Monday, May 28, 2012

Misc. II

Ugh, the connection at the lodge I'm "borrowing" from is pre-dial up speeds.  I guess all the guests are all playing WoW or something.  I'll just post a couple ideas and try to catch up on the blog conversation in the morning.

The Bargain
The idea of inheritance for new PCs is not new, but the usual idea is you can only use it once (in my life as a player? with this DM? in this campaign?) and enact a 10% tax. But when you die you're more than likely to lose all your good stuff in a TPK or down a Hellmouth.

How about this: When your more experienced players roll up a new character (no need to bog noobs down with more to think about) give them the choice of +3 hit points, or a will that grants any gear and money that is recoverable to their next PC.  No tax, but you still don't get the stuff down the Hellmouth.

Choose to Use Languages
I love languages and scripts and I'm ashamed to say they aren't much a part of my game because my world is getting fleshed out as we go. I never know what languages to offer players when they make up new pcs.

How about this: Players get the same number of languages your system says they should but they hold onto them like chits to redeem later. Dead languages and scripts cost three language chits. Monsters and other races require two, human languages just one. Now, any time one of these come up in play, players can decide if they want to know this particular language. I think it could be quite fun asking players to explain how the peasant fighter came to know linear B, or the cleric the erotic language of the courtesans.


  1. I've also been at a loss as to what languages to offer my players, especially since I usually don't have any idea what languages will become important. I've done something like what you've done, letting players decide on the languages their PCs know as they go along. In the develop-the-setting-as-we-play game I was running, this actually worked out well. The most memorable result of this policy? Low Orcish Sign Language, invented by a player. ^__^

  2. I've also finally decided to simply let players learn languages as they go along. In my case I let them pick any language for a single slot. I wouldn't want to raise the cost of monster/ancient languages. You get many more chances for showing off the weird of the world if they take those. Whether they interrogate the orc about the political situation in his tribe, or read about the funerary of the HnkNok pharaohs. I'd especially not want to punish them for taking ancient languages. I always get sad when nobody in the party can read the text on the walls of the tomb.

  3. This is something I picked up from Scott: PC's start with the number of language "slots" specified by their intelligence. When they encounter a new language during play, characters with open slots can roll to see if they know the language (1 in 6 or 2 in 6).

    I think of this as an example of the "late binding" pattern that fits very well with old-school games—most character development takes place during play ("run time") rather than during initial character creation ("compile time").

    The players seem to enjoy it.

  4. This is more or less how it works in LotFP:

    When a character comes into contact with another language, their chances of knowing the language is 1 in 6, with the character’s Intelli­gence modifier applying. If a character has a Languages skill at a greater level than 1 in 6, use that as the base chance instead.

    I think there's a max number of known languages too, but I'm not finding the reference right now.

    Free Grindhouse Rules & Magic, pages 36 and 37.

  5. Thanks a bunch, all. Looks like languages learned through play is a common issue, cool.

    I do like the idea of players having a choice, though, and the different costs are there to help with that, otherwise you'd just pick to know each language that came up until you had no more slots. Plus, it seems realistic to me that some languages are more commonly known than others. I'd guess you could find a lot more people these days that speak French, German, and English than can read Latin.

  6. Yeah, I dig that. Similar to how Donjon handled inventory. Your pack was full, but you didn't know what was in there until you needed something. But as you pull rabbits out of your hat, your inventory slots fill up, and then you're stuck with what you decided was in there.

    I like this usage of it, too.