Friday, June 26, 2015

Neo School Hack - The Witch Class (updated)

Okay, so in my buddy Steve's Pathfinder game I'm playing a witch.  Early on in my work on making new classes for Old School Hack I considered doing a witch.  Eventually I decided to stay with just the Wizard as the only arcane magic class.  I figured on maybe doing a grimoire of witchy spells which you could use to make a witch-flavored wizard.

But whatever--I totally changed my mind and so here's a proper witch class for my Neo School Hack rules.

The Witch

Classic Weapon: broom (or wand)

- A witch is the student or apostle of a strange, mysterious entity who grants magical powers (and sometimes cats) in return for attention, tea, and occasional live sacrifices.  Witches may learn spells from spell grimoires in the same manner as Wizards do.

Swept Away/rested: hopping astride a broom you fly up into the air and quickly away; you can fly for one hour per point of Commitment bonus (but a minimum of one hour)

Bubbling Cauldron/focus-rested: from a small cauldron full of weird ingredients bubbling over a fire you can draw off one potion or handful of dust containing any spell you know; a person hit with the dust or ingesting the potion is affected by the contained spell.

Hex/focus-encounter: with a creepy cackle you hex a creature with black magic; creatures are allowed a Commitment save, otherwise they will suffer -4 to all rolls for 24 hours; may be cast in reverse to remove the hex; hexes may be placed on objects so that anyone touching them is hexed.

Frog!/focus-encounter: you turn a living creature into a frog (or a newt); the victim gets a Commitment save or will remain a frog for 24 hours; may be cast in reverse to un-frog the person; this spell can also be broken by the kiss of a princess.

Black Cat Familiar/constant: you have a magical intelligent black cat as your constant, devoted companion; it can talk and with a moment of concentration you can see and hear what it sees and hears (and vice versa); AC-14, 1 HP.

Lovely Complexion, Dearie/constant: your skin becomes infused with arcane weirding and permanently turns green; only magical spells can conceal it; all Charm rolls are at -2 but you permanently gain one of two boons: +2 to Commitment saves vs. magic cast on you OR victims of your magic are -2 on Commitment saves vs. your spells.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

First session with Hero Lab at the table.

Okay, so I bought Hero Lab some time ago.  Mostly I wanted to see how a modern character sheet worked.  Our group is big on Pathfinder, and was big on D&D 3.5 before that.  Those two rules sets are famous (notorious?) for their massive crunch factor.  Even for non-spellcasting classes you will need at least two pages to hold all the info.  Also, as a GM I was finding it very time consuming to build higher level NPCs.  As a player that crunch gives you a lot of room to develop your character but as a GM it creates a steep curve as your game moves into the mid and upper levels.

Until recently my use of Hero Lab was mostly to play with "off line" because I didn't have a tablet or laptop.  But this month I got a nice little convertible laptop for my birthday (thanks wifey!)--and Saturday our buddy Steve graciously ran his Pathfinder game for us.  Steve has been using Hero Lab at the table to support his DMing for a while now and he has Hero Lab character (.por) files for all our characters. 

This time I not only brought my character sheets electronically with Hero Lab but also dispensed with all hardcopy game books.  At Steve's I connected to his home wifi and used the website for rules references.  I own a ton of Pathfinder stuff both in pdf and dead tree versions but that's a lot to bring along.  This time it was just the laptop/tablet and my dice bag--and once I find a good dice app I can skip the dicebag too.  No more massive bookbag for me anymore.

So how did it go?  Well on the little screen the print was tiny and fiddly to zoom in and out on.  As my eyes get older that becomes more important for me.  But I loved the hover-over pop-up information boxes for everything on the character sheet.  And I mean everything.  Once you have Hero Lab up you hardly ever have to look up anything else because it's all there in the program.  Skills, feats, spells, abilities, modifiers, etc. are all right there.  For me that was a huge time saver because with a spellcaster character (witch) there are a lot of spells, hexes, etc. which I keep checking details on.  The program was slightly slow when it came to switching tabs, which seemed odd since I only had Hero Lab and Firefox up, but not so much as to interfere with play.

The bottom line: from now on it's Hero Lab for me when I'm playing.  I may bring a print out in case technical problems crop up but don't expect to need it often.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cult of the Octomom

Okay, so I had the opportunity to play Old School Hack again today--plus the opportunity to meet a couple members of our "rival" Castles & Crusades group.  Our DM Bill has been running two groups through his C&C campaign and this was the first time I've met the mystery players from the other group.  They'd also played Old School Hack not too long ago using my "Long Ride to a Short Death" scenario.  This time it was OSH again with Bill downloading a scenario from the esteemed Fictive Fantasies site.  Three of the players from the previous game continued with their characters but two of us started with new characters.  In my case I decided to try the paladin which I'd designed earlier as a playtest.

Since this was a silly game I decided my paladin worshiped an octopus deity--or, wait, no an ocean mother sea goddess with an octopus as symbol.  And for corresponding personality I decided he was a surfer dude type (buff, tan, long bleach-blond hair, Hawaiian print tunic, flip-flop sandals, and a classic surfer dude accent).  His primary equipment included a trident, surf board, and coconut tanning oil.  Hmm, but what was he doing in the middle of the desert?  Well obviously he was a missionary bringing the worship of the Octomom to the heathen masses far from the sea!  So tonight I thought I'd throw together some details for others wishing to follow the most excellent and totally gnarly path of the Octomom.

Cult Holy Symbol: octopus wearing a crown and holding up a fish, a trident, a ship, a seashell, seaweed, a branch of coral, an oar, and an anchor.

Cult Goal: to truly know what is tubular and what is bogus and help everyone to surf the gnarly wave of tubular while steering clear of a bogus wipe-out.  Also, stay tan (easier for some followers than others).

Cult Favored Weapons: trident, oar, and harpoon

Holy Water: sacred coconut tanning oil

Cult Battlecry: Surfs up!!!