Invisible City Productions Invisible City Productions is a collective of game designers, writers, and artists who provide this as a space for the creators of secret media to come together and touch antennae.

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Fantasy RPG Checkers · 5 April 08

A checkers variant with classes, levels, hit points, and saving throws for two unrepentant RPG nerds.

Fantasy RPG Checkers

by Jonathan A. Leistiko

Object

Be the last player with checkers on the board or meet your special victory conditions.

You need

A complete checkers set.
A six-sided die.
Some pennies.

Setup

Set up the checker board the way you would for a normal game of checkers. When you set up the game, make sure that every checker is face up.

Chose a character to play. Then, the other player chooses a character and starts the game.

The character you pick will give you certain advantages (and disadvantages in some cases). Make sure you understand the special rules for the character you pick.

Play

Play is just like a normal game of checkers with the following exceptions:

If you have a capture available to you, you must take that capture – even if you could cast a spell instead of capturing. If there is more than one available, then you may choose the one you want to take.

When you king one of your opponent’s checkers, use checkers from your stash of captured checkers first. If you’ve run out of captured checkers, use spare checkers. When you capture a king, it counts as one capture, but you get to put both checkers in your pool of captured checkers.

The rules that govern a character overrule all other rules.

Levels
You and your opponent start at level 0. Your level is equal to the number of checkers in your pool of captured checkers. Your opponent also gains levels, even if he or she is playing a character who would not ordinarily gain levels (such as a character from the Sluggy Freelance or Schlock Mercenary checkers sets).

Level Difference (LD)
Your level, minus your opponent’s level equals your Level Difference, or LD. For example: If you’re 5th level and your opponent is 4th level, your LD is 1. If you’re 3rd level and your opponent is 6th level, your LD is -3.

Saving throws
Roll a die. Add your LD. If the sum is 4 or greater, or if you rolled a 6, you save. If the sum is 3 or less and you did not roll a 6, you fail. For example, if your LD is -1 and you roll a 5, your sum is 4 and you made your save. If you rolled a 4 or less, you would have failed. If your LD is -5 and you roll a 6, you succeed because rolling a 6 always saves.

Hit points
Face up checkers are “healthy”. If a healthy checker takes a wound, turn it face down. Face down checkers are wounded. If a face down checker takes a wound, it is captured.

The Characters

Demented Ranger
Backstab – If one of your checkers is behind an opponent’s checker, you can backstab that checker instead of moving this turn. The targeted checker takes wounds equal to half your level, rounded up.
Leap & Stab – On your second jump of a double-jump, you can wound an adjacent checker. You may deal one additional wound for each positive point of LD you have. For example, if your LD is 2, you could wound three adjacent checkers, or you could wound one adjacent checker twice and one adjacent checker once, or you could deal 3 wounds to one adjacent checker.

Stalwart Cleric
Spellcaster – Every time you gain a level, you get a penny. You can cast one spell during your turn instead of moving.
Cure Light Wounds (Spell) – Spend a penny to flip a face-down checker face up.
Cure Critical Wounds (Spell) – You may cast this spell during your opponent’s turn. Spend 3 pennies and pass your next turn to prevent a checker from being captured.
Call Lightning (Spell) – Spend 5 pennies. Deal 3 wounds to a checker and wound all checkers in the 8 surrounding squares. Each affected checker can save for -1 wound of damage.

Bard
Spellcaster – Every time you gain a level, you get a penny. You can cast one spell during your turn instead of moving.
Charm (Spell) – Spend a penny to to put a penny on one of your checkers. Your opponent may not jump your checkers that have pennies on them. Your opponent can save to ignore this effect. If your opponents saves, remove all pennies from the checker your opponent saved against.
Illusion (Spell) – Spend 2 pennies to put a quarter on the board and use it as a normal checker. Your opponent can make a save every time he or she has to jump it, is blocked from moving by it, or is jumped by it. If your opponent saves, your illusory checker disappears and your opponent gets to ignore the effects of the illusory checker. If your opponent captures the illusory checker, it disappears – it does not go to your opponent’s pool of captured checkers and does not count as a capture.

Ranged Attack Thief
Shortbow – Every time you capture a checker, gain an arrow (a penny). You may shoot (spend) an arrow to trace a straight, unblocked path from one of your checkers to another checker, and wound that checker. The number of spaces away must be less than or equal to your level. You may shoot a number of arrows equal to half your level, rounded up. For example, you’re 3rd level and have 3 pennies. You could spend 1 penny to do 1 wound to a penny up to 3 spaces away. You could spend 2 pennies to do 1 wound to 2 different checkers up to 3 spaces away. You could spend 2 pennies and do 2 wounds to 1 checker up to 3 spaces away.
Loot! – You win if your LD is 3 or greater. You win if you make a triple-jump.

Smart Fighter
Loads of HP – All of your checkers start with a penny on them. When a checker is about to take a wound, you can remove a penny from it instead of taking that wound.
Tactical Master – If your LD is positive, you can bend 90 degrees to the left or right and land in an empty square instead of jumping in a straight line.
Smart – If you make more than one jump in a turn, put a penny in your pool of captured checkers. Pennies in your pool count as captured checkers.

Arcane Mage
Spellcaster – Every time you gain a level, you get a penny. You can cast one spell during your turn instead of moving.
Fireball (Spell) – Spend 3 pennies to trace a straight, unblocked path from one of your checkers to another checker. Deal 2 wounds to that checker and wound all checkers in the 8 surrounding squares. Each affected checker can save for -1 wound of damage.
Magic Missile (Spell) – Spend 1 penny to trace an unobstructed, legal movement path from one of your checkers to any checker. Wound the checker at the end of the path.

Winning

When your opponent loses the last of his or her checkers, you win.

If you meet any special conditions you have for winning, you win.

Variants

Try pitting these Fantasy RPG characters against characters from Schlock Mercenary or Sluggy Freelance and see which strip does better.

Origin & Credits

Sharon and I woke up on December 22, 2007 – the first day of an extended winter vacation – and I looked something up on my MacBook for her. Immediately afterward, I checked up on my 4 daily webcomics. The last one was Rich Burlew’s Order of the Stick. Sharon said, “You should make a checkers variant for that.” My thoughts over the span of about 5 seconds were: “But I’m only 4 games away from 100 games and ending my Game of the Month run! I already have games slated for the last 4 games. I’ve tried to do checkers variants for other webcomics and haven’t been able to think of good ones. Ah, Belkar would have a backstab ability, like a king. Haley would shoot stuff from a distance. Durkon would be able to heal. Elan would be able to protect himself by charming the opponent. Roy… Hm, I don’t know about Roy. Varsuvius would do ranged blast spells. Hey! I’ve got a game.” That was about 90 minutes ago.

If you’re not familiar with the Order of the Stick, there’s the brief character intro page.

I wrote to Rich to request permission to use the name Order of the Stick and the names of the characters, but he never replied. I didn’t want to just toss the game out, so I’ve changed the title and removed the specific character names.

Hopefully, I don’t get sued.

Also, since Gary Gygax died recently, I figure this is an appropriate, if small tribute to the debt I owe him (and Dave Arneson) for influencing my life so greatly.

  1. — chad lawson    Apr 7, 09:44 PM    #
  2. Jonathan Leistiko    Apr 10, 07:42 AM    #
  3. — Joe M    Dec 16, 10:22 AM    #
  4. Jonathan Leistiko    Dec 16, 10:49 AM    #
  5. A!ex    May 31, 01:16 PM    #
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Fantasy RPG Checkers · 5 April 08

A checkers variant with classes, levels, hit points, and saving throws for two unrepentant RPG nerds.

Fantasy RPG Checkers

by Jonathan A. Leistiko

Object

Be the last player with checkers on the board or meet your special victory conditions.

You need

A complete checkers set.
A six-sided die.
Some pennies.

Setup

Set up the checker board the way you would for a normal game of checkers. When you set up the game, make sure that every checker is face up.

Chose a character to play. Then, the other player chooses a character and starts the game.

The character you pick will give you certain advantages (and disadvantages in some cases). Make sure you understand the special rules for the character you pick.

Play

Play is just like a normal game of checkers with the following exceptions:

If you have a capture available to you, you must take that capture – even if you could cast a spell instead of capturing. If there is more than one available, then you may choose the one you want to take.

When you king one of your opponent’s checkers, use checkers from your stash of captured checkers first. If you’ve run out of captured checkers, use spare checkers. When you capture a king, it counts as one capture, but you get to put both checkers in your pool of captured checkers.

The rules that govern a character overrule all other rules.

Levels
You and your opponent start at level 0. Your level is equal to the number of checkers in your pool of captured checkers. Your opponent also gains levels, even if he or she is playing a character who would not ordinarily gain levels (such as a character from the Sluggy Freelance or Schlock Mercenary checkers sets).

Level Difference (LD)
Your level, minus your opponent’s level equals your Level Difference, or LD. For example: If you’re 5th level and your opponent is 4th level, your LD is 1. If you’re 3rd level and your opponent is 6th level, your LD is -3.

Saving throws
Roll a die. Add your LD. If the sum is 4 or greater, or if you rolled a 6, you save. If the sum is 3 or less and you did not roll a 6, you fail. For example, if your LD is -1 and you roll a 5, your sum is 4 and you made your save. If you rolled a 4 or less, you would have failed. If your LD is -5 and you roll a 6, you succeed because rolling a 6 always saves.

Hit points
Face up checkers are “healthy”. If a healthy checker takes a wound, turn it face down. Face down checkers are wounded. If a face down checker takes a wound, it is captured.

The Characters

Demented Ranger
Backstab – If one of your checkers is behind an opponent’s checker, you can backstab that checker instead of moving this turn. The targeted checker takes wounds equal to half your level, rounded up.
Leap & Stab – On your second jump of a double-jump, you can wound an adjacent checker. You may deal one additional wound for each positive point of LD you have. For example, if your LD is 2, you could wound three adjacent checkers, or you could wound one adjacent checker twice and one adjacent checker once, or you could deal 3 wounds to one adjacent checker.

Stalwart Cleric
Spellcaster – Every time you gain a level, you get a penny. You can cast one spell during your turn instead of moving.
Cure Light Wounds (Spell) – Spend a penny to flip a face-down checker face up.
Cure Critical Wounds (Spell) – You may cast this spell during your opponent’s turn. Spend 3 pennies and pass your next turn to prevent a checker from being captured.
Call Lightning (Spell) – Spend 5 pennies. Deal 3 wounds to a checker and wound all checkers in the 8 surrounding squares. Each affected checker can save for -1 wound of damage.

Bard
Spellcaster – Every time you gain a level, you get a penny. You can cast one spell during your turn instead of moving.
Charm (Spell) – Spend a penny to to put a penny on one of your checkers. Your opponent may not jump your checkers that have pennies on them. Your opponent can save to ignore this effect. If your opponents saves, remove all pennies from the checker your opponent saved against.
Illusion (Spell) – Spend 2 pennies to put a quarter on the board and use it as a normal checker. Your opponent can make a save every time he or she has to jump it, is blocked from moving by it, or is jumped by it. If your opponent saves, your illusory checker disappears and your opponent gets to ignore the effects of the illusory checker. If your opponent captures the illusory checker, it disappears – it does not go to your opponent’s pool of captured checkers and does not count as a capture.

Ranged Attack Thief
Shortbow – Every time you capture a checker, gain an arrow (a penny). You may shoot (spend) an arrow to trace a straight, unblocked path from one of your checkers to another checker, and wound that checker. The number of spaces away must be less than or equal to your level. You may shoot a number of arrows equal to half your level, rounded up. For example, you’re 3rd level and have 3 pennies. You could spend 1 penny to do 1 wound to a penny up to 3 spaces away. You could spend 2 pennies to do 1 wound to 2 different checkers up to 3 spaces away. You could spend 2 pennies and do 2 wounds to 1 checker up to 3 spaces away.
Loot! – You win if your LD is 3 or greater. You win if you make a triple-jump.

Smart Fighter
Loads of HP – All of your checkers start with a penny on them. When a checker is about to take a wound, you can remove a penny from it instead of taking that wound.
Tactical Master – If your LD is positive, you can bend 90 degrees to the left or right and land in an empty square instead of jumping in a straight line.
Smart – If you make more than one jump in a turn, put a penny in your pool of captured checkers. Pennies in your pool count as captured checkers.

Arcane Mage
Spellcaster – Every time you gain a level, you get a penny. You can cast one spell during your turn instead of moving.
Fireball (Spell) – Spend 3 pennies to trace a straight, unblocked path from one of your checkers to another checker. Deal 2 wounds to that checker and wound all checkers in the 8 surrounding squares. Each affected checker can save for -1 wound of damage.
Magic Missile (Spell) – Spend 1 penny to trace an unobstructed, legal movement path from one of your checkers to any checker. Wound the checker at the end of the path.

Winning

When your opponent loses the last of his or her checkers, you win.

If you meet any special conditions you have for winning, you win.

Variants

Try pitting these Fantasy RPG characters against characters from Schlock Mercenary or Sluggy Freelance and see which strip does better.

Origin & Credits

Sharon and I woke up on December 22, 2007 – the first day of an extended winter vacation – and I looked something up on my MacBook for her. Immediately afterward, I checked up on my 4 daily webcomics. The last one was Rich Burlew’s Order of the Stick. Sharon said, “You should make a checkers variant for that.” My thoughts over the span of about 5 seconds were: “But I’m only 4 games away from 100 games and ending my Game of the Month run! I already have games slated for the last 4 games. I’ve tried to do checkers variants for other webcomics and haven’t been able to think of good ones. Ah, Belkar would have a backstab ability, like a king. Haley would shoot stuff from a distance. Durkon would be able to heal. Elan would be able to protect himself by charming the opponent. Roy… Hm, I don’t know about Roy. Varsuvius would do ranged blast spells. Hey! I’ve got a game.” That was about 90 minutes ago.

If you’re not familiar with the Order of the Stick, there’s the brief character intro page.

I wrote to Rich to request permission to use the name Order of the Stick and the names of the characters, but he never replied. I didn’t want to just toss the game out, so I’ve changed the title and removed the specific character names.

Hopefully, I don’t get sued.

Also, since Gary Gygax died recently, I figure this is an appropriate, if small tribute to the debt I owe him (and Dave Arneson) for influencing my life so greatly.

  1. — chad lawson    Apr 7, 09:44 PM    #
  2. Jonathan Leistiko    Apr 10, 07:42 AM    #
  3. — Joe M    Dec 16, 10:22 AM    #
  4. Jonathan Leistiko    Dec 16, 10:49 AM    #
  5. A!ex    May 31, 01:16 PM    #
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http://
Message
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