Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The Third Shimmering Shield + Quick Thoughts on Magic Resistance

The Third Shimmering Shield - 3rd level
This powerful spell creates a glimmer effect on the target of the spell. Spells and magical effects and abilities have a chance to be resisted, starting at 50%. The one protected by this shield also gain +2 to all saving throws. This spell lasts for three rounds.


Quick Thoughts on Magic Resistance
I've had a change of heart recently. For some reason, I flipped around my older opinion. You see, a long time ago when reading up AD&D rules and the like, I noticed that some creatures and mechanics use magic resistance in the form of a percentile roll. I didn't like this at first, because it basically gave just a percent chance for spells to be ineffective or resisted by a creature. It was kind of boring, and not as flavorful. But I still wanted some form of magic resistance in my game for certain monsters, magic items, or player characters- so I wrote up a few versions, or folded it into spell saves.

Why did I dislike magic resistance as a mechanic? Well, this is partially for two reasons. First, I think part of my dislike of the mechanic was because, like many people, you self-insert as a player character when writing encounters and designing monsters. So the idea of being a magic user, especially one as fragile and impotent once your spells are expended in OSR/DiY, felt wrong to me. Secondly, I felt it just wasn't as flavorful as other forms of magic resistance. Spells just failing wasn't as interesting to me thematically or visually in the minds eye as say a mechanic that just weakened spells instead.

But this is no longer the case- I now have the opposite opinion. You can probably tell for my most recent monster generators that have magic resistance built int for big scary monsters! For starters, many magic spells have a built in idea that the enemy can save against them; many spells either don't offer saves or do something like half damage on a save, which means that they are 100% fool proof tools to at least do something when used. However, a creature who is resistant to magic can resist these spells- which is the only ways in rules text to thwart them. Of course, the idea of a magic user being able to "waste" a spell sounds bad on paper, but honestly every other class is at least partially dependent on luck to begin with- either to hit, percentile rolls to do thief or other skills as an X in 6 chance, and so on. Having just a handful of enemies, usually the higher powered ones, with a chance to avoid using spells is more then fair.

Secondly, visually and thematically, resisting spells is actually pretty cool. Remember, in fiction it can be basically anything you want. You can have a giant demon that resists spells and when the party's druid casts Entangle on him and he resists; what happens? Well the spell was resisted, so as long as it didn't make effect it doesn't matter. But what if it was because the vines touched the demon's leg and died from his negative life-force energy? Or perhaps he is so big and strong he just walked through them? It's pretty neat. Plus, when it comes to rulings over rules and keeping the game fresh and exciting; spells that are resisted don't necessarily just disappear. If you cast magic missile on something and it resists; does that mean the missiles go away? No! They will bounce off the creature and start flying around the room; breaking pots and windows, hitting minions and hirelings, bouncing around in a lightshow. If you cast a spell that creates a field of burning fire, for example, and the enemy resists it- it can now become a tool in the battle as the monster tries to drag your fighter into the fire while it does not burn, but you do. Of course- this is up to GM ruling. Spells that light the floor on fire with regular mundane fire may not be given a magic resistance check at all; the fire is just fire, a conjured arrow is just an arrow that flies true. But the thought, I think, is worth thinking about.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Big Scary-Ass Demon Generator

All Big Scary-Ass Demons begin with;

  • 9 HD
  • AC of 17
  • Cannot be Hit except by Magic weapons
  • Bonus to Initiative
  • Morale of 18
  • +6 to Hit
  • Two Attacks w/ Two Weapons
  • If the Demon is ever disarmed; can just throw hellfire bolts as a blast from open hand(s). Deals 1d8 magic fire damage.
  • Immunity to Fire
  • Magic Resistance at 25%
  • One Damned Soul who they are assigned to torment. The damned soul is carried by the Demon at all times, as it is a source of both constant amusement and a source of its sorcerous power. The damned soul can be invoked once every three rounds.
  • Aura of Malevolence - PCs or Hirelings of levels 1 to 3, or any other living thing with HD of 3 or less, cannot stand in the presence of this being. They automatically fail morale checks and, if they can't flee, collapse catatonic from its presence.
  • Casts Spells
  • Alignment of True Evil

Damned Soul Invocation Rules
The Damned Soul is the demon's puppet and plaything. It is trapped in whatever the demon has trapped it inside and is helpless to stop it from extracting whatever it wants. Whenever the soul is invoked, the demon can choose any of the following effects. If unsure, just roll 1d4 to see what it does.

  1. Lashes the soul with unbearable pain. It lets out an unholy gnashing scream; causing a morale check in Hirelings and Retainers.
  2. Questions the soul for anything it knew in life. The demon can find out anything it wants and as much information as it wants; it can learn your language even though its been underground for ten eons by sucking it from this soul so it can taunt you.
  3. Projects the soul into a temporary, partially-real body. The soul is under the total control of the demon, but may try to hint that it is helping it. This can be used for spying, or created at a distance to do something like pull a lever or stab someone in the back.
  4. Drains the soul of its energy and feeds on hope. The demon is healed by 3d6 Hit Points.

Demon's Favorite Sin - Roll d8
[1] Lust (Has a second Damned Soul) The husband and mistress, or whore and customer.
[2] Sloth (Goes last in Initiative, Knows +2 spells) Ponders a lot, thinks little.
[3] Heresy (+25% Magic Resistance, Turn Undead / Rebuke used against it acts as though it was 2 HD higher) Its body is adorned in blasphemous brands and tattoos. Extra vulgar in speech.
[4] Envy (Can copy a Player's Roll the round after) This is a bit of a pathetic trait for something so powerful, and yet it cannot help but want what it doesn't have.
[5] Wrath (Gains one extra Attack each round, can use either Weapon) Loves a good fight. Doesn't necessarily want a fair fight.
[6] Gluttony (+1 HD, farts rancid gas in adjacent space once per combat. Deals 1d6 toxic gas damage and inflicts a random disease if you breathe it) Corpulent, bloated, horrible.
[7] Greed (Encumbers everyone in party) Magically grows and makes heavier all gold, gems, and other treasures the party may be carrying. Double encumbrance or apply Encumbrance penalty.
[8] Pride (Aura of Malevolence is boosted to 5th level or 5 HD) It is framed in a dull infernal light. The root of all sins, and perhaps the worst one of all.

Demon's Horrible Visage - Roll d10
[1] Smooth (+1 AC) Faceless, its face is just a smooth spot, or coated in spikes and horns.
[2] Snout (+1 To-Hit) Snorts like a pig.
[3] Goat (+1 HD, +25% Magic Resistance) Sometimes you just gotta go with the classics.
[4] Golden Mask (Deals +2 damage with spells) Touch of the arcane, emotionless.
[5] Cyclops (Resistance to Lightning) Unblinking and uncaring.
[6] Ghoulish (Invokes Damned Soul every other round instead, Alignment to Chaotic Evil) Even more inhumanely cruel then you might expect.
[7] Handsome Red Man (Commands 3d6 Imps, Alignment to Lawful Evil) The stereotypical demon face, meant to be more "approachable" and "charming".
[8] Pitch Black (Casts Darkness / Extinguishes Torch) Skin is dark with few features, dark black fur covers it, blood red lips, glowing eyes burn.
[9] Maw (Gains Swallow attack. Requires free hand or to be in flight. Save or be swallowed by the demon, taking 1d6+ Demon's HD in damage per round) Toothy beak.
[10] Lion (Deals +2 damage with attacks) Proud, wrathful, lustful. The lion has many elements that contribute to the demon's mystique.

Demon's Twisted Body Feature - Roll d8
[1] Wings (Flight) Creates the smell of stagnant air.
[2] Snake Penis (Bites for 1d6; save or die poison) No, really.
[3] Spiked Tail (Tail attack, deals 2d4 damage on hit) Armored with chitin, tipped with hate.
[4] Spines (+1 AC) It's body is like a porcupine- from Hell.
[5] Sigil (+1 To-Hit, +50% Speed) Its skin is branded with glowing demonic marks. Empowered.
[6] Body Mouth (+1 HD, +1 damage with attacks) Has a huge mouth on it stomach. No stats for this; but if you're dumb enough to climb inside it'll bite for like 2d10 or something.
[7] Fabrics (Add +2 damage to spells, its Hellfire Bolts deal 1d10+2) Long colorful streams of fabric; they are tied to rings hanging on hooks in the devil's skin.
[8] White (Immunity changed to Cold) Devil from the deeper levels of hell. Its entire body is changed to be white or light blue for its icy home.

Demonic Arsenal - Roll d10 Twice
This demon has two weapons, one in each hand, and gets a separate attack for each every round. All of the weapons here count as magic.
[1] Black Chain (Deals 2d4, Save or destroys all non-Magic equipment) Rusted manacle.
[2] Cleaver (Deals 1d20) Huge butcher's knife for chopping MEAT.
[3] Brimstone Flail (Deals 2d8, Stunned for one round when hit- no save) Burning stone.
[4] Pitchfork (Deals 2d10, reach) The polearm of hell.
[5] Hellish Maraca (Deals 2d4 OR can be shaken to call 2d6 Imps OR change the local weather) The devil maraca rattles with the bones of the damned; noise it makes sounds like screams.
[6] Torture Hook (Deals 2d6+2, can be used to Invoke Damned Soul) Can stuff into the Soul's prison in order to extract even more from it, but requires an action.
[7] Iron Hammer (Deals 2d8, Can groundslam- save or be knocked prone) Huge hammer used to free the demons. Slams the ground to cause it to shake; save or fall down- takes a round to stand.
[8] Flaming Whip (Deals 2d6, can Entangle requires save to escape) Whip made of fire and ended like a snake's tongue. Can wrap around legs with a sear or scorch wooden poles it entangles.
[9] Occult Staff (Deals 2d8, Add +2 damage to spells) Long staff of black metal, headed by a very phallic looking carving.
[10] Tooth Sword (Deals 2d10+2, double damage on attack roll of 20) Appears almost like a living thing; a fleshy sword with teeth and a single unblinking red eye. It hungers for your flesh and blood, and is one of the "living swords" which make up the devil's most powerful weapons.

What is the Damned Soul Trapped in/on? - Roll d8
[1] Birdcage, tied around the demon's waist.
[2] Lantern, which gives off the dark glow of hellfire.
[3] Swallowed by a large, toothless snake- up to the neck. Squirms helplessly.
[4] Transformed into a baby, with an adult's head. Squirms impotently.
[5] Crucified. Flops around like an ornament.
[6] Tiny mummified full-body "shrunken head" effect. Arms stitched to side, legs motionless.
[7] Transformed into a book. You can't tell its a person, except for the cover of stretched skin.
[8] Trapped within an unbreakable glass prism. Force on the outside of it sheds different colored light inside, which torments the spirit in different ways.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Idea shamelessly stolen from an edgy Japanese Cartoon

When it comes to the undead, not all of them are raised by a necromancer. Perhaps some are self-raising from having an unjust or traumatic death, or maybe evil spirits stalk the land to inhabit the bodies of the dead; which is why a proper burial is preferred. But it could also be something that nobody has any control over; an astrological effect, or the result of necrotic energy that naturally raises the dead to attack the living.

In order to keep their numbers done, people are called to hunt down the zombies when they come out during the night of the year when they rise up from the dead; the living-dead night. While the zombies will burn and disappear when the sun comes up; having them able to wander around and try to break down barricades or find people hiding is bad, so distracting them with armed citizens called 'Exterminators' is the best way to prevent mass death. Some Exterminators may die, but for many its exhilarating.

As incentive to slay them and keep their numbers down during the night; the church has set up a prize system. Every dead person is buried with a metal plate in their neck, so when they rise again as a zombie the slayer can keep proof of their deeds. When enough plates are collected, you can turn them in for prizes.

But what sort of prizes do they offer?

(This is from Dorohedoro btw)

Living-Dead Plate Reward Table

P.

Prize

1

Hard candies, bag of chips, plastic noisemakers, paper charm. Shit prizes.

3

One ticket for a random lottery. The grand prize is like $1000. Seems like a lot but its a lottery and you risked your life to kill three whole zombies and you aren't going to win it.

5

“I survived Living-Dead Night and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt” T-Shirt

8

Coupon for a free lunch for you and your friends at a local restaurant.

10

Hand knit blanket or pillowcases

15

Cans of spraypaint, firecrackers, etc. Appeals to that one insane group of children who kill zombies every year for fun.

20

Pet rats- start with two. For every three extra plates you turn in, get another one.

25

Ninja sword. Will break if you try to use it next year.

40

Small and convenient household appliance. Toaster oven, handheld radio, etc.

80

Actually useful appliances for households or small businesses. Air conditioners, meat grinders, small fryers, etc. Your PCs are shooting for this.

300

New car!

Sunday, August 22, 2021

50 Fantasy Diseases

These diseases are generally listed by how dangerous, infectious, or powerful they are. Roll 1d10 for a minor disease, 1d20 for a common disease, and 1d50 for a totally random disease.


50 Fantasy Diseases
[1] Sinkfoot
This is just trenchfoot. Take 1 point of damage per day of long marching or whenever you run away from a combat encounter.

[2] Clawhand
One of your hands at random has its muscle stiffen up; it becomes very hard to move individual fingers. Instead, it can only roughly grasp things like a "claw". You get -1 to hit with weapons in this hand. If you're a thief, it also takes twice as long to pick locks no matter which hand is diseased.

[3] Grinning Disease
Gives you a big dopey smile all the time. You're attacked first by demons and evil creatures.

[4] Wasting Disease
You are always hungry and feel like you're wasting away. You must eat 3x your normal rations each day or lose -1 to your Strength score.

[5] Bull Snorting Disease
Your airway is restricted. You breathe heavily and give off loud beast-like chuffs on occasion; there is a 1 in 6 chance this happens whenever you try to sneak past someone or hide somewhere out of sight.

[6] Carnivore Flu
This is a sickness that is exacerbated by eating anything made of plants. You have to only eat meat if you don't want the symptoms to get worse.

[7] Blue-Dripping Disease
Roll a die to determine a random hole on your character's body. You leak a weird blue liquid from that hole, which stains clothes, hats, etc. This fluid also strangely has a repelling effect on Others- the blue fluid acts as holy water against them, and splashing some of it on them counts as a Turn Undead roll except against an other- with the patient's LVL or HD acting as the power of the roll.

[8] Frostnipped Nose
Your nose turns blue and gets incredibly cold. Your snot freezes into little icicles that hang down from your nostrils. You have to keep this nose warm if you want to be able to smell anything.

[9] Salvation Mania
The character becomes very religious. Whatever religion they normally have become amplified, and they start to proselytize about it to everyone; including other party members. Monsters or NPCs encountered with incompatible religious beliefs or the opposite alignment to the character get -1 to reaction checks. If your character is not religious, then they become antagonistically atheist and start to shit on everyone's faiths- causing the same effect.

[10] Magpie Breath
Your mouth becomes irresistible to birds to make a nest within. They hide all kinds of stuff in there while you sleep; including coins and shiny arrowheads. You must spend an exploration turn after you wake up to floss the twigs out of your teeth, or else you have a 1 in 6 chance to choke on a random copper piece in the back of your throat the next time you try to bark an order or cast a spell.

[11] Tailrot
Like leprosy, but only you tail. Your tail can't feel pain and you get minor infections, people step on it all the time, etc. Every year, your tail has a 1 in 6 chance to fall of, otherwise it is shortened by 20% of its length. If you don't have a tail you're immune to this.

[12] Chocolate Eye
One random eye fills with a dark brown fluid, making it very difficult to see out of that eye besides very bright light. Gives you -2 to ranged weapon attacks. Every night, there is a 1 in 10 chance a random brownie or some other spirit tries to steal your eyeball and eat it like a snack. You can stop this by wearing an iron eyepatch over it.

[13] Dangerous Buttocks
Your ass smells bad and produces ungodly flatulence which you have very little control over. If you're out adventuring, add an extra +1 in 6 chance to encounter wandering monsters.

[14] Puddingface
Your facial features droop and sag. You get -1d4 to your Charisma score each year you have this disease. Wrapping your face up in bandages and support wraps to keep your eyes and nose and mouth from sagging down to your chin reduce this to -1d2 instead.

[15] Spiketongue
The end of your tongue becomes spiked like a morning star. Talking becomes a slow, careful ordeal. Whenever you cast a spell, you take one point of damage from the complex incantations. You also deal 1d2 damage to anyone if you try to French-kiss them.

[16] Magic Diarrhea
You have a 1 in 6 chance to release a spell on accident once per exploration turn, starting from the weakest cantrip or 1st level spell and working up. You just can't hold the magic in. If you encounter a wandering monster you can cast this spell as your action on the first round instead of wasting it uselessly the first few minutes before a fight broke out. If you don't have any magic powers then you're immune.

[17] Crackbone
Your bones become weak and brittle. Whenever you take 6 or more damage from a single hit from a blunt weapon, monster fist, or from falling damage you must save or you break a bone in one of your limbs. If a hand, that hand becomes useless. If a leg, you have to hobble around or go on a crutch.

[18] Terrible Tremors
You are affected by terrible tremors and seizures. Once per day, you have a seizing fits that lasts for about two exploration turns, in which you are totally useless. You won't know when this happens, but your DM will secretly roll a 1d20. If it rolls under your Wisdom score, your character gets an odd feeling that you're going to have a fit in the next hour.

[19] Smooshing Disease
To everyone else, it looks like you're shrinking. You're not really getting smaller, your body is just smooshing down into a more compact, wider form. Every day this happens you lose some height but stay the same weight, becoming bulkier. Every week, lose -1 to hit but gain +1 AC until you get to 14 natural AC from being a bulkster. You can temporarily regain your normal height by getting stretched out on a torture rack.

[20] The Tiger Disease
Starting from a slight tan before turning to a dark brown; cartilaginous strips of flesh along your body, especially the torso and midsection, appear. These become stiff and very painful, making your movements less flexible. Treat your Dexterity modifier as -1 while afflicted. After 1d6 seasons, these strips will get so inflexible that they'll burst or rip, causing very painful jagged wounds on your body. Each day, there is a 1 in 6 chance that the strips will rip (with an extra 1 in 6 for each acrobatic stunt you pull or each successful saving throw you make against a trap) and cause you 1d4+1 damage. The name of this disease has a double meaning; first you have stripes like a tiger, and then you look like a tiger raked you with its claws.

[21] Tamsundi Twist
Your legs are horribly affected by cramps and twisting. Walking around become an exercise to not cross your legs around or fall on your face- slowing your speed and/or initiative by -10%. Additionally, whenever you sleep, your legs want to cross up and fold themselves into a horrible pretzel leaving you helpless. You need to sleep with leg braces or splints on.

[22] Dragon's Lung
Gives you a dry cough and wheezing whenever you perform physical activity. You heal at half speed. However, you can once per day breathe in and out as deeply as you can and spew forth "fire" breath from the phlegm and inflammed fluids in your lungs; dealing 1 fire damage to whoever you cough it on but dealing 2 damage to you.

[23] Big Brain Disease
Your brain gets bigger. Your skull swells up causing a large deformity in your skull over several months; any melee attack against you that rolls a 20 splits your skull open and you die. On the plus side your huge brain starts to make you smarter. You gain +1 to your Intelligence modifier.

[24] Yjeetara Fever
Orange plaques of skin form on the extremities, before moving towards the torso and neck. These growths are painful and itchy, but not directly harmful. Each growth allowed to remain on the body increases the person's resting body temperature, which they adapt to as time goes on. Eventually, their blood will be boiling hot but they will still live. This disease kills by making the person's body so warm they can't digest food or drink water without it vaporizing when it hits their tongue and throat, causing them to die of thirst or hunger.

[25] Social Awkwardness Disease
Makes you (more) socially awkward. You find fumbling your words, making inappropriate jokes, and trailing off on tangents about things nobody cares about but you. You get -1 to reaction checks and can't use any hero/conviction/bond abilities if your game has those. If you need a more concrete mechanic- then just say that any healing spells placed on you by the Cleric are reduced by -1 hit point because they have some subconscious resistance to being near you.

[27] The Gray Disease
Your body loses all of its natural color and pigmentation, turning black and white. There's no negative gameplay effects to this; but this disease also spreads to clothes and other items you touch and wear all the time too.

[28] The Drowning Disease
Having this disease makes your muscles cramp up when you're in water. It has a similar effect with other fluids; 1 in 6 chance that killing an enemy in melee splashes enough blood/ichor on you to cramp up your muscles, making you fail any saving throws that must be down next round. If you ever fall into water, even waist-high water, you will certainly drown without help.

[29] Larkinson's Disease
Causes random muscle firings and an inability to sit still. Specifically, applies to music. Whenever you hear music, you feel an uncontrollable urge to dance. You get +1 AC whenever dancing around to music, as it makes you very spry, but you must move every combat round and cannot stay in the same place long enough to cast a spell or hold a line, etc.

[30] Pacifists Disease
You become adverse to any kind of blood or violence. You must make a saving throw at the start of combat; upon failure, you are unable to attack anyone, though you can still cast non-damaging spells, block attacks, run away, etc. Turns your face pale whenever you see something gruesome or get into a fight, giving the nickname of "Whiteface" to anyone with this condition.

[31] Fishface
Puffs up your lips and eyes, giving you a fish-like look. You have -1 to reaction checks. Every week this disease advances, you feel like it's harder to breath air but feel more and more uncomfortable underwater. After one year, your gills erupt from the sides of your neck and you become an aquatic creature- you can no longer breath air.

[32] Duke's Disease
You become incredibly egotistical. On the plus side, the body swells with size and strength, granting +1 to your Strength modifier. Your internal organs do not grow to match this, leading to lethargy and eventual death- every week you have this disease you lose -1 to your Constitution modifier.

[33] Great-Green Cyst Disease
You start to grow glowing green cysts on a random part of your body- you grow one new cyst each month. Each cyst that appears doubles in size every week. If you allow one to grow until it's as big as a fist it produces enough light to see by in the dark, but impedes your movements. Lancing the cysts destroys them but they will keep regrowing until you can find a cure.

[34] Yin-Yang Essence Leak
Your body begins to release your natural energies as a sweat. If you are female, it will be bright blue Yin energy, that is very cold. If you are a male, it will be bright orange, warm, Yang energy. Every week you have this disease, you lose one level from level drain, until you reach zero level, in which case the fever is miraculously ended.

Other people can drink this essence. Count it as 1% of the character's experience points if you drink or make a potion out of this essence-sweat. The character leaking the essence can drink their own emission to recover that amount of experience. Also if you drink Yang essence as a girl you'll grow a beard and if you drink Yin essence as a guy your cock will fall off, because that's a thing in the chinese light novels where I stole this kind of shit from.

[35] Troll Flu
You have several flu like symptoms; sweating, shivering, nausea, and a lack of appetite. Also, you turn to stone when exposed to direct sunlight. Don't worry, you'll turn back next time it's dark.

[36] Lesser Vampirism
You have vampirism, but a really lame, hay-fever sort of vampirism. You get sunburnt if you spend more then an hour outside in the sun a day, and need to drink a few droplets of blood (from someone else) or else you feel weak and listless. If you manage to keep this disease long enough your vampire abilities grow until you'll become a real vampire; roll on the Vampire Bloodlines table to find out what vampire your disease mutates you into.

[37] Stonelicker Disease
This disease causes weakening bones- especially the ribs. The victim feels very brittle, and any blunt weapons deal double damage against them. If they spend at least two hours per day licking rocks for their vitamins and minerals this double damage is negated for that day.

[38] Horse-Throat
Your voice becomes very hoarse and grunty. Whenever you try to speak above a whisper, your strained voice becomes the loud baying of a horse.

[39] Bad Syndrome
Instead of brain there is dark orb. The inside of your head has grown a dark orb which inflicts unwell mental health. Your Wisdom is reduced by -2d6 with a minimum of 1 when the disease reaches its full stage. Additionally, one year after having the disease regardless of its progression, you will experience the sludge, where once per day you must drool or sneeze out a small bucketfull of dark black goo. If left alone and out of sunlight, this goo will metamorphize into a 1 HD Black Snotgoblin. If enough of the sludge is left together in one place, it will likely form into an orc or even a troll.

[40] Black Finger
This disease begins from the tip of a random finger and slowly spreads to the base. The feeling that finger begins to lessen over time, and then eventually fall off. You lose -1 maximum hit points and Dexterity each time this happens. If you jab someone in the chest very hard with a black finger, they catch the disease too and take -1d4 damage like a melee-range spell.

[41] Scorpus
This disease is characterized by yellow eyes, with the veins gradually yellowing and extending to the whole body. Anyone inflicted with Scorpus begins to see everything as a threat; their fear gland is over productive causing constant stress, paranoia, and anxiety. Characters with Scorpus have -1 to morale checks, or -2 after a year of having it.

[42] Mad Wizard Disease
Inflicts a form of magical schizophrenia on the victim- forcing them to perceive the world in a disjointed fashion, sometimes seeing or hearing things that aren't there. This spell is characterized by the infected casting "spells" by waving their hands around and saying nonsense words, believing they have magical abilities. People with actual magical abilities are immune.

[43] Blackgrist Disease
This disease has very few outside effects, making it seem harmless or that no infection is present for the first 1-3 years of having it. During that time, the internal organs slowly shrivel down into black chalky parodies of what they once were. Once the symptoms begin, they are deadly and it is far too late to stop it. Uniquely, the corpses left behind from a Blackgrist infection can have their Blackgrist material broken down and boiled to create a powerful potion base- with the fumes from this reaction acting as a powerful euphoric drug. Every use of the drug or a potion made from Blackgrist confers a 1% chance to catch Blackgrist from them.

[44] Manead Fever
Prognosis; a high fever with bright red extremities, appearing similar to the tips of fingers and toes dipped in blood. Other symptoms? Incontinence.

[45] Procrastination Pox
Large purple welts appear on the skin of the individual who has it. Strangely, they don't seem to want to find a cure. Lancing the boils is painful and ineffective; most effective treatment seems to be making the patient actually get off their ass and do something about it.

[46] Puff-Hands
Your hands get bigger. The flesh of your palm and your fingers below the farthest joint swell up, getting bigger and less useful. After one week, you can't hold a lockpick. After two weeks, no daggers or wands. After one month, you can't hold anything.

[47] Crickback
Your spine and back muscles contort and twist strangely. Every day you have this disease you lose -10% to your overall carrying capacity, with a minimum of 10% of your normal max. From then on, you lose -1 Strength or Constitution until it finally kills you.

[48] Ghost Disease
Less of a disease and more of a very clinical form of spirit possession. When your humors are misaligned; this can happen sometimes. The ghost of a dead person has made its residence inside your body; letting them pilot it when you are asleep or unconscious, cause minor "hauntings" like hearing tiny footsteps from your skull, and so on.

[49] Pirateification
Characterized by lowered impulse control, intense wanderlust, violent and sexual tendencies along with addictive behaviors, and growth of body hair. Contrary to the name, most pirates do not actually have this disease and are actually just dicks.

[50] Spellbow
This person's magical energy begins to collect in one of their elbows. Wizards and Magic-Users suffer from this effect faster then normal people; speed up the speed of this condition by the MUs level multiplied by whatever the "normal" amount would be; so a 5th level MU would advance in this disease five times as fast as a muggle.

Whenever you bang your elbow, you accidentally release magical energy. This creates a Wild magic effect, or fires out a blast dealing 1d4 damage to a random person- rolling first for those who are roughly in front of you when you bang your elbow. This magical energy gets more extreme for every month you have the disease;

  1. One month. As described above.
  2. Two months. Magic blast deals 1d8 damage +  wild magic effects are more extreme.
  3. Six months. Magic blast deals 1d10 damage + elbow can now fire off your lowest prepared spell without your consent. This spell will still target enemies and try to be useful, but its as useful if you catch it first.

Also; while you have Spellbow the affected elbow grows a bright blue patch on the back to signify it as something special and important to the primitives who tend to catch it.

Friday, August 20, 2021

8 Powerful Curses countered by Very Common Things


[1]
Putrefy
This curse begins to rot the body with necromantic force. The target of this spell will take 2d6 damage per exploration turn, their skin rotting off and raw flesh showing underneath with deadly, putrid sores. If the effect of this spell would be lethal, the damage stops and instead they begin to lose -1 Constitution every day, until it reaches 0 and kills them. As such, for the duration of this spell, the target will essentially be between 1 and 12 hit points the entire time once their health drains the first time, and are unable to heal this back naturally.

This curse is easily thwarted with salt, either in or on the body. Pinch of salt in an open sore, or a salted ration eaten after the first turn of damage. This ends the spell and the person will recover their hit points at the normal rate, and their Constitution at 1 per day.

[2] Ethomo
This curse draws all of the victim's inner body heat to their outer body. It causes an instant, heavy sunburn along the entire outside of the body, and a case of hypothermia on the inside of the body. This curse is difficult to treat, as the outside of the body is too warm and uncomfortable to apply heat to, and the inside is too cold to cool off the skin without worsening the hypothermia. Anyone under the effect of this spell will find movement difficult (-2 to saves, -50% movement) from stiff, burnt skin and a cold interior. Victims of this spell are likely to go into shock if hit with a cold spell (save or be stunned for 2d6 rounds), and be permanently maimed by burnt and stretched skin all over.

This curse is instantly cured by touching any kind of reptile, including reptile leather.

[3] The Crumbling
Cast on a structure. This spell speeds up decay and entropy. Stone begins to dry and crumble, wood rots away and cracks, supports fail and colors fade away. This process doesn't cause earthquakes or anything like that, but causes damage at a rate that would take a team of experienced masons to combat. Over the course of a year, the average sized candle would become a partial ruin- with many weak spots in its wall, dried moat, and dangerous walls that might crumble during a powerful storm.

This curse is broken and ended by walking around the outside of the castle while throwing flowers in a clockwise direction three times.

[4] Fading to Black
This curse ebbs away the form of someone; their being becomes darkness. Every exploration turn, their physical stats are reduced by -1 point each, and every hour, they lose -1 HD; this is equivalent to level drain and as such they will lose their abilities, lose prepared spells in higher level spells slots, etc as their levels are drained away. Their body becomes harder and harder to see, becoming one with darkness around them, until eventually their mind and body fades away completely. Those destroyed by this spell become shadowy corners or rooms that never seem to catch enough light the right way from then on. If many people are cursed by this and fade at the same time, it is possible that the area they fade away in will become permanently enchanted as though under the effects of a supernatural Darkness spell.

This curse is broken when the victim of it is exposed to natural light. Fire counts as natural light.

[5] Grinning Gob
This spell transforms a person into a goblin. Their Strength modifier is set to -1. Treat their maximum hit points as equal to the minimum possible they could roll on their HD- so 1 per dice + Con bonuses. Their mouth is split ear to ear in a big dumb grin. Every time they try to do something that isn't walking, talking, or eating- they have to save or just laugh instead of doing.

This curse is broken if you tell them a joke that isn't funny three times. It still has to qualify as a joke, just a bad one. You can also end it even faster by throwing a ripe tomato at their face, if you can find one in your medieval Europe fantasy setting.

[6] Black Spot
The black spot is a mark placed on the back of the victim's hand, and is usually activated when somebody touches a heavily cursed object or protected lock or latch. The black spot is a known curse, widely known, so much so that people will refuse to house anyone with a spot, turn them away from their shops, throw stones to kick them out of towns, and so on. Anyone with the spot invites misfortune on themselves and others; all saving throws are made at -1 to both the victim of this curse and anyone within thirty paces. People with the mark who stay in the same place in too long (including vehicles; such as a week long or longer voyage on a boat) will also cause a minor accident to happen; randomly a lantern will get tipped over, a horse breaks their leg and goes lame, and so on.

This curse is broken by washing your hands with soap and water. It takes a few hours of good hard scrubbing, or a day in a hot spring or bathhouse to remove the dark mark, which eventually just fades and then disappears like an unslightly blemish.

[7] Downbending Defense
This spell is cast over a room, or on an object. When entities enter the area and move in the direction the caster doesn't want (such as towards a priceless artifact), the entities will begin to bend backwards, their bones and muscles in great pain as they are stretched and pushed down. Creatures move at half speed for every square or step they take, until moving forwards becomes too painful to do. Trying to force yourself forward past this point causes 1d6 damage. Walking backwards ends the effects early and restores the damage, but of course means you are farther away from your objective.

This curse can easily be beaten by simply crawling on the floor.

[8] Door of Death
This spell conjures a black metal door, which free stands wherever it is cast. The door will slowly open once conjured, sucking out the life force and head from all within a cone towards it- the vacuum sucks away 1d8 hit points per round, and also sucks away heat to chill the target, slowing movement speed by -20% per round. Once the movement speed penalty reaches -100% or more, the victim of this spell cannot move. Anyone slain by this spell has their body and soul sucked out through the door, and it slams shut after the first being killed by it dies, disappearing for good. They cannot be revived through magic short of divine intervention to retrieve their soul from that dark place.

This spell can be easily countered by just closing the door. You can use a rope lasso around the handle at range if you can't reach the handle.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Women of Gerrstain + [Class] Squirrel Woman

Gerrstain is a fine, humble little country situated between two mountain ranges. The land is dotted with thick forests and mountainous hills; crags and canyons criss cross its body and make the place generally very rugged and hostile. There are few, if any, towns and villages. Instead, the people live in small huts or live on the side of the mountains. Most are fur trappers, some miners, many lumberjacks.

If you were to travel this land unaware; you would be surprised. Every single person you'd meet on the road would be a man or a child. There are no women, and no girls over the age of fourteen. The men are kind and hospitable, and always have room for guests with news from the outside world- they don't have much time to travel. You see, the menfolk here do the work and raise the children. They feed the young with milk from fat-teated hardy goats and build their houses halfway buried in the dirt. It helps keep in the heat but is more due to respect then anything- in Gerrstain, the men live on the ground, and the women in the trees.


The Women of Gerrstain
When a young woman blossoms into adulthood in this country, changes go through her. Changes that go through every young girl, of course, but here, it's different. The women begin to lose interest in things like pretty clothes, reading, work and play. They become more distant, keeping their hair long and unkempt. Eventually, they leave their father's houses and go far away to live in the woods. Every woman in Gerrstain lives in the trees.

You can catch a glimpse of one, sometimes. They all look the same; pale, naked female forms dancing and flowing between the branches of the thick canopy, each one with thick black hair that goes twice her height. It flows behind her like a black streaking comet, or a long tail. This is also why they are called the "Squirrel Women". They're all totally unwashed, unshaven, with long claws that grow to adapt them to nature. Their faces are even worse; like ghouls, but can be striking if you catch one in the moonlight. But it's best to take the local saying to heart; "Beautiful things are best appreciated at a distance".

They survive in those woods by hanging from the trees; they'll eat anything they can catch. Usually squirrels, rabbits, birds and a steady diet of the golden acorn. Sometimes other things wander through those woods, and sometimes you'll find their corpse, ripped half open with the heart pulled out and messily devoured. They never go bigger then a kobold, but its frightening just how close some people get to being the size of a kobold. Some find it hard to believe that these women are capable of such feats of acrobatics, despite how wild they be, but their hair moves as though it was a hand, and it is more then capable of supporting their weight- letting them sleep upside down like bats. More then one traveler has found something gone missing from their pack from a long black "snake" coming down from the trees above, grabbing something shiny, and then retreating away.

These women are also sorcerers. Since even girls who have never learned how to read will become one of them, and since the women of Gerrstain don't seem to socialize with each other at all, it is not well known where they learn these powers from. Perhaps it is something in the winds and the waters of this land, whispering the arcane secrets to those who are most respective. Some instead go by the more fanciful notion that these women are just using powers innate to all people- but only by living so close to the wild, true self can one bring it out.

Of course, this arrangement has to result in courtship at some point- and it does. Men in this country notice the change in the behavior of the Women at around mid fall; where they will creep closer to his cabin and home. They will watch him in the day, while he works, and at night will leave corpses of squirrels, twisted in half, or sometimes little stacks of three stones. Regardless of the gift, her consistency shows her interest. If the man is afraid of her, or if he has room for another child in his house, he will sneak out of his home one night without a weapon (suicidal in a monster infested country like this), and leave things up to nature. He will come home the same night; and during early to mid spring, a child may be left outside his door. There's no way to know if they are truly his, but the women in the trees are not flippant; they will never court a male that has just moved in to a place- and no unwanted child is left in those woods by accident- this is the only country on earth where leaving an unwanted child to die in the woods has a very low success rate. Any man who abandons a child given to him by a lady here will find the child returned to his home soon after and himself with one less finger once she's made the point clear.

Nobody sees the women in the Winter. That's because they're asleep. Travelers will be advised to never make camp underneath a wiry black beehive if they see one, high in the brambles, and especially don't try to knock it down. It's more convenient to explain it that way; as long as they don't disturb the women, it doesn't matter what they think.

[Class] Squirrel Women
HD-
d8
Max AC-
14 / Minimum Hit-Points-3

All Squirrel Women are very agile. Take whichever stat is the highest and swap it with your Dexterity, unless if your Dexterity is already the highest. Squirrel Women are incredible climbers regardless of their Dexterity. Like the Spider Climb spell is on at all times; or they can climb any tree, building, or stone face with zero difficulty. If a truly impossible thing must be climbed such as a wall of glass- assume they have the Climb Sheer Surfaces skill at the same rate / chance as a Thief twice their level.

Squirrel Women receive +1 to hit with all attacks at levels 4 and 8.

As a rule, the Squirrel Women do not wear clothes or armor, nor do they use weapons. Their claws and magic is all they truly rely on. If forced- Squirrel Women will wear clothes and make a very base effort to go around in civilized society- constantly pulling and itching and scratching and themselves in uncomfortable clothes and holding utensils and drinking cups all wrong- much preferring their fingers and hands. They can speak, but only barely, and cannot be taught to read or write.

All Squirrel Women have very long hair that is under their control. This is the first of their magic powers. Their hair is their greatest tool and asset, and is prehensile. They can use their hair like a third arm, but its as long as they are and much stronger then a normal human arm. It can hold up their entire body weight, for example. Their hair can be used as a weapon at 1d6 damage, counting as magic damage at 3rd level and higher, and dealing 1d8 damage at 6th level. If their hair gets wet, they temporarily cannot use it.

Additionally; every Squirrel Woman is gifted in the arts of magic. At levels 1, 2, 5, 7, and 9- roll on the spell table below and add that spell to the Squirrel Woman's arsenal. They can cast each spell once per day. They can teach it to someone else only through doing, as they can't read or write. The Squirrel Women can also learn standard magic user spells too- but once again, it must be taught to them, it cannot be learned from scrolls or spellbooks. For all spells besides their own, they cast them as though they were one level lower from being amateurish spellcasters.

Finally; the Squirrel Women are tied closely to the powers of nature and are wild, untamed creatures of the forests. If they ever willingly take a bath, or are forced to take one by someone else, they are drained of one level. Note that jumping into a river or fighting sharks in the ocean doesn't count as a bath, but bathing in a hot spring or noble's bathroom with soap and bubbles and all that does.

At 10th level, Squirrel Women become Tree Matrons. Older and stronger then the others; these Squirrel Women can grow in size with no loss of dexterity, and gain considerable strength. Your strength grows to a supernatural level (+3 modifier) and you may roll on the Squirrel Women spell table every winter when you hibernate- when you wake up, you learn the new spell until you've learned all of them. 

You also become a defender of a large swathe of Gerristan forest- your territory has many juvenile Squirrel Women who will aide you in daring raids on the camps of invading orcs or to put down rampaging monsters, etc. These gatherings are always temporary, can only be done once per season, and draw 2d6 Squirrel Women of 1d6 HD / level to you for a single night.

Squirrel Women Spell Table - Roll d10
[1] Beetle Carry
Summons forth a carpet of beetles that arrive in 1 turn. The beetles pack closely together and flow like a small river. They will pick up and carry any object laying on top of the soil, or gently placed on it. If anyone steps into the beetle stream quickly or throws an object among them, they'll disperse around it like a stone in a stream. Using this, it is possible to divert but not steer the great stream.

The beetles move in the direction indicated by the squirrel woman when summonsed, and will continue their march for about three hours. They can carry a nigh-infinite amount of smaller or more medium sized items, but very heavy things like boulders won't be moved at all. The beetles march and carry stuff at about a medium speed walking pace.

[2] Extinguish
Puts out fires that are pointed at or motioned towards with the caster's hands. This spell can snuff out a small angry mob's worth of torches, a large campfire, or a volley of burning arrows in flight. Causes a save or die effect in a number of Fire Elemental worth of HD equal to the caster's level or less. These HD could be from multiple elementals, or one big one. If the HD of the elemental is over the casters level, this spell cannot extinguish their flames.

[3] Turn to Wood
This spell temporarily transforms the caster into wood, either partially or wholly. If the caster level is 1 to 3, it is only a partial transformation covering 50%/75%/90% of the body respectively. If the caster is any higher level then this, the transformation goes over the whole body.

While wood, movement is slower and more difficult, but no loss of climbing ability- sneak is negatively effected because you squeak. But if you stand still, you blend in perfectly with foliage and trees at a distance.

Additionally, you gain +4 AC while made of wood. Using this spell is how most of the Squirrel Women (who don't wear armor, remember) reach their maximum AC value while in combat. While in wood form, you become flammable and take double damage from fire.

[4] Mushroom Husband
This spell requires a tall, flowering mushroom to be the focus for the casting. Upon being cast, the mushroom rapidly grows into the height and shape of a man, become a bipedal mushroom person. The mushroom person is bound to the will of the Squirrel Woman who summoned it. It has a limited, thought still nearly-person level of intelligence. Some people claim that they see a resemblance in the faces of the Mushroom Husbands in that they look like the men the Squirrel Women fancied and who have since died, but this is probably pure superstition from the outsiders of Gerrstain.

The Mushroom Husband is physically weak and slow, but very hardy. If it is chopped apart it will reform in one exploration turn from feeding off nearby decay and plant matter. It can only make attacks by succeeding on a saving throw vs spells (using the Squirrel Woman's modifiers / chance) and on failure cannot attack or fight back for the duration of a combat. The Mushroom Husband can attack with squishy fists, dealing 1d3 improvised damage.

Additionally, whenever the mushroom man is killed or hit with a blunt weapon, it releases spores. If within reach weapon range (spear, whip, etc) you take 1d2 damage. Because of this, the Mushroom Husband can be used like a walking scout or deterrent which can be used over and over again to follow someone. If the Mushroom Husband's body is burnt or killed by a fire attack, it won't reform. The Mushroom Husband lasts for 3 days before shriveling away into dust.

[5] Cursing Howl
The caster lets out a fearsome, bone-chilling howl. Anyone who hears the howl is cursed if they do not immediately begin to leave the place where the caster considers home. For the Squirrel Women, this is the entire Gerrstain forested region, since the whole land is their home. Those who consider the same place home are immune to this spell.

If those who hear the howl and do not immediately begin to leave the area, they suffer the curse. The next time they fail a saving throw, increase the damage by +1d6 they take, if damage is taken. If no damage is taken, increase the magnitude by a similar amount. Every time they fail a saving throw, the caster of this spell can get a general sense of where they are. More howls ensure a deeper curse.

[6] Isolated Wood
This spell is cast on a forest glade. If there is a dryad within a tree nearby, the dryad will become this glade's guardian. The area of this spell is roughly equal to a few minutes of brisk walking through woodland, or a large tangle of trees separated by grasslands/rocky mountains around them.

The Isolated Wood becomes a magically enchanted place. It's like a sanctuary; it becomes quiet, with no birds or loud animals to inhabitant it. The place becomes a sanctuary for the spell caster- while they are within the Isolated Wood, they can sleep safely (they are awoken if something approaches), and once per day they can cast a magic spell as though they were one level higher. They can also send their whispers out- their whispers travel like on the wings of a bird. They can whisper on a high tree branch towards somebody below and they will hear it as though it was right in their ear.

The Isolated Wood effect ends if the wood is destroyed- a forest fire being used to flush out a forest witch is not an uncommon occurrence on the borderlands.

[7] Ivy Boots
The caster grows a pair of boots made of ivy around their feet. These boots are made of plant material and are rather light, meaning they don't grant any protection from tiny biting rats or caltrops, but they have the specific effect of granting improved movement through brush and making the user immune to the slowing effect of Entangle.

Secondly; the boots grant a bonus to stealth. The stealth bonus is equal to how heavily forested or how rich in plant life the place where they step is. On stone floors or raw dirt, the effect is minor. In lightly wooded areas or on grass, it is greater. In heavy brush or while moving through tall grass the effect is very powerful and makes each step totally silent. Grant the caster the Thief Skill of Move Silently at 20%/60%/100% respectively OR just use a ruling that they cannot be heard.

[8] Talisman
To cast this spell, the caster must create a talisman out of materials gathered and crafted by themselves. It can be of any design, but is to be worn around the neck. When this talisman is being forged, the caster must imbue within it a single curse or spell that is to activate if the talisman is destroyed, disrespected, or removed without permission from the wearer. The talisman is then presented to the target (either by force or chosen willingly) to be worn- the target of the spell will always know that the talisman is magical and taking it on is a serious thing, though they won't necessarily know why. 

The first person who wears the talisman is now under its spell; anyone wearing a talisman crafted by you can be felt at quite a distance, a general idea of what is happening to them and where they are, as well as the muffled sounds of speech or blurry sights of things that can be "seen" out of the talisman, as though it be one astigmatic eye. Covering up the talisman such as hiding it in a shirt, or bundling it under heavy clothes are some ways of limiting the caster's watchful eye.

The Women of Gerrstain hang talismans on the doors of men they fancy, usually after offering several shredded birds or skinned lizards. This is considered a form of marriage, and any man wearing a talisman is off limits to any other Squirrel Woman. At the same time, the man wearing this talisman must go about their life knowing that removing it will mean whatever curse the squirrel women has put on it will befall them; and since they will know if the talisman is destroyed or removed it will probably make her very angry as well.

[9] Brush Bandages
Requires handfuls of plant matter from a woodland or forest. These plants are then wrapped around wounds and injuries with a special spell; this requires at least two turns to cast. This spells heals 3d6 Hit Points and temporarily reduces Dexterity by the same value as the body stiffens and is infested with weeds and growths. You cannot die from this loss even if it drops Dexterity to zero or less; instead you become a tree for that duration.

Every turn, the bandages are absorbed by the body and increase Dexterity by 1 until fully restored.

[10] Devil Dreaming
This spell only works on sleeping targets. Those who are asleep have this spell magically cast on them while the caster must stare at their sleeping body; in turn, the sleeper begins to have a nightmare. The nightmare will be unqiue to the sleeper, and the caster of this spell has no control over it, but the result will be a sleepness night with poor rest. Multiple nights of this spell being cast on someone can greatly reduce their health and well being, though it requires a fresh casting each night. At 3rd level, the caster may not influence the dreams of the sleeper, letting them control exactly what they see, or even sending them messages amidst the nightmare.

Additionally, if the caster of this spell is at least 5th level or higher, the spell has an additional effect. The spell-caster may form a dark spirit from the energies and fear released by the sleeper under the effect of this spell. Their nightmares made manifest. Each night this spell is cast on them, roll a 1d6 with a bonus of +1 for each great fear or phobia the caster knows about the sleeper, which are subconsciously added to the dreams of the sleeper to further harry them. Once this number reaches the victim's Wisdom score or greater; these nightmares soldify into a lesser dream devil. (As imp; 1 HD, 1d3 claws, casts spells, etc.) From then on, the dream devil can torment people in their dreams and if they fail a save, they have a level drained, while the dream devil gains +1 HD and can become a more powerful form of evil. If the devil is slain, or the person finally has good dreams, such as from sleeping in a church, the lost levels and HD are returned to normal. 

If the victim is eventually killed by this creature or commits suicide because of it, it becomes a permanent minion under the control of the caster with its HD and powers it has upon the victim's death, stealing all it can from their pathos. While under the caster's control, it will always be Chaotic Evil and refuse to obey command to those who are not constantly looking for or give the devil opportunities to hurt more people.

The Squirrel Women use this spell to punish and harass those who enter their lands or men who displease them; but rarely become powerful or sadistic enough to create dream devils. This has, in turn, become the domain of evil wizards who have taken the traditions of witchcraft from these lands and turned them to their own ends.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Magic Blasts + Elemental Overcharge Effects

You know what I like? Magical blasts. I mean those really generic sort of energy bolts that certain magic characters or monsters just fling at people as a form of "attack". They give me a feeling of a more holistic magic system then if every magical "thing" is like a specific spell or a set parameter of element + effect = damage of such and such level.


These are a lot like the blasts used by Warlocks as a cantrip for 5th edition D&D. While some people may not like cantrips for trivializing magic, I like the aesthetic of a blast because it essentially allows magical player characters to "feel" magic even at low levels when they don't get shit for spells or whatever, especially in OSR systems where they are reliant on doing things like throwing darts or attacking with a dagger after they use their one and only spell. Doesn't change the game much, just changes the aesthetics. This philosophy is why I created magic rods as a mainstay mechanic in my game- though nowadays I just have rods do "blast" damage, not having an elemental affinity at all.

But what about elements? I like this idea of "blasts" for creatures highly aligned with an element or elemental magic. High level Pyromancers should be able to just throw fire bolts at people without needing a spell slot- they're so magically attached to fire anyway. For instance, I like to say that elementals do "blasts" as a form of ranged damage. But elemental damage just in the form of elemental damage is kind of boring- so how do we spice this up? We'll use Overcharge effects.


Overcharge
Whenever someone or something is hit by an elemental blast that deals at least 6 damage or more, they suffer something called an Overcharge effect. I wrote some up briefly for a very old blogpost, but these are since outdated. So let's talk about them.

Because of this method, small elemental blasts won't do the bonus. Like a d4 reflavored magic missile (irrelevant; I like d6 magic missiles, sue me), or a weak blast by a small elemental won't trigger this. But at least a d6 has a chance to hit an Overcharge effect. If you have a powerful d10 blast, then you'll have a 50% chance for the Overcharge effect to hit- quite a powerful weapon!

I also like the idea of each die used in a blast having a chance to trigger it, to distinguish powerful blasts that are really likely to do the effect once, or slightly weaker blasts that can trigger the effect multiple times. But this brings some confusion; what happens if a blast gets a flat bonus- does it not provide the blast benefit at all even if you roll a high number- because the die itself needs to roll 6 or better to count? If it does, then do you have to split up this bonus evenly among each dice? Might be a little too much added complexity, still, you could totally stack Overcharge effects if you want. Without further ado, here is the list of effects based on each element. 

Elemental Overcharge Effects
Creatures suffer the Overcharge effect of a Blast if they take 6 or more Damage from the hit.

Element

Overcharge Effect

๐Ÿ”ฅ Fire

Target is ignited, taking 1d4 damage per round until put out.

❄️ Ice

Target has their feet frozen to the ground, requiring a round to break free.

๐ŸŒฉ️ Shock

Target is stunned for one round.

๐Ÿงช Acid

Target's armor is corroded and loses 1 AC value. Magic armor is immune.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Cruel Witch Hunter(s) Generator

Art @Yuri Chuchmay

How do the Witch Hunters identify if someone is a magic user?
- Roll d8
[1] They use spies, beggars, and anyone who is willing to rat people out for pay.
[2] Through investigations, fingerprinting, magic-energy detecting tools, all very official.
[3] Some people are sensitive to magic without being able to use it. They become Witch Hunters.
[4] Throw them in the river with weights. If they float, witch. If they sink, they're not. Easy.
[5] They've trained a breed of cat that can see magical auras; they hiss if you got the taint.
[6] Special crystal formations glow when touched by magic energy. Just a few drops of blood from a Wizard will make it light up.
[7] All magic users have some kind of tell; heterochromia, no wisdom teeth, unusual birthmark, sixth toe, white streak in the hair, etc. At least, the Witch Hunters think they do.
[8] They use dowsing rods, knucklebones, and tarot cards. (If you draw the Magician, you're fucking dead.) This divination is something anyone can technically do, so it isn't Magic okay?

What is the most common equipment of the Witch Hunters? - Roll d4
[1] Whatever they can scrap together. Plucky, unpaid, mostly a mob.
[2] Light armor, many use bows. Better to just avoid spells then try to survive them.
[3] Medium armor. Coats of plates and brigandine. Can handle mages and their monsters.
[4] Fully armored knights. Terrifying. Armor may have anti-magic properties.

How do the Witch Hunters defend themselves against Magic? - Roll d10
[1] They carve special Runes into their flesh, granting protection.
[2] Superstitions. They carry salt, tie their belts in knots, and nail a horseshoe over the door.
[3] The armor they wear negates or seriously weakens spells. Special ore.
[4] They know about the workings of magic. Attack when you are drained of energy.
[5] They are protected by their magic hating God. Holy symbols can "Turn" magic effects.
[6] Incredible willpower. Cultivated via painful initiation rites and iron-hard discipline.
[7] They use holy magic, not the bad kind. Includes healing, protection, and smiting spells.
[8] They wear and carry relics; bones and severed fingers and the ashes of saints.
[9] They drink each others' blood when they join the order. Bad juju is shared collectively, dark curses and enchantments dispersed over a thousand hardened hearts.
[10] They brew special tea made from rare herbs, which grants magical resistance when drunk. Guaranteed to have very bad long term mental and physical effects.

What cruel methods of execution do they use on witches they catch? - Roll d10
[1] Burn at the stake, until only ash remains. Classic.
[2] Pressing with heavy stones. Very cruel plus forces their air out so its hard to speak a curse.
[3] They don't kill them, just cut out their tongues and permanently lobotomize them with drugs.
[4] Trepanning. Followed by molten lead poured in the hole.
[5] Buried alive- face down, so no demons can climb out of your throat.
[6] Locked in an iron coffin, then thrown into the ocean. No holes for water to enter either.
[7] Slam them in the head with a warhammer. Multiple times. Until flat as a pancake.
[8] First blinded, then impaled on lead-tipped spears outside of the town as a warning.
[9] Strapped on a table, ribcage sawed open, organs are ripped out one by one. This is done to search the inner cavity of the body for tiny homunculi.
[10] They are locked in a cell with hundreds of starving rats and flesh-eating insects. After a few days, the inside of the cell is fumigated with poison gas.

Who is the fanatical leader of the Witch Hunters? - Roll d8
[1] Zealous old man, religious fanatic.
[2] Duplicitous fat noble. Using this to further ambitions; removes rivals with accusations.
[3] Beautiful woman; actually a sorceress. Collecting knowledge from slain magic users.
[4] Mask wearing stranger. They are a mystery- their blood is very anti-magical.
[5] Angelic figure said to represent a God of the pantheon; orders slaying of magic users in golden light. Is actually a demon of persecution in disguise.
[6] Council of three venerated martial artists. Once they defeat all magicians, they will be the strongest three beings in the world; thus they have made this pact.
[7] Fiery youth. His life has been nothing but suffering and hardship- seeing mages with luxury and ease conjured from their hands was the final straw.
[8] Friendly, kind, understanding. Doesn't torture for information, just asks politely. The moment you confess- he'll send you to your torturous death with a smile. Scariest fucker on this list.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Galaxy Far Away - Ultralite Review + New Tables & Rule Ideas

So I usually don't do this, but today I'd like to take a look at this ruleset made by Jim over at the d66 Classless Kobolds blog. Basically he made a super simple Star Wars roleplaying game that I ended up really liking, but it felt a little bare bones. I want to stress here I'm not taking ownership of this game (obviously), but I made some content for it and wanted to share. Also: this one got a lot longer then intended, so strap in.

But first; let me get a little mini review of the game itself. It's very basic, which I suppose is the point since its an ultralight. Some of the ideas here are fun. I like the 1 in 6 chance to be Force Sensitive for player characters, it's not a perk, just a whim of fate. I guess the other nice thing about an ultralike game for Star Wars is you can depict the force in any way you want.

But first; let's discuss the elephant in the room. Some of the only real meat and potatoes of this game is in your starting equipment, rolled on a random table. One of these is a weapon table; which lists "Frag Grenade" as a possible outcome.

Now I don't really like this because I don't really consider a grenade a "weapon", I mean it is but, it's a one-and-done kind of deal. Obviously you're given some starting credits which specifically says you can buy a cheap blaster, so that isn't a serious problem. But I feel like starting weapons should be a little more lasting then that. If it was a bandolier of grenades that would be fine- but I would rather put this in as a "tool", a more generic explosive that can be used to destroy barricades, damage large vehicles, or kill and damage things out of the character's weight class like a Rancor.

But the real problem with this ruleset? Look at the random equipment tables. Frag Grenade? Really? In Star Wars? Why isn't it a Thermal Detonator? Are you kidding me?

Now jokes aside; I get that it's an ultralight, but without any sort of real mechanics to go on I feel it fails a bit as a game. The idea of realistic damage based on where and how you attack is great fodder for good fight scenes and, in my opinion, works fine for tabletop games, but the way you actually go about making the attacks are 2d6 contested rolls. This means pretty much everything is a 50/50 toss up, with a smaller chance to tie then something like a d6 vs d6 roll since you have more possible outcomes. With this in mind, there's no reason player characters wouldn't be ending every NPC they are fighting in a single roll- and vice versa, if the NPCs are smart. Obviously you could argue that you can just adjudicate the low winning rolls of a 2d6 as being weaker successes, with say a roll of 12 over an enemy roll of 2 being a major success- but frankly at that point you're making things harder for yourself.

Art @ukitakumuki

Now obviously there's not a focus on combat in this game, but I like the idea of variable damage rolls; just a little bit of crunch to bring to the combat system, which tends to be the part of roleplaying games people want and need the most solid rules for. So here are some blaster tables. Whenever you hit an enemy with a blaster, roll a d6.

#

Pistol / Holdout

Blaster Rifle

Heavy Blaster

1

Miss / Ineffective

Environmental

Environmental

2

Environmental

Glance

Scorch

3

Glance

Scorch

Injury

4

Scorch

Injury

Debilitating

5

Injury

Debilitating

Lethal

6

Debilitating

Lethal

Vaporize

Explanations-

Getting an Environmental hit means that the enemy is not damage directly, but something around them is damage; if it be their personal combat droid, target they're trying to protect, destroys part of their cover, or hits a door access panel and forces it shut (or open). Whatever the effect, it should be beneficial to the shooter.

Getting a Glance or Scorch means the target was clipped but not seriously injured or brought out of the fight. Glance may just mean a small scorch mark or minor damage- their helmet could be hit on the visor, thus blackening it and making it useless until they take it off or maybe their weapon is damage somehow. Scorch is a more serious version of a glance, causing a small flesh wound and pain. If you want to get more crunchy, maybe getting scorched causes a -1 to future rolls made until it is healed.

Injuries are more serious. If hit on a limb it may stop use of that limb, or if hit in the body will cause you to fall over. If hit by this you can only barely move away to escape, and are not in fighting shape at all- you'd only be able to do a few missing shots as a fighting retreat. Debilitating is the same, except in this version you can't even move or fight back at all- if the debilitating shot hit a limb, that limb is blasted away or charred beyond repair and will need a cybornetic prosthetic. Unless if you have medical attention; Debilitating means you will die within a few hours. Finally, if the Debilitating hit was aimed from the head, the target will die in a few minutes instead, and be totally unconscious.

Any blast marked Lethal will kill if aimed for the head, neck, or chest. Even if the bolt itself didn't go through or vaporize it, it caused enough concussive force to kill. If you roll a Lethal hit but were aiming to capture or stun (and not using the stun setting?), then that happens instead.

Finally, the Vaporize is unique to the heavy blaster and essentially means the target is not only dead, but either vaporized into a smoking cadaver or turned to dust. You can get the same effect with a Blaster Rifle, but only with many repeating shots to an already defeated opponent- just what happened to Luke's aunt and uncle. Any damage this serious will probably cause other opponents to surrender or at least become fearful.

Once damage is rolled, a player may freely flip over a light-side token to a dark side token to go up one slot on the damage table. They could turn a lethal roll into an injury for an important NPC or themselves, but by doing so shift the destiny of the universe more towards the Dark side (DM).

Art @AraxussYexyr

Armor Rules

Armor is unique in this game (and in Star Wars) because it's not at all explained. So instead, we'll go with some guidelines. Basic and mass produced armor up to the Clone Troopers or Storm Trooper level turns a result of 5 or 6 on a table to a 4 on its corresponding table. This is also the level of armor I'd consider starting Player Characters who rolled the "Modular Armor" result on clothing to have.

Specialist armor like the Mandalorian armor / bounty hunter armor has the ability above but also counts any weapon as the table to its left. So a Heavy Blaster is treated like a Blaster Rifle and a Blaster Rifle as a Holdout Blaster, while also reducing rolls of 5 or 6 to a 4 on that table. Blaster Pistols aren't effective against this armor at all, only dealing Scorch damage on a roll of 5 or 6. If a character aims at a specific target on the armor (like the fuel tank or jetpack controls), then they can still hit it and damage it on a roll of 6.

Armor is also locational; so armor equal to those white helmets the rebels wear might save their life, but only if shot in the head.

Also: If you're playing as a really tough species (Wookie), have a bunch of damage-absorbing Force effects on at once, a bunch of implants, or anything else that would make you tougher then average just reduce whatever result you get by -1.

Also also; I like the idea of a "Glance" actually getting deflected totally and flying off, causing collateral damage, if you're wearing some kind of armor at all. But heavy blaster bolts are too heavy and powerful to be deflectd so easily (at least without a lightsabre) so that's why its just listed as a Scorch instead.

The Force & Destiny Tokens

So in Jim's game rules, he doesn't really give a list of force powers. I really like this, as it frees up the Jedi and the Sith to use the force in ways that are unique, interesting, and once again allows for the referee and players own interpretation of The Force.

So with no other real rules to go by; I kind of like the idea of the force being balanced by the Destiny mechanic; the light side and dark side tokens. Basically as the rules describe them, it's a set of 6 tokens that are either white or black, representing the light or dark side of the force. If the player flips a white token to the dark, then they can get an advantage, but each dark token can be flipped to the light so the referee can give the players a setback. That mechanic I think is interesting, as it basically provides infinite resources to both players and, in the context of the fiction, acts as an interesting idea.

See, with how vague The Force is sometimes, I like to think the tokens represent the balance of the force in the game world. So if all the tokens are on the light side, that means the players have a massive amount of potential in every action- it's like they have the momentum of the plot. In the same way, the referee having all the tokens set to black means the dark side is currently winning, has the most resources to throw at the players- it's like evil has the upper hand.

I like to think this is a literal thing, even a thing players can feel. Whenever the referee flips a token to the light side and gets an advantage, the force-sensitive characters can literally feel it in the world. "I sense a disturbance in the force." That's fun. Of course, this only really works if the players are also good guys for the most part; if the players are aligned with the evil empire or are Sith, then it doesn't really make sense- but you could just flip the tokens colors for players/GM if you're playing an evil campaign.

Now how does this work mechanically? Simple! The power of your force abilities is influenced by the tokens in play. If all the tokens are white, then the light side of the force is more powerful. If all the tokens are black, then dark side powers are more powerful. Perhaps something like a simple d6 roll over the color of the opposing side of the force to defeat an enemy force user in some kind of context- like perhaps only for actual force powers v force powers battles, with lightsabres and stuff having their own rolls. But if ALL force user fights came down to destiny (with the winning side forced to flip a token to the other color afterwards) you can create your own dramatic tension.

I kind of like this because it makes force sensitive characters more hooked into the game rules and, perhaps a bit cheesy, able to peer through the 4th wall a bit the way Jedi seem to do. It also discourages players from actually using their light side tokens for advantages, as they can weaken the dark side by not flipping them. I also think the idea of all the other player and referee actions kind of leading and flowing into this climatic Jedi finale where the outcome is determined by destiny is very Star Warsian. I just think that's mechanically a cool idea, but narratively and in the fiction? Ehh, maybe not. You could obviously see how this takes away any force-sensitive player importance and if anybody does get to be a Jedi they'd have to work for it since you can't start the game as one; so this would kind of squash that accomplishment.

Art @BossLogic

Lightsaber Rules

Now, I can see Lightsabers being a bit of an issue with this ultralite. You see, the idea is to make the rules go with the fiction, and that's easy enough to understand. The problem here is with lightsabers, and since at least one player is almost certainly going to be a Jedi, and you'll probably fight Sith at some point, then Lightsabers upset this balance. The problem here is that according to the fiction, Lightsabers just kill everything. If somebody slashes you with a lightsaber up close, even if they aren't a Jedi, you'd just die. Now that's not necessarily a bad thing, but when it comes to the idea of a game not having rules for things like this and being a conversation between players and a DM, then the issue of why you can or cannot just run down everything and cut them apart with a lightsaber (or how enemies won't just shoot you on the way over) could be a problem in a narrative game like this.

So instead, we use a little mechanic called Momentum. Momentum is a numerical counter of a Jedi or Sith's "battle trance", or otherwise how powerfully they are moving forward, deflecting blaster fire, and pushing towards their enemies as a dervish of flying energy sword swings. Momentum is both a force-users attack and defensive power in combat, though this never overrides the fiction. If a combat roll is called and it is failed, your momentum drops down one step. If a combat roll is called and is successful, then you move up one step. The force user can cut thru a swathe of opponents of their momentum or less, and a force user can deflect any attack made at their deflection level or less.

Everyone who picks up a lightsaber fights at their training level. If two lightsaber users meet at equal levels (the same momentum) they cannot overcome each other, unless one uses the force, a trick, or an ally to help distract their opponent, etc. Also, whatever "tier" of Momentum a character has gives them all defenses on both their tier and everything about it, whatever makes sense.

M

Ranking

Cuts Thru

Deflects

-1

Nonforce User

X

X

0

Force Sensitive

Womp Rats

Training Bolts

1

Padawan

Battle Droids

Blaster Pistol

2

Jedi / Sith

Storm / Clone Troopers

A few pistols / Blaster Rifle

3

Knight / Inquisitor

Droidakas

Many Blaster Rifles

4

Jedi Master / Sith Lord

Monsters / Bounty Hunters

Heavy Blaster

5

Heroic / Starkiller

Regular Jedi / Sith

Repeating Blaster

To stat up different fighting styles; simply change what rank each column has. For example, if you've got Obi Wan using Form III, you could say that whatever momentum level he is fighting on is moved one down on deflection, but moved one up on cut thru, since it's a defensive focused form.

Finally- if all of this game's destiny tokens are flipped to one side; then all force users of that alignment gain a momentum of +1 in combat while using lightsabers. If this is too powerful, just move up down a stage for cut thru for Sith if all dark side tokens are up, and move down a stage for deflect for Jedi if all the light side tokens are up to make the characters more thematically appropriate.