Friday, June 25, 2010

Lazy Weekend One-Shot: The Legend of Zelda in 4e

Ever find yourself bored and wanting to run a throwaway game for some reason? Maybe you want to just get some people together to drink and grill and play a game while doing it. That made me think. Any old fantasy Nintendo game is great for this purpose. Why? They simply didn't have the storage space to make the games long and complex. So let's start with my personal favorite, the game my mother made me go outside in order to allow her to finish.
So how does a single player hack and slash style rpg translate to tabletop? Well, poorly. Fret not, I have ideas. It's pretty simple, the maps are already there for you. You can either print out the maps, the squares are already there even!, or you can just draw out the overworld map and leave it be and use a second map for the dungeons. Either one works.

The biggest thing to overcome is the combat. That's actually really easy to do, again, Zelda already does this for you! Everything is either a minion or a boss. Now there are different colors of minions, and different brackets, but they remain minions. This isn't as complicated as it sounds. The colors are easy, everything, with the exception of bats, slimes, lasagnas, mummies, hands, gargoyles, ghosts, golems, snakes, weird flower bugs, rabbit dudes, mermen and skeletons , is broken down into either red or blue. Red is weaker than blue. The exceptions are easy as well.

The creatures take one, two, four or eight hits to die. Again, everything is a minion, so you just count the number of hits and that's it. They are different than normal minions in this way, but still really easy to keep track of anyway. By the end of the session, everything will be back to dying in either one or two hits anyway.

List of One Hit Kills:
Red Octorock
Red Spiders
Blue Spiders
Little Slimes
Red Moblins
Rabbit Dudes (ranged only)

List of Two Hit Kills:
Blue Octorocks
Blue Moblins
Weird Flower Bugs (must not be moving)
Red Sandworms
Big Slimes
Red Centaurs

List of Four Hit Kills:
Red Knight
Blue Centaurs
Ghosts (when not moving)
Red Wizards

List of Eight Hit Kills:
Blue Knights
Blue Wizards

Now, items, health and leveling. Keep the original stores and item prices around the world. Just roll to determine the treasure from a random monster.
1. Nothing
2. One Rupee
3. Five Rupee
4. Ten Rupee
5. Twenty Rupee
6. Heart
7. Faerie
8. Nothing

You can multiply the Rupee rewards by the number of players in the game if you want them all to have the items bought. If not, then don't. Now, there will be Heart Containers around the world still. You can either keep them in their spots or move them around however you see fit. Skill checks made in place of bombing or rafts or the old man are reasonable substitutions. You can do a lot with player ingenuity and creative here to make the game fun and not just make it collect quest. For example, one of the walls could be an illusionary wall and the players could find it and then have to solve a puzzle to make the illusion disappear. You get the gist.

Now, Heart Containers are how you level and your health. Everyone starts with twenty-four hit points, and your surge value scales accordingly. Your number of surges is still based on your class, but surges and health are replenished by either a potion or a trip to the faerie spring. A potion or a faerie spring resets dailies and daily magic items as well. Finding a heart allows you to spend a surge and regain eight +surge hp or you just gain eight hp if you are out of surges. Finding a faerie gives you twenty-four + surge hp or just twenty-four hp. Potions do not spend a surge, obviously.

Leveling, Hit Points, and Healing. Finding a Heart Container raises your max hp by eight and your surge value by two. Once you have accrued four heart containers, you ascend to fourth level after finding your magical weapons. Once you have accrued nine heart containers, you ascend to ninth level after finding your legacy weapons. Once you have accrued thirteen heart containers, you ascend to eleventh level and select a paragon path as well. So, everyone will need to pre-generate four sheets total. Easy enough to keep track of again. Healing can still occur from player sources as normal. However, with the above healing methods, having a leader is not required to play this way.

Taking Damage. Damage is again easy. Everything deals either 4, 8, or 16 damage. Once your party acquires the blue rings, you gain Resist Half Damage. Once your party acquired the red rings, you gain Resist Three Quarters Damage. The way you determine the damage done is to look at the above monsters. One and Two Hit kills deal four damage, Four Hit Kills deal eight damage, and Eight Hit Kills deal sixteen damage. Traps deal eight damage. Bosses deal either eight or sixteen damage.

Dealing Damage. You start off dealing one hit worth of damage. No matter what class you are. The area and control abilities still function as per normal. Ongoing damage will count as a second hit when they take damage from it. Once you get your magical weapons, you deal two hits worth of damage. Once you get your legacy weapons, you deal four hits worth of damage. In addition, every weapon has the Project Weapon power.

Items. Items are just like they are in the game. Blue Candles can only be used once per combat and deal one hit worth of damage but the flame persists for two rounds. Red Candles can be used unlimited times per combat and deal once hit worth of damage, with the flame persisting for two rounds. The candle flames start in a square adjacent to you and move three squares before stopping and persisting in the third square until the end of the next round. Anything in those three squares takes damage. Arrows deal one hit, Silver Arrows deal four hits worth of damage. Arrows are not stopped in enemies and work as a ray attack in a one square line all the way across the drawn map. The Strength Bracelet lets you move Overworld objects that may be moved. Everything else functions just as you imagine it would. The object that are required to be used to kill bosses would still be required. The flute would still teleport them around the map. The boomerang can be used to collect items as a standard action or target an enemy as a ranged basic attack. If successful the enemy is stunned until the end of their next turn. The wooden boomerang has a range of five. The blue boomerang has a range of one room or area. The shortcuts work the same etc. Players are encouraged to talk about items they would like at the appropriate levels prior to playing so that leveling means you gain the items as well.

Combat. At the start of the game, everyone rolls initiative. That's the initiative for the whole game until the party levels. Once the party levels, initiative is rerolled. The party always gets a surprise round every combat. Combat should be fast paced and near constant in this game. Players can choose to skip combat unless they are locked in a room. They just spend movement to go to the next area and the entire party is transported there. Boss combats are normal solo encounters and you are encouraged to make the boss fights fun and unique. There are lots of dragons and things that could be abominations, also dinosaurs and plant monsters!

Project Weapon Power Heritage Power
At-Will * Arcane, Weapon, Implement
Requirement: Must be full health
Target: One Creature
Range One Room/Area
Attack: Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma +2 (+3 at 4th level, +4 at 9th level and +5 at 11th level) vs AC
Hit: One hit (two hits at level 4, four hits at level 9)

Defenses. Defenses scale with the monsters. Build them as you see fit type-wise. Level wise, one and two hit monsters should be level one. Four hit monsters should be level four. Eight hit monsters should be level nine. Bosses are either level four, eight, nine, ten or fifteen.

Dungeon difficulties. Pretty much just go by the difficulty in the game. Dungeons one through three are scaled for level one. Dungeons four, six and seven are scaled for level four. Dungeons five and eight are scaled for level nine. Dungeon nine is scaled for level eleven, regardless of if they have attained it.

Boss stats. Wing it really, but keep it cool and fun and go with the general boss feelings of the game.

So that's pretty much it. You can change up the plot however you would like, though I recommend keeping the original plot as it's as straight forward as it gets and just making the NPCs more robust and real to explain their presence, who they are, and give Hyrule more lore and history. Make the weapons cool, heroic and epic through the NPCs. You can also give out treasure in loot hoards in the tri-force rooms instead of just awarding it when they level as well.

There's not a lot too it, really. I think it would be a pretty fun way to kill a long weekend, and a way different method of checking out 4e.

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