Valinard's Tower

“For this my lamp is lit, to the grief of the owls, and often burns till lark-song.”
—Lord Dunsany, The Charwoman's Shadow

Once HP are depleted in #RedHack further damage spills over into CON. Upon taking CON damage a character must make a CON test to keep fighting.

Once incapacitated, a character’s fate is determined by the downed table:

* this save is made on your CON value before the damage was dealt.

Characters without a CON score roll a d6 on the table, subtracting one if they receive magical healing, adding one if they are left for dead.

Characters with CON base their result on their total CON lost. If they are magically healed, the healing restores CON before HP (this is the only time magical healing can directly restore CON). If they are left for dead they take a further 1d6 CON damage before consulting the table.

Exhaustion, Wounds and Injuries are all types of Burden, which affect encumbrance. Most PCs become encumbered when they have three Burdens, fewer if their CON is reduced, so these are a significant problem.

Infections follow the disease rules – I should write up a standard one.

A Doomed character may be dead instantly, they maybe expire after having time to say a few words to their tearful companions, or they may slip into a coma and linger for days – but in any case they are at least en route to the Hinterlands, and will die unless drastic measures are taken.

Healing from Wounds & Injuries

During downtime PCs heal 1d6 CON per week naturally, and this number can vary based on the quality of their lodgings – a stay at the Temple of Chardastes under the care of the healers there might yield as much as 4d6 CON/DT.

Full bed rest increases this number by a flat +6 in any case.

After rolling, the PC can spend any excess on overcoming Wounds & Injuries. They may also wish to sacrifice some of their CON to finish healing from an Injury – rising from their sickbed a little earlier than is prudent, and venturing back into the field shaky as a result.

Fighters in the Black Hack have a pool of d6 equal to their level they can add to attacks each round or use to make additional attacks; making the class almost a walking fireball.

Thieves can sneak attack to auto-hit for 2d6+Level damage. Which is nice, but not as impressive a xd6 damage with no set-up.

Following the principle that classes don’t need to be balanced but that everyone should have something fun and useful to do in combat, I wanted to emphasise the Fighter as the martial AoE class and the Thief as the single-target DPS.

There’s precedent for this in both backstab mechanics and the old D&D rule of “Fighters can attack a number of 1HD foes equal to their level.” Initially I made the fighter bonus dice a kind of cleave mechanic, only usable against multiple foes.

When I introduced reactions I was able to build the class abilities around them: Fighters get a lot of reactions, Thieves just get the one, but it hits hard.

Thief reaction attacks can be made with DEX and deal bonus double damage plus one per odd-numbered level attained. If the opponent is unaware, the bonus damage is triple plus a full one per level. So the thief ideally wants to hide and backstab, or attack with surprise, but once in melee can still be effective by flanking.

Fighters still had the problem of having to wait for their opponents to give them an opening to use their attacks, so I introduced Techniques to provide additional openings or simply consume reactions as a resource.

Here we’re veering into very modern territory, with a kind of “fighter spell list” of abilities.

A fighter picks one to start with and another every third level. They may only take each word in parentheses once (e.g. a character cannot have both Riposte and Vengeance.)

  • Cleave (Brutalize) – When you incapacitate a foe with a melee attack, gain an opening on another foe in range.
  • Scourge (Brutalize) – When a foe within reach is bloodied, gain an opening on them.
  • Riposte (Retaliate) – Gain an opening against anyone who misses you in melee.
  • Vengeance (Retaliate) – Gain an opening against anyone who hits you in melee.
  • Charge (Manuever) – Gain one opening against one opponent when you move Close to one or more new opponents.
  • Stand (Manuever) – If you don't move this round, gain an opening against anyone who moves close to you.
  • Parry (Rebutt) – Spend a reaction to reroll a defence test using STR.
  • Frenzy (Rebutt) – Make a reaction attack instead of a defence test against your attacker. You take their damage automatically, and take a critical if you roll 1 on your reaction attack.
  • The Archer – For every attack you make with a shortbow or longbow, fire twice and roll each attack separately.
  • Suppression – Spend a reaction attack and an arrow. NPC targets in your line of fire must roll within their morale on 2d6 to fire on you, or take any other action that would give you an opening.
  • Return Fire – Gain an opening against anyone making a ranged attack against you, even from cover.
  • Snipe – When attacking spend all of your remaining reaction attacks. Make an additional attack roll for each one, but only count 20s on these extra attacks. If you score a 20, you deal a critical hit. For every additional 20, add your base damage die (with no bonuses of any kind) to the total damage.
  • Rapid Fire – Gain an opening for a ranged attack against every target in sight and out of cover or melee. Any unused reaction attacks remaining after you have taken these openings are lost.
  • Pointblank Shot – Spend a reaction to make your attacks in melee with a ranged weapon this round not give your target an opening.
  • Thread the Needle – Spend a reaction. Your next ranged attack may fire into melee with no risk of hitting any other target.
  • Agility – Use your DEX as AC, as long as you are wearing no armour or light armour, and you can move freely (not encumbered, paralysed, slowed, prone, rooted to the spot, grappled, bound, unaware etc.)

Fighters also get the d10 hit die from AD&D 1E and increase their base damage die by one step.

In addition to exploit and sneak attack, thieves get a lot of passive bonuses. They have +1 to the d6 roll to listen at doors; and while they have the same chance as any other PC of triggering a trap (1-2 on d6) if they roll a 5-6 they detect it, so there’s a reason to put the thief first.

They get a reroll on attempts to know languages, if the second roll succeeds they only know the written form. They can use scrolls and magical items with an INT test.

The classic thief skills such as open locks, move silently, climb sheer walls are all ability tests with a base difficulty of 7.

  • Picking Pockets
  • Picking Locks
  • Climbing Sheer Walls
  • Hiding in Shadows & Moving Silently
  • Detecting and Disarming Treasure Traps
  • Identifying Treasures & Magical Items

Thieves alone get a discount equal to their level. From level 7-12, after the difficulty has been eliminated, they can pick one skill to specialise in and gain advantage on the roll, leading to Nuth-like expertise at the level cap.

Last month we tried out some new wilderness travel rules in #RedHack. The party were travelling from Castle Mystamere to the Iron fort, through hexes 502, 402, 302 and 202.

The system divides the day into six four-hour watches:

          Watch Table/Reference
1. Night          8PM-12AM  
2. Small Hours    12AM-4AM  
3. Morning        4AM-8AM   
4. Midday         8AM-12PM  
5. Afternoon      12PM-4PM  
6. Evening        4PM-8PM   

Each day, weather is rolled for, starting with the expected weather for the region and season and adjusting a step each day…

…and the daily travel table is consulted:

           Daily Travel Table
1.   Encounter in jungle, mountains or swamp.
2.   Encounter also in desert, forest or hills.
3.   Encounter in any terrain.
4-5. Apply weather effect. 
6.   No event.

If an encounter is indicated, roll d6 to determine which watch it occurs during; if while the party is resting, they’re surprised if they didn’t set a watch.

Extreme weather like a hurricane or blizzard always affects travel, and is worse on a roll of 4-5. Inclement weather has an effect on the table such as Arid weather consuming extra water rations and Mist causing the party to get lost.

Base speed in hexes per watch is based on mode of travel:

           Base Travel Speed, Hexes/Watch
Riding Horse                              3*
Forced March                              2*
Walking, Mule, Wagon, Warhorse, Donkey    1
Ox Cart or Encumbered Walk                ½
 *Must rest for a watch after 1 watch of movement or gain exhaustion


Every time the party leaves a hex the per-hex table is rolled on:

      Per-Hex Travel Table
1.   Spoor
2.   Exhaustion
3-4. Hazard
5-6. No event

A Spoor result means signs of a creature nearby; a second such result is an encounter with the creature. Exhaustion is a status in the system which puts an average PC halfway toward being encumbered, and can be cleared by resting for a watch. (In the dungeon, exhaustion takes two turns to clear – the PC only has to be rested enough to keep opening doors, not ready for four hours of marching.) Hazard means a roll on a terrain-specific table.

             Mountain Hazards
1. Precipice (Cliff, slope) - If approached without precautions, roll 1d20; anyone with a lower DEX must make a DEX save or fall for 1d3xd6 damage. 
2-5. Rough Terrain - The hex counts as two hexes.
6-8. Lost - Move randomly out of this hex.

My initial weather roll indicated a misty morning; the daily travel roll indicated weather effects. The PCs set out and immediately got lost, wandering north into hex 501.

Realising they should be in the valley already, they solved the problem by climbing to a vantage point in the mountains above the mist to orient themselves. By evening they had reached the river valley, and camped for the night.

Here I let them forage a little – 1-2 on a d6 to find a ration, modified by whether the terrain is fertile or barren and whether the PC is an outdoorsy type – and refill their waterskins at the river. I need to be clearer about who can forage and when, and what other camp/travel actions are available.

After a quiet night’s rest they encountered some blink dogs, and fed them in the hopes of inducing them to follow the party. They ventured back into the mountains. They got lost in 302, sending them to 303, where rough terrain ate up a third watch. They camped in the mountains and fed the blink dogs again.

In the morning they spent a watch foraging while two of them looked for high ground; they could see the Iron Fort in a small wooded valley below.

I’d lost track of watches by now so had them arrive earlier than they should have, during the evening watch, and then having rolled exhaustion on the way there, they spent some time resting, looking for water, and observing the fort from a distance, allowing them to get the drop on the troglodytes loitering around the entrance. The blink dogs also deigned to enter the camp this time, becoming more comfortable around the PCs.

Things that worked – the individual rolls were fairly simple to keep track of; the system allowed me to visualise and describe the weather and surroundings; the result was slightly unpredictable travel where terrain and weather matter, with both eating up supplies at a faster than anticipated rate.

What didn’t work – the PCs took novel actions to solve their problems during travel, which is to be encouraged, but they needed some more standard mechanical choices to feel in control of the process of travel. There needs to be more clarity in who is on watch, who is foraging, who is memorising spells etc. My notes were spread out in a large document on my laptop; I need a crib sheet and the players need to be able to see the rules being used so they know what their options are. There were complaints about becoming exhausted after the first watch of travel (4hrs seems long enough to need a rest) and about getting lost leading to random movement (fair – perhaps a 50/50 chance of going to the left or right of your intended direction? But how does one realise one is lost, and how does one become un-lost, barring climbing a high place to get one’s bearings?) and about not knowing how much food to bring (fair, can be addressed by writing out the rules for the players. We’ve also recently changed from rations being a usage die item to a one-use item.)

The map was open, but only on players’ phones, and they didn’t always know which hex they were in. I should have printed it out and given them hex paper to draw a map of their route so they could realise something was off when they compared the two.

For dungeon exploration I make an unkeyed copy of the map and cut it up with scissors as they explore, letting them re-assemble it with a glue stick – this is easier than explaining the exact shape of every room to the mapper. But verbal descriptions of hexes are much easier, “you move SE into a mountainous hex, a river passes through it from the NE to the S side.”

The system worked well enough but I still want to consider whether this is the best way to manage travel events, speed and weather. The blog Copper Pieces, for example, has an interesting series of articles from 2021-2022 discussing the use of Markov chains to generate weather.

With regard to #RedHack’s under/over rolls, if we’re setting aside the range 2-7 for particularly difficult skills (such as Thief skills) this implies a division of the non-critical range into three sections of six, and these could be used to correspond to five different levels of success:

1: Unlucky! It happens to the best of us. 2-7: Basic: Almost anyone could do this. The inept occasionally, the skilled routinely. 8-13: Expert: As hard as scaling a sheer wall. A competent person can do it, if they’re lucky. 14-19: Master: Only someone of exceptional ability could achieve a result like this, and not often. 20: Lucky! The fool sometimes prospers.

One area this could be useful is when we need a range of outputs, such as when identifying items, understanding languages or recalling lore. For instance, a basic success on item identification is only possible for a thief, whose discount and bring the difficulty below 7; while a master result is only possible for a character with high INT.

Identifying an Item

What if the basic success provides the value of the item, while the master success tells you what it does? I like the idea that the Thief knows the price of everything and the value of nothing, and the Wizard is the reverse, knows what each item is good for, but when it comes to appraising the price is too high-minded to care.

But these results shouldn’t be limited to only geniuses and thieves, so we can split the middle range between the two, producing a simple line down the middle of the d20:

1: This is definitely poison. 2-10: It’s some kind of potion, you could sell it for 50gp to a wizard. 11-19: This a potion of healing, it restores 1d6+1 HP. 20: Oh, this smells just like a healing potion made with stirge blood! It’s worth 50gp and heals 1d6+1 HP. Failure (under difficulty): This is some kind of curative potion. Failure (over ability): A wizard might buy this.

We could increase the range at which you know both by making 10-11 or 9-12 provide both price and effect, but since PCs frequently take turns rolling to examine an item, I like the idea of not giving them all the same information.

Knowing a Language

In #Red Hack PCs don’t select languages or start with a list of those they know; they have Common and perhaps a language implied by their Background. When they try to understand another language, we roll INT to determine their grasp of it (which can then be recorded for future reference.)

1: Miscommunication. The PC believes they speak the language better than they do, and are likely to give offence or obtain mistaken information. 2-7: Rudimentary. The PC can communicate and understand basic concepts and get the gist of what’s being said. “You think they want you to follow them”; “he wants you to give him a gift.” 8-13: Crude. The PC can communicate using 1000 basic words. 14-19: Fluent. The PC can communicate normally using the language. 20: Like a native. The PC could write good poetry in the language.

Difficulty means the language is obscure; people are less likely to have picked up bits and pieces, and will only know it if they’ve studied it.

I’m treating both written and spoken forms as part of the same knowledge here but they could be divided up on the table, or simply require different rolls – in which case thieves may have some kind of bonus to the ‘written’ roll.

Knowledge of a Monster

1: Dangerously mistaken: This is an osquip, they’re good-natured herbivores. 2-7: Folklore: Rumour has it… they can chew through stone. 8-13: Basic familiarity: A dangerous form of vermin with a powerful bite. 3HD. 14-19: Well studied: Detailed knowledge of strengths and weaknesses. 20: Expert: I did my thesis on Osquips. (Read the whole MM entry.) Failure (under difficulty): Ignorant: What’s an osquip? Failure (over ability): Mere hearsay: I once heard someone say osquips are mean.

I keep coming back to the question of encumbrance in #RedHack. It's a hard thing to streamline, because the input consists of numerous very different items, from loose coins to plate armour, and the output is some point at which the PC slows down to some degree, and another point at which the PC cannot move, ideally mediated by some combination of STR and CON. (I like CON as a measure of how much you can carry, as opposed to how much you can lift.)

But items move around a lot, so it all has to be recalculated anytime something is dropped, picked up or traded.

I started with “one item slot per STR point”, tried a container-based system, a push-your-luck version where you had to roll 1d6 per six items under your CON to move at normal speed , and one which simply counted multiples of six.

Sandra shared her very well thought-out approaches: A block method, which seeks to minimise recalculation by fencing off ‘settled’ areas of the inventory, her 5e sheet, which uses a size-based system, and the sheetless version, as well as pointing me back to page B20 of B/X, which de-emphasises equipment and provisions, tracking armour and treasure as the things that are most likely to slow PCs down.

This is good from a gameplay perspective because it's a meaningful decision – trading speed for either protection or rewards.

I also want to streamline, but I'm leaning toward the opposite direction. Weight of armour and weapons feels less important to me – wearing heavy armour might tire you out over time, but it isn't going to render you immobile. Objects held in hands are less urgent to track because there's already a limited supply of hands.

What matters most from a weight perspective is provisions and treasure.

So, this where I am now:

Each PC can carry a small number of burdens. A burden is-

  • Up to 20 items of weight in a backpack.
  • (Optional) More than 20 items of weight worn or held.
  • A level of exhaustion.
  • A long-term injury.
  • Privation from lack of food, sleep, water etc.

Most PCs can carry 2 burdens before suffering penalties, and become immobile once they exceed 6. High CON or low CON adds or subtracts 1 from the amount that can be carried without penalty. High or low STR modifies the maximum burden limit by 2.

Held items don't normally count toward burdens. Some items can only be held (or carried on carts) such as halberds or 15' poles. If the item held is a table or something, it may be a burden in itself.

Worn items – armour, weapons in scabbards, magic jewelry, a shield across the back – don't count either. If you're wearing six swords and three cloaks the DM may rule you have an extra burden.

(Alternatively, worn/held items could be limited to 20 items weight total before a burden is incurred.)

Heavier armour makes you more likely to suffer exhaustion when exhaustion is rolled on the dungeon die. (DM Rolls d20 when the result occurs; any PC with lower CON than the roll gains exhaustion. Any PC with equal or more levels of armour than the roll (3 for leather, 7 for plate etc.) also gains exhaustion.)

A pack holds 20 items and usually counts as a burden. A sack holds 10, perhaps? And can be carried in a hand if you want to trade a free hand for more capacity.

The threshold for an item is about 2lbs. Half-items exist but I'll try to minimise them to make counting faster. Items under 1lb are counted as 0 unless you have a lot of them (a shipment of compasses obviously weighs something, but 2 compasses aren't going to add anything to your load.)

A stack of coins is an item. I'm not sure how big a stack. Black Hack uses 250/item. Since switching to the silver standard – and thus dividing most published hoards by 10 – I've been using 100/item. With the revised figures and AD&D weights it's looking more like 20/item. Amethyst disagrees and says this is far too heavy. Looking at the weights of two iconic 'treasure' coins, doubloons and pieces of 8, we'd get 134 and 33 per item respectively, which points to a figure of 100 or 50.

With the Gem Table we devised recently unappraised gems are homogenous and could also be stacked, at perhaps 50 or 20/item .

D&D attributes are a curious beast insofar as they come in two parts; a smaller number that actually gets used most of the time, and the 3-18 rating from which it is derived. This would make sense if attributes routinely went up in value, making the large number a kind of XP value for the smaller one, but – at least in earlier editions – they don’t.

d20 Under Attribute

When writing a clone or heartbreaker there’s an incentive to jettison one or the other. SEACAT reduces attributes to modifiers. The Black Hack ditches modifiers and has players roll d20 under their attribute.

The latter always appealed to me; it’s such a simple mechanic, and has a clear probability, second only to a percentile roll. No bell curve, no arithmetic, just compare one number to another.

But this meant that monsters in the Black Hack have no variation in AC. Worse, if a monster is higher or lower level than you, it applies a penalty or bonus to the roll. So in a party of mixed-level PCs the clarity of “roll under your STR” is quickly lost.

These modifiers apply to everything, including sneaking, deception, intimidation – this kind of unvaried level-based difficulty makes it feel pointless coming up with alternative approaches to a situation, since the difficulty is always going to be about the same.


The first thing I did was to throw out the level difference modifier and introduce a difficulty mechanic. Since one point of AC is worth 5% on the hit roll, and 1 HD increases a monster’s accuracy by roughly the same amount, I simply made AC ascending 1-10 and said “to hit you must roll within your STR and over the target’s AC.”

Defense rolls, player-side and made on DEX in the Black Hack, roll directly against HD. Eventually I made player AC start at 9 and ascend based on armour.

This was easy to abstract into a general difficulty system. Thief skills such as ‘climb sheer walls’ have a base difficulty of 7, meaning a DEX 10 average PC will have a 20% chance of success (as well as having higher DEX on average, thieves get a discount.) A saving throw is a test against 2 (Poison) 6 (Spells) or 4 (anything else.) Monster saving throws are caster's INT vs monster's HD modified by the save type.

I kept 1s & 20s as critical failure and success, because rolling a 20 is just more fun than rolling a 1. This had some interesting consequences in terms of what the different numbers on the die represent.

🟥 🟥 🟥 🟩 🟩 🟩 🟩 🟩 🟩 🟩 🟩 🟥 🟥 🟥 🟥 🟥 🟥 🟥
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Here we have an attribute of 12 and a difficulty of 4. Odds of success are 40%.

What does it mean to roll a 3 here? If it's a hit roll, you know that you've failed specifically because you hit your target's armour. If it's a defense roll, you failed because of the ferocity of the monster. Conversely a 14 would mean your attack missed, or you were unable to evade your foe’s attack, and your armour wasn’t hard enough to deflect it.

The height of the roll might imply a degree of in-the-moment aggression and (over)confidence: Too timid and your efforts will be shrugged off, too bold and you'll exceed your own ability.

And the 20, being unaffected by skill, represents luck – perhaps you overextended – but you did so exactly when your opponent was off guard.

This information can be useful. For example, if you're firing into melee – a 3 is safe – your arrow has struck your foe's armour and isn't going anywhere. A roll of 15, however, is a shot that has gone wild, and might hit an ally. Since most such misses are going to be in the 9-19 range, which is the same range as PC AC, I simply compare the number directly to the AC of an ally to check for friendly fire, with no more rolls made.

Pros & Cons

It's slightly counter-intuitive. “Roll high/low” is easy to grasp; “aim for the middle” or “roll as high as you can without going over” not so much. But players are making so many of these rolls they soon get used to it, and the advantage is that, only having to compare three numbers, they're very quick.

These rolls handle penalties well enough – you can just pump up the difficulty until the roll is 20-or-nothing.

But they don’t like bonuses at all. At best they ruin the nice clean mathless roll. At worst, the bonus causes the attribute to exceed 19 and what do you do then? Wrap around and reduce difficulty instead?

So I've had to be creative in avoiding positive modifiers – relying heavily on the Advantage mechanic, or offering difficulty discounts instead.


This mechanic was inspired by, of all things, Mark Rein*Hagen’s lost Exile game, which featured percentile rolls with the degree of success being equal to the number on the tens die as long as you didn’t exceed your skill, and with particularly difficult tasks requiring a certain threshold of success to accomplish.

Humans are social animals. Our big brains are optimised for navigating social environments, for worrying what people think of us, for dealing with questions of cooperation, negotiation, duty and shame. We’re prone to mass hysteria and tabu. Our thought processes are skewed by the moods of those around us.

Attanasio writes that the first act of human imagination was the immortality of the soul. I’m not sure this is true. I would guess instead that the first act of imagination – and the origin of what we call magic, both in fiction and in the practice of various real-life wizards and occultists – was animism, the perception of the material and natural world as a social environment.

All magic arises from this personalisation of the world. Any transformative process without this personal, social element is necessarily science, and not magic – simply an observable, repeatable feature of the world.

Cernunnos & Once Upon a Midnight Dreary by IrenHorrors

The magic of wizards and magic-users is the magic of language and symbols. As noted real world wizard Alan Moore writes:

“There is some confusion as to what magic actually is. I think this can be cleared up if you just look at the very earliest descriptions of magic. Magic in its earliest form is often referred to as “the art”. I believe this is completely literal. I believe that magic is art and that art, whether it be writing, music, sculpture, or any other form is literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words, or images, to achieve changes in consciousness. The very language about magic seems to be talking as much about writing or art as it is about supernatural events. A grimmoir for example, the book of spells is simply a fancy way of saying grammar. Indeed, to cast a spell, is simply to spell, to manipulate words, to change people's consciousness.”

Wizardly magic in D&D is legalistic in a way: You invoke the correct symbols, channel the required energies, and the universe is obliged to deliver up a certain result, whether a Fireball or a Floating Disc. It’s social, but in the sense that a trip to the DMV is social; the Wizard is a Wizard because he knows all the correct forms.

Clerical or what could be called shamanic magic is more directly social; it’s about treating the universe, or an aspect of the universe, as a person, and negotiating as we would between two people.

The cleric receives the power to heal and turn undead by following the tenets of their faith; the archetypal shaman invokes and appeases spirits; the Warlock makes an explicit, quid pro quo pact with a higher power.

That the D&D cleric is also an armed and armoured holy warrior is an historical quirk, but it’s interesting to think about reasons why the ‘negotiator’ class might have more need of physical violence than the ‘lawyer’.

It’s these characterisations I bear in mind when designing the classes for my system, and why I’ve chosen to emphasise the spellbook as the essence of wizardly might, and pacts, bonds, geases and vows as the source of the cleric’s power.

#RedHack combat rounds are 30 seconds long – long enough for multiple attacks and for a sprinting PC to cover 180' or more. Each character only has one action during this time, but the additional opportunities for action are provided by reactions. These might be the biggest divergence between the rules and B/X D&D.

Each character with class levels has a pool of reactions per round based on level:

Wizards have one reaction. They aren't good at fighting. I'm toying with letting them spend it to maintain certain spells or fire off magic-missiles, rewriting some spells to utilise the mechanic.

Thieves have one reaction, but it hits hard. If they use it to attack, they deal double damage plus half their level, and may roll DEX to attack instead of STR. They can also spend it immediately to attack an unaware or surprised foe, dealing triple damage plus their level.

Fighters gain a reaction every other level, and also have special Techniques which give them additional opportunities to spend them – for example Riposte allows the Fighter to make a reaction attack against anyone who misses him in melee.

Clerics also gain a reaction every other level, but can only use them in the standard ways.


On the one hand, writing #downtimes has been one of the most rewarding parts of running games with #RedHack. On the other, it’s also the most time-consuming and demanding, equivalent to prep for the game itself.

So as well as providing for a range of downtime activities and results, I’m looking for ways to reduce bookkeeping.

In a addition to resolving downtime actions, I like the idea of Lodgings: Allowing PCs to trade upkeep costs for ameneties and the security of their possessions and persons, but there’s a risk of ending up with many steps of bookkeeping for each character – deducting upkeep, checking for illness, robbery, poor maintenance of equipment and so on, applying any perks, before even getting into downtimes and having to design progress clocks and roll for complications.

How much of this can we concentrate into one roll?


I'm looking at rules for #downtimes, in particular the creation of minor magical items. I'm happy with magic items being born and not made, but for consumables such as potions and scrolls I want PCs to be able to make them during downtime, but need to limit supply.

In the 1E DMG Gary requires monster parts for potions, scrolls and spell research. This is clearly a way to drive players back into the dungeon and keep supply linked to risk.