maandag 1 september 2014

d30 Physical Features for Tieflings

Or roll one of those alphabet-dice
 in case of #5 (by Danny Cicchetti)
Roll a few times on this or just choose.

  1. horns (d6= 1: young goat sized/ 2: Icelandic goat-like/ 3: water buffalo like/ 4: ibex like/ 5: springbok-like/ 6: antlers)
  2. same as 1.
  3. d6= 1-4: nasty, big, pointy teeth/ 5-6: teeth grow in rows as a shark
  4. tusks (d6= 1-3: small/ 4-5: boar-sized/ 6: World of Warcraft-troll-sized)
  5. crest (d6= 1-3: parasaurolophus-like/ 4-6: tapejarid-like)
  6. tail (d6= 1-2: 15-30 cm/ 3-4: 30-90 cm/ 5-6: 90-150 cm)
  7. spiny backbone
  8. shoulder spikes
  9. prickles, quills or barbs instead of facial hair
  10. complete lack of hair
  11. d6= 1-3: skinflaps between fingers and toes/ 4-6: skinflaps between arms and torso
  12. wings, non-functional and small, (d6= 1-2: bat-like/ 3-4: bird-like/ 5-6: insect-like)
  13. no pupils
  14. unusual eye color (use 6d10's to generate it randomly here)
  15. eyes (d8= 1-2: catlike/ 3-4: sheep/ 5-6: reptile; 7/ chamelon/ 8: insect)
  16. unusual skin color  (use 6d10's to generate it randomly here)
  17. feet are (d6= 1: catfeet/ 2: hooves/ 3: tortoise feet/ 4: crocodile feet/ 5: crow claws/ 6: lemur feet)
  18. polydactyly (on a result of 5-6 on a d6: 7 fingers instead of 6)
  19. d6= 1-3: hands of that of a aye-aye/ 4-6: fingers have more joints than usual
  20. small hands located at torso (can only hold light items)
  21. eyes instead of niples
  22. exhalations are accompanied by small wisps of smoke
  23. faint smell of sulfur
  24. character heats up and glows when angry
  25. glowing unholy symbol at forehead
  26. for every being killed by character, a metal ring/tattoo appears on character's body
  27. snake tongued
  28. goat eared
  29. d6: 1-3 octopus beak; 4-6 fly mouth
  30. feelers
The hands of an aye-aye,
by Joseph Wolf
tapejarid crests
by Danny Cicchetti

maandag 25 augustus 2014

The Disease Domain for 5e clerics

Be the pestilence you want to see in the world.

Disease Domain Spells

Cleric Level - Spells
1st - Detect Poison and Disease, Ray of Sickness
3rd - Blindness/Deafness, Ray of Enfeeblement
5th - Bestow Curse, Stinking Cloud
7th - Blight, Confusion
9th - Contagion, Insect Plague

Seneschal/Steward of Sickness

Starting at 1st level you are immune to the effects of diseases but can still carry them.

Channel Divinity: Count/Countess of Contagion

At 2nd level you can use your Channel Divinity to touch a creature and infect them with one of your carried diseases, even if it normally can not be transmitted through touch. This ability acts as Contagion, but can only inflict diseases that you carry and has a duration of 1 hour.

Channel Divinity: Marquis/Marquise of Maladies

At 6th level you can use your Channel Divinity as a bonus action to make a creature susceptible to diseases. If a chosen creature within 30 ft. of you fails a Constition Save (DC is your spell save) it gains disadvantage on it's next save against disease or vulnerability to necrotic damage the next time it gets hit with necrotic damage.

Duke/Duchess of Disease

At 8th level, you gain the ability to infuse your weapon strikes with divine energy. Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 necrotic damage to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.

Viceroy/Vicereine of Virulence

Starting at 17th level, any creature starting it's turn within 10 feet of you must succeed on Constitution Save against your spell DC or contract a random disease carried by you.

zondag 24 augustus 2014

The Sea Domain for 5e clerics

Here's a custom domain for your 5th edition clerics, for if the Tempest domain isn't your god's deal.

Sea Domain Spells

Cleric Level - Spells
1st - Create or Destroy Water, Swim*
3rd - Conjure Vessel*, Gust of Wind
5th - Water Breathing, Water Walk
7th - Control Water, Evard's Black Tentacles
9th - Conjure Elemental (Water only), Drown*

Bonus Proficiency

When you choose this domain at 1st level, you gain proficiency with vehicles (water), heavy armor, the trident, and Strength (Athletics) checks. Heavy weight (including armor) won't hinder you while swimming and can't drag you underwater unless you choose so.

Channel Divinity: Master of Water

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to charm creatures with a water theme and turn creatures with a fire theme.
As an action, you present your holy symbol and invoke the name of your deity. Each water or fire related creature that can see you within 30 feet of you must make a Wisdom saving throw. If a water themed creature fails its saving throw, it is charmed by you for 1 minute or until it takes damage. While it is charmed by you, it is friendly to you and other creatures you designate. If a fire themed creature fails its saving throw, it is turned for 1 minute or until it takes any damage.

Blessed Lungs

At 6th level your god turns you amphibious. You now can breathe air and water.

Strike of the Crashing Waves

At 8th level, you gain one superiority die (a d6) and know the Pushing Attack and the Trip Attack maneuvers.
When you reach 14th level, you gain one additional superiority die and the dice increase to d8.

Avatar of the Ocean

At 17th you can transform into a Water Elemental once per long rest. This functions as a druid's wild shape.

New Spells:


1st-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: touch
Components: V, S, M (a cup of salt water, which needs to be consumed by the target)
Duration: 1 hour
The touched creature gains a swim speed equal to their land speed and automatically succeed Strength (Athletics) checks to swim in rough water.

Conjure Vessel

2nd-level conjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 3 feet
Components: V, S, M (a ship in a bottle)
Duration: 8 hour
You summon a boat suitable for coastal and river navigation. It can carry up to 8 medium sized creatures and disappears after 8 hours. If this spell is cast again before the spell is ended the duration is extended by 8 hours.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, you summon a vessel suited for open sea travel complete with (non-combatant) ghostly crew.


5th-level necromancy
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
You fill the targets lungs with seawater.
The target must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the target starts suffocating for the duration. At the start of each of the target’s turns before the spell ends,
the target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or continue being suffocated. On a successful save, the spell ends.

dinsdag 5 augustus 2014

5e Background: the Manipulative Advisor

Once, you were the real power behind the throne. By careful manipulation of diplomats, merchants, and royalty, you exerted your influence over the land. However, your web of lies and deception was exposed and you were banned, imprisoned or defeated in combat. In the latter cases you escaped or fled. Particular wise advisors might have snuck away before things got bad.

Skill Proficiencies: Deception, Persuasion
Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit, Forgery kit
Equipment: Disguise kit or Forgery kit, a set of once-fine clothes, a smoke-contraption*, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp or a gem worth 10 gp.

d6 You once advised:
  1. A corrupt government
  2. A doddering old king/queen
  3. A ruthless, literal monster
  4. A vicious idiot
  5. A credulous philanthrope
  6. A self-centred hedonist

Feature:  Kafkanaut

You walk with such confidence and know the right words to say in bureaucratic and royal places (or  other places of political authority) that no one will question your presence. You can command and bully servants and low-ranking clerks without problem in such places.
Most rulers are at least willing to listen to your advice and take it in serious consideration.

d8 Personality Trait
  1. You know what is best for everyone and you are not afraid to tell them.
  2. You know that the best way to stay alive is to keep your opinions to yourself and observe from the shadows.
  3. You express your ideas in such ways, people think it was theirs.
  4. You see people as pawns and love playing with them.
  5. You’re a great fan of dramatics. Nothing like a well-placed sinister laugh!
  6. You always have a back-up or escape plan.
  7. There’s this nagging doubt that selecting the Charlatan background might fit your character better. You’re not sure though, and this doubt will haunt you forever.
  8. You lick up and kick down.

d7 Ideal (If you want to use a d8, use the Soldier’s #6 Ideal as 8 in this table.)
  1. Greater Good. You have lied and deceived people, but it was all to increase welfare for the common people. (Good)
  2. Anarchy. The system is corrupt and ruling bodies can be best toppled from the inside. (Chaotic)
  3. Equality. Those born of blue blood are no more deserving to rule than any other social class. (Chaotic)
  4. The letter, not the spirit. Laws and traditions are nothing more than playthings and tools. You will use any loophole to your benefit. (Lawful)
  5. Power. It feels good to rule and no one is more fit to rule than you. (Evil)
  6. Guidance. Anyone not doing their job to the fullest can be advised and taught to be an exemplar of their occupation. You are here to help. (Good)
  7. Opportunism. The ignorant and the gullible are here for you to take advantage of. (Evil)

d6 Bond
  1. You still desire to regain your lost power over the region you once controlled. Next time, however, your rule will be felt by everyone.
  2. The land you once protected from its delusional ruler is still in the ruler’s greedy claws. You owe it to the people to dispatch this insane despot.
  3. Since you were disposed, several innocent people were put to prison
  4. You fell in love with the relative of your former ruler and would do anything to see them again.
  5. You’re still indebted to one of your associates who helped you flee the country.
  6. The person who exposed you is still somewhere, alive, mocking you. Revenge must be yours.

d6 Flaw
  1. You have a “tell” (a brooding demeanour, sneering eyes, a mirthless smile, an obvious name) which certain kinds of people (plucky heroes, loose cannon bodyguards) can use to recognize your manipulative nature. 
  2. The agents of your former country are still after you.
  3. Your willingness to wait several years before your well-crafted plan reaches fruition could easily get on your companion’s nerves.
  4. You are convinced of your intellectual superiority.
  5. You like to complicate social schemes.
  6. You research all your options before committing to a plan, even when you need to act on time.

This item could be a bomb, a fragile crystal with whirling clouds in it, a magical egg or something else. It can be thrown up to 20 feet. Smoke spreads from the point of impact within range to fill a 15-foot-radius sphere for 2 rounds. The smoke spreads around corners and counts as a heavily obscured area.

dinsdag 8 juli 2014

Vornheim: a review

It's three years since Vornheim: The Complete City Kit came out, so why review it now? Well, firstly until the World War Three episode of Doctor Who airs in Finland (15:10 Finnish time Wednesday) it's pay what you want at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow, so that's still about a day or so to get for what you want. Secondly, after three years I pretty much know how much I use this book. After three years I'm still not done with it.

  • It starts with a description of the city of Vornheim; places, the setting, people, superstitions. I haven't used this much at all. Why not? It's flavorful, wonderfully weird and also useful. I'm afraid I haven't used this section, because it's in the front and I've used the back of the book so much I forgot how good the front section was (serious though, I really need to set up some superstitions for my own cities).
    This part is good and has a lot of good ideas, could be a bit too weird for some people. 
  • Next part are the three (urban) dungeons. I haven't use these yet. So, I can't say too much about it. However, even if you won't run these dungeon, they still have very useful and nifty stuff you can cannibalise in your own dungeon. The library feels the most like a classic dungeon with a lot of secrets, I feel the zoo itself is the least interesting, however every inhabitant of the zoo is interesting, so that says something.
  • The urbancrawl rules are extremely useful. They are rules for when your pc's want to go from point A to C and are easy to set up during play. This section also includes a quick way to generate floorplans. I have used the floorplan generator more during play, but the crawl rules are still very useful when you need them (I just need them less).
  • Next up; optional rules and tools for the law, contacts, chases, item costs, libraries and the metagame of God's Chess. Of all these I've used the library rule quite extensively and the other rules zero to three times. I usely know the costs of items player want to buy and a chase never came up, however a chase is almost inevitable to come up and there will come a day I will not know the price of an obscure item and can't be arsed to look it up. On that day I will know how to quickly resolve this situation.
  • Then my favorite and most used part; the tables. It has tables for aristocrats (including quirks, character traits and relationships. Quite extensive.), city npc's (names, professions and character traits), shopkeepers and contacts, what contacts knows, getting lost/directions, a diagram for connecting npc's, encounters, fortunes, what's on the body, legal situations, magic effects, taverns and their games (my players love the games) and buildings.
    Those are shit load of tables. And you know what? Everything on those tables is interesting and/or useful. You might not use one or two tables in those list, but this section has incredible worth during play.
  • The front and back cover function as roll-on-tables for creatures, locations and attacks. I used these once, they're cool and innovative but they're also hidden by the sleeve. I think they are of more use to a DM who uses an old school system than one who uses a newer system*.
I'm very fond of the art. Some people might be disoriented by the dungeon map for the House of the Medusa and the Library of Zorlac, but how it's presented saves time in the long run (meaning; during play, when time is valuable).
Vornheim is a very concentrated book. It has 64 pages, and every page has several useful things and ideas in it. It's more a toolset than a setting and with the tools it provides you can make a city that feels incredibly alive. It's one of the few books I always carry with me when I go dm'ing and in most of the cases end up using.
I would recommend trying to get a physical copy for the roll-on-tables (and, hey, I'm a fan of physical things), but if that's not possible, get the pdf, it's worth it. Every group will have at least a few adventures in a city and that's where you need this book.

*That reminds me, Vornheim is written for Lamentations of the Flame Princess, but is very much a system neutral book.

donderdag 15 augustus 2013

Sharkshark; or The Nested Shark

Photo courtesy of the University of Delaware

Sometimes a shark possesses an unnatural tenacity. Sometimes these sharks get eaten by larger sharks. Sometimes these sharks will not die. This will create the sharkshark; or nested shark.
Because the inner shark will deprive the outer shark of any food, the outer shark will usually be more aggressive and desperate than others of it's kind. Creatures eaten by the outer shark will find themselves quickly digested and torn to pieces by the inner shark.

Outer Sharkshark
Size/Type: Huge Animal (Aquatic)
Initiative: 6
Senses: Blindsense, keen scent; Perception +18

Armor Class: 15, touch 10, flat-footed 13 (-2 size, +2 Dex, +5 natural)
Hit Dice: 65 hp (10d8+20)
Saves: Fort +11, Ref +9, Will +6

Speed: Swim 60 ft. (12 squares)
Bite: +10 melee (2d6+7 plus grab [+20])
Space/Reach: 15 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Improved grab [+20], swallow whole [+20]
Special: If the Outer Shark dies, the Inner Shark will be set free and act on it's own.

Base Attack/Grapple: +7/20
Abilities: Str 21, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 2
Skills: Perception +18 , Swim +15
Feats: Perception Focus, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Iron Will

Inner Sharkshark
Size/Type: Large Magical Beast (Aquatic)
Initiative: As Outer
Senses: Blindsense, keen scent; Perception +14

Armor Class: As Outer, but 13 when within Outer
Hit Dice: 32 (7 HD)
Saves: As Outer
DR 20/bludgeoning; Resist 10 acid,

Speed: As Outer
Bite: +7 melee (1d8+4 plus grab [+12])
Space/Reach: 10 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Improved grab [+12], swallow whole [+12]

Base Attack/Grapple: +5/12
Abilities: Str 17, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 2
Skills: Perception +14 , Swim +13
Feats: Perception Focus, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative

Improved Grab (Ex)
To use this ability, a sharkshark must hit an opponent of up to one size smaller with its bite attack.  It can then attempt to start a grapple (outer: +20/ inner: +12) as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity.
If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and can try to swallow the foe the following round.

Swallow Whole (Ex)
An outer sharkshark can try to swallow a large or smaller grabbed opponent by making a successful grapple check. The swallowed creature takes 2d8+7 points of bludgeoning damage and 7 points of acid damage per round from the outer sharkshark’s gizzard. If the Inner Sharkshark is still alive, it will attack 1 creature per round.
A swallowed creature can cut its way out by using a light slashing or piercing weapon to deal 15 points of damage to the gizzard (AC 12). Once the creature exits, muscular action closes the hole; another swallowed opponent must cut its own way out.

An outer sharkshark’s gizzard can hold 1 Large, 4 Medium, 16 Small, 64 Tiny, or 256 Diminutive or smaller opponents (this with the inner sharkshark taken into account.

An inner sharkshark can try to swallow a medium or smaller grabbed opponent by making a successful grapple check. The swallowed creature takes 2d6+4 points of bludgeoning damage and 4 points of acid damage per round from the inner sharkshark’s gizzard.
A swallowed creature can cut its way out by using a light slashing or piercing weapon to deal 10 points of damage to the gizzard (AC 12). Once the creature exits, muscular action closes the hole; another swallowed opponent must cut its own way out.

An inner sharkshark’s gizzard can hold 2 Medium, 8 Small, 32 Tiny, or 128 Diminutive or smaller opponents.

dinsdag 28 mei 2013

partial re-rerolls on random tables

Mucking about* with my Gamma World setting, I was thinking about a random encounter table. I wanted a specific creature to sometimes be mixed up in the encounter, about a fourth or fifth of the time.
Sure, I could just do a simple "roll again on this table and add creature X" but that would have a chance of giving the same result (and ignoring that result would result in more rolls).
I could write it as "roll a d10/d8 on a result of 1 and 2 add 1d3 creature X", but I wanted the chance of 1 creature X to appear to be higher than 3 X's. But something that I never thought of before; by rolling a d8 and d10, you can create a d80. So, here is a d100 encounter table with an incorporated d80 reroll system:

Murder City; night encounters

1-2 gravorgs
3-5 shadow sloths
6-10 skeletons
11-15 zombies
16-21 ratmen
22-26 mutated rats
27-28 quinpod invader
29-32 albino apes
33-36 octobats
37-44 bugs
45-52 ghouls
53 demonic abductor
54-59 shroommen
60-63 dabbers
64-66 felinoids
67-72 roll on the humanoid table
73 roll again and on the humanoid table
74-78 roll on the faction table
79 roll again and on the faction table
80 roll twice
81-92 roll 1d80 on this table + 1 creeper
93-98 roll 1d80 on this table + 2 creepers
99-00 roll 1d80 on this table + 3 creepers

*Lying in bed, thinking about cool mutants.