Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dungeons & Dragons Flumphth Edition

Now with mood-ring skin!
Hey, so I got my copy of the new Monster Manual this morning! Let's open this thing and just--Holy cow, a FLUMPH!

Wow, I never expected that. My beloved flumph not used as a filler monster in some obscure, late-run supplement. No sir, the flumph is right here in the core Monster Manual. That's right kids, Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition is now officially the Flumphth Edition.

So how does my favorite monster stack up in the new edition, and how does it match up with my own image of the flumph? We're told that flumphs are intelligent and wise "possessing advanced knowledge of religion, philosophy, mathematics, and countless other subjects." They also live in small groups called cloisters. This matches pretty well with my own image of the flumphs as soft-spoken, benevolent philosophers. This idea, of course, was engendered by the monastic flumph found in Second Edition. You'll notice that all my extra-system write-ups for the flumph have some sort of healing magic. Sadly, the 5th Ed flumph does not have any cleric levels. This, of course, will change in my games.

"Hey buddy. There's some Illithids down on Level Three. You should totally go kill them."
Old-school flumphs ate small animals, skewering them on their hidden spikes. The new guys are "passive parasites" that harmlessly siphon off small amounts of psionic energy from nearby creatures. Since they live in the Underdark, most of their neighbors are evil. This gives the good-natured flumphs a kind of psychic indigestion--evil thoughts are disturbing to them. When a cloister of flumphs detects the thoughts of good creatures (like adventurers) they will direct them to the source of evil, encouraging the heroes to wipe them out. I am not sure how I feel about the flumph's new role as "dungeon snitch."

Mechanically, the flumph does pretty well. Its tentacles do decent damage (1d4+2), as well as additional acid damage-over-time. They also keep their signature "stench spray" ability that puts the "poisoned" condition on anyone who fails a (relatively easy) saving throw. The poisoned condition is  nothing to sneeze at. A battle between a group of flumphs and a group of kobolds could be quite a brawl.

I'm delighted to see the flumph front-and-center in the core bestiary, along side such iconic monsters such as beholders and githyanki. Over all I'm pretty happy with how the little guys are represented.

Also, the grell are in the Monster Manual, too. That means my campaign can continue the cosmic war between the flumphs and the grell.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mini-Mega-Dungeon III [Mini-Map Monday]

I moved my office from the basement to the upstairs spare bedroom. It's nice to be out of the basement dank into the light and (relatively) fresh air. Unfortunately, at some point inthe move, I lost the cord to my scanner. Well I found it yesterday, and now it's time to get back to the maps.

I've made mini-mega-dungons in the past, and I've decided to make another one. Enjoy, and be careful of the lava lake!

Click it to big it, yo!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Twenty Things That May or May Not Be True About Orcs

Orcs? Fuck yeah orcs!
1) Orcs do not “wear” armor. Rather, they permanently bolt armor plates to their flesh and bone. A powerful warboss may be encased in 200 pounds of iron and bronze.

2) Orcs are superstitiously afraid of cats, which is why you always want to bring a cat with you into a dungeon.

3) Orcs actually have a proud bardic tradition. However, orc bards are hard to distinguish from warriors, what with all the shouting and head-butting. Orcish music is known to cause disturbing hallucinations in humans.

4) Scoring a critical hit on an Orc will cause it to split into 3d4 kobolds.

5) Orcs and morlocks are bitter rivals, constantly fighting over the limited supplies of sweet, sweet gnome meat.

6) The orcish language is at least partially scent-based.

7) Orcs are descended from special shock troopers engineered by the Scumdogs of the Universe, a malevolent race of star-conquerors engaged in perpetual space-war with the Psychedelic Overlords, creators of the elves.  

8) Orc tears are deadly poison. Orc blood is a frightening narcotic.

9) Half-orcs are mutations caused when an orc eats a human baby.

10) Morlocks are mutations caused when a human eats an orc baby.

11) There is a certain caste of orcish berserkers who can transform into giant boars in the heat of battle.

12) Orcs breed by mating with thunderstorms in a process too horrible to describe.

14) Orcs are the spawn of Demogorgon. They are the physical manifestations of violence and misfortune.

15) Orc culture is surprisingly sexually egalitarian; females own property, fight along side the males, and can rise as warbosses.

16) Orcs believe that this world is the afterlife, and that by dying in battle they will be reborn into the real world.  

17) Orcs cannot become undead. No one knows why.

18) Orcs are immune to all ingested poisons, yet their stomach flora does not allow them to digest plant matter.

19) Orcs are expert metalsmiths. Orcish bronze is stronger than steel.

20) Orcs are are intoxicated by sunlight. Their puritanical religious dogma requires them to remain subterranean and nocturnal.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Oath of Ruin [5th Edition D&D Paladin Oath]

I love Paladins. I always have. My first AD&D character was a paladin (Stryfe Strikehard). I love all types of paladins--the golden armored paragon of virtue, the grim and tortured vampire hunter, the boisterous orc-slaying dwarf. Love. Them. All.

I also love anti-paladins. The best heroes need the best villains. Obi-Wan needs Vader. Superman needs Darksied. Eowyn needs the Witchking.

In 5th Edition D&D, paladins are pretty cool. The different oaths they take at 3rd level gives them a lot of variety and flavor. Oaths also present a terrific opportunity to create a variety of anti-paladins, blackguards, and other villainous champions.

The basic abilities of the paladin do not need to change. Divine Sense, Lay on Hands, Fighting Style, Spellcasting, Divine Smite, and Divine Health are as useful to the chaotic evil reaver as they are to the lawful good champion.

At third level, the paladin may take the Oath of Ruin, detailed below.

The Oath of Ruin was intended to be a mix of the D&D blackguard with the Warhammer Chaos Warrior, as well as a little bit of Elric, and a touch of Rust Cohle's nihilism.


Oath of Ruin
A paladin who takes the Oath of Ruin has seen that the world is broken and strives to complete that ruination. Perhaps the paladin was once a good person who has had their hopes shattered. Perhaps the paladin has always been wicked. Perhaps the paladin just wants to watch the world burn. A Paladin of Ruin is empowered by dark gods, alien outsiders, or the raw power of Cosmic Entropy. He uses his strength to dominate and destroy others while increasing his own power. Most Paladins of Ruin are evil, although many are chaotic neutral. Some very few are actually good, who believe that the destruction of this world will usher in the creation of Paradise.

Tenets of Ruin
Everything Rots. Nothing lasts. Every creature starts to die on the day it is born. The creations of man, elves, dragons, and gods, all crumble. Do not try to stop entropy. Usher it along, and be the last one standing.

Power is Truth. There is no truth but your truth. Bend the world to your will. Cultivate your own power. The weak are tools for your own disposal.

Let None Judge You. The others are deluded by their illusions of justice and mercy. They call you evil, but you are a force of nature. It is your place in the universe to be the Destroyer. You are doing what is right; you are doing what is needed.

Revil in Ruin. You are the destroyer. Never doubt yourself or your purpose. Find delight in sorrow and purpose in chaos. Embrace your hate.

Oath Spells
You gain oath spells at the paladin levels listed.

Paladin Level
Hex, Hellish Rebuke
Crown of Madness, Blindness/Deafness
Animate Dead, Fear
Blight, Evard’s Black Tentacles
Contact Other Plane, Contagion

Channel Divinity
When you take this oath at 3rd level, you gain the following two Channel Divinity options.

Tainted Blade. As an action, you can imbue one weapon with negative energy. For one minute, your weapon flickers with a black radiance. Your weapon's damage type becomes necrotic for the duration. While Tainted Blade is in effect, when you damage an enemy with this weapon, they must make a CHA save. If the saving throw fails, then the target's maximum Hit Points are reduced by an amount equal to the damage inflicted. This reduction lasts until the target completes a Long Rest. If your weapon is not already magical, it is considered magical for the duration.

You can end this effect on your turn as part of any action. If you are no longer holding or carrying this weapon, or you fall unconscious, this effect ends.

Kneel! As an action, present your holy symbol and shout your hatred at a target. The target must make a WIS save or gain the Prone condition. On its subsequent turns, the victim can use its Move action to make a WIS save to stand up. This effect ends once a successful save is made, you fall unconscious, or a number of turns pass equal to your CHA Bonus +1 (minimum 1).

Entropic Aura
At 7th level, you and all your allies within 10 feet gain Resistance against necrotic and poison damage while you are conscious. You and your allies also have Advantage against all Necromancy spells. At 18th level, this radius increases to 30 feet.

Ruinous Soul
At 15th level, you gain the ability to infuse your attacks with the essence of ruin. After a successful melee attack, you can use a Bonus Action to activate this power. At the start of their turn, the target must make a CHA save or take 1d8 necrotic damage. The victim must make this save every turn or take another 1d8 necrotic damage. Once they make this save, the effect ends. The body of a creature slain by this damage crumbles to ash.

This ability cannot be used again until you take a short or long rest.

Aura of Corruption
At 20th level, as an action, you can emanate sickly green-purple aura of corrupting energy. For one minute, this fell light flickers forth from your core. The ground for 30 feet around you cracks and becomes covered in ash and rot.

Whenever an enemy creature starts its turn within 30 feet of you, it must make a CON save or suffer the “Poisoned” condition. It must make this save again every turn, until it leaves your aura.

Once you use this feature, you cannot use it again until you finish a long rest.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cybelle and the Cold Desert [Mini-Map Monday]

I've had a really busy and tiring couple of weeks with my day job, so I've kind of let the maps slack. I'm going to make that up to you this week with two maps, as well some actual background details on their contents. 

I recently dove into Monte Cook's Numenera. I needed an interesting starting area, so I started to develop a small section of Matheunis the Cold Desert, out in the Beyond.

Far Brohn - A trade city on the edge of the Beyond.
The Anomalous Monolith - No one comes away from this unchanged. (Based on a certain James Raggi adventure.) 
The Bone Forge - Where necro-crofters repurpose life with machines of flesh and steel.
Cybelle - A city built in the shell of an ancient automaton.
Nihliesh - City of mutants!
The Broken Gate - A huge non-euclidean structure, shattered for ages.
Kazlo's Hook - An interesting geological formation.
Monastery of Worms - Where strange pilgrims revere stranger things.
Rell - A pleasant village known for expert animal husbandry.
The Crater - Home to the Red Eyes bandits and a mysterious door.
Towers of Grahuul - Citadel of a massive Margr warchief.
Bronze Pylon - Wherein Tycho the Nano wishes to be interned.
Foundation Stones - Seven gigantic floating crystals.
Iron Skull - The massive, city-sized skull of some great machine-beast.
Murderfuck Deathzone - A deadly numenera site from which no one has ever returned. I wouldn't go there if I were you.
The Frozen Fleet - Ancient ships of metal, whose shadows are visible deep under the ice.

Cybelle is a city of 10,000. It is built in the shell of an ancient automaton. This automaton is hundreds of feet tall and bears the form a human woman. Cybelle's arms are missing, as is the top of her head. The city is buried waist-deep in the sterile dirt of the Cold Desert. The lower extremities of the automaton have never been explored. Great machines within Cybelle produce purple nutrient gel that is pumped out of the city and into the surrounding land to support the city's outlying farms. 

The city of Cybelle is divided into several districts that correspond to specific area's of the automaton's anatomy. The districts and some of their more interesting locales and inhabitants are listed below. 

Aeon Clave
Farren, the Blind
Lyrra, the Deaf
Helios, the Mute

Aged nano of esteem

Dreams of Lavender
Psychotropic numeneric sensorium
Lavender, purple pangendered proprietor

Lord Bruum, captain of guard

Central Storage
Overseer Grant Grell, two-brained mutant

The Lost Depot
Oldest tavern in Cybelle

Kastilla Stel
Governor of Cybelle

Lamp of Insight Academy
Private school for the privileged.

Infinite Theater
Numeneric amphitheater for drama and athletics and combat

The Grumblecat
Working class tavern and inn

Word of the Truth
Daily broadsheet news
Felder Freman, editor

Valdorra's Tchotchkes
Dealer in cyphers and oddities

Steel and Synth
Malvora Mase, armorer

Hawk's Trading Post
Dry goods and sundries
Runcibold Hawk and his thuman, Blue

The Wastrel Well
Largest tavern in Cybelle

Reclamation Plant
Superintendent Trask

The Forgeworks
Argos, ancient automaton

The Tattered King
Low-class dive bar

The Drum and Anvil
Sleazy brothel

All-Worlds Foods
Specializing in visitant cuisine

Unexplored tunnels and shafts... abhumans...