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Topics - tonydowler

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brainstorming & development / Metamorphosis Alpha/Gamma World Hack
« on: March 16, 2012, 05:04:41 PM »
Alpha Hack is a partial Apocalypse World hack of James Ward's Metamorphosis Alpha, the game which also spawned Gamma World. I recommend buying James' game here:

I made this hack because I'm fascinated with Metamorphosis Alpha. I thought the game would be easier for me and my group to play with if we had an Apocalypse World style frame for it. Consequently, the moves are currently very stripped down. I hope to build them up a bit over time.

The rules for Alpha Hack are here:

In Metamorphosis Alpha you play humans, mutant humans, and mutant animals on a vast interstellar generation ship gone wrong. The crew is long dead and the inhabitants no longer even know they are on a space ship. Extensive biomes and creature samples brought from Earth have mutated into bizarre forms.

Apocalypse World / The (awesome) Science of Apocalypse World
« on: August 16, 2010, 06:46:41 PM »
Science rules! Post your Apocalypse World science inspiration goodness here! (inspired by Glendower's food preservation thread)

Some scientists speculate that should the oceanic conveyor shut down (say by the poles melting), our oceans will eventually become dead, stagnant ponds choked with deadly hyrodgen sulphide:

Now only people with protective equipment can navigate the waterways of Apocalypse World. When the wind goes a certain way, everyone locks themselves inside and seals the door to avoid being sickened by the sulphide clouds. Everyone except Kettle and his cult of wackos. They say it gives them great dreams. Meanwhile, someone or something likes living in the poison water quite well, thank you very much, and it's coming to town tonight.

By the way, Lifeboat News is a vertiable cornucopia of apocalyptic inspiration. I dare not tell my players what I have planned for them tonight. :)

Dungeon World / Death's Door
« on: August 10, 2010, 06:43:11 PM »
A new move:

When you're brought below 1HP, but not below -10, roll CON

10+ Down but not out, choose 1
  • Stand up again with 1 HP left. If you drop below zero again before you rest or heal, you're just dead.
  • You're unconscious and helpless. You'll revive a day later with 1HP
  • You're dazed and horribly injured with 1 HP left, but conscious and able to crawl.
  • Your nearly dead. You need a week's rest to heal.
Or choose any option below

7-9 Unconscious, helpless, and horribly injured; choose 1
  • Survive, but give up adventuring. Narrate a suitable retirement for your character.
  • Broken: -1 Strength modifier
  • Crippled: -1 Dexterity modifier
  • The Shakes: -1 Constitution modifier
  • Addled: -1 intelligence modifier
  • Lost your nerve: -1 wisdom modifier
  • Horribly scarred: -1 Charisma modifier

Miss: you simply die. The adventuring life is hard.

Dungeon World / Sample Adventure: The Purple Worm Graveyard
« on: July 20, 2010, 10:21:21 PM »
Here's the sample/playtest adventure for Apocalypse D&D: The Purple Worm Graveyard.

Dungeon World / Where's this Hack Going?
« on: July 11, 2010, 06:55:18 PM »
I forsee this hack eventually producing a full set of rules. I think it makes a lot of sense for these rules to join the huge trove of old-school renaissance open content game materials out there!

So from here on in, I'm working towards a set of rules that can be released under creative commons and/or the Open Gaming License.

The problem with this is that I can't release anything under the OGL and use "D&D" in the name! So ApocD&D needs a name change. I'm leaning towards "Apocalypse Box". Is that a dumb name? Anyone have another suggestion?

Dungeon World / Spellcasting Update
« on: July 01, 2010, 10:29:46 PM »
If you're playing Apocalypse D&D, here are some new rules for spellcasting you might want to try out.

PDF version is available here:, feedback is welcomed!

Instead of memorizing spells, spellcasters prepare some of their spells for faster casting. They may prepare the same number of spells they could memorize under the D&D rules, but these spells are not forgotten. With a night's rest, they can change the spells they have prepared. A spellcaster may also cast spells they have not prepared, using the Focused Casting move.

Cast a Prepared Spell
When you make a move by casting a spell you have prepared, make that move as normal. For example, if you go aggro using Magic Missile as your weapon; Make your Move using Jump; read a situation using Scry, and so on.
On a 10+: the spell works as written with no difficulties
On a 7-9: in addition to any options they already get, the DM may choose to roll on the miscast table.
On a miss, the DM decides what happens, as normal.

Focused Casting
When you take out your spellcasting accouterments and spend several minutes casting a spell you have not prepared, or cast a prepared spell without making any other move, roll dice. Magic Users and Illusionists roll +INT. Druids, Clerics, Rangers, and Paladins roll +WIS.
On a 10+: Choose one:
•   Maximize dice
•   Extend range, duration, or number of targets times two
•   Cast covertly, without sound gesture or outward sign
On a 7-9: The spell goes off as normal, but the DM chooses one effect in addition:
•   Someone’s exposed to danger
•   Someone’s put in a tight spot
•   Someone or something is made aware of the casting
•   Roll a miscast

Miscast Table
1.   The casting is accompanied by annoying, but otherwise insignificant effects like the smell of sulfur or the sound of tinkling bells.
2.   The caster’s appearance or body is altered in some alarming way (but it goes away in a few hours).
3.   The caster’s vicinity is visited with frightening manifestations of wild magic, divine disfavor, infernal wrath, or inimical forces of mysterious origin.
4.   The caster’s appearance of body is altered in some alarming way, and it’s permanent.
5.   The caster or target immediately has their mind opened to contact some higher or lower power.
6.   The caster or target is incapacitated by magical feedback. Immediately take s-harm (when you take s-harm, in order to do anything but wander around in a daze, you must successfully Defy Danger).
7.   The spell is accompanies by drastic and uncontrolled pyrotechnics, noise, or other distracting effects. Everyone in the area of effect must roll to Defy Danger to do anything but duck and cover for the next round.
8.   The spell echoes across the eternal flows of magical essence. Every powerful magic or divine being in the vicinity senses the cast and knows who cast it.
9.   The spell exposes the caster and/or allies to harm or danger as per the spell’s effect (or, if beneficial, reversed effects). Normal saving throws apply.
10.   A small rift is opened in the planar fabric and something or someone comes through.

Saving Throws
When you make a saving throw, roll dice:
•   If it’s paralyzation, poison, or death magic, roll +CON
•   If it’s petrification or polymorph, roll +STR
•   If it’s rod, staff, or wand, roll +WIS
•   If it’s breath weapon, roll +DEX
•   If it’s spells, roll +INT
On a 10+: You escape or resist to no ill effect
On a 7-9: You take half damage, are exposed to greater danger, or put in a tight spot.
On a miss, you suffer the full effects.

Dungeon World / Open your Mind to the Dungeon
« on: June 28, 2010, 05:15:47 AM »
Apocalypse D&D doesn't have an Open your Mind move. If you like opening your mind (and everybody should), I suggest you give each of your dungeons a custom mind opening move.

For example, in the caverns of the Purple Worm, open your mind to the Worm God and roll +CON:
  • On a 10+, your mind is in contact with the Worm god and it shows you what you want then offers you a bargain or a gift.
  • On a 7-9, you receive a true impression or vision of what you're interested in, but then suffer a temporary insanity.
  • On a 6 or less, the DM decides what happens.

Temporary Insanities:
1. Fall on your hands and knees and start eating dirt voraciously for 1-4 rounds
2. Projectile vomiting for several minutes
3. You realize that somewhere, somehow, there's a worm in your body. You can feel it, but you can't tell where it is.
4. The Worm god has a command for you, and he's watching to make sure you carry it out!

blood & guts / Opening your Mind
« on: June 28, 2010, 02:47:27 AM »
I want to talk about the Open your Mind move, because this is some serious, serious Apocalyptic mojo. I considered bringing this up in "the basis for all the moves" thread, but I think it's further ranging than that.

Elsewhere, Vincent says:

The basis for all of the moves in Apocalypse World, every single one, is an active conflict of interests between named, human characters.

So what's the deal with Open your Mind, then? Is it because I usually have a specific question in mind, and that question is related to the conflicts-of-interest in the story? What if I open my mind with no particular question in mind? That's become a fairly common practice in our AW games. Where's the basis then?

And a related thing: I'd like to talk about how the maelstrom functions or does not function in a way that's analogous to a character in the fiction. The maelstrom doesn't act like a disinterested force or entity. It acts like it's involved in what's going on. Do other people find that in their game? Is this an intentional characteristic, and what are the implications of including or not including Open your Mind in your hack?

Edits: accidentally published before I was done asking.

Dungeon World / Apocalypse D&D Rules
« on: June 26, 2010, 03:30:54 AM »
Welcome to Apocalypse D&D!

Apocalypse D&D is a mashup of traditional D&D (OD&D) with Apocalypse World. I have a great love of the dungeon crawling adventure style of OD&D. I think Apocalypse World facilitates that kind of adventure beautifully.

Current playtest rules for Apocalypse D&D:

Apocalypse D&D magic items:

Added 7/1/10: Provisional new spellcasting rules:

Adam Koebel's Apocalypse D&D Character Sheet:

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