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Friday, August 24, 2018

Proposed Ostschild Crits and Fumbles

I sent the following to my players. We're running B/X D&D with a bunch of house rules, this is a proposal for another.

Crits & Fumbles

Rolling a 20 or a 1 should be exciting, but not debilitating or unbalancing

A 20 used to be a critical hit at nearly every table I ever played or DMed. A critical hit was usually double damage, sometimes just multiplying the damage die rolled by two, usually at my table it was roll twice the number of damage dice, adding bonuses for Strength or whatever after.

Since we started using penetration damage I have been leery of adding another bonus, and these affect player characters more often that they affect NPC or Monster combatants.

Likewise a 1 was often a fumble, or at least some sort of fumble check. Sometimes these were funny, sometimes inconvenient, sometimes downright deadly.

However, I'd like to bring back a little of the excitement of rolling a 20 to hit, and the dread of rolling a 1, so I am presenting for possible inclusion into the house rules these simple Crit/Fumbles.

Melee Critical Hits – roll 1d10

1-3 Enemy pushed back, usually 5 feet, into an unoccupied square.
4-5 Enemy knocked prone*.
6-7 Enemy disarmed, enemy drops weapon, which flies 0-15 feet (in 5' increments) in a random direction.
8-9 Enemy shield damaged/destroyed, enemy loses 1 point of AC.
10 - Enemy takes double damage (twice as many dice)

Ranged Critical Hits – roll 1d8

1-3 Enemy drops weapon/shield (50/50)
4-6 Enemy takes double damage (twice as many dice)
7-8 Enemy takes triple damage (thrice as many dice)

Ranged critical hits are clearly harder to give more variety of results to, but I think adding triple damage as a possibility makes sense given that missile weapons are all piercing (even blunt ones like sling stones/bullets); I mean, if it comes down to it and you throw a rock or a brick or something, we can justify the additional damage somehow or ignore any results saying triple damage.

Melee Fumbles roll 1d10

1 - Timing Off - -2 to next initiative
2 - Timing Really Off – lose all actions next round
3 - Off Balance -1 to initiative and -1 to hit next round.
4 - Really Off Balance – Make Saving Throw vs. Paralysis or trip and fall prone*.
5 - Opened Yourself Up -1 to AC until your next round
6 - Really Opened Yourself Up – -1 to AC and nearest enemy gets an immediate free attack.
7 - Butterfingers – Make Saving Throw vs. Paralysis or drop weapon, which flies 0-15 feet (in 5' increments) in a random direction.
8 - OOPS - Accidentally strike nearest ally for full damage, no to hit roll needed.
9 - Break weapon – You broke your weapon. Magic weapons get a saving throw vs. crushing blow, all others just break.
10 - Hit Self – Somehow you managed to hit yourself for full damage.

*Prone characters are at +3 to hit and require their next round to stand up.

Ranged Fumbles roll 1d

1-3 - Dropped weapon – Make Saving Throw vs. Paralysis or drop weapon, which flies 0-15 feet (in 5' increments) in a random direction.
4-5 - Dropped Ammo – lose next round retrieving ammo, if using a thrown weapon treat as dropped weapon.
6 - Broke Weapon - You broke your weapon. Magic weapons get a saving throw vs. crushing blow, all others just break. Exception – bows and crossbows only break the string on a 1-5 on a d6.
7 - Hit Ally – missile strikes ally nearest to intended target for full damage, no to hit roll required.
8 - Hit Self – Somehow you managed to hit yourself for full damage.

I agonized over whether ranged weapons should just use the melee fumble table, and whether thrown weapons needed to be separated from bows and other launcher based weapons, but opted for the middle ground here. There's room for discussion in any case.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Military orders in the kingdom of Ostschild

More from the campaign setting document
Military orders in the kingdom of Ostschild -
Knights of the Grail –
The Knights of the Grail are a Christian order bound by oath to the quest. They do not have preceptories, and hold meetings irregularly. Instead they use their wealth to build and fund traveller's inns, churches, orphanages, leper colonies and hospitals. They are generally found alone or in small groups, they seek out evil and supernatural threats to Christendom. Paladins and Rangers are found in their ranks, along with Clerics and Fighters.
Knights of the Lance –
The Knights of the Lance are an order recruited from among the pious throughout Latin Christendom. Their main preceptory is in Lenz and they owe fealty to the Pope alone. It is said they guard the relic known as the Holy Lance.
Knights of Charlemagne –
The Knights of Charlemagne these days are mainly descendants of the original Frankish knights that settled Ostschild. Their requirements are that a Knight must be of noble birth and Frankish blood. They are the power that props up the throne in Ostschild, but their influence waning and their numbers are dwindling.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Demihumans in the Kingdom of Ostschild

This is the section on Demihumans for my (as yet uncompleted) Ostschild campaign guide

Elfs – PC Elfs are exiles from Elf land. Perhaps they were adherents of Oberon and Titania, maybe they just fled the oppressive rule of the Elf-King, either way, they are cut off from the source of their power, and diminished. Perhaps this diminishing is due to living in the world of iron? They have developed a tolerance for it in their time in the realms of man, but they are weaker than their Elf-land counterparts, both physically and in magical potency. Lacking souls, they cannot be baptized. Elf's may be turned by Christian Clerics and are harmed by Holy Water.

Special Note - Elf Steel is a special ore that can be found and mined only in Ostschild or Elf-Land, and may be properly worked only by Elfs.

Half Elfs – AKA Elf Karls. All Half-Elfs are the human children stolen (and replaced by changelings) by the Elf-King and raised as Elfs. They are quite mighty, as they have the powers of Elfs, but not the weaknesses. Once baptized they become Lawful (Good) and champions of mankind.

Changelings – Changelings resemble humans, they are harmless in that they won't hurt anyone deliberately, but they are of low intelligence, never speak, except to cry in pain or with some need. They are often weak and sickly, especially as children, but require more sustenance than humans. The church has decreed that changelings should not be killed, but taken care of as the perpetual children they are.

Dwarfs – A Dwarf's first memory is waking up, lying naked on the ground, sometimes alone, sometimes with his “brothers” around him. Where they came from, they do not know, nor do they know how they got here. Dwarfs used to have communities of their own, but most of them have disappeared, now they live among Humans. When it comes to religion, some Dwarfs accept baptism and become Christian, others choose not to, but exhibit no signs of religious faith otherwise. There are no Dwarf women. Dwarfs are known to be great craftsmen, also excellent miners. Dwarfs are known for their obsessive hoarding. They are particularly attracted to hoarding gold, gems and magic items. They are fond of strong ale and meat. Some Dwarfs are obsessed with sex with human (or other human-like) women.

Halflings - Halflings are the most common of the “wee folk”, they just seem to easily blend into human communities, many manors have a Halfling family or two. They are known for being “homely” types, happy to grow crops (including the pipeweed that only they can seem to make grow), eat hearty meals and drink fine ales. They love comfort, and nice things. Except every Halfling family seems to have that one outcast black sheep, the adventurer. The Halfing adventurer breaks the paradigm. They are bold, versatile and strong, they seek out riches and fight evil where they can find it. Most Halflings will defend their homes and communities fiercely, Halfling adventurers are more proactive, seeking out potential threats and ending them before they endanger any community. Some of these Halflings have built communities of their own, Halfling villages or manors.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

20 Questions for the Kingdom of Ostschild

So I started another D&D campaign. Lost Atlantis is still going, but not as often as I'd like, so I co-opted the members of my local board game group into playing an RPG, so far so good, we're 8 or 9 sessions in now I think. It's been every Tuesday evening since at least mid June, and one Saturday prior to that. Anyway, I developed an entirely different setting for them, the fictitious medieval European kingdom of Ostschild, and eastern member state of the Holy Roman empire.

Here are the 20 Questions and their answers -

1. What is the deal with my cleric's religion?

He's probably Catholic (Latin Rite Christian), possibly some sort of heretic; unless he's Chaotic, then he's either a heretic, a heathen or a satanist.

2. Where can we go to buy standard equipment?

Lenz will get you anything on the equipment list, smaller towns have a chance.

3. Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?

It seems unlikely this will happen at all, but if it does, it'll be in Lenz, but it won't be cheap.

4. Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?

The Elf-King is, by far, the mightiest sorcerer alive. As far as Humans go? Probably Ambrosius, the court wizard of King Adalbert the friendly.

5. Who is the greatest warrior in the land?

The greatest in status is certainly Sir Heinrich von Bayern, Grandmaster of the order of the Knights of Charlemagne.

6. Who is the richest person in the land?

Probably one of the Guildmasters of Vecht, they are wealthy traders in that town.

7. Where can we go to get some magical healing?

Any large town has Priests capable of miraculous healing.

8. Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?

Only the Archbishop of Lenz could effect such miracles.

9. Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?

No, but there are said to be secret societies of sorcerers.

10. Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?

Definitely Lenz, Maybe Thira, Froli, Rota or Vecht.

11. Where can I hire mercenaries?

Definitely Lenz, Maybe Thira, Froli, Rota or Vecht. Sometime other towns, occasionally you'll meet them on the road.

12. Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?

Noblemen and Knights have the right to bear arms and the power to mete justice, their retainers and those so appointed by them also can commonly carry weapons. Peasants often carry simple weapons just because of the nature of the area of the kingdom of Ostschild.

13. Which way to the nearest tavern?

Proper taverns or inns only exist in large towns, most peasant villages will have someone that has a batch of ale ready to drink though, and you can usually pay a few coins to spend the night in their hovels, or share a meal with them. Sometimes a nobleman will put up travelers in his own manor house for some coin, and you can eat in the kitchen. Unless you have high enough status (knighthood at a minimum), then they'll put you up for free and feed you too.

14. What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?

The Elf-King and his wife the Queen of Air and Darkness lead hordes intermittently out of their lands and down the Golden way.

15. Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?

Not specifically in Ostschild at the moment, but the holy war against the Elf-King is a dominant theme here.

16. How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?

Tournaments with jousting are becoming quite popular, usually they include a foot melee too. The prizes are pretty good, but the losing can be costly.

17. Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?

Yes, several. The Cult of Chaos is always a threat. There are rumors of other secret societies.

18. What is there to eat around here?

Cabbages, turnips, onions, carrots. Pork, beef, mutton, goat, goose, duck, chicken, eggs from any fowl. Wild game from venison to boar to rabbit. Lots of sausages, it's a good way to keep organ meats and blood from going bad.

19. Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?

The lost treasure of Attila seems pretty legendary.

20. Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?

They're out there, just keep looking

Any other questions?