Monday, February 22, 2016


Continuing on with the Warriors group of classes, we come to the Berserker next.

Requirements: Str 13+, End 13+
Races Allowed: Dwarf, Human, and Mul
Weapons: Any three melee weapon proficiencies of the character's choice and shields. Non-proficiency penalty: -3.
Saving Throws: +2 bonus to all Str and End based saving throws.
HD: 1d10 (+4 at 10th level and above)
CS: +1 at level 1 and +1 every level beyond that.
Saves: 16 at level 1, and gets better by 1 every level until the maximum of 6 at level 11.
Class Features: Battle-rage, Fast Movement, Bully, Bear totem (9th level), Greater Rage (13th level).

Battle-rage: Berserkers can enter in a furious state during combat, unable to tell friend from foe. They gain a +1 bonus to hit, +3 to damage, and 2 temporary bonus hit points per level (only the hit points are level based). The rage ends with the combat or after a number of rounds equal to the berserker's Endurance score. When it ends, the remaining temporary hit points disappear, and the character is fatigued (suffering a -2 penalty to all rolls) until having rested for at least 30 minutes. During a rage, berserkers can only fight the closest, immediate targets in melee combat, get a +3 bonus to any check made to break things, and are immune to mind-affecting magic and fear effects.
Fast Movement: Berserker's move 10ft faster than normal members of their race.
Bully: Berserkers add their level to any check made to intimidate others through the force of arms, or with threatening behavior.
Bear Totem: At level 9, berserkers can, once per day, shape-change into a bear. They get a natural defense bonus of +1 (for size), Armor of 3, three attacks per round for 1d6/1d6 (claws) and 1d8 (bite), the bears movement, but retain their own hit-points, ability scores, saves, etc. Once returning to normal shape, they regain 1d8 hit points.
Greater Rage: At level 13, berserkers get a +2 bonus to hit and +5 to damage (instead of +1/+3) during a rage, and are no longer fatigued when it ends. All other effects remain the same.

Not much different than Fantastic Heroes & Witchery as written. I removed the number of times that a berserker can rage in a day, figuring that being fatigued afterward and not being able to tell friend from foe were penalty enough. I also added Fast Movement to allow them to get to their opponents that much faster and increased the damage bonus on Greater Rage by 1 to make it a little nicer since it's a level 13 bonus (my current maximum level.

Seems like a fun version of the class and I'm surprised that the player who made a Mul made a fighter rather than a Berserker based on his personality.

Friday, February 19, 2016


The Fighter, core class about kicking ass with weapons. My warrior is a bit different than any edition of D&D and quite different than Fantastic Heroes & Witchery raw. This is because of some of the changes I've made to other classes that the way the Fighter was written up didn't really jive with any other classes.

As written, the Fighter gets a Battle Tricks ability, gaining +2 to do random and unclear things, and/or giving the opponent a -2 to their saving throws against said tricks. All very unclear, but maybe I'm just missing something. On top of that, every few levels they get to choose a feat. I don't remember what they are called originally, but they're feats. There's a list of about 7 of them that fighter's get to choose from to build their own unique fighter.

It's not a bad class, but I don't really like the idea of weapon specialization because it needlessly narrows the fighter's options and no other class gets the option of feats, so I wanted to remove them. So this is my fighter:

Requirements: Str 11+
Races Allowed: All
Weapons: Any six weapon proficiencies of the character's choice and shields. Non-proficiency penalty: None, but not being proficient still negates the use of the weapons inherent abilities as well as the Seize the Opening ability of the Fighter.
Saving Throws: +2 bonus to all Str and End based saving throws.
HD: 1d10 (+4 at 10th level and above)
CS: +1 at level 1 and +1 every level beyond that.
Saves: 16 at level 1, and gets better by 1 every level until the maximum of 6 at level 11.
Class Features: Battle Challenge, Armored Specialist, Tactical Awareness (3rd level), Seize the Opening (5th level)

Battle Challenge: You challenge one opponent you have attacked. That opponent suffers a -2 penalty to perform any actions not targeting you, requires an additional 5ft of movement to disengage with you, and allies get a +1 bonus to attack your target. This challenge is negated if you attack or shift your focus to another target. This bonus/penalty increases to a -3/+1 at 5th level, -4/+2 at 9th level, and -5/+2 at 13th level.
Armored Specialist: As long as the fighter is wearing medium or heavier armor, or using a shield, he gains a +1 bonus to his Defense.
Tactical Awareness: At 3rd level, the fighter can "safely" engage more opponents. In order to gain the +2 gang-up bonus, enemies must outnumber the fighter 3-1, to gain advantage they must outnumber him 4-1. At level 7, they must outnumber the fighter 4-1 to gain the +2 and 5-1 to gain advantage. At level 11, they must outnumber the fighter 5-1 to gain +2 and 6-1 to gain advantage.
Seize the Opening: At level 5, when wielding a weapon you are proficient with, you score a critical on a roll of 19 and 20. At level 10, you score a critical on a 18, 19, and 20.

This version of the fighter is a tank. This is a lead-from-the-front, hold the line, type of fighter. I've got one in my group and he seems to like it quite a bit, but, as they're currently fighting goblins, would love to reach level 3 so it's harder for him to be ganged up on.

Should be a fun version of the Fighter, while still keeping it a pretty easy class to play.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Ganging Up

When multiple people attack a single target, the target becomes harried and his attention must be split between multiple opponents, thus, the attackers gain a bonus to their attack.

When outnumbered 2-1, the attackers gain a +2 bonus to their attack rolls.

When outnumbered 3-1 or more, the attackers gain advantage on the roll (2d20 take the highest).

A couple of things of note regarding this rule:

  1. You are only outnumbered if the opponents are actually attacking you. Them being adjacent but attacking another person doesn't count.
  2. This has no bearing on ranged attacks. It is only for melee. Having more people in the brawl actually makes it harder to hit your chosen target, but I'm not adding any additional penalties over the one's I've already talked about.

Monday, February 15, 2016


So I've got a Defense score based on the character's Combat Skill. Super simple and easy to use. Even easier to create/convert monsters on the fly. I like it (we'll see how it actually plays when my new campaign starts. Since they TPK'd, I thought it'd be a good time to move in some of the house rules I've been working on in this blog).

There are 2 different categories of your Defense Score: Front and Back.

For the three hexes in front of you, get (what I consider) your full Defense (barring spells or other effects) of 11 + CS + Shield + Misc.

For the three hexes behind you, you get a significantly lowered score. This has a formula of 6 + CS + Misc. It is too hard to get your shield over to cover yourself in time against enemies here.

Note, you do not get your Balanced bonus (see here) from your weapon to your Back Defense, but you do get your bonus from Agile Dodging of the Thief, Assassin, and Swashbuckler (I'll be getting to classes soonish).

As a synopsis, Defenses are as such: Front (11 + CS + Shield + Misc) and Back (6 + CS + Misc).

I think this should work pretty well. We'll see how it goes in play...the number's might need to be finessed some more. We'll see

P.S., I initially had Melee (12+CS+Shield+Misc), Front (9+CS+Shield+Misc), Back (9+CS+Misc), Flanked (7+CS+Misc), with Melee being the hex directly in front of you for melee defense, Front being the two other hexes in front and the Defense used for ranged attacks from the front, Back being the next two hexes around you, and Flanked being the last remaining hex directly behind you. This "worked" and made sense, but it was annoying and needlessly "complicated" in that you had to pay attention to every hex around you. This newer way, you only have to pay attention to whether or not the attack is coming from the front or the back. Much less taxing, less information on the character sheet, and easier to create/convert monsters on the fly until I actually get time to build my monster book. This combined with my gang-up bonus (I'll get to that) should make combat faster, while still keeping the core of what I want from combat - stick together, don't get surrounded, protect each other's back. Should be fun to see how this works out.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Large Creatures Be Scary, Redux

Because this version of D&D only has one attack for each PC, I've reevaluated how much HP I want creatures to have by size. I want large creatures to be tough, but not so tough that it becomes a complete slog. So, right now, I'm going with this:

90% of the time, player's will only be dealing with creatures sized Small to Large, with the occasional Huge thrown in to spice things up. Should make the creatures tough, showing that the players' "small" weapons don't do as much damage as they should against larger creatures without me needing to get into damage reduction and such.

Creatures larger than Huge really should be attacked with siege weaponry and not gone against in a toe to toe battle. This idea works for me, but the final numbers could change after playing with these rules, which should get some play as the Rise of the Runelords have at least a few large/huge creatures in store in the future (if the players keep going this route and don't decide to run off somewhere else. If that happens...I'm sure they'll find some other way to get themselves in trouble with a big creature eventually).

Note on the categories on the table;

Hit Die: What you'd roll if you were going to roll them up like normal. Yes, some of these dice don't exist. That's fine for me. I use google spreadsheets to roll up my creatures.

HP per HD: This is the actual range of hit points I give creatures who are to be combatants as they should be tougher than normal. If the party stumbles into a village, the non-combatants would have lower than average HP on the whole.

Size Modifier: You add this to the creature's defense and attacks.

Reach: How many feet the creature can be away from an opponent and still attack. Tiny creatures must move into the same hex as the creature they are attacking. For creatures with a Reach greater than 5ft, it follows the same rules as reach weapons, the opponent must use an extra 5ft of movement for every hex they move into, or out of, the creature's reach range. Final note on reach, if the creature is long rather than tall, subtract 5ft from it's reach for creatures size Large and up.

Average Height and Weight: Pretty self explanatory.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Half-breeds

The half-humans.

Humans have a tendency to breed with anything that will let us. Makes sense that the other races would be the half-breeds of any of the core races. Purely for my own sanity, and because I didn't want to figure out how I would do the other crossbreeds (I've considered...and still might in the future, but I kind of like the idea of humans being the universal breeders), Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits cannot breed with each other.

Note, all of these half-breeds are sterile.


Ability Score Adjustment: Charisma +2 or Int +2
Size: Medium; Speed: 40 feet
Infravision: Elves can see in complete darkness up to 30 feet, and outdoors slightly illuminated by the stars and the moon, up to 60 feet. Infravision is monochromatic, somewhat blurred, doesn’t allow to read books, and beyond 10 feet doesn’t allow to recognize people from their visage or clothing. It otherwise enables to function (move, combat, etc.) without any light just fine.
Keen Perception: Elves get a +1 bonus on all Detection checks (ie, searching for secret doors, noticing far away things, etc.)

The elfmarked are the most common of the half-breeds, as humans are usually infatuated with the elven exoticness, and the elves are occasionally smitten with the humans drive and charm. They have slightly pointed ears, their hair and eyes share color-types with their elven heritage (bright for males, subdued for females). Their irises are larger than humans, but there is a little white in the eye, but it's almost impossible to pass for human up close. They hold a weird place in society. They live too long (and look a little strange) for human societies, but live too short and tend to be to "human" for most elven societies. Most take to wandering as soon as they are able to fend for themselves. If allowed to come into their own, they tend to be charismatic leaders.


Ability Score Adjustment: Endurance +2, Charisma -2
Size: Medium; Speed: 40 feet
Mul Resistance: Muls get a +2 bonus to saving throws vs poisons and diseases.
Superior Vitality: Muls roll the HD they gain from their class twice and take the better result every level. They also continue to gain their Endurance bonus to their HP gained beyond level 9.
Tireless: Muls only need 6 hours of sleep every 3 days and add +2 to the final result when determining their carrying capacity.

Muls are tough. Period. They would be the rarest of the half-breeds if it wasn't for the gladiator fights, mostly in a handful of nations in Garund. They take the best parts of both races and combine into a fearsome figure. Shorter than humans, but taller than dwarves, they have thick limbs, strong bones, and, strangely, are completely hairless. They are the least liked of the half-breeds mainly because they are driven, stubborn, violent, and boisterous. Adding to their demeanor is the fact that they have the same, completely black, eyes of their dwarven parentage. That said, having one on your side is a boon. Fighting against one is scary shit. And, like their dwarven parentage, once you've gained their respect, there are few better allies to have your back...just not at most upper class gatherings. I guess the stereotypical mul would be very much like Conan.


Ability Score Adjustment: Charisma +2
Size: Small; Speed: 30 feet
Lucky: Halflings seem to be favored by a good fortune. They get a +1 bonus to all saving throws because of this luck.
Nimble: Halflings get a +2 bonus to Stealth checks and a +2 bonus to DEF when fighting large humanoids and a +4 vs huge humanoids. They also subtract 1 from their final calculation when determining how much they can carry.
Small Weapons: Due to their short arms halflings cannot use large-sized weapons such as greatswords, polearms, etc. A battleaxe, longsword or similar weapon would have to be used two handed.

Halflings are about dwarf height, but are much slighter, looking much like half-sized humans. They do not have over-large or hairy feet. Prefer shoes to barefoot, except on nice grassy field, or on a must enjoy the niceties of nature. The hair on their head does tend towards curly, like their hobbit parent. They are normally quite jovial and, probably because of the human blood, are often struck hard by wanderlust in their adolescence, that almost never goes away. If they were more common (and more aggressive), they might actually give humans a run for their money for control of the surface world. These are the most accepted of the half-breeds because of their attitudes, but they tend to not stay in one place too long, always looking for whats over the next hill.


The half-humans/half-halflings race is why I have hobbits instead of halflings as my short, furry-footed race. I needed a name for the half-humans/half-halflings and couldn't come up with anything good. Figured, since this wasn't going to ever be published to make me money, I'd rename the pure race to hobbit, despite copyright, because I refuse to use the only name people could come up with for the half-breed....quarterlings. Stupid. Plus, halfling sounds more derogatory than hobbit, which I think works better for a rarely seen half-breed.

P.S. I'm considering adding Half-orcs to the set up as well. They're pretty classic and have a reason for existing. I'm just not sure if I care. They fill a similar role to Muls. But they have a slightly different spin on it. Could be neat, but then I might end up trying to add half-hobgoblins, half-goblins, half-giants, half-bugbears....where does it end....where does it end...

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Core Four

The main races of my version of Golarion (and most D&D style worlds) are pretty standard; Human, Elf, Dwarf, Hobbit. They all fit most of the standard tropes (at least for now) and probably will for the foreseeable future.

The problem with deviating too much from the norm (especially for these races) is that any time they come into play, you have to re-explain how these elves are different from the elves they're used to. The players go "oh. Okay", then continue to imagine them in the traditional way. Nothing wrong with that really, but I'm going to skew pretty hard toward classic interpretations.

With some (at least for know) cosmetic changes. I haven't really started messing with Golarion yet so I don't know how I'll modify their cultures once I do that, but I have some basic ideas I'll talk about in this post. That and I'll go over their racial abilities as well.


Ability Score Adjustment: +2 to one ability of choice.
Size: Medium; Speed: 40 feet
Experience Bonus: Humans receive a +1 bonus to experience gained at the end of every session for every 5 exp normally gained. For example, if the group earned 1-5 exp, the human would gain +1, if 6-10, the human would gain +2, 11-15, the human would gain +3, etc.

Honestly. Not a whole lot to change here. They're adaptable and their cultures vary greatly, so I'll not really go into them until I start going into more about Golarion at some point in the future.


Ability Score Adjustment: Endurance -2, and either Agility +2 or Int +2
Size: Medium; Speed: 40 feet
Infravision: Elves can see in complete darkness up to 60 feet, and outdoors slightly illuminated by the stars and the moon, up to 120 feet. Infravision is monochromatic, somewhat blurred, doesn’t allow to read books, and beyond 10 feet doesn’t allow to recognize people from their visage or clothing. It otherwise enables to function (move, combat, etc.) without any light just fine.
Elven Resistance: Elves are immune to the Charm Person and Sleep spells, and to the paralysis of ghouls and other undead.
Keen Perception: Elves get a +2 bonus on all Detection checks (ie, searching for secret doors, noticing far away things, etc.)

Elves are slightly taller than humans (using the height/weight charts from Pathfinder, btw). They used to be the dominant race on the surface of the world. A combination of the dwarves pushing the orcs up to the surface, humans, and a great calamity have caused the elven empires to shrink dramatically. Many fled to their home of Castrovel (whom most call the Fae realm). Hair color is in the normal human ranges, though, males tend towards blonde and red and other brighter colors, females towards brown and black and other subdued colors. They also have no whites in their eyes. It's pupil and color, again, usually vibrant for males, and more subdued for the females. To accent this (and to attract mates), elven males usually dress and wear make-up to accentuate the colors of their hair and eyes (females do as well to show good standing). Jewelry in the hair to draw attention to it is also common. Note, it is the women who choose the mates (often the mothers of the girl), and run most of the culture. This desire to show off themselves (they don't really see it that way, it's just part of their culture) is part of the reason they come off as haughty or vain to the other races.


Ability Score Adjustment: Endurance +2, Agility -2
Size: Medium; Speed: 30 feet
Infravision: Dwarves can see in complete darkness up to 60 feet. Infravision is monochromatic, somewhat blurred, doesn’t allow to read books, and beyond 10 feet doesn’t allow to recognize people from their visage or clothing. It otherwise enables to function (move, combat, etc.) without any light just fine.
Dwarven Resistance: Dwarves get a +2 bonus to their saving throws vs magic and poison (including alcohol and drugs). Dwarves treat their Carrying Capacity as if it was 1 higher than it normally would be.
Stone Affinity: Dwarves get a +2 bonus to all skill checks that are related to minerals, such as climbing a cliff, appraising a gem, studying a stonework, practicing stone sculpture, etc.
Small Weapons: Due to their short arms, dwarves cannot use large-sized weapons such as greatswords, polearms, longbows, etc. A battle-axe, longsword, or similar weapon would have to be used two-handed.

Dwarves are pretty standard, and I'm going to steal a lot of their standard culture from Dragon Age. Very rigid class structure, especially in the Five Kings Mountains - the main home of the dwarves. Dwarves value that structure (at least the ones on the upper side of the structure, but even the lower ones tend to see the value in it) and find the other races as extremely chaotic and are surprised they are able to accomplish anything. This superiority, and their enjoyment of a good fight, causes them to come off a bit gruff, or standoffish to those who don't know them, but you'll find no more loyal friend than a dwarf whose trust you've gained. Looks wise, they are short, stocky, and heavy, but not overly bulky (usually). Their skin tends towards browns and greys, as well as their hair, although bright red hair is seen as a sign of favor, usually in the line of Thanes. Their eyes are completely black, and larger than humans, proportionally.


Ability Score Adjustment: Strength -2, Agility +2, Luck +2
Size: Small; Speed: 30 feet
Lucky: Hobbits seem to be favored by a good fortune. They get a +1 bonus to all saving throws because of this luck, that will also manifest against detrimental events once per day. For example, if they were brought below zero hit-points by a single attack, they would miraculously survive at but 1 hp remaining; if some horrendous foe would have to choose between them or a companion, the foe would choose the companion; etc. This is left at GM’s determination, but if dice rolls are to be involved, hobbits should roll with advantage.
Small Size: Hobbits get a +4 bonus to Stealth checks, then a +2 bonus to DEF when fighting large humanoids such as ogres and trolls, and a +4 bonus when fighting giants. They also subtract 2 from their final calculation when determining how much they can carry.
Small Weapons: Due to their small size and short arms hobbits can only use small-sized weapons such as daggers, short-sword, short-bow, hand axe, etc. A battle-axe, longsword or similar weapon would have to be used two handed; and larger weapons such as two-handed swords cannot be used. 

Hobbits are pretty standard Tolkien. Though, they have no real "home nation". In some areas of Golarion, they are the preferred house slave (or labor slave in some areas) because they take up less room than humans, are quiet, and generally do not lose their happy demeanor. They are very short, usually plump, but not always (often thin until middle/old age catches up with them), have thick curly hair on the tops of their feet and heavily calloused feet, often not wearing shoes. They usually have earth-tone hair and eyes.

Like I said, pretty standard.

I'll get into the other races in another post.

P.S., If you like anything that I've been posting, please go buy Fantastic Heroes & Witchery. It's not to expensive and it's what I'm pulling a lot of information from. I'll be pimping this every so often because of how much I'm using from this.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Firing into Melee

Simple rules I use for firing into melee:

This has come up quite a bit because of the Ranger in the group.

  1. Fire with disadvantage (2d20 keep the lowest). If you still hit, you hit your target and deal damage as normal. If you miss, the shot goes wide and you move on.
  2. Fire with a normal attack roll and you hit a random person in the melee. People are moving around too much and you cannot easily target without taking the time to aim (ie, taking disadvantage on the roll) to not hit your allies.
Easy to adjudicate, easy to remember. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Rise of the Runelords: Session 2

The players:

  • Barlowe of Red Elm - Level 2 Human Ranger. One of the few survivors of a vicious goblin raid and trained by Shalelu (elven ranger) after she found him tending to a wounded dog. The dog's name is Ivy and travels with Barlowe now.
  • Gordo Knottingstein - Level 2 Human Templar of Sarenrae. After reporting visions of a darkness spreading from Sandpoint, he made his way to the town to investigate and see if there was anything he could do.
  • Gunthar - Level 2 Mul Fighter. An oddity in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings to the north, being a half dwarf/half human, he decided to test his mettle in the lands of the south and see what the world had to offer someone like him and his trusty war dog, Cujo.
  • Rosaria Delaporte - Level 2 Human Assassin. After a childhood trauma, she became an assassin to right the wrongs done to her in Magnimar. After it got a little too hot for her in the city, she traveled north to Sandpoint to let things cool down before returning to her crusade.

September 23rd

Barlowe tried leading the group through the woods just north of Sandpoint, trying to track the goblins. After a couple hours of wandering and not finding anything, the party decided to just go to one of the closest known (to Barlowe because of what Shalelu had taught him) haunt of a goblin tribe - Shank's Wood. They ate on the road and spent several hours combing the woods for signs of goblins. The group was spotted by two goblin children who immediately ran away. The group chased the goblins - right into a trap!

A melee ensued, goblins peppering the party with arrows while up in the branches of some trees while the characters either shot them out of the trees or climbed up to kill them. Or ran into the trees, knocking a goblin out with the shock wave.

They got a hostage goblin child and questioned him. He told them he knew about the attack (and totally wasn't sorry) and that some longshanks set it up. He didn't know who. He told them where the goblin encampment was. Then the party killed the goblin. Despite the fact that he was a goblin, Gordo started praying to Sarenrae for guidance and perseverance when dealing with his new companions.

Finding the encampment, Barlowe and Rosaria began to stealthily approach and began to eliminate every goblin they could while they looked for the goblin chief. They were making good headway until Barlowe missed one of his shots and the alarm was raised. They escaped over the wall before notice, mostly because the goblin who was shot at thought it was a prank by other goblins in the tribe. Until one of the goblins pointed out that the arrow was not a goblin arrow. Chaos ensued and, worried, Gordo and Gunthar managed to sneak in during the chaos to check on Rosaria and Barlowe. They were nowhere to be seen, so Gordo and Gunthar hunkered down behind the shack they were using as cover and waited to see what happened.

Eventually, Rosaria was spotted killing another sentry and the grand melee ensued. The goblin chief came out wielding a large (by goblin standards) sword in two hands (really just a longsword) and began to attack Gunthar. They hammered it out whilst the rest of the party killed off the rest of the goblins and then Gunthar knocked the chief unconscious.

Now they have some questions that need answering...

Monday, February 1, 2016

100th Post!

Woo!! I made 100 posts. I'm impressed with myself. I'd be more impressed if it was 100 after I restarted, but it's still about 70 more posts that I thought I'd done.

So... yay me.

On to the next 100. Which, nicely enough, is my goal by the end of the year. I would like to hit 200 posts total. It's a pretty soft goal, but it's my goal. If I can hit at least 100 posts a year, I'm good. Eventually I'll probably run out of shit to say, or I'll realize that the usefulness of me posting my thoughts has run out, or something else will happen (I stop gaming....which would be terrible) and I'll throw this whole project on the shelf to gather dust.

But that's not now. I'm having fun. This is a nice place for me to work things out for my game (which is coming along nicely. Still needs a few tweaks to get it where I want as the base system, then its some fine tuning of the bells and whistles, but it runs pretty well at the moment) and ramble so I don't bother my wife or my friends as much as I would if I didn't have this outlet.

So for the few of you who do actually read this, thanks. I'll be here all year. Hope you find something interesting and maybe use the idea to spark something new for your own game.