Tag Archives: Homebrew

Sprinkle of Homebrew

I take a lot of notes.  I think anyone that really reads this place can say that i take a lot of notes.  Half this place(or more) is just from my piles of notes that I have copy/pasted into my collection and the stuff from below is just tidbits of things I have found around that I thought were great little bits to add some flavor to games.  Whats that?  Your nauseous but you are still using a full attack?  Shouldn’t you be throwing up right now?  Anyways, here they are in no particular order or preference.

  • Sometimes I had a rule where if you suffered more than your Constitution in damage from one attack you got an injury – a broken leg (movement penalty) or you lost an eye (vision penalties). And it took time for these injuries to heal.
  • Even the humble 10′ pit can be a minimal form of interactive trap, since if you survive you probably have to figure out a way of getting out of it or around it, but really juicy interactive traps have things like arrays of idols that shoot different beams out of their eyes when you step on certain squares, mazes of scything blades, etc etc.  Interactive traps are often really puzzles, even if the riddle the players are trying to solve is just “how do we get out alive.” Like any puzzle, it can take quite a bit of thought to design an interactive trap that is challenging but still solvable, not to mention stylish.
  • Reward descriptive attacks and punish boring or repetitive – a good description is a +2 to the attack. A colorful one is +4. A boring “I attack him” gets a -4. A brief but cool social interaction gets a +4; a “I try to blather him” gets a -4 start with bonus only. Later start increasing the penalty for boring from 0 towards the -4.  Each time someone does something really cool in describing an action, hand them a token. Allow them to spend those for rerolls any point that session, or turn them in for (10xLevel)XP at end of session.
  • Don’t hesitate to kill PC’s, and don’t allow resurrections; further, replacement characters should be AT LEAST one level lower than the lost character (tho never below 1st). Seriously. When players feel like videogame heroes, with save points, they tend to be much more tactically focused. When they know that this character dies, and a less capable one replaces him, they tend to start being more careful about keeping them around.
  • At the beginning of each round, each player is allowed to make a one-sentence “call-out.” No longer than a sentence, though – it is in the middle of combat, between sword swings.
  • The call can be anything from “you’ll never defeat me.” to “make a run for it!” to “to infinity and beyond!” One key, though, is that the players aren’t allowed to talk amongst themselves except for this call-out. Then the call-out becomes very important for coordination, etc.
  • Important NPCs should also call out from time to time. It gives a convenient vehicle for a “I am your father.” Of course, longer-winded speeches won’t work, but those are best reserved for pauses in combat.
  • Role reversal, placing PCs in the position where NPCs (often the BG, fugitive, etcetera) normally are. Instead of hunting, they must be hunted. Instead of fixing, they must avoid getting “fixed” themselves (ow). Alternately, leave a classic plot intact but turn the twists upside down, making them twistier (or refreshingly un twisty). Also: The BG is somebody PCs know personally, even respect or love (or someone they fall for, mid-story).
  • The adventure begins suddenly and without warning or buildup; PCs are tossed into the fire of action in scene one.
  • Another group comparable to PCs has already failed to succeed, and their bodies/equipment/etc provide clues to help PCs do better.
  • PCs must travel through a hazardous area, and get through without being killed, robbed, humiliated, debased, diseased, or educated by whatever is there. The troubles they encounter are rarely personal in nature – the place itself is the “BG” of the adventure. The place isn’t dangerous at all, and the various “dangers” are actually attempts to communicate with the party by some agent or another.  The PCs must survive only for a short period of time, until help arrives, the ship and/or radio is repaired, or some such thing (in “repair” scenarios, sometimes the PCs must discover some fact about the local environment that will make such repairs possible).
  • Any of the basic plots in this list can be reengineered with the PCs on the outside of it. Either the PCs are accompanying other characters in the midst of such a plot (often being called on to defend the plot from the outside, as it were), or they are minding their own business when the others involved in the plot show up, and must pick sides or simply resist. For instance, with Any Old Port In The Storm, the PCs could already be enjoying (or native to) the shelter when a strange group arrives. If the “the PCs are unwelcome” variant is employed, then perhaps the PCs will be the only voice of reason to still the religious fervor, racial prejudice, anti-monster sentiment, or whatever else is the source of conflict.
  • Common Twists & Themes: The PCs find themselves on the receiving end of the adventure. Take any of the plots here and reverse them, placing the PCs in the position where NPCs (often the villain, fugitive, etcetera) normally are.
  • Instead of hunting, they must be hunted. Instead of fixing, they must avoid getting “fixed” themselves (ow).
  • Alternately, leave a classic plot intact but turn the twists upside down, making them twistier (or refreshingly un twisty).  They went to the library (for history) rogue’s hangout (for the downlow) mage’s guild (royal news) and talked to the homeless (after helping- for corruption news)


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