Monday, October 22, 2007


For the next Winter War gaming convention I will be running the final installment in my Encounter Critical epic, the Obiwan Shinobi Trilogy. Not that I'm through with EC or anything, I'm just going to be done milking the name Obiwan Shinobi for session titles. "Obiwan Shinobi in the Wilden West" will be set on the faraway planet Tech's Arcana, a rootin' tootin' outerspace cowboy planet. With ninjas and warlocks and stuff. I'm going to be making up some pregen PCs like in the past, but I've decided that I am going to allow folks to bring their own characters as well. Here are my draft rules for making your own PC.

1) Roll stats using the methods outlined in the EC rulebook. Obvious cheaters will be declared both nonscientific and unrealistic and subject to the full disciplinary measures of the International Journey Master's Association. Whatever those might be.

2) Your character receives 6,321 experience points if they choose a single profession. For characters with two professions split 4,213 points between the two classes as you see fit.

3) In addition to the races and classes in the main rulebook, the new races (Cyclops, Hutt, and Duckoid) and the new profession (Pugilist) from Asteroid 1618 are legal. To download a copy of A1618 visit either the Wordwide Adventure Writing Month archives or the Files section of the EC mailing list. The new races are on page 79 and the Pugilist rules are on pages 76 and 77.

4) You receive twice the starting gold allowed to first level characters with which to purchase equipment. You may buy any items from page 29 of A1618, the EC equipment charts, and the official armor table. Everyone gets a free suit of Western Duds, Cheesey Sci-Fi Apparel, or some unholy combination of the two.

5) You may select one unpriced item from A1618 or EC rulebook for free, but unique items will be subject to roll offs if two players pick the same unique item. For example, if two players wish to possess the Demon-Christened Sword of Teneblarr then they will roll dice to determine who gets the blade. Pick a back-up item just in case. As an alternative, simple create your own special item and see if the JM likes it or not.

6) Warlocks get one spell per level in their grimoire/wand/crystal ball/whatever and may select any spells in the rules. They may totally make up one new spell, but it needs to be in line with the samples provided in the main rulebook.

7) Warriors may start with a unique weapon of their own devising, subject to JM approval of the stats.

8) Go ahead and make some crazy stuff up. Maybe I'll like it and allow it.

9) Feel free to make more than one character. The Wilden West is a deadly place.

Anything I'm missing?


  1. Oh. Oh, my goodness. Oh, my.

    My wife and I kind of got into it about going to Winter War, but I want to, oh, do I want to. Now, even moreso. She doesn't think it's viable, cost-wise, but...

    ...people do dumber stuff than go to Winter War, and they do it ALL. THE. TIME.

    Why not I?

    That said, I'm rollin' up a character tonight.

  2. I know it will make for a hella long day, but just daytripping down for Saturday would make things a lot cheaper. Or if you don't mind living rough for a night or two you could crash at our place. I can't offer more than a couch and a couple of comfy chairs and/or the floor. And what space there is might need to be shared with my sister.

    My wife will probably think I'm crazy when I tell her I just offered to let three people I've never met sleep on our floor. You'll have to promise that you're not a family of cannibals if you stay over.

  3. I might actually make it this year... particularly now that it is walkable. :)

    I might also have crash space available, but I won't know until a bit closer to W-Day.

  4. I am not a cannibal, but I am also not the only one in my household who makes decisions. That's not to say that Amber might decide she wants to eat human flesh.

    Your offer is very generous and very much appreciated. I will talk to her...

  5. In honor of your proviso about cheating stats, I provide this sneaky-peek at the letters column of Encounter Critical Gazette #5, where Hank addresses related concerns.

    (Current draft from my work files; I may be slightly misreading the ninth-generation photocopy)

    = = = = = = = = = = =

    Dear Editors,

    Is there a reliable way to spot “cheater” stats? I ask because at a recent tournament game, I was delighted at first to see that experienced home-campaign characters were allowed. Eager to test Tasha, my 9th Level Criminal, against the skills of my fellow E.C. enthusiasts, I brought him into play, only to see him terribly outclassed – and then murdered – by a table full of outrageous scores (I don’t think I saw anything lower than a 14 on the other character forms, no lie)!!! The Journey Master took and destroyed my character sheet to insure fairness. Normally I’d respect that, but what fairness is there if the other players cheated? I kept respectfully silent at the time, but now I ask the experts: How high is obviously too high?

    – Candace Mott of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    Candace, I’m very sorry to hear about your experience, but it does sound like the J-M did the best he could under those circumstances, and with his no doubt limited understanding of probable statistics. But I do officially declare that Tasha is not dead. Re-create her as best you can from your notes, for the soil of Vanth must still quail at her gentle bootfall and its citizens must fear her criminal enterprises. She lives!

    How can I be so sure? There is a fairly sure method for spotting cheated scores: total them. Most fairly-rolled characters will have a total between 80 and 110. Variations beyond this range are possible but suspect (less likely than a “Natural 20,” since no less than 27 dice are rolled in the process, creating what is known to science as a bell). A character with every score at 14 totals at 126 – at odds of something like 5,000 against 1. That’s just for one such character, let alone a tournament full of them, and just for 14s with nothing higher. So -- Hogwash! They were cheaters all, without regard for the delicate and accurate balance engineered within the rule systems. If it were a single offender, I would have to say “sometimes excellent rolls do happen,” but with an array of super-characters I feel no obligation to consider lady luck; she is a Doxy and a Criminal herself, and not so generous as that.

    So Tasha lives to die again. But take no experience rewards for the adventure, because Candace … You should know better (I know you must) than to eavesdrop upon the scores of other players. I am tempted to declare harsher punishment, but you have suffered unduly. Journey on, wily Tasha, with that “dream sequence” put behind you.

    = = = = = = = = = = =

    Note that the timing of Hank's interest in what science calls a "bell" is no coincidence, since ECG#5 is the Gazette to appear shortly after Gen Con, 1979, where Hank purchased his very own copy of a certain book that devotes a section to the subject ;)

  6. Anonymous6:48 PM

    Everyone gets a free suit of Western Duds, Cheesey Sci-Fi Apparel, or some unholy combination of the two.

  7. Is the circle completed once more?