Archive for September 2017

Dungeons & Delvers: Appendix D, Issue 4

The fourth issue of Appendix D has been added to Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book (for free, just check the product page for another PDF download).

It increases the (soft) level cap up to 10th-level for the core four classes (we'll do the other classes and racial classes later on), adds some new talents for each class (including an entire Enchanter tree for the wizard), some magic items, rules and guidelines on handling scrolls and spellbooks, and some higher level monsters to throw at your party.

As with previous issues let me know what you think (not just the content here, but even the core book), and also what you want to see in the next issue. We're hoping to release an intro adventure next month (Enlil-Zi-Shagal's Sky Tomb), and we also need to make a GM Screen.

Announcements
It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

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!

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).

Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book Hardcovers Available!

With the arrival of both the B&W and color hardcover proofs (as expected a day after the B&W softcover proof), you can now get a physical copy of Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book in whatever format you want!

Note that none of the physical books contain any content from the Appendix D or houserule documents (might compile that all later and do a print book of that if there's enough interest): it's only what you see in the Black Book PDF.

If you already own the PDF, check your email for a print-at-cost discount link so you don't pay anything extra for the book.

From the original PDF release post:

In case you have no clue what Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book is, this is for the most part Dungeons & Dragons how I'd do it, which might also be in some part how you'd do it, too.

It's still roll-over-target-number d20, you still got ability scores and saving throws and armor class (mostly). If you've played D&D or something d20 this should be stupid-easy to learn, and one of the playtest campaigns uses the Age of Worms adventure path so in practice it's easy to convert stuff over (the other uses A Sundered World so that'll be a d20 thing at some point).

But of course we have changed some stuff.

For starters, the magic systems: wizards and clerics don't use the same pseudo-Vancian mechanics, wizards can recover spent magical energy sooner than clerics and have a wider array of magical abilities, but they burn through random amounts and can exhaust or even kill themselves if they aren't careful (and/or lucky). They're also squishier.

Kobolds and some other monsters like ghouls are more inline with their mythological roots. Kobolds replace halflings as a starting race choice because they can do more interesting things, but if you really want halflings just use the abilities and mechanics from your favorite edition and add them back in.

Other assorted things include: armor mitigates the damage you suffer, characters have a small hp pool that recovers with a bit of rest (short rest that takes 30 minutes), magical healing isn't essentially required to get by, and characters are a lot more flexible (and you can to a point control how complex your character gets, yeah even wizards).

There's more, and if you don't like the entire package even mostly as-is odds are you'll find something you can lift for another game.

We're very interested to hear what people like/don't like about this game, primarily the stuff you don't like and why. We're going to build on it over time, adding more classes, races, expanding the level cap, craft skills, an organic multiclassing system (that Melissa has been really digging thus far), magic items, houserules for a bunch of stuff, and so on, but we don't want to build too much only to find out people really don't like this or that.

You can see previews of it over on DriveThruRPG.

Another 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).

$6.99

$6.99 (PDF)
$16.99+ (Print + PDF Combo)


Announcements
It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

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!

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).
September 26, 2017
Posted by David Guyll

Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book B&W Softcovers Available!

B&W softcovers of Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book are now available!

I ordered it and both hardcover proofs at the same time, so I guess they ship them individually (even though I'm sure I only paid one shipping and handling cost). But, oh well, hopefully that means the others will show up in the next day or two.

Note that the book does not include any content from the Appendix D or houserule documents. It's only what you see in the Black Book PDF (specifically the black and white one).

If you already own the PDF, check your email for a print-at-cost discount link so you don't pay anything extra for the book. As more print versions become available, you'll also get links for those, too, so feel free to use any or all of them.

From the original PDF release post:

In case you have no clue what Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book is, this is for the most part Dungeons & Dragons how I'd do it, which might also be in some part how you'd do it, too.

It's still roll-over-target-number d20, you still got ability scores and saving throws and armor class (mostly). If you've played D&D or something d20 this should be stupid-easy to learn, and one of the playtest campaigns uses the Age of Worms adventure path so in practice it's easy to convert stuff over (the other uses A Sundered World so that'll be a d20 thing at some point).

But of course we have changed some stuff.

For starters, the magic systems: wizards and clerics don't use the same pseudo-Vancian mechanics, wizards can recover spent magical energy sooner than clerics and have a wider array of magical abilities, but they burn through random amounts and can exhaust or even kill themselves if they aren't careful (and/or lucky). They're also squishier.

Kobolds and some other monsters like ghouls are more inline with their mythological roots. Kobolds replace halflings as a starting race choice because they can do more interesting things, but if you really want halflings just use the abilities and mechanics from your favorite edition and add them back in.

Other assorted things include: armor mitigates the damage you suffer, characters have a small hp pool that recovers with a bit of rest (short rest that takes 30 minutes), magical healing isn't essentially required to get by, and characters are a lot more flexible (and you can to a point control how complex your character gets, yeah even wizards).

There's more, and if you don't like the entire package even mostly as-is odds are you'll find something you can lift for another game.

We're very interested to hear what people like/don't like about this game, primarily the stuff you don't like and why. We're going to build on it over time, adding more classes, races, expanding the level cap, craft skills, an organic multiclassing system (that Melissa has been really digging thus far), magic items, houserules for a bunch of stuff, and so on, but we don't want to build too much only to find out people really don't like this or that.

You can see previews of it over on DriveThruRPG.

Another 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).

$6.99

$6.99 (PDF)
$10.99+ (Print + PDF Combo)


Announcements
It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

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!

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).
September 25, 2017
Posted by David Guyll

Dungeons & Delvers: Bloated Basilisk Variant

I ran a one-shot adventure back when Dungeons & Delvers was still in its playtesting phase, with Melissa and Adam playing a druid and fighter respectively. They had to locate and slay a basilisk, a very difficult feat given that it was just the two of them and they were only 1st-level, so I reduced the basilisk's level a bit and didn't use some of its abilities: otherwise there would have been virtually no chance of success.

It was otherwise very much like the basilisk presented in the Black Book, which is in turn based on at least one mythological interpretation of the basilisk.

But, while Melissa was rewatching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood  (it's been four or so years since the first time) there was a part with Gluttony that made me think of a scene from Conqueror of Shambala (a movie that follows the events of the first Fullmetal Alchemist series that deviates quite a bit from the manga), in which Al and Wrath fight a drastically altered Gluttony that had lots of snake-like appendages and bled philosopher's stone.

This in turn for some reason made me think of a basilisk that is so bloated it is literally bursting at the seams with toxic blood. It constantly writhes in agony, and it's eight swollen legs flail about, occasionally finding purchase and providing meager assistance as it moves. You could sometimes generously describe it's movement as slithering, but really it mostly flops and flails and sometimes rolls and bounces, making its speed unpredictable (and sometimes surprisingly quick).



More humorous but considerably more dangerous and destructive. No real ecology behind it: it's just a literal blight on the land, placed or created by someone or something (or maybe it came into being purely by chance), that exists only to bring death and ruin, both intentionally and incidentally. If you want to throw one of these at your players, just take the normal basilisk (Black Book, page 104) and add/change the following:

  • XP: Increase to 216.
  • Speed 2d6 x 5 (10-60) feet. Roll at the start of each round.
  • Blood Spurt A creature that inflicts Wound damage on the basilisk using a melee weapon must succeed on a DC 15 Fortitude save or suffer 1d8+3 poison damage. They are safe if they are wielding a weapon with Reach.
  • Blood Spray At the start of the basilisk's turn, creatures within 1d4 x 10 feet of it (roll each round) must succeed on a DC 15 Fortitude save of suffer 1d8+3 poison damage.
  • Death Throes A creature that slays a basilisk with a melee attack (even one with Reach) suffers 5d8+3 poison damage (DC 15 Fortitude save for half). Same goes for anyone touching you.


Announcements
You can now get a physical copy of Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book. Only color softcovers available right now, but the others should become available in a week or two.

It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

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!

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).

Dungeons & Delvers: Dice Pool Update & Character Sheet

We're almost done with all of the black and white art. After finishing all of the writing, and moving some content around, there ended up being more blank spots than we'd expected, and I really don't like blank spots (especially entire pages).

Unfortunately a few of the remaining pierces take up the entire page (basically the ones that mark the beginning of a chapter). For obvious reasons these take a lot longer to do than the smaller character/monster pieces, and there are still like 2-3 left to do.

Melissa posted an art update with some of the more recent stuff that she's colored (just gotta get rid of those white lines), and it's looking like the color PDF won't be far being the B&W version (unless someone brings up a big issue the deadline is end of the month).

Anywho, someone also asked for a character sheet, which I wrapped up earlier today:


You can get the full version here. Let us know what you think!

Announcements
You can now get a physical copy of Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book. Only color softcovers available right now, but the others should become available in a week or two.

It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

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!

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).
September 18, 2017
Posted by David Guyll

A Sundered World Sale

Didn't know DriveThru was doing a September sale, but until the 1st of October you can pick up the PDF of A Sundered World at 33% off!

A Sundered World is a fantastic, kind of gonzo campaign setting for Dungeon World. It takes place in the shattered remnants of the worlds, which were ravaged during a cosmic war between the gods and primordials (which wiped them all out in the process). It includes:

  • Ten races, each with their own race moves, to better allow you to determine how much your race affects you (and serve as a foundation in case you want to flesh out an entire racial class). There's also guidelines and suggestions for using them in "default" Dungeon World games.
  • Six new classes.
  • New weapons, armor, dungeon gear (including poisons), services, transport options, hireling skills, buildings, and magic items.
  • Materials to further customize your weapons and armor: bind a wind spirit to your spear so that it flies further, shape a shield out of black ice, or don sturdy-yet-weightless armor shaped from raw astral essence.
  • Ships, both magical and mundane, to help you get around the Remnants, Maelstrom, and the darker regions beyond. There's ship-specific moves, plenty of example ships to choose from, and a section to help you build an entirely custom ship of your own design.
  • World moves for drifting through the astral, willing objects into existence using astral essence, lingering on as a ghost when you die, and more.
  • Eleven new monster settings, detailing glorious-yet-terrifying angels, sinister devils, cold, emotionless machines from the pre-Sundering era, spirits that managed to survive the Sundering, and strange beasts that were changed during the Sundering, or managed to adapt.
  • Six varied example campaign and adventure fronts to get you started.

Buying the pdf gets you both the black and white and color versions. Each class gets their own character sheet, and there's even a blank, generic character sheet, which might be useful for characters pile on the race moves and/or end up going into one of the many compendium classes available.

The setting has undergone extensive playtesting: you can read up on session reports here.

Delos Adamski, of the blog Ramblings of Jacob and Delos, has put up the first part of a kind of broad strokes review of the book.

Also, Drunkens & Dragons made a video review!

Announcements
You can now get a physical copy of Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book. Only color softcovers available right now, but the others should become available in a week or two.

It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

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!

By fan demand,
Posted by David Guyll

Dungeons & Delvers: Age of Worms, Episode 702

Cast
  • Humal (level 11 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Corzale (level 11 dwarf war cleric/druid)
  • Sumia (level 11 elf rogue/ranger/wizard)

Session Highlights
Most of this session was dedicated to preparing for their eventual foray into the jungle in search of Kuluth-Mar, the site of Kyuss's apotheosis, and investigating various issues that in one case were literally plaguing the city of Dovin.

The bone devil Varasiol paid a visit to Humal while everyone else was away. In exchange for their rod fragment, he offered to teleport Humal directly to a sphere of annihilation, let him grab is using his talisman of the sphere, and even bring him back to Dovin.

Varasiol didn't divulge what Humal's father wanted with the rod, though he admitted that Humal was "very close" when he theorized that his father wanted it to kill Kyuss, and keep it out of the hands of the forces of good. Humal declined the offer, but as a gesture of good faith Varasiol provided him with the location of Kuluth-Mar before vanishing.

Corzale confirmed that the plague originated from somewhere underneath the arena, and that the combined effort of the city's priests were unable to remove it. Given the whole ordeal with Bozal, a massive Kyuss zombie-vomiting worm, literal piles of dead bodies in a flooded room, a warren filled with ghouls, and the fact that the arena understructure was laid out like a sprawling ritual circle, she wasn't surprised.

From what she gathered anyone going in through the front door quickly succumbed to the plague, and even those with divine protection didn't make it much further. Luckily she knew of a few possible back doors, plus Humal was a necromancer, which meant he might be able to whip up some more reliable protection or even dispel it. If none of that worked, she supposed they could just collapse part of the arena.

While out and about in search of rumors, Sumia heard that specifically elves were getting viciously slaughtered by a dog or dog-like creature. Descriptions varied from a normal dog, to something the size of an ogre or even a small house. The only consistent detail was that all of the victims were elves, and it attacked at night.

Unfortunately she managed to drag Humal and Corzale along while her magic armor and Corzale's holy hammer were having enchantments transferred: a magic hammer dedicated to destroying evil would have probably been especially handy.

They picked an alley in a neighborhood with the largest elven population they could find, and eventually decided that, instead of using Sumia as live bait, Humal would conjure the illusion of an elven woman standing near the entrance.

Their plan worked.

The creature emerged from a nearby shadow. It looked like a huge hyena, but even to Sumia's keen ears it moved without making any sound at all. It crept up behind the illusion, and in grisly fashion its head tore apart into five somewhat smaller heads: they all struck at once, each going for a separate limb and her head. The illusion vanished, and the heads snarled with a mixture of confusion and frustration.

The heads haphazardly looked about and sniffed the air, before whirling about in unison to face Sumia.

Design Notes
Didn't mean to sidetrack the players so much, especially since I haven't had a chance to run this adventure and I reeeally want to. Now I have to plan for whatever is underneath the arena, and also stat up that shadow-hyena-hydra.

I didn't think Humal would give the rod to Varasiol, but you never know. Maybe they will later if they really need that sphere of annihilation. Or maybe Humal will manage to kill Varasiol, trap his soul, and get the sphere's location out of his demon-ghost.

His character is already pioneering the field of Necromentology (using the "bones" of the winter wolves they fought in the Elemental Plane of Air), totally possible he could find a way to trap a demon's soul essence after its shell has been recently destroyed.

I keep forgetting about Cedric, Allustan, Doppel-Filge, and if they manage to drag Eligos around I'd probably forget about him, too, so I'm going to make Google Docs with all of their stats and let the players deal with them.

Announcements
You can now get a physical copy of Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book. Only color softcovers available right now, but the others should become available in a week or two.

It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

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!

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).

Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book Softcovers Available!

Color softcovers of Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book are now available!

Next up is hardcover, and then B&W versions of both. I'll be doing these in one big batch though, so they should all come out at around the same time: mostly wanted to catch typos and make sure everything looked good in the book, first.

Note that the book does not include any content from the Appendix D or houserule documents. It's only what you see in the Black Book PDF.

If you already own the PDF, check your email for a print-at-cost discount link so you don't pay anything extra for the book. As more print versions become available, you'll also get links for those, too, so feel free to use any or all of them.

From the original PDF release post:

In case you have no clue what Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book is, this is for the most part Dungeons & Dragons how I'd do it, which might also be in some part how you'd do it, too.

It's still roll-over-target-number d20, you still got ability scores and saving throws and armor class (mostly). If you've played D&D or something d20 this should be stupid-easy to learn, and one of the playtest campaigns uses the Age of Worms adventure path so in practice it's easy to convert stuff over (the other uses A Sundered World so that'll be a d20 thing at some point).

But of course we have changed some stuff.

For starters, the magic systems: wizards and clerics don't use the same pseudo-Vancian mechanics, wizards can recover spent magical energy sooner than clerics and have a wider array of magical abilities, but they burn through random amounts and can exhaust or even kill themselves if they aren't careful (and/or lucky). They're also squishier.

Kobolds and some other monsters like ghouls are more inline with their mythological roots. Kobolds replace halflings as a starting race choice because they can do more interesting things, but if you really want halflings just use the abilities and mechanics from your favorite edition and add them back in.

Other assorted things include: armor mitigates the damage you suffer, characters have a small hp pool that recovers with a bit of rest (short rest that takes 30 minutes), magical healing isn't essentially required to get by, and characters are a lot more flexible (and you can to a point control how complex your character gets, yeah even wizards).

There's more, and if you don't like the entire package even mostly as-is odds are you'll find something you can lift for another game.

We're very interested to hear what people like/don't like about this game, primarily the stuff you don't like and why. We're going to build on it over time, adding more classes, races, expanding the level cap, craft skills, an organic multiclassing system (that Melissa has been really digging thus far), magic items, houserules for a bunch of stuff, and so on, but we don't want to build too much only to find out people really don't like this or that.

You can see previews of it over on DriveThruRPG.

Another 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).

$6.99

$6.99 (PDF)
$12.99 (Print + PDF Combo)


Announcements
It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

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!

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).
September 12, 2017
Posted by David Guyll

Dungeons & Delvers: Brainstorming the Shaman

I made a shaman for A Sundered World based on the shaman from 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, mostly because during the original playtest campaign one of the players played a goliath shaman, but I also liked the class well enough.

In D&D it's a primal leader, which basically means it uses druidish magic (called evocations) and has a lot of healing and buffing capabilities, though from what I recall there was also some bleed over into de-buffing and area-effect evocations (stuff controller classes generally had access to).

The big thing about the class (which was carried over to the A Sundered World version) is that you get an animal spirit that you can summon whenever you want to, and some shaman evocations are linked to it: as in, they make the spirit do something or had to originate from the spirit.

For the Black Book I want to deviate from this a bit, and make a shaman that regularly gets to deal with a bunch of different spirits (or at least can).

Shamans will be good with the Medicine skill (baseline proficient, but also a possible ritual effect to take 10 or 20 or some other benefit), be able to sense spirits, and enter the spirit world via ritual to commune with and bind spirits. Communing with spirits lets you learn information and can even function as a sort of divination: it's binding spirits where things get tricky, and will require playtesting to see how this all works in actual play.

Here's what I'm thinking of right now:

Shaman talents include spirit types, such as Fire Spirit and Wood Spirit (or maybe something like Novice Fire Binding). At 1st-level you have to choose a Spirit talent, which reflects that your character is especially good at dealing with those types of spirits. As with the cleric you can always opt to pick up other spirit talents as you go.

Each spirit type has a list of abilities. Some are automatic: when you bind the spirit you gain access to them. Others require a Spirit talent to gain access to. So, for example, if you choose the Fire Spirit talent and bind a fire spirit, you gain access to abilities that require that talent, but if you bind a water spirit then you'd only gain access to some baseline abilities.

For especially powerful abilities, I'm thinking of using the universal recharge mechanic I cooked up for the the bone devil (scroll all the way down to the spell-like abilities section): basically if you use a spirit power with recharge, you can't use any that require a recharge roll until you successfully roll whatever the recharge value is.

You can release a spirit whenever, but it takes another ritual to bind a new spirit. At first level you can only bind one spirit to yourself at a time, but as you level up you can bind more at once (automatic, you don't have to choose this). In this way shamans can be pretty flexible if you have time (and ideally you can use your divination-type class feature or talent to better inform you as to what you should bind).

Talents at higher levels will let you gain further mastery over certain spirits, gaining access to potentially more abilities when they are bound. Other talent choices include:
  • Astral Projection: Project your spirit out to a set distance. Another talent could build on this and have the entire party astral project.
  • Bind Spirit: You can bind a spirit to an object or even another person temporarily. Spirit type determines what effects/abilities are granted.
  • Healing: Would have to be a ritual healing ability to avoid being able to spam heal the party up to full. Definitely have a Wound Recovery bonus. Could also remove diseases and poisons.
  • Necrotic Resistance: Self-explanatory.
  • Rebuke Ghosts/Spirits: You can keep ghosts/spirits at bay. Another talent could force them to obey you.
  • Spirit Companion: You have a more permanent spirit that follows you around and helps you out. Would use the ranger's animal companion as a baseline.
The other thing I'm thinking of right now that I think would also work well, but might be too similar to the cleric:

The shaman chooses Spirit talents as normal. These reflect spirits within him, or are around him and willing to work with him: like the cleric's Domain talents this translates into access to certain abilities, though I could still do my flexible-spirit-binding thing and say that you can only bind x spirits to yourself at a time, which can change each time you commune with spirits.

The key difference is that the shaman then undergoes a trance into the spirit realm, and when he returns gains x Boons (like the cleric's Favor this would basically be a once per day thing). These Boons can then be spent to get spirits to do bigger magical things, similar to the cleric using Favor. Also like Favor, the shaman would be able to give things to spirits in exchange for more Boon if he needs it in a pinch.

I can see this system being good because cleric players won't have to learn much going into this class (and vice versa), plus I can tie healing into Boons without worrying about constant spam healing, which was a problem waaay back when cleric Favor was effectively an encounter resource.

I'm curious if people think this is too much like the cleric, though. The druid already went that route (it made the most sense), but I don't want to end up with three cleric-y classes if I can help it.

Here are some other things I thought of but not sure if I want to use them:

One idea I had was to have a trancing shaman make a Diplomacy or Perform check to convince a spirit to help him out. If you failed, you either only received limited access to various abilities, or suffered some sort of penalty until you released it (the spirit is displeased and/or it takes more effort for you to keep it bound).

Problem here is I could see players just releasing it right away and trying over and over again until they succeed. Plus it's the meat of the class: don't imagine many players would be happy if their fighter randomly got penalties for using weapons, and their wizard just randomly couldn't use certain spells.

Another idea would be to do the Boon currency thing, but make it more encounter-based: when you bind a spirit you gain x Boon, and some spirit abilities require the use of Boon. When it runs out you can't use those abilities, but when you bind another spirit you would gain another x Boon.

But, like the default Dungeon World druid turning into an animal, doing 1-3 things, reverting back to human form, but then going right back into an animal to do another 1-3 arbitrary-animal-things, this bugs me. Also makes healing harder to deal with unless it's a ritual that takes x time and costs y cash.

Announcements
It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

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!

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).
September 10, 2017
Posted by David Guyll

Dungeons & Delvers: Age of Worms, Episode 701

Cast
  • Humal (level 11 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Corzale (level 11 dwarf war cleric/druid)
  • Sumia (level 11 elf rogue/ranger/wizard)

Session Highlights
With Humal's half-siblings out of the way (at least temporarily in the case of his half-brother Humata), Doppel-Sionsiar ferried the party to the first section of the tomb. On their way to the ethereal tunnel they ran into Eligos and his companion, a blonde woman named Celeste.

Eligos had apparently been brought back from the dead, and he and Celeste had come looking for the party so that they could bring them to the city of Magepoint. There they could speak to Manzorian, the former master of both Eligos and Allustan.

Or so that's what he wanted the party to believe. Or rather, that's what Sumia thought he wanted them to believe, because she immediately suspected them both somewhat understandably of being doppelgangers (her arcane sight revealed numerous magical auras, which didn't help).

After a brief interrogation that did little to comfort Sumia, everyone passed through the ethereal tunnel, and upon arriving at the Whispering Cairn Humal realized that his teleportation circle had been defaced. This seemed to support Sumia's suspicions, but when she tried to detain Eligos, Celeste transformed into a sphere of scintillating light, which revealed an invisible bone devil that had been standing right next to them for who knew how long.

Fortunately the bone devil wasn't there to fight, though it didn't stop Corzale from attempting to turn it. Unfazed, it fractured her arm with a touch, and explained that like Humal's half-siblings it wanted the rod fragment: if they handed it over he would leave, simple as that. Humal of course refused to relinquish it, but the bone devil stated that he would give him a few days to reconsider before vanishing.

Now mostly certain that Eligos and Celeste were in fact not doppelgangers sent to kill or capture them, Humal restored the teleportation circle: the task was made considerably easier thanks to Eligos's transmutation magic. Once their work was complete, the entire party was instantly transported to the underground lair that they occupied following the demise of its previous owner, a thulid transmuter that had attempted to frame them all for murder.

While they rested and recuperated, Celeste returned to Magepoint to inform Manzorian of their impending arrival. Humal busied himself building a new body for Filge: they owed him that much, and with Eligos's knowledge they could make it better than before. Sumia paid to have some enchantments transferred to her mail shirt: the process would take a lot of time and money, so she wandered the streets in search of rumors about them.

Raknian was still missing and presumed dead, a plague that originated in the arena was slowly spreading despite intervention from the city's most accomplished doctors and the combined efforts of numerous priests. That plus a lot of time keeping their heads down and away from the city meant that virtually no one was concerned with the party's whereabouts.

After healing herself and waiting a day for the rod fragment to recharge, Corzale visited her temple, where she used it again to restore the body and mind of one of her former traveling companions. He had nearly succumbed to the effects of a  Kyuss worm, but while he survived he had been driven mad. When she arrived in his cell she saw a worm-covered skull, what could only be described as a blocky cactus with squared protrusions, and a map, all half-carved and painted with blood across one of the walls.

Based on the coastline, the map seemed to indicated Dovin and its surroundings: a bloody X was scrawled over a region far to the east, where she knew a dense jungle to be.

Design Notes
Already talked about the bone devil homebrew over on this post. Wouldn't have bothered with a bone devil at all, but its presence actually makes sense thanks to Humal and the backstory Jacob has provided.

Too early to talk about changes to the actual adventure. Mostly trying to set it up so that the party learns the location of the Spire of Long Shadows on their own, instead of having Manzorian spoon-feed it to them later on (but if they fail to figure it out for themselves, Manzorian can be a kind of fallback).

Announcements
It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

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!

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).

Dungeons & Delvers: Art Update

Melissa and I have been busy wrapping up the art for the kids version of Dungeons & Delvers. Here's some of the stuff I've completed.







Announcements
It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

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!

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).
September 04, 2017
Posted by David Guyll

Enlil-Zi-Shagal's Sky Tomb: Episode 101

Cast
  • Hburdshur (level 2 dwarf fighter)
  • Lydia (level 2 human bard)
  • Raynor (level 2 god eater-class thing)

Session Highlights
Having passed through the now-vanished portal, the party found themselves standing on a stone disc, connected to a much larger, weathered structure by a narrow bridge. The entirety was seemingly suspended in an endless blue sky, obscured here and there by the occasional mass of clouds or floating stone.

It was of only slight comfort that the disc and bridge were surrounded by a mostly intact iron cage.

The bridge led to what they assumed was a circular door. Three concentric rings each featured the same three symbols, and at the center was a stone handle. The symbols were lined up so that they matched, and the party deduced that it was another puzzle lock. Fortunately Baraz knew what each symbol meant: man, woman, and child. When lined up that way from the outermost to the innermost ring, with a pull of the handle the door noisily descended into the floor.

Ambient light revealed part of a wide hall. Large, empty glass tubes stretched from the floor to the ceiling, and the walls to either side were covered in elaborate paintings. One displayed humans following a sort of priest carrying a staff and wearing a golden bird mask, and on the other winged humanoids descended from the sky to slaughter monstrous worms.

They lit a few torches and proceeded through the hall. At an intersection, bereft of any meaningful features or signs chose to go left. This brought them to a square doorway, flanked by a pair of stelae carved with incomprehensible pictographs and featuring more winged humanoids.

For some reason Hburdshur returned to the first hall and smashed one of the glass tubes. He immediately started choking and coughing, but after about a minute began breathing normally and seemed to be completely fine. They didn't have much time to wonder what had happened (or if Hburdshur was going to eventually die from poison), as a pair of spindly stone humanoids suddenly lumbered into the hall, hacking at them with stone sword-arms.

Lydia's short sword obviously didn't do much (and it was a miracle it remained intact despite her efforts), but her song magic shattered them fairly easily. Hburdshur's mace and Raynor's bullets also proved to be effective, and soon the stone guardians were reduced to fragments and dust. Amidst the remains were a pair of glittering gemstones, which Lydia pocketed: if they made it home she could see if they were magical, or at least try and sell them.

When they returned to the doorway the stelae were gone, so they made a note to be wary of and destroy any stelae they encountered in the future. Continuing through the door, they found themselves in a small chamber with two sealed doors. Neither had a puzzle lock, so they chose one at random.

It opened into a partially flooded and completely dilapidated burial chamber. Amid rotted furnishings, faded paintings, and rusted weapons and armor were a handful of silver figurines. A gold sarcophagus lay next to a crack in one of the walls, wide enough for them to file through and revealing the endless sky beyond.

After gathering up the figurines, Hburdshur opened the sarcophagus, and was greeted by a wildly flapping and squawking skeleton that was something between a man and bird, with a grotesque mantle of tattered feathers running down its back. It pecked at him with its half beak, but he was able to keep it at bay until Raynor drew its attention with a few well-placed shots from his god arc.

Raynor transformed his god arc into a blade, but a lack of flesh and organs rendered his attacks largely ineffective. Lydia's, too. The birdman-skeleton crashed into Raynor, toppling them both to the floor as it tore through his armor and into his flesh. He fell unconscious just before Hburdshur shattered the creature's misshapen skull with his mace: its remains clattered to the floor, and slowly shriveled into a headless, much more humanoid skeleton wearing a resplendent cape of white feathers.

While Hburdshur administered their only mending potion to Raynor, Lydia examined the cape. She couldn't tell if it was magical, but a now-conscious Raynor cautioned against handling the cape because he assumed it was cursed. So, of course Lydia donned it and transformed into a small bird. This seemingly affirmed Raynor's suspicions, but after a few minutes of hopping and clumsily flapping about Lydia reverted to her original form.

Raynor still didn't trust it.

Design & Development
In terms of the actual adventure, so far so good. Curious to see what they do with the feather cape. It does other things but I don't want to spoil it, here.

Adam wanted to playtest a class he's working on (based on the god eaters from, well, God Eater), so I let him swap out Taverick for Raynor. One of his friends wanted to play, so we swapped out Helga for...drumroll...another dwarf fighter!

Melissa finally did a bard thing this session. Worked out alright, but her melee is horrible and I think I'm going to let her choose to play music for a longer to make it deal more damage. Probably something like +2d8 damage for every additional round.

Announcements
It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

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!

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).

The Outer Presence Review

Disclosure: I know Venger, we’ve exchanged a few words online, and I’ve given him a shout out here and there.

The Outer Presence is a very light-weight PDF that weighs in at just 45 pages, counting a few blank pages (might be space for writing/drawing stuff), a few black pages with a symbol on it, a page for notes, and an adventure that eats up most of the page count (it starts on page 13).

The header on page 4 describes it as “quick and dirty rules for an investigative horror role-playing game”: given that the entirety of the rules takes up only nine pages, yeah, that sounds about right.

The core mechanic is you tell the GM what you want to do and--assuming the GM think it’s something you can feasibly do--roll 2d6.

Now I know what you're thinking but it’s mercifully not another Powered by the Apocalypse hack: you compare the highest die result to a table, which means the results range from 1 (critical failure) to 6 (critical success). A 4 is a partial success/success-at-a-cost, while 5 is a standard success: you do what you were trying to do, no more, no less.

If conditions are favorable or you’re trying to do something your character would be good at (based on your profession), you get to roll 3d6 (still only take the single highest result), and if they’re really bad or it’s something you wouldn’t be good at you only get to roll 1d6.

My only gripe with the core mechanic is that it does the 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons advantage/disadvantage thing, where if you have good and bad things going on they just cancel out and you roll the standard 2d6, even if the good or bad circumstances vastly outweigh the other.

Frankly I’d prefer it if the GM just tallied things up (probably won’t be many in either case), and whichever wins out determines if you add or lose a die (or just roll 2d6 if they evenly cancel out). Easy enough tweak.

Each character starts with a bonus die, and each time you survive an adventure and/or act on your character’s flaw you get another bonus die. You can store and use as many as you want on a given check (which lets you exceed the usual 3d6 cap), but you can’t use them after making a check.

Character generation is as simple as choosing or rolling on the occupation table, as there are no stats or skills or hit points or anything like that. There are twenty choices, and whatever you pick or get helps the GM determine how many dice you roll when trying to do something. There are also several additional tables that determine an organization you’re associated with, how you’re associated with it, your motivation, and a flaw.

You can opt to choose three flaws in exchange for being “special”. There are unfortunately only four options (though I guess nothing stops you from cooking up more): psychic powers, sorcery, you’re actually an alien, machine, or something non-human, or simply being hard to kill (each time you die you roll a d6, and unless you roll a 1 you didn’t actually die). In addition to needing three flaws, the other downside of being special is you don’t get bonus dice from your flaws, only by surviving adventures.

Combat works similarly to standard tasks: you tell the GM what you’re doing, roll 1-to-3d6, compare the highest result to a combat-specific table. A roll of 1 means you miss and your opponent counters or does something immediate, 2-3 are basically misses, a 4 wounds your target (if you roll a 4 or higher again in the next few hours then they go down), a 5 is a knock-out, and a 6 is instant death so long as you have some sort of weapon (otherwise it’s also a knock out).

The game makes it clear that weapon, armor, stats, etc doesn’t matter, but I think you could cook up a very simple system for abstract weapons and armor. Like, fists could be 1d6, a gun could be 2d6, a really big gun could be 3d6, and explosives could be 4d6. You could also treat them like bonus dice, adding them to your usual dice pool. So, if you know how to use a gun you roll 2d6, but a big gun adds 1d6 all the time.

Characters could also have wounds, and a combat result of 3 would be 1 damage, 4 would be 2 damage, 5 would be 3 damage, and a 6 would be 4 damage or 3 damage plus something extra (could have a crit table). Armor could just add more wounds, which get removed when you take damage and can be repaired later. Ah, well, if you want to add a bit more complexity to the game (or Venger wants to make an "advanced" or 2nd Edition of this) I just did a good amount of the work for you!

Getting back on track, there’s no initiative system: whoever says what they’re doing goes first. I know this will rub some people the wrong way, but this is more or less how it works in Dungeon World, and sometimes to avoid grinding the action/pacing to a halt in my Dungeons & Delvers games, I just let the players go first in whatever order they choose (unless I got the drop on them). I guess if you want to add in initiative just have everyone roll a d6.

There’s a few paragraphs on handling gods, their spawn, eldritch horrors, demon lords, and similar things that are “nigh unkillable”. Basically they need special weapons to kill, or a LOT of firepower, and ignore combat results that would merely knock them out.

Lastly, there’s an insanity table you roll on when confronted with ideas, events, creatures, and so on that would shatter your worldview. Only 6 results, and I feel like this could have benefited from the dice pool mechanic (minor things call for a d6, bigger things 2d6, and gazing upon an ancient one 3d6).

My takeaway is that the game part is dirt simple, easy to pick up and play. You really just roll a few times to make a character, so if you get gobbled up, lost in time and space, or go insane, you can get right back into the game with a few rolls. If given the choice to play this or, say, something like Call of Cthulhu I'd just use this because it took not even 10 minutes to figure out how to play, I could explain to my group in like two minutes, and I figure I can get similar enough results out of it.

My main gripes are the lack of character advancement and gear (maybe: I'd play as-is and then with gear and see how much that actually benefits the game), I’d move the bonus dice section over to the dice pool section (it’s currently split so it’s only explained after combat), and the insanity table could be reworked. In case this is a factor for you,  think it’s great for one-shots (or 2-3 sessions maybe), less so for a long-term campaign. I also think the $10 price tag is a bit much for 45 pages: $5 I think would be perfect, but it has an adventure ready to go so $7 would still be fine.

Not a criticism but something I think would be cool, is if Venger made a nifty digest-sized rulebook and made it look like those small notebooks that police and detectives carry. Or like a tiny necronomicon. Hell, do both, put them on DriveThru, and let the customer decide.

I don't think it's complicated enough to need a GM screen (or even a table of contents or index), but if I were to redo the book layout, I'd put a single page with the check and combat result tables in the front or back for ease of reference. Could also make a letter-sized PDF sheet with the tables repeated across it, so it could be printed out, cut into smaller cards, and handed out.

DriveThru does cards, but I can't see anyone buying a deck of cards just for that. Maybe a deck with flavorful check/combat results and you just draw from the deck instead of rolling dice? I think one of those Lovecraftian board games did something like that...

Anyway, looks like a simple, fine game. I can see some players not liking the whole "get bonus dice for role-playing" thing, but like all the other things I mentioned it would be a simple thing to change. Very easy to learn, teach, and play. If you were turned off of Call of Cthulhu and Trail of Cthulhu because of the complexity and/or mechanics, I'd give this a shot. Even the things I'd add/change look simple enough to do myself.

Announcements
It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

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!

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).
Posted by David Guyll

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