Friday, September 28, 2012

I'd Play That Campaign


Thirty One Days of Fun But Hard Work

Not a lot to post today, but that doesn't mean I'm not posting. I'm thoroughly committed to seeing through my plan of "Thirty One Days of Horror," filled to the brim with horror movies, as well as some book and game reviews. It's a lot of fun, and I used my free time while the wife and child were away to get a jump start on it, but I will see this through. Trying to watch each film right before reviewing's much more satisfying to talk about the movie in question with it fresh in mind.

So....more later! I'll post other stuff for Friday if any interesting news pops up.

For today, I offer some cool images to segue September into favorite month of the year:

Horror and Dark Art Widescreen 218 Wallpaper

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cool Blog and Other Stray Bits

To keep up with my Monday-Wednesday-Friday regimen, I present...another post!

First off, go check out How to Succeed in RPGs or Die Trying by S.P.. I really like what he does there, it's full of useful stuff and inspires me to do more like it. He's also pushing out monsters you can use with 4E or Gamma World, which is pretty danged cool.

On the computer gaming front I have been playing lots of Rift, which is a weird way of responding to how much I liked Guild Wars'd think I'd be playing more of that, right? The problem remains that GW2 is what everyone is playing right now, so the crowded mobs charging around from heart to heart have been crazy, especially for someone like myself who has an aversion to digital mobs. But you know, Mists of Pandaria just arrived, so maybe they'll go back home and I can enjoy GW2 more as a result. I have a serious aversion to the new World of Warcraft race: the pandaren look suspiciously like fat furrier cosplayers to me, and I loathe cutsey anthropomorphized things of all sorts, so this expansion effectively killed my interest in ever returning to WoW. They'll need to have the Lich King himself show up on Pandaria and slaughter every last one of the furries before I'll set foot on Azeroth again...

Anyway, Rift is pretty cool in its own right. I am planning to buy their deluxe expansion deal, which gets you the Storm Legion expack with a year's gameplay and some goodies. It's nice to be committed to a game again, to have one I'm happy with. Rift has many dynamic features that are just interesting to experience; it's gimmick, the perpetual battle against the invading elemental forces which try to blast their way into reality through Rift gates, is endlessly fascinating to me. The storyline's not half bad, either, and I like the look and feel of the game. I'm such a slow leveler though that it's hard to imagine I'll make level 50 by the time the expansion releases November...13th? I think that's when it hits. That's about seven weeks away. I have a level 26 human warrior and a level 24 Bahmi (half giant) rogue....I'd have to level each of them 3 levels a week, roughly, to make the level cap before then. That's assuming I ignore all my alts in the process. It seems like I can manage 1 to 1.5 levels for every 2-3 hours or so of gameplay. Assuming I can pull off 30 hours of game time in seven weeks....hmmm yeah, not gonna happen.

It's fun browsing all the blogs out there dedicated to MMOs. I get the feeling that to really play an MMO properly you need to sink 40-50 hours a week into these things. Not a month....a week. I once ran with a group in WoW that chastised me for playing only 20 hours a week a few years ago (at a time when I was unmarried and childless, though my soon-to-be-wife was also playing WoW at the pace of a full-time job). I was told that anything less than 30 hours a week was considered "casual" and I would never pass muster for the endgame. Well, showed them! I never even made level cap, let alone bother with the endgame.

Anyway, the MMO scene has already hit the one-month mark, if even that, in Guild Wars 2 and are already complaining about the game. Really, people? Doesn't anybody work anymore? I know a lot of kids play these games, but even kids have responsibilities outside of the internet, right?

 I get the feeling that there's a huge schism between what one might consider a reasonable amount of time to focus on hobbies (i.e. MMOs) and what's actually being funneled into those MMOs. Maybe not a lot of MMOers have kids, or are trust fund babies, or have no lives outside of gaming? I'd say my wife and I have fairly bland lives outside of raising our son and gaming and the idea of devoting full time hours to a game every week endlessly for months at a time strikes me as bordering on maniacal and obsessive.*

Anyhoo! This is old, well-trod ground and other people who have been through the culture of gaming addiction have written far more interesting stuff about it than I ever could.

So my weekend downard spiral into dismal discontent with life has already improved with the return of my wife and child from their two week vacation. Yay! My kid has 4 teeth and a fifth on the way. He's standing up from sitting on his own, and can walk--carefully--if he's holding my hand. He's making noises that sound less like a baby and more like a little boy. It's amazingly cool to watch him develop.

Either way tonight's our third wedding anniversary so no game for Wednesday, that shall resume next week. And yesterday was my son's ten-month milestone! Poor little guy came home with a cold, but he's holding up well. My wife is worried about it, as she came back from vacationing in an area with a West Nile Virus scare. She's going to call the pediatrician today for advice to help calm her, hopefully.

This Saturday my bi-weekly group is going to go retro with a 1E AD&D retro excursion. Next week my Wednesday group will resume one of its many Pathfinder games. I'm not that satisfied with Pathfinder, I think the system is a bit over-powered, but I don't run games for the system anymore, I do it for the camaraderie, the story telling, and the adventures. Good stuff.

*Maniacal and Obsessive were two traits that fit my wife's MMO obsession prior to the arrival of our child. She still makes a good show for it, but only fractionally that of pre-mom-era. Speaking of which, not that anyone ever looks at my Raptr card, but I actually haven't been playing Fallout 3 (well, maybe a couple hours) or even Dead Island. I was annoyed that two of my favorite games showed no hours logged and wanted to reflect that I actually had sunk a ridiculous level of play time into both, pre Raptr...well, not so much Dead Island (just a fews hours missing) but definitely Fallout 3, a game I have played more than any other except friggin' World of Warcraft, and continue to load up and play for an occasional hour or two every couple of weeks, just to see what else I can find in the wasteland; I have 74 hours on one character (I've played four characters in Fallout 3 now) and still haven't done two of the DLC packs on him, or found 20-odd locations that remain unexplored. Admittedly, he's like some sort of walking post-apocalyptic god with his winterized T51B power armor, his rail cannon and his seemingly bottomless gatling laser....not to mention his trusty supermutant sidekick and dog....but its still fun to wander around getting into scraps and finding entire chunks of game I've never seen before....

Anmyway, Raptr lets you do manual adjustments, but for some reason shows these hours as current playtime. Meh.....I just want the petty distinction of demonstrating my dedicated 200-odd hours in Fallout-Land.

You know you've played too much Fallout when you switch out your T51B armor for Hellfire armor for fun. You know you've played waaaaaay too much Fallout when you think going totally nude with a random knife and streaking through downtown Washington DC to see how long you live sounds like fun...

Oh, and FYI don't try searching for "streaking through Fallout 3" in google. At least, not at work.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

AD&D I can't quit you

Despite reservations about my burn out with D&D in particular and gaming in general, I've still got a major AD&D bug. I'll be posting more soon! I also have a regular campaign starting Saturdays using the classic books, should be fun. We'll be playing in the RAW, with as many of the rules dialed On as we can stomach. I'm looking forward to it...

One way I'm going to keep it fresh? I'm starting an entirely new campaign setting, tailor-made for AD&D 1st edition. Should be interesting...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cool Things for the Apocalypse: Eerie Presents Hunter

While investigating the largest local new/used book store (there aren't many of them around here, unfortunately) I found a really cool gem worth mentioning:

Hunter retails for on $20 with 172 pages of gruesome post-apocalyptic tales inside, a real deal!
I snagged it for $10. Woot!

Awesome cover, and contains the full run of the "Hunter" stories presented over several years' worth of issues in Eerie magazine between 1973 and 1981. This is great stuff, and its something I would have loved back when it was new and I was too young. I remember being fascinated by the likes of Eerie, Epic, Heavy Metal, and Savage Sword of Conan....those were the "mature" cntent magazines I was forbidden from buying. By the time I had the freedom to do so, hunting down back issues was a it's great to see Eerie getting compilations like this, which I can add to my Dark Horse collection of Savage Sword of Conan (up to Volume 8 so far although I'm still reading volume 3).

If you're not familiar, Hunter is a character (the first of several, actually) who holds the name, a wandering adventurer in a post-apocalyptic wasteland as only the seventies could imagine it, inspired by the likes of Omega Man and Planet of the Apes (as the book indicates in its foreword). Hunter is a half-mutant armed with ancient artifacts of the old war, and mankind's last hope against the slavering hordes of demon-mutants. This book has all of his stories as well of those of his successors in very clean restorations of the original black and white tales. It's some got very good art. Those grognards out there who predate me by a few years probably were lucky to read some of this when it was new.

If you love mutants, post-apocalyptic adventures and that special vibe that only the seventies could pull off with its crazy spin on SF and a perpetual terror of the cold war blowing everything up for good, you'll love Hunter. You could probably get some good story bits out of this as well for a Mutant Future or Mutant Epoch campaign.

It turns out Dark Horse is reprinting all of the old Eerie magazines in archived volumes. They're a bit pricey, but I may have to start collecting them. If there's one thing I believe hasn't aged as well over the years, its comics; I don't really know why, but for me the late sixties and seventies were a unique golden age in the evolution of storytelling in comics, when story still mattered more than graphics. Anyway, I'll have to keep an eye out to see what's next in the Eerie releases now that I know about this.

Brainstorming Things to Blog About

My expression of Burnout is not as bad as the clinical diagnosis, nor is it specifically about gaming in general...I know that behind this I am experiencing a lot of problems with work, and the slow but methodical fashion in which my professional career is unhinging in slow motion. A side effect of this, I think, is that the sense that I am just going through the motions with some of my hobbies, and not experiencing real satisfaction or stress relief from them is a byproduct of bigger issues I'm dealing with.

That said, in thinking about stuff I could use to maintain creative focus while also getting out of the rut I feel I am in creatively, I came up with a few interesting ideas. Starting this week and next I hope to expand on some of them.

Blogs are a weird thing. They're fairly personal (or can be), enough so that it's easy to write for yourself and if you develop a following it can be entirely incidental to the personal intent of the author. There's a whole different sort of blog, the one designed for promotion of the author or the author's ideas, goals or focus. Then, of course, there's the professional blog...where the author is perhaps one of many voices and the blog itself is a medium for the expansion or focus on another entity entirely.

I've treated this blog as I intended when I started it out early last year: as a means of motivating myself to write and stay focused on writing. As such I have written what whimsy prompted me to do, rather than perhaps what was best to generate hits. I've also kept this blog away from advertisements and generally (for the most part) ignored metrics. So what this means is, if I feel like writing weird stuff for it, I feel no compulsion to do otherwise. 

Anyway, the ideas I have are as follows:

1. I'm going to do "thirty one days of horror" starting October 1st, and carrying through until the end of the month. The goal is to focus on one horror film, book or game each day as a tribute to my appreciation for the genre and also know...Halloween.

2. I think I need a D&D break, for a bit. I've actually been on burnout mode for a long time, but this weekend was one more reminder of it. The reasons are complex, ranging from the fact that I've been engaging in RPGs as a hobby for too long, I feel like I'm in a creative rut, that "special something" I used to feel for D&D in particular has been absent for a while now, and my sense of community with the hobby has been badly eroded by the internet.

A break from D&D does not mean a break from gaming entirely, though. I am not sure how I'd fill my time without gaming. I have other RPGs I'd really like to devote the time to exploring. Chief on the list are The Mutant Epoch and Conspiracy X, followed by my old favorite, Call of Cthulhu. I'd love to get into some other RPGs again as well, more interesting and unconventional genres that could be supported by BRP, Savage Worlds or GURPS. I need to try this, for my own sake of enjoyment.

3. I haven't posted much this year on my other hobbies and interests, namely archaeology and astronomy. I really feel like I should focus more on this. I hardly ever read fiction anymore; all of my interests as a reader center around non-fiction and science. I have also developed a keen fascination for cold war history, would like to talk more about stuff like this. It takes a bit more effort than the typical ramblings of a blog, but I feel it would be worth it.

So if you see a wider range of interest percolating through the blog soon, this is why! D&D probably isn't going away as a topic for me....I do enjoy it....I just feel I need to diversify my focus a bit, to keep from eroding my interest in the game. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Burn Out!

I'm experiencing a bit of burn out. Again, I suppose. It boils down to this:

1. Been gaming for thirty two years now. Have played all editions of D&D and many, many other RPGs over the years. My sense of enjoyment with them is both sated and rests upon well-trod territory.

2. The hobby is in kind of a weird place these days, and I am realizing I don't much like what the RPG community has morphed into, with its weird little factions and splinter groups. Maybe its always been like this (read any old issue of Dragon magazine for evidence to support the notion) but perhaps my tolerance for it is diminishing, dramatically.

3. I have other things I want to focus on. I do want to keep writing about gaming...but it feels sort of hollow right now.

Long story short, I'll be focusing more on all sorts of stuff in the blog, and try to push myself away a bit from writing about games. I have already done this a bit, but expect a bit more of it going forward. I feel like I need to branch out a bit, diversify my interests. I don't think I could tolerate cutting out my weekly tabletop games...but I may move them to just once a week, at first. Make weekends more for the family, and other hobbies and interests. Give my gaming batteries* a recharge. We shall see...

*not necessarily my computer gamer batteries, those are different things....

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Fearsome Four Get the 3.5 Treatment

So as I continue to have fun with the new AD&D and 3.5 D&D reprints I took a bit of time to translate the Fearsome Four into 3rd edition. It was a fun exercise, and also interesting to really be reminded of the subtle but distinct differences between straight-up 3.5 and Pathfinder. The AD&D versions are right here. For now, though: the 3.5 edition versions!

Corlance dan Veraskon, a human knight of the southern Octzellan kingdom of Valance. He was formerly of the Order of the Southern Crescent out of Pheralin, but left on a journey to earn his title of true knight (dan) as a knight errant, aiding the poor and needy. Corlance chose the most difficult and demanding task imaginable, in the name of his goddess Enki: the forsaken lands of Golmadras. Aware that his survival in that land depends on a measure of will and trickery, he has arrived anticipating the need to be discreet about his identity. Not long after arriving he was nearly killed by a rabble of drunken templars in the service of the Shadow Temple but was saved by the timely intervention of Syberis Darkmoon and her short ally Quentin Chance. He later made friends with lacuna Helbyrn, who he attempted (and succeeded) in beating at a drinking contest, earning a mild amount of admiration from her at his tenacity. The four have been traveling since, and Corlance plans to see the ruins of Thystivianen next (naga and lamia be damned).

Corlance dan Veraskon, human male Age 22, lawful good Paladin Level 1, native to Pheralin, Valance; STR 14 (+2), DEX 11(0), CON 18(+4), INT 14 (+2), WIS 18(+4), CHA 17(+3); HP 14, BAB +1; Fort +6, Ref +0, Will +4; Armored AC 16; Flat-Footed AC 16, Touch AC 10

 Paladin Features: Aura of God, detect evil, smite evil 1/day

Feats: Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword), Weapon Focus (bastard sword)

Languages: Middle Tongue (common), Golmadran, Elvish, Orcish

Skills:  Diplomacy +7, Heal +7, Knowledge (nobility & royalty) +4, Knowledge (religion) +5, Ride +4, Survival +5(cc)

Gear: Bastard Sword (+4 attack; 1D10+2 damage; 19-20/X2 crit); chainmail and light steel shield (+5 and +1 AB)

XP Earned: 120

Syberis Darkmoon is an ashtarth (drow) dark elf  and the youngest daughter of house Plagistron, though she does not advertise this. House Plagistron is a ruling figure in the northern city of Senempar, but she fled from that dominion years ago after an altercation that led to a call for her execution. She has since made her home in Golmadras, where a dark elf on the surface is a common sight. She provides guidance to foreigners  visiting the land to help them avoid coming into conflict with the oft-times draconian local laws. She is also a remarkably good fence and pickpocket.

Syberis Darkmoon, dark elf female Age 74, chaotic neutral rogue level 2 /wizard level 2 (ECL 6), native to Senempar; STR 16 (+3), INT 19 (+4), WIS 14 (+2), DEX 18 (+4), CON 11 (0), CHA 12 (+1); HP 13, BAB +2; Fort +0, Ref +6, Will +4; Armored AC 17;Flat-Footed AC 13; Touch AC 15

Spells/Day: cantrips - 3; 1st level spells- 2

Drow Features: darkvision 120 feet; Spell Resistance 15; +2 Will save vs. spells and spell-like abilities; Spell Like Abilities 1/day: dancing lights, darkness, faerie fire (CL 4); drow weapon proficiencies, light blindness; Level Adjustment +2

Rogue Features: Sneak Attack +1D6, trap-finding, Evasion

Wizard Features: summon familiar (lizard), scribe scroll

Feats: point-blank shot, precise shot

Spell Book: Cantrips: all; 1st Level Spells: Burning Hands, Charm Person, Comp. Languages, Feather Fall, Hypnotism, Identify, Jump, Shield, Sleep, Silent Image, Truestrike, Ventriloquism 

Languages: Dark Elf (ashtarthic), Middle Tongue (common), Golmadran, Elvish, Orcish, draconic, Undercommon (deep speech)

Skills: Appraise +8, Balance +9, Climb +8(+11 w/familiar), Decipher Script +9, Disable Device +9, Disguise +6, Hide +8, Knowledge (arcana) +9, Listen +7, Move Silently +9, Open Lock +9, Search +8, Sleight of Hand +9, Spellcraft +7, Spot +7, Tumble +6

Gear: Short Sword (+5 attack; 1D6+3 damage; 19-20/X2 crit); light crossbow (+6 attack; 1D8 damage; 19-20/X2 crit) with 20 bolts; studded leather +1 magical (+3 AB total)

XP Earned: 10,500

Quentin Chance is a sylenic Halfling of the South Shores (fighter/thief, CG) and a bold adventurer by the standards of his people. Quentin had a profound experience on his fortieth birthday when a gypsy woman of the Avernan Nomads read his fortune and proclaimed that he would die in the comfort of his own home, unexpectedly. He decided to thwart death by marching off into adventure, to become a roaming nomad of sorts (counter-logical thinking being common among the Chance family) and has prided himself on his adventures ever since. He took a liking to Corlance when he first met the knight, and has followed him ever since as a loyal companion.

Quentin Chance, Mixed Blood Halfling male Age 44, chaotic good fighter level 2 /rogue level 2, native to the Golmadran Coast; STR 14 (+2), DEX 14 (+2), CON 18 (+4), INT 7 (-2), WIS 16 (+3), CHA 17 (+3); BAB +3; HP 31; Fort +8; Ref +6; Will +4; Armored  AC 16; Flat-Footed AC 14, Touch AC 13

Halfling Features: Small creature (+1 attacks, +1 AC, +4 Hide, small weapons, ¾ lift), base speed 20 feet, +1 to all saves, +2 morale bonus to save vs. fear, +1 attack with slings and thrown weapons, +2 racial listen bonus (bonuses added in)

Rogue Features: Sneak Attack +1D6, trap-finding, Evasion

Feats: Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (scimitar)

Languages: Golmadran, Halfling, thieves cant

Skills: Balance +6, Bluff +7, Climb +6, Escape Artist +6, Gather Information +7, Hide +6, Listen +9, Profession (fisherman) +6,  Spot +6, Swim +4

Gear: Small scimitar +1 (+8* attack; 1D4+3 damage; 18-20/X2 crit); small dagger (+6* attack; 1D3+2 damage; 19-20/X2 crit); studded leather armor (+3 AB)*size bonuses added in

XP Earned: 7,000


Lakuna Helbyrn is a human woman in her late twenties and a former Royal Guardsman of the Imperial Court in Golmadras who once went by the name Aerys Daion. She was cast out after an altercation that led to the death of her commanding officer, but for reasons unknown the Emperor himself intervened in what was ordinarily a death sentence, instead stripping her of name, rank and status and putting her on the streets. Lakuna adopted the name of the legendary warrior woman who was written about at length by the historians during the fabled War of Strife in old Imperial Hyrkania, for her prowess at laying low a balor summoned by the old armies of chaos, and she claims that her ancestry can be traced back to that very warrior so long ago. In any case, she encountered Quentin and became good friends with the scamp, reluctantly agreeing to assist his new friend Corlance in an exploratory journey of Golmadras under her assumed identity.

Lakuna Helbyrn (formerly Aerys Daion), human female Age 31, lawful neutral fighter Level 4 , native to Golmadras; STR 16 (+3), DEX 15 (+2), CON 16 (+3), INT 10 (0), WIS 10 (0), CHA 18 (+4); HP 45; BAB +4; Fort +7; Ref +3; Will +4; Armored AC 17; Flat-Footed AC 17; Touch AC 11

Fighter Features: specialization (two-handed sword; +1 attack, +2 damage; 3/2 attack rate)

Languages: Golmadran (common)

Feats: blind-fighting, cleave, power attack, weapon specialization (two handed sword)

Skills: Climb +6, Intimidate +10, Jump +5, Ride +7, Swim +8

Gear: Two-Handed Sword +1 Dragon Bane (+9 attack; 2D6+7 damage; 19-20/X2 crit; +2 magical and +2D6 damage vs. dragons); long bow (+6 attack; 1D8 damage; 20/X3 crit) and a quiver with 30 arrows, Invisible splint mail +1 magical (+7 AB; +4 charisma modifier when armor is invisible)

XP Earned: 9,900 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG

How did I miss this announcement? Apparently Fantasy Flight games announced a Star War: Edge of the Empire RPG release back on 8/20. ICv2 has the announcement here. If I'm reading it right there's a beta version available right now at this very moment. They do indeed have a link on their website here. Hmmm....I may have to snag this (doesn't seem to be for sale now, but that's fine....not in the mood to pay $30 for a beta test).

Given the focus on this book (the fringe of the Star Wars galaxy in the Empire Era) I wonder if they're going to model the Star Wars RPG along the same lines as their 40K RPGs, thematically focusing on specific slices of the IP.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More D&D Reprints Incoming

Armchair Gamer broke the news on thanks to some Amazon-fu revealing listings for the Unearthed Arcana 1st edition seeing a reprint in February 2013, as well as the 3.5 Spell Compendium. You can find the Unearthed Arcana link here and the Spell Compendium here. At $59.95 the spell compendium is a bit pricey for a book I never used when it was new, so I am not sure I have an interest in getting it....but the chance to own an Unearthed Arcana that isn't falling to pieces is well worth the $49.95 price tag (minus discounts, since no one buys this stuff undiscounted anymore, it seems).

If this is February's lineup, it makes me very hopeful that we'll see more of the classic 1st edition content reprinted, and with any luck some of my old favorites from 3.5 as well. 1st editio Fiend Folio, anyone?

It's really amazing to see WotC doing this. I've never understood why gaming companies (well, the big ones) didn't treat their back catalog as a "keep in print as long as there's even a bit of demand" sort of deal like regular book and comic publishers.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Amidst all the Chaos: Torchlight II. Also: HAWP

Torchlight II comes out on the 20th. I had a few options this week to spend my money wisely and blew it, but this might be one of the smart choices. Torchlight II is basically the legitimate spiritual successor to Diablo (which makes Diablo 3 the child of a second or even third marriage, I guess). Torchlight the first was a fun hack'n'slash adventure game (commonly identified as an action rpg in the vernacular of computer gaming, a term that annoys me to no end because it's got the barest thread of actual rpg elements as we define them from the tabletop) but the multiplayer focus of Torchlight II ought to make the rpg part feel a bit more accurate.

Meanwhile, Borderlands 2 is out and I have resisted buying it. Probably won't buy it until some far future Steam sale when its a bundle pack with all the DLC and is on sale for $10 or something. I played about 30 hours into Borderlands, both the Xbox and PC version, and got an undertermined length of time into the game. It just wasn't that fun for me....the level/gear mechanic clipped from Diablo-style gaming felt out of place, the tepid storyline started off strong then dropped rapdily into a wash-rinse-repeat pattern with only occasional moments breaking up the boredom. And I should note, most people I know really liked this game, so its mostly boredom for me. And not even so much "boring" as "this is a game which just makes me want to play a more robust game like Fallout 3." So maybe Borderlands is fine, it just couldn't hole up to my expectations. Blame Bethesda! They keep making these amazing games.

All that said, the writer on Borderlands 2 is Anthony Burch, brother of Ashley Burch, alias Ash, of "Hey Ash, Whatcha Playing?" (HAWP) which, if you haven't ever seen this before, is also collected over at If you're into weird humor, video games, and topically current console need to check their stuff out. The fact that he's writing it (and Ash is voicing one character) is enough for me to want to get it....eventually. Some day.

Gametrailers seems to like to make its embedded links BIG....hmm....

So much for the Revolution!

Well I am happy to have the 3.5 books again and while I'd like to us them, it looks like (as I expected) doing so will be tantamount to my getting into dentistry and pulling teeth in a matter of weeks. Maybe further down the road....but Pathfinder has its fangs very, very deep.

4E interest still percolates among some players, but not enough in any one spot at the same time for group consistency. While I managed to get a legitimate 4E game started two weeks ago it has already led to a quiet rebellion...or at least a decision this week to switch to low-level Pathfinder. My concession is I'll keep running the campaign I intended (which is a return to Chirak after a lengthy absence) although if I had my way I'd be running straight 3.5 or 1E, just so I could enjoy the fancy new books and keep the game under a D&D title. all me a brand whore, but I kinda like the idea of playing legitimate, official D&D. Heh. Hell, I'd be happy to stick with 4E even though I know it would be once more a count-down to when I grew frustrated with the limited board/minis scope of the system.

Well, the blog serves one great purpose if no other: its a vessel for me to write about the games I like but hardly ever get to play! So expect more 1st edition stuff as time permits. Maybe even more 3.5 analysis. We shall see...

On an unrelated note, I have spent the last couple days trying to play The Secret World. They have an option for recurring payments through paypal, which is good, because I had a bad experience with a credit card setup with Funcom on Age of Conan long ago, and didn't want to repeat that. Well, despite being set up for reasons unknown I couldn't log on. When I went to check my account it said the payment wasn't processed and needed my action to confirm it. Still didn't work. A customer service on their live chat (it was nice that they had live chat) said it could take two days to process paypal payments. I went over to paypal, and they showed that I had Funcom all set to pay monthly and that the only thing missing was the actual payment. I gave it a while, then in frustration decided this was yet another warning flag with Funcom, just like the Age of Conan incident a while back where I ended up massively overcharged after a long wait to get a sub going, and cancelled the recurring payment option through paypal.

I want to play your games, Funcom, so why won't you meet me halfway? I wanted to give you my money, but you wouldn't take it. I guess I might just wait until The Secret World goes free to play after all...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hexblades in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

 Sword Wielding Hexen Revisited

Yet another adaptation of the Hexblade, this time for AD&D. This adaptation takes the original article whole cloth for some portions, but repositions the order as an AD&D class, possibly making this my most revised and recycled article to date, and also making the hexblade a class functionally usable in no less than 5 game systems now if you look at all the versions so far. Still, with my rekindled interest in AD&D I arguably had no choice but to do it!

Since this is an AD&D optional class, it is only fair to carry out the time-honored ancient tradition of presenting this as an NPC class even though we all know the players are going to totally roll up a bunch of characters with it.

The Order of the Hexblades
   The concept of the hexblade is a master of witchcraft, who relies on a special relationship with his uniquely forged weapon to cast and focus magic through. Hexblades gain their power through dark pacts, and seek to learn power from spirits both malevolent and benign. Some hexblades are good natured and seek to help those around them with their unique gifts; others fall quickly to the potential corruption of the power they seek and walk a darker path.
   Hexblades have a loose fraternity of association, for the easiest way to become one is through a practice of apprenticeship to a master. Much like shamans, hexblades rely on knowledge of the spirits and the planes to tease out their magical talents. Some civilized lands may have entire knighthoods or magical orders dedicated to the practice of the hexblades, but in most lands they are reclusive fellows who gather in large groups only on rare occasion.
   The concept of the Hexblade started with a class which appeared in Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition first, and later as a warlock variant in 4th edition. Literary and game inspiration for this archetype can be found in the fiction of Adrzej Sapkowski’s “The Witcher,” and similar concepts of a man with a special blade can be found in Moorcock’s Elric novels. I also suggest the Kane stories by Karl Edward Wagner.
Joining the Ranks of the Hexblades:
   This process is as simple as finding a teacher willing to take one on, who is willing to teach the art. A character is assumed to begin play having completed his basic apprenticeship training.

Hexblades in Golmadras and Lingusia
   The Eldritch Knights of Zelkarod are a dedicated order of knighted hexblades that serve the emperor himself on various dark errands. There are other hexblade orders in the land as well, including the Elder Lords of the Solemn Tower, a group of elite hexblades dedicated to the mastery of their blade through the defeat of greater opponents than themselves. The dark elves of Golmadras have adopted the way of the hexblade as their own, and an entire division of hexblade warriors serve the regent of Modra as her so called Demon Knights.

   Hexblades Elsewhere in Lingusia are less common but some strong orders have risen to notoriety. The Emerald Blades of Hymyskos are an order of hexblades in the service of the Western Queen. The so-called Red Knights of Pheralin defend the westerlands of Valance against the invading Zatacani of the coast. Finally, it is rumored that the city of Senempar holds a cabal of hexblades in the service of the Red God, though this is a recent event sprung up within the last year or so. The stories say that a number of ronin hexblades were drawn in visions to journey to the Red God’s temple under construction and to pledge their allegiance to the enigmatic god.

Random Hexblade Origin
   Roll on this chart for an exotic origin to your hexblade training, or make one of your own:

D12        Hexblade Origin
1              You met a witch as a child who gave you the gift of your first hexblade to aid you in unlocking your natural talent.        
             During a hunt as a young man you stumbled across an ancient tree which had grown up around the skeleton of a dead warrior. As you approached, the skeleton came to life, able to move just enough to hand you your hexblade. “The curse is yours….” It muttered as the skeleton fell to dust.
             You had always had a knack for minor spell casting but due to accident of birth or poor luck were overlooked for any proper training. One day not long after a shooting star passed overhead the local smithy showed you a fine weapon he had made from the recovered meteorite. You found that the blade called to you, and your true talent was unlocked.
4              You have a residual infernal heritage which has always given you an extra spark thanks to your devilish ancestor. This was spotted by a wandering hex knight who came to the village one day looking to recruit a new apprentice.
             You were born on the night of the Blood Moons, which happens but once a generation. The omens imbued you with talent, and you eventually sought out a hexblade willing to take you on as an apprentice.
6              You were a slave in the arenas who fought unusually well, and your penchant for your self-forged blade and unusual magical talent was at last noticed by a wealthy hexblade master in the audience who purchased your contract that day.
             Your village is deep in the wilderness, and one day you encountered an enigmatic elvish maiden by the lake who granted you your weapon and with a magic word you found yourself swimming in arcane knowledge. She disappeared, with the whispered promise that your talent would be vital to the future.
             Your village sent you on a vision quest into the deep hills and mountains, to last as long as it took for your vision of your future to come to you. Days later you return, half mad and starving but the vision was true: you seized the tools in the smithy and began your task of forging the weapon the gods had burned into your mind.
9              You were the young apprentice of a local apothecary who relied too heavily on you for his errands and duties. One day you were carrying his traveling case when you stumbled and fell, the contents of the box dousing you thoroughly. Despite the burns, the chemicals unlocked your hexer’s talent.
10           You were the sole survivor of a massacre by orcs on your town, though even then you’re not sure if you lived, for an angelic seraph descened from the sky to restore your health, then took the time to begin training you in the arts of sword and magic after imbuing you with hexer’s sorcery. The seraph sought to empower you with the skills to exact your revenge.
11           You are part of a long line of nobles who have inherited the legacy of hex magic for generations now, and were indoctrinated into the hex knight society of your family at a young age.
12           You were born to the parents of an infernal cult, and at a young age you were forced to commune with and become possessed by devilish spirits. The repeated abuse changed you, and the exposure to the infernal energies imbued you with hex magic. The cult leader sold you off when he felt threatened by your emerging talent, and you’ve been seeking your parents (or revenge) ever since.

Hexblade Requirements

Requisite Attributes: Dexterity 12 or better and Strength 9 or better. Must have Intelligence 13 or better. A hexblade with 16 or better in either Strength or Intelligence gains a +5% to experience and a +10% bonus if both attributes are 16 or greater.
Hit Die: D8; hexblades gain +2 hit points per level starting at level 10.
Alignment: any, though chaotic hexblades tend to be ronin and lawful hexblades tend to belong to an order.
Combat Advancement: Hexblades use the same chart as clerics and druids for attack rolls (1.A).
Racial Limits: Humans have unlimited advancement. Elves can advance to 12th level, half-elves to 14th level, and half-orcs to 10th level. Gnomes can advance to 8th level as hexblades. If you allow level advancement past normal racial maximums, then it is suggested that human hexblades be granted 1 extra spell slot for each level tier (i.e. 1 bonus 1st level slot, 1 bonus 2nd level slot, and so forth).
Optional Proficiencies: Hexblades advance as wizards for purposes of nonweapon proficiencies and as fighters for purposes of weapon proficiencies.
Weapons: hexblades are martial warriors and can learn to fight with any weapon, but they must specifically choose a type of sword to serve as their hexblade unless the DM permits otherwise.
Armor: any, but see armored caster, below.
Abilities: Hexblade Spellcasting, Hexblade Bond, Armored Caster, Weapon Mastery, Combat Caster

Hexblade Spellcasting: Hexblades are arcane magic-users and have their own spell lists, from which they can draw their magic. Hexblades begin play with three 1st level spells from the list. They must roll on they chance to know based on Intelligence, but do not have minimum spells known, though they do have maximum spells known. Hexblades learn new spells through their practice with weapons, as all hexblade spells require the weapon as a focus component. As such, they may roll on chance to know to acquire 1 new spell at each level of advancement automatically. Hexblades can otherwise learn new spells as a wizard through conventional means. At the DM’s discretion a hexblade can attempt to learn a wizard spell not on the hexblade list. Such an attempt can be performed once per copy of the spell (either a scroll or book), requiring a check for chance to learn, with a penalty to chance to know equal to 5 times the level of the spell being studied (so a level 6 spell would incur a -30% penalty to learn). If the hexblade makes the check then he can copy the spell into his own spell book and has learned it; unlike hexblade spells he can’t imbue these in his weapon. In this fashion hexblades are like amateur spell casters. Hexblades are not studied enough to learn spells higher than 6th level (unless they multi-class).

Hexblade Bond:   An initiate hexblade must procure a unique weapon which he forges or finds on his own. At first level this weapon is a normal blade of his choice forged from cold iron. Later on the hexblade may try to forge a new weapon of more fantastical metals or enchantments. The weapon must be of no common origin, either being made of an exotic metal, being unique in some fashion (i.e. a king’s blade, or the weapon was used in the past to slay a powerful extraplanar opponent) or it must be forged by the initiate himself out of exotic metals and imbued with a sacrifice of 1D6 damage of his own blood during the forging process. If an exotic weapon material is needed, it defaults to cold iron.
   A hexblade must ultimately spend a minimum of 1D10X50 gold pieces and 1D6 days on the material and time to create his weapon. If he finds a weapon he wishes to bond with, then he must spend the time in meditation and sacrifice experience points equal to the following formula. If he forges his own weapon and enchants it, he must also expend experience as follows but at half the total cost:

Cost to Forge a Hexblade Weapon: equal to 1D10X50 GP for base cost and 1D6 days time. The cost is X1 for cold iron, X2 for silvered, X5 for mithril and X8 for adamantine weapon materials. This is then multiplied by the hexblade’s level times the number of bonuses plus effects being permanently imbued in the bonded weapon for the final cost.

Cost to Enchant a Hexblade Weapon: sacrifice of hexblade’s level times the number of imbuements plus the number of invested effects times 100 = total XP cost. This is divided by half if the hexblade is imbuing a weapon he forged himself.

Investing Effects: any effect on an existing magical weapon could be invested with the DM’s permission, as could any effect a hexblade knows by way of spell. The effect becomes a weapon enchantment with a permanent duration when done in this fashion.

One Blade Limit: Hexblades can only ever forge one such weapon to which they are bonded, and they can not forge such weapons for others. Making a new hexblade weapon destroys the old hexblade weapon.

Example: A 12th level hexblade makes himself an admantine Long Sword +3 of Blood Drinking. His base cost ends up being 57,600 GP (rolling a 3 gets him 150 GP, times 8 for adamantine, times 48 for his level times # of imbuements and effects of 4, below) and it takes 5 days of forging. Then his experience cost is 12 (his level) times 4 (+3 bonus and 1 for a single effect) times 100, for an experience sacrifice of 4,800 XP. So, for 5 days’ time, 57,600 GP in expenditures on arcane materials and a personal sacrifice of 4,800 GP….plus 1D6 hit points of injury inflicted in the final process…he now has a bonded hexblade long sword +3 of Blood Drinking.

   Once a hexblade has this weapon, he undergoes an initiation ritual of bonding with the blade. This imbues himself and the weapon with a unique connection; he may now use the blade to channel his magic, and all spells he cast must use the blade as a material component (but he may now substitute his weapon for any normal material component a spell requires, and the blade is never “used up” like normal materials). The hexblade weapon grants a bonus spell slot in which can be memorized an additional spell (this is reflected as the “+1” on the list above). The hexblade loses access to those bonus spells so memorized if he loses his blade.
   The hexblade also serves as a spell book of sorts; so long as the hexblade has his bonded weapon in hand, he has innate access to all of his learned hexblade spells. He must keep a normal spell book for any regular arcane magic he manages to learn while adventuring (see above).
   Does a hexblade need to bond with a sword specifically of some sort? That’s the DM’s call, but the presumption is that the nature of the weapon is highly conducive to channeling magic, and other weapons are not. Alternatively, there could be branches of the order that specialize in hexed axes, pole arms or even hammers and maces.
   A hexblade who loses his weapon permanently must restore it with an equally significant weapon. If he fails to do so after one year and one day, he is cast out of the order. For the time he is missing his hexblade he loses his bonus spell slot and is limited to the spells in his spell book. When a new hexblade is forged, however, all of the hexblade’s spells are restored; the idea is that they are still imbued within his own mind and soul, but a hexblade weapon is the key that unlocks them.
   Should a hexblade for whatever reason permanently lose his connection to his hexblade and be unable to replace it for a long period (1D6 years) he will eventually lose his hexblade affinity entirely and must then pay an XP cost equal to 20% of his current XP total, after which he reverts to either a fighter or a magic-user in nature (attaining all of the class elements of such) and loses his hexblade features permanently.

Armored Caster: Hexblades learn to cast their spells with armor, and as such are not restricted like wizards in what to wear when they cast spells. However, hexblades who are wearing armor can only use their specific hexblade spells while so encumbered; they are unable to properly evoke any arcane non-hexblade magic while wearing armor. 

Weapon Mastery: Hexblades may specialize in their chosen hex weapon as a fighter or ranger (see Unearthed Arcana for details; this requires 2 proficiency slots, granting a +1 to hit and +2 to damage). Hexblades advance as rangers for purposes of calculating attacks per round, or as specialists if this option is chosen. A hexblade must choose this option at 1st level and if so chosen starts with access to 1 less spell at first level to reflect the additional effort put into martial mastery over spell mastery.

Combat Caster: Hexblades are used to fighting in battle and trying to retain spell concentration. If a hexblade takes damage or is otherwise interrupted during combat he may make a Save vs. paralyzation, and if he succeeds then he may continue to cast as if the spell had been retained.

Hexblade Advancement:
Experience Points                           Level                       Hit Dice               
0-2,400                                             1                               1D8
2,401-4,800                                       2                               2D8
4,801-9,600                                       3                               3D8
9,601-19,200                                     4                               4D8
19,201-38,400                                    5                              5D8
38,401-85,000                                    6                              6D8
85,001-170,000                                  7                              7D8
170,001-270,000                                8                              8D8
270,001-400,000                                9                              9D8
400,001-550,000                               10                           9D8+2
550,001-700,000                               11                           9D8+4
700,001-1,000,000                            12                           9D8+6
+300,000 XP per level above 12th                               +2 per level after 12th    

Hexblade Spells Usable by Class and Level                                                         
Hexblade Level            1st         2nd         3rd           4th           5th           6th          
1                                  0+1         -              -             -              -              -              
2                                  1+1         -              -             -              -              -              
3                                  2+1         -              -             -              -              -              
4                                  2+1         0+1         -             -              -              -              
5                                  2+1         1+1         -             -              -              -              
6                                  3+1         1+1         -             -              -              -              
7                                  3+1         1+1         -             -              -              -              
8                                  3+1         2+1         0+1        -              -              -              
9                                  4+1         2+1         1+1        -              -              -              
10                                4+1         2+1         1+1         -              -              -             
11                                4+1         3+1         1+1         0+1         -              -              
12                                5+1         3+1         2+1         1+1         -              -              
13                                5+1         3+1         2+1         1+1         -              -              
14                                5+1         4+1         2+1         1+1         -              -              
15                                6+1         4+1         3+1         1+1         0+1         -             
16                                6+1         4+1         3+1         2+1         1+1         -              
17                                6+1         5+1         3+1         2+1         1+1         -              
18                                7+1         5+1         4+1         2+1         1+1         -              
19                                7+1         5+1         4+1         3+1         2+1         0+1        
20                                7+1         6+1         4+1         3+1         2+1         1+1         

                                              Maximum Number of Active
Hexblade Level                      Effects on Hexblade Weapon
1                                                             1
2                                                             1
3                                                             1
4                                                             1
5                                                             1
6                                                             2
7                                                             2
8                                                             2
9                                                             2
10                                                           2
11                                                           2
12                                                           3
13                                                           3
14                                                           3
15                                                           3
16                                                           3
17                                                           3
18                                                           4
19                                                           4
20                                                           4


Hexblade Spell List: (Note: This list may include spells from Unearthed Arcana; spells in Bold are new)

1st Level:
Arcane Imbuement,  Cantrips (any), Dancing Lights, Detect Magic, Identify , Imbued Alignment , Jump, Light, Mending, Minor Imbuement, Read Magic, Shield, Spider Climb, True Strike, Unseen Servant

2nd Level:
Elemental Blade, Hexblade’s Defense, Locate Object, Mirror Image, Pyrotechnics, Scare, Shatter, Strength

3rd Level:
Bane Weapon, Blink, Dispel Magic, Fly, Haste, Hexblade’s Luck, Protection from Normal Missiles, Paralyzing Strike, Slow

4th Level:
Blood Drinker, Dimension Door, Enchanted Weapon, Fear, Fire Shield, Minor Globe of Invulnerability, Shout, Stoneskin, Ultravision

5th Level:
Distance Distortion, Holy/Unholy Blade, Passwall, Telekinesis, Teleport, Wounding Blade

6th Level:
Antimagic Shell, Blade Barrier*, Guards and Wards, Globe of Invulnerability, Iron Body, Mage’s Sword, Mordenkainen’s Sword**

*Same as the 6th level cleric spell
**Same as the 7th level magic-user spell

Hexblade Progression

Hexblade Apprentice:
   All hexblades are considered apprentices at 1st level, and as such are expected to defer to or show respect toward hexblades of greater skill (and thus higher level).

Hexblade Acolytes:
   A hexblade initiate who reaches 4th level is eligible to attain the rank of acolyte. He must have demonstrated an act of servitude to the credo of his specific order or mentor (which can vary; an evil order may require that he have slain an honest man; a benevolent branch may require that he saved an innocent under threat of harm). Hexblades who eschew titles are considered a form of ronin.  

Hexblade Adepts:
   After 7th level a hexblade apprentice may elect to become an adept. Adepts may take on apprentices but are not required to do so.

Hexblade Masters:
    Hexblades who reach level 10 may graduate from adept rank to master rank. A Hexblade master must have earned a reputation for himself; if his name is known and either feared or respected by a noted ruler or leader of the land, such that the other senior masters of the order feel his reputation is engrained, then he may be entertained for membership at his highest rank. He must then commit one truly great deed, worthy of the skalds to sing about, such as slaying a hydra or dragon, liberating an oppressed kingdom, slaying a corrupt king, or even conquering his own domain. The task may depend on the ethical skew of the hexblade himself. At this level, however, it is his demonstrable proficiency and efficiency, not his ethical leanings, that are most important.
   Should the hexblade attain the rank of master, he is required to take on a new apprentice to teach his skills to if he has not done so already. This apprentice will be a 1st level hexblade, of the following race (D10): 1-5 human, 6-7 half-elf, 8 elf, 9, half orc, 10 gnome.
   Hexblade ronin who reach level 12 are unofficially called “silent masters” by other ordered hexblades. Some hexblades seek out these silent masters as they are often known to have spells and secrets unknown to the regular hexblade orders.
   By 12th level the hexblade master or ronin has gained such a formidable reputation that he or she gains a body of dedicated followers. There is a 50% chance that there will be 2D12 hexblades (of levels 1D4) in this group, otherwise roll on the fighter followers table for a leader and unit (see DMG). At each level thereafter there is a 35% chance the hexblade gains an additional 1D4 hexblade followers as above.

Hexblade Artifacts

Tome of the Fey Courts
   Although the Tome of the Hexblade is the grimoire of study for the order, there are rumors of an older tome, written in the lost history of the Fey Court by the elven prince Aritroskis, which contains even more potent secrets. Such a tome is a coveted prize for a dedicated Hexblade, for it contains the secrets of teleportation. This tome include the Teleport spell, which any hexblade can learn from studying this tome. It also contains Teleport Without Error and Vanish. The wielder of this tome can cast any combination of these three spells once per day by using the tome.

Adamantine Hexblades:
   A weapon crafted of adamantine is impervious to harm, or so it is said. Furthermore, it is said to weigh less and be more nimble in one’s hands. Adamantine is a natural superior metal but functions for purposes of bypassing magical resistance as if it were a +1 weapon. An enchanted adamantine blade acts as if it were +1 better on its enchantment for purposes of determing its ability to bypass magic resistance (see DMG chart on page 75). Thus, a +2 adamantine long sword would function as a +3 weapon for purposes of bypassing damage.  

The Hand of Zoromast
   There are rumors of this infernal talisman, a mummified hand capped in a gold clasp and chain from the first and most legendary hexblade of a lost era. Rumor has it that a hexblade who wears the Hand of Zoromast around his neck will gain even more impressive fighting talent and a closer bond with his blade. The stories also suggest that Zoromast’s spirit will attempt to possess the wielder, but that a sufficiently strong-willed hexblade can defeat the spirit and tame it to his use.
   An ordinary man wearing the Hand will feel nothing, though the spirit may seek to possess him. A hexblade immediately notices that he treats his caster level as 1 higher as a result of wearing the hand (for purposes of spell casting). In addition, he discovers that he now innately knows the hexblade spell Arcane Imbuement and may cast it once per day for free through the talisman. If he removes the Hand, knowledge of the spell also evaporates.
   While worn, the Hand’s spirit will emerge and try to possess the bearer. Zoromast’s spirit is a malevolent ancestral spirit, a spectre (HP 58, MM page 89) with one special property: the spectral spirit can seek to possess a target instead of energy draining it; each possession attempt works in place of energy drain, and if it hits the spirit deals 1D6 INT damage. When the target reaches 0 INT the spectre can immediately enter his or her body and take possession. At this point the INT of the character is restored to normal, and the victim is otherwise back to normal, albeit with a permanent +1 attack and damage bonus when wielding any sword, and a keen knowledge of ancient history (an INT check may be made to recall historical events). However, while possessed the bearer develops a very evil and self-serving disposition, and tends to call himself Zoromast a lot.
   The artifact will be destroyed should Zoromast’s spirit ever be exorcised or destroyed. Under normal circumstances if his spirit is destroyed by mundane or lesser magical means his essence will return to the hand and he will recover his strength in 2D6 weeks. A spell of 7th level or greater may permanently banish him at the DM’s discretion.

Notes on Hexblade Weapons and Spells

A Note on the Material Component: All hexblade spells below require the bonded hexblade weapon as the material component. Without the hexblade’s bonded weapon in hand, these spells can’t be cast.

Imbuing Hexblade Bonded Weapons: Most hexblade spell effects stack, but there is a limit to what a weapon can take. If an imbuement collectively adds up to a modifier of 5 or better then new imbuements will overwrite old imbuements (the hexblade decides which effect is released). If the spell effect is not a point value increase (such as with arcane imbuement or hexblade’s defense) then the weapon can sustain 1 effect for every 6th level of the hexblade. Thus, a level 1 hexblade could maintain 1 active effect, a level 6 hexblade can sustain two effects, a level 12 hexblade can get 3 and a level 18 hexblade can manage 4.

Example 1: a level 13 hexblade casting hexblade’s defense on his weapon which already has an arcane imbuement of +4 can choose to gain +1 to AC or he can get his full +4 bonus but in doing so it overwrites the arcane imbuement (as it was already +4 and he can only reduce it at time of casting).

Example 2: A 15th level hexblade could cast Arcane Imbuement at +2, then hexblade’s defense at +3, then layering bane weapon, elemental blade and blood drinker for three active effects. 

Example 3: A 3rd level hexblade casts Arcane Imbuement for a +1 modifier, then True Strike for his one effect.

   All spells that follow include a descriptor indicating if they are an effect, imbuement, or neither for purposes of managing  the limits of hexblade casting.

New Hexblade Spells

ARCANE IMBUEMENT, Hexblade 1 (imbuement)
Casting Time 1 turn, Range touch (hexblade weapon only), Duration 1 hour/2 levels, Save none, Comp V, S, M
   The hexblade imbues his chosen weapon with magical force, making it a +1 magical weapon for the duration of the spell. This weapon gains an additional +1 magical imbuement for every five levels thereafter, so it is a +2 weapon at level 6, +3 at level 11, +4 at level 16, and +5 at level 21. The hexblade may choose to cast the spell up to his maximum ability, or less as needed. This spell only function on the bonded hexblade weapon of the caster, and to imbue other weapons with enchantment the hexblade must learn Enchanted Weapon.

BANE WEAPON, Hexblade 3 (effect)
Casting Time 1 phase, Range touch, Duration 1 round/level, Save none, Comp V, S, M
   The hexblade imbues his weapon with potent energy against one type of target. Choose one enemy type for the duration of the effect (i.e. orcs, humans, elves, dragons). For the duration of the spell the weapon acts as a Bane weapon of +1 against that target, dealing a base of +1 to attack and damage against all foes and an additional 1D6 damage against the chosen bane type. The weapon improves with every four additional levels of the hexblade; at level 12 it is a +2 weapon; at level 16 it is +3, at level 20 it is +4 and at level 24 it is +5.

BLOOD DRINKER, Hexblade 4 (effect)
Casting Time 1 phase, Range self, Duration special, Save negates, Comp V, S, M
   Your weapon is imbued with vampiric qualities. Your next weapon attack deals its usual damage plus 1D4 damage per three hexblade levels. You heal yourself for damage equal to the total damage dealt to your target. If you miss your target you do not lose this spell, and it remains in effect until you make a successful strike. This spell fails against nonliving or animated targets and is lost.

ELEMENTAL BLADE, Hexblade 2 (effect)
Casting Time 1 round, Range touch to weapon, Duration 1 minute/level, Save none, Comp V, S, M
   This spell imbues a weapon with elemental force (choose one of fire, cold, acid, electricity) and deals an additional 1D6 damage on a strike of that damage type. For every five additional hexblade levels the damage increases by 1D6 (so at level 9 it deals 2D6, at level 14 3D6, and at level 19 4D6).

HEXBLADE’S DEFENSE, Hexblade 2 (imbuement)
Casting Time 1 round, Range personal hexblade, Duration 1 hour/3 levels, Save none, Comp V, S, M
   The hexblade imbues his weapon with the power of arcane defense. While wielding the weapon the hexblade gains a +1 bonus to armor class for every 3 levels of the hexblade (thus +1 to AC at level 3, +2 at level 6, +3 at level 9, +4 at level 12 and a maximum of +5 at level 15), and he may choose the value of the bonus up to his limit.

HEXBLADE’S LUCK, Hexblade 3 (effect)
Casting Time 1 round, Range personal hexblade, Duration 1 minute/level, Save none, Comp V, S, M
   The hexblade imparts a bit of luck into his blade. For the duration of the spell the hexblade may add the weapon’s magical bonus (even one which is imbued by another enhancement spell) to any saving throws he makes.

HOLY/UNHOLY BLADE, Hexblade 5 (effect)
Casting Time 1 phase, Range personal hexblade, Duration 1 minute/level, Save none, Comp V, S, M
   This spell imbues the hexblade’s weapon with holy (good) or unholy (evil) force according to the alignment of the caster. The weapon will now deals double damage against foes of opposite alignment for the duration of the effect, and imbues the hexblade with spell resistance of 5 times the hexblade level against incoming magic (this effect is lost if the hexblade drops the weapon).

IMBUED ALIGNMENT, Hexblade 2 (effect)
Casting Time 1 phase, Range touch, Duration 1 minute/level, Save none, Comp V, S, M
   This spell imbues the weapon with the lawful or chaotic alignment of its user. Once aligned, it deals additional 1D6 damage per strike to targets of opposite alignment. If the weapon is dropped by the user and then grabbed by another character, if that wielder’s alignment is opposite the imbuement then the weapon will deal 1D6 damage to the user per combat round of use until the spell wears off. The weapon never deals additional damage to neutral targets.

IRON BODY, Hexblade 6
Casting Time 1 round, Range personal, Duration 1 minute/level, Save none Comp V, S, M
   This spell transforms your body into living iron, which grants you several powerful resistances and abilities.
   You gain damage resistance as if you were immune to attacks from all weapons except those of +3 or better and adamantine weapons. You are immune to blindness, critical hits, ability score damage, deafness, disease, drowning, electricity, poison, stunning, and all spells or attacks that affect your physiology or respiration, because you have no physiology or respiration while this spell is in effect. You take only half damage from acid and fire of all kinds. However, you also become vulnerable to all special attacks that affect iron golems.
   You are treated as having an 18/00 Strength, but you take a -6 penalty to Dexterity as well (which may affect your reaction modifier) to a minimum of 1 Dex, and your speed is reduced to half normal. Any efforts as spell casting while in this form have a 50% chance of failure, and abilities to swim and climb are impaired just as if you were clad in full plate armor. You cannot drink (and thus can’t use potions) or play wind instruments.
   Your unarmed attacks deal damage equal to a club, and you are considered armed when making unarmed attacks.
Your weight increases by a factor of ten, causing you to sink in water like a stone. However, you could survive the crushing pressure and lack of air at the bottom of the ocean—at least until the spell duration expires.

MAGE’S SWORD, Level 6 Hexblade
Casting Time 1 round, Range 50 ft, Duration 1 minute/level, Save none, Comp V, S, M
   This spell brings into being a shimmering, sword-like plane of force. The sword strikes at any opponent within its range, as you desire, starting in the round that you cast the spell. The sword attacks its designated target once each round on your turn. Its attack bonus is equal to a 15th level fighter. As a force effect, it can strike ethereal and incorporeal creatures. It deals 4d6+3 points of force damage.
   The sword always strikes from your direction. If the sword goes beyond the spell range from you, if it goes out of your sight, or if you are not directing it, the sword returns to you and hovers.
   Each round after the first, you can choose to switch the sword to a new target. If you do not, the sword continues to attack the previous round’s target.
   The sword cannot be attacked or harmed by physical attacks, but dispel magic, disintegrate, a sphere of annihilation, or a rod of cancellation affects it. The sword’s AC is 7.
    If an attacked creature has spell resistance, the resistance is checked the first time Mage’s sword strikes it. If the sword is successfully resisted, the spell is dispelled. If not, the sword has its normal full effect on that creature for the duration of the spell.

MINOR IMBUEMENT, Hexblade 1 (imbuement)
Casting Time 1 phase, Range weapon wielded, Duration see below, Save none, Comp V, M
   You gain a +1 bonus to damage and attack rolls with your next melee or ranged attack. This spell will dissipate after 10 rounds if not used and is recovered in the hexblade’s memory. The effects of this can be combined with other hexblade effects (like arcane imbuement).

PARALYZING STRIKE, Hexblade 3 (effect)
Casting Time 1 phase, Range weapon wielded, Duration 1 round/level, Save negates, Comp V, S, M
    The hexblade imbues his weapon with paralyzing force. The next successful strike against a target imparts paralysis for one round per level of the hexblade. The save vs. this spell effect is against paralysis.

TRUE STRIKE, Hexblade 1 (effect)
Casting Time 1 phase, Range weapon wielded, Duration see below, Save none, Comp V, M
You gain temporary, intuitive insight into the immediate future during your next attack. Your next single attack roll (if it is made before the end of the next round) gains a +20 attack bonus.

WOUNDING BLADE, Hexblade 5 (effect)
Casting Time 1 phase, Range personal hexblade, Duration 1 minute/level, Save negates, Comp V, S, M
   For the duration of this spell, the hexblade imbues his weapon with the power to cause unstoppable bleeding in his foes’ wounds. A wounded foe hit with this weapon takes 1D6 points of bleeding damage per combat round in addition to the usual damage of the weapon. If the creature fails a saving roll vs. death when struck by this effect, it will continue to bleed until it can receive magical healing from a spell of 5th level or greater to stop the blood loss. A creature which makes its save will take bleeding damage for 1D6 rounds. This power does not work on creatures which do not bleed.

Mage’s Sword, True Strike and Iron Body adapted from the D20 SRD at: