Thursday, September 30, 2021

Useless Crabbin' in 3 Parts

Canto 1 

 Goddamn, I miss Wizardawn. It was so easy to generate maps, the maps were exactly what I wanted, and it was free. I tried to download and run my own Wizardawn server, but I couldn't get it to work on my shitbox of a laptop. (I am also not super great with computers beyond basic user stuff.) When I was running OSE, I found some online mappers that were okay, but they didn't do it for me the way Wizardawn did. I could break down and pay for Hexographer, (or I guess it's called Worldographer now?) but then I have to do all the work... I much prefer being handed a blank map and letting my imagination fill in what it is. 

Canto 2 

Why did I never notice how awful experience points are in B/X as a youngster? (Actually it was Cyclopedia/BECMI but whatever) Like... an orc has a pretty even chance of murdering a 1st level character of any class, but an orc is worth a paltry 10 xp. Even if you kill one by yourself... I mean, a fighter has to kill 200 of those motherfuckers to gain a level. While the word 'round the campfire is that 75% of experience comes from treasure, my experience is that it's more like 95%.  

I'm guessing I didn't notice because e 1.) I was ten years old and 2.) We moved on pretty quickly to AD&D 2nd edition and that's where most of my D&D experience was in my formative years. 

Paging JB, Paging Doctor JB to the Operating Room.  

Canto 3 

6th edition is a thing? Or is it 5.5? Fuck, I don't know. If it's backwards compatible I guess that's chill. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The Red Knight: A Less Tiresome Keep on the Borderlands?

 So I don't really do book or media reviews on this blog, and I'm not about to start now, but I am reading a book that I think fits very well into D&D in my head. It's called The Red Knight, my Miles Cameron. 

So the basics: a nun hires a group of mercenaries to defend them from the encroachments of the Wild, yes Wild with a capital W. There are a million subplots and various intrigues, but that's the long and short of it. 

Some interesting features: 

This is basically Keep on the Borderlands. The Wild encroaches on the domain of humankind and is full of various monstrous humanoids like "boglins" and "irks." There's a vaguely referenced "Wall" somewhere that is supposed to keep the Wild at bay, but in some places it bleeds into the realms. 

Magic is labelled as either Gold (power comes from the sun, sanctioned by the Church, draws on the will of God, basically cleric magic but see below) and Green (Magic of the Wild, powers of Satan, used by eeeeeevil wizards and godless witches and such) 

Both types of magic can be used to do the same things, but one comes from a source deemed societally acceptable, and the other from an unacceptable source. Magic seems to be generally feared and most casters don't advertise their abilities. There are some sanctioned "Hermetic" magi, and normal people are terrified of them. 

The Church is actually Christianity, like with God and Jesus and saints and all that, rather than just Great Value Brand Christianity where they rename God. 

The setting references "Archaics," which seems to be a Greeky, Romany style ancient culture that uses real world names- Aristotle is mentioned. 

This book is not set on Earth, however. All of the kingdom names seem real-world-adjacent, but not quite the real thing. The geography thus far has been extremely vague. The "East" is mentioned, and knights from it follow different customs (and are dickfaces, generally.) The Continent is mentioned, capital C. For once, the East isn't Basically-Real-Life-Asia as fantasy settings are wont to seems to be Sort-Of-France-But-Not-Really. Names go from mundane fare like Tom and Hugo to Desiderata. 

Anyway, it's given me some ideas, considering that my last outing with Keep was total misery. In fact, the only time I halfway-enjoyed Keep was when I ran it using 5e back in like...2015? 2016? (Before I knew about that Goodman Games translation.) 

I probably won't post about it again unless the book does something surprising or takes a turn, since like I said, I'm not really in the business of doing book/media reviews. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Classes of Gath #2: The Firefucker

Inspired by Christian's latest Gath post , I submit my second class for his Legends of Gath setting. 

At the end of it all, some people chose to watch the world burn. Some of those who survived carried this mentality with them into the post-apocalyptic world that arose. Over the years and generations, the idea of watching the world burn percolated and mutated, and now we've got a fire-worshipper religion. 

They aren't many in number, as self-immolation is quite common among them. They once had a name- perhaps the Watchers of the Great Immolation or something like that - but most Gath folks just call them firefuckers. It doesn't seem to make much of a difference to them. 


Requirements: Con 9+ 
Prime requisite: CON 
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum level: 14 (use cleric experience tables) 
Armor: Any, including shields- they may not wear any fire-retardant substance as armor, however. 
Weapons: Any
Languages: Common. They claim to speak the secret language of fire, but they could also just be insane. 

Combat: Firefuckers attack as clerics. 

Feel the Burn: Firefuckers have a -2 penalty on saving throws against damage from fire, because they want to feel it. However, being burned doesn't seem to bother them much, and they take half damage from flames of any sort. If a saving throw would normally allow half damage, they instead take just a quarter of the damage rolled. 

Everlasting Fire: Any torch, lantern, or other fire-based light source wielded by a firefucker burns half again as long as normal, so long as the firefucker is the one who lit it and carries it. Passing it to someone else removes the long-burning benefit. At 5th level, these light sources burn twice as long. At 9th level, they burn indefinitely, though may still be extinguished in the normal fashion. Additionally, starting at 1st level, a firefucker using a lit torch as a melee weapon never has to check to see if it is extinguished by being used thus. 

Spells: Firefuckers can cast spells in a manner similar to clerics, using the same table for spell slot advancement. Firefuckers must be within  60 feet of a source of fire at least equivalent to a lit torch to be able to cast spells, however. The spell list is below. Note that any spell not normally available to a cleric still functions as a cleric spell when cast by a firefucker. 

1st level: Cure Light Wounds/Cause Light Wounds, Light (cannot reverse), Resist Cold 

2nd level: Continual Light (cannot reverse) 

3rd level: Fireball, Striking 

4th level: Cure Serious Wounds (Cause Serious Wounds), Wall of Fire 

5th level: Commune (requires at least a car-sized source of fire), Conjure Elemental (Fire only, duh), Finger of Death (must cast reverse) 

Cleansing Flames: Starting at 9th level, a firefucker who is hit by damage from flames may elect to absorb them and be cleansed by them. Instead of taking damage, the firefucker is instead healed, up to their maximum hit points. Doing this, however, gives them a spectacular burn scar that gives them a cumulative -1 reaction penatlty to all non-firefuckers (or like-minded individuals.) They may only be cleansed once per day. 

Temple: At 9th level, a firefucker may establish a temple of fire, usually an absolute shithole of a structure that has lots of braziers burning all the time. The firefucker will attract 3d6 cultists, 0 level fanatics who will follow them, similar to a cleric's followers. They are not replaced if slain, but are generally loyal to the point of death. 

Saving Throws: As clerics, but as noted above, they have -2 to all saving throws vs. fire. 

Experience: Firefuckers gain experience as a cleric. 

Magic Items: Firefuckers can use any magic item not forbidden to clerics. In addition, they can use any magic item that casts a fire-based spell, even if such an item is normally forbidden to clerics. (e.g a wand of fireball.)  They may not, however, use any magic item that specifically confers protection against fire, such a ring of fire resistance. 

Friday, September 3, 2021

School Campaign Continues

 Wednesday I showed up for BGC to discover that I had not only the two players from last week, but an additional four players. Only one of them had any prior experience with the game. He wanted to play a blood hunter, but I  a.) literally have no idea what the hell that is  and 2.) I asked him to stick with basic stuff as the other newbs learned the game. I met him halfway: since we were out of pregens for Phandelver, I printed off a quick 1st level half-orc barbarian from WotC's pregen library. I think it uses the playtest rules, but we rolled with it. I also let him switch his maul to a great axe. 

Combat was      s l o o o o w, because we had six players, and because five of them had no idea what they were doing. The wizard's player felt like a superstar when he got a goblin triple-kill with a well-placed application of burning hands and then dropped another goblin the following round with magic missile. Of course, he's spent all his 1st level spells, so now he knows he has to be a little more judicious. 

We used miniatures (from my vast pile of unpainted Kickstarter Bones minis from like...forever ago) and a Melee Mat, which is one of the dopest gaming accessories I've ever owned. 

There are now pictures of me on the school's social media, DMing for the kiddos. 

Right now I'm focusing on just getting them to learn the basic mechanics of things.  We haven't done a tone of rp or lore building...that'll come later. The idea is to get them through the Beginner's Box, move up to the Essentials and making our own characters, then finally graduating to the full game. Maybe I'll do something fun and basic like Tyranny of Dragons, or perhaps I'll create a game world for them. I don't know. What I do know is that these kids have saved me from selling off my collection and quitting entirely, and that's no exaggeration.