Re-trying Failed Skill Checks

This is another one of those things that happens in most games sooner or later . . .

After narrowly surviving an attempt on their lives, the PCs take a (locked) briefcase from the car of that guy in the suit who tried to kill them, and they want to open it in the safety of their hotel room. Or perhaps they are in an abandoned warehouse in Detroit, going over a murder scene for clues. Either way, the players roll dice for their characters, and fail. And so the players want to try again - after all, they have all the time in the world. Sure, the friends of the man in the suit might find their hotel room eventually, and the warehouse killer will strike again tomorrow, but there are a whole lot of rounds (or minutes, or even hours) between now and then.

So - what can the GM do when a player wants to re-try something that requires a roll, but has no apparent consequence for failure?


nWOD House Rules: Handgun Stats Handout

The handout is here: nWOD Handgun Stats

If you are looking for a block of statted out real world handguns and like the combat house rules I posted earlier, this is for you. It isn't production quality (no pictures), but if a bunch of people start downloading it, I'll put together one with pictures and some more detail for the firearms, and post similar handouts for long guns.



Random Loot: Jamming Devices

Designed for: Modern and most Near-Future or Sci-Fi settings.

Summary: Great for surprise attacks, ambushing convoys, and foiling terrorists.


Intimidate checks: Making them an offer they can't refuse

It happens sooner or later in every game: one of the PCs is holding a gun on an NPC and they want the NPC to drop a weapon, or open a door, or whatever. The GM has the PC make an intimidate roll, and because the PC has a low intimidate stat, or because the dice gods hate them, they fail. It should be clear to the NPC that failing to comply is tantamount to suicide, but the dice say the NPC isn't afraid.

What is a GM to do?

Some thoughts below. Also - Google tells me that I have lurkers. Feel free to chime in with comments/suggestions on this or any other posts.


Monster: Wyvern Parasite

(06.09.2012: edited from original for typos and clarity)

An insectile nightmare that grows inside a person, consuming their organs and wearing the host's body like a shell. It looks sort of like smart, fast zombie, until 4' of glistening wet spines and legs and chelicerae reaches out of an empty eye-socket and latches on to your face.

Description and Biomechanics: 
Full grown parasites resemble 5-6' long black centipedes, with a cluster of long grasping claws and hooked chelicerae at their mouth and every other set of legs replaced by retractable tendrils. When inside a host body, they usually wind themselves around the spinal cord, or coil up inside the ribcage or the skull. Their tendrils branch out through the body and take over muscle control from the host nervous system. This gives the parasite reasonably good gross motor control, but fine motor control, facial expression and the like are beyond them.


nWOD (Storytelling) House Rules: Combat

(Disclaimer: 'World of Darkness', is a registered trademarks of CCP, inc. The author is in no way affiliated with this company or any of their products).

Late Edit: I've posted a handout with handgun stats here, and one with SMG stats here. If you like these house rules (or just want stats for a bunch of real world guns), feel free to take and use these. 

The first of many posts about my heavily houseruled version of the nWOD mechanics.

The essence of the modification is that rather than weapons being defined by a single stat that adds to the attack roll, weapons have a 'to hit bonus' (which you add to the attack roll) and a 'base damage' (which adds to any successes on the attack roll). Revolutionary, I know. If the King of Sweden calls with my Nobel Prize for Awesomness, I'll be down at the bar.

The trouble is that introducing that change requires a couple of other changes to avoid radically altering the game balance. What follows is an explanation of the rationale and development of the core mechanic. At some point, there will be an easily useable pdf of the mechanics, along with some gear lists.


Weapon Archetypes: Handguns

Edit: If you are interested in a concrete example of what this looks like, I've posted a handout with handgun stats here. This handout uses the house rules outlined in another post.

Some GMs (myself included) are borderline autistic stat-junkies who can happily spend an afternoon making giant tables of weapons, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses. If you don't believe me, go back and look at the AD&D 2nd edition weapon damage table. Although I disagree with much of what is on there (only 1d4+1 for a heavy crossbow?! are you sh*tting me?) I cannot fault the love that went into that table and recognize a kindred spirit in whichever poor soul back at TSR tried to decide whether a ranseur or a glaive should do more damage, or whether a bill-hook should still get to do extra damage when set to receive a charging opponent.
Other GMs would probably rather fritter away their time making interesting NPCs, or worldbuilding, or coming up with interesting encounter ideas. In that spirit, these posts are going to be for GMs who want more varied weapons then the super general lists that come with most games, but don't want to spend a bunch of time trying to figure out how many different light pistols they need and working out ways to make them different. The idea is the same one that games like World of Darkness and Star Wars use ('light pistol,' 'heavy pistol,' etc), just with an extra layer of detail that can be added as desired to give subclasses of firearms slight mechanical advantages based on their intended role.

So - here's my breakdown of the main types of handguns: