Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Amazing Adventures second printing Kickstarter!

It's been a while since I mentioned Amazing Adventures, what with my predilection for distraction and all, but I wanted to mention that this is A Real Thing and that if you are into pulp adventure gaming you should check out AA. It's built on the Castles & Crusades SIEGE Engine, and introduces pulp 30's adventure into the mix. As a game about pulp action its great, with old school mechanics layered on a genre savvy presentation of the pulp era. Even if you only love fantasy gaming, getting Amazing Adventuers could facilitate that awesome Steampunk Fantasy campaign you might want to run with C&C.

Anyway, you can read about it at Elf Lair Games here and view the Kickstarter here.

I'm keen to have a hard cover edition of AA and also like the idea of the "Manual of Monsters" as well. so I'll go in on the $45 level. Even though my fantasy gaming is dominated by D&D 5E these days, which fills my much needed spot for fantasy gaming, I believe that AA is a great resource for pulp gaming and like what is being proposed here. Even better, Jason Vey and the Trolls are good for it: they always deliver.

Here are some site links on AA:

The Realms of Chirak review/overview of Amazing Adventures

Making a Rocket Man adventurer in Amazing Adventures

On Reading and Collecting Comics in 2014 (Part I)

Taking a break from writing about RPGs for a bit to talk....comics!

Drinking from the comic book fire hose is never a good thing. You can drown in the sea of Marvel and DC comics (never mind the cornucopia of independents, Dark Horse, Image and others!) and after a while reality begins to warp....the fourth wall starts to loom large, preferably in the reading of the comics and not the real world, but never know!

This rant was sparked by doing precisely that: I've spent the better part of the last 18 months getting back into comics in a manner consistent with the way it used to be for me, from an era when almost all of my entertainment came from RPGs, comics, and an occasional theatrical release.

For one reason, comics are actually easily digested in relatively short bursts, and are surprisingly easy to get into and also put down when distractions arise....and I have a lot of distractions with my son, to use an example. For another, it's going to be fun to be able to hand over a ton of comics to him in years to come when he needs reading inspiration. I was hit hard by the awesomeness of comics when I was about 8 years old, and it was the single greatest motivator toward improving my reading skills at the time (outside of a cherished tome on Bigfoot, Nessie and UFOs I dragged everywhere).

For another reason, I spend a lot of time in a stressful position tied to the unholy commingling of the medical insurance industry and accounting/auditing. It's an industry I've grown to master, but I am very careful to compartmentalize work and life as much as possible; bringing this stuff home only leads to an early grave, I feel. Comics are a great destresser, even better than video games because you can generally get more plot in 22 pages than you get in 12 hours of your average FPS.

Anyway, as the last year and a half has progressed I've reached the point where I think I'm buying more books per month than I can easily consume, and I probably should cut down. It's hard, though....stopping a good title because its superfluous is harder than dropping one because it's poorly written or uninteresting. Sometimes a book has a weird thing going for it and you just want to see where it ends up (I'd call that the Grant Morrison Factor). Other times you just want to get the whole story, and comic publishers are still up to their old tricks where they find ways to tie the whole "Summer extravanganza" into multiple titles that practically command you get them all to make sense of what has happened.

In fact that last marketing strategy was a huge reason for my decline in interest in comics in the 90's....the cross-referential story lines made it too painful to keep up. I was pretty much just an Image fan for the first half of the 90's, enjoying the shared universe and interesting and more modern character designs and themes of Wildcats, Grifter, Cyberforce, Youngblood and Spawn before the entire thing blew apart and left a smoking crater where a decent comic universe used to exist. doesn't matter so much. I'm keeping up with Marvel's Original Sins titles just fine, thanks to making a godawfully larger amount of money now than I did in the nineties (duh) and also DC's Batman Eternal and "Future's End" books, which have the decency to be largely self-contained in exchange for having a weekly release schedule for an entire year. Yowza.

The last time I had it "this good" in comics as a reader and collector would have to be roughly 1995 and then 1988. In 1995 I was graduating from college and spent a bit of time jobless and untethered, traveling with my sister to Colorado and abroad, a stack of Image titles in tow so I could play catch-up on Gen 13, Backlash, Grifter and Wildcats (among others). Prior to that in 1988 I was a high school student about to graduate, and I was getting weekly shipments from Mile High Comics by mail order of about as many comics as I currently collect (albeit at better prices) thanks to some profitable publishing efforts and a family windfall that actually trickled down to me. I still remember the old 80's revival of Action Comics as a serial collection...loved that book; or the "vote for the Jason Todd Robin to die" event. For being a comic collector/reader those were good times.

Now, sitting as I am in my forties with a good career and decent income I appreciate that I can still even do this thing I like to do with collecting comics....but I have to wonder how anyone my age in 1988 (17 years old) or 1995 (24 and freshly graduated jobless ex-student) would have pulled this off. Buying 30 comics in 1988 cost about 75 cents an issue, so I'd spend $22.50 a month. In 1995 buying 30 comics a month at $1.50 a copy meant I had doubled my monthly cost for the same intake to $45/month. Now, in 2014, comics are typically $2.99 or $3.99 with a trend toward the $4 side (DC holds most of its titles at the $3 mark but if you pay a higher price you're usually getting a deluxe issue). For 30 comics that's roughly $105 a month assuming a median average of $3.50....bump it up if you like Marvel only.

$105 a month for comics? In 1988 I could afford to pay for 30 comics a month on the money I made working for my folks or publishing cheap games and fanzines. In 1995 I was largely destitute for a while and still managed to scrape together the money once I found even a low wage position. Today? I can do it on my income, but if I made what I did even just three years ago I wouldn't even be buying comics as an unnecessary expense with a low "fun time:cost" ratio.

Now, that said....comics today have better graphics and usually better art than ever before. Paper quality is superior, coloring is digital and state of the art. Writing is often better, or at least it's taken an uptick from a trend I saw in the late nineties which I call the "Liefield Effect" in which you can take two pages of actual story and make it last for 22 pages. looks like comics today are trending away from that (to be replaced by different bad story habits....but I'll save that gripe for another column!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

In honor of Maanzecorian, Lord of Knowledge and Tasty Brains.

GLORIA MAANZECORIAN, et Filio, et Cerebrum Sancto. Sicut erat in spiritus immundus, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Ftagn!

Thanks to Albuquerque Chaote for finding this gif, and for all the crazed madness she brings to the Saturday game!

Monday, August 25, 2014

When Rules Disappear Behind the Story - 5E's Secret Weapon

My group decided to stick with 5E for a second session in a row on Saturday, giving Magic World a hiatus for a bit --but we will be back to MW, rest assured! Shiny new wins out for a bit right now.

One of the selling points often discussed in BRP and its related games is the idea that the BRP system is a set of rules which "falls in the background." That is, the rules are something which can exist and serve to arbitrate when needed, but which can be as invisible as you desire. You can narrate a story, role play your heart out, and have a good time and at the end of the session everyone tallies up their skill checks for advancement and rolls away. You can have grand combats, all narrated covertly by the mechanical process of the rules, yet seamlessly dictated by them. This, among many other reasons, is why I like BRP, Magic World, and its associated games. In's why I like most RPGs, to be honest. Especially the ones that work hard to make the Man behind the Curtain as hard to see as possible.

Interestingly, this feature is now "back" in Dungeons & Dragons with 5E, too. It's not an accident either, I suspect. I think a big part of the design effort in 5E was specifically aimed at capturing this sweet spot in role playing, the moment at which you realize that while yes, you are playing a game, you don't really realize it until you're rolling dice...and even then, the game shifts back immediately to the exciting process of tale-telling, of a rousing adventure, be it grim and gritty or wahoo-gonzo.

My 5E games have been feeling an awful lot like this, and I have to give credit to the system for making this easy. Since 3rd edition D&D has been spiraling off the rails. You could run 3rd edition with a narrative streak, yes....but too many specific rules (such as grapple, for example) could instantly derail the narrative flow of the game, stopping everything cold and breaking the immersion, or what passes for it in collaborative storytelling. Death to immersion by a thousand paper cuts, as I might equate it.

As for 4E....well, let's just say that it was a game about rules, and part of learning to play it as an RPG was learning how to interpret the rules, as if you were commanding a Ouija Board and trying to figure out what the ghost was telling you, or if it even WAS a ghost. The idea of "figuring out what this rule means in the game world" was a fun exercise in 4E, but it was counter-intuitive to the older approach to gaming, where the idea was "figuring what is happening in the game, and then letting the underlying rules support it." Saturday night and Wednesday night D&D 5E games have thoroughly convinced me that D&D 5E has what it takes to be my permanent go-to game system, for a very long time to come. I can tell a story with this thing and go an entire night without one head-scratching moment where I must divine what a given rule means in the context of the story at hand. That's a pretty mean feat for an edition of D&D to accomplish.

It's like a very important part of the game that was lost more than a decade ago has at last been found again, and suddenly crowned the Most Important Feature: rules that hide behind the story. Who would have guessed that D&D would be able to do this again?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Princes of the Apocalypse and the Adventurer's Handbook for D&D 5E in 2015

ENworld has the scoop so read about it there, but Sasquatch Studios is the next third party developer contracted to produce official products for Dungeons & Dragons 5E in the same manner as Kobold Press for this year's two modules.

The Sasquatch Studios team consists of notable authors Richard Baker, Stephen Schubert and Dave Noonan. Richard Baker is known for developing the 3rd edition Forgotten Realms book among many others, Stephen Schubert is noted for not having a convenient wiki entry although I think he worked on ther D&D Minis game from the 2003-2004 era, and Dave Noonan did a lot of stuff on 3rd edition and also apprently did some work on the MMORPG Tera (that game requires copious back-story to explain the BDSM default armor of the setting, I bet). So: these guys have the design credits to pull this off, basically.

This is very interesting to see how WotC is farming out work to 3rd party developers with official "WotC' branded and distributed products. I'm eager to see who else they can get in on the act.

Shame Paizo has its own IP to protect now.....

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

13th Age: Shadows of Eldolan and the Book of Loot on pre-order with PDF available at Pelgrane

I hadn't noticed, but at some point Shadows of Eldolan became available in PDF with a pre-order of the September book release. Since I had a very good experience with the Bestiary pre-order I went ahead and preordered this one along with the Book of Loot, which I had not heard of until now.

Shadows of Eldolan is the first official 13th Age adventure. The PDF also includes a zip file on the maps. Book of Loot is what it says: a guide to magic items and spiffy loot in the 13th Age.

Still reading both, but they are definitely up to Pelgrane's usual high quality. More to come!

D&D 5th: Moloron the Younger, Level 8 Tiefling Warlock Sage

Contionuing the showcase of just what D&D 5th Edition can do with char gen....I present Moloron, a warlock of Far Therias in the Realms of Chirak:

Moloron the Younger
Tiefling male, age 35
Warlock Sage level 8
Tall, dark hair, reddish black eyes, lean goat-like horns and goatee, 6’4”, 175 lbs (gaunt)
STR      DEX     CON    INT      WIS     CHA     HPs      Proficiency                
10        10        10        12        16        20        48        +3                               
0          0          0          +1        +3/+6   +5/+8        
Hit Dice           Init      Speed  Armor Class                Alignment      Level   Experience     
8D8                  0          30        10                                Neutral Good  8          45,000
Spell    Cantrips          Spell Slots       Slot Level        Spell Save DC
Slots         3                      2                      4th                    16

Saves               WIS, CHA
Languages      Common (Ermanican), Infernal (Kaelinari), Ildrathari, Tuat
Skills                Arcana +9, History +9, Intimidation +5, Deception +5
Tiefling Traits darkvision, hellish resistance (fire), infernal legacy (thaumaturgy, hellish rebuke,  darkness)
Warlock Traits Pact of the Tome, Patron: The Fiend, Dark One’s Blessing, Dark One’s Own Luck
Sage Traits      Researcher

Cantrips                     eldritch blast, mage hand, true strike; thaumaturgy (tielfing)
Tome Cantrips         Guidance, fire bolt, poison spray
Level 1                        Armor of Agathys, Witch Bolt, burning hands, Hellish Rebuke (tiefling)
Level 2                        scorching ray, invisibility
Level 3                        dispel magic, fireball
Level 4                        fire shield
Invocations  Eyes of the Rune Keeper, Mask of Many Faces, One With Shadows, Agonizing Blast

Armor             deathcut leather +1 (AC 12; deals 1d10 necrotic back to melee attacker, 1/day)      
Weapons        Dagger +1 (+4 attack, 1D4+1 damage)
Magic              Circlet of Authority (get advantage on persuade/intimidation)

Personality     I am a student of esoteric knowledge who seeks to better my world, living in the shadow of my father's legacy.
Ideal                Power….the mastery of planar magic and pursuit of the mysteries my father sought.
Bond               I am an outcast from my homeland and have been liberated as an expatriate.
Flaw                I am overcome with the need to know outweighing safety.

Gold Pieces:          127         Platinum Pieces: 200

Background: Moloron’s father was an exile from the Therianic city state of Kaelinari, a bastion of tieflings who had isolated themselves deep in the wilderness away from the Carceri and all the rest of the land. Moloron’s father’s exact crimes at this time are unknown, but it is believed that his Pact, forged with the unholy spirit lord Kaelos, was part of the reason.

Moloron the Elder left for the north mountains of Carceri after his exile, and left behind his young son and wife. Years later Moloron the Younger began to discover his father’s history, and felt the inextricable call of his family bloodline toward the vile Kaelos. When he was eighteen Moloron left his city behind after being discovered summoning the spirit of Kaelos to bind himself in pact, in exchange for information on his father’s location.

Moloron found an ancient mansion with a vast complex beneath of unknown origin which had clearly been his father’s. It appeared that his father had been experimenting with ways and means of opening portals to other planes, and in his quests he uncovered an ancient statue of great power to Kaelos, which he later learned was the petrified demigod himself! Moloron’s father utilized the raw energy within the petrified spirit lord to empower his claimed subterranean complex, where he worked extensively on ancient alchemical machines to breach the planar gap and find a means of communing with the planes. Moloron the Younger concluded that his father had been seeking out a means of lifting the curse of his family, and fallen victim to unknown powers in the process.

Amidst all this Moloron determined that his father had perhaps succeeded too well at his goal, and may have been abducted or plane shifted out of the Realms of Chirak. He powered up the old machines to seek out a way of finding his father, but was interrupted when agents of the Carceric king appeared looking for his father… turns out Moloron the Elder had been serving as a sorcerous advisor to the king. Moloron decided to accompany the adventurers, misreprenting himself as his father. So it was that his new career as agent of the crown began. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sweet Zombie Jesus it's Deep Magic for 13th Age

Look here and just think about what good boys and girls we must all be to have this tome converted to 13th Age. Deep Magic was in some ways a grand hurrah and send off for me to Pathfinder, the last great sourcebook that Kobold Press released for a system I knew was about to be trounced by the manifestation of D&D 5th edition.

Deep Magic has a lot of cool stuff in it....but the thought of all that cool stuff coming to 13th Age is almost too much for my system. Must rest....! Too much good stuff this year.

D&D 5E: Advanced Firearms

Advanced Firearms

Eventually the musket is overtaken by technology and cylinder feeds with cartridge ammunition become commonplace. If you have a region of your setting where this might have happened (in the Realms of Chirak the kingdom of Abraheil has reached this point) then the following rules will let you add more advanced firearms.

Advanced Firearm Properties:

Cartridge/cylinder-load firearms are much quicker to load and rifling is now the default process when constructing these weapons. Gatling guns become possible, wheel-mounted monstrosities which crank out a hail of bullets. Advanced firearms can fire a number of shots before reloading. Once the number of loaded rounds has been expended then the weapon must be reloaded. The number of actions it takes to reload is the number following “reload.” Most are Reload 1 or 2.

Advanced Misfire
Cartridge/cylinder-load firearms can misfire, and the same rules apply. However wet cartriges are uncommon unless the weapon has been immersed in water and there’s considerably more reliability over flintlock weapons. When rolling a 1 on an attack make a DC 10 saving throw for the weapon. If you fail then the weapon is jammed and required 1D3 actions to unjam. If you roll another 1 the weapon’s misfired and if the shooter fails a DC 12 Dexterity check he will take 1D8 damage from the round going off in the chamber. The weapon is then useless until repaired.

The cylinder loaded weapons have a number of shots that can be fired before reloading, typically 6 or 8. You can purchase a contraption for quick loading of a cylinder loader for 10 gp which reduces the weapon’s reload rate by 1.

Iron Sights
Advanced firearms with iron sights can grant a significant advantage if you take a moment to aim. With this property, a shooter can spend a move or regular action to aim down the iron sights to gain advantage on the target.

Advanced Firearm Stats:

Revolver (250 GP)
Damage: 1D8
Properties: Ammunition, 6 rounds, Advanced Misfire, Reload 2, Armor Piercing, deadly crit, Iron Sights, Range (50/100), light one-handed
Revolvers are reliable weapons, with a spin cylinder which loads the brass cartridge rounds. You can purchase a revolver with an 8 round cylinder for 500 GP. Weight 6 lbs.

Breach-Loading Rifle (800 GP)
Damage: 1D12
Properties: Ammunition, Misfire, Reload 1, Armor Piercing, deadly crit, Iron Sights, Range (200/400), two-handed
Breach-loading rifles require that the shooter insert a new bullet after the old cartridge is released. It requires a load action between shots, but a professional with the firearms style can load a shot as part of a move action. Weight 10 lbs

Revolving Rifle (1,200 GP)
Damage: 1D12
Properties: 8 rounds, Ammunition, Misfire, Reload 2, Armor Piercing, deadly crit, Iron Sights, Range (200/400), two-handed
Revolving rifles use the cylinder loader to hold a number of rounds for continuous fire. Add 80 GP to the cost for each additional round it can hold up to 15. Weight 10 lbs

Shotgun (500 GP)
Damage: 2D8 short range, 2D4 long range
Properties: ammunition, 2 rounds, Misfire, Reload 1, deadly crit, Range (30/60), two handed
The shotgun evolved from the blunderbuss. This weapon fires lead shot for great effectiveness at close range, with damage dropping at greater range. Most shotguns have 2 barrels, but you can get a single barrel version for 250 GP, or a four-barrel version for 1,000 GP. Weight 5 lbs

Gatling Gun (25,000 GP)
Damage: 1D8 per bullet
Properties: ammunition, 100 rounds, Misfire, Reload 4, Armor Piercing, deadly crit, Range (100/200), heavy, two-handed (mounted only)
The first Gatling guns were positioned on tripods or wheels with a frame, and aimed in the general direction of the enemy, with a crank to funnel bullets into the weapon while turning the cylinder that both loads and fires through the active barrel.

To fire a Gatling gun, roll a single attack against all targets in the effective range (choose to fire in a 10/10 cylinder or 5X20 cone) and each target that you hit takes 1 bullet for every 3 points rolled over their effective armor class. You roll an additional die for disadvantage against any targets at long range.

Note that this is a heavy weapon and not easily maneuvered; features like the sharpshooter feat do not apply to this weapon. Weight 200 lbs. (proficiency in land vehicles will allow one to maneuver the gun as a wagon with a horse or other beast of burden.)

Cartridge Bullets (50 GP)
100 brass cartridge rounds which will work with both pistols and rifles. Weight 5 lbs.

Gatling Rounds (100 GP)
100 heavy rounds linked and loaded into a feeder box. Weight 25 lbs.

Shotgun Rounds (25 GP)
A box of 50 lead-shot loaded paper cartridges for shotguns. Weight 5lbs.

Monday, August 18, 2014

D&D 5E: Archaic Firearms Rules

Archaic Firearms Rules for D&D 5E

Today we take a brief break from characters in D&D and offer some new rules. If you'd like to run a steam punk or renaissance campaign setting you're going to need some firearm rules. My guess is that if we see firearms rules in 5th edition anytime soon it will be in the forthcoming Dungeon Master’s Guide. Until then I worked up some basic firearms mechanics to utilize in my Realms of Chirak setting which has regions of the world undergoing a renaissance of scientific development and discovery, and that includes firearms.

Basic firearms rules are pretty easy and work within the context of the existing weapon rules. Here’s some basic details:

Flintlock Weapons: the common weapon by the 17th century, it replaced the wheellock, matchlock and doglock versions of the same. Substitute one of these other titles to reflect an earlier phase in gunpowder development if you like.

Dex Bonus to Damage and Attack: I’m allowing it, on the grounds that precision aiming means a better well-placed shot, just like with bows and crossbows.

New Martial Style: Firearms
In worlds where firearms are available the martial style “Firearms” should be allowed. This feat grants two features: the warrior gains a +2 to attack (like Archery) and the warrior also may roll for advantage on a misfire save (see below). At the DM’s option the firearms style may gain benefits in the same conditions/circumstances where having archery would.

Firearm Weapon Properties
Firearms have four new traits: slow load, misfire, Deadly Crit and armor piercing as follows:

Slow Load
Reloading Times: Flintlock muskets take three actions to reload if the individual is not trained in their use. An individual who has the Sharpshooter feat gains one extra perk, with firearms, and may reduce the loading time to 2 actions.

Flintlock pistols take 2 actions to reload, and 1 action with the Sharpshooter feat.

Anytime a musket or pistol rolls a 1 the shooter must roll for a save against the misfire: roll 1D20 against DC 10 (roll with advantage if possessing the martial style Firearms). If you fail the save roll on the firearm misfire table (D20):
1-10 weapon has misfired; takes 1D4 actions to clear
11-15 weapon’s flint has gone dull; may attempt to fire again but future misfire chances are 1-5 on attack roll.
16-19 powder residue has ignited; Roll 1D20: 10+ weapon is too damaged to use. Make a DC 10 Dex save; on a failure take 1D4 fire damage.
20 weapon has blown up. Make a DC 12 Dex save or take 1D8 damage.

Optional Misfire Modifiers: If you are fighting with a flintlock in damp weather the misfire chance is 1-5 on an attack roll; however in damp weather it is much likelier that the weapon misfired due to damp weather. When rolling a save on the chance of misfire, on a failure the weapon is simply damp and can’t be fired again until cleared. If you roll a 1 on the save then roll on the misfire table as normal.

Musketeers can get a leather cover to help protect a musket’s powder charge in damp weather. This leather cover costs 5 GP and allows the musketeer to roll with advantage on misfires while in damp weather.

Armor Piercing
Firearms made metal armor obsolete. A campaign with heavy use of firearms sees a decrease in the use of plate armor. When firing against an opponent with medium or heavy armor the attacker gains advantage.

Deadly Crit
Firearms are deadly, and their risk of misfire and slower loading times mean they come into play a little less often. When a firearm rolls a critical hit, it triples its damage dice instead of doubling. This reflect the potential for much greater harm the weapons can do.

Firearm Stats:

Flintlock Pistol (200 GP)
Damage: 1D8
Properties: Ammunition, Misfire, Slow Load, Armor Piercing, deadly crit, Range (40/80), light one-handed
The standard flintlock pistol is a single-barreled one-handed weapon with a flintlock to ignite the powder. It was best at short range. Specialists were called pistoleers. Since reload times were often impractical in battle it was common to wear a brace of pistols, sometimes with two, four or even six or more loaded pistols on a warrior to keep firing without stopping to reload. A variation of powder monkey (a term for younger boys on a ship assigned to ferry powder and shot to cannons) could exist for a pistoleer; the powder monkey would follow the pistoleer around reloading his weapons. Weight 5 lbs

Flintlock Musket (800 GP)
Damage: 1D10
Properties: Ammunition, Misfire, Slow Load, Armor Piercing, deadly crit, Range (60/120), two-handed
The flintlock musket was the longer-ranged counterpart to the pistol. It required a powder horn and a rod to drive the powder and ball into the barrel. Specialists were called musketeers. The arquebus as a name was sometimes applied to flintlock muskets. Weight 10 lbs

Flintlock Rifle (1,200 GP)
Damage: 1D12
Properties: Ammunition, Misfire, Slow Load, Armor Piercing, deadly crit, Range (90/180), two-handed
The flintlock rifle was an emergent evolution of the musket, allowing for grooving in the barrel which aided in distance and accuracy. Eventually rifling became commonplace. Specialists were riflemen. Weight 10 lbs

Blunderbuss (400 GP)
Damage: 2D6 short range, 1D6 long range
Properties: ammunition, Misfire, Slow Load, deadly crit, Range (20/40), light one-handed
The blunderbuss was a short range one-handed proto-shotgun that was very effective at close quarters and effective onboard ships.  Dragoon infantry are believed to have derived their name from the term “dragon” used to describe the type of blunderbuss they carried into battle. It is possible to get a version with two barrels (or more), just double the cost and weight of each extra barrel. When you have multiple loaded barrels you can fire them off like normal attacks before having to reload, but the reload time is per barrel. Weight 5 lbs

Pistol Shot and Powder (40 GP)
100 balls and enough powder to fire them all. Weight 3 lbs.

Musket/Rifle Shot and powder (40 gp)
100 balls and enough powder to fire them. Musket and rifle balls are larger and can’t work in pistols. Weight 7 lbs.

Blunderbuss Shot and Powder (25 GP)
The blunderbuss’s shot consists of tiny lead balls. There enough in one package for 100 shots plus powder. Weight 4lbs.

Other Notes of Interest:

Firearm Repair: Firearms can be costly and difficult to repair due to the tooled nature of the parts. A damaged firearm (such as from a misfire) will cost 20% of its base cost to secure necessary parts for the repair, or 40% of base cost to hire a specialist to do the work as well.

A character can attempt to make his or her own repairs with a Dex check, DC 12 for minor damage or DC 15 for major damage. If the character has firearms as their martial specialty they may take advantage on a repair roll. Assume repairs take 1D8 hours, half that if the Dex check is a critical success.

Bayonets: Any rifle or musket may be turned into a polearm effectively by attaching a specialized dagger to the end of the barrel. This allows the weapon to be used in melee; bayonets do 1D6 damage and are light weapons, considered two-handed when attached to the end of the musket.

Next: Advanced Firearms!

Friday, August 15, 2014

D&D 5E: Kytron Vellasco, level 4 tiefling fighter champion outlander

Kytron Vellasco
Tiefling male, Age 24
Fighter Champion Outlander, Level 4 (Realms of Chirak)
STR      DEX     CON    INT      WIS     CHA     HPs      Proficiency     Spell Save DC Memorized    
13        15        13        11        12        12        36        +2                    0                      0
+1(+3)  +2(+4)  +1        +0        +1        +1       
Hit Dice           Speed  Armor Class                    Alignment      Level   Experience     
4D10                30        15 (17 w/shield)              Chaotic Good    4          2,700

Saves-STR, CON         
Languages-Common (Mercurian), infernal
Skills-Acrobatics +4, Athletics +3, Perception +3, Survival +3
Tool Proficiency-pan pipes
Tiefling Traits-darkvision, infernal legacy, Thaumaturgy 1/day, Hellish Rebuke 1/day
Fighter Traits-action surge, second wind, fighting Style-archery, Champion Archetype, Improved Critical (19-20)
Background-Outlander (exile), wanderer trait

Armor-chain shirt (AC 13+Dex (max 2)) and shield (+2)              
Weapons-longbow (+6 attack, 1D8+2 damage); scimitar (+4 attack, 1D6+2 damage; finesse)

Personality-A decade living in the wilds has prompted Kytron to see a parable or lesson in every aspect of nature
Ideal-Nature; the natural world is the only true glimmer of greatness in the divine scheme
Bond-Revenge; Kytron seeks to destroy those who laid waste to the fortress where is family lived and to bring vengeance down on all who persecute tieflings
Flaw-Kytron places little trust in civilized folk
Trinket-a silver medallion of the Sons of Denarr, showing an eagle grasping a serpent which Kytron took from one of the attackers of his family’s villa.

Kytron Vellasco dwells in the high mountains of the Dryssarian Ranges of eastern Mercurios, where he learned much of his craft as a survivor and hunter from friendly Xernethian elves and even on occasion Kraggit orcs, who believe tieflings are curious creatures touched by the demon gods.

Kytron arrived in the mountains when his family villa was attacked and destroyed in his youth. The attackers appeared to be men and dwarves calling themselves the Sons of Denarr, a radical cult which believed that inhuman taint was a curse and a relic of the old Betrayer Gods. Kytron’s family was slain, but Kytron himself was held to escape by the family huntsman, a kind Xernethian wood elf named Sartain Frei. Sartain led the young tiefling to his people, where Kytron found refuge and a home for the next decade.

Recently the lich lord Malenkin departed his necrotic tower and took his army of the dead with him on a mysterious quest to the west. This disrupted the delicate balance of power in the mountains. Now, a great green dragon seeks to claim the land for itself, as do multiple orc warlords, and human forces are arriving too to see what they can plunder from the lich’s tower. Kytron not only seeks to defend his adopted elf kin, but to strike out and find the killers of his clan and extract his revenge.   

Thursday, August 14, 2014

D&D 5E: Charamis Zen'Rakatt, level 12 gnomish warlock charlatan

Up next! One of my favorite foils and patron NPCs in the Realms of Chirak. Zen'Rakatt's appearance is a sign to those who know him that there's something fishy going on, and those who meet him for the first time spend much of their working relationship trying to parse truth from fiction...
Charamis Zen’Rakatt
Rock Gnome male of Pardainse, Age 74
Warlock Charlatan of the Great Old One level 12
STR      DEX     CON    INT      WIS     CHA     HPs      Proficiency     Spell Save DC
9          14        10        12        16        17        75        +4                    15                   
-1         +2        +0        +1        +3/+7   +3/+7  
Hit Dice           Speed  Armor Class                            Alignment                  Level   Experience     
12D8                25        13 (15 w/armor of shadows)  Chaotic Neutral           1          105,000
Spell    Cantrips          Spells Known Spell Slots       Slot Level        Invocations
Slots            4                      11                    3                      5th                   6

Saves-WIS, CHA (+1 to saves with Robe of the Bat; gnomish cunning)
Languages-Common (Espanean), gnomish
Skills-Arcana +5, Deception +7, Investigation +5, Persuasion +7, Sleight of Hand +6, Stealth +6
Tool Proficiencies-tinker’s tools (artisan’s tools), disguise kit, forgery kit
Warlock Traits-Patron (the Great Old One-Agosys the Deceiver), awakened mind, entropic ward, thought shield, Pact Boon (Pact of the Tome), Mystic Arcanum (Eyebite)  
Gnome Traits- darkvision, gnome cunning, artificer’s lore, tinker
Charlatan Traits-scam (I get in close to steal the fortunes of others), False Identity (Zurm Thimbleweight, shipping agent)

Tome of Shadow Cantrips-friends, minor illusion, true strike
Cantrips-blade ward, eldritch blast, mage hand, prestidigitation
Level 1-dissonant whispers, tasha’s hideous laughter
Level 2-charm person, comprehend languages
Level 3-fly, gaseous form, tongues
Level 4-dimension door
Level 5-hold monster, scrying
Level 6-true seeing
Mystic Arcanum-Eyebite
Invocations-Book of Ancient Secrets, Beguiling Influence, Armor of Shadows, One with Shadows, Mask of Many Faces, Sculptor of Flesh
Rituals from Book of Ancient Secrets-contact other plane, commune, divination

Armor- Robes of the Bat +1 (magic robes; 3/day may polymorph into a cloud of bats for 1 hour; functions like gaseous form; +1 is on all saves and AC)                                   
Weapons-dagger +1 (+7 attack; 1D4+1 damage)

Personality-Charamis finds truth is gold and he hates giving it away. Also, friend and enemies are merely commodities, to be bought and sold as needs arise.
Ideal-Creativity (Charamis is always looking for a new con)
Bond-Charamis knows his family was once great, and has a fierce loyalty to his clan and a need to make it powerful once more. He just has a skewed sense of how to do this…
Flaw-A horrible coward! Chramis strikes when it’s safe and flees when it looks like there’s even a slight risk.

Charamis Zen’Rakatt started as a young street hustler after his family’s great fortune collapsed. His father was a shipwright and ran a business that had been in the family for generations. Overnight rivals accused him of smuggling and planted evidence seemed to prove guilt; in weeks the property was seized by the state. Charamis, youngest of his siblings, was distraught at this but unlike his family members who sought to restore the business legitimately, he decided this was proof that con artistry was a viable tool to make one's way in life. His natural gift of the gab and his obsession with grifting led him to a life of early crime. He made his biggest life-changing mistake when he ran a con on a Xoxtocharit mage named Han’acas who caught Charamis and cursed him with the “blessing of Agosys the Deceiver,” a mark of one of the One Hudnred and Thirteen “demon gods” of Xoxtocharit lore.

To Charamis’s surprise, the curse was a blessing…for that night he was visited by Agosys in dream, and the dark entity of the far realm found the natural charlatanism of the gnome to its liking…he was spared, but his desire to con and grift would now fuel dark energies that fed back to the Old One.

Charamis has spent years rebuilding the family fortune, and he often pours some of his ill-gotten gains back into the clan to help them recover from their loss of the shipwright business. He has become a notorious underworld figure in both Pardainse and in Espanea. He has affiliations with numerous organizations, from the Ebon Skulls to the Barcen Thieve’s Guilds, to sundry and various self-proclaimed Sea Kings of Kaldinia.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

13th Age in Glorantha Kickstarter

WAT. it looks like it is conceivable that we may see Glorantha in 13th Age before we see Glorantha in Runequest 6.

I'm not a Gloranthaphile or anything....quite the opposite, really.....but I admit that the Glorantha setting does sound like 13th Age with its icon mechanics would be really damned interesting, so I may have to consider backing this. If only so I can play a duck occultist....or a broo chaos mage....