Thursday, October 3, 2013

You're A Swashbuckler Now, Act Like It


Anyone who uses the term "magic tea party" might be a fucking psychopath using a sexist term meant to insult people who customize rules so they suit their game group rather than play by the ones the corporate nerds (the same ones who who paid me to consult on their game) sell them. So be wary of any pronouncements form people like that. Anyway, here are some changes to the rules (consistent ones, that enable complex tactical decisions without incentivizing system mastery wanking) we've found useful. Enjoy:

Hey, guess what? You're a 5th level fighter.
You know what your level title is: Swashbuckler. That's official--that's in the rules. You already been done already been a Hero--that was last level. Check it:

The wizard? That wizard is a "Thaumaturgist". You don't know what that is? Don't worry, that doesn't make you a Big Dumb Fighter--neither does the wizard.

You know what it actually says in that big fancy book with all the squiggles in it the wizard's always carrying around: It's 5th level, you get fireballs! Your cleric? Your 5th level cleric can Hold (that is: kill) a person three times a day, Cure Wounds just as often and talk to motherfuckers who aren't even alive anymore. And the druid? Any minute you won't even have a druid any more, just a fucking bear. Then a bird flying over the fucking battlements, then a bear again.

Point is: it's 5th level and shit is about to get weird, but don't worry, in this fast-paced crazy mixed-up world you have something on your side, even if there are no new special rules for you in your system.

And that is: you're a goddamn 5th level fighter.

Tell your GM that--be like "Hey Clarence, I'm a goddamn 5th level fighter".

That means Clarence is gonna start saying Yes if he isn't already: Do 20s do double damage? Yes. Does that stack with my strength bonus? Yes. Does it stack with my magic sword bonus? Yes. Is this a magic sword? Yes. If I get extra attacks per round can I decide after the first attack who the target of the second attack is? Yes. Can I trip him with just a to-hit roll against dex? Yes. Disarm? Yes. Fighting retreat? Yes. Keep holding this rope with no save even though I just got hit by a fireball? Yes. Can I tell about how many hit points he has? Yes. Can I carry that while I do that? Yes. Do I get a bonus because I'm on a horse? Yes. Do I get a bonus because they're already fighting someone? Yes. Do the troops believe me? Yes. Will they follow me? Yes. Did I intimidate the palace guard? Yes. Can I keep the wizard from casting a spell if I hit him this round? Yes. In every case: if the answer wasn't already yes, it is now. Because you're a goddamn 5th level fighter, ok?
Shut the fuck up, Rat
And if you're a thief, you know what your level title is now? Ninja. Ok? You're just a ninja now and people can stop pretending they don't know that word because they need something to explain the fact you just Moved Silently, Hid in Shadows and Backstabbed them all in the same round with a crossbow while crawling on a wall.
So quit bitching and watch your artillery's back, there's suddenly a fuckton of 5th level fighters coming to kill him.


  1. The one, true, Roman, and apostolic edition.


    1. Thanks. I just played the 2nd, 3rd and 3.5th.
      Today is easy to find the 1st here in Brasil, but a few years ago it was pretty hard.

  2. Nice - where the rules end is where the magic begins. Who needs feats - everything you do as a name level F/MU/T/CL IS a freaking feat.

    Also, level + 1 for critical strike damage mod? Fill yer boots if its your schtick. That's ALL physical attacks for you soldier, backstabs for the thief, and fireballs or staff blasts for the witch.

    1. I got no beef with people or systems that want to give fighters feats or other extra rules. I'm just saying, no matter what system you're using, it's good to recognize that at a certain point, the punchy guy has earned some elbow room.

    2. To each his own - what little I have experienced of feats tells me they're not for me. What you have described here is feats before 3e codified them - that suits me just fine.

      The problem with codifying and defining things is in an attempt to give more powers you end up paradoxically reducing a character's power overall. Wanna swing from that chandelier? If you're 0e to 2e, have at her. Otherwise, you have the feat?

      I think defining powers for supernatural abilities is fine, but the mounds of mundane feats of later editions are too limiting and taxing for me.

      No edition war intended. Just articulating what works for meself based on your riff.

  3. Holy crap. I always just disregarded the level titles as meaningless fluff. Even though I already knew (and kept telling people) that fluff is only ever meaningless if you make it so.

    The implications of taking level titles seriously are staggering -- when a character levels up, he not only increases, but fundamentally changes.

    I feel like I just found out that fire can cook things.

  4. Yes, yes.

    But I'm pretty sure my Thief 5 was a Cutpurse (or Burglar in 1E? but I really care for Basic ...). And even at Thief 7 (Pilferer ...) I've failed the two times (in my entire career) that I've tried to backstab, and after that I end up playing the fighter and gotten killed (and raised from the dead thereafter).

    Yes, yes, but if I run away, then the party DOESN'T deal with the dragon problem I've created for them.

    What is this Ninja nonsense?

    1. You CLEARLY have not been stealing enough magic items.
      And, kids, _ask your pharmacist about poison_ .

  5. This post from way the fuck back in October of 2013, Jumped into the future and made my day ...

  6. Cool use of rules and such. I have played with only a few eclectic GMs in the past and always loved how they ran the game and how much more fun it was. I love the way you describe the running of your games. Here are some rules that I have been fiddling with, still in a rough form. They might suit your styles and give you a few more ideas.