Wednesday, 10 January 2018

How to Make Goon Master Character in Macchiato Monsters
Some time ago,+Samuel Guillon's character managed to convince a tribe of goblins his character should be their new god. He asked about taking a trait like God of the Goblins to have a following of fanatical flunkies. I made this mechanic in a G+ comment, but recently thought about it again, and realised it was a way to emulate +Benjamin Baugh's hilarious class, the Goblin Enchantress. (Follow the link to see +Evlyn M's beautiful illustration in full size.)

Take a trait such as Goblin Enchantress or Zombie Master or Baker of Sentient and Homicidal Cupcakes. This doesn't give you advantage to checks, nor does it grant you outside help like an organisation. All you have is your band of fanatical goblins, crazed cultists, animal automata, etc.

Write down Goons dR8 * on you character sheet. They work as a group just like a follower (roll the dR whenever they attempt something risky). A step down means some of your goons died or were otherwise lost. As suggested by +guillaume jentey  on G+, you can use your Goons dR as armour or as magical components.

If the dR is stepped down to nothing, you have to attracts more goons. Wait d8 days and you'll have your dR8 back - the referee can give you a smaller die in less time if they so choose.

Whenever you roll the maximum result on the dR, step it up. Either your goons get smarter/stronger/better at working together, or more of them just show up.

* In Macchiato Monsters, a risk die (dR) is a die that represents a resource or threat. On a 1-3, it is stepped down to the next lower die type (d12>d10>d8>d6>d4).

Thursday, 28 December 2017

More ways to clear dungeons with gunpowder

Because it's not always about pistols, yanno? I am going to use these in my current campaign when it finally reaches Yoon-Suin. Like China in the Renaissance, my Purple Country is less advanced when it comes to guns, but it makes up for it with clever and cruel designs. All of this is inspired by this Wikipedia article about the Huolongjing. Fore more fiery fun, see the post detailing Twenty Gunpowders.

I have included prices with B/X standards in mind, assuming firearms are commonly used in the setting. In
Macchiato Monsters, these should be paid for in electrum, gold, or even platinum, depending on complexity and legality. 

Fire lances. A short barrel stuck at the end of a spear or polearm. Usually loaded with firethrower powder, supplemented with arrows or pellets. It does continuous damage dR6 in a small area. dR=risk die: step it down on a 1-3, the fire goes out when it's stepped down from d4 or if someone spends their turn dousing it. Hobgoblins are especially fond of these. 15GP.

Barrels 'o' boom. Stick a fuse to it, shoot it from a distance with a magic missile, throw it in a campfire. 3 to 6d6 area damage depending on size, save for half. Add another d6 if stuck in a sack with gravel and nails.
In MM, use the risk die for the gunpowder. Add them together if using several equipment slots, and don't forget to double the damage. A small barrel should be dR12. 100-200GP.

Simple fireworks can be used as signals or to create distractions. Some produce smoke or fire as well. 20 GP for a noise maker, 200 GP for a large poisonous rocket.

War rockets are fired from tubes, and loaded with all manners of unpleasantness: shrapnel, lead pellets, darts, or even smaller rockets or little bombs. Treat like a barrel above with the range of a heavy crossbow, and double the price. Used by many bandits to demoralise their targets and shorten the bloodshed.

Rocket arrows do dR6 continuous (as above) when fired with a tube, or dR8 continuous damage when shot from a crossbow or longbow. Used by any well equipped army, human or otherwise. 20GP.

Firecrackers are ghost repellents. Blessed at temples, these strings of small fireworks make spirits good and evil flee in disgust. They work as a one-use turn undead at level 3, and can obviously attract a lot of attention from nearby threats. 100GP.

Artillery shields. Mounted on wheels for ease of travel around battlefields and dungeon halls, these door sized steel shields are pierced with hole where guns or fire lances are lodged. It is either used as protection for soldiers, or as a battery weapon operated by a single gunner. Kobolds love these. They shape them with all sorts of dragon motifs. 60 GP.

Flamethrowers. Any big enough gun can be loaded with slow burning gunpowder and metal scraps, turning it into a short range, flesh charring nightmare. Damage is not doubled, but the result of the die is the number of potential target. Poisonous substances can be mixed into the powder. 1-5GP a shot (same as normal gunpowder).

Poisonous gunpowder is only useful in bombs, rockets, and flame throwing devices. A lot of goblin tribes make their own varieties using mushrooms and bugbear feces. Step down the damage die by one, but the targets must save to avoid effects such as blindness, disease, confusion, etc. 10-100GP a shot.

Adapt your OS characters to Macchiato Monsters

Here is another post salvaged from my G+ feed. The process I go through when importing characters from other OSA games into Macchiato Monsters.

- Have six D&D-like stats? Keep 'em if they were rolled old school style. Otherwise roll 3d6 in order and arrange the results to make your character look like your character.
- Your traits are your race, your occupation, your origin, etc. Have two on the house.
- Your special powers and abilities will be considered on a case to case basis, but not before they become relevant in play. I may ask you to limit their use to a number of times per day (equal to your level, if you have one), or give them a risk die.
- Your magic spells and incantations work one of two ways: exactly like they're handled in your original system, OR as if they were MM spells. In which case, choose one spell per level (level-less? Use the medium level for this adventure), and rephrase it if you want.
- Money should be converted to a wealth dR according to the table in Extra Shot.
- Gear shouldn't be an issue. I'll give you a dR for some items, and the quantities can be adapted using this handy table that +Whidou  made with his math brain:
Coffee drinking gnolls from the MM Zero book

dR4 = 1,33
dR6 = 3,33
dR8 = 6
dR10 = 9,33
dR12 = 13,33

Friday, 22 December 2017

Grandaddy's D&D Character Sheet

There is a good chance I get to run D&D for a bunch of non gamer nerds over the holidays. I'll use the rules I've posted yesterday, but I didn't have a character sheet straightforward enough. Nothing puts new people off RPGs like complicated character sheets. So here is what I came up with:

Art used without permission - not sure where I got it tbh...

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Current Flailsnails Rules

When I' not running Macchiato Monsters or a new game I want to try, I use what Jeff Rients calls walking-around D&D. Which means, I use the mechanics I can hold in my head, and adjudicate the rest. For future reference, here is what I tell people who join a Flailsnails or generic D&D game I'm hosting. I'll update this post as the rules see more use (edits at end of post).

Flailsnail by Zak S.
 Your character
- Keep your stats and hit points, unless they're too different from TSR standards and I make you roll 3d6 six times (and arrange the scores to suit your character).
- Mods are:
4-: -2
5-7: -1
8-12: 0
13-16: +1
17+: +2
- Your Save is 18 minus your level.

Applying violence
- Group initiative on a d6, rolled every turn
- You do ONE thing every turn (including move or swap weapons)
- Attack with d20 +stat +class bonus (your level, half level, or nothing). Monsters just add +HD
- Ascending AC: light armour 13, heavy armour 15, +2 for shield, +magic. Natural AC classes have 13 +stat bonus
- Damage as weapon +STR in mêlée, +magic
- Missed attacks do 1 damage. Referee may offer a 'devil's bargain': attacker rolls damage in exchange for a complication (someone loses footing, a shield is broken...). Players can always refuse

- You keep your spells and magic system with the referee's approval
- If you don't have one: you get one slot for every level you have. Memorize one spell per slot. You can always cast a non memorized spell, but it costs time, components, or is very risky (save to avoid losing d6 stat points per spell level).
- Spell lists are either tied to spell books (and you can find more adventuring), divine powers (fixed list), or acquired disciplines (for psions and the like).

- Exploration turns last an hour. One character can thoroughly explore one room or corridor in that time. Divide 60 minutes by the number of active characters - a party of six members explores a room, finding everything there is to find, in 10 minutes. I draw and fill in clocks to keep track.
- Non-exploratory movement depends on encumbrance, leg size, and endurance. Rolls may be involved.
- Every hour in the dungeon, and every 8 hours in the wilderness, the referee rolls an event d6 (usually: 1 nothing, 2 resource, 3 fatigue, 4 morale, 5 clue, 6 encounter).

Task resolution
- The conversation determines what is possible and what isn't. Time and noise are factors.
- Otherwise, you need to save. Against death or disease of course, but also against looking like an idiot or making a ruckus. Add the relevant stat modifier, and your level if using a class or race ability. A modified roll over 10 always means a partial success or hard choice.

- There is always the option to level up using Zak's system
- For new characters, here are the basics:

Class  =>
d6+1 HP
Kills; +lvl doors/gates or intimidation
 d6 HP
+lvl to thievery or acrobatics or speed
d6 / 1 HP

Spells or psionic powers
 d6 HP
Turn undead or command spirits
d6 HP/level
+lvl vs Magic or +lvl to hide or some other skill

- Is mainly gained with gold retrieved from 'unlawful 'areas (1gp=1xp)
- Is always divided equally, including henchmen
- Goal xp aren't entirely unheard of. Here is the xp table I'm using in my office lunchtime game:
Discovering a point of interest: 500
Unearthing lost knowledge: 500+
Making contact with a new tribe: 1000
Treasure: 1/GP (including information sold)
Eliminating a threat to others: 100/HD (non threatening monsters are worth 10/HD)
Edit 11/4/18: Added/reorganised the classes and experience paragraph based on my current, non-Flailsnails campaign
Edit 15/2/18: made task resolution/saves clearer in an attempt to stop using target numbers when I run. Added a list of XP values.
Edit 10/1/18: removed task resolution with chances in six, replaced by Into the Odd style save when there is danger. Removed the 'yet untested' mention about exploration rules.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Twenty gunpowders

Who said there should only be one type of gunpowder in the dungeonverse? Following a conversation about ancient handcannons on G+, I started a bit of gygaxian democracy and we ended up with this table. I made some slight modifications and streamlined some prose for brevity's sake.

Credits: 1 Gherhartd Sildoenfein; 2-6: me; 7-8 Chris Shorb; 9-10 Max Vanderheyden; 11-17 Guillaume Jentey); 18 Jens Larsen; 19 Luka Rejec; 20 Phil.

Ancient Chinese manuscripts had monsters and guns!
1. Kobold gunpowder is made from flammable beetle dung and has a very distinctive smell stink. Don't get caught in kobold gunpowder smoke clouds. (Check CON or become ill until you can rest.)

2. Archmage gunpowder can be snorted for magical power - it works as a magical component.

3. Ironsmoke is made by the clan of dwarves of the same name. It uses white sulfur, harvested deep underground, in ghostworm infested caves. Guns that use it never get damaged.

4. Woodland gunpowder draws its special quality from dead treant charcoal. It has very respectable stopping power, but its flames are harmless and it will never set fire to anything. It has semi religious significance in elven culture and only the Knights of the Everburning Soul are allowed to use it.

5. The assassin's dust is rare and extremely valuable. It is made with dried and powdered displacer beast spleen and blessed during a ceremony that requires the sacrifice of an invisible stalker. A gun loaded with this gunpowder produces only the briefest of flashes and no more noise than a cat's yawn.

6. Red gunpowder is very common, mostly because those pyromaniac bastards red goblins are somehow found in every major city. It produces loud whistling and colourful lights than can be quite distracting.

7. Wind of the fire giant. Strong sulfur and methane odors accompany the firing of this powder. While not particularly good as a propellant, ideal for starting fires. Long exposure to this powder tends to turn one's skin deep, bright cherry red.

8. Dragon powder When a red dragon's gizzard is de-gristled, what remains is a hard chert-like gastrolith. Those with access to enough diamonds can grind down this stone into a fine powder that burns and burns and burns. Unfortunately, its ignition point is incredibly high, and requires an already burning furnace to light

9. 非槍 Feiqiang - false gun is derived from an alchemical residue left over from an erectile dysfunction salve. Any application of this gunpowder will appear real, but will in fact be illusory. Requires an illusion save by the target: if failed, treat as if shot by a normal bullet. If succeeded, the target will be unsatisfied with their marriage and will look far another partner. ()

10. 火藥 Huoyao - fire medicine is made from the peppercorns of a rare and vicious plant. Harvesting these corns is a dangerous proposition as the slightest disturbance to the plant causes the whole seed husk to explode. If processed in the correct manner, this gunpowder can be taken as a drug which will numb the target to the physical and emotional pains of inflicting violence.

11. Living gunpowder is in fact a strange kind of flammable, yeast-like mushroom that grows very fast. At the end of the day, the powder's dR is stepped up. If allowed to go above dR12, it blows up, dealing d12 damage to everyone in the area.

12. Blessed powder. The high priests of the Temple of the Celestial Wind of Truth make a sacred gunpowder with ground relics and holy prayers. Guns shooting with this powder do damage with advantage to demons and undead.

13. Greek powder makes targets catch fire on top of the regular damage. They take dR6 damage every turn unless someone can put the fire out. On 1-3 on the damage roll though, not only is the die stepped down, but the shooter catches fire as above.

14. Nonlinear powder is made with crystals normally used by planewalking magicians. When used, roll d6 to know when the sound comes:1-3. when you shoot, as normal; 4. at a time of your choosing but in the same place; 5. at a time of the referee's choosing, but at the location you are at the time; 6. just before the shot, so your target was aware : roll damage with disadvantage.

15. Flour powder is not very powerful (damage with disadvantage) but very cheap and you can bake bread with it!

16. Ice powder doesn't need shot or bullets. A ball of ice is formed when the powder ignites. On a critical hit the target is frozen for an instant. On a critical miss, it's you. (

17. Reusable powder sometimes leaves flammable ashes after burning. On an even attack roll, you can instantly fire again. Without a bullet, this attack does half damage at short ranges.
18. Ghost powder. A specific ritual binds the spirit of a recently deceased good being to a measure of ground unholy wafers. When activated, the spirit is released, yearning for the next world, and its escape is the driving force that fires the bullet. This does not require actual fire and can be used underwater.

19. Powder powder - it's so light, it floats. Unless stoppered tight, it can fill up a room with flammable powder. Just like an airburst. 

20. Nightmare powder is made out of the eye sand of peoples with bad dreams. Your bullet will never miss the target but, right after firing, you fall asleep and have the worst dreams of your life.

Dungeon Risk Die for MM

As part of my neverending quest for a simple dungeon exploration procedure, I made this mix of encounter and exploration risk die table. You roll a d4 alongside it and you get a situation. From a forgotten potion to an ambush by the main faction, with a few clues and duration times in the mix.