Category Archives: game material

4E: Extended Challenges

I’ve been saying for a while now that the skill challenges in D&D4e are a nifty idea that was poorly executed. The “extended challenges” rules are my attempt to fix that, essentially by adapting the Focus System rules from Arianrhod to the rules and general attitude of 4e. The result is a 3-page rules module that in theory should be easy to drop into a game with zero changes to how characters or anything else are handled.

I haven’t had a chance to try it out at all–our last attempt at getting back into 4e fizzled–and there are a few things I didn’t get around to fully fleshing out, but I figured I might as well fling it at the interwebs to see what people make of it.

4e Extended Challenges Rules PDF

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Cards Against Humanity

I don’t normally go in for card or board games, but Cards Against Humanity works entirely too well for me. It’s basically Apples to Apples with weird and twisted shit on the cards. One person plays a question card, everyone else plays an answer card, the first person picks their favorite, the person who played the favorite card gets a point, repeat.

A few hours after playing the first time I hit on the idea of making my own expansion full of stuff from anime fandom called “Weeaboo Bullshit.” The next day I started working on it, and also came up with another expansion of RPG stuff called “Grognards Against Humanity.” These only really work if you know their respective fandoms reasonably well (the Grognards set will make the most sense if you follow grognards.txt and RPGnet in-jokes), though the official CAH sets also have some specific/topical stuff in them.[1] Cards Against Humanity is recommended for ages 17+, and I tried to keep in the general spirit of that, so the Weeaboo expansion especially has some… unsavory stuff in it. At some point I might have to see about making a friendlier card game in the general CAH/Apples to Apples/Dixit/Once Upon a Time style, more about laughter and creativity than game mechanics.

CAH’s First Expansion has 100 cards, but each of my expansions has 108 cards, basically because I want to get full-sized versions printed for myself to go with the set I got from Amazon, and most POD printers do cards in increments of 18. The particular Creative Commons license they used means I can’t sell them, but whenever I get around to getting those ready I’ll post up the files so you can get your own made if you want. OTOH the CC license means you can do whatever you like with my cards too, as long as it’s non-commercial and you give credit.[2]

Here are the PDFs. They’re in the same format as the print and play version from the CAH website; follow the instructions on the first page of that one to print these.

Weeaboo Bullshit PDF
Grognards Against Humanity PDF

I also put together a set of tiff files for getting the cards printed via Superior POD so that they match the commercially available CAH set. Go to their Poker Size Custom Card Decks page and upload the tiff files (there are instructions in the rar file). Each 108-card expansion will cost $9.24 plus (rather expensive) shipping. I’m pretty happy with the results (you can see some photos here), though now my CAH mega-set (with the two official expansions and my two expansions) is about 1,000 cards.

Weeaboo Bullshit/Grognards Against Humanity tiff Files

Also, here are some other CAH resources:

[1]OpalCat’s page linked below suggests an optional rule that you can discard a card you don’t understand, but only after reading it aloud to the rest of the group.

[2]Speaking of credit, Clay Gardner gave some nice suggestions as I was finishing up the Grognards set.

D&D4e: The Blaster Wizard

“So what do you do?”
“I blast things with magic.”
“And?”
“Sometimes I blast them even harder.”
“…And?”
“Once in a while I blast them twice.”
“…You’re hired.

This started out as kind of a joke, but I took it all the way to fruition (or a first draft at least) for the fun of it. The D&D Next playtest spurred discussion about the merits of the super-simple fighter whose mechanical options seem to come down to “It hit it with my sword” fighting alongside a wizard with dozens of spells. More than once people have half-jokingly suggested a wizard who just zaps things, and I finally decided to make a 4E Essentials wizard subclass that is basically a magical version of the Slayer fighter. Then, after I’d gotten a good chunk of it done, I found out that the Elementalist sorcerer in Heroes of the Elemental Chaos was a lot like that.[1] I decided to finish it anyway, but to go even simpler and drop the stances I’d been planning to put in. I also realized just how inefficient the original Essentials class format is, so in terms of format this wound up being a hybrid of 3.5 and 4e. The end result is all of 2 pages, though that’s partly because I cheated a little and just gave the class wizard utility powers. It’s kind of a dumb joke, so although I made a reasonable effort to color inside the lines, I won’t promise it’ll work as-is.

Blaster Wizard (PDF)

While looking for a Touhou picture to go with this post[2] I also realized that at some point I’d like to play a magic user who specializes in assaulting foes with energy in dazzling colors. (Marisa would’ve been better to illustrate that than Reimu, but I don’t have all day to dig through Safebooru.) In 4e terms that would probably be some kind of sorcerer, maybe a chaos sorcerer, though I don’t know that I’ll have an opportunity to play 4e proper again any time soon.

[1]To my irritation this is easy to miss, as there’s just the one sentence about it, which appears after a paragraph about how the elementalist uses the standard PHB style class progression table and can take other sorcerer powers from PHB2 and Arcane Power. (But apart from that HotEC is one of the best 4e books yet, as is Heroes of the Feywild.)

[2]It being a series of shmups, basically every character in Touhou is a blasty type magic user of some kind or other.

Maid RPG Tumblr

Maid RPG 120%, my attempt at a Maid RPG supplement, has been kind of floundering for a while now. One of the most ambitious aspects of this is trying to put together a new item table in the style of the original one, which means making 216 of the things. I decided to make a Tumblr and try to post one item up every day (I have a good amount done already, and Tumblr has a nice queue feature, so hopefully I should be able to keep it consistent) until I have a D666 table’s worth, and I set it up to allow for submissions too.

Also, I added a Steward Character Sheet to the Maid RPG 120% page, though it’s basically just a maid sheet with the word “stewart” added in several places (and a different font because I don’t have the one that was originally used).

Fiasco: Super Kart Party 3 Plus!

I figured I might as well post this up rather than waiting. It’s yet another Fiasco playset, and hopefully my last one for a while (for one thing I need to find time to actually play these things).

Super Kart Party 3 Plus! is about video game testers at Nakatomi Games. Not only do they have the shitty grunt job of the industry, but it’s crunch time on an utterly idiotic, hopeless, terrible game (from which the playset gets its title) that upper management will not let go under any circumstances.

I wrote it as a birthday present for a longtime friend who’s worked as a game tester for a number of years, so a substantial portion of it is based on the various stories he’s told me. Like Liquidation, I based it more off of real life stuff, so it’s hard to recommend viewing material, but jPod and maybe Grandma’s Boy come to mind, and Once Upon Atari and this Destructoid article could be good sources of ideas.

Download Super Kart Party 3 Plus! PDF

Fiasco: The Knights of Light

Yes, another Fiasco playset. I have another in progress too, though I’m trying to get started on a Parsely game too.

This one is about the members of a small local guild in an extremely popular MMORPG. It is of course heavily inspired by The Guild. It couldn’t really find any other works about MMO players, but a Google search for “guild drama” provided plenty more inspiration, specially the Drama Mamas column on WoW Insider.

The playset is a little bit non-standard in that (1) when setting up a scene you declare whether it’s IRL or online (so there can be scenes entirely in the game, or that consist of narrating angry forum posts), and (2) I’ve replaced the Locations table with an Events one (which if you’re feeling adventurous you can also use during the Tilt).

The Knights of Light Fiasco Playset (PDF)