I will be running an online game for Roll20Con again this year! The game is an excerpt from the Children of the Apocalypse campaign, and will run starting at 2:00 PM Eastern time on June 23. You'll find "Those Who Would Be Gods" on the Roll20.net Join a Game page - search for Savage Worlds and Roll20Con2018 and it's right up top. Hope to see some of you there!
Some of the most exciting scenes in the Temeraire books are the aerial combats between dragons, or even whole formations of dragons. The question is, how would we approach that using Savage Worlds? For a formation level battle, the mass combat rules are certainly an option, but for smaller battles, I think the first approach is a Chase.
Basically, a dragon-fight is a dog-fight, with the two dragons maneuvering for advantage. Based on the results of the dragons' Piloting (Flying) rolls, the dragons might be able to engage with ranged weapons (like the Longwing's acid spitting) or melee (biting and claws, or impact). Beyond that, however, the aviators riding the dragon also have potential actions. Riflemen can shoot at the opposing aviators (rifle balls fired at dragons are of negligible use) and "bellmen" (crewmembers hanging from the belly of the dragon) can drop bombs. Bombing, in particular, is a tricky one, as it requires a specific position above the enemy dragon. I would probably say that, for a dragon to bomb another dragon, it must get at least one raise on the Piloting roll, and that the enemy dragon cannot have received any successes on its Piloting roll.
Range is also tricky, as the range of dragons' natural weapons is substantially different than the range of a rifle. I would probably use rifle range increments for the Chase range increments and adjust the dragon's weapons ranges accordingly.
Now for the really fun part - boarding actions. To board an enemy dragon, the friendly dragon must be in melee range. Boarders require an Agility check to leap to the enemy dragon and a Climbing check to latch carabiners. Moving around on dragonback would also require Climbing checks. From there, the dragon becomes a battle map, with the boarders trying to capture the dragon captain, forcing the dragon to surrender.
This all sounds like a lot of fun - I'm thinking I'm going to have to figure out a one-shot to use all these rules...
I just finished listening to the first episode of the Dungeon Master's Ludus, a Secret Cabal Gaming podcast. I've been listening to the Secret Cabal for some time now, and this is their first effort at a focused podcast on gamemastering (not just dungeon mastery, despite the title). The podcast features Jamie and Bender, two of the members of the Lords of the Dungeon, and the two who tag-team GM for that podcast.
The first episode was, appropriately enough, about starting a campaign for your group. Overall, I think it was a pretty thorough discussion, covering topics like top-down vs. bottom-up world building and establishing different types of story arcs (epic, episodic, etc.). One particularly useful tip that I use myself is the idea of a character template for the players, some set of constraints on the PCs that make them more likely to gel as a team. For example, in Children of the Apocalypse, all the PCs are recent graduates of the Greatschool of Peterborough, and as such in a period of obligated service to the Lord Protector. This lets me, as GM, issue them missions as orders to get the plot rolling, but also leaves them some freedom to explore after the initial couple of adventures.
A couple of items could have used inclusion in the podcast. The topic of system and genre really, in my mind, isn't separable from campaign design. Even with the exact same world and basic story, a Fate campaign is going to have a different flavor than a Savage Worlds or GURPS campaign. Similarly, some systems (like D&D) are genre specific. I think a discussion of the interaction between system, genre, and campaign design would be really interesting, and perhaps they'll pick that up on a later podcast.
Second, the concept of a Session 0 didn't really come up, although on several occasions they alluded to player participation in campaign building. A formal session 0 designed to build the characters and the world can make the players far more invested in the campaign, and I'd recommend it for just about any group.
Overall, I think the Ludus podcast was a good source of information, and certainly passed along some ideas I plan to implement in my own campaigns. I look forward to future episodes.
The Longwings are, with the Regal Coppers, the central combat dragons in the British Aviator Corps. What makes them unique is their acid-spitting ability, a truly lethal combat skill that can cause major damage to ships, fortifications, and enemy dragons alike. Longwings are also noted for the quirk of only accepting female captains, with the result that the Corps always includes a minority of girls and women training up as future Longwing captains.
Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d12+2, Vigor d10
Size: +7, Natural Armor +1, Flight 26, Climb 1, Toughness: 13/12
Powers (all acid trappings): bolt, burst, blast
The introduction of powers for "specialty" dragons like Longwings also begs the question of how they should be handled. I would recommend that they be treated like Superpowers, but with the No Power Points setting rule to reflect the essentially "always on" nature of the draconic ability.
The Yellow Reaper is a much more modest-sized dragon than the enormous Regal Copper, and is a staple dragon of Britain's medium-weight forces.
Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d12+4, Vigor d10
Size: +7, Natural Armor +1, Flight 24, Climb 2, Toughness: 13/12
Aerial Acrobat: Receives a +2 on Chase rolls for aerial combat