View Full Version : Dresden files (Dead)

Fable Wright
2010-06-15, 12:04 AM
I really like the Dresden files, but I can't seem to get it to work for a D&D game, and the Dresden files RPG books are kind of... really pricey. Could anyone help me make mechanics that would work for D&D, or make a system for it that makes sense?

2010-06-15, 05:30 PM
If you can beg, borrow or steal a copy of Monte Cooke's Iron Heroes, that has a mana based casting system with skill based elements that would suit the mechanisms used in the books.

Trouble with most RPGs is that players [like the wizards in the stories] tend to expect magic to solve their problems for them, and the designers obliged. The Dresden Files stuff, aside from shields and attacks, is all detections and information gathering for the PCs [upsetting a Watcher, with their massive FATE pool is not advised, so no black magic] in the game itself; I have a copy. I haven't delved too deeply because i'm only 3 books in and don't want spoilers...

I also have a skill based magic system here, which might suit your purposes. A Hedge wizard would be entirely limited to circle stuff, while Dresden himself would have a handful of levels of Arcanist. That or you could use some kind of HP depletion for magic usage.

2010-06-29, 09:57 AM
If you'd like a skill based system their is also the True Sorcery supplement (look it up on that rpgnow.com site).

Basically what it does:

1) You use the spellcraft skill to actually craft your spells.

2) Bonuses to spellcraft checks for taking more time with your spells (along with bonuses for material components and focuses), giving them more of a ritual feel.

3) Talents are like epic magic seeds. You use them as a basis for your spells. For instance if you wanted to pop a shield up like Harry does, you would use the Force talent (I'd say Force in Harry's case, as it interposes and actual solid barrier between him and the nasties, probably a mix of Force and Wards later on).

I'd say throughout the series Harry either knows or learns these seeds:
Force, Create energy (fire), Create energy (cold), Create energy (lightning), Summon, Air Lore, Telekinesis, Wards (for his coat), Create undead (though that seemed to be a one time thing around Halloween so maybe a houserule that anyone can do it on that date?), Banish, Dispel, possibly Figment, Light Lore (using his mother's pentacle as a focus), Planewalker (for the Never Never), & maybe Reveal (for his Listening ability [it creates sort of a Scrying sensor) or Sense (this boosts Listen and Spot and it's the one that comes the closest to things like Locate Object), and Animate Objects (that trick he did with the broom in the first novel near the end).

I'd also say that Harry has one of those background things that gives him certain skills as class skills (hide, move silently, and possibly intimidate or diplomacy) and that most of his skill points are invested in Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (local) [these represent what Harry knows, not what he has access to via Bob], Spellcraft, and Hide and Move Silently. He might also have a few ranks in Craft (woodworking) since he makes his rods and staves himself.

Fable Wright
2010-06-29, 10:07 AM
When did he make lightning? :smallconfused: All he ever did with it was harness it's power (or maybe redirect a bolt); this does not qualify for a whole seed. Also, Bob gave him the necromancy seed, so he didn't use it after Halloween.

2010-06-29, 12:21 PM
I think the necromancy reference is to book 3 where he arms a buttload of ghosts with fire, enhances their stature and lets them loose on Biancha.

That seemed far more guesswork than anything...

Aside from Evocation, in all frankness, i've never seen him use the same spell twice in 3 and a half books, so perhaps simply using Spellcraft for detections would be in order... Roll it like a Search check and based on the cleverness and "magical mindedness" of the suggested spell, determine the effectiveness at range?

The summoning is mostly based on Truenames, so the DCs don't sound like they're actually that high, it's the opposed Will saves that come after that are the issue, along with the raw magical power needed to do stuff, bearing in mind Harry is suped up by his deal.

If anything, i'd suggest that you create some skills, perhaps Thaumaturgy, Evocation, Faith, Necromancy and Summoning [off the top of my head] and use a variant of the Open Minded feat [+5 skill points] to allow people to buy their abilities. Then have people buy will.

Or you could use my system, i suppose, modified to taste: Skill Based Casting (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=122664)

2010-06-29, 12:44 PM
Personally I like Mutants and Masterminds as a system for Dresden Verse games. The complication and hero point systems are great for modeling a typical Dresden adventure. Tack on the appropriate flaws to his spellcasting and your good to go.

For more information head over to the Atomic Think Tank Roll Call forum. A number of people over there have tackled modeling Harry using M&M.

2010-06-29, 02:13 PM
I'm not sure he raised the ghosts up as much as he gave them an opportunity to get back at the weakened vampires.

I don't think Bob gave him the Create Undead talent (he can tell Harry about magic, but unlike the TV series, the only thing I've read that Bob told Harry how to do was make potions, not actual magic).

The reference I'm making is to the book Dead Beat where Harry reanimated (I'm whiting out the name to be considerate to those who haven't read it yet) a T-Rex so he could get close to the BBEG and stop him. He did it on Halloween which is (in the series) the day when the borders between the spirit world and living world are thinnest (and had been deliberately weakened even more).

He used lightning in the first book, and I do admit I'm not sure if I've seen him use it again, but they didn't have a redirect energy talent so the closest thing would be for him to be able to conjure it.

The system I was talking about is a freeform skill system, it's just that spellcraft is the only skill you need ranks in to use the magic (as it's representing your ability to actually work with magic). It would be very easy to never have to use the same spell twice.

Basically if you've ever seen the Avatar benders v2 that are on the board that have an actual firebending, earthbending, waterbending, and airbending skill and you learn the different forms that let you use them in different ways (the difference between an air blast and creating a dome of air for instance) it's like that with this system. You have a spellcraft skill and you just learn different ways to apply it.

I also like the fact that they made Detect Magic an actual skill in this system (since you didn't have to pick it as a spell with the normal spell users which just seemed idiotic to me) and therefore anyone with magic can use it.

You can actually prepare a spell ahead of time with the system I mentioned earlier.

Also you can take your time with this system and you will get bonuses for taking more time and using better materials (a copper circle in his subbasement vs one drawn in chalk for instance). They do have a thing on how to use truenames and I think he had to use a truename to get a specific demon/devil/general evil entity vs getting just any old one.

2010-06-29, 02:35 PM
Dresden files is Fate 3, Fate 3 is free, as for the magic system, its much easier to design in Fate 3 than it would be elsewhere, particularly once you know the general concepts, which do appear in other magic systems in Fate 3.

2010-06-30, 01:36 AM
I'm not familiar with the Fate system, but I will look it up.

I'd also say that Harry has action points and at least one feat that either boosts up how many he has, or lets him recover one or more a day, given the sheer amount of unholy carnage (sometimes literally) that he manages to get through and make it out alive and somewhat whole (ie not missing any body parts). I mean I understand that as the main character, they really couldn't put him out of commission without massive backlash but still.

I'd say Bob counts as an artifact that has at least 23 ranks in all Knowledge skills, the ability to possess things, some spell like or supernatural abilities to gain information and/or locate people or objects, and an ability to cause massive wild parties (that probably end up with people doing something that involves Barry White playing in the background, given how big a hound dog he is :D ).

Fable Wright
2010-06-30, 08:26 AM
Yeah, about his survivability... see book #12. He runs out of action points.

2010-07-01, 11:13 AM
I'm assuming that's the new one that came out (Changes I believe is the title). I've heard but didn't want to spoil it with Wikipedia peeks.

However here's food for thought on his survivability:

Did he actually survive?

I mean no matter how flat out beat down, look like you've been put through a meat grinder, every bone in your body broken he was, -9 and going, did he live?

Might have cashed in every action point he had but apparently he lived (from what I've heared). You know, unless Jim Butcher plans to raise him from the underworld (consequently figuring out how to deal with certain deal making supernatural creatures for instance).

Fable Wright
2010-07-01, 05:27 PM
Lets just say this:
His duster was shredded to bits
There was a bullet
There was a tunnel, and a light
There was the end of the book.

2010-07-01, 08:58 PM
There are supposedly 10+ more books in the series, so survival is still only 50/50, as there are at least 2 other characters who could take over.

2010-07-02, 08:27 AM
I heard that the light at the end of the tunnel wasn't "THE LIGHT". It was a train (or sounded like one) and it came while he was underwater. Foreshadowing maybe?

Which probably means he did "survive" (living being a relative term in the dresdenverse), as any half way decent author is not going to let the series just end on a cliffhanger.

Besides their are a number of ways he could survive (most of which involve a Deus Ex Machina):

1) A knight of the cross could show up (I believe the only current one is Sanya but Murphy's looking pretty good for filling a spot right now) as they show up when and where they are needed (and considering Harry has Soulfire the angelic side probably doesn't want him "checking in" too soon).

2) Mab could save him as she has invested a lot of time and energy into keeping him around and is not about to let a little thing let death let him get away.

3) Molly could get him, she's never really been one to stay out of trouble (like another certain practitioner I could mention), even when ordered.

4) Murphy could show up (see above regarding Knights of the Cross being where they need to be. Not too mention a good way to make one's debut).

5) Flipping Toot could show up (not too mention the rest of "Za Lord's" army) and get him off the tracks/heal him. Lea too for that matter.

This series is far from over. Heck, Harry might end up pulling a Barbossa (see Pirate of the Caribbean 2).

If I had to lay money down on it, I'd say it would probably be number 2 (no dirty jokes please). Look up Summer Knight (or was it Night?) and some of the beings Mab had working for her. I'm betting at least a few reside in the Great Lakes and considering Harry's position they just won't let go out with a whimper.

Fable Wright
2010-07-02, 09:05 AM
... the name of the next book in the series is called 'ghost story'. Think about that for a second, now.

2010-07-02, 11:40 AM
Yeah but I doubt it's Harry's ghost. In the Dresdenverse a ghost is an imprint of a person, not the spirit of the person itself. Might give an indication of the Villain though.

And Harry's already contacted his own ghost (look in the third book, the one with Bianca's party), so that might end up saving him.

2010-07-02, 08:45 PM
I like choice number 4 myself, just because the next story in the universe take place right after Changes, and is told from Murphy's POV.

2010-07-04, 08:57 PM
I think it's probably going to be Mab or Toot that saves him (assuming he is saved [I think he is and hope he is but...]).

Mab's invested too much and waited too long to get hold of him, and Toot would never let "Za Pizza Lord" drop. It's also been hinted at that Toot is getting stronger and could be a really powerful fey someday (who knew that pizza was fey steroids? :smallbiggrin: )

I wonder though, if Harry is clinically dead for a minute or two, does that get him out of the whole thing with Mab since it's "till death" sort of thing?

Harry might meet his mom (and I'd like to actually find out what she was like, not just hinted through like 10 different books) since some force that's identified as female has helped him through the series (kept him from leveling Victor Sells house in the first book, told the death curse to hush up, etc.).

Besides I thought Harry had to "die alone" or whatever from the whim wham he was hit with.

Kuma Kode
2010-07-04, 11:29 PM
BACK ON TRACK, I would probably go d20 Urban Arcana. Though my Shadow Theory campaign has a system of magic dependent on draining Sanity and ability scores instead of spell slots. If you change Sanity to some kind of mana, or just drop it completely, it should work for any kind of magic system which requires an investment of personal power to fuel the spell, preventing overuse of them. On the bright side, because the spells are self-balancing, they need not be class-based, and can be learned by anyone, which would likely be more interesting than having a bunch of Smart Hero 3 / Mage X characters running around.

2010-07-05, 06:07 AM
Oh by the way just to clear up the whole "Murphy's POV" thing, he's making a short story called AFTERMATH which is told from Murphy's POV, not the next novel. You can find it under the listing of "Side Jobs" which is a compilation of his short stories in the Dresdenverse.

And yeah, sorry for knocking this off track :smallredface:

anyway their seem to be a number of systems out their that would work for Harry.

Next decision would be what level are you making this character. Are we talking Storm Front, are we talking Changes (if he's artificially boosted by a template), Turn Coat (if he's not), or somewhere in between.

Also could Harry be a gestalt character? I mean Jim Butcher said that he wanted Harry to be like Peter Parker in that both are geeks/nerds, it's just Peter is scientific whereas Harry is magical. Besides his job and his magic, he doesn't seem to do much. I mean Murphy does Aikido and marksmanship competitions, but I don't think they have magic tournaments in the Dresdenverse (might be kind of cool though, long as it doesn't turn into Harry Potter).

If so I'd say his other class is Rogue since Harry displays some combat ability which would be more in line with a medium bab (like a rogue or cleric) than a bad bab (like a wizard or sorceror). Plus he tends to hit from surprise and really wallop you (sneak attack combined with magical assault? ouch) basic proficiency with firearms, staves, and unarmed strikes, not sure what else.

He's intelligent (as he tends to get brain blasts as the plot nears the end) and observant (notices the title of the book the guy in Dead Beat uses to control the zombies while the zombies are coming after him), both of which improve throughout the series (see Turn Coat for his Willie Coyote/Machiavelli plan).

I'd say he has the Leadership Feat with Thomas, Murphy, or Molly as his cohort. His Wikipedia article states that one of his greatest strengths is just the sheer amount of allies he can bring to bear. He's friends with the Alphas, has a medical professional on stand by at all times (ok he's a coroner but it's better than nothing) that can warn him when bodies start piling up, "Za Pizza Lords" army (led by Major General Toot :smallcool: ), the former Head of SI who is looking like a potential Knight of the Cross, friends with the supernatural arm of the Catholic Church (though it does seem to include all denominations), friendly with the current head of SI, has a spirit of knowledge who's better than a supercomputer (if a bit randy [does his best Austin Powers impression :smallbiggrin: ]), he's on friendly terms with the Archive and the Hellhound (Ivy and Kincaid), in possession of a Foo Dog (Mouse), of course the dread cat Mister :smallcool: (in Toot's own words), and of course Lea and Mab (both of whom have a vested interest in Harry).

The Alphas, Za Lords Army, or Murphy alone are enough to be a big help (if not outright save his rear [yes even Toot, read Turn Coat]), and all of them seem to be willing to through themselves into the line of fire to help Harry (granted Harry doesn't try to rely on it).

2010-07-09, 02:00 AM
This dead then?

Fable Wright
2010-07-09, 03:56 AM
It's been going between alive and dead for several weeks at a time. And then some necromancer raises it. It's dead for the time being.