Evil Adventurers Aren’t That Different

We tried a campaign with an evil party. They did a good job at not being your average high school-screw the other character- evil, the players were totally who cares about about collateral damage and ends justify the means evil. And they were  off to save the world. I know it sounds odd. But Evil folks like the world too and dang it if somebody is going to screw it up, it’s going to be them not some tentacle faced aberration. They actually started to role play and then this little scene played out:

Evil Wizard: I just learned that there is a powerful magical artifact hidden in a Good temple.

Evil Bard: Why don’t we just ask them for it? I’m sure they want to save the world too.

Evil Cleric: No way! Remember last time. That they saved the world. Did they ask us for our artifact? NO! They just stormed the place. Killed everybody, took our artifact and anything else that wasn’t nailed down.

Evil Fighter: He’s got a point. I think they even stole the furniture. What were they going to do with that?

Where do summoned monsters come from

So where do all the summoned animals come from? This came up in our little gaming group a while back. I mean just think about the Summon Nature’s Ally spell for Druids. Is there a room somewhere filled with animals just waiting to be summoned? I bet it looks like a bizarre cross between Grand Central Station and Noah’s Ark. I can just see a group of dire badgers sipping on double mocha lattes; just waiting for their number to come up.
”So, Bob. You heard what happened to Frank the other day?”
”Wasn’t he summoned by that druid Urban Spawl-Killer?”
”Yeah, he never came back. Just like that bear the other day.”
”Joe was such a nice guy.”
”We could ask Tom the Weasel. He came back.”
”Are you kidding? Tom went bat shit insane. He keeps screaming that the Orcs are gonna get him.”
”You ever notice that most of us never come back after being summoned. And the few that do, just don’t come back right.”
”Wow. It really sucks to be us.”
”Paging! Bob the dire badger. Bob the dire badger! You’ve been summoned by Urban Sprawl-Killer. Bob please report for summoning.”

Old School @ Will Powers

Those fancy “at-will” powers in 4th Ed D&D ain’t nothing new. We had those back in the good old pure days of the One True White Box. Now it was simpler back then we didn’t mess with all those fancy Feats or “Skills” but each class had it’s own “at will” powers. Let me break it down for all you youngsters out there.

Fighter kill shit.

Thief steal shit. (There were no sissy Rogues. They were thieves. Dammit.)

Cleric heal shit.

Magic User blow up shit. (No, emo goth sorcerers. Just Wizards and we called them Magic Users.)

Now, get the hell of my lawn.

Save the Orc Children

How many have you seen this? A party of low level adventurers tear through an Orc village leaving behind dozens of orphans. I know they always say ”It’s not my problem.” or ”We needed the XP.” But what about the children. For only a few copper pieces a day, you can sponsor an Orc child like Gutgnash here. You can make sure that he’s clothed and fed. And just for the cost of few XP per level, you can assure he gets an education and a couple of class levels. So, when a crazed Orc orphan driven by revenge comes looking for blood years later; he’ll actually be worth some XP to you. It’s an invest in all our futures. Won’t you please help?

Never Let the Psycho DM . . .

…especially when the conversation starts with ”Let’s play test my new game.”
First, there were the stats. Strength, Stamina, Constitution, Health, Resilience, Body, Toughness, Dexterity, Agility, Coordination, Intelligence, Perception, Wisdom, Technological Aptitude, Magical Aptitude, Psychic Aptitude, Psionic Aptitude, Charisma, Appearance, Looks, Chutzpah, Luck, and Karma. Each had a value determined by the square root of 3d6-10.
Then the secondary stats. This was page two of the ”character sheet” and looked like a mathematical doctoral thesis. Calculating my characters base move required calculations not available on most supercomputers. Additionally, values were calculated for the physical attributes of your left and right arms as well as the right and left hemispheres of the character’s brains. By the way, Elves are right brain and dwarves are left brain. Speaking of which, then came the racial adjustments. I still can’t understand why elves needed to be in hexadecimal and dwarves were octal.

Class & Skills: No classes because they are so passé. Instead, there are ”professions”. Individual skills covered any conceivable action. Some of the better choices were Move in Armor, Fight in Armor, Draw Weapon, Draw Arrow, Move in Darkness and Accidentally Set Off Traps (I have no idea why you would need a skill to accidentally do something. Or why you would even take it.) After allocating a meager amount of skill points, it was quickly apparent that most beginning characters would more than likely fail their Walk and Chew Gum Skill roll.

Advantages and Disadvantages were determined by random rolls on a set charts based on some sort of insane combination of Tarot, IRS tax tables and logarithm tables. So my might Elf wizard had one leg, was color blind with a lazy eye and missing his front teeth. On the bright side, I had an aptitude for swordsmanship, dashing good looks (despite the missing teeth and lazy eye) and an excellent runner.
Equipment was purchased via of the random wealth and haggling table. I was luck and got Rolling in Money. Unfortunately, I forgot to get Power Haggling as a skill. So with that I ended up paying outrageous prices for poor quality armor. My low skills prevented me from things like, oh, anything a wizard would need.
After six hours of theoretical mathematics, the characters were done. My one-legged color blind Elf wizard, a hemophiliac dwarf fighter suffering from giantism, a human bard with Tourrette’s syndrome, a narcoleptic halfing rouge (this does give him a bonus to accidentally Set Off Traps) and a Half-Dragon Half-Demon Half-Drow Half-Elf babe (AKA the GM’s current S.O.) were ready for action!

Roll Dice. Kill Monsters. Take Their Stuff. And Have Fun!

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