Saturday, December 29, 2018

Totally Stereotypical Bard Instruments for D&D Races

At the last gathering of our merry band of gamers there were some jocular comments about various instruments likely to be used by bards of particular races.  I dredged those ideas back up just recently and decided to do a quick posting on what instruments seem to me to fit with some of the main D&D races. There are three instruments for each so you can roll 1d6 if you need a random result, plus combine that with a 1d6 roll for race if you need a really randomized bard.

  1. Human           1-2/guitar; 3-4/lute; 5-6/fiddle
  2. Dwarf             1-2/bagpipe; 3-4/tuba; 5-6/trombone
  3. Elf                   1-2/harp; 3-4/flute; 5-6/recorder
  4. Halfling          1-2/accordion; 3-4/tambourine; 5-6/hurdy-gurdy
  5. Gnome            1-2/handbells; 3-4/xylophone; 5-6/hammered dulcimer
  6. Half-orc          1-2/bass drum; 3-4/digeridoo; 5-6/bongos

Monday, December 24, 2018

Sword World JRPG

Okay, so I've always been interested in RPGs produced outside the English-speaking world.  But unless you know a particular language well enough to do internet searches in it, you have to hope someone somewhere has posted in a language which you do know that well.  My starting assumption has always been that the most likely non-European culture to produce a tabletop RPG would be Japan. Japan has a rich gaming heritage with lots of fans.  And anime. And manga. And of course pocky.

Eventually I came across the Sword World RPG.  There was very little information on it and (AFAIK) no official English translation. That felt like exactly the sort of authentic thing I was looking for.  So I poked around on Amazon and ordered a copy straight from Japan.

No I don't know Japanese (my bad), except for the kanji.  So, yes, I bought it as a neato-torpedo collectors item to put on my gaming shelf.

Later I came across a fan translation wiki.  Thanks for everyone who pitched in on that!  However some parts didn't quite make sense, particularly in the character creation section.

Anyway, judging by the character classes and races in the game (you can check out the wiki for details) it looks and feels very "Final Fantasy" looking, which is cool.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The White-Haired Witch Class for Neo School Hack

So in my buddy Steve's Pathfinder-based campaign I'm playing a witch character with the healer Hedge Witch archetype. The most recent hex I added to the character was Prehensile Hair, which allowed her to awesomely apply the finishing strike to a demon.  More recently, I was on YouTube, consuming some media, when I came across a clip of the scene from The Forbidden Kingdom (功夫之王) movie where the young punk Seeker battles the obviously more awesome White-Haired Witch (白髮魔女) and she takes the magic staff from him with her magic hair.  In that movie she's depicted as a villain, even though the character in the original novels Lian Nichang (練霓裳), nicknamed Jade Rakshasa (玉羅剎), is formidable martial arts vigilante fighting injustice.  And I thought to myself "Why isn't there a character class like that?"

Pathfinder does have an archetype for the witch class called White-Haired Witch, but all it does is swap out all the cool witch hexes--which are the core of the class--for a couple enhanced hair-weapon abilities and a handful of rogue talents. The class has no monk-style martial arts abilities. It would not play anything like the character in The Forbidden Kingdom.

So, since I'm still a bit OCD about my Neo School Hack rules, I decided NSH needed a White-Haired Witch class to remedy this glaring gaming oversight.
White-Haired Witch

- The White-haired Witch is a female wuxia martial artist with unique powers to use her hair. She may appear as a dedicated avenger of injustice or an implacable tracker assassin.

Inherent: Magic White Hair/focus: you can magically extend your hair out 30 feet and grapple or roughly manipulate with it; however you cannot perform fine manipulation skills such as writing with a pen.

Classic Weapon: whip (In addition to normal Light Weapon attacks with it, the witch may trip, disarm, grapple, or choke an opponent following a successful whip strike.)

Martial Witch ("巫侠")/constant: the witch is trained in martial arts, allowing lethal unarmed attacks as a Light Weapon and a special dodge (spend your turn to pass a Cunning check against the attacker's dice score to flip or spin out of the path of an attack)

"Men are such liars"/constant: a witch can always tell if a male is lying

"Hmph"/focus: with a quick bad-girl smirk and slight snort, the witch summons qi for the fight; gain one temporary Awesome Point which can only be used in the current action scene

"Misfits following a misfit"/focus: after sizing them up for a few moments, the witch taunts her opponents, causing all of them to be Disadvantaged on their first roll against her in the current scene.

"Where have you flown, little Sparrow?"/rested: the witch has an uncanny ability to intuit where to find her quarry.

"Kill them!"/rested; a small gang of armed thug minions suddenly appear from nearby and perform acts of intimidation or violence for one action scene

Far Sighted/focus; taking a few moments to concentrate, the witch can see to three times as far as a normal person; this vision negates all distance penalties for ranged shooting attacks.

Lashing Leap/rested: the witch can perform a long, drifting leap covering up to 50 feet; she can double this distance if lashing her whip to generate extra qi.


And, here are some awesome video clips from The Forbidden Kingdom of the witch in action which I based the character class on:

Scene at the inn:

Scene in the cherry blossom orchard:

Scene at the Jade Warlord's palace:

Sunday, November 4, 2018

New Campaign Hex Map Early Draft

So I'm slowly working on the hex map for my Forest of Fiends campaign idea which may or may not actually be a real thing one day. I'm using Hexographer which is is a very simple program.  It makes getting started easy, but it's not long before you begin wishing it had more features. For most people making basic hex maps it perfectly adequate. For people who start making a crazy big map right away it leads to a lot of re-thinking your map as you go along, just saying.  The map is for a semi-sandbox adventure with a coast, deep jungle filled with adventure, and finally a great cliff atop which lies (reportedly) the homeland of the fey.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

New Pathfinder Spell: Mage's Sanctum Privy

Mage's Sanctum Privy

School: Abjuration; Level: sorceror/witch/wizard 5

Casting Time:  1 round

Components: V, S, M (a sheet of lead, sheet of paper, drop of perfume)

Range: close (25 fr. + 5 ft./2 levels)

Area: 10 ft tall by 5' square

Duration: 5 minutes per level

Saving Throw: none: Spell Resistance: no

Description: This spell conjures an enclosed privy for when you really need to go potty right now. The privy is ornately decorated inside and out and large enough for one medium or large sized humanoid creature to comfortably sit. When the mage is done all necessary business, all unpleasant wastes are sent to an unknown plane, any noxious odors disapparated, and the mage's private parts instantaneously cleansed and lightly misted with a pleasant scent.

Anyone looking into the privy from outside sees only a dark, foggy mass. Darkvision cannot penetrate it. No sounds, no matter how loud, can escape the privy, so nobody can eavesdrop from outside or be discomfited by overhearing impolite noises. Those inside can see out normally.

Divination (scrying) spells cannot perceive anything within the area, and those within are immune to detect thoughts. The ward prevents speech between those inside and those outside (because it blocks sound), but it does not prevent other communication, such as a sending or message spell, or telepathic communication, such as that between a wizard and her familiar.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Google+ is Dead! Long Live Google+ !

     So in case you hadn't heard, Google has announced the shutdown of Google+ in August of next year.  That is still a good ways off but the migration is already underway.  I have been a heavy user (well, lurker mostly) of Google+ over the last two years or so and generally enjoyed it.   Most, if not all, of the people and groups I follow there are either moving already or looking around to move soon. The most talked about alternatives as far as I've seen are MeWe, Facebook, and Discord.  I totally don't trust Facebook, and Discord looks more like it's for live gaming, but MeWe seems promising. FYI, my MeWe personal link is

    For now I'm going back to normal blogging, which suits me better than microblogging apps anyway.  My main need is an outlet to create content for myself and the gaming community.  Micro-blogging is so minimal it's almost a waste of time.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Crafting: The CharacTray(?), my hack of the CharacTable

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I decided to do a customized version of a cool lap table/tray/PED dock product for RPG gaming designed for when you don't sit at a table.  My version is built around the relatively thick/chunky notebook I use for gaming, plus my phone which I use as a notepad.  First I did a quick sketch of the layout on a big pad of graph paper:

Then I went to the art store and bought some materials, and grabbed a few tools to work with: two big sheets of 0.5" thick foam core posterboard, two sheets of soft gray foam, and more glue.

I cut out two matching rectangles from the 0.5" posterboard, one to act as the base, the other to be cut into the walls to be glued on top of the base to separate out the sections.

Then I had a quick chat with my artistic consultant, Samantha.

Next up: sketch out the walls on the "top" board:

Next, I very carefully cut out the wall sections.  I was particularly worried about the thin walls (0.5" deep and wide) would crack or bend.  I swapped in a fresh new blade for my x-acto craft knife and cut carefully.

Here are the wall sections all cut out:

Started gluing wall pieces onto base:

Completed wall gluing...waited overnight for proper drying.

Painted exposed foam core edges black, and extended paint into section floors about 2cm so no white would show after gluing in the soft foam floor linings.  While waiting for it to dry, started cutting out foam linings--always look to be doing two things at once!

But then I found that the glue had warped the base a bit. So I flipped it over and placed a weighty tome on it to get it to press back down some.

Finished gluing in foam floor linings.  While that was drying, started painting tops of wall sections.  Decided to go with a medium/dark gray which could later be drawn on with a marker to add some visual texture.

Here is the wall top painting first coat on.  The paint wouldn't mix properly and came out translucent in places, allowing the white posterboard to show through in places.  Eventually I did two coats and a lot of touch-ups.

And the final result:

Lessons Learned:
1) Even 0.5" (12.5mm) foam core board will warp with relatively (I thought) small amounts of glue. Weigh it down while it dries.
2) Leave more room for electrical cords than you think you'll need.  With the finished model there was not quite enough room to plug in the power cord for the notebook.