Monday, December 24, 2012

0th level Characters for Pathfinder

Oth-level Character

Alignment: Any
Hit Die: d4
Base Attack Bonus: Poor
Good Save Bonuses: None
Class Skills (2+Int Bonus): None

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficency: A 0th-level character is proficient with one simple weapon. He is not proficient with any other weapons, nor is he proficient with any type of armor or shield.
1st-level: A 0th-level character starts with -500 xp. When they reach 0 xp, they may select a class. They gain hp equal to the difference between d4, and their new hit die, essentially losing the old in place of the new.

Monday, December 17, 2012

And now for something completely different...

In addition to considering running 4e D&D, I am also considering running one of a number of other rpgs. I have discussed running a Star Wars game with one of my D&D players. We have agreed that we'd like to run several more D&D sessions before actually starting it however. In general, except for several PbP campaigns, most of which haven't gone very far and a couple of one shots I haven't played anything except D&D. However, I would like to.

For Star Wars I haven't quite decided which game to use. I am strongly considering using d6 Space as it is free and I could use material from the old WEG game with it. There is also MiniSix, but I think that it could in some ways be too simple, as I'd like more complex rules for vehicles for instance. The new FFG game is also a possibility, but I'd rather not require my player to buy anything. Saga Edition has the same problem which is compounded by the amount of material for that game. However, more material means more material I can use, however.

I am also considering trying another game. I have run many PbP games of the Marvel Universe Roleplaying Game, but only briefly in person. So I'd like to try running that in person or over sometime. Or trying another Superhero rpg. Like Mutants and Masterminds. I own BESM 3e and Tristat dx, so I've considered running those as well. I'm a fan of a number of anime, in various genres so I could run a game for them or a similar campaign. However, I'm not sure BESM would in fact be the best choice for any game I run.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The urge to play...

Okay, 4th edition is by far my least favorite version of Dungeons and Dragons. However, that still doesn't mean I hate it. Heck I've had a lot of fun playing Living Forgotten Realms. My preference might be for more old school games, but I still think 4th edition isn't completely bad. Once in a while I get the urge to play it. With my discovery of this is completely feasible and I'm getting the urge...
However, if I do play it I'm likely to make a few rule changes. These include:
  • Alignments are the nine traditional ones. However, you need not choose one of these and may choose to be unaligned.
  • Races might get some tweaks. For instance I like Hobbit halflings.
  • Hit points will be lower. I might even use hit dice.
  • There may be some changes to the rules for rests. Perhaps a third category of rests will be introduced, with this one restoring all hp and the lesser rests restoring hp at a lower rate.
The "Core Assumptions" will also be altered:
 The World is Mysterious, But Not All Of It: Much of the world is covered with "swathes of light" with hundreds of villages that are relatively safe, with the occasional "point of darkness". However, the campaign will focus on the borderlands between these swathes of light, where it is much more mysterious and there are only the occasional "point of light"
Monsters are Everywhere on the Borderlands: Again, there are large swathes of light, where it is mostly safe. It's mostly on the edges of civilization that you have to worry about villages being wiped out.
Adventurers are Not Exceptional: The PCs might be special, but only if they overcome many difficulties to earn it. Just anybody could potentially be an adventurer.
The Common Races Sometimes Band Together: Alliances of men, elves and dwarves have stood against hordes of goblins, trolls and giants in the past, yes, but just as often have quarreled against each other. In human kingdoms civil wars are common, with feuding lords levying their people to march against their enemies just about every springtime after they have finished their planting.
Magic is Not Everyday: Peasants will often see magic, but they do not understand it very well. The common folk tend towards superstition.
Primordals Don't Exist: I'm not using the concept of primordals.
Gods Are Active: Gods regularly walk the world, and often interact with mortals.

Generally I will be using more story elements from pre-4e. Archons are lawful good immortals, Eladrins are chaotic good immortals. Succubi are demons. The planes hew closer to the Great Wheel model. Etc.

So, what do you think? Is it even worth bothering with 4e? Should I just stick with versions of D&D that are closer to my ideal? Will I even be able to find players willin to use these house rules?

Friday, December 07, 2012

Monster Hill Session Report: Exceedingly Close, to an Extremely Distant World

Okay, this video doesn't directly relate to the topic of this post, however, recent events in my recent session of Monster Hill reminded me of this song.

You see I placed a portal on the second level of my dungeon. The party may soon discover said portal. In fact assuming the probabilities of them taking each route available to them are equal, they have a 25% chance of discovering it. The portal leads to the city of Sigil, from the Planescape Campaign Setting.

The session started off where the last one ended. However, the party now consists of two PCs, played by the same person, to help compensate for the low party size. I glossed over exactly how the new character, a barbarian, joined the party. I wish the last (and this) session hadn't ended in the dungeon for precisely this reason. Since a new party is supposed to form every new session, each session should end with the party back in town. However, since I only have the one player right now, it's less of a concern. I wouldn't normally allow the same player to control multiple characters at once either, though I do allow and even encourage multiple characters per player. I may allow this from now on though, provided there are less than three players at a particular session.

So the party descended the stairway to the second level, the "Upper Temples". The first room they found had a broken statue of Orcus, who in my campaign is presently dead. However that doesn't mean that he might not play a role in the campaign, especially with such a large chance that they might end up in Sigil. Neither the player nor his characters have any idea who Orcus is, but I hope this serves as good foreshadowing for his potential appearance in the campaign. Perhaps a certain petitioner might have a job for them that brings them to Automata just in time for them to see the start of the off-schedule Great Modron March...

There were five exits to the room and wouldn't you know it they pick the one with the teleporter at the end of it. So they find themselves in a room on the other side of the level. Unfortunately, that's when we had to end it. I am pretty anxious to know whether the party finds the portal. On the one hand, I am excited to potentially introduce Planescape elements which I was hoping to have an opportunity to do. On the other hand, I'm not sure that such a drastic change to the status quo of my campaign will be a good thing and I am concerned that this will complicate reintroducing the rogue character that my other player played in the first session, but hasn't been able to play since.

There is something else I'd like to talk about,  but am not ready quite yet. It is exciting news and I hope everything goes well, however things haven't progressed far enough that I feel comfortable talking about it. Also I encourage feedback on the Soldier base class I posted earlier.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rough Draft: Soldier Base Class

Ive been working on and off on my own variant of d20, with some old school influences as well as my own ideas. One of the differences is the classes. They tend to be far more specific. Instead of having one fighter class for every kind of fighting man under the sun, there are more specific ones (though as of right now there are two very broad classes, the soldier of this post and the warrior. I've also considered an alternative scheme where there are several fighting man classes, including a militia, basically a veteran levied peasant, and a squire/knight). There is no such thing as a generalist wizard, though there is likely to be a "semi-generalist". While there isn't a cleric class for every god, clerics are broken into three main classes, the crusader (the classic "gish" cleric), the invoker (blasty clerics) and ministers (might need a better name, these guys focus on healing, buffing and protective magics. They can ward/drive off monsters, or weaken them, but don't have much in the way of damage dealing potential). A "rogue" might be a burglar, scout, mountebank, etc. In addition there are variant versions of classes and "prestige classes" or the equivalent.

Also to be noted is that while the character level cap is going to be something like 36, several classes might have considerably lower ones. The soldier has a level cap of five for instance. These classes are meant to multi-class at some point. Most often into a prestige class. While you may start as a soldier, you'll eventually become a ranger (yep, rangers might be a, or more than one, prestige class), a swordsmaster, or a shining blade of Hieroneous. Also neither skills or feats are being used. I may add them in later, replace them, or ignore them entirely.

So here is the soldier, thus far:
Hit Dice: d10
BAB: Good
Good Saves: Fort, Ref
Weapon Groups: Basic weapons, plus three of the following: axes, bows, crossbows, flails and chains, heavy blades, light blades, maces and clubs, picks and hammers, polearms, slings and thrown weapons, and spears and lances.
Veteran: Allows the soldier to call upon a fellow soldier he knew from a previous war.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Monster Hill Campaign 1st and 2nd Sessions

Well, I recently got to play my Monster Hill Campaign with some of my old friends. I happened to be able to hangout with each of them during the summer and then I asked them to play D&D with me. So we did.

The first session was pretty meh, with some good moments. Highlights include, a hireling falling into a pit trap, and then being left at the entrance to the dungeon, where he was subsequently killed (and they knew a creature was roaming around out there), goblins beating them up and taking them prisoner (they escaped and cut the goblins throats in the night), two of there number being hypnotized by a shadow faerie and encountering a cyclops and two ogres and having to run away. They escaped by running through the room labyrinth they were in and then finding an old mediation chamber with the images of five demon lords that were once worshiped at Monster Hill, or four demon lords and an outer god... The image of Yog-Sothoth marked where a secret door was and from there they managed to find a way out, observing the corpses of the bandits my PbP group killed.

The second time we played online on One of the players from last time went into the dungeon with four hirelings. They managed to kill an ogre, thanks to very good rolls on the part of the hirelings, including a critical hit. They unlocked the door to the right in the corridor where the door to the ogre's room, using a key the ogre held. They survived a burning hands trap and found two magic wands on an amethyst encrusted pedestal. If they sell the wands they might have enough xp for both PCs to level up, if they split the loot between them as I suggested they do, despite only one player being able to play, The player was only able to explore one more room before we ran out of time. This room was an enigma, containing stairs to the next room... and a trail of bloody foot prints that led from the stairs, across the room, up the wall and then over to the other side of the room, were unbeknownst to them, a secret door was located.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Forgotten Beasts

Forgotten Beasts are a class of monsters from Dwarf Fortress. They are procedurally generated, thus they can come in many different shapes and forms. One might be a humanoid made from metal, another might be a giant spider that emits poisonous gas an yet another might be a giant bird with deadly secretions. There are also Titans, which are similar except where Forgotten Beasts are subterranean, Titans dwell on the land and in the sea. I am thinking about how to integrate such creatures into a D&D setting.

While there's no need for a specific origin for random esoteric creatures (yes, that's a reference to THE RANDOM ESOTERIC CREATURE GENERATOR FOR CLASSIC FANTASY GAMES AND THEIR MODERN SIMULACRA, by James Raggi, a most useful resource...), for "Forgotten Beasts" I'm thinking that they would be creatures created/warped by the weird radiations and extraplanar energies found in the underworld (or Underdark, Darklands, Khyber, etc). Perhaps these creatures are servants or creations of an evil or merely primal, elemental deity who has been lost to the annals of history, hence their name of Forgotten Beasts.

Continue to observe this post and I may post a few sample Forgotten Beasts.

Monday, May 28, 2012

If you want D&D Next to be something that appeals to you...

You should let WotC know what you want from it. WotC is getting a lot of feedback. However, it tends to be from those who played and enjoyed 4e, because those are the people who frequent their message boards. I for one am worried that this feedback will lead WotC to make something that resembles 4e much more again, despite the fact that they have to appeal to more than just the people who play 4e to accomplish the goals they've set for themselves.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

D&D Next First Impressions

I like D&D Next. There are a few things I'd like to see changed, but all in all it pretty much seems to be exactly what I thought 4th edition should have been in the first place. Personally I'm hoping that the final rules at least have the option of less hp, but in general there seems to be less than in 4e, so this is good.

I will be running a game, running the PCs myself, later today. However, I hope to find other players to playtest with as well.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Some Musings on my Monster Hill PbP

I have recently started a Play-by-Post campaign in my megadungeon, Monster Hill. As per the concept of Monster Hill, anything these players do will carryover to every time I play. So if I'm still running Monster Hill ten or twenty years in the future, I might offhandedly remark "Hey, that's the corpse of one of the first Player Characters that delved into this dungeon!"

A few interesting PCs include Zaggle'Bo, the goblin cave druid and Onnam the Guide wood elf cleric of Hades (I have decided to use real world deities for the humans in this campaign). They seem to be developing goals that might just have a strong impact on the course of the campaign. This is, to remove the corruption of Monster Hill. Ironically, this corruption comes largely from portals to Hell, Hades and the Abyss. Hades of course, lives on the plane of Hades, albeit on Pluton not Oinos to which the portal leads.

They are soon due to encounter some bandits. They have already encountered an orcish slave of the bandits in a cave which serves as a stable for the bandits. The pool in this cave is sometimes inhabited by faeries with powers of healing, a reference to the Legend of Zelda series.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Monster Hill First Delve

Well, I'm going to be running my Monster Hill campaign at Play the Game Read the Story in Syracuse, NY. I'd invite you guys, but I don't think any of you would be able to make it, though I don't know where any of you live, so I might be surprised, I suppose ;). I'm really excited. I've been preparing for a while, though since I have been writing parts, I've only gotten the first level and part of the second and third levels done. I would've liked to have them all completely detailed by now, but I don't think they will be going lower than the first, so it's not that big of a deal.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Inspired by Dwarf Fortress...

Inspired by Dwarf Fortress, and the fact that some players have actually managed to have they're dwarves colonize Hell itself, I have decided that if my players ever end up visiting Hell (or perhaps one of the other Lower Planes) there will be a dwarven fortress there, managing to survive despite the hostile natives.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Different Take on Gargoyles

 This post has been sitting in the back burner for a while now, but I think I can just post it in it's current form.

In my campaigns, gargoyles are not evil creatures. They are in fact a form of benign fey with ties to the good gods and celestials, though they're forms are similar to demons and devils. They inhabit places also inhabited by men, protecting them from evil. They may have once been demons that were converted to good somehow, but this theory is unverified.

However, there are creatures similar to the traditional D&D gargoyles. They are constructs, created by demons in mockery of real gargoyles. Perhaps Demogorgon, infamous for his for his use of various constructs such as the Retriever commissioned the first of these, but that is not known for sure.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

An article that intrigues me


This article has some bits that intrigue me, in particular this part:

"Second, and most important: Wizards is on the right track.
I’m not a fan of fourth edition. I find the combat slow, the powers limiting, and the rules inhospitable to the kind of creative world-building, story-telling and problem-solving that make D&D great.
But so far, the fifth edition rules show promise. They’re simple without being stupid, and efficient without being shallow. Combat was quick and satisfying; we got through most of an adventure in just a few hours. And I get the sense that fifth edition will bring back some of the good complexity of previous versions, allowing players to create unique characters and new worlds."
From that it sounds like they're on the right track to me.

Monday, January 09, 2012

5e, Hopeful, but not really optimistic

So yeah fifth edition has been announced. I've been reading the Legends and Lore articles on and they've given me hope that 5th edition might be better than 4th edition. Yet I can't really say that I am truly optimistic. Will they create a game that can handle my play style? Will it avoid the obsession with balance that IMHO made it difficult to run anything that's non-linear in 4e? Will combats not take hours each to resolve? Will it show more respect for the history of the game?

I don't want an edition where what has come before with regards to "canon" is cast aside. I don't want archons to be elemental warriors, or eladrin to be faerie elves. I want the Great Wheel to be the default cosmology, or at least not all that different from the default cosmology that I have to do a lot of changes to monsters and the like to use the Great Wheel . I want Greyhawk to be the default setting or at least playable with the core materials without lots of houseruling races and the like. Even though I'm not the biggest fan of the Realms I don't want them to have been blown up. Seriously, if you can't play the most generic of settings in a new edition without a lot of work, something has gone wrong.

The focus on making sure everything is balanced makes it difficult to do a non-linear game. Thing is the assumption is that you're players will have exactly x encounters, get x amount of treasure, etc. That doesn't really jive with a game where the assumption is that these things will all be determined by the choices of the players and they're successes and failures. Never mind the idea that failure is often considered to be a thing the DM should avoid.

Well, we'll wait and see. Just might be me and a lot of people will be pleasantly surprised.