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The Jolrhos Player's Guide


Christopher R Taylor
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At some point in the future, I will be releasing the equivalent of the "Player's Handbook" for my Jolrhos Fantasy Hero setting.  You know, races, house rules, combat tips, how to build a character, that kind of thing.


Initially I was thinking about doing a full writeup as if this was a separate, new game but with some of the changes in Hero policy and the work that it took to write up Western Hero which is enormously less complicated than a Fantasy Hero setting, I've decided to release just "here's what's different and how to use Fantasy Hero in this setting" and people will have to get Fantasy Hero Complete to use it properly.

 

Still at that I'm realizing that this is going to be a pretty enormous undertaking since the setting is quite lush and full, and it involves a lot of unique and special things to make it work.  For example, in addition to the typical set of FH talents, there are several score new ones mainly designed to equalize build of combat and stealth types with magic.  For example there are leadership talents that allow a character to buff friends or debuff enemies in combat, and stealth talents that let you move across loud or trapped areas safely, etc.

 

But I ran into a bit of a snag with spells.  I don't want to simply refer people to the Fantasy Codex and say "well use that" for a couple of reasons.  First, I want the Player's Guide to have enough information to get started playing without needing a buncha books.  Second, the Codex is a bit dated and I have changed a few ideas and want to streamline it slightly, and specialize it just for my fantasy setting.  So I have to write up a spell book as well as the Player Guide, but a smaller, more tight and less expensive one.  That way I have the spells designed (and written up in Hero Designer so they can be referred to as well as mathematically more precise even if I disagree with some of its calculations -- but that's another thread) for reference and ease of summarization.

 

I figure the Player's Guide will have the bare bones without all the Hero speech and builds, and the Spell Book gives the guts to see how it was made (so spells in the PG look more like Talents). 

 

But that's another book to write so... if you've been waiting for this to come out, um, its gonna probably be a couple of years.  In the interim I'll try to get out some modules and such to keep content on the shelf but this is a bit of a project.  And even if I could pay someone else to do it, its like painting a picture; I can't really have anyone else do the work.

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Well there will be templates and info on building but I also want to put in some tips like the old Goodman's Tips from Champions III, I think it was?  Basically "stuff a long-term player knows to make things work best for your build".  Also I am trying to make people used to working with class-based systems build characters easier in Hero so that its a simpler transition.  I am putting more benchmarks and "this is how good that is" stuff in (also put this in Western Hero) in addition.

 

The Player book will very likely be bigger than the GM book, since that will be mostly how to run games, how to do stuff in the world, insider info on how things work, advanced versions of what's in the Player book, etc.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Chris

     I am full on using your Field Guide, Fantasy Codex and Bestiary.  My players are loving it.  We are a group of old school players (youngest player being 52) and they are very much enjoying these books.  They are delving into the detail, the imagination of the spells and has brought a further immersion into the game.  They see monsters now that they have never seen so they are using skills, asking questions and roleplaying more.  

 

Thank you so much.

 

Cannot wait for the next thing to arrive.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I had the Bestiary in book and bought the other two in pdf, just got the other two in book form this week will probably et the Bestiary in pdf so that I can copy and past stuff in my one note campaign.  Your book are one of the reason I got back into running a Hero Fantasy game. For the last three years I had run a 5e game set in elder scrolls we had  just finished it after the group had reached 20 level and beat the main villain and returned as Hero's. I can hardly wait for you next book and looking forward to your Gm book as well. I am working on our next game we are getting ready to start our 5 session and I was looking for a different way to do something with undead when I came across your Fog Zombie in the bestiary and was inspired. Just wanted to thank you again for all your hard work it is greatly appreciated.  My hat is off to you and the other who post stuff been a long time lurker here, cant seem to find a group to play in so decided to star one myself had ran some many years ago with 4 and 5th edition.

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  • 4 months later...

OK, I've started some work on both the Player's Guide and the Jolrhos Codex at the same time (since I have to have the one to have the other, and vice versa).

 

The old Fantasy Codex stat block has undergone some changes, to make them clearer, less cluttered, and easier to use.  I'm going through the entire Codex and deleting, editing, cleaning up, and adding some new spells.  The old Mastery system has been shifted downward in power level, and I've folded Commerce magic into Castle magic as they had huge overlap anyway.  The new spell descriptions in the Codex look like this now:

 

JCExample.png

 

The guts of the build (modifiers etc) are not given, since they were a huge clutter and space hog.  I'll release a set of Hero Designer files for people who just have to see the guts, and to make tweaking them easier, but for the book, this will be enough.  The Player's Guide spell section will include all the spells but only in extreme digest format, such as

 

PSYCHIC BASTION (-3 Roll, (8) Mana)

Grants 7 resistant Mental Defense to all nearby the mage

 

The idea is to make things as sleek and tight as possible for players to use, and to trim down the largish size of the books to something more manageable.

 

More on notations, mana cost, etc to come in later posts.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Been having some fun with rebuilds, as I decided to use the APGI power Object Creation for any spell that makes things out of thin air or from something else.  Previously I used Transform, which technically works but had some notable flaws.

 

For one thing it doesn't feel right: transform is meant to change things like beans into peas or people into frogs.  Technically changing air into a meal is a transform, but doesn't have the same feel to me.

For another, its really, really cheap to build some transforms that ought to be more powerful.  Making a plate of food out of thin air is one thing, but making a bridge is another and you could technically make both of them for the same cost, just take longer for the bridge.

 

Object Creation avoids that problem by making larger and more significant items cost more, better representing the concept.


I did have a problem with something in the power, and had to change things a bit, though.  Don't panic, the APV stuff is all optional and presented for people to try or change as they wish.

 

Object creation costs 20 points base, which is a bit too much for making a loaf of bread, so I dumped that down to 10 points.  After all, the build specifically has limits: cannot be an attack, cannot be over a certain size or durability, etc.  20 points doesn't sound like much if you're thinking in terms of Champions but its a lot overall and particularly in heroic games.

 

Second, the size build was not very closely considered, I don't think.  Its 5 points to add 1 meter area to the base size of 1m.  And that's okay if you are making a bed, for example.  The problem is if you want to make something like a bridge it costs way over 60 points just to cross any kind of span you can't just jump over with a horse. A 3m wide bridge (roughly 10 feet) is +10 points per meter of length and that makes the idea prohibitively expensive.  The alternative is to buy megascale on the Object Creation which makes it ridiculous.  I'm not trying to build the Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge here.  So I changed the meter added to meter doubled: each +5 points doubles from 1 to 2 to 4 to 8m etc.  This fits the size structure cost much better.

 

This is the kind of stuff you run into in playtesting which I don't think some of the APV suggestions have enjoyed as of writing, which is fine, but it does mean GMs have to tweak things.

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  • 1 month later...

Spell rebuilding is ongoing, almost done with the magical spells.  I've further tweaked Object Creation to better represent use and function in the game.  Here's my house rule for the power:

 


OBJECT CREATION

Duration: Instant
Costs END
Range: none
Not Targeted
Standard Power

Object Creation is for making mundane items, any power that creates an effect (summoning, duplication, transformation, etc) should be used instead.

However, any common, mundane item used in the campaign setting can be created, such as a sword or a suit of armor, even though you can simulate creating these items with other effects.

This creates one specific item or type of item: crayon, bread loaf, dog collar, etc

 

Base cost is 5 points to create an item with 1 body, 1PD, and 1 ED.  Starts at below .5 cubic meter in size


+3 points for +2 defense
+1 point per +1 Body
+10 for complex item (folds, turns, lifts, etc like pliers or a hand mixer)
+20 (or +10 additional over complex) for very complex item (has multiple internal parts like a watch or a cell phone)


+5 points for a base 1 full cubic meter in size
+3 points for +x2 in size beyond that


+5 points for double number of items*
*Can make bundles of identical small items (pencils, arrows, etc) no larger than .5m area

 

You can expand the types of items created with this power in the same manner as Transformation:
+1/4 for small group of similar items
+1/2 for broad group of similar items
+1 for any item

 

-1/2 to make exact copy of item only

 

The configurable advantage is not considered part of the rules set now as it has been replaced with the Variable Effect advantage.

 

What this does is give almost exactly the same price for the base Object Creation as it now exists: 20 points to make a 1 cubic meter object.  However, it assumes and builds in the limitation "only one type of object" which brings the cost down to 10 points per 1 cubic meter.  I stepped down the base cost because making a non-complex, very small item is just not worth very many points. In the APVII, the base power for Object Creation can make anything, and I felt that restricting it to one object fits the general Hero System Rules better, and makes the lower cost more reasonable.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm expanding on the familiarity system slightly with this book as well.

 

Familiarity is now broader than just a penalty to OCV, and the penalty is generally lower.  Penalties are based on the complexity and commonality of weapons:

Common = -1 OCV non-familiarity penalty

Uncommon = -2 OCV non-familiarity penalty

Exotic: = -3 OCV non-familiarity penalty

Exotic Weapons are unusual and complicated ones such as Dwarven repeater crossbows and chain weapons.

 

Further, familiarity allows you to make 1-body repairs to items out of combat, such as replacing a strap, pounding out a dent, honing a sword, etc.  Familiarity also lets you use a weapon more extensively: without familiarity, the only weapon maneuvers you can use are Strike, Haymaker, and Block.

 

There is armor (and shield) familiarity as well now.  Having the familiarity allows a character to properly fit, adjust, and wear armor, so that for the purposes of encumbrance, the armor weighs half as much for those with the proper Armor Familiarity (cloth, leather, chain, plate).  Further, without Shield familiarity, the character cannot use shield maneuvers such as shield wall.

 

The idea is that this makes familiarity matter a bit more without being so great a penalty for use.  -3 OCV makes a weapon virtually impossible to hit with on average (two characters with equal OCV and DCV = 8- chance to hit), which is absurd.

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Done with Bard Songs for now, I'll likely come up with some more.  There are three types of Bardsongs for now:

 

Shouts (you know, like Skyrim, although my primary inspiration is a bard trilogy I read in the 90s)

Melodies (songs that have effects, usually involving instruments)

Recitals (Songs that are voice, but can be enhanced with an instrument for slightly greater effect or area, lesser END Cost, etc)

 

Bards use mana and END for spells 50/50, with the greater amount going to mana if its an odd number.

 

Now I'm working on priest rituals.  The challenge, I think, is to try to make all forms of magic and spells feel different.  So a Shaman is not a Priest is not an Elemental Mage is not a bard, etc.

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  • 2 weeks later...

OK So I might have over done a bit on the Talents.  There are 99, including most of the standard ones.  Some are rewrites or reinterpretations of a few of the talents in the Fantasy Hero Complete book.  I actually dropped many talents as well.

 

But there are combat talents to give straight fighters an edge, magic talents to tweak how spells work, leadership talents that act to enhance the team or dismay opponents, sneaky talents for rogue types, stance talents for different combat situations, and a bunch of new overall talents like this one:

 

SPRINGBACK: Allows the character to instantly and without any time leap back to their feet, on their phase.

Cost: 2 points

 

The concept is that I want everyone who builds a character to have lots of options to enhance and craft their concept even if they don't have spells.

 

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7 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

OK So I might have over done a bit on the Talents.  There are 99, including most of the standard ones.  Some are rewrites or reinterpretations of a few of the talents in the Fantasy Hero Complete book.  I actually dropped many talents as well.

 

But there are combat talents to give straight fighters an edge, magic talents to tweak how spells work, leadership talents that act to enhance the team or dismay opponents, sneaky talents for rogue types, stance talents for different combat situations, and a bunch of new overall talents like this one:

 

SPRINGBACK: Allows the character to instantly and without any time leap back to their feet, on their phase.

Cost: 2 points

 

The concept is that I want everyone who builds a character to have lots of options to enhance and craft their concept even if they don't have spells.

 

It looks good. While I am à long terme HERO player and GM I prefer when games using it avoid writing talents or spells using the full write-ups (including modifier values). The Springback write-up gives me all I need. I saw somewhere else you have  Field Guide available. Do you have a pdf preview for it?

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On 9/24/2021 at 6:04 PM, Christopher R Taylor said:

I am working on doing a Field Guide build on Drive Thru RPG, which would include like 20 pages free, but you can check out this thread for a ton of drops of ideas and things I came up with as I was writing it

 

I just took a look at that thread.  I love the ideas and if I ever ran a game, would incorporate many of them into my own game!

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For character creation, I'm setting up five sets of templates: Races, Cultures, Stats, Professions, and Background.

 

Races are mandatory, you have to take a race package from the various types.  All the other templates are optional; they are there just to help build a character.  
Cultures are how your character was raised; just because you were born a Dwarf doesn't mean you were raised as one.  Or maybe you were raised as a different Dwarf than the local ones.

Stats are characteristic modifiers for things like academics and athletics types, giving modifiers for archetypes.  You can take more than one of these if you wish.

Professions are skill, perk, and talent suggested blocs for various types of character.  Bard, Thief, Tradesman, Pirate, etc.  This is the closest to "classes" that Hero gets.  Can take more than one of these as well.

Background is complications, covering various personality and experience types.

 

Using this system a player can whip up a character pretty fast, with minimal effort or time taken going through the books.

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