Thursday, July 30, 2015

Gelatinous Cube (PC Class for D&Dish games)

I'm sure this has been done before. When I'm inspired I gotta jump on it, however irrelevant to my ongoing projects. I have a few race/classes to write up this and next week that have potential cosmological implications for your game, should you allow them. Players, ask the DM before playing one of these in their game and be cool if the DM says NO.
The way I thread the needle between old school race-as-class and my love of weird combinations is that I allow PCs to be like, "my character is going to try Thief stuff for a while and pay that NPC in the town we're in to train him" or something like that and thereby take a level in Thief instead of putting that XP toward second (or whatever) level in their current race or class.
Anyway. This is the first entry in what will be at least two very different blog posts with perhaps similar themes. Let's call it Victories and Voids: A D&D Game About Nothing.

Gelatinous Cube

Expelled From the Holy Gelatinous Oneness
You were once part of the One Gelatin, a large gelatinous mass taking up an entire plane. You have been cursed, nay, double-cursed, with independence and consciousness. You have found yourself in this place, different from it's oozes, slimes, and cubes. Success for you is consuming things, gaining mass and girth, in the hopes that you will one day be freed of your curses and return to the Gelatinous Oneness. Perhaps you are the holy spawn, and your purpose is to become the Gelatinous Twoness, consumer of this plane?

Having been cursed with consciousness, unlike the other slimes, oozes and cubes of this place, who are only cursed with individuality, you have found some kinship with other outcasts of conscious races. You have decided to travel with them, for a while, and not eat them immediately. They seem to attract new and interesting things to consume and make part of yourself.

Gelatinous Cube
HD: 1d10
AC: as unarmored, improves by 1 per level until level 4.
Saves/XP Advancement/Fighting Progression: As Dwarf
Size: 3 feet on a side. You gain a foot every level between 2nd and 7th.
Weapons and Armor: Unable to use armor. May use weapons or items for 1 round per day per level with a -2 to hit. After that you have either consumed them, absorbed them, or expelled them onto the floor.

•+1 to surprise other creatures, improves by 1 every other level
•Digest anything less dense than glass (IE wood and other organic materials) quickly
•Ability to absorb material that you cannot digest (metal, glass, gems) and store them within your body for several weeks. They are visible to observers, quite clearly if recently used.
•Natural melee attack doing 2d4 points of Damage (your digestive process)
•If you touch a creature's skin, that creature must save versus Paralysis or be paralyzed for 1d4 rounds, increasing duration by 1d4 every other level until 9th. Creatures that pass their save cannot be paralyzed the same day by you. Every subsequent creature you paralyze after the first in a combat gets a cumulative +1 bonus to their saving throw. Your natural attack automatically hits paralyzed creatures.
•You have a save VS any Cold attack, even if one is not normally allowed. If you fail the save, you move at half speed and only do 1d4 points of damage for the duration of the Cold effect or 1d6 rounds if the Cold effect has no duration.
•You are immune to fear, hold, paralysis, polymorph, and sleep based attacks.
•Roll or choose your communication method:
1. verbally by routing air through yourself
2. visually forming letters on a side of yourself
3. Pheromones, through smell
4. telepathy

Go forth and devour!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

"Save Game Spots" for old school D&Dish Games

Slo-shift Spot-Clone Quantum Rings

Occasionally in one's wanderings, one will come upon these glowing rings upon the ground; usually, however, they have already been discovered. The knowledge of their location and that location itself are often well guarded.
Marked by the unnatural evenness of the old technology, these glowing rings cause a tingling and feeling of unease.
To activate them, a living being must step inside. If a cluster of them is found, they will not activate until all rings present are filled, one living being to each. At that point a bright flash will encompass all.
If any who were in a ring when activated were to later die, a perfect reproduction of that person when inside the ring will then step forth from it, no matter how much time has passed. Should their companions be far away, this could be very dangerous indeed.
The reproduction has no memory of what has occurred since being in the ring, and the ring must be re-activated for the effect to happen again.
These reproductions are imperfect, however...
-From the "Chronicles of Kalak-Nur", by Scion Naz

When all rings found (1d6) are occupied, make a copy of the character sheet of any characters inside one. If multiple characters crowd in, the ring will affect a random one. Characters can "Take turns" - a single ring can store multiple templates.
That copy of the character sheet is preserved until the character dies. Then, the copy is a character sheet for a new instance of that character, who steps out of the ring exactly as they were when effected - except for the below.

Subtract one from the result on this table for each character the ring is currently storing.

-2. roll three times
-1. roll twice
0.  subtract 1d10 HP, permanently (if this would put the character below 0, the new clone is unconscious for 1 hour then has 1 HP; make a random encounter roll for the hour)
1. cannot hit with melee attacks, permanent
2. if spellcaster, cannot cast spells; if not, cannot hit with ranged attacks; effect is permanent
3. -1d6 to a randomly selected ability score
4. no change
5. no change
6. is now a humanoid version of a randomly selected animal
7. is now a child
8. is a random other race that the DM allows PCs to be
9. reroll HP from scratch
10. reroll randomly selected ability score from scratch
11. -1 to all rolls in sunlight/moonlight
12. -1 to all rolls outside of sunlight/moonlight

Optionally, the DM may allow the player to forego rolling on this table by having the clone emerge with no equipment or clothing of any kind.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Kyrlan 2.0

I'm running an in-person game tomorrow for the first time in a while. If you're in the SF Bay area and interested, message me over email or G+

In-game, it's going to be (mumble mumble) thousand years after the last one. The characters wake up on stone slabs in a strange underground lab. There are some smashed orbs on the ground obviously fallen from an intricate clockwork-and-tube mechanism that extends well into the walls. There are two creatures running around the room panicking, pulling levers and turning cranks. It's hard to know what kind of creatures they are - or were - as so much of their flesh has been replaced by copper gears and wooden mechanisms.

I'll be using a Moldvay Basic / LotFP hack. The starting options are:

Human - can be a Fighter, Specialist, or Magic-User.

Faerie - born to humans for reasons unknown. They look like beautiful humans with insectile wings, and some have antennae and strange eyes. They are considered dangerous and unlucky, and are often abandoned or drowned as children. They gather in "Faerie's Row" in large settlements, but Kingslaw forbids gatherings of more than 2 faeries on a public road. +1 CHA, stats as the Cleric Class (including spells).

Tiefling - born to humans who, or whose ancestors have, consorted with Demons. They look like humans with horns, their eyes are one solid color, their tongues forked, and they have devil-like tails. Some have stunted bat wings (-1 DEX, -1 AC, no falling damage, +2 jumps). Stats as Elf (including spells; there are no Elves in this setting.)

Iron-Gin - a union of mechanics and magic often found in old ruins. They "wake" a basic form of brass or copper and wood, and can improve themselves with proper materials at a forge. Stats as Dwarf (Dwarves extinct in setting.)

Bakei - diminutive humanoid animals, often of cat or dog species. Can speak human languages, if raised near humans. Considered amusing and harmless. Stats as Halfling. (no halflings in setting).

What's outside the dungeon? I'll figure that out when they get there.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Hiss of The Sheath of Magnificent Terror

The Sheath of Magnificent Terror

This was once the sword sheath of a warrior so great, he did not have to oil and properly care for his equipment. Eventually, the hiss of his sword being drawing because synonymous with mortal fear. The word which meant both "the hiss of a sword drawn from a rough sheath" and "fear for one's life" existed for generations after his death. Such was the fear of him that he entered the myths and folk tales, the very base beliefs of proceeding generations.

This was his sheath. Any who hear the hissing sound made when a sword is drawn from it must save VS mortal terror (SAN, WIS, or however the GM wants to resolve). The fear rolls have a penalty equal to the wielder's Charisma bonus. Those who fail are frozen in place, as they perceive the drawing of the sword to be neverending, the moment and sound extending in time to an impossible degree. The sword being drawn seems to be forever emerging from it's sheath. An endless stream of metal death.

The fearful reveries of those affected are broken when they suffer any damage, are otherwise physically struck, or the sun rises or sets. Non-human creatures of a level higher than the wielder get another save every number of rounds equal to 20 minus the difference in levels or HD between them and the wielder. Magical creatures get a bonus to this roll equal to the number of magical abilities they have.

Monday, May 11, 2015

New Spells

Some stuff made me think of some stuff and I wanted to write it down.

 1st level
Range: sight
Duration: instantaneous
Components: V, S
With a shout and a lunge, it is as if the caster has painfully jabbed their thumb into one of the target's eyes. Speech is interrupted, the target takes a -2 to hit, and any spell being cast or ranged attack has a chance of going in a random direction. A healthy adult (CON 8 or better) is fully recovered at the end of the current round.

Rik's Dramatic Bullshit
Range: self
Duration: instantaneous
Components: M, S
The caster throws a bundle of twigs, berries, and nuts at his feet, from which a cloud of smoke and a loud bang emerges. The caster appears up to 4 feet in any direction from the spot in which they were standing.

 2nd level
Rik's Advanced Dramatic Bullshit
Range: self
Duration: instantaneous
Components: S, M
The caster lights themselves on fire and appears to burn away in an instant. The caster is teleported to the absolute nearest spot where they would not be seen by anyone currently and will not be in peril or take damage from non-magical sources. (IE this spell does not take into account area of effect spells but will not teleport the caster into midair, into a natural fire, further under water than the caster could  easily swim in a round, etc). The GM is encouraged to be creative - the caster will not necessarily be hidden, but may be teleported to a branch up a tree if no one is looking up, for instance.
In the casting of the spell, the caster must actually light a fire using normal implements - touching a torch to themselves, striking a flint and steel, etc.

 3rd level
Spooky Action at a Distance
Range: unlimited
Duration: One round for every two levels of the caster
Components: One item touched by the last person to cast a spell on the caster
The last person to cast a spell on the caster experiences the same physical sensations the caster is currently undergoing or experiences (spell effects, damage from fighting, poison, drowning, unconsciousness, healing, etc)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Etchings of Moon Faced Malmth

The moon face idiot Malmth carves the following into panes of glass with the diamonds affixed to his arm stumps:
May will see the testing of faults, and the end of testing;
June will see much preparation in the Twilit City of Viricon, and large sums will change hands;
Late June and July much exploration, both of new lands and cities;But the future is not affixed and one sees many paths;
Will a new kingdom be established among the floating islands of Gur? Will Gur gain a new name?
Will those light of pocket explore the endless dead city known as the Necropolis?
Or will they test their fortunes in the Twilit City's reflection, Gtankh?
It is said that Viricon is the Twilit City because it shone so bright for so
Long that the light became tired;
And Gtankh its twilit reflection because darkness held it so tight that over countless Time the darkness cracked

Of course there are many other new lands that may be explored, and only time will tell which have set forth their scent properly and lured new blood to them

Monday, March 23, 2015

A War of Clubs and Hearts

AKA SantiCore's Santi-War
AKA Technician, Magician, Soldier, Spy

I've managed to lightly playtest this, and I think it's a fun and effective party game once people have played a practice session or two. There's just enough unbalance and strategy to keep up the tension and make it rewarding, I think.
I'd love suggestions for the Environmental Effects deck - leftover cards from which one is drawn for each time around the table.

This is a party wargame using only a deck of cards, table space, a notepad, and these instructions.

Get a standard 52 card deck. Separate any Jokers. Separate face cards into one stack, numbers and Aces into another stack. Shuffle the two stacks.

Players then take turns drawing cards to make four units each. A unit is one Face card and three cards from the numbers and Aces stack. All cards begin face down, but players can look at any of their own cards at any time.

Any leftover cards (including Jokers if you want) are put into a new stack of "environmental event" cards.

Players then arrange their units, one to a position - Front, L Flank, R Flank, Rear. Then players can trade their Aces around as they wish, swapping a card from the Ace's new unit to replace it in the old one. All units begin the game with 4 cards per unit.
Then players flip all their own Club cards face up except the Ace.

Card Meanings
Clubs - Soldiers. The only cards which are face up the entire game. They can only attack cards in the unit "ahead" of them (in the same position on another player's board), but can attack in groups (many Clubs attack one enemy card) or split attacks (one Club attacks 2 other cards).

Diamonds - Technicians. Can only attack cards in the unit in front of them, and only one to a card. Get +1 Strength when attacking with or hiding behind Ballista (Aces). Flip up to resolve attacks, but are face down the rest of the time. They can also save Ballista from being destroyed; see below.

Hearts - Magicians. Can attack any card on the board. Flip up when resolving attacks, but face down the rest of the time. Can attack a card another card is also attacking, but not in the unit "facing" them.

Spades - Spies and Assassins. Can be sacrificed on the player's turn to reveal any face down card for one moment. Can only attack cards in the unit in front of them. Attack Clubs as normal (value VS value).
When a Spade attacks or is attacked by a non-Club, both cards remain face down. Each player wagers a number they think is the difference between the values of the two cards. The defender wagers first. When each player has announced their wager, flip both cards face up. The card owned by the player who was most correct wins. If it's a tie, the Spade wins. Cards cannot "hide behind the Ballista" when being attacked by Spades.

Face cards are Unit Commanders, and have a strength of 10. Number cards are soldiers, magic users, or spies, and have a strength equal to their number. Aces are Ballista.
King - are immune to damage from cards of same suit. Can temporarily transfer this ability to any card in own unit, but the King loses it for the rest of the turn.
Queens - Units headed by Queens can exchange number cards with other units controlled by the same player on that player's turn. When a Queen is killed by a Spade card, the Spade card is turned face up the rest of the turn (used like a Club until flipped face down again).
Jacks - Jacks can deflect one spell (attack by a Heart card) per turn; the Jack is turned sideways ("tapped") the rest of the turn and that specific attack does no damage. The Heart's "spell" does not have to be directed at the Jack.

Ballista (Aces) have a Strength of 5 when defending against attacks, but cannot attack on their own. Any non-Ace in the same unit can use the Ballista to attack any other card on the board, instead of that card's normal attack. The attack's Strength is equal to the card "using the Ballista".
Any card in a unit with a Ballista can also hide behind it. This means damage from an attack on that cards goes to the Ballista instead. Attacks from Spades cannot be deflected in this way.
Ballista are flipped over the first time they are used in any way, and remain face up the rest of the game.
Ballista can be captured - if you kill all the other cards in a unit without destroying the Ballista, it becomes part of the victorious unit.
A Technician (Diamond card) on either side (in the unit attacking or being attacked) can sacrifice itself to prevent a Ballista from being destroyed by an attack at the time of that attack's resolution. (but this doesn't save it from a second attack, for instance).

Cards are considered "In front of" or "facing" cards in the the same Position on each enemy side, except for the Rear. (your Front is facing everyone else's Front, your Left Flank is facing everyone else's Left Flank, etc)
Units in the Rear position are not Facing or In Front of any other units until one of that player's other units has been destroyed. Then the Rear position can attack any other position.
A player's last remaining unit, regardless of position, can attack any position.
Keep in mind "ranged" attacks - those by Hearts or cards using Aces/Ballista - can be made on any card regardless of position (except when combining attacks, see "Hearts" above.)

Win Conditions
The game is won in one of three ways:
1. There is only one remaining player with any face cards. Players can continue to act each turn as long as they have cards remaining, but only players with Face cards can win the war.
2. A pre-agreed upon time limit is reached. In this case, the player with the highest total Strength of all cards wins, the next highest is second place, etc.
3. All remaining players agree to end the game, either in a tie or by counting up the Strength of all cards and ranking each other thusly.

If a player leaves the game early (IE while they still have "living" cards), other players cannot affect their cards in any way for the remainder of the game (unless all players agree on a variation to this rule before the game.)

Order of Play
Once the Setup is done, each player adds up the Strength value of all their Club cards. The player with the highest Strength (of Clubs only) goes first. If there is a tie, each player flips over a card from the Environmental Effects deck, and the one with the highest card goes first. If there is still a tie, each player must eat shoe leather. The first to finish their piece goes first.

Then the player decides what each of their Units is going to do, generally attacking the cards of other players. Each Unit gets one action per turn, so only one card from each unit is active per turn (except for effects from Aces and Face cards). A unit is simultaneously facing all other units in the same position. If there are many players, each member of a unit may be attacking a different player's cards.

Each number card can only do one thing to one other card each turn. Face cards may attack and also use their special ability in a turn.

If several cards attack one card and the defender's Strength is higher than one of the attackers, that attacker dies (even if the defender dies).
When all of a Player's Units have acted, the dead are cleared from the battlefield and the next player begins their actions.
The player with the lowest number of Clubs decides if the game goes clockwise or counter-clockwise.

A "round" is one player's actions. A "turn" is once around the table - all players taking a round.

The longer Variant: each card has one action per turn, resolved the following order:
1. hand-to-hand combat - attacks against cards in a unit one is facing, except by Hearts or Aces
2. Magic - attacks by Hearts
3. Ballista - attacks using Aces
4. Special - abilities not covered under one of the phases above.

Environmental Effects
At the end of each Round, draw from the Environmental Effects deck.
Number Cards Mean:
Face Cards Mean:
Aces Mean:

The only other playtest note I haven't dealt with - it seemed like cards with low numbers were pretty useless in the latter half of the game, so maybe they should have some "trick"?

Comment on Googly Plus here.