Saturday 26 October 2013

D20 Icons - Yuan-Ti

Each week I'll be taking a crack at converting some of the most iconic d20 monsters that, for one reason or another didn't appear in the awesome 13th Age Core rulebook. This week - Yuan-Ti

Level 5 (Magical Beast)
Init: +8
HP: 54 AC: 21 PD: 19  MD: 15

Tainted Scimitar: +13 vs AC - 18 damage, Natural even hit or miss: Ongoing 10 poison damage.

Wicked Hijazi : +13 vs. AC -  (one nearby creature) 18 damage, Natural even hit or miss: Ongoing 10 poison damage.

Cold Blooded Cunning: The first time the Yuan-Ti attacks an enemy during a battle, its crit range for that attack expands by 2 (to a maximum of 18+).

Nastier Special
Block Lotus Poison: If the Yuan-Ti makes a Melee or Range attack and rolls 16+ to hit, the creature is poisoned with the essence of the Black Lotus, they must begin making last gasp saves as their heart begins to stop!

: If you like this monster check out the other Iconic classic D&D monsters I've converted here :

Sunday 20 October 2013

We came for the loot, We stayed because we died..

I've started running a VTT via Roll20 - a classic pick up and play mega-dungeon experience run with the 13th age ruleset.

"The purpose for this is I know regular gaming can be tough, so I want to provide an opportunity for people to get involved if and when they can. The megadungeon is great setting for this - theres ongoing continuity for those who need it and episodic stand alone play for those who cant make that often. Each week is a new delve, going in at the start of the evening and trying to make it out at the end. You can change your character each week or, should you choose, stick with the same one forever."

So if you're interested in rolling up a character, delving a dungeon and hopefully making it out alive let me know. There's already some interest building over at Roll20 so it would be nice to extend the invitation to anyone (and i know there are at least a couple!) who reads the blog.

Visit the Roll20 thread here - or get me on G+ here

Happy gaming

Saturday 19 October 2013

Simple Mounted Combat for 13th Age.

A couple of my players bought horses, great I thought - they can travel loads faster. One of the buggers bought a warhorse, damn it I thought, now we have to make some rules for it in combat:

  • A horse doubles your speed when in combat, we're not worried about realism this is an abstraction - horses make you faster.
  • Give it baselines stats of appropriate level, large or regular - you can decide how substantial the horse is.
  • Armour barding for a horse is the same as a shield for a humanoid. An abstraction but simple. +1 AC. By extension its also possible to get magical barding surely?
  • Consider giving a warhorse a bonus to AC and Damage (+2 AC and 25% additional damage)
  • If you riding a warhorse roll a d6 at the beginning of your turn, if its below the escalation die then it makes an attack against an engaged enemy.
  • If you or the horse is staggered then you need to make a check to control the horse, this should be hard difficulty if on a regular horse, average difficulty with a warhorse. Failure results in the horse rearing and trying to bolt etc, perhaps even a Dex/Str check may be required to hang on - falling off could hurt.
  • Stunts such as jumps and other tricky manoeuvres may required a Dex/Str background check to pull off successfully. Remember failing forward and offering tough choices on failure.
  • You still have to disengage with a horse, the GM makes the call whether AOO are aimed at the horse or the rider.
  • Missed attacks - Roll a natural 1-5? ignore any powers triggered by the attack and roll it again against the horse.

We tried to make this rules as simple and inclusive as possible. There's a bunch of stuff you could add in that just adds an additional layer of complexity that we don't need - combat is fun when its quick, we stopped playing 4e for a reason remember? Likewise I encourage rulings and players feedback, we've just started using these so it might change - let me know if you implement them and what you're players think about it.

Happy Gaming

Thursday 17 October 2013

My Maps - Ysarn

A while back I posted a completed 4e (Mike Schley) Style Map Template, so far I've had no use to create anymore maps - my players have been happily exploring a large continent, but time has come to head across the seas in search of adventure. I present to you, Ysarn. (Hint: Right Click > Open in new tab)

I've not put any details on there yet, bar a few interesting things I wanted 'hardcoded' into the geography (such as the river and a few oasis dotted about) as usual i'll take my fluid 'creation upon necessity' approach whereby elements are added as needed for player and story purposes. If you want some good guidelines i'll write a post about it at some stage (if there's interest)

Feel free to print copy/mangle as you see fit.

Have fun - Dave

Wednesday 16 October 2013

D20 Icons - Kuo Toa

Each week I'll be taking a crack at converting some of the most iconic d20 monsters that, for one reason or another didn't appear in the awesome 13th Age Core rulebook. This week the Lovecraftian Kuo Toa.

Kuo Toa
Level 6 (Magical Beast)
Init: +13
HP: 80 AC: 21 PD: 19  MD: 15

Hooked Trident : +11 vs AC (one nearby creature) - 21 damage, Natural even hit: if the target creature is engaged with Kuo-toa it pops free.

Barbed Net : +11 vs. PD (1d2 nearby enemies) - The target is stuck save ends; every time the target fails a save they take 19 damage

Cunning Manoeuvre : When a creature moves to engage the Kuo-Toa it can pop free from one creature that it is already engaged with.

Aquatic : Whilst in or under water the Kuo-toa gains +2 to all defences

Nastier Special
Accursed: The Kuo-Toa wield dreadful weapons enchanted by long forgotten and evil gods, any character staggered by a Kuo-Toa attack is afflicted by The Curse of Dagon.

The Curse of Dagon: At the end of every day until the curse is lifted, a character must make a single Last Gasp save, after 4 accumulative failures overnight they will complete their transformation into a Kuo-Toa.

: If you like this monster check out the other Iconic classic D&D monsters I've converted here :

Monday 14 October 2013

A Picture Paints a 1,000 Words..

Need some inspiration? Each week i'll grab a random image and use it to kick start a plot thread, I actively encourage you to come up with something based on the image and post it in the comments. NPC, Locales, Items and Artefacts. I'll be doing them all.

Donaar Al'Hammam

Donaar Al'Hammam the wandering merchant has lived and made a living trading magical goods in the coastal rimwards region of Ysarn for over 80 years. Old and wizened from Ysarns blistering heat Donaar is hunched with deep wrinkles etched into his long bearded face.

He is renown for his humour, youthful spirit and quick wits, also the uncanny ability to seek out items of curiosity and wonder. He is self serving foremost, but not at the cost of others - coin is his greatest motivator but given dire enough circumstance he will do whatever is needed for those he calls friend.

Kind but stern, having travelled among the wild men of Calpar and Iprini he has grown tough and resilient to danger. His earliest achievement was uncovering burial mound of the first kings of Ysarn, and with these treasure he made his first fortune. Despite his appearance and few remaining teeth Donaar eternal youthfulness has a winning way with the ladies.

Secret : He is a elder lord of the Heeg Ad'Wallaze

Saturday 12 October 2013

GM Kit: Magic Items

This is part of my steadily expanding GM Kit series of blog posts, mostly concerning (but not limited to) 13th Age. I play either online via Roll20 or during my weekly face to face game and either way i'll be using a laptop. The GM Kit series is designed to get all my tables and useful info all in one place. Hopefully you can get some use out of it too.

Here are some random magic items, either artefacts with personalities or functional magical tools all sought after by adventurers, wanderers and curious folk.

Minor Items - Roll D100

Roll D100
Minor Magic Items
Runic Bandages : Use of these bandages allows a player to max out one recovery roll whilst resting.
Belt of Great Strength : Whilst worn a PC gains +1 on all strength related rolls.
Bracers of Protection : Whilst worn they grant +1 AC.
Brooch of Disruption : This item will absorb upto 20 damage per day.
Hearthspark : This glass bead will transfor into a campfire when a command word is spoken, burning for 8 hours. When done or commanded to, it transform back into a glass bead.
Ironweave Cloak : Whilst worn this grants +1 PD
Dust of Semblance : If sprinkled on a creature, the target is disguised as if they've had Disguise Self cast upon them.
Primordial Amber : If crushed Primordial Amber will summon an elemental to serve you for roughly 5 minutes. The colour of the amber indicates the type of elemental.
Dragonbreath Tonic : After consumption a creature may breath fire on 1d4 creatures This last 1 hour or upto 3 times (only once per battle)
Veiling Tonic : After consumption a creature gains +5 to stealth checks for 1 hour.
Aquatic Tonic : After consumption a creature gains +5 to swimming checks for 1 hour.
Tonic of Clarity : After consumption a creature gains +5 to perception checks for 1 hour.
Wizards Palm : This mummified hand on a chain allows the wearer to cast the Mage Hand cantrip upto once per round.
Fearless Tabard : Whilst worn a PC ignores any creature fear aura if they are of the same level or lower.
Pearl of Augury : After a battle this item can be crushed enableing the user to recharge one daily spell.
Lubricious unguent : After application a creature cannot be grabbed for the next 8 hours
Argent Luster : After application to a weapon it acts as if made of silver for the purposes of attacks, for example against creatures such as werewolves. This last 1 hour.
Willow's Acorn : This acorn will transform into a mighty oak upon saying the command word, and is a fully living plant.            

Tuesday 8 October 2013

D20 Icons - The Mimic

Each week I'll be taking a crack at converting some of the most iconic d20 monsters that, for one reason or another didn't appear in the awesome 13th Age Core rulebook. This week - Mimics

Level 4 (Magical Beast)
Init: +7
HP: 54 AC: 18  PD: 16  MD: 14

Pseudopod : +12 vs AC (one nearby creature) - 10 damage, Natural even hit: the target creature is grabbed.

Chewing Maw : +12 vs. AC - 16 damage, the Mimic can perform this as a quick action against creatures it has grabbed.

Sticky : If struck by a melee attack and the natural attack roll is 1-5 the weapon becomes stuck to the mimic.

Polymorph : As a quick action a Mimic can change its form to resemble any inanimate stone or wooded medium sized object. Whilst in this form the Mimic has resistance to all damage and cannot move. In order to discern that the Mimic is in fact alive a character must succeed at a Hard 'spot/perception' background check. 

: If you like this monster check out the other Iconic classic D&D monsters I've converted here :

Sunday 6 October 2013

A Picture Paints 1,000 words..

Need some inspiration? Each week i'll grab a random image and use it to kick start a plot thread, I actively encourage you to come up with something based on the image and post it in the comments. NPC, Locales, Items and Artefacts. I'll be doing them all.

Sophronia Vear. 

A beautiful and highly regarded socialite (by some, others have their misgivings), she belongs to House Vear - a long and especially noble family of notably strong and capable women - she's always at the most exclusive parties and always with a string of suiters fawning over her. Not entirely vacuous and vain as her detractors would have you believe, she publicly patronises numerous good causes amongst the poor and low-born. She's actually a Liche, and has been for the last 1,000 or so years. Every so often she will marry, secretly obtain an infant girl to act as daughter - go into seclusion for a decade or so, eventually re-emerging as her 'daughter'.

13A Random Tables: Magical Fountains

I was in the middle of a game and I needed a magical effect from drinking the water in a fountain, couldn't find a great one* so i've decided to make one (some of the effects aren't all positive)

Roll a D20

  1. Drinker gains Darkvision for the next hour.
  2. Drinker loses a Recovery.
  3. Drinker begins to petrify, roll Last Gasp Saves. If the water is drunk again this removes the petrification.
  4. Drinker gains a Recovery.
  5. Drinker receives -2 to their next d20 roll.
  6. Drinker gains +2 to their next d20 roll.
  7. The drinkers hands emit a holy radiance, they gain 2 uses of the 'Lay on Hands' spell.
  8. The next time the drinker spends a recovery they can max one dice rolled.
  9. The next time the drinker spends a recovery they lose HP equal to the highest dice rolled.
  10. The drinker makes no sound when attempting to move silently for the next hour.
  11. Drinker loses any special vision (Low-Light, Darkvision etc) for the next hour.
  12. The drinker gains a fear aura (of equivalent level on the monster stats chart)
  13. When the escalation dice is odd, you can re-roll one d20 per turn.
  14. When the escalation dice is even you can max out one damage dice rolled.
  15. The player may re-roll one relationship dice this session
  16. The next time they roll a 6 on a relationship dice, its actually a 5.
  17. The drinker is healed to full hitpoints
  18. The drinker is reduced to 50% (if lower than 50% already no effect)
  19. Drinker is immune to petrification for the next hour.
  20. The drinker gains a +2 bonus to PD and MD during the next battle.
You should decide how many uses the fountain contains, and how often it refills (perhaps don't give everybody the opportunity - it might encourage tactical discussion) and whether the water can be bottled and taken away for use later.

Keep the suspense

I also strongly encourage you add some RP fluff when handing out the above effects - a +2 to a roll is ok, but pretty boring really. Tell the players they feel quicker and more alert than before, don't reveal the effect until they make the roll. This will help prevent the fountain from becoming a magical effect dispenser to an actual artefact worthy of reverence or fear.

Until next time.

*I make no assertion that mine is any better, it just suits my needs. 

Saturday 5 October 2013

Making 13th Age feel more 'Old School'

I've been thinking about and reading an increased amount of OSR games and adventures over the last couple of months, I didn't really 'get' OSR content until about a  year ago and when I got involved in the Next public test. I'll agree that Next isnt really an OSR game* but it certainly 'feels' oldschool or at least scratches an old school itch.  Its only been the last 6 months that my appetite for OSR content has increased and i really started to dig into the different options available.

They've got me thinking about what exactly makes a game feel old-school, and is 13th Age ticking all those boxes? If not all of them, how can i hack it to make do so?

Really old d&d had very simple classes and even races as a class, I think 13A is ok in respect to complexity, still pretty new school feeling but the abstraction of positions and movement changes things dramatically - it has its own blend of vanican casting and its done away with the standard resource system (AEDU) of 4th ed. Even the skill system in 13A is constructed around character concepts and storytelling, so I feel no need to tamper here either. I certainly don't want to have to make new classes or hack every one individually. Im really looking for some large dials and switches I can turn to tune the whole game.

So what can a I change that will tune the whole system universally? Healing. A lot of the old school feeling comes from the threat barometer. Early d&d was notably ruthless for example and the general scale of player power has traditionally increased through editions to the point where 4e had high fantasy 'heroic' heroes. So how can we dial back that mechanic to make 13A feel more inline? One of the major reasons I think 4E felt vastly different to older editions was the inclusion of healing surges and martial healing, I don't mind those mechanics but they're definitely new additions to the core game**

Do we need the concept of recoveries in 13A? There are powers that use them and I categorically don't want to hack the classes individually - but i'm happy to make a blanket change. Here what I propose -

  • You no-longer have recoveries to spend after fights and by rallying during a fight.
  • When you are asked to 'spend a recovery' by a power or item, you heal the amount a recovery would have been for your level.
  • A full rest will recover either all your HP, or sped the value of a recovery - depending on the GM's feelings.

By employing this system suddenly the threat level is ramped up, combine this with the focus on storytelling that 13A already brings and you've got much more of an OSR feel. The HP/Monster damage numbers are inflated in comparison to something like 0e - but its by a factory of 3 (a wizards starting HP is 6 x 3 + con, many OSR games have starting magic user at somewhere between 1d4 and 1d6 hp) i'm not going to change the numbers, I just see them as allowing me more granular modification of peoples HP through danger.

I'm sure there are lots of things that old schoolers will balk at (like damage on miss and more options in character creation) but most of it doesn't impact the game as much as that one simple change.

So what makes an OSR feeling game? Threat, and the limited tools to overcome it.

* or is it? I don't know anymore, since i've absorbed a high quantity of d20 games they all kinda blur into one - but i'm sure someone out there knows the answer for certain.
** I say core but I think they've all appeared in earlier editions in expansions and additions, just never the core system.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Roll20 Paizo style pawn tokens, downloadable.

As promised here is a .PSD (photoshop file for the uninitiated) for the Roll20 Paizo Pawns I made a week or so back - now available in Large!