Category: Journal

Posts detailing events that happened in my life. I’ve decided that I’m only going to do these if something interesting happens.

Ashton’s Notebook | Part 2: Combat and Charisma

Greetings! Didn’t think I’d return to this, I would assume? Well, I’m back, and I’ve figured out at least a foundation for rules regarding combat and social encounters. There really isn’t much for me to say regarding the world, so this post will just be about the system. Good? Good.

BUT FIRST, I changed some stuff. First, dice in the pool just have to exceed the TN now: meeting the TN is counted as a failure. Why this change? I wanted a TN of 10 to be equivalent to flipping a coin – each d20 would have a 10/20 chance of being a success or a failure. However, with the way things worked previously, a TN of 10 would be an 11/20 chance. Hence the change.

Also, attributes are now a thing! These work similarly to VtM: each level in an attribute adds a certain amount of d20 to your pool (currently 2d20), as does levels in skills (currently 4d20). In addition, you always have 2d20 in your pool. Always. Even if all of your party members screw you over when trying to assist, you will always have 2d20. Even if it means you can only Botch, Mess, or Critical. Also, for any attribute, you must have at least one level in it. Attributes have five levels (again, like VtM attributes), while skills have only three levels to account for the fact that they add more dice. This means that, in theory, you can have a maximum of 24d20 in your pool. Which is a lot, so I might tweak the numbers a bit. Maybe make attributes and skills equal, or change it such that skills are the only thing that affect the dice pool and attributes allow you a certain amount of re-rolls? That remains to be seen, but I kinda like the system as it is so who knows.

As for what the attributes are, they’re literally just the standard D&D attribute set because I can’t think of anything better, but Dexterity is renamed to Reflexes and Constitution is renamed to Endurance. Also, each skill will correspond to one of the attributes. The only exception is Perception, which can be used with any attribute (riffing off of Cogent Roleplaying System a bit here). Besides that, the only other skills I’ve figured out so far are: Melee Weapons (Str), Ranged Weapons (Ref), Throwing Weapons (Ref), Persuasion (Cha), Intimidation (Cha?), and Deception (Cha).

As for stats, I have four right now and they are HP (End), Unarmed Combat Damage Multiplier (Str), Unarmed Combat TN (Str), and Speed (Ref). Guess what all of these do.



When combat begins, turn order is decided. Whoever has the highest Reflexes goes first. If two characters have the same Reflexes, do a competitive check to break the tie.

When a character’s turn comes up, they can perform up to three actions. Moving to a different position takes up one action as long as it’s within the distance determined by the character’s speed. Any more and it may take up multiple actions. Using items may or may not use up an action, depending on the item and how it’s used. Attacking someone will always use up one action. For the purpose of explaining stuff, we’ll say that the person who used an action to attack someone is called the “Attacker”, the person they want to attack being called the “Target”. The target will have two options for how to deal with the attack: they can defend themselves, or they can try to counter-attack. If the attacker is using a ranged or thrown weapon and the target doesn’t have one, they can only defend. Otherwise, the target has a choice. No matter what the target chooses, a competitive check occurs. The TN is dependent on the other character’s armor rating and their reflexes. What happens depends on the outcome and what the target chose. I’ll describe them from the attacker’s perspective (and I’m also assuming the attacker is you), as such:

  • If the target is defending themselves:
    • Botch: You fail to attack. If valid targets other than you and the original target are in range, roll 1d20 to determine who will actually be attacked. Otherwise, the attacker harms themselves no matter what.
    • Fail: You fail to attack.
    • Mess: You attack, but your damage is cut in half.
    • Succeed: You attack.
    • Critical: You attack, and you deal double damage. If the target is using an item to defend themselves directly, the item is damaged. If the item had been damaged twice before and not repaired, it is broken.
  • If the target is counter-attacking:
    • Botch: You fail to attack, and are attacked by the target for double damage.
    • Fail: You fail to attack, and are attacked by the target.
    • Mess: You attack, but are attacked by the target.
    • Succeed: You attack.
    • Critical: You attack for extra damage.

Assuming you landed a hit, you roll again to determine how much damage you deal using the same dice pool, but with a TN determined by the weapon you are using. Then, the success dice should be counted and multiplied by a number which is again determined by the weapon you’re using. The number you get is then doubled if you get a critical or halved if you get a mess while the target is defending.

Something important when it comes to combat is what I’ll call the Deck of Wounds. Yes, if you’ve been on r/RPGdesign, you’ll know that this is basically the Deck of Tragedies. Basically, each player gets a deck which contains a bunch of cards (will be 24 assuming I don’t change the number). When a player character’s HP hits 0, the player must draw the top three cards from the deck and give two of them to the game master. The GM must then choose one card, which is handed back to the player while the GM narrates how the wound was gained. Wound cards have at least one effect and a condition that must be met for the wound to be removed/healed. The only exception is death cards. Yes, death cards. When a death card is chosen, it is handed back to the player who then narrates their character’s demise. I have plans for a divine magic ritual that could revive a character, but it would be a slim chance of success. All wound cards which were rejected or healed, as well as death cards, are returned to the bottom of the player’s deck.

Assuming the player avoided character death, the character’s HP returns to their maximum and they are unconscious for the rest of the combat encounter (and will also be safe from further harm) unless they make a 15 TN Strength-only (think of it like a saving throw) check to fight on. Outcomes are as follows:

  • Botch: You go unconscious, but are vulnerable to further harm.
  • Fail: You go unconscious.
  • Mess: You fight on, but your max HP is halved for the rest of the encounter, rounding up if your max HP is odd.
  • Success: You fight on.
  • Critical: You fight on, and your max HP is doubled for the rest of the encounter.


Social encounters are handled in a (hopefully) simple manner. NPCs will have one of three attitudes towards the party: friendly, neutral, and hostile. The attitude determines the TN for the charisma roll. The party may attempt to change an NPC’s attitude through roleplay, but they may only move it one “notch” in either direction during a single encounter. One player should then make a charisma plus persuasion/intimidation/deception check. If any other players helped, they each add 2d20 to that one player’s pool. If any players (accidentally or purposely) hindered the effort, they each remove 2d20 from that one player’s pool. When the check is made, the TN for a friendly NPC is 5, the TN for a neutral NPC is 10, and the TN for a hostile NPC is 15. The outcomes are as follows:

  • Botch: The NPC won’t help you, and will try to hinder the party’s efforts.
    • If the NPC was Friendly, a botch acts like a regular fail.
    • If the NPC was Neutral, they will only accept minor risks.
    • If the NPC was Hostile, they will accept major risks.
  • Fail: The NPC won’t help you.
    • If the NPC was Hostile, they will try to hinder the party’s efforts, accepting minor risks to do so.
  • Mess: The NPC will help you, but they won’t take any risks.
  • Succeed: The NPC will help you, taking minor risks to do so.
  • Critical: The NPC will help you, taking major risks to do so.

Hopefully this all makes sense so far. Again, feedback and questions are appreciated. Have an awesome day!


Ashton’s Notebook: Creating a TTRPG and a world to go with it | Part 1

Greetings! For a good while now, I’ve been working on a TTRPG system and a fictional fantasy world to go along with it, as you could probably tell from the title. It all started with a Moleskin notebook that I started writing details of the world into when I started working on it, hence the name. This is only part one, obviously. The system is nowhere near done, same with the world. But I’ll give you what I’ve figured out now.

The System

Whenever you try to do something in any TTRPG system, you perform some sort of check. This unnamed system has three kinds of checks: normal checks, competitive checks, and assistance checks. Normal checks are performed whenever you’re trying to do something, competitive checks occur when you’re rolling against someone else, and assistance checks occur whenever you’re trying to help someone else do something. All checks are done by rolling a pool of d20, or 20-sided dice. Each individual die (yes, that’s the singular form of “dice”) in the pool must equal or exceed a TN, or target number, in order to be considered a “success die”. Any die that doesn’t is a “failure die”.

In normal and assistance checks, the amount of success and failure dice in your pool determines the outcome. There are five potential outcomes: botches, where all of your dice are failure dice, fails, where most of your dice are failure dice, messes, where your dice are split exactly in half, successes, where most of your dice are success dice, and criticals, where all of your dice are success dice. In the case of a normal check, you succeed at doing whatever you’re trying to do whenever you get a mess, success, or critical, but a mess means something bad happens as well while a critical means that something good happens as well. Failures and botches mean you failed, but botches mean something bad happens as well. If you’re familiar with improv, the outcomes can be summed up as follows:

  • Botch: No, and.
  • Fail: No.
  • Mess: Yes, but.
  • Success: Yes.
  • Critical: Yes, and.

Assistance checks have the same types of outcomes, and they are determined exactly the same way. However, the outcome determines how many dice are added or removed from the pool of whoever you’re assisting. So, a mess means no change, a success means adding 2 more dice, a critical means adding 4 more dice, a fail means removing 2 dice, and a botch means removing 4 dice.

Competitive checks work somewhat differently. Instead, you and your opponent both roll your pools, and whoever’s pool has more success dice succeeds while the other fails. If both pools have the same amount of success dice, that’s a mess. If one of you gets all success dice while the other gets all failure dice, then the first one gets a critical while the other gets a botch.

As for what determines the size of your pool, that would be skills. I don’t know what skills will be in the game just yet, but I know they will have multiple levels (don’t know the level cap yet either) and each level will add dice to your pool (2 dice per level right now). If you don’t have any levels in a skill, you have 4 dice in your pool. Why four? I still want messes to be possible for normal and assist checks, even if you don’t have any levels in a skill. 2 dice to start with, and your only possible outcomes are botch, mess, and critical. 3, and you can’t have a mess. So, 4.

That’s basically all I have figured out right now. I have some ideas for other things, such as how combat would work and whether classes would be a thing, but they aren’t figured out yet.

The World

The world the game would take place in is also somewhat under-developed. I’ve figured out that I want the world to have an axial tilt of 55 degrees (meaning that the equator has arctic temperatures while the poles have tropical temperatures, see Artifexian’s video on axial tilt for more information) and that I want four continents and a bunch of islands. I’ve also figured out how time is going to be. I did not do that mathematically, because last time I tried to worldbuild mathematically/scientifically I broke Universe Sandbox 2. Instead, I pulled numbers out of my rear end. And I got my little sister to do the same. Here’s what we decided on:

  • A local day is 27 Earth hours, or 18 local hours, long.
  • There are two moons, and the moon related stuff is as follows:
    • The inner moon has 5 local day long phases and 20 local day long months.
    • The outer moon has 10 local day long phases and 40 local day long months.
  • A year is 8 and 1/3 outer moon months, or 16 and 2/3 inner moon months, long.
  • So, in total, a normal year is 320 local days long while a leap year is 360 local days long.

I’ve also decided on having three different magic systems of sorts. These can be best described as “divine magic”, “genetic magic”, and “gun magic”. I’ll give you the gist real quick: divine magic is a sort of ritual magic that involves basically asking the gods of this world to do stuff, genetic magic is classic spell casting and is locked behind a genetic trait (like Harry Potter wizards but no squibs), and gun magic is based on the genetic magic but is simpler, doesn’t requite much preparation, and can be used by anyone. That’s about all I’ve really got figured out about them – details are nonexistent right now. But, I can’t really work on the gun magic until I’ve mostly figured out the genetic magic, since it will follow some of the same rules.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Leave feedback and questions in the comments if you want, and have an awesome day!


WordPress unborked itself

Self-Explanatory. I can now access my website from my laptop again. Granted, the site is probably going to go down for a few minutes after I post this (because WordPress is WordPress) but whatever.


Finally blogging again.

It’s been a while. WordPress somehow broke itself such that I can’t access it on my laptop, but can still access it anywhere else. I really need to learn web design stuff so I can replace WordPress. Soon.

Anyways, I should probably update you on what’s going on. First, goats. Mainly because they’re shouting in the backyard as I type this out.

Second, I’ve made more changes to Neutron (and created a sister project codenamed Cellia). I’ll save those for a later date (as in, when I get wiki edit access and forum posting access on the RetroBrew Computers website).

Third, I still suck at Calculus and would like to skip to Linear Algebra cause I can understand it better (thanks to 3blue1brown for existing and making math youtube videos).

Fourth, I want to try and Ludum Dare.

Fifth, Bananas.

aight, bye.


I messed up.

Okay, maybe that’s sugarcoating it a bit.

But really, I really regret how much I have messed up this entire school year, my first year of college. First quarter? Failed precalculus because I’m a dumbass who can’t remember to do his homework over the weekend. Second quarter? Passed with thin margins. This quarter? Well, it looks like I’m going to pass two of my classes, but then there’s Calculus I, where I only got 5% on the second test AND I know I forgot to do my homework. I am such an idiot. And even when I tried to fix things, either by taking my advisor’s advice and doing a “Smart Habits” thing to try and get better at, well, everything, or by taking my parents’ advice and follow a strict schedule, whatever makes me such a dumbass that I need to do all of this to not fail just circumvents it! I don’t get it! I messed up, I tried to improve, but somehow it just didn’t happen.

… I am probably going to lose my scholarships. And its my fault. And I just don’t know what to do.