Thursday, 7 February 2019

Bard Spells

Do bards really know what they're doing? Do they even 100% know they're 'doing magic?' I mean, being around them is magical, so...

Bards don't really 'cast' spells or 'use' magic. Magic is just something that happens around them- sometimes in response to their art, sometimes because the whims of fate smiles upon them.


Animal Friendship: Self-explanatory: The animal is just friends with you now!
Bane - works as written, some reality-warping plus demoralizing
Charm Person - being around a bard is kinda like this anyway. Might accidentally cast this on someone you're just trying to talk to.
Comprehend Languages through gestures, expressions, etc, you are able to communicate pretty well with any creature.
Cure Wounds - Awww, see? Just a scratch! You'll live to fight another day old chap!
Detect Magic - 'I got a feeling something weird is going on' - plus instead of school of magic, they'll know genre of story- horror, fairy, religious, epic, etc etc
Disguise Self - poorly-improvised disguise works unrealistically well.
Faerie Fire - I dunno, actual faeries show up? Maybe scrap it.
Feather Fall: You fall at normal speed, but something miraculously breaks your fall- water, a pile of hay, etc. Somehow, you take NO damage, even if the thing breaking your fall should only, at best, cushion it. On falls over a hundred feet, make a Con save to avoid being knocked unconscious. Maybe you land on a ledge?
Healing Word - 'you got this!'
Heroism - you describe to someone how cool they are, and they believe you
Hideous Laughter - you tell a particularly hilarious joke
Identify - probably a lucky guess, plus remembering something you read in a book one time
Illusory Script - You're just super good at writing in code and innuendo
Longstrider - probably scrap this just 'cuz it's so boring
Silent Image - ugh. I WANT bards to have illusion magic. Maybe they just know a little bit of actual, intentional magic? Or maybe it works by people misinterpreting things that are already there- a bundle of sticks in the corner becomes a horrifying monster, etc. Maybe the bard makes a supernaturally realistic painting out of improvised materials.
Sleep -  Can't be cast in, but basically works retroactively- for example, guards have a better-than-average chance of being asleep ALREADY when you try to sneak by.
Speak with Animals - He says he likes me better :)
Thunderwave - You shred a riff SO AGGRO it sends opponents staggering backwards clutching their ears
Unseen Servant - also kinda boring

To be clear, this IS all magic- it can be dispelled, countered, etc. It's not even that hard to notice necessarily, especially if it KEEPS HAPPENING. It just doesn't really originate from the bard, like a wizard storing spells in their skull, it more like originates AROUND the bard- like a big puppy following them around. At higher levels, the magic becomes more overtly... magic. And the cross-class spells the Lore bard gets (in 5e) are just that- wizard spells, sorcerer spells, etc, and are cast as such.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Mystic: GLOG class

I've been sitting on this post for awhile, but Goblin Punch's recent post has me spooked since he mentioned publishing a cleric class, and I don't want this to be TOTALLY redundant when posted. So I'm posting it now, even though some of the spells aren't written up yet- I;ll fix it up later ;)

Religion comes up a lot in my games. There are small gods running around in everyone's business, there's the far-reaching power of the Church. My players love shouting 'praise
Zulin' (even the tree-worshipper, I guess he does it ironically?)

But if I'm going to eventually trick them into playing the GLOG, I'll have to have a good 'cleric' type ruleset. Plus, it seems like one of the major projects for that design space that's not a solved game. Hopefully it will prove to eventually be as useful and adaptable as Skerples' wizard rework
As well as the abovementioned and linked blogs, this owes inspiration to Last Gasp Grimoires mystic, although my version is a little more... restrained.

Mystic Class

Starting skills and equipment vary by the mystic's Religion

Starting Equipment: chainmail, shield, mace, holy symbol
Starting Skill: [d3]: 1. History, 2. Scripture, 3. Commerce
A: +1 Faith, Miracles, Religion

B: +1 Faith, -1 Doubt
C: +1 Faith, -1 Doubt
D:  -1 Doubt
, Divine Inspiration

You also gain a +1 to Save vs Unholy and +1 HP for every two Cleric templates you possess.

Your faith is represented by d8s, similar to a wizards spellcasting dice. Faith dice do not deplete on rolls of 1 or 2. Your Doubt is represented by d6s. There are four of these at first level, with one being removed for each additional template gained, as shown on the above table. When you make a spellcasting roll to invoke a miracle, you roll as many Faith dice as you would like to invest, and all of your Doubt together. Doubt does not contribute to the result of the spell, it only exists to trigger doubles and triples. On a double, the spell fails, and the mystic gains an additional point of doubt. On a triple, the mystic has been Forsaken.

Excess Doubt can be removed with prayer, fasting, and other rituals, which takes at least an hour for each point of doubt to be removed.

Design note: This is the basic mechanic, which I'm most proud of. I'm awful at estimating probability curves, but if FEELS like it shouldn't be too much less/more powerful than the wizard's spellcasting method, and it should be different enough that it won't be a strictly better/worse situation even if it's a little off. 


When you pray, your god sends you miracles in the form of spells to help you over the next day. You get one miracle per mystic template you have. Your god picks them, not you, so roll for what you get randomly, unless it's extremely obvious what you'll need (water walk if you're planning on crossing a river). You can petition for specific miracles by making a meditation check, offering a sacrifice, etc. You can always choose to take one of your religion's domain spells, instead of one of the spells you roll. 

You can also use scrolls, wands, etc, the same as a wizard. Arcane and divine magic are effectively interchangeable, once they're in item form. Mystics tend to have prayer beads and other more religiously-themed tools, but they work the same.

Design notes: I'm not 100% on the rando thing, but I *do* like the idea of preventing players taking 20 minutes deciding on their spells. Probably at the table, I'd let them pick whatever they wanted to a certain extent, as long as they had it off the top of their head- as soon as they start reading, I start rolling

Forsaken: When a mystic pushes their god too far, demands too much, they may be abandoned by their god. When this happens, they cannot cast mystic spells until they have won or wormed their way back into their god's good graces (or found another religion). The method of regaining favour varies by religion, but it should be no small task, and in some rare cases may be impossible if the god is really fed up. In addition, every time a mystic is Forsaken, they gain a point of Madness.

Design note: I like the idea of cleric's occasionally getting fed up and switching gods. I think some religions will have slightly more 'attractive' rites, or maybe signing bonuses, to encourage conversion. 
also, I want to facilitate moments where priests are falling on their knees screaming at the heavens 'why hast thou forsaken me' and this seems a step in the right direction

Religions: As a mystic, you belong to a religion or tradition. One is detailed here, the Priest of the Authority. More to follow.

If you switch religions, you gain a permanent point of doubt. This doesn't stack, so once you've bailed on one religion, you can just keep doing it! Probably don't tell anyone though, it'll make you seem less trustworthy

This makes conversion LESS attractive. I guess I like the idea of players having to weigh these sorts of choices

Your religion determines what miracles you are granted, what your crisis of faith might look like, and so on. They also come with a set of boons, taboos, and orisons (minor prayers that produce more consistent spell effects)

Divine Inspiration: Once per game session, the mystic can replace a miracle they know with another one of their choice. At the DM's discretion, this may include miracles from other spell lists.

Note on Spellcasting Mechanics: In addition to the [sum] and [dice] mechanics in the core GLOG spellcasting, I'm introducing the [best] mechanic. In this, you take the best result (or the result of your choice) out of any single die you invested in the spell.

Volcano Cultist

Boons: Once per day, you can sacrifice a living creature or a work of art to the flame to ignore your Doubt for one spellcasting roll.
Taboos: You must have a living flame (at least a red-hot coal) in order to cast spells.

1. Spend 1 hp to create flame. Lights a flammable object on fire, or deals 1d10 damage to a creature on a successful attack roll.2. You can sift ashes to tell what they originally were, even reading text from burned books. 3. You can meditate to ignore fire damage from passive/terrain effects (iron bathhouses, red hot coals, etc)


1. Scorching Rays. You create 1 ray for each die you invest in this spell. Roll to attack with each ray, they each deal [best]+[dice] damage. You can split the attacks among targets, or aim them all at one target, as you see fit.

2. Ash Cloud. Cloud [dice]x10 ft across, deals [dice] fire damage a turn and anyone in the cloud except caster is blinded and must save or spend turn coughing (no action, can still move as normal)

3. Enfeeblement. Range: Touch. 
Target looses [sum] points of Strength. If you invest 3 or more dice, the loss is permanent until the curse is broken- Dispel magic means the strength drain returns at a rate of 1 point per hour, Remove Curse restores it all back immediately.

4. Speak to the Blaze

5. Darkvision 
You or a creature you touch









14. Light
Written up here


16. Speak with Dead

17. Burning Hands
Range: [dice]x10‘ cone  Duration: Instantaneous

Does [best] damage to anything in the cone. Save for half damage. Very flammable things are set on fire. 


Priest of the Authority

Boons: You don't get dirty, grimy, bloodstained, unless you want to. Blood and mud still splashes on you, it just doesn't stay for very long. You are legally (and magically) allowed to act as a judge, if no other authority is present.Taboos: You cannot break a promise you willingly make. 
1. You can separate things that have been mixed together (grain and sand, milk and wine, etc). This takes a full round for each cubic foot of material being effected.2. When you speak the truth, you can pay 1 hp to have a listener KNOW that you're speaking the truth3. Once per day, for a minute, you can act as if you could see, regardless of darkness, blindness, etc. You can't actually see, but the hand of the Authority guides your steps.


1. Purify
R: 50 ft. T: creature or creatures D: instantaneous
You flush all toxins, poisons, and diseases from up to [best] number of creatures.

2. Sticks to Snakes. 
A bundle of sticks transform into snakes.The snakes attack and take damage as a group. The snakes deal [best] damage and they have [sum] HP. They occupy a [dice]x10 ft square which they share with other creatures, though they count as difficult terrain for any creature that might trip over or get bitten by them, and they can attack up to [dice]x2 number of creatures within that area. They will not attack the caster or very pious churchgoing characters, but otherwise do no differentiate between friend and foe.

3. Abominate
Written up here

4. Command
Written up here

5. Heal
Written up here

6. Sleep
Written up here

7. Gust of Wind
R: 50’ T: a gust of wind D: concentration 
At one [die], use wind to (a) clear away fog or gas, (b) extinguish a fire no larger than a torch, (c) blow all the papers off a desk, (d) with concentration, provide enough of a breeze to power a tiny sailboat. At two [dice], creatures in the area must Save or be pushed in the direction of the wind, up to [best]x5 feet.

8. Zone of Truth

9. Circle of Protection

10. Detect Evil

11. Binding

12. Banishment
Written up here

13. Sending

14. Light

15. Water Walk

Written up here

16. Speak with Dead

Written up here

21. Light
Written up here

22. Hold Person. 
R: 50' T: creature D: concentration, up to [sum] rounds
Target creature or object is locked in place by divine force. You must maintain concentration for this spell to work. Target can breathe and move their eyes, but cannot swim, fly, or perform any other action. If the creature is particularly willful, blasphemous, or a spellcaster, it may Save each round to break free, with a penalty equal to the [dice] you invested.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Faerie and the Long Earth

There are nigh-infinite iterations of the world, spread out across the multiverse like pearls sewn into lace. Not all of them are real, though.

Reality and Unreality
'Realness' is a property of the universe, like time or matter. Some things are real (like dragons), some are unreal (like illusions or gremlins), and most things fall somewhere in the middle (humans are about 80% real).

Unreal things can have all the other properties, such as mass, inertia, shape, although frequently they are lacking one or more of those things (Real things must have ALL the properties of Realness, while Unreal things are less fettered). But they are unstable, they flicker, warp, and dissolve. Few unreal things last more than a day, more often they pop as soon as they would undergo a change, since there is nothing to anchor their existence through such an experience.

Every time you flip a coin, turn left instead of right, you create another iteration of the universe where the other outcome occurred. But none of those are real. There is only finite energy, finite information to 'render' and maintain all of the unused versions of a path. All around the central causality, the world we all experience, there are soap-bubble like fragments of probability; jam-packed and nearly solid near the centre, and then spreading out into misty shards as you get into less plausible 'what-ifs'. The Material Worlds hurtle through non-existence, pulling the possible into being, dragging the improbable in their wake like smoke, before discarding the impossible back into the void.

But all those little scraps of unreality have to go somewhere.

Overmorrow & Ereyester
You can walk out into the shoals and sandbars of realness, wander through the might-bes and might-have-beens. Soothsaying techniques use this to a limited extent, looking out across this archipelago by flattening out a map sketched in guts or bones or runes or cards. But with the right twist of magic, you can step out of This Place, and into one of the side corridors. You can even go there physically, unlike the purely psychological landscape of the Dreaming. You might not even notice when you step over the border.

The near places are very similar to your own. You can see what might have happened if you'd made a different choice. You can peek into the room ahead of you, to see what lurks there. You can bring a little bit of that timeline back with you, with the right magic, for a little. As you get further away, specific iterations get harder to find. The bubble-realities further out start to warp and get weird, merge into each other and dissolve.

If you go far enough, by the right roads, you might step off the islands and into another kingdom. The land of Overmorrow lies in the future, east of the sun. Ereyester lies in the past, west of the moon. These are lands apart, gathered up from the fragments of cast off timelines, like the shell of a caddisfly nymph

Over the eons, peoples have settled these timelost realms, fleeing into unreality when their own worlds fell into shadow. These are the Elves, Gnomes, and other Fey folk- as well as the Raksha, the true fae, who are children of Unreality itself, and the destroyed world they fled the nonexistent one.

Not all realms have peoples wise enough to know the Ways, hidden behind mirrors and across streams, and not all who can find the Ways survive their wanderings. But of those who do, many make the journey across the Long Earth, and find their way to the realms of Annwn.

The Abyss
Throughout the eons, the legions of demons, voracious monsters who gnaw on the fabric of reality, have boiled out of their dimensions and destroyed world after world. Scholars believe there were once thousands, perhaps millions, but now there are only five- and of those, two are unreality-scoured wastelands. Perhaps there are more, but they are lost in the mists.

The Abyss, once crafted as a prison, constantly grows by the hunger of these monsters, pushing ever outward, chipping at the roof of hell.

The Long Earth
Between the five known Material worlds lies a path. A twisting and changing chain, but one that can
be walked by those with the right skill. Called the Green by some, for all of these mayfly worlds have never seen the axe or the sickle. While the worlds come and go, the trees seem to have a wisdom and a Reality all of their own, persisting between iterations, growing strong alongside the path the runs through the Great Forest between worlds. It is along these ways that the elves first walked, when they made their way to Annwn.

the Dreaming
There is only one Dreaming. All the little realities connect to it. There might be a million, a billion iterations of you, but you only ever have one dream. Why do you think it sometimes seems like, when you dream, your memories of your waking life seem to belong to somebody else?

Monday, 19 November 2018

Alignment Languages Redux

I like alignment languages.

There, I said it. At least, I like the idea of them. The concept of a fundamental, cosmic language, writ on the souls of mortals and into the very fabric of the universe? Sign me up!

One of my favourite elements I noticed in a recent watch-through of Fellowship of the Ring is how they dont translate the black speech. They just kinda intone sinister sounding things and leave it at that. Now, being the huge nerd that I am, I sometimes have an idea of the gist of what they are saying, but it's still mysterious as fuck.

I wrote in this post about using the idea of a 'Common' language as a kind of magic tongue. But let's expand on this.

Abati is 'Neutral' with a capital 'N'- that is, it's a 'natural' language, in the sense of natural philosophy. It springs up everywhere, like norse runes, just lying around in the patterns of sticks on the ground, in the flight of birds, in the way the river carves the landscape. It's inscribed on every atom of the universe, like the ten commandments on a slab of stone. There are many different varieties, based on the biology and culture of the interpreter (because that's what speakers essentially are- they're speaking a language that already existed). The 'elemental languages' Terran, Ignan, Aquan, and Auran are non-human forms of this language.
                          How to describe it spoken: to non-speakers, it sounds familiar, like maybe you've heard it every day of your life and just can't quite remember. It feels like if you just concentrated hard enough, you could figure it out- and in fact, sufficiently 'mystically attuned' characters might be able to make a concentration or meditation-type check to grasp a few key words or the gist of a sentence. However, it takes a lifetime to unravel the full language, and there's always more to learn.
                        Because of this, and because of the language's universal nature, many speakers develop inflections, vocabularies, and whole dialects of the language, which reflect their own nature and being. Most of the time, this is just an accent, but in it's extreme form this gives rise to Alignment Languages.

Cosmic good and evil: imagine if the question of whether you were a good person wasn't simply a measure of ethics. If the nature of a person was stamped indelibly on a person's soul, for anyone with wise enough eyes to read. Where, in extreme cases, not only the persons past actions, but their future ones, figure into this universal evaluation.

This is kind of like the anti lovecraft ...but only kinda. At a certain point, whatever is making this decision is so far removed from human experience, you have to wonder if it's version of evil really meaningfully relates to any human priority or understanding at all. It's not optimizing for 'good' or 'justice' it's optimizing for something humans aren't capable of understanding. Unlike lovecraft, where the universe fundamentally doesn't care about humans, where we're just too small, in this formulation the universe cares hugely - but not necessarily in a way humans would find 'meaningful' because 'meaning' is a human hobby

But, humans being humans, I'm sure such a force would still massively influence culture, religion, and understanding of morality. After all, it might not be meaningful, but it's testable.

The Way of Nine Swords: the Church absolutely believes in alignment, but there's is a more old-school view. There are but three alignments: Law, Neutrality, and Chaos. The 'heresy of the Nine Swords' is a grave slip into sin in the eyes of the church. The nine swords philosophers contend that there are nine alignments, each as perilous to mortals as a sword. Like a sword, a person's alignment can be studied and mastered, but such a path is a burden, like the burden of a warrior, and not to be taken up or turned aside from lightly. The Church condemns this as obfuscating acts of iniquity: what the Nine Swords monks call 'Chaotic Good' is simply someone slipping away from the true path of morality, their soul tainted by chaos (but perhaps not permanently- the Church is very adept at conversions)

What do the Elves think? Non-humans don't have much truck for all of this. Elves see themselves as above all this rigmarole, although they ALSO see themselves as intrinsically Good (in whatever manner is most fashionable these days in the courts of the Fey). Dwarves insist there are five alignments, although they refuse to elaborate more on what that means. Elves care more about Beauty vs Ugliness (and elf characters should have an alignment based on such), and Dwarves care about things like Work, Honour, and Tradition. Other beings have likewise varying preoccupations. Most human-like beings do mostly understand what humans are going on about when it comes to morals, ethics, good and evil, etc, they just think we're a little obsessed with it, in the same way Elves are kind of overly preoccupied with Beauty. And just as there are humans who don't 'get' art (a failing no elf has ever suffered from), there are elves who don't 'get' morality.

There should be a lot of Alignment Languages
More than there are alignments, by a long shot. Make room for culturally specific variations. It always bugged me that vanilla D&D has Sylvan and Druidic and Elven all as separate languages. Not anymore!

Druidic is a language that is attempting to get rid of language. Based on Shalk, a language that sings in the blood of those born with it, it uses Abati loan words to convey as much meaning in as few words as possible, especially avoiding nouns, and avoiding names almost completely. Part of the language is one of signs, both gestural, in the lynx-like shrug of the shoulders, and physical, in the acorn tucked in the crook of a pine tree, left as a sign to another speaker of the nonlanguage. Much of the language is comprised of periods of silence.

Sylvan is the alignment language of the Fey. When the elves were exiled and fled into the Long Earth, they found many similar exiles there: gnomes, sprites, and nature spirits such as dryads, who call the Green Lands their home. Tuathan is the non-alignment language spoken by Eladrin today, Elvish is for Elves, Bolgish is for Firbolg (the cousins of the Eladrin), etc.

And then there should be other languages: one for Paladins, Thieves Cant for those CN types. Sounds like there's some material here for another post

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Training Rules for Downtime

Credits go to goblin punch, ten foot polemic, necropraxis, and many others, for providing the basis for these rules

Players kept asking about training so I had to bang something out really quick so we'd ask have something to reference

Ok so here goes, training rules - draft 1

These all require a ‘Haven Turn.’

Training Score: Sometimes, the training rules will tell you to ‘roll training.’ When you do this, gain one training point, then roll a d20. If you roll equal or under your training score, you succeed! Take the thing. If you roll over, too bad, but you keep the training points.
If you have a trainer, you can add
their stat (usually Wisdom or Intelligence) to your training score, before you roll. The trainer bonus isn’t cumulative, and it doesn’t stick around if the trainer isn’t available next time you roll.
Training points are flexible. If you start training at punching goats, but then realize before you’
re done that punching ninjas is better, that’s fine. If you switch from training at punching to training at magicking, tho, you’ll have to start over from scratch. Also, you can only have one pool of training points going at a time.

Ability testing: Sometimes, the training rules will tell you to ‘roll dex’ or ‘roll intelligence’ or some other ability score. When you do this, roll a d20, and if the result is equal to or lower than that ability score, you succeed! Take the thing. If not, too bad, you get nothing.

Here are some basic applications of the training action:

Get a Rando ability: For if you just want a cool thing, but you’re not fussed which thing. All the random advancement tables can be found here, there’s a lot of them and you don’t get to read through them first. Roll the primary ability for the class you’re trying to gain an ability for. You can only have one of these per HD that you have. Please keep track of this.

Get a feat: 5e feats are too powerful, but luckily they’re broken up into little pieces, so you can get them one at a time. Roll training. You can still get feats at the regular level increments.

Increase an ability score: Roll training and roll OVER the ability you’re trying to level (the better you get, the harder it is to progress further). I might change this if it seems too strong, or make them temporary boosts, but I’m also planning on including more stat-drain type effects, so it might balance out <3

Gain a skill/tool: Roll training.

Saving throws: For each of these, you have to roll training, plus a specific ability score assigned to each save.
  • Death – roll wisdom
  • Doom – roll charisma
  • Destruction – roll strength
  • Poison – roll constitution
  • Law – roll wisdom
  • Chaos – roll charisma
Weapon Mastery: To do this you need to have a certain number of kills with the weapon. At 10, 30, and 100 kills, you can train to get another special ability. Roll the stat for that weapon. Example special abilities can be found here.

Spellcraft: Creating a new spell requires that you first write out the spell, then roll (your spellcasting ability). Longer, more involved spell creation may actually be a Project.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Starting Gear - first four

In the 5e game I run, replacement characters etc start at 5th level. The median party level is probably around 8 or 10, so that's a significant bump down, but it's also at the point where the Backgrounds in the Player's Handbook don't always cut it. Plus, and this is the real headache, character creation takes way too long. Stuff like this 'retroactive backstory' table speed things along, but not enough.

I'm almost tempted to make people start at level one, but I know I'd have a  mutiny on my hands (perfectly justifiable at this point in the campaign)

So instead, I want to make 'Level 5' as much like 'Level 1' as possible. This will include beefed up backgrounds, semi-randomized starting gear and magic items, and set spell lists for wizards and their ilk- so you're a 5th level wizard, well I can just hand you a spell list, I guess that was on the curriculum. And you can tweak it from there

Not all of this is binding of course, customization is encouraged, but this way you don't have to hem and haw over stuff you don't care about (you can keep your valuable hemming and hawing to stuff you really do care about!), and anyway, 5th-level characters need some place in the world, otherwise how did they get to 5th level? That's the added advantage, it gives a chance to embed context and world building into the character creation process

Here are the first four- I'm aiming for at least eight or twelve, and Backgrounds to go with them, but I'm writing kinda slow at the moment so I figure I better just get these out there for starters

Legionnaire's Pack
depending on your standing with the army, you might have kinda sorta 'stolen' these items when you were discharged. Or maybe you were gifted them in honor of your excellent service! Probably stolen, tho.

  • Armour of the Legion- slightly mechanized armour, AC 16, grants advantage on Athletics checks (also disadvantage on swimming, because of the encumbrance)
  • Legionaire's Helm, provides reverse-telepathy (others can send messages to you, you can block them out if you choose)
  • Magetouched sword - minor enchantment, counts as magic but that's about it. Immune to most damage, especially acid and fire. Appears to be made of a strange grey ceramic material. Has a rune near the crossgaurd that you can command to glow, as a candle. 
  • Jump Boots- 4 charges, return in an hour. Spend 1 charge to cast jump.

Tower Mage 
used by the official, kinda stuffy charter mages

  • Beautiful robes that denote your school and rank. Warded to give you a +1 to AC and to all saving throws.
  • A brass-tipped staff, which functions as a spell focus, and lets you know fireball and can cast it once per day without using a spell slot.
  • A belt with several raven and owl feathers and strings of beads hung from it, used as impromptu foci for spells. 
  • A pouch filled with little bundles of rocks, when thrown creates a cloud of incense smoke, most wizards use this to obscure escape. 1d4 depletion die.
  • The Charter of the Arcane, a book of fussy magical rules that you're supposed to memorize.

Adept of Zulin
priests and particularly religious people
  • Small blue pet snake. Likes to live in your sleeves or sit on top of your head, which you probably keep shaved for this purpose.
  •  Incense of dream-binding: can bind any spirit into a dream, provided the dreamer stays asleep. A dreamer must be properly trained to a degree appropriate for the power of the spirit, and several properly trained dreamers can share responsibilities.
  • Staff of Holding- Enchanted to count as magic and cold iron. Can switch between +2 attack and +2 defence as a bonus action. Weilder knows hold person and can cast it 1/day without using a spell slot. Also works like a bag of holding, but can only hold light or negligible items (items appear and disappear from weilder's hand, when they're holding the staff)
  • Prayer Beads (roll three times, can have duplicates): 1-Purify Food and Drink; 2- Calm Emotions; 3- Detect Evil and Good; 4- Gentle Repose; 5- Zone of Truth; 6- Sanctuary. Spells can be cast from the beads as a bonus action, once cast they can't be used again until the adept prays over them at the next dawn.

Azure Pirate
There are many scoundrels in the world, but you are one of the most feared
  • Gold earring- worth 2 gp, but you won't sell it because it's supposed to pay for your funeral or disability retirement.
  • Eyepatch with an eye design embroidered into it-prevents you from being blinded by light effects, and lets you see in dim light as if it were brightly lit
  • Cutlass of sky-blue metal, can be commanded mentally to float in water, slightly corrosive so kept in a ceramic sheath, has 4 charges and can expend a charge on a hit to 'tag' a target with acid, dealing 2d4 damage every turn for a minute, or until washed off by alcohol or seawater.
  • Feather Token (roll 3 times, keeping duplicates): 1- Control Weather (Fog); 2- Call Wind; 3- Shark; 4- Wings; 5- Phoenix Down; 6- Rogue Wave; 7- Feather Fall; 8- Sympathy

Monday, 29 October 2018



Some Relevant Links.

I know I know, it's kind of blasphemy converting OSR things into 5e things, but it's what my players are into. Just think of it as the OSRification of 5e, if it makes you feel more comfortable.

Yellow Slaad
Medium Aberration, CN
AC 14 (natural armour)
HP 45 (6d8+18)
Speed 30 ft, swim 20 ft
STR16(+2) DEX 12(+1) CON16(+3)
INT 9(-1) WIS 6(-2) CHA7(-3)
Skills: Athletics +4, Perception +1
Resistances: Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning, Thunder
Senses: Darkvision 60, PP 11
Languages: Slaadi, Telepathy 60 ft
CR 2 (450 xp)

Zone of Chaos. 50 feet radius centered on the Slaad. Whenever a non-slaad within the zone declares an action, they must instead choose two unrelated actions, and flip a coin to determine which one they actually do.
Schism. Turns into 2 Orange Slaad when reduced to 0 hp.
Abiosis. Requires 30 people. Can turn into nothing larger than a cottage, nor worth more than 1,000 coin.

Multiattack. The salad makes one large and one small claw attack.
Large Claw, Melee Weapon Attack, 1d12+3
Small Claw 1d6+3

Orange Slaad
Medium Aberration, CN
AC 13 (natural armour)
HP 27 (5d8+5)
Speed 30 ft, swim 20 ft
STR15(+2) DEX 14(+2) CON13(+1)
INT 6(-2) WIS 6(-2) CHA14(+2)
Skills: Perception +1
Resistances: Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning, Thunder
Senses: Darkvision 60, PP 11
Languages: Slaadi, Telepathy 10 ft
CR 1 (200 xp)


Innate Spellcasting The slaad is a 5th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 12, +4 to hit with spell attacks). The slaad can innately cast the of the following spells, requiring no components:
At Will: randomize object

1/day; has one of these spells determined randomly: 1- enter chaos, 2- chaos bolt, 3- shatter.

Schism. Turns into 2 Pink Slaad when reduced to 0 hp. Pink slaad have stats
Abiosis. Requires 10 people. Can turn into nothing larger than a cart, nor worth more than 100 coin.
Standing Leap. The slaad's long jump is up to 20 feet and its high jump is up to 10 feet, with or without a running start.

Bite. +4, 1d8+2 damage

Pink Slaad
Small Aberration, CN
AC 11 
HP 13 (3d6+3)
Speed 20 ft, swim 20 ft
STR 8(-1) DEX 12(+1) CON10(+0)
INT 5(-3) WIS 6(-2) CHA8(-1)
Skills: Acrobatics +3
Resistances: Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning, Thunder
Senses: Darkvision 60, PP 8
Languages: Understand Slaadi, but only speak gibberish at best
CR 1/8 (25 xp)


Death Burst. When the slaad dies, it explodes in a burst of chaotic energy. Each Medium or smaller creature within 5 feet of it must succeed on a DC 11 Dexterity saving throw or be effected. The effects are determined randomly, unless one would be particularly hilarious. 1- red light, blinded. 2- white noise, deafened; 3- pink goop, restrained; 4- green slime, 1d8 acid damage/round; 5- black goop, poisoned. The effects last for 1 minute, or until the target makes a successful save at the end of one of their turns.

Schism. Turns into 2 lumpy black pearls, worth 10 coin each
Abiosis. Can turn into nothing larger than a sword, nor worth more than 10c
Nimble Movement. The slaad does not provoke attacks of opportunity from characters who are adjacent to one of the slaad's allies

Bite. +3, 1d6+1 damage
Spit: +3, range 15 ft, 1d4+1 damage.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Thirteen signs of the Xodiac

Of Blue Dome of Heaven

The great Authority is the sky-god, vast as the tangled grey-green wold below him.

The sun and the Opal Moon operate in tandem in the heavens of Isult- the Moon even deigns to tarry in the sky during the several days of the festivals. Not so the Xaos Moon, which charts it's nigh-unpredictable course, nor the Shadow moon, which moves methodically but by secret paths. The Verdant moon, known by some as the Sojourner for it's recent arrival in the skies, passes quickly across the sky, sometimes visible three times a night, for only a few minute's time as it makes its transit.

As the Opal moon passes through it's great cycle, it visits each of the great houses of the stars, and the influence of their dance is known in the hearts of mortals. Also imprinted is the fiery heart of the red moon, and the mysterious secrets of the ebon moon, as well as many other unfathomable things...

Xodiac Signs
  1. Orion (and Limax!)
  2. Draco (the dragon)
  3. Eridnu (the city /archway /River)
  4. Pliades (the dancers)
  5. Kimori (pegasus)
  6. Gleipnir (the chain)
  7. Ophiucus (the sepent-bearer)
  8. Sirius (the doggo!)
  9.  Apis (the bee)
  10.  Adrestia (the Nemesis)
  11.  Vasuki (the peacock)
  12.  Cetus (the sea monster) 
  13. Merak (the Bear)
How to find out your character's astrological sign? Roll 1d13! Roll once for your sun sign, once each for however many moons you have, etc.

Orion traits: impetuous, resourceful, self - sufficient, martyr
Water sign
                      Limax traits: Limax is a slug!

   Creatures of enormity, an Orion does nothing in half measures. Although cunning and aware of their surroundings, their disregard for tradition, dignity, and the bounds of society often leads them down a blind path. In many ways, they are the trailblazers of the Xodiac. They seek out things in the darkness, where others would fear to go. However bad things seem, whatever the punishments heaped upon them, Orions persevere, seeking the next step on the path, and their next quarry. 

Draco: Multifaceted, obsessive, responsibile, stoic, petty
Fire sign

Dracian personalities bend towards the megalomaniac, magnanimous, larger than life types. In fact, reality seems to bend around them, and they often seem like the most real things in the room! The Dragon's delusions of grandeur are often superseded when the illusion turns out to be a reality, and thus people born under this sign often find they've bitten off more than they can chew- not that this will stop them from taking yet another bite. Despite their egocentrism, they often find themselves tackling other people's problems, especially when those difficulties are particularly sprawling- Dracians have no concept of mission creep.

Eridnu: worldly, psychopomp, transforms, methodical, messy, unconcerned
Earth Sign

Eridniuns give off an air of being absolutely bored by everything, and interested in anything that comes their way at the same time. They are great collectors, whether of objects, ideas, or people, and because of this they are seldom taken aback when an unusual specimen comes along- they've seen it all before. Although they can be clinical and detached, they're not afraid to get their hands dirty to get the work done. While they like variety in all things, they tend to dislike travelling, and are creatures of routine.

Pliades: playful, dedicated, graceful, careful, push boundaries, seek harmony
Air Sign

Poise and timing are the secret behind the mysterious smile of the Dancer. Despite struggle and strain to navigate the maelstorm of life, Pliadians seem to soar effortlessly as a leaf on the wind. Community-minded, Pliadians are always conscious of where other members of their circles are headed, paying attention to the rhythms and patterns that govern human events far more than conscious thoughts. Despite this, they can be meticulous planners- they know that to balance such subtle currents, every step matters.

Cetus: Deep, hidden, idleness, charitable, prudent,
Water Sign

Few people ever witness the true reach and potential of a Cetian, yet their influence can be felt everywhere, looming beneath the surface. Acting always with an air of inevitability, Whales hate most the prying eyes and thoughts of those who think only on the surface of things, not plumbing the depths of thought and emotion as they do. When Cetians choose to make a statement, they are nearly impossible to ignore. They are extremely patient and take the long view of everything, but at the same time they are prone to obsessive projects of vengeance, from which they will not be swayed.

Apis: Community, industrious, groupthink, aesthetic, pastoral
 Fire Sign

Always on the lookout for the next score, aesthetic delight, or problem to solve, the Bees never seem to stop working. This is partly an illusion, for they're always ready to slow down and smell the flowers, and they dedicate themselves to rest and leisure with the same gusto they put into work. Still, they can be anxious or high strung, as if they see even relaxing as a competition. While they enjoy solo projects from time to time, they like nothing more than bringing their discoveries into a team setting, and they often have trouble making decisions without one or two (or eight or ten) colleagues to sign off on it.

Gleipnir: ruler, indespensible, presumptuous, generous, steadfast, deceptively strong
Earth Sign

Resilient personalities, unorthodox methods, Gleipnirians are used to having the final say in everything. They know that the chain is only as strong as the weakest link, and they both look to exploit that, and ensure their interests are secure. Nothing gives a Gleipnirians more joy than winning one over on a long-term enemy, whether through a combination of impossible solutions. Strength, gile, or both, and once they have the upper hand they are unrelenting. They pride themselves on being flexible, but in fact you can only push them so far before they will refuse to budge- it's not 'their way or the high way,' it's just their way.

Kimori: team player, flighty, generous, pure,

 Air Sign

Pacifists with a saviour complex typifies Kimoris well. Consummate travellers, they crave change and can feel sick and stifled if not able to access the freedom they need. Although bravery rarely fails them, they lack initiative, and will often act aimlessly (though nobly) or lash out, unless given proper direction and guidance. Not just any leader will do, however, for they are extremely critical of authority, and however much they may crave stucture, they will tear down any unjust wall, and happily cut off their nose to spite their face, if it means gaining the 'moral' high ground.

Ophiuchus: healer/poisoner, sisyphian tasks, balance, challenging orthodoxy
Aether/metal/wood Sign

Ophidians see the world as made up of opposing yet complementary forces. This balance is constantly unraveling, and is rebuilt- a contradiction that the Snakes exemplify in their own lives. They can seem like they are perhaps being deliberately mysterious- while this is true, they can scarcely help it, any more than they could put aside whatever great struggle or cause they've taken up. Although normally soft-spoken, they abhor when things are truly easy, believing every moment of happiness enjoyed now must be paid back with some misery later. Their quiet demeanor melts away when it comes to rabble-rousing oratory, which they use to lance the boil within the human spirit.

Sirius: Loyal, irrepressible, optimistic, observant, fawning,
Air Sign

The enthusiasm of a Sirian knows no bounds. They will follow you to the ends of the earth, and they will never give up on a friend. Despite their goodwill, they can be naive, and if misled can seem brutish or ill-mannered- in fact, all Sirians have a tendency to eschew things like table manners, conversational timing, and the like. Similarly, if neglected or cruelly treated, they can become cruel loners. They are extremely impressionable, but nonetheless astute students of human character. Out of all the signs, they are the most likely to be TRYING to do the right thing, although they are not much more likely than most to be close to achieving it.

Adrestia: Oppositional, defiant, mirroring, impressionable, intuitive, skeptical
Water Sign

It can be almost impossible to tell when an Adresti is in the room with you- they blend into the crowd, or mirror people around them. Charismatic Adresti make this seem natural, but it can have a kind of 'uncanny valley' effect. Since this is primarily a reflexive process, it can be hard to turn off, and even they don't always know what they're really thinking- in a way, they really are the ever-changing reflection. When their wrath comes, it is all the more menacing, since their judgement seems to stem from within the mind of the person they consider unworthy. They can be very judgmental, especially since they often become better at 'being' the other person than the originals themselves ever were.

Vasuki: Vain, watchful, magnetic, finicky,
Fire Sign

Resplendent and impossible to miss, Vasukis seem to exist as if to prove that life can be beautiful. In the main, they succeed. No one can unite the mundane with the transcendent like one of these strutting birds. They reject ugly things, but seek to find beauty in the very real elements of the world, looking for the divine close to home: painting, dancing, swordplay. Some Vasuki fall prey to their excess, turning to drinking, gambling, and other worldly pleasures, but even then they inject a kind of poetry into it all.

Merak: prepared, undeterred, patient, formidable, territorial, moody
Earth Sign

The bears of the xodiac, Meraks are independent and make their own way. They are absolute lord over whatever room they're in, but their interest drops off quickly beyond whatever immediate horizon presents itself. They don't concern themselves with if, ands, or buts, and instead simply prepare for the exact problem they know is coming, be it war or winter. It is hard to change their minds about anything, but they allow themselves to adapt as they see fit. They often care most deeply about their family, and anyone or anything under their protection will be well cared for, whether it likes it or not, though they value all independence not only their own.

Bard Spells

Do bards really know what they're doing? Do they even 100% know they're 'doing magic?' I mean, being around them is magical,...