Monthly Archives: February 2019

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‘.

1988 Dungeon

Throwing it back to 1988 …

1988 Dungeon1988 Dungeon
This is one of the first dungeons I ever made way back in 1988, when I was a teenager. So, it’s about as Old Skoool as it gets … not in an OSR sense, but in a “I’ve made a dungeon who wants to play” kind of way. If you’re looking for understandable/sensible dungeon ecology, themes, plot, and balanced encounters etc., then you’ve signed up for the wrong adventure!  It’s 1e AD&D, and I’d say for PCs at about 3/4 level.  A video review can be seen here:  YT Review

image_preview  It’s free PDF for download on DriveThruRPG: LINK


Background

In late 2016 I found a battered red binder in my loft. It contained a hand-drawn map and some nearly intelligible notes. To force myself to read through these notes systematically, I decided to serialize them on my G+ page, inclusive of my ‘looking back’ comments. In all truthfulness, I expected the dungeon to be a disaster, but it turned out quite a lot better than I thought it would.

A few people on G+ suggested I make a .pdf version … well this is it!

The idea that someone out there in internet land might breath new life into this 30+ year old adventure makes me smile.

Here’s the original map (which I renumbered  in the .PDF):

1998 Original map

A Spreadsheet Adventure Module (SAM) version of this adventure can be fond here:
xls  download  |  YT Demo

Pop1

– – –

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

Tuesday Toot!! | VotE Cave Generator

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+.

Over the last two or so years, I’ve discovered how versatile Microsoft Excel can be at making game content. Here is an Excel widget I made and posted on G+. The widget is a Cave Generator for Patrick’s Stuart’s Veins of the Earth:

Veins of the Earth Cave Generator 101
xls Download  YT To do

You can run this as a standalone Cave Generator, or it can be used to check you are using Patrick’s dice method ‘correctly’ before game night!

Related, and if of interest, here’s an Excel adaptation of Skerples. ‘Veins Crawl’ (for Vein’s of the Earth), which is presented as a single sheet in Excel:

Veins Crawl 101      Veins Crawl 102
xls Download  YT Demo Video

:: Some other interesting RPG things Excel can do ::
Excel can be used to present module information in super compact fashion (How-to-Guide); used as a simple dungeon mapping program (Video Demo); and to make a surprisingly flexible Hex crawler (Video Demo). 

:: Google Sheets ::
Sadly, Google Sheets does not have the same level of functionality as Excel (I wish it did). 

– – –

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

James V West Gexit
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more”
Fight on dear Gexit
(drawing by James V West

Yfelcorn | a fell Unicorn

:: Yfelcorn :: 

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YfelcornFrequency:                 Very Rare
No. Appearing:          2-5
Armor Class:              2
Move:                          24’’
Hit Dice:                      4+4
% in Lair:                    5%
Treasure Type:          X
No. of Attacks:           3
Damage/Attack:        1-6/1-6/1-12
Special Attacks:        See below
Special Defenses:     See below
Magic Resistance:    See below
Intelligence:              Average
Alignment:                Neutral Evil
Size:                            L
Psionic Ability:          Nil
Level/XP Value:        500 + 6/hp

Also known as lacharmata, hippomal, rhinocorn, and Chevalier’s Bane. Yfelcorns are the malign sterile progeny of Unicorns (MM, pp 98) with Nightmares (MM, pp 74).

Yfelcorns are sly ambush predators using their appearance to deceive prey. Yfelcorns resemble unicorns, except they have:

  • a small additional horn
  • hot hooves which will eventually scorch the ground
  • an odd garlic-mint smell that unsettles the stomach;
    Elves find this smell especially repugnant (-2 to hit and damage); but oddly, Halflings find the smell quite pleasing

Lower plane denizens prize Yfelcorns as mounts (though treacherous); impressing minions/peers, and deceiving goodly creatures alike.

Yfelcorns share the primary statistics and abilities of a unicorn (i.e. +2 to hit with horn; charging double damage; poison immunity; sense enemies within 24’’; surprise 1-5; teleport 36’’once per day; 11th level magic-user save; death spell immune).

Nightmare lineage
Horn does double damage to good creatures. Paladins are polluted by a horn wound, and need a wish/quest to restore their powers. Stallions have the Nightmare’s smoking hot cloud ability once per day (i.e. failing save gives a -2 to hit and damage); albeit garlic-mint reeking stench. Immune to fire magic. Triple damage from cold and holy based damage.

Zombiecorns
Yfelcorn horns are deadly to unicorns; which later rise as undead unicorns. Zombiecorns start as shambling heaps of horse flesh, progressing to have the abilities (and stats) of a ghast (MM, pp 43; although cannot turn humans into ghouls). Later, a Yfelcorn foal erupts from the zombiecorn destroying it. This is how they breed.

Yfelcorn parts
Horn – crumbles into chalky ash upon death, makes hard to detect poison coveted by assassins.
Hide – makes a fire-resistant covering; but retains unpleasant garlic-mint smell.
Hooves – can store heat, releasing it again slowly. Can absorb 6D6 HPs of heat damage from fireballs, but have the same % chance of being destroyed.

– – –

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

Tuesday Toot!! | Troll Jawbone Axe

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

:: Troll Jawbone Axe ::
troll jawbone axeSummary
Grisly weapon, dripping with corrosive bile

Detail
This grisly weapon is wielded and acts like an axe (e.g. D8 damage), but is in fact half the jawbone of a troll. The jaw has D8+4 teeth, forming a nasty serrated cutting edge.

Corrosion
A filthy smelling, bile-like fluid is exuded from the base of the teeth whenever the jawbone cuts living flesh. The corrosive bile deals 2 damage.

Combat Quirks
• Natural 20 – a tooth shatters spraying bile into the wound, causing an extra D8 damage.

• Natural 1 – a tooth dislodges from the jaw. This frees some living troll pulp (previously trapped under the tooth). The dislodged tooth regenerates into a fully grown troll in 2 to 24 hours, unless the tooth is destroyed in the appropriate manner: acid, fire etc.

Toothless Jawbone
When all teeth have been shattered or knocked out, then a weird stasis ends, allowing a troll to regenerate from the toothless jawbone in 2 to 24 hours, unless the jawbone is destroyed in the appropriate manner: acid, fire etc.

– – –

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


James V West Gexit
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more”
Fight on dear Gexit
(drawing by James V West

A Spin on Abnormally Large Spiders

Abnormally large spiders are always good foes to throw at PCs; so here are 5 new spiders re-skinned from page 90 of the Monster Manual (i.e. their stats are the same but their abilities and descriptions are different).

Spider table clip

With the exception of the Phase‑Snatching Spider, they have all been inspired by unusual spiders found here on Earth.

Spiders - Assassin1. Assassin Spider is a giant version of the normally sized ‘assassin spider‘. The Assassin Spider is a voracious ground hunter. It has an unusually long neck, which extends upwards about 6 feet and has two massive six foot long mandibles.

On a successful hit, it grabs and lifts its prey 6 feet into the air, holding them at bay. In this predicament, the victim’s AC is reduced by 4 (or by one class criteria, e.g. plate to chain, etc.). Generally, the victim is also unable to hit with hand weapons. The %chance to break from is twice the character’s ‘Bend Bars/Lift Gates’ (BB/LG) score.

The next round, the great mandibles begin their deadly work, pinching together like a pneumatic press. Each time a successful to hit roll is made the victim’s effective AC is reduced by another 4 units (or by one further armour class type), and one extra damage die is added, e.g. 2D4 (1st hit), 4D4 (2nd hit), 6D4 (3rd hit), etc. The next hit after the victim is at 0 HPs, results in the victim being pinched in half (the Assassin Spider’s goal), the mandibles meeting like a pair of giant chitinous secateurs.

Spiders - Casting2. Casting Spider is a huge version of a normal ‘net-casting spider‘. This spider weaves a man‑sized ‘net’ between its elongated front limbs and will try to ‘net’ any appropriately sized prey. It can jump 18’’, but prefers to descend stealthily above its prey on a line of web.

It surprises its victims 1-5 on a D6, gaining +3 to ‘net’ the victim. A netted victim is enveloped head to toe and cannot readily move their arms or legs. Typically, it will wait until its prey is off guard or distracted (e.g. sleeping or perhaps when they are in combat with another foe). On a miss, it will skulk off to weave a new net.

The %chance to break from the net is twice the character’s ‘Bend Bars/Lift Gates’ (BB/LG) score. However, each failure lowers the chance by 5%, as such wriggling tightens the net.

The spider comes feeds when the wriggling has stopped, when the prey is fully incapacitated.

Spiders - Gobbing3. Gobbing Spider is a large version of a normal ‘spitting spider’ and is nearly transparent. It has an unusually large head and when in range it blasts its prey with a mass of webs that are coated in strong poisonous and digestive juices.

The web is not very robust and halves the mobility of creatures with 9 or less strength.

Until the web is cleaned off, the digestive juices burn like acid, doing 1HP of damage per round per coating. A slow acting poison takes effect after 5 rounds of contact – save vs poison or fall unconscious for d6 turns.

These spiders generate enough web for three attacks and regenerate this in 24 hrs. After spraying their victims, these spiders jump on and bite their prey, latching on and draining 1HP per round while they are attached.

Spiders - Phase Snatching4. Phase-Snatching Spider is a relative of the Phase‑Spider (MM, page 90). Usually, the only visible part of this spider is their foot long fangs. The rest of the spider is normally in the ethereal plane. The spider will position its fangs to snare a victim (e.g. spanning a dark tunnel or placed in a position to attract the curious.

When a victim is in range, the spider will try to grasp them. A successful hit (+4 if the victim is unsuspecting) results in the victim being dragged into the ethereal plane, where the spider is then fully visible. The spider cannot attack for 1 round while it ensures its body parts are back in full harmony with the ethereal plane.

Unlike the Phase-Spider, this spider is only mildly poisonous (failed save makes PC hard to understand; e.g. player must talk with tongue between teeth). The spider has two glands, a big one that produces a fluid that acts like oil of etherealness and a smaller one that produces a fluid that counters this. If desperate, it will spray this second fluid (+4 to hit the unsuspecting) that will return the ‘victim’ back to the prime material plane.

5. Web Bolas Spider is a huge semi-intelligent version of a normal ‘bolas spider’. This spider normally hurls up to 4 sticky blobs of web at its prey before attacking. The spider needs a turn to make new web projectiles.

The hit location (D100):

  • 1-10 – head (temporary blinding; -6 to hit; +6 to being hit)
  • 11‑20 – primary arm (can’t use weapon arm; +2 to being hit)
  • 21-30  – secondary arm (can’t use that arm; also +2 to being hit)
  • 31-40 – right leg (+3 to being hit; movement is halved)
  • 41-50 – left leg (+3 to being hit; movement is halved)
  • 51-100 – chest (+1 to being hit; only 50% chance to draw a weapon; and only 25% chance to take an item out of a pack/pouch/pocket etc.)

While semi-intelligent, their natural instincts are to attack the prey hit by its bolas.

It also has a poisonous bite that induces hallucinations in most humanoids (a failed save vs poison results in -2 to hit in combat; and +2 to being hit). Goblinoid races, and by extension half-orcs, are not affected by the poison. Goblins have been known to have these semi-intelligent creatures as companion animals.

– – –

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