Thursday, November 28, 2013

Your "Identical" Duplicate is Really...

"You're a goody-two-shoes!"

1.) Your mystical Nemesis, birthed from the cursed, Unseelie mirror-pools of Faerie. It is identical to you in every way, save for always being the equivalent of one experience level higher than you. It is intent upon your complete and total destruction. It will, inevitably, take its sweet time making your life miserable before deigning to end your worthless existence.

2.) Your worst enemy, polymorphed to look like you, with psionic impressions of all of your memories to complete the package. Speaking of "package", wanna guess who's going to be spending some quality time with your significant other tonight?

3.) The clone abortion that's gone completely fucking sideways. Like, this thing has P R O B L E M S. Think Bizarro, if Bizarro was three shades more retarded, had extra genitals in odd places, and was prone to shitting himself in the middle of violent outbursts.

4.) It really is you, but worse. This duplicate is from an alternate universe in which you are a completely worthless shit-heel. It has -1 to all of your attributes, and is functionally one level of experience lower than you are. It might not be evil, per se, but it definitely rains douchebaggery down in heavy torrents everywhere it goes. I'm sure that won't cause you any problems.

5.) A very convincing hallucination. This good-lookin' devil is one heck of a charmer. You can't, for the life of you, understand why no one else will admit to seeing them...

6.) A Shapeshifter or Master of Disguise who's running a loooooooooong con.

7.) A random person who, for reasons unbeknownst to either you or them, just looks remarkably similar to you. Perhaps there are some family secrets which need to be aired out.

8.) A perfect illusion/hologram of your current appearance, which mimics your every action. It's offset by a distance of about 5 feet. Enemies who want to do you physical harm are going to have to take their chances, 50% chance of hitting the insubstantial copy instead of you. Dinner party conversations are likely to become very confusing, however.

9.) A perfect clone, created from a sample of your DNA . It gestates for 12 Turns before being deposited in the very same spot where you stood. It's a blank slate who will imprint on the first sentient creature it sees, like a little duckling, following them around and learning everything it needs to know about life from them.

10.) Teleporter Malfunction: You're instantly transported 10 feet to the left of where you were standing. In other news, there's another you standing 10 feet to the right of where the "accident" happened. Both characters are identical, and neither knows which one is the original.

11.) It's you from the future! This duplicate can't (or won't) reveal important details about your future escapades, or those all-important winning lotto numbers. They are, however, two levels of experience higher than you, and more than willing to help you on your current adventure. In fact, it seems like they expected to be tapped for this. The GM should keep very detailed notes about what difficulties befall this dupe, since your character will undoubtedly be called upon to endure those same problems at some point in two levels' time.

12.)  It really is you, but better! This duplicate was transported from an alternate universe in which you're just a little bit more awesome. It has +1 to all of your attributes, and is a level higher than you, but is otherwise just like you, and shares all of your goals. High-five, identi-bro!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

GM Screen of the Gods

Easel 3-Ring Binders
Great GM screen, or GREATEST GM Screen?

Seriously, just load up the side of the pockets that will face the GM with useful info, and fill the sides that will face the players with pictures of female fighters in unreasonable armor. I guess you could put in boring rules reminders and shit instead. I dunno. Whatevs.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Encumbrance vs. Inventory

Who doesn't love the simple encumbrance system that James Raggi gave us in Lamentations of the Flame Princess?

Dickheads, that's who.

Seriously. Calculating encumbrance was an exercise in tedium even for the slide-rule carrying dungeoneers in the early 80's. Besides, what RPG enthusiast isn't already well-acquainted with the first cousin of Raggi's system, the video game Inventory.
We grok this shit at the cellular level.

This elegant solution still suffers from a common problem at the game table, though. People forget to write crap down. A lot. Plus, brace yourselves for this, some buttface players will occasionally lie about what their character is carrying.

Others have attempted to tackle this problem before, notably Faster Monkey Games with their Tracker Tokens product. 

It's a good idea, but a little too static for my gaming needs. Players can't be counted on to carry exclusively predetermined items. I mean, they're tooling around a dungeon with backpacks full of goblin heads, blocks of demon-cheese, and pretty much any other frightening garbage that seemed like a good idea to pick up at the time.

Never fear, three-ring binders are here. More specifically, you can print out whatever inventory items you want on this free template from Avery, and have each player store those suckers in one of these inexpensive 30-pocket binder pages
What's that, you say? "Doesn't the LotFP encumbrance system have exactly 30 slots?" That's right, and you're welcome.

= easier organization than an OCD hooker.

The pockets and the template items are all exactly 1.5"x1.5", which is also conveniently the perfect size to hold poker chips. I'm having my players use poker chips to track the number of arrows left in their quivers. How many arrows fit in a quiver? Twenty. Do they make another binder page that holds exactly 20 chips? You're damn straight they do

I recommend printing tokens out on cardstock to make them more durable than mere paper. I still need to kludge together a blank template that just has a dark border around the edges of each token so that I can print out a bunch of blanks before the game. That way, I can just write random item descriptions directly on tokens mid-game, rather than having to type them up and print them out.

I have to say that I really enjoy the tactile element of handing a token or chip to a player when they purchase gear, and having them hand it back to me when it's been used up. You can even get cutesy with the players by using inventory items printed with custom templates, like this one that looks like it's dripping with blood.

Plus, there's a certain dark glee to be had when the party is five levels deep in the dungeon, and the players look down at their inventory sheets to discover that they're dangerously low on torches.
Good times, good times.