All posts by LS

LotFP/FFX Class: Wakka

FFX_Wakka_ArtWakka is a Blitzballer. Blitzball is a kind of soccer-like sport that is played entirely underwater. The physical demands of the sport are intense, and it thus produces amazing athletes. Retired or washed-out players often find a life of adventure to be a profitable post-career pursuit.

The class has a 1d8 hit die. They advance in level and saving throws as a fighter, and attack as a specialist. They are able to make unarmed attacks dealing 1d6 damage, rising to 1d8 at level 4, and then 1d10 at level 8.

Blitzballers are notable for their skill at moving in water. Much of their intense athletic training focused on the ability to remain underwater for long periods and still play an effective game. Blitzballers are thus able to hold their breath for up to 1 hour per level, and can move and attack underwater just as effectively as they do on land.

The blitzball itself is a unique item. Few have the skills and knowledge required to craft them, and the materials are expensive to acquire. A regulation blitzball for use in the sport costs 300sp. Some adventuring blitzballers have discovered modifications to the regulation ball to make it a more effective combat weapon. A level 1 blitzballer begins play with a regulation blitzball. If lost, they must pay to replace it.

To the true blitzballer, the blitzball is an extension of the self. Which, of course, is why they’re able to make unarmed attacks with their blitzball. The attack range increment is 30′ + 10′ every 2 levels. They deal damage by targeting nerve clusters. And on a natural 20, the target of a blitzballer’s attack must save v. Paralyzation or their body will go completely limp until their next turn. Of course, this only works with creatures who have nerve clusters. On a successful attack, the Blitzball will then ricochet back into the blitzballer’s hands. On a failed attack, the blitzballer has miscalculated their throw. They must spend a round retrieving their ball before they can attack with it again.

Flying creatures are particularly prone to the blitzballer’s attacks. If a flying creature is hit by a blitzball attack, it must immediately save versus Paralyation or fall to the ground. Creatures which fly without wings (such as someone under the effects of a Fly spell) receive a +4 to this save.

LotFP/FFX Class: Yuna

YunaYuna is a summoner. Summoners tend to be waifish and pale; a result of long hours of monastic study, meditation, and prayer. They share their hit dice, experience progression, and attack bonuses with magic Users, and have the same save progression as a cleric. Summoners can also cast clerical spells as though they were a cleric 2 levels lower than their Summoner level. (So a level 3 summoner has the casting abilities of a 1st level cleric).

Summoners spend their lives learning to communicate with realms beyond the physical plane. When encountering Outsiders or Elementals, those creatures react to the summoner with the same courtesy they would show a member of their own race. This is not an illusion or misdirection, the summoner simply knows how to present themselves correctly to these creatures.

When a group of humans, or one particularly powerful human, undergo a ritual which puts them into an ageless sleep. The intense dreams of each group merge and twist together, eventually coalescing into a creature called an Aeon. Summoners have a particular connection with Aeons, and indeed the monastic road of the Summoner and the sacrificial road of the dreamer are two paths within the same secretive faith.

Aeons are unique and independent creatures. They are not mere expressions of the groups who formed them. They have their own wills and desires, and while they do generally like summoners, they do not necessarily want to serve every summoner they encounter. The summoner receives a +2 to their reaction roll when meeting an Aeon for the first time, and must convince the Aeon that they are a summoner worthy of the Aeon’s services. I highly recommend Courtney Campbell’s “On the Non Player Character” for adjudicating this process. The rules in Appendix A: Arguing would be particularly apt here.

Once an Aeon has been bound to the Summoner, they will obey the Summoner unquestioningly. They will appear when called, and obey any command they are given. Despite being summoned creatures, the particular nature of Aeons means that if they die, they are dead and cannot be returned to life even by the most powerful magics. The summoner must make a save v. Magic or take a negative level from the death of their Aeon.

A summoner may contract with as many Aeons as they wish. However, they may only ever summon 1 Aeon a day, which will remain in the physical world for 8 hours. (12 after level 5). The process of being summoned is a turbulent one, which partially drains the Aeon’s of their energy. More practiced summoners will be able to make the process easier, and so the Hit Dice of a summoned Aeon usually depend somewhat on the hit dice of the summoner.

Aeons created by dreamers who willingly underwent the ritual of eternal sleep are unusually powerful; but these willing dreamers are rare.

Example Aeon

Valefor is a reptilian flying creature, with the body mass of a bull and a wingspan of 44′. She is covered in colorful feathers in hues of purple and red. A crest of stringy white hair cascades from the top of her head, down to the base of her neck. She is refined in her manner. She speaks very properly and acts with (and expects) courtesy. She’s also self pitying to a somewhat annoying degree, though she does make an effort not to complain too loud or too often.

AC 15, 2+[ 1/2 Summoner’s Level] HD, Move 60′(20′)/270′(70′), 2 Claws 1d4, 1 Beak 1d8, Morale 12

Desired Outcome: Valefor joins the summoner. (*)(*)

(I’m of no use to anyone.)[Remind Valefor of past glories.]

(There are many better Aeons than me.)[Demonstrate that Valefor will offer the summoner something that no other Aeon will.]

(If I were to join you, I would be likely to die.)[Make some meaningful gesture of dedication to keeping Valefor alive.]

(I cannot bind myself to anyone who is unrefined.)[Demonstrate refinement.]

LotFP/FFX Class: Auron

Auron_artworkThe other day, my brother and I were talking about a campaign he wants to run based on Final Fantasy X. He’s sketching out a system for it, and wanted to workshop some classes. Mechanically, I actually think FFX is probably the best game in the whole series. The game’s story is mediocre, and the presentation is bad, but the actual play of the game feels really good to me. So I thought it would be fun to sketch out some OSR compatible classes based on the characters in the game. I don’t know if I’ll do everyone. But I’d like to explore at least a few of the characters, starting with one of my all time favorites: Auron. Auron is a warrior monk.

Warrior Monks have devoted themselves to playing a support role. Most often they obey the will of a large organization such as a religion or a state. Occasionally, they swear themselves to an individual and devote themselves to keeping that individual safe and advancing that individual’s goals. Though they may attempt to influence the direction of those to whom they have sworn themselves, a warrior monk’s strength comes from their devotion to the needs of another. If their service comes to an end (either through dismissal, or the death of their master,) then the warrior monk must make a save versus Poison. This save is made at a penalty equal to the warrior monk’s level. The higher their level, the deeper their fealty, and the more difficult it is to lose their master. On failure, they spiral into vice. Alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc. Their slovenly state persists until they devote themselves to someone new.

Warrior monks have a d12 hit die, and advance as a fighter for saves and level-ups. Their to-hit bonus advances as a cleric’s does. Their particular combat style favors heavy, precise blows. So long as they are wielding a weapon with both hands, their damage die with that weapons is 1 better than normal. (a weapon that normally deals 1d6 damage instead deals 1d8. A 1d8 weapon deals 1d10. Etcetera.)

Warrior monks ignore armor rating from armor when they attack with a two handed weapon. So, in Lamentation of the Flame Princess, this means that all humanoids are treated as AC 12. 13 if they use a shield, and otherwise adjusted by dexterity.

On a successful hit, the warrior monk rolls damage. That damage is reduced by 1 if the target is wearing leather armor, 2 if they are wearing chain, and 4 if they are wearing plate.

If a Warrior Monk is within 10′ of the individual they are sworn to (or a representative of the organization they are sworn to), then they may opt to protect that character from taking damage by instead taking the damage themselves. When they do this, the protected character must make a save v. Paralyzation (with a +1 bonus per level of the Warrior Monk) or be knocked prone to the ground, interrupting spellcasting and limiting actions on the character’s next turn.

More Magic Words in Action

Rembrandt_Peale_-_George_Washington_-_Google_Art_Project_(721252)Magic Words in Action was a lot of fun to write. So I’m gonna be lazy and just do it again.

This time, I figure it might be interesting to try and theme the words more. So this time I randomly generated a body part, a verb, and 2 weird words. I also decided to throw a person’s name in there. In your game it would be some important caster in your game world, but I just finished studying the American Revolution, so lets all pretend that George Washington was a wizard. So our words are:

(Yes. I swear this was randomly generated.)




George Washington

I’m really tempted to change “Nipple” to something less ridiculous. Like “Fist” or “Heel.” How cool does “Washington’s Fist” sound as a spell? But Nipple is what the website gave me, and that’s what I’m stuck with. I’m going to interpret the meaning of nipples as a thing which provides succor, or a thing which releases a substance in small amounts.

Of course, after writing these spells, there are many of them that could be renamed to make a little more sense. But that’s not really in keeping with the spirit of the system.

In the previous post, all spells were 1st level. This time I’m just going to come up with the spells, and forgo spell levels.

Washington’s Nipples

Only a lawful character may cast this spell successfully. It is a ritual spell, requiring a full hour to cast. Once complete, 250 people per caster level will have their lives sustained for one day. They will still feel hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and cold. But these things will not kill them.

Visit from Washington

This is a ritual spell which requires a full hour to cast, and its casting must coincide with one of the high holy days of Washington’s faith. When cast, 100 people per caster level may travel up to 50 miles instantaneously and silently. However, their path must follow a network of established roads. A wide, oft-trodden dirt road counts, but a deer trail does not.

The Tune of Washington

A patriotic spell which must be sung by the caster. Any hirelings within earshot become inspired. If at any point during the coming day they are required to make a loyalty check, they make the check twice and take the better result.

Washington’s Mist

Affects a group of 100 people per level of the caster. If the group is retreating from battle, and this spell is cast, then determine who in the group has the highest stealth skill. That person makes a skill check at a -1 penalty. If their check is successful, then the entire group is able to stealthily remove themselves from battle.

Mists of Visitation

Spell summons a deep mist. The mist is weak, and so to last more than a single round, it must be cast in the proper conditions for mist. Near a body of water, in the cool hours of the day. If done properly, the mist will remain until it disipates naturally.

Anyone who enters the mist will meet someone interesting. Perhaps they’ll meet the man of their dreams, or the ghost of a long dead master willing to share a useful secret. There’s no way to control who you meet within the mists, but it is guaranteed to be beneficial.

Visiting Nipple

As part of preparing this spell, you must designate a body of liquid. It can be a jug you carry on your person, or an ocean. However, you must be able to touch the liquid when you prepare the spell. When cast, your nipples are replaced by 1″ diameter portals to that body of liquid. It will pour out of you at a rate of 2′ feet per round, for 1 adventuring turn, before your normal nipples return to your body.

Tune of Visitation

A spell which requires the caster to make music. The music can be made either by singing, or by playing an instrument. For as long as the caster is able to keep the song going, the spell’s duration will continue. The spell teleports a willing target to the location of one of their blood relatives. When the spell ends, they are teleported back.

Misty Nipples

Causes 1 protrusion to rise from a nearby surface per level of the caster. The caster has no control over where precisely the protrusions rise, other than “nearby.” The protrusions match the material of whatever surface they sprouted from. Immediately, each of the protrusions begins to leak a white mist that grows to fill the room. Each protrusion fills 10′ feet per round, for 6 rounds. The mist does not inhibit breathing, and in fact, breathing the mist is quite nutritious. Spending a turn in the mist counts as eating a full meal.

Tune in the Mist

A spell that must be cast on a pre-existing fog or mist. For the next day, anyone in the mist will hear an eerie song. A mix of human wailing, and the low bellows of wind and string instruments. This illusion will force a morale check in most creatures, and even those who succeed are likely to be shaken by the experience.

The Nipple’s Tune

An illusion spell cast on a single target. On a failed save versus Magic, the character begins to occasionally hear a strange singing. Investigation will lead them to discover that their own nipples appear to have grown mouths, which amateurishly sing their way through a variety of improvised songs. At first their singing is occasional and quiet, but over time it grows louder and more frequent. By the end of a week, the victim believes their nipples are constantly singing, at a volume loud enough to be heard clearly by anyone nearby, despite any attempts at muffling they may make.

This kind of delusion will obviously affect a person in a variety of detrimental ways, best determined by the referee.

Related Links:

The original Magic Words system proposal.

The previous Magic Words in Action post.

Another list of mix-and-match spells over at Built By Gods Long Forgotten.

Additional ideas, and a list of 100 spell words compiled by Ktrey Parker

The Miscreated Creatures Questions Applied to the Axe Beak

Axe_beakAs an exercise, I’m going to use  the monster development questions I posted yesterday to flesh out a classic D&D monster. Hopefully this will make the way I use the questions a little more clear.

I’m using the Axe Beak for a few reasons. First off, it’s kinda interesting, but is overall boring enough that it needs further development. Second, I’m almost completely unfamiliar with this monster. I never really read its entries in later editions of the game, and I’ve certainly never read any ecology articles or anything written about it. All I know is what’s written in the AD&D Monster Manual. Which is:

Axe beaks are prehistoric carnivorous flightless birds. They are very fast runners and aggressively hunt during daylight. An axe beak resembles an ostrich in its lower portions, with a strong neck and a heavy, sharp beak.

Can it be unique?
The monster is designed around encountering a herd of 1-6. Best not to make it entirely unique.

If it can’t be unique, can it be a small group?
Yeah, it can easily be a small group. Perhaps when you roll 1d6 to determine how many you encounter, you’re also determining how many exist in the whole world? They’re a dying breed. A darwinian loser, or perhaps something that was never very numerous in the first place? A small group created by some unusual means. Perhaps they’re unaging creatures, some 100 or so created in ages past, now reduced by the occasional violent death to a mere handful?

Can it be smart?
Each Axe Beak makes every other Axe Beak a little smarter. When there was 100+, they were geniuses. Now, with only a few left, they’re barely literate simpletons. They scratch simple symbols in the dirt with their claws to communicate with non-Axe Beaks. They’re also capable of using a roughly 500 word vocabulary of some appropriate human-learnable language.

If it is not unique, what is its culture?
Once, Axe Beaks practiced a kind of utilitarian artwork using the medium of trees. With their beaks, they’d carve still living trunks into complex patterns, leaving enough of the tree intact for it to survive and for the patterns to remain. These patterns carried messages to other groups of Axe Beaks, claimed territory, or told stories of events that had happened. here. Given the now much reduced mental abilities of Axe Beaks, they tend to simply feel the urge to hack at trees every now and again, which they do until the tree falls over.

What is its worldview?
Axe Beaks have always been brutish and aggressive. Confident in their own superiority over other creatures, who they view as ugly. They particularly look down on any creature that can fly. They’re deeply jealous, but that’s not something they would ever admit to an outsider.

Wooden structures made by humans are offensive to them, and will be destroyed with gusto.

Can it be an inverse swarm?

What does it do?
The remaining Axe Beaks believe that they simply need to breed more of their own kind in order to reclaim their greatness. To this end, they obsessively mate with any creature they can. They’ve already determined that mating with one another doesn’t work, and they’re willing to try pretty much anything.

The Axe Beaks have never seen an ostrich. I don’t know if mating with an ostrich would be successful for them or not, but they’d certainly be interested in the extreme.

Why does it do what it does?
Because it knows it’s not smart, and it wants to be smart.

How does it do what it does?
They do what comes naturally. Generally speaking they pursue animals of similar size, or other birds. Though most birds are too small.

Does it make anything?
Axe Beaks are actually pretty good at making simple bridges of wood. They don’t like to get wet at all. Due to their decreased intelligence, they can only cross small rivers with a nearby source of trees. But at their height, they built some marvelous bridges that were studied by human engineers.

Anyone tracking the Axe Beaks will probably come across a simple bridge at some point.

Might it deal peacefully with the characters?
They’re easily agitated and easily insulted, and they’re predisposed to think humans are troublesome and annoying. But they also know that there’s much easier prey than humans. They’re generally willing to parley unless they’re ravenously hungry.

Does it have minions?
Not at present.

What is the creature’s lair like?
Axe Beaks are nomads. They range far and wide in search of mates, marking trees as they go. When it rains, they find what shelter they can until it’s time to move on.

Does the creature’s presence affect its environment?
Not by itself, no.

Does it have any special treasures?
There is a pair of saddle bags which gets passed around between the Axe Beaks. Everyone takes their turn carrying it. Within its pouches are smooth stones, shiny rocks, bits of metal, seashells, and a variety of other things which the Axe Beaks have deemed valuable. There may be a number of gems and coins in the pouch.

How did the creature come to exist?
They don’t know it, but all of the Axe Beaks were once axes, wielded by woodsmen who encroached into the forest of Hellena the Kyphotic, a druid with a wicked temperament. With the first blow of each axe, the roots rose up to strangle the woodsmen. The trees grew tall and strong on their blood. The axes were eventually enveloped by the growing wood, and when the trees grew old and toppled over, the Axebeaks emerged from the rotted wood.

What are the portents of its arrival?
There are none.

What happens to the creature’s victims?
The creatures are carnivores. If a meat-creature is their victim, then they will be eaten.

Does the creature have any special weakness?
They find touching water incredibly uncomfortable. They take no damage from being wet, but they react to being wet the way you might expect them to react to being on fire.

Does anything special occur upon the killing blow being made against the monster?
Each Axe Beak that dies makes the whole dumber. When there is only one Axe Beak left, it will simply topple over. Brain dead.

When the creature dies, what happens?
It has a very boring, natural death. Followed by a boring, natural decay.

Is the dead body useful for anything?
Each creature actually has a woodsman’s axe inside of its body. The head of the axe is at the center of its beak, and their spinal column has taken the place of the shaft. If the spine is reinforced with a metal or wooden rod, then the the axe can be wielded as a +2 battle axe against druids. If used to chop down a tree, the tree will always fall in exactly the direction you want it to fall in.

Related Posts:

The questions themselves.

The Miscreated Creatures Questions

106_Tentacle Latcher_Art ConceptAs I briefly mentioned a couple posts back, earlier this year I hit a stumbling block with I when I realized I’d been focusing my creativity in all the wrong places. What inspired me to take up this project in the first place were the mind-bending mechanics of the monsters in Better Than Any Man. I wanted every monster to be mechanically bizarre, so that was my primary goal: make really weird mechanics. What I ended up doing was creating a few really cool mechanics that I’m excited to share, and a lot of needlessly complex, over designed, try-hard nonsense. When I stepped back to look at all I had wrought, I realized that a shameful amount of my monsters were basically an interesting idea coupled with some bad rulecraft.

I spent time reading my favorite monster entries and asking “why do I like  this?” Most of the time, the answer to that question wasn’t “It has weird awesome mechanics.” The answer was something like “Because it makes art out of people’s disassembled bodies,” or “Because its consciousness is in another dimension and it has no idea that its actions harm anybody.” Clearly, I’d fucked up. I needed to reassess my monsters to figure out what made each one great, then build on that. To facilitate that process, I wrote a list of questions to ask myself about each monster. I’ve found the questions to be a reasonably reliable process to help me take an interesting idea and turn it into something that I’m proud of.

Can it be unique?
As a rule, unique monsters are more interesting than species of monsters. So does the monster need to be a member of a larger group in order to reach its full potential?

If it is not unique, what is its culture?
More than one of this creature exist, so they must have some relationship to one another. What binds them together? What are their common feelings and beliefs?

If it can’t be unique, can it be a small group?
A single tribe of similar monsters is more interesting than a globe spanning species. If there’s only a few hundred of something, perhaps they can occupy a single valley or island. Or perhaps there are only a few, and they never or rarely have contact with one another.

Can it be an inverse swarm?
(I’d really like to implement this idea at least a couple times, but so far I haven’t found a good opportunity.)

Can it be smart?
Intelligent monsters can have more complex motivations. They can parley with the party. If it can be smart without losing what makes it cool, then it should probably be smart.

What is its worldview?
Does it have a philosophy? How does it regard us? How does it regard nature, or the divine, or concepts like love and hate?

What does it do?
Certainly it must do something more than simply kill and eat people. What does it do when there’s no one to kill and eat? Is that thing that it does interesting to the players? Does it set traps, or write books, or dig tunnels, or pray? Are the things that it does even a problem? Are they beneficial?

Does it make anything?
Can the players buy what it makes? Is it useful or interesting? What does it do with the things that it makes?

Why does it do what it does?
Does it enjoy the thing it does, or is it a hated necessity? Is it willing, compelled, or even aware of the things that it is doing?

How does it do what it does?
Does it force others to do the work for it? Does it make people watch while it does the work itself? Is the thing that it does a ceremonial act performed with pomp, or is it merely a task to be completed?

Might it deal peacefully with the characters?
Does it have to default to hostility, or can it start out as neutral or friendly? Will it be willing to bargain? Does it want something the players can give it? Does it have anything to offer them? Can the monster serve as a questgiver?

Does it have minions?
Are there creatures attending the monster? Are they willing? Are they happy? Are they similar to itself, or are they different? How loyal are they? Why do they serve it?

What is the creature’s lair like?
Does it have a home? Is it a simple cave or dirt hole, or is it constructed? Does it have a specific appearance? Does it contain any specific objects? Are there any specific hazards? Did it adopt a lair, or build its own? Is its lair in our world? Is its lair difficult to reach?

Does the creature’s presence affect its environment?
Is the area surrounding the creature’s lair affected? How does nature, or children, or animals react to being in the creature’s presence? Does it have an aura of any kind? How does magic react to its presence?

Does it have any special treasures?
What has this creature hoarded or taken from others?

How did the creature come to exist?
Did it evolve? Was it created in its current form by gods? Was it created by a wizard? Was it created by a curse, or a lingering energy? Did it originate as another kind of creature?

What are the portents of its arrival?
When the creature is coming, or being summoned, or thinking about going somewhere, is there a sign of its imminent arrival? Any weather phenomena or unexplained oddities?

What happens to the creature’s victims?
Do they all necessarily die? Are they kept alive? Are they changed?

Does the creature have any special weakness?
Does its weakness hurt or kill it? Does it simply weaken it, or allow it to be hurt more easily? Does the weakness restrict the creature’s options or movement? Is the weakness logical, or is it something completely oblique that only random chance or an ancient sage will be able to reveal?

Does anything special occur upon the killing blow being made against the monster?
Is there a blessing or a curse? Is it on the one who made the killing blow, or on someone they love, or on their player?

When the creature dies, what happens?
Does its body explode, or decay, or simply lie dead normally? Is any evil inside of it released, are any of its deeds undone? Was its life sealing away any good or evil that is now released? Is there any cool effect like everybody in 100 miles going blind, or the sun being brighter for a day?

Is the dead body useful for anything?
Do the bones make good weapons? Are there any spell components to be found among its remains? Is the body part ready-to-use as soon as its removed, or must it be crafted by an artisan? Is it a permanent item? A temporary boost? Does it have an expiration date?

Related Posts

Wherein I apply these questions to the AD&D Axe Beak monster.

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