Monthly Archives: October 2011

New Dark Knight Rises News

The True Dark Knight

 
Apparently due to salary conflicts, Christian Bale has left filming of 
Dark Knight Rises; luckily this guy was on set to take over the role!

Firefly: Hurtlin’ Through the ‘Verse Discussion

Mal is One Bad Motha!

I recently started a Firefly: Hurtlin’ Through the ‘Verse campaign with my friends using Google+.  I was excited to see the changes/updates I made to my game and try to get over the hurdles/issues I have acquired with the AGE system.

We made characters and played the first session and it went really well!  All the little doubts that I had about AGE seemed to have gone away.  However during the second session my players came up with some really great ideas that just aren’t facilitated in the rules and thus I had to make some snappy decisions on the fly (luckily I’m good at improv).  The doubts started creeping back into my mind.

Aside: It is important to point out that I do not fault the AGE system for the above statement.  AGE was made for fantasy role-playing and not sci-fi.  I took it upon myself to create Firefly using it, so honestly any failing for not having rules/advice in a certain area lies solely on my own shoulders.

We ended the second session on a high note and everyone seemed to be happy with how the adventure turned out.  I sat down and started really thinking about Firefly, the goals of a crew (players), adventures, and all the minutia of running a campaign in this awesome setting.

The Creation of Firefly: Hurtlin’ Through the ‘Verse

First I needed to look at why I created my Firefly game.  It was for my now disbanded NJ gaming group.  Most of my players in that game are extremely casual gamers, and I don’t fault them for that.  Everyone has a different play-style.  We had tried Dragon Age RPG and liked it and I knew I wanted a simple system for them for Firefly and that is what the AGE system is: Simple.

I took the foundation of the AGE system and created Firefly: Hurtlin’ Through the ‘Verse for them.  We played several sessions before we disbanded and we had a ball!  It worked great for them.

After a bit of contemplation I realized that the problem I was having lied with my current group (most of which are in Montana, where I’m from- I’m now in NJ while my girlfriend get’s her PhD in Toxicology).  My players, while being casual, are slightly more into the minutia of a game (some of them even more so) and they like deconstruction shit and McGuyvering everything and coming up with some truly awesome ideas on how to beat/tackle the challenges in front of them (as was the case in the second session).

The AGE system, for sci-fi, just doesn’t have rules to facilitate these kind of situations.  I’m not talking about becoming rules heavy or anything.

That was the first issue.  The second was trade, passengers, cargo, etc.  My players were wanting to get into the nitty gritty of that (where my NJ crew wouldn’t have thought twice about it- again not a slight on them- just different play styles).  I didn’t have rules for this in my game, because it was unneeded for the group I made it for, so that presented another problem.  I have to make calls on the fly all the time, hope that the players don’t find the discrepancies between calls annoying, and then build and make rules for these situations.

The third issues was my players WANTED  to trick out their guns with scopes or have rules for detailed explosives or pimp out their ride, the Lynx.  Again I didn’t have rules for this and to facilitate what the players desired I’d have to create rules for it.

Same Campaign Just Different Flavor

I have a rule about homebrew/Hack game design (this is just my opinion): If you are taking a system and changing it to fit your needs that is awesome, but if you are taking it and altering it beyond the point of recognition to suit your needs and “do something better” it may be time/worth to look at a different system.

To keep using the AGE system for Firefly I would have to create several subsystems and rules to do what I now my players and I wanted.  Doing this would defeat the simplicity of the AGE system.  I realized that I just needed to put down the AGE system and begin the search for something that did what I was desiring.

Luckily with very little work I found it.  The Traveller RPG, Mongoose Edition.  I found several older forum posts about people thinking Firefly was inspired by Traveller and that with very little work you could easily play Firefly using the system.

I bought the core rule book and read through it and was immediately impressed with the system and the level of customization for the characters, ships, and equipment.  Not to mention the rules for trade, travel, ship fare, etc.  It is fairly rules-lite and very open.  I found what I was looking for.

We have converted our characters over from AGE to Traveller with little issue or confusion.   We haven’t gotten to play the new system yet, hopefully that will be the case this week or next.  We’ll see.

Here is the OP page as well as links to Session 1 recap Part one and two.

I’m looking forward to seeing what my players do with this system and the challenges placed before them.  I like that there are rules for cyberware and ships without being overly cumbersome!

Firefly: Hurtlin’ Through the ‘Verse is still going on strong.  Just changed course.


Swords and Sorcery Short Story

I’m taking a creative writing course this semester and for the current writing assignment I decided that I would write a Swords and Sorcery short story.

Aside: I was motivated to write this because my professor stated that he didn’t like fantasy and would “put up with reading it” if that is what a student chose to write. That attitude angered me because it’s a creative writing class, not historical fiction or a non-fiction creative class.

I also just didn’t like the way he was treating fantasy stories with slight contempt and derisive comments.

I’m not one for letting people tell me what I can or can’t do.

So here’s my story- Whether it’s good or not, that’s for you to decide. Just hope someone out there enjoys it!

Untitled

“There is something to be said about watching a man bleed to death wouldn’t you say?  The knowledge that they are about to be embraced by Death’s cold arms can be seen in their eyes.”  Baldur knelt down in front of the dying man and watched him closely with a small bemused smile upon his face.  The dying man’s eyes were wide and his breaths came shallow and fast as blood spread on the floor for a large wound in his side.  Baldur lifted his sword and pressed its point into the ground to steady his weight, “He worries about all the things he’s left undone in this world.  He’s worried about those he leaves behind.”  There was a scuffle and a pitiful whine from behind.  Baldur ignored it.  “Don’t worry I’ll take care of it.” He said patting the man’s cheek as the last bit of life left his eyes.

Baldur got to his feet and turned to the two women behind him who both stared fixedly at his powerful frame.  Baldur was a tall man with highly sculpted cheek bones, brown hair that fell to his shoulders, a strong jawline, and deep chestnut eyes.  Where one woman looked on the man with adoration and longing, the other looked with fear and hatred.  The one who held lust in her eyes held the other firmly against her, a dagger at her throat.  “Now what Baldur?”  She said breathlessly.  Baldur pursed his lips and walked slowly to the women, his boots echoing in the small wooden cabin.

He reached up and touched the face of the prisoner, poking the bruised area of her cheek.  She flinched away.  “Your father stole from me.  Not wise or good for those looking to live a long life.  Justice had to be meted out.”  He brought his fist backhanded across the girl’s face hard enough to crumple her to the floor.  His next movement was as tender as his previous was vicious.  He drew a finger down the check of other woman.  She was pale and her black hair was done in thick braids.  Her lips were flushed and she bit at his hand lovingly.  “We’ll take her, Hermina.  We might be able to fetch a price for her inUlster.  Those vile bastards are always looking for new slaves.  Or whores.”  He looked once more at the unconscious girl, picked her up, and then walked from the cabin.

The air was still crisp even though the sun had reached mid-morning.  Two men sat upon their horses and watched as Hermina and Baldur placed the captive girl across the back of Baldur’s horse and mounted.  “What shall we do with this place?” croaked the filthier of the two men.  He had wiry hair and was missing most of his front teeth.

Baldur and Hermina brought their horses around, “Burn it, Alfvin.  Nothing in there worth a pittance.”  Baldur said as he gazed at the cabin.  Hermina inhaled excitedly as the filthy man began attempting to light a torch.  She lifted her hand and held it as if she were going to throw a rock at the cabin, a twisted excited smile played across her face, but before she could move her hand any further Baldur clasped his around her wrist.  “This,” he indicated the cabin, “is not worth the risk.  Save your strength.”  She attempted to jerk her hand out of his, but he tightened his grip until she winced, “I mean it Hermina.  I will not have an incident here.”  He let her go as a torch soared over their heads and landed on the cabin’s thatched roof setting it ablaze.

Alfvin turned to Baldur, “Where are we headed with the girl, Baldur?”

Baldur gave Hermina one last stern look before turning his attention to his filthy cohort, “We shall ride to Ulster by way of Ormur’s Fall Pass through the mountains.”  The two men stiffened and looked at one another then at Baldur, “Problems?”

“They say that Ormur’s Fall is a death trap.  Strange creatures are there!  Men corrupted by death and madness!”  Alfvin said, his voice rising.

“That may be the case, but it is quicker, by several weeks, to go through the pass than around the mountains.”

“Why do we even need to go toUlster?  Just for the girl?  We can trade her somewhere else.”

“Yes, but I have business inUlster.”  Baldur said calmly.

“What business could that be?”

“None of yours.” Baldur’s tone was still calm, but his words held an edge, “I pay you for your sword, not your mouth or guidance.  If you wish to mewl like a child then get out of my sight, but if you’re a man and wish to get paid you will shut your mouth and ride with me through the pass.”

Alfvin’s gaze darted quickly from Baldur, defeated, “Fine.”

The four riders turned and began to move away from the fiery cabin completely unaware and uncaring there was one person upset at the cabins destruction.  The girl stayed completely motionless, tied over the horse’s rump, as silent tears fell as she watched her home and father burn.

That night the girl was tied to a tree as the group made camp in Ormur’sFallPass.  Her face was bruised and swollen from Baldur’s fist, her right eye almost a slit.  Her mouth ached from the cloth gagging her.  She looked around as Baldur and Hermina sat next to the fire drinking, laughing, and eating.  Rage and hatred surged through her.  It had only been half a day’s time since they cut down her father and stole her life from her and they had the audacity to sit casually by the fire as though the world was right.  She looked away from the pair before her disgust turned to complete despair.  Alfvin was patting his horse and seemed to be talking to it.  The horse shook its head gently and nuzzled against Alfvin’s hand while eating an apple from his other.  She couldn’t find the fourth man.  He made her uneasy and she didn’t like that she couldn’t see him.  He had stared at her the whole time while she was carried on Baldur’s horse, and again while they tied her up.  He was a heavier man with flabby cheeks and beady watery eyes.  His furs were tattered and worn and he reeked of sweat and something worse.  She turned her head to look back at Alfvin, but her view was filled of the strange man.  She hadn’t heard him coming at all.  She started and let out a small muffled cry.

He shushed her, “It’s ok pretty.  Brimir isn’t going to hurt you.  He just wants to talk to you.  Lay with you.”  He reached a pudgy filthy hand towards her and she tired to struggle against him.  His finger touched the bruise on her cheek and she winced, “So delicate of a flower.  I will enjoy all of you.”  Brimir went stiff and began to make a gurgling noise and his eyes popped in surprise.  He was lifted up and his head was brought against the tree next to the girl’s head.  Brimir let out a high pitched yelp as he was tossed to the ground, rolling several feet away.  Standing over her was Baldur, anger etched on his face.

“I’ve warned you about your appetites in the past Brimir.  I’ve warned you what I would do should you try again.”  Baldur spoke quietly, almost a whisper, but everyone could hear him.  He walked slowly toward the pudgy man as he scrambled to his feet and ran to the edge of the camp.  He put his back towards the tall dry grass and the dark wilderness.

“I meant no harm by it, Baldur!  She’s just so pretty!  I just wanted a taste.”  Brimir screeched pleadingly.

Baldur drew his large sword from his back, “It’s too late for that Brimir.  You–“  A strange screech rent the chilly night air causing the hairs on Baldur’s neck to stand on end.  He scanned the darkness around the camp backing slowly towards the girl and the tree.  Another screech echoed through the night, this time from behind Baldur.  He whirled around, his blade ready, “Alfvin move away from the perimeter!  Get towards the fire!”  A sharp bloodcurdling cry, the sound of something heavy hitting the ground, and the rustling of the thick tall brush came at his back.  He turned to see a large splatter of blood on the ground where Brimir had been standing.  A third screech, vicious and eager, and more terrifying and intimate came from just beyond the perimeter.  “Make ready!  They are coming!”  Baldur bellowed.

Spilling out of the darkness came something that was man, if mans visage was twisted by his own cruelty, savagery, and madness.  Its blood soaked mouth held a maw of blackened jagged teeth and its skin was cracked with deep crevices filled with black puss.  The creature ran straight at Baldur with its arms raised showing dirty gore soaked claws as it bellowed a terrifying scream that so strange and raw it was as if it was not meant for human ears.  Baldur waited till it closed the distance and brought his sword down, leading with his elbow to give more strength to his swing.  Blood sprayed across Baldur and the girl as the blade hit the creature between the shoulder and neck, cleaving through to its midsection and dropping it to the ground.  A gurgle issued from its mouth and then went silent.

Several more screams came from the darkness.  Baldur turned towards the girl, “Can you fight?” He screamed.  She shook her head.  Baldur brought his blade against the ropes, cutting her binding.

She quickly pulled the gag out of her mouth and spat, “You think I’m going to aid you, you savage mongrel?”

Baldur pulled a short sword from the sheath at the small of his back, “It’s either that or die at the hands of these mongrels.”  He tossed the blade on the ground by her hands, “Your choice.  I care not.”  He turned without another word and looked around the camp.  Three creatures came out of the darkness each looked as twisted as the first, covered in blood, most likely Brimir’s, and rushed at Baldur.

A high scream came from Alfvin, “Gods!  There are more here!”  Baldur spared a glance behind him and saw three more creatures charging at his filthy companion.  He watched as Alfvin pulled his dagger and hacked one of them down before being overrun by the other two.  The beasts collided with Alfvin and knocked him to the ground.  The force of the impact caused his blade to spin away into the darkness.  Alfvin thrashed and screamed as the creatures clawed and bit him.  Alfvin’s cries became high and shrill and then turned to wet gurgling noises before ceasing completely.  Baldur heard the creatures and brought his sword around and separated the first ones head from its neck.  He swung his blade in an arc and reversed his grip and moved in a graceful pirouette and brought his blade through the belly of the creature as it slammed against his back.  He wrenched the blade up and felt its blood splash against him.  He twisted around and kicked the creature from his blade with his boot.

The third monstrosity lunged at him from his right side, he wasn’t aware that it had moved that close to him.  He brought up his sword to attempt to block the creatures attack but it didn’t come.  The creature let out a shriek of pain, its bloodshot eyes bulging as it began to spasm.  The tip of a sword was protruding out of its abdomen.  The girl was on the other side, hunched over with all her weight put into the thrust that ended the creature.  She jerked heavily and pulled the blade from its body.  She looked from the body to Baldur confusion and frustration at her actions etched on her face.  “Thank you,” Baldur said quietly.

“Don’t thank me!” She spat, “I shouldn’t have saved you.  I didn’t mean to save you!” She wiped a tear from her open eye.

“Fair enough.”

The two creatures had finished feasting on poor Alfvin’s remains and had been joined by two more while Balder and the girl had dealt with their foes.  They had spotted Hermina standing by the fire and let out a howl of fury and hunger.  “Hermina, that discussion we had earlier about not having an incident; now’s a good time for one!”  Baldur shouted.

Hermina’s eyes shone with a chaotic energy as her lips split apart with a vicious smile.  She put her hands together for a brief second and then drew her arms wide, a thick ribbon of swirling flame danced between her hands.  Her laugh echoed through the night and overrode the howls of the beasts.

The girl stood there transfixed; her eyes wide.  “By the gods!  She’s a witch!”

Baldur clasped the girl by the upper arm and began to lead her towards a large boulder, “Yes yes she’s a witch.” He said monotonously, “You can run in fear and pray to your church later.  Right now we have a more pressing matter.”

“Like what?” She screamed over the din of the rushing flame that had formed into a giant sphere in front of Hermina.

Baldur swung himself and the girl behind the rock.  A second later everything went quiet and still followed by a blast and wave of intense heat that shook the very earth.  The large boulder rocked from the impact of the blast and cracked near the top that caused little pebbles and dust to rain down on them.  Baldur spit, “Cover.”

The girl pushed away from him.  Baldur walked around the boulder with his sword ready.  He wrinkled his nose at the smell.  The ground smoked, all the underbrush smoldered, and the tree that the girl had been tied burned with small crackles and pops as the sap heated.  The beasts were charred husks on the ground.  So were the horses.  Baldur slapped his hand against his leg, “Guess we’re walking toUlster.” He said in a resigned tone.  He walked quickly to the campfire and found Hermina on the ground her arms flopped out at different angles.  Baldur reached down and gently touched her face, “Hermina?  Are you alright?”

Hermina’s eyes fluttered and then opened slowly.  She took in a deep breath and stretched, “I killed them all Baldur.”  She said with relish.

“I know you did.” He said smiling.

“I think I killed the horses too.”  She frowned.

“We’ll make due.  It’s alright.”

“And I burnt the supplies.”

“That’s a bit more troubling, but as I said we’ll make due.”

Hermina looked over his shoulder and saw the girl.  “Oh she lived.  Are we still going to take her toUlster?” she said sleepily.

Baldur looked to the girl then back at Hermina.  He grabbed her under her arms and hefted her to her feet.  “We are still going toUlster, but not to sell her.  She saved my life, I owe her that much.”

“You owe me more than that!  You killed my father and burnt down my home!” She said savagely.

Baldur walked to her; he towered over her, “Your father was a bad man, just like me.  He stole, killed, drank, and paid coin to sleep with loose women.  He was no saint.  Unfortunately he stole from the wrong man.  Me.  You don’t survive in this cursed land by being kind to those who stab you in the back.  You run them through.”

Anger played across her face at Baldur’s words, “What should I do?  I have nothing left thanks to you!”

“Come with us toUlster.  You may find something there.”

“You expect me to travel with you after what you’ve done?” She shouted.

“Then don’t and die here when those things come back.  Your choice.  I care not.”

“I want to kill you.”  She said fiercely, tears welling in her eyes.

“Kill me in my sleep then, but right now you’re boring me to death and that’s not how I intend to die.”  Baldur turned and walked back to Hermina, “Are you alright to walk?  It should be dawn soon.”

Hermina nodded and then looked at the girl, “What is your name girl?”

The girl looked at the witch in surprise, “You care?”

Hermina laughed, “No.  Just being polite.”

“Halla.  My name is Halla.”

Hermina arched an eyebrow, “Pretty.”

“Enough talking.  Let us be on our way, we have a long way to go.”  Baldur said as he turned and began walking down the path of Ormur’sFallPass.

Hermina gave Halla that unsettling and eerie smile that lit up her intense eyes, then turned and walked down the path.  Halla looked into the night towards the path leading back to her home.  What home though?  There was nothing left but ash and bones.  She knew, especially now, that she wouldn’t survive the journey back.  She hated Baldur for what he had done.  She knew her father was far from virtuous but no one deserved to die as he did, mewling on the ground and being taunted.  However Baldur’s words rang true; this was a crazy world and one didn’t survive in it by being kind and generous.  You fought tooth and nail every day just to etch out a meager life.  You died by the sword, disease, or at the claw and fang of some vicious beast.  She watched the duos backs as they began to fade in the darkness.  She shook her head.  Either she’d kill Baldur or not.  Either she’d live or die.  Right now getting to Ulster alive was her goal.  She could just make out the line of dawn on the horizon.  What sort of troubles will the new day bring? She thought.  She didn’t have any idea, but she knew she would face them.  She gripped her sword and without any further hesitation set off after the two to face the new day.


Telluric Currents- A New RPG Blog

Anarkeith is someone who has been around the rpg blogsphere for years.  Look at many other people’s posts and you’ll probably find a comment from him here or there.

 

I’ve been conversing with him roughly as long as I’ve had my blog and he always has great insight and thoughts.

 

I’m happy to say that he has finally taken the plunge and joined us as a fellow RPG blogger!  Here is his site.  It’s brand new, so there isn’t a whole lot up yet, but give the ol boy time!

 

I’m excited to see what he rolls out!


This Saddens Me…

This doesn’t have to do with role-playing, but mass media..  It makes me sad..  However number 12 made me almost pee my pants laughing.  I thought it was worth sharing…


My Castles and Crusades Hack Incorporating Akratic Wizardry’s House Rules

Last week I mentioned that I was planning to run a game for some friends using Castles and Crusades with the house rules created by Akratic Wizardry.

When I first tired out C&C (Part I and Part II) I created a small area located in a bog and gave mention to a fair sized city up north by the name of Fairweather.  I am going to set the game in this city at the start of a festival that will give the players an array of activities to partake in and as the game furthers interesting choices to make.

After I realized just how much I liked C&C I decided I really would like to use it to run an Swords and Wizardry type game (which is what I had kind of already done with the two sessions, but it needed more focus).  The home brew rules Akratic Wizardry does just that.  I am refocusing the setting I created and have taken out some of the starting races and classes.

Here is my hack of C&C incorporating those house-rules mentioned above.  Many of the classes have been reworked and altered by me.  The Witch is a completely new class that I created for this setting.

Castles and Crusades HACK (PDF Version- Castles and Crusades Hack)

Character Creation-

 Players roll 3d6 eight times, rerolling any rolls of ‘1’ (so the lowest score that a starting character can have in any ability score is ‘6’).  Players drop the lowest score, and assign the other six to their characters’ abilities (strength, intelligence, wisdom, dexterity, constitution, and charisma) as they choose.  If a player’s character does not have at least two ability scores that are 13 or greater, he or she may reroll the entire set.

 

 

New Attribute-

Luck– The luck stat comes into play by burning luck points in order to do several things:

  • Automatically succeed on an ability check.
  • Cause a Target to reroll the attack or damage against you, taking the lower of the two.
  • By burning two luck points the player can add something to the story that is helpful (ie- running down an alley while being chased by goons the player burns the luck and says that there is a door in the ally, allowing them to get away).
  • Catch a Second Wind, giving you back ¼ of your total HP.
  • By burning 3 you automatically score a critical hit.

Luck does not regenerate.  This is to show that characters are lucky and can do the seemingly impossible, however everyone’s luck runs out eventually.

 

Races

Drow

Racial Attributes– +2 Dex, +2 Chr, -2 Con.

Darkvision– A Drow can see 160 ft in the dark.

Drow Immunities– Drow are immune to sleep effects and receive a +2 against Enchantment Spells and effects.

Sneaky- Drow are sneaky and use this to their advantage.  When attempting to Hide or Move Silently they receive +2 to their rolls.

Spell Like Abilities– Change Self, Darkness, and Spider Climb each 1x/day.

Light Blindness– Stunned for 1 round and is receive -2 to all rolls while in affected area.

 

Dwarf

Racial Attributes– +2 Con, +2Wis, -2 Chr.

Hardy– Dwarves receive a +2 to saving throws against Poisons, Spells, and Spell-like Abilities.

Hatred– Dwarves receive a +1 on attack rolls against Orcs and Goblins due to a special training against these enemies.

Darkvision– A Dwarf can see up to 60ft in the dark.

Stonecraft Knowledge– A dwarf lives much of his life in caves, castles, and keeps.  When passing within 10 ft of different types of stone, unique constructions, stonework traps, and structural stability they receive +2 to their Wisdom roll.  If actively looking they receive +4.

Know Direction- A Dwarf’s sense of direction underground is uncanny.  A dwarf knows roughly which direction they are facing and how deep underground they are as if it were second nature.

Slow and Steady– Dwarves move at 20 ft, but their speed is never affected by armor penalties.

 

Elves

Racial Attributes– +2 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Con.

Low-Light Vision– Elves can see twice as far as humans in dim light conditions.

Sharp Senses– Elves are known for their keen sight and heightened hearing.  All Elves receive +2 to sight and hearing based checks.

Move Silently- In the wild Elves are capable of moving silently up to ½ their speed with no penalty.  If the Elf moves faster they suffer -5 to the check.

Elven Immunities– Elves are immune to sleep effects and receive a +2 against Enchantment spells and effects.

Meditative State- Elves enter a meditative dream-like state for 4 hours to feel rested.

 

Half-Elf

Racial Attributes– +2 to any one Attribute Score.

Low-Light Vision– Half-Elves can see twice as far as humans in dim light conditions.

Partial Elven Immunities– Half- Elves receive a +2 against Enchantment spells and effects and sleep effects.

Sharp Senses– Elves are known for their keen sight and heightened hearing.  All Elves receive +2 to sight and hearing based checks.

Mixed Blood– Half Elves are able to make the most of their breeding.  They receive +2 to Charisma rolls when dealing with people.

 

Half Orc

Racial Attributes– +2 to any one Attribute Score.

Dark Vision– Orcs can see up to 60ft in the dark.

Orc Rage- Once Per day a Half Orc can tap into the anger that flows through his veins and become ferocious and dangerous.  An Orc gains +2 to damage and a Damage Reduction of 2 for 1 + his Constitution Modifier rounds.

While this ability is active a Half Orc cannot cast spells or perform tasks that require concentration.  This ability can stack with a Barbarians Rage.

Ferocious Presence– +2 to Charisma checks when intimidating.

Uncanny Sense of Smell- Half-Orcs live and hunt by their sense of smell.  They receive +2 on any perception roll having to do with smell.

 

Humans

Racial Attributes– +2 to any one Attribute Score.

Human Ingenuity– A human receives one additional Primary Attribute.

Human Constitution– Humans start with +4 HP at level 1.

 

Tiefling

Racial Attributes– +2 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Chr

Darkvision– A Tiefling can see 100 ft in the dark.

Spell-like Ability– A Tiefling can tap into their infernal blood and cast Darkness 1x/day.

Infernal Parentage- Choose One: Charm Person or Cause Fear as a Spell-like Ability (this reflects the type of Infernal that sired the Tiefling).  They can use this 1x/day.

Fiendish Resistances– Due to their heritage a Tiefling receives a +2 to any save when dealing with the following types of damage; Cold, Electric, and Fire.

 

Classes-

 

Fighter (Strength)

Level 1- Martial Training– Fighters receive a +2 to any test when attempting to disarming an opponent, Bull Rushing, Shield Bash, Stand Still, and Sunder.

and

Weapon Focus- A Fighter chooses a weapon at level 1 to become their signature weapon.  With this style of weapon they receive +1 to attack and +1 to damage.  At level 7 this bonus increases to +2/+2.

Level 4- Cleave- A fighter can make an additional attack on an adjacent target if the original attack lands.

Level 5- Bravery- A Fighter has tested their mettle against uneven odds and survived.  Fighters get +2 to any saves VS fear.

Level 6- Multi-attack– A Fighter can now make a second attack with a -5 to their Base Attack Bonus.

Level 8- Vital Strike– A Fighter can choose, full action, to put everything into one attack, adding an additional d6 damage+1.

Level 10- Improved Critical- A Fighter can get a critical on an attack roll of 19-20.

Prime Attribute- Strength

Armor Proficiency– All Armor and Shields (including Tower Shields).

 

Level

Hit Dice

Base Attack Bonus

1

d10

+1

2

d10

+2

3

d10

+3

4

d10

+4

5

d10

+5

6

d10

+6

7

d10

+7

8

d10

+8

9

d10

+8

10

d10

+10

11+

+4

+10*

 

Ranger (Strength)

Level 1- Track (Wisdom)- A Ranger is able to pick up the trail of someone or something, or hide tracks so others can’t follow him.  When a Ranger does this they receive a +2 to their Wisdom check.  At Level 3 a Ranger is able to distinguish characteristics of those being tracked.  This can be intimate info should the GM decide to reveal it.

Survival– A Ranger knows how to survive and fight in nature.  Any type of task that is nature related falls into the realm of the Ranger.  This can be from climbing impossible looking cliffs, building, finding, or disabling simple natural traps, camouflaging and hiding in the brush, being able to survive and find food and shelter, and knowledge of herbs and fauna to use to treat poisons and toxins.  Depending on what activity the Ranger is attempting will determine which Attribute is being rolled.

Favored Enemy- The Ranger has studied one enemy that has hounded them in the past.  The Ranger receives +2 to hit the enemy, +2 AC when fighting the enemy, +2 to tracking the enemy, and able to neutralize poisons of the enemy, whether manufactured or natural.

Level 5- Hunters Bond- The Ranger is able to form a strong bond with an animal of the wild.  This animal is extremely loyal to the Ranger (unless obviously abused and mistreated) and will defend the Ranger at all costs.  The type of animal should fit the area and feel of the campaign.  This could be a fox, wolf, mountain lion, black bear, or even a Dire Wolf.  The GM has final approval.

At Level 10 the Animal, from training with the Ranger, gets a +2 to attack and AC.

Level 6- Combat Marauder– A Ranger has trained hard to be most effective against their Favored Enemy.  They receive a bonus to damage that is equal to ½ their Ranger level.  If a Ranger is wearing any armor other than those allowed they lose this ability.

Level 10- Second Favored Enemy- This functions the same as described above.

 Prime Attribute- Strength

Armor Proficiency– Light and Medium Armor and Shields (Except Tower Shields).

Level Hit Dice Base Attack Bonus
1 d10 +0
2 d10 +1
3 d10 +2
4 d10 +3
5 d10 +4
6 d10 +5
7 d10 +6
8 d10 +7
9 d10 +8
10 d10 +9
11+ +4 +9*

 

Rogue (Dexterity)-

Armor- A Rogue suffers no penalty to their abilities while wearing leather armors.  Anything after that suffers a -1 to their abilities per +1 past the +3 of Studded Leather.

Level 1- Back Attack- A Rogue that is successful in sneaking up on a target unawares is able to make an attack at a +4.  If the attack is successful it does double damage.  At 5th level the damage is tripled and at 9th level it is quadrupled.

Climb (Strength)- Rogues are skilled at climbing walls, even ones that are almost sheer.  If a Rogue fails their check, they make no progress.  If the Rogue fails their check by 5 or more they lose their grip and fall and may take falling damage, if applicable.

Decipher Script (Intelligence)- A Rogue can study scripts written in code, archaic, or foreign languages and attempt to get the general idea of what is contained within.  If the check is successful it takes the Rogue 2d8 rounds to fully decipher what is on the parchment.

This can be used to understand arcane writings at a -10.  Divine scripts cannot be understood in this manner.

This can only be attempted once per writing.

Stealth (Dexterity)- Rogues live by the shadow.  When they hide it’s almost as if they are invisible.  A Rogue who moves while hiding can do so at up to ½ their normal pace with no penalty.   At up to full speed it is -5 to the check.

Listen (Wisdom)– Rogues have trained themselves to be able to listen and pick up things other might not.  Listening through a stone wall or door is -10 to the check.  Other materials may have other modifiers.

Open Lock (Dexterity)- The Rogue is able to open locks that others cannot without the use of a key.  The Rouge must have Thieves Tools to do so.

Pick Pocket (Dexterity)- A Rogue may slip something in or out of someone’s pocket or purse.  They can also use this as a sleight of hand maneuver.  A penalty of the person’s level or HD is applied to the roll.

Traps (Intelligence)- A Rogue can use this to find, disable, or set up traps.  Each one requires a separate roll.  A Rogue can use this for magical traps as well, however they are much harder to detect and deal with than mechanical ones.

The GM will determine the modifiers based on the complexity of the trap.

Level 3- Improved Sap– Rogues add +2 to their Attribute Roll using the Sap combat maneuver.

Level 4- Sneak Attack- This functions like Back Attack except that the Rogue needn’t be hiding or moving silently, the victim just needs to be unaware of the attack.  This attack gives +2 to hit and +4 damage.

Level 10- Crippling Strike- A Rogue has learned the art of fighting and exploiting the weaknesses.  On a successful Back Attack or Sneak Attack the Rogue can decide to strike the target in a way that will leave them helpless.  The target must make a Constitution roll or become paralyzed for 1d4+1 rounds.

Primary Attribute- Dexterity

Armor Proficiency– Light Armor and no Shields.

Level

Hit Dice

Base Attack Bonus

1

d6

+0

2

d6

+1

3

d6

+1

4

d6

+1

5

d6

+2

6

d6

+2

7

d6

+2

8

d6

+3

9

d6

+3

10

d6

+4

11+

+2

+4*

 

Barbarian (Constitution)

Level 1- Fast Movement- A Barbarian adds +10 to their movement.

Rage- A Barbarian embraces the ferocity of nature and taps into it.  When a Barbarian rages they gain a damage reduction of one half their level rounded down (minimum of 1), +2 to Damage, and +2 to Wisdom saving throws.  They also incur -2 to AC and -2 to Intelligence checks.  Rage lasts a number of rounds equal to one half the Barbarians level rounded down +1.  This is true except at level one; a Barbarian can rage for 2 rounds.

The damage reduction of Rage stacks with the benefits of Thick Skinned.

A Barbarian is unable to perform spells or tasks that require concentration.

 If all enemies are felled and the Barbarian is still raging he will then turn on his allies.  A Barbarian must make a Wisdom save to avoid doing this.  They do not receive their +2 to Wisdom saves here.

A Barbarian can use this ability once per day.  At level 5 this is increased to 2 times and at level 10 three times.

Primal Force- Barbarians are able to fight through pain and torment.  They receive +1 to saves VS paralysis, petrifaction, polymorph, and death effects.

This increases to +2 at 3rd level, +4 at 6th level, and +5 at 10th level.

Level 3- Brute Force– A Barbarian with a 2-handed weapon is a terrible foe to face.  They add Strength and a half to their damage instead of just the normal strength modifier.

At level 10 this increases to double strength.

Level 5- Primal Vitality- A Barbarian is able to push themselves past the normal physical boundaries and keep fighting.  Once per day a Barbarian can reinvigorate herself regaining 2d8+con HP.

A Barbarian can use this twice per day at level 10.

Thick Skinned– A Barbarian is able to shrug off damage as if it were an annoying gnat.  They are able to ignore one point of damage per attack, magical or mundane.

This is increased to 2 at Level 10.

Level 10- Primal Howl (Charisma)- A Barbarian is able to unleash a scream that rattles those on the battlefield.  On a successful Charisma check -2 those in a 30ft radius suffer -2 to attack and damage for 1d4+1 round.  A Barbarian can use this 1+Charisma modifier per day.

 Primal Attribute- Constitution

 

Armor Proficiency– Light and Medium Armor and Shields (except Tower Shields).

Level

Hit Dice

Base Attack Bonus

1

d12

+0

2

d12

+1

3

d12

+2

4

d12

+3

5

d12

+4

6

d12

+5

7

d12

+6

8

d12

+7

9

d12

+8

10

d12

+9

11+

+5

+9*

 

Wizard (Intelligence)

Level 1- Spells– Through intense study and training a Wizard is able to tap into the mystic energies and cast arcane spells.  A Wizard can cast any spell of any level that they know.  This requires studying from a scroll, another spell book, or from the instruction of another wizard.

Learning a spell requires no roll to be successful but takes 8 hours per spell level to be properly learned.  Wizards start out with all level zero spells and two level one spells and one level 2 spell.  The spells they gain after are from searching forgotten ruins, sifting through ancient tomes of knowledge, etc.

Casting spells drains the Wizard of energy.  To avoid this he must intelligently channel his energies and must make an Intelligence roll, TN is 18, to avoid being drained by his spell.

Level 5- Magical Aptitude– A Wizard has gained a particularly deep understanding of one type of magic; White, Grey, or Black.  They gain +2 to their Intelligence roll when casting those spells.

Primary Attribute- Intelligence

Armor Proficiency– Not proficient with any Armor or Shields.

Level

Hit Dice

BAB

1

d6

+0

2

d6

+1

3

d6

+1

4

d6

+1

5

d6

+1

6

d6

+2

7

d6

+2

8

d6

+2

9

d6

+2

10

d6

+3

11+

+2

+3*

Spell Casting: Exhaustion, Corruption, and Sanity

When Wizards cast ‘white magic’ spells they suffer exhaustion damage equal to one hit point plus one hit point per level of the spell cast (so a Wizard who casts a third level white magic spell would suffer four points of damage).

When Wizards cast ‘grey magic’ spells they suffer exhaustion damage equal to twice the level of the spell cast (so a Wizards who casts a third level grey magic spell would suffer six points of damage).

When Wizards cast ‘black magic’ spells they suffer exhaustion damage identical to that caused by ‘grey magic’ spells (twice the spell level).  In addition, Wizards casting ‘black magic’ spells must make a saving throw (versus ‘spells’ if using a system other than S&W) in order to avoid corruption.  If this saving roll is failed, the magician is corrupted slightly and suffers a loss of temporary Wisdom points equal to the spell level (e.g., 3 points of temporary Wisdom for a third-level spell). Temporarily lost points of Wisdom can be recovered at a rate of one point per complete day of rest and meditation (no other action possible).  The spell ‘Restoration’ will restore instantly all temporarily lost Wisdom points.

Furthermore, if a Wizard casting a ‘black magic’ spell fails his/her saving throw by rolling a ‘1,’ then that Wizard loses one point of Wisdom permanently (so if a Wizard fails his/her saving throw casting a third-level black magic spell by rolling a ‘1,’ he/she would lose one permanent point of Wisdom and two temporary points of Wisdom).  The spell ‘Restoration’ will not restore any permanently lost Wisdom points.

A Wizard whose permanent wisdom score is lowered to 2 becomes insane, and possibly the thrall of an extra-planar demonic force.  He/she henceforth is a non-player character!

Spell Listing

 White-

Level 1- Bless, Bless Water, Cure Light Wounds, Detect Evil, Endure Elements, Light, Obscuring Mist, Protection from Evil, Remove Fear, Resist Elements, Sanctuary, Shield

Level 2- Aid, Consecrate, Remove Paralysis

Level 3- Continual Flame, Glyph of Warding, Magic Circle, Remove Curse, Remove Disease, Water Breathing,

Level 4- Air/Water Walk, Control Water, Create Water, Delay Poison, Cure Serious Wounds, Fire Shield, Remove Curse, Resilient Sphere, Freedom of Movement, Hallow, Minor Globe of Invulnerability, Neutralize Poison,

Level 5- Create Food, Guards and Wards, Transmute Mud to Rock, Wall of Stone

Level 6- Blade Barrier, Faithful Hound, Globe of Invulnerability, Healing Circle, Restoration, Control Weather, True Strike

Grey-

Level 1- Arcane Mark, Change Self, Charm Person, Comprehend Language, Command, Detect Magic, Detect Secret Doors, Erase, Feather Fall, Floating Disk, Hold Portal, Hypnotism, Identify, Ghost Sound, Jump, Mage Hand, Mending, Message, Open/Close, Prestidigitation, Read Magic, Sleep, Sound Burst, Spider Climb, Unseen Servant, Ventriloquist

Level 2- Alter Self, Detect Thoughts, Detect Traps, Fog Cloud, Knock, Levitate, Locate Object, Magic Mouth, Mirror Image, Misdirection, Pyrotechnics, See Invisibility, Shatter, Silence

Level 3- Clairvoyance, Dispel Magic, Fly, Gust of Wind, Haste, Hold Person, Nondetection, Suggestion, Tiny Hut, Tongues

Level 4- Arcane Eye, Charm Monster, Confusion, Detect Scrying, Discern Lies, Dismissal, Emotion, Hallucinatory Terrain, Locate Creature, Scrying, Seeming, Sending, Shout, Solid Fog

Level 5- Dream, False Vision, Feeblemind, Hold Monster, Nightmare, Telekinesis, True Seeing,

Level 6- Anti-Magic Shell, Banishment, Find the Path, Mass Suggestion, Mislead, Project Image

Black-

Level 1- Burning Hands, Detect Undead, Invisibility to Undead, Magic Missile, Shocking Grasp

Level 2- Acid Arrow, Augury, Darkness, Invisibility, Ray of Enfeeblement, Scare, Speak With Undead, Web

Level 3- Animate Dead, Blink, Fireball, Gaseous Form, Invisibility Sphere, Lightning Bolt, Stinking Cloud, Summon Lesser Monster,

Level 4- Dimension Door, Fear, Fire Trap, Ice Storm, Improved Invisibility, Phantasmal Killer, Polymorph, Wall of Fire, Wall of Ice

Level 5- Cloud Kill, Commune, Cone of Cold, Contact Other Plane, Ethereal Jaunt, Flame Strike, Insect Plague, Magic Jar, Passwall, Shadow Conjuration, Summon Monster, Teleport,

Level 6- Bind Elemental, Chain Lightning, Create Undead, Disintegrate, Transmute Flesh to Stone, Shades, Word of Recall

 

Witch (Charisma)-

 Bewitch– A witch is able to beguile a person into believing that she is his best friend.  The target must succeed a Willpower check VS the Witches Charisma roll or he will do pretty much anything that the Witch asks.  If the Witch asks the target to attack friends and allies he is allowed a second Willpower save with a +2. This lasts 1 hour per level.  She can use this ability the same amount of times per day as equal to her Charisma modifier.

Blood Boil– Once per day a Witch can draw dark power from within herself and make the blood of a target boil.  They must succeed at a Constitution Save -2 or be wracked with feverish pain as the innards are cooked.  Targets take 4d6 damage.  Successful save means target takes half damage.

Ravage- A Witch is able to channel her negative energies cause physical pain and wounds on a target but at risk to herself.  The Witch must declare how much damage she wishes to inflict on the opponent, 1-2d6 and then make a Willpower check minus the targets Wisdom modifier.  If she succeeds the target takes that amount of damage.  If she fails then she takes that amount of damage.

 Nightmare– The Witch is a thing of nightmares.  A Witch can turn her gaze upon a target and cause them to see horrible visions.  The Target must succeed a Willpower save VS the Witches Charisma roll or become frightened of the witch, running full bore away from her.  This lasts a number of rounds equal to the Witches Charisma Modifier.

A Witch can use this once per day till level 5 where it increases to two times per day.

Level 5- Succubus/Incubus- You are somehow you have been imbued with the ability of being able to heal yourself by absorbing another person’s life essence through sex.

You and the target (if unwilling) must make opposing Attribute rolls; Your Charisma VS the targets Constitution.  The victim receives a +2 modifier.  If you succeed you heal yourself for 1d6 damage while the target takes that amount.

If you continue to feed on the same victim for more than a 3 of days the target will start looking pale, fatigued, and sickly.  The wounds taken do not show up physically except that they will have low energy and perhaps look starved.

If they succeed against you, you are unable to feed off of them for 24 hours.

Level 5- Hex– A Witch is able to tap into dark powers and direct them at a foe, hindering them.   The target of this check must make a Willpower check -2 or suffer terrible misfortune.  If successful the next roll the target makes must be rerolled and they must take the lowest of the two.

A Witch can cast this once per day until level 8 when it increases to twice a day.

Level 10- Death Hex- The Witch has become shrouded by Dark Powers.  She is able to reach in and snuff out the life energies of an individual.  The target must make a Constitution Save +2.  Failure means the target’s life force starts fading and the target will die in 1d6 rounds.  Success means the target takes 3d6 damage.

A Witch can use this ability once per day.

 Witch Stats

Prime Attribute- Charisma

Hit Dice– d6

Level

Hit Dice

BAB

1

d6

+0

2

d6

+1

3

d6

+1

4

d6

+1

5

d6

+1

6

d6

+2

7

d6

+2

8

d6

+2

9

d6

+2

10

d6

+3

11+

+2

+3*

Starting Gear

Each Character Starts with the Following:

  • Backpack
  • Bedroll
  • Torches x2
  • Rations x 5
  • Waterskin
  • Flintand Steel
  • 1 healing potion (1d8+1 Con)
  • 1 jug of alcoholic beverage (1d8 +1HP, -2 Perception Checks)
  • 1 elixir of invigoration (1d4+2 HP)
  • Hemp Rope (50ft).
  • Adventurer’s Clothing
    • Barbarians- Hide Armor, Light Wooden Shield, and three weapons.
    • Fighter- Chainmail, Light or Heavy Steel Shield and 3 weapons.
    • Ranger- Studded Leather, Tent, and 3 Weapons.
    • Rogue- Studded Leather, Caltrops, Thieves Tools, Dagger, Hand Xbow, and 1 other weapon.
    • Witch- Dagger and 1 other weapon.
    • Wizard- Spellbook, Staff, and 1 other weapon.
  • All Characters start with 50 GP

Special Rules-

Hit Points-

Player characters’ hit points represent only ‘superficial’ damage (i.e., exhaustion, light bruises, minor scrapes, and so forth.).  Because of this, all lost hit points may be recovered by sleeping without interruption for eight full hours.  Resting (not sleeping), or sleeping for less than eight hours, will enable a player character to recover one hit point per full hour of rest or sleep.

Cure Wounds spells and potions of Healing do not heal hit points, but only lost points of Constitution (as explained below).  However, a draught of ‘strong drink’ (ale, wine, liquor) can ‘invigorate’ a character, enabling him/her to recover immediately 1d4 hit points.  Game Masters may also want to allow alchemists to sell ‘Elixirs of Invigoration’ for 200 to 300 gold pieces.  Drinking such an elixir might enable a player character to recover instantly 1d6 + 2 hit points.  Only onesuch draught, whether of strong drink or an elixir, will have this effect per day.

Once a player character’s hit points have been depleted, any further damage is done to the character’s constitution score.  Damage to a character’s constitution score represents ‘serious’ damage.  Every time a character takes damage to his/her constitution, he/she must make a saving throw (versus ‘death’ if using a system other than S&W) or fall unconscious.  In addition, a character that has taken damage to his/her constitution suffers a -2 penalty to all actions (including attack rolls and saving throws).  If a character’s constitution score is reduced to 0 or lower that character is dead.

Characters who have suffered damage to their constitution and have fallen unconscious regain consciousness after eight hours of rest.  If that character’s constitution is still reduced, he/she continues to have 0 hit points and suffers the -2 penalty to all actions until he/she can rest and recover.  Characters subsequently can recover one constitution point for every two days of complete rest (i.e., no travelling or adventuring).  The care of a doctor or other non-magical healer can improve the rate of healing to one constitution point per day of rest.  A character cannot recover any hit points until all constitution points have been recovered.

Sanity

A character’s Wisdom score as a measurement of his/her sanity.  A character with a Wisdom score of 18 has a firm grasp of the nature of reality, considerable self-discipline, and remarkable strength of will.  In contrast, a character with a Wisdom score of 3 is barely lucid, easily confuses reality with fantasy, and is on the border of lapsing into madness. Characters with Wisdom scores of 2 or lower are utterly insane, and must be treated as non-player characters.  (If this Wisdom loss is temporary, as explained below, the character is under the control of the Game Master until he/she regains his/her sanity.)

If a character witnesses an unspeakable horror, the Game Master may require the player to make a saving throw (versus ‘spells,’ if using a system other than S&W). The saving throw should be modified by the severity of the horror in question. If the character fails his or her saving throw, he or she loses points of temporary Wisdom.  The exact amount should be determined by rolling 1d6.  If a ‘6’ is rolled, the character also permanently loses one point of Wisdom (i.e., one permanent point of Wisdom and five temporary points of Wisdom). Temporarily lost points of Wisdom may be regained at a rate of one point per day of complete rest.  The spell ‘Restoration’ (which I treat as a 6th level spell of ‘white magic’ in my game) will restore instantly temporarily lost Wisdom points, but will not restore any permanently lost Wisdom points.

Characters may also lose Wisdom by casting spells that are characterized as ‘black magic’ in nature.  This will be explained in a future post.

Dodge– A character can dodge one attack per round.  Dodging adds +2 to their AC but -4 from any attribute check they make until the beginning of their next turn.


Cool New RPG Swords and Wizardry Setting and Rules Coming and Possibly a New Campaign on the Horizon

The other day Chuck over at Geek Life Project brought a new retro-clone that uses a variant of the Swords and Wizardry rules called “Crypts and Things.”  I looked over the summary of what is in the game, plus the 15 page preview and I have to say I’m looking forward to this.

I also appreciate that the author gave credit where it is due and linked where he took many of his adapted rules from: Akratic Wizardry.  Since I was interested in Crypts and Things I looked these over and I have to say I LOVE the alternate rules for Hit Points, Sanity, and Magic casting and will be absorbing those into my Pathfinder/Castles and Crusades Hack that I run on occasion.

Seeing new rules and takes on settings always gets me excited because I like seeing that creativity is still out there and that constantly rehashing something isn’t always the norm.

New Campaign- Possibly

I will be running a game at the beginning of November for a few friends, some of which are first timers to role-playing and there is a chance that this could be come a semi-regular game (whenever we have that mythical thing called TIME).

Since it is starting off as only one session and my free time is by no means copious I’m having the game start in a moderate sized town by the name of Fairweather.  This will be an extension of the Castles and Crusades Hack I’ve already ran (Part 1 and Part 2).

I plan to use Vornheim, Red Tide (I just purchased this today.  I’ve been reading awesome things about it, and I’m also a fan of Stars Without Number) to aid me in my Sandbox building.

I’m looking forward to breaking in a few newbies to our awesome hobby!

Monday: My Castles and Crusades Hack incorporating Akratic Wizardry’s house rules and a description of my setting.