Archive for March, 2017

Learning Leadership

Originally posted elsewhere on 28 August 2012:

Today, I explained to my students the hows and whys of keeping a journal. Since I’m asking them to do it, I figured I should also. After all, it doesn’t seem fair for me to ask people to do things I’m not willing to do.

This principle of leadership was implanted into my brain while I was stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. We had returned from a field exercise, and it was time to clean the equipment. Hawaii has a lot of red dirt which, when wet, turns into red mud that gets into everything. What’s more, it requires serious effort to clean the mud out of cloth and canvas.

We were in the motor pool. It was late, probably after midnight. Several of us had spread a large general purpose tent over the asphalt. It had rained during the field exercise, and the tent had changed color from olive drab to brick red over a large part of its surface. We crawled around the spread-out tent on our hands and knees, stiff scrub brushes in one hand and bottles of Simple Green in the other. The process was simple: spray the tent with Simple Green, scrub like maniacs, and then rinse and repeat until the tent was back to its original color.

While we did this, all the senior noncommissioned officers and commissioned officers stood around, drinking coffee, smoking, and laughing, but at least when they weren’t complaining about how slow we were in getting the tent cleaned.

That is, all except for First Lieutenant Freehill. Freehill was right there with us on his hands and knees, spraying and scrubbing and rinsing.

I remember a major telling Lieutenant Freehill that he didn’t have to scrub the tent. Freehill responded, “Yes, sir, but I’m not going to ask my soldiers to do something I’m not willing to do.”

My term of service at Schofield overlapped Freehill’s by about a year and a half. During that time, I don’t recall ever hearing any lower enlisted folks having anything other than words of praise for that young lieutenant.

March 31st, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Boldogs & Domenico Neziti

If you’ve never checked out the art of Domenico Neziti, you’re wrong. Stop being wrong. Seriously. He’s worth your time. I’ve mentioned this before in another post that includes more links. I see work like this, and it just screams to be used in a game.

Boldog
Armor Class: 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: Weapon (1d6+1)
Special: See below
Move: 12
Save: 14
HDE/XP: 6/400

Boldogs are powerful demons who are often deified by orcs. A boldog somewhat resembles an orc, but they are larger, stronger, and obviously more intelligent as evidenced by the cunning malevolence that burns in their eyes. The spells of casters below 3rd level do not affect boldogs, and these demons are 35% immune to spells from more powerful casters. In battle, boldogs fight with swords and wield shields. A boldog’s gaze causes disease, putrefies food, and poisons water.

March 29th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

The Flu Bug

I write this as someone who lost about 36 hour this week to what the doctors claim was the flu, but what I know was actually an invisibile monster.

The Flu Bug
Frequency: Uncommon
No. Appearing: 1 (see below)
Armor Class: 8
Move: 15″/30″
Hit Dice: 1
% in Lair: Nil
Treasure Type: Nil
No. of Attacks: 4
Damage/Attack: 0
Special Attacks: Disease
Special Defenses: See below
Magic Resistance: See below
Intelligence: Low
Alignment: Neutral
Size: S (about 1′ diameter)
Psionic Ability: Nil
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil
Level/X.P. Value: III/61 + 1/hp

The flu bug is a dreaded monster that appears seasonly in many parts of the world. It skulks about, usually airborne, relying on its natural invisibility and amorphous form to squeeze through small spaces in order to infiltrate buildings where people live and work. The worst part about the flu bug is that killing it might make it all the more dangerous.

Since flu bugs are normally invisibile, they gain the advantage of subtracting 4 from “to hit” dice rolls of all opponents unable to detect them. Flu bugs can attack while invisible. They do so striking with their frail-looking arms. These attacks inflict no damage, but the creature struck must make a saving throw versus poison with a -1 penalty per successful attack by the flu bug that round. Failure means the creature contracts a disease. Once a flu bug has infected a victim, the flu bug dies, having fulfilled its purpose. Flu bugs that die this way do not spawn (see below).

Flu bugs can be harmed by normal weapons, but they are immune to most magic. Spells that cure wounds or disease affect flu bugs. A cure wounds spell causes damage to a flu bug equal to the amount the spell would normally cure. A cure disease slays the flu bug immediately (no save), and prevents the flu bug from spawning. Otherwise, when a flu bug is killed, it spawns a number of new flu bugs equal to the original monster’s hit points unless the area in which the flu bug died, including everyone and everything it came into contact with, is thoroughly sanitized. These new flu bugs spawn in 1d4 hours, and gain 1 hit point per hour thereafter until they reach whatever their maximum hit points might be.

The disease caused by the flu bug is debilitating and potentially fatal. Each day for the 3-8 days, the victim suffers these effects:

* A cumulative 10% loss of hit points due to weakness and fatigue.
* The loss of 2 points from both Strength and Constitution due to joint pain, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.
* The loss of 1 point of Dexterity due to dizziness.
* Difficulty concentrating due to high fever, imposing a 10% cumulative chance of miscasting spells.

Total bed rest helps mitigate these effects, making it only 50% likely that each will occur each day of the illness. Victims are also highly contagious. Double the normal modifier for “exposure to carrier of communicable disease” (from +10% to +20%, as explained on page 13, Dungeon Masters Guide). A cure disease spell removes the disease from the victim, but does not remove the effects of the disease. Those fade at the same rate by which they accrued.

March 17th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Masters of Vermin

Skaven never go into battle without a squirming horde of giant rats surging about their legs, swarming over enemy defenses, devouring and befouling enemy grain supplies. The packmaster herds the swarm, cares for the beasts, breeds the strongest with the strongest to create more ferocious rats, performing all of these tasks under the cruel supervision of the tribe’s verminlord, a monstrous skaven so terrifying that it rivals the power of the grey seers.

Most of the vermin that accompany a skaven tribe are giant rats. The packmaster’s bizarre husbandry practices, often combined with wicked magic, produce other, more dangerous forms of the giant rat. These ferocious rodents are used not only as troops and guards, but the larger may serve as mounts for packmasters and other exceptional skaven. To determine the stats of these rats, simply take the stas of another monster and change the name and appearance. A few examples could include blink rats, ghoul rats, horse-sized war-rats, and packs of howling worg rats.

Packmaster
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 2+1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: Crack the whip
Move: 9
Save: 17
HDE/XP: 2/30

Packmasters herd the skaven horde of rats and rat-like monsters, often while mounted on a worg rat. When a packmaster cracks its whip, vermin within 60 feet know to attack with greater ferocity, and so gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls for the next 1d4 rounds. A packmaster may not crack its whip and attack in the same round.

Rat Ogre
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 4+1
Attacks: Claws or weapon (1d6+1)
Special: +2 bonus on attack rolls, immune to fear
Move: 12
Save: 15
HDE/XP: 5/240

Rat ogres are giant, mutated skaven that combine minimal intelligence with great strength and bloodlust. They are fearless, and they attack with berserk fury with either weapons or their deadly claws.

Verminlord
Armor Class: 3 [16]
Hit Dice: 6+1
Attacks: Weapon (1d6+1)
Special: Disease (75%), spells
Move: 12
Save: 13
HDE/XP: 8/800

Horrific examples of pure pestilence given form, Verminlords live only to despoil and corrupt. Each clan has a verminlord, chosen from among the ranks of the packmasters by the tribe’s grey seer, who then subjects the chosen one to horrible rituals. In the unlikely event the packmaster survives, it emerges transformed as a verminlord, a creature with great skill in combat as well as magical powers. All vermin within 60 feet of a verminlord burn with rabid hatred, causing +1 damage on attacks. The verminlord’s own attacks are very likely to leave any who survive infected with some ghastly disease. It casts spells as a 3rd-level Cleric and a 3rd-level Magic-User, but its spells may never heal or cure.

March 11th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Envenomed Blades

The warrior and priestly castes draw their recruits from the clanrats of the tribe. These castes embody the Horned Rat’s aspects of conquest and disease. The caste that embodies poison, however, draws its recruits from the slave rats, the dregs of skaven society. The best of those dregs, who still occupy a rung on the skaven social ladder lower than the clanrats, become night runners, skirmishers and infiltrators.

While murder and treachery are common ways of social advancement among skaven, these tactics represent the only way of advancement among the skaven assassin caste. Consequently, the assassin caste is the smallest in skaven society, but these stealthy murderers are also among the most feared and hated of the Horned Rat’s followers.

Night Runner
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Hit Dice: 1d6 hit points
Attacks: Weapon
Special: Back stab (see below), thievery (1-2)
Move: 9
Save: 19
HDE/XP: 1/15

While skaven warlords lead formations of clanrats and plague monks rally the faithful, the night runners slink through tunnels, sneak along ditches, seeking to flank their enemies, picking off stragglers before retreating into hiding. A night runner that attacks by surprise or from an unseen vantage gains a +2 bonus on its attack roll, but otherwise inflicts no additional damage. The night runner’s thievery ability may be used for any number of clandestine or stealth-based actions, subject to the Referee’s discretion. Night runners comprise the bulk of the assassin caste. Few live long enough to see advancement to gutter runner.

Gutter Runner
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: Back stab (x2), poison, thievery (1-3)
Move: 12
Save: 18
HDE/XP: 2/30

Faster, stealthier, and more deadly when attacking by surprise, gutter runners are also trained in the use of poison. They coat their weapons with venoms that can be deadly (+4 on saving throws to resist). Gutter runners prefer to attack from a distance, usually with shuriken-like weapons.

Poisoned Wind Globadier
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 2+1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: Back stab (x2), poisoned wind globes, thievery (1-3)
Move: 12
Save: 18
HDE/XP: 3/60

Gutter runners chosen for special training may end up serving as poisoned wind globadiers. Equipped with protective masks (+2 on saving throws versus inhaled substances) and poisoned wind globes, crystal spheres filled with an exotic toxic that expands into a gaseous cloud when exposed to air, the poisoned wind globadiers skirt the edges of battle, seeking an ideal place to shatter one of their deadly globes. A poisoned wind globadier carries 1d4+1 globes, each of which can be thrown up to 30 feet to shatter, releasing a toxic cloud is a 10-foot radius. Those caught in the cloud are permitted a saving throw (+2 bonus) to avoid a painful death by asphyxiation.

Poisoned Wind Mortar Team
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 2+1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: Back stab (x2), poisoned wind mortar, thievery (1-3)
Move: 12
Save: 18
HDE/XP: 3/60

Gutter runners chosen to operate as a mortar team always go about in pairs. One carries the mortar while the other loads and fires the weapon, which propels of poisoned wind globe up to 90 feet. The equipment is bulky. Gutter runners weighed down by the poisoned wind mortar gear have thievery (1-2) and move 9. The stats above are for an individual that has abandoned his gear. A team usually carries 1d6+3 poisoned wind globes.

Skaven Assassin
Armor Class: 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 4+1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: Back stab (x2), poison, thievery (1-4)
Move: 15
Save: 15
HDE/XP: 5/240

The most skilled and most treacherous gutter runners may eventually rise to the rank of assassin. Armed with the most potent venoms and quite skilled in the arts of infiltration and stealth, a skaven assassin seldom operates in groups larger than two. Most prefer to work alone. When striking by surprise doesn’t get the job done, a skaven assassin is still a formidable combatant, trained to fight with a blade in each paw (and both blades invariably envenomed). A skaven assassin fighting with two weapon at once may choose each round a +1 bonus on attack rolls, a +1 bonus to AC, or a +1 bonus to damage.

March 10th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »