The Duality of the Elves

Centuries ago, Elves ruled the world through sorcerous might and military power. Now, the Elven hegemony exists largely in history books. The only Elven city that still exists as a functioning political body is ancient Aachen. The rest of former Elven possessions and vassals have either been overtaken by wilderness or else exist today long free of Elven overlords. The Elves were created by Corellon Larethian and Sehanine Moobow, the Elven deities of the sun and moon, of life and death. Sehanine fashioned the Elven body while Corellon infused the spark of life. The duality of their creators affects the very core of Elven existence for every Elf is both male and female, changing sex with the passing of the hours. Most Elves are amoral. Their actions are determined by tradition and by the search for pleasure and new sensations. Elven sophisticates take pride their love of cruelty and pleasure. Their self-centered ways are held in check by rigid adherence to tradition. Elaborate rituals dedicated to the sun and the moon dominate Elven society, and few Elves have the courage to ignore these rites.

Elven Class Abilities

Duality: All Elves are both male and female, both martial (makar) and magical (istar). At 1st level, the player must decide which sex corresponds with which adjective. Thus, an Elf can be magical male and martial female, or vice versa. At moonrise each day, an Elf’s sex changes. An Elf can attempt to resist this change by making a saving throw. When an Elf changes form, the Elf recovers 1d6+1 lost hit points.

Establish Stronghold: At tenth level, an Elf who chooses to build a stronghold may attract a body of loyal followers who swear fealty to the character.

Experience Bonus for Strength and Intelligence: Strength and Intelligence are the Prime Attributes for Elves. An Elf with a Strength of 15 or higher receives a 2.5% bonus to experience. An Elf with a 15 or higher in Intelligence receives an additional 2.5% experience. These bonuses are cumulative for an Elf with 15+ in both attributes.

Keen Detection: Elves are good at spotting hidden and concealed doors (1-4 on a d6 when searching or 1-2 on a d6 if just passing by).

Saving Throws: An Elf receives a +2 bonus on saving throws against the special attacks of the undead.

Weapon and Armor Restrictions: An Elf in either form can wear any armor up to and including chain mail. The Elf cannot use two-handed weapons or shields while casting spells.

Elven Istar Abilities

Combat: In istar form, an Elf resolves attack rolls using the same table as Magic-Users, but enjoys a +1 bonus to-hit with any type of bow or one-handed sword.

Saving Throws: An Elf in istar form receives a +2 bonus on saving throws against charm and sleep.

Spellcasting: Like the Magic-User, an Elf owns a book of spells, which does not necessarily include all of the spells on the standard lists. Reading from this book, the Elf presses select spell formulae into the mind, thus “preparing” those spells to be cast. Once a prepared spell is cast, the spell formulae disappears from the Elf’s mind, and must be prepared again before another attempt can be made to cast it. However, it is possible to prepare a spell multiple times using the available “slots” in the Elf’s memory. If the Elf finds spell scrolls during an adventure, those can be copied into the spellbook.

Elven Makar Abilities

Combat: In makar form, an Elf resolves attack rolls using the same table as Clerics, but enjoys a +1 bonus to-hit with any type of bow or one-handed sword.

Saving Throws: An Elf in makar form receives a +2 bonus on saving throws against charm and fear.

December 8th, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

Forged in Fire

Dwarves, forged by the god Moradin, typically inhabit mountains and rugged hills, where they build fortress-towns that include subterranean passages, chambers, and defenses. These short and stocky defenders of mountain fortresses are often seen as stern and humorless. Known for mining the earth’s treasures and crafting magnificent items from ore and gemstones, they have an unrivaled affinity for the bounties of the deep earth. Dwarves love of history and tradition, and they often view shifts in attitudes, styles, fashions, and trends with suspicion if not hostility. Dwarves believe unbroken things don’t need to be fixed, and broken things should be repaired rather than replaced. Dwarves are a short and stocky race, and stand about a foot shorter than most humans, with wide, compact bodies that account for their burly appearance. Male and female Dwarves pride themselves on the long length of their hair, and men often decorate their beards with a variety of clasps and intricate braids. A clean-shaven male Dwarf is surely mad or cursed; one trusts a beardless Dwarven male with great caution.

Dwarven Class Abilities

Establish Mountain Hall: At tenth level, a Dwarf who chooses to build and dedicate a mountain hall to his clan may attract a body of loyal followers who swear fealty to the character.

Experience Bonus for Constitution: Constitution is the Prime Attribute for Dwarves, which means a Dwarf with Constitution of 15 or higher receives an additional 5% experience.

Forged in Fire: Moradin Soul-Forger crafted the first Dwarves with fire, hammer, and anvil, and some of the magic from that divine act remains within every Dwarf. When a Dwarf suffers damage from a metal weapon or from fire, the player rolls a Forged in Fire die. If the die result is a 1 or a 2, the die type downgrades one step. A d4 die that downgrades means this ability no longer functions until it has recovered. Regardless, the Dwarf takes half damage from the metal weapon or fire.

Keen Detection: Dwarves are good at spotting construction, traps, and slanting passages while underground. See adjacent table for the chance of success.

Saving Throw: Dwarves are hearty creatures. They gain a +4 bonus on saving throws against poison.

Weapon and Armor Restrictions: Like Fighters, Dwarves train in warfare and have no restrictions on the weapons or armor they may use, except that Dwarves may not use two-handed swords or longbows (short bows and crossbows are permitted). A Dwarf makes attack rolls as a Fighter of equal level.

December 7th, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

A Hero Is Born

Recent work on The Four Color Hack has slowed due to life (work, illness, et cetera) combined with Peter C. Spahn’s distracting WWII: Operation WhiteBox. Today, I refer you to an earlier TFCH post, specifically one that describes Diesel, a sample hero.

At this link right here, you can find a PDF excerpt of the hero creation rules. Major influences on hero creation include Atomic Sock Monkey’s Truth & Justice, DC Heroes by Mayfair Games, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying from Margaret Weis Productions, and Risus: The Anything RPG by S. John Ross. There are some other influences in there as well, such as (obviously) The Black Hack.


December 6th, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

A Pair of Allies

Have I mentioned recently how much I like Peter C. Spahn’s WWII: Operation WhiteBox? Also, here are some friendly NPCs who might help your commandos

American Ace

Armor Class: 7 [12] (Dex and combat training)
Hit Dice: 3
Total Hit Bonus: +3
Attacks: Weapon or fist
Saving Throw: 16
Special: Ace pilot
Movement: 12
HDE/XP: 3/60

Perry Webb, the American Ace, is one of many costumed operatives active during World War II who were recruited into the United States military. Perry is a skilled mining engineer and an exceptional pilot. He brags that he can fly anything with wings, and there is little cause to doubt this boast. Perry gains a +1 bonus to-hit with aircraft weaponry, and any aircraft he pilots gains a +1 to Armor Class. When he makes a strafing run, there is a 2 in 6 chance (4 in 6 for vehicles) that any character caught in the path of fire is struck by 0-3 rounds.

Ka-Zar the Great

Armor Class: 5 [14] (superhuman agility)
Hit Dice: 5
Total Hit Bonus: +8
Attacks: Weapon (+3 damage)
Saving Throw: 16
Special: Speak with animals, superhuman strength and agility
Movement: 15
HDE/XP: 6/400

David Rand is the son of British parents, John and Constance Rand, born to them in 1918 in South Africa. When he was a three-year-old, his family went a trip from Johannesburg to Cairo to visit David’s grandfather; however, they crash landed in the Belgian Congo. As John fruitlessly attempted to flag planes, David developed a bond to many of the jungle’s native animals, befriending some of them, such as Zar the Lion, who watched over this family after David rescued the lion from quicksand. Soon after, his mother died of jungle fever and was laid to rest. David grew up into adolescence with his father, learning how to survive in the jungle, as well as how to read and write. David’s life changed forever the day that Paul de Kraft, a jewel hunter, entered the region searching for jewels along the river. Paul murdered John Rand, and would have done the same to David if it had not been for the intervention of Zar, who slew two of de Kraft’s minions. De Kraft escaped. Orphaned, David was adopted as Zar’s pride and rechristened Ka-Zar.

Ka-Zar is a staunch enemy of the Nazi regime. When he learned that Nazi forces were landing in Italian-controlled Ethiopia, he led an army of animals and destroyed a Nazi airport, ruining the plot to bomb British settlements in Egypt. He and his animal army next attacked a train controlled by the Italian Fascists. Finding an Italian military camp outside of Kenya, Ka-Zar learned that they plotted to attack a British outpost. With the aid of his animal army, Ka-Zar flooded the camp by destroying a dam.

Due to ingesting a magic potion, Ka-Zar has superhuman strength and agility, which explains his AC and to hit bonus. Ka-Zar can lift about fives times his body weight.

December 4th, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

Nazi Super-Soldiers

And now, more gonzo ideas for WWII: Operation WhiteBox by Pete C. Spahn.


Armor Class: 5 [14] (heavy hide and Dex)
Hit Dice: 6
Total Hit Bonus: +6
Attacks: Weapon or fist
Saving Throw: 13
Special: Telekinesis (120 lbs), telepathy (60 ft.)
Movement: 12
HDE/XP: 7/600

Today, it is almost universally believed that Adolf Hitler commited suicide in May 1945, but this is only part of the truth. Alerted by the gunshots, Nazi doctors managed to get to Hitler’s body before he died. They placed him in a state of suspended animation using Nazi superscience while they moved him in secret away from Berlin to special labs in Tanganyika, which had been part of Deutsch-Ostafrika until the early 1920s. There Nazi superscientists removed Hitler’s brain to repair the damage done by the bullet. Unfortunately, organ failure in Hitler’s body made returning the brain to its original place problematic, and so the superscientists transplanted Hitler’s brain into the body of a fierce mountain gorilla. Years of physical therapy and further surgeries followed as Hitler’s brain grew stronger and gradually adapted to its new home.

By the mid 1950s, Adolf Hitler was ready to resume his role as Führer. What’s more, work on the time machine had been completed. Adolf Hitler entered the chrono-capsule and was displaced back to early 1941. Hitler’s goal was to convince his earlier self to put off invading the U.S.S.R. until after Great Britain had fallen. Unforeseen complications with the time travel matrix, however, damaged Hitler’s memory. Now known as Brainiape, Hitler has forgotten who he is and his mission to avert his eventual suicide, although his dreams are haunted by strange images like memories that lead Brainiape to believe that he and Hitler share some fateful future. Brainiape serves the Nazis as an agent of terror.

Armless Tiger Man

Armor Class: 6 [13] (martial arts training and Dex)
Hit Dice: 3
Total Hit Bonus: +3
Attacks: Bite or kick
Saving Throw: 16
Special: Demolitions, prehensile toes
Movement: 15
HDE/XP: 4/120

Eric Hertz worked in a mechanical laboratory in Munich, Germany. One day his arms were caught in a machine and were amputated. Surviving the experience and given reading material on how to operate day-to-day using his mouth and feet, Hertz developed a hatred of all machines and began honing his skills and working himself to his peak physical level.

Recruited by the Nazis, Hertz’s teeth were filed into steel-hard fangs via surgery and special treatments with radioactive calcium. His feet were surgically modified to become exceptionally agile. As a result, Hertz’s toes almost have the same dexterity as human hands. He was extensively training in unarmed combat, and his feet and fangs are deadly weapons. As Armless Tiger Man, Hertz is an assassin, cannibal, and saboteur.

December 3rd, 2016  in RPG No Comments »