Sunday, April 20, 2014

SKARR - Stone Age D&DHAMMER...

...coming soon to a hangout near you in late Summer.

-FLAILSNAILS allowed: non-native PCs arrive naked. Not one stitch of equipment from outside this setting.
-Native PCs start with a loincloth and tunic (if they desire), and two things from the list below (roll).

1. Spear, hide/wood/bone or stone
2. berries (healing)
3. stone/bone dagger
4. berries (poison)
5. axe
6. water skin
7. whetstone
8. stick
9. leather strap
10. piece of jerky
11. bow
12. carving stone (for making other things)
13. berry paint
14. club
15. strong stick (10ft pole/staff)
16. Sorcerous Rune
17. companion animal
18. 2d4 arrows
19. leather armor
20. tanned hide

All beginning weapons have a 5 in 6 chance of breaking when a 1 or 20 is rolled to hit. Weapons can be master crafted to get rid of this flaw.

Basic 6 D&D Ability Scores, with a set of percentage-based "Learned Skills", including Sorcery and Shamanism magic.
*To get your starting percentages in Skills, I'm going to use one of the following methods - help me decide which!

-Everything starts at 5%, then you get a number of points to distribute. Add all ability scores, then SUBTRACT ability bonuses, and ADD ability penalties. Distribute that number among your Skills.

-OR, everything starts at 0%, then add all ability scores, then SUBTRACT ability bonuses, and ADD ability penalties. Multiply by 4. Distribute that many points.

*Record the number of times you attempt an ability. This is the percentage chance that ability advances at the end of the session.

*HP = CON. Check CON as a percentage when being healed to full, if successful, HP improves by 1.

*Things not covered by Learned Skills are d20 ability checks.

*The Sorcery Skill gives one access to the Wizard Spell list from D&D books - you gotta have the text or tell me what book it's in. Your spells are in the form of runes carved into rocks or power gained from trafficking with demons - but demon magic is visible as an imp on your shoulder or hazy mist around your head.
You can cast as many spells as you find - in the form of defined spells you find completed runes for, or new ones you construct from component runes you find (or demons). Sorcery is rolled both to learn a rune/spell and to cast it. Subtract the level of the spell from your percentage when rolling.

*The Shamanism Skill is to cast Cleric spells. You speak to the spirit over a fresh corpse, binding it to you in the form of a Cleric spell from a D&D book. Some days you could get a lot, some none. Spell level = HD of creature in life. Shamanism is rolled to bind the spirit and cast the spell.

Ranged Attacks (+1 to hit for every 10 points)
Melee Attacks (same)
Hardiness (+1 to all saves for every 10 points)
Armor/Clothing construction
Weapon construction
Architecture (mostly tents and hunting blinds)
Move Silently
Pass Undetected (both leaving no trails and hiding in shadows)
Decipher Languages
Animal Tending/Taming (could work for monsters, too)
Spirit Stealing (attempt to temporarily steal an ability of a recently felled foe, you must have seen them use it)

Other ideas? What am I missing? Comment below or on Google Plus.

Monday, April 14, 2014

three imprisoned air elementals of Kalak-Nur

I am shhhhhhhhhwwww; I was the welcome breeze that cools your brow on a hot day of hard work. Now I blow shit out of a hole in a palace of abomination.

I am oooooooooeeeeeeeeee , I was the fearsome wind through the narrow space, making the sound men mistook for death coming. I inspired fantasies of nemeses on the way, ghosts in the hall,wolves close to camp. Now I blow the shit of abominations onto a hillside.

I was thlooooochchchaaaaaaaaa. I was the fierce wind of the seas that sends ships where they are going,or capsizes them, according to my whim. Now I am the captive of that which is neither dead nor alive,but eternally seeking, so that my children will fortnightly expunge the waste of his accursed horde.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Strategies of Rust and Lime (for Nornrik)

With my eyes of rust and eye of lime, I am given to multiple visions. My ear of rust hears whispers, my ear of lime shouts.

Lime is active, sustaining (ask a sailor), flavoring, sour; it infiltrates the senses. Or is that Lime, cementing, adhesive, reacting?

Rust corrodes, expands, is patient; it can mar the outer while protecting the inner, or keep wearing away until there is nothing. I have heard it said that fire is only rust, sped up.

We have tried to be fire, and had failures and limited recent success. Yet some of those elements which, in reaction, make our cement have been extracted, captured. Thus far we have been conflating goals, squinting at the forest. Let us separate our elements, then combine them again to be stronger.

First, lime. Then, rust.

1. Retrieve our fallen. Send in those of us who are especially sneaky, made invisible, to find our captive friends and get them out.

If anyone has a small item of large power that could fit into the compartment in my arm and be of use freeing our friends, I will get myself captured. I can produce darts from my flesh and need no weapons.
Those particularly skilled in open combat should be attacking the outside while this rescue mission occurs, to distract the enemy forces. At this stage it should be conducted in a way so as to cause the most distraction with the least loss on our side.
A secondary priority of the hidden group should be to find any place the true names of the demons may be recorded inside. This group is not to engage; get prisoners, get true names, and/or GET OUT!

The demons seem reluctant thus far to leave the castle.

2. Destroy our enemies. Once the sneaky group returns with our companions, we become free as well - to wreck the most havok possible. We have such magical might at our command, it makes more sense to try and cause structural damage and bring the place down upon the demons therein rather than try to engage in direct combat.

Let us be quicklime reacting with water; let us be rust sped up.

After this we can go in and execute survivors and take what is owed us.

-Bascomb Blightchurch, Agent of Rust and Lime

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kalak-Nur Dungeon Answers

+Chris H Asked some questions on G+. I wanted the answers somewhere I could find again in the future.

"Joey, how many floors have we secured?" 
The top two - except the control room that's up that 4 ft square chute (second floor) and whatever else it leads to. (the third floor is the large space at the bottom of the 50-foot center openings of the other floors, which has a sort of hallway to another big space.)

"If there are prisoners on those floors that we have yet to release, I'd like to do the interviews in thread, rather than take up time in game for them if at all possible.
For the guys in the cells and the tortured wizards:
We'd use the glasses to see what they really are, we'd use Rey's Goodness Vision to determine Evility, we'd ask "Why did Mocata lock you up?" & "Do you know where treasure is in here?"
of the Wizards "Who took your stuff, and where is it now?" of each of them I imagine."
No one's said "We release the prisoners" yet, except for the three released during the last session. 
Wizards: 3 evil, 4 not. 
The Wizard's answers are pretty much "Because I use magic" "Spider-goats took my stuff after the first time y'all were down here and went somewhere lower" and the ones across from the hatch say "There's something important in that small hatch"
For the prisoners, see below.

"For the non-evil Vampires I'd like to ask "How do you satiate your hunger?" & "Would you rather we just kill you?" Also "How did Mocata prevent you from turning in to a bat/mist/bugs? (whatever your version of vampires can do, if anything)
I support staking the evil vampires."
"By drinking blood. I don't kill folks unless they're evil, though."
"No, I'd rather you dispel the sigil that binds me here and let me go."
"The sigil magically binding me here."
There are 6 evil Vampires, so this was the one not-evil one.

"Additionally, if any of the dudes have weird diseases (that might be contagious), including that biomechanical one (going to call it Borg Disease for now), it would be super great if we could get some more healers/potions/topical ointments to deal with it. Anyone with Borg Disease CANNOT be let loose."
Nothing on these two floors resembles the stuff coating Mocata's ship.

Level 1
1. Where Corbin was

2. Where the law cubes are playing cards

3. Where Leah was

4. Where Leah's cat was

5. Lacon, the fire lizard! He's pleased to see you, if there's anyone here he's met before. He was captured and imprisoned for attempting to sell magic items (the Frost Giant Heartswood weapons no one claimed way back during the play by post).
He is very worried about his companion, the Witch Agathan, whom Mocata's goat-men captured at the same time as he. Two of the non-evil magic-users in the exsanguination harnesses are women. If questioned, one is indeed she. She requests that Lacon not see her in such a state, that it be painless and quick.

6. Four tall, grey-skinned, grim faced humanoids whisper together until they realize you can see them. They turn to you quietly, and you see that all four have the same face (some at different ages). Their yellow armor is uncomfortably translucent, as if one made armor from dreams deferred, passion lost.
They each carry a grey mask trimmed in gold.
"Mocata locked us up for perpetuating our line, for defending the keep entrusted by our father. He saw duty not as we do, but through a glass darkly. You must free us, so we may return to our appointed places. We know little of this wretched domicile."

7. In a bird cage suspended by the cell door are 6 tiny humanoids, ranging from 1-3 inches tall. They otherwise look like an assortment of thieves, warriors, and magic-users. They plead with you to open the cage and free them.

Level 2
1. in this cell, Blixa's gem-sniffing sword doesn't detect gems, it detects GEM. Something of enormous value.
There is a hollow stone moon. When you break it open, you see a perfect and terrifying ruby that seems to absorb a bit of light instead of reflecting it.
It is a moon-shaped ruby on a moon-shaped sword of bronze. Sir Ward detects the residue of evils past. Valentine detects powerful magics; the ruby and sword give off one aura as a whole as well as each it's own unique magical radiation. Blixa feels deja-vu looking at it, as if he knows it's younger brother.

2. in this cell: 3 pregnant (normal animal) goats ignorantly feed on the viscera of a recently disemboweled man. A deep thicket of spiderwebs covers the ceiling and several feet below it, and the back wall. The burned outline of a pentacle also traced with pungent herbs takes up nearly half the floor. Broken glass has been swept against the wall.

3. a pack of wild dogs pace, bored. Dried blood cakes an area near the door. A black shape hangs limp in the corner, in shadow. Another burned pentacle, traced with pungent herbs.

4. A nightmarish cell cramped with failed attempts at making spider-goats. There are goat torsos with spider heads, goats with six legs growing at all angles, and further terrors.

5. In this cell is a humming blue field. Inside it on a pedestal are three finely-wrought statues in platinum: one of a goat-man, one of a dog-man, and one of a spider-goat.

6. Due to Q-Bot's goggles, you can tell this is a powerful Air Elemental. It appears as a blank mask hovering in a whirlwind.

7. Two lesser Air Elementals.

8. Where Santos Christo was - so, a hyperbaric chamber hooked to weird machines 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First Session Report: New Home Game

I've really got to settle on a name for the setting. Kyrlan is sticking in my craw a bit (generated from the Hill Cantons Swords & Sorcery Nation Generator.)

Five players; 4 new to D&D, 1 who used to DM (3ed I think). 3 of the newbies are super excited to play again, 1 is tentative but definitely coming back for another session. The former DM didn't do much during the game (distracted by health stuff) but had so much fun he's already at work getting his own game together for the first time in some years.

I forgot how chaotic character generation can be with players new to the game, but I checked in at several points and they were having fun with it. I decided they'd start with two items rolled from the d20 equipment chart and one from the d10 chart. They started asking questions about their parents, so I pulled up the Hill Cantons Compendium and we rolled on the first few charts, giving them a little more background and an additional item.

Quick notes:
-started with a fierce jacks vs marbles competition, since 3 players randomly rolled a 15 on their starting equipment rolls
-good strategies come up with by totally new players
-party split almost immediately after action began
-nothing went according to my prep - I consider that a success for players getting involved enough to go off track
-over half of party 1 hit away from death for like half the time
-natural sequence of events made it very clear that infighting and separating brings them closer to death and awesome things can happen when they work together. I didn't force that in any way, but was pleased that's how it worked out.

Starting players:
-1 who plays video games and is good at strategy (my roommate) - he played a Waterkin Ranger. His stats were high enough to have 1 POW naturally. He used it to cast Light on a guy's eyes, probably saving 2 PC's lives. I was proud of him coming up with a classic D&D strategy on his own.
-1 who maybe played Vampire back in the day (a friend of mine for 7+ years and my roommate's girlfriend) - she played a Tiefling Witch. Split the party. Never used magic. Snuck around in trees a lot and ran right up to an enemy and grabbed his spear. Later kicked him in the nads from behind. Random rolls determined that the invading foreign army has her dad hostage. She was a pretty rad mix of brave and sneaky.
-1 interested but "never got a chance to play before" - He played a Firekin Barbarian. Spent a lot of time talking to NPCs and asking me questions. Super excited to play again. Quiet in real life.
-1 who is suspicious of the whole thing - I think she was worried it was gonna be obscurely nerdy or require her to read a huge book. She played an Airkin Ranger who got bored a lot. Got super good rolls for starting equipment. Spent most of her time on the town wall observing things with a spyglass, then running through town and observing other things from behind a house. I think her instincts will pay off when the party gets back together next time.
-1 player who used to DM 3rd edition - played a "retired old adventurer" Moogle Sorcerer. Spend half of session saying "I sit there and watch the kids." Spent most of session on rooftops or benches. I think he was waiting for something to cast a spell at, but didn't go out of his way to find it.

My magic rules are a success so far, but no one's looked beyond Cantrips yet.
I'm debating adding these two Cantrips, based on what people wanted to do:
Shock (Demon) - INT - cause 1d4 damage or target paralyzed for 1d4 rounds
Gather Shadows (spirits) - CHA - Automatically succeed on one Stealth roll, or improve Stealth by 3 for 2d4 rounds.

Too powerful? I'm not sure. I think the Ability check makes it fine. If they had pitched these instead of just going with what I had written up, I would have rolled with it.

They started in a mining town on the edge of an empire that uses steam-powered magitek machines. Their home town folk mine the ore that is refined to power these machines from the hills to the North. Background rolls determined that there's a Firekin tribe in the hills that have some kind of cooperative treaty with the town. The local Baron has kept the town safe and isolated from the worst depredations of the empire...but he's fallen ill, and his daughter has yet to prove herself. 
When I mentioned her, the players immediately asked if she was hot and how old she is. 
me: "She's 24."
Players: "PERFECT! I have a crush on her." (remember they're playing teens)
We started playing with them in the town square in early afternoon, two of the kids (well, everyone was 14-16 except the Moogle) having a jacks competition. They heard shouting from the town's North gate, the one most of the adults pass through on their way to work in the mines. They ignored it for a little bit, then went to investigate. Three miners were on the outside, the gate closed and locked, the town guard nowhere in site. A foreign army had seized the mine, taking the workers hostage.
The Tiefling Witch (her name starts with an M, I forget) sneaks off in the woods along the road to the mine, her jacks/marbles opponent Waterkin Ranger (ugh, names) following. The others let the miners in, the Firekin Barbarian (Bik) follows them and gets knocked out. They put him in a storage house to keep him out of the way, and start going door to door telling people to just cooperate with the invaders. 
The Airkin Ranger and Moogle mostly watch from the town wall, although the Airkin ranger made a funny noise to alert the other kids in the woods that some troops had spotted them.
The two sneaking in the woods have a slapsticky fight with two soldiers, and Bik shows up just in time to finish the last one off before more soldiers come. The three get chased to the town wall, get the Tiefling witch over it to operate the crank, and hold off three soldiers long enough to get in and close the gate, pulling in a dead invading soldier to loot. 
The Moogle and Airkin have spotted what's happening at the South Gate - a bigger contingent of invading troops have taken the town guard hostage, but are being temporarily repelled by merchants throwing sandbags. 
The session ended just as the invaders made it to the top of the South Gate and the three PCs made it in to the North Gate.

A good time was had by all!

(This is a pretty bare bones plotty retelling for my own benefit; I'll add some of the funny lines if I remember them. We were laughing a lot of the game.)

Blogger totally fucked up the formatting and moved passages around at random (go home Blogger, you're drunk) but I think I fixed it. It's weird because this was all written straight into Blogger and not cut and pasted.

Wampus Magpie

Level               Title                                            Exp. Points             Hit Dice          Spells

Nunya no sirree bob!

While I'm sure there are all sorts of "normal" birds in the lands of Wampus, I keep hearing tales of 4-6 foot tall Magpies that can walk, talk, and do all sorts of other things the humans and elves and dog-people and frog-people can do. Only +Erik Jensen can tell us if these tales are true.

I hear that Magpies of this kind progress as a Thief in the following skills: 
•Find/Remove Traps
•Open Locks
•Pick Pockets

If your system does not use these skills, they advance in skills related to problem-solving with tool use, mechanical skills, and sleight-of-feather.

In addition, they have the following abilities:
Himitation: With a successful Intelligence check, Magpies can imitate a specific sound or voice for one round (that is, they can do it until they fail the check or run out of things to say).

Patter: Once per day per level, on a successful Charisma check, Magpies can keep an audience engaged as long as they can talk. Charisma must be checked every third round. The effect ends immediately if the listener takes damage or perceives a new, clear threat (IE it could extend a tense standoff, even with guns involved, but if someone starts casting a Fireball they're gonna stop listening and duck!)

Flippy-flappy: a Wampus Magpie can fly their movement rate, but must land every other round, and can do nothing else while flying but talk (it is up to the DM if they can use the Patter ability while flying).

Get Thee To A Rookery: A Magpie PC may give another Magpie PC in the same room a +1 to any roll once per day for every three levels (of the giver). This is in the form of encouragement or chiding, and must be done at the time the roll is made.

EDIT: forgot to say - armor greater than leather impedes Pick Pockets and prevents flight.