Saturday, August 6, 2011

Eldritch Sagery!

Never do with a class what you can do with an easily remembered house rule option. We see a lot of attempts to make a sage class. Often this is to provide a mechanic for providing information to the PCs in a game session.

Rather than having a sage class, I decided that it would be good to have an option players can take to in essence be a sage. Like my Berserker option.

This sets the bar for being a sage, and also give the character the sages curse. Basically a player can choose to do it but are not forced to, and if they forget about it, the character is not hampered in some way. The curse part is from an early supplement from Judges Guild or The strategic Review, but I can't remember. So here is my Sage option:
If you have a Magic-User with an Int of 15+ the player can opt for his character to be a sage. The character gains the "sagery" power. The sagery power allows a Magic-User to burn the highest level spell memorized for immediately relevant knowledge. Additionally, they gain the ability to cast a curse when they are close to death or dying because of assault, mayhem or murder as per the curse spell.

Here is a handy curse chart provided by (stolen from) Dyson Logos (cause its dang relevant):

(edited to take out the chart which is linked to - it made things too long and this is not its home)

Know What's Below! Call Before You Dig!

Anyone notice that a 210' x 210' square covers just about a square acre? Never mind that acres really arn't square. Being an odd number also gives the map a center square, for what its worth.

Taken with my 880ft tactical hex, you can clearly fit 16 of those 21x21 square maps in the hex. Thus you start to have a means to which you can picture what the dungeon you are mapping is actually under!

When I saw the graphic it made me think of Moria which led to the thought about how the information of a square acre gridded out might be useful to dungeon masters and mithral grubbing dwarves who delved too deep. This also might help translating out to a battlefield map.

My Love for You is Like a Truck! Berserker!

What is not fun about berzerkers? Jeff over at Jeff's Gameblog describes them as psycho-killers:
“Psychokillers” is my term for stock berserkers, by the way. When encountered in dungeons I tend to describe them as axe-wielding maniacs from slasher flicks, rather than as Vikings. “You open the door and waiting for you on the other side are two Jason Voorhees and three Leatherfaces. They attack.”
And I agree. I think the guys in the monster listing probably should be just "psycho-killers", but what about characters with a legitimate battle rage?

In the past numerous classes are have been written to allow player characters some kind of battle rage ability. White Dwarf and The Dragon both had Berserker classes back in the day; and the rage ability also appeared with various Barbarian class builds.

This house rule is based on the LBB and B/X monster entry for a Berserker. I figure that a +1 to hit points indicates that they have a Constitution bonus. The +2 to attack is clearly from the rage. And uncontrollable rage is not a trait of the the lawful, so... here's the rule:

If Chaotic or Neutral, Fighters with a Con bonus can be berserkers. They get +2 to attacks but loose the ability to separate friend from foe. The berserk character will attack the nearest entity that might pose a threat to anything. If they are attacking a friend or ally the berzerker's player rolls 1d20. If the roll is higher than the friendly target's Charisma they don't separate friend from foe and the friend is attacked. A Berserker can go berserk a number of times per day equal to their Constitution bonus.

The 880ft Hexagon Bowshot

So I have been gone again for a while, busy with other more pressing issues- like work. Anyhow, I should appear again on a more regular basis now, but I wouldn't take my word for it. I wanted to post a little more about wilderness hexagons, mainly about being in bow-shot. My next hexagon related post will be a bit about mapping on 1 mile hexes using the old traditional hex symbols.

Anyhow, I wanted to make sure readers understood about being in bow-shot in my previous hexagon post. Dan Collins (aka Delta) over at Delta's D&D Hotspot has through his research become the undisputed master of D&D ballistic knowledge. He has numerous articles about D&D ballistics. Go see for yourself. However some of the best are the ones where he crunches the numbers and determines what the penalties and ranges really should be based on how things really work: here, here, and especially here. (Yes we both know its a game, yes we should relax, but stuff like this relaxes us. And what the heck, its fun!)

If you read the first one you find that the best of the best archers are only hitting a stationary, unarmored man sized target at 220 yards @ 16% of the time. Something at the edge of the hex might be a believable shot. So if you are a high level character and the target is unarmored and eating lunch on a rock, you might have a chance. Conversely, hitting an army in the next hex is 100%.