Tales of Penundra
The Game System of Penundra
Welcome to the Game System of Penundra. For those of you familiar with tactical miniatures and Dungeons and Dragons, this should be a fairly simplified version of what you’re used to. For those of you who aren’t and think RPGs are only used by the Taliban, frankly, I’m surprised you found your way here. Feel free to poke around I guess, but I’m not sure what this site will do for you…
The Game System of Penundra is a mix of the Heroscape combat/terrain system and the Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying d20 system with a few homebrew elements to keep things simple. The Heroscape rules are used to resolve combat, movement, and damage, while the D&D system handles the rest.
You don’t necessarily need anything from either game system to play, but picking up some Heroscape figures and the hit dice will help dramatically. While buying full sets off Ebay is getting more and more expensive, individual pieces can still be found relatively cheap, and if you have no qualms about mixing miniatures and cardboard tokens, I highly recommend the Wizards of the Coast Essentials Monster Vault as an excellent substitute for any missing minis.
Now, on to the actual gameplay…
This is a game about doing stuff like the picture above. Do you want to fight the crap out of a dragon? Do you want to stuff a sword in its stomach and dig around until it stops moving? Or maybe you want to blow it apart with magic and loot the fabulous treasure it stashed away in its cave (Dragons, so predictable with their caves and hidden treasure…). Well, you can do that. I mean, if you try to take one on by yourself, it’ll most likely kill you but you sure can try.
Maybe you don’t want to kill dragons, but instead want to delve into the mysteries of a ruined tower and discover secrets from an era long past. Or maybe you’d prefer to gather a group and hold the princess ransom for a tidy sum. That’s okay too.
However, if you’re looking for a striker build to maximize your hit-to-wound potential and score the optimal amount of loot for your level, then you may want to look elsewhere. This game has plenty of cracks without a Game Master to smooth things over and any rules lawyers will find something easily bent and broken if they delve too greedily and too deep.
Without further ado, let’s look at developing the hero party.
The image above is from the boys at Penny Arcade. If you guys ever read this for some reason and feel the need to sue, I can respect that but I don’t have nearly enough to make it worth your while. Just send me an email saying “Hey, hey you! Stop it. Stop doing that right now!” and I’ll be glad to take it down. It’s just so freaking cool…
First things first, you’ll have to pick your hero character. Once again, our goal here is to keep things as simple as possible so you spend less time reading through stat tables and more time killing that dragon. The heroes are split in to 4 types: Warriors, Mystics, Rogues, and Clerics. Within each type there are a variety of abilities and skills but in the end, one is good at hitting stuff up close, another is good at hitting stuff far away, a third is good at magicking the crap of out stuff, and the final one can do a little bit of everything.
You can find a more comprehensive guide to selecting your hero in the The Heroes page. If you want to give your hero a different name and extensive backstory, that’s up to you. If not, I’m sure your Game Master or fellow players can think of something.
Abilities and Skills
Now that you’ve picked your hero, its time to take a look at what your hero can do. There’s two (technically three) things that determine what your hero can do. Those things are Abilities, which almost always manifest themselves in combat, and Skills which affect what the hero can do outside of combat. Certain situations that require d20 rolls can be modified by a hero’s skills, making them just as important as their ability to kill, maim, and injure. For a more comprehensive look at each heroes skills and abilities follow the links below.
An important thing to note is that a hero may very well attempt to do anything they choose in or outside of combat. The listed attributes (skills and abilities) just determine what sort of training they have and impact how likely they are to succeed. This ties into the third thing that determines what a hero can do and that’s the player. It it up to you to decide what you want your hero to do and if you can convince your GM that your knight’s skill in bluffing would allow him/her to scale the side of a building, good for you! This type of gaming is all about thinking outside of the box and getting the most out of a hero’s training.