Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Defense (Rating) of Style

So Pearce, Chris and I were talking about Kill la Kill and an entry Jeff Rients had written about this one adventure whose cover had a fighter in a diaper on it.

Basically, the idea was that fighters in elaborate outfits are fun, even if they aren't the most practical. It would be cool to encourage people who felt the same way to go wild with their imagination. However - I also think gritty, realistic and/or clanky armor is cool too, so I wouldn't want to make that worthless in the process.

Jeff characteristically came up with a simple and fun rule for this - any Fighter in such a costume would get the equivalent AC of Chain Mail. I like that; its not the best armor class, but its respectable. There is still a reason to put on that magical armor you found or work for something like plate armor.

I'd like to up the ante a bit though, since my games have some penalties for wearing heavy armor that most B/X style ones don't.

Said outfit will give you an AC bonus of +4 in Barovania/Akenia if;

  • The outfit is elaborate and conspicuous enough that it will be recognized instantly when seen.
  • The wearer is a Fighter, Murder Princess or Battle Princess
  • If a shield are similar object is incorporate into the outfit, it is cosmetic and does not provide an AC bonus. Magical shields may provide other effects, just not the increase to AC
  • The character wears it constantly, or at least whenever they fight. The outfit should be a big part of their personal style and maybe even their identity.
  • The character may wear other clothing over top of it (perhaps for a disguise) but the second that danger is a foot or a fight begins, they should throw off their disguise and reveal themselves properly. They may attack OR move while doing this.
  • If the Character has an opportunity for a surprise round, they may sacrifice it and instead announce their presence with some sort of speech and a pose. This grants them a further +1 to their AC in combat. Here's an example. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Origins, Part 1

So right, you've been about. You've heard whispers, you've seen things. You know there is something odd about the ground you're walking on, but you only know a bit of why.

I suppose I should tell you, shouldn't I?

Barovania was an accident. Akenia is the digital echo of a distant past. The world itself is half a Blazing Garden with the other a Wistful Dark.

Oh, that doesn't tell you much at all, does it?

Fine, fine...

So a long time ago, a God-King from another world was wandering the Wyldspace. An odd combination of curiosity and weariness had overtaken him - he left his birthplace in hopes of finding the answers to the questions that torment a god.

In this realm of total possibility he discovered one of them. This God-King was a talented craftsman you see, and he had found a place to build. He set upon his labors in a fervor and created a perfect dodecahedron.

One of the things that troubled him most was that his home had many imperiled peoples on it. He concluded that this planetoid could be a sort of refuge for them; Each side would be its own world, and each world would be designed for specific ways of life. It was a monumental task, and he would need help.

He set upon fashioning a helper. In an uncharacteristic moment of vanity, he fashioned this assistant in his own image. He gifted it with colorful clothing and a talent only rivaled by his own. This string-less marionette was named "The Wondersmith" and due time they were working alongside each other in near perfect harmony. Landscapes were hammered out, oceans filled, and life moved gently onto its surface. The place they had made was beautiful, and the God-King named it "Promise". The last thing created was a great, protective sphere to be placed around it - its creator knew how harmful Wyldspace could be to such a world. Satisfied, he proceeded to seal it away forever.

The Wondersmith watched passively initially, in till it realized what had occurred - neither of them would ever look again upon the thing they had made together.

"Why!?" It demanded, confused and angry. "What if it needs us? How will we know?"

The God-King smiled, and placed his treasured cap on the Wondersmith's head. "This land will be without gods, my child. We are a petty lot, and we tend to ruin what we touch."

"Our time here is over." He continued, turning away. "You may follow me, child. One day you will understand."

But the Wondersmith did not follow.

And it never understood.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Domain Turn Event Table

Like most AD&D supplements, Oriental Adventures is a big bundle of verbosity with lots of fun and useful bits hidden away in its folds. One such thing is a collection of tables for yearly and monthly events for domains; something I think was going to be figured into AD&D proper someday, but never quite was.

Anyway, the players in my home game have actually hobbled a domain together and I've put together some simple rules for them, mainly using An Echo Resounding and stuff I remember from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms video game series as guides. One thing I needed was a way to decide if anything interesting happened between "Domain turns" that was better then me going "I feel like ripping off of Attack on Titan today". So I pulled out my copy of OA and appropriated the table from it. Results below!

d20 Roll
Freak Accident
Something entirely unexpected and very terrible happens. A stable bridge collapses, a dependable wizard botches a magical ritual, or something else to that effect. The accident should be related to something already existing in the domain.
Asset Shortage
One of the domain’s primary sources of income or livelihood has come up short, such as a poor harvest or meager pull from a local mine. This is likely to cause financial hardship unless cleverly addressed.
Bad Weather
Roll a 1d6, on a 1-2 the domain suffers from torrential downpour, 3-4 its either a heat wave or blizzard (depending on the terrain and season), 5-6 its a dry spell that may cause a drought.
Bandit Activity
The locals are being terrorized by a gang of criminals who have been looting, pillaging and other awful things. The bandit gang has 3d12 members, and a leader who is a fighter, barbarian or anti-paladin (Roll 1d3 + 2 for level). If the domain has a coastal city, then there is a 50% chance there are issues with Pirates instead. (Same as the above, but they have a boat!)

Auspicious Birth
A child with great destiny or potential has been born in the domain, and pretty much everyone knows about it! How lovely! Except for the fact that an important NPC or newly discovered villain seems to want to kidnap or eliminate the newborn...
Tragic Death
A person of great renown has quietly perished in the domain. They have bequeathed something unique or important to the rulers of the domain. Roll a d4.
  1. Its a powerful magical item! Please use it wisely!
  2. A map to a far off treasure. Please claim what I could not!
  3. The secret to a lost technology. Please make it of use to the people!
  4. A cursed item! Please keep it away from those it could harm!

Natural Disaster
This is bad, a Tornado/Tsunami/Earthquake or some other terrible thing suitable to the area has hit the domain! One city or town is totally devastated.
Famous Persona
A rather famous individual has ventured into the domain. Something about it has struck their fancy, and they've gone to look into it. Whether they contact the players are not depends on what it is.
Monster Rampage
Nuts, some awful thing is scooting around, eating people and burning stuff down. Select a monster appropriate for the setting, or roll randomly. The monster has (1d8 + 4) HD.
Agents from a from another country or organization have snuck into the domain for the sake of espionage, sabotage or theft. These are likely the sneaky sort, but they may have a rough and tumble type or a magic user in their midst.
Domestic Incident
Two local powers are going at it for whatever reason. This may be a family feud, or a spat between businesses. Its not going to solve itself either, unless the domain leaders are content watching one side destroy the other.
A big, important wedding is happening in the domain. Its going to be a loud colorful affair, and will likely have as many disgruntled guests and crashers as it will happy ones.
Notorious Villain
An infamous ne'er-do ell is skulking around the domain, or at least their agents are. They aren't here for a vacation - its likely they are either laying low or planning something wicked.
An area of the domain is being plagued by ghosts, poltergeists or other spirits. Someone must have kicked over an important tombstone or something.
Divine Occurrence
A great miracle has occurred or an avatar, walking god or prophet has come to the domain and made itself known. This is actually bad news; if you haven’t noticed gods are jerks, for the most part.
Otherworldly Visitor
A space ark full of transforming robots, spell jammer filled with odd gnomes, or spider-ship filled with slavers has landed in the domain. Tell me you don’t want to check that out.
Rival Adventurers
Hey! Some other adventurer types have shown up and started bad mouthing you guys. Better show them up! Or avoid them entirely, they may be dangerous.
Roll on this table a second time. That is what’s going to happen next turn - and the players get advanced warning of it via prophet, sign or other mystical nonsense.
A cloaked rider from another land has come with a message for the domain’s leaders. Is it a request or a challenge?
Dimensional Rift
Oh dammit, a hole in reality has opened up in the worst spot, and things are coming out of it. Ugh, I heard the next hex over is nice...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Calian, the Broken Land

It was not long ago that Calian was a boogeyman for the children of Akenia; a terrible place spoken about in hushed tones by the adults around them. It was home to dark knights, blasphemous wizards and the twisted beasts that served them. Even the people there were little more then cutthroat degenerates. It was believed that they hated the Shining Kingdom more then anything, and one day Akenian Magitech and Calian Bio-Sorcery would clash in a final bout of superiority.

It was not long ago that Calian was the last hope of thousands; a promise to the poor and disenfranchised of a cursed land. An oath that all their blood and tears, all their dead sons and daughters were all necessary steps in achieving what was supposed to be theirs all along. They too would live in the bright land bathed in the light of the Radian crystal, and never again depend on dark powers too eke a desperate life out of poisoned earth.

At the moment, Calian is a barely a nation - only three of its cities are not in ruin or worse. Overlord Voldane seems content with sending the remains of his armies on suicide missions against Akenia. The land to the south is blasted and ruined, leaving behind a brutal tundra and twisted scars of what were once great landmarks. The people who remain are disillusioned and broken; many more are dead. A select few of them have decided against rotting along with their homeland, seeking fame and fortune as adventurers...


Gelna, the dark capital is a lasting symbol of its countries potential, as well as a reminder of its ultimate downfall. The city's pragmatic and brutal architecture hides a powerful criminal underground that seems to hold more sway over the place then Calian's own autarch. Voldane seems too preoccupied to care, hidden away in an iron castle that looms above the rest of the city.

In contrast, The Ocean Citadel, Cygna is more or less under strict military rule. As it stands, Cygna's port is the only way for Calian's soliders to leave (and return to) thier homeland, so they clamp down on the citizenry, hard. Darius Grimm, Ravager Triumphant of Calian's Dark Knights and prominent figure in Cygna, has made no efforts to hide his disapproval of Overlord Voldane.

Riven is a haven for many in Calian; it is perhaps the only truly prosperous place left in the kingdom. Run by merchants, the port there still engages in regular trade and has done much to distance itself from the rest of Calian. It's citizenry is also openly distrustful of the military, and is the most likely to seek out and employ sell swords. Many adventur
ers native to the Broken Land begin their careers here.

Hooks and Rumors

- There are many people who pay to know why Overlord Voldane won't leave his iron home, or what he whispers exclusively to the Dark Priests who have taken residence there.

- The Merchant's at Riven are seeking stout hearted youths to act as security on their vessels. Piracy is on the rise, and the military simply can't be trusted, especially if they insist on searching the cargo!

- The Star Oak is an ancient tree with great power - once the land's most treasured landmark, its influence has since vanished after the Mana War. It is said that it stands, even now, but its location is somewhere in the midst of the blight and no one has dared to seek it.

Character Options

Arcane Poisoning - You have lived your life in the eldritch green haze of magical pollution. Your blood is stained with the stuff; maybe your breath glows faintly, or your eyes have lost their pupils. It has made you frail, but it has also strengthened you against other magics. You have a -2 penalty on saving throws against poison and gain a permanent +2 to all saving throws against spells.

Chosen of the Dark - Your dreams are as lucid as your waking hours; in them you wander a barren nightscape where the songs of shadows echo. You know the Dark Tongue (even if you are not of that alignment) and also its lullabies; you may attempt to calm even the most bestial creatures of darkness (usually with a charisma check.) The Light knows you as well, and will show you no love; you are unable to benefit from holy magics like Bless or Protection from Evil.

Blight Nomad - You survived the blasphemous weapon that created the Mana Wastes, or perhaps you were unfortunate enough to be born in those blasted lands. You have traveled the blight and survived, carrying the scars of that place with you on your mind and body. Magical or mundane Fear effects have no power over you, but its partly because you have little to lose. You may not take on a follower of any type during your career.