Tuesday, December 31, 2013

DIY Driders

I had some old Mageknight minis lying around (I got them in a big lot of MK minis...) and I had some cheap spiders.  Over at The DM's Craft message board, I saw someone made a Lolth out of an Electra mini and a spider, so....

I don't need a Lolth (got one in my Reaper Bone's KS) but you can ALWAYS use more driders!

Here's the starting bits --
One spider is slightly different (it has a stinger on the back) so that goes with Red.  The other two will be Blue and Yellow.  I'm glad I had one of each color for the driders.  :)

Using epoxy putty, I made a little mound on the top of the body, with a divot for the torso.  I waited for that to dry then I epoxied the torso onto it.

The plastic that MK minis are made out of is just not good.  It doesn't glue well.  Epoxy is about the only thing that I can get to work.

I painted the epoxy "blob" black, but I left the spider and the MK minis painted as is.  I think they are perfect for the table.

They ended up a little low to the ground, but that's not terrible.  You can put a little bit of poster-tac on their belly and they can climb on things like my Dwarven Forge or on a flight stand or on a bread box...

Friday, December 27, 2013

Spells from the Past (5)

Previous posts here, here, here, and here.  This stuff was written over 24 years ago.  No play balance is promised.  :)  This spell was created by one of my players, and longtime friends, GZ.  His wizard was Joryn Gemseeker.

(Abjuration, Evocation, Divination)

Level 3
Range:  0
Components:  VSM
Duration:  1 day per level or special
Casting Time:  1 hour
Area of Effect:  Caster
Save:  None

This spell is a vastly improved version of Joryn's Gemstone Armor.  It is a full spectrum damper of most known damaging attack forms.  Its purpose is to lessen the damage to the mage so that counter-attack or ...perish the thought...retreat... is possible.

The physical manifestation of the spell resembles a crystalline field surrounding the caster, not unlike shimmering diamonds.  This effect may be turned on or off, at will.  When it is off, there is no protection afforded from the Mystical Armor.

The Mystical Armor spell allow the caster to subtract a certain amount from damage done to him by successful attacks.  The protection tops out at twelfth level of effectiveness. 

The Armor itself is divided into three categories of protection: physical, normal energy, and magical.  The amount of protection afforded to the caster is shown on the table below.  The Mystical Armor protects the caster differently from each attack form.

Physical (swords, claws, etc.) Level Level 1†
Normal Energy (fire, acid, etc.) Level 1/2 Level 2
Magical damage Level None 3

* The caster may add this additional protection with a successful Spellcraft roll.  A -2 penalty is incurred for each additional attack beyond the first each round.

† The field integrity takes an additional amount equal to the '+' bonus of a magical weapon striking the Mystical Armor.

Under actual combat conditions, the duration is typically much shorter than one day per level of the caster.  

The Mystical Armor has a field integrity equal to double the caster's level plus 0 to 9 additional points.  The 0 to 9 additional points is rolled secretly by the DM.  Each and every attack which hits the caster, damages the Armor a little bit according to the Damage column in the table above.  

The Armor will persist until brought down by attack, dispelled, or the duration runs out.  The Mystical Armor does not reduce the damage of the blow which sunders it.

The wizard will know what type of attack is used against him.  When the Armor is struck, it flashes briefly, a specific color for each attack form.  Blue for normal physical, red for normal energy, and black for magical.

The material components of this spell are three robes.  The first robe must be spun of fine blue linen, woven with metal threads, and costing no less than 200 gp.  The second robe is made of red fabric inundated with phlogiston and worth at least 500 gp.  The third robe is solid black cloth, blessed by a Priest of Malko, and then charged with a Dispel Magic from the caster.  The black robe costs 1500 gp minimum.  The robes are only donned individually during the casting process then they are typically removed and put away for safe keeping.

(Unfortunately Joryn's Gemstone Armor has been lost to the mists of time...)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Spells from the Past (4)

Previous posts here, here and here.  I wrote these spells over 24 years ago.  No game balance should be expected.  :)



Level 2
Range:  2"
Components:  VSM
Duration:  4 rounds + 1 round/level
Casting Time:  2
Area of Effect:  Special
Save:  Neg.

This spell brings into being a grinning 2' Globe with a ridiculous grin on one side, like a face.

Any creature of 4 HD or less which gazes upon the sphere must save versus spell or stand mesmerized on the spot, staring at the sphere, with an equally stupid grin on its face.

The grin of the Globe is very hard to avoid.  Any creature facing it with its eyes open must save versus spell every round to avoid becoming mesmerized.  The caster can change the facing of the sphere at any time, but should the sphere turn away from a mesmerized creature, that creature regains its senses within one round.

The material component is a fist sized ball of wax with a smile carved on one side.  The component is consumed with the casting.

I was inspired to create this spell, so that my wife could use this funny "laughing face" prop at the game table.  (Yes I still have it!)  The batteries have died, so I don't know if it still works -- but I've taken it apart and I plan to get some batteries...   :)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Spells from the Past (3)

Previous posts here and here.  I wrote these spells over 24 years ago.  No game balance is promised or assumed.  :)


Level: 1
Range:  0
Components:  VM
Duration:  1 hour per level
Casting Time:  1
Area of Effect:  20 foot radius globe
Save:  None

This spell creates a glowing sphere, about 6 inches in diameter, with a luminescence equal to torchlight.  The light from the sphere can be nearly any color the caster desires, including black.  The color of the sphere cannot be changed once the spell is cast.  Alternately, it can be set to change colors randomly.  

The globe will hover anywhere within one or two feet of the caster, and he can move it around slowly as he wills.  

The spell cannot be used to blind a creature or to cancel an area of magical darkness and other than the changes above and the increased duration, the spell functions exactly as the first level Wizard spell, Light (p. 136 2ndPH).

The material component of the spell is a bit of phosphorous and a prism.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Spells from the Past (2)

Previous post here   (I wrote these spells 24 years ago; no game balance is promised or assumed.  :)


Level: 1
Range:  2"
Components: VS
Duration:  1 round per level
Casting Time:  1
Area of Effect:  Special
Save:  Neg.

When this spell is cast, the wizard creates an incredibly horrifying apparition to appear within 2" of his person.  The description of this Ghastly Ghost is so terrible it defies description.  

Any creature that gazes upon this grotesque aberration must immediately save versus spell at -1 per 2 levels of the caster or flee as quickly as possible away from the Ghastly Ghost for the duration of the spell.  Undead will pause for a single phase to make an assessment the Ghastly Ghost, but thereafter will resume their activities as normal.

It is important to note that creatures which are immune to fear, or are nearly as horrible to look at, as the Ghastly Ghost, are unaffected by the spell.  It is also important to note that the casters own party is subject to the Ghastly Ghost as well, though they do not suffer the saving throw penalty.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Spells from the Past

I woke up this morning and I found myself thinking about some of the magical spells that my players and I made up for my game world, years and years ago.

The one that popped into my head was Agathon's Arcane Arbalest.  

I decided to search my computer's HD to see if I still had an electronic copy.  Yup.  There it was.

It was soooo old that my OS didn't recognize it, but I forced TextEdit to open it and I got somewhat garbled but totally usable text.


That wasn't the best part.

I looked at the Creation Date on the file -- December 11, 1989.  Seriously.  Almost EXACTLY 24 years ago today, I typed this little beauty up on my Mac.  Wow.  That is extremely eerie and cool.


Presented without (much) editing and without any regard to play balance, here is Agathon's Arcane Arbalest.  (IIRC the spell was much used but not terribly destabilizing in my game.  Folks typically loaded it with Magic Missiles.)

PS: I have a couple other spells with the same creation date that I will be posting over the next couple of days.


Level: 3
Range: 0
Components: VSM
Duration: Until dispelled or discharged†
Casting Time: 1 Turn (plus CT of stored spells)
Area of Effect: Caster†
Save:  None†

The spell creates an extra dimensional device for the indefinite storage and release of spell energies.

The wizard must first cast this spell, then within one turn thereafter, must cast up to three additional first level spells, which will be stored by the dweomer.  The wizard must set the order in which the spells will be released when casting the Arbalest.  

Once the Arcane Arbalest has been energized, it will remain potent for an indefinite period of time.  A Dispel Magic cast upon the wizard has a normal chance to dissipate the Arbalest.  

Only a single Arcane Arbalest can be in existence at any given time for any wizard.  Any wizard with an active Arcane Arbalest spell will have one less 3rd level spell slot at their disposal.  It is effectively "filled" and in use.  

In lieu of casting a spell during any combat round, the wizard can choose a target(s) and activate the Arcane Arbalest.  That round, and every round thereafter, (until the Arbalest is exhausted) the Arcane Arbalest will discharge its stored spells in order at the chosen target(s), with NO action necessary on the part of the mage.  Should the wizard decide to change target(s), it can be done in lieu of casting a spell during a round (this can be done before the Arbalest discharges that round.)  

The material component of the spell is tiny, fully functional, crossbow made of the finest materials and three small diamonds; all placed within a small pouch woven of phase spider silk.  This should cost at least 5,000 GP, but its final cost is left to be determined by the GM.  The component is not consumed by the casting.

NOTE:  Should the Arbalest slay the target(s) while it still retains spell energy, it WILL continue to discharge the remaining spells into the corpse, unless the target is changed.

† The spells held within the Arbalest use their own Duration, Area of Effect and Save rules.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

NPC Traits from Griffin Mountain

Saw this post about Griffin Mountain (I am a big original Runequest fan) so I did a little digging on the interwebs.

As I was giving the module the once over, I discovered this graphic in the NPC record section.  I had a thought --

When an NPC is asked to perform one of these actions, which is to say an action along the continua represented within this chart, roll 2d6 and mark the number down.

Low numbers represent a tendency toward the trait on the right, while high numbers represent a tendency toward the trait on the left.  Let me give an example --

Here's a partially fleshed out NPC.  In social situations, where he might need to be out going he is very likely to be INTROVERTED.  When posed with a problem, he is likely to favor a PHYSICAL solution.  He is very much a FOLLOWER.
Once the numbers are established, just roll 2d6 and compare the result to the number shown.  If the number is greater, look to the right.  If it is less, look to the left.  If you roll the number exactly; pick one or pick the more likely or roll again.  Your call.  :)

If you roll a 2 or a 12 for the trait -- the NPC always acts as described.  2 = right, 12 = left.

In the example above, the NPC is always a follower and will not lead. 

This is just an untested idea.  YMMV.  I just thought I'd share.  :)

EDIT:  A gentleman by the name of Alex Chalk created a random generator based upon my crazy idea.  Thanks Alex!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Cavern Geomorph Project

Previous post here.

OK, the project is progressing--

Here's a "tool" that I made so I can quickly measure the gaps for the hallways.  I made a 2" and 1" space.  You can place the gap across the gridlines and draw little tick marks.  Then you can freehand the walls on the tile.  I also made a 4" rule with a 1/4" tick mark for quick use.

Here are a few tiles drawn in -- I want to try a proof of concept before I finish the whole thing.  No sense in wasting time.

I used strips of black foam for the walls.  They are flexible and irregularly shaped.  It's kind of an eggcarton foam that I get from work (electronics packaging.)

Now I've covered the foam and tiles with TP using a glue/water mix.  About 50/50.  

Gonna let it dry.  Then I will cut out the tiles and spray paint them black.  

We'll see how it goes!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Gorsen, Cleric of Lathander, the Adventure Continues

Right up front, let me thank JS for running such an exciting game last night.  :)  I'm sure I've forgotten some details and I wish I'd taken more/better pictures, but the session was EPIC!

The adventure began with our intrepid adventurers apparently trapped/surrounded in a large chamber.  When we played last time,  we had discovered a large group of kobolds (and possibly some other threats) down the long corridor.  We had dealt with them efficiently and then we slammed the door.

There's a lot going on here, so let's break it down --

A - Garron the Paladin has charged down the corridor to engage with the kobold lieutenants.  There's also a large kobold who apparently uses PEDs here too.

B -- A horde of kobolds (possibly some other foes) is puking their guts out from Tharquinn's Stinking Cloud.

C -- Greek fire has been employed (quite effectively) and will be again.  These are the templates.

D -- Odo the Monk has sprinted down the corridor and is taking cover behind the door preparing to back Garron up.

E -- Ceril the Elf has taken up position in the doorway and is picking off kobolds.

F -- Tharkquinn has cast Animate Dead on the 8 dead kobolds from last week.  He now has a small, short horde of recycled humanoids at his disposal.

G -- A portal has opened in the back of the room, revealing the location of the evil elf priestess.  Two lesser evil elf priestesses move through the portal accompanied by a horde of zombies.

The battle continued for a few rounds, some kobolds were slain in the hall, but reinforcements moved up on Garron.  Gorsen moved to aid Ceril at the door (B), hurling more Greek Fire onto the dog men.  Eventually, Garron retreated into the nearby room with Odo (A), waiting for an opportune time to retreat back to the larger room.  The Stinking Cloud (at C) ended and the kobolds retreated around the corner.

Meanwhile, back in the large room --

A -- Gorsen moves to the doorway to allow Ceril to move back.

B -- Tharquinn kneels behind his undead kobold minions, hoping to protect himself from the incoming assault.

C -- The zombies and evil elf priestesses are entrapped within Tharquinn's Web spell.  Some of the zombies manage to leap free (they are fast zombies) others are strong enough to wriggle their way out, foot by foot...  Torn, Balin and Nigel coordinate their attacks on the zombies.

D -- Spitz reinforces the party with Strength on Gorsen and Enlarge on Torn.

The battle has now fallen back into the room...

A -- Odo and Garron have retreated from the corridor.  The door has been slammed shut.  The adventurers are hearing cries of "For the lady!" and excited barks from the corridor beyond.

B -- Spitz, Balin and Nigel are dealing with the zombies as they escape from the Webs. 

C -- Torn and Tharkquinn's undead minions are also dealing with escaping zombies.

D -- Using his Armband of Free Action, Gorsen enters the Webs, avoiding the zombies, and focuses on smashing the first of two evil elf priestesses.

Having recovered from their bout of Stinking Cloud retching, the kobolds, led by their PED pumped lieutenants mass in the hallway for assault.  One kobold appears to be enchanted with Fear!  He races to attack the party.

The fear-enhanced kobold manages to charge the party.  Simply looking at him necessitates a saving throw.  Several party members fail and end up running away.  Eventually the fear is dispelled.

Now, a lot of things started happening very quickly --

A -- After Gorsen dispatched the second evil elf priestess, the extra-dimensional portal opens again releasing more zombies into the room.  Being exceptionally stupid, the zombies charge right into the Webs and get stuck.  Gorsen spies two more evil elf priestesses (this time they don't accompany the zombies into the room) and another much more intimidating (and beautiful -- isn't pure evil ALWAYS beautiful?) elf high priestess through the portal.  (The Lady?)  He drops the Rod of Healing (the item card in the pic) in the webs, leaving it behind for the party, (he may not survive this) and charges through the portal to attack the evil priestesses!
At this point, JS, our DM, says, "Wow.  I've never seen a cleric commit suicide before..."  I said, "Its not suicide... yet..."  :)
Tharkquinn casts Hold Portal on the extra-dimensional gate in an attempt to hold it open.  JS says "roll a d20; roll low" as a gauge of the spell's effectiveness.  He rolls a 2.  The portal closes somewhat, but stays open!
This turns out to be a VERY GOOD thing.  JS was going to roll to see if the closing portal cuts Gorsen in half!
 B -- Either Tharquinn or Spitz casts Grease near the door.  This slows the incoming kobolds tremendously.

C -- Ceril spends a lot of time hiding in the corner.  JJ just couldn't catch a break with his saving throws.  He failed, round after round after round...

D -- Odo makes his way over to the webs.  He does his best to get through them, but he gets stuck.  Eventually he is able to get past them, once Torn burns them away with a torch!

On the other side of the portal, Gorsen finds the three evil priestesses.

Two are lesser and I believe one to be "The Lady."

Initiative is rolled and I begin by casting Hold Person on the two lesser priestesses.  One saves, one fails.

One down.

The Lady casts Heat Metal on me.  The lesser priestess casts Hold Person.  I don't need to save due to the Armband of Free Action.  I shrug it off.  :)

Initiative is rolled.  The Lady casts Hold Person.   Nope.  I cast my final Hold Person spell on the other priestess.  She fails her save.

Two down.

Initiative.  The Lady attacks with her mace.  Hit.  I take damage.  I attack.  I hit.  I use my Mace of Striking and I hit for a lot.  She's hurt.

It's not suicide yet...

Back in the big room, the battle wages on.

The zombies are burnt but are now out of the webs.  Many of the kobolds are still in the grease.  Others have escaped and are attacking.  Spitz is seriously hurt and Garron has to save him by laying on hands.

Spitz is casting Magic Missiles on The Lady through the portal!  

Torn assists Odo by pushing him through the portal, into the room with Gorsen.

Tharkquinn tries to cast Ray of Enfeeblement on The Lady, but the portal slams shut!

Ceril finally makes a save and is back in the fight!

Someone recovers the Rod of Healing and gives it to Tharkquinn (MU/C).

Before Odo can join the fight, The Lady, sensing that her end is near, takes the time to Cure Wounds on herself.  Gorsen casts Endure Heat on himself.

Initiative.  Odo attacks The Lady and misses.  The Lady swings at Gorsen and hits.  Ouch.  He now has only 9 HPs left.  Gorsen casts Heat Metal on The Lady.  (Two can play at this game...)

The odds have gone from 3:1 to 2:1 to 1:1 to 1:2.  Better and better for the good guys!

Back in the big room, the party is basically in mop up mode.  The kobolds and the zombies don't present much of a threat.  They have some clues -- some sounds, a doorway -- that might lead them to the room where Gorsen and Odo are battling the evil priestesses.

Initiative.  The Lady starts grabbing at something in a pouch.  Odo tries to grapple and tangle her up so she can't do whatever she is trying to do.  He is unsuccessful.

The Lady pulls a handful of small skulls out of the pouch and throws them into the room!

Skeletons!  20 of them!  Yikes!

Gorsen invokes the powers of Lathander and turns 11 of them to dust!

Odds now:  5:1 for evil.  :(

Back in the big room, the party gathers itself and starts running down the corridor toward where the kobolds came from.  They are going to fast to accurately map, but they are listening and looking for ornate doors.

There are twists and turns, but eventually they come upon a scene of evil!  Seven cultists chanting and performing some kind of group summoning spell in the shadow of some giant spider statuary.

The party is repulsed.  They know they have to put a stop to this.

Torn lets fly a spear.  Tharkquinn casts his final Stinking Cloud.  (It is extremely hard to chant in unison while puking.  Who knew?)

Spitz casts Enlarge on Balin.  He's now human sized!

The search for Gorsen and Odo continues!!

Initiative.  Odo attacks and misses.  The Lady hits Gorsen for 6 points.  I'm down to 3.  The skeletons attack.  4 misses on Gorsen.  2 of 5 hit Odo for 11 points (I think).

Initiative.  Odo attacks and misses.  The Lady attacks Gorsen and misses.

Gorsen attacks The Lady.  A HIT!  I put 3 charges through my Mace of Striking (just to make sure) for about 29 points and he sends her to the Abyss to meet her spider demon queen.

Beware!  Gorsen is coming!
The skeletons attack!  Odo gets hit once (for 5 I think?) and Gorsen gets hit for 8!  He's down and at -5 HPs.  His moment of victory was short!

Back in the big room, the fight with the priestesses/cultists continues.  Balin and Tharkquinn are now invisible and are scouting for Gorsen and Odo.  The rest of the party is putting the wood to the retching cultists.
In the interest of speed, we just repurposed the old room to be the new room.  I did have to go find a spider.  I just couldn't help myself. 
Choke on that you evildoers!
You can just barely see the invisible Balin and Tharkquinn near the "A" in this picture.

The skeletons continue to attack Odo and he continues to pray to Lathander for help with the fallen Gorsen.  

Eventually, Odo finds a scroll of Cure Critical Wounds in Gorsen's pack.  Being a monk, he gets a chance to read it, if he survives the round with the skeletons. 

Three skeletons hit Odo.  One scores a critical hit.  

Odo is reduced to 0 HPs and doesn't get a chance to read the scroll.  :(

Because he still seems "alive" at 0 HPs, the skeletons take another round to wail on poor Odo, reducing him to -15 HPs.

He is dead.

Gorsen is counting down, losing one HP each round.  He's at -7 now.

Time is running out, but Tharkquinn finds a room filled with zombies.  That matches the sounds he thought he heard through the portal.  The door on the other side of the room looks similar...  This might be it!

He turns 9 zombies, leaving 5.  Gorsen is at -8.

He casts Spider Climb and climbs over the zombie horde.  He makes it into the other room to find Gorsen and Odo -- dead? -- on the floor surrounded by skeletons.  He drops into the fray.  Gorsen is at -9.

He uses the Rod of Healing to heal Gorsen for 18 points!

Gorsen turns the remaining zombies!  Tharkquinn turns the remaining skeletons!

They gather up poor Odo and return to the party.


The party finds some impressive treasures, a magical library with powerful tomes, and they appear to have defeated the infamous Lady.

They have heard sounds of pursuit in the distance.  Bugbears?  So they hunker down and prepare their escape.

The next day, using Invisibility, the party escapes past the bugbears and orcs and returns to Waterdeep via the Yawning Portal.

Now we need to see if we can get Odo Raised from the dead!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cavern Geomorphs

I'm planning to make some 2.5D cavern geomorphs out of cardboard to compliment my 3D Dwarven Forge Dungeon Tiles.

I plan to make each (well, most) geomorphs 4x4" in size with 2" openings to match the DF.

Here's a map of the tiles I plan to make --

Each large box is 4x4" square.  I'm making curvy and straight passages.  Some will have rough hewn sides (maybe all, depending upon creative license).

The large cavernous rooms *should* be expandible if I do them correctly.  I think you can see how that might work.

I'll need about 2.5x3.5 feet of cardboard (no problem there) to make this set.

I'll keep you informed as it progresses!