Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Good Excuse...

Well I won't make my post count goal this month (unless inspiration sets my mind afire).

But, I have a good reason.  A beautiful reason.

Eight days ago, on Friday the 13th at 3:28am (in room 1313) my wife, gave birth to a beautiful 7 pound, 9 ounce girl, we've named Sophie.

She was face up, like one of her older sisters and after a few days in the NICU, everyone is home and safe.

So at the age of 41, I'm now a father of four ranging from 24 to 8 days old.  And I couldn't be happier.

Yeah, we planned this, and yes, we're crazy.

I cannot thank God enough for the blessings in my life.

My oldest, is my step-daughter and while I think of her as my own, she was 8 when she came into my life.  And as much as I'd like to say that I was ready for a baby when my son was born, I was an immature 28 year old and made way too many mistakes.  Our next daughter was born 3 years later, she was a surprise...a pleasant one, and again I wasn't as mature as I should've been.  It took me time to really understand how much I love being a Dad.

In fact, I've come to understand it is what I love most in life.

I hope Sophia gets the benefit of that change and I can't explain the joy of having all of us together.

Gaming is on hold, and at the moment I'm not sure how long that will long as it needs is the answer that spring to mind.  But I have a fairly unique feature to my work schedule that let's me fit in games while running Magic Tournaments three nights a week.

God Bless and Happy Holidays!

PS - Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

D&D Next Playtest Ending Soon

So I just received an e-mail form WotC letting me know that the playtest files will be taken down on 12/15.  Ghost of Dragonspear Castle is now available in PDF (I have the print version) and two more adventures are on the way next year (with the rules to use them).

My first question is why take the rules down?  We all know that they will still be available and the rules in the Ghost of Dragonspear Castle are not the latest playtest rules.

My second question is when are we going to get a firm release date?  Sure, we all suspect that it will release at Gen Con next year, but we don't know for sure.

I understand that even if every employee at WotC wanted more transparency, Hasbro could easily cut them down.  But I hate to see short sighted ideas being continually used by the "industry leader".  If your not innovating, your dying.

D&D Next & I

I took a break from DnD Next earlier this year after the final play test packet was posted.

It felt like a sharp turn from what we had been testing for many moons.

However, upon further reflection the single biggest problem I had with the newest rules is something I'd been looking for in DnD for years.  You see, I hated the strange bonus economy that DnD had been using.  A +1 for BAB was different from a Save, which was different from a Skill, which was different from Ability Scores.  Apparently a Feat equaled a +2/3 to Skills, a +3 to Saves, and a +1 to a specific weapon.

Next fixed this.  Proficiency spans all of those categories and relies on options, not bonuses to achieve "balance".  It was something I longed for, and then got mad when I saw it rolled out.  It was the same knee jerk reaction I had when saw that only Fighters advanced with an Attack Bonus in Lamentations of the Flame Princess.  While is shocked it, upon reflection it made sense.  It worked.

So I've been revisiting it.

I won't lie, part of it is that while I love 13th Age and I respect Pathfinder, as a store manager it's my job to pave the way amongst my customers for whatever the new version of Dungeons and Dragons is called.  So I need to start think about demoing the game and spreading the word and, hopefully, taking preorders.

One day, I might add in the escalation die and trade out Backgrounds and Skills for Backgrounds from 13th Age, but right now it's getting to be the time where I rally the fans and show the uncertain wether this version of DnD is right for them.  And I'm lucky because I have several exist strategies in place if they don't.

I can say with some authority that there are some cool surprises coming down the line from the developers.  So keep your eyes peeled.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Godzilla Trailer...

I'm so there!!  Have you seen Edwards' Monsters?  You should.

In From the Cold...

I'm a smidge behind my december posting.

Things have been crazy around here.

We finally got back to our 13th Age game and it looks like its sharply turning away from the excellent Tales of the 13th Age Adventure Paths towards a player driven sandbox game.  I'm excited.

We've played a few more sessions of 9th World and I'm happy with it.  I've prepared a Version 2 to the PDF, but haven't had a chance to post it.

Hopefully I can stay on track this December.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Closing out November

Wow, another year is winding down.

November has been good, a little too cold, but good.

My two youngest are learning violin and piano and loving it.

Thanksgiving was a massive feast and a wonderful time.  And my Ravens beat the Steelers.

My production has been spread over several areas, and I'm pleased with that.

I've been kicking around the idea of a PDF product.  A small bestiary for 13th Age for less than a dollar.  But I don't know about ordering art that will be done in a timely fashion and don't think I'm up to the task of doing the art myself.  Plus, I don't know if I could beat the 13th Age Bestiary to market, so I'm sitting in idle.

I've enjoyed working on my Numenera/13th Age crossover: 9th World.  I've worked up a second draft that hews a bit closer to the Cipher system, but I'm contemplating if it's the direction I want the project to take.

Post wise, sticking to a goal of 15 posts a month continues to work out.  I kept exceeding it as a goal, instead of failing and falling farther behind.  Success feels great!

I guess it's time to start getting ready for Santa.

Be seeing you!

13th Age: Commander and Revised Monk Playtest

Since I've preorderd the 13th Age Bestiary, I got the final PDF and the most recent playtest files for the Commander (formerly Battle Captain) and the most recent revision of the Monk today.

All of the swag looks great.

I can't recommend preordering this product enough or the amount of handwork Fire Opal an Pelgrane put into their products.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope the worst part of your day is turkey induced coma.

God bless.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

9th World: Type

Types, as in Numenera, are Glaive, Nano, and Jack.

The point of this project is not to create a "laundry list" of examples, so if it feels like it can apply ask the GM.  And if the GM is unsure, let the player use half their total, rounded down.  This applies to all the Types.

A Glaive is a warrior and soldier.  Any action that involves combat, tactics, awareness, gaining initiative, and intimidation will gain your Glaive total to the roll.  The Glaive rating (do not add your Rank again) is also added to the damage of any unarmed or weapon attack and to the damage of any Focus that involves weapons or skill.

A Nano is a essentially a magic-user, though that magic can come from manipulating ambient nanotechnology, ancient thaumtology, psionics or whatever.  Any action that involves studying the arcane, using "magic", or sensing the supernatural.  The Nano rating (do not add your Rank again) is also added to the damage of a player's Focus or "spell" cast.

A Jack is a "jack of all trades".  This project impacts the Jack the most, so to compensate for the lack of acquiring new skills, I am currently allowing the Jack Type to be used for all skill rolls, unless the player's Focus or Type is higher.  Hopefully it will be the right solution, but we'll see.  I am contemplating adding your Jack rating (do not add your Rank again) to your Effort pool, but at this time it's optional.

Again any feedback is appreciated!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

9th World: Rules Draft V1

Below is the Character Sheet (with rules) I used to run 9th World last night with my Numenera group.

It went very well.  Understand, I don't dislike the Cipher system, however for the type of game my players wanted this works far better for us.  And I won't lie, I really like the D20 System and especially the ArchMage Engine's iteration.

I'm hosting the PDF here and on the blog.  It's a work in progress and I'll probably flesh many things out further.

As it stands, if your Type, Descriptor or Focus apply to whatever your trying to do, add it to your D20 roll.  If you and the GM feel 2 or more apply, add a free point of Effort (1d6) to the roll, as well.
Players roll everything so if someone is attacking them, they roll their appropriate Defense vs the attack, generally 10+the Level of the Opponent.

Use ciphers exactly as they are written and use the their Level as the bonus to the D20 roll and if your type is Nano add it's total.

Thoughts, questions and feedback are appreciated.

This is a fan work and I have no desire to challenge the awesome creations of Monte Cook Games, Fire Opal Media or Pelgrane Press in any way.  This is merely a homage to their handwork, diligence and creativity.  I stand on the shoulders of titans.

The 9th World

Player ______________ Character _______________ Rank _____________

You may dd 1d6 per point of Effort spent to the total of any D20 or Damage roll you make.
Effort refreshes at the beginning of each session.

Effort _____________ d6

Distribute 8 points between Descriptor, Type, and Focus.

Descriptor (Adjective) _______________________ + Rank = ______

Type (Noun) _______________________________ + Rank = ______

Focus (Verb) ________________________________ + Rank = _____

Distribute 6 points between Armor Class, Physical Defense, and Mental Defense.
If your a Glaive add 2 to AC; Jack's add 2 to PD; Nano's add 2 to MD.
You roll the appropriate Defense when attacked, if you succeed they miss, if you fail they hit.

Armor Class _________ + Rank = ______

Physical Defense ______ + Rank = ______

Mental Defense _______ + Rank = ______

Glaive's start with 32 HP (+8 per Rank); Jack's and Nano's start with 24 HP (+6 per Rank.

Hit Points ________ Damage Taken _____________________

Light weapons do 1d4, Medium weapons do 1d6, Heavy weapons do 1d8.
Glaive's bump all weapon damage 1 die step, e.g. Heavy weapon goes from 1d8 to 1d10.
Add your Glaive total to any weapon damage, including from your Focus, if it applies.
Add your Nano total to any damage from Spells or your Focus.

Melee Weapon Damage ______________ Unarmed Melee Damage ______________

Ranged Weapon Damage __________________________________________________

Damage from Spells _______________________________________________________

Damage from Focus _______________________________________________________

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

9th World: Brainstorming

Some areas I'm contemplating is increasing points from 8 to 11 to spread amongst Type, Descriptor and Focus.

I'm also looking at Effort being 1 point for +1d6 to either a d20 roll or to damage.  Keeps things more streamlined.

I'm hoping to work out some time to put this in a very basic pdf and they maybe others can give it a whirl.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Numenera or the 9th World? [UPDATED]

There are quite a few things I like about the Cypher system that powers Numenera and the forthcoming The Strange.  But some things I don't like too.

This led me to brainstorm a version inspired by 13th Age and it's ArchMage Engine:

The 9th World.

Right now it's stripped down to assigning 8 points (just like Backgrounds) to your Type, Descriptor, and Focus.

First I decide that I'm a Rugged Glaive who Controls Gravity.

I spend 2 Points on Rugged, 3 on Glavie and 3 on Controls Gravity.

Now here is how that looks Rugged (+2) Glaive (+3) who Controls Gravity (+3).

If I'm doing something that falls within one of those parameters I get the bonus listed, if the GM feels it's a shared bonus I use the highest bonus.  If I'm trying something that seems out of place I just roll the d20.

I'm contemplating using Rank as Level, but am leaving that out for now.

This version is far more about player narrative and less on rules.

At the moment I'm importing Effort as a pool of points that can be spent on a 1 for 1 basis to add to a d20 roll or spend 1 point for a 2 point bonus to damage.  Weapons would do Rank x d8 or d10 damage, depending on type.

Glaive would focus on combat and conflict and would have 14/10/10 6 points to divide up between AC (starts at +2), PD, and MD.  Melee and Ranged damage would 1d10+Glaive value.  Focus damage would be 1d10+Focus

Jack would focus on skill use and trickery and would have  12/12/10 6 points to divide up between AC, PD (starts at +2) , and MD.  Playere would assign 1d6 or 1d6 to Melee damage and would assign whatever was left of the 1d6 or 1d8 to Ranged damage+Glaive.  Focus damage would be 1d8+Focus

Nano would focus on using magic/psionics/whatever and would have  12/10/10 6 points to divide up between AC, PD, and MD (starts at +2).  Weapons would do 1d4 damage.  Nano effect would do 1d10+Nano damage and Focus damage would be 1d12+Focus.

This is still very fought, but I'm trying to work it up and see if I want to give it a try.

Numenera: Kicking the Tires

So tonight I began the process of running a game in the 9th World.  I found a pretty sweet character generator I simply can't recommend enough.

I'm still thinking about how the system works.  I kept most Difficulties hovering between 2(6), 3(9), & 4(12).  I think that worked fairly well.

One of the things I found hard to explain (and this could be my own problem with communication) was setting a Difficulty for a player and then applying Training and Effort.

What ended up working best was factoring Training into the Difficulty and then simply add a +3 to the roll if they spent Effort.  My players were singing along once we worked out that awkwardness.

No real combat yet, but I can see it being fairly quick.

I'll try to post more tomorrow, I'm tying this adventure into the Devil's Spine and hopefully will have a pretty good road map.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Covert Ops Review

Bill at DWD Studios was kind enough to give me a full preview of their forthcoming game, Covert Ops using the D100lite (which powers BareBones Fantasy) system.

First of all, for approximately $9.99 your going to get the Core Rulebook, GM Operation Manual,

Print and Play Condition Cards and Initiative Cards, Enemy Organization Worksheet, Mission Generation Worksheet, Operative Dossier character sheet (also in printer friendly format), Outfitting Reference Sheet, and The Usual Suspects (Pre-Gens at multiple Ranks).

All of the pdf's have Tables of Contents, Indexes and are searchable.

Thats quite a bit of value for your hard earned sheckles.

Here's a rundown of the 110 page Core Rulebook:

If you familiar with BareBones Fantasy you already know how to play Covert Ops.

The system is a roll under percentile system.  Where in opposed situation if the aggressor succeeds and the then the defender succeeds, then nothing bad happens to the defender.  That's the gist, right there.

Your operative begins by choosing an Origin, a background ranging from Artist to Investigator to Wealthy.  It can be randomly rolled or chosen, but choosing your Origin requires the expenditure of a Bone (think Fate point, you get 3 per session).

Next up are the 4 Ability scores: Strength, Dexterity, Logic and Willpower.  Abilities can be rolled randomly, or you can assign a pre-rolled set of scores to each ability or in the GM Operation Manuel there is an optional system that allows you prioritize Abilities and randomly roll them.  The range of Ability scores is from 35 to 80 and you generally only roll an Ability as a resistance to something.  For the most part 1/2 of an Ability score serves as the default for most Skills.

Next your operative either randomly rolls or choose 2 out of 10 Skills.  They are Academic, Detective, Leader, Martial Artist, Medic, Pilot, Scout, Soldier, Technician, and Thief.  Choose 1 skill that becomes your primary Skill and add 20% to it's value; choose another to become your secondary Skill and add 10% to it's value; and finally choose one Skill (it can be primary, secondary or neither) to set at Level 1.  With experience you can raise Abilities and Skill Level.

The Skills are more like broad range area of training, not the narrowly focused type in many d20 games.   Soldier for instance is your base percentage to hit in ranged combat (Dex/2 + 10% per Level), but Leader gives you access to special abilities that help your team.  Leader, Medic, and Technician can only be used if you've chosen then as a Skill and Pilot only covers ground vehicles if it has not been chosen as a Skill.  The rest default to Attribute/2 +10% per Level).

Recorded Stats include Body Points (based on Str), Initiative (improved by high Dex and Log), Movement (improved by high Dex and Str), Rank (your relative power compared to other PC's and opponents), Damage Reduction (from armor) and basic Ranged (based on Dex) and Melee (based on Str) Weapons training.

You also choose 2 Descriptors, one beneficial like Kind and one detrimental like Cowardly.  These can award you Bones if you bring them up during play.

Moral Code is next, you will choose an option, like say, Selfless and a dedication like Totally.  The system is designed to help players follow their own drives without forcing them to behave a certain way.

Outfitting your gear is next and is easily presented and pretty quick to understand

Martial Arts (and optionally gun combat in the GM Operations Manual) allow access to Martial Maneuvers that give some extra color to combat.  Each Level in Martial Arts gives you access to a number of Maneuvers based on wether the Skill is primary or not.  You can pick your Maneuver or roll for it.

There is also a whole section on designing your team's Base of Operation that is excellent and in my opinion, quite a bit of fun.

The Game Guidelines section covers the game system, criticals (succeed with doubles and it's a critical success or fail with them and it's a critical failure).  How to use Bones, which gives the players and GM a chance to alter the scene or add damage or reroll an action.

Finally, this section covers the areas of injury, healing, time, initiative, movement, free form range bands, combat, vehicular combat and chase scenes.

Combat is straight forward with Skills providing some variables due to special abilities.  But essentially when I attack I roll 1/2 of an Ability + 10% per rank and if I hit, then my opponent will make a Dex Resistance roll and if successful, I miss.  However, each action taken after the first has a cumulative 20% penalty.  Also, when Resisting gun attacks, the defender is at a Disadvantage which means they only use Dex/2.  Rules for burst fire, spraying a crowd and full auto are well defined, yet a simple short burst option can be used to speed play.

The GM Guidelines section is all about how to use the system and run a game.  It's concise and very helpful.  It also features threats and NPC's and even Master Villains.

The final section details SECTOR, an organization to recruit Operatives for your game.  It's pretty well written and is an excellent launchpad.

As one of many added bonuses, the GM Operation Manual is chock full of explanations why decisions were made, great optional rules to add to your game and straight forward ways to expand and utilize the system.  It adds excellent value to an already well crafted product.

I think Covert Ops is a great entry into a genre that has plenty of room for expansion.  It favorably compared to memories I have of TSR's Top Secret/S.I. game, but treads its own ground.  I truly enjoy that the D100lite system is internally consistent and easy to learn, use and modify.  And if you want to add any supernatural elements to the game, BareBones Fantasy's Skills and monsters are completely compatible.

According to Bill at DWD Studios, they hope to have the PDF and POD book for sale before the end of December.  The Initiative Cards and Condition Cards will also be available for POD, as well.

If you already play BareBones Fantasy, your aware of the quality that DWD Studios puts into their products.  If your unfamiliar, but want to get into the spy/action genre, Covert Ops is the right place to start.

I really can't recommend Covert Ops enough, and it's definitely worth the wait.

Fantastic Heroes & Witchery

Back when I started this blog, it was partially to throw my hat into the OSR.  Of course, now WotC has their PDFs for sale again and I've mostly moved on from DnD Next to 13th Age, but I still try to keep my eye on the OSR.

Fantastic Heroes and Witchery is a pretty sweet new Retro-Clone that treads some new ground and focuses as much on Weird Sword and Sorcery as DnD-style fantasy.

And it's free.

I can't recommend it enough.

Check it out here.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I call bullshit!

Over on ENWorld, there is a interview between Morrus and Jason Bulhman (lead designer of the Pathfinder RPG).  He, like several others including Mike Mearls, points to various parts of d20 design as more an "art than science".


The d20 engine has been in use since 2000.  It's been stretched, it's been turned on it's head, it's been blown up and rebuilt.  Part of Paizo's mission should be to move past that miserable statement.  D20 fans have rated and compared classes for literally years.  At this point there should be a clear science and if there isn't, then a central goal of the Advanced Class Guide should be to implement it, no merely present what appears at first blush to be pre-built gestalt classes

I think Paizo and in particular Bulhman do excellent, flavorful work, but c'mon let's move past hind behind these kinds of statements.

I won't lie, one of the reasons I love 13th Age is because they aren't hiding behind "art" to make a great game.  Heck, even with my problems with DnD 4e and the direction DnD Next took, there is a "science" to what they are doing.

Part of the article touches on whether Paizo imagined they'd ever be the at top of the heap and on RPG.Net right now is an article asking if they, instead of WotC, would be better tenders to DnD.

Well, one, let's not pretend that Paizo has faced any competition from WotC in three years (and I don't think Paizo is pretending that).  Make no mistake, DnD Next will be the leader in the RPG industry when it launches.  As good a company as Paizo is, it's time to stop hiding behind DnD 3.75 and at the same time pretend their leading the industry.  Make positive changes to the d20 engine and don't talk to us the same way WotC does.  Innovate, even if it it is with an eye toward the DnD 3.5 and Pathfinder fan base.

Friday, November 15, 2013

DWD Studios is a Great Company!

So, a big thanks to Bill Logan and DWD Studios (makers of BareBones Fantasy) for giving me a prerelease copy of Covert Ops, their RPG of espionage and paramilitary adventures using the D100Lite system.

In the next few days I'll have a review (probably multi-part because the amount of materials you get for $9.99) and then an actual play report.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

SEAL Team 666 using Covert Ops

The more I read SEAL Team 666, the more my mind churns out ideas for using it as a setting.  I've started a thread on RPG.Net asking about system and the biggest contender right now is an unreleased product from DWD Studios (makers of the excellent BareBones Fantasy RPG).

That game is Covert Ops and it's apparently in editing.  Hopefully we'll see it released in the next few months.

I'm pretty stoked about giving it a go.

SEAL Team 666

So last week I read a story that Dwayne Johnson would be starring and producing in a film adaption of this novel.  I have to be honest, I really like the Rock.  And the concept of a SEAL team that fought the supernatural seemed...well...AWESOME.  And then I realized it was a novel, actually a series of novels.

Let me add that the week before Halloween, I got a coupon from Amazon that allowed me to purchase a Kindle for $9.  Yes, nine dollars.

So, armed with the knowledge that a novel of SEAL Team 666 existed, I downloaded the sample.  Then I bought it.

I'm in the process of reading it still.  It's interesting and has some sweet ideas and good characterization.  While I dig the Rock, I hope he's not the central character, as I think he better fits the unit's leader.  But we'll see.  It's a cool book and I heartily recommend it.

I'll let you know when more when I'm finished with it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

13th Age: Tonberry


“Sneaky beings that slowly creep through the darkness carrying knives and lanterns. Their incessant, innocent stare stabs through opponents, pushing them over the brink of despair.”

Dissidia Final Fantasy museum description

8th level wrecker [HUMANOID]
Initiative: +0

Chef's Knife +13 vs. PD —70 damage.
Miss: 35 damage.

Karma: When an enemy hits the tonberry they lose a number of recoveries equal to the escalation die + 1.

Everyone's grudge: The crit range of all attacks by the tonberry are expanded by 2 (18+) against all enemies.

Nastier Specials
Dying lantern light: All enemies must make a hard save (16+) or be overcome with fear (cannot use the escalation die) until the end of the battle.

AC  24
PD   22                              HP 170
MD 18

Monday, November 11, 2013

In the Zone: Carcassmen for 13th Age

Logo by Hereticworks
I heard about this at Trey's From the Sorcerer's Skull, John from the FATE SF blog has come up with a cool community project inspired by the science fiction novel, Roadside Picnic and its 1979 film adaption, Stalker.


Often mislabeled as spiders, these predators are unsettlingly widespread throughout the Zones and completely terrifying. 
 Through an unknown process, roughly 15% of any carcass within a Zone is implanted with an egg and over an unknown period of time consumes the organs of the body and sprouts eight legs from the remains.  It then begins to hunt for it's next meal, where  it's unfortunate victims are then attacked by a dead dog or raccoon or even a bear...with spider legs jammed through the remains. 

Biologists within the Institute have noted that it's anatomy, hidden within and essentially using the carcass as an exoskeleton, is strikingly similar to a harvestmen, hence the choice of name. 

1st level [INSECT]
Initiative: +5

Pounce  +6 vs. PD —5 damage.
Natural 16+: Target is filled with fear (target cannot use the escalation die; hard save ends, 16+)

C: Lash out  +5 vs. AC —5 + escalation die damage.

What the hell is it and why does it stink so bad?The carcassmen uses the escalation die.

Fear Threshold: 15

AC  27
PD  17                              HP 17
MD 15

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fund this: Corporia

There's a new Kickstarter called Corporia by Mark Plemmons (he had worked extensively with Kenzer & Co.).  Mark does good work and the game looks intriguing.

Lancelot and the Knights of the Round Table have been reincarnated in a dystopian future running a megacorp.  As a member of Lancelot's Knightwatch you are charged with fighting monsters, boosted thugs and magical foes.

It looks cool and you should check it out.

Friday, November 8, 2013

I won a contest!

The awesome Timothy Brannan of The Other Side Blog had a contest and I won a copy of both the Eldritch Witchery and The Witch in pdf.  He authored both.

I'm a big fan of his work and winning is cool!

Thanks Tim!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Battle Beasts: Blitzkrieg Bat for 13th Age

Blitzkrieg Bat 

4th level [BEAST] 

Initiative: +8

Poleaxe +10 vs. AC—14 damage.
Natural even hit: Blitzkrieg Bat gains +2 attack bonus to hook hand against the target next turn.

C: Hook Hand +9 vs. AC—10 damage

R: Laser Optics +9 vs. PD—14 damage.
Miss: 4 damage.

Flight: As comfortable in the air than on the ground.

Heart of Fire: This creature adds the escalation die to the damage of all attacks.

AC  20
PD  20                              HP 50
MD 12

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

13th Age: Bride of Iuz

Iuz the Evil is brilliant, patient, and decadent. His ambitions require creativity, loyalty, and maliciousness. Who better help than his devoted brides? The cambion only chooses the most devious and charming of women to be joined with him in unholy matrimony. Their desire for power is only matched by their desire for the Old One, himself. While quite a few of his brides come from powerful families, Iuz is more than willing to cultivate any woman whom he finds desirable into a dark and deadly agent for his terrible machinations. Each bride's assignment is to patiently observe an area, alerting their husband if anything provocative occurs. They will often reside in that area for decades, cautiously adopting new identities as the years pass on and faithfully upholding their vows.

7th level spoiler [HUMANOID]
Initiative: +9

Whispers in the Dark +12 vs. MD –– 28 psychic damage
     Miss: 7 psychic damage

C: Rip Your Heart Out +12 vs. AC –– 25 damage
     Natural 16+: Target is weekend until the end of their next turn

R: Wicked +12 vs. PD –– 30 lightning damage
     Natural Odd roll: Inflicts cold damage
     Natural 16+: Inflicts fire damage to target and 1d3 nearby

Nastier Specials
I Do: The Bride uses the escalation die.
Femme Fatale: The Bride only needs an easy save (6+), to disengage form an enemy.

AC 23
PD 17                              HP 100
MD 21

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

13th Age: Elemental Clergy

Elemental Clergy

Demoniac servitors of the Elder Evil Eye, the Clergy enforce the putrescent reign of their Lord and Master.  The Clergy completely obey the Eye with both vicious zeal and depraved devotion.  Moving about their territory, stalking their subjects while clad in leaden black robes.  The overwhelming scent of ammonia alerts their victims to their approach and to certain doom if they are unfortunate to be chosen for the Clergy's inhuman rites.

5th level wrecker
Initiative: +2

R: Elemental Curse  +10 vs. AC —20 fire damage.
     Natural even hit: 5 ongoing damage.
    Natural 16+: Target is vulnerable until the end of the Clerygman's next turn.

C: Quake  +10 vs. PD (up to 2 nearby enemies)—Targets are stunned until the end of the Clergyman's next turn.

Elemental Aura: Whenever a creature attacking the Clergyman rolls a natural 1-5, that creature takes 2d8 damage.

Nastier Specials
Flight:  Clergyman are generally fast but not very maneuverable.

AC  21
PD  15                              HP 72
MD 19

Monday, November 4, 2013

13th Age: Wodengamut Zealot

Wodengamut Zealot

Fanatics devoted to a long dead Archmage, the Wodengamut wage a terror campaign that they preach was devised by their Master, in the months leading to his murder.  By following his byzantine prophecies, they can achieve their ultimate goal, to return their beloved Master to life as the one true Archmage.

4th level wrecker
Initiative: +3

R: Obloquy of the Infidel  +9 vs. MD—14 damage.
Natural even hit:  The zealot may make a curse of ill omen attack during it's next turn

[Special Trigger] Curse of Ill Omen +10 vs. PD - Ongoing 5 damage.

Nastier Specials
C: Malison of the Heretic  +12 vs PD (1d3 nearby enemies) - 20 damage
Miss: 8

AC 14
PD  14                              HP 54
MD 20

For more information on the Wodengamut and their history, click here.

Friday, November 1, 2013

13th Age: Rob Hall's Kal'Thasar

One of the players of my Tales of the 13th Age (Inquest) game, the amazing Rob Hall of the Pumpkin Society and Zero Fortitude, was kind enough to make a guest post about his character's One Unique Thing.

Without further ado.

I am Dal’Thorin and I am the last survivor of Kal’Thasar.

The look of confusion upon your countenance is something to which I have grown accustomed. Very few outside of the Elf Queen’s inner circle knew of my home. It was one of her majesty’s many secret projects that would take time to come to fruition. Now that I am the only survivor left, my queen has given me leave to share the story my home as I see fit. I think she hopes that I will find a new home.

Kal’Thasar was to be a place of peace, a place to bring the elves together as we had been before the sundering. The queen saw so many of the elven woods being despoiled due to the lack of all of her people working in concert that it weighed heavily on her heart. She gathered together several families from each line of elves. These families were chosen for their loyalty, intelligence, and adaptability. 

The queen and a few select advisors traveled south of the Gold Leaf and began a great ritual. They created a small city in the forest which was festooned with enchantments to keep it secret from those outside save the Queen and her trusted advisors. Here in Kal’Thasar, these families would work together and create a new elven wood built upon their trust and cooperation.

This occurred at the beginning of the current Elf Queens reign at the beginning of the 13th age.

The city was a success. The families worked well together and the region was a bountiful place. learning and magic flourished here so that the citizens were a boon to any community that they joined if they left. The connection between the elves gave the Queen a taste of what it might feel like if all her people were reunited.

I was born some fifty years ago in Kal’Thasar. My family was one of the ruling families that oversaw the protection of the city from outside threats. This meant that I spent most of my time hunting as the Queen’s enchantments ensured that no outside threat was a worry. This did not protect us from betrayal from within.

We elves are long-lived. We normally have no reason to strive so hard when, given time, we can accomplish whatever we set out mind too. For those that see power though, this slow pace can be felt like a chain. One of the dark elves, a wizard of great power, sought just such an avenue of quick advancement. They allied themselves with the Diabolist. She gave him the knowledge to summon a great demon lord.

This traitor to Kal’Thasar did not understand why he was given such an honor but took up the challenge to accomplish the ritual. It was on my the anniversary of my forty-ninth year upon this earth that he accomplished this goal. This demon quickly slew his summoner and began a pogrom on my home. The hordes of demons that descend upon us were far beyond our ability to stop. Our cries for help could not be heard outside of the protective enchantments on the city. our only hope of rescue was the Queen and she was distracted by an atrocitry being commited against the wood elves by the High Druid. 

Help was not coming.

tens of thousands died that day. The blood flooded the streams of the forest and stink of sulfur fouled the air. I aided the escape of as many as I could but the city was lost. We fled, only to be hunted like dogs. I was able to flee to Gold Leaf and was sequestered by the Queen. I had thought that I would be given sanctuary but the hard glint of her eyes told me that this was a fantasy. I was to leave the city and seek my fortune as an adventurer. I was to try and discover what had driven the demon to destroy her grand experiment and give her a target for her sorrow and rage.

Thus, I am now a wanderer. There were others that were so treated by the Elf Queen. Each was murdered and their entrails strewn across a city block. I struggle with the weight that my queen has burdened me with but know I must go on.

I am the last survivor of Kal’thasar and it falls me to avenger her.

Residents of Kal’Thasar are a resilient lot. The founding families were chosen for certain traits by the Elf Queen. In her enigmatic wisdom, she also observed this resilience and sought to spread it amongst a new generation of elves.

Kal’Thasarii (Feat)

Adventurer Tier:  +5 hit points per recovery 
“Though a resident of Kal’Thasar may be down, Don’t count them out.”

Champion Tier: +4 to initiative
“Being a resident of Kal’Thasar made one aware of the ebb and flow of life and circumstance.”

Epic Tier: Reroll 3 recovery dice

“Sometimes when things seemed grim, A Kal’Thasarii must dig deep to overcome adversity.”

Thursday, October 31, 2013

13th Age: Halloween


I, Sargoo the Sapient, would like welcome you to yet another one of my rousing treatises on our World and it's many Ages!

With Autumn fully throttling the life out of Summer, it only seemed appropriate to explore my absolutely favorite holiday: Halloween!

And I assure you I'm not alone, for in my travels across this Dragon Empire I've met legions who share my viewpoint (but of course)!

However, I'm often surprised (not really) at their ignorance of and full meaning to this Hallowed night (pun intended).

You see, in the closing days of the the Dead Wars, the Dragon Emperor and the Great Gold Wyrm were forced to negotiate a treaty with the Lich King to quell the tyrant's campaign.  While the Lich King had realized he could not win, he was well prepared to drag the conflict out for as long as it suited him.  And he had noticed the burgeoning of conflict between the Emperor and the High Druid on the edges of the Empire.

It was this leverage that allowed him to demand his sacrifices and the tending of what he viewed as his, as opposed to the Emperor's, boneyards.  But the Dragon Emperor is no fool and relied on his old friend, the Great Gold Wyrm, for aid in writing the Treaty of Threshold to finalize the cessation of hostilities.

The Great Gold Wyrm knew that giving in to the Lich King's demand would weaken the Empire in the eyes of its other enemies and was well aware of the High Druid, lurking like a tiger in the jungle waiting to pounce.  So he contributed a hidden clause within the Treaty to remind friend and foe alike of his cunning and reach.

You see, the Wyrm was aware of that Samhain was a day when the veil between the living and the dead was at it's thinned.  And just as importantly it was the nadir of the High Druid's power, a secret she fully believed no one else knew.  And so the Treaty allowed that on that precise day each year and in every Age to follow, that the Dragon Empire would be free of the Lich King's tributes and tendings.  A day that the Wyrm knew with absolute certainty that the Druid would immediately notice what day was chosen, Samhain.  Quietly, as if in the eye of a terrible hurricane, the Wyrm reminded both the Lich and the Druid that their opposition was subtle in it's movements and profound in it's achievements.

And so, the Emperor, both as a matter of morale after years of war and as challenge to his enemies, made that day a national holiday.  Halloween.

The one day in the year where the Dragon Empire and it's citizens were freed from the yoke of serving the dead, and choosing to celebrate life.  To walk both boldly into the dark, even amongst the deepest of woods and know that Dragon Empire hand not simply endured, but prevailed.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Closing Out October

Its been a good month.

I've kept up with a post count equal to every other day and I've continued to run 13th Age (it's a great game and I have a great group), play DnD Next and run Feng Shui.

I keep looking at The Strange RPG from Monte Cook, but I still need to run/play Numenener before I can jump in, AND I experiencde some major hiccups in Monte Cook Games' order fulfillment.  They made everything right, were prompt and polite and great to talk to, but I didn't get my book until the beginning of october.  So, I'm just a little uncertain.

I'm really digging the 13th Age Bestiary Hatchling edition and continue to be impressed with how Fire Opal and Pelgrane Press do business.

We're off for a few days to enjoy Halloween and then will begin the quick march to Thanksgiving and Christmas and all too soon, I'll be posting about closing out 2013.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Guest Post Later This Week

One of the players of my Tales of the 13th Age (Inquest) game, the incredible Rob Hall of the Pumpkin Society and Zero Fortitude, will have a guest post related to his character's One Unique Thing.

It will go live friday around Noon EST time.

I'm very excited.

Monday, October 28, 2013

13th Age: The Montessi Blades

Harkness Montessi was a treasure hunter turned monk turned monster slayer during the 10th Age.  At the tender age of twelve, he set off with "Rabid" Rob Robair, a tomb-raider, to seek fortune and fame.

After close to two decades working together, the pair unwittingly unleashed a fiend named Turaskian J'ten who had been imprisoned during the 6th Age.

While Rabid was slain, Harkness was found by monks from the nearby Monastery du Priles where he traded in adventuring for a quiet life.  Montessi spent his days tending their gardens and his nights studying fiends and monsters of all kinds because his sleep was 
plagued with nightmares of J'ten and Rabid's destruction.  After several years Harkness finally grew tired of cowering in fear and now had the knowledge to hunt the many terrors that plagued the 10th Age.

However, he knew he needed weapons to aid him in his quest and Montessi set about having the monks help him craft several powerful swords whose legend would live on for untold Ages.

Greatsword made from the feathers of the Angel Eptham.
Default bonus: You gain a +1 to attacks and damage (adventurer); +2 (champion); +3 (epic).

Khopesh forged from the heart of the volcano Tepestku.
Default bonus: When you miss with an attack roll this weapon deals an additional 5 fire damage (adventurer); 10 fire damage (champion); 15 fire damage (epic).
Quirk: It complains it's freezing unless it's within 10 feet of an open flame.

Long Sword made from the bones of Saint Superior.
Default bonus: Attacks and damage when using the weapon: +1 (adventurer); +2 (champion); +3 (epic).

Scimitar made from the Eye of Death.
Default Bonus: You gain a +1 to all Defenses (adventurer); +2 (champion); +3 (epic).
Quirk: Insists on saying a blessing over fallen foes.

Short Sword made from the teeth of the Storm Giantess Bes.
Default bonus: You gain a +3 to Initiative rolls (adventurer); 
+5 (champion); +10 (epic).

Bastardsword made from Winds of Kon.
Default Bonus: While the Escalation die is odd, you deal 1d8 Sonic damage to an additional 1d3 foes Nearby (adventurer); an additional 3d8 (champion); 5d8 (epic).
Quirk: Brags to you where lightning is about to strike, precisely 5 seconds before it's visible to you.

Friday, October 25, 2013

My RPG Person Profile

Zak S. came up with this and I thought I'd partake:

I'm currently running (at home): 
13th Age, using the Tales of the 13th Age Organized Play Adventure Paths.

I'm currently running (at a store): 
Feng Shui, for the Alpha Test.

Tabletop RPGs I'm currently playing (at home) include: 
13th Age, New World of Darkness.

I would especially like to play/run: I
'd love to play ADnD.  I'd love to run Numenera, Night's Black Agents and Rotted Capes.

...but would also try: 
Pathfinder, any DnD, Champions, Call of Cthulhu, any D100 game, any GUMSHOE game.

I live in:
Northern Kentucky.

2 or 3 well-known RPG products other people made that I like: 
13th Age
Old World Bestiary
Over the Edge

2 or 3 novels I like:
The Name of the Wind
Salem's Lot
Ghost Road Blues

2 or 3 movies I like:
Big Trouble in Little China
Pacific Rim
Monster Squad

Best place to find me on-line:
Here or on G+

I will read almost anything on tabletop RPGs if it's:
I'm open to everything.

I really do not want to hear about: 
I'm over Indie games for the most part and am content with enjoying traditional RPGs with hit points.

I think dead orc babies are ( circle one: funny / problematic / ....well, ok, it's complicated because....)
...well, ok, it's complicated because it depends on the group and the game.

Free RPG Content I made for 13th Age and DnD:

I talk about RPGs on Google + under the name Mark Craddock.

I talk about RPGs on under the name Sunsword.

Thundarr the Movie

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