Tuesday, December 22, 2009

10 Allies!

I'm not sure when it happened, but I now have 10 followers!  Hail and well met! Unfortunately for you, I'm going to be away for the next week, so there wont be any new updates till the middle of next week.

One of the things I do on my other blog is track the books I read as part of a 50 book challenge.  I have set a theme for next year for myself, and that theme is "Classics".  I'd like your assistance in helping to pick some of the classics I should read.  I'd like at least 3 suggestions of must read classics that I should add to my Appendix N

Friday, December 18, 2009

Remembering the Water Weird

Over at B/X Blackrazor JB wrote today about the water weird.  I was going to leave this as a comment, but it ended up being a little long.

The Water Weird never showed up in any of my Rules Cyclopedia (bless it's holy name) days, though apparently it was in the B7 adventure module.  I'm not sure it's a monster that I ever would have come up with, or used at the time either. 

In my second game of AD&D 2nd Edition I rolled up a low level cleric to join a party of adventurers who were all at least 1 level higher than I was.  I don't remember what the adventure was about, but I do remember that we had to cross a lake in basically a big row boat.  We were attacked by a water weird right in the middle of the lake, and one by one it knocked my companions off the boat and into the lake.  I was the last person in the boat.  I can't claim that my character was the last character standing, as he was in fact cowering at the back of the boat, holding my light mace and holy symbol.

It was looking grim.  The armored party members were desperately trying to shed their armor before they became permanent lake inhabitants, the unarmored ones were trying to catch up with the boat that the weird had pushed away from them, and my initiative came up.

Everyone looked at me sadly, knowing the fate that was to befall their newest, youngest, least experienced player and character.  The DM sat smiling behind his screen.  I gulped, and looked once more at my bare character sheet.  Do I have anything in my inventory that might help?  Non-magic items, and not many of them.  What about spells?  Cure Light Wounds, and Purify Food and Water.  I re-read the description of Purify Food and Water:
When cast, this spell makes spoiled, rotten, poisonous, or otherwise contaminated food and water pure and suitable for eating and drinking. Up to 1 cubic foot of food and drink per level can be thus made suitable for consumption. This spell does not prevent subsequent natural decay or spoilage. Unholy water and similar food and drink of significance is spoiled by purify food and drink, but the spell has no effect on creatures of any type nor upon magical potions.
I had nothing else.  I meekly said "I cast Purify Food and Water."

The DM described how the weird arched over the boat, moving toward me, and drenched me as it fell dead onto me.  My fellow player's jaws dropped.  The DM continued to grin.  Slowly I went from a cringe to a grin and yelled out "YES!"  There may even have been a fist pump.  A chorus of "Yeah!" and "Whooo!" arose from my fellow players, and everyone got back in the boat.

The DM showed me his Mosterous Manual when I asked about the spell having such an impact after the game.  Once the euphoria wore off I had been left to wonder if the DM had just given us a monster we couldn't handle, and used me to pull his fat out of the fryer, or if it had really been supported.  I was even more thrilled to find out that I'd actually pulled it off.     

That was the first, and last time I've encountered a water weird.  I've never used one in any of my games, mostly because all of my 2nd ed players (once I started DMing) had been part of that group, and they'd all seen the trick, and by 3rd edition I had other monsters that I was playing with.

I don't remember if the DM had seen my spell selection or not, or if he was running a home brew adventure, but I'll always remember that encounter, and how much it rocked!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Winter Mittins

Nimble worked quickly.  That's why Rathgar hired him.  "Ok, ok, ok..." Nimble mumbled "we're just gonna ease... and then a slight..." as his tools clicked inside the lock.

Rathgar looked over his shoulder at Nimble "Can't you keep it down?"

Nimble froze "This is very delicate work, and I would appreciate not being interrupted." His tools resumed their task.

Rathgar sighed, and turned back to watching down the corridor until he heard a click.  Turning back he saw Nimble swinging open the safe's door.  A bit of fog drifted from the opening down the wall.  "It's cold" Nimble frowned.  He rubbed his hands together and reached into the safe, pulling them back very quickly once he touched the lockbox.  "Ouch!" He hissed, sucked on his burned fingers.  He dug his hands into an inner coat pocket and pulled out a pair of soft leather mittens.  Again he reached into the safe and pulled out the lockbox.  Frost covered the mittens and Nimble set the black steel box on the floor.  "I can't unlock the box while I'm wearing these, and I can't touch it without them..."

Winter Mittens are most useful when fine control isn't needed, but protection from the cold is.  They imbue the wearer with resistance to natural cold effects, and resistance of 5 to cold damage.  However they also reduce any dexterity based attacks or skill checks involving the use of hands by 4.

Jingle Bells

Rathgar hustled his companions into the chamber and pushed the stone door closed.  Panting heavily he dropped his rucksack and started digging through it. 

"I've got spikes" Nimble offered.  

"I've got better" Rathgar replied, as he pulled a leather strap attached to a brass loop.  It jingled as the half a dozen silver bells on the strap rang out together.   He slipped the ring over the door handle moments before the door shook with the impact of several sweaty orcs trying to bash their way in.  One of the bells on the strap shook, and broke off, disappearing before it hit the floor.  

"That'll keep us safe for now."  Sighing, Rathgar slid to the floor.  Lets get some rest, and then we'll see what we can do about avoiding those orcs."

Jingle Bells are decorative looking straps of silver bells on a loop or hook that when slipped over a door handle cause an arcane lock to come into effect.  The arcane lock functions as if cast by a level 10 caster for up to 8 hours.  They also increase the damage resistance of a door by 5 during that time, and protect the room as per the protection from evil spell.  Jingle Bells are almost never found new, and usually have 2d10 charges remaining, each charge being represented by a silver bell which drops off the strap every time a charge is used.  

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tis the season...

I'm very hesitant to do one of those appologies for not posting, or promises to post more often, but the truth is I'm pretty busy with real life.  What I will promise is this: I will post when I can.  

Progress is slow with the megadungeon.  I've hit a few speed bumps (pit traps?) in trying to stock the dungeon.  Mainly I'm not sure how detailed I want to make it.  Do I want fully fleshed out encounters and descriptions, or do I want to go with a more minimalist approach (along the lines of Stonehell)?  I'm not sure yet, but since I'm currently reading Stonehell I find myself leaning in favor of that style.  Expect a review of Stonehell soon!!

I've also been distracted by all the talk about hex crawls.  Much as I've never run a megadungeon, I've also never run a hex crawl, at least not as such.  I've run lots of wilderness travel, but never contained (constrained?) by the hex format.  Then again most of my players have tended toward reaction, rather than action. 

Friday, December 4, 2009

Monster: Greater Pumpkin Head

Some farmers cultivate plants which create larger than normal fruit.  Some dark mages take advantage of that fact to create these monstrosities. 

Greater Pumpkin Head
Large Construct, Enchanted (uncommon)
Armour Class: 4
Hit Dice: 8
Move: 90' (30')
Attacks: 1 Claw or Thrown Pumpkin
Damage: 2d8 or 1d8 + Special
No. Appearing: 1
Save As: F10
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: U

Alignment: chaotic
XP Value: 2,300

The Greater Pumpkin Head, much like it's lesser form, is formed mostly of vines and leaves, topped by a large jack-o'-lantern.  In combat the Greater Pumpkin Head will toss gourds at it's opponents (range 60/120/200).  These gourds will hit for 1d8 points of damage, and then explode in a fiery burst for an additional 1d8 points of damage to all within 10 feet.  On a miss the gourd will still land at the target spot and explode as above.


Monster: Pumpkin Head

Those dark mages who would animate a scarecrow to terrorize a village would think nothing of using their fell magics upon the very fruit of the community's labor.  The final step in the animation of a pumpkin head is the carving of a jack-o'-lantern and lighting a candle made from wax of an intelligent creature. 

Pumpkin Head
Medium Construct, Enchanted (uncommon)
Armour Class: 5
Hit Dice: 4+1
Move: 90' (30')
Attacks: 1 Claw or 1 Vine + Strangle
Damage: 1d8 or grapple + Special
No. Appearing: 1-2
Save As: F4
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: U

Alignment: chaotic
XP Value: 175

Pumpkin heads are vicious combatants.  They're usual tactic is to attempt to grapple their opponent using their vines, and then constrict the vines and plunge their claws into the unfortunate victim.  Upon successfully grappling their opponent they will cause an automatic 4 points of damage per round and the pumpkin head will receive a +2 to their attack rolls against a grappled opponent.  

Due to the material used to animate this creature it is vulnerable to head shots.  On a successful attack roll of 19 or 20 an opponent always causes maximum damage.