December 19th, 2011


Another excuse for not doing anything

So I'm still sitting round like a slob so I feel I ought to put some self-justification explanation down.

I believe I'm still improving but it's not that fast. We've had bad, rainy weather which doesn't really help - it gets onto my lungs and also stops me walking to work easily. Some of the good days I instead devoted time and energy to a job application; it was mostly painless this time which I found inspiring but again got in the way of exercise. Then there was a team away day for work, which we never get so I was detirmined to go on. Unfortunately, despite taking off the days before and after the tiredness only started kicking in at the end of the day after. I'm very glad I went, but it did take a week or so out of my long recovery and the tiredness involved combined with damp phlegm left me in a cycle of tiredness that took two osteopath treatments to recover from.

On the other hand, getting addicted to a mmorpg temporarily and having too-late nights wasn't particularly sensible and if I had cleared my lungs out earlier it would have helped. I'm in the middle of a 4 day party-fest which is also probably not too good.

The good news is I actually feel up to resuming Tai Chi now, even if I haven't quite got down to it properly. My understanding of my condition in the terms of Chinese Medicine is also improving still which I like - despite horrible phlegm I didn't take my anti-heat herbs which felt like a gamble but proved correct. Unfortunately, I can't remember which formula is for damp phlegm. I'll have to ask on Thursday.

Despite all the self-justifaction above, I still feel lazy or at least undisciplined. I don't think I will ever actually know the truth of it.

Changeling: the Lost - Live rules version 2

Two years ago (wow! I really don't get out much) I posted some rules ideas for live Changeling. Then I tried to implement them and found the Changeling contracts really didn't work at all in a live setting (or most didn't).  So I started again completely.

This time, players have a number of "Feats". They use up feats to perform actions. Since those numbers are low - 4-5 for the typical character, 12-15 for the most advanced - characters will spend most of their time talking which is how it should be. The original plan was that if you wanted to do something you should be able to do it, but I did build in weak defence to attacks and emotional effects. Hopefully since the results of combat will often be obvious quickly violence will be more about threats or a single punch than mob combat.

In game, players will either have one card which they tear to mark using a Feat; or they will have a keyring of cards so they can reveal an individual card before ripping it. One reason for the limitations of the feats is that they are so flexible and powerful that you don't want wacky things happening left right and centre. Players are encouraged to use their abilities imaginatively and faerie-ly.

In downtime, the abilities are used for quests and other actions. I haven't fleshed out that yet, but hopefully you can get an idea from the table below.

Name of feat Represents1 card abilities2 card abilities3 card abilitiesDowntime
SpringSeasonal contracts, mantle & goodwillCreate rain
Emotional: learn basic desire; create object of desire
Heal, grow plants
Emotional: warp desire
Animate plants (2 strength, 4 health)
Emotional: all-consuming desire
Crafts (flora)
Flexible (Diplomacy)
SummerSeasonal contracts, mantle & goodwillEndure heat/cold, create light
Emotional: warp/create wrath
Attack (Weapon)
Reveal hidden, disguised
Emotional: cool wrath
Mass cool wrath
Attack* (Aggravated, beam of light)
Flexible (Intimidation,  Combat)
AutumnSeasonal contracts, mantle & goodwillBear fruit
Attack (wither)
Resist fear
Emotional: learn basic fear
Leaf form (Flexible: Smoke, Grace)
Emotional: Become object of fear (mass effect )
Summon hail storm
Mass resist fear
Flexible (Intimidation, Hedge)
WinterSeasonal contracts, mantle & goodwillCool temperature*
Remove sorrow
Emotional: learn basic sorrow
Attack* (Ice)
Emotional: invoke sorrow, remove joy
Summon snow storm
Overwhelming sorrow
Flexible (Diplomacy, Smoke)
Beast [Choose animal type]
Contracts of the Den and of Fang and TalonFind hidden
Attack (Weapon)Shapeshift (varies)Flexible (Hollow, Investigation, Travel)
Bonus to Hollow and  Den
Ability, contracts of artifice & animationRepair/break complex object (permanent)Repair/break simple object (permanent)
Remote operation (1 action)
Animate object (4 strength, 2 health)
Make one-use item
Make one-use items, hollow
Ability, Contracts of VaingloryNo describable in-game effectDiplomacy
Bonus to contacts
DreamsAbility, advantages, Contracts of DreamsDream combat (attack and defence)
Make a small change to a dream*
Protect the dreams of pledged individuals
Weird stuff
Elements (choose element)
Contracts of Elements and CommunionDefence (elemental)
Find hidden (element)
Flexible (Craft - element)
Move element
Animation (varies)Flexible (Combat, Investigation, Craft)
Contracts of the Forge, various blessingsChange personal appearance (Mask and Mien)Alter an object or digital record
Create small object
Create something from a desire*Flexible (Diplomacy, Stealth)
FightAbility, advantagesAttack (Weapon)Defence^ (Weapon)Attack+1Combat
Fortune (can target other people or objects)
Contracts of the Hearth & ArtificeFree boost to next action
Next action on target is boosted
Wild card for next action
Next action fails
HedgeKnowledge, contracts of dreamsIdentify Hob or hedge plant*
Hedge combat (attack and defence)
Hollow, travel in hedge, bonus to Contacts (goblin markets)
Ability, Contracts of oath and punishmentFind hidden
Binding *
Resist emotion
Attack (any)
Emotional: Check for broken vowsInvestigation; Combat
IntimidationAbilityEmotional: Cancel any action you can intimidate againstIntimidation
Ability, Contracts of StoneAttack (Weapon)
Feat of Strength*
Defence (tough)Attack+1Combat, Travel
Ability, Contracts of SeparationSqueeze through tight gaps, escape bindings, take unseenSqueeze through impossible gaps, pickpocket unseen
Defence (nimble)
Escape into thin air (after next round)Stealth
ProphecySeer blessing, backgrounds, contracts of Omen1 word prophecy (back only)3 word prophecy (forward or back)Wild
Substantial flashback
Weird stuff
Ability, Contracts of SmokeMask trail
Hide at a distance
Hide in good cover
Cause blindness
Hide in plain sightStealth
WyrdWyrdCancel an emotional effect
Hedge combat (attack and defence)
Change the hedge
Max level of any other trait (except seasonals) is Wyrd+1, +1 if affinity.
Spend feats to take an action. A starting character will have 4-5 feats and they don’t go up easily. The seasonal feats also reflect a character’s mantle to that court and have a limit of 4. Affinity feats (seemings with affinity are given in italics) have a limit of Wyrd+2, other feats have a limit of Wyrd+1. Wyrd is not limited but any level above 1 starts giving faerie like flaws to the character (of increasing strength).

Backgrounds are available, some at start, some in play:
  • Contacts (area): find things out, get help
  • Status (area): find things out, change things; needs maintenance
  • Wealth (helps with contacts, den)
  • Den (significant dwelling in mortal world; offers protection)
  • Hollow (significant dwelling in hedge; offers protection and can have special features)
One-use items are what they seem, effectively giving a down-time bonus. They can be mundane items, weird gadgets, faerie tokens, goblin fruit etc. It can be generally assumed that most of these are plentiful, so only items of unusual worth are noted.
Tokens of true significance (i.e. repeated or ongoing effects) have to be quested for, and generally for a specific purpose because everything is transitory.

Any time an action is taken, it needs to be appropriate. Strength doesn’t help you fire a gun, while Element (Electricity) doesn’t help you put out fires. These suggestions are only guidelines and players are encouraged to use their actions imaginatively. All effects are assumed to last for a scene (30 minutes more-or-less) unless they are obviously instant or say otherwise.

Flexible: Acts as 1 rank of one of the listed Feats. In downtime, costs double.
Wyld: Acts as 1 rank of any non-Wyld, non-season feat. In downtime, costs triple.

Free actions:  if you have multiple feats which share the same action, you can get that action without spending a feat (even if you have used some of them). You need a total of those feats equal to the level of the action+3.  E.g. a character with Might 3 and Fight 1 can use the Combat (Weapon) action for free. They wouldn’t stack with Autumn because Attack (wither) is a different ability.

Raised actions: Actions with a * can be increased by adding additional card.

Free actions: Actions with a ^ don’t require a whole round, and can be used in the same round as another action.

Boosting: Any action can be boosted by spending another feat of the same type. This boost does not change the effect but counters the first card that opposes it (so a boosted attack cannot be prevented by a single Defence). An action cannot be boosted more than once, so if both the action and the opposing action are boosted, there is no effect.

Attack+1:  Normally this means doing 2 damage, but it can also mean capture if the attacker has the appropriate weapon/equipment.

Health: every character can take 3 wounds before they are in a critical condition.  Goblin fruit is plentiful, so generally if someone vaguely competent can get to the character, they can stop them dying. Assume a count-down of a minute. However, it requires the right contract or one-use item to actually heal a wound (otherwise they are lying around not really able to move). Four wounds kills outright. However, for the Lost death is normally preferable to capture.