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Pokemon conversion notes (nothing to see here, move along)

March 25, 2014 2 comments

So this isn’t even a real blog entry, it’s just me putting up my half-formed notes about how to do a Pokemon-to-LL conversion for Scrap, further to this discussion on G+.

But if I were stupid enough to do such a conversion (and I’ve been stupid about this before), I might use something like the following (ready for Loganizing into random generators)…

1. Abstract Pokes In A Level Agnostic Old School Crazy Bastard Random Encounter Table:
Roll d100. This table doesn’t care what Pokemon you’ve encountered; you could just use one of Wikipedia’s monster lists or Yokai or whatever. All it gives is HD and basic attack damage. Any critter rolled off this table gets its HD as a bonus to-hit.

1-9:  1 HD = d4 damage
10-25: 2HD = d6 damage
26-44: 3HD = d8
45-59: 4HD = d10
60-72: 5HD = d12
73-84: 6HD = 2d8
85-93: 7HD = 3d6
94-99: 8HD = 4d6
00: Legendary. Roll another D10:
1-7: 9HD = 5d6
8-9: 10HD = 6d6
0: 11HD = 7d6

Attack Type
All Pokemon have an attack move of their own type. Damage depends on HD as above.
Either use the ENCOUNTER TABLES below or simply roll a d20:
1 = Normal 2 = Fight 3 = Fire 4 = Grass 5 = Water 6 = Ice 7 = Ground 8 = Rock 9 = Flying 10 = Steel 11 = Poison 12 = Electric 13 = Psychic 14 = Ghost 15 = Dark 16 = Bug 17 = Dragon 18 = Fairy 19-20 = dual type: roll twice. If a Pokemon has 2 types it alternates attacks between them.

The type of an attack gives a damage multiplier vs. the type of the defender (and maybe you could have types of armour, too? Why not).  This is one insane lookup table, cribbed from Bulbapedia.

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 1.08.59 PM

Imma say humans are NORMAL, elves are GRASS or FAIRY, dwarves are ROCK, halflings are GROUND, and monsters are whatever you like. Undead should prolly be DARK.

There is a chance of a critter also knowing moves of other types if you roll under their HD on a D10. If so, roll on the type table above.

And they may have a status-affecting move (roll under their HD on D10 to see).
If so, roll d10. All status moves allow saves except where noted.
1. Flinch. Target gets no attack this round
2. Sleep. Save v magic every round to wake up
3. Fear. Save or be forced to flee
4. Charm. Save or refuse to attack
5. Confusion. Suffer -3 on all rolls
6. Taunt. You are ompelled to attack this Pokemon and do nothing else
7. Attractive! You must capture this Pokemon at all costs
8. Berserk. Save or attack nearest target, friend or foe
9. Sleep next round. No save – you will fall asleep next round. After that you can save to wake up.
10. Roll twice.

ENCOUNTER TABLES if you want to differentiate encounters by the kind of terrain:

Wilderness, grassland, forest: d20.
1-4: grass, 5-6: water, 7: flying, 8-9: poison, 10-12: bug, 13-14: ground, 15-17: normal, 18: fight, 19: fairy, 20: rock
Underground: d10.
1-3: ground, 4-5: rock, 6: fire, 7: dark, 8: ghost, 9: fight, 10: normal
Volcano: d10
1-3: fire. 4: rock. 5: fight. 6: steel. 7: poison. 8-9: dark. 10: dragon
Mountainside, badlands: d10
1-3: ice, 4-5: flying, 6: psychic, 7-8: electric 9: fight 10: fairy
Desert: d10
1: ghost, 2: psychic, 3: dark, 4: rock, 5-7: ground, 8: fight, 9: fairy, 10: dragon
Lake/sea: d10
1-6: water, 7: ghost, 8: ice, 9: dragon, 10: flying
Urban: D12
1: steel, 2-4: electric, 5: dark, 6: psychic, 7: ghost, 8-9: normal, 10: fight, 11: poison, 12: bug
Sky: d10
1-8: flying, 9: ice, 10: electric

That’s it for the abstract version.

 

Oh, you were hoping for some of Pokemon’s Extra-Crunchy Crazy, like a full conversion? Fine.

2. MORE COMPLEX CONVERSION FOR POKEMON PCs or a game in which Pokemon can level up.

Here is an excel spreadsheet with all the Pokemon on it, with DnD converted stats: pokemon_by_stat_total_2

And here it is as a Google Drive doc.

The first set of columns is how many HD they should have if you encounter them in the wild, also the HD die size for calculating their HP (some really big ones get eg 2d8 hp per level).

Damage is based on the attacking MOVE you use (per Scrap Princess) – and you learn moves by leveling up or finding them like magic items. Here is a conversion table, created by Scrap Princess, for converting Pokemon move damage to DnD damage dice:
Pokemon damage rating  = DnD

30 = d4
40 = d6
50 = d8
60 = d10
70 = d12
80 = 2d8
90 = 2d10
100 = 2d12
110 = 5d6,
120 = 6d6,
150 = 7d6

Dam. mod on the excel sheet above is effectively the critter’s STR bonus/penalty – it gets applied on top of the damage from the move and modifies the Pokemon’s to-hit rolls (like str bonus). Also, you add level to your to-hit rolls for fighters, right? Same for Pokes.

WTF is Magic mod? It’s what I’ve got for Special Attack. There is no ready equivalent in DnD for the separation of attack and defense into “Physical” and “Special.” But. Physical attacks imply contact, special attacks do not. So, as a quick ‘n’ dirty workaround Imma say that all Special attacks are in fact magic effects, and you get to Save vs. Magic against them (or maybe the Poke has to hit you with them as if they were ordinary attacks but they have this Other Mod to deal with on that to-hit roll). This mod is either applied to your saving throw target (ie if it’s low, that means the Poke is crap at it) or to the Poke’s to-hit roll.

Save is the number the Poke has to roll over to save v. whatever, at level 1. It improves by 1 every 2 levels.

Initiative modifier should be clear? “Double for move” is what it says: double this number and you get the DnD “move” stat in feet (so Bulbasaur can keep up with a lightly-armoured PC at 90′, while Munchlax is almost sessile at 10′ and Ninjask is insanely fast at 320′). And then after the types/descriptions there are the original Pokemon stats so you can correct my work. Don’t worry about the “nonsense” column.

Other stuff not covered in the spreadsheet:

Levels:
5 Pokemon levels = 1 DnD level.
Start at level 0, so a level 4 Pokemon is still a level 0 DnD character; Pokemon level 30-34 is DnD level 6 (this being useful for calculating when Pokes should “evolve” or learn moves if you wanna check all that on Bulbapedia).

What xp chart does my Gyarados use?
Oh god. Yeah. Um, Pokemon takes full advantage of being a computer game to mess with the xp model. In the end, most Pokes are divided into 4 categories for xp-for-next-level. Imma say that “fast” = cleric xp table, “medium fast” = fighter, “medium slow” = MU and “slow” = elf. After that, you’re on your own. Could this be incorporated in the master table, above? Mmmmaybe, but not by me.

Random encounters?
If only I had the time and patience to sort all Pokes by type, frequency, power and preferred terrain, and then generate full encounter tables! Sorry. In lieu of that, the most gonzo approach is just to roll d8-1 for the hundreds, then percentile, and that’s the Dex# (Pokedex number) of the encounter. They’re all tabulated here. Null result means the Pokemon got away before you could ID it.

XP if defeated
Use the LL chart based simply off HD. Add 30% for each extra attack it has beyond the first.

Morale: I got nothing. Unless the description gives you some indication (eg Lillipup: “when at a disadvantage in a fight, this intelligent Pokémon flees.” Rufflet: “bravely stand up to any opponent, no matter how strong it is.”)

NOTES
This is not a pure conversion. Honestly I despair of doing any such thing  b/c Pokemon delights in outliers at the extremes of the curves that screw things up and I used a bit of fudge factor to make sure we don’t have a bunch of categories that only have like 2 Pokes in them.

The singular Save is based off Special Defense and is assumed to be Save vs Wands or similar (that being missile-type magic). Other saving throws are tricky: poison and steel types should be immune to poison, flying should be especially vulnerable to electric attacks, water should be harder to drown… use the Type chart and improvise.

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Spiritrap: a variant on Bilbil’s Ravenous Phylactery for Pokemon-type shenanigans

June 7, 2013 5 comments

A while ago I wrote a pokeball magic item for destabilizing your DnD game. Here’s a variant that affords different sorts of trouble, ideal for Tartary…

The spiritrap can take any form but it almost always appears as a colourful orb made in 2 or more pieces. When activated these pieces hinge or distend or something so the whole thing “opens” briefly – all too briefly – on one side and simultaneously “closes” on the opposite side.

The spiritrap can take in one creature – man or monster, living or undead, first level or 30th. In order to be vulnerable to the trap, the creature must have been subdued or somehow rendered unconscious or immobile OR it must have performed the action that activates the trap. It gets one save vs magic to avoid capture. Once captured it heals at normal rates and requires no sustenance while inside the trap. It can be kept in the trap indefinitely. It observes everything that’s going on around the trap but can take no action.

The only way to get a creature out of the trap is to activate it. There are 2 modes of activation:

1. simple, obvious button-push: this frees the creature but imprisons the person who activated it.

2. incantation + button push: exchanges what’s in the trap SPECIFICALLY for a creature that has already been trapped in it (only works if the creature is nearby, creature does not get a saving throw).

Even though this item is clearly highly coercive and extremely evil in nature, the stories surrounding it all tell of partnerships and friendships between the creatures thus trapped. The most popular stories concern a wizard who appeared to be a were-creature: using the trap he could swap places with a terrifying monster at will, and then equally suddenly revert to his mild-mannered wizard form. Evidently either the monster co-operated with its captor or it was under some other kind of charm or coercion, so that it willingly reimprisoned itself. It is a matter of considerable irritation to historians of magic that the monster’s side of such stories is seldom told.poke_ball_by_clairc_artstuff-d5hvq62

Look how happy he looks. Look how the creatures piled up in a ball have no real way to tell us how they feel.

Pokeball+Cupcake3

so you eat a pokeball, so what’s the worst that could happen? Unimaginably bad. The second worst is that it opens inside you, splattering you everywhere and suffocating the pokemon.

 

pokeball_valentine__s_day_card_by_yoshi_music_art97-d4po13y

It occurs to me that if you haven’t read the post or thought carefully about the consequences of getting caught in a Pokeball and released only to fight for your handler’s pleasure, the deep creepiness of the above sentiment might be lost on you.

pokeball3_large

After the straight-up pokeball, the reversible hat is one of the most popular forms for the spiritrap

 

pokeballs2

And then there are the people who want to trap up to 10 creatures in their fingernails. OK I say people, there’s really only Scrap Princess in this category

I do not make these up. And no I don't think I'm at all misogynistic, it's just that I haven't found any pokeball jockstraps. Even though it's _obvious_ I mean _come on_

This one was not designed by a woman. Consider the discomfort of getting a sandshrew in there.

Pokeball_83f04f_2466623

The whole issue of how you trap a goddamn god in a pokeball is never really adequately explored. Although in truth it’s no stranger than being able to catch a crowned dragonfish (which isn’t a dragon) in one.

il_570xN.446111005_4rsh

Decidedly handy for catching them all. Possible downside: which one is the user in?

3 variations on a Monster-in-your Pocket Trainer for LL/BX

March 4, 2013 5 comments

Be warned: long. 1 is a magic item. 2 is a character class (more or less). 3 is… me going off the deep end and kinda writing a spell that demands 17 new character classes.  Ay yi yi yi yi.

1. Bilbil’s Ravenous Phylactery (magic item)

A small handheld magic item that can appear as almost anything but most often takes the form of a clay pot or a bicoloured orb. The holder can use it to capture any non-human through a contested roll between the holder’s CHA vs the monster’s WIS or, in cases where that can’t be determined, its HD+10.  Any attack or other action the capturer undertakes on the monster increases the monster’s save chance by 1, except for SLEEP, CHARM or HYPNOTIZE, which each decrease the monster’s save by 2. If captured the monster goes into the Phylactery. It can be called forth once per game session, and may remain with the caster as a henchman until dismissed. If it fails a morale save or takes more than half its HP in damage, it retreats to the ball. Next session when it can come out again its HP will be healed, but no other status effects will be changed.

Whoever holds the phylactery may command the creature within.

Once a phylactery is filled it cannot be reused for another monster, even if the first one is killed.

2. A monster trainer class, such as Mike F requested lo these many moons ago.

The Monster Trainer is subject to an absolute taboo on violence except through the medium of trained monsters. No armour, nor weapons may be carried – so that the trainer may appear as non-threatening as possible.
Saves are at +4 (like a halfling). Prime attribute is CHA.
Hit points: at first level roll 3d6. Each level thereafter roll d6: an odd result grants +1 HP, and even result adds nothing. Advancing to 2nd level costs 500xp, doubling per level thereafter (but see below regarding monster level advancement). In addition at least 1 monster must be bound each level in order for the trainer to advance to the next level.

Monster trainers interact with the world primarily through monsters they bind to themselves. Binding a monster involves catching it in a specially prepared receptacle: this action takes one combat round, during which the trainer can take no other actions. Receptacles must be prepared ahead of time, and may be made by any trainer at a cost of 10gp. Every attempt to bind a monster uses up a new receptacle. The trainer must be within strike distance of the monster and the monster must be aware of them.

The trainer may keep no more than 4 + CHA bonus monsters with them – they may store more in a specially prepared storage facility. Attempts to exceed this total will result in a simple failure to catch/bind further monsters. If a trainer is loaded with too many monsters then interference among the receptacles will result in the excess +1d4 monsters slipping their bindings.

The act of binding is a contested roll between the trainer and monster – the trainer must roll higher than the monster on a d20 to succeed in binding. This roll is modified by:

  • the trainer’s CHA bonus (13-15 = +1, 16-17 = +2, 18= +3)
  • the difference in level/HD between trainer and monster
  • the monster’s current HP: if the monster is on full HP, it gets +3 to the roll. If on half or less, +2, if on 10% or less, no bonus.
  • Any special modifier the DM imposes based on the specific characteristics of the monster – intelligent monsters may get a bonus, or rare ones, or dragons…

Bound monsters are considered “charmed;” they treat the trainer as an ally and follow their instructions, and they will fight for the trainer until half their HP are used up, at which point they retreat to the receptacle and must be healed. Healing can be done by simple rest (heals 20% of HP per day) or by a healing machine (costs 5000gp to make, may be made by trainers of 5th level or above, weighs 400lbs). Each time a monster is forced back to the receptacle through damage it gets a chance to save vs charm. It takes 3 consecutive saves vs charm for the monster to break entirely free of the trainer. With one or two saves the monster can resist the trainer’s commands but cannot do anything actively against the trainer or hurt them.

The trainer may donate xp to their bound monsters to level them up. The leveling table used should depend on the monster in question – a gnoll or other goblinoid might advance on the Cleric table, a dragon on the elf table. Level limits… you decide. The point being here that a trainer with a varied portfolio of monsters is likely to be able to do all sorts of stuff, but they’ll also have to split their xp in many different directions.

3. Find A Strangely Familiar Familiar (1st level MU/Spirit Trainer spell)

tumblr_lnikvnJQ3f1qla4ngo1_500

The caster may enchant a phylactery at a cost of 200gp/level of the familiar to be summoned. Once a creature has been summoned it must be bound into the phylactery: the caster rolls against their CHA while the monster rolls against its WIS or, in cases where that can’t be determined, its HD+10: the one who succeeds by the greater margin wins. Only one creature may be so bound per level – ie. the caster must level up before they can bind a second creature into another phylactery. If the creature is not bound the phylactery is wasted – but the chance to bind a creature is not, and as long as a summoned creature is not reduced to 0 HP and/or does not flee, the caster may attempt to bind it multiple times, as long as they have phylacteries to use. A new phylactery may be enchanted by paying the cost again and assembling new ingredients.

The HD of the creature summoned may not exceed the caster’s level -1. Summoned, bound creatures (hereafter “pocket-familiars”) may share in xp and level up, using the Fighter table. Pocket-familiars may roam around with the caster or be stored in their phylacteries at will. They heal at the same rate as any PC, whether in or out of their phylactery. The morale of a pocket familiar depends on its caster’s treatment of it: each time it wins a fight it gets +1 to morale, each time it is reduced to 0 HP it gets -3 morale. If a pocket familiar has negative morale, its caster/binder must save vs CHA each time it is deployed in order to command it.

The creature summoned may be determined by rolling on the following table. This roll may be influenced by the kind of ENVIRONMENT in which the summoning takes place (either roll d20 for totally random summoning or d6/d8 on one of the subtables contained within it). All pocket familiars have 3d6 in order for stats. The rest of their stats are below: fight and save as the character class noted [in brackets]. Hit die type comes next, then AC, size/weight in {curly brackets}, natural attack (some pocket-familiars might be able to wear armour or carry weapons: DM’s prerogative), special attacks (each special attack may be used once only per session), the level at which they mutate/develop into another form, that form’s special attacks, and any other special comment. Special attacks are learned one per level.

SPOOKY  (D6)

1. OOPS: the caster is dragged into the phylactery and can subsequently be called forth or dismissed by whoever holds it. The caster cannot touch the phylactery with their bare skin – if they do, they get sucked into it immediately. Equipment is not taken into the phylactery: the caster is naked in there. Although they do keep cyborg implants etc
2. DARK: SABLEYE [thief] HD: d6. AC 5. {size:halfling} Natural attack: 1d6 Shadow sneak (one melee attack from up to level x 10′ away, automatically wins initiative), Knock off (removes an item from opponent), blind (for 1d10 turns), foul play (uses opponent’s special attack against them)
3. GHOST: GASTLY [mu] HD: d4. AC 7. +1 initiative. {size:halfling} Natural attack: 1d4. Each consecutive increases the die one size (d6, d8, d10…)  Confuse (save or be at -3 for d6 rounds), sucker punch (melee attack automatically wins initiative). At level 4 becomes HAUNTER: {size:human} Natural attack: 1d8 (and increase as before). Curse (Haunter reduced to 0hp/returns to ball, target has to save each round for next 8 rounds or lose 20% of their HP that round). Changes to Gengar at level 8. {size:halfling} Natural attack: 1d8 + increase. Shadow punch (Gengar disappears for one round, then melee strikes the next round without chance for retaliation except from targets that can hit ethereal beings. May reappear up to 30’ away).
4. PSYCHIC: MUNNA [mu] d6. AC 9. {size:cat} Natural attack: 1d4. Each consecutive increases the die one size (d6, d8, d10…) Sleep, psybeam (target forgets what they were doing, reroll reaction). At level 4 changes to Musharna, {size:halfling} Natural attack: 1d8 + increase.  Nightmare (save vs paralysis for a sleeping target: lasts until Musharna revokes it), dream eater (reduces sleeping target to 1d6 HP)
5. BUG: SHEDINJA [cleric] 1 hp only. Ever. AC 6. {size:cat} Natural attack: 1d4 + save vs poison or extra 1d4. Totally immune to fire, magic, ice, poisons, electricity. Sand attack (target gets -2 to hit for 2d6 rounds), confuse (save or be at -3 for d6 rounds), heal block, bug buzz (target deaf, takes 1d3 x Shedinja’s level in damage)
6. ICE: SNEASEL [fighter] d6. AC 4 {size:halfling} +2 initiative. Natural attack: 1d8. Quick attack (always wins init), faint attack (as melee attack but guaranteed not to reduce target below 1hp). Changes to Weavile at level 7 {size:human} Natural attack: 1d12. Ice shard (save or freeze + 2d12 damage), night slash (d4 x level damage)

NATURE RESPLENDENT (D6)

7/1. FIRE: CHARMANDER . [fighter] d8. AC 6. {size:halfling} Natural attack: 1d8 + save or flammable stuff catches fire. Ember (1d6 damage, save each round for a number of rounds equal to Charmander’s level or take another d6). Changes to Charmeleon at level 3. {size:human} Natural attack: 1d10. Fire fang (as ember but does 3d6 damage on first attack). Changes to Charizard at level 7 {size:horse} Natural attack: 2d8. Inferno (fireball), Wing Attack (melee attack delivered from up to 50′ away)
8/2. FLYING: STARLY [fighter] d8. AC 5. {size:cat} Natural attack: 1d4. Aerial ace (one attack guaranteed to hit), changes to Staravia {size:human} at level 3. Natural attack: 1d12. Brave bird (5d6 damage, Staravia also takes 1d10 damage) Changes to Staraptor {size:elephant} at level 7. Natural attack: 1d20 .Fly (Staraptor can fly and carry up to 2 human-sized passengers), Endeavour (target must save or have their HP adjusted to equal Staraptor’s HP).
9/3. GRASS: TREECKO D6, AC 5. {size:halfling} +1 initiative. Natural attack: 1d8. Quick attack (automatic win initiative). Changes to Grovyle {size:halfling} at level 5. Natural attack: 1d12. +2 initiative. Mega drain (2d8 damage, half of which is given to Grovyle in healing), Changes to Sceptile {size:human} at level 8. Natural attack: 2d8. Giga drain (2d12 +2 damage, half of which heals Sceptile), Razor leaf (3d8 damage, never misses).
10/4. GLITCH: instead of a creature you bind a spell, which is randomly chosen and takes effect whenever you open the phylactery (once per session only). The spell is any MU, druid, illusionist or cleric spell your level would entitle you to cast if you were the right class.
11/5. WATER: MAGIKARP. [mu but no fighting at all] d12. AC 10. {size:halfling}. No natural attack. At level 6 becomes Gyarados [fighter, levels as an elf but no level limit] d12+2. AC 3 {size:elephant}. Natural attack: 3d6, +3 to hit and damage. May carry up to 2 human-sized passengers across water, tirelessly and indefinitely. Ice fang (double damage, save or be frozen for d6 rounds), surf (d20 damage to all present except Gyarados and caster, location flooded), iron tail (3d6 damage and target must save or be stunned and lose next attack), dragon dance (no attack this round but get +1 to hit and damage for rest of combat. May be done as many times as Gyarados’ current level).
12/6. GROUND: GIBLE [fighter] d10. AC 5{size:human}. Natural attack: 1d10. Sand attack (target gets -1 to hit. May be repeated as many times as Gible’s level), Sand tomb (save or take1d6 damage every round for 5 rounds). Changes to Gabite at level 6. AC 4 {size:horse}. Natural attack: 1d10. Earthquake (all present take 3d6 damage except Gabite and anyone mounted on it – only levitating/flying creatures may act for the rest of the combat round). Changes to Garchomp {size:great white shark} at level 11. AC 3. Natural attack: 2d8. Dig (may carry up to 2 human passengers through level x 10’ of solid earth/rock as passwall)

WEIRD (D8)

13/1. POISON: GRIMER  [thief] HD: d8. AC 9 {size:human}. Natural attack: 1d6. Poison (save or take d4 damage the first round. Save again the next round or take d6 damage… continues to increase until a save is made), mud shot (target gets -2 to hit for 3 rounds). Changes to Muk {size:elephant} at 5th level. Natural attack: 1d10. Sludge bomb (2d8 damage + effects of poison), acid armour (if hit in melee, assailant takes damage equal to that taken by Muk).
14/2. STEEL: BRONZOR [cleric] d10. AC 4 {size:hand mirror}.Natural attack: 1d6.  -1 initiative. Immune to poisons. Metal Sound (deafens target, save each round or be incapable of action that round for d6 rounds), iron defense (lower AC by 1, may be repeated d4 times). Changes to Bronzong {size:phone box} at level 6. AC 1. Natural attack: 1d10. Mirror Shot (attacker’s attack rebounds on them, sve or be blinded for d4 rounds), Heavy Slam (2d20 damage, Bronzong must save vs spells or attack random targets for the next 3 turns).
15/3. ROCK: CRANIDOS [fighter] d6. AC 4{size:horse}. Natural attack: 1d12. Rock polish (+1 initiative. May be used d4 times), Zen Headbutt (target must save or – d4: sleep, berserk, be charmed, be stunned ie. lose next action). Changes to Rampardos {size:Allosaurus} at level 7. AC 2. Natural attack: 2d10. Head Smash (3d12 damage and target knocked back an equal number of feet) Fissure (ground opens to swallow one target. Target saves vs spells or is dropped 60’ into the ground which closes over them the next round)
16/4. DRAGON: BAGON [cleric] d10. AC 8 {size:halfling}. Natural attack: 1d4. vulnerable to ice. Dragon rage (does 10+level damage). Changes to Shelgon {size:human} at level 5. AC 4. Natural attack: 1d8. Hoard (provides a useful item from Shelgon’s shell, like a cartoon character’s hammerspace pocket). Changes to Rayquaza (surprise!) at level 11. AC 1 {flying snale 100’ long}. Natural attack: 3d6. Draco Meteor (2d20 damage to all present except Rayquaza and those in physical contact with it. Reduced to 1d10 underground but also causes cave-in of a random neighboring square/hex). Teleport/Gate (may transport up to 20 human-size characters but for each passenger roll once on the Hilarious Teleport Mishaps table (TBD by Jason Sholtis))
17/5. NORMAL: SOLOSIS (yes I know it’s a psychic shut up) [MU] d6. AC 7 {size:cat}. Natural attack: 1d4. Can squeeze through surprisingly narrow gaps like an octopus. Jelly shot (save or be blinded for d4 rounds), lick (as Cure Light Wounds but also causes confusion for d6 turns, will not recognise friends or foes, at -3 to all actions, on a failure does the opposite of what they intended). Changes to Duosion at level 5 {size:halfling}. Natural attack: 1d6. Absorb (save vs paralysis, absorbs stuff as Gelatinous Cube but does not dissolve things absorbed: instead absorbed creatures are kept in state of suspended animation until freed) Changes to Reuniclus at level 9{size:horse}. Natural attack: 1d8. Splatter (cone effect. Save or be blinded, deafened, glued in place with STR 20 glue and intoxicated ie -1to  all actions per round, accumulating, for d8 rounds)
18/6. ELECTRIC: MAREEP (cannot touch the ground: levitates above it) [cleric] d6. AC 7 {size:halfling}. Natural attack: 1d6 (electric). Shocking grasp (or touch, really). Electromagnet (attracts all ferrous objects within 10’ w STR = levelx4 attraction. STR of attraction is doubled for physical contact, halved up to 20’ from Mareep). Flaaffy {size:human} (cannot touch the ground: must be carried). Natural attack: 1d6. Lightning (d3 x level damage). Ampharos (can touch the ground). Natural attack: 2d8 Call lightning (all present must save or be hit by Lightning each round for the next d3 rounds, except those touching Ampharos {size:human}, who take automatic d8/round in contact. Shelter is possible inside a Faraday cage)
19/7. FIGHT: MANKEY [fighter (duh)] d8. AC 7 {size:human}. Natural attack 1d8. protection from evil. 2 attacks per round from level 2. Changes to Vigoroth (surprise!) at level 5 {size:gorilla}. d12. Natural attack 1d12. Immune to sleep, confusion. Focus punch (must go last, cannot be hit during round: if these conditions are met, can cause level x d12 damage), Counter (inflicts double the damage received this round by Vigoroth). Changes to Kong (double surprise!!) at level 9 {size:orca}. d20. Natural attack 1d20. Reversal (does damage equal to the difference between Kong’s current HP and maximum HP x2).
20/8. IMPRESSIONABLE YOUNG SHOGGOTH

pumpkins5

trade goods by theft rating

September 25, 2012 4 comments

Somehow over the past 2 weeks I’ve missed a great series of posts by Telecanter about procedural/random trading games. Right at the beginning of that series he asked about lists of trade goods and what might make for a short memorable set of actually fun trade items (the first goal being to make trade an interesting part of the game, D&Trav style, and the second goal being to not have the players go “really? 3 weeks as pirates and all we have to show for it is millet?”). His list is a good length and evokes a fairly specific milieu, which is to say generic-DnD (or as I like to call it, 1630 Amsterdam).

But I thought: what makes trade goods fun? How would you rank and classify trade goods by their fun potential?

…how would you go about stealing them?

Small: requires a 2-man con, typically 5-30 minutes:
gold*; precious stones; ambergris, incense, exotic perfumes, nutmeg; foreign collectible ephemera; incriminating coins; letters; passports/permits for extraordinary behaviour; declarations of war, property, inheritance or price hikes; erotic statuary that embarrasses the local bishop-prince; homunculi or genie lamps; poisons, potions, medicines; keys; crystal balls, magic compasses, hypnotic pets; deep secrets of the universe; insignia of office.

Medium: 5-man con with a handcart or dray:
High-grade cognac, laudanum, rare concoctions; worldeconomychanging seedlings; gunpowder; cinnamon; experimental small arms; enriched uranium; invasive species; quarantined pets; silver, amber, furnishings, mirrors, pearl-handled arquebuses, spice-boats, models of revolutionary fortifications/ships/catapults/oubliettes/hydraulics; experts, spies, witnesses; mermaids, circus freaks, incognito princelings; carpets, tapestries, silkworms, finely carved writing desks suspected of containing hidden drawers; clockwork automata, enigma machines; cultural signifiers of authority.

Large: you’ll need a crane:
Cannons; cacao trees; meteorites; rum, wine, champagne; coffee, tea; qat; experimental vehicles, engines, battlesuits; elephants, giraffes, prize bulls; cult statues; shrines containing the Truth of the World; silks; horses, pigs, alpacas, young dragons; devil-summoning pipe organs; durian; glue; masts, spars, anchors, vital ship parts, deck knees; roc eggs; fused-together crew members; Thark lances; disabled fliers, Montgolfier balloons, fighting kites, diving bells, MRI scanners; terracotta golems; sarcophagi.

XL. Just steal the goddamn ship:
Grain, pepper, coriander, sugar or anything else that’s just loaded loose in the hold; quicklime; coal, coke, anthracite, mercury, saltpetre, cinnabar; glazed temple bricks, carved marble capitals from the First Cathedral of Constantinople/Temple Mount/Parthenon, guardian statues; fishtanks, narwhals, hallucinatory groves for transplanting whole into imperial gardens; bitumen, lamp oil, kerosene, nitroglycerine, Greek Fire, Azoth, skrying pools; strategic relief maps; dimensional gates; ships.

Note: stases and totems containing gods and monsters may be found at all these scales.

* Gold may be “small” in historical settings but it’s probably at least “medium” in vanilla DnD and may be “large” in anime-inspired settings. Tartary, being tied to flailsnails, is much richer in gold than I’d like it to be. If anyone has any suggestions on what to do about that I’d love to hear them.

Damn you, Monte Cooke – how did you get that art out of my brain?

August 8, 2012 2 comments

Monte Cooke’s kickoff into Moebius-inspired Science Fantasy strikes just the right visual notes for me – even if the support text makes me crawn*: Humanity lives amid the remnants of eight great civilizations that have risen and fallen on Earth. NO! Instead: there is crazy inexplicable shit out there! Is anybody in charge at all!?! Go find out!

Which is kind of my way of saying I don’t know if I want to be in on the playtest phase of this or if I’d rather stay aloof, clutching my own distressingly similar setting, which will look derivative of this starting in about 2 minutes.

Damn you, Cooke!

Back to the proper subject of this blog: Dystopian Pokeverses. At last I can show you some suitably dystopian versions of old favourite Pokemon, courtesy of Gavin Mackey. That’s pretty much what I was thinking all along – thanks Gavin. More than these, which are also lovable but not miserable enough. And I’m really delighted by the sheer commitment in the fan movie Pokemon Apocalypse, but it’s not exactly where I was going either.

And while I’m doing a lazy linkdump post, do you know about Skylanders? That’s… not it either, but it’s kind of a place where my current aesthetic could go. I do like the mix of Cthulhiana, DnD cliches, Lego Adventures game design and Pokemon-type creature features. I call it Poke-Xena for a new generation. Which reminds me: apparently there are some Flash Gordon novels I should seek out, if my current Barsoom jones doesn’t abate soon.

Because I’ve been hiding under a rock for the past 25 years, DnD-wise, I had no idea that Githyanki had become a thing (I did have an idea about dark elves, because you can’t avoid them, but still, the name Drizzt meant nothing to me).

Anyway, shorn of the reams of lore they have no doubt accumulated, this is pretty much what I think about the astrally traveling jerks. And this beats anything else I have to say about them: They build their fortresses on the petrified bodies of dead gods. Like this here. Or here, which is also ridiculously cool. Or maybe there, for a change. See, if you keep mixing things up, eventually you can even put your dungeon underground and it looks cool all over again.

In case you’re currently under a rock, Geoffrey McKinney is publishing bare-bones old school modules with fanzine type production values. And Ian Johnson is doing the same for his wonderfully demented hell-crawl, The Bleaklands. The latter in particular is totally half-baked and fizzing with ideas.

My review of Eldritch Skies: don’t bother. I could say why in more detail, but fundamentally, what I wanted was balls-out Cthulhoid spacefaring where mead is your stardrive as well as your visual futurist, in about 32 pages of mind-altering illustrations. I didn’t want a wordy fantasy heartbreaker in 400 pages.

Finally, where are the hex sheet of yore? Here – print your own (thanks +Cole Long). Also crazy polar projection things and stuff.

The rest is pentagon tesselation.

Here, have 750 new monsters: Pokemon/DnD conversions

June 25, 2012 3 comments

+Ian Johnson got me thinking about doing a conversion of Pokemon to DnD – after all, we know the stats for the entire Pokemon bestiary (that’s Pokedex to afficionados), and it’s a leveled game, so it shouldn’t be hard.

…and it turns out a couple of conversions already exist, but they’re (a) for later editions of DnD (I’m thinking LL here) and (b) IMHO overpowered (15HD for Venusaur? My games usually don’t go above about 6th level). So I may yet make an OSR rendition (if there’s interest). Here are the complex versions, to help you put some Zapdos in your Wilderlands:

1. a complete D20 (3.5) sourcebook, allowing for Pokemon and non-Pokemon “summoners,” by the Trollmans – their site provides the skinny without downloads.

2. a far from complete site doing critter-by-critter conversions and pokeballs as magic items.

3. a few stat blocks, looks closer to my desired power level (Pikachu gets basically 3 HD)

And my simple conversion? As a very rough first approximation, I’d say:

All Pokemon can level up. 5 Pokemon levels = 1 LL level, and Bulbapedia gives the data on when certain Pokemon become available (evolve) – so for instance my favourite crabman, Kabutops, starts at 8HD.

The basic attributes of pokemon – attack/special attack, defense/special defense, and HP are convertible to attack dice, AC  and the die used for hit dice. I would approximate the stats given to 5 gradations for attack and hit dice, ranging from d4 for each, for the bottom 20% up to d12 for the top 20% of Pokemon stats, with d8 being average both for attack and HD. AC would also be graded on a line, with 5 being average, the highest 10% defense scores being AC1 and the lowest 10% being AC 9. Speed is a straight bonus/penalty on d6, from -2 to +2.

Then there’s stuff to be done with types and the type effectiveness chart, but right now supper’s burning. More later…

Zak’s questions prompt confession. Plus – what’s missing from Carcosa

January 19, 2012 8 comments

So first, Zak’s 23 questions – and noisms’ responses – provoked some deep soul-searching in me. I find I can conceal the truth from you no longer. You see, I’m really not so much a gamer as an ex-gamer. Worse, this here blog is what James Maliszewski has called the most decadent activity imaginable: it’s me talking about games rather than gaming. With all the attendant implications that I really don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m just blowing hot air, and so on.

I hang my head. If you want to just go, now, I’ll understand. I actually haven’t gamed at all since, um, 2002? The last time I ran anything at all was 2000 and the last time I ran anything semi-regularly… 1995 or so.

The good news is, I should be playing again for the first time in a decade tomorrow, provided the internet gods permit. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I barely remember any rules from anything, having always been pretty much a free-forming improv queen.

Noisms wrote about gaming being his secret shame. It’s mine, too, but not gaming was also my secret shame. Phew, feels good to get that cleared up… ahem…

Still here? I appreciate it. I’ll try to do better, promise.

So. I bought Carcosa! And I was surprised and confused by what it contained and did not contain! But among all the startling do-it-yourself, slacker! omissions, one stood out for me:
why and how would you choose a colour for your character?

So here, in direct contravention of SOPA and PIPEWEED and all they stand for, is my answer: the Men and Monsters Type Matchup Table.

Our familiar 13 types of Men are joined by their not-so-good buddies, the Amphibious Ones (or “frogs” for short), Deep Ones, Space Aliens (in trad. grey) and Mi-Go (who are strangely not so smart in this iteration of their story – strap on those brain cases, guys!). The table tells you how much damage each of these types will do to the others using sorcery, psionics, contests of raw will or any other means that doesn’t come in ultratech or battleaxe form. So for instance jale men can pretty much laugh at purple men with impunity, since they’ll only suffer half damage from their attacks, but they’d better be careful around blues, greens and whites, who all inflict double damage. And thus we have a reason for some folks to team up with others, or tolerate them around the old watering hole, and maybe some basis either for genocidal colour-wars or a new era of mutual understanding… against the oranges (misspelled oranj here, because the font didn’t work any smaller).

But what happens in the black squares? Glad you asked. Any time an attack of this type hits, roll 2d6:

2 – not only the particular creature attacked but also all other creatures of the same type in 3d6 yards radius receive the same effect (good or bad)
3 – the attack rebounds upon the attacker, at double strength
4 – the attack goes through at triple strength
5 – no effect
6-8 – attack goes through as normal
9 – defender becomes preternaturally slippery – AC and dodge improved radically. Attacker moves as if in treacle. Lasts 1d3 rounds
10 – bizarre weather effect (tornado of feathers, eyeballs) sweeps attacker and defender up and deposits them 2d6 yards away, or on a 2 or 12, that many yards straight up
11 – attacker and defender exchange bodies. Nobody else notices
12 – attacker suddenly realises defender is his long-lost soul brother. Defender unaffected