August 22, 2008

[D&D 4E] [Monsters] Rotten Carcass

I've thinked a lot about the Blog Carnival (here the details) and I wanted to write a kobold undead. No ideas came to my mind.
I'm a writer who's engine works fueled by inspiration so I've start to think what kind of undead my players will love (or hate) to encounter and then bang! (that's the sound of inspiration striking me)
I ├Čve preferred to write a full undead based encounter but my work on the kobold PDF (who's coming out great btw) is absorbing my time like a drunkard in a booze pool so here we go with the Rotten Carcass (and the Rotten Upper Carcass).
The full encounter will follow my holidays (24-August to 3-September in Scotland).
The picture was drawn by me (with poor results) on my moleskine while I was searching to focus ideas. The philosophy here is that a poor picture is better than nothing.
You can notice part of the monster design around the picture (I've leave them cause I find that cool ^_^).

The XP value of a rotting carcass is a little higher than usual to balance the fact the rotten upper one gives no XP (so the XP value of the encounter is already fixed).

Try to use them in big numbers and have fun seeing your PC try to escape these slow but relentless opponents. The funny effect doubles if you surround your PCs in a big open space.

Rotten CarcassLevel 1 Minion
Medium Natural Humanoid (undead)XP 25
Initiative +1Senses Perception -2; darkvision
HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion.
AC 12; Fortitude 15, Reflex 9, Will 9
Immune disease, poison
Speed 4
Not dead yet! (Immediate Reaction)
when damaged;Roll a dice to determine the effect:even: the rotten carcass is destroyed and in it's place spawns a Rotten Upper Carcass who act in the same initiative order.odd: the rotten carcass is destroyed (as normal)
m Chew off (Standard; at-will)
6 damages against a grabbed target. The target escapes grab.
M Grab & Bite (Standard; at-will)
+6 vs. AC: 2 damage and the target is grabbed (untile escapes).
Alignment EvilLanguages -
Skills -
Str 12 (+1)Dex 6 (-2)Wis 10 (+0)
Con 17 (+3)Int 1 (-5)Cha 3 (-4)
Equipment -

Crappy artwork by me

If it's still not clear enough, once you destroy a Rotten carcass there's a 50% chance you have destroyed only the lower half of it. If that's the case, substitute the rotten carcass with a rotten upper carcass. It's slower but still able to do damages.

Rotten Upper CarcassLevel 1 Minion
Medium Natural Humanoid (undead)XP 25
Initiative +1Senses Perception -2; darkvision
HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion.
AC 12; Fortitude 15, Reflex 9, Will 9
Immune disease, poison
Speed 2
The rotten upper carcass is always considered prone and cannot end this condition.odd: the rotten carcass is destroyed (as normal)
M Ankle Bite (Standard; at-will)
+4 vs. AC: 4 (the prone malus is already included)
Alignment EvilLanguages -
Skills -
Str 12 (+1)Dex 6 (-2)Wis 10 (+0)
Con 17 (+3)Int 1 (-5)Cha 3 (-4)
Equipment -

Crappy artwork by me

August 15, 2008

[Monsters] The kobold parade!

When I started a kobold thread on WotC and Enworld forum I was expecting a lot of criticism. I have a peculiar style of play and I like my encounters to be memorable. 3.5 worked against me in that. 4E is now working with me.

Kobolds in 4E have 2 main themes: traps and dragons.,I've choose to focus on traps aspect and imagined that, considered that kobolds aren't crafty gnomes, they do not make themselves the traps they use. Instead they twist and hack existing traps of the ruins they inhabit. The next step was to imagine a specialized type of kobold, called Kobold Engineer, who is an expert in taking out of the walls traps, putting "handles" and controlling devices on them and giving them to other kobolds (stat for this yet to come).

Where was I? Yeah, the forum's thread.
In the forum treads two thing happened.
First of all, a lot of people loved the kobolds and this make me happy. More than this, a lot of them asked for a PDF version of it. So I put myself at work and now I'm preparing a nice document with a lot more info and some monster variant.
I think this will be ready for the end of September/the beginning of October, 'cause I want it to be really good.
That's not true.
I want it to be exactly how I wanted to be if I had to buy it from RPGnow. (that sentence just came out horribly wrong...)

The second thing happened is that a nice artist, clkolbe, have kindly offered himself to illustrate the kobolds for me.
The feeling you have when someone offers to make a drawing of something that's in your head is half bad and half good.
And if he's not good at it?
And if I don't like the illustrations?
And if he does not understand the idea I have?
(dramatic pause)
I'm an evil guy but, in real life, evil guys gets lucky (and gets the girls).
The illustrations clkolbe made for me turned out gorgeous!
He even figured how to work out some problems I have ignored all time long.
They reminds me some Mignola stuff and I love Mignola.

What's all this blubbering about?
It's just to justify a kobold gallery you are about to watch just after my words. For full sized pictures you can go to clkolbe's deviant art gallery: here.
If you go there, please leave him a comment (saying how much you like the kobolds obviously). He will be delighted, I'm sure.

Now, I stop chatting and leave kobolds talk for me.
Click the image to go to the kobold's stat box (with medium sized illustrations).

Kobold Fireguy

Kobold Nailer

Kobold Chainsawer

Kobold Harpooneer

Kobold Gluer

Kobold Shock Trooper

Kobold Mechanic



Future plans include 3 more kobolds.
You are not prepared!

August 13, 2008

[Review][D&D 4E] Scourge of the Rat-Men

I've just purchased a PDF copy of Scourge of the Rat-Men a D&D4E adventure by Adamant Entertainment. The Adventure is for 5 PCs going from 1st to 3rd level.
You can buy the PDF here for $14.95 $7.95

The Good

  • SYNTHETIC: There's a small village, but the description is short and not boring. Thanks. I cannot stand another description of a little rural village. Really, thanks.
  • ORIGINAL: The village is harboring a lot of refugees from farms and near villages evacuated. That's a little turn in the same old story pretty nice. It's not crucial, sure, but is nice.
  • ART: The art is fine. The village map is so-so, but the rest of the illustrations are above the standard for a little company. Obviously don't compare them to Paizo's or WotC's.
  • ASSASSINS: Rat-man assassins have nice stealth powers.
  • BOSS FIGHT: The boss fight is nice. The boss have nice powers and the Demon is someone to fear if not handled with care.
The Bad
  • MISSING: All monster boxes do non state which attacks are basic and which ones are not. They do not use any icon to define the tipe of attack either (es.)
  • NONSENSE: In the first encounter the bandits try to get the heroes by surprise. Nasty bandits! If the PCs get surprised the bandits... ask them to surrender, losing the surprise round. Why make them roll for surprise?
  • MISSING: Monsters need a little flavor. Special attacks are just a bunch of stats and will benefit from.
  • OLD: You won't believe this! The adventure start with with the heroes walking along a road and becoming target of a brigand's ambush. For God's sake, it's a way to involve PCs so used that even the coffin of Gygax was ambushed by brigands in it's way to the cemetery.
  • UNINSPIRED: Main foe of the adventure are the Rat-men a race of skaven-like humanoids. The rat-men are boring and uninspired. They have a racial power that deal extra damage if more skavens (ehm... rat-men) attack the same enemy and little more.
  • BAD DESIGN: All traps are very bad designed. The only interesting trap here (4 statues that does a burst o acid in front of then) is make useless because no one of the creatures here can push or slide a target, so once triggered, the PCs have just not step in front of the statues. Other traps are just a way to take away random healing surges.
  • OLD: If I tell you that in a locked cell, rat-men have closed a Ooze, you will be surprised? I was not.
  • MAP: Four of the crappiest game maps out here. Two of them are just tiled pages to cut in the needed shape. The third is a tiled page with a well in the center. The forth is a road in the wood like every other with the downside that's just 7x10 squares. Way too small.
  • OLD AND UNINSPIRED: There's a room with a portal to somewhere. Up to the GM define the destination. The best way you end up with a interrupted adventure and your PCs waiting for you to figure where they are.
  • BAD DESIGN: Rat-men's only exit is the well in the center of the village (and the mysterious portal). What the fuck? Clearly rat-men eat... mmmh I don't know...rats, maybe?
  • OLD: The giant squid?!?
  • BAD DESIGN: A corridor ending with a few steps leading to a wall? What kind of players don't take 20 to search for secret doors here? The secret door (yeah, there is one) has a DC of 20... sigh.
  • BAD DESIGN: The dungeon is created with a random room generator used by a 7 year old kid. The kid was probably drunk at the time.
The Ugly (just some talk about the life, the universe and everything else)
  • GSL: It's august so Adamant Ent. it's the first company really going against the GSL. I'm pretty curious to see what's happens now
The verdict
Ok. Don't buy this. Seriously.

August 11, 2008

[D&D 4E] Opinions

Out there a lot of people are talking about the D&D4E.
Now it's the time I give you my opinion about it.
First of all: Things I don't like

  • Magic object uses: The fact you can't use magic item powers freely, but only one power between all of them every encounter just sucks.
  • Keep on the Shadowfell: One of the worst adventures published. Just a nonsense dungeoncrawl. Sigh.
  • Random Miniatures: Because a colossal red dragon is cool, but I need MORE FUCKIN' KOBOLDS! And goblins. And orcs. And gnolls. And so on.
  • Conditions: A pain in the ass keep track of them.
  • No one is needed philosophy: You can go without a cleric, you can go without a rogue, you can go without a wizard. The result? A lot of strikers.
  • Tieflings: No way! My tieflings will be Planescape-like.
  • Cosmology: No way! My cosmology will be Planescape-like even if players don't know it.
  • Druids: are not there. I miss them and I think that druids have to be controllers.
  • Narrative style of play will be difficult: I love DMing narrative style. I like combat, don't misjudge me, but really epic stuff happens without rolling any dice. 4E adventures and sourcebook doesn't help at all. For now WotC have published just encounter compilations and that sucks.
  • Hero style: I don't like PC to be born heroes. I like them to become ones.
  • D&DInsider: D&DI is real shit, you know? It's so shitty I still don't believe it.
Now: Things I like
  • Monsters: They are fun to use. You can do strategies that are not only useful, but also fun. All the combat is way more entertaining and unique. Fighting a kobold is now different than fighting a goblin or an orc.
  • Environment: You have to use it and use it the smart way and that's fun.
  • No more batteries class: You can't run out of spells. That's cool.
  • Creating monsters: It's easy, inspiring and quick.
  • Traps: Now you can disable them, break them and outsmart them and it's cool.
  • Community: The RPG community was woken up by the 4E and that's simply fabulous!
  • Gnomes are missing: Fuck them. I've always liked halflings more.
  • Faster learning: I play with a lot of beginners so that's great for me! Really awesome! That's a issue so big for me that I can have switched just for that.
  • Balance: You can't plan your character progression to be leading to uber-character. That's fine for me.
  • Barbarians and monks: See gnomes.
Things I don't know if I like
  • Skill challenges: Good idea on the paper, I have to try use them before judging.
  • Multiclassing: At 1st level you chose your life path. Mmmmh.
  • DMG: Good for beginners. Pretty useless for me after almost 20 years of DMing. (If I was a beginner the DMG will have changed my life AND my games)
Said so, my new September campaign will be a D&D4E one. And I'm pretty excited about it.

Picture credits:
Wayne Reynolds

August 8, 2008

[D&D 4E][Monsters] Kobold Mechanic

It's time to present to this cheerful audience the smaller, dumbest and common of the kobolds: the Kobold Mechanic. You needed a minion, right?

Kobold MechanicLevel 1 Minion
Small Natural HumanoidXP 25
Initiative +1Senses Perception +2; darkvision
HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion.
AC 14; Fortitude 13, Reflex 14, Will 13
Speed 5
M Junk (Standard; at-will) ♦ Weapon
+6 vs. AC; Roll a dice: Even: 3 damage Odd: 5 damage
Alignment EvilLanguages Kobold
Skills Stealth +5, Thievery + 5
Str 15 (+2)Dex 10 (+0)Wis 10 (+0)
Con 12 (+1)Int 7 (-2)Cha 8 (-1)
Equipment Junk

Artwork by clkolbe

August 6, 2008

[D&D 4E][Rules] Action points

Action points... action points... what to do with you?

  • The Rules as Written (RaW) [cit.] says that you can spend an action point to to an extra action.
  • Scott says his players can use them to put on the storyteller's hat for a few seconds.
  • Chatty DM says his players can spend them to bend a little the rules.
I'll add my simple mechanic.
  • A player can spend an action point before a dice roll to roll the double of dices and choose half of them to keep and half of them to drop.
    The PC can chose the dices he likes, not only the higher ones, so this feature can be also used to do the fewer damage possible, if it's the case.
In my games I'll keep also the Scott and Chatty's rules, BTW.

RPG Bloggers Network: I'm part of it!

This is an RPG blog and you are here for the RPGs, so I'll try to keep the site news short and under a single post. (Thanks. U R welcome.)

First of all, we (we like in me and the blog) are proud members of the RPG Bloggers Network.
If you don't believe me, see the big logo just down there.

The RPG Bloggers Network is a network of RPG blogs (ok, that was easy). Basically is where you have to go if you want something intresting and RPG-related to read.
We are friendly and have low standards. If's not like this how could you explain they accepted ME?

Second news incoming: Last days I've added a link column (now useless thanks to the Network above).

Third news: The blog have now stats.

Fourth news: On the left column there's also a feed from the RPG Bloggers Network.
I've already said I'm part of it?

Fifth news: The RPG Bloggers Network is 2 days old and has already gone down for high traffic. I'm speechless.

Sixth news: Clkolbe is working on the illustrations of my latest creations.

Seventh news: I'm working on the Kobold's PDF. The Kobold's PDF (named temporary "Creatures Revamped: Kobolds") will be full of new cool stuff.

Eight news: I've made a logo: . Feel free to use it to link me.

I'm out of news.

August 5, 2008

[D&D 4E] [Monsters] Kobold Shock Trooper

Kobold Shock Trooper for you! It's like Christmas but with kobolds instead of elves.

Kobold Shock TrooperLevel 2 Soldier
Small Natural HumanoidXP 125
Initiative +6Senses Perception: +4; darkvision
HP 38; Bloodied 19
AC 18; Fortitude 14, Reflex 15, Will 14
Shock! (Immediate Interrupt) ♦ weapon
When at the start of the Kobold Shock Trooper's turn, a target is grabbed.Target suffers 2d6+3 damages.The kobold is stunned (save ends)
Shifty (Minor; at-will)
The kobold shifts 1 square.
The kobold gains a +2 bonus to all defenses against traps
m Elecrified grab (Standard; recharge 456)
+7 vs. Ref; 2d6+3 damage; The target is grabbed (until escapes)A target trying to escape the grab takes a -4 penalty to the check.
m Electrocution Punch (Standard; encounter) ♦ Weapon
+5 vs. AC; 2d10+3 damage. The target is stunned (save ends).
M Punch (Standard; at-will) ♦ Weapon
+9 vs. AC; 1d6+3 damage
Alignment EvilLanguages Common, Draconic
Skills Acrobatics +5, Athletics +5
Str 14 (+3)Dex 13 (+2)Wis 12 (+2)
Con 13 (+2)Int 9 (+0)Cha 10 (+1)
Equipment Kobold Shock Glove, scale armor

Artwork by clkolbe