Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Time-Between

Day was not always divided into two. Now, there is just day and night. But before, there were three. The day, the night, and the time between. Something, or someone, took it away. The full day was a magic number of hour; 36, a sacred number, unlike the base and pathetic 24. It is our missing time.

The middle time was unlike day or night. There was light enough to see, just as it is clear enough at the dawn and dusk before the sun is visible or disappearing from the horizon, but stars are few in the sky and the twin moons of Allwonder have not risen. Instead, the sky is brilliant with striking reds and oranges, light blues, and the moving colors of the lights of the north. These great membranes of pure magic dance across the sky and horizon with their own weather patterns and secret ways. This time of the once three part day was the time of magic and arcane energies. The eldest types of creatures, the elves and dragons, would do magic during this time. It is this missing part of the day that gives elves their longing, and the dragons their long slumbers; you use the day to take care of your base, animal physical needs, the night to rest or meditate, and the third time to create your great magics. With it missing, something is missing from their lives. Of course, humans being a young race, have no such longing for a time before the Gods conquered the world and created them.

But the third time is still around a little bit; just before the dawn and just after the dusk. It's the reason magic recharges during this time. Creatures of law usually have their magic come back at the first light, and creatures of chaos have their powers returning when the cursed sun finally sets to allow night to rule again. Magic without alignment may recharge at both times, or when the ambient magic from both times bleeds into them. The farther north and south you go; the more the day is dominated by one time of day. To travel in another direction entirely perhaps may lead you to a land where the day is dominated by the third time, a nearly limitless time of magic and mysticism. Perhaps someone can find where the third time went, and bring it back.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Manse '18

This is a collection of basic game rules for the Manse Basic roleplaying system; a DIY style game. The goal of the game is to search dungeons for treasure, crawl the wilderness, and become a powerful character within a fantasy world. Danger lurks around every corner, but treasure awaits. This is the 200th post on this blog, and for the occasion, this is the most complete ruleset posted.

Character Creation
Roll your stats, pick your class and race, and choose equipment.

Stats- Roll 3d6 down the line for all 6 stats. Your result roll determines your stat modifier.
3-4 = -2
5-8 = -1
9-12 = 0
13-16 = +1
17-18 = +2

[Strength] Add modifier melee to-hit rolls and for carrying capacity in load units.
[Dexterity] Add modifiers to ranged to hit, bonus AC, and stealth rolls.
[Constitution] Each modifier is +/-5% max HP rounded to the nearest whole number.
[Intelligence] Add modifiers to known languages and magic rolls.
[Wisdom] Add modifier to healing rolls and all saving throw rolls.
[Charisma] Add modifier to reaction rolls and starting coins.

Classes
Pick your classes based on your talents and what your party needs. There is no multiclassing and classes progress linearly; it's about what your character does that defines them.

Fighter
HD- d10
Max AC- 16
Saves- Every odd level, +1 to combat saves. Every even level, +1 to all saves.

You are the strong, powerful, determined and skilled. While others fear to face the monsters, you stand tall against them. You represent the spirit of the warrior in all its forms. Your fighting style may be advanced, brutal, practical, or flashy- all of you be Fighters. Your class is the only one capable of wielding the most powerful magic weapons and armors and unlocking the most powerful of the secret blade arts. You're also physically tough and hard to kill.

Because of your HD- you almost always go first in combat and have a 50% chance to get advantage on your attack, as well as a 10% chance to get a second attack. This is an inherent property of the combat system, and grants you quite an extreme advantage against monsters at low levels. Your minimum starting HP is also 6 instead of 2 like most classes. You also ignore the combat save penalties to wearing heavy metallic armors regardless of your level.

Every Even level, you get +1 to hit on attack rolls with all weapons.

At levels 3, 6, 9, and 10 you get +1 damage on a successful hit.

At level 5, you get +1 maximum AC. At level 7, you get +1 Leadership, which among other things gives all your hirelings +1 morale/loyalty.

At 10th level, you become a Champion. You are capable of starting your own fort- as long as you can get the money together, people will come to live under your protection against the monsters and bandits. You could buy the fort as you level and slowly build it, or reclaim ruins to use as a home base, but you don't attract anyone else or are not seen as a “true” lord of the land until you reach 10th level, even if the fort was finished before this. You also attract 40 Militia men. These fight as regular, 1 HD men divided into 4 squads. Four of these men are Captains; one for each squad and count as a 1st level Fighter for their hit points and other abilities, and could be made into hirelings or trained to become even stronger or be taught some of your blade arts.

Additionally; you gain the Mighty Cleave ability. When fighting an enemy force of 1 HD opponents, you don't roll to hit. Instead, roll damage and you slay that many of them in one round.

Rogue
HD- d8
Max AC- 14
Saves- At first level, +1 to all. Every odd level, +1 to hazard saves. Every even level, +1 to all saves.

You are the sneaky thief, the deadly Assassin, and the swashbuckling folk hero. Beyond your stealth, and ability to attack from ambush, you are also decent in a fight and are skilled with devices and skillful when it comes to exploration. Their are some gadgets, poisons, and magic instruments that only your skilled hands can ply. You are adept at avoiding danger, and get +1 to all saves at first level.

Rogues are very skilled with mechanical devices and tasks requiring skill and coordination. As long as you are using an appropriate tool, such as an iron prybar, lockpicks, climbing hooks, sandbags, and so on you can add your Rogue level to your skill checks and rolls called by the DM during rulings.

At levels 1, 3, 6, 9, and 10 you get +1 to your Stealth rolls. You can also add this bonus to both the to hit AND damage of your sneak attacks.

At levels 4, 8, and 10 get +1 to hit with all weapons.

At 10th level, you become either a Folk Hero or a Master Thief, depending on how you used your abilities and made your fortunes. If you stole from dungeons, stole from nobles to give to the poor, and sought fame and glory as well as money then you're more of a Folk Hero, but if you mostly stole for your own personal gain, used your talents as an assassin or spy, as well as kept a low profile, you're more of a Master Thief.

The Folk Hero can become the leader of a merchant caravan or fleet, or the master of a guildhall. If you're a Master Thief, you can instead gather the scum of society around you as your own personal, secret Thieves guild. Both possibilities can be taken in combination with becoming the mayor or leader of your own settlement, which will require protection from outside threats.

Additionally; you gain the ability Escape Artist. Make your way out of bindings, holding cells, and seemingly unwinnable situations once per adventure. You could also use this ability along with a smoke bomb or distraction to reenter stealth right under your pursuers noses.

Sage
HD- d6
Max AC- 12
Saves- Every odd level, +1 to magic saves. Every even level, +1 to all saves.

You are the mystical and curious of the mortal races. You have studied and can cast magical spells better then anyone else. You are a magic user- but also learned and have some useful scholarly knowledge. You can attempt to learn something about magic items as well as monster clues to help identify them and potentially learn any benefits or dangers from them. Your extrasensory abilities are more developed then most; you have an ability to sense danger. If you meditate for an entire exploration turn while sensing a suspected thing; you can sense if it is dangerous or has a trap. You can only do this if the depth or height you are within a dungeon is equal to or less then your caster level.

You treat your level as one higher for commanding/turning defeated spirits and undead. At level 5, this doubles, and you now treat your level as two higher for this purpose.

Your main ability is to cast spells. You get one spell slot per level, with levels 3, 6, and 10 granting newer spell slots of higher levels. You always fill in spell slots from the lowest open slot upwards; and ascend through the magic circles in a pyramid like progression. See the graph for an easy visualization of this method. Your spell slots can be expended to cast any spell you know of an appropriate level or less; but spell slots only return at the end of an adventure when you have time to restore your magical energies and study your tomes once again; usually this means returning to town or a base. You roll two starting spells; then must find or purchase all of the others in order to grow your grimoire.

At 10th level, you become a Wizard. You can build yourself a magician's tower or manse in an area filled with magical energy or phenomenon. Most Wizards do this in far away places and live as hermits, due to the fact you will receive 1d4 annoying petitioners each season asking you to solve their problems and grant their wishes with your awesome magical powers. What you do with them is your choice. You will also receive a 1st level apprentice Sage seeking guidance and training.

You gain no additional special powers or properties at 10th level, beyond the fact that you can now cast 4th level spells; among the most powerful and devastating magic around. Sages rank and organize themselves along with the highest level spell they can cast; Sages of the 1st circle are little more then apprentices where as a Wizard of the 4th Circle like yourself is considered a master. There are rumored to be Wizards of the 5th or even 6th Circle out there, somewhere.

Sage Spells Table
Level
1st Circle
2nd Circle
3rd Circle
4th Circle
1
1



2
2



3
2
1


4
3
1


5
3
2


6
3
2
1

7
4
2
1

8
4
3
1

9
4
3
2

10
4
3
2
1

Races
Races are determined by player & DM consensus. Once you determine your race, any special qualities you ask to have will be paired with a negative drawback of equal value. For instance, a dog humanoid with a minor bonus to use their sharp nose to help search for items and treasure, but will be susceptible to fleas as a minor drawback.

Other players may copy or play as the same race that another player has; but some races may have stat modifier requisites to play as them. If a player decides to play as a Oni and has +2 Strength, and it is decided that Oni are all very strong, everyone else who wants to play as an Oni will have to have at least +2 Strength in order to play as them too.

Rules
Hit Points- Roll your class die at first level and every time you level up after, and add that much to your hit points. Your minimum HP is 2. If you ever drop to 0 hit points or less, you die.

Combat- Roll you class HD at the start of each round. This is your initiative, with bigger numbers going first. If you roll at least 6, you get advantage on your attack. If you rolled a 10, which is only possible for Fighters, you get two attacks (with advantage) this round.

When you attack, roll d20 + to hit bonus vs enemy AC. On a hit, roll your weapon's damage. Each weapon has a damage die- if the weapon's damage die exceeds your class's HD, then you must use your class HD for the damage roll instead. Your class HD limits your damage potential.

Spells in combat take one round to cast; if you are damaged while channeling a spell that is cast or controlled over multiple rounds, make a save or the spell fizzles. Distractions like flashes of light or loud noises might give you an easy save, but failure still loses your spell.

During combat; players can attempt any sort of reasonable action such as grapples, “called shots”, using improvised weapons or tactics, the environment, and so on to get an advantage. Doing so may call for a roll or sacrifice of your attack. You can always try these actions regardless of your class; be creative in what you do.

Inventory- Items are abstracted into units of Load. Load is roughly equal to the size and weight of the item; a dagger would be 1 load and a sword 2 load, for example. Bags of 100 coins are 1 load. Very small objects may not count towards encumbrance. You have an encumbrance of 8 + Strength modifier; and each time over you exceed this number you get slower and more likely to run into monsters.

(Optional) Stow is an optional rule that limits the number of items you can access at any time in combat. The rules are found here. If you use Stow, grant Rogues +1 to Stow at levels 1, 2, 4, 8, and 10. This allows you to have more items and equipment on hand during combat.

Skill Checks- Whenever you wish to do something that requires a lot of skill or coordination, roll a d20. Rogues get a bonus to do things related to their class, like climbing, lockpicking, or playing music to lull a beast to sleep. The difficulty of the task determines how high you have to roll to succeed.

Saving Throws- Whenever you are forced to defy danger, roll a d20 and add relevant class or stat modifiers. Making the save means you have a reduced negative effect or negate it altogether. Different classes have different defenses against different threats.

Progression- Coins and treasure spent grants XP equal to the amount spent. Wasting money on frivolous things may grant +10% bonus XP. To advance from first level to second level requires 100 coins spent, and it doubles each time. To reach 2nd level is 100 coins, to reach 3rd level is 200 coins, to reach 4th level is 400 coins, 5th level is 800 coins, and so on.

Equipment
Weapons deal damage based on their size and how powerful they are. Daggers, blackjacks, slings, darts, and similar deal 1d4 damage. Swords, arrows, spears, maces and “standard” weapons deal 1d6 damage. Big weapons, like bastard swords, poleaxes, huge axes and so on deal 1d8 damage. You can use any weapon regardless of your class, but your maximum damage is limited to your class HD or less. Magical weapons have an Ego score- which means the more powerful they are, the more they try to manipulate and control the user. Only powerful Warriors- as in Fighters and to a lesser extent Rogues, can control these and bind them to their will.

Weapons are differentiated not just by size but also by the fiction of the game world. You could use a sword to cut a rope, but not a hammer. Skeletons take no damage from arrows or spears, etc.

If you use a weapon in both hands and swing with all your might; on a hit you get to add your Strength modifier to damage; but cannot use your other hand to cast spells, use a shield, grab a potion, etc. If you have a negative Strength modifier; you can do this to ignore your negative to your to-hit roll, but lose AC equal to your negative strength as you put yourself open. You can also duel wield. If you do, roll both damage die on a hit and take the higher of the both. If they match, deal damage equal to the value on one die + Dexterity modifier, positive or negative.

Armor & Shields you AC. Armors made from material like padded cloth, leather, bone, and other more supernatural materials are considered light armor where as armor made from metal or stone is considered heavy armor. Heavy armor has much higher AC per piece, but has higher load towards your encumbrance AND you get -1 to combat saves per AC bonus gained from heavy armor unless you are a Fighter. Shields always grant +1 AC, unless you're using a shield as big as your character, in which case it's considered a tower shield and grants +2 AC. Similar to magic weapons; magic armors may have an ego score and refuse to serve weak men.

Magically inclined character also have their own tools as well. If you cast a spell while wielding a staff or rod, you get +1 to the spell's damage. If you cast a spell while wielding a wand, enemies get -2 to their saving throw vs your spells. If you cast a spell while wielding a magic crystal ball, or by drawing runes on the ground with chalk, you can extend the duration of the spell by +1 round if it lasts rounds, up to a turn if it lasts a few minutes, and +1 turn if it lasts multiple turns, even +1 days if the spell lasts multiple days, but this is the limit of a normal orb's power.

Tonics are special versions of potions. Tonics are magical potions that last only 24 hours after they are brewed- if they are not drunk or used by then, they become useless. Tonics purchased in town lose their magic after this first day, but they can be made on demand and are much cheaper then potions with a longer shelf life. You can brew tonics yourself by finding and brewing your own ingredients you find.

Shopping
Starting characters begin with 300 + (Charisma modifier x150) coins to spend before their first dungeon trip. This money does not count towards XP and should be spent to give you the tools and equipment you will need in the dungeon. Characters with -2 Charisma start with rags and a single improvised weapon, such as a sharp stake or frying pan (1d2 damage).

Weapons
Name
Damage
Load
Cost
Description
Dagger
1d4
1 per 3
20
Metal, straight. Useful for cutting.
Club
1d4
1
5
Made of wood, simple. Could be burned.
Staff
1d4
1
10
Long, wooden. Spell cast with it get +1 damage.
Spear
1d6
2
25
If head removed; could be used as a long pole.
Sword
1d6
2
150
Competent craftsmanship.
Mace
1d6
2
100
Very durable.
Axe
1d6
2
80
Good at cutting wood, cutting of limbs.
Battleaxe
1d8
3
250
Huge, unrealistic, two handed. Wooden haft.
Greatsword
1d8
3
450
Huge, two handed. Good craftsmanship.
Javelin
1d4/1d6
2 p. 3
10
Sold separately, deals only 1d4 melee.
Bow
1d6
2
10
Ranged weapon, fires arrows.
Crossbow
1d8
3
90
Ranged weapon, fires bolts. Must reload.
Sling Bullets
(1d4)
1 p. 20
2 for 1
The sling is free, bullets come in Bag of 20
Arrows
1d6
2 p. 20
2 each
Cost is per arrow. Held in Quivers of 20
Caltrops
1
1
60
Scattered; deals 1 damage when moved through

Armors
Name
AC
Load
Cost
Description
Shield
1
1
100
Made of wood, painted. Smallshield.
Tower Shield
2
3
200
Fabric or hide, as tall as you.
Gambeson
1
1
150
Padded cloth, worn on the chest.
Iron Scale
2
2
250
(Heavy) Worn on chest.
Chainmail
3
4
500
(Heavy) Worn on chest.
Chain Cowl
1
2
150
(Heavy) Worn on head.
Iron Helmet
2
3
350
(Heavy) Worn on head. Horns optional.

Magic
Name
Load
Cost
Description
Healing Tonic
1
50
Restores 1d6 hit points. All tonics expire after 1 day.
Curing Tonic
1
50
Restores 1d6 stat damage; fights off disease 1d6 days
Antidote Tonic
1
20
Drink after poisoned; prevents 2d6 of that damage
Magic Tonic
1
150
Restores a 1st level spell slot or equivalent power
Wand
1
10
Carved, Wooden. Your spells get +2 save difficulty.
Orb
1
100
Polished. Your spells increase duration by +1 unit.
Quills + Parchment
1
15
Take notes, 3 pages of parchment.
Holy Pentagram
1
200
Made of pale gold. Commands defeated spirits.

Supplies
Name
Load
Cost
Description
Ration (meal)
1 p. 3
2 per 3
Enough for one meal. Humans = 3 meals a day
Torch
1 p. 3
5
Burns out about once per hour.
Lamp
2
40
Burns lamp oil. Holds 2 units.
Oil Flask
1 p. 2
5
One unit of oil each- 1 unit lasts 1d2 hours.
Pole
2
5
Long wooden pole
Iron Prybar
2
10
Used to force things open. 1d2 improvised weapon
Lockpick
1 p. 5
15
Picks locks quietly. Breaks on a failed roll.
Other Tools
1
5
Chisel, Mallet, Chalk, Shovel, Marbles, etc.

Starting Spells
Roll a d10 to determine your Sage's starting spell. All spells here are first circle spells; all spells beyond this will require research, finding them in a dungeon, or purchasing training from other magic users.
  1. Conveyance of Supply & Spoils
  2. Seeking Projectile of the Magus
  3. Inclement Manifestation
  4. Glower of Potent Foulness
  5. Blocked Passage of Obfuscation
  6. Sorcery of Extreme Weakness
  7. Protection from Hexes & Curses
  8. Pathway of Prophecy
  9. Fleeting Binding of Wounds
  10. Calling of Stellar Lights
Spell Descriptions
[1] Conveyance of Supply & Spoils - 1st Circle
This spell conjures forth a creature, known as an Astral Conveyor. It appears as a squat creature, similar to a tortoise, with a metallic shell. It has no head and four bright-blue tentacle appendages that exit the holes, which is uses to shuffle around on the ground. When attacked, the creature curls up and is treated as AC 20 from all attacks. It has 1 HD and cannot attack. It lasts for 18 exploration turns. If the creature is killed, everything it is carrying gets spilled out as it disappears.

The shell of the creature is shaped in such a way as to have a treasure chest fused to the top of it. The chest is unlocked, but has metal loops to which a lock could be attached. The treasure chest can hold up to 8 load worth of items, but only things that could fit within the chest. Once the duration of the spell ends, any lock placed on the creature automatically opens and it spits out all of the items in the chest, before disintegrating back to the Astral Plane. If the chest is somehow forced shut, or the creature is killed in an unusual way, everything in the chest may simply phase out of existence and go into the Astral plane as a lost object.

[2] Seeking Projectile of the Magus - 1st Circle
Fires forth bolts, beams, or rays of magical energy that deal 1d6 damage. The target does not get a save, nor can this spell miss. You can fire this spell at any target within a stones throw as range. Highly trained fighters or people with magical protection may be able to deflect or lessen the damage of this spell through their advanced techniques.

This spell is totally unique to every mage that practices it- make sure to describe what your version of the spell looks like. How spectacular the spell looks may be tied to your character's level, but it can never cause another caster to lose concentration nor can it have extra effects (such as blinding from a bright flash of light.) The appearance of the spell is purely for flavor.

[3] Inclement Manifestation - 1st Circle
Once this spell is cast, a 40ft area designated by the caster becomes supernaturally stormy. Cold mists, hard winds, mud, and so on harries anyone trying to move or fight through this area. Slows down anyone traveling through it to a crawl; they treat their initiative die as one smaller OR have half movement unless they have appropriate gear or supernatural abilities.

The spell lasts a few minutes; long enough to cover any combat or chase, but dissipates before an exploration turn. Firing into or out of the manifestation with ranged weapons is hard, and anyone attempting to do so gets -2 to hit with arrows or thrown weapons.

[4] Glower of Potent Foulness - 1st Circle
When cast, shrouds the magic user or the area they are in with a pale green light that causes fear and panic in their foes. Enemies who see this light before combat will be forced to roll a morale check. If you are in combat, the glow makes enemies you are facing treat their morale as -2 for as long for the next 3 rounds.

This pale glowing light is often used by magic users while performing their dark magics to keep away suspicious and curious troublemakers from their lairs or laboratories; magic of higher tiers creates light like this all on its own, and this spell replicates that. It works best on the superstitious.

[5] Blocked Passage of Obfuscation - 1st Circle
Spell creates a wall of blackness. Closes up a gap 10 ft across or less. The gap is closed by solid, supernatural darkness and lasts by 1d4 exploration turns. The gap could only be destroyed by a very bright light, strong magic, or superior strength, but is impassable to most foes. You cannot see or hear through this gap with normal eyes and ears.

This blockage is used by magic users to either trap things behind them or to make easy escapes. Denizens who live in the dungeon will see the black wall as something an intruder put up, as they will be used to the layout of their dungeon. Monsters with darkvision may also be able to dimly see through the blockage, their dark vision giving some penetration.

[6] Sorcery of Extreme Weakness - 1st Circle
Hex that targets one enemy in the magic user's vision. This spell lowers the target's HD or level by 1 temporarily. Casting this spell multiple times “stacks” the draining effect. If the target goes down to 0 HD or less, they go limp and become useless and powerless until their strength returns. The target's strength returns at a rate of 1 per exploration turn.

Because many monster abilities, spells, and resistances rely on the creature's HD, this spell can make a monster weak enough to be vulnerable to your other spells, special weapons and blade arts, and so on. This spell doesn't deal direct damage, but does lower enemy HP by a hit die, and if this drops the enemy to 0 HP or less then they will remain standing but they are clearly one hit away from death.

[7] Protection from Hexes & Curses - 1st Circle
This enchantment creates a shield around the target that allows them to succeed the next saving throw against a spell OR absorb a single damage die from a magic attack, regardless of its size. If a spell would do 2 damage die, such as 2d6, then this spell lowers it to 1d6 instead, etc. Does not work against any spell that has a “hard” saving throw.

Against spells with effects over multiple rounds or turns, this ability becomes significantly less useful as it will only protect against the first roll. Targets under the effect of this protection have a white shine on their body if you look at them through wizard vision or some other extrasensory ability. Against nonspecific curses, this spell will also block it.

[8] Pathway of Prophecy - 1st Circle
This spell illuminates a path, either on the ground or on nearby objects like trees, walls, pillars, etc. that leads you to a common destination. The destination you dictate must be either a place your character has already been to, or would be commonly seen or known by anyone with a quick walk through of this floor. For example, the stairs up or stairs down, the water pit, the orc's camp, the dragon's lair, etc. These places would have to be clearly obvious to anyone walking around the dungeon without impediment. The path would stop short at locked doors or would not appear at all if the location specified was hidden or otherwise blocked off.

If the location of the spell was known before the spell was cast, and then something blocked it, the path would lead to the blockage and go there. If you were trapped in a dungeon with shifting walls, for example, then the path would go all the way to the wall that had shifted in your path. If the location was already behind a hidden wall however, then it would not work. The pathway lasts for 3 exploration turns on its own, or until the path is followed to its end or suddenly stops due to a blockade. Because the pathway glows and is obvious; monsters can tell when you're coming or can follow you along behind your path, making this spell dangerous and not stealthy at all to use.

[9] Fleeting Binding of Wounds - 1st Circle
This spell conjures bright, colorful bandages of the caster's favorite color around the targets wounds. The bandages don't restrict movement at all, but help staunch bleeding and count as granting +1d6 temporary hit points, up to an unable to exceed the target's maximum hit points. The bandages are also mystical in that they do things like straighten broken parts, or compress swollen areas when wrapped around the target, a “one size fits all” solution to injury.

The bandages automatically unravel after an hour, or 6 exploration turns. The temporary hit points disappear with them, but temporary hit points are always deducted before normal hit points when taking damage from combat or spells. If in town by the time these wear off, there is little danger, as the bandages will simply be removed and replaced with clean bandages.

[10] Calling of Stellar Lights - 1st Circle
The caster can bring forth supernatural light from the stars. All light conjured by this spell is a bit dim, colorless but still useful light similar to a bright moonlit night. It's concentrated starlight, and as such has no special effects of monsters or vampires. When cast, the intensity of this spell is directed by the caster, and comes in three general levels.

The spell can be focused to a narrow pin prick of light. The pin of light acts like a beam spell attack, which require a to hit roll to hit an opponent and only deals 1 damage on a hit. However, the focused beam can light dry things on fire, such as dry wood or thin cloth fabrics.

The spell can also be cast as a flare which shoots itself from the caster's fingers, creating a bright light that illuminates a large area. The flare, if shot into the sky, looks like a very bright star close to the ground and will attract attention. If fired down a hallway or passage, may scare a group of monsters thinking it is a more serious attack or illuminate the depths of a hole before you jump down, etc. Flares are bright and large enough to illuminate a large area, such as an entire forest clearing, but only last for 3 combat rounds.

Finally, the spell can also be used as a light spell; creating the colorless light around the caster and following them akin to the light of a torch or lantern, but without the yellowish tint or open flame. The light spell lasts for one exploration turn.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Stow & Load - Encumbrance System

Characters keep track of the number of items they carry in load units. “Load” is an abstract unit of weight and size. Every character can carry 8 + Strength Modifier in load items per encumbrance level. Meaning that if you exceed your load, you go from not encumbered to lightly encumbered and can then carry another 8 + Strength Modifier load of items before counting as moderately encumbered. Many smell items are bundled together, or are simply ignored for encumbrance.

Encumbrance
The most Encumbered member of the party determines the speed and stealth bonus. Equipped items & armor count for encumbrance. This assumes the following procedure.
Not Encumbered: +1 stealth, -1 to Encounter range.
Lightly Encumbered: No stealth bonus. No change to Encounter range.
Moderately Encumbered: -1 stealth, +1 to Encounter range.
Greatly Encumbered: -2 stealth, +2 to Encounter range. Lose first combat round.

Stow
Stow is the number of items you have instant, easy access to on your person. The number of stow items worth of load is equal to the first 4 + Dex modifier items on your equipment list. Weapons DO count for stow, but armor or worn objects do not. Trying to use or extract any item from your inventory that is not in your stow takes 1d4-1 combat rounds.

For example; a lvl 2 Rogue archer would want to keep her bow, dagger, quiver of arrows, and a set of caltrops ready at her hand; total of 6 load. To grab her healing potion, it would have to take her 1d4-1 combat rounds to dig it out; she'd probably want the fighter between her and the enemy while digging, or go without until combat is over.

Load Examples
Weapons- Use size of damage die for load. d4 dagger or blackjack is 1 load, d6 sword or bow is 2 load, d8 polearm or claymore is 3 load, etc.

Thrown Weapons- Bundles of 3 per damage die size. For example, throwing daggers, bolas, darts, and chakrams at 1d4 are 1 load for 3 throwing weapons. Bigger sizes use larger loads for 3 items; Javelins and large acid flasks at 1d6 are 2 load for 3 items, etc.

Ammunition- Bundled in units of 20 per weapon die size for load. Sling bullets are carried in a bag of 20 bullets for 1 load. Arrows carried in quiver of 20 for 2 load. Heavy crossbow for d8 and Gunpowder flask and lead purse for a d8 musket weight 3 load for 20 shots, etc.

Tools- Approximate the tool to a weapon, or how you would use it as an improvised weapon, and use that as the load. Trowels and chisels are 1 load, shovels and prybars for 2 load, pickaxe & sledgehammer are 3 load each, etc.

Treasure- Each bag of 100 coins of any denomination is 1 load. Gemstones do not count for encumbrance, as long as they are not unnecessarily huge. Treasure chests are at least 2 load for one of those small ones, otherwise are load of 3+ and require both hands or two people to carry.

Supply Items & Misc- Rations, torches, and door wedges are all stored in bundles of 3. Halflings and similar sized beings, alive or a corpse, are load of 3 with humans and similar being 6 load.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Magic Mansion Soiree Encounters

[1] Room that is 5ft longer on one side then it physically should be. There's a red line painted on the floor that shows this; it's just bragging rights, as even she couldn't afford a spell that made her house much larger on the inside then the outside magically. If wall is broken there will cause a sucking sound and the room will crack to snap back to where it 'should' be in 3d space.

[2] Room with an aquarium of rare fish. There's a sad little seal in a little wooden pool in the corner. He's trained to feed all the fish and take one for himself whenever the bell rings, and it's tied a magic hourglass in the adjacent room via cord.

[3] Doll room, filled with hundreds of dolls. Many in the center are life sized as big as children, and match descriptions of missing orphans.

[4] Spiral staircase leading up to the next floor, crafted by a dwarf. It's made of sawdust, cobwebs, and glass. It's far too fragile and delicate for anyone to walk on it while wearing armor.

[5] Urn of a long dead patriarch on a mantle. If knocked over the ash will animate into an angry ash wraith.

Cremated Ash Wraith (2 HD, ethereal, touch causes 1d6 damage. On 6 save or take 1 level of level drain of your primary class)
Morale: N/A

The Ash Wraith is angry of being disturbed, but does not attack those belonging to its family. Can be turned by a Sage or by someone waving around a flaming object.

[6] Crawlspace between all the walls in the house for young servant boys to use to carry around packages without actually using the immaculate hallways. Little sliding doors hidden into the walls allow dirty little hands to give you letters. Might be incorporated into some kind of fancy "fake" murder mystery the noblewoman has set up for the guests.

[7] Study with a magical chess set, which plays by itself when nobody is touching it. The chess pieces have become very cruel and cunning after dying and fighting for hundreds of battles, and can defeat almost any human opponent. The horses on the knight pieces nip at your fingers when you touch them, and the pieces cry out for blood.

If you manage to simulate a battle or army on the chess board out of chess mechanics they may just reveal the secret strategy to defeating them.

[8] Rainbow washbucket, by tossing in a garment and declaring a color it will both wash and magically change the color of the garment. Still not gentle enough to work on high quality clothing, the lady of the manor still has several washing servants.

The water will splash on a random party member and the first color shouted out will be what color their armor or robe becomes permanently.

[9] Hallway with a gargoyles head carver into the banister above it. It will stop you and demand you answer a riddle to pass. The lady of the house knows all of its riddles and their answers, but you can just pass under it without answering by making a save.

If you teach the gargoyle a new riddle, it gains the power to deal 1d6 damage to anyone who fails to answer it. Until the lady of the house knows that riddle as well, the gargoyle can wreck havoc.

[10] Animated portraits line across a dining hall. The figures are usually in parades or noble attire, and freely swap between paintings to meet with each other.

A few doodles from the children and graffiti from the servants have managed to sneak their way into the paintings and hide in the background making the painting a poor juxtaposition. If you spend more then a few minutes examining the paintings you take 1d4 Charisma damage, unless if you have a bottle of paint thinner and blot out the offensive creatures from existence.

[11] There is a waiter carrying a silver chalice filled to the brim very carefully, but isn't watching where he is going. Make a save or you bump into him and he drops it; the liquid forms into a minor water elemental and attacks.

Minor Water Elemental (4 HD, +4 AC, 3 water whip attacks 1d4, Immune to ice damage, Ice spells that deal at least 6 damage stun for 1 round instead)
Morale: N/A

[12] Mask Party. Several nobles are sitting on chairs in a circle, given spooky masks and told that their “true selves” will be revealed. All the nobles will turn into a semi-monsterous version of the creature on their mask- they are much lesser then the creature itself, just having some of its abilities at a weakened state and having their normal hit die per character. Some of them will lose themselves to this new form, while others will accidentally harm others, and some may accuse anyone nearby of being in on the curse.

One chair and mask stands vacant, in which case a character who wore it will need to make a save or lose their free will as a monsterous form. The mask can only be removed via a wish or if the character lives virtuously for a year.

Mask Monsters – 1d8
  1. Basilisk
  2. Lich
  3. Golem
  4. Beholder
  5. Troll
  6. Devil/Oni
  7. Owlbear
  8. Werewolf

[13] The Fool's Shoes. Placed in a decorated wardrobe, they're a magical pair of shoes that make anyone who wears them tumble, fall, twist, jump, and look like a total fool of themselves.

Wearing the shoes makes your Dexterity modifier treated as +2, unless it was already +2, in which case it is now +3. The shoes could be very valuable and useful if stolen from the manor.

[14] Room contains several young men dressed in full body, skin tight suits made of a semi-magical substance called latex. Each man is wearing a painted outfit the corresponds to one of the fruit on the endless fruit & juice fountains in the room. They are tasked with offering guests fruits, and will brutally beat and strangle each other for the amusement of the guests.

The one who gets the most guests to eat the most of their fruit will win a prize; the Panacea Pineapple. It is said to be able to cure most earthly diseases or cause a painless and merciful death to those with terminal illness. All of them will turn on anyone who tries to take it for themselves, as all of the young men have dying grand parents or siblings and they need to win, and will do anything it takes to claim the prize. It's nearly priceless if you managed to find the secret hidden chest in the hidden room it's locked in.

[15] 'Lil Genie Room. This room is done up in a not!Arabian style and has several throw cushions, phantasmal veiled belly dancers, and a big hookah in the center with a smokey genie hovering over it. The genie has been imprisoned and must grant “unlimited wishes”, but its wishes are stretched so thin as to only apply to within this room.

The genie could, for example, grant you untold riches. But the moment you tried to take any of the gold outside of the room, it would disappear. Injuries you wished to heal would reappear, age you wished away would return. You could wish to be King of the world, and all would respect your authority and it would be true, but only in that room. Two guards stand outside the room with bows; to stop anyone from casting any truly destructive or wishes that go against their lady's best interests. There is a young servant girl hiding away in this room; she'd asked the genie for food for so long that she would starve to death the moment she left the room.

[16] Nap tablets. Within this darkened room full of beds and curshions are little pink tablets that, when swallowed or mixed with a drink and drunk, make the user feel very tired and fall asleep. They fall asleep for two exploration turns, and then wake up as refreshed as though they had slept a full 8. These tablets are used by the guests so they can sleep and continue to enjoy the festivities after many, many hours, but each could be sold on the black market for 2d6x30 coins.

The room also always contains 3d6 sleeping noble party-goers, wealthy merchants with treasure tucked under their pillows, and powerful wizards resting to restore their spells. Most of them have guards, who will probably notice you trying to steal or murder their boss, or steal the tablets. The tablets are located within three crystal chalices floating around the room.

[17] The Wondrous Wall. Small “spots” of glowing light travel along the wall's surface, and anyone who touches the spot feels the sensation of the color and texture of the spot. So the spot may appear as rushing water, and touching it will cause your fingers to feel wet and cold from the spring. There is a spot that appears as a hot flame, and the moment it touches your fingers you will pull them back from the heat, but if your hand was forced to stay you'd take 1d4 fire damage.

The spots slowly drift around the wall, and a few nobles crowd around it and daring each other to touch the different spots.

Each spot can be removed with a paint scraper and a little bit of patience. After slapping it on another surface, it will start to “explore” its environment, but cannot leave its new wall. By rolling up the spot like a scroll and “invoking” it, a magic user can conjure a tiny amount of whatever the spot represented; a bucket's worth of river water, 1d4 jet of flame, a small fox for the spot that appeared as a soft animal's fur, a stingray for the bumpy gray skin spot on the wall, etc.

[18] Dragon egg in a glass case. The case has a lair of frost on it, hinting at the fact that anyone who touches it will take 2d8 ice damage and a loud banshee scream will alert the nearby guards.

Wealthy merchants crowd around the dragon's egg, as if amazed at the sight of a dragon up so close. The dragon egg is worth 2d4x5000 coins.

[19] The Season clock. Up in a taller tower room of the mansion; by turning the key on this huge magic clock, the room and viewing windows change entire seasons. The trees outside bloom, and butterflies go by in spring, before cold icy winds come and the trees lose their leaves for winter if you turn the key two more times, etc. The temperature of the room also changes depending on the season, and the servants here have magic outfits that change color and theme to fit whatever period of time of the “year” it is in the room. The key of the clock is magic and could be used to operate many different magical devices.

The time distortion is kept contained within this room, and your ears pop would you leave it. If any of the reinforced windows are broken, it causes a magic backlash that hits everyone in the room. Make a save to simply grow a beard or have some of your wrinkles disappear. If you fail the save you turn 1d8x10 years old.

[20] The Wine Cellar. Down carpeted steps into a small dark cellar, filled with many open caskets of wines and alcoholic drinks. There is a siren suspended into a magical bubble half filled with ocean water floating above the room, taking song requests. The wines include regular, vintage, and magical drinks. The siren's music is muffled so she cannot control people, but she will try to get the party to fire arrows or throw things at her so she can pop the bubble and start eating or controlling the house guests below.

Wandering Monsters
Roll 1d6

[1] Plucky Thieves (1 HD, +2 AC, 1d4 knives, blending in as servants, +1 to saves)
Morale- 9
Numbers- 1d6+1

[2] Fed-Up Summon (3 HD, +1 AC, 1d8 sledgehammer, scary gargoyle face -1 hireling morale, scares away other house guests and guards, smashing holes in wall)
Morale- 12, 14 when damaged from rage
Numbers- 1

[3] Sleeping Magus Dream-Projection (2 HD, casts 1st and 2nd level spells, ghostly and must be harmed with magic spells or weapons)
Morale- 10, gets bored instead of retreating
Numbers- 1 or 2

[4] Revolting Guards (2 HD, +2 to hit, +4 AC from armor, want your money not your life)
Morale- 7
Numbers- 2d4

[5] Loose Oven-Bound Fire Elementals (1 HD, 3 HD, +4 AC, 3 flame spark attacks at 1d4 fire damage, immune to fire damage, splashing water on it kills it)
Morale- N/A
Numbers- 1d4

[6] High Noble Duelists (2 HD, +2 to hit, +3 AC, 1d8+1 magic rapiers, wearing jewlery worth 1d8x100 coins, drugs make them ignore mind-effecting spells)
Morale- 12
Numbers- 1d6