Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope that 2014 was a good year for you and yours.

More importantly, I wish you nothing but the best for 2015!

And hope you get to play more games!!

Looking Forward to 2015

So another year draws near.

With my oldest returning from Orlando, FL we should be getting back to nearly weekly board gaming.  I'm anxious to try FFG's Imperal Assault.

I'm hoping my second youngest daughter's DnD will get a second session and am trying to work that out right now.

I'm looking forward to playing in Ben B.'s game with my son.

I'm anxiously awaiting Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Hopefully, I'm not being suckered again.

Other movies include Kingsman, Avengers 2, and Ant-Man.

Gaming has me looking forward to Robert J. Schwalb's Kickstarter for Shadow of the Demon Lord.

Princes of the Apocalypse for DnD 5th Edition seems to hold some Elemental Evilness and that always gets me going.

I'm we're lucky, 2015 will be filled with fun, good health, family and wonder.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hard Times in Jarlsburg: High Houses Brought Low!

The Hard Times is Jarlsburg's premier source of news (not necessarily truth) and routinely outsells it's competitor, The Cryer.

Extra!

Extra!

Scandal rocks the Dwyer House yet again--death and doom follow the House's dandy!

Baron Bruth Dwyer's eldest son, Kireon, was picked up by members of the Night Watch late last evening after being missing for nearly three days.  Kieron and the Ambassador from Iron Hall, Tibido Hammerstone were last seen leaving Yuseph's Gala on the Oleander on the evening of their disappearance.  While their absence was a source of concern, the young man and his young dwarf companion are known as voracious "pub crawlers" and layabouts.

However, at some point their "romp" turned tragic as members of the Watch found Kireon unconscious and "drugged" and discovered the mutilated corpse of Tibido mere feet from the "heir apparent" of the House Dwyer.

Kireon is currently in the Watch's custody and the murder scene, the former Patrone Home which has been abandoned for over over a decade, has been thouroughly investigated.

Rumors of cult involvement reached this reporter and I have confirmed that the Prime Minsister's Special Task Force on Cult Activity found the young Dwyer.

More as the story develops.

Hera Kirck, Gibbons Beat Reporter
Early-Day Edition on the 32nd Day of Deck in the Second Hundred and Twenty First Year of Thronehold

What I played in 2014

This year has been dominated by DnD 5th Edition.  Wether it was starting the year playtesting and showing it off to my customers or playing it as part of DnD Encounters it dominated my gaming time.

Currently I'm in a sweet game by Ben B. that saw us complete the Phandelver adventure in the Starter set and sees us about to move farther north along the Sword Caost.

I've also both DM'd and played Hoard of the Dragon Queen and have a cool elf named Quarion.

I've dabbled with a wee bit of Dragon Age, Numenera, and Feng Shui 2, but find myself coming back to fantasy.

I've closed out the year playtesting the wonderfully dark and nasty Shadow of the Demon Lord by Robert J. Schwalb.

In years past, I've written about running 2 or even 3 regular games, but right now, 1 is enough and I'm enjoying playing.

And, yes, I still get butterflies every time I run.

Prime Materials: Dagger of the Red Shadow for D&D 5th Edition


Dagger of the Red Shadow


Weapon (dagger), very rare  

The Red Shadow are legendary assassins whose master, To Tonkin, is said to hail from the Shadowfell.  

To Tonkin began recruiting and training his agents nearly one hundred years ago and has earned equal measures of fear and respect from rulers all over the continent.  To this day, To Tonkin himself is a boogeyman used by High Elf parents to frighten unruly children in the East.

Those who wield these daggers gain +1 to hit and damage.

Shadow Walker (requires attunement) Assassins who are attuned to these daggers, have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks to hide and score a critical hit on a roll of 19-20.

Red glare (requires attunement) Wielders who have the Acolyte background and are attuned to these daggers, have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) and Intelligence (Investigation) checks.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a joyful and wonderful Holiday Season.

Thank you for reading my blog this year.

Now get back to spending time with loved ones and hopefully good food and napping!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

We've Cleared the Lost Mine of Phandelver or One Door Closes and Another Door Opens

Our Thursday group, run by the wonderful Ben B. just wrapped up the Lost Mines of Phandelver and stabilized the village of Phandalin.  We started this game right around the release of the DnD 5th Edition Starter Set.  And we just finished it.

And it was awesome.

Sure we joked about other groups that "cleared" it in a week or two.  But we didn't.  We investigated and bickered and built in-game relationships and we have a pretty clear idea of who are characters are and what motivates them.

As a a matter of fact, when the game picks up in two weeks and we hit level 5, not all of the characters are going on to Neverwinter.  My character, Hollis (Halfling Barbarian), Bruenor (Dwarf Wizard), and Kesh (Dragonborn Fighter) are staying in Phandalin to build a brewery (Bruenor), learn elven (me), goblin (Kesh), become sherif and possibly mayor (me) and establish a trade route to Mithral Hall (Kesh).



It's pretty cool.

The rest of the party is following Singular to Neverwinter.  I'll be making a new character (still not sure what) and we'll be adding a Monk and a Warlock and a Cleric.

Its what a game should be.

I'm proud to be playing in it.

I hope everyone enjoys the the Starter as much as we did.

As an aside, I vastly prefer the sandbox style of the Starter vs the railroad of the Tyranny of Dragons books (and I understand why they had to be different, but I hope Princes of the Apocalypse shares more with the Starter than the first campaign).


Hard Times in Jarlsburg: A Task Worth Undertaking

The Hard Times is Jarlsburg's premier source of news (not necessarily the full truth) and routinely outsells it's competitor, The Kryer.

Extra!

Extra!

The Oleander Council and High Inquisitor Lot have been extra busy.  In the wake of the devastation at the Caliban Club, a Task Force has been created to oversee the slew of cult related activity within the city over the last year.

I guess the citizens should be thankful that the activities have finally affected our richest and most powerful?  Perhaps the Caliban Club should have been amongst the first casualties in these callous and cruel chicaneries!

The Task Force is being overseen by a "Silvercloak" of long standing, Inquisitor Wolverton Kincaid and he has chosen to staff comprise with the first responders from the Caliban Club case, who, if reports are to be believed have already faced off against some "demonic embryo", according to official report from the scene.

Rumors have circulated that the Task Force has already been investigating the Red Travellers of Ruth, who were exiled from Thronehold several years ago, after being accused of grifting several members of the Royal Family.




The Red Travellers are suspected to be lead by Giteon Rojas, the older brother of Gilroy, Lord General of the Adamantine Battle Legion which has recently been hired to defend the Line of Slovachia against the Blizzard King's rebel forces.

Giteon disappeared nearly two decades ago while in the service of Queen Selestia IV of Floria during the Siege of Ram Poon.

There are whispers that Red Travellers revere the ancient Red Death, whose worshipers was banished from the Twin Rivers region over 1000 years ago.

More as this story develops.

Melynda Dae Odell, Yeti Beat Reporter
Evening Edition on the 17th Day of Deck in the Second Hundred and Twenty First Year of Thronehold.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Primeval Thule: Tribal Outcast for D&D 5th Edition

Backgrounds here are bases on the Narratives in Primeval Thule, so they will gain abilities as a character levels.  They are only intended for use in the Primeval Thule setting and are not designed to be mixed with standard Backgrounds.

Also, some of the abilities require the expenditure of a resource, for this reason and for how dangerous the setting is, each character gains the Lucky Feat for free and may take the Lucky Feat one additional time.


Tribal Outcast


Areas of Proficiency (1st level): You are proficient in Nature and Survival.

Langauges (1st level): One of your choice.

Tools (1st level): One of your choice.

Isolated Action (Level 1):  You can spend a Luck point when you make an attack roll against a target, and if no creatures other than you are adjacent to that target, you have advantage on the attack roll.
A New Identity (6th level): You pick up the practices of a new life, and while you’ll always have your heritage, you have new experiences that mold you. You gain the 1st-level Skill Bonuses from a second background from Primeval Thule. You can only apply the bonus from one background at a time.
Optionally this is a feat and can only be taken if you have this background and are at least 4th level, additionally you gain +1 Charisma.

Triumphant Return (10th level): Your former tribe is ready for reconciliation. Whether you accept the offer is up to you, but as a token of sincerity, you have been given a tribal heirloom. Work with your GM to choose an appropriate magic item of (up to 25,000 gp in value), which is yours until you return it to your tribe.
Optionally this is a feat and can only be taken if you have this background and are at least 8th level.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hard Times in Jarlsburg: Hellfire Rages through Coppertown

The Hard Times is Jarlsburg's premier source of news (not necessarily the full truth) and routinely outsells it's competitor, The Kryer.

Extra!

Extra!

The infamous Montauk House caught fire and collapsed this evening just prior to midnight, several people are confirmed dead!!!!

The Montauk House has been the home of the prestigious Caliban Club, whose members count amongst the rich and powerful from all over the continent, for the last 66 years.  It has been confirmed by a seargent of the Watch that at least two members lost their lives in the blaze.


Montauk House prior to the devastation.

Witnesses report that nearly half a dozen members of the Watch, mostly Ironcloaks, were seen moving cautiously into the Club before it caught fire and strange tremors brought the whole structure down and caused minor damage to the surrounding block.

One witness, Pervy McClintock of Paulson Avenue claims to have seen a battle between an Ironclad and a "wicked black figure who moved along the outside of der house like a spider or rat or spider-rat!"

Thus far the only comment from the Watch has been that "an investigation is ongoing".

Just after the collapse one of the Caliban Clubs Black Carriages was seen retrieving a man from the site, the man had been surrounded by Ironcloaks before his departure.

Over a dozen witness claimed to have smelled foul odors emanating from the Club and heard battle prior to its destruction.  Several of them compared the smell to brimstone.

The Caliban Club was founded 107 years ago by Sebastian and Nicollette Halifax, as a private club whose membership is closely guarded secret.  The club had been based in Thronehold until unproven allocations of diabolism made the Inner Circle, the Club's leadership, decide to relocate to the Montauk House.

The Montauk House was the site of the mass murder of the Bischoff family, seventeen family members and thirteen servants, on the Feast of Narwhal 86 years ago.  While Willem Doobwah, the only survivor of the massacre, was found guilty of the crime and hung, many at the time doubted his guilt.

More as this story develops.

Gershwin Verge,  Elder Beat Reporter
Early Morning Edition on the 4th Day of Deck in the Second Hundred and Twenty First Year of Thronehold.

While I was Sleeping...

Apparently something called #gamergate occurred.  Apparently it caused quite the fuss.  Apparently someone made a card game about it and it got banned from OneBookShelf.com.  Supposedly, Evil Hat threatened to pull their products.

Wow.  I work in a comics and games store and this whole thing is crazy to me.  I'm really glad that half my staff is female, that we welcome everyone in the store and we don't have to deal with and wouldn't tolerate any form of harassment.  I'm also glad, that I'm learned to live "without drama" and wish more people would.

As an aside, I used to thrive on drama and spent nearly two decades, generally in some form of conflict over gaming.  I finally realized I was, at minimum, 50% of any conflict I was in and adopted the "No Drama" mantra.  Things came full circle when a player who was ready to take a break, but didn't no how to articulate it, started trying to cause drama and I pulled him aside and told him take some time off.  Done, no hard feelings, no anger, just take some time.  Good for everyone.  Life is to short to do something you don't enjoy.  It was nice to avoid conflict.

Now, back to this "issue".  If OneBookShelf.com feels they need to pull a title, that's there decision (I wouldn't have bought either way).  But if Evil Hat really used their "weight" to pressure OBS, that sucks.  Now, I won't lie I'm no fan of Evil Hat.  I was foolish enough to waste years waiting for FATE and then stared at this game engine that is supposed to be lean and story based, but has the complexity of Shadowrun.  That provides rules for things we've all done in games for years, without said rules.

Sadly, I should've just played Hero Wars/HeroQuest.

I was stupid enough to wait way too long first for Spirit of the Century and then the Dresden Files.  Along the way, let's just say I realized I don't see eye to eye with the creators.  They rub me the wrong way.  If this latest action is true, well let's just say that I'll simply make their products special order only in my stores.  Not that thats a big deal, because I can't give FATE products away.  But thats just my store.

Honestly, I hope this thing goes away.  I hope everyone involved grows up and learn to live a less dramatic life.  I hope the game makers remember that we only expect them to make games.  And I hope the game players, realize that playing games should be a pass time and fun.
I'd like to say that I'll pick up the Gamer Gate Card game to support the publisher, but I'd never play it.  And thats what game are for.  But, I hope they sell some copies.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

In the Shadow of the Demon Lord

As I've mentioned before I'm super jazzed about Robert J. Schwalb's forthcoming RPG, Shadow of the Demon Lord.  I was incredibly lucky to get to demo it with Rob, himself and I invite all of you to get your Local Game Store to set up a demo with him on his Facebook page.

Additionally, Rob's been giving previews of the game each week on his blog and implore everyone to get a sneak peak at what the new game is shaping into.

As much as I enjoy DnD 5th Edition, the previews of Shadow of the Demon Lord showcase a game engine that's highly functional, yet stays out of the way when not needed.  I can't wait.

My Appendix N

Trey over at From the Sorcerer's Skull posted his Appendix N yesterday and I decided to follow suit.

I didn't start reading fantasy novels until after I started gaming, so it was in college and I was probably 18 or 19.  My roots lean more to other other media.

This list is in roughly chronological order:

Herculoids introduced me to Science Fantasy, my favorite sub-genre to this day.

Clash of the Titans made me love mythology and learn the legends of the Greeks and Romans.  Sadly, the film never lived up to my expectations...until the remake.

Thundarr the Barbarian was an awesome combination of Star Wars and Post-Apocalyptic action, its still my favorite cartoon of all time.

Masters of the Universe toys and cartoons are still a huge part of my life and they established my deep love for Science Fantasy and shaped my basic preferences going forward for high octane fantasy.

Arak, Son of Thunder from DC Comics was the first fantasy comic I ever read and I still dig it.  I used to try to convince my 11 year old self that maybe he was Thundarr's son.

Conan the Barbarian comics from Marvel (Roy Thomas and John Buscema) introduced me to grittier fantasy and swords and sorcery.

The Belgariad by David Eddings was a gift from a member of my gaming
group our first Christmas together.  I was a bit sad that he got my best friend some Forgotten Realms novels.  But then I read the series and really, really adored it.  It shaped my opinions of magic and fueled my hatred for DnD's "Vancian" magic for years.



Robert E. Howard's work really fueled my love for dark fantasy and fantastic horror.  It permeates my game mastering to this day.

Robert Lee Byers's Thayan Trilogy of Undead, Unclean and Unholy for the Forgotten Realms are among my top DnD novels and I am a huge fan of the man's work.

Patrick Rothfuss' Name of the Wind is in the top 3 of my favorite novels of all time.  Its an amazing work, but I read it believing his trilogy was completed and now, I refuse to finish until that day comes.  I'm not going to get "George R.R. Martined".


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Primeval Thule: Starlore Adept for D&D 5th Edition

Backgrounds here are bases on the Narratives in Primeval Thule, so they will gain abilities as a character levels.  They are only intended for use in the Primeval Thule setting and are not designed to be mixed with standard Backgrounds.

Also, some of the abilities require the expenditure of a resource, for this reason and for how dangerous the setting is, each character gains the Lucky Feat for free and may take the Lucky Feat one additional time.


Star-lore Adept


Areas of Proficiency (1st level): You are proficient in Arcana.

Langauges (1st level): Choose one from Benthic, Draconic, or Mi-Go.

Tools (1st level): Magical Devices.

Potent Lore (Level 1):  You can spend a Luck point as a free action on your turn to increase the caster level of the next arcane spell you cast by +4. By calling upon the arcane secrets of alien races, star-lore adepts can create unex- pectedly powerful magical effects.

Mystic Signs (6th level): Through mystic gestures and motions, you can identify yourself as an initiate in unearthly lore to creatures that are otherwise hostile to humans and their ilk. You have advantage on any Charisma checks or savings throw when dealing with any extraterrene or extraplanar creatures.
Optionally this is a feat and can only be taken if you have this background and are at least 4th level.

The Stars Are Right (10th level): Once during each character level at 10th level and above, you can call upon powerful alien entities to perform services for you. This functions as the extraterrene calling spell, except that you can use the spell even if you are not normally able to cast it. You need not provide the ally with any payment, since it has little interest in terrestrial possessions.
Optionally this is a feat and can only be taken if you have this background and are at least 8th level.



Extraterrene Calling4th-level conjuration

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 50 feet.
Components: V, S, M (offerings worth at least 500 gp) 
Duration: Instantaneous

By casting this spell, you call out to your patron Great Old One to send you an extraterrene creature of 6 Hit Dice or less. You may ask the creature to perform one task in exchange for a payment from you. Tasks might range from the simple tothe complex. You are able to communicate with the crea- ture called for the purposes of establishing this bargain.

On behalf of the Great Old One it serves, the creature called requires a payment for its services. The payment depends on the nature of the Great Old One, and may involve valuable gifts, living sacrifice, or some other action or service that you provide that aligns with the entity’s goals and can be completed within an agreed upon timeframe. The bargaining takes at least 1 round, so any actions by the creature begin in the round after it arrives.

At the end of its task, or when the duration bargained for expires, the creature returns from whence it came.

When you use a calling spell that calls an air, chaotic, earth, evil, fire, good, lawful, or water creature, it is a spell of that type.

Special: Your patron deity must be a Great Old One.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 6th level or higher, you may call a single extraterrene creature of 12 Hit Dice or less, or two creatures of the same kind whose Hit Dice total no more than 12, but they require an offering worth 1250 gp.  When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 8th level or higher, you may call a single extraterrene creature of 18 Hit Dice or less, or up to three creatures of the same kind whose Hit Dice total no more than 18, but they require an offering worth 2500 gp.





 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Jarlsburg: Earthquakes and Lightnin'

We made characters for the next chapter of Jarlsburg monday night.  I have a Goblin Rogue, a Warforged Fighter, a second Warforged Fighter and a Tiefling Wizard.  Well not really, because I'm not running DnD, but since I'm playtesting a rules set, I'll keep the specifics quiet.

The set up will have to do with the prophecies of an insane young woman, named Mina Blake.

High Inquisitor Lot has seen enough of her ravings proving true in the past few weeks, that he takes heed of her predictions showing the destruction of a local landmark and assembles the team she's named in her vision.

While he will try to stop the vision, he will call together the people she shows him drawings penned in her own blood.

The people in her terrible drawings are, of course, the players.

It will lead them into a confrontation with the owner's of the property destroyed, the Caliban Club (think the hell-fire clubs of 19th century).

It will start with a dark and stormy night and only get worse from there...



Daughters & Dragons: Greti for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Editon.

My 10 year old daughter ran the Lost Mines of Phandelver for my son, his friend and sunday afternoon.  She quickly adjusted the plot and locale and had us tracking a Hobble Gobble, one of several monsters she made up on the spot.  Here is her second monster.




Greti             
Large humanoid, unaligned                                         

Armor Class 13 (Natural Armor)

Hit Points 17(2d10+3) 
Speed 35 ft.

   Str            Dex         Con           Int         Wis         Cha
19 (+4)     11 (+0)     16 (+3)      8 (-1)     13 (+1)     6 (-2)

Skills Athletics +6, Stealth +2
Senses passive Perception 10
Languages -
Challenge 1/8 (25 XP)

ACTIONS
Melee Attack—Maul +6 to hit (reach 10 ft.; one creature). 
Hit: 1d6+3 slashing damage.

Ranged Attack—Stink Cloud (Recharge 6) Every creature in a 30 ft. radius must make a DC 11 Constitution check or have disadvantage on all attack rolls until the end of their next turn.



The Greti or Grizzly Yeti is the angrier, more ferocious cousin to the Yeti and is the apex predator of the woods surrounding Phandelver.




Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hard Times in Jarlsburg: Vigilantes Prowl Quagmire

The Hard Times is Jarlsburg's premier source of news (not necessarily truth) and routinely outsells it's competitor, The Cryer.

Extra!

Extra!

Quagmire has been the site of recent vigilante attacks recently, for the third time in as many weeks, a group known as the Shield of Valor has claimed responsibility for "shutting down" criminal operations that are purported to be linked to the Rickenbacher Cartel, which is widely suspected to "run" Yeti, the northern quarter of the city.



Thus far, a brothel (who's "workers" were being held against their will), a spice house (specializing in Spider and Lemming), and as of last night, a warehouse that seemed to be serve as a weapons cache for the Cartel, have all been targets.  While no one was hurt, all members linked to the Rickenbacher's operations were found naked and chained together outside the nearest Watch House.

A letter, sent to this fine beacon of truth, was sent from the Shield of Valor and they "vow to clean up the streets of Quagmire, one criminal operation at a time!"

Neither Yuma nor Yolanda Rickenbacher could be reached for a comment.

More as the story develops.

Melynda Dae Odell, Yeti Beat Reporter
EarlyMorning Edition on the 32nd Day of Novem in the Second Hundred and Twenty First Year of Thronehold

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I got to Play Shadow of the Demon Lord with Robert J Schwalb...

and it was awesome!

Rob's game, Shadow of the Demon Lord won't launch as a Kickstarter until sometime in the spring of 2015, but he's doing a one man tour of several states, including Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, etc. to demo his new game at any local game store willing to host.

When I saw his plans, I jumped at adding Comic Book World to the list.  A few e-mails later and the date was ironed out and then, sadly, I had to wait three whole weeks to play.

Three.  Whole.  Weeks.

Yeah, I know, first world problems.  I get it.

The wait was worth it though.  Rob ran 10 of us through a great adventure fans of Warhammer's Old World could sink their teeth into!

We were a group of inquisitors looking for a priest who delved into Things Man Was Not Meant to Know and ended up getting sidetracked to a farm where horrific creatures were slaughter pigs and halflings alike.

It was great, one of the player's even killed other PC's with an ill timed spell.

Rob's game cuts through much of the clutter that while cool in games like DnD, aren't necessary and hums to life when needed, but isn't afraid to be quiet when its not in use.  And that was explicitly one of Rob's design goals.  Boy, did he succeed!

A special sweet spot for me is that the game is a great way to run games in a similar vein to the Warhammer Fantasy Role Playing Game, which is great as I'm not a big fan of the 3rd edition rules.

If you can talk your store into hosting a demo, do it right now!  And I'll keep you posted on the Kickstarter when it launches.


Daughters & Dragons: Hobble Gobble for D&D 5th Edition

My 10 year old daughter ran the Lost Mines of Phandelver for my son, his friend and sunday afternoon.  She quickly adjusted the plot and locale and had us tracking a Hobble Gobble, one of several monsters she made up on the spot.  I'm going to share those creations over the next few weeks and hopefully she'll keep giving me ideas to share!




Hobble Gobble             

Medium monstrosity, unaligned                                          

Armor Class 13 (Natural Armor)

Hit Points 11(2d8+2) 
Speed 50 ft.

   Str            Dex         Con           Int         Wis         Cha
12 (+1)     13 (+1)     10 (+0)      4 (-3)     10 (+0)     5 (-3)

Senses passive Perception 10
Languages -
Challenge 1/8 (25 XP)

ACTIONS
Melee Attack—Peck +3 to hit (reach 10 ft.; one creature). 
Hit: 1d6+1 piercing damage.


Ranged Attack—Gullet Bullet (Rechard 5-6) +3 to hit (range 50 ft..; one creature). 
Hit: 1d10+1 bludgeoning damage.


The Hobble Gobble haunts the woods in the area around Phandelver.  Many parents use the Hobble Gobble as a bogey man of sorts to frighten their children into obedience.





Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a safe and fun Thanksgiving filled with great food, friends, and family.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Primeval Thule: Soothsayer Background for D&D 5th Edition

Backgrounds here are bases on the Narratives in Primeval Thule, so they will gain abilities as a character levels.  They are only intended for use in the Primeval Thule setting and are not designed to be mixed with standard Backgrounds.

Also, some of the abilities require the expenditure of a resource, for this reason and for how dangerous the setting is, each character gains the Lucky Feat for free and may take the Lucky Feat one additional time.


Soothsayer


Areas of Proficiency (1st level): You are proficient in Arcana, Insight, and Religion.

Langauges (1st level): One of your choice.

Tools (1st level): Two of your choice.

Foretelling (Level 1):  Once per day, you can perform a foretelling for one ally within 30 feet. This requires one minute, and you cannot foretell for yourself.   Roll a d20 three times and record the results in order. You can spend a Luck point at any time to substitute the first d20 roll for a d20 roll made by the target ally, or made by an enemy attacking the target ally. The target ally need not be in sight, and you do not need to be able to take an action or even be aware of the ally’s situation—you performed your foretelling earlier, and now it is unfolding. If you have a second Luck point available, you can substitute the second d20 roll after you use the first, and if you have a third Luck point available, you can use the third roll after you use the first and second.
Hear Sooth (6th level): You gain advantage when interacting with merchants, nobles, and other people of wealth. In addition, your reputation as a soothsayer leads powerful individuals to seek out your assistance. You gain a moderate income (30 gp per month) from wealthy patrons who request your counsel.
Optionally this is a feat and can only be taken if you have this background and are at least 4th level, additionally you gain +1 Charisma.

Prophecy Revealed (10th level): Once during each character level at 10th level and above, you
gain a special insight into an important situation or challenge you face by recognizing the signs of old prophecies coming true or discerning the meaning of a powerful omen. This allows you to ask the GM for a hint in the current situation, however if the GM determines that there is no additional information or special insight available, you do not expend this use of the ability.
  Optionally this is a feat and can only be taken if you have this background and are at least 8th level, additionally you gain +1 Intelligence.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Prime Materials: Medium Armor for Druids in D&D 5th Edition


Druids have access to medium armor, but only if doesn't use metal.  Thanks to a suggestion from Joshua Wardrop, I've decided to brainstorm some options for druids.

Angel Feather.  Some druids are giving boons from devas serving their god, to either reward them or to signal that they are destined for something special.  The armor is only designed for them and will not fit anyone else and fall into dust upon their death.  It covers the body like scale mail.

Bulette Armor.  Made of bulette hide and covers the body like half plate.

Dinosaur Scale Armor.  Made of very types of dinosaur scales and covering the body like scale mail.

Giant Lizard Armor.  Made of giant lizard scales and covering the body like a chain shirt.

Tortoise Shell Armor.  Made of tortoise shells overing the body like breastplate.


Medium Armor    Cost      AC    Weight    Stealth

Angel Feather   Special   AC 14 + Dex (max 2)  5 lb.

Giant Lizard   100 gp   AC 13 + Dex (max 2)  35 lb.

Dinosaur   150 gp  AC 14 + Dex (max 2)  15 lb.  Disadvantage

Tortoise   100 gp   AC 14 + Dex (max 2)  15 lb.

Bulette   1000 gp   AC 15 + Dex (max 2)  30 lb. Disadvantage


Monday, November 24, 2014

Masters of the Universe Monday: Stereoacative for D&D 5th Edition


I love He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  Awhile back, I wrote up a character while brainstorming it as a setting.  Now I have decided to expand on that.

Basically, I've bolted Gamma World 7th Edition's Origins onto 5E using this site.





Stereoactive
(Seismic/Radiation)
4th Level Fighter
Follower of He-Man
                                             
Armor Class 12
Hit Points 39 (4d10+12) 
Speed 25 ft.
Initiative +1

          
   Str        Dex      Con       Int        Wis      Cha
  18 (+4)        14 (+2)       16 (+3)      15 (+2)      11 (+0)       13 (+1)

Background Entertainer
Skills Acrobatic +4, Intimidation +3, Perception +2, 
Performance +3
Saves Strength +6, Constitution +5
Tools Disguise Kit, Vocals
Senses passive Perception 10
Languages Common
Proficiency +2


Marksman (Archery)
Second Wind
Action Surge
Danger Sense

Martial Archetype Champion
Improved Critical



ACTIONS
Ranged Attack—Stereo Blast +4 to hit (range 100 ft.; one creature). 
Hit: 1d8+2 thunder damage.

Ranged Attack—Stereo Burst  (5 ft. radius centered on you).  
Effect: All enemies must make a DC 14 Constitution save or take 1d6+4 thunder damage and you knock any targets prone.


Seismic
Advantage when using Charisma (Deception) checks.

Armored Skin Resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.

Ponderous Speed is 25 feet.


Radioactive
Advantage on Intelligence (Investigation) checks.

Gamma Tolerance Resistance to radiant damage.

Radioactive Critical When you score a critical hit, your target is weakened until the end of your next turn.

Hawking Portal You and up to two allies within 50 feet may teleport to any spot within 50 feet of your current location.  Additionally, anyone who teleports heals hit points equal to 5 + your level.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hoard of the Dragon Queen Chapter 4: High Holy Day (Trade Way Event)

I was disappointed to note that the Trade Way Event chart in Chapter 4 of Hoarde of the Dragon Queen listed this event but then seemed to omit it. This isn't the end of the world, unless your quickly getting up to speed because your DnD Encounters group is big enough to split and you have about 15 minutes to prep and then you roll "High Holy Day" and nothing.

So here is what I worked up in a matter of a few seconds:

A heartwarder of Sune, Tyra Silk (Human Cleric, Level 4) is a pilgrim headed to the Radiant Chapel in Waterdeep who asks the Caravan Master to stop a few hours before sunset so the journey can be blessed by Lady Firehair with a celebration of her holy day, the Ruby Fete.  Silk is popular amongst the caravan for her flirting, beauty, kindness and the aid she has given throughout the journey.  While the Caravan Master is dubious, Silk is able to convince him of the benefit for a good journey and continued morale.  Of course, the Fete can easily becomes a raucous affair and is a great time for players to snoop and for the Cult to do so, as well.  Its also a good way to introduce some of the NPC's in the chapter.

Tyra is smart, savvy and great with people.  As a heartwarder she has taken on several lovers on the journey already and is very aware of what is happening amongst the caravan.  She is a good listener and truly cares for the people around her.  While not much a combatant, she is a trained healer and gladly uses Sune's gifts to aid anyone she can.  The primary reason for her pilgrimage to the Radiant Temple is to inform its' First Mistress of Sune, Chloe Blume, of the attack on Greenest by the Cult of the Dragon, but has no further information to aid the players.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Prime Materials: Dynamo, a wand for D&D 5th Edition


Dynamo

Wand, uncommon

Rumors persist that Dynamo was given to the Blackstaff by his master upon finishing his apprenticeship.  However, many assume that if the wand really did belong to the archmage, he'd have sought it out at some point in the intervening years.  Darker rumors about a curse that follows the wand occasionally is gossiped about amongst mages over tea.  They story insists that the wand is the resting place of an ancient evoker who is stealing the life energy of its wielders, so that he may one day return to life.


Dynamo has 1d4 charges that reset at dawn each day.  You may spend one charge to bump the damage dice of a spell by one step (from d6 to d8, etc.).


Force Multiplier (requires attainment) Evokers who are attuned to Dynamo, may spend one charge to add one additional damage die to a spell.

This Way to Jarlsburg

As I go about planning my next Jarlsburg game, I'm leaning toward moving away from focusing on the Ironcloaks and going in a different direction.

My first idea for the set up would be to focus on the Silvercloaks (more inquisitors/investigators) who deal with the strangest cases in the city and work under High Inquisitor Lot.  This game would be less of the day to day cases and handle the more bizarre and dangerous stuff most the city is never aware of.

The second idea would be for them to be working for the Lunar Court, this would allow them to be more unusual "races", vampires, lycanthropes, ghosts (and I would probably use Gamma World 7th Edition Origins to simulate those).  This would be a more political game as they have to maneuver through the supernaturals that reside in and manipulates the city.

The third idea would see them as members of Shemmy's Social Club, Jarlsburg's very own thieves' guild.  The game would focus on Adder Vitriol trying to consolidate power (they'd either work for or against him) and deal with the Club deciding to take on the Witengamot -- revolutionaries who are trying to install democracy through mind control.

I'll probably poll my player's to see if they have strong preferences, as I don't have a clear cut favorite.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Back This: Silent Legions

Kevin Crawford (Stars Without Numbers, Scarlet Heroes) has a new kickstarter that is a sandbox approach to the Cthulhu Mythos that are compatible with most OSR games based off the World's First RPG.

It's called Silent Legions.

And if you back it, you immediately get the beta rules!

Check it out.

Prime Materials: Sunderstorm for D&D 5th Edition


Sunderstorm

Weapon (great club), rare

Umberlee chose the Dance Macabre, a pirate ship that prowled the sword coast, as the raw material to create this vaunted great club.  The storm the Bitch Queen raised shattered ship and crew until all that was left was a splinter of her mast.  A splinter that help all of Umberlee's ferocity and furor, that yearned to break and shatter.



You have a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon.  Additionally, you may deal thunder damage instead of bludgeoning damage.
Storm Trooper You gain resistance to lightning and thunder damage while wielding Sunderstorm.


Seawolf (requires attunement) If you have the pirate background, you score a critical hit on a 19-20 while wielding Sunderstorm.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Primeval Thule: Sacred Slayer for D&D 5th Edition

Backgrounds here are bases on the Narratives in Primeval Thule, so they will gain abilities as a character levels.  They are only intended for use in the Primeval Thule setting and are not designed to be mixed with standard Backgrounds.

Also, some of the abilities require the expenditure of a resource, for this reason and for how dangerous the setting is, each character gains the Lucky Feat for free and may take the Lucky Feat one additional time.

Sacred Slayer


Areas of Proficiency (1st level): You are proficient in History and Stealth.

Langauges (1st level): One of your choice.

Tools (1st level): Two of your choice.

Slayer's Strike (Level 1):  When you spend a Luck point to gain a bonus before an attack roll, you can make a slayer’s strike instead. You gain advantage to the attack roll, and your attack deals 2d6 extra damage if you hit. In addition, if the target is a special enemy of your god (see the sidebar on page 265), the target must su ceed on a Constitution save (DC 8 + your Proficiency bonus + your Wis modifier) or die.
Sacred Relic (6th level): In recognition for your service to the temple, you are granted custody of a holy relic that can aid you in your duties. Choose one of the following: +1 weapon, +1 armor, +1 bracers of armor, +1 cloak of resistance, ring of mind shielding (gain advantage on all Wisdom saves), ring of protection +1, or an item of the GM’s discretion of similar power. While magic items are rare in Thule, temples often hoard mysterious treasures acquired down through the centuries. The sacred relic is not yours to dispose of, and if you no longer need it, you are expected to return it to your temple.
Optionally this is a feat and can only be taken if you have this background and are at least 4th level.

Planar Ally (10th level): Once during each character level at 10th level and above, you can cast planar ally even if you are not normally able to cast the appropriate spell. You need not provide the ally with any payment, since it serves out of loyalty to your temple. Calling upon your planar ally only requires one full-round action instead of the normal 10-minute casting time (you can assume that priests of your temple cast the spell on your behalf be-tween your adventures, and made arrangements for the ally to answer when you called).
Optionally this is a feat and can only be taken if you have this background and are at least 8th level.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Primeval Thule: Quodethi Thief D&D 5th Edition

Backgrounds here are bases on the Narratives in Primeval Thule, so they will gain abilities as a character levels.  They are only intended for use in the Primeval Thule setting and are not designed to be mixed with standard Backgrounds.

Also, some of the abilities require the expenditure of a resource, for this reason and for how dangerous the setting is, each character gains the Lucky Feat for free and may take the Lucky Feat one additional time.


Quodethi Thief 


Areas of Proficiency (1st level): You are proficient in Acrobatics and History.

Langauges (1st level): One of your choice.

Tools (1st level): One of your choice.

Thief's Feint (Level 1):  When you spend a Luck point to gain a bonus before you make an attack roll, you can perform a thief’s feint. Instead of the normal bonus, you gain advantage on the attack roll, and may make use your sneak attack dice against the attack. After the attack, you can move up to your full speed.
Reputation (6th level): You gain advantage on skill checks to interact with criminal elements in civilized areas—you’ve earned a reputation that other thieves and outlaws respect. Your bonus also applies to charisma (intimidate) or (persuasion) checks against common citizens, who are likewise aware of the fact that you mean business. On the down side, the authorities know your name and are generally hostile toward you.
Optionally this is a feat and can only be taken if you have this background and are at least 4th level, additionally gain +1 Charisma.

Guildmaster (10th level): You become the leader of your thieves’ guild or establish a new guild of your own. You gain a hidden guild stronghold protected by secret entrances, deadly traps, and trained guard-beasts. You gain enough followers to provide you with guards in the form of thugs, mercenaries, and enforcers, plus a high income from your cut of the guild’s activities equal to 200 gph per month. Your thieves are initially very loyal, but if you fail to provide strong leadership, you may face challenges from the lower ranks.  Additionally, you and your allies have advantage on charisma saving throws, while in your company.
Optionally this is a feat and can only be taken if you have this background and are at least 8th level, additionally gain +1 Charisma.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Masters of the Universe Monday: Fungus Amongus for Eternia using D&D 5th Edition


I love He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  Awhile back, I wrote up a character while brainstorming it as a setting.  Now I have decided to expand on that.

Basically, I've bolted Gamma World 7th Edition's Origins onto 5E using this site.



Fungus Amongus
(Doppleganger/Fungoid)
4th Level Barbarian
Follower of He-Man
                                             
Armor Class 12
Hit Points 44 (4d12+12) 
Speed 30 ft.
Initiative -1

          
   Str        Dex      Con       Int        Wis      Cha
  12 (+1)        8 (-1)       16 (+3)      18 (+4)      11 (+0)       14 (+2)

Background Charlatan
Skills Deception +4, Nature +5, Sleight of Hand +1, Survival +2
Saves Strength +3, Constitution +5
Tools Disguise Kit, Forgery Kit
Senses passive Perception 10
Languages Common, Fungo
Proficiency +2


Rage 3/Day
Rage Damage +2
Unarmored Defense
Danger Sense

Primal Path Path of the Totem Warrior
Spirit Seeker
Totem Spirit Wolf


ACTIONS
Melee Attack—Halberd +3 to hit (reach 10 ft.; one creature). 
Hit: 1d10+1 slashing damage.

Ranged Attack—Toxic Spores  (5 ft. radius centered on you).  
Effect: All enemies must make a DC 13 Constitution save or take 1d6+3 poison damage and any attack rolls made against the target have advantage.


Fungoid
Advantage when using Charisma (Deception) checks.

Healing Spores Once per turn when you heal hit points, each ally within 15 ft. heals hit points equal to your level.


Doppleganger
Advantage on Charisma (Insight) checks.

Not Really There Advantage on all Dexterity Saves.

Doppleganger Critical 1d10 extra force damage and a free use of double trouble.

Double Trouble As an action, create a duplicate of yourself within 25 ft. without your doppelgänger powers.  Your duplicate only has 1 hp and disappears at the end of your next turn.

Two Places At Once As a bonus action, you simultaneously exist at your current position and any other position within 25 ft.  Also, before the start of your next turn, you can teleport to the chosen spot.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Masters of the Universe Monday Extra: Lodebone for D&D 5th Edition


I love He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  Awhile back, I wrote up a character while brainstorming it as a setting.  Now I have decided to expand on that.

Basically, I've bolted Gamma World 7th Edition's Origins onto 5E using this site.


Lodebone (Magnetic/Reanimated)
4th Level Fighter
Follower of He-Man and rebellious Gar
                                             
Armor Class 12 (Studded Leather Armor)
Hit Points 23 (4d10-4) 
Speed 25 ft.
Initiative +0

  

          
   Str        Dex      Con       Int        Wis      Cha
  17 (+3)        10 (+0)       8 (-1)      18 (+4)      15 (+2)       7 (-2)

Background Hermit
Skills Athletics +5, Arcane +1, History +1, Intimidation +0
Saves Strength +5, Constitution +1
Tools Herbalism Kit, Mechanic's Tools
Senses passive Perception 12
Languages Common, Gar, Uncommon
Proficiency +2


Fighting Style Great Weapon Fighting
Second Wind
Action Surge 

Martial Archetype Champion
Improved Critical 


ACTIONS
Melee Attack—Battleaxe +5 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature). 
Hit: 1d8+3 (1H) or 1d10+3 (2H) slashing damage.

Melee Attack—Nasty Bite +5 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature).  
Hit: 2d6 piercing damage and on a critical hit heal 9 (5 + Level) hit points.

Ranged Attack—Lodestone Lure  (range 25 ft.; one creature).  
Effect: Target must make a DC 10 Constitution save or take 1d8 force damage and be pulled toward up to 15 ft. toward you.


Magnetic
Advantage when using Mechanic's Tools.

When pushed or pulled, you can reduce the distance by 5 ft.

Magnetic Critical 1d10 extra force damage and the target is restrained until the end of their next turn.


REANIMATED
Advantage on Dexterity (Athletics) checks.

Undead Recuperation You are immune to disease and when  you start your turn with at least 1 hit point, as a reaction heal your level in hit points.

Zombie Surprise When you start your turn with 0 hit points, heal your level in hit points.  You may not use this ability again until you complete a short or long rest.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Shadow of the Demon Lord: Some Recent News Tidbits

First, on Schwalb Entertainment's Facebook page, the shared a spell from the Black Magic tradition because they hit 750 Likes (I think you should "Like" them too).


Infestation of Maggots 

(Black Magic Tradition)

Casting Time: Complex
Range: Short
Target: One living creature
Duration: Special (see text)
The target’s guts fill up with hungry maggots that deal 2d6 damage.
During each round’s upkeep until the spell ends, the target rolls Strength. A failure causes the target to take 1d6 damage from the feasting maggots, and also causes the target to become dazed until the next round’s upkeep. Three successes end the spell.
A target incapacitated by the spell’s damage dies. A cloud of black flies spreads out from the corpse in a 5-yard radius sphere. The flies heavily obscure their area and remain for 1 minute or until dispersed by fire from an area spell or wind.


Second, they also previewed some dice they will be making available in the next few months.



Finally, on his blog, Robert talks at length about his approach to writing adventures as a DM with a busy schedule and lots of demands.  I totally appreciate his philosophy and approach.




Hard Times in Jarlsburg: Unicorn Accosts Night Nurses!

The Hard Times is Jarlsburg's premier source of news (not necessarily truth) and routinely outsells it's competitor, The Cryer.

Extra!


Extra!

Several care workers at Saint Helga's Ward on Helmut Way in Dribble (across the street from the Wildly Orange Pub) were accosted by a male Unicorn last night.

The Unicorn burst through the doors to the Ward around 10pm last evening and forced all four of the night nurses on duty to hide out in a supply closet as the beast beat at the door with its front hooves and nearly broke through with its horn.  The creature finally departed after nearly fifteen minutes of harassment and is still at large.

Neena Tyrm, the on-duty matron, said the creature seemed disoriented and kept referring to one of her crew as "Lidya" and asking why she would not leave with him.

"Lydia" could not be reached for comment, but has been identified as Lejeena Kaper of Gibbons, and a recent recruit to Saint Helga's.

This of course, is not the first instance of disoriented male Unicorns plaguing our city and has added to Lady Brianna Galley's (Minister of the West) personal crusade to "wipe the monsters out".
Her organization, Stop the Madness, who's sole goal is to hunt down and destroy every one of the magical creatures within 100 miles of the city, has posted demonstrators outside of Saint Helga's.

Sadly, it is this reporters opinion, that Lady Galley has never gotten over the attack she suffered from one of the creatures in her youth.

More details as they develop

Hera Kirck, Gibbons Beat Reporter
Early-Day Edition on the 16th Day of Novem in the Second Hundred and Twenty First Year of Thronehold

Friday, November 14, 2014

Tunnelers for Labyrinth Lord



Tunnelers


No. Enc.:
1d4
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 20' above ground (200' below ground)
Armor Class: 4 (14)
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: 1
Damage: 2d4 (Jaws) 
Save: F3
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: None
XP: 60

Tunnelers reach a length of up to 40'.  Their burrowing can often lead to sinkholes.  They are generally not aggressive, but their mighty jaws are very dangerous if provoked.  Also, their bulky bodies can deal 1d10 damage if someone is caught beneath them. They often build nests around deposits of adamantine and possibly gain some form of sustenance from the metal.  Dwarves take great pride in ridding an area rich in the prized metal of these strange monstrocities.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hard Times in Jarlsburg: Farmers Get Sinking Feeling

The Hard Times is Jarlsburg's premier source of news (not necessarily truth) and routinely outsells it's competitor, The Cryer.

Extra!


Extra!

Two farms along the Southway have recently been plagued with sinkholes!

Three cows and a goat have been lost to the unexpected chasms, four total, opening mere feet from the homesteads of the Bonnyleafs and Tangles.

"Me youngest boy, Tanner, nearly got swallowed up when he was milking Petina!  He's almost seven and that'd be right hard to lose him after so much training.  I only got three boys and really can't afford to lose one."  Explained Beau Tangle, head of the Tangle farm and site of three of the sinkholes.

Yenna Bonnyleaf-Gurn had this to say, "It tain't right, these sinkholes.  Me family has farmed this land since I was a wee lass.  Me brother and I's family been working this land hard and our Pappy tain't ever remembered anything like this happening.  He thinks it the Tunnelers!  He thinks that fool Beau Tangle went and paid some shaman to "bless" his crops and that juju has brought the Tunnelers up!"

While the Bonnyleafs only have one sinkhole on their land, they've sadly lost three cows.


For those unaware, the "Tunnelers" are legends going well back into the stories of the dwarves who settled Jarlsburg.  They are gigantic, blind white worms that were reportedly slain as the dwarves constructed our fine city.

But could they have returned?  Might the dwarves not really have slain them all?

This reporter asked Old Skopren "Skip" Olafstout, Rememberer for the Jarlsburg Society for Dwarves and Ouster of all the Others for comment.  "Wha?!  Tunnelers?  Here?  Now?  Who are you?  No, we killed 'em all.  All!  Get out of here, you ain't a dwarf!"

Something tells this reporter that Skip isn't sharing all of his facts.

We will continue to share developments, in the meantime, take extra precautions when traveling the Southway.

Scobey Jethel III, Reporter
Mid-Day Edition on the 12th Day of Novem in the Second Hundred and Twenty First Year of Thronehold

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

D&D 5th Edition: Mantle of the Kodiak

A gift from the Witch Queen of Pfyrrlund to the mighty hero of Turvay, Davros Bearpuncher, after he single-handedly defeated Hydra's Firstborn.  The mantle conveyes many of the traits of Davros' namesake.

Anyone who dons the mantle adds a +2 bonus to their AC.  They also have advantage on all strength and constitution checks.  Finally, their unarmed attacks do 1d6 slashing damage.



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

BRP/D100 System Hack 2: Electric Bugaloo

This hack only uses 3 levels of success, instead of 4 and is inspired by Chill 3rd Edition.

Something I should have clarified yesterday is that BRP/D100 systems do have success levels currently...I simply am not a fan of them and have explored some alternatives.

An even roll that is less your Skill is 1 Success.

An odd roll that is less than your Skill is 2 Successes.

A roll of doubles that is less than your Skill is 3 Successes.

To succeed you need successes equal to or more than the Difficulty set by the GM or by your opponent.