Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Cultist: Patrons & Servitors

In the Shadowend, cultists follow the Typhos, the corrupt offspring of the gods.  Born from the union of two (or more) divine creatures, Typhos lack the divine spark and cannot become gods.  Nonetheless, they are nearly godlike in their power, and have created many monstrous races over the ages. The Elemental Princes, Archdevils, Demon Lords, and others are all Typhos.

Almost all Typhos are selfish, arrogant, and egotistical beings.  They adopt portfolios in mimicry of their parents, but lack any divine synergy with their area of concern.  Most Typhos pick portfolios that will not bring them into overt conflict with a deity; a few serve one of the Elder Host and have portfolios that reflect the concerns of that power.

Four sample cultist patrons are given below, along with some sample servitors and special abilities.  A cultist can summon one of the sample servitors (as the listed CL), build their own, or (with the assistance of the Referee) find other suitable published creatures.

Sample Patrons & Granted Special Abilities
Asterion the Bull (Impulsiveness, Minotaurs, Rage)
Asterion’s servitors have bovine features and shapes (see Gorgon, S&W Monster Book pg.42, CL 10; and Minotaur, S&W Monster Book pg.66; CL 6) and have access to the following special abilities: Extra Attack (Gore; +1 CL), Improved Armor Class (+1 CL), Improved Damage (+1 CL), Petrifaction (+2 CL).

Atar the Taker (The Dead, Duty, Tolls & Taxes)
Servitors of The Collector of the Dead take the form of cloaked and cowled humanoid figures that do not speak (See Dark Creeper & Dark Stalker, Tome of Horrors pg.124; CL 2 & CL 4) and usually have some of the following special abilities: Improved Damage (+1 CL), Invisibility (+1 CL), Poison (+2 CL), Silent (+1 CL).

Enyo the Leveller (Destruction of Cities & Civilization, The Tarrasque)
Servitors of Enyo appear as heavily armored monstrosities (see Bulette, S&W Monster Book pg.11; CL 12*) or statuesque women of stone or bronze (see Chalkeion, S&W Monster Book, pg.13; CL 5, 6,7, or 11; or Caryatid Column, Tome of Horrors pg.83; CL 7) and can have the following special abilities: Extra Attack (+1 CL), Improved Armor Class (+1 CL), Improved Damage (+1 CL), Magic Resistance 25% (+1 CL).
*The bulette's CL has been increased by one for purposes of summoning.

Urjin the Foul (Decay, Disease, Rot)
Servitors of Urjin usually take the form of giant goats or rams (see Goat, Giant, S&W Monster Book pg.39; CL 3; Dire Goat, Tome of Horrors pg.198; CL 5; or  Demon, Mehrim, Tome of Horrors pg.145; CL 9) or goat-like humanoids (see Satyr, S&W Monster Book pg.83; CL 6) and have access to the following special abilities: Disease (+1 CL), Improved Duration (+1 CL), Magic Resistance 50% (+2 CL), Regenerates 1hp/rnd (+1 CL).

Base Statistics for Servitors
These stat blocks are the base for unique servitors.  They can be adjusted by adding special abilities or other customization (ie, a servitor can make one attack instead of two, with damage two dice higher: 1-3HD = 1d8; 4-7HD = 1d10; 8+ HD = 1d12)

1HD Demonic Servitor: HD 1; AC 8 [11]; Atk 2 (1d4/1d4); Move 12 [30’]; CL/XP 1/15
2HD Demonic Servitor: HD 2; AC 7 [12]; Atk 2 (1d4/1d4); Move 12 [30’]; CL/XP 2/30
3HD Demonic Servitor: HD 3; AC 6 [13]; Atk 2 (1d4/1d4); Move 12 [30’]; CL/XP 3/60
4HD Demonic Servitor: HD 4; AC 5 [14]; Atk 2 (1d6/1d6); Move 12 [30’]; CL/XP 4/120
5HD Demonic Servitor: HD 5; AC 4 [15]; Atk 2 (1d6/1d6); Move 12 [30’]; CL/XP 5/240
6HD Demonic Servitor: HD 6; AC 3 [16]; Atk 2 (1d6/1d6); Move 12 [30’]; CL/XP 6/400
7HD Demonic Servitor: HD 7; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 (1d6/1d6); Move 12 [30’]; CL/XP 7/600
8HD Demonic Servitor: HD 8; AC 1 [18]; Atk 2 (1d8/1d8); Move 12 [30’]; CL/XP 8/800
9HD Demonic Servitor: HD 9; AC 0 [19]; Atk 2 (1d8/1d8); Move 12 [30’]; CL/XP 9/1,100
10 HD Demonic Servitor: HD 10; AC -1 [20]; Atk 2 (1d8/1d8); Move 12 [30’]; CL/XP 10/1,400
11HD Demonic Servitor: HD 11; AC -2 [21]; Atk 2 (1d8/1d8); Move 12 [30’]; CL/XP 11/1,700
12 HD Demonic Servitor: HD 12; AC -3 [22]; Atk 2 (1d8/1d8); Move 12 [30’]; CL/XP 12/2,000

Monday, April 22, 2013

In Which My Head Hurts

Between the terrifying glory that was trying to get The Basic Illusionist finished for Swords &Wizardry Appreciation Day, and the Day itself, and trying to get the Cultist done, and some weird 48-hour head cold, and brainstorming ideas for various articles for various magazine, my head hurts.

The sun is shining, the weather is temperate, and I am going outside.  :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Something Wicked: The Cultist Class & Summon Demonic Servant power

Hit Dice: 1d6+1 (+2 hp per level after 9th level.)
Armor: Light or Medium armor, no shields.
Weapons: Club, Crossbow, Dagger, Mace, Shortsword
Skills: Cultists are skilled at feats of endurance and influence, disguise, local lore, religious lore, and stealth.
Alignment: Cultists must be Neutral or Chaotic.

Class Features
Ritual Support (1st): The cultist can add this number to the Summon Minion roll of a cultist of higher level.  A cultist cannot summon their own minions while supporting another.

Summon Minion (1st): Cultists have the ability to summon an other-dimensional minion of their patron.  This ability can be used at will, but each successive summoning after the first in a day inflicts a -2 penalty to the cultist’s duration and summoning rolls. The cultist must roll a saving throw to dismiss a demonic servant before its duration expires; on a failed save, the demonic servant remains until the end of its duration, but turns on and attacks the cultist. A cultist cannot summon another servant without dismissing the first, except as noted below.

To summon a cult minion, the cultist rolls 2d6 to determine how many rounds the cult minion will remain. The cultists then makes a summoning roll on 2d8 and checks the result on the table below, first finding their level reading down to find the result equal or less than their summoning roll, and then reading across to find the total Challenge Level of the summoned creature. A result of 0 or less on the final result (2d8 + modifiers) means the summoning fails.

A demonic servant has HD equal to its Challenge Level, an Armor Class bonus equal to its HD, and a move speed of 12 [30’]. Attack bonus and saving throw as a monster of the same HD.  The demonic servant has two attacks, which each inflict 1d4 points of damage if the servant has 3HD or less, 1d6 damage if it has 7HD or less, and 1d8 damage if it has 8 or more Hit Dice.  The basic demonic servant has no special abilities, is of low intelligence, and never appears with equipment.

The cultist can chose to summon a weaker servant with special abilities.  Each patron has a number of special abilities that demonic servants can receive, and cultists can sometimes discover the secret to different, non-standard abilities.  The cost of the abilities is added onto the servant’s Challenge Level to determine the demonic servants’s total CL. A servant’s HD must be at least half of its CL, except as noted below.  A list of special abilities is given below. Other special abilities can be derived from existing monsters, subject to the Referee’s judgment.

If the cultist chooses to summon a weaker creature than his roll allows, a result of † means the demonic servant has one extra +1 CL ability.  If the result is ‡, the servant has extra special abilities totaling +2 CL. If the result is £, the cultist can summon his level in demonic servants of that HD, all with a bonus +1 CL special ability (all minions have the same special ability).  If the result is Ω, the cultist can summon a horde of demonic servants: twice his level in minions of that HD, all with a bonus +1 CL special ability (all minions have the same special ability).

There is a small chance (no greater than 1% per HD) that an avatar of the patron chooses to manifest in place of the demonic servant.  The avatar automatically has 12 HD and +8 CL in special abilities.  The avatar requires at least 1HD per round in sacrifices to remain manifested, and it is not particularly picky about where the sacrifices come from. Cultists willingly sacrifice themselves to maintain the avatar; a newly manifested avatar typically consumes the essence of a cultist the first round it appears to gain enough power to last at least a few rounds (it can completely consume a willing sacrifice in a single round). This is one reason why more powerful cultists surround themselves with lesser followers at all times.

·         Lothqua the White is a 4th level cultist.  He rolls 2d6 for duration, and gets a 7, which isn’t bad.  He rolls 2d8 for his summoning roll, and gets a total of 13. Finding his level (5) on the top bar and reading down, he finds he can summon a CL 5 demonic servant, which is pretty good.  (Lothqua gets CL 6 on a result of 13 or greater; if the summoning roll had been 16, he could have a CL 7 creature.)  Lothqua decides to keep things simple, and summons a basic CL 6 demonic servant (6 HD, 4 [15] AC, two attacks at +6 to hit and 1d6 damage, 11 save). The demonic servant appears at the beginning of the next round and remains for 7 rounds before disappearing.

·         Lothqua needs to summon another demonic servant later that day.  He’s already summoned one, so his duration and summoning rolls both have a -2 penalty.  He rolls 2d6-2 for the duration and gets a final result of 4.  He rolls 2d8-2 for summoning, and gets a total of 14 – the highest he can get with a -2 penalty! This time he needs something sneaky, so he opts for a 3HD demonic servant and three +1 CL special abilities: Improved Duration (which increases the duration to 8 rounds); a spell-like power (invisibility), and a special movement power (moving silently). He couldn't lower the HD any further, because HD must be at least half of CL, and his next attempt will have a -4 penalty to duration and summoning.

·         Aykol Adzurum is the 12th level high cultist of Malis, the patron of lies and deception.  He summons a demonic servant and gets a duration of 5 and a summoning roll of 12, easily good enough for a CL 12 demonic servant.  He could also take a 10HD servant with +2 CL of special abilities; a 9 HD servant with +4 CL of special abilities (9HD + 3 CL = 12, +1 CL bonus because of the † result); a 7 HD servant with +6 CL of special abilities (7HD + 5 CL = 12, +2 CL bonus due to the ‡ result); twelve 4 HD demonic servants with a single special ability, or twenty-four 1 HD demonic servants with a +1 CL special ability.

EDIT: 12:18pm, April 19 2013 - I fixed the numbers and math on the examples; Lothqua had gotten a CL 5 servant, but I gave him a CL 6 one instead.  So I bumped his roll up to match the example.  It's Lothqua's lucky day. Maybe there will be cake.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


The Basic Illusionist is HERE!
Wrap up Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day the right way!  GET IT!

And here's a LINK to it on Google Drive, just in case something happens with Dropbox.

And obligatory stuff that I wish I had gotten out earlier but didn't, ce la vie. It's all over the internet anyways.

The d20pfsrd site is discounting all S&W products at their store.  The codeSWAD252013 is for the SRD store where you can get pdfs only. Sales here do help support the SRD sites. Links to the SRD sites here: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/ and http://www.d20swsrd.com/

Frog God Games has discounted their entire line of Swords & Wizardry products for 1 day only in celebration of Swords & Wizardry appreciation day (April 17th 2013). The discount is good for 25% off S&W Products but you must use coupon* code SWApprDay on April 17th 2013 at check out. 

EDIT: There is a Donate button on the sidebar, if you are so moved.  I promise to use any monies gained thereby for whatever strikes my fancy, possibly including, but not limited to, RPG purchases, matryoshka dolls, and Russian mail-order brides.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Setting Snippet: Sundweil

This setting-snippet is probably at least 15 years old (yes, pre-3e), and rather than describe a number of places succinctly, I only did two and a part, weaving in references as I did so.  I remember a map, but can't be sure if I drew it or simply intended to.  I think the only parts of this I took for the Shadowend were the names of two mountain ranges, the Shieldwall and the Spearwall.

The Land of the Sundweil

Marsh of Sundweil, The
            The Marsh of Sundweil is a great, treacherous expanse of swamp and jungle that separates the elven kingdom of Aevinle from the ocean.  It begins south of the Bay of Portholme, and swings westward around the low, green hills that mark the southern edge of the human territory, and are the fading remnants of the Spearwall Mountains.  South of the Spearwall, the Marsh broadens, covering 150 to 200 miles east-west.
            Near the ocean, the Marsh resembles a great prairie, with nigh-endless expanses of saltgrass reaching to the water's edge.  Yet the "prairie" is laced with narrow waterways and mudholes, most often concealed underneath a mat of dead grass and leaves, traps for the unwary traveler.  The truly unfortunate may fall into a trollhole or marshcap lair, or disturb one of the many fenwyrms that make their home in that region of the swamp.
            Inland, the trees thicken and crowd together in a humid, fetid jungle of serpents and insects.  The Oanqua lizard-men make their homes in here, in primitive villages of mud, sticks, and leaves, concealed by the dark swamp.  Only the most daredevil and fearless willingly enter here, to trade with the Oanqua and the other reclusive inhabitants - or to suffer a less happy fate.
            In the east, the jungle thins once more, giving way to the great morass that marks the meeting place of the Marsh of Sundweil and the River Running, which has its origins far the north and east, and stretches southwards, through the Running Vale of the Spearwalls, through Aevinle, and so to the Marsh.  The Elven-folk guard the eastern edge of the morass of the Running, and sometimes glide over its shallow, stagnant waters in slim, poled rafts.  Other times, the Eihanti pass south of the Running Vale and into the morass, bound on business of their own.  Ancient stories speak of a lost city, long gone under the dark waters, that was the birthplace of the river-folk, but the Eihanti as always keep their own counsel.

Running Vale
            A gash through the Spearwall, scar in the mountains, the Running Vale pierces the Spearwall mountains from north to south, allowing the River Running passage from the Human lands to the Elven kingdom of Aevinle, and thence to the Marsh of Sundweil.  It is a narrow, treacherous notch, overhung by great slabs of crumbling rock that continually shower the river below.   For the first stretch, there is no footpath, not even the narrowest ledge -- any access to the lands below is by boat, which the Eihanti control -- for the Running Vale also houses their refuge and retreat, the only solid land the Eihanti can call their own.
            After the treacherous passage of the northern notch, the River Running empties into a broad, quiet lake, one nestled between the sheer slope of the Spearwall with all the security of a fortified castle.  Boats and barges of all sizes ply the lake, on business and pleasure, as the Eihanti go about their ways.  Several villages nestle on the lake shores, and in the narrow canyons that twist into the mountains.  Stone towers, manned by experienced Eihanti warriors, guard either side of the northern entrance to the lake, and similar towers ward the south, where the River Running flows southwards, out of the mountains.  The notch here is not so narrow or treacherous as in the north, and a single, twisted track allows foot traffic to Aevinle.  Overhead, the skies are guarded by a single Eihanti family known as cloud dancers who claim not the waterways, but the skies as their province, and have maintained for numerous centuries a herd of asperii, or cloud horses.
            The Eihanti do not allow casual passage though the Running Vale.  Only Eihanti or their guests can gain admittance here, and a guest who spurns the riverfolk or disregards their ways will swiftly find himself alone in the Vale, or abandoned in the surrounding mountains.  Any who find their own way into the Vale, or into the Eihanti land are subject to a geas never to reveal the Vale, or any means into it.

Vensisgate Plains
            In the east, where the Shieldwalls fade away, the Vensisgate Plains begin, spreading westward to the Farfolk Hills, south to the Spearwalls, and northward emptying into the great expanse of grass and sky that is the domain of the Vensi tribes.
            The Vensisgate Plains are nearly 300 miles east-west, and almost 700 north-south.  They form the entire eastern border of the Republic lands, and circle westward in the south to edge the cities of the Joriatic League.  The abundant streams and rivers of the Plains empty into the River Running, and thence southward through the Running Vale.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Updated Shadowend Maps

Here are the two most recent maps of the Shadowend setting.  The first is the overview map; the second is the same but with some (not all) of the countries shown in colorful...colors.  I'm in the process of cutting these apart and shifting things around (the lower-right is going to lose a lot of little kingdoms), but that hasn't happened yet.

Setting Snippet: Ainamoir

I wrote most of these descriptions in class a few years ago.  I started with a list of iconic fantasy mores, like witch-king and pirates, and went from there.  Again, there's a sketch map somewhere, but I haven't scanned it yet.

These aren't "finished" or "detailed" settings, btw.  I'll post a few more this week, and in almost every case, this is 100% of the material that I wrote.  I write these little things, then scavenge them later for stuff to add to the Shadowend.

Land of Ainamoir

Beast Clans: The Beast Clans hold the forested shore north of the Pale Plains, along the southern coast of the Iron Sea.  The most prominent clans are Bear, Elk, Fox, and Seal.

Eorian: This rugged, forested island is the last redoubt of the Ori, who once held an empire that encompassed all the islands of eastern Ainamoir.  While many of the islands hold ruins of the iridescent Ori ruins, the only intact settlements are on Eorian.  The Ori rarely leave the island, but several well-known schools of wizardry are based here.

Graillands: The three Grail realms of Arima, Ceval, and Troes are the proverbial breadbasket of Ainamoir.  Located around the freshwater Chalice Sea, the rich soil produces abundant crops, but the geography of Ainamoir isolates the rural provinces on three sides from the other human states.  The rough lands of the Wolfholds border Ceval and Troes on the west, while the low Morinhorn Mountains arc across the east, rising in the north to become the majestic Mistwall, and Arima’s northern border.  Only the broad vale of the Chalice River in the south provides an easy route to the rest of Ainamoir.

Islands of the Iron Lords: This fractured, stony archipelago lies in the Iron Sea, and is home to the Iron Lords, a group of barbarians and raiders that threaten the entirety of eastern Ainamoir.  The Iron Lords are also the primary trade contact with the dwarves of Nurimoir, who supply the raw material from whence the Iron Sea and the Iron Lords derive their names.

Islands of the Sea Throne: This archipelago of large islands is the dominion of the Lords of the Sea Throne, and the center of trade in eastern Ainamoir.

Krof Hills: The Krof Hills mark the southern terminus of the Morinhorn Mountains.

Norll, Grand Duchy of : 

Nurimoir:  Nuirimoir lies directly north of Ainamoir, and is, for the large part, a cold and desolate land plagued by giants, trolls, ogres, and less savory creatures.  The Seal Clan and Iron Lords have holdings along  the southern coastline, but the most civilized race on Nurimoir are the dwarves, who mine vast quantities of iron ore from the earth.

Pale Plains: Starved of moisture by the Mistwall and Snowwall ranges, the Pale Plains are the dominion of the Cebent tribesmen. 

Wolfholds: These wild and mountainous lands are the territory of the hobgoblin vojvoda and their goblin subjects, an ongoing plague in the western Graillands.

Yryn, Kingdom of: Nestled beneath the boughs of the

Cultures: goblin (goblin, hobgoblin, bugbear, urgoblin), orc, kobold, lizard man, troglodyte, elf, dwarf, gnome, Halfling, drakonar, ogre, giant, centaur, cavemen, doppelganger, dragon, gnoll, minotaur, troll, areana, morlock
Men: beserkers, brigand, pirate, merchant, nomad
 Iconic/thematic fantasy countries: witch-king, undead, pirate, merchanteering, intrigue-ridden, Nordic barbarians, feudal/chivalric, dwarven, elven (wood), elven (high), magical, autocratic evil empire

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Setting Snippet: Winterfall

Periodically I write a page or two on a new setting.  It's just ideas and concepts, not detailed exploration.

Winterfall was placed north of the Kameurhorns on the Shadowend map.  It developed from a throwaway reference in a campaign handout I had written, the story of The Smith's Wife. Almost none of the references from the note made it into the actual setting design, which drew heavily on Scandinavian mythology - moreso than I generally like to do.

I ran a brief campaign in the Winterfall, but eventually folded most of the setting into the Shadowend proper - you can see it in the Near North and Utgard regions.

What follows is what I actually managed to write down describing the places of Winterfall. I have a map, but either it's not digitized or I didn't transfer it to this computer.


                Arthringlaur (Diamondsdelve)
                Badrul (Dragonsden)
                Mathedrellur (...home)
                Svorndriel (Whitemine)
                Temathdrellur (Darkhome)
                Zelazghul (Silversdeep)

                Bailetais: (temperate to cold marsh) The Bailetais is a thick swamp between the Talven Alasen to the east and the Shrouded Peaks to the west.  It receives year-round runoff from both areas, and is continually wet as a result.  The swamp drains northwards into the Rimesea, and its northern end has a more moderate climate than the southern reach.
                The most infamous residents of the Bailetais are the greenhags that make their home throughout its depths.  They rarely emerge from the swampland, but their strength has grown in the last century, and they have stopped trade along the High Road that stretchs from Valhem to the Kamuergard.
                Farzwold: (dense cold forest)  The Farzwold, or Frozen Forest, covers a large penninsula on the north coast of the Rimesea.  It is the domain of many outcast servants of the Ice, creatures deemed too wild or too independent to keep in Isenhamar or the other Ice-held regions.  A few exiled frost giant clans have settled here, and the forest is thick with winter wolves, harrow hounds (and some mongrel mixes), and dire animals of all kinds.  The leshii of the Farzwold are even more vicious than usual, and the blood of frost giants is mingled in their veins.
Gladsheim: (region)
          Valaskjolf: (city)
          Voska: (town)
Isenhamar: (region) Isenhamar is the stronghold of the frost giants, and lesser minions of the Ice.
Jarnwold: (dense cold forest): The Jarnwold, or Iron Wood, is a thick evergreen forest on the eastern border of Tuonela.  It is home to the so-called Iron Witches, or Jarnvik, a fearsome gathering of black hags and female sorcerers; mostly Vanar, talvijotun, and leshii.  The Jarnvik are currently allied with the Tuonar, but only for so long as their interests coincide.
          River Ylg: (river)  The Ylg marks the southern border of the Jarnwold.  A narrow stretch of rough plains seperates the Ylg from the Fyrfells to the south; this no-mans land is the site of numerous clashes between, variously, Jarnvik, Tuonar, and Aesar or Vanar warbands coming from the east.
Kamuergard: (region)
Kamuerhorns: (rugged to steep mountains)
Misty Isles: (region)
Nichtwold: (medium cold forest) The Nichtwold forms the central portion of the High Forest.
     Orjveim: (region)
     Rimesea: (cold ocean)
     Shrouded Peaks: (rugged mountains)
Surtheim: (region) This broken land lies between the Rimesea and the Fyrfells.  It is a desolate waste spotted with mud holes, hot springs, and geysers, many of which release toxic clouds of gas.  An isolated clan of fire giants control the northern fringe of Surtheim and parts of the Fyrfells; the rest of Surtheim is given over to humanoid tribes and the occasional visitor from the plane of Fire.
Talven Alasen: (cold moors)
Tuonela: (region)
          Nagrind: (town)
          River Gjailar: (river)
          Valgrind: (town)
Valhem: (region)
          Barrvangar: (town)
          River Fathing: (river)

The lands beyond Winterfall are both well-known and mysterious.  Just south of the Kamuerhorns is the  Utgard, stronghold of the giants and their kin.  Further south, over the sea from Utgard and the Misty Isles lie the lands of the Shadowend, frequent targets of Aesar raids, and fertile employment for Aesar and Vanar mercenaries.  To the north, the Far Ice stretches seemingly without end, its absolute dominion  broken only by isolated mountain peaks, and the stronghold of the light elves, Liosgard.  In the east lie unbounded woodlands, domain of the leshii and stranger forest folk, and the lost homeland of the Vanar.  And westward, over the oceans, lie the rocky, dragon-shrouded archipelago of Far Athanor that birthed the Aesar and Ceildin.
The Far Ice: (region)
Utgard: (region) South of the Kamuerhorns lies a stretch land caught between the forbidding mountains and the stormy sea, a rocky, barren stretch of coastline.  This is the Utgard, the Outerland, stronghold of the giants and their kin.  Hill and stone giants are frequent encounters, as are firjotun, ogres, trolls, and all their monstrous bastards. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

S&W Appreciation Day

April 17th (next Wednesday), is Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day.  I don't know how the whole thing is going to be organized - at the latest count, there were approximately 125 blogs signed up to do "something".  There's no way I'm going to have time to look at 125 blogs (I'm #2, btw.  Pressure's on.  Go me.)  Matt Finch has talked about collected everyone's contributions and making a pdf or an issue of Knockspell (or 10) out of them, which I think is an excellent idea.

Various people are kicking in swag n' gift certificates to posters, commentors, and so on.  Updates and information are posted at Tenkar's Tavern.

ALSO, Frog God Games will be putting their S&W stuff on sale that day only.  25% off at their store or d20pfsrd.com.

Have a big 'ol banner.

I've got at least 2-3 ideas.  My initial idea was to convert a bunch of races from a 3e era product to S&W; that's will be pretty straightforward, so I'll still probably do that.  Tenkar, who came up with this idea, wanted a blog tagline, and I went with "Something Wicked This Way Comes", which meant I ought to do something kinda wicked, too.  So there should be a new class with a pretty interesting (and possibly totally broken) ability that I'm rather fond of at the moment. And BONUS! actual Shadowend setting information.  AND since I  haven't finished the illusionist book yet, I might as well hang on to it for a few more days, wrap it up, and put it out on the 17th.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hexes, hexcrawls, hexstuff, and random hexxing.

I've been thinking about hexes and hexcrawls recently, which is something of an exercise in frustration because for the most part I've been on vacation with my family in various parts of New England (my ancestral homeland).  It's tough to do a lot of webcrawling while exploring the Museum of Science (which has cruddy reception), riding the T (which doesn't have any reception), or eating dinner with a friend you haven't seen in 20 years (even I have priorities).

That said, in my typical "let's do EVERYTHING AT ONCE" style, I want to start pulling together some resources for hex generation/content creation, AND utilizing them to populate areas of the Shadowend.  Thus, this is not an exercise in Completely Random Shit, but something more purposeful.  (I'm also going to finish up with the illusion stuff, write a few more classes, write even more stuff for this S&W Appreciation Day thing that's going on, and put together some proposals for Open Gaming Monthly, all because I'm stupid that way).

One thing that has bothered me, however, is the fact that at 6-miles per hex, a lot can happen, particularly in "civilized" regions.  My town would fit in one hex, and 150 years ago, there were 4-6 villages in my town.  In the Shadowend, civilization is ebbing, so ruins are common.

I'm going to experiment with changing scales on a single map.  Settled areas will have 1- or 2-mile hexes.  Border areas will have 6-mile hexes.  And wilderness areas will have 18-mile hexes.  I don't know how it'll lay out exactly, but we do things to learn, so this is learning.


Stuff in a hex/d12
1. Settlement
2. Fortification
3. Ruin
4. Lair
5. Other Feature
6-12. Nothing interesting.

PS - If you have links to good ideas, tables, generators, please post them in the comments.  I'll collect them all and publish them later.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Turning Locks & Opening Undead

Using the cleric's Turn Undead table as a variant thief ability.
Undead HD/Challenge Level instead refers to Dungeon Level.
The thief rolls 2d10 to meet or exceed the number.  On a successful roll, the thief has opened the lock and/or disarmed the trap.  Both will reset and require a new roll when the door is closed (spike your doors!).
On a result of T, the thief has permanently jammed the lock or trap.
On a result of D, the thief can open, lock, disarm, or reset the trap at will and without rolling.

The increased chance of success in many cases should be offset by the increased frequency of the rolls.  The thief is successful more often, but must risk failure more often as well.