Tiny d10

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Home-brewing Session: Races

Tiny d10’s races are simple, and as such, race design is a simple affair. In this session, we explore the three components of race: the description, the racial advantage, and the racial feature.


Race Description

In order to keep descriptions brief, the recommended format consists of three adjectives which best describe the race. In addition to the examples found in the core rules, some other descriptions may be:

  • Half-giant – big, intimidating, but compassionate, half-giants…
  • Half-elf – agile, bold, and keen, half-elves…
  • Lizard-folk – lithe, perceptive, and ornery, lizard-folk…

Of course, descriptions need not be limited to only three adjectives; however, this formula exists to best describe a race using the least amount of words.

Racial Advantages

Racial advantages consist of actual, tangible bonuses to a character. Each race is granted one racial advantage, which is typically manifested as a +1 bonus to a numerical value like HP, MP, PP, Toughness, or even damage. Bonuses to attributes are also included in racial advantages, but to prevent overpowering a race, should be limited to +1 at levels 1, 3, and 5.

Racial Features

Racial features different from advantages in that they are intangible bonuses that can often be freely interpreted by both players and GMs. They do not add a +1 bonus to any field, instead suggesting an action or ability that the race is especially good at. To take an example from the core rules:

  • Halflings – … can often disappear when they wish.

This feature could be used by different players in different ways. In some instances, it could add a bonus to a hide check; in others (GM permitting) it could add a bonus to a sneak check when trying to disappear in the midst of chaos. Racial features are intentionally written in a way that makes them open to interpretation, encouraging both players and GMs to ‘think fast’ and be creative.


And that’s really all there is to it! Races are fun and easy to create, and using this analysis should help you make a multitude of races that are all culturally and mechanically diverse. If there’s anything you’d like to see here (or if you have suggestions for future home-brewing sessions), let me know in the comments!


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New Monster: The Poisoned Well


The Poisoned Well (10HP; T6; +2P; living structure) – slowly trawls the desolate countryside under the cover of night. A living structure almost indistinguishable from non-living wells, it uses this clever ruse to hunt its prey.

It captures prey by supplanting the wells of small villages and towns, masquerading as a water supply. It is an intelligent hunter, typically only taking victims when it is unlikely to be seen by others. In this way, the Poisoned Well can devour a number of victims before villagers discover the well is poisoned, though not in the way they think.

In more remote locations (such as dungeons or deep forests), it may appear to be enchanted, attempting to mislead individuals by displaying one of the following effects (roll 1d10):

  • 1-3: glows a soft, effervescent blue; smells of wild berries and sweet honey
  • 4-6: crisp, bubbling pink liquor; rainbow vapor sprays from its carbonated surface
  • 7-9: clear, clean water; a cooling gust of wind emanates from the well
  • 10: GM’s choice (to include home-brewed effects)

Drinking from the Poisoned Well may cause delirium (roll of 1-3), 1DAM (roll of 4-6), 2DAM (roll of 7-9), or have no effect (roll of 10).

Weapons

  • Tentacles – lashing, acid-coated tentacles (+1 damage bonus).
  • Acid pool – caustic green acid bubbles at the bottom of the well waiting to consume its victims.

Monster Abilities

  • Consume: On an ATK roll of 10, target must save (5) or be pulled into bottom of the Well; target takes 1 damage per round starting next round.

The Poisoned Well is the first of my efforts to produce a ‘monster compendium’, a .pdf document offering at least 50 semi-unique monsters to be used in Tiny d10’s fantasy setting.

This is a great monster to use at the center of a pressing mystery, either used as a hook or a standalone adventure. It could be the reason a number villagers suddenly go missing, or the source of a growing wave of delirium causing townsfolk to attack each other. The pace of such a mystery can quickly become frenetic and maddening, and should put pressure on the characters (and their respective players) to solve it.


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Home-brewing Session: Classes

Tiny d10’s classes are designed to be easily extended. It’s simple to create additional class abilities, as well as entirely new classes. In this, the first of many home-brewing sessions, we explore the principles of class design.

There are three main components of a class: the description, the characteristics, and the abilities. Each component will be explained in detail during this session.


Class Description

The class description, while not a mechanical component like characteristics and abilities, is still of critical importance. In three to four brief sentences, the essence of the class should be summarized. Some information to include might be their histories, strengths, beliefs, or how they are perceived by others.

Class Characteristics

Class characteristics consist of toughness, usable weapons, usable armor, and any bonuses or class specific features (like beginning spells). This is easily the trickiest part to balance. In general, the following are guidelines:

Strong classes (emphasizes physical strength and melee combat, e.g. fighters, wanderers):

  • High toughness (T9)
  • Uses heavier weaponry and armor
  •  few (if any) bonuses

Moderate classes (emphasizes a balance of physical strength and dexterity, e.g. thieves, legionnaires):

  • medium toughness (T8)
  • uses either heavier weaponry or heavier armor
  • some bonuses (usually enhancing weak areas, like HP)

Weak classes (emphasizes high intelligence or dexterity, e.g. magic-users, bards):

  • low toughness (T7)
  • uses lighter weaponry and armor
  • numerous and/or higher bonuses (usually to compensate for weak/ineffective melee attacks)

Certain unique classes (like a ‘spell knight’, for instance) might contradict these guidelines by being both strong and magical. To prevent overpowering the class, consider adding restrictions to its class abilities.

Class Abilities

Class abilities are special skills that are granted to each class a character creation. They generally fall into two categories:

  • Level-amplified – these abilities are designed to become stronger as levels are gained. The amount of damage a certain attack inflicts, the bonus to a certain action, or the amount of targets an ability affects can increase based on a character’s level. Level-amplified abilities are essential to character growth, and should always be included when developing a new class; however, they can also be quite powerful, so it’s best to use just one.
  • Core – these abilities usually express something particularly unique to the class. Their benefit should be applicable in a multitude of different situations, resulting in a more flexible ability than level-amplified abilities.

Canonically, each class has two abilities (though the magic-user has three to balance the low toughness); however, more abilities can be designed and granted to characters upon gaining higher levels.


Hopefully this analysis is detailed enough to make designing classes easy, fun, and balanced. If you use these guidelines to home-brew unique classes (or if anything needs to be more clear), let me know in the comments!


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New Class: The Legionnaire

Legionnaires are members of an ancient order of people’s heroes devoted to upholding good, aiding the downtrodden, and vanquishing evil. While wise and tactful, they can be prone to outbursts of swashbuckling heroism.

T8; may only use lightweight weapons; may only use lightweight armor; +1 PP.

Legionnaire Class Abilities

  • Riposte: If an opponent’s attack roll against you is 5 or less, you earn an immediate attack against them with a bonus equal to your level.
  • Heroic Reputation: Legionnaires have the trust of the poor, the disenfranchised, and the downtrodden; as a result, you immediately gain favor among them.


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New Class: The Bard

Bards are masters of music and lore, spinning grand tales of mighty battles, epic heroes, and histories almost forgotten. They are charismatic, light on their feet, and extremely street smart.

T7; may only use mediumweight weapons & below; may only use lightweight armor; +2 PP.

Bard Class Abilities

  • Bard’s Song: Once per game, play a song, recite a poem, or sing lyrics that have one of the following effects, all of which last as many combat rounds or minutes equal to your level: hypnotism, inspiration (+1 to ATK roll), or slumber. This ability will affect your level times five creatures.
  • Entertain: Raise spirits with humorous banter and lighthearted song; if you succeed a T8 Aspect check, heal one creature (1HP).
  • Spell Casting: Bard’s may cast any magical spell for their cost in MP, but may not cast natural spells.
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