Monthly Archives: May 2019

Tuesday Toot!! | Ring of Alignment Kind

Tuesday TootG+ is closing gone. 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

:: Ring of Alignment Kind ::

Summary
The wearer can manipulate alignment detection attempts directed toward them

RoAC

Detail
The wearer automatically senses when their alignment is being read/detected, and if desired, may interfere in one of these ways:

(1) reflect the detection, so the detector unwittingly reads themselves

(2) project any alignment (of the wearer’s choice) to the detector

(3) attempt to reverse it, and read the detector’s alignment instead (see below)

Reflected, projected, and reversed readings only convey alignment details that the spell or effect would normally provide. (e.g., Detect Evil only reveals evilness, not lawful/chaotic details.)

Reversal Mechanic
For option (3), the wearer rolls one die of their choosing. Upon seeing the roll, they can choose to proceed with option (3), or pick option (1) or (2) instead.

If the wearer chooses to proceed, roll two of the same die for the detector (but don’t add them together). Whoever got the highest single number reads the other’s alignment, and learns the location of the ring; the loser learns nothing. On a tie, both parties ‘win’. If the detector learns nothing, they might suspect foul play.

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea.

 

 

 

 

Isometric map template in Excel

Using Excel to make an isometric map template.

Demo Video:
This pretty much says all you need to know:

Screen Capture:

CS Isometric paper in Exel.png

Template:
You can download the xls Excel Template here.

Another kind of 3D looking map in Excel:
In a previous blog post I showed how to makes 3D looking maps like this, and which is powered by a handy macro:

Google Sheets:
I think this should work in Google Sheets, and when I get a moment, I’ll make a template.

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea.

 

 

Shaman | fighting wild-men with woods magic

Tuesday TootG+ is closing closed. 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+.

1 to 4Background:
This class stems from a fleeting idea that I put up on G+; the idea of a shaman class that could take on characteristics/abilities from defeated foes. I had some good feedback, some based on ‘feats’. I can see how feats could work well with this idea, but feat-based systems are not really my thing, so I’ve made this. I wonder if I’ve strayed too far from the core idea, but in any event, this where the idea has led me.

General
This is a class designed for (1e) AD&D, being a fighting wild-men/women with woods magic. They are not so much in harmony with nature as attuned to it. They are effectively a martial subclass of druid, or possibly a barbarian-druid.

Abilities/restrictions
This class follows the druid path/restriction in the first edition PHB in all ways except:

  • The class is also open to half-humans (i.e. in addition to humans)
  • For those that believe in Demi-human level caps (like me) – Half humans are level capped at a level equal to their CHA score.
  • Instead of 15+ CHA they need 15 +CON to qualify (i.e. in addition to 12 Wisdom)
  • The druidic special abilities at 3rd and 7th level do not apply
  • There is no hierarchical level limit, and so no need to defeat a shaman of higher level to progress.
  • 12 HD (i.e. not 8HD)

Spells
They gain spells at the same rate as a druid, but they get a much smaller subset of the druidical spells to choose from (see tables below) :

There are four principle shamanic paths, each with an associated alignment restriction; these are:

  • Light & Leaf – Plant & Weather magics; alignment NG
  • Mud & Paw – Animal & Earth magics; alignment CN
  • Wet & Ash – Fire & Water magics; alignment NE
  • Blood & Mind – Life & Perception magic; alignment LN

Once the path is picked, it is set.

Shamanistic ability
At each level this class may absorb a race/species specific ability from a defeated foe.

Examples of the abilities that may be taken up by a shaman include: night/dark vision, acute sense of smell, water breathing, a venomous bite, a bear’s powerful hug, a rust monster’s corroding touch, a velociraptor’s talons etc.

Mechanic: The player must declare this ability acquisition shortly after the creature is defeated. Once the ability is taken up by the shaman it can’t be changed. If no ability is taken prior to formal levelling up, that ability slot is lost.

Clearly, there is a chance for some serious game breaking here, by overpowering the PC. Therefore, the gained ability should be approved/agreed by the DM, and ideally be level/challenge appropriate. Essentially, it should be a fair reward, without breaking the game,

As a suggested guideline, the shaman can absorb an ability from any defeated creature which has a HD up to their current shamanistic level +3. So, a 2nd level shaman can absorb an ability from creatures up to 5HD, and a 6th level shaman can absorb an ability from creatures up to 9HD, etc. Also, the ‘defeated’ creature cannot be a trivial creature like a goldfish or slug.

For example, a first level shaman does not have the shamanistic strength to adsorb a fire breathing property from an ancient red dragon, or at least at its full potency. Or, if the defeated creature is trivial, then there is insufficient property to be adsorb by the shaman. For example, killing a gecko would not give the shaman a climb wall ability. But a giant gecko is a different matter. Similarly, killing a stirge might give the ability to deploy a bloodsucking proboscis for a round or two, but not the ability to fly.

Clearly this is not a class to give to a ‘power gamer’.

Using the shamanistic ability:
Each acquired shamanistic ability is like a Vancian spell, so each acquired ability is regenerated at the same time the Shaman regains their spells, i.e. after 8 hrs rest.  So, a third level shaman might have three shamanistic abilities, e.g. climb like an ape, punch like an ogre and blink like a blink dog once per day. However, each time they use an ability, this is at the cost of one of their spell slots. So, if the Shaman has cast all of their spells that day, they cannot use any of the shamanistic abilities until they rest.

Shaman spells paths:
Below are the spells allowable under the four shaman paths:

Path of Light & Leaf – Plant & Weather magics; alignment NG

Path of Mud & Paw – Animal & Earth magics; alignment CN

Path of Wet & Ash – Fire & Water magics; alignment NE

Path of Blood & Mind – Life & Perception magic; alignment LN

 

Class Balance
Hopefully this class is appealing without being super appealing (as this implies it is overpowered). Ideally, apart from raw novelty, hopefully this class is no more appealing than any other class in the PHB.

The druidic powers are nerfed somewhat by lack of spell choice, but is buffed again a bit by a customizable ‘shamanistic’ monster property per level. The paths with the more aggressive spells, (or most clerical-like spells), have the fewest spell options. The most aggressive spell path also gives an evil alignment, which is not always appealing. The class  benefits from a high base HD (i.e. D12), but has the less-that-great weapon/armour choices of a druid, and fights as a druid. Therefore, it can soak up damage, but is not as good as a fighter at dealing damage out.

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea.

 

 

Tomb of the Serpent Kings | Spreadsheet Adventure Module Adaptation

I’ve made a Spreadsheet Adventure Module (SAM) of Skerples and company’s great learning/beginner adventure: Tomb of the Serpent Kings (xls  download)

Video demo:

Screenshot:TotSK screen capture.png

Original work: Written by SKERPLES (coinsandscrolls.blogspot.com); Art by SCRAP PRINCESS (monstermanualsewnfrompants.blogspot.com); Map by JANON; Layout by DAVID SHUGARS (the3d6.com)

Skerples et al’s original work (shared under a Creative Commons license) can be found here: Link

Description:  People keep asking for “beginner” dungeons. Everyone can name “classic” dungeons – Tomb of Horrors, Barrier Peaks, The Temple of Elemental Evil, etc. – but in order for those adventures to make sense, there needs to be some sort of introduction.

It’s like all the adventures we have are Bach concertos. People keep writing amazing works of staggering genius, but someone needs to write a book on how to play the piano.  I had the same questions, and since I couldn’t find anything satisfactory, I decided to write the kind of dungeon I would have loved to find. I wanted to write the best basic old-school dungeon for new players that I could, and I also wanted to show the design process. And since people keep refereng to it, I figured I’d put up a fancy print version.

Tomb of the Serpent Kings is designed to be easy to adapt to your system of choice to create an old-school dungeon-crawling tomb-robbing experience.

Spreadsheet Adventure Modules (SAMs)

If you don’t know what SAMs are about – then please see the video which explains the ‘Big Idea‘ behind using Excel to present module information in a super compact fashion. There is also a 5 minute How-to-Guide video which shows you all you need to know to get started.

More SAMS

For more SAMs here: Link

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea.

 

Tuesday Toot!! | Cave System Map Generator in Excel

Tuesday TootG+ is closing closed. 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:

One level

Random cave system

I toyed with this idea but never really finished/refined it. This Excel cave system generator basically uses the bones of my random hex wilderness generator engine to make a randomly generated cave system. Like its parent file, there are some global and regional controls to vary the outcome of the cave system. But, overall, as a proof of concept, I simply tweaked a few settings to see if it could be done. I did consider stacking layers of these and interconnecting them to make a wider cave system, but …

I suppose if there is any kind of demand for a finished/refined version of this, I guess I could figure out where I was up to and finish/upgrade it. Let me know?! That said, if all you want is to generate a simple random cave system on a broadly hexagonal-like layout, it does work.

Three depths

Colours indicate depth

I also made a multi-coloured version of the cave generator. The colours are intended to represent different depths, eventually leading down to water.

These cave generators could be used to make an individual cave system, or to make a ‘global’ map for a wider ‘Underdark’ domain, i.e. ‘Veins of the Earth’ style.

If you want to mess around with the ‘work not currently in progress‘ Excel file, it can be downloaded here:  Link

 

Veins of the Earth Cave Generator 101Some ‘Veins of the Earth’ based Excel widgets (actually finished) can also be found here: Blog link

 

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea.

Non-Homogenous Random Tables

In the balanceRandom tables are a great way to introduce some unpredictability into a game, but they can also be a tad predictable , same-ish, consistent, ‘one size fits all’ … mono-dimensional?

I thought it would be nice to have a random table that responded to a situation/condition, rather than any given result having the same likelihood.

For example, I like the idea that:

(a) the deeper you are in a dungeon, the more likely the random encouters will be dangerous; or

(b) the further from town you are, the more likely you’ll encounter goblins; or

(c) a landscape than favours some creatures in one area, and other creatures in a different area, but where there is a theoretical continuum between the two areas and so encounters; or

(d) Henchman ‘moral check’ indexed to the threat level … etc.

There are several solutions to this, the simplest of course being to have different random tables for different situations, or even to use modifiers.

Another way to go, the idea that I quite like, is to stratify the encounters from one extreme to the other and use an advantage/disadvantage type mechanic to ‘tip’ the results depending on the current situation.

Example
Below is an example lifted straight out of my procedural adventure ‘Carapace’. The random table is ‘stratified’ into three main layers: the lowest values (blue layer) giving giant ants, the middle values (green layer) giving wildcard monsters, and the highest values (yellow/pink layers) giving the boss monster and its elite guards.

So, in ‘Carapace’ the idea was that the area being explored (a giant ant’s nest) was divided into 4 Zones, with the ‘Big Bad’ most likely being found in Zone 4. The more mundane monsters being located in Zone 1 and 2. There was also a fair chance of getting ‘wild card’ monsters basically anywhere.

Carapace encouter table as per zone

If it is not clear from the above, you roll a number of D20s equal to the zone you are in (so 3 x D20 in Zone 3), and use a tailored advantage/disadvantage mechanic to influence the result (to swing the result towards one end of the table or the other).

So, for example in Zone 1 you’ll never get the Queen Ant (the boss encounter), in Zone 2 it’s 1 in 400 (i.e. possible, but improbable), in Zone 3 it’s 3 in 20 and in Zone 4 it’s 4 in 20 (i.e. now getting quite likely).

The reverse of this for example would be, in Zone 1 a lone worker ant is 1 in 20, but in Zone 4 it’s 1 in 160,000.

Even if I’ve messed the maths up above, I think the idea is clear enough, that is you can tip the result of a random table using a system like this. Of course, this idea could be applied to any random table outcome (not just encounters), e.g. types of terrain, NPC reaction dependent on closeness of alignment etc.

Again, there are other solutions, I just think this one appeals to me. I’m also fairly certain this has been done before in some form at least, but this post is an attempt to flag the idea up as an option for the old ‘DM tool kit’.

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea.

Tuesday Toot!! | Shield of Corroding

Tuesday TootG+ is closing gone. 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

:: Shield of Corroding ::

Summary
Can corrode metal edged weapons striking it

Shield of Corroding

Detail
A shield covered by the magically-preserved, hide of a Rust‑o‑pede (a centipede-like creature that turns ferrous metal items to rust). The shield incorporates the creature’s antennae (its rusting parts), stretched and pulled into the bumpy leather, sheathing them from casual contact.

Only edged weapons that cut deeply enough into the hide are subject to corrosion.

Mechanic
An attacker (using an edged weapon) that misses its attack roll by 1 (e.g. needing 12 to hit, but rolling 11), triggers the corroding effect, and the weapon decays into dust. Magic weapons may save vs corrosion.

Tampering with the shield (e.g. trying to remove the antennae) upsets the magical preservation, ruining its corrosive properties in a few rounds.

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