Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Return to Mork Borg

The dregs of the Shadow King's prisons made another venture into the warrens under his castle in our Mork Borg Redux. This time exploring a dungeon I created myself. Map, recap and further thoughts on Mork Borg as a system below the fold.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Delving into the Dark Fort: A Visit to MORK BORG

UPDATE: We're playing again Tuesday, March 24 @ 7:30 Eastern. Let me know if you want in.

A few weeks ago, I bought the much discussed Mork Borg. I read it cover to cover and enjoyed drinking in all of its grotty art.

There's lots of reviews online with a variety of viewpoints. I watched Adam Koebel's First Look and I feel like he does a good job of showing what the game is all about. That is to say, over-the-top, ultra-stylized graphically grotesque. Everything in the book reinforces the feeling.

I've seen criticisms of the book pointing out the "inefficiency" of it's layout. I totally disagree.

The book is very efficient with it's words. If all the formatting was stripped away and the book was converted into a text file, it could be printed on a couple sheets of paper. In fact, they have a one page rules reference that has almost everything you need to run it.

Instead of filling the pages with words, the creators filled the pages with evocative art and creative layouts. They prioritize the transmission of tone and attitude, and since they've been careful and concise they have lots of space.

The book is great. If it appeals to you at all, get it.

Last night, I played it for the first time. With everyone in the NYC area locked-down and flattening the curve, I hosted an online game and ran Rotblack Sludge, the short adventure included with the game. Play report below, spoiler filled.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Ultra-Bastard D&D: Combat and Initiative

Michael Foreman
When combat begins, roll initiative to determine the order in which combatants act. Ultra-Bastard supports two options for resolving turn-order in combat.

On their turn, each combatant can cast a spell or attack, and move. Other significant actions like climbing a ladder or lighting a lamp could replace the attack. Minor actions like dropping an item do not prevent the combatant from attacking.

Attacks: When a player attacks, they make an ability check, rolling a d20 and adding any applicable modifiers. If the result is equal to or higher than their opponents armor class they hit and roll for damage as indicated by their weapon type, adding any applicable damage modifiers.

Some optional rules like bows and thrown weapons may allow an extra attack.

Casting Spells: Each spell description will detail how to cast it and the resulting effects. For detailed rules on casting spells consult the spell casting rules (in a future post).

Blogger scrambled my formatting. My apologies for the rough reading.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Ultra-Bastard D&D: Social Moves

The DM will use moves like the ones below to determine the outcome of important interactions. To use a move, describe what you do. Don't just say "I want to Bargain or Manipulate this Margrave."
The moves happen when certain conditions are met and it should be easy for the DM to see what you are trying to do.

These are not the only moves that exist. Some will be revealed in play. Some are only available in particular environments. Some might only happen once.

Bargain or Manipulate: When you have leverage over someone tell them what you want and roll +Charisma.
 On a 10+
They'll do it for a fair price or reasonable promise, it's up to you whether you pay up.
On a 7 - 9
They'll do it but demand a high price and some concrete assurance right now.
The DM will tell you what it will take to make them do what you want. Do it and they will.

The existence of this move should NOT be interpreted as an invitation to try talking your way into discount supplies or gear. Your DM did not create a fantasy world for you so they could haggle over the price of torches. Don't be a bad person.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Ultra-Bastard D&D: Basic Mechanics

Santiago Caruso

When you attempt a challenging action the DM might require a roll to determine if you succeed. There are two main types of rolls: Ability Checks and Moves.

Ability Checks: Roll d20 + relevant ability modifier vs. a target number set by the DM. If your roll is equal to or higher than the number you succeed.
  • If you are playing with the optional Skills rule, you might add a modifier for a relevant skill.
  • An attack roll is an ability check made to hit an enemy in combat. These are often made with additional modifiers. Typically, the target number is your opponents armor class.
Moves Roll 2d6 + relevant modifier (specified in the Move's description). On a roll of 10+ you succeed fully, on 7-9 you succeed but incur a complication, and on a 6 or less you fail and the situation gets worse.
  • These are especially common in social situations and when gathering information.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

A Few Favorites

Definitely watch this.
Cross-linking has always been how I've found D&D stuff, so I wanted to pause for a moment to highlight some rad things made by other people.

  • Frothsof is doing a more thorough blog roundup weekly.
  • Anne over at DIY & Dragons has also done a great best-of post recently.  

I'll continue posting my Ultra-Bastard house-rules soon.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Ultra-Bastard D&D: Hit Points

Mike Mignola, of course.
In Ultra-Bastard, character hit-points are an abstract measure of one's ability to absorb damage before taking a serious injury.

Characters have a d6 + constitution mod hit points per level. This is often modified by class options, character advancements and adventuring consequences.