Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Witch Traits

  1. You can speak fluently to one animal, one specific animal, not mice but Geoff the Mouse.
  2. You can duplicate the effect of any piece of normal adventuring gear costing less than 50g a number of times per day equal to your Constitution bonus, minimum 1.
  3. Your Passive Perception gets a +1 bonus for every shadow you cast.
  4. You may cast a spell without any components by bleeding from your eyes 2HP per spell level.
  5. Your hair burns but is not consumed.
  6. Your eyes are mirrored, any line-of-sight based effect you save against is reflected against the caster.
  7. A ghost begins to follow you around. All witches can see him without casting a spell, otherwise no one else can.
  8. You can see the Unseen Flesh.
  9. You smell children.
  10. You can target a living creature with a language. That creature is incapable of saying one word of your choice ever again. You've killed it. They will still think they are saying that word, won't believe anyone saying otherwise, but they will be incapable of saying it unless a Remove Curse is cast by a character higher level than you. The word must be non-magical in nature. There is no save and you can use this once per living creature with a language.
  11. You will always "detect" as the most evil thing around, and anyone around you will always "detect" as super good by comparison, no matter your actual alignments...this is about as much as I'll use alignment.
  12. You can use an Action on your turn to cause either 18 flies or 66 maggots to appear. You do not control them, they're just there. You can use this once a day unless doing it again would fucking terrify someone.
  13. You do 1d6 damage with your bite.
  14. You cannot walk over running water. However, you can walk on still water.
  15. You may turn into a fox. If you do, you must wait until a new dawn before being allowed to turn back into yourself. As a fox you may only do fox things. If you sleep as a fox you stay a fox forever. If you die as a fox you just die as a fox.
  16. If you erect a spirit fetish somewhere you will always know the direction it lies, and how far. You may have up to 3 such creations at a time.
  17. You cannot die from being hanged, strangled, choking on food, or being purposefully suffocated. However, you also suffer drowning effects immediately when underwater.
  18. Anything molesting you in your sleep must make a saving throw or take your place in your dream.
  19. You can conjure and conduct a symphony of up to 6 different phantom smells at once.
  20. Your eyes are blind, you see through your fingernails.
  21. Any animals you own will behave like little people.
  22. You can turn any creature without a language possessing fewer HD than you into a small wooden doll that fits on a charm bracelet. You may use this ability once per day. If you attempt to have more charms than your current level (e.g. you are level 7 and you make an 8th charm) one of your other charms will randomly return to full size and scatter all your other charms.
  23. You can use blood to draw a picture of someone you know, allowing you to communicate with them as through telepathy. This lasts for 1 minute for every HD possessed by the creature whose blood you're using. You may sustain a number of drawings equal to your Charisma.
  24. You may "hatch" any vegetable or fruit into a double-yolk egg of appropriate size.
  25. You gain Turn Undead when you sing; all affected undead do not run away or explode, they just begin sexy-Wicker-Man-dancing for as long as you sing.
  26. You can brew a potion once per day to perfectly sate the food and drink needs for your whole party. It will spoil by the following dawn.
  27. You can brew a potion once per night to completely ward a 30' radius to devils, demons, asuras, spirits, and gods. It will spoil by the following sunset.
  28. You can brew a potion once per day to sustain life far beyond the point of death. Any being sustained in this way will die the following midnight, and any unused potion will also spoil. Your potion only affects things with fewer HP than you.
  29. You can brew a potion once per night to make the imbiber completely immaterial, unable to be affected by even phantoms, untouchable by anything save the Unseen Flesh. Unused potion will spoil by the following midday, when any effects on an imbiber will also fade.
  30. You can brew a potion once per day to either turn a creature drinking it to a frog or to turn a frog into a human. The potion requires the slime created as a a side effect during this transformation to brew, so you may never have more than one such potion created.
  31. Wolves will never hurt you, or allow you to be hurt.
  32. Reach for any fruit, branch, or vine and a tree must make a saving throw or else bend over to accommodate you.
  33. As an Action you can cover a nonliving surface with moss.
  34. Choose a number of your possessions equal to your Intelligence bonus. These things will always orbit you and never encumber you.
  35. Your familiar gets an additional random trait.
  36. Your familiar completely transforms, gaining a new physical form and series of traits.
  37. Your old familiar leaves you and a new familiar, master to the previous, deigns to serve you.
  38. A thick fog settles on you/your tent/your camp/your home each night when you sleep, chilly and thick as soil.
  39. You may use a lit torch as an arcane focus and gain proficiency with a torch as a light off-hand weapon, 2 damage +1d4 fire damage.
  40. Sunlight burns your flesh (1HP damage/second) but you heal sun damage quickly in shadow or darkness (1HP/minute). When you burn any living creature you touch burns as well.
  41. Your touch desecrates holy symbols or holy water. Unholy water heals witches and undead 1d4 and unholy symbols brandished against these same permit witches to make a free attempt to Frighten the wielder as a reaction.
  42. You always hear the undead approaching, and each kind of undead makes its own unique sound.
  43. You have a 1/20 chance of finding a fiendish beguiler at any crossroads with whom to parley.
  44. When encountering any forked path you can state your destination or, more vaguely, a desired goal, then throw a stick high in the air. When it lands it will point to the path that's best for you.
  45. Every minute you spend hiding in the shadows, you are considered to be +1 Stealth and +1 Passive Perception.
  46. You know 6 extra languages, but 1d6 of these are languages no one has ever heard of.
  47. You are considered to always have ink.
  48. You are considered to always have sand.
  49. You are considered to always have rope.
  50. If you save the life of a creature without a language you can call it to you over any distance ONCE. It will serve you if it can and then leave forever.
  51. Your blood does acid damage to elementals, demons, angels, and other planar entities.
  52. You have bargained with a dark being for three lives, to save or end. You can invoke these to instantly save or kill a creature without any character levels. Once the third life has been claimed you must defeat this fell shadow in a battle of wits or yourself be dragged to a fearsome hell.
  53. You can remotely influence goats.
  54. You can pull from any natural creature or substance a dagger of glass. You may use this feature a number of times equal to the number of blood offerings you have paid the old gods.
  55. You are invisible to invisible creatures.
  56. You can cast your spells on the notes of music or on the songs of insects or birds. You cannot create the sounds you use to cast your spells, but you can augment such musics without other components; these effects are noticed by creatures with a higher Passive Arcana than your spellcasting DC.
  57. You have the power to summon a Bode 1d4 times. The Bode is not under your control or direction, though you can appeal to him if you want. After this Bode has appeared 1d4 times, it will ignore you from then on....unless you get him a girlfriend.
  58. Your touch is telepathic, and allows you to even communicate empathically with creatures without a language.
  59. Your touch is like 90s Superboy and you can substitute your Charisma bonus for everything you use your Strength bonus for, except for saving throws.
  60. If you stay awake all night you may not cast any spells the following day but your Familiar may cast a number of spells equal to your Charisma bonus.
  61. Your raiment has a wisdom of its own and grants +1 to your spellcasting DC until you take damage. Then you are instead -1 to your spellcasting DC until you repair or replace it.
  62. You can put the memory of a sin into a person who breathes your breath.
  63. Every time you roll this you can bring one skeleton to life. They act like they were in life and know the same stuff but they are a skeleton. They may or may not be kindly disposed to you and they suffer damage like a normal skeleton. Once destroyed they can never come back.
  64. You always know what the weather is going to be, and have a spidey-sense for incoming meteorological phenomena.
  65.  Anyone who touches you remembers their own worst nightmare.
  66. Giant creatures see you as a giant creature yourself.
  67. Your sweat has the power to make a plant or animal infertile. You then become super-fertile until you pass this super-fertility to another creature.
  68. You can talk to Death once per day, though it may not give you any form of aid or guidance.
  69. Sunlight makes you gorgeous, shade makes you terrifying; the bonnier the day the more comely, the darker the dim the more dire.
  70. You are considered to always have sweeties to give to little boys and girls.
  71. You can use a feather as a one-handed axe.
  72. You can always detect the oldest living thing in a 100 mile radius.
  73. You can walk through cobwebs like Dracula.
  74. You have the carrying capacity of a Huge creature for nonmagical items.
  75. Instead of preparing any spells you may instead find or conjure that many doses of hardcore drugs.
  76. You control what your footsteps sound like.
  77. Your reflection and your shadow switch places.
  78. You have advantage when leaping and are always considered to have a running start.
  79. Any stew you make will be edible and sustain a person for a day. Any stew you make will taste straight nast and give the diner horrible stomach pain for a day.
  80. 10g of material lets you sew a horse, but they unravel after you ride them once.
  81. All damage types from your spells change to cold damage.
  82. You gain the cantrip Friends, but instead it makes people utterly bottomlessly sad.
  83. Any cart you ride in need not be drawn by ox or horse.
  84. You can create tattoos with your fingernails and 1 hr of time.
  85. Whenever you are lost you gain all the first level benefits of a ranger's favored terrain.
  86. Your familiar gains 1d6 sneak attack damage.
  87. You become grossly corpulent. Your AC is considered 20 unarmored. Every time you are hit this number reduces and you lose 10 lbs. Your skin rips open and straw spills out. You can gain this weight back by spending 100g, spinning gold into straw and then swallowing it.
  88. Choose one household item, like a bellows or a candlestick. This object is utterly deadly to you at a touch, no save. Choose one mundane flower. If killed by this mundane object, this flower will bring you back to life.
  89. Same as 88 except you also choose one other humanoid in the world these rules apply to. They immediately know these rules and they know you did it. Remove Curse can fix this but only if the caster is higher level than you.
  90. Any bridge you cross has a troll under it. If it didn't, it does now.
  91. Once per day in a community you can ply your skills as a midwife. Make a Performance check against a blind DC, on a success you are paid handsomely in either goods, secrets, or favors. On a failure the baby is lost and your familiar avoids you for a day, in addition to other potential repercussions.
  92. A number of times a day equal to your Constitution bonus (minimum 1) you can place a protection spell on a room, glade, small hut, or some other 30'-or-so radius. Nothing can enter the circle for 24 hrs apart from virgins. Anyone leaving the circle breaks the spell.
  93. You have a crudely carved mask which is indestructible and can be summoned or dismissed at will.
  94. You own the corpse of a dead animal. The corpse will remain forever intact but any other damage which befalls it, like smashing or squashing or burning or whatever, will be reflected in the beast's corpse. Think of it like an indestructible beanie baby but grosser. This thing will persist until you gain 3 more levels; then, and every 4th character level after that, you can elect to have your old corpse dissolve and gain a new type of corpse. This animal corpse must be light enough for you to lift it but never encumbers you.
  95. Your eyeballs can stretch for 15'.
  96. When crossing your legs with your hands on your knees you can float 3' off of solid ground as a mode of transportation. You can only travel at the slowest pace of any other party member. You may not wield a weapon, cast spells, or interact with objects other than those you own while in this state.
  97. There are two other witches in the world who always hear everything you say to them. They always know when you're talking to them. You also hear everything they say to you.
  98. You can keep an unlimited amount of bees on your person undetected. You have to find them and coax them into your clothes and stuff but if you can do it they will stay there and be happy and no one will know.
  99. You  instantly know other spellcasters on sight, and they know you.
  100. You can age or de-age yourself 60 years at will.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

American Ranger- Magic Free Variant For VDND

We're going to make a Ranger I feel like playing. This is an American Ranger.

First of all, let's get a new fighting style just for rangers.

Natural Weaponry

You do not have claws and shit. Instead you are considered proficient with improvised weapons but you cannot do damage with them. Instead you may create makeshift traps and weapons using the surrounding environment. A successful attack with these allows you to impose the Blinded, Deafened, Prone, or Restrained condition on the target of your attack for 1 round.
My rangers don't get spells. They can get them at level 3 as a class option, the same way they can get a wolf friend or extra murder power, and the same way fighters and thieves can get spells. You have to pick. I know Bobby S. didn't have to pick when he made Purple Rain: Fanciest Spider Boy but hey that's a book and also I don't care. Take a wizard level.

So without spellcasting or primeval awareness I want to make some additions to keep the ranger versatile without getting bogged down in a whole bunch of stuff. You still get to choose a path at level 3 and apart from spellcasting and primeval awareness everything else in a ranger is the same. You also get these:


At level 2 you get +1 to your Initiative, +1 to your AC, and +1 to your Stealth when stalking or fighting your Favored Enemy. These bonuses increase by +1 at levels 5, 9, 13, and 17, for a maximum of +5 at level 17.

Second Nature

At level 2 you get +1 to your Initiative, +1 to your Perception, and +1 to your Saves against natural phenomenon and Druid spells when in your Favored Terrain. These bonuses increase by +1 at levels 5, 9, 13, and 17, for a maximum of +5 at level 17.

The Back Of Your Hand

At level 3 you double your proficiency bonus when tracking your own allies, even without regard to bonuses from Favored Enemy or Natural Explorer. However, within your favored terrain you know the distance and direction of your allies for 500' x your ranger level

Follow My Lead

At level 9 you can use your reaction or a bonus action on your turn to allow an ally to make a save against the Charmed, Frightened, Stunned, Grappled, or Restrained condition. This can be explained as offering words of wisdom, throwing an ally a timely dagger to aid their escape, coaching them on the time to shift their weight, etc. They may do this multiple times in a round but may only do so a number of times equal to their Wisdom bonus. This ability refreshes after a short or long rest.

I've Been Around

At level 13 if you so choose whenever you make a Charisma roll to obtain information from an individual (or about an individual) you can force the subject of your check to make an Intelligence save. If they fail the save then they have heard of you, or heard something about you, and you get to decide what it is.

Greatly Exaggerated

At level 17 you gain an additional strike on your death saving throws before expiring. Also, you never suffer an automatic death saving throw failure from one of your favored enemies, unless you are unconscious. Also, you have advantage on death saving throws in your favored terrain.


Finally, my rangers get an option whenever they would receive an ability score enhancement. They may take this instead of an ability score increase, and in lieu of other feat options. They may take this feature multiple times, giving them a maximum of 5 potential uses by level 19.

Begin the Hunt

You are so invigorated by the beginning of a hunt, the preparation for a mission, that pain cannot catch you, the stone cannot cut you. You gain half your max HP in temporary hit points. While you still have temporary hit points you can elect to roll 1d10 after a successful hit, reducing your THP by that amount and dealing that amount in bonus damage.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

REVIEW: Your Dead, by Calvin Turtle

Dreamcast psychopomp and esoterica calculator Calvin Turtle was the world's champion single-legged roller-blader years 1991 and 2013, a popular lecturer on the Believe In A You That Achieved Without Dope kind of circuit for middle schools and hip youth groups across the fabled Canados. His deck chair stewardship during the Second Death of Adder Entertainment was something of a slight diversion from more positivity-focused message. Thrashers and backyard wrestlers alike, however, were more familiar with Calvin from his deck art and guerilla publishing efforts. He was one of the first people on TBN to formally denounce the Phelps cult and, always tech savvy, he was one of the first seventeen people on Twitter outside of the development team.

Always tech savvy, he is currently angling to be the first person to 3D print morphine. Calm down, it's for hospitals mostly. 90/10, tops.

The final three releases during the Second Death bear the tacky jammy thumbprints of Calvin Turtle. The penultimate release, Your Dead, is no bungle or mistranslation on the part of the low-bidding Philippines printer. These dead are yours, and you are responsible for them. You have to put your toys away.

Subtlety and Æ always went together like Rick Allen and clapping, after all, so a farewell to bygone adventures could only be slightly more on-the-nose. Nonetheless, this is a noteworthy enough release on the strength of the fact that Æ were not known for playing around with ghosts and undead that much, not when compared to some of their contemporaries. Particularly during the Great Awakening they had shied away from even the demons and should-be-deads in favor both of more sober, simulationist fare (like Goest-Thou Hawking) and of more banana pancake gonzo (like Robot Zoner). That meant that anything they did when dallying with the dead deserved naught but the direst and highest of dread fantasies. They turned to Calvin Turtle, ill equipped for the task and ill at ease with the subject. Calvin's editorial ethos bade him basically put everything into Your Dead that he was ever whipped for as a youth.

Oh, you pretty thing....

Quite apart from the Stair and its literal death spiral, the economy of Animus ticking away as you descend turning how you handle an almost literal railroad into something resembling a modern megadungeon's branching path of choices...

Quite apart from the honored tradition of the Binder and the call to include all your players' dead characters as woeful bygone spirits to torment them with their failures, having the metagame effect of driving a wedge between their allies at exactly the same time this is happening IN-game...

Quite apart from the Ridress and her ephemeral veil, the Zoetroopers and their flickering dance of smiles and spikes, the Choir and the Hourglass, Riddle and Chain, the Pit Pope and Its armor of savior flesh and heretical scriptures containing actual Cainite passages...

Wholly discounting the apocalyptically offensive Hoodoo Jim in accordance with the Rule of Vonnegut....

We have the sublime experience of revisiting the Æ dramatis personae in "6. Ballroom Falling." You'd have to play through the same adventure multiple times in order to meet everybody so let's talk about some of the big names here:

Phantecore. Soulange. Countess Farther Coming Now. The Slinking Prince. Omen Dog. You meet Nicod. Rabikian. The Hate God. You meet Good Old Mr. Hell. But I said big names: Ivanov is the miniboss of the encounter in that, if you do not face and defeat him (by ART-ing at him so hard that his only means of defense is MAKING A DUNGEON EXIST AROUND HIM so there is an exit through which you can escape!!!) you have lost; there is no penalty but your life will be counted measurably less than my life.

All of Æ is represented here, from their far out space nuts to their arty fart storybook heroes to their tragic heroes to even some Hosea characters for some fucking reason. You play chess with the souls of those you have personally slain all while they curse you. There are contests which can only be resolved by arguing around the table about who has the better tattoo. You yourself survive the fire. The fire.

It is a goddamn mess but it is beautiful in that way, like the last episode of your favorite show which, hey, it's shitty on its own, but look there's that guy and they finally said what that thing was and man aren't you going to miss these guys? Emotional manipulation was never Æ's strong suit and it wasn't exactly Turtle's but...man, this thing is like a Christmas ornament from the 70s, tacky and overdone but if you actually think for a second that it isn't utterly singular and starlike in its execution, that an experience we would never have been able to even experience without this work isn't worth a thousand fools and a billion failures, then just damn you I guess. Just god DAMN you.

...and YET. And yet just remembering things exist does not make a great product, all told.

Calvin was no chameleon so his attempts to ape assorted Æ artists are able but, at times, amatuerish. The art is not enough by itself to recommend the book except in a trading-card-set-that-never-happened kind of way. That's not to say that Turtle doesn't turn in some fantastic pieces, like the book's bugfuck French cover or the Banshee Map. I had the opportunity to purchase his proof of Tanifer at a convention some years back when it went to auction. I did not, obviously; sorry, spina bifida sufferers, goodwill is not worth a man's very soul. (I kid, I dropped them a ten and so should you. They also had Festus Caber's minotaur from Ye Minotaur but gods balls, man, I am but a peasant....)

Of course, life is not that neat. Neither is business. The company limped along another three weeks after this hit shelves, announcing their shuttering and boxing due to pure market-share loss on the very eve of their final release, Calvin Turtle's Lovely Pink Walls. But that would not be the only echo of Æ's glory days. As any student of American history knows, there was a second Great Awakening.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Zombie- A DNDish Class

HD: d8
Saves: as Fighter
Attacks: as Fighter
Advances: Special
Requirements: Special
  • Zombies begin play with HP equal to their Master's Intelligence score.
  • Zombies may wear no armor. They may not use shields.
  • Zombies may use any weapon but they will use it gracelessly and receive no tohit bonuses with weapons except bonuses from magic items. They gain their full tohit and damage bonus with their bare hands.
  • Zombies automatically Know Direction concerning a specific person, item, or building about which their Master has instructed them.
  • Zombies may Hide in Shadows/Stealth as a level 1 Thief.
  • Zombies may roll 3d6 whenever they want to attempt something bordering on supernatural, like choking someone with great strength, smashing through a wall, ignore damage, walk across the bottom of a lake, etc. Rolling a 1 means they have the gift of the Evil Eye and succeed for 1 round/partially succeed; use 1d8 to set damage/duration/extent of success. Rolling two 1s means they are gifted in the Eyes of the Serpent and super succeed. Rolling greater than their Master's Intelligence means they fail and the Zombie becomes Confused.
  • Zombies confronted with their past lives, skilled rival mentalists, or who find their quest wholly interrupted (say they were supposed to retrieve a vase that gets shattered) must roll against their Master's Wisdom, with failure indicating Confusion: all orders are now jumbled and must be interpreted as broadly and disastrously as possible.
  • Zombies advance normally as a Magic-User. Zombies whose Masters level up automatically gain enough XP to level up.
  • At level 3 Zombies are immune to charm, fear, sleep, and paralysis.  
  • At level 4 Zombies improve their AC by an amount equal to their Master's Charisma bonus.  They gain this bonus again at level 8.
  • At level 6 they do not need food, sleep, water, or air.
  • At level 10 they neither age nor burn.
  • Zombies may advance to whatever level their Master may advance.
  • Zombies do not speak unless they speak a short message delivered from their Master. They only understand whatever language their master uses to speak to them. They are +1 to saves against spells cast in other languages.

The idea here is to have a sort of Monster As Magic Item. Like say you find an amulet, what does this do? It binds one soul forever to yours and is otherwise worthless. The DM should use this sparingly and have fun thinking up genie wish/EC Comics ways of having this boon backfire. And of course the party aren't the only ones who can turn people into Zombies...

Zombies all have a Master, either a PC who knows the secret mesmeric, chemical, and ritual methods of zombification, or else some NPC. If it's a NPC then you get your marching orders from the DM and how you execute them is left to your interpretation. This has fuck all to do with flesh eating and while they may be a kind of walking dead these are NOT reanimated corpses. More gifted Masters are capable of creating more gifted Zombies.

Zombies can only operate with single-minded purpose according to their Master's wishes. This kind of character is really meant for a very specific kind of player, one whose main contribution to the night is not in the form of tactics but in the form of atmosphere. Zombies should do everything as brutishly, slyly, and creepily as possible. Zombies with another PC for a Master are programmed by that PC, and Zombie players with NPCs for Masters must submit their programming to the DM. A Zombie may be programmed with as many distinct nuances to their orders as the Zombie has Hit Dice. A level 1 Zombie may receive the order "Bring me Jessica." A level 2 Zombie may receive the order "Bring me Jessica and make sure she is not harmed," or "Bring me Jessica and kill Margaret." All commands must be 5 words or fewer. Zombies given commands that seem to conflict with one another must roll for Confusion as outlined above.

Zombies who awaken from Zombification are useless normal people unless they were secretly awesome before getting Zombied. A Master can allow his Zombie to wake any time the Master wishes, with no memory of what they did as a Zombie. A Zombie who drops to 0HP or less does not ever die, they just lose all animus and all resistances/immunities...a Zombie who is dropped to 0HP and thrown in a river will lie at the bottom of it drowning forever until they dissolve. They are sustained in this way so long as their Master lives. Likewise, if a Zombie's Master is killed then the Zombie must make a save vs spells. On a success the Zombie simply dies, assuming an appearance consistent with being dead for weeks or months. On a failure the Master's mind inhabits this Zombie body, possessed of all the Zombie's abilities but with the full mental faculties and skills of the Master. Though they still cannot speak these are deadly creatures called Revenants.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

I Will Trade You Money For Death (PS I'm Famous?)

So I am experimenting with a Patreon to help alleviate some of our medical and travel expenses. If it doesn't work, if I've gotten no response by the end of October, I'll shutter it. However, if it helps, I'll try to hone things so that the most people can get the most out of this. That means more games I run online. It means more articles in general. It means more of my more popular articles, like DUNGEON-MIX or the Adder Entertainment reviews. It also means a lot, lot more, potentially.

Also if you haven't been listening to Renfield's Cast yet then you should start because I'm mentioned on an episode and they talk about how awesome Scrap and Patrick and Zak are so you know it's good.