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

Here is a small part from TERATOGENICON, the ultimate monster generator! If you like it, consider acquiring the book on DTRPG. I wrote this post before publishing the book, so some of the text has been update. The tables and pages you see below are exactly as presented in the book. 

(The images are copyright WotC, as far as I can tell, and are not included in the book - which is lavishly illustrated by Rick Troula!)

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Celestial Creation


Celestials are creatures native to the Upper Planes. Many of them are the servants of deities, employed as messengers or agents in the mortal realm and throughout the planes. Celestials are good by nature, so the exceptional celestial who strays from a good alignment is a horrifying rarity. Celestials include angels, couatls, and pegasi.

A typical celestial has the following traits:
Size: any.
Alignment: Lawful Good.
Abilities: varies.
Common resistances/immunities: charm, fear, nonmagical attacks.
Senses: Darkvision.
Languages: Common, Celestial, and many other languages.
Challenge: 2d6.

Habits, diet and habitat

Celestials live in different planes to humankind and often come with a specific mission. Angels and their kind can live anywhere and do not need to eat, drink or sleep. Animal-shaped celestials, such as unicorn and pegasi, are usually more mundane in this aspect.


Appearance & Powers

A celestial’s heavenly nature manifests in their appearance, as auras of gold, shining armor, and feathered wings. When they take humanoid form, they are healthy, strong, and thin specimens. Some celestial are somewhat more mysterious and less human, as if to indicate they are somewhat superior or different from mundane beings (the last eight entries are darker than the rest; use 1d12 if you want a more traditional look).
Attacks. Celestials often carry big magic weapons with impressive special properties. Even when unarmed, their attacks are usually considered to be equivalent to magical weapons.
Some celestials can project attack with beams of radiant damage, auras of fire, and so on (spheres of energy originate on the celestial but do not affect it). Celestials without ranged attacks will often have strong defensive powers (teleportation, invisibility, etc.).
Energy. This table applies to the celestial’s attack and possibility to their features as well – fire halos, radiant wings, lighting auras, and so on.
Animals. Some celestials look like animals - examples are winged lions, golden stags, unicorns, etc. Some were actually animals once, now ascended by the contact with higher powers (in this case, their attacks will probably be unarmed – although some animals may carry weapons in their mouths or possess intelligent weapons that fight by themselves on command). Other celestials have animal features, animal motifs in their clothing, animal companions, or the ability to transform into animals. The list below contains the animals most commonly associated with celestials.
Color/metal. These colors and metals are commonly applied to celestial features – clothes, eyes, wings, hair, skin, etc.



Origins and goals

Celestials are usually created by deities, but there are other possibilities. Their goals are usually benevolent, but not always. Notice that some deities have draconic laws against insignificant sins (wearing the wrong color in a temple, eating forbidden food, etc.).

Tables

Here are the tables concerning celestials. Since they don't seem to work in Firefox for some reason, I included them in image form as well.




d20
Appearance
Special Power
1
Halo or aura
Change shape
2
1d3x2 Wings
Detect lies
3
Glowing eyes
Etherealness
4
Shiny skin
Flight
5
Long loose clothing
Flying Weapon
6
Shining armor or bracers
Frightening
7
Animal features
Healing
8
Clean shaven or bald
Innate spellcasting
9
Silky fur
Invisibility
10
Oversized weapon
Magic Resistance
11
Metallic hair
Plane Travel
12
Scantily clad
Regeneration
13
No eyes or blindfolded
Slaying
14
Featureless face (or mask)
Telekinesis
15
Polyhedron head
Telepathy
16
Stony skin
Teleport
17
Iron cilice
Truesight
18
Covered in eyes
Turn Undead
19
Four or six arms
Weather Manipulation
20
Roll twice
Roll twice

d6
Melee
Ranged
Energy
1
Sword
Longbow
Radiant
2
Mace
Cone of energy
Fire
3
Spear
Sphere of energy
Lightning
4
Staff
Cylinder of energy
Force
5
Maul
Line of energy
Thunder
6
Unarmed
None
Psychic


d6
Goals
Origin
1
Protection. I will protect this person (or place, object, etc.) with my life.
Created by a benevolent deity
2
Obedience. I exist only to serve my deity’s orders and further its cause. 
Ascended mortal
3
Healing. I heal the sick and bring comfort to the wounded.
Whole species is celestial by nature
4
Zeal. I must rid the world of demons and all creatures that are evil by nature, no matter the cost.
A deity in mortal form (avatar)
5
Guidance. I do not interfere directly, but provide guidance and aid so the faithful can fight their own battles.
Celestial ancestry
6
Justice. Let justice be done though the heavens fall. No mercy for sinners!
Advanced through time, now trapped in the past

d20
Distinction
1
Martyred. The celestial was martyred and is still marked by its death (roll on the Undead appearance table to find out how).
2
Fanatic. The celestial cannot perform the slightest deviation from multiple taboos.
3
Fallen. Other celestials shun this one because of ancient sins, which are somehow marked in body and soul (chains, scars, missing wings, etc.).
4
Heavenly beast. The celestial has the shape of an animal with a few features that indicate its true nature. It is intelligent and able to communicate through speech or telepathy.
5
Childlike. The celestial has the features of a child, but is as wise and powerful as any other celestial.
6
Immaterial. The celestial is made of pure energy. A ray of light, a circle of fire, etc. You can adapt or ignore appearance as needed.
7
Law Bringer. Everyone and everything within certain distance of the celestial is compelled to follow the letter of the Law.
8
Prophet. The celestial has glimpses of the
(ever-changing) future and can sometimes anticipate future events.
9
Punisher. The celestial is willing and able to recall and punish past sins.
10
Genocidal. The celestial is willing and able to recall and punish past sins of entire tribes, villages or families.
11
Flock. The celestial is actually 2d6 tiny creatures.
12
Unborn. The celestial is the spirit of an unborn person and glimpses mortals as piles of bone, castles as ruins, etc. If it is born, it ceases to exist as celestial. If prevented from being born (parents are slain, etc.), it turns into a powerful undead.
13
Wayfinder. The celestial is able to open gates to different planes of existence. The gates will stand for some time even after the celestial is gone or destroyed.
14
Animal friend. The celestial is followed by multiple beasts and can control ordinary animals at will.
15
Scholar. The celestial has encyclopedic knowledge about the world. It collects books, looks for hidden scrolls and reveals secrets.
16
Time traveler. The celestial can travel through time, although it is careful not to disturb its flow.
17
Titan. The celestial has the size of a giant (Huge).
18
Watcher. The celestial will observe but not intervene, except in the most exceptional circumstances. If it does intervene, it will be punished accordingly, or even destroyed.
19
Crusader. The celestial will not assist people who worship different deities, and will seek to harm those who follow opposed or malignant gods.
20
Roll twice.

All art: copyright Peter Mohrbacher.