Monday, December 12, 2011


Just a quick note to say I have been working on a new site design for Red Ash and I will be adding a little something to the tools area to help with testing of the combat rules.

Till then!

All the best,
Chris J

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Red Ash World Engine: RPG Combat Update and development status

Just a quick post to state I made a small patch to the combat page and the Combat Actions. I made a small error in my script that displayed the PAP (Physical Action Points) cost on the MAP (Mental Action Points) cost. This has been corrected and now displays correctly.

My current work is to add rules and melee skills that will cover dual weilding of weapons. These have been written but I am going to test these before uploading.

I have also been thinking about the character creation and specifically about adding a rule to allow players to move ability score around at charcter creation. I am think of a rule that a player can move a total of 10 points from one ability to another ability with a max increase of 5 points in one. This will permit players more freedom to tweak their characters to the build concepts they plan.

I also need to devote some time to a write up on the leveling of a secondary (or more) class than that of first level.

Till then...All the Best!
Chris J.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Finally! Finished overhauling the combat rules of Red Ash...

When I first started working on the Red Ash World Engine, I had a general idea of how I wanted the combat to go and tossed together some general rules that I honestly did not test. Well now I have and I will continue to do so for some time as the rules are expanded and tweaked.

So now I am presenting the new combat rules, fatigue system and a simple preview of a character (on a sheet even) and my combat log. With these I hope to shed some light on how the combat will unfold and provide a richer and more exciting combat experience to the players.

Here we go....

First the characters used in this series of combat testing are two twins; same size, same gear, same skill, same class and level. The idea of this is to test the combat with no unusual advantage to one character or the other. and to expose faults in the system. The combat starts with both of them within melee range and weapons ready.

So here we have Pete and Steve.
full size here
Since Pete and Steve are identical I just used one page and change the name on one page.

The combat rules and related information can be found on the combat page of Red Ash and the changes to the fatigue system can be found of the abilities page just about 3/4th the way down the page.

The combat log I used to track what was going on is here
full size here
As the spreadsheet hides some of the information will detail the play-by-play below here and provide some addition information I hope you will find useful. If you are feeling up to it, I hope that some of you will pick up Pete and Steve and roll try the combat out for yourself and let me know what you think.

There can only be one...

First the initiative is set by a roll of a 20 sided die. This determines where in the combat Pete and Steve can begin their attacks. Combat will start with both opponents at weapons reach.

Pete and Steve, being twins, both have 230 life points and 64 PAP. MAP will not be tracked as it will barely get used for this combat.

Pete rolls 11
Steve rolls 2

Round 1, Turn 11
Pete attacks with a Hack Attack (Hack is 2 Chopping attacks and is a full turn action for a +2 attack, -2 defense)

Steve being the defender this turn and having the same melee level as his brother can read the attack and decides to use Avoid for both attacks (note defense actions do not have turn cost)

Pete scores 120 (Rolled 18 on 1d20 + 100 from coordination +2 from the aggressive hack attack action.)
Pete spends 11 PAP

Steve scores 100 (rolled 2 on a 1d20 + 98 (agility of 100-2 for his armor))
Steve spend 5 PAP

Steve scores 116 (rolled 18 on a 1d20 + 98 (agility of 100-2 for his armor))
Steve spend 5 PAP

Pete has a critical hit and a miss.
Steve takes 90 points of damage (57x2) chopping damage -24 damage reduction from armor vs chopping and shield protection value.

Pete now has a -2 to his defense until his next turn for using Hack.
Pete will go on 12 on the next turn do to the weapon he attacked with and its attack speed modifier.

Round 1, Turn 6
Steve will use the Pierce combat action (Pierce is a .5 turn pierce attack)
Pete is now the defender and can read Steve's attack action just as Steve read his on the previous turn. So now he get to select his defense based on that knowledge and chooses deflect for the bonus it grants to piercing attacks.

Steve scores a 110 (rolled 10 + 100 from coordination)
Steve spend 8 PAP

Pete scores a 116 (rolled 14 + 100 from agility - 2 from armor + 4 for shield bonus – 2 from last hack attack +2 for using deflect vs piercing.)
Pete Spends 5 PAP

Steve missed!

Steve uses the slash combat action (slash is a .5 turn action that uses the slashing damage if a hit is scored.)
Pete can read Steve's combat actions and so selects avoid to counter the slashing attack.

Steve scores 115 (15 rolled + 100 coordination)
Steve spend 8 PAP

Pete scores 107 (11 rolled + 100 agility – 2 armor - 2 from hack attack)
Pete Spends 5 PAP

Steve Hits!
Pete takes 33 points of damage. (57 slashing damage-24 damage reduction from armor and sheild)

Steve will go on turn 7 of the next round.

Round 2, Turn 12
Pete no longer suffers from -2 from hack attack.
Pete selects the barrage attack action (barrage is 2 piercing attacks and will use a full turn for a +2 attack, -2 defense)

Steve seeing the attack coming selects the defensive action Deflect for both attacks.

Pete scores a 106 (4 rolled and 100 from coordination +2 from barrage)
Pete spends 11 PAP

Steve scores 116 (12 rolled + 100 agility – 2 from armor + 4 from shield +2 from deflect)
Steve spends 5 PAP
Pete Missed!

Steve scores 122 (18 rolled + 100 agility -2 from armor +4 from shield +2 from deflect)
Steve Spends 5 PAP
Pete Missed!
Steve gains a counter attack! (Deflect grants a counter attack when the defender scores 12 or more over the attacker. Counter attacks are treated as a surprise attack and so melee level does not grant knowledge of the attackers intent. Attacker can only use a half turn cost attack action for a counter attack.

Steve selects chop (chop is a .5 turn combat action and will use chopping damage on a hit). Steve does not reveal his attack to Pete.
Pete is surprised and goes with Evade as a defensive action. ( a good guess it turns out)

Steve scores 103 (3 rolled and 100 from coordination)
Steve Spends 8 PAP

Pete scores 104 (6 rolled + 100 agility -2 armor +2 for evade vs chop -2 from barrage)
Pete Spends 5 PAP
Steve Missed!
Pete goes on turn 13 of next round

Round 2, Turn 7
Steve selects knock-down as his attack action (knock-down is currently a Strength Check, but will most like change in the future. It does force the defender to use his strength as well and so comes down to the die roll and strength score. This is a .5 turn action)

Pete melee is of no use here as the selection is taken away....

Steve scores 106 (6 rolled + 100 strength)
Steve spends 8 PAP

Pete scores 115 (17 rolled + 100 strength – 2 from barrage attack.)
Pete spends 4 PAP
Steve fails to knock-down Pete

Steve selects Piercing
Pete sees the attack coming and selects deflect.

Steve score 112 (12 rolled + 100 coordination)
Steve Spends 8 PAP
Pete scores 105 ( 3 rolled + 100 agility -2 armor +2 deflection vs piercing -2 from barrage)
Pete spends 5 PAP

Steve hits!
Pete takes 34 damage (58-24)

Steve goes on turn 8 next round

Round 3, 13
Pete no linger has a -2 to defense from barrage attack last round.
Pete uses barrage again
Steve will deflect

Pete scores 107 ( 5 rolled + 100 coordination +2 barrage)
Pete spends 11 PAP
Pete now has a -2 to defense until next turn.

Steve scores 103 (1 rolled + 100 agility -2 armor + 4 from shield)
Steve spends 5 PAP
Steve earns a fatigue counter and PAP is reset to 75% of 64, or 48
Steve now has a -1 to attack, defense and skills. Land and air speed is reduced by 1 (0 minimum)
Pete Hits!
Steve takes 34 (58-24)

Steve scores 122 (20 rolled + 100 agility – 2 armor +4 from shield)
Steve spends 5 PAP
Pete Missed!
Steve gains a counter attack!

Steve selects a Bludgeon combat action (bludgeon is a .5 turn attack that uses the bludgeon damage of the weapon). Steve does not show Pete his selection.
Pete is surprised again and selects the Evade defensive actions.

Steve scores 113 (14 rolled + 100 Coordination – 1 fatigue)
Steve spends 8 PAP
Pete scores 99 (3 rolled + 100 agility -2 armor -2 from barrage attack)
Steve hits
Pete takes 36 damage (54-18)
Pete goes next on turn 14 next turn

Round 3, Turn 8
Steve decides to use the Combat action Trip (Trip is .5 turn action that forces a balance check on the defender)
Pete must roll a balance check

Steve scores 117 (18 rolled + 100 coordination -1 fatigue)
Steve spends 8 PAP
Pete scores 103 (7 rolled + 100 agility -2 armor -2 from barrage)
Pete spends 4 PAP

Pete earns a fatigue counter!
Pete earns a fatigue counter and PAP is reset to 75% of 64, or 48
Pete now has a -1 to attack, defense and skills. Land and air speed is reduced by 1 (0 minimum)

Steve succeeds!
Pete is prone!
Pete has a -2 attack, -4 to melee defense and +4 to ranged defense

Steve selects the chop combat action (chop is a .5 turn attack and does chopping damage if it hits)
Pete is prone and can only avoid or brace as a defense. Pete selects avoid.

Steve scores 106 (7 rolled + 100 coordination -1 fatigue)
Steve spends 8 PAP
Pete scores 96 (5 rolled + 100 agility -2 armor -2 from barrage -4 from prone -1 for fatigue)
Pete spends 5 PAP

Steve Hits!
Pete takes 34 damage (58-24)
Steve goes on turn 9 of next round

Round 4, Turn 14
Pete is no longer affected by the -2 from barrage.
Pete Stands
Steve gets an opportunity attack on Pete and selects the Pierce combat actions

Pete scores 94 (1 rolled + 100 agility -2 armor -4 prone -1 fatigue)
Pete spends 4 PAP
Steve scores 112 (13 rolled + 100 coordination -1 fatigue)
Steve spends 8 PAP
Steve Hits!
Pete takes 34 damage (58-24)

Pete selects the Slash Combat Action
Steve select avoid

Pete scores 108 (9 rolled + 100 coordination -1 fatigue)
Pete spends 8 PAP
Steve scores 119 (20 rolled + 100 agility - 2 armor +2 from avoid vs slash -1 fatigue)
Steve spends 5 PAP

Pete missed!
Steve wins a counter attack!

Steve selects the Slash attack
Pete selects avoid

Steve scores 116 (17 rolled + 100 coordination – 1 fatigue)
Steve spends 8 PAP
Steve gains a fatigue counter -2 atk, def, skill and -2 to land and air speed 0 min
Pete scores 100 (1 rolled + 100 agility - 2 armor + 2 from avoid vs slash -1 fatigue)
Steve hits!
Pete takes 29 damage (57-28)

Pete goes on turn 15 next round.

Round 4, Turn 9
Steve selects the slash combat action
Pete reacts with avoid

Steve scores 108 (10 rolled + 100 coordination -2 fatigue)
Steve spends 8 PAP
Pete scores 119 (20 rolled + 100 agility -2 armor +2 avoid vs slash -1 fatigue)
Pete spends 5 PAP
Steve missed!
Pete gains a counter attack! (He won defense by 12)

Pete Tries to use the action Trip
Steve must roll balance.

Pete scores 103 (4 rolled + 100 coordination -1 fatigue)
Pete spends 8 PAP
Steve scores 111 (15 rolled +100 agility -2 armor -2 fatigue)
Steve Spends 4 PAP

Steve uses the other half of his turn to once again slash at Pete
Pete responds with avoid

Steve scores 104 (6 + 100 coordination -2 fatigue)
Steve spends 8 PAP
Pete scores 119 (20 + 100 agility – 2 armor +2 avoid vs slash -1 fatigue)
Pete spends 5 PAP
Steve missed!
Pete gains a counter attack! (He won defense by 12)

Pete tries to use Trip again.
Steve must use balance

Pete scores 102 (3 rolled + 100 coordination -1 fatigue)
Pete spends 8 PAP
Pete gains a fatigue counter. Pete now has a -2 to attack, defense and skills. Land and air speed is reduced by -2 minimum of 0
Steve scores 97 (1 rolled + 100 agility -2 armor -2 fatigue)
Steve spends 4 PAP
Pete succeeds
Steve is prone! He can only select avoid or brace for defense.
Steve has a -2 attack, -4 to melee defense and +4 to ranged defense.
Steve goes on turn 10 of next round.

Round 5, Turn 15
Pete selects Hack ( hack is a full turn action with 2 chopping attacks and 1 roll)
Steve will avoid for both attacks.

Pete scores 108 (8 rolled + 100 coordination +2 from attack -2 from fatigue)
Pete spends 11 PAP
Steve scores 101 (9 rolled + 100 agility -2 armor -2 from fatigue – 4 from prone)
Steve spends 5 PAP
Pete hits!
Steve takes 33 points of damage (57 chopping – 24 damage reduction)
Steve scores 110 (18 rolled + 100 agility -2 armor -2 from fatigue – 4 from prone)
Steve spends 5 PAP
Steve gains a fatigue counter
Steve has a -4 to attack, defense and skills. Land and air speed is reduced by 3 with a minimum of 0
Pete missed!
Pete goes on turn 16 of the next round.

Round 5, Turn 10
Steve is prone and so stands up
Pete takes advantage and selects the pierce action.

Steve scores 91 (1 rolled + 100 agility -2 armor -4 fatigue -4 from prone)
Steve spends 4 PAP
Pete scores 108 (8 rolled + 100 coordination +2 from hack -2 from fatigue)
Pete spends 8 PAP
Pete Hits!
Steve takes 34 damage (58 piercing – 24 damage reduction)

Steve select the slash attack
Pete sees this and responds with avoid

Steve scores 105 (9 rolled + 100 coordination -4 fatigue)
Steve spends 8 fatigue
Pete scores 106 (12 rolled + 100 agility -2 from armor -2 from fatigue – 2 from hack)
Pete spends 5 PAP

Steve will go on turn 11 next round

Round 6, Turn 16

Pete selects hack (Hack is a full turn attack with 2 chopping swings)
Steve will counter with evade for both attacks

Pete scores 115 (15 rolled + 100 coordination +2 from hack -2 from fatigue)
Pete spends 11 PAP
Steve scores 101 (7 rolled + 100 agility -2 armor +2 evade vs chop -4 from fatigue)
Steve spends 5 PAP
Pete hits!
Steve takes 33 (57 chopping-33 damage reduction)
Steve has his 4th fatigue counter
Steve is now at -6 to atk, def and skills, he is all set to a maximum movement of 1 step per turn and can not run or fly.
Steve scores 96 (2 rolled + 100 agility -2 armor +2 for evade vs chop -6 from fatigue)
Pete hits!
Steve takes another 33 points of damage and drops to -27, unconscious and bleeding out at 1 per turn (or 3 rounds and 13 turns). Once his damage reaches the negative of his health (-100) he will be dead.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

RPG Turn based combat in the Red Ash World Engine

Testing continues on the combat rules and I have a lot of tweeks to upload once I am further along. One area I have noticed that will certainly change is the PAP/MAP (Physical Action Points/Mental Action Points) cost during combat. With the current rules, 1st level combants will gain a fatigue counter by the 3rd round of combat and a 2nd by the 4th or 5h round with only 2 characters fighting.  
This is quicker than I expected from my initial design and I realised a new issue that will be presented to higher level characters. It is based on the manor in which PAP and MAP are figure, the physical and mental ability scores. While they increase based on the level advancement of the character, they do not keep up with the number of attacks one would get from weapon speed that is increased. Put in a more basic phrase, the characters are eating the PAP and MAP faster than desired.

So my solution to counter this issue is to add a new feature of root skills and that is a bonus to PAP and MAP. For every skill point you spend in a root skill or any of its child skills your character will gain a +2 in eaither PAP or MAP, or you will gain a +1 in both PAP and MAP.

 I will also still be using the x3 skill points for 1st level characters. This will greatly aid the soldier in being able to use a weapon and shield. It will also help in giving a 24 point bonus to PAP at 1st level.

This rule also means high skill point classes, like the Arcanist, will have a lot of skill points and thus a lot of PAP and/or MAP. To counter this I will be increase MAP cost of spells.

In the long run I think you will find the PAP and MAP will scale much better as the character levels as you will see and increase in ability scores and skills your characters have trained in.

On a side note, I was asked in a PM why armor was not a skill, when shields are? The short answer is armor is worn, not used. It would be like having a skill in pants.... ;)

All the Best!
Chris J

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Work Continues....

...on the Red Ash World Engine Combat System. I will soon start melee testing with two clones, or cloned characters. Same species, Class, Level and equipment. I will later add combat at different class levels, species and equipment.

I have discovered one issue right off and will implement a change in the near future. I found that the starting skill points is not enough to be very effective at making a soldier and I suspect the other classes as well. So I will look at starting the 1st level at 3 times the current list value.

For the soldier this is a 12 point start and is enough to pay for a weapon skill and shield, but nothing else. While weapons training is important an adventurer will need more than this and so I may need to up the skill points for classes, more on that to come later.

The combat rules are definitely changing and will offer players a long overdue change to the typical RPG combat rules which are as exciting as a game of Whac-A-Mole!

All the Best,
Chris J.

New Art from Daniel Richards

Daniel has done added more art to the Red Ash World Engine! Check out his work on the Gargoyle, the Bodkin, Arrow, the Francisca, the Great Axe and the Kusarigama. You can also see them all in the artist gallery under Daniel Richards. You can also see more of his work at his gallery and contact him via

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Artist: Daniel Richards has been kind enough to provide art for Red Ash.

Daniel Richards,

Has been kind enough to provide some art for the Red Ash World Engine. You can see his work on; The Orc, The Lacerian, The Mace and The Morning Star or see them all in the Red Ash Gallery. Also stop in and check out his other work in his gallery at

Thanks a lot Daniel!

All the Best!
Chris J

Equipment Updated

Hello all,

I have uploaded a big update to the equipment, changing a lot of the attributes of weapons, armor and shields. I also fixed a few logic issues.

I also fixed an issue with the melee and ranged child skills having too low of a level requirement for each +1 you got for the weapon speed bonus. Now you can ear a maximum bonus of +11 Speed Bonus.

Other aspects of these skills will be looked as I begin building some basic characters and perform combat testing. I will be posting to the blog what my findings are to see just how well the rules hold up to two opponents trying to kill one another.

Until then...All the Best!
Chris J.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Update: Red Ash Powers...

Just got the species powers updated and fixed a lot of the descriptions. I also improved the based damage of many powers. A few had cost changes so if you may want to go back over the cost related to any species you have made with the system.

A new addition is a detailed description of species powers and all the related values. You can find this here on the main species powers page.

Now I will move on and take one more look at equipment. I also have a a few new powers to add to the system and a new addition or two to the non-playable species list. After this I will need to review the combat rules and see what need to be touched up there. During this I may decide to build some test characters for combat testing and make adjustments as needed.

I feel that the overall project of designing the rules of the Red Ash World Engine is coming to an end. While the system still has a lot of art that needs to be done, it is a low priority for me right now. If anyone wants to offer to do some art for the core system rules just drop me a message. Unless I find something else to fix I will start to build the first free-to-play Red Ash adventure for all you tabletop rpg fans!

All the Best!
Chris J.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Class feats are here!

I have expanded the class rules to include class feats. Class feats are an optional add on to classes and are closely tied to the class skills. The feats will allow your character to develop specialties as they advance by using the same skill points that you use to buy skill levels.

Most of these feats are multilevel with a max level of 10. You can buy each level for increased benefit but only once you have met the requirements for each level. Take Arcane Battery for example. It has a requirement of 20 Arcana Levels per Arcane Battery Level you buy. Some feats will also have multiple requirements like Melee, Acid requires skill levels on any child of the Melee Skill and the Acid Weapon Skill. More melee skill is needed than Acid Weapon.

As stated above, Class Feats use Skill Points to pay for the feats. The cost of the feat will depend on if the class bought the feat making it a related feat of the class. Related feats are less expensive than those that or open feats (non related, non restricted).

A feat can also be restricted. This is done automatically when you restrict a root skill when making a class. While the class will lose access to the feats that need that root skill or once of its child skills, you do gain more more points to define you class.

Speaking of points, classes have now been increased to 100 points from the original 50 points. I also changed the cost of Ability level increase and made it very expensive to gain a +1 every 3 levels. In fact it is expensive to get a +1 every 4 levels. For this reason I added an automatic +1 per 5 levels as a free increase that you can select where it goes. This applies to non playable species too.

Read more about the class feats here and the updates class rules here.

All the Best
Chris J

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Skills Updated and more

After making adjustments to the base values of the ability score I decided to have a review of the skills to make sure they are in sync. They were not....

Now the skills have been updated to reflect the changes made so far including the difficulties, saves and control rolls. I also did a bit of a rewrite of the jump skill as it was still based on the very first version of the rules published. One other area I addressed was the use of spaces has now been switched to meters.

I also added the meaning of the names difficulties and the related values on the skills main page. Below that you will find a few paragraphs describing the ideas behind skills and a break down of terms used.

Up next will be a review of powers and a new addition to the classes, the class feats (or class perks I have yet to settle on a name). The idea of this is to allow certain minor class powers to open up based on the skill level progression a character follows.

All the Best,
Chris J

Monday, May 30, 2011

New additions for Red Ash

After a great deal of work I have finally added the template system and more to Red Ash World Engine

First the templates.

Template are meant to be used on characters after they have become adventurers, or as a part of their quest. As this greatly modifies the base race they are often considered monsters by the society they are from. But since the Red Ash system is meant to be used in a world of you design, you may decide differently.

During the development of the wererat template I realized the character may be able to make use of the common rats characteristic of being a disease carrier and so I decided this would be a good time to design the pathogens (diseases) of Red Ash.

Pathogens are actually a subset of diseases that focus on some of the more deadly or dangerous real world diseases and I went to great lengths to describe the game mechanics used in Red Ash on the main pathogen page. I even altered the Unclean power defined already to include different forms of bite, touch and cloud. The cost is low on these powers as their use should have bigger story line issues, specially in a multi-species game setting.

I also realized while designing the were-creature templates I needed to add some big cats and the common rat so a base creature was present in the base rules set.

One additional power was also added called, Powerful Bite and it is a power enhancer for those with the bite power. It is also how I will handle creature like the jaguar that naturally has a very powerful bite when compared to others of its kind, like the tiger or lion.

To read more on these topics here are a few links:

Powerful Bite

All the Best,
Chris J.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Coming Soon...

I have been taking a little time to figure out the next section to be included to the Red Ash World Engine...Character Templates!

The character templates is how I will address specialized creatures like the undead, were-creatures (werewolves for example) and more. Templates will modify the characters base species with new powers and abilities.

before I roll these out I need to finish off the work and test my display scripts for the site. I also must add a few more mundane creatures and some additional odds and ends so stay tuned!

All the Best,
Chris J.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Minor fix

Found that in my update of the size categories I forgot to update the equipment sizes to. it is done.

All the Best,
Chris J

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Species Added: The Sphinx

Red Ash takes the idea and legend of the Sphinx and twist it just a little. The Sphinx are manipulators of travelers. They redirect travelers to various locations for reasons all their own.

While often times a Sphinx will use indirect methods to herd a party (or person) they will also use intimidation to obtain these goals. They will even go so far as to impede their targets travel directly by asking an impossible riddle. If the party gets the riddle correct, they will allow passage but if they get it wrong they will kill any that attempt to pass.

Once a location has been visited the Sphinx will move on to other lands.

While the Sphinx are physical powerful beast their true power lies in their developed Psyche Skills with a special focus on the Life Sense skill and the Mentis Magi skill branch to aid in communication as the do not have a spoken language.

read more here.

All the Best,
Chris J

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Species Added: The Naga

The Naga mythologies come from India and surround regions and often are deplicted as guardians of treasure. The Naga has also been called a water spirit. In the Red Ash World Engine I decided to combine these two base myths and make them a currious guardian of water...drinkable water. I say currious because they are not single minded territorial animals. They do understand gifting and will take a gift in the form of a freshly killed animal, small deer to rabits, and permit access to the water they guard.

To read more on the Naga of Red Ash visit here.

All the Best,
Chris J

Saturday, March 12, 2011

New Species Added: Megaraptor

Added the Megaraptor a large dinosaur with large claws found on its hands and a large head with sharp teeth. The Red Ash Megaraptor is a stealthy predator that will sneak up until it is in strike distance and then it will attack.

Read more on them here.

All the Best,
Chris J

Friday, March 4, 2011

New Species Added: Kraken

After much delay and having to rewrite the system sizes I have finally been able to publish the Kraken.

The Kraken is one of the most well known sea creatures of mythology. A truly terrible beast said to be the size of an island! Well a very small island, but an island all the same.

To read more on the Red Ash Kraken go here.

All the best,
Chris J

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Game Play (RPG) - (Moved from the old Articles section of

Game Play

Red Ash Follows a simple RPG game pattern. If you have experience playing other systems this will not be much different. For those of you that are new to Role Playing Games (RPG), I will try to explain how the Red Ash System works in a table top setting.


  • DM - Dungeon Master, This is the person that runs the campaign and lets the players know what the environment looks like, smells like, taste like and sounds like. The DM will let you know, when its relevant and if your character succeeds in noticing something. The DM also takes on the roles of all NPCs you encounter in the game.
  • Class - A profession, This is a defined profession that a character starts with at the lowest level of skill, also called level 1. By performing various deeds like defeating an opponent, solving a puzzle or completing a quest a character gains experience. Once enough experience has been earn you may gain the next level up and earn more Life Points, Skill Points and other increases.

The Campaign

A campaign is design by a DM and can be compared to any novel you have read. The difference is in that your characters take on the "leading" roles as the protagonist (or maybe even the antagonist) of the story.

Before the game begins you will speak with you DM on what races and classes are available. Also if you are interested in being a caster you may want to ask what the world view on magic is. It could be common place, a know but mysterious force, strictly regulated and secretly taught, or even punishable by death.

Species relationships will be another issue that warrants a question. Does species X get along with species Y and whats the history. Playing a Minotaur in a Human world may sound like you have the advantage, but you may have to put up with fear, hatred, rumors and hostility on a daily basis.

A campaign of course does not have to have many species in it. It can have one and all others are monsters in need of being hunted to extinction. A campaign can also include multiple races of any species with slight or extreme differences between them.

Once you have the campaigns general background you can move on to character creation.

Character Creation

Characters are a combination of Species and Class. It is common in many game systems to form what is called the balanced party. This is usually a Tank to take damage (and often times dealing it too), a Rogue to disarm traps, find hidden doors and open locks, a Healer to well...heal and of course the Wizard to do a lot of damage to many opponents. Any more players can double up on these base types already stated, or other support classes can be played.

Since Red Ash makes use of an open skills system the balanced party is no longer needed within a limit. A party can, in theory, consist of all healers as long as they make use of their skill points and each focuses on a set to cover the specifics needed to adventure. Make sure someone in the players group takes trap, lock picking and searching skills while another takes combat skills to be more of the tank, etc.

Character Background

The DM will often times say the characters know each other from childhood and grew up together. This is done to simply to avoid the characters having to meet and do introductions in game. Another way for characters to meet is to use a mentor NPC that is recruiting and enlist the characters into the party. Mentors are usually left in the campaign long enough for the new players to learn how to work together and get comfortable with the game rules. Once that is done they are removed via death or other means.

Getting Started

The start of a campaign can have any starting location, but I think the most common is the small city. A small city offers a good backdrop to having various species and classes in one local. A smaller town or hamlet would be to limiting. A larger city would mean more work for the DM up front but is also a possibility for a starting local. A port city is also common. Port cities have the benefits of even more of a mix of species, exotic goods, money and the class of cultures.

This all assumes your are starting from level 1, a DM may have a campaign designed to start you at a higher level. In these cases the DM can simply state your party has already adventured together and for some time.

The first quest is handed to the party by any number of means. A family friend or relative has gone missing, A mysterious group have come to town and rumors speak of dark happenings. Your friends and you on a night of celebration and awake with a hangover and the sounds of a slavers ship. The city's (council, mayor, governor, etc..) has employed you to wipe out the cities infestation of rats, nearby bandits, etc...


All combat is an encounter but not all encounters are combat. Encounters are best thought of as events of note that the party should make a decision about what action to take. This can be a simple fork in the road, speaking to a traveler on the road or coming across a abandoned camp. It can also be that a character has noticed the party is being stalked and of course combat.


Red Ash uses a turned based system. This means that everyone in the combat (player characters and NPCs) all have a turn to perform some action during combat. Combat is based on 20 turns that is occupied by 1 or more participants in the combat. The combat starts at turn 20 and counts down to 1 and then returns to 20 to start the count down again. Each loop is called a round of combat.

To determine where a combatant starts roll a 1d20. When combatants have the the same position they go in order of the highest Awareness and in case of a tie the highest Agility and in case of a second tie who got there first.

It is common for the combatants to change to a different turn from one round to the next. This can be causes by the weapon speed they use and may give the the user a second action in the same round. Or the combatant may opt to hold their action to interject before another. This is a common tactic with non-casters vs casters and is also used so one of you party performs their action first before you take your action.

To keep tract of combatant positions I suggest a length of thin cardboard (or thick paper) divided in 2 length-wise with a line. Separate the top and bottom of the strip with 20 spaces and number them 1 to 20. Then use paper clips or even the wooden clothes pins as markers and number those with the number of combatants, one for each player and NPC. Lastly make a simple numbered list with the names of the combatants. Then use the clips or pins to mark what position the combatants are on. The current round flips between the top and bottom of the strip. Starting combat can start on the top with everyone's initial position. For those that go on the same turn clip the markers for the ones that will go first to the one that go after them.

During combat and after their turn change their markers location to the next turn they have remembering to adjust for the weapon speed of the weapon they just used. This will often place them on the alternate side of the strip. But if they start on say turn 20 and use daggers in combat then they will next go on turn 2 OF THE SAME ROUND then they would go on turn 4 of the next round. If they used a flail and was starting on turn 20, they would go on turn 16 of the next round. This is why a split strip is used, to keep track of the combatants turn within a round and the next.

For characters that are holding their action pull them off the strip and set to the side. When the player states their characters action work them in at the start of that turn.

The DM should keep in mind you are not calling numbers you are calling combatants by name. The strip is just a way to know the order to names to call.

Character Death

The adventures life is one of peril in pursuit of rewards. Death of a character can be and always should be an issue of concern to the player and the DM. A Dungeon Master should take care to not kill the entire party and should try to not kill any of the characters even though this will sometimes happen.

When a players character dies there is of course the issue of its share of treasure and its personal equipment. Characters can have a general will on what to do with these items, the party or the DM can decide as well. A DM may want to consider it a social taboo to take the equipment of the fallen member and maybe even employ a bit of bad luck on the surviving characters that do not follow the rule.

There are a handful of ways to handle death in game and the players should know how you will handle it at the start of the campaign.

  • Hard Core - This is a rule that states if your character dies, it is dead...make a new character. In campaigns that run under hard core rules it is not uncommon to have a spare character already made in the event your character dies. When your character levels you also level your spare.
  • Fate Favored - This rule means your character never dies but may be knocked out and will wake up later. You may have been saved by a more advanced NPC/NPCs that happened upon your combat, or maybe you where captured, maybe a wandering monster came by and killed your opponents after your party dropped and now the monster and the opponents are dead, or maybe you wake up with no idea why you are alive, but your opponents have left without a reason as to why.
  • Clay Pigeon - For what ever reason your party has easy access to resurrection or something similar. Maybe your characters are simply clones (or clay pigeons) that when destroyed a caretaker pulls another from the shelf (or makes a new one) while your real body recovers from the experience of death. If one of your party survives he can drag bodies back to a temple for a resurrection. Many DMs will apply some penalty for this usually monetary and experience based or even favor based (your party must perform a favor for the temple).
  • Other - I have describe a few ways of handling death. A DM may have his own ways of dealing with death and what ever rules he sets, they should be uniform for the entire campaign for both player characters and non player characters (NPC).

World Design in Red Ash World Engine (Moved from the old articles section of

Your World

Red Ash is a core rules system, meaning it is designed to be a foundation for a larger system. I designed this Red Ash for my own game development plans. By making these rules available anyone that wants too can design their own game world to enjoy with their friends. I only ask that you respect the license and do not sell it. Additionally, I would also like to hear back from you and your experience with the system; what works, what doesn't, what needs adjustment.

Designing a world will require that you spend some time planning. I do not think it will require that you make every mountain, river and ocean but you can start with a small city. A city quest can in some ways be easier to build as you do not have to have as great mix a creatures. Let the players know what races and classes are available. Then build the adventure around that.

All maner of quest can be had in a city; Missing Persons, Clearing the sewer of infestations, Stealing a artifact from a collection, or even tracking down the ones who did. Add a little spice to your adventure with NPCs (Non Player Characters) that have different attitudes towards the adventurers. And even include weather for atmosphere.

Your Species

Red Ash comes with predefined playable species but you can build on top of or in addition to those listed. If you want to limit the playable races, but still have some variety make sub-species or races of one or two playable species or you can make one species with different races.

Your History

Everyone has a past but it should not come up it casual conversation unless a player character interacts with or overhears an NPC.

As a people we also all have a shared history that is often tainted by our own opinion, ego and agenda. Somewhere in all these stories is the truth of a matter.

The peoples that populated your world should have a shared and personal history too. Shared history is one of those things that as a group bind a people together. Sometimes this binding traps us into a narrow point of view that is simply accepted and drives us in an endless repeat of past events. History can be bittersweet that way. Other times a people learns the harsh lessons of our mutual limitations.

Designing a gaming world has its own rewards made manifest when the players interact with it and become engrossed in the story.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Finally! Finished the size rules and species update!

After what feels like a long effort the sizes have been redone and all species have been updated.

The size chart now includes much more information based on body size and body type. This is further broken down into the standard HxWxL measurements. These three physical dimensions now control the weight along with the size category itself. Also they affect step and reach and of course land speed one can move in a game turn of 4 seconds. As you can see the chart now spans a much, much larger group of sizes and weights.

While updating the sizes I had to make changes to the species and also correct more bugs in the scripts logic and math. Since the movement had changed I made a number additions to the species including a "movement per turn" chart after the xp gain value. This will display the amount of movement one has in various environments including; land, water, air and either earth or trees if the species has powers that make use of these modes of locomotion.

In both sections I have included a lot more mouse overs for informational text and metric to standard measurement conversions.

Space is now defined as 1 meter on a side for a range and 1 meter cubed 1m3 for areas. The Space and Measure values on the species now represent the minimum space needed before one become crowded (Space) and the minimum amount of space needed before the body starts taking crushing damage (automatic bludgeoning damage).

I will next work on moving the articles to the blog so I can move the artist gallery to the main menu so they can get better access.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

New Art: Longsword by Jessica Jimerson

Jessica has returned with a new piece of art for the longsword. If you are looking for an artist check out her website at or contact her directly at

You can see it here.

All the Best,
Chris J


Just a quick update. The size changes are coming along fine, but I have picked up a extra contract and so my time is more constrained. I will finish the size changes soon and make a post here.

It was also brought to my attention that I failed to place any contact information on the site. I did this on purpose as I intended to use the forum for such things. Some have complained (specifically yahoo users) that they can not sign up for it.

In response I started a blogger account to use as a general announcement system. I have a script that displays the most current blogs at the top of the Red Ash site and if you click the link you can access it or you can now access it via the blogger icon at the bottom of the site.

Feel free to offer comments there.

All the Best,
Chris J

Friday, January 21, 2011

Red Ash Turns 3

Red Ash is now three and still under development. A lot of work has been down and even more is to do.

Currently the resizing is continuing. I had miss placed my old formula for figuring the base weight of a given size. So I had to make a new method and finally settled on one based of of a cylinders volume. the idea came from a forum I had read on estimating weight (in the specific can, of a blue whale) and one responder stated an easy way to do it was to use the formula for determine a cylinders volume. Once the volume was determined they could multiply that by the mass of water.

An interesting approach and one that was simpler than my old method. So a played with the numbers and came up with some rules that will span the entire range from Speck (size #1) to Gargantuan (size #19). Now I will need to work on changing my database structure to support the new work, change the species script to use the new data and make adjustments to the existing species, debug and of course upload to the site.

Each of the new size categories will use a formula of...

grams = ((width x width_mod) * (width x width_mod)) x PI x (length x length_mod)

width and length mod change depending on size category. Also note that length and height are interchangeable.

The end result is that the average human will end up being a little lighter than is currently listed and slightly narrowed.

Each category marks the average height (or length), width and weight for a creature of that size. Going up or down from there will not cost any additional points. It will increase the encumbrance values but it will also bring weight more into play when having to cross an old bridge for example.

The new weight formula will cover things as small as an ant at .003 grams to 94,872,921.4 metric tons ( the average weight for a creature that will be in the Gargantuan size category) and bigger if need be.

Also I decided to formalize the space as 1 meter on a side, or 1m squared. I will be dropping the space reference on creatures. To determine how much space a creature will occupy on a grid map just round up to the nearest meter for the creatures size and reach. A crowded status will be applied when a creature are forced into a smaller area.

Anyways, more work ahead.

All the Best,
Chris J

Monday, January 17, 2011

A matter of size, blame it on the Kraken.

Ah the fun of making a new system with a few year of work to find out your scaling doesn't scale as much as you thought.

This all came about as I was working the Kraken as my next entry into the Red Ash Species. As with most of the entries I like to read up on the mythology of the subject. The Kraken it turns out is a very old legendary sea monster from the Norse myths of incredible scale. Some of the earlier legends have it as the size of an island and later scaled it down.

While reviewing the sizes I slated in the core rules I noticed that my upper limit was set to 16.5m (about 54 feet) in height or length. While this is very big it is hardly an island.

So after some thought I decided to change the size scales and I will upload then to the site once done.

As always...all the best.
Chris J.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


This is just a quick note to inform everyone I am having some site issues that my host is working on and should have fixed in a week or so. I can then get back to adding more content to Red Ash.

Till then I wish you all the best and Happy Gaming!
Chris J.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year from Red Ash!

OK a day late, but the well wishes are all there. While I have been enjoying some time off from work and family visits, I have also been working on implementing a few changes to the red ash website.

For one I have made changes to the species listing to include the species classes with the level range restrictions and the ability point increase. You can access it by clicking on the green icon and you can close it by clicking on the red icon.

I also added encounter regions as a table based display instead of a text based one. The text will be removed soon. I did this mainly to support future tools such as a count of encounter types by climate and terrain and a random encounter generator.

Under the powers section of a species I made a change to include the damage amount and type to those with the bite and/or claw powers.

I also made a few bug fixes.

All the Best and Cheers to a great new year for you all!
Chris J.