The Hand of Fate

Game Masters
Game Information

Game Description

This will be a largely mystery based game set in Sharn. There are some important experimental rules to facilitate PbP play. Looking for 4-6 players

'Litterbox' gameplay
This is basically a sandbox in which the players get to make their choices and follow their own goals. However, I as the DM, will be adding droppings to the sandbox on occasion. Some can (and SHOULD) be avoided for a while, but will need to be dealt with eventually or things will get very bad.

Open Secrets and Player knowledge.
All the threads will be open for viewing. If you want to be a spy for a criminal organization that is fine, but I won't be going to any special lengths to keep that secret from the other players. By contrast, I expect everyone to keep their player knowledge separate from their character knowledge. If you want to push the adventure towards something that you know about as a player, that is fine, but do it logically and don't call out "Snape Killed Dumbledore!". Also keep in mind that I am a big fan of the unreliable narrator, so don't take anything an NPC says for the word of god. Likewise, there are all kinds of magic effects that make seeing is believing unreliable as well.

Narrative Gameplay
I am not a big fan of dice rolling. So get a feel for your character, how he acts, what he's good at, and roleplay him as such. If you want to expound extensive religious practices in Karrn, then please have the appropriate knowledge skills to back it up. Or just make up stuff and be an unreliable narrator. This has more to do with being a responsible player. Typically, I'll just include a private note to you if some clue is important, but not well known. I'll do my best to set the scene, but it is also within the player's prerogative to add logical aspects to the scene. Likewise interaction with innocuous NPCs can be done without DM intervention. If it moves the narrative along, I'm generally quite liberal.

Multiple characters

  1. Each player may have two characters, one 'detective' and one 'brute'
  2. For the most part, everyone will be playing their 'detective' roles for character interaction. At some point, combat may be necessary, at which point the Brute Squad is called in for combat.
  3. You may only play one character at a time with substitutions allowed at logical scene breaks.
Character creation guidelines
Character creation GuidelinesAttributes: 32 point buy
Level: 3
Races: Eberron and SRD basic races (ask about others but need to be likely to be in Sharn, Ideally they should also be protected by the Galifar Uniform Code of Law).
Class: Eberron and SRD basic clases
Hit points: Max at 1st level, max/2 + 1 for each level thereafter. I.e. D10 = 6 hp.
Starting equipment: 2700 gold value equipment.
Remaining cash after equipment gets divided by 10 as actual available money.
Note for spellcasters:
Wizards get spells (in book) as per standard rules. Non-standard (named) spells or additional spells beyond the basic rules cost 100gp/spell level. i.e. 'all' 0 level, 3 + INT BONUS 1st level spells, 2 1st level spells at 2nd level, 2 (1st or 2nd level spells) at 3rd level.
Wizards w/ scribe scroll can start with scrolls that they personally made for half price.
Wizards and Sorcerers with Familiars cost 100 gp.
Clerics have prayer books similar to arcane casters. They're selection to spells is similarly restricted (based on wisdom bonus rather than intelligence). Clerics automatically get access to their domain spells in addition to those they would normally receive. Beyond that, additional or non-standard spells cost 100gp/level.
Backstory: I need an elevator pitch level story about how and why your character is helping out Iyanna ir'Talan, the Watch Commander in Tavick's Landing, Sharn.
Brute Backstory: You do not need your Brute character immediately, and I advise to hold off until you meet the rest of the party. Brutes can be less friendly with the Watch but still need a reason to work with/for the detective group. When/if there is a clear need for a fight, they will be called in like a swat team.

The Hand of Fate
Hand of Fate rules
  1. This mechanic replaces action points/destiny points/whatever.
  2. Each PLAYER will be dealt a poker hand of 5 cards and then two cards will be dealt for plot.
  3. Each PLAYER may discard up to 4 cards or play the hand that fate dealt them.
  4. The DM may either take those discards for his hand or discard any in excess of 5. If short, the DM draws to 5 total cards.
  5. New hands will be dealt with each new case/adventure
  6. The two plot cards remain in play for the entirety of the case and dictate some of the starting conditions.
  7. Players may play some of their cards at the start to modify these starting conditions. Once played, they become part of the plot hand and remain active for the remainder of the case.
  8. Once the initial conditions are set, game play continues normally until someone wants to play the hand of fate. At that point, he plays a card, or multiple cards, in conjunction with the plot hand in order to get a 'winning' hand and thus change events. Other players or the DM can play cards to either add to the hand or counter it. If you win the hand, you win narrative control over the situation.

Face Value:
  1. You may play any numbered card (2-10 or Ace as 1) to modify a single action roll. So attack rolls, damage, effects, skill tests, etc. It is an immediate effect.
  2. You may play any face card (J, Q, K) to change a single roll to maximum effect. Thus an attack roll could be made a natural 20. It could be maximum damage or effect. Again, this is an immediate effect.
While the face values can be used for immediate effects, the suits represent lasting effects. If a card is played where the suit has meaning, the effects will last through the encounter.
  1. Spades/swords: This represents combat. A value card grants its bonus to the user for the duration of the encounter, while a face card can be used to either disable/remove a foe from combat or save yourself from a similar fate. Ex: play a Queen of Spades to make yourself immune to the effects of a medusa's gaze for the duration of the encounter.
  2. Diamonds: This represents money or equipment. Value cards represent the number of uses while face cards represent more durable items. While you always get to use equipment you brought with you, diamond cards allow you to use stuff you hadn't planned for. Example: a 2 of diamonds might produce a pass (which you just won) for you and a guest into an exclusive club that you need to get into. Note that these are used by characters with magic item creation feats.
  3. Clubs: This represents interactions with people. Value cards indicate the bonus to your interaction tests you make with others while face cards can push their attitude in your favor directly.
  4. Hearts: This relates to your health. Values add 10% per point to your HP for the duration of an encounter. This can either be temporary bonus granted at the beginning, or healing done after the fact. Face cards can be used to heal all HP or cure one affliction. This is generally done by way of calling in a favor from a healer, either before or after the encounter. Healing would generally cost money otherwise.
Combining cards:
  1. You can play multiple cards in one hand, the effects depend on their relationship to each other. A pair might allow you to add the bonuses for a single test, or apply the appropriate suit for lasting effect plus the added bonus.
  2. You can play a card to cancel someone else's or improve another's hand. Example: Player throws down the 10 and 3 of spades, hoping for massive combat bonus, DM throws down a 10 of hearts to cancel it but the 3 is still in effect.
  3. You can also play off the plot hand, although those bonuses extend to everyone involved. So, if the plot hand is a 3H and 9D, you could play a 3C off the 3H and everyone gets back 30% of their hitpoints. Or you could play the 5H off the 3H and everyone gets back 80% of their hit points. Once a card is played on a plot hand card, that plot hand card is locked up for the duration of the encounter.
  4. When you start playing Full Houses and flushes, the effects can be truly staggering.
  1. If you are simply using the card for a one off effect/bonus, you can simply cash it in and be done with it.
  2. If you are playing off a suit or multiple cards, interrupt game play with an ominous "The Hand of Fate Intervenes..." and the 'minigame' will get played out to determine narrative control. If you are unsure of how far you can push narrative control, a private message can be set up to discuss it.
  3. It will be player's responsibility to provide the associated fluff to describe how and why Fate intervenes. I am more inclined to allow either mundane explanations (particularly for low value hands) or outlandishly cool explanations (for high value hands) than any cliche event. A choir of angels descending from Syrania and rooting you on one time might be cool ONCE, but don't go back to that well too often.
  4. Should a player over extend his narrative game play (rare), DM reserves the right to claim a card as payment/punishment.
  5. Keep your cards. Hands that you are able to put together at the end of the case will be used to dictate rewards.

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