Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lingering Injuries

Going to mix things up today and have a guest writer behind today's post, Chris Scaturo.

Lingering Injuries

Linger- v. to be slow to disappear

Sasha looked down.   The stone golem lay battered and broken; it would move no more.  Unfortunately, her foot was in a pretty similar condition.   It hurt.   It really hurt. Clyde’s simple prayer to Pelor wasn’t going to fix this one.

Lingering injuries can add a dynamic that improves the combat narrative as well as the story arc. When presented with a long term penalty, characters are forced to make decisions. Suddenly, the formerly simple path becomes more complex.  Combat tactics will change and the games narrative may be forced into a detour as an immediate concern becomes more pressing than the overarching plot.  

L’tera wasn’t sure what to do.   The scrolls needed to be delivered but Sasha’s injury was slowing them down.   They were able to fend off the Bugbear ambush without her usual mobility but if something more powerful attacked, they were in trouble.  Clyde’s spells were helping but not fast enough, her foot was still a mess.  They needed Sasha and she needed more time.

The trick is to make them linger.  They should be neither permanent nor easily curable.   If a simple Cure Wounds or Lesser Restoration can remove the penalty, no wounds will last more than  a day if the party has a 3rd level Cleric.    

Clyde knew  she was tough.  That injury would have killed a lesser woman.  Pelor’s blessing was helping poor Sasha’s foot but it was going to take time.   If he expended all of his divine gifts for the day maybe Sasha’s foot would be fine but that would put the rest of the group and their mission in jeopardy.   She needed someone who knew how to set the bones.  Sometimes you need a doctor not a priest.

Lingering injuries have a Injury Point Value.   Actions taken to heal  the injury  reduce the point value.  When the injury is reduced to zero points all penalties are removed and the character is healed.   As a general rule, lingering injuries should start with points equal to twice the character level plus 1d6.

Horace hated these dilemmas.  He didn’t even like Sasha but he knew they needed her.   There was no way they could make it back to Trenton without her and at this pace they wouldn’t  make it back by the deadline.  They wouldn’t earn the reward if these scrolls weren’t back in three nights, yeah, and the ghouls might be unleashed as well.  He hated to do it but he needed to call in a favor and have the centaur “doctor” take a look at Sasha.  The “office” wasn’t far from here. What a waste of a favor….
A. Schaff

While magic shouldn’t be an immediate fix, it should help.  Others factors used to heal these lingering wounds are long rests (time) and medicine skill checks (knowledge).   

The pain was unbearable but for a guy with hooves, the “doctor” (Sasha sure wished the other centaurs would stop calling him a Vet)  knew what he was doing.  She passed out after the “surgery” but when she woke up in the morning she could run on the foot.  She wasn’t perfect but she was an awful lot better!  Maybe Horace did serve a little purpose.

The following actions reduce the Injury Point Value:
Long Rest
1 point/rest
Curing Spell
1 point/spell level
Medicine Check DC 15
1 point
Medicine Check DC 20
2 points
Medicine Check DC 25
3 points

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

World of Troika

Last month I was looking forward to this month's Blog Carnival, A New Year, A New World.  The world I'm using right now is new, and mostly in my head, and I was hoping this would help motivate me to get some work done on it and put some thoughts onto the screen.  I was so wrong.  I got distracted by some other things and forgot about the Carnival topic until today.  I like to participate in them when I can, but don't know about getting anything down from my new world of Terra Novo.  Yeah, that link from October, it's about all I have down for Terra Novo, and I've been running in it since May.  Like I said, most of it is in my head.

So, in order to participate, I'll post up a my starting write up from the last world I started building, Troika.  Based on the trinity of the dragon gods Io (creation), Tiamat (evil), and Bahamut (good).  The creation myth I pulled straight from Io's Wikipedia entry.  This is all I ever got going for Troika before I abandoned the idea.

The Two Voids

In the First Void, Io existed alone. There was nothing else, and until Io willed it there could be nothing else. Io voluntarily shed some of his blood in the Shadow Void, which created the potential for other things to come into being. Only then could there be other gods and other creations. Most races know only of the Shadow Void, which is why they have no myths of Io.

Tiamat and Bahamut

According to myth, Io's first child was a small, simple-minded dragon called Vorel. Vorel's name means "beautiful" in Draconic, for beautiful it was, perfect of scale and form. Next Io created a pair of children, male and female he created them: Bahamut and Tiamat were their names. Io intended them to grow up and mate, producing children that combined the best traits of each. Instead, the two were immediate rivals, yet Io would not choose a favorite between them. After many failed schemes to make herself look better and Bahamut worse, Tiamat hatched a diabolical plan: she slew her sibling Vorel and framed Bahamut for the awful deed. Io, however, carefully sought out the truth, and sorrowfully banished his daughter Tiamat from his presence. Tiamat turned utterly to hatred and Evil, while her brother Bahamut, ever her rival, turned to Good in order to oppose her. So it was that Io lost three of his children: the first to death, the second to Evil, and the last to Good.

First Age - Jotunstiden, Age of the Giants

Moradin and the dwarves began their life on Troika underground.  There they carved out their Great Halls, and deep mines while perfecting the arts of smithing.  They dug ever higher, until they broke the surface and discovered a world populated by the offspring of Annam.  The giantish races quickly captured and enslaved what dwarves came to the surface.  The giants even smashed and broke open the surface to root out more dwarves, but even their smaller brethern, the ogres and trolls, could not penetrate the deeper tunnels.  Still, many dwarves were captured and enslaved.

Troika and the Giants

Tiamat turned her attentions to Troika.  Troika was a world of giants, ogres, trolls, and their dwarven slaves.  When Tiamat first came to Troika, Annam, Father of the Giants was the supreme god.  After an extended power struggle, Tiamat slew Annam in single combat.  Since then the Jotunbrud has been led by Tiamat.  

Second Age - Age of the Dragons

Tiamat seeded Troika with her offspring, the chromatic dragons.  Lizard folk, yuan-ti and kobolds were set loose, and they pushed deeper into the dwarven holds, enslaving even more dwarves to give to the giants.

The Dragonwars

Corellon Larethian and Bahamut came to Troika, bringing elves and metallic dragons.  This angered Tiamat, and started The Dragonwars, which raged for centuries.  The elves were able to aid the dwarves in overthrowing the giants, gaining their freedom.  Eventually, the chromatic dragons were defeated, and driven to deep lairs.  Much devastation was caused in The Dragonwars, and the elves looked to heal the land.  

Third Age - Sylvan Age

The elves developed the Talent of Woodsinging, a combination of magic and song that aided plants in growth, and allowed the harvest of wood without cutting down a tree.  With the aid of magic and the dwarves, they erected monolithic statues, temples and cities.  The arts experienced a renaissance from both dwarven craftsmen and elven artists.  High magic is pushed to it’s limits as available spells reaches new levels.

Dwarven Age

The elves become reclusive and dedicate themselves to art, music and magic as opposed to rule.  The Dwarven Houses spread commerce and with money comes power.  They build many more major cities and fortifications, most near mining sites and major trade routes. Continued mining going deeper and deeper reveal a deeper, hidden world releasing orcs and other goblinoids onto the surface.

Great Upheaval

Orcish Age.  Unable to stem the tide of the fast reproducing humanoids the Dwarven Empires fall.  Trade collapses and the elves become even more reclusive.  The humanoids use a “slash and burn” technique across the lands, leaving many areas devastated.  This upsets the land itself, which causes the “Great Upheaval”.  Volcanos, earthquakes and tsunamis change the surface dramatically. It is an age of darkness, with many humanoid kingdoms using the other races as slaves.

Age of Man


Able to most easily adapt, humans spread throughout the world.  New cities are build on the bones of the old ones, and the old dwarven trade routes are being used again.  Most of the world is being “rediscovered”.

Races:
Elves.  Many different types, but they fit mostly in the same mold.  High elves being most like the old ruling elves (Tolkien elves), while others became more “native”, living closer to the natural world.  Similar to Native Americans, aborigines, ect. Drow not an evil offshoot, but an underground race that sought to take the battle to the humanoids in their own world.  All three groups see the others with distrust.

Dwarves: In the Upheaval, many clans were cut off from their holdings, resulting in two distinct groups, surface and underground.  Underground dwarves became more insular, and fit the mold as traditional dwarves.  Surface dwarves have lost the natural abilities with mining and being underground, but have excelled in metalwork and trade.  Some surface clans and underground clans work closely together, the surface dwarves trading goods and raw materials to spread around the world.

Halflings:  The once peaceful and serene halflings have taken on an edge since the Upheaval.  They have discovered a natural affinity for life on boats, but strangely do not like deep water, sticking to rivers, smaller lakes or coastal waters.  Image like gypsies or tinkers, with “villages” of rafts, barges and skiffs traveling around.  Distrusted as thieves, and bandits.  Stories say they do not reproduce, but steal human children to replenish their numbers.

Gnomes: Brilliant but wild inventors!  Gnomes mix magic and technology in interesting, but unpredictable ways.  Often rediscovering lost technologies and magics.  Think steam punk.  Wild magic.  

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Three Faces of Evil, part 3

With other stuff going on, we only got one, somewhat short play session in this weekend.  It was time to finish up the grimlocks before moving on.
Grallak Kur

Part 2
Part 1

Our intrepid adventurers:
Daughter has,
Lylas, drow elf rogue thief, level 4
Third, human fighter sentinel, level 3

Son 1,
Narcisso, half elf life cleric level 4
Dravin, human moon druid level 3

Son 2,
Jackson, human earth wizard, level 4
Kargash, half orc ranger hunter, level 3

Also, 2 NPC's are tagging along
Rurik, mountain dwarf totem barbarian, level 4
Filch, human necromancer, level 3.  This is Filge from the observatory in the Whispering Cairn.  He surrendered to the party and is tagging along.  The kids, being Harry Potter fans, renamed him.

Only two small portions of the grimlocks remain, the chieftan and Grallak Kur.  The group chose the passage that lead to Grallak Kur, the grimlock priest of Erythnul.  A narrow passage decended in a spiral to a small cavern.  A 10' tall cliff rose ahead of them that had the warm glow of a fire above.  Lylass climbed up silently and peered over the edge.  Seeing over a half dozen grimlocks, as well as one with shocking red hair and either tattoos or body paint with it's back to them.

The plan was for everyone to climb up silently and attack!  I had a round of stealth and athletics checks rolled, and everyone rolled well, except for Kargash, with a 1 on his athletics check to climb, he got his hands on the lip and was about to pull himself up when he slipped back down in a cascade of rocks, alerting the distracted foes.  Everyone else stood ready and rolled initiative.

Dravin rolled high, and charged Grallak Kur, shoulder first, attempting to shove him into the campfire.  I did opposed strength checks, and Grallak Kur stood his ground, and cast spirit guardians upon himself.  Narcisso ran up next and took a swing with his sword at the grimlock priest, taking necrotic damage from the dark spirits swirling around his opponent.  At this point, the rest of the grimlocks surged forwards to the party, 9 of them in addition to the priest.  A few hits where taken by the party, and Rurik went into a rage.  A couple of the grimlocks fell, and a couple more were wounded.

In the next round, Dravin and Narcisso turned their attentions to the normal grimlocks attacking them, not wanting to feel the effects of the spirit guardians again.  Lylass dropped the grimlock confronting Jackson, freeing him up to fire bolt Grallak Kur.  Kargash was able to climb up on his second try and fired an arrow at Grallak as well, getting a critical hit!  Grallak Kur cast guiding bolt at Dravin, dropping him to 0 hit points.  A grimlock dropped Filch right after.  Rurik dropped another grimlock, and moved in on Grallak, and he took a guiding bolt cast at 3rd level right to the chest.  He was in bad shape, but still raging.

By the 4th round, the regular grimlocks were wiped out, Rurik got a nice hit in on Grallak, while the spirit guardians took Rurik to single digit hit points.  Narcisso got a critical hit with his longsword, dropping Grallak to 1 hp, but I figured close enough and he fell!

At this point, the party stabalized Dravin and Filch (Dravin had been successful on 2 Death Saves at this point, Filch having a success and a failure).  Everyone was beat up as well, so after searching for loot they decided on a second short rest.  Since coming into the Dourstone Mines posing as miners, they left their armor behind, and the drop in AC is catching up to them.  Besides some gold and gems, they found an Hourglass of Respite.  It was originally a rope of climbing, but they already have one of those, so I replaced it.  They just so happened to turn the hourglass over before taking their rest, so they got the effects of it immediately, gaining the short rest in just 2 minutes!  They used up all of their remaining hit dice, and Narcisso and Dravin used up a bunch of their spell slots on healing spells.
HourGlass.jpg
With that the group moved on to the final grimlock cave, that of the chieftan.  He was all alone sitting on a pile of furs stuffing his face full of halucinogenic mushrooms.  They got the drop on him and quickly tied him up and slit his throat, all the while he was laughing maniacally and shouting insults and saying "give my regards to Erythnul!".

No more grimlocks remaining, they worked their way around and entered the Labyrinth of Vecna.  The expertly crafted walls and floor were in stark contrast to the twisting caves of the grimlocks.  They followed a couple of branching passages and found an empty room.  They guessed on the location of a secret door, from where another hall had dead ended.  After opening it, they heard a voice from around the bend, so Lylass, Third, Narcisso and Dravin went to investigate, the other four stayed in the room.  After going down the hall a short while, they were attacked by four kenku!
They lept to attack, calling out to the other party members that stayed put, but when they went to follow, four more kenku ambushed them from behind, gaining advantage on their attacks.  

Overall, this fight finished fairly quickly, and also our session.

As far as my "conversion notes" for this one, I just ran Grallak Kur as a priest from the NPC section of the MM.  I'm finding those listings a great resource for statting up leveled monsters.  Just take the NPC and add any abilities the creature might have on top.  Simple!  Otherwise, the other grimlocks and the kenku were straight out of the MM, I just upped their numbers for my party. 

The fight with the grimlocks saw some use of my critical hit rules.  Though the low HP of the grimlocks saw them falling before they would use their Advantage or Disadvantage from crits or fumbles.  As a meta-game point that I noticed, players would target foes that scored a crit on them, hoping to drop them before the opponent could attack again with advantage.  I could also argue this as "this guy hits hard, I should finish him off first" as opposed to straight up meta gaming.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Urisk, Lubin

The last creature I'm going to convert from Dragon Magazine #94's Creature Catalog II is the urisk, and a variation, the lubin.  Originally by Roger Moore, I could find no other versions.
by Roger Raupp

Urisk
Small fey, neutral
Armor Class 13
Hit Points 10 (3d6)
Speed 35 feet


STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
9 (-1)
16 (+3)
11 (+0)
16 (+3)
10 (+0)
14 (+2)


Skills Perception +2, Stealth +6
Senses passive Perception 12
Languages Common, Sylvan
Challenge ⅛ (100 XP)


Pass without Trace.  Urisk do not leave footprints or a scent trail while moving. Tracking the urisk is impossible by nonmagical means.

Animal Friendship (Recharge 5-6).  The ursik can convince a beast that it means it no harm. Choose a beast that you can see within range.  It must see and hear you. If the beast’s Intelligence is 4 or higher, the spell fails. Otherwise, the beast must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or be charmed by you for the spell’s duration. If you or one of your companions harms the target, the spells ends.

Actions


Ram. Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 3 (1d4 + 1) bludgeoning damage.

Dagger. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 3 (1d4 + 1) piercing damage.

Shortbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 80/320 ft.,
one target.
Hit: 6 (1d3 + 3) piercing damage.


The urisk is very much like a 3’ tall, goat-headed satyr, having goatlike legs, a human torso, arms, and hands, and a small bushy tail wagging behind.  An urisk is covered in shaggy brown fur.  The urisk is solitary in nature and wanders through mountainous and forested terrain with no established lair, though it may have small caches of buried gold or gold jewelry.

Because of their charm animal ability, he urisk is  likely to have 1-4 mammalian companions with it, such as giant goats, bears, sheep, rams, deer, or the like.

Urisks are particularly friendly with gnomes and druids, neutral towards humans, elves, halflings, and dwarves, and hate all humanoids such as orcs and goblins.

A variant species very much like the urisk, called the lubin, averages 2½ in height and is black-furred; but otherwise similar to the urisk.  Lubins inhabit forests and fields, are chaotic neutral and cast charm person, rather than animal friendship.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Lillend

Back to Dragon Magazine #94's Creature Catalog II, and the Lillend, originally by Stephen Inniss.
lillend___commission_by_myrmirada-d6fg5zl.png
http://myrmirada.deviantart.com/
Based this more off of the 3e/Pathfinder stats that I found online.  I bumped up the hit dice to parallel the boost that demons and devils got compared to earlier editions as well.

Lillend
Large celestial (eladrin), chaotic good
Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 105 (10d10+50)
Speed 30 feet, fly 60 feet


STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
20(+5)
17 (+3)
21 (+5)
14 (+2)
16 (+3)
19 (+4)


Saving Throws Dex +7, Con +9, Wis +7, Cha +8
Damage Resistances cold, fire; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons that aren't cold iron
Damage Immunities electricity, poison
Condition Immunities charmed
Skills Persuasion +8, Perform +8
Senses Darkvision 60 feet, passive Perception 13
Languages Celestial, Sylvan
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)


Inspiration.  The lillend can inspire others through stirring words or music.  Using a bonus action on its turn, the lillend can choose one creature other than itself within 60 feet that can hear it.  That creature gains one inspiration die, a d8.  
Once within the next 10 minutes, the target can roll the die and add the number rolled to  one ability check, attack roll or saving throw it makes.  The target can wait until after it rolls the d20 before deciding to use the inspiration die, but must decide before the DM says whether the roll succeeds or fails.  Once the die is rolled, it is lost.  A creature can have only one inspiration die at a time.

Song of Rest.  The lilend can use soothing music or oration to help revitalize wounded allies during a short rest.  If itself or any other creatures who can hear its performance regain hit points at the end of the short rest, each of those creatures gain another 1d6 hit points.

Countercharm.  The lillend can use musical notes or words of power to disrupt mind-influencing effects.  As an action, the lillend can start a performance that lasts until the end of its next turn.  During that time, the lillend and any friendly creatures within 30 feet of it have advantage on saving throws against being frightened or charmed.  A creature must be able to hear the lillend to gain this benefit.  The performance ends early if the lillend is incapacitated or silenced or the lillend voluntarily ends it early (no action required).

Spellcasting.  The lillend is a 7th level spellcaster, its spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC, + to hit with spell attacks) that needs only verbal components to cast its spells.  It has the following bard spells prepared:
Cantrips (at will): dancing lights, light, mage hand
1st Level (4 slots): charm person, cure light wounds, identify, sleep
2nd Level (3 slots): enthrall, knock, suggestion
3rd Level (3 slots): plant growth, speak with plants
4th Level (1 slot): hallucinatory terrain


Actions
Multiattack.  The lillend makes three attacks: two with its sword and one constrict.

Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 9 (1d8+5) type damage.

Constrict. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature.
Hit: 9 (1d8 +5) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 16). Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained, and the lillend can’t constrict another target.


Lillends are the tale-tellers and chroniclers, gathering lore and recording stories in the form of epic poems and songs. They are generally peaceful, though they are swift to act if they believe a piece of rare art or a talented artist is threatened. A lillend's lower section is about 20 feet long, and a typical lillend weighs 3,800 pounds.

Although they have no need of mortal nourishment, it is said that lillends sup on the joy of music, art, and performance. They also love unspoiled wilderness and seek out places in the mortal realm that remind them of the beauty of their home plane. From the lore of numerous races come tales of these muses, particularly those that have taken a vested interest in the training of a single talented prodigy or the ongoing creation of some fantastic work of art. Such legends sometimes prove true, as all lillends have their favorite works, creations, and artists, and often visit the Material Plane to enjoy their splendor and make sure they remain safe. In the defense of such beauty, lillends prove passionate foes, calling upon the might of nearby allies or crushing philistines in their striking but deadly coils.

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Choker

Here's my second monster conversion from the Age of Worms game I ran last weekend, the choker.  A lot of this was just porting over stats from the 3e version, and making a few adjustments.  The tentacle and constrict attacks are the same as the constrictor snake's bite and constrict attacks.


Choker
Small aberration, chaotic evil
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 13 (3d6+3)
Speed  20 feet


STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
16 (+3)
14 (+2)
13 (+1)
4 (-3)
13 (+1)
7 (-2)


Skills Athletics +3, Stealth +6
Senses Darkvision 60 feet, passive Perception
Languages Undercommon
Challenge ½ (100 XP)


Climbing.  The choker can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.

Actions


Tentacle. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature.
Hit: 5 (1d6 + 3) piercing damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 14). Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained, and the choker can’t constrict another target.  

Constrict. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature.
Hit: 6 (1d8 + 2) bludgeoning damage,


Chokers are ravenous, greedy hunters. They lurk in the darkness of caves and dungeons, snatching any prey they can get their grasping tendrils on. Easily bribed and hard to escape from, they can at best be controlled and at worst be consumed by.

A choker appears to be a mottled brown, semi-humanoid creature with long tendril-like limbs ending with four fingers, lined on the inside with spines that allow it to climb walls and constrict enemies. A choker’s skull, spine, and rib cage are bony, but its limbs are really tentacles with multiple knobby joints of cartilage. Thus, it appears bowlegged, and its movements seem peculiar and fluid. It's elongated face ends in a grotesque mouth filled with jagged teeth, and always appears to be snarling. The creature weighs about 35 pounds.

Chokers are animalistic predators. The only peaceful interaction they might have is through heavy bribery, and even then they are hostile and combative. Otherwise, they simply attack and consume what they can, and flee or hide from what they cannot.

Chokers live almost exclusively in caves, dungeons and similar locations. They tend to use the ceilings and walls of such areas to their advantage, utilizing their skill at climbing to ambush prey.

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