Monday, April 5, 2010

TnB RPG: Rules for Campaign Intermissions

Not a lot of time to chit-chat this morning, but I did want to continue posting Tankards and Broadswords RPG material this week, so I'm presenting you with the material for handling what I call Campaign Intermissions.

Since the TnB RPG is designed to be Episodic, meaning there can be some indeterminate amount of time in between adventures, I wanted there to be an opportunity for the GM to use this "Intermission" to the advantage of the campaign. After all, just what has your PC been up to in the month since the last adventure? Maybe they've just spent the time drinking and carousing, but perhaps they've been out and about getting into all sorts of shenanigans on their own, and this can provide fuel for the next adventure.

Of course, running Tankards & Broadswords as an Episodic campaign isn't a requirement; you could play a rolling narrative campaign using these rules just fine, and ignore these Intermission rules completely. But I think that, like Carousing and Brawling, they offer the chace for another "game within a game".

So here's the draft copy for the Campaign Intermission Rules:

Intermission Rolls

At the beginning of each session, each player has the option of making an Intermission Roll for their PC. This is not a mandatory roll, but players should be encouraged to do so - if not, the GM should feel free to make up whatever dull, dreary, and even embarrassing story they wish to cover the time between now and the last adventure.

Each player rolls 2d and adds the results, then consults the chart below. If the result isn't acceptable to the player, the player may pay out one Character Token from their PC's total in order to get a re-roll, but the re-roll result sticks even if it is less advantageous.

If the result is negative (noted with an asterisk), and the player elects to leave it and NOT re-roll the result, the PC gains a free Character Token as a reward for willingness to accept a little bit of misfortune in the name of adventure. Negative results that are the result of a re-roll do NOT provide a free CT - the negative result must be one the player could have refused (but didn't) in order to gain the Token; consider it a reward for being a "good sport".

Intermission Roll Results

02: Ally

03: Information

04: Renown

05: Plunder

06: Windfall

07: Proficiency

08: Bauble

09: Pauper*

10: Infamy*

11: Injury*

12: Nemesis*

Details for each of the above are as follows:

The PC begins the adventure with a stalwart henchman (or henchwoman). Perhaps this person is a comrade traveling with the PC, or a recently acquired apprentice or squire, or someone who feels they owe the PC a debt to be repaid through service. The henchman won't last beyond the current adventure – either fate and circumstance will draw the PC and their ally apart, or the allies' debt will be repaid, or any other reason the GM can think of. The ally will be drawn up by the GM, but in general the henchman will have skills that are of use to the PC, and the allies' motives and general personality will be compatible with the PC.

The PC starts the adventure with some piece of interesting information - be it a mysterious letter, a map (possibly to treasure, or perhaps a floorplan), a strange book or scroll - the information can come in many forms. The GM will provide the information, but it's up to the player to decide what to do with it. The material might be beneficial or it might be hazardous to the PC's health, but it won't necessarily be apparent which is the case - perhaps not until the PCs act on the information.

At the beginning of a PC's character creation, all PCs have a Renown of 0 (there is more on the Renown rating in the character creation and campaign play rules). With this result, the PC will automatically acquire a Renown Status of 1 if their original Status was 0. Otherwise, the player will make a 1d/X+ roll, X = the possible new Renown Status. Success means the Renown increases by 1. This means the highest possible Renown achievable by this method is 6.

With this result, the PC will automatically acquire a Wealth Status Value of 1 if the original Value was 0. Otherwise, the player will make a 1d/X+ roll, X = the possible new Wealth Value. Success means the PC's Wealth increases by 1. This means the highest possible Wealth Value achievable by this method is 6.

With this result, the PC will automatically acquire a skill rating of 1 in a randomly chosen skill if the original rating was 0 (unskilled). Otherwise, the player will make a 1d/X+ roll, X = the possible new Skill Rank. Success means the Skill increases by 1. This means the highest possible Skill Rank achievable by this method is 6. To determine which skill might be affected, roll 1d; If the result is a 1 or 2, it's a Warrior skill; 3 or 4 is a Rogue skill; 5 or 6 is a Scholar skill. Then roll another 1d and consult the skill list (i.e., a Warrior list result of 2 is the Command skill).

The PC has acquired some item of great value, be it a gem or other piece of jewelry, a finely crafted ornamental weapon, a rare artifact, or some other “treasure object”, the nature of which is entirely up to the GM, as is the manner in which the PC acquired it (theft, luck, divine intervention, gambling winnings, etc.). The player is free to do what they like with the bauble, but there can be consequences depending on how it was acquired and who it originally belonged to. For example, if the PC stole the bauble, it's owner might be looking to get it back. If it was won through a game of chance, the PC might be accused of cheating and the owner could be seeking to “win it back” with a knife in the dark.

Misfortune has struck the PC just before the adventure, and for any number of reasons, the PC has nothing but their Signature Gear, and cannot roll for starting Treasure Tokens at the beginning of the adventure (and gets nothing from their Wealth Status, either). If the other PCs are feeling generous (ha!) they can provide the pauper PC with some money, but otherwise the PC will have to make do with scrounging, theft, charity, or some other method of acquiring funds (if they feel the need - sometimes traveling light can be very freeing...).

At the beginning of a PC's character creation, all PCs have an Infamy of 0 (there is more on the Infamy Status in the character creation and campaign play rules). With this result, the PC will automatically acquire an Infamy Status of 1 if their original rating was 0. Otherwise, the player will make a 1d/X+ roll, X = the possible new Infamy Status. Success means the Infamy increases by 1. This means the highest possible Infamy achievable by this method is 6.

The PC's life must have taken a turn for the dangerous before the current adventure, because they are still nursing a minor injury – either an older wound that's not quite healed yet, or a newly acquired injury suffered just before the adventure starts. Either way, the PC is down 1d Health at the start of the adventure. The PC can seek medical attention and/or attempt to treat the injury themselves (either through the Healing skill, purchased herbal medicines, or the use of the Meat and Drink! special rule), but until the wound is treated or heals naturally (if the adventure lasts that long), treat the Health loss as normal.

The PC starts the adventure with a hateful enemy close on his (or her) tail. This person could be pursuing the PC for a good reason, or they could be completely misguided (perhaps the PC was framed?), but the result is the same – the nemesis is after the PC and looking to either capture and “bring them to justice” (whatever that might entail), or simply to kill the PC outright (“Dead or alive, you're coming with me!”). The nemesis will usually be pretty competent – at least as capable as the PC, if not more so in some areas – and might have a small retinue of henchmen (usually a band of hired brutes, thugs, etc.). The motives behind all this are entirely up to the GM to decide, just as the solution is entirely up to the PC.

Optional Rule: Intermission Period Rolls

By default, the Intermission period between adventures is left purposely vague - it could be days, it could be weeks, it could even be months or longer. The GM doesn't need to define it if they don't want to, but some GMs and some players might want to have an idea of how much time has passed in order to better determine the seasons, or perhaps to sync with events the GM has running in the background. In any event, if the GM wants to keep the Intermission Period random but have some idea of its actual length, the chart below has been provided. At the beginning of each new adventure, the GM rolls 2d and determines the period of time that has passed since the last adventure.

2d Result

2 1d Days, 0 CT, Intermission Roll on a 1d/6+

3-4 2d Days, 0 CT, Intermission Roll on a 1d/4+

5-6 1d Weeks, 0 CT, Intermission Roll on a 1d/2+

7 2d Weeks, 0 CT, 1 Intermission Roll

8-9 1d Months, 1 CT, 1 Intermission Roll, 2nd on a 1d/6+

10-11 2d Months, 2 CT, 1 Intermission Roll, 2nd on a 1d/4+

12 1 Year +, 3 CT, 1 Intermission Roll, 2nd on a 1d/2+

As noted, the roll also provides a suggested number of Character Tokens and possible Intermission Rolls to represent the PC's experiences over that period of time. Even if the GM doesn't want to make rolls on the chart but determine their own time frame for the Intermission Periods, the chart can be used as a guideline to gauge the number of CTs and rolls the GM can give out to the PCs.

So, there you have them. Questions and comments are, as always, welcome.


Brisbe said...

The only thing that pops out at me--Windfall doesn't seem to be on your list? What is it, exactly?

Badelaire said...

Aha - thanks for catching that.

Windfall is essentially the opposite of Pauper; you double the result of your 2d + Wealth roll at the beginning of the adventure to see how many Treasure Tokens you have to use.

G. Benedicto said...

Badelaire, this is great stuff! Definitely making use of it in my upcoming campaign. Thanks!

Astronut said...

I like this, it gives some feel for a PC's ongoing life without having to play out every day of their lives (ahem, Vampire!) - and it's fairly transferrable to other games. The idea that enemies, injuries and other misfortunes might come and go from session to session would keep complacent players on their toes...

There should be some room to customise for different character types (or even individual characters) - magic users might run the risk of a magical mishap, priests could fall afoul of an interchurch vendetta. I'd let creative players invent their own stories to explain the situation - just tell them the current status!