Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Campaign Idea 4: The World of Shadows

(This is a reduced version of my mostly-complete B/XWoD) 

Monsters have always existed in the shadows of our world. As humankind has pushed back the darkness at the edge of the frontier, monsters have learned to blend in within our city walls. In the modern day, supernaturals have a hidden society that fights over sites of power: ley lines, sacred groves, emotional monuments. For the most part, this is a cold war..or was. Unknown forces are causing the wall between this world and the next to thin. Strange creatures are slipping through. The supernatural community is in an uproar. Factions move to capture sites of power. Are the PCs fighting for a faction? Are they mercenaries? Are they simple opportunists? Time will tell.

Available Classes:
Cambion - Humans who have partially demonic ancestry.
Vampire- Undead who thirst for blood.
Weirdling- Humans who have partially fey ancestry.
Werewolf- Humans who become wolflike beasts
Witch - Humans who have learned magic.

*Swords & Wizardry White Box 
*Grab Amityville Mike's S&W gun rules to supply the modern hardware.
*Quick new rules (posted below)
*My class writeups (below)  

Quick new rules:

*There are two types of humans, ordinary and heroic. Ordinary humans are 0-level and generally don't have much more than 1d6 hp and a job they might be decent at. They receive no saving throws against spells or supernatural abilities. Heroic humans are those who are made of sterner stuff: templars, monster slayers, special forces, especially driven or insane humans. Heroic humans can have up to 8 HD and have combat and saving throw numbers similar to monsters of those HD. They receive saving throws.

*Some spells have been renamed to detect or protect the Supernatural. This includes all player classes and all monsters. Normal humans, even those enthralled or in service to a supernatural, are unaffected by these spells.

*The Alignment system is replaced with the following:  Protective (supernaturals should guard and guide humanity), Neutral, Darwinian (supernaturals should rule humanity). Note that humans don't necessarily have to be Neutral! The DM is also free to ignore alignment altogether.

*A vampire who drains a person to 0 Con turns them into a vampire. Normal humans start at 1st level, heroic mortals and characters of other classes lose 1 HD/level and switch to the vampire class.  (They retain none of their old abilities) A werewolf who does more than 50% of an individual's hit points with its natural weapons risks turning them into a werewolf. The victim may make an ST against disease. Failing means they switch to a 1st level werewolf if normal, or lose a level/HD and switch to the werewolf class. Note that vampires cannot become werewolves and vice versa!

*Professions (optional)- A character may select a profession. The character receives +2 on all rolls related to Saving Throws or ability checks related to that profession. Combat ability is unaffected by choice of profession.


1       1        +0      +1    15           
2       2        +0      +1    14           
3      2+1     +1      +2    13           
4       3        +1      +2    12           
5       4        +2      +3    11           
6       4+1    +2      +3    10          
7       5        +3      +4     9          
8       6        +3      +4     8         
9       6+1    +4      +5     7          
10     7        +4      +5     6           

Prime Requisite: Dexterity


Vampires receive +2 on any ST against disease or poison. 

Climbing: A vampire may scale sheer surfaces with an eerie, spider-like climb. The chance of doing so is 1-5 on a d6. 

Senses: Vampires can hear even the faintest noises and notice minute details. The chance of doing so is 1-2 on a d6 and improves 1 point every two full levels. (1-3 at level 2, 1-4 at level 4, etc) 

Shapeshift: The vampire may assume the form of a bat. He retains his normal hit points but otherwise uses the statistics of an ordinary bat. As the vampire grows in power, so to does his shapeshifting ability: at 3rd level a vampire can shift into an ordinary wolf. At 6th level, the vampire can assume the form of a swarm of bats. At 9th level, the vampire can assume gaseous form. It requires a round to switch between forms, during which time the vampire can take no other action. The vampire can remain shifted for a total number of hours per night equal to experience level. 

Stealth: A vampire can move with utter silence or vanish entirely into the shadows, such that he cannot be detected by mundane means. Chance to use stealth is 1-3 on a 1d6, improving by 1 point every three full levels. 

Hypnotic Gaze: A vampire making unobstructed eye contact with a human can choose to place them under the effect of a sleep spell. Normal mortals do not receive a saving throw, but heroic mortals and supernatural creatures do. Someone saving against a vampire's gaze is immune to said gaze for 24 hours. The vampire can use this ability once per night for every experience level. 

Strength: The vampire is capable of powerful bursts of strength. Once per night per level, a vampire may inflict double damage with a melee or muscle-powered attack. The vampire may instead choose to perform a feat of strength (forcing a door, lifting something, etc) as if it had a strength score of 18. 
Optional rule: The vampire can use one instance of this ability to automatically pass a ST involving strength. 

Alacrity: The vampire is capable of amazing bursts of speed. Once per level per night, vampire may dodge incoming projectiles with a ST, modified by Dexterity. The vampire may instead choose to double movement speed for 1 round (in or out of combat) 
Optional rule: The vampire can spend one use of this power to pass a saving throw that involves dexterity or agility. 


Dark Dweller: A vampire takes 1d6 damage every round he is in daylight. 
**Less harsh variant: The vampire has -2 to all attack rolls and saving throws while exposed to sunlight, and must make a ST modified by Constitution to activate any vampiric ability. 

Soulless: A vampire unsettles animals and appears distorted in mirrors and on recording devices. 

Unholy: Vampires take 1d4 damage from contact with holy water. Vampires can also be turned or banished by spells that affect undead or evil beings. (Regardless of actual alignment or morality) 

Unliving: Vampires can only restore hit points from drinking human (or sometimes animal) blood. They may never benefit from medical attention or healing magic. The vampire must feed on a hypnotized or helpless victim, draining up to 3 points each round. Each point drained lowers the Constitution of the victim by 1 point. Victims dropping below 50% of their Constitution must save vs. death or die. Victims reduced to 0 Con die regardless. Most humans have 10 Constitution. Animals count for only half; a GM can rule that your average horse has 15 Con, but only about 7 points of such sustenance counts. In addition, vampires must feed on humans at least once a week or they suffer -2 to attacks and saves.

Destroying a vampire: Vampires who reach 0 hit points are not killed. Vampires can only be permanently destroyed if their hit points are 0 and they: 
-Are exposed to sunlight
-Are damaged by fire, either normal or magical 
-Are pierced by a wooden weapon such as a stake, spear, or crossbow bolt 
-Are decapitated 


1       1+1    +1     +0    16           
2       2        +2     +0    15           
3      3+1     +2     +1    14           
4       4        +3      +2   13           
5       5+1    +3      +2   12           
6       6        +4      +3   11          
7       7+1    +4      +4    10          
8       8        +5      +4     9         
9       9+1    +5      +5     8          
10     10      +6      +5     7  

Prime Requisite: Strength 

Saving Throws- The werewolf receives a +2 on all saves vs. death 

Death Machine: Against opponents of 1HD or less, a werewolf receives 1 extra attack per round per level. A 4th level werewolf fighting  a 1 HD police officer will get four attacks per round. 

Forms: Werewolves have three forms: their ordinary human form, a wolf form, and a hybrid form. It takes 1 full round to switch between forms. The character's hit points stay the same in all three forms. The powers below assume the werewolf is in hybrid form. Note that shifting can destroy clothing, armor, and worn possessions. 

Natural Weaponry: Werewolves have claws and fangs. They may attack twice per round, inflicting 1d6+1 with each attack. 

Regeneration: Werewolves regain 1 hit point every hour.They can regrow lost limbs and organs. Werewolves regenerate in any form. 

Scent Tracking: Werewolves can track prey by scent. The chances of this are a base 1-3, improving 1 point for every three full levels. 

Senses: Werewolves can hear even the faintest noises and notice minute details. The chance of doing so is 1-2 on a d6 and improves 1 point every two full levels. (1-3 at level 2, 1-4 at level 4, etc) 

**Note that all weaknesses apply to both human and werewolf form. 

Alpha: Animals are unsettled by Werewolves. 

Lunacy: During the full moon, and the nights immediately before and following, Werewolves who are damaged for more than 50% of their hit points must make an ST, modified by the lower of Wisdom or Intelligence, or fly into a berserk rage lasting 1d6 rounds. 

Fire: Werewolves cannot regenerate damage from fire, such damage must be healed using natural healing rates or magic. 

Form limitations
Human: Cannot use death machine or natural weapons. Senses are dulled and roll at -1 chance. (So a 1-3 becomes 1-2, for instance) Regeneration works normally. 

Wolf: Cannot use death machine. Natural weapons functions as bite only, one attack per round. Movement speed is doubled. 

Silver: Werewolves receive double damage from silver weapons.  

Destroying a Werewolf: Werewolves reduced to 0 hit points must make a save vs. death. On a success, they regenerate with 1 hit point. On a failure, they go into a coma lasting 1d6 hours, reviving with 1 hit point. A werewolf can only be killed in the following situations: 

-Reduced to 0 hit points by a silver weapon, or hit by a silver weapon while comatose. 
-Reduced to 0 hit points by fire, or damaged by fire while comatose. 
-Destroyed by massive damage while comatose 


1       1    +0         +0    16                            
2       2     +0        +0    15                                      
3      3      +0        +1    14                                
4       3+1  +1        +1   13           
5       4      +1       +2   12           
6       5      +2       +2   11          
7       6      +2       +3    10          
8       6+1  +3       +3     9         
9       7     +4        +4     8          
10     8     +5        +4     7  

Prime Requisite: Charisma 

Saving Throws- The Cambion receives +2 on saves vs. mental or social effects 


Demon Form-Cambions retain some vestige of their demonic ancestry. Cambions can shift into a partial demon form that sports claws, a barbed tail, horns, or any number of vicious natural weapons. By spending a round, the cambion can shift into this form or back. While in the demon form, Cambions have natural weapons that inflict 1d6+1 damage.

Fell Lore- Cambions are sometimes visited in their dreams by the whispers of the Demon Princes from whom they are descended. Cambions have a 5% chance per level of knowing a piece of supernatural lore: the history or purpose of a magic item, the name or location of a demon or monster, etc.

Maledictions- Cambions can draw upon the dark forces of Hell by speaking words in the demonic tongue, which they naturally understand snippets of. Cambions use Maledictions as Clerics do spells in S&W. The available list of Maledictions is below:
1st level: Cause Wounds I, Charm Person, Detect Magic, Detect Supernatural, Dark I, Putrefy Food & Drink
2nd level: Bless, Curse, Hold Person
3rd level: Cause Disease, Dark II, Fireball
4th level: Cause Wounds II, Charm Monster, Dimension Portal Sticks to Snakes, Wizard Eye
5th level: Animate Dead, Cloudkill, Commune, Contact Other Plane, Insect Plague, Quest, Teleport

Thralls - Cambions exude leadership. Weak-willed and power hungry humans flock to them, ready to become followers in exchange for power. At 3rd level, a cambion gains a human thrall. At 6th level, his first thrall gains a hit die and he gains a second thrall. At 9th level, the first two thralls gain a hit die, and he gains a third. The thralls should make sense for the character (biker thugs for a biker type, corporate yesmen for an executive, etc) Thralls are treated as heroic humans. Tralls gain +1 to all attack roll, saving throws, and any die roll not related to combat.

Demonblooded:  take 1d3 damage from holy water, and also take 1 point of damage every hour spent on hallowed ground.

Sadistic: Cambions must make a successful ST modified by Wisdom to pass up the opportunity to take advantage of some one.

Destroying a Cambion: Cambions are mortal, and can be killed any way that mortals can.


1       1        +0    +2    14           
2       1+1    +0     +2    13           
3      2         +1     +3    12           
4       2+1    +1     +3    11           
5       3        +2     +4   10           
6       3+1    +2    +4    9         
7       4         +3   +5    8          
8       4+1    +3   +5     7         
9        5        +4     +6   6          
10     5+1     +4    +6   5  

Prime Requisite: Charisma


Saving Throws: Weirdlings get +2 on saving throws vs. deceit, illusion, or charm 

Fey Luck: For every three levels, a weirdling gets one reroll per session. This can be any attack roll or saving throw. The weirdling must accept the second result. 

Glamours:  Weirdlings inherit some innate magical ability of the fey. They begin knowing a single glamour, and learn one every time they gain a level. Extra glamours must be learned from fey or from other Weirdlings. Spell slot progression as a Cleric.  

1st level- Detect Magic, Light, Dark Charm Person, Hold Portal, Sleep 
2nd level- Bless, Curse, Find Traps, Hold Person, Speak With Animals, Detect Invisibility, Detect Thoughts, Invisibility I, Knock, Light II, Phantasmal Force 
3rd level-Locate Object, Alter Time, Dispel Magic, Invisibility II 
4th level- Speak to Plants, Charm Monster, Confusion, Hallucinatory Terrain, Massmorph, Polymorph
5th level- Commune, Create Food and Drink, Animal Growth, Contact Other Plane, Feeblemind, Hold Monster, Telekinesis, Teleport 

Seeming: Weirdlings are masters of deception. Once per day per level, a weirdling can assume the appearance of another person. They may appear to be any age, gender, and can even alter height and weight. These are illusions; the weirdling does not physically change. The illusion is dispelled if the Weirdling attacks, though it maintains if the weirdling uses magic. The disguise is 90% fool-proof, even to magical detection. If impersonating a specific individual, the rate of success is only 20% to those who personally know the subject well. 


Deal is a Deal: A Weirdling cannot break their word once given. The urge to uphold their end of the bargain becomes increasingly irresistible. 

Fey Blood: Weirdlings receive double damage from cold iron weapons. 

Destorying a Weirdling: Weirdlings are mortal, and can be killed by ordinary weapons or hazards. 


1       1        +0     +0    16           
2       1+1    +0     +0    15           
3      2         +1     +1    14           
4       2+1   +1      +1    13           
5       3        +2     +2   12           
6       3+1     +2    +2    11        
7       4         +3    +3    10         
8       4+1    +3     +3     9        
9        5       +4     +4     8          
10     5+1     +4    +4     7

Prime Requisite: Wisdom


Saving Throws: Witches receive +2 on all saving throws against magical effects.

Familiar:A Witch may have a familiar, subject to the free rules found here. (There is a PWYW option to support the author.)

Magic: Witches keep a Book of Shadows, a list of magical spells the witch can perform. The witch begins the game with three spells chosen by the DM, plus Read Magic. The witch can learn spells from other witches and from spirits. witches also gain one spell in their Book of Shadows every time she gains a level. Witches gain spell slots at the same rate as the Magic-User class in Swords & Wizardry. The witch spell list is as follows:

1st level: Cure/Cause Wounds I, Detect Supernatural, Detect Magic, Protection from Supernatural, Purify/Putrefy Food and Drink, Hold Portal, Read Languages, Read Magic, Sleep
2nd level: Bless, Curse, Find Traps, Hold Person, Speak with Animals, Detect Invisibility, Knock, Levitate, Locate Object, Web, Wizard Lock
3rd level: Cure Disease, Cause Disease, Remove Curse, Crystal Ball, Dispel Magic, Fly, Lightning Bolt, Protection from Supernatural II, Protection from Normal Missiles
4th level: Cure/Cause Wounds II, Neutralize Poison, Speak with Plants, Charm Monster, Polymorph, Wall of Defense I, Wizard Eye
5th level: Commune, Create Food and Drink, Dispel Supernatural, Insect Plague, Quest, Raise/Cause Dead, Animal Growth, Animate Dead, Conjure Elemental, Contact Other Plane, Hold Monster, Magic Jar, Passwall, Telekinesis, Teleport, Transform I, Wall of Defense II

Talismans: Witches can create magical items using the rules from the Swords & Wizardry SRD
For a modern game, scrolls are often eschewed in place of charms. 

Witches are entirely mortal, and have no specific supernatural weaknesses.

Destroying a Witch: Witches, being mortal, can be slain simply be reducing their hit points below 0 in the usual fashion.


  1. For whatever reason, I really dislike this particular hack. Sorry!

    1. If I recall, you aren't a huge White Wolf/World of Darkness fan, so I can't say I'm surprised. I don't think you were particularly fond of my first crack at BXWoD either.

      ...or is it really because I didn't pimp your book like I did with my first two?!

    2. : D
      Ha!'ve done plenty of "pumping" on my behalf this week (thanks).

      And while I'm not a huge WoD fan NOW, I have been in the past...pretty exclusively from 1990-95...'97 too. It's probably because I've played so much of it, and no it so well, that I dislike B/X as a "fit" for it. But I think FATE and Apoc World are poor systems for it, too (I've seen others try those).

      One day, after all my other projects are done (yeah, right), I plan on taking a good, hard look at WoD, specifically the first three books. But that's waaaaay down the road...maybe you (or someone) will come up with something awesome before that. I'm just not diggin B/X as that "something."

    3. That should say, "pimping." Damn auto-spell.

  2. Yeah, it's not the best fit. I just like playing with S&W. I agree with you about FATE< but that's mainly because I'm starting to have a hard time seeing FATE as a good fit for... well, anything.

    I was working on a FUDGE WoD-type game. Maybe I need to finish that.