Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Detect Magic Variants

Going to make up another neat little chapbook once I have enough of spell variants.

Detect Magic is boring. There's no story there. I recommend using it as a template, and altering it to be more interesting. Some examples follow.


Wizard Eyes

1st-level divination (ritual)
Casting Time: 1 action
Duration: Varies
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (Kalamanthis or equivalent)

You open your awareness to the presence of magic in the world. This can have a deleterious effect on your mind.

For the duration, you see images that reflect the spirit world and the true nature behind all things. You might see an imp-like demon attached to someone’s ear for a charm spell, or note a river of blood beneath your feet that channels power to a fell purpose.

You sometimes have trouble telling what is ‘real.’ Make a roll-under Wisdom check whenever this is tested, with a -1 penalty for each time you’ve used this today.

The spell (and hallucinations) last until you make a successful Charisma saving throw to dismiss it. You may attempt to do this as an action on your turn.

If the caster lacks the material component, they can meditate for 10 minutes (casting the spell as a ritual) to waive the requirement.

Tune Gemstones

1st-level divination (ritual)
Casting Time: 1 action per target
Duration: 1 hour
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (gemstones, see text)

For the duration, a number of gemstones of your choice will begin to glow if in the presence of a certain kind of magic. The kind of gem determines what magic triggers the glow- Ruby=evocation, Emerald=enchantment, opal=illusion, onyx=necromancy, sapphire=divination, pearl=transmutation, Amber=conjuration. The strength of the glow depends on the strength of the magic detected, from a flickering ember to as bright as a torch. Magic of 9th level or higher may cause the gem to crack, rendering it useless.


1st-level divination (ritual)
Casting Time: 1 action
Duration: 1 hour
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (a gold pendulum)

You enchant a pendulum that will swing in the direction of magical fields. Holding the pendulum in front of you will allow you to determine the direction and strength of the nearest magical field- trace, weak, minor, strong, and major. As an action, you can make a roll-under intelligence check tune it to a specific kind of magic, or to ignore a specific kind of magic.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Dungeon: the Fulgurite Pillars

My first posted dungeon! It shall not be the last.

Player o'mine: obviously, shove off. This one ain't FOR you!

I designed this as a hexcrawl feature for my players exploring the isle of dread. They came across a crater, and were wondering what made it. I had a vague idea, so I fleshed this out quickly before the next week's session. I originally ran it with just the drawing, no text. The notes are supposed to be short & usable at the table. I may do up an appendix later detailing more about the Glass Star and the crater, but...
I didn't include rules for radiation, but I'd use the one where exposure basically gives you -1 natural healing, permanently, plus Skeples supernatural mutation table if things get real bad. I can't remember where I got the -1 rule, someone let me know so I can link to it :)

Because some of the areas are kinda hard to describe, I found it useful to just show the map, with the as-yet unexplored areas covered. So here's a text-free version of the above image:

And here's another reference photo of fulgurite: what it looks like inside the dungeon. I imagine those walls are pretty difficult to climb.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Random Advancement (Robot)

Robots! Also works for homuculi, warforged, golems, etc (with a lil tweaking for flavour)

Previous random advancement tables by me: Human and Very Good Dog.

Compilation of tables can be found here, courtesy of the estimable Jeff Rients. I believe the original idea comes from Zak S.

by Phil Foglio

01-03: Can a robot learn.... to love? No. Well, not you. You're immune to emotional shenanigans, both magical and mundane.(by default robots aren't: flavour it like the magic is messing with their programming)
04-06: You're becoming more and more human, for better or for worse. Roll on the human table.
07-09: You're all tech-y and well travelled and stuff. Roll on the Traveller table.
10-12: This is some Pinocchio shit. Roll on the Fool table.
13-15: let's be honest, if you ended up as an adventurer, you were probably designed as a killbot. Roll on the fighter table.
16-17: You got more dynamos and wires added to your brainbox. Or maybe pins and needles, and now your brain is pretty SHARP. +2 Intelligence, +1 each time you roll this again
18-19: new understanding of these meat creatures who surround you makes you less hard to relate to. +1 Charisma
20-21: new understanding of what your existence really MEANS gives you +1 Wisdom
22-23: gotta upgrade that machinery sometime! +1 Strength
24-25: extra RAM and hard drive space (or like, mauve crystals of you're a magic robot) gives you +1 intelligence!
26-29: Mechanical reliability. Once per short rest, when you would roll a d20 you can instead just make it an 11 (plus whatever stuff you would add to that normally,ofc)
30-33: +1 AC. Stacks.
34: you have a little heads-up display or arm thingy. For each gemstone you install in it, you can detect a kind of magic. Ruby=evocation, Emerald=enchantment, opal=illusion, onyx=necromancy, sapphire=divination, pearl=transmutation, Amber=conjuration.
35: jet boots/pack. You can fly, but only for one turn at a time. If you reroll this, that's an extra turn you can stay up in the air.
36: extradimensional storage. As a built-in bag of holding.
37: "the possibility of successfully navigating this dungeon is approximately 3,720 to 1." You can calculate probability. You probably constantly spout depressing info like that, but once per session this translates to knowing the DC for a effect, the CR of a monster or challenge, the 'level' for a dungeon/adventure, or some other 'unknowable' DM-only metric of balance and design.
38: you've learned how to tell jokes. Gain the 'humour' skill, and the desire to use it at every opportunity.
39: Universal translator. Not actually universal, just programmed with a lot of languages. Easy (10-15) intelligence check when you encounter a new language to see if you already know it.
40-42: you can record sounds, voices, music, any play it back at will. Doesn't duplicate the effects of spells (or DOES it?). Rolling this again lets you capture video as well. And then... Smells?
43: you can finally identify birds. Gain the Identify Birds skill. Rolling this again means you can identify other critters too!
by Matt Dixon
44-46: every time you miss, you get a +1 attack and damage against that target, stacking til you hit it. Roll this again and it's +2, then +3, etc
47: You can emit an EMP that disables spells and robotics. Works as dispel magic, robots are effected as if by hold monster (but robots only) 1/day.
48-50: Flashlight eyes. If you get this again, you can use them to blind opponents by shining the light right in their faces (20-ft line, 5 ft wide; DC 8+proficiency+intelligence bonus). If you get this a third time, you can increase the light to deal 1d4 radiant damgage a round (no save, surprisingly useful to get around regeneration.)
51-52: Ablative armour. Attacks that deal less than (5+your level) in damage instead deal no damage to you. Rolling this again adds 5, then 2, then 1, to the total damage you can prevent
53: you have a flexible human suit or hologram that you can use to pass yourself off as human. If you're a big or weirdly shaped robot, to can fold yourself down to fit in your disguise.
54: you have a robot animal form you can assume. Pick from the druid wild shape table for a character of your level. You're still a robot when you're in that form, obvs.
55-56: machine gun. 2d6 damage in a ten-foot wide area, Dexterity saving throw for half damage. Rerolls of this add 1d6.
57-59: you're super solar powered! You get +1 to all ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws when you're in direct sunlight. Takes a few rounds to kick in and wear off, but only a few
60-61: you have an alchemical version of grease (an oil slick) and fog cloud, which you can deploy as a bonus action once per short rest
62-63: turbo-boosters give you the effect of Expeditious Retreat once per short rest.
64-65: you have an extra arm, it's like a utility-grasper. You can use it to hold stuff and manipulate things, but not for combat
66: you have befriended a small animal, like a mouse or a bird, that has made a nest inside of you or on your head. This doesn't let you communicate with it in any special way, but it ties to be helpful. Just having it around gives you a +1 to reaction rolls (cuz it's so cute) and +1 to initiative and perception checks (cuz it tries to warn you about stuff)
by Guillaume Menuel
67-69: you can read & memorize books and other written materials just by flipping through em really fast. You can mentally reference them for the information they contain. You can have a # of books stored equal to your intelligence SCORE- any books post that either replace a book of your choice, or impose a stacking -1 to all intelligence saves and checks.
70-71: self repair function. Once per short rest, when you take damage, you may gain a Repair point. As an action you may go into repair mode until the beginning of your next turn: your speed drops to 0, you get +2 AC, and you can't take reactions. You heal as if you'd cast cure wounds on yourself, as a cleric equal to your level.
72: you have a wireless transmitter that lets you communicate with other robots within 100 ft. Non robots can get a special chip implantef in their brain that lets you communicate with them too. This costs 25 coin, and hopefully a medical professional.
73-75: taser! As the cantrip shocking grasp. Rolling this again adds another dice to the damage. If you drop someone to 0 with this attack, they're knocked out instead of dying.
76: cloaking device. When you remain perfectly still you can turn invisible. You can also turn invisible as a bonus action until the beginning of your next turn once per short rest.
77-81: you have an alarm system. When you're resting and powered down you can make perception checks normally. You can set the alarm so that it has loud klaxons and flashing lights, or have it be silent. Either way, you get advantage to initiative if your opponent doesn't know you can do this. Also works when people try to pick your pockets. If you roll this again, reroll.
by Ian McQue
82-83: shield batteries. You have 5 temporary HP, +1 per level, and you regain them at the beginning of your turn if you haven't taken damage since last turn.
84: if you die but your head is still intact, your head can be removed and carried around and you can still talk to people. Resurrecting you just means building you a new body or repairing your old one.
85: you have a mini version of yourself that you can launch and send out, like a drone. It can fly and is tiny, and has half your HP. During this time your big body is immobile and offline, altho it can still watch and remember what went on around it
86-88: you get expertise in a skill you have. If you roll this again you get mega-expertise (triple your proficiency bonus instead of double.)
89-90: hacking dothingy. Totally lets you upstage the thief, but only on mechanical/electronic/magic-tech locks. And computers & computer-analogues. Like the knock spell except it takes you 1d6-int bonus rounds (min 0 rounds)
91: insufferably superior. Anytime one of your friends fails a knowledge, research, intelligence check (stuff like that) you get a free tool at a +2 to see if you know the answer. If it doesn't make sense why you didn't volunteer the info earlier, it's because they 'never asked'
92: every time you take damage in combat you have a 5% stacking chance of flipping out like a barbarian in a rage.
93-94: your clockwork brain lets you predict perfectly any timing based things like traffic lights or smashing hallway traps of doom. You have to have time to study the full pattern; if you have to rush it and the DM calls for a safe or a roll you at least have advantage.
95: you can edit out and jettison parts of your memory, at will. Useful for preventing insanity and mind reading. If you roll this again, you can also partition your mind, effectively having different consciousnesses that might know different things, and can exchange memories, go dormant, etc.
by Filip Burburan
96: your robot-based dance moves give you the performance (dance) skill
97: your eye is quicker than the hand. You see 'fast' enough to count a hummingbirds wing feathers in motion. This gives you advantage vs sleight of hand/pick pocket kinda things, and lets you deflect missiles like a monk (reaction, 1d10+Dex+level damage reduced) but you can't throw em back cuz that's a ki thing, which you don't have. Or DO you???
98-99: You have proficiency in saving throws vs. Devices.
100: You're made of adamantine. Your unarmed attacks and any built-in physical weapons bypass adamantine resistance, deal double damage to objects. You are immune to thunder damage, critical hits, and any effect that would sever a limb or break you into pieces, including vorpal weapons.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

better dinosaurs 2

Let's keep reskinning MM critters into dinosaurs

Slow Bulette
It's like a bulette, but slower! And that turtle shell implies it'd have better armour. Rather than burrowing really fast like the 'land shark' this thing scoops out a little hole and lies in wait, before leaping out like a really dangerous frog.
Basing the stats off've the 'giant snapping turtle' from Tomb of Annhilation.

Large beast, unaligned 
Armor Class 17 (natural armor),  
Hit Points 75 (l0dl0 + 20)
Speed 20 ft., burrow 20 ft. 

STR 19 (+4) 
DEX 6 (-2) 
CON 14 (+2) 
INT 2 (- 4) 
WIS 12 (+l) 
CHA 5 (-3) 

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11 

Challenge 3 (700 XP) 

Stablility. Whenever an effect knocks the kappasaur prone, it can make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw to avoid being knocked prone. 

Deadly Leap: If the kappasaur jumps at least 15 ft. as part of its Movement, it can then use this action to land on its ft. in a space that contains one or more other creatures. Each of those creatures must succeed on a DC 16 Strength or Dexterity saving throw (target's choice) or be knocked prone and take 8 (2d4 + 4) bludgeoning damage plus 8 (2d4 + 4) slashing damage. On a successful save, the creature takes only half the damage, isn't knocked prone, and is pushed 5 ft. out of the kappasaur's space into an unoccupied space of the creature's choice. If no unoccupied space is within range, the creature instead falls prone in the kappasaur's space.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 18 (4d6 + 4) slashing damage

Got a bite that turns you to stone, like a cockatrice. Built like a skinny long-necked dino, with kinda crocodile-y splayed legs. 

Large beast, unaligned
Armor Class 13 (Natural Armor)
Hit Points 68 (8d10+24)
Speed 30 ft., swim 20 ft.
STR      DEX      CON      INT     WIS      CHA
18 (+4)  15 (+2)  16 (+3)  2 (-4)  12 (+1)  5 (-3)
Skills Perception +3, Stealth +4
Senses passive Perception 13
Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Bite Melee Weapon attack, + 6 to hit, reach 10 ft, one creature. 13 (3d6+4) piercing damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw against being magically Petrified. On a failed save, the creature begins to turn to stone and is Restrained. It must repeat the saving throw at the end of its next turn. On a success, the effect ends. On a failure, the creature is Petrified for 24 hours.

It's like a giant elk, but with an acid spit attack instead of an antler attack. 10 ft, does the same damage. I'll let you just ad-lib the stats for this one.

Weird dino worms! 
Basing this off the 'young remhoraz' stats, adding in some carrion crawler for flavour.

Large Monstrosity (dinosaur)

Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 93 (11d10+33)
Speed 30 ft., burrow 20 ft.
18 (+4) 13 (+1) 17 (+3) 3 (-4) 10 (0) 4 (-3)
Damage Resistance: Acid, Poison
Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft.
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

Keen Smell
The saurworm has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.

The saurworm makes two attacks: one with its tentacles and one with its bite.
Tentacled Bite
Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 20 (1d10 piercing + 2d10 poison +4), and the target is grappled.
Inject Poison. The saurworm injects poison into one creature it is grappling. Make opposed grapple checks, and the saurworm has advantage. If the saurworm wins the grapple, it deals 30 (6d10) poison damage to the target, and the target gains 1d4 bleed and 1d4 pain dice. At the end of each of the target's turns, they may make a DC 14 Constitution save, removing one of the dice on a success.

Next on 'Better Dinosaurs!' 
Ettercaps, but they're dinosaur ettercaps now!

Fire-spitting dinosaur! 

This thing!!

Technically a mammal, but we're calling it a dinosaur!!

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

the Calendar of Zalamon

I've been doing a better job of keeping track of the days and weeks in my campaign. It's had an effect, for example in my Curse of Strahd game it put on a lot of pressure because the player's wanted to get some answers and explore before winter hit, so they ended up sort of overtextending themselves more than they otherwise would've. But I've found it a lot easier to conceptualize if I have some evocative and gameable ideas about what the seasons actually mean, so I've been working up a description for each month.

The ten months are each 33 days, and the festivals (Ulfire, Gild, Lupin, and Tithe) are separate from the month, and are three days each. So 330+12=342 days in a year.

The year is ended and begun with the feast-day of Ulfire, when the sun disappears for the length of three nights, and the stars burn an eldritch, painful, urgent colour across the horizon. Mortals congregate in their homes, the sacrifices are all finished, nothing to do now but wait to see if the petitions took and the world will be born again, or die a stillbirth. The four moons hang over the land, watching like attentive midwives. It is a time of storytelling and drinking, a wake for the world that might have been. On the morning of Typhon, the world is reborn, bleak and grey and most often stormy, and the moons resume their natural course.

The year starts with violence. Rains come in and tear to ribbons at the snow, and farmers trudge cautiously into their fields to lay the first preperations for spring with their freezing hands. The ice turns to sucking mud. It is a month of mudslides, shifting, bleeding, the first births of the hardiest and most well-sheltered animals. Near the end of the month, once the first yellow rays have visited the land, the day-poppies spring up, a red profusion, like blood springing from the open wound of the bare ditches. Even plants such as these are soon beaten down by the inevitable hail of the proceeding Tain, but the red petals make a fine mulch for the garlic, and crofters turn it into a soporific kind of wine.

The first month a person could travel, although the roads are still perilous and the passes hardly cleared. The birds start to return en masse. Avalanches and floods occur without warning, but most of the icy rivers are becoming fordable. Going is slow. The ambitious merchants load up their wagons to creaking with their goods, and set out to resupply customer's winter stores. The brass trumpets ring out, and the brash flags unfurl, as the first armies set off to march, countering eager neighbours or the dawnlit raids of the Westerlings and the bandits of the border marches. The frozen victims of winter thaw and are pulled or else walk from the rivers and forests to be given a proper burial in the nameless graveyards.

The green stretches and grows, the flowers are in bloom on every tree and in every meadow, the forest is filled with birdsong and the beat of the woodcutter's axe. Serpents slither from their winter holes. People awake with strange half-memories of dreams, and the king's soothsayers may question those who dream of a giant moon-grey boar. In the evening and the early morning, the horns ring out across the hills as the royal hunt begins.

Midway through the month sits the festival of Gild, the pauper's day and the day of kings, where rich men wear masks to hide their shame, and dancers wrap the town in ribbons. On this day cats are sacred, and may even speak if they deign to stoop to it, perhaps to give advice on the year to come. The lords of the town step aside, and the people elect a fool to be their king, carried through town on a golden palanquin.

The first heady draught of the season envelopes the wold. The sun shines bright from skies of polished blue or burnished haze, but the sea is wine-dark. Big-bellied clouds carry the rain willfully to and fro across the hills and meadows. The trees grow heavy with fruit, the fields are lush, watered with blood and summer rains. Farmers and soldiers alike are caked with salt from their toils.

Heat waves, punctuated by violent thunder and sudden hailstorms. Fat raindrops drill into the dust of the roads and fields, watering fields of crop and thistle alike. Whorls of utter cold, descending in columns from the northern sky like giant's finger, flash-freeze stands of corn and unlucky cattle. Within hours, the blazing sun banishes the ice- some mornings, lingering clouds of fog lay in the hollows of the hills, or crawl in the morning through the villages.

The white moon pauses in the sky for the three days of this festival, mirrored in the still waters of the lakes, and the paper lanterns strung between the trees. Great bundles of blue and purple and pink plumes of lupin flowers brought in for the harvest. Wolves howl in the shrouded hills at dusk.

Dust rises behind the chariots. The sun beats down as it slides slothfully across the great blue dome of heaven. The shade shrinks to a limpid pool beneath the shriveled tree. Horses die. Dogs go mad. The short remnant of the night falls heavy as lead upon the horizon. The dull sky passes the hours bereft of all but the most valiant stars. The evening star and the morning star stand sentinel above the distant hills, waiting vigilantly for the sudden break of day, and the roaring raw throat of the sun.

Everything remaining from the harvest is picked over and brought in. The warehouses are full to bursting, as are the purses of the rat-catchers and cat-keepers. Crows descend onto the wasted cornfields and strut amongst the rot-hollowed gourds. Rain turns the deserted fields into expanses of mud, and mushrooms sprout in secret dells. Some mornings herald unexpected fog, thick and clammy, which muffles the clanging of the church bells calling petitioners to their instruction. Other dawns come warm and sticky. The smell of overripe fruit lingers in the air, and the stains from wine-making linger on the people's hands and feet.

The air is cooler now, the farmers intent on planting garlic and bringing their animals in from summer pasture. The haylofts and granaries have taken in all the stores they can: bursting golden in generous years, sparse with worry in lean ones. Ravens plan their councils, and bears return to their redoubts.

In the middle of this month sits Tithe, the festival where offerings must be made to the ancestors and the gods. The fae courts must pay their tithe to hell, and the Wild Hunt rides out to capture mortals to send in the elves place. The night before Tithe is called Goblinwatch, and is a time of celebrating before death truly comes to the land- the white touch of winter is at hand, and the people must prepare, for loss will not spare anyone.

The hard dagger of the frost plunges again and again into the earth's threadbare brow. Fire crackles and pops in the hearth, and timbers creak and moan on the heights. This is the favourite time of dragons to strike, when the storehouses are still full, but the armies are to afraid of winter to march. The whistling winds over the withering earth do much to hide the beat of heavy wings. Dire wolves, shaggy and bold now, venture forth from the safety of the hills to fatten themselves one last time before the ice's coup d'grace: if you are lucky it will just be on deer and sheep.

The world slumbers under a thick silver blanket. Nothing can move far, not even sound: conversations held out of doors are liable to freeze, and the words will not be heard until spring. Each day it gets darker and darker, until the sun is but a pale shadow that winks above the trees for a few meagre hours. The white moon and the land beneath are one and the same now, and the red moon stains the snow red as blood when it passes overhead on it's erratic path. Each night there are more stars, glimmering coldly down at the dying world. Ice storms coat everything in glistening crystal, so cold that some trees explode into splinters. The people who must go out move around on skies or skates. Blizzards strike without warning, so farmers string a rope between their house and their barn, so they don't get lost and freeze a few dozen feet from their own homes.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Cthulhu in ink

Did this thing years ago! Posting this here as a reminder to myself that I like this style, and I gotta do more 

Monday, 12 March 2018

Character Sheets

I made this character sheet for my game, partly cuz I wanted to be able to set the aesthetic, and partly cuz I needed to design it to incorporate things like Ten Foot Polemic's Death Dice and Goblin Punch's inventory system. And I was getting it ready to print yesterday, so naturally I had to tweak about a dozen things, and afterwards I figured I'd better post the results.

and the back

The 'food' 'water' etc in the top right corner is intended to track supplies in a 'hazard die' or 'ammo die' type of situation.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Better Dinosaurs

Getting ready for my 'post-apocolyptic pirate wizard-ninjas' group to make it to the Isle of Dread. If they get there, they're still about a thousand miles away, and I'm essentially running it as a loose hex crawl the entire way. Last session they lost half of their water reserves when the green slime one of the PCs was carrying (Alain van York) leaked out of the stone cistern he was transporting in and infected the adjacent barrels. They also recently unleashed an angry storm god. So we'll see.

That said, I've been going over the material, and it needs some tweaking. Dinosaurs are great, as in when I was a kid I planned to be a paleontologist, but always feel a little out of place in a fantasy world. My answer is to make 'em more alien, more draconic, more insectoid, more MONSTROUS.  I want these to be terrifying (potentially terrifying), weird things, unknown quantities, like encountering dinosaurs for the first time would be, but I also want them to be kinda familiar.

This is basically a photo/concept dump for my own benefit, lets be honest, but I do plan on inserting some usable content. Mostly quickly reskinning MM creatures, and quick notes, but hey

Sub-dinos (Tertiasaurs)
You know those weird early sketches of dinosaurs, from when they didn't really know what they were dealing with? I love those.
First thing they encounter, I'm hoping it's a gaggle of these sad lumpy things, huddling on a beach. They kinda remind me of the lobstrosities from Dark Tower, but they probably eat those, actually. Stat the lobstrosities as giant crabs, and the hylabosaurus as a slower, clumsier giant lizard of some kind, with a weaker bite attack and some claws.

Here's a slightly more regal looking specimen.

Ok now lookit this thing:

 magnificent, isn't it? I don't know what to do about the fact that it kinda contradicts the appearence of this:
buuuut... maybe they're just different postures? Anyway the spike on the nose should be exaggerated so it can be an effective attack. 

Stats as a giant boar, but with better AC, and a bite instead of a gore. They hunt in ones or twos, and are scavengers as much as predators- they don't want to fight anything bigger than them, or groups that outnumber them (they normally hunt in ones or twos), but they'll follow the party and scavenge off anything THEY kill, and opportunistically move in if they end up wounded or split up. 

Not much to say here, except if you're playing a fantasy game and you're NOT using brontosaurs instead of the 'real' creatures they were composites of, you're making a huge mistake. Maybe give them some sort of reality-bending, half-real kinda ability, to reflect that origin??

Scientists figured out that for this guy to scoot on his belly, he'd make a giant trench. But dragons can fly in this, so I dunno. Or maybe it actually does scoot in a trench? Kinda interesting to have a monster/encounter that's basically on rails. They players probably don't need to fight these, but just getting PAST ginormous creatures and their mud-trench moats would be a situation in itself.

Basically people got the neck and the tail mixed up on these, so just take the plesiosaur from the monster manual and double the reach for it's bite attack. 

It's a stegosaurus, obviously. Didn't you know they walk on their hind legs?

Re-skinning MM creatures
My favourite way of making 'new' monsters. Luckily I haven't introduced these yet in-game, so they're still undefined in the lore. I'm thinking, gargoyles, trolls, and bulettes are all dinosaurs in this, as well as maybe some weirder ones. Remhoraz?


Medium monstrosity, neutral
Armor Class 16 (Natural Armor)
Hit Points 52 (7d8+21)
Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft.
STR 15 (+2)  DEX 13 (+1)  CON 16 (+3)  INT 4 (-3)  WIS 14 (+2)  CHA 7 (-2)
Senses Blindsight 60 Ft., passive Perception 14
Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Camouflage: While the gargulasaur remains motionless, Wisdom (Perception) checks made to discern it's location have disadvantage.
Pounce. If the gargoyle moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hits it with a claw attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a DC 10 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, the garguladon can make one bite attack against it as a bonus action.
Stone form. When motionless, the gargulasaur has resistance to fire, lightning, cold, and against Bludgeoning, Piercing, And Slashing (Adamantine). It gets advantage on saving throws against being pushed, thrown, shoved, etc.

Multiattack. The gargulasaur makes two attacks, one with its bite and one with its claws.
Bite + 4, 6 damage (1d8+2)
Claws + 4, 5 damage (1d6+2)
Stone Block. The gargulasaur* gains the benefits of its Stone Form until it's next turn. It's speed drops to 10, and it can't fly on it's next turn (if it's flying it falls at half speed, and can right itself at the end of its turn) 
Tail whip. The gargulasaur makes a special attack with its tail against a creature that tries to grapple it, or that moves to flank it. Melee weapon attack, +4 to hit, 5 damage (1d6+2) and the target is stunned until the beginning of their next turn. 

Troglasaurus Belua
Large monstrosity, chaotic neutral

Armor Class 15 (Natural Armor)
Hit Points 84 (8d10+40)
Speed 30 ft.
STR 18 (+4) DEX 13 (+1) CON 20 (+5)
INT 5 (-3)  WIS 14 (+2)  CHA 7 (-2)

Skills Perception +5
Senses Darkvision 60 Ft., passive Perception 12
Languages understands olman and carsek but can't speak

Keen Smell: The troll has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.

Fast healing: If the troglasaur is under half it's max HP, it regains 15 hit points at the start of its turn.


Multiattack: The troll makes two attacks with its claw
Bite: Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (4d6 + 4) piercing damage. Advantage to hit targets troll is grappling.
Claw: Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage. If the troglasaur hits with a claw attack it can either throw/push the target 15 feet (STR save DC 14 resists) or attempt a free grapple.


Large monstrosity, neutral 
Armor Class 15 (natural armour)
Hit Points 76 (9d10+27)
Speed 15 ft., fly 60 ft. (hover)
STR 16 (+3)  DEX 16 (+3)  CON 16 (+3)  
INT 12 (+1)  WIS 14 (+2)  CHA 8 (-1)
Damage Resistance: Acid
Damage Immunities: Poison
Condition Immunities: Prone
Senses Darkvision 60 Ft., passive Perception 12

Life Drain: Creatures that end their turns grappled by the wraithform take 21 (4d8 + 3) necrotic damage. The target must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or its hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the damage taken. This reduction lasts until the target finishes a Long Rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0.
Sunlight Sensitivity: While in sunlight, the wraith has disadvantage on Attack rolls, as well as on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.
Flyby: The wraithform doesn't provoke Opportunity Attacks when it flies out of an enemy's reach.

Monday, 26 February 2018

The Red Curse of Language

Everyone wants cool, mysterious languages for their games. But no one wants to deal with the annoying fiddly bits that come from it. Solution? Magical languages!

The Magical Tongues
  • Carsek: Supernaturally easy to learn. Pushes out other languages, slowly, in the brain. Crawls its way into texts, slithers across pages and inscriptions, translating and destroying both. Because of this, the Carseks tend to see other tongues as particularly strange, like weeds groing in the cracks of a neatly-tended sidewalk. Speakers of other tongues call it the Red Curse.
  • Shalk: Supernaturally hard to forget. Borne in the blood of it's people. All Shalk can learn the Language, it grows like a tree in their mind from the smallest seed of exposure. It can be suppressed, but will rise again. There are many dialects and ways of speaking, which a non-Shalk would have to learn individually, but all quickly become familiar to another speaker of the Language.
  • Abati: Supernaturally universal. Words which reconstruct themselves before you from base principals. Although named after one culture, dialects, all different but relatively intelligible, spring up all over the universe like mushrooms after a rain. Spoken by wizards, understood by rocks and trees and birds. Fire speaks this language. As wizards walk by hidden ways throughout the many planes and cities, they carry this language with them, like sparks fanned out from a fire. In secret places all over the world, you will hear this language whispered. Those without magic speak this language haltingly, with leaden tongues.

All PCs should share at least one starting language. You think it'll be fun to have a language barrier, but... I mean, you do you, but in my experience it gets old fast. Shalk characters know the Language for free, spellcasters can know Abati, and anyone can know Carsek. In addition, humans probably know the local language, if it's still spoken at all. 

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Worlds of Creation II

The Otherworlds

The Blind Eternity

The space between spaces
The Eternity is not so much a plane or a place as it is a concept- a mathematical certainty, binding together all places. It is infinite, a place without a place, no beginning or end. Two objects within the Blind Eternity can never touch, for any distance is an infinite distance. Powerful magic can use Eternity to travel instantly across the multiverse, stepping out of one realm into Blindness, and allowing themselves to be pulled into being again pulled by the insistence of another world.

Legends say that the Blind Eternity itself is home to life- strange and alien though it may be. Indeed, the humanoids known as the Gith-yan-ki are known to have retreated there, although what substance their refuge takes, none can say.

The Land of Anwwn

Beyond the Veil
Anwwn is the land of the dead, the land of the fairies, the land beneath the hill. It is an eternal realm, a clock that determines the hour to be tolled, and does not wait to be told the hour. The Raksha, and their descendants, reside here, in endless revelry, and they promise immortality to those who forget their lives and join them under the hill.

The Land of Nod

Through the Looking-Glass
Nod is the most common realm frequented by mortals, for each of them travels their whilst they dream. Built of layers upon layers of accumulated dreamstuff, a reflection of the mass hallucination of humanity. Scholars argue whether dreamers produce the substance of the plane, or merely shape a dimension that was already there.

The Land of Xibalba

The City at the Edge of the Pit
Beneath the river of souls, sitting at the mouth of the underworld, is a city. Built into the lip of the chasm, it teeters always on the knifes blade of destruction, it's endless flood of refuges from the blighted lands of life pouring always into it's halls, seeking solace from the endless dark that calls from beyond the walls. The city acts as a net for lost souls, the last stop of desperation before Oblivion.

The Void
The final certainty

The Void is negation, destruction. Where Blind Eternity is infinite, the void is zero. It is the vacuum that eats at matter, mind, and magic. It is the dissolution of all stasis, except the final equilibrium of nothingness. It is the black pit beneath every traveler's footstep, the crack in every wall. It pulls the realities out of the unending formlessness of Eternity, and with each tear and break and omission, gives shape and form and meaning to the multiverse- and then casts that meaning down into dust.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Random Advancement (Human)

I've been using the random advancement stuff in some of my games, but since I don't use race-as-class, I just let elf thieves pick if they want to roll on the elf or the thief table. HOWEVER, this creates an issue, since humans don't have a table of their own! I immediately set out to create one.

Sometimes humans are seen as boring 'cuz they're the 'default.' But I humbly disagree. Not surprisingly, mythology is filled with stuff about what it's like to be quintessentially human, much of it contradictory, but all steeped in centuries of meaning-making. Things like making fire, exploring, learning, and the contradiction between being social beings who want to be friends with everything, and kinda basically violent dickheads who trash everything without thinking about the consequences. Or we DO think about the consequences, and that's exactly why we trash shit.

Anyway, no way we're letting elves get all the fun

01-3: Roll on the fighter table
04-06: roll on the thief/rogue table
07-09: roll on the wizard table
11-13: when you're bloodied (drop below 50% hp) and when you drop to 0 HP(or whatever is enough damage to knock you out/kill you in your system) you can react and make an attack
14-15: Disbelief is a powerful thing- you can roll to disbelieve & dispel magic once per day. It has to be obviously magical- if it has a plausible natural explanation you'll just believe in that
16-17: Steal one monster ability that you survive. It should be fictionally appropriate, and might have to be modified so it's usable by a human, but you get it. You cant steal body parts with this, like claws or wings (or can you?!?) but if the thing had the magical ability to fly I guess you could steal that. 
18-20: You can wield weapons that are a size too large for you. If you're not otherwise proficient in weapons, you still get this, but that's all you can wield 
21: you have to obey laws of hospitality, it's like a magical thing for you, but other intelligent creatures are forced to do the same for you. If you're polite, and don't break any major rules of etiquette, that giant will let you crash in it's castle. If you're known to be someone who's broken this before, it doesn't function. Doesn't work on orcs.
22-23: You're a poet and you didn't even realize that rhymed. But it did! You get one random poem per day, from the table found here. Use it or loose it! DM's worth their salt will require the player to at least paraphrase the poem. 
24-26: For each unique kind of creature you've killed (orcs, demons, fey, unicorn, etc) you get +1 damage on your first hit against a type of creature you've never killed before. You have to keep track of what the different creatures are. You can argue what counts as unique, but really rare stuff should always count (if there's only one surviving fire troll, for example)
27-29: if you're ever completely broke (no money in coins, gems, or other liquid assets), you somehow find 1d4 gp. Yes, this means you can give all your money to your buddy and take advantage of this windfall, but that only works once, and now they have all your loot. 
30-33: You get 1 extra hp for each 2 HD you have (round up). 
34-36: you have a favourite food, and when you eat it once per day to gain 1d8 HP. This should be rare and expensive enough that it costs 1d10 coins of whatever standard you're using. 
37-39: something of a polyglot, eh? Learn an additional language of you choice. It should be one that it'd make fictional sense for you to be able to learn, but you can argue with your DM about it. If you roll this again, you can make an intelligence check to understand enough of languages you don't REALLY know to have a basic conversation or get yourself in trouble (DMs note that failing the roll can mean 'hilarious misunderstanding' instead of 'you don't know what they're saying')
45-47: you have a 'floating skill slot' that you can declare at the beginning of a session. You pick pretty much any skill, but it's at half your normal effectiveness/rank whatever
48-50: if you die 'offstage' there's a 50% base chance you're not actually dead. The classic is falling from a great height, but exploding fuel refineries, shipwrecks, rocks falling and everyone dying, etc, might qualify. Note explosions from things like 'fireball to the face' isn't offstage, unless I dunno it sets off a chain reaction of some kind
51-53: you got that halfling luck ability from 5e: any time you to a natural 1, you can reroll. The first time, if you roll a 1 again too bad. Also, whenever you flip a coin or roll a five IN GAME, or other pure chance situations, you can roll twice and take the best result
48-50: That ambiguous human morality! Effects that detect alignment always show you at true neutral. If your game doesn't use alignment, maybe a bonus on saves versus being forced to do really morally non-ambiguous things? If you roll this again, you get to pick what alignment you appear as (altho you don't automatically know someone's casting a spell)
51-53: The gods must really like your jerk-ass! Whenever you receive supernatural healing, you heal an extra hp for every dice being rolled to heal you. So if it's 3d8, +3.
54-55: Good Soldier/team player. You can trade your initiative results with other players. If you roll this again (or if you use some weird kind of initiative at your table) then you can trade attack rolls, then saves. After that, you get nothing.
by Satine Zillah
56-57: The edge & momentum of the fight often go your way. When you roll initiative, you can roll for your first attack at the same time, and decide which roll you want to assign where. 
58-59: whenever you get a mutation from a random mutation table, you can roll twice and pick the best one.
60-61: You get the 'use weird device' skill (even if your system doesn't use that skill, or doesn't use skills at all. Figure something out.) The first time you encounter some weird magic thing or technology, you get a free roll to see if you can get it to work. If you succeed, pick two: 1: you can use it immediately, 2: you know what it does, 3: you avoid any side effects.
Seems like a good idea
62-63: You get the benefit as if drawing from a deck of many things. One card, but if you roll this you can't opt out. Effects take place over the next Haven turn, so if you get the castle one you inherit a castle somehow, if you get death then the grim reaper is gonna show up soon so get your affairs in order.
64-65: Dirty Fighting. You know better than to fight fair. Once per encounter, you may declare that you are fighting dirty before rolling to hit – you get +2 to-hit for your next attack, and if it hits the target is stunned for d3 rounds (as if they were surprised and unable to act, so your backstabby friends might want to take advantage of that) in addition to taking regular damage. Probably from getting bit in the groin, let’s be honest, but any discernible weak point will allow this to work. If you get this again, you can blind them instead. Then get sneak attack +1d6 (like a thief or rogue)
66-67: Fire keeper. Humans invented for, right? Or at least some Prometheus guy stole it for our benefit. Torches last twice as long for you, and you can start and keep fires going in anything less than gale-force winds. Once per day you can gain resistance to one fire attack or effect, and if you do your next attack deals +1d8 fire damage
68-69: You’re super good at dodging. +1 AC. Treat it like an extra bonus from Dex, except your Dexterity score doesn’t actually go up. This bonus is double if you use it actively, like taking the Defense action on your turn in 5e.
70-71: You may befriend any one animal, or monster of animal level intelligence.  It must be solitary when encountered. No dice rolls are necessary, you simply make a new friend who will follow you and be loyal as long as you treat it well. You may only use this ability once. Reroll if you get this result again (unless your pet already died, in which case you get a replacement, even though nothing will ever replace them in your heart)
72-73: Your parents/grandparents/great grandparents were really into 'frolicking' in those Elven glades. Roll on the Elf chart.  If you get a result like "Gain a spell slot as usual" you get it as a spell-like ability.
74-75: I guess you come from a mining family. Roll on the Dwarf chart.
76-77: By sleeping a lot all at once, you can 'bank' rest- you can have a number of nights 'stored' equal to your constitution modifier. This doesn't count as a 'long rest'it just let's you avoid the effects of fatigue
78: The rumours are true – that thing you wanted? The Tablet of Making? The Hand of Dominion? The power-armour gauntlets? The Giant Death Ray? It’s there. 4 sessions worth of adventure away or less. Tell your Referee, who then must place it.
You must have a fair shot at it – like any other treasure, but there’s no guarantee you will get it. If you don’t get it by the fourth session you can keep trying or let it go and roll again on this table. However, if you choose to roll again and then you do get the thing somehow anyway, you lose whatever gimmick you rolled. your Ref needs to think up some clever reason why.
79: you've got blood from so many different lineages in you, no one knows what's what. Treat yourself as being whatever creature type is most advantageous for using magic items and stuff. For hostile effects you still count as vanilla human.
80-81: if there's ever a effect that applies to characters randomly, it won't be you. Unless it's beneficial and you want in!
82-83: when you're in your own house you're treated as having 2x the number of hit points
84-86: Pick an environment you’ve spent a lot of time fighting in: city, dungeon, wilderness, desert, sea, etc. Whatever it is, you can now anticipate wandering monsters a round ahead of time in that environment and are immune to (mundane) surprise there. If you re-roll this, pick another environment or get an extra round of anticipation, your choice.
87-88: When you have line of sight on a banner or battle standard of a cause you're loyal to, you get +1d4 to attacks, saves, and skill checks
89-90: did you know humans kinda evolved to be endurance predators? +2 Constitution

91-92: Humans are super bossy kinda control freaks. You can use Command once per short rest. If you know the creature's name, they get disadvantage on the save
by SpaciousInterior
93: Borrowed Fate: steal another character's d20 roll once per day. Record the result, and then you can use it in place of one of your own rolls
94-95: when you use a book for the first time, you can just flip through it to find out something useful. Rolling this again means you can get more than one useful thing. 
96-97: Add an extra weapon damage die to critical hits. 
98-99: any weapon you use has an exploding die for damage. That means if you roll the max number (6 on a d6, 12 on a d12, etc) you roll another die of the same kind and add it.
00: Second Sight. You can see invisible creatures and through illusory disguises with a simple Wisdom check. You can sense ethereal creatures, and astral presences show up as an aura.

From Tomb Of Annihilation. Dinosaur riding. That's the kind of shit humans get up to. 

Detect Magic Variants

Going to make up another neat little chapbook once I have enough of spell variants. Detect Magic is boring. There's no story there. I r...