17 March 2018

Sky Gnomes Version 2

Sky Gnomes
Ability Score Requirement: Dexterity 9, Constitution 6
Hit Die: d6 per level 9th level. Starting with10th level +2 hit points per level and Constitution adjustments no longer apply.
Saving Throws: As a Halfling.
Armor: As a Thief
Weapons: As a Halfling.
Special Abilities: 3 in 6 chance while skyborne to determine height and speed, safety of maneuvers, and the naturalness, or lack, of weather; -1/+1 bonus on rolls related to machinery.

Artist: John Lakey From: PC2 Top Ballista
Sky Gnomes are the most common and dominant people in Serraine. All the technological wonders owe at least something to the ingenuity of the Sky Gnomes. They are very short people and frequently full-fleshed. In many regards they look like halflings with bushy beards and larger noses. They tend to enjoy the manual and mechanical crafts, and jokes. Unlike similar gnomes on other worlds, they mechanical constructions are extremely likely to work, or at least spectacularly fail during the first test, in spite of how complex it may be.
The Sky Defense Force and the Top Ballista Academy are run and composed almost entirely gnomes. And the aeroplanes that make up the SDF are all of gnomish design and manufacture.
In addition to weapons common throughout the world, sky gnomes are all considered proficient with all the standard aeroplane weapons, the anti-aerial-assault weapons of Serraine, and technological weapon of gnomish manufacture.

13 March 2018

"Oriental Adventures" is it needed, or white boys need to shut up

Uh oh. En World, and the Piazza, have opened discourse on does dnd need "oriental adventures." Cue a bunch of gamers dismissing the idea that fantasy supplements of "exotic" or foreign cultures should have more than a veneer of the cultures they are drawing inspiration from.

The En world thread is naturally filed with a bunch of, presumably, likely primarily, white male gamers, declaring that such inaccurate and from the western eye looking from outside game products are fine because fantasy and "creating an atmosphere of stories we read, watched or heard."

With the usual "You think that Forgotten Realms was anything close to 'Western' culture during the middle ages? Not enough disease, murder, rape, plunder, religious bigotry, racism, sexism, classism, etc. Guess what, that's not politically correct either!" style rebuttal.

Also this "There is already a game for this on the app store, it's called the WP 5000. You take a picture of yourself and then, merely by analyzing the color of your skin, it tells you how guilty you are for all problems, across all times and places. "

Fucking precious amirite? As if the idea of wanting more culturally accurate and sensitive RPG books was some expressions of White Guilt™.

Related to this. There is a significant difference between the ways the US and Japan use and depict eachother's cultural ideas. I know this might be hard for a lot of people to understand. 

1) The historical exoticification of the "Orient" that through time came to mean specifically East Asia, rather Asia in general.

2) The US occupied Japan in the middle of the last century, and unjustly imprisoned US citizens of Japanese descent. The West, exemplified by the US, had a dominant position to impose its culture on Japan.

3) You can see this in the salary-man's 3-piece suit, and the military style school uniforms.

4) This is not to say Japan is a subordinate or secondary nation. It is a dominating force economically and culturally. I am giving historical context.

5) In this current modern age, both the US and Japan export their cultures. We see that here with the increasing ease of having English language anime, manga, and video games. Cultures generally want to spread, especially dominant/imperialistic ones.

6) This relates the differing reactions to the live-action Ghost in the Shell movie. Frequently, interviews of Japanese citizens were used to support the movie. They positive of it. But, mostly I saw US citizens of Japanese-descent being critical to varying degrees.

7) And yes there is a lot of exoticification of the West. Frequently there are trappings of Christianity and western occultism in Japanese media. And a lot of time it's because they look cool. Christmas is a big thing in Japan, and so is having western-style weddings in churches.

And this isn't a fun police thing. You can do you in your games. But ffs some of y'all need to stop advocating against culturally informed RPG books, especially if it's a major publisher. Accept that you are essentially dinosaurs, and use the old materials.

It's better for the rpg hobby as a whole to work towards inclusivity, and one of those ways is improving the accuracy of non-western cultures, whether it's works based on history, their myths & folktales, or a combination. Also, being written by members of those cultures.

11 March 2018

From the Word-Hoard: A Missing Monster(?)

I am not sure how or why this never got posted here.

The Dunsali Horror (Necrocraft) CR 7

XP 1,200
N Huge Undead
Init +0; Senses darkvision 60ft; Perception +0
AC 19, touch 9, flat-footed 18
hp 65 (10d8+20)
Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +7
Defensive Abilities DR 5/bludgeoning; Resist cold 5, undead immunities
Speed 40 ft., climb 40 ft.
Melee 4 claws +15 (1d8+10)
Base Atk +7; CMB +19; CMD 29
Feats Toughness
Skills Climb +18, Stealth -8
SQ Construction Points 4 (2 extra attacks, climb speed, mostly skeleton)
Organization solitary
Treasure: 500 gp Onyx, Bracers of Armor +1, Amulet of Natural Armor +1, 125 lbs of brass wire

This monstrosity is a medley of fallen friends and foes. Its legs and four arms are bones and spider limbs held together by spider silk and brass wire. Its torso is an unholy amalgamation of moon spider thoraxes and bronze solder. Its lower jaw is the upper half of the fallen summoner Dun'sali meeting a collection of smaller goblin skulls. The ends of its four arms are clawed with spider mandibles. Black and green fire glow in the dozens of empty eye sockets.

18 February 2018

Pegataur Monster Class

The BECMI line of D&D introduced all kinds of new character class options beyond the seven in the boxsets. Among them were a series of books, the Creature Crucible series, that introduced new locations in Mystara, and more pertinent to this, monsters as player character options. However, there are many acknowledge problems how they implemented them. Many of them start at negative levels with negative experience totals and one or two HD working towards the normal monster level (level 0) instead of starting at level one. 

The pegataur is not as egregious of a mess as a PC class as the sphinx is, requiring a more reasonable 20,000 exp to go from negative 3 to normal monster level (level zero), but still negative experience totals make sense only if you consider the base monster stats as level-0. It is also a linear progression until level "two," unlike the core classes. 

While I gave the sphinx a similar exp progression to the elf with an additional amount per level to account for the additional abilities of the sphinx, I do not place much extra value to the flight of either class in a Serraine campaign, PCs can be assumed to be airplane pilots in the same campaign. Airplanes outclass most flying monsters in general, and do for sure outclass the PC options. Likewise, I do not place much extra value in the delayed spellcasting progression of the pegataur, with default casting ability of a 1st level elf at 5 HD. 

In Top Ballista pegataurs could choose to become a wicca, later renamed to wokani (because wicca was offensive to neo-pagans?), or a shaman in lieu of elf spellcasting at 5 HD. I am not sure as why wicca would be an appealing option with its more restrictive spell list. This is in addition to the extra ability score requirements, extra experience, and ability checks to even become either. Sticking with the initial idea of wicca/shaman as extra options, is why this rebuild has the option of using the spell lists of cleric, druid, or magic-user.

There are also some pegataur specific jousting rules? Wholly unnecessary, use your own.

Pegataur Monster Class
Ability Score Requirement: 9 Strength, 9 Intelligence, 9 Wisdom
Hit Dice: Id8 per level up to 10th level. Starting with 11th level, +2 hit point per level, and Constitution adjustments no longer apply.
Attack Progression: As a Fighter.
Saving Throws: As a Fighter.
Armor: Any barding at double cost and encumbrance.
Weapons: As a Fighter.
Special Abilities: Flight, natural AC, hooves, mid-level spellcasting, use Elf spell progression (one of cleric, druid, or m-u spell lists), two hoof attacks (1d6 each), base AC 5(15).

Pegataurs have fucking elfin/human torsos with a winged equine body from the waist down. They are generally insular people with the bulk of their external dealings being as mercenaries. "Normal" pegataurs will only contract out as groups, never singularly. The pegataurs of Serraine have lived there so long, ever since its founding  when a large enough unit was contracted for a very long term, and being in such long-term close proximity has given them a less insular outlook. They still keep to themselves in their quarter of the floating city, but it would not be unusual to see singular pegataurs looking at home in mixed company. 

A pegataur has a base movement of 180'(60') and a fly movement of 360'(120'). Aerial Combat stats are: Air speed: 120', MF & Takeoff: 3 (b), Carry 100 lbs per Level. 

            Pegataur Level Progression
Attack Bonus
Hit Dice