How realism can ruin chess


Homebrew and House Rules


Roll up 2 dragons, a copper and a green. Both adult. They make a massive chessboard in a cave, and hire mercenarys to play all of the chess pieces. Now, the Copper hires humans, elves, dwarves, ect. while the Green hires kobolds, goblins, orcs, and such. They tell the chess pieces to tap the opposing pieces and tell them to leave the board in accordance with the rules of chess. Unfortunately, they all smuggled in real weapons and lethal combat results when the first chess piece tries to 'take' another chess piece. I lost my gaming group, but maybe you can run this.


It sort of sounds like you are running a mix of chess like moves with Stratego type combat. Just because your piece moves to attack another piece, does not mean your piece will win. Could make for a rather interesting game.


So who else started assigning players classes to certain pieces.

Sovereign Court

I've got an idea lying around for a dungeon room with a black and white tiled floor. PCs and monsters are assigned a chess piece based on their primary class. Moving like that piece never provokes AoOs; moving in any other way always provokes. Or results in summary disintegration. Initiative is automagically segmented so that there's a strict ally-enemy-ally-enemy-ally-enemey ordering.

Shadow Lodge

And then that one pawn rises up and unites both teams' pawns against their oppressive masters.

God you hate kings.

Silver Crusade

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slightly off topic:
It's quite hilarious to describe a room as having "...alternating black and white tiled floor...", and then have the PCs spend the next 30 minutes trying to figure out the chess based puzzle. Especially when you, as the GM, hadn't thought up any chess based puzzle and just added that in for detail.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

In response to Xzaral: The megadungeon Rappan Athuk has a particularly EVIL variation on that.

Rappan Athuk Spoilers!:
There's a room where the floor is a chess board, which a complicated poem that hints at some sort of puzzle involving the chessboard. Every square of the board is trapped, the whole room changes based on how you move across the board, etc. The kicker? There's no "solution". It's just a trap. You "win" the room by walking on the lines between the squares and just leaving. The double kicker? There's a room full of bored evil priests who get their kicks by scrying adventurers trying to figure out this room. xD

On the OP topic: Chess-based puzzles are rarely as fun as they sound on paper, in my experience. Mostly they just result in a lot of groans from players. A subversion of that - what appears to be a chess puzzle turning into an all out brawl - could be fun, though.

Sovereign Court

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You could have a chess-tiled floor with lots of chess-pieced constructs on it. The constructs only move according to chess rules, but nothing stops the PCs from cheating. Cheating PCs somewhat confuse the constructs.


Xzaral wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

It's even better:
when you set that up and have a checkers based puzzle.

For what it's worth I ran a Shadowrun game based on the same premise. Or started one anyway. But instead of a literal chess board the two opponents had negotiated that each chess board position would represent a different location somewhere in the world. The "pieces" could be individuals or groups and in fact the player's runners were intended to be one such group. Like "The Usual Suspects" one of the opponents was to have dug up enough dirt to be able to push the group into complying but also offered sufficient carrots as well.

The idea was that it was a nice framework from which you could drop the group into any situation you wanted. If they were asked to simply sit tight and guard something, it was because their "square" was threatened and might be attacked. While waiting you could allow them to participate in side jobs, something the contract allows for. Other times they are expected to go in and do some wetwork to take out another group thereby securing another square.

As in your variant just because you move to another square doesn't guarantee you take that square. But the strength of the piece represented how much additional assistance could be provided. You can imagine the players started off as a pawn. ;)

Anyhow, the main difference between this and what you suggested was not making it obvious what they were participating in. At some point they would get curious and start investigating their long term client. Even better is if you drop clues to whet their appetite. Plenty of opportunity for a long term campaign.


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Orthos wrote:

And then that one pawn rises up and unites both teams' pawns against their oppressive masters.

God you hate kings.

Can't have a decent game of chess without a mythic half-fiend nutcase murdering everyone in sight.


Queens are over-powered and unrealistic.


Archon anyone?


Hmmm. Interesting, how would you assign pieces, though?

Clerics, Druids, Oracles, Inquisitors = Bishops, obviously.

Wizards, Sorcerers, Witches = Queens, as they are very powerful.

Paladins, Cavaliers, Rangers = Knights (they have animal companions)

Fighters, Barbarians = Rooks.

Monks, Rogues = Pawns (they are weak).

Bards, Magus', Ninjas, Alchemists, Summoners, I'm not sure of.

Thing is, who would be King? Bard, maybe - you can encourage everyone else. Or Fighter - powerful close in but vulnerable.

Sovereign Court

Umbral Reaver wrote:
Orthos wrote:

And then that one pawn rises up and unites both teams' pawns against their oppressive masters.

God you hate kings.

Can't have a decent game of chess without a mythic half-fiend nutcase murdering everyone in sight.

Graveyard stuffers.

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