Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Armor Damage

Armor pricing and AC in the PHB has always bugged me. What's bugged me most is Splint mail. It weighs exactly the same as chain mail, offers better protection, and only costs 5 gp more. Why on earth would any warrior in his right mind ever choose chain mail? If he only has 79 gp to spend, he's better off getting a suit of hide armor, a shield, and better weapons than his measly 4 gp would normally allow. I also didn't want to overly complicate things as I do want to introduce this into a rules light version of the game.

So how do I make armor pricing make a bit more sense?

I already track wounds. This is because I allow bandages to heal 1 hit point for each wound taken in a combat. Heck, I even record the type of damage as some wounds require a poultice or splints in addition to bandages. So the easiest way I could think of doing this is that for each wound a character takes, the armor takes a point of damage as well. When armor takes enough points of damage, it degrades 1 AC level. A skilled armorer can, for a fee, repair the damage. Assuming the character has not let it get to loss of AC, any warrior or cleric can repair the damaged armor themselves with the appropriate tools and a little bit of time(armor repair kits finally coming in handy for more than just the armor polish). In addition, this system allows for disreputable dealers to sell "slightly used" armor at normal price using a bit of polish to hide the dings. To counter this, Fighters(and only fighters) should be able to judge the actual quality of armor. For the purpose of this system, magical armors are impervious to this type of damage.
 I divided the armors in the PHB into 2 groupings: material and quality. Material is based on what I have read about the composition of the armor and how it was supposed to defend the wearer. The two materials are Cloth and Metal. Quality determines the number of points the armor can take before it loses an AC point.
The Qualities are: Bad 5, Poor 10, Average 15, Good 20, Amazing 25

Padded Armor(AC 8, Bad Cloth, 4 GP)
Leather Armor(AC 8, Best Cloth, 5 GP)
Ring Mail(AC 7, Good Cloth, 100 GP)
Studded Leather(AC 7, Average Cloth, 20 GP)
Brigandine(AC 6, Average Metal, 120 GP)
Hide Armor(AC 6, Poor Cloth, 15 GP)
Scale Mail(AC 6, Average Metal, 120 GP)
Chain Mail(AC 5, Best Metal, 75 GP)
Banded Mail(AC 4, Average Metal, 200 GP)
Splint Mail(AC 4, Poor Metal, 80 GP)
Bronze Plate Mail(AC 4, Good Metal, 400 GP)
Plate Mail(AC 3, Good Metal, 600 GP)
Field Plate(AC 2, Good Metal, 2,000 GP)
Full Plate(AC 1, Best Metal, 4,000+ GP)

Friday, May 27, 2011

N/PC Friday: Berrin, Captain of the Guard

Name: Captain Berrin
Race: Human
Class: None  Level: 0

Alignment: Lawful Evil
Age: 27    Gender: Male
Height/Weight: 5’6”/158 pounds
Hair/Eyes/Skin: Iron colored/Blue/Fair complexion
Distinguishing Feature: burn scar on lower left side of face. Missing left ear.

Ability Scores:
Strength: 12
Constitution: 8
Intelligence: 13
Wisdom: 11
Charisma: 10

Movement: 12

Savings Throws:
Poison, Paralyzation, & Death Magic: 16
Rods, Staves, & Wands: 18
Petrification & Polymorph: 17
Breath Weapon: 20
Spell: 19

Armor Class:7(Ring Mail)
Hit Points: 3
THAC0: 20

Damage:Long Sword(1d8/1d12)

Equipment: Badge of Office, Fully stocked home.

Languages: Common, Thieves' Cant, Reading/Writing

  Berrin is a third generation guardsman. The local thieves' guild befriended Berrin when he was in his teens. Berrin eventually tried to join the guild itself, when his father arrested the Guild leader's daughter. The guild attempted to use Berrin as a hostage, sending the guard his ear and subjecting him to torture. Berrin's father broke the law and released the girl, but the damage had already been done. His father was disgraced and removed from the Guard. Eventually Berrin managed to get promoted to the guard and began using his position to take vengeance upon the Thieves' guild that he blames for ruining his face and disgracing his father. His brutal tactics were effective, resulting in rapid advancement. Berrin then began using his position to set up his own criminal network, using the Guard as his personal brute squad, and using the law to remove competitors and others who cause him trouble.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Updated Monster: Krenshar and Magic Item

One of the handful of d20 monsters I thought was cool, so I decided to update it to 2nd edition stats.

Climate/Terrain: Temperate Forest
Frequency: Rare
Organization: Pride
Activity Cycle: Any
Diet: Carnivorous
Intelligence: Semi (2 – 4)
Treasure: Nil
Alignment: Neutral __________________
No. Appearing: 1 – 10
Armor Class: 5
Movement: 15
Hit Dice: 2
Thac0: 19
No. of Attacks: 1
Damage/Attacks: 1d6
Special Attacks: Scare, Fear
Special Defenses: Nil.
Magic Resistances: Nil.
Size: M(5’ – 6’)
Morale: Elite(13 – 14)
XP Value: 120

The Krenshar is a long, low, catlike creature. Its belly fur is a light tan or off white, darkening as it moves up the body to a grayish tan, with dark grey spots and a stiff mane running from right behind its ears, to halfway down its back. Its tail is lion-like, with a tuft of hair at the end. Its face is somewhat rubbery to the touch, as the creature can, by contract certain muscle, cause the skin to fold up and off the muscles and bone of the creatures skull, giving the creature its more common name; The Skull Cat.
Krenshar hunt in prides. They use their powerful jaws to bring down prey. A Krenshar pride will usually stalk prey for a significant portion of time, looking for a weak or injured animal. The pride will then send one between 1 and 3 individuals to “flush out” the prey, usually opening by folding back their faces to reveal the skulls and muscles. This causes most creatures to make a save vs. Paralyzation with a +3 bonus or function as if the Scare spell had been cast upon them(does not effect creatures with more than 6 HD). If this fails to get the prey moving, the flushers will release a screech forcing anyone in earshot to make a save vs. spell or suffer the effects of a Fear spell. Once they prey is running, the flushers give chase, using their scare and fear screech tactics as needed to herd the targeted prey to where the rest of the pride hides so they can ambush it. Krenshar are immune to the scare and fear effects of other Krenshar.
Krenshar prides are made up of a dominant matriarch and her offspring as well as males looking to breed with the matriarch. Krenshar do not stake out territories, but instead travel as the whim takes the matriarch, only stopping when the Matriarch is near to giving birth, and a suitable lair can be found. This lair is usually a bear or wolf den that the Krenshar have taken over. The matriarch stays within the lair until the young are old enough to travel with the pride. Until that point, the next strongest female of the pride leads the hunt. When a pride leaves an area, sometimes it leaves an individual or two behind. These lone Krenshar, if they survive, often become the starts of new Krenshar prides.
Krenshar are mid-level predators, just above wolves and bears on the food chain. Despite their catlike appearance, the Krenshar is actually more closely related to Hyenas. As such they are regarded as Holy by the handful of Gnolls who still worship Gorellik, even going so far as to having developed a special magic item, the Krenshar Headdresses, from them. Those Gnolls who have turned to Giantish Gods, or the much more common worship of Yeenoghu actively hunt and kill Krenshar, regarding them as a blemish. The animals also have additional use for wizards as the teeth, heart, and eyes may be used as alternate components for casting the Scare spell.

Krenshar Headdress
This item is the cleaned off skull of the Krenshar, with the pelt still attached at the base. The Skull is worn on top of the head, with a hide thong to keep it on the head. 3 times per day, the wearer, by clutching the skull and chanting the right phrase may use the Scare spell on all those who stand in his presence(anyone able to clearly see the eye sockets of the skull).
XP: 1,000

Friday, May 20, 2011

N/PC Friday: Wade Cottingtonsson

WOOHOO! Blogger is finally letting me post on my blogs again!Took it long enough.

Name: Wade Cottingtonsson
Race: Gnoll
Class: Fighter(Ranger, but special, see below)  Level: 3

Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Age: 4    Gender: Male
Height/Weight: 7’4”/340 pounds
Hair/Eyes/Skin: Very furry/Red/Not sure
Distinguishing Feature: Dresses in halfling fashion, modified for height, and usually in disrepair

Ability Scores:
Strength: 16
Constitutio3: 15
Intelligence: 8
Wisdom: 14
Charisma: 6

Movement: 12

Savings Throws:
Poison, Paralyzation, & Death Magic: 13
Rods, Staves, & Wands: 15
Petrification & Polymorph: 14
Breath Weapon: 16
Spell: 16

Armor Class:10
Hit Points: 26
THAC0: 18

Damage:Battle Axe(1d8)

Equipment: Backpack, Bedroll, Dry Rations(Enough to last a normal person a month, but because of Wade's upbringing, it will only last him a couple of days),Very tattered heavy cloak, Medallion with what Wade believes is a white wolf's head(actually a mottled hyena head, and holy symbol of Gorellik)

Languages: Common, Gnoll, Halfling

  Wade's Pack was put to the sword when he was just a whelp by a band of the local lord's men. He remembers little of what happened then, but what dim recollections he does have are bad enough that he doesn't talk about them. After managing to escape the slaughter of his kin, the young Wade managed to stumble into the path of the lord's hunting dogs. Luck was with Wade, and the Kennel Master, an elderly Halfling named Cottington, asked Lord Braemyr if he could raise the Young Gnoll  as one of the hunting dogs. Intrigued by the idea, the lord allowed this, and Wade was then taught to speak and hunt in "human" fashion. Wade excelled at hunting with the dogs, and in time became the assistant Kennel Keeper. He loved Cottington like a father, and Cottington loved him like the son he never had.
  A local orc shaman in the area united the tribes, and sought an ancient artifact in the lands of the wizard, Lord Braemyr. The attack was sudden, completely without warning. Only Lord Braemyr, two hunting dogs, and Wade survived the night. The orcs ravaged the village, and after believing it to be empty, continued on. Wade blamed Braemyr for Cottington's death and slew the wizard in his sleep. With the two dogs at his side, Wade left the burned out husk of his home to track the orcs that had slain his adopted father.
  Wade tracked the massive tribe through the snowy forest, following mercilessly, but never seeming to catch up. For 3 months the Gnoll had followed the tribe as it plundered and slaughtered its way, every wary to avoid being seen by villagers. As Wade and the hounds entered the mountains, a fierce blizzard arose, forcing the trio to find shelter. When it was finally over, only the strongest of the two hounds(a wolfdog named Bloodfang) and Wade had survived. The trail of the orcish horde had been lost.
     With a howl of grief and rage, Wade and Bloodfang finally broke down and mourned their family. After two days alone on the snow covered mountainside, and after bringing down a bear for food, the pair set off in the last direction Wade last remember's seeing a sign of a town. Perhaps the orcs would be known to the locals?
     Since then, Wade's dreams have been plagued by images of a primal form, Gorellik, the ancient and fallen god of the Gnolls whose worship has been supplanted by the demon Yeenoghu. Wade has tentatively cast his lot with the savage god, who has in turn granted Wade some of the abilities of the ranger class(tracking, stealth, and species enemy[Orcs AND Yeenoghu worshipping Gnolls]). In time, Gorellik may grant more.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Family Campaign Session 1 Report

The Characters(end of session stats):
Mujtahid Sayid:
CG Human Cleric(1), S: 14  D: 8 C: 13  Int: 12  Wis: 15  Cha: 10,  AC: 10(9 w/ shield, 8 vs. ranged), hp 6, Damage: 2d4/1d6+1(Morningstar), Languages: Common, Elf, Gnome; Religion: Southern(Al-Qadim)
Memorized Spells: Cure Light Wounds x2, Detect Magic
Wealth: 93 sp, 101 cp


CG Human Thief(1), S: 14  D: 8  C: 14  I: 12  W: 10  Cha: 8, AC: 7(Leather Armor + AC), hp 3,
Damage: 1d8/1d12(longsword), 1d4/1d3(dagger), 1d4/1d4(sling)
PP: 25%  OL: 20%  F/RT: 20%  MvS: 20%  HiS: 15%  DN: 20%  CW: 60% RL: 0% Backstab: x2
Wealth: 4 sp, 1 cp

Summary of Events:
The party made its way into St. Kelvin's Bridge, and after realizing the abbey was not going to be too friendly(wrong faith), they headed to the cheapest tavern in town, the Fiery Knave. The party finds out that the region has been mostly lawless for the last couple of decades, and that their are plenty of adventuring opportunities in the vicinity. They also meet with possible future hirelings, a part time group of mercenaries/bandits known as the Katsovoi Band, led by Jariko and Radalov Katsovoi, along with their 3 men Aden, Hale, and Soren.
  Realizing that they're flat broke and unable to hire skilled mercenaries with their handful of silver, the party decides to trade in Sayid's splint mail for some coin and a set of studded leather. Using the information they gained at the tavern and directions from the local smith, Sayid and Teyana head out to Clattering Watch to do some intelligence gathering before they hire the Katsovoi band to help them clear out and loot the rumored burial mound said to be beneath it. The session ended with them crossing the bridge over the Shadebrook on their way to do the recon.

Information/Rumors gained:
- The Bartender of the Fiery Knave, Toffel, is rumored to be selling a very valuable treasure discreetly to anyone not planning on staying in the area.
- The Clattering Watch is rumored to not be a natural hill, but a burial mound that nobody has found a way to get into yet.
- The Ruins of Bloodwall Keep lay a few hours hike to the east, and are believed to be haunted.
- The Caves of Chaos lay to the south and are a safe haven for goblinoids and other humanoids.
- Bandits and highwaymen, which are mostly out of work mercenaries and caravan guards, are a major problem in the region, operating mostly in small bands. It's possible their may even be rewards if they're cleared out.
- If the party is willing to travel, their are more adventuring and employment opportunities available the closer one gets to the North Sea Road.
- Sayid's Studded Leather Armor will be available in 3 days.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"Family" Campaign

   Ever since last September and the infamous Were Rat adventure, My SO and her father have been asking about playing a campaign again. Last week we were finally able to get an IM service on his ancient computer, and we were able to give actual serious thought to the campaign. We're probably going to actually start playing sometime in the next couple of days.
   My SO is playing a Human Thief from a city to the far south named Teyana. Her dad is playing an as yet unnamed Cleric. He had to run out to do some shopping, and thus we were not able to finish his character last time.
   The picture above is the player's map of the local campaign region where the game is going to take place(hence a lack of scale). Macsen's Keep is the location from Keep on the Borderlands. The campaign is probably going to start at St. Kelvin's Bridge, the first actual settlement north of the Keep along the Stone Road.
  The game we're using is going to be very rules light. I've removed gnomes and half elves as playable races(for now at least), and the only playable classes are Fighters, Mages, Clerics, and Thieves. No proficiencies are being used. For actual play, I'll likely be using group initiative with very few modifiers as I'm wanting to keep the game fairly simple.
  I'll try to have a play report up within an hour or two after the first session ends unless you, my readers, are opposed to the idea.

In other news, I've almost finished the rough draft on a revised version of the World Building article series I'd been posting on here back in November - December. I'll likely be posting parts of it for PDF download on the miscellany column to the right by the end of this week.

Friday, May 6, 2011

N/PC Friday: Spider Jack

Name: Spider Jack
Race: Half Elf
Class: Fighter/Mage/Thief  Level: 1/1/1

Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Age: 21    Gender: Male
Height/Weight: 5’4”/140 pounds
Hair/Eyes/Skin: Pale Green/Brown/Tan
Distinguishing Feature: Spider tattoos on face and arms.

Ability Scores:
Strength: 12
Constitutio3: 14
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 8
Charisma: 10

Movement: 12

Savings Throws:
Poison, Paralyzation, & Death Magic: 13
Rods, Staves, & Wands: 11
Petrification & Polymorph: 12
Breath Weapon: 15
Spell: 12

Armor Class: 9
Hit Points: 2
THAC0: 20

Damage: Short Sword(1d6/1d6), Daggers(2)(1d4/1d3)

Equipment: Backpack, Bedroll, Ink(3 vials), Magnifying Glass, Hand Mirror, Parchment(3), Quill Pen, Scroll Case, Dry Rations, Torch, Tinder Box, Empty Glass Vials(1), Thieves' Tools, Soft Gloves, Grappling Hook, 50' silk Rope, Crystal Prism, Silk Cloth Squares(10), Vial of Bitumen(10), Vial of Poison(Giant Spider Venom)(2), Pouch with 2 gp

Spellbook: Cantrip, Detect Magic, Read Magic, Nystul's Magic Aura, Spider Climb
Thieving Skills: PP: 30% OL: 25%  F/RT: 25%  MvS: 25%  HiS: 25%  DN: 25%  CW: 70%  Backstab: x2
Languages: Common, Elf, Hill Giant, Drow Sign Language, Thieves' Cant

  Spider Jack seems to be a young half elf with a death wish. From a young age Spider Jack had a fascination with spiders, going so far once as to bring home and attempt to hide a Giant Spider's Egg sac in the manner most children attempt to hide a pet kitten they know they're not allowed to have. When he was older, Spider Jack sought out spider-like and spider worshipping cults and creatures. He's managed to survive by the skin of his teeth thus far, but his luck can't hold out forever.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sometimes, it's good to be deaf

   I was going to make this as a reply to Grognardia's Armor Class post, but I figured that it requires a bit more explanation than a good reply can allow.

  As I've mentioned on another blog, I'm hard of hearing(sorta, really it seems to be that I hear on a completely different frequency range than other people, but the medical professions seem to think I'm going deaf). Normally, this causes a lot of issues. When dealing with people, I have to lipread(which makes bearded individuals, mumblers, and people who keep their hands near their faces when talking rather annoying). Webcasts/Podcasts, Movies, and most musicians are unintelligible.
 This, combined with a general dislike of people and a possibly overzealous sense of "personal space" means I do most of my gaming via messenger these days. This actually has a completely awesome benefit during 2nd edition combat as I've recently been finding out.
 For those not "fluent" in the system, players have to state what they'd like to do during the round before initiative is rolled(otherwise they can't modify their individual initiative rolls properly). Normally, sitting around a table, this means that most players are able to effectively create a strategy on the spot. This has often created arguments between the DM and players as the two forces battle over whether or not an intelligent foe can understand what is being discussed by the players(ie, whether the battle plans are in character or out of character).
  Playing over Instant Messengers has allowed me to cut this out entirely. When combat starts, I open multiple chat boxes, one for each player. Within this box the player and DM are able to discuss and roll dice, keeping the results a secret. If the players wish to communicate, they may do so in the "party" window, which is assumed to be "in character" and thus, if the opponents can understand the language(s) being spoken, they may act appropriately.
  Surprising as it sounds, this has actually sped up combat when the players know the rules and aren't asking what die they roll for everything, and the DM is on top of his game, being able to come up with quick, consistent rulings on modifiers(This is where organized DM and Player screens and notes really come in handy to be honest). Once each player has given me all the information on their actions, and I've done the appropriate actions for the opponents, I give the round description for everyone involved. Rinse and repeat.
   I've actually been giving thought to doing all rounds like this, not just combat rounds. This would require players to give a bit more thought on how they interact with their companions in certain environments, as the line between communicating out of character and breaking the stealthy silence the party has been going for becomes a bit more pressing. Do you risk telling the fighter that the thief is stealing the ruby out of his pack, or do you wait until you're out of harm's way?
  Of course, all this DOES require that you actually either trust your players not to send IMs to each other behind your back, or have some means of coercing their compliance, but then, no method is entirely perfect.