Player Races

So, in picking up 5e again after the short break for Call of Cthulhu, and reading Volo’s Guide to Monsters, I’m struck at how 5e handles character races. I get that there are many problematic pieces to level limits (ala 1e), or even experience point penalties (ala 3.5e), the latter especially given that I’ve moved to story-based advancement rather than tracking XP. But for the life of me I have no reason to vote “for” playing a human in 5e and many more for playing another race – save for strictly flavor-text RP preference, unless the GM mandates some sort of ratio.

Now, I had pretty much banned folk from playing elves in my campaign world (with a couple of very notable exceptions) because I didn’t think anyone could play the mindset very well. I dropped that, at the same time I have a world where I want things to feel very “human -centric” – quite unlike the far more cosmopolitan Forgotten Realms for example. For me this makes the actually cosmopolitan areas stand out more.

But I’ll be damned about how to incentivize people to play humans over other races – and racial bonuses to stats make this even worse. Honestly, I think I’m going to switch statistic modifiers back to something more in-line with my 1e rules, perhaps even penalizing my non-humans more stringently. That was always a thing about playing a non-human yes, you got the stat bonus but there was always an associated penalty…

Now, this is probably at least partly a shared problem with my players. As one example, Ilda the Dwarf Bard might as well be Ilda the Elven Bard or Ilda the Human Bard, there is nothing especially “dwarvish” in the way that KT plays Ilda and while this is certainly something I’ve allowed, it’s also a failure on the part of the player to fully embrace the character’s race. MS always plays humans because he has said that he’s not interested in making things harder for himself, so I think that has stood out in his play of Lord Devin. That wasn’t always the case because I can remember when Ilda took some very strong stands against looting tombs.

When people have played nonhumans before, I’ve been used to them embracing the race and running with it. Sometimes playing a large part in creating that races culture – two of my previous characters did that with gnome. There is a reason why they are Celtic-ish, kilt-wearing, Druidic, hard-drinking folks rather than the version portrayed in other settings.

I also noticed that in the last couple of sessions I’ve dropped almost all of my descriptive detail – and that’s not good for the game. If I’m not setting the mood and the tone well, my players will follow suit and pretty soon were not role-playing, we’re roll-playing and essentially miniatures wargaming using the 5e rules. Not exactly a bad thing, but not what people came to do.

But getting back to character races, taking a page from Character Backgrounds, I think each nonhuman character race needs a real hook that serves as a foil. For my high elves and wood elves it is their lack of understanding of money, KR has done a good job of using that to build flavor into Gwynneth, but I don’t quite have anything like that for the other races. I should probably review each race and build something in on that level as I review statistic bonuses and penalties.

TTFN!

D.

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Volo’s Guide to Monsters (Review)

Ok, so this came in last Friday and I have to say that I’m pretty favorably inclined to it. I’m not even sure that I care about the extra monsters stat blocks, at this point I seem to be more inclined to grab my 1e books and adapt things on the fly, or I’m using modules and doing the same thing. But, the monster lore and character races are really nicely done – even the bits I will never use.

Beholders – don’t have them in my world, so not a thing for me, but still a nicely done section. I don’t have standard giants or an Ordning in my world so this is probably the least useful section for me. Yaun-Ti are the basis for my Ithians, and it was nicely done.

I don’t have Mind Flayers, so this is less useful to me but like beholders I things it’s well done section. My Ichneumon Vorre are essentially my version of Illithids, so over the years I have ganked some bits and pieces for them. The Goblinoid and Orc sections are similarly iffy, but mostly because my goblins are more Harn-esque than Tolkien in many ways, but I plenty of stuff there than I can use.

Kobolds and Hags are kind of interesting. I have kobolds, but as jungle-dwelling or desert-dwelling creatures (two differently adapted relations, the same with lizard men) but I liked the write-up. Hags as an organized group really gives me some food for thought – not sure if I’ll use it, but it’s well done.

The PC races would all need to be tweaked in the same way that I’ve tweaked the “standard races” but I like them. The new Aaismar is much more evocative than the version from the DMG, and the rest have their interesting aspects that are worth looking at.

Worth it as a GM (though perhaps not if you are a player), especially if you playing in a standard 5e setting.

D.

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The State of the Game – November 2016

So, we just started DnD 5e back up again after a couple of month break to play Call of Cthulhu, things were fun, but the players wanted to get back to the Age of Worms campaign and continue along with the story. I feel a little bit bad because last game session after explaining that I wasn’t going to hold back anymore, that I wasn’t going to sweat PC death anymore…

Mind you, it’s pretty hard to kill a PC in 5E as compared to 1E, in any case…

Of course I essentially manage to kill my son’s character. Now, he’s not really dead, he’s a Shade and even being stomped by some wraiths isn’t going to be enough to kill him. But he’s off in the Shadowlands slowing coalescing or rebooting or something over the next hundred years or so, so he’s essentially dead from a “getting to play him” perspective sans any heavy duty magical assistance that is currently out of reach of the characters. So my son is going to bring in another old character and we’ll see how he does with him!

I should be getting Volo’s Guide to Monsters tomorrow, along with Curse of the Crimson Throne for Pathfinder because I think I can adapt it pretty well and it looks like an amazing campaign to at least mine for ideas. Earlier this week I received my copy of Tales of the Caribbean by Golden Goblin Press for Call of Cthulhu and am very impressed by it.

D.

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The Shadowlands (Environmental Effects)

So, when the party travelled to the Shadowlands, they discovered that it has rather grievous effects on non-natives. Being so close to the Realm of the Dead, this creates a drain on those not born to it. The following are the basic rules for how the Shadowlands affects creatures and classes who travel for any length of time there without magical protection.

RACIAL PENALTIES:

  • Humans: Must make a DC15 Charisma Check Weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Khazan: Must make a DC5 Constitution Check monthly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Half-Elves: Half-Elves suffer from much the same penalty as both of their kin, just to a lesser degree. Use of their Faerie Magic requires a DC15 Con check, and they must also make a DC15 Charisma Check weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Dwarves: Dwarves are generally unaffected by the Shadowlands, merely needing to make a DC15 Constitution Check Weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Gnomes: Closely tied to the Mortal Realms and Faerie, Gnomes lose their Speech with the Wild Things and Mask of the Wild feature. Use of their Faerie Magic requires a DC15 Con check. They suffer greatly from the lack of sun (see their Disadvantages) and they must make a DC15 Charisma check Weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Elves: Closely tied to Faerie, Elves are grievously affected when within the Shadowlands. They lose their Faerie Mien unless they make a DC15 Con check to call it forth – and then must maintain Concentration upon it. They must make a DC15 Charisma check Weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.

For periods spent Carousing in the Shadowlands the roll to check for Exhaustion may be reduced to a DC5 Check.

Exhaustion levels may be reversed for each week spent Carousing. Sanity loses may be partially reversed in the Mortal Realms for every month spent Carousing, if started weeks equal to the 1 + the Wisdom modifier of the character in question. If Sanity is lost, no more than half can be regained in this way (rounded down).

HEALING AND REST PENALTIES:

  • Long Rest only restores 1HD (not half), unless accompanied by the excitation of strong physical and emotional passions (or by some forms of intensely focused meditation).
  • Death Saving Throws are at Disadvantage. A Healer’s Kit is and a DC10 Wisdom (Medicine) check is needed to stabilize a creature.

CLASS EFFECTS:

  • Bard: Song of Rest will restore +1HD if played during a Short or a Long Rest. Bardic Inspiration may also be used to restore 1HD per use of the Bardic Inspiration. Recovery of Bardic Inspiration requires a DC15 Charisma check. After a Bard has resided in the Shadowlands for 1 month per level they recover Inspiration as normal.
  • Cleric: Clerics of the Life, Light, and Nature Domains must make a DC15 Wisdom save to use their Channel Divinity feature. They also only regain one (1) use between rests. Clerics of a Death Domain do not suffer from Racial or Healing & Rest Penalties, and have the same benefit as the Druidic Natural Recovery feature.
  • Druid: Due to the alien nature of the Shadowlands, until a Druid has resided there for months equal to their level, they only regain half the number of spells as normal after a Long Rest.
  • Monk: Due to their studious discipline, Monks may recover HD as normal. Monks of the Way of the Shadow have Advantage in Combat, and only need spend 1 Ki to use their Shadow Arts.
  • Paladin: Paladins of the Oath of the Ancient must make a DC15 Wisdom save to use their Channel Divinity feature. They also only regain one (1) use between rests. Until they have resided in the Shadowlands for months equal to their level, they only regain half the number of spells after a Long Rest.
  • Ranger: Rangers have Disadvantage when using their Natural Explorer feature until they have resided in the Shadowlands for one week per level of experience.
  • Warlock: The nature of Pact magic means that there is no mechanical issues for Warlocks in play. Those with the Archfey Patron may find that they must make Charisma tests to use Patron-related features, while those with a Patron among the Great Old Ones are likely to become the targets of the Wild Hunt…
  • Wizard: Those who study the School of Necromancy do not suffer from Racial or Healing & Rest Penalties, and have the same benefit as the Druidic Natural Recovery feature.

DAMAGE MODIFIERS:

  • Cold, Necrotic, Poison, Psychic, and Radiant damage is +1 per die of damage.

EFFECTS ON GEAR:

  • Non-magical equipment and gear from the Mortal Realms suffers from -1 Penalty each week of existence in the Shadowlands. After no more than five weeks (and a potential -5 penalty) it finally reaches a functionally useless state.
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5e – Warlock Pact – The Grey Lady (and Associated Eldritch Invocations)

The Grey Lady

You have made your pact with one of the Grey Ladies, the Keepers of Magic. These beings are wise and mysterious, known for a lack of concern for mortal ethics and morals. They hew fiercely to women, rarely accepting men into Their service, and concern themselves with all things arcane and magical. The Grey Lady could be anyone from Lady Night, the Mother of the Heptarchy, to Lilith, the First Woman, to Hecate, the Goddess of the Crossroads, or any number of other powerful beings with similar interests.

 

Expanded Spell List

The Grey Lady allows you to choose from an expanded spell list when you learn Warlock spells. The following spells are added to the Warlock spell list for you.

  • 1st Level: Magic Missile, Shield
  • 2nd Level: Arcane Lock, Knock
  • 3rd Level: Glyph of Warding, Protection from Energy
  • 4th Level: Confusion, Polymorph
  • 5th Level: Teleportation Circle, Wall of Force

Arcane Sight

At 1st Level the Warlock is granted the ability to see the patterns of arcane force and magic in the world. The effect is that they may use Detect Magic as a Reaction and Identify spell as an Action (which also requires Concentration).

Aura of Power

Upon reaching 6th Level the Warlock can evoke an Aura of Power with a radius of 20 feet as a Standard Action. Glowing runes appear wherever the Aura interesects objects and the Aura acts in all ways as the Magic Circle spell. The feature may not be used again until after a Long Rest.

Arcane Spirit

At 10th Level the Warlock is Immune to Force damage, and is actually healed for half the hit points of damage it would caused.

Spellbind

Upon reaching 14th Level the Warlock may, without Concentration, paralyze a number of humanoids if they fail a Wisdom Saving Throw in a manner otherwise identical to the Hold Person spell. The ability may not be used again until after a Short Rest.

 

Associated Eldritch Invocations

Spellcleaver

(Prerequisite: 5th Level, The Grey Lady Patron)

The Warlock may, as an Action, Reaction, or Bonus Action cast Counterspell. This ability may not be used again until after a Short or Long Rest.

Spellweaver

(Prerequisite: 9th Level, The Grey Lady Patron)

The Warlock may, as a Standard Action, with Concentration, cast a spell not currently known to them, but of a level that they may normally cast. If the spell is not is not a Warlock spell it also damages them for 1d4 Hit Points per level of the spell and causes one level of Exhaustion. This ability may not be used again until after a Long Rest and any levels of Exhaustion have been removed.

Spellturner

(Prerequisite: 15th Level, The Grey Lady Patron)

The Warlock has Advantage on spell attacks that target them directly (not Area of Effect spells). In addition, if a 20+ is rolled for the save and the spell is 7th level or lower, the spell has no effect on the character and instead targets the caster, using the slot level, spell save DC, attack bonus, and spellcasting ability of the caster.

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5e – Prestige Class – Luminous Order

There was about fifteen years where I wasn’t running D&D for my fantasy campaign world, instead I was running my own home-brew rules. Now, much of what came out in that time-frame was dreck and did nothing to convince me that I was missing anything, but there were a number of modules that were interesting and had a lot of potential. When I came back to 1E AD&D before I started running 5E D&D, I ran a handful of modules and one that I was setting up was The Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde. It had something that I had no way to model exactly in AD&D (so I did it as more of an “extra” – that is pretty easy in AD&D), but with 5E they actually released rules for a Prestige Class, so I’ve decided to write-up my version of the “Solar Channeler” because I always thought it was kind of a neat idea and it fits my game world pretty nicely.

The Luminous Order

An ancient and mystical fraternity with roots that are said to predate even the Society of Light, and may be the original form of the current Lightbearers of the Church of the Lords of Light. The Luminous Order consists of individuals who have been chosen by the Angelic Host, to acts as channels for the Light and even to act as a kind of vessel for a member of the Host when needed.

The Luminous Order

  • 1st Level – Channel Divinity (+1/Rest), Healing Touch, Divine Spellcasting
  • 2nd Level – Summon Sword of Light, Greatsword Mastery
  • 3rd Level – Channel the Host
  • 4th Level – Channel Divinity (+2/Rest), Wisdom Score Improvement
  • 5th Level – Greater Channel the Host

Requirements:

  • Be a member of the Society of Light
  • Of Good Alignment
  • Be at least 5th Level in a Divine Spellcasting Class
  • Have both a Wisdom and a Constitution of 16+

Class Features:

  • Hit Dice are 1d8 per level
  • Proficiency in Greatsword

Channel Divinity

The character gains an additional use of their Channel Divinity ability between rests, at the 4th Level of the Luminous Order this become two additional uses.

Healing Touch

The character may use their Channel Divinity ability to touch any living creature and cure them of 4d8+2 Hit Points of damage, as well as freeing them from any curse, disease, poison, blindness, or deafness.

Divine Spellcasting

The character continues to gain spellcasting levels, as a full spellcaster, for the purposes of multi-classing, as long as they are a Divine Spellcaster. Clerics essentially continue their spellcasting levels as normal while Paladins potentially gain a small boost in available spell levels. Mages, Warlocks, Bards and Sorcerers (with the exception of those with the Celestial Patron) cannot gain this benefit, nor could Eldritch Knights or Arcane Tricksters. Only the rare Druids and somewhat more common Rangers that belong to the Society of Light would gain this benefit.

Summon Sword of Light

The character may, with the use of a Channel Divinity ability, summon a magical greatsword that they may wield with Advantage. It does 2d8 Slashing Damage plus 3d8 Radiant damage with each successful strike and counts as a magical weapon, and has the Finesse quality. The greatsword radiates Bright Light in a 30′ radius, and Dim Light for another 30′ beyond that. The greatsword lasts for one round per level of the character or until it is voluntarily released from the characters grasp.

Greatsword Mastery

When using a Greatsword, the character may re-roll any 1’s or 2’s rolled on damage dice, may immediately make another Attack as a Bonus Action upon making either a Critical Strike or reducing a target to zero Hit Points, and may choose to take a -5 to the roll in exchange for a +10 to the damage roll if it hits.

Channel the Host

Perhaps the signature feature of the Luminous Order, the character may use their Channel Divinity ability to act as a temporary vessel for a member of the Angelic Host. This is a choice fraught with some peril because the character loses access to their equipment and normal class features while doing so, buts access to a potent set of abilities otherwise. They gain the following abilities:

  • Aura of Life and Vitality: All non-hostile creatures within 30 feet of the character (including the character) have Resistance to Necrotic energy, and their Hit Point maximum cannot be reduced. Any non-hostile, living creature regains 1 Hit Point when it starts it’s round within the aura, and the character may use their Bonus Action to heal one creature within the aura for 2d6 Hit Points of damage.
  • Luminous Resistance: The character has Advantage on all Saving Throws, as well as Resistance to Radiant damage and damage from all non-magical weapons (Slashing, Piercing, and Bludgeoning). The character is Immune to Charm, Exhaustion, Fright, Disease, and Poison.
  • Greatsword Mastery as the Luminous Order class feature
  • Summon Sword of Light – While similar to the regular class feature for the Luminous Order, when Channeling the Host it has greater potency, and the character may Multiattack for 2 Attacks each round with it. It becomes Versatile, doing the same damage no matter if used one or two-handed.
    • At 3rd Level the Sword is +6 to Strike and Damage, does 2d10 Slashing damage and 4d8 Radiant damage, and does a Critical Strike on a 19-20.
    • At 4th Level the Sword is +8 to Strike and Damage, does 3d10 Slashing damage, 5d8 Radiant damage, and does a Critical Strike on a 18-20
    • At 5th Level the Sword is +10 to Strike and Damage, does 4d10 Slashing damage, and 6d8 Radiant damage, and does a Critical Strike on a 17-20
  • Angelic Form – While channeling, the character takes on a angelic aspect, growing in stature, with the wings, robes, and halo of one of the Host – though still discernable (with effort) as themselves through the Light that suffuses them. They are considered Large for the purposes of Grappling.
    • This lasts for 1 Round per point of Wisdom Modifier
    • At 3rd Level the character has an Armor Class of 17, +4 Temporary Hit Points per Hit Die, a Speed of 30, and may Fly 90′ per round.
    • At 4th Level the character has an Armor Class of 19, +6 Temporary Hit Points per Hit Die, a Speed of 40,  and may Fly 120′ per round.
    • At 5th Level the character has an Armor Class of 21, +8 Temporary Hit Points per Hit Die, a Speed of 50,  and may Fly 150′ per round.
  • This feature may not be used again until after a Long Rest.

Wisdom Score Improvement

This increases the characters Wisdom Score by +2, up to a maximum of 22.

Greater Channel the Host

The duration of the Channeling increases to 1 minute per point of Wisdom modifier.

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A Letter to Frater Nikolai

Nikolai,

I trust this letter finds you well and that you have found what you needed during your time spent in contemplation. I wish that I could say that that I am sorry to be writing you, and in one way I am for I would not bother you unless there was the direst need for both your dedication and your skills. At the same time, I must admit that I happy that you will be actively bringing the Light to the world once again.

A situation in the Kingdom of Llyr has come up that requires your special insights as I am sure the following letter will explain.

You may have heard, even in your isolation of the young Lord Devin Tresendar? Well, the rumors are true, he is Touched by the Lord Sc. Michael and has been blessed with a series of miracles as he brings Light in Darkness. He and his companions have even travelled to the Shadowlands in the pursuit of a series of threads regarding a prophecy of an upcoming Age of Worms – I have arranged to have more details gathered and awaiting for you upon your arrival and this is perhaps the greatest reason for choosing you to attend to this matter.

Fighting against the Vanguard of Sertrous which seeks to bring about this coming Age, Tresendar confronted them and thwarted their plan to summon forth their long-dead commander. If this was not miracle enough he recovered the great sword Merthuvial, the Kingmaker, and confirmed as its rightful wielder.

Returning home, it became become apparent that there is old rot within the lands of his family and Tresendar discovered a cult deeply entrenched in fabric of Diamond Lake, a prominent mining town of the kingdom, and one that was part of his family lands for generations – though mismanagement and misfortune had passed control to the Consortium in his grandfather’s time. Investigating and striking quickly, Tresendar and his companions discovered a long buried fane – one older than anything that you can imagine or even guess.

Our aid was requested by Tresendar to deal with the guardianship of the fane, so I have arranged for a company of troops to be at your disposal, under your good Watch and Judgement. I also think that Lord Tresendar would benefit from some advice and counsel, as well as he has done so far he is surrounded by a curious set of companions – please see the attached letter for details.

But, the Community of the town has not only lost its leader, it has seemingly lost its way as well. The former Lightbringer of the town, one Jierian Wierus, was a fanatic and by all reports unhinged. Perhaps it was the dire influence of the cult or the close proximity of the fane, or perhaps he was simply weak, but in any case he has left the community there in dire straits with his death in the fane. While many in the town are of the Faith, the recent events have shaken them and it is important that they know that the Church has not forgotten them.

Also, given the chaos involved in the discovery of the cult, the entire leadership of the town itself is uncertain. I have dispatched this letter before word has come from the King as to how he is handling the disposal of the town.

I will commit no more to paper on this subject my friend. You must witness it for yourself. Grace in Light, Strength in Darkness.

 

Sancta Loren

The Most Reverend Gregorius Sc. Thiede, by the Lords of Light and Proclamation of the Sarim under the Lord Sc. Metatron, Lord High Archon and Primate of the Rite of the Congregation of Loren.

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Green Box – Storage Unit 13D

Sparked by the recent discussion – and an example of all sorts of things that can get a group into trouble, as well as an example of a “Green Box Gone Bad” – Originally Posted on Dec 14th, 2005 on the DGML. Personally, I tend to like to fill Green Boxes with all sorts of things that the players would love to use – but that will cause all sorts of trouble if they actually do.

Have Fun!

——

Typical in many ways, and highly untypical in another, this Green Box (Unit 13D) is found at Eagle Storage, in Aurora IL (Just off Rt. 88). It’s a 10×30 unit located on the ground level of a three-story, open-air structure. Padlocked, the key is kept in military surplus soapbox cached in the nearby Herrick Lake forest preserve in Naperville (also just off Rt. 88). Standard practice calls for the agents to be given the GPS coordinates of the key cache along with the name and location of the Storage Unit when requested. When done with the Green Box the key is to be cached in a new location (though often in a nearby location) and GPS coordinates to be communicated to A-Cell immediately.

To someone passing by the open door, the contents of the unit are innocuous. A number of boxes, some 55-Gallon drums in the back, a number of bags of various building materials. It looks rather like a building contractors storage unit (with some “personal stuff”). Everything is stacked somewhat neatly on itself, and there are number of empty wooden packing crates waiting to be filled by the investigators.

Contained in the Green Box in open sight are:

  • 3-1/2 50lb bags of Fast-set Quikrete
  • 6-1/4 80lb Bags of Salt (With a surprising amount of salt scattered around the floor of the unit.)
  • A gasoline powered, 16″ Chainsaw (stabiled and ready to start) in its case. There’s no other gas in the unit however. There are blood and bone traces in the teeth of the saw.
  • 8′ Fiberglass Ladder
  • 20′ Aluminum Extension Ladder
  • 2 Sledgehammers
  • 2 Shovels
  • 1 Pickaxe
  • 1 Woodsman Axe (with blood traces)
  • 1 Hatchet (with blood traces)
  • Folding Pruning Saw
  • 1 22″ Pruning Sheer (with blood traces)
  • 4-1/2 20lb bags of Charcoal Briquettes
  • Weber “Smoky Joe” charcoal grill (evidence of burned papers inside)
  • 4 cases of lighter fluid
  • 1 Full Bottle of Jack Daniel’s Black Label with a scrawled note attached – “Buy a new one before you leave.” There are 11 empty bottles scattered about the unit, including one that has been used as an ashtray.
  • A spare tire for a late model Ford Mercury
  • 3 Road flares
  • A Bundle of 30 stakes – examination reveals that they are made of White Ash
  • An unopened carton of Gauloises
  • 1 Prybar
  • A single man Battering Ram – well used.
  • 3 20′ lengths of Grade 80 Chain
  • Half-a-dozen padlocks with keys
  • 1.5 Ton Auto Jack
  • 3 30-lb Propane tanks (filled)
  • 2 5-lb bags of soda lye
  • 1 5-gallon Tub of Roofing tar

In the storage crates (Generally under the empty crates);

  • 2 Model 37 Ithaca Stakeout Shotguns (12-Gauge) – unloaded
  • .50 Desert Eagle Pistol with two clips – unloaded
  • .455 Webley Revolver (Not in great shape but still useable, obvious antique)
  • 4 Daewoo USAS-12 Selective Fire Shotguns – each with 2 clips and 1 drum – unloaded
  • 2 Ingram Mac-10’s, each with an extra clip. (These need to be cleaned before use or there is x4 the normal chance for an accident)
  • Reloading equipment for 12-Gauge Shotgun shells. Unfortunately there’s no powder or primers left. Otherwise enough gear to do about 20 shells or so.
  • 17 12-Gauge Shells – Loaded with Sea Salt, Silver, and Cold Iron.
  • 20 Boxes 12-Gauge Shotgun (lead shot) (25 rounds each box)
  • 10 Boxes of 9mm Ammunition (50 rounds each box)
  • 10 Boxes of .50 Caliber Ammunition (20 rounds each box)
  • 5 Cases of .45 Caliber Ammunition (500 rounds each case)
  • 2 empty clips for a Colt 1911A1 .45
  • 5 lb. bag of Sea Salt
  • A 1-lb Block of Semtex – but no other detonating hardware.
  • An old Latin Bible with a blessed Silver and Ivory Rosary marking the start of Revelations – as an antique worth over $200 – It’s also a Magic Point Storage device with 3 points (out of a possible 10) only usable by a baptized Catholic who is in good standing (e.g. Regular confession, penance, etc). The bible itself has numerous notes in the margins throughout with various sections underlined, crossed out, etc. The various annotations provides the reader with a (3 weeks, +0/+1 Unnatural, +1 Occult, 1d3 San cost – Mythos Rating: 3 – Must Read Latin, French, and German – No spells)
  • An old set of Tibetan Buddhist religious objects. A phurba (ritual knife, three bladed knife), mala (prayer beads) of miniature bone skulls (108 “carved” skulls, close examination suggests that these are actually skulls that have been shrunken somehow; 0/1 San), a kangling (bone trumpet made from a human thigh bone which has been tightly fitted with leather, and the metal encasing has been enhanced by a turquoise), and kapala (A cup made from the top of human skull and lined with silver, and fitted with a ruby in the base of the cup). Antique and worth thousands, these are piled in a bottom crate. No obvious special abilities, save perhaps in the hands of a Tibetan priest or servant of one of the Dharmapalas. As long as they remain unclaimed and remain here in storage they are safe and relatively innocuous, but if a player character takes them without the proper magical “credentials” then they will be plagued by bad dreams and worse luck until they are returned to the proper Tibetan caretakers.
  • A small canvas bank-bag filled with some number of soft and flat things that appear to be scraps of fabric. In the crate next to it is skinning knife/gut hook that has traces of blood on it. Scrawled in marker on the bag is “Don’t Fucking Look!!” (Inside are 39 scraps of human skin, each tattooed with the Yellow Sign – there is evidence that attempts have been made to burn them with no success. They are indestructible, and this fact will net an additional 1/1-2 San loss in addition to seeing any of the various Yellow Signs)
  • 2 6×6 “Bomb Blankets” – Level III-A in Black
  • 3 Class II Tactical Armor Vests (2 Medium, 1 Large) in Black – shot to hell, the large is scored by huge claw marks and blood stains.
  • 1 Class II Concealable Vest with Level IV Rifle Plates (Woman’s Medium) – shot to hell
  • 4 400 Ft. lengths of 2000lb test Nylon climbing rope.
  • 4 sets of rappelling gear, each with harness
  • 1 Roll of 60′ of Nylon Webbing, plus nylon thread and needle
  • 7 MREs, and a case of C-Rations (12) – the canned fruit has been removed from all the C-Rats.
  • 3 Garbage bags, each filled with a mostly shattered human skeleton
  • Collection of 37 dried human ears (all left) on a string necklace
  • Human skull with elongated canines – Red marker on the side says “Van Helsing was here” with a smiley face next to it.
  • 3 sets of cast iron manacles (ankle, wrist, and neck) – these are quite old and somewhat rusty. There are layers upon layers of blood and old skin on the inside of all of them.
  • 40 or so different adult magazines – all from September 2001. These have all been annotated in an unknown code (actually it’s Hyperborean Tsath-Yo) – the notes are all detailing out the suitability of the various models (male and female) as breeding and host material (0/1 San if understood)

Finally there are the 7 55-gallon drums up on pallets in the back. This when things go seriously wrong with a Green Box, perhaps not as bad as possible, but bad enough. The two front drums are empty, and easy to move around. The other five have been crudely sealed with duct tape and roofing tar, and a sheet of plywood laid across their top. Spray-painted across the sheet is “Human Waste Disposal – Don’t Open!!”

No it’s not that kind of waste – it’s the kind that you’ve chopped up (or chainsawed, pruned, etc) and then dumped in a drum with some lye. Is it perfect? No. Is it even a good idea? Probably not.

But somebody did it, actually a couple of different Cells have done it.

The big problem is that one of the bodies wasn’t really dead yet. The first one as a matter of fact – one that wasn’t actually chopped up, just stuck in a drum and forgotten about. Sure the heart had stopped beating, the brain activity was gone, but the spirit hadn’t quite left yet (those damn Mythos sorcerers – life and death aren’t quite the same for them). As each subsequent body has been “interred” here it’s gained strength (1 point of Power per body in case the Agents add a couple themselves – though that takes about 6 months – 5 points in CoC 7E) Since the last mission, the Spirit has been waiting for someone to open one of the drums in which its various remains have been stored. Then it will come roaring out of all five drums in all its gory glory, a mass of dissolved and rotting arms, heads and teeth stinking of lye and bile…

 

Delta Green RPG Statistics:

Unquiet Spirit:

STR:12, CON:12, SIZ:30, INT:10, POW:9, DEX:15

HP:21 WP: 9

Damage Bonus: +2d6, Move:4

Gets 5 Attacks each round:

Strike (50%)- Does 2d6 + 1d6 Acidic damage.

Grapple (80%)- Can attack 1-2 Opponents per round, though it only does 1d6 Acidic Damage.

Envelope (100%)- Only after a successful grapple, it draws the Agent into itself doing 2d6 (Damage Bonus) + 2d6 (Lye and Biting/Grinding).

Spit (70%)- Does 1d6 Caustic Lye damage.

Immune to physical weapons, fire, electricity, and most chemical compounds.

Takes 1d6 damage per pound of salt. Shotgun loads of salt will do 1HP of damage.

In all cases there is a 1% cumulative chance per point of Acidic/Lye damage that the creature struck will lose a point of APP.

Sanity Loss: 1d2/1d10

At 10 Pow the Spirit will be able to start contacting nearby creatures and infecting their dreams, slowly corrupting them into the worship of the Mythos. At a Pow of 20 it will be able to possess creatures.

 

Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Statistics:

Unquiet Spirit:

STR:60, CON:60, SIZ:150, INT:50, POW:45, DEX:75

Hit Points:21

Damage Bonus: +2d6, Move:4

Gets 5 Attacks each round:

Strike (50%)- Does 2d6 + 1d6 Acidic damage.

Grapple (80%)- Can attack 1-2 Opponents per round, though it only does 1d6 Acidic Damage.

Envelope (100%)- Only after a successful grapple, it draws the Agent into itself doing 2d6 (Damage Bonus) + 2d6 (Lye and Biting/Grinding).

Spit (70%)- Does 1d6 Caustic Lye damage.

Immune to physical weapons, fire, electricity, and most chemical compounds.

Takes 1d6 damage per pound of salt. Shotgun loads of salt will do 1HP of damage.

In all cases there is a 1% cumulative chance per point of Acidic/Lye damage that the creature struck will lose a 1d10 points of APP.

Sanity Loss: 1d2/1d10

At 50 Pow the Spirit will be able to start contacting nearby creatures and infecting their dreams, slowly corrupting them into the worship of the Mythos. At a Pow of 20 it will be able to possess creatures.

 

Have fun!

Categories: Scenario/Resource | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Insanity = New Backstory

So, in the new, 7E, rules for Call of Cthulhu, when an Investigator goes insane the Keeper is allowed to add or tweak existing Backstory entries save for their Key/Favored Connection which is “safe.” This is supposed to represent the world slowly spinning out of control for the Investigators and them having to increasingly question the reality that they knew once but have now had shaken considerably.

So last game session we had three characters go insane, two temporarily and one indefinitely (which is not nearly as bad as it used to be but is still pretty crippling). Let’s look at what I did with these three characters.

All of the characters went insane as a result of aftermath of a fight with what Ophelia later determined to be an “Opener of the Ways” after reading Walter Corbitt’s diaries. None were particularly bothered by the Opener itself, but seeing (or experiencing) what happened to Helen was evidently quite traumatic. I wanted to tie this to some off-screen character background/development that I have in mind for all of them if possible, and I think it went pretty well.

For Luigi, as an honorable man, I merely noted that Henry was now an Important Person because he saved Luigi’s life. There is a debt there now of a sort, and it gives Luigi a reason to keep working with the group when the initial mystery is resolved. Watching Helen almost die was a clear reminder of how dangerous things are, and how things could have gone if Henry hadn’t been there – as well as how effective Henry had been while he had been able to do little.

In Henry’s case, there is something much more mysterious. Looking at what happened to Helen (or almost happened), he is now unable to ignore the large Y-shaped scar that dominates and view of his uncovered chest. He is really unable to remember where it comes from, that’s how much he doesn’t like to think about it, but he guesses that it happened in France during the Great War.

For Helen, she would have likely died if she hadn’t spent all of her Luck in order to prevent this (ala the Pulp Cthulhu rules). With horrific wounds in her torso, the viscera and ichor of the Opener of the Ways covered her and mingled with her own blood and viscera. In her Encounters with Strange Entities the following entry was added – “The Opener of the Way, it killed me, but I passed through it, and it through me, and I did not die.”

Waking shortly after surviving she went indefinitely insane to the feeling of fraying from the inside out, and the party was forced to hold her down before she ripped open her out abdomen in order to reach inside her own body to hold herself together.

All in all, three quite well thought through effects on the various character’s backstory. None are crippling, and all lead to further questions or investigations.

TTFN!

D.

Categories: Campaign Development, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Pushing Rolls in 7E

So I was listening to the Chaosium Call of Cthulhu panel from GenCon and they had a really interesting insight into the “pushing rolls” mechanic from 7E.

Mechanically, for non-combat rolls only, players have the option to “push a roll” when they fail the initial attempt. The player has to justify how they either continue the first attempt or get a second try, but the penalty is that if the pushed attempt fails then something bad happens.

The panel pointed out that the “something bad” was a method to “increase the horror” not merely inflict a failure or a fumble.

I really like this as it actually makes it even easier to understand the mechanic, and gives me (the Keeper) an easier tool to make this specific to individual Investigators.

D.

Categories: Game Play | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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