Posts Tagged “My Games”
The room is simple, largely conforming to the architectural style and level of dilapidation of the surrounding rooms. It is good if this room can be placed adjacent to a dining hall or kitchen, as when the dungeon was active, this room produced a drink which (for some reason) was favored by the lord or lady of the place.
It is dominated by a large pit in the floor, 5ft deep, filled with a swirling, bubbling, steaming liquid of a faintly brown color. On the wall of the room is a large rack covered in pegs, and from many of the pegs hang wooden mugs with a copper inlay. The mugs themselves are essentially worthless, being worth ~3cp each, for a total of 20-60 cups in all. The liquid in the floor both smells, and tastes, like a mild tea. If any one drinks it, they are affected by one of the following, determined by rolling 1d12. All effects are permanent, unless noted otherwise.
- The liquid is poisonous to your body. Roll a save v. poison, or a fortitude save DC 15. Failure causes death.
- A -1 to a random ability score. Use 1d6 to determine.
- Spend 10 minutes vomiting and shaking violently.
- Burn the roof of your mouth really, really badly.
- Antlers sprout from your head.
- Tiny, inefficient wings sprout from your back. They might be of *some* use keeping cool or jumping an extra 3-4 inches, but that’s about it.
- Skin turns orange.
- Feel pretty good about yourself for the rest of the day.
- A scorpion stinger grows in your mouth. It is not harmful to you, nor does it interfere with normal tasks. It can be used to sting anything you put your mouth on, delivering a poison which deals 1d6 CON damage per turn, for 3 turns.
- +20 to your strength for 1 hour.
- A +1 to a random ability score. Use 1d6 to determine.
- +1 level.
Players may continue to drink from the pit as many times as they like. Effects will stack with each other, and any effect rolled twice for the same character should be properly “enhanced” according to GM discretion. However, once a character has rolled a 9 or higher, their body will have adapted to the effects of the brew. From then on, regardless of the mixture they create (see below), or what they roll, no magical effect will occur. The drink is still quite tasty, though. They’ll find they enjoy it even more than before.
Adjacent to this room is a room filled with barrels. These barrels each contain a mixture which, when combined with the tea-water in the previous room, will slightly alter the random roll. If a barrel is completely dumped into the tea-water pit, then the additive will become inert after 10 minutes. If any two of these are mixed together, then their numerical bonuses or penalties will average. Orange spiral overrides anything it is mixed with. If any of these are consumed without being combined with the tea water, it tastes so awful the players will reflexively spit it out. Forced consumption causes death.
The symbols on the barrels, and their effects, are:
- Blue Square. Smells like meat-juice. -4 to the random roll.
- Purple Triangle. Smells like a bowl of raw egg. -2 to the random roll.
- Red circle. Smells like beets. +2 to the random roll.
- Black “X.” Smells like coffee. +4 to the random roll.
- Orange Spiral. Smells almost sickeningly sweet. The random roll is replaced by a 1d6 roll to determine the player’s skin color: 1. Bright Red, 2. Blue, 3. Green, 4. Purple, 5. Orange, 6. Transparent. This effect functions even after the player has become immune to the tea-water’s other effects.
The above room appears in the megadungeon my players are currently exploring, Castle Nalew. They discovered it yesterday, and I think we probably spent an hour or more there. They tried every concoction they could think of, and much of the above information is stuff I had to improvise when they asked questions I wasn’t prepared for. Other information I had to improvise was: what happens when you become transparent twice, and what happens when you feed the liquid to a green ooze?
I could write a rather lengthy post about how much fun we had with this, but much of it would probably come across as “you had to be there” humor. However there is one story which is so impossibly perfect, I could not resist sharing it.
The very first character to dare drinking from the tea was the party’s monk. He rolled a seven, meaning his skin turned orange. Later, when they discovered the barrels in the next room, the monk was the first to try the orange spiral concoction, rolled a 5, making him orange a second time. I said that while he had been “Trump Orange,” he was now a wholly inhuman neon orange. After popping around to a few different colors, he again hit orange twice in a row, causing him to actually begin to glow orange with the strength of several candles.
The character’s name?
Sometimes the dice are the best comedians at the table.
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NOTE: If you participate in my monthly ToKiMo Pathfinder campaign, I advise you against reading this post. It will be much more fun for you to encounter this information through play, than it will be fore you to read it here.
Six hundred years ago, she lived a peasant’s life, and knew herself by a peasant’s name. A name which does not matter, and which she has long since forgotten. Sestronatara was born from that peasant she once was, when her mistress drained her of human weakness and gifted to her a new existence as a fledgeling vampire. In that existence she has served her mistress, as fledgelings do. As she aged she grew in power, and independence. When she had been in her mistress service for roughly a century, she was given a task:
Travel to the Castle Nalew, ancient sanctum of the mad god who one walked the earth. There, locate the Blade of Boleshi, which the mad god crafted from the carapace of the mother of spiders. Retrieve it, and return.
Dutifully, Sestronatara crossed the oceans and deserts of the world, and entered the dread god’s labyrinth to begin her search. She wandered the dungeon’s halls, slaying or enslaving all she met there. Shortly after she arrived, she encountered a paladin; a dwarf named Elzhemer. He also sought the Blade of Boleshi, determined to destroy such an evil artifact. The two fought to a stalemate before retreating to continue their search with a renewed sense of urgency.
For thirty years the two searched, and fought, neither gaining the upper hand. Sestronatara became impatient, and plotted to end her game with the infuriating Elzhemer. In their next encounter, she ‘lost’ her journal while fleeing from her foe. Within, he found every note she’d made for 30 years, and combining her knowledge with his, he knew precisely where to find the long-sought blade.
But unbeknownst to the righteous Elzhemer, his nemesis had disguised herself as a spider on the ceiling. She followed his every step, through hundreds of rooms and countless deadly traps, until the two reached their prize. Before Elzhemer could move to claim the cursed blade, Sestronatara let fall her disguise and made to kill the dwarf. For a day, sparks from clashing weapons were the chamber’s only light, and howls of rage and pain were its only sound. When all seemed lost for him, Elzhemer smashed a glass vial of holy water against the vampire’s head, burning away her skin and hair, leaving her head forever bald. But Sestronatara recovered, and proved victorious. With the Blade of Boleshi, she cut her foe’s hands away, then chained him so she could drag the meat to her mistress.
But when Sestronatara reached the entrance of the dungeon, she found she could not leave. In the 30 years the two had been here, a group of powerful wizards and clerics had banded together and sealed Castle Nalew against any entrance or exit. The vampiress raged and beat against the barrier, but could not escape. And in her 30 years of exploration, she had never discovered another pathway out. The pair were trapped.
Five hundred years have passed since then. Sestronatara has claimed a small wing of Nalew for herself, and filled it with her own fledgelings and slaves. To occupy herself, she collects what objects of beauty can be found in the dungeon, and will offer a good price for any art piece. She has grown powerful, and independent. No longer does she wish to serve the mistress who created her–though she still keeps the Blade of Boleshi hidden away. She cannot disobey her mistress’ final command.
In her chambers, beard grey with age, the handless Elzhemer remains chained. A pedestal has been placed just out of his arm’s reach, and upon it is a hammer and wooden stake he could never hope to use without hands. The paladin’s anguish soothes her.
Sestonatara (CR 8)
Female Human Vampire, Sorceress 6
Init +9; Senses Perception +14, Darkvision (60ft)
AC 23, Flat Footed 17, Touch 17 [10 + Dex(6) + Natural(6) + Dodge(1)]
hp 67 (6d8 + 36)
Fast Healing 5
Fort +3 (Immune unless effect can target objects, or is harmless) Ref +8 Will +6
DR 15/Magic & Silver
Resist Fire 20, Channel 4, Cold 15, Electricity 10
Immunities Mind affecting effects, Bleed, Death effects, Disease, Paralysis, Poison, Sleep effects, Stunning, Nonlethal Damage, Ability Drain, Energy Drain, Physical Ability Score Damage, Exhaustion, Fatigue effects, Death from massive damage, effects which require a fortitude save
Melee Staff + 8 (1d4 + 5, 20/x2)(Reflex save DC: 11 v. being knocked flat)
Melee Slam +6 (1d4 + 3, 20/x2)(Magic Weapon)(Energy Drain)
Sorcerer Spells (CL 6th; Concentration +11; +2 save DC for Evocation spells)
3rd (4/day) – Lightning Bolt
2nd (7/day) – False Life, Scorching Ray, Shatter
1st (6/day) – Chill Touch, Burning Hands, Magic Missile, Mage Armor, True Strike
0 (at will) – Dancing Lights, Flare, Light, Ray of Frost, Blood, Message, Daze
Bloodline Arcana Corporeal undead are susceptible to your mind-affecting spells.
Grave Touch – Able to summon a familiar.
Death’s Gift – Resist cold 5, and DR 5/Magic & Silver
Str 16 (+3) Dex 20 (+5) Con — (–) Int 13 (+1) Wis 6 (-2) Cha 21 (+5)
Base Atk +3; CMB +6; CMD 21
Feats Iron Will, Spell Focus/Greater Spell Focus (Evocation), Dominate Focus (+1 Dominate DC), Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Toughness, Eschew Materials,
Skills Perception(+12), Spellcraft (+10), Use Magic Device (+14),
Languages Common, The Gravespeech, Draconic, Goblin
–Blood Drain: If an opponent is pinned, may deal 1d4 Con damage per round. Gains +5 HP (or +5 temporary HP) for each round blood is drained.
–Children of the Night: 1/day, summon 1d6+1 rat swarms, 1d4+1 bat swarms, or 2d6 wolves as a standard action. Creatures arrive in 2d6 rounds, and remain for 1 hour.
–Create Spawn: Creatures slain by blood drain or energy drain rise as subservient vampires within 1d4 days.
–Dominate: Target must succeed on a will save (DC 19) or fall under the effects of a Dominate spell.
–Energy Drain: Creatures hit by slam attacks gain two negative levels.
–Change Shape: May assume the form of a dire bat or wolf, as Beast Shape II
–Gaseous Form: As a standard action, or upon reaching 0 HP, the vampire can assume Gaseous Form indefinitely. Has a fly speed of 20ft with perfect maneuverability.
–Shadowless: Casts no shadows, nor is he reflected in a mirror
–Spider Climb: May climb surfaces as though under the effects of the Spider Climb spell.
–Combat Reflexes: May make up to 5 attacks of opportunity per round. Even while flat footed.
–Aversion: Cannot tolerate the strong odor of garlic, mirrors, nor strongly presented holy symbols. Must succeed on a DC 25 will save each round, or stay at least 5ft away from these objects.
–Entrance: Cannot enter any private home or dwelling unless invited by someone with the authority to do so.
–Sunlight: Exposure to direct sunlight causes the staggered condition in the first round, and utter destruction in the second round.
–Running Water: Being submerged in running water deals damage equal to 1/3rd of max hit points per round. Upon reaching 0HP, the character cannot escape using gaseous form as normal.
–Wooden Stake: If a wooden stake is driven through the heart while Sestronatara is helpless, she is instantly slain. However, if the stake is ever removed, she returns to life unless her head is also severed and burned.
Gear Staff of Impact (+2, Knockdown), Key Ring (Opens her secret treasure room), Wand of Fireball (8 charges), Close-Call-Cloak (+1 to all saves)
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Posted by LS on Friday, March 15th, 2013 at 5:45 am
Categories: Fiction, Pathfinder
Tags: Colorful Characters, My Games
Arabs Skirmishing in the Mountains, 1863 by Eugène Delacroix
Recently the tide turned in the ongoing war between the elves of the Western forest, and the orcs who had settled in the ruins there. A series of defeats has forced the orcs into retreat. Rather than flee North into dwarven lands, or South where they would likely be subjugated by the Lich, they began migrating East, and established three settlements in the north of the Plains of Nalew. No one holds a true claim on this land, though there is a small human settlement, named Overton, at the confluence of the River Nalew and the Drall River.
The humans of Overton have obviously been distressed by this development. They appealed to the elves for aide, but the elves say they have enough orcs to worry about in their own lands, and are not interested in risking lives in solving human problems. To make matters worse, the orcs have recently erected a fourth settlement. This one south of the River Nalew, a day’s ride from Overton itself, and very clearly an encroachment on human territory.
Fortunately, the local adventuring party returned to town about this time. The mayor begged them for help, and they agreed to do what they could to get rid of the orc problem. Unwilling to take such a large force head-on, the players devised a more cunning plan. First, they did some recruiting around town, and found 10 able-bodied adults willing to join them in battle. Second, they approached the elves again, and laid out a plan which would minimize the risk to elven lives. They also reminded the elves that orcs breed fast, and allowing them to settle so close to elven territory would given them the opportunity to re-invade within 10-20 years. The elves agreed to lend the players 30 archers; but only on the condition that the only real risk be to the players.
The lynchpin of the plan was Betsie, the minotauress PC. For the most part, this has been a humans-only campaign, but I allowed one of the players to take control of Betsie when her paladin died and Betsie was the only friendly NPC around. The players figured that the Orcs, as fellow monstrous humanoids, may be inclined to trust Betsie more than they would trust a human. The plan was that Betsie would tell the orcs that the forest west of Nalew had ruins similar to those the orcs had occupied in the Eastern forest, and that ever since the tribe of Gnolls she’d been in charge of had been killed by humans, there was no one there to occupy the territory. (All of this was pretty much true). Further, Betsie would claim, the ruins were filled with treasure, which she would prove with a massive 5000gp diamond the players had recovered from the area.
The player’s hope was that the Orcs would agree, and she could lead each of the four colonies (one by one) into a bottleneck between a large hill and a river, where they’d be ambushed by the humans, elves, and the rest of the party. It was a solid plan. Or, rather, it was an insane plan, but one which met the minimum standard for logical thinking which constitutes a good plan in D&D. Shortly after the plan was made, one of our players had to leave, and we decided to play board games for the rest of the evening.
That was a month ago. I had that long to figure out how to handle the player’s plan. It’s a good enough plan that I didn’t want to simply have it blow up in their faces; at least not by fiat. Assuming that the reaction dice didn’t cause the orcs to attack her on sight, and the player made her case well enough, I figured the plan would go off. (Though no way were the orcs going to be dumb enough to go in one at a time. They were gonna get together with the other three camps, and march in there 100 warriors strong).
So how do I run this scenario? 100 orcs, 30 elves, 10 humans, and 5 PCs. Obviously I don’t want to model a battle with 140 NPCs at the table, because that would take a week and be immensely boring. I do want it to be random though, because that will create a more interesting scenario than one I’ve scripted. Given the small number of forces on each side of the engagement, I do want to track how many die, but I don’t want a battle between NPCs to take up too much of my time. It has to be about the players, and their actions during the combat. Those actions of the players should also have some bearing on the fight’s outcome, though, even if it’s small.
What I eventually came up with was based on the dice chain mechanic of DCC RPG. The chain I used was 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d10, 1d12, 1d14, 1d16, 1d20, 1d24, 1d30. Each round, each of the factions would roll one of these dice against the other factions, killing that many members.
Assuming nothing went wrong with the player’s plan, the first round of combat would be a surprise round from the elves. I assumed they’d have plenty of time to line up their shots, so the opening volley from the elves killed 3d6 + 12 orcs. So most of the elves would make kill shots, but it wouldn’t be able to exceed the actual number of elves participating.
The PC who was in charge of the 10 humans had chosen a position a little removed from the bottleneck, and I told him it would take 1 full round of charging before he could get into position to attack. Once they were able to engage, I figured the humans could kill 1d10 – 2 orcs each round (as these are not trained warriors), and the orcs could kill 1d10 humans each round.
Starting on the second round (after the surprise) the orcs could kill 1d4-2 elves each round, with a result of 0 or less meaning they still had not spotted any elves. While the elves, now dealing with the chaos of battle rather than a well timed ambush, would be able to kill 1d30 each round.
While all of this was going on, the players would be in the thick of the battle. Each round they faced off against several different orcs (I invented 6-8 variant orcs to keep things interesting). These death-rolls would be be made openly between each round of combat, so the players could see how the battle was progressing around them.
The majority of play time during the battle was focused on the players, with brief interludes between each round while I rolled to see which combatants on each side had died. As the battle progressed, the ‘kill dice’ I rolled were modified by several factors:
- No faction can ever roll a die with a potential to result in more kills than there are attackers. For example, the elves can continue to roll a d30 for as long as there are 30 elves, but once an elf dies, they move down 1 space on the die chain, to 1d24.
- Once the orcs score their first kill against the elves, they’ve figured out how to spot the elves and jump up to a full 1d4 on the die chain.
- Each round, as the elven positioning is further revealed, the orcs roll a die which is one higher up on the die chain.
- Each orc the players kill will be matched by the elves, who gain a +1 on their kill roll. The result cannot exceed the number of remaining attackers.
- Any PC knocked to 0HP or lower, or who flees from the fight, will give give the orcs a boost of 1 extra step up the die chain.
- If the PCs successfully kill 5 orcs in a single round, the elves will rally and receive a +10 to their kill roll.
- Once any of the 3 factions is reduced below 20 members standing, roll a 1d20 morale check each round. If the result is equal to or lower than the number of fighters standing, the faction will press on. If the result is higher, then the faction will break and flee from the battlefield.
These rules only took me about 20 minutes to come up with, but it seemed like a solid method of running a skirmish like this. And it did work pretty well in play, though I did end up straying from the plan a few times when I lost track of what had happened. The players did succeed in slaying the orcs, though with only 10 elves left alive they may want to watch their back if they ever venture into the Western forest again.
Any of my readers have a better method of running a battle like this one?
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Posted by LS on Monday, February 18th, 2013 at 6:45 am
Categories: System Independant
Tags: Homebrew, My Games, Theorycrafting