Jan 21, 2015

Necrocarcerus Update Preview

I'm still finishing the Necrocarcerus House Rules Document v. 1.2. It's substantially done, except for one section on Morale, a rewrite of the Nepenthe section, some additional entries on the gear table, and some additional talents.

Rather than leave everyone waiting, I thought I would release a pdf version of the current document - call it Necrocarcerus v. 1.19 with the holes there. A lot of the changes between 1.1 and 1.2 are the result of playtesting versions 1.0 and 1.1, filling in gaps, rewording unclear parts, or just plain changing things that weren't working as intended.

Version 1.1 is 749KB as a pdf, with about 28 pages of content. It's also no longer under the OGL, which I only did with 1.1 to cover myself legally. As it currently stands, everything in Necrocarcerus that is my own work is free for you to use as you please, so long as you don't assign some weird copyright license restriction thing to it yourself. This means basically the entire document except for a handful of names of things (books, classes, gods, worlds). I don't really care if you attribute it to me or whatever (though it would stoke my ego).

The changes are too long to list here. I'll point to a few of the ones I consider more important that derived from playtesting though, if only to explain the logic of them.

Stat bonuses don't add to skill checks anymore. This was to encourage situational bonus grubbing (aka engaging with the world) over whichever character had the highest stat making the roll.

Removed the Listening skill and added my perception system instead, which was based on a suggestion by Chris H after a few sessions where we were trying to figure out how to handle these situations.

Chase rules and some rules for grappling. The latter two come from a situation in which the PCs grappled with a wood elemental (unsuccessfully) and then got chased around by some paladins from one of the living worlds. The chase rules that ended up in the Necrocarcerus document are more concise than the original blog post, and have one major change: Rolling a "7" now allows melee, while merely matching dice means only missile exchanges.

Rules for summoning and binding creatures, since one of the characters is a weirdomancer who can summon elementals and elementines regularly, and does. This has had the effect of trivialising a few fights. I realised I had missed a section in the Swords and Wizardry Complete rulebook where it mentions such creatures are unwilling servants that require constant attention, and wanted to figure out a way to represent that mechanically. I didn't want to gank summoning, but I did want to put a few clear constraints on treating elementals as essentially 8/12/16HD NPCs who are friendly, intelligent, and superpowered who show up to help the party.

Added the Focus and Animal Handling skills. I figured I needed something to govern caring for, healing, etc. animals as horselikes and other beasts became more prominent in the game. The Focus skill is a revival of a long-held interest of mine, a variation on the idea of "Fatigue Saves". Want to do something boring and tedious but that will succeed given a long enough period of unrelenting exertion? That's the focus skill.

There's also a ton of tiny typo fixes, which I'm still working through (I caught a few just after uploading 1.19). I also ended up rearranging the order of sections so they make a little more logical sense (I hope).

I'm tremendously interested in feedback, comments, and criticism of the document, so feel free to chime in with your impressions of it.