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wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


Night10194 posted:

I know this isn't how anything works (or I think it isn't, I know a lot more about ancient Judaism than modern Catholic matters of heresy) but I really, really want to imagine some clerk in the Holy Office of the Doctrine of Faith whose job it is to play every single JRPG where you fight God and then stamp yet another Shin Megami Tensei as officially blasphemous.

I feel like if that actually happened Atlus would advertise it.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


wdarkk posted:

I feel like if that actually happened Atlus would advertise it.

"Now featuring Dante from the Devil May Cry series, and officially heretical!"

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


When we see the Level 4 -6 Powers the real question is whether a YHVH built as 'omnicompetent' under Aberrant rules and thus ALSO having theoretical access to everything could survive being hit by the best offensive power (I think he could not).

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Feinne posted:

When we see the Level 4 -6 Powers the real question is whether a YHVH built as 'omnicompetent' under Aberrant rules and thus ALSO having theoretical access to everything could survive being hit by the best offensive power (I think he could not).

It's actually kind of an interesting thought about rules, isn't it? A sort of 'can a totally maxed defensive character survive the game's totally maxed offensive character' thing.

I would imagine for the majority of 90s-esque design they could not.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Night10194 posted:

It's actually kind of an interesting thought about rules, isn't it? A sort of 'can a totally maxed defensive character survive the game's totally maxed offensive character' thing.

I would imagine for the majority of 90s-esque design they could not.

Thing is, I'd kind of argue that it's not necessarily bad design to have it that way. At least it prevents some sort of ultimate stalemate by allowing someone to make a totally invincible character.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


PurpleXVI posted:

Thing is, I'd kind of argue that it's not necessarily bad design to have it that way. At least it prevents some sort of ultimate stalemate by allowing someone to make a totally invincible character.

I feel like it's important for equally 'powerful' offensive characters to be able to damage their defensive equivalent for sure, on the other hand it doesn't need to be 'beat it, and take your planet with you' levels like Aberrant tops out at.

KingKalamari
Aug 24, 2007

Fuzzy dice, bongos in the back
My ship of love is ready to attack


I'm halfway through the next Wilderlands write-up and hoo-boy does this book jump straight off the deep end into insanity! Tune in for magically-induced lead poisoning, stripper-warriors, and a textbook so boring you need to roll a Wil save to resist it!

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



Feinne posted:

When we see the Level 4 -6 Powers the real question is whether a YHVH built as 'omnicompetent' under Aberrant rules and thus ALSO having theoretical access to everything could survive being hit by the best offensive power (I think he could not).

Okay, at Quantum 10, YHVH can buy 10 dots in the "Armor" power, with the Mastery 3 extra, which gets him 60 Bashing and Lethal soak per dot (Mastery 3 multiplies all parameters by x20), and turns Aggravated damage into Lethal damage, which can be soaked normally. Presumably YHVH also has 5 dots in Stamina and 10 dots in Mega-Stamina, giving him 30B/20L soak from that.

So he can soak 630B/620L.

The best offensive power, Quantum Inferno, at 10, can dish out 1000 levels of Bashing damage per cubic meter of target. Unfortunately, the average volume of a human being seems to be less than 0.1 cubic meters. So he easily bounces that poo poo off.

What is equally nasty would be a Mastery 3 Quantum Bolt, which when dealing Bashing damage, deals [600] levels of Bashing damage plus another 800 dice of damage, and therefore basically instantly vaporizes YHVH via the power of Bashing damage overflowing to Lethal.

However, if YHVH also has 10 dots of Force Field, he gets (Quantum x 20) + (successes from a Stamina + Forcefield roll x 40) Bashing/Lethal soak, giving him on average 840 extra Bashing soak, letting him tank even that attack unless he gets a really bad roll, at which point he probably vaporizes. You'd need to shove a pile of Strengths into that Quantum Bolt to deal more than ping damage if he gets an average or good one though.

Stacking defenses in Aberrant can be ludicrously bullshit, but if you don't stack defenses you are ludicrously fragile.

MJ12 fucked around with this message at 06:30 on Dec 11, 2018

Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.


This system seems ideal to this thread because its great to theorycraft in and seems god awful to actually play.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


MJ12 posted:

Okay, at Quantum 10, YHVH can buy 10 dots in the "Armor" power, with the Mastery 3 extra, which gets him 60 Bashing and Lethal soak per dot (Mastery 3 multiplies all parameters by x20), and turns Aggravated damage into Lethal damage, which can be soaked normally. Presumably YHVH also has 5 dots in Stamina and 10 dots in Mega-Stamina, giving him 30B/20L soak from that.

So he can soak 630B/620L.

The best offensive power, Quantum Inferno, at 10, can dish out 1000 levels of Bashing damage per cubic meter of target. Unfortunately, the average volume of a human being seems to be less than 0.1 cubic meters. So he easily bounces that poo poo off.

What is equally nasty would be a Mastery 3 Quantum Bolt, which when dealing Bashing damage, deals [600] levels of Bashing damage plus another 800 dice of damage, and therefore basically instantly vaporizes YHVH via the power of Bashing damage overflowing to Lethal.

However, if YHVH also has 10 dots of Force Field, he gets (Quantum x 20) + (successes from a Stamina + Forcefield roll x 40) Bashing/Lethal soak, giving him on average 840 extra Bashing soak, letting him tank even that attack unless he gets a really bad roll, at which point he probably vaporizes. You'd need to shove a pile of Strengths into that Quantum Bolt to deal more than ping damage if he gets an average or good one though.

Stacking defenses in Aberrant can be ludicrously bullshit, but if you don't stack defenses you are ludicrously fragile.

I wouldn't interpret the Inferno that way, I'm pretty sure the intent is that it does the full damage to every single cubic meter and everything IN those cubic meters instead of having a target, and so takes 370 Bashing levels if he's just got Armor. Though yeah the Quantum Bolt would still be better in this case. Invulnerability with the Broad extra to Energy Attacks could apply though you could have some weasel dick QB that doesn't count.

The omnicompetence thing is a big part of what makes this hard because some niche defensive powers are WAY better than the ones they defend against but lol who takes them. I think the actual best answer to YHVH is to use Universe Creation to make a universe where he specifically is not omnicompetent then withdraw to there where he is easily defeated.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Children of the Horned Rat

BIG SQUEAK

Our example detailed Rat City is Under-Delberz, which is basically a large Skaven truck stop on the subterranean route from Altdorf to Middenheim. The local economy is booming because Moulder Corp's come to town, here to prey on the dispossessed human refugees camping out near the town of Delberz. Skryre and Mors both want the town, and there have been slightly more murders in the street than would be normal for a Skaven settlement of late. Meanwhile the Grey Seers are trying to calm them all down and keep them from alerting the humans to the location of the nest with their infighting. The first plot hook has a Moulder lose control of a Rat Ogre and it goes up to eat a bunch of refugees, with the fear that it will be captured or killed and will lead the humans down to destroy the nest. It's interesting just how much Skaven fear discovery; they're afraid of a medium-sized Imperial town.

The Squeak-Kill Burrows are the public housing of the settlement, called such because there isn't enough space to keep all the clanrats of different clans separate. This means there's an awful lot of squeaking, and slightly more killing, than would be normal for a Skaven tenement. I said the place is a truck stop; there's a lot of traffic between Altdorf and Middenheim these days, so the public barracks have to serve thousands of soldiers as they stop for a short rest while scurrying about their post-war assignments. There are no actual beds in the Squeak-Kill Burrows, that would take up too much space. Instead, each unit's least-liked and lowest-nosed clanrats are used as living pillows and mattresses by their betters.

Oh boy. Breeding Pits. Look, I gotta report what's there, right? An example of what they actually do with the breeder fluff is a good time to talk about why you could pretty much excise it but what you'd need to make sure you keep in its replacement. Skaven have to pay, fight, or bully their way in to get the right to breed. Skaven think it's very important that only 'suitable' males get to do so. The Pits are the most important piece of infrastructure in the settlement; without them Under-Delberz would die. There's also the 'Ratwives' and you know, feminizing the name is actually extra lovely; these are neutered Skaven who had a talent for medical science and narcotics design, who are snipped to prevent them 'taking advantage' of their position tending to the health and drug levels of the breeders. They are, of course, considered the lowest of the low. The critical parts to keep if you were going to excise the Breeder fluff is A: Skaven need some way to delude themselves into doing eugenics and making sure that 'passing on' is only done by 'proper' Skaven of excellent (to Skaven) character and health and B: That whatever the Skaven do to reproduce is absolutely the critical point of infrastructure in every settlement and extremely hard to replace, giving the Adventurers a way to break Skaven nests. Those are the two critical thematic points, and if you want to remove this stuff (which is totally understandable) the replacement should cover those. Tuberats made in rat tubes out of blood samples of wealthy Skaven and warpstone exposure? Would work fine if you prefer.

Master-Leader nests are embassies. Big embassies for big clans, these are available to any dignitaries who pay enough in bribes to get one built. These are luxurious nests with freshly shredded paper and cloth to sleep on, and all the other amenities due to dignitaries of the Skaven. Each Great Clan has built their Master-Leader nest to show off. Moulder advertises its Rat Ogres with two especially big specimens (I like to imagine they put them in cute little dress uniforms!) on intentionally thin chains, such that if anything gets them too excited they'll break free. Pestilens relies on the horrible smell of disease and fear to keep people away. Skryre has built a light-show of Warp Lightning coils and Warpstone to put on a show for the locals. It will also vaporize anyone who does not have a valid pass-ID who tries to enter, a process that makes the light-show even more spectacular and greatly delights passers by. Mors is boring and just has a bunch of Stormvermin in fancy kit out front, because they don't have a cool light show.

The Dreg Pile is the Kowloon Walled City that is the 'average' Skaven residential district. There are no building codes, no standards, everyone knows how to dig, everyone is a spiteful rat, and they live in their little burrows and try to cheat (but surprisingly, usually not stab) one another as they try to make it through another day. The Dreg Pile is actually unusually well built and pleasant by Skaven standards, with collapses fairly rare and birthkin generally living in little nests together. Violence between the common rats not affiliated with the Skryre-Mors gang fight is uncommon. More common to see little rat-peddlers setting up their tables to hawk their wares to their neighbors (their wares are substandard) while others go to work in the foundries.

The MOST HIGH GRAND COUNCIL is made of the 11 rats who are best at bribing, threatening, wheedling, and cajoling. No-one is actually sure how the election process works, but election time is bribe time, so all major businesses look forward to it. A new election happens whenever a councilor dies or vanishes, something Moulder has used to take over the local council with a mixture of making people vanish (into a Moulder monster) and being incredibly rich, letting them rule the settlement via its quaint little village council. No bodyguards or monsters are permitted within the chambers while the Council is in session, which means that rats having a heated argument and then getting into a little legislative rat-fight in the chambers is actually a surprisingly common cause of death among Councilors.

Clan Sleekit operates a little dock here to mirror the rivers above-ground, sailing their tiny rickety little rat-boats up and down the underground rivers. Silly little boatrats.

THE BIG SQUEAK is the center of town. This is the vibrant town center of Under-Delberz, where civic announcements are given and political speeches are made. The Big Squeak is so named for its tendency to be full of Newsqueakers, Skaven scampering about screaming "EXTRA-EXTRA! HEAR-SEE ABOUT IT!" at all hours. I wonder if they wear little newsie hats? This is also where all the amazing public executions are held, so it's always a popular place with the rat who has a moment's respite from work.

Skrawl Market is just your ordinary market, but with rats and Warpstone and slaving. Nothing too interesting about it.

The Thing-Killer barracks are where the 'elite' fighting forces of the Clanrat Militia live. They like to puff themselves up, and the job is popular with any rat looking for some cheap authority and an excuse to bully others in uniform as a ratcop, which is to say the job is popular. The militia has to be careful, though. Firstly, their barracks has been burned down several times by citizen mobs after the bullying and bribery got intolerable. Secondly, if they big themselves up too much, a bunch of rat dock-workers will curb-stomp them. Thirdly, if they step to Mors or Skryre or whatever, they will be murdered. It's a fine line, finding the people a rat-cop can pick on and feel big about without getting their poo poo kicked in, but the brave rats of the Under-Delberz Clanrat Militia are utterly dedicated to making their uniform count for every ounce of kicking they can get in.

The Whelp Pits are where rats are put after they're popped out. They grow up here, until they're big enough to knife fight for themselves, unless they're Black or White Skaven, in which case they're valuable and immediately taken off to be inducted into either the Rat SS (complete with showboating and overblown reputation!) or the Grey Seers. Otherwise, they're taught to knife one another and eat the dead until they're old enough to knife for themselves.

The Under-Delberz slavemasters are unusually wise. The Slave Pens are in mostly okay condition, and they prefer to work slaves to death in the mines rather than kill them for sport. Even in a 'better kept' slaving pen like this, conditions are so unbearable that even Clanrats wouldn't stand for them. The people here are worked until they're used up, then thrown away, in a testament to human misery and a reminder that for all their little antics and cute hats, the rats are Nazis.

The Temple of the Horned Rat is pretty standard; big tower, cute little rat maze, etc. But I do like the detail that the Grey Seers like to throw around their magic at prayer ceremonies, believing that a little Palpatine action (even if they're just showing off the lightning, not actually hitting anyone with it) is key to inspiring faith and keeping the populace in line. They also hold corrections services for the un-civic-minded among their rat-flocks. These usually result in the victim being on the altar, getting stabbed by the Grey Seer while the other rats of the congregation squeak and screech at them like the Two Minutes Hate.

Finally, the Slave-Thing Place is where the foreigners who aren't soldiers stay. It's even worse than the Squeak-Kill Burrows. The ratcops don't even patrol it, preferring to let the foreigns sort things themselves; who cares if they die?

And that's our example Skaven house. BIG SQUEAK is the best name for a town square.

Next: Creating Clans and Warbands, The Kinds of Rules No-One Uses

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Feinne posted:

I wouldn't interpret the Inferno that way, I'm pretty sure the intent is that it does the full damage to every single cubic meter and everything IN those cubic meters instead of having a target, and so takes 370 Bashing levels if he's just got Armor. Though yeah the Quantum Bolt would still be better in this case. Invulnerability with the Broad extra to Energy Attacks could apply though you could have some weasel dick QB that doesn't count.

The omnicompetence thing is a big part of what makes this hard because some niche defensive powers are WAY better than the ones they defend against but lol who takes them. I think the actual best answer to YHVH is to use Universe Creation to make a universe where he specifically is not omnicompetent then withdraw to there where he is easily defeated.

the Lucifer gambit is pretty powerful

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Superhero games tend to have extremely complex character creation, even in cases where they're actually easy to play.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Halloween Jack posted:

Superhero games tend to have extremely complex character creation, even in cases where they're actually easy to play.

It kind of makes sense, though, because you're trying to emulate a genre where A: Done well, superpowers give you a huge range of fun abilities to play with and 'super teams' who all use their powers in tandem to work together for common goals are already a big part of the genre and B: It's a genre about people defined by their powers, so setting up those powers and their mechanics is going to be an important part of characterization.

Done right, the whole thing is extremely gameable, in a good way. Done wrong, uh, well. We've seen a lot of bad superhero systems.

punishedkissinger
Sep 20, 2017



I've been thinking more about the way different institutions interact in The Empire, specifically regarding how magic use is handled. The Sigmarites seem to oppose it entirely and would probably burn every magic user if they were allowed, but obviously the Colleges of Magic are quite powerful and have other ideas. This lead me to write a quick little adventure hook.

A landlord contacts the PCs. Recently, one of his tenants disappeared into thin air, along with the entire home. This was of course immediately noticed by everyone in town and there are now several groups searching for the man. The Church of Sigmar suspects chaos magic is involved and wish to locate the home and "interview" the tenant. The Colleges of Magic feel similarly, though, unknown to the PCs they seek to recruit the man into their ranks. The landlord is seeking back rent as well as damages and would like to find the man before the others do as he suspects it will be difficult to collect on these debts after the Sigmarites are done with him.

As this conversation is finishing, word comes that the house has been spotted atop one of the nearby Hagercryb mountains and the race is on!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Halloween Jack posted:

Superhero games tend to have extremely complex character creation, even in cases where they're actually easy to play.

Yeah, as a long-time player of Mutants & Masterminds, even it has needlessly fiddly bits like buying up your attack and defense in three different ways involving three different categories of purchase (bonuses, feats, skills) bundled in different confusing ways when most characters should be maxing it out anyway. Which was always But then, M&M was made fiddly in some ways as a marketing decision as much as a design one.

It works just fine once it's all in play (presuming you haven't done something weird or exploitative), but I can't tell you how many times I saw players not max their bonuses out for conceptual reasons and had to be like "No, go and max it out, we're simulating comics, I just want you have a good time playing dumb superhero action and not spend most of your time rolling misses or getting stunned just because your concept wasn't The Violentacular Battledude."

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Night10194 posted:

Secondly, if they big themselves up too much, a bunch of rat dock-workers will curb-stomp them.

This just sounds like unionized Skaven. The idea of ordinary clanrat workers/warriors unionizing would probably be pretty terrifying to the Skaven leaders, except for the fact that the Skaven workers would work themselves into a backstabbing frenzy trying to see who could turn scab first.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Skaven are weird and creepy never forget.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, as a long-time player of Mutants & Masterminds, even it has needlessly fiddly bits like buying up your attack and defense in three different ways involving three different categories of purchase (bonuses, feats, skills) bundled in different confusing ways when most characters should be maxing it out anyway. Which was always But then, M&M was made fiddly in some ways as a marketing decision as much as a design one.

It works just fine once it's all in play (presuming you haven't done something weird or exploitative), but I can't tell you how many times I saw players not max their bonuses out for conceptual reasons and had to be like "No, go and max it out, we're simulating comics, I just want you have a good time playing dumb superhero action and not spend most of your time rolling misses or getting stunned just because your concept wasn't The Violentacular Battledude."
How the hell was this a marketing decision, because it let people feel clever to think "aha, yes, have my attack and defense at PL" ??

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



I'm still trying to figure out what foreigners manage to pass through without being immediately jumped and taken captive.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Mors Rattus posted:

I'm still trying to figure out what foreigners manage to pass through without being immediately jumped and taken captive.

They mean foreign rats. As in, adventurer rats and stuff. They'll take your warpstone tokens and send you on your way and maybe not actively enslave you but if you're not associated with one of the big guys and thus having knife fights in the Squeak-Kill Burrow they ain't giving you no cops and they're gonna shoo you out as quick as possible.

White Coke
May 29, 2015


PurpleXVI posted:

This just sounds like unionized Skaven. The idea of ordinary clanrat workers/warriors unionizing would probably be pretty terrifying to the Skaven leaders, except for the fact that the Skaven workers would work themselves into a backstabbing frenzy trying to see who could turn scab first.

The slaves have tried rebelling many times, and the closest they came to success was under the leadership of Skabbicus. It didn't turn out well for Skabbicus but the Council of Thirteen think he's still out there somewhere.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Night10194 posted:

They mean foreign rats. As in, adventurer rats and stuff. They'll take your warpstone tokens and send you on your way and maybe not actively enslave you but if you're not associated with one of the big guys and thus having knife fights in the Squeak-Kill Burrow they ain't giving you no cops and they're gonna shoo you out as quick as possible.

Honestly this is probably safer than having cops.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Nessus posted:

How the hell was this a marketing decision, because it let people feel clever to think "aha, yes, have my attack and defense at PL" ??

Not specifically that, but just that M&M was a point-buy system with the relatively tight mechanics one expected. Steve Kenson didn't write the sort of game he ran; for that, look to Icons.

KingKalamari
Aug 24, 2007

Fuzzy dice, bongos in the back
My ship of love is ready to attack


I hope you all are ready to break the game in both directions, because it's...



The Wilderlands of High Fantasy | Part IV: Playtesting? Spare Me Your New Age Mumbo Jumbo!

Alright, so, last time we dove into the various race options offered in The Wilderlands and discovered a whole bunch fo latent racism! Today let's take a look at the setting-specific class options, which I assume are going to be filled with latent classism! HA HA! It's funny because the fantasy genre has a lot of unfortunate baggage from its early days that has still stuck around even into the modern day!

I should probably preface this section by mentioning that as far as crunch goes 3.x is probably the edition of D&D I'm the least familiar with: I got onboard in the 4e days, have played a ton of 5e as it's been the hot thing for most of my tabletop career, played in a couple of AD&D campaigns and have looked pretty heavily into the BECMI rules but never really got into any of the 3rd edition derivatives. I tried a couple of times with some Pathfinder one-shots but could just never get my brain to sync up with the rules. I say all this as this is probably the chapter that goes most heavily into the 3.x mechanics and, while I'll do my best to judge this, I don't have as solid a reference point as other people in the thread may.

We kick things off with a little intro blurb telling us we can use any of the standard classes in the PHB but that some have been tweaked fluff-wise to fit and are also encouraged to throw in the stuff from The Complete Psionics handbook because the original Wilderlands came out in that golden age when psionics were new and exciting and no one had yet realized how game breaking their original incarnation was!

We then get a little sidebar presenting an alternative XP progression track as, apparently, a bunch of the old guard were up in arms about the revised experience by level table because it meant their characters didn't spend enough time as pathetic poo poo farmers. The new one is meant to give more of an "AD&D Feel" to character progression:



I feel that if you're the type to want this, you probably don't need a book to lay it out for you...

So, we then dive into a quick little write-up for each of the PHB classes and how they're suitable to The Wilderlands. And, wouldn't you know it, all of them are perfectly suited to The Wilderlands! Who would have guessed this D&D supplement trying to sell itself as being a very accommodating setting would tell you all your existing material is totally well suited to it!

There's not too much of interest in this section but it does give one or two decent jumping off points as to what parts of the setting a particular class would fit in to.

Finally, we dive into some new content with our first Widlerlands-specific class:

The Alchemist!



"The Philosopher's Stone is a metaphor for enlightenment. So in a way, yes, I am searching for it. And the cure... for AIDS."

Alchemists are pretty much what you'd expect: They're weird old guys who make potions and poisons and other magical ingestibles for your tripping pleasure. We're told you're going to want a high Intelligence to actually know how to make potions, a high Constitution so you don't accidentally kill yourself when you're making poisons (Only practice alchemy in a well-ventilated space, kids) and a decent Charisma so you're better at selling the crap you brew up and convincing the cops you were just holding that potion of Hill Giant strength for a friend.

Here's their stat block:



You get a piddly d4 as your hit die and Craft (Alchemy), Craft (Whatever the hell would be useful for constructs), Craft (Poisonmaking, Knowledge (Arcana), Knowledge (Nature), Knowledge (Physical Universe)*, Profession (Alchemsit), and Use Magic Device. You also get proficiency with simple weapons and you can use the Craft (Alchemy) skill without being a spellcaster.

* - Is it just me or does Knowledge (Physical Universe) make this skill seem hilariously broad? "Can I substitute Knowledge (Nature) with Knowledge (Physical Universe)? The Beholder is technically part of the physical universe..."

The Alchemist gets more skill points to work with than a Wizard or Fighter but they're still looking at a mere (4 + INT) x 4 at first level and then 4 + INT skill points per level which seems...Kind of low given the nature of the class? I mean I understand the reason Wizards get so few skill points is to balance out the fact that they're ridiculous demi-gods in 3e but they also don't really need them what with effective spell use making pretty much the entire skill system obsolete. But Alchemists don't really have that luxury and are dependent on Craft skills to make their actual class features do anything...

As far as class features go you start off with resistance to potions, poisons and other alchemically created items due to all the fumes you are constantly ingesting as part of your work. I am now picturing every alchemist as being a magical Van Gogh, driven mad by the lead in their magical paints...

So, at level 2 you get the ability to brew poisons, this allows you to use the Craft (poisonmaking) skill in order to-Wait, hang on a second...You don't get the ability to actually brew things until 2nd level? And you can't start brewing potions until level 3? What the hell do they expect you to do until you get there? At least the wizard can cast a few spells at first level, all the Alchemist gets is that he's harder to poison!

Alright, so, provided your Alchemist survived the slog of being dead weight until level 2, followed by an additional level of just brewing poisons, you finally gain the ability to do what the class is actually based around at level 3: Potion-makin'! The Alchemist himself is not a spellcaster but can brew potions to mimic the properties of spells. They know a number of potion formulas per level that can mimic spells up to level 3, and can make potions based on spells in the Wizard, Cleric or Druid spell li- Wait, the spells you can use for potions only go up to level 3? Jesus H. Christ! I guess we have to be careful, if we throw too many features on top of the NOTHING they get up to this point the class may be overpowered.

Okay, at 4th level our Alchemist finally gets something to make up for the crap-rear end features they've been getting up until this point: Craft Homonculous. The write up for this feature basically consists of "Uhh...It's basically identical to if they had the 'Craft Construct' feat and if the process for making one involves...Oh poo poo! My pizza's here! Just look up Homonculous in the Monster Manual!".

5th level lets the Alchemist identify alchemical items as though they were using the Identify spell! Unless, of course, it's a unique/one-of-a-kind item, in which case they can only tell it's unique. Woo.

7th level brings us "Craft Wondrous Alchemical Items" which lets you craft...Whatever other consumables aren't covered by potions of poisons. It works identical to the Craft Wondrous Items metamagic feat but without the caster requirements. I should also note that the book specifies that The Alchemist needs to use an Alchemical lab to use any of their crafting features and specifically doesn't get the +2 benefit from the lab when doing so.

This class, more and more, sounds like the type of guy who would never go out into a dungeon and would just pay a bunch of other dudes to go delving for him...

At 8th level you get the ability to craft a Golem! You can first craft a Flesh Golem but work your way up to clay, stone and iron at higher levels. We are given no description of how to do so and are told to just read the entry for Golems in the Monster Manual! This book was worth the $60.00 you spent on it!

We then get nothing except variants on existing features and more alchemical formulae slots for 10 levels until we hit 18th at which point we have ingested so many trace amounts of hazardous materials that we are immune to all poisons! I am pretty sure there's just a magic item that does this that can be found at a lower level than this!

And our final capstone, at level 20, we can construct a Philosopher's Stone. This wondrous item can turn lead into gold and brew an elixir of life that works like the True Resurrection spell. Not the biggest game changer but the resurrection is nice, I sup-Wait, it then tells us brewing the elixir takes a month's worth of work and requires us to expend 5,000 XP and permanently lose 1 point from one of our attribute scores!

Or, you can be a Cleric and get the functionality of the immortality elixir as a spell that you can cast in 10 minutes without having to expend months of in-game time or permanently gimp yourself AND get a bunch of nifty spells and class features that could have prevented the person you're trying to resurrect from having died in the first place!

Amazon Warrior

Hey, have you been itching to play as that naked lady with the jaguars that Frank Frazetta was always drawing? Well boy howdy do I have a class for you! I am not being hyperbolic in any way.



"Come on, it's shooters night down at Hooters..Or is it hooters night down at Shooters?."

Not content to only make big boob-ed Amazons a race option, The Wilderlands of High Fantasy went ahead and also made them a class! They're very Fighter-like in their proficiencies, hit dice and skill point distribution but have the added caveat that they can only be played by female characters who either have Amazon as their race or have taken the Amazon Blood feat. Because being naked in combat is a genetic thing, I guess?

Here's the class table:



At first level they get proficiency with all simple and martial weapons, as well as shields but their only armor proficiency is with Amazon Armor. What is Amazon Armor, you ask? Why they have a helpful sidebar for it:



To summarize: This is the kind of armor that perverts mod into their games of Skyrim. The kind that is really effective if the enemy attacks the Amazon's vagina and nowhere else!

The weird part is that the entire class is kind of based around the idea of stabbing people with your tits out as a lot of their features only work if they're wearing Amazon or no armor. For instance, at first level they have the class feature "Fast Movement", which adds an additional 10 feet to their base movement speed provided they're wearing Amazon or no armor.

Also at level 1 they get the "Woman Warrior" feature, which gives any male opponents fighting them a -2 circumstance modifier to hit them if they're wearing any of the Amazon armors but Torc and Rings, and an additional -4 circumstance modifier to initiative if the Amazon is wearing Torc and Rings or no armor. The book tries to frame this as the men of the Wilderlands being sexist dicks who routinely underestimate the prowess of The Amazons if they have not fought them before (The feature specifically doesn't work on people who have previously fought Amazons because yay minutae) but I really can't read this any way besides everyone getting distracted by the Amazon's giant tits swinging in the breeze.

The final feature you get at first level is the "Fight in Unison" feature, in which a group of Amazons who are all wearing no armor or Amazon armor can tap into their "inherent psionic abilities" to...gain the ability to use the "Aid Another" action as a free action. And they can only do this a number of times a day equal to their WIS modifier. Kind of underwhelming but at least it's not The Alchemist.

At Second level they gain Battle Dancer that lets them add "Ω of her amazon warrior level"* to her AC (With the usual handful of situational caveats) provided she meets her class' usual armor restrictions (Those restrictions being "Gives the developers boners").

* - Is this 3rd Edition jargon I'm not familiar with or a misprint?

Third level gives her the ability to Speak with Animals as per the spell a number of times a day equal to her WIS Modifier.

At fourth level she gains an animal companion: She selects her companion as per a Druid of equal level and can also choose from the alternate animal companions list in the PHB but we are told most prefer big cats because Frank Fraz-Wait, she gets an animal companion that works identical to the Druid's options rather than the Ranger's? That...Actually seems pretty damned good for once! My brief foray into Pathfinder had me p[laying a Ranger and being frustrated that their companion was so nerfed compared to The Druid, especially considering the Druid also got to turn into animals and cast spells, while all The Ranger got was a piddly bow. Finally, a spot of sunshine!

Sixth level gives us Uncanny Dodge, which grants our DEX bonus to AC even while flat-footed provided we have our boobs out.

At eighth level she can tap into her latent psionic ability to activate the power "Combat Prescience" a number of times per day equal to her WIS modifier. This power allows her "awareness to extend a fraction of a second into the future, allowing her to better land blows against her opponent.". This takes the form of getting a +2 insight bonus to attack rolls for 1 minute/Amazon level. I feel like that's a lot of supernatural rigmarole to justify a minor to-hit bonus...

At tenth level she can use the psionic power Mindlink once a day to establish a telepathic link with a willing creature within 30ft. They have to be within 25ft + 5ft/2 levels or the bond is broken and it lasts for 10 minutes/Amazon level. Meh.

12th level sees an improvement to Uncanny dodge that negates the sneak attacks of Rogues within 4 levels of her (Because those Rogues are the real big danger you'll be facing at this level).

14th Level gives the Amazon damage reduction of 2/-. And she doesn't even specifically have to have her bazongas out for it to work!

16th level basically gives the Amazon permanent Freedom of Movement as per the spell.

18th Level lets her use Shield of Prescience as a class feature a number of times per day equal to her Amazon level. It grants a +5 bonus to AC for 1 minute/Amazon Level and explicitly stacks with her other armor bonuses.

Finally, at Level 20 she can activate the power Iron Body once per day to get DR of 15/- (But it doesn't stack with her 14th level feature). There are bunch of other situational considerations that are probably easier to quote the book on:

"She also gains immunity to blindness, critical hits, damage to ability scores (other than from psionic combat), deafness, disease, drowning, poison, stunning and all powers, spells or effects that effect her physiology or respiration because she has no physiology or respiration while this power is in effect. She suffers half damage from acid and fire of all kinds. However, she becomes vulnerable to all special attacks that affect iron golems. She gains a +6 enhancement bonus to Strength, but suffer a -6 enhancement penalty to Dexterity (to a minimum of 1), and her speed is reduced in half (despite her freedom of movement ability). She cannot drink (including potions) or play instruments requiring breath. Unarmed attacks deal 1d6 points of damage and she is considered“armed”when making unarmed attacks. Her weight increases by a factor of 10, with resultant effects on swimming, etc."

Overall the Amazon...could be worse I guess? Mechanically, at least. I feel like a class based on using sexy but impractical fantasy armor could be interesting if presented in a tongue-in-cheek fashion (And if it wasn't gender-restricted. Lemme play my sexy dude who distracts his foes with his impeccable codpiece!), but this class is unfortunately completely deadpan and thus full of some majorly sexist cruft. That said it at least seems a bit more powerful than your standard fighter, which is an admittedly low bar to jump over!

Sage



"...Or how about Ancient Greek?"

If the Wizard is the nerd power fantasy class, this guy is the nerd power reality class. These guys are presented as being scholars of forgotten secrets with forbidden knowledge man was not meant to learn, but at the end of the day they're just that dork who stayed in the library during recess.

We're told their major attributes to focus on are Intelligence, Wisdom and nothing else! Their class skills are Concentration (Con), Decipher Script (Int), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Profession (sage) (Wis), Read Language (Int), Speak Language (Int), Spellcraft (Int) and Use Magic Device (Int) and they are also, notably, the only class that is literate by default in this setting.

The book really wants us to believe the Sage is a useful and contributing member of the party. Why, just look at all the features they get:



Now look at how many of them aren't spellcasting!

The Sage suffers the same problem as The Alchemist in that so many of their class features require a huge amount of time and effort invested in getting them to work:

The explicitly need a Library in order to get a number of their features to work, and I don't mean a public library, I mean they have to drop a minimum of 1,000GP on a library (Which adds a +1 bonus to Research checks) to even start using their level 1 Research and Retry Knowledge Check skills as outlined in the book. They can get additional bonuses to these checks by spending more gold on their library (5,000 for a +2 to research checks and 10,000 for a +3!), and don't think you can get away with bumming off the library of another sage: doing so results in study times and costs being doubled because the library is "unfamiliar to the sage".

So, we've talked up these "Research" and "Retry Knowledge Check" features/skills a bunch, but what do they entail? Well, research is basically a Knowledge check that takes longer and needs a library: For every set of hours equal to the DC of the knowledge check x 2 the Sage spends researching he gains a +1 bonus to the check, up to a maximum of +3.

Retry Failed Knowledge Check is basically what it sounds like: If the Sage fails the check for the above feature they can try again...With a penalty to the DC equal to how much the sage failed by in their last attempt and only after spending a number of days equal to the new DC researching the question AND only after spending money equal to 5gp x the New DC! And they can't use this feature if they rolled a natural 1 on the initial check because of course crit fails are a thing!

I take back all the mean things I said about The Alchemist, The Sage is so, so much worse!

The other major class feature Sages get at first level is Familiarity levels. It basically means that there's a field of study in which the Sage shows a particular aptitude that gives them a bonus to that skill. They gain Majors and Minors as they loevel up they can spend on Knowledge skills in a similar manner to a Ranger's favored enemy feature. Majors give a +1 bonus to one knowledge skill selected by the Sage and Minors give a +1 to a narrow subcategory of a Knowledge skill. You can spend new Minors and Majors to skills you have already selected and the bonuses will stack. This is honestly such a piddly bonus I'd find it laughable if the entire class weren't so heavily focused on it!

The Sage's other big feature is Languages: They gain proficiency in a new language (Both spoken and written) every other level. I imagine after the third the player will have rapidly run out of useful options to choose from.

At 3rd level they gain the ability to Read Magic as per the spell at will.

At 5th level they gain the amazing ability to...accurately transcribe any document. I feel it's a new low when an adventurer's big class feature can be replicated by tracing paper. This has at least some use in that Sages are explicitly allowed to use this ability to transcribe magic scrolls without expending them. Which could be useful but isn't especially exciting.

We are then given a long section concerning how to hire a Sage, as though the developers realized no sane player would want to bother with this class and it should be relegated solely to NPC use.

We finish up The Sage's section with a big sidebar on Tome of Knowledge, which are basically special books The Sage can find and read for stacking bonuses to their respective fields of study. Much like the Necronomicon, some of these tomes may inspire madness when read and require a Will save to resist losing ability score points to their perverse knowledge!

The book encourages GMs to come up with tomes of their own but helpfully provides a page of examples. The examples run your usual gamut of Kings in Yellow and Necronomicon-inspired works that are to be expected from an RPG, but one in particular bears quoting in its entirety:

"Aquaducts and Water Flow: Written in Logii (the language of pure logic invented by the ancient Philosophers); Madness: Will save DC 18 (0/1d6 Wis) due to the razor-sharp logical precision and bizarre principles (calculus); Areas of Knowledge: architecture—modern building principles—aqueducts +2; Spells: None; Availability: rare, though several copies are believed to be in Rallu; Market Price: 25,000 gp. This perfectly square folio details with mathematical precision using principles lost ages ago the perfect way to construct aqueducts. It is perhaps noted more as a source of the rare language Logii than for its rather mundane content since so few written works from the age of the Philosophers survived."

Yeah, one of these is just an engineering book that you need to make a madness save against, supposedly because of the language it's written in but more likely because of how boring the subject matter is...

The Witch



"Witches ain't poo poo but sorcs and tricks..."

So, do you want to play a Halloween decoration and think giving your Wizard a broomstick isn't cutting it? Does The Wilderlands have...Well, not exactly what you're looking for but they have something.

This one isn't as mechanically useless as the Sage but feels especially phoned in in terms of design: The book all but tells us upfront that this class is basically just the Sorcerer with some extra poo poo tacked on, it doesn't even bother giving them the full class progression table the other entries had and just tells you to reference The Sorcerer in the PHB. Per the book this is "A very limited and focused class, the witch combines elements of sorcerer, cleric and druid." As we are about to see, the book's idea of "limited" is very different than mine.

So, while the class is 75% just The Sorcerer there are a few notable differences: Your hit die, weapon/armor proficiencies and skill points are the same as a Wizard, rather than a Sorcerer and you get some additional class skills on top of the usuals for the Sorcerer: Disguise (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (fauna), Knowledge (flora), Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (planes) and Knowledge (religion). Your spell list is the same as a Sorcerer's but with some additions from the Druid and Cleric spell lists. The list of extra spells is actually pretty hefty, taking up roughly half a page in paragraph format, so I won't bother to list it all out here but they get some seemingly decent things tacked on. Limited and focused class, remember.

In addition to the class features of the Sorcerer, The Witch picks up a few additional tricks as she levels: At first level she gains the Ebb and Flow feature. The Witch has to choose some sort of natural cycle that occurs in a pattern that can roughly fit into less than a year and has a high point and a low point (Day/Night, the phases of the moon, The equinoxes, etc.), while they don't specify your menstrual cycle as an option I am pretty sure I'm not the only person who would think of it. The basic idea is that on the high point of this cycle (Say, Midnight or the Full Moon) you are at the peak of your magical abilities and gain +1 effective caster level, while on the low point (Midday or the New Moon) You are weakest and suffer an effective -1 caster level. The book tells us that roughly daily cycles have high and low points lasting one hour, monthly cycles have their highs and lows last 1 day and yearly cycles have these periods last for a full month. You know what GM is going to hate you when you get this feature? All of them! That is some weird bullshit to keep track of.

At 3rd level The Witch needs to select a patron (Oh, hey Warlock, you're showing up much earlier than I expected...), we're told that in most cases this is an evil deity like Hel or a powerful demon but Witches may rarely select a neutral or good patron provided the patron is affiliated with nature or magic. From her patron The Witch gains one Cleric ability from their domain and can add domain spells of that patron to her spell list.

At 5th level they get the Circle Magic feature, which is explicitly just the Circle Magic ability from the prestige class section of the DMG, but without the Tattoo Focus feat requirement. The Witch can't perform circle magic on her low point.

At 9th level the Witch can use the Evil Eye to curse people once per day with effects as per the Bestow Curse spell. The target can make a Will save with a DC equal to 10 + The Witch's level + CHA modifier to negate this. As with circle magic the witch can't use this feature on her low point.

At 12th level The Witch gets a magic broom she can use to fly on 3 times a day as per the Fly spell (disabled at her low point, unlimited during her high point!). We're given some info on creating the broom: It involves an animal sacrifice, 1000gp in materials and 500XP, which seems like chump change compared to what The Sage was paying for a library at first level.

At 16th level the Witch gains the ability to shapechange as per the Druid's Wildhape. Using the feature the Witch may transform 2 times a day (disabled at low point, unlimited at high point) into any creature of size Large or lower. Now, this may be poor wording on the book's part, but as written that description suggests the large size or lower restriction supersedes the usual restrictions of the Druid's Wildshape, meaning at 16th level the Witch can turn into literally anything in the Monster Manual, provided it's of Large size or lower. Even I recognize how game-breaking that is!

Finally, at 20th level, the Witch gets the Timeless Body feature like the Druid or Monk. That feature is underwhelming under normal circumstances: After the broken as gently caress shapechange feat from 16th level it's like the Kindergartner's talent show performance following Johnny Carson...

So, overall the new classes Wilderlands offers are all over the place: From the unplayably useless Sage, to the under powered Alchemist, to the passable Amazon on to the utterly game-breaking Witch, the only really consistent thing about these classes is they don't seem to have been particularly well thought out, mechanically. I'm going to point the finger at Necromancer Games rather than Judges Guild as this was all d20 stuff not part of the original OD&D products and would thus have fallen squarely on Necromancer's shoulders. Anyone have any insight into what else they've produced?

Tune in next time when we finish up character options with Prestige Classes and Feats and see if the hits keep on coming!

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Wow! It's four classes I'd never loving play unless you beat me with a sack of potatoes every time I tried to pick a core class instead, and even then it'd be a tough choice.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


PurpleXVI posted:

Wow! It's four classes I'd never loving play unless you beat me with a sack of potatoes every time I tried to pick a core class instead, and even then it'd be a tough choice.

You could take the potatoes. Potatoes can be eaten for nourishment. I think the potato sack is still the superior choice.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





The non-casting classes are weak as poo poo and stuffed with crippling arbitrary restrictions on the few already-near-useless abilities they get, while the caster gets game-breakingly powerful perks thrown at them as an afterthought on top of their magic?

whoa

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



I imagine 2nd level alchemists are trying to make potions, they just always come out as poisons.

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








That XP chart takes far too many words to say "double the XP requirements for leveling". They could even have said that and printed the chart as well without making me , but nooooooo Necromancer Games needed to be verbose rather than brief.

Yeah, that's basically 3.x_class_design.txt right there. Eventually the actual 3.x designers got better at it but even Paizo didn't learn the necessary lessons for years (if ever) to not focus on too many to do so little. In particular I don't think that the Amazon Warrior is really passable. Other than the admittedly useful animal companion, it's on the level of the Complete Warrior Samurai which was a favorite punching bag of the community on how "lots of text for your abilities does not necessarily mean they're good". And if your class amounts to "I have the Ranger's skills/BAB plus a good animal companion", that may be functional by the numbers but it's also terribly half-assed from a design perspective. Late in the game's life cycle Wizards put out a column about "dead levels", basically commenting on the fact that a lot of classes just get open space for actual features a lot of the time and how dull that ends up being. The cute thing was that they didn't realize how right they were, because giving piddly nickel-and-dime bonuses doesn't preclude you from making a dead level and yet giving someone a full spell progression is so potent that all of their levels are good.

And then at the end we have the Witch, which looks like a painfully earnest iteration on the Lightning Warrior. In return for occasionally not getting to use its secondary class features, it instead gets the perk of "casts like a Sorcerer but with better spell access and a loving domain". I wonder if they botched the psionics stuff up too, because the Expanded Psionics Handbook was an anomaly so far as 3.x psionics went. Much of the time it just ended up being some tacked-on SLAs for monsters. For actual player options, the successor splatbook of Complete Psionics had a lukewarm reception while their 3.0 predecessor of the Psionics Handbook was considered an abomination. Only the Expanded Psionics Handbook itself was well-received. . (There was a quip somewhere that "Complete Psionics is what happens when designers roll a natural 1; the Psionics Handbook is the physical manifestation of a natural 1".)

drunkencarp
Feb 14, 2012


Can a sage combine the transcribe class feature, Use Magic Device, and a hypothetical friendly wizard who scribes scrolls from their spell book for the sage to photocopy to.... still suck pretty badly, frankly?

Piell
Sep 3, 2006

Grey Worm's Ken doll-like groin throbbed with the anticipatory pleasure that only a slightly warm and moist piece of lemoncake could offer



Young Orc

Amazon Warrior isn't terrible, all the amazon armors are 1point max dex higher than their normal equivalents, and the get an additional effective +2 against male opponents which is likely to be most in this sort of setting. Most of the other class abilities are poo poo but druid animal companions are really good. "You're basically two fighters" isn't the worst you can do for a class. And, of course, it's a pretty decent 1 level dip for light armor or unarmored characters - 2 good saves, better armor than is otherwise available, an additional AC bonus against male enemies, and +10' movement is pretty good.

And of course there is Battle dancer which adds an undefined number which I'm guessing is supposed to be like 1/4 of your character level or something.

Piell fucked around with this message at 04:36 on Dec 12, 2018

hectorgrey
Oct 14, 2011


I'm apparently really, really bad at this whole "posting updates in a regular fashion". This will be finished though; I refuse to give up on it just yet...

D&D 3rd Edition: The Core Books

Part 22: Adventures (Part 3)

So, where last we left off, I had just finished describing Goonsville; a town run in all but name by the Lawful Evil temple of Hextor. Near to Goonsville, there is a ruined temple. Nobody is entirely sure which deity the temple was dedicated to, and now there are bandits (five or six 1st level Warriors, twenty first level Commoners, led by a third level Ranger; mix of Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Good and Chaotic Evil in alignment) taking refuge within the ruins. I had originally planned to make a map for this, but I'm just not up to it at the moment. Sorry about that.

When the PCs eventually come here, there are a few possible entrances. The first, where the main entrance to the temple once lay, is blocked by rubble on the other side. The rubble is moveable, but is heavy enough to prevent the doors being opened. There is a hole above the door which someone could potentially climb up to (DC 15 climb check, as there is a significant amount of material missing from the wall). Given the DC, a Fighter or Rogue should be able to get up by Taking 10, and if they brought a rope, then the rest of the party should be able to join them.

If the party choose to walk around the perimeter, the second entrance will make itself apparent. It's a small-ish hole in the wall that would require a Dexterity check to get through unhurt - a failure will cause a d6 subdual damage from the minor cuts scratches. This is how most of the wildlife enters the ruin - there's a 20% chance of encountering some form of wildlife, and a 1/6 chance that the wildlife is potentially dangerous (like a snake or a pack of wolves).

The third entrance is the one that the bandits use - a much wider hole in the wall that, going by some of the pits in the ground nearby, could have been opened up by an explosion of some kind. This entrance appears unguarded, but a DC 20 Spot check might give the party the chance to notice someone keeping watch in the distance. There aren't any traps here - not only do the bandits not want to risk one of their own getting caught in one, but they also don't want to confirm their presence to anybody who gets this far.

Once within the walls, The well, which was once used for holy water, does appear to be used if the PCs choose to examine it - the bucket is wet, and the winch seems to have been looked after with some care. The water is quite fresh, if the PCs choose to test it - this is an excellent opportunity to refill water skins if needed. To the east and west are a couple of old storage buildings, the contents of which are now all but worthless. To the north is the main temple itself. There are a number of stained glass windows, some of which are broken. This is likely where anybody keeping watch would do so.

Within the temple, most of the space is dedicated to the main worship area, which has broken pew upon broken pew (difficult terrain if one tries to pass through). To the rear, there is a door which was presumably once hidden, behind which is a stairway leading down into a basement level. There are ladders leading to walkways above (primarily for cleaning the walls and windows) - two or three commoners will be here, keeping watch and armed with light crossbows. The walkways will provide a small amount of cover. Such an ambush may kill an unwary party member if they simply go blundering in, but provided the players keep an eye out for trouble and don't flub too many rolls, they shouldn't be too much the worse for wear. This is a fairly low CR encounter, intended to show that at these levels, adventuring is dangerous.

As the party descend to the basement level, they hear a few shouts - but the shouts are heading away from them. One of the clearer shouts will be "WAIT! WATCH OUT FOR THE... mold..." - as the party descends, they see three of the warriors in the middle of a patch of yellow mold, coughing his lungs up in an almost literal manner. The other two will attempt to leave the temple as quickly as they can, but this may look to the PCs like they're being charged at.

There are more terrified shouts and pained screams; as the PCs reach the source (assuming they wish to see what's happening rather than do the sensible thing and bugger off), they see roughly half a dozen skeletons fighting the ranger and what remains of the commoners. This is liable to be a tough fight, even with the skeletons mostly preoccupied by the bandits. If the bandits survive the fight, they'll suggest a short truce, since likely neither they nor the PCs are likely to be in any condition for further fighting. They have no intention of being captured alive, however, and will fight to the death if necessary.

In the room protected by the skeletons is a door locked by an Arcane Lock spell, and with a message in Draconic carved onto it, saying "Great power sleeps under here - tread carefully to avoid waking it". There are a number of other rooms in this level of the dungeon; those with loot will primarily include traps, such as a poison needle in the lock of a chest or similar.

As for what is behind that door? Well, that could easily be the focus of an entire campaign, if you wanted it to be. Finding someone who can translate Draconic might involve taking a trip to another town, which will hopefully give them the opportunity to gain a couple of levels (and the Knock spell, since that or Dispel Magic are required to bypass an Arcane Lock).

Once again, I find myself apologising for taking ages on an update. Hopefully this is a suitably interesting post to make it worth the wait for those who are still following this. The next post will be on a new chapter - Campaigns. This should hopefully be easier to do, and with a little luck I'll actually be able to make another update before Christmas (though I wouldn't hold my breath).

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


Volo's Guide to Monsters: Goblinoids: The Conquering Host Part 2

Previous Entry

Bugbears


Bugbears are featured in the tales and nightmares of many races. "Great, hairy beasts that creep through the shadows as quiet as cats. If you walk alone in the woods, a bugbear will reach out of the bushes and strangle you. If you stray too far from the house at night, bugbears will scoop you up to devour you in their den. If a bugbear cuts off your head, your soul stays trapped inside, and the bugbears use your head to magically command all whom you once knew."

Some of this stuff comes from the seeds of truth, but it's largely embellishment. Bugbears are stealthy and prefer to act at night to avoid detection, and they do take the heads of enemy leaders. However bugbears are no more likely to eat people indiscriminately than humans are. Bugbears also likely won't attack lone travelers or wandering children unless they clearly have something to gain from doing so. Largely to the rest of the world, the bugbears aggression and savagery are offset by their rarity and lethargy.

Shiftless, Savage Layabouts
When they are not in battle, bugbears spend most of their time napping and resting. (To the point Bugbear PC's can take a feat that make them better at rests.) They don't engage in crafting or farming, and don't really produce anything of value. Prefering to bully weaker creatures into taking care of their needs so they can take it easy. When a superior foe tries to force bugbears into service, they will try to escape rather then do the work or confront the enemy. Even when absorbed into a goblinoid host, bugbears must be roused from naps and bribed in order get them to do their duties.

Despite their indolence they are quite vicious. And will engage of bouts of ferocity using their powerful bodies, exacting and quick and ruthless violence. "At their core, bugbears are ambush predators accustomed to long periods of inactivity broken by short bursts of murderous energy. Ferocious though they may be, bugbears aren’t built for extended periods of exertion."

Elminster posted:

One useful trick: if ye face bugbears who have severed heads on spikes as trophies, cast a spell to make the heads speak. After that, ye can cozen the bugbears into doing almost anything.

Gang Mentality
Bugbears are not a particularly fertile race, so their overall population is small and spread over a wide area. They live in family groups that operate similar to gangs, typically numbering a little less than a dozen and consisting of siblings, their mates and perhaps some offspring and an elder or two. The gang will normally live in a small enclosure like an old bear den, and they might have supplementary dens elsewhere in the area for temporary use when out foraging.

When the times are good, the gang all gets along and work together well in hunting and bullying other creatures. But when their fortunes turn sour they turn selfish and start to sabotage one another. They may even start exiling weaker or unpopular bugbears from the gang to keep it strong. Fortunately for the race, even young or elderly bugbears can fairly easily survive alone in the wilderness, and castoffs might catch on with a different gang.

Left alone bugbears have about as much impact on the world as wolf packs. They subsist by crafting simple tools and hunting and gathering. Gangs sometimes come together peacefully to exchange goods and members.

Malevolent Worship of Malign Gods
Bugbears worship two brother gods, their primary god Hruggek and his younger brother Grankhul. Hruggek is known for his strength, feriosity and battle prowess. Bugbears believe that their strength and bravery come from him. Grankul is the cunning one, and according to bugbear legends he granted them stealth, but in return sapped their vigor, so they sleep in his stead while he remains forever alert and awake.

More of their legends state the two brother work together, preying on all they encounter as is their right as superior warriors. Hruggek takes the heads of his enemies and mounts them on spikes outside his den, were they utter pleas for mercy, and sing praises to his might. Grankhul watches over Hruggek while he is sleeping, but when he needs to leave his brothers side, he commands the heads to wake Hruggek of any threats.

Bugbears admire the qualities of both brothers. Giving Hruggek thanks for them considering bravery and physical superiority to be their natural state. While they thank Grankhul for being able to use their size and strength to work as stealthy assassins instead of blundering around like ogres.

Bugbears recognize two other gods which they disdain and fear: Maglubiyet and Skiggaret.

As Maglubiyet as the leader of the goblinoid pantheon forced both brothers to submit to him. Sparing them and allowing them to go free -But under his control- so that bugbears would employ their talents against his enemies. Bugbears understand by venerating the two brothers they also tribute Maglubiyet, though they don't openly worship or pay homage to their overlord. When bugbears are called to join a goblinoid host, they understand it as Maglubiyet once again corralling the brothers into battle, and honor their gods by following suit.

Skiggaret is the bugbear boogeyman, being as hateful and terrifying to them as they are to many other races. Skiggaret's name is barely spoken by them and never above a whisper. Bugbears believe that Skiggaret's influence manifests himself when bugbears are forced to act in a cowardly fashion. Bugbears that feel themselves to be in mortal danger is affected by a form of madness and will doing anything, including flee, to stay alive. Bugbears believe this feeling of fear comes from being directly possessed by Skiggaret, and they don't like feeling it. After the madness has passed, they don't tend to dwell on things done in Skiggaret's presence. Talking about such things might bring him back after all.

Blessings of the Bugbear Gods
Bugbears don't believe in the need for things like priests and shamans. No one needs to tell them what the gods want. If the brothers are angry with them, the gods will let them know, Hruggrek will send bolts of lightning at them or Grankhul will strike them blind or dead. They worship their gods by preying on other creatures, no other ceremony is needed to show obeisance with one exception.

A act of worship that attracts favorable attention from their gods is collecting the heads of enemies. Bugbears cut away or stitch open the eyelids, and leave the moths hanging open. The heads are then placed on spikes or hung from cords around the den. The heads themselves honor Hruggrek, while their ever staring eyes honor Grankhul.

The heads of leaders or mighty foes are particularly sacred, and offering them up can cause their gods to grant the gang a boon. A gang that gains the favor will find the head will emit a shout when an enemy gets close. Sometimes the heads of people who have information the bugbears need will speak their secrets amid pleas for mercy.



Next time: Goblinoids part 3 Hobgoblins

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!






God-drat I hate this coy TnA/"have a glimpse of my magical realm" writing.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


I've always been a fan of the 'magic-rear end tattoos' to supplement the armor for fantasy groups where normal armor isn't generally their thing, like warcraft Demon Hunters. Especially since that's a co-ed group who don't wear a lot of clothes. Also probably has some level of Incredible Hulk Syndrome.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




It's hard for a game where the attack/defense system is based primarily on what armour you're wearing to accommodate a broad range of high fantasy archetypes.

My solution for games in the D&D mold is to give each class an appropriate base AC regardless of what armour they're wearing. Spears of the Dawn has a feat that treats you as wearing heavy armour even if you're just wearing a loincloth.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Feinne posted:

I've always been a fan of the 'magic-rear end tattoos' to supplement the armor for fantasy groups where normal armor isn't generally their thing, like warcraft Demon Hunters. Especially since that's a co-ed group who don't wear a lot of clothes. Also probably has some level of Incredible Hulk Syndrome.

For the Double Cross game I'm running at the moment (adapting the setting to monster hunting and occult/biblical superhero stuff rather than the normal genetic superheroes) this is actually what all the armor's been refluffed as. The team's sage just goes out and gets the stuff he needs to enchant talismans, temporary body markings, and other stuff and brings them back to the others, so they can still dress like normal people and don't have to be walking around 1890s London in armor without ignoring the gear system entirely.

Also, I know it's been covered before, but after the Rats, I think I might do my own thing on Double Cross. It's probably my favorite Superhero game.

grassy gnoll
Aug 27, 2006

The pawsting business is tough work.

Double Cross is an excellent system with elegant mechanics that I never want to play, just because of how much of a pain it is to use the book as a learning and reference tool. Can't stand that drat thing.

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



grassy gnoll posted:

Double Cross is an excellent system with elegant mechanics that I never want to play, just because of how much of a pain it is to use the book as a learning and reference tool. Can't stand that drat thing.

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