Modos RPG: Third Playtest, v.1.30

Modos RPG: Third Playtest, v.1.30


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Modos RPG: Third Playtest, v.1.30

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Mix a grid-based board game, imagination-inspiring video game, free-wheeling LARP, and a take-anywhere pdf. Now throw out the grid-based board game. What you get is Modos RPG.

This game gives:
- PCs the freedom to go beyond class and race,
- players the freedom to act at any time in combat,
- characters the dignity of being written up in a few short lines, and
- GMs the access needed to tinker with the game until it's perfect for their campaign and group.

That, by the way, is just the tip of the spear.

Highly recommended is the rules module that upgrades 1.3 to 1.4 rules here:

Finally, this game belongs to the community as much as it belongs to its writer. So rate this download and provide feedback/comments, and help the game grow!
  1. DMMike
    For any Skyrim fans around here, I'm touching-up a barrow-delve adventure module that I ran a while back. It's HTML, so the links bounce you around pretty well to each element that you need. It uses the traditional room-by-room adventure format, not the encounter/element format in the Modos rulebook.

    It's set in Haafingar, at the burial mound called Volskygge. Volsung may be destroyed, but that doesn't mean the barrow is empty...
  2. DMMike
    This game is freely donated to the RPG community (although you can offer money at as a way to say, "thanks for loving dice, maps, monsters, and meeting people at the table!"

    You can contribute to the cause by offering feedback (which is priceless), designing and uploading your own adventure and rules modules, and sharing with your friends!
  3. DMMike
    Skyrim: Return to Volskygge is available in the Downloads, Miscellaneous section.

    And here's a question for you Internet RPG Sages: how light is rules-light?

    I ask because I'm working on the version 1.30-1.31 rules catalog (which is the codification of the rules already presented in the rulebook) and the game should be weighing in at less than 100 rules, which should take up about two pages.
  4. DMMike
    Some observations from a recent game:

    • It's a new experience for players to be able to act whenever they want during combat. Thoughts occurring to the players, that are otherwise commonplace in real life, are that they have a choice between defending and attacking, and that attacking can leave them open to attacks.
    • When lots of characters act at the same time, it can get a little chaotic. I came up with the solution that each action by the initiating character needs an announcement, and after that announcement is when you choose to respond or pass. Then instead of rolling in order of announcement, the GM takes each action in initiative order, initiating character first. That way, he can acknowledge each action and resolve it at the same time.
    • Armored characters are hard to hurt! But this is true-to-life as well, and goes faster by taking half on the armored character's protection rolls. The GM can add some drama by rolling protection (instead of taking half) whenever the player gets a high damage roll, to increase the odds that the PC deals a significant amount of damage.
    • Another new player thought is that "damage" doesn't mean getting hit. Taking damage only means you're getting closer to losing the fight. If the player wants to roleplay that as a hit, he's welcome to it and could be rewarded as well.

    The rules are posted, number under 100, and take up about six pages of the 1.31 rulebook. You can find them, sorted into modules, here:

    Happy gaming!
  5. DMMike
    GMs have a lot of work and roleplaying to do. The easier their job is, the smoother the game goes. Iíve talked about the GM tools in the game before, but Iím thinking they deserve a quick-reference page as an appendix as well. With one, a GM could have a sort of Donít Panic button in the back of the book.

    What are these GM tools? Glad you asked. Hereís a draft:

    • Average Person Rule. All difficulties are based on what an average person could do. +4 is challenging, +8 is difficult, +12 is arduous, and +16 is impossible.
    • Take Half. Donít waste time rolling dice if it wonít enhance the game.
    • Four-Second Monster. Yes, ďone-secondĒ was a little fast. It now takes four times as long to make a monster on the fly. Determine level, set its good skill equal to the level, set its good attribute (the non-10 attribute) score to 10+level, give it d8 armor and weapon, and customize as needed.
    • Let Players Help. There are several ways for players to help! They can track their own (any?) damage, actions, and postures. They can add depth by acting out their actions and damage taken, and they can even run NPCs if those NPCs donít know any secrets.
    • Rule Zero. Yes, the GM can be wrong, but arguing just slows down the game. If a playerís concern isnít critical, ask him to wait until after the game to discuss it.

    I've also sussed out a Four-Second Encounter, for when you're really in a pinch. But that one's still in the workshop. Shh!
  6. DMMike
    A player recently had this to say about character creation:
    It is really easy, more so than the normal system. We actually had our characters up and going within half an hour and were able to play for awhile.
    Here's a sampling of some of the characters recently created:
    Trak, level 2. A half-orc naturalist (aspiring druid) who can turn into a wild boar at will.
    Layla, level 2. A performing magician who persuades with her innocence, while her intelligent monkey does her dirty work.
    Baern, level 2. A half-dwarf warrior who uses his rage perk to make extra-damaging attacks, at least twice a day.
    This game is a community project, ENworlders! It's free to download, free to distribute, and free to help build your own system or modules. Your input is precious for improving the game, and you can receive credit as a game designer in upcoming versions.

    I'm currently tinkering with the following perks:
    Martial Artist: ENworld input received!
    Dual Wielder: an extra action is unbalancing, so I'm looking at giving dual wielders the option of using their secondary weapon as a shield.
    Weapon focus
    : this might turn into a broad category damage bonus, like "all Medium weapons use one higher damage die type" or "all piercing weapons deal one higher damage die type."
    Specialize: divorcing skills from perks, this will likely improve your progress die and allow you to exceed the level cap on skill points.

    Happy gaming!
  7. DMMike
    I've updated the description of the file in preparation for the 100th download.

    For your reference, the update follows. I hope you're enjoying the game as much as I am!

    What isn't Modos RPG?
    - A game that requires lots of page-turning.
    - A drawn-out system for creating just first-level characters.
    - A game that focuses on combat above all else, even when espousing other values.
    - A reason to buy lots of toys and accessories, or pay for anything at all.

    Okay, what is Modos RPG?
    - A light, flexible rule set for your imagination.
    - A game with tools for GMs and players to customize their experiences.
    - Genre and setting free. Although the game provides a pre-industrial equipment list . . . and has a preference for minotaurs!
    - Free, shareable, and open source.

    Version 1.30 does not come with a complete rules catalog. To see the rules catalog, go here:

    Finally, this game belongs to the community as much as it belongs to its writer. So rate this download and provide feedback/comments, and help the game grow!
  8. DMMike
    Corello backed into the corner, feeling the cobwebs there on his exposed neck. The only sounds were the clack of his plate hitting the stone wall and the scuffling of the zombies moving toward him. Their silhouettes closed in, backlit by the torch he had dropped in the middle of this burial chamber. His spirit might withstand one more spell, or perhaps he had no more soul to sell and this last spell would be his end. Taking the chance, he lifted his amulet and began the prayer that he called "Hurtmore."

    For version 1.3, Modos RPG includes a rule that spell contests must be at least 11, or the spell doesn't take effect (and the caster takes no spellcasting damage). The foundation of this rule is that a terrible roll shouldn't have an awesome outcome - it takes a minimum quality performance to cast a spell. I picked 11 because if a caster has at least one skill point or attribute bonus, he can take half (10) and get an auto-success, which makes spellcasting somewhat reliable while preventing someone from casting, say, "Meteo" after a contest of 3.

    In play, however, this seems to make spellcasting an exceptionally unattractive option if you need to roll to beat that 11, and you have a significant chance of failure. Better to attack from defensive posture with your staff, and deal half damage on your 1d6 than risk casting a spell and getting nothing at all.

    So what's a better plan than minimum 11 (or greater than 10), that still impresses upon casters that spellcasting isn't a given?
  9. DMMike
    When you do something twenty times, is one of those times going to be a catastrophic failure? Is one of the attempts going to outshine every other attempt?

    This isn't the case, at least from my game-designer-point-of-view. And my upcoming rules patch will reflect this: there are only three outcomes to a contest: favorable, GM's call (tie), and unfavorable. A 1 is a 5 is a 10, as long as your opposing contest is 11 or higher.

    So when DO catastrophic failures happen? Simple. Ask the player. Rules version 1.30 mentions that you can get hero points back for -choosing to fail-. Well, choosing an epic failure over an "unfavorable outcome" is definitely grounds for getting that hero point back!

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