Thursday, 16 January 2020

Class: Barbarian - The Rage Spiral


It's been more than six years since I added the Barbarian class to my game, and in that time we've had a fair few of them!
Unfortunately they've rarely used their iconic Barbarian Rage ability. Something had to be done!
So here's a pair of abilities that synergise nicely, and encourage Barbarians to throw themselves headlong into battle...




Rage Gimmick Overview

Rage
You can go into a Rage at any time. 
You deal increasing amounts of damage as your rage grows, but the angrier you get the harder it is to stop!

Death Trance
When you're at 0 HP you enter a Death Trance.
The more hurt and/or enraged you are, the more attacks you get.

Rage + Death Trance
Together this means that a raging Barbarian in a death trance gets fuckloads of attacks and deals fuckloads of damage and will keep killing until everything stops moving.
Great for killing big monsters. Extremely great for dying gloriously. Extremely scary for everyone around you if you sink too deeply into battle-madness and go berzerk!


Rage Points

For ease of explanation and cross-compatibility I'm going to call the core mechanic "Rage Points" here.
Assume Rage Points last until you leave a Rage or combat ends.


Rage

Entering a Rage takes an Action.
While in a Rage:
- Hitting a foe grants you a Rage Point.
- Hitting an ally removes a Rage Point.
- Each Rage Point grants you +1 to melee damage and -1 to AC.

You must attack during a Rage. 
You lose 1 Charisma every time you could take an Attack action and don't.
If you reach 0 Charisma you lose your mind (and your character) and murder everything in sight.

Rage is overwhelming and calming down is difficult.
As a Standard Action, or for free when you kill a creature, you may attempt to calm the fuck down.
Save vs Doom, with a bonus equal to your level and a penalty equal to your Rage Point total.
On success, your Rage ends.

Note: Using an action to attempt to calm down is a non-attack action, so if you fail you'll lose Charisma. Best to sate your bloodlust by killing something...


Death Trance

At 0HP you enter a Death Trance.

While in a Death Trance:
- You gain a Rage Point every time you take damage.
- You gain an extra attack per Rage Point.
- You cannot be knocked out, put to sleep, or otherwise made unconscious.




Discussion -- Rage

So that's the Big New Thing! Pretty straightforward, and hopefully the synergies and tradeoffs are obvious.
Rage is good on its own - it makes you a powerful single-target damage dealer.
Death Trance is good on its own - it gives you a bunch of extra attacks in a pinch.
Put them together and you're a monster!

On the other hand, having tons of Rage Points is awesome up until you have to leave your Rage. If you're unlucky you'll get sucked down into a spiral of violence where you murder all your friends!

Moving Rage from a limited use resource to a building spiral was spurred by a conversation on the Discord with Great_Job, Chuffer, Rook, and some others.
Great_Job brought up that a Rage is usually presented as a resource management mechanic rather than evoking the "somewhat fluid, emotional nature" of losing yourself to anger, which is totally true!

Heavy inspiration from Great_Job's take on a rage monster PC: The Accursed.




The Rest

With the all-important Rage and the Death Trance out of the way, here's the rest of the Barbarian's cool shit.

Unique:
Barbarian saves and attack bonus don't advance normally.
Instead they roll twice on this Barbarian Powers table each level!

Bare-Chested:
Barbarians cannot wear armour, but they have a natural AC of 14 due to Barbarian luck and God-favour.
Despite wearing barely anything, Barbarians always count as protected against extreme weather.

Party Hard:
Barbarians are great at carousing.
The Barbarian, and anyone who chooses to Carouse with them, doubles how much they spend while carousing (and thus, doubles how much exp they gain).
However when they Save against carousing mishaps, they roll the save twice and take the worst result.
This stacks with multiple Barbarians. Two Barbarians means triple spend but roll three times and take the worst, and so on.



Discussion -- Full Package

Barbarian powers are cool and comfy at this point.
Everyone likes the wacky unique stuff like Charisma armour or crit range improvement, but you might notice that even the "boring" results - attack bonus and Save improvement - are indirect improvements to Rage. Attack bonus means you actually hit with your high damage rage attacks and Save bonus means you break out of Rage easier. Pretty sweet!

Low armour fits the Barbarian theme, but also serves as a way to separate the Barbarian from the other combat class - the Fighter.
Fighters can wear heavy plate, Barbarians are usually stuck with 14 AC. Low armour and a Rage mechanic that makes them easier to hit means they'll get knocked down to that spicy Death Trance easier!
Natural protection against extreme weather is important for my post-apoc weather stuff. I dig the idea that Barbarians can walk around in furry shorts while everyone else needs a full body suit!

Barbarians carousing is another thing that's seeped into the group lore, I really liked the times the rest of the group was like "uhhh no actually I can't afford to party with the Barbarian we'll carouse later".
I kinda picture Barbarians as being somewhere between That One Friend who first got you drunk when you were a teenager and That One Friend who insists on going to a club even though you're old now and it's past midnight and you've been feeling a bit tired since 7pm.
Either way you're going to find yourself staring at a toilet bowl asking yourself why you agreed to shots.


Yo what happened to punching ghosts?!

If you've been in my game for a while you might notice that the Barbarian has lost a few things they used to have as standard.

Long story short, both "fists do d4 and can punch ghosts" and "eat spells cast on you on a nat 20" are on the random Barbarian Powers table now.
This is largely because Barbarians get lots of wacky powers already, and keeping track of these and the random powers and abilities from backstories was quite a lot!




And Finally - Death Rules Integration

So that's the cross-compatible version above.
In my game I've integrated this into my Death mechanics

It's maybe a bit too mechanically cute, but it's my game so whatever! I can regret it later!

Pain fuels Rage.

So my death system basically works by giving you Death Tokens at 0 HP.
Mostly this is Pain Tokens which might make you pass out, but you can also get Bleed (damage over time) and Trauma (risk of death).

In this version, Pain Tokens are used as Rage Points.
This has a few fun mechanical implications!

Same exact concept as above, but here's how it works in the Death Token version:

Rage

Entering a Rage takes an Action.

While in a Rage:
- You never Tempt Fate, ie. No passing out from Pain, no death from Trauma, no damage from Bleed.
- Hitting a foe grants you a Pain Token.
- Hitting an ally removes a Pain Token.
- Each Pain Token grants you +1 to melee damage and -1 to AC.

You must attack during a Rage. 
You lose 1 Charisma every time you could make an Attack and don't.
If you reach 0 Charisma you lose your mind (and your character) and murder everything in sight.

Rage is overwhelming and calming down is difficult.
As an Action, or for free when you kill a creature, you may attempt to calm the fuck down.
Save vs Doom, with a bonus equal to your level and a penalty equal to your Pain total.
On success, your Rage ends.

Note: Using an action to attempt to calm down is a non-attack action, so if you fail you'll lose Charisma. Best to sate your bloodlust by killing something...


Death Trance

At 0HP you enter a Death Trance.

While in a Death Trance:
- You gain an extra attack per Pain Token.
- Pain does not add to your rolls on the Death Table.


Implications

So this version uses Pain Tokens but is functionally the same as up top.
The fun part is that this has fairly interesting mechanical effects!

Some examples:
- Pain Tokens don't add to death table rolls so you tend to shrug off minor wounds. Like even if you're at zero with 5 Pain and get hit for 6 damage... you "roll" 0d6+6 instead of rolling 5d6+6. Life saver!
- Clerics can heal Pain Tokens. Might be fun to sabotage an enemy Barbarian by healing them, or use God's mercy to calm the soul of your angry Barbarian friend before he murders you all.
- When the Rage ends you've still got a bunch of Pain Tokens, so could probably pass out after your Rage.
- Food heals Death Tokens too, so a Barbarian who's come out of a rage will be H O N G R Y.
- Poison is Death Tokens so you're literally immune to poison during a Rage.
- Drink Pain Poison to hype yourself up!?

Hopefully it is fun! Someone persuade Ollie to go into a rage so we can see what happens. Would be real funny (for me...) if Zulu murdered everyone in a rage-fueled accident!





Game Stuff

Here's the player-facing character breakdown text:

--



Barbarian
Strengths:
Combat Hero, Rage, Unique Barbarian Abilities
Weaknesses:
Can’t wear armour, anger management

Alignment
To the surprise of everyone, you detect as Lawful.
Technical Stuff
HD: 1d8 - minimum 6 at first level.
Saves: Fighter. (Stun 14, Doom 12, Blast 15, Law 13, Chaos 16)

Special Abilities
Unique: At first level, and every level thereafter, roll 1d100 twice on the Barbarian Powers table.
These can be anything from +1 to hit to intimidating hostile beasts to boosted crit damage.
Bare-Chested: You can’t wear armour (it’s for the weak) but you have a natural armour class of 14 due to luck, the favour of barbarian gods and/or protective tattoos.
Despite wearing not much at all you always count as protected against extreme weather.
Party Hard: You party really fucking hard. The whole party rolls double for carousing when you’re around, and when they save against Carousing mishaps they roll twice and take the worst.
This increases with multiple Barbarians - triple for two, quadruple for three, and so on.
Death Trance: You are an absolute monster when you are close to death.
While at 0HP, you enter a Death Trance where you attack in a frenzy and shrug off minor wounds.
In this state you gain an extra attack per Pain Token, and Pain does not add to your Death Table rolls.
Rage: In battle, as an Action, you can hype yourself up into a Rage.
Pain fuels your Rage - each Pain Token grants you +1 to melee damage and -1 to AC.
You gain a Pain Token whenever you hit a foe in melee, growing your Rage.
You lose a Pain Token whenever you hit a friend, slowing you down.
While in a Rage you never Tempt Fate due to Death Tokens, so you never have to stop fighting..
To stop Raging is difficult. As an Action, or when you kill a creature, you can attempt to stop your Rage by passing a Save vs Doom. You get a bonus equal to level and a penalty equal to your Pain total.
You must attack in a Rage. You lose 1 Charisma every time you could make an Attack action and don’t.
If this takes you to 0 Charisma you lose your mind (and your character) and murder all in sight.


And the full Barbarian Powers table

In case something happens to the Google doc!


RollAbility
1 - 29More smashy! +1 to hit.
30 - 45More lucky! -1 to all Saves
46Double the Smash! When you dual-wield, always take both results for damage.
47 - 48Meaty Motherfucker! +1 to Constitution Modifier
49 - 50Fuck me?? No, fuck you! When a creature hits you when you're on 0HP, make a free attack against them. If you roll this again - two attacks, and so on.
51 - 52Sense Weakness. When you attack an enemy, you know how much HP they have remaining.
53Ah yes I know this beast. When an Encounter Check is rolled in a wilderness environment, you know exactly what a creature is from its Tracks, Spoor or Traces if you've seen its like before.
If you reroll, +1 Wisdom Modifier.
54Spell Eater. You can save vs any spell, even those that don't usually give a save. If you do, you "eat" the spell, negating the effect and causing your eyes and tattoos to glow a cool thematic colour. You unleash the spell's effect the next time you hit in combat, and you can save the spell for up to ten minutes.
If you reroll, -2 to your Chaos save.
55Loyal minion! You gain a hound, henchman, horse, or other exceptionally loyal and intelligent creature.
They think you're the best, and obey your every whim. If you treat them badly they look at the camera and say "well, it's a living" and still do it.
If you reroll and they're still alive, they get one free pass to avoid death. If they died already, it turns out they somehow survived! They're back!
56Back, Beast! You can walk right up to a natural beast of animal intelligence and force them to roll a Morale check modified by the inverse of your Charisma modifier (as in higher Cha is better) - if they fail you choose whether they flee or calm down.
On a reroll, +1 Charisma Modifier.
57Something's coming. You have +5 Awareness in Wilderness environments.
If you reroll, this bonus also applies to one other creature of your choice. One extra per reroll.
58Get hench! +1 to Strength Modifier.
59 - 60Bear-Handed. If you eat the heart of a natural creature you killed, you gain their strength for a ten minute Turn. That is, when you attack bare-handed you get their number of attacks, bonus to hit, and damage die.
During this time you can't really speak and can only point and grunt.
If you reroll, lasts an extra Turn.
61King Hit. Boost damage die of weapons you wield. If this goes above 1d12 roll over onto 1d12+1d4, then 1d12+1d6, and so on.
If you reroll, keep boosting.
62 - 63Luck of the Gods. -2 to your Doom Save.
64 - 65Overpower! On a melee hit you can blast everyone around you back 10' or so.
On reroll, +1 to melee attacks.
66And stay down! On a melee hit you can knock your target prone.
On reroll, +1 to melee attacks.
67Grapplemaster. When you win a Wrestle, you can choose 2 results instead of 1 - even the same result twice.
If you reroll, +1 Strength Modifier.
68 - 69Greetings, fellow traveller! +2 to Reaction Rolls and Morale Checks with other uncivilised folks, basically anyone who spends most of their life outside of a city, village, or other settlement.
70 - 71But it is not this day! You can sacrifice a limb of your choice to cancel all damage from a single attack, and you no longer drop to 0HP when you sustain such an injury. If you reroll, an already broken limb somehow gets better (heals, miracle prosthetic, whatever) or the next time you do this you also pop back up to maximum HP.
72 - 73Headtaker. Your crit range extends by 1, so you crit on a 19 or 20. If you reroll, it keeps extending.
74 - 75Beastslayer. You deal double damage to natural beasts. If you reroll, triple damage, etc.
76 - 78Gore Grinder. When you crit, roll twice and take both results. If you reroll, roll three times, etc.
79Get behind me! If you pass a Save, you can make someone nearby pass their Save against the same thing.
If you reroll, two people, and so on.
80-82Glamour armour. Add your Charisma or Strength bonus to your AC, whichever's higher. If you reroll, either take both or boost your Charisma Modifier by 1.
83 - 84Piss off, ghost! Your fists deal 1d4 damage and can harm anything, especially things usually immune to mundane attacks. If you reroll, keep improving the Damage Die of your fists.
85 - 86Ultimate Nelson. When you choose to Hold a foe in a Wrestle, you pin them completely.
If you reroll, +1 to Wrestle rolls each time.
87 - 88Know no fear. Immune to fear effects and +2 bonus to Saves vs spooky undead or necromantic powers.
If you reroll, further +2 to such saves each time.
89Bah! It is nothing. You take 1 less damage from elemental effects, like fire or cold or lightning. Minimum 1.
If you reroll, take 2 less damage, and so on.
90Heedless Charge! When you charge into battle - you cannot be stopped by Opportunity Attacks and you deal double damage.
If you reroll, triple damage, etc.
91 - 92This will do. Given ten minutes and some relevant materials, you can craft a 1d6 damage weapon of any type from bones, sticks, rocks, and other detritus.
If it gains a Notch it falls to pieces.
If you reroll, improve the Damage die by one size.
93 - 94These fools will believe anything! Civilised folk will generally believe anything you tell them about the exotic sights you've seen and great beasts you have slain.
When you spout such braggadocio, reroll the Reaction Roll with a +2.
If you reroll, add another +2.
95 - 96Sin Eater. If a Cleric calls forth a Miracle in your vicinity, you cast it as well if you Save vs Law.
If you reroll, -2 to your Law save.
97 - 98Die! Die! Die! Once per round, when you successfully hit with an attack, you get a free attack against the same target.
If you reroll, you can do it twice per round, and so on.
99Don't Have Time to Bleed! You never take damage from Bleed Tokens when you Tempt Fate.
If you reroll, +1 to your Constitution modifier.
100Indestructible Master of War! Any time you would take Trauma Tokens, take that many Bleed Tokens instead.
If you reroll, +1 to your Strength modifier.




Sunday, 22 December 2019

Santicorn 2019: Tide-Flooded Caverns

Santicorn baby! The second annual Santicore-alike we've organised on the OSR Discord channel!
Everyone requests a thing, we shuffle the requests around, and everyone fulfils one of them as a Christmas Santicorn gift! How wholesome!

I got this one from Wizzzargh:
"Dungeon room fills, be they tricks, traps, treasure, or monsters, for a dungeon regularly flooded by seawater at high tide. Bonus points for fills that require very different approaches at different water levels"

So here goes!


The Tide-Flooded Caverns

The smell of salt and smoke. Rumours of smugglers and sea-witches. Warnings of a rising tide that claims all who enter. Everyone in the village built on the bluffs above knows of the caves, and all are wise enough not to explore them.
At low tide the seawater slides around the cave mouths like a lover's tongue, sloshing over the slick sand and sucking mud and shifting stones of a treacherous beach.
The tide turns and waves of cold scummy seawater gush into the waiting mouths, pouring in through the twisting passages and wider caverns that honeycomb the headland.
Exploring the caves is dangerous, the rising tides changing the nature of the chambers inside, but there are stories of vast treasures and strange creatures within...

How to Use

There are 20 caverns detailed below, each with a description for Low, Mid and High Tide.
There are also 10 treasures to spice up a chamber, or maybe to find if they loot a room.
Finally, 6 random encounters because of course.
Do whatever you feel like with them!

You could roll randomly as PCs travel through the caves (maybe 1d20 for chamber and 1d20 for treasure, where treasure results 11-20 are "nothing extra"), or pre-build the cavern complex.

If you do the latter I suggest room 9 (Gillifier) be placed fairly deep in the caves, since it's a gimmick room that reverses whether you breathe air or water and it might be fun to recontextualise all the other chambers they've been in already.
Room 10 (Lamprey Witch) contains a powerful foe so could be used as a boss room if that's something you like doing.
Room 6 (Cork Golem) would make a good guard fairly close to the entrance, especially since the poor chap becomes a bit useless when the water level rises!

Either way the routes between the chambers are up to you. I envisage twisty slippery seaweedy passages that fill up at high tide.

Tracking the Tide

Time from Low to High tide is apparently 6 hours, which is a lot for your average delve, but whatever. Hopefully they get a bit trapped by the time Mid Tide rolls around and have to make some hard decisions.
I suggest having a row of six boxes like so:

☐ ☐ ☐ ☐ ☐ 
  Low 
|   Mid  |  High

Use an Overloaded Encounter Die and have result 3 say "Tide rises - Check off a tide box". That should mean you get about one box ticked off per hour.
Result 4 could even be something like "Freak Surge - treat as next Tide in cycle for next 10 minutes" to add some more watery unpredictability!

Drowning

You might have drowning rules already, but if you don't here's how I do it -

If you get a chance to take a deep breath before diving, you can hold your breath for 5 rounds +/- your Constitution modifier.
If you don't get to take a breath first, you have 1d6-1 rounds of air left, also +/- Con Mod
Once you run out of air you take 1d6 damage per round until you can breathe again.




The Chambers

1. Aqua-Pause Pillar

Any Tide:
A chamber with water seemingly frozen in time, forming a bowl-shape around a vibrating glass-and-stone pillar. The pillar is honeycombed with glass panels revealing the glowing bubbling blue liquid within. Smash the pillar and a ripple shudders through the water. Hit hard enough, the vibration stops all the water within a mile in place! It still feels like water, but it doesn't move or ripple or pour. The effect lasts for an hour, after which the water suddenly springs back to where it should have been.


2. Barnacle Spear

Any Tide:On a raised barnacle-encrusted dais in the middle of this frieze-carved chamber is a long tool with a rusty barnacle-scraping edge filed to a point on the end. Water rushes down the holes at the foot of the dais, keeping the water in this chamber knee-high.
The Barnacle Spear counts as an ordinary spear when nowhere near the sea. When it's near the sea it's a spear with powers based on the tide.
Low Tide: Ebb - on hit, get a free move and disengage backwards.
Mid Tide: Splash Zone - on hit, push everyone in front of you 20' away.
High Tide: Surge - On hit, pierce through and hit another target behind the first. This can combo indefinitely until you run out of targets. You can move up to 20' forwards between strikes.


3. Bastard Seagulls

Low Tide: Seagulls fly into this guano-covered chamber through the many small holes in the ceiling. They are fiercely territorial and massive bastards who will flock and kill in a barrage of savage pecks.

Mid Tide: Seagulls float happily on the surface of the chest-high water in this chamber, occasionally flying in and out of the many small holes in the ceiling. They are fiercely territorial and will swarm anyone who enters above the water, but won't attack anyone swimming below.

High Tide: A few seagulls bob on the surface of the neck-high water in this chamber. There's not much room though, so most of them have already flown out to the outside world through the small holes in the ceiling. Anybody with their head above the water will be attacked by the seagulls who paddle over to peck at their face - there's not enough room to swoop.

-

Bastard Seagulls
HD1 AC unarmoured ML9
Attacks: 1d2 Peck or 1d4 flyby swoop attack
Abilities: At will, a seagull can detect the distance and direction of hot potato chips within a half mile radius.
Attitude: Extremely bad-tempered. Swoop if there's room, peck if there isn't, squawk no matter what.



4. Bluebottles

Low Tide:
The slimy, lumpy floor of this chamber is covered with small pale blue pear-shaped balloons and tangles of bright royal blue tendrils. Touching a tendril brings hot red whip-like marks on the flesh and extreme agony. 

Mid Tide:
The waist-high water in this chamber has many small pale blue pear-shaped balloons bobbing about in it. Their bright blue tendrils drift about beneath the water. Wading or swimming through the water inevitably leads to these stinging tendrils drifting into you and bringing up incredibly painful whip-like welts on any body parts which went beneath the water - legs if wading, pretty much all of you if swimming.

High Tide:
Pretty blue strings drift about in the currents of this water-filled chamber, seemingly hanging from the ceiling above. If you swim through this room you are beset by the agonising stings of the tendrils and risk death by drowning.

-

Bluebottles (Hazard)
Effect:
Their tendrils bring great pain through a powerful venom. 
If touched by a tendril (even through cloth), Save vs Stun or keel over prone from the pain - you can Save again each round to recover. You take 1d4 damage each round you have clothing touching the affected body parts for the next 10 minutes. Additionally, for small areas (a hand, a foot), that body part becomes useless for the next hour. For larger areas (torso, multiple limbs), you count as having 1HP for the next hour until the pain fades away.
Main Danger:
Keeling over from the pain on land likely makes you fall onto more of them. Doing it in water risks stinging more and more of you as you stir up the water (and tendrils) in your agony, leading to your inevitable drowning.





5. Chasing Crab

Low Tide:
This crab is big and hungry and now it wants to eat YOU. It scuttles sideways at twice human speed across the wet floor of this chamber, claws bared, ready to PINCH! It will chase you until you either kill it, or get two chambers ahead of it at which point it gives up.

Mid Tide:
This crab is big and hungry and ANNOYING SLOW IN WATER! It scuttles sideways through the waist-high water at human unencumbered speed, claws bared, ready to CLAMP! It will chase you until you either kill it, or get two chambers ahead of it at which point it gives up.

High Tide:
This crab is big and hungry and AGONISINGLY SLOW SUBMERGED. It scuttles sideways under the water at a quarter human speed, claws bared, extremely FRUSTRATED! It will chase you until you either kill it, or get two chambers ahead of it at which point it gives up.

-

Chasing Crab
HD8 AC plate ML10
Attacks: 2 Pincer attacks for 1d10 each. If both hit, dents your armour giving you -1 AC until you get it repaired.
Abilities: Fast on land, slow in water. Max speed on land is twice human. Max speed submerged is quarter human.
Attitude: Chase down victims, but try to keep on land where it's fast!



6. Cork Golem

Low Tide: A huge golem made of cork stomps around this slippery chamber floored with black cave-kelp, guarding the way deeper into the complex.

Mid Tide:
A huge golem made of cork bobs around in the chest-high water in this chamber, flailing around because of how floaty it is. It's slow but powerful. Black cave-kelp waves on the floor.

High Tide:
A chamber filled completely with water, black cave-kelp waves in the water below. A huge golem made of cork is pinned to the ceiling by the water.

-

Cork Golem
HD10 AC leather ML12
Attacks: Powerful punch deals 1d12 damage and blasts victim back and prone - hitting a wall or other creature deals an extra 1d6 damage to both.
Abilities: Floats, immune to fire when wet (always in here), 1 damage per die from bashing attacks.
Attitude: Stomp around, punch people into other people, stomp on people while they're lying on the floor!


7. Dehydrated Ooze

Any Tide:
The passage slopes up to a small cave above the waterline. Inside is a crusty aquamarine bulge with gold coins glimmering under the hardened candy-like shell.
Pour a bunch of water on the lump and it rehydrates into a massive absorbent Aquamarine Goop! Run! Or kill it somehow to claim the treasure...

-

Aquamarine Goop
12HD AC leather ML12
Attacks: 1d8 Dehydrating Slap - On hit, Save vs Doom or lose 1d4 Strength from sudden dehydration!
Abilities: If hit by a water or ice-based attack, gets an immediate free turn. If hit by a fire-based attack, stunned for a round as it loses moisture.
Attitude: Schlorp after the juiciest foe and steal all their juices!


8. Eel Pit

Low Tide: The way out of this chamber is on the other side of a 50' deep pit with a shallow pool of water at the bottom. Electric eels hide at the sandy bottom of the pit, but won't attack when the water is this shallow. How come this pit isn't just a permanent deep pool? - The water in the pit drains away slowly through narrow shafts beneath the sand.

Mid Tide: The way out of this chamber is on the other side of a deep pit with a 20' deep pool of water 30' down. Electric eels hide at the sandy bottom of the pit, and will swarm out at anyone who jumps into the water.

High Tide: The way out of this chamber is on the other side of a 50' deep pool of water. The water is infested with electric eels which will swarm out at anyone who gets into the water.

-

Electric Eel
1HD AC unarmoured ML6
Attacks: 1d4 bite deals double damage vs metal armour - On hit, zap makes target drop whatever they're holding
Abilities: Electric bite
Attitude: Swarm anything that moves, zapping them so they drop their stuff and have to jump in to get it back.


9. Gillifier

Low Tide:
This damp stone chamber smells of salt and earth and wet metal, small fish flop industriously around the room. The walls are lined with nooks that shimmer with layers of with valuable mother-of-pearl, and a squid peers curiously down from one of these nooks. This room reverses whether you breathe air or water for 24 hours. Anyone who spends a minute or so in this room finds it hard to breathe, and soon they discover that they have grown gills and can no longer breathe air! They begin to suffocate immediately.

Mid Tide: This stone chamber with knee-high water smells of salt and earth and wet metal. Small fish float about with their faces on the surface, gulping down air. The walls are lined with nooks that shimmer with layers of with valuable mother-of-pearl. This room reverses whether you breathe air or water for 24 hours. Anyone who spends a minute or so in this room finds it hard to breathe, and soon they discover that they have grown gills and can no longer breathe air! They must go on their hands and knees to dip their newfound gills into the low water, else begin to suffocate.

High Tide: This stone chamber with chest-high water smells of salt and earth and wet metal. Small fish float about with their faces on the surface, gulping down air. The walls are lined with nooks that shimmer with layers of with valuable mother-of-pearl. This room reverses whether you breathe air or water for 24 hours. Anyone who spends a minute or so in this room finds it hard to breathe, and soon they discover that they have grown gills and can no longer breathe air! They begin to suffocate unless they submerge themselves into the water.


10. Lamprey Witch

Low Tide: A smoky chamber with shallow pits filled with water and black oily shapes - lampreys. A smoky blue driftwood fire is in the centre of the chamber, surrounded by stones. Hiding in one of the pits during the low tide is the Lamprey Witch - an emaciated old woman with lampreys latched onto every piece of her. She always seeks more food for her children and will strike from the smoke!

Mid Tide:
A hazy chamber that smells of salt and woodsmoke. Oily black shapes writhe and twist through the knee-high water- lampreys! They wriggle through the water towards you, awful mouths wide! If you turn back you see a horrible writhing figure, a human form with lampreys latched onto every inch - the Lamprey Witch is behind you already!

High Tide: The water surges behind you, barrelling you from the tunnel into this chamber of neck-high water. When you manage to catch a breath the air smells like woodsmoke. Black oily shapes writhe towards you in the water - lampreys! They're all around you, and you hear a choking laugh as a mass of lampreys bursts from the water - a mass of lampreys in human shape - the Lamprey Witch!


Lamprey Witch
HD8 AC chain ML10
Attacks: Lamprey Toss - throw lampreys at a target, 50' range - 1d6 damage and the target gains attached lampreys equal to damage.
Lamprey Surge - AoE lamprey attack - all foes in 20' Save vs Blast or take 1d4 damage and gain attached lampreys equal to damage.
Abilities: Can breathe underwater, never takes damage from lampreys, breeds lampreys rapidly.
Attitude: Wants to find food for her babies! Main technique is to hang back and lob lampreys from afar, then use Lamprey Surge if she starts to get surrounded. Optimally foes will be so busy trying to get the lampreys off themselves that they can't concentrate on her!

Jumping Lamprey
HD0 (1HP) AC unarmoured ML5
Attack: Leaps up to 30' and latches on with its horrifying bloodsucking mouth! Each attached lamprey deals 1 point of damage per round. An attached lamprey can be pulled off as an Action (occupying your hand) or attacked with a weapon. If attacking, roll to hit vs AC 10. On hit, it's dead. On miss, it's dead and you deal weapon damage to the person it was latched onto.
Attitude: Swim or jump in, latch onto flesh, suck the blood!"


11. Octopus in a Hole

Low Tide: A fairly large cavern with slippery kelp floor and a pool of black murky water at the side of the room. A giant octopus lives here, and anyone touching the water will be grabbed by the octopus within and dragged down into its lair below!

Mid Tide:
A fairly large cavern filled with sloshing knee-high water. The water gets blacker and murkier towards one side. A giant octopus lives here, flattening itself beneath the water. It will try to grab anybody who separates from the party and drag them to its lair, although its big body will be visible above the water as it does so!

High Tide: A fairly large cavern filled with rolling neck-deep water. The water is murky, but swimmable. A giant octopus lives here, and it will drag anyone it likes beneath the water and drag them to its lair. Anyone who seems hurt or vulnerable is a prime target!

-

Giant Octopus
HD7 AC leather ML7. 
Attacks: On hit, Grapples for 1d6 choking damage per round, preferably dragging into water where you'll drown. Can move while grappling no problem.
Abilities: Ink cloud - Cloud of ink obscures the area. Squeeze - can squeeze through pretty much any crack.
Attitude: Smart but alien ambush predator who wants to pick off one person and devour them. Grabs, drags into water, leaves an ink cloud behind to obscure where it's going.



12. Oysters

Low Tide: 
Shallow, warm, knee-high water in a fairly flat sandy chamber. Huge oysters tower out of the water, tightly shut. Their shells are hard as rocks.

Mid-Tide:
 
Tepid chest-high water in a flat, sandy chamber. The lips of huge oysters stick about a foot out of the water. They are slightly open and frilled with strange flesh, but will suck it in and slam shut if disturbed.

High Tide: 
Cool water fills this flat, sandy chamber. Huge oysters lazily open and close under the water. Several of them have valuable pearls within! They snap shut if you touch them and their shells are hard as rocks, so it might take some doing to claim the pearls.


13. Reversible Merman

Low Tide: 
There is a horrifying creature in this damp chamber. Human legs from the waist down and a monstrous anglerfish head and body where the torso should be! It runs, warbling, seeking to rip gobbets of warm flesh from live prey.

Mid Tide: 
A handsome merman swims below the surface of the waist-high water in this chamber. He mimes a warning not to get too close. If you approach, he emerges from the water and shifts into a horrifying creature with human legs and an angelerfish top half which seeks to devour you!

High Tide: 
A handsome merman swims below the surface of the water that fills this chamber. He's quite pleasant if you can find a way to speak to him, but he has a horrible curse that turns him into a monster if he ever comes above water.

-

Merman: Horror Form
HD9 AC leather ML12
Attacks: 1d10 monstrous bite or 1d6 Anglerfish electric lamp-slap targets all in front of him.
Abilities: Horrifyingly fast. Changes back into a merman if completely submerged in water.
Attitude: Chase down and FEAST. Big bite on lone targets, lamp-slap on two or more in melee.

Merman: Handsome Form
HD9 AC leather ML6
Attacks: None. Unarmed attack at best.
Abilities: Fast in water. Changes into Horror Form if any part of him touches air.
Attitude: Prevent himself from going above water and becoming the Horror!



14. Safe Cave

Low Tide: An easy climb upwards towards a flat sandy cave. Small crabs scatter as you approach.

Mid Tide: Splash through knee-high water towards an easy climb upwards towards a flat sandy cave. Small crabs flee to plop into the water below as you approach.

High Tide:
Though it seems to be filled with water, swim through and upwards from the entrance and you'll find yourself in an air pocket with a flat, dry sandy cave to rest in. Little crabs live here, and flee if you approach!


15. Sea Anemones

Low Tide:
Thin downward-sloping chamber scattered with closed-up wrinkled lumps the size of beach balls. Knee-high water at the lower end.

Mid Tide:
Thin downward-sloping chamber with colourful tendrils waving beneath the water that comes halfway up the chamber. Travel through the lower waterlogged half of the chamber and you'll be attacked by the giant sea anemones!

High Tide:
Thin downward-sloping chamber filled with water. Colourful tendrils wave beneath the surface. Swim through here and you'll be attacked by the giant sea anemones!"

-

Giant Sea Anemone
3HD AC plate (closed) or leather (opened) ML12
Attacks: Grapples with its sticky tendrils - on success deals 2d6 damage and paralyzes for 10 minutes if you fail a Save vs Stun.
Abilities: Closes up outside of water, gaining armour but becoming useless. If killed in its closed state, gets one last attack as its tendrils burst out and flail around.
Attitude: Just wait around for something to come close, then sting the fuck out of them. Especially hates people who can't say "anemone" - an em oh nee.


16. Smuggler's Elevator

Low Tide:
A steep high chamber that rises diagonally from the entrance below to another entrance above. Five rough-looking men loading crates onto a large sodden wooden platform resting on the floor of the chamber, connected by a damp rope to a trapdoor on the ceiling. Two more men shout encouragement and crude insults from above. The water is ankle-height. The trapdoor is a secret entrance to a hidden basement under the smuggler's fish-smoking hut above. The crates contain valuable contraband.

Mid Tide:
A steep, high chamber with neck-high water that rises diagonally from the entrance below to another entrance above. Faint voices can be heard. There is a large wooden platform stacked with crates floating in the neck-high water, connected by a rope to an open trapdoor on the ceiling. The trapdoor is a secret entrance to a hidden basement under the smuggler's fish-smoking hut above, where seven smugglers toast to their recent haul.

High Tide:
A steep, high, water-filled chamber that rises diagonally from the entrance below to another entrance above. Voices can be heard chatting amongst the echoing sounds of wood being moved. Two rough-looking men on a large floating wooden platform pass crates up through a trapdoor to their five smuggler friends above.

-

Smugglers
1HD AC unarmoured ML5
Attacks: Knives and long hooked poles
Attitude: Defend selves foremost, extort tribute from weaker groups if possible, pay stronger groups for their silence.


17. Toxic Scum

Low Tide: A virulent green scum coats the damp floor of this chamber. Touching it with bare flesh means your flesh starts to melt away! Each round you're touching it, Save vs Doom or take 1d4 Con damage.

Mid Tide: A virulent green scum floats on the waist-high water in this chamber. Touching it with bare flesh means your flesh starts to melt away! Each round you're touching it, Save vs Doom or take 1d4 Con damage.

High Tide: A virulent green scum coats the ceiling of this water-filled chamber. Touching it with bare flesh means your flesh starts to melt away! Each round you're touching it, Save vs Doom or take 1d4 Con damage.


18. Trapdoor Crabs

Low Tide: 
A large sandy cavern with obvious circular sandy manhole-sized discs scattered around the place. Trapdoor Crabs hide beneath, and if you get close they burst from their trapdoors and try to drag you into their burrows!

Mid Tide: 
A large, sandy cavern with knee-high water. Trapdoor crabs hide under their trapdoors beneath the sand, and will burst out to drag you into their burrows if you get close!

High Tide: 
A large, sandy cavern with chest-high water. Trapdoor crabs hide under their trapdoors beneath the sand, but won't attack unless you really fuck with them.

-

Trapdoor Crab
HD4 AC chain ML7
Attacks: 2 Pincer attacks for 1d6 each. If both hit, drags you wherever it wants.
Abilities: Trapdoor - gets a surprise round when it bursts out of its trapdoor
Attitude: Burst out, grab a victim, and drag them into the burrow where it can't fight back easily in the confined space.


19. Vertical Chamber

Low Tide: 
The tunnel dips down into the bottom of a tall, narrow chamber with thigh-height water and a ledge high above. Mussels and hanging strands of seaweed dangle from the walls.

Mid Tide: 
A waterlogged tunnel dips down into the bottom of a tall, narrow chamber. Dive in and you can get into the air pocket inside the chamber. A ledge is within reach above. Mussels and hanging strands of seaweed wave in the water, attached to the walls.

High Tide: 
A waterlogged tunnel dips down into a tall, narrow chamber filled with water. Dive in and you can get to the small air pocket and ledge at the top of the chamber. Mussels and hanging strands of seaweed wave in the water, attached to the walls.


20. Whirlpool

Low Tide:A low chamber with a hole in the middle of it. Water slowly rises out of the hole until it reaches ankle height, then gets sucked back down the hole. This repeats every few minutes.

Mid Tide:
A low chamber with waist-high water getting sucked towards a whirlpool in the middle of the chamber. Get close and Save vs Stun or be drawn down the funnel and stuck where the hole narrows.

High Tide: A low chamber with shoulder-height water surging towards a whirlpool in the middle of the chamber. Entering the chamber risks getting sucked in - Save vs Stun or be drawn down the funnel and stuck where the hole narrows. 



Random Encounters

Roll 1d6
  1. 2d4 Smugglers
  2. Giant Coneshell
  3. 2d6 Bastard Seagulls
  4. 1d6 Kleptomorphic Nudibranchs
  5. 1d6 Stoneshell Crabs
  6. 1d20 Jumping Lampreys

1. Smugglers
1HD AC unarmoured ML5
Attacks: Knives and long hooked poles
Attitude: Low or Mid Tide - Follow quietly until the party is in trouble, then extort or kill them. High Tide - they've been caught out in the todal surge and will work with anyone if they can escape!

2. Giant Coneshell
HD6 AC plate ML9
Attacks: Neurotoxin Harpoon - Reach weapon deals 1d6 damage and Save vs Stun or fall unconscious for 10 minutes.
Gulp - Swallow a victim whole, dealing 1d10 damage per round as they're smothered.
Abilities: Insulin Cloud - Once per day while in water, ejects weaponised insulin into the surrounding water. Anyone in the cloud must Save vs Stun every round or lose their turn. Water-breathing creatures get no save.
Attitude: A chest-high conical shell containing an ambush predator mollusk. Waits in ambush then harpoons a victim in the ankle and engulfs them. Much more dangerous in water since its weaponised insulin cloud can prevent others fighting back. Not fast, but good at burrowing into sand and gravel.

3. Bastard Seagulls
HD1 AC unarmoured ML9
Attacks: 1d2 Peck or 1d4 flyby swoop attack
Abilities: At will, a seagull can detect the distance and direction of hot potato chips within a half mile radius.
Attitude: Extremely bad-tempered. Swoop if there's room, peck if there isn't, squawk no matter what.

4. Kleptomorphic Nudibranch
HD1 AC leather ML5
Attacks: Whatever their target is using!
Abilities: Morph Mucus - At will, exudes a massive amount of mucus in the form a nearby creature and pilots it from inside the chest! It has all the physical attacks of the target, but none of the magic or armour etc. The mimic has 1 HP for every HD of the target, and when it is destroyed the whole thing sucks back into the nudibranch's mouth ready to be re-exuded on their next turn.
Attitude: Create mucus mimic of whatever looks most threatening, recreate the mimic any time it's destroyed to defend core body.

5. Stoneshell Crab
HD2 AC plate ML5
Attacks: 1d6 pincer - On hit, grapples.
Attitude: Grapple foes and pinch them to death! Their stone shell gives them powerful armour, but once one is killed their crappy morale will send them packing.

6. Jumping Lamprey
HD0 (1HP) AC unarmoured ML5
Attack: Leaps up to 30' and latches on with its horrifying bloodsucking mouth! Each attached lamprey deals 1 point of damage per round. An attached lamprey can be pulled off as an Action (occupying your hand) or attacked with a weapon. If attacking, roll to hit vs AC 10. On hit, it's dead. On miss, it's dead and you deal weapon damage to the person it was latched onto.
Attitude: Swim or jump in, latch onto flesh, suck the blood!



Treasures

Roll 1d10:
  1. A silver locket with a severe woman's face in profile
  2. A tarnished silver crown, studded with black gems
  3. Golden sand dollars
  4. Hyper-umami kelp, valuable to specialist chefs
  5. Long boxes containing strange ornamental harpoons carved with grotesque frogs
  6. Proper pirate treasure chest
  7. A set of fishbone cutlery
  8. An iron-bound narwhal horn
  9. A cask of well-aged rum
  10. An overstuffed walrus taxidermy sealed in a glass box.


Happy Santicore, Wizzzargh!



Saturday, 31 August 2019

Making Magic: Redux


While my previous Wizard Downtime rules worked well enough, in the new post-apocalyptic paradigm I've been speeding up the ol' timeline so we'll get multiple years in-game per year of real time.
This is the exact opposite of a lot of games where you'll play for years and the characters only experience a few months of hooning around killing things.

Hence the very important rejigging of Downtime mechanics to taking place in units of weeks and months rather than days. Spend a month off and you'll get 4 weeks of downtime to be used at your leisure. More on that when I've rejigged the rest of the Downtime rules. For now, magic!




Chaotic Casters

I've spiced this up a bit with some new mechanics, and some juicier potion-making rules that focus on replicating found potions or generating random potions until you get one you like.



Activity
Time Taken
Cost/Spell Level
Copy Spell to Spellbook
1 Week
30 obols
Research Existing Spell
2 Weeks
150 obols
Create New Spell
4 Weeks
300 obols
Potions
1 Week
150 obols
Scrolls
1 Week
300 obols


Basic Gimmick
You're rolling up to three dice, with the size of each die based on the following factors:

Care: Roll 1d6. Improve by taking more time. +1 die size per extra week taken.
Quality: Roll 1d6. Improve by paying for higher quality materials. +1 die size per 100 obols.
Knowledge: If you have access to a library, roll 1d6. Adjust die size by Intelligence Modifier.

ie. Joe Average the Wizard has access to a library and isn't bothering to spend extra time. He rolls 3d6.
Smarto Richpants the Mage is in a town with no library but pays 300 obols for premium materials, and he's got a +3 Int Mod. He rolls 1d6+1d12 since the Quality is higher but without a library he can't put his superior intellect to use.

Roll and look up the result on the relevant table.


Spells
Add a spell to your spellbook, whether that's via copying a spell you have to hand, researching a spell that already exists in the game, or creating a whole new one.


  Roll
  Result
13<
  Success! The Spell is now safely in your Spellbook.
9-12
  Slippery. Roll one less d6 when casting this Spell spontaneously.
5-8
  Seditious. Casting this spell simultaneously releases a Chaos Burst.
4>
  Sentient. The Spell becomes intelligent, taking the form of a Familiar of its choice. 
  Your maximum Mana is permanently reduced by 1. 


Potions
Copy a potion you have to hand, or create a random potion.


  Roll
  Result
13<
  Success! The Potion is complete!
9-12
  Spoilage. Potion will expire at the end of the next month.
5-8
  Soured. Drinking this potion deals 1d6 damage in addition to its effects.
4>
  Explosive! It goes terribly wrong! Take 1d6 damage to each ability score.


Scrolls
Copy a spell you have to hand into a Scroll. Anybody can use a Scroll, but most classes require an Arcana roll to use it.
If an appropriate caster identifies a Scroll with an Arcana roll (or the Identify spell), they Decipher it and don't have to use Arcana to cast it.


  Roll
  Result
13<
  Success! The Scroll is complete! It can be used once before it crumbles to dust.
9-12
  Overcomplicated. Scroll can only be used if Deciphered by an appropriate caster.
5-8
  Indecipherable. Scroll cannot be Deciphered, so must be cast with an Arcana roll.
4>
  Illegible. Scroll is Indecipherable and casts a random spell when used.



MY POTIONS ARE TOO MUCH FOR A BEAST, LET ALONE A MAN!


Clerics

Over half the current party are Clerics, to my delight. They're very very powerful and have some fun gimmicks.
A potential issue with the well-received new Cleric rules is that Clerics lost a few of their more powerful high level spells - namely Cure Disease and Remove Curse - so these are Downtime things now. Honestly it fits better this way - Curing Disease with a snap of the fingers is a little boring.



Activity
Time Taken
Cost
Bless Holy Water
1 Week
Free
Hasten Recovery
1 Week
100 obols
Treat Disease
2 Weeks
200 obols
Transfer Curse
2 Weeks
500 obols
Sanctify Church
4 Weeks
1000 obols


Bless Holy Water
Gain 1 vial of Holy Water per level.
Holy Water burns unholy creatures like undead, demons and elves for 1d8 damage.
Holy Water can be stacked 5 to an encumbrance slot.

Hasten Recovery
Miraculously increase the recovery speed of a person suffering from a lingering injury.
Each Hasten Recovery ritual reduces their recovery time by one week.

Treat Disease
Alleviate the symptoms and halt the progression of all diseases afflicting a person.
At the end of the ritual they may make a Save vs Law against each disease afflicting them, curing that disease on success.

Transfer Curse
Remove a curse from a person and place it into another vessel. The vessel can be any object, living or inanimate, but it must be present for the entirety of the ritual.
If the vessel is a willing person the transfer is automatic. Else the afflicted must pass a Save vs Law to successfully transfer the curse.
If the cursed vessel is ever killed or broken, the curse moves to the one who destroyed it.

Sanctify Church
Consecrate a building or structure to become a Church of your faith.
Churches are consecrated ground and painful for wholly Chaotic beings like demons, elves and undead to enter. Such creatures cannot use their supernatural powers within the area, and corpses in the area cannot be animated.
The sanctification lasts as long as the structure is used as a place of worship, or until the Church is desecrated by destroying the altar.




Discussion

Wizards

Spells
Some mild changes here on top of the timings, most interestingly - the potential to create a sentient spell! Extremely rare if you've got access to a library, but out in the woods with the hedge witches I suppose these things must be more common...
The other downsides are to make it more in-line with the new Mana rules for wizards.

Potions
I don't have enough opportunities to give players random potions, so here's a way for players to brew their own!
Rather than something boring like "brew a single-target spell you know into a potion", this now creates a random potion, or lets you clone a potion you already have. Much improved!

Scrolls
Deciphering is a bit messy. Basically any class can use any scroll with an Arcana roll. To allow MUs to use MU scrolls and Necros to use Necro scrolls without risk, successfully identifying a scroll means you can cast it without risk if it's on-type for your magic.
Full text for identifying scrolls and wands -
Roll Arcana. On success, you identify the spell. 
You also Decipher it if your character class can cast it. You can use Deciphered Spellbooks normally, and cast from Deciphered scrolls as an Action.


Clerics

Holy Water
Clerics can create holy water for free now! Good for fighting demons and elves and undead, so on-brand for Clerics.

Hasten Recovery
With the new Cleric comes the loss of classic Cure spells in favour of a healing pool mechanic. This does mean that there's no Cure Critical Wounds to heal a broken arm or something, so we've got this activity instead.
A team of Clerics healing one person seems pretty Christ-like. Maybe the disciples were Clerics too?

Treat Disease
A classic Cleric job, but in downtime form. Not much more to say really.

Transfer Curse
I never liked that Clerics could just cure a curse. Curses are fun!
So now there's this, which means a curse must be transferred to some other vessel.
The classic Levitican trick of a Scapegoat will totally work though!

Sanctify Church
A fun one because my campaign is going to have a through-thread of spreading across the world and repopulating it, chiefly by settling new towns in the horrible poisoned wastes. New towns need new churches, and this is how to make them!