Using My Monsters

Friday, 29 August 2014

Hitting harder by Rolling Higher

Updated 10/9/2014: Player Bonuses with Exceptional Hits: Many monsters get to hit harder, the larger the margin by which they hit, and it only seems fair that players get to enjoy this kind of benefit too. So, to this end, here are some suggestions for effects that could occur when a character hits by a certain amount over what is needed.
Each category is cumulative. The player decides which benefit to apply, and can only choose one (A-I assuming they hit hard enough to have the option open to them). The effects are cumulative with a bigger hit. So if you pick benefit A) when you hit by 7+, you can inflict +2W (or +2d10) damage.
Hit by 5+
A) You inflict +1W or +1d10 damage with the attack
B) You push the target 1 square
C) You can shift 1 square
D) You gain 5 Temporary Hit Points
E) Target grants combat advantage until the start of its next turn
I) If the target possesses Fortification, this is reduced by your level percent until the end of the encounter.

Hit by 7+
A) You inflict an additional +1W or +1d10 damage with the attack
B) You push the target 1d4 squares and they must make a Dexterity (+Acrobatics) check equal to 10 + ½ you level + the attack's ability modifier or fall prone
C) You can shift up to half your speed (instead of shifting 1 square)
D) You gain 10 Temporary Hit Points
E) Target is dazed until the end of your next turn
F) You save against one effect a save can end
G) If you attack inflicts a condition a save can end, the save becomes a Hard Save
I) If the target possesses Fortification, this is reduced by twice your level percent until the end of the encounter.

Hit by 9+:

A) Target also suffers Ongoing Damage equal to your level (save ends)
B) +5 to the D.C. To prevent falling prone. If knocked prone, target is also dazed (save ends)
C) You also gain a +2 dodge bonus to your defences until the start of your next turn
D) You either gain 20 temporary hit points, or may spend a Healing Surge
E) Target is stunned until the end of your next turn
F) You save against one effect a save can end. Either decrease the difficulty of the save by one category or roll the save with advantage
G) On a failed save, the target suffers damage (the same as the triggering attack) equal to the powers level.
H) Make a basic attack as a free action. You can make a number of additional attacks this way in any round equal to the escalation die.
I) If the target possesses Fortification, this is reduced by three times your level percent until the end of the encounter.

Hit by 12+:
A) Hard Save Ends
B) +5 to the D.C. After Effect: The target is dazed (save ends)
C) You can shift up to your speed, and the dodge bonus increases to +5. If the escalation die is 6, enemies have disadvantage when attacking you until the end of your next turn.
D) You either gain 40 temporary hit points, or may spend 1 healing surge to heal your bloodied value hit points. If the escalation die is 6, you may also save against all effects a save can end.
E) After Effect: Target is dazed (save ends)
F) Save against all effects a save can end. All saves have their difficulty category reduced by 1
H) Gain a bonus to the additional attack(s) equal to the escalation die.
I) If the target possesses Fortification, this is reduced by four times your level percent until

NOTE (10/9/2014): Updated the “hit by” values to take into account the escalation die's impact on things following play testing.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Glyph of Warding - Level 12 Ritual

You inscribe mystical sigils onto the floor, whispering the words that will bind deadly energy to them, ready to strike at those that come uninvited.

Level: 12                                              Component Cost: 2,500 gps
Category: Warding                              Market Price: 8,500 gps
Time: 10 Minutes                                 Key Skill: Arcana or Religion
Duration: Permanent until triggered

You create an invisible glyph that wards a single 5' square. You can cast it on any solid surface, and at the time of casting can designate up to five individuals, or one condition that allows safe passage (for example, the presentation of a particular symbol, gesture or password). You are automatically immune to triggering the glyph. As you cast the glyph, choose one of the following energy types; Acid, Cold, Fire, Lighting, Necrotic, Thunder, Radiant. This is the damage type the glyph inflicts when triggered.

The glyph remains in place until it is crossed by an unauthorised individual, or until someone fails by 5+ to disable it. When triggered, the glyph makes the following attack in a close burst 2; Your Level +5 vs Reflex; Hit: 8d4 [Energy Type] damage (10d4 damage at level 17, 12d4 at level 22, and 14d4 at level 27); Miss: Half damage. Hit 4+: Target also suffers Ongoing damage equal to half the damage inflicted by the initial attack (save ends); Hit: 6+: hard save ends

When you cast this ritual, make either an Arcana or Religion check. This sets the D.C. Of the Disable roll needed to safely remove the glyph. This result +5 is the D.C. Needed to detect the glyph with either Arcana, Thievery or Religion.


Saturday, 23 August 2014

Badass Flumph (Level 25 Elite Controller)

"Adventurers often smirk and joke about the so called 'Flumphs', regarding them as nothing but tavern talk or a joke for greenhorns to fear on their first quests. Alas, I know now that they are not only real, but that some grow old and powerful. We had been exploring the shifting corridors and endless chambers of one of Armun's sentient levels, when suddenly we found ourselves face to face with one of the strangest things I have ever (in a career severely packed with strange things) seen. It was a Flumph. However, it had somehow implanted shaped and articulated plates of Adamantium into its soft body, crafted glasteel lenses for its eyes, and mastered new and deadly powers. 
"Of course, it was also insane, having been trapped in its room for countless years, forced to battle endless waves of lost souls, and we too soon found ourselves fighting against it. I feel that ultimately we did the poor thing a favor, for we put pay to its endless torments and finally gave it some rest. However, it left poor Vlad insane and babbling, and poisoned Claus and Briefholdt so severely that both perished. 
"I never smile or chuckle when folks mock Flumphs, and would advise you to do the same. Too many times, legends and jokes turn out to have a deadly side in this messed up realm."

- Avandreis Hetteth, Adventuring Mage.


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Flumph (Level 2 Controller)

The Flumph is a monster that has been at the centre of more than a little discussion over the years, with people either loving them, or hating them. Personally, I always thought they were cool, although I can't remember ever using them (Actually, I may have used them once in 2nd Ed....though I'm not sure). Anyway, This Tweet has got quite a few people excited, so I thought I would pool the AD&D, Pathfinder and newest versions together, to create a 4e Flumph worth using. Enjoy!



 meep! Wuv meeeee!




Saturday, 16 August 2014

Unsleeping Custodian (Level 22 Soldier)

Who doesn't love a gigantic mummy that can rot the flesh from your bones, curse you with ancient and terrible magics and smash you to gristle and juice? Your players, that's who!

Make sure you read the bit above about using my monsters!
The Nauseated and Sickened Conditions can be found in the House Rules (also above)
Disadvantage is the 5th Edition Mechanic.


peek a boo!

Well Done Roll20!!!

Roll20 won Gold for best software at the ENies, and as a regular and devoted user, I could not be happier for them. Well done you lot!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Exciting Times

It's funny, despite not intending to run the newest version of D&D (not unless my players suddenly demand to play it), I am looking forwards to getting my hands on the new books. Partly, this is because I am a huge D&D nerd, and have been since '87. Mostly however, it's because I am looking forwards to seeing what bits and bobs we can steal to use in our 4e games.

However, I am even more excited by the imminent arrival of the .pdf version of two Pathfinder books - the Advanced Class Guide and the Technology Guide. This is partly because I suspect, in a year to a year and a half, we will be seeing Ormid and the gang retiring to their places in history (although at present they are knee deep in vampires and other undead horrors, as they begin to realise that unifying the thieves guilds of the North is not going to be as straight forwards as they initially hoped), and I have put it to them that we might think of using Pathfinder for the next game (although I again suspect, and am 1000% happy with the fact, that we will almost certainly stick with our house ruled version of 4e). However, I am also looking forwards to seeing what new items, abilities and tricks these books bring to the game - again, with a view to pinching them for my 4e campaigns.

The truth of the matter is, I am a bit of an omnivore. I have rule books for many, many systems (especially bestiaries) and I actually make constant use of all them, taking ideas and converting them to 4e (which is very, very easy). My players are used now to facing Pathfnider monsters, things from video games, and horrors from a host of strange and unusual settings...as well as my own fevered brains.

Of all the changes in how we play though, the introduction of several ideas from 13th Age and believe it or not, the introduction of items more in line with those from 3.0/3.5/Pathfinder have been the biggest...and they have made the game more fun, no less balanced, and kept it infinitely interesting.

I guess the point of this post is to say that edition wars are fundamentally dumb things. Even if you don't like a system or intend to play it, there are likely some good ideas (or monsters, or items) that could enrich your chosen game.

To finish, here are the scratch notes for a Pathfinder to 4e conversion I did for one of the games I run. Nothing fancy, but potentially very cool for whoever uses it;

+4 Brilliant Energy Longsword (Level 20 Uncommon; Property: Inflicts radiant damage instead of slashing, and wielder may chose to target Reflex instead of AC with melee attacks made using it. Sheds light as a torch (cannot be ended. Must be placed in scabbard to hide); Power (Daily; Standard Action * Radiant) Close burst 3; Targets all creatures in burst; Blind creatures are immune; Attack: Wielders level +3 vs Reflex; Hit: Target is blinded until the end of the wielder's next turn; Hit 3+: Target is blinded (save ends); Hit 6+: Target is blinded (Hard save ends). 

HERE is the Pathfinder version. 

What are your thoughts?  

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Shnecke's Wolves - The Second Meeting, Bargains, Personal Projects, Feyr Factor

(03/09/1472) 05:00 – 10:30; The streets of Scarathane are all but deserted as the group wearily make their way back to the SC, the Splinter contained within a runestruck box of cold iron and silver (a gift from Niba – adding to the cost of her favour, when it comes). It seems that even the hardy denizens of this foul place have learned to fear the unseen horrors that bring madness each night, and have taken to hiding away where they think – wrongly of course – they cannot be hurt by them.

On returning to the ship, they only have time for a couple of hours sleep, to review the current situation, and for them to check on what has been going on. Then they must leave and head out to meet with the Feccia.

10:30 – 12:00: Iskarius is late, and the group begin to wonder if they have been scammed. Patience has worn thin by the time he and his faithful automaton arrive, the heavy tromp of “Mr Butcher's” footfalls shaking the small chandelier that hangs above the meeting table. He is accompanied by another man none of the party know. Like Iskarius, he is a swarthy, olive skinned man, clearly of Vaedecci descent. He has a neatly trimmed beard, short curly hair, and wears mustard coloured robes of fine cloth, stitched with silver runes and sigils. A quiet aura of power emanates from him, though nothing compared to that of Niba, or, to be honest, the adventurer's themselves, and all immediately know he is some kind of mage or artificer.

Iskarius, apparently either ignorant to the group's withering glares or unconcerned, claps his hands together, before rubbing them and saying.

“My friends! It seems you are still alive, and have something with you.”

He grins over to the other man, who smiles back, and with a spike of anger, Grigori realises that neither truly believe the group have done what they asked.

“This is Colvotoné Giotto, one of our mages. He is here to confirm the validity of the item you have brought here.”

He grins again, apparently enjoying the group's mounting anger.

Here's your cursed blade!” Snarls Grigori, sliding the heavy box towards the men.

Iskarius looks down at the box, and then gestures towards it, looking at Colvotoné. The mage moves to open it, but then smiles, winks at the party, and spends a few moments with his eyes closed, holding his hand above the surface. All (save the Unlyrr) feel the quiet pressure in the air as he concentrates on the box, clearly trying to sense whether or not there are any nasty surprises waiting for him. After several moments, his eyes open, and, apparently happy it is safe to do so, he opens the lid.

At once the air seems to grow thick with a subtle, dreadful energy, and everyone feels their bowels clenching and their nerves fraying as they recognise the hate of the essence within the flint dagger. Both Vaedecci feel it too, and the group take more than a little pleasure from watching them grow pale beneath their complexions. Looking suddenly unsure, the mage looks towards Iskarius, who, angrily it seems, nods towards the blade sharply. The mage looks at the party, no longer smiling, and repeats his examination. This time however it lasts mere seconds before he yelps, dragging his hand back as if burnt. Muttering rapidly in his native tongue, he swings the lid shut, stepping back as if the dagger is going to throw the box open and leap at him.

He speaks to Iskardius in Vaedecci, and the Feccia representative, looking quite peaky, looks at the party with a sudden degree of respect. The mage continues to babble, his fear apparently turning into anger, and Iskarius holds a placating hand up to him, nodding and waving for him to be quiet. However Colvotoné only shuts up when Mr Butcher, sensing his master's discomfort, suddenly emits a menacing growl and moves towards him, empty eyes flashing with power.

So,” mutters Iskarius then, his voice sounding sick, “it seems we entirely underestimated all of you. Honestly, we expected you to bring in a fake, or, if insane enough to actually try and do as we asked, for there to be some kind of furore as you inevitably messed things up and drew the Cani Mortali fire.

To say we are impressed at the successful completion of your, to be frank, purposely impossible mission, is...an understatement”.

you mean you were expecting us to die?” Asks Thatari angrily.

Varracuda slams his fist into the table, his shredded nerves demanding he make this fool pay for his stupidity. However, Iskarius holds up a warding hand.

Please, please. You must understand. Many adventurer's come to us with similar offers to yours, and they, like you, have things we would enjoy taking ownership of. In your case it was your ships. We send them on dangerous missions, in the hopes that they die and we can take their stuff, and if In the process they help our cause, well, so much the better.” He laughs, “It is, well, unheard of for a troupe to succeed, but...”

He gestures at the box.

What can I say, you have all impressed!”

He spends a moment apparently thinking, then.

Please, if you could wait here, I would like to bring one of the Captains to meet you. Indeed, it will be Giovanni himself. Can you wait? I will also need to take the Scheggia with me, to prove I am not insane.”

The swordmage moves as if to try and snatch back the box, but is stopped by a look from the priest (although both Shnecke and Thatari seem to be sharing Varracuda's thoughts). Iskarius sees this and pauses, gingerly grabbing the box when it is clear they are not going to do anything hasty.

12:00 – 13:40: Wine is brought to the room, but no one touches it, fearing that the Feccia might be trying to poison them. After an hour, they hear voices outside the room, and the door opens once more. Two soldiers, dressed in heavy plate armour, and bearing the standard of the Feccia stride in, taking up positions at either side of the table (the group move uneasily to their feet, ready to defend themselves if this proves to be an attack). Then, a third man – impossibly good looking and well groomed, his hair hidden beneath a modest powdered wig, his eyes bright and alert, his clothes of the finest make and quality – strides into the room, his eye sparkling with happiness and eagerness. Everyone notes the practised, athletic bounce in his steps, and the smooth flow of his movements. They also note the ornate sabre at his belt, and the rune-wrought pistol he carries on his hip.
He beams at the party, and with a bow introduces himself as Giovanne de Feccia, a noble Captain of that house. Noticing the wine, he pours himself a glass, and takes a huge mouthful, before sitting down and finishing the drink.

A please. Sit. Sit. We need to talk my friends!”

He pours himself more wine, asking the group if they will join him, and then makes the party an offer – membership, for a year and a day, with the Feccia. The terms are simple; the group will undertake high risk and difficult missions for the house, in return for status in the city, discounts with all merchants in the port, and free berth for their vessels. After the contracted period, both parties will meet to discuss whether or not the contract continues. Expecting only some free days in the port, the group are slightly flabbergasted by this offer, and ask to be allowed some time to discuss. Giovanni waves at them in a “go talk” manner, and sits back, savouring the wine, all the time watched over by his silent, armoured guardians.

After some deliberation and argument, the group agree to the pirate Lord's contract, and sign it. Giovanni is delighted, and thanks them for their wisdom.

We shall be in touch very soon with your first mission.” He beams, rising to his feet, and heading towards the door. “Please make sure you are available for when we call, as I feel you will be sent on some very important missions for the Feccia indeed.”

13:50 – 19:00: With the meeting over, the group return to their vessel, and are quite shocked to discover that it is already late afternoon. The assassin, swordmage and barbarian all get some rest, taking advantage of a rare chance to do nothing. Grigori heads into the city in search of an item of which he has read, that he feels would be most useful to the group, a Foe Stone. It takes him some time, but he is fortunate enough to locate a vendor who has one – though he ends up paying a significant amount for it.

Thatari, his mind once more plagued by sinister voices and pressures coming from beneath the monstrous bulk of the volcano, heads back to the docks, to the place where he purchased Hannah. Before doing this, he meets briefly with the Nadruul child, and discovers that she had been captured with five siblings – three brothers and two sisters. It is only then that he realises that she speaks of the other children in her circle; the group in which she was raised, and not necessarily blood relatives. He promises her that he will bring them back, but Hannah does not look hopeful. Then Caleph protectively moves in, and takes her away.

Downat the docks, Thatari discovers that most of the slavers that trade here have no stock left, the unnatural ice trapping them in the port stopping them from gaining additional cargo. However, the man from whom he purchased Hannah – one Captain Jager Halstruth; Captain of the “Freedom's Despair” - seems to still have a huge supply, and numerous folks clamour to buy his latest acquisitions. Thatari notices that the slaver is watched over by three repellent guardians, their stench and loathsome forms enough to keep everyone in order. They are zombies of some kind; the bloated and animated corpses of gigorim. Each is alive with maggots and flies and misshapen with blood filled blisters. Their eyes bulge like egg yolks lolling in the puffy recesses of their eye sockets, and the air around them thrums with the frenzied activity of a million carrion flies seeking a place to rest and feed. A particularly massive one squats, rivers of mucus and filth pouring from its slimy skin, its rot inflated intestines poking through a soft rip in its swollen belly, on the ship's deck, carrion birds feeding on its dead flesh as it glares emptily at him, and the warlock wonders who could have created such a potent monster.

Thatari has to wait quite some time to speak with the slaver, as he is busily haggling with many merchants and servants from the city. However, his patience bears fruit, and he eventually learns that the others like Hannah were purchased by a Zargorim named Zaad, apparently the primary procurer of slaves for the denizens of the Zargorim citadel. When asked what he uses them for, the pirate laughs.

T'aint any of my business what them giants use 'em for. As long as they pay me, they can do what they want with 'em.”

Thatari decides to let the slaver believe that he has found Hannah to be a particular steal, and advises him that he would appreciate being contacted if any more slaves of similar stock come into his possession (he intends to obtain all captured Nadruul with the aim of setting them free, and so is a little perturbed when Jager tells him he will order his servants to seek out more “palies” for him).

Thatari returns to the SC then, pleased with his work, and eager to seek out this slave master Zaad.

Whilst this has been going on, Shnecke has been working to affix the hammer head he recovered from the pirate treasure hoard to a handle, managing with surprising skill to do just that. Completed, the head suddenly flashes with power, the dundiir runes upon it glowing with deadly portent. However, it also becomes suddenly incredibly heavy and unevenly balanced, and with a roar of frustration, the barbarian realises that he currently lacks the manual dexterity to perfectly wield this ancient “Doom Singer”; a weapon crafted to slay the sons of the Adar, the Gigorim.

19:00 – 19:45: That evening, the group meet to discuss what to do next, and it is agreed that they will journey to ask Niba if she knows of any items that may allow Schnecke to wield the Doom Singer, and then, with the giant slaying hammer in hand, seek entry into the fiery citadel of the Zargorim with the aim of finding and rescuing the slaves.

The group leave the ship, and enter the strangely empty streets of the city. Once again, few have ventured out, although the distant screams and yells that filter over the constant rumbling of the volcano demonstrate that their homes may not be as safe as they imagine them to be. Headed towards the eastern side of the island, and the wall that leads to the badlands where the archmage's tower stands, the group pass through a region of crowded, ash choked alleys, the air bitter with sulphur and gritty particles. Alert for danger, the group suddenly feel their spirits sinking; an alien sense of hopelessness and distress rising within them. Suppressing panic, they all realise that something unnatural is stalking them – something that suddenly, and with terrifying violence, manifests amongst them, biting out with multiple sets of underslung jaws.

A brief skirmish with the Feyr ensues, with the group spending a lot of time trying to work out where it is (for it becomes invisible for much of the battle, only appearing to savage a party member, or to unleash some kind of psionic attack). However, using area and burst attacks, the group negate any advantage it might have had against them, and they are able to drive it off relatively unharmed (although both Shnecke and Grigori spend a lot of the battle struggling to act, the monster controlling their emotions, making them feel utterly unconcerned and bored with their situation).

With the strange monster driven off, the group continue on their way...