Wednesday, February 10, 2016

New BX/LL Character Class: Cavalier

As far as I know, no one's really taken the Unearthed Arcana stuff and converted it for BX/LL. So with that goal in mind, here's my take on the cavalier. I know that, at first glance, it seems pretty long (especially compared to some of my 1-pager character classes), but I promise, in my normal 2 column format (per most of the NBD books), it's only 1-1/2 pages.

Illustration by Walter Crane
(from The Faerie Queene by Edmumd Spenser).


The cavalier is the quintessential knight in shining armor. Most cavaliers belong to the upper social class or nobility of a society. The cavalier dedicates their life to the service of a higher authority, such as a noble or sovereign, deity, military or religious order, or a special cause. Theirs is a hereditary honor that comes with the price of lifelong service to their monarch, country, or other object or entity. The cavalier is expected to participate in any wars or other armed conflict in which their lord or cause is engaged. Cavaliers in service to other nobles often serve their master beyond the battlefield as well, performing such duties as their skills, and their noble lord, see fit. The cavalier often pursues such selfless goals as the eradication of evil and chaos from the world, and justice for all the subjects of his land. He can also be a bully and a braggart who uses his status and privileges to pursue only his own self-aggrandizement.

The prime requisite of a cavalier is Strength. Cavaliers with a Strength score of 13 or greater gain a bonus on earned experience points. Cavaliers use the same attack and saving throw tables as fighters. Because cavaliers have the support of their lords or orders, they begin twice as much money as standard character classes (6d6×10 gp, instead of 3d6×10 gp).

RESTRICTIONS: Cavaliers use eight-sided dice (d8) to determine their hit points. They may use any weapon, wear any type of armor except leather or padded (see “Armor” below), and may use a shield. Cavaliers are permitted those magic items normally permitted a fighter. A cavalier must have a minimum Charisma score of 9.


Weapon Proficiencies. As cavaliers rise in level, they receive a number of melee (“to hit”/damage) weapon-based bonuses as outlined below:

Horsemanship. Cavaliers are born and bred for the saddle. As such, they benefit from a number of horsemanship abilities, as outlined below:
At 1st Level: the cavalier is able to vault into the saddle and have the steed underway during the same round.

At 3rd Level: the cavalier is able to coax additional speed out of a steed, increasing its movement by 30'(10').

At 5th Level: a cavalier may ride a pegasus as a steed.

At 7th Level: a cavalier may ride a hippogriff as a steed.

At 9th Level: a cavalier may handle a griffon (or similar creature of lawful or neutral alignment) as a steed.
Cavaliers benefit from a number of other special abilities, including the following:
Fear Immunity. Cavaliers are immune to all fear effects (magical or otherwise).

Strong Will. There is a 90% chance that any attempt to control a cavalier magically or psionically (e.g., charm, domination, hold, hypnosis, possession, sleep, suggestion, etc.) will fail. If the resistance roll fails, saving throws are made normally by the attempt to control.

Charge. The charge of the cavalier is among the most devastating offensive weapons any culture can hope to field. When mounted and using a lance, the cavalier recieves a damage bonus equal to his or her level (e.g., a 5th level cavalier would receive a +5 damage bonus when using a lance while mounted).

Reputation. As a cavalier rises in level, the character’s reputation precedes them, providing them a bonus on all reaction rolls for all intelligent creatures with whom the cavalier is capable of speaking. For example, if the cavalier meets a goblin king who doesn’t speak common, and the cavalier is not capable of speaking goblin, then the reaction modifier does not apply to the roll.

Banner. Beginning at 7th level (as a Grand Knight), a cavalier’s banner becomes a symbol of inspiration to his allies and companions. As long as the cavalier’s banner remains clearly visible, all allies within 60' receive a +1 bonus on saving throws against fear; additional and all companions of the party (hirelings, henchmen, etc.) within that range receive a +1 bonus on morale checks. For each 3 additional levels, the bonus increases by +1 (i.e., +2 at 10th level, and +3 at 13th level). The banner must be large enough to be clearly seen from the 60' distance, and must be carried or displayed by the cavalier (or his mount) in order to function.
ARMOR: To a cavalier, armor is more than protection—it’s a badge of station. With appearance being just as (if not) more important than function, cavaliers will seek to own the best and most elaborate armor they can afford. Plate is the cavalier’s armor of choice, with lesser types of armor ranking increasing lower on the scale of desirability (with banded/splint next in line behind plate, then chain, then scale and ring mail). This succession of desirability for armor supercedes its protective abilities (e.g., a cavalier would rather wear standard plate armor than +3 chain mail). A cavalier may never wear leather or padded armor; being the dress of theives and commoners, such armor is below the cavalier’s station.

COAT OF ARMS: Every cavalier has a coat of arms and armorial bearing (a heraldry design depicted on a shield) which the cavalier wears in order to identify himself in tournaments and on the battlefield. While traveling, the cavalier’s armorial bearing may be hidden, but it must be revealed when an encounter occurs with intelligent creatures that might understand its importance (see “Banner” above).

CODE OF CONDUCT & ETHICS: Cavaliers are required to follow a code of conduct and ethics, or risk losing the prestige (and, to some degree, the abilities) provided by their class.
Serve a Person or Cause: Normally, this is a deity, a greater noble, an order of knighthood, or a similar cause.

Sustain the Knightly Virtues: In all actions, the cavalier must seek to sustain the following chivalric virtues: prowess, courage, honesty, loyalty, generosity, faith, courtesy, and franchise. Franchise is the virtue of practicing the other eight virtues without any though of profit or personal gain. It is the purest motive—selflessness in every action

Adhere to the Knight’s Code: Cavaliers fight not to defeat foes, but to prove their honor, demonstrate their prowess, and win renown. As stories rise from their deeds, they seek to lead by example, and encourage others to live righteous lives. The Knight’s Code, therefore, focuses on fair play; victories won through skill gain more glory than those achieved through chicanery. Any victory won that violates the following code will not earn experience points for the cavalier.
A cavalier never attacks from behind.

A cavalier never strikes a foe that has not prepared themselves for battle. (A cavalier may never attack during a round in which his party has surprise.)

A cavalier never attacks a helpless foe in a manner that will cause the foe hit point damage. A cavalier may, however, strike a foe as long as the damage imposed does not deal hit point damage (e.g., magical effects).

A cavalier of neutral or lawful alignment never uses poison against a foe.
STRONGHOLDS: Beginning at 6th, any cavalier with enough money may choose to build a manor house, but must hire any personnel required to manage it (especially in the cavalier’s absence). Even after the manor house has been constructed, the cavalier is still considered to be in the service of their lord or order. However, beginning at 9th level, a cavalier may petition their lord or order to establish their own lordship or order, respectively. Should this privilege be awarded (and assuming the cavalier has enough money) the cavalier may then build a stronghold (usually a village castle), which will attract additional settlers beyond those in the employ of the cavalier.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Free PDF Download: Exploration Time Tracker

So years ago, when I still worked for somebody else, and we had to keep track of all of our billable hours, I created a personal timesheet/ billable hours tracker. It let me record my time in quarter hour increments by client, so come time to enter my time into the computer for the week, it was all there in front of me and I could enter my data in record time.

So I had this idea the other day... why not create something like that to track light sources, magical effects, etc., in the dungeon. (I'm gearing up for a possible campaign where resource management will be pretty important).

Each circle represents 1 hour of time, divided into 6 turns (6 pieces of hour pie). Every turn, the DM fills in a 1/6 segment of the pie for whatever's necessary (each torch or lantern, residual magic effects, etc.). It takes only a few seconds of real time for the DM to track the resources, and tell the players when it's time to burn one from their inventory.

Click here to download a free PDF of the "Exploration Time Tracker" from MediaFire.

Monday, February 8, 2016

New Oe/1e/BX Monster: Brasghong

Today's new monster started as something Mike Badolato typed mistakingly during this past week's Tavern Chat. "Brasghong about FFG deals," he said. To which Matt Finch noted, "Brasghong? Good word." Then Mike explained it away, saying, "Fat fingers and a tablet, what can I say."

I still have no idea what Mike intended to type, but as the Tavern Chat continued, I sketched away, made some notes about abilities, and voila, the brasghong was born.


The brasghong (actually pronounced BRAH-fong, though often mispronounced BRASS-gong) is a deep dwelling creature that is fiercely territorial. It marks its area with an acrid, smoky-smelling scent; should any creature invade the perimeter set by the brasghong, it will not hesitate to attack. A brasghong will be receptive to sincere apologies for the intrusion, but only has a minimal understanding of deep speech (undercommon), and nothing else. The brasghong itself is not capable of speech, though it can make barking and whimpering sounds to express the most basic of intentions or emotions (sadness, aggression, fear, etc.).

The appearance of the brasghong is quite breathtaking—its flesh and skin are amber-colored, jelly-like, and translucent, allowing hints of its skeletal understructure to be seen. Its eyeless face features a prominent beak that is white in color, and the creature's tongue is a deep crimson red.

The brasghong is technically sightless (no eyes), but is capable of “sight” through an ability akin to radar. The brasghong sends out undulating waves from its body, and reads the “images” that bounce back. This makes the brasghong immune to all sight-based attacks and effects (e.g., gaze attacks, blinding light/darkness, illusions, etc.).

In combat, the brasghong can attack with its massive beak (which does 3d4 on a successful “to hit” roll) or its breath weapon (a 10'L×5'W cloud of chlorine gas that does damage equal to half its remaining hit points; save vs. breath weapon for half damage). During the same melee round, the brasghong may also attack with its tail (which does 2d6 points of damage on a successful “to hit” roll).

The gelatinous structure of the brasghong makes it resilient to any kind of attack except bladed weapons. Against blades, the brasghong’s AC is 5; against all other attacks, its AC is considered to be 0. Brasghongs are also immune to acid and gas, and take only half damage from electricity and fire.

Although native to the Prime Material Plane, brasghongs are often found in the outer plane of Nibiru (a plane riddled with noxious gases, streaked with chemical rivers, and laden with oceans of acid).

FREQUENCY: Very rare
MOVE: 9"
% IN LAIR: 35%
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 3-12/2-12
SIZE: L (8'-10' long)
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil

MOVE: 90'(30')
ATTACKS: 1 beak
or breath/1 tail
DAMAGE: 3-12 or special/2-12
NO. APPEARING: 1 (1-2)
SAVE AS: Dwarf:6

Monday, February 1, 2016

Free PDF Download! BX PC & NPC Record Cards (Business Card Sized)

I'm sure somebody has done this before, but I set up a set of BX Character Record Cards and BX NPC Record Cards to print on an Avery Laser Business Cards sheet. The only real difference between the two cards is that the NPC cards have a spot for Morale (as far as I'm concerned, the most important stat for an NPC that's joined the party of his/her own free will). They're set up so you can print the front, flip the paper and use the same file for printing the back (or use the other file, and get 5 out of each type from the same sheet).

CHARACTER RECORD CARDS PDF: Click here to download.

NPC RECORD CARDS PDF: Click here to download.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Basic Psionics: Additional Treasure Types

In looking at some developing/adding some new psionic monsters to the mix (especially with an eye towards what kind of psionic adventure I might run at NTRPGCon), I was considering the addition of some new treasure types to the B/X mix. Any feedback on these is appreciated.

W: as “A” but with 30% chance of any 3 psionic items (replacing chance of magic items)

X: as “C” but with additional 10% chance of any 2 psionic items (in addition to chance of magic)

Y: as “I” but with 15% chance of any 1 psionic item (replacing chance of magic item)

Z: all coins and magic items as “Nil”, with 50% chance of 1-4 power stones

Don't forget the Basic Psionics items are now available in print! >>

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Basic Psionic Items Now Available in Print!

The Basic Psionics Handbook and Vault of the Faceless Giants are now both available in print through the NBD Storefront (U.S. purchasers only) and through (for worldwide purchasers, including the U.S.)

(US Addresses Only)

In addition to the books being available individually, the NBD Storefront has an exclusive bundle that includes both books, a BXΨ sticker, and a BXΨ button. Additionally, the version of Vault of the Faceless Giants available through the storefront has a separated cover (not stapled to rest of book) with a retro-blue map inside the cover. Purchases through the NBD Storefront include PDF copies fulfilled through RPGNow to the email address you use when purchasing. (Please note there is no international purchase/shipping option from the NBD Storefront at this time.)

If you live outside the U.S., or are looking to bundle purchases of these books with others, or you're using a coupon code, both books can be purchased at If you email a copy of your Lulu receipt (showing items purchased) to, I will do my best to send complimentary PDF copies of these purchases (fulfilled through RPGNow).(Please note the is unable to print on the inside covers of paperback books, so the map for Vault of the Faceless Gods appears across the center spread of the book in B&W).

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Temple of the Rats: Background Information

The Temple of the Rats was originally constructed in the name of the ancient goddess Inaenu (pron. in-NAY-new)—a goddess of fire and war whose followers and cults have long since disappeared. (The original name of the temple has also long been forgotten, for it was not “the Temple of the Rats”).

It is held that the temple was once a place of great dignity, for the followers of Inaenu were stout warriors who feared little and killed many in her name. These warriors met their undoing, however, when they faced the armies of an evil leader known as “The Red Lord.” The Red Lord enlisted the aid of a powerful wizard who spread a fog of fear over the battlefield. The followers of Inaenu deserted the battle and came running back to the temple.

Such a sin against Inaenu was punishable by death. She chose to spare their lives, however, but turned them into rats, and offered the temple as a future place to stay. They expressed their gratitude and pledged their undying allegiance to Inaenu. The goddess had no need of such cowards among her followers, so she left the temple to the abandon of its residents and it fell into disrepair.

It was no wonder that Dabothuda, the demon prince of rats took the temple under his watch. And so, it became of place of evil. A fair number of adventurers have tried to rid the temple of its evil, but it is said that many of them were turned into wererats and now call the temple their home.

In recent weeks, there has been a growing number of wererat raids on local villages near the temple. Given that so many of the villagers are being wounded by the wererats (and becoming lycanthropes themselves), it is likely that the creatures are growing in number and the temple is the center of this growing problem.

(demon prince of rats and wererats)
Titles: Lord of Secret & Hidden Places, Master of the Wandering Mind, Destroyer of Obstacles

HIT DICE: 12 (66 hp)
MOVE: 180'(60')
ATTACKS: 2 claws/1 bite
DAMAGE: 2-12/2-12/2-12+disease
NO. APPEARING: 1 (unique)
SAVE AS: Dwarf:12
TREASURE TYPE: 5,000,000 cp

PSIONIC ABILITIES (see the Basic Psionics Handbook)
Attack modes: ego whip, id insinuation, mind thrust, psionic blast, psychic crush
Defense modes: intellect fortress, mental barrier, mind blank, thought shield, tower of iron will
Psychometabolism: D) complete healing; S) cell adjustment, chameleon ability
Clairsentience: D) aura sight, catacognition, hypercognition, precognition, psionic divination, psionic true seeing* (always on), sensitivy to psionic impressions; S) 360° vision* (always on), clairvoyance, danger sense, detection of good/evil, detection of magic* (always on), know direction, know location, piercing vision* (see below)
Psychokinesis: S) control light, control sound
Telepathy: S) mind link* (wererats only), D) animal telepathy* (rats and wererats only), conceal thoughts
Psychoportative: D) probability travel

Dabothuda, the demon prince of rats, resides on the 15th level of the Abyss—Choohon, a writhing and tunneled place of ruin populated by vermin of all types, but which is particular rife with rodents. It is rumored that Dabothuda keeps as many as 500 different lairs, each of which contains a chest holding 10,000 cp, and all of which are nearly impossible to find.

Dabothuda has two different forms, either of which he may assume at will: 1) a giant black rat that walks erect, or 2) a massive black wererat (both forms stand approximately 10' tall). In either form, Dabothuda’s claw and bite attacks do the same damage. On any successful bite attack, Dabothuda’s victim must save vs. paralysis or contract lycanthropy; unless cured, human victims will become a wererat in 2d12 days, and non-humans will die.

In either form, and in lieu of a physical attack, Dabothuda may opt to use a psionic ability or attack. Additionally, once per day, Dabothuda may summon up to 8 wererats to serve him.

Dabouthuda is always surrounding by a sphere of darkness that extends to a radius of 15'. This darkness may not be dispelled by any magical or psionic means, nor may a light of any type (normal, magical, psionic or otherwise) even penetrate it. Additionally, the darkness effect negates all special vision abilities (e.g., infravision and ultravision), except for darkvision. Dabothuda, however, possesses a unique clairsentient minor devotion known as piercing vision; this ability allows Dabothuda to see in under any light condition to 120', as if there was no impediment whatsoever (including the interior of his own sphere of darkness). This ability is always on and costs no PSPs to use. Additionally, Dabothuda possesses the clairsentient major science psionic true seeing to a range of 120'; this ability is always on and costs no PSPs to use.

Dabothuda is immune to poison, disease, and cold, and takes only half damage from acid, electricity, fire and gas. A magical weapon of +1 or greater is required "to hit" him, but Dabothuda is affected normally by iron weapons, silver weapons and magic missiles.