Friday, August 24, 2007

DR Redux

I wrote this along with another poster at OYT. It has resided on my EzBoard since before the hack but now, to avoid losing it, I repost it here:

-DR is a means of resisting physical damage. Damage from weapon blows to a creature with DR is always reduced by a certain amount, unless certain criteria are met. The most basic DR is simply presented as a number. For example, DR 10. If no other factors are given, then simply subtract the number from any weapon damage the creature takes. For example, a creature with DR 10 struck by a longsword for 13 damage would only actually take 3 damage. No DR can reduce an instance of damage below 0. -Magic weapons can overcome DR. Each +1 of the weapon's enhancement bonus allows it to ingore up to 5 points of DR. So if the longsword in our previous example had been a +2 longsowrd, the creature would have taken the full 13 damage. If it was a +1 longsword, then the creature would have taken, 8 damage.-Some creatures have even stronger DR, and the effectiveness of magic weapons against them is reduced. For some creatures, such as Lycanthropes, Fey, strongly-aligned Outsiders, etc. This represents an even greater resistance to earthly or mundane materials. For some creatures, such as golems, it represents object-like hardness. A few creatures are vulnerable only to a particular type of weapon damage, such as slashing of bludgeoning. Lastly, some DR is unbeatable (the number is usually low), and represents extreme physical hardiness and conditioning.-If a creature's DR has a listed material, then the efficacy of magical weapons is halved, unless the weapon is made from the proper material. For example, a Satyr has DR 5/cold iron. This means that it takes a +2 weapon to get past his 5 points of DR, or a +1 cold iron weapon. Adamantine always requires a +2 enhancement bonus to penetrate each 5 points of DR, and DR X/- is not overcomable by any weapons, magic or mundane.-Outsiders with two alignment subtypes have two weaknesses in their DR, one for each of their alignment leanings. For example, a Trumpet Archon has the [lawful] and the [good] subtypes, and is thus equally vulnerable to silvered weapons and weapons made from volcanic lead. It's DR 15/ silver or volcanic lead would be beaten completely by a +3 silvered greatsword or by a +3 volcanic lead greatswrod.-Creatures that have a damage type listed after the slash have a special resistance to other types of weapon damage. For example, skeletons have DR 5/bludgeoning, because they are not greatly affected by being stabbed or cut. If the DR shows only a weapon type, as per the skeleton example, no magic is required to penetrate their DR. Any bludgeoning weapon will overcome it. However, you still may overcome 5 points of DR per +2 of enhancement bonus if your weapon is not of the appropriate type.-Some few cretures may have DR that is extremely difficult to beat because they combine effects. For example, a Rakshasa has DR 15/britghtsteel and peircing. Without a piercing, brightsteel weapon, you need +2 of weapon enhancement to overcome 5 points of the Rakshasa's DR; a weapon that simply doees piercing damage or one that is made of brightsteel will not do. A +3 brightsteel spear will beat his DR entirely.-Brightsteel is a special material that is deposited only in places where one or more of the elemental planes come together. As such it is elementally conductive, and anyone carrying or using a brightsteel weapon suffers a -1 to saves against any spell or effect that has an elemental (earth, fire, air, water) desciptor. Brightsteel has the unusal alchemical property of defeating the DR of some evil creatures.-Volcanic lead is a lead crystal that has been deposited n many, many layers, all folded onto each other to create a special crystaline lattice that happens to defeat the DR of some good outsiders. Unfortunately, it is extremely heavy, weighing 5 times as much as comparable steel weapons. This weight imposes a -1 penalty on all attack rolls made with such weapons.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Bone-Shaper's Beast

I have Changeling: The Lost and, obviously, I am working on a character as I read it.

Based on the preview material I read, I decided my character would be a beast. Which particular kind of beast I will decide when I reach that part of the book. What I know right now is that he was captured by one of the bone-shapers detailed in my previous post and used as a sort of hunting dog to track down, subdue, and bring back prey for his master. When he damaged his quarry's bones (teeth marks or breaks), his master beat him severely (likely with a bone club made from a femur). When he performed well and his master's mood was amiable, he was rewarded with one of the castoffs of his master's craft (bones he had shaped but did not like the end result).

He was married before ending up in Faerie, with one very young child. His wife is married now, whether to someone new or a dummy of her husband I have not decided (if someone new, it is because my character destroyed his replacement and "killed" himself for good in their eyes).

His other hook is that he saw a girl in Faerie, either during his durance or his escape, and wants to free her. He does not know her personally and she is not the only human he saw in Faerie, but for some reason she haunts his dreams and he is driven subconsciously to help her. At times he fears his hesitation spells her doom. At other times, he fears she is a trap to recover him.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Bone Shaper

This is a monster idea that popped into my head the other day.

The creature is likely some sort of faerie or undead. It is tall and lanky with some disfigurement to the face (I see a face without eyes and a mouth full of sharp, needlelike teeth similar to the monster in Pan's Labyrinth). The creature is preternaturally fast and strong, possessed of more grace and strength than one would expect given the gangly, slim frame. One it gets ahold of you, the creature grips a limb or your face very tightly, running its thumb or fingertips into your flesh (no actual penetration). Beneath, hidden away from sight, impressions begin to form on your very bones. The rubbing causes the bone to edge out of the way like hard clay being worked. Eventually, the creature can rub through the bone (effectively breaking it) and they collect bones and skulls to adorn their homes, each formed into something it's not.

Edit: Right after posting the above, I shared the idea in the OYT chat room and received these ideas:

#contraserrene:: Eldric, I like that idea. Creepy without being actively gory.
#Baquies:: Sounds like something from world of darkness
#contraserrene:: I imagine them, especially if they're the less nice kind of fey, deciding that they LIKE you.
#contraserrene:: So they give you a present.
#contraserrene:: Made from you.#contraserrene:: "Here, a mask to cover that all-too-human face! Its features are delicate, sharp, like our own!"
#contraserrene:: "We made it from your left hand! So you'll need to use your right to hold the mask to your face!"
#Baquies:: never enough evil fey in my opinion
Eldric IV:: My pooka was Unseelie. Does that count?
#contraserrene:: "Whoops, the mask is a little too narrow to conceal your whole face. Your cheekbones are too wide."
#contraserrene:: "Luckily, we can remove them."
DerekDyer:: Candles are the best during a scary movie
#Baquies:: YOu could make teh creature like the tooth fairy's older brother, he takes a femur and leaves you a few copper
#contraserrene:: The Marrow Fairy.
DerekDyer:: cause they make things dance on the walls all around
#contraserrene:: Marroefey.
#contraserrene:: No.
#contraserrene:: Marrowtouchers.
#contraserrene:: No.
Eldric IV:: Feymur?
#Baquies:: I ran castle raveloft during a power outage, that was kinda fun
#contraserrene:: Looking for a word implying "delicate touch."
#contraserrene:: Marrowbrush.
#contraserrene:: No.
Eldric IV:: Caress? Stroke?
#contraserrene:: Marrowdainty!
#contraserrene:: That could be the name of one of these fey.
Eldric IV:: Funnyhone.
#contraserrene:: The species might be called... exquisitists. Or that could be their name for their artistic practicioners.
#Baquies:: They start with the small bones and visit you every few nights to take anotehr, first the tip of a toe or finger, then a knee cap. and so on. the party must set a trap
Eldric IV:: Straight fingers, arms, and legs are just too boring. You must look beautiful.
#contraserrene:: What better bait for the trap than a cold iron pot, propped open by a stick on a string, baited with the bones from that night's main course at dinner?
#contraserrene:: They love the Golden Ratio.
#contraserrene:: So they want your extremities to have a "more pleasing" rest state matching the spiral of a nautilus.
#Baquies:: OK, they come in at night and reforge re shape a certain bone every few days, you slowly acrue Dex and Con and skill penalties
Eldric IV:: And your own personal crown protruding from your forehead.
#Baquies:: If you go to the lair of these things, they are filled with mishapen hoards of victims and mounted skeletons of the deceased.
#contraserrene:: They can sense with a touch whether a bone has been reshaped before. They consider Cure spells that knit sprained and broken bones to be especially crude "reshaping."
#contraserrene:: Bones that have been "sullied" in such a way are considered useless.
#contraserrene:: Worthless.
#contraserrene:: Of low quality.
#Baquies:: Yeah, if you cure of fix theri work, they take the bone next time
#contraserrene:: Their economy, such as it is, would involve trade in bones that have never been altered by anyone before.
Eldric IV:: Bones whether or not yet emancipated from their current owner.
#contraserrene:: Of course, in a fey society, people won't respect the property rights of their peers...
#contraserrene:: Thus, there's a constant need for new captives.
Eldric IV:: I imagine children would be an easy way to store your "money."
#contraserrene:: The good news is, they let you go after a month or two.
#contraserrene:: The bad news is, they let you go after a month or two.
#contraserrene:: These boneshapers would consider animated skeletons a mockery of everything they hold dear; they would craft weapons specially designed to destroy skeletons, liches, etc.
#contraserrene:: They consider bone golems to be a lesser affront, but still an affront.
Eldric IV:: They can themselves wade through a skeleton with their bare hands.
#contraserrene:: Osseries, on the other hand, are a grand thing.
#contraserrene:: "Look, these shortlived people have set out a market for us."
#contraserrene:: They steal the bones from an ossory- the ones that were never magically healed, that is- and leave behind payment.
#contraserrene:: If you're lucky, the fairies that stole your ancestors' bones left you some gold, gems or magic.
#contraserrene:: Unfortunately they don't prize such things so much. They'll leave you something more personal.
#contraserrene:: Never, ever, ever express a wish in their presence that they could "grant" for you.
#contraserrene:: "But you said you wished you could fly! Now you have wings. Sort of. You can flap them and make a wind, so it feels a little like flying. The constant agony is just a sign that you're still alive; you should welcome it!"
Eldric IV:: I suppose one or more of them could go a bit "unusual" in the head and start grafting other bones onto/into people.
#contraserrene:: They might see that the way the Amish see teenaged wandering.
#contraserrene:: A phase everyone goes through before settling down to a more "mature" lifestyle as a bone-alterer.
#Baquies:: It starts with collecting old teeth and just goes bad from there
DerekDyer:: not bad

Thursday, August 16, 2007

80s Adventure RPG

Eldric IV as Rainbow Brite
Confused Jackal Mage as Space Ghost
Robert Ranting as Grimlock (Transformers)
Basquies as a Televiper (GI Joe)
CuDraoi as Donatello (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
The Evil Infant as Panthro (Thundercats)
Lord Nightbringer as Char Aznable (Gundam)
DerekDyer as Zok (Herculoids)
Siobharek as Skeletor (He-Man)
Bofdm as Cobra Commander (GI Joe)

Two More Terrible Tortures

Gleaned from real life:

1 - The Pear of Anguish. This was an iron, pear-shaped gag that was shoved into the victim's mouth. The end of the pear nearest the teeth had a keyhold that, when the key was inserted and turned, caused spring mechanisms within the pear to eject a number of iron spikes into the mouth. These spikes remained extended until the key was turned past the insertion point in the opposite direction (allowing the key to be removed without deactivating the torture). Use as anal or vaginal torture is easily imagined.

2 - Mancuerda. Cord was wound tightly around the victim's arm and then quickly pulled taught, forcing the cord to cut through the flesh and muscle right to the bone. This was repeated at several locations along the arm and produced extensive bleeding, often resulting in unconsciousness or death.

The Four Winds

This torture/execution device comes directly from Thundercats. The mutants used it when they captured Tigra but he got away before it went off.

The Four Winds is shaped like a giant X. Along each arm one of the victim's limbs is stretched and secured with leather straps and iron bars. When activated, the gears beneath the main body of the X cause the limbs to stretch away from the torso like four small versions of the Rack. Then, when the victim believes his arms and legs can stretch no further and must be ready to rip from his body, the catapults along each arm activate. These catapults have their head at the junction of the X and their fulcra at the ends of each arm and they thus swing up from the torso and tear the victim's limbs from his body. Whether this tearing is purely the result of the mechanical force of the gears on the metal arms or if the arms are also bladed is up to the individual designer. Regardless, the result is a painful death and a terrible mess.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Lamentations of Procrastination due to Apparitions of Inferiority

In other words, I have put off writing a piece on the Asp's Lair for Delver's Square for 6-8 months now (if not more) because I do not feel I can write it well enough for public display. I also have long-standing promises for articles on the Faces of Fear that have not yet come to fruition for the same reason, although this time it is solely on the mechanical side. I run my villains free-form, without a full write-up of abilities because I want them to do whatever is necessary to create an exciting, challenging, and memorable battle. Did the PCs get in a few lucky hits early on (such as my cousin's barbarian striking a critical hit against Regiarix the black dragon)? Then the villain has a few more hit points or a slightly higher AC to make the battle last longer. The name of the game is fun and my villains exist for that purpose, unconstrained by a stat block to tell me or anyone else otherwise.

And so, in trying to create the Faces of Fear for D2, I find myself faced with the dilemma of creating stat blocks. Why? Because if I put myself in another person's shoes, I want to see a ready-to-use set of mechanics when I spend my time reading this article. I do not want to see a bunch of interesting ideas for a villain and then find myself faced with the prospect of putting together a character sheet in order to use them in my game. The author should be doing that work since it is his creation. And, I have an inkling that an article like The Asp, which is all flavor and no crunch, found little use in anyone's game.

Regardless, I have been working on another entry in Saren's Journal about Free Will (these take a long time because I want the writing to be consistent both in style and in logic while presenting the horrible philosophy to which she adheres; in other words, they should read as though written by the same person and they should read as though the weak-willed undecideds and the fellow adherents should believe them because of the arguments presented instead of by DM fiat). These articles are actually my favorite to write because when I tap into the character of Saren, I end up spilling words across the page as fast as I possibly can and still cannot channel everything from my mind to the paper. I really feel the writing captures her passion for the subject and the instances of disjoined sentences and trains of thought due to my hands being slower than my mind stand in for her madness as a priestess of the Galchutt.

My only fears with the individual write-ups for the Faces of Fear is that I do not capture the interest of the characters as characters. I have long been known for writing in an epic style, which entails the pitfalls of flat characters playing out their parts in the grand story. Because of that, the Faces seem little more than grotesqueries meant to turn the stomach and be "Evil" for evil's sake. I tried to get away from that a little with Warrick in his mad love for Saren and in Saren with her troubled history of abuse. However, I do not want her to be a sympathetic character. She is not evil because of circumstances forcing her down this path; rather, the circumstances of her youth showed her the path and she deliberately walked it. She knows that she consciously and willfully chose evil when she could have chosen good. Perhaps this has weighed on her mind and added to her madness. If she feels any remorse for what she has done, she views it as a weakness, a feeling that needs to be attacked with faith and reason until it dissolves or, failing that, crushed and bound and buried deep in the back of her mind.

The only characters who I feel are not too fleshed out are the two that the party would most likely encounter first. Garrett and his goblin pal are cruel, bloodthirsty creatures who delight in suffering and bloodshed. This is why Garrett used the goblin as a sheath and why, when the shock wore off, he changed over to a little girl. The goblin is a true sado-masochist; he enjoyed his mistreatment under Garrett and even now almost deliberately upsets him in order to provoke a beating. On the sadistic side, the goblin is literally a walking bomb covered in all manner of weaponry. Garrett is a murderer and sword-for-hire, his greed satiated by the latter even as he does the former. His only reason in joining the Faces is an epiphany by the Galchutt leading him into their den. The goblin simply follows his dominator and may even be more faithful to the Faces than him (as he perceives his master being faithful and wishes to do the same).

I will have more later.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Rainbow Brite - Superhero

I forget exactly how I got back into Rainbow Brite specifically but I know it involved a conversation about the Transformers movie in the OYT chat room evolving to include GI Joe and other early 80's cartoon shows. Being the guy that I am, I immersed myself in Rainbow Brite for a day and started bringing up the show and character whenever possible in the chat room. Since a lot of the chat room sessions are devoted to NB's new game system and CJM's pimping of the Mutants & Masterminds system, I eventually decided to make a Rainbow Brite character (using M&M only because NB's system is a work in progress).

The character is extremely basic right now. My Rainbow Brite borrows heavily from the show but has a few differences. He is a guy named Brian (after the boy in the cartoon) instead of a toddler-esque girl named Wisp (although Wisp, which is Rainbow Brite's original name, makes a cameo as his girlfriend, which is important as we will now see). Despite all the rainbow imagery he is NOT gay. He has a girlfriend but for the most part I want to play him as asexual (i.e. I do not want his sexual orientation to come up at all; the better to avoid the other players making gay jokes).

He utilizes the M&M powers of Color Control (his prime forte), Emotion Control (Rainbow Brite made things colorful to make people happy and feel good), and a bit of Telekinesis or Flight or Entanglement (Rainbow Brite's rainbows allow Starlight to fly and are often used to wrap up bad guys or grab things).

Starlite makes an appearance as himself, except his name will be Starlight. He is a talking horse with a very high opinion of himself (regularly referring to himself as The Most Magnificent Horse in the Universe) and the ability to run atop rainbows, allowing for a limited form of flight when ridden by Rainbow Brite.

Twink will not be making a regular appearance for two reasons. One, I plan for Rainbow Brite to get his own star sprinkles (or have them delivered by an unnamed sprite every once in a while; just an issue of continuity rather than a plot point to get kidnapped) and two, the name Twink is just asking for gay jokes.

My Rainbow Brite always carries a bag of Skittles. They are his favorite snack and the manner in which he mundanely conceals his magical star sprinkles from others. He has adopted the Skittles catchphrase as his own (possible while using a rainbow to telekinetically punch a bad guy): Taste the Rainbow!

My Rainbow Brite is seen as semi-delusional because he believes in the Color Kids and their transdimensional, otherworldly home of Rainbowland where color crystals are mined by sprites and refined into star sprinkles which are then distributed to the Rainbow Brite on each inhabited world in the universe (he is Earth's Rainbow Brite and this is the excuse he uses for having Rainbow Brite as a name - all of them are called that) to utilize in spreading color and happiness. There is even mention of a previous Rainbow Brite in the Bible (Joseph and his Coat of Many Colors). Whether all this is true or not is entirely up to the DM. If it is true, then Rainbow Brite has a magic key that, when placed into any lock, opens a doorway to Rainbowland.

Appearance wise, Rainbow Brite appears as Brian did in the cartoon. He looks and dresses like a normal guy but is completely swathed by a rainbow color scheme. The top right of his head is red and the bottom left of his foot is violet with each color in its place between them. Using his color control power he can appear like a normal human with insignificant effort (he is a normal human, not an alien).

He also uses the color belt and rainbow sphere. He says they were given to him by the color kids in order to make him into Rainbow Brite. The belt can be used to generate semi-solid rainbows (for Starlight to run on or to wrap up bad guys) while the sphere allows him to colorize and brighten the world. Either one requires a star sprinkle to work.

Dhezhan - Field of Daggers

This deadly environment resulted from the convalescence of two long-lingering magical auras that hung over the land since Dhezha's fall.

From a distance, the Field of Daggers looks like a large stretch of barren, rocky terrain broken by thousands of jagged shards. These shards range in size from one foot to 10 or more feet tall but are spaced quite generously. Those who learn the field's name apart from its secret often assume that these are the Daggers. However, the daggers are only seen once one steps foot into the field proper. Then, ever step is met by dozens of daggers thrusting up from the ground underneath one's feet. These daggers pierce with every step and prove lethal to all but the quickest and most dexterous intruder. As a result, the perimeter of the Field of Daggers is often littered with bones, the carcasses picked clean by scavengers who know the danger of the fields.

In reality, the daggers are shards of rock that jut from the ground as with a spike stones spell. The second magical effect is a lingering aura of illusory magic that causes the stones to appear as daggers constantly thrusting from the stone. This illusion has no effect other than the change in appearance and is meant to accomplish nothing beyond the simple pinch of added flavor from magical daggers stabbing your feet instead of spiked shards of rock.

Grune the Destroyer

This idea came about while watching the Thundercats episode The Ghost Warrior about Grune the Destroyer. Grune was a former Thundercat who was banished to Third Earth after betraying Jaga. He wreaked terrible havoc on that planet until his death, after which he was magically sealed within a tomb.

In the episode, a pair of gnomish creatures happen upon the tomb and violate the magic seal, freeing Grune. While inside the tomb, they notice it is filled with nothing but broken weapons. In particular, you can see two or more broken morningstars (Grune's favored weapon) atop the stone slab that seals his final resting place.

The idea this sparked was thus: a champion or avatar of the god of war and battle is unstoppable in combat but he can be warded off by broken weapons (perhaps an old symbol of a god of peace, his philosophical opposite). This ward is not foolproof and it requires real sacrifice. For example, if the PCs came face to face with the champion and threw broken arrows across the hallway while still wielding magic longswords, maces, and rapiers, the champion will take little pause in proceeding (though a merchant encampment surrounded by broken weaponry may well remain safe). If the champion were to be raised from the dead as was Grune, then the original method of his defeat was the sundering of his weapon in battle (the champion himself having never known defeat by force of arms). If the champion were a new development, then the discovery of his weakness to broken weaponry could lead thoughtful players to the conclusion that sundering his weapons would further weaken, if not outright defeat, him.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Dhezhan's Oldest (Un)Living Resident

In the pyramid that stands in the midst of the Stardust Desert lives the oldest being known to all of creation. Although he reached his personal zenith of power during the height of the Dhezhan empire, this creature has existed far longer than any mortal creature; perhaps he has even existed since the beginning of the world, though even he can no longer recall his earliest years in the wake of the Dhezhan brightness.

This creature is a rip-off of Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living from Thundercats. His existence is primordial and axiomatic, though his power and influence wax and wane throughout the millenia. Even at a time when his power wanes to the point of isolated confinement within his exotic tomb, this being enjoys almost unparalleled ability in the magical arts.

I need to find some questions to answer about him in order to flesh him out sufficiently. Suffice to say that this is no mere lich or mummy but a nigh-deific power.