Sunday, April 15, 2018

Cross Planes Drifter: Atomic Knight for Apes Victorious and Labyrinth Lord

"Following the catastrophic Hydrogen War of 1986, a petty tyrant named the Black Baron ruled a small section of the Midwestern United States with an iron fist. He was opposed by Sgt. Gardner Grayle and the Atomic Knights, who wore medieval suits of armor that were impervious to the Baron's energy weapons, the armor having been irradiated in the war. The other Knights were twins Wayne and Hollis Hobard, Bryndon Smith, the last scientist left on Earth, and brother and sister Douglas and Marene Herald."

Atomic Knight
for Labyrinth Lord
AL L, MV 60', AC 3, HD 6, #AT 1 [sword or lance], THAC0 15, DG 1d8 or 1d6, SV 6 fighter, ML 11, Riding 63%, XP 320

Atomic Knight for Apes Victorious

No. Enc.: 1d6 (2d6+3)
Movement: 30' (10')
Intelligence: Average to High
Psionic Potential: 3d4, inactive
Hits: 2d8
Armor: -6
To Hit: 13
Save: H3
Attacks: 1
Damage: Sword 1d8
Morale: 9
XP: 20

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Domains of Dread: Gaining Corruption Part 1

In ADnD 2E's Domains of Dread, there are thirteen steps to corruption and various changes to a character along that path.

I've decided to convert the Minor Changes tables from page 165.

Minor Changes Table (Roll a d6)
1. You develop darkvision out to 60 feet or if you already have darkvision it increases by 30 feet. However, you have disadvantage on all saving throws while in direct sunlight.

2. Your hands becomes so strong that they can inflict 1d4 bludgeoning damage. However, if you roll a 20 on an attack roll when wielding a non-magical weapon, the weapon breaks after damage is rolled.

3. Your hearing become supernaturally acute and you gain advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks involving hearing. However, you are vulnerable to thunder damage.

4. Your Intelligence increases by +2. However, headaches that accompany it impose disadvantage on Charisma and Wisdom ability checks.

5. Your skin becomes thicker and tougher and you base AC becomes 12. However, the change imposes a -1 to your Dexterity.

6. You gain a +1 to Constitution, Dexterity, or Strength. However, the change imposes a -1 to Charisma, Intelligence, or Wisdom.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Unearthed Arcana: Order Domain

It's that time of the month, Unearthed Arcana is out for April from Wizards of the Coast.

This month is a new cleric domain: the Order domain.

Voice of Authority is, to me, a major departure to their approach to the action economy. I don't know that that is a bad thing, but I doubt it will survive in it's current form.

Order's Dominion is too good, as presented.

Check it out here.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Domains of Dread

I finally went back to my Yawning Portal/Oakhurst game this week after a several month hiatus. Since I had lost some players and gained new ones, I took the game in a very different direction.

We had left off with them getting attacked by a shadow dragon, but as it's breath weapon spewed forth, mists engulfed the characters. Those mists that led to Citadel Cavitius, the domain of Vecna.

My intention is run the ADnD 2E module Die Vecna Die!, but the players might go a different direction.

As I've been reading over Curse of Strahd and my old ADnD 2E products, I'm intending to take a slightly different approach to the Demiplane. My intention is to make travel between the Domains more accessible. Currently, my approach to this is that the Darklords are often too concerned with the torments inflicted upon them by the Dark Powers to notice much and the "locals" being to concerned with mere survival to worry about activating some form of uprising.

This allows my players to move on to a different plot if they so choose.

I'll also be using the following:

I will be using the Alterations to Magic and the Resurrection Madness from Curse of Strahd.

Descent into Darkness form ADnD 2E's Domains of Dread.

Madness from the Dungeon Master's Guide.

I'm also contemplating adjusting Death Saving Throws to DC 15 as it was done in Tomb of Annihilation.

I've gotten one session under my belt and we will see how this goes, I'm really hoping to emphasize the horror of the setting and forcing the characters to face harsh truths.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Creature Crucible: Shadow Swarm for D&D 5th Edition

Shadow swarms are undead that resemble dark exaggerations of the shadows of packs of roving predators.

Dark Hunger. In death, the creature’s shadow breaks free, becoming a new undead shadow hungry for more life to consume.
In some dark and dreadful places, undeath is so prevalent that it draws in even the animals of the land, with their lesser intetellect they ban together to hunt, protect themselves from the monsters that prey even upon their kind, and to grow their ranks. Unlike the shadows of humanoids, these creatures leave little of the mind behind when they consume their prey and the corpse's shadow is drawn to hunt with the swarm.

Undead Nature. A shadow doesn’t require air, food, drink, or sleep, but hunts to constantly beyond the move and to sate it's darker instincts.

Shadow Swarm
Medium undead, chaotic evil

Armor Class 15
Hit Points 36 (8d8) 
Speed 30 ft.
   Str        Dex         Con           Int         Wis        Cha
8 (-1)    18 (+4)   12 (+1)    6 (-2)    10 (+0)     8 (-1)

Skills Stealth +5 (+7 in dim light or darkness)
Damage Vulnerabilities radiant
Damage Resistances acid, cold, fire, lightning, thunder; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Damage Immunities necrotic, poison
Condition Immunities exhaustion, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 16
Languages --
Challenge 2 (450 XP)
Amorphous. The shadow swarm can move through a space as narrow as 1 foot wide without squeezing.

Shadow Stealth. While in dim light or darkness, the shadow can take the Hide action as a bonus action.

Sunlight Weakness. While in sunlight, the shadow has disadvantage on attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws.


Strength Drain. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 16 (4d6 + 2) necrotic damage, and the target’s Strength score is reduced by 1d4. The target dies if this reduces its Strength to 0. Otherwise, the reduction lasts until the target finishes a short or long rest.

If a non-evil humanoid dies from this attack, a new shadow rises from the corpse and joins the swarm 1d4 rounds later.

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Friday, March 30, 2018

D&D Monster Mythology: The Tarrasque

Tiamat was always a vicious and immature tyrant. She never took responsibility for anything, especially her failures. It led to divisiveness within her own family and slowly, over eons, even within the ranks of the chromatic dragons that worshipped her.

She had many grand promises about her victory upon the Prime Material Plane of Faërun and once again, failed to deliver.

But this time, many chromatics, especially the elders had been whispering about what should be done if she failed them all yet again. Especially, with the sacrifices their own kind had made in her most recent schemes.

A subtle and resourceful cabal was formed, they chose no name for it, so it would be harder to trace their actions and they began to seek a new God for their kind. 

Art by Jason Engle

Many of the elders told of the exploits of Tiamat and Bahamut's eldest brother, Vorel. He was a mighty and cunning indigo dragon, his only flaws were his love for his younger brother, Bahamut, and being born without wings. Flaws that Tiamat had exploited to murder him.

Their tales of his exploits, of his prowess, of his brilliance spread like a fever amongst the conspirators of the cabal. A plan began to form. That plan would require the Wand of Orcus and it would be necessary to use it upon her in her home in the Abyss, the Dragonspawn Pits of Azharul.

And what better way to find the Wand than to use Adventurers, the very bane of Tiamat and her chromatics?

The cabal planned long and well and they succeeded. Tiamat lay dead in the Abyss and they had found the remains of long dead Vorel, his skull and his left arm.

And so they elders used their considerable magic to raise him from the dead.

While the elders of the cabal had told of Vorel's exploits and planned for Tiamat's demise, none of them had considered what, if any, side affects there would be to the necromancy they used to bring Vorel back from the dead.

After all, Vorel, the Indigo Dragon, had been dead for many, many eons. Perhaps he had found a form of peace? Perhaps he had become a part of the very Multiverse? Perhaps there wasn't much of his mind left when they raised his body?

The elders immediately knew something was wrong as Vorel's howl  of rage could be heard for miles and like a bolt of deadly lightning he was upon Nicovaren the Black, tearing through the ancient's neck and ripping out his heart. Before Lenavossalorn the Blue could even take flight, Vorel had gouged out her eyes, torn off her wings and gutted her from stem to stern. 

None of the conspirators who raised long dead Vorel survived that long and bloody day. Their actions released a fearsome beast upon Faërun that day. Vorel now roamed the land, destroying anything he crosses. But most know him by the name the Giants had given him, Tarrasque.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018


Over at Tenkar's Tavern, there is a post about the Gatekeeping (keeping others out of RPGs due to rules lawyering or other undesirable and stereotypical behaviors) and comments about Retroclones.

Apparently what started the post were these quotes: 

"we might actually have had to play with our original D&D books instead of derivative pdf files of minor edits to the original game. The horror!" 

"hard for new players? Most of us learned to play it in middle school!

First, I'm 45, I would have been in middle school from 1983 to 1986. I didn't know about DnD until our local B. Dalton's put up a display of ADnD hardcovers in about 1981. There was nowhere locally to buy RPG books until the store I now work for, Comic Book World, added an RPG section in 1985.

Unfortunately, no one I knew played DnD of any edition. I moved to Indiana for High School and only one kid in my entire school liked comics, besides myself and no one played RPGs.

I started playing my sophomore year of College.

Now, when I started this blog, DnD 4 was dead. Pathfinder was new and growing and the OSR had become a thing.

You could not legally get older editions of DnD PDFs legally. I would argue that the OSR and the problems of DnD 4, helped WotC to make a more "classic" stance with DnD 5.

I will tell anyone that even though I had played and GM'd RPGs for over 20 years, that it was the OSR that made me understand the strange resolution systems, importance of magic items, the empowerment of the DM, and really the intentions of the designers of early DnD. 

If you were in middle-school in the later 70s and early 80s and you found an edition of DnD you love, then good for you.

I had to wait until DnD 5E to find that edition, but in the meantime, those "house-ruled PDFs" taught me to love those earlier editions.

I am ashamed to admit that I have wasted some of my life being that prick who wants to be superior. I admit that I was bullied as a young person extensively and when I found my social niche with gamers, I bullied people and emulated the behaviors I faced. I know that I am at least 50% responsible for any conflict that I am in.

But, somewhere along the way I stopped caring about all of that crap and realized that an RPG session should be a group of people, comfortable with the game they are playing, rolling dice and having fun. That's it. Age, religion, ethnicity, economic background, education level, disability--NONE of that matters at the table. If everyone is comfortable and having fun, you all move past are daily grinds and for a few hours, at least, share a story and your imagination with other people.

The only gatekeeping that needs to be done, is making sure the gate is wide open and it won't close on anyone.

So play DnD or any RPG however you like, as long as everyone is comfortable and having fun.

Sadly, this is merely yet another tempest in a teapot.

Cross Planes Drifter: Atomic Knight for Apes Victorious and Labyrinth Lord

"Following the catastrophic Hydrogen War of 1986, a petty tyrant named the Black Baron ruled a small section of the Midwestern United S...