I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's. I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.

- William Blake

Friday, November 23, 2018

Super-critical hits!

Random idea I can't get off my mind lately:

Super criticals

Roll 1d4.
1: Maximum damage.
2: Double damage.
3: Triple damage;
4: Special (depends on weapon, armor, etc).

Example: if your usual damage is 1d6+3, maximum damage is 9, double damage is 2d6+6* (Average 13), triple damage is 3d6+9* (average 19.5).

*OR just roll 1d6+3 and multiply by two or three.

How?

A super-critical is achieved when you crit and beat the target AC by 10 or more, or when you have advantage an roll 20 on both dice. In some circumstances, all your crits will be super-crits, while in others none will (however, you can reach crits through combos - see my next post).

I thought of this as a rule for my Dark Fantasy Basic but you can obviously use for D&D 5e, etc. Notice that "maximum damage" result is slightly worse than the usual 5e crit... but it kinda FEELS better IMO, and is one less roll.


Why?

I just like crits! They are exciting, fun and a great way of differentiating weapons and characters, since only a few hits will be crits. It also gives you that "urgency" - the fight may suddenly take a sharp turn for the better or worse...

However, I get bored by long tables and dislike stopping combats to check complex rules/charts.

Super-crits are intuitive and significant. "Special" results - you can put whatever you want there, but should be very significant, and maybe IN ADDITION to triple damage - will happen less than 2% of the time. THEN you can use a table or complex rules. Almost 99% of the time, things will be straightforward.

Notice that this crits will make the difference between creatures of different HD/CR more significant. A level 10 fighter will be very likely to destroy one orc per critical hit in 5e - or even an ogre (4+1 HD) in B/X or DFB.

Likewise, heroes must think twice before attacking something that is out of their league. In 5e, this means the need for "minions" for high-CR foes is made a bit less relevant.

Well, that's it for now.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Concocting constructs


Constructs are made, not born. Some are programmed by their creators to follow a simple set of instructions, while others are imbued with sentience and capable of independent thought. Golems are the iconic constructs.

Construct varieties

Golems – artificial humanoids created by magic - are iconic and simple. Their main distinction is the material from which they are crafted – clay, coal, iron, flesh, gemstones, marble, ceramic, stained glass, etc. Animated objects such as a flying sword or self-moving suits of armor (or furniture!) are even simpler. However, there are other types of constructs: steam-powered spiders, plastic spheres with flamethrowers, killer vehicles, and so on. You can skip some or most of the tables if you want to keep your construct simple.

Habits, diet and habitat

Constructs can be found anywhere their creators want them: guarding riches, working in factories, transporting goods, and so on. Their habits, likewise, are usually programmed in creation.
Since constructs are similar to machines, most of them can live regardless of food, drink, sleep and even air, but rely on a different power source (see below).
Clever artificers often put golems and other constructs near power sources so they can constantly refuel and regenerate, or even build traps that will help constructs while hindering invaders.

Traits

A typical construct has the following traits:
Size: any.
Alignment: Unaligned.
Abilities: good Strength, Constitution; bad Charisma, Intelligence.
Resistances/Immunities: constructs are usually resistant to poison, psychic, and many other types of damage (including nonmagical weapons that aren’t adamantine), depending on what they’re made of (and their power source), and immune to being charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned. Magic resistance is also common.
Senses: Darkvision.
Languages: Constructs understand the languages of its creator (if any) but most cannot speak.

Artificial faces

No matter the form they take, most constructs cannot speak and thus have no mouths. Many lack noses and ears too, using magic or other means to perceive reality. Golems and other constructs made to resemble people may have lips that do not move and ears that do not work. However, many constructs with faces have eyes – usually two or a single big one, often glowing – made of glass, jewels or other materials that are really used for sight.

Appearance & Attacks

Constructs, like any other apparatuses, may take any form their creator can fathom. Therefore, there is no reason why a construct cannot have three legs, five eyes and multiple antennae. However, since they are usually built by anthropocentric minds, the common construct is shaped like a person or something resembling a person (a cube with arms and legs, for example).
Shapes. Many constructs have humanoid appearance. Other look like strange, mechanical animals, or armored vehicles. Some constructs are just animated objects, while other are piles of bones, weapons, chains, etc. You can roll again in this table multiple times if you wish, generating lower limbs, upper limbs and head (for example, a construct might have tracks, four arms, and spherical head).
Power source. Many constructs are moved by magic and might be damaged or stop functioning if subjected to antimagic fields or other magic-destroying effects. Other, however, function like machines, and must consume petrol, electricity, etc., periodically. A few have internal generators that are hard to disrupt, and some are biomechanical, using normal food for sustenance.
Materials. A construct may have various resistances and vulnerabilities determined by the materials from which it is made, although some are specially reinforced to avoid the most obvious weaknesses.

1d12
Shapes
Power source
Materials
1
Humanoid
Magic
Clay
2
Quadruped
Steam
Stone
3
Insect or arachnid
Clockwork
Wood
4
Random object
Electricity
Plastic
5
Pile of objects
Atomic
Metal
6
Wheels or tracks
Biotech
Flesh
7
1d8+2 legs
Puppeteering
Synthetic flesh
8
1d4+2 arms
Petrol
Bone
9
Cube
Alchemy
Rubber
10
Other polyhedron
Sunlight
Glass
11
Sphere
Internal generator
Cyborg (bionic / organic hybrid)
12
Roll twice
Roll twice
Roll twice

Attacks. Constructs fight with many different types of weapons, some of them attached to their own bodies. Melee weapons have 50% chance of being built-in, while ranged weapons are usually built-in except for the first four entries (although few constructs will have ranged attacks in the first place).

1d20
Melee
Ranged
1
Slam
Crossbow
2
Fist
Javelin
3
Claw
Rock
4
Bite
Poisoned darts
5
Warhammer
Net-thrower
6
Flail
Paralyzing gas
7
Sword
Lightning bolt
8
Maul
Poison gas
9
Axe
Flamethrower
10
Pincer
Hand canon
11
Tentacle arms
Eye laser
12
Electric gauntlets
Bolt-thrower
13
Kick
Acid spray
14
Blowtorch
Taser
15
Saw blade
Serrated discs
16
Electric whip
Detachable fist
17
Energy sword
Magnetic pulse
18
Stinger
Rocket launcher
19
Drill
None
20
Roll twice
Roll twice


1d20
Distinction
1
False Appearance. While motionless, the construct is indistinguishable from an sculpture, ordinary object, pile of debris, etc.
2
Deceiving Appearance. The construct appears to be of another monster type: a steel monstrosity, a celestial surrounded by lighting, an undead pile of moving bones, or an ordinary humanoid.
3
Nanorobot. The construct appears turns into a swarm of spider-like creatures (or other swarm) when destroyed, with one fifth of the original HP. It will reassemble with 1 HP in 2d6 turns if not destroyed as swarm, and recover all its HP in 10 turns.
4
Exploding. The construct explodes into a burst of energy when destroyed, causing damage to everyone nearby.
5
Detaching parts. The construct can remove parts of its body for repairs, or change parts to suit the present task.
6
Positronic. The construct is unable to hurt a living creature directly. It might be able to set traps.
7
Remotely operated. The construct is remotely controlled by someone else, through strings, magic, levers, etc.
8
Man in the machine. The construct is controlled by someone (which usually much smaller) inside it, which might be hard to notice.
9
Living brain. The construct is home to a biological living brain (or heart, soul, etc.) that will rise again in time if not destroyed.
10
Reprogrammable. If capture, the construct can be reprogrammed to serve different purposes.
11
Transformer. The construct can repurposed itself as something else: a vehicle, object, harmless piece of decoration, etc.
12
Mathematician. The construct has the intelligence of a genius. Although not creative, it can perform complex measurements and calculations in seconds.
13
Replicator. The construct is has built other, smaller, constructs to keep it company.
14
Precious. The construct is made of valuable parts, but disassembling it would rob the world of valuable knowledge, and even destroying it through ordinary means will probably make it worthless.
15
Duplicate. The construct is built to replace a specific person. Its true appearance is hidden behind a realistic layer of wax, silicone, or other material, and can be revealed with enough damage, especially from fire.
16
Magnetic. The construct is able to attract (or, alternatively, repel) iron weapons, armor, etc.
17
Absorption. Whenever the construct is subjected to acid damage (or fire, lighting, radiant, etc., depending on the material and power source), it takes no damage and instead regains a number of Hit Points equal to the acid damage dealt.
18
Gigantic. The construct has the size of a giant (huge).
19
Magic Immunity. The construct automatically succeeds in all saving throws against spells.
20
Elemental spirit. The construct contains an elemental spirit, which is released upon its death, with half the original HP. Earth is the most common element for this purpose, but iron constructs may be fueled by fire, clay golems by water, and flesh golems by air.


Origins and ideals

Constructs are created by other beings for specific purposes, although they can (very rarely) gain some degree of consciousness.

Roll
Origin
Ideals
1
A wizard did it
Protection: I will protect this person (or place, object, etc.) with my life.
2
Built by an artificer
Obedience: I exist only to serve my master’s orders. 
3
Spontaneous awakening
Extermination: I will kill anything in sight.
4
Gradually replaced itself by engines
Replication: I must find energy and materials to build others like myself.
5
Animated by a fairy, deity or fiend
Labor: I must perform the menial tasks I was programmed for, repetitively.
6
Born in a plane of machines
Self-awareness: I must become a real person.

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