Thursday, July 8, 2010

You know what this game needs? More rats!

Climate/Terrain: Any Land
Frequency: Uncommon
Organization: Swarm
Activity Cycle: Nocturnal
Diet: Omnivore
Intelligence: Average: 9-10
Treasure: Varies
Alignment: Varies
No. Appearing: 1+(generally 3-12)
AC: 7
Mv: 12
HD: 1 or 2
Thac0: 20 or 18
#AT: 1
Dmg: By weapon
Special Attacks: Thieving skills or berserker rage.
Special Defenses: None
Size: M(6 feet tall)
Magic Resistance: 0%
Morale: Unsteady(5)
XP: 35

Ratfolk look like the man-rat hybrid forms of the were-rats. This has often caused ratfolk to be persecuted. Ratfolk speak their own language, and a large number also speak common, goblin, jermlaine, and undercommon.
Combat: Ratfolk come in two varieties; Feral and Civilized. Civilized Ratfolk prefer to use rogue weapons and tactics. Most adult civilized ratfolk have the thieving skills of a 3rd level thief. Feral Ratfolk, being about a head larger than their "civilized" kin, tend to use brute force, and thus prefer 2 handed swords, spears, great axes, and the like. Once per day they can enter a berserker rage, gaining a +1 bonus to attack, a +2 bonus to damage, and they regenerate 1 damage per round as long as they're above 0 hp. They'll continue fighting in this state until all non-ratfolk in the immediate vicinity are incapacitated. Ratfolk are generally a cowardly lot, and they don't attack unless they feel they have a clear advantage in a fight.
Habitat/Society: Ratfolk are social beings and gather into clans. The Feral ratfolk tend to be seafarers, building settlements on hidden or conquered islands, and sending forth their longships to raid others. Civilized Ratfolk prefer to dwell underground in the sewers and catacombs of major cities, but many end up traveling in brightly colored wagons moving from location to location, surviving as entertainers and thieves.
Ecology: Ratfolk are omnivores, and some of the civilized kind make passable, if lazy, farmers. The civilized kind generally avoid eating sentient creatures(unless fresh corpses are available) but feral ratfolk often raid human settlements solely so they can eat the people.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

My 2 coppers

This is as much addressed to the supporters of WotC as it is to supporters of Blizzard's current practices regarding the MMORPG World of Warcraft. I'm not arrogant enough to believe any of them actually read this blog, so this is more my way of getting things that have been allowed to build up for far too long, off my chest.
First off, I don't hate you. I'd very much rather not be your "enemy" and would very much like to see your business succeed so you can continue to create things I never would even think of. I'm not however going to support you when you dismantle everything I actually DO like about your products, in order for you to cater to casuals(especially when, in doing so, you choose to demean or demonize anyone who prefers the older way of doing things). I realize that you need more customers in order to make more money, and I realize that the people you're wanting to attract probably have more money than I do. I also realize that you are a business and thus the bottom line is all that matters. But you also need to realize that you ARE dealing with a niche market, and a lot of people in said niche market don't WANT it to grow. Especially not in the ways you're trying to force it. Seeking to placate the casuals doesn't have to mean that you need to alienate the grognards.
First off, to Blizzard: I don't actually know what's involved in setting up or maintaining one of your servers, but it would go a long way towards retaining your long term customer base(and probably attract even more new blood) if you'd set up a few "legacy" servers where anyone who wants to do so, can play Vanilla, TBC, or (with the upcoming xpac) WotLK without feeling like they're being FORCED to buy the latest Expansion. After all, getting $15 a month is better than getting $0 a month because you've strong-armed people into quitting, since they don't want to shell out the $50 for the newest xpac that they strongly believe(right or wrong) that they're not going to enjoy it anyway. You'll even likely get an additional income rush as people pay to have their characters "downgraded" and transferred to one of these new legacy servers. Heck, I wouldn't even mind paying a bit extra for the downgrade if it meant never having to see another DK! I'm even more likely to to continue to play, and more likely to buy the upcoming xpac if you were going to institute something like this. At the moment though, it doesn't seem that likely that I'll continue to shell out the cash each month since I find that WotLK, and the policies you've put into practice with this expansion(as well as the people who seem to enjoy them) have made the game no longer something I can enjoy.
For WotC/Hasbro: I guess the fix for the Edition Wars is nowhere near as easy to solve. I will say that you angered a lot of people with 4th edition. I know many people who refuse to even call it D&D because it is such a radical departure from the lore built up over the last 30+ years. I also think the game would have gotten much better reviews and reached a wider audience if it wasn't for the fact that you put it under the D&D banner. I think, perhaps, there would have been a lot less gnashing of teeth and a lot less bad blood between old school and new school types if you'd just decided to retire the D&D brand name. I keep hearing that the design team wanted to explore entirely new avenues of thought, but by taking the name D&D there's a certain amount of expected baggage that goes along with it. For many people, what you did is tantamount to the same level of dickishness I expect out of directors like Uwe Boll when they get the rights to make movies about video game or comic book franchises, and then go off to make movies that wouldn't be bad if they hadn't built up the expectations by using the franchise names. I'd also rather like to think of the people in charge of design at WotC as being nothing like Uwe Boll.
People take this sort of stuff seriously, and as old as D&D is, for many players the lore and feel of the game is held in the same regard as traditions. It also seems to me at least, rather foolish to be alienating what would otherwise be a very vocal group of people who actually DO want to support you in your efforts.
I would also like to thank everyone who IS involved with the games, both players and companies, as I realize that both sides have legitimate concerns and arguments. I believe both the grognards and the companies really are important to the future of the games/hobbies we're involved in. I just think that perhaps we could do a little better at trying to come up with solutions that benefit both sides rather than further isolating ourselves from one another.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Hypandi

Climate/Terrain: Any Desert/Barren
Frequency: Rare
Organization: Solitary or band
Activity Cycle: Day
Diet: Omnivore
Intelligence: Low to Average(5-11)
Treasure: (C)
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
No. Appearing: 1-6
AC: 5
Mv: 15
HD: 5+1
Thac0: 15
#AT: 1
Dmg:By weapon
Special Attacks: Swarm, Disease, Breath Weapon
Special Defenses: Immunity to Disease, Resistant to Poison
Size: L(9' tall)
Magic Resistance: 0%
Morale: 14
XP: 650

A hypandi appears to be a large, emaciated, diseased, horse-like humanoid, similar to a Minotaur, but with equine traits rather than bovine. The creatures reek of rotting vegetation and always seem to have a cloud of flies buzzing around them.
The Hypandi have no language of their own, and usually speak the dominant language in the regions near where they dwell.
Combat: A Hypandi usually prefers to use polearms in combat, though the exact polearm depends on the personal preference of the Hypandi itself, though Halberds, Bardiches, and Glaives are the most common. Regardless, Hypandi function as if they have a Strength of 18/50. The Hypandi generally don't bother with tactics, preferring to rely on brute strength and abilities to down their foes.
Due to the smell and constant buzzing of the Hypandi's swarm, a party has a +3 bonus to avoid being surprised by a Hypandi. Because of their lack of hygene, a person damaged by the weapons or abilities of a Hypandi have a cumulative 2% chance per hp of damage they suffer from the Hypandi to contract a disease. Hypandi themselves are immune to all natural diseases. A Hypandi also has a +3 bonus on all saves versus toxins.
3/day(and never more than once per hour) a Hypandi may expel the contents of its stomach upon it's foes, dealing 2d6 damage(Save vs. Breath Weapon for 1/2 Dmg). The "breath weapon" is 15' wide at it's widest point, but only goes out to about 10'. The Breath weapon also fouls the air supply in the area(Save vs. Poison or suffer the effects of a Ray of Enfeeblement for 4d6 rounds after leaving the "cloud" of fouled air) which lasts for 2-8 turns. Anyone within the cloud, whether they are effected by it or not, are still susceptible to the disease effect(2% cumulative per round).
The last major combat ability relates to the gnats and flies which seem to always be present around the Hypandi. Using a non-magical ability known only to the Hypandi, the Hypandi may 1/day direct the swarm as if using an Insect Swarm spell as if he was a 7th level caster. At the end of the non-spell's duration, the Swarm immediately returns to the Hypandi.
Habitat/Society: It's not entirely certain how the Hypandi came into being, but most people generally believe that Hypandi's are cursed, very much like Minotaurs. Nobody has ever seen a female Hypandi, but sometimes, An adult Male Hypandi will be found caring for young Hypandi. The younger Hypandi refer to the male caretaker as their father.
The Hypandi have no known settlements, but instead seem to travel as nomads through deserts and barrens. They make war on all other races, especially Centaurs, Minotaurs, and Gnolls. These races are not eaten when slain, though their skulls are taken as trophies(if not too damaged). Very rarely, a poweful warlord or wizard will conquer small groups of Hypandi for use as shock troops, but given their tendency to taint any area they stay in for very long(and their ability to spread disease), this is far from a common practice.
Ecology: Hypandi are hunter-gatherers, scouring lands where there is very little food or water. A Hypandi can go for as long as 2 weeks without water, and about as long without any food. A Hypandi can only eat fresh meat, but may eat even the most rotten vegetable matter it can find. As a presumed divinely cursed creature, a Hypandi does not fit into any actual natural ecology and most druids will therefore not suffer one to live in his guarded lands. Hypandi flesh is not consumed by any known predator, not even starving carrion birds.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Furzhogge: A Spike-Covered Potion Maker

I seem to be in an anthromorphic phase of monster design lately, so expect a lot of the creatures I offer up over the next few days to be animal-folk of one variety or another.
While randomly rolling up treasures, I began to wonder why it is that so many potions seem to be floating around. Mages in the borderlands are rare, and one who has reached 9th level is even harder to find. To explain why their are so many potions, especially in the hands of the various savage humanoids, I introduce the peaceful Furzhogge:


Climate/Terrain: Any Land
Frequency: Rare
Organization: Solitary or Family Unit
Activity Cycle: Nocturnal
Diet: Omnivore
Intelligence: Very to High: 11-14
Treasure: S(x1d12)(x20 in lair)
Alignment: Neutral
No. Appearing: 1(2-4)
AC: 7
Mv: 6
HD: 1
Thac0: 20
#AT: 1
Dmg:By weapon
Special Attacks:
Special Defenses: Spines
Size: M(4.5 feet tall and about as wide)
Magic Resistance: 25%(against non-potions)
Morale: Unsteady(5)
XP: 35

In appearance, a Furzehogge looks a bit like a fat anthropomorphic hedgehog with a shuffling, waddling gait. The Furzehogge - for whatever reason - is extremely adept at making potions. It's because of this fact, and that they do not interfere with the machinations of others, that the Furzehogges have become something of a neutral culture that is generally considered "off limits" for raiding attacks and the like by every race but humanity and dwarves.
A Furzehogge speaks it's own language in addition to Common and any languages spoken be creatures dwelling near their lairs.
Combat: A Furzehogge is not an adept combatant, and will rarely attempt to do anything more than flee if aggression is shown towards them. If cornered, A Furzehogge will attempt to curl up in a ball. This ball grants the Furzehogge AC 4, and anyone who attacks(with any weapon size Small or smaller) or attempts to touch the Furzehogge while it's in his ball runs the risk of being damaged themselves by 1d4 spikes for 1d2 damage per spike. Additionally, while curled up in such a way, the Furzehogge's MR jumps to 90%
When confronted with an enemy that rolling into a ball will not stop and it can't escape from, the Furzehogge will attack with its potions, weapons(typically A wooden staff or dagger made from its own quills), or Spells. A Furzehogge casts spells as a Mage of level 1d4+1, but has access to Druid Spells in addition to standard Mage spells. Furzehogges have no need of spellbooks, and use various strange potion-like concoctions instead of most spell components.
Habitat/Society: The Furzehogge is generally a solitary creature, dwelling alone in deep woodland thickets where they gather their strange Fungi and herbs to make their potions. Other races generally leave them alone and respect their privacy. Furzehogges go out of their territories each year to trade, traditionally in the late fall before winter sets in. They trade with other races, from orcs to humans for things they need in trade for their potions. The only sentient race a Furzehogge will not have dealings with is the Dwarves. It's unknown as to why this animosity exists(at least to the dwarves), but some believe that in ages past, the dwarves somehow slighted the Furzehogge people. During these yearly wanderings, the male Furzehogges seek out female Furzehogges to mate with them(only a 1:20 chance that the mating is successful. During the winter the Female gives birth to 1-3 Furze-lets(as the babies are called). The mother looks after the young for about 5 years, teaching them magic and potion making before forcing them off of her territory. Furzehogges are believed to live for about 120 years on average without the aid of magic or potions of Longevity.
Ecology: Furzehogges have very little impact on the ecology around them, preferring to merely be left alone. They predominately subsist on roots and berries, but their favorite food is bugs. Giant Insect meat of all non-poisonous varieties are considered a delicacy by the Furzehogges. Furzehogges are adept gardeners and herbalists, and as such, the thickets in which they live will often be incredibly healthy and robust in comparison to other parts of the forest. The Furzehogge has no known natural predators.

Furzehogge Potion Creation
In order to create a potion, the Furzehogge must search in its woodland territory for 1d4 days for every 50 xp of a potion's value for the appropriate herbs and fungus. The Furzehogge then brews the potion over a period of another 1d10 days. This process usually creates 1d8 potions of the same type. A Furzehogge without a territory, or one not in his own territory only has a 25% chance of finding the right supplies after searching for 2d4 days for every 50 xp of a potion's value.