April 30, 2015

LL Custom Class: The Professional + Skill system

I'm trying out a new skill system now.  It's a variation of the 5MORE system.  Here's how it works.

At character creation everyone gets (3+Int bonus) Skill Slots.  You can put skills in those.  Any skill.  You can make up whatever you want, but the DM has final say on the name of the skill and when it is useful.  You can leave Skill Slots blank if you want and fill them in later with skills that you learn during the game.

Each character gains a new blank Skill Slot each level

During the game you can try to do anything, even if you don't know the skill yet.  Describe what your character is trying to do.  If the DM determines that there is both a chance of success and failure then roll a d6. 6 = success, 1 = abject and utter failure.

If the roll was a natural 5 or 6, then you can learn that skill by writing it into a blank Skill Slot.
If you already know the skill and roll a natural 5 or 6, then roll the d6 again.  If it is a 5 or 6 again, then write down one letter of the word EXPERT next to the skill.  After that you would start writing down letters of MASTER, but the DM might say you need special training or whatever so you better ask first.

+1 If you have the applicable skill
+1 If you are an expert
+1 If you are a master
+/- Whatever situational modifiers the DM decides
+/- Whatever modifiers you convince the DM to apply

Just to make sure this is clear...  If you are attempting something that you are not skilled at and roll a 5, then that is usually not successful.  However, if you have a blank Skill Slot, that same 5 will let you become trained in that skill if you choose to write it into the empty Skill Slot.

That's it.  The End.  The rest is covered by 5MORE.

One of my players decided to play a Professional when we rolled up characters recently.  Basically this is a Thief class, except that with the new skill system in place you can pick any skills you want and whatever job title that strikes your fancy.

The xp chart is going to be a little different because I'm going to let them use shields and they don't have to give 10% of their gold over to a guild.  Also the skills are different obviously.  Professionals won't get the Thief's 9th level scroll use and 4th level chance to know languages, but maybe those are skills now? 

Now I just have to figure out how much Skill Slots cost on my Custom Class Maker Thing.  For now I'm just gonna say that the (3+Int bonus) and (+1 each level) are free.  I don't want to rework every class just to test out the new skill system.  Let's try out these costs for the Professional's bonus skill slots.
10 = Each bonus Skill Slot at level 1
20 = First bonus Skill Slot every level after 1st (cost doubles for each extra bonus Skill Slot)
20 = Spend a blank Skill Slot to complete (EXPERT) or (MASTER) on any known skill

100 Base
30   Hit Dice: d4
30   Hit Progression: Cleric/Thief (+1hp after L9)
0     Bonus +1hp after L9
10   Thief saves
20   Armor: Padded, Leather, Studded, and Shield
90   Weapons: Any
30   Magic: no wands, no divine scrolls, no arcane scrolls

Special Abilities
50  +5 Skill Slots at level 1
20  +1 bonus Skill Slot every level after 1st (+2 per level total)
20  Can spend a blank Skill Slot to gain (EXPERT) or (MASTER)

400 - TOTAL

Standard Base Experience X Professional Class 400%
0 ----------- Level 1 ------------ 0
400 -------- Level 2 -------  1600
800 -------- Level 3 -------  3200
1600 ------ Level 4 ------    6400
3200 ------ Level 5 ------  12800
6400 ------ Level 6 ------- 25600
12800 ----- Level 7 -----   51200
24000 ----- Level 8 -----   96000
48000 ----- Level 9 ----- 192000
________ Level 10+ ________
2hp/Level = +120,000 each
Level 20 @ 1,512,000

April 25, 2015

LL Custom Class: Minotaur

by Bernardo Pabst

So, apparently there are Minotaurs in my Ancients&Aliens setting.  I had no idea.  One of my players rolled up a character with an ability score of 5.  That opens up the option to choose any sort of animal/humanoid hybrid as a class.  Then I get to make up the class and they get to make up the culture.  Glenn rolled up a 5 Charisma and chose Minotaur, so now here we are.

I haven't really discussed the details with him yet, so I don't know if the Minotaurs are an indigenous race or if they were some Anunnaki genetic experiment gone wrong.  I suppose they might even be the Tieflings of my setting, since it kind of fits with the requirement of Cha 5 or less.  Are minotaurs the result when human ladies get way too friendly with demons?  Maybe no one knows.  Maybe no one wants to know.  I'm fine with leaving things ambiguous for now.  Glenn can make up stuff if he feels like it, or I'll fill in the blanks later if I need to.

I know that his character has horns.  We determined that during the first session when he used a charge/gore attack to kill a bandit.  Also, he has hooves that can totally stomp a dude to death.  There was some discussion about enhanced smell and/or being able to see in darkness to navigate dungeon mazes.  I'm going to drop the smell thing and go with the Darkvision ability instead.  Mainly because I think the darkvision fits better with the "demonic humanoid" angle which is way more interesting to me than the "dude with a cow head" option.

Right, so let's get cracking...

Requirements: Cha 5 or less
Prime Requisite: STR and CON
Hit Dice: d8
Max Level: 10th
Hit Progression: as Fighter
Saving Throws: as Dwarf/Halfling
Weapons: Any
Armor: Any (helmets are an issue)
Magic: No scrolls, no wands, no boots

Special Abilities
+1 Strength

Darkvision 60':  It's not heat vision or anything, you just see a simple fuzzy black and white image even in total darkness.  It's good for picking up movement and seeing where the walls and furniture are, but details are a little hard to pick out.

Charge/Gore attack:  Must have 20' or more to target.  Attack with advantage (roll twice take the better), roll d6 dmg for each horn and take the better or both do damage if tied, enemies attack the minotaur with advantage while charging since you aren't making as much of an effort to dodge (but shield bonus still applies), spears and polearms set vs. charge do double damage.

Hoof Stomp: To-Hit roll as normal 1d6 dmg.  If enemy is laying on the ground or very small (i.e. "stompable") then you may stomp in addition to a regular melee attack OR double stomp, either way it's 2 different attack rolls in the same round.  Second attack is always at the bottom of the initiative order, the last attack for that round.

Tim Curry is awesome as Darkness from Legend

So, that's about it for right now.  These guys might be minotaurs straight out of Greek myth, but maybe Glenn will embrace the demonic offspring angle and decide that his character looks just like Darkness.  Maybe he'll opt for something in-between instead. 

by Javier Garcia Ureña

Something like this horrible giant nostriled thing perhaps?

by Phill Simmer

Perhaps he is a member of the noble but savage Tauren clans whose values are terribly misunderstood by outsiders...  only Glenn knows for sure.  Maybe there is room in my game for all of these different types of minotaurs, surely there are multiple tribes at least.

Anyhow, here is the XP chart I made with my Custom Class Thingamajig.

100 Base
120 Hit Dice: d8
70   Hit Progression: Fighter (+2hp after L9)
25   Max Level: 12th
55   Dwarf/Halfling saves
60   Armor: any
90   Weapons: any
30   Magic: no divine scrolls, no arcane scrolls, no wands, no boots

Special Abilities
25  +1 Str
15  Darkvision 60'
10  Natural Weaponry - d6 damage (hooves and horns)
10  Charge/Gore - as per LL (20 yards, deal double damage, take double damage from braced attacks)

610 - TOTAL

Standard Base Experience X Minotaur Class 610%
0 -----------Level 1 ----------- 0
400 --------Level 2 -------  2440
800 --------Level 3 -------  4880
1600 ------ Level 4 ------ 9760
3200 ------ Level 5 -----   19520
6400 ------ Level 6 -----   39040
12800 -----Level 7 -----   78080
24000 -----Level 8 ----- 146400
48000 -----Level 9 ----- 292800
_________Level 10+_________
2hp/Level = +120,000 each
Level 12 @ 652,800 XP

April 23, 2015

Ancients & Aliens: People of the Hills - Session 1

by Dejan Jovanovic

We're starting a new campaign within my Ancients&Aliens setting.  This new group of characters are starting out in the Zagros Mountians area.  They are aligned with the indigenous races (elves, dwarves, halflings) and the people of the hills (humans who escaped into the wilds) who are all mostly at odds with the slave races of the Anunnaki who live in the cities.

We haven't abandoned the old campaign, the plan is to have dueling campaigns.  Both groups of PCs exist in the same setting, but they are starting out belonging to opposed factions.  We'll take a vote each session to decide which group of PCs get played that night.  The two groups may end up stepping on each others toes eventually, but for now each group is doing it's own thing in separate regions and societies.  The two groups are only about a weeks worth of travel apart, so it's entirely possible for the actions of one group to have repercussions for the other.  We'll just have to see how it plays out.

Anyhow, I had the group roll up these new characters last session just to pass the time since we were waiting for the last player who was running late.  After that they all wanted to go ahead and play a session with these new characters.  I should have expected that.  The trouble is that I hadn't actually finished working out all of the rules for these new classes yet... oops.  So, I just sort of winged it all.

They were protecting a ragtag group of local traders as they hiked through the hills toward the bustling city of Suza.  I rolled some random encounters and called it a session.  About half the merchants died when the 30 bandits attacked.  Eventually a horn was sounded, the remaining bandits grabbed a few loose packs of goods and ran off.  The next day the travelers ran into half a dozen white apes who I thought for sure were going to kill some PCs, but everyone did surprisingly well and only the poor halfling NPC guard was killed.  Once the fight started I was rolling reaction rolls each round to determine if the apes were staying focused on their current target or switching to face a new one.  Two of the apes just kept pummeling a poor halfling NPC for 3 rounds even though he died on round 1. 

We had a good time.

Now I need to crank out a first draft of abilities and XP tables for some of these new classes.  Those will be detailed here on the blog soon.

Here is a look at the new PCs (character portraits not yet approved by the players)

Tarog the Minotaur
By Bradley Vancamp
15 Str
8 Int
8 Wis
12 Dex
14 Con
5 Cha

Anybody who rolls an ability score of 5 or less during character creation has the option to play as a human/animal hybrid.  Glenn rolled a 5 Charisma and chose to play a minotaur.  So now I get to make up some minotaur abilities and he gets to make up background info about minotaur culture.

Impromptu 1st session rulings: Minotaur class abilities
(Like a Fighter mostly)
Dwarf/Halfling Saving Throws
Charge/Gore attack
Hoof Stomp
Enhanced Smell?
Max Level.... 12?  10?  something like that

by Mortal Online?
Garzog the Orc Void Monk
14 Str
7 Int
7 Wis
12 Dex
17 Con
11 Cha

John had a few options here.  There are 4 human classes that have no ability score requirements; fighter, professional, prophet, and shaman.  John didn't seem interested in those.  The low Intelligence score gave him the option of playing a Cave Primitive, and the low Wisdom opened up the option of playing an Orc.  Since you are supposed to be able to combine Primitive with any other class John should also have had the option to play an Orc Primitive.  I didn't like the sound of it though.  I hadn't really considered that combination before, but the concept of Orc Primitive felt a bit redundant and flavorless to me.  Luckily I had been reading all about some wonderfully flavorful orcs over on the Goblin Punch blog recently, so I just sort of blurted out "Void Monk" as an option.  I couldn't remember a lot of the details off the top of my head, but as soon as John heard the word "autolobotomy" he was sold.

Impromptu 1st session rulings: Void Monk class abilities
New Void Monk ability each level
1st: Reveal the Void - to-hit roll -2 penalty, in addition to melee damage target must save or lose one sense of Void Monk's choice for d6 rounds.
No Armor
+1 AC bonus per level
+1 To-Hit bonus per level instead of normal hit progression (too much?)
Max Level: 9
Dwarf/Halfling Saves
Black Iron Quarterstaff - d6 dmg and +1 AC bonus, and can be sundered like a shield to prevent a melee hit OR magi spell
Bonus Skill - Extra Attack (On successful melee hit, 2-in-6 chance of a second attack)
I'm using a variant of the 5MORE skill system now that incorporates skill slots based on class, level, and Int bonus.  That's a discussion for another blog post though.

Sadam the Mutant Human Professional
15 Str
8 Int
13 Wis
12 Dex
9 Con
6 Cha

Low charisma (8 or less) is the requirement to begin as a mutant, but that is in addition to any other class.  Charles decided to play a Human Professional which is basically like a Thief except you give yourself a new job title and pick out whichever skills you want.  A forgot to ask what his profession was, but based on the skills Sadam is some sort of scavenger/tinkerer.

He rolled a d6 and got 5 mutations, then we rolled those up on my crazy mutation chart...
26 - Epilepsy (cumulative 5% per session until episode occurs)
46 - Burrower (can quickly dig tunnels through dirt)
47 - Anosmia (no sense of smell)
25 - Translucent 3rd Eye Lid (prevents gaze attacks, glare, and keeps out dirt)
38 - Flexible Bones (can squeeze through bars and tight spaces like Eugene Tooms)

Charles decided that Sadam is always rather smelly and covered in mud or grime since he is a burrower with no sense of smell and a charisma of 6.

I wonder what his mutated digging appendages look like.

"Fred" the Human Shaman
7 Str
13 Int
6 Wis
8 Dex
5 Con
13 Cha

Those scores....

Wheelz had a lot of options here, but I'm not even sure that I mentioned them all because he seemed to want to play a shaman as soon as I mentioned it.  Which is cool!  I hope he enjoys playing as a guy who talks to spirits and has to bargain with them in order to produce magical effects.  It's a neat concept that I've had rattling around in my head for a while, but I've never really decided how all this spirit meddling works mechanically.  Now I have a player sitting next to me asking how his shaman PC's abilities work.

So, I improvised my ass off.  I explained that there are multiple factions of spirits who have different agendas and abilities.  His shaman has a fetish with one spirit bound to it.  I had him roll randomly and his is some kind of animal spirit.  So his spirit can talk to animals and maybe convince them to help out the shaman.

Impromptu 1st session rulings: Shaman class abilities
(if the spirits find out your true identity they can collect on old debts even after you're dead)
Cleric Saving Throws
Cleric Hit Progression
Spirit bound to a fetish
Reaction rolls to negotiate with the bound spirit and ask it for favors
No metal armor, no metal weapons (that stuff freaks out the spirits)
Spellcasting after first level?
Spirits gain levels and grow in power?
Some sort of Debt/Favor system for dealing with the spirits?
I know what I am doing and have all this under control?

April 6, 2015

Ancients & Aliens: Session 15 - A Reasonable Madman

At the end of the last session, the party had returned to Niru with about a half dozen of the Feathered Swine's large green cysts.  Eeyuthezish the drug addled magi paid for the cysts as promised.  Then the group went home (they had purchased a house in the nice part of town) to rest and relax for a week or two.

Since their characters had been hanging out in Niru for a while, I decided to catch them up on the rumors floating around town and recent events.

~Crime is on the rise in Niru.  A lot of new faces in town.  The fame and reputation of "The Dragonslayers" is spreading through other cities and a lot of folks are moving into Niru just to live in the protection of their shadow.  All the empty properties in old-town have been bought up, and the tent slums are packed and overcrowded.  Theft and petty crime are way up, but the Elfulan guards are overwhelmed.  The Elfulans keep a good watch within the wooden palisades of old-town, but patrols going into the slums focus mainly on stopping violent crime like muggings and drunken brawls.  

There was a murder a while back when the PCs were out of town.  A man was robbed and killed at night, his body found the next morning in the gutter with multiple stab wounds.  Three days ago (while the party was resting) there was another murder.  This one was in broad daylight.  Four people wearing brown robes and cloth wrapped around their heads and faces stabbed a man to death in the street and then ran off.  The bloody robes and cloths were later found behind some tents, but no one can identify the assailants.  The dead man was not robbed, and witnesses say that the attackers slowly surrounded him then attacked all at once with no provocation.  The victim was a newcomer who had only been living in Niru for a week or two.  

Last and most distressing are the lost children.  Three children have gone missing in the past month.

~The troops on loan from Sippar have been patrolling the wilds outside of Niru.  No one has been attacked by elves or orcs in weeks, so that's good news.  Maybe that last raid on the Caves of Chaos has put those humanoids on the defensive?

~ Eeyuthezish has a new look. The Dragonslayers were disturbed by a commotion outside their home in the middle of the night.  Eeyuthezish was out in the street with his robe open yelling about dragons attacking Niru while holding a giant bong.  He is a few decades younger now than he was a week ago.  The PCs rushed out, but there was nothing in the sky but stars.  The two Elfulan guards watching over the magi just kept shaking their heads and mouthing "I'm sorry" to the PCs.  Eeyuthezish seemed perplexed that no one else could see the dragons, so he started casting a spell.  A fireball erupted in the sky over Niru lighting up the town.  Eeyuthezish calmed down a bit after that, the PCs helped convince him that his fireball had scared the dragons away.  They talked to him for quite a while, but he was hard to reason with and obviously still having hallucinations.  The Elfulans eventually took him back to the temple to rest.

The next day the PCs found out what had happened.  Eeyuthezish and one of his apprentices had distilled down the fluid from the cysts and used that to make a sticky green tar.  The tar is highly hallucinogenic when smoked and apparently also reverses ageing.  His apprentice had a bad trip and had to be restrained while he screamed and had terrifying visions.  They are both fine now except that the apprentice now has the body of a 9 year old boy, and Eeyuthezish refuses to take off his "wizarding helmet".

~ The town of Urum is being led by a madman.  About six months ago this man with a half burned face arrived in Urum claimed to have been sent by the "Burning God" to purify the town and it's people from the lies of the Annunaki.  His message of equality and communtity seemed to resonate with the people.  As he began to gain followers the magi of Urum decided to crack down on the heretic.  This all escalated into a revolt and the magic of this new burning god seemed to overpower the magi and their Elfulan guards.

Duhngemezh the Prophet controls the town now.  Most of the residents fled the town during the fighting, but the promise of equality for all has brought in a steady flow of people from the southern cities.  Most of these newcomers are mutants, ratlings, the dispossessed, and downtrodden.  Reports from the soldiers of Sippar also suggest that groups of elves and dwarves come and go from Urum as well.

The magi and their soldiers have been keeping watch on Urum.  They are keen to take back the town and recover the Tablet of Fate (spellbook) within.  Duhngemezh has threatened to destroy the tablet if any large force approaches the town, so small squads have taken turns watching the town and it's people.  They've seen some strange things.

Urum is surrounded by a 25' tall wooden pallisade.  A few archers keep watch from the top of this wall.  The gate is always guarded by at least two men, usually mutants.  The west edge of the town is up against the Euphrates river.  The people are bringing lumber into Urum everyday, mostly from the nearby Gloamwood Groves.  The people of Urum seem to be hard at work building a bridge across the Euphrates which would connect Urum directly to the cursed ruins of Kutha!  No one knows why they are doing this, as it would allow the demons and vampires in Kutha a route across the river.  The people of Urum seem to be having parties almost every night.  Singing can be heard, and the air all around the town is filled with the intoxicating smoke from burning gloamwood.

~Lastly, there is some rumor about a village to the south where many women claim that their children are missing, but everyone else in town claims that these children never existed.  They say that there women are suffering from some curse, a contagion of madness.  Also, all of these missing children are supposedly the same child.  It's a confusing story.  Some travelling merchant was talking about it a few nights ago while he was drunk.  You can ask Sam the bartender about it, he heard the whole thing.

The PCs go talk to the magi of Niru about Urum.

As a favor for the magi in Niru the PCs agree to enter Urum and negotiate with Duhngemezh.  So far the magi have never been able to get any of their soldiers inside the gates of Urum.  All of their agents have been rebuked and turned away by the mutants guarding the gate.  The magi are hoping that some of the PCs like Ony the Mutant and Jakob the Ratling might have better luck.

...and now I've taken too long writing this, so I'll have to make due with a super brief session recap.

They went to Urum, and spoke with Duhngemezh.  There is a mutant there who can read minds or detect lies or something, he is present at all discussions. Urum needs food, they'd like to trade with Niru.  He will not give up the tablet of fate or halt the bridge construction.  Says he is building the bridge so that the Kutha Ulu can be killed with his god's holy fire.  "Um... ok".  Duhngemezh won't part with the tablet because he believes it is the only thing keeping Urum from being attacked, which seems perfectly understandable but doesn't really give them a lot to work with. 

A group of elves and dwarves were in town.  Urum trades with them sometimes.  The elves did not care for the PCs at all.  Pretty sure that is mutual.

Negotiations went well, but accomplished little.  No one died at least.  PCs returned to Niru and I think they are planning to work out some kind of trade agreement next session.

April 4, 2015

Ancients & Aliens: Sessions 5-14 - A recap

It's been quite a while since I've done a session recap.  Maybe it's best if I go over a few highlights from previous sessions.

Sura the Orionixie once fumbled an attack roll so badly that when she reached for an arrow she pulled an angry lobster out of her quiver instead.  I blame the chart (even though I made it).

The group discovered that bugbears in this setting are horrible giant mantis/bear centaurs.  Jakob the Ratling rode one of them bareback (bearback?) during the fight.

Ony the Mutant Jedite emerged from his cocoon much changed, but mentally intact.  Long gangly limbs and an oversized hairless veiny cranium help Ony stand out from the crowd.  He rolled up all new mutations as well.  The two most noteworthy are the ability to generate electric shocks at will and telekinesis that has a higher strength score than his own body.

The Watchkeepers have been disbanded and the wilds around Niru are now patrolled by 100 troops on loan from Sippar.

I rolled up a random wilderness encounter once that turned out to be a Black Dragon.  Since the PCs were all level 1 and 2, I decided that the dragon was busy killing and eating some other poor schmucks so that the party could go and hide/survive.  Instead, Sura decided to rush at the dragon with a wand of paralyzation while it's back was turned.  The dragon pulled it's head out of Swamp Tower, turned and prepared to blast Sura with acid just as the wand went off.  This single saving throw stood between glory and a TPK.  Dragon rolled a 2.  It still haunts me.  Poor thing watched helplessly while these low level adventurers hacked it to death.  The party is now known throughout the lands as "The Dragonslayers".  They continue to struggle living up to their own reputation.

We spent quite a few sessions exploring both the Caves of Chaos and Under Xylarthen's Tower.  I've had a lot of fun running both of those.  I shouldn't really speak for the players, but I think the general consensus is that the caves are too risky, and that Xylarthen's didn't have enough loot.  I don't fully agree (especially since there IS a dragon horde in Xylarthen's), but I think that was their impression after 2 caves and the first 2+ levels of Xylarthen's were explored.  The group decided to move on to other things.

I ran the party through The Gnomes of Levnec, which was awesome.  The mystery was interesting, one and a half sessions were spent just wandering around the town and doing detective work (my players are thorough).  After that the party wandered through the woods for a while, the random encounters there are pretty sweet.  They eventually met and befriended the gnomes.  We got 12 hours of session time out of that material.  The party also met the crazy wizard and found the temple of the stupid cultists, but chose not to press their luck with such fights.  There is probably a couple more 4 hour sessions worth of adventure in Levnec if the party ever decides to go back.

One of the magi in Niru offered to pay the party to go collect some cysts.  I ran them through Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine and it was awesome too.  I think the players were uncomfortable with this adventure.  They were rightly worried about their characters getting infected by worm juice and having to be killed or get limbs amputated.  Since the characters were all level 3 and 4 I went ahead and beefed up all the creatures in this adventure even though every hit held a chance for infection.  I'm just that sort of bastard.  Some of my favorite moments from the adventure: *One of the guys cleaned the sticky remains out of the magical black nipple armor and put it on. *Before removing the first cyst, the whole party almost forgot to sedate the Feathered Swine.  Sura remembered at the zero moment just as Ony was raising the knife.  *As the party fought the very last Worm Tumor creature a cheer went up when the Halflingon rolled a critical hit.  None of the party had been infected yet and now this last foe was probably going to die.  I use the Arduin crit chart and it's not very forgiving.  Wheelz rolled a 00 on the chart,  100 Head Entire head pulped and splattered over wide area, irrevocable death Total. So I had everyone in the vicinity roll a save vs. paralyzation to avoid getting hit by the splatter, those who failed rolled a save vs death to avoid the infection.  2 of the henchmen got infected.  We rolled on my hit location chart to see where those 2 were splashed with the worm juice.  One guy had to have his right arm amputated pretty much immediately.  Dungeon surgery at it's best.  Then the PCs huddled up in the corner to discuss what to do with Nikozheb the Thief who had been splashed in the chest.  Nikozheb knew that all the whispering did not bode well for him, so he decided to sneak out of the cave while no one was watching.  They don't know where he is now because guess what... Nikozheb was the party tracker too.  So now the infection has spread beyond the cave.  Good times.