Monday, February 28, 2011

The Week In LARP - February 28th

Last Week In LARP

Did you attend a LARP event last weekend? Let us know how it was in the comments!

This Week In LARP

March is the month where LARP in Ohio really starts to pick up. Start the engines!


NCN will be hosting a 2-day event this weekend starting on Friday, March 4th and ending Sunday, March 6th. The game will be held at Camp NEOSA. I am not sure what the price is to PC, but it's $2 to NPC (covers insurance). This event will be using 8th Edition rules.


Exiles and Wastelands will be running a Joint Event this weekend, starting Friday, March 4th and ending Sunday, March 6th. Exiles will be running from Friday Night to Saturday afternoon at the IG location of Black Rock Station, and Wastelands will be running Saturday afternoon and night at the IG location of Stormbreak Post. The event will be held at Geneva Hills. It's $40 to PC both events, and is $20 to PC one and NPC the other. Players will receive full experience for both games. Remember to bring eye protection for the Wastelands portion of the event!

If you've got a game running this week and we didn't mention you, either drop a comment here or shoot an email to, and we'll add you as soon as possible!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Stabin' Video

I'm sure I'm going to get all kinds of keyword hits for a post title like that.


I'm still traveling, which makes posting consistently a little more difficult. Luckily, I'll be back at home creating content next week and for the near future after that.

In addition, I've been working on an MP3 of my soothing voice talking about the changes to 9th edition. I expect all the kiddies to listen to it on the way to 9th ed events to help them understand what has actually changed. Anything we can do to prevent reading, right?

Anyways, I thought I'd leave you with this video of a lady fighting two men in boffer combat. This video was sent to me by an up-and-coming LARP video maker, and I really like the cinematography (even if it looks like those two guys were going easy on her).


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Evaluate Item Sucks

Now that I have your attention, here's an effective way to make Evaluate Item less tedious and more valuable for players.

Just buy a box of these!

I have never really seen a workable Evaluate Item system before. There's always some kinds of problems. Many systems use sheets to decode what something is worth. The problem with that strategy is that every NPC/Plot member has to know the system in order for characters with EI to barter.

Some just print values on the card and say "You need to find someone with Evaluate Item," but players cheese the hell out of it.

Instead, use the OOG convention of the little black envelopes!

  1. Only players with Evaluate Item can "see" black envelopes. This means that players without EI cannot pick up envelopes and hand them to their friends to identify. However, there's no way to completely remove metagaming, so players can alert others to something on the character. For example, if a monster had a black envelope and you didn't have EI, you could say "Why would this guy be carrying this worthless piece of crap? Joe, look at this ridiculous thing!"
  2. Players with Evaluate Items can remove the items from the envelope temporarily or permanently. This represents them shining, refurbishing, or simply pointing out the value of the item. Tags outside of the envelope can be seen by everyone, and everyone has an idea of the value (as it's written on the tag.)
  3. Black Envelopes carried on a person with Evaluate Item cannot be seen by players without EI, even in instances of theft. In cases where someone without EI steals a pouch or box with black envelopes, the first time they open the pouch and see the black envelopes, they're simply to drop them.
  4. Black Envelopes are still considered IG and are affected normally by destroy effects, such as an explosive trap, but cannot be targeted specifically. They are also left behind when a player dissipates, as with any other tagged item that is not spirit linked.
  5. It takes the amount of time to open the envelope and read the tag to identify that the value of the item. Like any other item, if a player doesn't want to show you the tag IG, then you cannot identify the item. Unconscious players, of course, cannot refuse to show you the tag.
  6. The tags in these envelopes can be either have a phys-rep or not. It should be shown on the tag when it's given out (and should come with a phys-rep if appropriate), and repped items should always be worth more than tags without phys-reps.
  7. Evaluate Item tags can be turned in at logistics for the value of the tag, which will be added to a player's bank total. The Phys-rep should also be turned in, if appropriate.
  8. If a spot-checked player has black envelopes but does not have the Evaluate Item skill, those items are destroyed and the player may be given a warning (depending on the circumstance).
Using this system, Evaluate Item now has a real IG value. You can move currency discretely with Evaluate Item tags, and having EI when going out on modules has the potential to increase the treasure from that module.

The obvious pros are that more people will purchase Evaluate Item, it will be easier for plot teams to implement that skill during plotlines, and it's simple enough for all players to understand (except the very new). The cons are that players can simply cheat and grab black envelopes without the skill and that it adds a little more up-front logistics.

What do you think of this system?

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Week in LARP - February 21st

This Week In LARP

Remember those couple of days we had where it was nice out? Yeah, well it turns out that winter LARPing isn't quite over.


There are no events in the tri-state area this weekend, but if you're feeling saucy, NERO Indiana will be hosting a two day event at the Columbus Youth Camp located at 12454 W Youth Camp Rd in Columbus, IN. For more information, check their website.

Alliance South Michigan will be kicking off the first event of the new year (in this area.) The event will start on Friday, February 25th and run until Sunday, February 27th. The game will be held at The game will be held at Camp Kiwanis. I am not sure what the cost is to PC/NPC.

If you've got a game running this week and we didn't mention you, either drop a comment here or shoot an email to, and we'll add you as soon as possible!

Friday, February 18, 2011

NERO 9th Edition: Recap

Now that we've gone through most of the changes in 9th edition, I figured I'd put a summary post with links to all the rest of the posts. Alternatively, you can simply check the label Change Log.

Spell Changes
Skill Changes
Gameplay Changes
Race Changes
Cantrip Changes
Formal Changes
Production Changes

Keep checking back for updates to the changes!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NERO 9th Edition: Production Changes

Today, in the last segment of reviewing the NERO 9th Edition rules, we're going to talk about the various changes to production skills.

General Production - Production no longer uses production points, but instead uses production levels. It doesn't really affect the amount of production someone can make. Production is also for the most part free. Every day, you get one production level per level in the skill, you can get one production level per level of the skill if you use a workshop, and you can get an additional production level per level of the skill for one silver per level. Finally, if you're a master (at least 10 levels), you get an additional production level per level of the skill. Confusing, but in essence you can get up to 4 times the level of the skill in production levels per day.

Laughing Posion - Removed from the game.
Love and Love 9 - Removed from the game.
Forget-Me-Not, Forget-It-Well - No longer uses a phrase, as the target simply forgets the set amount of time. Can receive a purify blood in 10 minutes to remember. If you dissipate before the 10 minutes is up, the Forget effect fails and the character remembers everything.
Death Elixir - Now causes instant death.
Instant Death Elixir - Removed from the game.
Slow Poison - Removed from the game
Dominate - Changed to Charm.
Vorpal Coatings - All vorpal coatings add 5 to the damage of a weapon swing. Are not used until they connect or are negated with a defense. Vorpal 1 lasts for 1 strike, Vorpal 3 lasts for 3 strikes, and Vorpal 5 lasts for 5 strikes.
Durations - Durations changed to match spell durations (Liquid Light is 5 days, most effects are 5 minutes).

Create Scroll, Create Potions - No significant changes.

Silvering - Increased to 4 production levels
Strengthening - Changed to 4 production levels (was more in 8th ed, less in playtest).
Sharpening - +3 Sharpening is now 18 levels to better represent the pyramid fashion of additional damage.
Mighty Slayer and Deceitful Blade - Removed from the game.
Weapons - Increased production for levels.
  • Small weapons are 1 production level.
  • One-handed weapons, shields, and arrows are 2 production levels.
  • Staff is 3 production levels.
  • Two-handed weapons are 4 productions levels.

Anything I missed? Throw it in the comments!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

NERO 9th Edition: Formal Changes

Today we're going to tackle the changes to the Formal rules.

Formal Casting - All formal magic casting is now done in a fishtail rep, which no longer requires casting the 9th level Circle of Power spell. These reps must contain runes, symbols or pictures to function correctly.

Obliterate - Cannot be contested to 1 hour (wording is strange, is this true?).

Greater Ward - Removed

Cloak and Bane - Clarified the various types of cloaks and banes.

Create Protective Circle of Power, Create Extended Circle of Power - Neither of these formals require that a Circle of Power be cast first. In addition, the max size of the circle is based on the number of formal levels the caster possesses (2 foot radius per level, max of 40 foot radius).

Transform - Now is permanent and doesn't exist on the spirit as an effect. Still requires the previous transforms in order to cast the next level.

Spirit - A person's spirit now counts as an item for the sake of the magic item slots variant. Therefore, you can have 5 items or 4 items and spirit effects.

Anything I missed? Drop it in the comments!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Week In LARP - February 14th

This Week In LARP

Happy Valentines Day! Just remember, if anyone asks you if you're in to roleplaying, they might be asking about something else...


NERO SWV will be hosting a 1-day event this weekend on Saturday, February 19th. The game will be held at Dunbar Wine Cellar Park at the IG location of Stoneforge Highlands. It's $20 to PC and is free to NPC. I believe they're still using 8th edition rules

If you've got a game running this week and we didn't mention you, either drop a comment here or shoot an email to, and we'll add you as soon as possible!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cthulhu live: An Alternate Source

Last year during the winter, when I was just beginning the planning phases for my summer NERO season, I stumbled upon a trove of ancient knowledge. From the depths of the DrivethruRPG website, I found a collection of books, the Cthulhu Live core books. These books can be purchased as part of a bundle in .pdf format for a pittance on the internet, but the knowledge that they hold is practically priceless. The books were designed to run a live action game based in the Lovecraft mythos, but many of the concepts and stories are easily adapted to any game, every plot team should have a set.

My personal favorite part of these books is the suggestions for creating terror. The idea that a monster off scene can be as terrifying as a fully costumed monster on scene. This is often neglected in boffer larps, everyone feels like we should see all of the enemies. The terrifying monster from the deep was an idea that I borrowed last year for my largest plot line, everyone agreed that the idea of the bad guy was far more terrifying than the final battle. The set up for an off scene bad guy is as complicated as setting up an on scene one. The hints that are dropped by friends and foes in the campaign setting need to be vague enough to inspire imagination, but also specific enough to inspire fear. The Cthulhu books give some great examples of this in their adventures and in portions of the core book.

The Cthulhu books brought me to another revelation when it comes to running games. Losing can be as fun as winning if the plot is advanced appropriately. Everyone likes to leave a weekend of NERO feeling like a hero(Heh ryhme) but a loss somewhere in the course of a weekend can really build suspense for the final victory. The terrible foe seems far more terrifying oif he has defeated you before. The books bring up an excellent point though, it is important not to kill off too many of your heroes before the final confrontation. The losses that build suspense should be close fights with tactical retreats rather than decimations. This allows players to continue to feel motivated to succeed rather than feeling beaten down. Of course in Cthulhu the end game is insanity and death with a possible side of Hell but NERO has a more heroic vibe so you can generally allow victory at the end of the weekend.

The costuming section of the book is perfect for horror plot. Suggestions for making tentacles and slime, lighting suggestions and monster making, I used a great deal of this in my plot lines. Reading through this section in interesting but digging in and making the suggested projects is the real value. Hint, balloons covered in Vasoline are disgustingly terrifying.

Even if you never run a Cthulhu Live game, these books have value for almost any setting at any time. Look at the previews on DriveThruRPG and you will see what I mean.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Keyword Fun 2

I didn't get a chance to do an in-depth analysis today, so instead I thought I'd distract you with some fun keyword searches that people use to get to our website.

poker chip larp armor
Said it before and I'll say it again. You need to have the chips meshed pretty close together to get the full benefit of this armor. As in millimeters between them, and don't dare have any areas that aren't covered or you won't get the 75% coverage required.

templates for newscast homework
Lie, Sensationalize, Lie, Scare Tactics, Sensationalize... that about does it.

what does the blue color mean in larp?
Freud would say it has to do with uncontrollable human urges. Everyone else says it means blue.

yo dawg, i herd you like noodles so i put noodles in ur noodle
Look what happens when I do one "Yo Dawg" post.

larp mini game
Yo dawg, I herd you like LARPs, so I put a LARP mini game in yo' LARP, so you can LARP while you LARP.

football pad nero armor
Just don't do it.

pride and predjudice larp
Just don't do it. (Tim, was this you?)

nero 9th edition "smoking policy"
Smoke 'em if you got 'em! (and you're not underage)

fat guy running picture
I thought about putting a fat guy running picture, but when I googled it in google images, I got scared...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

NERO 9th Edition: Cantrip Changes

Today, we're talking about the changes to Cantrips

Invoked - All invoked cantrips now have 3 5 uses, regardless of the number of formal levels a player possesses.
Cantrip Tomes - No longer require a 10g book to create. Just need an untagged book that's at least 6" x 4".

General Cantrips
Channeling - Reduced to 1 component.
Imbue - You must now choose the spell at the time of casting for reversible spells or Eldritch Blast.

Earth Cantrips
Field Resurrection/Abjuration - Removed
Healing Pool - Now provides a flat 150 points of healing, regardless of the number of formal levels a player possesses.
Tyrra's Claw - Now provides either a shortsword or long sword phys-rep on the first casting. Casting a second time gives you a shortsword (so you could be fighting long sword/shortsword or shortsword/shortsword). Can be combined with Etherial Sword.

Celestial Cantrips
Boltstorm - You can now speak, bringing this spell in line with Bane the Dead/Boon the Dead.
Element's Fury - Reduced to 1 component. Now provides a flat 150 points of damage, regardless of the number of formal levels a player possesses.
Etherial Sword - Now provides either a shortsword or long sword phys-rep on the first casting If cast a second time, you can now fight with a long sword and a shortsword, instead of two claws. Can be combined with Tyrra's Claw.
Lore - Now identifies up to 2 items, regardless of the number of formal levels a player possesses.
Magic Key - Removed

8/17/11 - Changed invoked cantrips to 5 uses, added changes on cantrip tomes.

Find anything I've missed? Drop it in the comments!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

NERO 9th Edition: Race Changes

Today, we'll talk about the changes to the various races.

Barbarians - Can now purchase Barbarian Slay for 10 Build. Detect Celestial magic changed to a 1 minute focus instead of packet delivery.
Hoblings - Dodge is now 12 build.
Mystic Wood Elves - Prepare Hearth and Manifold added to the list of skills that count as "Craftsman" Skills.
Sarr - Can now purchase Waylay. Scenting Ability reduced to 3 seconds (was 1 minute).
Scavenger - Scenting Ability reduced to 3 seconds (was 1 minute). Now specified that you must like a mundane animal, not a magical animal (no Drake, Griffin, or Unicorn scavengers). Scavengers are no longer required to not understand currency or be savage beasts.

2/18/11 - Mystic Wood Elves modified to include table 3.2

Anything we missed? Drop it in the comments!

Monday, February 7, 2011

NERO 9th Edition: Suggestions for Plot Teams Part One

Plot teams have been building their repertoire of eighth edition support documents and plot documents for over ten years. The good news is that almost all campaign documents, modules and even monster stats will be usable in 9th edition with only a very limited number of updates. This is a largely editorial post, by that I mean that these changes are things that I recommend, but they are hardly necessary for good gameplay.

1. Carrier attacks should be converted to the lesser variant.: This seems simple enough, the goal of a carrier attack on a monster is mostly crowd control. The lesser variant allows for that but also allows the effected player to get back into the fight more quickly. I am going to playtest this out with some friends once this abysmal snow goes away but I am pretty sure that the fight will feel faster paced with lesser carriers. Obviously on the big bad monsters it may still make sense to have the normal version of the carrier. I kind of wish there was a middle one too, like a one minute effect but that may increase complexity too much.

2. Slays must be closely monitored: In the past character level monsters have almost always been allowed to purchase slays and parrys with impunity. I put limits on the number of deaths and high level damage spells that went into town but never slays, because they were mostly used as parrys. With the advent of the 100 point slay, slays should be calculated as take down magic, possibly with the same weight as a death spell. The reasoning for this is fairly plain, slays now have a greater impact on game balance, this is not a bad thing, it is just different. Thought should also be given to removing the slay portion of the skill on lesser monster cards leaving only the parry. Burst damage is definitely the most dangerous damage in the game and you must use it judiciously.

3. Encounters should be time limited: With the changes that have been made to circle of power and imprison, simple mod encounters should probably be scaled to last for less than 10 minutes. This will allow for those spells to still be useful in a defensive capacity while increasing the impact of the longer, more dangerous modules. All modules should be scaled using a damage over time paradigm, meaning that the bursts of damage should be taken into account when resets are assigned to NPCs. This is important because even low level cantrip healers now have access to useful healing pools. Only burst damage and takedowns will make a module challenging and we always limit takedowns because they just are not that much fun.

These are just a few ideas that have been rolling around in my brain since I started planning my season for this year. Comments? Suggestions? You can tell me if I am wrong, I will listen...

The Week In LARP - February 7th

This Week In LARP

When you're done weeping over the Steeler's loss (or celebrating it), why not enjoy some LARPing?


NERO Cincinnati will be hosting a 2-day event this weekend starting Friday, February 11th and ending Sunday, February 13th. The game will be held at Camp Friedlander at the IG location of Beronis. It's $50 to PC ($45 if you pre-pay) and is free to NPC. This event will be using NERO 8th Edition rules.

If you've got a game running this week and we didn't mention you, either drop a comment here or shoot an email to, and we'll add you as soon as possible!

Friday, February 4, 2011

NERO 9th Edition: Gameplay Changes

Today, we're going to talk about gameplay changes. Obviously, this is a much broader subject, but I'm at least hoping to compile the significant changes.

Armor - Armor no longer breeches. Max armor (sum of physical, arcane, and dex armor) is now 10 points for a scholar, 15 points for templars and rogues, and 20 points for fighters. Anyone can purchase wear extra armor up to a max of 40 points. Good costume now counts as an extra rank of wear extra armor that doesn't count towards the total limit (so you can conceivably have 45 points with good costume and max ranks of Wear Extra Armor).

Effect Delivery - The mechanics for delivery of effects in combat has been streamlined to be more intuitive. Please refer to table 6-2 in the rulebook for more information (page 89).

Unconsciousness - When you are unconscious (0 body), you come back to 1 body after 1 minute, not 10 minutes.

Resurrection - Is only 5 minutes, and you come to life with clothes on.

Packet delivered Physical - Can now be parried.

Laugh and Dominate Effects - Removed (Dominate changed to Charm)

Spirits and Dismemberment - You can no longer detect a spirit in a body. Players can no longer cut off body parts to have them lifed - it's the whole body or nothing. As explained to me, dismemberment occurs IG, but simply never happens to PCs because of the lack of a way to rep it.

"Lesser" - Plot teams now have the option to tack the word "Lesser" onto any delivered effect. This changes the duration of said effect to 10 seconds. Intended to allow heavy use of effects without depleting player resources.

Weapons - No longer require open cell on the pommel of the weapon. Ultralights added to the weapon construction information.

Crafting - Players with production skills can now produce 3-4x their levels in production under the correct circumstances. Here's how it works.
  1. All players receive their skill level in production levels
  2. If you utilize a workshop, you receive production levels equal to your skill level
  3. If you are a master (at least 10 levels), you receive additional production levels equal to your skill level.
  4. You can supplement your production with refined minerals by supplying production components or silver per production level (maximum levels equal to your skill level).

Archery - Now uses yellow packets instead of streamers.

Physical Pin/Bind/Web/Confine -or- Entangle - You can no longer cut free from Physical Pin/Bind/Web/Confine, nor can it be removed with dispel magic. If you were using the Physical Attacks Playtest, Entangle has been removed from the game. The only valid form of escape for Physical Pin/Bind/Web/Confine is the Remove Physical Affliction spell (or Endow/Delayed Endow for Physical Pin).

Rip from Pin/Bind/Web/Confine - Characters no longer take damage from Ripping free (unless specified on the card).

Charm Effects - Charm effects now have a strength associated with them. If you are under a charm effect and are hit by a lower strength charm effect, you do not take the effect. If you are hit with a charm of equal or higher strength, it replaces the lower strength effect.
  1. Calm
  2. Shun
  3. Charm
  4. Fear
  5. Control
  6. Vampire Charm
  7. Enslavement

Targeted Effects - Targeted effects have changed significantly from the way they worked in 8th edition. If you are hit with a targeted effect (such as wither, shatter, or destroy), you cannot assign it to an item/location that would take no effect from the attack. For example, if someone hit you with a "Magic Wither Arm" and your left arm was already withered, you'd have to take the effect on your right arm. If you were hit with a "magic destroy weapon" effect, you would have to take it on a non-rendered item. If there is no legal target (or the only legal targets are withered/rendered), do not call "No Effect." If delivered by a carrier attack, you will still take the damage associated with the attack.

Now I'm fairly sure there's some stuff I missed. Drop your thoughts in the comments!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The 100 point slay

In case anyone is not aware, 9th edition NERO changes the rules on slays to a flat 100 points. There has been some angry murmuring about this, there has also been some shouts of elation. I am going to discuss this in the context of the current game, from both a PVE and PVP perspective and allow you to formulate your own opinion. I am trying to do this as objectively as possible but of course I do have an opinion and it will probably be fairly evident.

The game of NERO began as a counting game. By that I mean that a monster had 10 body and I was singing for 2s the monster could take 5 hits and then fall down. If I was a big dog and had a slay that did 24 points I could kill that monster in a single swing or I could take half of the body away from a larger monster. The amount of damage done on any single module was quantifiable. The modern game of NERO is not like this, the modern game of NERO is a game of burst damage, can I do enough damage to kill you before you can heal yourself. This was brought about primary by the advent of the cantrip healer. The cantrip healer continuously heals the fighter throughout the course of a fight so the encounter must do enough damage to break through the fighter and kill the healer. The same is true on the other side of the encounter, most monsters heal themselves so the players must do sufficient damage to defeat the encounter before it can heal itself. The 100 point slay allows the fighter to have a burst damage quota that is easily totaled across a player base.

Roleplaying games are filled with math. Counting body down, totaling damage, counting healing up, players brains are filled with numbers. The best of us can keep track of most numbers while still managing to focus on playing the game. 100 point slays do not reduce the amount of math necessary to play the game but they do make that math just a little bit simpler. Numbers that are multiples of 10 are by virtue of our counting system very easy to remember and work with.

In an encounter between two fighter type characters there are a few ways that the result can be decided. Two fighter who have no slays or who assume that they each have an equivalent number of slays can fight without using their slays. Or a fighter who assumes that he has more slays will begin with slays and hope that the opponent runs out of parrys before he runs out of slays. There has been some mention made in the various arguments that a newbie should not be able to kill a 30th level character. In the above encounter the new player will never kill the advanced character if they both have skills remaining. 100 point slays devalue the build that ignores slays to get to swing 20s, without the slays that go along with those 20s, you will die in at most two hits from any fighter type character. 100 point slays also provides a larger differential between high level templars and high level fighters, templars cannot possibly match fighters slay for slay while still spending build on spells. PVP between fighters remains the same while PVP between classes changes only slightly. A low level fighter can kill an unprepared high level scholar.

From a scaling perspective slays can now be counted as 9th level spells. They have virtually the same functionality as death or eldritch blast and they cost almost the same build. IN addition the cost to get the slay with its prerequisite proficiencys is almost the same as a column of spells for a scholar,actually its interesting how close in value a slay is to a 9th level spell.

There it is a few arguments for and against the 100 point slay. What does everyone think?

NERO 9th Edition: Skill Changes

Today, we're going to be talking about the changes to skills. When referencing the build cost, I will be using the format from the rulebook, which is Fighter/Rogue/Scholar/Templar.

New Skill:
Barbarian Slay (10 Build) - Can be purchased once for barbarians. Only works as a slay, doesn't work as a parry.
Stop Thrust - The first purchase of this skill is 0 build, and you can purchase an additional stop thrust for 2 build for every 2 proficiencies you have.
One Handed Block - Is now a skill that costs 0 build. Acts the same way as the playtest, but somewhat awkward implementation.

Skill Changes:
Hobling Dodge - Raised to 12 Build
Detect Celestial Magic - No longer packet delivered, after 1 minute of roleplay it acts as a detect magic that only applies to celestial effects.
Alchemy - In order to use contact poison/gasses, you must have sufficient levels of alchemy to make the item you wish to use.
Dex Armor - Can now be purchased up to 10 times (for 20 points of armor)
Wear Extra Armor - Build cost raised to 3/3/4/3
Weapon Proficiency - Removed the scaling build structure and profs now cost 15/20/30/18
Critical Slay/Parry - Slays now do a flat 100 points of damage. Build cost changed to 10/15/20/13
Master Proficiency - Removed the scaling build structure and master profs now cost 17/24/34/22.
Master Slay/Parry - Slays now do a flat 100 points of damage. Build cost changed to 13/18/25/15.
Assassinate/Dodge - Assassinates now do a flat 100 points of damage.
Waylay - Is now a daily skill, lasts 5 minutes and has the same requirements as assassinate (standing behind, see both shoulderblades). Requires a short weapon (or small weapon). Can be parried/dodged/resisted as a physical attack. Build cost is 6/3/6/6, and you may only purchase additional uses once for every 5 levels your character attains.
Herbal Lore - Now detects and identifies a substance in food or drink in 3 seconds, and can be used to destroy said substance in 1 minute of roleplay (so that the food/drink is safe).
Smithing - Changed the number of levels required for silvering a weapon, removed flawless refit, now costs 3/4/4/4.
Formal Magic - Now costs 12/8/4/6 for primary school and 24/16/8/10 for secondary school.

Any changes I missed? Drop it in the comments.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

NERO 9th Edition: Spell Changes

This is going to be a series on the changes for 9th Edition. Once we get all the changes down, we'll make a handy PDF document for veteran players showing all the changes.

Today, we're talking spells.

Here's what you need to know about the changes to spells.

Bless, Shield - 5 points (was 2)
Duplicate Ward Key, Greater Bless, Greater Shield, Wall of Force, Wizard Lock - Removed from the game.
Calm, Charm, Calm Animal, Charm Animal, Control Undead, Turn Undead - Duration is now 5 minutes (was 10 minutes).
Shun, Shun Animal - Effect is now LOS (was 1 hour).
Banish - Both Schools
Circle of Power - 10 Minutes, no longer required for platform circle
Create Undead - Lasts 5 minutes and now SUSPENDS DEATH COUNT. Also, puts you at full body, is not a visible effect and you fight at full speed.
Endow - Adds 3 points of damage (was 2).
Delayed Endow - Can now break out of a pin.
Taint Blood - No body loss
Weakness - Swing for 5 less (was 4 less).
Empathic Healing - No Transfer of body.
Elemental Shield - Both Schools
Imprison - 10 minutes, target is pinned and cannot be moved.
Light - Changed to "Illumination" and lasts 5 days (was until next sunrise).
Disarm - Changed to "Fumble" and makes an item unusable for 5 seconds (used to require dropping it).
Displacement - Call is now "Phase"
Paralyze - Effect is now 5 minutes (was LOS).
Ward - Now acts like greater ward, all inside when cast are invested. No longer tied to a doorway (all doors work).
Wither Limb - Specifies that you must take this on an un-withered limb if possible.
Mystic Lock - People are now invested into it, like Ward.
Desecrate, Sanctuary - Cannot pick up items.
Cause Disease - Disease no longer does damage. It simply keeps you from running.

New Spells
Lesser Invest (C7) - Adds someone to a Ward or Mystic Lock
Lesser Divest (C7) - Removes someone from a Ward or Mystic Lock
Remove Physical Affliction (E6) - Removes an effect with the "physical" type.

Find any changes I missed? Post in the comments!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dogs and Cats Living Together - NERO 9th Ed.

All hell is breaking loose at the fact that as of 2400 hours on January 29th, NERO 9th edition was finally released, with a published rulebook and everything.

I know. I still don't believe it.

Now let's not jump the gun. It's released as a PDF, as it can be modified easily. It's still not available as an actual book, but plans are in the making for both hardback and paperback editions.

I'll stop babbling and get to the point already. What do I think of it? I think it's about 8-9 years late. But seriously, here's what I think.

From a game design perspective, I can find nothing outwardly wrong with 9th edition.

Granted, a lot of it is the same as 8th with the obvious additions of the playtests. But there are a few major changes that affect the game, which we'll discuss.

Skill Changes
Most skills remained the same, but there were some changes.
  • Slay/Assassinate now do a flat 100 damage, regardless of the number of profs you have. I can (and will) do an entire post dedicated to the why, but suffice to say that this is a good change for the game.
  • Waylay changed into a daily skill that requires positioning like assassinate, but no longer requires surprise. There is a cap to the number of additional purchases equal to 1/5 of your level. Duration reduced to 5 minutes. Good change.
  • In order to use alchemical gasses/coatings, you must have enough alchemy ranks to make the item. Gone are the days of Alchemy 3.
  • Wear Extra Armor is now required for fighters to reach max armor and max armor is only 40, but armor no longer breeches.
Race Changes
All about the same, but some races mixed around the "no 2-handed weapon" to allow a couple of different variations. Hobling dodge was increased to 12 build.

The big change is adding a racial slay to Barbarians. There's a lot of hate to this change, and I plan on discussing this in the other post, but my thought is that this is the best possible racial they could have given barbarians. The best.

Spell Changes
Disarm is now fumble, which doesn't require dropping items. I like this, as two parties going for a dropped weapon would almost always cause a dangerous situation. I might have pushed for 10 seconds, but I think 5 seconds is effective enough for a level 1 spell.

Circles and Imprisons last 10 minutes, wards and mystic locks now work with investures, and people can be added/removed with a level 7 spell.

Effect Changes
It's clear that the team that worked on this rulebook follows the Accelerant system, as most effects had their durations reduced. This has been a long time coming, since no one likes to wait for 10 minutes, let alone an hour. In addition, staff can use the "lesser" modifier to change any effect to only last 10 seconds.

This is fucking amazing. Lesser is an amazing tool that every plot worth their salt will use.

Crafting Changes
Crafting skills now give you double the production levels once you hit master (10 levels). In addition, you can increase your production further by adding silver or using a workshop. As is, you can now get 80 levels of production at a weekend event by having 10 levels in a skill.

Meta Content
Finally, the rulebook itself is a much better format for a new player to read. In it's current format, there are some contradictions that need to be resolved, but I like the flow. In addition, the OOG information about combat mechanics, marshaling, monster statting, etc is extremely useful. As I've said to others, if you want to be a marshal in 9th, expect to memorize the rulebook as it's got a lot of useful information.

Despite the fact that it's a long time coming, 9th edition is 100% an improvement on 8th edition. I fully suggest all chapters to start using the ruleset as soon as possible. Most players are more opposed to change rather than the changes themselves, and I think you'll find that while the balance will be slightly different, it will be better balanced than before.