5E- Barbarian Path – Path of the Demon Hunter

Path of the Demon Hunter

While most barbarians are from uncivilized tribes, some subjects can inspire even the most civilized of people to the same levels of rage. Demons and the Dearth are one of these. So beyond those Barbarians who hail from waste and wilderness and fight against the Dearth there are also such groups as the ancient, disciplined and almost extinct Order of Dion from Atlan to the fiercely passionate Sla’tersha E’lin of the High Elves.

 

Corruption’s Scent

Starting at 3rd level, Demon Hunter’s are able to Detect Demons as a Reaction.

Hunter’s Heart

Upon choosing this Path at 3rd Level, the Demon Hunter has Advantage on all saves vs Fear and Mind-Control vs. effects from Demons while Raging.

Indomitable Spirit

At 6th Level the Demon Hunter has Resistance to Necrotic and Psychic Damage.

Radiant Hatred

When Demon Hunter reaches 10th level they burn with such hatred of Demons and their ilk that when those creatures strike them with a melee attack they take 2d8 Radiant Damage from the blazing aura that has suffused them.

Eye for Vengeance

At 14th level, a Demon Hunter does a Critical on 19 or 20 against Demons.

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5E – Ranger Archtype – The Ranger Knight

Ranger Knight

The epitome of the wandering “knight errant” of the wilderness, the Ranger Knight is actually quite comfortable with civilization and will move from rural, to urban, and then to wilderness with nary a concern save for the most effective way they can protect their charges and combat their enemies. Their presence, both open and hidden, has proven the deciding factor in the survival of many a settlement in the face of invading goblin hordes and rampaging troll warbands.

Stalwart Foe

At 3rd level, the Ranger Knight is able to add their Proficiency Modifier to the damage from successful weapon attacks against Favored Enemies.

Staunch Defender

When reaching 7th level, the Ranger Knight gains Advantage all Attacks and Saving Throws when defending the weak and the helpless from immediate danger or threat. This includes the defense of fortifications where innocents are not in the direct line of fire but does not include situations where the Ranger Knight has sought out their opponent. This would also include a rearguard defense while wounded of a group flee the site of battle.

Inspiring Presence

For Ranger Knights of 11th level and greater, their mere presence grants companions and allies Advantage on Saving Throws against Fear and similar effects. They also have Advantage on attempts to rally troops or other related activities.

Implacable Enemy

Finally, at 15th level, when fighting a Favored Enemy, a Ranger Knight will make a Critical Attack on a 19 or 20.

—-

This is an attempt to create a “Ranger that feels like a Ranger” because I’m not a huge fan of either Beastmaster Rangers as the default or that thing they call a “Hunter” in the Player’s Handbook. So with this I think we get a bit closer to my idea of a Ranger, a bit more Aragorn, a hint more of 1e rather than 2e or later. I expect that I should come up with an “”official list” of potential Favored Enemies for my game world as well, given the changes in commonality of some creatures.

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Well, crap…

Things are a bit disorganized at the moment because I suffered a catastrophic hard-drive crash… Next (and final) step is to see how much a professional data recovery service will cost. Yeah, it’s a business expense, but I don’t actually make that much money compared to the mountain of student debt, plus things like the mortgage, etc.

And yes, I know, I know I should have been backing things up better – that is also a story in and off itself. Several stories actually, most of which involve HIPPA requirements. That’s actually not nearly so hard to deal with these days…

But, the insult to the injury here is that I’ve been making a concerted effort to get rid of paper – as in get rid of all the extra printouts of things that generally just occupy space. So, many of the things that I used to have an extra hardcopy of?

Eaten by the shredder and gone, or otherwise simply tossed out.

C’est la vie!

If things can’t be recovered then I’ll be forced to reconstruct things. Some of this is a huge pain in the ass – and some things simply won’t be. I can’t remember everything, let alone what I might or might not have tucked in away on my hard drive. Some of what I end up reconstructing I may have to simply decide what format in – some were Publisher files, many were in Word, some in Excel. I’m certain that not all of them were organized as well as they could have been.

So, while I’m hopeful for recovery, I’m also looking at this as an opportunity – no matter that it will come with a fair amount of work.

D.

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Dwarven Bardic Spell List

So, I’ve been in the midst of trying to figure how a Ilda, the Dwarven Bard, successfully made a “God-call” to get her out of a seriously nasty jam. In the process I was taking a serious look at the Bardic spell list in the Player’s Handbook as was struck at how odd some of the spells were for dwarves in my game world. The nice thing about 5E is that there is a unified set of levels for spells – spellcasters get nine, lesser spellcasters get five, and the quasi-casters (archtypes) get four. Also unlike 1E, spells don’t change level depending upon what class they are.

So, looking at the list, and thinking about Dwarves, here is their modified spell list:

  • Cantrips
    • Remove Dancing Lights, Minor Illusion
    • Add Produce Flame, Magic Stone
  • First Level
    • Remove Longstrider, Silent Image, Unseen Servant
    • Add Absorb Elements, Bless, Earth Tremor
  • Second Level
    • Remove Phantasmal Force
    • Add Arcane Lock
  • Third Level
    • Remove Leomund’s Tiny Hut, Major Image
    • Add Glyph of Warding, Meld Into Stone
  • Fourth Level
    • Remove Dimension Door, Hallucinatory Terrain, Polymorph
    • Add Conjure Minor Elementals, Stone Shape, Stoneskin
  • Fifth Level
    • Remove Dominate Person, Teleportation Circle
    • Add Passwall, Wall of Stone
  • Sixth Level
    • Remove Programmed Illusion
    • Add Move Earth
  • Seventh Level
    • Remove Etherealness, Mirage Arcane, Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion, Project Image, Teleport
    • Add Antimagic Field, Antipathy/Sympathy, Reverse Gravity, Sequester, Symbol
  • Eighth Level
    • Remove Dominate Monster
    • Add Earthquake
  • Ninth Level
    • Remove True Polymorph
    • Add Imprisonment

So, as you can see, less illusion and transport spells, more spells with a rune or earth focus. I also pulled out the Dominate spells because they didn’t fit either.

TTFN!

D.

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The Kingmaker and Queen’s Brooch

So, just to throw some content out there – here are my conversions for the Legacy Magic items from Barrow of a Forgotten King and The Sinister Spire. It is interesting because of the lack of Feat progression in 5E, so I basically dumped that entire mechanic. I was also not much of a fan of the special ritual “unlocking” mechanic because I think it creates more work for the DM rather than opportunities for the player.

Yeah, there are at least a couple more coming along here once the players aquire them, and I’ll be sure to post those stats as well.

Merthúvial – The Kingmaker

A masterwork longsword made of shining adamant, with the runes of Aleph in spelling out Merthivial (or “Kingmaker”) along the blade. It has a plain hilt set with a single large pearl in the pommel.

Requirements:

  • Good or Neutral Alignment
  • Persuasion Skill
  • Proficiency in Longsword

Properties:

  • +2 Adamant Longsword
  • Considered Enchanted
  • Has Advantage against all non-Adamant Armor
  • Does double damage dice (2d8+1, or Versatile for 2d10+1)
  • Has the Finesse Quality (weighs half normal)
  • When drawn and held, it glows with white light equal to a torch in strength. In combat this light becomes distinctly reddish in hue, though the brightness and intensity stay the same.

Level Bonuses:

  • 5th: Detect Thoughts – 1/Day
  • 7th: Strength of Kings – (+2 Strength while worn)
  • 8th: Loyal Servitor – (Continual Unseen Servant)
  • 10th: Merciful Redress – 3/Day – “Your Strength Shall Return” (Lesser Restoration)
  • 11th: +3 Bonus, Plus Keen (Doubles Chance of Critical)
  • 13th: Lordly Orator – Advantage on Charisma Skill Checks while Targets have Disadvantage to Resist
  • 14th: Expel From The Realm – 1/Day – “Begone!” (Banishment)
  • 16th: Loyal Minions – 1/Day – “To Me!” – (Monster Summoning V)
  • 17th: +4 Bonus, Adds Shocking (+1d10 Electrical Damage, doubled on Critical)
  • 20th: Kings Command – 1/Day – “Hear and Obey!” (Dominate Monster)

Spell Save DC’s are equal to 8 + Proficiency Bonus + Charisma Modifier + Weapon Bonus


Banrhialorg – The Queen’s Brooch

A Masterwork Brooch of unblemished gold, it features a draconic head with sapphire eyes and ruby tongue. Close examination reveals that faint lines and joins in the brooch and it’s chain form a sequence of arcane runes.

Requirements:

  • Arcane spellcaster
  • Arcana skill
  • Female

Properties:

  • When an arcane spellcaster uses the brooch, the sapphire eyes flash with lightning and the ruby tongue burns with fire, shedding light like a candle. The wielder can suppress this effect with a reaction, but must do so each time the brooch is used.
  • The wielder may also double the duration of up to three spells each day as a Reaction.

Level Bonuses

  • 5th Level: Arcane Cipher – Can use Detect Magic, Read Magic, and Arcane Mark as a normal Action.
  • 6th Level: Arcane Alacrity – The wearer can memorize and prepare spells in a third of the normal amount of time.
  • 10th Level: Arcane Resistance – The wearer has Advantage on saves vs. Spells.
  • 13th Level: Arcane Persistence – The wielder can double the duration on up to an additional three spells that they cast as a Reaction daily.
  • 14th Level: Arcane Repulsion – The wielder has Resistance to magical damage.
  • 16th Level: Arcane Reserve – The wielder can store up to three levels of spells in the brooch.
  • 17th Level: Arcane Acumen – Grants a +6 to Spell Save DC and Spell Attack Modifiers. In the event that the wielder has multiple arcane classes they must pick one class that the bonus applies to.
  • 20th Level: Arcane Empowerment – The wielder can increase the power of up to three spells that they cast per day. This increases the range, damage, area-of-effect, and duration by 50%.
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Take care, drive safe, and enjoy time with those close to you!

TTFN!

D.

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The Song of Samael

Of course, the other joy (and Lovecraftian tradition) of Call of Cthulhu is making up your own eldritch tomes full of mind-shattering cosmic horror. The following is what I came up with as an alternative to the Necronomicon for a multivalent “ultimate tome of horror” – I generally prefer a game that is more focused on the Elder Gods rather than the Great Old Ones, and even when I focus on the GOO’s I shy away from Cthulhu because he tends to be done to death.  In any case, as with the Oer Linda Book, part of the fun with doing this sort of thing is detailing out the various versions of the book through the ages. With a Necronomicon-like book this is (as you see below) much more than the simple editions (which is essentially what the Oer Linda Book was written up as). This is a collection of closely related tomes which all deal with the same eldritch mystery across both time and cultures. I actually have notes on three or four more related texts (including at least two more modern ones, this was originally written for a Classic Era campaign) that I haven’t detailed yet, those will form a new post in the future.

 

The Song of Samael

Song of Samael is a complex allegory poem that is considered one of the great lost Gnostic source materials. It discusses the great song of creation and destruction that the Demiurge, the great blind God, sings as surrounded by his servants at the center of Creation – in the chaos that comes without awareness or wisdom. Portions deal with the place of humanity in creation, the nature of the four-fold world, and the multiple emanations of the Demiuge that both plague and inspire humanity, through the Fall of Man as well as the hope of his Apotheosis. Some scholars have recently questioned a possible connection between the Song of Samael and the Massa di Requiem per Shuggay though no definitive proof has ever been unearthed. Similar relationships have been posited with the Dhol Chants.

Singing Across the Centuries: A Historical Analysis of the Song of Samael.

Produced shortly before the Great War in 1911, this text was derived from the doctoral thesis of Dr. Samuel J. Wight, who is currently associated with the newly created Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Obscure in nature, it is generally only found on the shelves of university libraries, though a few have found their way into private hands.

  • (English: Sanity: -1/-1d3, Unnatural: +3, Occult, Anthropology, & History Checks, 3 Weeks)
  • No Spells

Joachim Feery’s Notes on the Canticum Yaldabaoth:

One of Mr. Feery’s last pamphlets, this was published in English in 1903. Similar to his Notes on the Necronomnicon, this consists primarily of translated portions of the Latin text with a series of annotations and footnotes.

  • (English: Sanity: -1d3/-1d6, Unnatural: +4, Occult: +2, 6 Weeks)
  • No Spells

The Song of the Creator

Translated in 1900 from the Greek Āisma Dēmiourgos by Dr. W. J. Spencer-Knowles, it was the culmination of a twenty project on his part at the end of his career. Considered a brilliant and accurate translation, though often disturbing due to bleak projections on the nature of the universe, a freak fire destroyed most of the copies at the printers and there has been little demand for another printing run. Thirteen copies are thought to have survived, which are found in university libraries for the most part.

  • (English: Sanity: -1d6/-2d6, Unnatural: +5, Occult: +2, 12 Weeks)
  • Spells: Call/Dismiss Daoloth, Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Vorvados, Summon/Bind Dimensional Shambler, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling

The Song of Bind God Sammael – Hear the Roar of the Lion-Faced Serpent

Privately published in London in 1898, the author remains unknown. The run of one-hundred and one volumes bound in black leather and printed in a curious silver ink is difficult to read and a comparison of the different volumes shows subtle differences. It is unknown if this is purposeful or if it is a printing error. Given the generally high quality of the printing it is thought that there is some meaning to the differences though no-one has ever managed to gather to enough of different volumes together to manage viable a textual analysis. This translation seems to derive from a combination of the Greek and Latin texts, and there is little else in the text other than a somewhat terse introduction and some fragmentary footnotes.

  • (English: Sanity: -1d3/-1d6, Unnatural: +8, Occult: +5, 12 Weeks)
  • Spells: Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Nyarlathotep, Contact Vorvados, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling, Elder Sign, Voorish Sign

Ballade du Dieu Aveugle

Transcribed in 1354 by the Comte de Montange, the “Ballad of the Blind God” during the terrible times of the Black Death after listening to cries of the dying in the rural regions around Langeudoc. This octavo was barely published before being denounced by the church, with all copies banned and then many burned. A significant number survived however in the hands of the Inquisition as they searched out similar sources of heresy, and a similar number remained in private hands as well.

  • (French: Sanity: -1d4/-2d4, Unnatural: +3, Occult: +3, 20 Weeks)
  • Spells: Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Nyarlathotep, Summon/Bind Servitor of the Outer Gods, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling

Testament des Zeichens der Löwe-Gesicht Schlange

This 917 version is a handmade copy of a now lost version that dated from the time of Charlemagne. The “Testament of the Sign of the Lion-Face Serpent” was ordered by the Holy Roman Emperor himself. It records the tale of the destruction of a pagan cult of blind singers by the warriors of Charlemagne and the interrogation of the few survivors. Replete with details of human sacrifice, sexual perversity, and bestiality it has always had an unsavory reputation. Only three copies are known to exist, one in private hands and one each in library of the University of Munich and Heidelberg. Rumors persist that the original is contained within the Z Collection of the Vatican Library.

  • (Old High German: Sanity: -1d4/-2d4 Unnatural: +6, Occult +6, 30 Weeks)
  • Spells: Call/Dismiss Nyarlathotep, Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Nyarlathotep, Contact Tzulscha, Contact Yog-Sothoth, Summon/Bind Dimensional Shambler, Summon/Bind Servitor of the Outer Gods, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling

Canticum Yaldabaoth

This version, the “Song of the Son of Chaos” dates to the Crisis of the Third century, and was recorded by members of Imperial Cult who saw the changes and chaos of Imperial Rome and its court as endemic of the Emperors. It’s authorship is attributed to Vibius Lartius Priscus, a black magician and sorcerer of that time period. The earliest known manuscript has been dated to the reign of Philip the Arab (244-249 C.E.), and is usually dated to 248. Speculation remains rampant among scholars as to the possible association of the Philip the Arab in the establishment of the Yaldabaoth Cult. Secret and hidden, some scholars suggest that it is a resurgence or survivor of the Imperial Cults associated with Caligula and Nero while others insist that Philip brought it to Rome from Persia. The British Museum and the Huntington Library in California are known to have copies, as does the Z Collection of the Vatican. At least two copies are known to be held in private collections. There was an excellent copy at the University of Prague prior to the Great War but it disappeared during the conflict.

  • (Latin: Sanity: -1d6/-2d6, Unnatural: +9, Occult: +4, 36 Weeks)
  • Spells: Call/Dismiss Daoloth, Call/Dismiss Nyarlathotep, Call/, Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Nyarlathotep, Contact Tzulscha, Contact Yog-Sothoth, Summon/Bind Dimensional Shambler, Summon/Bind Servitor of the Outer Gods, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling

Āisma Dēmiourgos

Fragments of this version, which translates as the “Song of the Demiurge” date to the chaos of the Persian invasions around 500 B.C.E. Contemporary accounts speak of the hymns of damned priests from Persia in the vanguard of some of the Persian armies, as well as their unholy rites and orgiastic frenzies that they indulged in. Written and recorded by scholar Argyros the Delian with a series of commentaries on the Greco-Persian Wars, this work is a gigantic and complex text that includes a significant alternate history of the Delian League and elements of the Persian Court. Hints at terrible alliances within the Greeks and foul bloodlines among the Persians run concurrent with the Argyros’ rendition of the Song of the Demiurge. Copes of this are exceedingly rare, the only complete one known being held at the British Museum.

  • (Ancient Greek: Sanity: -1d6/-2d6, Unnatural: +10, Occult: +5, 52 Weeks, History Check)
  • Spells: Call/Dismiss Daoloth, Call/Dismiss Nyarlathotep, Call Vorvados, Call/Dismiss Yog-Sothoth, Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Nyarlathotep, Contact Tzulscha, Contact Vorvados, Contact Yog-Sothoth, Summon/Bind Dimensional Shambler, Summon/Bind Servitor of the Outer Gods, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling, Elder Sign, Eye of Light and Darkness, Vach-Viraj Incantation, Voorish Sign

Shir Ha-Samael

The original and lost version of the Song of Samael, there are several scholars who are positive that this version is forever lost though fragments have been found that confirm its existence. There are obscure references to this song throughout many obscure texts and it scholars believe that the original Shir Ha Samael dates to roughly 1000 B.C.E. Abd al-Azrad mentions in the Kitab Al-Azif to listening to a choir of 666 blind monks and nuns who sang “hymns to the daemon sultan” accompanied by unseen flautists who piped with maddening monotony in the nights of the Empty Quarter. Knowledgeable occultists agree that this is a reference to the dreaded Song of Samael.

  • (Ancient Aramaic: Sanity: -1d8/-2d8, Unnatural: +13, Occult: +6, 64 Weeks)
  • Spells: Call/Dismiss Azathoth, Call/Dismiss Daoloth, Call/Dismiss Nyarlathotep, Call/Dismiss Tulzscha, Call/Dismiss Yog-Sothoth, Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Nyarlathotep, Contact Tzulscha, Contact Yog-Sothoth, Summon/Bind Dimensional Shambler, Summon/Bind Servitor of the Outer Gods, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling
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Ship Computers, Generate Programs, and Jump Cassettes

So, I had a thought because there has been an ongoing discussion on the COTI Forum (“Citizens of the Imperium” – the official Traveller forum) regarding a bit of Classic Traveller electronics, the Jump Cassette. It part of the ongoing discussion regarding ProtoTraveller and RAW Traveller, all of which is has been informing my own internal thoughts regarding what I want my Traveller universe to look like next time around.

Building off of the other discussion, it is worth noting that “engine-wise” you could build a ship that does Jump-6 the moment you discover Jump Drive. The limit comes in to two ways – you can build ships of a limited size, and you can only build a computer of limited power.

  1. So as ship size increases, it gets “slower” with the same size drive. Rather than “slower” it is “limited to the jumpspace it can penetrate” – and the jumpspace determines how far the ship travels in the week spent there. So, an A-Drive can move a 100dton ship Jump-2, and a 200dton ship Jump-1, while a D-Drive can move a 100dton ship Jump-6 and an 800dton ship Jump-1 – at the other end of the scale, a few hundred years of development later, is the Z-Drive which can move an 800dton ship Jump-6 and a 5000dton ship Jump-2. With the “extrapolation” I talked about earlier, I moved that size up to 10,000dtons for Jump-1 with a z-Drive.
  2. At the same time as Jump Drive is invented, computers reach small size and enough power that you can fit into a ship that can use (and potentially calculate) Jump Coordinates. The limit here is that the best that they can do is Jump-2. So while you can build a 800dton hull, the biggest ship you can build that can do is 400dtons – all despite the fact that if you were able to buy and install a more powerful computer later, you could install that D-Drive on a 100dton ship and get deep enough to travel Jump-6.

Now, “computers” are one of those parts of Traveller that have been horribly and justifiably ridiculed over the years. Their sizes and capabilities are, well, based on 1970’s mainframes – the cutting edge of technology when the game was first written. Over time, “ship computer” has been retconned into including sensors and a certain amount of C3 (Command, Control, Communications) but it can still be hard to swallow some of the numbers used. They also date from the time when, yes, oh younger readers, people used cassettes to record and save data, and when computers often weren’t able to do very many things at a one time…

So a ship’s computer could be equipped with a “Generate” program, which is what allowed a Navigator (or Astrogator is you prefer) uses to calculate and “generate” the plot of the Jump route. However, especially with those “early computers” that might be the only thing the computer was able to run, no Gunnery, no Maneuver, heck maybe not even Jump itself.

Plus, the players might not even be able to afford the Generate program to start off with! The computers and programs were talking about are “enterprise-level” technology, not a laptop hooking up to a network (more like mainframes). So, what they were able to do was a buy a one-shot “Jump Cassette” that gave them one-way plotted coordinates to a single system. I haven’t checked, but I think these somewhat disappeared in MegaTraveller and Traveller: The New Era, and Mongoose Traveller, but in T5 they were back – with the ability to use them multiple times (just making the Jump more difficult each time until on the 6th use it was an automatic misjump).

I like this because it dovetails with the idea of the “Jump Rutter” – perhaps there is some way to model very, very slow calculations that don’t use the Generate program but instead involve laborious calculations with the normal computational power of the ship’s computer but sans the specific algorithms and database that the Generate program contains. It also suggests the existence of a psychic talent that allows instantaneous Jump Calculations ala the Pilgrims from Wing Commander.

Given the default anti-psionic attitudes inherent in the RAW, this creates a couple of interesting potential plot points immediately…

So, using a Generate program, creating a Jump Plot normally takes 10-60 minutes, we could simply say that going by hand, using a Jump Rutter, takes two time increments of time slower, or that it takes 6-24 hours (hmmm… I that table might mean 6-36 hours instead….) instead and is a Formidable task (an additional -6 to the roll). So, you can pay for a Jump Cassette, or pray that the Astrogator is as good as he promised when you hired him…

TTFN!

D.

 

 

 

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Jumping, Jump Masking, and Jump Shadowing

So, as I delve into ProtoTraveller I am confronted by the issue of Jumping – and will ignore (for the moment) Mongoose Traveller’s introduction of Warp Travel and Hyperspace.

Jumping is the Traveller term for Interstellar travel. Ships use Jumpspace to travel faster-than-light, with certain strictures.

  1. All Jumps last roughly one week in length (with variance measured in hours, rather than days). Anything else is a sign of a Misjump.
    • Okay, one quick diversion to Warp Travel and Hyperdrive from Mongoose Traveller. These both, as per the MgT RAW, speed up travel to be measured in days rather than weeks.
  2. Jumps are limited in distance, with the distance being determined by the tech level of the ship.
    • The original game and all editions up to T5 limited travel to Jump-6, this meant that in one week, the ship will travel six parsecs. Jump-1, the ships travels one parsec in one week. This was probably ignored in house rules as much as it was rigorously enforced – gamers being gamers.
    • In T5 (the much maligned Traveller 5th Edition, though not nearly as maligned as Traveller: The New Era) Jump goes up to 9, and Hop and Skip are introduced which scale up by factors of 10x and 100x respectively. These both, as well as the post-6 Jump numbers, occur only at much higher technological levels.
    • Misjumps can be up to Jump-36 in distance (or even longer with Referee fiat), rolled 1d6x1d6 when it is determined that a Misjump has occurred.
    • This suggested different levels or dimensions of Jumpspace, mostly by making sense of the Small Ship Universe ship construction system as compared to the Big Ship Universe.
  3. Entering or leaving Jumpspace is impacted by gravity wells -often causing Misjumps or a violent exit from Jumpspace.
    • In the game this meant that you had to travel “100 Diameters” from a planets surface before you could safely Jump. Technically you could Jump 10 Diameters out from the surface, but it was more difficult and dangerous.
    • Technically speaking, as people have extrapolated across the years (and editions) this also means that gravity wells of ships and stars. For ships, the distances are generally too miniscule to worry about (but the question is inevitably raised when someone wants to Jump a ship that is in larger ship’s hold, usually because they are captured by pirates). While stars… well that just tends to get ignored – unless you (like me) tend towards the OCD.
      • A professor of mine in grad school said that in order to be successful in grad school you had to at least a touch OCD. The key, as he put it, was to keep in on the Obsessive side instead of the Compulsive.
    • Some argument has existed as to if Jumps needed to start and end in a star system (essentially that ships used the gravity well of a system to “catch themselves” out of Jumpspace). This came from the old Imperium boardgame where this was the case, and is evidently a canon bit of history. But technology evidently allows this to change – with scattered references to deep space refueling stations or other forms of calibration points.
  4. Starships must be at least 100 dtons in size.
    • An issue raised by the now utterly non-canon, but once (and still) questionable existence of “Jump Torps” – something that I love, but that seriously conflict with the canon OTU despite being listed in the old (and much loved) Adventure 4: Leviathan.
    • As an additional note, in standard Traveller Jump Fuel requires 10% of the ships volume per Jump Number – as a one-time expenditure. So Jump-6, that’s 60% of the ship allocated to a one-way trip.

That gets us to Jump Shadowing and Jump Masking, which were only explicitly described in Traveller: The New Era (in their search for gritty realism). Later, in the GURPS: Traveller Far Trader supplement is the first (and only to my recollection) rules for actually incorporating them into play.

Jump Masking is when significant interstellar body intersects the path of a ship in Jumpspace. Jump Shadowing is when the destination point of a Jump-travelling ship lies within a gravity well of an interstellar body.

It doesn’t seem to me to be that hard to do an idiot simple tweak to the Jump rules to handle both Jump Masking and Jump Shadowing – as well as incorporate a old idea into what also feels like a very ProtoTraveller setting.

In Mongoose Traveller, using the Astrogation skill to plot a Jump is normally an Easy (+4) Education check, modified by the Jump distance (so, -1 to -6). It effect this means that unless the attempt is rushed along it is probably always going to succeed. In ProtoTraveller the idea is that travel is somewhat dangerous. Think more like world travel before the advent of flight – maybe not as dangerous as the Middle Ages, but more in the nature of the 18th or 19th century.

So, let’s say that those rules (mostly) apply to well-mapped trade routes (we’ll get to that in a moment). It still doesn’t cover Masking and Shadowing – and here is the simple fix. For Jump Shadowing add a -1 Modifier for every star in the system while for Jump Masking, when plotting the Jump simply add a -1 modifier for every system that the route intersects.

Normally, Jump takes 148+6d6 hours. In the event of Jump Shadowing, if the navigator doesn’t wish to take the Difficulty penalty then instead add +6d6 hours of travel for every modifier for the Jump Shadowing that they wish to avoid. This represents them targeting a point further and further out to avoid the Jump Shadow – though at the expense of longer and longer in-system transit time.

Now we can also say that plotting a Jump to a Backwater system (off the Trade Routes)in the Core Worlds is a Routine Education check the same as Frontier systems on Trade Routes. Backwater systems in the Frontier are a Difficult Education check while truly unknown systems are Very Difficult Education checks to plot a course to.

This also has the effect of channeling travel around “dangerous systems” and towards “safer systems” – essentially “rocks, shoals, and reefs” for the Traveller system. That’s before we add in other potential effects for nebula, black holes, etc. It also means that you can really create “hidden bases” or “protected systems” because certain systems are just a huge pain in the ass to get to.

Now, in the “real world” navigators had “rutters” which were their private (and secret) notes and charts for navigational hazards. Anyone who has read or watched Shogun should be able to recall the discussion around the existence and the secrecy of these things. When we add in these sort of navigational hazards and complications the use and desirability of a “jump rutter” become apparent.

So, we could simply suggest that ship navigators keep and maintain “jump rutters” which they create (and pass on to apprentices, or family members in the case of Free Traders). Through experience in Jumping to various systems navigators can essentially create their Trade Routes, even their own “Core Worlds” with enough time and enough Jumps.

This also explains why (or how) the small Free Traders and Tramp Freighters maintain a viable economic presence. They are the only ones that know the safe routes to the Backwater and Frontier worlds. Similarly, it also explains how pirates manage to exist and remain viable – they haunt the long spaces where ships avoiding Jump Shadow travel, and have found “secret asteroid or nebula bases” where they can hide in safety.

TTFN!

D.

 

 

 

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lost to Shadow – the Shades

Most sages agree that Shades are, or more accurately were, normal people who, through arcane magic or dark science, traded thier souls or spirits for the essence of shadowstuff. Others suggest instead that Shades are cursed by the Unborn or the Witches of the Shadowlands, perhaps even the High Lord himself, while yet others insist that Shades are not what they appear to be at all, and are instead some alien creature masquerading in familiar forms. In any case, the method of turning a creature (any human, humanoid, or demihuman with a spirit or soul) into a Shade has been lost for centuries.

Shades are readily identifiable by the learned and the wise due to their dusky grey skin, and their eyes, which have no white but instead have a dark grey or purple iris and pupil. They tend to prefer clothing of greys and blacks, and rarely wear brightly colored clothing or jewelry. The transformation brings about a gloomy broodiness, for the Shadowlands weighs heavily upon them. The most ancient among them have great power and respect in the Shadowlands, but they are feared as well, and they must all maintain constant vigilance against those that seek to harm or control them. The wise Shade quickly learns to trust no one, especially another Shade.

  • Shade Sight: The character can see in Dim Light as if it were Bright Light.
  • Mask of Shadows: The character can Hide in Dim Light as a Bonus Action.
  • One With Shadows: The character has Advantage when in Dim Light.
  • Unnatural Vitality: The character does not age as normal, and they are Immune to Disease. The character has Resistance to Poison, and they will regrow lost body parts (save their head) in 1d4 weeks if they stay in Dim Light or Darkness for the entire period. If slain the character will dissipates into Shadows and reappear in Great Realm of the Shadowlands where they must stay for a year and day while they regain their strength and vitality. In Dim Light the character automatically Stabilizes upon reaching zero hit points, and doubles the hit points regained from each Hit Die spent.
  • Shadowstrider: At 3rd level, when in Dim Light, the Shade is under the benefit of a Longstrider spell – the effectiveness of which increases by 10′ per maximum spell level.
  • Shadowstep: Gathering existing Shadows around themselves, at 5th level the character may Teleport up to 30′ away to an unoccupied space that they can see as long as it is in Dim Light. This range increases by 10′ per maximum spell level. This ability may be used again after a Long Rest.
  • Gloomcalling: At 7th Level, the character may summon forth a deep gloom, blanketing a 20′ radius of Bright Light in conditions of Dim Light that creates a heavily obscured area. The radius increases by 10′ per maximum spell level. This may be used again after a Long Rest.
  • Shadowpath: At 11th level the character, in conditions of Dim Light, can travel to the Great Realm of the Shadowland. This takes one round and Concentration. This ability may be used again after a Long Rest.
  • Light Sensitivity: Bound as they are to the Shadowlands, the character is at Disadvantage for all activities in conditions of Bright Light. Shades are Vulnerable to Radiant damage, and they may not heal naturally while in Bright Light.
Categories: Campaign Development, House Rules | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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