Thursday, May 30, 2024

Jaguarfolk at a Glance [Hackmaster]

 Jaguarfolk at a Glance
Ability Adjustments:
Wis -1
Dex +2
Con -1
Lks +1
Cha -1

Pros:
*Size Medium for HP (10 + Constitution Bonus)
*Low Light Vision
*Free purchase of Listening, Observation, Sneaking, Tracking
*Initiative Bonus & Hiding in Natural Surroundings (as elf)
*Claws: Jaguarfolk have retractable claws on their hands and feet. As a weapon, these do d3p hacking damage; Speed 5, Reach 0. When used to aid in climbing, Jaguarfolk are always considered at least Novice climbers, and the climb is one degree easier. Jaguarfolk may make one purchase of Climbing at half cost.

Cons:
*Native Language is Jaguarfolk. Other langauges purchased in character creation cost 2 BP.
*Strange and Exotic: As animal-like outsiders, the base reaction to jaguarfolk is Disdain; many have to be convinced that they are people. Someone with an Animal Phobia of Felines, or a Superstition that cats are unlucky, will Fear them.
*Clothes and Armor: Jaguarfolk themselves seldom wear clothing, and never wear armor.  With tails, digitigrade stride, and top-mounted ears, Jaguarfolk also cannot wear standard boots, shoes, helmets, or armor. Jaguarfolk of all classes begin without proficiency in armor, though they retain shield proficiency if their class provides it, and may learn shield proficiency normally.  Armor Proficiency requires 50% more BP to learn, and all armor must be custom made. Clothing for colder weather requires a 25% mark-up, mostly in foot protection.
*Magic Aversion: Jaguarfolk seldom use the magic of mages, hybrid mages, sorcerers, or witch doctors; those who do are almost always evil. A jaguarfolk of these classes will have the Nagging Conscience quirk if not-evil. This quirk may be bought off normally.
*Aversion to Cold: Jaguarfolk despise the cold and suffer the following penalties in chilly weather or versus supernatural effects:
•a -1/5% penalty to all rolls/checks when the temperature is below 50° F.
•a -2/10% penalty to all rolls/checks when the temperature is below 32° F.
•save at a -4 against Cold-related spells and effects
•suffer an extra 10% damage (rounded up) from cold related spells and effects


Class Costs:
Fighter 20
Ranger 30
Barbarian 30
Thief 30
Rogue 70 (they do not have the social exposure to use many of a rogue's skills)
Assassin 35
Mage 50
Fighter/Mage 35
Fighter/Thief 25
Mage/Thief  40

Clergy: Deities common among the Jaguarfolk are the Shimmering One, the Great Huntress, and the Bear (who they, quite reasonably, do not envision as a bear).  These clergy are available for 30 BP. Uncommon deities include the The Traveler, The Watcher, The Storm Lord, Risk, and the Laugher. These clergy are available for 40 BP. Some darker tribes worship the Emperor of Scorn, the Seller of Souls, The Prince of Terror, or the Vicelord. These are also available for 40 BP. Other deities are relatively unknown among the Jaguarfolk; they require 70 BP.

Captain: 70
Sorcerer: 40
Illusionist: 50
Outdoorsman: 20
Shaman: 30
Witch Doctor: 40

Saturday, May 11, 2024

AD&D Multiclassing, Level Limits, and XP Division

 So, an idea I had a number of years ago that recently floated across my brain. It is primarily for 1st edition, but works ok for 2e (where level limits are higher). Now, my preference is to get rid of level limits altogether, but that's a bit too much change for some people. This is a tweak to make multiclassing less onerous once you've hit level cap on one of you classes.

When you multiclass, you divide your XP between two classes... a fighter/thief gets 100xp, they get 50xp in each class. However, once they hit the fighter level limit, they still have to give half their XP to the fighter class... they're not getting any better, but they're paying full price for it. This changes things a little.

Under these rules, you still divide your XP... but only until you have paid for your maximum level again. Alternatively, you can look at it as post-cap level gains in your continuing class as having a "tax" of your old class's XP.

So, let's have an example. A 1e Halfling has a fighter level limit of 4, and is unlimited in thief. You hit 4th level fighter at 8001 XP, and at that point you're also a 4th level thief. You get to 10,001 XP, you become a 5th level thief. Normally, you would get  6th level thief in another 10,000 XP, at 20,001. That would require you to earn 20,000xp, though, since you're splitting it in half. In this case, though, you only have to earn 18,000... 10,000 to earn thief, and 8000 to keep up your fighter side.  7th level thief takes a single-classed character 22,500 XP, and a multiclass character 45,000 XP. Under this, it would cost 30,500 XP... 22,500 for a new level of thief, and 8,000 to keep up your fighter side. 8th level is 70k, or another 27500 for a single classed. Instead of 55,000 for a multiclass character, it would be 35,500... 27500+8000.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Evangelist (Hackmaster)

Evangelist
The evangelist serves a not-quite deity; some creature with vast power, but not quite enough to reach the status of one of the greater deities of Tellene. Some of these quasi-deities may be demons, others angels or ancient spirits that have passed from mere myth to veneration. Some of these powers are servants of the gods themselves; saints on the verge of apotheosis. As mere quasi-deities, these beings lack the ability to empower a cleric in the traditional sense. Known collectively as Patrons, they maintain enough power to grant some few individuals semi-clerical powers. These demi-clerics are known as Evangelists, though others may call them witches or warlocks, especially if they are evil or chaotic in nature.
    The ultimate goal of an Evangelist is to increase the worship of their Patron. Some use persuasion, but many perform great deeds in Their name, showing what their Patron is capable of achieving. The power of an Evangelist is limited compared to that of a cleric, but the relative weakness of their Patron, and the current fluidity of their Patron’s dogma, gives them comparatively more freedom. Powerful Evangelists can help shape the resulting church for decades, if not centuries, to come.

The Patron
    The identity of the Patron is central to the design of any given Evangelist; not only must their alignment be a close match, but dedication to Lakon the Leper, saint to the Halls of the Valiant, the Order of the Pike, and the Rotlord, is different than dedication to Sulat Ku'tak, saint of The Landlord. In designing an Evangelist, the GM should be involved, guiding the player to make choices appropriate to their Patron. Your demon lord patron is unlikely to be pleased with a plethora of healing spells!

Evangelist Magic
    At each level, the Evangelist chooses a single spell, clerical or mage, of any level up to their own, The level of a cleric spell is considered to be the first level it is available to any clerical class. Mage spells are always considered two levels higher (so a 1st level Evangelist may select any 1st level cleric spell, or any Apprentice-level Mage spell), even if they are available to a priest class (for example, the Cathedral of Light has the 5th level Mage spell “Entrancing Lightshow” available at 5th level; an Evangelist could not select this spell until 7th level). The Evangelist also gains bonus spells known based on their Wisdom. At 13 Wisdom, they gain one additional 1st level spell. Each additional point of Wisdom provides a bonus spell to one additional spell level; so a 14 Wisdom provides a bonus 2nd level spell (when the Evangelist reaches 2nd level, naturally), a 15 Wisdom a bonus 3rd level spell, on up to a 20 Wisdom providing a bonus 8th level spell. The Evangelist may choose to access these bonus spells earlier (a 20 Wisdom Evangelist might choose to have 9 spells known at level level 1), but once chosen, spells may not be changed; they will lose access to those higher level bonus spells. The patron (as played by the GM) may veto any choice the character may make, though the choice should fall to the Evangelist, rather than be dictated by the Game Master.
    Evangelists may change spells only rarely. When a new spell is selected upon gaining a level, the Evangelist may choose to replace a lower-level spell with a similar effect. For example, a newly 5th level evangelist who selects "Blessing" may choose to replace the 2nd level spell "Bless" with "Purify Food". The new spell should be of the same level as the old effect; the Evangelist cannot replace Bless, a 2nd level spell, with Divine Providence, a 5th level effect. Likewise, an Evangelist may replace a spell whenever they anoint a new follower of their deity; this replacement can be of any level up to the Evangelist's own. Note that this is a "new" follower; you cannot anoint the same person each time you wish to change spells.
    Evangelists do gain a few, necessary, bonus spells. At 1st level, they have Ceremony: Consecrate Divine Icon, which they may cast without a Divine Icon, if necessary (though this inflicts a 1 point wound). At fifth level, they gain Ceremony: Anoint, and at tenth level, they gain Ceremony: Investiture, allowing them to create additional Evangelists from Anointed followers. Evangelists may not select these spells any earlier.
Evangelists do not prepare spells as traditional clerics, nor utilize spell points like a mage. Rather, they accumulate “Favor Tokens” from their Patron, which are used to create magical effects. Each day, the Evangelist acquires one Favor Token, which may be saved from day to day, to a maximum of one per level, plus a number of additional tokens equal to the Starting Honor Modifier based on Charisma (with a minimum of one per level; an Evangelist with a low charisma will never have fewer maximum Favor tokens than their level). So, an Evangelist with a 14 Charisma will have a maximum of 3 Favor Tokens at level 1, and 6 Favor Tokens at level 4. As an Evangelist increases in level, they gain additional favor tokens per day; 2 per day at level 6, 3 per day at level 11, and 4 per day at level 16.
When an Evangelist wishes to cast a spell, of any level, they must expend a single Favor Token. The spell is cast as any cleric spell would be. Mage spells cast in this manner are always cast at their base level of ability; they cannot be enhanced with spell points, even if the Evangelist has a store of them.
    Clearly, this leads to Evangelists having immense abilities; a 20th level Evangelist may be able to cast twenty or more twentieth level spells in a day. However, the next day, they would be limited to a single spell, as they regain only a single Favor Token each day. Likewise, they have few spells to choose from; while a Cleric might prepare healing spells one day and information spells the next, and have a number of healing spells of several levels, an Evangelist who chooses many healing spells will have few other abilities.

Proficiencies

    Evangelists begin with one free weapon proficiency of their choice, and may choose to be proficient in Light Armor. Proficiency in Medium Armor requires only 1 BP, Heavy 2 BP beyond that, and Shields requires 3 BP (so proficiency in all armor and shields will require 6 BP).

Weapon Specialization
    Evangelists may become specialized in any weapon for 8 BPs for each initial purchase of attack, speed, defense, and damage. They may choose Weapon Talents related to their one free weapon proficiency at half cost.

Skills

    Evangelists begin with a single purchase of Divine Lore, and may purchase additional mastery dice of Divine Lore at half price. They do not gain additional mastery of Divine Lore as they level, nor do they have a bonus to mastery of purchased rolls.
They begin with a single purchase of Oration, Persuasion, and Recruiting; additional purchases of Persuasion and Recruiting are only 2 BP. Purchases of Leadership are only 5 BP each. They also begin with a single purchase of Blacksmithing, Carpentry/Woodworking, or Craft, as necessary to create their Divine Icon. They must begin with at least Average mastery in this skill; if their free purchase is not enough to reach Average mastery, they must purchase additional mastery dice until they do.
    Additionally, Evangelists gain one free mastery die in Religion (their own religion), and +5 Mastery at each level. Additional mastery dice in Religion (any) cost only 1 BP, and purchases of their own religion gain +1 per additional religion with which they have Average or better Mastery (so, an Evangelist who has Average Mastery in 6 other religions would gain +6 on Mastery Dice in their own religion whenever they make a purchase). In many ways, Evangelists are writing the dogma of their new religion as they go; knowing the ways of other religions not only makes them more effective in converting those of other faiths, but also helps to define what worship of their deity will look like.

Divine Icons
    Like clerics, Evangelists begin with a Divine Icon, but they created this one themselves. As they often lack a formal church to provide additional divine icons at need, they must create their own, or the ones to be given to other adherents of their faith.

Alignment
    Evangelists must begin with, and maintain, an alignment within one step of their patron. However, if their alignment does not match their patron, they have a -2 penalty to Honor calculations for “Adherence to Class”, so an otherwise exemplary Evangelist will have only an 8 in their honor calculation, instead of 10, in that category, and thus gain 3, instead of 4 Honor. A fair Evangelist would lose 1 Honor after the calculation, rather gain 1.

The Path to Conversion
    Convincing someone to become anointed to a deity, especially a new and unknown deity, is not a simple task. It requires the character (most often a Cleric or Evangelist of the deity in question; they will be called “clerics”, but could equally be motivated lay people or evangelists) to first gain the trust of the individual, bringing them to an understanding of the deity, and then convince them to become dedicated to the deity. This takes place as a series of Social Conflict encounters, and the process may take days, weeks, or months.
    The first step is improving the target’s reaction to the cleric; the reaction may be no less than “+3 to +7” as defined in the GMG on page 67, and higher will be better. If the cleric does not acquire at least this level of trust, then they may need to use Oration or Seduction to increase the reaction. Each Seduction or Oration check requires a week of work; either daily personal contact (for seduction), or haranguing the crowds (for Oration), and the cleric may only make one of each check per week; they can Orate at the crowds all day, and spend their evenings targeting a specific person. If both are attempted on the same target (i.e. someone who listens to the speeches and receives the personal attention) will use the better of the two, provided the other is not an abject failure (failure by more than 10%).
    The next step is to teach them the basic tenets of the faith. While convincing them to invest in the Religion skill for their church is ideal, this can instead be accomplished with a series of Diplomacy, Persuasion, or Salesmanship checks. These checks are Average if the alignment of the deity in question matches the target, difficult if they match at least one element of alignment (teaching a LG character about a LE religion, for example), and very difficult if they do not match at all. Rather than standard social conflict rules, each successful Persuasion check is followed by the target making a Current Affairs check; Average if the deity is well-known, Difficult if they are not (which is most often the case for Evangelists). The target must succeed on three Current Affairs checks to be considered sufficiently knowledgeable to consider anointing. Each Persuasion check requires a full day, though it may be interspersed with other activity (so you can convince your traveling companions around the fire, and fight beside them during the day, but no more than one such check may be made each day). If several people are being taught, then a separate check is made for, and by, each person.
    Lastly, there is the pitch: Recruiting. The Recruiting check is Very Difficult, which is part of what makes a high encounter reaction so valuable. Each Recruiting check (and, again, may be made simultaneously against a group of people) requires a day of work, and no more than one such check may be made per person per week. Failure on Recruiting means they are unwilling to be anointed at this time; success means that they may make a Mental saving throw to resist being recruited v. d20p+the cleric’s morale modifier from Charisma. The target may choose to forgo this saving throw.
    These checks are extremely difficult against people already anointed or invested to a deity. First of all, those anointed or invested may simply refuse to take part by making a Religion or Divine Lore check; average for the Invested, difficult for the Anointed. They know their faith and, unless they have some compelling reason to be unhappy with it, are disinclined to change their faith. Even if they are willing (or fail the check to refuse), the recruiting check to convince an anointed or invested person is resisted by the target using either Resist Persuasion, Religion (their own religion), or Divine Lore, as they wish. Lastly, the saving throw to resist being recruited receives a +2 bonus for the anointed, and a +5 bonus for the invested (on top of their other bonuses).

While I am generally an advocate of PCs being subject to social skills, I'd be extremely wary of using this without player permission, if the character in question is somehow empowered by their deity; no one wants to find that their Bright Eye has become a Merciful Fate because they didn't invest in Lore: Religion and the random number generator decides it.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Psychics for Rules Cyclopedia

I somewhat started working on a Rules Cyclopedia conversion of Dark Sun in my down time... nothing serious, just fiddling about with ideas to make the game when I can't concentrate on other projects. Obviously, one of the first things that need to be addressed when dealing with Dark Sun is "How does psionics work?" Which brings me to making a Psychic class for Rules Cyclopedia.

I don't think I've gushed before, on here, about Erin Smale's "Creating a More Perfect Class" system. I am beginning to think that my ideal is somewhere between class-based and skill-based; namely, that you build your class at 1st level, and then are in that class for the rest of the game. "Creating a More Perfect Class" lets you do that in Rules Cyclopedia. As I work on my Dark Sun conversion, I'm no doubt going to start building specific examples of different things ("Special Abilities" v. "Skills" is a tricky place to adjudicate), but for now, here we are. I really do encourage you to go look at Creating a More Perfect Class, though; even if you're not into RC D&D, it's some solid design that will inspire you. Erin's rules (obviously) didn't include a cost for being psychic; you can see my table for it here, along with my notes for Dark Sun classes in RC (still in development).

Anyway, back to Psychics. Psychics are, functionally, another kind of magic-user, using a type of power different than clerical and druidic magic, but also not Magic-User and elfin magic. For simplicity, I have chosen to have psychic powers be largely the same as spells, though their method of use is the tiring of the self, rather than expending pre-memorized spells. Psychics know only a handful of powers, but can, in theory, use them all day, if they get enough rest. However, each use of a power carries with it the risk that you will fail, injuring yourself. I have also included two General skills related to psychic powers... a Wild Talent skill, allowing someone to have some lesser psychic powers (or a psychic to expand their own), and a Meditation skill, to reduce a psychic's down time (and to allow people to rest during watch times).

Psychic Character Class
(Using the Creating a More  Perfect Class from Erin Smale https://breeyark.org/building-a-more-perfect-class/)

Prime Requisite: Charisma
d4 HD 100
Magic-User Saves 150
Magic-User Attack 100
Restricted Armor 100 (Leather armor, shields, no helmets unless magic or psychic)
Restricted weapons 0 (one-handed melee, staff, sling, crossbow)
Weapon mastery: 0 Non-fighter
Skills: 150 Awareness, Blankout, Mind Blank (as mystic)
Psionics: 1000 On level
XP: 1600 (3rd level at 3200, 4th at 6400, 5th at 12,800, usw)

Like most classes, 9th level and higher psychics can either be traveling or settled. Settled psychics may be independent, forming a domain, and carry the title Master or Sensei. Alternatively, they may choose to serve as a court seer, similar to a magist, or they may create a school inside someone else's domain; this usually does not require express permission.
Traveling psychics require no additional rules; independent, they do not have the organizations that clerics or thieves do, command the social space that a paladin, knight, or avenger might, nor do they have the drive to create dungeons that afflicts magic-users.
All settled psychics attract 1d6 followers of the psychic or mystic class, of levels 1-3. If the psychic forms a domain, they also attract 5d6 "monks"; these are 0-level humans who wish to study from the Master, even if they do not have the ability to become psychics or mystics themselves. No more monks will be attracted than the psychic's Charisma score; an unlucky psychic may receive very few. The followers and monks of a psychic do not need to be paid beyond upkeep and equipage.

Using Psychic powers:

At level 1, a psychic knows 2 psychic powers. Each subsequent level, they learn 1 more psychic power. They may learn 2nd level powers starting at 4th, 3rd level at 6th, 4th at 8th, 5th at 10th, 6th at 12th, and 7th at 17th (same progression as a cleric's spell levels, but with something available at level 1, since it's all they get.)

Psychic Powers are enacted with a Charisma check, minus the level of the power; as a slightly more complex alternative, you may subtract twice the level of the power, plus the highest level of powers you can use; this allows psychics to always get better at their lower level abilities, without disturbing the use of their highest level abilities. Using this second method, a 4th level psychic would use their 2nd level power at Charisma (-4)+(+2), just as a 4th level psychic using the first method would. But their 1st level powers would be at Charisma (-2)+(2), or a simple Charisma check. If capable of using 7th level powers, 1st level powers are enacted at Charisma + 5; -2 for 1st level powers, +7 for being a powerful psychic.

On a success, the power is enacted, and the psychic takes non-lethal damage equal to the power's level (qv. non-lethal damage in RC, p. 267; damage is halved in 2d6 turns, gone in 2d6 more). If the power fails, they still take damage, but 1 point is lethal damage (so a fail on a 1st level power is just 1 lethal damage; a fail on a 7th level power is 6 nonlethal, 1 lethal). If they roll a 20, they must make a saving throw v. spell or ALL damage is lethal. Success on the saving throw means that one point of lethal damage is taken, and the rest is non-lethal (as with standard failures).

Common Powers:

These powers are organized according to their level as psychic powers; the number in parenthesis is the level of the spell they emulate. As a general rule, most spells can be rendered as psychic powers, but psychics are best at abilities which gather information or affect the mind. Thus, something like Charm Person is a 1st level power; mental modifications are relatively easy. Magic Missile (which a psychic would envision as telekinetic bolts) is a 2nd level power; affecting physical things is much harder. In most cases, powers designed to affect the physical world or physical bodies will be one level higher than they would be for a cleric or magic-user. Powers which affect only the mind, or gather information, will be of the same level.

1st
Analyze (1)
Charm Person (1)
Detect Danger (1)
Detect Evil (1)
Detect Magic (1)
Locate (1)
Predict Weather (1)
Read Languages (1)
Remove Fear (1)
Sleep (1)

2nd
Floating Disk (1)
Hold Portal (1)
Magic Missile (1)
Shield (1)
Detect Invisible (2)
ESP (2)
Hold Person (2)
Know Alignment (2)
Locate Object (2)
Phantasmal Force (2)
Snake Charm (2)
Speak with Animal (2)

3rd
Levitate (2)
Clairvoyance (3)
Hold Animal (3)
Locate Object (3)
Speak with Dead (3)

4th
Cure Blindness (3)
Cure Disease (3)
Charm Monster (4)
Speak with Plants (4)
Wizard Eye (4)

5th
Commune (5)
Contact Outer Plane (5)
Feeblemind (5)
Hold Monster (5)
Truesight (5)

6th
Telekinesis (5)
Geas (6)
Speak with Monsters (6)
Mass Charm (7)
Mind Barrier (7)

7th
Charm Plant (7)
Lore (7)
Restore (7)
Survival (7)

Psychic Items:

Psychics can make (imbue) their own items. The formula for success is the same as for a wizard or cleric, using the psychic's Charisma instead of Intelligence or Wisdom. Psychics, however, spend much less gold than wizards or clerics. The cost of the item to be imbued is twice that of the normal item. The psychic should figure the time as if they were a wizard or cleric creating a similar item; however, instead of thousands of gold, the psychic must spend three times the usual amount of time. Psychics can imbue Weapons and Miscellaneous Magical Items. They cannot imbue scrolls, potions, or armor.

Psychics have an additional type of magical item, the power stone. A power stone contains a single power, and the psychic may use this power as if they knew it, so long as they hold the stone; some will mount the stone on a ring, in an amulet, or in a diadem. This is enchanted as a permanent miscellaneous magical item. To use a power stone, the psychic must be taught by one who knows how to use it, or use the Analyze power to learn such. Any power contained in a power stone the psychic can use may be learned as if it were a common power. However, if the stone is used to learn a power outside of normal level acquisition of powers, it will be rendered inert. Power stones are of no use to the psychic who created them, and so are very rare. They sometimes spontaneously develop in psychic items, however.

Psychic Research

Psychics can research their own powers. This takes the form of meditation. They do not need research for common powers acquired at level up; the research for these is an aspect of the psychic's own growth. The DM has the discretion to designate other powers as "common" and so not requiring research to acquire at level up. Any power contained in a power stone the character is able to use is considered a common power. All psychics have the ability to research a new power to be learned during level advancement; failure in that research still allows the character to choose a common power.

Only psychics of 9th level or more may learn powers outside of level advancement (exception: Wild Talent general skill). The power may be no higher than one-fourth their level, rounded down (so a 9th level psychic may learn 1st and 2nd level powers; they may learn 3rd level powers at 12th, 4th at 16th, etc.). Any number of powers may be so acquired by a psychic with sufficient time.

As with wizards and clerics, common powers are more easily learned than new powers. Common powers have a chance to be acquire of ([Cha +Lvl] x 2)-(3 X power level); new powers have a chance of ([Cha +Lvl] x 2)-(5 X power level). Most spells can serve as a template for a psychic power, but a spell not previously mentioned is a new power, unless determined otherwise by the DM. As a general rule, spells that alter the mind or retrieve information will be the same level as they would be for clerics or wizards; spells that cause an actual physical change will be one level higher. A pyrokinetic psychic may wish a power similar to fireball, but it would be 4th level for them.

Psychic research, as with psychic item imbuement, requires no gold (save personal upkeep), but three times the time as magical research. Unlike magical research, there is no bonus for previous failed attempts.

General Skills

Wild Talent: A person may have a wild psychic talent, selected as a general skill. This is a common, 1st level, power that they can choose to use. However, using a wild talent is dangerous; instead of non-lethal damage, every attempt at using a wild talent, successful or not, inflicts 1 point of lethal damage. The Wild Talent general skill may be taken as often as the player wishes; at levels beyond the 1st, the Wild talent may be a new power, provided the Wild Talent has access to a power stone they know how to use, or a teacher willing to train them. In no case will a power granted by Wild Talent exceed 1st level.

Psychic characters may also use Wild Talent to expand their repertoire of 1st level powers. A Psychic's wild talents function under their usual rules for powers, inflicting non-lethal damage on a successful use.

Meditation: A Wisdom-based general skill often taken by psychics, Meditation allows a character to remain effectively awake while gaining the benefits of sleep; they must remain in a single place, and may meditate in lieu of sleep no more twelve hours a week. Psychics may also use meditation to reduce the time it takes to recover from the use of psychic powers; for each turn the psychic spends successful meditating, reduce the time for non-lethal damage to disappear by 1d4 turns. Note that a failure of the skill roll, or a roll of a 1 on the 1d4, indicates no extra progress; they meditated for a turn, and the time involved was reduced by that one turn. A psychic may use meditation to reduce recovery time as often as they wish.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Oriental Adventures styles for Castles and Crusades

 One of those things I thought I'd posted, but apparently had not.


As I've talked about before, I like the system of martial arts laid out in AD&D's Oriental Adventures; it fits well in the system, and allows warriors, even those with the same equipment, to be very different, and pick up some special abilities to make them stand out from the hoi polloi. 

And, so, I worked out a way to use them in Castles and Crusades.

And here it is. 

Briefly, you receive the basics of a martial arts style at your first +1 BtH, and a maneuver from it at every even BAB. Monks, despite starting at +0 BtH, get a style at 1st level, and get their first maneuver at 3rd level, and then follow on the same upgrade schedule as everyone else (at +4, 6, 8, etc. of BtH).

Unlike AD&D, Castles and Crusades does not (by default) have a fungible character advancement resource like AD&D's proficiency slots. Thus, this is presented as a bonus, not just an option. Obviously, if the CK is using styles in their game, it is best to use them for everyone... the wizard will never get GOOD at the martial arts, but by the time they finally get a +1 BAB, I would guess they've been in enough fights that they have some semblance of their own style. However, if you want to limit the classes that have access to it, I would include both the rogue and assassin, in addition to the likely Barbarian, Bard, Fighter, Knight, Monk, Paladin, and Ranger mix you are likely thinking of; rogues and assassins don't need to get left yet further behind.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

The Wandering Crystal Sphere [Dark Sun]

Ok, I've talked about this before, but I have this idea that the Athasian Crystal Sphere travels through the Prime Material Plane on an inclined orbit; at times it is close to Water and the Positive plane, descending close to Earth and relatively equidistant between Positive and Negative, then down to Fire and Negative, before heading up through Air.

The Blue Age ended in the 8th Worlds (King's) Age; the Red Age began when Rajaat used the Dark Lens in the 144th King's Age. At 77 years per age, that means that each Age is roughly 10,500 years long (I'm fudging a bit for roundness sake).

That means that (In KA 191) FY 1 is about 3,600 years into the Red Age. This means there's about 7000 more years of the Red Age, followed by what I will declare the Yellow Age, just because it is an easy color to use. The Yellow Age will see a reduction of undead (as we move away from the Negative Material Plane), but other than that? Who knows? A resurgence of life shaping? In its 42,000 year cycle (assuming their hypothesis is true), do things repeat? Does the next Blue Age see halfling life-shapers? Maybe humans rise to the top? Might thri-kreen be survivors of a previous Green or Red Age, who suffered through the Blue Age?

This is all speculative, of course. Just a neat cosmological idea.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

To Your Health! (Hackmaster)

 

To Your Health!

Health and Medicine of Tellene

 

Medicine is an odd art, in a world that has magic in it. The Player’s Handbook includes Honey Brew and Liver Squeezins’, two brews which the Gamemaster’s Guide informs us will heal even grevious wounds; even near death, someone whose silver and liver hold out can be repaired by sipping herbed lager all day and, if you don’t mind a bit of recreational blindness, a dose of fermented owlbeast bile can get you back on your feet in no time… what’s about 3-12 days of blindness if you were going to spend months recuperating from fighting that owlbeast? Though these will not be available from every village brewer, they are common enough that they may be available in the next town over. Other brews will increase your strength or speed, or even let you speak to the dead. The line between “magic” and “medicine” is a thin one.

However, two sizable priesthoods do have a focus on medicine and health. Both the Caregiver and the Powermaster advocate for health, and have extensive knowledge of wound care and treating the symptoms of disease. The Merciful Fates are far more likely to turn to magical healing, while the Seekers of the Three Strengths will emphasize physical health as a means to avoid disease, but both study medicine and physiology; spells run out, and sometimes someone gets ill regardless of their health.

The main skills of non-magical health care on Tellene are First Aid, Craft: Apothecary, and Medicine. First Aid covers the treatment of wounds and physical damage; it covers things like binding wounds, child birth, and even surgery; its practitioners are commonly called chirurgeons. Craft: Apothecary deals with the creation of medicines, and its practitioners are known as apothecaries, or sometimes herbalists or alchemists. Medicine deals with disease and poison, and its practitioners are physickers. These are not exclusive subjects; someone skilled in First Aid knows the basics of poultices and avoiding infection. An apothecary can stitch wounds and understands the medicines needed to bring down a fever, and a physicker makes use of simple medicines and surgery in their treatment of disease. But while an apothecary can brew a medicine that will cure a few hit points of damage, they cannot set a broken leg with their arts. A chirurgeon may clean and sew up a wound, but they can do little for Black Rash. A physicker can bring someone back from near-death by poison, but cannot make a wide array of medicines.

There are a few common ancillary skills, especially for physickers and apothecaries. First, of course, is Literacy. More practically, however, there are Botany, Geology, and Monster Lore. These three skills cover knowledge of the medicinal uses of plants, minerals, and various animals, and so are required for physickers and apothecaries. Apothecaries are also skilled with Cooking/Baking, as they have to prepare their mixtures. Not a few will bake bread as they reduce a tincture.

 

Medicine (New Skill)

Relevant Ability: Intelligence

Cost: 6 BP (3 BP for Merciful Fates)

Universal: No

Prerequisite: Botany 26+, Geology 26+, Literacy 26+

Materials/Tools: Yes for most treatments, No to diagnose problems.

 

While First Aid deals with wounds and critical care, Medicine is the skill of diagnosing and treating disease, poison, and other whole-system threats to health. This often requires poultices made of plants or minerals, but can also involve such treatments as cold or hot baths, cleaning with salt, or even placing maggots around a wound that has turned septic in order to clean dead flesh from a wound.

Dealing with poisons involves cleaning, care, and purification, as well as bloodletting. Note that, with many poisons, this is not enough to cure a poison as it ravages the body; this is palliative care after the fact. Some poisons with longer durations (q.v. basilisk poisons), the physicker can provide an additional saving throw, if they are able to treat them in time.

Tellene’s medical knowledge does not extend to germ theory, and this limits their practice of medicine somewhat. They are not able to directly cure a disease, save by happenstance; rather, those who study medicine (be they physicians or apothecaries) seek to treat the symptoms of disease, lessening its effects. There is some knowledge that purification can help, and so clean water, salt, and alcohol are part of a physicker’s toolbox, but so are milk, tea, and clarified urine.

As a necessary note; knowledge of Medicine does not prevent one from catching disease. While physickers who survive may build up a resistance to a variety of diseases, the key thing to note is “those who survive”. Their only solace is that they’ve a doctor nearby to help with their treatment, unless they get so ill that they are unable to heal themselves.

Medicine can also help ameliorate chronic conditions, such as Allergies, Epilepsy, and Migraines, as well as asthma, arthritis, and the on-going effects of diseases.

 

 

Mastery Level:

The Character Can:

Novice

Treat Disease sufficiently to give a +1 to the Severity check if at least 1 hour of treatment is provided before onset of symptoms (this bonus is applied retroactively; if the character rolled a 2 against a Severity 12 disease, it will do little; an 11 against a severity 12 disease would see the disease reduced to Minor status). Palliative care of disease reduces total penalties by 1, or 5% (cumulative penalties will still accrue), and requires 1 hour per day.

 

Treating Poison requires 10 minutes per wound. May treat damage from poison as if they possessed Novice mastery of First Aid, reducing time to recover from poison damage by 1 day per point (so, 4 points of poison wound would require 7 days instead of 10 to recover, as with first aid). Poisons with significant durations may be reduced by 1 increment per die (so, devil poison would be reduced from 2d12p hours to 2d12p-2 hours).

Average

Treat Disease sufficiently to give a new Communicability check at -5, and a +2 to the Severity check if at least 1 hour of treatment is provided before onset of symptoms. Palliative care of disease reduces total penalties by 1, or 5% (cumulative penalties will still accrue), and requires 1 hour per day.

 

Treating Poison requires 6 minutes per wound. May treat damage from poison as if they possessed Novice mastery of First Aid, reducing time to recover from poison damage by 1 day per point (so, 4 points of poison wound would require 7 days instead of 10 to recover, as with first aid). Poisons with significant durations may be reduced by 1.5 increments per die (so, devil poison would be reduced from 2d12p hours to 2d12p-3 hours).

Advanced

Treat Disease sufficiently to give a new Communicability check at -2, and a +3 to the Severity check if at least 1 hour of treatment is provided before onset of symptoms. Palliative care of disease reduces total penalties by 2, or 10% (cumulative penalties will still accrue), and requires 1 hour per day.

 

Treating Poison requires 4 minutes per wound. May treat damage from poison as if they possessed Novice mastery of First Aid, reducing time to recover from poison damage by 1 day per point (so, 4 points of poison wound would require 7 days instead of 10 to recover, as with first aid). Poisons with significant durations may be reduced by 2 increments per die (so, devil poison would be reduced from 2d12p hours to 2d12p-3 hours). May prevent death by poison if with a Difficult skill check, if treatment is completed before 5 minutes after death.

Expert

Treat Disease sufficiently to give a new Communicability check, and +4 to the Severity check if at least 1 hour of treatment is provided before onset of symptoms. Palliative care of disease reduces total penalties by 3, or 15% (cumulative penalties will still accrue), and requires 1 hour per day.

 

Treating Poison requires 3 minutes per wound. May treat damage from poison as if they possessed Novice mastery of First Aid, reducing time to recover from poison damage by 1 day per point (so, 4 points of poison wound would require 7 days instead of 10 to recover, as with first aid). Poisons with significant durations may be reduced by 2 increments per die (so, devil poison would be reduced from 2d12p hours to 2d12p-3 hours). May prevent death by poison if with an Average skill check, if treatment is completed before 10 minutes after death.

Master

Treat Disease sufficiently to give a new Communicability check, and +4 to the Severity check if at least 30 minutes of treatment is provided before onset of symptoms. Palliative care of disease reduces total penalties by 3, or 15% (cumulative penalties will still accrue), and requires 30 minutes per day.

 

Treating Poison requires 2 minutes per wound. May treat damage from poison as if they possessed Master mastery of First Aid, reducing time to recover from poison damage by 2 days per point (so, 4 points of poison wound would require 3 and 3/4 days instead of 10 to recover, as with first aid). Poisons with significant durations may be reduced by 2 increments per die (so, devil poison would be reduced from 2d12p hours to 2d12p-3 hours). May prevent death by poison if with an Average skill check, if treatment is completed before 15 minutes after death.

 

A simple physicians kit will include a variety of tools for testing, cleaning, and examining the patient. Common are dried herbs, scraps of cloth for bandages, and a bowl for mixing. Most will also include a small, sharp knife and a variety of needles (for bloodletting). The contents of such a kit will vary widely, but a basic physicker’s kit will run 10-20 silver pieces, and weigh about 3 pounds..

 

Craft: Apothecary

Relevant Ability: Wisdom and Dexterity.

Cost: 1 BP

Universal: No

Prerequisite: Botany 26+, Geology 26+, Literacy: 26+; Botany and Geology mastery level must equal or exceed that of Craft: Apothecary. Cooking/Baking 26+. Sample Preservation Proficiency

Craft: Apothecary is the skill of making medicines from plant, animal, and mineral sources. Many of these medicines are simple remedies, treating the symptoms of various diseases; a tonic for congested lungs, a poultice for fever, a potion that helps a cough. Others will help alleviate the long-term effects of illnesses, or encourage healing and discourage infection. Many will deal in other herbal treatments, from varieties of pipeweed, teas, or more exotic narcotics and hallucinogen.

Unsurprisingly, apothecaries are very popular with adventurers, though their skills are ill-suited to adventuring, themselves. Their concoctions and tinctures take time and care to create, and many lose potency if they are left too long, or treated too harshly. The tools of an apothecary are heavy and fragile, requiring multiple pans for cooking, glassware for distillation, and braziers for even heating. An apothecary in the field may be able to improvise, but seldom well.

Apothecaries, it should be noted, are not alchemists; their preparations are purely medicinal. However, Average or greater mastery of Craft: Alchemy adds +5% to Craft: Apothecary rolls, and vice versa. Master-level mastery of either adds +10% to the rolls of the other.

 

 

Mastery Level:

The Character Can:

Novice

Suggest a type of preparation that may help, prepare Easy or Average preparations under supervision of an Apothecary of at least Advanced mastery. Preparations take 4 hours (with proper supervision, ingredients, and tools)1. Preparations last 1d3 days2.

Average

Prepare any preparation at one greater difficulty than normal (so, Difficult preparations are Very Difficult). Preparations take 3 hours (with proper ingredients and tools). Preparations last 1d6 days.

Advanced

Attempt any preparation at listed difficulty; may increase difficulty by one level to create 1d4p-1 doses in a single batch. Preparations take 2 hours (with proper ingredients and tools). Preparations last 2d6 days

Expert

Attempt any preparation at listed difficulty; may increase difficulty by one level to create 1d4p doses in a single batch. Preparations take 2 hours (with proper ingredients and tools). Preparations last 1d3 weeks.

Master

Attempt any preparation at listed difficulty; 1d4p doses are made each time; increasing the difficulty raises this to 2d4p-1. Preparations take 2 hours (with proper ingredients and tools). Preparations last 1d6 weeks.

 

1 Proper ingredients and tools must be on-hand. A well-stocked Apothecary will often have these things on hand; a traveling apothecary may have only limited supplies or materials, according to their own preparations. A penalty of -5% to -30% is suggested, depending on the level of preparation.

2 Preparation durations assume a closed pot (i.e. closed, but no exceptional sealing). A sealed container (with wax, or a tightly closed metal flask) allows longevity rolls to penetrate. Containers that are unsealed will lose potency after a day (closed, then opened, then reclosed containers will lose 1 day off their total; sealed then resealed containers will not lose any time).

 

Difficulty

Healing

Disease and Poison3

Very Easy

Salve that 1 dose adds 1 day of healing to a single wound; no more than 1 dose per wound. Remove 1 level of Fatigue for 1d3p hours (returns at end)

Ease symptoms of disease by -1 or 5% for 1 day.

Easy

Salve that 1 dose adds 1d3p days of healing to a single wound; no more than 1 dose per wound. Remove 1 level of Fatigue for 2d4p hours (returns at end).

Ease symptoms of disease by -1 or 5% for 1d3p days. Add +1d3p to poison or disease saving throws if taken within 1 minute (poison) of exposure, or before symptoms begin (disease). Disease resistance (+1 save against Communicability) for 1 day. Poison resistance (+1) for 1 hour.

Average

Salve or potion that will heal 1d3-1 points of damage to a single wound; overflow may be applied in days to another wound. Remove 1 level of Fatigue.

Ease symptoms of disease by -2 or 10% for 1d4p days. Add +1d4p to poison or disease saving throws if taken within 1 minute (poison) of exposure, or before symptoms begin (disease). Allow second save against poison; if successful, halve the impact of the poison. Disease resistance (+2 save against Communicability) for 1 day. Poison resistance (+2) for 1 hour.

Difficult

Salve or potion that will heal 1d4 points of damage to a single wound; overflow may be applied in days to another wound. Remove 1 level of Fatigue.

Ease symptoms of disease by -2 or 10% for 1d6p days. Add +1d6p to poison or disease saving throws if taken within 1 minute (poison) of exposure, or before symptoms begin (disease). Allow a second save against Severity if taken before symptoms appear. Disease resistance (+2 save against Communicability) for 1d3 days. Poison resistance (+3) for 1 hour.

Very Difficult

Salve or potion that will heal 1d6 points of damage to a single wound; overflow may be applied in days to another wound. Remove 2 levels of Fatigue.

Ease symptoms of disease by -2 or 10% for 1d6p days. Add +1d6p to poison or disease saving throws if taken within 1 minute (poison) of exposure, or before symptoms begin (disease). Allow a second save against Communicability. Disease resistance (+2 save against Communicability) for 1d4 days. Poison resistance (+4) for 1 hour.

 

2 Disease and poison bonuses and resistances are specific; you do not brew a potion which protects against all disease, but rather a potion that will provide a defense against a single, named, disease (i.e. Goblin Pox). This can make these preparations difficult to acquire; if you do not have an antidote to Giant Scorpion venom, then the Apothecary can do nothing for you.

 

Apothecary preparations have a usual cost of 5cp per mastery level, cumulative, so Average-mastery preparations will cost 15cp (5cp for novice, plus 10cp for Average), then 30cp for Advanced, 50cp for Expert, and 75cp for Master. Difficult preparations often cost twice as much, and Very Difficult preparations cost five times as much.

 

A standard Apothecary shop will be roughly 30-50 silver pieces, and weigh more than 50 pounds (including braziers, glass, mortar and pestles, alcohol for preservation, and a variety of prepared herbs, minerals, and animal samples). A more basic collecting kit (good for gathering herbs and tissue) will be 10-20 silver pieces.

 

New Proficiency: Sample Preservation (3cp)

Requirements: Botany or Monster Lore, 26%+. Cooking (novice or more)

With the Sample Preservation Proficiency, the character is trained in properly gathering samples of plants and animals (mineral samples are usually far easier to gather). Without this proficiency, samples will only be good for 1d3 weeks if botanical, and 1d3 days if zoological. With this proficiency (and a collecting kit, or a suitable equivalent), this time is extended to 1d3 seasons for botanicals, and 1d3 weeks for zoological samples. Most often, botanical samples must be dried, while zoological samples are preserved in alcohol or an air-sealed container.