Monday, December 6, 2021

d100 Unusual Thief Ablities

This post from the Doomslakers blog inspired me to finally put the finishing touches on one of the d100 Tables I’ve been adding entries to on-and-off for a while now. I previously touched a bit on the suggested boost via DEX Score in this ancient post (even suggesting some optional Scores to prevent DEX from getting more “top heavy”), but the primary portion of the post that this pertains here are those delicious “Additional Skills.” I too have noticed that the standard collection of Thief Special Abilities seems almost little too “Dungeon-centric” and by the time the game begins to transition into the later Tiers of Play (Wilderness Exploration, Domain Management), the role of the Thief Class can gradually begin to metamorphose somewhat. Sometimes, they seem to fulfill a more “Ranger” or “Scout” role in the Wilderness, and of course, Domain play is greatly improved by factional intrigues, spying, and sabotage.

So, here’s a d100 Table of Unusual Thief Abilities that might appeal to some Players and Referees. There’s a lot of different ways to handle acquisition of these. Random rolls (or choices) on level advancement could be interesting, as could making these “unlockable” through admission to Guilds or by acquiring specialized Contacts/Mentors for Training. Allowing a Thief to “substitute” one or more of their Standard Special Abilities for a table entry below might also allow for some intriguing Class Customization options (useful for differentiation within parties that feature multiple Thieves, a bit like my First Level Spell Features for Magic Users). One could even simply peruse the List for inspiration for fun new tactics and hijinks to attempt.

As with all Thief Abilities, my primary method of adjudicating these remains largely unchanged: I tend to assume Competency and only require a roll if there are stakes involved or if failure is interesting. My usual “mental checklist” for Open Locks still applies: Given enough time, adequate environmental factors (good lighting), and the proper tools, a Thief can Pick just about any Non-Magical Lock. It’s only when one of those factors isn’t present (as is usually the case in a Dungeon: Picking a Lock whilst Bugbears break down a barricaded Door, in flickering Torch Light, using a fish bone, etc.) that rolling to determine success really comes up in my games.

It's also vital to remember that many of these could also represent tasks and activities that can be performed by any Adventurer or Class (which would probably be handled through a more standardized, less level-based resolution mechanic), Thieves that have the Special Ability or Skill just have better chances of succeeding or mitigate their consequences for failure a bit more than someone who doesn’t have the necessary knowledge, knack, training, or luck 😊.

I’ve provided some loose suggestions for which Ability Progression one might utilize to track advancement with these more unconventional approaches, but I’d be just as likely to leverage that lovely Turn Undead Table (a method of resolution which “solves” some of my issues with the d100 rolls).

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Monster Character Class Options

Here’s something I’ve been adding to sporadically: A collection of Monster Character Classes (along with atrocious art by yours truly!). These should be usable with BECMI or B/X (and the other assorted games that treat Demihumans as separate Classes) without much tinkering.

So far, we have the Arenea, Living Statue, Harpy, Gnoll, Tortoisefok, Flutterlings, and the Lizard Man. I have been tempted to go through one of my favorites, the venerable Creature Catalog, and craft some Classes for each of the stranger sentient beings in there.

Open to any suggestions of other Monsters that you might like to see given this sort of treatment!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

d100 Familiar Features

Familiars are fun. For my games I generally allow a Magic User that wishes to begin play with one to simply to drop a die from their starting 3d6x10 for gold. This die serves double duty as the Familiar’s HP.

Usually they’re treated as fairly mundane animals/pets (unless the Magic User has a First Level Spell Feature that applies to them), maybe a little more clever (smart as a Chimpanzee is generally a good guideline), but usually they’re just a bit of flavor, or potentailly a useful tool that might be useful situationally to solve a very specific problem. Since they’re hard to replace and fragile though, this makes them fairly bad fits as scouts and trap-springers, so I often caution the players to be careful with them.

But sometimes and in some settings it’s more interseting to give them some special abilities.

So here’s a list of One Hundred Familiar Features for inspiration. Perhaps the Magic User uses Magic Reasearch to unlock these secrets (time and money), or maybe they gain new features in play. I suppose you could even have one unlock randomly every few levels the Familiar survives as a tacit encouragement to be careful with those little critters.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Monster Miens by Type

Here is a table with some Monster Miens, inspired by the lovely Troika! Method of attaching a tiny table to the denizens of adventures in order to give them a little personality. While I adore the ones that are bespoke for each individual creature, I figured it might be useful to have something like this in a slightly more generic form.

It uses the d12, because that die seems unloved and rather lonely. It is ostensibly arranged to work alongside the standard 2d6 Reaction Roll if you wish (although those results will be weighed accordingly). Still mulling over a more extensive “d36” one that directly interfaces directly with some of the dice metadata for that lovely table.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Updated Quick Equipment & Encumbrance Sheet

Here’s a bit of a blast from the past. I decided to give a little refresh to my old Quick Equipment & Encumbrance Sheet because it’s still turning out to be useful for various games I’m running.

As before, the chief purpose is to cut down on the time-consuming “Shopping Trip” portion of Character Generation, but still preserve some player choice in how they outfit their characters that goes a bit beyond the more comprehensive “kits.” There are some tricky choices baked in, but I if you wanted to speed things up even more, you can always just have the players roll 6d12 (but I’ve found this tends to lead to a lot of table time spent “swapping” sometimes). With a few quick checkmarks/highlighters the adventurers are ready to go, with all of their Equipment on a single handy sheet.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

d100 Terrible Toxins & Vile Venoms

Despite the ubiquitous presence of Poisons (my inner pedant nearly always perks up to mention that these are more accurately referred to as Venoms when it comes to monster attacks) I have never been terribly fond of just inflicting Hit Point Damage, a persistent (and often conveniently disremembered) penalty to rolls, or even that sainted staple of old-school play: Instant Death for these types of attacks.

Those may still occasionally appear as consequences, but I typically prefer these types of harm to linger a bit longer, create interesting challenges for the characters to overcome, and introduce another delicious layer of tension to the situation. For particularly dastardly critters, these sometimes can occur even on a “successful” Saving Throw.

I suppose some of the more physiologically improbable entries could serve as Calamitous Curses as well in a pinch, and I heartily encourage providing options for miraculous cures and treatments (driven by adventure generally of course). Perhaps some of these Herbs & Plants might be just what the Cunning Folk ordered?

So as promised during some of my d100 Encounter Activities, I went ahead and put together a table with One Hundred sometimes squicky ideas for giving these types of attacks a little more bite.

This table comes with a Content Warning for what I feel might qualify as mild Body Horror, because it is surprisingly tricky to explore these kinds of effects without a soupçon of the gruesome.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

d100 Equipment with Coin, Weight, Slot Encumbrance

Below is a d100 table to speed up generating Equipment and calculating Encumbrance. There seem to be three primary measurements favored these days Coins, Pounds, and “Slots.” Encumbrance Tracking is a highly subjective process, that varies from table to table of course. I’ve always been partial to coins (making it an even more “universal” unit that dovetails with spending and advancement) but do sometimes need to adjudicate raw weight (in pounds) and enjoy the occasional abstract “slot” based system as well.

So, I’ve endeavored to provide a tool that attempts to conveniently relate these different methods. As a bonus, if you find yourself in need of a random piece of equipment, it might be useful for generating that with a quick d100.

Should you notice anything glaringly out of line, please feel free to let me know!



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