Thursday, March 31, 2016

Designer's Notes: Eastern Adventures

I'd originally conceived Eastern Adventures as a one-stop-shopping for Dungeon Fantasy GMs who wanted to run games in "the Mysterious East", but that quickly became nothing but wishful thinking. I was effectively trying to squeeze three books into one article. That just was not happening. I quickly trimmed my outline down to templates, races, a few power-ups, and a couple of new rules. Everything else would have to be created by the GM or wait for another article. Like many of my "wholecloth" articles I did very little research (mostly double-checking to make sure the race names I was using was appropriate). I spent a total of 36.5 hours writing it, 24 hours revising it, and 13 hours editing it. I also decided early on to just write what I thought was needed and cut stuff later (or let Steven decide what could go). This gave me a bit of freedom I rarely allow myself (would-be and new writers repeat after me: "Meeting wordcount meets deadline."). I knocked it out fairly quick overall and was rather pleased by the result. I would have prefered to be able to cover some new monsters, but as I said, that wasn't happening. (Though I've covered a couple of eastern mythology monsters in my Triple Threat series.) I didn't get as much chatter I was would have liked during my initial peer review, but I'm hoping that was do to "this is near perfect" versus anything else.

I also really wanted to cover ninjas in my work to some degree, but again I just didn't have room so I ended up cutting the two power-ups I'd made for them and put in some other stuff. Enough of my rambling, here's some outtakes.

New Combat Perk

Chi Aptitude
Prerequisites: Chi Training, Will 12+, and a related Talent.

Pick one talent you already possess that could be thematically labeled to a chi skill you already have. For example, Craftiness would be a viable talent for Invisibility Art or Light Walk, but not Power Blow or Kiai. Alternatively, the GM may allow "Unusual Background (Trained by a Martial Artist) [5]," which is used instead of an already present talent. Each level of this perk (up to six) provides a +1 to rolls to use it just as if the perk were a talent. If you have Chi Talent, the bonus to any one skill may not total more than +6, but you don't need to have another talent or advantage. You may have only as many levels as you have of you have in your base talent. Add the level to your chosen chi skill rolls. This perk comes in levels. In effect, such perks extend Psychic to aid additional skills in accordance with Smooth Talent Cost (Power-Ups 3: Talents, p. 25).

New Ninja Power-Ups

3/7/11/15/17/27 points
This ability is leveled. The first level gives you a +1 to all Vision rolls and allows you to ignore  -1 in combat or vision penalties due to darkness, provided there is at least some light. This latter part does not work in complete darkness, you must have some light. Each additional level after the first (up to five) gives you another +1 to Vision rolls and lets you ignore another -2 worth of penalties. Level six allows you to see in the dark as if you had the Dark Vision advantage, but you must make a Perception roll every minute you use it. Additionally, while you have your Dark Vision advantage “on,” you suffer a penalty to all vision rolls according to the following chart:

      Brightness Penalty    Example
     -10                                Mid-day with no nearby shade.
     -9 to -7                         Early morning or late afternoon.
     -6 to -4                         Full daylight in the shade.
     -3 to -1                         Early morning or late evening

Statistics: Level one is Acute Vision 1 (Ninja Training, -10%) [2] + Night Vision 1 (Ninja Training, -10%) [1]. Additional levels are one level of Acute Vision (Ninja Training, -10%) [2]  and two levels of Night Vision (Ninja Training, -10%) [2]. Level six removes all levels of Night Vision and adds Dark Vision (Requires Per Roll, -5%; Ninja Training, -10%; Temporary Disadvantage, Dayblindness, -10%) [19], for 10 points. “Dayblindness” is Nightblindness in reverse (p. B144).

Light Step
7 or 20 points
Prerequisites: Catfall, Perfect Balance, and Ninja Talent 1+ or Catfall and Ninja Talent 3+

Ninja are trained to quickly adapt to their surroundings, especially their footing. At level 1 this requires the ninja to take 1 minute standing on the terrain or able to see it to adjust to it. This gives them Terrain Adaptation for one specific type of unstable terrain. Level 2 means the ninja doesn’t need to take any time to do this and it works for all unstable terrain types.

Statistics: Slotted Cosmic Power 1 (5) (Ninja Training, -10%; Trait-Limited, Terrain Adaptation only, -50%; Immediate Preparation Required, 1 minute, -30%) [7] or Terrain Adaptation (Active, +300%’ Ninja Training, -10%) [20].


  1. Ooo I like the cat-eyes. Darkvision with a downside, mmm.

  2. This article goes great with my DF wuxia themed game

    1. I wish I could have written more. If it's received well enough I might be able to write a sequel. :-)