Archive for October, 2019

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Welcome All Hallows, October passes into November with All Saints

31 October, 2019

Kooky and OokyHappy All Hallows Day and Eve all!  Enjoy costumes, food and whatever else you and yours does on this lovely holiday!  Sadly the weather is terrible here and we will likely not see many costumes today.  November begins with All Saints Day; November is the ninth month of the Roman calendar, and -in the traditional Irish calendar- the start of Winter.   Tomorrow is also the beginning of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which I will be participating in, as usual, to spur me to write.

In light of that, and seeing no obvious theme to November I will just write about whatever inspires me.   I will keep up with the Tuesday magic items and whatever else I can fit.  However, if you have any requests, anything you would like to see or any theme you would like me to expand upon, please let me know and I will try to fit it in.

October, 2019, saw the following posts here:

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Tuesday Magic Item – Black Cat Talisman

29 October, 2019

Cats will be catsGollaon fingered his new talisman, “Suits me, do you not think so?”

“A cat is a fitting symbol for you, my friend,” nodded Voddick.

“For I am swift-footed and agile,” said Gollaon with a quick dance.

“For you are vain and prideful,” retorted Voddick with a grin.

Gollaon shrugged and grinned back.  “That as well”

Black Cat Talisman

These talisman are usually discrete in appearance , the cat motif working in among other designs, with allusions to luck woven in as well.  Carved jet and onyx are popular choices for material for these items.

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Dragonborn in the Sea of Stars

24 October, 2019

More like thisThe Dragonborn . . . did not have a place in the Sea of Stars.  When I started work on the setting, the Dragonborn were not even a published species and when first introduced in 3.x were entirely optional, so I just ignored them.  Fast forward to D&D 5E and I am running an open game at Tyche’s Games (drop by and join us sometime) and people wanted to play Dragonborn.  As they are in the Player’s Handbook, I did not feel right telling them no, so, suddenly there are Dragonborn in the Sea of Stars.  But where do they come from?  How do they fit into the Draconic Empire?  Well, I have been working on that and this is what I have so far:

The Dragonborn were created well before the Godswar and the Sundering by a god who occasionally appeared as a dragon in an attempt to lead the dragons onto a better, more honorable path.  He raised and nurtured them in his philosophy of might for right, honorable conduct and selfless behavior (this being a callback to the original D&D origin story of the Dragonborn as uplifted agents of Bahamut).  Their numbers were never great, especially given their tendency to go on quixotic quests from which they did not return, but they slowly grew.

Then the Godwar happened.  The Dragonborn patron was one of the first to fall under the talons of the Empress, she made it a point to display his failure of might to his creations, and even those not too shocked and demoralized by this were unable to mobilize quickly enough to have any serious effect on the course of the war.  After the war, the Dragonborn lands were divided among no fewer than three Draconic Houses, a few distant villages ending up under yet other houses than the main three, and their faith and worship as they knew it was proscribed.  A handful of brave, or foolish, Dragonborn tried to fight off their new draconic rulers . . . it did not end well.  Most just accepted the yoke and turned to the philosophy of Dominae to fill the void in their spiritual life.  Others sought new paths, such as the Way and some just sunk into apathy.

But a few, the one who were clever as well as faithful, took their old faith underground, now as a philosophy of honorable aid, personal duty and self discipline.  They act as a secret society within the Dragonborn, carefully vetting those they recruit and occasionally even bringing in those of other species, but relying on dire oaths to keep secrecy.

As far as game mechanics go, they are as presented in the SRD except for:

Age. Newly hatched dragonborn grow rapidly with an appetite to match.  They walk hours after hatching, attain the size and development of a ten-year-old human child by the age of three, and physically reach adulthood by around fourteen years but are not considered adult until they pass through some sort of coming of age ritual. They can live to be as old as one hundred and fifty years but violence often cuts this sort.

Size. Dragonborn are often taller and heavier than human a human of equivalent height.  Their draconic ancestry is quite obvious.  (Size Medium.)

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Tuesday Magic Item – Toiler’s Blade

22 October, 2019

Deadly SwordGollaon parried and counter-thrust, taking the attacking swordsman through the throat.  As he toppled another took his place.

“These soldiers just will not give up,” said Voddick precisely smashing an opponent’s knee with his hammer before finishing him off with a punch with his shield.

Gollaon spun and cut.  “And they are coming back for more!”

“Damn necrourgists!”

Toiler’s Blade

These weapons are made of metal reforged from broken weapons and quenched with blood making the blades dark and unwelcoming, the hilts are wrapped with cloth from shrouds or torn banners.  The weapon, when first picked up, seemed heavier than expected but this sensation soon passes.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Bloodsnake Venom

15 October, 2019

Red blood, red belly“Ambush!” Voddick shouted, snapping a shot at the attackers with his crossbow.

Gollaon deflect an arrow aimed at their charge.  “Thrice cursed bandits!”  He turned to see one of the other guard writhing in pain and his spilled blood congealing into a serpent that in turn attacked its progenitor.  “Assassins!”

“Bastards!” said Voddick as he stomping on the snake and then recocked his crossbow.

“Let’s get out of here!” Gollaon lent actions to words, pushes their charge before him as he caught another arrow with his sword.

Bloodsnake Venom

This foul concoction is made of various magical and rare ingredients, many of which are related to snakes and serpents, the end result is a greenish-red paste that smells of dry copper and that adheres to most weapons.  It must be kept sealed in opaque glass or porcelain or it loses its potency.  A container usually contains enough for three weapons.

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Review – Shadowrun: Neo-Anarchist Streetpedia

10 October, 2019

NeoAnarchy, baby!Shadowrun: The Neo-Anarchist Streetpedia is a sourcebook for Shadowrun and lets you know a little bit about a lot of things in the Sixth World of Shadowrun. It is edition agnostic, making it a useful book no matter which edition of Shadowrun you play though timelinewise it is set at the start of the new Sixth World Edition (2080), so some of it could be spoilers for games set earlier in the timeline. It is a fun read and a good way to provide an in-game look at the world to players but by no means a required book.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Houndmaster’s Spear and Collars

8 October, 2019

To huntVoddick took aim with his crossbow and fired to be rewarded with a yelp of pain.  “I hate fighting animals.  They did not ask to be here.”

“And we did?” said Gollaon helping his friend up higher on the hill.

“Well, no, but we knew the risks.”  He paused to recock his crossbow.  “If we can just get a shot at the hunter.”

“We can finish this,” nodded Gollaon, nocking an arrow.

Houndmaster’s Spear and Collars

These spears usually appear very practical and plain, especially for an enchanted item, with minimal decoration around their hardy shaft and brutal spear point.  Most include a butt spike for bracing into the earth against the charge of animals.  The collars are equally practical, usually studded leather echoing the colors and design of the spear they are tied to.

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History Resources for your Game [3]

4 October, 2019

A variety of interesting articles and sites about history I have found recently and wish to share:

Gamers will be pleased to learn that dice and games of chance have been with us a long time, the Romans even used dice towers to ensure randomness of the roll!

A canal in Amsterdam was drained as part of a construction project and they cataloged and photographed it all.  You can delve below the surface and see what they found by the date it was lost here.

Fish Pond in Hawai'iAquaculture, that is, the controlled raising of seafood, is not a new thing.  The Hawaiian have been doing it for centuries and they recently set about restoring one of the fishponds, very interesting and a good idea of what clever people can do even with limited technology.

In the late 19th and early 20th Century, railway work was so dangerous that the companies retained their own railway doctors who pioneered early trauma surgery.  Seems like a great background for a character to me.

A fascinating article about travel in the Ancient Greek World, which is full of useful information and ideas.

California City was designed to be a massive metropolis but it never happened.  Now there are just echoes and roads to nowhere.  Seems like a great place to visit or the seed for an alternate history.

Have you found any intriguing or fascinating history you would like to share?  If so, please do!

Notes: Image of the Hawaii fishpond from Atlas Obscura and used without permission.

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Catfolk of Felix Talis, for Dungeons & Dragons 5E

2 October, 2019

Play some music, you cool catYou can learn more about the Catfolk here,  But as I have a player in my D&D game who wants to play one, figured I needed to update them for play in 5E.

Catfolk Traits

Your catfolk character has a variety of natural abilities, the result of being a magically uplifted cat.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity and Charisma scores increases by 1 each.

Age. Catfolk mature slightly quicker than human, becoming fully adult around the age of fourteen, and their life span, on average is just slightly shorter usually living around three score and ten, if something does not happen to them first.

Alignment. Catfolk, like the cats they evolved from, are fiercely independent, seeking their own way even when going along would be the easier path. They are notable self-centered and self-satisfied. But they are firm friends and spiteful enemies.

Size. Catfolk fall in the human ranger, averaging around five foot, eight inches range (172.5cm) and then toward a lith and slender build. They are fur-covered, in any of the patterns typically found on cats, with a nimble tail and large cross-slitted eyes, their ancestry is quite obvious. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Animal Ancestry.  Due to your unusual heritage as an uplifted creature, all catfolk remain vulnerable to spells and magical effects that target animal. However, you do gain advantage to resist such spells and effects.

Darkvision. Like the cat you are, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Keen Senses. You have cat-like sense and thus you have proficiency in the Perception skill.

Natural Stealth. They do not call sneaky people cat-footed without reason, you have proficiency with the Stealth skill.

Languages. The catfolk have an efficient, if eclectic and informal education system and you can speak, read, and write the Felix Talis dialect of the Imperial Tongue.

Subrace, or you a semi-wild alley cat or a more stylish urbane cat?

Alley Cat
You are used to surviving on your own, relying on your wits and quickness to get you our of whatever trouble you end up in.

Ability Score Increase: Your Dexterity Score increases by 1.

Cat-like reflexes: You gain advantage on Initiative checks if you are not surprised.

Urbane Cat
You rely on charm and your innate sense of society functions to get by.

Ability Score Increase: Your Charisma Score increases by 1.

Polyglot: You have a natural talent with languages, choose two more languages that you can speak, read and write. The first time you are speaking to someone in their native tongue, if you roll a 1 on the d20 for a Charisma check, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll.

Notes: Image closer detail from the lower margin of the folio of a cat playing a fiddle from the British Museum and used under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Monster’s Mask

1 October, 2019

Before monsterfication“Again with the masked people,” hissed Voddick,his hand dropping to his weapon.

“And these do not seem very friendly,” answered Gollaon quietly.  “I think they are trophy hunters so they are probably after beasts rather than us.”

“Probably?”

“Hopefully.”

Monster’s Mask

These masks are plain, at least before their magic is activated, though solidly built and inscribed with magical runes.

Its magic is activated by painting fresh blood from an animal, monster or beast slain by the mask’s wearer.  The mask then takes on the visage of the creature whose blood was painted upon it.  This gives the following abilities:

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