Monday, 12 November 2018

5e: Using Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica Content in your Forgotten Realms Game

Yes, yes, I know. I'm supposed to be on hiatus! The fact is though, that there really wasn't much extra work involved in this post, since I was already thinking about how to make use of the Ravnica guide in my own games.

Species/Races

The Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica introduces 5 new options for player character species: Centaur, Loxodon, Minotaur, Simic Hybrid, and Vedalken. Also of note is the Goblin, first printed in a section of Volo's Guide For Monsters called Monstrous Adventurers which took pains to tell us the species therein might not actually be balanced. Therefore, its inclusion as a core option for Ravnica with nary an alteration makes it slightly more official than it was already. Goblin just made the big leagues.

Of the other five mentioned, you might think only two could fit into a game set in the Forgotten Realms: the Centaur and the Minotaur. But you'd be wrong.

Loxodon

I'm not a historian of Magic: The Gathering, but I believe Loxodon were in Dungeons & Dragons before they were in Magic. Certainly, they existed in D&D before the world of Ravnica was introduced in 2005. You won't find them if you google, though, because the version printed in 3.5's Monster Manual II (2002) were called the "Loxo". They would later be inserted into the Realms in the Shining South (2004) setting book. There is one physical difference between the Loxo and the Loxodon: the Loxo have two trunks. Still, the stats of the Loxodon are pretty perfect. For the purposes of game mechanics, assume a Loxo character uses both trunks for any task that a Ravnican Loxodon would use one trunk for, and the feature remains the same.

Simic Hybrid

To my knowledge there is no Realms equivalent of the Simic Hybrid, or indeed the guild known as the Simic Combine which created them. But let's look at what the Simic Hybrid actually is: the result of a magical experiment to merge a person with an animal. It's not really out of the question that such a character could exist in the Realms. Perhaps there's not an entire species of Hybrids, but a small group or unique individual are certainly not impossible. You could be the result of experiments by an arcane group of your invention, whether in pursuit of an ideology similar to the Simic Combine or for nefarious ends. Or you might be the creation of a powerful being. You might, for instance, have been created by a cult of a Great Old One. Or you could be touched by the "blessings" of such a creature. Either concept that would work particularly well combined with the class features of a Great Old One Warlock.

Vedalken

Vedalken don't exist in the Realms, at least canonically. However, if you decided to insert them into your version of the world you'd be in good company. Plenty of new races have been added to the Realms after the fact. If you want some kind of explanation for their presence, particularly in an established game, there's always the option of the Vedalken arriving from another world or plane (whether this means their entire species, a small group, or just your character). This sort of thing is very common in the history of the Realms, where many of the races were not actually native to the world but migrants who arrived and settled long ago. Indeed, the Loxo are one of many examples, having arrived in the 12th Century.

Subclasses

The new Cleric Domain of Order and Druid Circle of Spores will fit in just fine in the Forgotten Realms without any need to explain their presence.

Backgrounds

Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica introduces ten new backgrounds, one for each of Ravnica's guilds. These are obviously highly specialised to the guilds in question. Does that render them unusable in other settings? Not quite, but we have to do some work. Here are my takes:

Azorius Functionary

This background is about being an authority figure and wielder of the law. In the Realms, this background can be converted to make you a representative of whatever the local authority is. In the North, a good choice would be the Lords' Alliance. The background could be renamed Alliance Functionary.

You are or were a representative of the Lords' Alliance. If you still are, you receive automatic membership in that Faction (you start with 1d4 Faction renown). If you are no longer a member, the circumstances behind that change will impact relationships with other members, should you meet any. The following changes apply:

Equipment: The azorius insignia becomes an insignia or mark of the Lords' Alliance.
Feature Changes: Substitute Lords' Alliance whenever Azorius is mentioned. You have the authority to act on behalf of the local Lord, provided you introduce yourself to that Lord or a higher ranking member of the Lords' Alliance whenever you arrive in one of the free states of the North. You are intimately familiar with the laws of your home city, but may need to refresh yourself on the local laws when you arrive in the domain of a Lord where you have not previously visited and learned the local laws. The local Lords' Alliance chapter are happy to help you do so over the course of a week of downtime.

Boros Legionnaire

This background is about being a warrior in a holy order. When you get right down to it, I don't think it's that different to the Knight of the Order background published in the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, and I recommend simply using that background for a character with such origins..

Dmir Operative

A Dmir Operative is a spy. Technically, we have a background for this already (a variant of the Criminal), but I feel that there is value in having a background more dedicated to the specific concept, particularly since the background feature is very useful in supporting the fiction. This background might be renamed Undercover Operative.

If you wish, this background can also confer current or past membership in one Faction of your choice (you start with 1d4 Faction renown), or you can belong to a small guild or be an independent contractor. If you are no longer a member of a Faction you used to belong to, the circumstances behind your leaving either or both groups will impact relationships with other members, should you meet any. The following changes apply:

Equipment: The dmir insignia becomes the insignia or mark of your Faction or guild, if any.
Feature Changes: Substitute your Faction or guild whenever House Dmir is mentioned. Your False Identity can apply to any other group or Faction, to which the false identity is considered a member with all that entails. If you select a Faction, your false identity begins with 1d4 faction renown and can gain or lose renown as normal.

Golgari Agent

The Golgari are fairly specific to Ravnica, a plane which is one sprawling metropolis. There isn't really a neat, pre-existing role you could slot them into; you'd have to create your own faction.

Gruul Anarch

Similarly, the Gruul Anarch are a unique product of their setting. They make sense in a world where wilderness is a rare sight in a world of urban sprawl, but less sense in a world that's the other way round.

Izzet Engineer

This background is about creating magical technology. We can definitely find space for this in the Realms. It might be renamed simply Engineer.

You likely belong to an appropriate guild, or perhaps the church of Gond. The following changes apply:

Languages: Choose one of Draconic, Dwarven, or Gnomish.
Equipment: The izzet insignia becomes an insignia of your guild or holy symbol of your faith, if any. Otherwise, you don't receive one.
Feature Changes: Your access to blueprints requires you to visit local civic authorities or guilds, as appropriate for the city you are in. Members of other guilds are happy to speak to other professionals but understandably wary of giving guild secrets to rivals, and in such instances a small bribe of 5gp is enough to secure access.

Orzhov Representative

Members of the Orzhov Syndicate are criminals in the guise of clergy. Consider using the background essentially as written for a Priest of Mask. Alternatively, strip out the religious trappings and this background makes a good option for members of the Black Network, which we might rename Zhentarim Agent. The latter is described below.

You are or were a representative of the Zhentarim. If you still are, you receive automatic membership in that Faction (you start with 1d4 Faction renown). If you are no longer a member, the circumstances behind that change will impact relationships with other members, should you meet any. The following changes apply:

Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Intimidation.
Equipment: The Replace the equipment entry with the equipment of a Faction Agent (see the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide).

Rakdos Cultist

This background is another which is very specific: Rakdos Cultists are part anarchist, part demon-worshipper, part entertainer. I can't think of a parallel organisation in the Realms. However, their concept is not so intrinsically tied to the geography of their setting, so it it is a lot easier to imagine equivalent groups within the Realms. You'll likely have to come up with such a group yourself, for which you can use the background essentially as is.

Fortunately, I've done a lot of research into powerful entities in the Realms so that I can provide a big list in an upcoming Warlocks supplement, and I can provide three examples of Realms-friendly Demon Lords who might create a cult such as this one:

  • Barbu, Lord of the 307th Layer. She delights in sowing discord and ruining peace.
  • Lynkhab, Lord of the 297th Layer. She tempts mortals to self-destructive behaviours and ultimately leads them to suicide.
  • Socothbenoth, Lord of the 597th Layer. He concerns himself with plumbing the depths of deviance.

Selesnya Initiate

This background is all about harmony between nature and civilisation, and is an easy reskin from the Selesnya Conclave to the Emerald Enclave. It could be renamed Enclave Initiate.

You are or were a representative of the Emerald Enclave. If you still are, you receive automatic membership in that Faction (you start with 1d4 Faction renown). If you are no longer a member, the circumstances behind that change will impact relationships with other members, should you meet any. The following changes apply:

Languages: Choose one of Elvish, Gnomish, or Sylvan.
Equipment: The selesnya insignia becomes an insignia of the Emerald Enclave.
Feature Changes: Substitute the Emerald Enclave whenever Selsnya Conclave is mentioned.

Simic Scientist

This background is perfect for any "mad scientist" or "mad arcanist". You might rename it to either of those, or perhaps a more general term like "Pioneer of Progress".

You are trying to push the boundaries of your field, possibly without consideration of the safety and moral and ethical implications of your work. You may have membership in an appropriate guild, though if so you likely hide the extent of your work from your more conservative peers. The following changes apply:

Equipment: The simic insignia becomes an insignia of your guild, if any. Otherwise, you don't receive one. The rest of your equipment from the background remains the same, except the items you receive don't have to be derived from sea creatures. For instance you might simply have oil and acid, not blubber oil and stomach bile. Similarly, you may if you wish replace the vials of fish weed, seaweed, and jellyfish stingers with similarly curious materials of little to no financial value derived from other sources of your choice.
Research Options: You are likely not part of a Clade and most likely independent, though your being a current or former member of a larger organisation is possible. If you are independent you can still randomly determine your research focus if you wish. Or you can select one of the six options, or come up with your own.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Join Spilled Ale Studios for AetherCon this coming weekend!

Hi everyone, just a reminder that Spilled Ale Studios is taking part in the online convention AetherCon this year! AetherCon is an entirely online convention with everything you might expect from a con: games to join, panels to sign up for, merchants, and competitions. Best of all, you can take part in the con for free.

Fifth Edition Fallout: Roach Motel

I'm running a Fifth Edition Fallout one-shot!

"The youngsters of Grace Fields were carried off by radroaches, and the townsfolk were driven back by the swarm when they attempted to recover their children! They need the help of professional mercenaries. Why were the children taken? Can they still be rescued? Or are they doomed to a permanent residency at the Roach Motel?"

Want to take part? You just need to register on AetherCon's site and register for a ticket, which is free.

Details

Date: Saturday 10th November 2018.
Start: 2:00 pm GMT / 9:00 am EST
End: 7:00 pm GMT / 2:00 pm EST
Minimum Players: 2
Maximum Players: 5
Registration: Get your free ticket here.

Four on the Floor and Six in the Chamber - Post Apocalyptic RPGS

On Sunday 11th November, I'll also be taking part in a panel on the topic of post-apocalyptic rpgs! My fellow panelists are Vincent Baker of Lumpley Games (Dogs in the Vineyard, Apocalypse World), and Scott Davis of Happy Monster Press (Children of the Apocalypse, a Savage World setting).

Details

Date: Sunday 11th November 2018.
Start: 6:30 pm GMT / 1:30 pm EST
End: 8:00 pm GMT / 3:00 pm EST
Registration: Get your free ticket here.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

5e: The Explorer is now on DMsGuild!

The Explorer is now available for purchase on DMsGuild!

The Explorer. Cover Art © Bartek Błaszczeć. Licensed for use.


Conceived as a nonmagical rebuild of the Ranger, the Explorer has several advantages compared to the original class. The Explorer's primary strengths are:

  • The core class isn't magical... I know I'm not the only one out there who likes the concept of being a rugged wilderness venturer but could do without the divine magic. Now you can!
  • ...yet retains the magical Ranger. If you like your rangers magical you're covered too, and you might find a lot to like about the Explorer's alternative features! Ranger is one of four Paths available to an Explorer, granting access to spells from the Ranger spell list alongside other new mystical powers stemming from nature.
  • Arcane Explorers are possible. By stripping divine magic from the core class, it opens up the possibility for arcane Explorers and even psionic Explorers once we have rules for that. The archetypes includes in this pdf include the Delver, a professional treasure hunter with abilities themed around dungeon exploration and the ability to cast Divination and Abjuration spells
  • Accomplish heroic efforts through grit and gumption! Explorers survive the dangers they face with the aid of Exertion, a resource that refreshes on a short rest. Exertion is also used by the magical archetypes: such Explorers may meditate during a rest to convert as much Exertion as they wish into spell slots.
  • Existing Ranger archetypes are compatible. The Explorer gets Path features at the same levels Rangers do, so you can use an archetype made for the Ranger with the Explorer with very little fuss. Guidance is provided for handling archetypes with bonus spells.
  • Works as a replacement for the Ranger, or as an accompaniment. If you like the Explorer and want to make it available instead of the Ranger, great! But you can also make them both available to your players and let them decide based on whether they want divine magic and which features they prefer. You could even have both in a party quite comfortably: an Explorer (Delver) plays very differently to a Ranger (Hunter), for instance!

Interior Spread. Interior Art © Vagelio Kaliva. Licensed for use.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Announcement: Temporary Hiatus

Hi all, just a quick bulletin to advise that I won't be posting to the blog for a while, except perhaps to let you know what other people in the growing Fifth Edition Fallout community are up to. I have quite a bit going on in my personal life that I really need to direct all my focus towards for the time being. Thank you for your understanding! Hopefully things normalise soon!

Friday, 5 October 2018

AetherCon VII News

Happy Friday all!

Regular readers can't have failed to notice the AetherCon banner that has flown up top of the blog lately. I'm about to tell you why!

AetherCon is an entirely online convention with everything you might expect from a con: games to join, panels to sign up for, merchants, and competitions. Best of all, you can take part in the con for free. And this year, Spilled Ale Studios has a couple of events!

If you'd like to play Fifth Edition Fallout with me, head over to ticket registration for "Roach Motel"! The game will take place on Saturday 10th November, 9am EST (That's 2pm GMT to those of you more local to my own time zone). Five tickets are available.

I'm also honoured to have been asked to join a panel on the topic of post-apocalyptic rpgs alongside Vincent Baker of Lumpley Games (Dogs in the Vineyard, Apocalypse World), and Scott Davis of Happy Monster Press (Children of the Apocalypse, a Savage World setting). I'm excited! I hope you are too. Visit ticket registration for "Four on the Floor and Six in the Chamber - Post Apocalyptic RPGs" to sign up for the panel.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

5e: A Random Character Creation Walkthrough, Part II

It's time to continue working on our randomly generated character! You can find the first part of this series here. You can also find an article describing the various sources for random tables used here.


So, where were we? Last time, I'd rolled up the character's race and sex using @TheKindGM's Character Creation Tables, and started on the This is Your Life tables from Xanathar's Guide to Everything. I'd completed the first section, Origins, which means we're moving on to Personal Decisions.

For ease of reference, here's the summary of everything we've learned about this character so far.

The Character So Far!

  • Our character was born female.
  • She is a human (therefore so were both of her parents, and her siblings).
  • She was born in the family home, which was a mansion.
  • She is from an aristocratic lineage, but the family no longer has its wealth and properties.
  • Her mother was the sole heir of said aristocratic line and a noted academic. She married for love, not politics. She has since seemingly abandoned the family, but unknown to the family there are mysterious reasons why she had to leave. She is or was neutrally-aligned.
  • Her father was a simple farmer until marrying the character's mother. His being out of his depth after the mother left may have exarcebated the family's already waning fortunes. He was eaten by a monster around 3-4 years ago. He was neutrally aligned.
  • She has an older brother, who now works as a major domo or butler. He is trying to shoulder the responsibility of regaining the family's lost fortunes alone. He is neutrally aligned.
  • She has a younger brother, who is now an adventuring rogue. He is neutrally aligned.
  • She and her younger brother are likely motivated by the desire to help rebuild their family fortunes, and because of the loss of their father to a monster.
  • All three siblings are friendly with eachother.
  • Other than her siblings, the character had few friends owing to the perception that she was somehow different or strange.
  • At the time of the game start, the character is roughly 22 and a half years old.

Personal Decisions

This next section is to do with the character's background and class, fleshing out the decisions following their childhood.

Background

First up, we're instructed to decide the character's background. Once we do, the guide presents additional tables pertaining to decision points related to the chosen background. However, it only provides these for backgrounds from the Player's Handbook, not any of the additional sources available. For the sake of this exercise, I'll stick to the Player's Handbook so we can make full use of these tables.

Rather than choosing the background, I want to randomly determine that as well. We've used @TheKindGM's tables so far, but for this I actually prefer the tables in @giffyglyph's Darker Dungeons. The reason is the distribution of the odds. The Kind GM's table uses a d20, which means half of the results have a 5% chance, and others have a 10% chance. Because @giffyglyph's table uses a d100, allowing for a more incremental distribution, the results are more even. So I'll be using that table, and rolling d100. Since all the "I became a [background] because..." tables in XGtE require a d6, I'll go ahead and roll that now too.


As explained in the "Dice Rolls" sidebar, the result of the first of these two rolls is actually 68. This means that the character's background is as a Sage. Referring to the "I became a Sage because..." table in XGtE, a 6 means "One of my parents or a relative gave me a basic education that whetted my appetite, and I left home to build on what I had learned."

This result isn't too controversial, lining up quite nicely with the results we already have. We already know the character has come from a wealthy background, so it isn't too surprising that they would receive an education. However, since the character's father was a farmer, then it is likely that the character's initial education came from her mother, who was both aristocratic and a noted academic. The fact that the character chose to follow in her mother's footsteps despite the mother's abandonment might hint at complicated feelings.

Since we know the background now, we might as well roll on the background charts from the Player's Handbook.

Specialty

Here we have a d8 roll to determine what kind of Sage our character is.


An interesting result: "discredited academic"! Clearly she was exploring an avenue of research others found foolish, or forbidden. To further tie this character's destiny to that of her mysteriously disappeared mother, I'm inclined to say that she discovered her mother's controversial research and tried to continue it. Perhaps the academics who drove her out of the field know more than they've let on and were actually trying to do her a favour, stopping the research before she disappeared too (or something worse). Discredited academic is a perfect background for an adventurer in any case, since she needs a new way to bring in the bread and butter... and perhaps continue her research.

Personality Trait

Next up is another d8 to determine one of her defining traits:


"There's nothing I like more than a good mystery." This is a fun result since it tells us something about the character's interests. In a world with printing presses, she might be a mystery novel enthusiast. It's a great hook for an adventurer, since it won't be difficult to tempt her to investigate goings on. Plus, when she finally learns that there was more to her mother's disappearance than mere abandonment, she'll be tireless in looking for the truth.

Ideal

The character's ideal is a d6 roll.


This result gives us: "No Limits. Nothing should fetter the infinite possibility inherent in all existence. (Chaotic)"

So what to make of this? We know literally her entire family have been Neutral, so this is unlikely an attitude the character has been taught during her upbringing. It might be that she has come to accept the randomness of events thanks to the events that have happened to her (birth as a sorcerer, violent death of her father, abandonment by her mother, betrayal by academic mentors). She believes she is justified in what she does and outcomes she seeks, because all things are possible, but is accepting when other results come to pass.

Bond

Another d6 roll determines the character's bond:


"I’ve been searching my whole life for the answer to a certain question."

The obvious question here would be "why did my mother abandon me?"

Flaw

A final d6 roll determines the character's chief flaw:


This result is "I can’t keep a secret to save my life, or anyone else’s."

Well that'll certainly be interesting in light of of the character's dangerous research!

Class Training

Next up, XGtE asks us to decide the character's class if we haven't already, then presents supplementary tables. Again, we want to decide the class at random. I'll use @TheKindGM's table again this time, since a d12 to choose between 12 classes seems simple.


Okay! This is a fairly interesting result. Not as interesting as a Sage Barbarian, perhaps, since anyone from any walk of life could also be a Sorcerer, but still somewhat unusual. You'd normally associated a highly educated spellcaster with a Wizard, right? This character, in spite of her innate magic, was unwilling to simply rely on that natural talent.

The Sorcerer is one of the few classes that picks its archetype at 1st level, which makes sense because their Sorcerous Origin explains the bloodline that causes them to have their powers. We might as well figure that out now! I'll use @TheKindGM's table, but replace the 6 result ("reroll") with the Giant Soul bloodline that appeared in Unearthed Arcana.


A result of 3 means she has the Shadow Magic Bloodline! "You are a creature of shadow, for your innate magic comes from the Shadowfell itself. You might trace your lineage to an entity from that place, or perhaps you were exposed to its fell energy and transformed by it." Interesting. I won't settle on the exact reason for this origin for now, but the idea that the character could have been transformed by contact with energy from the Shadowfell is intriguing. Could this be connected somehow with the reason for her mother's disappearance? Perhaps the mother, who was herself an academic, was researching the Shadowfell and may have been somehow responsible? Food for thought.

As an aside, the Shadow Magic Sorcerer result present another possible question for our character's bond: "what is the origin of my powers?" Hell, why not ask both?

The Shadow Magic archetype has a Quirks table, so let's roll on that now!


Her quirk is "When you are asleep, you don’t appear to breathe (though you must still breathe to survive)". Weeeeird.

Life Events

At this point, I move onto the Life Events section of XGtE. The first table is Life Events by Age, which lets us determine both a character's age bracket and the amount of significant events that have occurred in their past. For this character we can skip rolling age, since the events from her past already led us to discovering her approximate age last time: 20-25. I decided to split the difference and say she's 22. According to the table, characters aged 21-30 can have 1d4 life events, so let's roll that now.


Well, if you had any doubts about the authenticity of my rolls throughout this process, I hope this persuades you! I would not have chosen to have to do four of these. Ah well, all the more reason to get right to it!

The Life Events table is a d100 table which generates events such as personal tragedies, wartime experiences, love/marriage, and so on. Generally, they involve rolling on further supplementary tables. In the interest of efficiency I'm going to roll all four events at once.


Event 1 (48): Made a Friend of an Adventurer

The first major event generated is the friendship of an adventurer. This means rolling on a number of supplementary tables to establish a bit more about this NPC (as we did for the character's parents and siblings last time). I'll be rolling on the following supplemental tables: Alignment (3d6), Class (d100), Race (d100), and Status (3d6).


In order, these results mean that the adventurer friend is a Neutral Evil Rogue Human who is Alive and Well.

An interesting friend! Still, we know that the character herself is Neutral and indeed, her own brother is a Rogue, so it's not that odd that she would befriend one. Obviously they have found common ground and the character is willing to look past their friend's selfishness, or they exclude their friend from any evil behaviour.

How did they become friends? Well, they're both adventurers, so the obvious thought is that they joined up as members of the same adventuring party in the past.

Event 2 (92): Committed or Was Wrongly Accused of a Crime

This is a rather interesting event. My feeling is that the character and her family are largely hard-working and law-abiding. Even her Rogue brother is likely the dungeon-delving kind rather than explicitly criminal. That said, we know that the character has chaotic leanings from her Ideal. Could she have genuinely committed the crime, though? Well, she has an evil-aligned Rogue friend. They could have roped the character into something. Or she could have been caught up in one of the friend's schemes and scooped up as an accomplice by the guard.

In any case, we need to figure out what the crime is, as well as the punishment, so there are two tables to roll on.


A 7 means the crime was extortion, and a 6 on the punishment table suggests that while the character did commit or help with the crime, she was found not guilty by the authorities.

Okay, so our character's not so innocent. Extortion is a fairly fitting crime, too, since we know that she and her brothers are desperately trying to recover the family fortunes. We might as well tie together the seeds we've already got, so let's say that the evil Rogue friend persuaded her into a "harmless" money-making scheme, perhaps by explaining that the target of the extortion is no saint themselves. Clearly it went wrong and they got caught, but just as clearly they got away free. I'm thinking that the Rogue friend was able to pay off an official. The character hasn't attempted criminal enterprise since.

Event 3 (42): Made an Enemy of an Adventurer

A very interesting result considering the opposite has happened in the first event. Potentially, this could be the same person. If they are different people, I'd be tempted to combine the two into a single event where our character made a choice that gained the friendship of one adventurer and the enmity of another. So the first thing I want to do here is roll a d3, as I'm going to weight it slightly towards being a different NPC. On a 3, it's the same person.


There we have it: she's not lost her earlier friend! So this enemy is someone else... Let's see who they are.


Hm. This NPC is a Neutral Good Bard Elf who is Alive and Quite Successful. So, at some point our character managed to piss off a moderately famous adventuring entertainer! Who is to blame? That's a d6 roll, with an odd result meaning our character caused the rift, and an even result suggesting that the NPC is at fault.


Okay, so our character did something to cause this enmity... what could it be?

I like the idea that this NPC was a former friend. Perhaps the bard was part of the same party with our sorcerer player character and the rogue friend. A decision made during an adventure seems like it has the potential to cause a rift. Maybe the bard was left for dead? The adventurers could have gotten in over their heads, the bard seemingly cornered by a powerful monster, and was abandoned by our character who lacked the abilities or tools to save them. Maybe she went for help, but by the time she returned both the bard and the monster were gone. She had somehow survived by her own cunning, and would later escape the dungeon on her own and go on to be a famous adventurer after joining up with another party. She still blames our sorcerer for her near-death.

Event 4 (18): Good Fortune

A good fortune event means rolling on the d10 Boons table. Boons range from the fairly mundane (a little extra gold or a weapon) to something slightly magical (a spell scroll or healing potion), to an animal like a riding horse or even a servant.


This result means "you saved a commoner who owes you a life debt". The commoner travels with our character as a servant. This holds up an interesting mirror to the story I just concocted about her enemy, and suddenly I'm wondering if the two events are linked.

Perhaps our character had a choice to save either a friend or an innocent, and chose the innocent. A fair and moral choice, but the person not chosen could certainly be justified in holding a grudge! A former friend was lost, but a loyal new friend was gained in turn.

We need to generate some details about this commoner. We can exclude Class, as well as Status (we know they're alive already). We'll want to roll on Alignment and Race. It would be possible to roll on the Occupation table too (though some of the occupations aren't suitable for a commoner, so rerolling might occur). However, I'm inclined to simply pick the commoner's occupation based on what has already been determined. If we assume that the choice the character made to save a commoner at the expense of her ally occurred when she and her adventuring party were on a quest to some dungeon or defeat a monsters, there are only limited occupations that might reasonably be in the area. I'm going to rule that they had taken on a mission to kill a monster which turned out to be too deadly for them, and the NPC was a hunter who happened to be in the woods nearby and stumbled onto the monster's path. In saving the hunter, our character left behind her friend in a seemingly impossible situation, perhaps trapped in a dead end. Miraculously she managed to get out herself, though perhaps not without injury, which is why she couldn't immediately rejoin with the group.

What kind of monster? Maybe something like an ogre would fit the bill: Novice adventurers might have thought that they could kill such a monster but be completely out of their depth. Yet it would also be possible to escape from it.

Right. Now that's sorted, let's roll for Alignment and Race.


An 8 for Alignment means Neutral Evil! It seems our hero has a bad habit of surrounding herself with bad influences. A result of 31 for Race means the NPC is a Human.

And we're done!

That's it! An entire character with their background has been generated. There are still a few things left to do, such as describing the character physically and further fleshing out of specifics: the names of the character, their family and friends; deciding where in the setting she was born, where she studied; and so on. But the tables have given us almost everything necessary to begin playing this character and for the player and DM to be able to craft amazing stories with them.

What We Now Know

  • Our character was born female.
  • She is a human (therefore so were both of her parents, and her siblings).
  • She was born in the family home, which was a mansion.
  • She is from an aristocratic lineage, but the family no longer has its wealth and properties.
  • Her mother was the sole heir of said aristocratic line and a noted academic. She married for love, not politics. She has since seemingly abandoned the family, but unknown to the family there are mysterious reasons why she had to leave. She is or was neutrally-aligned.
  • Her father was a simple farmer until marrying the character's mother. His being out of his depth after the mother left may have exacerbated the family's already waning fortunes. He was eaten by a monster around 3-4 years ago. He was neutrally aligned.
  • She has an older brother, who now works as a major domo or butler. He is trying to shoulder the responsibility of regaining the family's lost fortunes alone. He is neutrally aligned.
  • She has a younger brother, who is now an adventuring rogue. He is neutrally aligned.
  • She and her younger brother are likely motivated by the desire to help rebuild their family fortunes, and because of the loss of their father to a monster.
  • All three siblings are friendly with each other.
  • Other than her siblings, the character had few friends owing the perception that she was somehow different or strange.
  • She is a Shadow Magic Sorcerer.
  • When she sleeps, she doesn't appear to breathe (though she does still need to breathe).
  • At the time of the game start, the character is roughly 22 and a half years old.
  • She became a Sage because her academic mother gave her a basic education that whetted her appetite, causing her to leave home to build on what she had learned. She was unwilling to rely on her magical talent alone
  • Background Specialty: "Discredited academic". She found her mother's research and tried to continue it, then was driven out of the academic field by people she thought had been friends and mentors. Unbeknownst to her they know more about her mother's disappearance than they have said, and are trying to prevent her from making the same mistake.
  • Background Personality Trait: "There's nothing I like more than a good mystery."
  • Background Ideal: "No Limits. Nothing should fetter the infinite possibility inherent in all existence. (Chaotic)"
  • Background Bond: "I’ve been searching my whole life for the answer to a certain question." - In this case, we've come up with two questions: "What are the origins of my sorcerous power?" and "Why did my mother abandon me?"
  • Background Flaw: "I can’t keep a secret to save my life, or anyone else’s."
  • She became an adventurer and joined a party which included a Neutral Evil Human Rogue and a Neutral Good Elf Bard, whom she befriended.
  • Her Rogue friend once persuaded her to extort an unsavoury type, but it fell through. They managed to wiggle free of the consequences thanks to greasing palms in a corrupt system.
  • On an adventure to slay an ogre which turned out to be too powerful she was forced to choose who to save: her friend the bard or a hunter who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She chose the hunter, earning a loyal comrade. The elf miraculously survived despite being cornered, but was injured in the escape and was delayed in returning to town, and assumed to be dead. They went on to become a successful adventurer, but still bear a grudge for the perceived betrayal.
  • Her loyal servant is a Neutral Evil Human hunter (of the mundane animal variety).

Conclusions

I can't recommend this method of generating a character enough, as it sparks imagination and channels your creativity in new directions, while giving you the opportunity to experiment with types of characters you may never have considered before. I'm not really into playing arcane casters, but I must admit I'd be very tempted to explore my newly generated shadow sorcerer's story next time I have the opportunity to join a game!



Wednesday, 19 September 2018

5e Fallout: Enigmatic Enclave, Foul Floaters, Horrible Mutant Hounds, Savage Spore Plants and Carriers, and Terrible Trogs!

Following on from the recent Aliens update, a significant amount of new content has been added to the Fifth Edition Fallout wiki.

This update includes:

Enclave

  • Scientist (CR 1/2)
  • Enclave Trainee (CR 5)
  • Enclave Officer (CR 9)
  • Enclave Soldier (CR 11)
  • Enclave Veteran (CR 13)
  • Sidebar: Flame Troopers (two variant statblocks)
  • Sidebar: Pulse Troopers (two variant statblocks)
  • Sidebar: Tesla Soldiers (one variant statblock)
  • Sidebar: Hellfire Troopers (one variant statblock)
  • Sidebar: Control Company (four variant statblocks)
  • Sidebar: Squad Sigma (six variant statblocks)

Floaters

  • Floater (CR 1/2)
  • Bloody Floater (CR 2)
  • Nasty Floater (CR 5)

Mutant Hounds

  • Mutant Hound (CR 1)
  • Glowing Mutant Hound (CR 3)

Robots

  • Liberty Prime (CR 27)

Spore Plants

  • Spore Plant (CR 1/2)
  • Giant Spore Plant (CR 5)
  • Dionaea Muscipula (CR 8)

Spore Carriers

  • Spore Carrier Runt (CR 1/2)
  • Spore Carrier (CR 1)
  • Spore Carrier Brute (CR 2)
  • Spore Carrier Savage (CR 3)
  • Spore Carrier Savenger (CR 5)
  • Spore Carrier Beast (CR 8)

Trogs

  • Trog Fledgling (CR 1/8)
  • Trog (CR 1/2)
  • Trog Brute (CR 1)
  • Trog Savage (CR 4)

New Weapons

  • Incinerator
  • Pulse Pistol
  • Pulse Rifle