Thursday, August 25, 2016

Updates and stuff

As per the norm, I'm overthinking things.

I'm going to nix my size-level/race determines Hit Points idea, and stick with the classic Class determines HP.

I'm going to revise the Yon Race, making them less powerful, but also removing one of their hindrances.

I'm working on a revised Barbarian class, and the format for the Barbarian will also mean that I will revise the previously posted Fighter and Ranger.

I may get rid of the Ranger entirely as I think it is redundant.

I'm going to go for a more Sword and Sorcery feel for the Strathos setting. Meaning, that magic is going to be more rare, and mostly in the hands of NPCs, rather than player characters.

Along with the Barbarian, I'm also currently reworking the Cleric class and making a new Cleric spell list.

Fungoids are a playable race I've been working on for some time. They are a pet project at this point, and I'm kind of in love with them. For a teaser, Fungoids are mushroom people that start at a tiny gnome-like size, and as they increase in level, they get larger and larger, until they become colossal and root themselves into the ground, becoming part of the landscape.

A lot of real life stuff has been happening that has slowed my output, but I've been working on all of this as time permits. The lack of posts reflects that.

When all is said and done, I plan on putting everything together into a player's guide/gazetteer in pdf form.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Fiddly bits - Hit Points and Skills

These are some bits of C&C I am fiddling with. I guess you could surmise that I don't like C&C from all the changes I'm making, but the fundamental part, the SIEGE engine, I am keeping as is.


Hit Points

I don't like hit points being based on class. I prefer it to be based on species. Probably because I grew up playing Palladium. Regardless, I've taken it a step further and am basing HP on size level.
  • Tiny size = d4 HP
  • Small = d6 HP
  • Medium = d8 HP
  • Large = d10 HP
  • Huge = d12 HP
This actually isn't really a huge change; creatures in the C&C Monsters and Treasure book have HD based on size. I'm simply extending that to player characters.


I think it is stupid for Rogues to have an exclusive bunch of skills, many of which are necessary for anyone in the party to survive for any amount of time. Rules as written though, no other class gets those skills. So, the fighter can't climb, the wizard automatically falls into every pit trap, and the cleric is suddenly deaf when they want to listen at a door.

So all classes get Rogue/Thief skills. The caveat is that all skills, regardless of associated attribute, have a base of 18. Attribute modifiers apply, but level bonuses do not. In other words, your 5th level Fighter's +1 Dex mod will apply to their climb skill, but they will not get a +5 from being 5th level.

For a Rogue, Prime attributes and level bonus does apply, so they keep their advantage with skills over other classes.

Decipher Script is ridiculous, so I'm replacing it entirely with Language. When you encounter a new language, roll against this skill to determine if you know it. You must roll separately for speech and literacy.

The list of skills is as follows:
  • Climb (Dexterity)
  • Language (Intelligence)
  • Hide (Dexterity)
  • Listen (Wisdom)
  • Move Silently (Dexterity)
  • Open Lock (Dexterity)
  • Pick Pocket (Dexterity)
  • Traps (Intelligence)
Secondary skills

I'm not sure if I want to use secondary skills. I like the idea, and originally I was all about using them, buuuuuuut... I dunno. I was going to use them with a table for character backgrounds (I spent a stupid amount of time working on said table), but with Humans, Yon, Fungoids, Hobgoblins, and whatever else, a single background table seems pretty stupid. And I don't want to make a separate table for every species. That would take forever! Maybe someday. I mean, really, I wouldn't have to make extensive tables for each one.

So for now, no secondary skills. 

    Thursday, August 18, 2016

    Spell scrolls and useability

    Hi there!

    Today I was thinking about Clerics and how their spells are actually prayers and then I thought about spell scrolls, and how they are actually prayer scrolls.

    And prayer scrolls don't disappear after you read them.

    Scrolls are fragile, and can be affected by heat, moisture, tearing, cutting, age, smudgy ink, and on and on. There is also the language barrier; a reader must be able to read the language, pronounce words, have a basic understanding of context, etc

    If you're trying to read a scroll in combat, then good luck! Arrows can go right through it, swords and axes can slice it, fire can burn it, water will make the ink run... a battlefield is no place for a scroll. Nor are mildew-filled humid caverns or dry tombs sealed for centuries. If it isn't a moldy mess, it will turn to dust when it is handled.

    They get wet when you ford a river or get caught in a downpour. They burn up when you're running from the fire breathing dragon. They disintegrate when you get splashed with acid. They become illegible when you're chest deep in the muck of an otyugh's den. 

    Scrolls, while powerful and useful tools, are far from awe-inspiring magic items.

    The only mythology I know of that has one-use magic scrolls is Dungeons and Dragons and the various spin-offs.

    I assume it has something to do with game balance, or Gygax being a dick, or some other reason born out of a basement 50 years ago. I don't really care.

    I don't like it, so I'm changing it.

    • Reusable
    • very fragile: If it isn't properly stored, a scroll will be irreparably damaged by travel and weather. I'm thinking of a 1 in 10 chance of the scroll becoming illegible per week of travel, with modifiers for weather and geographic obstacles. Like +5 (making it 6 in 10) if a body of water was crossed, +3 if climbing was necessary, +1 if a light rain was encountered. These can be used for hex crawling or for mid adventure spot checks.
    • Not useful in combat: If you're in combat and get hit while reading a scroll, there is a 5 in 10 chance the scroll is destroyed. Add modifiers for weather and conditions. 
    • The reader must know proper language and/or cryptography (if encoded) to use the scroll. Finding a scroll in an ancient tomb may be useless because no one can read it. This can lead to further adventure. This also encourages the use of different languages, and I love that. I'll probably write a post about language at some point in the future.
    • Scrolls can be memorized and added to the cleric or magic user's spell list. This requires study and takes some time. The regular rules apply. I'll probably use the rules from Lamentations of the Flame Princess.
     So all that kinda makes scroll cases actually important, instead of just crappy background imagery.
    • Scroll cases can be made of whatever, but here are some guidelines
      • Leather is soft and won't be broken, protecting from wear and tear. However, it isn't waterproof. It's better than nothing, though.
      • Wood is tough but crappy in every other way. It can be sealed with wax.
      • Metal is the strongest and can be hermetically sealed.  

    Tuesday, August 16, 2016

    Regaining Hit Points: Gluttony

    Making Clerics the sole providers of health is kinda sucky. It makes the party think that someone has to be a cleric to be the healer of the group. I don't like that. I don't like anyone feeling like they're forced to pick a class.

    So, we need alternatives.

    Healing potions are an option, but are so cliche. I did make a healing potion table a long time ago with names and potencies, and tables are always fun.

    The other easy option is food. Specifically, lots of food. Like Goku eating after a battle against some alien menace amount of food.

    To make it simple, everyone needs to eat a days worth of food. With DnD's built-in system of rations, this is pretty easy to follow.

    Eat a day's rations, and you stay healthy and happy. Eat two days worth of rations in one sitting, and heal d4 hit points. Eat three days worth and get 2d4 HP, and so on.

    This also makes the players take an active interest in keeping track of their rations, something I've found just about every player ever fails to do unless pushed by the GM (who has bettter shit to do). 

    So when a Barbarian goes into battle and loses a lot of hit points, they're going to have to eat a LOT to regain their HP.

    Speaking of Barbarians, that is my next project: a new Barbarian class similar in construction to the previous Ranger and Fighter.

    Saturday, August 13, 2016

    The Ranger

    In my ongoing quest to make Castles & Crusades classes feel more right to me, here is my take on the Ranger. Inspired by the Ranger class found here, I feel that this is more interesting than the standard and makes player characters a little more unique.

    Prime Attribute: Strength
    Hit Points: d8 for human sized, d6 for smaller, d10 for larger.
    Bonus to hit:
    Saves: C&C standard; based on Prime attributes.

    Roll twice on the following table for special abilities. Many things listed are stackable, but if you roll something that isn't stackable more than once, just roll again for something different.

    1. Ability bonus: +1 Strength up to racial maximum. If that is maxed out, add it to Dexterity. If Dexterity is maxed, add it to Constitution. If Constitution is maxed out, roll again.
    2. Animal Companion: Completely loyal, slightly more intelligent than average animal of its type, and must be an animal type available in the area you are in when you get this ability. Stackable for additional animals. If an animal companion dies, it is not replaced, unless this is rolled again.
    3. You can duel wield like a morlock-y elf. Extra attack with off hand, split your to-hit bonus between each.
    4. Create medicine from plants and animal parts. You can create doses equal to 1+Intelligence Modifier per day with adequate ingredients. To get adequate ingredients, you must hunt for 1 day. Each dose will heal d6 hit points. This is NOT considered deific or clerical healing. Not stackable. These organic bandages do not last very long; good only for d2 days, twice that long in cold environments.
    5. Create poison from plants and animal parts. Essentially the same as #4 above, but deals d6 damage. Not stackable
    6. Bonus to notice: +1 to notice/search in ouotdoor wilderness areas. Stackable
    7. Add one to critical range: 19, 20. Stackable
    8. Bonus to saving throws: +1 to all saving throws
    9. Calm beasts: Can calm a hostile animal ala Crocodile Dundee, with gentle movements and noises. The animal must not have attacked in the last round, and must not have been attacked in the last round. A calmed animal will run away, rather than fight.
    10. Supreme hunter: Can hunt twice as fast and uses 1/2 the ammo
    11. Bonus against disease and paralysis: +1, stackable
    12. Bonus against poison/venom: +1, stackable
    13. Automatically succeed a single lore-type check per day, as long as it relates to wilderness type stuff. Like, if someone in the party is about to eat a berry, you'll know if it is edible and delicious, or poisonous and yucky.
    14. Ranged weapon specialization: +1 to hit on a called shot (including disarm), stackable.
    15. Bonus to Climb (STR), Track (INT), or Move Silently (DEX), your choice: +1, stackable.
    16. Camouflage: In the wilderness, you know how to affix plant matter and use paint and mud and other stuff to conceal yourself. If you aren't moving, you are effectively invisible, even in daylight. Anyone looking has a -5 penalty to Notice, unless you move faster than 1/2 your normal speed (daytime) or normal speed (night).
    17. Bonus to hit: +1, pick either ranged or melee, stackable.
    18. You can devour the organs of animals you've killed and gain their power! Basically, eat an organ, get an ability mod. Brain = INT or WIS, Kidneys or Liver = CON, Heart = STR, Tongue = CHA. Other organs can be devoured for other effects, if reasonable and cleared with the GM (Which is me, in this case). Bonus is equal to half the animal's hit die, rounding down. Bonus is dependent on animal's Prime saves (Physical or Mental). Effects last 8 hours.
    19. Pretty good at whittling: In a single day, you can make one of the following; a sling, atlatl, short spear, short bow, or 2d8 arrows. In two days, you can make a long bow, long spear, or 4d8 arrows.
    20. Pick an animal, monster, or humanoid you've faced in the past. You get a +1 to hit and damage against that species. This is stackable, OR you can pick an additional species to have a bonus against. 

    Friday, August 12, 2016

    The Fighter: a little bit extra

    This is my take on the Fighter, made specifically for C&C, and even more specifically for my home game.

    It is inspired by this fighter, and because the standard C&C Fighter is so fucking boring that it hurts.

    Bonus to hit remains the same: +1 every level.
    Experience points remains the same.
    Saving Throws are the same: in other words, they are based on ability checks. I list saves separately, though, because I think it is easier to keep track of and everyone is used to seeing saves listed.
    Starting money: this will be on a future table because buying equipment takes forever and random tables are fun.

    Roll a d20 twice every level, including first, and consult the table. If a result is rolled that isn't stackable, roll again.

    1. Reroll a to-hit roll and take the higher roll: 1x per game session, stackable
    2. Bonus to all saving throws: +1, stackable
    3. Once per battle the fighter can inspire an ally to receive a single, non-attack action.
    4. Extra attack against foes with 0 or 1 hit die
    5. Recognize weapon quality; approximate retail value and at least one fact about the weapon's history and/or powers, if any.
    6. Disarm +1, stackable. Need to roll above an 18 to disarm, must be called before roll to hit.
    7. Bonus of +1 (stackable) to hit from the following list
      1. From horseback
      2. with a melee weapon
      3. unarmed
      4. with a ranged weapon
    8. Bonus to damage (choose melee or ranged): +1
    9. Additional attack per round, to-hit bonus is divided between them.
    10. Intimidate: +1 stackable, this is an opposed check of Charisma +d20 vs wisdom +d20
    11. Loyal henchman or animal, stackable
    12. Strength bonus: +1 to one above racial max. If Strength is full, it goes to Constitution. If Constitution is full it goes to Dexterity up to racial maximum.
    13. Double damage instead of full damage on a critical hit. Yes, this is stackable.
    14. Critical range increased to 19, 20. Then 18, 19, 20. and so on.
    15. Decapitate enemy with a natural 20, if its HD is less than your level.
    16. Spell use: know one random spell, useable one time only, from spell levels 1-8 at a 15th level proficiency. May only know one spell at a time.
    17. Attack multiple enemies: your number of attacks equals 1/2 the number of enemies surrounding you in melee (rounding up). Each attack must be used on a separate enemy.
    18. Through practice, you've gotten a +1 bonus to hit while fighting blind. This is stackable.
    19. Get a bonus of +1 to any single Thief skill. Non-Thieves have to roll an 18 for a skill, regardless of Prime attribute, and level/HD does not apply.
    20. You hit the hardest. Knock opponent prone on a critical hit. Opposed roll of Strength +d20 vs Strength +d20. Works against same size or smaller. Larger opponents get a bonus of +5 per size level difference.

    That's about it for fighters.

    Sunday, August 7, 2016

    The Yon

    The Yon, also known as Yonfolk and Yonsola, are a hardy species of humanoid descended from primates. Their culture is considered brutish by human standards, although they are only slightly less innovative technologically than their human counterparts.

    Yon culture grew from epic and terrible wars with the hobgoblin tribes they share their continent with. They met barbarism with barbarism, although Yonfolk grew culturally to include aspects of honor and duty to the greater good.

    Just before being banished from this plane of existence, the hobgoblin gods cursed the Yon to never know the touch of gods of their own. To this day, Yon worship gods who never answer their calls; many have become godless, although many more continue to fight and earn glory in the hope that their gods will someday return and uplift their species.

    All Yonsola are trained to battle, with civilians being considered trained reserves who were cut from the front line forces. Yonfolk can be found all throughout Strathos, but concentrated mainly in the castle towns and fortress cities amid their nations in the temperate rainforests and mountains of the Northwest. 

    Physically, Yonfolk are larger than humans, standing 7 to 10 feet tall. They can use human-sized two-handed weapons single-handed, and giant-sized weapons two-handed with no penalty. They have more body hair than humans, but it isn't very thick, and they must wear clothing to protect themselves from the elements just as humans do. Skin color ranges from light grey to near black, and hair colors tend to be shades of brown to black, with reds and even beige seen occasionally.

    Yon are vegetarians, and get sick if forced to eat meat. They prefer leafy greens and fruits and berries of all types.

    The Yon of Strathos have come to an agreement with the Fungoids they share the forests with; giving the fungoids waste material in exchange for free reign of the forests. As such, Yon and Fungoids are allies against any military incursions into their mutual lands.

    Yonsola player characters have the following ability adjustments;
    • Strength +2, Charisma -1, Dexterity -1 (Their species maximum for these abilities are 20, 17, and 17, respectively).
    • Being a size level up from a human, Yon receive hit points as per their Class, but of one die type higher. If it is over d12, then add an additional d4 when calculating Hit Points.  So a Rogue would have d8 instead of d6, and a Barbarian would have d12+d4, instead of a d12. This rule comes from the Crusader's Companion by Peter J. Shroeder.
    • Being blocked from the light of the gods, they are not healed by deific based magics; automatically save against cleric magic with a +10, even that which is beneficial and desired, including healing touch. 
    • Because of their inability to be magically healed, Yon prefer to wear the heaviest and most protective armor available. Yon healers are well known throughout the continent for making some of the best herbal remedies and poultices.
    • Yon from Strathos receive a  +1 to damage against hobgoblins due to their ancient feud.
    • The most common classes for Yonfolk are Fighter, Barbarian, and Ranger. While theft is just as common as in other species' nations, there are very few professional Yon thieves. Mainly because they just aren't good at it.The Cleric and Druid classes are unavailable. Yon generally do not practice magic themselves, finding it distastefully lacking in hand to hand combat, but will hire wizards as advisers and for special missions. 
    • When not part of an organized war band, Yon love to adventure; slaying monsters and finding treasure are considered glorious pursuits with the greatest stories being recorded in books and retold in song.

    image by MichoBD

    Monday, August 1, 2016

    Thoughts on Level Drain

    As a player, I've never had a run in with level drain. I didn't play any incarnation of DnD enough to come across it, and the games I traditionally ran didn't have level drain. So, it's actually relatively new to me.

    I've known of level drain for a very long time, though. From an outside perspective, I felt that while it was suitably scary and a nifty alternative to the typical "get hit, lose hit points," dynamic, it also seems like a nightmare of book keeping. Are players (or worse, the GM) supposed to keep track of how many hit points they received every time they leveled up? And in more modern games, you must keep track of new abilities, spells, improved ability scores, and what happens to say, a familiar you got if you get level drained to a level before you were able to get a familiar?

    Just a lot of bullshit that doesn't seem very fun to me.

    I've run only one adventure where a monster had level drain, and I changed it to a super-paralysis thing because I simply didn't want to deal with it. Looking back, I regret doing that, but you live and you learn.

    So, in the future if level drain comes up, I think I will do something along the following lines;

    • The player loses however many levels they are supposed to.
    • Hit Points are either re-rolled with the new hit die amount, OR the number of hit die lost are rolled and that number is subtracted from the character's hit point total. 
    • The character retains any special abilities, spells, whatever.
    • New abilities, hit points, spells, what have you are not gained until the character gets back to their pre-level drained level. 
    As an example, Pat the 7th level Fighter gets hit by some creepy crawly and gets drained for 3 levels. Pat can either re-roll 4 HD to determine their new hit point total, or roll 3 HD and subtract the sum from their current hit point total. Pat will not get any more hit points or cool abilities until they gain enough experience to get to 8th level.

    For spell casters, they will know their higher level spells, but won't be able to cast them until they return to their previous levels of power.