Wednesday, July 31, 2013

More Paper Mini Goodness (from iheartprintandplay)

Okay, so once again my favorite paper mini artist, Mr. Derek Weller, has come through with a really great set of new ones for us to enjoy.  This time around it's Eladrin.  I really like the "Order of the Stick" look to all Derek's stuff.  It immediately says "fun".  He has also recently done hobgoblins, red dragons, white dragons, giants, titans, trolls, and more so check it out.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Thinking in Three Dimensions

Okay, so pretty much my entire gaming group is made up of technophiles.  So naturally we think that 3D printing is the greatest thing since...umm...2D printing, or whatever.  Anyway, we're seriously considering pooling our cash and buying a 3D printer, preferably a kit which we can have fun assembling.  Naturally we immediately thought how great it would be to be able to print out gaming figures, dice, terrain, playing aids, etc. with it.  I'm particularly interested in designing stuff in 3D as an outlet for my artsy side.

As part of exploring the feasibility of 3D printing as a venture, I have started learning how to use TinkerCAD, a free 3D design program which works in a browser.  The tutorials are pretty fun so far and but I can see how difficult it would be for me to actually sculpt miniatures with it--and that's on top of the fact that I'm not much at sculpting anyway.  Playing aids, dice, and terrain look pretty doable since those are not as complex to design.  Luckily lots of other people have had the same idea and there are lots of miniatures, etc. already available at Shapeways. Thingiverse, and other sites.

One thing I particularly want to design from scratch are cool tokens to use as Awesome Points during play.  At the moment we're using a bowl of those glass bead/marble things usually used for interior decorating by filling glass bowls etc.  They are functional and attractive enough but I'd like to design alternatives which I can print out on our new 3D printer (whenever we finally get one).

Monday, July 29, 2013


Okay, so I've been gamely making the effort to follow the French-language gaming blog Anniceris.  My rusty French is just good enough to read along but it's definitely a struggle in places.  The most recent post really brought back huge memories from my early gaming years.  Anniceris did a post reviewing the Saurians source book for Chivalry & Sorcery (C&S).  As I've mentioned before C&S was the first RPG I every played.  The solid historical feel of the game combined with fantasy elements drawn faithfully from literature and mythology was the perfect starting place for me.  I often think that if I'd started with the crappy, amateurish original D&D I might not have continued with RPGs at all.

But anyway, Saurians was the first full single-setting supplement for C&S.  They published a sort of expansion source book called Swords & Sorcery which bundled the viking, celtic, and mongol cultures into one.  That was okay and it extended the basic western European setting but it wasn't too exciting.  (Several years later Lee Gold came out with the absolutely amazing stand-alone Japanese setting book called Land of the Rising Sun.)   But then the Saurians book came out.  This was a totally new self-contained setting with just two reptilian races living in a prehistoric land populated with dinosaurs and early megafauna.  The main race was generic-looking dinosaur-people (the HssTaathi) with an extremely detailed society, custom mage and cleric types, castes, and a cool political system.  The other race, of crocodile-people (the Kulun'Ssaatha), was less detailed.

I totally loved this book for the freshness of the concepts in the race and how every aspect of their society and physiognomy were carefully worked out.  It's one of the earliest game books of this type and still a favorite of mine.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Yep, Backing Another Kickstarter...

Okay, so a little while ago I reviewed Ponies for Pathfinder and declared it to be good, if lacking in artwork. (Might I suggest as a superb source for pony artwork?) .  Well, now Mr. Silver has launched a Kickstarter called "Ponies for Pathfinder, Setting Handbook".  I've already jumped in and joined the project.  I really have no idea when, if ever, I'll actually get to play a ponies game--and I'm only vaguely familiar with the show.  However, I think it's such a terrific "alternative" approach to fantasy gaming that I want to be a part of it.

And yet by a weird coincidence, Bronycon 2013 will be held next weekend in Baltimore, just a few short miles from my house.  Or is it a coincidence?  Maybe it's a sign from Princess Celestia...

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Top Ten Troll Questions - My Responses

Okay, so this list of ten questions from the Random Wizard blog is making the rounds so I figured what the heck.  Actually it's blatantly obvious that this is a cheap ploy to draw out us non-OSR types so they'll know who to put in front of the firing squad when the revolution comes.  But I'm pretty sure they already have me on the list so why not shout it from the rooftops...

(1). Race (Elf, Dwarf, Halfling) as a class? Yes or no?  Hmm, race as class is an interesting design decision.  However it reduces player choice too much in building characters and makes the race-classes too predictable as NPCs.  So, no.

(2). Do demi-humans have souls?  Actually I would prefer that each race have a unique type or "flavor" of soul, so yes.

(3). Ascending or descending armor class?  OMG! Ascending!  Descending armor class was always totally counter-intuitive.

(4). Demi-human level limits?  I got tired of seeing people avoid playing classes because they saw there was a level cap.  Heck, I avoid classes with level caps.  That shouldn't enter into the decision of what to play.  So, no.

(5). Should thief be a class?  Hell yes!

(6). Do characters get non-weapon skills?  Without non-weapon skills there's no way to customize.  All fighters are the same, all clerics are the same, etc.  And there's no way to express character background.  I'm running into this problem with my Castles & Crusades character now. So, yes.

(7). Are magic-users more powerful than fighters (and, if yes, what level do they take the lead)?  At first probably not, later on yes unless maybe the fighter gets the drop on them.  I like a rough balance between the two.

(8). Do you use alignment languages?  Another dumb early D&D idea which needs to stay dead, so no--not ever.

(9). XP for gold, or XP for objectives (thieves disarming traps, etc...)?  XP for gold makes no sense at all.  Sounds more like an idea from a cheap board game rather than a proper RPG.  So, no to that.  XP for accomplishing difficult tasks is fun so yes to that.

(10). Which is the best edition; ODD, Holmes, Moldvay, Mentzer, Rules Cyclopedia, 1E ADD, 2E ADD, 3E ADD, 4E ADD, Next ?  Umm, Pathfinder? =)  Okay so 3E then, but 4E had some interesting design concepts which still intrigue me.  I'm still deciding about Next.

Bonus Question: Unified XP level tables or individual XP level tables for each class?  Individual level tables is another bad old D&D idea which needs to stay dead and buried.  Players shouldn't be comparing leveling tables to decide which class to play.  So, no.  It's bad RPG design.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wow, 10,000 Views!

So apparently I've hit a milestone with 10,000 total views.  Let offer a big thank you to everyone who has kindly taken the time to peruse my various postings.  I have lots more ideas on the way, plus reviews, game session write-ups, and perhaps even a YouTube channel later.  In the near future I'll be reviewing the core book and a couple sourcebooks for CthulhuTech, doing another Castles & Crusades session write-up, a guest posting (cross-posted here) for the Dice Monkey blog on the possible consequences of "flavored" souls, the rest of my dragonkin series, something on the "beastmen" for my new campaign world, and more WWI RPG stuff.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

So You Want to be a Witch Some More? (in Pathfinder)

Okay, so earlier I posted my new healer witch design for my buddy Steve's new Pathfinder-based campaign.  Now, when I started looking at the witch class it quickly became apparent that this class is pretty complex.  You will get feats, new spells at each level, additional patron spells at certain levels, hexes, hex swaps due to the Hedge Witch healer archetype. major hexes, and attribute bonuses.  There's quite a lot going on and with a healer and it really is best if you plan out all those level additions at least a few levels ahead of time.

Part of me doesn't like planning out a character's future 20 levels right from the start because it sort of spoils the surprise and feels too "professional".  I prefer a more "amateur" or "organic" feel to the character growing over time sort of interactively with what's going on in the game.  But Pathfinder in general is a rules heavy (I prefer the term "complete") game.  So you really need to at least look ahead if not actually sketch out where you want to go.  So for this character I did a design plan out to level 10.  Steve is using the slow level progression and since we'll likely only meet about 6-8 times per year it will take a while just to get to level 10.  I've left most of the possible individual spell choices at upper levels blank because I may need to take offensive spells despite being a healer.  The party has a weird composition with no "tank", no cleric, and no other arcane magic users (yet).

Progression Plan through level 12:
Hex: Healing (Su): A witch can soothe the wounds of those she touches. This acts as a cure light wounds spell, using the witch’s caster level. Once a creature has benefited from the healing hex, it cannot benefit from it again for 24 hours. At 5th level, this hex acts like cure moderate wounds. [1d8+1]

Hex: Disguise (Su): A witch can change her appearance for a number of hours per day equal to her class level, as if using disguise self. These hours do not need to be consecutive, but they must be spent in 1-hour increments. [bonus hex from feat]

Hex: Slumber (Su): A witch can cause a creature within 30 feet to fall into a deep, magical sleep, as per the spell sleep. The creature receives a Will save to negate the effect. If the save fails, the creature falls asleep for a number of rounds equal to the witch’s level. This hex can affect a creature of any HD. The creature will not wake due to noise or light, but others can rouse it with a standard action. This hex ends immediately if the creature takes damage. Whether or not the save is successful, a creature cannot be the target of this hex again for 1 day. [I took this as a "witchy" flavor hex and to give my character a "soft attack" which would be  useful in and out of combat.  Plus, a healer has uses for putting a  putting a patient to sleep for much needed rest.]

Possible New Spells:
Patron Spell: 2nd—remove fear
Sanctify Corpse
Remove Sickness
Comprehend Languages
Burning Hands
Summon Monster I

Feat: Eschew Materials

Possible New Spells:
Alter Self
Cure Moderate Wounds
Delay Poison
Gentle Repose
Ghostly Disguise
Inflict Moderate Wounds
Mount, Communal
See Invisibility
Spectral Hand
Summon Monster II

Hex: Spontaneous Healing (Su)
A hedge witch can channel stored spell energy into healing spells that she did not prepare ahead of time. The witch can “lose” any prepared spell that is not an orison in order to cast any cure spell of the same spell level or lower, even if she doesn’t know that cure spell. (This replaces the witch’s hex gained at 4th level for a Hedge Witch)

Attribute bonus: +1 to INT

Possible New Spells:
Patron Spell: 4th—lesser restoration (restore negative levels, ability damage, etc.)

Feat: ???

Possible New Spells:
Bestow Curse
Deep Slumber
Delay Poison, Communal
Dispel Magic
Glyph of Warding
Howling Agony
Lightning Bolt
Pain Strike
Remove Blindness/Deafness
Remove Curse
Summon Monster III

Hex: Prehensile Hair (Su): The witch can instantly cause her hair (or even her eyebrows) to grow up to 10 feet long or to shrink to its normal length, and can manipulate her hair as if it were a limb with a Strength score equal to her Intelligence score. Her hair has reach 10 feet, and she can use it as a secondary natural attack that deals 1d3 points of damage (1d2 for a Small witch). Her hair can manipulate objects (but not weapons) as dexterously as a human hand. The hair cannot be sundered or attacked as a separate creature. Pieces cut from the witch’s elongated hair shrink away to nothing. Using her hair does not harm the witch’s head or neck, even if she lifts something heavy with it. The witch can manipulate her hair a number of minutes each day equal to her level; these minutes do not need to be consecutive, but must be spent in 1-minute increments.  [This is another witchy flavor choice; it's usefulness is pretty limited but I just think it's totally cool so I'm taking it.]

Possible New Spells:
Patron Spell: 6th—remove disease

Feat: ???

New Spells: ???
Death Ward
Forgetful Slumber
Inflict Serious Wounds
Neutralize Poison
Secure Shelter
Summon Monster IV
Tongues, Communal

Hex: Empathic Healing (Su)
A hedge witch can minister to a diseased or poisoned target, redirecting the affliction into herself. For a poisoned target, the witch must tend to him as a standard action; he makes his next saving throw against the poison as normal, but the witch suffers the effects of the failed save instead of the poisoned creature. For a diseased target, the witch must tend to the sick person for an hour; he makes his next saving throw against the disease as normal, but the witch suffers the effects of the failed save instead of the diseased creature. The witch does not actually become poisoned or diseased (and is not contagious and does not need to be cured), but suffers the effects of the affliction as if she had been. The witch normally uses this ability to extend the life of someone near death, giving him time to recover. This ability has no effect if the witch is immune to disease or poison. (This replaces the witch’s hex gained at 8th level for a Hedge Witch.)

Attribute bonus: +1 to INT

Possible New Spells:
Patron Spell: 8th—restoration

Feat: ???

New Spells: ???
Baleful Polymorph
Break Enchantment
Contagion, Greater
Cure Critical Wounds
Curse, Major
Inflict Critical Wounds
Rest Eternal
Secret Chest
Summon Monster V
Symbol of Sleep

Hex: Flight (Su): The witch grows lighter as she gains power, eventually gaining the ability to fly. At 1st level, the witch can use feather fall at will and gains a +4 racial bonus on Swim checks. At 3rd level, she can cast levitate once per day. At 5th level, she can fly, as per the spell, for a number of minutes per day equal to her level. These minutes do not need to be consecutive, but they must be spent in 1-minute increments. This hex only affects the witch. [Another basically witchy flavor choice, but useful in so many ways]

Major Hex
Major Healing (Su): By calling upon eerie powers, the witch’s touch can mend even the most terrible wounds of those she touches. This acts as cure serious wounds, using the witch’s caster level. Once a creature has benefited from the major healing hex, it cannot benefit from it again for 24 hours.  At 15th level, this hex acts like cure critical wounds.

Attribute bonus: +1 to INT

Possible New Spells:
Patron Spell: 10th—cleanse

Future Feat Ideas:
The main area where I'm really not sure with this design is what to take for feats at upper levels (5/7/9).  The ones I'm considering are:

Extra Hex: (Taking Cauldron or Ward; Cauldron helps with potions which is very "witchy" and lets me make healing potions for everyone; Ward is a limited effect protective hex, but with a lightly armored group like this one it could actually come in handy.)

Minor Spell Expertise:  "You are able to cast a 1st-level spell as a spell-like ability twice per day."  (For a healer witch I'd be going for Cure Light Wounds.)

Godless Healing:
"You have mastered a specialized and complex technique to ignore pain by focusing your belief on the self rather than relying on faith."
Prerequisites: Cannot have a patron deity.
Benefit: Once per day when you have half your total hit points or fewer, you may heal yourself of an amount of damage equal to 1d8 plus your total Hit Dice as a move action. This is a supernatural ability.
Special: You can take this feat more than once. Each time you do, you may heal yourself one additional time per day. (Since I'm the only healer type, this could really save my bacon; it doesn't heal a lot but with a slow progression game it will remain useful for many sessions of play. However, the "cannot have a patron deity" sort of clashes with witches having a patron.)

Familiar, Improved: (I'd select from the Harbinger Archon, Lyrakie Azata, or Silvanshee Agathion; all fit with the idea of an otherworldly, good, healing-oriented patron.  All are more powerful than the weasel the character is starting with, but I can't right off think of a reason my character would callously ditch her little critter; this would be a choice calling for help from the GM to work the change into the story in a good way.)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Chronicles of the Amazing Trevor: Chapter One

So Monday was the first session of our new weeknight Castles & Crusades game.  We have six players and our DM, Kaiser.  The rules are pretty much straight C&C, but we're adapting the Awesome Point idea from Old School Hack: the DM or players can reward a player with an Awesome Point anytime someone does anything they consider "awesome".  For our game, APs can be spent to reroll any roll but you must take the results of the new roll (but you can keep spending APs for additional rerolls).

But now, on to the adventure.  I'll let my character, The Amazing Trevor, describe the events which unfolded...

Where was I?  Ah yes, I remember now.  I arrived in the desperately common and tawdry little village of Turner's Luck in the late morning.  The buildings and their inhabitants were nothing to speak of but at least there was an inn.  I let Morris, my loyal beast of burden, have his water from the trough out front while I surveyed the disappointing scene.  There was nary even a cobblestone in sight anywhere up or down the muddy rut which passed for a main street.  A few of the local urchins came by and I amused myself by dazzling them with some card tricks.  One of them actually showed a spark of talent which a master prestidigitationist such as myself might nurture into something worthwhile--given the appropriate monetary recompense, of course.  The card tricks were some of my ordinary stock in trade, really, but a professional must always keep in practice.  And besides, they might spread the word and I could stage an impromptu show here at the inn later to supplement my dwindling supply of coin.

My hopes of a lucrative show brightened with the arrival of a magnificent coach.  A refreshingly well-dressed man alighted with two guards.  Here, finally, was a person manifestly possessing the requisite substance and taste to appreciate my well-honed professional skills.  And one wealthy enough to reward a display of those skills appropriately.  Clearly my new first order of business was to display my superior artistic qualities in such a way as to convince him to become my patron.  My days of dragging a mangy old donkey about the countryside in disgrace would be no more.  I determined to leave the festering cow-pie of Turner's Luck in that carriage in appropriate style or perish in the attempt.

It was then that two astonishing fellows approached the inn. Both were absolutely immense, a good seven feet tall if they were an inch, and studiously unattractive even by the standards of a typically inbred backwater such as this one.  The slightly shorter and less ugly one wore a wide-brimmed hat with a veil, the slightly taller and more ugly one three barbaric axes across his back.  They squeezed through the door of the inn with some difficulty and disappeared inside.  They were clearly half man and half something unmentionable.

It was then that an odd rumbling began.  At first I assumed it was the two odd fellows giving vent to the obviously bestial sides of their natures in some unspeakable fashion inside when I noticed that the urchins and other townsfolk had begun dashing about madly.  A fisherman, apparently one of the locals, suddenly appeared from behind the inn carrying his catch and looking rather pleased with himself as only a peasant can.  However his demeanor changed rather abruptly as an enormous hideous travesty of a man-thing charged up, knocked him aside, and smashed into the inn.

The ogre, for such it was, bashed a large hole in the wooden wall of the inn in brutally spectacular fashion.  The local drunks and idlers inside screamed like old ladies and scrambled for any available exit.  Naturally I was seized with concern for the well-being of my new patron.  In fact the ogre seemed preternaturally attracted to the gentleman in question.  His two guards drew their swords despite the odds and prepared to do their duty.  I realized in a flash that if I could arrange to be his savior my chances of securing a position in his employ would be significantly greater.

However several fellows who had remained inside the inn, including the two large odd-fellows, apparently came to same conclusion and threw themselves in the path of the enraged ogre with reckless abandon.  The odd-fellows, the fisherman, a cleric of indeterminate origin (and equally indeterminate gender), and a gnome who had popped out of somewhere all had a go at the monstrous creature but to no great effect.  One of the guards was felled by the blow of a massive fist--but then that is why one employs guards, isn't it?  Sensing an opening I deftly cast the classic colorspray in as casual fashion as I could manage thus blinding the creature.  I then called out to the noble gentleman, "Oh I say, sir, I have blinded the brute.  Do step over this way if you don't mind m'lord that I may assure your safety while these fellows take care of the more sordid details."

The gentleman appeared shaken by the unpleasant turn of events but moved in my direction as the undignified scrum between the monster and his improbable opponents continued amidst the sawdust on the floor.  I watched from a convenient vantage point as befitted one of my station and mentally reviewed the complex elements of my next spell.  The fisherman and the odd-fellows began getting the situation in hand.  They grappled with it surprisingly effectively, with the gnome even mounting the ogre's head and covering the thing's eyes with his hands. No doubt they had plenty of experience from similar tasteless scuffles following frequent drunken binges.  Then the cleric suddenly grasped a decidedly unhygienic looking bag which the ogre had around its neck and pulled it free.

I was mildly surprised to see the ogre immediately begin to calm down.  Well, naturally I'd spotted the bag earlier and my practiced eye had immediately categorized it as the work of a witch or other practitioner of black magic.  But being the only wielder of the noble arcane arts in the vicinity there had been no one of consequence to whom I could mention it.

As the ogre's raging began to subside the larger and decidedly less attractive one of the two odd-fellows actually began to belch at it bestial fashion.  It quite reminded me of a rustic belching contest I'd had the misfortune to attend once.  His slightly less massive companion tried to convince us that the two were actually communicating in some sort of language but it was obviously a ploy.  I'd seen too many "talking horses" and "counting chickens" at the carnival to fall for it for a minute.

Suddenly the cleric, the name escapes me now, rushed upon my dear patron with strangely murderous intent, no doubt enraged that I had managed to rescue him out from under their noses and be first in line for the reward.  The shorter odd-fellow promptly tackled the would-be attacker, obviously to effect a second rescue worthy of reward.  The cleric dropped the bag of arcane witchery and I retrieved it with one of my custom hand-painted darts which previously were the envy of the carnival.  As the cleric reluctantly came to terms with his dashed hopes for a reward I carefully slit open the bag.  Ignoring the soul-searing danger I laid bare the contents which consisted of a straw figurine with a lock of hair attached to it--clearly a specimen taken from the noble gentleman beside me.

The gentleman kindly but inevitably recognized me as the leader of the small band and announced a reward.  I was rather taken aback when he handed out an equal reward to each of those present, even the absurd gnome, despite the clearly central role which I had played in the affair.  But then I realized that it was far better to have a generous patron than a miserly one and put aside my feelings of injustice, for now.

He then proceeded to explain that he was a member of the ruling council of Adan, a large city in the region.  (Ah, the city!  The shining jewel of civilization, and endless source of commercial opportunities!)  The ogre attack, he was certain, was an assassination attempt.  Several other council members had died under extremely suspicious circumstances, most reeking of the use of arcane wierding, and he feared that he might be next.  The source of the menace came from an event ten years ago.  A son of the ruling council was kidnapped. A strong and resourceful woman who had been of great use to the council in the past said she would rescue the lad if they would give her a seat on the council and a certain old mansion as reward.  The council agreed and in due time the boy was returned.  However the council was suspicious, suspecting that the ease with which the woman had accomplished the task suggested witchcraft.  They denied her the promised place on the council but awarded the mansion.  Later they burned the mansion down with her inside as the proper end for a witch--but she cursed them from the flames as she died.

As we digested this rather unpalatable news the fisherman reported a commotion outside.  Sensing another ploy to steal away my future patron's attentions I quickly surveyed the scene.  With the ogre fled the locals had returned, shuffling about with vacant stares and mouth breathing as usual.  For some reason this alarmed my companions.  But there was a strange boy there as well.  His eyes glowed a hellish scarlet and a cloud of black magic surrounded him as he chanted what even my new companions could recognized as a spell.  And to our horror the face and hands of a woman appeared in the cloud.  The apparition, ghost or illusion I could not be sure, called to my patron with surprising words of tender affection.  So then this must be the woman burned as a witch but now somehow returned.  Clearly I had to ensure that this obstacle to the life of leisure which was my destiny be dealt with decisively.  And a second rescue attempt might well elicit a second reward.

The locals then began to converge on the inn, no doubt in a crude attempt to pressure the noble gentleman into diverting his splendid coinage into their pockets rather than into mine.  At this point the remaining guard bowed to my superior skill in ingratiation and set off in search of a new employer.  The crowd naturally assumed that he was fleeing with the noble councilman's purse and engaged him closely.  In the ensuing stampede of avaricious bipedal bovines the poor fellow met his end in rather grisly fashion. The odd-fellows rushed out and tried to muzzle the chanting lad but clumsily knocked him out instead.  A bold and simple plan but one clearly still too intricate for their meager intellectual faculties--but with that the dark cloud dispersed and with it the mysterious woman.  Well, even a broken clock is correct twice a day.  The fisherman seized the limp form and rushed to the town mill, a reasonably sturdy building down by the river.  I followed, as did the greedy little gnome (unless perhaps "greedy little" is redundant when describing a gnome) and my patron.  The mill was joined to the bank by a wooden walkway and the odd-fellows and the cleric gamely undertook to defend it in yet another respectable bid for a second reward.

The herd of local dullards followed us, literally dragging their feet as they trundled towards the mill.  Eventually they came to stand at the water's edge, mostly moaning and staring about in bleary eyed fashion.  Not that I blamed them for even desperately unwashed barnyard denizens such as themselves knew to avoid any body of water so turgid even if only knee-deep.  Suddenly the larger odd-fellow surged into the crowd, shoving bodies hither and fro.  He pulled a sapling up by its roots and used it to literally sweep the peasants aside as they pushed forward to the mill.  As each peasant fell into the water the shock of receiving a clearly unwelcome bath seemed to bring them to their senses.

Meanwhile in the mill the obnoxious gnome (or is "obnoxious gnome" redundant?) began proving the stereotype in all-too-typical fashion.  Gibbering some excuse about having been pushed he set about harassing my dear patron by blatantly misusing his magical talents.  The shorter odd-fellow and the fisherman had the nerve to join in and began interrogating and accusing him like he was some sort of common criminal.  To my discomfiture the gentleman proceeded to divulge that although married he had carried on an affair with the woman whom he had burned as a witch and that the young fellow with the glowing eyes was his bastard son.  My erstwhile companions flew into an outrage, perhaps due to reminders of their own uncertain parentages, and insisted that the councilman find the boy a place on the council as recompense.  He pointed out that it would of course be impossible for him to accomplish such a thing, and besides which it might lead to a scandal and was thus out of the question.

I sensed that my chances of gaining the fellow as a patron were now slight.  So I sensibly suggested that perhaps we could profit from holding him for ransom or demanding a reasonable sum to avoid mentioning anything which could lead to ruinous scandal.  Astonishingly, my companions took great umbrage at these suggestions.  This confirmed that I had indeed fallen in with persons of limited insight and poor grasp of financial enterprise.  The shorter odd-fellow then had his less-attractive companion toss me into the river outside.  It was outrageous, but there would be no point in arguing with idiots.  I squeezed the dampness from my attire and rushed back inside to see what I could salvage from the affair.

Alas, the ghost of the witch-woman reappeared and panicked the councilman into backing into the mill wheel.  Upon his untimely demise her ghost dissipated, its quest for vengeance clearly satisfied.  The crowd still bumbling about outside sensed that the show was over and dispersed to their wretched hovels.

In the ensuing discussion about the fate of the young boy, my last chance at becoming the possessor of lovely clinky bits of gold coinage, we determined to take him to the city of Adan and see what could be done.  The odd-fellows, typically slow on the uptake, were rather ambivalent about the idea until I suggested that there might be feasting to be had.  The rest were willing, although their motives remained inscrutable.

Then, just as we were setting out, the fisherman burst out with "hey, my fish!"

    Sunday, July 21, 2013

    Review: The Plane Above for D&D 4th Edition

    Okay, so I finally finished reading The Plane Above, written by Rob Heinsoo and published by Wizards of the Coast for Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition.  Now, it is quite possible that I may never run a game with these rules.  Only one person in my group has any interest in playing it and its days as a happening game seen to be coming to a close.  But that's not why I bought this book (at my FLGS, Games & Stuff). Construction of my new RPG campaign world is coming along pretty well but I haven't put much thought into the larger cosmos surrounding it.  That's where The Plane Above comes in.

    This book is about the astral plane, or Astral Sea, of the D&D multiverse as described for the 4th edition.  The book starts by giving a great overview of past history to explain the current state of affairs, lays out various ways to set a campaign in the Astral Sea or add it to an existing campaign, and explains the various modes of travel possible.

    Next up are the dominions for the deities of the D&D campaign world.  A dominion is home to one or more deity and certain favored companions and serves in many ways as a reflection of that deity's personality and philosophy.  Each dominion is surrounded by an archipelago of lesser satellite "islands" inhabited by various peoples, entities, and monsters.  I liked that each dominion has a mystical veil around it which serves as a portal.  Travelers cannot see into a dominion from outside the veil, but the veil for each has a characteristic color and appearance so you can tell which dominion it is--if you have that knowledge.  And when travelers pierce the veil they arrive in a different fashion for each dominion.  I think Mr. Heinsoo did a terrific job with all of these dominions.  I like that each dominion has its archipelago.  The archipelagos provide a lot more terrain to adventure in but with a predictable character related to their associated dominions.  Each dominion and its archipelago come with plenty of description and plot hooks for adventuring.

    In addition to the main deity dominions there are several shattered dominions which are a bit different, each with their own backstory.  I see this category of dominion as being the one where GMs can add their own creations.  Because the Astral Sea is pretty much laid bare in this book there has to be room for GMs to slip in something the players can't read up on anywhere.

    The book also has four races which are native to the Astral Sea.  I'm not always keen on additional races for RPGs, especially D&D because it already has so many.  But the four included here (Couatls, Githyanki, Maruts, and Quom) are given good reasons for existing in the setting and core motivations which drive them.  Note that these are all really non-player races, unless you want to have an alternate style of campaign where all the characters are from that race.  In addition to the races there are several monsters for the setting.

    Last, but not least, I liked the art in the book a lot.  I'm a very visually oriented person and I have bought RPG books based almost entirely on the art.  The Plane Above does not disappoint.  I must say that D&D has come a very long way art-wise.  The very early books were atrocious.  Nowadays I can pick up a D&D book with confidence that the art will be great.

    So all in all I really liked this book.  It was exactly what I was looking for and I can see actually using the contents for my campaign universe.  Since this was so good I'll be keeping a lookout at my FLGS for the related 4E books: Manual of the Planes, The Plane Below--Secrets of the Elemental Chaos, and The Shadowfel--Gloomwrought and Beyond.

    Saturday, July 20, 2013

    More on WWI RPG Campaigns: Outdoor Terrain Encounter Tables

    Okay, so I've been putting some more ideas together for WWI gaming.  Here are some encounter tables for cross-country travel.  These are meant to be rolled roughly once per square mile, but you can adjust the encounter frequency as you like.  Conceptually the countryside is supposed to be relatively uninhabited, at least by the living.  The encounters are generally more flavorful than murderous, because actual combat encounters should be planned with the characters in mind.  Some require additional rolls for the chance of something happening using keywords and this chart:
    Chance Category    d12
    Occasionally            12
    Possibly                  10+
    Probably                  7+
    Usually                     4+

    Cross-country Encounters for Old School Trench (1d12)

    1. Open Fields
    - Barbed wire thicket (huge), possibly haunted
    - Military graveyard (huge), usually haunted
    - 1d12 wandering soldier(s) blinded by gas

    2. Forest
    - blasted and cratered, possibly haunted
    - shelled but standing
    - intact and serene

    3. Village
    - blasted and cratered, probably haunted
    - shelled but standing
    - intact, but abandoned

    4. River/Canal (1/6 chance a bridge is in sight)
    - shallow/mud flats
    - very deep
    - tainted (roll as Drifting Poison Gas encounter)

    5. Trenches
    - abandoned, possibly supply items
    - haunted, probably supply items
    - heavily shell-cratered, probably haunted

    6. Enemy Observation balloon
    - has sniper, shoots if makes Awareness roll vs. party's Cunning
    - has telephone to artillery, calls in rounds if makes Awareness roll vs. party's Cunning
    - empty, probably haunted

    7. Tanks (armored cars)
    - abandoned, possibly supply items, repairable (Cunning or Commitment test & 1d10 hours)
    - burned out, probably  haunted
    - active, friendly (lost, on mission, hijacked and pursued)
    - active, enemy
    - active, haunted
    - active, mutant creatures

    8. Random artillery/mortar fire
    - shells
    - gas (roll on Drifting Gas encounter)
    - smoke

    9. Aircraft
    1-9: Fighter
    - enemy, probably strafing attack
    - enemy, possibly bombing attack
    - friendly, drops message or supplies

    10-12: Zeppelin
    - friendly; usually brings supplies, reinforcements, orders
    - enemy; possibly strafes or bombs
    - haunted

    10. Animal (1d12)
    1-4: Messenger dog arrives
    - brings orders
    - brings map
    - brings supplies (each character has a "probable" chance of one item small enough for it to carry)

    5-8: Messenger pigeon arrives
    - brings orders
    - brings map
    - brings short note from friend/family

    9-12: Lost pack animal (each character has a "usually" chance of three items small enough for it to carry)
    - mule/horse
    - camel
    - elephant

    11. Drifting Poison Gas
    - choking
    - corrosive
    - mutagenic (1/6 chance is haunted and sentient)

    12. Unexploded Bomb (Daring or Cunning test to disarm)
    - ticking
    - leaking gas
    - sparking fuze

    Thursday, July 18, 2013

    Review: Pacific Rim

    Okay, so this movie was bad on so many levels and in so many ways that I hardly know where to start. 

    Perhaps I should start with the fact that even though the mecha/giant robot and kaiju genres were invented in Japan, none of the main mechs in the movie are Japanese.  Yes, one of the co-pilots of the main mech is Japanese--but there's a huge problem with that which I'll get to.

    Then there's the fact that the suiting-up montage at the beginning of the film involving the star (Charlie Hunnam) and his brother directly rips off the look and many specific details of the suiting up of the space marine at the start of the StarCraft II teaser video (  If you've seen the movie or plan to, check out the vid.  Blizzard should sue.

    Then, even thought this is ostensibly a war movie set in the near future, there's the complete abandonment of every concept which applies to modern warfare.  What's the technology du jour right now?  Drones.  There are no drones in Pacific Rim.  There should be masses of them.  In fact the jaeger mechs really should be remotely piloted drones.  If pairs of compatible pilots are so hard to put together, why are the valuable pilots in the actual robot instead of a simulator room back at base?  This makes no sense.  The neural link could easily be transmitted to the robot--particularly given the short distance from base at which they operate.

    And why are they even using ground mechs?  Obviously if you're fighting surface-bound kaiju you want to pummel them from a distance with guided missiles, aircraft, and drones.  That way they can't hit back, except maybe by throwing things.  Modern missiles are extremely accurate, long-ranged, and loaded with plenty of explosives.  As soon as a kaiju emerged from the water to begin wading in to shore the missile bombardment would start blasting chunks off it.  Drones would provide laser targeting or even launch beacon harpoons into the beast's hide for the missiles to home in on.  And why aren't the jaegers armed with any missile weapons?  Well okay, one has a battery of one-shot guns, but the others are all melee.

    Some of the opening battle scenes feature aircraft attacking--but only strafing runs with their cannon.  Modern strike planes would use guided missiles or bombs with added guidance units to deliver serious tonnages of explosives on the kaiju from range, not make strafing runs with ineffective autocannons.  And even when strafing the pilots would be smart enough to keep their distance.  But no, the movie has sophisticated modern jets making WWII-style (or even WWI-style) strafing runs which take them right into easy striking range of the kaiju.  Militarily speaking the entire movie is an absurd piece of crap.

    And that leads in to the whole tone of this movie as something created by neanderthal thugs about neanderthal thugs (apparently for an audience of neanderthal thugs).  From the discussion of military technology above it's clear that all that fancy missiles and drones and laser guidance was left out because its all just too much for techno-neanderthals to understand.  How would neanderthal thug types deal with a situation they don't like?  Punch it in the face.  So naturally when colossal kaiju start invading the obvious response for them is to punch them in the face.  But they're really huge so you have to bulk up to colossal size to punch them in the face.  Hence absurdly complex and expensive, yet absurdly crude jagers.  It all makes perfect sense to dim neanderthal thug types.  Don't apply any intelligence to the situation, just find a better way to literally punch it in the face.  It even goes on to the fact that the hero's jager is "analog" and "diesel powered" (I kid you not)--and probably has a stick shift manual transmission somewhere--because that's the highest level of technology dim techno-neanderthals can understand.  Even the cannons on the one jager with guns are muzzle-loaders!  OMG, seriously!  Apparently fancy-pants jaegers with nuclear power plants, digital control systems, artificial intelligence, multi-spectral sensors, and ranged weapons are just for faggots.  Real jager men drive diesels and punch things.

    And the whole neanderthal thug tone of the movie carries over into the "heroes" of the film.  Every one of them is apparently a former "professional wrestling" star.  They're all about hostile shouting, insults, and constant threats of violence as the routine basis for communications, and use of actual violence to "settle" things.  It's almost like a prison gang film with some giant robots and kaiju tossed in for flavor.  I don't think we're in Robotech anymore Toto.

    And that brings up that almost all the primary and secondary actors are male.  And huge neanderthal thug males at that.  And about half of them are not just male, but blond-haired, blue-eyed aryan master race poster boys.  Okay, so the Marshall is of African descent, but that just makes him kind of highlight the overwhelming whiteness of the jager pilot teams.  Umm, wouldn't a lot of them be from Japan and China?  I would expect so.  And the Marshall is apparently from Britain.  Britain isn't a Pacific rim country.  But wait, their base is in Hong Kong, which is British, right?!  No, actually they gave it back to China over a decade ago, but whatever.  The one Asian crew is an "exotic" three-man team from China--but I don't think they ever even mention their individual names and they get a total of about 30 seconds of screen time.  The only two non-thug male characters are the two "scientists" who are portrayed as super mega-geeks played in exaggerated cartoonish stereotypes.  They're obviously meant to be comic relief but the over-the-top super-geekiness is so overdone that it's kind of sad instead.

    And the fact that almost all the primary and secondary actors are male means that there are only two female characters.  One is a secondary role of a co-pilot of the Russian jager but one is a primary character, jager co-pilot Mako Mori (played by Rinko Kikuchi/菊地凛子).  Okay, so here they finally have someone Japanese actually appearing in a jager of the genre they created and, in good anime style, she's a very cool character.  The movie takes time to build up her character, letting us know that she has won all 51 of her simulator fights, giving us a scene where she shows her martial arts skills in a competition against the hero to be his co-pilot, and also puts in a really great flashback dream sequence with her experiencing the kaiju attack as a young girl in which her parents died.  Thus we know she has the jager piloting skills, the martial arts fighting skills, and the psychological motivation to kick some kaiju butt.

    But during the big final battle scene she just goes all limp and has to be rescued by the aryan poster boy hero.  It's a really irritating throwback to the old movies where the female leads would inevitable twist their ankle and have to be carried to safety before the male lead could engage in the final single combat with the baddy.  But naturally in a neanderthal thug movie you can't ever have women actually accomplish anything or be a winner.  She thought she was pretty hot stuff, but in the end she drops out and has to be rescued.  Absolutely revolting misogynistic crap.  I do not want my daughter to see this movie--well not until after I warn her about the propaganda bullshit in it.

    Saturday, July 13, 2013

    So You Want to be a Witch? (in Pathfinder)

    Okay, so I thought I'd throw out the witch character I designed for my buddy Steve's new campaign using the Pathfinder rules.  This witch uses the Hedge Witch archetype, making her a healer or "wise woman".

    Healer by Drewsil (


    Half-Elf female (Ylsan/Sea-Elf); 5' 7", 135 lbs.
    Neutral Good
    STR      13 (+1)
    DEX     16 (+3)
    CON    14 (+2)
    INT      18 (+4)        Languages: Common, Elven, Sylvan
    WIS     14 (+2)
    CHA    15 (+2)

    HP:       8
    BAB   +0 (Melee +1/Ranged +3)
    CMB:  +1
    CMD:  14
    Fort    +3
    Ref     +2
    Will     +4

    Sacred TouchYou were exposed to a potent source of positive energy as a child.  As a standard action, you may automatically stabilize a dying creature merely by touching it.

    Having lived outside of traditional elf society all your life you know the world can be cruel, dangerous, and unforgiving of the weak.  You gain a +1 trait bonus on Fortitude saving throws.

    Extra Hex
    Gain one additional hex [took Disguise]

    Alertness (if familiar within 10')
    You get a +2 bonus on Perception and Sense Motive skill checks. If you have 10 or more ranks in one of these skills, the bonus increases to +4 for that skill.

    Skill Focus (bonus half-elf feat) +3 on one skill [used on Spellcraft]

    Healing (Su): A witch can soothe the wounds of those she touches. This acts as a cure light wounds spell, using the witch’s caster level. Once a creature has benefited from the healing hex, it cannot benefit from it again for 24 hours. At 5th level, this hex acts like cure moderate wounds.

    Disguise (Su): A witch can change her appearance for a number of hours per day equal to her class level, as if using disguise self. These hours do not need to be consecutive, but they must be spent in 1-hour increments. [bonus hex from feat; added this a flavorful/finesse option--invaluable if a witch hunter shows up]

    Witch Spells Per Day
    - Cantrips  (3/day) [DC 14]
    - 1st          (2/day) [DC 15]

    Weasel ("Amaren")
    HP: 4
    AC: 16
    INT: 6

    Spells Stored in Familiar
    0-Level Witch Spells (Cantrips)
    Arcane Mark - Inscribes a personal rune on an object or creature (visible or invisible).
    Dancing Lights - Creates torches or other lights.
    Daze - A single humanoid creature with 4 HD or less loses its next action.
    Detect Magic - Detects all spells and magic items within 60 ft.    
    Detect Poison - Detects poison in one creature or small object.
    Guidance - +1 on one attack roll, saving throw, or skill check.
    Light - Object shines like a torch.
    Mending - Makes minor repairs on an object.
    Message - Whisper conversation at distance.
    Read Magic - Read scrolls and spellbooks.
    Resistance - Subject gains +1 on saving throws.
    Spark - Ignites flammable objects.
    Stabilize - Cause a dying creature to stabilize.

    1st-Level Witch Spells
    Cure Light Wounds -  Cures 1d8 damage + 1/level (max +5).
    Mage Armor - Gives subject +4 armor bonus.
    Remove Sickness - Suppress disease, nausea, and the sickened condition.

    Class Skills
    Craft (Int), Fly (Dex), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Knowledge (History) (Int), Knowledge (Nature) (Int), Knowledge (Planes) (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Use Magic Device (Cha). [6 skill points/level]
    Acrobatics                        3
    Appraise                           4
    Bluff                                  2
    Climb                                1
    Craft (Alchemy)                8
    Diplomacy                        2
    Disguise                            2
    Escape Artist                    3
    Heal                                 6
    Intimidate                         2
    Knowledge (Arcana)        8
    Perception                        4 (6 with familiar)
    Profession (Herbalist)       6
    Ride                                 3
    Sense Motive                   2 (4 with familiar)
    Spellcraft                        11
    Stealth                             3
    Survival                           2
    Swim                               1
    Use Magic Device            6

    This version is almost complete.  Steve and I put together a fuller version in Hero Labs on his computer and I'll see if I can post that when I get a copy.

    By the way, if anyone can point me to a resource for doing tables in Blogger I'd really appreciate it.  I really, really need a better way to present information like the list of skills and ranks above.

    Sunday, July 7, 2013

    A New Campaign...

    Okay, so last night we restarted what we've been calling "Steve's game" or "The Grey Wolves" game, which is a 3rd edition D&D campaign.  Well, actually it was not a restart but rather more of  reboot.  That campaign had struggled on for a very long time through constant scheduling difficulties which meant that we only played two to four times a year at best.  Nevertheless our characters were all about 19th or 20th level and had finally boldly entered the city of Allaciza, groaning under the heel of the allied baddies.  We defeated a lich with the help of a dragon and were preparing for the final showdown with a werewolf who was probably a lot more than he seemed.  We had even started tossing around ideas about what to play next.  But as people's lives and schedules changed it just seemed impossible to get together for that final session.  Over a year went by.

    Then I tossed out the idea that maybe we could just jump to the new campaign, with Steve making his planned move to the Pathfinder rules, where the details of outcome of the final battle are left shrouded in myth and legend.  Even though our old party was apparently victorious in the end, a hideous tide of undead were unleashed on the main continent.  Only a few other details as to the fate of the Grey Wolves were released, but I'm hoping that they will emerge as the campaign progresses.

      Our new characters started on a large island off the coast of the main continent.  And the party has a very interesting set of characters:
    - a "wise woman" healer (a healing-oriented Witch; female half-elf)
    - a clever young halfling lass (rogue)
    - a master of the staff adept in weirding ways (magus; male human)
    - a ranger of the woods (male half-orc)
    - an aristocratic young elf with mystic knowledge (oracle; male elf)
    - an intense young woman strong in divine faith (inquisitor; female half-elf)
    - a roguish sailor-swordsman (swashbuckling fighter; male human)

    So no actual clerics, no typical arcane magic-users, and no typical "tank".  And even the magus was a "guest appearance" who may or may not be present as the story moves onward.  I'm playing the witch and will do a post on that once I get the Hero Labs version done.  I found that the witch class in Pathfinder is very complicated with many, many options to consider.  I'm slightly unsure whether a healing-oriented witch can really function as well as a cleric in that role, particularly since Pathfinder clerics have the "channel" area healing ability, but we'll see.

    Thursday, July 4, 2013

    The Red Dragonkin

    Okay, so here is the second of five posts on the five types of dragonkin which I outlined in a previous post.  The first post sketched out the black (water) dragonkin.  Each write-up will include a couple small additions to the original basic dragonkin race build and then some cultural-political notes.

    Red Dragonkin (Fire)
    Typical Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
    Energy Resistance 5 (fire)

    Their world is a fiery as their breath.  The red-scaled dragonkin of the fire element live in the far southern regions of the world.  Like their cousins in the north, the black dragonkin, they are spirited and unpredictable.  The lands of the south are dominted by the heat of the elemental pole of fire.  The air is hot, the ground is hot, and so is the lava which so often flows from below.  The fire dragonkin thrive in such conditions, as do the Anvilglow dvarr (dwarf) clans, firenewts, flame elementals, fire giants, and other fierce peoples of the south.  The red dragonkin live mostly in converted dormant volcanoes or rebuilt tangles of ancient lava tubes underground.

    Fire dragonkin politics are as lively and dynamic as a bursting volcano.  Alliances of barons led by individual red dragons battle and maneuver constantly, both on the fields of war and in secret parleys.  The reds revel in battle and are generally contemptuous of non-dragon races unless their opponents can earn respect through victory.

    The dvarr, however, are treated as the mortal enemies of the red dragonkin.  The burning south is the homeland of the fire dragonkin alone, in the same manner as the black water dragonkin of the north.  The dvarr early on penetrated deep into the south in search of unique metals, gems, and minerals--and found them in abundance.  In addition they discovered the secrets of lava-forging techniques which can impart qualities impossible to achieve elsewhere.  The dvarr are determined to keep the riches which are the source of their wealth and power and the dragonkin equally determined to drive the thieving invaders back whence they came.

    On the more temperate north coast of their lands they engage in more even-handed commerce with humans and others who live in enclaves on the edge of the sea.  The region of jungles and palm groves lining the sandy shores are not to the liking of the children of the flame and so they do not begrudge the outsiders their toeholds there.  The cities are a great place to trade with the rest of the world, enjoy exotic entertainments, and duel with a mix of outsiders.  The cities are also potential allies in the constant swirl of changing alliances between the barons and their dragon lords.

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013

    Review: Ponies for Pathfinder (yes, those ponies)

    Okay, so a couple years back somebody threw together an excellent spoof of Pathfinder called Ponyfinder.  The couple of pages done in the style of the Pathfinder core book took the pony types from the My Little Pony:Friendship is Magic show and offered them as playable races for the the Ponyfinder game.  Just brilliant.  (I showed it to my daughter, a non-roleplayer, and she immediately said "I want to play that!!")  Well, it didn't stop there.  People grabbed the idea and ran with it.  Various authors have created My Little Pony based material for Pathfinder.  One of those is Ponies for Pathfinder by David Silver.

    Ponies for Pathfinder takes the approach of making the various pony types into PC races for Pathfinder, either for inclusion alongside the existing races or an all-pony world.  Naturally, this assumes that the GM and players are cool with certain conceits of the genre, but you probably wouldn't buy the book if you weren't already into it.  The rules provide all the necessary crunchy rule bits for the regular pegasi, unicorns, and earth ponies and also for the uncommon breeds of sea horse, gem pony, chaos hunter, and doppleganger.  There are pony feats, how ponies do as each of the classes, favored class options, racial archetypes, a pony bloodline for sorcerers, special pony magic items, equipment, pony spells, and even the gods of the ponies.  The rules also cover the possibilities of using ponies as animal companions or familiars.  It's really quite complete.  I could totally see running this; I think it would be great at a convention or games day at a local gaming store.

    All in all I was quite pleased with the care and attention taken with adapting the ponies for Pathfinder and the completeness of it all.  The only disappointing note for me was that the only art is on the cover.  If you're at all interested in a My Little Pony/Pathfinder mash-up then you will enjoy this product.  There's something in here for everypony.

    Tuesday, July 2, 2013

    A Momentary Lapse of Judgment...or "Why I Bought Castles & Crusades"

    Okay, so I probably would not ordinarily have bought this game without some prompting.  Castles & Crusades (C&C) from Troll Lord Games is an old school renaissance (OSR) game which takes core elements of the early editions of Dungeons & Dragons and spruces them up.  As I have opined in earlier posts the OSR is not my favorite school of RPG design.  C&C is, however, a favorite of my good buddy Kaiser.  Our weeknight group recently finished up a three-session game of Hercules & Xena run by my good friend Bill and then had a great discussion about what to play for a long-term game.  The winner (so to speak) was Kaiser's offer of a C&C game.

    Now, a couple of us already had C&C characters from a game which Kaiser started a while ago so we could try out the rules (and maybe even end up liking them).  But since we'll be adding new players we decided that everyone should start out with a new character.  That was fine with me because I was finding the barbarian class a bit boring (as expected).  And so off I went to the Paizo website and purchased the pdf of the Players Handbook for C&C.

    After perusing the various classes I decided to play an illusionist.  The spells for illusionist in C&C are pretty decent and I figured that the character could also have a background as a street magician or carnival performer.  Because C&C does not have any skills or feats or talents as in later editions of D&D and other games that background will have to remain merely fluff. 

    Trevor was until recently gainfully employed displaying his skills as a "magician" at a traveling carnival of reasonable repute.  About a week ago, however, Trevor found himself involved in a awkward incident which resulted in him abruptly taking up the lifestyle of a "gentleman of the road".  As his dwindling funds will soon become an embarrassment, he seeks a lucrative activity suitable for one of his station.

    So, here is my starting first level illusionist:

    The Amazing Trevor, Prestidigitationist Extraordinaire!

    Male human
    Chaotic Neutral
    HP: 4
    BtH: +0

    STR      13 (+1)
    DEX     15 (+1)        primary
    CON    13 (+1)
    INT      15 (+1)        primary
    WIS     14 (+1)
    CHA    14 (+1)        primary

    0th    4/day
    DRAGON MARK        Creates dragon sounds on other side of door.
    GHOST SOUND           Figment sounds.
    LIGHT                            Object shines like a torch.
    PRESTIDIGITATION    Performs minor tricks.

    1st    3/day
    COLOR SPRAY                      Knocks unconscious, blinds, or stuns 1d4+1/level worth of creatures.
    DRAGON IMAGE                 1d6 damage
    ILLUSIONARY HOUNDS    Two hounds distract opponents

    Illusionist Abilities:
    • Sharp Senses: An illusionist’s innate ability to distinguish the real from the unreal imparts a bonus to all illusion saving throws. The bonus increases with higher levels.
    • Disguise: Using magic and props, the illusionist can disguise himself and impersonate others.
    GP: 17
    dagger (1d4)
    staff (1d6)
    10 darts (1d3)
    candles (5)       
    donkey ("Morris")
    saddle blanket
    belt pouch, component
    belt pouch, large
    belt pouch, small
    oil, flask
    marbles (25)
    mirror, small steel
    rope, silk (50')