How to roll for avoiding damage when using Black Hack 1e with optional rule “Original armor”?

The Black Hack 1e has an optional rule called "Original Armour". It reads like this:

Original armor

The traditional concept of ascending AC bonuses can still be used with The Black Hack. Attacks are still made by rolling below attributes (such as STR and DEX) however the AC bonus of the target is added to the roll.

For example in ascending AC systems Leather typically adds +2 to a base of 10 (giving you AC12) – with TBH you would roll an attribute test to see if you hit or are able to avoid taking damage, and add +2 to the dice roll. The quick way to read AC from existing resources is just use the last number as a bonus.

But to avoid taking damage in this edition of the The Black Hack one also has to roll under a stat. In which case it makes no sense, in my opinion, to add +2 to the dice roll. Rather, it makes sense to add +2 to the target number. Is my interpretation correct?

For reference, the Black Hack 1e SRD is here. And the optional rules, including the one in question, are here.

What do you do when avoiding railroading just gives you stuck players?

I’m seeking some newbie GM advice. I’m an experienced rpg player, but am much less experienced as a GM

I was recently running an D&D 5e adventure, where the players would be investigating in a town that had some problems with trade caravans being attacked. They started at the local Sheriffs office who tipped them that a local relatively new thieving guild was active in the area. The thieving guild wasn’t raiding the caravans, but I thought it might add a little plot twist to get the guild involved. My thought was to have the PCs eventually figure out that the guild wasn’t behind the problem and would need to investigate the local country-side to discover the problem. I had a few encounters written out, but I wasn’t fully sure how the PCs would reach their end goal of figuring out the source of the problem. I guess I thought that over-planning would be railroading and I wanted to give the players some freedom.

The players were often confused and unsure what to do. There wasn’t quite the excitement I was hoping for. They were eventually invited to a parley with the thieves guild but were not sure what to do with the thieves, so eventually just attacked them. It was ok, but not spectacular.

What do you do when your players seem stuck?

Avoiding static dungeons

With many published adventures from different systems and also with adventures I myself have created for my groups I noticed that the dungeons in them feel static. You have 1 room with beasts that prey on anyone who enters by falling from above. Another room with wolves and a third one with a lone kobold.

And almost regardless what the players do it is expected that none of the other inhabitants of the dungeons react to what happens around them….. or only very very few of them (in the above case the kobold).

Now I have thought quite a lot of how I could manage it to get the dungeon to feel less static in these regards. But teh sad part is with most systems I got a problem in regards to power levels.

If we take the above example as example (its from a pathfinder adventure). If the players sneak through the dungeon and then encounter the beasts on the ceiling and fight with them…naturally they make quite a noise.If I now let the wolves and the kobold attack them (those are allies with each other)…the players are as good as dead as the encounter would become from a normal one to an impossible one for them. At the same time, if I let only 1 wolf enter the fray….the wolf encounter becomes too easy, … .

So thinking more and more about it I found, that making a dungeon feel less static is quite…hard. Especially in systems that have levels.

Now my question is: Are there any commonly used methods, or ways to make dungeons feel less static or avoid the staticness altogether?

Constructing an error avoiding monitor

When going through a paper, I have not been able to get the idea of the algorithm to construct an error avoiding monitor mentioned on page 9 and how to apply the same to examples. I would also like to understand the method of the synchronous product of two automata, each dealing with separate alphabets mentioned in the paper. I will be grateful for any helpful advice or resources.

Should a DM award XP for avoiding or surviving traps?

I just was reading the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure when I noticed that page 21, section “3. Trapped Hall” says:

Awarding Experience Points

Divide 100 XP equally among the characters if the party avoids or survives the pit trap.

Does that mean that in normal encounters/dungeons/whatever characters earn XP for avoiding or surviving traps? My DM never rewarded me with XP for that stuff!

In the case it’s yes, how much XP is awarded? As far as I know, neither the DMG nor XGtE (which has guidelines about traps) explain how to calculate the XP of a trap.

Additionally, I found this answer to “How should I award XP for traps?” on RPG.SE – but if that answer says you shouldn’t do this, why does the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure (which, as far as I know, is an official campaign) do it?

How to safely reinstall Windows in Thailand – avoiding BadUSB/SSD

I have newly bought HP Pavilion laptop, which i am planning to nuke and reinstall.

I really do not like the bloatware as it might posses a security risk.

However, in Thailand, i do not trust the sellers of USB sticks and external hard drives, i do not want to infect my laptop with that. (BadUSB etc.)

What can i do? Is there any safe way to do that? How to spot BadUSB/infected external hard drive?

Avoiding all or nothing on “short-lived” partials

A sort of common trope I encounter in pbta games is moves with a partial that has you succeed but with the effect “lasting only a moment” (or some similar phrasing). The example I am going to work with is Zuko Style from Dungeon World. The text from that move reads:

When you bend a flame to your will, roll+WIS. On a 10+ it does as you command, taking the shape and movement you desire for as long as it has fuel on which to burn. On a 7-9 the effect is short-lived, lasting only a moment.

From the Dungeon World SRD

Some of these moves (all that I am aware of) tend to have a problem where this partial is sort of all or nothing. That is depending on what you are trying to do it either means a partial is indistinguishable from a success or it serves to do nothing (essentially a silent failure). For an example of an “all” case (in my experience most cases of ZS tend to fall into this category):

The players have a plan of attack, their comrades are in wait on a nearby hill and the party is finally in their place. The agreed upon signal is a burst of flame in the sky. When the time comes they pull a fire starter from their adventuring gear, set of a spark to bend it into a skyward burst. The dice hit the table and come up an 8.

Here we have an issue since the effect was only meant to last a moment the partial is no different than a success. There are plenty of interesting things that could happen here that would certainly make good partials but none that seem to fit the wording of the move.

Here is an example of a “nothing” case:

While the players were distracted fighting off the occultists the library of esoterica was caught in the blaze. Scorch-Skin jumps into action swiping their hand to extinguish the flames. The die are cast, and come up 8.

Here extinguishing the flames for a moment is about as useful as not extinguishing the flames at all. And to make matters worse what is almost certainly going to happen next is that Scorch-Skin is going to just try again. It amounts to pretty much just a silent failure.

What ways should a GM handle a partial on Zuko Style that exemplify the principles of Dungeon World? My goal i a solution I can use in any pbta game, but I have chosen to ground the question specifically in Zuko Style and the rules of Dungeon World, so anything beyond that is extra. I’m looking for answers that don’t involve modifying the move itself or breaking the rules of Dungeon World.

How to fool characters while avoiding metagame

Normally, both player and DM rely on stealth checks and secret messages when one player wants to do something without the rest of the party knowing, regardless of the motivation behind it.

This offers other players a fair chance thanks to Perception checks or just being in the right place at the right moment. And if they are not, they don’t get the chance to metagame as they just ignore what happened.

But we know bad things just happen sometimes at the table, and I want to use that to my advantage.

For example, were I to destroy a fellow Hunter’s bow. Instead of reaching for their bow while they sleep, I am going to walk around camp, knife in hand for some other reason and suddenly I will “trip” over a rock and “accidentally” cut his bow’s rope (hopefully without losing an eye in the process). Of course the DM will know I was aiming to do that and I will make the fitting rolls, probably also Deception, to achieve it and put up an act.

A success will make the Hunter believe this was just a product of misfortune. But my problem lies with the Hunter’s player, which I want to fool as well.

I would tell the other players it was on purpose if I trusted them not to metagame, but I don’t think that is an easy feat.

In my opinion this may have many uses, such as purposely alerting guards, triggering traps, breaking important items, all kind of naughty stuff, while not having to be stealthy about it, just “clumsy”.

If I roll successfully, how can the DM or I narrate this flow of events while appearing inconspicuous to the players?

Avoiding zeros in ArrayReshape

Consider the list list={1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8} and imagine I wanted to change it to {{1,2,3},{4,5,6},{7,8}}. How can I do this?

Using ArrayReshape in the usual manner

list = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8}; ArrayReshape[list, {3, 3}] 

yields {{1, 2, 3}, {4, 5, 6}, {7, 8, 0}}. Is it possible to use ArrayReshape and avoid that extra 0 at the end? Essentially, I want to reshape my list according to it’s size.