Friday, February 19, 2016

Octopus Correction & PC Creation (Panfalia)

I am running a game this Sunday. A very silly game. You might still die, though!



A correction to the XP chart for non-Magical-Animal Octopus PCs as detailed in this post (and linked below).

I have also updated the post where they were originally detailed.

So, to create a new Panfalia PC from scratch:


1. Roll 3d6 seven times. Assign in order if you're old school and like to work with what you get, or rearrange as desired. I like to swap one and take the rest in order. (If you already wrote the ability scores down in a different order than the below, just roll with the order of them that comes natural to you.)

STRength
DEXterity
CONstitution
INTelligence
WISdom
CHArisma
multiply the seventh roll by 10 to get starting Gold Pieces/GP.


2. Choose or roll your Species.
Species of Panfalia - choose or roll a d8
1, 8. Human
2. Tiefling
3. Octopus
4. Octorok
5. Vat Spawn
6. Magical Animal
7. Dark Elf *


3. Choose or roll your Class
Available Classes - choose or roll a d12
01. Yon Squire
02. Ranger (Use LotFP Halfling abilities, XP, Saves, etc but you're not a Halfling just "outdoorsy")
03. Battle Princess / Murder Princess
04. Rune Knight
05. Blue Mage
06. Dream Hunter Shaman
07. Goblin Enchantress
08. Alice / Alistair / Alix
09. Void Knight (recently orphans have been disappearing and later returning...changed...if played straight these guys will be comically off tone for the setting)
10. Demonaist
11. Dragoon
12. Bastard
OK, OK, if you want to be a regular ol LotFP Fighter or Specialist I'm not gonna stop you.

"All this was on the list in the PHB, I swear!"

4. Write all the stuff on your character sheet from the above relevant links in a way that you can easily refer to it during play, or have the relevant PDFs/websites open in tabs. Questions about how stuff works are more than welcome, but if you think you're gonna ask me a bunch of things already answered in the source, please start over and pick simpler options.
Good? Great. Now remember the GP you rolled in Step 1? Spend it.
You can purchase items from the equipment list of any official Basic D&D or AD&D Player's Handbook, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, or use +Ramanan S 's Random Equipment Generator ** and refresh til it makes sense for your character.


* When I write this up, Dark Elf above will become a link and this note will disappear. For now, give your PC LotFP Elf abilities and use the Tiefling chart to find out how much extra XP you need for each level. Dark Elves in Panfalia were regular elves that died by violence, but decided death is boring and had the impertinence to just keep walking around doing stuff. They have at least one obvious wound, and their life before death is like a dream they've mostly forgotten. Regular Elves in Panfalia are too unpredictable to be considered for PCs. They do not have enough focus or goals or reliability to function as adventurers, but death changes the personality.

** Random Equipment Generator based on tables created by +Brendan S

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Magical Animals of West Panfalia (DIY DnDish Race)


Panfalia is full of many of the "normal" animals we know here on Earth. Many of them talk, but otherwise are as an Earthling would expect. Sometimes in Panfalia, however, they get magical powers from silly stuff like magical radiation fields or tree sap or some junk. These seem to gain a fairly standard set of magical abilities, and often go adventuring. While their powers are helpful, they are also sometimes weird to be around.


STRETCHY
Magical Animals can stretch their limbs all crazy n stuff. Just lookit that chart down below! And like, a 3rd level Raccoon could stretch both his feet like 7.5 feet each, or like one foot 10 feet and one arm five feet, or whatever! Above and beyond how long an arm is already!

They can even stretch further than that, but it's pretty dangerous. For every 5 feet (cumulative among all limbs) they stretch beyond what's in the chart, they take one higher die of damage, starting at 1d4. Like if that third level Raccoon stretched his arm 20 feet, or 5 feet more than his safety zone, he'd take 1d4 damage. Another 5 feet, 1d6 damage! and so on, up to d20 damage for stretching 30 extra feet. But each die is rolled, too, so 30 feet would actually do 1d4+1d6+1d8+1d10+1d12+1d20 damage to the poor kid! Silly Raccoon.

GROWING
These crazy critters can grow and shrink, too! Size categories are given at the levels they are gained on the chart as compared to regular animals. The character's Strength score is affected - shrinking a size is -2 and growing a size is +2. Them's the breaks!


FALLING SLOWLY
They can stretch out to catch the wind and fall slower than usual, preventing falling damage at certain heights. They gotta choose this one OR limb stretching, though, doing both is like stretching extra, hurtful. They can also keep pals outa trouble, although the distance is reduced by 5 feet for every pal they have along. Hey lookit the table below! Yeah I called it Feather Fall, like the spell you should look at if this ability confuses you!

AC
Take a seat, I'm about to tell you some hard truths about life. Clothes? Armor? Jewelry? That stuff won't grow, shrink, or stretch with you! Bummer! Most animals don't wear them at all. 
Luckily, magical animals, being all mushy, can resist some damage on their own. They like hats. Hats seem to be easier to keep on.


SLEEPING
Magical Animals must sleep 10 hours of every 24 to benefit from ANY KIND of healing. They don't have to do it all at once, though. They can even sleep while other folks carry them around! How helpful.


NATURAL ATTACKS
Start at 1d4. It goes up a die for every size category you grow. Grow grow grow! Then shrinks again as you shrink. Getting smaller than your normal size gets you a whopping -1 to damage per size category. You don't ever do negative damage though, that's silly!





Thursday, February 4, 2016

Some Species and Classes of Panfalia (DnDish DIY Race and Class)

The madness continues. Note that the base system is Lamentations of the Flame Princess, but I am altering things to separate Race and Class. I'm call Race "Species" and adding an XP tax, essentially.

Species of Panfalia

Tiefling





The offspring of a human and...anything else, pretty much. They are commonly the angsty "straight man" to the humor and optimism of the average Panfalian. Occasionally a Tiefling will end up just as jovial and earnest as the rest.

XP Requirements
Level Gained
XP Needed Above Class Norm
2
1000
3
1500
4
2000
5
3000
6
4000
7
5500
8
7000
9
10000
9 + none; advance as class

Special:
•Roll 1d4 times on the Tiefling Appearance Chart

•Roll 5 times on the Tiefling Ability Table or 1d4 times on the Chaos Attributes Chart. Let me know if you have trouble interpreting your result as something LotFPish.

•Any Ability result on either table can be discarded for a roll on the Tiefling Special Side Effects Table.

•You may not choose your result at any time; if you play a Tiefling, you must leave your initial abilities to chance.
(click to make it bigger.)


Octopoid


Octopus - inspired by +Michael Curtis 's blog entry here.
You are an Octopus. You can breathe both air and water. You probably live on land, even in a town, but probably have relatives that still live in the water - either at the base of the fearsome Sea Mount, or in the Ocean of Incompletion. Your head rises about 4' off the ground, and if you stretched out rrreeeeaaaalllllyyyyy far, your tentacles would be about 10' in diameter.
While there are Octopi of many types, the Octopi of Panfalia are generally known for their dry wit and luxurious taste. They will often adventure to gain fabulous riches, then blow it all on lavish furnishings and a lush (but tasteful) party. They are afraid of mustaches, however.


An Octopi's Stealth skill increases naturally as they age - this is reflective of their natural camouflage, getting better at mimicking their surroundings. Likewise, their ability to use the suction cups on their tentacles to climb. As they get martial experience and their balance improves, Octopi learn to balance on fewer tentacles and use more for activities like attacking. This does not allow those of spell-casting classes to cast more than 1 spell in a round, however.
Octopi have malleable bodies, allowing them to fit through small spaces. The lack of an internal skeleton makes them less structurally sound of course, and they may only carry half of what a human of similar ability scores could. Also, all armor must be especially made for the Octopus, and costs 10x the usual amount.
Note the addition XP required to reach each level above that required by the Octopus's class.


Octorok - Pretty much copying Rey's version here.
This species of Octopoid left the water long ago, and have developed some odd adaptations! They only have four tentacles, and their bodies occasionally produce an internal rock - which they can eject with great velocity! These rocks have a range of 40', and firing one takes the Octorok's entire round. Add any bonuses that would normally apply to projectile weapons.
An Octorok may attack with a bare tentacle for 1d4 damage. Octoroks can re-roll a miss in melee combat if a second tentacle holds a weapon or is free. They must balance on at least two tentacles at all times.
An Octorok can leap 10' high from standing, and leap twice their normal move if they haven't fired a rock this round.


Octoroks may carry normal shields, but can only wear specially made armor that costs 10x the usual amount. 
They have something of a rivalry with Octopi, but it is more of a bickering, one-upsmanship relationship than outright fighting. 


Vat Spawn


Pretty much as written here by Jeremy Duncan (who drew the picture above) or in Secret Santicore 2011 (I know they are slightly different). They require the same additional XP to reach each level as Tieflings do.
XP Requirements
Level Gained
XP Needed Above Class Norm
2
1000
3
1500
4
2000
5
3000
6
4000
7
5500
8
7000
9
10000
9+none; advance as class

To be written in the future: Magical Animals (think Jake from Adventure Time, but he's like level 10).


Classes of Panfalia

The long peace of the Beast-King has led to a proliferation of information and a complicated network of apprenticeships across Species boundaries. Any species above (plus Humans and Magical Animals) may be any Class.


Fighter, Specialist as LotFP. No Magic Users or Clerics.

Ranger as LotFP Halfling, but as a class.


Shaman - Two types:

Dream Hunter as written by +Patrick Stuart here. I can feel him cringing at "Dream Hunter".

Goblin Enchantress by +Benjamin Baugh and +Cédric Plante here.

EDIT: can't forget Alices as written by +Zak Smith and featured in A Red And Pleasant Land. Panfalia has those, too.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Yon Squires and Humans of Panfalia (DIY DnD Race and Class)

I occasionally have the urge to run a game of whimsical fantasy, where I can riff and imagine and create without trying to square everything up or be limited by something that came before. Something like a deadly Adventure Time!, something a little like Swamp Thing and good anime mixed with Turbo Kid (the movie).

Anyway, whether any of that reflects what's coming out, I got inspired the other day and wrote a little thing, and am hoping I can recapture that lighting on the day (a week later) that I actually have time to run it. 
The Eternal Beast-King of Panfalia is once more out of ImmorTea. The people call for your help! His last Moly Knight of Panfalia has grown too old to travel up the Sea-Mount of Panticore to retrieve the sacred tea leaves from the highest peak. The younglings are not yet old enough or trained enough to become Moly Knights and face the terrors of the Sea-Mount. Will you, sinistersous traveler, brave the Sea-Mount and bring back the leaves, so the Beast-King can stay young another>mumblemumble< years?
Since future Moly Knights must earn their own Objects of Deeds and Wealth, the Objects of Deeds and Wealth of past Moly Knights are offered as a reward. The history of the Moly Knights is long and storied in Panfalia, and the citizenry are in awe of the offered treasure, but too afraid of the terrors of the Sea-Mount to brave the task. I mean, the Sunglasses of Susan and the Flip-Ups of Dwane Wayne are on offer! The Armor of the Turbo Kid! Scaldalous!
They are also afraid of a future without their Beast-King, who has kept his Kingdom peaceful and prosperous for centuries. The Panfalia Blabbler, that horrible gossip-rag run by notorious flumph Gydrion Gantz, speculates that political dissidents may arise were the Beast-King to visibly age.
A few people don't have low level FLAILSNAILS characters and want to make new characters for this, so I'm going to start toying with another thing I keep poking at - something like D&D Basic or LotFP with Pendragon and separate race and class. I'm using LotFP as a base, with skills rolled on a d6 and so on.

O busk, O busk, my maries all,
O busk and make ye fine ;
And we will on to yon shore-side,
Invite yon squire to dine. 
'Will ye come up to my castle
Wi me and take your dine ?
And ye shall eat the gude white bread,
And drink the claret wine.' 
'I thank you for your bread, lady,
I thank you for your wine ;
I thank you for your kind offer,
But now I have not time.'
-The Kitchie-Boy, Child Ballad number 252; Roud number 252


YON SQUIRES OF PANFALIA

Two types of youth become Yon Squires: those who wish to become Moly Knights and those who have not yet settled upon what they wish to do and want to assist in all walks of life until they decide. Generally they are earnestly helpful and deferential, or cleverly sarcastic yet hardworking.

HD: One die smaller than Fighters in the current system, or 1d6
XP Advancement, Saves: as Fighters
Skill Points: +1 every level, including the first
Armor useable: Medium
Weapons useable: all
Special:
•+1 to all rolls made to assist another PC who is making the primary roll to perform a task 
("One of you can roll a Strength Check to try to open the door, and another can roll to help them." If the Squire is in the helping role in this scenario, the Squire gets +1 to their roll and adds an additional +1 to the primary character's roll if successful).

•Upon gaining a level with a party member who they have played with in every session since the last level, the Squire can choose to gain one of that party member's class abilities as if first level. 
(A Squire who adventured with a Magic-User may gain the ability to cast and know 1 1st level spell once a day. A Squire who adventured with a Specialist may choose to gain an extra Skill point, and so on.) Even if the other party member is using race-as-class, the Squire may learn one of their first level abilities.

•(Optional) Parties that contain a Squire get 10% above the awarded XP for the session.

•At 4th Level, a Squire may choose to permanently change to any other Class, and apply all of their gained XP to that class, immediately changing to the appropriate level. The Squire loses all Class Abilities gained as a Squire. If they have adventured with a PC of another race who is using race-as-class rules, the Squire may even assume that race as their new class, although the Squire does not actually change race. They are assumed to have spent downtime training with the other character (or relevant NPCs) in their abilities. Note the Squire must have spent in-game time with a PC or NPC of the appropriate class (or race), and cannot switch to one that has not been mentioned in their adventures thus far.

•Squires may use the above ability to become a Moly Knight at 4th level. This is the only way to have a Moly Knight PC.

•Upon gaining 5th level, the Squire has lost the ability to change to another class, but may still later become a Moly Knight if their Glory is positive.

Humans of Panfalia


The centuries-long peace under the Beast-King's rule has caused Panfalia to become a center of trade for lands all across the world. It is a true melting pot of species and cultures. Humans are common, although by no means dominant (The Beast-King is not human). The human visitors and citizens come from a wide variety of cultures, ways of life, dress, and skin variations.



XP Requirements: as Class +100 per level (+100 extra to gain 2nd level, +200 extra to gain 3rd, etc)
Skill Points: 1 extra at first level
Special:
•The first time a Human gains Glory points (or goes into the negative), their Glory moves 1 extra point. (If a Human gains glory, they gain 1 more point; if they get negative Glory, they get one extra negative point). This only happens the first time.

•May use Skill Points at first level to instead increase an Ability Score.

•May roll Intelligence to learn basic communication (1 or 2 word "sentences") in a language they encounter this session; if successful, lasts the rest of the session.

•Reaction Rolls of non-evil creatures are modified by 1 in the Human's favor.


(note: decided to change "race" as referred to in RPGs to "species" for this setting after I wrote the above entry. I changed it in one or two places but have pretty much left the entry as originally written.)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Some Nonstandard Magic Items

Some Things the Party Found in my online game that you might want to crib for your own:

TRUMPET OF HOLY FURY: those hearing it played get +1d6 to hit/damage when attacking demons and devils (each individual rolls their own 1d6 with each to hit or damage roll)
(as above picture, but metal, and the "horns" are valves that can be pressed)


DAGGER OF THE ESSOPHAGE: wielder gains 60 ft infravision, regain lowest used spell slot upon killing a creature with this dagger. (The creature must be intelligent or have more than 1 Hit Die. No carrying around cannon fodder pets to kill for your spell slots or killing non-agressive forest critters. The spell slot restored cannot be of greater level than the slain creature's Hit Dice. A creature of 3 HD could restore a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level spell slot.)

HOLY POMEGRANATE JUICE: as one vial of Holy Water

NANOTECH HEALING PATCH: as one dose of Healing Potion, purely technological, not magical

Tools, work suit scraps that can be used to repair armor (up to chain), shield shaped metal (must attach handles/straps to use)


Edited to clarify the dagger's abilities.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Dungeon Room A Day is Born (on Twitter)

Oh Satan, what have I gotten myself in to? Inspired by https://twitter.com/HexADay, I made

https://twitter.com/DungeonRoomADay

I'll post one room, tunnel, door, feature, etc a day, changing dungeons/themes roughly monthly. Sometimes I'll post an encounter to keep it fresh.

The first one is based on this drawing/painting I did a few years ago.


Play on.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Comparative Theology: WH40k VS Moorcock

"Why is Conan -?" Let me bandy with words a bit, in these panels he's my WH40k stand in.

Since getting back into roleplaying games in my 30s, it's become clear that I missed out not getting into two cultural phenomena that were around when I was an adolescent but I never delved in to.  I saw the Warhammer people, especially the 40k dudes, at conventions all the time - they were usually setting up or playing in the same room as the D&D games I was in. I never joined though - I was (and am) both impatient and too poor to afford endless terrain and miniatures. It also seemed like a place where macho militarism and nerd culture met - and that wasn't a place I was interested in being. No one ever told me there was a tabletop RPG version of it and at the time I never stumbled on it.

As for Elric, my sister was really obsessed with the books right as I was getting to an age where I was keen to reject what I saw as her retreat into fantasy to escape the world. (Yeah, now I realize she introduced me to everything that was cool, but you know, maturity and hindsight). Plus, I was depressed and had an addictive personality myself - I thought at the time the Elric books would immerse me in emotions I was looking for release from.

So not getting into these two things during the ages where one has time to really get lost in such stuff, I always feel like everyone else I'm gaming with now knows a lot more about these two worlds and mythologies than I do. I've been reading a bit of both recently - digging into their RPG forms, anyway - and am seeing some trends that I find interesting. 

Teasing out the implications of a world's mythology can help the DM run it in a flavorful and unique way. Understanding the underpinning philosophy of a setting can help you make the right aesthetic choices.

Kaleb Daark WH40k comic and some recent Elric comic

The way Chaos and Law/Order are manifested in these two settings influence a lot about the feel of them, who is a hero*, what it means to be powerful and adventure in those worlds, etc.

In Michael Moorcock's Elric! (and other) stories, both Chaos and Order are mystical forces and multiverse-influencing theologies, and both have current, active, powerful gods using those forces and pushing their agenda. Chaos is used by Arioch, who seeks to further Chaos' influence, and whoever the Lords of Law are they're doing the same for their side of that struggle. In this multiverse, Balance is it's own distinct metaphysical power and keeps a thumb on both Chaos and Law. 

Arioch, can we talk about your wardrobe?

With all these hugely powerful, reality-affecting supernatural beings around, what role is there for a person of such import that they even become aware of these forces? If you're an Elric, or a PC, where do you fit? You may have more power than the guy that makes your shoes, or even the town guard, but you'll never be Arioch (or at least not for a looooooooooong time). So - you align yourself. You become an instrument of something larger than yourself so you can benefit from it's power. You didn't make this thing, you don't steer it, but maybe you control a little bit of something locally. You're harnessing dangerous stuff you can barely control, and the more powerful you get the more your puppet strings show.

It's sort of an institutional model- you're contributing to something, subsuming yourself in it, hoping to benefit thereby. Ultimately, however, the great forces will exist and struggle without you. Also - you could walk away and join the other side, and probably only people at your level would even notice. Your entire species and way of life could die off, and it probably wouldn't even sway the struggle for one side or the other. Law has other tools, as does Chaos, and Balance will fill whatever gap you leave without noticing. Your existence doesn't matter to the cosmos - only to you.

While it's not clear exactly what Moorcock thought out early on and what he developed later when their popularity chained him to these stories, I think this essentially nihilistic and near-Lovecraftian view of the universe serves the apathetic, lethargic feel he wanted. Individuals struggle in an ultimately cold, uncaring world.

Conan's not WH40k but he's making a point.

...and then we have Chaos and Order in Warhammer 40k. 


Chaos is pretty similar to Moorcock actually, although perhaps a little...warmer. Encompassing more variety. Welcoming you to rub against it. 


The Warhammer Chaos Gods. They can design my outfit any day.

You don't just channel it's forces, serve it's gods, it doesn't only warp your mind or soul...it shapes your body. WH40k Chaos gets intimate with you.

Yeah...roll for initiative. Or comb your tail-head's hair.

But in the end, you could squint and say it's just another dimension's interpretation of the same force. Chaos here is more here-flavored but it's all there from the Elric stories - Chaos Gods, Demons, Thralls, Sorcerers, et cetera.

The real differences aside from fashion come in with Order.


Unlike Chaos, Order and Law have no extant, active Gods, Angels (or other Demon equivalent), or other Cosmic presence∆. At least in the books I've read. Order is a thing conceived by humans (and some aliens), created by them in the universe, and maintained by their concerted activity. Order is a thing made from human will. It is made up of the actions taken by mortals to further it - and nothing else. Like Justice in the real world.

I think this is why grot fits the 40K world, and perhaps Warhammer in general. It is a place of sweat, of human effort. A mortal struggle to create order against the forces of the universe. All is not Chaos because creatures have carved a space for something else through their sweat and sacrifice. Your individual place in the universe may be small, but by working for or against something, or steering it in a different direction, you may have some consequence - you probably aren't going to be a storm, but to pull out an old chestnut, you may be a butterfly flapping it's wings.

Whether a particular character works for Order, Chaos, neither, or both, it's a universe with fundamentally different underpinnings than Moorcock's. It's a universe shaped in a more essential way by the efforts of a group of mortals, who have achieved something beyond their own scale. Existing as a ground-level creature in such a universe seems like a much more visceral, involved thing. You may be apathetic, but someone-or some thing-is not apathetic about you. It's a universe shaped by sweat and mud and blood. There are no real puppet strings - if you're aligned with something, it's because you made a choice.
--

OK, I feel like I'm droning on, but I hope I got my point across. Even if I'm wrong due to ignorance about some point of Moorcockian or Warhammer cosmology, I think the point about the difference of existing at a human scale in each universe stands.


*by "hero", I'm really just referring to "protagonist" or "the type of person that a PC is." Not necessarily someone who acts heroically. 

∆ I have read about some of the ancient cosmic Order in later books like the star-parasites and their soulless-gelfling-mind powered killer robots, but that doesn't really feel like Order/Law as it is in Moorcock and it's more of an ancient Order that went nuts. I guess it's really fascism, which is where Right and Left meet back on the other side.




Obvs the P Craig Russell Elric comics were formative here, as was Moorcock's writing. The Michael Whelan covers of the Elric books my sis read when we were teens stuck in my mind; I wished they were bigger and told the whole story. What does that sound like?

The WH40k books I've mostly read are the original 1ed book and Slaves to Darkness, as well as countless wiki pages and fan sites.

Some images I downloaded for this post and didn't use above:



MANNNN what happened to this metal as fuck blue logo?




The original text I jotted down when this idea emerged fully formed while I was busy doing boring things at work:

Moorcock:
both chaos and order are divine metaphysical forces

WH40k:
only chaos has metaphysical forces, order is a human concept only extant through human effort
--