FrankenFourth: Scrolls & Spellbooks

Normally in Dungeons & Dragons and Dungeons & Dragon-ish games, scrolls are both a common treasure and disintegrate after use (or the writing fades).

They're basically a way for you to spend time and maybe money to eke out a few extra spells, either for emergency purposes or because come on how often do you actually use something like comprehend languages?

But, one goal of FrankenFourth is to look at all things Dungeons & Dragons and change them if necessary, so here are my thoughts:

  • Scrolls don't disintegrate after use
  • Anyone can read from a scroll if it's written in a language they can understand
  • Reading from a scroll takes one or more rounds.

Still need to decide whether reading from a scroll is a static number of rounds (so more complex spells take longer to read), a static number minus your Intelligence (so smart characters can do it faster), a random number (like 1d4 or 1d6+2), or a random number minus your Intelligence (if your Intelligence is a factor, the minimum would be 1 round).

Now, reading from a scroll would function like a normal wizard spell, meaning that you have to pay a Fatigue cost. Normally Fatigue damage subtracts from Mana, Vitality, and finally Wounds (so you can die by casting a really powerful spell), but if you don't have Mana then it goes straight to your Vitality (ouch) and Wounds (double ouch).

Additionally, any rolls would also be based on Intelligence, so while any character can do it, wizards do it best because Intelligence is their main stat. They also have Mana to burn, and have class features that bump up attack and damage rolls when using arcane spells. Even so they won't wanna do it all the time, especially if it takes more than one round since they can do a lot of magic things in one round anyway.

For spellbooks, I envisioned them containing magical information, ritual spells, and recipes for magic items. I suppose talents could be reflected as individual spells, so someone could pore through a wizard's spellbook with the Evoker talent and cast it right out of the book (but as above it would take longer and harm the caster unless they have a Mana pool).

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

Hot on the heels of The Blackguard, The Troll is out! The Rogue is up next: we should have an alpha draft ready soon.

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

FF/ASW: The Golden Spiral, Episode 104

Cast
  • Asheal (level 3 ishim wizard)
  • Hordac (level 3 tarchon battlemind)
  • Waive (level 3 scion nomad)

Summary
With the bulky and clumsy Iodes in tow, the party continued gradually exploring the temple. The first room they came across was a kind of sparsely furnished kitchen. Numerous clay jars were filled with water, dried herbs, cloudfish stock, flour, and other surprisingly mundane foods, and there were two large containers: one made of stone, the other iron.

Waive cracked open the stone container to find it full of escargot, various types of meats, and butter. An attached elemental converter used ice cores to cool the interior. Another elemental converted was attached to the smaller, metal box. This one was powered by fire cores, allowing whatever was placed inside or on top to be heated.

For obvious reasons Waive wanted both containers and their converters, but there was no way the party could lug them around: thanks to Iodes it was already going to be difficult to sneak around the place, but once they defeated Ostona he could come back for them.

The party backtracked and came across another membrane. This time they tried walking through it. It felt weird, but at least there was no screaming, and it didn't seem to adversely affect them in any way. There was a large golden shell in the center of the room, and many more shells carved with strange symbols arranged on the walls. At the back of the room was a strange amalgamation of chitin and fleshy sacs, which they only recognized as a sort of pipe organ because it was currently being played by a robed figure.

Every mostly-normal cultist they'd encountered thus far had a snail perched on its head. This guy, near as they could tell, had a much larger snail that seemed to cover almost his entire head, and a necklace made of golden snail shells. He also had his own room and an organ, so it stood to reason that he was somebody important. The party entertained the notion of capturing him to at least get some information, but before they could react Iodes loudly proclaimed his imminent demise.

The figure whirled about, and they saw that he didn't have a snail on his head: he was either wearing the shell as a hat, or he was a mutated snail-human-hybrid thing that was fortunately mostly concealed by long robes. His milky eyes extended a few feet from his face on long stalks, and his amorphous mouth managed to sputter out a barely decipherable inquiry as to who they were and what they were doing.

Waive said that they were searching for the snail god, and when the snail-man asked why Iodes made it clear that they intended to kill it. This prompted snail-man to sputter out a few more words, causing the floor underneath the party to soften into an acidic slime. Waive and Asheal dash to safety, only losing their boots in the process. Hordac was pleased to find that the snail boots weren't affected by the slime, and along with Iodes charged towards snail-man. Snail-man responded by inflating and spewing a torrent of acidic slime at them, but Iodes summoned a barrier of stone to block it.

Hordac tried stabbing snail-man with the salt-spear, but as with the malleables his body wriggled about chaotically, making him difficult to strike. Hordac was able to maneuver snail-man next to the stone barrier, which Iodes then pushed on top of him, pinning him in place and allowing Waive to slice his head off. To their surprise his head was still able to move and speak, but it was only able to sputter out a few semi-comprehensible threats before Hordac drove the salt-spear through it.

Design & Development
The oven and refrigerator are a few possible things you can do with elemental converters from A Sundered World, though I didn't think of them until now for some reason. Curious what other GMs and players have cooked up.

Speaking of A Sundered World, Maria spotted this ad over on Roll20:


Dunno how it got there, but that's pretty cool!

I've been modifying the adventure as we play, and the Dungeon World version has been shared with those interested in providing feedback (if you wanted to and I didn't tag you on the G+ post, lemme know).

On the FrankenFourth side of things, we didn't get to play in the Age of Worms campaign this week, so the next time we get together for this I'm going to try changing armor to a random amount per someone's suggestions on the armor-as-damage-resistance-or-armor-class poll I've got running over on G+.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

Hot on the heels of The Blackguard, The Troll is out! The Rogue is up next: we should have an alpha draft ready soon.

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

A Sundered World: Races

Someone over on G+ mentioned how races are handled in A Sundered World, specifically that they really like it and wanted to port it over to vanilla Dungeon World, so I wanted to explain what it is and why I did it this way.

Races in A Sundered World are basically compendium classes that you qualify for so long as you choose that race when making your character: if you're a dwarf, you can choose dwarf moves, and if you're a kobold you can choose kobold moves.

I should point out that, as a nod to half-races, scions (the A Sundered World equivalent of a human) can choose race moves that let you branch out into other races. For example, changeling lets you choose elf moves, and devil in the details lets you choose cambion moves.

Unlike the core ranger's half-elven move--Dungeon World, page 133--you don't have to choose them right away, and it's technically possible to choose more than one "half-race" move. Depends on how you justify it and/or your GM is cool with it.

You could do this for Dungeons & Dragons races like aasimar, half-orcs, djinn, dragons, and so on (could also work with the sorcerer class, since they can have magic in their blood from various ancestries).

When you choose a race you either get a starting move or choose from a list, whatever makes sense. For example, dwarves get one move (iron bones), while cthon get to choose an elemental essence (fire, water, lightning, etc), cambions choose a sin (wrath, envy, sloth, etc), and ishim choose a domain related to the god they once served.

As with a compendium class, when you level up you can either choose a move from your class or race, giving you more control over how much your race impacts your character, and I could even see people hacking them into a full on race-as-class thing.

Some things that might be deviations from compendium classes (never seen anyone else do it this way, but it's not explained in the rulebook) are that some moves require other moves and/or you to be level 6 or higher. Also, in A Sundered World: Player Fragments we designed some moves that require race and class combinations.

So, for example, tarchon kobold battleminds can transform their limbs into blazing weapons, and mine kobold nomads can teleport through rock to create tunnels.

I did all this for two reasons.

First, it never made sense that only certain races could be certain classes. What, dwarves don't have any paladins? Elves don't have clerics? Halflings don't have any bards? Yeah, I get that you can make new race moves for classes (and many people did a looong time ago), but early on while writing A Sundered World I figured that I could just sidestep the issue entirely by removing races from the equation.

Second, while writing A Sundered World I started thinking up moves that specifically pertained to a race, things that I thought would be cool for them to do, but not doable at the start. For example, I thought it would be awesome for tarchons to transform into full-on dragons, or lightning essence cthon to shoot lightning bolts.

The end result is that default A Sundered World characters are a bit better off than their core Dungeon World counterparts, though the book provides several ways you can fix that if you want to downgrade the former, or bump up a class that uses races (though we've already re-done most of the core Dungeon World classes anyway).

A potential downside is I guess game balance.

I know some people think that balance isn't a big deal, but it totally can be if, for example, you write a 2-5 advanced move that essentially lets you kill anything you want, even on a miss (this is a move that actually exists). Of course this is to be expected when players can mix and match a variety of moves due to compendium classes and multiclassing moves,

If your players come up with an insane combination, I'd modify the move(s) causing issues or just outright ban it.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

Hot on the heels of The Blackguard, The Troll is out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

Armor as Damage Reduction (Again I'm Sure)

Currently FrankenFourth uses armor as damage resistance, but lately I've been wondering if people would prefer using the D&D system of armor just making you harder to "hit".

I’m running this as a poll over on G+, so if you wanna vote on it head on over here (though even leaving a comment here would still be useful).

Things to know before you decide/comment:

  • Damage resistance (currently) ranges from 1-5. Leather is 1, scale is 3, plate is 5. Masterwork and magical armor could up this, but the most armor a character has had is like 7, and that's only when I let Abjuration talents stack with armor (I don't anymore because with multiclassing it could get really crazy).
  • Armor piercing is a thing. Typically ranges from 1-3. If you get hit with an AP attack, you reduce your armor by that amount before applying damage.
  • Attacks that just ignore armor are also a thing (for stuff like poisonous gases).
  • If you get hit, minimum damage is 1. So, you can't just slap on plate and wade into a kobold warren and just ignore everything. Thinking some monsters could have a "mob" damage bonus, so a bunch of goblins ganging up on you could still be pretty brutal (or 4E gnolls and their pack attack schtick).
  • Most characters and monsters are pretty easy to hit: you've got a Reflex Defense that starts at 10, and is modified by your Dexterity, shields, and other class things. Generally you're looking at a range of 9-14. What makes things like dragons hard to kill is a combination of armor, hp, and the fact that they can deal a bunch of damage and prolly tear you apart, first.
  • Attack bonuses are mostly based on your stat, at least at the start of the game. A 1st-level fighter with Strength +3 will have +4 to hit (+3 from Strength, +1 from class), and they get +1 to hit every 5 levels. Wizards are in a similar boat, but only get bonuses to magic attacks.
  • Characters can also get damage bonuses. For example, fighters get +1 damage with weapons every 4 levels. Wizards and clerics are different in that some abilities auto-scale (like Magic Missile), but they can spend more Mana and or rank up talents.
  • HP values aren't much changed from 3rd and 5th Edition. A run of the mill bandit has something like 7 hp with 1 or 2 armor. So, a fighter with a one-handed weapon still might be able to take one out in a single hit, while a wizard would need a few whacks to get the job done (with a melee attack at any rate: they can probably take one out in a single hit if they're using an actual blasty spell).

Things I've noticed using this system:

Since the Defense numbers are pretty low, a wizard can feasibly contribute to a fight without resorting to magic (whether or not they have magic). In the Age of Worms campaign, Humal has been able to hurt and kill things with his staff, and in a one-shot the elf wizard was able to use a bow to take out various bandits.

(I like this, not that I expect wizards to start wading into melee because their hp is low and they usually aren't wearing much if any armor. Plus, they can't do much against critters with high armor ratings.)

It takes a bit longer to calculate damage because you're doing another step or two (depending on whether the attack has armor piercing or ignores armor completely).

So with all that in mind, I'm curious what others think, especially those who play Dungeons & Dragons and Dungeons & Dragons hacks/clones. Would you wanna see armor as Damage Resistance? Go back to Armor Class? DR with optional rules for AC in the back? AC with optional rules for DR in the back?

I'm also curious as to why. Would this be too much of a change for you? Too complicated? Just not like change? Is there something about armor-as-damage-resistance I'm overlooking?

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

Hot on the heels of The Blackguard, The Troll is out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

Dungeon World: The Troll

The Troll is now on sale! It has been added to our All of the Playbooks and Monster Mash bundles over on DriveThruRPG.

Strong and tough, you can easily hurl objects and creatures about, and shrug off blows and effects that would fell or cripple lesser creatures. The only thing you fear is the sun's light: it will gradually turn you to stone, but until then you can benefit from it in a variety of ways (just be sure to find some cover before it's too late).

You start by choosing from several troll types, and your advanced moves allow for further customization: become stronger, tougher, throw things further and harder, literally shake the ground, blend in with your surroundings, recover more quickly by gorging yourself, then barf it all up on your enemies, wake and command boulders, and more!

There's also some new gear, a troll magician compendium class in case you want more magical abilities, extra troll types, moves (including a variant on the sunlight vulnerability starting move), alignment options, bonds, and a more mythologically accurate troll stat block (including ways to customize it).

This product contains three files.

The first is a letter-sized character sheet that uses our new character sheet layout (so we could fit the thirty advanced moves on the back).

The other two are digest-sized PDFs, one in color, the other in black and white to make it easier to print at home. They both contain:

  • The troll class (which includes 29 advanced moves).
  • New weapons, armor (including advice on armor for large and huge creatures), dungeon gear, and a magic item.
  • The troll magician compendium class (8 moves in total)
  • Four extra moves we couldn't fit on the sheet
  • A Director's Cut with questions to ask yourself when rolling up a troll, explanations/clarifications for some of the moves, and all the other extra stuff mentioned above

You can see a preview of it over on DriveThruRPG.

Note: If you purchase using the PayPal Buy Now button, we will also send you a complimentary copy through DriveThruRPG. Please allow up to 24 hours for delivery, though it usually ends up being at most eight (depends on if you buy it after we've gone to bed).

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Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

The Blackguard is out, so if you want to play a dark reflection of The Paladin that isn't just a lazy flip, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).
November 22, 2016
Posted by David Guyll

FrankenFourth: Age of Worms, Episode 506


Cast
  • Humal (level 8 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Corzale (level 8 dwarf war cleric)
  • Sumia (level 8 elf rogue/ranger)
  • Kuhnja'bi (level 8 human w/ devil-in-the-details fighter)

Summary
Not wanting anyone to be too worn down, late, or even dead for their next fight the next day, and figuring that they'd pretty much explored all but one section of the under structure anyway, the party decided to settle in for the rest of the night.

The next day Corzale attempted to dig up whatever information she could on Pitch Blade, because the only thing the party knew about them besides their team name was that they were dwarves and used melee weapons, and they only knew that because Kuhnja'bi fought them during last year's tournament.

Corzale initially tried going right to the source, but apparently also being a dwarf wasn't a sufficient enough conversation starter. There were only a handful of other teams left, and none of them knew anything. This left the guards.

As luck would have it one of them was forthcoming, albeit in exchange for some information about her and the rest of her team, as he was trying to figure out who he should bet on. He revealed that the Pitch Blade duo wasn't particularly smart or fast, but they more than made up for their shortcomings by being monstrously strong and tough: they'd yet to be defeated, but the teams that lasted the longest had spread themselves out so Pitch Blade would have to cover more distance.

Corzale thanked him for the tips, and then returned to her companions and conveyed what she'd learned. Sumia and Humal both had potent ranged attacks and abilities, so they figured their best bet was for them to hang back, while Humal's minions, Kuhnja'bi, and Corzale tried to keep Pitch Blade at bay. Since the guard specifically mentioned that they weren't smart, Humal figured that he could also try charming one.

Their arrival on the arena grounds was met with louder applause than the last time (as well as some booing), though it paled in comparison to Pitch Blade's appearance. As expected, they were both clad in thick plate armor and wielded blackened longswords. They stood motionless and quiet, even ignoring the announcer's request for both parties to salute each other, until the gong sounded.

Humal was the first to act, instructing his chimera and cockatrice skeletons to march forward. Corzale lagged behind a bit, preparing to unleash a blast of divine light when either opponent was near enough. Kuhnja'bi stood his ground near Humal, while Sumia hesitated, waiting to see what Pitch Blade would do.

None of them were prepared.

Both warriors leaped through the air, easily clearing both skeletons and crashing into Kuhnja'bi and Sumia. Kuhnja'bi, similarly armed and armored, was able to hold his own even before Humal commanded his minions to support him. On the other hand, Sumia was both lightly armed and used to fighting unfairly: she was grievously wounded before Corazale came to her aid, giving her the opportunity to escape.

Through his arcane sight Humal saw that their bodies both radiated a variety of magic auras: they'd probably quaffed a number of potions and/or been provided with magical assistance prior to the fight. He also realized that their heads were shielded from his magic: their helmets were probably made of lead and cold iron, which meant that he'd be unable to charm or even confuse them.

Despite their advantages the party was ultimately triumphant, and Sumia watched as Raknian stormed from his seat before the announcer presented them with their trophy and prize money.

The guard that "tipped" off Corzale was noticeably absent by the time they returned to the Coenoby, but Ekaym was waiting for them. The party hadn't found his sister, or even a woman at all, living or dead, but they had discovered a pack of ghouls and a powerful concentration of necromantic energy: they hoped to discover the source of at least the latter later that night.

Design Notes
Much of the session was the characters trying to dig up information on Pitch Blade, and then fighting them, so nothing really informative from the math side of things. I did fuck up the fact that both dwarf fighters were supposed to have fiery swords. Oh well, it's not like the party could have looted them.

Or can they?

(Yes, if they can find them.)

Also, cold iron helmets are a valid way to reduce your chances of being affected by mind-affecting magic (though they can be taken off, which was a strategy that at least one of the players suggested). Actually, cold iron armor is good for resisting arcane magic in general (and magic from fae critters), but it also applies for helpful magic.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

The Blackguard is out, so if you want to play a dark reflection of The Paladin that isn't just a lazy flip, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

Zombicide: Black Plague w/ Dwarven Forge

We broke out our Dwarven Forge city builder sets to recreate as best we could the map from the first Zombicide: Black Plague quest. It wasn't perfect, but still worked out well enough. Only thing that was a bit annoying were street zones since there really wasn't anything to highlight the borders.

We have some ideas for homebrew quests using our dungeon sets: the walls will make it easier to mark out zones, and we've got more doors (including a few doors that would be great for colored doors that require specific objectives to open).







Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

The Blackguard is out, so if you want to play a dark reflection of The Paladin that isn't just a lazy flip, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).
November 17, 2016
Posted by David Guyll

A Sundered World: Mort Tanis Play Report

This is effectively a guest post/play report by Matthew Bottiglieri, the author of an upcoming A Sundered World city supplement called Mort Tanis. We'll be doing a closed feedback round soon, but here's a play report that he wrote because his group is currently playing in it.

Cast
Nemastis (level 2 ishim nomad): Nemastis is a multi-eyed ishim and acolyte of the god Psykelion. Psykelion, the Keeper of Knowledge, resided within a living library. Thulid raiders destroyed the library attempting to drain its knowledge. Nemastis died when the library exploded, but a shard of the library embedded in his flesh and reconstituted him. Nemastis carries with him a seed-like shard of his dead god. He communes with what remains of Psykelion, and hopes to find a way to plant what remains of his god in fertile ground and regrow the library.

Zarad (level 2 cambion warlock): Zarad was once a powerful cambion warrior. His fortunes changed when the astral vessel conveying he and his fellow warriors was attacked by a dark elf raiding vessel. His comrades were slaughtered; the vessel was plundered and destroyed. Zarad was mortally wounded and hurled overboard. He drifted through the Astral for many days. He encountered a godly fragment in the deep Astral. A pair of stone hands enveloped an eye of searing gold. The eye fixed its gaze upon Zarad, sutured and cauterized his deep wounds, and invited him to become its champion. Zarad embraced his new godly patron, Aaran, and swore to devote his life to making his new patron whole again. Zarad was given a bone skiff and formidable powers in exchange for his service.

Aaran commanded Zarad to seek out Nemastis and convince him to share his adventures. Both Nemastis and Zarad share a desire to be made whole again. They have recently traveled to Mort Tanis for similar reasons. Aaran has commanded Zarad to procure the ashes of a priest from a curio vendor named Shasharash. Nemastis hopes to visit the fabled Library of Secrets to discover a way to rebuild his beloved god.

Summary
Zarad and Nemastis arrived in the spear city Mort Tanis and set about familiarizing themselves with the city’s bizarre layout. After slaking their hunger in a dockside district known as the Squall, the two pilgrims set out to complete the quest that was revealed to Zarad by Aaran. They located the Avenue of Moths - the city’s main thoroughfare and absorbed the bizarre sights and sounds of the city.

They stopped at a cloud spider herder’s stall and Zarad purchased a vial of hallucinogenic venom. They also asked the vendor, a Summer Court elf named Lythandril, to translate a letter that they’d taken from a pair of dark elves who’d attempted to steal their skiff. The letter revealed a plot to assassinate a Moonlit Court elf named Gazreth. The pair decided to act upon this information as they fulfilled Aaran’s desires and obtained his priest’s ashes.

They procured the services of a kobold driver. Coaches pulled by giant Cloud Spiders are common in Mort Tanis. Although it was unsettling to watch the massive spider scuttle through the busy avenue, they marveled that the speed of the creature’s locomotion. Before they made it to their destination, the kobold offered them eight silk to rescue his friend from the clutches of a local crime syndicate.

Although the Nemastis and Zarad were prepared to decline the kobold’s offer, the driver revealed that Tomen began experiencing visions after suffering a head injury. Tomen drew an image of a pair of hands cradling a golden eye - the fragment of the god Aaran.

This revelation prompted Zarad and Nemastis to accept the driver’s offer to rescue Tomen from the clutches of a local crime syndicate running a seedy tavern not far from the Avenue of Moths. When they reached the tavern, the PCs skulked around the back. To their surprise, they encountered a horror devouring one of syndicates lackeys.

As soon as the horrifying beast caught their scent, it cast its meal aside and attacked. Zarad conjured forth an astral weapon and nearly clove the beast in two. Nemastis finished the beast off with burst of astral energy. The PCs had a little time to gather themselves, for three thugs burst from the back of the tavern and accosted them.

Zarad, cocky and proud, was able to convince the thugs that he could be of value to the leader of the syndicate. Thalia, the leader of the goons, brought the PCs up a back staircase to meet with Zara, the leader of the faction. Dark-haired and beautiful, Zara offered to pay the PCs if they would shake down Shasharash. The PCs agreed, thinking that they could use this request as leverage. Zara demanded that Thalia accompany them. The PCs agreed, but when they went downstairs, they subdued Thalia and tied her up with a length of rope draped across some empty wine kegs.

Zarad located a door leading downward into a basement, and they found Tomen, bloodied and tethered to a wooden column. They freed Tomen and found Jerek the Kobold waiting for them with his carriage. Zarad spoke with Tomen and confirmed that he too was an acolyte of Aaran. The two decided to travel together and pool their knowledge. Tomen is now their companion.

The PCs next visited Shasharash’s Emporium and spoke with the wizened kobold about Mort Tanis, the nature of the Astral, and many other esoteric subjects. Nemastis asked if Shasharash had information about the shard of his god that he carried. Shasharash indicated that he could not help, but offered to procure a pair of counterfeit writs of passages into the Library of Secrets, if the PCs agreed to a task.

Shasharash asked the PCs to venture into the Under and steal an angel heart from a dissolute cambion named Mirza. The PCs grudgingly agreed, knowing that the Under is extremely dangerous.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

The Blackguard is out, so if you want to play a dark reflection of The Paladin that isn't just a lazy flip, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).
November 15, 2016
Posted by David Guyll

FrankenFourth: Age of Worms, Episode 505


Cast
  • Humal (level 8 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Corzale (level 8 dwarf war cleric)
  • Sumia (level 8 elf rogue/ranger)
  • Kuhnja'bi (level 8 human w/ devil-in-the-details fighter)

Summary
Not wanting to further explore the ghoul-tunnel, and also not wanting more ghouls to show up, the party replaced the stone disk before returning to the Coenoby. They'd barely been gone ten minutes, so Sumia managed to convince Corzale and Humal to continue exploring other, hopefully ghoul-devoid sections of the arena under structure.

There were only two guards posted. Exhausted and inebriated, all it took was a simple illusion from Humal featuring scantily clad women to lure them away. Even better, it was so late at night that there weren't additional guards posted, so even Corzale clad in heavy armor was able to avoid detection while they ascended the stairs.

Having passed through it several times, the party was familiar with this part of the upper level: they knew that if they continued west, the passage would gradually wind south and lead to the elevator that connected to the arena. Thanks to a continued lack of guards and Sumia's ability to see in the dark, it was easy for the party to gradually scout out the level. Most of it was mundane: a dining hall, barracks, armory, prison, some pens for animals, and so on, but a few things did strike their interest.

Being a dwarf and all, Corzale was able to determine that many parts of the under structure had been relatively recently modified, and that the curved hall actually wound about in a perfect circle. There were also numerous small passages that branched off from the hall, but they lacked any discernible purpose. Corzale was able to roughly describe their arrangement, and from this Humal theorized that it served a ritualistic function, which probably had something to do with the glass dome.

Sumia had discovered it early on. Several halls ran from the circular hallway to a chamber at the center. It's only feature was a large dome that looked to be made from a single piece of black glass. Within she could see a faint green light, and when she showed it to Humal he was able to discern that it was a cyst of necrotic energy, gradually swelling in size as it was fed by a steady stream of necrotic energy from an unknown source.

This confirmed what they already strongly suspected: Raknian was planning something. Something probably big, and definitely bad.

They returned to the Coenoby, and after a few more distractions, a narrow escape, a lie, and some deliberation the party explored another section of the under structure. Unfortunately it was simply a circular hallway: Corzale could tell that it was virtually identical in size as the previous one, and while there were signs of recent construction they couldn't find any secret passages or the source of necrotic energy.

With all other avenues exhausted, this left only one option: the ghoul warren.

Design Notes
I talked with Kelly (Corzale's player) about changing cleric Favor to a daily resource. He seems all for it, but obviously the talents need to be reworked to account for a much more limited resource. On the upside, this will allow clerics to spend Favor to actually heal Wound Points (currently they negate Wound damage, because otherwise you could heal Wounds, pray for Favor, heal more Wounds, and so on until everyone was capped off).

Maria wasn't feeling up to playing, but there wasn't any combat anyway so I guess at least we didn't miss out on seeing how badass the fighter is with the modified damage numbers. Maybe next time.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

The Blackguard is out, so if you want to play a dark reflection of The Paladin that isn't just a lazy flip, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

FF/ASW: The Golden Spiral, Episode 103

Cast
  • Asheal (level 3 ishim wizard)
  • Hordac (level 3 tarchon battlemind)
  • Waive (level 3 scion nomad)

Summary
Not wanting to return to the chamber with the rocket snail and slowly-moving and talking snail cultist, the party had two ways to go. They initially chose the left passage, but after coming across a snail patrol and a membrane-like barrier they quickly backtracked and tried the other route.

It lead to a storage room that, near as they could tell, was only inhabited by a handful of snail cultists. But, while they rested and bandaged their wounds near the ceiling a pair of snail knights stumbled upon them. Fortunately they were able to slay them without attracting further attention, and they now had a few sets of snail shell armor that they could use as disguises.

Since there were only two suits, the plan was for Asheal and Waive to don them, and pretend to be escorting Hordac to the prison. They weren't sure if
there was a prison, or if they were even going in the right direction, but the plan worked...mostly because the other cultists seemed reluctant to even gaze upon the "snail knights".

As with the first chamber there were a number of exits. They chose the north one, which brought them to an armory of sorts: a number of shell-capped maces and flails were stuck to the walls, along with devices that looked like bulky conductors attached to metal tanks. Waive cracked one of the tanks open and saw that it was filled with pale slime, and he figured that what he thought were conductors were used to spray it.

Uncertain as to what the slime would do, but not wanting to be on the receiving end, Waive proceeded to open all of the other tanks and light the slime on fire before they continued on.

The party next came across another fleshy membrane concealing a side-passage. This time Waive decided to burn it, and as Hordac theorized a loud scream echoed throughout the halls. Assuming that someone would be on their way to investigate the noise, the party quickly rushed inside to examine the chamber.

Four large, golden snail shells were placed along the walls. Waive peeled away dried mucus covering the opening on one to find that it was filled with smaller golden shells, the same as those they'd found on the cultists and knights. At the back of the room was a large stone cylinder. Its only feature was a symbol that looked like a circle bisected by a single horizontal line, with a small hole at the center.

Asheal inserted the radiant core they received from Kloros. It fit perfectly. The symbol began to glow as the cylinder shuddered to life, and arms and legs folded out: it was another cthon. He introduced himself as Iodes, a member of the Halite Order and keeper of the last known crystal of celestial salt. When Waive asked for the salt, Iodes explained that it was his duty to destroy the reincarnation of the First Snail, and that he needed the salt to do that.

Waive protested, explaining that a cthon named Kloros had asked them to retrieve it, but Iodes assured them that this is what Kloros, also a member of the Halite Order, would have wanted. Hordac tried convincing Iodes to pay them extra to help him out, but Iodes didn't seem to know what money was, and their "negotiations" were soon interrupted by a rubbery, vaguely humanoid creature that flowed out of a resinous tube jutting forth from the ceiling.

Innumerable spikes sprouted along its fibrous limbs, and it flailed them wildly about as it awkwardly sprinted towards the party. While Waive and Hordac tried hacking it part Iodes opened his body, retrieving a stone shaft with a white crystalline blade affixed to the end. He hurled it at the creature, and despite its expressionless face it was clear that it feared the weapon. It managed to evade the attack, but in its haste left itself open to Asheal's fiery magic.

Once the creature was reduced to a charred husk Hordac retrieved the spear, and the party reluctantly agreed to help Iodes slay the snail god. After all, how hard could it be?

Design & Development
From the previous play report:

I've been doing some snail art for Inktober, which will be used for this adventure when it comes time to publish it. Definitely doing it for Dungeon World and FrankenFourth (by default it will be for A Sundered World, with notes on how to use it in something not A Sundered World), maybe even Dungeons & Delvers and 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons (which was almost voted the system of choice).

The short rest thing came up again: Adam thinks 30 minutes is too long, I think 5-10 minutes is too easy, but then I might be changing cleric Favor and other resources so that it's really only useful by the day anyway. Curious what others think, keeping in mind that magical healing isn't assumed, and you can only get a small portion of your "hit points" back this way.

I was surprised that the character didn't try using the slime tanks. I envision them looking like the slime blowers from the second Ghsotbusters movie, except they normally restrain creatures (but you can load them with corrosive slime to deal acid damage and restrain). Oh well, Hordac took one of the organic spike launchers (which apparently reminds Adam and/or Shane of the spike weapon thing from Halo).

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

The Blackguard is out, so if you want to play a dark reflection of The Paladin that isn't just a lazy flip, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

A Sundered World: Mort Tanis

Another A Sundered World supplement is on the way. This time it's for a city called Mort Tanis, built across an enormous spear that's impaled a dead spider god. It's being written by Matthew Bottiglieri, who asked me to take his initial sketch of the city and make it better. Here's the before:


And here's the B&W after:




Still gotta add in the astral clouds, but I'm pretty happy with the results thus far.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

The Blackguard is out, so if you want to play a dark reflection of The Paladin that isn't just a lazy flip, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).
November 04, 2016
Posted by David Guyll

Zombicide: Black Plague

We finally got our Zombicide: Black Plague Kickstarter swag a few days ago (which I'm told is super late but whatever we had other shit to play and do anyway). It's basically medieval-fantasy Zombicide, which for us is apparently all it takes to make it a billion times more fun.

Mechanically the game is (thankfully) very similar to Zombicide: each player controls one or more characters (for a total of six or more if you have more characters to play with), and you run around stabbing, shooting, and blasting various types of zombies while trying to complete one or more objectives

If you haven't played Zombicide, it's really easy to learn and fast to play (even if you gotta control more than one character). Each character gets three actions per turn: moving a space is an action, as is trying to open a door, attacking, searching for loot, trading loot, shuffling around your loot, and activating various skills.


Once every character takes a turn, the zombies get to go, which generally means they move towards the characters, and if they're already in a character's space they just deal damage. Once they're done, you randomly spawn zombies by drawing cards from one of the decks. You draw a card for every spawn point on the board: sometimes you luck out and nothing spawns, other times you draw a double-spawn or a type of zombie gets to take another turn right away, but usually you get various types of zombies or a necromancer.


As with the original Zombicide the game has levels of a sort, though instead of numbers you have colors: everyone starts at blue, and as you rack up XP (by killing zombies, eating food that you scavenge, and collecting objectives) you progress into yellow, orange, and finally red. On one hand this is good because it gives you bonus actions and new skills, but on the other hand it makes it much more likely that you'll get more/worse zombies to deal with during the spawning phase.

See, each spawning card has four colors with different zombie value/types, and you check the character with the highest color when determining what spawns. For example, if one guy is at orange, another yellow, and the other four are blue, you still check the orange values on all zombie spawns. So, it's a good idea to try and keep everyone about the same as long as you can, because it's easy for blue characters to get overwhelmed due to a lack of bonus actions and skills (also, share objective markers if you can).


If you've played the original Zombicide, the main differences are that if you have armor, a shield, and/or the Iron Hide skill you can make rolls to resist getting hurt (unless you get hit by an abomination), you can take three hits before going down (and you don't lose gear when you get hurt), you can shoot into zones with allies without automatically hitting them, sometimes you gotta roll to open a door, and the plastic dashboards are fucking awesome.

 I totally wanted to make a character sheet that functions like that for our kids game
If you enjoyed the original Zombicide, you'll probably like Black Plague (but then you probably already own it by now). If you didn't like Zombicide, then you probably won't like this unless you specifically wished that Zombicide was fantasy instead of modern day. I've seen some criticisms about the replay value, but even after you've done all the quests you can always make up your own, and if you play tabletop role-playing games then hey you also got a bunch of minis!

It'd be nice if there was a kind of campaign mode that allows you to keep XP and gear from one quest to the next, but it's very easy to hit orange on any given quest, so by the mid-point of your second quest you'll probably be in the red (the 2nd or 3rd quest actually requires one of you to be red to win, in fact). Loot would also be a problem: we hit the vaults every time, so we'd run out of artifacts pretty quick, and by the end of a quest we're decked out in all sorts of awesome shit.

So, dunno how I'd handle all that. The rule where you can wrap around the XP bar again to get more skills would be one way to pad things out (it's in the Wulfsburg expansion, along with zombie wolves), and maybe you could add more spawn points based on everyone's level. One thing I'd definitely do is rotate the characters out and add permadeath, and if we somehow ran out of characters I'd "de-level" them and let them come back.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

If you're looking for a class that lets you play almost any were-thing you want (plus a bunch of related extra content), then check out The Therianthrope. There's also The Dragon, a class that lets you play almost any dragon-ish thing you could think of.

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).
November 03, 2016
Posted by David Guyll

Dungeon World: The Blackguard

The Blackguard is now on sale! It has been added to our All of the Playbooks and Adventuring Party bundles over on DriveThruRPG.

This dark reflection of the paladin isn't hindered by meaningless virtues. Cruel and terrifying, you are more than capable of slaughtering those foolish enough to stand before you (such as virtuous souls, not that they could hide from your gaze anyway). The sinister powers of a blackguard come easily; not only can they can be wielded in a variety of ways, but unlike those of your self-righteous counterparts can be used without restriction.

So go forth: conquer and destroy as you see fit.

This product contains three files.

The first is a letter-sized character sheet that uses our new character sheet layout (so we could fit the thirty advanced moves on the back).

The other two are digest-sized PDFs, one in color, the other in black and white to make it easier to print at home. They both contain:

  • The blackguard class (which includes 30 advanced moves).
  • New weapons, armor (including armor for animals), and dungeon gear.
  • The dread knight compendium class.
  • 14 additional moves that we couldn't fit on the sheet/people didn't find as interesting as the rest (but you can use them if you want).
  • A Director's Cut with questions to ask yourself when rolling up a blackguard, and explanations/clarifications for some of the moves.

You can see a preview of it over on DriveThruRPG.

Note: If you purchase using the PayPal Buy Now button, we will also send you a complimentary copy through DriveThruRPG. Please allow up to 24 hours for delivery, though it usually ends up being at most eight (depends on if you buy it after we've gone to bed).

$2.25

$2.50


$2.50


$2.50


Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

If you're looking for a class that lets you play almost any were-thing you want (plus a bunch of related extra content), then check out The Therianthrope. There's also The Dragon, a class that lets you play almost any dragon-ish thing you could think of.

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

FF/ASW: The Golden Spiral, Episode 102

Cast
  • Asheal (level 3 ishim wizard)
  • Hordac (level 3 tarchon battlemind)
  • Waive (level 3 scion nomad)

Summary
Once Asheal was back on her feet, the party continued past the bone spikes, and after a few twists it opened into a gaping chamber. The chamber was sparsely illuminated by numerous snails with dimly glowing shells: they crept across its furrowed and scabrous surfaces, seemingly oblivious to the party.

At the far end the party saw a small grouped of robed figures, the heads of each were also capped with a glowing snail. They were huddled about another robed figure. He was wearing a tall, spiraling snail shell on his head, but also had a glowing snail perched on each shoulder.

The party observed the group slowly move across the room, gradually approaching one of many crates that, along with a myriad of other storage containers and objects, was adhered to the walls. Presuming the snails to be controlling them, Waive tried folding space to remove one of the snails, but it was firmly attached.

While startled, the figures didn't notice the party and soon returned to following their sluggish overseer. Eventually his patience wore out, and Waive initiated conflict by by collapsing a point in space, sucking in nearly half the group. This time the party was spotted by a pair of figures flanking the entrance to the chamber: they were clad in plates of shell, giving them the semblance of an armored knight and also making them difficult to notice against the walls.

The cultists drew shell-capped maces from beneath their robes and rushed towards the party; all but two were immolated by Hordac's fiery breath, and they decided to flee through different exits. The snail knights charged into the fray, and up close even Hordac was revolted by their slimy faces, bereft of defining features, and pale eyes that could extend on long stalks. Despite their strength and surprisingly durable armor, the party was able to slay them both before the figure with the shell hat crossed the room.

He spoke much more quickly than he moved, but it didn't help much because he apparently enjoyed gesturing as he talked. Even so, the party eventually learned where to go to find the celestial salt, and they made it out of the room just before another snail knight arrived, this time mounted on a giant snail with a modified elemental collidor attached to its shell. Waive folded a flask of alchemist's frost into the collidor, rendering it useless. The knight dismounted and charged towards the party, severely wounding Hordac before he was finally slain.

Design & Development
From the previous play report:

I've been doing some snail art for Inktober, which will be used for this adventure when it comes time to publish it. Definitely doing it for Dungeon World and FrankenFourth (by default it will be for A Sundered World, with notes on how to use it in something not A Sundered World), maybe even Dungeons & Delvers and 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons (which was almost voted the system of choice).

Now the new stuff:

I need to change the tarchon's breath weapon from being an all the time thing. Currently I'm waffling between giving it a Vitality/Fatigue cost (like sorcerer/wizard spells), make it an encounter power (or do the 5E thing and spell out every time that you "regain it after you take a short or long rest"), or do something like 4E's recharge mechanic: at the start of each turn, you roll a d6 to see if you get it back. Could even do it like 3E, where you roll a d4 or d6 to see how many rounds it takes for you to get it back.

Unlike the Dungeon World nomad, this one uses Power Points instead of I guess making an Intelligence check for Fold (I suppose I could hold a vote to see if people would prefer to make a Search check in an area to determine how many Fold points they get). It differs from the wizard and sorcerer's Mana in that you get a small amount, more on par with the cleric's Favor, and when you rank up a talent you have to spend more Power Points to boost up your psionic powers.

So right now Waive's Singularity lets him make a ranged Intelligence attack up to 30 feet away, that deals 1d6+Intelligence damage (ignores armor), half on a miss. Rank 2 bumps up the range to 50 feet, makes it affect a 5 foot radius around the initial target, and you deal 1d8+Intelligence damage, but you gotta spend 2 Power Points.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

If you're looking for a class that lets you play almost any were-thing you want (plus a bunch of related extra content), then check out The Therianthrope. There's also The Dragon, a class that lets you play almost any dragon-ish thing you could think of.

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

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