Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fantasy Fonts for Your RPG Campaign

Written by Justin Mason

So you want to give your player a copy of the ancient scroll his or her character is currently reading? Perhaps you want to dress up a character-history document for your game master? Here we have a collection of 33 free fantasy True-Type Fonts (TTF) that can be used for your personal role playing game sessions and campaigns. Stylized handouts and documentation can make a great impact on both players and game masters alike.

Please check out the Fonts Page in the Mythic Design website free resources:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Fighter’s Ally (Magic Weapon Template)

Written by Justin Mason

The idea with this magic item template, is to enable the creation of a magical weapon that helps to balance the “higher-level gap” between combat related characters and spell-casting characters.

Traditionally, the solution to this problem is usually to just provide more powerful magical items to the player characters, but this can be quickly unbalancing as items are easily transferred from character-to-character.

The fighter’s ally template can be applied to virtually any weapon, and the magical power of said weapon is then entirely dependant on how much the wielder is willing to invest into it over time.

Skill-based Enchantment Bonus:

A fighter’s ally weapon gains +1 per (existing bonus) in skill points dedicated to its use.

This would result in requiring a total of 1 skill points for +1, 3 skill points for +2, 6 skill points for +3, 10 skill points for +4, 15 skill points for +5, 21 skill points for +6, 28 skill points for +7, etc.).

These skill ranks are considered class, and of course are limited to the character’s current max skill ranks. A maximum enchantment bonus can be applied to a templated weapon.

Weapon-specific Feats:

In place of taking a traditional feat, the character may instead take one of the following weapon-specific feats. These feats only effect the use of the templated weapon, and a templated weapon may or may not have all of the available feats listed below.

Focused Strike: Character learns how to more accurately strike with this weapon. +1 to critical range/weapon-specific feat taken. This weapon-specific feat may be stacked up to a maximum critical adjustment of +5.

Moral Attunement: Weapon becomes more attuned with the character. +1 against targets of opposing alignments. This weapon-specific feat may be stacked up to a maximum bonus of up to +5.

Elemental Fury: Weapon is granted +1d4 (elemental) burst upon successful critical hit. This can include: fire, cold, electricity, acid, and sonic. This feat may be stacked, and can be applied for multiple different types of elements. (i.e. a weapon could have a burst of 1d4 fire, 2d4 cold, and 1d4 electricity). Of course, depending on the game master’s desired results, this could be limited to fewer, or even just one element.

Guiding Force: Upon missing a strike, the character may opt to immediately re-roll the attack. Critical hits may not result from this re-rolled attack. A character may only use this weapon-specific feat once per round.

Premeditated Kill: Character must select one “favored enemy”, and for each instance of this weapon-specific feat taken, he or she will gain +2 to hit and to damage towards that favored enemy when using the weapon. This weapons-specific feat may be stacked up to a maximum bonus of +10 to specified enemy.

Of course, custom combinations and new weapon-specific feat ideas could be endless, and each weapon could be honed towards it’s specific type of combat.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bonus Token Player Reward System (Alternate Rules)

Written by Justin Mason

There are many different ways that game masters have found to reward their players, particularly those who contribute much to a campaign or game session. This could be as simple as a bonus experience reward, or a more complex reward (such as working in some special event into the character's role).

The real question is, how to come up with a system that not only rewards your positive, progressive players, but to also motivates those players who are less than forthcoming.

After all, in many cases, this may be one of the few times everyone is available for a friendly get-together. And, it's very easy to become distracted from the game by catching up with day-to-day life, letting loose some pent up aggression, and sharing the latest jokes from the workplace.

The Bonus Token System is one solution I've come up with and have myself used with quite a bit of success.

Player's earn tokens for things such as attendance, magnificent role-playing, completing of major plot benchmarks, etc. I suggest rewarding 1 token for attendance to be sure everyone at least gets to participate, but not to exceed awarding three to four per player during each game session. Tokens should be rare and valuable commodities.

There doesn't have to be a physical token awarded to the player, though I find handing something tangible over has a very dramatic effect. I use Campaign Coins as a prop to represent the Bonus Tokens I award my players.

These tokens can then be used at the end of the game session to "purchase" bonuses and special features, and upgrades for the character. These should be fairly moderate adjustments, and never anything that would be a "game changer." Though, more powerful benefits could be offered as long as the corresponding token cost is relative to the advantage the character would be obtaining.

For example, below is the basic Bonus Token chart my players utilize for my OGL 3.5 campaigns:

+1 Misc Skill Point = 1 Token
(250 * Level) GP [Max 10,000] = 1 Token
1 Random Minor Magic Item (from DMG) = 3 Tokens
1 Re-Roll Attempt (In-Game Only) = 3 Tokens
(500 * Level) experience [Max 5,000] = 5 Tokens
+1 Ability Point = 10 Tokens
+1 Bonus Feat = 10 Tokens
1 Random Medium Magic Item (from DMG) = 15 Tokens

It can also be fun to find unique and interesting ways to work these rewards into the game session "in-character" to explain how and where they came from. They could even be used as small plot hooks or storyline hints as well.

However you utilize the Bonus Token system, it's a sure-fire way to keep your players on guard, and help keep the focus on role playing.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Platform-Neutral Products. Worth the investment?

Written by Justin Mason

So what's more important, the fluff or the crunch? We all have our own favorite role playing game systems, or own set of house rules and special mechanics. A lot of the time this can limit how useful certain materials are... especially if they are written for an unfamiliar game system.

I'm curious to know what other game masters think about platform-neutral products (or in other words, products that don't provide any sort of mechanical reference, but rather just detailed information about a setting, monsters, items, plot hooks, etc.).

I think it's a good concept. But I'm not sure I would choose to buy a product that was a description of a particular setting or series of events over a product that also provides the relevant mechanics for my particular game system.

I can read a good novel or short story, watch a movie, or even read material intended for another game-system and get that same imagintive seed for some really fantastic ideas to use in my game sessions.

What if platform-specific rules related to this crunch-less material were to be made readily available on the product manufacturers website? What if other role-players who also use this material were the source for those rules?

I'm just pondering the possibilities, and I am not 100% sure I see the benefits of RPG products produced for no particular game system. If I’m going to buy a product just to boost my imagination, what game system it’s geared towards doesn’t really make a difference to me. What are you thoughts?

Enchanter's Goo (Magic Item)

Written by Justin Mason

Enchanter's Goo

A glowing green slime-like substance, very highly reactive to magical items and artifacts. Its recipe is a guarded secret of powerful enchanters, but one fact that is known is that the ingredients for the foul smelling brew are found across many different planes.

Enchanters Goo is used to merge two magic items into a single object. The process is dangerous and painstaking, but often well worth the risk.

Items combined with Enchanter's Goo must be of the same type. For instance, a bladed weapon can only be merged with another bladed weapon, a wand, only with another wand, and full plate armor only with another suit of full plate armor, etc.

There must be 1-gallon of Enchanter's Good per 1-pound of the combined weight of both items being submerged within the goo, and both items must be in some way enchanted. If there is too little goo, both items will be completely dissolved and destroyed.

Items placed in the goo must remain undisturbed for 3 full days (72-hours), if they are removed from the goo before that time, all magical abilities of both the items are completely nullified.

If use is attempted by the untrained hand, then there is only a 50% chance of success. For each trained rank in Use Magic Device, +2% may be added to the success rate up to 90%. If the attempt fails then both items are dissolved and completely destroyed.

Results of successfully merged magic items:

• A random check will determine what physical form the merged item will take (or if desired the game master can be creative and come up with a combination of both the original items)

• Charged effects transfer as the same number of said charge effects

• Bonus Enchantments to the same statistic do not stack, instead the highest of the magic bonuses remains (this is applied to ability scores, armor class, saving throws, or any other such statistic). Bonuses to different statistics carry across.

• Recharging abilities carry across, if more than one like recharging abilities are merged, then both remain effective, though bound by their original limitations.

• Other effects, such as item sentience, alignment, curses, conflicting effects, etc. are merged, or changed solely at the discretion of the game master, but should be resolved at the time of item merging.

The known market price for enchanter's goo is about 250 GP per 1-Gallon. Finding enough goo to merge larger items (such as suits of armor) should be a challenge as very few enchanters would have so much of the substance readily available.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Fool's Quest (Encounter/Plot Hook)

Written by Justin Mason

This encounter takes place on a cold mountain pass beneath a cloudless sunny sky. The characters come across the scene of a young man, unconscious and laid face first upon the ground. Above him lumbers a tall humanoid creature of solid stone (large Stone Golem). If the characters approach within 30-feet of the golem or the unconscious man, it will immediately attack the them. If the character fire missile weapons or ranged spells at the golem or the man, the golem will charge at them and initiate an attack.

The unconscious man is actually a young wizard’s apprentice (3rd Level Human Wizard), sent from a distant land to obtain a rare spell component: the scale of a blue dragon. The golem was sent by the apprentice’s master to aid him in this quest. Unfortunately, the apprentice caught a fever and is delirious. He commanded the golem to guard him from “everything” before he passed out from his illness.

Remove Disease or any Cure spell will remove the fever and its effects from the apprentice.

If the characters want to save the apprentice, then they will either have to kill the golem or find a method of tricking it away from the young man’s body. Once awake, if the golem hasn’t been killed, the apprentice will immediately call it off.

The apprentice has yet to complete his quest, though he has tracked a blue dragon to this mountain range. He will ask the character’s to aid him in this task. If they agree, and are successful, the apprentice’s Master will reward the characters with a minor magical item each.

The dragon’s lair is less than a mile away, and they will arrive just in time to see the blue dragon flying away from a large open cavern in the mountain side. The apprentice will assume this means he and the characters can simply walk in, take a few scales and leave, the mother dragon actually leaves behind three Blue Dragon Wrymlings who will defend the cave bitterly.

There are, however loose scales upon the floor that can be gathered up in 3 rounds. There is also a small treasure worth at least 5,000 gp hidden in the layer. If the characters slay the wyrmlings or steal the treasure, the mother dragon (an Adult Blue Dragon) will attempt to track them down (with a 25% Chance of locating the characters) to avenge what was taken from her. However, if the characters simply battle the wyrmlings long enough to recover the scales, and leave her young alive and her treasure untouched, the mother dragon will not pursue them.

Curse of the Ring and the Sword (Encounter/Plot Hook)

Written by Justin Mason

This encounter can take place in pretty much any dungeon, though it will make more sense if related to a person of great arcane power. Somewhere in the dungeon, there is a 5-foot by 5-foot simple chute-trap. The chute itself is angled at 45-degrees and is coated with a thick, wet, slippery substance (natural algae and moss grown from years of water drainage). This substance makes it very hard to climb back out of the chute unassisted (Climb DC 22).

At the bottom of the sixty-foot chute, the characters will tumble into a 20-foot by 20-foot room filled with three feet of stagnant water. There are no doors or exits from this room other than the chute opening upon the center of the ceiling. Near the northern wall of this room is a 4-foot-tall stone pillar, and atop of it is a clear glass bottle. Inside of the bottle is a very valuable looking ring, however the opening of the bottle is too small to remove the treasure from within (the bottle must be broken).

Description of the Ring:
This ring is fashioned from polished gold. The wide band has been ornately carved with an intricate stylized flames design, offset by a row of tiny garnets. The face of the ring is adorned with an perfectly spherical ruby that faintly glows within with a rolling fiery luminescence.

The container can be easily shattered, however this will activate a magical repulse effect that causing the ring to remain one-foot away from anyone trying to grab it. The characters should eventually be able to “capture” the ring with ingenuity, such as by cornering it or having more than one character attempt to obtain it. However, this repulse effect remains on the ring until it is worn by someone (a challenging feat considering the nature of this effect).

If the characters try to place the ring into a pouch or sack, they will find that the repulsing push of the ring will simply force the ring out of the container. If secured, the ring will leap from the container whenever it is opened. Only wearing the ring will nullify the repulsing effect.

Assuming one of the characters wears the ring, they will be surprised when a grim-covered longsword rises from the water, darts with blinding speed towards the wearer, and lands perfectly in the palm of their hand, as if ready to be used. When the longsword is grasped by the ring-wearer, it will burst into magical flames (+3 magical flaming longsword). If the sword is thrown down (or knocked from the wearer’s hand), it will land upon the ground (or in the water) and distinguish the flame -- however in the next turn it will quickly levitate back into the wearer’s hand and burst back into flames. This is a very useful effect, since the character cannot be disarmed.

The attraction and activation of the sword cannot be disabled or turned off. Which may lead to some interesting situations requiring creative solutions such as when the character needs to sleep. Though the wearer is immune to the flames, bedding and surrounding furniture is not.

The ring is an artifacts of sort, and as such cannot be identified. If the characters do not put the ring on in this room, the sword will still magically seek out the wearer when if it is eventually worn. The sword will levitate/fly to the ring dodging all obstacles no matter the distance (flying at a speed of 1000-feet per minute [Roughly 12-miles per hour]).

The Curse of Fire:

Initially, this will be the only obvious effect of the ring, and is intended to entice one of the characters to use it. However after one week of use, the character (and those around him) are inexplicitly attacked by 1d4 Small Fire Elementals. The next day, they will be attacked by 1d4 Medium Fire Elementals. The third day will result an attack by 1d4 Large Fire Elementals, and the fourth day with an attack by 1d4 Huge Fire Elementals. On the fifth day it is 1d4 Greater Fire Elementals, and on the sixth day 1d4 Elder Fire Elementals. The attacks will continue on a daily basis after this with 1d4 Elder Fire Elements each day with the attacking Elementals becoming more powerful than those from the day before by 3 Hit Dice.

These elementals are summoned by the ring at a random time throughout the day, and the summoned elementals are magically driven by the ring to attack its wearer any anyone assisting him. Regardless of the character’s level, this should eventually become a challenge as the toughness of the ensuing elementals becomes greater and greater with each encounter.

Eventually the characters will likely figure out the attacks are being caused by the ring, and stop using it, but it is the trap designer’s intent for them to eventually be killed for “stealing” from the dungeon.

Note: Once the ring has been attuned to a character, it “knows” who the character’s allies are, and the curse effects of the item cannot be negated by passing the ring around to other party members. Likewise, if the ring is passed on to an unsuspecting NPC, the effects are reset. The ring always remembers who its past owners were, and the curse will continue for that wearer accordingly.

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