Thursday, February 1, 2018

D&D Diplomacy Simplified

I made a thing.

Last session the party met a great deal of humanoids. About half of these weren't immediately ready to kill the party and were prepared to parley. I think I handled this pretty well as a Judge but I've decided a need a more set in stone system.

I bought the book "On the Non Player Character", written by the outstanding Courtney Campbell of recent "Megadungeon" fame. "On the NPC" is a great little book that I use all the time but I'm not sure how Courtney uses it quickly at the table. Based on my readings of his blog, I sense he has a much better memory than me. I used some of the concepts from the book last session, but it was mostly from memory and I know I missed some important elements.

My little chart uses many of the same concepts but I've stripped away some of the things I was unable to keep up with quickly at the table. Behold!:

So how do you use this thing?

First, you need to make a Reaction Check when the party first comes across an NPC or Monster. I use this one, which is taken directly from Courtney Campbell's book. You roll 2d6. (Note: "Monsters Feel Stronger" or "Monster Feel Weaker" should be the subheadings. I took out "Feel" for the chart I use at the table, for space purposes. Some monsters, though strong, are cowards and vice versa.)

Each time the player character tries to parley with a monster or NPC, they make a d20 roll adding or subtracting their Charisma (Personality) modifier. I also intend to give the player a bonus or negative to the roll based on their roleplaying of the request/demand. If they want the monster to just leave them alone, maybe it's rolled at +2. If they want the monster to give them their treasure, it's rolled at -4, etc. Language barriers will also cause a negative.

Additionally, diplomacy directed at "Friendly" targets are at +2 and "Helpful" at +4".

As the Diplomacy and parley goes on, the monster or NPC may change it's disposition towards the party, depending on how badly or well each roll of the dice goes.

Enough failures and the monster becomes Hostile and attacks or Flees. Parley's may go on for many attempts, or may end almost immediately. Roleplaying will adjust the chances of things going one way or another but the dice will tell the tale, as I believe it should.

Why not just wing it?

As a Judge, I find that I need the dice to keep me honest and to help me be creative on the fly. If I'm having a bad or less creative day, perhaps I will just fall into the old trap of having the monsters be violent jerks who won't hear the party out. Maybe I'll lean towards having them be too helpful because I know the next room has a big fight the NPC might be able to help with.

It's similar to the way using random encounter tables help shake up the creativity of a Judge or DM.

The Judges of the Spellburn podcast recently had a guest, Steve Bean, who somewhat derided the Gameism aspect of tabletop RPGs. To me, it's very important. This is a game. When the rules are unclear, as they often are with parley and diplomacy, the players don't know where they stand.

I want my players to know I'll give them a fair chance to turn the Ogre into an ally, the shopkeep into a villain, and everything in between.

I'll have a future blog post about the Tabletop RPG game theory that Steve Bean and the Judges J went into on Spellburn.

I hope this chart may prove useful to other Judges and DMs out there. Game on!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Darkness Beneath Session 1

I ran a DCC RPG Road Crew session a few weeks ago using The Darkness Beneath; the megadungeon from the OSR fanzine Fight On!

This is the fifth session of the campaign proper. Some may notice I'm skipping two sessions between my last session report and this one. I likely won't do a session report for sessions 3 and 4 of the campaign as the ideas are no longer fresh in my mind. Mea culpa.

My conclusions on judging the dungeon for DCC RPG are at the bottom of the session report.

So let's get to it.

The Band

Denis: 2nd level Thief and former gongfarmer. "It's definitely not trapped." It was trapped.

Mirage: Chaotic 2nd level Elf who has a pact with the Demon Prince Azi Dahaka. "Are all humans so stupid?"

Mr Crowley: 2nd level Cleric of Cthulhu."All I know that I'm not smart enough to understand."

Sniper: 2nd level warrior archer known for firing at enemies engaged in melee combat with his pals. With a laser rifle.

Harold Fairhair the Neanderthal: 1st level warrior with a respectable name and attitude for a caveman.

Scarabus the Neanderthal: 1st level wizard with a jovial undead rat familiar.

Trog-dar the Neanderthal: 1st level Cleric of Cthulhu. Former apprentice to the caveman shaman of the winter camp.

The Hook

The party escaped the collapsing facility inside the Ghost Ice during the previous session. (DCC RPG adventure #79 "Frozen in Time") They trotted across the snow dunes back towards the winter camp of the Neandarthals in the party. The Shaman there, who had previously given them the quest to investigate the "Ice Demons" inside the Ghost Ice, heard their tale of adventure and daring. Upon realizing the Ice Demons were no longer a threat to the caveman tribe he looked to the gray skies and said "my work on this world is done!" Eldritch tentacles burst from the shaman's chest, killing him instantly. The black otherworldly things wiggled about making a sort of sign language that Mr. Crowley could understand: they were conveying a message from Cthulhu!

The 2nd level cleric of the elder god spoke with the tentacles until he understood that his deity wanted him to travel to the Cursed Well to "save my child!" When Mr. Crowley approached the tentacles they slapped him in the face conveying a -4 Luck penalty on him until the quest was complete. He also received a vision of Cthulhu's child which looked like some cross between an octupus, a milipede and a duck. "He's a beautiful young man," remarked Crowley.

The Cursed Well

Back into the snowy wastes for the party. They took a day or two to arrive at the Cursed Well; the cavemen in the party knew exactly where it was. Legend had it that generations in past had defected from their tribe and entered the well following the siren call of some strange demon's call. None are certain what happened to the cultists down in the cursed well.

The party hitched some rope to the top of the well and sent Mirage the elf down first. At the bottom he saw a winding cave river glowing with blue mushrooms sprouting in the river bed. A small beach to the southern shore. Since there was no obvious danger the party all joined him at the bottom, leaving the rope swinging.

On the beach were large crab shells that had the capacity to spirit three men with shells shaped into paddles. There was also a 10 foot wide passage with stairs leading up that had a cave-in that the party wasn't particularly interested in clearing out.

The Booming Voice

The party took the crab shell canoes across to the opposite shore where they could see another cavern with a beach. They landed on the beach and explored into the cavern which had a 10 wide roughewn hallway. About 30 feet down the passage they came to a big pile of oversized crab shells, including legs, which appeared to have been cooked and eaten with butter.

When the party started climbing over the pile of crabby detritus the noise was noticed by a booming voiced individual deeper in the cave. "Stop right where you are."

Mr. Crowley took the diplomatic lead and agreed with the voice in the darkness that the party would approach no further. In conversation they learned that the monster was hungry for crab meat and would provide them information if they acquired some for him. He then told them to go away. They complied. During the short parley they learned that his name was Old Bae.

Scarbarus sent his undead rat familiar sneaking into the chamber to get a look at the monster, who the rat described (through jovial telepathy with the Wizard), as a really big version of a human, except really old and strong looking. The rat searched the chamber and found no other entrances in what appeared to be a "really cool party bedroom" with furniture of massive size. Massive crab legs were boiling in a pot of water over a fire.

The Stone Island

The party returned to their crab shell canoes and rowed merrily down the river. Eventually they came to a large flat-ish rock jutting out of the slow moving river and splitting it. The island had some old broken down parapets of stacked ancient bricks, perched upon one was a humanoid sort of figure with bat wings and dark gray rough, almost stone-like, skin. "Don't you land on that island" Methelhed threatened (the party later learned his name). (Judge Note: rolled a reaction roll of "threaten the party".)

Mr. Crowley, who was having a great deal of trouble staying balanced in the crab canoe whilst wearing FULL PLATE ARMOR stated matter of factly "I AM getting off on this island." Methelhed huffed and insulted the party with some colorful words. Soon-after, he spread his heavy bat-like wings, and flew off in the opposite direction from where the party had come.

On the island were two arched stone bridges, one going west and one going east, into the walls of caves and 10 wide halls of brick and block dungeon. In the western hallway the party could hear the sounds of cavemen preparing for battle and threatening Methelhed to not enter their domain. Apparently, the creature had been taunting them before the party arrived. The cavemen in the party tried to talk with these cavemen by yelling across the bridge (Judge Note: I made many random encounter rolls for the party's loud speech).

The cavemen refused to parley and advised the party to come no closer.

The Rur-rur-rurururs

Back on the island some of the party members came upon a strange pack of fishlike tribal humanoids decked out with bone swords and other assorted weaponry. They were fishing the southern shore of the island, occasionally swimming about. The fish they caught glowed strangely. The fishmen seemed happy to see the party. (Judge Note: I rolled the most positive reaction roll possible.)

These odd little creatures were happy to talk with the party and told them all they knew about the dungeon level. The Elf was able to communicate with them in Naga, although the creatures spoke like hillbilly Nagas, or Nagas that had suffered a major concussion. Some highlights:

-the creatures are called Rur-rur-rururus.
-the Rur-rur-rururus are here to fish but often battle with the cavemen cultists.
-the split in the river led southeast to a treacherous waterfall.
-the split in the river moving south led to "more crabs".

The party decided to go down the southern river since Old Bae wanted crab meat to give them more information. They assumed they'd find it there. The Rur-rur-rururus jumped into the river and swam away while the party was debating their plan of action.

The Mutants

Whilst the party was debating their plan some freaky mutant-like humans came from the east, jumping easily across the shattered bridge with a superhuman agility. The men were wild eyed with long jaws sporting phial sharpened teeth, long nails they used as claws as they slobbered and screamed bloodthirsty blasphemies. Their clothing was shredded rags.

They engaged the party quickly and made a bee-line for Mirage the Elf, scratching and biting at him.

Harold the warrior engaged with two of the mutants, holding them off with shield and sword, while Sniper shot arrows with his carbon fiber Purple Planet artifact across the bridge as more were on the way. The Elf and Harold were taking scratches and bites from the crazed freaks before Scarabus was able to fire off a few powerful sleep spells, calming the mutants into a slumber.

The party slit most of their throats but held one mutant for questioning. Unfortunately all he seemed to be able to say was that he would "KILL ALL OF YOU AND BURN YOU IN MY BLOOD DIE DIE DIE!!!1" So the party killed him.

Trog-Dar attempted to heal a wound he had acquired in battle and angered Cthulu instead. (Judge Note: the deity bestowed a -3 penalty on the Cleric's Lay on Hands check for X hours.)

The Crab Men

The party canoed down the southern river to look for crabs to give to Old Bae in exchange for information. After about twenty slow minutes the river had turned from south to directly east and came to a stop at a grotto. The cavern had two beaches and glowed with eerie blue light from mushrooms beneath the underground pool.

Along the beach were five men who appeared to be melded with crabs. They had large pincers and their skin was pocked with fire red carapace here and there. They were vile abominations of man and crab, things more than men, unholy creatures walking sideways in imitation of crustaceans. They were fishing the grotto for the glowing yellow fish that swam about it. Going in and out of the calm pool.

Behind them, as attendants, were five cavemen.

None of the creatures noticed the party and were likely to be surprised if the party attacked. Mirage had seen their piles of crushed mushrooms that the crabmen were using as a light source on the beach. But the party had no light source whilst canoeing since the river itself produced enough.

The party pushed themselves quietly upriver away from the grotto to make a plan. Whispering in the caverns about whether they should wait out the crustacean men or use their element of surprise. They eventually agreed on doing the latter.

The party quietly pushed their canoes across to the opposite beach from their enemies, planning to engage them on the inlet separating the two. The crab-men noticed them and battle began.

Sniper shot his bow whilst standing in the canoe and blasted the pincer off one of the crustacean creatures. (Judge Note: Critical Hit!) Mirage cast Choking Cloud into the massive group and left most of the creatures confused and coughing in a pale green cloud of noxious gas. It persisted the rest of the battle.

Mr. Crowley attempted to cast a spell whilst standing in the canoe but waiving his arms about with hocus pocus put him off balance in his heavy full plate armor and he fell into the pool. Denis the thief offered the cleric his ten foot pole to hold onto as they went to land on the beach.

The rest of the battle wasn't particularly dangerous for our reavers and cutthroats. The Wizard was able to put many of them to sleep, and Crowley (once he was on his feet) was able to cast Word of Command and have many of the creatures swim upriver in obedience to his word. The party took one of the cavemen prisoner and learned the following through questioning:

-The Cavemen are of a cult to the crab "god" Garaskis.
-The Cavemen serve the Crab-Men since they are transforming to reflect the crustacean nature of their "god".
-The Cavemen fear The Lady and Methelhed (who serves her) because they sometimes capture cavemen for unknown reasons.
-The Cavemen are happy to die in service to Garaskis and he wished to be fed to crabs upon death.
-Mirage the Elf recalled the name Garaskis deep in his old elf mind. He's a demonic patron of crablike visage, not really a god proper. Mirage couldn't recall if his patron, Azi Dahaka was in league or at war with Garaskis.

The Cavemen didn't seem to fear death and made fun of Mirage's pointy elf ears. Mirage cut his off gleefully in response. Then the party killed their prisoner. (I'm sensing a theme with prisoners.)

The Lady

There were many passages exiting the grotto cavern and the party spent quite a while debating their next direction. Eventually they decided to down a south eastern leading corridor. It curved roughewn for about 60 feet and opened into a beach along the river. Piles of junk were sprawled across the beach, most of it seeming to be weapons and equipment from the Rur-rur-rurururs.

The party went about looting it, acquiring some of the odd weaponry the salamander creatures wielded: in particular a few party members salvages some macanas. These are the short swords of dark gray bone flecked with night dark obsidian.

Mirage noticed a young woman hiding behind a large boulder up the beach while his party was looting trash. She looked like nobility, wearing a flowing gown that was old and tattered.

something like this
"Have no fear. We are not going to hurt you," the elf comforted her, "who are you?"

She revealed herself as Quinn, a lesser noble from the small nearby town of Marchand. She claimed to have entered the dungeon as a dare, with her brother and his friends, and became lost.

Mr. Crowley didn't believe her tale and cast Detect Evil to ask his god if Quinn meant the party any harm. Above her head the cleric saw the elder god Cthulu nodded slowly that yes, Quinn did mean them harm!

The Lady seemed to notice the spell. She reached behind her back and pulled out a strange wand wish a trigger. Sniper (who claims to be from the future) recognized it as a laser pistol. She pointed it at the party with an angry sneer.

The Judge ended the session there.

The Conclusion

This was the fifth session of this campaign with these same characters. Previously I had been using products from Goodman Games DCC RPG line of adventures. I've heard mixed opinions about whether or not DCC RPG, as a system, is suited for megadungeon play. I recall an episode of Spellburn where most of the Judges J seemed to agree that the system was better suited to episodic play, something akin to Howard's barbaric Conan tales. A new session, a new wild adventure or discovery.

As a counterpoint I read a blogger who ran a homebrewed megadungeon called Skull Mountain with the DCC RPG system. It sounded awesome. It always struck me as something I'd like to try, even before I had bought the DCC RPG rulebook and started running it as my home game.

The Darkness Beneath is a wild megadungeon with so many interesting ideas and cool levels that I decided to give the party a hook to one of the deeper levels, adding a direct entrance to this location. The megadungeon was written for an OD&D type game, although the magazine isn't edition specific. I converted the monsters in the dungeon to a DCC stat-block and changed up some of their descriptions and powers to make them a bit weirder and pulpy to match the DCC RPG "everything turned up to 11" style of play.

It's a good rule of thumb to double the level a DCC player character has to figure out about what level of classic D&D character they'd be. I had a party of 2nd and 1st level characters so I figured the third level of the dungeon would be suitable to their level of power. Also, level 3 of the dungeon is an AMAZING read.

I think the session went rather well. I worried there would be too many humanoids (a no-no as per the DCC RPG rulebook game theory) but they were all strange enough with interesting enough motivations that I think it worked well. The party parleyed more than I would have expected for DCC RPG and it worked in their favor quite a bit.

The excitement level at the table seemed to stay high with each new discovery of weird dungeon room or humanoid freakshow.

I look forward to seeing how the party moves forward in The Darkness Beneath. Will they delve deeper or will they escape the topsy turvy place ASAP?

Time will tell.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Escape from the Purple Planet Session Two

Last time our "heroes" were pulled across space and time from the planet Aereth to the Purple Planet. They braved an arena filled with bloodthirsty kith; eventually escaping into the arena underworks and deeper into the dungeon beneath the Purple Planet. 

Below is a session report of the surviving funnel characters delving a dungeon I created with ideas and inspiration from the Purple Planet Companion, a very interesting booklet that comes with the outstanding DCC RPG Purple Planet box set from Goodman Games.

There aren't any spoilers for any official DCC RPG adventures.

Player Characters:

Dennis the Thief (Player: Stephen): Dennis is a bold but unlucky thief. Monsters seem drawn towards attacking him.

Maraj the Elf (Player: Austin): Maraj is an Elf who has Azi Dahaka as a patron. Azi Dahaka considers the elf a valuable asset and emblazoned Maraj’s face with a tattoo of a serpent. Maraj has found his power to cast Burning Hands to be particularly powerful on the Purple Planet. He is chaotic.

Mr. Crowley the Cleric (Player: Robert): Crowley is a cleric of Cthulhu who comes off as calm, capable, and a little bit creepy.

Olestra the Warrior (Player: Anne): Olestra is a chaotic bandit who use to raid caravans in the desert near the player character’s village of Umara (back when they were still Zero Level peasants). Her chaotic nature and bravery (stupidity?) are unparalleled.

Sniper the Warrior (Player: Dominic): Sniper has low strength for a warrior but makes up for it with agility and daring. His lucky weapon is a longbow; now if only he could find one! 


Tio Lizix: He is a strange blue skinned alien viking from across the stars. He claims to have a starship that can escape the Purple Planet but one must remember that he talks to himself constantly. (Retained by Mr. Crowley.)

Session Report

The session began as the characters who survived the funnel came running through a massive iron door that slid closed behind them. They knew they wouldn’t be able to return the way they had come from but were escaping a room with two angry living statues with laser eyes. (Judge Note: This was an additional final exit I added to the “Escape from the Purple Planet” funnel. Players were made aware before going through the door that Session 02 would find them in a lower level of a dungeon; rather than seeking out a space ship to escape the Purple Planet.)
As they entered the large room an unnatural sand storm began to fill the chamber. Maraj saw the face of Azi Dahaka, Demon Prince of the Storms and Waste, formed in the sand, speaking with Maraj and offering a deal. (Patron Bond spell was cast previously, initiated in character here.) Maraj seemed in a trance unable to help his compatriots. A serpent tattoo emblazoned onto his face as he shook hands with the patron.

The rest of the adventurers faired much worse. They couldn’t see Azi Dahaka in the sand storm and, even worse, the sand and harsh winds were slowly suffocating them. Dennis the thief snapped into action and ran for the sole door exiting the room. The door was actually a large purple scarab shell and, strangely, it was locked. Having no thieves’ tools, Dennis began to jam his spear into the door and try to wedge it open. It wasn’t going well. (Judge Note: Pick Locks check failed multiple times.)

From the ceiling, through a portal that Azi Dahaka opened across time and space, fell Mr. Crowley and Olestra to the floor. They had just come from the planet Aereth where Azi Dahaka had swept a similar sandstorm across the desert where Olestra was raiding a caravan of merchants that Mr. Crowley had hitched a ride with. Why the Demon Prince of the Wastes, Azi Dahaka, had chosen them to be sent to the Purple Planet at this moment, is anyone’s guess.

Some of the party started to try and smash down the purple scarab door. Dennis the thief saw a blue metal pipe sticking out of the ceiling with orange roots dangling down so he jumped up and climbed in; leaving his friends(?) behind.

Just as Dennis was going to begin exploring down the pipe, however, Sniper stepped up calmly to the locked purple scarab door and kicked it down with ease. (Judge Note: Player rolled a natural 20.) As he ran out of the chamber he caught himself suddenly as he was about to fall down a deep pit trap just outside the door. Close call.

The party formed up a marching order and began to explore down the 10 foot wide halls of the dungeon. The walls were carved with geometric shapes, primarily hexagons like a large honeycomb. Between the cracks glowed a bright orange light that eliminated the need for a torch or lantern.

While exploring they came upon a group of humanoids… sorts none of them had ever heard of or seen before. These odd creatures had the torso of a human (but with odd wiggling horns) but the body of a dark chitinous beetle with five legs. The creatures carried spears and looked angrily at the party, lifting their spears to attack. (Judge Note: Trillimites from the Purple Planet Companion)

He looks friendly.
During the initial moments of combat the creatures spit green acid at the party, aiming it at the unlucky thief. Dennis kept his cool and dodged out of the way of the steaming liquid. The warriors engaged with the beetle men, getting in their face and chopping them down with axes and polearms. Crowley called on the power of Cthulhu to heal some of the party who were taking damage, small tentacles forming out of his palm to sew up their wounds.

The battle ended with all of the weird humanoids dead in pieces on the floor of the dungeon; oozing with white guts. Olestra ripped a handful of antennae off the dead creatures and formed it into a gaudy crown. Bandit Warrior Princess status confirmed!

Exploring deeper into the dungeon the party came to a chamber filled with gnats. Buzzing about the room the gnats were forming themselves into runes and seemingly trying to communicate. Dennis was more interested in getting at the apparent chest they were swarming around so he tossed his bag of gongfarmer, um, accouterments into the corner of the room. The gnats swarmed that instead.

Runes on the glove: just start hitting buttons!
The chest was ebony stone carved into the stone floor. It had three blinking lights on the top. Dennis approached it and was able to unlock it. Uncertain if it was trapped the rest of the party backed out of the room (to give the thief room to work, I’m sure). When he opened the chest it began to beep and the lights blinked faster, focusing energy into the center light and zapping a laser at Dennis. The laser beam attack missed the thief. (Judge Note: damn.)

Inside the chest shimmered with gold chunks shaped into various geometric shapes; 250 gold polyhedrals worth about the value of 1 gold piece each. Olestra dug in and claimed her cut immediately. Bandit Warriors have no need of waiting to count out cuts.

Also in the chest were silver plated thieves tools (Dennis), a nicely made short sword with a gold plated pommel, Leather armor studded with odd pale green stones (Maraj), and a strange glove inset with lightly glowing runes (Maraj).

The party exited the gnat filled room and further explored the dungeon, eventually coming to a river of green sludge. The flow of neon green liquid moved in strange swirls and formed into statue like shapes on top. The “statues” began a play-act of everything that happened to the party in the first room of the dungeon; showing them a macabre sludgy performance if their escape from the sandstorm chamber. The party collectively scratched their heads.
The Green Flow

 Sniper egged Dennis on, encouraging him to drink the green flow. Dennis bowed partially to peer pressure but judged it better to test the depth of the flow with his 10 foot pole instead. It was at least 10 feet deep and his 10 foot pole shook and emblazoned with the words “Drink of Me” down the shaft. Dennis laughed and thought better than doing just that.

The party intended to walk along the coastline of the green flow but a neon green tendril slid from the river and wagged at them like a disapproving finger. Mr. Crowley prayed to Cthulthu the Uncaring about whether or not this was a safe passage. (Judge Note: Minor Divine Aid) In his third eye he saw a likely future of the neon green tendril choking Dennis the thief and pulling him beneath the sludgy river. Crowley pondered whether to warn his compatriots but eventually did so, rationalizing that Dennis the thief is Neutral in alignment so could be a worshipper of Cthulu one day.

Meanwhile, Olestra found a flight of stairs and balcony that jutted out over the green flow, many orange vines hanging from the cavern ceiling. This seemed, to her, the perfect place to swing across the vines to get to the other side of the river. She did so with little difficulty, touching down in a massive chamber filled wall to wall with the beetle humanoid creatures the party had dispatched previously. She had found the brood. Crystal mushrooms hung from the cavern ceiling and insect eggs were stuck to the walls here and there. The leader of the brood stepped forward, the Brood Mother. She took one look at Olestra’s crown of antennae and asked with exasperation in the common tongue: “WHAT are you wearing on your HEAD?” The brood attacked.

Olestra fled quickly running for the beach of the green flow. The party had found a long rope that was crossing the river and Maraj was shimmying across it. He saw the massive brood chasing the bandit princess and yelled out to the remaining party on the opposite side of the river. He shimmied back the way he had come.

This whole time the party had been avoiding touching the Green Flow but Olestra ran towards the neon river with the intention of swimming across and having the party pull her on the rope. Swimming wasn’t necessary however as just as she took hold of the end of the rope and leapt as far as she could, the party pulled hard on the opposite end, some 30 feet away.

Tio Lizix was the hero of the day as the blue skinned alien and retainer to Mr. Crowley pulled with otherworldly might and Olestra came flying across the river and rolling onto the beach next to her party. (Judge Note: Natural 20 was rolled for retainer’s pull of the rope.)

She dusted herself off as the party realized thirty of the beetle men were climbing along the cavern ceiling to cross the river to chase Olestra down. The party fled back the way they came.

The party was moving as fast as they could back through the orange lit hallways of the dungeon, taking a passage they hadn’t explored. Sniper jumped backwards after stepping on a flagstone that compressed, the walls making the sound of grinding stones. The left and right hallways smashed together just missing Sniper and Dennis who were in the front of the marching order. Dennis used his thiefly knowledge to figure out which stone was the one to avoid and the party travelled on.

They opened a door to their right quickly and ran inside. Dennis used his thiefly skills again to lock the door without a key, hoping the beetle men would be held up from catching them. None in the party could imagine fighting more than thirty of the strong creatures since fighting four had been dangerous enough.
This but blue

As Dennis locked the door, four hexagonal stones in the floor jutted up as weird blue moles popped out of the floor and tossed their flagstones (now hats) at the party. A fight ensued with some party members getting his with the missile attacks and some taking gopher scratches; but our heroes(?) prevailed.

The purple scarab door began to shake as the humanoids were outside the chamber trying to chase the party down. Their only escape was a blue metal tube that stuck out of the back wall filled with orange vines. The party had to crouch and walk in single file but they all fled the room into the tube jutting from the wall. A smash of stone on stone was heard as it was obvious the beetle men had triggered the deadly hallway trap the party had narrowly escaped unharmed.

In the tube the party came to a dead body up ahead. Olestra scurried forward to investigate. Weird furry spiders started to pour from the rotten corpse like a swarm, filling the cramped metal tube and attacking the party from all angles.

Each party member had to contend with the cramped space and were only able to wield small weapons. Dennis and Sniper passed a buckler shield back and forth to smash the freakish rat spiders against the wall. Maraj nicked his ear with a dagger to spellburn and bring back his ability to cast Flaming Hands, blasting flames at the ceiling trying to avoid friendly fire.

Crowley tried to turn the disgusting swarm but only managed to anger his god, catching a harsh disapproval where Cthulu refused to heal anyone but neutral worshippers of his for three hours. More fire filled the cramped tube as Maraj shot flames about. Olestra clanged a dagger against the walls in attack, the swarm jumping and biting about.

Crowley tried again to turn the swarm, holding up his oddly shaped tentacle holy symbol, and the swarm took flight in fear. He chased them back the way the party had come, intending to swarm them into the room where the beetle men had chased them. The room was empty and the swarm cowered to the corner of the room, beginning to feed on a blue gopher corpse. The battle was finished.
Imagine a swarm of these... 

The party continued to explore, coming to a new chamber and climbing out of the cramped blue tube. This chamber had a massive red flower with orange vines growing from it everywhere. Red fruit shaped like an infinity symbol hung from the vines, four good fruit in total. So, of course, four party members ate it.

The fruit made Sniper feel weak, his Strength being sapped from him. Dennis felt the same effect, his stomach also feeling empty like a pit. Crowley and Olestra, however, felt better and stronger than ever. Their strength grew and they no longer felt any hunger.

The party decided to rest in this room and Crowley drew a magic circle on the floor with blood from the rotted fruit to convert Dennis and Sniper to be worshippers of Cthulu. They wanted the elder god to heal them. Dennis was also convinced of the wisdom of Cthulu’s priests when Crowley explained his religion thusly: “All I know is I’m too stupid to understand.” Dennis the thief said “Sold!” and converted on the spot.

Now three of the five party members were official worshippers of Cthulu. (Judge Note: what could go wrong?)

Exploring deeper into the dungeon, the party came to a massive chamber with a big group of strange humanoids. The humanoids were hairless with pinkish skin and large milky white eyes and crooked claws. In a massive chamber filled with crystal mushrooms climbing towards a high ceiling, the humanoids were engaging in a ritual where more than 20 of them were in a circle around their leader.

The leader, strangely enough, was a tall handsome human man with long blue hair. Psychic energy bled from his packs’ foreheads towards his. With his arms raised he was projecting some image on the back wall of a man he called an Ascended Master. “This is who we shall find, my friends. But first we must dispatch of Kyrion’s Children who block our path!”

The party surprised the pack but decided to speak rather than attack. They learned that Kyrion’s Children was what the pack called the humanoids with the bodies of beetles. The pack of weird milky eyed humanoids called themselves the Houseless, eventually admitting that they were kith that had lived under the purple planet for generations.

The party agreed to help them dispatch of Kyrion’s Children… next session.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Cthulhu Divine Disapproval

Cthulhu is an indifferent elder god whose clerics grow accustomed to being ignored by their deity. Unfortunately the deity's eyes open slightly from his sleep when the cleric begs for help too often. Sometimes the cleric receives a blessing as well as a penalty for having annoyed the dark elder god. Cthulhu's ways can't be comprehended by mere mortals; even by his own clerics.

I will assume anyone reading this particular blog post knows how the Divine Disapproval mechanic works in DCC RPG.

This chart includes some entries marked as "Special" with a negative number next to them. These are entries that can't stack. If the cleric rolls one after having already rolled another, keep the first Special going until it's duration ends, as normal, but penalize the cleric by the number in parentheses to all checks.

Special entries may also recover an ability previously lost by a non-special entry.

1. (1 or less) “Chant, human” Cthulhu is annoyed by the cleric’s constant demands. The cleric receives -1 to all checks until he prays for 1 turn (10 rounds) by chanting “in his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming”.

2. “Bow, human” The elder god demands the cleric kneel and chant for one hour. The cleric takes -1 to all checks until this is accomplished. The penalty can stack.

3. “No” Cthulhu weakens the spell or ability the cleric was using upon receiving this disapproval. It is now rolled at -3 for the next 2d3 hours. The penalty can stack. The Cleric also rolls on the Minor Corruption table (page 116).

4. “I shall not restore the weak” Cthulhu refuses the cleric’s request to Lay on Hands on anyone except Neutral worshipers of Cthulhu for 1d3 hours. 

5. “Bring more praise to me” Cthulhu demands new worshipers to praise his greatness in a dark cult. The cleric takes -1 to all checks for 1d7 days or until he brings a new follower to Cthulhu. A ritual to bring a new worshiper to the god requires 30 minutes to prepare and chant around a magic circle. This penalty stacks if rolled multiple times before being fulfilled.

6.  “Arcane and idol are one” [special] Cthulhu refuses the cleric the power to Lay on Hands for 2d5 hours but the Cleric’s spells are empowered casting at +1d. The elder god also grants the cleric the ability to spellburn as a wizard during this time.

7. “Wear my mark” Cthulhu senses the cleric’s faith is weak and demands he show the universe that he is loyal follower. Roll 1d6 (1) eyes change pitch black, no pupils, (2) the cleric’s hair falls out, (3) the cleric gains a vestigial tentacle that crawls up his shirt to stroke his chin when deep in thought, the cleric has little control over this, (4) the cleric gains broken wings that jut out the back of his shoulder blades, always finding a way to slash through clothing or armor to reveal themselves (-1 to Diplomacy checks in human civilization), (5) any weapon the cleric wields turns pitch black when in his hand and puffs with dark otherworldly smoke, (6) the cleric gains a curious shifting eyeball on the palm of his preferred hand, it can see infravision for 30’ but only if the cleric concentrates and takes no other actions

8. “I’m dreaming” The cleric immediately loses access to the specific spell or ability that resulted in the Disapproval for 48 hours. 

9. “Evolve” [special (-1)] The cleric goes into a sort of trance and his arms form into black wiggling tentacles for 1d5 days. The cleric can’t wield human weapons properly, or cast spells with these tentacles. He can Lay on Hands on compatriots but not himself. The tentacles do 1d6 damage and the cleric fights with them as if he had 18 Strength. Upon damaging an enemy the cleric heals the amount shown on the d6 (don’t include strength bonus) as he sucks the lifeforce from an enemy (not undead). If the cleric kills a human or elf victim with his tentacles before his body returns to normal he gains 1 HP permanently. The tentacles fall off and writhe around once the cleric has healed 1d16 + his total hit points in this manner; returning him to normal. (Example: the cleric has 6 hit points and rolled a 14 on the d16. He would have to siphon 20 hit points from an enemy before he returns to normal)

10. “Focus” [special (-1)] Cthulhu wishes the cleric to focus his prayers on one spell, turning the Cleric’s skin a pale gray during this time. Choose one spell in the Clerics list completely at random. He can cast that spell at +2d and gains the ability to spellburn. BUT he can cast no other spells or Lay On Hands or Turn Unholy during this time. When the cleric spellburns 4d6 total his other spells and powers return (roll 1d5) (1) in 24 hours, (2) in 2 hours, (3) in 2 turns, (4) in 1d3 rounds, (5) immediately

11. “Scatter my enemies” [special (-2)] The Cleric’s holy symbol begins to squirm and move like a small squid, as it is given an influx of power from Cthulhu in his dreaming. Any creature the cleric uses the symbol to Turn Unholy takes 1d5 damage rather than being simply turned. The holy symbol gives the cleric no power to Lay on Hands during this time. The effect lasts for 2d6 hours.

12. “I eat your fear” Cthulhu deprives the cleric of the ability to Turn Unholy for 2d3 days. Also roll on the Major Corruption table (page 118)

13. “Indifference” Cthulhu deprives the cleric of the ability to cast two level 1 spells, determined at random, for 1d4 days.

14. “Anger” Cthulhu the indifferent has noticed the cleric for all the wrong reasons. The cleric’s disapproval range stays at its current level and does NOT reset tomorrow as normal, but on the following day. Be wary of Cthulhu’s wrath.

15. “Your concerns are trifling” Cthulhu deprives the cleric access to 1d4+1 spells, randomly determined from all of the cleric’s spells. These spells cannot be cast for 1d5 days. The elder god’s wrath is shown on the cleric’s body in the form of a Greater Corruption (page 119).

16. “From beyond” [special (-2)] Cthulhu opens a portal across the cosmos centered on the forehead (third eye) of the cleric. Strange astral creatures shaped like fish but with lizard scales that shimmer with blue see thru light come out of the cleric’s forehead. One stays on his head, sapping his power and depriving him of all spell casting for 2d4 days. A number of the astral creatures equal to his cleric level will fight for him. Floating around in the air and whipping their tails about and biting at the cleric’s enemies. The Cleric can burn luck to reach into his forehead and pull more of the creatures out to serve; they disappear when the creature attached to his head disappears. (Astral Fish: 2d8 HD, +3 to hit, 14 AC (50% miss chance due to displacement), Bite 1d7; Saves +5 Will +5 Ref -1 Fort, Special: each successful attack saps energy from its victim that the cleric can direct towards a compatriot to add +1 to an ally’s roll this round)

17. “Die for me” Cthulhu deprives the cleric of the lay on Hands ability for 1d4 days.

18. “Sacrifice” The cleric suffers a permanent -4 penalty to all spells checks, lay on hands checks, and turn unholy checks. The only way to remove this is by sacrificing 10% of the cleric’s net worth for each penalty point. In other words, the cleric must sacrifice 40% of his net worth to return to normal. If the cleric sacrifices more than 1,500 GP of wealth in this way he gains 1 Luck point.

19. “Cosmic anger” Cthulu’s dark eyes open in the sunken city in which he sleeps. He turns his lazy gaze upon the cleric and manifests his annoyance as a misfire from a spell. The misfire section of a spell chosen at random is inflicted upon the cleric. Add the cleric’s level to this roll of a 1d5 (2-3) level 1 spell, (4-5) level 2 spell, (6-7) level 3 spell, (8-9) level 4 spell, (10) level 5 spell.

20. (20 or higher) “Join me in the dream” The cleric shimmers with the stars of the cosmos wherever he goes. Tentacles whip at him  from the astral plane, showing that his earthly life may be soon forfeit. Cthulhu is preparing to make a place for him in oblivion in the sunken city of R’lyeh where the cleric will surely die. Each time the cleric attempts to use a cleric power for 1d3 days, roll a luck check (1d20 equal or less than the cleric’s current luck score to succeed). On a failure, Cthulhu groans angrily across the cosmos and pulls the cleric through an astral gate and into certain doom and dreaming.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Escape from the Purple Planet

Session 01

I ran the DCC RPG zero level funnel "Escape from the Purple Planet" on 08/19/16. There were five players and each ran four Zero Level PCs for a total of twenty. I'll write about the PCs that survived the funnel at the end of this post.

The adventure begins at a small village of Umara on the edge of the Great Desert. Azi Dahaka, demon prince of the sands and wastes, visited the elders of Umara one month previously and demanded an offering on his nearby desert altar of 66 asps. The elders ignored the demand and, one month later at high noon, Azi Dahaka sent a sandstorm to come down upon the small village.

Twenty of the villagers were caught up in the magical storm and experienced their village, countryside, and eventually their very planet, falling away under them as they were transported across the cosmos to the...


The peasants awoke in darkness all chained to a wall. Their weapons had been taken away but their trade goods, including some of the smaller farm animals, were with them and wandering around the small chamber. A branding iron was tossed into the room that seared with sparks acting like a torch.

Eventually they escaped their chains but not before being visited by a growling beastman with scruffy fur decked out in gladiator armor. He was quite wounded and the peasants killed him easily with wooden weapons sprawled out on the floor of the chamber. The freakish beast creature had a necklace of trophy ears around his neck and was a creature like nothing the peasants had ever seen or heard of before: a kith!
"We're not in Aereth anymore..."

One of the prisoners was actually a kith, just the same, but refused to speak with the human, elf, and dwarf peasants from a planet across the cosmos. Unfriendly!

Many peasants were still handcuffed with shackles as they explored what they soon realized was a tunnel complex attached to a gladiatorial arena with hundreds of kith battling to their gruesome death.

Some highlights:

-One peasant, calling himself Apache Attack Helicopter, opted to fight with his broken shackle chain (like a "helicopter blade") rather than pick up a wooden weapon. He brought down many kith, including one of at least 9 feet in height, despite being very unlucky and taking many attacks which he ducked.

-The huge ogre sized kith almost fell on three of the party members when it died, but they dodged out of the way to safety (reflex save).

-One peasant had his head smashed by a cave in of that the party was clearing out. A large slab of granite fell in on him, popping his head like a grape

-Apache Attack Helicopter had his head ripped off (critical hit) by a kith marauder who raised it in the air in celebration. The party beat the creature down with wooden weapons while he was in the throes of bloodlust

-Maraj, the elf peasant, became enraged when all of his friends (including poor Nuka) were killed due to the "cowardice" (his words) of the rest of the party who refused to engage in melee battle with the many kith they faced during their exploration. (This player was down to his last character.) Perhaps his patience was low from the constant itching of the iron shackles the party still hadn't found a way to remove.

After some exploration the party came upon a room full of levers; discovering a combination that lowered a section of the floor, like an elevator, deeper into the complex. They decided to explore further  before going to the lower floor.

Before descending the elevator the party was down to about half its initial strength. The peasant named Happy decided to stay behind to pull the lever for his villager friends. One imagines he's still fighting for his life against kith raiding into the hallways from the arena. Or perhaps he was killed and cooked on the beastmen's many bonfires.

The lower level was dark and the roar of the arena crowd was muffled to a dull drone. Standing around the walls of the first room were four racks of armor and weapon. Chain mail and scale mail were dispersed around to the toughest looking peasants. One tough peasant claimed a nice looking battle axe which he used to break the middle chain of some of the peasants who were still shackled. One peasant almost lost his life when the aim of the battle axe wasn't true, cutting his wrist but not killing him.

During the confusion a freakish monster of darkness and murky water snuck up behind the group and pulled a peasant away deeper into the dungeon.

She seems reasonable.
The party gave chase (languidly) exploring the dungeon and looking for signs of struggle from their lost compatriot. Exploring another room with two injured kith who appeared to have fallen down chutes from the arena, the strange monster again abducted a peasant and pulled him away from the group.

The party eventually explored deep enough and came to a murky pool of water, blood, and body parts. It was like a well with the hallway coming right up to the edge as a balcony some 5 to 10 feet over the water. They deduced the monster must live there but had no idea how to eradicate it or save their friends so decided to turn around and explore other parts of the dungeon.

When their back was turned the monster leaped from the pool and grappled another poor peasant to pull into the deep. One of his friends tried to hit the monster with an axe (reflect save for change) but swung to no avail (miss). "Why didn't you try to grab our friend's hands?" Maraj the elf asked. "I hadn't thought of that," was the response.

The party turned around and explored other parts of the dungeon, coming to a cell room with a strange green alien of gaunt features and tall stature chained to a wall. He called himself Tio Lizix and claimed to have been trapped there for centuries, living off a fruit growing in the sunken chest of a kith victim. The fruit stole the kith's years and Tio Lizix was feeding off the fruit. Maraj the elf took the fruit and ate it, feeling 10 years younger.

Tio Lizix spoke his thoughts aloud in 3rd person and seemed less than trustworthy, ("I will kill them when their back is turned.. but there are too many right now"). Because he admitted to having a ship in the dungeons capable of interplanetary travel, and the ability to fly it, the party freed him (after Maraj was physically stopped from killing the alien). They explored further but never found the ship.

Instead, they came to a room with two Guardian Statues with red glowing lazer eyes. They were guarding a door that, once opened, would close and shut with no way to open from the other side.

Judge Note: I added this room as a second means of escape. My intention was that, if the party chose this route to end the funnel, the next session would be a dungeon crawl deeper in the Purple Planet. The players were made aware of this.

The party opted to escape the arena underworks through this path rather than search for Tio Lizix's ship. Some more peasants were bashed into slurry and shot with laser eyes before 5 zero level peasants escaped deeper into the Purple Planet.

The experience was so harrowing and traumatic that three of the peasants felt a surge of power and became 1st level characters.
Azi Dahaka is ready to demand favors.

They were:

Sniper the Warrior: (Player: Dominic) This warrior fought in the shadow of Apache Attack Helicopter but came out the other side of the funnel ready to be a powerful bowman. Now if only he could find a bow...

Dennis the Thief and Gongfarmer (Player: Steven): This thief survived his harrowing adventure in the dungeons of the arena by keeping quiet and staying hidden.

Maraj the Elf: (Player: Austin) Maraj found a dry spot on a sandy crevasse of the deeper cave. A small whirlwind of sand was spiraling unnaturally and Maraj felt the power of Azi Dahaka there. He bonded with the demon prince as a patron, who appeared to wield special power on the dry Purple Planet.

See you next time. Same purple planet, same purple time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Klazath (god of war) Disapproval Table

The Rauxes Falls campaign started using the Basic D&D system but may switch to DCC RPG system. During a playtest of DCC RPG one player chose Klazath, the god of war, as his cleric's deity. I was inspired to make a special disapproval table for Klazath. Please feel free to use it in your campaigns for your clerics of Klazath. It is a bit harsh and swingy but also has many positive results for a cleric fulfilling the will of his deity.

I assume anyone reading this blog post will understand how deity disapproval works in DCC RPG.

I imagine Klazath as a cross between Ares and Beowulf. He sits atop a throne at the end of the mead hall in Valhalla waiting on the Final War of the Eternal Struggle. His Fallen Champions drink and revel in Valhalla waiting on the same war to commence, occasionally sent to the material planes to do his bidding. As a god of Law he does not merely extol the virtues of random battle. His place in the Eternal Struggle is to get all mortal armies under his sway and to engage in careful planning an tactics to permanently eradicate the forces of Chaos from the mortal realms. All such armies will be under one banner, his!
  1. (1 or less) "Practice your arms!" The cleric must atone for his sins and weakness. He must do nothing but shadow box or practice his weaponry skills for 1 turn (10 minutes). This can be done after and outside of combat but he takes -1 penalty to all checks until accomplished. (If a Lawful compatriot spars him instead of the cleric shadow boxing the compatriot learns a trick or two and receives +1 to melee hit and damage in the next battle.)
  2. "Kneel before Klazath!" The cleric must pray that Klazath forgives his weaknesses for one hour. The cleric takes -1 to all checks until this is accomplished.
  3. "Bring me glory!" The cleric must make a successful melee attack on an enemy in mortal combat within 24 hours. If such combat is unavailable the cleric must spar with a worthy opponent publicly for Klazath's glory until he or his opponent is knocked unconscious. Non-lethal damage suffered from this sparring heals at 1 HP per one hour. If the cleric fails to please Klazath in either way within 24 hours he takes a -2 penalty to all checks the following day.
  4. "Bring me warriors!" The cleric must recruit a new follower to the worship of Klazath. He immediately takes -1 to all checks until this is accomplished. If he recruits a person of Level 1 or higher to Klazath's worship make a Luck check. Success gains the cleric +1 Luck immediately. (Recruiting a follower requires a sincerely willing participant of the correct alignment and at least 30 minutes to conduct the proper ritual.)
  5. "Practice your arms!" Klazath the powerful demands that the cleric prove his battle prowess rather than his mercy. The cleric loses the ability to Lay on Hands for 2d6 hours. During that time, however, he gains a Mighty Deed dice equal to a Warrior of his level. Just like a Warrior his Attack Bonus becomes zero. 
  6. "Bother me not with these petty trifles!" Klazath tires of your mewling. The cleric immediately loses access to the specific spell or ability (lay on hands, turn undead) that resulted in the Disapproval for 48 hours. You may lift this penalty if you strike the killing blow (with melee or missile attack) on a creature Klazath is opposed to.
  7. "Mark yourself for war!" Klazath senses your faith is weak and demands you show the world that you are his champion. Your physical form changes in the following ways. Roll 1d8: (1) eyes change blood red (2) hair changes blood red (3) skin and complexion change blood red (4) a scar in the shape of Klazath's blade appears on your face, it glows neon red (5) any weapon you wield drips with blood that dissipates into the ether when it touches the ground (6) any armor you wear forms blood dripping spikes on the shoulders (7) neon red glowing scars cover your arms and hands (8) buck antlers grow out of your head like those that adorn the walls of Klazath's place in Valhalla 
  8. "Aim for mine enemies hearts!" Klazath is annoyed with your pitiful prayers and becomes more difficult to bring to your aid. The cleric suffers a -2 penalty to all spell checks, lay on hands checks, and turn checks. This penalty can stack if this particular disapproval occurs multiple times. The cleric's melee threat range is also extended by two (ei. natural 18, 19 and 20 instead of just 20) and he gains +1d on critical hit rolls. Each time he scores a melee critical hit the penalty to spell checks etc lowers by one. The extended melee threat range goes away when the cleric is no longer effected by this spell check etc penalty.
  9. "Your Life is One of War Not Luxury!" Klazath looks upon your accumulation of gaudy wealth with disfavor. You suffer -4 penalty to all spell checks, lay on hands checks, and turn unholy checks for 1 week. Or you may cast aside (destroy or dispose of) at least 200 GP in treasure that you have accumulated. If you destroy or cast off more than 1,000 GP in treasure you gain 1 Luck point as well.
  10. "Abuse not what I have Given Ye!" Klazath wishes you to stand tall in battle less so in prayer. He deprives you of the ability to cast 1 spell, determined at random, for 1d3 days. You also gain a temporary 1d6 HP (+STAM bonus).
  11. "Glorify me with arms, not prayers!" Klazath answers none of your prayers for 48 hours. This includes spells, lay on hands checks, turn unholy etc. However you gain a Mighty Deed dice (and lose your attack bonus) of a Warrior equal to your Cleric level during this time. If you strike the killing blow on a Chaotic foe in the name of Klazath with a Mighty Deed your prayers are again answered and the Mighty Deed dice is lost. This foe must be of Chaotic alignment.
  12. "Raise your weapon not your voice!" Klazath wishes you to stand tall in battle less so in prayer. He deprives you of the ability to cast 2 level one spells, determined at random, for 1d4 days. 
  13. "Face the unholy!" Klazath deprives you of your turn unholy ability for 48 hours. But you fight those unholy to him (melee or missile) at +1d action dice during this time. (A d24 crits on a natural 23 or 24 and a d30 crits on a natural 28, 29 or 30.)
  14. "I will waste no more effort on you..." Klazath deprives you access to 1d4+1 spells, randomly determined, from all you know. These spells cannot be cast for 1d5 days.
  15. "No penance!" Klazath is not forgiving this day. Your disapproval range stays at its current level and does NOT reset tomorrow as normal, but on the following day. Be wary of Klazath's wrath!
  16. "Klazath is displeased!" The cleric suffers a permanent -4 penalty to all spell checks, lay on hands checks, and turn unholy checks. The only way to remove this is by sacrificing 10% of the cleric's net worth for each penalty point. In other words, the cleric must sacrifice 40% of his net worth to return to normal. If you sacrifice more than 1,500 GP of wealth in this way you gain 1 Luck point.
  17.  "You have Squandered Enough of my power" Klazath deprives the cleric of the Lay on Hands ability for 1d4 days.
  18. "Lead men into battle not in prayer!" Klazath deprives the cleric of the ability to cast all spells for 2d5 days. This penalty is lifted if the cleric is part of a military action (war, battle, etc) for the forces of Law or Klazath. If the cleric dedicates (or convinces the highest authority involved in the action to dedicate) a victory to Klazath then the cleric gains +2 Luck. Diplomacy checks made to convince kings, lords, or generals to engage in such an action are made at +2 during this time because Klazath's voice occasionally booms thru the clerics mouth.
  19. "What is the riddle of steel?" Klazath's voice booms from the heavens and asks the riddle of steel damaging some witnesses within hearing. The cleric takes x1d4  sonic damage where X is his level. Fort DC 15 for half damage. All followers of Klazath must make a Fort save DC 15 or be paralyzed in fear for 11 turns (-1 for each character level) and all Lawful creatures must make a Fort save of DC 12 or suffer the same effect. If the cleric can answer the riddle of steel then he gains 2 Strength (only once in his life). The player can answer it or, if the player doesn't know, it can be answered by the character with a DC 20 Will save. If the cleric is killed by the damage from Klazath's voice a long-boat forms around his body and floats up into the sky towards Valhalla. Might his companions hitch a ride?
  20. (20+) "Face me in combat!" The gate to Valhala is opened in thin air and a dozen fallen champions march out to apprehend the cleric. They intend to carry the cleric into the hall to face Klazath in combat. The cleric may go willingly or fight. The champions close and lock the doors once they've successfully apprehended the cleric. Other party members (or monsters?) may choose to try and enter the gate during apprehension but opening the gate after it shuts can only be accomplished by by a god (Divine Aid) or Patron. Klazath is merely toying with his cleric and will not kill him, of course. The cleric makes three checks during the battle (representing his time battling his god in martial combat) which can lead to three ailments. STR check fail = lose 1 STR permanently. STAM check fail = lose 1 HP permanently and unconscious for 3d4 turns. Luck check fail = lose 1 Luck permanently and turn to stone for 3d6 turns. If the cleric faces his god and succeeds at ALL of the saves then Klazath is impressed and the cleric gains 2 PERS (2 STR if happens twice, then 2 STAM, then 2 Luck). [Other Judge notes: the fallen champions may take personal offense to any enemies the party may be fighting at the time and help defeat them. Or may take offense to the cleric's party members. These are lawful champions that fell in glorious battle and were rewarded with revelry in Valhalla until the Final Battle of the Eternal Struggle where they will war on Klazath's side. They are offended by Chaos and physical weakness. If they are killed outside of Valhalla their bodies and souls will be transported back there and they'll have a serious hangover. Many rulings may be required by the Judge if this disapproval is rolled.]

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Player Character Buffs

This game will use the Dungeons and Dragons Basic book as a baseline (Moldvay edition). In addition to the abilities for player characters in this edition there will be the below buffs. The reason for this is to appease players who want more rules "crunch" in the game and to test out some aspects I like from DCC RPG. If any of these abilities make the game significantly slower they will be re-considered and possibly removed.
These buffs apply only to player characters and not retainers. They may apply to enemies (so watch out).
These buffs may not be balanced. Keep in mind that your group is a team working together and not a bunch of movie stars trying to show up one another. If being the baddest dude in the party is important to you then I suggest you choose the class you feel is the most over-powered.

All Classes have the following buffs:

1. All classes score a critical hit on a natural 20 roll. A critical hit adds +1d8 damage. This is an automatic hit regardless of the target's Armor Class (AC).
2. The players win initiative if they tie the DM roll.
3. Player Characters (PCs) start level 1 with their maximum hit points possible. They roll their hit point dice at each level they make. They can re-roll if they don't like the first roll but must keep the second. (Fighters and Dwarves have special rules on top of this.)
4. Advantage/Disadvantage: Some classes use this mechanic. The mechanic works as such:
5. Advantage: Roll 2 d20 dice and use the highest of the 2 as your result.
6. Disadvantage: Roll 2 d20 dice and use the lowest of the 2 as your result.
7. Death/Dying: PCs die when they reach 0 hit points. They may be resurrected if they find (or have) a cleric of sufficient power to do so. This may be very expensive.
8. "Turning Over": At the end of combat in which a player character has died he can be "Turned Over" by his surviving companions. (He might not be dead yet!) The player gets a "Turning Over" Roll where he must get a 15 or better on a d20. He must add (or subtract) his Charisma modifier.
9. "Turning Over" Penalty: A PC who survives a "Turning Over" will lose 1 Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution permanently. Chosen randomly with a d3. The PC fights at -4 to hit and damage and can cast no spells until he rests for 1d6 days.
10. Alignment: a new player character must choose an alignment of Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic. These define of the player character's behavior but mostly mark what side he is on. Cities and cultures of a PCs opposite alignment may hold that fact against hit: not trust him or actively seek to eradicate him!
11. Lawful Alignment: These characters (and NPCs) believe in order and civilization being restored. What sort of civilization or Laws may differ wildly between characters.
12. Chaotic Alignment: These characters (and NPCs) believe that law and order is pointless or harmful. Harmful in the fact that it may suppress the true power of a great individual. (Think "Survival of the Fittest" as their worldview.) They are unpredictable and may be untrustworthy. They will actively try to hamper the efforts of law and order or harm the weak.
13. Neutral Alignment: These characters (and NPCs) are self-centered. They don't care if civilization survives or perishes or if the forces of Chaos are successful or not.
14. Experience: Each PC gets 250 XP per session ran and 250 XP per session attended. These XP stay if you die and must re-roll a new character. Example: If you attend session 1 and die in session 2 you will receive 500 starting XP for your new character.

1. Hit Dice = D10.
2. Fighters re-roll their Hit Dice on any hit point roll of 1 or 2. (They can also re-roll the first Hit Point roll when leveling regardless of the number.)
3. Fighters score a critical hit on 19-20 at level 1+. Critical on 18-20 at level 4+. Critical on 17-20 on level 7+. Critical on 16-20 on level 10+. Critical on 15-20 at level 13+. Only a natural 20 is an automatic hit.
4. "Fighter Dice": PC fighters don't advance on the Character Attack chart as normal. Fighters have dice, decided by level, that adds To-Hit and Damage to their normal Attack and then Damage roll when they hit. (Example: a 1st level Fighter Rolls d20+d3 To-Hit. Upon hitting with a Longsword he would do 1d8+1d3+Strength in damage). Their "Fighter Dice" is as follows*:
-Fighter Level 1-3: 1d3
-Fighter Level 4-6: 1d6
-Fighter Level 7-9: 1d8
-Fighter Level 10-12: 1d10
-Fighter Level 13-15: 1d12
*(A Fighter [but not a Dwarf] can bump up to the next level of Fighter Dice by wearing no armor!)
5. "Mighty Deeds of Arms": A Fighter can do a Mighty Deed by rolling a 3 or better on their Fighter Dice. They can do this along with their normal attack. If you miss with your attack or don't get a 3 or better on your Fighter Dice roll, the Deed does not succeed. If you fail to get a 3 or better on the Deed dice but would normally hit the targets armor class then you do hit as normal but do not succeed at a Deed. This can be attempted every round.
6. What is a "Mighty Deed"?: Whatever you want it to be that includes an attack of some sort. Jump on the back of a dragon. Swing from a rope and slash the throat of a wizard. Push an ogre off the side of a cliff. Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.

1. "Bandage": A cleric can bandage one person per day per the cleric's level. The bandage does 1d3 of additional healing to the target per rest period. (The normal daily healing is 1d3 so this doubles nightly healing.)
2. Improved Healing: Lawful clerics can spontaneous cast Cure spells at d10 instead of d6.
3. Improved Wounding: Chaotic clerics can spontaneously cast Cause Wound spells at d10 instead of d6. This is done as a standard attack so they can move and attack.
4. Neutral Touch: Neutral Clerics can spontaneously cast Cure or Harm spells with a d8 instead of a d6.
5. Improved Turning: Lawful clerics can roll 3d6 when they Turn Undead and drop the lowest of the 3 dice. (A normal Turn Undead attempt uses 2d6 for turning possibility and turning HD amount.)
6. Command Undead: Chaotic clerics can attempt to command an undead creature that they can automatically turn. (FYI: Skeletons are automatically turned at Cleric level 2.) The creatures makes a save vs magic. They can only be attempted once per day per Cleric level. The creature gets a new save every 3d6 turns.
7. Command Animal: A Neutral Cleric can command an animal with 1 HD less than himself. The animal makes a save vs spells at once and every 2d6 days. Only one animal can be controlled in this way at any given time.
8. Cleric Defense: Clerics get +1 AC at level 1, 4, and 8.
9. Clerics attack with Advantage against undead and humanoids of opposite alignment.(Example: Lawful Clerics fight with advantage against Chaotic Bandits but not Chaotic bears or Lawful Bandits.) A Neutral Cleric has advantage when attacking animals and vermin.

1. +1 to all saving throws.
2. Dwarves re-roll a hit point roll (when leveling) if they get a 1. The Player can choose to re-roll the first attempted roll regardless of number like every class.
3. "Walk it Off": A Dwarf can bandage himself one per day for 1d6 healing. This takes 1 turn so it is done outside of combat. (+1 times per day at each level divisible by 3.)
4. "Nose for Treasure": A dwarf can smell gold and gems.
5. Fighter Dice: A dwarf has the same attack dice system as described in the Fighter above.
6. Mighty Deed of Arms: A Dwarf can attempt a Mighty Deed as a Fighter.
7. Shield Bash: A Dwarf can make a second attack and use his Shield for Mighty Deeds of Arms. The attack is made as normal but using the Fighter Dice rolls on the first attack WITHOUT bonus damage from a Fighter Dice. A shield bash does 1d3 damage. This can be improved by wielding magical shields or by roleplaying situations that may come up.
8. A Dwarf scores a Critical Hit on a 19-20 at level 4+. On 18-20 at level 8+. On 17-20 at level 12. A critical attack always hits.

1. +2 to all saving throws.
2. "Legolas Style": Elves can use missile attacks while engaged in melee. Their missile attacks are not affected by any cover except full cover.
3. "Elf Eyes": Elves can Detect Magic at will. This takes one round.
4. "Ancient Knowledge": Elves can identify magic items with 1 day of meditation per item and 3 days of meditation per artifact. The meditation is broken by a random monster appearing.
5. "Sorcerer Magic": Elves cast spells as a sorcerer and do not have a spell book. No memorization is necessary.
6. Known spells are chosen randomly. Two are chosen per each spell they can cast per day. (Example: A second level elf has 2 first level spells per the Basic D&D chart so they would know 4 first level spells chosen randomly.
7. "Wild Magic Empowerment": Elves may choose to risk a Wild Magic curse to empower a normal per day spell cast. This is described below for Magic-User. Their "Curse Dice" is one step better than a Magic-User of the same level.
8. Curse Dice Type: Elf level 1-4 = d6. Level 5-9 = d8. Level 10+ = d10.
9. "Human Hatred": Elves have a long history of hatred of humans who overran their territory. As such they receive Advantage when attacking humans of any sort.
10. "Phase": Elves live in the material world as well as the astral plan. As such they can teleport (as a move action) up to 120' away. They can do this once per day at level 1 and +1 per day at each level divisible by 3.
11. "Animal Shape-change": Elves can shape-change into an animal for 1d6+1 turns. They can do this 1 time per day per elf level. All of their stats are considered that of the animal (including saving throws). If they reach zero hit points as the animal they die and return to their normal form.

1. +1 to saving throws.
2. "Two Weapon Madman!": Only halflings can fight with two weapons. The second attack is done at -2 to hit. (No minus to hit once the Halfling is level 8.)
3. "Critical Shorty": A halfling scores a critical hit with BOTH attacks even if  only one attack dice of the two rolls a Natural 20 (except if the second d20 rolls a Natural 1.)
4. "Quick Lil Guy": When the player rolls initiative vs the DM it is done with a d8. If the player rolls a natural 8 then the Halfling takes his turn immediately without the DM taking a turn and then a new initiative roll is made by the next player in line.
5. "Lucky Charm": A halfling can "burn" their Charisma to give any of their party members (NOT THEMSELVES) the amount they burned as a bonus to any roll that a PC makes. (To-Hit, To-Damage, etc.) This charisma charges back at 1 per rest period per Halfling level. Burning charisma this way makes them grumpy because they are being used, hence the drop in charisma. Sometimes the luck comes from the other PC rubbing the halfling's head.
6. There can be only ONE Lucky Charm Halfling in a party at a given time. If there are two Halflings the party must choose who is the Lucky Charm for the campaign and it can't change.

1. "Wild Magic": Magic has become insane. A Magic-User can cast his normal allotment of spells with no danger. His spell book is safe. Once he is out of spells for the day he can risk a Wild Magic curse to cast an extra spell. See below for explanation.
2. "Wild Magic Empowerment": A Magic-User can also risk the Wild Magic curse and a Misfire for a chance to improve the power of a spell with spells memorized for the day. This empowerment will be decided by the DM based on what the player character wants to attempt. Case by case basis.
3. "Curse Dice": Don't roll a 1. The Curse Dice starts at a die type as shown below and steps down after each attempt of Wild Magic for the day. (Example: If your Curse Dice is a d8 you roll a d8 to see if your are cursed upon your first attempt at Wild Magic that day. Then a d6 on your second attempt. etc. d8>d6>d4>d3>d2)
4. Curse Dice Type: Magic-User level 1-4 = d4. Level 5-9 = d6. Level 10+ = d8.
5. Curses: These will be based on the type of spell cast and the DM will make the player aware of the types of curse before he attempts.
6. Misfire: If the Magic-User makes a failed Curse Dice Roll when using Wild Magic Empowerment he must roll the same Curse Dice again. If he rolls a 1 his Wild Magic Empowered spell not only Curses him but the spell Misfires. Misfires are different for every spell.
7. Potion Sniffer: A Magic-User can identify the nature of 1 potion per day or rest period.

1. "Thief Luck": A thief may burn any amount of his Charisma to add Luck Dice to anything he attempts (+1 Luck Dice per point of Charisma burned, stacks). Charisma burned in this way returns at 1d3 per rest period up to his maximum. He does this AFTER the roll he is adding luck to. Burning charisma makes a thief more greedy and likely to steal anything that isn't nailed down.
2. "Luck Dice": This is dependent on level. (Level 1-4 = d3. Level 5-9 = d4. Level 10+ = d6). If this dice is used for a thief skill the player gains 10% per the number on the dice roll. (Example: A first level thief has 25% to remove traps. Uses Luck Dice and rolls a 3 so adds 30% making his chance to disarm the trap 55% this one time.)
3. Potion Taster: A Thief gets Advantage when Saving Vs Poison when tasting potions. If he explains the flavor to a Magic-User (or Elf) PC they each roll a d6 and add the values. A total of 8 reveals the nature of the potion. This takes 1 turn.
4. Gut Sense: A Thief (and only a Thief) rolls his secret checks on the table himself. Hide/Move Silently, Find Traps, Find Secret Doors etc. The player can use this knowledge to know if he should burn Charisma to add Luck dice to the situation. Only Disarm Traps is rolled behind the Judge's screen.