I have recently bought myself a miniature for the Xorn, a D&D monster which eats precious metals or minerals.
Basically this thing exists so a DM can mess with an adventuring party’s treasure. And I like oddball monsters, I really do.
Aside from that, I was recently reading Green Devil Face #4 and one of the articles (‘Wand of the Weird’) had a table for random effects a magic wand could do. One of them was the following:
“The subject’s eyes turn into gems worth
5,000gp each. The eyes function as normal
as long as they remain in the subject’s
Now… You can also insert that effect into a magic trap, a spell, a mutation, it doesn’t matter… What matters is that to someone who suddenly has gems for eyes, the Xorn has gone from being a nuisance to being a terrifying monster who wants to eat his eyes!!!
Just a quick post to share how I handle XP in my ‘Lamentations of the Flame Princess’ campaign.
I use the XP for monsters and treasure as given. At first I thought of using the XP for monsters from ‘Castles & Crusades’ but ended up realizing they’re actually pretty close on average, and truth be told LotFP’s is less hassle.
However, I have adopted some XP methods from ‘Castles & Crusades’ into the game. Not the one that gives XP to a player for owning magic objects though, that one I think is a bit weird. A ‘traditional’ magic object already makes you more powerful, why exactly should it also give you XP? Anyway. Maybe I’d give extra XP to players who keep a cursed object though, as they learn new tricks to compensate for the problem it causes them. Same goes for a player who gets maimed. (for that, I’d use Story XP, which I’ll mention in a moment.)
I have decided to use their XP for role-playing too. It felt like the least I could do after all of the player’s characters had their teeth pulled out last session and they had to talk/act as such.
I’ve also decided I’m going to use C&C’s XP for Story. Now, I won’t award ‘Story XP’ for things like ‘Succeeded in the Goal of Killing the Troll under the Bridge’ or anything like that. The XP from killing the monster already covers that. (Although I could see it used for defeating a whole organization where a lot of planning was needed.) Instead, some characters or Hexes in my map contain secrets. If the characters discover such secrets, they get a bonus XP from having learned more about the world they inhabit. (A King’s secret will be worth a lot more XP than a local farmer’s!) I also recently read on another blog (Which I’ll try to find again and link here at a later date/edit!) the idea of XP for traveling. I think it’s a good idea to give certain difficult locations XP for finding them, again using the Story XP as a guideline. Not for ‘normal’ things like a dungeon and such, but maybe things like discovering a new dimension or traveling to another continent and dealing with a whole new culture for a prolonged time.
Finally, since neither LotFP nor C&C give XP for traps, I’ll use once again the Story XP rewards for the traps. Seems like an easy way to acknowledge that dealing with traps should also make characters more experienced, not just smacking monsters and other enemies down and snatching their loot.
Illavir: (Played by Chloe) A female Level 1 Elf exiled to the Human world because she fell in love with the monstrous and extremely powerful Snake-Woman she was supposed to watch over to ensure her captivity. She is looking for a way to go back to her moon to see her beloved again.
Bruce Dragon’s Bane: (Played by Cindy) A Level 1 Fighter and adventurer who follows Illavir around for strength in numbers. He has never even seen a dragon before, it’s just a name he’s given himself.
Rulius and Kelly: (Played by Stephane and Valerie, respectively) A father (Rulius) and son (Kelly) who escaped the clan of thieves and assassins they used to work for (Clan Slahvel) because Rulius overheard the clan was going to use his son as a sacrifice for a ritual. The clan doesn’t just let members leave of course, so both are on the run. Both characters are Level 1 Specialists, the ‘Lamentations of the Flame Princess’ equivalent of the Rogue/Thief class in other versions of the game.
It all started on the first session of the new D&D game I’m running. A thief stole the elf’s purse, someone else in the party noticed, they caught the thief and stole his purse on top of retrieving the elf’s.
What was in the thief’s purse? I grabbed ‘Vornheim: The Complete City Kit’ and rolled on the “I search the body” Table. I got a ‘Crushed fairy/brownie/pixie/leperchaun’… Except I realized it was ‘crushed’ just now as I checked in the book again for this post. At the moment I rolled it, I totally read ‘cursed’!
So my players open the coin purse and find a fairy inside…
And I describe it as just a small humanoid and such, trying to keep a mystery around it, but everyone just calls it a fairy and, well, that’s what it is. (Not that I confirmed it then!)
So Kelly decides to keep her. As a side-note, I told them she had her wings cut off.
Someone in the group mentioned, all amused, that if this was supposed to be a ‘Horror D&D’ type of game as I had told them, the fairy really wasn’t helping the horror mood. But they didn’t know it was a CURSED fairy. (That should have been crushed, but I hadn’t noticed that and the story turned out to be much more interesting with a cursed one instead!) So I just took the jab and kept silent about it.
The party went to the village where the adventure hook was, a local couple let them stay in their house for the night, and Kelly treated the fairy akin to a freaking cute hamster pet or something.
They just brought this supernatural creature they knew nothing about along with them to the place where they intended to rest.
Before they all went to bed, I told Kelly’s player that the fairy reaches to kiss him on the lips. Kelly does not move, the kiss happens. I had decided that would be how the curse would take effect, so I asked Valerie (Kelly’s player) to roll her save against Magic. She failed. We stopped the first session with the group going to sleep and Kelly doing the first guard shift.
Now this is where things get interesting as I had time to think about how exactly the fairy was cursed in-between sessions. I decided the kiss would be a Fairy Kiss, which acts as a beacon to other fairies of the same kind, as the one they had considered herself a captive of the huge folk without wings.
When the second session started, I rolled a die to see during whose guard shift it would happen. Kelly’s shift ended and she went to wake up Illavir the elf. Illavir had been standing guard for barely one hour when, coming down from the upper floor she saw two swarms of fairies armed with swords heading their way!
Their wings projected fairy dust all around them. One swarm surrounded Rulius and he breathed their fairy dust. I asked him to roll v.s Poison and he failed the roll, causing him to fall asleep. Illavir took the wingless fairy and held her towards the other fairies, indicating they could have her back. The fairies were having none of that diplomacy crap though! They tried to make Illavir go to sleep too, but as an elf she was immune to such tricks. The other swarm proceeded to part Rulius’ lips open and pull out one of his front teeth.
Players suddenly realized sh*t got real. Illavir made the mistake of trying to cast a Shield spell while surrounded by the swarm, who stung her with countless scalpel-sized blades and interrupted her spell on top of wounding her. Kelly was put to sleep as he tried to drag his dad away. Bruce swung at one swarm with his claymore, but such attacks caught a very small fraction of the swarm.
The elf fell to the countless stabs of tiny swords. Bruce, left on his own, rushed to the fireplace and checked to see if there was a log he could grab with his hands. I rolled. There wasn’t, all logs were covered with flames. Bruce stuck the tip of his claymore in one of the flaming logs and swung it at a swarm. He failed his attack and after a roll from me to see if it would, the log did indeed fly off the tip of the sword and hit a corner of the house. Another roll indicated that, thankfully, the fire wasn’t catching on anything surrounding it.
The fairies used their dust on Bruce, and he too fell asleep after failing his Poison save… I roll to see if the flaming log will burn the floor given enough time and it doesn’t. The characters won’t burn alive while they’re sleeping. Yay.
So during their sleep… They had all of their teeth pulled out.
So my players had to talk as if they had no teeth left for the rest of the session. Kelly remained silent and wrote everything he had to say instead, but it wasn’t a cop-out as Val actually did write everything and didn’t just go “I write…”.
I told them that dentures do exist in this setting, and maybe they could eventually find a Cleric able to regrow them.
They got no XP from treasure or defeating monsters, but I decided that having them talk like that for such a long time (and still for one more session to come at the very least, very possibly more!) deserved a little something. I checked the guidelines for role-playing XP rewards in the ‘Castles & Crusades Player’s Handbook’ and gave them all 25 XP for their troubles. But I like to think that they learned something about bringing with them a supernatural being they know nothing about.
Tooth Fairy Swarm
Tooth Fairies are obsessed with collecting teeth from their victims and once they have them all, they are content enough to leave without further harming their target. This is generally speaking. If a creature gave them enough of a reason, they might choose to kill their opponent before or after collecting the teeth.
Movement: Flying, twice normal human speed. Walking, 1/4 normal human speed.
Attacks: Sword Stings (1d4), Fairy Dust
Special: Fairy Kiss, Cutting/Impaling Resistance
Sword Stings: As a swarm, they automatically hit an opponent they are surrounding, once per turn. When most fairies of the swarm are armed with swords appropriate for their size, they do 1d4 damage. This represents countless small stings. If they are unarmed, they are unable to cause any damage to a normal-sized humanoid with their bare hands.
Fairy Dust: Once per turn, the fairies can choose not to attack and concentrate on flapping their wings faster so they’ll project enough fairy dust from their wings to put their target asleep. The target must be surrounded by the swarm and can save against Poison to avoid this attack completely. Anyone immune or with resistances to the Sleep spell also benefits from the same advantages against Fairy Dust.
Fairy Kiss: If a Tooth Fairy kisses someone on the lips, they must Save v.s Magic. If they fail, 1d4 swarms of Tooth Fairies will know exactly where to find the Kissed. They will arrive in 1d20 hours.
Cutting/Impaling Resistance: Cutting and impaling attacks do half their damage (rounded down) against a Tooth Fairy Swarm.
Previous Monday, I started a new D&D campaign with some friends. I decided to use the rules from ‘Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Role-Playing’ because I wanted something rules-light and I wanted the magic system to be a bit darker than the norm for D&D.
Here’s what one needs to know about the setting so far; It is a human-centric world and most humans have never seen other races. Dwarves remain hidden in their mountains and underground kingdoms and Halflings have small scattered communities in the forests. Basically, Halflings are the ones who come across humans more often. When it comes to Elves… They come from one of the three moons.
Elves are eternal beings who watch over ancient monstrosities, basically mystical jailers. Elves found on the Human world are exiles who can’t go back to their home, sent there by magic by Elf Lords and Ladies after being found guilty of a crime. They generally have extremely pale skin and their hair is either black or white. Some also have black nails. Basically, I wanted to make Elves creepier and more alien for the setting… So I made them actual aliens!
Elves have to be extremely careful on the Human world. Because they are magical beings (all Elves can do magic, no exceptions), they are great as sacrifices or subjects of magical research. That means that unscrupulous Magic-Users and cultists might want to capture them at any given moment if they know about them.
O.k, so enough about Elves in my setting. Who are the player characters? Well, I have four players in my group, three girls and one other guy. Here are their characters, I’ll also give the players’ first names so it’ll be simpler to share anecdotes in the future (If you’re one of my players, don’t worry, I won’t give away personal information! :p ):
Illavir: (Played by Chloe) A female Elf exiled to the Human world because she fell in love with the monstrous and extremely powerful Snake-Woman she was supposed to watch over to ensure her captivity. She is looking for a way to go back to her moon to see her beloved again. She wears a hood over her ears when in public and calls herself Kathleen among Humans.
Bruce Dragon’s Bane: (Played by Cindy) A Fighter and adventurer who follows Illavir around for strength in numbers. We didn’t really have time to work out Bruce’s background yet to be honest, Cindy had to create him the same night we started playing while the other players had all done theirs two weeks before. It is somewhat fun to see a girl portray a manly fighting guy though. Oh and by the way, Bruce has never even seen a dragon before, it’s just a name he’s given himself.
Rulius and Kelley: (Played by Stephane and Valerie, respectively) A father (Rulius) and son (Kelley) who escaped the clan of thieves and assassins they used to work for (Clan Slahvel) because Rulius overheard the clan was going to use his son as a sacrifice for a ritual. The clan doesn’t just let members leave of course, so both are on the run. While discussing character backgrounds, Valerie mentioned that Kelley would be gay. Stephane, who is actually gay, decided that his character Rulius would be completely against it if he learned. So my game will have a gay guy playing a homophobe dad. I’m morbidly eager to see it play out, but since for now I’m not planning to throw any romantic interests at the players, I don’t think we’ll be seeing that happen right away. Both characters are Specialists, the equivalent of the Rogue/Thief in other versions of the game.
I previously posted stats for Rudolph Van Richten for Castles & Crusades based on the ones given in 2e and 3e of D&D. You can see that post HERE.
Now, Van Richten is in the Second Edition much weaker in power than in Third Edition. There’s two reasons behind this. The first is that in 2e, many undead monsters had the Level Drain ability and it could not be undone. (Or so I’ve come to understand, I am not very knowledgeable in 2e!) The second reason is that a lot of people seem to think that important fictional characters automatically need high levels, that their importance can only be reflected by levels and not by story. I am not discrediting that way of thinking, just pointing it out. Personally, I think that way can work for some characters very well, and less well for others. But I digress.
I will not be taking the 3e stats into account this time around because unlike with Castles & Crusades and 3e there is no Restoration spell in LotFP. Any levels lost due to Level Drain are genuinely lost. Also, I felt like it was important to give him a few more levels in C&C in comparison to 2e because in C&C, a character’s level affects his ‘skill’ rolls. (Optional rules aside, there are no actual skills in C&C, everything is rolled based on the six Ability Scores.)
Now, I think that Van Richten is a character better defined by his skills than his combat ability. If anyone disagrees with me on this, they probably know the character very little. Therefore, I will approach this according to his skills.Since he’ll be closer in level to the 2e version, I’ll use that one as a starting point.
In 2e, these were his stats skills-wise: Pick Pockets 15%, Open Locks 40%, Find/Remove traps 65%, Move Silently 10%, Hide in Shadows 5%, Detect Noise 15%, Climb Walls 60% and Read Languages 70%.
Pick Pockets becomes Sleight of Hand in LotFP. Open Locks and Find/Remove Traps becomes Tinkering. Move Silently and Hide in Shadows becomes Stealth. Detect Noise has no skill equivalent in LotFP. Climb Walls becomes Climbing. Finally, I’d put Read Languages in Languages, a close approximation of the intended effect.
Page 70 of LotFP’s Referee book (Grindhouse Edition) gives us a rough conversion of LotFP skill scores in percentages.
1 in 6 = 16 2/3 %
2 in 6 = 33 1/3 %
3 in 6 = 50%
4 in 6 = 66 2/3%
5 in 6 = 83 1/3 %
6 in 6 = 97.22%
(Having 6 in 6 in a skill does not ensure success.)
In LotFP, all characters have 1 in 6 in every skill by default. Therefore, I won’t bother mentioning skills where he’d end up with that score.
So what we get is:
Climbing: 4 in 6
Languages: 4 in 6
Tinkering: 4 in 6 (I decided to keep the score he’d get from his Find/Remove Traps skill and not average with the 2 in 6 he’d get with Open Locks. Otherwise, he would have gotten a 3 in 6 in Tinkering, but I felt cheap to lessen him.)
That gives us 9 skill points. To get enough points, he’d have to be a level 4 Specialist, except a level 4 Specialist gets 10 points. I think it’d make sense to put the extra point in Search. Some might argue that Van Richten used to be able to Backstab/Sneak Attack as a Thief/Rogue in D&D 2e/3e, but frankly that always seemed more like something that came with the class he fit the best due to the skills he needed than something that really had to do with the character concept. So I’ll give him 2 in 6 in Search.
What we get:
Van Richten always carries a holy symbol, a vial of holy water, a small mirror, a silver dagger, and a wooden stake. When hunting prey, he carries other appropriate items, too. He rarely faces an opponent in direct combat, preferring to outwit the evil creatures and use their inherent weaknesses against them. (Excerpt from ‘Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Ravenloft Boxed Set Realm of Terror Manual’.)
“A cloak slows you down in a fight.” - Bronn (‘Game of Thrones’ TV series)
While playing a swashbuckling, lightly-armored character in one campaign, I was often annoyed at the idea of imagining my dexterous character burdened with a backpack.
I imagined that if someone was expecting a fight, they’d make sure to remove their backpack before entering a dungeon, or going into a battlefield. In real life, having a backpack on can be a serious issue when it comes to being grabbed from behind, as it’s easy for someone to pull you backwards and then to the ground.
But when it comes to D&D, as long as the contents of the backpack don’t give you any extra encumbrance, you’re good to go! There’s just no practical reason not to wear a backpack during a fight, despite all the logical reasons one could think of in real life. The same goes for cloaks.
So here are some house rules to implement such logic into D&D. While I can’t speak for every single variant and edition of it that exists, I’m confident they can work well with pretty much all of them.
- If a character is tripped while wearing a backpack, the DM must roll 1d4. On a roll of 1, the character fell on top of his backpack. The DM must roll 1d4 again, representing the damage the contents of the backpack take due to the fall. The damage can be to a single object, or distributed, asdecided by the DM, either randomly or by logic.
Should a character actually fall from a high place instead of being tripped (or due to a trip!), the DM must roll the first 1d4 as before to see if the character falls on his backpack. If it comes up on a 1, the character and the backpack take the same falling damage. That said, if the backpack contained objects that could possibly soften a fall (A pillow, bed sheets, etc) then the DM could remove 1-3 HP of damage from the total falling damage.
- Anyone trying to grab/grapple the character from behind gets a +2 to their roll if they choose to grab the backpack. If the backpack is full, make it a +3.
If the attacker rolls a natural 20 or exceeds the required number on his roll by 5 or more, he has managed to really entangle the character in his own backpack. The defender is at -2 to get out of the grapple, and getting out of it means he’ll have to leave his backpack in the hands of the attacker. (Which might sometimes be what the attacker wanted.) Optionally, a character could use a small cutting weapon to cut himself free of his own backpack in 1d3 rounds. This will, again, leave the backpack in the hands of the attacker.
Anyone who has successfully grappled someone by their backpack also gets a +2 to any roll made to trip them to the ground. However, if the attacker wants to continue the grapple after such a trip, he must follow the backpack-wearer to the ground and also become prone to others.
- Anyone trying to grab/grapple the character gets a +1 to their roll if they choose to grab the cloak.
If the attacker rolls a natural 20 or exceeds the required number on his roll by 5 or more, he has managed to really entangle the character in his own cloak. The defender is at -2 to get out of the grapple, and getting out of it means he’ll have to leave his cloak in the hands of the attacker. (Which might sometimes be what the attacker wanted in the case of fancy or magical cloaks.) Optionally, a character could use a small cutting weapon to cut himself free of his own cloak in 1d3 rounds. This will, again, leave the cloak in the hands of the attacker.
- Anyone pulling a medium or bigger weapon from under a cloak gets a -1 penalty on their first attack, since when worn a cloak will usually cover one’s arms. After that first attack, the cloak can be considered out of the way unless the character rolled a natural 1, in which case the penalty remains for another round as the cloak is still in the way.
A character can pull his cloak back over their shoulders ahead of time if they expect trouble to avoid this. (Or they can pull their weapon ahead of time, but sometimes outright drawing a weapon can make the difference between a possible fight and an unavoidable fight.)
- Anyone wearing a cloak over their arms and shoulders gets a bonus to protect themselves from the rain and cold. The bonus will depend on the quality of the cloak. A good cloak will also protect carried objects from the rain.
- Depending of the color of the cloak, a character could get either a bonus or a penalty on a hiding roll depending on the environment they find themselves in, up to the DM’s discretion.