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The ENnie Award-Winning Game of Make-believe for Creative Kids and Their Families
If you have kids and like to roleplay then you need to get No Thank you, Evil! from Monte Cook Games LLC. If you haven’t heard of Monte Cook but you’ve been gaming for awhile you’ve probably played a game influenced by them at some point. I really enjoy the worlds and game system employed by Numenara a game in the far future and the Strange which reminds me of the comics Injection, Fables, and the Unwritten and both are really solid game worlds worth checking out.
No Thank you, Evil! is a creativity game that is designed from the beginning to be played by kids of various ages and development so you can have five-year-old and a twelve-year-old play the same game at the same time and both have fun.
I have some monsters and a lightly sketched adventure for the game below that I think could be a lot of fun once you’ve gone past the included adventures in the book or could work as a good introduction connecting the players to a lot of different places in Storia.
I currently only have the main set but I will most certainly be picking up the other products for my six-year-old as needed.
In this adventure, a Quibble family moves into Young McDonald’s Horn of Plenty Farm and causes chaos by eating all the food. The OK knight was hired first to solve the problem because the Good Knight was busy fighting the Bad Knight. The OK Knight decided to fight the Quibbles with his favorite battleax “Splitting Hares” and instead of killing the Quibbles it with each swing and a hit made two Quibbles where there was only one! Now the Quibbles are everywhere eating all the food in this area of Storia.
Players must go to the farm and investigate the situation and find a solution that saves the day!
1. A Call for Help! (Read Aloud letter)
A scroll embossed with a big “MC” marked into red candlewax arrives addressed to one of the heroes delivered by a sleepy and disheveled night owl who has obviously not had enough sleep which drops the scroll at your feet and barely manages to not spill the coffee cup and mountain dew can in its beak and claws while doing so. It flies away “Into the Closet” muttering under its breath.
Depending on players maybe just one visit to the most fantasy based PC who will then gather the rest of the troupe or if they don’t know each other then each one will be visited by the night owl and each player will arrive at the farm separately but at the same time.
“To whom it may concern,
Noble sir, we have an emergency. I am in dire need of assistance from a professional hero. I have recently been put in charge of the Horn of Plenty Farm and something has gone terribly wrong. Some sort of furry baseball sized critters have infested it and are eating all the food! Without the Horn of Plenty providing food for the Hex Kitchen and the Giants of Beanstalk Castle then we will have a disaster! Please come immediately by following the night owl and save the day!
Sir Young McDonald.”
After reading a map labeled “Into the closet” falls out onto the floor labeled with an X between The Beanstalk and Hex Kitchen.
? Ask the players what they take with them and if they do anything to prepare or go straight to the closet or if they notify their friends to take them with them on the adventure.
? You can ask the first player what the night owl looks like to get the players used to being co-creators of the world. You can ask them to draw it for you.
? Don’t let the players get to distracted by the setup but give them enough time to reasonably get started by reminding the player of the urgency of the letter.
Young McDonald’s Farm:
2. Figure out the problem
The players arrive at the farm passing a normal looking horn of plenty before coming to the farm which has dozens or hundreds of furry Quibbles bouncing around while Young McDonald is swinging a broom around trying to sweep them away from his barn entrance.
“Oh, thank goodness you’re here!” gushes the man. “Come with me to the farmhouse and I’ll tell you everything.”
? At this point the players can ask questions of Young McDonald and find out how he just started as the head of the farm and that one day a few furry baseball sized critters moved into one of the horns of plenty and started eating up everything. Then he hired the OK Knight to get rid of them and now they are everywhere and the OK knight has disappeared with his payment!
? If the players ask who ran the farm earlier YMC will say it was a very nice lady named Amalthea who is visiting her friend Lily Cobra at the Cannibal Gardens in the “Under the bed” part of Storia.
? If the players ask for a reward YMC says each will get 2 coins, 1 fun, and a special treat from the horn of plenty. YMC may also say that if they can they can keep any coins they get from the OK Knight for making the problem worse.
?If they ask if anything had changed since then YMC will say there used to be a lot of goats on the farm but they all left for some reason.
?If the players go around and ask other characters on the farm they will find out that Ol’ Scarecrow the foreman in charge of the garden hates mushrooms so he scared a bunch of ravens to pick the trumpet mushrooms and dispose of them for a few pieces of shiny magic quartzes he found by the Beanstalk creek.
? Ask the players what they want to do.
? If they try and talk to the Quibbles they may notice that there are four different Quibbles and all the Quibbles are copies of these four.
Mrs. Disputer Quiddity likes to argue about anything and everything. She is gray and the biggest of the Quibbles and is the only one likely to start a physical fight if annoyed. She would be really dangerous if she would fight together with the other versions of her.
Level: 3 Health: 6 Damage: Bite 1 Skill: Say a mean thing that makes the hero cry if they fail a Smart Goal 3 roll and they lose their next action. Quirk: Kill her with kindness. She takes 3 points of damage for every sincere compliment.
Mr. Cavil Quiddity grumbles about how things used to be better and how he liked his home outside of Boom! Laboratories in the “Out the Window” realm of Storia but it was never good enough for his wife. He is green and can be jealous of the other versions of himself if they seem happier.
Level: 2 Health: 4 Damage: Bite 1 Skill: Will start telling a boring story about work which does 3 damage if you fail a Fast 3 Goal to run away. Quirk: Tell Mr. Cavil about how much better the other Mr. Cavil’s are at something which causes 2 points of damage per statement.
Baby Quirk Quiddity likes to roll in dirt and mud and then fling it everywhere. Because of the mud you can never tell what color is supposed to be but depending on the mud he is usually black or brown.
Level: 2 Health: 2 Damage: Bite 1 Skill: Splatter mud everywhere ruining your nice outfit for 1 damage to everything in ten feet. Quirk: Takes 2 damage if you clean somehow the mud out of its fur like with a water hose.
Kid Whimsey Quiddity is probably the only Quibble likely to be friendly to the heroes. She likes to hear about adventures and might talk to the heroes if they talk about their escapades.
Level: 2 Health: 3 Damage: Bite 1 Skill: Starts playing or doing something and if you fail a Smart Goal of 3 you replace your next action with playing her game. Quirk: Will stop fighting if the players offer to tell her stories or play with her for real.
3. Solve the problem
There are a few possible solutions depending on how the players tackle the adventure.
They can conk out all the Quibbles and take them somewhere else. In this case, the Quibbles will come back or another family or two of Quibbles will come for the first time now that it is open to them.
They can hire guardians who will keep any Quibbles from coming back. They can get the Ravens to pester the Quibbles until they give up but as soon as they stop the Quibbles will come back and part deux of the adventure begins again from an annoyed YMC.
If the players find out that the Quibbles hate goats and get the Ravens to tell them about where the mushrooms are then the players can replant the trumpet mushrooms that were dumped in a pile on the side of the road to Hex Kitchen and the goats will come back which will keep the Quibbles away. The mushrooms can also be a treat for one of the heroes’ companions.
The players can go find Amalthea then they can have adventures going to the Land under the Bed and run into the ghoul school, dead center, the dark dark or other landmarks on the way to the Cannibal Gardens.
Amalthea is very much a mothering figure and is friendly and understanding to the heroes. She can return back to the farm but only if the heroes help with some troublesome plant in the gardens! Amalthea can provide 2 hints to the heroes when they arrive on how to solve the problem. After the heroes have tried to complete the adventure she can give one more hint.
Amalthea could also bring a cannibal plant that likes to eat Quibbles if they wander too close to it if they succeed and impress Lily Cobra and if she knows about the reason for their visit.
The heroes can find the Ok Knight who is terribly sorry about the whole situation but doesn’t want to give up the 8 coins he was paid but will do so if threatened (Goal: Tough 5) or (Goal: Smart: 6) or if persuaded (Goal: Smart 5). If the heroes decide to fight the OK Knight he should be a good challenge for the whole party and his ax ‘Splitting hares’ should be very dangerous to non-quibbles. When the ax hits Quibbles it splits them into two versions of the Quibble that are basically identical. Most other things it splits them into two non-functioning halves.
The heroes can go to Boom! Laboratories and visit with the nearby homes of the other Quibble families and find out what Quibbles like and dislike. They may also go and talk to Dr. T. Bone. Rex who is in charge of all the experiments. The Quibbles were a creation of the “What Does This Taste Like? Laboratory” and a great disappointment to the Doctor. He was hoping for something yummy but the Quibbles only taste yummy for the first couple and start making his tummy ache if he eats too many in a sitting. So, he let them leave the lab and settle the nearby Quibble village in exchange for helping him with various explosive tests. If the players can convince him to help them he can write a letter or offer the Quibbles to come back. He will become very interested in hearing about the OK Knight’s ax and starts muttering about live tests for the explosive tests and the ethics of cloning and the rights of the cloned.
The heroes can convince most of the Quibbles to leave and provide a small section for them to live in without being bothered.
The heroes can try and reverse the clonings and make all the Quibbles become just one by visiting the Hex Kitchen and she can make a batch of Quibble Management cookies if she gets the right ingredients! There are some bandit gingerbread men loose in the forest that will have to be dealt with to find the right subtractives and additives to balance the hex magic equation which will merge the extra Quibbles to the originals after they eat the cookies.
If the solution the players come up with is temporary than the Quibbles will come back!
Different solutions can get different rewards but success should net coins, treats, new friends, and maybe new stuff like a laser gun from Boom! or a pet plant from Cannibal Gardens or cookie jar that never empties from the Hex Kitchen.
A counter attack is different from a parry and a riposte in that the defender seizes the moment/initiative away from the initial attacker as if they hadn’t even attacked versus defending and then attacking back. The German grandmaster Liechtenauer used the concept of Indes and the Italians used mezzo tempo or contra tempo to illustrate how to decisively and ‘instantly’ to feel out and orient their observations to take action and advantage of a moment in time during combat.
Counterattack: An offensive action executed into an opponent’s attack. A fencer might choose to counterattack if they believe their opponent’s attack will miss, or they might combine the counterattack with an evasive action (such as ducking beneath the opponent’s attack) or simultaneously using their blade to deflect their opponent’s attack during the counterattack (called a counterattack “in opposition”).
Parry and Riposte: uses the strength of one’s own blade to avoid the opponent’s blade. After performing it, the fencer then counters the attack with a combined attack which would force the opponent to parry, allow you to counter parry the opponent’s blade, and allow you to penetrate their next parry to win.
So for D&D purposes a great way to add this to the game is to allow proficient defenders to Counterattack weak attackers as an opportunity attack reaction.
This works great for any type of attack even a non-combat attack.
An NPC tries to use Intimidate on a character proficient with Insight and/or Intimidate. The intimidator fails badly so the defender could see the attack coming and before the NPC had even gotten the insult out the defender already had a comeback out and zinging.
When a defender who is proficient in the skill, game, tool, or weapon is targeted by an attack or skill check in which the roll is a 1 or the total was less then the defender’s ‘To Hit’ total with their equipped and proficient weapon or appropriate skill total than they can react as if the attacker had provoked an attack of opportunity with their failed action.
The orc raises his battle axe over his head and telegraphs his attack with bunched muscles and a roar and rolls a 2 with a ‘To Hit’ bonus of +3 for a total of 5 missing by a mile. The skilled Knight seeing this responds with a thrust to the orc’s exposed throat before the axe even has a chance to come down.
The Knight had a ‘To Hit’ of +6 which is higher than the 5 rolled by the orc and thus the Knight has a chance to use her reaction to take a free shot at the orc with an opportunity attack.
Effects of House Rule:
This makes proficiency a much bigger deal which is very important at low levels and not very reflected by a +2 modifier. It adds a bit of spice to social combat as well providing a useful mechanic. When a low skilled character takes on a high skilled character by making a poor attack it really has a penalty now which should factor into a character’s cost benefit analysis and opportunity costs when dealing with a skilled or better enemy.
It also becomes interesting at high levels when a character is faced with a large number of incompetent enemies who leave themselves open every time they attack.
D&D House Rules:
So, basically what I’ve done is take the concept of having to make a tactical or style decision prior to physical, social, or mental combat from my own game and applied it to D&D 5e.
This house rule can be used for any type of conflict and while presented here in a very simplistic form can be easily adapted to provide greater flexibility. Given that 5e has moved to an aesthetic of simplicity and clean lines I will endeavor to provide a rule in line with the style of the gaming system.
I have done no playtesting of this house rule within the game system of D&D 5e so it might not be perfect and it is an adaption from my own rpg game so it doesn’t fit as perfectly and I’m not as expert in 5e as I am in my own game. Thus, there may be weaknesses or errors that I have not thought out yet. Let me know your thoughts.
I wanted to bring to 5e something simple that also provided both mechanistically interesting choices and allowed for a more rewarding framework for roleplaying your character.
With this house rule there is a real difference between a bold dashing swashbuckler with a rapier who takes wild risks relying on their skill and bravery versus a cold calculating assassin laden with a lifetime of dirty tricks with a rapier vs a brilliantly fast tournament champion with a rapier et cetera both in how they roleplay an encounter and how they would fight in the encounter.
Also, this provides a framework for social combat like the viking flyting or the rap battles of today or backstabbing courtiers trying to undermine a rival. For mental combat like a game of dragon chess this makes things more interesting than just rolling a die and checking for proficiency.
For mental combat like a game of dragon chess this makes things more interesting than just rolling a die and checking for proficiency. It also would work really well for some type of astral combat or dream combat.
The tactics can have a big effect but since your opponent also is able to take advantage of a tactic it balances out.
A side benefit is that this lessens the negative effect of not min/maxing a character. Having a fighter with a high wisdom can now be pretty damn awesome versus mainly useless.
It also spreads out the gaps between ratings on Attributes. Getting hit with an axe by the actor who plays the Mountain is literally going to be double or triple the newtons applied by a very strong trained Olympic athlete with a mere Strenght mod of 2 or 3. The effect is going to be a much bigger difference than 2 points of damage on a blow.
Speaking of the Mountain in Game of Thrones his fight with the Red Viper is a perfectly could comparison between a strength and constitution based fighter versus a smart and agile fighter. They would be switching based on the situation between those two tactics in most duels.
In this version, there are six tactics with one tactic attached to each attribute. Based on your proficiency bonus you get that many additional tactical points to spend in total on those six tactics. Each tactic uses the linked attribute modifier as its base along with the tactical points from proficiency.
An optional rule would be to replace the ‘Strength’ saving throw with the ‘Potency and Might’ saving throw regardless of what tactic is chosen in a round. This has the side effect of making it easier for everyone to make their saving throws including monsters but does provide an extra point of differentiation between different characters.
For one versus many opponents, the many may add together when working as a unit their total tactical points and apply that to the leader’s roll. If working as a unit than all must be using the same tactic just for ease of use. If not acting as a unit than just handle as normal for a one on one duel.
Potency and Might: (Strength)
With this tactic the character relies on their power so in physical combat they might grapple or bind or shove their opponent to clear the way for a strike while in a game of dragon chess they rely on clear and simple but capable strategies and in a social battle they would strike out in a forceful and straightforward way to achieve their goal.
Compare the difference between the attacker’s Tactical Rating in this Tactic and their opponent. Apply the difference to the attacker’s ‘to hit’ roll and either bump up, leave alone, or drop down the weapon’s damage by x steps as well. For a +1 difference a d6 goes to d8, a 2d6 goes to 2d8. A -2 would take a d8 to a d4. Below a d4 the damage is simply 1. Using this tactic is a bad idea for a human against a giant! Stops at d20 for bumps increasing damage.
For non-physical conflict apply the difference on any Checks or Saving Throws.
Vigor and Fortitude: (Constitution)
With this tactic the character relies on their toughness, stubbornness, and will to keep going. In physical combat they roll with the hits thus diminishing and spreading out the force from enemy strikes and simply rely on greater conditioning and toughness to win out over their enemies. In a game of dragon chess they would castle early and play a defensive point based game hoping for their enemy to grow weary in trying to assault their defenses. In a social duel they would simply weather any attacks on their character or manipulations with pure stubbornness and force of will.
Apply the Tactical rating to the character’s Armor Class against the following damage types: bludgeoning, force, necrotic, thunder, cold, and lighting. Slashing if the character is wearing armor or using a shield.
Apply the Tactical rating to social and mental saving throws used to provide defense in social, magical, psychic, or mental combat.
Celerity and Agility: (Dexterity)
With this tactic the character relies on speed and grace to avoid and defeat their enemies in any arena. In physical combat they evade strikes, riposte, and place hits with precision and finesse.In a social duel they can lay down the right turn of phrase to shut down or invalidate an opponent’s argument and in a game of dragon chess they prefer an open style of game with many options and ways to shift their defense and strike at many points of weakness.
Compare the difference between the attacker’s Tactical Rating in this Tactic and their opponent. Apply the difference to the attacker’s ‘to hit’ roll and their AC and any Dexterity saving throws in physical combat. In social and mental settings apply ‘to hit’, Checks, and to any appropriate ‘saving throws’ to for defense including mental attacks. Think of the defender having a slippery mind against psychic assaults for example.
For non-physical conflict apply the difference on any Checks or Saving Throws.
Guile and Artifice: (Intelligence)
The dirty street fighter or wily gladiator. This tactic is epitomized by the meme of ‘Old Age and Treachery beat Youth and Skill every time’. Throwing a bit of sand in your enemy’e eyes or dosing a rival bard with laxatives before a battle of the bands competition before the baron are all examples of using guile and artifice to defeat your enemy. A favorite of mine is from Roger Zelazny’s Amber when Corwin defeats Lord Borel with a dirty trick and Corwin retorts that this is a fight to the death, not the Olympic games. Guile can be thwarted by a near equal intelligence and sneakiness or common sense, perceptiveness, or wisdom. Casting a charm spell after dosing a target with a drug that makes them more trusting or open in order to ply for information would be an example of using this tactic in a non-combat situation. A rogue wizard with no moral compunctions and time to plot can be a much more dangerous enemy than a rampaging demon lord.
Compare the difference between the attacker’s Tactical Rating in this Tactic and their opponent’s Tactical Rating in this Tactic or their Prudence and Sense Tactical Rating whichever is higher. Apply this score to ‘to hit’, any Checks, and bump the damage or DC of any spells cast just like in the Potency and Might tactic. A +1 difference boosts a d6 damage die to d8. Max of d20 and min of 1.
Prudence and Sense: (Wisdom)
Cautious and opportunistic. This tactic is for the person concerned primarily over there continued life and wish to be careful in conflict. Reserved and perceptive the martial artist or fighter using this tactic waits for their opponent to make a mistake or reveal a weakness. The primary goal is to stay alive and defeat your enemy. This is a good tactic to take against a better-skilled enemy or when trying to hold a line when you’re more wise than tough. This is also a good tactic to take against the unskilled enemy as they are unable to evade your strikes and you have improved defenses against everyone. It is easy to evade strikes when you know what the enemy is going to do before they do.
Add Tactical Rating to the character’s AC and all Saving Throws.If your opponent is not proficient or familiar with their weapon you automatically hit them without the need to roll as long as you are proficient.
Same goes for social and mental conflict. If you are proficient at Dragon Chess and your enemy is not you automatically win by simply not taking risks and knowing how to avoid basic mistakes and exploit incompetence by being careful. In the social arena an expert intimidator can fairly easily turn the tables on someone trying to intimidate them who has no clue how to properly intimidate.
Audacity and Courage: (Charisma)
With this tactic the character relies on boldness and bravery to win the day. The sudden strike or the barbarian charging in a frenzy or the swashbuckler leaping toward the hanging rope to ride the chandelier down are examples of this tactic. Force of personality can really win the day and intimidate or amaze your opponents giving you the psychological edge. The berserker charging a waiting nest of pikemen knowing that they will get hit but hoping to take down some before they go. The Paladin raising their singing Vorpal blade before leaping into the Abyss after the falling undead lord would be a great example of this tactic in use. Sometimes being brave can be stupid but if you really are much better than your opponents you can more easily defeat them with this tactic and do so in style. Also, by being bold and on the offense you can seize the initiative away from someone not fighting in the moment.
Apply the Tactical rating to the character’s ‘To hit’ or Ability Check and subtract the rating from their ‘AC’ and ‘Saving Throws’. The secondary ability of this tactic is to seize initiative by being in the moment and following their skill or intuition. Add Tactical rating to Initiative score and if this raises their Initiative above their opponent they may preempt their action and take their spot.
The Giant has a Potency and Might of 5 and a Celerity and Agility of 0.
The Knight has a Potency and Might of 0 and Celerity and Agility of 5.
The giant choosing the Potency and Might tactic with a difference of 5 points would strike with their club gaining a +5 to Hit and damage upgraded to d20. So, if the giant had a Proficiency bonus of +2 and a Strength Modifier of +4 he would roll a +11 to Hit and d20 + 9 for damage.
The nimble knight choosing the Celerity and Agility tactic with a difference of 5 points would strike with their club with a +5 to Hit and +5 to AC. So, if the knight had a Proficiency bonus of +2 and a Dexterity Modifier of +4 and was using a finesse weapon he would have a +11 to Hit and a +5 to AC to evade the giant’s strikes.
In a fight between more similar opponents the tactics would be less effective making a more well-rounded character more useful against someone who is a one trick pony. Thus, allowing those extra Tactical points from a character’s proficiency bonus. This lets a PC who is weak in one area mechanically make up for it with an unexpected tactic in battle.
If you spend a lot of time fighting orcs who are completely untrained in using martial weapons it would make a lot of sense to get better at Prudence and Sense to avoid their wild but powerful swings as you watch them telegraph their every move.
D&D House Rules:
Below is an explanation of the character sheet and some basic game mechanics. Some of the design is a little bit of a buddhist joke as in the attributes are the vajra. Some of the other word choices are inspired by Fiore’s fightbooks.
Name should be obvious.
Legend is analogous to the level of the character. It is the base or default die rolled when taking an action. Starts at d4 for Legendary characters like PC’s.
Destiny is an amount of charges in which a PC can either rework what and how and engagement works for greater success, a bit of back history for the character, or shape a scene or a bit of the story with the GM.
Origin is the time period, Socio-economic status, and location/s that the character has experienced growing up.
Profession develops that Origin providing more familiarity with things relating to a job or position. Being a Lawyer doesn’t mean that you are good at winning in the courtroom as that would be handled by Speech primarily but it does give you the knowledges a lawyer would need like knowing the law, knowing the procedures involved in a courtroom, and how to interact with police or clients.
The attributes are simple with each having a rating based around the bell curve and standard deviations. A Mind of +4 would be a genius that is four standard deviations from the norm. A Body of -2 would be a couch potato or someone with chronic illness.
Tactics of mistake are part of the personality of the character and they reveal how they go about getting stuff done. Each tactic provides different game mechanics and different story choices. Each tactic provides a permanent advantage to the character at all times and an advantage when chosen as the specific tactic for a conflict for this engagement.
Vigor and Fortitude is a tactic or style of the blunt, the strong, and the tough. Most people with a high rating in this tactic are imposing and powerful figures able to apply force skillfully and ably to get the job done or can handle failure well. The focus of this tactic is on the outcome of an engagement.
Celerity and Agility is about speed, reaction, accuracy, and grace. Most people with a high rating in this tactic are scathing with wit and fast with the fist. The focus of this tactic is on the success of the engagement.
Audacity and Courage is about boldness and risk taking. Most people with a high rating in this tactic are bold and brave with a passion for the novel and extraordinary. The focus of this tactic is on seizing the initiative in a conflict and strengthening the outcome of the engagement whether it is a success of failure.
Prudence and Sense is about being cautious and opportunistic. Most people with a high rating in this tactic are perceptive, rational, and hard to deceive. The focus of this tactic is opposing Guile and Artifice and weakening the outcome of the engagement whether it is a success of failure.
Guile and Artifice is about being devious and thinking ahead. Most people with a high rating in this tactic are able to out maneuver their opponents either through trickery in the moment or planning out situations where the advantage is theirs. The focus of this tactic is more complex than the other tactics as it provides the rating that the PC uses for their Old Age and Treacheries and covers things like forcing an opponent into backing up to a wall or stabbing them in the back from the shadows.
Youth and Skills are the abilities of the character that “bump” up the Legend die.
Old Age and Treacheries are tricks or unlikely bits of knowledge. These can be added in game by spending destiny charges and adding a new backstory to the character.
Qualities and Quirks are the PCs talents, gifts, and personality traits.
Assets might be a really nice car, or a butler, or a bespoke italian suit. They are items or beings that are a part of a character’s story. A Stark has their dire wolf and John Wick always has the cool sports hot rod. Hard to imagine Bruce Wayne without Alfred.
Activities and Connections cover hobbies such as playing chess or collecting wine, Influences like downtown LA clubs, Silicon Valley tech world, eastside gangs, Railroads in Japan, Oil and Natural gas companies, the Yakuza in Hawaii, black market smugglers in Russia, Wall Street bankers etc and Relationships are those people who are beyond just a contact for one of the above influences or hobbies but like an Army buddy who saved your life or your best friend in college. Hobbies and Influences give you various contacts that you can use to get favors like a security guard at an airport letting you in so you can speedrace without interference or call someone to clean up a bunch of dead bodies or just ask a question about quantum electrodynamics from your physics professor.
Weapons and armor…duh.
Wounds, anxiety and stress. When getting hurt in a physical contest you usually get wounds, in social you get anxiety and loss of face, and in mental battles you get stress.
Fortitude is your threshold or ‘soak’ for that type of threat. It is split into Body, Speech, and Mind and the ‘Vigor and Fortitude’ rating plus any qualities and quirks that apply. So, a stunt actor with a Body of +3 and Vigor and Fortitude of +2 and Legendary Toughness (d4 Legend so half of 4 is 2) would have a Body Fortitude of 7. The same character might have a Social Fortitude of 3 and a Mental Fortitude of 3 so they wouldn’t be as resistant to harm in those arenas.
Resilience is how fast you pop back or recover from injuries. This has the same body/speech/mind categories with the tactic of Audacity and Courage adding to the PCs total along with qualities like Fast Healer or tricks like “bounces back from adversity”.
Injuries provide a penalty to tests taken while injured. One can have a cut to the shoulder physical wound providing a -2 to Tests, a broken nose providing a -1 to Tests while suffering from mental trauma or stress from seeing a friend die horribly -2. Thus, they would suffer a total of -5 to all Test Totals.
<Edit: I made this post a long time ago and I think it is still useful as a mechanic for looking at Skills and their use. Xanathar’s and the DMG provided some similar ideas. Think of skill use with four plateaus: Ignorant, Familiar, Proficient, and Expert. Or using numbers 0, +1/2 Proficiency bonus, +full Proficiency bonus, + double bonus.>
With this rule, I am blending the Jack of All Trades Feature idea from Bards and the Background optional rule from the Dungeon Master’s Guide.
Familiarity with a Skill, or Tool grants the character a bonus equal to half their Proficiency bonus.
Familiarity with a Weapon, Armor, or Language gives the ability to communicate and comprehend basic everyday concepts or the ability to use or wear weapons and armor without the benefit of bonuses from Strength and Dexterity Ability Score Modifiers and with Stealth Disadvantage as well as a higher risk of exhaustion.
Familiarity represents a basic knowledge or ability that would be gained with an apprenticeship, training, or heavy exposure and use of a Skill. It basically represents the completion of an apprenticeship within the purview of the Background.
A Bard with the Jack of All Trades feature can be regarded as having Familiarity with all skills, tools, languages, weapons, armor, and ability checks that the Bard can reasonably explain that they might have been exposed to during their journeys. A Bard would not be familiar with a gunpowder weapon if it was foreign to their travels but would quickly pick up the basics of a flintlock after seeing it in action or given a quick tutorial.
Each Background in the Player’s Handbook or created by the DM now only provides Proficiency in one Skill or Tool but instead provides Familiarity with any tasks that the Player can reasonably explain via their character’s history.
Gaining Familiarity in gameplay is relatively easy if during the game the PC is often engaged in activities surrounding the topic such as a Rogue impersonating a low ranking janitorial employee of a Fugger bank for a few seasons would pick up a lot of the jargon and concepts of the banking world just by exposure and overhearing conversations. The player just makes a good argument to the DM or other players depending on your style of play for why she should be familiar with a given process or tool.
A merchant’s daughter who accompanied her mother on her monthly journey to the Elven trading outpost at the borders of Qualinesti might reasonably have picked up proficiency in Elven customs, language, and writing system along with an understanding of appraisal, markup, accounting, paying tariffs, and general rules of trade. Maybe she played in the forest with elven children and learned a little about surviving in the forest or practiced with an elven composite shortbow enough to not embarrass herself with the other kids.
A squire to a knight who paid for his living by traveling from one tourney to the next across the many lands and city states of the Marches might be Familiar with Martial Weapons and Light, Medium, and Heavy Armors while picking up an understanding of how to gamble and place bets, analyze other warriors for strengths and weaknesses, a smidgeon of an half dozen languages and more dialects, a fairly comprehensive list of the Heraldry of prominent champions, fighting houses, martial orders or tourney hosts, and how to behave without embarrassing yourself around knights and lesser nobility.
With Armor, the character with Familiarity must make a Constitution Saving Throw equal to the AC rating of the armor after every full minute of constant battle or 8 hours of wear while active.
D&D House Rules:
Whenever I want to introduce new technology or magic into the mainstream of my Shadowrun Campaigns I take advantage of a little blurb I read I believe in Dunkelzahn’s will talking about competitions and awards each year for those who push the boundaries of science and magic.
After a few of these happening the players realized they had hit the big time when they figured out that the run they were on was to ruin an university’s research project that was sure to win this year’s competition. I imagine the Draconis Awards (the awards weren’t named in the source material and I thought that Draconis would be perfect as their name) as to be on par with the Nobel Prize in overall importance but for Shadowrunners they would be very important both as a source for runs but also as a resource to gain access to for character improvement.
Draconis Awards from the Draco Foundation 2075 CE:
MIT&M wins a Draconis Award for creating a new technique that applies Schwartzkopf’s Grand Unifying Theory of Magic towards the limitation that Mystic Adepts and Adepts have in Astral Projection. So far they haven’t succeeded with helping Aspected Magicians astrally project.
Universal Omnitech wins a Draconis Award after successful clinical trials with its Gene Optimization line of products. The cognitive line fails to be predictable in which areas it enhances because of epigenetics and the complexity of the brain’s neural network but the physical line has made a full success with one treatment enhancing your potential physical performance traits.
Metagene DNA Astral Shadows Assaying:
Celedyr’s personal research team at Neonet has recently uncovered how to detect metagenes for a sizeable portion of the population and give a probability of likelihood of a phenotype expressing its latent metatraits be it Goblinization or Awakening. The test only works on fresh samples so the team and their equipment need to be onsite and old samples can’t be tested because Astral Shadows fade fairly quickly within an hour or two of when the sample is taken.
An Adept or Mystic Adept with the Astral Perception Power may Initiate and learn the Metamagic Astral Protrusion to project for Magic Rating + Grade minutes. After learning this the Initiate may purchase the Astral Projection Power for 1 Power Point.
Physical Genetic Optimization: Raises your natural limit by one in Body, Agility, Reaction, and Strength. Compatible with Exceptional Attribute. Further Optimization has no effect.
Treatment time: 6 weeks.
Essence Cost: .5.
Cost: 150,000 nuyen.
Mental Genetic Optimization: Raises one mental Attribute’s natural limit by one. Usually it is the highest rated attribute but it is somewhat random because of a limited understanding of the brain and variations amongst the neurotypical and the neuro-atypical. A GM can let the player roll a d6 with the highest getting 3 numbers and the other 3 getting 1 number.
Treatment time: 8 weeks.
Essence Cost: .2.
Cost: 50,000 nuyen.
Neonet’s technology for magical talent works for around 50% of the human metatype population with a success rate of 95%. For other metatypes it works for about 25% with a success rate of 80%. The remaining half of humans and three quarters of other metatypes can’t be accurately mapped because of certain metagene variants and alleles confusing the issue. What this means is that about half of humans can know with a good sense of security whether they have a latent magical gift that could be awakened. As time goes on it is inevitable that it will become more accurate and rumors say that Neonet is trying to find out how to unmask the riddle of technomancy and if it is genetic or epigenetic as well.
Neonet’s technology for detecting possible Goblinization or Surge related metagenes can detect the likelihood of an human goblinizing or developing SURGE like metatraits works for about 75% of the population with 97% accuracy. So, if you’re an Ork parent wondering if the human baby you have is likely to goblinize in puberty you can find out with reasonable certainty with a DNA test.
It is unknown which Neonet subsidiaries will be carrying the test but rumors of prices suggest under 5000 nuyen for both upon introduction of the product.
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