Dungeon of the Apes Art!!!

Now I have the art (by Jon Kaufman, of course) – I’m going to have to do something with it.

Maybe a Blood & Treasure dungeon adventure that is Planet of the Apes themed. I do so many hex crawls, a dungeon crawl might be a nice change.

We’d need radiation, a nuclear bomb, mutated psychos with false faces and psionic powers, Roddy McDowell, a research lab, a half-buried Statue of Liberty …

Juggernauts – Bring the Hulk into a Dungeon Near You!

Fantasy worlds are loaded with alchemists, who either spend their time making weird nonsense like tanglefoot bags (ugh) or assisting magic-users in making magic items. Presumably, they also spend some time brewing up headache powders and distilling spirits, because that’s where the gold pieces are.
Some alchemists are meant for bigger things, though. Not every brilliant young person gets a gig working as an apprentice to a magic-user or gets training for some other PC class with a high intelligence requirement. A few of these young geeks are bound to walk down the path of one Dr. Jekyll, and one or two of them might suffer the same fate and then run around sacking dungeons. Well, I mean it could happen. Just go with me on this one.

Juggernauts are alchemists with the ability to transform into something much worse, a la Mr. Hyde.

REQUIREMENTS
Intelligence 15 or higher, strength 8 or lower, constitution 12 or lower

HIT DICE
D4 per level until 10th, +1 per level thereafter

ARMOR ALLOWED
None

WEAPONS ALLOWED
Club, dagger, dart, quarterstaff; maces and mauls when transformed

SKILLS
Decipher Codes, Find Secret Doors, Listen at Doors

ATTACK AND SAVE AS
Magic-User

SPECIAL ABILITIES
Juggernauts spend most of their time in human form, as 90-pound weaklings in the garb of alchemists. In this form, they have the following abilities:

Identify Potions & Magic Items—A juggernaut can make a Will save modified by his Intelligence modifier to attempt to identify a magic item, potion or poison per the identify spell.

Brew Potions—Juggernauts can brew potions as magic-users. Alchemists begin the game knowing the formulas for 1d4 + their intelligence bonus in 0-level magic-user spells and one 1st level magic-user spell. They can learn other formulas by recovering magic-user spellbooks and scrolls and researching them. To do this, they need a laboratory and one day per spell level (or one day for 0-level spells) and must make a successful Will save modified by their Intelligence modifier and with a penalty equal to the level of the spell.

Once a juggernaut knows a potion’s formula, he or she can brew the potion using the normal rules.

Alchemists are also capable of aiding magic-users in manufacturing magic items.
When angry, frightened or after suffering at least 6 points of damage from a single blow, a juggernaut makes a startling transformation, truly becoming a juggernaut. Juggernauts have the following traits:

• They re-roll their hit points using d12 in place of d4. When they return to normal, they regain their original hit point total.

• Their alignment becomes chaotic. Thus, lawful people become chaotic juggernauts, and lawful good people become chaotic good juggernauts.

• Their natural Armor Class and strength increase based on their level (see below).

LEVEL: ABILITIES
1-3: +2 to AC; ogre strength (+3 to hit and damage and Fortitude saves and strength task checks)

4-6: +4 to AC; hill giant strength (+4 to hit and damage and Fortitude saves and strength task checks), gains Knock-Back attack

7-9: +6 to AC; stone giant strength (+5 to hit and damage and Fortitude saves and strength task checks), becomes Large size, gains Knock-back and Stomp attack

10-12: +8 to AC; fire giant strength (+6 to hit and damage and Fortitude saves and strength task checks), becomes Large size, gains Knock-Back, Stomp attack and Thunderous Clap attack

13-15: +10 to AC; frost giant strength (+7 to hit and damage and Fortitude saves and strength task checks), becomes Large size, gains Knock-Back, Stomp attack and Thunderous Clap attack

16+: +12 to AC; storm giant strength (+8 to hit and damage and Fortitude saves and strength task checks), becomes Large size, gains Knock-Back, Stomp attack and Thunderous Clap attack

The juggernaut remains transformed for an entire battle. After the battle, they remained transformed for 1d4 hours. While transformed, they are arrogant, blustering and violent. This can be a real problem when trying to sneak around or solve puzzles.

Juggernauts get the following special attacks:

Knock-Back (4th level)—When the juggernaut causes damage with a physical attack, the victim must pass a saving throw or be affected as per an Bull Rush attack.

Stomp (7th level)—The juggernaut can stomp on the ground, creating a minor earth tremor. All creatures within 10 feet must pass a Fortitude save or be knocked prone.

Thunderous Clap (10th level)—The juggernaut can clap its big hands together and create a shockwave in a cone 30 feet long and 30 feet wide at the base. All creatures within the cone must pass a Fortitude save or be deafened and suffer 1d6 points of damage (2d6 if tiny sized); creatures within 10 feet must pass a Fortitude save or be knocked prone. Open, natural flames within the cone are snuffed out and gases are blown out of the cone of effect.

Beware the Used Armor Salesman

Image from Wikipedia

The difference between life and death for a low level warrior can turn out to be the difference between chainmail and platemail. The problem for the novice adventurer, of course, is a lack of funds. Platemail is expensive. In order to earn enough coin to buy it, a warrior has to stick his neck out enough that he might lose it.

Another option might be used, cut-rate armor. Plenty of warriors kick the bucket every year, and plenty of suits of old armor are dragged out of dungeons every day (well, presumably), so clearly used armor is widely available, and just as presumably, that armor is going to be cheaper than a new suit.

Any purchaser of a used car, though, knows well the dangers. Maybe that suit of platemail you just bought cheap is a lemon – maybe it is way more trouble than it is worth.

The following tables are a way to determine just what is wrong with that cheap suit of armor a character just bought.

Every used suit of armor comes with 1d4-1 defects. In this system, a used suit of armor sells for a base 10% discount, +10% per defect. This represents the lowest price the salesman will accept. Naturally, they’re going to try to get more than that. I’ll let you handle the haggling yourself.

Leather-Based Armors (leather, studded leather, ring mail, scale mail)
1. Loose studs – studs, bolts or scales on the armor are loose; every hit you suffer in combat has a 1 in 6 chance of reducing the armor bonus by 1 as several pieces fall off.
2. Loose fit – the armor rides down with wear, imposing a -1 penalty to Reflex saves (or saves vs. rays and dragon breath) and reducing movement by 5 feet
3. Poor workmanship – armor bonus is one lower than normal
4. Squeaky – armor squeaks in a cool environment (like most dungeons), imposing a -2 penalty to move silently checks (or a -10% penalty, depending on the system you use)
5. Stench – the armor just don’t smell right, especially once it’s been on for a while and warmed up – imposes a 1 point penalty to surprise foes (or a 2 point penalty if those foes have sensitive noses)
6. Tight fit – the more you wear it, the more is chafes, imposing a -1 penalty to hit in combat and reducing movement by 5 feet
7. Weak buckle – every time you’re in a fight there is a 1 in 6 chance per round that it snaps or falls apart, imposing a -1 penalty to the armor’s armor class bonus and a -1 penalty to hit
8. Cursed – suit is -1 cursed armor

Mail Armors (mail shirt, chainmail)
1. Jingle – armor jingles and rattles, imposing a -2 penalty to move silently checks (or a -10% penalty, depending on the system you use)
2. Loose fit – the armor rides down with wear, imposing a -1 penalty to Reflex saves (or saves vs. rays and dragon breath) and reducing movement by 5 feet
3. Loose rivets – every hit you suffer in combat has a 1 in 6 chance of reducing the armor bonus by 1 as several links fall off.
4. Poor workmanship – armor bonus is one lower than normal
5. Tight fit – the armor just doesn’t let you breath, imposing a -1 penalty to hit in combat and reducing movement by 5 feet
6. Weak backing – any hit with a weapon that deals more than 3 points of damage causes links to break and stick in your flesh
7. Weak buckle – every time you’re in a fight there is a 1 in 6 chance per round that it snaps or falls apart, imposing a -1 penalty to the armor’s armor class bonus and a -1 penalty to hit
8. Cursed – suit is -1 cursed armor

Plate Armors (banded mail, splint mail, platemail, plate armor)
1. Creaks – armor creaks and groans, imposing a -2 penalty to move silently checks (or a -10% penalty, depending on the system you use)
2. Loose fit – the armor rides down with wear, imposing a -1 penalty to Reflex saves (or saves vs. rays and dragon breath) and reducing movement by 5 feet
3. Loose rivets – every hit you suffer in combat has a 1 in 6 chance of reducing the armor bonus by 1 as several links fall off.
4. Poor workmanship – armor bonus is one lower than normal
5. Tight fit – the armor just doesn’t let you breath, imposing a -1 penalty to hit in combat and reducing movement by 5 feet
6. Weak buckle – every time you’re in a fight there is a 1 in 6 chance per round that it snaps or falls apart, imposing a -1 penalty to the armor’s armor class bonus and a -1 penalty to hit
7. Visor – the visor on the helm has a tendency to slam shut; whenever you attempt a task check or saving throw outside of combat there is a 1 in 6 chance that this happens, imposing a -1 penalty to the roll
8. Cursed – suit is -1 cursed armor

Dragon by Dragon – May 1979

May 1979 – the author of this post was 7 and about 5 years away from discovering Dungeons & Dragon. Let’s see what I was missing …

First and foremost – awesome cover. Well done!

A Part of Gamma World Revisited by James M. Ward

Not exactly a title one can conjure with, but the article itself is probably useful to most Gamma Worlders. It covers the history behind the Cryptic Alliances, and might be helpful for campaign play. What I found interesting was the geography of the alliances:

Brotherhood of Thought – started at the University of California, but spread up and down the west coast and into the Rockies.

Seekers – The Seekers are Texans

The Knights of Genetic Purity – don’t say

Friends of Entropy – headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska

The Iron Society – they’re found in all bombed out areas – seems like Pittsburgh would have been a great headquarters

The Zoopremists – started in the mountain range near Torreon, Mexico

The Healers – Duluth, Minnesota

Restorationists – Boston and Providence

Followers of the Voice – their most successful group is in an underground base in the Appalachians south of Charleston and west of Raleigh – they’re led by a bunny-girl (i.e. female hoop)

Ranks of the Fit – began near Memphis, Tennessee by a circus bear who had its mental faculties increased a thousand fold; they’re civilization has spread as far north as Cincinnati and as far south as Baton Rouge, presumably along the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

The Archivists – mountains between Butte, MT and Billings, SD and Idaho Falls, MT

Radioactivists – based below Atlanta in the flattened peninsula that was Florida

The Created – have surrounded St. Louis with warbots

Judging and You! by James M. Ward

This is a collection of tricks of the game judging trade, especially for Gamma World and Dungeons & Dragons.

The Tug of the Machine by Allen Evans

A bit of fiction. One column’s worth. And I can’t copy paste it. Sorry.

The Armada Disasters

This is a nice history of naval operations and the clash of nations in the 16th century, and most particularly about the Spanish Armada and its disastrous clash with the English.

From the Sorcerer’s Scroll: The Proper Place of Character Social Class in D&D by Gary Gygax

This covers the introduction of social classes to characters in D&D. It mentions that the initial idea came from MAR Barker’s Empire of the Petal Throne. Gygax points out that Tekumel has a well-thought out culture and social structure, and the lack (or possible lack) of such a structure in D&D makes using social class problematic. He suggests a very simple table for determining social class:

01-75 – Common background
76-95 – Aristocratic background
96-00 – Upper class background

He then goes on to question the use of birth tables and social class, and I have to agree. I suppose if a campaign focuses on social class and the interaction within classes and between classes – something like you’d get in Flashing Blades – it makes sense. If you’re doing the whole Conan thing – plundering tombs and such – I don’t see much point to it.

Armies of the Renaissance by Nick Nascati

Part III of this series, this one covers the Condotierre and The Papacy. Great introduction:

“If Woody Allen would ever decide to turn his comedic talents to writing history, the result would very probably read like a history of Italy in the Age of the Condotierre. Few periods in history could possibly be as full of petty squabbles and pointless maneuvering, as this age when greedy, mercenary captains controlled the destiny of the Italian City-States. Warfare was formalized to the point where it almost became a life-size chess match, with few fatalities. However, their military system does assume a certain importance in our study of the period.”

Well worth the read for wargamers doing this period.

Would the Real Orc Please Step Forward? by Lance Harrop

Here’s an interesting article subtitled “Dealing with the Proliferation of Orcish Miniatures”. Interesting for two reasons.

One is that it covers “orc genealogy and taxonomy” – always fun to see somebody dissect make-believe like that. Lance draws a family tree of evil humanoids, putting orcs, ogres, kobolds, hobgoblins and goblins all on branches of that tree, with hobgoblins and goblins forking off from the same branch. Pretty standard idea these days, maybe kinda new in those days. He then lays out some ideas on how to take this system and use it when selecting miniatures, since back in the day miniatures were a bit more generic – i.e. an ugly humanoid miniature could just as easily be used as a kobold as it could for a goblin.

The other interesting thing about this article is that there was a need to deal with the proliferation of orcish miniatures. I’m guessing that nerds in the Middle Ages were worried about similarly silly things – it runs deep in our breed.

He also provides a picture of several of the miniatures of the day …

Finally, he provides this guide to wargaming with orcs:

1. All goblin races dislike the sunlight, so lower their morale in the daytime.

2. Kobolds and Gnomes will almost instantly attack each other, so have them make obedience checks when they are in charging distance. The same with goblins and dwarves and lesser orcs and elves. Great orcs, man orcs, ogres and hobgoblins will not generally disobey.

3. Orcs of different tribes will also attack each other, as will all goblin races, but powerful leaders can keep them in check, so adjust the die roll against the level of the leader.

4. Usually only great orcs and man orcs will fight in formations, the others will fight en masse.

The Traveller Navy Wants to Join You by R. D. Stuart

An article that covers new career opportunities in Traveller. I don’t play Traveller, so I don’t know that I can comment on how well these are written, but I bet it would come in handy if you were doing a Star Trek-esque Traveller campaign.

Gamma World Artifact Use Chart by Gay Jaquet

This article swaps out the artifact use charts in Gamma World for a more complex and abstract system. Personally – I’ll stick with the charts. I think they’re fun.

An Alien in a Strange Land by James M. Ward

Ward wrote quite a bit for this issue, huh?

This is a bit of Gamma World fiction that seems to be taken from actual play:

“Blern had left those mutated fools of Entropy with an organization that should last until the time it decided to return and take over again. Riding off, on a very reluctant Brutorz, had carried with the act a certain satisfaction in a finished job that was well done. The miles were quickly eaten up under the hooves of the Brutorz and soon Blern was in territory that it had never visited or heard about before. Days passed into a sort of boredom that was unusual for the mutant. It got so that it was wishing for an attack by anything, just to break the monotony, and almost with that thought, Blern spotted the group.”

Excerpt from an Interview with an Iron Golem by Michael McCrery

Interview with a Vampire was written in 1976 – I’m wondering if this article was a play on that. Either way, this one reminds me of the skits that appear in the last 15 minutes of Saturday Night Live. Essentially, another piece of fiction drawn (I’m guessing) from actual play.

War of Flowers by William B. Fawcett

Another nice wargaming article, this one on the Aztecs. I like this bit …

“The Aztec “empire” was in fact a conglomeration of city states that formed rather fluid coalitions which were normally centered on the most powerful cities found in the area of present day Mexico City. In these coalitions there were normally one or two major powers who, by their size and military strength, were able to compel the lesser cities to join in their efforts. When a city was ‘conquered’ the result was the imposition of tribute and economic sanctions rather than social or political absorption, as occurred in Europe or China. This tribute was reluctantly paid to the victorious city only until some way to avoid it was found (such as an alliance to an even more powerful city). Any political or military alliance was then ruled entirely by expedience, and quickly and easily dissolved.”

This is pretty much how I envision all the city-states in NOD. Why? Better for game play in my opinion.

Xochiyaoyotl by Neal M. Dorst

This is a concise set of rules for Pre-Hispanic Mexican wargaming.

Varieties of Vampires by R. P. Smith

This article tackles all the various vampire legends from around the world. It suggests using the same basic game stats for all vampires, but then adds different move rates and environments for the different vampire legends, along with descriptions:

Asanbosam (Africa): Men (9 hit dice), women (8 hit dice), or children (7 hit dice) who look normal except for a pair of books instead of feet. They can charm at minus 3, (except against clerics, whom they avoid) and can throw a single sleep spell per night. They can call 3-18 leopards or 2-12 tigers. Only a cleric can kill the asanbosam.

Burcolakas (Greece): It has a swollen, tense, hard skin. It can scream once per night which deafens all in hearing range for 24 hours, no saving throw. It can also kill, not only by draining life levels, but by naming its victim by name and commanding the victim into a fatal action. It can imitate any voice it hears, with as much of a chance of being detected as an assassin has of being discovered in disguise. It controls 10-100 rats, but no wolves. To defeat: cut off and burn its head.

Great idea – wish I’d thought of it. My favorite bit from the article … “Hence, any body left unguarded without a Bless spell from a cleric will become a vampire within seven days.” Use that rule, and I promise the cleric will hold onto those bless spells. Nobody needs that stupid henchmen you used for cannon fodder coming back to haunt you as a vampire.

To Select a Mythos by Bob Bledsaw

This article covers creating a mythos for one’s campaign. I like that he pushes a “screw reality” concept and chooses fun over strict realism.

Arms and Armor of the Conquistadores by Michael H. Kluever

Another article about fighting on Old Mexico. This one gives a history of the Spanish conquest and then describes the weapons and armor of the different troops.

Not a bad article. Like the vampire article quite a bit, could have done without so much fiction. The “helpful tips” stuff is helpful for folks new to gaming – not so much for an old fart like myself. If I was doing some Aztec vs. Spanish wargaming, this issue would have really been a boon.

Okay folks – see you tomorrow when I have a new goofy character class you might enjoy.

The Mottled Documentarian and NOD 19

First – NOD 19 is now for sale in soft cover form – $9.99 cheap (as the saying goes).

Second – the Mottled Documentarian

So, I generated this monster using the dictionary method made famous a couple days ago ON THIS VERY BLOG!!!

Let’s take those threads and try to make an actual usable monster.

MOTTLED DOCUMENTARIAN
Medium Giant; Low Intelligence; Neutral (N); Pack (1d4)

HD: 7
AC: 22
ATK: 2 slams (1d6)
MV: 30
SV: F10 R12 W13
XP: 700 (CL 8)

Mottled documentarians are stout giants that stand about 7 feet tall. They are built like fireplugs and have skin a mottled white/grey in color. In their cold northern homelands, this allows them to surprise foes on a roll of 1-2 on 1d6.

Most documentarians dress in furs and when they carry weapons, they rarely carry anything other than clubs or crude spears. Mottled documentarians have no body hair. On the backs of their shoulders and necks, they have what appear to be encrustations similar to gemstones.

Mottled documentarians remember everything, but can access nothing – hence their low intelligence. Everything said in their presence, everything they have ever seen – even the thoughts and prepared spells of others in their presence – is projected from their minds into gemstones, including the encrustations on their backs. Each gemstone can hold a single fact/spaell. When one is full, their minds begin using another. When no gemstone is handy, a new encrustation appears on their backs. The typical mottled documentarian has 2d4 of these encrustations.

In combat, a mottled documentarian attacks with its giant fists. Creatures stuck by a fist and suffering more than 3 points of damage must pass a Fortitude saving throw or be knocked back 2d6 feet. A person knocked back more than 5 feet must pass a Reflex save or be knocked prone as well.

While fighting a mottled documentarian, people must beware that they don’t have thoughts and memories plucked from their brains. Each round a character is within 30 feet of a mottled documentarian, they must pass a Will saving throw or suffer memory loss. For spellcasters, this causes them to lose one prepared spell (for sorcerers, one known spell is forgotten for 24 hours). For skill-based characters, one of their skills (choose randomly) becomes a knack. For warriors, they suffer a -1 penalty to hit as they forget some of their martial training. These lost memories return after 24 hours, and are also stored either on an encrustation on the monster or on a gemstone nearby (perhaps one possessed by a player).

The memories within the encrustations (or gemstones) of a mottled documentarian can be accessed. A person must hold the item in their hand and concentrate. Activation requires a successful Will saving throw. If successful, they either gain the benefit of a random piece of information (TK’s choice) or, if capable, learn a new spell. Once information is retrieved from a gemstone or encrustation, it is erased from the item.

Special Qualities: Cold resistance, magic resistance 20%, surprise (2 in 6)

We Have Puddings and Jellies … Why Not Custards?

I like my dungeons a bit on the goofy side, I’ll admit. I dig the freewheelin’ olden days when there was no good reason not to have three green martians hanging out in a room next to a tribe of orcs who had just tangled with the dalek on level 6. I don’t necessarily want to do that kind of thing all the time, but it certainly keeps people guessing and keeps the gaming atmosphere light and fun.

With that in mind … dungeon custards. No – not a topic on kobold cookery (though God knows we need one), but rather a new form of ooze that’s maybe not quite as oozy as other oozes. I mean, if we have puddings and jellies, why the heck not custards?

Custards are a bit thicker than the average ooze, which hampers them a bit, but also gives them a bit more punch and a few extra special abilities. Rather than invent some new ooze monsters, I’m going to present this monster as a template you can add to existing ooze monsters – yes, even if you don’t normally use templates.

Here goes …

1. Custards are made of sterner stuff than normal oozes, so they gain one hit dice, and improve their armor class by 1 step. This makes them vulnerable to attacks by all sorts of weapons (i.e. they lose immunity to certain types of weapon, not including oozes that are only struck by silver or magic weapons).

2. Custards are not quite as flexible as most oozes. They can flow through cracks and such, but reduce their speed by half when doing so.

3. When custards are exposed to fire damage equal to at least half their current hit point total (or to out it another way, when a custard takes half its hit points in fire damage), it liquifies somewhat and takes on the characteristics of a normal ooze of its type.

4. Custards suffer half damage from cold.

5. Custards do not divide or engulf – they’re too thick – but they do cling. Whenever a creature is struck by a custard in combat and suffers damage, it must pass a saving throw (Reflex save in B&T) or have the ooze cling to him. This allows the ooze to inflict automatic acid damage each round (1d4 if you don’t have a different acid damage value already) and the character counts as entangled. The ooze can be cut away or the victim can free herself with a bend bars/open doors check, but some of the ooze remains clinging to the victim, and more importantly, begins to use their body heat to grow.

If the adventurer is wearing armor, it is assumed that the custard is clinging to the armor. In this case, the armor must make an item saving throw vs. acid each round. If successful, it holds up and the adventurer suffers no acid damage and does not begin to grow. If an item saving throw fails, the armor in that spot is ruined and the custard begins dealing damage and growing.

Each round that the ooze deals damage to the character, it grows by 1 HD, eventually reaching the normal maximum hit dice for an ooze of its type. This process can be stopped in the following ways: The ooze can be scraped away with a blade, the ooze can be burned away with fire or the ooze can be defeated with a cure disease spell.

If using a blade, the victim suffers 1d3 points of damage with each attempt, and the custard gets a saving throw to resist. When the custard fails a save, the scraping has been successful. Fire works the same way, though the damage is equal to 1d4 points of damage per round. If using a fire spell that deals more damage, impose a penalty to the ooze’s save equal to -1 per 2 points of additional average damage (i.e. average torch damage is 2.5; average 5 dice fireball damage is (3.5 x 5) or 17.5; the custard would suffer a -7 penalty (rounding down) to its saving throw if its victim was exposed to the full fury of a 5 dice fireball).

There you have it. So how about a sample custard for Blood & Treasure?

BLACKBERRY CUSTARD (BLACK PUDDING)
Huge Ooze, Neutral (N), Non-Intelligent; Solitary
HD 11
AC 4
ATK Slam (2d6 + 2d6 acid + cling)
MV 20 (Climb 20)
SV F 7, R 10, W 10
XP 1,100 (CL 12)

The typical blackberry custard measures 15 feet across and 2 feet thick. It weighs about 22,000 pounds. The creature secretes a digestive acid that dissolves organic material (50 points of damage per round) and metal (20 points of damage per round), but does not affect stone. Any hit by the monster deals acid damage, and the target’s armor and clothing dissolve and become useless immediately unless they succeed on an item saving throw. A metal or wooden weapon that strikes a blackberry custard also dissolves unless it passes a saving throw. A blackberry custard that strikes a victim clings to it (see above).

There are other varieties of blackberry custards in existence. Chocolate custards (brown puddings) (12 HD) dwell in deserts. Vanilla custards (white puddings) (10 HD) dwell in snowy regions and dissolve stone instead of metal. Mocha custards (dun puddings) (9 HD) dwell in tropical jungles and only dissolve organic materials.
Special Qualities: Immune to mind effects, resistance to cold

Noah’s Ark – Dictionary Monster Special Abilities

As promised – here are those special abilities associated with the letters.

What powers does our documentarian have?

Special attacks – Occult (it can cast spells), uppercut (it’s slam attacks knock people down) and energy drain!

Special qualities – Cold resistance 50%, magic resistance 21% and natural invisibility

Not bad – I might modify the energy drain and natural invisibility, though.

Tomorrow I’ll post the finished documentarian, maybe with horrible art by myself!

Noah’s Ark – Generating Monsters With a Dictionary

So you’re writing up an adventure, and you want some original monsters to throw at the players – something they haven’t seen before. Unfortunately, you’re a bit short on time. Well, with a random word plucked from your head or generated at dictionary.com, and with this ridiculously goofy system below, you’ve got it covered.

STEP ONE – GET SOME WORDS
As mentioned above, dictionary.com has a random word generator. What you’re looking for is a noun – this is the most important word – and maybe one or two modifiers. Adjectives are the obvious modifiers for nouns, but verbs can work as well, so long as you pop an -ing on the end (i.e. bite becomes biting, claw becomes clawing, sleep becomes sleeping).

STEP TWO – THE BASICS
Now we need to generate some basic stats for our monster. We’re going to use the noun to determine the monster type (even if you don’t use type in your system, this is still good for figuring out what the monster looks like and how it attacks), size (important – determines speed and damage), hit dice and armor class.

HIT DICE: Count the number of consonants in the word. This is the monster’s total hit dice.

ARMOR CLASS: Count the number of vowels in the word. Multiply this number by two and add to 10 for the monster’s (ascending) AC. For descending, just subtract the number from 11.

TYPE: The monster’s type is based on the first letter of the word:

* If the monster’s size is tiny to medium, feel free to change the giant into a humanoid or monstrous humanoid; in any event, increase the giant’s damage output by one size level

SIZE: The monster’s size is based on the last letter of the word:

STEP THREE – SPECIAL ABILITIES
There are two classes of special abilities for our purposes: Special Attacks and Special Qualities (which includes special defenses).

The monster’s special attacks are determined by the third, fifth and seventh letters in the word – if a monster doesn’t have a seventh or fifth letter, then they don’t have special abilities for those slots. In other words, the more letters (and more hit dice), the more special abilities.

I’ll present those tables tomorrow.

SAMPLE MONSTER
In the mean time, let’s look at a sample noun. Using dictionary.com, I generated the word “documentarian” and the modifier “mottled”. What the heck is a mottled documentarian?

Hit Dice: Documentarian has seven consonants, so our monster has 7 HD
Armor Class: Documentarian has six consonants, so our monster has an AC 22 (or AC -1)
Type: Documentarian starts with “D”, so our monster is a Giant with 2 slams
Size: The documentarian’s size should be Medium. A medium giant seems stupid, but in this case we’ll say the monster has giant girth – bulging muscles – rather than giant height

So far, we have:

MOTTLED DOCUMENTARIAN
Medium Giant

HD: 7
AC: 22
ATK: 2 slams (1d6)
MV: 30

The Centurion Class – Go Into Battle With Friends!

Wow – been very busy lately. Sorry for the lack of posts of late, but I’m currently trying to finish writing the NOD Companion, Action X, I’m doing some more freelance stuff for Frog God Games (Tome of Horrors IV!) and I’m putting the finishing touches (editing and layout) to Tanner Yea’s new supplement for Blood & Treasure, Psionics of Lore. It looks like a winner folks.

That being said, I needed to get something posted this week, so …

THE CENTURION

Image from HERE

Fighters might come from many backgrounds, but most adventuring fighters avoid the chaos of the battlefield for the relative simplicity of bashing heads in a dungeon. Centurions, on the other hand, are born and bred for mass combat in the name of king or emperor. They glory in wading into an enemy host with their comrades. When they delve into the lightless depths, they bring friends and know how to make the most of them.

ROLL D8 FOR HIT POINTS (+3 HP PER LEVEL AFTER LEVEL 10)

REQUIREMENTS
Centurions must have a Strength and Charisma of at least 13. They cannot be Chaotic in alignment

ARMOR PERMITTED
Padded, Leather, Studded Leather, Ring, Scale, Chainmail Shirt, Chainmail; All Shields

WEAPONS PERMITTED
Crossbows (All), Dagger, Hand Axe, Javelin, Long Sword, Spear, Short Sword

SKILLS
Bend Bars, Break Down Doors

ADVANCE AS
Fighter

ATTACK AS
Fighter

SAVE AS
Fighter

SPECIAL ABILITIES
Centurions can command double the normal henchmen usually permitted by their Charisma scores, provided those henchmen are men-at-arms armed and armored in the same way as the centurion. Men-at-arms under the command of a centurion gain a +1 bonus to attack, to saving throws and to morale checks. The bonus to morale checks increases to +2 at 4th level, and +3 at 8th level.

When in battle, centurions can lock shields with other centurions, fighter-types and their own men-at-arms. This increases the AC of all involved by +2. While locked, the warriors can still attack with spears, but do so at a -1 penalty to hit. The warriors also gain a +2 bonus to save vs. special maneuvers while in a shield wall.

Centurions are trained as sentries, and thus are only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d8.

A 3rd level centurion can bestow their shield bonus to AC to any ally within 5 feet, and still attack as normal.

A 6th level centurion learns the skills of an engineer in relation to operating siege weapons.

A 9th level centurion (legatus) can built a fort and design a standard to be flown over his fort and over his person when he is engaged in battle. When he does so, he attracts 1d6 men-at-arms per level, 1d6 first level centurions that wish to train with him and make up his personal guard, and a third level centurion to act as his lieutenant. The centurion’s bonus to his men-at-arms extends to all of his new followers when they share the battlefield with him and they can see his standard.

LVL / TITLE
1 Miles
2 Duplicarius
3 Decanus
4 Cornicularius
5 Optio
6 Centurion
7 Praefectus
8 Tribunus
9+ Legatus

3d6 All the Way Revisited – A Random Excel Generator!

Illustration of leech by Jon Kaufman from the NOD Companion (still in progress)

From the brilliant mind of Arjen Lissenberg, who gave us the excel document to generate random classes with that last hare-brained scheme of mine, comes a new Excel doc to do the same with the 3d6 for everything method.

Download it HERE!

Thanks again to Arjen – I love being able to supply things like this to the wider gaming community!