Friday, September 30, 2016

Numenera: Ka-Zong, a Charming Glaive Who Rides The Lighting for FAE

My Instant Adventure One Shot for the Strange went well using FAE. When my monday group finished Shadow of the Demon Lord, I'm thinking hard about running a full Numenera campaign with FAE. Here is a character I've converted from a previous game:



Ka-Zong

High Concept: 
   A Glaive Trained by the Fabulous Thunder Stone
Trouble: I'm Never Been Good at Remembering Things
Shared: Your Teaching Him How To Fight
Other Aspects: Charming, Rides The Lightning

APPROACHES
Careful: Average (+1) 
Clever: Fair (+2) 
Flashy: Good (+3) 
Forceful: Average (+1) 
Quick: Fair (+2) 
Sneaky: Mediocre (+0)

STUNTS

Makes Contacts (Clever): Because of your Charm you gain a +2 to Cleverly interact with someone one on one.

Bolts of Power (Flashy): Because of your Lightning you gain a +2 to Flashily attack an enemy.


STRESS
[  ]  [  ]  [  ]

CONSEQUENCES 

Mild (2): 
Moderate (4): 
Severe (6):

REFRESH: 3 


31 Nights of Halloween starts tomorrow!

Background image by UnidColor.


Starting tomorrow I'm kicking off 31 Nights of Halloween 2016, where I will create and share a horrific adversary for several game systems.  If you missed last year, you can check them out here.

And if you have an system or horror requests, let me know in the comments!


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

ECHELON: The Gargoyle for the Cypher System

This one's for you, Jason Isaacs 

THE GARGOYLE is an Impulsive Warrior (with magic flavor) Who Abides In Stone

Might: 21 Edge: 2


Speed: 12 Edge: 0

Intellect: 8 Edge: 0

Effort: 1

Armor: 4

Cypher Use: 2

Practiced:
All Weapons
All Armor

Trained:
Initiative, Magic, Speed Defense

Special Abilities:
Bash (1 Might)
Thrust (1 Might)

Tier 1: Hover (1 Speed)

Power Shifts:
Healing (2 Shift)
Resilience (2 Shift)
Strength (1 Shifts)

Equipment:
Heavy Armor (3 armor)

Background:
CLASSIFIED under orders of Arthur King, Commander of ECHELON Forces North America.

Clerical Work: Specialty Priests of Odir for Blackmoor Week 2016 and D&D 5th Edition





ODIR (AEROS, DHUMMON, CHARIS, HAK,  ODIN, or WOTAN)
EYE
Prerequisite: Cleric with the Knowledge or War Divine Domain.

You are dedicated to the Watcher.

Thanks to your devotion, you gain the following benefits:

• You have advantage on Insight or Perception skill checks.

• You gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with spears.
• When casting a spell that deals lightning or thunder damage, gain a +1 bonus to your Spell save DC.

• You learn two languages of your choice.

 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Old World: Zombie Dragon of the Vampire Counts for 13th Age




Zombie Dragons are the reanimated corpses of long-dead Dragons that were raised from their resting place within the Plain of Bones by the use of powerful Dark Magic. The Plain of Bones is a harsh and lifeless landscape of multicolored sand and tainted rock located to the east of the World's Edge Mountains, from which protrude huge rib cages of ancient primeval Dragons. This is the place where Dragons of ancient times once came to die, to rest their bones amongst those of their ancestors as they had done for millions of years, before any other sentient beings walked the world.

   Here lies the bones of the great ancestral Dragons: skulls the size of castle towers lie mingled with leg bones larger than the mast of an Imperial warship. These bones date from the ancients days of the draconic race. Though today's Dragons are of a lesser breed, they are still incomparably mightier than other races of the world. However, following the arrival of Chaos, the Plain of Bones has since become saturated with large amounts of Dark Magic. This magic eventually contaminated the remains of these Dragons, forcing them to rise once more as the first Zombie Dragons.


ZOMBIE DRAGON
11th level huge wrecker [UNDEAD]
Initiative: +10
Vulnerability: Holy

Bone Claws and Flesh-Stripped Teeth +16 vs AC (3 Attacks)     - 210 damage  
     Natural Roll of 16+: The target is weakened.

[Special Trigger] C: Negative Energy Breath +16 vs PD (1d3 nearby enemies) - 90 damage  

     Miss: 6d10 negative energy damage

Intermittent breath: A huge zombie dragon can use negative energy breath 2d4 times per battle, but never two turns in a row. 

Draconic grace: At the start of each of the huge black dragon’s turns, roll a d4 to see if it gets an extra standard action. If the roll is equal to or less than the escalation die, the black dragon can take an extra standard action that turn. 
   After the first success, the grace die bumps up to a d6. After the second success, it’s a d8, then a d10 after the third success. The fourth success is a d12, and finally a d20 after the fifth one. 
Winged: The zombie dragon hovers and zooms about.

Resist negative energy 18+: When a negative energy attack targets this creature, the attacker must roll a natural 18+ on the attack roll or it only deals half damage. 

Nastier Specials
Great Ancestral Dragon:  The zombie dragon uses the escalation die.

AC 27

AC 27         HP 864

MD 21

Fear Threshold 96


Monday, September 26, 2016

Review: N.E.W. Science Fiction Role-Playing Game




I received a PDF copy of the N.E.W. Science Fiction Role-Playing Game for review purposes from EN Publishing. I had been part of the early platyests of the What's O.L.D. is N.E.W line of products that form O.L.D., N.E.W., and N.O.W. When I saw that the combined PDF of N.E.W. was out, I was very interested as I don't have a dedicated Science Fiction RPG I like.

N.E.W. is an interesting creature and borrows some great ideas from other other games to create something special.

The book opens with an overview of N.E.W. and RPGs, in general. I really like the layout and the art of the book.

Chapter 1 focuses on character creation and goes over the Attributes (Strength, Agility, Endurance, Intuition, Logic, Willpower, Charisma, Luck, Reputation, and Psionics). Most Attributes start at 3 and our modified by Species, Homeworld type, Origin, and each Career you take (N.E.W. is a Lifepath system, like Traveller). While your Attribute is represented by a number, much like in the D20 system, it corresponds to a Dice Pool of d6's (for instance if my Strength Attribute is 7 then it is equals to a dice pool of 3d6).  Psionics and Reputation begin at 0.
  Skills are covered in this chapter and there is a good list broken down into Academic, Artistic, Combat, Crafting, Development, Gaming, Miscellaneous Hobby, Physical, Performance, Psionic, Sporting, Subterfuge, Social, Technical, Trivia, Vehicle, Outdoor and Other skills. Just like Attributes your skill rank equals a Dice pool. When performing a Task, you add your Attribute and your Skill Dice pools, as well as Dice from Equipment to gain your final dice pool (E.G. Agility of 2d6 + Pistols of 1d6 + RK5 of 1d6 = 4d6). It should be noted that Grade, which is similar to Level, limits the size of your Dice Pool. At Grade 1, your limited to 5d6.
   Species covered in N.E.W. are Humans, Ogrons (7 ft. tall, green skin, tusks), Venetians (hairless near humans, natural psionics, spiritual), Borians (4 ft. tall, red of blue skin, cheerful) Androids, Spartans (violent, near human with ridges on their foreheads), and Felans (cat people). Each species gives Attributes bonuses a series of skills that you may choose 3 from and an Exploit, which is similar to D20's Feats.
   Your Homeworld type also gives you bonuses to an Attribute and one of two Skills. You can choose from Agricultural, Arctic, Asteroid, Barren, City, Desert, Jungle, Ocean, and Volcanic
   You choose an Origin (17 total) and four further Careers (45 total) to round out the character creation Process. Origins may only be taken as your first Career. A Career may have a prerequisite to enter it, features a length of time in years (e.g. 2d6+6), Attribute bonuses (you may always raise your Hook Skill instead of one of those listed), a list of Skills you may choose two from (you may always choose a Defensive skill in place of one of those listed) and may choose one Exploit from a few options. The Careers presented cover pretty much everything I can think of for a Sci-Fi setting.
   Exploits are laid out, which as I said have the same impact as Feats do in other games. Each character gets the Aim or Feint Exploit, plus one additional Universal Exploit. A Universal Exploit are open to all characters and be chosen during any Career.
   Age is covered and how it affects a character's Skills and Attributes.
   A Trait is chosen by selecting a descriptor based on your highest or lowest Attribute (with a table to help you name it) and situational bonus based on it.
Derived Statistics are covered an include Health, Speed, Jump, Carry, Initiative, Defense, Starting Money, and Attacks. An option for Cinematic Mode is presented as a sidebar that beefs up Health.
   Psionics are laid out by Skill and Power and the Power Points are explained. I'm still a bit confused is Power Points are 10 x your Psionics Rank or Dice Pool. The types of Psionics presented are Biopsionics, Clairsentience, Clairvoyance, Ergokinesis, Metapsionics, Telekinesis, Telepathy, Teleportation. Meditation is important for Psi characters as it allows the regeneration of Power Points, though I'm unclear if you recover Points while resting.
   Rules for Advancement and the Starship Murphy round out the first chapter.
  There is a great rundown on character creation starting on page 14 that I found extremely helpful.
   An central elements to characters are Descriptors (which remind of the Cypher System) where you sum up your character like this: a[n] [age] [trait] [species] [career] who [hook]. Trait is derived from your highest or lowest attribute and hook is something to help you drive stories and gain a bonus d6 in the right circumstances.


Chapter 2 deals with Starting Money and Wealth and then covers General Gear, Servies and Foodstuffs before heading into Weapons, Armor, Shields, and Vehicles. Not only are many, many options presented, but rules for customization allow endless possibilities.
We also get rules for Addictions, their Side Effects and example Drugs and rules for creating Drugs. Next comes Limitations on organic beings and Cybernetics. The chapter finishes off with Organization rules, example Organizations and Special Items.

Chapter 3 covers the rules of play, creating dice pools, using static difficulties, Equipment Quality and it's impact on dice pools, Maximum Dice Pools, Indirect Skills, Difficulty Benchmarks, Complications, Critical Success, Opposed, Extended, and Contested Tasks, Chases, Countdowns, Luck, Combat, and the breakdown of a combat turn and the environment.
   The basic rules are add Attribute + Skill + Equipment to build a Dice Pool and roll that many d6 and totaling them vs a Difficulty.
The Difficulty may be assigned by the GM or be taken from an NPC/PC in the form of a Defense (Melee, Ranged, or Mental). GM assigned Difficulties rate from 7 to 45 and how they are generated is clearly explained in a sidebar. Complications remove dice from your dice pool. A Critical success is when you roll three 6's.
   The Countdown mechanic is used for dramatic tension such whey a character is dying or when you are trying to outrace and exploding starship. A dice pool is created either by from an Attribute or simply assigned by the GM. Each round the dice are rolled and any 6s are removed (you can speed things up by counting 4,5, and 6s). When you get rid of the final die, the looming threat occurs. Certain actions can Stabilize or Replenish a Countdown. Stabilization stops the Countdown completely.
   The Luck Attribute lets your lower your Luck Attribute and add to a dice pool on a 1:1 basis, power an Exploit, absorb damage, deduct dice from a pool on a 1:1 basis, perform a signature move, add dice to a damage roll. Additionally, Luck dice "explode" on a 6, meaning your roll the die again and add it to the 6, repeating as long as you continue rolling 6s. The Leadership Skill's dice pool can be given to others and used like Luck. Once per day, you may spend 5 minutes replenishing your Luck.
   A Combat round begins by rolling Initiative. Each character gets 2 actions and can move and attack in any order. When attacking you form your dice pool up to your maximum size by adding Attribute + Skill + Equipment. Cover and range factors will modify your pool. You can boost damage by spending dice from your pool on a 2:1 basis (Subtract 2 dice from your Attack for 1 additional die of damage). Certain Exploits also allow you to spend Dice for Effects. Finally, you can Luck dice to your pool, which will allow you to exceed your max dice pool. Roll your dice and total them and compare to your target's Defense. If you hit roll damage and compare it to your target's SOAK (Armor subtracts damage). Anything left over damage is removed from your target's Health. A Critical Succes (three 6s) pushes a target one stage along a Status Track.
   When a character's Health is reduced to 0 or lower, the character is unconscious and at risk of dying. Immediately the character forms a Countdown dice pool equal to their Endurance and each round it is rolled per the Countdown rules. Health can be recovered by resting for hone hour each day. Your Status Track has five Degrees: Normal, Mild, Moderate (-1d6), Severe (-2d6), and Extreme (-3d6). You move one step down on the Status Track when you suffer a Critical Hit. Tactical combat with miniatures is accommodated for those who want it.

Chapter 4 provides a great deal of information about Space and Space Travel and details Starship Combat as both Theater of the Mind and Tactical combat. A useful section detailing the roles on a Starship is included.

Chapter 5 gives the GM advice and rules for building a Universe, including building worlds, creatures, and new species.

Appendix 1 details an example Solar System.

Appendix 2 details aliens and foes.

Appendix 3 is a short encounter to begin playing.

N.E.W. is a well done and interesting game, character creation is far more involved than I usually go for with my schedule, but I think it would create some well-rounded characters. The rules work and make sense. I would advise you to buy this if you are looking for a SF game and would recommend it over Traveller. I also think much of the engine could be used if you had an interest in the D6  System (OpenD6 or Mini Six) as new options and rules.

I'm anxiously awaiting the N.O.W. rulebook and look forward to getting my hands on it.

DnD: Blackmoor Cyborg #MonsterMonday #BlackmoorWeek2016

#MonsterMonday

#BlackmoorWeek2016









Cyborgs are alien machines built to perform difficult (often suicidal) tasks that are best performed by a human. They appear to be exceptionally tall and well-built male humans, indistinguishable from normal human beings. But their flesh was grown over a durasteel skeleton in big biotanks. And, while all of their organs, except for some sense organs, are tank-grown from cell clones, most have special electrical or computer augmentation (a tiny pacesetter that can be used to push the heart to extreme exertion, for example).

A set of computer chips in the brain accept programming beamed to the cyborg via any standard communications device. This allows them to be reprogrammed for a variety of tasks (even completely altering the cyborg's skill set). Thanks to a special hardware feature, cyborgs will even accept self-destruct programming that stops their heart. All programming must be in a special code. Like the aliens who made them, cyborgs have a mastoid implant that allows them to use the alien communications network at any time.

Combat Cyborg programming normally prevents them from harming humans or humanoids (including aliens). However, there exist illegal programs that can circumvent the safeguards built into the cyborgs at the factory. Using these, it is possible to modify an existing cyborg so that it becomes a cyborg terminator, a superlative killing machine feared throughout the galaxy.




CYBORG
Medium construct, neutral
________________________________________________

Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 39 (6d8+12) 
Speed 40 ft.
________________________________________________
   Str            Dex         Con           Int         Wis         Cha
17 (+3)        12 (+1)        15 (+2)        13 (+1)      12 (+1)      10 (+0)
________________________________________________

Skills Perception +3, Stealth +3
Damage Resistance psychic
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhausted, frightened, poisoned
Senses passive Perception 13
Languages Common, Primordial, Undercommon
Challenge 3 (450 XP)

________________________________________________

Diehard. Cyborgs gain advantage on Constitution and Strength saving throws.

________________________________________________________________________

ACTIONS

________________________________________________ 


Halberd. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d10 + 1) slashing damage and the cyborg's halberd attack scores a critical on a roll of 19 or 20.

Blaster. Ranged Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, range 60/120 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (2d6 + 1) force damage.

(If you like this post and others like it and have an extra $1 a month, please consider becoming a Patron of Cross Planes at Patreon.)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Savage Rifts: Devil Unicorn





The Devil Unicorn is a hideous and terrifying, its body hick with muscles with thick ridges of bone covering the head, spine, and tail. The monster has a nearly human intelligence and can speak in a broken, guttural voice with a demoniac laugh. As a predator, it is cunning and tricky, killing as much for pleasure as for food. Devil Unicorn's like to maim and hold their prey captive in its
lair where it engages in mental and physical torture.

DEVIL UNICORN
Attributes: Agility d12, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d12+3,
Vigor d12

Skills: Fighting d10, Notice d8, Stealth d10, Tracking d8

Pace: 15; Parry: 7; Toughness: 20 (6) M.D.C.


Equipment
• Bite/Claw/Horn Str+1d6+3 Mega Damage
• Tail Str+2d6+3 Mega Damage

Special Abilities:
• Armor 6 M.D.C.
• Fearless
• Fleet of Foot
• Infravision
• Quick
• Regeneration Slow
• Size +6

Dark Souls: Pontiff Knight for Shadow of the Demon Lord [Updated]



After Pontiff Sulyvahn seized control of Irithyll, he formed a battalion of warriors to keep order in the city. Despite having withered away to hollow spirits, they continue to defend it from intruders.

Pontiff Knights wield either a curved sword or a scythe and can also spit homing dark orbs at the player from long distances. Their attacks induce Frost buildup.

The sudden presence of their spirits materializing out of thin air foretell of an imminent encounter with their real selves. They always move by following a determined path, which may leave them open to backstabs or preemptive attacks. If they come in a formation and get disbanded, they will seek their companions after a while and continue their patrol together.


PONTIFF KNIGHT          DIFFICULTY 50
Size 1 frightening undead
Perception 12 (+2); darksight
Defense  14; Health 50
Strength 14 (+4) Agility 12 (+2) Intellect 10 (+0) Will 11 (+1)
Speed 10
Immune damage from cold, disease, or poison; gaining insanity; asleep, charmed, dazed, diseased, fatigued, frightened, poisoned, stunned

ATTACK OPTIONS
Curved Sword (melee) +4 with 2 boons (2d6 plus Frost on attack roll 20+)
Frost The target may only take slow turns
Dark Orb The dark orb automatically hits provided there is an unobstructed path between you and a target within long range (1d6+1)

SPECIAL ATTACKS
Double Attack The pontiff knight attacks twice with its curved sword.

If you like this post and others like it and have an extra $1 a month, please consider becoming a Patron of Cross Planes on Patreon.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Harry Potter: House Ravenclaw Background for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition

House Ravenclaw

Skills: One Intelligence or Wisdom skill of your choice.
Tools: One of your choice
Languages: Once of your choice
Equipment: A tool of your choice, a trinket of your choice, a Hogwart's uniform, a set of common clothes, a wand, a belt pouch containing 15 gp

Feature - Sense of Logic: You are excellent at figuring out puzzles and other tests of logic. You have advantage on Intelligence saving throws.


d8 Personality Trait
1
I use polysyllabic words that convey the impression of great erudition.


2 I am reading whenever and wherever I can.
3 I am curious and always looking to discover something new.

4 I am a terrible loser.

5 I am very judgmental.

6 I am constantly telling people how smart I am.

7 I am very nervous around people of the opposite gender.

8 I am constantly losing things.



d6 Ideal
1 Knowledge.
The path to power and self-improvement is through knowledge. (Neutral)


2 Beauty. What is beautiful points us beyond itself toward what is true. (Good)

3 Logic. Emotions must not cloud our logical thinking. (Lawful)

4 No Limits. Nothing should fetter the infinite possibility inherent in all existence. (Chaotic)

5 Power. Knowledge is the path to power and domination. (Evil)

6 Invention. The goal of a life of study is the betterment of Society. (Any) 



d6 Bond
1
It is my duty to protect my students.


2 I have an ancient text that holds terrible secrets that must not fall into the wrong hands.

3 I work to preserve a library or university.

4 My life’s work is a series of tomes related to a specific field of lore.

5 I've been searching my whole life for the answer to a
certain question.

6 I lost my most treasured item in a bet and need to recover it.



d6 Flaw 

1 I am easily distracted by the opportunity to do research.

2 Most people scream and run when they see a demon. I stop and take in details to catalogue later.

3 Unlocking an ancient mystery is worth more important than any one person.

4 I overlook obvious solutions in favor of esoteric ones.

5 I speak without really thinking through my words, invariably insulting others.

6 I can’t keep a secret to save my life, or anyone else’s.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Shadow of the Demon Lord: Revenant, a Enchanted Sword




"It's haunted. I'm certain of it." Said Proteus of Khelk, "and old. Very, very old, maybe...he glances left and right, then whispers softly, Elvish." 
   The priest makes the sign of the New God, "I have a patron who wants to make sure than an agent receives it. Anonymously," he says nervously.
   "Is the recipient an enemy or a friend?" Proteus asks, real concern cutting his haggard face in half.
   The priest begins to respond then hesitates, "I didn't think to ask, do you know where we might find the...blade, my...patron wonders why it's just a hilt?"
   Proteus, looking older and more concerned by the moment, "It was always just a hilt. A finally crafted, sacrifice-forged hilt. That is HAUNTED. Do you understand? Something once living inhabits that hilt...and my guess forms the blade. We're done priest. I don't even want your gold...it's tainted. Corrupt. Be gone with you and your....patron at once. At. Once."

Revenant
Bastard Sword (2d6 Plus Phantom on an attack roll 20+; 1 hand)
Phantom You have 2 boons to attack the target for 1 minute.

As a triggered action, the wielder can cause a ghostly blade that moans, shrieks, and curses them in elvish while it is manifested. The blade will grow silent and gleam with a bloody red light in the presence of spirits.


What's O.L.D. is N.E.W: Chad Lincoln for N.E.W.

I was given a PDF copy of N.E.W. to review and while working through it, I made Chad. The system takes parts from Traveller, D6 System, and the Cypher System. Much less from the D20 System than I expected. Character creation is not as quick as say Star Wars D6 or Mini-Six, but faster than Traveller.

I'll have a review up in a few days.



Chad Lincoln is A Psychic Human P.I. Who Falls for a Sad Story

GRADE 5d6 (Max dice pool for this level of character)
HOMEWORLD City



PRIMARY ATTRIBUTES
STRENGTH 3 (2d6)

AGILITY (2d6)

ENDURANCE (2d6)

WILLPOWER (3d6)

INTUITION (3d6)

LOGIC (2d6)

CHARISMA (3d6)

LUCK (2d6)

REPUTATION (1d6)

PSIONIC 10 (4d6)  Hook Attribute


SIZE Medium

Health 25
Speed 5
Carry 80
Initiative 3d6
Melee Defense 11
Ranged Defense 11
Mental Defense 14
Psionic Power Points 100

SKILLS
Bureaucracy (1d6)
Climbing (1d6)
Swimming (1d6)
Running (1d6)
Concentration (1d6)
Telepathy (2d6)
Pistols (2d6)
Perception (1d6)
Stealth (1d6)
Dodging 1 (1d6)


EXPLOITS
Explorer
Empath
Psi-Blast
Psychic Cone
Telepathic Message
Aim

HISTORY
(Psionic) Talent until Chad was 17.
Battlepsyche until Chad was 18.
Battlepsyche until Chad was 21.
Psi-cop until Chad was 25.
Detective until Chad was 27.

EQUIPMENT

Laser pistol 4d6 (2d6+2 heat damage; range 12)


Monday, September 19, 2016

The Old World: Abyssal Terrors of the Vampire Counts for 13th Age


Abyssal Terrors, also known as Winged Nightmares is a term given to a wide variety of terrifyingly powerful monsters, living or undead, that serves as combat mounts for only the most war-like Vampires. Some of these monsters are creatures of Chaos born from the mountains, the resurrected hybrids of rapacious beasts or resurrected monsters that were given life with the use of Necromancy. Others are nightmarish creations that were given bodies of writhing blood and flayed skin thanks to the use of science and Dark Magic. The most common of these variants are generally winged creatures.

Other then being forced into servitude, when a powerful Necromancer or Vampire wishes to create a Abyssal Terror of his own, the creation process has more to do with the unholy combination of mad science and dark sorcery than in any natural process. The most talented of the Vampires that create them, such as the hidden brotherhood of the Necrarchs, draw a twisted amusement from such blasphemous births. They use parts harvested from a wide variety of monsters, fusing bone with ragged muscles and sinew together. Their vile creation is finally given animus when Morrslieb is at its fullest and a portion of that cyclopean moon's power is invested in the beast as it lurches and twitches upright. With its birth, the creature is forever bound to the will of his Undead masters.


ABYSSAL TERROR
8th level large wrecker [UNDEAD]
Initiative: +5
Vulnerability: Holy

Mad Science And Dark Sorcery +13 vs AC - 76 damage
     Natural Roll of 16+: And additional 20 damage.

Harvest Parts +13 vs PD - 76 damage
     Natural Even Roll: An additional 10 damage.
     Natural Odd Roll: The target is grabbed.     
     Natural Roll of 16+: The target is weakened.

Winged: The abyssal terror hovers and zooms about.

Nastier Specials
Terrifying:  Fear prevents any nearby creatures from using the escalation die.

AC 24

AC 22          HP 288

MD 18

Fear Threshold 60


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Review: Adventures in Middle-Earth Player's Guide from Cubicle 7 and Compatible with D&D 5th Edition




I recently received a review copy of the Adventures in Middle-earth Player's Guide PDF from Cubicle 7 that is compatible with Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition.  I'm a big fan of Middle-earth and ran a long campaign years ago with Decipher's Lord of the Rings RPG and a few one-shots of Cubicle 7's The One Ring RPG. So the setting is near and dear to my heart.

First, the book is gorgeous and the art and layout evoke the correct feel of J.R.R. Tolkien's opus. One thing I want to call out is the Contents section in the beginning of the book which gives a concise overview of what each section contains, which I think is brilliant  aid for player's coming into our hobby for the first time.

Chapter One gives you information about the significance of 2946 in the Third Age and overview of the Free Folk of the North, the Free Folk of Eriador, the Free Folk of the South and the activities of the Shadow.

Chapter Two explains how the rules of Adventures in Middle-earth Player's Guide (AiMe, hereafter) differs from standard DnD 5th Edition game. It contains rules for creating characters, the Cultures of Middle-earth, the classes this book introduces, Middle-earth Backgrounds, Virtues (Feats), the Game Rules, Journeys (more later), Corruption, Audiences (meeting with the movers and shakers of the Third Age), and the Fellowship Phase (more later).

Chapter Three are the Cultures of Middle-earth, which take the place of 5th Edition's Races. The cultures detailed are Bardings, Beornings, the Dunedin, Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain (further defined by Erebor and the Iron Hills), Elves of Mirkwood (mechanically their advantages are appropriate covered without making them unbalanced), Hobbits of the Shire (further defined by Harfoot and Stoor), Men of Bree, Men of the Lake, Men of Minas Tirith, the Riders of Rohan, and the Woodmen of the Wilderland. I feel that the choice of using Cultures, as opposed to Races, perfectly reflects the spirit of Middle-earth and allows the various humans of the setting to get a proper treatment.

Chapter Four introduces the Classes unique to AiMe. You should play a Scholar if you want to uncover ancient secrets and use their power, master the art of healing, be admitted into the councils of the Wise, or know much that is hidden. The two specialties of Scholars are Master Healer and Master Scholar. Neither specialty is a spellcaster in traditional DnD terms, but both channel the awe of characters presented in the fiction. Both rely upon ancient and deep lore about the world around.
   You should play a Slayer if you want to toss wolves and goblins from your path, take revenge upon the Enemy, fight alone, or in the front line of a company of warriors. It's specialties are the Rider and the Foe-Hammer. Slayer's hew closest to the Barbarian, but the Rider's reliance of mounted combat and the Foe-Hammer becoming a living weapon are interesting facets. I think both could be easily adapted as sub-classes for the Barbarian if a DM desired.
   You should play a Treasure Hunter if you want to sneak into caverns and other dark and dangerous places, spy on the movements and plans of the Enemy, or steal your foe's treasure. One interesting element to the class is that you gain night vision out to 60 feet at 1st level. The specialties are the Agent and the Burglar. The Agent is an ingenious and thoughtful sort, who outsmarts his or her opponents.
   You should play a Wanderer if you want to explore Middle-earth, 
to hunt down and destroy the servants of the Shadow, guide a company of adventurers through the wilderness. It's specialties are the Hunter of Beasts and the Hunter of Shadows. I'm going to add that I find the Wanderer encapsulates my expectations of earlier DnD Rangers and would have no qualm using them as an alternative or a replacement in a traditional 5th Edition game.
   You should play a Warden if you want to defend the Free Peoples against the Shadow, inspire your allies to yet greater deeds or bring hope when all seems lost. It's Expressions are Counselor (whose words hold power), Herald (whose abilities border into the realm of the Bard), and the Bounder (who focus on protecting others). I would seriously consider adding this class to fill a similar role to DnD 4th Edition's Warlord to a stander 5th Edition game.
   You should play a Warrior if you want to defend the Free Folk with force of arms, wear heavy armour and fight with discipline, 
command followers or master weapons to their fullest extent. It's Archetypes are Knight and Weaponmaster and both could be used for the 5th Edition Fighter.
   One final note about Classes, each presents a Shadow weakness.

Chapter Five covers Virtues which are AiMe's term for Feats. Virtues are specific to a Culture, they are well designed and constructed and could easily add new options for a standard 5th Edition game.

Chapter Six details the Backgrounds of AiME, and each includes a character's Hope and Despair to really dig deep into the lore of the setting. The Backgrounds are Loyal Servant, Doomed to Die, Driven from Home, Emissary of your People, Fallen Scion, The Harrowed, Hunted by the Shadow, Lure of the Road, The Magician (a performer), Oathsworn, Reluctant Adventurer, Seeker of the Lost, and World Weary.

Chapter Seven covers Equipment, detailing such things as Dalish Fireworks, Dwarven Toys, and Cultural Heirlooms. Cultural Heirlooms cannot be purchased, only rewarded, and they take the place of 5th Edition's magic items. Heirlooms for each Culture are provided.

Chapter Eight introduces the rules for Journeys, as travel is greatly emphasized in Middle-earth. Phase One is Embarkation and each Player is given a task as a Guide, Scout, Hunter, or Look-out. Simultaneously the Loremaster determines Peril Rating of the Journey and 10 random types of encounters are detailed.
   Phase Two is the Journey Events and Task Rolls. The length of the Journey determines the number of challenges the Players will face and the Loremaster is given methods to generate a DC for the Peril Rating. Additionally, 12 events are detailed.
   Phase Three is the Arrival Phase and rules for modifying the Arrival rule are laid out. 8 arrival results are detailed and an optional rule for Tracking Time are presented. Finally, a (sweet) hexmap of the Wilderlands is included.

Chapter Nine details the Shadow and the Corruption mechanic is fully presented. Each Classes' Shadow Weakness is detailed, as well. Consequences of Corruption, such as madness and degeneration are detailed.

Chapter Ten covers Audiences, a rules sub-system for meeting with and seeking aid from the movers and shakers of Middle-earth, those that we have all read about or watched on film. Audiences account for Cultural Attitudes, which set the DC's for the meetings and the reactions of those you are meeting with are based upon the outcome of your skill check.

Chapter Eleven covers the Fellowship Phase, which adds another rules sub-system for allowing character to recover between seasons and helps flesh out what they were up to when they have gone their separate ways, sometimes for years at a time. It includes options for Rest and Recovery, Undertakings (accomplishments important to individual heroes), Training, Gaining a New Trait (a fundamental change to the character), Heal Corruption, Meet a Patron, Open a Sanctuary, Receive a Title, and Research Lore. While the Fellowship Phase is integral to the stories of Middle-earth, I will add that I would have gladly used these rules while running a 5th Edition game that I concluded this past summer and will look at using them in future games set outside of Middle-earth.

The book concludes with Pre-Generated characters to get you up and playing in minutes.

Cubicle 7 has always impressed me with their games and Adventures in Middle-earth Player's Guide is no exception. They have taken the fabulous work they have done with the One Ring and adapted it to Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, with a supplement that both perfectly encapsulates what I want out of Middle-earth while expanding my options for standard 5th Edition. I couldn't ask for any more.

You may purchase the PDF here and I urge you to do so as soon as possible.


Clerical Work: Marshals, Specialty Priests of Murlynd of Greyhawk for D&D 5th Edition





MURLYND
MARSHAL
Prerequisite: Cleric with the Knowledge Domain.

You serve under the While Paladin in his quest to serve and protect the innocent.

Thanks to your devotion, you gain the following benefits:

• You gain proficiency in renaissance pistols and modern revolvers. Additionally you gain proficiency with Gunsmith's tools, which allows you to make your own ammunition.

• You gain a paladin's divine sense.

•You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with pistols and revolvers.

• When you hit a creature with a pistol or revolver weapon attack, you can expend one cleric spell slot to deal radiant damage to the target, in addition to the weapon’s damage. The extra damage is 2d6 for a 1st-level spell slot, plus 1d6 for each spell level higher than 1st, to a maximum of 5d6. The damage increases by 1d6 if the target is an undead or a fiend.


 

Friday, September 16, 2016

On Being A Game Master: Work Smarter Not Harder





As a Game Master, I can be very particular about the system I want to use. But upon reflection, I'm not sure that I'm making the best decisions. For instance, I've been reading over Monster of the Week, because I want to run a game that channels the Supernatural TV series and the Dresden Files novel series. But I find that I'm fighting myself because a large part of me would rather run FATE Accelerated with it. I've discovered that I often prefer to run toolkit games over games literally designed for the genre that I'm looking at.

Maybe it comes from Champions 4th Edition being my first game and picking up GURPS 3rd Edition because of it's Wild Cards supplement? Or maybe it's merely my penchant for being a game designer? When I was younger, I had the time to do all of the heavy lifting a toolkit system requires, but these days, not so much.

To give you an example, for years I've wanted to run a game inspired by Marvel Comic's Horror Heroes like Ghost Rider, Man-Thing, Man-Wolf, etc. I've looked at games like HeroQuest or Basic Role Playing but never thought about using either the Storyteller, Storytelling Systems, or even Mutants and Masterminds. I can tell myself all kinds of reason why I shouldn't, but the truth is that all three systems  are tailor made for that kind of game and the tweaks they need are far less work than trying to build something from scratch.

I think, and I'm sad to admit this, I'm a snob when it comes to some systems. Sure, I might have my reasons for preferring one game over another, but I'm certain that taking the harder route has hampered running the type of game I really want. I mean, my Horror Heroes game has never gotten off of the ground and I think that's my stubbornness more than anything else. An the closest it ever came used Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition.

As much as I want to build games from scratch, the truth is that somebody often did that work for me and I need to look harder at their results.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Monster Mercs: Flatwoods Monster for Savage Worlds


While getting gas at a Mollusk station in Flatwoods, VA, a fixer known as Opaque that had been hired by Phineas Manheim, used an unknown device to send Naomi Stein, Lonnie Talbot, and K.A.R.N.A.C.K. back in time to 1952 where they encountered the Flatwoods Monster. K.A.R.N.A.C.K. was able to establish contact with the creature, X'tekl'r from Sigma VII and help the creature return to it's world.  As a reward, it neutralized the effects of Opaque's weapon and the team returned to their own timeline.





FLATWOODS MONSTER
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d10, Spirit d6, Strength d12,
Vigor d12

Skills: Knowledge (Science) d10, Notice d10, Shooting d6, Stealth d8

Pace: 12; Parry: 2; Toughness: 13 (3)

Special Abilities:
• Optic Blast: Range 16/32/64; Damage 2d6; RoF 1
• Armor 3

• Size +2

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Avengers Initiative: Moondragon

I've got an idea for an Icons game set in within the Marvel Cinematic Universe post Civil War where Tony Stark has begun the Avengers Initiative to recruit new members to the team to supplement War Machine and Vision. I'll probably start with adaptations of existing characters before moving into some originals. In many ways it could be a spiritual sequel to my Mightiest game.



Heather Douglas was born in Los Angeles, California, daughter of Arthur and Yvette Steckley Douglas. When Heather was still a girl, her father was driving her and her mother through the desert when they accidentally happened to see a spaceship of the mad titan, Thanos land; the space villains did not want any witnesses, so they destroyed their car. Heather was thrown clear and survived, but her parents were killed. Through her extraordinary mental abilities, she was found by Mentor, who took her to his home world, Titan, to be raised by the monks of Shao-Lom.

From the monks, Heather develops her body to its full potential, becoming a formidable martial artist. They teach Heather various scientific disciplines such as chemistry and genetic engineering; but most significantly, they help Heather tap into her latent psionic powers, present within all humans. Heather is able to develop her mental powers far beyond even those of her teachers, so much so that she eventually mentally contacts a powerful entity called the Dragon of the Moon. The Dragon immediately tries to corrupt and take her over, but she fights back, driving the Dragon away. This fills her with pride and an overwhelming sense of superiority. To commemorate her victory, she takes the name Moondragon. Unknown to Heather, the Dragon subtly continues to influence her on a subconscious level.



MOONDRAGON 

Determination: 1          

Stamina: 14

Origin: Unearthly

Prowess: Incredible (7)

Coordination: Great (6)


Strength: Good (5)

Intellect: Amazing (8)

Awareness: Incredible (7)

Willpower: Fantastic (9)

Powers:
Blast Good (5)
Flight Great (6)

Force Field Great (6)
Illusion Incredible (7)
Mind Control Supreme (10)
Telekinesis Good (5)

Telepathy Amazing (8)

Specialties:
Martial Arts (+2)


Pilot (+1)
Science (+1)

Qualities:
Raised by the Monks of Shao-Lom
Too Proud For Her Own Good
Looking For The Perfect Mate





Monday, September 12, 2016

The Old World: Terrorgheists for the Vampire Counts #MonsterMonday

#MonsterMonday


Terrorgheist are the largest and most ferocious bat species to have ever existed, so large and terrifying that they've grown to the size of Dragons. In the hidden reaches of Sylvania, these titanic bats soar out from their caves to hunt horses, caravans and pegasi under the sickly skies. It is the ambush tactic of the creatures that give them their truly terrifying reputation. A Terrorgheist's vision is poor, so the swooping monstrosity ensures that its prey is rendered motionless by emitting a piercing shriek so loud and unexpected it can stun even a Bretonnian warhorse into paralysis. At that precise moment, the Terrorgheist will dive down, gather up rider and mount in its talons, and return to its lair to glut itself on the warm blood of it's victims.


TERRORGHEIST
6th level wrecker [UNDEAD]
Initiative: +4
Vulnerability: Holy

Disease-Ridden Tooth and Claw +11 vs AC - 63 damage
     Natural Even Roll: 10 additional damage.

Deathly Shriek +11 vs PD (1d3 Nearby Enemies) - 63 damage
     Natural 16+: The target is stunned.

Nastier Specials
Necromantic Gift: Roll a d6, if it's less than the escalation die the terrorgheist heals 20 points of damage.

AC 16

PD 20          HP 270

MD 22

Fear Threshold 30

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Shadow of the Demon Lord: Velociraptor






It is a bipedal, feathered carnivore with a long tail and an enlarged sickle-shaped claw on each hindfoot, which is thought to have been used to tackle prey. Velociraptor can be distinguished from other dromaeosaurids by its long and low skull, with an upturned snout. Rumors abound about the vicious predators making their home around the Bone Marsh.

VELOCIRAPTOR          DIFFICULTY 10
Size 1 dinosaur
Perception 12 (+2)
Defense  14; Health 20
Strength 12 (+2)   Agility 14 (+4)   Intellect 7 (-3)   Will 10 (+0)
Speed 14


ATTACK OPTIONS
Natural Weapon (melee) +4 with 1 boon (2d6) 

Pack Fighting When the velociraptor attacks a target within 
   the reach of another creature with Pack Fighting that is friendly to 
   the velociraptor, it makes the attack roll with 1 boon.


If you like this post and others like it and have an extra $1 a month, please consider becoming a Patron of Cross Planes on Patreon.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Monster of the Week: The Tsul'kalu

I may very well be running a one shot of Monster of the Week in the near future and I'm working on creating a Threat (this is all +Gaming Ronin's fault).




Basic Concept A malicious Native American legend has returned to the Woods and is searching for a Relic that will let it dominate the land, once again.

Hook Several locals have gone missing, even one of the volunteers searching for them.

Threats
   Tsul'Kalu (Monster: To hurt and terrify)  A type of sasquatch that brooks no other hunters in it's territory and has the ability to mind control it's victims. Generations ago, it trapped the spirit of Awinita in an ancient relic and is looking for where it is buried.
   Ferocious Strength
   Mind Control
   Dark Magic
   Attacks Strike 2-Harm Intimate Hand; Mind Control -2 Forward Range
   Armour 1-Armour
   Harm Capacity 10
   Weakness Fire

   Fred Tierney (Minion: To steal for his master)
   Abigail Hawkins (Minion: To steal for her master)
   Josh Perkins (Minion: To steal for his master)
   Attacks Strike 1-Harm Intimiate Hand
   Armour None
   Harm Capacity 4 Each

Bystanders
   Tom Shaw (Bystander: Witness)
   Lisa Shaw (Bystander: Skeptic)
   Katey Shaw (Bystander: Victim)
   Deputy Joanne Burch (Bystander: Detective)
   Loren Desmond (Bystander: Busybody)
   Ruth Tierney (Bystander: Official)
   Emily Moore-Perkins (Bystander: Gossip)

Locations
   Shaw Farm (Location: Hub)
   The Woods (Location: Wilds)
   The Shack (Location: Den)
   The Cornfield (Location: Prison)
   Planterville Library (Location: Crossroads)

Countdown
   1. Day: In the last 9 days, 3 citizens of Planterville have gone missing, including Abigail Hawkins who was part of a search party for Fred and Josh.

   2. Shadows: Tom Shaw has been hearing something rustling around in his barn for several weeks and a wildlife camera took a picture of something he can't identify. Something that Deputy Burch is ignoring.

   3. Dusk: Fred, Josh, and Abigail find the Relic and plan to take it to their master.   

   4. Sunset: The tsul'kalu kidnaps Katey shaw and carries her off to the Shack.

   5. Nightfall: Tsul'kalu instructs it's minions to protect the Shack while it uses the Relic for the ritual.

   6. Midnight: By sacrificing Katey,  the tsul'kalu can become the apex predator of the region again. It will hunt down all of the game, livestock, and even the townsfolk that remain in Planterville by the new year.

1,000 Faces: Dodd Werner

Dodd Werner is about to turn 30 and has spent his life as a "hireling" for various adventurers. He has a reputation for loyalty an...