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Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


An Orcish jester/clown, trained to beguile or bemuse his opponents while entertaining, invigorating and sometimes enraging his allies

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That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




It's unfair since I know what's up, but I really want you to make a HobbitHalfling Layman who is super into casting spells.

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


Make a dude who summons monsters to fight for him because gently caress getting his hands dirty. That poo poo is beneath him.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Count Chocula posted:

I dunno maybe its because I'm an ugly motherfucker who likes Nosferatu but I like the Ghuls, and I think they work better for horror than sparkly Kindred. They're not quite as good as Fallout ghouls, but they're similar enough, including the distinction between sentient and feral ghouls.

Tasoth posted:

I kind of like Everlasting's take on ghouls. And I think a dungeon crawlesque game where you play molemen, ghouls and other creatures of myth fighting and dying for god, glory and gold against monsters beneath the street would be kind of awesome.
It would be pretty awesome, but Everlasting doesn't support that game with stats for the cthonic monsters and shades you'd encounter, or any of the other stuff you'd need to run that campaign. It spends maybe a page describing the Underworld and then says "Hey, maybe you should set your entire campaign there and run it in a completely different genre."

Think about it this way: Everlasting is a World of Darkness heartbreaker which is, to its credit, set up from the get-go to have different kinds of monster-people in the same party, working together, with a common language and the same goals. Their powers and degeneration work under the same system.

So in the first book of the franchise, one of the three races is composed mostly of filthy troglodytes or torture-porn movie villains who mostly hate each other and are indifferent to everyone else. It flat-out says that a ghul adventurer would necessarily be a special snowflake exception. That's lousy world-building.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Make as Invincible an Invincible Sword Princess as you can in Rolemaster.

Transient People
Dec 22, 2011

"When a man thinketh on anything whatsoever, his next thought after is not altogether so casual as it seems to be. Not every thought to every thought succeeds indifferently."
- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

Zereth posted:

Make as Invincible an Invincible Sword Princess as you can in Rolemaster.

The funny part is, this would be really easy to do in some Rolemaster offshoots (like Anima). I wonder how much of a trap choice it is in the grandaddy game?

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


Transient People posted:

The funny part is, this would be really easy to do in some Rolemaster offshoots (like Anima). I wonder how much of a trap choice it is in the grandaddy game?

I didn't know Anima was an offshoot of Rolemaster. It all makes sense.

Transient People
Dec 22, 2011

"When a man thinketh on anything whatsoever, his next thought after is not altogether so casual as it seems to be. Not every thought to every thought succeeds indifferently."
- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

Xelkelvos posted:

I didn't know Anima was an offshoot of Rolemaster. It all makes sense.

It's not, like, directly descended from it, but it did use it as a central inspiration. Less 'AD&D>D&D 3e' and more 'D&D>Dungeon World', if it makes any sense.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Bellfahle Magic Academy

In which fictional characters realize the falsehoods upon which their existences are built


Shenanigans!

On to character creation! But first, some fourth wall breaking.

quote:

Ein, do you know how you and your friends were born?
"Uh, when mom and dad love each other very much---"
No, no!

Then Chris joins in on the wall breaking and mentions that they exist because they were chosen from between their classmates. Bellfahle's primary method of character generation is actually character selection, as the idea is that players pick one of the book's pregenerated characters. Like Ein or his friends, or actually any of the 36 members of Class 1-A: they're all pregenerated already so that you can pick one up and start playing right away. Since it may be hard for players to choose a character, they can also roll for one with 2d6, or follow handy flowcharts! These are actually at the end of the book, but we'll take a look at them now.

The pregens are broadly divided into eight types:

  • Independent: can do pretty much anything, but no particular strengths. Raius and Chris are this type.
  • Knight: strong and tough, magic not so good though. Girls can be just as tough as the boys. Ein is a Knight.
  • Magic: pretty good at the not so much at the
  • Unsung Hero: not much in the way of flashy magic, but can hold on their own against the other types.
  • Own Pace: chillax bro/sis. Like the Independent type, but more relaxed. Remi is this type.
  • Quester: girls only, lives by her wits but doesn't have much in the way of flashy magic or physical strengths.
  • Sporty: boys only, very good at physical activities, could really use magic support.


There's one for the boys, one for the girls.

These types are just general categories in which the pregens fall into, they're not classes or anything. They come with everything, even with a small background, with relationships with other characters the only thing up to players to figure out (so if you pick Ein you don't have to be hopelessly smitten with Remi, for instance.)

Stats are rated from 1 to 5, with 1 being very bad and 5 being very good. The stats are Perception, Appearance, Dexterity, Agility, Intelligence and Strength. The kids comment during all of this: Ein boasts of his Agility of 4, while Chris counters that he fell off a second floor and got himself knocked out twice during their adventure There is also Spirit, which measures the character's ability to endure emotional shock. It is reduced when facing scary things or taking ~*wounds to the heart*~, as well as powering magic. Going down to 0 Spirit means getting knocked out. Endurance is the physical equivalent, i.e. hit points. Spirit is restored by one point per hour of rest, while Endurance recovers at a rate of one point per day of rest but can be restored by medical care or magic as well. Charm is a measure of how likeable the character is at first glance (Ein wonders how Chris has a better Charm score than him )

Characters also have Interests, Relationships with other characters, Special Skills, Personality Traits, Spells (of course!) Belongings which also include the character's monthly allowance, and their Special Item. They also have a Battle Level which shows how experienced they're at fighting and a Magic Level that shows how used they are to magic. Battle Level starts at 0 and Magic Level starts at 1.

But, but, but! Where's the character generation rules? Right here, after everything is explained. First, you must pick an Interest and Personality Traits. There are lists for both, in Easy to Roleplay and Hard to Roleplay favors. Beginner players should pick from the Easy to Roleplay lists; players can also roll these at random if they want. The Personality Traits come with a score that modifies the initial Charm rating: the fun thing about these is that they apply differently if the character is a boy or a girl, so for instance a Chatty (negative) boy is more annoying that a Chatty girl. One trait in particular, Lonely, is negative for boys and positive for girls; in other words, Bellfahle mechanically supports sad lonely little girls being adorable. After these are chosen, you get 18 points to assign to stats. Spirit is equal to (Intelligence x 4 + 4), Endurance is (Strength x 5 + 5) and Charm is 7 + Appearance + trait modifiers. You can pick a number of spells equal to your Intelligence, one Special Item from the item list, one Special Skill, and the character's belongings and monthly allowance which can be anything the character would probably have - within reason. Ein is ready to have ALL THE GOLDS but the book says you should probably check in with the GM first. There's a worksheet at the back of the book for character generation but you should probably just pick a pregen if you're not used to TRPGs or anything.


Bellfahle really doesn't mind if you play a gender other than your own.

Rules! The basic roll is the Action Check, which is based off the stats. Perception checks are made to search or notice things, Appearance checks are for being prettier than someone else or trying to seduce (dammit game you're in highschool don't do this ), Dexterity checks are for using or manipulating objects or sleight of hand tricks, Agility checks are those Ein fails when he tries jumping from second floors, Intelligence checks are used to know things or negotiating with people and making tests of willpower (pretty much anything where the character's head comes into play that doesn't involve reasoning or deduction - that's the player's job), and Strength checks are for anything that needs physical power or resistance. The check is first done with a roll of 2d6 + the relevant stat: the example has Remi rolling her own Intelligence check to remember a piece of triva, which the book admits it's basically screwing with the fourth wall on an Inception level but it's a special occasion But we're missing the other half of the check, and that is its difficulty. The roll needs to meet or beat that difficulty to succeed. An easy peasy check has a difficulty of 6, average is 8, and something practically impossible has a difficulty of 14. And now that Remi has the entire concept of checks explained to her, pop! she remembers the trivia. The higher the roll goes over the difficulty, the better the success is.

The Special Skill is one unique thing that separates the character from others. So for instance, Remi is good at healing: she says the teachers praise her for it , and on her character sheet her special skill is Medical Treatment, which gives +3 to Dexterity checks to provide medical aid. Special skills provide bonuses from +1 to +3 for various rolls or stats: your character could be a Prankster and get +2 to Dexterity rolls related to setting up pranks or traps, a Fashionista whose great dressing sense gives them a +1 to Charm, or a Brawler with +3 to attack rolls in an unarmed fight. Sometimes things go perfectly right and other times they blow rear end: these are Criticals and Fumbles, which happen when you beat a check's difficulty and also roll sixes on both dice or roll ones on both dice (even if you would have succeeded) respectively. In another of those notes that show how the game is meant for people that have literally no idea at all of how RPGs work, we're told that it's not only the players that call for rolls, but the GM can do so as well (like Perception checks when someone is stalking you, for instance.) Contested rolls are made simply by rolling for each party and checking who got the highest result: Ein and Raius do the stereotypical RPG example arm wrestling and Ein wins. Ties are resolved depending on the nature of the contest: in a race the opponents would cross the line at the same time, but when arm wrestling they would just keep pushing and would have to roll again, and if ties are not a possibility (hide and seek, frex) the active party wins the tie. If one side fumbles, they lose instantly; if they both fumble, the one that got the lowest result loses; and criticals only count if you both roll two sixes and get a higher result than your opponent. Sometimes checks have no difficulty at all, normally when they're about just seeing how well you did at something: a roll of 6 or worse is terribad, 10 is average, and 14 is a master piece. Criticals cannot happen in these rolls, but fumbles can


Godfuckingdammit, Ein.

The tone of this section is educational as hell: after every new rule or type of check, there is a small summary detailing everything that happens at the table from the moment someone declares using that section. It's a little repetitive if you're familiar with RPGs but again, the book assumes you're not.

Next: meet and greet people, then punch them through walls

LaSquida
Nov 1, 2012

Just keep on walkin'.


Transient People posted:

It's not, like, directly descended from it, but it did use it as a central inspiration. Less 'AD&D>D&D 3e' and more 'D&D>Dungeon World', if it makes any sense.

I've heard this before, but never heard where it's sourced from. Was there an interview with the authors somewhere, notes in the original Japanese edition, or something else?

Transient People
Dec 22, 2011

"When a man thinketh on anything whatsoever, his next thought after is not altogether so casual as it seems to be. Not every thought to every thought succeeds indifferently."
- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

LeSquide posted:

I've heard this before, but never heard where it's sourced from. Was there an interview with the authors somewhere, notes in the original Japanese edition, or something else?

Anima was developed by a spanish group.

And yeah, it was clarified in one of their community roundtables where people could ask questions and get answers.

LaSquida
Nov 1, 2012

Just keep on walkin'.


Transient People posted:

Anima was developed by a spanish group.

And yeah, it was clarified in one of their community roundtables where people could ask questions and get answers.

I even knew that, too. I blame all the Double Cross lust going around! (Which is apparently sold out through Amazon again, because you can only get it through a third party supplier. Crazy!)

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!



Dragonlance Key of Destiny Adventure Path Book One, Chapter Six: The Peak of Malystryx






The Peak is one of the tallest active volcanoes on Ansalon, more than 15,000 feet above sea level. However, the PCs are only 3,000 feet below its tallest point. Due to the high altitude and thin air, PCs who fail a Fortitude save can become fatigued after several hours. Prolonged exposure can cause damage to ability scores over time. And that's not counting the volcano's noxious fumes. The adventure was kind enough to provide a new spell, Zone of Air, which creates a moving "bubble" of clean breathable air around the caster for several hours which keeps out non-magical toxic gases. It's 2nd-3rd level spell depending upon class, and a useful one beyond the confines of this adventure too!

Random encounters are fire-related, naturally. Flamestone panthers, medium fire elementals, magmin, lava explosions, and a unique one: a red dragon named Soulburn.

Soulburn is a Young Red Dragon. He's a very tough encounter: Challenge Rating 7, 123 hit points, a 40 foot cone-shaped breath weapon that deals 6d10 fire damage, and he can fly! On mountainous terrain he can indefinitely stay out of range and rain death from above. However, the tactics say for him to open with a breath weapon and land among the PCs for some melee (he's brash and arrogant), and he'll retreat is wounded down to 45 hit points or less. His lair is in PM4 on the map, on a cliff trail above the magma lake. It's got a good bit of treasure, including an ioun stone, boots and cloak of elvenkind, and a rope of climbing along with 1,500 steel pieces worth of precious metals.

Dragonspawn Patrols are another common encounter in sets of 3 soldiers. Basically dragonspawn are creatures created by a Dragon Overlord's skull totem, combining the spirit of a draconian with the body of a humanoid creature, typically a human, forging them with a magical tie to the Overlord. After Malystryx's death many of her dragonspawn minions suffered a violent feedback of magical energy and either died or went insane. Only a few of the strongest escaped relatively unscathed.

Like Soulburn dragonspawn can fly and have breath weapons, and are unafraid to use them. They will push characters off of cliffs and into chasms, using the terrain to its full advantage.

I'd recommend being careful around this time. Although it makes sense being the final chapter of the book, it's a rather big wake-up call to parties used to fighting ground-bound opponents (virtually all the prior encounters).

PM1 is located on the top of the Peak of Malystryx, housing the ruins of one of the Towers of High Sorcery lifted up during Goodlund's reshaping. The air's thick with choking smoke and sulpher, nauseating any character's within its radius. The heat up here is extremely hot, over 140 degrees Farenheit. Theoretically the PCs could enter the volcano here by scaling the shaft, but it's full of the same smoke and heat, and is a straight drop to the magma chamber.

PM2 is the "secret" entrance pointed out by Deuce Spadestomper back in Chapter 5. It's relatively easy to scale and leads into the home of the Phalanx Ant Colony, one of the sapient factions within the Peak. It's the safest entrance of the three into the Peak.

PM3 is near the base of the mountain and the most obvious entrance. It is by this means that the ogres are taking the trapped kender into the Peak, and is heavily guarded at all times by rotating shifts of four ogres. It leads further into PM6, a sort of mega-village separated into two levels. The upper village is inhabited by dragonspawn, overlooking a cliff inhabited by ogres below. Both are several hundred strong and are beyond the scope of this adventure, as the force arrayed is sufficient to turn away the PCs. In my games no player group bothered with this entrance; they either took Deuce's secret entrance or the plume.

PM4's a magma lake, filled with smoke. Numerous caverns dot the high walls of the place, some of them home to monsters and other strange creatures who flocked to Malystryx's side. Salamanders, magmin, magma mephits and other creatures of fire inhabit this place.

PM5 is the Serpent Cave, one of Malystryx's experiments. Miraculously the underground cavern is filled with plants, vines, amphibians, and insects, much like a rainforest. A large hot spring provides moisture for the cavern, and is home to a tribe of sligs, amphibian humanoids distantly related to goblins. It doesn't have anything significant plot-wise, either.

PM7 is the volcano's heart. Reaching for nearly a mile from end to end, a sea of magma froths around three large islands of stone. Narrow land bridges arc between them, forming a mode of transportation across. In her life Malystryx made her lair here, concealing her most precious treasures (and skull totem) in hidden passages deep below the magma. Once again, the majority of this room is relatively undetailed, "beyond the scope of this adventure."

So where are the kender, and how are the PCs supposed to find them? Well, they need the help of the Phalanx Ants to progress. The colony itself can be entered via Deuce's entrance, the Magma Lake, Serpent Cave. The ants have a secret network of tunnels all over the Peak, but the PCs won't find them by accident.



Phalanx Ants are massive, sapient entities said to have been created by Chislev (God of nature) in the Age of Dreams for Reorx (God of the forge). They would help tend the bones of the earth. These are legends, though.

The Ants are a hierarchal society of workers, where the colonies themselves are living floors and walls of millions of interlinking ants. The builder ants are the smallest and lowest, comprising these foundations. Workers are the caretakers and scouts, seeing to the Queen's needs and tending to the larva. Soldiers are the hunters and defenders, while the Queen is a spellcasting leader who links the colony's minds into a universal consciousness.

This colony in particular struck a deal with Malystryx to act as custodians for the Peak in exchange for building their colony here. Now that she's dead the political balance of the mountain has been upset and now the various groups are at war with one another. The Queen is not fond of this arrangement, hating the disorder. In fact, she won't be hostile at the PCs arrival.

quote:

If your eyes aren't betraying you, the uneven obsidian that forms the ladders, floors, and even bridges of this cavern is made up entirely of living, moving ants, each the size of a large dog.
Scurrying along the walkways formed by these ants, slightly larger ants are moving around, busy with various unknown tasks, while ants the size of small ponies seem to be carrying food to various sections of the floor. You watch as they pass the food down where it disappears, apparently to be distributed among the ants forming the architecture of the colony.

...

Suddenly you hear a high-pitched chittering voice rise behind you. "Greetings... the Queen wishes to speak with you."
Turning around, you see a rather diminutive ant, a little smaller than a kender, gazing directly at you with its odd, multi-faceted eyes. Twin antennae move independently from one another.
The ant twists its head slightly to the right. "You will come with us," it says once more, in that spine-shivering voice, before it turns around and scurries down the ladder that leads to the floor of the cavern.

...

Resting atop of a large cairn of stones is a large ant, easily the size of a knight's warhorse. Her body is designed more like that of a wasp, with a narrow thorax that flares out to a large abdomen ending in a long obsidian stinger. The torso is covered in strange sigils that glow with a subtle blue radiance. Suddenly, a soft decidedly feminine voice fills the cave, "Greetings, adventurers. What brings you to Our colony?"

The Queen is genuinely interested in what the characters' motivations are for coming to the Peak. She'll even be helpful as long as they're honest, and can be convinced with social interaction skill checks to help them find and rescue the Kender. Of course, the Queen will want to talk with the party's "Queen," and more authority-minded and nature-oriented PCs (lawfully-aligned, knights, druids, etc) gain bonuses to their rolls. On a Friendly result she'll answer their questions and tell them directions to the captured kender. On a helpful result she'll even lend a more active hand, with one soldier ant per PC as guides.


Successfully negotiating with the Queen grants bonus story experience, with is far better than killing her for experience points (which is very hard, given all the ants).

Basically, the head of the dragonspawn and ogre factions united in a tenuous alliance. Grigolthan is an ogre mage who unsuccessfully attempted a ritual to ascend to the status of ogre titan (like a magical uber-ogre), but since the ritual required elven blood it backfired and degraded his body and mind. Grigolthan seeks to retry the ritual, using the blood of over 100 kender over time as part of an experiment. Grigolthan convinced Sindra, leader of the dragonspawn, to unleash the energy of Malystryx's taint he believes the afflicted kender carry within them. Through this, they theorize, will the dragonspawn regain their former power and be able to reproduce (created dragonspawn are infertile). If all goes according to plan, Grigolthan becomes an ogre titan and Sindra can regain her glory. Everyone wins!

The ants will escort the PCs via one of their networked tunnels, which is adjacent to a thin section of wal.

quote:

As the Queen's glowing blue eyes fall upon you, her voice rises once more. "You are prepared," she says. It is not a question, more a state of acknowledgement.
"Our tunnels were built for our use, but I believe that you will be able to navigate them with ease. The first tunnel shall lead you directly to the little ones. Do not take any of the side tunnels; stick to the primary, otherwise you'll get lost. Once you have the little ones, take the tunnel back until you come to the second tunnel to the right. That will lead you to the surface near the city of little ones."

As the Queen speaks, you can see part of the ground begin to swell. The ants are shifting the structure by crawling over one another to reveal a network of honeycombed tunnels beneath them.

"You will follow my worker. He will guide you to where you need to go. May your hunt prove fruitful."

...

After an indeterminable amount of time spent traveling the phalanx tunnel, you hear the voice of the worker speak up. "We're here."

The worker ant touches his antenna against the right wall of the tunnel. "Through this wall, you will find the little ones. The wall here is weak; you should be able to burrow through it easily."

Backing away from the wall, the worker turns towards you. "I must return to the colony and the Queen. May your hunt prove fruitful." Once the last word is said, the ant seems to bow its head slightly before it begins to crawl back the way it came, leaving you alone in the darkness of the strange tunnel.



Indeed, acid has been strategically placed to weaken the wall. It goes into the slave pens of the underground chambers of the map above. The top of the pit is covered by an iron grating, below which 21 kender are being held, all suffering from various forms of undernourishment. Dragath, a dragonspawn barbarian guards the room, and will become aware of the PCs intrusion when one of them tries breaking down the wall. Honestly he's not that difficult, with low hit points (45) and bonus to hit (+8 with greataxe, not raging). But like all dragonspawn he's got a nasty breath weapon (4d10 fire) and a death throe. If the PCs are supplemented by phalanx ant soldiers than the battle becomes trivial.

The PCs also get bonus experience for freeing the Kender for being Big drat Heroes. One of them in particular, Kerra Whistlewalk, is very talkative...

quote:

As the last kender clambers out of the pit and her feet settle upon the ground, she looks up at you and offers a surprisingly cheerful grin, despite her grimy appearance.

"Wow, that was one of the most boring places I've ever been, let me tell you! One time I was trapped with my foot down a rabbit hole and couldn't move, but at least I got to look around and see stuff! Here, all I got to see was a bunch of other trapped kender, most of whom didn't want to talk! Imagine that!" She leans forward, whispering conspiratorially, "I betcha they're one of those afflictin' kender you hear people talkin' about!" She suppresses a somewhat delightfully horrified shudder as she turns to stare at the huddled, dirty kender clustered around the wall.
Suddenly the kender draws herself upright. "My manners, I'm sorry! I'm Kerra Whistlewalk, of Hylo! Thank you for rescuin' us! I was afraid we were gonna end up staked and spitted and bled dry for that ritual I heard'em talkin' about! Wish I could see that! They was talkin' 'bout this big magic spell the was gonna cast, said it took the blood of the afflicted kender 'cause it was filled with Malys magic or somethin'. They also said soemthing about pervetin' some big ol' magic thingy they found in Malys lair... pervertin'... you think they were gonna peek at each other wearin' only their knickers?!?"

If inquired for more information she can describe Grigolthan and Sindra. If the PCs see first to the Kender's safety (by getting them out via directions or having the Phalanx Ant soldiers escort them out), they get more "hero experience points!" Then she'll remember that she left some family heirlooms (pouches) deeper into the complex and that the "ugly guy" or "scary lady" must have them.



The next room is the ritual area where Grigolthan lairs. A large pentragram of silver contains a dragon skull on each tip over a circular pit of blood. At its center a pillar of yellowed bones rises. As the PCs go down the hallway they'll trigger a mental alarm trap which silently alerts Grigolthan to their presence. He'll drink a potion of invisibility, even though he can turn invisible at will, to get the drop on him. Additionally, he'll use the Staff of Bones in his possession to animate the corpses of the 13 kender zombies at the bottom of the pool to fight for him.

Like many ogre mages, Grigolthan is a glass cannon. His 32 hit points are very low for a boss monster, but he's got a cone of cold which he can fire off. Other than that he's got polymorph, darkness, and a melee attack. The zombies are the main melee force, and all "die" when Grigolthan does.



After killing the ogre mage and ruining their last chance ritual, Sindra will show up and be super-pissed at the party, unfurling her Hellfire Whip and threatening to "Burn the flesh from your bones and you. Will. Buuuuuuurrrrn!"



Here she is, the Final Boss of Book One!

Sindra's tough all her own, but immediately after Grigolthan (and Dragath), she can be deadly.

She's an 8th level dragonspawn Barbarian with a good reach on her whip, whose damage is enhanced via her impressive lash (2d4+4 plus 1d6 fire plus 1d10 critical hit). She also has a breath weapon and death throes and a good Armor Class (25). A worthy battle.

Upon her death, she evilly laughs as she sees the "hand pulling their strings" and that her death will offer them no peace. Then her entire body begins jerking violently in the midst of her death throes. If the PCs know to expect this (say, prior encounters with dragonspawn), they can push her into the blood pool and have her harmlessly explode. This action also grants additional experience points for quick thinking. The writers were being generous with rewards for this chapter, I'll say!

Then the wielder of the Shard of Light notices that the blade's light flickers in tune to a glimmer at the opposite end of the room, leading into the armory. There the PCs find a beautiful lance of burnished silver, its haft shaped like the head of a dragon of purest gold. The image of a beautiful elven woman coalesces into a nimbus of blue light in front of the weapon. "Finally, you have overcome great hardships to release us from the darkness! Come, heroes... take up the lance and embrace your destinies!" Then she vanishes along with the shard of light's glimmer, plunging the room into a faint darkness.



This elven ghost was Kayleigh, and this lance is no ordinary magical Dragonlance... It is Huma's Lance, the very one wielded by Huma Dragonbane in the Age of Dreams to banish Takhisis from the mortal realm in the Third Dragon War!

This baby's a Major Artifact...

Priceless Artifact Count: 3

...a +5 holy keen Greater Dragonlance. When striking a True Dragon it ignores all forms of damage reduction. When used against an evil true dragon it deals 2 points of permanent Constitution drain (no save) with every hit. If the wielder scores a critical hit it deals a number of points of Consitution drain equal to 5 + wielder's level + wielder's Charisma modifier. Once per day it can cast dismissal on any evil outsider (who suffer a penalty to their save equal to 5 + wielder's level). It can even be used against divine entities and their servitors!

It bestows 2 negative levels on evil creatures attempting to wield it, and functions as a normal +4 holy Greater Dragonlance in the hands of non-lawful Good characters, with none of the other special abilities.

The heroes gaining access to this weapon will have drastic, far-reaching effects into the adventure. Not only is it instantly recognizable to Ansalon's major orders (Knights of Solamnia/Neraka, Wizards of High Sorcery, etc), its presence can be sensed by clerics of evil deities, true dragons, and good/evil outsiders. Doubtlessly many of these groups will seek to part the lance from the PCs' hands for their own use (whether to safeguard it, destroy it, or study it).

After a good adventure, the Phalanx tunnels do indeed lead back to Kendermore. If the PCs have Grigolthan's staff, Elijayess will let them travel back to the oasis (although he won't accompany them). And yes, returning the staff also gets the PCs experience points. If the PCs aren't 7th level yet, they certainly will be by adventure's end.

Afterwards, the elf and the kender will strike out towards Port Balifor.

And so marks the end of Book One. There is still many mysteries left, of who is manipulating the PCs from behind the scenes, what the Key of Quinari unlocks, and how the artifacts gathered will play a future role in the saga. Till then, in Book Two, Spectre of Sorrows, will many of these questions be answered...

Next time, the appendices of Book One, new spells/items, my personalized Key of Destiny Soundtrack, and other miscellaneous stuff.

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 19:12 on Nov 23, 2013

grassy gnoll
Aug 27, 2006

The pawsting business is tough work.

LeSquide posted:

I even knew that, too. I blame all the Double Cross lust going around! (Which is apparently sold out through Amazon again, because you can only get it through a third party supplier. Crazy!)

Amazon is just used as a storefront by the translator. If you're seeing Ver. Blue Entertainment as the seller, which you should be unless there's someone else selling their copy, that's the only source that isn't the translator's web store.

TMYK.

Toph Bei Fong
Feb 29, 2008

You can't see me at all...





Part 2 - Character Creation, Part One: “Yesterday They Were Businessmen. Today They’re Cowboys. Tomorrow They’ll be Walking Funny.”

Character creation is an involved process, with more than a couple charts. It is harder than AD&D or 4e, but a bit simpler than Champions or GURPS, straddling about the midpoint between GURPS and 4e for me personally.

First up, appropriate music:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl1rroJOZzw

Yeah, alright. Now that’s some Tolkien inspired German power metal to do math to, alright.

We start with the 10 different Character Developmental Statistics (“stats”):

Constitution - affects your starting hit points concussion hits, skills involving being tough like long distance running, and your resistance rolls to disease and poison.
Agility - affects ranged combat, maneuvering in armor, contributes to melee combat, and other movement based skills.
Self-Discipline - affects meditating, being a zen master, avoiding temptation, and sneaking.
Memory - affects memory based skills and learning.
Reasoning - affects wisdom and thinking based skills.

These five stats each contribute to your Development Points (“DPs”) pool. You will spend these points to buy skills, which cover everything from swinging your sword, having hit dice, casting spells, and wearing armor, to knowing who the king’s long lost brother was or identifying different types of trees from very far away.

Strength - affects melee combat, your carrying capacity, and skills like climbing, playing sports, doing martial arts.
Quickness - affects your movement rate, gives you your innate defense bonus, and contributes to a couple skills that involve running.
Presence - affects your spell casting if you are a Mentalism (“Psionics”) realm caster, your skills having to do with charisma and social interaction like acting or lying, and gives you a bonus or penalty to resistance rolls against mentalism spells.
Intuition - affects your spell casting if you are a Channeling (“Divine”) realm caster, your skills involving knowing things before they happen, like perception, dowsing for water, and divination, and gives you a bonus or penalty to resistance rolls against channeling spells.
Empathy - affects your spell casting if you are an Essence (“Arcane”) realm caste, your skills involving relating to other people or animals, like anthropology or animal husbandry, and gives you a bonus or penalty to resistance rolls against essence spells.

There’s also the super special optional stat Appearance, which doesn’t really do anything outside of roleplaying. A buddy of mine played a caster specializing in fire magic with an appearance of 01. We quickly nicknamed him Handsome Jack.

Unlike in D&D, there are no obvious dump stats. You can get away with a dumb fighter or a weak caster, but between the amount of gear you want to carry, the poo poo you need to know to survive, and the bonuses you’re going to want against spell casting, you can’t safely tank any of the stats. In terms of priority, the stats that affect how many DPs you get are a bit more important, because dumping them mean that your character will get fewer skills overall, but if drop the others you’ll leave yourself either completely vulnerable to one of the three schools of magic, always go last and get hit easily, or be unable hit things and carry back any treasure from the dungeons.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world, and you are at the mercy of the dice to determine the numbers you get to assign. Without cheating or really good luck, there is no way to make a character that doesn’t have some hole or gap you’ll really want to fill. Such is life.

To generate the rolls, we’re going to be generous. Our house rules are as follows: roll 3 sets of 10 stats, rerolling any number under 40, chose the best set, and arrange as you chose. The book wants you to just roll once, rerolling any under 20s, and assign as you like, but we’re big enough children to understand that we want to play fun characters, our verisimilitude won’t be destroyed if Conan, Aragorn, Merlin, and Hercules are all at the same table together, and besides, the original stats chart is kind of a hosed up bell-curve so it doesn’t hurt to aim yourself towards the 90s with those rerolls.

Here’s what the better stat bonus chart looks like:



This is the smoothed stat curve from RMC1, which evens out the bonuses a little bit.

The original formula from Character Law for calculating the bonuses is “Stat - 50/2 rounded down”, which means that over half the numbers (25-74) give a bonus of +0, which really kinda stinks. There are ways to deal with that, though, and a low roll on the initial set of states doesn’t necessarily doom your character forever. We’ll talk about that in a moment.

code:
Set 1: 52 41 99 59 40 51 62 90 56 56
Set 2:  87 70 79 72 87 67 60 59 95 46
Set 3: 42 91 46 62 47 45 60 97 72 99
We’re going to take set 3, because it’s got a fair number of rolls in the 90s, and we should be able to work with that. We’re going to use this same set of rolls to generate all the characters used in these examples, because it’ll help show how even controlling for the randomness of stat rolls, player skill and system mastery play a very important part in the game.

The most important thing you will learn when making a character is that You Will NEVER have enough Development Points to do everything you want to.

Anyways, lets look at our rolls again. The numbers we rolled are our temporary stats, and they represent how our character is right now. After we stick them into our attributes, we’ll roll on the Stat Potentials Table to see what the maximum possible stats are for our character. This means that every stat will have a temporary value, the one you’re using to calculate your skills right now, and a potential value, which is the maximum it can go without special help.

Each time you go up a level, you’ll go down the line on your skills, rolling on the Stat Gain Table and cross referencing the difference between your temporary and your potential values to your die roll to see how much your stat went up by. If you rolled a 01-04, the temporary values instead goes down by the number that you rolled. Some monsters and poisons and stuff can also reduce your temporary stats, but when you gain another level, you’ve got a chance of them going back up towards their full potential.

The potentials table is geared towards making it much easier for character with low numbers to grow into high ones, and characters with high starting stats to just stay that way, so starting with a series of low rolls doesn’t necessarily mean you’re completely boned. There’s also a skill you can buy to raise your stats, but it’s pretty expensive, so we’ll save that for when we cover leveling up.

---

To show off how the rest of character creation works, we’re going to build some sample characters, which will probably take the next post or two. And you know what, gently caress it, I know I said two, but we’re making four characters, and mashing up some of your suggestions to really show y’all what the system does. The first will be the most involved, going through every step of the process in full detail, with the next three touching on bits like spell casting realms, trap options, bad professions, etc.

Zereth posted:

Make as Invincible an Invincible Sword Princess as you can in Rolemaster.

Siivola posted:

A human princeprincess, the very image of a chivalric knight-errant in shining armor, well-versed in arts both martial and otherwise.

Ser Diana of Steece, the Hyena of the Battlefield, is level 1 high-man Cavalier. We want her to be able to bash things with an axe, slay dragons, raid dungeons, ride a horse, know the history of her people, and seduce handsome bartenders.

Let’s lay out her stats. Being a warrior type, we want Diana to be strong and tough, but because of how we’re picturing the character we want to play, not stupid or uncharismatic.

code:
Co: 42
Ag: 97
Sd: 45
Me: 72
Re: 46
St: 99
Qu: 62
Pr: 91
In: 60
Em: 47
The high Strength and Agility are no brainers. The high Presence will give her good checks on leadership, diplomacy, and performance, and the pretty good Memory will help her recite the histories of her people and remember which one is the salad fork at state dinners. Unfortunately, we did roll some low numbers, and those 40s have to go somewhere. She has a low Self-discipline, so like any good warrior she’ll be prone to flying off and handle and would have a difficult time meditating in a monastery without a long training montage. Years of being the one in charge have left her with a low Empathy towards others; she’s used to being obeyed, not compassionate. She’s not super fast, but also not slow. She’s a brick, after all, not a sprinter. Her Reasoning is also a little lower than we’d like, but that’s the way the dice fell. She’s the sort who has memorized a lot, but has trouble putting it all together sometimes.

Now, you may have noticed that I stuck the 42, our lowest roll, in Constitution. Isn’t Co terribly important for a warrior type? Yes, definitely, and I’ll explain why we did this in a moment.

For a race, since she’s a noble woman, we’ll make her a high-man.

Racial modifiers are a little bit different than in most games. Rather than providing a raw +2/-2 to a pair of stats, they instead provide a series of bonuses and penalties to the stat bonuses, not to the temporary or potential stats themselves. Being a high-man gives Diana a +10 to her St, Co, and Pr, and -5 to her Qu and Ag. Looking at the race chart, she’ll be using a d10 for hit dice, will have a maximum of 150 hit points, will start knowing 3 languages, and will get 4 background rolls.

Now that we have our stats laid out, we’ll chose a class profession. There are a huge amount to chose from, many of which overlap a great deal. We’re going to pick the Cavalier, from Companion 3, which is a solid variation on the Fighter, and which is perfectly tailored to the type of character we’re building. The regular fighter is a little more focused on fighting and less on courtly knowledge, while the paladin, armsmaster, and noble warrior all cast spells and we’re not hitting that part yet, so while all of these professions could tick off the “Knight in Shining Armor” boxes, Cavalier one will do fine for our purposes.



Starting with Companion 1, they stopped putting professions into one big unwieldy chart, and started putting them into a nice box, with some references to the old charts. With companion 2, it got a even easier, because the boxes stopped being 90% “Look at the master development point chart”. Unfortunately, they never went back and put the old original classes into nice boxes like this, so if you want to play a straight fighter or magician or cleric, you’re stuck using the big chart. C’est la vie.

Each profession has a pair of stats as their Prime Requisites. These are the two most important stats for the profession, and if the player chooses, they may replace whatever die roll they put into the stat with a 90. This is nice because it means that, no matter how badly you tank your die rolls, you can stick your two worst rolls into your Prime Requisites and be alright at your chosen profession. Now, because we rolled pretty good, and because we’re going to be doing a lot of killing, we’re going to want our warrior princess to have that 99 in St. But a 90 in Co is just fine since we’re going to be wearing pretty heavy armor to help soak up hits. So we can scratch off that 42 and replace it with a 90.

Character Sheet Check:
code:
   
Diana of Steece
Level 1 High-Man Cavalier

   Temp Pot. Bonus Race
Co: 90  90    +10  +10
Ag: 97  97    +19  -5
Sd: 45  83    +0
Me: 72  72    +4
Re: 46  80    +0
St: 99  99    +23  +10
Qu: 62  74    +1   -5
Pr: 91  91    +11  +10
In: 60  60    +1
Em: 47  72    +0
Now, looking at the box, we see that there are a bunch of skills with numbers after them. The number is how many development points one rank in the skill will cost. If the number has is divided by a slash (i.e. 1/5), you can buy two ranks in the skill in one level, but it will cost you more development points for devoting the extra focus. Very rarely you will see a skill that is 1/3/5, in which case you could buy 3 ranks. Skills with an * after them may be purchased an unlimited number of times per level, but these are usually limited to spell lists, armor proficiencies, and learning languages.

Each rank in a skill give you a +5 bonus, for the first 10 ranks, then each one give you a +2, until you hit 20 ranks, then it’s a +1 until you hit 30 ranks, and then it’s +1/2 ranks forever. Warrior professions, like the cavalier here, have a slight difference in that their combat skills go +5/+4/+2/+1, to represent just how much better they are in combat than other professions.

Unlike many other games, there is no such thing as a “class only” skill, merely skill that cost an awful lot more or less development points depending on what profession you are. You may have noticed that, even though she's a warrior, Diana could take “Spell List Acquisition” as a skill and learn to cast some spells, but it would cost her a hefty 20 DPs for one rank. As we only have 36 DPs to spend per level right now, we’ll leave that trap option alone for the moment. That’s one to use when you’ve reached higher levels and your options are “spend points to get an extra +0.5 to add to my already +300 basket weaving skill” or “learn some of a spell list”. It’s not for new characters like us. That is, of course, different for spell casters, whose SPA skill costs them 1*, or semi-spell casters, who are 4*. The difference between 20 and 1* is a yawning chasm.

Before we spend any DPs, we should roll on the Backgrounds chart to see what bonuses we get. Each race gets a number of rolls on the charts to balance out how big their bonuses are. The mixed men and dark tribes get a lot, because their stat bonuses aren’t super great, while the half-elves and high elves get very few because their bonuses are awesome. As a High-man, Diana is entitled to 4 rolls, which is middle of the road.

There are two different charts, found in Companion 1, and mostly they provide additional stat bonuses. 1-10 are penalties. 11-40 are fun background buffs. 41-00 are stat buffs. There are a bunch of other charts throughout the various companions that will allow you to start with magic items, or a bunch of trade off kinda buffs “You are farsighted, giving you a bonus to ranged combat, but take a penalty to learning to read and write”, but I like these two charts best.

Rolling 4 times on the “Skill at Arms” table (the “Skill at Magic” one wouldn’t do us much good as a non-caster), we receive the following bonuses:

37. “Eye of the Tiger” - The PC can prepare the Adrenal Strength maneuver with a slightly modified difficulty to gain a bonus to attacks and defenses next round (paraphrasing here because the specifics don’t matter right now, as we can't really use this until we've gained a couple levels).
44. +15 Ag
17. Natural Faculty With Armor - All armor development costs are cut in half.
98 +20 St.

This is a pretty sweet set of bonuses. Ag and St are the lifeblood of most Fighter types, the 1/2 cost armor skills is going to save us a ton of DPs, and the ability to charge up our attacks with a skill check could be good once we get enough ranks to activate it well.

Next, we’ll total up our development points, and spend them on skills. Totaling up our development point granting skills, we come to a total of 35.6, which rounds up to 36.

At level 1, to represent the slog from adolescence to adulthood, we are actually supposed to start by building a level 0 character, then leveling them up to level 1. What this means in practice is that you get double the DPs at level 1, and can buy two ranks of any skill you like before paying extra. Any GM weird enough to do the math required to say “Hey, you spent this set of numbers incorrectly, therefore you didn’t do your level 0 correctly!” is probably not a person you want to play with.

Because Diana is a fighter type, weaponry is going to be her most important consideration. Looking at the big box, we see that weapon skills is followed by 6 numbers. We get to assign these numbers to the 6 weapon categories that Rolemaster has: 1-handed slashing, 1-handed crushing, 2-handed, polearms, bows, and thrown. Once we’ve assigned costs to the broad categories, we’ll then buy ranks in the weapons. Diana here likes axes, so we’ll put her 1/5 in 1-handed slashing, and spend 2 DPs to buy 2 ranks in it.

To calculate what her skill in Axes is, we’ll take the stats that 1-handed slashing runs off of (the average of her st/st/ag is 45), add that to her skill bonus (2 ranks is a +10), but there’s one more thing to take into account.

If you look down at the bottom of the big box, you’ll notice a section marked Level Bonuses. Each skill is divided into a certain category, and you get a bonus to certain categories each level just for being in the class. Diana gets an additional +3 to arms law combat for being a cavalier.

45 + 10 + 3 = 58. For a level 1 character, she can kill things with axes really well.

Now, if we wanted to, we could sink another 5 or 10 points into her Axe skill and have her be even deadlier, but we still have a lot of other things we need to buy. One of the nice things about the Rolemaster system is that the things you want your character to do (your fighter to swing swords, your cleric to cast spells, etc.), they get to do at a pretty severe discount, so you’ve got points left over to do other things.

Next up on the list is hit dice, which Rolemaster calls “Body Development”. Being a fighter type, Diana should expect to get hit, and take damage, and she’ll need concussion hits to soak that up. Because she’s tough, she can buy them at 1/4. For comparison, a paladin pays 2/5 for his body development, and a magician 8. We’ll buy 2 hit dice, which gives us 2 d10 to add to our base HP, and the bonus +3 we get from the cavalier level bonuses.

After that comes armor. In Rolemaster, anyone who wants to can wear a suit of armor, and said armors are divided up into 20 categories. Each of these has a description and a set of penalties associated with it, which we’ll go into in greater detail when we get into combat. Right now though we’re just going to look at the chart:



When you wear a suit of armor, the maximum maneuver penalty is applied to all of your movement maneuvers. This is to represent how difficult it is to jump around in a suit of heavy armor without practice. As we all know, historical knights trained night and day in their armor, and were able to do cartwheels and leap onto their horses from the ground in full plate. Just because Jason Bulmahn can't do it with a couple hours practice doesn't mean it's impossible. To represent this, there are a series of skills, Maneuver in (type) Armor, that reduce these penalties for each rank we purchase in them.

17-20 are the heavy armors, your steel breastplates and plate mails, and since Diana is a knight in shining armor, that’s the range we’re looking at. This category falls under the skill “Maneuver in Plate Armor,” and ordinarily she would need to pay 2 DPs for each rank in the skill she bought. But because we rolled that cool background, we get to cut that number in half and only pay 1.

Time for a little calculation: At 1st level, we probably can’t afford a full set of plate of half-plate, but the AT 18, a steel breast plate with greves is well within our budget. The maximum penalty for AT 18 is 110, which is basically an auto fail for any maneuver, so we definitely want to buy that down. The minimum is 20, to represent that wearing an extra 20 lbs of metal on your body is going to affect your poise and grace a bit, and we don’t want to overshoot it and spend too much. That’s a difference of 90, which is 18 skill ranks. But before we drop in 18 DPs, let’s double check our stats. Maneuver in Plate is an Ag based skill, and a combat skill, so we start out with a pretty good bonus even if we just put one point in (untrained skills are at a -25, so our untrained base of 7 (29 ag + 3 level bonus - 25 untrained) jumps to a 37 with just 1 rank). Do a little math, and we’ll find that 12 ranks hits 90 right on the nose, putting us exactly at the minimum penalty for AT 18 (110 - 20 = 90).

We’ve spent 16 of our 72 DPs so far, and we’ve already got kill things, wearing armor, and not dying covered. What else should we be able to do?

It’d be nice to have some ranged capabilities, so we’ll assign our 2nd weapon category to “bows” and put 2 ranks into Crossbow, which we can use without worrying about the missile attack penalty from armor. This costs 4 points.

We’ll also buy two ranks in Brawling, in case we’re ever caught without an axe handy. This makes more sense than martial arts, because she’s not a kung-fu princess or something, and also lets us fight with broken bottles, chair legs, shoes, and other Corwin of Amber type poo poo. Brawling isn’t listed in the Big Box, so we need to look it up on the Master Development Point Chart, which is a pain in the rear end, but we find that it costs 3/7. Six points well spent. 26 of 72, and we’re done with combat. We haven’t even spent half our points, and unless we really want to sperg out and also make her a sword mistress and poleaxe pundit, we’re ready to buy other things.

Because she’s a big brawny athletic girl, Diana is going to be good at swimming, jumping, tumbling, and acrobatics, and it’s worth it to buy at least a single rank in those skills to offset the -25 penalty for having the skill untrained. This costs us 9 points total.

She wouldn’t be much of a cavalier if she couldn't ride a horse, so we’ll of course buy 2 ranks in riding, and 2 in animal handling. These cost both cost 2 a rank, so we’ve spent another 4 DPs here.

Cavaliers get Lore skills as a pretty good discount, 1/5, so we’ll pick up a rank each in Demon Lore, Dragon Lore, Demon Lore, Fauna Lore, Herb Lore, and Undead Lore. 6 points total, and we’ll be able to tell one monster apart from another. We aren’t amazing at any of them, only a +9, but that’s much better than the -24 we had before, and having ranks in the skill gives the GM justification to adjust the difficulty downwards towards light and routine on our maneuvers.

We’ll then learn a little about the history of our people (Racial History: High-men), Military Organization, and Leadership, all of which are things any warrior princess should know, and which cost 3, 1, and 1 respectively. 49 points spent, 23 left.

Because we want to survive our adventures, we’ll buy 2 each ranks of General Perception, Sense Ambush, Body Damage Stabilization (one of those system mastery picks, which allows your character to put themselves into a kung-fu master coma if they take too much damage and stay alive while waiting for medical attention), and Detect Traps. That’s 10 points spent. Because I’ve got a bit more system mastery in me, I know to buy ranks in Stunned Maneuvering, which allows you to overcome one of the most common conditions in combat, so we’ll spend another 4 points to get 2 ranks of that. 9 Left.

Because she’s not just some shallow combat monkey, we’ll buy 2 ranks in Music, allowing her to compose symphonies with a rather skillful +40, and a rank in Streetwise so she can fence the magical goods that her adventuring party keeps being back up from the dungeons.

We’ll roll our 2d10 for gold, spend it on equipment, and we’re good to go.

code:
   
Diana of Steece
Level 1 High-Man Cavalier

   Temp Pot Bonus Race Bkgd Total
Co: 90  90   +10   +10     = 20
Ag: 97  97   +19   -5  +15 = 29
Sd: 45  83   +0            = 0
Me: 72  72   +4            = 4
Re: 46  80   +0            = 0
St: 99  99   +23  +10  +20 = 53
Qu: 62  74   +1   -5       = -4
Pr: 91  91   +11  +10      = 21
In: 60  60   +1            = 1  
Em: 47  72   +0            = 0 

Skills:
Combat:
Axe (st/st/ag)- 2 ranks = + 58
Crossbow (ag)- 2 ranks = + 42
Brawling (st/st/ag)- 2 ranks = +58
Maneuver in Plate (ag) - 12 ranks = +90
Stunned Maneuvering (sd) - 2 ranks = +13

Academic
Demon Lore (me/re)- 1 rank = +9
Dragon Lore (me/re)- 1 rank = +9
Fauna Lore (me/re)- 1 rank = +9
Herb Lore (me/re)- 1 rank = +9
Racial History: High-Men (me/re) - 1 rank = +9
Military Organization (re/pr) - 1 rank = + 16
Undead Lore (me/re) - 1 rank = +9

Athletic:
Acrobatics (ag/qu) - 1 rank = +35
Jumping (ag/st) - 1 rank = +64
Swimming (ag) - 1 rank = +37
Tumbling (ag/sd) - 1 rank = +37

Concentration:
Body Damage Stabilization (sd/em) - 2 ranks = +10

Linguistic:
Music (ag/in) - 2 ranks = +40

Outdoor:
Animal Handling (pr/em) - 2 ranks = +31
Riding (ag/em) - 2 ranks = +39
Streetwise (pr/in) - 1 rank = +27

Perception:
Detect Traps (in) - 1 ranks = +10
General Perception (in/in/re) - 2 ranks = +11
Sense Ambush/Assassination - 2 ranks = +11

Social:
Leadership (re/pr) - 1 rank = +17

Special
Body Development 2 ranks
You’ll notice that she only has 26 skills trained. That’s a lot more than your average Fate character, but certainly shouldn’t require a 20 page Excel spreadsheet. What’s the deal with those guys?

Because of the way the skills are calculated, it can be a bit of a pain to do them on the fly. You have to do the average of the skills, plus any applicable level bonuses, then the subtraction for the untrained penalty. What these huge character sheet guys are doing is printing out every skill in the game, with their character’s current modifiers already calculated. My present GM has put together a pretty nice Excel sheet that comes to about 9 pages long when printed, and does contain all the skills calculated properly. It does save a lot of time not needing to do the math for each skill, but sometimes seems like a waste of paper and ink when 90% of the skills will never, ever see use in a game.

A roll on the height/weight chart tells us that she stands 5’9”, with a heavy build, and therefore weighs 190 lbs. It's all muscle, though, so don't go calling Shine and the YLLS crew. Punching numbers into the encumbrance algorithm, we find that Diana has a weight allowance of 19, which is 10% of her own weight, and because her St bonus is +53, she can carry up to 8x that without any penalties. Our girl can lug around 152 lbs. of treasure without breaking a sweat, and is operating at only a -17 to maneuvers when lugging around her full body weight. She’s a loving brick. A Qu of 62 means she can move 55’ a round, which is dead center average.

Now, after all this, we reach something that sounds like a neat idea on paper, but is actually kinda dumb in practice. The game wants you to “pre-level-up” to level 2, spending all your DPs in advance, but not changing the numbers yet, to represent the things that your character is working on in the period between this level and the next. It’s a cool idea, I’ll grant, and kinda realistic in that it prevents the guy who just found the spellbook and levels up from saying that he’s read it and is now buying ranks in Spell List Acquisition immediately. Unfortunately, in practice, it’s a lot of unnecessary bookkeeping and no one at my table really cares enough to take the game that seriously. So we’ll skip this step and roll for hit points instead.

We’ll roll out 2d10 for hit points, add that to our base hit points of 12 ( 1/10 of your Co, so 9, + her body development level bonus of +3). I rolled a 4 and a 6, so she starts with 23 hp.

We’ll then spend our gold on a battle axe, some AT 18 armor, a full shield, some healing herbs and beef jerky rations, a sack to put treasure in, and a riding corgi to head into battle upon.



Next Time, Casters and Traps, they aren’t always the same thing!

Toph Bei Fong fucked around with this message at 10:28 on Nov 22, 2013

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Spoilers Below posted:

Next Time, Casters and Traps, they aren’t always the same thing!

Ominous. I really hope you're going to be posting Character Creation Part 2 soon because I need to know what that means.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Side note on the Double Cross front- the Advanced Rulebook is available for ordering on the Ver. Blue store now. (My copy is already shipping.)

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Not some shallow combat monkey? What the hell do you think an Invincible Sword Princess IS?

(it's a type of Exalted build designed to be as impossible to hurt as you can make it, that's what)

David J Prokopetz
Oct 21, 2008


Zereth posted:

(it's a type of Exalted build designed to be as impossible to hurt as you can make it, that's what)

The ability to make the rest of the group die of boredom every time your turn comes up while you make seventeen attack rolls is also de rigeur.

Toph Bei Fong
Feb 29, 2008

You can't see me at all...



Zereth posted:

Not some shallow combat monkey? What the hell do you think an Invincible Sword Princess IS?

(it's a type of Exalted build designed to be as impossible to hurt as you can make it, that's what)

We'll have to wait until we reach the Combat portion of this series for me to show y'all how this will play out, and then when we can talk about how changing professions works to see how dangerous we can really make a character. Right now, though, we're about as dangerous and tanky as level one character can get without cheating and claiming we rolled 10 100s.

Toph Bei Fong fucked around with this message at 17:01 on Nov 22, 2013

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!



Dragonlance: Key of Destiny Adventure Path Book One Intermission: Miscellaneous Stuff

Thoughts on Chapter Six: A sharp spike in difficulty, this can catch players unaware who were mostly used to fighting low-level martial characters and groundbound opponents. The Shattered Temple mixed things up with some oozes and undead, but aside from that genuine spellcasting enemies are very rare in this adventure. I feel that the adventure sort of ends on a vague note, with the PCs coming back to Kendermore with no apparent goal, but I can forgive it for that since it's technically the end.

Overall, Book One was a good book, if flawed in parts. It definitely has the feel of an epic adventure. The writers made a lot of effort including stuff in, but they accidentally left out a lot of things. Later on Sovereign Press released some adventure errata, which was 15 pages long! A good amount was missing Encounter Levels, grammar/spelling mistakes, stat blocks for forlorn kender, and the like. The most egregious was the last missing spectral flicker in the Shattered Temple, detailing Caeldor's death!

Things I'd Change

Make no mistake, there's a lot of things I'd tailor in the Key of Destiny. The adventure has several weak points which might frustrate your group.

Don't be afraid to be more specific with prophecies, or to tone them down: The players should be intrigued enough to keep going, but not so much that they feel like they're on a wild goose chase. Have the Oracles say that the Key of Quinari is coveted by Chemosh, God of Death. Make Uleena name-drop Kendermore or the Peak of Malystryx, possibly even that it holds one of the legendary Dragonlances.

Introduction/Chapter One:

Cut down on the number of bandits in Pegrin's employ. Reduce their hit points from 12 to 6. This will make the battle easier for new and inexperienced players. And is more manageable for 1st-level PCs lacking stealth skills.

Dispense with die rolling for random encounters to forward the plot. Automatically throw encounters which sound the most interesting for your group.

Have the Herald remain as a contact. He might suggest investigating the elves, go to the market to have the Key appraised, etc.

Make the hidden elf symbols on the secret doors in Pashin automatically found by the PCs.

Reduce Blackbird to a 10th-level Fighter/Rogue to a 4th-level one. He's a dick, and many groups might want to "free" Dove from his thumb after witnessing his goon's rough way of collecting their cut. He'd still be tough for 2nd-level PCs, but not impossible.

Chapter Two

Remove the bows and arrows from the Black Rider's equipment. The relatively open terrain, combined with their horses, means that they can easily stay out of the PC's range and pelt them from afar. They're dangerous enough with the increased mobility.

Have the Mikku buy and sell equipment and goods with the PCs.

Chapter Three

Rebuild Shroud's stat block, make him better at either clerical magic or thief stuff.

Reduce the length and frequency of the spectral flickers. Don't narrate the box text for every ogre atrocity, just briefly describe them as a monstrous horde slaughtering everyone. Keep the focus on Caeldor. Remove the Candles of Invocation from the treasures. Let those who wield the Shard of Light be capable of dealing sneak attack/precision damag against the undead (a great buff for a party rogue).

Chapter Four:

Nothing much, pretty cool as is.

Chapter Five:

Once again, be more specific and informative for the Oracle's answers. The PCs are paying a hefty price for the information, after all.

Make it easier to find Deuce Spadestomper via signs of habitation in the Palace (his Hide modifier's massive). Investigative PCs might eventually confront him through supplied clues and tracking him down.

If your party's well-optimized, consider giving Karak the ogre slaver a higher Intelligence, swap his Skill Focus (Intimidate) and Weapon Focus (Whip) feats with Improved Trip and Combat Expertise. PCs who provoke an Attack of Opportunity within his 20 foot range get tripped, and easy pickings for the other ogres! Perhaps allow them the ability to throw rocks as improvised weapons if the PCs follow Parrick's example and stick to higher ground out of reach.

Chapter Six:

Close off areas not important to the adventure so that the PCs don't get side-tracked. Have NPCs in Kendermore drop hints about the Phalanx Ants having the best knowledge of how to traverse the mountain. This will encourage them to seek out the Queen, as it's the best (and only) way to find and free the captured Kender.

Make the Queen be willing to work with the PCs on a Friendly result. Helpful is DC 30, and many parties might not have great enough modifiers to persuade her.

Becoming a Knight of Solamnia or Wizard of High Sorcery

The errata, however, included options for PCs who wanted to join either the Wizards of High Sorcery or Knights of Solamnia. Given that the PCs are frequently on the move, traditional means of qualifying for membership needed to be changed. This is detailed in the online errata.

The one for the Knight of Solamnia takes place in Port Balifor, labeled The Clandestine Knight. Sir Aldruth Achuran is an undercover Knight that managed to infiltrate the port's seedier side disguised as a mercenary named Daven Coldblade. The encounter takes place in Gloom Town as the PCs stumble upon a fight between him and three Draconians.

quote:

“Give up, Solamnic scum,” the sivak hisses out, its dark eyes flaring as its greatsword swings a deadly arch towards the human’s head, only to be blocked at the last moment by the human’s gleaming shield. Unfortunately, this leaves the figure open to the poisoned blade of one of the kapaks, the green-tinted point of its sword finding an opening and returning stained with the human’s blood.

“Never,” the human grits out as he brings his shield downwards, knocking the kapak’s blade aside as the human swings his glowing sword in a brilliant semi-circle before him. “Est Sularus oth Mithas!” the human cries out in a voice that resounds oddly in the cramped alleyway.

If the sivak’s curse hadn’t given away the identity of the human, the human’s oath would clearly identify him as a Knight of Solamnia; a knight far from friendly territory.

If the PCs aid him, he thanks them for their assistance, and will judge a PC to be worthy candidates for knighthood if she does not ask for material reward. If she asks about joining, he'll tell her that the Knighthood would be honored to have such a member and presents the PC with a family signet ring, and to look for him in the town of Flotsam (north of the Desolation) or present it to the captain of the Golden Helm (who'd recognize them as being sent by Aldreth).

Regarding the Test of High Sorcery, the most available means is through Zoe Left-Hand at the Khurman Tor lighthouse in Ak-Khurman. Basically every Wizard takes a Test, usually at one of the Towers of High Sorcery, to demonstrate their dedication to magic. If successful, they become a member of one of the three robed Orders and are presented with a uniform of the same color. Failure in the Test means death.

Generally a Test takes place in an illusionary reality crafted by the test-givers. The Wizard will be faced with at least 3 tasks involving the knowledge of spells and their usage. Additionally, they must face an equally powerful or greater opponent in single combat, usually a dark reflection or an entity designed to exploit the Wizard's weaknesses. The moral decisions a Wizard performs are also taken into account, determining which Order is best for them.

Now that only one Tower remains, many Wizards often incorporate Tests into everyday life. For example, Zoe might send a hot-tempered wizard into the Burning Lands and negotiate with the stand-offish Azer.

In addition to official membership, a successful Wizard is granted a permanent magic item, usually indicative of the Wizard's personality. A mage with a fondness for music and fine art might receive a harp which fascinates listeners. Additionally, mages are also permanently marked in some way after the Test, to represent the sacrifice they made to pursue powerful magic. A mage who's a compulsive liar might gain a forked tongue.

In Raistlin's case, he was cursed with hourglass-shaped irises where he could see everything around him slowly decaying and losing life. This was meant to teach the young mage compassion, but failed.

The seriousness of the Test, in both sacrifice and penalties for failure, is meant to deter all but the most disciplined magicians. In theory, a sorcerer can take the Test, but none of them have yet to even attempt.

I really like the Knighthood one, although none of my players with arcane PCs felt motivated to take the Test. They were all renegades, viewing their traveling lifestyle as being incompatible with primary allegiance to the Orders.

New Monsters

Phalanx Ants are small magical beasts with tough hides and a "hive mind." They're weak individually (Challenge Rating 1/4th for builders, 3 for soldiers, 6 for Queen), but there's a lot of them, and the Queen can cast spells as a 6th-level Mystic.

Flamestone Panthers are mentioned before. Basically they're big cats with a pounce and rake attack, and natural weapons which deal fire damage. They can also climb and burrow, increasing their mobility in combat.

Magma Wraiths are corporeal undead surrounded by a shell of magma, twisted creations of Malystryx. Their touch ignites flammable objects, non-magical weapons which hit them can become useless, and they can hurl globules of magma as a ranged attack.

Phaethons are Lawful Neutral elves who live simple lives in mountain ranges. They can manifest fiery wings and gain flight, an ability regarded as a divine gift by them. They're immune to fire damage and vulnerable to cold effects, but are relatively unremarkable except for these traits. They can be played as PCs with a +2 level adjustment (one I feel is a little too high).

Monstrous Trapdoor spiders which can build traps and pits out of their webbing. They are found in the Desolation. They have most of the traits of medium monstrous spiders, plus their webbing can conceal pits with camouflaged webbing, webbing tripwires, and sheets of webbing on the ground.

There are 3 new spells, including Zone of Air (creates a sphere of breathable air, 2nd/3rd level spell), Immolation (4th level spell which burns the target inside-out for 1d6 fire damage per round, concentration duration), and Energy Barrier, which is pretty cool:



10 foot square area per level, can't be affected by most spells, can protect from negative environmental effects, it's quite versatile in its effects.

We also get detailed write-ups of the new magic items. I detailed most of them in the adventure, but we learn more about the Staff of Bones (a staff which is an artifact)...

Priceless Artifact Count: 4

and functions as a Staff. The wielder can cast necromantic spells by expending charges, and can replenish them by killing opponents affected by its Death Knell spell (instantly kills dying opponents).

We also get the Ring of Grace (found in the Shattered Temple), which grants an effective bonus (+2 to +6) to Wisdom for the purposes of Saving Throw DCs and spells per day for divine spellcasters. Yes, it can stack with Periapt of Wisdom, as it's not an actual Wisdom bonus. I smell some serious potential abuse!

Also, picture of the Shard of Light in the Shattered Temple:





Libertad's Unofficial Key of Destiny Soundtrack

The right music can enhance the mood and atmosphere of a gaming session. I feel that these tracks are particularly appropriate for certain NPCs and events in the adventure.

Refugees (suitable for elves/afflicted kender): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ty87q1J8yRo

Pursued by the Dark Knights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnxbSWyoM9g

Sewers of Pashin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ML7M4XIoGF0

Ruins of Hurim: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50agA5EPJfo

Battle Music, Shattered Temple Barbazu Guardian: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwQzfPZqzHU

Port City of Ak-Khurman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBEvtA4Uuwk

Kendermore Theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOYbvfh3tXQ

Battle Music, Ogre Slavers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqP3ymyWKn8

Climbing the Peak of Malys: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-b2qjRp9CQ

Battle Music, Peak of Malys Dragonspawn Attack: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xERCT6xr1IQ

Battle Music, Grigolthan and Sindra: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-gN-rUxtio&list=PLF44C13F035840D9A

Because It's the Key! Duh-duh! Of Destiny!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTM8JIooqtY


Next time we start Book Two, Spectre of Sorrows!

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 19:51 on Nov 23, 2013

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

The +2 LA for the Phaeton is in line with what they gave the Avariel, and I think the 'winged' template in general. I think it's too high too, but then the games I've played fliers in have boiled related tactics down to 'if you're close enough to engage from the air, you're close enough to be shot at'.

David J Prokopetz
Oct 21, 2008


Bieeardo posted:

The +2 LA for the Phaeton is in line with what they gave the Avariel, and I think the 'winged' template in general. I think it's too high too, but then the games I've played fliers in have boiled related tactics down to 'if you're close enough to engage from the air, you're close enough to be shot at'.

Depends on where the focus of your game is, really. Stuff like flight tends to give the level adjustment system fits because it's honestly not that great combat-wise, but it completely trivialises many - perhaps most - low-level exploration challenges.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

I agree that flight's a very powerful ability, but a lot of things with Level Adjustment become trivial later on in a game at higher levels.

For example, it's entirely possible for a Sorcerer/Wizard at high enough level to cast a spell and fly all day. Overland Flight can be obtained at 9th level and grant flight for 9 hours. Slap an Extend Spell on it at 11th level and you've got 22 hour flight!

And that's not accounting stuff like small energy resistances, swim speed granting +1 LA, and other things which aren't worth the bump.

Dragonborn from Races of the Dragon can gain flight at high enough level as well. Same for Raptorans, and they have no Level Adjustment.

The Level Adjustment system as it is hurts and penalizes monster PCs in comparison to the basic races. The Phaethon is front-loaded, yes, but that LA takes experience to buy off (if your DM even uses that variant rule) that spellcasters and others don't need to spend.


Anyway, since I've got Dragonlance on the brain, I might consider writing a second review simultaneously in addition to the Key of Destiny: the Dragonlance Campaign Setting for 3rd Edition!

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012


Libertad! posted:

Dragonborn from Races of the Dragon can gain flight at high enough level as well. Same for Raptorans, and they have no Level Adjustment.

The Level Adjustment system as it is hurts and penalizes monster PCs in comparison to the basic races. The Phaethon is front-loaded, yes, but that LA takes experience to buy off (if your DM even uses that variant rule) that spellcasters and others don't need to spend.

Dragonborn, Raptorians, and Kobolds can all get limited forms of flight that can turn into 'real' forms of flight at 5th level, the same level that Sorc/Wis get Fly as a castable spell. So yeah they're only 'protecting' four levels worth of exploration. Level adjustments and racial hit dice always seemed so arbitrary to me, They tried to turn creatures into 'classes' in Savage Species but they were still substandard.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Level Adjustment is a terrible idea because it pretty much guarantees that the already screwy power curve of d20 gets thrown even further out of whack. Honestly, the closest I've ever seen to a good application of Level Adjustment was the way Naruto d20 had them get staggered out for powerful Bloodlines and even that sucked. But enough on write-ups I should be doing, let's talk about



PART 4: RACES

I've said it before and I'll say it again, hold on to your asses assholders!

The Basics

Races are pretty uniform in how they're laid out. Each one provides a +1 to one Characteristic (usually picked from 2 possible choices), a +1 to 2 Skills, and a Power that acts as a sort of unique Feat. They also determine Size as mentioned before. Now, this doesn't mean Races are bland. Each Race has a bit of lore tied to it as well as 3 example heroes to flesh it out and provide tips for roleplaying them. As a quick side not, every race speaks Trade and their native language and unlike most RPGs, Human is a separate language from Trade.

Races

The first Race is the Aasimar who have shed their pariah status from D&D 3.X as bland pretty boys with Level Adjustment to become fuckmothering Space Marines!


Brother Examplus approves of this change

These guys are beings from another race that were blessed by the gods of Order and given extensive indoctrination and magitek genetherapy to become towering warrior-monks with huge chips on their massive shoulders. They tend to be stoic and athletic with handsome but samey features that make telling men and women apart almost impossible. Aasimar have a Size of 5, can put their Characteristic bonus in either Constitution or Wisdom, receive a +1 to the Skills Command and Ballistics, and gain the Power And They Shall Know No Fear which gives them the Feats Fearless (immune to Fear) and Jaded (immune to mundane gross outs) for free. The three sample Heroes are Jacov who is a Paragon Paladin of Pelor and he wants to broker peace between Order and Chaos, Brother Boromos who is a Chosen Cleric of Sigmar and is convinced that he's destined to become a living legend, and Rhea who is a Vampire Assassin who will make the gods of Order pay for press ganging her and stealing her memories!

Next are the Dark Eldarin who saved themselves from the Fall of Eldarin civilization by throwing in their lot with Lolth. They avoided being devoured by Chaos, but in exchange became ebony skinned pirates that need to feel bigger and bigger emotional highs. As you'd expect, they're a mash up of Drow and Dark Eldar and they are assholes. They're highly Darwinistic and have relationships that rarely obey the credo of Safe, Sane, Consensual. Dark Eldarin have a Size of 3, can put their Characteristic bonus in either Charisma or Dexterity, receive a +1 to the Skills Deceive and Forbidden Lore, and gain the Power Warp Miasma which let's them create a 4m radius cloud once per Scene (with additional uses at odd levels). The three sample Heroes are Iniga Angband who is a Vampire Magic User who excels at Abjuration and Divination and left her politics obsessed family behind to find fame, fortune and better magic, Talgora who is a Chosen of the Raven Queen who will do any job for the right price and is currently trying to save his rear end from an amorous daemon of Lolth, and Mael Dannan who is a Daemonhost that just loves how she can mess with people even more.

Next are the Dragonborn who were created to be soldiers for Bahumat's Dragon Empire who did their best to maintain their honorable warrior culture after Tiamat tore the Empire down. They look like big scaly guys with dragon heads and Predator dreadlock-tentacles. They are very big on honorable duels and like to follow around and train under anyone who beats them fair and square. Of course, this doesn't mean they're your friend if you win, just a worth opponent, which is close enough to these guys. Dragonborn have a Size of 5, can put their Characteristic bonus in either Strength or Charisma, receive a +1 to the Skills Command and Intimidation, and gain the Power Dragon Breath which let's them breath fire as if they had a Flamer once per Scene (with additional uses at odd levels). The three sample Heroes are Jim who is an Atlantean and a mafia leg-breaker who hopes that the older members of The Family aren't as dead as he heard they are, Mudrensh who is a flashy warrior with piracy charges looming over his head and a knack for improvising plans, and Fuu who is a Werewolf that knows next to nothing about her powers and hopes that she can find her father and make him explain everything. Huh. Those don't sound like typical "Proud Warrior Race" types.

Next are the Eldarin who were created by the Syrne to be wizard-soldiers and after a disastrous attempt attempt to recreate Syrne civilization became worldship riding nomads obsessed with survival and conservation. Being a mix of Craftworld Eldar and Quarians, they are very effeminate and frail and are scared to go anywhere without wearing a envornmental suit and a Soulstone. They also have very limited resources and send young Eldarin on pilgrimages to gather resources and prove they can pull their own weight. Eldarin have a Size of 3, can put their Characteristic bonus in either Intelligence or Wisdom, receive a +1 to the Skills Academic Lore and Arcana, and gain the Power Warp Step which lets them teleport up to twice their Speed once per Scene (with additional uses at odd levels). The three sample Heroes are Talieer who is an Atlantean and is a blatant shout out to Tali from Mass Effect, Mecheldr who is a Promeathean has been working hard to protect her worldship and help the Eldarin find a more stable lifestyle, and Giorna who is a Daemonhost that wants to leave her worldship to find more interesting people to drink the blood of.

Next are the Elves who avoided the downfall of the Eldarin by having become planet dwelling hicks ages before things went to poo poo. Elves are, unfortunately, the worst species in the book due to being stereotypical luddite romanticist elves that are in tune with nature and feel strong emotions and blah blah blah. Can't all be winners folks.


Not even flintlocks can negate their blandness.

At least the sample heroes are pretty cool. Elves have a Size of 3, can put their Characteristic bonus in either Dexterity or Wisdom, receive a +1 to the Skills Charm and Perception, and gain the Power Elven Accuracy which let's them reroll a failed Ballistics or Weaponry roll once per Scene (with additional uses at odd levels). The three sample Heroes are Avourel who is an Atlantean and is welcome homage to Avdol from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure down to his fire magic, desert homeland, and vampire hunting, Jhean Lunos who is a Werewolf who grew up as a late bloomer among werewolves and is fine tuning his knack for Transmutation and negotiation, and Reeva who is a Chosen of Corellon and is trying to get his messiah duties over with before anyone finds out he has a terminal disease.

Next are the Gnomes who were created by the Syrne to be engineers and janitors and now literally worship technology. They're stocky and surprisingly tough for their size and tend to dress very practically. Unfortunately, their reliance on genetic memory to build things means that their inventions tend to be anything but practical. Since they live in dense communities full of Synreth tech, they tend to be very unobtrusive and often try to make sure that problems are solved before they get asked to solve them. Gnomes have a Size of 3, can put their Characteristic bonus in either Fellowship or Intelligence, receive a +1 to the Skills Academic Lore and Crafts, and gain the Power Improvise which gives them additional Weapon and Armor Proficiency for free. The three sample Heroes are Klink who is a Vampire who has been gathering followers and artifacts for a long time and isn't bothered by what he did to earn them, Trace who is a Promethean who made himself an Exalt with a box of scraps after his ship (the Excelsior) crashed and is a partial Iron Man homage, and Monana Scooter who is a Paragon who is such a drat good technician that the only reason she's not in charge of the Gnomes is because she hates paperwork.

Next are the Halflings who are as "lower class" as you can get. These dirty midgets are lazy, opportunistic, scoundrels that live for the simple pleasures. They tend to have a very "gang" mentality and show unswerving loyalty to those they count as friends and unrepentant grifters to everyone else. Most "big folk" consider them vermin and the Halfling do nothing to dispel these impressions. Halflings have a Size of 2, can put their Characteristic bonus in either Fellowship or Intelligence, receive a +1 to the Skills Decieve and Larceny, and gain the Power Shifty which let's them count their Dexterity twice when calculating Static Defense instead of adding their Wisdom to their Dexterity. The three sample Heroes are Coerg who is a Werewolf Rogue who likes to take advantage of his knack for making literal sad puppy eyes, Wheeler who is a Daemonhost who was driven insane by his long time in the wilderness and now speaks in ryhme, and Captain Selphie who is a devoted servant of Vectron who is totally a real god and strongly approves of her decision to become a legitimate courier.

Next are the Humans who are pretty much what you'd expect from humans in a fantasy setting. A new player on the galactic scene that have made a name for themselves by pushing exploration and imperialism to heights not seen since the Eldarin Empire. Despite the most races' best efforts (and even a brief war carried out by the Eldarin Human vs Turian style), humans are absolutely everywhere and are putting their skulls and eagles motifs on everything they can. They're relationship with other races is best summed up as either "abrasive" or "amorous" depending on the human in question. Humans have a Size of 4, can put their Characteristic bonus in Anything, receive a +1 to whichever 2 Skills they want, and gain the Power Heroic Heritage which gives them an extra Hero Point at starting. The three sample Heroes are Kuj'o J'Karra who is an Atlantean who was raised by the Tau and is looking to ORAORAORA the vampire that cursed his family just like the Jojo he was based off of, Marina Pheonix who is a Promethean gunslinger and hacker that has lost her sense of humanity, and Armstrong who is a sorcerer that has decided not to question the helpful leads that the mysterious god Acererack has been feeding him.

Next are the Orks who the Syrne built for fightin' and winnin' ya poncy git! They're big and green and they never lose!


If we winz, we winz. If we die, we died fighting so itz don' count. An' if we run, we can come back an' hav anuvver go!

Orks have a surprisingly effective way of organizing themselves where the strongest takes charge and everyone else just sorta charges in whatever direction they get shoved towards. They're simple, but not stupid and they to put their brutal cunning and cunning brutality to violent use. They're also extremely sexually dimorphic with men tending to be hulking thugs built for the front lines and women tending to be toned athletes built for commando operations. Orks have a Size of 5, can put their Characteristic bonus in either Strength or Willpower, receive a +1 to the Skills Intimidation and Scrutiny, and gain the Power WAAAAAGH! which heals them HP equal to their level at the start of every fight. The three sample Heroes are Wrecka who is an Atlantean bounty hunter who has been learning Healing magic and navel gazing from his past life, Roshenko who is a Promethean who looks like a junkyard and has never in his life seen any landing except for a crash landing, and Shibba who is a Daemonhost that has been doing her best to learn how to do things in ways other than orky ways.

Next are the Squats who are heavyworlders with a strong work ethic and fabulous beards. They have a strict and caste driven society that demands that they never lie. In fact, they favor honesty so much that they still have a barter system instead of currency. However, they aren't obligated to tell the truth and thus have learned the importance of asking the right questions. Most races think that they're dullards with somber tastes, but the truth is that they just find beauty in functional designs and colors that are outside of other races' visible spectrum. Squats have a Size of 3, can put their Characteristic bonus in either Constitution or Willpower, receive a +1 to the Skills Common Lore and Crafts, and gain the Power Squat Toughness which adds 1 to their Resilience for calculating damage taken. The three sample Heroes are Cheri who is the last son of a noble house of shipwrights who is determined to carry on his family's traditions and fight evil in the name of his god Moradin, Roboutte who is a Vampire that is a veteran of several wars against the orks and is quite thankful that the squat underground lifestyle lets him hide his condition easily, and Setsuna who is a Daemonhost who has used the strength of her angelic possessor (it's complicated) to prevent the casteless from rising up and crushing the warrior caste.

Next are the Tau who are hooved and blue skinned collectivists that fight for The Greater Good. They are surprisingly high tech for a race that only just joined galactic society, something caused by the strange magical phenomena around their slice of the galaxy called the Wall of Fire. They have a very regimented society where your job is chosen by a combination of your caste and extensive standardized testing. They have a hard time thinking of themselves but are good at thinking for themselves. Tau have a Size of 4, can put their Characteristic bonus in either Composure or Intelligence, receive a +1 to the Skills Common Lore and Persuasion, and gain the Power Fall Back which lets them make a free Withdraw action at half normal speed every time they dodge a melee attack. The three sample Heroes are Shas'k Kais who is a young Fire Warrior who was emotionally scarred when his first taste of combat was facing a horde of daemons by his lonesome and is pretty much the player character from the Fire Warrior game, O'Shaserra who is a renowned Tau commander who has been doing her best to expand the Tau Empire and is pretty much Commander Shadowsun from 40k, and O'Shovah who is a Daemonhost with an unusual knack for melee combat that likes his big daiklave and went rogue not to long ago and is based on Commander Farsight. So yeah, every one of them is pretty much a canon 40k character.

Lastly are the Tieflings who are the Chaos counterparts to aasimar and are pretty the coolest race in my opinion.


For Chaos worshipers, these girls love their RRRRUUUUURRRRRRUUUS

They are incredibly individualistic and the only physical and mental constant between them is that they tend to be big and hedonistic. They are chosen for their ambition and devotion to the ideals of Chaos and unlike aasimar undergo very little formal training or indoctrination which means that they hold on to the hopes and dreams of their past lives more readily. Most races are distrusting of them, but that is rarely cause for concern as the Ruinous powers rarely choose anyone other than iconoclasts to become tieflings. Tieflings have a Size of 5, can put their Characteristic bonus in either Constitution or Dexterity, receive a +1 to the Skills Intimidation and Weaponry, and gain the Power Bloody Minded which lets them reroll any damage dice that come up 1. The three sample Heroes are Traya who is a Werewolf devotee of Malal who loves to berserk and throw herself in to the middle of combat but hasn't quite gotten used to the idea of betrayal, Petticoat who is a Vampire who enjoys her high class status and serves Tzeentch as both a cunning businesswoman and a deadly assassin, and Shax who is an old and jaded veteran who stopped serving the Ruinous powers in favor of Luna so he could try to help others escape the cycle of revenge he used to be trapped in.

And that's all for Races folks. It turned out a bit longer than expected but I had fun writing this post and I hope you guys are having fun reading it. There are more Races in Book 2, but I'll get to those later. I have no idea when the next part will be up but I'll try not to leave my devoted fans (all 3 of you) waiting.

Next time: An epic Mulan shout out.

AccidentalHipster fucked around with this message at 12:37 on Nov 23, 2013

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

AccidentalHipster posted:

and O'Shovah who is a Daemonhost with an unusual knack for melee combat that went rogue not to long ago and I think is the only tau not based off of a canon 40k character.

Actually O'Shovah is literally a canon 40K character, also known as Commander Farsight, who is indeed in charge of a rogue Tau enclave with an unusual propensity for melee combat and is strongly suspected of being in possession of a Daemon weapon. D:tD40K7E doesn't "homage" so much as "pillage."

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Kai Tave posted:

Actually O'Shovah is literally a canon 40K character, also known as Commander Farsight, who is indeed in charge of a rogue Tau enclave with an unusual propensity for melee combat and is strongly suspected of being in possession of a Daemon weapon. D:tD40K7E doesn't "homage" so much as "pillage."

Good to know. I'll edit that tidbit in to my post. Speaking of editing, I forgot to bring up Hero Points during Character Creation. So that nobody has to go back to check my changes, Hero Points are like Fate Points from Dark Heresy and PCs start with 2.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




David J Prokopetz posted:

The ability to make the rest of the group die of boredom every time your turn comes up while you make seventeen attack rolls is also de rigeur.
That's how combat works in Exalted, right? You bore the GM into going "Okay gently caress it you win"?

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

quote:

Wheeler who is a Daemonhost who was driven insane by his long time in the wilderness and now speaks in ryhme...

I've got a feeling this is a reference to Wheelie, from the animated Transformers movie.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


All the premade characters are references to poo poo from anime or other game lines. Some are just more obvious than others.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


I'm not sure if all of the example heroes are references, but I know that a good number of them are so if I didn't point one out it's either because I didn't know or I didn't feel like it. Dungeons: the Dragoning is a game that really embraces the nerd habit of making pop culture references and does so pretty shamelessly. Some people don't like this, but I say that entertainment takes priority over originality.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


Mr. Maltose posted:

All the premade characters are references to poo poo from anime or other game lines. Some are just more obvious than others.

Given the nature of this game, it's not surprising. One that wasn't pointed out was Marina Phoenix being essentially Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell. I'm sure LawfulNice or some anon has a list of all of the homages.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Yeah, I'm not knocking it or anything, but DtD is a fan product and has no shame about it.

Cardiovorax
Jun 5, 2011

I mean, if you're a successful actress and you go out of the house in a skirt and without underwear, knowing that paparazzi are just waiting for opportunities like this and that it has happened many times before, then there's really nobody you can blame for it but yourself.

AccidentalHipster posted:

I'm not sure if all of the example heroes are references, but I know that a good number of them are so if I didn't point one out it's either because I didn't know or I didn't feel like it. Dungeons: the Dragoning is a game that really embraces the nerd habit of making pop culture references and does so pretty shamelessly. Some people don't like this, but I say that entertainment takes priority over originality.
They absolutely all are, even if you have to be an über-nerd to get some of them without looking them up. It's ok, though, because D:tD is parody first and a playable game second.

Cyphoderus
Apr 21, 2010

I'll have you know, foxes have the finest call in nature




DOUBLE CROSS

Syndrome Dossier, Part D


Chimera

You can probably accurately guess the skills of a Chimera Overed based on the Syndrome's name alone. These Overeds can change their body parts into those of animals and manifest wild beast characteristics like ferocity, as well as manifest super-strength of the "lift a van with one hand" variety. The one word to describe Chimera is "predator".

The shape-shifting abilities are numerous. Grow wings to fly, grow a tail that bites like a serpent, grow Wolverine claws or horns or a thick scaled carapace or anger foes with a mighty roar. There are more abstract effects, like intimidating opponents with the ferocity of your gaze, or summoning the vitality of wild beasts to regenerate your wounds. One power, Complete Therianthropy (from the greek for "beast" + "man"), completely metamorphoses the Overed's body into a battle form.

The super-strength powers are as exciting as you'd expect and vary from "hit very hard" to "hit really, really hard" at high Encroachment Rates. Speaking of which, at 120% ER Ultimate Therianthropy becomes available, which is a transformation into a battle form that's... battlier. I assume it involves more spikes, sharp edges, and bulging muscles. The best part is that it can only be used while Complete Therianthropy is in effect, so you can have your Overed go through a Frieza-like (or Toguro-like, if you're into better shonen ) multi-tier transformation.

Pure-Breed Chimera get to sprout more arms to attack, normally an Exile trick, and go into Mighty Therianthropy, which is in some way different from the other transformations and has better mechanical benefits than the Complete version.

For Simple Powers, the enterprising Chimera can breathe underwater by sprouting gills or see in the dark with cat's eyes. They can communicate very well with animals by releasing pheromones and mediating body language, but it takes a Simple Power to allow a Chimera to peacefully turn themselves into an animal and just chill out like that in the scene. Other effects include manifesting the supernatural sensibility of animals to natural phenomena, which allows you to predict earthquakes, floods, and the like, and perhaps even guess the winner of World Cup games (remember that octopus?). You can nab a Simple Power that gives you irresistible soft fur to your Therianthropies, and make people fall in love madly with your horrendous murderous battle forms.

And the last Simple Power: you're so goddamn healthy like a wild animal that you can be in the most perfect physical shape at all times without doing anything about it. Eat buckets of ice cream while coding roguelike games in your mom's basement for six months and still look like Brad Pitt. Truly, the gooniest of powers!

Exile

While Chimera focuses on adding beast body parts and characteristics to the human body, Exile is a Syndrome about changing and manipulating what's already there. The name is taken from Hiruko, a Japanese god; apparently the other gods were too freaked out by the fact that Hiruko had no goddamned bones and banished him from their sight. Yes, Boneless Chicken is inspired by myth, who would've thought?

Exile is the grossest Syndrome. Some powers are relatively tame: stretch your arms to attack at a distance or from unexpected angles, soften the impact of blows by softening the body... alright. Grow extra arms, engorge body parts, liquify the body... alright, I can live with that. Detach body parts that attack separately? Shoot internal organs at enemies like bullets?

An Exile is nothing if not resourceful. Sharpened nails are better than an axe at melee and easier to hide. Hair that's alive and can entangle foes is a classical staple of anything Eastern. An Exile can self-destruct, deal ongoing damage by burying a part of their body into the enemy (all those boxing teachers who say you should draw the hand back after a punch are chumps), protect distant allies by literally throwing their arms and legs in the way of attacks... there's a lot of stuff here.

At high Encroachment Rates, the most notable tool in the Exile's arsenal is Fusion. An ally gains the Exile's powers. The Exile cannot act and the target can't use Fusion for themselves. The way this is done is exactly like the power's name implies... the user morphs and fuses into the body of the target. Let's reiterate: .

Pure-Breed Exiles can mitigate damage taken by changing their vital organs around – the old trick of keeping your heart safe inside your thigh – and a crazy power that divides the user's body for attacks or dodges and adds a flat +10 to the check result, making it flat-out one of the best powers out there, mechanically.

Simple Powers have what you'd expect. Liquify yourself and slip through keyholes, change your appearance to resemble somebody else, walk on the ceiling and walls like Supaideru-Men. Never need to carry a swiss army knife again, because you can replicate all that with your maleable fingertips. The same fingertips can be inserted inside a target's head to read their memories, though it only works on consenting people. You can replicate that cool Dark Souls power that turns the user into an object, and hide yourself as an inconspicuous vase or table. Speaking of hiding, are you looking for cool ways to enter Stealth? Well, an Exile Simple Power allows the user to hide inside another person's body. You can only enter when they're unconscious, and there's no mention if the person notices anything different when they wake up carrying a goddamned Overed coiled between their innards.

Again, just for good measure...

Next time, on Syndrome Dossier: gotta go fast

Cyphoderus fucked around with this message at 17:10 on Nov 23, 2013

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Oh hey, it's both Brothers Toguro. Double Cross is a gift that won't stop giving.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Pick the right powers for an Exile and you can basically be Monkey D. Luffy. There's two different powers that let you bounce attacks by guarding them and flexing your body around them to absorb the impact, and one that lets you corkscrew your limbs up to make an attack harder to critically dodge.

Of course it also has powers that let you heal others with your own flesh and blood...

...with the implication in the name (Cannibalize) that they eat you to trigger the effect.

AccidentalHipster
Jul 5, 2013

Whadda ya MEAN ya never heard of Dan Brereton?


Cardiovorax posted:

They absolutely all are, even if you have to be an über-nerd to get some of them without looking them up. It's ok, though, because D:tD is parody first and a playable game second.

And drat fine at both in my opinion.

Cyphoderus posted:

Exile

While Chimera focuses on adding beast body parts and characteristics to the human body, Exile is a Syndrome about changing and manipulating what's already there.

I've been trying to find out the best way to explain the difference to my group and I think you hit the nail on the head. Although since you mentioned shonen, I'm now obligated to bring up this quote in reference to Chimera.

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure posted:

The ultimate being does not require sex!

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Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



So Exiles turn Overds into Sea Cucumbers?

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