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Thread: Morien's Lord of the Rings Conversion

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cornelius View Post
    I would keep the knowledge skills different from the social skills. Knowing who Barliman Butterbur is and what his quirks are and who his friends are is a lot different than using that knowledge to your advantage. I would give a person a bonus modifier if he deals with Barliman and has for instance a Area(Bree) skill. Intrigue is sometimes also letting the opponent think you know something or can do something that will hurt him or her and thus having him cooperate.
    Yeah, I am convinced.

    As for the social skills in my own KAP game I currently use the skills as follows:
    Courtesy: The open negotiations and behaving at court. You know hoe to handle yourself among nobility and show finesse.
    Folk lore: The gossip and handling commoners. Know what they are talking about and making yourself clear.
    Intrigue: The under the table negotiations. Making slight remarks and sometimes even let the enemy think you know things that will hurt him or her. It will also include teh manouvring of others so they will 'support' your goal.
    Nice summary. Thanks for that.

    The things that bother me with Folk Lore (as portrayed in KAP 5.1) is that it implies that the everyday actions of the peasants are nigh incomprehensible if you don't succeed in your Folk Lore. I find that extremely hard to believe. Sure, the knight might not know the exact details of pig-care and stuff like that, but he can make a pretty educated guess that the plowing and seeding of the fields is necessary for the crops to grow, and a harvest is needed to actually collect that grain. This should, IMHO, be part of Stewardship (turnips need to be planted 2-3 weeks before the last frost of spring) or better yet, just the general world-knowledge (for general knowledge that peasants are planting the next crop around start of spring). Like you don't need a Mechanic skill or even a Driving skill to know what a car is and what it is used for. Also, the failed Folk Lore when communicating: "reveals the knight to be a typical upper-class oppressor, while a fumble indicates a major social gaffe that offends, and possibly gravely insults, the peasant."

    So, I think I will opt for this:
    Courtesy: Formal, courtly behavior, especially towards a noble superior or an unfamiliar noble.
    Carousing: More relaxed social settings (Northmen, commoners, maybe even some nobles). Making 'acquaintances and new friends'. Can lead to gossip being discovered, or set the stage for some additional digging with Intrigue.
    Intrigue: Gossip and under the table negotiations. Acting probably would be under this, too, pretending to be someone you are not, or knowing something you don't. (Need to consider/contrast this with Deceitful, though.)

    So, just to give an example how this might play out...

    Task: Find out what happened to Lord Y, who has disappeared.

    1. Hear court gossip that Lord Y was critical of the Usurper. [Intrigue, possibly with bonuses, if it is being whispered at court.]
    2. People who do that tend to end up locked in Castle X. [Area/Noble Lore, again possibly with bonuses.]
    3. Identify the Castellan of Castle X. [Noble Lore, this can of course be done by someone else. This might also reveal some additional information about the Castellan; is he an avid hunter, or a connoisseur of fine wines, or rumored to have an affair? This could give bonuses later to the social rolls.]
    4. Be introduced and make a good impression. [Courtesy, also possibly done by someone else. Also, Courtesy could be used to ask for someone to identify the Castellan, if the PCs struggle. However, this means that there is potentially someone who remembers the PCs deliberately asking about the Castellan, which might lead to a question 'why?'. A cover story would help.]
    5. Spend a nice evening with him (now or later, for instance, if he is a huntsman, he probably would react better AFTER you have had a successful hunt together, giving a bonus to the roll). [Carousing or Flirting, for a female PC]
    - On a success, he might let it slip that there is a high-born captive in the castle, confirming that the PCs are likely in the right track.
    6. Do some additional digging, to tease more information out of the Castellan. [Intrigue, with bonuses if Carousing/Flirting was a success.]
    - A success would get him to confirm that yes, it is Lord Y, but he is not supposed to talk about it. The rebels, you know?

    I'd probably require a 'setting up' the Intrigue roll with at least Courtesy, to begin a dialog with the Castellan. Pure Intrigue (court gossip) might reveal the mid-tier rumor of a noble being held in the castle, but that is not good enough (unless the roll is a critical).

    That is quite a number of rolls, but this would be an example of a more complex, 'digging for state secrets' kind of resolution, for a more cloak-and-dagger type of adventure.


    EDIT: Taking a moment to think about how Deceitful and Intrigue work together, I think I might adopt this kind of house rule:
    "Intrigue also covers disguises and trying to act as if you were someone else. If you succeed in Deceitful roll (or your Deceitful is already 16+, you don't have to roll) you get +5 to Intrigue. If your Honest is 16+, you automatically fail if if your disguise is challenged, unless you fail your Honest, in which case you roll Intrigue at -5. Note: Many Ithilien Rangers have Directed Trait: Deceitful towards enemies."
    What do you think? A good way to connect Intrigue and Deceitful? A bad way?
    Last edited by Morien; 10-24-2016 at 12:25 PM.

  2. #32
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    Folk lore: As I see the skill: In KAP there is a large gap between the noble and the commoner. The Folk lore skill is your ability to cross the gap and make the commoner at ease, so he or she will reveal the infornmation you are looking for. But mainly the skill is used to get the local gossip. Commoners will not be gossip around the nobles, unless they are at ease. Hence the Folk lore skill. And yes I agree with your examples and I would use Stewardship for knowing when to plant. At least if they wish it to be more accurate than 'in the spring'. In Middel Earth I think the gap is not that big and with your new skill Carousing I would probably drop Folk lore as well.

    The difference between intrigue and deceitful: While a lot of intrigue is deceitful not all of them. I would guess that even an honest man may be able to detect when he is being played. Honesty will prevent him from being deceitful himself, it does not mean he is naive and unaware that others cannot live up to his standard.

    Disguise requires two things to happen:
    - Look like the person you want to disguise as.
    - Act like the person you want to disguise as.
    So you could have the first fall under Intrigue (knowing what to wear and how to look, although this can also be done with observing the enemy) and the second one under Deceitful (act against your nature).
    While writing this maybe you could also use other traits:
    The hardest part of keeping your disguise and act right can become difficult when the person you are trying to disguise as has a opposite traits. Trying to play a cruel man while you are merciful is much harder to do than if you are cruel yourself. But this can be also on other traits, like chaste/lustful.
    You could give a person who is known for his honesty even a penalty for acting against his nature.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cornelius View Post
    Folk lore: As I see the skill: In KAP there is a large gap between the noble and the commoner. The Folk lore skill is your ability to cross the gap and make the commoner at ease, so he or she will reveal the infornmation you are looking for. But mainly the skill is used to get the local gossip. Commoners will not be gossip around the nobles, unless they are at ease. Hence the Folk lore skill. And yes I agree with your examples and I would use Stewardship for knowing when to plant. At least if they wish it to be more accurate than 'in the spring'. In Middel Earth I think the gap is not that big and with your new skill Carousing I would probably drop Folk lore as well.
    The gap is not as big, the lords are not supposed to be 'oppressors', and finally, I think the peasants' willingness to gossip should depend a lot on who they are talking to. A local lord known for his Merciful nature would probably have much easier time to get the peasants open up to him about stuff than a bunch of outsiders with cruel mien. Also, I think the local lord should be reasonably well informed what is happening in his own lands, either through the manorial court or through his bailiffs and other officers. Whereas he has very little chance of just inserting himself into the gossip circuit of another holding, since he is an outsider. That is also why I am replacing it with Carousing, since that skill is pretty explicit about needing some time to get people to warm up to you. Granted, you could claim that Folk Lore acts in the same way, needing a prelude before you can actually get some information out of the peasants (which is how I GM it in KAP).


    The difference between intrigue and deceitful: While a lot of intrigue is deceitful not all of them. I would guess that even an honest man may be able to detect when he is being played. Honesty will prevent him from being deceitful himself, it does not mean he is naive and unaware that others cannot live up to his standard.
    That showcases another overlap... is your ability to detect lies Honest, Deceitful or Suspicious? I generally go for the last one. So High Trusting indicates naiveté, and combined with High Honesty, it might be portrayed as 'I would never do something like that, so I can't believe other people would, either'.

    Disguise requires two things to happen:
    - Look like the person you want to disguise as.
    - Act like the person you want to disguise as.
    So you could have the first fall under Intrigue (knowing what to wear and how to look, although this can also be done with observing the enemy) and the second one under Deceitful (act against your nature).
    While writing this maybe you could also use other traits:
    The hardest part of keeping your disguise and act right can become difficult when the person you are trying to disguise as has a opposite traits. Trying to play a cruel man while you are merciful is much harder to do than if you are cruel yourself. But this can be also on other traits, like chaste/lustful.
    You could give a person who is known for his honesty even a penalty for acting against his nature.
    I would not expect people to generally disguise themselves as specific, well-known individuals, since that only happens in modern and sci-fi spy/action movies with realistic looking facemasks. :P They can claim to be someone else (D'Artagnan pretending to be Rochefort in Three Musketeers movie to use Rochefort's passport to travel to England), but if the harbor master would have known Rochefort personally, it clearly would not have worked, as D'Artagnan looked nothing like Rochefort.

    A High Honest person would naturally have HUGE problems with pretending to be someone else. I might allow Passion rolls (Loyalty comes to mind) to try and get inspired in Deceitful, though, if it is a mission-critical lie.

    Hmm. On reflection, it might be easiest to take disguises out of Intrigue and keep it and lying convincingly under Deceitful, instead. But Intrigue and Courtesy definitely have some 'social lying' built in. I mean, you can feel anyway you wish about that Haradrim diplomat, but you will smile and be polite with him (unless you have Hate 16+, in which case, you might not bother being polite). Needless to say, High Honest characters would not do well at all in a cloak-and-dagger scenario.

    So, again an example:

    Task: To sneak through enemy-held territory unhampered.

    1. Area Lore would help with disguises (knowledge of the local costumes and customs) and with routes (less frequented routes or routes with loads of traffic, so that you can hide in the caravans). Noble Lore [enemy] would help if pretending to be part of some enemy lord's forces.
    2. Assuming they are caught by an enemy patrol, but they are in disguise as enemy troops, Language [enemy] would be vital in answering them. Noble Lore or Area Lore might help in identifying the patrol's origins and maybe craft the story a bit better. Actually convincing the patrol would be Deceitful vs. Suspicious, with bonuses/penalties depending on the story. For instance, a slight accent in Language might be explained away by being from a different region than the patrol, claiming it is a regional accent ('Everyone in my home talks like this, it is your speech that sounds foreign to me.'), whereas claiming to serve the same lord as the patrol would likely go down very poorly.

  4. #34
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    Here is my skill list at the moment. I dropped Compose, since it an easily be covered by Orate, Play or Singing, respectively. It might look a bit messy at the moment; I just cut and pasted it from an excel character sheet I was working on and I can't be bothered to clean it up.

    Possibly of interest is the fact that I decided to adopt the attribute default ideas that have been suggested from time to time on this forum. I opted for APP/3 default for most of the performance and social skills (with the exceptions of Carousing and Dancing, which have also CON & DEX contribution). I also went ahead and gave Awareness a CON/3 default. I am aware that this makes chargen a touch more challenging, but I don't think it is too difficult. And frankly, anyone who wishes to munchkin a 3-point higher APP in the beginning for a few extra skill points is not really a problem for me... It does mean that since the starting skill values are in many cases floated off APP, then lady characters get a bit of a 'free benefit' there, but I am not bothered by that, either. In addition, I'll increase their 'free' skill points to counter the high base weapon skills given to knight/warrior characters (10 vs. 5 of the ladies). Rogue characters probably follow ladies when it comes to skills: they have extra skill points but not as high base weapon skills, since they have not spent their youth learning to use weapons, but how to sneak around, etc.

    Note that these are the base skills, determined right after the Attributes are assigned, but before the 'squire' phase of assigning miscellaneous points, or the aging to the starting date of the mini-campaign, although if they don't spend points to increasing those skills from the default, then the default does increase with later attribute increases. However, if they raise the skill say from default 3 to 4 with skill points, and later their attribute increases to make the default 4, then 4 it is. They don't gain/recover extra skill points. Again, I don't expect this to be a major effect or something to get concerned about.

    Lore and Weapon skills have some empty slots in case some other lore specializations or weapons are gained. Numenoreans are famous for their steel longbows, so I don't think they would have the same cultural bias against archery as Arthurian Knights have. Hence, Bow is listed as one of the starting weapons.

    Skills
    Awareness CON/3
    Carousing (C+A)/5
    Chirurgery 0
    Courtesy APP/3
    Craft:
    - Bone & Wood 0
    - Cloth & Leather 0
    - Metal 0
    - Stone 0
    Dancing (D+A)/5
    First Aid 10
    Flirting APP/3
    Hunting 2
    Intrigue APP/3
    Lore:
    - Ancient 2
    - Animal 0
    - Area [Gondor] 2
    - Herb 0
    - Noble [Gondor] 2
    - Underworld [Gondor] 0
    - Wilderness 2
    - [lore] 0
    - [lore] 0
    - [lore] 0
    - [lore] 0
    - [lore] 0
    Orate APP/3
    Play APP/3
    Read 0
    Seamanship 2
    Singing APP/3
    Sleight of Hand DEX/3
    Stealth DEX/2
    Stewardship 2
    Swimming DEX

    Combat skills
    Battle 10
    Horsemanship 10

    Weapon Skills
    Sword 10
    Lance 10
    Dagger 10
    Spear 10
    Bow 10
    [weapon] 10
    [weapon] 10

    Language Skills
    Adunaic 15
    Sindarin 0
    Daenic 0
    Last edited by Morien; 10-25-2016 at 02:20 PM.

  5. #35
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    What is the reasoning behind the link between Awareness and CON?

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cornelius View Post
    What is the reasoning behind the link between Awareness and CON?
    *handwave* Good health = good eyesight. It is mainly there to give CON a bit of a boost, too. Remember that I am only considering humans here. It is not a big deal either way, as I expect most CON to be in the 12 - 18 range. So it is a difference of +-1 from the default 5.

    (Tolkien's Elves have totally overpowered Awareness based on Legolas. Something like 25 to start with would not be out of place. Frankly, I might even treat the Elven Awareness differently by messing with the modifiers, making telescopic vision -possible- for them even on a regular success. This would still allow them to be surprised now and again.)

  7. #37
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    So, it has been almost two years since I posted here and almost year and a half since we made the characters and started playing, so I figure this might be a good moment to pause and look back at what worked and what did not.


    PACING

    Due to my slow pace and going through decade by decade rather than glossing a century as originally planned, the campaign just managed to reach the War of the Last Alliance. I'll need to pick up my pace! :P We just made new, 1st generation Gondorians (born in Middle-earth rather than in Numenor) characters, since 3 of the 5 player characters died in the opening stages of the War of the Last Alliance, in heroic last stands to delay the surprise invasion of Ithilien.

    With the War of the Last Alliance (which was my original pick for the starting date, before deciding to do a prologue generation), things will speed up and it will be more year by year, although some years are more eventful than the others. We did play through some years already earlier, of course, but then skipped through a decade at a time, too.

    I am still not happy with the family management. Granted, that will become more of a non-issue, as we pretty much won't care about the distant cousins after a generation or two any more, and the focus will shift much more on what the current PK is doing, rather than what the whole family is up to (which will be covered in a couple of rolls and decisions, I am thinking).


    STATS

    As expected, the Numenoreans have scary high stats, but they are not immortal. Also, players generally went for 7d6 and were satisfied with that, focusing more on skills. The limit of only 3 increases to stats after adolescence helped, of course, since in practice it meant that they got +3 to STR & CON and that was it. Glory points were generally used to boost their main skills, especially Craft (see below), Sword and Battle.


    TRAITS

    I may have made it a bit too easy to collect high Traits. With 6 traits starting at 13 and one at 15, and 7 points to distribute, the characters have easily 3 Traits at 16+. Then during Education (20 to 30), they get another 3 Trait or Passion points, so they easily have 4 Traits at 16+. From there, it is not that far to collecting all 7 Religious Traits. On the other hand, they were supposed to be the Faithful of Numenor... I may introduce some culture shift as the years go by, with the Gondorians starting to stray a bit from their path. Proud, especially, is easy to justify as Gondor becomes the pre-eminent power in Middle-Earth, distracting people from the Modest.

    I did make the religious bonus, Blessed by the Valar, way too strong, and will be pruning that back. It pretty much gave everyone +1 to all stats, 35 yearly Glory and +40 years to their lifespans. Without the stat bonus, it is not nearly as overpowered, especially as instead of playing through a century+, we will focus more on a couple of decades. Although on the other hand, I can see the argument that then it is not worth it, since no one is going to die of old age anyway. Which is true. Then again, it already has two overlapping sub-components, Gentle Healer (+5 modifier to First Aid and Chirurgery rolls) and Noble Warrior (+5 modifier to Valorous, +3 HP), which together form the Blessed by the Valar. So you kinda already get good bang for your buck, even if the ADDITIONAL bonus of gathering both is not that great.


    PASSIONS

    No problems here.


    SKILLS

    The skill default system from attributes was almost instantly deemed to be too fiddly. Hence, we simply said that as soon as you had selected your attributes, the skill defaults would be calculated. So those who did put points to DEX and APP did get a small benefit out of it, enough to make it worthwhile for a courtier type of character to be pretty. Also, the fact that we used APP Glory instead of 10 Glory for skill successes helped to popularize APP for courtier types.

    Lore skills were underutilized. This is of course on the GM, since if the missions don't require the skills, then the skills are not useful. I am thinking that Lore: Animals and Lore: Herbs need to be folded into other skills. I am thinking either Wilderness or Hunting (or both, whichever is higher?) for Lore: Animals, and Chirurgery for Lore: Herbs. This also helps to keep the number of skills down.

    Craft: Metal and Craft: Stone were used a lot (two players focused on those skills, one each), other Craft skills not so much. Either you spent points to become a Master (20+) in it, able to start crafting magical weapons and things like the tower of Orthanc, or you didn't bother at all. Not really surprising, as it does require a significant amount of time to get the skill up high enough to really do something that is not available with simple money. So you go all out or not at all.

    Naturally, their lands being in North Ithilien, the PKs didn't really use Seamanship nor Swimming in this case. But those skills will become more useful when Gondor's focus turns back to the sea.

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