Monday, March 19, 2018

Landmark and Encounter Placement within Hexagons


The standard Hexagon can be sub-divided into twelve lozenges/rhombi. This makes it very easy to simply roll 1d12 to place an item within the interior of a hex. The illustration below is numbered 1 to 12 (in a manner evoking the standard clock face) to illustrate this:



Another interesting side-effect of this tessellation is the creation of six additional overlapping Hexagons (each composed of 3 lozenges). These also each form an optical illusion of a cube:

These cubes could be used to accommodate/house larger, lozenge-spanning encounters/landmarks. The “3D” effect almost seems to imply that they could be useful to provide a rough guide/indicator of the highest/lowest points of elevation within a given hex.

This pattern/design was used in floor tiling within the Siena Cathedral in Italy:



I'm fairly sure quilters have been using innovative methods of tessellation to create hexagons for ages. 

This is not the only way to sub-divide a hex into uniform sections (although with 9 subsections, it's a little less useful with the standard dice, but the center sub-hex is interesting, and it's subdivisions can be rotated):


And of course, the more prosaic right-triangle “wedges:”

  
Some of this may go into my Expanded Wilderness Hexes document at some point. Once I finish up the "landmark" tables and polish up some additional wilderness navigation procedures.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Wilderness Hexes - Version 1.0

One Hundred Wilderness Hexes, all linked in a single compiled document:




Current Terrains include: Forest, Mountain, Desert, Swamp and Ocean.

EDIT: Looks like some of the jump links don't really work too well in the embedded version above or when the PDF is opened in certain web browsers. They appear to work in a stand-alone PDF reader though, just make sure to check back for updates!

Drop me a line here if you spot anything odd/misspelled, broken links, or other issues. I'd also love to hear about how this works out at your table if you find it useful or any suggestions! Still contemplating a Printer-Friendly/POD version.

(file under maybe someday: 100 entries for each Terrain type...sitting pretty on a few dozen more Forest/Mountain hexes and I already have a few new Terrain Ideas)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

An Arduin Table

As a lad, I saved up some money and visited a local and quite remarkable used bookstore. It was in the RPG section that I noticed several small yellow stapled booklets with intriguing artwork on the covers. I only had enough lawn-mowing money for three. So, I bought the first, second, and third of what I would later understand to be the Arduin Grimoires.

At the time I was only truly familiar with the most rudimentary basics of D&D as provided by the Holmes Blue Book. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of these new and strange booklets, which seemed to be inherently similar to the D&D I was familiar with, but chock full of completely different terminology and new exotic flavors.

Since complete compatibility between this new information and the ruleset I was already using would have been a daunting task for someone at my tender age, I did whatever any sane young DM would: I started cherry picking things that I found useful and/or interesting to me.

What I had never counted on, was that one table in particular would prove so interesting to my players. Page 7, of Book II “Welcome to Skull Tower.”

My players positively loved rolling on this for new characters and old. Even going so far as to roll on it for NPCs they encountered. Something about the level of additional, occasionally gonzo detail this added really seemed to resonate with them. Even I still have fond memories of the 1st level Bald Magic-User with No belly button and Cyan eyes, that we unanimously decided must have been some kind of vat-created homunculus, or how matching Tree birthmarks made an Elf and Human character implausible “siblings” in a way that would take nearly an entire campaign to flesh out.

I think about this table from time to time. Nowadays, things like eye-color/hair-color and pigmentation are largely left up to the choice of the players, with some more modern PbtA games like Dungeon World going as far as providing a few choices in playbooks for the character’s mien and appearance. Carcosa offers players the option of choosing one of the unfortunately difficult to randomize 13 pigmentations.

I think I’ll bring back the Arduin OPTIONAL CHARACTER APPEARANCE CHART. What’s a few extra d20 rolls during character creation? Maybe I’ll even allow direct rolls on the SPECIAL CHART for what players tend to consider as “Hopeless” characters. Heck, I might even keep it handy on my screen. The results of d20 attack rolls could easily be used to give opponents that one thing that makes them stand-out/memorable. “I’m going to swing my sword again at the Silver Eyed Goblin” etc.

This post would be remiss if it didn’t also address one of Arduin’s more terrible tables from the same volume: pg. 4’s FEMALE ATTRIBUTES CHART. To me, it’s a silly vestigial remnant of a thankfully different time, and never really saw any use at my tables. Even now, I tend to point to it as an example of how unpleasant and unnecessarily repellent the hobby could be in it’s nascency.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Stalwart: A WHITEHACK Character Class


The Stalwart
Level
XP
HD
AV
ST
Slots
Groups
Raises
1
0
1
10
9
1
2
-
2
2,000
2
11
10
1
2
1
3
4,000
3
11
11
1
2
1
4
8,000
4
12
12
2
3
2
5
16,000
5
12
13
2
3
2
6
32,000
6
13
14
2
3
3
7
64,000
7
13
15
3
4
3
8
128,000
8
14
16
3
4
4
9
256,000
9
14
17
3
4
4
10
512,000
10
15
18
4
5
5

T
here is a saying that only The Strong survive, but The Stalwart is a specialist at enduring challenges. Although some problems can be solved more handily by other methods and Classes, The Stalwart is more focused on simply surviving adversity. There will always be more obstacles and challenges to face, and it is better to live to fight another day.

                Stalwart Characters prefer heavier armor types and are adept at donning it efficiently. All Armor types and Shields weights are halved. Some of The Stalwart’s abilities (see below) are less effective when wearing light (less than Chain), no armor, or when not employing a Shield.

This Class receives the same benefits to HP based on high Constitution as The Strong (+1 HP per HD for a Constitution above 13, +2 above 16). Excelling at sustaining and surviving damage, should a Stalwart exercise the Special Combat Option of attempting a Constitution or ST to reduce damage by d6 on a success the damage is completely negated. On a failure, they are still reduced by d6, and instead of being knocked out for two rounds, The Stalwart is only stunned and may take no offensive action on their next turn. Whenever an attack would reduce a Stalwart Character’s HP to 0 or below, the Stalwart may instead opt to destroy their Shield or Armor and remain at 1 HP. This option may be exercised only once per combat.

To populate their Slots, Stalwart Characters have access to the following Defensive Abilities. Each ability is mutually exclusive during a round of combat and can be selected as the character advances:
  1. None Shall Pass – By forgoing any movement on their turn, The Stalwart becomes largely immovable. They receive double-positive rolls on all task rolls/ST associated with avoiding being tripped, shoved, or knocked down. While in this state, they may choose to receive either a +1 AV and +1 Damage or +1 AC.
  2. Hewn from Stone – The Stalwart picks a type of damaging effect (fire, acid, cold, etcetera), all damage from this damage type is halved with a successful ST. Changing the damage type is possible, but only after the character succeeds a ST against the new type of damage and receives a good night’s rest.
  3. Pack Mule – For the purposes of determining the impact encumbrance and carried weight has on The Stalwart’s Movement Rate (cf: pg 16) is always treated as one category better. The character also receives double-positive rolls on Strength rolls to strain.
  4. Shrug it off – Once per combat, The Stalwart may immediately heal double-positive 1d6 HP on their turn with a surge of adrenaline or second-wind. Their natural healing rate also doubles.
  5. Armor Bonded – The Stalwart may sleep and rest in full armor with no penalties. They receive a +1 bonus to AC if wearing armor heavier than Leather. Always on the look out for new and better protection, The Stalwart receives double-positive rolls in identifying, repairing, or haggling for Armor.
  6. Still Kicking – If reduced to negative HP, The Stalwart can opt to continue to remain active and mobile for up to 2 rounds per HD before collapsing and succumbing to the normal rules. Further damage necessitates a ST to remain conscious. When this ability is used, if The Stalwart survives, they must write the Disadvantage “Marked by Death” next to one of their attributes, and this can be evoked for negative-double rolls by the Referee. This disadvantage persists until the character gains a level, and a Stalwart may not be “Marked by Death” more than thrice.
  7. Sticks and Stones – If missed by a Melee attack from a normal weapon, once per battle a Stalwart can choose instead to take 1d6 damage and the weapon will be broken and unusable. If The Stalwart is wearing less than Chain or does not possess a Shield this damage is double-positive.
  8. Shield Master – Any shield used by The Stalwart is doubled in effectiveness (+2 AC), even without a shield, The Stalwart can use improvised objects (tables, chairs, even a secondary adjacent foe) to block attacks and receive a +1 AC). If they forsake their movement, this ability also grants a free attack in the form of a Shield Bash doing d6 damage. Should the bash do maximum damage (6), the shield is damaged or dented and loses effectiveness (-1 AC).
Characters with The Stalwart Class can use any weapon suitable to their Vocation and are also trained to know how to retreat when the tide of battle turns. They do not solicit free attacks when disengaging from combat, even if they turn and move at full speed.