Dice Contest Is Closed

d20x5 5

Aaaaaaand it’s over. There are a bunch of great entries, this’ll be fun figuring out which one wins. See you on October 4th!

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Only 2 Days Left For Dice Contest

d20x5 95There’s only two days left to get in on the dice contest. If you have an entry, make it now!

On September 30th the contest closes and on October 4th the winners will be announced.

First prize is a hand made die of your description and a softcover of The Artifact third edition.

Second prize is your die hand made.

Get those little grey cells firing!

Full contest rules here.

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For the longest time, if you went to the store32.net url, it would just redirect here to The Artifact. That’s been split off now because there’s more and more that doesn’t fit under that model anymore. It’s just getting on it’s feet but there’ll be a lot more in short order at Store32.net

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The Rules of Attraction

How does a character get someone else to be their friend? Or get them to fall in love with them?

The first thing to get out of the way is that they can’t make anyone be their friend. You can’t make anyone fall in love.

So how do we make this happen? How can this work if someone isn’t getting forced? The answer is standard procedure for the Social Conflict rules. You push them.

Each time a character tries to get another character to be their friend or fall in love, they enter a social conflict and they actually cause mental stress to the other character. It’s important to understand that this isn’t explicitly the angry kind of mental stress of a shouting match. This can actually be very pleasant mental stress.

What this stress represents, is social pressure. It’s an open loop in the character’s thought process that is crying out for resolution. It’s the character’s choice whether they will consent or not. They could consent on the first try or refuse until they’re a miserable mess. It all hangs on how dangerous the character views the relationship. The stronger the proposed relationship the more danger it presents.

The following are guidelines for an GM to handle an NPC’s decision on if they should consent to a relationship. This isn’t intended as a chart the GM needs to consult, just as proposed milestones to help them in making choices for an NPC who may or may not have any kind of background.

So how does a GM decide for an NPC? The first time the NPC takes stress, the GM can check to see if they will accept. First, could the NPC handle the stress of the relationship breaking up? That includes friendships. Would the stress cause them to go over their Psyche attribute and cause a mental breakdown? Would entering the proposed relationship put the character in a difficult position? For example, falling in love with the enemy or it would conflict with existing relationships. Is the character that is proposing the relationship is deficient somehow that would effect the relationship? For example, the character’s Beauty attribute is lower than the NPC’s or the character is poor. If the relationship would cause little or no trouble for the NPC, they may take up the offer.

At any point the character can Stall the conflict or react with Aggression if the relationship would seem offensive to them. Follow the standard rules for this.

Only if a character immediately accepts the proposed relationship can it become a “True Love” relationship.

The conflict continues until the Mental stress built up is five points away from overwhelming the NPC’s lowest mental attribute (IQ, Int or Psy). Now the NPC is weighing the relationship more seriously. Remember though, they’re not stressed like they would be in an argument. They may be very upbeat, even ecstatic. Now the GM tests against the question, would entering the proposed relationship put the character in a difficult position? Especially if the relationship would cause a dangerous situation, the NPC will still refuse. Is the character proposing the relationship seriously deficient in some way? An attribute under 10 may be a good example, or more than four attributes are lower than the NPC’s attributes.

Once the conflict has overwhelmed the NPC’s Psyche the GM should consider refusing if the relationship would put the NPC in danger. Even at that, the NPC may still decide to consent. Is the character  proposing the relationship severely deficient in some way? For example more than seven attributes are lower than the NPC’s attributes. This may still be grounds for refusing but the NPC is still conflicted and strongly considering the proposal.

If the conflict should progress to the point of Mental stress doubling the NPC’s Psyche attribute, the GM should very strongly consider the proposal being accepted by the NPC.

Player characters always have the choice made by the player but the conditions above could be used as rough guidelines if a player desired.

Relationship Decay

Over time a relationship will decay if it is not maintained. This could lead to bothersome accounting if the players were required to track each relationship. To avoid this, any time the GM feels it is appropriate, they may require a relationship check. Only one of the characters needs to pass a Charisma roll. The Extra Effort rules can be applied. These may be frequent or infrequent according to how the GM interprets the nature of the relationship.

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Who Needs Emotions?

In so many games and with so many players, I’ve seen characters that are designed to be devoid of emotion. They are gruff, calloused warriors, loners with nothing to tie themselves to this world but their fortunes and their expertise.


Aside from a few poorly adjusted individuals, almost no one moves through life without emotional ties. Most people desire companionship and laughter. So why do players make characters like this?

Because it’s safe. If they have an emotional tie with someone, that person is a liability. They can be hurt, captured or even betray the PC. It’s better to be shielded from the outside world than risk that danger.

So what’s the solution? Will characters always be the heartless loners they are now? Can something melt through these hardened exteriors? Can you make the players risk the danger of an emotional connection? After all, the PCs face physical dangers all the time. Why aren’t they afraid of those? It has a lot to do with risk vs reward.

So how can emotional ties be a reward? When I look at this kind of question, I try to think of why people really behave the way they do. In this case, we have to think about what happens if a person has no emotional ties vs. someone who does.

People without emotional ties tend to get depressed more easily. They suffer from poorer health in most cases. They sometimes eat less healthy foods. Without people you trust to talk over issues, a person can make a string of poor choices. Over long periods, their behavior can become erratic.

People with emotional ties tend to be happier. They live longer. A lot of the inverse of what was just listed for a lack of emotional ties. But anther thing is that they have a reason to keep pushing forward when the going gets tough.

So what are these? A lot of the effects would be positive stress effects, not only mental but also physical. Maybe healing happens faster.  Maybe advice could be used to make more intelligent choices. They may be able to call on their emotions for a boost in will power and endurance.

My thoughts on how to implement these effects is that if left to the GM, they’ll never get used. The GM already has enough to handle. Let the players handle it. Let them call on the positive effects when they need them.

In this kind of a system, I’d like to see players with a list of people their characters have ties with. Wife, children, friend, best friend all being something like an equipment list. Each relationship imparting different effects on the character. For instance, having children could give a significant boost to will power and endurance when the character’s life is in danger.

Spending time with loved ones and friends could be a stress reliever. Having friends and loved ones at your bedside (taking care of you) while healing could give that healing boost.

Obviously, the risk is still there but the game should be all the better for having characters and players that care about other people. Obviously some players would think of them only for their mechanical benefit “No! My stress point reliever!” but I’m not looking for the player to form emotional attachments to NPCs, just the characters. A lot of times players form attachments to their equipment anyway, which are all about mechanical benefits. Maybe some of that will leak through. At that point it’s just an issue of how it’s role played.

The bonuses have to be significant but not turn the characters into super humans.

For the Children! – When the character’s life is in danger, they get a 70% Advantage to Psyche and Constitution rolls.

Good Advice – If a character can talk with a friend or loved one, for IQ and Psy rolls they can use the helping mechanic to make multiple rolls using the other character’s attributes and pick the best result.

Friend – Spending an hour with a friend allows for a Charisma roll, each fractional success relives 1 Mental Stress. Each character’s roll effects the other character in the relationship. This time can be spent doing other simple tasks like eating, traveling, etc. This effect can be stacked up to four times. If a friend is wounded, the PC takes 10 Mental stress. If a friend dies, the PC takes 20 Mental stress. Breaking a friendship causes 15 Mental stress.

Love – A spouse, children, parents are all examples of loved ones. Spending an hour with a loved one  allows for a Charisma roll, each fractional success relives 2 Mental, 1 Physical and 1 Functional stress.Can be time spent doing other simple tasks like eating, traveling, etc. If a loved one is wounded, the PC takes 20 Mental, 10 Physical and 10 Functional stress. If a loved one dies, the PC takes 40 Mental, 20 Physical and 20 Functional  stress. Breaking ties with a loved one causes 30 Mental , 15 Physical and 15 Functional stress.

True Love – Spending an hour with a true love allows for a Charisma roll, each fractional success relives 3 Mental, 2 Physical and 2 Functional stress. Can be time spent doing other simple tasks like eating, traveling, etc. If a true love is wounded, the PC takes 30 Mental, 20 Physical and 20 Functional stress. If a true love dies, the PC takes 60 Mental, 40 Physical and 40 Functional  stress. Only one True Love can ever be claimed by a character. Breaking ties with a true love causes 60 Mental , 30 Physical and 30 Functional stress.

Healing – Having a friend help with a character’s healing by staying at the PC’s side gives a 30% Advantage to healing rolls. This Advantage can be stacked up to 3 times. Having a loved one help with a character’s healing by staying at the PC’s side gives a 50% Advantage to healing rolls. This Advantage can be stacked up to 2 times.

Player characters can claim each other as friends and loved ones. The other player (or the GM in the case of NPCs) can choose to reciprocate or it could be a one way relationship.

Normally there is some kind of a cost when a character wants a new piece of equipment or something that gives them a mechanical bonus. Possibly the threat of loss would be enough to dissuade a player from claiming every NPC as their friend. Maybe it shouldn’t be that easy though. Maybe a friend or loved one needs to be attracted.

Next up? The Rules of Attraction.

Update: I added a Charisma roll to each hour for reliving stress.

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Dice Contest Update

d20x5 95A little more than one week into the contest and there are a number of entries already. Here’s an update to keep them all in one place. If you like one, vote for it in the comments!

Eric Jome – 1 to 5 four times – d5!

Karl Olson – All side blank excepting the four sides with the number “20” on them and the one single side with the number “7”

Eric Jome – (That’s right, more than one entry per person is allowed, but you can only win once) 20 on one side, “re-roll” on the other nineteen.

Brian Cox – A 20 on all twenty sides?

Austin Fleming – A d20 with all the consonants on it (it has been pointed out that these already exist)

Chris Fee – Ten sides with a 20 and ten sides with a 1.

Jake P – Fudge Dice
1 | -4
2 | -3
3 | -3
4 | -2
5 | -2
6 | -1
7 | -1
8 | -1
9 | 0
10 | 0
11 | 0
12 | 0
13 | +1
14 | +1
15 | +1
16 | +2
17 | +2
18 | +3
19 | +3
20 | +4

Steffan O’Sullivan – A Fudge die!
1 face = +3
2 faces = +2
4 faces = +1
6 faces = 0
4 faces = -1
2 faces = -2
1 face = -3
(Steffan’s probabilities are a bit different than Jake’s)

Maurice Tousignant – A die with negatives could be cool -10 to +10 except you would need 21 faces for the 0. Maybe -9 to +9 and two 0s

Uriah – You could make a d20 that roughly mimics a roll of 2d6 (for settlers, monopoly, etc)
Sides would be: 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10, 10, 11, 2/12

The 2/12 is the only trick part as you would then need to determine which it was (by coin flip, re-rolling etc.). You could also color one each of 4, 6, 8, 10 and the 2/12 differently to show that it was a doubles roll for games in which doubles matter.

Although he’s bowing out of this contest because he won the last one . . .
Chainsaw Aardvark – Rather than trying to cram in small symbols or esoteric two letter pairings, I would just go for groups of colors: Seven Blue, Six Orange, Four Green, Two Yellow, One Black.

Depending on the game, these could be used in a number of ways. “Any non-black or orange is a success” or “This power only activates on a green roll” or “Take damage if a secondary color (Orange/Green) shows”, and of course “Black means critical hit to reactor, ship blows up”. The above mix means you can can match any number you want to get the right probability – nine out of twenty is Blue and yellow, sixteen is any not green and so on.

Steffan O’Sullivan – Sent in this entry, again, you can only win once but can enter as many as you like. His entry was more detailed than this but this gives an idea of what he’s suggesting.
Thumb is either up or down depend on how it lands – a good yes/no or positive/negative – sideways is maybe or unclear!
Pointing finger can either point to an individual at the table or simply mean someone points something out.
Open hand can be giving, receiving, stop, or High Five!
Bomb and death’s head are obvious symbols, though there’s still a little time with the bomb – the fuse is still burning!
Flag: authority. Or Eddie Izzard.
Sun, Rain, Snow: weather impacts things.
Yin Yang: the turning of the wheel. Fortune becomes misfortune and vice versa.
Bell: an announcement.
Book: knowledge is acquired or required.
Letter: a message.
Super question mark: very mysterious!
Eye, ear: they see or hear something
Double arrows: a trade, or exchange of knowledge, or back to the beginning.
Spider: either a monster, or a gift (Grandmother Spider from Native American cultures) or a trickster (Anansi from African/Caribbean cultures)
Bag of money: it comes or it goes
Lightning bolt: something unexpected and powerful happens!

There have been some mentions of Runic dice but no specifics given.

There’s still plenty of time! What’s you’re entry? You can find the rules here.

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Tortuga Setting For The Artifact

The corporate and civilian characters in the main book now have their own book. Tortuga is a setting about a Kelrath city that has it’s ruling Rantaa’ overthrown. In the power vacuum corporations from Earth slip in and start to influence the growth of the new city state. There are high hopes that this free Kelrath state will become a model for more cities to throw off oppression.

In the meantime, the civilian corporations are running amok in the relative lack of oversight on them. There are strange things going on and they’re keeping it to themselves.

The Tortuga setting includes ideas for treasure hunters including the mythic Titans.

Tortuga Web


The Tortuga setting includes some scripted elements but even more suggestions for a GM to develop on their own. This is a sandbox setting for the characters to deal with corruption, influence and the Kelrath up close. It also includes general suggestions for corporate characters.


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Update On Createspace Books

My first proof book from Createspace is starting to fall apart. I’m mentioning this because I know some of my readers have an interest in book quality.

I’m a little disappointed in this. Although some of my first Lulu books had similar problems.

The other thing I’ll mention is that book saw some heavy use from my son. He is not gentle on books.

Still, this is a little too early for a book to fail. Lulu’s books last far longer but cost twice as much. That book was a bit odd anyway, maybe it’s an anomaly. I’ll keep you updated if it happens with any other books.


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The Artifact Player’s Handbook Draft

Here it is, the third edition of the Player’s Handbook! There’s a whole new cover, some new art, new equipment, all updated for the Third Ed rules, so this book is now fully compatible with the main book. This edition includes what had been the Engineer’s Resource which includes crafting rules for equipment and vehicles, now all in one volume.

This is the rough draft. Some of the vehicle crafting rules may need tweaking and I’d like to make some additions to the standard equipment available for building. The other problem is, I found a bug in the layout software I use. If I use a layout break on a page, tables won’t wrap like they should. It’s going to take me a bit to work around that.

In the mean time, here it is!

Player Handbook Cover

The Artifact Player’s Handbook

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My New Dice and A Contest!

I got my new dice in the mail a few days ago and I’ve been showing them off. I haven’t gotten to game with them yet though. Let me introduce my creation, the d20x5 and then I’ll show you the other dice I picked up. Stick around till the end to get in on a dice contest!
d20x5 95
d20x5 5
The d20x5 is my first foray into the custom dice world. A little wobbly, a little novice but all mine! Here is a die that can give me an approximately percentile experience wrapped in a d20. Just rolling this die feels comfortable to me. No diverging d10s to find as one rolls under the table, no “Which die is the tens?”, no finding one die of my favorite set and not finding the other.
d10 in a d10
I do have to admit that this big guy is pretty cool too. It’s a nice little package for rolling a d100. Everyone that rolls it intuitively says the outer shell is the tens place and the inner is the ones. That’s pretty cool.
stuck roll
It can be a little tricky though. Sometimes the inner die doesn’t quite land flat. That’s pretty easy to fix, a light tap settles the inner dice to the side you pretty much figure it would land on. It sometimes does take some craning of the neck to see past the outer number though. The sound of the shell dice is a bit odd to my ear but I’m getting used to it. It’s the little things.
All in all though, I’ll be using this dice pretty often.
Hit Location Die
I’m not sure why I got this hit location die other than it’s cool. It’s a fast way to pull up where something lands on a person. It eliminates looking up the location on a chart. It does however give you a 4 in 12 chance of hitting a hand or a foot. So 1 in 3 hits will strike the smallest segments of the body. We were talking about it and figured that it could make sense in hand to hand situations.
Fudge Dice
I also picked up some FUDGE dice. We have a new project that we’re going to use the FUDGE system for. I thought about using FATE but it has a lot of baggage like FATE points and compels that I don’t really need. Yeah, I know, with FATE Core and FATE Accelerated all the rage now it would be a popular choice but FUDGE is just more straightforward for what I want.
For You?
Now, the contest. Here’s where you come in. Come up with something cool to put on a d20. The sides of these puppies are small so I can only fit one to two characters on them. That means that if your die needs a cheat sheet to be used that’s okay. For instance Y could be a “yes” while Yb is “yes but”.

Come up with something cool, something that will fit on one of these puppies and I’ll do my best to make that die. I’m not using a laser to etch the die, don’t expect perfection but I should be able to produce usable and legible.

Write up your submission in the comments below or if you’re super secret, you can email your super secret submission to submissions@theartifact.net

You’ll be judged based on the following criteria.

Does it fit on a d20? That’s an important one.
How universal is this concept? Could everyone enjoy this die?
How revolutionary is this concept? Does it blow us away?
Does it solve a practical need?

Winner get’s me hacking at a poor white die twenty to make that will get mailed to your (the winner’s) address and a copy of The Artifact third edition.

2nd place gets me making their die with the same novice skill and mailing it to your (the 2nd place winner’s) address.

Contest ends September 30th. Judging ends and winners announced Friday October 4.

Do you have what it takes? What does it take? I guess we’ll find out October 4th!


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