Monday, February 17, 2020

Musings on the New SWADE

Yup, I'm still pouring over the rules but I have noticed a couple of changes I will be making in my home game.


I'm just going to leave the old experience points rules in. It's not that the idea of the GM deciding when heroes level is bad. It's fine, if you have a regular game or granting a new level after every game session.

I'm a gamer of the older variety so running a continual story is difficult as is getting player schedules to match up. So it's hard for me to remember how long it has been since the heroes leveled up. Did I decide they earned half a level last time, or was that the game before (4 weeks ago)? If only there were a way to have my players write down how close to the next level they are.



I used to be really bugged about coming up with a wealth system that bypassed the bean-counting. Turns out, you don't need a system for everything. Common sense works better as an abstract.

No rolls. If it sounds like something your character's wealth could afford, you can buy it. If it's expensive or hard to get, then it's time for some role-play. Nothing is added to the game by telling a player "no, you can't rent a car". If they make a huge payment that pushes their finances, I will just rule that they are tapped out for the rest of the adventure.


The new chase rules are remarkably like a cleaner version of the SWEX chase rules, but I don't like the second deck of cards. Instead, I'll print out a 1x10 grid for chases and a 8x8 grid for dogfights, like these:
I printed 4 of these for a game board.

 I use the action card suits dealt to indicate complications just like in SWEX. Other than that, I use the maneuvers from SWADE.


Skill Changes: I was iffy on these, even working out my own skill list. After a while, SWADE's list grey on me. My proposed changes didn't really outweigh the confusion I would have to suffer with new players who read the book but were unfamiliar to my house rules.

The New Statuses: This does streamline things.

The New Creature Size/Wounds chart: I like that larger creatures gain extra wounds, but I still think that beyond a certain size, a creature has natural heavy armor. Just as a swarm of mosquitoes can't sting a human to death (unless you count poison effects), pistols and rifles aren't going to do anything but annoy whales and dragons. So Huge or larger creatures in my games will have natural Heavy armor. Of course, called shots to the eyes and other vulnerable areas will bypass armor.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

An Issue of Tone...

I've been silent for a while. Part of it is chaotic home life. Part of it is I am still developing Starpunk, now for SWADE. I'm having difficulty gauging how silly I want to make it (leading me to create the meme above.

I'm leaning somewhere between Star Wars Holiday Special and Lilo and Stitch. Honestly, the games usually end up like Stitch, but I have had a few players that want something more "serious". When I do, they still end up playing Stitch.

I'm mulling over publishing Starpunk. I'll need to scrub it. I began this setting using Daring Tales of the Space Lanes. I'll need to scrub out anything that plagiarizes his work.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

3 Days and $4,000 to Go!

Kickstarter Adventure Edition

We are only $4,000 away from the last stretch goal! 3 more days to go!

Can we do it? (Of course we can!)

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Chase Rules version 3 review

Well..that was a thing. It is surprising that instead of tweaking what they had, Pinnacle did a drastic rewrite of the Chase Rules the way they did.

So, I don’t like the Chase cards. The idea that if you get a club for an action card, the chase card you occupy determines what happens seems to add an unnecessary level of complexity that slows things down.

Then there is the Complications themselves. If you are unlucky enough to be on a club when you get a complication, you are at a -4 to your maneuver roll. That’s a heavy penalty and if you fail it gets worse. Failure results in a point of Fatigue and you are still stuck on a club card. If your next action card is another club, you are trying to get off that club card with a -5! And since “Heroes never die” is in effect and the chase doesn’t end until all the players reach the ninth card...


I was actually fine with v2 of the rules except for the chase tokens. Lose those, put it on a segmented map, and everything worked. Beyond that it just needed some better explanations.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Return to Sleepy Hollow Chase Rules Preview Updated Again!

Updated Linkies!

I'm a little surprised this didn't make their front page news feed on their site. Anyway...

I haven't play-tested it yet but have given it a read through and I have to say that it looks like my previous issues were all addressed! I don't know if my review had anything to do with it or if there was a general outcry but I do like where things have turned.


  • Good: The tokens are gone. Instead GMs deal out 9 cards for the Chase "Track".
  • Bad: Well not really "Bad", per se. But since the number and suit of the Track cards have no bearing on the chase, I would just use blank index cards so any character tokens are easier to read. You can see some visual chaos in their picture example in the adventure.
  • Good: Using cards for the track opens the possibility of creating set obstacles cards like in Pathfinder's Chase Cards if the GM wants.
  • Good: Using cards lets you add more cards to the track if you want the chase to go on longer. Or you can just resolve it at the ninth card.
  • Good: The women have weapons! Everybody has something they can use.
  • Meh: The way that action cards are handled is different. It's good but I didn't have any issues with the other way. Still, it's more in line with character combat in that everyone only gets one action card regardless of vehicle speed, but if your vehicle is faster, you get a bonus to your maneuver roll for changing position.
  • Good: Changing position is a free action, but if you use an actual action you get a bonus to your maneuver roll.
  • Good: They've added complications if a character critically fails their maneuver roll.
  • Bad: Or maybe not so much. Pinnacle included some previews of vehicle combat rules, but they seem to be glossed over as if we are only seeing about half of what is really written. It's not relevant to the chase in the adventure and I'm not certain if they are in a state to play-test (see below).

and finally...

  • Big Bad: The wording on some of these new rules changes/additions is hard to follow. I hope this is just because it's a free adventure that has been reworked in only a few days and that the dialogue in the core book is a lot cleaner and clearer. Still, the Core rules release is only a few weeks away...


I misread how chase complications worked! The suit of the Chase card does matter.
If a character’s ACTION card is a club, then the CHASE card he occupies determines the modifier and the failure result of his maneuver roll. At least that’s what it sounds like from the description. Thanks to Richard Woolcock for pointing that out to me.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Thoughts on Return to Sleepy Hollow and the new Chase Rules

I ran the scenario 3 times. The first time with the rules as written. The second time using the Explorer's Edition of the Chase Rules since it seemed very close to the new rules. And the Third time, well you'll have to read on.

The first time through:

I had a problem with the "0 Barrier". Players and villains start with Chase tokens representing their distance from each other with an abstract 0 point. In other words, if you want the chase to start at a range of two increments, the players get one Chase Token and the Villain gets one Chase token. The "0 barrier" is reached when one side or the other has 0 Chase tokens.

When you race forward to try and catch your prey, you make a riding/driving roll. If you are chasing, you remove one Chase token for a success and another for a Raise until you have no tokens left. You can't go into negative tokens. The only way to catch up to your prey is to drop them backwards with an Opposed riding check.

Now it makes sense that dropping your prey backwards would be harder since he drops backwards relative to everyone chasing him. But it means that you create a rule change once you hit this artificial barrier and I don't know if Pinnacle really intended for that. By the way, if you are at 0 Tokens and your prey is at 5 tokens, you can still force him backward, SOMEHOW.

It felt artificial and gamey to me.

Second time through with Explorer's Edition:

I used markers for each player and villain on a sheet of paper with 10 range increments. I started everyone in the middle, two range increments apart and just moved everyone left according to their rolls. when I ran out of room, I just shifted everyone to the right in relative positions.

We had to drop the rule of "Shaken characters immediately lose two range increments" because they kept shaking the Headless Horseman to drop him off the chart. But there was one thing that worked really well and we applied it on our third run.

Third time through:

I used the markers and the range increment sheet again, but with the new rules. The only thing I changed was I got rid of the Chase tokens and just used the sheet, and there was no 0 barrier.

The game ran smoothly. Nothing felt to off and everyone liked seeing everyone else's relative position during the chase.

Oh, and I made "changing the opponent's position" into a Force Maneuver, meaning you had to be within one Range Increment to attempt it.

Return to Sleepy Hollow has been updated!

Get the latest version. It fixes a few things.

Things that are still a problem:

Father Munroe has no Riding/ Driving skill.

Father Munroe has no Chase Tokens?

The rules don't say if the you have to turn around in the second chase segment and make up any distance your players gained in the first segment. In other words, if you increased your lead against the horseman by 5 Chase Tokens trying to get away in the first segment, are you now 5 Chase tokens behind in the second segment?

And my biggest question on the new Chase rules in general:

To close the distance, I just need to succeed a riding check.
To push the enemy backward, I need to be at 0 Chase tokens and succeed an opposed check.

So if I am at 1 Chase token, and my prey is at 1 Chase token, and I want to close the distance and roll a Raise on my Riding check, do I just move up to 0 and my prey remains at 1 Chase token until the next turn when I make an opposed check? Or does my Raise bring me up one and him back one? It seems like my raise should do something.