Tuesday, December 31, 2019

4 (New) Common Creatures of the Dust

With the campaign reboot on the horizon (distant 4-6 month horizon I think) I'm digging into the monsters again. Time for a clean slate on the monster book and, while I'm at it, a complete refresh of the monsters themselves.

The biggest chance between v1 and v2 monsters are their END and VIT and damage. Damage (per segment) is increased and their END and VIT are lowered. Non-essential combats were taking too long. Long combats are fairly boring. I encourage everyone to be creative, but there are only so many ways you can smash someone in the face with a mace before even you become bored with describing cool ideas. So - monsters die faster but cause more harm - the net effect is more or less the same, but the combats run faster.  WIN!

I broke out the random monster generator, kicked up 16000 entries, and started filtering for things that i could use/tweak into the game. Rather than "force" things into position (must find medium unclean so i can make skeletons) I let the results inspire new ideas and creations.

4 (New) Common Creatures of the Dust

Parson's Beetle
Threat 1 [Dust A] Small Miscreant Beast (Animal Intelligence); Demeanor: Distant; Ferocity: Passive
Encounter 1d6 wandering, 1d8 stocked; 20% chance in lair (x3 multiplier)
 Init: +2    Attack: +2    Speed: 10    Damage: 1d4+1    Rending claws   
 Defense:+2   DR: 0    KO: 0    END: 3    VIT: 3   
Description: almond-shaped beetles the size of small dogs. Their touch is corrosive (armor, shield, weapon must make DUR Check on contact) but they are easily distracted by carrion or any sort of fresh ration. They tend to be flee conflict unless actively swarming from a lair.

Shell Horror
Threat 2 [Dust A] Large Unaligned Ooze (Non-Intelligence); Demeanor: Disorderly; Ferocity: Hostile
Encounter 1d4 wandering, 1d6 stocked; 20% chance in lair (x3 multiplier)
 Init: +0    Attack: +1    Speed: 8     Damage: 1d4+1    Spurt of blood  
 Defense:+0   DR: 2    KO: 1    END: 9    VIT: 10   
Description: These oozes craft crab-like exoskeletons from the bones of their victims or those they find lying about. They amble haphazardly toward anything moving and attempt to eat it. Capture of a living ooze from inside the shell is worth 50-100g to the right collector.

Threat 2 [Dust B] Small Neutral Unclean (Clever); Demeanor: Malicious; Ferocity: Cowardly
Encounter 1d8 wandering, 2d6 stocked; 5% chance in lair (x6 multiplier)
 Init: +3    Attack: +0    Speed: 9     Damage: 1d6    Thorny vines  
 Defense:+3   DR: 0    KO: 0    END: 4    VIT: 3   
Description: Crow-headed corpses of children wrapped in thorny vines. They lash out with the vines (attack can count as ranged) as well as use them to move about. They caw incessantly once excited. In combat they tend to disarm not as a tactic, but to grab the "shiny things". They are intelligent enough to be bribed if they aren't already excited, which happens easily.

Threat 3 [Dust B] Medium Wicked Fey (Low Intelligence); Demeanor: Distant; Ferocity: Hostile
Encounter 1d8 wandering, 2d6 stocked; 5% chance in lair (x6 multiplier)
 Init: +5    Attack: +1    Speed: 7     Damage: 1d6    Razor-sharp wings 
 Defense:+1   DR: 2    KO: 2    END: 10    VIT: 10   
Description: Spring-green humanoids with immense compound eyes and over-sized dragonfly wings. They can fly rather quickly, but only over short distances, which allows them for an opening charge attack at +3. Rather than fight themselves they will summon a random wandering monster and flee. They detest flowers of all kinds and will avoid getting near them.

Stats for OSR-type Games
You should be able to translate into 5e easily enough as well ...

 The Rest
 Parson's Beetle 
  as leather  
 Corrosive touch destroys item 1 in 20 
 Shell Horror
 as leather 
 Attacks are totally random target except on other shell horrors 
 as chain 
 Disarm instead of damage on damage roll '6' 
as leather
 Advantage (or +5) to charge attack

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Map of Haven

I've decided that I'm going to make an updated map of Haven for the V2 release. Progress so far:

Sorry the quality is so shit ... I blame Blogger.

I'll likely adjust The Dome a bit (shrink it) partially to tidy up the grid and partially because there is too much space on the outside edges of Haven that isn't accounted for. We shall see. Also need to add bridges. ANd some of the district names will move a bit to adjust perceived district placement.

When it comes to the street-level maps, I've decided that I'm going to go a completely different direction than the usual "this building that building". I'm thinking more like point-crawl maps; the points having areas within them that are point-linked as well. One can move between any regions, really, but doing so outside of the "routes" incurs some sort of problems. 

Or is a map more detailed than the one above really necessary?  Maybe add some MAJOR points of interest: the Block, Temple of Eternal Light, Magistarium, the Chancery, the Tower of Kings, that sort of thing.

Maybe the only time the point-maps are of value are if the crew are searching tor chasing. Perhaps a combination of the two. Or a method to generate the point-maps (both before a session and on the fly)?

Monster Lore in Sorrow in Haven

I've been pushing so hard to get v2 of the rules written up that I have entirely neglected this blog! Tomorrow is the last session of both the year and the current campaign, then I'm taking a break from GMing Sorrow and getting into the editing process - because the text is done and artwork is coming in. Satisfaction all around.

Here, in all sorts of glorious detail. are how characters (and therefore players) know about Monsters.

Knowing About Monsters
Every good adventurer should know something about monsters, but definitely not everything. At least not until they've encountered them enough. If everything is known by the players (and hence their characters, meta-gaming be damned) then the monsters are effectively just normal creatures to battle - a gibbering red torture spider may as well be a rebid lion for all the terror it elicits from the players

Common Monsters
If a monster is Common (the actual monster Frequency Encountered classification) and the Threat (how dangerous the monster is) is equal to or less than the character's level, they will automatically know a few things. If the creature's Threat is above the character's level, they can make a Level Check (difficulty equal to how much higher the Threat is than the character's level) to know the stuff.

  • Name (not the personal name)
  • Threat (the actual threat level, which is meta-gamey, but a quick note on how dangerous they are)
  • Type (filth, unclean, beast, etc)
  • Territory (what type of region or dungeons these things hang out in)
  • One fact about the creatures attacks, defenses, habits, or abilities
  • If the character has the Monster Lore advance, also 1 rumor about the creature

All Other Monsters
Monster frequencies other than Common are

  • Uncommon
  • Rare
  • Very Rare
  • Unique
  • Local

Local, incidentally, means the creature will ONLY EVER be found in the specific location. It is like unique, but for a group of critters. Unique, of course, meaning there are just one of them. If a character wants to know things about any of these creatures, they need to know about they'll need to make a Monster Lore Check.

Monster Lore
Monster Lore is an Alternate Advance (anyone can take it)  with no requirements.

After spending 1 Turn studying a monster (active observation and interaction) the character makes an INT check, the difficulty based on the rarity of the creature. With a successful check, the character will know the information about the monster as though it were Common. 

If the check is a Critical Success the player may also ask a number of yes/no questions equal to half their level.

If the check is a Legendary Success the player may also ask a number of yes/no questions equal to their level (instead of half).

This ability does not work on NPCs or non-famous unique creatures.

This advance may only be used once per monster until the character advances in level. In other words, if a character uses monster lore on a particular creature, success or failure, they can't use it again on that specific monster again until they go up a level.

Famous Monsters
But what about famous monsters? Everyone knows about Gurnd07, the Mecha-Cyclops of the Void Gate. Of course they do. If a creature is tagged as Famous, they are treated as Common, but each piece of information provided is a rumor and not necessarily true!

  • Uncommon: each rumor is 50% true
  • Rare: each rumor is 40% true
  • Very Rare: each rumor is 30% true
  • Unique: each rumor is 20% true
A Monster Lore Check against a famous monster is made with Advantage, success indicating actual information is gathered.

Monster Lore II
This advance can be taken to enhance the Monster Lore ability. In addition to the benefits of Monster Lore, the character will know if any of the monster parts are valuable or have specific uses and may ask the GM one open-ended question about the monster. If the INT Check is a Legendary success all questions may be open-ended.

The Actual Monster Lore INT Check
This roll should be made in the open, never secret. The difficulty is based on the monster frequency:
  • Common: +0
  • Uncommon: +1
  • Rare: +3
  • Very Rare: +5
  • Unique: +8
On a Failure, the player can request information, but it has a 75% chance of being false.
On a Critical Failure, the player can request information, but it has a 90% chance of being false.
On a Legendary Failure, doesn't know anything about this monster.

Multiple Characters with Monster Lore
Great! They each get a roll if they want one and can confer all they like. Since Monster Lore is an Advance, it is a significant investment in the character. If multiple characters go that route, the GM will hand out info like mad, but the characters may be lacking in other areas.

Multiple Characters, Common and Famous Monsters
For common monsters, the GM hands out set of information for everyone. For famous monsters, they should hand out a set of info for each character that wants to participate. This could cause some serious confusion as everyone has different info, or a consensus (which could be wrong). In either case, the GM should do what seems like the most fun for the group. 

Final Thoughts
Monsters should be mysterious, and learning about how they work can be fun. The rules above give the players a chance to get some insight for their characters when something unknown is encountered. However, when players encounter something they have encountered before, even with new characters, that information doesn't mysteriously go away - the actual experiences become common knowledge within the game world. Characters from the last campaign were paralyzed by the bite of a gorging worm? Well - the new characters know about that because the players do - and that is OK! Maybe they heard a story about those other adventurers, or perhaps it is part of some macabre children's song. In any case, be reasonable and have fun!