Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Flailing and Uploading Files --

Circumstances beyond my control (*glaring mightily at the contractors on-site*) have me rather scattered at the moment.

I shall do my best to catch up, and within a day or two will hopefully have new download links for the Little Treasures and Final Fantasy Hack files, which have gone down since I first posted them --

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Historical settings: What elements?

When in the market for a historical setting -- for any rpg, really, though since I'm writing for Classic D&D on this blog one can take that as a starting-point -- what do you look for?

More to the point, what sort of information and details do you expect to find, and want to find, in a historical setting? New critters, magic, class tweaks or descriptions of how classes fit in? An overview of the history and culture in question? Location descriptions? New fiddly systems ...?

How much historical accuracy is too much, or too little? Should the "fantastic" elements fit the culture, the general theme, or does it matter?

I'd love to hear your opinions ~!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Magic Item: Mindara's Drop

Mindara's Drop: First created by the now-legendary Mindara, spellwielding sub-captain of the Revolution of Thorns, the small ornaments now known as Mindara's Drops continue to be a boon for secretive magic-users. Unfortunately the design of the Drops contains Mindara's curse of flaws in execution. Whether a ruby hung from a delicate golden chain, a rough stoneware pendant on a peasant's woven wristlet or simple one shimmering glass bead among many, Mindara's Drop requires two things: that it not be perfectly spherical, and that it must be red.

When commanded, Mindara's Drop transforms into a small, hand-sized book bound in red velvet and silver, capable of containing up to five spells as a normal spellbook. A second command returns the Drop to its ornamental form. By sacrificing a bit of energy to the Drop -- equivalent to one hit point, which may not be healed unless the bond is voluntarily given up or the owner of the Drop died -- it may be bonded to a single owner, permitting no other to change its form or alter its spells unless the enchanted bond is broken.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Monster: Ladanna

Armour Class: 6
Hit Dice: 2+5
Move: 150' (50')
Attacks: 1 bite or 1 gore, + 2 hooves
Damage: 1-6 or 1-8 + 1-4/1-4
No. Appearing: 2-8
Save As: F2
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 25

Ladanna have the basic appearance of deer: the same size, body shape and speed. However, complementing their rusty-tan pelt a ladanna's upper body, from muzzle to tail, is cloaked in articulated blue-green scales. Ladanna have scythe-like horns instead of antlers, and a pair of tusk-like fangs jut from their muzzle. Carnivorous and savage, ladanna both attack mundane deer and breed freely with them; the offspring resemble normal deer but possess the ladanna's fangs and taste for blood.

In combat a ladanna strikes with its dewclaw-armed forehooves, inflicting 1-4 hit points of damage each. Against weaker or impaired targets a ladanna will also gore for 1-8 hit points of damage; others are bitten first, the bite inflicting 1-6 hit points of damage and bleeding freely from the wound because of the rending fangs. Bite wounds continue to lose 1-2 hit points per round until treated.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Red Box thoughts

You know you've been trundling along with something too long when you entertain thoughts of how you would like to rewrite it, if you could.

Recently I've been mulling over the idea of what I would put in a "Red Box" of levels 1-3 D&D. What critters, what sort of items; would I add or remove classes, or make alterations to the classes in the Mentzer box (my preferred Red Box) ... Could I condense an itty bitty gazetteer of sorts, give a starting-point for an adventure or two?

This, predictably, soon attracted the question of "Could I make this self-contained?". Hyper-low-level gaming is hardly everyone's cup of tea, but we've gotten a goodly fair bit of mileage from it. A self-contained Red Box may require other adjustments in and of itself; something else to ponder over.

If nothing else, it's turning into an entertaining mental exercise. I may post further ramblings on the subject.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Magic Item: Sira'she, the White Ghost Mask

Sira'she, the White Ghost Mask: None can attribute this full-face mask, of impossibly thin ivory carved with sweeping lines into idealized, almost stylized features, to any single enchanter. Perhaps the very nature of the White Ghost Mask prevents such a thing. What is confirmed is the existence of copies of Sira'she alongside the original, also of ivory but bearing a tiny gem in the brow, or one in each cheek; what altered or additional powers the copies may possess is unknown.

Placing Sira'she against the face causes it to adhere there without the need for physical ties or straps. The enchantment of the mask permits sight, speech, breath and even eating and drinking while the mask is worn. Its true purpose, however, is not merely concealment of the face but complete obfuscation of identity; while Sira'she is worn, the individual wearing it is completely unrecognizable by unique physical traits, sex or species, appearing as an androgynous and nondescript humanoid of no particular type. Further, the White Ghost Mask influences those that see it being worn such that its wearer's appearance does not seem unusual or disturbing.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Monster: Oojeni

Armour Class: 6
Hit Dice: 3+2*
Move: 90' (30')
climb 90' (30')
Attacks: 4 tentacles
No. Appearing: 1 (1-6)
Save As: F3
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: D
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 75

Mottled in blues and green and dull reds, oojeni are land-dwelling octopi with a distinct bent towards domination and control -- preferably of humans and similar creatures. They are also more than capable of obtaining that control, as often as not -- in isolated or unwary areas entire villages may come under the sway of an oojeni, or, rarely, a clutch of them. Oojeni have golden eyes, and surprisingly small, chalky white beaks.

In combat an oojeni strikes with as many as four of its tentacles, inflicting 1-4 hit points of damage with each successful strike. If the oojeni wishes, a successful attack results in the tentacle's tip breaking off in the wound and quickly burrowing out of sight; the victim must save vs. paralysis or be controlled by the oojeni, as if charmed. If this charm is not broken -- or the tentacle dug out of the flesh, inflicting 1-6 hit points of damage -- within 24 hours the oojeni's control becomes complete, allowing it to telepathically command the victim or simply control their actions directly. A tentacle grows back its lost tip in 2-5 days, and there is no limit to the number of creatures an oojeni may control.

occasionally an oojeni is accompanied by 1-4 spawn. These pale green creatures possess a single Hit Die and inflict only 1 hit point of damage with their tentacles; they cannot charm or control, instead causing disorientation (-2 to all rolls) for 2-7 turns if a save vs. paralyzation is failed.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Monster: Taurowanax

Armour Class: 5
Hit Dice: 4**
Move: 180' (60')
Attacks: 1 gore + 1 trample
No. Appearing: 1
Save As: C6
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: Special
Alignment: Lawful or Neutral
XP Value: 175

The taurowanax, king of bulls, is a massive creature that stands head and shoulders above a common ox and displays a frightening amount of intelligence. Most commonly encountered leading a herd of wild cattle, a taurowanax often raids outlying farms and ranches to ransack crops or add a farmer's cattle to his followers. Most taurowanax have a pure white hide, though some few are skewbald in white and tawny red; all bear long, curving and wickedly sharp golden horns. In some locales the horns and hide of a taurowanax fetch high prices -- in others, owning them is a death sentence.

In combat a taurowanax gores with his horns, inflicting 1-10 hit points of damage, and tramples for an additional 2-12 hit points. Once every four rounds a taurowanax may invoke an earthshaker, pounding the ground beneath his hooves; all within a 50' radius are tossed to the ground and take 2-24 hit points of damage.

A taurowanax receives a +3 bonus to saving throws against all spells and is immune to nonmagical weapons. Tales speak of taurowanax of 10 Hit Dice, with the ability to summon true earthquakes once a week.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Magic Item: Dashifen's Glass

Dashifen's Glass: A thick plate of an unidentifiable crystal-clear material, shaped like a broad teardrop, faceted along its edges and as large as a grown man's head, Dashifen's Glass is trimmed with delicately etched scrollwork and mounted in a slim frame of gold and burnished blue steel.

When laid against any magical inscription, such as an enchanted rune, a spell scroll, or a warding glyph, Dashifen's Glass will take the enchantment into itself. This absorption leaves the object the Glass was laid against uninscribed and unenchanted, while the Glass carries the glyph or text within etching across its surface. While so etched the enchantment is dormant; placing the Glass against a blank surface of any suitable kind will transfer the magic once more.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Magic Item: Kingfisher Chimes

Kingfisher Chimes: Named for the stone they are carved from -- translucent green jade, tinged with deep blue and shot through with delicate white veins -- the Kingfisher Chimes are strings of round bells no larger than the last joint of the fourth finger, their bead-like clappers carved from the same stone as the body of the bell. The Chimes are strung on lengths of pure white cords, and may number from five to twenty.

When hung around an area to be enclosed, no more than twenty feet in diameter, the Kingfisher Chimes ward away inimical forces. All hostile creatures of three Hit Dice or less must succeed in a save vs. charm or be hedged away; should the creature succeed, the magic of the Chimes forces a -2 penalty to all actions for the duration of the encounter.

Every time the Kingfisher Chimes are overcome, a single bell shatters into shimmering dust.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Magic Item: Shining King's Bulwark

Shining King's Bulwark: Of unknown origin, this large shield is composed of a single massive scale, as if from a titanic dragon or similar reptilian beast. Greyish-blue and nacreous, almost opalescent, the scale is unworked; the addition of grips and strapping in steel and woven silver -- somehow smoothly bonded to the scale's interior -- is the only noticeable alteration to its original form.

Scraps of epics and legendry speak of similar shields, and in one notable example -- the Cycle of the Silver Knight -- of a suit of shimmering armour. More often than not, the items in question are described as being borne by a grizzled elder knight with silvered grey hair and armed with a spear or lance.

The Shining King's Bulwark is a shield +2. When faced with apparently insurmountable odds, the bearer of the Bulwark may draw on strength of will and the enchantments of the shield, allowing a Wisdom check to either add a +4 to the next dice roll or to force a reroll, taking the better result. This decision must be made before the dice are actually rolled. Alternately, a Wisdom check may be made in order to permit the reflection of a single spell back onto its caster. Drawing on the Bulwark may only be performed once a day, regardless of the form chosen.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Monster: Golden Jelly

Golden Jelly
Armour Class: 8
Hit Dice: 1-1
Move: 150' (50')
Attacks: 1
No. Appearing: 1-3
Save As: C1
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 5

Strange little creatures even for jellykind, golden jellies are semi-fluid masses of glistening, translucent metallic gold roughly a foot and a half in diameter. Though dangerous, like any jelly, golden jellies do have their usefulness and many tribes of kobolds and goblins have made use of their properties.

In combat, a golden jelly attacks with a pseudopod for 1-6 hit points of damage. If it successfully attacks a target twice, it has adhered and attempts to liquify and ooze into available orifices or even though the skin; if a save vs. poison is failed, the jelly absorbs into the target within 1-3 rounds. This process may be halted by apply the jelly's hit points in cold damage.

Once so absorbed, the golden jelly merges into the "host" and bestows a +1 bonus to saving throws and +1 to Armour Class in return for inflicting 1-2 hit points of damage daily. Killing the host frees the jelly, which will immediately attack the nearest likely target.

Golden jellies take double damage from cold-based attacks. Flame will cause them to fission into two jellies, each with half the hit points of the "parent"; such minor jellies cannot provide benefits to a host.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Monster: Thief-of-Hues

Armour Class: 6
Hit Dice: 4
Move: 120' (40')
swim 90' (30')
Attacks: 1 bite
No. Appearing: 1-2
Save As: M4
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 100

The thief-of-hues -- also known as a nijiara or chromatic python -- is a huge serpent that most closely resembles a constrictor in shape, with scales of a dull pearly grey, milky white eyes, and virtually silent movement. A thief-of-hues may be found in virtually any environment; some believe them to be of some elemental strain, or the result of a magic-user's tampering.

In combat a thief-of-hues bites for 2-5 hit points of damage, sinking in hook-like fangs. Instead of venom it drains colour from its victim; if a save vs. poison is failed, roll on the following chart to determine the colour -- and emotion -- that is lost by the victim:

1. red -- anger
2. orange -- courage
3. yellow -- fear
4. green -- happiness
5. blue -- sadness
6. violet -- curiosity
7. indigo -- calmness
8. two colours -- roll twice more, ignoring results of 8

Lost colours may be regained by the intervention of a powerful cleric, or by consuming the ichor of a thief-of-hues -- which may not be the serpent that drained the colour from the victim.

A thief-of-hues bleeds in rivulets containing streams of colour from the entire spectrum. Its ichor is valued by alchemists and sages, even beyond its purpose in restoring lost colours.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Magic Item: Chrysaor, the Sunlit Edge

Chrysaor, the Sunlit Edge: A weapon of relatively recent history, Chrysaor was forged as one component of a Dawn Knight's consecrated regalia. Unfortunately for Dawn's Korvun, he lost his life in battle with a knot of wraiths and the sword was lost; it has subsequently changed hands from one adventuring band and sapient monster to another, all so far unaware of the blade's origin -- or the rewards offered by the House of the Dawn for its safe return.

Finely balanced and sharpened along both edges of the blade, Chrysaor is forged, blade and hilt both, of milky white steel. Chrysaor's grip is wrapped with plaited rough linen and amber-scaled hide; its quillions are simple and recurved, its pommel an unadorned sphere. Most strikingly, both flats of the pale blade are inlaid with flames and vines of delicate golden wire. When wielded, Chrysaor is engulfed in light like warm sunlight.

Chrysaor is a sword +1. When wielded against the undead, its wirework burns brightly golden and the sword inflicts an extra 1-3 hit points of damage. Chrysaor's bearer also gains a +1 to saving throws, when applicable, against attacks from undead creatures.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Monster: K'kithil

Armour Class: 4
Hit Dice: 1-1
Move: 90' (30')
climb 90' (30')
burrow 90' (30')
Attacks: 2 liv or 1 bite
1-3/1-3 or 2-5
No. Appearing: 2-12 (20-200)
Save As: Normal Man
Morale: 9 (12)
Treasure Type: F
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 5

Sapient, industrious scarabs some two feet long, k'kithil congregate in massive labyrinthine burrows and dense scalloped towers, building up and filling in space with an orange-gold, translucent resin. Their tools are likewise fashioned of resin, nearly as hard as steel and half the weight. K'kithil chitin is white and black and set off with copper markings that match their eyes; their mandibles are ornately shaped and serrated, and their foremost pair of legs are capable of manipulating objects -- which may be carried concealed beneath their wingcases.

In combat k'kithil bite if pressed, inflicting 2-5 hit points of damage, or rear back on their hind two pairs of legs to allow the throwing of two liv, narrow resin blades, as far as 15' for 1-3 hit points of damage each.

For every ten k'kithil there is one warrior of 1+3 Hit Dice. Warriors attack as 2 Hit Die monsters and inflict 2-8 hit points of damage with their sharpened mandibles. A colony of k'kithil is led by 2-8 fertile Lords and Ladies, who possess 2+2 Hit Dice, an Armour Class of 2, and brilliant jewel-coloured markings. K'kithil fighting to defend their Lords and Ladies possess a morale of 12 rather than 9.