Tuesday Toot!! | Disadherer

Tuesday TootG+ is closing. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

Background

A monster I posted on G+, which I dashed off on a piece of paper and posted. I’ve typed it up below for legibility.

It’s essentially a dangerous mechanic driven monster. Probably useful to have a henchman (or something) torn apart first, so the PC’s take the thing seriously. With a weak AC (especially when attached) the PC’s should be able to deal with the thing, if they take the threat seriously.

Disadherer

When the Monster splits the party … 

Disadherer crop.jpeg

A possible relative of the Adherer (see FF page 9).

The Monster is a mass of sticky limbs, which latch onto a victim’s arms and legs trying to rip them off.

Health – the creature has 4D8 limbs, each having 1HP. When wiggling about, these have AC5, but when latched onto a victim, they have an AC8. When all of its limbs are lopped off, it slopes away to reconstitute itself.

Attacks – It attacks as a 4HD monster, able to attack each combat opponent twice each round (provided it still has some remaining/free limbs), when it makes a hit it immobilises one of the victim’s arms or legs:

D4        = Hit location

1          = Weapon arm
2          = Weapon side leg
3          = non-weapon arm
4          = non-weapon side leg

Escape – the victim can free an arm/leg if they can roll under or equal to their ‘Bend Bars/Lift Gates’ score. Test before rip mechanic below.

Rip mechanic – At the end of the combat round, if the monster has at least two limbs immobilised, it yanks and levers trying to rip these arms/legs off.

Roll a D20, if the roll is above the victim’s STR score, then the creature rips off a limb, on a natural 20 it’s both limbs.

– – –

Me on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony and my ‘1998 Dungeon‘.

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Rubik’s Cube | revisted

I made a blog post about using a Rubik’s cube to generate charater stat’s here. I think it’s a neat method. A free .pdf is on DriveThruRPG.

BUT, ever tumble down a rabbit hole?

I got thinking more about the Rubik’s cube and realised that there are 54 squares on the cube (i.e. 6 x 9), and that this is a quarter of 216; 216 of course being the number of possible results of rolling 3D6 (i.e. 6 x 6 x 6). So, if you drew an X through each square you could populate a cube with 216 options.

Since I could not think of an elegant way of exploiting this perfect coincidence, I started to think of a way to make use of the near symmetry of these numbers and came up with this idea:

  • You mark up the cube in the below fashion
  • You thoroughly jumble the cube, and whatever number is in the top left-hand corner (as you hold it) is the ‘roll’
  • Apply the modifier in the central square (if there is one).
  • Do this 6 times, one for each stat.

 

RK new 1

I’ve grouped these numbers in sets to make marking up the cube easier.

Probability analysis:

  % Likelihood
Result 3D6

method

Rubik’s

Cube method

3 0.5 (1 of 216) 0.3  (1/6 of 48)
4 1.4 1.7  (5/6 of 48)
5 2.8 2.1  (1 of 48)
6 4.6 4.2 (2 of 48)
7 6.9 6.3  (3 of 48)
8 9.7 10.4  (5 of 48)
9 11.6 12.5  (6 of 48)
10 12.5 12.5  (6 of 48)
11 12.5 12.5  (6 of 48)
12 11.6 12.5  (6 of 48)
13 9.7 10.4  (5 of 48)
14 6.9 6.3  (3 of 48)
15 4.6 4.2  (2 of 48)
16 2.8 2.1  (1 of 48)
17 1.4 1.7  (5/6 of 48)
18 0.5 0.3  (1/6 of 48)

If we plot the probability of the results using the 3D6 method (orange line) vs the Rubik’s cube method (blue line) above we get this:

RK new 2

So, this Rubik’s cube method matches the probability curve of the 3D6 method fairly closely.

Why would you even consider ‘rolling’ a character this way  … well, that’s your problem.

I suppose it could used as part of an interesting 3D6 saving throw mechanic. To add a bit of (alternative) drama.

– – –

More of my stuff on DriveThruRPG: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/9524/Goblin039s-Henchman

Tuesday Toot!! | I roll to disbelieve … too late

Tuesday TootG+ is closing. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

Background:
Room 20 - Phantasmal Blood Vine.JPGIllusions are funny things in RPGs. Back in the day they were quite prolific and led to a ‘I disbelieve’ culture. Players (or rather their PCS) would alternate from swapping every square foot of the dungeon with a 10 foot pole to disbelieving everything that came before them (when not ‘targeting the darkness’ with magic missiles).

On G+ I saw a post by Shane Ward of the 3toadstools blog fame who was recruiting to make a collaborative dungeon. So, I thought I’d do a room.

I thought it would be nice to have a throwback ‘illusionary’ type encounter.

But since we’re all too ‘street’ these days, and with the foregoing remarks in mind, I thought about making a ‘illusory encounter’ that was more in keeping with the OSR sensibilities.

Idea:
The genesis of the idea was “What if the players didn’t disbelieve the illusion” (after all it was a player not PC driven phenomena). Which led in turn to the idea of the players creating the illusion themselves. It’s hard to disbelieve that which you create, surely?

So, the premise of the room was to ‘source the table’ invite the players to describe what was in the room. AND THAT would be the illusion. The players had already chosen not to disbelieve. Disbelieve that suckers (… errr … would say a 15 year old DM in 1987) !!!!

Implementation:
An Invitation From The Blue Baron 101There’s a whole mechanic involving a blood sucking vine that generates illusions to drink the PC’s blood and what not.

For more on this, please check out Room 20 (Phantasmal Blood Vine) of the ‘An Invitation from the Blue Baron’ (It’s free on DriveThru).

There’s also a sequel: The Return Of The Blue Baron.

c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony and my ‘1998 Dungeon‘.

 

Shire Runner | a Halfing woodsman

SR mini
General
The Shire Runner is kind of Halfling woodsman designed for AD&D, being closest to the Ranger class in nature, with some early low level spell casting abilities.

Magic is something that most Halflings are not comfortable with, so invariably Shire Runners tend to live on the margins/outskirts of Halfling society. Shire runners are often self-appointing boarder watchmen/guardians. They generally track and keep undesirables out of the places where Halflings dwell

Race
This class is open to Halflings only. These Halflings are thought to have strong vein brownie/pixie blood in them, thought to give rise to their magical potency. Shire runners are nearly exclusively from the Tall Fellow sub-race, and unusually for Halflings, prefer to live above ground. They often have red hair. Halfling race abilities/restriction/modifiers apply (e.g. see Players Handbook (PHB), page 17), except as highlighter further below.

Class abilities
By default, everything applying to the Ranger class (see PHB, pages 24 to 25) applies to this class (e.g. qualifying statistics, attacks, saving throws, weapon selection, XP for level progression), except:

  • They have a D6 hit dice (optionally, the DM might permit two HD at first level, i.e. like the Ranger class)
  • Level Limit is 7th level (8th level if charisma is 15 or above)
  • Armour restrictions like the Druid class (i.e. leather armor and wooden shields, see PHB, page 21), that is, if they wish to cast any spells
  • Druid-like leveling abilities, i.e. at 3rd and 7th level (see page 21 of the PHB, to see in full); and not the Ranger leveling abilities (i.e. as listed as 1 to 7 on page 24 of PHB), e.g.:

3rd level – identify woodland plants; identify woodland animals; identify clean water; move without trace in the woodland areas

7th level – immune to charm spells cast by woodland creatures; and change form three times a day to a woodland or domestic mammal (e.g. vole, cat, otter, wolf, or horse)

  • They are also exceptionally good outdoor trackers.

Magic
This class has some spell casting abilities. At 1st level they can cast a single 1st level Druid spell. Upon attaining 2nd level, the Shire Runner has two progression paths open to them. Either to become a ‘Woodsman‘ or ‘Rambler‘ (see below). The path once chosen cannot be changed.

Woodsmanfor those that love the wilds and woods – use the paladin spell table on page 24 of the PHB, but where these spells equate to Druidic spells (i.e. not clerical spells), and where spells are gained starting at 1st (and not 9th) level (see below):

Number of Druidic spells per spell level

Druidic spell level
Character Level 1 2 3 4
1 1
2 2
3 2 1
4 2 2
5 2 2 1
6 3 2 1
7 3 2 1 1
8 3 3 1 1

So at 7th level the character has 7 druidic spells.

Rambler is for those that like to venture beyond the wilds – use the Ranger spell table on page 25 of the PHB, but where spells (Druid and then magic-user) are gained starting at 1st (and not 8th) level (see below):

Number of Druidic and Magic-User spells per spell level

Druidic spell level   Magic-user spell level*
Character Level 1 2   1 2
1 1
2 1 1
3 2 1
4 2 2
5 2 1 2
6 2 1 2 1
7 2 2 2 1
8 2 2 2 2

*  = For magic-user spells, the character must check as to which spells they can learn, just as if they were a magic-user.

So at 7th level the character has 4 druidic spells and 3 magic-user spells.

When it comes to spell casting, it can be seen that the Rambler is more of a generalist compared to the Woodsman, so the Rambler get more variety of spells, but these are less powerful.

Alignment
The Woodsman (path) must be LN, tN or CN alignment. The Rambler (path) may be any alignment except tN. It is very rare for them to be evil, though a bit more common in those that choose a life of ‘adventure’.

Level titles

Level Level Title XPs
1 Scrumper 0 – 2,250
2 Hedgeman 2,251 – 4,500
3 Boarderman 4,501 – 10,000
4 Fell Watchman 10,001 – 20,000
5 Leaf Master 20,001 – 40,0000
6 Sheriff 40,001 – 90,000
7 Glade Runner 90,001 – 150,000
8 Shireman 150,001+

Weapon – Bow Staff
Shire Runners are specialist with the staff and get double attacks with staff (or spear) when faced with more than one foe. Usually, they notch their staffs at each end, and can string the staff to form a bow (performing like a composite short bow).

Art
Thanks to Marcin S for use of the art. 

– – –

Me on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony and my ‘1998 Dungeon‘.

Tuesday Toot!! | Catabolyist (Ketomancer | Crumble Wizard)

Tuesday TootG+ is closing. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

Background: This class variant is not going to appeal to a power gamer. Instead it might appeal to calculating players that like the flexibility of the class, and  to risk taking player who might like to gabble with their PC’s skin (literally). This class was never finalized (and needs a re-write); but this is essentially where it was left at on G+ sometime in early 2018. Thanks to K Yani for useful discussion back then.

:: Catabolyist (Ketomancer or Crumble Wizard)

Catabolyist (Ketomancer or Crumble Wizard)These magic users pay for their power in sinew, cell and soul. They squeeze their body, pith and marrow like an alchemical battery.

With mastery, the Catabolyist can trim and tap the body and psyche of those parts that will renew themselves in time. Sometimes, the Catabolyist wagers too much, drink too deep or clumsily, they irreplaceably strip the body of their nonrenewable ‘sauce’, and they pay the price, to which lurches them ever grave-wards.

To watch a Catabolyist fail in their magic is ugly. Like the touch of a ghost, their hair enwhitens, sloughs off, eyes sink, yellow and cloud, teeth fall out in the half and quarter score, liver spots erupt and spread like brown puddles, capillaries suffuse their face in fans, hands curl into arthritic claws. In short, the Catabolyist lurches forward in time by years in broken seconds. Death’s embrace is all but a missed spell away.

The Catabolyist secrets are their own. Some think their magics taps into the primitive magic of Life itself. Others think they have made a pact with a Supernatural for power, pawning their souls one lot at a time; in the end, it’s said the pawn shop always tricks the profit.

No matter what, one thing holds true, a Catabolyist’s body is their temple. Not all are evil, but chaos is the constant.

Catabolyists are greatly attracted to anything that extends life or rejuvenates.

This character class would suit a player who likes a bit of a gamble. There is no reason for the Catabolyist to risk spell failure, except for the temptation of power alone! The Catabolyist has more flexibility in casting spells, but can cast fewer spells – safely.

:: Rules for AD&D ::

:: Magic User subclass – Catabolyist are treated and act as magic users, except in the ways detailed below.

:: Race – anyone willing to pay in bone, body, spit and blood can access this primitive magic power. As a rule, this excludes the fair races, like those carrying elven, halfling or gnomish blood. This is a field of magic that Dwarves value, imbuing their life and brawn into forged weapons.

:: Alignment – chaotic of any stripe.

:: Prime Attributes – while Intelligence is important, Constitution is a Catabolyist’s prime requisite. They require at least 14 CON and 9 INT to qualify for the class.

:: Hit dice – D6 (not D4); its practitioners are desirous to be hearty and hale. Time spent in exercise and calisthenics, with less time spent with a nose in a book!

:: Learning spells – Catabolyist learn spells like any other magic user. However, they do not carry spell books and do not need to memorize spells to cast them. Once learnt, the spells are knitted into their fibre and pulp. For the same reason, they do not need spell components (i.e. they are their spell components). For at least this reason other magic users loath them, thinking them heretic. The %chance of learning a spell and the minimum/maximum number of spells (coming from intelligence) still apply to Catabolyist magic users.

:: Spell limits – no matter the Catabolyist’s level, they can cast magic user spells of any level, and can cast these spells as many times as they like … EXCEPT

:: Spell failure – each time they cast a spell, there is a chance of failure (see Table 1), and if they fail there is the possibility they will unnaturally age (see Table 2); at some point this could be unto death. After spell failure, they must rest (e.g. 8 hrs sleep) for their body to recharge and to be fit to cast spells again.

%Spell failure – {ed. see the table. If you like maths read on} … is equal to the square of the spell levels that they have cast that day (i.e. since resting) MINUS the square of the PC’s level. But this value is never greater than 95%. Spell failure testing is done after completion of the casting of the spell. Below is a Table doing the maths, and rounded to fit a D20 target number. From the Table, it is apparent that the Catabolyist has a safe zone where there is no risk of spell failure, a wise Catabolyist stays within its bounds. This number is equal to the PC’s level.

:: Save vs ageing – When/if a spell fails, the Catabolyist has the chance to recover the botched spell, to draw back the magics into their body, recovering it before it is lost forever. Failing the save leads to lost vitality and ageing (see next).

%Chance of Ageing – {ed. see the table. If you like maths read on …} is to: 100% – (5 x PC level). So a 2nd level Catabolyist will age 90% of the time (100 – 2×5 = 90%), and a 10th level Catabolyist will age only 50% of the time. The chance is never lower than 5%. Again, the Table below does the maths. It is reiterated that spell failure ends the ability of the Catabolyist to cast spells until a rest is taken (e.g. 8 hrs sleep).

Catabolyist (Ketomancer or Crumble Wizard) SAVES

:: Age/Ageing – the Catabolyist’s ‘SSS’ score (derived from CON) defines the Catabolyist’s remaining life span as a percentage. For example a 14 CON gives a SSS of 88%. So the Catabolyist has used about 12% of his natural life up to date (probably through natural aging) and has 88% life left. When the Catabolyist fails to save vs ageing, the SSS score is lowered by the total number of spell levels that the PC had cast that day. The Catabolyist’s CON score is changed to match the current SSS score. When their SSS is zero, the Catabolyist crumples dying of old age.

:: SSS and Levelling – the Catabolyist gains some SSS back when levels are gained. Roll a die (or best approximate to) equal to the PC’s new level, i.e. if attainting 6th level, the Catabolyist gains D6 SSS points. This may result in a corresponding increase in the PC’s CON score.

:: Example 1 ::

A 7th level Catabolyist casts a 4th level spell (after already successfully casting a 2nd and 1st level spell in that day), so the total number of spell levels cast in the day is = (2 + 1 + 4) = 7.

Using Table 1 (and glossing over the maths) it is apparent that a 7th level Catabolyist can cast up to 7 levels of spell levels in one day (prior to rest) without needing to make any check.

:: Example 2 ::

Next, in dire need, the same Catabolyist decides to cast a 2nd level spell (without resting). Now the total number of spell levels cast that day is (2 + 1 + 4 + 2) = 9.

Again, glossing over the maths and using the Table, this gives a target number of 7 (or above) on a D20 to avoid spell failure. A D20 is rolled and a 4 comes up, and so the spell fails (she also can cast no more spells until she rests).

Next, does the Catabolyist age as a result of the botched spell? With reference to Table 2, it can be seen that a 7th level Catabolyist has a target number of 14 (or above) to avoid ageing.

A 12 is rolled and she is wracked in pain and sorrow. Her SSS score is decreased by 9 (the total of the spell levels cast that day). Her SSS score of 88 is now 79. She only has 79% of her life reaming to be lived! And her CON drops from 14 to 11 (see page 12 of the PHB).

:: Power Creep ::

Power creep

How does the Catabolyist stack up against a ‘standard’ AD&D magic user. They start about even (albeit the Catabolyist can gamble life for spells) having free acess to the same number of ‘total spell levels’. Later the AD&D magic user get far more spells hence more ‘total spell levels’; but they must memorise these, whereas a fewer apt spells might be useful. Consider a falling 20th level magic user who know 162 levels worth of spells but who has not memorized the feather fall spell, they may well be dead; but the Catabolyist will live on to see another day despite having fewer overall spells to cast.

– – –

c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony and my ‘1998 Dungeon‘.

 

 

Rubik’s Cube | a twist on character generation

Update: A pdf version can be downloaded for free on DriveThruRPG here

I saw a character generator using a Rubik’s Cube (here; original author unknown). I liked the general idea, and thought I’d come up with my own version of it:

Steps
:: Jumble the cube thoroughly

:: The centre square represents one of the six attributes, e.g.

  • STR = red
  • INT = blue
  • WIS = yellow
  • DEX = green
  • CON = orange
  • CHR = white

:: The ability score is 7 with the following modifiers:

Positive modifiers:

  • +2 for each square which is the same as the centre colour (like squares)
  • +1 for a 3 square L-shape which is the same as the centre colour
  • +2 for a line which is the same as the centre colour
  • +2 for a diagonal line which is the same as the centre colour
  • +3 for a + or a × shape of the centre colour
  • +3 for a 2×2 square which is the same as the centre colour

Negative modifiers:

  • -2 for a 3 square L shape of a matching different colour
  • -3 for a line of a matching different colour
  • -4 for all four corners of a matching different colour
  • -4 for all four centre non-corner edges of a matching different colour

Visual examples:

Plus sqs v4         Min sqs v4

:: *Optionally*, the colour of one non-centre square may be changed by the player to improve one ability score (to give a bonus and/or cancel out a negative modifier); or as suggested on Reddit the player gets one free rotation

:: Score are rounded up to 3 or down to 18.

Some worked examples, without the optional swapping rule; the cubes were generated with https://ruwix.com/puzzle-scramble-generator/ with 66 iterations.

rc1

 

  • STR; red                     8
  • INT; blue                   12
  • WIS; yellow               11
  • DEX; green                17
  • CON; orange              8
  • CHR; white                16

 

rc2

 

  • STR; red                    9
  • INT; blue                   9
  • WIS; yellow               9
  • DEX; green               11
  • CON; orange             9
  • CHR; white                7

 

rc3

 

  • STR; red                   11
  • INT; blue                  12
  • WIS; yellow              9
  • DEX; green               9
  • CON; orange            9
  • CHR; white                7

 

rc4

 

  • STR; red                     9
  • INT; blue                    9
  • WIS; yellow               3
  • DEX; green                7
  • CON; orange             12
  • CHR; white                11

 

rc5

 

  • STR; red                  14
  • INT; blue                 15
  • WIS; yellow             12
  • DEX; green              12
  • CON; orange           16
  • CHR; white              16

 

Clearly, the base score of 7 can be made smaller or larger to scale the whole thing up or down a notch. The modifiers could be tweaked/removed or new one added.

– – –

1988 DungeonMore of my stuff on DriveThruRPG: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/9524/Goblin039s-Henchman

Tuesday Toot!! | The Tickler

Tuesday TootG+ is closing. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

The Master’s Hoard is a compilation of quirk some magic items which I posted on my G+ page over a period of weeks. The compilation of magic items can be downloaded for free here: Link

:: The Tickler ::
ticklerSummary
A sword partly on the ethereal plane

Detail
This weapon looks like a longsword snapped to a third of its original length, and so resembles (and handles as) a short sword or hefty dagger. The Tickler is particularly suited for use by halflings.

On close inspection, the ‘missing’ part of the sword manifests as a ghostly image, phasing in and out of reality. Brushing the ghostly part of the blade against a person gives the sensation of being tickled with a feather. However, in combat the non material part gains a little substance and inflicts damage as described below.

Mechanic
When attacking, make two separate attack rolls:
(1) one roll for the ‘material’ part of the blade (treat as a +1 short sword or dagger); and
(2) another roll for the ghostly part of the blade, treating the target as armorless (e.g. AC 10), but dealing only 1 damage. This is because the insubstantial blade glides past any armor/hide. The damage is low as the ghostly part of the blade only is not fully in the material plane.

Combat Quirks
• Natural 20 on the ghostly roll – the (insubstantial part of the) blade briefly become fully substantial within the target (i.e. fully phasing into the material plane), and causing catastrophic damage; 2D8 damage (at the GM’s discretion double damage may also apply).
• Natural 1 on the ghostly roll – the weapon inverts its phasing polarity. The material blade (inclusive of handle) becomes ghostly, and the ghostly part of the blade becomes material, causing the blade to fly out of the wielder’s hand, in the direction of the swing. In D4 rounds the blade reverts to its prior state.

Hitting Ethereal Creatures
The ghostly part of the blade appears substantial on the ethereal plane, allowing attacks against ethereal creatures, at +2 to hit by a wielder on the Prime Material plane.

Back story | Phase Spiders
This unique sword took this unusual form upon stabbing a Phase Spider at the very moment it transitioned out of the material plane. The part that was inside the spider became unstable and now exists in this transient state, not quite in the material plane
The blade deals double damage against Phase Spiders. Upon killing a Phase Spider, there is a 50% chance the blade’s two parts synchronize their phase, forever turning the blade back into a normal longsword.

– – –

c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony and my ‘1998 Dungeon‘.