Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Update and DnD With Kids!

It's been a while since I posted. I know, my bad.

Gaming during the holidays had been difficult. I think everyone can relate to that. I have a game I started with my eleven year old nephews and ten year old niece during their holiday break this year that has turned out to be pretty fun.

Back when I was around that age I started running D&D for my friends. I bought a couple of 2nd edition books with garage sale money and ran things for a couple of friends. One of those friends, now my step-brother, has three kids. After talking one day we decided to introduce the game to the kids.

Yes, we're starting them off with 2nd edition! I know. I am a huge fan of DCC and Swords and Wizardry. Even 3E or 4E might of been easier for them to start with, but I grew up with 2nd edition, and I love it. What was good enough for me should be good enough for them.

It's weird seeing how the kids interact with the game world. Growing up on video games (like Skyrim) has given them insight in to the way games are played. Some of the best moments have been:

When Zion made his fighter, he went through my bins of miniatures and pulled out every possible warrior-type, then had them fight to the death in a play-fight with sound effects until one of them was the victor. That was the one he chose to use as his miniature.

Taylin, the youngest at ten, didn't want to come to the first session. She came at the second session after hearing the boys talk about it. Her first words on arrival "I want to slit some throats too!". She has been the most blood thirsty of the children thus far.

Malcolm is the oldest, but only a little older than Zion. He is the most laid back of the kids. It's been fun to see him threaten the fighter with a sleep spell on numerous occasions. They have, of course, determined that sleep is the best spell - as it lets them slit throats without challenge.

Malcolm plays Farengar, an elven wizard and apprentice to the master wizard of his town. Loves sleep spells.

Zion plays Altiar, a human fighter who specializes in the broadsword and murders goblins. Loves to brag, and has become the parties tactical leader - though often does very suicidal things.

Taylin plays Serena "Flutterdie", an elven Ranger who loves to slit throats and shoot arrows at monsters - and threaten her brothers with the same.

We also have their dad playing a halfling thief, and another friend playing a cleric of Pelor.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

More Advanced Dungeon Crawl Classics: Barbarian and Dwarven Priest

A while back a group of us on the google+ DCC group started to discuss "advanced" versions of the DCC RPG races and classes. These discussions lead to a couple of articles by fellow community members: John Carr's article on Warrior-based subclasses and Doug Pirko's article on dwarven subclasses.

My "Barbarian" subclass is similar to the early versions of the Barbarian, including a rage mechanic. Details below:

Barbarian

The barbarian is a warrior of pure rage. What they lack in finesse they more than make up with raw force and can channel a terrific rage to make them stronger than a dozen men. This comes at a huge cost, as the barbarian lost to his rage has no concern for his own safety.

The barbarian is identical to a warrior, except in the following ways:

A barbarian only gets D10 hit die, instead of the D12 warriors usually receive.

A barbarian prefers not to wear heavy armor, the movement penalty allows his enemies to run away.

A barbarian has a Might Deed die, the same as a warrior. In addition to the standard uses of a Deed, a Barbarian can also "Rage."

Rage - In a combat the barbarian can choose to go into a rage. He rolls his mighty deed die and gains the listed number as a bonus to his attack and damage for the remainder of the battle on top of his usual deed attack die. The bonus for the Rage is set at the beginning of the rage and does not change. During this rage, the barbarian suffers a penalty to his armor class equal to the bonus gained. In addition, the barbarian is unaware of how hurt he is. The Judge tracks the barbarians hit points until the end of the rage.

After the rage expires the barbarian is exhausted. He retains the penalty to his AC for a full hour, and cannot use mighty deed or his deed die to attack until that hour is up and he has regained his strength.

level 5 - Undying Warrior - If a Barbarian in a rage is dropped to 0 hit points or less, they can continue to fight. Fueled on by their rage, they attack their foes without mercy and battle beyond death. They still have the same rounds per level before dying, but can continue to fight during this time. If they run out of enemies they immediately fall prone and die in the next round. Healing an undying warrior is difficult, and requires an attack roll to successfully lay hands.

Dwarven Priest

It's happened a lot in my games that the dwarf rolls a high personality. I've also always liked the idea of dwarven priests, they are all over in the old D&D novels. So here is my take on a variant from the Dwarf in the DCC core book.

You are a priest of the stone, a follower of the God of Dwarves, or the Forge, or some other Dwarven Deity. What you lack in martial might you make up for with the power of your god.

Hit Die: D8

Armor and Weapons: Warhammer, Battleaxe, Mace, Club, Flail, Hand axe, Crossbow, or Staff. Dwarven Priests can wield shields and wear any armor.

Attack: As a Cleric

Saving Throws: As a Dwarf

Senses: Darkvision sixty feet, can smell gold and gems as a dwarf, and gains the dwarven stone-cunning senses to detect stone traps and secret doors.

Spellcasting: Dwarven Priests cast spells as a Cleric, but gain one less spell per spell level. Minimum 1.

Lay On Hands: Dwarven Priests can lay on hands as a Cleric.

Miracle: You can beseech your god for a miracle. Summoning your ancestors or clearing a collapsed mine tunnel. The DC of the miracle is set by your Judge.

Turn Unholy: You can turn unholy like a cleric, these things are usually undead, demons, mimics and strange otherworldly creatures that inhabit the deepest depths. You turn unholy with your level + personality + luck modifiers.

Hammer and Shield: Like a dwarven warrior you can attack with both your weapon and your shield. Your shield attacks with a d14 and typically deals 1d3 damage.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Bloodocalypse Mega Post

I promised a while back to post my session reports from the DCC campaign I run called Bloodocalypse. However I never got around to it! Since that time we've had a few more sessions. Before out session tonight I am resolving to get the readers caught up to where the party is as they explore the savage untamed wastelands.

Cast of Characters:

Initial Characters

Sagdar Holypaw - As a child traveled with his merchant father across the deadly wastelands, this got his father killed and eaten by barbarians but Northstar joined them. A barbarian merchant turned warrior after his experience in the arena of blood. Played by John.

Northstar Hammer - A Dwarven miner who survived a collapsed mine tunnel. He was sold into slavery by a corrupt Dwarven forman to cover the loss of expenses. Won his freedom in the arena of blood, as well as a blaster pistol. Played by John.

Proudcat Beastmane - A tovi tinkerer, once a poor pickpocket after being transported to the surface following an experiment with a strange device in the Underearth. Won his freedom in the arena of blood.

Second Session New Arrivals

Ricardo Eureka - Farmer who's string of bad luck landed him in the pits of the Arena of Blood, a sacrifice to the dark god Malsin who was rescued by the initial cast of characters, and decided to join them for revenge. Played by Kevin.

(Add once I have access to my notes) - Warrior played by Kevin.

Add once I have access to my notes) - A very lucky con artist who seems to survive by the skin of his teeth, who was lost as a young child and nearly eaten by Spider-Wolves before escaping. Missed session 3, but returned for session 4. Played by Josh.

Chakar - A barbarian warrior who was taken by force to the underpits of the arena, to be made into a sacrifice. He was released by the others, and fought to earn his place among them. Played by Josh.


Stars: Sparticus

Sesssion 1: The Arena of Blood

The various funnel characters are gathered together in the dark waiting chambers for the gladiators of the Arena of Blood. They are all there for different reasons. Some of them are slaves sold to the Arena to participate in the day of blood. Others were taken by force by the Acolytes of Malsin, the god of Murder and Blood. Still others were there by choice, hoping to earn gold and glory in the arena.

The roar of the crowd can be heard above them in the stands, causing dust to fall from the rafters of the ancient structure. The Acolytes explain that they have been chosen to participate in the highest of holy days for the God of blood. They are allowed to exchange any weapons they have, dropping them in the pile to be given another weapon on their way out to the arena. Many of the characters take the chance to get something else, though for some of them the choice ends up being worse than what they had.

I used the following table:


1
Two Daggers
6
Spear
2
Shortsword + Shield
7
Staff
3
Longsword
8
Battleaxe
4
Warhammer
9
Handaxe
5
Flail
10
Javelin
Heading out of the pits, they were paired up and sent into the bright hot light of the orange sun. The dome that usually protects Rotenstrad has been cracked severely above the Arena. At high noon it is impossible to see without going blind, but the arena games take place just after noon, which prevents blinding the crowd and the fighters. The PCs paired up with other player's PCs and were sent out to battle.

The PCs were given the choice to be anointed by the Acolytes of Blood. Those that took the blessing discovered they had a mechanical benefit later.

The High Priest of Malsin announced from his seat that this was the High Day of Blood, the most sacred holiday, and that today they would see the glory of blood and murder. As the crowd roared, more chunks of dangerous glass fell from the dome, landing in the blood soaked sand of the arena floor.

They fought in pairs against randomly generated other combatants. Some of them shaky-handed vat farmers without a clue, and others savage barbarians or murderers.

During the melee Sagdar Holypaw fumbled and his short sword went flying into the crowd - which drove the neighbor of the man hit to grab the blade and impale him repeatedly over and over while screaming in blood lust - Blood lust is a theme of the campaign.

One of the characters who didn't make it through the funnel, convinced a poor dwarven slave to turn on his partner and partner up with him. The dwarf ended up stabbing his companion in the back, only to get killed by the PC. Though he later dies to a beast in the second round.

All throughout the battle, shards of glass rain down from above. The Tovi Proudcat picks up a few handfuls to use as throwing weapons as he runs around the arena.

Once the pairs had been weened and the weak separated in blood from the strong, the Acolytes called the winners back. Their wounds were tended as the high Priest worked the crowd into another frenzy, he spoke of the Great Beasts of the betrayed Garrun (another god from the world) and how the heroes of Malsin would destroy the wicked agents of the mad god.

Now arrayed as teams, the PCs lined up as mutant beasts were released into the arena. Giant scorpions, Spider-Wolves, Ant-men, Dire Bear and a Black Tentacled Horror from the depths.

The Party faced off against the Black Tentacles Horror, some lucky blows and a critical hit dropped the thing before it was much of a threat. I made some checks and the other groups weren't doing so well. The battle was pitched, as the PCs moved to join other groups. Most of the other gladiators died gloriously for the blood of the blood god, but the PCs were much harder to kill. A few of them die to the Dire Bear, and another to the Spider-Wolves, but they kill the rest with the help of the other survivors. Now one hundred gladiators had been reduced to just a handful of the best.

Expecting their freedom, they were disappointed as the acolytes came over to tend to their wounds and enraged as the High Priest stood up to speak again.

"People of Rotenstrad! Let’s hear it for the blood spilled thus far! Malsin, the great and powerful, the master of blood, has saw fit to grant us with a special gift! These warriors tonight, will die for your entertainment!” The crowd roared with more blood lust - by this time the spectators were locked in an orgy of blood and sex. Totally losing themselves to the power of the arena.

The High Priest began chanting, and slit his wrist, mingling his blood with that of the soaked arena. A rift opened up, a bloody hole in reality, as a being stepped forth. Massive, covered in bloody spikes and chains. Armor as thick as plates and wielding a barbed spear. In place of a face, it had a mouth full of an endless series of teeth. It screamed and roared, and the crowd cheered.

Northstar notices that the Priest of Torrum, the God of Glory and the second most powerful faith in the city, tosses something into the sand near the podium. His religion fights with the Order of Malsin for control over the arena.

The Party engages the summoned demon, and quickly the thing impales one of them. Nearly killing him in one blow, and he knows the barbs will kill him. He grabs the spear tight to keep it in place. Northstar rushes over to the thing tossed in the sand and finds a wrapped up blaster pistol that was covered in rust, and was hot in his hand. As he pulled back the trigger it began to sizzle, hiss and hum. Then released a blinding hot blast that sounded like a high-pitched scream.

The blast severely wounds the demon. It turns and attempts to go for Sagdar, wielding the impaled Sagdar as a club, but misses. Northstar wins initiative and blasts again, this time the entire gun shakes as if it would fall apart or explode at any moment - it doesn't, but the blast melts right through the demon who collapses in a pile of burning meat.

The Crowd Cheers at the victory, and the high Priest looked pissed. He retreats into the depths of the arena, and the priest of Torrum speaks, granting them their freedom - though of course he has a job for them.

Session 2: Into the Sacrificial Pits of Blood

The crowd was still roaring, the blood lust was high. They were chanting for more. The Priest of Torrum takes the party into his chambers, congratulating them on a job well done. Not only did they survive the arena, but they have dealt a blow to the man responsible for their lives being offered up to Malsin. He wants them to finish the job. He tells them of the fortunes the cult of Malsin has gathered, and offers to give up a map to where he originally found the gun should they succeed in defeating him. They agree, and down they go into the sacrificial pits.

The secondary purpose of the Arena is to provide food to the city. It would be a waste to let all of that fresh meat go to waste. Beneath the arena is the butchery, and deeper still are the secret chambers recently re-purposed by the cult of Malsin. The party descends into the blood pits only to have a large stone seal the way behind them. They continue deeper and encounter a group of sacrifices chained to the walls of a room, being flayed by an acolyte.

After dispatching the torturer, they free the prisoners and help them equip themselves. Pushing further down the hall, they encounter another group of blood crazed priests, and a pitched battle results in a few deaths of the new comers, but also more equipment for the party to press on.

They soon come across another group of sacrifices and free them as well. All the while they are following the strange cracks in the floor that seep blood ever onward. Blood drips from the banked sand above their heads, through the thatching that keeps it up and down the walls. Finally, they come to a massive chamber with a pool of deep blood, ringed by acolytes. In the center on a dais sticking from the pool they see the high priest chanting.

The acolytes of blood turn to stop the characters, drawing their kris daggers. More of the newfound adventurers go down, others are wounded. The priest in the middle finishes his chanting and transforms into a bloody-demon thing himself. He leaps across the lajke of blood, just as Northstar Hammer was swimming across the lake to fight him. He lands and starts tearing up the PCs. Northstar gets to the island and pulls out his gun, firing off the last of his shots - Screeea! Screeea! and the demon is dispatched with a few final hacks from the PCs.

Buried in the pool of blood they find some gold and jewels. Among the High Priests things they find something amazing, checking on my table for random strange devices and - They discover another blaster pistol.

The PCs eventually discover the way to lift the blocks keeping them trapped inside, and return to the surface for their reward.

Session 3: The Bazaar Incomparable

The majority of this session was taken up with the PCs shopping. One of the house rules we are using, is that PCs gain XP from spending gold. Although they did not have much in the way of gold once it was split up seven different ways, they did have some things to sell and supplies to gather for their proposed trip.

The map they had acquired from the high priest of Torrum was a crude drawing showing a trek across the wasteland to a place known as the Cradle, where supposedly a large field of debris littered with ancient tech is located. A crashed sky ship from ages ago. They set out for the Bazaar Incomparable first for supplies.

Splitting up they go to several of the different shops. Some of the highlights, since this session was about three hours of shopping and one hour of adventure (I'm not complaining, all of the shopping was pretty heavy on the roleplaying. With lots of haggling over prices).

The first place they stop, Northstar ends up looking for battery cartridges for his pistols. He is told that they didn't have anything like that, but they would pay top dollar for the gun. They offer him 500gp, and he smiles and counters with 550gp. They immediately take the offer. He soon realizes he could of obtained quite a bit more for it. They buy some armor and move on.

Proudcat the Tovi finds a shop ran by another Tovi, and they end up haggling over some junk. Proudcat wants to help the owner identify the function of some of his newer stuff in exchange for a discount. Though in the bloodocalypse no one trusts anyone, and the Tovi ends up dismisssing him from his shop - not wanting to be robbed.

Ricardo stops by an herbalists shop and immediately begins insulting her wares. She kicks him out of her shop after his harsh bargaining, threatening to poison him if he comes back.

They stop by the "Not People Kitchen" but decide that the food is too expensive, and move on.

They eventually end up on Traders Bridge, buying the basic gear they will need to survive, including the goggles everyone needs if they go outside of the dome. They eventually head out the gates and out into the wastes for the first time.

They explore for a bit, heading along the poison river toward an area on their map known as the Fungal Pit. They see some shapes across the river near sunset, but decide to press further before camping. Eventually under the moon they set up camp in a hidden ridge. That night a shooting star flies right over head and crashes in the distance, making the earth tremble and shake. They decide to investigate it in the morning. Before sunrise they run into a man that is supposedly fleeing from the Fungal Pit.

He offers to sell them some information, they pass, so he volunteers that the boss of the town, a man named Otis that runs the inn, is a bastard that cheated him out of his share of something they found in the depths. He tells them to take it from Otis's dead corpse, and all he wants in exchange for the information is for them to make Otis suffer.

We end the session with them getting up from camp that morning.

Session 4: Falling Stars, Mutants and Gangland Murder

The next morning they decide to head out into the wastes in the direction of the falling star, believing that they can get their before any other scavengers. They head into the still active dust cloud and feel their skin begin to burn and tingle - soon some of them and some of their mounts are suffering from the effects of radiation, some mutations begin to appear.

The most obvious being that one of Ricardo's mules now has slime for skin and it can no longer function as a pack mule.

Pushing on they make it to the edge of the recently formed crated. The dust and smoke is so bad that they can't see more than a few feet. The PCs detect some movement and some gruff speech in the hole. They try to sneak down, but most of the party ends up slipping and rolling into the crater and drawing attention.

Fragments of metal jut from the ground here, and burning molten rock is scattered around. Bits of glowing stone are also seen here and there. Several huge hulking brutes each one different than the last - bug eyes, strange massive mouths, clawed hands. Mutants. They attempt to parlay, the mutants tell them to leave. Northstar leaps down on them with his Spider-Hound, a mount he paid a lot of coin for in Rotenstrad, and they all begin attacking the mutants. The battle doesn't go so well for Sagdar, who ends up getting his face smashed with a big radioactive rock and going down.

The dozen mutants turn out to be a challenging fight, but the "heroes" prevail here. They down the last of them and check on Sagdar Holypaw, who happens to have survived but took a bad wound, his ribs broken from the mutant that was thrown on top of his body in the fight.

They decide to head out and toward the town that on their map is marked as the Fungal Pit. From miles away they see the large column of steam rising up from the flat ground. As they get closer they see the adobe and ceramic buildings built up around a pit the steam leaks out of. Using the steam as cover from the sun, as well as collecting the moisture for drinking water.

The party is stopped by a group that rides out from the town, the leader of the band holding a laser rifle. He names himself Jed and asks their business. He asks to see their wares if they are trading, and the party decides that Jed is up to no good, and Northstar pulls his gun on the man. They have a stand off, with Northstar balking, thinking that Jed's gun can't even fire but his can. After some intimidation, the group rides off allowing the PCs to continue into town.

They make their way to the tavern owned by Otis, the man they were told about. Inside, the portly owner greets them and asks about their business. Offers them a couple different drinks, but most of them decide on water. Chakar takes some of the Cactus Gin he offers and they all settle down. Without warning, Northstar draws his pistol and blasts Otis dead, exploding his head in the middle of the bar.

Many of the patrons run and some others cheer. After some quick interrogation of the bar patrons, they discover that Otis and his brother Bertram run the town, and the gangs. That they send people down into the pit to recover the strange tech that is down there, and to pick the mushrooms for food.

Josh's thief, who's name escapes me, comes up with an idea. They know Bertram will be on his way to settle the score and they just need some time. He forges a document claiming that they were sent by Rotenstrad's Faceless Council to take over the bar and ensure that trade was secured. He knows it wont stop Bertram, but might make him think before blowing him away. Sagdar heads out back with some Tovi Party Bombs (Molotov Cocktails) and up onto a building to cut off any reinforcements. The rest wait inside for Bertram.

They don't have to wait long. Bertram and Jed, along with five others make their way up the streets. Bertram in a set of old, rusty and barely working power armor, but a chaingun on his arm that he seems not afraid to use. Jed has the ammo for his gun now, and they are ready for business.

There is a stand off, where Bertram demands the man who shot his brother. Josh's thief bluffs his way through it all, promising to hand the man over - he doesn't want involved in this, things just got out of hand too quickly. Eventually he manages to convince Bertram to come inside. Once in, Proudcat sneaks up and throws a Tovi Party Bomb under the feet of Bertram, and quickly grabs some hydrolic cables from the back of the power armor and sends Bertram to his knees, his legs crushed by the non-operation of the hydrolic servos.

This of course causes him to scream in pain, and begins firing his chaingun, sweeping across the bar and killing people. Trying to shoot Northstar - the damn Dwarf who killed his brother, and the Tovi who broke his legs.

The fight continues all around them, with Chakar drinking. Northstar takes out Jed with a blaster shot to the face. Sagdar takes out the encroaching reinforcements from the back with a couple of well placed firebombs, melting them in their tracks. Even with Bertram disabled and unable to move, his armor makes him neigh indestructible. Angered he pulls a grenade from his belt and tosses it at Northstar, blowing the dwarf into almost-goo, killing most of the men in the bar and wounding nearly everyone else.

Proudcat pops up from behind the bar and rushes over with some healing goo that they found in Otis' office earlier. He heals up Northstar who rises, winning initiative and shoots Bertram in the face, blowing his head off.

Spent and nearly dead, the PCs collect themselves and look upon the devastation they had caused.

Final Thoughts

I like the direction this campaign is going. Although it seems to be more science than originally intended, everyone seems to be having a blast and that's what matters. The PCs are embracing the chaotic nature of the setting and letting themselves cut lose. The last session really showed me that they can be chaotic when they choose to. I also have to give Josh props for using Forgery as a neutral thief, I haven't seen anyone else try and use it.

As a gory Science-Fantasy Hex Crawl, the campaign is thus far a success.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bloodocalypse: Mutations and "Magic Items"

Mutations

Exposure to various mutagenic phenomena may (is going to) happen during the game. Since mutations are a big part of the natural wildlife, I decided to make a system for characters to determine what happens to them when they are exposed to strange energy sources, radiation, rifts in space-time and mutagenic diseases.

Mutation sources will have a Fortitude saving throw DC based on the power of the mutation effect. How much they fail the save by determines the severity of the mutation.

Fail by 1-4: Minor mutation - roll 1d6.
Fail by 5-9: Major mutation - roll 1d10
Fail by 10-19: Severe mutation - roll 1d20
Fail by 20 or more: Extreme mutation - roll 1d20 twice
Natural 1 on save: Roll 1d10+5 three times.

Some mutations will be related to the source of the exposure. Most will use the following table, with the die rolled based on the severity of exposure. Special: a positive luck modifier allows this result to be shifted to the most beneficial within range, where as a negative modifier would shift the roll to the most hindering. Unless stated otherwise the effects of mutations stack and can be rolled multiple times.

Also note that most obvious mutations will add a cumulative -1 to reaction rolls from NPCs.


  1. Tolerance - You gain +1 to saves to resist future mutation.
  2. Susceptibility - You gain a -1 to saves to resist future mutation.
  3. Dangerous Mouth - Your mouth becomes misshapen and filled with sharp teeth. -1 personality, and you gain a bite attack at a secondary action die of 1d14 and deals 1d4 damage. Each time you gain this mutation the damage die increases by one step. You can optionally choose to attack with your regular action die.
  4. Thick Skin - Your skin hardens with strange nodules and scars. You lose 1 personality but gain +1 to your AC.
  5. Mushroom head - Your hair falls out, replaced by strange fungal growth under your scalp. You lose 1 personality but can eat the growths as nourishment, replacing a meal every 1d3 days.
  6. Slimy skin - Your skin becomes slick to the touch, making you difficult to grab. You gain a +2 bonus on any rolls to avoid being held or restrained.
  7. Irritable Bowels - Any time you engage in strenuous activity you must make a fort save DC 8 or have to immediately relieve yourself. Failure to do so results in a -2 to all rolls (attacks, saves, damage, skills) until you do so.
  8. Wasteland Rage - A common mutation in the wasteland. The sight of blood sends you into a fury. When wounded or after seeing blood, you gain +1 to attack and damage for the next 1d4 rounds. During this rage your AC is lowered by 1. You also gain a taste for human flesh.
  9. Minor Body Transfiguration: Roll 1d5 twice. Subtract 2 points from the first ability score indicated, and add 1 to the second ability score indicated. (1-Str, 2-Agi, 3-Sta, 4-Per, 5-Int)
  10. Weakened Bone Structure - Your bones become more fragile, resulting in being much less resilient. You lose 1 stamina.
  11. Rage-Roids - Your body becomes covered in muscle, your muscles have muscles. You grow 1d4 feet in height and double in weight. Gain 1d6 hit points, 1d4 points of strength, 1d4 stamina, but lose 1d4 points from personality and intelligence. If you possess the Wasteland Rage mutation you become more prone to that mutation in the future, replacing the "1-Tolerance" result on the table with "1-Wasteland Rage".
  12. Bug Eyes - Your eyes bulge out and become shiny and gross. You gain the ability to see in the dark an extra 30 feet, but lose 1 point of personality unless you are a Tovi.
  13. Extra Arm - You grow an extra arm from (1d4: 1- Right Side, 2-Left Side, 3-Chest, 4-Back) that can perform actions as an extra action die at 1d14. You need to have your armor specially altered to be able to use it.
  14. Shearing Flesh - Your skin becomes lose on your body, detaching when hit with enough force and falling off in a gross slush of crimson. Any physical wound against you deals an extra 1d4 damage from the torn skin. However, your skin heals very quickly and you recover 1 hit point an hour, 2 if resting.
  15. Deadened Nerves - You lose 1 agility from dead nerves, but your body becomes incredibly resilient to pain. You suffer 1 less damage from all sources.
  16. Thick Nodules - You gain tumor like nodules all over your body, which cause aches and pains. You lose 1 agility but gain 1d8 hit points. Your armor will need to be custom fit.
  17. Major Body Transfiguration: As 9 above, but instead subtract 1d4 from two ability scores and add 1d4 to another. Randomly determined.
  18. Regeneration: You recover your level it hit points per hour. Your skin crawls, and the flesh beneath your skin moves on it's own. If you roll mutation a second time you can reattach severed limbs by holding them in place for an hour.
  19. Giant Brain - Your head swells causing internal bleeding as your skull is forced to expand. You lose 1 stamina but gain 1d4 points of intelligence. You also gain a psionic power.
  20. Extreme Body Transfiguration - Roll 2d3. You can add that many points to your choice of ability scores, but then must subtract 2d4 points from your choice of ability scores.
  21. Or higher - Extreme Evolution: You gain +2 to a random ability score (1d5) and an additional mutation rolled randomly with the same die.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic

One of my favorite quotes, and true for the Bloodocalypse setting. The technology that existed before the collapse of society was so advanced that how it works cannot be explained by even the wisest sage - if Bloodocalypse had sages. No, the tech is just magic. Or maybe magic is just tech. Either way, no one on the world knows. I have four levels of "magical" devices in the setting. First, you have basic utility items. These include flash lights, glow sticks, and other sorts of mundane equipment produced with more efficient technology. These things are the most common (still rare) but a lot more common than than next category. The second group are mostly advanced armament items. These include blasters, laser swords and microweave armors. You also have some of the more advanced utility items at this level. Thirdly we have the very advanced weapons and armor, a lot more rare and more experimental - not much of this left at all. Finally, we have the ultra-tech stuff. This is artifact level tech that will change the entire campaign - from advanced vehicles to self-repairing intelligent power armor and doomsday weapons.

Below are some examples of DCC style magic items made with technology instead of magic.

Healing Goo - Usually contained in metal tubes or small spheres. Once opened, the goo appears to be a semi-solid slime that has the consistency of snot. When applied to a wound it begins working immediately, stopping the flow of blood and repairing the damaged tissue. A single container of healing goo usually has enough material to heal 3d8 hit points before being all used up. Left over from an application can be scraped off and reused another time (the healing is rolled once, and can be doled out in portions).

Blessed Amulet - A strange amulet with a glowing crystal. When the user is exposed to dangerous environmental or psionic threats the crystal glows and surrounds the user with a transparent force field to attempt to weaken the incoming threat. The amulet grants the wearer a +2 bonus to AC and saving throws.

Ceramic Nanomesh Armor - As light as regular clothing, this fine dark grey mesh can be worn underclothing with no problem. The mesh provides the benefits of chainmail armor, without the check penalty, fumble die or movement speed penalties associated with wearing armor.

Blaster Pistol - A large cylindrical barreled pistol with a heavy grip, a loud humming plasma charging chamber, and weird electro-magnetic circuits that glow when active. A blast pistol deals 2d8 damage, and ignores standard armors. Blaster pistols explode on a natural roll of 1, dealing 1d8 damage to the wielder and anyone within 5 feet per charge remaining in the gun - Reflex save for half damage. A blast pistol charge pack can hold up to ten shots, but most found pistols have only 1d4 shots remaining in the charge pack.


Balefire Power Armor -  Ultra-tech, unique. A set of gleaming dark red armor with spikes jutting from the helmet, massive shoulder plates, wrists, shins, knees and knuckles. A glowing energy core in the chest. This massive suit of power armor requires that the user slip inside of it while it is inactive, and then must bleed into the armor to prompt it to bond with the user - A process which inflicts 2d8 damage to the wearer as a cybernetic link is inserted into the user's brain and spine. After bonded, the armor can be dismissed with an action, causing it to go out of phase with the wearer - effectively vanishing until called on.

The Balefire Power Armor was created with one purpose - to destroy the enemies of the state. However, the state no longer exists. The Armor's intelligent personality causes it to turn it's destructive force on others. Any threat it responds to with extreme prejudice, and seeks to destroy all of the culture remaining on the world. For this reason, the armor is chaotic. It has an intelligence of 20, but rarely chooses to communicate with speech. Instead it uses subtle psionic control over it's user, turning them chaotic and urging them to destroy anything and everything that get's in their way.

The armor is powered with a zero-point energy matrix which gives it near-unlimited power.

  • The wearer of Balefire Power Armor benefits from +13 armor class. The armor has a check penalty of -6, but this does not apply to psionic abilities. The armor does not reduce speed.
  • The wearer benefits from a strength of 20 (+5) while wearing the armor. If the wearer has a strength of 20 or higher already, the armor grants a +2 to strength instead.
  • The armor has a psionic booster circuit, granting the user +2 to psionic rolls.
  • Three times per day, the wearer can use Scorching Ray with a d20+12 on the cast check. This uses the wearers action.
  • The Armor can detect lawful creatures within 100', and illuminates them on the heads up display. Non-lawful creatures can be detected at 50'. This gives the wearer a +2 bonus on rolls to notice ambushes and initiative rolls.
  • The armor repairs any damage to itself at a rapid rate of 2d8 damage per turn. This does not heal the wearer.
  • Energy weapons held by the wearer can draw from the suit's unlimited power supply, supplying them without using charges from the weapons own power source.
  • The wearer's unarmed attacks deal damage as magical warhammers, inflicting 1d8 damage plus strength bonus.
  • The ways of destroying the armor are mysterious.
Goals and motivations: As stated above, the Balefire armor seeks to destroy civilization completely. To do this, it has access to a special use ability below, that can only be used once per month. The armor chooses when to activate this ability, and not the player.

Ego: The armor slowly takes over the wearer. Each day that the armor is worn, the target must make a will save vs DC 15. On a failure they receive a  cumulative -1 to their next check. Once their will saving throw is reduced to 0 in this manner, any further failures and they are overtaken by the armor. Their alignment switches to chaotic and they seek to destroy the cities of the world. Being brain-bonded to the armor is extremely deadly though, and the psionic control inflicts 1d3 points of intelligence damage a day on the user. Eventually their brain shuts down and they die, and the suit has to abandon the body and de-activate until it is found once more.

Special Purpose Ability: Annihilation Blast - 1/month, the suit can unleash a blast of energy that an fire up to 10 miles away and strike an area with a diameter of five miles, inflicting 20d20 damage to everything in the blast radius. This vaporizes most cities and all unfortunate living matter in the area. Using this ability is incredibly dangerous for the suit, however, draining it's zero-point energy reserves.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bloodocalypse Race: The Tovi


Some of you might remember this little guy. I went ahead and created them for my DCC RPG campaign world Bloodocalypse. The Tovi ended up with some skills that make them fit right at home in the world of rusting ancient devices and barbarians. As the most adept race at handling the ancient technology that litters the world, they fill a unique niche. Not sure how well they would do in a world without laser pistols or disintegration-beam traps.

The Tovi


The Tovi race are short humanoids with wide leathery ears, slick greenish or yellow skin and a fondness for technology and adventure. Born deep underground in the dark and twisted passageways as part of huge communities they insulate themselves from the darkness of the twisted below with layers of deadly traps. Although most of the Tovi live far underground occasionally one will venture in the light world above to find a place away from their society.

The most common means of Tovi ending up on the surface is through mishaps with ancient technology that transport them to the surface.

Alignment: Most Tovi are neutral, though both extremes exist. Chaotic Tovi are the most likely to find their way to the surface.

Hit Dice: Tovi gain 1d6 hit points per level.

Weapons and Armor: Tovi have a sharp mind and can learn to use advanced weaponry with very little experimentation needed. They are considered trained in any advanced weapons they find or construct. They are also proficient with: crossbows, daggers, hand axes, short swords, longswords, clubs, slings, staves, javelins and short bows. Tovi can wear any armor, but tend to prefer lighter armors that do not hinder the use of their hands.

Senses: Tovi can see in the dark up to sixty feet. They also gain a bonus based on their level on rolls to detect secret doors and mechanic devices, including mechanical traps. Traps are detected as an intelligence check with a bonus equal to the Tovi’s level. Tovi often claim to "hear" devices speaking to them, or seeing tell-tale signs of traps that others cannot see.

Tinkerers: In addition to finding traps, as explained above, Tovi have an innate understanding of mechanic devices. They can disable mechanical traps and pick locks as an agility check with a bonus based on their level.

Tovi can also make an intelligence check with a bonus based on their level to figure out the use of a mechanic device, and even possibly to make repairs to mechanical or magi-tech devices.

Tovi can construct traps given they have access to the materials needed to build one. On a very high disable trap roll, a Tovi can extract the materials to build their own trap from the device they disable. Their disable check has to beat the traps disable DC by 5 or more to do this. Traps constructed from scavenged parts will generally only fire off once before needing to be repaired.

Tovi Luck: Tovi can spend luck on saving throws to avoid bad effects, the same as other characters. When spent on saving throws, however, the expenditure is not permanent and the Tovi can recover his luck at 1 point per day or 2 points per day of rest. A Tovi can cancel a fumble with a device or disarming a trap by spending a point of luck - unlike with saving throws this use of luck is not recovered with rest.



Level
Attack
Crit Die/Table
Action Dice
Tinkerer
Fort
Reflex
Will
1
+1
1d8/III
1d20
+2
+1
+1
+1
2
+2
1d8/III
1d20
+4
+1
+1
+1
3
+2
1d10/III
1d20
+6
+2
+2
+2
4
+3
1d10/III
1d20
+7
+2
+2
+2
5
+3
1d12/III
1d20+1d14
+8
+3
+3
+3
6
+4
1d12/III
1d20+1d14
+9
+3
+3
+3
7
+4
1d14/III
1d20+1d14
+10
+4
+4
+4
8
+5
1d14/III
1d20+1d16
+11
+4
+4
+4
9
+5
1d16/III
1d20+1d16
+12
+5
+5
+5
10
+6
1d16/III
2d20
+13
+5
+5
+5

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bloodocalypse: Session 1

Last Friday I ran the first session of my Bloodocalypse campaign, following some intensive days of working on campaign notes and house rules to get it to be what I want. While the campaign world is not complete, it was ready for the first play session.

For those of you that don't remember/care, Bloodocalypse is the working title for my Gonzo Science-Fantasy campaign I am designing for DCC RPG. A world of barbarians and laser guns.

Things seemed to go great. The group got together and rolled up zero level PCs on the new tables I designed. I created a couple different groups of humans with different racial occupations to help establish the themes of the game. We also used the alternate luck rule I came up with - where PCs are allowed to risk their luck if they start with a 9-12 luck score, which could result in the changing of their luck. This had some very unexpected results.

Out of the 4 characters who risked luck, only one got a positive modifier out of it, the others ended up with negative modifiers. However the unexpected result is that the random events that happened when they were younger, ended up resulting in them having a backstory and there for a stronger personality.

For example, one of John's characters was a vat farmer - they use the old vat technology to grow foodstuffs, that taste horrible. His character had decided he wants to make a name for himself, and went wandering into the Pit when he was young. He decided he would use his personality to get out, and used Personality to pray to the gods for help. It failed. Something attacked him and he woke up near the stairs of the Pit with a hole in his head and no memories of what happened since then. Throughout the funnel he was called "Brain slug guy", and continued to talk to the voice in his head that he thought was god.

The character did not survive the funnel, having a -2 to your AC from a 4 luck with "Charmed House" lucky sign is a bad thing. However he had a blast with the character, and the negative luck "event" gave him something to role-play.

I don't want to get into many details of the session, because I plan to write it up at some point. The general idea is that there characters were chosen by acolytes of the Blood God to be sacrifices in the arena. They fought their way to victory and have earned gold and glory in the process.

This week we plan to have two more players at the table, so we'll be seeing where things go from there.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Fane of the Frog God: Part 2 - Where the Wizard Does Something

When we last left out heroes they were just camping out in the abandoned armory of the subterranean shrine, trying to recover from their pitched battles against the Bullywug forces they had encountered thus far. If you remember from last session, Scott's wizard is having trouble getting off any spells - In fact with one magic missile he burned 6 points for a +6 to his roll, and still ended up with a failed cast (Getting less then 12).

Our cast of characters:

Drake the Moller Mauler - A chaotic dwarf with a penchant to bash out teeth of his enemies and affix them to his shield. Played by Randy.

Farmer, the Witness of Ildavir - a neutral cleric in service to the goddess of Nature. Also played by Randy.

Jess the Thug - A chaotic smuggler turned thief with assassin leanings. Played by Ginger.

The Silent Mage - Wizard bound to the King of the Elf Lands. Played by Scott.

We also had two new zero level PCs join in the session, brought in by Scott. An Orphan boy and a Dwarven Blacksmith - Though these come in a little later in the session.

The party has managed to make it through the night without being disturbed. The Bullywug's must not of thought to check the room full of deadly skeletons for the invaders. Jess pops out of the room to do some scouting and finds the hall empty. The head back toward the altar room where they had found the two potions the previous week. Upon entering the room they encounter five bullywug guards, armed and on the lookout for the invaders who have been slaughtering their kin.

The frog-men win initiative and rush in to attack the dwarf blocking the door. One of them runs to the hall and starts croaking - which the players assume means he was calling for reinforcements. Things can get rough quick. The dice at this point are falling in favor of the frog men. A couple of hits and Drake the Dwarf is down on the ground.

Some quick healing from Farmer saves the dwarf. Jess runs past the group and pushes the door shut, on the next round she quickly spikes the floor infront of the door to prevent the reinforcements from entering right away. The sounds of frantic frog hands hammering at the door are heard.

The battle continues to go poorly for the party. The Silent Mage attempts a choking cloud only to have it fail. Jess goes down a critical hit from a bullywug sword, and Farmer is unable to heal her (failing his roll). The Silent Mage grabs one of the potions that had found and pours it down her throat in time, and she wakes back up fully healed and feeling amazing. The tide of battle quickly turns and they have the four remaining Bullywugs down and bleeding out on the stone floor.

They don't have time for a rest, as the door is hit by a massive thud. The party assumes the frogs have brought a battering ram and quickly prepare spell and blade for the attack.

The door breaks down as a massive bear charges into the room. Surprised by the bear, they quickly recover and Farmer manages to critical on his casting of paralysis, allowing him to paralyze the bear in place, blocking then door.

The Silent Mage spellburns again to recast his choking cloud, and gets a minimal effect - a small cloud of stinking smoke that burns the eyes of the bear. His slug familiar moves into position above the door, to paralyze the next thing through after the bear.

They hear spellcasting behind the bear - it must of been summoned. Then the bear is moved out of the way by an enlarged bullywug warrior who stands ten feet tall. He attacks Jess with his massive sword but rolls a fumble, smashing the blade into fragments. The slug then attacks it, paralyzing it when it fails it's saving throw.

The Silent Mage gets off a spell this time, and with a little spellburn was able to cast a potent magic missile this time - killing a distant relative in the process with his mercurial magic. He fires off six missiles that each end up dealing 1d6+1 damage, splitting them between the big bullywug and the caster - Both targets drop in a scream of bloody eagles (the manifestation of his magic missiles) which also dismisses the summoned bear.

Drake the Moller Mauler smashes some Bullywug face and drops the other combatants with the assistance of Jess. Looting the bodies and looking around, the find two prisoners in the hallway, bound up, that the bullywugs had captured from a nearby town to be used as sacrifices. Vowing revenge, the Orphan and the Dwarven Blacksmith join the party and are quickly outfitted in slimy Bullywug leather armor and given longswords.

They had discovered last session that the main hallway was blocked by fallen rubble, so decided to investigate the doors in the "bathing room" they had found before. Heading back inside they find the room empty, and go to climb the vines to get to the ledges above, and the doors they had seen. Farmer is volunteered to go first - The Silent Mage attempts to cast spider climb on him but only gets to cast that spell with a d14 - and thus fails (The Silent Mage has some of the worst Mercurial magic affects I have ever seen). The cleric makes it up easily, however.

They decide to go up the northern passage where the bullywug crossbowman had been guarding the previous day - and venture down a long hallway with a downward slant. The walls here are etched with images of frogs worshipping a giant frog and killing snakes.

In the next room they find a large room, empty of creatures and a door on the right wall. In the center is a clear crystal fountain with a trio of frogs spitting a stream of water into the fountain basin, which shimmers with the flicker of jewels under the water. The Silent Mage believes it is trapped, but Jess the thief is more interested in the jewels and Drake rushes over to join her. As Jess tries and scoops out some gems with a spear they see the spear melt into nothing - and the fountain chimes loudly, and then begins spraying acid all over the room.

Jess manages to dodge behind Drake before he goes down from the acid. She quickly drags him back to Farmer to be healed and the party waits for the acid spray to stop. Choosing to leave the fountain alone for now they pass through the next door, and out into the hallway on the opposite side of the fallen rubble they had found before.

They discover a set of massive double-doors as the end of the hallway with torches burning on the wall to frame it in flickering orange light. They decide to investigate a side passage first, heading down a hallway and listening at the door - where they hear the sound of water. Opening the door they discover the a massive spawning pool of the Bullywug, guarded by several bullywug warriors. Piles of eggs and tadpools swim in the waist deep swamp water. The room smells of rot and swamp gas.

As the Bullywugs rush the door, The Silent Mage gets an idea and starts prepping some oil. The Blacksmith and the Orphan borrow some of his oil and do the same. Drake blocks the door to prevent any of them from getting in, smashing and killing one with his shield.

Jess joins in the fight when Drake goes down to a bullywug attack. Farmer provides some quick healing and the dwarf rises to push back the frogmen. The trio in the back toss in their burning oil, lightning the swamp gas and soon there is a raging inferno in the room sucking the oxygen out of the air around them. Drake kicks the last frog back into the flame to join his burning companions and young, and they shut the door to let them cook.

With no where else to go, they venture to the large set of double doors. Listening at the door, they hear nothing so open up one of the doors. Inside they see a large chamber with still, brackish water just below floor level - with stepping stones slick with slime across the water to an island with a bronze statue of a frog. Red jewels for eyes the size of saucers, and a pile of treasure between it's feet. A brazier burning hot in the palms of the statue.

Seeing the gold, Drake rushes across the stones but falls into the water after slipping, hurting his back and having to scamper to grab the stones to keep from sinking in his chainmail. Jess dances across the stones and notices some strange greenish nodules smeared on the gold, as if something had been using the gold to scratch off it's skin. However she is more interested in the large gems than the gold, and begins climbing the statue.

The others notice a large dark form rising out of the depths, and then it rises from the water. A huge, hulking green creature with rubbery blister and nodule covered flesh. Sickly yellow eyes and a maw full of jagged teeth. He mauls the Dwarf in an instance, tearing out ribs and tossing his body to the side on the stones.

They know they are in trouble (though they didn't know this was a troll - and I got to say, DCC trolls are nasty) and spring into action. At this point I have to say, the Silent Mage made up for being so terrible at casting spells the whole game. He put everything he had into an invoke patron, and his sword began to glow a rainbow hue - Not knowing what it would do, he passed it off to the Orphan who charged across the stones and swung the sword burning a large chunk of his luck to hit the thing.

It had to make a DC 12 Will save to fail, with a +8 to it's roll. I rolled a 2.

The troll is banished to the elflands for 500 years. A scream of victory comes up from the characters (and the player's alike). They begin going through the treasure they can carry out of the temple, and Drake decides to go exploring a bit. Diving under the water, he discovers a cave. Further investigation and he finds a hidden chamber with more treasure, the lair of the troll as well as a glowing one foot tall golden statue of a squatting frog, and a sheathed sword that seemed to be holding up well in the moisture. He fills his pounches with some gems and gold, and swims back through the water.

Drake discovers when he dives under the water that his fingers have developed webbing and he can swim fast - as well as he does not need to hold his breath. He sets down the statue and nearly drowns on his lungful of water before picking it back up and swimming to the surface.

Investigation of the Sword reveals it is intelligent, and calls itself Ezeral, the Defender of Esterfay. A blade forged to defeat the darkness at the heart of the depths. To bring balance to the world. Sheathing the blade the group heads home for some rest.

They make it out of the swamp without issue, and hit up some shops in town to get armor and weapons for their adventure next week.