Tiny d10

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Home-brewing Session: Monsters

Monsters in Tiny d10 can be as simple as having only HP and toughness, and as complex as having HP, MP, PP, attributes, abilities, skills, and more. Regardless of their level of detail, they are easy to build and balance using the few simple guidelines in this home-brewing session.

Basic Monsters

The simplest monster possesses only the bare minimum qualities necessary to be an opponent. In most cases, these are just HP, toughness, and an attribute bonus (though some do not). Sometimes a brief description is included. Some examples are:

  • Goblin (1HP; +1R; T6; Weapon: gnarled dagger) – Though small in stature, goblins can be formidable enemies in large enough groups.
  • Wild boar (4HP; +2P; T4) – Aggressive and territorial, wild boar will charge their targets using their long, dangerous tusks.
  • Lizard-folk archer (1HP; +2R; T8; Weapon: bow) – Swift and silent, lizard-folk archers never engage in combat directly, instead preferring to hide and strike their targets from a distance.

Basic monsters are usually the most common opponents of any game.

Advanced Monsters

More powerful monster are similarly built, but have a few more qualities, particularly abilities or spells. A description is highly encouraged. Some examples are:

  • Young green dragon (10HP, 2MP; +3P, +1I; T6; +2 melee ATK damage; Spell: Illusory feint – lower target’s toughness by 4 for one attack. 1MP) – the green dragon is cunning and quick, using it’s magic to confuse or delude its opponents before striking a deadly blow.
  • Earth Giant (15HP; +4P; T4; +1 ATK damage; Ability: Quake – all targets in a 50 foot radius save 5 or lose one combat turn) – sometimes mistaken for a large hill or berm, the earth giant is a behemoth intent on protecting its territory.
  • Swordsman (6HP; +2R; T10; Weapon: Rapier; Ability: Riposte – gain one attack against an opponent’s failed melee attack) – a highly skilled swordsman is a portrait of swift beauty and cunning menace; a warrior far more capable with a blade than most.

Balancing a monster is simple: HP and toughness are (usually) inversely proportional. That is, if HP are high, the toughness level should be low, and vice versa. This preserves the challenge of fighting immensely powerful enemies like dragons while also ensuring it’s possible to actually defeat them. Toughness, after all, is not a how strong a target is, but rather how difficult it is to hit. A dragon is usually a fairly large target, making it easy to hit, but not so easy to kill.

And that’s it! To reiterate, monsters are just boiled-down versions of characters. Basic monsters are weaker and easier to create, while advanced monsters are stronger and require a little more attention. Regardless, it shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes to stock a dungeon, populate a forest, or fill a labyrinth with dozens of wild and dangerous monsters!

If you have any questions pertaining to monster making, let me know in the comments!

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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!


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 (T7)
  • 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 (T6)
  • 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 (T5)
  • 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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