Saturday, June 22, 2019

D&D 5E: Playing with (New and Weird) Conditions

I love Conditions. They’re a great way to standardize any system (since their beginning, which I believe was with the D&D 3rd Keyword system). Like many things in D&D 5E, I believe Conditions are underdeveloped (like Hit Dice, Death Saves and Exhaustion). RPGs have been doing awesome things with conditions, like Savage Worlds’ Stunned or The Dark Eye’s amazing conditions for clerics casting spells. Lets toy a little with ideas for new conditions (just for fun and because I’m bored).

So, here are a few crazy Condition proposals that I would love to use in my games. Not all are exactly new (check Intoxicated), but I assure you that NONE are playtested. I left those that I consider more problematic to end.


OK, I’m in the minority that loved this Conditions back in D&D Next (actually, I’m in another minority that thinks that D&D Next was more interesting than D&D 5E, but lets leave rants aside).
Intoxicated is what you get when your characters drinks too much, is hit by pixie arrows or is the target of a faerie dragon’s breath weapon.
Rules: you have Disadvantage on Attack Rolls and Ability Checks, but you suffer 1d6 less points of damage (2d6 if you have 10+ Hit Dice). Once during your Intoxicated Condition, you can offer your DM a chance to roll for a random target (during combat) or to suffer a fumble (out of combat). If your DM agrees you gain 1 Inspiration (or, if you group uses that rule, 1 Plot Point).

This is usually a result of a curse, a fumble at dispel magic or just playing with forces that you don’t know about.
Rules: you can’t gain any benefit from magic (including magic items). This condition usually lasts until you take a short rest, but a beneficent DM can allow you Charisma Saving Throw at the end of your next turn (if the Condition is the result a spell in combat, for example). This is also a good Condition to inflict on Warlocks that don’t behave before their Patrons.

A typical effect of poisons, mind blasts, fey charms, sanity-shattering battles and even vermin attacks (or just a result of carousing and debauchery).
Rules: you don’t have access to your current hit points total. When you gain this Condition, your DM start to track your hit points in secret. She can tell that you’re fine (usually with half or more of you hit point total) or injured (close to 0 hit points), but nothing more.

A strike to the head, a sonic attack or maybe been mauled by a giant creature.
Rules: you go last in the round. If you’ve already acted, you go last in the next round. If you’re already the last in Initiative order, you suffer Disadvantage on all Attack Rolls, Ability Checks and Saving Throws until the end of your next turn (and if you try to cast a spell you must succeed at a Concentration check DC 10 or lose the spell).

Tides of Chaos
Because magic should always be CHAOS!
This Condition is usually inflicted when an arcane spellcaster uses magic in dangerous places, toys with forces best left undisturbed or fumbles a Concentration roll.
Rules: at the moment of your DM’s choice, your suffer a Wild Magic Surge. This is a good catch-all Condition for players that like to negotiate with their DMs for more magic power (or for recovering “just that one 1st-level slot”). If your character falls in the last group, the DM is encouraged to roll twice and pick the most “interesting” result (or rolling just rolling twice and inflict BOTH results). This is another good option to “persuade” Warlocks to pay more attention to their Patron’s “reasonable” demands.

I’m totally stealing this one from one of my favorites d20s - 13th Age.
A debilitating wound, a painful strike, a curse or poison.
Rules: until the end of your next turn or until you succeed at a Constitution Saving Throw (DM’s call), all your damage rolls are halved.

OK, this is requires a little more explanation, because it is a self-inflicted Condition. Why would I want a Wounded Condition?! To keep fighting! Basically, this works like a Consequence from FATE.
You suffer a lingering injury.
Rules: when you suffer damage, you can reduce the amount by your Constitution Ability Score and gain the Wounded Condition. Roll on the Lingering Injuries table, page 272 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide, to determine the nature of your wound (the DM call change it if it doesn’t fit with narrative). You can only be Wounded once.


D&D 5E follows the “Boring School” of divine magic (i.e. you can’t remove class features if a cleric doesn’t follow his deity ethos). But sometimes divine spellcasters forget that their mojo come from a Higher Power. When that happens, or when you want to flavor/complicate an encounter, please use this Condition (inspired by the Dark Eye). It still needs to be tested (a lot) because I’m not sure I got what I wanted. Maybe a Exhaustion-like track, per type of character, would be better (but also require a lot of time, which I don’t have right now).
Divine spellcasters can suffer this Condition for breaking their ethos, fumbling a Concentration check, casting spells in the inner altar room of an enemy deity or in similar situations.
Rules: while Ecstatic you are consumed by your deity or source of power, finding difficult to act in a different manner. If you act in accordance with your deity’s ethos, you have Advantage on Attack Rolls, Ability Checks and Damage/Healing Rolls. Otherwise, you have Disadvantage on the same checks and must always succeed at a Concentration (usually DC 10) to cast a divine spell. Here are a few examples of Ecstatic-drive behavior:
  • Cleric of Knowledge - protect and avoid the destruction of anything written in your sight (including scrolls).
  • Cleric of Life - heal or protect a living creature, DON’T kill/hurt anything besides undead and fiends (but don’t seek combat unless cornered and facing those creatures).
  • Cleric of Light - destroy the undead, banish darkness and keep light sources (in THAT order).
  • Cleric of Nature - heal or protect animals/plants, DON’T kill animals/plants, kill ONLY aberrations and undead.
  • Cleric of Tempest - destroy everything on sight. Collateral Damage is your god.
  • Cleric of Trickery - always stunt, feint or perform an action different from a straight attack. Sow chaos and confusion. You can’t dispel illusions, reveal invisibles creatures and speak truths. You’re Loki from the MCU, have fun!
  • Cleric of War - engage as many enemies as possible in melee attack, ALWAYS. Don’t leave any enemy alive, NEVER. Don’t heal anything besides yourself (so that you can kill more). Sail a road of blood and slaughter!
  • Druids - heal or protect animals/plants, DON’T kill animals/plants, seek aberrations and undead to kill, and destroy as many artificial structures and urban terrain as possible.
  • Paladin of Devotion - If there are aberration, fiend or undead around, destroy them first and forget the rest. Otherwise, fight fair and only one-to-one, never feint or deceive, be merciful (leave all enemies alive).
  • Paladin of the Ancients - If there are aberration, fiend or undead, destroy them first and forget the rest. Otherwise, your top priority is protecting and healing elemental, fey, animals and plants.
  • Paladin of Vengeance - If there are aberration, fiend or undead, destroy them first and forget the rest. Otherwise, target the most powerful enemy in sight and kill him, never retreat and don’t stop for “ignoble” deads like healing allies.
Ecstasy ir hard on mortals. While under this Condition, every other round, you succeed at a Charisma Saving Throw at the end of your turn or gain 1 level of Exhaustion. If you reach Exhaustion 6 while Ecstatic you are consumed by divine energy and dies. After suffering Exhaustion 1-5 from this Condition you shut yourself to your divine source. This removes Ecstatic but also all your divine powers until you get a short rest.

I hate both whiff factor or just hearing “roll an Attack Roll” round after round. This Condition hopefully may change that a little. It can really change the pace of a combat, se be aware. I’m aiming for RPGs like 2d20, Chronicles of Ramlar and Warhammer 1st and 4th.
You attack swiftly, keep your enemies against the wall or otherwise has dominance in battle.
Rules: you can gain Momentum usually accomplishing a Trigger (there a list below). Only one side of the battle can have Momentum at any time (or none can have it): your side or the monsters’ (if there are more factions, then only one of them can have Momentum). That means that if the enemy gets Momentum, you lose it instantly (and vice-versa).
Here are the most common Triggers, to be adjusted or changed to suit the DM style and the campaign flavor:
  • You’re the first to act in the round and you hit your target.
  • You’re flanking and hit your target (only if your side is in greater number).
  • You roll a Critical Hit.
  • Your perform a stunt that change the tactical aspect of the battle (DM’s call).
There is one “Anti-Trigger”. If you have Momentum and roll a natural 1 or falls unconscious, the other side automatically gains it.
You can spend Momentum at any time (it’s not an action) to do one of the following:
  • Grant Advantage to an ally (Attack Roll, Ability Check, Saving Throw or Damage Roll).
  • Inflict Disadvantage to an enemy (Attack Roll, Ability Check, Saving Throw or Damage Roll).
  • Force an enemy spellcaster to roll Concentration (DC 10) to cast or maintain a spell.
  • Make an ally go next in the initiative order (only this round).

Monday, June 3, 2019

Unearthing Arcana: Hold Person

Wizard: I cast hold person!
DM: OK, the orc boss failed his save and is paralyzed.
All the players at once: I slit his throat!
DM: …

You probably heard that dialogue before at some point of your Referee life (or some variation of it). Which is actually quite acceptable. Yes, acceptable… not just because it is tactically advantageous, but also because RPGs are (or were supposed to be) open-ended games, a unique mix of mechanics and a freeform narration. So, theoretically, if you paralyze your opponent during combat, you can go for the killing strike. If your players never took that opportunity to mercilessly slay their enemies then congratulations: you have heroes at your table (that is rarer than it sounds).

Of course, maybe you don’t have a problem with Hold Person and the way it works like an “instant kill” spell at the lower levels of every edition of the game.

Let’s take a look at this spell.

Art by MattiasFahlberg.

OD&D’s Hold Person: A spell similar to a Charm Person but which is of both limited duration and greater effect. It will effect from 1-4 persons. If it is cast at only a single person it has the effect of reducing the target's saving throw against magic by -2. Duration: 6 turns + level of the caster. Range: 12".

OK, as many things in the first version of D&D, the spell entry seems both quite interesting and open-ended (also uncertain). What we can be sure is that Hold Person targets 1-4 targets and has big duration.

The first thing that stands out is the Charm Person reference. In OD&D, our beloved Charm Person where targets that fail their save are “completely under the influence of the Magic-User”.

After reading that we can go back to Hold Person. Actually, for someone like me (that come from BECMI and AD&D 2nd) is hard to see Hold Person as anything different than a paralyzing spell, but that seems to be the case here. If you interpret that Hold Person is just an improved version of Charm Person then things get a lot easier for the Referee (as far as I remember you can’t try to kill a target of Charm Person).

With AD&D 1st, Gary Gygax didn’t wanted to leave doubts regarding his spells. No sir. The duration of Hold Person here is shorter (but still enough for a combat) and it affects 1-3 targets. There is quite an extensive list of what type of humanoids are affected, although we do get the description that this spell “holds immobile” and “freezes in places” the target(s).

You can say that AD&D 1st started the whole issue. When a target is “immobile” and “freezed in place”, then it is safe to assume that the victim is helpless and that a coup de grace is in order.

BECMI and Rules Cyclopedia didn’t added much (besides the Rules Cyclopedia letting clear that Hold Person has an opposed version called Free Person).

AD&D 2nd didn’t changed things either, though it did added: “Held beings cannot move or speak, but they remain aware of events around them and can use abilities not requiring motion or speech. Being held does not prevent the worsening of the subjects' condition due to wounds, disease, or poison”. AD&D 2nd also kept the trend of reducing Hold Person’s duration.

Oh, and did I said coup de grace? Although the rule wasn’t first mentioned in D&D 3rd, that edition surely made it popular. In D&D 3rd the spell lasts even less and the target “may attempt a new saving throw to end the effect” (probably because they finally noticed is such an overkill spell). You can say that 3rd Edition was honest and let it clear that a paralyzed target could be the victim of a coup de grace and, thus, finally officialized the instant kill (and no, 3.5 and Pathfinder didn’t seemed to change anything… interestingly I didn’t found any reference of Hold Person in the Pathfinder 2E Playtest).

D&D 5E at least requires Concentration in the spell duration, which is a nice touch, but it doesn’t change anything regarding the “instant kill” aspect (and yes, 5E doesn’t have a coup de grace rules, only that all attacks against an incapacitated target are automatically criticals, which means that we are back to the “it falls to the Referee to solve the whole conundrum”).

I purposely left Holmes for last because it is has an interesting take on the spell: “Similar to a charm person spell. Affects 1-4 persons. Holds the person or persons rooted to the spot unless released or the spell wears out. Duration is 6 turns + level of caster. If cast at one person alone it reduces his saving throw by 2”.

For me leaving a target “rooted to the spot” and immobilized are different things. I find this version almost as good as OD&D’s Hold Person. Maybe the target is rooted by this feet (or paralyzed from the waist down) and thus she can’t be the target of a coup de grace (although I admit that it leaves spellcasters theoretically free to cast spells… and actually this interpretation kind of equals Hold Person to Entangle).

I also remember that when I played Baldur’s Gate I and II, a Hold Person spell created a shimmering shield around the victim (you could still hit the target for normal damage and, because we’re talking of a vidoegame, coup de grace wasn’t an issue).

OK, all this talk is because I usually hate Hold Person as an “instant kill” spell (too easy, too boring). Last week I bought the D&D 5E Starter Set and runned it for my kids as a straight tabletop RPG for the first time (I had tried RPGs before with them, but always with heavy alterations and lots of dynamic and ludic activities mid session). Because my kids love Super Mario Bros. I reskinned lots of monster and spells as effects that they would recognize from the videogames, and that included a version of Hold Person. That is when it hit me that I had just created not a reskin but a variant of Hold Person, to address the “instant kill” thing.

Here are others!


1 - Magic Bubble - The target is trapped in a magic bubble that is indestructible from the inside (although disintegration might work) but any hit from outside will blow it (leaving the target unharmed). The target floats a few feet over the ground while the spell lasts and a strong wind might move him (like a levitation spell). The good side about this variant is that it doesn’t allow a save each round. (Yes, this is the Super Mario Bros. version I used with my kids and probably moves the spell to the Conjuration School)
2 - Force Shield - The target is restrained by a sparkling shimmering force shield. The shield provides light as torch and provides a weak protection, reducing damage by half against the first attack against the target (which can’t suffer any kind of critical hit or coup de grace). However, attacking the target grants him Advantage in his next saving throw to break free. (This is my feeble attempt of copying the spell from Baldur’s Gate and moves the spell to the Evocation School)
3 - Bilarro’s Equanimous Hold - The target is completely restrained by crackling ethereal bands. If the target suffers damage while under this cantrap, her attacker suffers the same amount of damage as crackling bands snapback. (Another variant that takes the spell to the Conjuration School)
4 - Mesmerizing Gaze - The target is so consumed by the caster’s presence that she can only stare back, immobilized. This version requires that the target can see the caster and the caster remains in line of sight. The charm can be broken if the life of the target is in danger. If the target is attacked he can make new saving throw as a reaction (notice that backstabs are still effective here).
5 - Planar Misalignment - The target isn’t actually immobile but out of phase with the current plane. He can speak or even move, but no sound will come out and she won’t leave the spot where she was hit by the spell. The target can’t affect this reality while under the spell’s effect and every attack against her has a 50% of being completely ignored. (Another variant that takes the spell to the Conjuration School)
6 - Under the nights of Arcadia - The target is enthralled by many sprites and faeries, falling under their enchantment and becoming paralyzed. The only difference here is that the faeries hate when other spoil their “fun”. So anyone attacking the target must also save or become affected by the spell.

Awesome art choice by SeaSkyMoon.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Eternal Empire of Tsan-Chan

Almost settled in the new home (and country!). So, time for another update. Recently I offered to do a “reskinning” of the Player’s Handbook (5E) in order to present a “dark and lovecraftian” campaign setting, without limiting the mechanical options. Here is the (slightly revised) version!

That is not a new subject on this blog. Quite the contrary… you can check my first ideas regarding it HERE and HERE.

The Eternal Empire of Tsan-Chan – a D&D 5E Campaign

Theme: A Dark Fantasy Lovecraftian Setting for D&D 5E

Premise: the Eternal Empire, or Tsan-Chan in the Holy Tongue, is the center of Human power in the Old World. Tsan-Chan is so old and vast that no living bloodline (with the exception of the Elder Races) remembers its dark inception. Even the Empire’s current rulers were merely barbarians that exterminated the last “Heavenly Dinasty” a few centuries ago and took over. More recently, the current Emperor, Hastur the Skinner, declared himself the “Yellow Sovereign”, a living and masked god, forbidding the imperial pantheon of Pegana and throwing Tsan-Chan in civil war.

Who are you? You’re the Heretic, the Banished and the Exiled, living beyond the Eternal Empire’s seals and borders (which hamper much of the old and unsanctioned magic). Maybe you hunger for gold, to conquer a piece of land and become its sole ruler. Maybe you’re a fugitive and desire revenge or the help of the Elder Races (or seek a way to immortality with their Lore).  Perhaps, you’re a member of the Lost Bloodline, the ancient and feared rulers of Tsan-Chan (before it had that name).

Where are you? You live in the Borderlands, either in the last domains of the Elder Races or in the barbaric Dragon Realms, which pay allegiance to the Spawn of Tiamat – Dragons and their degenerated servants, the Dragonborn.  From the Dying West you face the monolithic power of Tsan-Chan; beyond the Borderlands lies the Dooms of this Age – the inhuman might of the Hobgoblins, the ravenous Gnolls, the obscene Sahuagin, which have closed the seas, and – finally – the unstoppable hordes of the Coming Race, the Orcs. It is whispered that orc blood shall run through the veins of the next line of Emperors. Of course, there are older and worse things in Abyss Below and the Stars Above…


Dwarf – A long time ago the Forgers of Civilizations and True Rulers of the Eternal Empire were banished and exiled to the Abyss Below, the Underdark. Their bane was the loathsome and cannibalistic Tcho-Tcho, forefathers of Humanity. Banished to the depths, the exiled mixed their blood, begetting the Dwarven Races. Dwarves wage an everlasting (and thus far losing) war against Tsan-Chan. Hill dwarves are pariahs whose blood mingled with humans, while Mountain dwarves claim to be royalty. However, they lie and deeply fear “True Dwarves”, who call themselves Duergar. Duergars possess otherworldly magic and knowledge, suffering strange mutations – a few, it is said, can even breathe underwater as a result of their abyssal blood (and perhaps a “gift” from their masters, the Aboleth).

Elf – Beyond the Old World, buried deep in the maddening and deadly fumes of the Lotus, lies another realm, an impossible world of forbidden pleasures, dark joys and unending bloodlust. These are the Dreamlands, which are believed to be Paradise or to hold the secrets to immortality. The Elves are the Souless, the temptation of Man, molded to be perfect of body and untouched by old age. The Elves know in the Old World are the Defeated, the Exiled and the mad Disavowed. Their memories of the Dreamlands are clouded and their crimes are always nebulous. Their drives define their bearing in the Old World. High elves are creatures of art and knowledge, hunting for the forbidden secrets, ever seeking a way back to the delicious madness of their original demesne. Wood elves are satyrs, half-man, half-beast creatures, driven solely by their passions. Dark elves are worst, called by other elves the Disavowed – they voluntarily left the Dreamlands to hunt (and some said, taste) the flesh of humans. Dark elves belief that one day Humanity will release the Great Old Ones or, worse, slay Skarl the Drummer, awakening Mana-Yood-Sushai, the Primordial Law, “and there will worlds nor gods any more”.

Half-Elf – Humans naturally lust after Elves and Elves, also naturally, have many uses for Humans. From that unholy union are birthed Half-Elves, also called Maenads. Creatures of uncontrollable and inconstant urges, Half-Elves are beings of extreme. Many suffer from strange bouts of madness, during which they lose all control and restrain. Half-Elves are easily addicted to the Lotus and many dream of finally entering “in flesh” in the Dreamlands. All Half-Elves are proxies of their elven parents, who can see and hear through their eyes. That is also why Half-Elves are hunted in Tsan-Chan and even in the Dragon Realms. They are natural spies.

Halflings – The Merry Folk are a conundrum, a mortal race seemly free of the taint of Tsan-Chan. They arrived millennia ago on the shores of the Eternal Empire and became a caste of servants and farmers, easily ignored by most people. But the so called Halflings have long and hidden traditions about the Gates Between Worlds. Halflings adventurers are either Assassins (Lightfoot) or Watchers (Stout), which are here ancient roles, not ancestries (there is only on Halfling People). Assassins face those that desire the knowledge of the Gates that were shut to prevent the coming of the Great Old Ones; while Watchers are those that gather lore and magic items to prevent Humanity and other races from bringing the End. This is a secret to all powers of the Old World, which see Halflings as mongrels and slaves.

Humans – You’re the rulers of the decadent Old World, masters of its greater power – the Eternal Empire! The last Elder Races cower behind dragons, barbarians and the Dooms of the Age. There never was and there never will be a greater realm than Tsan-Chan. Humans followed the imperial pantheon of Pegana, the gods that raised them from lowly beasts to the rulers of the world. Their Creator is Mana-Yood-Sushai, the Primordial Law, who shall one day awaken and destroy everything. Today, many humans follow the heresy of the Yellow Emperor or, worst, the lies that equal Mana-Yood-Sushai to its opposite – the Daemonic Sultan Azathoth.

Dragonborn – It is said the when the Yellow Emperor, the Nameless One, revealed itself in Tsan-Chan, the Dragons came forth from the ends of Old World and created vicious domains in the Borderlands. They used their alien magic to change the land and raised the Dragonborn. However, they did not predict that their servants could betray them. You’re either a faithful servant of a Dragon Lord or the descendent of those that slayed their greedy masters. You’re hated by Elder Races and Humanity, and think in ways that most humans can’t fathom. Most dragonborn find peace only in violence, drinking or in the alien paths of the draconic mind. Heretic dragonborn dream of Ascension, of becoming Dragons themselves and flying beyond the Stars Above. The faithful dragonborn know that the True Enemy lies inside Tsan-Chan… they know that the rumors of gigantic humanoids walking in the heart of the Eternal Empire and devouring cattle, halflings and humans are true.

Gnomes – The Eldest are ancient beyond reckoning. Gnarled and ugly, gnomes are called the Wise Ones because it is said that they stole magic long ago from the gods, demons or dragons (it also said that gnomes could save the world with that knowledge… if only they cared). Gnomes are born looking old and wicked, and are said to be immortal. They are the rarest of the Elder Races and claim to one have ruled the world (although everyone know gnomes are liars and devilish).  Forest Gnomes have skin brittle and colored like bark, with twisted hands and feet that look like roots; they live in the wilds of the Borderlands, acting as a mix of boogeymen and hermits. Rock Gnomes plague the cities of the Dragon Realms and are hunchbacked and deformed.

Tieflings – It is said that an Emperor once lived that was wicked as a gnome, vengeful as a dwarf, lustful as an elf and wrathful as dragon. His spirit was so dark that both the Gods of Pegana and the Great Old Ones of Azathoth rejected Him, seeing in Him a cunning beast without sophistication, uncaring of Law and Chaos, desiring only power. His mortal vassals erased his Reign and Name from all Imperial Records and banished his shade to the depths of the Abyss Below with great cost. But legends are hard to kill and He is known today as the Dark One, the Prince of Darkness, the Teuf or Asmo’dien. He was bountiful and his spawn yet lives, deeply inside Humanity – the Lost Bloodline. A Teufling or Tiefling, also known as Darkling, are those mortals that descended from Asmo’dien. When they reach puberty, their tainted souls reveal in their flesh, marking them as condemned to King of Pit. Each tiefling is unique and monstrous… some have obsidian skin that crawls with worms beneath, others have transparent skin that reveals tainted flesh and others have tentacles and strangers mutations. Tieflings are hunted not only because of their legacy, but also because their organs are sought by imperial magicians as potent spell components. Many Tieflings become horrendous monsters as they mature, the most famous examples being the Beast of Dunwich.


Barbarians – Those that desire the end of both the Dragon Lords and the Eternal Empire. They represent the natural state of humans in the Old World.

Bards – These mysterious casters and artists are actually “priests” of the Fey, the timeless rulers of the Dreamlands. They are hunted as heretics in the Tsan-Chan and as dangerous cultistas in most parts of the Borderlands (except in the reclusive domains of the Elves, where they’re the effective priests of the Dreamlands).

Clerics – “Cleric” in this setting means someone sworn to a God of Pegana, with the knowledge of his/her Signs. all true clerics were exiled afrom Tsan-Chan, after Hastur, the Nameless Emperor, declared himself God.

Druids – The old, mad and barbarous priests of Shub-Niggurath. Many druids struggle to serve Humanity, despite their heritage.

Fighters – As in the Player’s Handbook. Eldritch Knights learn their after pledging fealty to a Wizard.

Monks – Servants of the Eternal Empire, most monks orders are loyal to the Yellow Emperor (with the exception of a few exiles in the Borderlands).

Paladins – The so-called Dragonsworn are the chosen mortal champions of the Dragons. Each Paladin is a knight devoted to one particular Dragon Lord. Thus, they’re all enemies of the Eternal Empire.

Rangers – As in the Player’s Handbook. Their magic comes from the Fey, very old Gnomes or Elves.

Sorcerers – Children of the Gods, sorcerers are hunted and burned at the stake. Most are tainted by dragonblood or the lineage of the Dark One.

Warlocks – The first spellcasters. Both Clerics and Wizards are “modern” developments of the warlock arts. The most common warlocks are pledged to the Dreamlands (Fey), the Dark One (Fiend) or the Great Old Ones. A few rare warlocks serve the Empyrean Spheres, a strange and elusive coterie of otherworldly realms or entities that values harmony and beauty above even Law or Chaos, these men and women are merciless, amoral and deeply feared*.
*And that’s how I would explain a celestial in a lovecraftian setting.

Wizards – They may deny it, but wizards are actually a type of priest here. They learned their secret craft at the feet of the same Great Old One – Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos and Master of the Arcane Arts. Yes, each wizard is occasionally visited by Nyarlathotep, in dreams or (poor soul) in person. The Crawling Chaos has a plan and He also is an enemy of the Yellow Emperor (and the Dragon Lords, and the Gods of Pegada and, even, Azathoth Itself).

Saturday, May 11, 2019

My daughter’s first RPG creation!

...sort of! First of all, sorry for the absolute disregard for this tower in these last months. I could mention, as a proper excuse, that I just moved with my family to another country, but I know that Dungeon Masters are heartless creatures that feed on dead character sheets, so no one would believe me. Anyway, moving on!

As any other hobbyist enthusiast, I’m probably not the first one to try to get his children playing RPG as fast as possible. I’ve two lovely and devilish goblins, ages 7 and 4. I’ve run a few “RPGs” for them from time to time (they call it “Monsterslaying Games”). Of course, they aren’t conventional tabletop RPGs because my little ones still prefer more ludic and dynamic experiences… actually only 25% of our table time is actually at the table; for the rest of the game session I’m usually creating physical activities and mini-games like “Let’s hunt the dragon hidden in the blankets” or “Sneak through the dinosaur guardian in the living room” (I also use lots of LEGOs as minis/props). In the end, I even created a small resolution system so that my kids get their first taste of rolling dice. I hope that in a year or two both are playing a complete RPG with me and my wife.

While that time doesn’t come, I like to show them my RPG books (I discovered that they love bestiaries) or to talk about game stuff. To my surprise my daughter recently suggested a few “cool powers” that she would love to have in our next RPG session. Here is the closest adaptation of her ideas.

New Spell

Anaoj's Annoying Tickles

[Swords & Wizardry/OSR]
Spell Level: 2 
Range: 30 feet 
Duration: Instantaneous
This spell affects people and living monsters, who start feeling an intense tickling over their entire bodies. If the spell succeeds (saving throw allowed), the creature lose her next action, dropping any items and falling to ground. During combat, the unfortunate victim may open her guard, offering one nearby enemy the chance for a free attack (Referee’s call).
Usually, creatures with natural armor (AC 4[15] or better) are impervious to this cantrap.

[D&D 5E]
Level: 2 
Casting time: 1 Action 
Range: 30 feet 
Components: S, M (harlequin doll and a feather) 
Duration: Instantaneous
A creature of your choice that you can see within range start feeling her entire body tickling. The target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or lose her balance. During combat, a creature that fails her save triggers an attack of opportunity.
A creature with natural armor of 12 or higher has advantage on the saving throw. Creatures of the construct, elemental, plant, ooze and undead type are immune to this spell.

[Pathfinder 1st] 
Level: Bard 1, Sorcerer/Wizard/Witch 2
School: Enchantment (Compulsion) [Mind-Affecting]

Components: S, M (harlequin doll and a feather) 
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One creature; see text
Duration: 1 round
Saving Throw: Will negates; see text
Spell Resistance: Yes
The target start feeling her entire body tickling and must succeed on a Will save or become Stunned for 1 round. Creatures on difficult or dangerous terrain (like walking on a tightrope) also fall Prone. Finally, a creature that fails her save triggers an attack of opportunity.
Targets with a natural armor bonus of +2 or higher gain a +4 bonus on their saving throw. Creatures of the construct, plant, ooze, outsider (elemental), undead and vermin type are immune to this spell.
Some spellcasters know this spell as ‘Nightgaunt’s Tickling’.

New Magic Item

Anaoj's Misleading Potion of Ruin

After drinking this fiery and bubbling concoction, the target’s skins gets red and hot as a forge. One round later the target explodes, dealing damage around them as if they were the point of detonation of a 5th level fireball.
The drinker materializes in the next round, totally unaffected by his self-detonation, 30 ft. away in a random direction.

[In D&D 5E this is a very rare potion. In Pathfinder 1st this item practically works as minor artifact.]