Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Ultra-Bastard D&D: Ranged Weapons

Ultra-Bastard has no restrictions on weapon type by character class and there is no "proficiency" in this system. Class options and character advancement might grant bonuses to a particular weapon.
Ranged weapons typically add dexterity mod to their to-hit roll. Thrown weapons add the better of strength mod or dexterity mod. 

Light crossbow
Cannot load if you move on your turn
Heavy crossbow
Takes a full turn to load.
Optional: Minimum strength 13. Fires twice per round.
Optional: Minimum strength 15. Fires twice per round.

You cannot load or fire a ranged weapon while engaged in melee. 

Thrown weapons roll the same die for damage as if they were used in melee (but without adding an ability modifier to damage). I.e. a knife does d4, a tomahawk does d6 and a spear does d8.

I don't use strictly defined range limits/modifiers because in practice they almost never come up. 

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Ultra-Bastard D&D: Armor

Armor Class (AC) is the number that must be hit to successfully land a weapon attack on an enemy. Monster armor class is a target number for ability checks and player AC is a saving throw. When attacking a monster, a player must roll above the enemies AC to hit. When being attacked, a player must roll under their own AC to avoid being hit.

The unarmored default is AC 8.

I do not associate a particular armor class with a particular type of armor. You can have leather or chain armor from +1 though +6.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Ultra-Bastard D&D: Melee Weapons

Micah Ulrich
Ultra-Bastard has no restrictions on weapon type by character class and there is no "proficiency" in this system. Class options and character advancement might grant bonuses to a particular weapon.

Usually, melee weapons add strength mod to their to-hit roll and damage. Certain light weapon add a dexterity mod to their to-hit roll but don't add an ability mod to damage. Which is which should be obvious. If in doubt ask the DM.

Scalpels,  blackjacks,  daggers
Crowbars,  rapiers, machetes, hatchets
Battleaxes, bastard swords , spears
Zweihanders, halberds, mauls etc.

"Heavy" weapons can be wielded one-handed for d8 damage or two-handed for d10.

Special Rules. These are optional but I like them.

Knives are scary: Knives roll 1d4 for damage. If the die comes up as an even number, it is re-rolled and the result added to the total. Stabbity-stabbity-stab.

Reach advantage: When two creatures first enter into melee, if either has a significantly longer weapon than the other, she attacks first, regardless of initiative.

Empty hands: It's hard to parry a sword with a knife and even harder with your bare hands. If you are armed with only a small weapon, take a -2 penalty to melee defense rolls. Disadvantage for empty hands.  Using a ranged weapon to parry, usually ruins it. Pick up a stick or a chair. Something! Anything!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Ultra-Bastard D&D: Ability Scores

Oscar Chichoni
Ultra-Bastard uses the classic six attributes except Wisdom is substituted by Alertness.
The line between the Intelligence and Wisdom stats has always felt contrived to me. Alertness feels concretely separate and useful.

I intend for every stat to be relevant (albeit not equally) for every character. Low intelligence should be a source of difficulty for fighters and low strength should pose problems for wizards.

My rules still need refinement so what I've laid out below might change.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Ultra-Bastard D&D: Introduction

Erik Desmazières
Like many DM's, I have a half-baked version of D&D with rules and mechanics picked from all the editions I've played with sub-systems and house-rules borrowed from any number of other sources. It's not elegant but I like it.

I haven't played it in awhile. My current game is by-the-book 5e (which I mostly like) and that's fine. However, I do have a hankering to drag my stitched-together monster back out, and run it for a few friends this spring.

To that end, I am consolidating the rules (such as they are) into a series of posts here. I'll eventually dump them into a reference doc for my players. I'll include some notes on why I've made the choices I have as I go.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Campaign Q&A

A few days ago Alex posted a list of questions, exploring how peoples' ongoing campaigns were progressing. Here are my answers:

How many sessions have you been playing, more or less? I'd guess about 40

How long have you been running this campaign? About a year and a half. We try to play weekly, but in actuality it works out to a little more than twice a month.

Have you had long breaks? If so, how did you pick it up again? Not really, there have been gaps of about a month around holidays etc. but no longer breaks.

How many people are at the table when you play? How many characters are in the party when you play? We have a consistent group of six players (the DM makes 7). Occasionally, someone won't be able to make it and we'll play with five. A couple of times we've run with four.

How many players have you had in total over that time period, not counting guest appearances? It's been the same six, for the whole run. 

Have you had guest appearances? How did it go? Did you gain regular players that way? We've played one shots with a mix of regulars and other players a couple times but not as part of the main campaign. 

What have the character levels been over time? The party is now at level 5. I guess I'm stingy with leveling.

What classes did the players pick? Did you add new classes over time? I made a bunch of pre-gen characters at the beginning (all my players are new to D&D) and they are still playing them (with one exception). We have a paladin, a rogue, a druid, a cleric, a wizard and our ranger died and was replaced with a barbarian. 

Tell me about some adventures you ran over that time that I might enjoy hearing about? Two  arcs of our campaign stand out for me: 

The initial dungeon crawl began with the party battling skeletons before be-friending the dungeon's necromancer. Then, they proceeded by accepting a commission from said death-wizard to clear Skaven-like ratmen from the tunnel's under his lair. In the rat warrens they uncovered a casket that contained the sleeping-beauty preserved form of the keep's long lost heir. They have allied with him and now seek to return the keep to his control. 

The second memorable arc was the "Swine Dungeon" that I've posted about on this blog. I modeled it after a level from Darkest Dungeon and it was a big success. 

Have the rule changes over that time? Do you maintain a house-rules document? This campaign is by-the-book 5e D&D. 

Has the setting changed over time? Not yet, but I think I need to re-focus it. My sandbox is too big.

How much in-game distance did the party cover, how big is the area they have visited? They haven't been more than a couple days travel from their starting locale. 

Have you used proprietary setting books? Like, could you publish your campaign or would you be in trouble if you did? It's a real mish-mash of original and borrowed elements. There's parts that are original enough to stand alone but as a whole too much is a copy or pastiche of recognizable other things.

I hope that was interesting. I like to get glimpses into how other people run their games and so I'm happy to share a small window into mine. If you have any follow-up questions, fire away!