Thursday, May 19, 2022

Stormbringer - How Are Those Houserules Going

One of the great things about the game I'm running is I am getting both excellent player feedback and seeing when things work or don't. Here are some things I've realized.


To me, the big success was seeing my character generation rules at work, specifically the change to multiplying an attribute to determine starting skill percentage. I asked,

  1. 1) Character generation - Was the increased starting percentages of multiplying an attribute worth the effort, or do you feel the RAW (rules as written) were good enough?

They replied,

"1-I like the multiplying percentages."

"I really like this system. Simple and gives more meaning to stats. There are a couple of unintended consequences though, for example my High Priest has ridiculous language skills (160% I think). And amazing parry at 98% but crap attack at 48% (although this could make sense I suppose). The one thing I don't like though is having 0% in lots of skills. I prefer the RAW where you get at least a base of 10% + modifier in basic skills."

"I also don't like the zero under most skills. Makes no sense in game either really. A base of 10% seems reasonable and gives the chance to improve."

I responded that you might get penalties for difficult actions, so the high skills eat into those. Also, high skill means you're an expert and should roll lest and just know more. Finally, I propose that ant skill where you could conceivably know something you can get the attribute x1% when in a pinch. If you succeed, you start at that level.


I also asked about the Story Mechanics I had proposed:

"2) I've simplified the Description rule to a roleplaying story mechanic for when rolling dice fails, as I described the other day. I've also turned the Life Purpose into an XP system, where forwarding your Purpose will net you mechanical rewards (ie skill points or attribute increases). Do you feel inclined to use either of these? Do you have any experience with story mechanics?"

"2- I want to use both, it's just about figuring out when and where for best effect.

Actually, I've decided to drop the Description rule as it needs more work. As for the Life Purpose, one player has already advanced his goal, and others look to do the same and create more story hooks. So as a sort of XP system, where they get a point to use when they advance their story, it is working well.


Overall, the changes to combat have been positive, and flow so well they are invisible. Letting those with range or higher weapon skill speeds up combat so much more than comparing DEX ranks it is scary. Allowing players to choose the result of criticals has been met with acceptance, and has saved PC lives while taking NPCs out faster.


Not related to my houserules, but theater of the mind has been a hard jump for some. As they put it after the 2nd session,

"I had it that he was blocking the door and we were getting hit from 3 sides. I dragged the door blocker to one side thinking we were going to mob him out of range of the bowman. If I had realised you meant we could just run past him.....

But then I thought he/they would simply follow us in. 

As a player I will learn. As a character I will get even then move on"

"Just on the maps discussion, my view is that there is a difference between a simple map to give people a view on the space they inhabit, and a battle map with a grid designed for tokens. The former can be simple and effective and non intrusive. The latter works for games designed for them, but can feel like you’re playing a TT war game."

  1. As for maps, I agree that pretty and detailed maps are a modern thing and for combat, theatre of the mind works well when both GM and players can describe clearly. However, for elements such as the pacman chase. They have to be almost essential, as we saw

I hate maps personally, but will try to sketch something on Roll20 when needed.


"I like the adversaries to have decent chances to hit but terrible parry % scores to speed up combat. Otherwise it can go on forever!"

I dunno if nerfing NPCs is an answer. I liked the "add 5% to skills every round it drags on", but it hasn't really dragged on yet.


Players were a little bit confused with all my proposals, as I hadn't put them in an easily digestible format and they hadn't read the blog. I'm working on a summary now. As they put it,

"im ok with raising the skill set bonus to that of the attribute just wary of so many houserules that were playing a different game. have a look at Elric! or a later Stormbringer or even Mythras maybe Ted?"

Point taken. I've looked at Myrthas and might steal some ideas.

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