Saturday, December 30, 2017

12 Days of OSR Christmas Winners

+Erik Tenkar of the esteemed Tenkar's Tavern once again hosted the 12 Days of OSR Christmas and I'm ashamed to admit that I'm running behind on getting people their gifts out.

Sadly, I even had one winner contact me via e-mail I've LOST that exchange :(

If the following winners would contact me at mark at crossplanes dot com, I would gladly mail them their PDF copies of Wizardry Unearthed:

Mike Bauer

Denis McCarthy


Evan Lindsey

Wolfgang Coe.

I'm sorry for being behind and losing track of stuff.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

D&D: Spawning Grounds

As the Blood War reignites throughout the Multiverse, the Archdevil Bel, has sponsored the creation of a new method for devils to return to the Prime Material Plane. Since fiends are unable to be summoned for 100 years after being destroyed on the Prime Material Plane, a hellbound Wizard named Karza has created a method to circumvent that limitation. 

Karza has been able to utilize the malignance of unhallowed places to physically birth a fiend into the Prime Material Plane, even if they are unable to be summoned. The process involves sewing Malediction Crystals in the selected area, where the fiend begins to physically grow over the course of 13 days. During the growth cycle, the Crystals not only allow the process to occur, but each crystal can transform into a Shard Devil to protect the fiend growing within the Spawning Ground.

While only one fiend may be "born" in a Spawning Ground at one time, the area may be used more than once (2d6 times before it ceases to become unhallowed ground).

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

2017: The Journey

I won't lie to anyone, 2016 was a low point for me as an American citizen, I'm not taking sides here, for me the whole system let me down.  That's just my 2 cents and I don't care to discuss it further.

I had actually hoped we would move on from 2016 into something better...well, we all have our opinions on that too.

On a personal level, I am extremely blessed. I work with my wife, selling comics and games and am able to take my kids to work. Heck, in May 2017, my oldest daughter became the manager of our Louisville, KY store. It's bittersweet, because I loved her living at home, but I'm proud to see how good she is at the Family Business.

Additionally, my parents and my in-laws are still with us. My oldest son, at 16 and a Junior in High School, took his first College class and got a 96. I have two other amazing daughters and the best wife in the world (and yeah, I'll fight you over that title).

But back around Easter, my parents (both 77) came back from a few months in Florida and my Dad's shoulder hurt. He'd had shoulder surgery a few years back and just assumed he might need it again. In fact, his Doctor concurred.

Unfortunately, in June, we found out he had Stage 4 Cancer of the spine, neck, hip, shoulder, lymphnodes, and liver. Stage 4 meant he probably has about 18 months left (then) and he'd be on Chemotherapy and Radiation as long as they were effective.

My whole family was a mess, but not Dad. No, Dad was more worried about us. He didn't want to leave us behind, he was ready, but he knew we weren't.

I'm going to take a minute to share that I've thought of writing about this before, but I couldn't yet. Part of it is that when someone doesn't know, and this is selfish of me and I'm sorry for it, but I don't have to face it. It's cowardly, but it's nice to talk to people for a moment and not think about it. But it has affected the Blog and I felt it was time to explain where I've been.

So my Dad, after a round of Radiation and two rounds of Chemotherapy is still more worried about us than himself. In fact, his spirit is amazing, he's up, he's in a good mood, he always has a kind word, and he's always more worried about others than himself. He's in constant pain and take morphine twice a day and he asks about others long before he will utter any complaint.

I'm blessed because that is the Man who raised me. That is the Man who made me who I am. He taught me about doing the right thing, about treating people fairly and not being prejudiced, about remembering I had no idea what their troubles were, about loving people and respecting them, about how to raise a family and treat women and your wife. The Man I am, and I pale in comparison to him, is due to everything he did for me. I marvel at what my parents could achieve for us. I don't know how they did it. I marvel at all that he game to me.

I've watched him physically dwindle, I knew what the treatments would do, so I took some "before" pictures, but I keep taking them because the Man in the "after" pictures seems to get more heroic each time I see him. His love for the world and others continues to grow.

I don't know how much time I have left with my Dad or anyone, but I'm on here less because right now it's what is best for my family.

The Blog isn't going away, it's just a little less important right now.

I will share this with you and it's an old and trite saying, but cherish each moment, you never know when it will end.

Merry Christmas if you celebrate it and have a Great Day if you don't. And I wish all of you a Happy New Year.

Friday, December 15, 2017

D&D 5th Edition: Shard Devil

Shard Devils are summoned to the Prime Material Plane that requires unhallowed ground and a ritual requiring at least three sacrifices to an Archdevil.  Once the ritual is completed, the profane ground is surrounded by crystaline growths, close to 10 feet tall, that erupt from the earth. Finally, within in the next 24 hours the growths transform into 3d6 shard devils.

Medium fiend, chaotic evil

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 142 (15d10 + 90) 
Speed 50 ft.
   Str            Dex         Con           Int         Wis         Cha
16 (+3)        12 (+1)        19 (+4)        11 (+0)      12 (+1)      11 (+0)

Saving Throws CON +8, WIS +5
Damage Resistances Fire; Force; Lightning; Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks

Damage Immunities Poison
Condition Immunities Poisoned
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Common, Infernal
Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)

Devil's Sight. Magical darkness doesn't impede the devil's darkvision.

Magic Resistance. The devil has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Multiattack. The devil makes three attacks.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. 
Hit: 14 (2d10 + 3) piercing damage.

Shard. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 30/60 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d10 + 3) slashing damage.

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Oakhurst: Rangers of Roan

The Rangers of Roan were founded 587 years ago in the Monarchy of Sumter when Princess Roan was visited by the goddess Melora who wanted to aid in the building of alliance between her Father, Monarch Thurston and the wood elves of the nearby forest of Holt. Roan's visitation occurred during the Troll Plague, when the wood elves and the Monarchy were losing ground to the monsters. Unfortunately as the Plague prolonged, communication between the wood elves and the Monarchy began to deteriorate.

Melora taught Roan new techniques to destroy the trolls and she set off on her own to begin her work. After single-handedly slaying four trolls, she came upon a group of wood elves being attacked by a two-headed ferocity. She was able to slay this fifth monstrosity and, as it turned out, save the lives of the children of the wood elf sorcerer, Matese.

As word spread of Roan's deeds, the wood elves and humans of the Monarchy came together to learn from the Princess and the Rangers were created. Soon, Fort Elm was constructed and the Rangers role as protectors of the forests and frontier began in earnest. Roan even abdicated her claim to the throne.

The Rangers fulfilled their duties for four centuries, serving the Monarchy, the wood elves, and anyone in need within their domain. However, during the War of the Queens, both claimants to the Monarchy sought the aid of the Rangers, who steadfastly refused to enter into a civil war in Sumter. When Queen Nory won, she slowly began to favor the worship of Erathis over Melora and cut the budget of the Rangers.

Frustrated that their role as protectors was at the whim of petty politicians, the Rangers began spreading outside of Sumter, building Forts in Odessa, Qent, Mer, and Fent. They also brought the worship of Melora with them and found a warm welcome in the wilderlands of each nation.

Today, the Rangers take recruits from any race and piously work to protect their charges and spread the word of Melora. Each Fort maintains a shrine to their patron goddess and a carving or sculpture of their founder, Roan.

Recently, rumors have circulated that Fort Ash, in Qent and within two days ride of Oakhurst, fell on the final night of the Red Moon. If the story is true, a sinkhole or magical earthquake literally swallowed the Fort and all of it's inhabitants full.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

D&D 5th Edition: Osseous Hound

Osseous hounds were created by the Demon Lord Ahazu as hunters to abduct his prey. They have become popular amongst other demons for the usefulness outside the abyss and their staunch training.

Medium fiend, chaotic evil

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 110 (13d10 + 39) 
Speed 50 ft.
   Str            Dex         Con           Int         Wis         Cha
17 (+3)        19 (+4)        16 (+3)        9 (-1)      14 (+2)      7 (-2)

Skills Perception +5, Stealth +7, Survival +5
Damage Resistances Fire, Slashing

Damage Immunities Poison

Condition Immunities Poisoned
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages Common, Abyssal
Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)

Harrier. Hounds's have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks and can pick up a trail up to seven days later.

Jagged Bones. Any creature that hits a hound with a melee attack takes 2d10 piercing damage.

Multiattack. The osseous Hound makes three attacks: one with it's bite and two with it's claws.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. 
Hit: 14 (2d10 + 3) piercing damage.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d10 + 3) slashing damage.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

D&D 5th Edition: Brother of Blood, a Servant of Khorne

Khorne is the Ruinous Power of Warriors and the Blood God. He despises magic and will not tolerate  any of his devotees to practice it. For his faithful, he grants supernatural toughness and a a dedication to battle bordering on insanity. A brother of blood is one of his cultists, who can call upon the Blood God's fury and battle when he is required to slay his foes, and his foes are many.

Medium humanoid, chaotic evil

Armor Class 14 
Hit Points 50 (8d8 + 14) 
Speed 35 ft.
   Str            Dex         Con           Int         Wis         Cha
16 (+3)        14 (+2)        15 (+2)        9 (-1)      10 (+0)      8 (-1)

Damage Resistances Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing
Senses passive Perception 10

Languages Common, Abyssal
Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Reckless. At the start of its turn, the berserker can gain advantage on all melee weapon attack rolls during that turn, but attack rolls against it have advantage until the start of its next turn.

Multiattack. The Brother of Blood makes two long sword attacks.

Long Sword. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 3) 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, December 4, 2017

D&D 5th Edition: A Fighter House Rule

My buddy Matt and I were talking and he mentioned the idea that Fighters should be able to choose Strength or Dexterity and Constitution as Saving Throws.  We then talked about how that would allow a Fighter two Primary Saves (not a deal-breaker in our opinion).

However, something else occurred to me as an option.

A Fighter at 1st Level chooses their Saves from the following options:
• Strength and Dexterity
• Dexterity and Intelligence
• Wisdom and Charisma
Once the decision has been made it cannot be changed.

I like this as an option to reflect the diversity and utilitarianism of the Fighter class.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

1,000 Faces: Augustus Candlecake

Augustus Candlecake is a very gifted Diviner who sponsors adventurers operating in Waterdeep and the Sword Coast.

Augustus's family own a successful caravan operation that operates between the Sword Coast and Cormyr, but even though he is the oldest, he's never held any interest in taking it over. For years, this cause him to butt heads with his father, Julius. However, his talent at arcane magic allowed him to become an apprentice for Edweena Thwent, a gnome Diviner of great renown who has a tower in the City of Splendors. Julius agreed to pay for his son's education in exchange for lending his skills in the operation of the caravan business.

Augustus voraciously learned from Edweena and within six years he moved on as her apprentice. His desire for praise and acceptance motivated his success, but know matter how much he received it was never enough. Deep inside,  he longed to be an adventurer and plunder dungeons, he face several obstacles: most people he interacted found him overconfident and obnoxious, he was squeamish, and he had a terrible case of asthma.

While he expected to hate working for his father, his divination gifts prevented their caravans from experiencing several prominent disasters that that competitors did not escape. He grew to enjoy the intricacies of detecting any obstacles and he and his father began to grow closer.

After several years, Augustus began researching the Cairn of Remin-Kar, a burial chamber reputed to hold a good deal of treasure but that was supposed to haunted by the Priest-King buried there. While Augustus had no interest in endangering himself, he began using his skills first to detect the Cairn and then to gain knowledge of it. After feeling confident that this was no more dangerous than a caravan route, he assemble a team of adventurers.
And his plans and warnings allowed them to easily to defeat the mummy and gain the treasure.

Soon, Augustus had another reputation, as a good lead to gain fame and riches plumbing dungeons, two of his first team, Egana Maramark and Stu Sugarhawk even took up membership in the elite Force Grey.

Today, Augustus is a very rich man and has little need for his role in the caravan business, which has infuriated his father and reignited old feauds between them. Generally, the adventurers who work with him don't last more than a few expeditions because of his personality, but his reputation assures those who work for him a very good chance at succes. Additionally, at this point he only charges 20% commission for his role. Thus far, only two expeditions have attempted to cut him out of their deal. In both instances he called in favors from previous adventurers to deal with them, splitting the cut 50/50 with them and leaving those who cheated very badly beaten and essentially blackballed from the Waterdeep adventuring scene.

Augustus is nervous, dresses extravagantly and has a large trophy room with items from each the expeditions he has sponsored. He is constantly explaining to people his mastery at divination and seems to delight at hinting about his awareness of things from their past that those who work for him don't want revealed. Due to asthma, he sneezes quite a bit.

Despite his talent and success he has an inferiority complex and will often create conflict when none is necessary and takes offense and innocent comments. This has led him to begin using a drug known as Shadow to calm himself, unfortunately, his supplier of Shadow is a member of the Xanthar's gang and he is actively ignoring the risks that brings to his life.

Thundarr the Movie

As a life-long comics fan and a retailer with a quarter century of experience, I was today years old when I discovered that Buzz Dixon and ...