Monday, September 15, 2014

4 New BX/LL Character Classes: Brutes
("Type B" Intelligent Animal")

Brutes are animals known mainly for their unadulterated strength. This does not necessarily mean they are lummoxes. In fact, some brutes are known for their deep compassion, understanding, and even intelligence. It is their strength, however, that makes them formiddable combatants and adventurers. The intelligent and anthropomorphic variety of the animals classes that make up the brutes are generally smaller than the standard varieties of those animals.

The strengths of brutes exceeds the normal human scale. Therefore, the following conversion chart is to be used when creating a brute character, based on the starting Strength score rolled (Rolled Strength Score). Brutes with a Final Strength score of 19 or above run the risk of accidentally smashing a door to pieces if the brute succeeds in forcing it open.

Rolled Strength ScoreFinal Strength Score"To Hit" RollsDamage RollsForce Doors OpenDamage Doors*
1318+3+3+3
1419+3+4+410%
1520+4+5+520%
1621+4+6+640%
1722+5+7+760%
1823+5+8+880%
* Represents the chance to accidentally smash a door
into pieces based on a successful roll to force a door open.


BEARS

The prime requisite for a bear is Strength. Bears with a Final Strength score of 20 or greater will gain a +10% bonus to earned experience points.

RESTRICTIONS: Bears determine their hit points using ten-sided dice (d10). They may advance to a maximum of 8th level of experience. Bears may use any type of weapon, any type of armor, and may use shields, but the costs of these items is 150% their normal cost. A bear character must have a minimum Constitution score of 9.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Bears make their attacks and save as fighters of the same level, and may use the same magic items permitted to fighters.

Bears may attack bare-handed, doing 1d4 plus their Strength bonus for each hand on successful “to hit” rolls for each hand. If both hand attacks are successful, and the opponent is human-sized or smaller, the bear may choose to automatically “bear hug” its opponent for an additional 2d8 points of damage (no Strength bonus is applied to the bear hug).

Level Title Exp. Points Hit Dice
1 Bear Veteran 0 1d10+1*
2 Bear Warrior 2,300 2d10+2*
3 Bear Swordmaster 4,600 3d10+3*
4 Bear Hero 9,000 4d10+4*
5 Bear Swashbuckler 18,000 5d10+5*
6 Bear Myrmidon 37,000 6d10+6*
7 Bear Champion 75,000 7d10+7*
8 Bear Superhero 150,000 8d10+8*
* In addition to Constitution adjustments.

BULLS

The prime requisite for a bull is Strength. Bulls with a Final Strength score of 20 or greater will gain a +10% bonus to earned experience points.

RESTRICTIONS: Bulls determine their hit points using ten-sided dice (d10). They may advance to a maximum of 8th level of experience. Bulls may use any type of weapon, any type of armor, and may use shields, but the costs of these items is 150% their normal cost. A bull character must have a minimum Constitution score of 9.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Bulls make their attacks and saves as dwarves of the same level, and may use the same magic items permitted to dwarves.

In battle, instead of using a weapon, bulls may choose to make a gore attack against an opponent with their horns, doing 2d4 (plus any applicable damage bonus from Strength) on a successful “to hit” roll. Bulls possess a special ability known as “battle focus” which permits them an additional attack bonus based on the number of opponents. If the bull and his party are outnumbered by their opponents, the bull receives a “to hit” bonus based on the number of active opponents beyond the total members of the bull’s party as outlined below (opponents which are unconscious or incapacitated do not count toward total):

Opponent’s AdvantageBull’s “To Hit” Bonus
1 party member+1
2 party members+2
or more party members+3

In lieu of making any other attack for the round, a bull may choose to charge its opponents and trample them. To do so, the bull must charge straight forward. If the bull is able to make its full movement, all creatures caught in the bull’s path (even friendly cratures) must save vs. paralysis or take 2d8 points of damage (no Strength bonus applies). If the bull cannot (or does not) take its full movement for the round, then those caught in its path only take 1d8 points of damage on the failed saving throw.

Level Title Exp. Points Hit Dice
1 Bull Veteran 0 1d10+1*
2 Bull Warrior 2,300 2d10+2*
3 Bull Swordmaster 4,600 3d10+3*
4 Bull Hero 9,000 4d10+4*
5 Bull Swashbuckler 18,000 5d10+5*
6 Bull Myrmidon 37,000 6d10+6*
7 Bull Champion 75,000 7d10+7*
8 Bull Superhero 150,000 8d10+8*
* In addition to Constitution adjustments.

RHINOS

The prime requisite for a rhino is Strength. Rhinos with a Final Strength score of 21 or greater will gain a +10% bonus to earned experience points.

RESTRICTIONS: Rhinos determine their hit points using ten-sided dice (d10). They may advance to a maximum of 8th level of experience. Rhinos may use any type of weapon, any type of armor, and may use shields, but the costs of these items is 200% their normal cost. A rhino character must have a minimum Constitution score of 9.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Rhinos makes their attacks and saves as fighters of the same level, and may use the same magic items permitted to fighters.

In battle, instead of using a weapon, rhinos may choose to gore at an opponent with their horn, doing 2d4 (plus any applicable bonus from Strenth) on a successful “to hit” roll.

Level Title Exp. Points Hit Dice
1 Rhino Veteran 0 1d10+2*
2 Rhino Warrior 2,500 2d10+4*
3 Rhino Swordmaster 5,000 3d10+6*
4 Rhino Hero 10,000 4d10+8*
5 Rhino Swashbuckler 20,000 5d10+10*
6 Rhino Myrmidon 40,000 6d10+12*
7 Rhino Champion 80,000 7d10+14*
8 Rhino Superhero 160,000 8d10+16*
* In addition to Constitution adjustments.

ELEPHANTS

The prime requisites for an elephant are Strength and Intelligence. Elephants with a Final Strength score of 21 or greater and an Intellgence score of 13 or greater will gain a +5% bonus to earned experience points. Elephants with a Final Strength score of 21 or greater and an Intelligence score of 15 or greater will gain a +10% bonus to earned experience points.
RESTRICTIONS: Elephants determine their hit points using twelve-sided dice (d10). They may advance to a maximum of 6th level of experience. Elephants may use any type of weapon, any type of armor, and may use shields, but the costs of these items is 300% their normal cost. An elephant character must have a minimum Intelligence score of 9.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Elephants makes their attacks and saves as elves of the same level, but may only use the same magic items permitted to fighters.

Any elephant that attempts to force open a door that is of normal size runs the risk of becoming lodged in the doorway. If the attempt results in the elephant smashing the door, there is a like chance the elephant will become stuck in the doorway, taking 24 rounds to dislodge it, minus 3 rounds for each person assisting (to a maximum of 7 people helping, or a mimum of 1 round to dislodge the elephant).

In battle, instead of using a weapon, elephants may choose to gore at an opponent with their tusks, doing 2d6 (plus any applicable bonus from Strenth) on a successful “to hit” roll. Additionally, elephants may use their trunk to make a trumpeting blare that acts as a horn of blasting. The number of times a day they may use this ability is based on their level.

Finally, elephants possess an ability called “perfect recall.” This provides an elephant a chance of remember full details of an creature, small area, or thing, based on the amount of time the elephant spent studying it. A “focused study” is considered to be at least 1 uninterupted turn spent doing nothing else, a “casual study” is considered to be at least 3 rounds doing nothing else, and a “casual observance” is considered be any view of the subject, even while engaged in other activities (including combat). Any failed perfect recall roll results in the elephant remembering only general details (which may or may not be of use).

Chance for Perfect Recall
LevelTrumpeting Blare
Uses per Day
Casual
Observance
Casual
Study
Focused
Study
115%50%95%
2110%60%96%
3220%70%97%
4230%80%%98%
1340%90%99%
1350%99%100%

Level Title Exp. Points Hit Dice
1 Elephant Veteran 0 1d12+2*
2 Elephant Warrior 3,000 2d12+4*
3 Elephant Swordmaster 6,000 3d12+6*
4 Elephant Hero 12,000 4d12+8*
5 Elephant Swashbuckler 24,000 5d12+10*
6 Elephant Myrmidon 50,000 6d12+12*
* In addition to Constitution adjustments.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Updated List of Monsters for the Basic Psionics Handbook

Here's the updated list of monsters I will be including in BX psionics book, which I've given the new tentative title of Basic Psionics Handbook. The final page count is looking to be 52 pages, 14 of which will be just the monster listings.

Aboleth
Astral Gish (OGL Githyanki)
Baku
Beetle, Giant Thresher * A
Brain Mole
Cerebral Parasite
Couatl
Gray Ooze, Psionic B
Hollyphant
Intellect Devourer
Intellect Seeker (OGL Ustilagor)
Ki-rin
Limbo Gish (OGL Githzerai)
Mind Hunter *
Mind Thresher C (OGL Mind Flayer)
Neothelid
Nightmander * D
Opinicus
Psi-Bat *
Rhino, White (Wooly) E
Shedu, Lesser
Shedu, Greater
Su-monster
Thought Eater
Titan
Youree *
Wan-Ti (OGL Yuan Ti)
Yellow Mold Colony B
Zlod (OGL Slaad)
Zowl F

* Oe/1e psionic creatures I've already created for the Creature Compendium
(but will adjust slightly for this specific use)

FF/MM2 Creatures I originally considered dropping, but have decided to include.

A This creature will still be called a "giant flayer beetle" in the creature compendium,
but for consistency sake, will appear in the psionics book with the "thresher" name.

B So named to separate them from their standard BX versions
(even though the Oe/1e versions are already psionic).

C There will no longer be separate entries for the mind thresher noble (OGL ulitharid)
or mind thresher royal (8-tentacled version). Instead, they will be notes at the bottom
of the mind thresher listing.

D The version currently slated for the Creature Compendium is not psionic.
I have added psionic abilities here, but am unsure if I will port those back over to the
Creature Compendium or not.

E Steve Marsh (the forefather of D&D psionics) always wanted the wooly rhinos in
the Expert rules to be intelligent (an idea mocked by Erol Otus), so I intend to honor
this intention by including a psionic version in this book. I've already reached out to
Mr. Marsh to get his input on the abilities I intend for them.

F A new creature I've created just for this addition. I'm unsure if I will
port it over to the Creature Compendium or not.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

New BX/LL Character Class: Bonobos
("Type B" Intelligent Animal")

Sorry it took me a while to get this final ape class written up. I was really struggling with how to make it unique from the others, but feel like I ended up at an interesting place... a "cleric/magic-user" (in the form of a shaman).

Bonobos

Level Title Exp. Points Hit Dice
1 Bonobo Soothsayer 0 1d4
2 Bonobo Wangateur 4,000 2d4
3 Bonobo Augurer 8,000 3d4
4 Bonobo Mender 16,000 4d4
5 Bonobo Enchanter 32,000 5d4
6 Bonobo Mali 64,000 6d4
7 Bonobo Mundunugu 125,000 7d4
8 Bonobo Sangoma 250,000 8d4
* Constitution adjustments no longer apply

Bonobos (a.k.a. “pygmy chimpanzees”) are more independent than their chimpanzee cousins. They are not so much inquisitive as introspective, and practice a form of animistic shamanism.

The prime requisites for bonobos are Intelligence and Wisdom. Bonobos with Intelligence and Wisdom scores of 13 or greater will gain a +5% bonus to earned experience points. Bonobos with a Wisdom score of at least 13 and an Intelligence score of 16 or greater, will gain a +10% bonus to earned experience points.

RESTRICTIONS: Bonobos determine their hit points using four-sided dice (d4) They may advance to a maximum of 8th level of experience. They may not wear armor or use shields, and may only use a club as a weapon. A bonobo character may not have a strength score higher than 15.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Bonobos fight and save as magic-users of the same level, but may use any magic item permitted to either clerics or magic users. Bonobos gain spells as magic-user of the same level, but may choose spells from both the cleric and magic-user spell lists. They are able to use spells as a cleric (so they need not memorize them as a magic-user). Bonobos are able to climb trees as a thief of the same level. Like other apes, bonobos are able to swing through trees at a rate equal to their standard movement, and may hang from trees by their arms and use their feet attack and defend with -1 “to hit” and +1 AC penalties (respectively). In addition to common, bonobos speak the language of apes, and utilize a secret form of sign language understood only by other apes (including gibbons).

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

BX Psionics System Odds 'n Ends

Just a few things in progress...

1. A Sample Monster Stat Block
I really worked to make this take as little space as possible, and list only the truly pertinent information (in the BX spirit). If you want to see the working list of monsters I'm aiming for, check out yesterday's post. BTW, the limbo raider is going to be my attempt at an OGL githzerai.




2. Alternate Discipline Acquisition Models
I've really tried to honor a statement Steve Marsh made in an email responding to some questions I posed him about his original intentions for the mystic class (prior to psionics inclusion in Eldritch Wizardry, "Major powers correspond to the chachras and the traditional powers so that each character had a consistent core." Normally, in my system, mystics may attain the first five chakras in any order, and only after attaining the first five can the sixth (third eye) chakra be known. I'm including 2 alternate systems for the acquisition of the various disciplines. The first (FIGURE A) still allows the mystic to choose any of the five basic chakras first, but (upon reaching the appropriate levels) may only learn additional disciplines which are directly connected to a discipline already known. Again, after attaining all five, he or she may then know the third eye chakra. The second alternate system (FIGURE B) is a strict adherence to "chakra building block" concept... start with the most basic (root) chakra, then "build up" from there. In this case, the 6 chakras are attained in a very strict hierarchy.




3. Other General Notes

a) I'm including wild psionics in an appendix. I don't really like the idea of them, but am making them available for DMs who do.

b) I'm including an appendix section with general information on the 7th (crown) chakra. I see these as abilities related to attaining divinity, which makes them generally too high level for my conception of BX D&D. In general, I imagine the abilities accessed by the crown chakra will feel similar to abilities from the BECMI Immortal rules (e.g., the creation and changing of matter, energy, thought, and time).

c) The mystic class, abilities listing/descriptions, and psionic combat information are coming in around 28-29 pages. With all of the intended appendix information, the book will come in between 44 and 48 pages (trying to keep it to 44, if possible).

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

List of Monsters for my BX Psionics Book

Here's the current "wish list" of monsters
I intend to rework/include/write up for my BX psionics book...


Aboleth
Astral Raider (OGL Githyanki)
Baku
Beetle, Giant Flayer*
Brain Mole
Cerebral Parasite
Couatl
Duergar
Hollyphant
Intellect Devourer
Limbo Raider (OGL Githzerai)
Mind Hunter*
Mind Thresher (OGL illithid)
Mind Thresher Noble (OGL ulitharids)
Mind Thresher Royal (8-tentacled version of OGL illithid)
Neothelid
Opinicus
Psi-Bat*
Rhino, White (Wooly)
Shedu
Shedu, Greater
Su-monster
Thought Eater
Ustilagor
Youree*
Yuan Ti

* Oe/1e psionic creatures I've already created
for the Creature Compendium
(but will adjust slightly for this specific use)

FF Creatures I'm seriously considering
dropping from the list.

(BTW, the inclusion of even the barest version of the
list above puts the page count to at least 44 pages.
If do the full list, it could easily end up as 52 pages.)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Further Consideration on my BX Psionics System

The other day, via a Google+ thread, Matthew Skail asked why I was opting for a random psionic strength point (PSP) gain with leveling, and that the other classes don't do that. For those who haven't been keeping up with the earlier posts, I was treating PSP gain like hit dice, with the die type rolled based on the character's Wisdom score (a reminder/note that, in my system, Intelligence is the defensive psionic attribute, and Wisdom is the offensive one). Honestly, I was originally trying to capture the randomness of psionics in Oe/1e. But, upon consideration of MS's comment, I realized he's right. Thieves don't, upon reaching a new level, randomly determined their increased chance to move silently. So I went back to the drawing board... BUT, I did so with another key point in mind — I wanted to make sure that as the mystic gains levels and PSPs, the DM can easily figure out what kind/strength of psionic creatures to pit him/her against. The following chart is where I've landed.

The basic formula for PSPs gained at each level is 10+(levelx2).

The PSP bonus at each level from WIS is based on the following:
WIS 13-15 = +2 PSPs/level
WIS 16-17 = +4 PSPs/level
WIS 18 = +6 PSPs/level

This puts a 7th-8th level PC on relative par with a shedu (9+9 HD, 70-100 PSPs, performs at the 9th level of mastery).

This puts an 8th or 9th level PC with a WIS of 18 on a relative par with a psionically "low-end" mind flayer (8+4 HD, 241-340 PSPs, performs at the 7th level of mastery).

As always, I'm sure there will be more to come.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Answers to some of your questions concerningmy BX Psionics System andMystic Class

After my post yesterday, many of you had some good questions that you shared via comments on a couple of different G+ posts. So I've decided to address them here, today, so everyone can see the answers (and the questions).

What about the crown chakra?
I really debated this during the development of my chakra-discipline concept. My feeling was that the first six chakras coincided rather seamlessly with the 6 established psionic disciplines. I have not included the crown as of this moment, but here's my general thinking regarding the 7th (crown) chakra... the powers granted through knowledge of the 7th chakra will be part and parcel of the pathway to becoming immortal (and therefore, are not accessible by most mortal creatures). Will I ever flesh out this "immortal pathway for mystics"? Shakes Magic 8-ball... "Ask again later." For now, it will likely be a reference to the idea and concept of a 7th (crown) chakra, but without mechanics.

Will it support wild psionics?
They way I see it, any system will support wild psionics, because they're wild (and, therefore, outside the context of standard rules). The real question is, "Should it support wild psionics?" My simple answer to that question is, "No, because it goes against the simplicity that I love about BX D&D." To me, wild psionics are like feats and player options... if I wanted them, I'd use 2e. Now, that being said, there will likely be an appendix for determining wild psionic abilities, because I think a lot of DMs would like to include them. Besides, how much space could it take to say, "If your INT and WIS are this, and your class is this, and you roll this on table I, then roll on table II and... BAM! You've got a wild psionic power."

Where does it fit, powerwise between 1st (wild and all over the place) and 2nd edition (too few points to accomplish much of anything compared to even low level casters)?
This is where I think I've really hit the sweet spot... a nice balance between the two. Mystics gain abilities over time (like spellcasters), accessing different types and grades of abilities as they grow in experience level. The Psionic Strength Point (PSP) cost for powers are much more "value-oriented" than 2e (meaning, the PSP costs are generally more reasonable, there are little-to-no "maintenance" costs, and the duration of many of the abilities are more akin to Oe and 1e than the terribly stripped back 2e versions). The real key to the system is the determination of PSPs, which is treated similarly to determining hit points (with the die being used determined by the mystic's WIS score)—a mechanic which is generally more liberal with PSPs than 2e, unless you have a really low WIS score (in which case you have no business choosing to be a mystic anyway).

And now answers to a couple of questions you haven't asked yet, but are bound to...

Why is Mental Class (MC) based on Intelligence rather than Wisdom?
In some contexts, I could definitely see Wisdom related to concepts like Willpower, and using WIS to determine MC might make sense. However, I began by looking deeply at why saving throws vs. psionic attacks in Oe/1e were based on Intelligence*. My take on this is that the concept of "awareness" is related to Intelligence (the ability to "note" things, to me, is a function of knowledge... "knowing what"; this is "reactive" function related to comprehension). Wisdom, by comparison, is more a function of "knowing why" (a "proactive" function which relates to focus and devotion). So in the case of noting a mental attack, it is more important to know "what" (i.e., "an attack") and be reactive, then to know "why" ("because the person attacking you has psionic ability") and be proactive. Therefore, in this system, INT affects defense (reaction) against mental attacks, while WIS affects accuracy and damage (proaction) with mental attacks. (I well expect that many of you will see these two concepts as exactly opposite the way I see them.)

* It's worthy to note the first appearance of the Intelligence-based psionic saving throw dates to the introduction of the Mind Flayer in Strategic Review #1 in the Spring of 1975; this is approximately the same time the mystic class was suggested to EGG by Steve Marsh for the inclusion in Blackmoor; the mystic was ultimately not included in Blackmoor, and psionics was made available to "everyone" except elves in Eldritch Wizardry; I have no confirmation the INT-based save came from Mr. Marsh, and instead assume it was EGG's invention; but I will look for some clarification on this from Mr. Marsh. in the near future.

How can the psionic combat system be "optional"?
Simple. Steve Marsh's original mystic class didn't have psionic combat (just psionic abilities; they were akin to sub-continental Indian cleric). Gary Gygax was working on the "devines" in order to have a psionic combat class. Tim Kask cut and pasted the two into one big kludgey system for Eldritch Wizardry. So... you can obviously have psionic abilities without needing psionic combat... UNLESS you're coming up against psionic monsters (especially psionic monsters from other editions that have psionic attack and defense modes), THEN you need psionic combat. The system I've developed for psionic combat is much simplified from 1e (and more akin to 2e), but easily allows DMs to take existing psionic monsters and use them in a BX game. (This is one of those little things I'm very proud of... a "conversion" system to port monsters in from Oe and 1e.)