14 June 2017

Thoughts on some of the Magic announcements



Announcments for the next year or so of Magic.
As was already revealed, Atlazan is now Ixalan. Ixalan does have a Mesoamerican theme. It also has dinosaurs, two I have seen are feathered theropods, so very yes, and it has pirates. It appears that a gorgon/medusa planeswalker is going to be the primary antagonist and she is dressed as a pirate. The only D&D product relating to Mesoamerica is the reprint of The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan in Tales from the Yawning Portal. I haven't seen any Egyptian flavored D&D products coming out, but I'm not as plugged into the D&D side of things.
Shrug

Edit: So it turns out Tomb of Annihilation takes place on some island/continent with jungles and dinosaurs and pirates? Yo, WotC, stop fucking with the bullshit everything is in the Realms shit. I have no idea what Chult is. Assholes.

From the word-hoard: Reusing dead PCs and familiars

This is a transcription from a condensed statblock from my old PF campaign. That is why it is not in the usual format.



Brico (Unfettered Eidolon Nightmare) CR 3

Init +4; Darkvision 120ft; Perception +2, Stealth +10
AC 16, Touch 14, Flat-footed 12
hp 7 (1d8); regeneration 5 (good or silver)
Fort +3 Ref +6 Will +0; DR 5/good or silver; Illusion resistance +4; Feign Death DC 12
Speed 40ft, fly 10ft perfect
2 bite +3 (1d6+3) or 2 power attack bites +2 (1d6+6)
CMB +3 CMD 17 (21 vs trip)
Specials: Night Terrors DC 12 1d4 CHA damage every hour for 8 hours; Constant Protection from Good (+2 AC and Saves vs good)

This tortured soul is the twisted remains of the summoner Dunsali's eidolon, unfettered by her sudden death, warped by hatred for those it feels caused her death, and strengthened by the weird magics of the Spire.

12 June 2017

Sky Gnomes Redux for B/X OSR



This is a conversion of the Sky Gnomes of the flying city Serraine of Mystara to my Emerald Spire Campaign running Lamentations of the Flame Princess. I wanted to keep the mad science engineering present in those Gnomes while toning down some of the goofiness of Serraine itself. Ironically, the Sky Gnomes of Serraine, and of Oostdock, don't irritate me as much as the Krynnish Tinker Gnomes. 

Sky Gnomes, Sky Dwarves, Those Flying Assholes, or Gnomes, are the descendants of Dwarves and Humans who salvaged portions of an ancient starship. They built an island large enough for a city and proceeded to wander the sky. Centuries of isolation and radiation lead to the two peoples to become one, the Gnomes. As a whole they lack the species wide ennui that Dwarven kingdoms posses. Theirs is a technological society, even though they have never duplicated the awesome power source for their engines, and have lost the methods used to capture and bind elemental spirits to provide power to their mass transit system. They have discovered a process of refining oils from certain rocks, and alongside more mundane uses, like lighting and cooking, as well as using it to power flying machines.

The flying city keeps to itself a lot, flying high enough and painted like the sky underneath, such that while ignorant yokels and aristocrats in Shardheim know or believe in its existence, there is that group of folk educated enough to know that everything about Serraine and Gnomes is malarkey. 

Gnomes are shorter and slighter than Dwarves, possessing some but not all their toughness. Their experience and hit points advance as an Elf, saves as a Dwarf, start with 2 in 6 in Piloting and Tinkering advancing as an Elf in both. They improve their starting Intelligence modifier by one. Due to their reduced stature they have the same weapon restrictions as Halflings.

As inventors, tinkerers, and mad scientists, Gnomes have and will continue to make machines that to the unschooled appeared magical. In order to make a machine a Gnome needs plans. On Serraine Gnomes have access to the Great Library and their friends and family, so most common machines there do not require additional research. Without such readily available plans, or when devising something new, new plans much be researched. Treat the Gnome as a Magic User researching a spell equal the level of effect the machine is duplicating, i.e. designing a single person flying machine would be treated as if the Gnome was researching the Fly spell, and each plan as a spell being added to the Gnome's "spell" book. Each instance of a spell-like effect, even if it is duplicating a preexisting effect in the intended design, is treated as a separate spell, i.e. making a two-person flying machine would be the same as researching two separate spells. The construction of the resulting machine is same as a Magic-User crafting a staff except creation time is measured in weeks not days.

This Gnome item creation process is an initial draft, has not been tested, and is therefore subject to alteration.

For more information on Sky Gnomes and Serraine:

07 June 2017

From the word-hoard: Fiendish Giant Centipede

This was the first templated monster I made for Pathfinder. This fiendish centipede was the "dragon-god" of a group of goblins.



Fiendish Giant Centipede, Huge CR 3
Total XP




800



NE Huge Vermin
Init +0; Senses Darkvision 60 ft., Perception +4
DEFENSE
AC 15 Touch 8 Flatfooted 15 (-2 size, +7 natural)
HP: 31 (3d8+15)
Fort +8 Ref +1 Will +1
Immune mind affecting effects; Resist cold 5, fire 5; SR 8
OFFENSE
Speed 40 ft., climb 40 ft.
Melee: Bite +7 (1d8+5 plus poison)
Special Attacks poison, smite good
STATISTICS
Str 21, Dex 11, Con 20, Int --, Wis 10, Cha 2
Base Attk +2; CMB +9; CMD 19 (can’t be tripped)
Skills: Climb +11, Perception +4, Stealth +8 Racial Modifiers +4 Perception, +8 Stealth
ECOLOGY
Environment: Underground
Organization: Solitary or colony (2-5)
Treasure: null
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Poison (Ex): Bite-injury; save Fort DC 18; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d3 Dex damage; cure 1 save.
Smite good (Su): 1/day as a swift action (adds CHA bonus (+0) to attack rolls and damage bonus equal to HD (+3) against good foes; smite persists until target is dead or the celestial/fiendish creature rests).

05 June 2017

Grubbian Physics and Eberronian Elemental Airships: Part Two


My base ruleset is Lamentations of the Flame Princess. I use other old school games to fill in or replace things as I need them. This means I lean heavily on that alphabet soup that is Basic Dungeons and Dragons first. 

When Eberron came out I wasn't playing D&D, even though I played a fair bit of 3rd edition. When I got back around to running D&D it was post 3.5 and I was focused on my own world which used a hybrid of 3.x and Unearthed Arcana. I didn't much care for the magic as technology thing that Eberron had going for it, and I'm not super fond of it still. I specifically picked up the setting books for Eberron recently (within the past year) because I wanted to tear things out, like the airships and the warforged. I still haven't read all the gazetteer style stuff in the main rule book

Right then? All this is just a way of sticking a bunch of qualifiers to everything I will be writing here on Spelljammer related things are for my campaign, which is not set on Eberron. My writing is primarily informed by the materials in Spelljammer boxset and the Eberron Campaign Setting, so there should be no assumption on prior knowledge of either setting detailed in other sources.

Champions of Mystara (COM) has guidelines for converting Spelljammer from AD&D to D&D. Cool right? Problem is tactical speed in Spelljammer is 500 yards per one minute round per Ship Rating(SR) in Wildspace or 240 yards per one minute round per SR in the atmosphere of a planetary body; yet CoM recommends 120(40) per SR as the conversion. That is the base speed of a human, and flies in the face of the 17 mph/ 400 miles per day per SR described in multiple places in the Spelljammer boxset.

Before converting SJ ships and stats to CoM stats, I need to solve the contradictions.
SR 1 = 500 yards per minutes, 17 mph and 400 miles per day. All of these are equivalent speeds. So no problem here. However, there is also the very small bit about MV 24 per SR in atmosphere, which would be fine as it's roughly half Wildspace speed, but since we are first introduced to the speed of a spelljammer is under the header of "Long-Range Movement In Atmosphere" it begs the question of why on the same page we are given the speed as MV 24 per SR in atmosphere. I draw two conclusions from this. The first is that somehow this is an editorial gaff. The second is that long-range travel in an atmosphere is the same speed as tactical movement in Wildspace, and that we have a second tactical movement rate for atmospheric combat.
Thus we have spelljamming speed of 100 million miles per day, Wildspace tactical of 500 yd (one hex) per round per SR, atmospheric long-range of 17 mpg (400 miles per day) per  atmospheric tactical of 240 yd per round per SR. All of this just to get an idea of how fast Jeff Grubb intended things to go. We need consistency, both within this and between this and other sources so as to freely use other old school sources with a minimum of effort.
Previously, I had decided on an elemental air ship traveling at SR1 even within an atmosphere, even though this is slower than the stated 20mph it allows for the use of the same scale of hex.

After some digging through the old Spelljammer Mailing List I found some tables. Pasting the link for future reference.
http://sjml.spelljammer.org/archive/mpgn/199903/12-000007.html
Wildspace
1 SR = 17 MPH
Planet Bound
1 SR = 8.5 MPH

Wildspace Combat
SR
MPH
mv rate
Dist/Rd
Dist/Tn
Dist/Hr
1
17
48'
480'
4,800'
28,800'
2
34
96'
960'
9,600'
57,600'
3
51
144'
1,440'
14,400'
86,400'
4
68
192'
1,920'
19,200'
115,200'
5
85
240'
2,400'
24,000'
144,000'
6
102
288'
2,880'
28,800'
172,800'
7
119
336'
3,360'
33,600'
201,600'
8
136
384'
3,840'
38,400'
230,400'
9
153
432'
4,320'
43,200'
259,200'
10
170
480'
4,800'
48,000'
288,000'
11
187
528'
5,280'
52,800'
316,800'
12
204
576'
5,760'
57,600'
345,600'
13
221
624'
6,240'
62,400'
374,400'
14
238
672'
6,720'
67,200'
403,200'
15
255
720'
7,200'
72,000'
432,000'
16
272
768'
7,680'
76,800'
460,800'
17
289
816'
8,160'
81,600'
489,600'
18
306
864'
8,640'
86,400'
518,400'
19
323
912'
9,120'
91,200'
547,200'
20
340
960'
9,600'
96,000'
576,000'
Planet Fall Travel and Combat Speeds
SR
MPH
mv rate
Round
Turn
Hour
1
8.5
24'
240'
2,400'
14,400'
2
17
48'
480'
4,800'
28,800'
3
25.5
72'
720'
7,200'
43,200'
4
34
96'
960'
9,600'
57,600'
5
42.5
120'
1,200'
12,000'
72,000'
6
51
144'
1,440'
14,400'
86,400'
7
59.5
168'
1,680'
16,800'
100,800'
8
68
192'
1,920'
19,200'
115,200'
9
76.5
216'
2,160'
21,600'
129,600'
10
85
240'
2,400'
24,000'
144,000'
11
93.5
264'
2,640'
26,400'
158,400'
12
102
288'
2,880'
28,800'
172,800'
13
110.5
312'
3,120'
31,200'
187,200'
14
119
336'
3,360'
33,600'
201,600'
15
127.5
360'
3,600'
36,000'
216,000'
16
136
384'
3,840'
38,400'
230,400'
17
144.5
408'
4,080'
40,800'
244,800'
18
153
432'
4,320'
43,200'
259,200'
19
161.5
456'
4,560'
45,600'
273,600'
20
170
480'
4,800'
48,000'
288,000'
Also more discussion about SR and MV on the SJML, in which I discovered I am not the only person to note the discrepancy on tactical speed in an atmosphere.
http://sjml.spelljammer.org/archive/mpgn/199806/12-000013.html
As I am base LotFP, and thereby closer to base CoM I am going to use Exploration (Encounter) movement BD&D and not the Movement Rate of 2e AD&D. This allows me to maintain the granularity of the difference of speed between an elemental airship, 20mph, and spelljamming at SR1, 17mph. Furthermore, I am going to stick with the divide of Wildspace tactical and atmospheric flight for helms, but elemental airships have the same speed in or out of the atmosphere. You will note that my movement rates diverge from these tables and the Spelljammer rules, that's partly due to the time scale difference between BD&D and 2e, and also due to the recommended way CoM gives for determining overland travel speed of two-thirds of exploration speed as miles per day.
Name
Speed
Miles per day
Eberron Elemental Airship
720'(240')
480
Space SR1
600'(200')
400
Atmospheric SR1
240'(80')
160
A quick sanity check is needed to make sure that these match the speeds of other flying craft in BD&D.
The bi-/tri-planes of the skygnomes of Serraine vary from 360' to 480'. As these craft are given only one speed, have a limited flight time, and the examples in PC2 for aerial combat use these speeds, I am assuming that these are the encounter speeds, and that these are intended to read as yards not feet as all aerial combat takes place outdoors. Both Dawn of the Emperors and Top Ballista describe movement in terms of feet, but I am taking the later publication of Champions of Mystara as taking precedence and clarifying the units of measure to be yards. It is possible that these are accidental errors as these craft would fly circles around dragons and other flying monsters, but I rather like the greater speed they have over an elemental airship. Note that I am not detailing exploration or daily movement as they have an limited flight time (distance really).
Name
Encounter Speed
Range
F3F Cloud-Clipper
(400')
500,000'
Mk IIa Tomcat
(450')
220,000'
Mk VI Polecat
(480')        
190,000'
Mk VII Fighter-Bomber
(360')
360,000'
The skyships in CoM
Name
Speed
Miles per day
The Flying Barge
360'(120')
240
Alphatian Yacht
160'(80')
100
Elven Swan Ship
240'(120')
160
Oostdock Airship
360'(120')
240
The Princess Ark
360'(120')
120-240
The Princess Ark (Wind only)
180'(60')

There is an interesting discrepancy with the exploration and encounter speeds on several of the ships, but overall it looks like these are what would be considered reasonable skyship speeds. As these are enchanted ships and not pseudo artifacts like spelljamming helms, speed at low SR is comparable, and I am perfectly comfortable with an elemental airship be clearly superior to these other vessels because this may be a plot point in my campaign.

Part One 
Part III: Fire