Category Archives: Advice

Fixing XXVc

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First things first: XXVc is not necessarily a broken system. I am sure there are GMs and players who are perfectly fine with the system. But for me and my group it doesn’t really work that well.

I also have to admit that I was in a pretty bad mood in the last few days. My old friend the black dog (aka depression) came for a visit and definitely overstayed its welcome. After a good night’s sleep things look already way better and I am more open to find solutions instead of throwing everything out.

I also want to thank everyone who posted their comments, advice, and ideas on Google+, Facebook, and here on the blog. Your comments really helped to put things into a perspective and gave me a shove into the proper direction. I want to send out special thanks to Joseph Wolf who basically came up with the solution I might be using.

So, here’s what I want to do:

  • Out with the skill system
    Undoubtedly XXVc skill system has its issues. Several people have recommended replacing it by Peryton’s system for attribute checks and knacks.

    This system is actually pretty close to what D&D 4e and 5e used (when I am not mistaken). To make a successful check your roll plus an ability score modifier plus your level divided by three must be equal or higher than a difficulty number set by the GM. Knacks are skills you have some talent for. When you have a knack for something, you use your whole level as modifier, not just one third.

    You also don’t write down all possible skills, but only the ones you have a knack in. That is simple, should work well enough and is easily implemented. Instead of using XXVc’s skill list I will probably resort to more broad categories. The Rocketjock will probably get a knack for Piloting, the Medic a knack for Medicine etc.

  • Action points
    The game’s lethality is an issue. Not only does it frustrate my group, it also doesn’t fit the game’s theme. Action points could alleviate this problem. Each player character starts the game with a number of action points they can use to make re-rolls, avoid damage, max out damage, etc.

  • Faster Healing
    Healing in XXVc is a big issue. Joseph recommended borrowing a rule from Barbarians of Lemuria which let’s the characters heal half of the HP lost in the last combat when resting. I will also have to come up with new healing abilities compatible with the Peryton skill system.

    OR I could grant the Medic class a kind of “spell-like ability” which allows them to heal without making any kind of roll. On 1st level they start with Cure Light Wounds and on higher levels they get access to better healing abilities. The Medicine knack can then be used for things like First Aid, Diagnosis, Medicine-related knowledge checks, etc.

  • Adding more technological gadgets
    There are a lot of things missing from the game. As I wrote in my last post, there should be magnetic boots which help with failed “Maneuver in Zero-G” checks, some kind of “healing potion”, and other technological wonders which help to make the game more futuristic and which make things easier for everyone at the game table. I also want to implement some kind of artifact equipment (like special weapons and armor) to spice things up a bit. In the coming weeks I will then add more stuff as needed. If the players think they need it, and if I think it fits the setting, I’ll add it in.

This sounds like a lot of work, but actually it shouldn’t be that bad. I’ll present these fixes to my players tonight. I am really glad that I was able to wrestle down the dreaded black dog, come up with some possible solutions for my problems (with your help) and move things forward instead of giving up! Thanks again!

Traveller on CD-ROM

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Even though Traveller is almost as old as D&D it never had something similar as the Old School Revolution/Revival community. I guess one of the reason is that even today the original editions of Traveller are still easily available. You don’t need to rely on clones if you have the real deal just a few clicks away.

In my opinion the best way to get your hands on Traveller material is to order one of the CD-ROMs directly from Far Future Enterprises. At the time of this writing they sell about 20 different CD-ROMs which contain basically a whole game line each. Each CD sets you back $35 plus shipping and is chock full with stuff. Aside from Classic Traveller you can get basically every edition of Traveller released (aside from Traveller Hero) and including other GDW games like Twilight 2000, Dark Conspiracy, and 2300AD.

Today the postman brought me the Classic Traveller CD-ROM I ordered a while ago and it contains all the core rules, supplements, adventures, double adventures, alien modules, modules and boardgames released by GDW for Traveller back in the day. Even the original little black books from 1977 are included.

Some promo stuff included with the CD-ROM

A whole gaming universe on one CD-ROM

By the way, if you order 4 CD-ROMs from them, you only have to pay for three! Please note that the $35 rebate is a manual process, so you have to pay the full price first, but then Mr. Marc Miller himself will refund you $35 as soon as the CD-ROMs are shipped.

The scan quality of the PDFs varies a bit, but overall the quality is very good. And it’s definitely more cost effective than trying to get all Traveller books on eBay. Selling RPGs on CD-ROM might be considered a bit weird by some, especially in this day and age, but it works and is definitely the easiest way to get your hands on a lot of gaming material for less than the price of a contemporary core rulebook.

UPDATE: I just had another look at the FFE site and noticed that Traveller HERO and GURPS Traveller are now available on CD-ROM as well!

Buck Rogers XXVc: Gear Quality

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Before I even knew that pen & paper RPGs existed I was a fan of computer RPGs like SSI’s Gold Box Series. My two favorite games from that series were actually the games based on TSR’s Buck Rogers XXVc game.

While doing some research in preparation to next week’s game I watched some “Let’s Play” videos of the first game in the series: Countdown to Doomsday. There I noticed a something which is missing from the pen & paper game: gear qualities (or it’s not mentioned in any of the books I own).

Gear qualities are basically the “magic weapons and armor” of the Buck Rogers game. Standard weapons have a +0 to hit and a –0 to AC. So far so good. Martian weapons on the other hand are +1 to hit and –1 to AC. I think you get the drill. So if you want to provide your players with a particular useful piece of treasure you can make use of this. I’ve added a table of the various Gear Qualities available in the Countdown to Doomsday game below.

AC to hit
Standard -0 +0
Martian -1 +1
Venusian -2 +2
Mercurian -3 +3
Lunarian -4 +4

You can use something similar in your D&D games as well. If you don’t want to hand out boring longswords +1 or daggers +2, think of more descriptive terms fitting your game world. For example Imperial plate mail sounds way better than plate mail +1, don’t you think?