Archive for December 2016

FrankenFourth: Alignments

I'd been considering for awhile now whether I even wanted to bother with alignment in FrankenFourth. Sure, on forums it's a never-ending bitch-fest about what alignment means, but in-game it almost never comes up except maybe as a way for the DM to threaten or punish you (ie, if you do that thing you'll become Evil and/or I'll dock XP), or maybe the occasional spell or ability (ie, protection from good/evil).

I'd heard a looong time ago that alignment was originally derived in some form or other from Michael Moorcock's Elric novels, but I'd only fairly recently gotten around to reading Stormbringer. From what I recall Elric was actually aligned with the forces of Chaos, and could try calling on them for aid with varying degrees of success.

That sounds way more interesting than providing personality guidelines for gamers to argue and complain about, or perhaps rendering you susceptible/immune to a handful of magical abilities. Under this system, you actually swear fealty to the forces of Law or Chaos (and maybe Good or Evil, or individual entities in some campaigns), and in exchange for doing things for them (or doing things they'd at least agree with), you'd gradually gain additional abilities and benefits (similar to the warlock in A Sundered World).

For example, if you're aligned with the forces of Law and do enough Law-things, you could become resistant/immune to harmful polymorph/transmutation effects and insanity, restore reality if it gets too warped (or dispel things like transmute rock to mud), and deal bonus damage to agents of Chaos (or maybe keep them at bay or outright banish them). Conversely, if you refuse to help your patron or do things that anger them, they could at the least revoke some or all of your powers, but depending on who you serve they might do worse.

A good example of this in action would be affiliations from 3rd Edition (Player's Handbook 2) and artifacts from 4th Edition (Dungeon Master's Guide): in both cases you got a score, and when you did certain things it went up or down, and the higher it was the better stuff you got. The main difference is that I'm considering letting you choose from various abilities instead of ascending on a set track. This way you could better ensure that you gain things that you'll actually use. I could also see separate tables for the generic forces of Whatever, or individual entities.

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

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it 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 105


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

Summary
We haven't had a chance to play for the past 2-3 weeks now due to a combination of the holidays, work, life, and shoddy internet, so what follows is best as I can recall (which means I've certainly gotten some details wrong).

Anywho, after cleaning out the high priest's room, the party then took out a pair of snail knights guarding a nearby pit. Presuming that something bad was lurking down there, they knocked back a few slime potions (regain Wounds but take a Dexterity penalty for an hour) before hopping in.

The tunnel wound about before bringing them to the chamber of a glowing, cat-sized snail, perched high above them upon a chitinous spire. Before it could ask what they were doing, or someone could ask who or what it was, Hordac rushed forward and tried slicing it apart with his weaponized limbs, but the snail grew two tiny arms and deflected his attack with a golden barrier.

It followed this up by vomiting forth a surprisingly wide and powerful torrent of caustic slime. Waive and Asheal ducked behind a wall to avoid it--to varying degrees of success--and the snail emerged from its shell and stretched into the shape of a slim female scion. She was completely nude, and her long black hair did little to tastefully conceal various parts of her: this gave everyone but Iodes pause, who urged the party to destroy her.

She introduced herself as Ostona, the progeny of the First Snail and potential god (the cult was working on it). She promised to reward the party if they surrendered the celestial salt spear, and for some time the party debated whether to spare her, give her the spear, kill Iodes, or continue with their mission as more-or-less instructed. They ultimately opted to just kill her, mostly because Waive and Hordac wanted to get paid, and they figured that she might be lying anyway.

The spire Ostona was standing out turned out to be a titan whelk, which burst from the ground and tried devouring Iodes, while Ostona fought Hordac by growing spikes out of her arms and flailing at him with them. When it was clear that Ostona had the upper hand, Waive tossed the salt spear to Hordac. This terrified Ostona, but when she attemped to flee ran into Asheal.

They wrestled about on the ground, and soon after shredding most of Asheal's clothing Hordac was able to slay the titan whelk and rush to her aid: he impaled Ostona from behind with the spear while she had Asheal pinned to the ground. Her piercing shriek was abruptly silenced as her body dissolved into slime, which dribbled upon Asheal's now sparsely clothed body, and from what I can recall the session ended on that very classy note.

Design & Development
If you play Dungeon World, you can pick up The Golden Spiral here. We'll be doing a FrankenFourth version when the game is actually done (a starter set-esque "black book" is nearly complete).

The plan is to wrap up this adventure (the party hasn't fully explored the dungeon or even looted Ostona's room, though they're free to just grab what they can and run), and then have someone else try running a game so I can play. I think Melissa will be up next: curious how she runs the game, but if nothing else it will give me a chance to play Mister Tock, a kytheran chronomancer.

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).

Zombicide: Black Plague, Welcome to Wulfsburg Playthrough

Tried out Welcome to Wulfsburg, the first quest from the Wulfsburg expansion. We thought it was going to be easy since it was the first quest, and all of the objectives are fairly close together (and two also give you vault items), but damn shit hit the fan really fast: we almost always had at least one sort of Abomination on the board (usually two), plus wolves and archers, at one point we had every Abomination on the board, and we lost two survivors on the way.

Our daughter loves playing Klom (big ogre guy), which was probably the only reason we made it out alive (or at least didn't lose more survivors): at one point I found an Earthquake Hammer which I gave to her, and this plus Klom's Barbarian and Super Strength skills let her clean out a room filled with some twenty zombies and a pair of Abominations (she ended up going into Ultrared mode, all the way back into Orange a second time).






Aaand Redcap goes down.







Before Klom

Had to grab more dice because c'mon how often do you get to roll 20+ dice at a 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!

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).
December 20, 2016
Posted by David Guyll

We Have an Actual Store

We just released The Golden Spiral, so if you're wondering why there's a graphic for Tabletop Vault instead of a PayPal button, thanks to Victor (of Dwarfare Games) we finally have a site that has an actual store (something I neglected to mention before, but hey better late than never).

Now, instead of using a PayPal button and waiting for us to see the email alert and mail the files out (which could take hours depending on when you ordered it), you can get them right away! Let us know if there are any bugs, or if you have any criticisms or suggestions.

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: The Golden Spiral

So this is that snail cult adventure thing I've been working on and playtesting using FrankenFourth (though to be clear this version is for Dungeon World), all packaged up and ready to unleash upon your own players!

It's a pretty straightforward dungeon crawl, though there are questions to ask your players, several suggested ways to start the adventure (including having the PCs captured by the snail cult), and various ways to navigate the dungeon.

By default the adventure takes place in A Sundered World, but it's stupid-easy to port to another, less gonzo setting.

Other cool things besides the adventure:

  • A bunch of new dungeon gear, including slime cannons and rocket packs. Some dungeon gear is featured in A Sundered World, but I wanted this adventure to be usable even if you don't own the campaign setting (but you totally should).
  • A couple new magic items.
  • A new magical language for wizards, plus a compendium class that allows non-wizards to learn it (so, again, even if you don't use ASW or the ASW wizard you can still use it).
  • Advice on making a cleric or paladin that serves a snail god.
  • Rules for companion NPCs.
  • A letter-sized PDF that features the dungeon map and overview of each room, so you don't have to flip back and forth.

There's also a B&W version of both PDFs, so if you prefer B&W or want to print it out at home and save ink there ya go.

You can see a preview of it over on DriveThruRPG.

Note: The Tabletop Vault button goes to a store that Victor (Dwarfare Games) setup for us. You still use PayPal, but you don't gotta wait for us to notice the email alert and manually mail the files out.



$2.99


$2.99


$2.99


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).

FrankenFourth: Waste Not, Want Not

I've recently finished Mad Max (fortunately picked it up on a sale for only $10, but still bleh) and started up Final Fantasy 15. One of the things I noticed about it is that, similar to Final Fantasy 12, when you kill monsters you get parts instead of gil. For example, reapertails (one of the first enemies you run into) can drop scorpion barbs. Dunno what they're for besides selling, though.

We're doing a similar thing for FrankenFourth, as exemplified in a previous Age of Worms play report where I presented an invisible stalker stat block that mentioned invisible stalker essence in the treasure line. Some monsters will leave stuff behind, or have materials that anyone can harvest (like dragon's blood), but certain things will require skills (like Survival for skinning creatures).

I can also see talents making this easier or better, like a ranger being able roll twice and take the better result when harvesting from creatures that he has the relevant Hunter talent for.

In addition to being able to sell monster bits, you can use them for crafting. In A Sundered World I added a section on materials that could be used to make various weapons and armor. So, if you had the money and/or parts you could, say, whip up an adamantine sword, ironwood armor, or a shield made of astral essence. It's a simple system that adds to the base item's cost and some tags (ie, adamantine adds 500 coins), but it gives the GM a benchmark on how much coins worth of something the PCs will need to make something on their own.

Crafting in FrankenFourth is similar to 2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons. You don't need to devote a bunch of skill ranks into a craft skill, or make a bunch of d20 rolls to see if you ruined it at some point, and there isn't a formula to determine how long it takes to make something: if you want to, say, make a suit of leather armor, it's gonna take you 4 days, and it's gonna need 15 sp worth of raw materials. Want to make a suit of hellhound leather? That's still gonna take you 4 days, but you need 15 sp worth of hellhound hide.

We're not going to predefine everything, though we will give some examples, and GMs are obviously free to come up with other things PCs can get off of monsters and uses for them. The idea is to provide a simple system that allows for creativity and builds upon material that we've seen before (such as parts of 2nd Edition intellect devourers being usable in potions of ESP and mind control).

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).

Zombicide: Black Plague, The Shepherds Playthrough

Some pics from our playthrough of The Shepherds quest from the core Zombicide: Black Plague box.

Before we had a problem of getting multiple special abomination draws in a row, even after lots of shuffling and across multiple games (which actually made things easy when we were in Blue, since it meant nothing spawned, less so once someone got to Yellow), so we ended up removing all but two of each card.

Still ended up getting all of them because we had to go through the entire deck, but by the time they all started spawning my survivor (Genevieve) had the orc crossbow and with her +1 Damage was able to take them out. This was how she was able to grind enough XP to get every single skill, which in turn allowed her to just stand in the middle and mow down everything with a chaos longbow

We also tried using Dwarven Forge tiles to build our own dungeon (and test out things like mummies, ghosts, and a dracolich), but it didn't work out because we didn't have any loops on the map. As in, we had no way to just run around in circles in order to escape or even just stay a zone or two ahead of abominations, so we'd invariably get cornered and slaughtered.

Oh well, live and learn. Or rather die and learn.













What my survivor looked like at the end.


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).
December 12, 2016
Posted by David Guyll

FrankenFourth: Age of Worms, Episode 507

Cast
  • Humal (level 9 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Corzale (level 9 dwarf war cleric)
  • Sumia (level 9 elf rogue/ranger)
  • Kuhnja'bi (level 9 human w/ devil-in-the-details fighter)

Summary
Following their victory over Pitch Blade, the party was awarded their prize money and ushered back to the Coenoby, where they waited until nightfall before again sneaking out. There was only one other team left, so even though both guards weren't inebriated this time it was still a simple matter to slip away.

Retracing their steps to the first section they investigated, the party moved through the ruined chamber and again removed the stone disk that was apparently the only thing keeping a pack of ghouls at bay. The stench of death still lingered, but at least there weren't additional ghouls waiting for them.

They followed a winding tunnel to a partially submerged chamber. The walls were covered in numerous geometric patterns and shapes, but as far as Sumia and Humal could tell they didn't have any significance: apparently even ghouls get bored.

The only other exit led to a flooded chamber. Two heaps of rubble and refuse jutted forth from the fetid water. Hoping nothing was lurking within, Sumia floated out to examine the heaps in case there was something useful to be found. To her astonishment she discovered the remains of both Pitch Blade members, which she could only recognize due to the matching longswords they were still clutching.

One of them was magical, but before Humal could discern the nature of its enchantment a thick glob of deep orange slime plopped onto Sumia. It burned her armor and flesh, but Kuhnja'bi was able to deftly slice it off of her before it could inflict too much damage. They examined the ceiling before proceeding to identify the sword, and when they were confident nothing was going to literally get the drop on them Humal discovered that the sword could wreathe itself in flame at the wielder's command.

Sumia spied another magic aura on the other heap. It belonged to a gauntlet that while severely rusted was still intact: Humal determined that every few hours it could be commanded to reduce a metal object touched to rust, and at least partially rust exceptionally large objects.

Once Sumia was certain that there weren't any other valuables, the party helped Humal haul both dwarf skeletons, and a gnoll and owlbear skeleton back to the previous chamber, as it had enough space for him to perform a ritual that would allow them to interrogate their spirits. Both dwarves initially mistook him for someone named Bozal, and he learned that Raknian had paid them 5,000 gold pieces to kill the party. They didn't remember anything after being defeated in the arena, so they'd either died from their injuries or were more likely killed while still unconscious.

The gnoll spirit wasn't aware of anything suspicious going on, at least concerning Raknian: he had been killed by the surviving elves of team Arcana Auriga, and promised to reward Humal somehow if he got revenge on his behalf.

Humal proceeded to animate the owlbear skeleton before they returned to the flooded room, because he figured a chimera and cockatrice skeleton would making sneaking virtually impossible. The only way out was a channel that gradually sloped up, which terminated at a cylindrical shaft. There weren't any noteworthy handholds, so Humal conjured the solid illusion of a ladder. When Sumia climbed to the top she realized that it was both a bathroom and garbage disposal, and that some of the filth crusted about the edges wasn't dirt.

The party reluctantly followed her, and the next room contained several fortunately empty coffins and bags filled with dust. Picking one of the two doors at random, the party first came across a pump room, though the machine was ancient even by Corzale's standards and no longer functioned. There was a pipe large enough to climb through, but Humal could faintly sense the necromantic energy they were seeking nearby, and they decided it was best not to crawl into such a cramped space.

Backtracking to the coffin room they took the other door. This led to a training hall: six dummies were lined up along the wall to their right, while an ogre-sized construct was positioned across from them at the other end of the hall. Sumia noticed that they all radiated magic, and when she inspected one she discovered that they all contained corpses. None of them moved to attack, which led Kuhnja'bi to suspect that they were waiting for them to open the double doors leading out.

Positioning himself in front of the largest "dummy", Kuhnja'bi swung his flaming sword at it. As expected all of the undead sprang to life, and to the party's horror the six human-sized zombies were quickly covered in Kyuss worms. Kuhnja'bi had little difficulty hacking them apart, though it was only thanks to Sumia's handiwork that the Kyuss worms didn't wriggle their way into his flesh. It didn't take long for Humal's owlbear skeleton to get taken over by Kyuss worms, so Humal conjured an illusionary angel to help Corzale smite it.

Once all of the undead were destroyed the party approached the doors leading out of the room: whatever was responsible for the stream of necromantic energy that Humal and Sumia had sensed before wasn't far beyond.

Design Notes
Hooray for their second non-cursed magical weapon. To-hit bonuses are a pretty big deal (right now, anyway), so the fire sword "only" deals a bonus 1d6 fire damage (as if Maria's character needs more damage).

I ran a poll on G+ awhile back, asking if people wanted armor as damage resistance, armor as Armor Class, or one with the other as optional. I was a bit surprised to see armor-as-damage resistance win at . Per someone's suggestion we tried doing random damage resistance, but the group didn't seem to like it: the extra step of rolling one or more times wasn't worth the payoff. We're gonna try out traditional Armor Class next week, and maybe a DR/AC hybrid.

Haven't had a chance to try out clerics with per-day-Favor. Going through it with Corzale's player, but also going to try it with just Melissa some time this week. We did add in a multiattack class feature, because clerics—especially war clerics—really need something like that.

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).

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).

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