Sunday, November 19, 2017

Getting ideas from Birth Augurs (Part II)

Here are more Birth Augurs ideas and variants for DCC Corebook. You can read the first post here. I try to give ideas for PCs under the influence of each Augur, either for positive/neutral Luck modifiers or negative modifiers.

- Born under the loom: (Positive) The quintessential Jack-of-All-Trades. While this Augur is great for thieves (free skill bonus!), I find it excellent for mixing with other classes. You could be an enlightened duelist from exotic lands (a Warrior using his skill bonus for wuxia and social skills), a Cleric of the God of Thieves or Knowledge, a true Sage! (Wizard), an old rascal of a Halfling who lived a lot and did a lot, a truly ancient Elf or Dwarf. (Negative) You’re clumsy like Goofy. Maybe your “unluckiness” is legendary and small accidents happen around you all the time. Offering help is practically your way of intimidating someone! [Variant Born in the trade: I find the original Augur a little overpowered… after all, you gain a bonus to all skills! In my table that is a huge boon. So I usually allow my player, when rolling this Augur, to choose between 2 versions (or throw a coin and late Fate decide). Born in the trade is variant Augur that grant either a bonus or a penalty only to “thievery stuff” (Thief skills if you must). A positive Luck mod gives bonus to Thief skills, a negative Luck mod gives penalties. The original Born under the loom grant a bonus/penalties to all other kind of skill checks. If choose to use this variant, there are a few interesting concepts to use: you could play a holier-than-thou Cleric (Born in the trade, negative Luck) that refuses to do thieving/skulking (and sucks at it); or go for the opposite, building a paladin-like PC (Born in the trade, positive Luck) that is GREAT at thieving, but hates to do it.]
- Fox’s cunning: (Positive) You can play a PC known for his preternatural “danger sense”. Maybe your PC is touched by the Weird and suffers visions of terrible things that will happen. If you go by the “fox” part of the Augur, maybe your PC had a shapechanging fox as a parent. A simpler option is that your PC is just cunning or clever. (Negative) Traps love you! That could mean simply bad kharma. Traps could mean lots of other things besides pits and mechanical terrors. Your PC always fall for all kind of traps, with mean he/she could be gullible (a Halfling), have a way of thinking as slow as rocks (a Dwarf) or just don’t ever get how “mortals”/humans act (an Elf). Maybe your PC is one member of the party always picked by snake oil salesmen. [Variant Fox’s cunning: I like to extend this Augur’s theme to ambushes and surprise attacks.]
- Four-leafed clover: (Positive) “Good” stuff always reach your hands. You’re, in other words, Bilbo, who manages to find a ring of invisibility lying in the ground of a cave. Maybe your PC is lucky with small (non-mechanical) stuff. Your room at the Lord’s castle is the only one with a bath. While crossing a town during heavy rain you, alone in the party, reaches the mayor’s house without been full of mud. (Negative) “Bud” stuff always reach your hands. You’re, in other words, Bilbo, who manages to find the cursed One Ring of the Dark Lord lying in the ground of a cave! Please, let use this PC’s negative Luck modifier as bonus when rolling for cursed items! [Variant Four-leafed clover: I like to extend this Augur’s effects to any roll on treasure tables, if applicable.]
- Seventh Son: (a Variant) A quick research tells that the 7th son of a 7th son could be a gifted healer, a natural diviner, a person resistant or immune to poisons, or even a werewolf (a common folklore here in Brazil). These are all good ideas if your PC isn’t a spellcaster (I hate mechanical traits that are useless). If you want, roll a 1d4 for non spellcasters PCs that rolled this Augur: healing rolls (1), perception (2), saves against poisons (3) and saves against curses (4). Another option, is simply let PCs with this Birth Augur cast spells from scrolls like a Thief (using a d10). Another option for “spell-less” 7th Sons is that they’re “luck/unlucky amulets” for spellcasters. If the PC has a positive Luck modifier he can choose on spellcaster ally each game session to gain that bonus. This must be roleplayed somehow in the table (the chosen spellcaster maybe paid him a beer at the tavern, or maybe the PC and the spellcasters had a tryst). If the PC has a negative Luck modifier, all beneficial spells cast on him suffer a penalty. Finally, don’t forget that the “7th Son” bit is just an idea: maybe the PC was born with a caul over his head, maybe he/she has the Evil Eye, an extra thumb, was a lycanthrope in the past, have a pentagram or the symbol of Chaos on his left hand etc.
- The raging storm: (Positive) Your magic seems more potent than it really is. The Judge is encouraged to add an extral cool manifestation or “special effects” on your magical strikes. Maybe your potent magic allows the PC to do small “cantraps”, like lighting his pipe. (Negative) I like two options here. The classic is that your magic is puny. Maybe your Cleric follows a pacifist or dying god. Your Wizard or Elf may be cursed. You could be a “gutter mage”, someone who learned magic alone and never “got it right”. [Variant Raging storm: Another - more unorthodox - option is that your magic is actually VERY destructive, even when beneficial. Here’s how I would do it: everytime you cast a spell there’s collateral damage. Your fireball will hit innocent bystanders and property. If there isn’t victims around, roll a Luck check. If you fail deal your negative Luck modifier to a random ally or even yourself. A cruel Judge could require a Luck check even when your Cleric heals, reducing the total hit points healed by your negative modifier (and to boost your healing hurts… maybe you’re a Chaotic Cleric or a follower of some bloodthirsty deity). (Positive or Negative) OK, what if you’re a “spell-less” PC (Warrior, Thief, Halfling or Dwarf)? You could be magic resistant (or vulnerable), adding your Luck modifier to a spellcaster’s DC (if Positive) or to the spellcaster roll (if Negative)].
- The righteous heart: Here the best idea is to check your PC’s alignment before setting any ideas. Un-dead, monsters, devils and demons are anathema to both Law and Neutral. Chaotic dragons, extraplanars and humanoids are the other enemies of Lawful PCs, while Neutral PCs face lycanthropes and “perversions of nature” (aberrations from previous d20?). Chaotic PCs face lawful dragons, extraplanars and humanoids, besides angels and paladins. (Positive) You may belong to an ancient bloodline or order that hunt the Unholy. Maybe something in your blood hurt those creatures. You could also be the reincarnation of some powerful hunter of the Unholy. (Negative) You’re “half-Unholy” (demon-blooded or perhaps a half-vampire, a dhampir).  [Variant Righteous heart: Turn unholy is very specific and quite useless if you aren’t a Cleric. So, for non-Cleric PCs let this Augur affect another stat. Options (roll a 1d4 if you like): saves against Unholy (1), attack rolls (2), damage rolls (3), skill checks (4)].
- Survived the plague: Let’s go the most Warhammerian Augur of all! This is the peerfect Augur for Gongfarmers, Rat-catchers, Gravediggers, Cutters/Barbers etc. (Positive) Congratulations, you literally survived a deadly plague! The fact that magic healing works better on you may suggest you were touched by the Divine in some fashion; maybe you were a prophesied child-avatar (a failed one if you became a Warrior, but the fame still carries on). You PC may be a pious followers of the Gods (again, a perfect option for non-Clerics). If you’re a Wizard, this could mean perhaps some pact in your family. If you’re an Elf - a traditional Chaotic and arcane race - this could mean you’re actually Half-Elven! (Negative) Congratulations, you survived the plague but was crippled, marked or disfigured by it! Icon magic healing may not work on you because you’re an Elf (blood of Chaos), a Dwarf (resistant to magic?), a heretic or excommunicated fellow or maybe even demonblooded. Another option is that you almost died once and since then Death has been following your PC.
- Lucky sign: (Positive) You’re the Chosen One (or so says the local clergy). You may be a (self-declared) saint or prophet, whose resistance to magic and other events is seen as a sign of divine protection. Maybe you were born under the Twin-Tailed Comet (good luck forging your Empire). You could have a special amulet or token (Warrior or Thief) or relic (Cleric). You could have forged a pact with some hidden patron, like a warlock (Wizard); or you could be one of the patron’s spawns (bastard son of the King of Elfland!). You could also have hidden your soul inside a lesser phylactery (Wizard) or given (literally) your heart to a fey (Elf). (Negative) Something is seeking your death. Maybe you survived your Funnel (or childhood) because you (or your parents) sold your soul. You could be the sole survivor of some deadly catastrophe; your presence is seen as a terrible omen. You carry some clear sign of unlucky. You could be a beardless Dwarf, a weird and albino Halfling (Gollum?), an Elf with ebony skin and white hair (???), or a Human with cloven feet or little horns.
once and since then Death has been following your PC.
- Guardian angel: read my entry on Fox’s Cunning for ideas about traps. (Positive) Let’s focus on the “guardian angel” part. You could have a more powerful familiar (Wizard or Elf), a small and annoying but useful animal companion (a hamster named Boo!) or maybe a spirit literally guards you against traps and similar “accidents”. (Negative) Take those positive ideas and turn they around. Your familiar wants to kill you! He’s useful most of the time, but from time to time the damn critter seems to plot your doom (please Judge, don’t forget to roleplay the evil familiar laughing every time the spellcaster suffers a critical hit). If you aren’t an arcane spellcaster, you could be haunted by some poltergeist (an ancestor you betrayed, a patron from whose pact you escaped etc.). You PC could actually be mad! You could see an evil twin or creepy demon stalking you and trying to push you in pits and traps, but ONLY YOU see the damn clown! (I hate clowns…).
- Survived a spider bite: (Positive) You have an unhealthy dose of  entomophilia (maybe you’re like Reinfield and actually likes to eat bugs). You could come from a far land where the peasants use giant bugs instead of cattle or horses. If you’re a Dwarf, you could have survived a massive war against giant spiders (if you’re a Halfling, you could have survived a trek through Mirkwood!). If you’re an Elf, you were banished because of your religious believes. (Negative) You’re obviously entomophobic. If you also have a low Stamina, this could mean you were poisoned and almost died (you’re weak and probably requires alchemy or recorrent divine magic to be kept alive… you maybe you require a supernatural patron or you will die).

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Getting ideas from Birth Augurs

One of the elements that my original table liked most about DCC RPG is the Birth Augur (they were also fans of Warhammer Fantasy’s Doomings, which are familiar). We liked to give wide interpretations to a PC’s Birth Augur. If a PC rolled the augur “The Bull”, for example, then we would like to picture that character as a brute, not only in physical strength but also on his approach to everything. That could either mean that the PC believed that a forceful approach was the best, or simply a character that was blunt and direct.

Here are examples using the Birth Augurs from DCC Core Book. With “Positive” examples I tried to consider situations where a positive or neutral Luck modifier would work; for “Negative” examples I thinking on PCs with negative Luck.
- Harsh winter: (Positive) Either a “Winter is coming!” background (a grim and fatalist PC) or a PC that comes from war-ravaged or brutal homelands (Cimmeria, Mordor, Frozen North etc). (Negative) This is a PC that is probably traumatized by combat, maybe crippled or cursed (by a winter deity? A Crom-like god?). Perhaps - may the gods help us - you’re a pacifist!
- The Bull: (Positive) a violent PC that solves all his problems through battle. (Negative) You suck in melee combat. If you by the bull aspect, but inverted, then this PC might be a mutant or pariah, too weak to fight, who is seeking a cure for his debility (maybe through a Patron or arcane magic).
- Fortunate date: (Positive) the talented archer (Bard, the Dragonslayer-wannabe), sniper (an assassin?), blessed by some god of the hunt or maybe a daredevil spellslinger. If you go for the name of the Augur, then this is that irritable fellow that seems to always get the best girl, the best spot, and also the one that always leaves a battle without a single drop of blood on his mail. (Negative) No one trusts you with a bow or even a crossbow. Maybe your PC hates archers (and elves?). Going by an inverted Fortunate Date, maybe your PC was born on the day of some terrible catastrophe (like a battle that killed thousands). Most people know this and avoid you like the plague.
- Raised by wolves: (Positive) You was orphaned while crossing a jungle and was raised by beasts (not original enough, but what if you’re dwarf? This happened at my table and made me create a “Beastmaster” class). The bonus to unarmed attacks suggests that your PC learned to live by himself, without much, so maybe the orphan background is the best (or maybe you trained with Shaolin monks). (Negative) You can’t get yourself to do dirty works. Maybe you’re a pampered third or fourth son of a noble housed. Without any inheritance, you were forced to the perilous path of dungeon delver.
- Conceived on horseback: (Positive) You’re the true Mongol (or Dothraki, or Rohirrim etc) rider! You could came from a culture that worship horses (Warrior, Elf or Cleric), or maybe you started your career stealing horses (Thief, Halfling), or you could be that one apprentice who learned magic with a unicorn (Elf or Wizard? Obviously a virgin). (Negative) The perfect Augur for dwarves - you hate horses and they HATE you back (every horse on the world has Favored Enemy: You). Perhaps you actually was a horse shapechanged to humanoid (or a humanoid cursed by a nemesis to be donkey for 7 years… now it is revenge time!).
- Born on the battlefield: (Positive) The obvious one here is that you literally could have been born in a battlefield (your mom is probably a bit mad, I guess). This Augur can also represent a certain degree of bloodlust or even psychopathy on your “heroic” PC. (Negative) If you’re playing a wizard or halfling then please try a character who can’t stand the mere sight of blood. If you’re a Warrior or Dwarf, then I guess that you enjoy a good challenge. In that case, try to play a pacifist. You won’t kill most enemies (but you do love to use lots of Mighty Deed of Arms).
- Path of the bear: (Positive) The “bear” part is the secret. You can be a Beorn-like character: big, furred and cranky. This is actually the type of Augur that I enjoy most for non-Warrior (non-Dwarf) PCs - imagine an ogre-like brute who studied wizardcraft, or a really cranky and foul-mouthed halfling. Maybe your PC has a bear’s appetite or enjoys the company of animals. You probably break things by accident, a lot. Collateral damage is your surname! (Negative) OK, you punch like a pixie (if you’re an Elf or Halfling that’s perfect). Let’s think on the opposite of a bear - maybe a fox, a rat or anything small and cowardly. You’re the kind of PC that hates when the battles gets close. You like to stay away (far far away), duly protected by a cover. If you’re a Warrior then you’re (obviously) an archer.
- Hawkeye: (Positive) Play Green Arrow or Hawkeye. Really. Both are awesome PCs in terms of personality and charisma (and if your Personality is high, then you’re a natural candidate for the role). This is the adventurer that always note that one small detail that can save the party. You’re probably perceptive and keen-eyed. (Negative) Play a Mr. Magoo PC! And use glasses. And complain about goblin blood falling on your glasses every time.
- Pack hunter: (Positive) This is a really bizarre Augur for me, at least mechanically. You’re basically good with “peasant” weapons. This could mean that you never forget your lowly origins. You may be a big fuckinh hero now, but your dream is still to retire to a good and nice farm, to plant cabbages or turnips (if you can bore the hell out of your party by talking about turnips and cabbages you should deserve a +1 Luck point). Or we could go by the name - you’re a pack creature. You work better when in a team and you’re everyone’s second best friend. (Negative) You’re a lone wolf in a adventure party - which basically means you’re a diva or a hypocrite. Roleplay Wolverine/Logan; complain a lot about how everyone around hinders you (especially while been healed by the Cleric). If you go by the mechanical aspect, then your PC was probably a highborn fallen on harder times (or a bastard). You still keep your noble perks - you enjoy fine food, clothes and weapons. You would NEVER touch “dishonorable” weapons like a pitchfork or knife. [Variant Pack Hunter: actually, given the name of this Augur, I believe it would be nice if you gained your luck bonus on attack and damage rolls if you followed another PC’s action. For example, if a Warrior attacked a goblin, you would gain the Luck bonus by attacked that same goblin with your next action. If you have a negative Luck modifier, you have to be “original” every round or suffer a penalty to attack and damage rolls - yes, you really hate battles against only one adversary]

If like this approach I’ll post the other Birth Augurs later.

See ya!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Character Backgrounds, the OSR Way

It was really hard for the me to sell any OSR or retroclone-style game to my current table. They were coming from heavier games (Pathfinder, Warhammer 3rd and 2d20) or from FATE. All their previous campaigns were strongly character-driven, with complex PC backgrounds and a certain degree of plot immunity against sudden death (usually through the use of Fate/Destiny/Hero points). Even when I tried Midnight with them, the table insisted on a character-driven game, which made me hack the 3.5 rules.

I guess that DCC RPG worked for them because of the Funnel*. It was fun and easy to run. I’m sure that at the time my table only accepted DCC because it was a good change of pace. Lots of characters died and lots of (otherwise) unoptimized character survived. That’s when the DCC magic kicked in. After three to six sessions playing with those survivors, the players started to get used to them, to plot goals and to imagine all kind of perks and… finally!... backgrounds.
*OK, I also used a little bit of Destiny Points, after the Funnel, but that is for another post.

Image result for fantasy reading big scroll
I still have nightmares with 4-8 pages PC backgrounds...

Character Backgrounds aren’t something you start with, but something you earn...

I can’t remember if I read it at Matthew Finch’s excellent Quick Primer for Old School Gaming, but one interesting aspect of OSR-style campaigns is that most PCs start without detailed background. Actually, most start without any background, having only a perk or two (boisterous, grim, lordly etc.) or basic concept (drunken dwarf, elf minstrel etc.). That’s because in older campaigns a PC’s background was a result of surviving long enough the campaign… each PC was a blank sheet until returning from the dungeon and spreading his tales of adventure. A character’s background was - basically - his campaign log. That is an awesome concept, very different from modern games, but hardly something that I could sell to my table.

So, at my DCC RPG campaign, I tried something slightly different. After all the gore and fun of the Funnel passed, when the party was reaching 2nd level I started to poke my players with questions: why you decided to go adventuring? Are you mad? Do you have a family? Enemies? Any tragic past?

For example: one of the PCs that survived our first Funnel was a lowly gongfarmer. During Sailors on the Starless Sea, his player made a really good argument at the table, telling us that his PC wasn’t just a gongfarmer - he was only pretending to be one. That PC was actually a chaotic cultists running from the Law Churches. He journeyed to the dungeons of the Starless Sea to find a Chaotic relic, restore his powers and get revenge! (all this just to roll a d20 in a Int check instead of a d10… those players...). In the end, it was so cool that the entire table (and me, the judge) bought it (I also believe a force him to roll a Will save or suffer Corruption).

Image result for DCC RPG reaver
Go to a Funnel! Become a Badass!
Later, another PC that survived both Sailors on the Starless Sea and a homemade adventure was facing the deeps of The One Who Watches From Below. He was a squire or maybe even (another!) gongfarmer. I can’t remember. He became a mighty 3rd-level Warrior and his player proposed that his PC was actually the last scion of a fallen noble house, blamed unjustly with acts of witchcraft and black magic. We loved it and I already created a connection between that fallen noble house, a cult of Bobugbubilz (for The Croaking Fane) and the module Bride of the Black Manse.

The idea here is that a PC’s background is something that is built during the campaign as it progress, with a few bits of information provided by the player as a reward for surviving. Unlike “classic” Old School, a PC background isn’t just his adventures since 1st level, but also additional hooks crafted by the player as allowed by the game. The best of this “edited” background is that it allows a PC to play, for example, the (otherwise nigh unplayable) cliché of the Chosen One - the twist here is that it will make perfect sense only at higher levels. After all, if that PC survives to 7th or 8th level and only then reveals that he’s the Chosen One, that may sound true (after all, he survived this far). That way the Gamemaster avoids the classic problem of a 1st-level “Chosen One” that dies when facing his first orc.

Image result for Prydain oracular pig
No Chosen Ones at 1st level.

An organic background, developed during the campaign, also allows the PC and the party to better declare what types of adventures they want, thus reinforcing agency. If, after surviving a battle against orcs, one of the PCs declare that his parents were taken by an orc chieftain with red skin, then the Gamemaster just got a free hook to insert in future adventures a tribe of “red orcs” (if your players are really open minded with their intents, you can work with them, offering background “revelations” that better suit your material).

A good start here is allow each player “one true fact” about his PC after surviving an entire module or two (not just one game session!). The entire table and Judge must accept the “new” fact about the PC and the revelation should not be used to gain free access to magic items or power, but to provide hooks for greater adventures (that, in the end, may grant the PC access to magic and political power).

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Fear for (and from) 13th Age

Last year I did a short post on using the Entropic Gaming System’s excellent Fear rules for Pathfinder (and technically for other, similar, d20 fantasy games). Here’s my attempt to expand it to 13th Age. The idea came from a good discussion at the Forge of the 13th Age Facebook group.

As mentioned in my older post, those rules create a FEAR POOL that the Gamemaster can use to trigger all sort of cool effects. In 13th Age, each PC that fall below the Fear Threshold automatically add +1 point to the FEAR POOL (add +1 if the monster is double-strength/large, +2 if triple-strength/huge and +1 if it is an elite). If the monster is of a different tier than the party, please add +2 points. Finally - and that’s the catch - the Fear source (i.e. the scary monster) gains automatically +1 point to the FEAR POOL every time the Escalation Die goes up (yes, they’re that nasty).

A beholder in 13th Age?! FLY YOU FOOLS!
The Gamemaster can use the FEAR POOL in 13th Age to trigger the following effects:
- inflict the Shocked condition on a PC (i.e. roll twice and pick the worst result, check the amazing 13th Age’s Bestiary 2). A PC can roll a save to remove this condition, but see below about “Facing your Fears”.
- force a PC to go last in the round, or to go after the scary monster (Gamemaster’s choice).
- weaken the PC’s resolve against the monster (treat all the PC’s attacks as if the Fear source had Resistance 21; if the Fear source has Resistance against the attack, roll it normally and if it is successful the PC deals only ¼ damage).
- cancel a PC’s Rallying action (the PC still get his turn normally, but he must change his Rallying attempt to another action).
- if a PC’s attack miss, spend 1 Fear point to automatically inflict normal impromptu damage against him (for example, if the Fear Source is an Adventure-tier monster, deal 2d6/3d6 damage). This damage reflects the PC’s desperation or the monster’s powers.
- spend 3 Fear points to force the party to spend 1 Recovery for each PC. If they can’t spend that number of Recoveries, they must retreat and accept a Campaign Loss (OK, this is a Nastier Special).

Facing your Fears

13th Age is all about heroism, action and risk (and doing all that looking cool). But facing any creature that has Fear should be a tough call. When facing a Fear-inducing monster, the Escalation Die isn’t a gift. It must be earned. Every PC can declare that he’s “facing his fears”. If the PC wants the Escalation Die bonus he must roll a d6 at the beginning of his turn. If he rolls equal or above the current Escalation Die bonus, everything is fine. If he rolls below, the Fear source gains +1 point for the FEAR POOL (the PC can still use the ED’s bonus).

Finally, any PC inflicted with the Shocked condition by the Fear source can try to get rid of it at the end of his round by rolling a save (11+ if the monster is of the same tier, 16+ if the monster if of a higher tier). If the PC fails his rolls, the monster gains +1 point to the FEAR POOL.

Yup, these rules give a clear advantage to the monster and maybe are better suited to horror campaigns. But let’s give the party a bonus: if the monster is of a lower tier (i.e. an Adventurer-tier creature facing Champion-level PCs), than the Facing your Fears rules don’t apply.

Those damn Paladins...

What?! You have a Fearless Paladin in your party? Congratulations! The Paladin don’t count as a PC and don’t grant points to the FEAR POOL. Also, he can’t be affected by the FEAR POOL. Please, dear Gamemaster, concentrate fire on those holier-than-thou bastards.

Image result for paladins d20
I'm Old School... Paladins MUST have Char 17+

Enough with proselytizing about the awesomeness of 13th Age.

I don’t play 13th Age

Now, for those of you who don’t know 13th Age (are you mad?!), I talk about it at this post and you can check their official page (and the Archmage SRD). 13th Age, in a nutshell, is an awesome toolkit of ideas for d20 (and non-d20) fantasy. For example, their Fear rules.

Fear in 13th Age don’t make the PCs run away screaming in the night (which is cool in fiction or movies, but absurdly boring in RPGs). PCs affected by Fear in 13th Age can’t use the Escalation Die, which (again, in a nutshell), is a progressive bonus granted to the party during combats to simulate the action-driven heroism of that RPG. In other words, frightened PCs in 13th Age lose their edge and have a harder time facing monsters, which is a great way of simulating - mechanically - a Fear-effect (the dramatic part, including running away, can be perfectly roleplayed by the party, especially considering that 13th Age has other rules, like Campaign Loss, that work just fine for those horror encounters). The second aspect of 13th Age’s Fear rule is that it is triggered not by a failed save or attack, but when a PC falls before a certain HP threshold. The HP threshold is based on the monster’s level, which on 13th Age go up to 14th (that would be CR 20+ for most other d20 games I guess). When a PC drops below that mark, he’s instantly affected by Fear and can’t use the Escalation Die bonus on his attack rolls (until healed above the HP threshold).

That's the Fear Threshold Table

That’s a damn cool rule that could be adapted to other d20 games like Pathfinder, D&D and various retroclones. You just have to create a HP threshold. Because 13th Age’s PCs are really over-the-top heroes (Wizard or Rogue easily starts at 1st level with anything from 18 to 24 HPS), you have to adjust the threshold totals. In Pathfinder, for example, I would suggest the awesome (and unfortunately underused) Monster Statistics by CR table, available in every Bestiary. Just use half the table’s recommended Hit Points as a threshold. For example, a ½ CR critter usually has 10 hit points, so it provokes Fear when an PC has 5 or fewer hit points.

What happen when you’re affected by Fear? Well, if you don’t want to use my FEAR POOL rules, the there’s a simpler solution: PCs below the Fear HP threshold suffer Disadvantage (i.e. roll twice any check and pick the worst). If you’re playing DCC RPG, instead of Disadvantage, inflict upon the PC a -1 Die penalty (i.e. instead of a d20 for attack rolls, he now rolls a d16).

Cthulhu have stats! So it can be beated!