The Singerie for The Black Hack

The art genre called Singerie (“monkey trick” in French) shows monkeys aping human dress and behavior. Often these paintings satirized human fashions, trends, and foibles, as in “Allegory of Tulip Mania” from the first half of the seventeenth century by Jan Brueghel the Younger. Click here to see this painting.

In The Black Hack, a Singerie is a racial character class for those of us who might enjoy playing a talking monkey adventurer. Agile, imitative, and clever, a Singerie ought to be a welcome addition to any adventuring party.

Starting HP: d6 + 4
HP Per Level/Resting: 1d6
Weapons & Armor: Any One-Handed Weapon or Thrown Weapon, and Gambeson, Leather, and Small Shields
Attack Damage: 1d6 Thrown Weapons only / 1d4 All Others

Special Features
A Singerie rolls with Advantage when performing delicate tasks, climbing, spotting details, moving silently, and performing acrobatics.

If a Singerie takes a Moment to a Minute and observes someone (or something) perform a task, the Singerie may attempt that task the next within the next Minute, rolling with Advantage so long as the task requires a DEX, INT, or CHA save. Esoteric tasks, such as spellcasting, may be rolled, but not with Advantage. Especially unusual or difficult tasks may be impossible or may be attempted with Disadvantage, at the DM’s discretion. After each imitative act, a Singerie rolls his Monkey See Monkey Do Usage die, which starts at d4.

A Singerie makes Ranged Attacks with Thrown Weapons at Nearby targets with Advantage.

Leveling Up
Roll to see if attributes increase. Roll with Disadvantage for STR. Roll twice for DEX and INT.

Every odd numbered level, step up the Monkey See Monkey Do die.

Nota Bene: The painting at the top of this post is Sebastian Vrancx’s “Singerie with monkey soldiers taking a cat prisoner, backgammon playing monkeys to the right”, from the early 17th century. Your can read a bit more about Singerie paintings over at the Public Domain Review.

July 28th, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

Berserker for The Black Hack

Another stab at a character class for The Black Hack. I’m not sure I like this one as much as my previous stab at a Monk class, but here it is regardless.

Starting HP: d12 + 4
HP Per Level/Resting: 1d12
Weapons & Armor: Any and up to Chain & Shield
Attack Damage: 1d8 / 1d6 Unarmed or Improvising

Special Features
With a DEX save, a Berserker can move somewhere Far-Away as part of an action, performing that action at any stage of the move.

As part of his action, a Berserker may make a number of additional attacks equal to half his level (drop fractions).

A Berserker flies into a fearsome blood-mad rage by failing a WIS save, doing so a number of times per day equal to his level. A Berserker’s rage lasts for 4 Moments plus 1 Moment per level. A Berserker’s rage has the following effects:

* The Berserker is immune to charm and fear effects.
* The Berserker makes STR, DEX, and CON saves with Advantage.
* The Berserker makes INT, WIS, and CHA saves with Disadvantage.

Leveling Up
Roll to see if attributes increase. Roll twice for STR and CON.

July 27th, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

Daily Bread

And it came to pass, that as he was in a certain place praying, when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him: “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” And he said to them: “When you pray, say….” (The Gospel According to St. Luke 11:1-2)

Daily Bread
Spell Level: Cleric, 3rd Level
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 day

The Cleric casts Daily Bread on a common loaf of bread, breaking the bread during the invocation. The Cleric may then distribute the blessed bread to six people, plus one additional person for every two levels after 6th level the Cleric has earned. The effects of the bread depend on the recipient’s alignment:

Lawful: The bread cures 1d6 hit points of damage. For the remainder of the day, the recipient enjoys a special blessing. Up to three times, the recipient may call upon this blessing to receive a +1 to any attack roll or saving throw.

Neutral: The bread cures 1d4 hit points of damage. For the remainder of the day, the recipient enjoys a special blessing. Once, the recipient may call upon this blessing to receive a +1 to any attack or saving throw.

Referees who have a specific pantheon of deities for their campaign worlds are encouraged to tailor this spell’s object of blessing and effects using the above effects as a guideline. For example, a Chaotic Cleric devoted to a god of slaughter might bless a cup of blood that cures Chaotic recipients and grants a +2 bonus to damage three times per day.

July 25th, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

Something Like Progress

I recently finished my stab at a Bard class for Swords & Wizardy, one of several languishing projects I’ve hemmed and hawed about for too long. I’ve since dusted off Chance Encounters, a collection of monsters for the aforementioned game. Here’s a sample, including art by Butch Mappa.

Rarely, after a Chaotic Magic-User dies, especially if in life he sowed dissension through deceit and gossip, the mage’s evil takes new form as an undead sibilant corpse. The necromantic forces that animate a sibilant corpse also grant it frightening sorcerous power. Each day, a sibilant corpse may use its arcane whispers to bring into effect up to 14 levels of Magic-User spells, casting one spell this way per round. A sibilant corpse may cast Magic-User spells up to 3rd level with ease. Spells of 4th, 5th, and 6th level may be cast, but each such spell forces the sibilant corpse to make a saving throw. Failure not only means the spell is not successful, but also that the sibilant corpse takes 1 point of damage per level of the spell it attempted.

Hit Dice: 6
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Attack (Damage): Weapon (1d6)
Move: 12
Save: 11
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 9/1,100
Special: Arcane whisper, undead

I’ve also been tooling about with a few new games, one of which is The Black Hack. If you don’t own The Black Hack, you’re wrong. Isn’t there enough wrongness in the world? Yesterday, I typed up a Monk class for The Black Hack. I think it’s a good example of how the system takes what is arguably the most complicated AD&D character class and strips it down to a few basics that can still capture the flavor and function of the original.

Starting HP: d8 + 4
HP Per Level/Resting: 1d8
Weapons & Armor: Any and None
Attack Damage: 1d6 / 1d8 Unarmed or Improvising

Special Features
A Monk has a special Usage die: Ki Powers. At 1st level, a Monk has Ki Powers d4. Whenever a Monk makes a save, he may do so with advantage by rolling his Ki Powers die as well. The Ki Powers die resets every day.

As part of his action, a Monk may make a number of additional Unarmed/Improvised attacks equal to half his level (drop fractions).

Leveling Up
Roll to see if attributes increase. Roll twice for DEX and WIS.

Every odd numbered level, step up the Ki Powers die.

July 24th, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

July X-Mas and Rongykorongs

Before we get to our new monster, please take note of X-mas in July at Spes Magna Games. Clicking the link in the previous sentence reveals the possible presents under the X-mas tree. And now for that new monster.

Rongykorongs cross into the Material World from planes of chaos and madness, realms that exist beyond the Pale, the bizarre barrier that squirms at the limits of the known universes. Rolling, thrashing masses of ropy tentacles roughly the size of a man, rongykorongs have bodies composed of nonterrene materials that almost certainly defy analysis by senses limited to a mere handful of dimensions. Thus, rongykorongs suffer minimum damage from all nonmagical effects. They are immune to cold and poison. Always hungry, rongykorongs attack with a strong bite and up to five flailing tentacles covered with writhing barbs. The barbs exude a powerful paralytic toxin that lasts for 2d6 minutes with a failed saving throw. While paralyzed, the victim experiences horrifying visions of the rongykorong’s native environs. A rongykorong’s senses of hearing, sight, and smell ignore mundane barriers.

Hit Dice: 3+1
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Attacks: Bite (1d6), 1d6-1 tentacles (1d3 + paralysis)
Saving Throw: 14
Special: 50% magic resistance, nonterrene composition, paralysis
Move: 18
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 7/600

July 23rd, 2016  in RPG No Comments »