Curse of the Crimson Throne, Session 1

Mr. Terrel's Game(Gaming?) Lounge, the former BGC, now plays host to our weekly games, and last night was the first session of Taylor's Pathfinder game, in which we're playing through the Curse of the Crimson Throne adventure path.

In it, I play "The Magpie," a killer-for-hire that has just recently started to make a name for myself. I'm known not only for the bird-like doctor's mask I wear, but also because of my calling card...the removal of a body part from my victims.

My character's identity created a somewhat funny incident when the group first met, when Richie's Barbarian, Jasper, asked if he and Josh's Ranger, whom I can't remember the name of currently, were invited there for me to kill them.

In fact, we had all been invited to a location to discuss getting revenge on a person that had plagued each of our lives. Here, a gypsy type woman explained to us we had the chance to deal with this Gaeren person, thus exacting our vengeance, while at the same time helping her avenge her son's death.

Though she offered no material incentive to perform this act, she did guarantee that anything we could scrape from Gaeren's illicit gains would be ours, then she gave us the location of a warehouse he controls and did a Harrow (tarot) reading on us and sent us on our way.

There, we bungled a break-in and found a minor bit of combat, in which I was knocked out in the second stage of, but which my Ranger and Barbarian companions finished up efficiently.

There, we left off, but hopefully my partners in crime won't just leave me for the guard to find the next day.

At the beginning of the adventure, each character is given a Harrow card and directions to the place where you meet the gypsy on the back. While I find this to be a nice little hook, it felt somewhat flat because it relies heavily on the agreement of the players to further the game. With a more immature group, I could see things being derailed right from the start due to the shakiness of the hook and how they tie in with the first couple of scenes.

Those points, above, are really the only ones I have so far against the adventure. Everything else that "went wrong," as it were, was mostly due to some inexperience in the other two players, and my misjudgement of how well they would prepare for the adventure. I should have taken up some slack, but I assumed that my pals would. A mistake I hope to remedy, should I live long enough to acquire more gold.


Funky Charts V: Those Of A "Secret" Nature

The first four charts I posted were two of the hand-written originals, (posted here and here,) and two typed revisions of the Rangers & Warriors chart and Cleric & Paladin charts, subsequently posted here and here, respectively.

Now, there might be a slight bit of confusion here, as I have been referring to another chart as the proper one for Rangers, but that's simply because I feel that the chart that mentions Barbarians in the header seems to more closely match the original Rangers & Warriors chart than this one, but perhaps not so much as far as abilities are concerned.

Special Abilities Chart For Thieves, Monks, Ninja, Highwaymen, Corsairs, Assassins, Traders, Slavers, Rangers, And All Of Those With A More Or Less "Secret" Nature
Natural locksmith, work at 2 levels above normal for these abilities.
02-03:  +1 with daggers, knives, etc., -1 with all non-edged weapons.

04-05:  +2 Dexterity, but -3 vs. all attacks by oozes/slimes, etc.

06-07:  +1 with all sabers/scimitars, cutlasses and the like, -1 with spears, etc..
08-09:  Good liar (+5 Chr: when so doing), -3 vs. cold..
10:  +1 with rapiers/foils, etc., -2 with all other weapons.
11-12:  Flesh tastes bad to monsters (50% chance of being "spit out").

13-14:  Woodsman, +1 to Dex:, +3 with all missile weapons, hide (20% in trees).

15-16:  Circus trained, +3 Dex:, add 15% to climbing ability.

17-18:  Arrogant, -4 Chr:, but +1 save vs. magical spells.

19-20:  +1 with throwing knives and garrote, -2 vs. poison and venoms.

21-25:  Conceited, -2 Chr:, but +2 vs. clerical magic.

26-30:  5% ability to hide in shadows and darkness over and above normal.

31-32:  50% better vision (and night sight), and +2 hearing, but -1 Dex:, Elf blood.

33-34:  Dragon friend (can naturally speak both high and low dragonish), 1 lang..

35-36:  +1 to all (except Wis: and Int:) stats, but also +2 vs. all missiles.

37-38:  Roll twice on this table, ignoring this number and -1 vs. fire.

39-40:  -1 from all (except Dex:) stats, but also +2 vs. all missiles.

41-45:  Quick learner, add 20% to all points earned after each expedition.

46-50:  +1 with longswords and spears, but -1 with all missile weapons.

51-55:  Heal at +1 point per die healed, but -3 vs. all cold or fire
56-60:  Poor liar (-4 Chr: when so doing), but +3 with a sling.

61-65:  +2 with shortswords, +1 with all knives, etc., but -1 with all axes.
66-70:  Bump of direction (60% accurate), and weather predictor (50%).
71-75:  Master herbalist (always detect poison and make it 1 die per level).

76-80:  Can naturally "sense" the value of all goods/treasure, etc. (50% accurate).

81-82:  +2 Con: +2 save vs. poison, 60% identify.

83-84:  +1 to Chr: generally, +4 vs. opposite sex, sexually aggressive.

85-86:  +2 at detecting traps and secret doors but -3 vs. all missiles.

87-88:  Natural ability to use magic at 2 levels below own level.

89-90:  Roll twice on any table(s) desired, ignoring this number.

91:  You're a natural in your role, start at the second level, advance 20% faster.

92:  +1 with all swords, -1 with all other weapons, and -2 vs. fear.  (not

93:  Religious fanatic (like the thugee) and will work only for your faith./thieves

94:  Natural linguist (add 10 spoken langs., can read all others).

95:  +1 vs. all cursed scrolls or other items, -2 vs. poisons.

96:  Extremely greedy (75% chance you will try to steal all items of value).

97:  Can naturally sense all illusions and magic 50% of the time.
98:  Have a musical nature, progress as a Singer/Bard 3 levels below normal.
99:  Illiterate (can only speak your alignment and type languages).
100:  Sired by a vampire father and a normal female, you have the ability to withstand all undead life drains and paralysis, and in fact they will normally take you for one of them and leave you alone, however your Chr: is subsequently never above 9, and you have and aversion to all clerical types and to fire retreating 50% of the time. You are a loner and shun all but one or two close friends, and go out only at night, but your night vision makes that easy. Poison and venoms only do 1/2 damage to you and you naturally regenerate 1 point per hour (with all the restrictions of trolls).

For the most part, things were starting to look even better, typographically, until the underline monster showed up.

 The astute will likely quickly pick up on the fact that the numbering goes awry at 02. There are two entries with this number, and I wonder what would happen if either of these had been rolled. In the spirit of fairness, I feel like Paul would likely have let someone choose which they wanted, or maybe have went to another percentile roll 50/50.

Something else that I can't puzzle out are the tails of 92 & 93. These could be a continuation of 91, which might make sense, I suppose, but seems odd, given the power behind such an ability. Any other reason for them being there, I certainly can't puzzle out, as 92's makes no sense at all, and 93's seems to imply that you can work for thieves, but that seems oddly open-ended for such a declaration of character.

Again, reference has been made to the use of kits, but as I said earlier, I can't recall significance behind them. Maybe we had just become enamored with kits at the time of the revision.

33-34 is also of note for mentioning "high and low dragonish," as that also implies something about the campaign, but I don't remember any adventures focusing on dragons.

I'm certain there are more charts, and I plan to post them if and when I find them, but I certainly hope you've enjoyed the charts, even if you only give them a once-over for entertainment value. 

By the way, for those of you who didn't get the joke at the end of the last post, it's a reference to the supergroup, "The Highwaymen," that featured Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, and Johnny Cash as members.

Funky Charts IV: Second Draft Of Cleric Abilities

The first three charts I posted were two of the hand-written originals and a typed revision of the Rangers & Warriors chart I originally posted here.The other two, the original Clerics & Paladins chart, and the revised Warrior charts can be found here and here, respectively.

As I've stated before, I believe that we used all the charts together, which could really have made those "roll on all charts" results insanely powerful (as if they wouldn't be already,) or funnily redundant.

Special Abilities Chart For Clerics Of All Types, Bards, Singers, Witch Hunters, Paladins And All Of A More Religious Than Magical Nature
01-02:  Mountain man, +2 to Str:, or Dex:. Climb as a 1st level thief.
03-04:  Good horseman (buy them for 20% less), ride 20% farther per day, camels hate you.
05-06:  Sickly + anemic, -2 off character stats., can't be "hasted".
07-08:  Natural linguist (+5 extra languages to speak, read others).
09-10:  Cure competent, +2 vs. all undead lifr drains+paralyzation.
11-12:  +2 Wisdom. +1 Strength, but -3 vs. all dragon "breaths."
13-14:  +3 save vs. all cursed scrolls, but -3 save vs. all elementals.
15-19:  Golem competent, +4 Con:, -3 vs. all non-clerical magic.
20:  Bump of direction (50% accurate), but clutzy, -5 Dex:.
21-25:  +3 with all non-edged weapons, but -3 defending against those types.
26-30:  Good with animals (25% chance of becoming "friends"), -2 vs. cold.
31-32:  50% better eyesight (night vision also), but 50% worse hearing. (see as elf, can't hear through doors.)
33-34:  Flesh tastes bad to monsters (65% chance of being "spit out").
35-36:  Chronic insomnia, -5 Chr:, but +5 save to sleep spells, etc..
37-38:  Dragon friend, can speak naturally 1 language.
39-40:  Clerical magic incompetent (-2 off all heals, spells, etc.) +1 with mail.
41-45:  Healing competent (+2 to all point totals per die healed).
46-50:  +2 vs. all "stoning." -2 vs. all poisons and venoms.
51-55:  Natural locksmith (ability for a thief of picking locks, etc.).
56-60:  Desert born, +3 to Con: and ability to find water (50%).61-66:  Natural ability to sense evil (95% accurate) and possession (75%).
67-68:  Ability to smell poison (90% accurate), but -3 vs. "stoning."
69-70:  Dodge well, +2 to Dex:, with +1 vs. missles also.
71-75:  -3 vs. all undead life draining and paralysis, but +2 vs. fire.
76-80:  Natural ability to memorize one spell per level more than normal.
81-82:  +3 with quarterstaff and cudgel, but -2 with all other weapons.
83-84:  Dispel and negation spell competent, -1 vs. all missle attacks.
85-86:  +2 save vs. all fear and confusion, but -2 off Int:.
87-88:  Hates all animals (and they can sense it so will attack 65% of the time)..
89-90:  +2 save vs. all clerical spells, -2 vs. all dragon spells.
91-92:  Keen sense of smell (65% chance of identifying any spoor).
93-95:  Extremely pious, +4 to Wis: and +4 vs. all undead attacks. Must give 35% of wealth to church.
96:  Clerical spell competent (all spells, and elf friend (see mage list #98)).
97:  Clerical paladin status, start at second level (you get all they get).
98:  You have just been defrocked for murder, so you are now an anti-cleric, evil.
99:  You are blessed by your god (+2 save vs. everything).
100:  +3 to your Int:, Wis: and Chr:, for you have become a singing evangelist, with all of the abilities of a singer (or bard), and you will disdain the use of all armor and weapons, except staves, quarterstaves and the like, nor will you ever aspire to riches, giving away all over 500 G.S. in amount.

Some of the usual typing and grammatical errors have eased up from the last chart I did, but there are some odd pieces in there, still.

I am really confused as to the disparity of like-named abilities looking at other charts. One would think it would make more sense for the "Mountain man" ability to give the same benefits, no matter if you are a Cleric or a Barbarian, but I'm keen on diversity so it doesn't bother me. There's a big difference between someone who grew up in the Smokies and someone who lives in the Rockies, after all.

Something unique about all of these charts are that there seems to be an unspoken familiarity of terms. (i.e., X-friend.) It seems that what was meant to be conveyed by being a friend of a race, using the example, is assumed, and it likely was something that we all knew...though it's something I either never knew or have forgotten.

Also of note is that Singer and Witch Hunter are kits, and not base classes. I can't say I recall anything, specifically, about Paul's games that made these classes significant, but then...I was new to the game and had "kewl" characters.

As an afterthought, I have no idea what the "S" in "G.S." (#100) means, though I assume it was the standard gold coin in our campaign.

Next: Willie, Waylon, and Kris!

Funky Charts III: Second Draft of Warrior Abilities

The first two charts I posted were two of the hand-written originals. The next three I have are typed (with a typewriter!) refinements, though if I remember correctly, we used all of them in the games, not just one or the other. Sixteen years makes for some muddied memories, but I'm almost certain about this.

These are the revised tables of the second chart I posted, here. You can also see the original Clerics & Paladins chart here.

Special Abilities Chart For All Warrior Types and Barbarians Or Those Of A Similar Nature
01-02:  -1 with longswords, -2 vs. cold and disease.
03-04:  +1 with shortswords, -1 vs. all magical attacks (even clerical).
05-06:  +1 with all axes, -3 vs. all dragon "breath".
07-08:  +1 with spears and all pole arms, -2 vs. all missle attacks.
09-10:  +1 with scimitars, etc., -3 vs. "stoning" and paralysis.
11-12:  +1 with maces and flails, +2 Con; but -3 vs. sleep and charm spells.
13-14:  +1 with morningstars, whips, bolas and slings, -2 with all swords.
15-16:  +2 Constitution, +2 poison, +2 disease.
17-18:  +1 with all crossbows, javelins, and throwing darts, but -1 vs. cold.
19-20:  +1 with all knives, etc., but -1 with all other weapons.
21-25:  Mountain Man, +3 to Strength or Constitution, climb like a thief.
26-30:  Woodsman, +1 with all bows, 20% hide in trees, etc., +2 Agility and Dexterity.
31-32:  Bad Liar (-5 Chr: when doing so) but +4 Charisma to opposite sex.
33-34:  Natural Locksmith, pick lock like a 1st level thief, but -2 vs. poison.
35-36:  +2 resistant to all undead attacks, but -2 to all missile attacks.
37-38:  Ex-seafarer, who cannot be drowned even in full armor(you take it off).
39-40:  Flesh tastes bad to monsters(75% chance they'll "spit you out").
41-42:  50% better vision and hearing and ability to see in the dark as an elf.
43-44:  Desert born, +3 Con; and can find water 55% of the time.
45-49:  Good horseman, can buy them for 20% less but camels hate you.
50:  +2 vs all magical spells only, but -3 vs. all breath weapons.
51-55:  Religious fanatic, -4 Chr: and an inability to work with "pagans".
56-60:  +1 with trident and -1 with all other weapons
61-65:  A coward, -3 save vs. fear Roll on all charts. (the latter ability is penciled in)
66-70:  Stupidly brave, even greater demons don't scare you, -5 Wis, +5 save vs. fear.
71-72:  Dragon friend, +2 save vs. all dragon attacks (50% chance of talking).
73-74:  Elf friend (they'll never attack you first), you speak their language.
75-76:  50% get lost, +1 saves.
77-78:  +1 with any one weapon type.
79-80:  -6 chance of figuring out anything mechanical, -2 Int:, +1 with hammers.
81-82:  Your one desire is to form a secret society, +5 Charisma.
83-84:  Easily falls in love, opposite sex gets +8 Chr: vs. you.
85-86:  Taught by a true weaponsmaster, get +1 with weapons (DM choice).
87-88:  Bump of direction60% accurate, and weather predictor (60% chance).
89-90:  Born to kill, you truly savor it, -2 Chr:, 25% go berserk.
91-92:  Born of normal mother and efreet father, you are 50% fireproof (+4 save magical fire).
93-94:  Hates dragons (90% attack on sight), so are +2 when attacking them.
**95:  You are a secret were-creature, roll to see what kind.
**96:  You were sired by an unknown demon, +2 to stats and saves.
97:  You have the natural ability of "true sight."
98:  You are a natural warrior, +1 to all of your physical attacks.
99:  You hate mages, add +1 to all magical saves, you kill mages.
100:  You're a young giant (roll to see what kind), are 7'10" tall, weigh 498 lbs., have max. normal Str: are 3+2 dice and will go up a level (you are 1st level even though you are 3+2 dice), every 25,000 pnts. earned as a warrior (that means going up 1 hit die also), until you reach the max. size. After that you add one hit point/25,000. And as you grow in levels you grow in size until properly built. -3 Chr:

** this indicates that there is a 98% chance you will be chaotic, and 50% chance of being evil; but also very secret.

Again, I won't be held accountable for the grammatical errors within. I'm merely copying directly. Some of the underlining and use of parentheses confuses me, and the colons after every stat abbreviation have me scratching my head, as well.

As for the actual content of the charts, most of it is a direct port of the earlier Rangers & Warriors chart, some having minor tweaks (like 45-49: Good horseman), and some new abilities altogether.

100 could be really fun, but how do you determine the rate of growth or when a giant is fully grown? I assume that would be left up to the DM, depending on how high of level they might expect their characters to go.

Next: Clerics, Bards, and Witch Hunters, oh my!


Funky Charts II: More Special Abilities For D&D Characters

This is the second in a group of five charts that the first game group I ever joined used. It's unclear to me why I have them now, as I never have used them (as far as I remember,) and my luck with them when I played was atrocious.

Though it may seem that my grammar and formatting is atrocious, I'm reproducing the charts as originally written, to preserve the spirit of their use in those past games.


Rangers & Warriors Special Ability Chart
01  -1 with longswords, -2 vs. cold and disease
02-03  +1 with shortswords, -1 vs. all magical attacks
04-05  +1 with all axes, -3 vs. dragon's breath
06-07  +1 with spears and polearms, -2 vs. all missle attacks
08-09  +2 with scimitars, -1 vs. stoning and paralysis
10  +1 with maces and flails, +2 Con, -3 vs. sleep and charm spells
11-12  +1 with morning stars, whips, bolas, and slings but -1 with all swords
13-14  +2 Con, +2 vs. poison + disease
15-16  +1 with all crossbows, javelins, and darts, but -2 vs. cold
17-18  +1 with smallthrowing weapons, -1 with all other weapons
19-20  Mountain Man, +3 to Con or Str, 20% hide in trees, Climb walls 45%
21-25  Woodsman, +2 with bows, 20% hide in trees, +2 Dex
26-30  Bad liar, -5 Cha when lying, but +4 Cha with opposite sex
31-32  Natural locksmith, +35% open locks, -2 vs. poison
33-34  +2 resistance to all undead attacks, but -2 vs. all missile attacks
35-36  Ex-seafarer, can't drown even in full armor
37-38  Flesh tastes bad, 75% they spit out or not bite again
39-40  +50% vision + hearing, night vision
41-45  Good horse man, camels hate you
46-50  +2 vs. mage spells, -2 vs. breath weapons
51-55  Roll once on each chart, 20% chance mutant
56-60  Stupidly brave, greater demons don't scare you, -5 Wis, +5 save vs. fear
61-65  Dragon friend, +2 save vs. all dragon attacks (same alignment 50% will talk)
66-70  Elf friend, they'll never attack first, speak a Elvish dialect
71-75  +1 with weapon of your choice (I actually remember this being the best thing I ever rolled)
76-80  Can't figure out anything mechanical, -2 Int, +1 with hammers (F/R traps -40%)
81-82  Desire to form a secret society, +5 Cha
83-84  Easily fall in love, opposite sex gets +8 Cha vs. you
85-86  Taught by a true weapons master. +10 weapon proficiencies
87-88  Bump of direction (60%) and weather predictor (60%)
89-90  Born to kill, -2 Cha, 25% to berserk
91  Efreet father, you are 50% fireproof, +4 to magical fire saves
92  Hate dragons, 90% attack on sight, +2 to attack
93  You are a secret werecreature (DM's choice)
94  You are a Cambion (MM2, pg 37); d6 1-4 Major, 5 Baron, 6 Marquis
95  Natural "True Sight" ability
96  Total non-believer in magic +5 to all saves (I remember having this ability on another character)
97  Natural AC of 4 due to hard skin, -4 Cha
98  Bronze Dragon Father, immune to electricity, can speak with animals and breathe water
99  Good learner, +30% to experience points, +2 Int, +10 proficiencies
100  Roll twice on all charts

Some of the ones here on the Ranger & Warriors chart are nerfed compared to the Clerics & Paladins chart abilities of the same name, but others are vastly overpowered, comparatively.

Like I noted, I remember having rolled both 71-75 and 96 on different characters, but I can't recall what characters. I think the one with 96 was a Dwarf...

Next: A slight change in the charts!


Funky Charts I: Cleric and Paladin Special Abilities

Sorting through some old character sheets and other game junk, I stumbled across some charts that were entrusted to me by Paul when I started to DM my own D&D games back in '97. I remember being wowed by the fact that practically anything could happen in-game when I saw my friends roll on these charts. Paul was always keen in our earliest games to have everyone roll a heirloom item from the magic item charts. If you rolled 100 on your first percentile roll, then you went to the Special Ability chart for your class. Sadly, the dice never fell in my favor (hence me saying "watched my friends roll on these charts.)

Here, I'm reproducing the first of the charts, and I will post the other four in short order (most likely after the weekend.)

Though this has no bearing on the post, it does solidify something for me that I had suspected, but didn't quite remember correctly: I only recently realized that our first games were run out of Rules Compendium, before we made the shift to 2nd Edition. Like I said, just an odd train of thought...now, ON TO THE CHART!

Clerics & Paladins Special Ability Chart
01-02 Mountain Man, +2 to Str or Dex; Climbing 45%
03 Good Horseman, buy and ride 20% less and further; camels hate you
04-05 Sickly, -2 off Str, Dex, Con, and Cha; can't be Hasted
06-07 Natural Linguist, +5 languages' proficient read & write
08-09 All cure spells cure at max; +2 vs. all undead attacks
10 +2 Wis, +1 Str, -1 vs. breath weapons
11-12 +3 vs. cursed scrolls, -3 vs. elementals
13-14 Golem competent, +4 Con, -3 vs. all non-Clerical magic
15-16 +5 Str, -5 Dex
17-18 +3 with all non-edged weapons; -3 vs. trolls
19-20 Good with animalsm, 25% become friends; -2 vs. cold
21-25 Night vision, sight 50% better; hearing 50% worse
26-30 Animals hate you and can sense it 65% of the time
31-32 Chronic insomnia, -5 Cha; +5 vs. sleep spells
33-34 Dragon friend, can speak to your alignment of dragon
35-36 Flesh tastes bad, 65% spit out or not bite again
37-38 Clerical magic incompetent, -2 to all heal spells
39-40 Healing competent, +2 on all heals
41-45 +2 vs all stonings, -2 vs. poison
46-50 Natural locksmith, 50% open lock
51-55 Desert Bron, +3 to Con; ability to find water 50% in desert
56-60 Natural Ability to sense evil (75%) and possession (75%)
61-65 Ability to smell poison (90%) but -3 vs. stoning
66-70 Dodge well, +2 Dex; +1 vs. missile attacks
71-75 -3 vs. all undead attacks; +2 vs. fire
76-80 Ability to memorize one extra spell per level
81-82 +3 with staffs, but -2 vs. all others
83-84 Dispel and negation spell competent, -1 vs. all missiles
85-86 +2 vs. fear and confusion, but -2 off Int
87-88 +2 vs. clerical spells but -2 vs. all dragon spells
89-90 Keen sense of smell (65% chance of identify)
91 +4 Wis; +4 vs. all undead attacks; must give 35% to church
92 You are blessed by your god. +2 on all saves and attacks
93 Turn undead as if you were 4 levels higher
94 Double amount of spells per level
95 Commune with your god once per day
96 Can call upon a Solar once in your life time for any good cause
97 Constant Protection from Evil
98 Can summon creatures of your alignment once per day
99 You have angel wings and can fly
100 You were sired by a god. +3 to all stats and saves. +1 weapon or better. Not affected by time. Touch causes d6 damage to opposing alignment.

Some of this stuff is insanely powerful, other abilities are just "meh." Some of these results don't seem to tell you much about your ability, but were generally kept up to the DM's discretion. Also, 04-05 would suck so bad.

Next: Rangers & Warriors!


Where did he go(lem?)

A few weeks ago, when my group at the shop was creating their Scion characters, one players asked if he could have a golem. Since it is a birthright creature with a rating of three dots, I said yes, but that I would have to whip up some stats, because there are none officially published.

There was only a moment's hesitation before he told me "nevermind," and that he would choose something else. This wasn't my player's lack of faith in my ability, but his want to have something presented for him at that moment, that led him to change his mind. I find this to be a (minor) failing on the system's part, as it caused disappointment in a player, if only briefly.

Though we've started play, I do like to give a more complete experience for my games, and thus I present to you....

Golem (Creature ···, Relic ·)
 The original lore on this type of creature dates from the 17th century, in which three separate sources claimed that a contemporary (or close to it) Rabbi names Eliyahu had created a being of matter and form, and upon it scribed the word "emet" meaning "truth" or "reality." The text goes on to say that the golem served for a long time, performing hard work for the Rabbi until, fearing the growth (both physical and in power) of his creation, he struck the name "emet" from the golem, sending it to dust, but not before the golem struck him and scarred his face.

The most famous lore on the golem also comes from the 16th century and relates the narrative of Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel and his creation of a golem as the protector of Jews when the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II ordered the ostracization and attacks on the Jewish ghettoes of Prague. The Rabbi constructed his golem from the muddy banks of the river and sent it to protect the gentiles, but something went wrong and it began to attack those it was meant to protect and its creator. Rudolph called a cessation of hostilities if the Rabbi would end the reign of violence of the golem, and he made his golem inert by simply erasing the first character of "emet" so that it spelled "met" or "dead."

The Golem, for the purposes of Scion, is not strictly a Jewish creation, (though Scions of Yahweh seem to have a connection to this process,) but more a granting from one's patron the ability to create life.

Each golem is formed by the Scion character whom it will serve, until such time as they free it from service by altering the runes set upon it. All golems are made from base natural materials such as clay, mud, ash, or any similar material, as close as one can get to the matter used by his or her pantheon to create the first humans.

When creating a golem, a word must be scribed into the creature that can have a context of creation. This, and a single breath given (and 5 Legend points spent) gives the golem life. After that, the only thing that can deanimate the golem is for its creator to either fully erase the animating word (thus destroying the golem outright,) or manipulating the word through selective erasure, making it another word that has a context of inactiveness.

Attributes: Strength 6, Dexterity 1, Stamina 6, Charisma 1, Manipulation 0, Appearance 0, Perception 2, Intelligence 1, Wits 1
Virtues: None. Golems are never required to make Virtue rolls of any kind.
Abilities: Athletics 2, Awareness 1, Brawl 4
Join Battle: 3
Clinch: Accuracy 5, Damage 7B, Parry DV -, Speed 6, P
Unarmed, Heavy: Accuracy 4, Damage 10B, Parry DV 2, Speed 5
Unarmed, Light: Accuracy 6, Damage 7B, Parry DV 3, Speed 4
Soak: 6B/6L     Hardness: Special
Health Levels: -0/-0/-0/-0/-1/-1/-1/-1/-2/-2/-4/Incap
Dodge DV: 3
Willpower: 3
Legend: 2     Legend Points: 4
Other Notes: Golems automatically fail all Social rolls other than Intimidation. When a golem initiates a Presence-based roll to intimidate someone, treat his relevant Social Attribute as 5. Also, golems suffer only bashing damage from firearms attacks and they ignore all wound penalties. They also soak Lethal damage with their full Stamina, and have Hardness equal to half their creator's Legend. Golems are immune to all mind-controlling effects and all effects that generate fear. Should one of these effects target a golem, it acts as if under the effects of Berserker Fury, the Courage Virture Extremity. This effect lasts until either the golem is either destroyed or rendered inert by any means.
Further, as the Scion with the Golem creature birthright gains points of Legend, so, too, does the golem become more powerful. Each additional dot of Legend gained by the Scion grants the golem one dot to both Strength and Stamina, one extra -0 Health Level, and one more dot in both Willpower and its own Legend, as well as a 10% increase in size (assume a golem is made originally 10% larger than an average human.)
A golem may only be controlled by his creator.

Notes on design: For those familiar with Scion, the Golem obviously uses the Zombie/Mummy as a template. As I was creating the unique abilities of the Golem, especially the growth/power expansion and the Hardness, I kept thinking that perhaps the abilities were too powerful, and then I reminded myself that I was designing for Scion. 
I found this much more difficult than designing a creature for D&D, even the more crunchy 3.x (or Pathfinder, for that matter,) even with years of experience with the Storyteller system simply due to the amount of power present in even the most toned-down Scion campaign. 
If anyone has any critiques, or perhaps finds a mistake in my math, please let me know! 


Campaign Lore Questions

To further define my campaign, I've also decided to give answers to Jeff's "20 Quick Questions," located here. These questions skew more toward fluff, and complement Brendan's questions that I answered yesterday for the Wilderlands campaign.

What is the deal with my cleric's religion? Religion in my game is a powerful force, but the politics and wars behind the various beliefs keep the power of the churches very nebulous.
I've been running the Wilderlands with an open take on religion, only introducing churches as the players choose the deities for their PCs, or when they come into contact with clergy by choice.
So far, the only religions that exist in my game are these:
the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (based loosely on the bible, the Pathfinder renditions, and the 4 gods of Chaos from Warhammer)
Gorum (Orc god of strength,battles, and weapons; Pathfinder)
Iomedae (goddess of valor, rulership, justice, and honor; Pathfinder)
Asmodeus (Lord of the Nine Hells)
Modron (Goddess of Rivers; Wilderlands)
Nephtlys (Goddess of wealth; unsure if this is a typo on Nephthys, an Egyptian goddess, or a Wilderlands original)
Harmakhis (God of death; Wilderlands)
Spiritual Animism (mimicking the beliefs of some Native American ways)

Where can we go to buy standard equipment? Caravaneers are taking advantage of The Bazaar being shut down, but they come only rarely, and their stock is never reliably static.

Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended? The local public smith is rather friendly and sympathetic to adventurers, you hear.

Who is the mightiest wizard in the land? In your vicinity, there is only Jadazh Gr'tea, a traitorous bandit, that commands any measure of arcane might.

Who is the greatest warrior in the land? In your area, it's probably the Castellan of Bugbear Falls, Dal Lago

Who is the richest person in the land? That title probably falls on Dal Lago, also.

Where can we go to get some magical healing? The shrine to Gorum or the Stable of the Rider are you two most likely destinations in the Falls.

Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath? The Stable of the Rider is the only place for cures to most of these, though they are loathe to cure certain afflictions. In the case of death or undeath, nobody close can help, save by ritual.

Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells? Not without putting some travel on your agenda.

Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC? A couple of alchemists dabble in town, though the only known sage is now missing, and many others have backed off flaunting their ability due to this.

Where can I hire mercenaries? Bugbear Falls is full of adventurers, convicts, vagrants, miscreants, and ne'er do wells. You can usually find one or two milling around that will take your coin.

Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law? Arcane magic is frowned upon by the local authorities. Weapons are ok unless they are drawn, at which point some trouble might be expected.

Which way to the nearest tavern? The White Cliff is conveniently located for all your dining and drinking needs!

What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous? Humans. Bandits are the most numerous problem at the moment, though there is still a bounty for kobold horns with the Castellan.

Are there any wars brewing I could go fight? Viridistan and the City State of the Invincible Overlord are always tusslin'. I guess if you want to throw your lot into that mess, then go right ahead.

How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes? Not anywhere close, no.

Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?

What is there to eat around here? Mostly game. Deer, rabbit, etc. Some local farms have chickens, pigs, and cattle, but they aren't common table fare.

Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for? Oh yes...all of them. Only one permanent magic item has ever been recovered by PCs, and that fell into the hands of the enemy.

Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure? A dragon has been spotted in the skies Northwest of Bugbear Falls, though stone giants are known to dwell in that direction, also.


Campaign Rules Questions

I'm kind of phoning it in by doing these questionnaires, but this one (and the next) are actually good ways to help define a campaign both for the person running the game and any potential players.

For the series of questions in the next two posts, I'll be using my take on the Wilderlands of High Fantasy, which uses Pathfinder as the rulesset, as the basis for answers. Were I to use my Khardtha setting, would much of the answers be different? That's an interesting question, and one I might delve into at a later date!

I'm starting off with a series of questions posted by Brendan here at Untimately.

Let's begin.

1. Ability scores generation method? 4d6, 7 times. You choose order.

2. How are death and dying handled? Staggered at 0, Unconscious and Dying at -1, Dead at -Con score.

3. What about raising the dead? This is extremely difficult, and more than likely requires a quest of some sort.

4. How are replacement PCs handled? Should a PC die, the player brings in their next one at the old PC's level -5, or 1+1 for every five levels the highest level PC in the party has beyond 1st, whichever is higher.

5. Initiative: individual, group, or something else? Individual, though hirelings go on their boss' turn, and like groups of GM controlled characters go on the same count.

6. Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work? Yes and yes. Critical hits follow the charts posted here, here, here, and here. I don't have a good fumble chart, so I either use the iFumble Pathfinder app on my phone or default to flat-footed/bowstring breaks, etc.

7. Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet? Sure. You look cool! Also, sometimes you get visibility and hearing penalties! Oh, and it saves you from some nasty crits sometimes.

8. Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly? It has been known to happen, yes.

9. Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything? Run, Forrest, Run!

10. Level-draining monsters: yes or no? Yes. Though many Pathfinder monsters have had their level and stat draining abilities nerfed, I like to retain a more classic and deadly feel in my game.

11. Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death? Yes. Again, Pathfinder has removed many of these instances, but I just tend to ignore the fact that the game promotes pussies.

12. How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked? I like to be fiddly with it. When the group is camping in the wild, resource consumption becomes much more important, and if they're running for their lives, encumberance does, as well. Usually, a fair assumption can be held to both in the average day.

13. What's required when my PC gains a level? Training? Do I get new spells automatically? Can it happen in the middle of an adventure, or do I have to wait for down time? I like instantaneous level benefits. The only time I press for training is if someone chooses to multiclass or, especially, take a prestige class. Then it's usually handled in down-time, unless something seems interesting enough to play out.

14. What do I get experience for? Everything! Combat, avoiding combat, parley, regular friendly encounters with NPCs, etc., etc.

15. How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination? Either way, and possibly with a bonus to the roll if both methods are used simultaneously.

16. Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work? They aren't necessarily encouraged, but it doesn't usually take long for the players to pick up on how useful they are. I haven't yet solidified a morale system for my game, though I am working on one. The two most recent are a d6 roll modified by certain factors, and a WIS roll in the old form (roll within stat).

17. How do I identify magic items? Usually by their soft glow, but also with the various spells meant to do so. Permanent magic items are exceedingly rare in my game.

18. Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions? Yes, there are chances for certain types of minor magic items to crop up, if you can identify a dealer of such. 1-4 potions are usually available at any given time, but they might not be exactly what you're looking for, as they're randomly determined.

19. Can I create magic items? When and how? Again, yes...however, I've ruled that permanent magic items are rare because the creation process has been lost to the ages. You can take the various item creation feats (except for Brew Potion, which is fairly easy to learn) only after discovering the secrets of such acts via dungeon delving, tomb robbing, etc. for the formulae.

20.What about splitting the party? Sure. I'm certain that's usually a good idea.

Available Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Modules

In an insanely awesome move, Wizards of the Coast has announced the release of "Premium Edition" reprints of the 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons core books. Without a doubt, the original printing of these books were a defining moment in the hobby that has led us to where we are today, and are a welcome return.

While I find this to be a great opportunity for existing gamers to snatch up pristine copies of these classic tomes, I certainly hope that these books will be the first game for many of those curious about our hobby. The system has a richness in simplicity while at the same time presenting options to make the game as complicated as you would like, and I feel like anyone who might like to try a roleplaying game, but is overwhelmed by the splat books of the ones in current distribution, would benefit from checking these books out.

One of the best ways to jump right in to playing is to run your group through adventure modules, and here's a list of AD&D modules currently available:

For those interested in jumping into the hobby with a solid rules set, or maybe you are familiar with the hobby and would like to purchase these books with the hopes of similar future products, you can check them out here:

And here:

Do yourselves a favor and at least check them out, then spread the word. This can only enrich our hobby, and part of the proceeds go to the E. Gary Gygax Memorial Fund.

A Few Questions, If I Don't Mind

In January, Zak S. over at Playing D&D With Porn Stars posted this questionnaire, which I thought was a pretty good (and fun) exercise at evaluating your gaming and using as yet another infodump to come back to when thinking of games.

These, of course, are my answers, but if you're curious about the replies of others, you can check out Jeff's (of Jeff's Gameblog) here, or check out various answers on the original post's comments here.

Here we go...

1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?
Though it's not entirely mine, I would say my crit charts.

2. When was the last time you GMed?
Thursday, April 26

3. When was the last time you played?
Wednesday, April 25

4. Give us a one-sentence pitch for an adventure you haven't run but would like to.
Salvation comes in blinding holy light and song, but an unexpected source brings warning that all is not what it seems. (Vague, I know, but I might use it and my players read this.)

5. What do you do while you wait for players to do things?
Study the map, make notes, listen to conversation of my players for cues of excitement level.

6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?
Since I only play games at locations that aren't my house, usually a take-out dinner.

7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?
Physically, no. Mentally, sometimes.

8. What was the last interesting (to you, anyway) thing you remember a PC you were running doing?  
Tracking a serial killer through various leads on the planet Sinophia in David's Dark Heresy game.

9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?
I'm sure there are people out there who refuse to have a laugh at silliness within the game, but it seems inevitable, and I rarely fight it anymore, except in naming conventions, when I can.

10. What do you do with goblins?
Of late, they've been stand-ins for my apparent yearning to rewatch the Gremlins movies. They're all over the place with me, usually, though.

11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?
White Sands Missle Testing Range

12. What's the funniest table moment you can remember right now?
Allura, an insanely intelligent psion played by my pal Carl, running into a door and failing to open it when pushing...because it opened inward.

13. What was the last game book you looked at--aside from things you referenced in a game--why were you looking at it?
Vampire The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition, because I would like to run a Vampire game at some point.

14. Who's your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?
Someone who can combine a style similar to comic books (Jeff Dee, Wayne Reynolds, Joey Mad, Luca Zontini) with classic appeal (Volkan Baga, the Hildebrandts) finished with richness and strangeness (Izzy, Pudnhead, Brom.)

15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?
I think I've only achieved that once before, but who knows. Uncomfortable, though, I seem to achieve often enough, and not in a bad way...I try to respect my players and their morals.

16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn't write? (If ever)
I'm actually ok with modules, and had a blast a couple of years ago running the full arc that begins with The Sunless Citadel in Eberron.

17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?
Something similar to a high rollers room would be awesome. Someone to bring you drinks/food, no outside interference, and minimal interruptions from people getting up from the table. Comfy chairs a must.

18. If you had to think of the two most disparate games or game products that you like what would they be?
Fairy Meat and Scion

19. If you had to think of the most disparate influences overall on your game, what would they be?
Ancient philosophy (Aristotle, Plato, Sun Tzu, etc.) and Ancient Aliens on H2.

20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?
The kind who isn't afraid to take the lead.

21. What's a real life experience you've translated into game terms?
The loss of friends and family to better describe NPC emotional ranges/reactions.

22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn't?
I wouldn't mind Wizards publishing a Magic the Gathering supplement, just to get an idea of how they would represent the Planeswalker Spark.

23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn't play? How do those conversations go?
I have more than a few friends and my mom in my life that don't play RPGs, but sometimes ask about the games. Usually, I just ramble and they nod and smile.

It's Me Again, Margaret...

I'm back from the far reaches of No-Net-At-Home, which is near Didn't-Think-To-Post-Via-Mobile.

Needless to say, I've "missed" a lot, but some things are still worth mentioning, and I might even come back to them at a later date and expound.

First of all, for good or ill, the local brick and mortar has a new owner, a guy named Jacob whom I've honestly only barely made the acquaintance of. I do believe he will be opening for business officially (after a brief renovation this past week) on Monday. I wish nothing but good luck to him and his crew, and I will continue to support local gaming, and plan to give them my business.

Also, tabletop gaming seems to have fallen off quite a bit of late. Taylor runs a Pathfinder game on Tuesdays at the shop, Paul and Angela have alternating D&D games on Wednesday, and I run Scion on Thursday. Of these games, I only can make Paul's and my own, leaving me with less gaming than I would like. I contribute quite a lot of the seeming decrease in rpgs to the fact that many gamers are only interested in Magic. Steve C moving hurts, too, as he was always ready to jump into games.

The last thing of note in the time I have been away is Wizards of the Coast's announcement of the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons (known as D&D Next,) and that they are wanting to approach the community to help draft the rules by taking in feedback on what actual players of the game want out of their tabletop experience.

I find this round of "help us make the game" very similar to the work that was put into 3rd Edition, and that gives me a glimmer of hope. Personally, after an extended and rigorous play experience with 4th Edition, I was left wanting, and that was a difficult pill to swallow when I had a love of the brand.

At any rate, we'll only have to wait and see what we get.

You can read more on Wizard's open call here:




and regular updates here: