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Jul 30, 2018

Christmas in July Sale





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May 9, 2018

CHIMERA EXCERPT - Enemy Creation



Today I bring you an excerpt from the Game Mastering chapter as it is currently seen in the playtest document my group has.

Creating Enemies

Whether you're sitting down to prepare enemies before a session or if you are coming up with them as you play along (as I usually do), you need to have a clear idea of what the monster looks like, its name, what it can do, where it lives and how is the enemy impacting its environment (or you can think about these things later if the player characters are going to kill it right away). Once you have that, all you need to do is choose its role which will determine its core stats, then, give it 2 or 3 special qualities if they are appropriate for the creature such as flying, swimming, or seeing in the dark. Give it at least one form of attack and you are set. We will go over below to help you make your own. Luckily, enemies on chapter XX are presented in a format that makes them easy to use right off the bat and which can also give you plenty of ideas of how you can make or modify your own enemies. Keep in mind that not all enemies match this formula 100%. Treat the steps below as guidelines rather than a strict form of creating enemies.

Enemy Name & Description

Think about what the enemy is commonly called in the world your game takes place in and write a small description about it's origins, white drives this particular enemy, where it lives and how is the enemy impacting its environment, and finally what it looks like. In settings where the creature type matters for the purpose of genetic tagging, magic item wielding, and powers and effects related to creature origin, it is best to give it a creature type such as animal, dragon, elemental, fey, humanoid, plant, and undead.

Enemy Role

An enemy can be classified as a MinionElite, or Boss. Each role while set their Attributes and Health. It will also give you other statistics like how much damage they do when they attack or for ongoing effects, the number of special traits it should have and of attacks. Choose an enemy role from the ones presented below:

Minion

Minions are enemies that alone don't pose much of a threat to a combat oriented character and usually go down with a well landed hit or two. However, in large groups minions can pose a thread towards characters of any tier. Minions usually have the following statistics:
  • Attributes: 5, 5, 3 (distributed among Might, Agility, and Cunning).
  • Health: 9
  • Wounds: 4
  • Special Traits: 1 or 2.
  • Attacks: 1 or 2 forms of attack.
  • Damage: +3 of the weapon's type. +3 for ongoing damage.

Elite

Elite enemies are tougher than minions and a single elite enemy can be a significant threat to any character. Elite enemies are usually found in pairs or leading a small group of minion enemies. Elites usually have the following statistics:
  • Attributes: 5, 5, 7 (distributed among Might, Agility, and Cunning).
  • Health: 12
  • Wounds: 6
  • Special Traits: Up to 3.
  • Attacks: Up to 3 forms of attack.
  • Damage: +4 of the weapon's type. +3 for ongoing damage.

Boss

Boss enemies are creatures capable of taking a group of player characters on their own. Boss enemies are tougher than all other enemies (save for other bosses), and have a large repertoire of traits and abilities. Bosses usually have the following statistics:
  • Attributes: 5, 7, 7 (distributed among Might, Agility, and Cunning).
  • Health: 15
  • Wounds: 12
  • Special Traits: Up to 4.
  • Attacks: Up to 5 forms of attack.
  • Damage: +6 of the weapon's type. +4 for ongoing damage.

Enemy Size

How big is your enemy? Choose a size from the ones listed below:

Diminutive

Diminutive creatures are only a few inches tall and usually pose a thread when they group to form a swarm. Diminutive creatures normally need to be on top of their target to attack in melee. 

Tiny

Tiny creatures usually don't stand above  1’5’’ feet (0.4 meters) and don't weigh that much. Tiny creatures are usually unable to wield weapons not made for their size and carrying any object bigger or heavier than they are will prove highly difficult if not imposible. Tiny creatures normally need to be on top of their target to attack in melee. 

Small

Small creatures usually don't stand above 4 feet (1.2 meters) and barely weigh more than 100 pounds (45 kilograms). Small creatures normally are not able to wield two-handed weapons.

Medium

Medium creatures usually don't stand above 7 feet (2 meters) and can weigh up to 500 pounds (226 kilograms).

Large

Large creatures usually don't stand above 15 feet (4.5 meters) and can weigh up to a ton or two. Large creatures generally have the following traits:
  •  Reach with their melee attacks against smaller creatures.
  • +3 Health.
  • +1 Damage.

Huge

Huge creatures usually don't stand above 30 feet (9 meters) and can weigh several tons. Huge creatures generally have the following traits:
  • Reach with their melee attacks against smaller creatures.
  • +6 Health.
  • +2 Damage.

Colossal

Colossal creatures can stand above 50 feet (12 meters) and can weigh tens if not hundreds of tons. Colossal creatures generally have the following traits:
  • Reach with their melee attacks against smaller creatures.
  • +9 Health.
  • +3 Damage.

Enemy Defense

What sort of protection does your enemy has? Choose one:
  • Cloth or Flesh: 0 Armor.
  • Light armor, casing, or hide: +1 Armor.
  • Medium armor, casing, or hide: +2 Armor.
  • Heavy armor, casing, or hide: +3 Armor.
  • Magical or Power armor, casing, or hide: +4 Armor.
What can its armor protect it against? Choose all that apply:
  • It can stop bullets: +Ballistic.
  • It can stop energy weapons: +Energy.

Enemy Offense

How does the enemy usually attacks with? Choose all that apply for each form of attack:
  • It can make melee attacks: + Ranged (Close).
  • It's attack Keeps others at bay: +Reach.
  • It can make ranged attacks (bows, pistols, powers):  +Range (Near, Far, or Extreme).
  • It's attacks are vicious: +2 damage.
  • They can slice through rock: +1 Penetrating, +Messy.
  • They can slice through thick rock and metal: +2 Penetrating, +Messy.
  • They can slice through rock, metal, and high tech or magical armor: +3 Penetrating, +Messy.

Enemy Traits

What is the enemy best known for? Choose all that apply or make up your own.
  • Adaptable: It has useful adaptations like seeing in the dark, flying, or swimming. Choose as many as the role suggests.
  • Controller: It has a knack for crowd control. Write a special attack that helps it hinder its opponents.
  • Defender: When it defends an object or place, attackers have Disadvantage while trying to get through it.
  • Devious: It always has a trick up its sleeves.
  • Immunity: It is immune to one or more types of damage. Creatures with immunities are usually vulnerable to other types of damage.
  • Leader: It leads minions into battle. -3 Health. Write a special attack or trait that buffs its allies.
  • Multi-Attacker: It can make up to three attacks to the same target or distributed among many.
  • Powerful: +2 damage, +Forceful.
  • Rechargeable: It has a powerful attack. Write a special attack that has a chance to recharge each round when you roll a 4 or higher on a . The attack deals +3 damage of what the enemy is normally capable of or has a very strong effect.
  • Resistant: It is resistant to one or more types of damage.
  • Terrifying: It's mere presence sends its enemies into panic. Write a special attack to represent this.
  • Vigorous: +3 Health.
  • Vulnerable: It is vulnerable to one or more types of damage. Creatures with vulnerabilities are usually immune to other types of damage.
  • Wielder: It can manifest powers. Write one or two powers it can manifest.

Enemy Tactics

Next write a short paragraph explaining how the enemy behaves when it find itself in particular situations such as when another creature grabs what it is trying to protect, when it grabs a target, when it becomes wounded, or what it does when outnumbered.

Putting It All Together

Lets go through the process of making an enemy step by step. For this example, I want to make a robot that serves as the guardian of a facility. I want it to be large and bulky enough that it can take the entire party on its own. Now that I have my enemy concept, lets jump right into the creation process.

Enemy Name & Description

I have decided to call my enemy Juggernaut Defender, it is an imposing, self explaining name in my opinion.  The juggernaut will be in charge of protecting a large facility that the player characters will try to gain access to.

Enemy Role

Since I want it to be able to take an entire group of player characters, I will go with the Boss role. I am putting the two highest stats on Might and Willpower, the juggernaut is strong, has a well-encrypted computing system, and excellent surveillance equipment, but it is not that fast.  Might (7), Agility (5), Willpower (7). Its Health starts at 15, and gets a Wound when it reaches 7 of Health. It can have up to 4 special traits and up to 5 forms of attack. Its damage starts at +6 of the weapon's type. and effects that deal ongoing damage coming from it start at +4.

Enemy Size

My juggernaut is exactly 15 feet tall and weighs almost a ton, so, I will go with the Large size. My juggernaut gains the Reach property, a +3 Health which brings it up to 18, and deals +1 Damage, bringing it up to +7.

Enemy Defense

My juggernaut has really thick plates that protect from all sort of attacks, I'll give power armor type of protection, it +4 Armor, +Ballistic, +Energy. There isn't anything going through that armor.

Enemy Offense

I'll give it a melee attack that I will call Punch, written down as follows. Punch; +7 Crushing, Range (Close). A fist of that size can definitely go through stone, so I will give it the it can slice through rock option which gives it +1 Penetrating, +Messy. I will also give it a ranged attack I will cal Wrist Laser, written down as follows. Wrist Laser; +7 Energy, Range 
(close, near).

Enemy Traits

My enemy's role suggests it should have up to 4 traits so I will do my best to stick to that number. First, I think seeing in the dark is important for a guardian robot and also the ability to fly, for this reason I will give it Adaptable: Flight, Nightvision as special traits. Since it is a robot, I think it should be vulnerable to electricity (as seen in many comic, games, and movies). Thus, I add Vulnerabilities:  Shocking Damage.

Since I am only adding a vulnerability without adding any sort of resistance or immunity, I'll go ahead and give my robot a powerful area attack. I don't want it to use the attack every round so I will choose the Rechargeable special trait that lets me write a special attack that allows me to roll a die each round to see if the attack recharges. Lastly, since my robot is meant to take a group of heroes on its own and defend a place, I will add the Defender trait.

Tactics

This section allows me to write how my enemy behaves in specific situations, be it a series of short phrases or a couple of long ones. The point is to give me as the GM cues as to how I should play this enemy and find interesting ways to describe how my juggernaut goes about applying them in the battlefield. I have written the following tactics for my robot:
  • Blast a large group of opponent with Energy Blast before they scatter.
  • Grab the weakest opponent and crush it in its fist, dealing damage each round.
  • Use it’s Defender trait when one or multiple targets get close to the facility.

The Result

This is how my enemy looks like after adding everything together:


Apr 20, 2018

Apr 17, 2018

Chimera Playtest v2 - Sessions 1, 2, and 3.



Introduction

For this version of the playtest the group decided they wanted to play in a fantasy setting and after careful consideration among various options, the players decided to go for a "horror" campaign setting I had made years ago which mixed all the staples from horror films like vampires, werewolves, undead, mad scientists, and aberrant creatures from the far reaches of space. The setting is called Requiem: Chords of Terra, a  setting greatly influenced by Ravenloft and Innistrad.

I wrote an article about  it in a friend's blog a few years back which you can read here.

Before the game started the players went over the material I had for the setting and chose what region they came from and how did they end up working with The Keepers of the Watch. During ages past the Keepers were the protectors of mankind, now they are merely seen as protectors of roads (sounds familiar)?. Anyone seeking shelter will find it in any of the Keeper's towers scattered through out Terra. Stay for a day and they will provide shelter for free, stay more than a day and some coin will be expected, stay for a week and they will expect to be compensated by more than just coin. Mayhaps they will inflict on you a small favor such as delivering a letter to a certain town or to help them with their duties of assisting travelers and keeping roads generally safe.



cast

Belia (Guest star) - Female Human (Demon touched), Mad Scientist.
Ganzalt, The Musician - Male Human (Spirit touched), Arcane Wielder / Entertainer.
Odette Clementine - Female Human (Angel touched), Guardian.

Tibalt, The Good Hunter- Male Human (Pure blood), Hunter.



Session 1


The keepers instructed Ganzalt and Tibalt to accompany a caravan departing from their tower towards Eastwich. They went along with Baris which was the leader for this mission, Filipa which served as a field medic, and Nigel who aided Tibalt as a scout.

As they made the trek towards Eastwich, Tibalt spotted a toppled wagon on the side of the road. Ganzalt, Nigel, and Tibalt were sent to investigate and encountered a ghoul that had eaten the family the presumably owned the wagon. They took care of the undead creature with ease, only Nigel received a bite from the ghoul. After they informed Baris of what happened and a bag full of letters they found near the wagon he decided to make camp nearby and set up a perimeter using the wagons of the caravan while he went over the letters.

During the night while Ganzalt stood watch, two more ghouls attacked, the Keepers divided themselves as best as they could to handle the threat but one of the ghouls escaped Tibalt's grasp and managed to drag a small boy towards the darkness. Tibalt tried to follow the creature's track but it was too dark to follow and only the Angels knew if more ghouls were lurking in the dark. In the morning they tried to follow the tracks but they lost them once the ghoul changed directions. After the group returned Filipa informed everyone they would need to arrive to the town as soon as possible since Nigel's wound was not healing properly and so the caravan started moving again.

Along the way, Baris informed the other Keepers that the letter contained information that suggested there was something very strange happening in the village. Some letters spoke of an Inquisitor had taken over the village and was hanging people left and right. Inquisitors are a rare sight in Terra, specially in a small village such as Eastwich, fact that concerned everyone in the caravan.

Once they arrived they saw the so-called inquisitor executing 5 people under the excuse they were trying to undermine the Faith and of practicing witchcraft. Baris instructed Tibalt and Ganzalt to stay low until he, Filipa, and Nigel returned from requesting aid at the church and if two days passed and they didn't hear from them, they should assume the worst and leave as soon as possible to inform the Keepers.



SESSION 2

Ganzalt and Tibalt waited for a day and  when they saw no signs of their comrades, they decided to try and investigate. Their investigation proved fruitless but it had caught the attention of a member of the Brotherhood of the Seven who sought them out in their rooms.
There he mentioned of 20 o so villagers that have been hanged already and of his suspicion of the inquisitor. He urged the heroes to find a way inside the church and gather as much information as they could that would prove the Faith was up to no good so that the Brotherhood could confront them with solid evidence.

Ganzalt mentioned how there were companions of his inside the church to which the Brother suggested that he would create a distraction so the heroes could sneak in, get the info, and also check on their friends.


The Brother did as promised and Ganzalt and Tibalt found themselves inside the big old church. They snooped around until they found a room with an archive. Ganzalt decided to go through it as fast as he could to see if he could get any useful intil while Tibalt kept checking the other rooms.

Meanwhile inside the inquisitor's room, Belia had just woken up. She remembered that she was there delivering some packages when she went inside the church to request some info and then all went black. She found herself in a dark room, tied up, naked, and along what seemed the silhouette of a dozen or so people. She struggled to free herself from the bonds which caught the attention of the inquisitor who had been prepping 3 bodies he had on top of a table.

Before the inquisitor could react, Belia freed herself, moved to her gear, activated one of her scientific gadgets, strangled him, and finally slit his throat. She began to don her armor when Ganzalt and Tibalt entered the room. They spoke briefly and they noticed the 3 corpses on the table were now moving and it turned out to be their missing companions. Fearing the worst, Tibalt set the room on fire and decided to run for his life. Once outside the Brotherhood came to their aid and went inside to put down the fire (and the bodies) inside. It turns out the inquisitor was a transmuted alchemist who was using the cover to hang people and then use their bodies as experiments.

Now that the Brotherhood had access to the church they were able to kick the clergy from the Faith from the village. They thanked the heroes for their help and gave them a coin with the symbol of the Brotherhood which they could use to exchange a favor from the organization as long as it did not go against anything they believed in. 



SESSION 3

Its been weeks since Tibalt and Ganzalt returned to their tower post and had informed the captain of the events that transpired in Eastwich. However, the captain of the tower was concerned about Eris, a merchant that passed weekly through the tower to sell her goods that had in fact not passed in over two weeks.

Since Tibalt needed to buy some equipment, the captain sent him and his trusty companion to the city of Pathstow where they could get their stuff and also find out what happened to Eris. In the city the heroes went straight for the guild hall to gather some information. Unlike the other regions of the campaign, this one was mainly ruled by merchants rather than by the Faith which made the guild hall the best place to seek any sort of official word on important matters.

The heroes quickly learned that Eris was not the only merchant that was missing and that the merchant guild had a reward if any of the missing merchants were found. A representative of the guild suggested that they should  go to Waldfletch which was Eris' hometown and try their luck there. 

During the first night, they were approached by a group of around 5 men who politely asked for some food and warmth from the camp fire. Hesitant, Ganzalt and Tibalt agreed. As they ate, one of the group told them with a smile on his face that they were going to rob them but they had no intention of spilling any blood. The heroes exchanged glances and decided to part of their coins and avoid any unnecessary battles. 

After a few days of travel, the heroes reached Waldfletch but unlike the heavily guarded Pathstow, this town had no guards on the walls or manning the ballistas. They proceeded to climb over the wall using some climbing gear, Tibalt did it without any issues but Ganzalt was taking his sweet time to climb. While Tibalt waited for his companion, a creature crept behind him and took a bite, when Tibalt turned around it was one of the guards of the town but he was enraged as if he was possessed. Tibalt was able to deal with the guard without any issues while Ganzalt finished climbing over.

They made it into the town where they found the streets completely desolated and all the doors either barred or closed. After roaming a while through the town they encountered the town's church which was barred from outside. Tibalt decided to throw a rock at the door and see of more crazed people where inside (they were) which caused other crazed townsfolk to gather where they were. As they fought Tibalt noticed that someone was watching them through a window and decided to knock on the door. When the people inside saw they were capable of handling the possessed townsfolk they let them in.

A small family had been entrenched in the house for days and they were running low on food but decided to share some with the heroes regardless. As they ate, the family explained how it all started and that for some reason the big guns from the merchant's guild managed to leave minutes before everything started. After the heroes finished eating and licking their wounds, Tibalt  became invisible and went to snoop around the guild hall  to see what information he could gather while Ganzalt stayed with the family.

While searching the premises, Tibalt found Eris along two other merchants trying to fight their way inside the guild hall. They were trying to get to their merchandise and leave. In the process one of the merchant died and Tibalt convinced them to go meet up with Ganzalt in the cottage while he searched inside the hall.

Tibalt found a wagon loaded with heavy merch but there were no horses around to pull it so he decided to go through the guild's archives to try and gain some insight on what happened but there was no luck.

When he returned to the cottage they all spoke about what was happening. Eris told them that the last thing she remembers was that a group of strange men were having a heated discussion with the guild master and then a few minutes afterwards things started to go south.
During the days they had been trapped the only place Eris had not been able to take a look at was the church, so a plan was devised to enter the church.


While in front of the church, more crazed townsfolk appeared and attacked them which almost cost Tibalt's life. In the precise moment, Odette appeared and helped them out. Once the fight was over she introduced herself and showed them she was also part of the Keepers and like them, she was sent from another tower to see what was happening. They all concluded that the source of this possession needed to be found and destroyed and that it was most likely coming from within the church.

Since the church was sealed from the outside, they determined it would be best to climb all the way up to the bell tower and then descend from there. Tibalt and Odette were the first to to make the climb while Eris and Ganzalt struggled. Once on at the top Tibalt spotted a crazed member of the church who had yet to take notice of them, taking this advantage Tibalt became invisible and tried to restrain him but the crazed man proved to be stronger than him and both of them fell through the bell tower's center and landed in a room full of crazed townsfolk.

Tibalt immediately became invisible and dodged all the crazies while the rest of the group began to descend by using the stairs. Odette and the rest searched the first room and found a key they presumed it was to open the living quarters of the church. As they continued their descend they encountered a that the last set of stairs led directly where the large group of crazies were. Odette quickly moved to the front and blocked the way up using her tower shield while she took them out one by one. Ganzalt decided to use his powers to bend the earth around all the crazies and attack them all at once which proved to be very effective.

Once everything cleared and they rendezvoused with Tibalt they entered the living quarters. Inside Tibalt encountered the head lightchanter in his room. He had been in there for days sustaining itself with the scarce food he had and prayer. The head lightchanter explained what happened. The guild master put a lot of coins into building this particular church and underneath it, the Cult of Voracitas resided. He did not dare to enter and face the cult alone but since they were there, he gave Tibalt the blessing of the 7 and pointed them towards the entrance of the cult's lair.

As the heroes entered the lair they began to hear voices in their heads that whispered messages about humility and greed. As they moved forward they found a gate with an inscription written in Daemoni that read "The humble will strip bear and the greedy will show its power". The heroes did not make anything out of it and Tibalt decided to try and go in first. As he approached the gate he saw 7 cultists chanting around someone they had tied up which based on his clothing the only thing Tibalt could do was assume was the guild master.

When he crossed the threshold of the gate he heard a strong voice in his head that told him he was not humble and that greed would consume him, and then he lost control of his body and began to attack his companions but fortunately Odette was there and was able to halt his attacks until he came back to his senses. When he did, Ganzalt and him tried to get past the occultist to try and take out the leader before the finish whatever ritual they were making but it was too late, the ritual was done. The ground broke, swallowing the sacrifice and from the it emerged a tall, red skin demon with long limbs, and a golden mask over its face.


CONCLUSION 

So far the game has been too easy for the players and some revisions were made as to how Advantages and Focuses worked. Since they were rolling too many dice or had 1 to two successes already under their belt before they even attempted a roll, I decided to make the following changes:

Aiding or Interfeering
Any character can aid or interfere in what another character is trying to do. If a character aids another, the aided character has Advantage on their roll. If a character interferes with another, the interfered character has Disadvantage on their roll. When your character is trying to aid or interfere on another character, explain what your character is trying to do and how they do it, the GM will ask you to make a Roll using the appropriate Skill for the task (usually the same one the other player is rolling). For easy tasks you only need one success, for moderate tasks you need two successes, and for hard tasks you need 3 successes.
A character cannot aid another on a task they couldn't attempt on their own or if their help wouldn't be productive at all. For example, if a character is trying to pick a lock or is using a computer to try and hack a website, having someone over your shoulder trying to give you tips on what you should or shouldn't do while in a stressful situation would be more of a distraction than anything. It sounds more like interfering than actually helping.

Aiding vs Group Rolls
If at any point it becomes confusing if it should be a group roll or just aiding keep the following in mind. Group rolls are made when a task requires the overall success of everyone involved and everyone is collectively helping on another to achieve it. Aiding can be done when a task does not require more than one person to get involved in other for it to succeed but assistance can prove beneficial.


Aiding While Making Group Rolls
It is possible to provide aid to another character while you are also participating in achieving the task. You can choose to roll with Disadvantage to grant Advantage to another character involved.

Dice Pool
Is the number of dice that a player is allowed to roll to determine if their character succeeds or fails at a given  task. Your pool is determined mainly by the ranks in the appropriate attribute and skill for the task.
Example:


Maximum Dice Pool
As the characters gain XP they might get to the point where they are rolling a large number of dice. As a rule and to keep things simple, no dice poll can use more than six dice (6d6). Any additional dice added to your pool automatically counts as Advantage.
Example:


Exploding Dice
When you roll a die and it lands on a 6 it counts as a success,  it is rolled again and the next result is also added as a success or a miss depending on its result. If the rerolled die also comes up a 6, it is also added to the result and its rolled again until it lands on any number other than 6.
Example:

Advantage & Disadvantage
Advantage represents favorable conditions while a character takes action.Represents favorable conditions while a character takes action. Advantage lowers the number needed to land a success on all by 1, this means that if you need a 4 or a higher to get a success, you only need a 3. Multiple Advantages don't stack with one another. Advantage and Disadvantage cancel each other 1 for 1. An effect that would grant Advantage to a creature—other than a player character—against a player character, it grants Disadvantage to that player character instead.


Disadvantage Is the opposite of Advantage, it represents unfavorable conditions while a character takes action. he number needed to land a success on a increases by 1. This mean that if you normally needed a 4 or higher to land a success, you now need a 5. Multiple Disadvantages do not stack. Advantage and Disadvantage cancel each other 1 for 1. An effect that would grant Disadvantage to a creature—other than a player character—against a player character, it grants Advantage to that player character instead.