June 30, 2014

Ancients & Aliens - Session 1: Niru

This was a few weeks ago, so the facts here may not be exact.  Four players for the first session.  They roll up some characters and we start our adventures with Allen the human professional (thief),  a halflingon named Rawwrg, Jakob the ratling, and a mutant named Ony who looks mostly human if you ignore the scaly legs and prehensile reptilian tail.

The party starts off in Niru as hired swords tasked with protecting the citizens who go out afield for their daily work.  The magi don't really micromanage these mercenaries that they've hired for one gold piece a day, they just require that you go out and do something to help keep Niru safe.  Some of the mercenaries that have been hired aren't well motivated, and rumors are floating around that some of these guys are just hiding out during the day and then coming back at sunset to collect the pay.  Even the ones who do go out to guard the farmers and lumberjacks will usually run back to town with the workers at the first sign of trouble.

The party chooses to protect the workers who are going out of town to collect some stone.  The remains of an old dwarven fort are only a few miles from town, and workers have been busy pulling stones from the crumbling perimeter walls.  The stones are put on wagons and then hauled back to Niru where the stonemasons are using them to build a new city wall that will hopefully encompass all the tents and hovels of the refugees from Kutha.  Niru currently has only a 10' high wooden palisade, and the space within is so limited that almost all the refugees are camped outside of that.

A few other guards are traveling with the workers and the slow moving wagons, so the four PCs decide to scout ahead and check the area before the workers even arrive.  They have to travel though a few miles of forest to get there, but the ruts from stone laden wagons lead them to the ruined fort without incident.

The ruined fort is up on a small hilltop in a big open clearing.  It's mostly just piles of rubble at this point, but the first and second floor of the main keep are still partially standing near the center of the ruins.  The surrounding area seems clear, so they start poking around the ruins and peek inside a window of the keep.  Nothing unusual.  While everyone else is talking, Allen heads over to the main entrance of the keep.  

Inside is a long windowless hallway with a some light coming in from the doorways of other rooms along the sides of the hall.  At the far end of the hallway is an orc sleeping beside the remains of wooden double doors, he is sitting with his back against the wall holding a spear and a shield.  Allen motions the other party members over, and as they begin to whisper a plan Rawwrg the halflingon charges forward with an ax in each hand yelling "Rawwwwrg!".  The others quickly ready their bow and slings as the orc wakes up, stands, and yells "Intruders!".  The dice start rolling and the first orc goes down, but about a half dozen of his buddies run into the hallway and join the fight.  Rawwrg is quickly surrounded.

Then the first critical hit of the campaign shows up, second round of the first encounter.  I pull out the Arduin crit chart and roll...  Rawwrg disarms one of the orcs by grabbing it's spear with his chest and refusing to let go, he takes d6+4d10 damage.  So endeth Rawwrg.  I felt kinda bad killing off Dave's character so quickly, but I guess the dice want what the dice want.

The fight is touch and go after that, but the other three PCs manage to survive, killing all of the orcs.  Bodies are looted, and a clay tablet is found.  It has traveling instructions and a crude map with a rendezvous point.  The workers arrive safely, and the guards escorting them suggest that the wounded party go and rest in town and to take their dead friend to the magi before he zombifies.

After returning to town the group is joined by Dave's new human Jedite character.  They meet Hessia the human supremacist and proprietor of a local tavern, The Weary Ass.  The ratling and the mutant decide to visit the other tavern instead.  After they heal up, the group heads out again.  This time to investigate some reports of giant toad activity in the swamp next to the old dwarf road.  They even talk two of the other watchkeepers into traveling with them to check it out.

http://elifsiebenpfeiffer.deviantart.com/Turns out that there was a harpy roosting up in swamp tower, a mostly collapsed structure about 100 feet or so from the road.  She was luring travelers into the marsh with her song and letting the giant toads have a free meal.  They had developed quite a taste for it and were starting to hang out near the road to grab their own meals.  She won't be singing anymore though, Allen shot an arrow into her throat  thanks to another Arduin critical hit.  Then one of the toads chomped on Allen a bit too hard and he died too.  Oh, and one of the NPCs got ripped in half by two of the other toads.  All six toads are dead now, and the party retrieved the two human bodies out of the swamp.

The magi examined the clay tablet that the PCs found on the orcs and have sent scouts out to check that area.  The scouts say that there is a gorge and collection of caves there, they also found orc and goblin tracks in the area.  Also, now that swamp tower is cleared out, some of the guards are being posted there during daylight hours.  It's a broken tower and only a little over 30 feet tall, but it gives a decent view of the old dwarf road and the surrounding marshland, so that side of town is pretty secure now.  They've built a ladder inside the tower and repaired part of the platform at the top.

The lamentation priests say that their rituals and dirges were successful and your friends will not rise again.  The bodies of Rawwrg and Allen were buried in the usual place.  The usual place being in the ground under the beds that they used to sleep in, so there was a nice service right there inside Watchkeeper Hall.  Then everybody helped cover the bodies with dirt, smoothed down the floor and moved the beds back over top of the graves.  The lamentation priests assure everyone that there is nothing to worry about, but if any of you feel the ground under your bed start to move then you should come and wake us up "just in case".

Sleep tight :-)

June 29, 2014

Ancients & Aliens - Session 0: Pregame info-dump

I know I shouldn't info-dump, but I did, so...

I gave the group some setting info before and during the first session.  The setting is not traditional and I didn't want to blindside them with all my weirdness.  So I tried to just throw it all out there and be up-front about it.  It was probably too much.  Maybe I'll just start everyone off in a gladiator pit next time, fighting for their lives with no explanation.

The setting is fantasy ancient Mesopotamia.  Humans and a lot of other genetic freaks were created to serve as slaves by the Anunnaki, who ruled as living gods.  Elvish and Dwarvish civilization was wiped out back when the Anunnaki first arrived in their spaceships.  Clouds of forgetfulness descended, setting those civilizations back into the stone age in a matter of days.  Their ancient knowledge trapped in books while they have forgotten how to read.  Rumors persist of Dwarven cities sealed off somewhere deep underground, but the Anunnaki sent down robots and all kinds of mutant horrors to hunt those guys into extinction millennia ago.

The party is starting out in the town of Niru.  Umma, Kish, and Niru were once all minor suburbs of the city Kutha.  After some weird rumors about stuff going on down in the Underworld, Nergal (the god of pestilence and war) led an army of followers, all his magi, and many demons through the streets of Kutha and into his ziggurat temple named Meslam in the center of the city.  From there they went through the magical gateway, stormed the fortress Ganzer, and fought their way through the seven gates of Ganzer and into the Underworld.  They haven't been seen since.

Shortly after, all of the other Anunnaki gods sealed up the magical gateways to the underworld in their ziggurats.  Then they were all suddenly late for some appointment up in the sky.  They all took off in their shiny silver skycraft saying things like "Take care of everything while I'm gone" and "I'll be right back" and "It's fine, it's fine, EVERYTHING IS FINE NOW JUST GET OUT OF MY WAY!"

That was fifty years ago.  Now weird portals open and close on the surface world sometimes, unleashing demonic horrors.  The wild races like elves and orcs are growing bolder, attacking travelers and outposts.  The magi of the ziggurats, former middlemen of the Anunnaki, are running out of high level scrolls and are beginning to get desperate.  They are looking for heroes.

Vampires, demons, and other monsters have begun to crawl up out of the ziggurat in Kutha.  The people of Kutha fled and now the walls of Umma, Kish, and Niru are surrounded by tent cities of makeshift hovels full of refugees from Kutha.  The monsters stay mostly within the walls of Kutha and feed on the zombies who must pass through there on their way to the Underworld.  Mostly.   The Ulu does roam around the countryside a bit, and vampires sometimes.  It's a problem.  Especially since the Ulu is over 30 feet tall now and just seems to keep growing as it eats more zombies, demons, living people, and livestock.

The Kutha Ulu

Anyhow... Magi of various faiths have come in and taken over the town of Niru.  They would like to get into Kutha and take control of the ziggurat there.  They can't seem to agree on what to do with the ziggurat after that, but they are working together right now just to get in there.  Niru is across the river from Kutha, and the Ulu and vampires seem to have trouble crossing the Euphrates, so... that's nice.

However there are a bunch of orcs, and elves, and all kinds of other troubles that seem to be descending upon Niru from the opposite side.  Supposedly there are a bunch of old caves that the wild races are gathering at.  There is also an old elven wizard tower in the woods somewhere with a dungeon below that is full of monsters, maybe even a dragon.

The people of Niru are busy farming, baking mud bricks, cutting down trees, and collecting stones to use in making new homes and improving/expanding the walls of the city.  The magi have been hiring adventurers, watchers, and scouts to protect the citizens as they venture away from town to do this work.  That is where the PCs come in.  The PCs get free room and board in a big open one-room hall along with all the other desperate vagabonds who've signed up.  Two free meals each day, the first meal is runny porridge, and the second is called "Mystery Stew".  I assure you that the mystery ingredient is not love.  However, they do earn 1gp per day, and maybe they can buy some love with that.

Oh, did I forget to mention that any time a member of the slave races created by the Anunnaki dies they rise again as a zombie after a day or so and then make "the long walk" all the way to the Underworld?  It's an even longer walk now that all the ziggurats have their magical portals sealed.  The only one still open is in Kutha, so all the dead are walking to Kutha now.  If you can afford it, the lamentation priests of the magi say that they can perform rituals on a dead body to send the spirit straight into the Underworld without the body needing to rise again in order to make the journey.  Some people prefer that, but others are more traditional and want to take their body with them.  Anyhow, the walking dead are mostly passive if you stay out of their way.  Sometimes they'll get bitey if it's night time, or if you mess with them, or if they see their killer and a chance for vengeance.  Once a zombie tastes blood they forget all about their trip to the Underworld and will do whatever it takes to drink more blood and remain in the land of the living.  They are pretty much vampires at that point.

Good Luck!

Character Creation Document

House Rules Document

Special thanks to Jeff Rients since I feel like I mostly just steal his gaming documents and then slightly alter them to suit my needs.  Thanks dude :)

June 21, 2014

LL Custom Class: Elfulan

By Karracaz
This class was made for my Ancients and Aliens setting reboot.  It was all a perfectly vanilla fantasy world until aliens showed up and wrecked the place.  Bombs and memory stealing clouds caused elvish civilization to crumble into savagery, robots and mutant horrors were sent underground to hunt down any pockets of dwarven resistance.  The Anunnaki aliens practiced their genetic experiments for millennia and eventually created a number of hybrid slave races... like these elfulan people, the halflingons, andwarvians, and eventually humans.

Requirements:  Constitution of 8 or less
Prime Requisite: STR and INT
Hit Dice: d6
Max Level: 10
Hit Progression: as Fighter
Saves: as Elf
Weapons: Any
Armor: Any
Special Abilities:

Infravision 60'
+1 Strength (and green blood)
Find Secret Doors (2 in 6)
Armored M-U Spellcasting
Magic/Spell Research

Elfulans claim to be the first people that the Anunnaki created here on Earth.  The Anunnaki mixed the genetic material of the natives elves with a strong and intelligent alien race.  Some of the elfulans acted as personal servants and bodyguards for their Anunnaki gods, but most are now soldiers under the command of the Magi who use them to guard the ziggurats and police the cities.

In the distant past a group of Elfulans turned against their Anunnaki masters.  Their treachery was quickly swept away and they were never seen again.  After this it became a standard policy that all Elfulan children should be taken at the age of 5 and enrolled in special boarding schools until they reach adulthood.  Only when satisfied with a student's obedience would they advance to classes in magic and weapons training.  Upon graduation they were given a possession which they prized above all others, a silvery "loyalty collar" which would never be removed.

The Anunnaki could will these collars explode if an Elfulan displeased them.

Since the Anunnaki's abrupt departure 50 years ago, the obedience schools are now run solely by proud Elfulan traditionalists.  Most Elfulan children are still taught there, but parents do tend to wait until their children are older before sending them off.  The Anunnaki took the secret of crafting the silvery collars with them when they left.  The fresh graduates now make due with non-exploding collars of bronze.

Recently some of the more liberal Elfulan parents are now keeping their children out of the boarding schools completely.  The home schooled are looked down upon, and generally considered to be untrustworthy troublemakers.  Any Elfulan not wearing a collar will likely have difficulties when interacting with their Elfulan peers (peers who often work in law enforcement).

100 Base
70   Hit Dice: d6
70   Hit Progression: Fighter (+2 hp after L9)
15   Max Level: 10th
35  Elf saves
60   Armor: Any
90   Weapons: Any
60   Magic: no divine scrolls
15   Infravision 60'
25   +1 Strength
10   Detect Secret Door (2 in 6)
55   Armored M-U Spellcasting (+15% for padded - scale, +40% for chain - shield)
25   Magic/Spell Research 
170 Spells: Magic User Spell Progression at Lvl1, 5th lvl spells max
Spellbook User Base Experience X Elf Class 800%
0 -----------Level 1 ------------- 0
500 --------Level 2 -------  4000
1000 -------Level 3 ------- 8000
2000------- Level 4 -----  16000
4000 ------ Level 5 ------ 32000
8000 ------ Level 6 -----  64000
16000 -----Level 7 ---- 128,000
25000 -----Level 8 ---- 200,000
50000 -----Level 9 ---  400,000
________ Level 10+ ________
2hp/Level = +200,000 each
Level 10 @ 600,000

***Oh sweet!  Building this class helped me realize that casting M-U spells while wearing armor needs to have an xp cost on my Custom Class Builder Thingy.  This changes everything!  The high xp chart for the Elf class finally makes sense to me.... We are go for armored spellcasting classes.***

June 13, 2014

LL Custom Class: Jedite

Loyalty, Duty, Honor; this is the Jedite way.

A small group of primitive humans with psychic talent were taught in the ways of an ancient order of mystics dedicated to preserving peace and stability across the galaxy.  Their alien master disappeared mysteriously before their training was complete.  Access to the info-cubes containing the ancient texts were lost when the other aliens abandoned this planet shortly after.

These students eventually proclaimed themselves to be the new masters and took on students of their own.  Each of them interpreting the lessons of their old master a bit differently, and certainly some things were mistranslated.   Explaining a foreign concept to a student is hard enough, but when you are still a little fuzzy on the details yourself; well...

"We are the Jedites.  We strive to follow the path of Jed, and always seek his favor.  Jed's Force is all around us, and with proper focus and discipline Jed will allow us to use some of his power.  Loyalty to Jed, the order, and to the new masters is paramount.  The Jed Eye sees all."

The new masters quarrel among themselves about who should lead, and the Order has fractured into different clans.  Some cities are dominated by a single clan, but other cities have begun to see violence between the clans as they fight over turf and prowl the streets looking for new students.

Children sensitive to the force of Jed are taken into the order and trained from a young age.  Inferior students are pushed to try harder, but those who buckle under the pressure never achieve full Jedite status. 

Requirements: One ability score at 13+
Prime Requisite: WIS and CON
Hit Dice: d7
Max Level: None
Hit Progression: as Cleric/Thief
Saves: as Thief
Weapons: Any
Armor: Padded, Leather, Studded Leather
Special Abilities:

Through long hours of meditation and practice the Jedites seeks to unlock their hidden psychic talents.  At character creation every Jedite gains the power Jed's Eye (rating 1) and a randomly determined Specialized Fighting Style. Every time the Jedite gains a level, a new Jedite power is gained by rolling on the chart below.  If the result is a power (or fighting style) already possessed, then the player can choose which power they wish to increase.  Each of the seven powers has a maximum rating of 5.

1. Jed's Eye
2. Telepathy
3. Telekinesis
4. Imbue
5. Heal
6. Energy Manipulation
7. Masking
8. Specialized Fighting Style (random) 

Specialized Fighting Styles
Roll a d8 to determine which fighting style is learned.  These fighting styles have no activation cost, but the AC benefits do not apply to surprise attacks (unless the Jedite has Jed's Eye Lv2: Danger Sense activated).  Jedites who know multiple styles may switch between them each round, but the benefits of different styles are never combined.  The fighting style benefits apply to both armed and unarmed melee attacks so long as the Jedite can move about freely and is not wielding a slow, heavy two-handed weapon.

1. Snake Style: +/-2 AC, +1 To-Hit, +1 Damage

"Attack with the head when the tail is attacked, attack with the tail when the head is attacked, and attack with both head and tail when the body is attacked." - Sun Tzu

2. Tiger Style:  +2 To-Hit, +2 Damage

Tiger is an aggressive style that utilizes vicious ripping, tearing and breaking techniques.  Tiger style meets force with force.  Raking fingers and precision chops attempt to gouge, snap joints, and break bones.

3. Flying Eagle Style: Jump ability at will (up to 30ft horizontal, 10ft verticle).  A melee attack made while jumping gets +1 Damage per 10ft.

"Eagle powers... come to me!  Please!" - Nacho
4. Flaming Energy Ball: 30 ft range, target must save vs. dragon breath or take d6 damage

The Jedite forgoes a melee attack and instead concentrates on focusing power into a ball of force which blasts out toward an enemy.  Energy Manipulation power can alter the energy type.

"Hadoken!" - Ryu

5. Two-Headed Snake: reroll one failed attack roll each round

An alternate, more aggressive form of snake style.  The defensive posture of snake is replaced by a fast and fluid assault using feints and misdirection.
 6. Circle of Death Style: If you hit in melee and roll the minimum amount of damage, then this damage is an attempt to use the Jedite Death Grip to stop the heart. In addition to the damage your victim must Save vs. Death or die.

Doesn't work on undead, constructs, or anything bigger than a hobgoblin.

7. Shaolin Bear Strike:  Once per round, if you deal melee damage the victim must Save vs. Paralysis/Stone or be stunned and loose their next action.

The Jedite releases power into each strike attempting to stun their opponent and knock them off balance.

 8. Unique Style!

You've developed your own personal fighting style.  Give your style a name and split 4 bonus points between AC, To-Hit, and Damage; or get your DM to agree to some other special effect.

Muse - Knights of Cydonia (video)

Jedites use their own hp to activate their abilities, only the fighting styles are free to use.  They may sacrifice a number of hp equal to their level each round.  Sacrificed hp + power rating = the force (effectiveness, range, or duration) of the power used.  A few powers cost only 1hp to remain active for an entire day, others must have their costs paid each round.

Jed's Eye
1st power - Sense Jedite: Cost 1hp/day, Can sense nearby Jedites if their Masking is less
2nd power - Danger Sense: Cost 1hp/day, allows action during any surprise round
3rd power - Battle Precognition: Cost 1hp/day, AC bonus equal to Jed's Eye rating.
4th power - Psychometry: cost dependent on details sought and time elapsed
5th power - Farseeing: cost dependent on distance, familiarity of subject, and more

1st power - Send Thought: 2 or 3 words. Cost determined by distance
2nd power - Comprehend Language: 1hp per turn per individual
3rd power - Suggestion: (force+d20+your WIS minus target WIS: success = 11+)
4th power - Hear Surface Thoughts: 1hp per round per individual, close range
5th power - Rip Memory: sustained touch and force = target WIS+time to find memory

1st power - Push
2nd power - Levitate
3rd power - Choke
4th power - Throw
5th power - Crush

1st power - Accuracy
2nd power - Burst of Speed
3rd power - Weapon +1
4th power - Jump
5th power - Bonus Attacks

1st power - Heal Other
2nd power - Detoxify
3rd power - Heal Self (Meditation: +1hp per turn)
4th power - Cure Disease
5th power - Remove Curse

Energy Manipulation
1st power - Alter
2nd power - Deflect
3rd power - Reduce
4th power - Create
5th power - Absorb/Channel

1st power - Hide from the Eye: Cost 1hp/day, undetectable to Jed's Eye of equal or lesser rating
2nd power - Silent Step: Cost 1hp/day, Move Silently as Thief equal to your level
3rd power - Mental Mask: Cost 1hp/day, save bonus vs. mental effects equal to Masking rating
4th power - Gather Shadows: Cost 1hp/day, Hide in Shadows as Thief equal to your level
5th power - Aether Cloak: Cost 1hp/turn, Invisibility

Most famous clans
Shadow Clan Zadokan
Umma Cynthirr
The Fists of Master Po

100 Base

95   Hit Dice: d7
30   Hit Progression: Cleric/Thief (+1hp after L9)

0     Bonus +1hp after L9
10   Thief saves

10   Armor: Padded, Leather, Studded
90   Weapons: Any
30   Magic: no wands, no spell scrolls

175 One random Jedite Power each level
10   Jed's Eye at Level 1
550 - Total

Student Jedite

10% Tithe Base Experience X Jedite Class 550%
Base XP----*5.5 ---- Student Jedite XP
0 -----------Level 1 ------------- 0
300 --------Level 2 -------  1650

600 --------Level 3 -------  3300
1200 ------ Level 4 -------  6600

2400 ------ Level 5 -----  13200
5000 ------ Level 6 -----  27500
10000 -----Level 7 -----  55000
20000 -----Level 8 ----- 110000
40000 -----Level 9 ----  220000
________ Level 10+ ________

2hp/Level = +120,000 each
Level 20 @ 1,540,000        

If you leave the order and are forced to complete your own training without the aid of a more experienced Jedite, then it will take more experience points to gain new levels.

Ronin Jedite
Standard Base Experience X Jedite Class 550%
Base XP----*5.5 ----- Ronin Jedite XP
0 -----------Level 1 ------------- 0
400 --------Level 2 -------  2200

800 --------Level 3 -------  4400
1600 ------ Level 4 ------   8800

3200 ------ Level 5 -----  17600
6400 ------ Level 6 -----  35200
12800 -----Level 7 -----  70400
24000 -----Level 8 ----- 132000
48000 -----Level 9 ----  264000
________ Level 10+ ________

2hp/Level = +120,000 each
Level 20 @ 1,584,000