Thursday, November 29, 2018

More Migration - Herb & Plant Generator

Here’s another bit of Google+ Content that I threw together a while back and forgot to share here. It's a Herb & Plant Generator that I whipped up based on some scattered notes and previous practices. I'm sure that Rolemaster 2nd Edition's juicy “list of Herbs, Breads, and Poisons” provided some inspiration here. I seem to recall it had some stern admonishments against having only magical sources of healing in your campaign, and since I acquired Character Law years before coming across Spell Law, for the longest time Herbs and Natural Healing were the only systems I had.

In particular, I recommend whipping up a few new plant names to use in descriptions for new regions to give the area some distinctive flavor. If the Lungwattle found sprouting in sunny clearings near creekbeds gradually gives way to Ghoulgrape as you approach the marshes, observant players may pick up on these changes in flora and they can even eventually serve as a subtle navigatory or climatory shorthand. Plus, fantastical worlds often benefit from even the most minor or mundane ornamentation, and developing a custom botanical nomenclature can be a great way to dress the setting.

Originally, I think the plants and herbs generated here were intended to assist with a system for replicating/replacing Cleric Spells (see this post: Cleric Spells Are Herbs). If you have a Ranger-type, Druid, Witch, Elf, or other “Woodland Type” in the party, consider letting them start out with knowledge of a few of these. Although for fun, I would be initially inclined to provide them with only the vaguest notions of side-effects or possibly only partial recipes for proper preparation. Experimentation with systems like this can help foster a neat kind of environmental engagement.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Ford's Faeries: A Bestiary Inspired by Henry Justice Ford

Over on G+ a while back, there was a solicitation for Bestiary entries inspired by the artwork of Henry Justice Ford.

I've loved these illustrations ever since I first read the various Fairy Books I could get my mitts on as as a child.

My contribution is included in the free download here: Ford's Faeries: A Bestiary Inspired by Henry Justice Ford

Looks like a print-on-demand version might be in the works as well!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

By The Way/Beyond The Wall

With the demise of Google+ announced, I’ve been going through some of my older posts and migrating some of the soon to be orphaned content over to my blog.

I’ve created a new page to house some of the Beyond The Wall Playbooks I’ve generated in the past. Beyond The Wall still has one of my favorite Character Generation Systems, and it’s broadly compatible with most flavors of D&D. I enjoy group character generation, and the Playbook system in Beyond The Wall does a lot of heavy-lifting to spur the imagination, handle some basic backstory elements, and even includes some player driven world-building. It’s surprisingly difficult to make it out of character generation without at least a few promising adventure hooks, which makes it ideal for Sandbox play, and players are often more invested in NPCs/Locations they had a stake in creating.

While I was re-doing the layouts of these documents, I came across an old folder with a few more half-finished Playbook ideas, so when I get a chance and if there’s interest, I may go ahead and dust those off and get them finished.

Friday, September 7, 2018

First Level Spell Features - Compiled

An older post of mine seems to be getting some traffic, so I went ahead and compiled my First Level Spell Features into a single PDF document.

Embedded below:


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Review: The Gardens of Ynn


The Gardens of Ynn is now available in print on demand and in PDF on rpgnow. The PDF is currently only three dollars and an exceptional value. Billing itself as “A delightful horticultural adventure for use in old-school roleplaying games” it consists of about 79 pages broken into five sections. I was pleased to discover upon reading that this is far more than just a single, linear adventure, but instead a very fully-fledged and versatile generator that can easily be used to populate several session worth of content. It is easily compatible with the traditional flavors of D&D and the assorted clones/rulesets with only the minimum of modification/conversation necessary, most of which could easily be done on the fly.

The setting presented here is very adaptable, as Ynn is defined as a “perpendicular world” and serves almost as a separate/discrete plane. This makes it very simple to drop into almost any campaign setting and the novel means of ingress and “hooks” provided within the introduction facilitate this use. Ynn’s history and nature is sufficiently fleshed out without becoming overbearingly precise/specific and it could very easily function as a less typical/more flavorful stand-in or whole-cloth replacement for a variety of some of the more traditional/prosaic extraplanar jaunts (it could just as easily be a unique spin on the mythical Otherworld, a darker and more dangerous Fairyland, or even a pseudo-Elemental plane of Florae) in addition to its specified origins. I tend to enjoy the versatility of the ideas a purchase like this can produce, more than static setting information, but the information here is intriguing and far from boring.

The Introduction sketches a light touch on these origins that is further expanded with additional tasty tidbits throughout the work. I enjoy adventures and settings like this that provide “just enough” to whet the appetite and trickle out more information as the reader continues through the content. Always a welcome change of pace from a massive upfront lore-dump that will either be impossible or tedious to adequately communicate to players anyhow. The meat of this section outlines the procedures for the use of the tables that follow, and it was at this point that it started to become clear to me that this wasn’t intended as just a single adventure, but more akin to a toolbox for spontaneously generating interesting locations, events, and encounters that could serve as the backdrop for a myriad of distinctly different forays and adventures within the Gardens.

These procedures function almost like a point-crawl or hex-crawl but dispense with the needs to define destinations in advance or rigidly map. They are simple, elegant, and most importantly easy to follow “on-the-fly.” They implement or generate more of a flow-chart approach than a rigidly bounded map. This is important because of the mutable nature and chaos inherent within Ynn, and pains are taken to stress that attempting to make definitive maps to meticulously navigate the Gardens is largely futile. The points and links generated through these procedures are somewhat ephemeral, only remaining consistent for a single visit, as no two trips to the Gardens need be, or should be identical.

For the verdant, shifting world of Ynn, attempts to define inflexible geography and distance are unnecessary in most instances and this kind of minutia can only seldom prove fun for players in most situations. This puts the emphasis on the act of exploration within the environment rather than cataloging it. When something is fully mapped and explored it becomes known and familiar. The Gardens of Ynn bristle and laugh at these attempts.

This procedure makes navigation less directional and more of a binary player choice of either “Go Deeper” and “Go Back,” relative to a starting point that is defined by a Location. Less choices to contend with = Faster Play, but one should not mistake this for railroading or agency removal. Destinations are points that are defined by Locations (flavored with Details) and a third dimension of “depth” designed to escalate dangers, treasure, and the out-of-the-ordinary. These are not rolled in advance, creating an opportunity to surprise not just the players, but also the Referee. As specific/notable locations are re-rolled/repeated the “map” can link together and doubles back on itself. Navigation uses the resource of time, taking a turn and the players can always opt to “Go Deeper” from a given Location to discover more Locations that branch from the current one.

This section also covers some additional and welcome information on navigating blindly (perhaps when fleeing The Jabberwock or The Questing Beast), when and how to trigger Events, Camping, and Time Passage and Weather within Ynn. Here you will also find some additional background in the form of the structure, some peculiarities with how certain Magics work in the world, and tantalizing sketches of the inhabitants and primary architects of Ynn before reaching the tables used in the navigation procedure.

There are five key tables that reference the following sections of the book and provide handy page numbers for their entries. The first two are used to generate the points/places mentioned above (Location + Detail). Upon entry, and after exploring “deeper” into the Gardens, one rolls on the Location and Details table in order to generates a new point. These rolls are later modified upward based on “depth” to produce more and more chaotic and unusual results the “deeper” players explore. Although I didn’t see it expressly spelled out, it does seem that each “Location + Detail” generates a defined and singular place, and the same Location with a different Detail rolled later could serve as either a distinct/different point, or as a previously visited location that has undergone changes. Not including the possible influence a few “special/notable” locations that can only be found once per expedition, the combinations of rolls on these tables could probably produce over a thousand distinct “places.” Combining these with rolls on the third, Events table, helps to ensure that even doubling back to revisit a known location can still be interesting.

Rolls on the Events table are triggered by exploration turns (time as a resource that needs to be managed), I particularly enjoy how the die used to roll on this table changes based on how thoroughly the players are interacting with a location, with Events that call to Encounter tables more weighted with more frequency to the lower end of the table. To uncover/spark the interesting entries the high end of the table, exploration (and the larger die roll) are necessary. This is a wonderful way to handle these triggers.

The remaining two tables are Encounters, and I appreciate the decision to divide these into separate Daytime and Nighttime tables.  Encounters with some of the inhabitants outlined in the Bestiary are more logically or vastly more exciting to run nocturnally, and the use of the separate Encounter tables almost seems to give the diurnal Gardens a different “feel” than their night-time counterparts. The Garden by Night seems to have an almost-more supernaturally sinister and stygian impression from being surrounded not just by lush, overgrown vegetation but also the claustrophobic indefinites of darkness. During the day one may have to contend with the unnerving ministrations and keening of the Rose-Maidens, but when the night falls, the meme-prone Myconid clean-up crews roam the Gardens in search of valuable compost. Other decidedly nocturnal encounters like the Hopping Lantern and Candle Golem find their rightful place on the appropriate table, allowing the night to provide a separate setting that creates chance meetings that seem very fun and more appropriate to narrate.

The next three sections (Locations, Details, Bestiary) serve as keys for the preceding tables. The Locations and Details get more elaborate treatment, including evocative descriptions and often additional sub-tables or specialized mechanics to further flesh the location out with more specificity. Detail explanations stir the imagination and leave plenty of room for the Referee to either define or leave mysterious the “why” in most cases. Beneath the bushes, more snippets of lore and background for the Gardens and their inhabitants lurks here. My only minor complaint is that it can be somewhat difficult to find a specific Location or Detail without the use of the handy page numbers provided on the referencing tables, as they are intentionally out of alphabetical order. Perhaps including the table number and the table reference here would assist in findability on a flick through?

The Bestiary is wonderful, and I had high hopes with a description of “Moa-sized Peacocks” piquing my interest earlier in the book. I love Moas and I love Peacocks. Combining the two into some sort of resplendently plumed Jurassic Park Velociraptor is inspired, and there’s more where that came from. Each Bestiary entry provides some description and a simple, compact and eminently compatible stat-block for ease of reference. Even some more-familiar monsters show up, but each is given a slightly Ynnian spin by virtue of appearance or even mechanics. The treatment of mechanics for petrification with The Basilisk is particularly nice, and The Idea of Thorns is magnificent.

The final section is chock full of useful tables that can greatly assist the Referee with set dressing (Unusual Flora, Horticultural Styles, Foraged Food), treasure tables (including the ever-helpful “I Search the Body” and its Garden-specific adjunct “I Search the Flowerbed”), as well as a great Rumor table that can help facilitate non-combat encounters and conversations with some of the less-hostile inhabitants (always convenient to have on hand for those favorable Reaction Rolls!).  I found myself greatly enjoying how the “Dreams and Portents in Ynn” table interrelates and calls-back to the rest of the book’s contents, making it incredibly promising for foreshadowing some of Ynn’s mysteries and lethal dangers to the players. These miscellaneous tables are followed by a new Character Class that helps address character death given the capsular nature of adventures in the Gardens and seems like it would be enjoyable to play in its own right without trickling out too many secrets.

The Gardens of Ynn is rounded out with some brief advice on how one particularly aspect of the Garden (the aforementioned Idea of Thorns) might impact a Referee’s larger campaign setting/world. The author has placed this information online here if you would like to get a taste.

I highly recommend the Gardens of Ynn if you’re looking to expand your campaign toolbox to include a useful resource for some potentially perilous and imaginative “planar” jaunts with a decidedly naturalistic bent. One could easily use it as a convenient stand-in or re-skin for the plane that Druid’s visit on their spiritual sojourns, as “what happens when you die from Nymph voyeurism”, or even something akin to Dwarf-Hell or simply exploit the helpful hooks and plop it in “as-is” if you find yourself at the start of a session with little prepared. The choices made concerning the illustrations and art are fitting, of good frequency, and evocative. The heavy hitters of Rackham, Clarke and Beardsley help to convey and inspire the fanciful/fairy-tale qualities, with some of the beautiful Art Nouveau selections hinting at the more subtly sinister other-worldliness of the Gardens throughout.

It’s discrete and versatile enough to drop into any campaign and could easily serve up an evening (or several) of exciting session.  Gardens of Ynn contains a surprising amount of delightful brainfood and inspiration for the current low PDF price of three dollars.

One interesting thing to consider is its use as an alternate route between far-flung locations within your campaign world. In this fashion it could easily become a distinct campaign feature, frequently visited by the players. Just be careful: What happens in Ynn might not stay in Ynn.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Landmark and Encounter Placement within Hexagons


The standard Hexagon can be sub-divided into twelve lozenges/rhombi. This makes it very easy to simply roll 1d12 to place an item within the interior of a hex. The illustration below is numbered 1 to 12 (in a manner evoking the standard clock face) to illustrate this:



Another interesting side-effect of this tessellation is the creation of six additional overlapping Hexagons (each composed of 3 lozenges). These also each form an optical illusion of a cube:

These cubes could be used to accommodate/house larger, lozenge-spanning encounters/landmarks. The “3D” effect almost seems to imply that they could be useful to provide a rough guide/indicator of the highest/lowest points of elevation within a given hex.

This pattern/design was used in floor tiling within the Siena Cathedral in Italy:



I'm fairly sure quilters have been using innovative methods of tessellation to create hexagons for ages. 

This is not the only way to sub-divide a hex into uniform sections (although with 9 subsections, it's a little less useful with the standard dice, but the center sub-hex is interesting, and it's subdivisions can be rotated):


And of course, the more prosaic right-triangle “wedges:”

  
Some of this may go into my Expanded Wilderness Hexes document at some point. Once I finish up the "landmark" tables and polish up some additional wilderness navigation procedures.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Wilderness Hexes - Version 1.0

One Hundred Wilderness Hexes, all linked in a single compiled document:




Current Terrains include: Forest, Mountain, Desert, Swamp and Ocean.

EDIT: Looks like some of the jump links don't really work too well in the embedded version above or when the PDF is opened in certain web browsers. They appear to work in a stand-alone PDF reader though, just make sure to check back for updates!

Drop me a line here if you spot anything odd/misspelled, broken links, or other issues. I'd also love to hear about how this works out at your table if you find it useful or any suggestions! Still contemplating a Printer-Friendly/POD version.

(file under maybe someday: 100 entries for each Terrain type...sitting pretty on a few dozen more Forest/Mountain hexes and I already have a few new Terrain Ideas)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

An Arduin Table

As a lad, I saved up some money and visited a local and quite remarkable used bookstore. It was in the RPG section that I noticed several small yellow stapled booklets with intriguing artwork on the covers. I only had enough lawn-mowing money for three. So, I bought the first, second, and third of what I would later understand to be the Arduin Grimoires.

At the time I was only truly familiar with the most rudimentary basics of D&D as provided by the Holmes Blue Book. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of these new and strange booklets, which seemed to be inherently similar to the D&D I was familiar with, but chock full of completely different terminology and new exotic flavors.

Since complete compatibility between this new information and the ruleset I was already using would have been a daunting task for someone at my tender age, I did whatever any sane young DM would: I started cherry picking things that I found useful and/or interesting to me.

What I had never counted on, was that one table in particular would prove so interesting to my players. Page 7, of Book II “Welcome to Skull Tower.”

My players positively loved rolling on this for new characters and old. Even going so far as to roll on it for NPCs they encountered. Something about the level of additional, occasionally gonzo detail this added really seemed to resonate with them. Even I still have fond memories of the 1st level Bald Magic-User with No belly button and Cyan eyes, that we unanimously decided must have been some kind of vat-created homunculus, or how matching Tree birthmarks made an Elf and Human character implausible “siblings” in a way that would take nearly an entire campaign to flesh out.

I think about this table from time to time. Nowadays, things like eye-color/hair-color and pigmentation are largely left up to the choice of the players, with some more modern PbtA games like Dungeon World going as far as providing a few choices in playbooks for the character’s mien and appearance. Carcosa offers players the option of choosing one of the unfortunately difficult to randomize 13 pigmentations.

I think I’ll bring back the Arduin OPTIONAL CHARACTER APPEARANCE CHART. What’s a few extra d20 rolls during character creation? Maybe I’ll even allow direct rolls on the SPECIAL CHART for what players tend to consider as “Hopeless” characters. Heck, I might even keep it handy on my screen. The results of d20 attack rolls could easily be used to give opponents that one thing that makes them stand-out/memorable. “I’m going to swing my sword again at the Silver Eyed Goblin” etc.

This post would be remiss if it didn’t also address one of Arduin’s more terrible tables from the same volume: pg. 4’s FEMALE ATTRIBUTES CHART. To me, it’s a silly vestigial remnant of a thankfully different time, and never really saw any use at my tables. Even now, I tend to point to it as an example of how unpleasant and unnecessarily repellent the hobby could be in it’s nascency.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Stalwart: A WHITEHACK Character Class


The Stalwart
Level
XP
HD
AV
ST
Slots
Groups
Raises
1
0
1
10
9
1
2
-
2
2,000
2
11
10
1
2
1
3
4,000
3
11
11
1
2
1
4
8,000
4
12
12
2
3
2
5
16,000
5
12
13
2
3
2
6
32,000
6
13
14
2
3
3
7
64,000
7
13
15
3
4
3
8
128,000
8
14
16
3
4
4
9
256,000
9
14
17
3
4
4
10
512,000
10
15
18
4
5
5

T
here is a saying that only The Strong survive, but The Stalwart is a specialist at enduring challenges. Although some problems can be solved more handily by other methods and Classes, The Stalwart is more focused on simply surviving adversity. There will always be more obstacles and challenges to face, and it is better to live to fight another day.

                Stalwart Characters prefer heavier armor types and are adept at donning it efficiently. All Armor types and Shields weights are halved. Some of The Stalwart’s abilities (see below) are less effective when wearing light (less than Chain), no armor, or when not employing a Shield.

This Class receives the same benefits to HP based on high Constitution as The Strong (+1 HP per HD for a Constitution above 13, +2 above 16). Excelling at sustaining and surviving damage, should a Stalwart exercise the Special Combat Option of attempting a Constitution or ST to reduce damage by d6 on a success the damage is completely negated. On a failure, they are still reduced by d6, and instead of being knocked out for two rounds, The Stalwart is only stunned and may take no offensive action on their next turn. Whenever an attack would reduce a Stalwart Character’s HP to 0 or below, the Stalwart may instead opt to destroy their Shield or Armor and remain at 1 HP. This option may be exercised only once per combat.

To populate their Slots, Stalwart Characters have access to the following Defensive Abilities. Each ability is mutually exclusive during a round of combat and can be selected as the character advances:
  1. None Shall Pass – By forgoing any movement on their turn, The Stalwart becomes largely immovable. They receive double-positive rolls on all task rolls/ST associated with avoiding being tripped, shoved, or knocked down. While in this state, they may choose to receive either a +1 AV and +1 Damage or +1 AC.
  2. Hewn from Stone – The Stalwart picks a type of damaging effect (fire, acid, cold, etcetera), all damage from this damage type is halved with a successful ST. Changing the damage type is possible, but only after the character succeeds a ST against the new type of damage and receives a good night’s rest.
  3. Pack Mule – For the purposes of determining the impact encumbrance and carried weight has on The Stalwart’s Movement Rate (cf: pg 16) is always treated as one category better. The character also receives double-positive rolls on Strength rolls to strain.
  4. Shrug it off – Once per combat, The Stalwart may immediately heal double-positive 1d6 HP on their turn with a surge of adrenaline or second-wind. Their natural healing rate also doubles.
  5. Armor Bonded – The Stalwart may sleep and rest in full armor with no penalties. They receive a +1 bonus to AC if wearing armor heavier than Leather. Always on the look out for new and better protection, The Stalwart receives double-positive rolls in identifying, repairing, or haggling for Armor.
  6. Still Kicking – If reduced to negative HP, The Stalwart can opt to continue to remain active and mobile for up to 2 rounds per HD before collapsing and succumbing to the normal rules. Further damage necessitates a ST to remain conscious. When this ability is used, if The Stalwart survives, they must write the Disadvantage “Marked by Death” next to one of their attributes, and this can be evoked for negative-double rolls by the Referee. This disadvantage persists until the character gains a level, and a Stalwart may not be “Marked by Death” more than thrice.
  7. Sticks and Stones – If missed by a Melee attack from a normal weapon, once per battle a Stalwart can choose instead to take 1d6 damage and the weapon will be broken and unusable. If The Stalwart is wearing less than Chain or does not possess a Shield this damage is double-positive.
  8. Shield Master – Any shield used by The Stalwart is doubled in effectiveness (+2 AC), even without a shield, The Stalwart can use improvised objects (tables, chairs, even a secondary adjacent foe) to block attacks and receive a +1 AC). If they forsake their movement, this ability also grants a free attack in the form of a Shield Bash doing d6 damage. Should the bash do maximum damage (6), the shield is damaged or dented and loses effectiveness (-1 AC).
Characters with The Stalwart Class can use any weapon suitable to their Vocation and are also trained to know how to retreat when the tide of battle turns. They do not solicit free attacks when disengaging from combat, even if they turn and move at full speed.

The Charming: A WHITEHACK Character Class


The Charming

Level
XP
HD
AV*
ST
Slots
Groups
Raises
1
0
1
10
6
1
2
-
2
2,000
2
10
7
1
2
1
3
4,000
2+1
11
8
2
3
1
4
8,000
3
12
9
2
3
2
5
16,000
3+1
12
10
3
4
2
6
32,000
4
13
11
3
4
3
7
64,000
4+1
14
12
4
5
3
8
128,000
5
14
13
4
5
4
9
256,000
5+1
15
14
5
6
4
10
512,000
6
16
15
5
6
5

A
lthough traditional Reaction Rolls are eschewed in WHITEHACK (instead supplanted by a Charisma task roll), there is still an opportunity for a Character Class Archetype that overcomes traditional challenges by a new, more socially-centric means. Shunning the direct physical or metaphysical application of force utilized by The Strong and The Wise and instead adopting a completely different angle of approach, Players can utilize The Charming Class to attempt to surmount obstacles without the need for bloodshed or evoking the supernatural. Characters with The Charming Class are seldom well-armed, but often disarming.

Either via showcasing sincere empathy and kind-heartedness, carrying out a crafty con or diabolic deception (more typically, the subconscious blurring of multiple routes), the primary tactic of a Charming character is to develop common ground with an impediment that can be socially engineered and use this bond to arrange for favorable conclusions.

This common ground/bond is represented by sharing an Affiliation Group. When a Charming character has an Affiliation in common with a particular obstacle (usually people, but could also be places, organizations, even things, etcetera) all Charisma task rolls when interacting with the obstacle in order to influence Reaction are double-positive.

Unlike other Classes where Affiliation Groups are relatively static and only swapped or newly acquired through play, a Charming character may use their Slots as a temporary stand-in. These “Slot Affiliations” are more superficial and finite than the standard Affiliations acquired through play or level dependent increases, but they are versatile: When first gained, a d6 should be rolled and the value noted. This value represents the number of times the Affiliation Group can be utilized for task rolls (this includes Charisma task rolls for Reaction). In contrast to standard Affiliations, Slot Affiliations are not associated with a specific attribute (much like The Deft’s Vocation) and can be utilized for double-positive task rolls on any attribute. Each time this is used, reduce the Slot Affiliation value by 1. When the Slot Affiliation value reaches 0, it becomes “inactive” and cannot be used for further task rolls until refreshed.

In order to refresh or gain a new a Slot Affiliation The Charming Character must seek out or encounter a member of the Affiliation Group, and after receiving a positive Reaction, spend at least an hour or so conversing/interacting with the individual. After this socialization is complete, a d6 is rolled once more and recorded for a new Affiliation value. Additional options are provided below in the Section entitled Social Combat.

A Slot Affiliation can represent a mostly superficial, but still useful amount of knowledge concerning the Affiliation Group. Either enough information to successfully impersonate for the purpose of convincing a real member that you share membership, or perhaps a sufficient general understanding of the Affiliation’s cultural cues and social mores. The Charming character must be careful however, for many Affiliations do not take kindly to this intrusion, and if found to not possess a genuine relationship or connection with the Group, it may preclude them from using their Slot for this Group in the future as word within Affiliation Groups can travel quite fast.

Characters with The Charming Class may use any weapon or amour befitting their Vocation without penalty but must take care that their raiment and mien are suitable and compatible with any active Slot Affiliations. Attempting to work their charms within the Tower Wizard’s College in Full plate is bound to draw suspicions in the least, or reduce their Slot Affiliation value by d6 at worst. Should the Slot Affiliation value ever go negative, word has spread of The Charming as an imposter in the ranks, and this Affiliation Group is no longer available as a Slot Affiliation. However, it can be regained as a Level-based Group through play and extraordinary reparations.

Expanding the WHITEHACK Reaction Roll

Reaction Rolls (as a task roll on Charisma) have built in granular modulation of success based on the results. The chain of Successful positive pairs, crits, normal successes, failures, fumbles, and failed negative pairs can also be applied as below:

Chain Result
Reaction
Successful positive pairs
Instant kinship, verging on Charm Person territory
Critical Success
Fast Friends, willing to perform major favors
Success - High
Friendly, minor favors possible
Success - Middling
Cautious but amiable, reciprocal favors possible
Success - Low
Guarded, needs a show of good faith/favor from you
Failures
Open or hidden hostility unreceptive. Combat imminent
Fumbles
Actively antagonistic and inimical, Roll initiative
Failed Negative Pairs
Have at you!  Roll initiative and determine surprise

Option I: Social Combat

To refresh or gain a new Slot Affiliation Group or add a new Affiliation, a Charming character must best a member of the Affiliation Group in question in Social Combat. This is designed to emulate sly inveigling, genuine interest, or other conversational means of confidence. In many ways this is remarkably similar to the Melee combat resolution process:  Task Rolls are made against the target’s Social Armor Class, and must exceed it, while still being successful (under the attacker’s AV). 

Fortunately, The Charming character will usually take the first turn, and as with The Strong, a character with a Charisma attribute of 12+ receives a +1 to their Social AV. A Charisma attribute of 16+ engenders a +1 to Social Damage (base Social Damage is equal to the Charming character’s HD, sans modifiers).

What is Social Armor Class? It’s a numeric representation of how susceptible a target is to friendly or manipulative overtures. Just as with standard WHITEHACK AC, it starts at 0, but often receives bonuses based on the relationship to the target, the present situation, and even recent events. The table below provides some sample modifiers and Base Social ACs:

Social Armor
AC
The presence of other individuals (“Shield”)
+1
The Closest of Friends/Partners, Family (“Cloth”)
1
Romantic partners, casual friends, and close acquaintances…never wronged (“Leather”)
2
Friends/Acquaintances with a sometimes-tumultuous relationship (“Studded leather”)
3
“Friend of a friend” (“Chainmail”)
4
The default for Strangers who share similar cultures/language (“Splint Mail”)
5
Language Barrier, different cultures (“Full plate”)
6

Violence or open hostility, as well as established patterns of wrong-doing/negative influence typically engender negative-double rolls or may be foredoomed to failure at the Referee’s discretion. The above are merely suggestions for only the most common of social situations. For Monsters and such of formidable power, additional modifications may be necessary. Standard AC can occasionally also serve as a baseline here.

In terms of timekeeping, Social Combat rounds are usually longer than their Melee counterparts (closer to the traditional RPG “Turn,” or 10 minutes) reflecting the amount of time it takes to successfully converse and interact. On a successful Social Attack, damage is subtracted from a target’s HD or Level (higher as applicable). It is important to note that a failed Social Attack leaves the Charming character vulnerable to a free counterattack or Social Riposte by the target however (AV 10+HD), and the Charming’s Base Social AC should be treated as 1 (one must let their guard down to produce at even the semblance of sincerity).

When a participant’s Social Damage total exceeds or meets their HD or level, Social Combat ends. If victorious, The Charming may use one of the targets Affiliation Groups as their Slot Affiliation, or “refresh” an existing one by adding d6 to its current value. A new Reaction Roll (double-positive on Charisma, with a newly shared Affiliation Group) can then be attempted to further adjudicate the situation.

If defeated, further Social Overtures on this target will be negative-double, and if already present, the Slot Affiliation value is reduced by d6 until it can be reacquired from a different target. As above the Slot Affiliation value ever go negative, word has spread of The Charming as an imposter in the ranks, and this Affiliation Group is no longer available to the character as a Slot Affiliation. However, it can be regained as a Level-based Group through play and extraordinary reparations.

                For something simpler and swifter, the table below can be used in conjunction with the initial Reaction Roll to determine the disposition of a Charming characters attempts at gaining/refreshing Slot Affiliations:

Chain Result
Charming Bonus
Successful positive pairs
Gain Slot Affiliation at double-positive d6 or +2d6 Slot Affiliation value
Critical Success
Gain Slot Affiliation at d6 or +double-positive d6 Slot Affiliation value
Success
Gain Slot Affiliation at d6 or +d6 Slot Affiliation value
Failures
No Slot gain possible from this target or -1 Slot Affiliation value
Fumbles
No Slot gain possible or -1d6 Slot Affiliation value
Failed Negative Pairs
Lose Slot Affiliation if present, next Reaction with this Affiliation are double-negative