Thursday, 21 February 2019

BX Table Maker

Have you come across a cool OSR class but it's only defined as "saves as Cleric, attacks as Fighter" and cross-referencing tables sounds like a chore?
Are you working on a class for your blog and HTML table tags getting you down?

Well I've been there, so I wrote this. It's all in javascript, the processing is all done in your browser. So you can save an offline copy of this page, or right-click & inspect the page source first if you have some noscript extension, and so you can hack it to your liking. Maybe you think clerics should get a spell at 1st level, you want to extend level caps, or you prefer different saving throw categories to the traditional ones.

Note that the raw html output doesn't include the table styling. You can find a copy of it here. I'll return to this and add further instructions for fellow CSS noobs when it's not 12:40am.

Yes, I do intend to adapt this for other versions of D&D and/or retroclones thereof, time permitting.

 Level Cap
 XP Progression
 Hit Dice As
 Attacks As
 Saves As
 Spell Progression

 Font
 Colour Palette
 Output Format

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Tieflings in OSR Games

click the button to roll a tiefling.

Settings

Adjust the following if you like.

 Number of common traits (rolled on d20)
 Number of other traits (rolled on d100)
 Allow the same trait to be rolled multiple times?
 How many tieflings to roll?


This is a tiefling class for use in OSR games. The design goals are:

  • Allow customisation but also randomness.
  • Support some of the blastiness of later edition tieflings (yet to be implemented), but also how most people seem to like-em, as charming con-artists
  • Avoid character builds and players thinking about what they get next level. Acquiring a new fiendish power should happen because it fits the events & unfolding story occuring in play, not because the chart says you get a new one at 3rd level.
  • Still be a useful resource for 5e players.. Some of the minor traits have specified game effects beyond appearnce, keep them system-neutral as much as possible. Write the fiendish powers such that they make decent replacements for the Hellish Resistance and Infernal Legacy traits of 5e tieflings.
  • Ignore the Great Wheel cosmology for something more personally interesting, but avoid being so far gone that they're nonsensical within that cosmology.
  • Make all-tiefling parties interesting.

note if you're looking for a tiefling name generator, try these:

4e/5eD&D names

https://www.aidedd.org/dnd-gen/index.php
https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/dnd-tiefling-names.php

Pathfinder names

https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/pathfinder-tiefling-names.php

Tiefling Class

Requirements: None
Prime Requisite: DEX and INT
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: 10
Attack as: Cleric
Save as: Cleric
XP as: Cleric
Allowed Armour: Leather or chain armour, shields
Allowed Weapons: Any
Languages: Alignment language, Common. Circumstance causes many tieflings to be Chaotic, but they have mortal free-will, their path is for them to determine.
Prime Requisites: If your game awards bonus XP for high prime requisites, a tiefling must have at least 13 in one or the other prime requisite in order to get a +5% to experience. They must have a DEX and INT of 13 or higher to get a +10% bonus.

Abilities

Combat: Tieflings may use any weapon, armour up to chain, and shields.

Minor Traits: Your heritage is apparent to those who can read the signs. Roll any reasonable number of times on the Minor Traits table below.

Fiendish Powers: You start with one fiendish power. Roll twice on the Fiendish Powers table below and choose one. It is possible to acquire more of them, ether through your actions in play, or via a roll of 100 on the Minor Traits table, but not through levelling up.

Each time you learn another one, it may be chosen by player and referee based on story appropriateness, or chosen from a random selection of two, as above.

If the campaign offers many opportunities to acquire new fiendish powers, the referee may choose to restrict the total known to no more than your level.

Taint of Demonkind: The more you accept your fiendish heritage, the more you become entangled in the many conflicts of the Outer Planes.

When making a reaction roll for an Outworlder or a mortal animal (who are perceptive of such things), you or the referee roll 2d6 + 1d6 per fiendish power you possess. You then total the worst two dice and apply any reaction modifiers.

A modified result of 2 or less with an Outworlder indicates that both of you feel the instinct for conflict in your very blood and soul. Intelligent Outworlders may be able to control these instincts, but Outworlders of animal intelligence will simply attack.

Note many mortal animals will cower or flee on a modified result of 2 or less, only attacking if cornered.

Thief Skills: Tieflings often have to turn to criminality to survive. You have some training in two thief skills. Roll or choose from the list below:

  1. Climb Sheer Surfaces
  2. Find or Remove Traps
  3. Hear Noise
  4. Hide in Shadows
  5. Move Silently
  6. Pick Locks
  7. Pick Pockets
  8. Read Languages

Note that wearing chain armour or a shield may interfere with some thief skills at the referee’s discretion.

The tiefling starts with some training in those two skills. The referee will explain how the skill system works, may have a different skill list in mind, or may let you define your own freeform skills. For a rules-as-written B/X game, use the “Rolling on d100” variant under Conversion Notes for the Referee, below, and if Hear Noise is one of the chosen skills, convert its odds to d6.

Reaching 9th Level: Your fragment of fiendish power reaches its true potential.

Design a magic seal. A visage of you can be conjured by any petitioner who draws that seal. The real you is unimpeded in any way, but is aware of and can control the visage. Through it, you can speak with petitioners, and grant them any one of your fiendish powers. You do not lose the gifted power, and may revoke it at any time.

You attract a cult that starts with 2d6 mortal worshippers. Even if you choose not to design a special seal, one mysteriously appears in grimoires throughout the mortal plane. It’s too late. You have a cult now.

Your path to becoming a true demon prince, should you choose to walk it, is left to the referee to determine. It will involve great suffering and sacrifice, not necessarily your own.

Minor Traits

Roll a d20 if you want more "traditional" tiefling traits, or a d100 if you want a wider range. Roll as many times as you feel like.

Some entries have have multiple options listed in [brackets] -- roll a d6 or choose.

Some entries are contradictory, others can be reconciled. e.g. perhaps you have striped skin of two different colours?

  1. snake fangs
  2. seven-fingered left hand
  3. tail [barbed, dog, hare, peacock, rat, serpent]
  4. can conjure gold jewellery into existence on your body, or gold coins into your hand. They're real, but disappear if they leave you.
  5. blue skin colour [pale, dark, muted, vivid, iridescent, glossy]
  6. sulfurous breath
  7. wings, small and nonfunctional unless you have the Wings fiendish power [bat, bird, draco lizard, flying fish, locust, luminous geometric forms]
  8. palms reversed
  9. no pupil or sclera, eyes are solid [black, blue, green, red, silver, gold]
  10. purple skin colour [pale, dark, muted, vivid, iridescent, glossy]
  11. forked tongue
  12. asymmetrical [eyes, ears, arms, legs, face, torso]
  13. compound eyes
  14. combined masculine and feminine secondary sex characteristics
  15. freeze ground you walk on
  16. always accompanied by 1d6 flies
  17. a crown of flame appears when you use a fiendish power
  18. red skin colour [pale, dark, muted, vivid, iridescent, glossy]
  19. horns [buffalo, deer, ibex, markhor, ram, rhinoceros beetle]
  20. voice of three people in discordant union
  21. serpentine nose
  22. skin texture [rose thorns, scarified, crystalline, deep furrows, cobbled, rust-pitted]
  23. uncanny face, too symmetrical to be real
  24. pedipalps
  25. rooster-like crest and wattle
  26. tiny centipede legs running down the side of your body
  27. flesh fluoresces, reflecting/emitting twice as much visible light as falls on it.
  28. trilobite cephalon
  29. too many teeth, needle sharp
  30. lobster claws (stronger unarmed attack, weapons unusable unless modified)
  31. skin is dozens of lace/honeycomb layers, onionskinned
  32. greyscale skin
  33. grass and seedlings you walk on wither and die
  34. toadlike mouth -- no teeth, just two bony plates
  35. emaciated
  36. must sleep standing up
  37. claws of a lizard
  38. retractible fingers, emerge wet, glistening from stubby palms
  39. extra pair of arms, stunted and vestigial
  40. fingers twice human length
  41. flames burn twice as bright/as quickly in your presence
  42. thick animate hair, like earthworms
  43. green skin colour [pale, dark, muted, vivid, iridescent, glossy]
  44. parchment, leather and skin will curl away from you if unsecured
  45. loose skin, flakes off like ash
  46. knowledge of one ancient mortal tongue
  47. orange skin colour [pale, dark, muted, vivid, iridescent, glossy]
  48. horns [crescent-shaped, opalescent, forked lightning, polyhedral void, stone, sprouting fungus]
  49. eat food by first vomiting digestive juices onto it
  50. perfect sense of time
  51. heavy thick blood, like quicksilver
  52. no eyes at all, just flaming sockets that somehow see, shed light as a candle
  53. no navel
  54. arms are tentacles
  55. lipless, affects pronunciation
  56. cast shadow towards all light sources (instead of away)
  57. fine clothes you wear remain pristine
  58. purr when content
  59. bloodstained hands, indelible
  60. goat legs
  61. translucent skin, visible skeleton, organs
  62. heart is a noxious weed, growing tendrils out of your chest. requires frequent pruning or it will strangle you in your sleep.
  63. your shed blood spontaneously catches fire
  64. shed your skin once a month like a snake
  65. face of a microbat [leaf-nosed, horseshoe, ghost-faced, pipistrelle, long-eared, tube-nosed]
  66. elongated, orangutan-like arms
  67. unusually tall, 7 ft or higher
  68. chicken legs
  69. hair and clothing self-arranges to be tousled, rumpled, suggestive
  70. hairy palms
  71. pangolin-scale "hair"
  72. ears of an ass
  73. fur [woolen, shaggy, slick, bristled, floofy, thin]
  74. loose rope/thread unravels in your presence
  75. your reflections misbehave
  76. feathered muttonchops
  77. unusually short (cannot wield longbows or two-handed swords, as dwarf or halfling)
  78. resonating casque on your forehead, as loud as a bugle
  79. hyperflexible owl neck
  80. voice of wet gravel
  81. skin always moist, gelatinous
  82. your gaze curdles milk
  83. boar tusks
  84. clinging odour [ash, decay, floral, fresh-turned earth, sex, vinegar]
  85. goat beard, grows back within 10 minutes if shaved
  86. eyes of a [cat, frog, gecko, goat, octopus, slug]
  87. lion mane
  88. voice of rolling thunder
  89. food you handle spoils within a day
  90. yellow skin colour [pale, dark, muted, vivid, iridescent, glossy]
  91. knife-glint facial features
  92. bald, wrinkled vulture head
  93. birthmark, the symbol of a forgotten god. Only functions as a holy symbol if you convert.
  94. antennae instead of a nose
  95. objects you carry are twice as likely to break
  96. other mortals find food tastes amazing in your presence
  97. eye arrangement like to a jumping spider: two large primary eyes, two anterior lateral eyes providing peripheral vision, four posterior eyes (vestigial)
  98. you cannot dream. 1 in 6 chance of parasitically hopping onto nearest mortal's dream each night.
  99. total absence of body hair
  100. Roll an extra fiendish power

Fiendish Powers

  1. Change Shape. You can change into an alternate form, which is either in the shape of an animal or a chimera of two animals. You decide this form when you first gain this power.

    Changing form does not alter your hit points, to-hit, or saving throws. Other statistics, including ability scores, movement, attacks, special senses, and abilities, of the alternate form are left to the referee to determine, and are not necessarily based on any existing monster statistics for the form chosen.

  2. Extra Face. You are only surprised on 1-in-6, and have +2 to saving throws vs traps and similar natural hazards. This face manifests wherever you see fit, e.g. a complete face the back of your head, eyes on the back of your hands and a mouth on your torso, etc. The face can see, smell, breathe, and speak.
  3. Facethief. You can swap faces with a creature of human size and shape by pressing your hands against their cheeks for 10 minutes. This lasts indefinitely. You can choose to apply relevant minor traits to your new face. Once the choice is made it cannot be revoked, and faces transferred from you keep any applied minor traits.
  4. False Radiance. You can cause your body to emit a sickly light, illuminating surroundings to a distance of 30 ft. This ability takes 10 minutes to activate or deactivate.
  5. Familiar. You can beseech the Planes for a familiar. The process takes from 1 to 24 hours (referee's discretion). While it is a spirit from the Planes, it takes the form of an animal of your choice. The animal cannot be one that attacks for more than 1d3 points of damage, or inflict a poison more dangerous or debilitating than a typical bee sting. A non-exhaustive list of suitable animals is provided below. Regardless of form, the familiar has an Armour Class of 7[12], Hit Points equal to 1d6+1, and Saving Throws of a 1st-level Fighter (unified 14, or D12 W13 P14 B15 S16)

    As long as you have line of sight to your familiar, you can project your mind into its body, perceiving what it perceives. This provides no additional control over its behaviour -- it must be within earshot to receive new orders from you. Familiars are more intelligent than ordinary animals. A familiar understands its master's known languages, and can communicate with its master using animal cries that only its master understands. While not subject to reaction or morale rolls, a familiar treated poorly by its master will find ways to exact revenge, petty or otherwise.

    If a familiar dies, you may not conjure another one for a year and a day. If you die and you have line of sight to your familiar, you can permanently project your mind and live on in its body. You retain your Fiendish Powers, but have the Hit Dice and AC of the familiar. Your thief skills and saving throws become that of a 1st-level tiefling. You share control of the body with the familiar’s soul.

    Familiar Forms (d66)

    bat kiwi raccoon dog
    capybara lizard raven
    cat locust seagull
    chicken mantis sloth
    cockroach monkey snail
    dingo moth snake
    duck mouse spider
    fox nudibranch squirrel
    goat octopus toad
    hawk opossum wallaby
    hedgehog pigeon wasp
    ibis rabbit weasel

  6. Flight. You are capable of unpowered flight. If you gain this fiendish power a second time, you are capable of true flight. If you don't already have wings, you can roll d6 on the first entry on the minor traits table, or simply decide you can levitate through some unseen force.
  7. Hermetic Lore. You have a 3-in-6 chance of identifiying any herb, poisonous plant, or precious stone. This knowledge is mystical and innate in nature. Add 1-in-6 to this chance for each additional fiendish power you possess. If this raises the chance to at least 6-in-6, you instead roll 2d6, failing only on a 12. At the referee's discretion, this knowledge may extend to alchemical and ritual uses for such materials, possibly at a penalty.
  8. Hidden Ways. You can slip through the cracks of reality, taking yourself and creatures in physical contact with you to a Transitive Plane. Using this power takes 10 minutes. Creatures are entitled to a saving throw vs spells to resist the effect, but if they fail and are unwilling to follow you, must find their means of returning home.

    This plane maps strangely onto the mortal world, allowing rapid travel. In this space, you can travel at 5 times your normal overland travel rate (note in B/X, this means you can travel miles per day equal to your base movement rate, typically 120').

    Once you reach your destination, you can re-enter the mortal plane, emerging in a location within 6 miles of your destination.

    At the referee's discretion, this may also be used to travel to other planes in the campaign's cosmology, at greater peril.

    The transitive plane contains many Outworlders, which will prompt reaction rolls. The referee should determine the nature of the transitive plane, or roll on the table below:

    d6 Transitive Plane
    1. the Plane of Shadow, through a glass darkly
    2. the Celestial Bureaucracy, a dozen dozen layers of precise inefficiency emanating from the Supreme Being
    3. the Sea of Chaos, unseen and unformed
    4. the Dream World, semantic, incorporative, subconscious, malleable
    5. the Stack, fragile tower underpinning all, micromanaged by daemons
    6. Space, the one place that hasn't been corrupted by capitalism
  9. Psionics. You can telepathically communicate with any creature that meets your gaze, as long as you share a language. Additionally, roll a random 1st-level magic-user spell. You can “cast” that spell once per day with nothing more than a thought. Unlike other powers, this one may be gained again. Each time, roll on the next level of spells. (The referee may also allow you to roll on other spell lists, such as the Cleric list, or the Elementalist list provided in Theorems & Thaumaturgy, or may replace this with a psionics system of their choosing).
  10. Sense Desire. You can perfectly sense if a being is sexually attracted to you. Note this does not tell you if they wish to act on this attraction, merely that the attraction exists.
  11. Sin Sense. You can stare at a mortal for 10 minutes to detect the degree of un-absolved sin. If the mortal fails a saving throw vs spells, you also learn the predominant, general nature of such sins, such as wrath.

    The nature of this power may vary from setting to setting, depending on the relationship between the mortal, the divine, and the afterlife, if any.

  12. Speak With Dead. You can reanimate a creature's remains for up to 10 minutes and compel it to answer three questions. It is an Outworlder and thus makes a modified reaction roll toward you, but is unable to lie and its threats are impotent. You cannot reanimate the same creature twice.

Tiefling Level Progression

To-Hit lists two numbers, the first is THAC0, the second, [bracketed] value is for ascending AC systems.

Saving throws, in order, are a unified saving throw, and the old-school saving throw categories: death/poison, wands, paralysis/petrify, dragon breath, and rods/staffs/spells.

The unified save values are taken from Swords & Wizardry: Whitebox. All other values are taken from B/X: Essentials, including ascending to-hit, calculated as 19 - THAC0. Adjust as necessary for your preferred ruleset.

Tiefling Level Progression
Level XP Hit Dice To Hit* Saving Throws
Unified Death Wands Paralysis Breath Spells
1st 0 1d6 19 [+0] 15 11 12 14 16 15
2nd 1,500 2d6 19 [+0] 14 11 12 14 16 15
3rd 3,000 3d6 19 [+0] 13 11 12 14 16 15
4th 6,000 4d6 19 [+1] 12 11 12 14 16 15
5th 12,000 5d6 17 [+2] 11 9 10 12 14 12
6th 25,000 6d6 17 [+2] 10 9 10 12 14 12
7th 50,000 7d6 17 [+2] 9 9 10 12 14 12
8th 100,000 8d6 17 [+2] 8 9 10 12 14 12
9th 200,000 9d6 14 [+5] 7 6 7 9 11 9
10th 300,000 9d6+2 14 [+5] 6 6 7 9 11 9
*First number is THAC0, for use with descending AC systems, the second [bracketed] number is for use with ascending AC systems.
Hit point modifiers from CON no longer apply.

Conversion Notes for the Referee

Thief skills are one of the most-houseruled subsystems in old-school games -- you probably already have ideas on how to revise how the tiefling’s skills work. Go with what feels right -- make them modifiers or advantage to appropriate ability score rolls, tweak the odds, make them rolled on smaller die types, combine, separate, or define new skills...

If the level-up process would take a thief skill above 100% odds, ask yourself whether this is meaningful, and if it isn't, tell players to reallocate excess odds. That is, do you referee in a style that involves situational modifiers to thief skills? In B/X as-written, the only thief skill that exceeds 100% is Pick Pockets, which specifies a penalty based on the target’s level.

You may also decide to allow players to choose where to allocate increased odds, or weight it in favour of skills that the character has practiced in-game. You might also allow characters to progress in a third skill.

If you want to overhaul all the skills to be d6 or d20, I suggest the following guidelines:

Rolling on d6

1st level: Choose two thief skills. The tiefling starts with a 1-in-6 chance in each. If Hear Noise is chosen, it starts at 2-in-6 instead.

Level-Up: Increase one of the chosen skills by 1. Flip a coin to decide which one.

Rolling on d20

1st level: Choose two thief skills. Roll d6. The tiefling starts with that number of ranks in one skill and 7 - that number in the other skill. If Hear Noise is is chosen, it has +3 ranks.

Level-Up: Flip two coins. Put 1 rank in the first skill for every heads, and 1 rank in the other for every tails.

Rolling on d100

1st level: Choose two thief skills. Roll 2d20. The tiefling starts with that percentage of success in one skill and 41% - that number in the other skill. If Hear Noise is is chosen, it has +17%.

Level-Up: Roll 2d6. Add the total to one skill, and 13 - that total to the other.

If the referee wishes to keep Hear Noise rolls on the traditional d6, divide the percentage by 17 and round up. Keep a note of the percentage for whenever the tiefling levels-up.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Making tRPG class tables more friendly for screen readers

This is a test of some table-related HTML I've been learning. The goal is to be compatible with screen readers. If you use a screen reader, and the following is not intelligible or could be improved, please let me know.

The HTML for ll 7 core B/X D&D classes, CSS, and colour-toggling JS function can all be found on this gitlab file. Please feel free to adapt them for your own projects.

Elf Level Progression
Level XP Hit Dice AC0* Saving Throws Spells
Death Wands Paralysis Breath Spells 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1st 0 1d6 19 12 13 13 15 15 1
2nd 4,000 2d6 19 12 13 13 15 15 2
3rd 8,000 3d6 19 12 13 13 15 15 2 1
4th 16,000 4d6 17 10 11 11 13 12 2 2
5th 32,000 5d6 17 10 11 11 13 12 2 2 1
6th 64,000 6d6 17 10 11 11 13 12 2 2 2
7th 120,000 7d6 14 8 9 9 10 10 3 2 2 1
8th 250,000 8d6 14 8 9 9 10 10 3 3 2 2
9th 400,000 9d6 14 8 9 9 10 10 3 3 3 2 1
10th 600,000 9d6+2 12 6 7 8 8 8 3 3 3 3 2
*AC0: Modified attack roll needed to hit Armour Class 0.
Hit point modifiers from CON no longer apply.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Noisy Map Maker

I made a spreadsheet (it's a Google Sheet) that takes a dungeon map like this one:

gridded dungeon map to be transformed by various rules
Raw map data

...and turns it into an imperfect, noisy dungeon map handout for your players. Naturally there's lots of ways to introduce noise/errors to an image, but I wanted one that was solveable by clever players. That is, it'd still have some use if they couldn't solve the puzzle, but if they could, they'd know the dungeon layout.

(in this case, not the presence of doors or walls dividing adjacent rooms, as the map scale is 10 ft per cell. But you could make a map to a different scale)

How it works is by assigning a random number from one of two lists to a cell, based on whether the corresponding cell for the true map is blank or not. The two lists follow / don't follow a simple mathematical rule. Then a simple conditional formatting rule fills the cell based on whether the number is above a certain threshold. The conditional formatting creates the "noise", while cracking the rule gets you back to the true underlying information.

The easiest version of this puzzle just uses two adjacent sets of integers. You can even let players have control over the conditional formatting if a laptop or tablet is available, letting them home in on the correct threshold:

gridded dungeon map with adjacent-intervals rule applied
Numbers in [0,255] / Numbers in [256,512]

A simple divisibility rule is of middling difficulty.

gridded dungeon map with divisible-by-3 rule applied
Divisible by 3 / Not divisible by 3

Probably the hardest of the three pre-populated options is prime numbers. Though if you used this one, you could be sneaky here and indicate secret doors or similar with a 1, as 1 is neither prime nor composite.

gridded dungeon map with prime-number rule applied
Composite numbers / Prime numbers

You can download and mess around with the sheet, defining your own number lists (and associated rule to crack) and tweaking the conditional formatting threshold to have the right amount of noise. If you use this in a game, let me know how it goes!

Just remember the two lists must have different averages, otherwise the conditional formatting applied to the cells won't tell players much. A list of the first 1,000 even numbers and the first 1,000 odd numbers will look completely random if the conditional formatting rule is "colour cells with value > 1000". The goal is to look sufficiently nonrandom so as to tip off the players there's actual meaning to decipher.

But diegetically, what is this handout anyway?
d6 Reason for the map
1. An ancient alien scannerbot, caked with dust, has done a geophysical survey of the dungeon. Its memory is corrupted, but its hologram display function still works. The map is unlikely to include recent dungeon extensions or geologic shifts.
2. A room has a huge crystal, glowing amber, set in the ceiling. Dust motes hover in the light, apparently trying to tell you something. They respond to your thoughts more than they do drafts of air, their motion growing less random the more you concentrate. In this case the numbers aren't literal, decoding them represents this concentration.
3. Extremely paranoid da Vinci-type gnome was the dungeon mapper for an adventuring party, disguising her findings as apparent gibberish numbers. Her skeleton lies in a trapped secret corridor, her cipher too devious for her party to decipher and come to her aid. Her worldly possessions, including the journal with this map, are for sale at an auction.
4. An imp bound in chains of rock-salt sits impudently in a glowing magic circle. Eager to tempt the party into a dark deal he quickly pens the map in immaculate calligraphy for them. He promises them the trick to reading it, if only they would release him.
5. Each number is actually meaningful. An ethereal telepath-spider unable to sense the physical world made the map to chart what it perceived as the dungeon layout. The map is a hovering blue tapestry, that can only be manipulated by ghosts and force effects. The dungeon is enchanted such that if two creature stand in spots with the same number, they can see through eah other's eyes and telepathically communicate. There is no saving throw to resist this effect, but moving to a different spot breaks the link.
6. A colossal brain-eating catfish lurks in a cavern behind a secret passage. They have seeded the dungeon with clues, in the hopes of luring only the most intelligent, piquant brains to their demesne.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Reincarnated Background (5e)

You died.

The druid brought you back. You are now something else.

The druid won't say why they did it, or what they want in return. They left a token behind. You tried throwing it away, but it always returned the next day.

"You are free to continue your mortal life", they told you. Druids always lie.

Note that choosing this background does not mean you have to roll on a reincarnation table for your former or current race. Two tables are provided below, the standard table, and a spicy table. Consult your GM about which to use if you decide to roll.

Proficiencies and Equipment

As another background (choose or roll), plus one of the following trinkets left to you by the druid.

Trinket

  1. pendant carved from oak, stylised weeping eye
  2. tiny smooth riverstone knife, grip shaped for no human hand
  3. owl skull, glimmer of starlight in its orbits
  4. hybrid flower, dried/pressed between two sheets of giants' fingernail
  5. wax anticandle, grows taller and sheds darkness when burned
  6. fairy-chess piece, imparts intuitive sense of its legal movement to all who touch it

Feature: Agent of The Druid

You understand Druidic, but cannot speak it.

The druid reincarnated you for a reason they chose not to share with you at this time. They exist as a patron who may offer additional favours or call in their debt.

You are also notable within druid circles, apart from the most remote or isolationist ones. Revealing your benefactor's sigil may open certain doors, but it may also attract unwanted attention.

Ideals, Bonds, Flaws

Use another background's tables for these. Your reincarnation has not changed these.

How You Feel About Your Reincarnation

  1. Ill-fitted. Phantom limbs, itching sensations, clumsiness with your new proportions.
  2. Alienation. Accepted neither by your old race or your new one.
  3. Gratitude. The possibility of redressing past regrettable actions.
  4. Freedom. To live a new life unshackled by your old reputation and actions.
  5. Fish out of water. People react to your new identity, affording different privileges, trust, or fear.
  6. Absolutely nothing. The mortal body is false and transitory, the spirit is the true reality. So nothing's really changed, right?
  7. Relief.. You were dragged out of Hell. You probably fear returning.
  8. Grief. You were dragged out of Heaven. You probably hate the druid's guts.
Standard Reincarnation Table
d100 Race
01-04 Dragonborn
05-13 Dwarf, hill
14-21 Dwarf, mountain
22-25 Elf, dark
26-34 Elf, high
35-42 Elf, wood
43-46 Gnome, forest
47-52 Gnome, rock
53-56 Half-elf
57-60 Half-orc
61-68 Halfling, lightfoot
69-76 Halfling, stout
77-96 Human
97-00 Tiefling

For the following, spicier table, roll a d6 twice (i.e. d36) for uniform odds, or d100 for odds closer to a typical fantasy setting.

Note that a GM who prefers a less kitchen-sink setting should curate their own table, or let player rolls on this table determine which intelligent nonhumans exist or are predominant within the setting.

Spicy Reincarnation Table
d36 d100 Race
1-1 00-01 Aasimar
1-2 02-03 Aranea
1-3 04 Azer
1-4 05-06 Crabfolk
1-5 07 Dragon (wyrmling, random colour1)
1-6 08-10 Dragonborn
2-1 11-16 Dwarf
2-2 17-21 Elf
2-3 22-24 Fir Bolg
2-4 25 Flumph
2-5 26 Garuda
2-6 27-31 Gnoll
3-1 32-35 Gnome
3-2 36-43 Goblin
3-3 44 Golem (clay)
3-4 45 Gwyllion
3-5 46-53 Halfling
3-6 54-55 Houri
4-1 56-65 Human
4-2 66-67 Jinn
4-3 68 Kappa
4-4 69 Kitsune
4-5 70-73 Kobold
4-6 74-76 Lizardfolk
5-1 77 Maenad
5-2 78 Mantisman
5-3 79-80 Merfolk
5-4 81 Naiad
5-5 82 Nāga
5-6 83-88 Orc
6-1 89 Sahuagin
6-2 90-91 Selkie
6-3 92-93 Slugfolk
6-4 94 Tanuki
6-5 95-98 Tiefling
6-6 99 Yakfolk
1Roll d10 and read across: black, blue, brass, bronze, copper, gold, green, red, silver, white

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Intangible Resources, a houserule for Knave

This is adapted from Throne of Salt's rules for Backgrounds. It's written for Knave, but is easily applicable for D&D.

A knave might have knowledge or social standing that they accrued before they join the campaign. These rules are intended for open-world, sandbox game with significant time spent in settlements. But in the event your dungeoncrawl one-shot spins off into a longer campaign, you can always go back and generate these resources for whichever knaves survive.

Generating a Knave's Resources

  1. Add together your knave's Int, Wis, and Cha bonuses.

  2. Roll that many d6. For every natural 1, put a point in Authority. For every natural 2, put a point in Renown, and so on.

  3. Further increases or losses will come about as appropriate during gameplay.

Resource Roll Table
Die Result Resource Type
1. Authority - Influence within regions/social spheres where you have political power. May let you requisition resources, get better treatment from officials, etc.
2. Reputation - As Authority, but where you don't have direct political power.
3. Languages - Can you communicate with the goblins without resorting to pantomime? Can you decipher the ancient scroll? Can you understand the metaphor behind the sphinx's literary references?
4. Secrets - Knowing the truth behind the curtain.
5. Lore - Knowing the location of a forgotten temple, the properties of a legendary magic item.
6. Divine Favour - Are you in good stead with the gods? Will they pull your arse out of the fire when your plan goes to shit?

e.g. Susan rolls up a new knave, getting Int +1, Wis +2, Cha +1. She then rolls four d6, and gets 1, 1, 6, 1. She notes an Authority score of 3, and a Divine Favour score of 1.

Susan decides her knave is the bastard daughter of the local lord. She cannot inherit title (hence turning to adventuring) but has almost as much social standing as a trueborn daughter would. She prays regularly but isn't particularly pious.

Using Resources

Some possibilities:

  1. Roll-Under for Success. Roll a d6 when you want to draw on a resource. A roll equal or below your rating is a success.

  2. Burn a Point for Success. You cannot roll, the only way to draw on these resources is to permanently cross off a point.

  3. Burn a Point for Advantage. Permanently cross off a point to gain advantage on an ability score roll. You can retroactively use this on a roll you have failed.

  4. Roll Under or Burn. Roll a d6, as with variant 1. If the roll fails, you may decide to succeed anyway by burning a point, as with variant 2.

The referee should decide on one of the above variants, or mix and match depending on situation and the risks/rewards.

e.g. you might decide that "the cheesemonger is having an affair with the town priest" is a pretty mundane secret, knowable with a d6-roll-under against Secrets. The True Name of a vengeful river spirit is a much more valuable secret that may require burning a point.

Consider:

  • How long is this planned campaign? If it's only a few sessions, then perma-burning points may not be a meaningful resource.
  • Are the players comfortable with the added complexity of remembering that ability score rolls are roll-high on d20 while want a high roll on a d20 while resource rolls are roll-low on d6?
  • How often do you want players to solve problems with resources, compared with equipment or spells? Variant 4 is relatively powerful, and shifts the game to be more about managing social connections.
  • How cool are you with a character who rolls a lot of one Resource effectively having a monopoly on that roll until they die or do something within the game fiction that reduces it? Requiring characters to burn Resource points is more likely to let everyone contribute.
  • Depleting Resources eventually means characters will need to adventure specifically to regain social capital.

Note that adding Resources to the game should never take away the ability of any knave to bribe the town guards, find information in a library, or any other action resolvable with an ability score roll. Ability scores are, after all, king.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Opossum (BX Class)

I remembered Grant Howitt's Trashkin existed partway through writing this. I've tried to make sure content in this is useable in that game, and vice versa.

OPOSSUM

You had a good life. Rustled through some garbage, raised a litter of thirteen hissing young, the humans mostly left you alone. At the ripe old age of two, you were ready to die.

But something happened. Maybe it was that weird-coloured tick you ate. Maybe it was the goo seeping from the walls of your burrow. Whatever cause it, you began to change.

Now with two opposable thumbs and the intellect of the humans you once feared, you set out to plunder the undisturbed trash of long-forgotten tombs.

Hit Die: d6
Save as: Dwarf/Halfling
Attack as: Magic-User
XP progression: Magic-User
(see end of post for the level progression table)

Combat. Opossums are unable to wear any kind of armour, but may use a shield. They may use any weapon appropriate to a creature of their tiny size. As a guideline, they must wield any melee weapon with a 1d6 damage die in two hands, and cannot wield melee weapons with a larger damage die. They can wield all missile weapons except for longbows.

Bin Wizardry. An opossum can cast spells. See the BIN WIZARDRY rules below.

Play Possum. If a monster/NPC attack takes an opossum below half their full HP, this ability triggers automatically. The opossum becomes comatose for 1d6 x 10 minutes, and secretes fluids that make them noxious and unpalatable to eat, except to a carrion-eater. A save vs. paralysis avoids this effect, if desired.

Prehensile Tail. Opossums can carry (but not wield) objects in their tail, or use them to aid climbing. They can climb sheer surfaces as well as a thief of their level.

Reaching 9th Level. When a opossum attains level 9, they can establish a stronghold, usually in a run-down, abandoned manor, keep, or shrine. Other opossums will venture to this promised land, hoard their treasures within, and fortify it against intruders with makeshift traps. 1d6 of these opossums will be other uplifted ones, who will serve graciously as long as the Trashlord strings them along with promises of sharing their hard-won magical secrets.

BIN WIZARDRY

A opossum starts with two random spells from the OPOSSUM SPELL TABLE. They don't learn new spells through level-up. They learn them via mishap results of 6 & 8, or by reverse-engineering another opossum's talismans.

Spells that affect a creature may be resisted with a save vs. spells, or other appropriate saving throw.

Each spell an opossum knows is bound in its own talisman. Roll on the TALISMAN FORM TABLE to determine its appearance. To cast a spell, an opossum needs that talisman on them, and a hand free (or holding the talisman if appropriate), but does not need to speak.

A opossum can cast each spell they know as often as they like until that spell misfires. Each time they cast a spell, roll a d20, trying to get equal-or-below their Intelligence score. A opossum casting a magic-user spell (i.e. one learned via a misfire result of 8) has a penalty to this roll equal to the spell's level.

Failure causes a misfire, meaning:

  • the spell doesn't go off
  • roll on the MISFIRE TABLE below
  • the talisman for casting that spell is broken until the opossum can repair it in a safe haven.

LEARNING NEW SPELLS

Misfire results of 6 and 8 cause a opossum to cast an unknown spell instead. Thereafter, the opossum can construct a talisman for that spell in a safe haven.

TALISMAN FORM (1d12)

  1. gaudy bangle
  2. misshapen medallion
  3. fascinator/tiny hat
  4. wizard hat/top hat
  5. monocle (no lens)
  6. tiny ring of power
  7. special belt buckle
  8. bag of glitter
  9. knobbly stick
  10. cool crystal
  11. lucky bone
  12. crown cut from tin sheet, inlaid with coloured glass beads. Improve NPC reaction results by 1 step when dealing with other opossums

MISFIRE TABLE (2d6)

Note that results of 6 & 8 are the main ways an opossum learns new spells. If you want to use a different misfire table, consider tweaking it to keep a roughly 30% chance of this happening.

2d6 Misfire
2. 1d6 animals within 60 ft are UPLIFTED, much as you were.
3. The touch of your paws ignites flammable objects.
4. Spell affects all creatures within 60 ft, or conjures 10 times as many seagulls, 10 times as much mucus, etc.
5. Your fur turns a random colour of the rainbow (1d8, ROYGBIV order, an 8 means roll twice more). If shorn, grows back as its original colour.
6. Accidentally cast an opossum spell you don't know, determined randomly.
7. Prefix an O to one or more of your character's names. It is not silent.
8. Accidentally cast a true magic-user spell. Determine spell level by rolling 2d6 and using the lower die, then determine a random spell from that spell level's list.
9. A nonmagical item on your person breaks and becomes useless.
10. Magnetically attract all nearby trash and debris, some of it forms surprisingly functional armour. Roll 1d6 to determine your new AC, which lasts for 1 hour (6 turns). e.g. in a descending system with unarmoured AC 9, roll 1d6 + 2. In an ascending system with unarmored AC 10, roll 1d6+10. Make ability score adjustments as normal for your system.
11. Cycle denominations of all coins on your person. Roll a die. If odd, do this in an increasing direction i.e. CP -> SP -> EP -> GP -> PP -> CP. If even, do this in a decreasing direction.
12. Portals to THE PLANE OF TRASH open, dumping 4d6 cubic feet of assorted trash (poisonous if set aflame) plus one of the following (equal chance of each): 1d6 RUSTED LUNKERS who hunger for fresh metal, a wise and docile FATBERG, or the PLASTIC PRINCE, who loves nothing more than a devil's bargain.

OPOSSUM SPELLS (1d12)

  1. BIG EYEBALL. conjure 2-ft-diameter glass eye. Shatters after 1 hour. It cannot move of its own accord, but rolls quite nicely. You see through it until it breaks.

  2. BOUNCY BOI. Used in response to an attack that hits with kinetic force, e.g. a sword, a rolling boulder trap, but not poison darts or dragon breath. Take no damage, instead bounce around like a bouncyball. 2 in 6 chance of landing somewhere inconvenient.

  3. CARCASS TRIVIA. For 1 hour any corpse or remains you touch will stir to life and tell you one thing it knows. They will not stir again, even on a different casting of this spell.

  4. CONJURE SEAGULLS. Swarm of seagulls appears within 60 ft for 10 minutes. Distracting and utterly fearless. Surrounded creatures cannot cast spells. Will mob for food. You have no control over them.

  5. DELIGHTFUL SMELL. Detect presence and direction of any edible material within 60 ft. You cannot tell materials apart, they all smell delicious. This includes most monsters.

  6. EXCAVATE. For 10 minutes, can telekinetically excavate or tunnel through soil or other loose, packable material, at a rate of one 5-foot cube per minute. Excavation lasts 1d6 weeks before collapsing.

  7. MUCUS. Stick two things together, requires 2d6 total points of Str to pull apart, or pounds of force equal to 50 x that number. Can also plug leaks, prevent evaporation, etc.

  8. NEW TEETH. Creature touched grows a new set of teeth over 20 minutes. All old ones fall out over this time; quite painful.

  9. RENDER EDIBLE. Transmute 10 pounds of material into a substance rather like raw potato. Worth 2 days' rations, 4 if cooked.

  10. SCRËM. 60 ft range, creature affected must shout their next sentence. Lasts indefinitely until sentence is uttered. Generally audible to 300 ft. The creature can use this sentence to scrëmolocate, thus mapping all open passageways & terrain features within 120 ft, but not enclosed rooms or secret doors.

  11. SO DUSTY. 10 ft square area within 60 ft is covered with a thick layer of dust. Each breathing creature passing through area has a 2 in 6 chance of a horrible fit of sneezing.

  12. STILTWALK. Touched creature's legs grow by 15 ft. Gives enormous stride, increasing combat movement rate by 15 ft. Creature is ungainly, has disadvantage on rolls requiring nimbleness. Exploration movement rate is thus unaffected.

NOTES ON LEVEL PROGRESSION

The following table is based on B/X values.

To-Hit lists two numbers, the first is THAC0, the second, [bracketed] value is for ascending systems, using the magic-user attack bonuses in Swords & Wizardry.

A unified save, also taken from S&W, is provided. If (and only if) this is used, a opossum receives +4 to saves vs disease and poison (and not the +4 vs magic that the dwarf and halfling receive).

A Google Sheet version of the following table can be found here

Opossum Level Progression
Level Title XP Hit Dice To-Hit Climb Sheer Surfaces Saving Throws
Unified Death Wands Paralysis Breath Spells
1st Waif 0 1d6 19 [+0] 87% 14 8 9 10 13 12
2nd Scrounger 2,500 2d6 19 [+0] 88% 13 8 9 10 13 12
3rd Degenerate 5,000 3d6 19 [+0] 89% 12 8 9 10 13 12
4th Mudlark 10,000 4d6 19 [+0] 90% 11 6 7 8 10 10
5th Guttersnipe 20,000 5d6 19 [+1] 91% 10 6 7 8 10 10
6th Tatterdemalion 40,000 6d6 17 [+1] 92% 9 6 7 8 10 10
7th Trickster 80,000 7d6 17 [+2] 93% 8 4 5 6 7 8
8th Mountebank 150,000 8d6 17 [+2] 94% 7 4 5 6 7 8
9th Trashlord 300,000 9d6 17 [+3] 95% 6 4 5 6 7 8
10th - 450,000 9d6+1 17 [+3] 96% 5 2 3 4 4 6
Hit point modifiers from CON no longer apply