There are a few ways to go about looking for things in an analog code system. One can go through line by line, or after suspicions have been raised create something obviously false. Personally though I’ll just flip Method 2 and use my betrayer dice…. which means the dice in the pic above gave me a seven, not ‘bad’ for the results sought.
And that is a Flipping 13 at the lowest…. I guess they are ready to come out of the bag… I may just have to only use straight 3’s for environment testing purposes. I’ll keep on trying though.
I have built these characters (1, 2, 3, 4,5-7, 8, 9) for the primary reason of it tested things I was developing. Specifically the concepts of Major and Minor Disciplines. Now I have to build the system into a coherent random rolling system and test it out just like modifications should be. Adding this to the AD&D system will encourage every character to go a little wild, which is a good thing.
This unavoidable delay right about 1/3rd of the way through releasing the characters is because I’m going to have to go through and organize everything into the major and minor disciplines. In part because I also intend to test out randomizing the rest of the unplaced results as a way to check on the versatility and malleability of the suggested rules. And I love making up new names for characters as they help flesh out a world for me.
People should know that I never really have a problem to make up names for characters or make special abilities/mechanics. Unlike, for example, the Melf naming schema or when people call their characters junior. The previously mentioned characters are going to be different from standard AD&D characters in that they are built upon the give and take concept of sharing with the GM a general path for the character as a developmental concept and individualizing these characters further. A core but sometimes difficult to remember philosophy also one challenging to properly employ especially in the face of someone with a learning disability or other social challenge,
These character concepts bear some similarity to others, rather like building an engine while riding the car, building this character differentiator asks what can we take from where else? I also like that when it comes to concepts that are similar to those already in the book yet don’t have much in the way of mechanical benefits these can be switched out though I always think that they’re there to serve as enjoyable things you can do. All of which is part of processing building characters in me.
The odd thing is there can be utility in taking challenging concepts for either side of the GM Player divide. An Example that is particularly useful was uncovered when i played a Ts’krang female boat sailing character in EarthDawn. Yes it’s broken in the game there’s lots of things are kind of broken in the game so those abilities are just some of the jams that ram right up against the wall of “That’s impossible!” on the GM’s side. Unless the GM is allowing for the pretty powerful ability to be looked at as that’s the magic, Part and parcel of the impossible things we are allowed to do. That tells someone where the Wild Things Are.
Defeating Ermikol the Chaotic. A mechanics inspired story.
Ermikol is of course based upon the iconic art in the AD&D DMG by David A. Trampier which shows a character (a presumed wizard identified as Ermikol the Chaotic) casting a spell while riding away on a horse in a town.
Technically there may be some argument against riding at full speed and casting a spell, but the mage can walk at 3″ and cast (CF DMG description of the Fly Spell) so having another character carry the mage especially in an upright position seems to be within the realm of possibilities.
Ermikol looks pretty hard to stop, and any player may decide this is something in character for a Chaotic character to do. Which means we should ask the question of how should someone (like a DM) prepare for players approaching a town as a place to raid, cities as their fair game and other distracting behaviours?
By using the rules as presented of course!
This is a particularly tough situation for most GM’s to deal with in one way or another since by the rules this is actually a pretty effective tactic. If there is a high movement person (actually someone riding a high movement Mount) they can start one end or another in a town, work the way through the streets just by randomly choosing them and then what is a person, group or party going to do? There’s a couple things to do: first step is to slow the person down. The second is remove as many tools as possible. Then the next is convince the operator it is a bad idea in general, sometimes via making an example often through death.
The first step in countering the tactic is a need to remove the horse or other mount from the equation. There is the option to target and kill or disable the problem but people aren’t really happy with the kill the horse option so is there another path? The answer is yes there is all that needs to be done is for the character to be dismounted. There is a rule in 1st Edition AD&D that lets you Dismount an opponent if they make it successful to hit roll. The weapon is any italicized weapon on page 38 of the PHB which is about half of the polearm weapons in the PHB.
If the wizard has backup tools or items, say for example a wand or staff the character can use an order to activate various Powers there is a second item that will be useful in reducing the combat dangers this character possesses is A Ranseur or Glaive according to the Unearthed Arcana can be used to disarm an opponent by hitting an armor class of 08. (Spetum in PHB is added if desired).
Simply by having ye olde Town Guardsmen trained in these 2 weapons a town can effectively change how people use this particular tactic making it far less effective and reducing the amount of disruption a player character or even NPC actions can have against a thoughtful group or even some individuals. This also makes a fighter less of a meat shield. Now you have a btb choice of Weaponry enabling anyone controlling a well built fighter to figure out how best to deal with a situation with more tools than just “I swing at it and hope I hit”. For example: goblins riding wolves, an evil fighter with a powerful glowing magic sword. destroy the synergy by either knocking them off their mounts or get it out of his hands while the rest of the party beats on them.
I think this was part of what Gary Gygax was going for, mostly, with the huge variety of weapon forms, and in fact probably part of the reason why he did not see a reason for specialization in weaponry. Is it really useful to have situations where in you focus only on one or two weapons instead of using the right tool for the job? Not every situation needs a hammer.
These concepts are found, not only in the original player’s handbook, but are carried over and expanded upon in the Unearthed Arcana. Player characters specialized in a single weapon have sudden issues when that weapon is lost, meaning now any town guardsman can be a force to be contended with for that Longsword specializing fighter especially when they find themselves without their focus.
Time for another round of unique spells for those interested in First Edition AD&D or willing to convert over to their favorite magical spell based environs. Here we have several homages to pre existing spells
False Forged Gorger (Conjuration)
Area of Effect: one room from pantry to feasthall sized
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 round
Saving Throw: None
this spell Summons a small creature that proceeds to not only eat but also spoil all food within the selected area. The it Devourers one man day worth of food per level the spellcaster times the number of gemstones used in the casting of spell, with up to a maximum of the spellcasters level in gems are available to be used by this spell. Any leftover food even if stored in special containers not guarded by Magic of greater than third level are also the spoiled by the creature. This spell includes deceased animals and nonhuman monsters, liquids, organic poisons and potions. It has a 5% per level of the caster of revealing hidden treasures of inorganic nature, even if typically buried in the recesses of a creature.
Selected gemstones used by the caster in the casting immediately turn from their original coloration and instead appear to be dark blood-brown stones something akin to a date in texture and smell. Anyone devouring the bespelled gem is immediately sustained for a number of days equal to the level of the caster without a need to consume any food during the period and only needs to consume one quarter of the liquid ordinarily needed.
All items with notable effects have a 50% chance of imbuing their effects for good or ill upon as many gems as likely for the effects to manifest at full strength. Thus a potion might appear in one of the gems ( typically the one of highest value, then the next would have a different potion if there were two potions in the selected area etc… alcohol if intended as a part of the repast the gems will inebriate all who eat the datelike items while if the entire meal is poisonous to the devourer it is quite likely individuals will find it is still dangerous to consume.
The gemstones will only last one day for each gold piece value in their construction anything over 100 gpv will last for a number of years equal to the spellcasters level. If unused they rot to nothingness.
The caster must have in addition to the gemstones noted above also possess a 7″ tall ugly lost wax cast iron miniature that is then animated by the spirit of greed so summoned. While Casting the spell the caster must smack his lips, gnash his teeth, rub his belly and slap his leg Heartily after setting the iron figurine on the ground and stepping away, at the end of the spell the figurine devours itself to nothingness.
Duration: 2d4+1 rounds
Area of Effect: The directed surface area of 1 unliving Object no more than 5’x5’ per level of the caster.
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 2 segments
Saving Throw: None
This allows a nonliving object touched to act as a magical conduit for touch only ranged spells for 2d4+1 rounds. This randomly determined time period is kept secret from the caster and any other character. While this spell is in effect any spell caster who casts a touch based spell upon the conductive surface applies the effects to all characters in contact with the surface area except for the caster. The spell does not limit which or how many casters may use the conduit nor may this spell be done secretly.
The chosen object so imbued must be a nonliving or otherwise enchanted single piece not composed of individual parts that may be replaced with reasonable effort and without major flaws in the object targeted, thus a carpet would function but a carpet of pine needles would not, a burm of earth or gravel would not but a fitted stone wall or boulder would, a wood floor, flagstone floor or mosaic would but a cobbled stone street would fail; the intact portion of a cracked cemented stone floor would while across the division would not as a reasonably intact ladder would but individual rungs set into stone could not. The area of the casters choosing does not necessarily have to be seen as a part of the area chosen this can include areas that are the caster was not even aware of but has reasonable expectations of existing for example if they know a post goes through like an area they could still operate that or if it goes like down to the next level of a dungeon. It could include for example a rope that has been tossed around the corner or down a well things like that.
It does not matter what sort of energy the touch based magics are, whether they are Lightning, fire, Positive or negative plane energy, etc. so long as the spell is listed as only touch range and generally a single target. The spell does essentially duplicate the effects of adding a limited area of effect ability to the spells cast fitting the description.
The casting mage may choose the contiguous area to be conducive to their plans as a part of casting the touch spell being used without causing the spell to expire. The surface area must be expended in 5’x5’ areas except for one set of 5: 1’x5’ areas that allows contact on a round by round basis should they choose to as well as increasing overall distance of reach. The caster must expend areas to reach through whatever expected needed distance if for example the caster was trying to operate through a wall or around a corner but the difficulties of understanding what might be going on elsewhere should be enforced.
The material components are a silver nail and a strand of copper that is consumed in the casting of the spell by pushing the nail and wire into the object magically.
The Bag of Eggs from Many Hells (Alteration/Evocation) This is a Wu Jen Spell
Area of Effect: one creature
Components: S, M
Casting Time: 1 segment
Saving Throw: Special
The Bag of Eggs from Many Hells enables the Wu Jen to reach into any bag like container or pouch they possess and withdraw from it a egg sized orb of various Hues or colors depending upon level and choices made by the Caster. Once produced, the egg may be hurled at any opponent or area desired as long as there are no barriers between the Casting Wu Jen and the target which must be within 3″, the longest distance the Eggs of many Hells may be hurled. It is magical and can strike those normally only struck by + 5 magic weapons or less who will be affected if it strikes. Magic resistance does apply. At 1″ or closer there’s a +3 to hit at 1″ to 2″ there is a + 2 chance to strike the Target and over 2″ to the maximum 3″ range the chance to hit is only +1. If an egg misses it is treated like a grenade effect.
The color of the egg determines the effect when it strikes a Target. The low-level casters are restricted by level as to what color egg they can bring into existence by means of this spell. Although the highest value of their level always available should the choice be made the caster can elect to select a hue of less than their current ability. Colors and effects are listed below.
Minimum Color of Orb:
1st Hell summons a Pearly egg that deals hellish Damage of 1d4. The egg will crack and generate Light equal to a light spell persisting for 1 round/ level of the caster, and any subject failing to save versus spell will be blinded for the duration.
2nd hell, a Ruby red Egg striking for Damage of 1d6. Heat from the ruby hell Egg will melt up to 1 cubic yard of ice, and creatures not saving versus spell will suffer a loss of 1 point of strength and 1 point of dexterity (or -1 “to hit” and AC) for 1 round following being struck by the orb.
3rd Hell Sparkly Flame Damage of 1d8 sparks bursting from the shattering egg will set aflame all combustibles within a 1’ radius of the target, and unless the target saves versus spell an additional 2 points of fire damage will be suffered (except when protected from fire by magical or natural means).
4th Ashen, dealing Damage of 1d10, The target subject will suffer blindness from the fine acrid ash bursting from the broken egg fragments for 5-8 rounds unless a successful saving throw versus spell is made (cure blindness or dispel magic negates this effect).
Egg from the 5th hell Emerald Damage of 1d12 A magical stinking cloud of 5’ radius (around the target) is created when a successful hit is made, and the subject must save versus poison or else be helpless, and in any event will be helpless until leaving the area of the vapors (cf. stinking cloud spell).
6th Jade Damage of 2d8 The turquoise Egg inflicts electrical damage, and if the target is wearing ferrous metal it will be magnetized for 3-12 rounds unless a saving throw versus spell is successful. Magnetized metal will stick fast to other magnetized metal items, and non-magnetized ferrous metal items will cling until pulled free. Because of the jade component this spell also works against any spirit/undead/deamon/supernatural evil creature even those of a non-corporal form except those specifically immune to lightning.
7th Sapphire hell egg 2d4 Unless a saving throw versus paralyzation is made, the subject creature will be paralyzed for 5-20 rounds.
10th Amethyst (slow) The subject creature will be turned to stone unless a saving throw versus petrification is made, and even if the save is made, the subject will be slowed for 2-8 rounds (cf. slow spell).
12th Amber (paralysis) The subject creature will die unless a successful saving throw versus death magic is made, and even if a save is made, the subject will be paralyzed for 2-5 rounds.
The material component of the spell is a gem of any shape or size of an appropriate hue, or else a clear/colorless one (such as a diamond). The gem must be 50 gold pieces or more in value. The somatic form is of course having the ability to draw from a place of concealment.
This is a homage derived from the Unearthed Arcana Spell: Chromatic Orb (c.v.) and inspired by a movie character.
Area of Effect: Special
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 round
Saving Throw: None
More than just a learning device spellbooks are in some ways mystically tied to the one who studies as much as the item is personal. Noting these ties this spell was created to make the discovery of spellbooks hidden by defeated enemy casters more likely by means of the inherent link between a spell book and the magics learned therein. This allows the caster to trace energies back to the font of learning no matter what shape it is in. Upon anyone but the original owner of the book when this spell is used to trace the spellbook through the link it creates the magics actively discharges any protective spell generating effects both in the spell casters original location as well as if a similar casting was sensibly centered around the book. This result does not harm the book or its contents, but may make one wary of using any spell to trace back the spellbook.
At its base level the caster of the spell has a level x 10% chance of connecting and tracking a desired spellbook. The energies are tied to the use of magic so if the spell is used in places where many spells were cast since the ties last for one day per spell plus the original casting time per spell used (meaning an enchantment could last a very long time) but is better (+5%) if freshly cast after a spellduel. This effect adds 5% chance per spell used by the spellcaster in the area, -3% per spell used by another caster including divine casters. Thusly making it likely that a scene of many magics will result in muddling the traces. This spell can be used to follow an actively carried book.
Other factors also apply, distance though not as much of a factor as one might think does apply some problems (-1% per mile away) as does crossing running water which has a -15% penalty of being tracked cumulative while crossing dimensions only generates a -5% though it does not generate ways to travel to other dimensions. Note that the spell lasts as long as the caster keeps a gem used in the casting of the spell worth not less than 100 GPV in contact with some portion of their orbital socket or similar place.
In addition to the gem required above the caster must hop on one foot with the arm opposite to the eye the gem is gently placed against covering said eye while crowing like a rooster around the area a spell is suspected to have been cast from a book the caster is interested in. Failure of the spell does not consume the gem, the gem is only consumed when the caster either gives up on the chase or finds the book after a successful casting.
Disarm Spell (Evocation)
Duration: see spell
Area of Effect: 6″ sphere centered on the caster.
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 5 segments
Saving Throw: Special
The magi with bold moves can command a number of forces equal to their level to hurtle from their arms as they esoterically gesture resulting in sending drawn weapons (only) flying from chosen opponents grasp. The gestures are needed to direct and choose, along with appropriate onomatopoeias, signalling the precise target the forces attempt to remove any dart sized or larger weapon from the selected opponent.
Unless the wearer has a locking gauntlet the Magi only needs to score a to hit roll against an armor class of 8 otherwise use the locking gauntlets armor class. The to hit roll by the mage gains a +1 to hit. Success sends any weapon flying 1d3 feet per level away from the weapon wielder like a grenade miss, unless a lanyard is employed which only may be done with one handed weapons not intended to be thrown (and unless a save vs. paralysis is made the lanyard inflicts 1 point of damage per level of the caster). If the possessor has two weapons their primary weapon is lost, and excepting they make a save vs. paralyzation for each additional weapon those too will be spun away from the character.
Once cast, the mage has the option to attempt to disarm opponents among the available targets at the rate of 1 every 2 segments, or 1 every round (beginning with the initial round of casting) as desired. The Magi is forbidden from switching betwixt these options once the decision is made.
With the first choice, the caster must exotically gesture at the desired target on the second segment after the spell is cast, and a disarming force will be discharged. Repeating thereafter every 2 segments until all of the attempts are spent, which may mean the spell carries over into the following round for more powerful casters.
If the second option is chosen, the spell caster may time the discharge of the energies as desired, so long as one charge is burst forth each subsequent round. This option has the benefit of enabling the spell caster to actually discharge one of the energies and still use other magics as well in the same round. The other mystical event must be of such a nature as to not require the continuing concentration of the spell caster, or else he or she will involuntarily forego the discharge of any further disarming blows from the original spell. The generous opportunity to discharge energies and perform other feats of magic in the same round is of such benefit that the potential loss of later missiles well balances the spell. If the Magi fails to maintain an exact mental count of the number of disarming blows remaining, this is an unfailing indication that they have foregone the remaining portion of the spell involuntarily.
Note that this spell is completely useless against creatures who only use natural weaponry and such magical abilities as the ability to turn to Stone with gaze or breath, other breath weapons and the like though certain tool using creatures such as Dragons using a magical wand, stave or Rod to apply some sort of magical effect would be then vulnerable to the removing their grasp on the magical item via the spell. Many spells are also not preventable by this spell, unless they have large handheld items that could be removed by a person using a disarm ability.
The major material component is a rune encrusted toy sized Ranseur or Glaive costing at least 10 gold pieces worth of effort.
This spell uses some mechanics from the Unearthed Arcana spell Melf’s Minute Meteors (c.v.)
Leomunds Tiny Stable (Abjuration)
Duration: 8 hours per level
Area of Effect: 8’x8’area
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 3 turns
Saving Throw: None
Supposedly from the legendary mind of Leomund though most scholars agree the misnamed spell is neither claimed by him nor in his style. Perhaps penned by a wizard interested in anonymity or assigned by a mentor to prove their skills at theft from Leomund instead settling for spell creation as easier. The magics can protectively house one beast of travel or burden for every level of the caster. This mount is as well cared for as can be expected in an average stable. The mounts have both enough food and water to maintain their current status and will actually heal a rate of standard given for a tended for but not optimally cared for Mount. The protective magics prevents the mounts from being noted or disturbed in any way until the spell ends unless named allies of the caster or the caster takes the creatures. The creatures are treated as if they were behind a barrier that was stoutly locked mentally away unless the stable is broached by using their mental capacity to pick locks at -10%. This protection does not extend past minor weather effects and any dramatic natural or magical occurrence can harm the creatures stabled.
There are secondary effects only occur if the material components are from a place the caster has been residing in for over a year. The mounts receive benefits as they would if they were still residing in that location (this could be for good or ill for the mounts), any special effects that would ordinarily spring from residing and being neglected or cared for in that location are as sensibly applied as is possible.
If cast adjacent to or on the cared for grounds of an existing structure the ownership is conferred in part to the owner of the structure allowing the owner to unlock and freely access the stable. In certain cases this is considered either a wonderful benefit or a potentially dangerous unintended consequence. Most casters are recommended to research the area before they cast the spell if they have concerns about the ownership of the location it is attached to.
The spell requires a twist of straw, a scrap of leather, a wand sized branch and a fist sized stone, planted while chanting construction ditties and pacing the location selected. As a final note the spell automatically ends if the locus is closed without a beast within.
Other Eye (Necromancy)
Area of Effect: One eye/eye socket belonging to the mage
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 round
Saving Throw: None
This spell alters the forces of life and death granting some benefits as well as inflicting some prices upon the caster. The Wizard casting this spell must have an eye socket that has been unoccupied for a day which then may be filled by any reasonably similarly sized eye (within 50% of the original) harvested from the freshly dead by the mage during his time the eye socket is unoccupied. The selected and enchanted eye retains its original appearance, which can aid or harm the casters appearance at the Dms discretion depending upon the properties of the eye itself.
The eye can support and benefit from magical vision enhancements until the eye naturally expires in 1d6 days plus one day per level of the wizard. The eye grants whatever notable vision enhancements the eye would ordinarily grant a creature of the same type as it was harvested from during its usable life, but does not restore special eyesight the character may have had if the original eye was in the socket (an elf with a human eye would not have infravision in that eye as an example). If the eye is part of the interactions to gaze based effects that could negatively impact the wizard there’s a 50% chance that the effects will be negated. In addition if the eyes have special special or powerful abilities associated with them there is a 50% chance they can be activated by the wizard, at the expense of one day of utility per attempt at activation.
After having been magically modifed the eye is in some ways vulnerable to magic. Spells such as petrification and preservation actually reduce the viable duration of the eye to the minimum of one week or 7 days. While using the eye in certain magics especially a Wizards eye spell reduces the duration by one day per use. Of course if the eye is destroyed the caster must fulfill the requirements to replace the eye through the use of the spell as normal.
The material component is obviously those raw materials harvested at least during the day after the previous eye that… occupied… the socket expired and then 100 gpv of gemstone dust to seal the magics within the supporting structure. Wise wizards plan ahead and avoid capture whenever possible in order to mitigate the problems associated with all visual organs being incapacitated. Rumors abound that some powerful Lich who has eye related artifacts may have designed this spell in order to force others to seek out malicious inventions to restore their vision. Part of the verbal components requires invocation of the grace of the Man-of-felds.
Range: 5′ per level of the caster
Duration: 1d4 rounds +1 round per 2 levels
Area of Effect: 1 5’x5′ square per level of the caster
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: half a round
Saving Throw: Negates impairment, special damage is still dealt even if save is made.
This modified version of the original Stinking Cloud spell (q.v.) allows the caster to add up to four additional material components to the stinking cloud foundation. The primary consideration for these is to reduce the odds of a particular target avoiding the effects of the cloud by adding components that have noted greater benefits against the target. Critical to the optimal utility of the spell is any component added to the spell must be worth at least 3 silvers. Each component that meets that criteria reduces the save of the target by 1, thus a werewolf who is caught by the vapours who has silver added to the mix of at least 3 silvers value has a -1 applied to theur saving throw attempts. Adding wolfsbane to the components listed would increase the penalty to -2. Trying to add the same component a second time only wastes components.
If the target is normally resistant to Stinking Cloud spell then the addition of the first item causes the effect to apply to the target, even those normally immune (Vampires is the classical example). For each item past the first that should apply an effect to the target the save is still reduced by one. Adding a vial of Holy water to the components as one of the addendums makes the spell effects applicable to any undead or supernatural creature (deamons and devils for example) impacted by such items and causes 1d4 damage per round the beings are inside the cloud. These effects also can be applied to adding a flask of burning oil against creatures like Trolls (1d4 damage per round, this damage does not occur against most other targets who do not have a noted vulnerability to fire) Note that poisons at best deal the 1d4 per round of immersion for targets that can be poisoned, even save or die poisons. While poisons that cause special effects such as paralysis and other effects are rarely carried over, if ever.
Just for clarification, this spells special effects do not penetrate certain spells such as Globe of Invulnerability or the minor version of said spell nor the protections from charge based magical items even if the effects could target the adversary. The standard material components found in the Stinking cloud spell (q.v.) must still be provided.
Dance of the Dragonfly (Alteration)
Duration: 1 minute per level of the caster
Area of Effect: personal
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 2 segments
Saving Throw: None
Via the casting of the spell the Wu Jen causes his or her material form to seemingly dance like a dragonfly darting back and forth from place to place while in actuality exiting This Plane and coming back appearing to have darted like a dragonfly in a random Direction. During the duration of each minute the spells power is in effect The segment the character blinks out is determined by Rolling 2D4 and during the same segment he or she will appear to dance to the determined location which will be at least 2′ from the previous position. Direction is determined by 1d8 1 = right ahead, 2 = right, 3 = right behind 4 = behind by week was left behind 6 = left 7 = left ahead, and 8 = ahead.
if some object already is occupying the space where the spell Caster is determined to have danced into his or her form is then shifted in a direction away from the original position for any distance necessary to appear in an empty space but never in excess of an additional 10. If that extra distance still dictates the magic user and another solid object are to occupy the same space the Wu Jen is then trapped in the Ethereal plane. during and after the dancing segment of a round the Caster can be attacked only by area of effect attack forms such as breath weapons or fireballs. Those not so able can only strike the Caster if they manage to attack prior to the dancing segment. The Caster is only 75% likely to be able to perform any acts other than a physical attack with a hand-held stabbing or striking weapon during the course of the spell. The use of any spell, device or item might not be completed in a correct manner or Direction 75‰ of the time. the referee will determine success or failure of the attempt and the adjudicate the results thereof according to the action being performed.
Those able to see the spiritual form of the Caster, the ability to detect Illusions, or having true sight will quickly realize he or she is not actually dancing but is instead leaving and reappearing. It should be noted that there is no way to cancel the spell, if the spell continues past the combat this is occasionally annoying to fellows adventuring with the caster.
the verbal components involved the buzz of a dragonfly while clapping four times to set the beat of the dance. While the somatic components involves slowly starting a few dance steps no matter how poorly performed. And the material component is a dried piece of a dragonfly (large or normal sized) painted with the sigil for Speed crushed in the hands on the fourth clap.
I have more thoughts about the various types of skills I wish to focus on in Heroic Tourney. This particular post covers the basic concept of what a GM and a writer of the scenario should focus on to meet the needs of the players and the Show. This post is inspired by a comment by a game designer that they were willing to build for commissions but the pricing was variable dependent upon how difficult the writing assignment was. This led me to ask the question: How difficult is it to write for the needs of the Heroic Tourney Show?
Any scenario needs to meet the HT Show needs for being successfully shot. Thusly it must include not only breaking down the story into three to four sections (pretty much self contained arcs) each one which lasts about 2 hours or so (there is some leeway) while every player needs at least one opportunity (and preferably as many as possible, though see the time calculations below) to demonstrate their ability in each of the five categories. The judges should have the Player Character sheets for reference and probably a bullet point list of things to look for (which if I was using the classic module N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God I as head writer would have to build) for judging and feedback. Then the judges will probably need to have these in a separate packet as a way to make their jobs easier.
I think for my needs (as head writer/host) I should add in a requirement that the submission for pre-written scenarios requires notes as to how many arcs are intended. Using N1 for instance though means I probably need to have a discussion with the DM as to the arc breakdown. The example of Cult of the Reptile God would probably end up looking something like this: ([Intro/travel] Town exploration, [Travel] cult HQ, [Travel] dungeon, Boss encounter [denouement] ), or just agree to signals letting the DM know when to hustle players off to break before the next arc.
As a scenario designer I and everyone else will want a compelling story opportunity, for some game systems this can be either non-existent or understood (for example a straight Dungeon run has the understood story of “beat the dungeon”, while some systems require the players to determine the goals for the game as a sub game) in most cases though good or relevant hooks have to be there to help with maintaining the Judges and viewers interests as well.
There are Many ways to solve a problem.
Then the designer has to take and build in opportunities for each one of the five skills that those players should be looking for turning into an opportunity in that two hour session. Which if you have 5 players at 5 skills is 25 opportunities, While I do think some should be group presentation of opportunities allowing for quickest solutions many should be pretty individual though they can have multiple opportunities presented nearly simultaneously.
Then that 25 opportunities over 2 hours translates into one about every 4 minutes over the length of the filming opportunity for the skills to be shown, resolved and handled in that time frame. Keeping in mind that it may not all be seen on film because we’re only going to take the most Illustrative options for the final cut. Most of this probably won’t end up on film but they’re there because they may be things the GM or the judges should want to talk about to the players or they could increase their focus utility for the session. Still talking about one every 4-6 minutes. Unless we can combine multiple player results in the single opportunity that sort of cuts down on every other aspect of the game. Which is worrisome. In some ways this seems like a way to have clouds of clues flying above the players heads like a veritable belfry of bats in a problematic murder mystery.
While it’s okay to not solely focus as much on the story as in a home or convention experience it does need advance for that way lies better play and fun. Ideally giving optimal usage of the abilities is going to be key to having Heroic Tourney successfully show those abilities often if the opportunities can do double or triple duties of advance the plot as well as be entertaining. The opportunities for showing off abilities need to be not concealed but seamlessly integrated. Setting a high bar indeed.
Have to give the judges opportunity to examine many facets.
Having covered how difficult the bar is for a scenario, let’s talk about rewards for designing a solid scenario for Heroic Tourney. When it gets put on the show the designer gets the 250$ and Exposure, their name in lights and all the hoopla that comes with that!! The designer also gets to have and hold all the rights to the scenario, except where it conflicts with the show (the scenario writer, just like everyone else cannot be allowed to harm/hold up the show easily without just cause): publish it before, after, during the show. There is also the possibility for the scenario writer to be judging or refereeing on the same show for scooping up potential extra resources! Like more EXPOSURE (sarcasm) and possibly networking (and if working at a paying gig the $ that comes with that gig).
Why this instead of as the other big players in the industry do? Because I wish to focus upon the show, I’m not a publishing company, not here to make money off of anything other than the show because I need to keep that focus. Another part is because I am an artist, I understand exactly how dumb the exposure is as a selling element,I know why people do it, I know why they’re willing to get paid in exposure and why it’s offered but I understand the core level difficulty that results in the conflict of interests in a bad way.
People have to make a living too. So I’m aiming for about $25 bucks an hour; assuming a 10 hour day means about $250 bucks. That’s a living wage in Colorado so we’ve got three judges at $250 we’ve got a designer at $250 and a GM at $250 the reason why I’m spending more money than some GM’s to charge for like services is again long hours from a labor of love. A filming crew member runs about $200 for the day, possibly more.
I as a show producer, designer, creative elements author, and head writer as well as host I have an understanding of what needs to be done and that people need a living wage, yea verily this is a hobby, yes we have fun, but this is going to be work. There’s going to be times we sit down nose-to-the-grindstone in order to get stuff done. Also we’re showing participants intelligence, cognitive abilities, skills in adaptability and more, that should be rewarded.
So if anyone thinks this is a bum deal tell me so. If you can think of a reason for a better offer sing out. In the end though there will be people who can command more in appearance fees because they bring more to the table if you are one of those the go ahead: Bring It!
I volunteered to review some of Lloyd Metcalf’s work (CEO of Fail Squad Games) as part of working working with and also being a fan of the First Edition of AD&D, this was also spurred by having some interest in needing to learn more about the 5th edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons when he offered his stuff for the classic swag of reviewers copies. Biting on that like someone playing a greedy Dwarf checking the quality of a suspicious gold coin, I am now going to review the generously shared products with those who read the rest of the post.
The supplements reviewed are shown below with direct links to the DriveThruRPG webpage. They can also be found at https://www.failsquadgames.com/ Which probably helps him more.
Lands of Lunacy – Labyrinth Lord Character Sheet, 5e Character Sheet, 1E_OSRIC Character Sheet.
Well, having seen some of his work before I have course have a fair idea of the general thrust of Fail Squad Games. FSG is not a big Powerhouse in gaming (yet?) it is a talented small-size organization building a portfolio of excellent utility items and Adventure ideas for players of many editions of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons as well as other Concepts.
For any review I follow the standard reviewing practice of Good-Bad-Ugly-Utility-Summation for product reviews. Meaning using at least a paragraph: I point out what I like, dislike, what is potentially problematic and what seems highly useful followed by an overall picture of the results of ingesting the products. Plus of course my own spin on reviewing products.
Having known that Lloyd Metcalf is a quality artist as well as layout provider the layout and artwork isn’t stunningly better or worse than any of his previous projects. They are all examples of fine design and keenly well matched and executed artwork. This may sound like low or no praise but that is the wrong impression, I am merely trying to keep from being envious. For example the illustration of the character casting a spell (presumably a wizard) his stance says “frolicing” while his serious look and clutching a book while reading says intense concentration. Exactly capturing what a caster should be doing: intense focus even if doing supposedly frivolous things! Nailed it far better than I can.
I would also like to see future products that have effects without damaging the characters in an unusual way. either in a short-term or long-term basis in part because insanity drain is a new mechanic that can of course be problematic for certain players while not all of the other members of the group may have a problem with it. Of course Law in and of itself would seem to oppose Chaos in this form. Therefore there should be kind of balancing effect by Lawful Mages and Priests to increase spells of a defensive nature against the cosmic vagaries of Chaos. Many others would also end up having an interest in at least protecting themselves while allowing others to choose as they wish. Reinforcing that Law, not just the Prime Material plane should be opposed to too much Chaos. although perhaps in the case of individuals protecting areas around themselves or simply small counter projections of the elements formed by Law itself as opposed to the Prime Material Plane. The Prime Plane being a neutral or balancing concept itself. This could generate some interesting spells perhaps due to expensive researches.
One of the problems I’ve had with the writing is that there are occasions on which a swift reading or a rereading through may give a different impression than the first careful reading, this especially applies to items such as keeping limitations separate from each reference point. For example The Drexel having a limitation of twice a day on their Mana burst ability. That restriction on the ability should be noted to have the twice-a-day limitation in the actual power description on the monster in order to prevent confusion. A GM may feel it’s okay to use the power every other round four or five times in a combat because the monster description does not state the twice per day limitation on it. Therefore in that particular section the previous paragraph context not being read and they have the problem of being excessive with the monsters power. Probably more of a quibble than a legitimate concern but something that can happen.
As far as potentially problematic thoughts, I didn’t see any notations about various spells possibly affecting the Sanity drain mechanic (Mind Bar for example) as well certain devices in original AD&D (Helm of Telepathy, the Ring of the Mind or Ioun Stones perhaps?) that could have had an impact on the Sanity issues. There’s also possibly which is exemplified in your sample Adventure items from the Prime Material that are based upon Law they may also act curiously. Yet interestingly there is no mention of ideas for dealing with if an aware magical item of a sort dedicated to Law may itself become insane, go quiet until off the plane, or have its power diminished by being exposed to these forces. It is also possible, of course, that I have not seen the writing on the subject so take these questions and notes with a large grain of salt, as well as not ignoring that golden rule of “DM may have to rule on a case by case basis”.
Honestly there was some difficulty in initially writing this. Most of the difficulties stem from the prevalence of retirement mechanics in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons books. Insanity is not typically a Force Retirement mechanic in the DMG, but it can make a character less loveable until they either become villains through no choice of their own or merely unplayable. Though still not presented as such, I feel that adding events to make insanity a common mechanic is problematic in this area. So when the first thing I run across is a mechanic I just dislike, even though there is caveats of course for player input to these issues and for people to disregard these choices I also understand there’s a great deal of thought and design put into these Concepts. I don’t want to just disregard them because my own personal feelings are “I don’t really need another source of enforced character problems”.
It took me a little while to write this because of those issues this is obviously a person who’s working hard at their goals but personally I don’t view some of these items as either necessary or very lovable, YMMV. So there is some issues with utility reliability also as far as my personal concern thusly stopping progress on an analysis of Lloyd’s contributions he shared with me. Until I tied in the concept of names of the Lands of Lunacy tables being usable as an expansion on ideas for curses affecting characters. Essentially increasing the utility of a spell already in the Player’s Handbook that inspires me, because now I have a hook to put the whole review upon.
In summation these fine products are a good choice for expanding the options a DM has when dealing with groups. In addition I have had a few questions that provoked interesting thoughts and that is actually high praise.
Below are some spells inspired by Reading the Lands of Lunacy….
Lands of Lunacy Curse (Abjuration)
Duration: 1d12 Rounds per Level
Area of Effect: Special
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 6 segments
Saving Throw: Special
This spell warps into the target a short lived fragment of either pure Chaos or the marginal attention of a Drexol, no one is sure which. The results are if the targeted creature is a spellcaster they must obey by the results of either table 1-2 or 1-3 depending upon if they are casting of Divine or Arcane magics. If not a spellcaster the target is Afflicted with a result from table 1-1, and if no effect result happens the table is checked again the next turn. all tables are found on pages 4&5 of the Lands of Lunacy setting guide by Lloyd Metcalf.
Notably, this spells parameters exactly duplicates the Spell Remove Curse (CF: PHB) in its cause curse form except the randomized duration if the curse is laid, Protection from Chaos spells always function against this spell. Alternately the notes above may be simply added to the options for cursing opponents.
The Field of Bursting Curses (Abjuration) reversible
Duration: 1d12 rounds per level of the caster
Area of Effect: 6 1″x1″x1″ cubes strung in a contiguous path.
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 round
Saving Throw: Special
This spell is much like the 3rd level spell Remove Curse (cf: PHB) but instead it enables a Caster to either attempt to remove multiple curses with a lower chance of success or as the original creator intended to inflict curses upon their opponents. As a field of bursting curses this spell enables the Caster to inflict one curse per three levels they have attained at this point in the spell is cast. in addition the saving throw benefit or penalties are adjusted by how close the alignment of the Caster is to their opponents on the 9 point alignment chart: if they are diametrically opposed there’s a -2 penalty applied to the save, if they are neither opposed nor aligned towards the caster there is no save modifier and if they are aligned with there’s a +1 to their save. Should the Lands of Lunacy supplement by Fail Squad Games be available, those alternate forms of curses may be inflicted by the spell.
If there are no or not enough current targets for the spell in the defined area the caster may leave the curses (or curse indiction points) randomly sown in the area for the limits of the random duration as if they were invisible mines (and detectable as such by sensitive or powerful characters).
Because of the indirect nature of the spell there is only a 75% chance a cursed individual will be uncursed or have the curse abated enough to rid themselves of a cursed item. again if there are not enough current targets for the spell the spell generates invisible minelike items that must be found to try to remove the curse either on accident or by chasing the cursed individual into them.
The material component for this spell is a small horn or music pipes that must be winded as the spell is cast. Part of the enchantment requires these to be blessed by another priest of the same religion as the caster and inscribed with no less than 12 runes dedicated to their God. 6 of the runes should be unforgiving and 6 should be forgiving to utilize this spell in its intended and reversible forms, for some deities it may be difficult to find the set of 6 for each form the spell may take if so the runes may be repeated, but the component is only usable for removing curses (forgiving) or laying curses (unforgiving).
I think it would be interesting to see what any readers think about this, to offer their insight on or about certain things I have asked but I know your mileage may vary. Just things I’ve noted, that may be of benefit from a different thoughts.