Monday 28 November 2011

Tuck in! Magic food in 4th edition {4e}

Food glorious food. If you run a campaign anything like I do, you're undeniably lazy when it comes to the micromanagement of PCs' dietary requirements, so you just chucked a hamper full of unlimited rations at them mid-heroic tier and assumed they ate on the way to whatever hell-hole they were valiantly relieving of its inhabitants.

 But here's some news for your eyes: food can be fun! Well, magic food that is. Throwing some mystical noms into your game will not only make dinnertime a joy to roleplay, it could create an adventure in itself.

Genderswitch Apple
Level 8   Uncommon
Pink on one side and blue on the other.
Wondrous Item   50gp
Power (Consumable): Minor action. You become the opposite gender for 2d8 hours.

Firecatch Berry
Level 4+   Uncommon
These devilish red berries pulse heat through your body, allowing you to lash fire at your foes.
Wondrous Item
Lvl 4   +1   20gp
Lvl 8   +2   90gp
Lvl 14 +3   200gp
Lvl 18 +4   460gp
Power (Consumable): Minor action. You inflict 1d6 extra fire damage per plus until the end of the encounter.

Mead of Angelic Favour
Level 18   Rare
You take a swig and drain the rest on the ground as an offering to the angels above.
Wondrous Item   1,000gp
Power (Consumable): Minor action. 1 creature with the angel keyword (your level +1) appear in spaces adjacent to you. After your turn it make a Move and a Standard action. The angel does not provoke attacks of opportunity. The angel disappear at the end of your next turn.

Cursed Wine of Hazzan
Drinking a flask of the Wine of Hazzan is said to give you extraordinary strength, but at a price.
Level 15  Uncommon
Wondrous Item  1,000gp
Power (Consumable- Necrotic): Minor action. Gain +6d8 necrotic damage to your damage rolls until the end of your next turn. At the end of your next turn you are dazed, immobilized and blinded (save ends all).

Stew of Giant's Growth
Large pieces of goat meat float in this thick brown stew.
Level 10 Uncommon
Wondrous Item  600gp
Power (Consumable): You become a large creature for 1d4 hours. You gain +2 intimidate and strength checks and +4 to melee attacks.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Guild mechanics in 4th edition {4e}

Grognardling has done a great job outlining some rules for guilds in a recent post and it's inspired me to find some way of incorporating guilds into 4th edition using its inherent modular mechanics. 

Guilds are likely something that will come into play in PCs' downtime, but there's no reason they can't play a part during the adventure. I think treating guilds like items is a good way to go in 4th edition, as they can be as simple or complex as you like. The stat block gives the bare bones of the idea, which can be fleshed out through roleplay.

Thieves' Guild
Con artists, pick-pockets and burglars walk the halls of the Thieves Guild, swapping tips and receiving training from the Guild Master.
Entry Cost: 5,000gp
Prerequisites: You must be a Rogue of at least level 5.
Advantage: You gain a +2 to Thievery checks.
Power (Encounter): Gain a +2 to Stealth checks until the end of your next turn.
Power (Daily): Free action. Gain a +20 to Thievery checks until the end of your next turn.

Merchants' Guild
Traders from around the kingdom join together in the exclusive Merchants' Guild to teach each other about this noble profession.
Entry Cost: 7,000gp
Prerequisites: You must be at least level 5.
Advantage: You gain a +2 to Diplomacy checks.
Power (Daily): Free action. You automatically get 50% off the value of one bought item. Alternatively, you persuade the buyer to purchase one item for 25% more than the market price.

Sailors' Guild
Veteran ocean travellers come together to trade stories and gain access to vessels. 
Entry Cost: 10,000gp
Prerequisites: You must be at least level 11.
Advantage: You gain +2 to any check related to sailing.
Power (Daily): Free action. When at a port, you gain access to a small 6 person vessel for free for 2d6 days.

3 slottable sigils {4e}

You know how it is. Sometimes you're not sure whether to get rid of your awesome current armour and go with this new hotness you've wrenched from a fireball-trapped chest; after all, it has some nice powers but it might not suit your character as well as the current one. Well, why not just take powers that you like from other armour and slap them on your own using slottable sigils? 

Sigils are usually carved into small stone tablets and applied to armour or weapons. Once slotted they're in there permanently unless a Sigil Removal ritual is performed (see below). Sigils augment your items in different ways, giving them new and interesting abilities and upping their resale value.

Sigil of Inferno
Level 8      Common
This sigil glows red in the shape of a roaring fire and feels hot to the touch.
Wondrous Item          1000gp

Requirement: You must apply to armour. Imbuing the armour with the sigil is permanent.
Property: You gain resist 5 to fire damage.

Sigil of Soul Reaping
Level 13+  Uncommon
Your weapon is encased in a swirling black mist where agonised faces melt in a out of existence. 
Wondrous Item
Lvl 13 +1   5,000gp
Lvl 18 +2   9,300gp
Lvl 23 +3   20,000gp
Lvl 28 +4   40,300gp

Requirement: You must apply to a weapon. Imbuing the weapon with the sigil is permanent
Property: Gain +2 Fortitude
Power (Daily-Necrotic): Minor action. Your weapon devours souls of dead enemies per plus. For each plus regain a healing surge.

Sigil of Frost
Level 10  Common
Your shield frosts over, freezing all who hit it.
Wondrous Item   3,000gp

Requirement: You must apply to a shield. Imbuing the shield with the sigil is permanent.
Property: Gain resist 5 cold damage.
Power (Daily-Cold): Immediate reaction. When an enemy attack against you misses, the enemy becomes immobilised (save ends).

Sigil Removal

Level 15   Component Cost: 700gp
Category: Arcane  Market Price: 1,400gp
Time: 5 minutes  Key Skill: Arcana

You remove a sigil from an item. The item loses all the sigil's properties and powers. If you have a stone tablet you may transfer the sigil to it, which returns the sigil to its original form.

Saturday 26 November 2011

Hardcore D&D items {4e}

I can't believe I'm so late to the game. There's something that's been floating in my periphery for some time now and it's only just recently occurred to me to check it out. What the hell am I talking about? Well, Fourthcore, of course.

Most of you reading this will have more than likely heard of Fourthcore, the 'revamp'of 4e that ups the challenge of the game in true AD&D form. Puzzles are frequent, traps deadly and encounters sophisticated. Personally, I fell in love with it as soon I started reading Save Versus Death.

One of the aspects of Fourthcore that really inspired me was the items. Gone are the days of +1 Magic Bow (yawn), as we now live in the Fourthcore age, a time when items have multiple powers that now only change the encounter, but can change the course of a narrative as well. In my eyes, these items are far more interesting than one that just allows you to regain a healing surge, or lets you teleport 5 squares. So, using that inspiration, I've had a go at creating a few of my own items in this style.

Mask of the Eight Moons
Level 17 Rare
This ornate bone mask is imbued with the magic of the Eight Moons of Anthara, allowing the wearer to see their opponent's strengths and weaknesses and use them to her advantage.

Item Slot: Head          30,000gp
Property: You know the immunities and vulnerabilities of any creature within line of sight.
Power (Daily - Psychic): Minor Action. All damage you deal this encounter is the damage type equivalent to the vulnerabilities of every enemy in the encounter. For 1d4 hours after the encounter you gain these vulnerabilities.

Tome of Demon Pact
Level 15 Rare
The pages within this flesh-bound book whisper of a demonic entity that can be summoned into battle.

Wondrous Item        19,000gp
Power (Daily-Arcane): Standard Action. You make a summoning pact with a demon creature (party level + 5) who appears in an adjacent square. The demon fights for you and is considered an ally in battle. At the end of the encounter any PC that was bloodied in the encounter must make a saving throw. If failed, the demon will return to claim their soul in 1d6 weeks, killing the PC.

Potion of Necrotic Sight
Level 8+ Uncommon
The hollowed out bone vial contains a swirling green liquid that gives the power to sense the presence of undead creatures.


Lvl 8   +1 120gp
Lvl 13 +2 390gp
Lvl 18 +3 1,600gp
Lvl 23 +4 3,200gp
Power (Consumable): Minor Action. You can see any creatures with the undead keyword within 10 squares per plus. When not in line of sight, the creatures appear as green silhouettes of their size and shape.

Pendant of Bear Form
Level 14 Rare
The golden pendant is carved with the figure of a Dire Bear. A low hum emits from the carving. 

Item Slot: Neck     30,000gp
Power (Daily): Minor Action. You become a Dire Bear until the end of your next turn. You may not use any powers. Gain Bear Rage (Aura 2) - Any enemy within the aura takes 2d10 + 5 damage and is knocked prone. Once you have regained your normal form you must eat at least 1lb of meat per hour for 1d4 hours. If you miss one hour or more then you are considered an enemy in combat for 1d4 days.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Some cool armour for T&T {Items}

Darkwarp Helm
This steel helm is imbued with an ancient magic that allows the wearer to teleport to any location they have previously been to. 
Worth: 9000 gold pieces
Hits: 3
Wiz cost: 10
Effect: If the wearer spends 10 wiz, they may teleport to any location they have visited in the last year.

Trollskin Bracers
These bracers were expertly crafted from the hide of Hill Trolls.
Worth: 1000 gold pieces
Hits: 3 per bracer

Frostbite Jerkin
Enchanted by the Ice Wizards of the Ka'Zzagh Mountains, this jerkin has the power to freeze those who attack its wearer.
Worth: 2000 gold pieces
Hits: 5
Effect: If attacked in melee, there is a 2/6 chance the attacker will freeze for 1d6 rounds. When frozen, the attacker cannot make any actions.

Lighteningblast Gloves
Imbued with the power of lightening by the God-wizard Grundora
Worth: 800 gold pieces
Hits: 2 per glove
Effect: When in hand-to-hand combat, the wearer has a 5/6 chance to electrocute the opponent, doing an extra 1d6 CON damage and paralyzing them for one round. When paralyzed, the target cannot make any actions.

4 ways to play roleplaying games on the cheap {Frugal RPGs}

These are hard times we're living through and many of us are having to watch the pennies,so I thought I'd list a few ways that you can save money but still have all that lovely gaming fun we all crave.

1. Quick start rules

Never underestimate the humble quick start rules for a system. There are tonnes of them out there and they're all free. If you're looking for a one-shot or even a few sessions, or you don't quite want to commit to a game without trying it first, then quick starts are for you. From Shadowrun to Vampire to Dungeons and Dragons, most creators will have some form of quick start rules to serve as a bare-bones tutorial to new players.

2. Free independent RPGs

There are plenty of full systems out there that you can get your nerdy paws on for absolutely gratis. In fact, I already listed a top 10 free RPGs earlier in the year, so check it out. There's likely something there for everyone's tastes.

Image source:
3. Play at your local gaming store 

Often gaming stores run their own campaigns or allow you to set up your own game to play. Usually this costs  a small fee since, well, they're stores after all, but these games are a great way to play on the cheap and meet some new friends along the way.

4. Create your own

You have to be really creative with this one, but if you have the know-how you can create your own system, simple of complex, and run it with your friends. The best part of this is that you make absolutely everything, so  you won't have to buy pointless splatbooks and such. Of course, this may take some time and a hell of a lot of creativity, so good luck!

Monday 14 November 2011

Setting or no setting? {RPGs}

Up until recently I've been a big fan of setting-less games, such as Dungeons and Dragons and Tunnels and Trolls. I know there's a bunch of campaign books for the former and a loose historical and geographical setting for the latter, but by default both of these games are bare bones systems that you can weave your own world around. I love the creativity inherent in these games, allowing you to come up with whatever world you want, its societies, history and notable people.

The trouble is, while I think I'm quite creative, there's only so much I can come up with. Sure, I can constantly build on the mythology of my setting as the campaign continues, but things can get a little uneven and continuity can get a little screwed up. If you have a campaign world all packaged up for you with a nice nerdy bow on top then at least there's consistency in your game.

My sudden change of heart came from reading Shadowrun 4th Edition, which I picked up the other day. I drank up the setting like a cool cola on a hot day and loved every part of it. As I read I was constantly coming up with ideas for adventures, from the exclusive VR clubs you have to hack into to thwarting gangs of astral ninjas. Maybe it says more about Shadowrun as a game than it dos about general settings, but it definitely made me want to write a full on setting for Tunnels & Trolls.

So what do you guys like? Setting or no setting?

Sunday 6 November 2011

5 tips to make you a better GM {GMs}

It's tough being a GM. You're expected to do a whole bunch of downright scary things each time you play, including adjudicating rules, keeping the flow of the game and building a world and all characters therein. But like any skill, game mastering can be improved with practise. Here are 5 ways to help you become a better GM:

Image source: Marvel Comics
1. Be flexible with your campaign

As a GM, you have a vision as to how you see the campaign progressing and sometimes it can be difficult to stray from that foreseen ending. The thing is, the players usually have no idea where the adventure will eventually take them (unless it's very 'by the numbers') and may have different ideas. You have to remember that players want free will in their games, so you must accommodate. If instead of going straight for the quest they want to explore a nearby town for new leads or perhaps more quest opportunities, let them. You can't be prepared for every eventuality so you can either improvise if you're good at that, or make a list of places in your world and notable NPCs to make a skeleton that you can flesh out if the players choose to go astray.

2. Take a notebook everywhere

GM's have to be creative and sometimes a great idea pops into your head but later, when it comes to actually putting pen to paper, you've completely forgotten what the fantastic idea was. Therefore, always carry a pen and notepad around with you so you can jot down your ideas. Inspiration for adventures, NPCs or events within your game can come from anywhere, so you must be prepared. This way, you will always have a new idea for your campaign.

3. Recognise when you're wrong

 You may play a bunch of different games and so have to learn a hell of a lot of rules. Often we can't remember all the little details and we make a mistake, which is pointed out by the group or a player who does remember the rule. Just because you don't know or don't remember doesn't mean they are wrong. There's nothing worse than a game devolving into an argument when the GM is trying to save face, so recognise when you're wrong or don't know something.

Image source: Merinid-de (Deviant art)
4. Accommodate for different types of players 

Very rarely does every member of a group enjoy the same aspects of an RPG. Some will prefer combat over social interaction, others will relish the thought of trying to get a king onto their side of a war and still others will be in their element with puzzles. It's important that you gauge what each of your players likes and make ample room for their preferences in your game. If you have a group who loves combat, then make a combat-heavy game, but if one person in the group gets bored in a fight, include other things they can do during combat, such as negotiate with a bad guy or research the totem for any source of magic that could sway the tide of battle. This way, nobody will get bored when it comes to combat.

5. Read lots of roleplaying blogs

There is a bazillion blogs out there about roleplaying and most of them offer really good advice on GMing. Read as much as possible, see how others GM their games and find your preferred style. Note GM horror stories and accomplishments so you have avoid the same mistakes and emulate the same successes in your own game. Reading blogs will definitely help you grow as a GM. If you need help finding any, here's a pretty good place to start.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

It Came from Beyond the Stars! submitted {T&T}

Phew! I've just submitted my first Trollish Delver Games T&T adventure to the publisher. It's called It Came from Beyond the Stars and it's designed to be played in one evening session.

The story is that a strange object has fallen out of the sky into a forbidden part of the Kingdom where the urooks make their home. Sensing that the object may be worth something, the King orders a group of guards to go and retrieve the object from the forbidden Greyshades. When they don't return, the King puts an advert out for delvers to go and find out what happened to the guards and to fulfil their initial mission.

What happened to the guards? Why are the animals near the impact crater acting strangely?