Saturday, May 18, 2019

Dungeons & Dragons Stranger Things Box



Tonight, my buddy AJ was the DM for the DnD Stranger things Box. AJ did a great job, but what bothered me is that the adventure in the box wasn't very strong. It works as a good, quick intro adventure for newbies, don't get me wrong. However, the original DnD 5E Starter was exceptionally good and provided a group I played in six months worth of campaign and we were a mixed party of newbies and veterans. 

I won't lie, I wanted something as good as the first 5E Starter. In fact, we deserve something that good, again.

I'm sad that more thought wasn't put into this adventure. I mean how many people picked this up and it's their first exposure to DnD? It's a missed opportunity.


Sunday, May 5, 2019

I'm Not Dead

I don't know how much I'll be on here for the next several weeks. I found out that the health issues I've been dealing with, including  insomnia, are due to a medicine called Abilify that I started taking last November as a "mood enhancer".  I started going through withdrawal and experienced insomnia for several days and I'm weening off the medicine even further than I did before.

I love blogging, but I have to take care of myself first.

Thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated as I'm really frightened of going through withdrawal a second time.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Counter Culture: Pre-Release Weekend



Well, it's one of THOSE times a year again. There is a new Magic: the Gathering set, War of the Spark and it is the Pre-Release this weekend. All weekend. I'm talking midnight events and then back at it saturday and back at it sunday.

I'm amazed how popular the Midnight events are. People get SO damn excited. They seem to think its some great honor to be in a retail environment until 6am. I don't really share it, but then I've been working retail for 20 years now. I am glad they enjoy it so much, but by about 4am I'm not always as fast with answers as I should be.

One of the cool equations that has recently been added to the event was Wizards of the Coast allowing our preorder customers to pick up their boxes of booster that weekend. That's been a great addition and the type of innovation I like to see.

I won't lie that by the end of the weekend I'm pretty wiped out. It won't help that Free Comic Book Day is the following weekend, but at least we will be busy and money will have been made.

Monday, April 22, 2019

7 Years Gone

April 10th marked my 7th Anniversary running this blog. I'd like to say that I saw that happening, but I'd be lying.

I'm not sure what the future holds but I have some things to work out. In truth, the last two years have been T-O-U-G-H. A bright spot, as we head into May, my son will be graduating high school and going to a local University to study Engineering in the fall. Time flies.

The last months have been tough as I was dealing with both some grief from my Dad passing last year, adjusting to the new status quo in the house with my Mom moving in, and some issue with anxiety that might have been made worse by the wrong medicine. I should know more about that later this week.

I just haven't had the creative spark to keep up a daily or every other day schedule. I'm hoping to push through it, but the blog has had to take a back seat to my mental health.

I'm not sure if its G+'s passing, but my interest in RPGs have ebbed some. I even feel it in the games I'm playing and running. I'm not sure if some of the problems I'm facing will go away as I move away from this medicine or if this is just a new phase for me.

I have lots of uncertainty and I'm just trying to take care of myself and my family.

I wish I had more answers. I hope I find them soon. My goal is to post a least once each week for the time being. I hope I find my muse again. It's been a tremendous journey and I appreciate those who have taken it with me.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Labyrinth Lord: Wicked Witch


Wicked Witch for Labyrinth Lord
AL C MV 30' (flying on broom 60') , AC 4, HD 3, #AT 1 (broom), 
THAC0 18, DG 1d6, SV 3 wizard, ML 10,  XP 65

Mistress of vile deeds and evil doings.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Counter Culture: Dice



There are many categories to my store, but one of our best-selling, for literally decades, has been dice. We stock all different kinds of sets from many different companies. Literally, if a dice company has terms for wholesale, I set up an account. I will admit that through all of the manufacturers, Chessex seems to be the old standby.

Our most popular types fo dice are sets of polyhedral dice for games like Dungeons and Dragons. I literally go through dozens of sets each week. Sets of 6 siders sell dramatically less, but still sell well. 

What I've found most unusual about the category is that even when RPG sales are flagging, my dice sales stay consistent. 

People love dice. And who can blame them? Can you really ever have enough dice? According to my customers, the answer is a resounding no.

Monday, April 8, 2019

LabyrinthQuest: Classes & Ability Scores




I'm working on developing a game mechanic into an OSR product.

The mechanic is my take on percentile systems.

Essentially, the DM sets the difficulty of the task, let's say its 50%.  The Player's Ability Scores or Class then modify the difficulty. Let's say that I'm swing my sword at an orc, so I can either use my Strength (+10%) or Fighter Class (+20%). Fighter is the higher of the two and I use it and my modified chance to hit the orc is 70% on a d100 roll.

I plan on 4 Classes: Fighter (your skill weapons and tactics), Thief (the usual skills), Wizard (which translates into your Mana Points to power spells), and Cleric (which translates into your Faith Points spells).

At character creation you spread 20 points between the 4 Classes.

I also plan on the typical 6 Ability Scores (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma).

At character creation you spread 10 between the 6 Abilities.

When a task comes up you look at the appropriate Ability or the Class. You choose the Highest of the 2.

Thoughts?


Saturday, April 6, 2019

Blackest of Deaths: Dogman



Dogman

Humanoids that can walk as a quadruped or biped and hunt wooded areas. 


HP: 14
Evade: 13
Armor Point: 2 (Natural)
Bonus: +2 to Attack
Attack: Bite (1d6_+1)
Special: Has Advantage on DEX checks to hide and use stealth.

Friday, April 5, 2019

#April TTRPGMaker Week 1


1. Introduce Myself? I'm Mark Craddock, I work at Comic Book World in KY. I work with my whole family. I've run this blog for 6 years and I make RPG supplements for digital distribution. I've been playing since 1990 and DMing since 1991.

2. Describe Your Work. I like cross-genre stuff and science-fantasy. I've done work for the OSR, 5th Edition, Cypher System, and Shadow of the Demon Lord.

3. Key to Making Process? Keep at it. Write. Design. Just keep moving and try to do it every day.

4. Favorite Type of Game Scenario? Anything fantasy. Its my jam. Dark fantasy, heroic fantasy, low fantasy, whatever.

5. Character or Worldbuilding? Worldbuilding. I'm a DM at heart. I like breathing life into the world and populating it with interesting people for the characters to interact with.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Artifacts of the Ancients: 3 Cyphers for D&D 5th Edition





The Arcana of the Ancients Kickstarter rolls on. We currently have the main book, a bestiary, a deluxe version of the main book, and the next goal is the 9th World of Numenera for 5E.


I'm still pretty excited about running Numenera with 5E and in the vein here are 3 Cyphers converted to 5E (1 shot devices from prior worlds that are so advanced they might as well be magic):

Rejuvinator
The user regains hit points equal to 1d6 x their level.

Fireproofing SprayA nonliving object sprayed by this cypher is immune to fire damage for 24 hours.

Hunter/Seeker
The user makes an attack roll against a single target within line of sight with this intelligent missile which deals 3d6 force damage. If the attack roll misses, roll a d6, the missile continues to attack for that many rounds on your Initiative count or until it hits.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Blackest of Deaths: The Core Mechanic


Eric Bloat of Bloat Games is a pretty swell guy. He gave me access to an ashcan copy of Blackest of Deaths, his new Dire Old School Fantasy RPG, that will be Kickstarted on April 9th.

One of the most unique things about BoD is that it uses a D20 and a D6 for task resolution. Its a roll high mechanic where you want to meet or exceed your target number, so you add any modifiers to the D20 roll. However, you also look at the D6. Ignore a roll of 2-5. On a 1 you have a hindrance added to the outcome. On a 6 you have a benefit added to the outcome.

So let's say that Clancy the Swift is attempting to scale a sheer wall in the dead of night with a storm raging. His D20 roll was only a 3 and he fails his attempt at the climb, but his D6 roll was a 6, so the sentries on the wall haven't noticed him.

I really dig that the mechanic leaves room for the DM to interpret extra results and like how quick it is to both learn and use.

I can't wait for this game.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Waterdeep: Catching Up



I haven't posted about my Waterdeep/Undermountain game in a bit. 

The characters just hit 9th level at the end of last session (I use Milestones).

Once they left Undermountain they've been focused on personal goals and accomplishments.

The Cleric became a Templar of her Faith, in lieu of becoming Bishop. Due to an infernal deal she made her burn scars healed and her Charisma improved. Her Church took that as some great enlightenment and after a very well done improvisational speech in character, she had the clout to choose to be a Templar, the same rank as Bishop, but without all the paper work.

Our Wizard is also a Paladin of Bane. In my Waterdeep, lycanthropic slavers known as the Red Door have nearly beaten the Zhentarim. A Zhent agent has convinced the Wizard to bring the Church of Bane into the fight with the Red Door. Things are going to get bloody fast, I think.

Our Bard could literally drive the plotlines of a whole campaign by herself. She has currently hired out the Zhent agent to steal a violin from a Duchess so she can get the Bard's College off of her back. She also has a Patron/Romantic Interest who is missing her. Additionally, she has made a deal with Drow to get a baby chimera when it hatches and has an automaton they rescued making armor for it. Oh, and she has been one of two survivors (the other being the Cleric) who had called a truce with the leader of the Red Door. 

Our Fighter set up an agreement with Drow to send them 5 of his captives (from his nearby Lands) each month to open up lines of communication. His sister isn't very happy about it.

Our Monk is a just your average Pandaran trying to avenge his gnome buddy. He's pretty sure they'd leave him to die if given the chance.

Our Ranger is a quiet dude who gets things done. They've recently met a sect called the Aeon Priesthood who seem to dabble in time travel. He seems curious about them.

We'll be down some players next session. I'd imagine the gang war plot line will be primary, but we'll see.

Since they've hit 9th level, I'm beginning to lay the ground work for the climax of the campaign. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Fantasy Trip: Manaconda

Art by Jeremy Hart

Manacondas are frighteningly efficient hunters who stalk the forests of Chui. ST 13, DX 11, IQ 10, MA 12. They use many different types of weapons, and can do 1d of damage with their body. They are generally found in groups and will not leave a fallen comrade behind.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Dungeon Mastering 101: Listen More


I've written recently about some of the challenges I've been facing as a DM. I'm glad to say that I'm overcoming them and moving forward with a campaign I was pretty close to scrapping.

A key moment in our first session back to the DnD 5th Edition game was when the players decided to use guile and stealth instead of violence to overcome some sleeping chimera. I had this epiphany that these wonderful players at my table had enough creativity and drive to move the game along and all I had to do was shut up. I didn't have to bear this world on my back, the players were propping it up with boundless ideas and shenanigans.

It was very freeing for me. And it's allowed my to focus on the players instead of plots, which is something that has really helped me get back into enjoying being a DM.

Understand, every table is different, even every session. But if the player are keyed up and ready to move things along, its okay to let your ideas take a back seat to theirs. I've found when I do this, often I can still insert ideas I've had and their strengthened because their tied into the players goals and actions.

As an example, I came up with a plot line that looked like it wouldn't work with the current goals of the characters, but after a few sessions, I'll be able to return to it and the players laid the ground work for its appearance. How cool is that?

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Blackest of Deaths: Rolling Ability Scores


Eric Bloat of Bloat Games is a pretty swell guy. He gave me access to an ashcan copy of Blackest of Deaths, his new Dire Old School Fantasy RPG that will be Kickstarted on April 9th.

You might think that you don't need another Old School RPG and you'd be wrong. There are some cool ideas that Eric has presented and I wanted to focus on Rolling Attributes in this post:

Blackest of Deaths has the same six Attributes you've grown to love, however Attribute Scores have been removed and only the bonus (or penalty) is used.

Each player rolls 6d6 and sets aside any 1s. 

Each 6 counts as a 3 and should be assigned to your most important attributes. Each 4 and 5 counts as a 2 and should be assigned to your second most important attributes. And each 2 and 3 count as a 1 and should be assigned to your third most important attributes.

Now re-roll any 1s you got. Each 4, 5, and 6 counts as a 0 and needs to be assigned. Each 2 and 3 counts as a -1 and needs to be assigned. Each 1 counts as a -2 and needs to be assigned.

On top of that, both Race and Class provide bonuses to Attributes.

Pretty slick, in my opinion.

What I love about Blackest of Deaths is that it takes the familiar and approaches it from a new perspective throughout the game.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Counter Culture: Wizards Changing Rules



As a retailer working at a local gaming store (that I make as friendly as possible), I appreciate it when Publishers remember the direct market that they distribute their products too. It makes me feel good, appreciated.

For years, Wizards of the Coast did this. But things have been changing and I don't think for the better. Late last year, WotC stopped being a distributor to local game stores as part of their initiative to make sure that Target, Wal-Mart, and Amazon could have better access to their products. 

Yes, you read that right, they stopped selling directly to me, the little guy, to strengthen their share in big box stores. No, its not shocking, but it hurt. Its not like I have a ton advantage over big box stores, so I enjoyed the benefits that a direct account with WotC gave me.

One of those was that we got DnD releases 10 days over everyone else and eventually exclusive covers.

However, that 10 day lead time is now gone. Its tough. What makes it tougher is that, according to people on the internet, GameStop is selling the Dungeons and Dragons Stranger Things box right now, a product that I and even Amazon don't get until May.

I love what I do and I'll find a way to adapt, but when a company seems to turn its back on you, it can be a tough pill to swallow and at the moment, thats what it feels like Wizards of the Coast has done.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Man-Bat





Man-Bat
Medium humanoid, chaotic neutral
________________________________________________

Armor Class 12 (natural armor)
Hit Points 13 (2d8 + 4) 
Speed 25 ft., fly 30 ft.
__________________________________________
   Str                  Dex                Con           
14 (+2)          16 (+3)         14 (+2)  
   Int                  Wis                Cha
10 (+0          12 (+1)         9 (-1)
__________________________________________

Senses Blindsight 60 ft., Passive Perception 11
Languages Common
Challenge 1 (100 XP)
__________________________________________


ACTIONS

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. 
Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) piercing damage.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Vigilante City: MODOK





MODOK for Vigilatne City
STR: 20 
INT: 24 
WIS: 11
DEX: 9
CON: 16 
CHR: 14
Armor Class: 16
Hit Dice: 8 (48 HP) 
Move: 12 
Actions: 3
Attack Damage: Energy Beam (3d6), Slam Attack (d8 to two targets)
Special: Outsmart x6 a day
Bonuses: +5 to attacks, +2 to Melee Damage, +1 to Initiative, 
+8 to all non- Physical skills, +10 to Spot, +10 to Listen
Morale: 14 
Terror: 14 
HDE: 8

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Devil Dinosaur





Devil Dinosaur
Huge beast, unaligned
________________________________________________

Armor Class 12 (natural armor)
Hit Points 13 (11d12 + 4) 
Speed 40 ft.
__________________________________________
   Str                  Dex                Con           
23 (+6)          9 (-1)         17 (+3)  
   Int                  Wis                Cha
3 (-4)          12 (+1)         9 (-1)
__________________________________________


Skills Perception +4
Senses Passive Perception 14
Languages --
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)
__________________________________________


ACTIONS

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. 
Hit: 28 (4d10 + 6) piercing damage. If the target is a Medium or smaller creature, it is grappled (escape DC 16). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, and the devil dinosaur can't bite another target.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. 
Hit: 25 (4d8 + 7) bludgeoning 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.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Vigilante City: A.I.M. Agent


Advanced Idea Mechanics Agent for Vigilante City
Armor Class: 15
Hit Dice: 2
Move: 15
Actions: 1
Attack Damage: Pistol (1d6+2)

Bonuses: +1 to Melee attack, +3 to Range attack, Computers +2, Knowledge: General +3, Science +3
Morale: 9 
Terror: 7 
HDE: 2

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Vigilante City: Hydra Agent




Hydra Agent for Vigilante City
Armor Class: 13
Hit Dice: 2
Move: 16
Actions: 1
Attack Damage: Pislto (d6+1)

Bonuses: +2 to Melee attack, +2 to Range attack
Morale:
Terror:
HDE: 2

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Back This: Arcana of the Ancients on Kickstarter



Monte Cook Games makes some well written and gorgeous books. And the setting of Numenera, the Ninth World, is exceptional.

They have taken the last several years of working in science-fantasy and have a new Kickstarter for Arcana of the Ancients to bring all they have learned to Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition.

The KS is live and I urge you to back it. They are already very close to funding.

You can back it here.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Beast Man




Warriors of the vine jungle who have hired onto the Horde.

BEAST MAN
medium humanoid (beast man), neutral evil
________________________________________________

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 13 (2d8 + 4) 
Speed 35 ft.
__________________________________________
   Str                  Dex                Con           
16 (+3)          13 (+1)         15 (+2)  
   Int                  Wis                Cha
10 (+0)          12 (+1)         11 (+0)
__________________________________________


Skills Animal Handling +3, Perception +3, Stealth +3, 
Survival +3
Senses Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 13
Languages Common, Sylvan
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)
__________________________________________

Beast Master. A beast man has advantage on Wisdom (Animal Handling) skill checks.
__________________________________________

ACTIONS

Flail. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. 
Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) bludgeoning 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.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Cosmic Enforcer's Blaster




COSMIC ENFORCER'S BLASTER
Magic weapon (laster pistol), Very rare
• The blaster deals 3d8 force damage (range 40/120, reload 50 shots)

• When you hit with an attack wielding the blaster and roll a natural 18-20, the target is knocked back 10 feet.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Dungeons & Dragons: Aquatican Buccanneer




Warriors of the Sea Kingdoms who have hired onto the Horde.

AQUATICAN BUCCANEER
medium humanoid (aquatican), lawful evil
________________________________________________

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 39 (6d8 + 12) 
Speed 35 ft., swim 40 ft.
__________________________________________
   Str                  Dex                Con           
14 (+2)          12 (+1)         15 (+2)  
   Int                  Wis                Cha
11 (+0)          13 (+1)         10 (+0)
__________________________________________


Skills Perception +3, Survival +3, 
Senses Darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 13
Languages Common, Primordial
Challenge 2 (450 XP)
__________________________________________

Amphibious. The aquatican can breathe air and water.

Fish Telepathy. The aquatican can magically command any fish within 30 feet of her, using a limited telepathy.
__________________________________________

ACTIONS

Multiattack. The aquatican buccaneer makes two attacks.

Long Sword. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8 + 2) slashing 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.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Cobra Infantry




Foot solders for the COBRA terrorist organization.

COBRA INFANTRY
medium humanoid (human), lawful evil
________________________________________________

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 11 (2d8 + 2) 
Speed 30 ft.
__________________________________________
   Str                  Dex                Con           
12 (+1)          14 (+2)         13 (+1)  
   Int                  Wis                Cha
11 (+0)          13 (+1)         12 (+1)
__________________________________________


Skills Perception +3, Survival +3
Senses Passive Perception 13
Languages Common
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)
__________________________________________


ACTIONS

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

Hunting Rifle. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 80/240 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d10 + 2) piercing 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.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Deadite




A "Deadite" is a evil demonic zombie hybrid.

DEADITE
medium undead, chaotic evil
________________________________________________

Armor Class 11 (natural armor)
Hit Points 13 (3d8) 
Speed 30 ft.
__________________________________________
   Str                  Dex                Con           
11 (+0)          10 (+0)         11 (+0)  
   Int                  Wis                Cha
10 (+0)          11 (+0)         10 (+0)
__________________________________________

Damage Immunities Poison
Condition Immunities Poisoned
Senses Passive Perception 10
Languages Common, Abyssal
Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)
__________________________________________

Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces the deadite to 0 hit points, it must make a Death saving throw. On a success, the zombie drops to 1 hit point instead. On a failure, it is dead.
__________________________________________


ACTIONS

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. 
Hit: 3 (1d6) slashing 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, March 2, 2019

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Chainsaw Hand




CHAINSAW HAND
Magic weapon (chainsaw), Very rare (requires attunement)

• This magic item replaces one of the wielder's hands permanently.


• The chainsaw deals 2d8 slashing damage.

• When you hit with an attack wielding the chainsaw and rolls a natural 19-20, the target gains a level of exhaustion.

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Gar Magus



The Gar are evil beings from another dimension who serve Hordak and his Horde in his effort to rule the Polyverse.


GAR MAGUS
medium humanoid (gar), lawful evil
________________________________________________

Armor Class 13 (leather armor)
Hit Points 22 (5d8) 
Speed 30 ft.
__________________________________________
   Str                  Dex                Con           
13 (+1)          12 (+1)         11 (+0)  
   Int                  Wis                Cha
16 (+3)          14 (+2)         10 (+0)
__________________________________________


Skills Arcana +5, History +5
Senses Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages Common, Draconic, Infernal
Challenge 1 (200 XP)
__________________________________________

Spellcasting. The gar magus is a 4th-level spellcaster that uses Intelligence as its spellcasting ability (spell save DC 13; +5 to hit with spell attacks). The mage knows the following spells from the wizard’s spell list:

Cantrips (at will): chill touch, mage hand, shocking grasp

1st Level (4 slots): cause fear, magic missile

2nd Level (3 slots): darkness, hold person
__________________________________________

ACTIONS

Havoc staff. Ranged Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, range 30/60 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d8+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.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Dungeon Mastering 101: The Eureka Moment



This week we went back to DnD 5th Edition from Deadlands. As much as I enjoyed Savage Worlds, it wasn't as fast or fun as I had hoped.

I've been struggling with focus and inspiration for the last few months and I've been analyzing what I've been doing and what I'd like to improve.

One thing I did prior to this past session was spend more time on prep and focused less on detailing the rooms as the players entered them. When running a campaign the size of Dungeon of the Mad Mage I found myself spending more time reading the room to the players and acting as a narrator than a DM. That's on me and I think the added prep time helped me overcome that. 

My eureka moment came while simply observing the players decide how best to sneak past two sleeping chimeras to get to their treasture: I'd been spending most of the last few months focusing on combats and less time on exploration and role-playing. I sat back and watched my players enjoy flexing their role-playing muscles and took notes on what they wanted to accomplish for future plots and less time thinking about the current scene as an "encounter".

I'm not sure how I became so fixated on combat, but it happened. Which is fine, every DM, session, and group is different. But for me, right now, I need to react to the players goals and less on the action of the fight.

We happened to have an entire session without combat. I'm not saying combat is bad and should be avoided, but in my current process, it was just what I needed. I found it to be a good session and energized me going forward, something that hadn't been happening lately.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: VOTOM



VOTOMS are ancient war machines that have been recovered and restored.


VOTOM
Large construct, unaligned
________________________________________________

Armor Class 17 (VOTOM armor)
Hit Points 142 (15d8 + 60) 
Speed 50 ft.
__________________________________________
   Str                  Dex                Con           
18 (+4)          16 (+3)         19 (+4)  
   Int                  Wis                Cha
10 (+0)          14 (+2)         11 (+0)
__________________________________________


Saves Dexterity +6, Strength +7
Damage Immunities Poison
Condition Immunities Exhaustion, Paralyzed, Poisoned
Senses Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages Common
Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)
__________________________________________


ACTIONS

Multiattack. The VOTOM makes two attacks.

Fist. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, 5 ft., one target. 
Hit: 13 (3d6 + 3) radiant damage.

Rifle. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 80/240 ft., one target. Hit: 18 (2d8 + 3) piercing damage, burst fire.

Shoulder Rocket. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 50/150 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d10 + 3) piercing damage.


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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Savage Worlds: Hobgoblin




HOBGOBLIN

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, 
   Strength d8, Vigor d8

Skills:  Athletics d8, Common Knowledge d6, 
   Fighting d8, Intimidation d6, Notice d4, 
   Persuasion d4, Shooting d8, Stealth d6

Pace: 6; Parry: 8; Toughness: 9 (3)

Edges: First Strike


Gear: Chain Mail (+3 Armor), Long Sword (Str+d8),
   Shield (+2 Party; -2 Cover)


Special Abilities:

• Bite: Str+1d4.
• Infravision.




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30 Minute Dungeon: Shadowborn's Tomb



I tried my hand at The Bogeyman's 30 Mintue Dungeon:

A recent tremor revealed an opening to what appears to be a laboratory and several connected rooms. Several people from the nearby town of Fayette have started to explore the rooms, but claim an evil spirit is haunting the area and driving them out.



Room 1 Laboratory filled with broken glass, strange ingredients, and numerous shelves lined with books on Alchemy and Necromancy. The room is 20' by 10' and has tiled flooring. The ceilling is 12' high. There are two cages with the skeletons of some unidentified creatures. There is a single exit from the room.

Room 2 is connected to the laboratory. It has the remains of a bed and a wardrobe. Within the wardrobe are several changes of clothes and robes in vibrant colors. Inscribed into the floor is a magic circle with dark stains that might be dried blood. There is one exit from the room. Under the mattress is a pornographic folio featuring drawings of tieflings.

A Hallway connects to the bedroom and has 2 doors on the left and 3 doors on the right.

Room 3 is on the left and has a large cage with the bones of animal about the size of a cow, but with two skulls.

Room 4 is on the right and is a small closet with collapsed shelves. The shelves contained more books, spell materials, a small jade tiger, and an orange sea shell. If the orange sea shell is rubbed, an imp appears, identifies itself as Siegfried and asks, "How may I serve you?". Siegfried served the Necromancer who lived here, Iala Shadowborn. He had failed a mission to the lower planes for her and was in "time out" and placed within the closet.

Room 5 is on the left and has several barrels and crates stored within it. The crates contain paintings and sculptures, worth 300 gp in total. The barrels have an elven cranberry whine that is still good.

Room 6 is on the right and has a large summoning circle within it. Written on the walls, in what appears to be fresh blood is "Get out! Leave this place! You are not welcome here and when night falls I will tear you limb from limb if you are still here!" If anyone begins to examine the portal, the ghost of Iala Shadowborn, a female half-elf appears. She appears in her early 60's and has long silver hair that falls passed her buttocks. Her eyes are sad and she demands that the trespassers leave this place immediately. If the intruders linger long enough, she will sigh and ask them if they can help her? If they agree, she will tell them that a large ruby has been stolen from her and it it could be returned she could be reborn. She also tells them that there is a magic compass in the next room that can lead them to the ruby, which she refers to her "heart".

Room 7 is lined with shelves and has numerous odd and unusual items. The compass rests next to bottle that has lightning in it on the left and and a lead frog that smoke escapes from constantly. If the group has agreed to help Iala she warns them that the door to this room is trapped and gives them the command word to deactivate it. If not, anyone touching the handle must make Save vs Magic (or Dex DC 13) or take 3d8 lightning damage. Additionally, if the group has agreed to help her, she leads them to the compass. It has "IS" engraved on the outer lid and is made of silver. When opened it glows with a slight red light and it points toward the location of the ruby "as the crow flies". The closer it gets to the ruby the brighter it glows and when it is within 10 feet it chimes lightly every 30 seconds.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Horde Trooper




The basic foot solder of the Horde!


HORDE TROOPER
medium construct, lawful evil
________________________________________________

Armor Class 16 (trooper armor with shield)
Hit Points 11 (2d8+2) 
Speed 30 ft.
__________________________________________
   Str                  Dex                Con           
13 (+1)          11 (+0)         12 (+1)  
   Int                  Wis                Cha
10 (+0)          11 (+0)         10 (+0)
__________________________________________


Senses Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages Common
Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)
__________________________________________


ACTIONS

Shock Staff. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) lightning damage.


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Sunday, February 24, 2019

Dungeon Crawl Classics: Gorilla Fighter

When I was a wee lad, I remember hearing about "guerilla fighters" on the news. This is what I imagined:




GORILLA FIGHTER  for Dungeon Crawl Classics
Init +3; Atk gun +4 melee (1d10); AC 14; HD 3d8; MV 30’; 
Act 1d20; SV Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +0; AL C. 





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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Enviro-Suit




ENVIRO-SUIT
Magic armor, rare (requires attunement)

• Your Armor Class is 16 while wearing this armor.

• You gain resistance to cold, fire, and necrotic damage.

• You gain immunity to poison damage.

• You do not need to breath while wearing this armor.

Arcana of the Ancients from Monte Cook Games



In Mid-March, Monte Cook Games will be launching a Kickstarter that will allow DnD 5th Edition players to add Science Fantasy elements to their games in the grand traditions of Barrier Peaks and Numenera. 

In fact, it sounds like you'll be able to convert your DnD game to Numenera's 9th World, if you want.

Which I do.

I have a respect for MCG's Cypher System, but I think my players and I would rather run Numenera with the 5E engine.

My plan is to do more science-fantasy posts in the near future, as I ramp up for the KS and plan ahead for a future 5E game.

So expect more disruptors and thoughts on cyphers in your near future.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Worldbuilding: The Ben-Nadi



The Ben-Nadi are a cult of assassins that was founded just over a decade ago by Drago Hirobi, also know as the Seneschal. Drago claims that Nyx, the Goddess of Night and Mother of Monsters, came to him in a vision and instructed him on what he needed to do to create the cult. He even claims that those he recruits are chosen by Nyx to join.

Currently, the Ben-Nadi have 47 members and have quickly garnered a reputation for their ruthlessness and efficiency. Rumors insist that after murdering Prince Gonard of Waloria that nobles from all over the Western seaboard began seeking out the Ben-Nadi for contracts to fulfill.

Once chosen to join the Ben-Nadi, members are heavily recruited and no one is currently known to turn have turned down membership. Obedience to the Seneschal's tenets are required and included a wide variety of strange taboos. After being chosen, a recruit has close to six months of training before being assigned a target to murder. Only after that assignment is fulfilled successfully is a recruit considered a full member and failure means execution.

Members are trained in social situations, combat, acting, disguise, and the art of stealth. Rumors claim that members also have training in shadow magics.

While some scoff at the boogeymen that the Ben-Nadi have become, far more in the know point at how quickly their reputation has grown in such a short time.

Dungeons & Dragons Stranger Things Box

Tonight, my buddy AJ was the DM for the DnD Stranger things Box. AJ did a great job, but what bothered me is that the adventure in the...