Monthly Archives: January 2022
Before we get to any OGL content, an editorial aside:
First, this blog has spoilers for The Book of Boba Fett (and, by extension though less so, The Mandalorian). So if you want to avoid those, don’t read this.
Second, you may be wondering why is this tagged as an “Owen Explains It All” post, when that’s very unlike my normal marketing tone? Well, because this links into a show from the BAMF podcast I’m on, titled “Owen Explains It All!“. We do an episode every two weeks, picking new things from the zeitgeek to use as inspiration for game material, specifically the Starfinder Roleplaying Game.
We have a logo and everything!
One of the thing I have found fascinating about The Book of Boba Fett is that it has focused on empire-building, rather than being a personal badass. I have idea about why that is (and why some people dislike it as an arc for this character), but that doesn’t really matter when I am discussing gamifyable elements of the show.
Specifically, Boba Fett has a number of minor minions he’s picked up, from droids to Gamorrean Guards to mod bikers, who assist him in social and combat encounters. None of them are a match for him or his significant enemies, but they can tilt a close situation to his favor, and buy him time when he’s at a serious disadvantage. It leads me to want to have simply rules for how useful a few folks below your own skill level to back you up can be, without slowing down gameplay by tracking the positioning and health and gear of numerous NPCs just so they can have a small impact on encounters.
And all of that leads me to Minor Allies, as OGL content
Minor allies are people who aren’t on the same level as you and your adventuring partners, but are hearty and skilled enough to be of some assistance. A GM may use minor allies as a way to boost PCs for a major encounter (“While none of the ship’s crew are hardened marines, they will back you up as you attempt to retake the bridge.”), as a reward other than just credits (“Your willingness to risk your life to help the miners of Bluroc 17 has convinced a few of their roudier citizens to follow you and work toward your goals.”), or just as a feat a PC can take if they want to have some folks supporting them.
If your character has minor allies, you gains 1 effective minor ally, plus one per six character levels you possess. Minor allies are very limited in what they can do, and their exact position and health are not tracked. Each round a minor ally can attempt to aid another, engage in harrying fire, or grant covering fire. There bonus for any of these actions is equal to half your character level. If a minor ally fails in any of their checks, it indicates they are too fatigued, injured, or low on gear to continue, and they stop being able to assist you.
A minor ally can also be taken out of play by any significant enemy as a standard action, or by any attack (from any source) targeting them that hits an AC equal to 10+ your character level. A minor ally taken out this way is too injured to do anything helpful, but still able to remove themselves from danger.
You regain the use of one minor ally per day (with minor allies healing up and tagging along but staying out of trouble until they are recovered enough to be helpful again).
In addition to these minor allies rules, I created an option for Afterthrusters, as ystem designed to allow a starship a burst of extra speed… at the risk of damaging the ship. This is bonus content for my Patrons, and is presented exclusively at my Patreon. You can join for a monthly cost of less than a cup of coffee!
I’m pondering switching to running a Pathfinder 1st edition game after my current Really Wild West game finishes its major story arc. I had thought I might make it an E6 game… but as is often the case I can’t help but think about tinkering with the rules to get something closer to exactly what I want.
Basically, I want to keep the game in the “sweet spot” of levels 3-9 for as long as possible, without players getting the feeling they never get to advance or improve. E6 is one way to do that…. but I’m not sure it’ll give me the feel I really want. So, I came up with the idea of partial levels.
This is still a thought experiment. But essentially, at some levels, instead of going to the next full character level (and all the increases that come with it), there is a span of experience points where you gain a partial level (noted as a decimal, so after level 3 comes level 3.1). Partial levels do NOT give you the advancements of a higher class level, character level, or new class features. But you do gain some benefits, which means a character who went through levels 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3 is more powerful (or, at least, more flexible) when they hit level 4 than a character who hopped straight from 3 to 4.That’s intentional on my part — I want characters to get better and better at handling threats of their level, and then when they hop a new level they can reasonably take on higher-level threats as well.
As I currently envision it, each time you gain a partial level, you get:
@1 skill point (still limited to max ranks/level) or +1 language (in case you’ve maxed out Linguistics).
@Extra hp equal to 1/6th your last class level’s max HD size, +1/2 your Con mod (minimum +1 hp total).
@One advancement from the list below. Once you have selected an advancement, you cannot select the same advancement again until you hit your next full level (unless it specifically says otherwise), but such limitations reset once you gain your next full level.
*Learn 4 new spells (prepared spellbook/familiar caster)(May take a second time to learn 3, and a third to learn 2.)
*Learn 4 new uncommon or 2 new rare spells (prepared divine — only Core and APG spells are gained automatically. All other official hardbacks are “Uncommon,” and other allowed spells are “rare.”)(May take a second time to learn 3 uncommon or 1 rare, and a third time to learn 2 uncommon or 1 rare.)
*Learn 1 new spell from another class list. (Spell is considered part of your class list now, and you gain is as a bonus spell known. Treat its spell level as as +1 spell level, an additional +1 spell level if it is a different magic source, an additional +1 spell level if from a class with a different highest level spell.)
*Gain the lowest-level feature you do not have of an archetype you qualify for which normally replaces or modifies a single class feature, as a bonus feature (to a max of those gained at a level equal to your linked class level)
*Select up to 4 cantrips you know to gain the buffed versions of.
*Gain the ability to prepare 1 more cantrip each day (characters with a spellcasting class feature only).
*Gain a heroic aura no other PC in the group has. (Characters with no spellcasting class feature may select this a second time. Characters with no class feature that grants supernatural, spell-like, or spell access ability may select it a third time.)
*Gain a Skill Unlock, based on your ranks in a skill
*Gain an Improved Skill Unlock (For a skill you have already taken Skill Unlock, treat your effective ranks as being 5 higher for purposes of determining your skill unlocks.)
*Gain a Greater Skill Unlock (For a skill you have already taken Improved Skill Unlock, treat your effective ranks as being a total of 10 higher for purposes of determining your skill unlocks).(Characters with no spellcasting class feature only.)
*Gain a combat feat for which you meet the prerequisites.
*Gain the Combat Trick version of a combat feat you already possess. (If it takes Stamina Points equal to 1/3 your bab or less, you can use it at-will. If it takes up to your bab in SP, you can use it 3/day. If it takes more Stamina Points that your bab, you can use the combat trick version 1/day.)(Fighters may select this more than once.)
*Gain a general feat for which you meet the prerequisites.
*Gain a feat (other than combat or general) for which you meet the prerequisites
*Gain a trait in a category you already have a trait
*Gain 5 skill points (still limited by max ranks/level)
*Increase an even ability score of 16 or less by 1 point.
For the specific campaign *I* am considering running, partial levels kick in once PCs hit 3rd. each partial level takes the same XP that would normally be required to get to the next full level (using the slow XP chart). There are 3 partial levels between each level from 3rd through 8th, and 4 partial levels between each level from 9th level up. If a game started at 3rd, it would take a long LOOONG time to reach 9th 9since at level 4.1, you are still mostly facing CR 4-5 threats, and thus gaining 4th-5th level XP), but you’d also have boosted your character 24 times by then.
This XP chart only goes to 10th level, but I could continue it past that with relative ease. Also, once you hit 20th, it might be all partial levels from there allowing PCs to advance without their effective character level continuing to increase.
If you are enjoying any of these, please consider adding a drop of support through my Patreon campaign!, or dropping a cup of coffee worth of support at my Ko-Fi (which is also filled with pics of my roommate’s cat).
As I do from time to time, I’ve updated the Revised, Partial List of Very Fantasy Words (which can be found here)!
So if you want to have a banneret use axinomancy to gird himself against a spadassin’s gainpain, these are the words for you!
(Do you enjoy the content on this blog? Why not become a patron, and support more free material!)
So, I have a bug. Not covid, according to the testing I have available, but something more like the “Con Crud” of days of yore. And, while I can still do stuff, I’m tired, achy, slow, and my mind is generally focused on being under the weather.
So, you guessed it, I’m writing game rules for it.
These are minor ailments, representing colds and mild flu, things bad enough they impact a hero and reduce peak performance, but not crippling. If caused by a disease, remove disease or similar effects end it. Otherwise, you get a saving throw at the disease’s DC each day to end the ailment.
Pathfinder 1e & Starfinder: Lesser Sickened. You’re achy and sniffly enough to make things unpleasant, but not enough you can’t generally function. You need of the 150% the sleep and rest to regain abilities or end the fatigued or exhausted condition, take a -2 penalty to Constitution checks and Con-based skill checks, Fortitude saves, and Perception and Stealth checks. These penalties do not stack with those of being sickened, which is largely just a worsened version of this condition.
Pathfinder 2: Lesser Sickened. You take a -1 status penalty on all your checks and DCs. You require an additional 1d4 hours of sleep each night to recover daily abilities or end the fatigued condition.
5e: The idea of adding another condition to 5e, especially one as crunchy as this suggestion is, goes against a lot of the design philosophy of 5e. OTOH, having a situational rule that comes up once as part of a plot (“Expedition to the Flu Season Peaks”) can be a fun change of pace.
Achy: You’re gnerally not at your best, but the situation isn’t bad enough to give you disadvantage to all rolls. When you roll a 10 or 11 on a d20 roll, you must roll a 2nd d20. If the second roll is a lower result, you take the lower result. If it is a higher result, you use your original roll. This is a lesser form of disadvantage, and if you have disadvantage on a roll, use the normal rules for that roll in place of these.
I have a ko-fi, where you can see pictures of my housemate’s adorable cat, and (if you like), buy me a coffee (or, today, a mug of hot soup).