Thursday, January 31, 2013

Second Thoughts on Sandboxing

Join the Forces of Evil (the pay is really good)!!

At long last we managed to get the group together for next saturday. Now it's time to prepare the setting and formulate more basic ideas how to present it (Part 1 of this is here). The forces of evil will be very strong, but I'm not aiming for Ravenloft or something like that. Let's say the scale is tipped towards chaos, but law still holds it's ground. Open warfare is happening, but mostly it's a cold war with a lot of paranoia, betrayal and conspiracy. And, yeah, I'm talking about the players, too.

A world at war is a fun thing to have...*

(source)
...especially with magic as part of the powerplay. Every historic world empire cracked because of size. Alexander the Great, the Romans, Napoleon, they all failed because they couldn't controll ALL of it (both sides of the border). They also got old, decadent and weak. But take a fantasy setting. Gods, demons, magic, powerfull races, immortallity is possible, undead are the perfect soldiers and evil is a way of life very well established in D&D. So if evil wins (see the next best mid-level module for ideas in world domination), they have a good chance to win it all.

There is no "We" in evil

Whatever apocalypse I intend to throw at my players, will have happened some decades ago. There will be no current maps of the setting, only old ones showing the long gone glory of former civilisations. And a lot of rumors about what became of that.

Evil will rule the world, but is not united. More like a colorful tapestry of powerstructures oriented on the Kleinstaaterei during the Holy Roman Empire (source: Wikipedia). Important bit:
"Kleinstaaterei is a German word, mainly used to denote the territorial fragmentation in Germany and neighbouring regions during the Holy Roman Empire (especially after the end of the Thirty Years' War) and during the German Confederation in the first half of the 19th century.[1] It refers to the large number of virtually sovereign medium and small secular and ecclesiastical principalities and Free Imperial cities, some of which were little larger than a single town or the grounds of the monastery of an Imperial abbey. Estimates of the total number of German states at any given time during the 18th century varies, ranging from 294 to 348,[2] to more.

The Kleinstaaterei effect was compounded by the fact that, among that plethora of German states, quite a few were actually made of two or more non-contiguous parts. Few states did not have at least one or two enclaves or exclaves, and sometimes considerably more.
On the eve of the French Revolution, travellers leaving Brunswick, capital of the Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenb├╝ttel, for Paris would still need to enter and exit six duchies, four bishoprics and one Free City before reaching France.[3]"
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The few immortals that are left (we use the Rules Encyclopedia, after all) hold together what remains of the Known World. Shrines and temples will play a very important part in this. Either as a bastion against evil or to reclaim what was lost during the times of the cataclysm. Pilgrims and holy knights might roam the countryside to test their faith. Evil will play it's part to undermine and destroy what is good and holy. The ugly is where I intent to use the weird, a third power that threatens it all: Lovecraftian horrors that spawn uncontrolled and without a pattern all over the setting. And whatever group of misfits the players or the DM (that would be me) will decide to create, will be around, looking for scraps, tipping the scale into any direction their ill decisions might lead.

Ruins and Dungeons

Give humanity a few decades to work against a hostile environment and they'll burrow away like happy moles. At least that's what I'm thinking (and it happened a lot during the Dark Ages...). A dead rich mans bunker (traps or no traps) makes a happy adventurer every other day (and a dead one the rest of the time...). Cities are only half populateted, the rest is in ruins and most of the time dangerous to explore. Knowledge about the world before the big catastrophe becomes most valuable and might give new ideas where to go next.

Where to start and what to do is totally up to the players. A true sandbox, so to say. To get this engine running is part of another post (or more).

*And I mean in a fantasy setting. Really. Just to be clear.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Easy Weapon Mastery II (Summary of Collected House Rules)

Introduction (it ain't easy tinkering with combat)

Weapon Mastery, as presented in the Rules Cyclopedia, touches a lot of subjects. Well, to be honest, any combat system does. But the very different approach of the Rules Cyclopedia made me realize just how much it all is connected. What's the effect on initiative? Does weapon damage make sense as is? If to-hit progression is part of leveling up, why give additional bonuses? How much bonuses does such a system take without falling apart? Is armour class really the only counter measure? Why do monsters the damage they do and is there a key to it? How do the NPCs fight (a complex system necessarily makes fighting NPCs a pain in the arse...)? How is all of that connected to gaining experience? If you change one of those things, how is the rest effected? And if you tinker with it, does it stay true (that is, compatible) to OD&D? The list goes down the rabbit hole pretty fast. I'll try and connect some dots here.

My answers (so far)

This is the part with the summary of all the posts I've done about combat (and also meant as a reference point for the group and me). A lot of the stuff I've done in this blog is about influencing combat and the effects of my choices. It is, due to the format, a work-in-progress and, of course, even small parts of the things I've written so far may not survive playtesting (the big part of it is being used for a long time, though). So this is an update and a summary.

Luck (the post is here)

Dumping Charisma for Luck might not have been necessary, but it helped my game for several reasons. Depending on the state of this ability score (they may use 8 points of Luck one time per level to save their lives), they are considered lucky or unlucky in terms of initiative and combat (and whenever the stat is used in the game). But it's not that much of a game changer in terms of tactic. The impact is more in the flow of the game and gives it depth. It's one element more for the DM to work with and make the game more memorable for the players. Using Luck or Charisma for this is (mostly) indifferent or a matter of taste. After all it's only a change in name and a small (but for me important) change in meaning. What I was aiming for is that all ability scores should be of similar importance, so any decision during character creation might have consequences (without being to harsh).

Initiative (Part 2 is in the changes below, Part 1 can be found here)

The way I presented it makes this look like something very complex. I know that much. In play, on the other hand, it works pretty good in my opinion. And fast, at that. Here is what works and why:

  • Initiative is one roll with 1 to 3 d6 (plus some bonuses) and only for the players.
  • Using more than one die gives a lot of variety, without getting to complex (mostly it is comparing results, which is a fun game-in-the-game, time isn't even an issue here).
  • The results are altered during battle and even improvised combat is fast but complex.
  • Cooperative play between classes is encouraged (two or more players can pool their dice and get advantages, depending on class).
  • The decisions and results also produce choices for the players to further influence combat. It's not just hit-being hit-repeat.
  • The players (and the DM) still can do whatever they want and even ignore the results without getting to much disadvantages. But: the more important the encounter, the more important the rules might be for winning or loosing a battle.
  • All this needs to work, is an ability score from the character sheet, the weapon size and the enemies hd, so it is compatible with all OD&D variants (up to 3rd edition, don't know about 4th).

Necessary changes 1 (Combat Moves)

Mostly the players just used the cooperative bonuses, but not the Combat Moves during battle. Maybe it was just to much of additional work. Anyway, it didn't come naturally in the game, so it needed to be changed.

This is now a vehicle for escalation. The number of points gathered and distributed as Combat Moves is now the highest possible one-time-only-bonus to any one possible die-roll in a combat (1 point = +1; 2 points = 1W4; 3 points = 1W6; 4 points = 1W8; 5 points = 1W10; 6 points = 1W 12). How many points a player is able to spend depends on the number of combat rounds he waits. So if a player with 5 points uses this in the 3rd round, he gets +1d6 to damage or whatever. The rest is lost. If the fight is over and the player didn't spend any points, they are lost.

(Every time Echoe (see below) happens, it escalates for that player +1 faster in our game.)

Necessary changes 2 (weapon size)

There is  one obvious problem with the alternative Weapon Mastey I presented in part 1: weapon size in close combat. Especially big weapons are not that usefull in combat (still more damage with one hit), because they are slow. Small weapons, on the other hand, are as fast, but do the same damage as medium sized weapons (due to the fact that damage dealt is a matter of class, not the weapon.

The easy fix is to make weapon size count for initiative. So in our game small weapons get a -5, medium sized weapons get a +0 and large weapons get a +5 to initiative (with a possibility of +10 for even bigger weapons). Additionaly, wielding a large melee weapon against smaller melee weapons gives a benefit of attack. This means, if a character, NPC or monster is only able to attack every other round with a large melee weapon (due to level of Weapon Mastery), smaller weapons need to apply to that rythm. They can only attack, if attacked by the larger weapon (in that case, every other round, too).

Echoing dice (my reasoning about this can be read here)

  • Roll the highest value of any dice and you might roll again with the next lower die.
  • If you keep rolling that high, repeat again with the next lower die.
  • There is no die after the d4.
  • Dice in order: 1d20, 1d12, 1d10, 1d8, 1d6, 1d4
  • Not for initiative or hit die rolls.

Experience

In short, damage dealt and taken times 20 is xp. This is very easy to use in every game and totally indifferent to the D&D supplement used (like, say, using a 3rd edition module in a Labyrinth Lord game). Additional xp for mission goals, roleplaying and so on do exist, but are not important for combat.

Armour Class (Part 1, Part 2)

This is loosely connected to Weapon Mastery. Treating single parts of armour as relevant for combat, be it for protection or as a weapon, just opens a whole lot of opportunities. Thorns on an arm protection, horns on a helmet or to weaponize a cloak are just a few ideas down that road. With damage connected to class, the form of a weapon is only restricted by what a character is able to use and it's utility.

Endurance (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

If Weapon Mastery is used (either version), Endurance might be a necessary factor, but shouldn't be too complex or too much bookkeeping. With Endurance in play, combatants can use their level of Weapon Mastery only a number of rounds, before they are reduced to Basic Weapon Mastery. A least at higher levels Weapon mastery is too powerful otherwise and fights will go on and on until one side gets just lucky. If you like that sort of thing, that's okay. For my taste, it needs to be regulated.

Aimed hits

With all this combat rules, hitting specific locations wasn't really touched. But it is something that comes up every now and then, so I thought, I'd give it a shot:

Just working with what a basic monster description is giving a DM, this needs to factor in level/hd and AC. Let's assume a limb can take around 40% of the hitpoints a creature has, before it's rendered useless (one may try and give different limbs different values, like Hackmaster or Runequest do, but I'd like to keep it simple and chose a more conservative estimation to cover all...). Just add the AC to that and it's good to go.
Result: 3 x hd (or level) + ac-value (take it all, magic, dex, protection, whatever)
= damage needed to dismember or cripple

Weapon Mastery I (the whole thing is here)

Each class gets an own combat strength:

Magic User = 1d4 per level of mastery
Thief = 1d6 per level of mastery
Cleric = 1d8 per level of mastery
Fighter = 1d10 per level of mastery
Halfling = 1d6 per level of mastery
Elf = 1d8 per level of mastery
Dwarf = 1d10 per level of mastery

So far still true:
  • There are 3 combat categories: Ranged Weapons, Melee and Unarmed Combat.
  • Every 3 levels a character might add one die to one category (weapon mastery).
  • This dice pool might be used for damage or any other weapon ability regarding weapon mastery (but for every weapon used). You want a better to-hit in the next fight? Take one die from the pool, roll it and you have the to-hit you get and one die less for damage. Same goes for better AC (if you rather want to stay your ground than doing actual damage), deflect (roll the die and see how many attempts you have to deflect an attack), etc..
  • If there are no dice left in the pool, you do 1 point damage plus strength mod per attack.
  • No more than 3 dice for damage per attack.
  • Ranged weapons do one die damage per attack (exception being the heavy crossbow and any other large ranged weapon you might come up with). Several attacks per round are possible (up to 3)
  • When attacking with a ranged weapon, a character might use his damage die for a better to-hit with the next attack (aiming).
  • With Unarmed attacks a character has to assign one die to stun the enemy (result on the roll is the penalty for the save vs. paralyze).
  • Large weapons like the heavy crossbow or the halberd need 2 damage dice. So to shoot a heavy crossbow a player with level 1 needs to collect dice for one round and fires it every other round.
  • To attack with 2 weapons you need one die for each (so a character needs to be level 3 or more to do such a thing).
  • The distribution of dice being a tactical decision, it happens before the fight.
  • Rounds are 30 seconds.

Weapon Mastery III

There is more to come, but it is the finishing line. This is to long a post as it is. I need to go deeper into the use of the dice and how to divide the dice pool. Furthermore the specific combat maneuvers need to be written down. And some words about how to build your own weapon. Ah, and I have somewhere a handwritten solution for Monsters and damage resolution. I just have to find it... I'll be on that. As usual, it will take the time it takes. But I want to play the game in the near future and until then I want to have this done (a rough draft exists in German, but that I need to transalte and tune...).

This is primarly for my group to get into the mood, but most of those house rules work on their own and maybe some of you see something they'd like to try. I would be happy about that.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hacking Hackmaster Part 3 (on Fractional Ability Points)

The idea that abilities might go up in time is not very new. There are several reasons for that. It makes something that got decided with character generation (and stays this way if you play it by the rules) more flexible. It gives a feeling of advancement and growth, if you will.

But I won't get that much into it. HackMaster did find (really, find, I don't think the rule originates there, but is rather something somewhere hidden in AD&D...) a nice way to make this an achievement per level, without inflating ability scores. Each score gets an additional number between 1 and 100 (roll 1d100) with character generation (like they used to allow with STR). With every level those numbers will increase, but different for every ability score, depending on the main focus of a class (fighter, thief, cleric, wizard). As soon as a number exceeds 100, the ability score goes up one point. Every point over 100 is kept and you go from there to get the next 100 points.

To translate that from HackMaster into D&D is very easy. We use it in our game for some time now and I always wanted to fix it in digital ink. So here it comes:

Ability Score Advancement per Level:
Fighter 
STR    +1d20
DEX    +1d10
CON    +1d12
INT    +1d4
WIS    +1d6
CHA    +1d8 
Thief 
STR    +1d8
DEX    +1d20
CON    +1d6
INT    +1d12
WIS    +1d4
CHA    +1d10 
Cleric 
STR    +1d10
DEX    +1d4
CON    +1d12
INT    +1d6
WIS    +1d20
CHA    +1d8 
Magic Users 
STR    +1d4
DEX    +1d8
CON    +1d10
INT    +1d20
WIS    +1d12
CHA    +1d6
If you allow Echoe (see Hacking Hackmaster, Part 1) to it, you'll make your players happy. If you need a few reasons to get rid of Charisma, maybe you'll find some in Hacking Hackmaster, Part 2.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Troll Poison

This is my comment about the Dwimmermount fiasco or just gaming material. Whatever works best for the lot of you.
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Troll Poison

The troll might be a deadly creature or good for the experience, but the poison that can be distilled from his body fluids is one of the deadliest existing and very, very rare. The alchemical process to reverse the regenerative powers in the trolls blood is considered one of the most dangerous procedures for even the most skilled bloggers alchemists. But the results, if succesful, are terrifying.

Applying this greasy and purple liquid poison to a sharp or pointy weapon/utensil (needs to deliver at least one point of damage), it doubles the damage dealt with it every round. No save, just dissolving until the victim vanishes completely from the face of the earth. Healing won't work (but it helps to keep the victim alive a bit longer, even if in agony). Cure poison won't work, the damage is done. Resurrection is possible, but extremely difficult. There are rumours that fire and acid might stop the poison from working. Needless to say, it is very dangerous to try this. Surviving this will scar the victim for life (loose 2d6 CHA for all but friends and family), with no means, magical or otherwise, to get rid of them (short of a wish, maybe or imbibing a bottle of that stuff).

Imbibing a bottle of this poison is extremely dangerous, but legend has it that it might be rewarding, too. The trolls hit points are the base damage, double that every round for 4+1d6 rounds (save vs. death -5 every round for half damage). The pain is beyond describtion (no actions for the time and for 1d4 turns after that) and the body suffers (loose 1d6 CON, consider the character marked, maybe pale and thin...), but surviving this torture restores not only former wounds delivered by this poison (CHA back to former value), it also gives the character some troll abilities (according to damage taken):
1-49: Infravision up to 90 ft
50-99: heal 1 point/round
101-199: heal 2 points/round
200+ : heal 3 points/round, limbs keep attacking when severed and can be reattached after the battle
Trolls, however, will sense this and attack the character on sight. If he is famous, they'll even go as far as searching for him (characters level 9 or more: there is a 1 in 6 chance every day for 1d6 trolls to show up, if they can't get to the character for some reason, they'll wait and more trolls will show up...).
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Best of luck to James Mal and all his future endeavors. Don't let the head hang if the shit is up to the chin...

P.S.: The "Social Status Table (NPCs)" I'm still banging my head against, is a bitch and will take some time (or rest). Good thing I didn't get paid for that.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Ranger went to Sea and got a Name

Find out about your pirate name! Saw this over at Gothridge Manor (thanks, matey!) (I wonder, is that proper pirate slang? To say "matey"?). Anyway,check it out:
My pirate name is:
Mad Jack Kidd

Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network
Might be useful for all those guys with troubles finding the name for their new character... But enough light posting for now (I had a very busy week). Next up is An Exorcism of Ideas, Part 3 (about social status, ARRR!).

I would be happy to read about some results in the comments.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Japanese Rules Cyclopedia!

You gotta love the internet (sometimes). Look at that:

Some monsters, all in color, not the sparse black
and white selection from the American version...
Obviously there was a japanese version of the D&D Rules Cyclopedia (I didn't know that...). I think it looks amazing and gives the game quite a different tone (which is not surprising, but nice to look at). Record of Lodoss War seems to be a direct connection..

Here is another example:

A star map. They definitly went in a different
direction with that stuff.
A gallery with more pictures can be found here.

The source is mystara.thorf.co.uk (same pictures as the gallery, but with more/complete texts). It seems to be inactive for some time now, but it might be worth a look or two. Anyway, this is a gem. I'd be very interested to know if they changed some of the rules and if so, how they did it.



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Welcome to the 21. Century

A friend of mine showed me this today and I was reminded (again) that we live in the future, one step away from what Cyperpunk 2020 wanted to be. Have fun!


Now I'm back working on that damn Social Status Table...

EDIT: It's robots playing "Ace of Spades", the drummer has 4 arms. It's awesome :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

NPC interaction (An Exorcism of Ideas, Part 2)

Interaction with NPCs is one of the last big problems for me. The reaction roll is fast and easy and works fine as soon as groups are encountered. But with individual NPCs it falls short.

That's not all of it. There is no system-relevant use in getting friends, lovers or even enemies. Not that I want this to be an important part of my game, but it would be nice as an option for players to take the game wherever they want. Got to be something they have to work on, too, something that evolves, a benefit to take care of. And to make it a little bit more complicated, it needs to be a fast and flexible little subsystem that gives a DM all he needs to bring a NPC to life.

Part 1 proposed a system how to get into a relationship, how to keep it, which benefits a character gets out of it and how it could fall apart. This is about how to find that special someone (in game terms).

To reiterate some ideas down that line:
  • Relationships are unstable and may go either way, but it should be possible to stabilize them (Part 1).
  • If you share experience, you get something out of it (treasure in form of presents could be in that mix, too) (Part 1). 
  • A benefit is connected to ability scores. This could be crucial in OD&D games, especially if you play with 3d6 per ability and no modification (Part 1). 
  • Opposing alignments could indicate if there is potential for some sort of relationship or not (Rules Cyclopedia is lawful, neutral, chaos, so that's what I'm working with here). 
  • An axis of 5 possible reactions on a first encounter: hatred - dislike - indifferent - friendly - love (reaction roll, see below).
  • It's fragile and connected to the number of interactions (mainly 3 alternating phases: indifferent - unstable - stable) (Part 1).
  • No work (like bookkeeping) for the players at first, the DM is the one giving the opportunity, then it's the players choice.
  • Charisma shouldn't be the main focus for social interaction (some thoughts about that can be found here).

Random encounter/first contact:

It starts with the reaction roll, as usual. The Rules Cyclopedia gives one for Monsters and one for Retainers.

For NPCs I'll go with the distribution of the Retainer Reaction Table. Given the proposed ideas before, the result also indicates alignment and main ability score (in relation to the acting character) of a random encounter:
2D6      NPC
Roll     Reaction*

2        Hate (opposing alignment**)
3-5      Dislike (opposing alignment**)
6-8      Indifferent (NPC of neutral alignment)
9-11     Friendly (same alignment)
12       Engaging/Love (same alignment)
* If a Monster Reaction roll turns friendly, skip NPC Reaction Table and go from there.
**With neutral characters, roll 1d6 for random alignment: 1-2 lawful, 3-4 neutral, 5-6 chaotic.
Main ability scores (NPCs)

Now the NPCs main ability score needs to be determined. It tells a DM a lot about the NPC. For one it shows the relation a NPC might have towards a character (does he/she hate the character for his strength because he his weak, or does he/she admire it, maybe even for the same reason, etc,). As a close second, the DM gets a hint what the NPC is about (a wise NPC might be into local politics, a dextrous one into related crafts, etc.).

A strong reaction shows a strong connection of sorts, a less strong reaction gives just a suggestion :

Love/hate (1d10): 1-5 characters main ability score; 6-10 indicates any other ability score than the characters main ability score, just go down the list and skip the ability score in question.

Any other reaction (1d6): 1 STR  2 DEX  3 CON  4 INT  5 WIS 6 CHA

A roll on the Character Aspects Table here might add a little spice to it.

What's missing

Part 3 will be about social status of NPCs (I'm thinking of trying something like the chaotic advancement table I did for Zombies...), the structure of communities and cultural impact on relationships. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

An Exorcism of Ideas, Part 1 (The Wife as NPC)

Old story: girlfriend tells the boy to invest more into the relationship. Got me thinking. To make something like this happen in D&D, you'd need some bone for the players to chew on. An advantage.

This subsystem produces a little bit of bookkeeping (mostly the status of the relationship and the xp spent for it) for the DM, but the effort for the players is very minimal, as it should be.

The girlfriend experience (some sort of magic item)

In an ideal world, a relationship helps us to be "better than we are". I asked myself what that means on different occasions. Turns out, it's easier to think about it in terms of D&D.

Let's say we have 3 (+1*) stages in a relationship: (hatred) - indifferent - affected - loved.

Let's further say, those stages are dependend on two other factors: stable and unstable.

To establish an relationship, you need to share. For D&D-characters this means giving up xp (this could also mean treasure-as-xp-the-character-gives-up, like a present) on a regular basis to make this work. It's that or the relationship could fall apart. Like with the man that's always on the road and never talks to his wife. He comes back one day and the apartment is empty but for the little few possessions he owns.

This one is for all those weak-ass characters. 3d6 in a row, heh?

The number of xp (divided by level) a character spends on the first encounter is the percentage to make this an opportunity to go from indifferent to affected. This is modified by circumstances like rivals, cultural differences, whatever a DM could gather (for a rival I'd go with a minus of 10 times hd/level of the competition, for instance). The player never knows for sure, but he might gather intel, of course.

Then the player takes a risk, he has to decide where he gets up to +3 on an ability score**. Why is this a risk, you might ask? If the relationship ends, this will be a negative modifier for the time it hurts. And it hurts as long as it takes to get the experience back that was invested in the relationship (nifty, no?).

This first investment holds (if it works) the stage "affected" for 1d6+3 days stable and after that for the same amount of time unstable (see below for unstable relationships), before it turns back to indifferent. To bring this relationship to the next stage, the player again has to invest xp (divided by level) for the percentage if this is unstable (modifiers might apply here, it's unstable after all) and half of that if it's still stable (no negative modifiers, she's thinking of you...). You made the roll, you are in love (for now). Positive modifiers might be something like proposing (for the time they need to be engaged, see below) or getting her pregnant, to give but two examples.

Keep investing, please...

Now a character has to generate good will to keep the relationship stable. Every time a day is spent as a couple (and 10 xp are given) produces 3 stable days in absence. Tokens of affection given by the character are their worth/10 in days (again, this is treasure that produces no xp for the character, but is given as a present).

The time after that stable period is regarded as unstable and gets a 100% chance minus 5% every day (cumulative and again, modifiers might apply and this means there could be a rival or the character keeps sending messages, something like that) on a d100. As long as it succeeds, nothing happens. This is a DMs duty. He rolls the dice to see how long this stays "love". This ends as soon as the character stops by and shares xp..

The amount of xp accumulated indicates the status of the relationship:

Level    Status
1        0 xp: they are an item
2        500 xp: they are a couple (d100 roll for relationship status gets
         a 5% bonus)
3        1000 xp: partner wants to get married (now it's a 10% bonus, if
         married, it's a 15% bonus)
4        2000 xp: partner wants children (every child gives an additional
         5% bonus on the status roll)
5        4000 xp: the time spend apart without resulting in "unstable" is
         doubled
6        8000 xp: no idea here, but maybe that's a problem all
         relationships face ;)

A character only gets his ability score bonus as long as the relationship is regarded stable

Once the check fails, this goes from "love" to "affected". "Affected" is treated as unstable and starts again with 100% minus 5% per day. If it fails, it's going to "indifferent". If at one point this fails with a roll of 1 (or less) on a d100 (after modification, of course), this might go to hatred faster as usual.

Crushed

Once the partner is labeled "indifferent", everything could happen. Please roll on the Indifferent Relationship Reaction Table:

2D6      NPC
Roll     Reaction

2        Hate (character will face hell)
3-5      Dislike (from now on every topic causes an argument)
6-8      Indifferent (needs a second roll a week later)
9-11     Moved on (passive-aggressive behaviour)
12       New love interest (an affair, the character doesnt know)

Every time the d100 has failed with a result of 1 or less, the reaction roll gets a -2. Should this roll produce a negative result, the partner commits suicide.


The day the character realizes that the relationship is over, the pain starts (the positive ability modifier the character chose, is now negative). It hurts as long as it takes to get the experience back that was invested in the relationship.

That's it, so far...

But there is enough room to develop this idea further. Friendships, for instance, could be a light version of this. Or think about the 7 Samurai. A small community depends on the help of strangers and in the end they not only help each other, but form a meaningful connection.

As for the exorcism, this ideas bounced around in my head for some time now and I needed to get them out. I hope there is some sense to it or something useful to loot. Either way, keep the dice rolling...

*That one explains itself later, I hope...
**A spouse/girlfriend/whatever can only boost an ability score she (he) brings to the table herself (hims... you get it). How to find that special someone is matter of another post deep into Reaction Table territory and I work on it. As for now, I want to get this idea out there first.