Saturday, June 18, 2016

playing cute

My players tend to be murderhobo-y because that is the game they want to play and that is the game I run for them. However, I've been thinking about what it would be like to run a game that is still about digging around in strange places underground, still about fighting monsters and taking their stuff, still about most of the things that makes Dungeons and Dragons what it is, but is centered more around community and building stuff. I've been chewing this over since I read Ryuutama, which has a lovely aesthetic and a lot of good ideas, but isn't something I'd probably want to play. Scrap Princess's G+ post here had me digging up my old notes and thought on the matter.

Anyway, here are a handful of systems you can graft onto most editions of Dungeons and Dragons to make it a little more Miyazaki and a little less Leiber.

from riviera: the promised land
All characters get a family name, and 6-7 family names make up the majority of the random table. If a PC shares a family name with an NPC and can explain how they're related (Oh, your mom is Anabel? She's my aunt's favorite cousin), they get a +1 or +2 bonus to their Reaction Roll.

Each monster gets a table of Sentiments, things that trigger Morale checks and make them want to talk instead of fight. Each Morale check requires a novel appeal to a monster’s Sentiment–if your display of bravery didn't win the dragon’s respect, you have to prove your bravery in some other way. Monsters of the same time within an encounter/lair share the same Sentiment, though appeals to a group’s Sentiment is mitigated or temporary unless you successfully appeal to the group’s leader.

  1. Their parents have gone missing, and they're afraid and angry. They make a Morale check when confronted with kindness and authority.
  2. They don't have any food and they're half-starved. They make a Morale check when given a gift of food.
  3. Humans desecrated the Goblin Shrine. Make a Morale check when greeted with a sincere apology and display of respect.
  4. Something has been disturbing their sleep. Whispered condolences and a promise to look into the problem trigger a Morale check.
  5. They have a new leader who has driven them to the life of the marauding monster. They make a Morale check when sternly admonished or told to stand up for themselves.
  6. They have been cursed into a frenzy. Make a Morale check when blessed with a prayer to return them to their senses.

from etrian odyssey
from etrian odyssey
You gain XP for spending you gold or using goods you retrieve, loot, or steal on your adventures.
  • For every gold piece you invest in your village, you gain 1 experience point. Constructing new buildings, improving existing ones, paying villagers to plow fields all count. You only need to invest value, not actual gold coins; if you retrieve 500 gp worth of lumber on a logging expedition and use it to build a house, you gain 500 XP even though coins never changed hands.
  • For every gold piece you spend on behalf of villagers, you gain 1 experience point. Buying medicine, purchasing gifts, hiring tutors, going on dates, throwing parties and festivals all count. Again, you get XP for value, whether it is in gold coins or goods; hiring a doctor for Auntie provides XP, but if you steal 500 gp worth of feast supplies from the Bandit King and throw a party, you get XP, too. (Credit to +Alex Chalk for this idea)
It costs 1,000 gp to upgrade a building for the first time, and doubles every time thereafter.

General Store
  • Only sells rural area items on the Miscellaneous equipment list from the LotPF handbook. 1 in 6 chance of a given item being in stock, and only 1d4 will be available. Their stock changes every week, since the caravan arrives each Monday and villagers buy and sell goods there. You can put in a special order for 1 item each week and they'll have it in by the next, but it costs double.
  • Each upgrades improves the chances of stocking a particular item by 1 in 6.

The Inn
  • Staying at the Inn during downtime lets the party reroll their maximum HP.
  • Each upgrade allows a player to reroll one of their character's hit dice.

The Tavern
  • A night of drinking at the Tavern allows players to attract 1d6-4 potential hirelings. Use the LotFP process to determine interest and loyalty.
  • Each upgrade gives a +1 bonus to the number of potential hirelings.

The Farms
  • As the village prospers more and more, villagers can give more more stuff without needing payment. For each upgrade to the Farms, you can get an additional free use of a service or facility.
  • The blacksmith only makes weapons and armor on request, and each piece takes a week. Initially, the blacksmith can only forge weapons that deal d6 damage or less and make armor with 14 AC or fewer.
  • Each upgrade allows the blacksmith to forge weapons that deal 1 die step more and make armor with an additional point of AC.

Witch's Cottage
  • The witch has a 1 in 6 chance of curing a disease, poison, or curse per week of care. Some particularly dangerous poisons, diseases, or curses will also require rare or expensive ingredients.
  • Each upgrade improves the witch's chance of successully curing a poison or disease or lifting a curse by 1 in 6.

The Wandering Devil Merchant
  • The Devil Merchant has a 1 in 6 chance of being in town each week. He has a 1 in 6 chance of having a scroll of a given magic-user spell, with a penalty equal to the spell's level. his stock changes out every time he visits town.
  • Each upgrade improves the Devil Merchant's chance of being in town and having a given scroll by 1 in 6. 

from final fantasy tactics a2

There is a 1 in 6 chance that a Downtime Events will occur each week. Should probably be d100, but this is just proof of concept. Based off of the Hazard System.

Downtime Events
  1. A random villager becomes very ill, beyond even the curatives of the town witch. Their cure requires an herb found only the peak of a nearby and monster-infested mountain.
  2. The River God has become restless, and the stream that runs through town has been flooding worse and worse. Venture to his shrine in the nearby Caverns to find out what troubles him.
  3. The Lunar Festival approaches and bandits attacked the caravan that was bringing goods for the sacramental feast. Retrieve the ingredients before those slobs eat them all and anger the Moon Goddess.
  4. Harvest is almost here and the goblins know it. See if you can prevent them from attacking so that the village can get its crops harvested and safely stored.
  5. A random villager has gone missing, with evidence that they were taken by the local gang of werewolves. Save them!
  6. The local bandit gang has sent a messenger, hat in hand. Quite a few of them are frighteningly sick, and they wonder if you'd be willing to send help?


  1. I love the xp for gold spending, and downtime ideas :D

  2. I'm just trying to imagine how the Full Frontal Nerdity gang would wreck this beyond all hope. :D