Sunday, 27 November 2011

Making a Better Skeleton

This should be easy. To me the skeleton has gone from a potentially terrifying concept to the disposable mook of the undead.

It's a magically animated skeleton! By its very nature it's got a degree of supernatural power about it. A zombie still has muscles and sensory organs, but this thing's walking around through some other means. Let that dark magic have a bit more credit than something so easily dispelled by a sword swing.

That's right, skeletons should be a nightmare for fighters to deal with.

As always, this is written with Into the Odd in mind.

Skeletal Minion
The obedient servants of some wielder of dark magic. They shuffle about carrying out the will of their master as if part of his own soul exists within them.
STR 10, DEX 13, WIL 12. Armour 2 (see below), 6hp.
Sword (1d6).
Counts as having Armour 2 only against piercing attacks such as arrows and spears. Swords, axes and hammers ignore this.
When a skeleton would be killed by physical attacks it is smashed into at least two separate pieces. Unless they are kept apart these will reform on the skeleton's next turn, restoring it to full health. Each half will continue to fight but the half without a sword only causes 1d6-1 damage.
The skeleton's WIL is reduced to 0 the magic animating the skeleton is banished and it falls into a pile of bones.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Into the Odd - Example of Play

I always struggle with these, so feedback is much appreciated.

Referee: The base of the long staircase leads into a spectacular room, some 30ft high and equally wide. Its walls look like an intricate mosaic but the tiles are constantly shifting in colour. Waves of differing hues wash across the walls and the center of the room is dominated by a six-foot-wide circular shaft leading down.
Ezekiel: (Sketching down the room on his rough map) Are there any exits other than the way we came?
Referee: No, unless you feel like jumping down the shaft.
Toku: Well, this is a dead end. My hunter's instincts were right!
Ezekiel: The walls look strange... I'm being very careful not to touch them.
Toku: Uthred, you should try touching them.
Uthred: Sure, I'm not scared of a wall. I place my hand boldly against the tiles.
Referee: As soon as Uthred's hand touches the wall the shifting colours stop and a pulsing blue pattern starts to radiate from around Uthred's hand.
Ezekiel: Stand by for his head exploding...
Uthred: You worry too much! How do the tiles feel?
Referee: They feel much like you'd expect a smooth mosaic too, but they are giving off a faint warmth.
Uthred: Huh, weird. Well I'll take my hand off the wall and go to check out the shaft.
Referee: As soon as you remove your hand from the wall it starts to shift colours again and you now see the tiled shape of a person, looking almost like your own reflection. Barely a second later the room is filled with a crackling noise and the tiled visage of Uthred somehow steps out of the wall, hefting the axe from its back and taking up a combat stance.
Toku: Right, I'm not giving this thing a chance to pull us into the wall or whatever it's going to try. I leap at it with my daggers.
Referee: Okay, you get two attacks so give me a damage roll of 1d6 for each.
Toku: I rolled a 2 and a 3.
Referee: (Making a DEX Save for each attack against the opponent) the tiled copy of Uthred manages to parry away your first blow but your second dagger finds home. Do you want to Power Attack or take the 3 damage?
Toku: We need to get this thing killed quick, I'll risk the Power Attack!
Referee: (Makes a DEX Save for the opponent against Toku's STR, failing) You're able to pull off the Power Attack, twisting your dagger deep into the strange being's side for 6 damage. Instead of a scream the copy of Uthred roars out in crackling static-noise.
Ezekiel: I'm going to use the Wither spell from that weird glove-arcanum thing we found earlier.
Referee: Right, make a WIL Save against the Spell's Power, which is 10.
Ezekiel: (Rolls his WIL Save and passes) Made it! Next turn that thing's going down. Just don't let it interrupt me!
Referee: Uthred, what do you want to do?
Uthred: I'll grip my axe and do everything I can to keep the thing from interrupting Ezekiel's casting.
Ezekiel: Nice!
Referee: Right. The copy of Uthred drops its axe on the ground and reaches forward to try and grab Toku. Give me a DEX Save to avoid him.
Toku: (Rolls a DEX Save) Erm... I got a 1.
Referee: (Over the groans of the table) The creature grabs Toku and tries to push him against one of the walls. You'll need a STR Save to resist.
Toku: Uh oh, I don't like this. (Rolls a STR Save) Got a total of 12.
Referee: Unfortunately that isn't enough to resist this creature, who seems to match Uthred in physical power. As you slam against the wall you see a blue pulsing pattern form on its surface. A moment later the colours shift into your shape and the copy steps forward from the wall. Over to you guys. Ezekiel, remember you have Wither ready to use at the start of your turn.
Ezekiel: I never thought I'd have to choose between killing Toku and Uthred... I'll stick to the plan and try to touch Uthred's copy with the glove.
Referee: It gets a DEX Save to avoid the touch (Rolls a DEX Save), but it fails! Roll to see how much STR and DEX Uthred's copy will lose.
Ezekiel: (Rolls 4d6 for STR and DEX loss, as dictated by the spell) Seventeen!
Referee: (Checks his notes and sees that this will reduce the creature's STR and DEX well below zero) It's more than enough to drain the life from this thing. The touch of your glove causes the colour to fade from the being before it simply winks out of existence.
Uthred: There’s only room for one Uthred!
Referee: Before you get too excited you should be aware that you’ve really been making quite a lot of noise in this room. (Secretly makes a Luck Roll to see if any nearby monsters have noticed the noise. A roll of 1 indicates something bad should happen, so he rolls on the hostile encounter table he has prepared for this area). Everyone give me INT Saves and see if any of you score 10 or more.
Ezekiel: I don’t like the sound of this.
(Everyone rolls and Toku and Ezekiel pass their saves).
Referee: Toku and Ezekiel notice the sound of something descending the staircase. Remember that weird horse-like creature with skin like super-hard tree bark you were ambushed by last session?
Uthred: Sure, we knocked it down that pit and fled like heroes.
Referee: Well this thing looks almost identical, but rather than being horse-sized it’s large enough to barely be able to squeeze into the staircase. Its jaws look large enough to be able to swallow you whole and its forelegs end in grasping claws spanning some six feet. Needless to say it’s squeezing down the staircase with you in its sights and it doesn’t seem friendly.
Ezekiel: What are our chances of running through its legs?
Referee: It’s pretty tightly packed into the stairway. If you want to try it would certainly require a tough DEX Save.
Toku: Running past it is a stupid plan, we have a perfectly good exit right here!
Uthred: The shaft? Does it look like the creature could fit down there?
Referee: Unlikely, it’s certainly too big to be able to do so easily.
Ezekiel: As suicidal as it sounds it might be our best hope. Can I throw a coin or something into the shaft?
Referee: As you flick a coin down the shaft you head a distant splash a few seconds later.
Toku: Water!
Ezekiel: That’s optimistic... how do we know it isn’t acid or something? I figure we can probably distract this thing long enough to let us flee back up the stairs. Maybe we can work out a way to distract it with Toku's tile-copy.
Referee: While you’re formulating this plan the creature has managed to force itself into the room, brushing against the tiled wall, which sends out blue ripples.
Uthred: Oh crap, this isn’t going to end well.
Ezekiel: Fine! Into the hole!
Toku: Trust me! I’ll even leap it first.
Referee: You’re all leaping down now?
(The group all nod reluctantly)
Referee: You leap into the darkness of the shaft, falling for a few seconds before splashing into what feels like ice cold water, deep enough for you to fall into safely. You’re barely able to get your bearings in the pitch-black pit before you feel a tingling sensation over your bodies. WIL Saves all round!
(Groans fill the table)

Monday, 21 November 2011

Odd Monster for the Day - Darkthing

Intended for use with Into the Odd, I present the Darkthing.

Art courtesy of ox3art


STR 14, DEX 10,, WIL 6, 14HP. Tendrils (1d6).

Bear-sized floating creature, cloaked in unnatural black smoke. No visible detail other than fleshy bubbles and lashing tendrils. Wounding it will give a flash of its true form, a pale creature with large eyes resembling a deep-sea fish. They attack without provocation but flee back into the ocean if badly hurt.

Its stinging tendrils cause an intense pain, attacking for 1d6 damage.

The smoke around them fades when they are killed. Their corpses will also contain a thick chain each wears around their body. Trying to pick this up is painful, as they are intensely cold. May be safely picked up with leather or other thick material but over time will cause the material to stiffen and crack. Causes 1d6 STR Loss per ten seconds of exposure to skin. Anyone who takes Critical Damage from this becomes a Darkthing themselves.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Tentpole Monsters - Hoarding Vilsna

A Tentpole Dungeon can be considered the central location of a campaign, by which all other locations are considered secondary. As such a campaign will contain a many locations, one of which is the tentpole.

These locations will contain many monsters and NPCs, but will often contain one that is intended to be the focal point. Their influence can be seen everywhere from the workings of creatures and factions to the architecture and treasures found within the location.

Over the next few posts I want to create some monsters and NPCs that could act as a tentpole for a location, "propping up" the whole place.

These will be written for Into the Odd but could be easily modified for your flavour of fantasy RPG.

Vilsna the All-Owner

Artwork courtesy of

STR 17, DEX 14, WIL 19, 20hp, Armour 1.
A huge intelligent, blue snake with a human-like face. A collector of all things arcane and artistic. Will happily show off his collection to those he trusts but fights vengefully against anyone attempting to steal from him.
Bites and Spits Venom for 1d6 Damage each. On Critical Damage the venom spit causes 1d6 STR and DEX loss.
Will always have at least one Arcanum to use with his dextrous tongue. Will have a hidden stash of valuables, including many decoys and traps, totalling 2d6x10g in value and a notable gem worth 1d20g.

Typical Arcana

Pharal Ka
Clear, floating crystal. Talks to the wielder telepathically and is generally helpful. Very eager to see new things.
Contains the following spells:
Invisible Grasp (Power 2): Hold one person still, unable to defend themselves, until they pass a WIL Save.

Madness (Power 4): All within 15ft of a point must pass a WIL Save or become confused for 8 rounds. Roll 1d6 at the start of each confused turn. 1: Attack the caster, 2: Act normally, 3: Do nothing, 4: Flee, 5: Attack nearest creature, 6: Attack nearest of their allies.

The Spite Heart
Rough chunk of hard, green wood with a chain attached for carrying. When you use its Spell you must try and use it again on the same target on your next turn or else take 1d6 damage.
Nerve Lash (Power 3): Causes intense pain to a target. They must pass a WIL Save or lose 1d6 WIL.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Six Adventurers that are Better Than You

1: Farjal the Red Death will fight for whoever pays him. Hope he hasn't been hired to kill you. He never works with anyone else.
STR 12 (+2), DEX 14 (+4), INT 10 (+0), WIL 12 (+2), 12HP, Armour 2.
Longsword, Light Armour, Shield.
Flaming Ring Arcanum: Heat Ray (Power 4), Inferno (Power 6), The Beast Within (Power 8).
Heat Ray: Target must pass a DEX Save vs your INT or take 4d6 damage.
Inferno: Cause a source of fire to explode, causing 5d6 damage to all within 20ft. Targets may pass an INT Save vs your 10 to only take 1d6 damage instead.
The Beast Within: Add 2d6-1 to STR and DEX but also subtract this number from INT and WIL (to a minimum of 1) and lose the ability to speak. This lasts for 8 rounds.

2: Dargaz the Huntmaster only seeks new trophies. He has made lots of enemies in this area in the past.
STR 10 (+0), DEX 11 (+1), INT 15 (+5), WIL 13 (+3), 10HP.
Heavy Polearm (Wildstaff), Longbow, pack of ten faithful hounds.
Wildstaff Arcanum: Dire Beasts (Power 10).
Dire Beasts: Up to five animals double in size for 10 minutes, doubling HP and gaining 8 STR. They also grow much more violent.

3: Arnet the Cloak will steal anything you have that he wants and may kill you to keep things simple. Will never kill women or children.
STR 9 (-1), DEX 16 (+6), INT 13 (+3), WIL 8 (-2), 9HP, Armour 1.
Light Armour, Two Daggers, Crossbow, Various types of poison, Thief's tools.
The Jet Dog Arcanum: Veil Senses (Power 4).
Veil Senses:: Target makes a WIL Save vs your WIL or is Blinded or Deafened until the curse is lifted. Blind opponents subtract 10 from DEX and INT.

4: Rock Varga will pick a fight with nearly anyone just to show off. Considers himself a drink connoisseur, which seems at odds with his personality.
STR 16 (+6), DEX 13 (+3), INT 11 (+1), WIL 10 (+0), 16HP, Armour 3.
Heavy Mace, Heavy Armour, Shield.

5: Castellan Haumar wants to know what you're doing in his domain and when you're leaving. He's terrified of a neighbouring domain attacking, so has little time to waste with you.
STR 11 (+1), DEX 12 (+2), INT 11 (+1), WIL 15 (+5), 11HP, Armour 2.
Halberd, Heavy Armour, SIZ 4 Domain. Always accompanied by his personal guard of ten heavily armoured knights.

6: Omal, Bearer of the Eye will provide excellent healing services for a cost. He will also try to recruit you into his creepy cult.
STR 14 (+4), DEX 9 (-1), INT 10 (+0), WIL 15 (+5), 14HP, Armour 1.
Sword, Light Armour.
Glass Eye Arcanum: Madness (Power 8), Beast from Beyond (Power 8), Breath of Recovery (Power 4).
Madness: All within 15ft of a point must pass a WIL Save vs 16 or become confused for 8 rounds. Roll 1d6 at the start of each confused turn. 1: Attack the caster, 2: Act normally, 3: Do nothing, 4: Flee, 5: Attack nearest creature, 6: Attack nearest of their allies.
Beast from Beyond: Summon a horrific flying beast (STR 20, DEX 15, INT 10, WIL 4, Armour 2, 20HP, hits cause 1d6+1 Damage) to fight for you for 3d6 rounds. After this time it has free will.
Breath of Recovery: Touch a creature and restore 3d6 of their HP or 1d6 points in any one Ability Score. Take 1d6 Damage in return.