Zombie Toast Check it out if you want to see some of my "professional" RPG work.

Monday, October 31, 2011

I Thought Of It First IV: MMO Halloween

Random thought I had today as we're preparing for the potential onslaught of trick-or-treaters while also discussing some Halloween events run by MMOs and it occurred to me that the two could be combined.

Imagine this. An MMO such as WoW partners up with a major candy company, the ones that produce big-bags-o-candy for Halloween. Now, in these bags you've got the individually wrapped little candies but you can also put small printed codes. Go online, log in and enter the code and you get a random reward determined by the code. It could be a small amount of in-game cash, a small bit of XP or maybe a randomly generated item (ranging from trash to uber-rare toys). That way the kid who comes to your door is not only getting his yearly sugar injection but if he plays WoW (or some other MMO), which statistically he probably does) then he'll get a little something extra.

Of course, one side-effect you'll probably see is adult gamers hitting up the stores around Halloween to take advantage of the promotion by buying up big sacks of candy. I wonder what candy companies would do about that? Probably just count the money and laugh maniacally.

Pumpkins

click for full size
Some pumpkin carving I did the other day. The one on the left is Eddie from NJ's comic and the one on the right is obviously zombie toast (stencil was drawn by her and carved by me).

Also, should anyone be interested I've started actually posting some art on my deviantart account.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Savage Worlds Horror Companion, a shallow review

Just picked up the Savage Worlds Horror Companion today and I've been reading it over. Figured I'd give a summary of my first impressions.

Chapter 1: Characters

Most of this stuff is pretty good.  The Edges and Hindrances are actually really useful for just about any Savage Worlds game. Only a few rely on "special" horror rules like the Sanity rules. I wouldn't suggest buying the book just to get ahold of the extra Edges/Hindrances but it's definitely a bonus that they're so broadly useful.

The biggest problem is the Children of the Night section which provides rules for playing non-human characters (mostly monsters). The biggest problem is that none of these "races" are balanced against one another at all. This would be fine if the book gave you "point values" for the different monsters so you know which can play well together or providing rules for how to balance powerful races against weaker ones.

For example the Angel has a racial point value of at least +20 (there are several abilities traits that are difficult to put values on, it's probably worth more) versus the stand human's value of +2. Dhampyr's on the other hand really have a negative racial value, at least -2. There's no indication of how one is supposed to handle these problems and most of the racial abilities are extremely difficult to evaluate objectively.

Chapter 2: Gear

This chapter contains a fair amount of useful material (such as the effects of wearing garlic strands, waving holy symbols) and some fun toys (such as atomic ghost hunting packs). It has some fairly silly mistakes that shows some people didn't do their research very well. For example a pure silver sword is just as useful as a regular sword (if more expensive) but a sword made from cold-forged iron is fragile and breaks if you roll a 1 on a fighting dice. Silver bullets are also apparently softer and have a lower AP value when silver is actually harder than lead. Silly but nothing horrific.

Chapter 3: Setting Rules

So here we come to the techniques used to adjust SW to a horror setting, the meat of the book.

Some of the rules range from just cheesy to downright ridiculous. For example, one suggests using a cone template to represent the blood spray from a dead victim. Now I know Hollywood gets excessive with the gore...but that's a 50+ foot long spray of blood. I don't remember many movies being quite that bloody.

Sanity is one of the biggest features of the chapter. Anyone familiar with Call of Cthulhu is not going to be at all surprised with how Sanity works here. This will probably determine how you feel about it as well. If you like CoC's insanity system you probably won't have much problems with Savage World's but if you prefer more detailed or realistic sanity rules (like Unknown Armies) then you probably won't be satisfied. It's worth mentioning that Sanity really only seems to be a big problem for low-powered characters. Anyone with a decent Spirit score and perhaps one or two Edges to spare basically never has to worry unless they run face first into a dark god. Even then they'll probably be fine.

This chapter contains some simple, but relatively serviceable ritual magic rules. A quick scan of the ritual rules seems to indicate that they could easily be abused (for example using multiple rituals to layer long-duration defensive and trait-boosting spells) so if you're going to use these rules make sure to determine exactly what's required and what the limits of ritual magic in your campaign will be. As a general set of building blocks for a basic set of ritual magic rules it's not bad though.

Chapter 4: Magick

 Th "k" on the end makes it spooky. This chapter is pretty much a big list of powers. The powers here are mostly pretty useful for any sort of fantasy although there's certainly a strong focus on necromancy and other creepified abilities.

Chapter 5: Arcane Items

Like the Magick chapter this is pretty much a big collection of magical gear that could reasonably work in any setting, just with themes of evil/blood/spooky/etc. Nothing's particularly exceptional but it's still a fairly useful collection.


Chapter 6: Creatures

Now THIS is something. We've got 70+ pages of monsters. Demons, dark gods, undead and other. There are also rules for "adjusting" various monsters. Several different "species" of vampires, zombies and slashers and so on. You've got just about every classic movie or literary monster or threat (including nesting alien queens and hockey-masked slashers). There's also a couple of downright silly ones such as the head-banging demonic heavy metal musicians.

Chapter 7: Game Mastering

Honestly I've only skimmed this section and you probably will too. For the most part this is the same advice you can find in just about any RPG book about horror. I'm not saying it shouldn't be here (after all not every GM has much experience running horror-themed games) but it's certainly not something that I feel the need to go over in great detail. Atmosphere, pacing, show-don't-tell and the need to balance subtlety with the gruesome. Etc. Etc.

None of it is is specific to Savage Worlds and I don't think many people buying this will be looking for GM advice but I could be wrong.

In Conclusion

The book isn't exactly dripping with pure horror gold...but at the same time it's still an excellent general resource to provide monsters, magic and edges to your own Savage Worlds game. I'm impressed with how generally useful the book is (which is good considering I'm not planning a horror game at the moment) and while it doesn't have much in the way of shining gems there are very few flaws (mainly the issue I mentioned in chapter 1 with the races).

I'd say it's definitely worth the 15 bucks I paid for the pdf.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Improving the World's Largest Dungeon: Region B continued

Before I start going room-by-room there's a few general things to take care of. First if you recall my Improved Map I'm trying to re-arrange the dungeon to make it more linear and less sprawling. This means that the Region following Region B is actually going to be Region F. Since I'm still on Region B there's no real changes that need to happen just yet. However to keep in line with this plan there's a few things to keep in mind. 

First, ignore the "key" plotline in Region B. In fact, even if you're keeping the layout of Region B as-is you should ignore it. It's dumb. First and foremost it brings up the question of why there are these amazing, unpickable, permanently trapped locked doors here...but not anywhere else in the dungeon..where they might actually make a difference.

First, it makes no sense for Region F to be locked away at all...it was originally a prison for minor demons and it was not a major bastion of celestial power. The text in Region B implies the celestials were actually trying to seal up Region B...but then why did they leave the key on the wrong side of the locked doors? Also...what's the point of only sealing the passages between B and F while leaving all other passages open? It's entirely possible to stumble on Region F (by going north from Region A into Region E then east to F) before reaching B. 

It also doesn't make much sense from a balance perspective. The suggested path seems to go A-B-C-F....but C is for levels 7-9 and so is F. And you can't get the key from C without going through almost the whole region anyway. So by the time you get the key and retrace your steps to open up Region F you've already hit level 8 or 9...so F won't be much of a challenge. In fact, it's more likely that you'll never run into the key at all (it's very well hidden) and will instead probably hit Region G then maybe F (at which point you'll be at least 10th level...and F will presumably be a cakewalk). 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nerd Rap


It's always good to see nerds who are willing to go much, much farther than you to celebrate gaming. It gives you hope for the future of the hobby while still making you feel like a more sane and stable individual by comparison. Very fun stuff.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Improving the World's Largest Dungeon: Region B Intro

I'm going to be gone for the next several days on a trip to visit NJ's relatives. Before I go I figured I'd leave you with some material for my "Improving the WLD" project, getting started on Region B (also known as "lots and lots of goblins. Also traps." 

Fortunately there's less of the insanely overpowered magical traps that we saw in Region A and by this time the PCs should be about 3rd to 4th level depending on how much of Region A they've explored. 

Backstory
 This region suffers from the opposite problem of Region A. Where A had almost no discernible backstory and thus did not seem to fit in with the rest of the dungeon Region B has lots of backstory...it's just not very good. The whole "gobliniod factions fighting over the region" angle is fairly interesting but there's lots of holes. 

The biggest is the new goblin religion that's swept through the region. Religious fanatics have overthrown the goblin king and have started to brutally subjugate the hobgoblin and bugbear camps that share the region. What inspired this mad devotion to a new god? They found a statue that wasn't there before. This statue is a goblin hunter who was turned to stone by a Cockatrice from Region C (which was apparently capable of opening two secret doors between this room and its own lair). They then took this statue to be new god and began to worship it. 

So let's look at that premise...the goblins (who are just as intelligent as humans keep in mind) are worshiping a statue of another goblin. Not a giant goblin, or a goblin dressed as a conquering warrior, or a statue capable of manifesting any supernatural effects...but a regular-sized goblin with an expression of fear and terror on its face and dressed like it was in life (i.e. regular leathers and probably not very well-kept ones). For the sake of this statue (only notable for its sudden appearance and lifelike design) they split apart their kingdom, overthrew their king and changed their entire way of life. 

Now the one thing that makes this something other than utter nonsense is the fact that the goblin's new king is in fact a doppleganger and thus extremely charismatic by goblin standards. With his social skills and shapechanging ability I could see him pulling off a successful coup...but a new religion based around the worship of a statue? On top of that there are exactly two goblins in this region with divine spellcasting abilities and they both are on the side of the goblin rebels. That means the goblins kicked out the people capable of performing actual miracles (and their only healers) to worship a completely unresponsive statue. 

Even worse is the fact that the goblin kingdom is located in the southwest of Region B. The statue of their new god is located in the northeast. First...how exactly did a goblin hunter end up on the opposite side of the region? And how did his stone body get found by other goblins? In fact, if you trace out of the path from the goblin kingdom to the statue they supposedly worship you find that it passes right through Bugbear territory, through a room called The Passage of Death and another called The Killing Grounds (described as the most dangerous room in the entire region). Topping it all off is the fact that there are least three other statues (B16, B 34 and B45) that are actually impressive and supernatural.

So, no matter how you look at it this makes no damn sense. So let's see if we can fix it. 

Better Backstory

I actually like the goblin civil war. It gives the region a sort of dynamic feel and gives more factions to mix things up. However as it stands it makes no sense.

So instead let's switch some things around. First the contents of rooms B16 (actually marked on the map as B17) and B45. This means that near the goblin kingdom is a statue of a celestial (lets say a Leonal or a Hound Archon, something majestic but semi-beastial). The inscription on the statue is in Celestial and is thus gibberish to all goblins (although it's impressive looking). The statue does not summon guardians but it does inflict a Fear effect on any evil-aligned creatures that approach...which makes it even more impressive to goblins (who're used to fearing their gods and leaders). It does not however summon reinforcements.

The room was normally locked beyond the means of any goblins in the region to open. However Argliss, using his vest of escape, managed to get the room open and (after realizing the potential value) manufactured a key that he wears around his neck. He begin bringing in goblins in various guises, showing them the chamber and impressing them with the fearsome power of this "new god" Eventually he determined that enough goblins were smitten by this new religion and (using his shapechanging ability and some carefully made props) he put on an appearance as the new god (using his necklace of fireballs to create a good entrance) and ousts the goblin king. After suitably impressing his new subjects he retreats to his shrine and announces the arrival of Argliss the new goblin king. Once out of sight he changes shape to a particularly impressive goblin specimen and assumes control. 

Occasionally he will have worship sessions where the goblin king goes alone to commune with the "god" and then the god himself appears to speak to his subjects. These appearances, combined with Argliss's mind-reading abilities (which allows him to easily ferret out subversive goblins) have suitably cowed both the goblins and hobgoblins in the region. Only the bugbears and goblin rebels stick to the old ways. 

Problem #2 Bartleby and The Artifact

This subplot is another aspect of this Region that is riddled with holes. 

First we're told two contradictory stories about the "Artifact" One is that it belonged to Argliss and he somehow lost possession of it during his rise to power (how this happened is never explained). In this scenario Argliss does not consider the artifact essential but does want it back and wants it out of the hands of his enemies. The second story is that it belonged to the goblin king and Argliss' entire coup was done simply to try and take possession of the artifact. However, he still does not seem to know where it is (which is odd considering he's a damn mind-reader. How did the goblin king keep that information from him?). Since the second doesn't make much sense at all, we'll go with the first explanation. 

Now, Argliss has recruited a halfling rogue by the name of Bartleby to find and retrieve this artifact for him. How exactly he and Bartleby ever met and came to this arrangement is unexplained. But it is stated that Bartleby has no intention of actually bringing the artifact back to Argliss. Which makes this whole thing pretty odd when you consider that again Argliss is a mind-reader and has access to a much more numerous and loyal source of aid in the form of his fanatical followers. 

It's also stated that apparently Bartleby knows a way in and out of the dungeon. What? Isn't the entire point that no one gets in and out? How is he the exception? And what's to stop the players from getting that information from him? The character description claims that Bartleby refuses to answer any questions if captured (which doesn't make much sense) but there's a variety of ways to circumvent that available even to good-aligned characters (charm person being the simplest and fastest). The writers seem to think that just by saying he won't cooperate means that they can avoid any problems involved here. 

In fact, Bartleby's whole attitude is odd. He's a halfling rogue with no magical equipment to speak of...why would he ever try to deal with the PCs in a hostile manner? He certainly can't run away (the text claims he thinks he can...but he's a halfing which means a speed of 20 feet and most of this Region is pretty straightforward hallways...he'll be caught easily). He certainly can't fight (even if the PCs were still somehow first level they could easily take on a 5th level halfling rogue in a stand-up fight). The only strategy that would make any sense is to either avoid the PCs entirely or (if caught) act friendly and nice and vanish at the first opportunity (say when they're distracted by a fight). 

The artifact is the second part of the problem. The writers had an opportunity here to come up with something interesting and useful for the PCs (who at this point are probably starved for magic items). Instead they simply tell you to come up with an item of your choice. They do provide a list of a few possible items...but they're all absolutely terrible. The suggestions are:

Golem Manual (clay): A clay golem manual...where is anyone in the dungeon going to get the half-ton of clay needed to create a golem? Or the 1,500 gp in rare ingredients? Even if those materials were somehow available there's only two clerics in the Region, one is third level and the other is 1st...why would anyone be looking for this item? It's useless to absolutely everyone (PCs included). 

Medallion of Thoughts: Argliss can already read thoughts...so why did he ever have this object and why is he looking for it back? 

Necklace of Adaptation: How is this worth all the trouble either Bartleby or Argliss are expending to get it? It mentions that this would be useful for Region L...but that doesn't explain why anyone here in B wants it. 

Pendant of Undead Turning: Again...there are two Clerics in this region. Both are evil and thus cannot turn Undead. Neither Argliss nor Bartleby nor the original goblin king could turn undead...so why is this worth anything to anyone here? 

The only possibly useful device is the Rod of Cancellation but do not use this option. The WLD is already starving your PCs of magic items...don't give them a magic item whose only purpose is to deny them potential loot. 

Solution #2

Now the simplest solution is simply to excise this subplot entirely. It has no real impact on plot for the Region (assuming you ignore the idea that it's the entire reason behind Argliss' rise to power) and ultimately serves no real necessary purpose. Bartleby can be kept as simply a wandering jerk in the dungeon (trapped just like the PCs) or he can be removed easily as well. 

Now if you want to keep it here are my suggestions:

First, Bartleby does not know a way out of the dungeon. He's trapped here just like anyone else. In fact Argliss has (falsely) promised him a map out as part of his reward for acquiring the artifact. This means Bartleby does intend to return it to Argliss (or at least will try and steal the non-existent map before fleeing). He'll also attempt to stealthily hide from any PCs he runs into but if discovered he'll play nice long enough to either flee when they're occupied with a significant fight or steal their valuables before taking off while they sleep. 

As far as the nature of the artifact...the most obvious choice would be a +1 Goblin Bane weapon (best option would be a Heavy Mace or Shortspear since just about everyone can use those). A Goblinoid Bane item in the hands of a skilled warrior could easily shift the balance of power in the region. If the hobgoblins got it maybe they decide they should be the ones calling the shots in their alliance with the goblins, if the bugbears get it they could probably take back most of their lost territory, if it's in the hands of the goblin rebels then the new goblin king could be overthrown. In the hands of Argliss he could crush his enemies. And of course in the hands of the PCs it makes a very potent short-term weapon which in the long term will not be unbalancing. 

Alternatively a good option might be a figurine of wondrous power, a suit of +1 Invulnerability armor (best if it's something light, maybe a chain shirt) or a cloak of charisma (certainly useful to Argliss or goblins attempting to overthrow him). 

As far as where the item is I'd recommend putting it in the hands of Klibb (room B110, sent by the rebel goblins to retrieve it but got lost trying to avoid Holy Empire Goblins and Bartleby) or Rememberer (B105. Has the artifact secretly but is reluctant to hand it over until he can be sure it will be given to someone worthy...also afraid of making the civil war even worse). 


Those two issues are far from the only problems with this region but the rest will wait until I can put together a room-by-room fix


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Random


Something me and NJ found at a thrift store yesterday. We knew it needed to decorate our walls.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Lord of Blades

I've been caught up reading the latest Terry Pratchett book, Snuff, so I haven't had much time to think about things to post. So I figured I'd post my version of the Lord of Blades to pass the time:

click for full size
Pretty close to the original design, but modified to make him look less like a psychotic can opener. This is in keeping with my personal take on the Lord of Blades. In my campaign I'm hoping to make him a more sympathetic and reasonable antagonist rather than his original "robo-Hitler" characterization.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Damn The Internet

http://vimeo.com/16373667

The internet will always make you feel unoriginal. Me and NJ had always hoped to have Bruce Campbell officiate our wedding...but even if we pulled that off I don't know if it would ever be this good. I especially love the father of the bride. THAT's family support right there.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Awesome RPG Papercrafts

For a long time I was a big fan of papercrafts. I've still got several bins full of little paper minis and terrain stashed away. I've since moved to using Maptools as a digital tabletop. However, papercraft is still a lot of fun and can be a great tool for people who like physical minis. I've been browsing papercraft collections and I figured I'd provide a set of links to a various great RPG-able (and free) papercrafts out there:


http://minipapermodels.blogspot.com/ This is a papercraft blog dedicated to RPG minis and it has some really great stuff, the latest being a set of elementals (I especially like the air elemental).






http://www.onemonk.com/downloads One Monk has some really great miniatures and a terrific gallery of free papercraft models. The Cthulhu model (pictured) is one of my favorites but they also have a great dwarven steam tank and a purple worm that are equally impressive.




http://www.combatstorm.com/download.html Some modern buildings that work great for military games, superheroes or urban fantasy.

http://www.germy.co.uk/fprpg.htm Some simple, easy-to-make and quick dungeon and structure models.

http://www.wargamevault.com/index.php?filters=0_40209_0&free=1 a good selection of random, free terrain/buildings

http://www.buildmodelcastles.com/html/castles.html castles built from toothpicks, wood and paper

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/fpm/archive some really high quality buildings from WoTC

http://papermau.blogspot.com/2011/06/deskto... a huge and very impressive castle with plenty of other material throughout the site

One of the best general resources for papercraft on the net is http://papercraftparadise.blogspot.com/. It's not RPG specific but it's a great source of models and is updated with new material constantly.

Of course if you're looking for really high quality papercraft models and are willing to pay a bit then http://www.worldworksgames.com/store/ is probably the biggest and best papercraft store I've run into.

RPG Blog Carnival October: The Importance of Branding


For my players loot is a big part of the game. They love their toys and will go to great lengths to get their hands on powerful or interesting new treasures. However, their treasures tend to fall into two categories. Much of their equipment is expendable and will be tossed aside (or recycled) the moment they find something with a bigger +X. However, there is other equipment they'll keep through thick and thin even when it becomes long obsolete.

One way to help make sure loot falls into the second category is branding. I'm not talking about just covering a shield in glowing runes or tacking gems all over a sword. Decorations are nice but what's important is to give those decorations meaning. A +3 Shield covered in glowing runes is just going to get tossed aside when you find a +4 shield. However, dropping a coat of arms on the shield and it suddenly gains a history and a connection with the rest of the campaign setting.

Symbols exist to impart meaning. The crest on a shield clutched in the hands of a skeletal corpse lets you know the owner was a Knight of the Hammer and that he died far, far from home. Both the shield and the corpse itself suddenly become more than just a bit of dungeon dressing. And the bloody knife found on a man's corpse could just be a murder weapon...but with a seal on the handle it could be a message that the Laughing Knives Assassins were not completely wiped out during their last confrontation with the PCs.

One thing to keep in mind is that in most fantasy settings there is no industrialization. That means just about every significant object (and it doesn't get more significant than magical items) probably has a maker's mark and anything worthy of being transformed into a powerful magical item was probably created by a well known smith. Marking loot items is the easiest way to give an item connections with the rest of the world's history and culture. A dwarven fighter with a magic hammer will probably consider it just another piece of gear but if that hammer was forged by a famed smith in his clan's ancestral homeland then things might be different. At the very least something like this might receive an honored place above a mantlepiece rather than a being sold off to help buy extra healing potions. 

The symbolism of an object can be even more powerful than its enchantments. A +1 cloak of resistance may be just another minor magic item in a character's arsenal...but if that cloak is the badge of an elite fighting force then wearing it will make a statement. The same effect can work in reverse. A character may be tempted by the power of a piece of loot taken from an enemy...but the trappings and symbols of a dark religion or wicked organization can cause complications. 
This can also be a great technique for world-building. GMs don't always have time to come up with a history for every magic item...but it's not hard to just sketch out a simple symbol or mark to place on the item or even a quick coat of arms. A mysterious symbol is just the sort of thing to provoke investigation or research and (after you've had time to actually think about what the heck it means) it could lead to a new character, a new organization or even a new country.

This isn't just limited to games set in the fantastic past either. In modern or futuristic games branding is even more important. For one thing it helps keep a sense of realism (consider how hard it is to escape logos and branding on your own things) but if you use real-world brands it can get an immediate reaction from your players. Knowing that they've got the latest iGun (mp3 player, phone and laser pistol) may provoke either excitement or contempt depending on their personal attitudes. 

Give this approach a try next time you give your PCs some loot and want to make sure it's not just going to be used up and tossed aside.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tales Of The Real

An interesting idea I had the other day: campaign hooks culled from real world places or events. Many times you don't need fiction to make the world a bizarre, disturbing place. So for these posts I'll provide some info on a strange real-world event or place and some plot hook ideas that could be used for urban fantasy, conspiracy, etc. 

I used to live in Memphis, in fact I lived there my whole life until a few years ago. The other day I remembered an unusual rumor about one of the city's most distinctive landmarks the Pyramid Arena. The rumor basically claimed that a skull had been hidden in the foundation of the pyramid by the builder for occult purposes. I actually did a little bit of online research and I found out that the story is more or less true. 

The Pyramid was built in 1991 and about a year later a maintenance man noticed a small black box attached to the top of the structure. The box was cut off and taken down. When it was opened the box was found to contain a carved crystal skull. 

It was quickly learned that the skull was placed there by Isaac Tigrett, son of the Pyramid's patron, and a devotee of eastern mysticism. Supposedly the skull had manifested in the hands of guru Śri Sathya Sai Baba and given to Tigrett. He paid workmen to install the box in the rafters of the arena. 

Campaign Ideas:

1) The Pyramid is already a powerful symbol. A metal and glass pyramid (the 6th largest in the world) on the banks of a mighty river and the city of Memphis (named after the ancient Egyptian city). The site produces all sorts of sympathetic resonance with the magic of the ancient Egyptians. The skull is actually an exact replica of the skull of an ancient pharoah and the ritual to place it in the pyramid was intended to use that resonance to capture the spirit of that ancient king...although the reason remains a mystery. 

2) The skull is not of Egyptian or Indian origin, but South American. It is one of the Mayan crystal skulls and although the Pyramid Arena might appear to be based on Egyptian designs it's underlying structure and geomancy are actually based on Mayan divine architecture.And if it isn't returned by 2012 who knows what will happen?

3) The skull was created as the focus for a mystical ward, designed to protect the structure. With the skull taken out the Pyramid has suffered a seemingly endless stream of "curses" and even now is practically abandoned. Returning the skull is probably far too late, but it is still a powerful tool of good luck and positive magic. 

4) The Pyramid was built as a sports arena and the skull was actually created as an emotional "battery". It would sit in the pyramid and the energy and emotional resonance of the crowds below would flow upward and be absorbed, creating a power supply of immense proportions. 

5) The skull is not magical, in fact the Pyramid itself is actually a gigantic transmitter built on designs given to the ancient Egyptians by aliens. The skull would have served as the perfect focusing lens to the transmitter.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Tomb of Horrors: Ultimate Edition

After the failed attempt to run the Order through the Tomb of Horrors I decided to do something constructive with all the conversion material I had created. So I slapped together a PDF of the Tomb of Horrors converted to Pathfinder rules. Also included are rules for running it with Savage Worlds and PDQ.

You can download the PDF right here

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Things I Think About Things: Thor

Just saw Thor last night (I'm terribly slow when it comes to catching movies. Last movie I saw in theaters was Sucker Punch) and quite enjoyed it. I like the tendency I'm seeing with Thor and Iron Man for Marvel's movies to focus on just being fun. Not funny or silly but just enjoyable. It's a hard quality to define, sort of like the movie equivalent of a game of tag: a bit of excitement, some tension and a feeling of enjoyable exhilaration. Thor has less comedic moments than Iron Man but that's probably for the best. If you make things too funny then you begin to realize just how ridiculous all the Asgardians look. It's a refreshing change of pace from past comic-movies (and movies in general) which focus heavily on superhuman angst and drama.

Be warned, spoilers ahead.

I'm especially impressed with how the movie handled its antagonists. The SHIELD agents who swoop in, confiscate equipment, arrest Thor and otherwise get in the way are never shown as incompetent or malicious. In fact some of them (especially their leader agent Coulson) are downright likable. I even found myself kind of liking Loki, which was very surprising. You actually find yourself applauding some of his clever lies and misdirections and that's a great trait to have in a villain. Hopefully it's something they keep in future movies. 

The movie wasn't flawless by any means. I wish there was more Thor being the God of Thunder rather than learning what it's like to be mortal. The fight with the Ice Giants near the beginning was fun (although the Ice Giants blend in so much with the background that it can be hard to see what's going on) and a great way to establish just how powerful Thor is. However the fight with the Destroyer was basically a non-event. It could have been a good opportunity for Thor's Asgardian sidekicks to show off how badass they can be but they just end up getting thrown around like ragdolls until Thor gets his power back and treats the Destroyer the same way. Thor's fight with Loki is more intense and extended but it takes place on a giant glowing bridge in space and without an environment to interact with there's little to give us a sense of power or scale to the conflict, especially since neither of them use much in the way of flashy moves.

The obligatory love interest is also annoying, mostly because there is absolutely nothing interesting about their relationship. They meet and fall in love in the course of a day or two. If they had played with the nature of the relationship a bit more they might have managed to create something worth watching. Maybe a hot-blooded god like Thor can easily fall madly in love with a mortal woman upon meeting her (fits the mythology for most gods after all) while things move far, far faster than she is used to. Or perhaps Thor's godlike charisma means that the mortal woman is instantly smitten with him while he remains relatively aloof (after all he's thousands of years old and she'll be dead in scant decades). But having the two of them just fall into one another's hearts makes it just another bad Hollywood romance. She's supposedly a scientist as well but you never see her do anything resembling it. She drives a car, she looks at some photos, she occasionally says the words "Einstein-Rosen Bridge". That's it. In fact, she doesn't actually do anything at all, she's not even the one who gets him out of SHIELD custody after he's captured. She seems to exist purely to kiss Thor before he leaves and make him sad when he can't go back to see her. I find the relationship between Thor and the senior scientist Erik Selvig much more interesting as he slowly begins to realize that legends are coming to life before his eyes. 

But like I said overall I definitely enjoyed the movie and would recommend it for any comic fan or anyone who's looking to run a high-powered fantasy RPG (if you're playing Exalted and you need to explain the First Age to your players, just show them Asgard).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

More Savage Powers

Since I've been considering switching my Eberron campaign from Pathfinder to Savage Worlds I've been giving some thought to the Powers of various characters. So these are some new Savage Worlds powers derived from Pathfinder and Eberron spells:

Jack

Jack is a sorcerer, so he matches up pretty well with SW's standard Magic AB. However as a 10th level character he's starting to get access to powers beyond the power level of the average Savage Worlds spells. So here's some of his powers in SW form:

Phantasmal Killer
Rank: Heroic
Power Points:10
Range: Smarts x2
Duration: Instant

  This power shows the target a vision of their greatest fear and magnifies it until it overwhelms them with sheer terror. The target must make a Spirit roll. Extras who fail the roll suffer an instant heart attack and become Incapacitated and will die in 2d6 rounds. Wild Cards must make a roll on the Fear Table and a Vigor roll. On a failure they become Incapacitated. If the spellcaster achieves a raise on the spell then these trait rolls suffer a -2 penalty.

Vampiric Touch 
Rank: Veteran
Power Points: 6
Range: Self
Duration: 3 (1/rnd)

  The sorcerer can deliver a deadly, draining touch. They may make a Touch Attack (+2 to the Fighting roll) and on a success the victim must make a Vigor roll (at -2 if the spell was cast with a Raise) or suffer a Wound. If the spell Wounds a target the spellcaster may make an immediate Healing roll to recover their own injuries.

Boneshatter 
Rank: Veteran
Power Points: 4/6
Range: Smarts
Duration: Instant

  This spell causes a victim's bones to quiver and break. This inflicts 2d6 damage (3d6 for 6 Power Points) to any target with bones or exoskeleton. Since the spell targets the target's body directly it ignores all armor. For every Wound suffered by a living target this spell also inflicts a point of Fatigue that can be recovered with 5 minutes of rest.

Shadow Evocation
Rank: Heroic
Power Points: variable.
Range: variable
Duration:variable

  This potent spell allows the mage to weave an evocation from illusion and shadowstuff. This can be used to emulate any of the following Powers: Barrier (damaging versions) Bolt, Burst, Blast, Damage Field and Jet. Shadow Evocation has a Range and Duration identical to the spell it emulates and a Power Point cost equal to twice the original Power's cost (so throwing 3 2d6 Bolts would cost 6 PP). These Powers can have whatever trappings that the mage chooses so long as they represent raw, physical damage. Because the spells are actually carefully woven, quasi-real illusion any effect that allows the victim to see through illusions will cause them to be completely immune to the spell. In addition objects obviously do not perceive the illusion so the powers cannot inflict any damage to inanimate objects.


Sahath

 Sahath is an Inquisitor, a pretty specific character archetype but in Savage Worlds that mostly boils down to Edge choice and Powers purchased. So here's some Powers that I think will help her make the transition.

Bane
Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 2
Range: Touch
Duration: 3 (1/round)

  This is a variation on the Smite spell but keyed to specific target. When casting the spell the caster must choose a general category of creature (such as elf, giant, dragon, etc) and enchants the weapon to be particularly deadly against such beasts. The caster receives a +1 bonus to all Fighting, Shooting or Throwing rolls with the enchanted weapons when using it against the designated creature type. In addition the weapon's damage increases against the designated target, +3 to damage or +6 on a Raise.

Warrior of Judgement
Rank:Seasoned
Power Points: 5
Range: Self
Duration: 3 (1/rnd)

  The caster becomes an instrument of divine judgement, enhancing their combat abilities immensely. When casting this spell pick any two of the following Traits: Strength, Agility, Vigor, Fighting, Shooting, Throwing. The chosen Traits increase by one die type or two on a Raise.

Searing Light
Rank: Novice
Power Points: 1-6
Range: 12/24/48
Duration: Instant

 This variation on Bolt produces a streak of burning holy light. Instead of the standard Bolt damage it inflicts 2d4 (or 3d4) damage. However if it is used against the undead it is exceptionally effective, inflicting 2d8 (or 3d8) damage.

Magnus

 Artificers have a big advantage in that they can use different trappings for their powers on the fly. A Smite spell might wreath a weapon in flames or it might give it a supernaturally keen edge...whatever the artificer chooses. Here are some new powers that fit the idea of Eberron's artificers.

Rod of Blasting
Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 1-6
Range: 12/24/48
Duration: 5 minutes (1/minute)

  This spell imbues raw destructive energy into a rod, staff or similar object. When the spell is cast up to six power points can be "stored" in the rod to be unleashed later as a bolt of force. When "firing" the rod the user chooses how many power points (up to 3) to unleash at once. The bolt is fired using Shooting and inflicts 1d8 damage for every Power Point invested in the bolt. If the spell ends with power points still in the rod they dissipate harmlessly.

Make Whole
Rank: Novice
Power Points: variable
Range: Touch
Duration: Instant

  This is a spell that repairs damage to objects, constructs and living constructs. When used on small objects or minor breaks (such as a broken axle) it simply fuses the pieces back into a single piece. When dealing with Vehicles or Wild Card constructs it removes a Wound, or two on a Raise. The casting roll suffers a penalty equal to the wound penalty of the object or creature being repaired.
  Make Whole can be done at any time. It costs 5 Power Points plus the Size of the object or creature being repaired.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

RPGTropes: How Cliched is your campaign?

Like just about anyone with an internet connection and too much free time I'm horribly addicted to wiki-walking my way through places like Tv Tropes. Of course the site covers not just tropes for TV but also books, movies and role-playing games. So I decided to waste even more time and put myself to a test and see just how many cliches are in my game and how many I subvert, invert, avert or otherwise 'vert.

This will cover my current campaign with the Order of Magnitude.



An Adventurer Is You: Of course, it's built right into the Pathfinder/D&D rules.
Absolute Xenophobe Subverted. The Lord of Blades certainly appears to be one but is actually acting out of perceived necessity rather than simply hatred of humanity.
AI Is A Crapshoot  Xulu. The Lord of Blades. Magnus. In fact I think there are more insane artificial sentients than there are sane ones.
Bag of Holding: One of the first magic items Magnus built was a Handy Haversack for each PC.
Become A Real Boy  Inverted, Magnus
Big Bad
Character Alignment: Also built into the rules, although frequently ignored.
Character Level
City Of Adventure
Cool Airship Despite their best efforts the Order has yet to get ahold of one.  
Critical Hit
Cut The Juice The main tactic for defeating the giant warforged in Xendrik 
Damage Reduction
Demi Humans  Jack, Nolan and Sahath are the only humans in a 7 person party.
Descriptively Named Species Warforged. Shifters
Dungeon Crawling  Cannith's Whitehearth facility, sewers under sharn and a giant temple in Xendrik.
Dungeon Master's Girlfriend  Subverted. NJ's characters are often the focus of many storylines but that usually just means more horrible things happen to them.
Dying Race  Semi-subversion. The Warforged are the youngest sentient race by far. But they're also dying out. It's illegal to create new warforged and thus the race will eventually die out as violence or misfortune kills them off. The justification for the Lord of Blade's war against humanity. Also an example of Immortal Procreation Clause
Emergent Human The warforged.
The Evil Army  The forces of both the Emerald Claw and the Lord of Blades.
Evil Weapon The Soul Blade
Experience Points
Familiar Magnus's homunculus: little M. Also an example of Our Homunculi Are Different
Face Heel Turn As of the last session Magnus has pulled a full-on Vader and switched sides to the Lord of Blades.
Fantastic Light Source  Nolan is always concerned about lighting and makes sure to pack sunrods, everbright lanterns and continual flame scrolls.
Fantastic Racism The warforged, both as victims and bigots.
Fantasy Character Classes
Five Bad Band  The Lord of Blades is the Big Bad, Stonefist is his Dragon while Athame serves as the Evil Genius. Shiv is the Dark Chick and The Iron Chaplain is The Brute. Magnus has recently joined as a possible Sixth Ranger Traitor.
Five Man Band All over the place. Glorin and Pax are both classic Big Guys, Shara's definitely The Chick. Both Jack and Magnus could be considered The Smart Guy. Both Nolan and Sahath would work well as The Lancer but neither have a Hero to contrast. Little M is the Team Pet.  
Flash Back A living spell in the Mournlands causes the PCs to experience the last day of life of a group of agents sent to the Whitehearth facility during the Last War.
Game Master That would be me!
Grand Tabletop Rules List Mostly #2 because no one every follows #1. Rules 3-11 are mostly averted. Rule 12 is dead on.
Groin Attack  Subduing a dire ape to prove themselves to the Black Lanterns.
Golem  Jack's "Nurse" a modified alchemical golem. The warforged are also based on the original golem legend: an ancient giant religious text is part of the construction process and is imbedded in their heads.
Hellhound The Hounds of Karnath, Fiendish Magebred Advanced Vampire Wolves. Definitely of the Hunter type.
Hologram  The first time the PCs see the Lord of Blades he is taking the form of an illusionary projection speaking with one of his lieutenants
Hostage For MacGuffin The necromancer Malvora of Vol held an NPC party member hostage in exchange for the character's piece of the Xulu Schema. Turned out that the NPC was in cahoots all along.
In and Out of Character
Kill All Humans The Lord of Blades and his minions.
Killer Game Master  Averted, I've often been told I'm actually far too nice a GM, especially from NJ.
Lawful Stupid Chaotic Stupid Averted and played straight. Nolan, a LG monk, has engaged in kidnapping, interrogation and (limited) piracy without endangering his alignment. Magnus (CN) will jump down any hole he can find and often engages in whatever behavior seems most insane.
Level Drain Lucan and the Hounds of Karnath.
Linear Warriors Quadratic Wizards Averted. Magnus, being an artificer, should be able to handle just about any problem in every situation. However unless reminded by another PC he will inevitably forget half of his infusions exist. Nolan on the other hand due to feat choice and cunning magic item selection tackles many challenges with annoying ease.
Luck Manipulation Mechanic Action Points.
Mad Oracle The elven hobo whose behavior ranges from serious prophet of mystery to downright looney. Ironically, although he doesn't explain his prophecies they've been straightforward (but ignored).
Mad Scientist  Magnus of course. Merrix D'Cannith is another as well as the nameless head of the Whitehearth facility.
Made Of Phlebotinum
Magic Knight Magnus
Magitek  Just about everywhere, but especially Cannith's Whitehearth facility and the warforged.
Mecha-Mooks  The flawed, prototype Warforged footsoldiers produced by the Lord of Blades
Mechanical Monster A pair of Warforged Dragons found in Cannith's Whitehearth facility.
MegaCorp House Cannith
Mithril Glorin's armor and Magnus's plating.

NonPlayer Character
Our Dwarves Are All The Same Glorin is a sterling example. He carries two axes of different sizes, wears heavy armor, drinks heavily, hates elves and even has a crossbow that shoots small circular axe-heads.
Off The Rails All the time. Surprisingly they somehow seem to end up in the same place in the end though.
Player Archetypes Glorin is a Real Man through and through, Nolan's The Roleplayer who tries to resist his Munchkin tendencies. Magnus is a Looney.
Player Character
Player Party
Plot Coupon The Xulu Schema components. Also MacGuffin
Power Fist  Magnus and his Overload feat. Stonefist.
Precursors  The giants of Xendrik, creators of the original Warforged.
Prestige Class Jack's Blood Magus prestige class.
Quest Giver Most of the adventures the Order goes on have come from their relationship with House Cannith.
Random Number God Nolan's player doesn't allow anyone to touch his dice and there are often various debates on the best way to roll dice to avoid bad rolls. It's also generally agreed that dice borrowed from me are 'jinxed' so this is only done as a last resort.
RolePlaying Game Terms
Rules Conversions The artificer class (and their infusions) as well as a handful of prestige classes from 3.5 to Pathfinder.
Rule Zero
Screw Destiny  The Order's attitude when they meet the Elven Hobo.
Set A Mook To Kill A Mook A very memorable recently example: the party lures a band of giant apes directly into an archeological expedition run by the emerald claw. Fur was flying.
Super Soldiers  The Warforged. Karnathi undead.
The Medic Subverted by D&D standards. Jack, the party's healer, is a necromancer sorcerer who uses surgery and his dragonmark of healing.
The Quest 
The Six Stats
Sliding Scale Of Turn Realism Round by Round.
Squishy Wizard Jack is the trope played straight, Magnus is a subversion.
Treacherous Quest Giver

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Savage Eberron Finale

Powers

For the most part the Arcane Backgrounds in Eberron may be unchanged.

Wizards and Sorcerers
Wizards and Sorcerers use Arcane Background (Magic) or Arcane Background (Ritual Magic).

Divine Spellcasters 
Divine spellcasters of course have AB (miracles) however in Eberron there are no sins. However if the caster rolls a 1 on their Faith dice they suffer a crisis of faith which drops their Faith trait by one die type until they next successfully perform a miracle. If Faith is dropped below 1d4 then the caster cannot perform a miracle again until they successfully atone (in whatever way is appropriate to their faith). Divine spellcasting also requires an object of faith: a holy symbol, prayer book or something similar.


Bards
You may use the Troubador version of AB (miracles) or simply assume that a bard is a character who happens to be a skilled performer and has also dabbled in some form of magic, taking AB (magic) or (ritual magic).

Monks
Monks use the Chi Mastery Arcane Background from Deadlands. Essentially it functions like Super Powers but with some additional benefits and limitations. First Chi Mastery grants 2 Powers when purchased and while each Power requires its own skill the character automatically receives a score of d4 in that skill for free. However Chi Mastery only grants access to a small list of Powers. Powers marked with a * can only target the monk or their possessions but may be activated as a Free action.
Powers: Boost Trait*, Confusion (touch only, Spirit roll to resist), Deflection*, Draining Touch, Fly (via extreme leaps, balancing. must start and end each round on a solid surface)* Healing (self only), Lower Trait (touch only, -2 to resistance rolls), Quickness*, Smite* and Speed*.


Psionics
Psionics use the standard AB (Psionics).


Artificers
Artificers use their own Arcane Background (Infusions) and use the Magecraft (smarts) skill for casting. The Infusions AB functions much like the Blessed of the deadlands setting. Artificers do not choose Powers, instead they may draw from any powers that they are high enough rank to cast. However they suffer a -2 penalty per Rank of the power (-2 for novice, -4 for Seasoned, -6 for Veteran, etc). Artificers do pay the normal PP cost for their powers and they start with 15 PP. Infusing an object is also a slow process, artificers cannot take multiple actions on a round when they use an infusion and may only move half their Pace. 
  Infusions may only be used on objects or constructs, not creatures. When an artificer rolls a 1 on their Magecraft skill the power runs wild and the object suffers 1d10 damage per Rank of the power.

Powers:Armor, Boost Trait, Darksight, Deflection, Detect/Conceal Arcana, Environmental Protection, Farsight, Light, Quickness, Repair (functions as Healing but only affects objects or constructs, ignores the Golden Hour), Smite, Speed, Wall Walker, Warrior's Gift.

those with AB (infusions) may purchase the Mcgyver Edge (they may create objects with any Power they choose, not limited to standard infusions) as well as several others unique to them:

Artificer (Professional)
Requirements: Novice, AB (Infusions) Smarts d6+, Infusions d8+, Knowledge (occult) d8+, Repair d6+
  You receive a +2 bonus to your Repair skill and may use Repair to fix damaged magical items. When using an Infusion the base duration of the spell is doubled for every raise the character scores.

Master Magecraft
Requirements: Novice, AB (infusions), Smarts d8+, Infusions d6+
  You receive a +2 to all Magecraft rolls.

Rapid Infusions
Requirements: Novice, AB (Infusions), Smarts d8+, Infusions d8+
  Your infusions are faster and simply require a standard action and you may use multiple actions as normal.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Savage Eberron Part 2

Edges

Background Edges
 
Arcane Background
   Unlike other Background Edges you may purchase the Arcane Background Edge after character creation. It is also possible to purchase more than one Arcane Background but each has a separate "pool" of Power Points which can only be used for powers from that particular Arcane Background. When purchasing Edges like Extra Power, Extra Power Points, Rapid Recharge, etc the Edge must be purchased for a specific Arcane Background and only provides its benefit for that particular background. Information on the different Arcane Backgrounds in Eberron is found in the Powers section.   

Improved Plating
Requirements: Warforged
   You were built with superior materials which improves your natural armor. However the heavier plating can encumber you if you are not strong enough. 
  • Darkwood: Your armor bonus increases to +2. You suffer no additional encumbrance and your wooden body does not hinder druidic spellcasting and means you are not particularly vulnerable to effects that target metal. 
  • Mithral: Your armor bonus increases to +3. This adds 25 lbs of additional weight which cannot be removed. 
  • Adamantine: Your armor bonus increases to +4 and negates 1 point of AP. This adds an additional 60 lbs of weight which cannot be removed.
Elite Shifting
Requirements:  Shifter
   Your lycanthropic bloodline is exceptionally potent and when you are shifting the change is more noticeable and intense. When shifting the associated Attribute increases by 2 steps rather than just one and the duration is doubled. You also gain 1 point of armor against any non-silver weapons while shifting. 

Combat Edges

Fortification
Requirements: Veteran, Vigor d10+, Warforged
   You have purged all organic material from your system. You become a full Construct (increasing the bonus to recovering from Shaken by 1 and ignoring extra damage from called shots). However you can no longer benefit from any magical healing that is meant to work on living creatures or benefit from any ingested magical items or substances (such as potions). Your Charisma also decreases by 2. You still suffer Wound penalties (their joints and metal "muscles" are delicate enough to be hindered by damage) but the penalty is decreased by 1.
 
Powerful Charge
Requirements: Novice, Strength d8+, Fighting d6+
   If you Run and make a Fighting attack at the end of the Run (taking the normal multi-action penalty) then you inflict an additional 1d6 damage. 

Improved Powerful Charge
Requirements: Seasoned, Powerful Charge, Fighting d8+
   As above but the additional damage increases to +1d10

Unstoppable Juggernaut
Requirements: Seasoned, Powerful Charge, Warforged, Vigor 1d6+
   You may Run and make a Fighting attack you suffer no multi-action penalty, in fact if you move at least 6" you receive a +2 bonus to your Fighting roll. These benefits only apply if you move in a single straight line.

Professional Edges

Champion
   Champion functions normally, however those with the Druid edge (see below) may choose to use apply the benefits of the Champion Edge when battling creatures from Xoriat and those touched by its corruption. 

Druid
Requirements: Novice, AB (Miracles), Spirit d8+, Knowledge (nature) d8+
   Druids are spellcasters who call upon the forces of nature rather than gods. This edge represents initiation into one of the ancient druidic orders and access to the raw power of nature. Druids receive a +2 bonus to Knowledge (Nature) rolls and any Persuasion or Intimidate rolls made against natural animals. They also add the following spells to the available spell list for the normal Miracles Arcane Background: Beast Friend, Burrow, Elemental Manipulation, Entangle (plant based trappings) and Shapechange (natural animals only). They may also purchase the Barrier, Bolt and Blast powers with elemental rather than Holy trappings. In addition druids may choose a druidic order which grants additional benefits (a druid may choose to be unaffiliated but they lose any additional benefits). 
  • Ashbound: Associating with and aiding those with AB (Magic) is considered a sin. Tolerating the advance of civilization into natural territory is also sinful. You receive a +1 bonus to rolls made to resist Powers from that Arcane Background and +1 to toughness against damaging powers from the AB.
  • Child of Winter: You may add +2 to your Faith roll when casting Beast Friend and Shapechange so long as you are targeting or transforming into an insect or arachnid (normal or giant size). Children of Winter cannot use the spells Healing or Greater Healing and attempting to save the life of another is a sin.
  • Gatekeeper: When using an offensive Power against a being from Xoriat (or creatures warped by Xoriat) then you receive a +2 bonus to the Faith roll. Permitting the spread of Xoriat or the harmful influence of other planes on Eberron is a sin.
  • Greensingers: +2 to any Knowledge rolls related to other planes and +2 Charisma when dealing with creatures from other planes. It is a sin to attempt to sunder the connection between planes. 
  • Warden of the Woods: When fighting in a forest all attacks against you suffer a -1 penalty. +1 to Climbing and Swimming. Causing conflict between nature and civilization is sinful. 
Exorcist of the Silver Flame
Requirements: Seasoned, Spirit d8+, AB (Miracle), Holy Warrior, Faith d8+, Silver Flame worshiper.
   Silver Flame Exorcists are the greatest champions against demons and spirits of darkness. When using their Holy Warrior ability an Exorcist can spend an additional Power Point to inflict a -2 penalty to the target's Spirit roll. The Exorcist may also bless a particular weapon to serve the power of the Silver Flame. The weapon must be in the Exorcist's possession for at least 24 hours and the Exorcist can only have one such weapon at a time. The weapon is treated as magical and silver and receives a +1 bonus to damage in the Exorcist's hands.
 
Extreme Explorer
Requirements: Seasoned, Spirit d6+, Climbing d6+, Notice d6+ Survival d8+, Swimming d6+
   Extreme Explorers are dedicated to exploring the dark, lost places of Eberron. They receive +2 to Climbing and Swimming rolls and a +2 bonus to any Agility rolls to avoid hazards or traps (natural or man-made) and a +2 to Vigor rolls made to resist poisons and diseases. 

Weird Edges

Least Dragonmark
Requirements: Novice
  You have manifested a dragonmark somewhere on your body. The Dragonmark is effectively a minor Arcane Background which grants a single Power. Rather than using a Spellcasting skill the Dragonmark's Power may activated with a Spirit roll. You may select a single power from the Dragonmark's list and receive 10 Power Points which recharge at the normal rate. The Dragonmark also provides a bonus to a single Skill roll.  (note: on review there is barely any thematic difference between the Mark of Detection and the Mark of Finding and in a system without much granularity like Savage Worlds it becomes even harder to tell the difference. Thus for these purposes I am removing house Medani and simply assuming Tharashk fills both roles. Also restricting it to just Orcs because Humans have plenty already).
  • Finding (Orc): Detect X. You may select one substance, force or type of being (common examples are magic, metal, poison, undead, etc) when purchasing this Edge. The power functions as Detect Arcana except that it can be used to detect through barriers: (Smarts) feet of wood or dirt and (Smarts) inches of stone. More than an inch of metal blocks the power. It cannot be reversed to conceal. +1 to Notice.
  • Handling (Human): Beast Friend or Slumber (animals only). +1 to Riding.
  • Healing (Halflings): Heal or Succor. +1 to Heal.
  • Hospitality (Halflings): Unseen Servant (creates an invisible servant with a d4 in all Attributes and no skills, 1 PP, 1 hour duration/1 PP per additional hour) or purify food and drink (one meal's worth per PP, acts as a dispel against magical contamination). +1 to Persuasion. 
  • Making (Humans): Mending (see Powers) or Armor (only increases the Toughness of objects but duration is in hours rather than rounds). +1 to Repair. 
  • Passage (Humans): Speed or Summon Ally (can only summon horses or other riding animals). +1 to Survival.
  • Scribing (Gnomes): Arcane mark (1 PP, creates a permanent symbol), Speak Language or Whispering Wind (message of up to 25 words. Range is 1 mile per PP spent). +1 to a single Knowledge skill of choice.
  • Sentinel (Humans): Armor or Deflection. +1 to Intimidate. 
  • Shadow (Elf): Obscure (darkness) or Disguise. +1 on Investigation.
  • Storm (Half-Elf): Obscure (fog) or Gust of Wind (Burst but can only Shake. Shaken targets are knocked 1d4" away plus 1d4" for each Wound that would have been inflicted). +1 to Boating.
  • Warding (Dwarves): Arcane Lock (seals a door magically to all but designated targets. Increases Toughness by half Spirit. 3 PP. Permanent) or Alarm (creates a magical trap which creates either a loud noise. 1 PP per 1" area warded. Permanent or until triggered). +1 to Lockpicking.
Lesser Dragonmark
Requirements: Seasoned, Least Dragonmark
  Lesser Dragonmark functions allows you to select a new Dragonmark Power either a second power from the Least Dragonmark or a new Power from the list below. The power point supply for Dragonmark powers increases to 15 and the you gain a +1 bonus to Spirit rolls to activate your Dragonmark powers.
  • Finding: See Invisibility (2 PP. Duration 3 (1/rnd). Allows you to ignore invisibility or blurring Powers) or Locate Creature/Object (designate a specific creature, a specific object or a class of objects and it will provide a sense of the correct direction so long as the target is within 150 yards. 3 PP, duration 1 minute (1/minute)). 
  • Handling: Boost/Lower Traits (animals only) or Summon Ally (animals only). 
  • Healing: Boost Traits or Wound Transfer (5 PP. Suffer unsoakable Wounds to heal a like amount of Wounds to touched target.). 
  • Hospitality: Create Food and Water (2 PP per meal's worth of food) or Secure Shelter (as Environmental protection but shields and immovable Large Burst). 
  • Making: Creation (creates an object. Cost is per 5 pounds based on material 1 PP for wood, cloth or soft materials, 2 PP for stone, 3 PP for metal. duration: 1 hour plus base PP cost per additional hour) or Barrier (formed of physical materials).
  • Passage: Teleport or Levitate (as Flight but only allows movement up and down. PP cost is 2/4).
  • Scribing: Illusory Script (5 PP. Creates a special runic message that only specific targets can read. All others must make a Spirit roll at -2 or forget about the existence of the message entirely. Duration: Smarts days) or Relay Message (4 PP +1 PP per mile. Allows conversation between you and a willing, known subject. duration: 1 minute (1/minute)). 
  • Sentinel: Magic Resistance (4 PP. duration: 3 (1/rnd). grants Arcane Resistance or improved arcane resistance on a raise) or Barrier (glowing force wall). 
  • Shadow: Illusion (4 PP +size. Creates an illusion of a creature or object. Animating the illusion requires an action. Duration: 3 (1/rnd)) or Scrying (4 PP. Scries on a known or named target. Duration 3 (1/rnd)). 
  • Storm: Sleet Storm (6 PP. combines the effects of Obscure and Entangle) or Wind's Favor (3 PP. creates a strong wind which can help or hinder ships. +2 or -2 to pilot or boating rolls. Duration 1 hour (1/hour)). 
  • Warding: Concealment (works as Conceal Arcana but protects against any form of magical detection automatically. targets a single creature or object) or Warding Glyph (creates a magical trap. When triggered it explodes in a Small Burst for 3d6 damage. 10 PP. permanent until triggered). 
Greater Dragonmark
Requirements: Veteran, Lesser Dragonmark
  The power point supply for your Dragonmark increases to 20 PP and the bonus to your Spirit roll to activate the power increases by 1 to +2. You may choose a new Dragonmark Power from either the Least or Lesser list or from the list below.
  • Finding: True Seeing (5 PP. Duration: 3 (1/rnd). You are immune to any and all illusion-based effects). 
  • Handling: Growth (animals only).
  • Healing: Greater Healing
  • Hospitality: Heroes Feast (Functions as Boost Trait but benefits up to 1 person per PP spent. Duration is 8 hours and the feast takes 30 minutes to consume).
  • Making: Fabrication (constructs an object from raw materials instantly. Cost is per 50 pounds of the final object. 1 PP for wood, 4 PP for stone or 8 PP for metal). 
  • Passage: Fly or Greater Teleport (triple normal cost but distance is in units of 100 miles or 150 miles on a raise. Carrying multiple passengers also does not cause fatigue). 
  • Scribing: Sending (sends a message any distance to a known, named or described target of up to 50 words. The subject may respond in a like manner. -2 if the subject is on another plane. 10 PP).
  • Shielding: Invulnerability (10 PP. You may make a free Soak roll against all damage. Duration 3 (1/rnd). 
  • Shadow: Prying Eye (summons 1 invisible floating eye per PP. The eyes have all stats at a d4 and an Stealth and Notice skill of 1d12 and can fly at 12". All they see is transmitted back to the caster. Duration: 3 (1/rnd)) or Summon Ally (formed of illusion and shadowstuff). 
  • Storm: Control Weather (summons or disperses a specific weather phenomena over the next 10 minutes which lasts for 4d12 hours (this can Ace). Particularly rare or violent weather inflicts a -4 penalty. 20 PP).
  • Warding: Greater Warding Glyph (20 PP. The glyph can produce the effect of any other offensive spell that requires 6 PP or less. The spell is triggered when the trap is set off). 
Legendary Edges

Heir of Syberis
Requirements: Legendary, may not have a dragonmark already
   You manifest a Syberis Dragonmark of incredible power. You receive an additional Benny every session and you may activate your Dragonmark by spending a Benny. The effects of the dragonmark depend on the type:
  • Finding: You may determine the exact current location of an individual or object. No form of defense can block this detection. You must either have seen the creature or object or have a possession of theirs in hand.
  • Handling: You may summon a natural animal of enormous size. The animal is a Wild Card who has been subjected to Growth until they reach Size +6. The animal always has the Hardy trait and serves you loyally for 5 minutes. 
  • Healing: You automatically heal a single creature 2 wounds, cure the effects of a disease or poison or raise a single creature from the dead (so long as they have not been dead longer than 1 hour).
  • Hospitality: You may create an area of enforced peace, centered on you. The area is up to 20" in radius and anyone within the area or trying to harm a creature within the area must make a Spirit roll at -4 to go through with the action. Once someone in the area has been harmed it breaks the spell, otherwise it lasts for 1 hour. 
  • Making: You may make up to 500 pounds of organic materials, 250 pounds of stone or crystal, or 125 pounds of metal. The material lasts for one hour and can take any shape you wish. 
  • Passage: You may teleport yourself and up to your Spirit in additional passengers anywhere in the world so long as the destination is at least described accurately to you.
  • Scribing: You may create a special rune that lasts until touched or read. Once activated the character who activated the rune must make a Spirit roll at -2 or become instantly Incapacitated (rolling Vigor as normal). 
  • Sentinel: You may surround yourself in mystical armor. This raises Strength and Vigor by 2 steps and grants +4 armor and +4 to any rolls to resist magical effects. This lasts 10 minutes. 
  • Shadow: You may create an illusionary double woven from shadows. The double has identical stats except it is an Extra and it is Ethereal. The double cannot directly affect the physical world or manifest any powers that you may possess. While the double exists you cannot move or take any other actions and you can see and hear everything around the double. If the double is destroyed then you are Shaken.
  • Storm: You create a tremendous thunderstorm in the sky above you. Each round you may target any creature you can see with a lightning bolt (use Spirit in place of an attack sill). The bolt inflicts 3d6 damage. The storm endures for 10 minutes but you can only summon a number of bolts equal to your Spirit. 
  • Warding: You create a barrier of dazzling magical energy. This functions as a Barrier spell (the barrier has Spirit x2 1" sections) with a Toughness of 15 and Heavy Armor. The barrier also inflicts 2d8 damage to anyone who touches it. 

Next update will include powers and arcane backgrounds.