for all the "demon" player races. That and I really just like the idea of at least one mostly humanoid demon race looking at Slayers and having overt cultural reasons to willingly follow them into battle no questions asked.

But you have a point about the Farscape races. That mostly happened because I veered off topic while writing up the d100 tables in chapter 9. I wanted 12 flavors of tiefling for the first 12 entries on the unfinished d100 demon table. But now that I check D&D beyond for monster stat blocks I'm not seeing any for tiefling, so I might have to tone down Cambion by taking away their wings and some other things to make enemy stats. Or i'll do what I did for Young Slayer stats and start with a Knight npc and add the tiefling traits

Really though, "all demon" or "zero slayer" parties aren't completely insane ideas. If the players want to be a demon cult trying to end the world they can. That's what the stat blocks for young, mature, and old Slayers are there for. The party can even play a team of ordinary human werewolf hunters if they want. There's nothing wrong with a DM running a campaign where the Slayers and the Council are either a nuisance or the main enemy.

Also there is a separate doc for Players. It's the last 2 pages and is just an outline right now until I finish the "DM" part of the doc. Essentially the Player Handout is just going to be Chapters 1,2, part of 3, and maybe all of 4.

5. Yeah, evocation is a problem. I need to flesh out the repercussions waiting for low level mages that like to practice fireball spells on public buildings and small businesses.

6. This is probably a good idea to keep things more in line with the show. The "Classic" D&D vamp weaknesses don't all apply, I just really like the old superstition that Vampires can't cross over free flowing water under their own power.

7. I've been going back and forth adding things in different places. Most of the rules for staking are under the wooden stakes page near the end of the Slayer chapter. Here's a copy

Spoiler:
Wooden Stakes are one of the best and most common tools in a Slayer’s arsenal. In the hands of a normal or even a skilled warrior they use the same stats as a dagger. In the hands of a Slayer they are exceptional. All Slayers are proficient with Wooden Stakes once Called.

Wooden Stake:
Simple Melee Weapon
-Cost 1cp
-Damage 1d4 Piercing (Slayer 1d6)
-Weight 1/2lbs.

-Break chance Attack rolls of 1 destroy the stake. (Slayers can reroll once per turn if they roll a 1 on wooden stake attack rolls.)

-Properties: Light, Finesse, Thrown (10/30) or for Slayers (30/60), Monk Weapon,

-Dusting: Attacks with wooden stakes instantly destroy Vampires on critical hits or if the vampire is prone, unconscious, paralyzed, or restrained. (Slayers crit with a wooden stake on a roll of 19-20, or if their attack roll with bonuses is greater than or equal to the Vampire’s AC +5.)

-Unarmed switch out: Wooden Stakes can be held in a hand that is making an unarmed strike. As the player declares they’re making the unarmed strike against a vampire, if they roll a critical hit they can then switch to a hit with the stake and pierce the vampire’s heart, destroying it.

-Free Hits: If a vampire is prone, incapacitated, grappled, or paralyzed attacks with wooden stakes automatically crit, and the vampire is destroyed. If a vampire uses their action to attempt to bite someone they leave themselves open. If a Slayer is within 5 feet of a vampire when the vampire attempts to bite someone aside from her the Slayer can use her reaction to stake and dust the vampire. Non Slayers may do this as well, but doing so requires they expend one “Action” point.


The mechanical idea behind all that which I finally landed on is that the wooden stake is a weapon that can be used like a regular weapon, but shouldn't be. If a Slayer attacks with a stake in hand she's really just throwing a punch. If the d20 roll is high enough that regular punch is an instant kill for vampires only. Hitting anything else with a stake is equal to hitting them with a regular dagger that breaks 5% of the time and leaves you unarmed.


I know a lot of this is far removed from balanced game design. But that's kind of the point. D&D is a game where players start out as dirt farmers and end up as gods if they reach level 20. Slayers start off much more powerful than anyone else, but they'll never be as game breakingly powerful as a level 20 wizard. A Slayer may level spell caster jobs like Ranger and Paladin, but the'll just use the spell casting of those jobs to lay traps and hit harder with smite attacks. They won't be casting wish followed by 14 castings of fireball in the middle of combat. That's really my opinion on game balance in D&D. Can you cast Fireball more than ten times in a row? No? Then it's fine.

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 Post subject: Re: RPG rough draft.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:41 pm 
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Well, i'm not gonna do a big response right now, but i will say, that in the game system i use, and i think the unisystem one, beating up vampires before you stake them, makes sense.

staking the heart is a precision thing.
So, you beat them until they have enough penalties so that you can do it without too much trouble.

I'd suggest something similar, otherwise, you are going to have stakes that are useless, or a primary weapon.
As opposed to a finisher.

As you have it now, you may as well not bother. As you can kill any unconscious person or demon with any weapon.
And critical hits are not reliable.

Maybe some feat that increases the chance of a critical with a stake, so that slayers with many ranks of it can stake vamps left and right?

also, you need to consider what if someone scores a crit on the big bad with their first roll. Poof.

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 Post subject: Re: RPG rough draft.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:50 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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Hi Azirahael, thank you for commenting and pointing out areas I overlooked and need to flesh out more.

Yes, having the slayers beat on the vampires for a few rounds was what I was going for. I used several different rules from the core rule books to cobble together the house rules for staking vampires. For starters I used the Zombie, Vampire Spawn, and Vampire as the base creatures for fledge, minion, and master stats. Zombies have an ability that allows them to save once they hit 0 hp and go back to 1 hp until someone lands a crit of deals radiant damage. Both base Vampires regenerate 10 and 20 hp every round unless they are hit with radiant or holy water the round before. I added fire and crits with slashing weapons that reduce their hp to 0 (decapitation) to the counters for these traits.

I altered the vampire specific weakness in D&D to make it so wooden stakes are an instant kill because in base line D&D they work like they do on really really old Romanian folklore. The stake just paralyzes the vamp and if it is ever removed the vamp gets back up and is just fine.

I changed the "stake to the heart" weakness listed in the Monster manual and added Slayer unique properties to wooden stakes that make it so they destroy the vamp on a crit and Slayers crit at 19-20 and also on any attack rolls greater than the Vamp's AC+5. At level one a character with Str or Dex as their "high stat" has an attack bonus of at least +5. So right there Slayers start the game with a close to 90% chance of staking a fledge on every attack roll with a d20, while non Slayers may have a little more trouble. This is offset by the fact that if a Fledge gets in a lucky bite they become a minion which is much harder to fight and could trigger a death spiral for the party.

I then added the break chance and "unarmed switch out" to feed into the show's fighting styles. The Slayer is going to make unarmed strikes over and over until they either knock a vampire prone or roll high enough to turn their unarmed hit into a stake hit. They'll "get in a lucky hit" with the stake they've been holding in their punching hand the whole time. The non Slayers are going to fend off a vampire with swords and axes until they spend an "action point" to deus ex machina their sideline brawls. Fatal damaging Crits without a wooden stake can always be described as the vampire getting decapitated with a sword or axe.

It's complicated and I probably need to add an addendum for DMs that points out all the individual moving parts, but I think it can come close to simulating what combat looked like in parts of the show.

A weapon specific feat for wooden stakes is actually something I hadn't thought of, but it's a great idea I need to look into. I'd make it non race specific feat though to give non Slayer PCs an option to catch up or exceed the Slayers at later levels. Maybe it takes out the break chance and it crits on a 17-20. Or maybe it's a modded version of the "Lucky" feat and allows a re-roll if they roll a 1. 5e feats each to a lot of things and it's tempting to make one OP feat that just applies one or two of the "always picked" feats to wooden stakes.

Poofing the big bad is an issue early on, but if the big bad is a master they'll start with an AC of 16 or more, and a few abilities that will smoke a low level party. And if they do poof the big bad that's an opportunity to reveal the big bad's girlfriend, or promote a minion to master, or reveal that the vamp they thought was a master was actually a minion serving a demon that isn't going to die from a stake to the heart. At higher levels it's not really any more of an issue than handing the party a Vorpal Sword. It's still a weakness unique to vampires and can be countered by giving the vampire a metal breastplate. (AC 20 and stakes break if you roll like a 5 or something lower.) or the "Wooden Stake Immunity" Master Vampire Special trait.

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 Post subject: Re: RPG rough draft.
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:59 am 
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Added a few pages to the end of chapter one. The first details the mechanics of staking vampires more thoroughly than was laid out in later chapters.

The second has three feats. One slayer specific feat that mimics the fell handed feat but applies the same benefits to stakes, fists, daggers, and short swords instead of mauls, war hammers, and great axes.

The other two feats add bonuses to stakes and other concealed anti demon weapons. One of them offers more narrowed bonuses up front and the other gives a wider set of tricks that scale up in later levels.

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 Post subject: Re: RPG rough draft.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:20 pm 
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Okay, I wrote up this and added it to the end of the Doc. I might replace the current rules for Staking vampires with this if it makes more sense. If I do switch to this I'll have to go through and cut out the current rules scattered throughout the doc. Any thoughts are appreciated.

Quote:
The PCs need to stake or decapitate vampires in order to Slay them. The difficulty of this feat is dependent upon a number of conditions on the battlefield. As the battle progresses the difficulty of staking the vampire goes down.

Reducing a Vampire to 0 HP with Fire damage, Radiant damage, holy water, immersion in running water, or sunlight destroys the vampire.

Dusting a vampire with a weapon attack requires one of the following conditions to be met.

*Vampire at full health: Natural 20 on any melee attack roll while holding a wooden stake or ranged attacks with wooden projectiles.

*Vampire at three quarters health: Melee attack roll of 19-20 while holding a wooden stake or ranged attacks with wooden projectiles.

*Vampire at half health (bloodied): Melee attack roll of 17 - 20 while holding a wooden stake or ranged attacks with wooden projectiles.

*Vampire at one quarter health: Any attack roll with a slashing weapon or a wooden weapon (stake, projectile, short spear etc…) that comes to 20 or higher with the appropriate bonuses/modifiers.

*Vampire at 1-5 health: Any attack roll from a Slayer holding a stake or slashing weapon that equals or exceeds the vampire’s armor class. (This supersedes the Undead Fortitude trait of fledge vampires.)


The Regeneration trait of minion and master vampires is halved if they suffered a successful melee attack from a Slayer since the end of their last turn. If the hit came from an “Old” Slayer the HP recovered through regeneration that turn is reduced to 0. If the hit came from a "Venerable" Slayer all of that Vampire's Regeneration is suppressed for 1d6 rounds of combat.


The synopsis of the old dusting rules are on pages 8 and 10 of the doc. These new rules are on page 74.These new rules would replace the paragraphs for "Dusting" and "Strike the Opening" under Wooden Stakes, the "Stake to the Heart" passage under Vampire Weaknesses", and delete a few of the repeated dusting rules in the stat blocks for NPC Slayers.

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