O Is for Oppressive

oppressive: (adj.) unjustly inflicting hardship and constraint

Ogres have long been a threat to civilized peoples. Strong, brutish, given to looting and pillaging, gangs of ogres are menaces that cannot be tolerated for long. Ogres revel in the misery of others. When smaller races aren’t available to crush between meaty fists or defile in blood-red lusts of violence, they turn to each other for entertainment. It takes a forceful leader to keep an ogre gang focused.

Within ogre tribes, few leaders prove more forceful than harridans. An ogre harridan rules by fear and violence, using her superior strength, intelligence, and magic powers to keep her underlings in line. Most especially it the harridan’s magic that elicits the most terror, for harridans practice gut magic.

Whenever a harridan succeeds with a bite attack against a living foe, she gains 2 gut-magic points. The harridan cannot have more than twice her Hit Dice in gut-magic points. She uses stored gut-magic points to cast spells from the lists that follow. Gut-magic points fade at a rate of 2 points per minute.

1 Gut-Point Spells: Charm Person, Magic Missile, Shield, Sleep

2 Gut-Point Spells: Darkness 15-Foot Radius, Levitate, Mirror Image, Pyrotechnics

4 Gut-Point Spells: Dispel Magic, Fly, Lightning Bolt, Slow

Hit Dice: 8+2
Armor Class: 3 [16]
Attacks: 1 bite (1d6), 1 weapon (1d10+1)
Special: Gut-magic
Move: 9
Saving Throw: 8
Alignment: Chaos
Number Encountered: Up to 1 harridan per 15 ogres
Challenge Level/XP: 10/1,400

April 17th, 2014  in RPG No Comments »

N Is for Nascent

nascent: (adj.) just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential

Spacers first encountered nyotagomas during the early decades of interstellar travel as humanity slowly recovered from the Scream’s devastation. The total absence of nyotagomas from surviving pre-Scream records led many to conclude that this species is either a mutation of a previously benign creature, or else nyotagomas entered human-inhabited space as a result of the Scream. Whatever the truth, nyotagomas proved too dangerous to be left alone, and a genocidal program was launched against them. The program seemed successful after several hard-fought years. Attacks on spacers and orbital installations by nyotagomas dwindled to nearly none at all.

Stellae Zaibatsu, an industrial conglomerate focused on planetary mining and metallurgy, took a keen interest in nyotagoma physiology and reproduction. The organism’s ability to survive in the hard vacuum intrigued corporate researchers, who sought better ways for miners to live and work in environments often deadly to humans. As a result, Stellae Zaibatsu xenogengineers made a remarkable discovery.

Nyotagoma reproduce asexually via budding. The adult organism submerges itself in a marine environment and produces several immature organisms, which bud from the parent’s body near the base of its tentacles. After a brief period of growth, these buds separate from the parent, becoming independent marine creatures. If these buds are harvested and subjected to the proper combination of chemicals and genetic manipulation, they cease maturing and enter a symbiotic stage which enables the organism to be grafted onto a human host.

The nyotagoma symbiote, or Nyosym (available in many tech level 4 markets for 10,000 credits), integrates itself with its host’s body and helps regulate the host’s metabolism. A Nyosym host’s gains a +2 bonus to saving throws against toxins and biological hazards. He also gains +1 hit point per Hit Die. These hit points are lost before the host’s own hit points, at a rate of 1 hit point per die of damage inflicted. For example, a host suffering 7 points of damage from 2d6 points of damage would suffer 5 hit points of damage while the Nyosym’s bonus hit points are depleted by 2 points.

Any time a host fails a saving throw versus a toxin or biological host or suffers sufficient damage to deplete the Nyosym’s bonus hit points, the Nyosym has a 25% chance of dying. Should this happen, emergency surgery is necessary to remove the dead organism before infection sets in. Otherwise, a Nyosym with no bonus hit points remaining becomes dormant, recovering 1 hit point per day. The host receives no benefits from a dormant Nyosym.

Adult nyotagomas remain rare in inhabited space, which is a good thing for spacers since adult nyotagomas are highly intelligent and extremely dangerous. In addition to the impressive stats below, a nyotagoma has an effective 16 Intelligence. It can survive in a hard vacuum with ease. It is immune to the hazards of outer space, such as the vacuum, cosmic radiation, et cetera. Extreme conditions, such as flying too close to a star, still prove disastrous. A nyotagoma can fly through outer space as if it were a drive-1 rated starship. These creatures always succeed at Navigation checks. It has extremely acute vision, able to see emissions throughout the entire electromagnetic spectrum. If a nyotagoma forgoes its normal attacks, it can make a single devastating attack 2d12 points of damage that affects inanimate objects like a gunnery weapon.

Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 10
Attack Bonus: +18/+18
Damage: 1d12/1d12 hooked tentacle
No. Appearing: 1d4
Saving Throw: 10+
Movement: 40 ft. fly
Morale: 12

April 16th, 2014  in RPG No Comments »

M Is for Mystic

mystic: (adj.) having seemingly supernatural qualities or powers

Today’s post strays a bit away from the general theme of monsters and NPCs, but that’s okay. It’s my theme, and I’ll stray from it if I want. Right? I pulled TSR’s Faiths & Avatars off a shelf in order to convert its mystic priest class into a form more amenable to Swords & Wizardry.


Whereas Clerics are warrior-priests and -priestesses in the service of the gods, the Numinous serve Lawful powers in less martial roles, finding and unlocking the traces of the divine that lay hidden in the natural world. Many Numinous travel the lands, giving aid to the sick and oppressed. Others serve in royal courts as advisors and diviners. Through their mystic insights, the Numinous create elixirs and candles that mimic the effects of magical spells. They may also benefit from flashes of intuitive knowledge and manifestations of blessed charisma.

Prime Attribute: Wisdom 13+ (the character gains a +5% experience bonus if their Prime Attribute is 13 or higher.)
Hit Dice: 1d6/level (A Numinous gains just 1 hp/level after 11th level.)
Armor/Shield Permitted: Numinous may not use armor or shields.
Weapons Permitted: Numinous may use daggers, darts, and staffs only.
Race: Only elves, half-elves, halflings, and humans may become Numinous.
Alignment: Lawful only

Class Abilities

The Basics: Numinous use the same attack matrix as Clerics. They gain a +2 saving throw bonus against charms.

Charm: As Numinous gain levels, they acquire the ability to manifest increasingly powerful instances of blessed charisma. At 1st level, Numinous can use Sleep once per day. At 4th level, they can use Charm Person once per day, and they also gain another daily use of Sleep. At 9th level, Numinous can use Charm Monster once per day, and they gain one additional daily use of lower level charm abilities. Finally, at 16th level, Numinous can use Charm Plants once per day, they gain one additional daily use of lower level abilities.

Intuition: As Numinous gain levels, they benefit from flashes of intuitive knowledge. At 2nd level, Numinous can use Detect Magic once per day. At 5th level, they can use Detect Evil once per day, and they also gain one more daily use of Detect Magic. At 10th level, Numinous can use either Clairaudience or Clairvoyance once per day, and they gain one additional daily use of lower level intuition abilities. Finally, at 17th level, Numinous can use Find the Path once per day, and they gain one more daily use of lower level intuition abilities.

Numen: Starting at 3rd level, Numinous learn how to mix nonmagical ingredients to create elixirs and candles can mimic magical effects. The ingredients needed for an elixir cost 1,000 gold pieces per “level” of the numen for an elixir or twice that for a candle. For example, a sleep elixir’s ingredients cost 1,000 gold pieces. It takes one day to start the process, and during this time the Numinous may not travel or work on more than one elixir or candle. Once the ingredients are mixed and sealed in a proper container, the rest of the process occurs more or less automatically unless the contents are spilled or otherwise fouled. It takes one week for an elixir or two weeks for a candle to reach potency, and no Numinous can keep an eye on more in-process elixirs and potions than one third of his level at a time (drop fractions). The different elixirs and candles Numinous can make at different levels are explained below.

Numinous candles all burn for 90 minutes before being totally consumed. A candle must be burned for at least 10 minutes before its effects can be felt. A partial burning, such as for 4 or 6 minutes, does not activate the candle, but it does count as a usage. The subjects of a candle must remain within 10 feet of the candle throughout the burning to be affected.

Elixirs lose their potency after one week. A candle loses its potency after a two weeks.

* Numen 1 – Sleep Elixir: This can either be an ingested liquid or a concoction that be used on weapons. The former version has four doses, and each dose works like a Sleep spell against a single target who drinks the liquid. The latter version can coat up to six darts, bolts, or arrows, or one bladed weapon. It also works like a Sleep spell against a single target who is injured by the coated weapon.

* Numen 2 – Truth Elixir: When a person ingests a truth elixir, he must make a saving throw or fall into a stupor for 1d4 rounds, during which time he will answer one question per round truthfully. The stupor acts like a Slow spell for the duration of the elixir.

* Numen 3 – Love Elixir & Love Candle: A love elixir causes a person who drinks it to fall madly in love with the first creature he or she perceives after consuming it. If a romantic attraction is possible toward the first person viewed, the drinker falls in love with that person. Otherwise, the drinker’s love is a platonic adoration. The effects of the philter are permanent unless removed by appropriate magic. A love candle has the same effects, but it can target more than one person at a time.

* Numen 4 – Healing Elixir: This elixir has the same effect as a potion of healing.

* Numen 5 – Extra-Healing Elixir & Protection Candle: An extra-healing elixir has the same effect as a potion of extra-healing. A protection candle acts as a double-strength Protection from Evil on affected persons.

* Numen 6 – Healing Candle: This candle heals 1d6 points of damage per turn of burning per affected person. All healing occurs at once at the end of the burning.

* Numen 7 – Telepathy Candle: This candle mentally links the affected persons for 1 hour per 10 minutes of exposure to the candle, divided by the number of affected persons. Communication via telepathy occurs over any distance on the same plane, and it transcends language barriers. Falsehoods and evasions are not possible via telepathy. A person may make a saving throw to resist the effects of this candle.

* Numen 8 – Fortune Candle: For every 10 minutes of exposure, affected persons enjoy good luck for 1 hour, divided by the number of affected persons. These persons enjoy a +1 or +5% bonus on all rolls related saving throws, attack rolls, ability checks, et cetera. Damage rolls are not affected.

* Grand Numen 9 – Purification Candle: This candle can affect only one person, who is chosen from those within range by the one who snuffs out the candle. For each turn the candle is burnt, it has a 10% cumulative chance of blessing the target with Remove Curse, Cure Serious Wounds, and Restoration. The one who snuffs the candle incurs any negative results imposed by these effects.

April 15th, 2014  in RPG 1 Comment »

L Is for Lawless

lawless: (adj.) not governed by or obedient to laws; characterized by a lack of civic order

Nota Bene: My original plan was to present an NPC for TSR’s 2nd edition Boot Hill from 1979. Unfortunately, the game’s box is nearly empty, and the rulebook seems to have ridden off into the sunset. (The rulebook is somewhere in the house, but I can’t find it.) I have a PDF of the 1st edition rules, but I never played them, and I’m trying to stick to writing stuff for games I’ve played. So, here we go with TSR’s 3rd edition Boot Hill from 1990.

Luc Sansloy’s grandfather, Jean-Pierre Sanloy, fled the Terror in early 1794 with his wife, Marie Anne, and newborn son, Jean-Luc, leaving behind his ancestral home in Bretagne, first traveling to England and then later to Quebec, Canada. He parleyed his title and remaining wealth into a lucrative partnership with a Québécois mercantile business. Within the first years of the 19th century, the Sanloy family lived in the lap of luxury, and Jean-Pierre was widely respected in public circles.

But within the walls of his new mansion, Jean-Pierre was feared and hated. He ruled his wife and son with an iron fist, punishing even minor errors with the back of his hand. “For every slip, there is a slap,” Jean-Pierre often reminded. When Jean-Pierre died of a stroke in 1814, few sincere tears of sorrow were shed. Unfortunately by this time, Jean-Luc, then a young man, had learned his father’s lessons well. What’s more, he had the wealth and position to indulge in base cruelties without much fear of legal reprisals.

Jean-Luc took a young wife soon after his mother died of tuberculosis in 1817. This young lady died in a riding accident after only a few months of marriage. Persistent rumors claimed that not all of the cuts and bruises on her broken body were suffered in the fatal fall. Jean-Luc traveled for several years thereafter, visiting Europe, Africa, and South America. He returned to Quebec from these trips in 1825 with a new wife, Temitope, a Yoruba woman whose stunning beauty masked terrible cruelty.

Luc Sansloy was born in 1827 in Jean-Luc’s inherited mansion. From his earliest days, Luc received a vigorous education in vice and spite. Jean-Luc and Temitope used their son as a pawn in their twisted games of mutual abuse, and Luc quickly grew to hate both his parents. As he grew into adolescence, Luc spread his wings and inserted himself into his parents’ abusive contests. He succeeded in convincing Temitope that Jean-Luc was plotting to send her back Africa’s West Coast so that he can could wed one of his mistresses.

This led to an escalation resulting in Temitope poisoning Jean-Luc, who shot his wife in the head and chest before he died. After the official inquiry into the deaths was completed, Luc sold much of his family’s assets and then set fire to his grandfather’s house. He left Quebec for the U.S.’s frontier in 1842.

Since then, Luc has left a swath of blood and remorse in his wake. He prides himself on his lawlessness. He has worked as both a conductor on the Underground Railroad as well as a slave hunter in free territories. During the U.S. Civil War, he fought for the Confederacy at first, but then deserted and fought for the Union. After the South fell, he deserted again, and headed west, ending up in Utah territory.

Luc Sansloy is almost completely amoral. There is no crime he will not at least seriously consider, and he’s guilty of breaking most laws, both those of man and of God. Despite his brutish appearance, Luc possesses a keen mind backed by a classical education. He is not be underestimated, and no one should trust him far at all. Luc’s only laws are his whims.

Luc Sansloy
Strength: 12
Coordination: 10
Observation: 14
Stature: 13
Luck: 6

Skills: Brawling 4, Fast Draw 12, Knife/Sword 4, Linguistics 8, Literacy 11, Pistol 5, Riding 10, Rifle 5

April 14th, 2014  in RPG No Comments »

K Is for Kinetic

kinetic: (adj.) of, relating to, or resulting from motion

Nota Bene: In keeping with my Old School theme this month, I’ve previously posted material for TSR’s 1st edition Gamma World and Chaosium’s 4th edition Stormbringer. In keeping with that trend, I’ve dusted off TSR’s Marvel Super Heroes for today’s post. If you like this game, check ClassicMarvelForever.

Khalid commands impressive power, both directly in the force of his ability to manipulate kinetic energy, but also through his extensive resources and connections. While much of his past is hidden in a tangle of contradictory stories, maybe none of which is actually true, Khalid is not an unknown quantity. He has amassed a considerable fortune through his business and scientific acumen, and he is well known and respected in international terrorist circles.

Within those circles, Khalid seldom takes a direct hand. Instead, he provides weapons and financial backing, always insulated from direct condemnation by layers of plausible deniability. Everyone knows Khalid is a terrorist, but no one can ever seem to show his involvement in any terrorist activity.

The source of Khalid’s superhuman powers is unknown. He does not seem to be a mutant. Given his intelligence and scientific knowledge, it is most likely he gained his powers through some sort of experiment. Regardless of the source of his powers, Khalid is not be underestimated. He is intelligent, ruthless, and sophisticated.

Fighting: Good (10)
Agility: Good (10)
Strength: Typical (6)
Endurance: Excellent (20)
Reason: Remarkable (30)
Intuition: Remarkable (30)
Psyche: Incredible (40)

Health: 46
Karma: 100
Resources: Incredible (40)
Popularity: -20

Talents & Powers: Business/Finance, Engineering, Martial Arts A, Physics

Kinetic Energy Control: Khalid controls kinetic energy with Amazing ability. He has developed several Power Stunts, which are detailed hereafter.

* Kinetic Acceleration: Khalid can increase his speed and reflexes via Kinetic Energy Control. This duplicates Remarkable Lightning Speed.

* Kinetic Blasts: Khalid can fire blast of kinetic energy out to Amazing range, inflicting up to Amazing damage.

* Kinetic Reduction Aura: In a one area radius around Khalid, the force of kinetic energy is reduced. This imposes a -4CS to Fighting, Agility, movement powers, and damage from attacks that rely on kinetic force. Only damage from attacks that rely on kinetic force can be reduced Shift 0. Other affected qualities can be reduced to no lower than Feeble. For every affected target, increase Khalid’s Strength by +1CS (maximum Amazing). Khalid is not affected by his own kinetic reduction aura.

* Kinetic Sense: Khalid can detect sources of kinetic energy within his area. He uses his Kinetic Energy Control rank instead of Intuition for determining surprise, instead of Fighting for blocking, and instead of Agility for dodging, assuming the source of the threat results from kinetic energy.

April 12th, 2014  in RPG No Comments »