Thoughts (#10)

For at least a couple years now, the near-unanimous answer to the question, “What’s next?” has been, “Monster manual!” And to date, there’s still no monster manual. That’s largely because I didn’t quite grasp its importance until very recently, and to be frank, I preferred writing adventures.

Then, about a year or so ago, I realized – after extensive play-testing – that I was approaching adventure design all wrong. The adventures were too restrictive, too driven by story and narrative, and as the RPG Pundit points out, RPGs are not “a medium of narrative storytelling, but rather a medium of liminal wargaming”. So, I changed my approach, trying to design adventures that were equal parts narrative and sandbox, providing structure but enabling free agency. After many long months, I’ve found that such an approach is like trying to mix oil and water (not quite, but mostly).

Even more recently, it struck me that I’ve been denying a plain fact: Adventures aren’t necessarily what GMs and players need (or want). For a while, I thought that was the case, but my judgement’s known to fail. GMs and players need a system that enables their own creativity. Such a system is incomplete without antagonists. Y’all need monsters.

This is all to say that things are changing. Exactly how, I’m not sure yet. A monster manual would be a good start, so start that I will. A new approach to adventure design would also be advantageous. E. Reagan Wright says that adventures should begin at the dungeon door, not the tavern: OSR-style, and as a man who cut his tabletop teeth on D&D 4e, I understand that now.

So, in that spirit, I’ve added morale check rules to the core rules section three, For Game Masters. For convenience, I’m copying the addition here:

Monster Morale
During combat, an opponent’s morale may be affected by two events: the first time its ally is slain, and when more than half of its allies have been slain. Any time one of these two events occur, the GM should roll 1d10: if the result is 2 or below, the opponents’ morale falters, and they will likely begin to flee. It is up to the GM to determine how the opponents flee – whether they drop their weapons and run, retreat while fighting, or otherwise.

Morale checks, combined with the reaction table, promise a different interaction – even within the same adventure – every time, if you choose to use them (which I highly recommend). In one instance, a group of monsters are hostile and aggressive, attacking relentlessly until the last; in another, they are hostile yet uncertain, and flee at the first sign of organized resistance. These tools make encounters more natural and realistic, which, after all, is exactly the point of RPGs.

Finally, none of this (rambling) is to say that I’m abandoning Adventures in the Greenrun. I’m going to continue working on it, and with any luck (and a heavy dose of direction), it will be better for my efforts. But in the meantime, I’m going to focus on mechanical things that produce greater value for the (few, wonderful) individuals that use TD10.

Beside that, I’ll be working on dungeon crawls, the first being The Ice Tomb of the Winter Queen, in which a petulant queen celebrating her 30th birthday enlists adventurers far and wide in a quest to enter the ancient Ice Tombs and recover the Sun Ring as a gift to her. In exchange, the successful party will receive knighthood and vast riches… or will they? This crawl was designed especially for my wife, who very recently celebrated her 30th, and will forever be my gracious and good-natured queen. Play-testing (with her) is underway as we speak, and the crawl introduces some fun new elements: monsters, traps, and even competing (or cooperating) adventuring parties.

Good things are coming, everyone. Good things.

10 thoughts on “Thoughts (#10)

  1. Hi, just yesterday night, I was looking at a new Geek and Sundry campaign of Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition, and was looking on youtube for other d10 systems. Long story short, I found ScythEAnimations’ video on Tiny D10, and looked at the website. I read the rules found on there, and it seems good. Though from finding this thoughts post, and reading this, I have a Question. Is there some other rules or game material that isn’t on tinyd10.com? It seems as though there may be some content that I don’t know about, or someplace to get it that I don’t know about. As I said, I haven’t poked around too much, but I do like what I’ve seen of the system so far.

    1. Hello, BredBirb!

      Thanks for reaching out! Yes, with Tiny d10 being a constant work-in-progress, game content available across the “blog”, Downloads page, and Google Drive folder can be disorganized and confusing.

      I recommend checking out the Drive folder, which generally holds the most up-to-date rules and other official content: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B1bh_JnxIk57M1RuTzEyZU51Mnc

      And for content by other creators (that is compatible with the TD10 v5 rule-set), look here: https://tinyd10.com/downloads/

      In this instance, I think the confusion comes from my inclusion of the “monster morale” rules, which have not yet been added to the official core rules document. I’ve just added a core rules work-in-progress (WIP) document to the Drive folder (Google Drive > Miscellaneous) which contains the morale rules, and some budding notes on dungeon crawls.

      Again, thanks for reaching out, and I’m glad to hear TD10 may be of use to you! I’m always here for questions, so feel free to ask any time!

      1. Hey Aaron, thanks for replying to my comment. After some poking around, I have found the drive and such. Thank you for clearing that up though, with the monster morale stuff. I know it sounds kind of crazy, but I started making some sci-fi additions for the game today. I’m still on break, so I’ve had a lot of free time recently, and I’m probably not ready to put it out fully yet. So my question would be, is there some kind of place for me to put this so that other people could see it, or use it? Like a homebrew section? Thanks again for replying so quickly.

      2. Nice – that’s exciting news! Contributions are always welcomed, and see quite a bit of use! I keep a list of all (v5 compatible) home-brewed content right here on the website, which you can find on the Downloads page, under the “Contributions” section. If and when you’re ready to share your content, I recommend you host it through Google Drive (or similar cloud host) and send me the link, which I’ll then post under “Contributions”.

  2. Okay, thank you for that clarification, it is hosted on google drive. I would just like to know one last thing. How do I send you the link(I have seen your Twitter page, but I cannot make one myself)?

    1. No worries! You can post the link here (along with the name you’d like your work to be credited under) and I’ll post it to the Downloads section. I’m looking forward to seeing your content!

      One more thing from me! Check out this post: https://tinyd10.com/2018/11/09/thoughts-8/ for a few suggestions on using the new (work-in-progress) core engine. My hope is that it makes contributing to TD10 even easier. If you end up using it, let me know how it worked out for you!

    1. Wow, these look great! Very neat concept, that human civilization was “seeded” from the stars: a sort of intellectual panspermia. The Starfall rules-set is clever – I like how you built it on-top of the core rules, very efficient. Also, thanks for using the template! Formatting looks sharp.

      As far as Hydrox goes, Shren is where I’d hang my hat. 🙂

      They’re now up on the Contributions page, and I’ll tweeter about it shortly. Thank you for helping to grow TD10! 🙂

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