Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Card Captor of Many Things

If you don't know - I'm a member of the Minionworks podcasting collective and I run most of the games. February 1, 2019 was our 5th year anniversary, in celebration we decided to go back to the game that brought us together - Dungeons & Dragons. The gang dusted off their old 4th edition characters and converted them into 5th edition. 

Similarly, I adapted Madness at Gardmore Abbey to the most recent edition. The encounters were pretty straight forward, cherry picking the most memorable/interesting parts. Most of the work was leaning into the module's core conceit - the Deck of Many Things has been split up and you can use their powers with some degree of safety while the Deck is disassembled. In 4e, you can use the Cards of Many Things and fill a space on the board with the specific card's encounter power.

You can find the episode here.

CHAOS CARDS - You can call upon the individual cards in your possession and wield their power. Unless specified in parentheses they require a Use Item Action.

SOUL EATER - Divided as it is, the Cards are no longer fueled by the havoc they cause. You can recharge expired cards by feeding them dying breaths. The bracketed number is how many sapient creatures the card needs to feed from in order to recharge. (You have to allocate the fallen to each card.)
You can also increase the effects of the cards by feeding them your Hit Dice. Each Hit Dice expended increases the attack bonus, damage, and duration by 2.

Vizier - [2] (bonus action) You have advantage on your next attack rill and deal 5 extra points of damage.

Sun - [4] You heal 4D6+4 hit points and become invisible to everyone.

Moon - [5] Instantly recharge another card.

Star - [special] You gain advantage on all rolls until either you fail one or 5 minutes pass. This card can only be recharged by the Moon.

Comet - [10] If you single handedly defeat the next encounter, you (singularly) gain Experience Points enough to gain one level.

The Fates - [4] (reaction) If an enemy’s attack hits you, force them to re-roll it. They have to take the second result.

Throne - [X] You gain proficiency in the Persuasion skill, and double your Proficiency Bonus to that skill. In addition, you gain rightful ownership of a small keep full of monsters. Who can say where? This card does not recharge until the Deck is fully restored.

Key - [4] You teleport 50 feet and take 2D6 points of damage. The card gets your shape mostly right.

Knight - [6] You gain the service of a Knight (see Monster Manual) who appears in a space you choose within 30 feet of you. They belonged to a knightly order that's relevant to the plot.

Gem - [special] You can take an extra action, which includes a bonus action, this turn. A body part transmutes into gemstone after your additional turn ends. It’ll be fiiiiine. This card can only be recharged by the Moon.

Talons - [4] Make a ranged attack with a +11 bonus against a single target. If successful, the target is Restrained for 2D4 turns.

The Void - [4] Make a melee attack with a +11 bonus against a single creature. If successful, both of your souls are drawn from your bodies and contained in an object in a Far Away place, guarded by one or more powerful beings. While your soul is trapped, your body is Incapacitated. A wish spell can't restore your soul, but the spell reveals the location of the object that holds it.

Flames -[4] All creatures within 30 feet of you have to make a Dexterity save DC 16. If they fail, they take 4D8 fire damage and 5 ongoing until they can put out the fires.

Skull - [4] Make a melee attack with a +11 bonus against a single creature. If successful, they fall unconscious.

Idiot - [4] Make a melee attack with a +11 bonus against a single creature. If successful, they are Stunned for 1D6 turns.

Donjon - [4] Make a melee attack with a +11 bonus. If successful, remove 1D4 creatures from play until the end of your next turn.

Ruin - [4] All creatures within 30 feet of you have to make a Constitution save DC 16. If they fail they take 4D10+10 damage and suffer the Poisoned condition.

Euryale - [3] Make a ranged attack with a +11 bonus against a single target. If successful the card's medusa-like visage curses your target. They have disadvantage on Saving Throws while cursed in this way and their speed is halved as their extremities petrify.

Rogue - [4] Make a ranged attack with a +11 bonus against a single target. If successful, the target is Charmed for 2D4 hours.

Balance - [4] Make a melee attack with +11 bonus. If successful, deal 4D12 damage to one target and heal that much.

Fool - [4] (reaction) If an enemy hits you with a melee attack, deal 2D10 psychic damage and they fall prone.

Jester - [4] (reaction) After being hit, you move 10 feet away without provoking an opportunity attack.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Savage Worlds: Square Up

Similar to Conviction in SWADE, Momentum is a new resource that only available to one Wild Card at a time. You gain Momentum when you hit with a Fighting Attack and you lose it when you're hit by one. When you have Momentum, the Multi-Action penalty becomes a bonus (-2 becomes +1, -4 becomes +2, -6 becomes +3). This bonus applies to Attacks (Fighting and Shooting), Grappling, Pushing, Tricks, and thematically appropriate Powers.

For larger maps you  might abstract movement from strict unit measurements to zones. If you do, then you need to decide if characters are slippery or sticky. If characters are slippery then you can move from zone to zone without risking Free Attacks from other characters in the zone. If fighters are sticky, then characters are considered in combat when they enter the zone. When they try to leave then they can decide to you escape \Clean or Messy.
Clean- Roll your Running + Wild Die, if you succeed then you avoid Disengaging Strikes.
Messy- Roll Athletics + Wild Die, if you succeed then you avoid Disengaging Strikes but bring all opponents into the next zone with you.

Scale conceptually models mid and final boss characters, denoting martial mastery and power rather than perpetually raising Traits. Higher Rank = high Scale. You lose your Wild Die when you attack a higher Ranked Wild Card (ex: Novice vs Seasoned) and they treat you as an Extra when they strike back, requiring one Raise to take you out.
So save your Bennies.
This also goes the other way, lower Ranked Wild Cards lose their Wild Die when they attack you. When you attack them, you treat them as Extras. Opposing Wild Cards without an Experience Rank are treated as below your Rank.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Sunhome's Shadows: Izzet League

"The only action worth taking is one with an unknown outcome."
Daniel at Detect Magic laid out Mouse Guard's game structure for generalized use and posted an example adaption for a crew of thieves. I'm applying it to the guilds of Ravnica, maybe I'll make it through all 10. I started with the military police force known as the Boros Legion, now following up with the mad scientists of the Izzet League.

MISSIONS - Choose 1, should also include field testing some dangerous equipment.
  1.  Acquire - A member of the Izmundi is leaning on you. By hook or by crook you've gotta get the power source, dragon egg, or rare material; otherwise you're never gonna get free. That's how that works, right?
  2.  Repair -Whether an alchemical fire fed by water, a turbine breaking free, or the shattered laws of gravity; Ravnica hosts disasters beyond the usual authorities' abilities. That's when they call you. Maybe you need to contain an industrial accident from getting any worse.
  3.  Sabotage - Maybe they're researching weird containment, experimental metallurgy, or temporal stitching; no way the rival research team rolls out their research project first. The fastest fix is throwing a wrench in their works. Copy it before you destroy it, never know when it'll come in handy.
  4. Observe - The World City is far from fully explored and catalogued. Plumb the Undercity and soothsay the Restless Tomb, or infiltrate the High Halls to transcribe the sphinxes' existential riddles to distract the Firemind. You're only temporary but knowledge is eternal.
  1.  Bounty Hunters -The Senate, the Legion, and the Conclave could all have good reasons to bring you in and get answers for your... unapproved urban remodeling.
  2. Collectors -Maybe you needed to supplement the research grant with a bit of jingle or pry some secrets from a rival's head since they don't write anything down. Either way, your shady connection is here to collect with interest.
  3. Raid -The Clans and the Cult both like to smash stuff up. Unfortunately they often target the utilities because the way havoc ripples outward.
  4. Interlopers - The League thinks big, often parallel to the Combine's behemoth dreams and the House's dagger-sharp secrets. All three treat intellectual pursuits as a zero-sum game with one winner and 9 losers. They've sent someone to hobble you.
  • Research - The League's practical purpose is to push the limits of knowledge and find out more, more, more, about how the plane works. Get your head in the lab and
  • Schmooze - In an organization as egocentric as the League, it's important to associate with the right people, attend some salons, and be seen in orbits of influence. Remember that chaos is a ladder and you might find yourself uniquely positioned.
  • Community Service -If you mess something up you can always turn around public perception with some gladhanding and performative humility. Doesn't really matter how bad the accident is, memories are short.
  • Recovery - Knowledge work is still work. Sleep in. Sip some fine brandy. Kick your feet up. Whatever it takes to forget the lab and the toxic gas leaking into the neighborhood.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Sunhome's Shadows: The Boros Legion

"When I meditate I see the world as it should be. All that does not fit, I remove." 
- Alovnek, Boros guildmage

Daniel at Detect Magic laid out Mouse Guard's game structure for more general use and an example adaption for a crew of thieves. I'm going to adapt the structure for Ravnica's various guilds, starting with the military police - the Boros Legion. I also included some example downtime activities.

This is a conceptual warm up for the 5e Ravnica game I'm running tonight for some of my fellow Minionworks members.

MISSIONS - Choose 1
  1.  Investigate - Uncover a spy in your midst, trace a Legionary who's skipped duty, or probe the neighborhood after a crime. Spice it up with murder and/or body snatching.
  2.  Arrest - Gruul raiders, Orzhov racketeers, and Rakdos demagogues sow disorder and discontent among the Guildless. Bring 'em in and adjust their attitude.
  3.  Intervention - Whether it's elementals amok, rioting, disaster or Selesnya beautification outta hand; sometimes you gotta suit up and get involved.
  4. Cover Up - Absolve a fellow Legionnaire or yourselves. Steal evidence, intimidate witnesses, and cut backroom deals if you have to.
  1. Rowdy Citizenry - Vigilance committees, guild affiliated gangs, and guildless hooligans all threaten the Boros' Guildpact mandate on legitimized violence. Don't let them skate.
  2. Rival Officers - The Legion, the Senate, and the Syndicate all pursue the same thing - Order. They just don't agree how to establish it.; violently, preemptively, or economically. Hold the line.
  3. Wilderness - Giants, beasts, and unnatural weather. Ravnica is so close to being tamed by urban planning that the remaining wilderness fights back with tusk and thorn. Prune the hedge.
  4. Interlopers - Take the wrong turn and you stumble onto something you shouldn't have. Maybe the Shattergang Brothers or the Cult of Yore. Maybe House Dimir, the mythical tenth Guild. Straighten them out.
  • Ongoing Investigation - Maybe someone killed your mom and it was closed to no conclusion. Maybe you're haunted by the look in the deceased's eye. Maybe your mentor killed himself and you need to know - why?
  • Getting Out - You've seen one bad thing too many and the Legion doesn't like to let go. You'll need leverage if you want out of their grip.
  • Unwinding - After a long day of training for war that will never come and putting boots to asses, you need to let you hair down; grab a drink, catch a show, or play some cards.
  • Getting Even - Someone screwed you over and no one gets away with screwing you. Likely suspects are: an Azorious arrester beating you to a collar,a Golgari findbroker refusing the release evidence, or a Simic honeypot who's blackmailing you. Maybe an advokist won't leave you alone for using excessive force last month.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Mixed Bag

 Image result for 16 bit sunset gif

****Quick Update****

Bad News: I haven't been actively blogging since mid-January because I lost my job and for the past two months my computer has solely existed to submit job applications. That hasn't changed, I'm still looking. You can ease my financial stresses by buying the Monster of the week Tome of Mysteries out in May. You can read about it here and buy it wherever RPG products are sold.

Good News: The Monster of the Week Tome of Mysteries is being published! It's out in May!
I've already mentioned two-three times in this blog post but it's still kinda unreal to me. It's pretty cool. I'll also start blogging again with regularity, Google+'s absence will be felt.
I'll probably post something about that.

tl;dr: I'm not dead, just sidelined. But I contributed to a book coming out in May. You can learn more about it here.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Blackwood: The Elf Who Would Be King

Out past the safety of Hedges and Lanterns’ light, the Blackwood stretches beyond distances measurable: the miles contract and dilate without regard for the surveyor’s art. Dense with trees and boggy ground, boughs hide the sky and obscure the hour, travelers off the beaten path rarely find their way home once they’ve stumbled into the Elven Deeps. Hostile to farming and static settlement, the Pagan clans live by hunting, gathering, banditry, and war.

Each clan is part of a larger whole, quilt work confederacies united by shared history and Elven worship. Some of these confederacies were bound in the ashes of Wulf Ember-Eye’s madness and only the worst crisis could sunder them, while others have the permanence of mist. Liable to explode into blood feud at the slightest provocation or dissolve from momentary inconvenience. This volatility frustrates the self-styled Lord Manu's royal ambitions

Through force and guile he acquired all the things a king should: a legendary blade from the Winter Kingdom, a castle, elite men-at-arms, a prodigal knight, and a betrothed. An army, a horde is all he lacks. So that's what he'll build. Few outside the Errants and woodkin would hear the rumors and portents- a double rainbow heralding a rival power, forsaken totems scorched in bonfire ashes, fallen champions on gruesome display, and Howlers walking on their hind legs as men. All hint at a gathering storm.

STATS - Strength D10 Agility D10 Vigor D10 Smarts D8 Spirit D8
SKILLS - Fighting D12, Intimidation D6, Knowledge (Battle) D8, Notice D6, Persuasion D8, Riding D6, Taunt D8
EDGES- Aspiring, Worthy, and Master of Stone Lion, Block & Improved Block, First Strike, Leaf Step, Trademark Weapon, Improved Trademark Weapon (Calendirwine), Sweep
HINDRANCES - Arrogant (Major, ), Driven (Major), Vengeful (Major)
CALENDIRWINE, KING OF STEEL - +2 to hit. STR + D10+2 Damage, Reach 2". Additional damage dice from Raises and die explosions are D12s. The fabled blade of the Winter King, lost to legend and now in Lord Manu's grip.
HORNS - STR+D6 Damage. Manu can make a Horns attack against an adjacent enemy at no penalty.

REGENERATION - While in contact with Watergiver, Lord Manu benefits from Regeneration per the Savage Worlds core rulebook.

Lord Manu has 30 PP and knows 9 of the 11 following powers: blind, deflection, dispel, fear, greater healing, invisibility, smite, speed, summon ally, teleport, warrior's gift

Lord Manu's personal mount, a great fanged stag fed a steady diet of Great Root, red python hearts, and stag antlers. Pagan stories say the stag freed the rivers from the grasp of a selfish dragon. The fight shattered Watergiver's antlers so he took the dragon's fangs as a trophy,.

(per the Stag in the Blackwood Codex with the additional abilities and Edges: Aspiring, Worthy, and Master of Boar School and Leaf Step Edges from the Blackwood Codex, Regeneration and Venom monster abilities from the Savage Worlds core rulebook. Yes, the deer knows kung fu.)
The 7 Errants are a fellowship of heroic martial artists and wanderers for Eli Kurtz' Blackwood setting - a mash-up of Wuxia action and frontier fairy tales. You can find the book for sale here and a free quick start bundle here

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Dark River: No Hay Mal Que Por Bien No Venga

"There is no bad thing through which good doesn't come"

The Amazon Sea is the crossroads for South America. Everything passing Northward treads your sea and skies, a veritable banquet for opportunists and scoundrels like you. Life outside national boundaries can be hard as you probe shipping lanes and patrols for an opening. But you've pulled through before and you'll pull through again.

Roll once, in addition to your other Hero's Journey rolls.
1-2 - Getting captured by slavers wasn't part of the plan, but you got away with a little help. Gain the Beast Master Edge and a weird monster friend.
3-4 - After a few close calls with faulty machinery, you finally read the User's Manual. +2 Repair.
5-7 - He beat you at cards so you stole his power armor. Lose half of your starting funds but gain a suit of power armor with GM approval. Also he wants his suit back, gain the Wanted (Major) Hindrance.
8 -  Slavers are the worst. The last trafficker you dealt with captured somebody important. Somebody you freed. Somebody who owes you a favor. Where are they from? (1- Maga Island or the Kingdom of Bahia, 2- Colombia, 3- El Dorado or Omagua, 4- One of the Silver River Republics, 5- New Inca Empire, 6- Arkhons or the Megaversal Legion)
9-10 - Nothing separates death from daring like hitting your target in the sweet spot. Cut Called Shot penalties in half.
11-13 - Every fight starts the same way - throwing sand in your opponent's eyes. Gain the Dirty Fighter Edge.
14 - At home in the water, the only way you drown if you're murdered. +2 to all Athletics rolls involving swimming and water. That includes grappling someone in a kiddie pool and drowning them in 6 inches of water.
15-16 - Rifts Earth hates you, the evidence is everywhere: super bugs from other dimensions, slavers, lack of potable water, devil rays, D-Bee pests, and carnivorous plant life. That's okay though, you'll survive. Even drink your own urine if you have to. +2 Survival and the Unlucky Hindrance.
17 - You ran into vampires on shore leave and got away. Since then you rustled up a TW Water Pistol.
18 - You weren't there by choice but you paid your dues in the vale tudo rings. Gain the Take Down Edge and Enemy (Minor) Hindrance to represent your rival from the old days.
19-20 You may choose any one of the previous results