Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dry Spell


I've sort of hit a wall creatively with the Xhuul setting for the Gamma World game. I've been having a hard time coming up with "weird" locales around the main set-piece of Hlatl, the City of the Black Crater. I have been tinkering around with some maps, but I haven't put together anything I really like. And I haven't been able to come up with anything interesting in the city of Hlatl either. I still have several creatures and mutants for the Xhuul Bestiary I haven't posted yet. Xhuul was really a side project. I was hoping to run it at our local monthly Hobby Day at some point. Not so much as an ongoing campaign, but as a 'pick-up' game or one-shots.



I think part of the creative drain is the fact that my D&D 4e campaign is starting up again and with more players (total of 6 now) and I have been putting more focus it. The game was put on hiatus back in February this year as one of the players got busy with work and family commitments, and I really wanted to have all the original 4 players to continue their adventure together. That never materialized as the months flew by, until recently when I decided to recruit 3 additional new players and continue the campaign.


We had our first game last weekend Sunday (well, first for the new players, and fourth for the original core players). Two of the original players couldn't make it, so the party was without thier Shielding Swordmage and Cleric. Having no character in the Leader role with healing abilities really put the hurt on the party. One of the new players' characters was killed in the second encounter. It was kind of a bummer, but it was a 'Perfect Storm' of events that just didn't work out for him.


Anyway, everyone had fun and it was good to get the game running again. We should have everyone at the table next Sunday, so things should go a little more smoothly for the PC's.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Xhuul Bestiary: Bothoth

BOTHOTH
NO. ENCOUNTERED: 1-4
SIZE: Medium
HD: 4 (d8)
MOVE: 20ft
AC: 13
ATTACKS: Spores (1d8)
SPECIAL: Mutations
SAVES: P
INT: Animal
ALIGNMENT: Neutral
TYPE: Plant
TREASURE: None
XP: 130 +4/hp

This mutated fungus is man-sized and is mobile. It is covered with 4-16 bulbous pods that release toxic spores when pierced. Any attack made against a Bothoth by a piercing or slashing weapon has a 70% chance of releasing spores. Blunt weapons only have a 20% chance of releasing spores, but such attacks do no harm to the Bothoth itself. The Bothoth can rupture the pods and therefore eject the spores at will. The Bothoth secretes a poisonous sap (Intensity 8 Poison) that will affect all that make physical contact with it that does not wear protective clothing. Bothoths live within or near the many Pod forests of Xhuul.

Spores: 4-16 pods that can release spores upon being hit with weapons or released by the Bothoth at will. The spores do 1d8 points of damage and burrow into flesh and take root. Make a CON save or succumb to a disease that prevents healing of damage until cured.

Contact Sap Poison: The Bothoth secretes a contact poison equivalent to Type 2 poison.

New Sense (Life Force): The Bothoth can detect living creatures within 100'. They sense the shape and location of their targets via energy emissions from the skin surface.





Note: Image used with permission by Grograou ofhttp://diaryofinhumanspecies.com/WordPress

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Memory is Weak, the Blogsphere is Strong (I hope)

Somewhere is my blog surfing, I ran across a blog post where the author had a solution to making connections between a party of characters. He had a chart which is supposed to be rolled on to figure out a player character's relation to the player sitting on that player's left. Once determined, then the next player who was sitting on that player's left then rolls on the chart to find his relationship to the player on his left. Rinse and repeat for all players.

I thought this was a neat idea and now I can't remember which blog I read it on. If any of you have ran across the same post, please let me know.

Thanks

Friday, November 12, 2010

Punch Me!

No really, punch me because I must be dreaming. Wow. This movie Sucker Punch has everything!! Hot girls. School uniforms. Guns. Swords. Giant Samurai. Zepplins. Bi-planes. WWI trenches and soldiers. A Dragon. Martial Arts. Robots. Mecha. Oh and did I mention hot girls? This movie is like every video-game rolled into one. You can't go wrong with the guys who did Watchmen and 300.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Xhuul Bestiary: Nysithu

NYSITHU
NO. ENCOUNTERED: 1-4
SIZE: Medium
HD: 3 (d8)
MOVE: 30ft, 50ft swim
AC: 15
ATTACKS: 4 claws (1d6)
SPECIAL: Mutations
SAVES: P
INT: Low
ALIGNMENT: Neutral
TYPE: Mutant
TREASURE: 1
XP: 70 +3/hp

These man-sized manta-ray like creatures live in or near lakes, rivers and mudflats. On land, they slither along the ground like a snake. They are adept swimmers. They are quick, agile and their hide is thick. They have 4 long spindly arms that end in sharp claws that they use to attack intruders with. They have a greatly expanded lung capacity that serves to doubles the amount of time they can stay underwater. They do not have gills and cannot breathe water. Nysithu have developed photsynthetic skin which provides all nourishment they need from sunlight and other bright sources of light. The downside to this is that they have developed sensitivity to non-organic energy sources which causes them pain. This sensitivity has also made them vulnerable to extreme heat.

Energy Sensitivity(D): Nysithu are sensitive to non-organic energy sources and will experience pain within 30'. Nysithu take 1hp damage/round from nearby Power Cells, Robots and communication devices do 2hp/round.

Heat Reaction(D): Nysithu take double-damage from fire and heat-based attacks.

Kinetic Absorption: Nysithu negate the first 10points of damage from any physical blunt force (such as Maces, Clubs), or force effects(magic missle). Peiring weapons do 1/2 damage but their damage isn't absorbed. Energy weapon damage is applied normally.

Photosynthetic Skin: In darkness, the Nysithu move at 50% normal speed and are -4 to initiative. They suffer an extra 1d6 damage from heat and cold attacks. They heal 3hp/day from sunlight.

Multiple Body Parts (4 arms),

Modified Body Parts: Enhanced lung capacity. Can stay underwater twice as long as normal.

Heightened Precision: Add 1d8 damage to attacks because of their ability to find weaknesses in their opponents.



Note: Image used with permission by Grograou ofhttp://diaryofinhumanspecies.com/WordPress

Monday, November 8, 2010

Xhuul Bestiary: Hlosh

HLOSH
NO. ENCOUNTERED: 1-4
SIZE: Medium
HD: 2 (d8)
MOVE: 30ft
AC: 18
ATTACKS: Weapon
SPECIAL: Regeneration 2, Spell-like abilities, Twilight vision.
SAVES: M
INT: Superior
ALIGNMENT: Neutral
TYPE: 2
XP: 27 +2/hp

These alien creatures are surrounded by a tough transparent membrane that protects them from harm. This membrane allows the creature to extend it's 3 manipulator appendages and 4 locomotive appendages in order to interact with the outside environment. It is believed that membrane is some kind of bio-organic encounter suit which is under pressure with the native atmosphere that keeps the Hlosh alive. These alien creatures are usually encountered in ruins where they are found exploring. They sometimes capture other creatures for study. They usually carry strange alien devices and weapons to protect themselves.

Regeneration: Hlosh regenerate 2hp/round. If they are reduced to 1/4hp, thier membrane is considered breach at which point their regeneration stops. They will die within a minute after their membrane is breached.

Spell-like Abilities: Hlosh can use the following spell-like abilities 2/day. Hold Person, Sleep, Blink as a 2nd level Sorcerer.

Twilight Vision: 60 ft range.



Note: Image used with permission by Grograou ofhttp://diaryofinhumanspecies.com/WordPress

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Saturday D&D Slog-a-thon

This weekend, I went to a local hobby shop, Brookhurst Hobbies in Garden Grove to play in their homebrew D&D 4e campaign. They had 3 tables with a DM on each running a game with about 5 players per table. The DMs all run different adventures but all within the same shared-world. The premise of the game is that the characters belong to a Mercenaries Guild that hires out its members for various missions in service to the local merchants and notable city officials of the city of Brookhaven.

This was my first game, so I had a 1st Level Longtooth Shifter Seeker. I basically channel primal magic through the use of spirits into my Longbow and arrows. The game was delayed in starting because several players showed up with no characters and had to spend time making them, which isn't easy to do when some are brand new to D&D 4e. This kind of annoyed me as I think such people who show up unprepared really disrespect those who showed up on time with character in-hand.

Anyway, so the adventure finally starts. We have a 1st Level Dwarf Cleric, a 1st Level Half-Orc Fighter, a 2nd Level Deva Wizard, a 1st Level Halfling Thief and my Seeker. Apparently, this adventure was designed for a 3rd Level party and we were told we might have a tough time. Understatement of the Century.

The Guild has sent us on a mission to go into an abandoned section of the city of Brookhaven, to escort a Mage into some catacombs. The catacombs has a ley-line running through it which has become tainted with necrotic energy, which the mage will then conduct a ritual to cleanse it. So, this tells me that this is going to be mostly Undead we will be fighting.

The First encounter was pretty easy. All minion Zombies that we easily trashed. The DM did a good job describing the chambers that were piled with bones and skulls like many of the Ossuaries in Europe.

The Second encounter was challenging but a pain in the ass. The DM made some custom undead creatures called Tortured Corpses. They could fire from their fingers, shards of bone that did necrotic damage and slowed you down. They fired on us and then retreated down the hall to where it ended and then scuttled up a 10' vertical wall to a tunnel that continued near the ceiling where they sought cover. We discovered that the last 20' of the hallway before it dead-ended was covered in caltrops. These things were immune to the caltrops so the undead were able to move at full speed when they retreated to their perch. For the characters, unless you only moved 5' per round to avoid the caltrops, you would take damage and be forced to end your movement. The melee-based characters were kind of screwed in this encounter as they were being fired upon by the undead who had a height advantage and could attack at range, while they had to slowly make their way down the hall. The few of us who had range couldn't really do too much damage as there were 4 of these things. We finally managed to close the distance and the Wizard managed to get a few area attacks in which helped kill a few of the things. The melee characters mopped up the rest.

The Third Encounter we could have avoided altogether, however we failed a Skill Challenge to breach a stone door that had a puzzle-lock. We did manage to get the door open by the use of brute force, but this alerted the Big Bad Evil Guy, who braced the door closed. There was a contest of strength to see if we could push the door open, but we rolled miserably and the door was finally forced shut and braced. We had to go the other way.

This encounter was just brutal. It was essentially a small maze, thereby severely reducing line of sight due to alot of turns and obstructing walls. Lurking within the maze were 4 Tomb Wraiths. They have phasing abilities so they could fly through the walls and attack and then they would flee afterwards making it very difficult to counterattack. The real shit-kicker to this was when they attacked, they weakened you, so you would do half damage on a hit. Combine that with their Insubstantial property which automatically halved any damage, so you were effectively only doing a quarter of your damage. And these things regenerated each round! Did I mention there were 4 of these things? Oh yeah, the DM told us afterwards that he removed one from the encounter! Thanks alot. Several times during the fight at least one member of the party, including myself fell unconcious. The poor cleric had a hard time trying to help us stay alive. I think this encounter took 2 hours to play through at least. We finally managed to defeat these things, but it wasn't easy and I'm suprised none of us died. I almost did.

The final encounter was with the Big Bad Evil Guy, who pulled off his parting taunts to us before he disappeared into mist, leaving us to deal with a large-sized Corruption Corpse with wings that kept out of reach of the melee characters. Most of us were immobilized by a huge area effect power the thing threw at us, called Grasp of the Grave. Basically hands erupting friom the ground grabbing our legs to keep us from moving. Only two characters managed to not be in the zone when it triggered. This encounter dragged on for for about another hour and a half as this thing had about 250 HP and it too regenerated!!

I'll have to give kudos to the DM for having the monsters make use of terrain to their advantage, but I think these creatures were very over-powered, given our level. I think the DM was expecting one player to show up who had a Mace that could unleash Radiant damage that severely hurts Undead and interrupts their regeneration. But that player never showed. None of us in the party had any powers that would unleash radiant damage except the Cleric, but that was a Daily power, so that wasn't too helpful for most of the adventure, since he could only use it once.

It's still bad design to focus an adventure that succeeds with a very narrow skill or power set. And knowing that most of the group were 1st Level characters, the encounters should have been scaled appropriately. This adventure took 6 hours to complete when it should have taken 4 hours. We probably could have finished sooner if we had started on time waiting for characters to be created. The game was mostly frustrating and a brutal slog-a-thon. By the end of the encounter with the Wraiths, I was getting really tired and wanted to pack it in. I didn't care if I lived or died at that point. I really wanted to go home and get something to eat.

Don't get me wrong, I like 4e D&D. This is not a complaint with the system. It's a complaint of the design of the adventure. I was made aware that the general details of each adventure were posted on the website for the campaign. Had I known the general gist of each of the 3 adventures, I would have made 3 characters. I would have played a much different character that the one I used for this adventure. One that could spam Radiant damage thats for sure.

Xhuul Bestiary: Canthak

CANTHAK
NO. ENCOUNTERED: 1-6
SIZE: Medium
HD: 3 (d8)
MOVE: 30ft
AC: 13
ATTACKS: 2 Fang-claws (1d6)
SPECIAL: Poison
SAVES: P
INT: Animal
ALIGNMENT: Neutral
TYPE: Plant
TREASURE: None
XP: 30 +3/hp

This 2-meter long mutated spider-like fungus, is a mobile plant. It's body is supported by a series of wickedly sharp spider-like legs. The main body arches up which is dominated by two very large piercing fang-like claws. Attacks from it's fang-like claws inject a corrosive poison that breaks down organic matter. A successful CON save resists the poison. A failed save reduces the victim's CON score by 1 each turn until it reaches zero upon which the victim dies and their body breaks down into an organic sludge. This sludge is what the Canthak consumes through their lower body segments.


Note: Image used with permission by Grograou of http://diaryofinhumanspecies.com/WordPress

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Xhuul Bestiary: Ashshatha

ASHSHATHA

NO. ENCOUNTERED: 1-2
SIZE: Large
HD: 10 (d8)
MOVE: 40ft
AC: 20
ATTACKS: 2 Hand Slams (2d6)
SPECIAL: Eye of Death, Entangle,
Invisibility, Telepathy
SAVES: M
INT: Average
ALIGNMENT: Neutral
TYPE: Abberation
TREASURE: None
XP: 2250 +10/hp

These creatures appear as extremely tall humanoids with over-sized arms and a dark black cyclopean eye. Their bodies are transparent. Ashshatha are sentient energy beings made mostly of ectoplasm. They dwell in forest regions and stake out a region that they protect. It is unknown what they eat, if anything. It appears that they do have a mouth slit, but they do not seem to speak or use it to eat. It is theorized that they may in fact be the ghosts of some unknown race that perished in the cataclysm. They take half damage from physical attacks, but full damage from energy-based attacks.

Eye of Death: This attack can be used up to 1/day. Those hit with the attack must make a CHA save or be killed instantly.

Entangle: The Ashshatha can use the Druid spell Entangle 1/day as a 10th level Druid

Invisibility: The Ashshatha can use Invisibility 2/day as a 10th level Wizard

Telepathy: Ashshatha communicate between themselves and other creatures by use of telepathy.


Note: Image used with permission by Grograou of http://diaryofinhumanspecies.com/WordPress

Xhuul Bestiary: Hologua

HOLOGUA
NO. ENCOUNTERED: 1-2
SIZE: Large
HD: 10 (d8)
MOVE: 60ft fly (hover)
AC: 13
ATTACKS: 4 Tentacles (1d10), Bite (2d8)
SPECIAL: Grab, Twilight Vision
SAVES: P
INT: Low
ALIGNMENT: Neutral
TYPE: Abberation
TREASURE: None
XP: 1650 +10/hp
These creatures look like 6-meter diameter floating jelly-fish, with large pupil-less eyes, and dangling tentacles beneath. The Hologua float by way of an internal gas bag which is filled with a lighter-than-air gas. They propel themselves by drawing in air and expelling it, much like a squid does in water. The Hologua dwell in mountainous regions where they float among the updrafts. When hungry, they grab prey with their tentacles and draw it up to their fanged mouths which then try to devour their meal. Their large eyes give them good distance vision and they are able to spot prey from 2 kilometers away.
When attacking with their tentacles, if two or more hit the same target, the target must make a successful STR save or be held immobile in the Holoqua's tentacles. The the following round, and any round the victim remains held, the Hologua will draw the target up to it's fanged mouth where it will have a +4 to hit with its bite.



Note:Image used with permission by Grograou ofhttp://diaryofinhumanspecies.com/WordPress

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The New 4th Edition Character Builder

I got this email today for the new D&D 4e Character Builder. It's going to be a web-based program which you have to log into the D&D website to use. You can save your characters to their database. The old Character Builder will no longer be updated once this new CB launches on Nov. 16th 2010. One nice feature is that you'll be able to create Dark Sun characters. There is also an option to create D&D Essentials characters. I copied the screenshots they sent me. I still don't see an option to export a file into other formats (such as PDF).


Dear D&D Insider™ Subscriber,
On November 16, Wizards of the Coast will launch a brand new web-based version of the D&D Insider Character Builder. The current downloadable version will remain functional, but will no longer be available for download or updated with content after the new version goes live. Here are the highlights of the new Character Builder:
• New Design: Completely redesigned from top to bottom in Microsoft Silverlight as a robust character creation wizard.




• No Download: The Character Builder is served from the D&D site.
• PC and Mac Compatible: Requires an Internet connection and Silverlight plug-in.
• Access is easy: Just enter the D&D site, login, and launch the Character Builder from the Tool Box or the Character Builder tools page.
• Characters in the Cloud: All characters you create are saved on our database. No need to save Character Builder files on your hard drive anymore.
• File Import: You can easily import your characters created in the previous version to the new Character Builder.
• Previous Data: Includes all character-building data you enjoyed in the previous versions.
• New Data Releases: Dark Sun and D&D Essentials data will debut with the new version.
If you have any questions about the new Character Builder or your subscription, see the
FAQ or contact a Game Support Representative.

I'm only a DDI subscriber for a little while longer. I cancelled the auto-renew and won't be resubscribing to DDI. I'll use my current Character Builder and keep doing so for my own homebrew games.