Saturday, April 1, 2017

Monster Conversions for AD&D 2e - Golarion and Mirrodin

I did some monster conversions for 2e. I figured I'd announce it in a post and also elaborate on why I decided on certain monsters

First up, the Golarion Appendix, featuring monsters converted from Pathfinder.

Baatezu, Greater, Uniila: There are surprisingly few devils/demons/etc. that really tempt casters with power. Yeah, Succubi and Erinyes can offer sex, but casters can already get that, especially clerics of Bast. Same goes for power promised by Glabrezu. Those fiends are also really, really bad at the whole subtle evil shtick. Enter the Cabal Devil/Uniila. She doesn't say "hey I'll give you a sweet spell if you kill Timmy the blind orphan kid"; she instead tells the wizard that Timmy's heart would function as a substitute for an expensive material component, and that would be true. It's an appeal to player greed.

Frost Firs: These guys fit a niche of low-HD plant monsters to throw against PCs. I also liked how despite being Neutral Evil and outright murderous at some points they do sort of negotiate with humans, etc. It shapes itself into less of a strict "Good v. Evil, a cosmic struggle writ small on the mortal plane" vibe that gets presented when orcs and goblins are presented against humans. It's more pragmatic.

Rakshasa, Amanusya: I read this entry and I had a vision in my head of the PCs sitting in some vaguely Arabic court with minor nobles, watching a dancing girl . . . and then all of a sudden her hands and head turn the wrong way and her foot-long tongue falls out. Definitely horror check material in a Ravenloft campaign. Plus, Succubi/Erinyes are old and busted.

Shabti: My implied setting unintentionally leans toward an Arabic/Egyptian flavor so I like these guys. They also combine the two paradoxical aspects of being special but also mundane, unlike Aasimar or Tieflings.

Sphinx, Cyno-: I just love the image of this huge hound holing up in a necropolis eating and conversing with corpses. It also evokes Anubis in a neat way.


Second, the Mirrodin Appendix featuring monsters from MTG's Mirrodin block. Mirrodin was my first set (although I really didn't play until around RTR) and holds a special place in my heart. I love the lore - or at least the lore my younger self created based on the ~30 cards I had. None of this soul-trapping and interplanar kidnapping silliness, just a world of metal. So I played fast and loose with the lore.

Leonin, Mirrodin: It's a bit odd to realize it but despite appearing in five different colors there are only a handful of humans in the Mirrodin blocks. Leonin dominate white, Vedalken blue, Elves green, Goblins red, Zombies black. Mirrodin Leonin are just really cool aesthetically. I plan on tackling normal leonin at some point too.

Zombie, Mirrodin: Nim are bit non-standard (cf. Nim Abomination). The fact that they're more or less natural works as a reversal of the old "undead have no place in ecology" trope so prevalent in AD&D. Probably depart from canon even more than the Leonin.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Some Random D&D Tables

A few weeks ago I went with some family members to a garage sale. I very quickly concluded that there wasn't anything that interested me, went back to the car, grabbed a napkin and pen, and scribbled out some D&D stuff. I was inspired by Dyson's works, which I have only recently learned of. Keep in mind that these are great. Text is copied straight from the napkin with supplemental info in [brackets]. Not terrible good but they're F R E E so you're getting your money's worth.

[Somewhere] Encounters (Day)

1d8
Encounter
1
1d4+1 lost Imperial Elves [blond pale elves dressed like Romans who behave like assholes/ Thalmor]
2
1 vengeful Sabre-tooth Ape [gorilla with a bite that deals 2d4 damage]
3
5d10 Xilgraz [fly-people; treat as dwarves] on pilgrimage
4
1 Human bandit, hopelessly lost
5
1d4+1 Wood Elf [tanned with red hair and woad, vaguely Celtic barbarians] hunter[s]
6
1 manifestation of the god of [I don’t now because I didn’t write it down but I probably had Hircine]
7
3d4 aggressive [and possibly rabid?] deer, fight to [the] death
8
1 singing tree [really pretty but roll to see if attracts another encounter] w/ healing fruit [1d6 red and purple fruits the size of a small melon, restore 1d4+1 hp when eaten]



[Somewhere] Encounters (Night) 
1d8
Encounter
1
1d6+1 Sabre-tooth Apes [gorilla with a bite that deals 2d4 damage]
2
2d6 Lemures performing rites [preferably spooky ones]
3
1 screaming tree [noticeable because it has no leaves no matter the season, roll twice to see if it attracts monsters]
4
War-party of 3d6 Wood Elves [en route to pillage those perfidious Imperials]
5
1 Imperial Elf Were-Orc [treat as a 2-HD Elf in elf form and a 4-HD Orc in orc/hybrid form]
6
4d4 disembodied voices
7
1 zombie lord & 5d10 zombies
8
1 tragic apparition [no combat stats, turned as a skeleton]

Golem Maintenance
[for when you need to know if a golem needs a cleaning]
1d6
Golem Condition
1
Pristine [brand new for inorganic, fresh for organic]
2
Dusty
3
Dented/nicked [has taken a few blows]
4
Cracked/decayed
5
Rusted/moldy
6
Falling apart [little bits break/flake off with every movement or hit]


Variant Dragons
[There’s a 30% that dragon you just ran into is actually a variant dragon!]
1d6
Dragon variant
1
Degenerate. Semi-intelligent [Int 2-4], morale 11 [can still cast still cast spells but it does so without any tactics]
2
Slothful. HP x 1.5 [i.e. has 50% more hp], only 1 atk/round
3
Albino [great way to fuck over your players]
4
Crossbreed. Half of body & breath weapon are of another breed [this probably needs an extra table]
5
Hungry [or Ravenous]. Damage [dice] increase by 1 step [e.g. 1d6 > 1d8], will eat anything organic (inc. spell books) [!]
6
Cursed. Is actually a human, etc., transformed into a dragon as punishment [note this can be an unjustified punishment]

 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Social Standing Sub-System



Back for some more D&D shit. I feel like I need to diversify my blog posts a little with non-game reviews and non-D&D material but it seems like that takes a lot more effort to do that ._.

Social Standing (SOC) is an extra stat for older D&D games that modifies reaction checks. It is a representation of how a character is regarded in a specific social milieu. SOC can vary drastically depending on the nature of the society the character is interacting with (orcs will have a bad standing among elves but an okay standing among humans).  If you have a system that would normally apply a Charisma-based modifier to reaction checks, disregard that rule (because it would stack otherwise) and use the one below

SOC is derived from Charisma modifier + Race modifier + Class modifier.

I use an altered Reaction Roll table as seen in Terrors & Wonders (v0.3 coming soon-ish). These rules were written with these types of reaction rolls in mind.
2d8
Attitude
2-3
Hostile
4-8
Unfriendly
9-12
Neutral
13-15
Friendly
16
Helpful

Now here are some charts for race and class modifiers to SOC. The first set assumes pretty standard quasi-medieval quasi-European human-dominated societies. The second set assumes pretty standard humanoid (in the D&D sense) societies. Needless to say, different cultures will have different standards. For example, the Al-Qadim would have much more lenient SOC modifiers for race whereas Ravenloft would have much harsher ones; being an arcanist would carry a positive modifier during the heyday of the Netherese Empire but a negative modifier in the post-fall years. You could also apply a modifier for sexes too such as a -2 for men in an amazon-style society or a similar penalty for women in strongly patriarchal societies. Note that the class modifiers assumes that the characters have pretty stereotypical equipment (full-plate + weapons = Fighter, pointy hat + staff = Wizard, etc.). Otherwise use None/Not Apparent.
Social Standings for Human Societies

Race
SOC Modifier
Dwarf
+0
Elf
+0
Halfling
+1
Half-orc/Half-ogre
-1
Human
+2
Other Humanoid
-3

Class
SOC Modifier
Cleric
+1
None/Not Apparent
+0
Fighter
+0
Thief
-1
Wizard
+0


Social Standings for Humanoid Societies

Race
SOC Modifier
Dwarf
+0, -2 A, or -4 B
Elf
-2 or -4 C
Halfling
-1
Half-orc/Half-ogre
+0
Human
-2
Other Humanoid
Usually +0 D
A This is the standing of standard Dwarves among Derro and Duergar (and vice versa)
B Their standing among underground humanoids they conflict with (Grimlocks, Morlocks, etc.)
C Their standing among full-blooded Orcs (the feeling is mutual)
D Humanoids of the same race get +1. Hobgoblins get +2 among Goblins.

Class
SOC Modifier
Cleric
-1E, +0F, or +1G
None/Not Apparent
-1
Fighter
+1
Thief
+0
Wizard
+2
E Alignment/philosophy is opposite or opposing
F Alignment/philosophy isn’t relevant
G Alignment/philosophy is similar or compatible

Example 1: Brother Bert is a Human Cleric of Law with a Charisma of 13. Among the human baronies of Alemane he has a SOC of +1 (Cha) + 2 (Race) + 1 (Class), or SOC +4. Based on this, the worst reaction he might get some unkind words spoken to him (Unfriendly). If he decides to bash some heads then all bets are off, of course.

Example 2: Brother Bert is a Human Cleric of Law with a Charisma of 13. Among the Chaos-worshiping orcs of the Bloody Caves he has a SOC of +1 (Cha) - 2 (Race) -1 (Class), or SOC -2. It's very likely that someone may randomly decide to randomly attack him (Hostile) and impossible that anyone will help him unless he can repay them (Friendly).