Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Smol Adventure Locations: Hilltop Church

A small church located on top of a hill. It’s surrounded by ruins of a town, nothing left of the other buildings but rubble grown over by greenery.

Searching the ruined buildings takes a turn and will end up with:
A usable but dirty blanket
An old handaxe
2d4 copper coins
1d6 silver coins
A slightly tarnished gold coin
A grain sack, rotted through
Tools with rotten handles, rusty blades, and are otherwise unusable
A small sack, empty but still usable
1d6 sling bullets
A leather harness, dirty but usable
A tin cup and some metal utensils, dirty but surprisingly usable

The church is a stony building whose entrance faces the east. To the side is a small graveyard with only a couple graves, the names having been worn away by weather and age. The belltower is still intact, but without a bell. The door has a small round stained glass window for light to shine through. Inside, there are rows of pews leading up to an altar. A large mirror sits at the altar, covered in dust. To the side is a passageway that leads to the belltower, where a large bell is lying in rubble, the skeleton of a rat-like creature the size of a human trapped underneath.

The mirror is actually not a mirror at all, but in fact a magical illusion housing a demon. Any non-cleric character who touches the mirror with a bare hand must make a save vs. Spells or switch sides with the demon, becoming trapped in the mirror. The demon takes on the likeness of that character, and the character must mimic all movements the demon makes. The player character is free to move around the world inside the mirror while the demon is not in the room, but he will be invisible to the party. This mirror world consists only of the interior of the church, the door will not open. Shattering the mirror will break the spell and the world inside of the mirror will cease to exist.

The demon itself is a minor one that was captured within the mirror. It behaves exactly the same as the player character does, only a lot more exaggerated. For instance, a character who enjoys partaking in drink might go on week-long benders instead, leaving a complete mess in their wake. It also has a taste for raw meat and will consume it when available. Physically it has the same exact ability scores of the character it is mimicking, but consider it as a Doppelganger only it can be banished with a Dispel Evil spell, can be detected with Detect Evil, and Protection from Evil will protect against it. If you’re feeling especially evil, use an actual demon instead.
While it can replace any player character, it will not attempt to do so for Clerics and will generally act hostile to any that are in the party.

Hooks and Variances
-The rat skeleton in the belltower would indicate that either rat people lived here or they were an invading force. Were they evil? Perhaps they just wanted a peaceful life.
-The mirror is apparently an object of worship, perhaps there are vestiges of this religion left in the area.
-Instead of a demon, it could be a priest whom had been so unlucky as to be trapped within the mirror and the demon is elsewhere impersonating the priest.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Stolen Ideas: Resins

For my 5e game, I've been brainstorming on minor consumable magic items to give to players that would be an alternative to the ever-present potion and spell scroll reward. I feel like Resins from the Souls series could be ripped wholesale to give players neat little temporary weapon buffs without worrying about handing them a magic item too early on in the game.
  • Gold Pine Resin. This resin may be applied to a single weapon as an action. Once applied, the weapon will crackle and spark with lightning, and each successful hit will deal an extra 1d4 Lightning damage. The effect lasts for 1 minute.
  • Charcoal Pine Resin. This resin may be applied to a single weapon as an action. Once applied, the weapon will smolder with flame, and each successful hit will deal an extra 1d4 Fire damage. The effect lasts for 1 minute.
  • Rotten Pine Resin. This resin may be applied to a single weapon as an action. Once applied, the weapon will stink of decay, and each successful hit will deal an extra 1d4 Necrotic damage. The effect lasts for 1 minute.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Cycle of Death and Rebirth

Necromancy is a rather fickle school of magic. So much work goes in bringing a soul back to its body, binding it to the living realm once more, good guys hate on you because you've got an army of skeletal minions and their former comrades at your beck and call, good gods hate you because you're messing with the natural order of things. Plus there's the constant smell of rotted flesh and embalming fluids permeating throughout your laboratory...

But a body can be given life in other ways, right?
Calcified flowers in bloom,
unlife's beauty I exhume.
Necromancy has turned into an artform. Where there was death and decay, life proliferates. The energy of the former body is broken down and used to feed vines, saplings, flowers, mosses, and grasses, turning into both a work of art and a loyal servant. What used to be old temples become greenhouses, plant and animal matter merging into one lifeform.
A necromancer is usually accompanied by plant/animal hybrids of his own creation.
Really just treat as a necromancer or a druid with necromancy spells. I may expand on this later, though.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Condensing 5e: The Character Sheet

5e D&D is pretty simple compared to the previous editions before it.

Let's keep simplifying until we're a rules-lite hipster clone, and while we're at it keep compatibility with other characters and published adventures.

First off, we need to know what exactly can be condensed and simplified. Class abilities and spells do not seem to have a convenient way to be condensed, but there's enough space on the card to leave them as-is. In the Dungeon Master's Guide there's an option to replace skills and tool proficiencies. While they're not a huge chunk of your character, they still take up quite a bit of space. The Background Proficiency variant allows you to instead roll skill and tool checks with your background instead, so let's go with that option.

Racial traits can take up quite a lot of space as well. Instead let's just toss out everything but Ability Score Increases and give characters a Racial Proficiency instead. It works a little like Cliches in Risus: Elves get a proficiency bonus for doing elfy stuff, dwarves get a bonus for doing dwarfy things, so on and so forth. It does make the races boring as a lot of the more flavorful abilities get axed, but we're going for as light as possible here! Humans, meanwhile, get to pick a second background proficiency because Racial Proficiency: Human is just plain silly.

Now that skills and racial features have been axed and replaced accordingly, a look at equipment proficiencies is in order. Weapon proficiencies are split into Simple and Martial, but some classes have exceptions. Just remove the exceptions and leave it at that. This does mean the wizard and the sorcerer get no weapon training at all, so if you want to allow them simple weapons that's okay too. Armor, meanwhile, is just Light, Medium, and Heavy. There is no class that gets shields separately from medium armor so it's okay to lump shields in with those.

For tracking encumbrance, it might just be easier to say that you can carry a number of items equal to your Strength score, barring things that are worn/held (weapons, clothing, armor, backpack, etc.). Objects that come as a set or have a very low weight should count as one item when they're a full set or more than enough to be at a meaningful weight (10 or so). A good guideline is, if it can fit in the palm of your hand it does not count against encumbrance. If it can be held in one or two hands, it should count against encumbrance.

With a good chunk of the character sheet now gone and condensed into a few proficiencies, a first level character could fit onto a 3x5 card with little difficulty... If one is playing a martial class. Spellcasters need another index card to record spell slots and spells. Or just use the back, but you need that space to show off your sweet character doodles.

If the back of your character sheet doesn't look like this something is probably wrong with you.

A sample character would be as follows:
Ivan Hammerfall (Fighter 1) St 15 Dx 10 Cn 16 In 13 Wi 13 Ch 8
HP: 13/13; HD: 1 (1d10); AC: 17; Saves: St, Cn; Prof Bonus: +2
Background Prof: Soldier, Dwarf; Arm/Wep Prof: All
Fighting Style: Defense (+1 AC with armor)
Second Wind (regain 1d10+level HP, 1/short rest)
Gear: Chainmail, longsword (1d8/d10), light crossbow (1d8/ammo 20)
Backpack:  Insignia, scrap of banner, deck of cards, common clothes, bedroll, mess kit, tinderbox, 10 torches, 10 days rations, waterskin, 50 ft. rope
Money: 10 gp