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* Find various pictograms on the 'net and mount them onto index cards.
* Index cards
* Five-minute timer
* Pencils for each player.
1. At the start of the game, each player writes down everyone else's name on separate index cards.
2. The host randomly picks two pictograms.
3. Each player has five minutes to draw, on an index card, a new pictogram based on the two picked.
4. After five minutes, the host shuffles the drawings then places them on the table face-up.
5. Each player places, face-down, his index cards with the other player's names alongside the pictogram of the person whom he thinks drew the pictogram.
6. Reveal the face-down cards and score. You score a point for every pictogram whose creator you correctly identified. You also score a point if anyone correctly guessed you drew the pictogram. However, if everyone identified you as the creator of your pictogram, you score NO points this round.
Tips: Do not draw a fancy pictogram. After the first round, you will have an idea of other player's drawing styles. Copy them.
Introduction: ZSS is based on the Zombie Survival Sheet meme, in which you start with a template of zombie survival essentials and fill in the details, from your primary weapon, to your vehicle, to your last words. Although the template looks like a video roleplaying game character sheet, I was disappointed to find no actual game for the template. I created a What Were You Thinking variant using the sheet, but thought up another game, in which you and other desperate survivors are frantically trading goods while zombies are attacking.
Objective: Either collect one of each good (hard) or "critical goods" (easier) before the round ends. And while zombies are attacking.
* 28 index cards per player.
* A pen for each player.
* A printout of the template for each player.
* One-minute or 30-second timer.
* Each player writes down on his index cards each of the fields on the ZSS: eg. Location, Soundtrack, the seven Inventory items, etc. Pictures are optional.
* Each player then draws a large dot in the upper right corner of five of his cards. He should note these cards on his ZSS sheet.
* Each player then draws a hideous ugly zombie on three of his index cards.
* Shuffle all the cards and deal out the deck.
* Start the timer.
* Players may trade cards with each other until the end of the round.
* If a player has one or more zombie cards in his hand, he may place it face-up in front on the player to his right.
* If a player has a zombie card in front of him, he may kill the zombie by placing a weapon card face-up on top of it. The cards are set aside until the end of the round.
* If a player has a zombie card in front of him but does not kill it with a weapon card, he must discard a card of his choice from his hand and pass the zombie to his left. Discarded cards are removed from the game.
* After the timer ends, flip it over again.
* Any player who still has a zombie card in his hand has been killed and is out of the game.
* When the timer ends, any player with a zombie in front of him keeps it in the next round, as if the card was played on him.
* To survive to the next round, a player must either have one of each card from the ZSS, or at least as many dotted cards as the current round. Cards used to kill zombies count, but cards discarded out of the game do not. Strategy: Use your ZSS to keep track of which cards have dots on them!
* Continue another round, until one or no survivors are left. The surviving player or the players who survived to the previous round win the game.
Introduction: What with all the complaints about the current COTDP expansion becoming obsolete, I figured I'd resurrect the boardless version of AH I wrote up and see if I could adapt it to the old COTDP expansion set.
Overview: Sealing gates? Cooperation? Save the world? Ridiculous. You and your closest rivals strive for the attention and favor of none other than Nyarlathotep himself. The messenger of the gods wishes you to collect ancient Egyptian artifacts, visit Other Worlds. and maybe pick up an autograph from Cthulhu.
Objective: Collect the most Exhibit Items and visit the most Other Worlds. Each Exhibit Item and claimed Other World card is worth a point. Nyarly doesn't care if you close or seal gates.
Components: I've tried to avoid using any other AH components, as well as PnP. You'll still need dice, pawns, and tokens. Shuffle the Arkham Location Cards into a single deck. Shuffle the other decks normally.
Investigators: No investigator sheets are used, nor are the sliders. Each player uses a pawn. All investigators have a 5 Sanity and 5 Stamina. Skills are 4. Focus is 2. Each player also has a stipend: They may spend up to $5 per turn but cannot save money from this stipend. Any money gained by other means may be saved. Note: You can still use the AH investigators with these rules, depending on their special abilities, or create investigators with a random generation system of your design.
Game end: Place the "Art of HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos" advertisement card about halfway in the Mythos deck. When the advertisement appears at the top of the deck, the game ends at the end of this turn. Each player totals up their Exhibit Items and Other World cards, and scores a point for each. The player with the highest total wins. In case of ties, the player with the most Ancient One encounters, then Other World cards wins.
Start Location: Players start in the Street. Any Mythos cards or other cards referring to a neighborhood street location refers to the Street.
Mythos Phase: Draw a Mythos card and resolve the headline. Instead of discarding the Mythos card, place the card face-up in the play area, along with the top Arkham Horror Location (AHL) card, still face-down. No monsters appear at the gate.
Upkeep: Each investigator gains one Sanity or one Stamina, not to exceed their maximum. Discard all face-up Mythos card whose gates have been explored and have no pawn on them (see rest of rules).
Movement: Roll dice equal to your Speed and count the successes. This is the number of actions you have per turn. If you roll no actions were on the Street last turn, you are on the Street. The player in Arkham and in the Street with the fewest points places his pawn on any of the face-down AHL cards. If a player wishes to use movement points, he may convert one die roll to one movement, before the dice are rolled. Flip over any face-down AHL cards, placing the pawn at the top location on the card.
Arkham Encounters: For each action, resolve an encounter on the AHL, starting from the top and proceeding downwards. Use a token to record which encounters have been resolved. If not all the encounters on the card have been completed, the investigator continues resolving the encounters next turn during the Arkham Encouters phase if he has any action points. An investigator on an AHL with no actions may resolve the Street encounter. After resolving the last encounter, the player moves his investigator to the gate on the the Mythos card and draw two Other World cards, face-down.
If you returned from an Other World, you may close or seal an gate for an action during the Arkham Encouters phase. Claim the Mythos card as a gate trophy. Discard the AHL and Other World cards, and return to the Street.
Other World Encounters: For each action, resolve an encounter on the Other World card per AH rules. The Other World your investigator is in is the first Other World on the first Other World card you drew. When you return to Arkham, return your pawn to the Mythos card whose gate you entered, discard face-up AHL cards associated with the Mythos card, claim one of the Other World cards for a point, and discard the other Other World card.
If you encounter an Ancient One, you do not enter combat with it. Instead of fighting an Ancient One, roll a die and lose that many Sanity. Repeat for Stamina. Even if you do not survive the encounter, claim the Other World card and return to Arkham. When you return to Arkham, return your pawn to the Mythos card whose gate you entered, and discard face-up AHL cards associated with the Mythos card.
Unusable Items: Some Spells and Exhibit Items, including Masks, cannot be used with these rules. Treat their text box as blank.
Common Items and Unique Items: Replace with Spells and Exhibit Items, respectively. Each are worth $5.
Monsters: Instead of encountering or fighting a monster, lose one Sanity or one Stamina. The monster then disappears. No monster trophies are collected. Otherwise, all monster stats are two, and have no special abilities.
Monster Surges: Instead, each player loses one Sanity and one Stamina.
Environment and Rumor Cards: If the Mythos card is claimed, the Enviroment or Rumor immediately ends, with no Pass or Fail effect.
Introduction: Yep. Another solo variant! When designing solo variants, I try to reduce setup time, and the Road to Legends dungeons (also found in some expansion sets) are a good place to start. They're small and are designed for four different sets of monsters in each dungeon. In other words, you can make a four-level dungeon without but only set up fewer tiles once! Note that you do not need Road to Legends to play this variant, although the base set does not have these dungeons. If you don't have all the monsters for a four-level dungeon, either repeat some monsters or just play a Spawn card from the Overlord deck.
Overview: Survive four levels of the dungeon, open the treasure chest on the fourth level, and escape the dungeon!
1. Overlord: Remove the event cards from the Overlord deck. The overlord does not have a hand of cards.
2. Hero: Select a Hero, preferably one with an even distribution of power dice among his skills. Heroes with three power dice in one skill are more subject to random draws from the chests (see below).
3. Dungeon: Setup the dungeon as shown.
4. Monsters: Randomly select a set of monsters for the current dungeon level. Or just play them in order.
Monster difficulty: Each dungeon in four levels deep. Use the Monster Reference Card that matches the dungeon level on the Number of Players part of the card. For the first level, use the 2-player difficulty monsters, but reduce
the armor and hit points of the monsters by one.
Boss monsters: The Boss Monster of a level only appears if the hero is armed with a magical weapon. (Thus, there is no Boss Monster on the first level).
1. Hero turn: Per Descent rules.
2. Overlord turn:
1. Overlord gains one threat. (ie. Overlord gains Treachery equal to the number of players.)
2. Turn over the top card.
3. If the Overlord has enough threat to pay for the card, he pays for it and puts it into play. Otherwise, he discards it to gain threat.
a. If the card is a Trap, apply it to your hero, even if some conditions of the card are not met (eg. door or chest).
b. Optional: If the card is a Spawn, only put it into play if the monsters on the card match any of those on the current level. Otherwise, discard the card for threat.
4. Play the monster movement and attack per Descent rules. Monsters will move adjacent to the hero, except those with Reach and Range. Monsters with Reach will attack one square away. Monsters with Range +X will attack X squares away.
3. Treasure Chest:
1. Use the Road to Legends "Chest Loot" table. If the table is not available, use these results:
* 1st level: Copper treasure, 250 coins, 1 potion
* 2nd level: Silver treasure, 500 coins, 1 potion
* 3rd level: Gold treasure, 750 coins, 1 potion
* 4th level: No treasure, 1000 coins, 2 potions
* Note: Determine potion randomly.
* Note: You must open the chest on the 4th level and escape the level to win the game!
* Overlord starts with more threat.
* Overlord gains more threat each turn.
More as I run around and kill things...
Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:23 am
Introduction: Crimso and Autoduelist are working on a pretty cool way to add some effects to the "special" tiles in Wrath and Castle which presently *DO NOTHING*. I'm pretty sure these tiles don't do anything because they interrupt the flow of the game. However. I'm also in the camp that, while it's a good game, the atmosphere is more like Arnold Schwartznegger screaming GET TO THE CHOPPAH!!! than a typical D&D RPG session. (Digression: I lifted the D&D Boardgame tile mechanics for a Doom: The Boardgame Solo variant. A rather nice side effect is that this Doom variant feels *less* like a dungeoncrawl and more like a GET TO THE CHOPPAH!!! sorta game.) Here's what I don't like about the game, from the most important part, to something's that's bugged at lease one gaming spouse:
Monsters: Hated them. The monster placement felt more like a random assortment of characters at Disneyland than monster lairs.
No Special Room Effects: Hated that, too. You have all this nice chrome that *would* have an effect in a D&D RPG game, but not the D&D Boardgame.
No Rooms, Either: I'm not the last one who noticed that you could explore the right side of the Start Tile, only to find out that the tile that you wanted was ADJACENT to the left side of the Start Tile.
So here's a possible fix. List yours.
* Monsters in rooms: you encounter a monster, use all three miniatures. If they're all 1XP monsters, draw another monster from the deck to add an ally, enslaver, pet, whatever. It's not going to be easy, but, unlike the D&D Boardgame, you can rest in D&D RPG. After you kill the monsters, you can regain Encounter powers, and a Healing Surge. Or something.
* Wandering monsters have two miniatures, both minions with 1 HP.
* Monsters don't automatically attack before the heroes. Instead, roll initiative. Each player rolls the d20, and the monsters roll a d20. Go from highest to lowest number.
Rooms vs. Hallways:
* Hallways are tiles with only two-width sections. Hallways may have wandering monsters or traps. If the Hallway has a black arrow, there's a wandering monster. Otherwise, draw an Encounter card. If a trap appears, there's a trap, which the Rogue can try to disarm.
* Rooms have sides that have three- and four-squares leading to the next tile. Like Large Chamber Tiles, add tile sections to these exposed sides. If the Room has a black arrow (ignore the tiles you added), you've encountered monsters. Otherwise, draw an Encounter card. Resolve the room's special effect, if any. Finally, the party can actually rest in a room. Gain a healing surge and Encounter powers.
* Do the 4e Encounter Area thing.
* Treasures come in chests! Wrath doesn't come with a treasure token, btw.
* Treasure might be trapped. Draw the top card of the Encounter deck. If it's a trap, have the Rogue try to disarm. If this fails, the trap goes off.
* Monsters in rooms: Draw a chit from the Treasure chits in Wrath for each monster in combat. If you only drew gold, take a card from the Treasure deck.
* Wandering monsters: No treasure. None!
I'm marking this WIP because I haven't finished the Doom: Solo variant, but post any other thoughts you have.
Dungeon Room Table
Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:38 am
Note: Putting this idea on the backburner, so this post will be incomplete. Feel free to add your ideas, though!
Introduction: Well, I'm sick and tired of waiting for my goblins. With the release of Wrath of Ashardalon, I *still* don't have the mini's necessary to even play the first encounter in the 4e D&D Red Box! Whining aside, this was originally going to be a review of the Castle Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashardalon components for play in D&E 4e, but I came up with a rather nifty "random adventure generator" 4e DMs can use to create an adventure with the CR and WoA bits. Ironically, while WoA adds a greater variety of possible adventures (I mean, Castle Ravenloft is pretty much just undead, right?), this first adventure will only need the CR components. In any case, this will be the first of several adventure seeds that only require the CR and/or WoA sets to play.
Stare at the miniatures for a plot: I hated how Castle Ravenloft has kobolds. I mean, what, the goblins were on strike or something? Despite this, the Klak adventure, aka. "Kick the Kobold" was my favorite, as all the pent-up anger of being plinked to death in the game could be unleashed on an unsuspecting kobold. Against the Kobolds, perhaps a reference to the venerated D&D adventure, Against the Giants, returns Klak to his former glory, as the "lieutenant monster" (he's too small to be a boss) in a kobold and traps adventure.
Rumors. The story is pretty simple. Kobolds have been attacking villages, but the rumor mill has it that they've also been going after graveyards. The weird magicks referred to in the Klak Castle Ravenloft adventure are returning, and Klak may just be back again. What the players don't quite know is that Klak is doing Necromatic magic, and the kobolds were the ones in Castle Ravenloft maintaining the traps...
Summarize the adventure:
* Part 1: Kobolds and traps.
* Part 2: Klak and undead.
Fleshing it out. Any D&D'er will tell you that kobolds are (or are supposed to) do all sorts of dirty tricks, specifically laying out traps and hazards for anyone invading their lair. The second half of the adventure, where Klak comes in, can either have Klak performing his initial research (the players have discovered that the kobold lair is actually a graveyard Klak and kobolds are exploring) or Klak himself is now undead and really, really angry.
Selecting the bits: Monsters. Kobolds, of course. And traps. Bits doesn't just mean miniatures, but also the cards and dungeon tiles. So go through your CR (and Wrath) bits for the kobold miniatures and cards, trap encounters and tiles, and the CR dungeon tiles. Kobolds have vermin, which means creatures like Rat Swarm go into the adventure as well.
With Castle Ravenloft and Wrath, you now have *eighty* miniatures for the D&D Miniatures game. Furthermore, the miniatures fit into various genres (undead, aberration, humanoids, heroes) so you can have thematically similar warbands. Also, Wrath's Chambers allow you to have larger spaces for combat. These PnP links also include maps and 3D paper models for the D&D Miniatures game, which, of course, you can use for your D&D boardgames!
D&D rules and stat cards:
D&D stat cards for the miniatures:
D&D miniatures maps:
D&D paper 3-D models:
I should mention that the D&D 4e Red Box Starter Set contains a map that was used in the D&D Miniatures game. The maps in the other Essentials products (Dungeon Master's Kit and Monster Vault) are playable, though are not open space.
Introduction: So who would win in a fight? Ashardalon or the Dracolich? Such deep and philosophical questions (including, "Where are my d*mn goblins? Why did they select Grells?") have resulted in this rough brainstorm of a miniatures combat system with the D&D boardgame mechanics. Something I've noticed for almost all combat games is the near-perfect control the players have over the units, something that rarely happens in pre-modern combat. But with the D&D boardgame AI, you could go as far as set up the board and let the units fight the battle out themselves! This variant won't go that far, but should be an amusing break from dungeoncrawling and miniatures combat games.
Units: Players first start with creating thematic pools from which to draw their forces. For example, one deck can be of all the humanoids, the other of aberrations, etc. They then select their forces. The most "equivalent" way would for each player to have the same number of monsters and villains of the same experience point values (eg. one Level 6 villain, three 3XP monsters, three 2XP monsters, and three 1XP monsters). A more "flexible" way is to have the same XP total of monsters for each side. (Not sure how to best to the villains, though.) A "D&D boardgame" style would be that a player must purchase all three monsters with the same name (eg. if a player wishes to have a Grell in his force, he must take all three Grell cards).
Terrain: You have a variety of ways of setting up the terrain. Note that if you have Huge and Large units, you may wish to not use tiles that do not allow passageway for these figures. Note that Encounter cards are not used -- except in the last terrain option.
a) Games Workshop style: One player sets up the board and the other player selects which side he will set his forces on. The other player sets up on the opposite side. Players may place their forces on the first row of tiles closest to them.
b) Chamber setup: One player receives all the Horrid Chamber tiles, the other player receives the Dire Chamber tiles. Starting with the Entrance, each player creates a chamber per the chamber rules. Rotate the Chambers suchthat each player's Entrance faces the player and connect the chambers. Fill in any gaps on the board with additional tiles, selected at random, and placed face-up. Each player's monsters will enter the game through the entrance, and their villains start anywhere on their Chamber Entrance tile.
c) Random setup: As b), but gaps are not filled in until a monster or villain is at the edge of a tile at the end of its activation. Players should first agree where the gaps are on the board before the game begins.
d) More random setup: As c), but if a tile with a black arrow is revealed, draw and resolve an Encounter card. Do not place a monster on the tile, unless the Encounter says otherwise. In case of multiple interpretations, the opponent interprets the card.
Combat: Again, you have multiple ways to carry out combat. Roll the die to see who goes first in the game. Note that, when activating a monster, within a Tactic, replace "Hero" with "Monster or Villain". If a Tactic has multiple interpretations (eg. the monster has a choice of targets) the owner of the monster decides.
a) HeroScape style: Each player lays down his monster cards in front of him, with monsters of the same name. This is called a band. Each villain is its own band. Players alternate activating bands until each band has been activated. When a band is activated, the player decides in which order the band's individual monsters will activate.
b) Individual deck style: Each player shuffles his monsters together into his Monster deck, then draws so-many cards for their hand. Players alternate playing cards to activate monsters. After activating a monster, place an activation token next to it. A monster with an activation token cannot be activated, and all activation tokens are removed at the end of the turn. After each hand has been played, each player activates their villain(s). (The number of cards he draws depends on how many points players spent when creating their armies and how much flexibility the players want to have in the game.)
c) Battle Masters style: Shuffle all the monster cards together. Draw the top card of the deck. Activate a monster matching the card. After activating a monster, place an activation token next to it. A monster with an activation token cannot be activated, and all activation tokens are removed at the end of the turn.
d) Chaotic Evil style: As a-c, but when you activate a monster, your opponent makes any decisions if a Tactic has multiple interpretations. A monster will not attack monsters on the same side. Each player still controls their villains.
e) Command Points: This rule allows you to override a monster's AI and choose which Tactic on a monster card to use. Each turn, the current player receives so-many command points. (At least three.) You must spend one command point per experience point of the monster to override its AI. The monster still must fulfill the requirements of a Tactic (eg. adjacency).
Heroes: Heroes don't have XP values and, thematically, don't fit with these monster armies. However, a third and fourth player could play a party of one or more heroes who stumble upon a fight between two evil factions in a dungeon. The heroes only win if they kill off all the evil monsters and villains.
Introduction: This simple skill-check RPG system keeps the HeroQuest mechanics, yet allows the Keeper to add drama and complications to the adventure.
Skill checks: To make a skill check, roll a number of combat dice depending on the character's unmodified attribute and type of skill check.
* Attack: Strength and brute force skill checks.
* Defense: Dexterity and agility skill checks.
* Move: Endurance and survival skill checks.
* Mind: Persuasion, intelligence, and other non-physical skill checks.
* You may not use this skill check system for a roll that is covered in the main HQ rules.
* The Keeper determines if an item, circumstance, or racial ability gives a bonus or penalty for a skill check. Typically, non-magical items for combat, such as armor, do not affect skill checks. However, magical items, such as the Talisman of Lore ("increases your Mind Points by 1"), Potion of Strength, and Potion of Dexterity would. Non-combat equipment may give a bonus for a specific skill check (eg. the Tool Kit if trying to break in a house, and gold for bribes).
* In the main HQ rules, Move uses the regular six-sided dice. In these skill check rules, use the combat dice.
* Skulls: The more skulls rolled, the greater the success.
* Shields: No effect.
* Death's Head: Failure occurs only if any are rolled without a Skull. (The Death's Head is the circular black side of the die with a monster skull on it.)
Dramatic Results: To add drama to the skill check, if the player rolls Skulls and Death Head symbols, the overall task succeeded, but with negative consequences and/or plot complications. Note that someone rolling more dice will have a greater chance of rolling Skulls and Death Heads than someone who rolls fewer. So much for arguing with the Keeper how many dice to roll.
Example: Searching for rumors: Suppose your adventurers are in a tavern and are searching for rumors. The Wizard uses his 3 Mind to "carouse" for rumors. The player rolls three special HQ dice and receives a Skull, a Shield, and a Death's Head. The Keeper could interpret this as him finding the location of a dungeon *but* the tavern keeper didn't know that some brigands nearby are active in the area. Or the Barbarian uses his 3 Body to "pursuade" an informant to tell him what he knows about the dungeon. The player rolls a Skull, a Shield, and a Death's Head. The Keeper says snitch spills the beans, but then tells his "friends" of the Barbarian, and they start a fight in the tavern!
Example: No sleep until dawn: The adventurers find out that orcs will descend upon the neighboring kingdom tomorrow! They decide to ride all night over hostile terrain to warn the town. The Keeper allows one player to make a skill check for the entire group. The player has a Move of 2, so rolls two dice. A Skull and a Death's Head! The good news is that the party has warned the town. The bad news is that the town is unprepared...!
Designer notes: Unlike "old school" skill checks, this system is biased towards the player succeeding! In other words, it's less realistic, but moves the adventure forward. Likewise, the "dramatic results" allows the Keeper to make the game more interesting by adding additional complications and ideas the players to challenge the players.
Note: Discussion on the HQ RPG board:
Yes, you can play AH solo. No, you don't have to follow the rules. Inspiration from that guy who did the boardless Runebound variant.
Setup: Put all the Encounter decks in front of you. Use other decks as you need them.
* Make a Speed skill check.
* If you fail, draw a Mythos card. Place a gate token and monster on top of the Encounter deck of the location indicated by the Mythos card. If the Encounter deck already has a gate, resolve a Monster Surge instead.
* If you succeed, place your Investigator on top of any Encounter deck. Resolve any monster combat as if you encountered it during Movement. If there is a gate, resolve the gate as if you encountered it during Arkham Encounters. If there is no gate, state which location you are visiting, draw an Encounter card, and resolve it as if it was your Arkham Encounter phase. Instead of drawing and resolving an Encounter card, you may use a location's Special Encounter.
* If you enter a Gate, draw an Outer World card and resolve it, as if it was the Outer World Encounter phase. Repeat this during your next turn. On your third turn, return to Arkham.
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