Saturday, July 22, 2017

D&D 5th Edition: Training

I was reading a thread on RPG.Net about DnD 5th Edition House Rules and I noticed that one I've been using for awhile wasn't listed. So, I've decided to share it here. I don't assume it's groundbreaking, but it's one I like.
My House Rule is thus:
I will allow a character Trained in a Skill or Tool to automatically succeed on a Skill check. This mostly depends on the situation the character is in, usually there is no direct threat or there is an important clue I want the player to find. 

As an optional rule, if two characters are trained in a Skill that would help in their current situation, even if there is a looming threat (but not in combat), if they work together, they will automatically succeed, as well.


13th Age: Impundulu




The Impundulu or Lightning Bird is no ordinary bird. Stories of this monster, which grows to the size of a human, can be found in Pondo, Zulu, and Xhosa folklore. It can apparently summon lightning and storms, hence the name. The bird is allegedly a shape shifter as well, that can appear as a human, and is sometimes a supernatural familiar that guards a witch or witch doctor. Due to its size and nature, it will attack people and drink their blood.



IMPUNDULU
6th level [BEAST]
Initiative: +8

Familiar: A spellcaster served by the impundulu uses the escalation die.

Call Lightning +9 vs. PD (1d3 nearby enemies)
    – 21 damage
   Natural Roll of 16+: The target is dazed by thunder.

Drink Blood +11 vs. AC – 2d10 damage
   Natural Even Roll: The impundulu heals an amount equal to the 
damage inflicted.

Nastier Specials
Shape Shifter: As an action, the impundulu takes the form of an ally and adds the escalation die to it's AC, PD, and MD
AC 22

PD 20           HP 90

MD 16

Fear Threshold: 36















Friday, July 21, 2017

Oakhurst: Deeper and Deeper

After a pact with a Hag, our Cleric, Druid, Rogue, and Monk returned to the village via a teleportation spell. The Cleric found a halfling volunteer for a cure from the Hag and the Rogue volunteered himself. 

The Hag was angry. She wanted a halfling, not a human.

Meanwhile, the rest of the group quickly headed to Oakhurst through the Hag's territory, the Bone Thieves Orc territory (and the massive smoke to the southwest) and plains during bulette mating season and the hill giants who hunt them.

The Monk headed to the nearest bar, Frye's, while Corkie, servant of Pelor questioned the Cleric about the halfling Hugh (a father with 3 living children), who had gone missing (their volunteer).

Then the Hag contacted the Cleric, Druid, and Monk telepathically. The Cleric and Druid were so shocked by the mental intrusion they vomited (and gained 2 levels of exhaustion) while the Monk became sober. The Hag was FURIOUS. She wanted halflings, not humans. She demanded an offering (and the geas they were under enforced it). She teleported a fetish to the Monk who found a short young human woman and sent her to the Hag. Which only made the Hag MORE furious. She sent another fetish to the Cleric, who found Hugh's oldest daughter, Rona and offered for her to see her father again, she agreed and POOF.

Corkie found the Cleric with witnesses saying that he had been around Rona before she disappeared, but he talked his way out of trouble and took the Druid looking for the Monk at the nearest tavern.

Meanwhile, the barkeep told the Monk that he need to pay up some hush money because he had seen the whole exchange with the young woman. The Monk paid up and got drunk again.

When the Cleric and Druid found the Monk, they learned what he had done. Meanwhile, the barkeep, who said he didn't see anything, mentioned that whatever didn't happen, it didn't happen to the Mayor's daughter, Myrtle.

They panicked and waited outside of the village for the rest of the group.

Once everyone was reunited all hell broke loose. The Paladin, Ranger, and Wizard wanted to turn the others, prompting the Monk to swing at the Paladin. As the Mayor and two guards arrived they witness the brawl and as the Monk lay unconscious learned about Myrtle.

The Mayor had the Monk locked in jail and took everyone else to his office, while having more guards arrive, as well.

The Cleric told their story, all of it.

The Mayor was shocked, he sent for Corkie, and the Cleric told it again.

The Mayor and Corkie asked for time to discuss things privately, but the Wizard, who was invisible remained to eavesdrop. As the Mayor and Corkie had concluded that while the situation with the Hag searching wasn't ideal, they had no other solutions, but Myrtle had to be rescued, the Wizard appeared to agree with Corkie (they are both gnomes). The Mayor was furious at his spying and had everyone locked up, while Corkie talked some sense into him.

A few hours later, she arrived to tell them that they needed to go to the Hag's hut, retrieve Corkie's body dead or alive and bring back the cure. However, the Monk would remain in jail and his sentence would not be determined until Myrtle's fate was known.



The group rested for a few hours and headed out at first light (again). In the early afternoon, they came upon a dilapidated mill and sensed the presence of zombies. They learned that a dozen orc zombies were being led by an orc shaman. A back and forth battle ensued, but the group prevailed, shaken but resolute.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Blast From the Past: Omegalith for D&D 5th Edition



Ogremoch, jealous that Cryonax has gain an upper hand in the Apocalypse, hatched a plan to bolster his own presence on the fields of Armageddon.  The Prince of Elemental Earth enlisted the medusa Stonecaller, Zhwaa Lo'Sel, to use her dark gifts to transform his enemies into faithful agents of Elemental Earth and so the omegalith were wrought.



OMEGALITH                                                                   
Medium elemental, neutral evil                                        ________________________________________________

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 20 (3d8+6) 
Speed 25 ft.
___________________________________________
   Str            Dex         Con           Int         Wis         Cha
14 (+2)     10 (+0)     16 (+3)     11 (+0)    10 (+0)     10 (+0)
___________________________________________

Condition Immunities petrified
Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 30 ft; 
passive Perception 10
Languages Primordial, Terran
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)

___________________________________________

Made of Stone. Bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage that the omegalith takes from non-magical weapons is reduced by 3.

Enduring. The omegalith has advantage on Constitution saving throws.

Reinforced. When a creature targeting the omegalith rolls a 1 on their attack roll, their weapon breaks.

___________________________________________


ACTIONS

___________________________________________

Slam. Melee Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft. one target.
Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) bludgeoning damage.

Spear. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 10 ft. or 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

D&D 5E: The Chthonic Verses






The Chthonic Verses by Eldridge Plinth is a slim book of about 100 pages with a cover that is worn and stained. The cover is made from a dark redwood and has thin spikes of brass forming an unpleasant glyph that causes a ringing in the ears of anyone who looks at it for more than a few seconds (at least a turn) The pages are a heavy paper made from the Pyre Lotus. The Verses are in neatly printed Dwarfish and were penned with a water based, brown ink from the Drome River, in the Underdark. Plinth's tome is free of illustrations of any kind and is infamous for the author’s screed against Dhalripple Ferrodrang for his improper techniques at crafting aqueducts in Appendix V.
   Anyone who attempts to open the book must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw.  On a failure, the reader contracts Cackle Fever (in the DMG).

CHTHONIC VERSES
Wondrous item, legendary (requires attunement)

• While the Chthonic Verses is in your possession you may cast the 
conjure elemental spell (an earth elemental only) as a ritual. 

• You learn the acid splash cantrip and if you are a Sorcerer or Wizard, the damage of the cantrip increases from a d6 to a d8.

• You gain a +2 to Constitution saving throws.

• You gain resistance to acid damage.






Sunday, July 16, 2017

Index Card RPG: Deep One






DEEP ONE for the Index Card RPG Core
Rolls: +2 Str, Con, +3 Int, -2 Char

2 Hearts

ACTIONS

ATTACK - BITE: Weapon Effort with their teeth.

ATTACK-GRAPPLE: Overpowers a single victim in it's sinewy grip requiring competing STR rolls. Those overcome are grappled and must check with CON or be winded, losing their next turn.

ABDUCT: Grappled victims are pulled into the watery depths. 

  "I think their predominant color was a greyish-green, though they had white bellies. They were mostly shiny and slippery, but the ridges of their backs were scaly. Their forms vaguely suggested the anthropoid, while their heads were the heads of fish, with prodigious bulging eyes that never closed. At the sides of their necks were palpitating gills, and their long paws were webbed. They hopped irregularly, sometimes on two legs and sometimes on four. I was somehow glad that they had no more than four limbs. Their croaking, baying voices, clearly used for articulate speech, held all the dark shades of expression which their staring faces lacked ... They were the blasphemous fish-frogs of the nameless design - living and horrible."


AMPHIBIANS: Deep ones live in cyclopean undersea cities, often close to the coast, where they spy on humanity.

THE LOOK: Deep ones visit lonely fishing villages, insinuating themselves and their blasphemous worship Father Dagon and Mother Hydra, finding broken souls to mate with, producing hybrid spies to live amongst humanity, preparing the stars to be right.

IMMORTAL: Many are drawn to these loathsome creatures due their immortality. Like the tide, time is on their side.

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

1,000 Faces: Lutfullah Haik

Lutfullah is a Sorcerer (8th Level Human Storm Sorcerer), Alchemist, and former member of the Circle of the Wyvern adventuring company. Lutfullah or Lu to his friends is in his early 30s and owns the tallest building in town. He uses the top floor as his laboratory and has contracts with numerous patrons throughout the region, including several nobles. His work is exemplary, his discoveries exciting, and he is always discrete. 



Lutfullah is very careful to keep his friendships and business associations separate. He is calculating and cautious, which has kept him alive on numerous occasions, as well as a keen listener and his eyes are always watching those he speaks with. He has a passion for the violin and makes time twice a day to practice it, preferring to play for only his closest friends and family.

Unfortunately, Lu has a gambling problem and after working up a hefty debt to the local thieves' guild, he's begun working it off by providing Alchemical admixtures, including poisons. While he hasn't gambled in 3 months, it's always tempting him and he still has plenty of debt to work off.

Lu is 5' 11" stands with a rigid posture, his movements precise and designed to waste the least amount of energy. He is missing two fingers on his left hand, due to an accident on his final outing with the Circle. He speaks 5 languages fluently and most people he meets are suprised at his lack of an accent. 

He coldly holds little regard for the Gods, feeling that they treat mortals as mere pawns on some celestial gameboard. His mind understands the strict rules of magic and alchemy and he finds comfort in those things. He only sees customers by appointment, which must be arranged by his secretary, Willem Dowd.

He married a local, Katarine, and they have two children, a 2 year old daughter, Nuha, and a newborn son, Jon (named after Katarine's father).

D&D 5th Edition: Frostrazor, A Magic Longsword

"A nameless archmage crafted the blade by impaling an ancient wyrm of a white dragon with an enormous icicle stalactite, knocking it from the roof and impaling the beast through the heart before using its blood and magic to shape the icicle into a massive, crystaline blade of never-melting ice. He did this to create a superior weapon that could be used in his war against an efreet pasha. Unfortunately for him, his trusted general was actually working for the pasha, and promptly stabbed him in the back with the newly forged longsword."




Magic weapon (longsword), legendary (requires attunement)

• You gain a +3 on attack rolls and damage rolls with this longsword.

• Frostrazor deals 1d10 cold damage and has the Finesse property.

• When you score a critical hit with Frostrazor, a 6 inch long shard of ice breaks off in the target's wound. A creature wounded in this way takes 1d8 cold damage at the beginning of their turn and you gain that many temporary hit points. They may use their action to make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw to dig the shard out of their wound wounded in this way, 

• When you kill a creature with Frostrazor it turns to ice.

• You gain resistance to cold damage and do not gain levels of exhaustion from freezing temperatures.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Oakhurst: Duty and Sacrifice

My Oakhurst game is designed to be a sandbox, so I'm attempting to have some plot threads available to sew together and simply let the player's drive the story.


The group, along with three mules and five hirelings, set out north toward the home of the hag, Angelika, just after first light. After over two hours of travel along the plains on a sunny and breezy day, Willen the Ranger, noticed the trails of multiple large burrowing animals about forty yards to the east. Then the group heard a loud humanoid voice and some crunching and tearing noises over some hills in the same direction.

Willen realized that it was currently the mating season of bulettes and figured thats why there were so many trails.



Willen and Alvin the Wizard then snuck over the area and spied three hill giants who had been plucking the passionate bulettes out of the earth and eating them. One of them, a nasty sort with one milky eye, saw then and chase them off with rocks (that did a massive amount of damage to the Ranger), more concerned with their current meal than the two characters. Ander the Rogue raced toward them for aid.



Meanwhile, the rest of the group and the mules were attacked by a bulette. It took the whole group reuniting to finish it off.

After discussing how to proceed, the group continued north, moving from the plains to light forest. Willen and Alvin both spied two orc scouts on wargs, members of the Bone Thieves tribe, who simply stared at them, almost timidly from a safe distance. In fact, twice more the came upon orcs who merely kept their distance. The Ranger, who spoke orc, finally decided to speak to a sentinel in a tree, who revealed that the tribe was expecting emissaries of Zeos and were glad they were finally on hand.

Of course, no one knew who Zeos was, but they played along, glad to have safe travel through hostile territory.

Finally the forest turned thicker and less light from the middday sun shone through the older trees around them.

Alvin noticed a tree with the skull of a troll in it's bough and a second tree with a fetish, a few yards from the first. He realized these were magical wards and called for a halt. Ander the Rogue tossed a rock at the troll's skull and immediately a flock of large ravens burst upon them. Additionally, the sounds of wailing and frightened children could be heard all about them. Gulag drove off the ravens with magic and their group was fired upon by four kenku, the source of the childlike voices. 

The group quickly dispatched the kenku, while one of the hirelings approached the fetish in the second tree and the necromantic magic within the fetish assaulted him.

Once the group helped the hireling, a smoky image erupted from the troll's skull and introduced itself as Angelika and demanded to know why the group was tresspassing.

They learned that she had not created the Yellow Plague and sent a ransom note, that the chief of the Bone Thieves, whom she had aided in the past, approached her seeking magic to allow him to unite the goblinoids in the region and she had refused. They also learned that she knew of Zeos as a simple grave robber until he discovered an powerful tome filled with necromantic magic.

She did offer to find a cure for the halflings (she found them delicious and couldn't imagine anyone wasting such delicious meat) in exchange for being able to eat her test subject afterward. The group agreed to this and Gulag the Cleric bartered for teleportation back to Oakhurst in exchange for a second halfling.



However, only half the group took that offer and they began hiking back to the village.

When the other half arrived at the village, they immediately found a volunteer halfling willing to sacrifice themselves and when Gulag learned the magic the hag had given them wouldn't allow them to send a halfling cadaver, Ander the Rogue used her magic to transport himself to Angelika.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Fiend Folio: Blindheim for D&D 5th Edition





"This subterranean creature is yellow and frog-like humanoid with huge eyes that shine like searchlights. While in repose, the beast keeps its eyes 'turned off by means of an extra eyelid; however it can 'attack' instantaneously by opening its eyes, and its acute sense of hearing will usually indicate to it the direction of its 'target'.

The creature is coloured in varying shades of yellow, the darker shades on its back contrasting with lighter shades on its underbelly. If the eyes of a dead blindheim are opened, they are seen t o be a dull gold in colour."

BLINDHEIM
Small monstrocity, chaotic evil
________________________________________________

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 18 (4d10 + 4) 
Speed 45 ft.
________________________________________________
   Str            Dex         Con           Int         Wis         Cha
14 (+2)        16 (+3)        11 (+0)        5 (-3)      10 (+0)      3 (-4)
________________________________________________

Skills Stealth +5
Condition Immunities blinded, poison
Senses blindsense 60 ft. (blind beyond this radius), 
passive Perception 9
Languages --
Challenge 1 (200 XP)
________________________________________________


Blinding Stare. The mephit exhales a 15-foot cone of blinding dust. Each creature in that area must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw or be blinded for 1 minute.  When a creature starts its turn within 30 feet of the blindheim and is able to see the blindheim's eyes, the creature must succeed on a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw or be blinded for 1 minute.  A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. Creatures that succeed on their save have advantage on their attack rolls against the blindheim as long as it using it's blinding stare.

Standing Leap. The frog's long jump is up to 40 feet and its
high jump is up to 20 feet, with or without a running start.
________________________________________________

ACTIONS
Vicious Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 23) piercing damage.



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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

FAE: Keenan Taylor, A Werejaguar of Grave New World

For years I've been developing a modern supernatural setting where the monsters live out in the open, ala True Blood or Anita Blake, that I call Graven New World.


I'm thinking of running it in Fate Accelerated. Right now I'm sticking with "vanilla" FAE, but may use Dresden Files Accelerated.

Keenan Taylor has always been bright and fearless. He got a full ride to John Hopkins and immediately began living on the edge, trying to balance his studies and Baltimore's night life. During his second term he had a one night stand with a woman named Bianca and contracted Therianthropy from a bite.

While the school has adapted to his ailment, his parents haven't and relationships are strained with both of his parents.

An intern named Juniper, whose brother is a wererat, has been helping learn about Inhuman culture and he has made some real friends.


Keenan Taylor

High Concept: 
   Werejaguar Medical Student
Trouble: Womanizer
Shared: You Help Me Understand My Disease
Other Aspects: Charming, Historian

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

STUNTS
Uses Big Words (Clever): Because of your Vocabulary you gain a +2 to Cleverly interact with someone one on one.

Fearless (Quick): Because of your Confidence you gain a +2 when in conflict with one opponent.

Werejaguar (Flashy): When you transform, you gain 3 additional Stress and Increase your Forceful and Quick by 1.

STRESS
[  ]  [  ]  [  ]

CONSEQUENCES 

Mild (2): 
Moderate (4): 
Severe (6):

REFRESH: 3 


Monday, July 10, 2017

A New Look

Changed the look of the blog a bit. 

Here is the background image.




Any feedback?

13th Age: Rompo

I'm developing a project focusing on African folklore and decided to explore it with 13th Age due to feedback from my Patrons.


Rompo is a mythological beast with the head of a hare, human ears, a skeleton-like body, the front arms of a badger, and the rear legs of a bear. It feeds only on human corpses and it is said to croon softly as it eats. 






ROMPO
2nd level [BEAST]
Initiative: +2
Vulnerablity: holy

Human ears: The rompo understands Common.

Serious burrower: A rompo can burrow incredibly quickly for short distances. They’re renowned for the mounds of dirt and rock they push above them as they surge through the ground like land torpedoes.

 Claw +7 vs. AC –– 7 damage
     Natural even hit: The target takes +1d6 damage from another 
        claw swipe.


Nastier Specials
Hybrid: The rompo gains a +2 to saves.

AC 18
PD  18                              HP 36
MD 12

Fear Threshold 12




Sunday, July 9, 2017

Silent Legions: Invisible Horror



Invisible Horror for Silent Legions

AC: 2
HD: 8
Atks: Smash x2 +8
Skill: +5
Special: Warded (Immune to bullets)
Move: 40'
Morale: 9
Dmg: 1d8 x2
Madness: 2d6
Save: 15+



"Another visitor to the ranch had a more ominous encounter in the middle homestead, the same place where I was set out as bait. The visitor, along with Gorman and his son, say they saw a large blurry something moving through the trees. The visitor has been meditating when this thing showed up. It swiftly moved from the trees, across the pasture, covering 100 yards in seconds, and when it reached the man, it let out a ferocious roar, something akin to a large bear, a roar loud enough to be heard hundreds of yards away. But this was no bear. It was, according to the Gormans, nearly invisible, resembling the camouflaged being in the movie Predator. The visitor was so scared, he grabbed on to Gorman and wouldn't let go. He left the ranch and has never returned."


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RPG Blog Carnival June: The Participants of Gonzo & Cross-Genre



In June I hosted the RPG Blog Carnival and my topic was Gonzo and Cross-Genre Gaming. You can learn more about the Carnival and even visit it's archives at Johnn Four's Roleplaying Tips.



I am extremely grateful to share the posts of those that chose to join me on this topic, in no particularly order.

Clark Timmins posted about Multiverses in RPGs.

Phil Nicholls about applying Gonzo to his Tales of the Hero Wars game.

Marc Plourde posted about the appeal of genre mash-ups.

And Brian Rubinfeld posted an assortment of Magictech for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition.

I apologize that my follow up is late and truly appreciated the opportunity to host the RPG Blog Carnival. And I am honored to host the work of my fellow bloggers on this topic.


1,000 Faces: Kassandra Kray

Kassandra Kray is a bandit leader in her early 30s, who command the Violet Horde, which has plagued the Sword Coast for the last two years. She has also done mercenary work for the Arcane Brotherhood and she has also sold information to the Lords' Alliance. Kass is a natural leader and master tactician.



While Kass has earned solid reputation as the hard-nosed leader of her band, it has allowed her to work within the shadows to combat slavery in the region. In fact, 40% of her band is made up of slaves that she has freed and who have been willing to join the Horde and find a place for them where they are their own masters.

Kass is a Human 5th Level Battle-Master Fighter and a 2nd Level Swashbuckler Rogue. Kass was a guardswoman in Baldur's Gate in her youth and the human misery she lived on a daily basis lead her to a life on the road. She has an interest in history, especially the reign of Netheril, and rumors insist that she will not let her Horde rob a historian or sage they encounter. Kass is a casual worshiper of Tempus.

Kass is 6' 1", is long and lean, with long raven-black locks and deep, dark eyes. She is talkative, sly, and flirty when raiding a group on the road and does her best to use as little violence as possible. She is intensely loyal to her Horde and will track down and bloodily torture anyone who injures or kills one of her own.
In private, she is a bit shy, likes talking history and current events, and is an intense listener.  She has a older sister, Trina and a younger brother, Kalvin, who both live in Thundertree. She tries to make time to quietly visit them at least twice a year and helps them fund the farm they and their families work.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

DMing: Random Encounters

I've been analyzing how I run games and figured that I'd share what I do and either help others or learn new techniques.



When I'm prepping random encounters, usually look a few monsters of various Challenge Ratings that are suitable for the environment the characters are dealing with (the 5E DMG is great for this) and have them set aside, out of the player's view.

I then roll for a random encounter usually every few hours of travel, about 1-2 hours of exploration, and once per short rest and 3-4 times per long rest. I do this by rolling a d6, with an encounter on a roll of 1 and sometimes on a roll of 2. If I roll a 6, not only does no encounter occur, but either the group finds a helpful resource or they are safe for this scene and I won't roll for the next random encounter. Any number in between, means nothing happens.

I like the d6 because I like the way it feels in my hand, silly I know, but it's true and its easy to quickly assign the significant numbers. It's the only rolls I make in secret, simply covering it from view with my hand. I'll admit, sometimes I roll simply to keep the player's on their toes.

I don't use random lists, simply because I'd rather have the stats for the threat available to me. Have 3 to 5 options is always nice and I generally have the strength of the encounter roughly formed, though I have problem adapting it on the fly.

If you have a way to handle random encounters, please post them!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Oakhurst: Heading Into the Deep, Dark Unknown

My Oakhurst game is designed to be a sandbox, so I'm attempting to have some plot threads available to sew together and simply let the player's drive the story.



Last week, they discovered a supply depot on the outskirts of the village was home to a strange family, the Karnaks, not only was infested with ratmen (think M:tG's Nezumi or the Old World's Skaven), but that the family appeared to worship an ancient chaos god known as the Great Horned One. They also began exploring a tunnel that had been connected to the depot's basement.



This week, the group decided to explore the stairs, in all of their ancient and slick glory.

First they encountered a minor poison trap, which led them to face off against 3 darkmantles.

Next they encountred a patrol of 2 rat-ogres (reskinned quagoths).

Weary, out of healing spells, they decided to take a short rest.

After descending nearly 200 feet into the Underdark, they were just a few minutes away from the eerie ancient hall with walls seeped in bloody symbols dedicated to the Great Horned One. They could make out vague details of the rooms that it led to toward the east and west...and then a xorn burst through the wall of the landing they stood upon and quickly laid their thief low. Our dwarven cleric remembered that xorn's were immune to normal weapons and the group, after a few more hits by the viscious monstrocity, ran. They simply turned tail and headed upward, even carrying their fallen thief (who rolled a crit on his third Death save).



As a DM, I was proud of them. The xorn was a random encounter and I wasn't sure how well they would weather that fight as they are only level 3.

After making their way out of the stairs and sealing up the tunnels, they gots a good night's sleep (though the monk seems to have contrasted some illness) they woke up to hunt down a hag, Angelika, that has unleashed the Yellow Plague upon the halflings of the village.

It's a night, bright summer day and their band has set out on yet another mission.

Until next week.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

D&D 5E: Planeshift Amonkhet is Now Available

Wizards of the Coast has posted the latest in their Planeshifts series, Amonkhet, giving details on using the Magic: the Gathering Plane as a setting for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition.

The Plane Shift articles are a companion to the gorgeous Art of Magic: the Gathering Series of hardcover books.



This article details new Cleric Domains, new backgrounds, new races, and even discusses options for having the group be Planeswalkers.

I love these articles and took my Friday group into Innistrad after finishing the Princes of Apocalypse campaign. They ended up condemning Sorin Markov, Nahiri, and Saint Cuthbert to the Demiplane of Dread and Desire -- Ravenloft, while defeating Emrakul.

You can download the PDF out here.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Heroes Wear Masks, Super Hero Gaming using D&D 5th Edition

I just discovered that Avalon Games has updated their Heroes Wear Masks (I have the Pathfinder version) to use the DnD 5th Edition rules.



Apparently, they have recently released the Core game and a Powers supplement (though the best deal is a Bundle of the two).

Stay tuned as intend to check it out and share my thoughts.

Patreon: The Yellow Plague

I've just posted my very first Patron Only content. If you would like to check it out you can become a Patron here for $1 a month.

For those interested here is what it covers:

This is one of the storyline options I've worked up after running the Sunless Citadel and continuing to use the Oakhurs setting as the foundation of a sandbox for my Players.

There is a small conspiracy within OakhurstRatmen, also known as Nezumi or Skäven, the Karnak family, and a changeling named Khym, who has assumed the identity of Dem "Corkie" Nackle, the gnome priestess of Pelor, all venerate the Great Horned One and have followed His commands to unleash a pestilence upon the village.

   

Patreon: Something New

In the Monday DnD game that I'm running (though we are playing on Thursday now), I've been expanding the village of Oakhurst from Sunless Citadel (I love Tales of the Yawning Portal) to create a sandbox game. 



I'm going to be sharing those adventure seeds that the group has been exposed to as exclusive content on my Patreon.

I've never done exclusive content, but I thought I would give it a try.



If you are interested you can join for as little as $1 a month.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Review: Dresden Files Accelerated

While I had been aware of FATE because of Evil Hat's Spirit of the Century, their publication of the Dresden Files RPG is what hooked my interest in their company. Sadly, I find FATE (Core) far too complex for what, to me, is supposed to be a rules-lite game. Thankfully, the Hats made a version of FATE (Accelerated Edition) more to my liking and decided to create Dresden Files Accelerated for those in the same boat.

I'm reviewing the PDF version which clocks in at 256 pages and it's art, layout, and funny bits are as well done as their previous 3 efforts. Evil Hat knows how to make an appealing visual product and this project is no different.





The book is up to date through Jim Butcher's Skin Game and is chock full of spoilers if you have not read the novels or are behind.

For those unaware, Harry Dresden is a Wizard in Chicago's phone book, wizard who finds trouble at least as well as trouble finds him. He often works with the police, though in fairness the police are often working against him to. He faces spirits, fae, vampire, werewolves, and all kinds of things are not supposed to exist and his life is about as easy or as pleasant as any other gumshoe from your favorite down-on-his-luck detective yarn.

Fate Accelerated is a stripped down version of FATE Core that reduces the Skill Pyramid down to 6 Approaches (Flair, Focus, Force, Guile, Haste, Intellect), fewer Aspects, and fewer Stunts.

Most of the book explains, fairly in-depth, the world that Harry inhabits (which is usually trying to kill him, though often because of a choice he made) and the rules by which it operates.

A major component to Dresden Files Accelerated are Mantles, which are bundles of Stunts and Conditions (which determine how quickly you regain access to that Stunt after using them) and really help you quickly find your place in Dresden's world. They are things like Clued-In Mortal, Criminal, Magical Practitioner, Knight of the Cross, Werecreature, Summer Court Fae, or Red Court Vampire. They also provide optional Stunts that you may take that lowers your Refresh. The FATE system uses FATE points that allow you to get a bonus on a roll, tag an Aspect (to get a bigger bonus on a roll), change the scene of the game, or Compel someone to do something (or prevent the GM from compelling you to do something). Refresh is how many FATE points you regain after an appropriate amount of time.

The Stress Track (Mental and Physical Hit Points) is also treated differently, with your base Track each simply having a 1 in each box to represent 1 Stress and not requiring you to mark a particular box based on the amount of Stress. In traditional FATE, if I take 3 Stress and and I have 4 boxes, I would mark the 3rd box to the right. Under Dresden Files Accelerated, if I take 3 Stress and I have 4 boxes of Stress with a 1 in each, I can mark any 3 I want. It's a simple change that smoothes over a small learning curve. Each character also has an In Peril box which counts as 4 Stress and a Doomed box which counts as 6 Stress. Lastly, there are Indebted boxes to check, as well.

Pros If you love FATE or rules-lighter games. If you love the Dresden Files. If you want rules for Modern Fantasy that can be easily kit-bashed.

Cons It's not as rules-lite as it could be.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

D&D 5E: Cloud Strife's Buster Sword



BUSTER SWORD
Magic weapon (longsword), legendary (requires attunement)

• You gain a +4 on attack rolls and damage rolls with this longsword.

• Buster Sword deals 2d8 damage and has the Reach and Versatile (2d10) properites.

• You deal an additional 20 slashing damage on a hit. Once you use this ability, you cannot use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

• When taking the Attack action, you may make 8 attacks against a single target. Once you use this ability, you cannot use it again until you finish a long rest.

• You deal an additional 6d8 radiant damage on a hit. All allies within 30 feet gain a +4 to AC until the end of your next turn and gain 20 hit points. Once you use this ability, you cannot use it again until your finish a long rest.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Sunless Citadel: The Great Horned One

Recently, our merry band of adventurers discovered the Prospector General Store, owned by the Karnak clan and learned that their basement held freshly dug tunnels and ratmen. After a pitched battle the group moved on from the place, but upon their return they found it boarded up. Having gained some official writ from the Mayor due to a job he'd given them, they decided to "investigate" (or break in, depends on your point of view). They found the symbol of the Great Horned One throughout the rooms above the store, as well as booby traps, more ratmen, a giant rat, a room that led to...somewhere else, and extensive tunnels leading deep underground. 

They have been told that one of their number has been exposed to a dangerous disease, but opted not to trade the antidote for the ratman's escape. Now, they must figure out if their enemy was telling the truth and how deep they are willing to follow him...


The Chaos God of change, blight, and pestilence longs for the destruction of civilization and desires for the respect and becoming the equal of his fellow gods, who look down upon him. His holy number is 13. His priests are called Lead Seers and he is served by demons called Ungeziefer
, gigantic fiends armed with poisioned weaponry. He is also known as Grandfather and Tsien-Tsin.

Great Horned One (CE)
God of blight, change, pestilence

   Domain Death, Trickery 
   Symbol Three crossed lead bands forming an inverted pyramid


Zombies and Their Hunger

I've been on a bit of zombie kick lately, listening to the World War Z Audio Book while driving on our vacation and reading Chuck Dixon's Gomers.

It led me to ponder something. 

We often see scenes of zombies converging on a victim and seeminly devouring them, yet we rarely see zombies with extensive bite wounds.



This made start thinking of the reason why they aren't more devoured or even heavily gnawed upon zombies.

The answers I've come up with could be applied to either a fantasy or modern/sci-fi setting. The virus or curse that raises the dead has a biological or magical component that prevents the them from continuing to eat their victims as soon as the moment of death occurs.

Due to this, a horde may descend upon a victim, but as soon as that victim dies, the horde no longer has any interest in continuing to feed and will seek new targets, as they no longer crave that flesh.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Gun Shield





GUN SHIELD
Magic weapon (shield), rare (requires attunement)

• You gain a +1 to AC with this shield.

• The gun shield has 6 charges and gains 1d6 charages at dawn each day. As a bonus action, you may spend 1 charge to make a ranged attack that deals 3d4 piercing damage with a range of 30/120 feet.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Index Card RPG: Zombies






ZOMBIE for the Index Card RPG Core
Rolls: +2 Str, +2 Con

ACTIONS

ATTACK - BITE: Weapon Effort, with their teeth and nails.

MOAN: A hungry zombie will moan and in 1d8 rounds 1d6 more zombies will appear Far away. 

UNDEAD: When a zombie is reduced to Zero Hit Points, roll a d6. On a 4-6 the zombie still has 1 Hit Point, but on a 1-3 the zombie dies immediately.

ALL CONSUMING HUNGER: Zombies will never run away.

The living dead, ghouls, zombies. Every culture has their legends and every civilization prays they are mere myth. When the dead rise, not only do they prey upon the living, but every person that falls to them rises amongst their hungry ranks.


THERE IS NEVER JUST ONE: Zombies are drawn to sounds, smells, life. They have nothing else to do but to feed.


FAST ZOMBIES: The only thing worse than the living dead rising, are living dead running at you in a massive horde. Fast, berserk, and hungry for your flesh.

LIVING DEAD: Whatever foul necromancy or disease that drives the walking dead, it knows no racial boundaries. All sentient creatures rise up to join the ranks of the ghouls after falling to them.

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunless Citadel: Khaang, A Magical Dagger






There are ancient tales of weapons forged from the fangs of dragons, sometimes given as gifts to a wyrm's servants, sometimes lifted from the battlefield after a ferocious draconic battle, and sometimes pulled from the corpse of one of the monster's corpses. Such weapons are prized far and wide while also bringing unwanted attention to a wielder of these weapons when they meet a dragon.

Legends tell us that Khaang was a gift from the black dragon Skytherix to a particularly devoted elven servant, Leona Stormhunter. And the weapon was passed down through her family for centuries, until one of her descendants met an end while plumbing the depths of the Sunless Citadel...


KHAANG
Magic weapon (dagger), legendary (requires attunement)


• You gain a +1 on attack rolls and damage rolls with this dagger.

• When you hit with a weapon attack, you can roll an additional 2d6 poison damage and add it to the damage roll. Once you use this ability, you cannot use it again until you complete a short or long rest.

• You gain an extra action on your turn. That action can be used only to take the Attack (one weapon attack only), Dash, Disengage, Hide, or Use an Object action. Once you use this ability, you cannot use it again until you complete a long rest.

D&D 5th Edition: Training

I was reading a thread on RPG.Net about DnD 5th Edition House Rules and I noticed that one I've been using for awhile wasn't listed....