Saturday, July 30, 2016

mean as the summer sun

This is kind of a self-indulgent post but whatever. Been thinking about mashing The Curse of Strahd up with the Mozarab Latin American setting implied by San Serafin. I never quite understood why Strahd doesn't't just kick the shit out of the party as soon as they show the smallest signs of competence (the adventure has an explanation, but I don't find it satisfactory). I've tried to give it a more fairy tale/folklore vibe with constraints that make the cat-and-mouse game between Strahd and his hunters more interesting. Anyway, I'm changing Ravenloft to Hacienda San Cuervo, which is perfectly exactly as dorky as the original. ANYWAY...

There are seven Dead Men of New Barbary, each given special dispensation by the gods of death to reside in the Lands of the Living. They may only leave the darkness of their house on their assigned day of the week.

Dead Ohache's day is Friday, and he lives in an iron house.

His flesh is flush with false life, his teeth are like a coyote's teeth, and he licks them with a long red tongue. Everyone knows of his eyes, for they are as yellow and as mean as the summer sun, and they can see lies on a speaker's breath.

Dead Ohache wears a calabash on his belt, from which he drinks and from which he draws his power. It is filled with blood: the fresh blood of his servants, subjects, and slaves, the cold blood of his brides and grooms, the bubbling blood of the ancient beast that hangs helpless and eternally wounded from the rafters of his house.

He has six spouses who administer to his hacienda when he is confined to his house. They are beautiful and evil and love him dearly, for he keeps their hearts locked away with his most valuable treasures.

His house is iron, it is narrow and tall, it juts from the earth like a nail from flesh. His house is a place of disorder, and he does not rule his land well. By Dead Ohache's decree, all blood and all corpses in Hacienda Cuervo are his by right to take. The dead are not buried, but put to work, and the living are hunted and used for labor like animals. Dead Ohache is is a careless master, and his administrators are many and fractious. The villages on his holding's border have attained some measure of prosperity, but everyone has a friend or relative carried away to labor in Dead Ohache's fields, struggle in his mines, or bleed out for his supper.

Things to do in and around Hacienda San Cuervo
  1. Dead Ohache's depredations have awakened a mummified holy ancestor from its funereal repose. Rozerie, the Monday Regent of the Hacienda, will pay you to take care of it before the Tuesday Regent hears about it.
  2. The brother of one of Dead Ohache's kidnapping victims has put out an exceedingly generous standing offer to anyone who can rescue his sibling from the Dead Man's mines.
  3. A scholar in Otra Tetuán is writing a necrography of Dead Ochache and wants to know why the Sheikha and Sheikh of the Dead have given him permission to reside in the Lands of the Living. The University is backing up their research with a reward.
  4. Pirate-cleric Sayyida al Hurra wants a crack at Dead Ohache's treasure, and she wouldn't mind exorcising him either. Figure out where he keeps his vault and not only will she pay you, but she'll let you come along on the heist for a share of the spoils.
  5. Rumor has it some rebels are getting ready to raid Dead Ohache's sanguinary. Both sides are putting out an all call for anyone who can pick up a weapon.
  6. There is a particular and exceedingly beautiful flower that grows in the yard of Dead Ixe, Ohache's bitterest rival. He wants a cutting so he can grow it for himself.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

toil and trouble

Extensive rewrite for the 5th edition Warlock class. It's actually my favorite to play in 5e, but there are many interlocking abilities. This version
  • conforms more to the pattern established by other classes
  • has abilities that stand alone, and don't require extensive cross-referencing
  • smashes the cleric, druid, and warlock together. I want to get 5e down to four or five classes and get a wider spread of character archetypes with kits. Ideally, I'll have fighter, warlock/witch, rogue, and wizard
  • is based on archetypal things that witches do, like turn into animals, call up spirits, or brew potions.
  • has an element of risk. Shapeshifting warlocks can get stuck as animals, potions can go wrong, familiars can get loose.
  • makes some assumptions about the kind of campaign. Probably can't go toe to toe with a monster of equivalent CR the way most classes-as-written can, most of the healing is shunted off to potion-making, so healing is a bit more important as a resource, and I cut out damaging cantrips.
a Type V D&D class
from tactics ogre: wheel of fortune

click to make legible
Hit Dice: 1d6 per warlock level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 1d6 + Constitution modifier, minimum 4
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 + Constitution modifier per warlock level after 1st 

Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons
Tools: Choose one from herbalism kit, poisoner's kit, and alchemist's kit

Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Skills: Choose two from Animal Handing, Arcana, Deception, History, Intimidation, Nature, Religion, and Survivalism

Cantrips. You know two cantrips of your choice from the warlock spell list. You learn additional warlock cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown on the Cantrips Known column of the Warlock table. 

Spell Slots. The Warlock spellcasting table shows how many spell slots you have to cast spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell's level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.

Spells Known of 1st level and higher. You know one 1st level warlock spell of your choice. The Spells Known column on the Warlock spellcasting table shows when you learn more warlock spells of 1st level or higher. Each of these spells must be a level for which you have slots. When you gain a level, you can replace one of the warlock spells you know with another spell of your choice from warlock spell list that you have slots for.

Spellcasting ability. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for your warlock spells. You use your Wisdom whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Wisdom modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a warlock spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
     Spell Save DC = 8 + proficiency bonus + Wisdom modifier
     Spell Attack modifier = proficiency bonus + Wisdom modifier 

Spell Recovery. When you finish a short rest, you can choose expended spell slots to recover. The spell slots can have a combined level equal to or less than half your level (rounded up).

Spellcasting Focus. You can use an arcane focus as a spellcasting focus for your warlock spells

Pick one of the following Otherworldly Patrons. At levels 1, 5, 9, 13, and 17, your patron teaches you additional spells; add them to your list of spells known and do not count them towards your limit.

from mononoke

1st: bless, purify food and drink
5th: augury, lesser restoration
9th: clairvoyance, remove curse
13th: divination, locate creature
17th: greater restoration, scrying

from black desert

1st: animal friendship, speak with animals
5th: animal messenger, spike growth
9th: plant growth, water walk
13th: conjure woodland beings, dominate beast
17th: awaken, commune with nature

from final fantasy

1st: create or destroy water, thunderwave
5th: blindness/deafness, gust of wind
9th: call lightning, sleet storm
13th: control water, ice storm
17th: cone of cold, planar binding

At level 3, your patron rewards you for your service. Choose one of the following First Gifts.

You can polymorph into any beast with a CR equal to or less than 1/3 your level. When you cast polymorph in this manner, it lasts until you lose concentration, with no other limits on duration. If you fail your Constitution Saving throw to maintain concentration with an odd result, you become trapped in your beast form until you take a short rest. If you reach 0 HP while in your animal form, you do not transform back, but continue to deduct hit points from your true form's HP pool. You must take a short rest before using this ability again.

Pick one of the following: imp, sprite, pseudodragon, or a single beast with a CR of 1/2 or less.
     As an action, you can summon that creature into an empty space within 15 ft. The servant is friendly to you and your companions. Roll initiative for the servant, which has its own turns. It obeys any verbal commands that you issue to it (no action required by you). If you don’t issue any commands to the servant, it defends itself from hostile creatures but otherwise takes no actions. The servant disappears when it drops to 0 hit points or when you dismiss it as an action. If the servant dies, you cannot use this ability again until you take a long rest. The servant recovers all of its HP when you take a long rest.
     This ability requires concentration to maintain. If your concentration is broken, you lose control of the servant, it becomes hostile toward you and your companions, and it might attack. An uncontrolled servant can’t be dismissed by you.
     When you take a long rest, you can choose a different creature on the list of eligible creatures to summon. You must take another long rest to choose again. If you perform a 10 minute ritual using the remains of a fey, elemental, fiend, or beast-type creature with a CR equal to or less than 1/4 your level, you can add it to the list of creatures you can summon with this ability.

Learning. If gain the following proficiencies if you do not already have them:
  • Arcana skill
  • herbalism kit
Ritualist.  If any of the warlock spells you know or learn have the ritual tag, you can cast them as rituals. If you find any ritual spell in a scroll or spellbook, or see it cast, you can attempt to recreate it as a ritual. This requires an Intelligence (Arcana) check vs a DC of 11 + Spell Level. If the spell exceeds half your level (rounded up), you make the roll at disadvantage. If you succeed the check, the ritual proceeds as it should; if you fail, catastrophe strikes as determined by the DM).

Potion-maker. When you find a spell with a level of 5 or less, and that spell has a range of Self or Touch, you can memorize it as a recipe. This process takes 50 gp per spell level and 1 hour per spell level, as you impress the formula into your mind with the aid of exotic drugs. You can learn as many recipes as you like.
     You can brew potions using your recipe book. This process requires
  • 50gp/spell level (in ingredients)
  • 1 hour/spell level (fretting over alembics and stirring cauldrons)
  • A Wisdom (herbalism kit) check with a DC of 11 + spell level. If the spell exceeds half your level (rounded up), you make the roll at disadvantage
If you fail a check, the potion functions as a vial of poison (the DM should roll this check outside of the player's view and not tell them the result). If a spell can be cast at multiple spell levels, you can choose which at the time of brewing, but you must pay the extra money and take the extra time. A potion causes the exact same effects as the spell it is based off of on the creature that ingests it. You count as the caster if it comes up in the spell description.
     The number of potions you have brewed cannot exceed half your level (rounded up). If you exceed this limit, a random potion you have brewed loses its potency.

At level 11, your patron rewards you for your continuing service. Choose one of the following Second Gifts.

You acquire a home and garden in the form of a 1 acre demiplane. Its exact nature, climate, and contents are a matter between you and your DM. The garden is never more than half a day's travel away, no matter where you go or where you are. Only you know the way there, though others can follow you (even without your knowledge)

Anyone who signs a contract with or swears an oath to you must make a Charisma save vs your spell save DC in order to break its terms. They only must follow the letter, not the spirit of the agreement. Paradoxical promises are null and void.

You can cast fly on yourself without expending a spell slot. When you cast fly in this manner, it lasts until you lose concentration, with no other limits on duration. You must take a short rest before you can use this ability again.

At level 18, your patron rewards you for your continuing service. Choose one of the following Final Gifts.

Your patron will grant you a wish when you beseech them directly, requiring no action on your part and sparing you the ill effects listed in the spell's description. However, you must perform an onerous service for your patron before they will grant you a wish again.

You can shapechange yourself into a dragon-type creature without any material component. You receive advantage on Constitution saving throws to maintain concentration for this ability, and you must take a long rest before using this ability again.

You can cast Animate Undead or Create Undead as a 9th level spell without material components. You must take a long rest before you can use this ability again.
At levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 19, you can increase one ability score by 2 or two ability scores by 1. You cannot increase an ability score above 20.

control flames*
shape water*
mold earth*
minor illusion
Asterisked cantrips are from the Elemental Evil Player's Companion (which is free).

disguise self
feather fall
fog cloud