#RPG 5e D&D Monster – Glazarn

sewer-monster-800x480Glazarn are small, clammy, humanoid creatures that live in total darkness, deep underground. They are as translucent as glass and barely visible under any normal circumstances. They live in the icy waters of underground pools and lakes, feeding on the blind, white cave creatures that live in similar places. They have no culture, no language and operate on pure instinct despite their humanoid appearance and attack as a pack, their prey seeming to be suddenly assaulted by dozens of bites out of nowhere.

Other underground dwellers loathe these creatures and exterminate them on ‘sight’, but their spores seep through the rock strata and find icy black pools wherever they can, spawning new ‘tribes’ of Glazarn wherever they can take root.

They are always hungry and will eat anything they can find, silent apart from the tearing of flesh and the crack of bone.

Glazarn

Small Humanoid (glazarn), neutral evil.

Armour Class: 11
Hit Points: 9 (2d8)
Speed: 15 ft., swim 50 ft.

Str: 10 (+0) Dex: 14 (+2) Con: 11 (+0) Int: 5 (-3) Wis: 16 (+3) Cha: 5 (-3)

Skills: Stealth +4
Senses: Passive Perception 13, tremorsense 60 ft, Blindsight 60 ft.
Languages: None.
Challenge: 1/4 (50 xp)

Amphibious: The glazarn can hold its breath – essentially indefinitely – underwater.

Glass Skin: The glazarn are virtually invisible without needing the assistance of magic. Their skin and organs are virtually see-thru. Rather than the invisibility bonus it gains +2 to AC and to attack against enemies that can’t detect it, as well as ignoring any bonus they get to their AC from their Dexterity. Painting or otherwise marking a glazarn negates this ability.

Low Level Telepathy: Glazarn can communicate telepathically and can sense intent, they cannot be surprised or ambushed and always know when enemies are around – even if they can’t necessarily see them or target them.

Unique Ability: Glazarn packs exist in closed off caves and are usually only encountered when those caves are newly discovered or excavated into. Their spore can travel through cracks in the rock to find new pools, but different packs evolve along different lines with unique abilities such as venomous bites and so on. The Gamesmaster is encouraged to be creative and to steal an ability from another creature in the Monster Manual.

Resistance: Cold.

Vulnerability: Radiant, Fire.

Actions
Bite: Melee Weapon Attack +2 to hit, reach 5ft, one target, hit 3 (1d6) slashing damage.

fangs_by_vederant-d5l5qwv.pngSuggested Unique Abilities
Ambusher: (See Kenku)
Claws (additional attack, indentical to bite).
Constrict: (See Constrictor Snake)
Fetid Cloud: (See Dretch)
Natural Armour: +2 AC.
Nimble Escape: (See Goblin)
Pack Tactics: (See Kobold)
Slippery: (See Kuo-Toa)
Venom: DC11, choose a poison effect you like – paralysis is a good fit.

#RPG – Powder Monkeys RELEASED! SCHLOCKTOBERFEST

BUY IT HERE

Adventure gaming ideas have moved on a great deal. Our concept of what’s acceptable in fantasy has moved on from the medieval period more into the renaissance and restoration eras. That means firearms, which have often been eschewed in traditional fantasy for one reason or another, but in many ways firearms make a great deal of sense. Magic has already affected the changes that firearms did in the real world, reducing the effectiveness of armour and fortification, allowing ships to project force at great distance – even from off shore.

Like crossbows supplanting longbows, firearms democratised firepower. They didn’t require a huge amount of skill – despite being more technical and fiddly in many ways – and a man could be armed and fire en masse with other to devastating effect very swiftly.

Besides, guns are just fucking cool. Loud noises, clouds of smoke, devastating musketballs, the potential for new kinds of magic and explosives.

The mistake that seems to occur in a lot of games is making the guns too powerful, too close to modernity. Guns start to stop being appropriate to fantasy once you get to revolvers (discounting the Barsoomian influence) and the best balance seems to be guns no more advanced than those found in the sixteen and seventeenth centuries.

Rough as Toast
‘Rough as Toast’ is my imprint for ‘cheap and nasty’ products. Things that are a bit more experimental, silly or ‘hit and miss’ where a lot of money can’t be spent or risked on a bit of an ‘out there’ idea. If you see that marker, you know you’re getting something a little ‘whacky’ or uncertain, but you will probably get some fun out of it.
Schlocktoberfest
The Pulps were churned out at a massive rate of knots. Strange and silly ideas thrown at the wall to see what stuck. Occasionally some of those ideas turned out to have legs – legs that are still carrying them nearly a hundred years later. My intent with Schlocktoberfest (prevously just a sale some years back) is to just throw a bunch of monsters, ideas and other bits and pieces at the ‘wall’ and see what sticks. Maybe something will.

#RPG – Fifth Fantasy: The Brock RELEASED!

A whole new race for you to use in your 5e games.

The Brock are a reclusive, grumpy people with a pragmatic and dogged mindset. Fierce warriors they protect the forests and occasionally venture out into civilisation – usually to be disapproving.

This is a whole new race and culture for you to add into your games and comes with a set of Brock-centred magic items to use as well.

Enjoy!

 BUY IT HERE

#RPG – The Cathedral of Misogyny RELEASED!

CoverthumbBuy it HERE

There’s a long history of ‘silly’ adventures in tabletop gaming. Even professional modules were often replete with puns, nonsense and other silliness. Some of the most iconic monsters and strange things in Dungeons and Dragons started out as jokes, in-jokes, or silly improvisations and this is something that has become a little lost in more modern times.

This adventure was prepared as an introductory adventure for a new player, hosted in an online session over Google Hangouts (isn’t modern technology wonderful?) As such, it’s full of bad jokes, puns and nonsense relating to online culture and the culture of computer gaming – which they were more familiar with. Still, you may enjoy it and if nothing else it may inspire you to include a little silliness – and some more pop culture references – in your own games.

The Cathedral of Misogyny
The Cathedral of Misogyny is a reference to 4chan. It was intended as a hyperbolic insult to that imageboard but – of course – everyone just thought it was hilarious and embraced it. As a reference to 4chan, it’s a perfect vehicle for re-purposing memes (in many ways the modern equivalent of puns) and using fantasy to make fun of our modern lives and situations. There are, of course, many people who will have no sense of humour about this sort of thing. That’s fine, they can be miserable. I, however, think that there is a great deal of value in laughing both at ourselves and at others – and that’s what this is for. With an irreverent group that can get into the right mood, this should present a great evening or two of fun.

Rough as Toast
‘Rough as Toast’ in this instance indicates a new line of low budget products that are kind of designed to be throwaway ideas, disposable content, silly experiments and so on. They’re not made to such a high standard as normal, but should still be fun. Also cheap.

#RPG Fifth Fantasy: The Chancer – A gambling character class for 5e RELEASED!

gamblerBUY HERE

There are gamblers of all kinds across the many worlds, but a Chancer is something different. Lady Luck is not a god, she is something more and less, though she is embodied by and in many gods. Sometimes she reaches out and touches people with her blessing. For every unlucky person whose life is one of ruin and endless misfortune, there are others with blessed and lucky lives, raised or damned by her fickle favour.

Chancers are gamblers who have been touched by The Lady. Their abilities can be random and unpredictable, but their luck, itself, is predictable. Things tend to go right for them, not always, but often enough to make them, and those around them, supernaturally fortunate.

This book also contains gambling rules, magic items and equipment.

Having a Chancer in your party can easily mean the difference between success and failure and if you’re relying on luck, they’re essential.

Chancers are assets, making things easier not just for themselves but for everyone around them. The randomness of some of their special abilities can disrupt and disorder an otherwise ordered battlefield, usually to your benefit, sometimes to your detriment. They’re good in social situations and can raise money quickly, since they’re far more likely to win games of chance or bluff than anyone else. The trouble with that of course is that it makes enemies who don’t like being cheated.

Fifth Fantasy is intended to be a short series of alternative character classes, which are supposed to emulate the kinds of characters and roles found in classic JRPG and Anime games. As such they are most suited to high-magic games, and games which play up to the style of anime, manga and Japanese computer games.

No world is explicitly described, but the character class books will also contain magical items and some background material that will build an implicit setting – which may be detailed in the future.

You can keep up with Grim and Postmortem Studios in various ways…

Blog: https://postmortemstudios.wordpress.com/
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And should you feel so inclined, you can support my work regularly with a Patreon donation. https://www.patreon.com/grimachu

(Sort of) Review: 5e D&D Player’s Handbook

10390393_10152396043581071_7602083816466343216_nHere’s your capsule review of 5e.

There’s nothing particularly new here except an optional, mild nod towards developments in Indie-Gaming over the last 20 years or so in the form of ‘inspiration’. That is rewarding good roleplay, or at least roleplaying according to your character’s personality and background – with mechanical benefits in game, rather than just in terms of experience points. That’s a small, but significant, update to the game in my opinion.

Otherwise there’s nothing particularly new here, the game is a sort of ‘greatest hits’ or a remix in many ways. 3e and 4e were emach radical departures for D&D with 3e arguably being the better modernisation of the two, 5e is much more retro.

On the good side multiclassing doesn’t suck like it did in 4e and ‘build optimisation’ isn’t as broken or as big of a deal (yet) as it was.

On the minus side, the Feats instead of Ability Bonuses thing makes you make a very, very hard choice and removes a degree of character individuality. Also the skill system blows goats, reducing it to a binary yes/no and a level dependent bonus (proficiency) making it more akin to non-weapon proficiencies from back in the day.

The game’s solid and, probably, the right move in the current market.

The presentation is where it kind of gets confusing. I’ll get into some of that a bit later, but it definitely lacks a definitive look and feel of the kind that 3e and 4e had. It’s all a bit… brown, wishy-washy, insipid and uninspiring. The best bits, the bits that actually catch the attention or make you want to play are the few illustrations that are outside the bounds of the Social Justice influence, the huge-ass dragon on page 171 and the little humour-filled B&W sketches for things like the condition effects (which even include some same sex dwarf/tentacle action).

Score
Style: 3/5 (Especially halflings and gnomes. Dude… wtf?!?)
Substance: 5/5
Overall: 4/5

So, into the post-script, because nobody REALLY needs another review of 5e. The ‘meta level’ discussion has been about some of the consultant’s presumed biases (spoiler: they’re not bigots) and the paragraph on gender. This all taking place as part of a much broader discussion about media representations (primarily of women and racial minorities).

This has obviously had a rather big influence on the art direction in 5e and while I have described the art as weak, uninspiring and insipid (and brown) I don’t think this is down to the pressure to diversify the depictions. While it’s true that the illustrations that are less ‘inoffensive’ tend to have a bit more animation and fun to them, the relative variety of ages, body-types and races is well handled and doesn’t feel like tokenism – which is always my big worry when people get into this.

I’d have liked to see more stylistic and sexy illustrations – especially as I like playing sexy male characters when I RP – but that’s a matter of personal taste and I’ll take the hit. Diversity is a good thing, but it needs to make sense in the context in which it is presented and assuming Forgotten Realms is the default, there’s nothing that sticks out like a sore thumb in this.

Besides, the black fighter guy is fucking badass.

Anyway, I made a decidedly unscientific survey of the images in the PHB, breaking it down some, along with my observations. I was looking at visible characters in the pieces, ignoring monsters, basically going on what I noticed, rather than poring over every page with a magnifying glass. Still, here’s the results:

Significant Male Illustrations Vs Significant Female Illustrations

MvF

Significant Illustrations by Race

Note that some illustrations were hard to tell and I gave them the benefit of the doubt. East Asian, Middle Eastern and African style illustrations were present but South Asian and Hispanic style illustrations were largely absent. Normally I’d hate to conflate PoC into one big thing, but it wasn’t especially useful with the sample size here to break it down more. ‘Green etc’ is to cover all the fantasy races with abnormal colours – such as drow and orcs.

racial

Titillation Index

The proportion of images that were, IMO, even mildly titillating or ‘impractical’ versus the number that weren’t. This is very subjective so I had to make a category for ones that weren’t – quite – either. Your opinion may fall either side of the spectrum on that.

Sexy

So what does all this mean, if anything?

D&D 5e has clearly catered – to a degree – to the small by vocal crowd who have been causing ructions. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on your perspective. I like diversity, but have worried about it being done ‘just because’. 5e handles it about as well as we can expect I think, having the added bonus of not really being tied to any explicit setting as, say, something like Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Middle Earth or Game of Thrones would be. This gives D&D a bit more wiggle-room than a lot of settings to include diversity without shattering suspension of disbelief.

Not every game has that going for it and while D&D has handled it well the overall presentation isn’t that inspiring and since writing the review section of this post my opinion was swished the other way. Given that the better illustrations with more interest, inspiration and panache ARE the ‘sexier’ ones, perhaps the ability to excite and engage an audience has been sapped a little by this concern.

D&D always sells well, relatively speaking (even 4e) so it’s not a great benchmark for the rest the industry. It will, however, now be cited whenever someone wants to try and influence art direction in another project so the best I can suggest is wary, cautious optimism.

4e – Dharvi

goblin_thief_by_paulabrams-d3c8ahvSo I’m running another 4e game – weirdly – for a few people over G+.

They’re kinda-sorta n00bs, which is good because it means there are very few preconceptions and I can fuck with the rules as need be without anyone rules-lawyering me.

We have a half-elf thief with an untapped sorcerer bloodline that gives her a little wild/chaos magic and a mean streak.

We have a half-wild Eladrin ranger who isn’t quite at home in the city.

We have a huge dragonborn with an even huger warhammer and a stereotypical tendency to apply violence as a universal solution.

We also have a crippled, grossly fat dwarven warlock who is conveyed around on her giant beetle mount.

Dharvi – the world I’ve made up for this – is a chaotic world, a patchwork of chaos and weirdness that survives after an apocalyptic magical war over the last century. The walled cities and other defended settlements are islands of security enforced by a powerful Church dedicated to order – not that there aren’t other religions, it’s just that a religion of order and security has obvious appeal in a world overrun by monsters.

Previously only vaguely aware of each other our ‘heroes’ were called together by Grik, the goblin crimelord of the southern part of the city of Marat’s literal and figurative underworld. Marat is ruled strictly by the church but the poor and the unsavoury hide from their gaze in the upper levels of the mines that riddle the desert badlands in which Marat sits.

Grik had been double crossed by Silk, a smuggler and another crimelord who had promised to cut him in on a deal and had reneged. What happened? Well…

***

Silk, the lizardman smuggler who runs much of the northern section of Marat’s subterranean slums, suffered a massive setback as one of his main stashes of alchemical supplies and trading goods were destroyed after the warehouse was broken into and two of his guards were mercilessly slaughtered – one with unnatural magicks.

In completely unrelated news a swarm of acid-drooling rats burst out of a sewerage tunnel in the same area and devoured a dozen homeless and beggars before they were incinerated by an enterprising lamp-oil salesman.

Silk has placed a 500gp bounty on the people who did this to him but witnesses could only describe a _’fat, deformed little witch riding a beetle’_.

This must surely stand out.

4e