Showing posts with label character. Show all posts
Showing posts with label character. Show all posts

Friday, October 1, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: D&D 5th Edition, Van Richten's and Tasha's

 It's the 1st of October and that means a new Character! 

The Game: D&D 5th Edition
Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft & Tasha's Cauldron of Everything

D&D 5 books and BloodRayne

While I did 5e way back in January, I wanted to revisit character creation with the new details from Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft and Tasha's Cauldron of Everything.   This is also the closest I can get right now to what might be the standards for D&D 5 Revised

For this build, I went with the Soulknife Rogue from Tasha's and the Dhampir from Van Richten's. Yes. I had something in mind already.

The Character: BloodRayne

BloodRayne
One of the best ways for me to test out a character in a new system is to take a character I already know well.   If I am going to test out the Dhampir rules in D&D then I am going to need a dhampir I know well, and that means Rayne.

I have done stats for Rayne, the titular character of the BloodRayne video game series (and movie series from Uwe Boll), for both Unisystem and Superbabes.  She does have a D&D 5e connection with Laura "Jester" Bailey voicing the character in the video games long before she rose to geek fame in Critical Role.

Rebuilding Rayne with the new features in both Tasha's and Van Richten's was actually rather easy.  I had a concept in mind and the rules allowed me to re-create her with no issues.  Mind you this is a "D&D Rayne" not the BloodRayne from the video games.  Despite the grief D&D 5 gets for being "superheroic" I could not emulate all her moves or powers.  I suppose I could have gone with a little bit of warlock and in particular a Hexblade (and I still might). But I wanted something that would fit in well enough with a D&D party. 

I wanted to take advantage of all the new features, so I used D&D Beyond.  You can see her character sheets here and PDF version here.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Zatannurday: TFIHS THGIN rof annataZ!

Zatannurday

It's been a bit for this. I thought with the Night Companion Kickstarter in its last few hours a NIGHT SHIFT version of Zatanna is in order.

Zee is obviously very powerful in DC Comics, or to quote Felix Faust, "You're the only one here that's really a threat." Bear in mind the others in the room were John Constantine, Etrigan the Demon, Deadman, and Batman.

How would she fare in Night Shift? For starters, I am going to shift her prime from Wisdom (for witches) to Intelligence.  In fact, I borrow a rule from my co-author's, Jason Vey, other game Amazing Adventures, and allow my witches to take whichever mental stat they need for their Primary/Spellcasting.

In the comics, we Zee practicing, sometimes with flashcards even, how to say words backward. It takes her practice to learn and do.  That is more aligned with the old-school D&D magic-user really than a witch and that means Intelligence.

Zatanna
Zatanna made with HeroForge
Zatanna Zatara
20th level Magician (Witch)

Base Abilities
Strength: 13 (+1) 
Dexterity: 13 (+1) 
Constitution: 16 (+2) 
Intelligence: 20 (+4) P
Wisdom: 16 (+2) s
Charisma: 18 (+3) s

HP: 83 (10d4+18) +40
AC: 5 (stage magician's outfit, with benefits)
Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +8/+5/+3
Melee bonus: +7  Ranged bonus: +7
Saves: +8 against spells and magical effects
Arcana: Command, Telepathic Transmission
Innate Magic: Magical Missile, 

Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue

Spells
1st level: Command, Cure Light Wounds, Detect Magic, Inflict Light Wounds, Magic Missile, Protection from Evil
2nd level: Cause Fear, Continual Flame, Lesser Restoration, Levitate, Suggestion
3rd level: Clairvoyance, Fly, Haste, Invisibility 10', Protection from Evil 10'
4th level: Arcane Eye, Confusion, Dimension Door, Hallucinatory Terrain, Restoration. 
5th level: Commune, Domination, Telekinesis, Teleport
6th level: Anti-magic Shell, Control Weather, Disintegrate, Feeblemind
7th level: Ball of Sunshine, Death Aura, Wave of Mutilation, Windershins Dance
8th level: Antipathy/Sympathy, Discern Location, Mind Blank, Wail of the Banshee
9th level: Astral Projection, Breath of the Goddess, Mystic Barrier

Even at 20th level, she is still not super powerful. Oh, she will kick your ass, but you might still get a hit or two in.

--

Want more?  Back the Night Companion on Kickstarter!

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: NIGHT SHIFT Night Companion

The Night Companion
We are getting down to the wire here on The Night Companion

Today's character comes to you all via the Night Companion rules and a challenge from my friend Greg to rebuild his Ghosts of Albion playtest character using the NIGHT SHIFT rules.

The Game: NIGHT SHIFT, Night Companion Rules 

The Night Companion has a number of alternate rules for character creations including a point-buy system and new character types.  I figure I will show off the Immortal rules here and how they work with NIGHT SHIFT RAW.  I am also using the point-buy rules to "check my math."

The Character: Valerie Beaumont, the Immortal

Lady Valerie Beaumont has "haunted" my games for years.  She was a playtest character created for Ghosts of Albion by my friend Greg Littlejohn.  We have run games for each other off and on over the last 20+ years.  He is a great person to give a test game to and tell him "to break it."  There was an alternate combat system that almost went into to Ghosts but did not thanks to him! 

Valerie was also later used when we were playtesting the first round of Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space.  Little known fact.  A lot of the Ghosts of Albion playtesters were also playtesters for Doctor Who.

Valerie, being immortal also was part of my Spirit of '76 campaign and will be part of Black Star where she will be Captain of the USS Mystic

76 is the past and the Mystic is the future, but here is Val now, living in 2021 in one of the Night Worlds of NIGHT SHIFT.

Valerie Beaumont
Valerie Beaumont
5th Level Survivor/10th Level Sage (Immortal)

Base Abilities
Strength: 12 (0)
Dexterity: 16 (+2) 
Constitution: 14 (+1) 
Intelligence: 21 (+4) P *
Wisdom: 16 (+2) s
Charisma: 16 (+2) s

HP:  5d4+5 / 10d6+10
AC: 9
Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +8/+5/+3
Melee bonus: +6  Ranged bonus: +8

Saves: +3 Death Saves and area effects. +5 to saves vs. spells and magical effects.  She gains an additional +5 to all saving throws against magic, poison, disease, and death-based attacks due to her immortality.

Immortal Powers
Unique Kill: Virginia Dare (See Below)
Immortals regenerate 1d8 hit points every minute. 
+3 to Intelligence

Survivor Skills
Open Locks: 115%
Bypass Traps: 110%
Sleight of Hand: 120%
Move Silently: 120%
Hide in Shadows: 110%

Hair: Red
Eyes: light-green
Height: 5'7"

Spells
1st level: Magic Missle, Glamour, Sleep
2nd level: ESP, Produce Flame, Suggestion
3rd level: Clairvoyance, Haste, Water Breathing
4th level: Arcane Eye, Phantasmal Killer

Immortal Arcana
Innate Magic: Suggestion (x3 per day)
Enhanced Senses

Valerie was born in 1569 and is immortal. She was a young English girl that made her way to the new world in the year 1585.  She came to the new world and settled in the Roanoke Colony where she lived for a couple of years.  Then something happened.  She was caring for the young Virginia Dare and then woke up several days later and several miles from home.  When she had managed to return to the colony, everyone was gone.  She also discovered that she was immortal and was certain that the two were somehow linked.

Valerie spent the next few years roaming the new world.  She learned magic from some of the few true witches in Salem and more from the indigenous Native Americans.

Valerie Beaumont

 
She has a ring on her right little finger that manages a glamour that "ages" her.  A gift from a former lover. Currently, she appears to be in her mid-40s.  Without the glamour, she appears as she did when she discovered her immortality, a young woman of 18.  Her mind though is as someone just over 450.

Shadow Steel Sword
She also carries a long thin blade made of "shadow steel" a rare form of steel that the Fae can use.  It can attack any supernatural creature, even ones that are incorporeal or shifted out of phase. 

Valerie Beaumont

Virginia Dare

When Valerie was brought to the American colonies her primary employment was with the Dare family to act as a caretaker to the newborn Virginia Dare.  When Valerie was separated from the colony all the other people living in the Roanoke Colony were gone, including Virginia Dare.  For years and even centuries, people claimed to have seen Dare, now grown into young adulthood and called the White Doe.  Many believed the sitings of Dare were nothing more than a myth.

That is, everyone except for Valerie.  

At some point around 1622 Valerie encountered Virginia living with the Powhatan in the forests of Virginia. At first, Valerie was elated to find Virginia, but this soon turned when Virginia blamed Valerie for the disappearance of the colony.  The two fought and discovered quickly that they could harm, even likely kill, each other.  Likely they would have if they had not been interrupted by British forces.  Over the next few centuries they would encounter each other and it would lead to fighting.  

Both Valerie and Virginia are immortals.  The only thing that can kill them is each other. 

Virginia Dare is "played" in my games by Rose Byrne.

Virginia Dare by Rose ByrneValerie Beaumont by Julianne Moore

Looking forward to doing some more with these two.

--

I have her start as a Survivor.  She was displaced from her colony and spent many years wandering the unknown wilds of the North American continent. Eventually, she picked up knowledge here and there about various occult matters in including some magic. 

I like this since it really shows off how flexible the multi-classing system for NIGHT SHIFT can be.  

Want to see more?  Pledge for the Night Companion on Kickstarter!

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Bunnies & Burrows

Yesterday I reviewed the 3rd Edition of the Bunnies & Burrows RPG. So given my desire to stick with cute and fluffy bunnies, I thought a character was in order.

The Game: Bunnie & Burrows

I detailed this game yesterday, so no need to go into a lot of details here and now.

The Character: Simon

Simon is a dwarf Jersey Wooley rabbit. He is a good bunny and a bit of a rascal. 

Name: Simon Bunny
Species: Rabbit (Jersey Wooley)

Profession: Maverick

STR: 7 (+0)
SPD: 16 (+2)
INT: 16 (+2)
AGI: 17 (+2)
CON: 12 (+0)
MYS: 7 (+0)
SML: 13 (+1)
CHA: 15 (+1)

Abilities
Tumble, Stealing, Handle Man-things

Real bunnies love B&B

Simon is a Maverick.  Thought this was best given what an escape artist this little stinker is.  

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Ginny Di: Backstories don't have to be tragic to be interesting

Ginny Di
Let's take a quick break from Ravenloft to talk about something that will send many DM's screaming for the hills in horror.

Character backstories

Now, most old-school players will argue that 1st level characters don't need a backstory.  That would be fine and all, but I remember playing in the 80s. I have lost count of how many "disgraced princes," "lost royalty," or "tragic orphans" I ran into in games.  I get it, it was fantasy and a way to play out various ideas, concepts, whatever.  D&D was cheaper than therapy. I get it. I do.  And it is fine you don't want to do them now.

But don't pretend it didn't happen.

I have no issues with backstories.  In most of the RPGs I play a backstory is an excuse for the GM (me) to torture your character some more.  Have the Love quality/drawback in the Buffy RPG?  Yeah. Might want to rethink that one.  But I don't always have to do that.   

Our two primary modern examples of "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" by Joesph Campbell are Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter. By all accounts, they are 1st level characters.  Luke is a farm kid. Harry is an abused 11-year-old.  BOTH have great backstories.  "Yer a wizard Harry!" "My name is Luke." "Yer a Jedi Luke!"  But, yes, both are tragic backstories.  Take Campbell's own example of the Monomyth, Gilgamesh.  Gilgamesh is already the King when the story starts.  That's a backstory no one would accept!

Let's just say that there is going to be some sort of backstory.  How should you do it?

Well once again let's turn to Ginny Di.  

She might be new at D&D but her enthusiasm is greater and more infectious than a room full of Grogs blogging about it. Your humble author included.

Her recent video is overtly about one topic, but she actually makes two very good points here that pretty much everyone should agree with.

So her two major points are:

  1. Backstories don't need to be tragic or even dark
  2. Leave it open enough for your DM to work it into the campaign

That's solid advice. One I would like to hope that most Old-Schoolers follow already.

My oldest son has already instituted a "maximum" limit on what a backstory in his games are.  Right now I think it is a page, but he has talked about a paragraph.  Me? I don't care, make as long as you like just keep it in reason.

Ginny points out that characters, and this is true for every version of the game, are not normal people. A level 1 character is still better than a 0 level Normal Human.  They have more hp, are better at fighting or even have magic.  Even in Van Righten's Guide to Ravenloft, the Survivors are slightly better than normal humans.  Luke already was Force-sensitive, Harry could still do some minor magic and talk to snakes.  

Also, no normal person is going to live a life to go out adventuring.  So find those reasons.  Even if that reason is "I just want a pile of treasure." 

Taking Ginny's Advice

At the end of the video, she asks us two questions.  

Have you ever had a character with a happy backstory?
What kind of problems do you run into when writing character backstories?

These are good questions to ask.  

Happy Backstory?

Yes. My wizard Phygora, like his namesake and idol Phygor, came from a well to do, happy prosperous family in Glantri.  He was well-liked, no issues with school, loves, or friends. Just one day he decided, like Phygor before, him to travel the world to learn all the magic he could.  While this could have been tragic, it was symbolic of my own desires to learn all sorts of things.

I have had fighters and thieves that have "only it for the money" or as the kids say "the lolz."

Backstory Problems?

Sadly I do find the tragic backstory easier to write.  Larina's family died in their apothecary shop while she was away studying.  Though I recently brought her mother and father back. Johan's twin brother was killed by ghouls, then he died to become another's character's back story.  I have the usual suspects of orphans, outcasts and other murder hobos.  They far outweigh the happy stories.

Over the years though I have been looking at other ways to generate characters and backstories.

It occurred to me years (ok. decades) ago when sitting in my History of Psychology course.  We were going over Freud's theories of self and were contrasting them with later theorists. Now I have always preferred Jung over Freud.  I guess I am just Jung at heart! (sorry. That joke is mandated by my university, if I don't use it they take away my degrees.)

I am planning to expand on this, but I came to see many of my characters as representations of various Freudian and Jungian concepts.

The easiest one to show is Larina, she is a manifestation of my Jungian Anima/Shadow Self.  Phygora is my Freudian Super-Ego, Johan is my Ego and my assassin character represents my Id.  

I have always been curious if others have done this.

You can find Ginny Di online at:

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Swords & Wizardry Boxed Set

Swords & Wizardry Boxed set
Is it really June 1st??  Spent my Memorial Day weekend the same way I always do; grilling a bunch of food and spending all my time helping my wife in her garden.  So far we have 61 tomato plants in, 3 tomatillos, 74 peppers ranging from sweet to "Satan's Kiss,"  untold numbers of onions, potatoes, celery, squash and I have no idea what else.  Sadly we ended up losing all of our okra plants due to a late-season frost.

But today is a new month and that means a new character.  Although today's character is not new, per se, it is new since this is the first time I have presented this character before she became a Vampire.

The Game: Swords & Wizardry Boxed Set

I got my Swords & Wizardry Boxed set in the mail over the weekend from the Kickstarter.  It is a great-looking set and I want to spend some more time with it.  Getting a set of dice inside was a nice touch.  The books are top-notch really. Though I fear that my old-school itch is now being scratched by Old-School Essentials. Still, my oldest saw my set and admired it so maybe he will do some running with it.

There is a lot to like about it.

Old School Boxed sets

The Character: Darlessa

Long-time readers know of my love for the various "Vampire Queen" adventures out there and my own history with them.   Darlessa is one of the Vampire Queens I most often use.  She has a nice personal history with me and my characters and she is 100% OGC so others can use her too.

I am going to be using her in another project very soon, so I thought it might be nice to talk about her today before she became a Vampire.  Since I have this new rule system here that mimics the oldest RPG in our hobby, I thought it might be nice to go back and see her as a human witch. Right before her humiliating betrayal and her seeking out her demonic patron to turn her into a vampire.

Darlessa as a human witch
Darlessa

Chaotic Female Human Witch, 13th level

Strength: 10
Dexterity: 12
Constitution: 13
Intelligence: 15
Wisdom: 14
Charisma: 18

Saving Throw: 5
Hit Points: 43
AC: 1

Occult Powers

Familiar (Raven)
Evil’s Touch
Devil’s Tongue

Spells by Level

1st (4): Burning Hands, Cause Fear, Minor Curse, Read Languages
2nd (4): Agony, Bewitch II, Enthrall, Rite of Remote Seeing
3rd (3): Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Danse Macabre, Toad Mind
4th (3): Arcane Eye, Bewitch IV, Phantom Lacerations
5th (2): Death Curse, Greater Command
6th (2): Death Blade
7th (1): Wave of Mutilation

Magic Items

Bracers of defense, ring of protection, ring spell storing.

Background

Darlessa always fancied herself as a Queen, which of course is impossible because she is from Glantri. She might have been an upstart Princess if fate had been kinder to her, but instead, the only magic she learned was witchcraft, a "lesser" form of magic to the Glantri ruling class.  Rejected by those she considered her peers and laughed at by those she considered underlings it was no surprise that she turned to evil.  She married a minor noble and soon had him murdered.  She moved up in social status by marrying one of the lesser Princes.  She could not kill him as easily so she had him locked away due to madness, which she of course caused.  She was always vying for more and more power, a better position in the social hierarchy. While she felt she was in control of her situation and had everyone else figured out in truth all the nobility saw through her ruse and were just toying with her.  When discovered this and was laughed out of court she sought out her demon to turn her into a vampire.

Darlessa, S&W character sheet

That is the sad tale of Darlessa. One of jealousy, anger, and hubris.  What happens to her next?  Tune in tomorrow and see!

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: BX RPG

BX RPG
I am posting this at the end of the month instead of the first (new month, new character) since April will be full of monsters.  But in a way, today's character is a monster in his own right.

Last month I posted the stats for Twill Topknot and before that Sarana, the first main NPCs of my War of the Witch Queens campaign.   While I have plenty more NPCs to figure out and stat up, there is one that I do need to do and figure out how he did it.  That NPC is Kelek the Cruel.

I have talked about good (evil) old Kelek in the past and I think stating him out is a good idea. He has his origins in Basic/Expert D&D, Quest for the Heartstone and The Shady Dragon Inn, so Basic-era is the obvious choice.  More so since he is my Big Bad for War of the Witch Queens.

One of the things I want to do with this is pick and choose from various RPG/OSR systems.  I did Old School Essentials with Twill.  While that doesn't mean I can't reuse it, but I would like to see what is out there. I also need to figure out what sort of "magic-user" old Kelek is since I also have that choice.

Much like what I have done with Skylla (with whom he has a history with) I took her Magic-user and tried her out as a witch in various OSR style games. If she is a witch, then what is Kelek?  

Kelek the Cruel from Quest of the Heartstone

He is a type of wizard to be sure.  He learned his magic, so a warlock or a sorcerer (as defined by D&D 3 to 5) is fun, but not really who he is. I need some class that also has the ability to cast gates, maybe even a way to summon a minor demon or two. But not someone interested in controlling undead. Most importantly I need someone that would be able to kill a Witch Queen.  

We know from Kelek's history that he wants some form of immortality or mastery over life and death.  To me that says Necromancer.  But I am kinda bored with necromancers.  I mean I have done necromancers so many times.  BUT this group has never gone up against one of my necromancers before.  Eric over at Swords & Stitchery also talks about Kelek and even has him becoming a lich. Eric usually has very good ideas, so I am inclined to take this as a vote towards Necromancer. 

So if it is a necromancer, then which one?

The Basic Fantasy one is nice, but not really powerful enough for what I need.  The necromancer from Adventures Dark & Deep is good. Has a lot of potential but still not exactly what I want. Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea also has a great necromancer, but the spell list is not 100% where I want it. Magical Theorems & Dark Pacts are getting much closer, as is Gavin's Theorems and Thaumaturgy. The one that feels the closest is the one from the BX RPG.

I reviewed the BX RPG a while back and have been wanting to do something more with it. 

If he is my big bad for War of the Witch Queens then I am going to take advantage of BX RPGs 1-20 level spread and make him 15th level.

Kelek the Cruel from HeroForge
Get your own Kelek the Crue from HeroForge

Kelek the Cruel
Male Human (mostly) Necromancer, 15th level, Chaotic Evil

Kelek

Strength: 15
Intelligence: 15
Wisdom: 13
Dexterity: 11
Constitution: 14
Charisma: 7

HD: 9d4 +6 (+9)
hp: 40

AC: 0 (Bracers AC 1, Ring of Protection +!)
Base THAC0: 14

Saving Throws (+1 for magic, +1 ring)
Paralyzation: 8
Petrification: 8
Wands: 9
Breath Weapon: 11
Spells: 8

Weapons
Dagger +1
Staff of Striking
Wand of Cold

Spells
First level: Read Magic, Sleep, Necrotic Shield, Fear, Hold Portal, Read Languages
Second level: Hold Person, Knock, Mirror Image, Wizard Lock, Necrotic Touch, Blight
Third level: Fly, Haste, Death Purge, Clairvoyance, Necrotic Blast, Dispel Magic
Fourth level: Dimension Door, Polymorph Other, Necrotic Strike, Wizard Eye, Confusion
Fifth level: Plane of Death, Magic Jar, Teleport, Life Drain
Sixth level: Abyssal Flame, Anti-Magic Shell, Death Spell
Seventh level: Astral Spell, Instant Summons
Eighth level: Clone, Gate

Scrolls*
First level: Chill Touch
Second level: Choke, Speak with the Dead
Third level: Skull Sight, Unhallow
Fourth level: Charm Monster
Fifth level: Death Spell
Sixth level: Knowledge of Life
Seventh level: Summon Demon
Eighth level: Symbol (Pain)

Height: 5'11"
Weight: 156 lbs
Age: 55

*The spells from scrolls are Necromancer spells from Theorems and Thaumaturgy. I am likely to give him other necromancer scrolls from the other necromancers out there. 

I also say mostly human since I consider Kelek to have a bit of orc in his line somewhere.  This explains his high strength and constitution, his low charisma, his pointed ears, oddly shaped head in some depictions of him.  He can also speak orc and hangs out with Zarak all the time. 

Kelek also has a large warg he rides like a horse.  In typical D&D cartoon fashion, his name is just Warg.

Kelek on Warg from HeroForge
Kelek on Warg from HeroForge


The many faces of Kelek the Cruel

Yeah, I have a lot of plans for this guy. 

Now I need to figure out how he killed the Queen of Witches to get us all in the current problems we are in.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Red Sonja: Old-School Essentials (Remembering Frank Thorne)

Frank Thorne as the Wizard
On Sunday, March 7th, Frank Thorne, the legendary Red Sonja artist, and writer, passed a few hours after his wife Marilyn.  He was 90.

Fans of Red Sonja all know Frank's work from the mid to late 70s. In truth, he defined the character nearly as much as Robert E. Howard, Roy Thomas, and Barry Windsor-Smith.

He certainly left his mark on her enduring legacy.

He was also known for Ghita of Alizarr and "Lann" in Heavy Metal magazine. He was an early cosplayer, taking on the role of "the Wizard."  He would then judge Red Sonja look-a-like contests.  Wendy Pini’s Sonja would be with him at many of these conventions and shows and predated the modern cosplay scene by decades.

Red Sonja

I have done stats for Red Sonja in the past for all sorts of systems:

Feels like a good time to update her to Old-School Essentials, Advanced Fantasy.

Red Sonja
Red Sonja 

13th Level Barbarian
(Old-School Essentials)

Strength: 15
Intelligence: 16
Wisdom: 11
Dexterity: 17
Constitution: 11
Charisma: 18

Alignment: Neutral (chaotic good)

Hit Points: 72
AC: 0 (special scale mail 4), +4 bonus
THAC0: 10 [+9]

Saves
D:3 W:5 P:4 B:5 S:5

CS: 99%
HG: 56%
MS: 50%

Weapons
Sword +2, Great Axe, dagger


Thorne
Thorne "The Wizard"
14th Level Wizard

Strength: 13
Intelligence: 18
Wisdom: 14
Dexterity: 16
Constitution: 11
Charisma: 15

Alignment: Neutral (neutral good)

Hit Points: 34
AC: 6 (Robe of Protection)
THAC0: 10 [+9]

Saves (+3, Robe of Protection)
D:5 W:6 P:5 B:8 S:5

Spells
First level: Detect Magic, Magic Missle, Read Magic, Shield
Second level: Detect Evil, Levitate, Locate Object, Wizard Lock
Third level: Fire Ball, Fly, Protection from Evil 10', Protection from Normal Missiles
Fourth level: Confusion, Dimension Door, Curse, Wizard Eye
Fifth level: Contact Higher Plane, Telekinesis, Teleport
Sixth level: Anti-Magic Shell, Disintegrate, Projected Image

Thorne is Red Sonja's wizard patron. He provides her with magical arms and armor. He is rather over-fond of attractive women. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Old-School Essentials

Old School Essentials Advanced
It's the first of the new month and time to introduce a new character!  Although this one is not really a new character. 

Back in January, I posted stats for Sarana, my version of Stevie from the adventure Tanglewood Keep in DL15 Mists of Krynn. I had a lot of fun with it to be honest. I am planning to use Tanglewood Keep with Sarana/Stevie in my War of the Witch Queens campaign.  I think it would be a lot of fun and it would fit great theme-wise and provide the multiverse hoping I really want to do with the campaign. 

The adventure is not a difficult one, nor particularly original, but it is fun.  

Though...there is one little issue.  The crux of the adventure is to regain a crystal to make a magical travel mirror work again.  The characters have to get the crystal and return to Sarana/Stevie's home so they can return to their own world.   The questions arise. Why can't Sarana/Stevie get it herself? Failing that why can't her Kender friend Twill Topknot get it for her?

The answer is timing.

The PCs have entered Krynn at two important points in time.  First, the PCs have entered Krynn during the events of the Dragons of Autumn Twilight novel and the DL1 Dragons of Despair module.  This means that, among other things, there are no gods.  No gods also mean no healing magic.

The second point deals with the accident of Twill Topknot and this brings me to my character for this month. 

In Tanglewood Keep, Twill is a 3rd level kender thief.   He is essentially a Tasselhof stand-in.  But I wanted to try something new.  In particular, I really wanted to try out Sara Thompson's combat wheelchair for my Old-School games.  This past summer when this was causing a stir I joked "I was going to make one and put a Kender in it!"  Well.  The idea was actually too good to pass up.

Putting Twill in a wheelchair makes a lot of sense since I need him to NOT to be able to help the characters; the Keep is not easily accessible.  

I am currently rereading the Dragonlance saga and the comment has been made that there are no old Kender.  They usually die before that due to accidents.  This is Twill's tale. He was adventuring when he slipped and fell off a cliff.  He was discovered by Sarana who used her witchcraft to heal him the best she could. While she could heal his wounds and kept him from dying, she could not heal everything.  With no healing magic from the gods, she did an admirable job. 

Thankfully for Twill, Tinker the gnome was able to craft him a "mobility chair" which Twill thinks is the best thing ever.  He has a pocket for his maps, cool little baubles, and a place for his hoopak staff.

Since my War of the Witch Queens is a B/X flavored game, I thought that my current favorite Basic-era game Old School Essentials would be great for these stats today.

Twill Topknot
Twill Topknot
Male Kender Bard, 3rd level, Neutral Good

Strength: 10
Intelligence: 13
Wisdom: 9 
Dexterity: 18 (agility) / 9 (movement)
Constitution: 13
Charisma: 15

HP: 12
AC: 4

Saves
D: 13  W: 14  P: 13  B: 16  S: 15 

Initiative: +3
Movement: 20

To Hit AC 0: 20

Weapons: Dagger 1d4 

Hoopak staff 1d4

I decided that Twill is better suited in my game as a Bard (I was not doing Bards in a vacuum last month).  One of the things I found endearing about Tasslehoff Burrfoot was his rich store of stories he knew and wanted to tell. I enjoyed it more on my recent re-read (and was profoundly irritated with Flint every time he told Tass to be quiet).   So a Kender storyteller bard sounds great to me.  I'll make an Arcane Bard since there is no divine magic in Krynn at this point.  Plus the Arcane Bard for OSE still has some thief skills to use.  

In my mind, Twill lives (platonically, for now) with Sarana.  She thinks it is to protect him (he doesn't need it) and he thinks it is to protect her, being from another world (she doesn't need protecting either).  So Twill stays with her in her little house in a haunted forest. He tells her stories that she delights in and she makes him tea. He shows her all his wonderful maps of Krynn and talks about dragons (still only a story now) and she tells him about wonderful worlds she has seen.

No wonder she has no real desire to leave Krynn.  But don't assume anything untoward! This is Krynn and there is a certain morality in place (that I seemed to have completely missed at 14 when I read it the first time).

Sarana and Twill
Sarana and Twill

Twill's Mobility Chair

Being a good-natured sort, Twill is quite proud of his remarkable "mobility chair."  He will gladly show off the pockets it has for his maps, dagger, and that really interesting thing the PC's just dropped and he was keeping safe.   There is even a place on the back for his hoopak.  He credits Tinker (a tinker gnome, naturally) for building it and Sarana for enchanting it to cover any ground or terrain. 

In fact, he will often state that life with his new chair is even better now, though he will admit he misses wiggling his toes. 

Thanks to Sarana's magic the chair can travel over any terrain that Twill himself could do save for anything involving swimming or climbing, with that he can levitate.  The wheels have permanent Floating Disk spells on them to provide levitation.  Since the chair is new he is still learning how to navigate stairs. 

Using the Combat Wheelchair 2.1 for 5e Twill's is a modified basic wheelchair. 

You can get (and modify) your own Twill Topknot mini from HeroForge.

ETA: Since I posted this I noticed that Hero Forge has added three wheelchair options.  

Here is a new version of Twill with his cat.



Thursday, February 4, 2021

Star Trek: Mercy and BlackStar Characters

One thing I wanted to accomplish with the recent Character Creation Challenge was to create characters that I could use in my War of the Witch Queens campaign AND get ideas for a multiverse of witches.

But that is not the only thing I wanted from it.

I also wanted to see the differences between various Star Trek-like systems in order to find good NPC for my BlackStar and Star Trek: Mercy games.

Of course, my main source is going to be the challenge founder Carl Stark at Tardis Captain's blog (and of course his Star Trek RPG page). 

Reading through all of these (and it has been great!) I am more convinced now that my Star Trek Mercy game needs to be a FASA Trek game while BlackStar can be something else; most likely Star Trek Adventures.

Star Trek: Mercy Title Card

Star Trek: Mercy

As I have mentioned previously Star Trek Mercy will take place aboard a Federation Hospital Ship.  Its mission is a bit like Doctors Without Borders; they fly into dangerous situations with the goal of helping.  While it is a Federation/Starfleet ship I am going to open up character choices to any and all Star Trek races.  So humans, Vulcans, Andorians will be expected, but also Romulans, Klingons, Deltans, even Gorn, and Orions if someone can give me a good reason.  These crew will not be members of Starfleet, they still belong to their respective worlds, but I also have to, want to, work within canon.  

For this, a few guidelines are needed.  No Klingon Starfleet officers. Worf was the first and the Federation and the Klingon Empire are at a period of cooled tensions.  They are not allies per see, but they are also not shooting at each other.  We know from the TNG episode "The Neutral Zone" that Romulans have not had any relations with the Federation since the Tomed Incident of 2311.  There is still a Romulan Ambassador on Earth in 2293.  That gives me 18 years' worth of gameplay.

I stated in my first post on this that 2295 would be a good year to set this in.  Seems like I was on to something.  I can even use the Plasma Plague of 2294 as the first mission of the Mercy. We even get a Stardate for it, 38235.3, though that date can't really work for 2294, it doesn't even work well for The Original Series Stardates. That date gives you Wed Feb 24 2360 for TNG and Tue Oct 28 2279 for TOS. Might need to use the FASA Trek Stardate calculations to make this one work!

Also since this is FASA Trek I can borrow some ideas from The Next Generation Officer's Manual.  In particular, the notion that there were a bunch of different uniforms in use. Gives me an excuse to use the ones I want.  These would be new here and old by the time the USS Protector and the Mystic-class ships roll out.

Star Trek Command Circa 2295

Star Trek Sciences Circa 2295

Star Trek Support Circa 2295

I am going to need a new ship design too.

What would also be nice is to work in some Original Series Apocrphya into my game; Saavik being half-Vulcan/half-Romulan, Chekov working for Starfleet Intelligence and a touring Chess Master (loosing to the Betazoids), Scotty as a Professor of Engineering at Starfleet Academy before getting lost near a Dyson Sphere in 2294, Sulu as the Captain of the Excelsior and Harriman as Captain of the Enterprise B. Uhura as Demora Sulu's Godmother. I would also like to find out more about Lt. Elise McKennah, played by Michele Specht in Star Trek Continues.

McCoy becoming an admiral, Spock continuing his role as Federation Ambassador, and Kirk disappearing on the Enterprise B. Though those are not really disputed. 

I like this idea since it is also the first Trek game my Star Trek loving wife has mentioned she would like to play.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Morelia the Wood Witch for Basic Era D&D (BX/OSE)

I make no excuses for it, I like Ginny Di. She is great and is having more fun with D&D than a roomful of dudes my age.  She often has content I enjoy but this week she has given her viewers three more NPCs to adopt or adapt and I just couldn't say no.

So with her (implied) permission here is Morelia the Wood Witch.  She has accidentally overdid it on a love potion and now the whole village is madly in love with her.  She is very happy to see any new PCs, especially ones not from the village.  She will work out a deal with them. If they can bring back enough Pixie's Tongue (it's actually a type of plant) then she can brew up the antidote for everyone.  But you better hurry! Two fights for Morelia's hand have already broken out and things promise to get worse soon!


Morelia the Wood Witch

Ginny Di as Morelia the Wood Witch
8th Level Green Witch*, Elf, Lawful (Good)

Abilities
Strength: 12
Intelligence: 15
Wisdom:  13
Dexterity: 17
Constitution: 16
Charisma: 17

Saving Throws
Death or poison: 10
Wands: 12
Paralysis: 11
Breath Weapons: 14
Spells: 13

AC: 9
HP: 45
Age: 216
Gender: Female

Occult Powers

Familiar: Cremini, a white cat with shocking gold eyes.
3rd: Herbal Healing
7th: Speak to Plants and Animals

Spells
1st Level: Color Spray, Salving Rest. Consecrate Focus Item (Ritual)
2nd Level: Burning Gaze, Glitterdust, Bonds of Hospitality (Ritual)
3rd Level: Dance of Frogs, Summon Guardian of the Green (Ritual)
4th Level: Dryad's Door, Venus Glass

*The Green Witch Tradition from my Swords & Wizardry Green Witch book is perfect for her, but I also want this character to have access to some Pagan spells. Plus I want to use her as an NPC for BX/OSE, so she is a Pagan Green Witch.  Combine books and mix and match spells.  And given that hair I can't help but think there is a little Pumpkin Spice Witch in her as well!

Helping Morelia now in the adventure will pay off later.  Morelia knows about the Tredecium and what is going on with the Witch Queens.  She will be an invaluable source of information. That is if she can fix her love potion mishap.

ETA: Ginny has added some more about this lovely character on her World Anvil site

Monday, February 1, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Looking Back and Forward

And that is done!

I managed to get through the 31 Day New Year,  New Character creation challenge. It was quite a bit of fun.  In fact, I might continue this on the 1st of each month.  I still have plenty of games to cover.

For the record, here are all the characters created this past month.

31 Games, 38 Characters.  Not too shabby really.

Many of these characters will find some life again in my War of the Witch Queens.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: DragonRaid

The DragonRaid RPG
Here we are. The end of the New Character Creation Challenge. First, a tip of the hat to Tardis Captain for getting this going.  This has been a lot of fun and I have considered doing it on the first of each month for the rest of the year.  Maybe not tomorrow, but who knows. 

Now for today's last character.  Ah. This is a game that has been on my radar for YEARS, decades even.  Today feels like the perfect time.  So let's make a character LightRaider for DragonRaid!

The Game: DragonRaid

Ok. This game. 

So DragonRaid got a lot of grief in the gaming communities I was apart of.  I had some Christian gamer friends that thought it was a cheap attempt to capitalize on their faith and some even did not want to mix their D&D and belief.  As an Atheist, then and now, I thought it was interesting. As someone who was interested in psychology then and someone with degrees in it now I also thought it was an interesting way to learn something, in this case, Bible verses.  I always wanted to see the game for myself.   

One thing I have to keep in mind that this "game" is not really an RPG, but a teaching tool in the form of a role-playing game. 

The game's author and designer was Dick Wulf, MSW, LCSW, who is, as his degrees indicate, a licensed Social Worker and holds a Masters in Social Work.  He had done a lot of work in psychotherapy and ministry. He also played D&D and Traveller. So it seems he actually likes and knows RPGs better than the guys who gave us Fantasy Wargaming!

Plus I have to admit the ads in Dragon Magazine always looked really interesting.  I mean seriously, that is an evil-looking dragon and should be stopped and those look like the brave warriors to do it. Even if they need some more armor*.  (*that is actually a point in the game! more later)

Ad for The DragonRaid RPG

A while back my oldest son and I saw this game at my FLGS and I told him all about it. He is also an Atheist (as everyone in my family is) and he wanted to get it so we could play the other, evil, side.  He wanted to do something with the dragons in the game (he loves dragons) and I of course wanted to bring witches into it (cause that is my raison d'être).   Plus this copy still had the cassette tape in it.  I mean that is just beyond cool really.  So yeah I grabbed it with every intention of having a bit of a laugh with it.

I might be a witch-obsessed Athiest, but I am also an educator and not really an asshole.

The truth of the matter is spending this past week with the game I just can't take a piss on it.  The author is just too earnest in his presentation of this game.  There is love here, and scholarship, and frankly good pedagogy behind the design.   I don't normally mix my professional education background with my game design work.  Yes, they can and they do mix.  But when I am writing a book on the Pagan witches for Old-School Essentials I am not trying to write a historical treatise on the pagan religions of Western Europe during the time of the Roman Empire.  I'll try to keep my facts in line, but I can't serve two masters. I have to write what is best for a game.

DragonRaid also doesn't serve two masters. It serves one and makes that work for both pedagogical reasons (to help young people understand Christianity and their Bible better) and game design reasons (to have a fun roleplaying experience). 

For this DragonRaid succeeds in a lot of ways.  For this, I simply can't do anything else but admire this game and its design.  So no playing dragons here, or me coming up with a witch class to fight the characters.  I might do that at home, but I am not going to be a jerk about it.

Besides look at everything you get in this box! I mean seriously, this is some value.

The DragonRaid RPG Box contents 1

The DragonRaid RPG Box contents 2, Lightraider sheets

The DragonRaid RPG Box contents 3, so many books!

The DragonRaid RPG Box contents 4, counters

The DragonRaid RPG Box contents 5 documentation

I even got the cassette tape! I don't have anything to play it on though.

The DragonRaid RPG Box contents 6, and honest to goodness cassette tape!

Thankfully you can go to the official Lightraider Academy website to get the audio files from the tape. 

This company is all in on this game and I have to admit I totally admire them for it. 

So expect me to more with this game on these pages including a full review.

The Character: Solomon

Building your character, the Lightraider, is one of the core elements of this game. It is also why we are here today.   There is a pad of Lightraider worksheets and a smaller sized pad of Lightraider character sheets.  I am betting I will need both.  There is also a blue Game Instructions Rulebook for players.

There are two books that I start with.  The red book is the New Player Briefing. The yellow book is the Dragonraider Handbook Player's Guide.  I will start with the red since it is the smaller of the two and covers the game basics. The yellow, spiral-bound one covers the in-game background.  After some background, we get to the characters on page 60 or so. There are 9 Character Strengths (Love, Joy, Peace, and more, based on Galatians Chapter 5, verses 22-23.) and 2 physical attributes.  The first nine are determined randomly on a d10 (called a "Starlot" here. the d8 is a "Shadowstone." I think that is what I am calling d8s from now on!).  Many other attributes and scores are determined via derived stats from those strengths. I see why we need/want a worksheet.  There are also 8 character abilities that are required and three optional ones. 

Note: I am not doing this as a proper review. That will come later. Today I just want to make a LightRaider.

I am going to do this properly and roll all random strengths.  Let's see what sort of character I get. Rolling is the easy part, everything else on this sheet requires a lot of math.  Not difficult math really, lots of averages, but had I know I would have worked up a spreadsheet.

DragonRaid Spreadsheet

Ok. I did a spreadsheet anyway.   This is the exact thing I would have loved back in the day. I would have written a BASIC program for my Color Computer to help me generate a character.  Even now I can see all the code in my head!  So let's look over all my numbers and see what character I have here.

Solomon's worksheet
Solomon
Knight of the Way

Character Strengths
Love (LO) 6
Joy (JO) 6
Peace (PE) 5
Patience (PA) 10
Kindness (KI) 2
Goodness (GO) 6
Faithfulness (FA) 7
Gentleness (GE) 2
Self-Control (SC) 10

Character Abilities
Courage (CO) 7
Endurance (EN) 8
Hope (HO) 6
Knowledge (KN) 7
Listening (LIS) 7
Quiet Movement (QM) 8
Vision (VIS) 7
Wisdom (WIS) 4

Blend with Surroundings (BWS) 9 +2 11
Climb Skillfully (CLS) 8
Track Enemy (TE) 8 +2 10

Weapon Abilities
Solo Battle (SB) 6
Sling 7
Flail 7
Crossbow 6

Solomon's character sheet
Defensive Abilities
Evade Enemy (EE) 8 +2 10
Recovery from Injury (RFI) 6
Resist Torture (RT) 7

Armor
Belt of Truth (BT) 7
Breastplate of Righteousness (BR) 6
Shield of Faith (SF) 6
Helmet of Salvation (HS) 6
Sword of the Spirit (SS) 1
Boots of the Gospel of Peace (BGP) 6

Physical Attributes
Physical Vitality (PV) 27
Strength (ST) 4
Agility (AG) 4

You can't see it, but there are a lot of derived stats here.  For example, Blend with Surroundings (BWS) is made up of Self-Control doubled (SCx2), plus Patience (PA), plus Endurance doubled (EN).  Endurance itself is made up Joy, Peace, Patience (doubled), Faith, and Self-Control doubled, all divided by 7 and rounded down.  See why I wanted a spreadsheet.

Can't get much more old-school than this really!

Looking over this character I see he qualifies now for a special Character Role.  Normally this would be chosen later after a few games, but let's do it now.  Doing the math (again) I see he meets or passes the thresholds for Knight of the Way or Rescue Master.   Looking over his stats, mostly at his really poor Kindness and Gentleness scores it looks like Knight of the Way is the better choice.  That also gives me a +2 bonus for BWS, TE, and EE.

So. Who is this guy?

Well seeing how low his Wisdom is I thought let's name him Solomon.  A reminder of what he needs to work on. 

Solomon is a bit of loner. He is not particularly kind nor gentle.  He doesn't learn from his mistakes well (low Wisdom) but he is not stupid.  What he is however is tireless in his goal of hunting down the enemy of the Overlord of Many Names. He specializes in getting other Lightraiders behind enemy lines and hopefully getting them back out, but that is a job for the Rescue Masters. He knows if he gets caught he can resist the enemy better than most and that is where his true kindness is; if catching him means someone else avoids the Dragon Lord's torturers then so be it. 

His combat scores are good, but better with ranged weapons.  And yes despite what you may or may not have heard characters ARE expected to fight and kill the forces of evil.

His Faith is pretty good and his Goodness a little less.  I think this guy is likely more about wanting to hurt the enemy rather than helping out good people.  That will be his struggle. 

Well...the real struggle is I don't really know any bible verses so I am not going to get very far with the Word Runes.  But I suppose that is the purpose of this game really, to teach them to young adults.  This is actually a cool idea; memorizing real bible verses to have an effect in the game. As an educator, I can appreciate this. 

I will need to get into that in a future review.  

The Links

I am going to be going through this game some more.  So I am going to share my collected links here so we both have them for later.