Thursday, June 30, 2011

2nd Edition: The Game You've (Probably) Never Played

  With older editions of D&D, it’s practically assumed that your table has at least a few house rules and optional rules. This practice had been ingrained in traditional role players from the beginning, though I believe the practice has dwindled some with later editions(the WotC d20 editions).
  Yesterday I posted about the rules I use for the majority of the gaming I actually do lately. It got me thinking; have I ever actually played straight core 2nd edition? Had I ever played 2nd edition without any of the optional rules? I thought about it for a fair amount of time yesterday, and I came to the conclusion that I’ve never done it. I’ve also never even heard of it being done. Heck, I wasn’t even sure what the rules would actually be since I’ve been playing with optional rules(or only partial rules) for more than 20 years.
   So I’ve decided to go through the core rule books(The PHB and DMG) section by section, to try to find out what the rules actually are, and damn it, I’m going to figure out if it’s actually as “unplayable” as many 2nd edition detractors have often said.
   I’ve rambled on long enough, onwards!

Chapter 1: Player Character Ability Scores
 The DMG and PHB Have very different tones and purposes for chapter I. In the PHB, while the optional ability score generational methods are mentioned, 3d6 in order is crowned the standard. In the DMG, a slightly different route is taken, stating that GMs should give the players what they want in regards to character(within reason). It then goes through the various methods to and states which classes are likely with which methods.
  Beyond the generating of ability scores, chapter one of the PHB states that each ability has a set of secondary characteristics that, “serve to further define the abilities and limitations that govern the actions of the character during play.”
  • Strength Secondary Characteristics: The ones that are not regarded as optional include the Melee combat adjustments for hit and damage, Open Doors, and Bend Bars/Lift Gates. Additionally. The Weight Allowance and Max Press are part of the optional encumbrance rules, though I guess an argument can be made that Max press, as written just states what a character can lift over his head.  
  • Intelligence Secondary Characteristics: Core characteristics include, The number of languages a character may start off knowing, the maximum spell level a wizard may cast, and the chance a wizard has to learn any spell he finds. The maximum number of spells per level is actually optional.  
  • Dex, Con, Wis, and Cha Secondary Characteristics: All the characteristics for these abilities remain part of the “pure” 2nd edition game.
     The PHB then goes on to discuss what the numbers mean, and ways to come up with player character personality. The DMG on the other hand picks this time to discuss unbalanced characters, problem backgrounds, and players with multiple characters. The short and simple is that it’s up to each DM to determine what constitutes appropriate for the game. It does seem to come down on the side of one character per player though.
     All in all, this is pretty standard, though I know many groups have a tendency to drop most of the secondary characteristics to cut down on paperwork.

   Up Next: Chapter 2: Races. Expect this sometime Saturday as tomorrow is N/PC Friday.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The rules I'm using

  Given the number of new-to-tabletop gamers I get, I decided to keep the rules system as simple as possible for 2nd edition(which is surprisingly pretty simple when you realize just how much of 2nd edition is actually just optional rules)Ability Scores: In order to make character creation faster, I decided to just go ahead and let the players use d20's elite array(15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8 arranged to taste). It keeps the players relatively equal, even if they are a little high powered for my taste. I should note, I ignore the maximum spell levels as well as the maximum # of spells rules. To me they just seem kinda silly.
Races: The only 4 races I'm currently allowing are Humans, Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings. Humans are strongly encouraged. Non-humans are required to have an intelligence high enough to know 2+ languages so they may speak common in addition to their racial language.
Classes: Only the 4 core classes are currently allowed. Yes, that's right, 2nd edition only has 4 core classes(it says so right there in the PHB); Fighter, Mage, Cleric, and Thief.
Multi-classing/Dual Classing: If the race allows you to multi-class with the 4 classes, go for it. I got rid of the super-high ability requirements for dual classing, so if you're a human with the stats to qualify for the class, and a good RP reason for becoming a different class, it's easier to do.
Proficiencies: I'm keeping languages, but getting rid of the vast majority of proficiencies. Clerics and Wizards may learn to read and write in all languages they know by spending a language slot(language slots are . Fighters and Thieves may learn to read and write by spending a slot for each language they wish to be literate in. As for weapon proficiencies, everyone knows how to use all the weapons and armors allowed for their class(es). Single class fighters also get a "favored weapon" which is just, in effect, free weapon specialization for one weapon.
Equipment: In an effort to keep character creation simple and fast, I created the starting equipment lists. I enforce their use, but I'm willing to work with a character if he wants a different kind of armor or weapon based on character concept.
Encumbrance: Like every gamer out there, I have a love-hate relationship with encumbrance. This is usually handled on a case by case basis. For long term games, yes, I use it. For one shots or for games where I don't think the player is going to stick around, I ignore it.
Hit Points and Death's Door: I make players roll for HP, even at 1st level. I also jettisoned the death's door rule. To say I despise superheroes is an understatement. Max HP and Death's door seems to promote that sort of play.
Initiative: Core rules says initiative is rolled per side, and casting time/weapon speed is optional. So it depends on how many new players I have that determines which initiative I deal with.

Friday, June 24, 2011

N/PC Friday: Kara the Fairy Queen

Because the individual who writes the blog 5 Stone Games asked, here's a fairy Queen

Name: Queen Kara of Caer Tan
Race: Pixie
Class: None   Level: 0
Alignment: True Neutral
Age: 90     Gender: Female
Height/Weight: 2'2"/26 pounds
Hair/Eye/Skin: Silver/Violet/pale without looking unhealthy

Ability Scores:
Strength: 5
Dexterity: 15
Constitution: 7
Intelligence: 12
Wisdom: 9
Charisma: 19

Movement: 6, Fly 12(B)
AC: 4
HP: 2
THAC0: 20

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

Special Abilities: Magic Resistance: 25%; Spell abilities(1/day as 8th lvl Mage): Polymorph Self, Know Alignment, Dispel Magic, Dancing Lights, ESP, Otto's Irresistible Dance. Create Illusions with audio and visual components, and cause confusion by touch.

Equipment: A whole lot of stuff, she's a queen after all!

Languages: The languages of all creatures native to a woodland habitat, including the languages of natural animals.

 Once every 1,000 years or so, a young girl of a woodland humanoid(Human, Elf, Goblin, Pixie, Sprite etc) race is born of surpassing beauty and grace. On the eve of her 4th birthday, a group of fairies steals her away from her birth home, and leaves a changeling in its place. The child is then taken to a location only known to fairies(Pixies, Nixies, Sprites, Grigs, Atomies, Gremlins, etc.) and transformed into the Fairy Queen. The type of fairy she turns into determines the course of fairy-dom until the next Queen is born. Thus, if a Fairy queen becomes a sprite, fairy-kind leans towards good and is helpful towards other races, if she becomes a gremlin, fairy-kind becomes mean and spiteful.
  The current fairy Queen is Kara. She is small and frail, even by Pixie standards, but she wields immense power. Despite her age of 90, she is still considered a fairly young fairy queen. As such her abilities have not fully developed. As it stands, she relies mostly on her aides and advisers to make sure things run smoothly.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday N/PC: Kallen the fence

Name: Kallen
Race: Human
Class: None  Level: 0

Alignment: True Neutral
Age: 32    Gender: Male
Height/Weight: 5’11”/190 pounds
Hair/Eyes/Skin: Blond/Blue/Fair complexion
Distinguishing Feature: Always seems to have stubble

Ability Scores:
Strength: 10
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 12
Wisdom: 12
Charisma: 9

Movement: 12

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

Armor Class: 6
Hit Points: 6
THAC0: 20

Damage: Short Sword(1d6/1d8), Club(1d6/1d8)

Equipment: Studded Leather,Small Shield, Anonymously rented apartments throughout town

Languages: Common, Thieves' Cant

  Kallen is a member of the city guard. He's also the most successful fence in the city's history. Using the cover of acting as a protector of the peace, Kallen has managed to build up a huge network of buyers and sellers with the less than reputable portions of town. He's not involved in everything, but he can generally find out who is selling what, to whom, in a very short amount of time.
  Despite his illicit activities, Kallen is also remarkably good at his job, as he never willingly facilitates the sale of anything that would be dangerous to the city itself. If someone wants to sell stolen goods, that's fine. If someone wants to smuggle in a beholder, that's another matter entirely.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Basic Adventurer Gear Packages

For my rules light gaming, I decided to come up with a series of "starting gear" for each class. If you choose one of these packages, you usually get more gear than if you roll for starting funds. It was inspired by the "Different Totes for Different Folks" article in Dragon 191. All of the gear other than weapons, armor, clothes, and belt pouches, will fit in the character's backpack(assuming of course that backpacks in your campaign can hold at least 50 pounds of stuff).
   I was going to put the lists as a blog post until I saw the sheer size of the sucker in "normal" sized font. So instead I have put it in my Downloads section, or you can just click here to get the pdf file.
  To pre-empt the "where's class combination X" I would like to point out that for the games I've been running lately, I only use the 4 basic classes(Fighter, Mage, Cleric, and Thief), and for races I've currently limited it to humans, dwarves, elves, and halflings(and thus allow any multi-class option normally allowed for those races). That's why there's no Mage/Clerics, Cleric/Thieves, Paladins, Rangers, Bards, Druids, etc. I may get around to expanding the lists eventually, but for now, there it is.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Goblinoid tribes of the Dorr region

While there are other tribes in the region, these are the ones that are the largest or most entrenched in the region.
  • The Bree-Yark(goblin): The tribe native to the caves of chaos and the wildwood, this tribe is better described in the Keep on the Borderlands and its sequel(Return to the Keep on the Borderlands). The only major changes being that they will willingly trade with those who come to the caves, and a significant portion of the tribe's strength hires out to others as mercenaries or goes to other tribes as merchants. They have a reputation as misfits of the goblinoid tribes, as many goblins who couldn't make the grade in their birth tribes tend to join up with the Bree-Yark. If a group encounters a small number of goblins in the Dorr region, the likely scenario is that it's a "merchant" party of Bree-Yark(which is indistinguishable from a raiding party, as these goblins are as likely to attack for purpose of gaining more trade items as they are to try to trade).
  • The Brambles(goblin): Native to the Stinking Mire on the shores of shadebrook, the Bramble tribe is noted mostly for their distinctive form of dress. Each warrior in the tribe wears wooden spiked leather armor, a small spike covered shield, and carries spiked clubs and barbed javelins(or short bows with wickedly barbed arrows) into battle. In addition to this, the tribe is fond of rubbing mire adder venom onto the pointy bits of their weapons and armor. They are the most reclusive of the goblin tribes in the region, and nobody, not even the Bree-Yark knows where their hidden village(assuming there's only one) is located within the Mire.
  • The Knockers(goblin): The knockers are generally referred to by humans as the "mountain goblins" and make their lair somewhere deep in the Iron Peaks. There they operate the largest mining operation in the region. Easily over 1,000 goblins and slaves taken from any species they can get them from(except dwarves) delve deep into the mountains for precious ores, minerals, and gems. The Bree-Yark and Redcaps are their primary trading partners, thus making them a favored target of the Red Hands tribe.
  • The Redcaps(Hobgoblin): The most powerful of the Hobgoblin tribes in the region, the Redcaps are feared and hated by most. They regard themselves as the true masters of the area, even going so far as to hiring humans to act on their behalf within the various human settlements. To support themselves, the Redcaps have set up various toll(extortion) locations along the stone road. This puts them at odds with human merchants and bandits, and is a major reason for the decline of the region's trade viability. The tribe got its start during the great war where they served as mercenaries for the Eastern Witch Lords, gaining their name from the fact that their helmets are decorated with the bloody scalps of fallen foes. Since then they've become the dominant slave traders in the region. Over the last 20 years however, the tribe has faced some serious setbacks. The tribe first attempted to make a base for themselves in the Wailing Wood, but whatever dwells within took offense to their presence and decimated the tribe. Following this, a strong willed Bugbear slave managed to organize a small rebellion, leading to the creation of a tribe of ex-slave Bugbears called the Red Hands. Following this, the tribe made its home in the Wolfwood. Recent troubles and losses to the wolves of that region may mean the tribe must once more find a new home if no solution can be found.
  • The Bone Blade(Hobgoblin): Formerly the best source of humanoid muscle for those looking for mercenaries, the Bone Blade tribe is now nearly extinct. A Dark Divinate cult has ousted them from their initial lair in the Caves of Chaos, killing the majority of females and young. Only a handful of Bone Blades now remain. The Bone Blade tribe is named for the bone edged daggers each warrior of the tribe carries. These daggers are used to sacrifice prisoners to the Hobgoblin deities, as well as in the various bloody rituals and combats that make up the tribe's culture.
  • Red Hands(Bugbear): Normally an underdark dwelling race, the Red Hands are one of the two bugbear Cetes to make their home on the surface in the region. Led by an unusually strong bugbear warrior(it's said that their leader can fight toe to toe with ogres and come out victorious), the tribe is known to be the most brutal and bloodthirsty of the goblinoid tribes in the region. Unlike a normal Bugbear Cete, the Red Hands have no young or females present. Whether this is just because they are kept well hidden or that they are not a true cete is unknown. The Redhands all have stained their hands red. While some claim that the stain is from the blood of their enemies, survivors who have studied the corpses of slain bugbears of the Red Hands have determined that the stain comes from a noxious oil. It is believed that this oil is a by-product of the drug that the Red Hands manufacture to cause them to go berserk in battle. If the Red Hands have trade, it's kept secret and hidden from all others. If the Red Hands keep up their raids on other humanoids, it will likely not be long before the other races band together to wipe them out.
  • The Dark Cave Cete(Bugbear): One of the oldest and most respected tribes in the region, the Dark Cave Cete are a spiritual clan of Bugbears dwelling in the Caves of Chaos. Following the recent intrusion of a Dark Divinate cult in the region, the Dark Cave Cete now seeks allies to push these interloping humans from the caves. The vast majority of the displaced and nearly extinct Bone Blade Tribe now lives and works for the Dark Caves.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Playing an Evil Character: You're doing it wrong

There's been a fair amount of hate on playing a non-good character in the OSR blogosphere for a fairly long time. I will concede that in most cases, this hatred is earned, but I'd also like to point out that the people who have been playing these mockeries of evil either have no clue what they're doing, or seem to have been brainwashed into thinking that evil(be it lawful, neutral, or chaotic) is somehow suicidally stupid(though suicidally stupid is more comic book good's shtick imo).
First off, we're going to need some definitions. Evil is not rampant destruction for the sake of destruction. That's just retarded(even ragnarok has a purpose). Way too much wasted effort. EVIL IS ACTIVELY CHOOSING SELF SERVICE WITH THE COST PAID BY SOMEONE ELSE.
In the interest of organization I've laid it out in the format of "The 7 fun things" er, "7 deadly sins".

  • Lust: We all want to be surrounded by pretty things. If you're evil though, look at your character sheet. Is your intelligence greater than 7? If yes, then you're smart enough to realize that there's a cost to everything you do. If you want women that badly, anything and anyone can be bought. The trick is figuring out the price, and getting someone else to pay it. Being evil isn't a license to go a-raping or go on a murder spree. Oh sure, you CAN go do stuff like that, but there's a better(and often easier) way of doing things. And the easy way is what it's all about. Always remember that people are people. No matter how uptight, strong, and self-righteous that paladin chick is, if she's one of your companions, she's eventually going to be at your mercy. If you have no more use for her, that's the time to bargain. Remember to start small. Don't be an idiot.
  • Gluttony: This is one of those things that I think most DMs have almost no problem letting an evil PC shine. I don't know of very many DMs who try to dissuade players from spending money on more than just the bare necessities. Heck, this is one of those sins that pretty well defines most of the people I've ever met. This isn't about overeating, it's about lack of moderation. It really shouldn't be called gluttony. It should be called over-indulgence. Whatever your poison is, crank the dial to 11. Be it food, women, power, even violence. This is your characters element, excel at it. Live, eat, and breath your obsession. In an evil character's mind it's passion, not obsession, and it's taken to the max. That it hurts the innocent . . . well, you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, and nobody is an innocent.
  • Avarice/Greed: (sigh) Ok, this is one that gives your DM and parties trouble with evil characters. It's also where a lot of people screw up in playing convincing evil characters. If your character has an intelligence greater than 7, you're smart enough to realize that there's significant risk when you steal things. If you're stealing from your party while they're still alive, you're asking for trouble. This isn't a motivation for little stuff. Tiny gains are rarely net gains. What's a 500 gp ruby in the grand scheme of your multi-billion gp career? Greed is your motivation for the big stuff! Conquering kingdoms, bringing about the end of the world, blackmailing the captain of the guard with the knowledge that you know where his bastards are. If anything else, this is the one your DMs should love you for. Just make sure you have an active dialogue with your DM and the other players as to what you would LIKE to do. Be prepared for a bit a of backlash from time to time. Just because you're greedy and a two bit crook doesn't mean there's no room to negotiate.
  • Sloth: Almost every openly evil individual is a lazy procrastinator. Why choose to put off enjoyment when you can have it now? After all, given the average lifespan of evil in most adventure games, you're not likely to be around later with all those blasted paladins running about like tin-plated headless chickens using their goody-two-shoes stink-eye on everyone they meet. This is where you have to decide if you're going to play this character or not for the long haul.  It's easy to be a useless jerk in the short term, but here's the thing that every successful evil person and dragon and fiend has ever known: useless jerks don't live long. Sloth is for when you're powerful. Sit back and watch the slave girls dance while feasting on mutton all you want, but when there's knife work that needs doing, get to it! This isn't to say that you can't be slothful during your adventuring career. Only, don't call it that. Instead, be efficient. If evil people worship anything besides themselves it's efficiency. If you must do something, do it in the manner that deals with it once and for all with the least overall effort. If that means you have to deal with those smelly paladins, then by all means do so(though, it might not hurt to see if you can't get rid of paladins AND the problem in the same stroke).
  • Wrath: My very favorite on the list. Where the other 7 deadlies are all the will, wrath is the sword that carries out your will. Being evil isn't about being a jerk. It's a gamble that your will is stronger than that of everyone elses. It's a contest. And in this game, evil plays to win. Which means using tools that are considered to be too dangerous by others. Make no mistake, wrath has a cost, but to the evil character, it's a price that is worth paying. For those who have perhaps partaken once to often of this means of attaining ones goals, it may well be all they have left. Wrath can be exceedingly hard to RP effectively without looking like just another muscle-headed goon in most adventure RPGs. This is partially because wrath is a luxury. It's easy to be wrathful when you have power. When you're not powerful however, it just tends to make you look stupid. Always keep that in mind.
  • Envy: This one is sorta like greed. Whereas greed is a pursuit of wealth, status, power, etc. Envy is the desire to take the wealth, status, etc. from others. Fairly certain that describes the motivation behind every theft and the vast majority of wars in history. In game, the best way to use envy is to keep it directed outside the party. If you absolutely feel that it is imperative that your character envies someone in the party, AS PLAYERS work something out together.  Maybe there's a gem or magic item that one of you managed to acquire. Perhaps have the two players decide to use the item as a contest, each one trying to one up the other as they continually steal it from one another, even an evil character generally wont cross the murder line over the item if he realizes the rest of the party will know it was him.  If one side does eventually win(generally by orchestrating the death of the other), it's a contest both PLAYERS agreed to, and there's nothing stopping the DM from allowing the deceased to pull a trick out of a day time soap and returning to collect vengeance. If you're going to take a risk in a magical world, be aware that there may be magical repercussions.
  • Pride: Ah, the sin that every blog writer can be accused of. The sin of every would be hero or villain. The belief that you, or anything about you, actually matters and that you are entitled to being remembered in some way. At least, that's how it is for normal people. Like many things, an evil character often takes this one a little far. A successful evil character will learn to keep it in his pants though. Just because you regard the rest of your party as walking talking armor and your future slaves does not mean you should say it. And you know that.
  For DMs, I'd like to point out that you are, at least in part, there to encourage the players to role play their characters. If they insist on playing evil as stupid and their characters having average or higher intelligence, call them on it. It's Chaotic Evil, not Chaotic Stupid. And for the players, remember that you're not playing an alignment, so leave the zealotry to paladins, and get back to seeking your fame and fortunes(at the expense of those you have dehumanized).

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


There's been some discussion on the value of shields in the OSR blogosphere, and I thought I'd add in 2 cp.
The current favorite is to adjust the AC chart and make all shields infinitely better. My only major problem w/ this is Armor/Power bloat. High level combats are going to take a lot longer. I'd like instead to offer an alternative: Treat Shields as a 2nd set of armor being worn(or armor being worn over natural armor), rather than as an additional modifier.

For instance, I'll use the 2nd edition shields since this is a 2nd edition blog: Buckler, Small, Medium, and Body.

You start by assigning each shield an AC you feel is appropriate: Buckler: AC 8, Small AC 6, Medium AC 4, and Body AC 2.

Next you put on your armor and shield. To do this you find the lowest(better) AC between the armor and shield. If there's a tie, doesn't matter which one you choose. The higher(worse) AC modifies this base AC by 1 point(in the favor of the armored character).
A few examples:
  • Chain mail(5) + Medium Shield(4) = AC 3
  • Padded(8) + Body Shield(2) = AC 1
  • Full Plate(1) + Buckler(8) = AC 0
  • Scale mail(6) + Small Shield(6) = AC 5
Choosing to do this however means nobody will only ever have an AC of 9 if they have a 15 Dex, unless you want to give a -1 AC bonus to unarmored fighters or something.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Family Campaign: Session 2 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: 91 sp, 97 cp

CG Human Thief(1), S: 13  D: 15  C: 14  I: 12  W: 10  Cha: 8, AC: 7(Leather Armor + AC), hp 3,
Damage: 1d8/1d12(longsword), 1d4/1d4(sling)
PP: 25%  OL: 20%  F/RT: 20%  MvS: 20%  HiS: 15%  DN: 20%  CW: 60% RL: 0% Backstab: x2
Wealth: 3 sp, 9

Summary of Events:
    Sayid and Teyana make their way up Clattering Watch.  They find an old pile of wood that used to be a signal fire. After breaking apart the woodpile in search for a secret door into the rumored crypt beneath the hill, they instead take a look at the huge stone slab upon which the woodpile rests. They find that possibly the slab is set into an opening like a cork on a bottle. Teyana tries to see if she can chip away at the stone with her dagger, but instead succeeds only in breaking the dagger.
    Teyana returns to town while Sayid remains on the hill to continue seeing if he can in some way figure out how to in some way get the slab to move. Teyana first heads to the blacksmith that Sayid had sold his armor to in order to rent a mining pick. Instead she is told that she should probably wait til that evening and ask at the Fiery Knave(the tavern). She heads to the tavern, and chooses to be a tad impatient asking Toffel if he knows of anyone who could spare a pick(or at least someone she could rent a pick from). Toffel tells her that if she's desperate she could always try to convince a villager named Guppy.
     When Teyana finally finds Guppy it's revealed that he is a somewhat eccentric sculptor who seems to be having some trouble with St. Kelvin's monastery(he's making a sculpture for them, but it would seem that they keep bugging him about it). Guppy informs Teyana that Toffel sent her to him as a joke, as Guppy is a bit behind on his bar tab, and Toffel knew that he was busy with actual work. Guppy also tells Teyana that she probably needs to hire a few of the local quarrymen if they want to bust up some rock slab.
  So Teyana returns to the tavern to figure out how to hire some quarrymen. Having exhausted his very limited options, Sayid also returns to the Tavern. The two order a couple of ales, then give Toffel a few silver to act as a barker, to let the local quarrymen(who have a tendency to come to his establishment to drink after they finish their daily labor) know that the next day Sayid and Teyana will be looking to hire quarrymen for a job.
     With that the pair decide to head off to find the Jolly Arrow(the local inn) to find a room for the night.

At this point my future father-in-law had grown too tired to really continue, so we decided to call it a night. It also marks the greatest number of campaign sessions I've ever gone without some sort of combat taking place. Usually, by now, many of my previous players would have attempted to pick a fight somewhere.

Friday, June 3, 2011

N/PC Friday: Swallowtail

This NPC is actually based on the song "Swallowtail" by Elvenking(video with the song at the end of the post)

Name: Swallowtail
Race: Annis Hag
Class: Mage  Level: 3

Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Age: 557(Age Category VI)    Gender: Female
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:
Constitution: 12
Intelligence: 18
Wisdom: 15
Charisma: 10

Movement: 15

Savings Throws:
Poison, Paralyzation, & Death Magic: 10
Rods, Staves, & Wands: 11
Petrification & Polymorph: 11
Breath Weapon: 12
Spell: 12

Armor Class:-2
Hit Points: 40
THAC0: 13

Damage:Claws(2)(1d8+8) + Bite(2d4+1)
Special Abilities: Charm Person 3/day, Cloudkill, Entangle 3/day, Normal Age Category 6 Annis Hag Abilities(See Van Richten's Guide to Witches)
1st: Cantrip, Detect Magic, Read Magic, Affect Normal Fires, Alarm, Audible Glamer, Burning Hands, Chill Touch, Comprehend Languages, Dancing Lights, Enlarge/Reduce, Hold Portal, Hypnotism, Mount, Phantasmal Force, Sleep, Spook, Taunt, Wall of Fog
2nd: Darkness 15' radius, ESP, Flaming Sphere, Fog Cloud, Fool's Gold, Forget, Hypnotic Pattern, Improved Phantasmal Force, Invisibility, Mirror Image, Scare, Shatter, Spectral Hand, Stinking Cloud, Summon Swarm, Web, Whispering Wind

Equipment: Badge of Office, Fully stocked home.

Languages: Common, Annis, Ogre, Frost Giant, Hill Giant, Fire Giant

  Swallowtail is an old legend. A witch said to be so hideous that the mere sight of her will kill any man. Even if one survives her looks, it's said she breathes forth a noxious cloud of death. Once upon a time however, Swallowtail was not always spoken of this way. Many Centuries ago, Swallowtail was a woman of great beauty and high birth. Beyond that, the story the hag herself tells changes with each telling. Now all that remains is the dilapidated hut in the woods. 
    The most common tale of her past, or at least, the one related by tale tellers of the region is that she was the daughter of a cruel father who was involved in the blackest sorts of magic calling down vile creatures on nights of the new moon. In return for some unknown lore, Swallowtail herself had been sacrificed and animated in the darkest rites now lost to magi.
   In time, Swallowtail had grown up, and her father sold her off to one of his allies in distant lands as a concubine. Most stories relate that she had made dark pacts of her own, and murdered her new husband to seal the pact. A rebellion in that distant land forced her to flee to the local area where she built a hut in the dark woods outside the village walls. Even as a middle aged woman she still retained her beauty, and used it to ensnare the men of the village, sacrificing them to her dark masters.
  In time, the village, those who had not fallen to her wiles formed a mob and sought to slay Swallowtail, who was now more than half a century old at this point. Expecting to fight an elderly woman, they were horrified to find what they at first believed was a black skinned ogress, until the creature spoke revealing her to be Swallowtail. Ever since that time centuries ago, no villager(save one) has dared to enter Swallowtail's region of the wood and return.