4Ward/FrankenFourth: Keep on the Shadowfell, Episodes 2 & 3

  • Belicose (2nd-level human wizard)
  • Emery (2nd-level hearth kobold cleric)
  • Murtaugh (2nd-level tarchon dragon sorcerer)
  • Rig (2nd-level human warlord)

(Abridged) Summary
The party staked out the cave, and after several hours a group of orcs came out, dragging a bound and bloodied tarchon with them. They were preparing to perform some profane ritual, which the party interrupted through copious murder.

Emery freed the tarchon, who used his magic to incinerate the remaining orcs. Afterwards he agreed to continue helping them. He hadn't seen much, but he did know that there were still villagers confined to a pit somewhere inside.

While they rested for the night more orcs emerged from the cave. To the party's dismay, they dragged the dead to the altar, somehow revived them, and returned to the cave.

The next day the party began exploring the cave. They slaughtered a few groups of orcs, an otyugh that the orcs had obviously been feeding, a small group of man-sized bats guarding a well-concealed shortcut, and wisely avoided several out-of-the-way insect nests, before finally discovering the orc's lair.

Design Notes
Otyughs are pretty burly in this game, weighing in at around 40 hp. Fortunately Rig saw it while it was trying to snag Emery: I ruled that since only its tentacle was visible and he dealt so much damage, that he'd just slice it off. This allowed it to only make a single tentacle attack, instead of two.

Also, gotta mention the actually flat-math again: Murtaugh, the sorcerer, was able to deal the final blow with a melee attack.

The sorcerer is largely based on an early iteration of the 5th Edition playtest sorcerer, which had a mechanic that caused you to transform when you spent a magic point currency. I really dug the mechanic, and it's a shame they just tacked on a point subsystem to the standard pseudo-Vancian nonsense magic.

The sorcerer (and, currently, wizard) have a pool of magic points. When you cast a spell, you roll a die to determine how many points are lost, which makes magic unpredictable. Excess points are taken from your vitality, and then finally your actual wounds, meaning that it's possible to render yourself unconscious, or even die if you aren't careful.

Sorcerers differ from wizards in two ways.

The first is that their magic is more focused: wizards start out with novice talents in two magic schools, while sorcerers are locked into whatever bloodline you choose. For example, dragon sorcerers are largely about throwing and breathing fire, growing scales and wings, and tearing things apart with claws: you aren't going to be able to learn to teleport or summon demons.

The second is that when they run out of magic points, they gain a bonus, and when they have no vitality points they gain a second bonus. In the case of the dragon sorcerer, they first grow thick scales, giving them an armor bonus, and then they start bleeding fire, allowing them to deal damage to enemies that harm them.

I've been noodling on how to handle maneuvers for "martial" characters. Rules Cyclopedia had some mechanic that essentially gave fighters "encounter" powers, as did 3rd and even 5th Edition. So, despite what detractors say, there's certainly a precedence for it, but I'm thinking of changing it so that it's a bit more like 13th Age.

My current thought is, rather than have you declare that you're making a trip or disarming attack, that you make an attack as normal, and if you roll a natural 15 or higher, or maybe a modified 20 or higher, you get to trigger a kicker effect. I could also see linking them to different natural/modified results: trip could be a 15+, while disarm could be a 17+.

I could also make trip and disarm attacks things that anyone can do, and just have the talents let you attempt them for free when you make an attack roll that meets-or-beats a certain number.

A Sundered World is out! If you for some reason don't want the entire setting, you can just snag the races and classes.

The Fighter is geared up and ready to go! Unlike the default Dungeon World fighter, your skills matter more than your special "can sometimes be lost but not really" weapon. There are a variety of fighting styles to choose from, including the ability make a DEX-based fighter.

Grave Goods is the latest magic item compilation in our 10+ Treasures line. If you want nearly 30 undead-themed magic items, some monsters, and advice on how to make your own, pick it up!

Lichfield is available for public consumption. If you want a concise adventure with a Silent Hill feel, be sure to check it out! Primordial Machine is also out, so if you want to catch a glimpse of A Sundered World, now's your chance! Finally, we've updated If These Stones Could Scream.

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