Friday, April 22, 2016

Here, Have a Map

When I was running the Wilderlands a while back I decided an easy way to get interesting maps would be to convert maps from the Doom, Doom 2, and Final Doom so that they could be easily represented on twiddla.  Since I was copying them from various wikis I wasn't necessarily sure where the entrances and secret doors were 100% of the time.

Anyway, since I can't do anything else with them I decided to start posting them on her after I work them up in gridmapper.

Note to my players: it is highly likely that I will still use these maps at some point in the foreseeable future, so you might not want to look too hard at them.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Do You Want to Die in a Hole?!

Do You Want to Die in a Hole?!
Nightwick Abbey has lain in ruins for almost two centuries.  Built by power hungry knights and mad wizards, it now is home to only ghosts and goblins. Peasants refuse to work in the shadow of the ruined church, and at night eerie lights issue forth from its depths.  Many have tried to wrestle gold from the crypts which lie beneath, but few have returned.  Are you brave enough to seek your fortune in a demon-haunted dungeon?

A ConstantCon game using the Swords and Wizardry White Box

Play is from 8:30 - Midnight CT every Monday. 

This is not a FLAILSNAILS game.  You'll need a new guy for my precious-setting-shithole-hellscape.

Email me at evanDOTvanDOTelkinsATgmailDOTcom if you're interested.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Hail, Horrors!: Knights of Hell

At the bottom of space there is a Dragon.  Its mouth gapes wide, fangs bared, gouts of flame spiraling up into the void.  It is written that the river Acheron, which once brought life to the people of the Desert Lands in the eons before the founding of the Empire, flows through the World and down the throat of the Dragon, pooling in the first of its thousandfold terrible stomachs.  It is in that boiling morass of mud and hate and fear and fire that the souls of the damned first enter the Pit.

This is the realm of the Fishers of Souls. Horrid and hideous, blind and lame, they are the lowly smiths of Hell’s great armies.  They wade through the searing muck to find larvae - the debased form that the souls assume upon first entering the nether-realms.  These they grasp with great hooks of bone and sorrow and drag to the strange “forges” of Hell - vats and other devices too alien to man for our kind to understand their use.  It is in these that demons are made, and thereby those who sought to gain the favor of the Lords of the World are set to suffer with them in chains in the belly of the Dragon.

Most of these souls a changed into lesser fiends - such as imps or familiars - or gather together into a host of fiends with the power to possess mortals.  There are certain souls, however, of special wickedness that they are elevated into the Pit's great hierarchy.*  The forges change them in ways which reflect their diabolic masters.  

These are the Knights of Hell.  Four types are described below.

All Knights of Hell have the following statistics: HD 4 AC 16 ST 14 Move 12 (24 if able to fly).

All Knights of Hell may only be wounded by silver or magic weapons since they are not of this plane.  Holy water is also sovereign against them.  

Should a single Knight of Hell possess a man that man will not become a cadaverite in the normal fashion.  Instead his body will warp to take on the aspects of the demon that possesses him. Eventually he will become a physical manifestation of the demon with double the normal Hit Dice.  However, this physical body also means that he can be wounded by normal weapons.

All Knights of Hell reform in the Pit if defeated on the material plane unless special lawful weapon are used.

If forced into a magic circle, all Knights of Hell will teach one second level spell (roll or pick based on the most appropriate for the nature of the demon).

Knights of Armadeus appear as great carrion birds of enormous size - nearly the size of a draft horse, or as a great shaggy beast of diabolic aspect.  In either form they have the power of flight.

They may dispel invisibility at will.  Once per day they can create 10' of darkness and locate any object relating to an arcane or secret matter within 4 hexes of their current location

If forced into a magic circle, their form will change to that of a spectral warrior with black skin, black teeth, and black eyes.  In this form they may locate objects, and speak the true names of lesser fiends for the creator of the circle.

Knights of the Horned One appear in the form of satyrs, rams, bucks, and he-goats.  Sometimes these have the heads of animals, other times the heads of men.  They are always horned.  In none of these forms may they fly.

Knights of the Horned One may cast a powerful charm against persons (-2 to save) or monsters (no modifier) at will.  Once per day they may hold person, teleport from one spot shaded by a tree to any other within the confines of a hexmap (Judges Guild or ACKS regional sized), and may locate any object pertaining to a carnal affair within 4 hexes of their current location.

If forced into a magic circle, they will change into an angelic form of the animal they most resemble - or, in the case of a satyr, a strangely diminished angel.  In this form they will charm an object of the magician's lust, carry him to a shaded grove, or locate an object associated with his heart's desire.

Knights of the Horned One often engage in carnal acts with witches and warlocks.  The result of these acts will be stillborn until the sixth time, when it will grow into a devil-man.

Knights of Ozgin appear in a riot of forms, even for demons.  Most are vaguely mannish, though only in the broadest sense.  Their faces and limbs are twisted or multiplied in strange ways such that any semblance to humanity is difficult to tell.  They clothe what parts of their body can be clothed in raucous colors that are sickening to the eyes.  In no form may they fly.

Knights of Ozgin may become invisible or make one individual invisible at will.  Once per day the knight may create a phantasmal force. render a victim maddened (-2 saving throw or perceive friends as diabolic foes that must be slain), or locate any object related to deadly madness within 4 hexes of its current location.

If forced into a magic circle, a Knight of Ozgin will become a billowing rainbow of colored smoke.  In this form it will always lie to the caster, but usefully the statements are always the precise opposite of what is true.  They will madden the magician's foes at times which would most likely lead to siblicide.

Knights of Moloch appear as bulls or minotaurs belching fire and smoke.  In either form they are priapic.  Only in the forms of bulls may they fly.

Once per day they may create a fireball, teleport from one furnace to another within a hexmap, protect another individual from normal missiles, and locate an object related to the murderous arts -both clandestine and martial - within a 4 hex radius.  They may belch forth flickering lights at will and their touch burns like fire (advantage on damage dice).

If forced into a magic a magic circle, their penis will vanish and their smoke and fire will die away.  Blood will poor from their orifices in a most disturbing manner.  In this form they may instruct in the use of weapons, reveal the names of murderers, will carry the caster from furnace to furnace (caster is not immune to damage from this effect), and will locate objects as described above.

Notes: the semi-assumed max-level for Nightwick characters is 10.  Since it is so reliant on medieval and horror movie imagery, I decided it was useful to begin the ranks of demons at much fewer hit dice than Vrocks.  Example barons, marquises, dukes, princes, presidents, and great kings of Hell will be discussed in due time.

*It must be remembered that the Pit's supposed hierarchy is an imposition by man on pure chaos.  In fact, some dangerously heterodox scholars claim the demons described above are so "regular" only because they must conform to man's perception.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Poison for Body and Soul

The mechanics for poison in the World of Nightwick are not dissimilar to diseases, though the saves occur at shorter time intervals.  Hiding poison in food or drink increases the time between saves by a degree, thus a round becomes a turn, a turn becomes an hour, and so on.  Hiding poison in food or drink well requires special skills and increases the time interval by two orders - a round to an hour, for example.  

Should the victim of a poison or a disease ever successfully make three saves in a row, they move to an earlier stage.  If this occurs at stage one, the poison passes out of the character's system harmlessly.  

A second dose of poison will cause an immediate move to a lower stage regardless of time interval.

Basilisk Venom slowly turns its victims into a stone statue, which the creature then unhinges its jaw and grinds in its gizzard for sustenance.

Stage 1:  Muscles begin to slow.  -2 to all STR, DEX, and CON related actions.  Save each round or move to stage 2.

Stage 2: One or more limbs turned to stone.  -4 to all actions (regardless of associated ability scores), and move reduced to 3.  Save each round or move to stage 3.

Stage 3: Body is now mostly stone.  Must make a saving throw to perform any action other than screaming.  Make a save once each round or become a statue.

Giant Centipede Venom is typically meant for smaller prey than humans, but can be fatal for unlucky individuals.  Saves against centipedes of smaller than man sized have a +2 bonus.

Stage 1: Area of bite swells and becomes extremely painful.  -2 to all actions involving affected area.  Make a save each hour or advance to stage 2.

Stage 2:  Bite swells and muscles begin to cramp.  -4 to all actions.  Make a save each hour or advance to stage 3.

Stage 3:  Body is completely paralyzed.  Save every turn or die of suffocation.

Giant Spider Venom varies based on the type of spider.  The one described below assumes a spider whose bite causes necrosis.

Stage 1:  Strangely painless red welt appears.  Make a save every turn or advance to stage 2.

Stage 2:  Lose 1 hit point as welt bursts to reveal rotten flesh beneath.  Magical healing will only restore 1 hit point until poison exits system.  Make a save every day or advance to stage 3.

Stage 3:  Rot grows to cover most of limb or torso.  -4 to all actions.  Make a save each hour or die of toxic shock.

Lotus Powder comes in a variety of colors and is produced in the Land of One Thousand Idols.  The entry here is for black lotus powder, which is commonly found in traps.

Stage 1:  Vision blurs, brain fogs.  - 2 to all mental actions.  Make a saving throw each round or advance to stage 2.

Stage 2:  Character swoons.  Can be roused for 1d4 rounds before swooning again.  During waking periods character takes a -4 penalty on all die rolls.  Make a saving throw each turn or advance to stage 3.

Stage 3: Character falls into coma filled with unearthly visions.  Visions are always positive to the character, but their heavenly or hellish nature depends on their alignment.  Make a saving throw every week or perish.  Returning to stage 2  or magically neutralizing the poison is the only way the character may be roused.

Froad Poison is secreted by the strange creatures that live in the swamps.  It is extremely potent to all humanoids except Froglings and Bullywugs, which are immune to its effects.  All other creatures have a -4 to related saving throws.  Oddly, the poison of a Driffit is very similar in effect, but does not force the penalty to saves.

Stage 1:  Muscles tighten and breathing becomes laborious.  - 2 penalty to all d20 rolls and -1 to all d6 rolls.  Make a save each round or advance to stage 2.

Stage 2:  Muscles continue to tighten and heartbeat becomes shallow.  -4 to all d20 rolls and d6 rolls are impossible.  Movement decreases to 6 and is impossible in armor.

Stage 3:  Body is completely paralyzed but hideously aware.  Saving throws to return to a lower stage are made once a week.  Otherwise the victim will remain in this stage until they perish from exposure or other causes.

Wyvern Venom, while potent, is slower acting than other forms of venom or poison.  Wyverns prefer to fly down, sting an opponent, and then fly away and follow it until it perishes.

Stage 1:  Area swells and becomes excruciatingly painful.  -2 penalty to all d20 rolls and a -4 penalty to rolls involving the afflicted limb.  If stung in the leg, movement is reduced to 6.

Stage 2:  Blood begins to thin.  In addition to the effects of Stage 1, a save must be made to perform any physical action.  On a failure the character swoons for 1d4 rounds.  Make a save each day or advance to stage 3.

Stage 3:  Character collapses into a coma.  A save must be made each day or the character dies - assuming they are not eaten by a Wyvern before then.

An Advanced Case of Possession

Possession works much the same way as poison, a fact that has not escaped sermon writers in the Church of Law.  The most common type of possession, a host of fiends, is described below.  More powerful possessors will inevitably be related to a demon lord and will be described at a later date.

Host of Fiends

Stage 1: Character is encouraged by strange voices to participate in vile acts.  +2 bonus to all actions made in accordance with the voices' desires.  If the act is particularly heinous (referee's discretion) then a save is immediately called for to advance to stage 2.  Otherwise, the save is made each week.

Stage 2:  Voices become demanding.  Instead of providing a bonus, a -4 penalty is incurred by following any course not advised by the fiends.  As with stage 1, a save is made either when a heinous act is committed or when a week passes.  If the save is failed, proceed to stage 3.

Stage 3:  The character is now a puppet for the host of fiends.  The character is controlled by the referee and only an exorcism will return control to the player.  Save each week or the character is permanently possessed and becomes a Cadaverite.

Rules for exorcisms will be forthcoming, as they are more complicated than neutralizing poison or curing disease, but they may only be successful if the victim is at stage 3 or lower.

Heraldry Depicting a Basilisk of Apparently Immense Size

Note: this section repeats the basilisk venom information from above to make it easier for referees to use without referencing this post.

Basilisk, Nightwick
AC 15
HD 6
Attacks Bite
Special Poison
Move 9
HDE/XP 8/800

Basilisks in the world of Nightwick are actually snakes of sinister aspect.  They have night-black bodies except for the small, crown-like protrusion from the top of their head.  They are found most commonly in the Desert Lands, but in warmer months they plague the Dark Country and Iron Kingdoms.

Basilisk Venom slowly turns its victims into stone, which the creature then unhinges its jaw and grinds in its gizzard for sustenance.

Stage 1:  Muscles begin to slow.  -2 to all STR, DEX, and CON related actions.  Save each round or move to stage 2.

Stage 2: One or more limbs turned to stone.  -4 to all actions (regardless of associated ability scores), and move reduced to 3.  Save each round or move to stage 3.

Stage 3: Body is now mostly stone.  Must make a saving throw to perform any action other than screaming.  Make a save once each round or become a statue.

Basilisks are sacred to the Demon Prince Apollo, as are all serpents.  They have been seen ruling courts of snakes in the desert, devouring those that displease them.  Whether or not the snakes are intelligent or if they are merely vessels for intelligent demons is as yet a mystery.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Star Wars: Goti Station

New year. New blog post.  This one is about Star Wars.

I recently watched the original trilogy with my wife, who had never seen a New Hope or Empire and hadn't seen Jedi since she was a child.  She loved them, and I was reminded of how much I loved them.  Hence this campaign idea.  I hope to run something like it later in the year, but right now I'm running WFRP again in Middenheim, my favorite fantasy city, and I am hoping that campaign will last long enough that this one can't start anytime soon.

Goti Station was once a mining colony on the outer edge of Hutt Space.  It is essentially a collection of asteroids connected by durasteel struts and turbolifts.  In the first years after Palpatine declared the New Order, a crime lord named Borba the Hutt* purchased the colony as well as a number of very large hyperdrives.  He affixed these to Goti Station and shot the entire thing into deep space, far from any star.

Borba now uses the station as a mobile command center for a vast, and territorially disparate, criminal empire.  Goti Station floats in the blackness between systems, making jumps to crucial junctures between planets and then moving on before imperial agents can catch the scent.  Their are sometimes complications, like asteroids tearing off in hyperspace, but nothing so great as to deter Borba's plan.

The PCs are fugitives from the Empire - force users hunted by the inquisition, bounty hunters who violated proper jurisdictional codes, princes who made enemies of a Grand Moff, etc.  They have made their way, through the use of contacts or through Borba's actively seeking them out, onto Goti Station.  In exchange for credits (or more likely Borba's company scrip) and refuge form the Empire, the PCs must perform services for the various miscreants who run the station.

These typically take the form of adventures on planets near the current location of Goti Station.  The GM (i.e. me) will create 1-5 hooks each for 2 to 3 nearby planets.  A single hook may be an isolated adventure, a connected mini-campaign comprised of multiple hooks on the same planet, or part of a web of scenarios that includes multiple planets.

Whenever the PCs kick the hornets' nest of Imperial Law Enforcement too hard, Goti Station will have to jump somewhere else and a new list of hooks will be created.  Should they decide to kick the hornets' nest, pick it up in their hands, and proverbially rub it on their genitals, then the Empire may very well find and attack Goti Station, forcing the PCs to either fight to defend their shitty home or to leave it in search of a new hiding place.  The later option would necessitate a new campaign model, but since it would develop organically out of the players' actions I think that could work.

Typical threats would include gross crime lords, trandoshan slavers, bounty hunters, imperial inquisitors, dark side prophets, and the robed weirdos of the Emperor's ruling council.  Why those guys?  Because those guys are why I like Star Wars.

*Borba is not actually a Hutt.  He is a Tarsunt that underwent extensive genetic modifications in order to be accepted by Hutt crime bosses on Nar Shadda.  His hideously bloated form must now continually float in a bacta tank or he will die.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Classes of Nightwick: The Rogue

It was big in the blogosphere a couple of weeks ago to post your version of the rogue/thief/whatever.  I couldn't find my houserules document until just now... so here's mine.

Rogues in the World of Nightwick are ne'er-do-wells who live by their wits. They are, unfortunately for the World and its people, quite common.

Rogue Advancement
Sneak Attack

Rogue Class Abilities
Weapon and Armor Restrictions: Rogues can use any weapon and wear any armor; however, they cannot use their skills if wearing armor heavier than leather.

Skills: Rogues possess skills that aid them in their attempts to gain precious lucre.  These include Climb, Hear Noise, Open Doors, Pick Lock, and Search.  The chances given on the chart above are for a d6.  In the case of skills that have their own attribute based chart, such as Open Doors, the rogue uses either the skill chart or the attribute chart - whichever is higher. Rogues also use this x in 6 chance to determine the chance that they surprise an opponent when sneaking off alone.  Note that rogues carrying lit torches or lanterns still cannot surprise monsters in a dungeon.

Sneak Attack: If attacking a surprised or otherwise unaware opponent, a Rogue multiplies any damage dealt with a melee weapon by the number indicated on the chart above.

Saving Throw: Rogues gain a +2 bonus to saves against poison and death effects.

Grave Robber (Rogue Bonus Class)
Grave robbers are those members of Dark Country society that have been forced to make their living through various nefarious means.  As the title says, this typically involves looting the corpses of the dead.

Grave Robber Class Abilities
Prerequisites: Constitution 12+, Charisma 8-

Strike to Stun: If undetected, a Graverobber can attempt to stun a human or humanoid opponent that is vulnerable to such an attack using a blunt instrument.  The Grave robber must make a to hit roll against the opponent they wish to stun.  If the hit is successful, the opponent must make a saving throw or be knocked unconscious for 1d6 turns.

Mountebank (Rogue Bonus Class)
Mountebanks are the flimm-flamm men of the World of Nightwick. While typically more at home in urban areas, they may be found anywhere were gold can be acquired.

Mountebank Class Features
Prerequisites: Wisdom 8-, Charisma 15+

Spell Casting: Mountebanks may attempt to cast spells found on magic user spell scrolls; however, in order to do so successfully they must make a successful saving throw with a penalty equal to the level of the spell.   If the saving throw is failed, the opposite of the intended effect of the spell occurs, usually in a way that is reflected back on the mountebank.  A mountebank may also attempt to cast a spell directly from a spellbook; however, a second saving throw must be made or else the spell disappears permanently from the book. 

Roll 1d10 to determine you're previous career and some of your starting equipment.

Bottle of cheap whiskey, begging cup
Bunko Artist
Deck of cards, hand mirror
Cattle Rustler
50' rope, torn burlap mask
Dung Gatherer
Bag of dung, shovel
Cudgel, 1d6 missing teeth
Deck of marked cards, loaded dice
Lute, puffy shirt
Bow, 12 arrows, leather armor
Wooden hoe, a pig
Small push cart
Stick with 1d6 dead rats tied to it, “trained” potato bear
Chest with secret compartment
50' rope, black domino mask

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Battletech Scenario: Advance Guard Action

Just in time for Halloween here's... a Battletech scenario?  Whatever.

This scenario is a conversion of one of Charles Grant's Tabletop Teasers (specifically the Advance Guard Action).

An earlier game my wife and I played using a different scenario

Alexandria is a planet devastated by war.  Once one of the jewels of the Star League, its position on the border between the Lyran Commonwealth and Draconis Combine has meant it is subject to constant raiding.  In November of 3029, these raids came to a head when the Draconis Combine deployed elements of the 2nd Legion of Vega to capture some valuable lostech believed to be on the planet.  House Steiner quickly deployed elements of the 15th Arcturan Guards to intercept.

Both sides planned on engaging in ground north of the ruined city where the lostech lay.  Believing the Legion of Vega to be in control of a factory their, the commander of the Arcturan Guards deployed a recon lance to move north and seize a nearby bridge to use in assaulting the factory.  The commander of the Legion of Vega, believing the Guards hold the bridge, similarly sent a light lance to take the factory.  When the two lances arrived they found that neither position was occupied...

Use the Battleforce 2 and Open Terrain 2 maps as shown.  The attacker places 4 buildings within two hexes of Hex 1312 on Open Terrain 2.  These buildings count as being 1 level and indestructible for the purposes of this scenario.

They line up better with my physical maps.

The defender consists of a recon lance of the Arcturan Guards

Lt. Eudora Hale (Piloting 5, Gunnery 4), CN9-A Centurion
WO. Rahman Bugti (Piloting 5, Gunnery 4), ASN-21 Assassin
Mechwarrior Jake Estrada (Piloting 5, Gunnery 4), WLF-1 Wolfhound
Mechwarrior Venkatesha Taska (Piloting 5, Gunnery 4) COM-2D Commando

The defender deploys their forces along the southern edge of the map.

The attacker consists of a pursuit lance of the Legion of Vega.

Talon Sergeant Van Matias (Piloting 5, Gunnery 4), WTH-1 Whitworth
Sergeant Harumi Higashida (Piloting 5, Gunnery 4), HER-2S Hermes II
Mechwarrior Francisca Akajima (Piloting 5, Gunnery 4), SDR-5V Spider
Mechwarrior Hilda Larsen (Piloting 5, Gunnery 4), FS9-H Firestarter

The attacker deploys their forces along the northern edge of the map.

The defender's goal is to secure the bridge as planned with a secondary goal of securing the factory.  The attacker's goals are the inverse.  To secure an area, the player must have a mech within two hexes of its central square and their opponent must not have a mech in the same vicinity.  The scenario ends after 10 turns.

Both sides each hold their respective objectives at the end of 10 turns OR neither side holds its objective at the end of 10 turns.  Note: the second condition includes holding the enemies objective but not your own. 

Minor Victory
One side holds their respective objective while the other side's is contested.

Major Victory
One side holds both objectives.

At the beginning of turn 5 there is a chance that reinforcements will arrive for either or both sides.  When that turn begins, both players should roll 1d6 and consult the chart below.

2 medium mechs (no more than 100 tons total)
1 assault and one heavy mech (no more than 165 tons total)
1 assault mech
1 heavy mech
No reinforcements this turn.  Roll again next turn.
Reinforcements are pinned down and will not arrive.

If reinforcements arrive, deploy them along the player's home edge.