Electrum Pieces and Paper Pills

Base 16 Initiative

The tonal system came up in my mind because of how the time units seem to work so well for old school D&D and possibly 5e, but I'd have to look at it more. Bear with me, I'll get to how this thought exercise helps me.

A hexadecimal second is 1.31 seconds long. This would really change anything.

A hexadecimal minute is about 21 seconds. This could be considered a round. It's twice as long as I'd normally have a round, but I could say that you can take four actions in a round instead of my normal two actions in a round.

A hexadecimal maxime (there is no analogue in our current time system) is about 5 and half minutes long. I could call this a turn.

I am a pianist, so I can easily think in terms of two 16th notes makes an eighth note, four of them make a quarter note and so on.

Get on with the game part of this

In the game, two rounds make 1/4 turn. four rounds make 1/2 a turn. For spells that last for turns, I feel like I can track them easier. I have a circle for each spell that lasts turns and mark the time elapsed in quarters.

I do clothespin initiative, but I get two different colors of wooden clothespins and make two color clothespins. After determining the initiative order and placing them on my referee screen, after each person finishes their turn, I turn the clothespin around. When I see all the same color clothespins on my side, it's another round.

If I have yellow and green clothespins and start with the green side facing me, every time all the clothespins facing me are all green, that would mark a 1/4 of a turn. In the circle representing the spell, I quickly shade in 1/4 of the circle.

My old system was that since 10 rounds equals 1 turn, I would use tick marks for every two rounds.

Something to think about more.

Electrum Pieces and Swords & Wizardry

Lorica – Swords and Wizardry with Big Shiny Machines

A couple years ago, I started working on a big machine (read mechs or hovertanks)  game based loosely on 2e. Since I have changed systems once again to S&W, I finally found the muse to finish the project.

I have lots of machines made and a good process to make them. Four of them, stated for S&W, are included in this post.

Tonight, I have a combat sequence.

It is short, sweet and based directly on Alternate Method No. 3 from Swords and Wizards Complete. The following text is entirely OGL. Sec 15 for the purposes of this post is:

Swords & Wizardry Complete Rules, Copyright 2010, Matthew J. Finch
Lorica - Swords and Wizardry with Big Shiny Machines, Copyright 2013, John Payne

Combat Sequence for Lorica

Note: this is a based on the Alternate Combat Sequence Method No. 3 in the Swords & Wizardry Complete Rules.

The combat round is divided into 10 segments of 6 seconds each. Each individual machine rolls a d10 for initiative. The result represents which segment of the first round the machine moves or takes any other action. A roll of 0 (zero) represents the 10th segment, the last segment of a combat round.

Every subsequent round, the machine moves (or takes an action) at intervals of six segments. The machines base movement rate and/or hull points remaining modify the 6 segment interval. In general, faster and healthier machine can sometimes attack more than once in a combat round.

Base Modifier to the 6-segment interval

8 - Base Movement Rate

Other Modifiers to the 6-segment interval

At three-quarters hull points: +1

At one-half hull points: +3

At one-quarter hull points: +5

Add the modifiers to the base number of 6 segments to see how many segments it will be until the machine can take action again. For example, a light machine with a base movement rate of 10 at full hull points will take its next action in 4 segments. The standard 6 segments is adjusted down by 2 segments ( 8 – base movement rate of 10) . There is no adjustment for full hull points.

The overall result of this system is to allow lightly-armored and faster machines (or opponents) to make more attacks, over the course of the combat, than those who are heavily armored or wounded. To balance this out, very fast machines quickly lose their advantage when hit. For example, the fastest machines in these rules (STADES and STADES II) have a Base Movement Rate of 12, but only 50 hull points. One hit from a 125mm Mass Drive Cannon will likely change their interval rate from 2 segments to 5.

Standing Rules for Combat

  • Regardless of a machines interval rate, missiles can only be fired once per combat round.

  • On the first segment of every round, before any other action is taken, all anti-missile defense systems fire for machines equipped with them. The effects of anti-missile systems last for the entire combat round.


Normal Movement is Base Movement Rate * 300 yards per round or Base Movement Rate * 10 miles per hour.

Combat Movement is Base Movement Rate * 150 yards per round.

Using a Hexmap

This system makes each hex 150 yards. It's a bit of an odd size, but it works for me. Let me know what you think. I tend to avoid using a map and/or minis if I can help it. Still, it is useful to determine distances for some weapons and relieves the DM from having to mentally guesstimate those distances.

Stat Blocks for Machines

Scouts (fastest)


HP: 50; AC 4 [15]; Atk Long Range Missiles (1d6*4), Short Range Missiles  (1d8*6), Form II Laser (1d12); Move 12; Mass 104 tons; Cost  798,600 Kr ;Special: SAMD-1 (Missile Defense 14).


HP: 50; AC 4 [15]; Atk Long Range Missiles (1d6*4), Short Range Missiles  (1d8*6), 50mm Recoilless (2d6); Move 12; Mass 105 tons; Cost  782,400 Kr ;Special: SAMD-1 (Missile Defense 14).

Light Combat


HP: 60; AC 3 [16]; Atk Short Range Missiles  (1d12*6), 125 mm Railgun (4d10), Form III Laser (2d8); Move 8 ; Mass 152 tons; Cost  1,032,800 Kr ; Special: SAMD-2 (Missile Defense 24).

Medium Combat


HP: 90; AC 1 [18]; Atk Short Range Missiles  (1d12*6), 2 * Long Range Missiles (2d8 * 4), 100 mm Recoiless (4d6), Form VII Laser (4d8); Move 6 ; Mass 234 tons; Cost  1.277,800 Kr ; Special: SAMD-5 (Missile Defense 84).

Heavy Combat


HP: 90; AC 0 [19]; Atk 2 * Short Range Missiles  (1d20*6), 2 * Long Range Missiles (1d10 * 4), 275 mm Railgun (9d12), Form IV Laser (2d10); Move 4 ; Mass 354 tons; Cost  1,795,300 Kr ; Special: SAMD-4 (Missile Defense 60).