Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Six Demon Bag

New Magic Item

Six Demon Bag
Contains: "Wind, fire, all that kind of thing."

A Six Demon Bag is similar to a Medicine Bag. It contains powerful reagents, fetishes, and other user-specific talismans that have been previously prepared by the owner in order to help focus and enhance their spells.

When a spell-caster uses their personal Six Demon Bag, they cast all spells as if one level higher, for purposes of duration, range, and effect. It does not allow a caster to cast higher level spells than they are normally capable of casting.

The cost to make a Six Demon Bag is figured: Character Level x Highest Spell Level Available To Caster x 500 gold pieces.

A Six Demon Bag has to be completely remade from scratch (at full cost) upon attaining a new level that allows access to a new higher level of spells.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Random Tables: Unusual Character Traits

Unusual Character Traits, are peculiarities that a character may possess, that make them standout from others. These quirks are more pronounced than ordinary physical or personality traits, often making the character unique.

Not everyone possesses a trait that stands out. Players may choose whether or not to roll once on the following table at the time of character creation. Even then, there is a 50% chance that no Unusual Character Trait is possessed, a 25% chance of having a negative trait, or a 25% chance of having a beneficial trait. If a player chooses to roll on the table, they ARE bound by the result for that character!

01 - 50     No Unusual Character Trait possessed.
    51        - Poor Eyesight
    52        + Keen Eyesight
    53        - Hard of Hearing
    54        + Excellent Hearing
    55        - Poor Sense of Taste and Smell
    56        + Heightened Sense of Taste and Smell
    57        - Poor Sense of Touch / Numbness
    58        + Keen Sense of Touch
    59        - Over Confidence / Big Mouth
    60        + Competent / Self Assured
    61        - Belligerence (Argue at the drop of a hat, even with friends)
    62        + Amiable (Gets along with anyone, even jerks)
    63        - Particularly Poor Hygene or Appearance
    64        + Well Groomed
    65        - Can Sleep On Demand
    66        + Insomnia
    67        - Pronounced Limp/Walks with Cane
    68        + Fleet of Foot
    69        - Sensitive Digestion
    70        + Cast Iron Stomach
    71        - Ugly (Independent of Charisma)
    72        + Physically Attractive (independent of Charisma)
    73        - Stammer (Trouble speaking during emergencies)
    74        + Command Presence
    75        - Unusually Short
    76        + Unusually Tall
    77        - Can't Handle Alcohol
    78        + High Tolerance for Alcohol
    79        - Alcoholic
    80        + Abstains From Alcohol / Substances
    81        - Bad With Animals
    82        + Good With Animals
    83        - Can Not Swim / Fear of Water
    84        + Swims Like A Fish
    85        - Throws Like A Wuss
    86        + Accurate Thrower
    87        - Always Hungry (Twice normal food intake)
    88        + Eats Like A Bird (Half normal food intake)
    89        - Kleptomania
    90        + Charitable
    91        - Fear of Heights (Poor climber)
    90        + Climbs Like A Monkey
    91        - Clod (Clumsy / Not Sneaky)
    92        + Graceful (Elegant / Sneaky)
    93        - Can't Spit
    94        + Can Spit Across A Room Accurately
    95        - Can't Whistle
    96        + Can Whistle VERY LOUD
    97        - Butter Fingers
    98        + Nimble Hands
    99         - Unusual Appearance or Physical Characteristic (perceived negatively)
   100       + Unusual Appearance or Physical Characteristic (perceived positively)

(-) Negative Trait, (+) Positive Trait

Some Unusual Character Traits may give a character a small bonus or penalty, when performing related actions. Others affect the way the character is perceived by others. And still others are just unusual abilities not common to most people.

Players are encouraged to work with their DM to help define their particular trait, making it distinctive to their character. Not all traits have a direct effect upon game mechanics, but are more for role-playing purposes.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Oooh! That's gonna leave a mark!

The topic for today's article comes directly from Gary Gygax himself, found in the pages of the original Dungeon Masters Guide. Although dismissed by some in the Old School Renaissance as apocrypha, much of the material in the DMG originated in articles written for the original Dungeons & Dragons game.

"If any creature reaches a state of -6 or greater negative points before being revived, this could indicate scarring or the loss of some member, if you so choose. For example, a character struck by a fireball and then treated when at -9 might have horrible scar tissue on exposed areas of flesh - hands, arms, neck, face." - AD&D DMG p.82*

* The above text is only applied in games using the -10 hit point threshold. Some games allow a negative hit point threshold up to the dying character's Constitution score, in which case the scarring will apply at negative half the CON score of the character.

For the purposes of this article, the following rule used is.. "A character remains alive (although bleeding to death at the rate of 1 hp/round if no assistance is rendered) until the character reaches negative hit points equal to the character’s level." Swords & Wizardry Complete, p.43.

Any time a character falls into negative hit points, but does not die, they may be subject to scarring, or dismemberment. In this case dismemberment is minor so as not to cripple, or whittle away at the character. Some DMs might apply more severe penalties, but this is not recommended.

Here, in our home campaign, we use the following 2d6 table for hit location (assuming that the target is humanoid):

    2          Head (Upper Portion)
  3-4         Right Leg
    5          Right Arm
    6          Upper Torso
    7          Lower Torso
    8          Upper Torso
    9          Left Arm
10-11       Left Leg
  12          Head (Lower Portion)

The use of 2d6 was chosen because it reflects set percentages, instead of a flat 1 in 6, or what have you. There are special 1d12's that have body locations printed on them, but again that just makes everything a straight 1 in 12 chance of being struck. Each DM is encouraged to use their own preferred system.

Effects of Scarring:
  • Depending on hit location, the character may be missing a piece of finger, toe, ear, nose, patch of hair, teeth, etc.
  • The character might suffer scarring appropriate to the type of damage that drove them into negative hit points.
  • The character might have a visible limp, favor a particular body part, etc, especially when the weather is cold, or about to change.
  • The character may end up with an appropriate nickname, such as Ninefinger, One-Ear, Scarface, the Gimp, Flamekissed, etc. Be creative.

In our home campaign, Antaria: The Lion, The Bear, and The Dragon, we only use these rules for role-playing purposes, to add verisimilitude to the ongoing story of the adventure. Players often enjoy them because they help distinguish their characters, making them that much more memorable.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Optional Rules: Spell Services

Sometimes the players will not have access to a particular spell, or spells, personally. They will need to find someone capable and willing to cast the spell for them, but this will come at a cost. The following table is provided for a base estimate a spell-caster may charge for their services. Most spell-casters do not usually hire out to go on adventures, preferring to stay home to serve their church, or study in their laboratories.

The formula for finding base cost is as follows: Level of Spell x Minimum Level of Caster needed to cast the spell x (10 x spell level). Thus, a first level magic-user spell, multiplied by first level caster (minimum), times 10gp, for a total of 10gp. Additional costs, such as spell components needed, of course will be added to the base spell cost.

Base Cost
Caster Level

Level of Spell
Cleric – first level spell
Cleric – second level spell
Cleric – third level spell
Cleric – fourth level spell
Cleric – fifth level spell
Cleric – sixth level spell *
Cleric – seventh level spell

Druid – first level spell
Druid – second level spell
Druid – third level spell
Druid – fourth level spell
Druid – fifth level spell *
Druid – sixth level spell
Druid – seventh level spell

Magic-User – first level spell
Magic-User – second level spell
Magic-User – third level spell
Magic-User – fourth level spell
Magic-User – fifth level spell *
Magic-User – sixth level spell
Magic-User – seventh level spell
Magic-User – eighth level spell
Magic-User – ninth level spell

* - Spells of this level or higher are generally not available except in special cases set by the Dungeon Master.

These rules are written for Swords & Wizardry Complete, but may be used with other compatable OSR rules systems.

Optional Rules: Putting The Sorcery Into Swords

Fantasy stories abound with magical weapons, but none more so than the magic sword. The discovery of a magic sword is an excitement practically every adventurer has enjoyed at least once in their careers. However, all too often, the excitement wears off as the players then set their sights on more and more powerful magic weapons, abandoning their old trusty +1's for the next bigger and better deal to come along.

In our home campaign, magic swords are more than a collection of escalating magical bonuses. They have backgrounds, special properties, and many have the potential to grow with the one who wields them.

The basics:

No magical sword is ever made of common materials. There are no copper, or even bronze, magic swords. They must be made of the finest steel, meteoric iron, or other exotic material, only then can they accept the mystical properties enchanting them will bestow. Though a magic blade can not be detected as such without the use of Detect Magic, a skilled fighter can easily identify that such blades are far superior to a normal blade of its type.

Though extremely durable, no magic sword is unbreakable. Unless someone goes out of their way to damage the blade, or subjects it to tremendous abuse, a magical blade should remain functional. But should such a blade be subjected to extreme stress, or damaged magically, or attacked by superhuman power, then they can fail. i.e. Using a +1 sword as a lever to lift a wagon is not a good idea.

A magic blade with a bonus of +1 or +2 is a function of the quality of the blade itself, not its magical properties. While the base magical enchantment allows such blades to hit those creatures only harmed by magic weapons, the bonus to hit and damage is derived from the weapon itself. Such weapons are better balanced, stronger, and sharper than normal blades, allowing them to be used more effectively in combat than normal blades. Even if temporarily or permanently disenchanted, these weapons will retain their hit and damage bonuses.

A magic-user, or other spell-caster, can create a magical weapon of +1 ability, or equivalent, at 3rd level. They may create a +2 weapon, or equivalent, at 6th level. Only the most powerful weapons may be crafted by spell-casters of 9th level and higher. The mechanics and how-to of creating magic weapons will appear in an upcoming article.

A non-player character may create a +1 magic weapon for a base cost of 100 times the cost of a normal weapon of the same type, and one week's time of uninterrupted work. A +2 weapon costs 200 times the normal base weapon cost, and one month of uninterrupted work. The DM may require the Player Characters to go out and collect additional materials for the construction of these items.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog to catch our upcoming article on Cursed Weapons!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Name That NPC - List 1

Here is a simple 1d50 list of NPC names, to be used for inspiration, or whatever other reason you need.

  1. Thane the Outcast
  2. James of the Castle Warden
  3. Ernst Gigantesson
  4. Galtar Hempseed
  5. Cho Rempol
  6. Nestrum the Nithling
  7. Mimicus the Mirage
  8. Puzzo Ale Sodden
  9. Darlun Ninefinger
  10. Zinn the Most Brazen
  11. Fost Ghostwalker
  12. The Silent Master
  13. Mourn Tearblood
  14. Dlareg of the Broken Chain
  15. Donal the Triumphant
  16. Hamurak of the Golden Dawn
  17. Zula of the Silver Twilight
  18. Sonja the Necrophant
  19. Mantzar the Frank
  20. Kresto the Amazing
  21. Mabry the Mad
  22. Procuron the Sentinel
  23. Kant Stantcha
  24. Bast Miltaur
  25. Lupo the Lycan Hunter
  26. Prego the Prestigious
  27. Thom, Son of Iron
  28. Dyzon Legolos
  29. Zoltan Halfblood
  30. Prince Kespeare
  31. Kronen of the Borderlands
  32. Porchette the Clever
  33. Marazon the Unblessed
  34. Fegnar the Unholy
  35. Tesarat of the Unseen Path
  36. Adraxus the Forgotten
  37. Castus the Egregious
  38. Hestia Bloodthorne
  39. Negan the Reanimator
  40. Seriff the Dominant
  41. Quethos of Evergreen
  42. Horezon, Servant of Marduk
  43. Thesolon the Veiled
  44. Gesbury Greyhand
  45. Fenthoc Thorne
  46. Athelos the Scryer
  47. Rathanon the Undying
  48. Lemmon Zhello
  49. Cinnamon
  50. Krusti O'Toole

Friday, October 6, 2017

Optional Rules: Trade Goods - Part One

Trade goods can usually be traded or bartered at 80 to 100% of full value. These goods are accepted anywhere there is a market for them. Ore grades affect trade values.

Metal, Price Per Pound:
1sp        Iron
4sp        Lead
5sp        Copper
1gp        Tin
5gp        Silver
5gp        Bronze
25gp      Electrum (White Gold)
50gp      Gold
500gp    Platinum

Metals are often smelted into ingots of various sizes and weights.
Ore values are different from smelted metal ingots. Ore is raw material, still mixed with impurities and sells for approximately 40% to 75% value. 

Grades of Ore:
40-45%                 Cut-Off Grade Ore, below this level no longer economical to mine
50-55%                 Mid-Grade Ore
60-65%                 Market Grade Ore
70-75%                 High Grade

Roll 1d8 to determine Ore Grad / Trade Value.


Grains, Produce, and Fruits:

1cp        one pound of wheat, or millet
5sp        one bushel of wheat, or millet (50 pounds)
2cp        one pound of flour, or rice
2sp        one bag of flour, or rice (10 lbs)
2cp        one pound of dried beans
1sp        one bag of dried beans (5 lbs)
3cp        one pound of corn (2 - 3 ears)
2gp        one bushel of corn (70 pounds)
2cp        one pound of onions (3 small, 2 medium, or 1 large)
11sp      one bushel of onions (57 pounds)
3cp        one pound of potatoes (3 average, 10 small)
3sp        one bag of potatoes (10 pounds)
2cp        one pound of apples (4 small, 3 medium, or 2 large)
8sp        one bushel of apples (40 lbs)
2cp        one pound of peaches (3)
1gp        one bushel of peaches (50 lbs)
1gp        one pound of cinnamon, or sugar
2gp        one pound of ginger, or pepper
5gp        one pound of salt
15gp      one pound of saffron, or cloves

Luxury Items:
5sp        one pound of tobacco (15-25 leaves)
8sp        one pound of mild pipeweed / hemp
1gp        strong pipeweed (2-3 cigarettes)
10gp      Black Lotus (the good stuff)
2gp        Haga (not the good stuff)

I'm looking to improve this article, please comment or send feedback.

Optional Rules: Livestock
Optional Rules: Fur Trade