Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Arcane Warrior: A Warrior/Conjuror for Elves in The Black Hack

So I wrote The Zebra Hack (Zero Edition), which closely emulates Swords & Wizardry Whitebox as its inspiration. One thing I neglected include was the Elvish blended magic user with fighting ability from White Box. Here is my take, along with another alternate class for Elves that might intrigue some people.

ARCANE WARRIOR

Requirement: Elf

Starting HP: d8 + 4
HP Per Level/Resting: 1d8
Weapons & Armor: Any Weapons, Gambeson, Leather, Chain Mail, All Shields but not during spellcasting.
Attack Damage: 1d8 / 1d6 Unarmed or Improvising.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Swordsman: As part of their action an Arcane Warrior can make 1 Melee attack per odd level.

Wilderness Survival: In a natural environment, rolls with Advantage when tracking, moving silently, navigating, finding food, or calming wild animals.

Arcane Spellcasting: Beginning at second level, an Arcane Warrior can cast a number of Arcane Spells per day, see the Spellcasting section.

LEVELING UP

Roll to see if attributes increase, roll twice for STR or INT.

SPELLBOOK

Arcane Warriors start with a large spellbook containing a total of 1d4 spells from the Level 1 and 2 Arcane Spell lists.
----

Legolas in the movies displayed an amazing skill with the bow. Here is something a little more along his style.


ARCANE FORESTER

Requirement: Elf

Starting HP: d6 + 4
HP Per Level/Resting: 1d6
Weapons & Armor: Any Weapons, Gambeson, Leather, Chain Mail, All Shields but not during spellcasting.
Attack Damage: 1d6 / 1d4 Unarmed or Improvising.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Archer: As part of their action an Arcane Forester can make 1 Ranged attack per odd level.

Wilderness Survival: In a natural environment, rolls with Advantage when tracking, moving silently, navigating, finding food, or calming wild animals.

Arcane Spellcasting: Beginning at second level, an Arcane Forester can cast a number of Arcane Spells per day, see the Spellcasting section.

LEVELING UP

Roll to see if attributes increase, roll twice for DEX or INT.

SPELLBOOK

Arcane Foresters start with a large spellbook containing a total of 1d4 spells from the Level 1 and 2 Arcane Spell lists.


DAILY ARCANE WARRIOR and ARCANE FORESTER SPELLS


PC Level
Spell Level
1
2
3
4
5
1
-
-
-
-
-
2
1
-
-
-
-
3
2
-
-
-
-
4
2
1
-
-
-
5
3
2
-
-
-
6
4
2

-
-
7
4
2
1
-
-
8
4
2
2
-
-
9
4
3
2
1
-
10
4
4
3
2
-

My Ranger in A Hack of Class does not cast spells. If you really want spellcasting Rangers for humans, the Arcane Forester is a perfect fit.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Random One-Shot Generator

A friend of mine ran a series of games where he made a random table and rolled each month for the next month's game. He'd prep a one-shot and learn the rules, then move on the next month.

I want to run the classic TSR modules. I also want to try the OSR clones, kick the tires and revved it up to 5000 rpms. So I came up with a way to turn it into a set of random tables. I think I should randomly roll up a one-shot and schedule it. Then roll the next random game at the end of the first game and schedule it.

(Edited to add Pits and Perils, as well as LotFP with Race and Class house rules.)

Modules (d6)

  1. Against the Cult of the Reptile God (N-1)
  2. In Search of the Unknown (B-1)
  3. Keep on the Borderlands (B-2)
  4. The Lost City (B-4)
  5. Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh (U-1)
  6. Village of Hommlet (T-1)

System (d10)

  1. 52 Pages
  2. AS&SH
  3. Basic Fantasy
  4. Beyond the Wall
  5. Black Hack
  6. Blueholme
  7. Dark Dungeons
  8. Lamentations of the Flame Princess with Race & Class
  9. Lost Empires
  10. Pits and Perils
  11. S&W White Box
  12. Whitehack

Suggest more OSR starter modules or rulesets. Convince me of their worthiness. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Perilous Wilds and Freebooters on the Frontier: addenda to Dungeon World

I'm venturing into the world of Dungeon World, and I picked up The Perilous Wilds and Freebooters of the Frontier for the addition of some old school random goodness to the story game. These supplements revert DW into an emulation of OD&D with just four classes. I really like it.

I tried out the random region tables and procedure for defining the play region, and I came up with a map and some interesting locations in it.

Here's the map and key:

Queltuva Keep
Stands watch over a trade road
Built on a naturally defensible position

I had already placed the keep before I rolled traits, so I would move it to the river, and put it on a bluff over the water, so it could also watch over river traffic.

In the village that has grown up surrounding the keep, there is a tavern called The Brewer's Taproom where the PCs congregate and recover.

The area to the north is forest verging on jungle. The trade road leads to the elven woodhold centered around Hrothmor, the elven tree city.

The ancient civilization of the area was the Caprini Confederation, a polity ruled by a loosely-allied group of sage-wizards. This confederation fell to a massive barbarian invasion. The remnants that remain are the Towers of the Sage-Wizards.

An area in the region is the Ashen Fen, an ash-choked swamp where anything struggles to survive. The rumor is that a barbarian army died here, burned by magic, and that evil lingers here.

Where the trade road enters the forest stands another reminder of the invasion that raged in the area. The Smoking Stone is a twenty-foot tall menhir that stills emits a cloud of retched smoke that fills the slight depression around the stone.

To the northeast is a lair of a strange creature, the dragon swine, a fearsome evil monster that can fly and hypnotize. This lair contains four individuals, a prehistoric male, an ancient female, and 2 young dragon swine. This family is lost and injured, holed up in a cave recovering, until they can venture forth and find their home.

North of the cave is the Tower of the Star Mage, one of the sage-wizards. It has stood empty for centuries. The star mage's name was Deszirian, and his magic was tied to the stars. The tower is guarded by a flock of giant geese, hostile and aggressive guardians. The main treasure of the tower is a fantastically complex orrery of the heavens made from gold, silver, and precious stones. There is an observatory on the roof of the tower as well.

The method outlined in Freebooters really helps guide your imagination. I can hardly wait to try it with a group.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Druid Class for Delving Deeper

(I'm building a set of simple classes for DD to cover the standard set of classes from OD&D (Assassin, Druid, Monk Paladin, Ranger). Here's the next in the series. See my  first attempt at a Ranger here. You can get a PDF of the Druid here.)

The Druid
Intimately connected with the natural world, druids are primal spellcasters who have taken vows to protect and defend nature. They worship Nature and act as its priests. They are neutral in the struggle between Law and Chaos, keeping the balance between the extremes.

Druids may use leather armor and shields. They may use any weapon that is not primarily composed of metal, with the exception of a sickle (equivalent of a short sword), including spears, staves, lances, bows, and slings. Druids fight as Clerics on the Attack Matrix.

Druids cast primal spells much like clerics do; however, they receive their spells from nature itself rather than a specific deity or deities. Each day, they spend an hour either at dawn or dusk to prepare their spells. They do not require a spellbook as they know their spells innately.

Druids are especially skilled in woodcraft techniques including:
                 Tracking game and enemies, as well as avoiding being tracked,
                 Hiding and moving silently through cover,
                 Foraging for food and water, and
                 Ambushing enemies in the wilderness, as well as avoiding traps and ambushes.
A druid accomplishes all of these with a throw of 3-6 on a six-sided die.

At 9th level, a druid who chooses to establish a sacred grove or other natural feature (cave, oasis, etc.) attracts loyal followers who swear druidic oaths to uphold the Circle and the natural order. A typical Druidic Circle also includes some kind of stronghold, keep, or other defensible location.

Table D.1 Druid Progression

Experience

Saving Throw Versus
Druid
Points
Hit
Death
Wands
Paralysis
Breath

Level
Required
Dice
Poison
Rays
Petrify
Weapon
Spells
1
0
1
11
12
14
16
15
2
1,500
2
10
11
13
15
14
3
3,000
2+1
10
11
13
15
14
4
6,000
3
9
10
12
14
13
5
12,000
4
9
10
12
14
13
6
25,000
5
8
9
11
13
12
7
50,000
5+1
8
9
11
13
12
8
90,000
6
7
8
10
12
11
9
160,000
7
7
8
10
12
11
10
240,000
7+1
6
7
9
11
10
11
320,000
7+2
6
7
9
11
10
12
400,000
8
5
6
8
10
9
A druid requires 160,000 experience points per level beyond the 12th.
A druid adds one hit die per three levels beyond the 9th.

  
Table D.2 Druid Spells per Day

Spells Memorized per Day
Druid
By Spell Level
Level
1
2
3
4
5
1
.
.
.
.
.
2
1
.
.
.
.
3
2
.
.
.
.
4
2
1
.
.
.
5
2
2
.
.
.
6
2
2
1
.
.
7
2
2
1
1
.
8
2
2
2
1
1
9
3
3
2
2
1
10
3
3
3
2
2
11
4
4
3
3
2
12
4
4
4
3
3

Command Animals
Druids have a natural affinity for animals, giving them the ability to attempt to influence an animal's behavior much in the same way that clerics turn undead. To attempt to control an animal, roll 2d6 and consult the Command Animals chart. A result of – on the chart means that the druid cannot attempt to command that animal for a day. Succeeding on the check (rolling higher than the number given or getting a † result) results in the animal being dominated by the druid; it will not act aggressively toward the party (unless provoked), but it will not obey commands. A result of * on the chart means that the animal will obey simple commands from the druid for 10 minutes per level. A druid may only command a single animal in this way at any one time. At the druid's discretion, a commanded animal can be made a retainer of the druid. Animal retainers count toward the character's Maximum Retainers limit based off Charisma.

A druid may communicate with a controlled animal (but only a controlled animal) as if under the effects of a Speak with Animals spell.

Table D.3 Command Animals
Animal
Druid Hit Dice
HD
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
½
6
*
*
*
*
*
1
8
6
*
*
*
*
2
10
8
6
*
*
*
3
10
8
6
*
*
4
10
8
6
*
5
10
8
6
6
10
8
6
7
10
8
6
8
10
8
9
10

† 2-12 animals will not attack the party unless provoked.
* 2-12 animals will obey commands for 1 turn per level of the druid. At druid's discretion, an animal can be made a retainer.

Should a druid fail to command an animal, they cannot attempt to turn that animal again until the next day.

Druid Spell List
(Spells marked with † are new spells detailed below. Spells marked with * are Reversible.)

Table D.4 Druid Spells by Spell Level
1st
2nd
3rd
Cure Light Wounds*
Locate Animals and Plants†
Call Lightning†
Detect Magic
Produce Flames†
Cure Serious Wounds*
Faerie Fire†
Remove Disease*
Plant Growth
Fog Wall
Speak with Animals
Protection from Fire†
Predict Weather†
Warp Wood†
PyroTechnics†
Purify Food and Drink*
Web
Water Breathing
4th
5th
Animal Growth
Commune (with Nature)
Animal Summoning I†
Control Winds†
Control Water
Insect Plague
Neutralize Poison*
Passplant†
Speak with Plants
Transmute Rock to Mud*
Sticks to Snakes†
Wall of Fire

New Druid Spells (from S&W Complete)

Animal Summoning I (affects: special, duration: 1 hour, range: 3") The Druid summons forth normal animals to serve as allies: 1 creature larger than a man (such as an elephant), 3 animals the size of a man or horse (such as a lion), or 6 animals smaller than a man (such as a wolf). The animals obey the caster’s commands.

Call Lightning (affects: 1 creature or object, duration: 1 hour, range 30") This spell of colossal power may only be used outdoors, and even then only when a storm is present or immediately imminent. Under such conditions, the caster may tap into and unleash the power of the storm itself, calling forth bolts of lightning from the sky at intervals of no less than ten minutes in between. The lightning blasts straight downward from the heavens, inflicting damage of 8d6 hp + 1 hp/level.

Control Winds (affects: area centered on self, duration: 5 turns + 1 turn/level, range: 24") The caster can control all wind within the area of effect. The caster can make the winds tumultuous and violent like a hurricane, or completely calm and still, or anything in between. Exceptionally strong winds may require a saving throw to avoid being knocked prone or blown around.

Faerie Fire (affects: 1 object, duration: 1 hour, range: 6") Faerie Fire causes an object to glow with an eerie fey light, roughly as bright as a torch. The area illuminated can be up to 10 square feet plus 2 square feet per level. The spell can be used to determine the size of a partially-hidden object or to illuminate an enemy. In areas of darkness, illuminating an enemy may grant a +1 bonus to attacks versus that enemy.

Locate Animals and Plants (affects: self, duration: 1 turn/level, range: 6" + 1"/level) Within the spell’s range, the caster perceives the correct direction (as the crow flies) toward the nearest specimen of a type of animal or plant named in the casting of the spell.

Passplant (affects: self, duration: 1 hour/level or until exit) Passplant allows the caster to step into one tree or similarly-sized plant and exit from another plant of the same kind. The plant must have a girth equal to or larger than the caster's own. The caster may stay within the plants, but will be ejected from whichever plant they happen to be within when the spell's duration runs out. The type of plant determines both the maximum distance the caster can travel with a single casting of the spell, as noted in the table below. The caster may travel between multiple plants, but can only travel between plants of the same kind and only up to the maximum distance allowed for that kind of plant.

Table D.5 Passplant Distance
Plant Type
Max. Distance
Oak, Ash, Yew
100"
Elm, Eucalyptus
75"
Other deciduous
50"
Any coniferous
30"
Other plant
25"

Predict Weather (affects: self, duration: immediate, range: 2 sq. miles/level) The Druid silently drinks in knowledge from the surrounding area, becoming attuned to the patterns of air, wind, earth and fire. Within moments, the character can predict what the weather conditions will be for the next twelve hours in the immediate vicinity (2 square miles/ level). As with most forecasts of weather, conditions may change unexpectedly, giving rise to a 5% chance that the Druid’s prediction will, ultimately, prove to be incorrect.

Produce Flame (affects: self, duration: 2 turns/level, range: touch) Flame ignites from nowhere in the palm of the caster’s hand, causing no damage to the caster, but otherwise as hot as natural fire. It can be used while held, or thrown to a distance of 30 feet, to ignite flammable materials. For so long as the druid-fire is in the caster’s hand, it can be extinguished immediately whenever the caster wishes it gone.

Protection from Fire (affects: 1 man-type, duration: 3 turns + 1 turn/level, range: touch) This spell may be cast on another person, but it confers a great deal more eldritch warding if it is woven personally around the caster. When used to protect another creature, the spell’s warding grants complete immunity to normal fire and cuts damage from magical fire in half. When used to ward the caster, the spell also grants complete immunity against one exposure to magical fire, after which it functions normally.

Pyrotechnics (affects: 1 fire source, duration: 1 hour, range: 24") The caster creates either fireworks or blinding smoke from a normal fire source such as a torch or campfire. The Referee will decide exactly how much smoke (or fireworks) is produced, what effect it has, and what happens to it as it is produced, but the amount of smoke will definitely be more than 8000 cubic feet (roughly 20 x 20 x 20 feet).

Sticks to Snakes (affects: 2d8 sticks, duration: 1 hour, range: 12") The caster may turn as many as 2d8 normal sticks into snakes, each one having a 50% chance of being venomous. The snakes follow his commands, but turn back into sticks at the end of the spell (or when killed).

Warp Wood (affects: 1 volume of wood, duration: permanent, range: 6") The spell allows the caster to warp, bend, and twist wood as if it were clay. The spell affects a volume of 2 inches by 4 inches by 5 feet per two levels – roughly the volume of a quiver of arrows or a spear. However, it is important to note that for certain tasks such as springing a leak in a boat or springing open a wooden door may only require warping of a small volume of wood.



This class is inspired by the Swords & Wizardry White Box Druid from Chris King. Some ideas from the White Box Companion from James Spahn were also incorporated.